It’s Wednesday again, which means time once more for the ol’ week in anime! And this week in anime was… well, it was a week in anime. Not really all that much to report, frankly – pretty much everything maintained a fairly even keel, acting more or less in the ways you’d expect them to act. The biggest outlier this time was The Perfect Insider, in that it was both very good and good in ways that defied standard expectations, but everything else existed within its expected parameters. That said, there’s still plenty of finer details to sift through, and I actually watched a fair amount of non-weekly anime this week, so don’t worry, I’ll make today’s tour worth your while. So pull up a comfortable chair and let’s RUN ‘EM DOWN.
I wish I had more interesting things to say about Wolf Children. I wish I could dedicate a spiraling essay to unpacking its secrets… but that’s not really the kind of movie it is. The film doesn’t hide anything – it’s a movie about mothers and their children, about struggling and making it through, about time and patience and joy and grief. None of these themes truly dominate the film, because the film is about the lives of a few people, and life has a lot of themes. But they work beautifully in concert, garnishing the sturdy core of a quietly perfect story.
Owari picked up to some extent this week, with this episode at least having some nice reflections on Araragi’s journey so far. It’s not like we really need more reflections on Araragi’s journey so far, but if they’re illustrated in the way they were in this episode, where a couple offhand lines are just totally loaded with subtext, I can accept that. Araragi and Yotsugi interacted pretty much like Araragi and Yotsugi always do, and Gaen got to steal the show with a couple infinitely smug lines to Araragi. And we finally arrived at Shinobu near the end, which is definitely a good sign. If you’re going to have an Araragi arc, adding Shinobu to the mix is one of the best ways to make it interesting – their relationship is funny and endearing and legitimately tragic, and the two of them make each other more compelling by their presence. Here’s hoping the arc’s second half makes the most of that.
You can check out my full review over at ANN, or my notes below!
The Perfect Insider rallied back in style this week, speeding up and digging in and whatever other cliche term you want to use for something that wasn’t doing well no longer continuing to do that. We got great scenes with Moe, Magata, and (amazingly) Souhei, a bunch of compelling visual ideas, and more plot/character movement in one episode than we’ve seen in half the series so far. Moe’s journey in Magata’s dream-machine was probably the highlight – those CG legos seemed questionable when they were just sitting there in Magata’s room, but if that concession was necessary to allow for this visual trick, I am all for it. Watching young Moe crying in the hanger as the background disintegrated behind her is one of the most compelling anime images I’ve seen in a while. Nice work, Perfect Insider.
You can check out my full review over at ANN, or my notes below!
On the back of last week’s startlingly not-entirely-tedious episode, this week’s Beautiful Bones returned to This Show is Dull as Heck territory, opening a new multi-episode mystery with a first episode that accomplished basically nothing. Well, Sakurako and Shoutarou are maybe having a small fight now, if you’re invested in either of those characters either separately or together. And apparently a former teacher kept some bones in a box. Those are the things that happened in this week’s episode. If you were wondering what’s going on with Beautiful Bones, that is what is up.
You can check out my full review of these thrilling events over at ANN, or my exhaustive notes on the proceedings below.
Heyo again! I mentioned a week ago that I’d be working towards making communal commissions more convenient, and today I’ve got some ideas on that front. Instead of my book or ask.fm questions, I’m adding the option to direct any Patreon donation of $5 or more towards writeups on any show/movie. I’ll also be adding a direct donation button for one-time donations that can work the same way (or be aimed at the old tiers, or just help me out in general). I’ll be needing to keep track of these communal show-lines, so I’ve created a page to track progress towards new writeups on anything people are interested in.
To keep it from looking lonely, I’ve, er, donated ten dollars to myself for three projects people have mentioned in the past – episodic writeups on Hyouka, Madoka, and Evangelion. But feel free to pick your own favorites – once anyone has donated towards something, I’ll post its progress up there ASAP, which will make it visible and more likely to get more support. And I’ve also added the ability to directly donate while avoiding Patreon, which will hopefully make things more convenient for everyone.
I also got questions about a few more types of commissionable work, so I’ll run those down as well. Having me proofread your own articles/criticism will likely run you about $30-50, depending the length of the piece. Manga writeups go for $80/volume (which generally run eight chapters). And writeups of visual novels totally depend on the length of the visual novel, but would be comparable to book reviews if they’re a comparable length.
I think that covers it! Let me know if you have any other questions, and thanks again for your support!
Things didn’t go so well this week! The majority of the shows I’m watching demonstrated some pretty lackluster episodes, from my favorites down through the bottom of the pack. Owarimonogatari’s new arc started off poorly, The Perfect Insider stumbled over its worst episode yet, and Utawarerumono tried to perform the same mediocre trick for a third time straight. In contrast, One Punch Man actually consistently impressed me, working as a satisfying episode of anime even outside of its visual tricks. We’ve got a lot of doldrums to get through, but let’s start with that positive note, and then maybe finish up with a guest appearance by something I really, really did enjoy.
And I’m back to reviewing Silent Voice, with a volume that did a great deal with very little. These chapters felt more constrained in focus than the previous ones, but that actually worked for this story – because of that, we were able to get an incredibly close read on Shoya’s feelings, complete with expressive sequences of physical awkwardness and fully realized internal monologues. This is the sort of stuff I love when it’s done well, and Silent Voice is doing it very, very well. We’re not currently getting the equal glimpse into Shoko’s feelings that I’m eventually hoping for, but if the story stays this good, I’m fine with it sticking close to Shoya and presenting the people around him as figures we have to pull together out of his limited emotional reads. Good stories told well are always alright by me.
You can check out my full review over at ANN, or my notes after the cut!
Shinobu Mail started off pretty inauspiciously this week, with an episode that was half consumed by tired old Araragi-Kanbaru banter, half underserved by late-era Monogatari’s “minimalist” animation. The fight between Kanbaru and Shinobu’s old partner actually could have been pretty sweet, but the show just couldn’t back it up. And everything the two said in the episode’s first half was a retread of past conversations, which came off as particularly disappointing in the wake of the superb Suruga Devil. But it seems like this arc’s actual meat will be about Araragi and Shinobu’s relationship, and that’s one of the most interesting dynamics in the series, so I’m not too worried about one messy episode.
You can check out my full writeup over at ANN, or my notes below!
Aw dang I reviewed the Nightow-Matsumoto monster mash. My ultimate feelings on the show are kinda negative, but that’s mainly the result of potentially overly high expectations. Matsumoto’s a genius, basically, and so I expect her works to be masterpieces. Instead we got a very aesthetically compelling series of adventure vignettes with some crappy humor that somewhat falls apart in its second half. Certainly not a bad thing, better than most shows you see, but basically nothing I’d place next to Kyousogiga. But it’s unfair to judge every show next to its creator’s first masterpiece, and so I’m hoping that going forward, I’ll be able to temper my expectations a bit and just accept that even the best directors don’t always make the best works.
You can check out my full review over at ANN, which is definitely more positive than this little blurb. Or you can check out my brief notes for the finale below!