Sound! Euphonium 2 – Episode 10

Euphonium had another stunner this week, finishing off Asuka’s story in the most cathartic possible manner. Even Mamiko’s material was really great this time, and the contrast between the two couldn’t be starker – Mamiko’s scene was all quiet reflections on the realities of family, Asuka’s was a melodramatic showdown between two of the show’s most compelling figures. Euphonium 2 has had some rough patches, but this last arc has been the series at its best.

You can check out my enormous review over at ANN, or my notes below!

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Girlish Number – Episode 9

Girlish Number finally turned back to Chitose this week, centering an episode on both her and Kuzu-P’s understandable anxieties. While I obviously don’t “like” these characters as much as I like the more emotionally generous side characters, I thought this episode did a fine job of bringing their anxieties home. Just because they’re assholes doesn’t mean they don’t have problems too!

You can check out my full review over at ANN, or my notes below.

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Fall 2016 – Week 9 in Review

Turns out anime is good, everybody. Who would have guessed! As usual, nearly everything I’m watching this season operated at a level I generally just associate with my seasonal favorite, leaving me with a pile of cartoon riches to luxuriate in. Euphonium rallied from a weaker episode with possibly the strongest episode of the season, March continued to lay sturdy dramatic bricks in between episodic pleasures, and Flip Flappers steered itself right back towards the compelling bonds between the three leads. Even JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure was acting like it had something to prove, working hard to give Hayato’s struggle all the manic energy it deserves. Anime will likely go back to being bad again soon, but I can’t say I mind having barely anything to complain about. But I’m not doing this critic shtick for nothing, so let’s start off with some complaints and then work our way to the fawning praise!

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Winter 2017 Season Preview

I’ll be honest – this upcoming anime season is looking pretty sparse. Perhaps this is our punishment for having such a strong current season, or perhaps the good and just anime gods are displeased with Flip Flappers’ low sales numbers, but either way, we’re going to be scavenging for scraps come January. That said, there are still some bright spots here and there – sequels to strong first seasons, shows with promising creators, originals that might have have some kind of special spark. And we’ve certainly had weak winter seasons before – in fact, this winter may just end up being a repeat of last year’s, where Rakugo stood head and shoulders above the rest of the pack. We’ll get by, as we always do. And we’ll probably have some nice cartoons to help us.

As usual, I won’t be previewing every single show of the coming season, and I also won’t be providing traditional synopses. You can check a site like anichart for all that stuff – instead, I’ll be highlighting the specific shows that seem to have potential, along with the generally staff-related reasons I feel that way. Plot is cheap, but strong artists are irreplaceable. So let’s start at the vague peak of my interest level and run this next season down!

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March comes in like a lion – Episode 8

March had another strong episode this week, one that brought some narrative congruity to a few disjointed sequences by tethering them all to Rei’s upcoming shogi match. The show seems to have largely resolved my initial complaints at this point, mostly through the natural progression of its character work. With Rei, the sisters, and side characters like Harunobu all so well established, the show’s comedy has become more warm and character-focused than abrasive and tonally incongruous, making the show a general pleasure to watch. While I wouldn’t say it’s the “best” show I’m watching this season, I’m pretty sure there’s no show I’m enjoying more than March. It’s a story I’m always happy to spend time with.

You can check out my full review over at ANN, or my notes below!

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Why It Works: Flip Flappers’ Fearful Symmetry

Couldn’t keep myself away from Flip Flappers, as it turns out. The Why It Works articles are actually very well-suited for exploring the show, since its ideas are all relevant across episodes, and so it’s handy to analyze single threads that have carried between them. This time I talk about the show’s use of visual symmetry, which essentially expands on my earlier writing about the show’s generally stellar visual storytelling. Take a look!

Why It Works: Flip Flappers’ Fearful Symmetry

Flip Flappers

Ojamajo Doremi – Episode 1

Today we embark on a new notes adventure, checking out the unusually renowned children’s show Ojamajo Doremi! Most of what I know about this one consists of “it has a remarkably high-tier staff,” that staff includes Mamoru Hosoda at some point, and its face game is extremely strong. Children’s anime in general tends to be somewhat better-written than the stuff for teenagers, so I guess we can lump that into the “potential knowledge” pile. Also witches? I believe witches are involved. Either way, I’m down for another exploration of one the shows those sakuga nerds keep going on about. Let’s get right to it!

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Nichijou – Episode 17

And we’re back with more Nichijou! Last episode was a very important one, as it finally made the first dent in Nano’s anxious school experience. In spite of her hopes, Nano’s arrival at school has largely just been a source of frustration and anxiety for her, but Yuuko visiting her house will likely go a fair way in making her feel welcomed. Plus I’d just like to see Yuuko and her friends spend more time with the professor, who is good and important and needs all of the friends. Give your friends to the professor, Nano, don’t be greedy.

Anyway, enough preamble. Let’s open another day with some bright and shining NICHIJOU!!!

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Sound! Euphonium 2 – Episode 9

Hoo boy was this a stunner. I was feeling a little down on this show after last week’s fairly mundane episode, but then Ishidate had to show up and just blow the doors off Asuka’s story. This was one of the best episodes in either season of Euphonium, a stunning tribute to one of the show’s most enigmatic and compelling characters. Asuka is a terrific character, and sometimes it feels like this is the only studio equipped to handle her. Euphonium continues to be full of wonderful surprises.

You can check out my megasized review over at ANN, or my notes below!

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Girlish Number – Episode 8

Girlish Number continued with its excellent parent-focused material this week, using time away from Chitose to let Kazuha and Momoka have some of the show’s most emotionally effective material yet. I’ve been enjoying these vacations from our lead terror, but I’m hoping the show will able to grant her some of the sensitivity it’s offered her friends in the final act. Chitose may be a gremlin, but she’s our gremlin.

You can check out my full review over at ANN, or my notes below!

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