My Monster Secret, Volume 5 – Review

My Monster Secret finally gains some ambition in its fifth volume, offering two large-scale narratives that demonstrate this story actually has some legs, Having already read the sixth volume, I know this isn’t a permanent shift for the manga, but it’s still nice to see a story with generally episodic priorities demonstrate it can handle some more dramatically ambitious stuff well. And Mikan has very surprisingly turned out to be one of my favorite characters here, occupying the role of “girl who obviously should win” in a lesser harem. I say “lesser harem” because in this case, the two leads actually are great together, and I’d be happy to see them get together. My Monster Secret is just a positive time all around.

You can check out my full review over at ANN.

Why It Works: The Stunning Highlights of Anime’s Hero Renaissance

Today I took advantage of Crunchyroll’s Hero Week to rep some of the best goddamn shows of the last few years. Gatchaman Crowds, Samurai Flamenco, and Concrete Revolutio are all near and dear to my heart, so I was happy to get a chance to celebrate them, and hopefully turn a few more people on to some of the most compelling stories in recent memory. Everybody deserves a little Nice Justice in their life.

Why It Works: The Stunning Highlights of Anime’s Hero Renaissance

Casshern Sins – Episode 16

And we’re back with more Casshern Sins! Last episode saw Casshern reuniting with an old foe, while the overarching narrative pulled us ever close to the apparently still-living Luna. Casshern and Lyuze have settled into a solid traveling rapport, and things seem to actually be moving towards a conclusion now. I’m kinda missing the show’s episodic vignettes from the first half, and I feel the show can drag even by its own terms when it hangs too much on the mythic, basic variables of Casshern’s, er, sin, but there’s still plenty to enjoy in this very unique adventure. Let’s get right to it!

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Mawaru Penguindrum – Episode 17

Penguindrum’s seventeenth episode is titled “The Unforgiven,” a meaning which only becomes clear in its final moments. But unlike many of its recent episodes, this episode isn’t really “about” any one specific thing. So far, we’ve spent the show’s second half establishes the diverse and incompatible motivations of this world’s side characters, from the desperate loyalty of Yuri to the rigid persistence of Masako. There are few secrets left in this place, but that doesn’t mean we’re any closer to arriving at solutions. The still enigmatic Sanetoshi seems to understand this, musing idly on how all humans pursue individual ideals of truth to the point of self-sacrifice or destruction. Penguindrum’s human players have all established their truths, and now “the war is about to break out.”

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Dagashi Kashi – Review

Today I wandered back to give Dagashi Kashi a second look, which didn’t really change my impression of the show overall. The comedy was still pretty hit or miss, the characterization was still kinda thin, and the most successful appeal remained its compelling articulation of rural life. I’m pretty sure I’m just gonna abandon the internet and live out in a shack somewhere in the woods one of these days, and shows like Dagashi Kashi drag me a little closer. ONE DAY!

You can check out my full review over at ANN.

Spring 2017 – Week 11 in Review

The anime this week was… confusing. On the negative side, my two favorite shows of the season had pretty mediocre episodes. My Hero Academia was stuck in transition land, while The Eccentric Family decided to lean even more heavily into the same conflicts as the first season. On the positive side, basically everything below those shows had a terrific showing, with all of Sakura Quest, Re:Creators, and Tsuki ga Kirei pulling off some of their best episodes yet. I suppose that’s the advantage of watching this many streaming shows – even if the heavyweights momentarily stumble, there’s always something putting its best foot forward. Anyway, I’ve got a million words on Re:Creators this week, so let’s start at the opposite end and RUN THIS WEEK DOWN!

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The Eccentric Family 2 – Episode 9

Management: I apparently forgot to post this back when the review actually went up. Woops!

This week’s Eccentric Family was… well, not the best. This season has had a variety of small issues keeping it below the level of the original all along, and this episode both leaned into those problems and also just wasn’t that interesting structurally. A show of Eccentric Family’s length and pedigree can’t really afford lull episodes, so I wasn’t happy to see this one, but I don’t really see it becoming a trend, either. Ah well!

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

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The Eccentric Family 2 – Episode 11

Things got pretty wild in this week’s Eccentric Family, as secrets were revealed and battles were fought and dramatic declarations were made all up and down these twenty minutes. For all that, I found myself somewhat unsatisfied with how this season is resolving, but my article covers all that. This season of Eccentric Family definitely isn’t as strong as the first, but hey, Eccentric Family is Eccentric Family.

You can check out my full review over at ANN.

Ojamajo Doremi – Episode 13

Let’s dive right into some more Ojamajo Doremi! With Nichijou behind me, there are few shows that give me more consistent joy than Doremi these days. Upbeat and visually charming and stuffed with heart, Doremi and her friends ably demonstrate why us true anime patricians have migrated over to children’s television. I’m not quite at Pretty Cure yet, but I’m sure my conscription into the anime cabal is progressing at a steady clip nonetheless.

Doremi’s last episode wasn’t exactly a highlight, but it did see Doremi and her friends becoming more comfortable using magic to help others. Let’s see where the wands take them this time!

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Why It Works: The Lonely Queen of The Eccentric Family

Today I finally dedicate an article to Benten, something long-time readers have presumably been waiting for all season. Look, My Hero Academia has been super good and fun to write about, I’ve been busy. I generally tend to favor the shows I’m not actively writing about for ANN over at Crunchyroll, but when it comes to general season-long topics like a character profile, Why It Works is a wonderful venue. Benten has certainly earned a spotlight article, and I hope this one does her justice. Please enjoy the piece!

Why It Works: The Lonely Queen of The Eccentric Family