12 Days of Anime, #6: Shounen Hollywood Goes For Broke

I am well aware of the fact that I am one of maybe seven people who watched this show. I am equally aware that I never would have watched it myself if I weren’t being literally paid to do so. Maybe Shounen Hollywood knew these things. Maybe it was aware it had no audience to impress, and thus no audience to disappoint. Maybe that’s why it decided to be one of the most secretly ambitious, balls-to-the-wall concept-happy productions of the year.

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ANN’s Top Five Anime of 2014

ANN just posted their big top five anime of the year retrospective, which includes the results of their reader poll and lists from a bunch of their staff, including yours truly. This list was based on full-length shows that started in 2014, meaning no Hanamonogatari or Samurai Flamenco, while shows like Shirobako are eligible. Meaning the list I submitted there is actually fairly different from the top ten list I’ll be posting here in a week or so, but it still offers a fine preview of my thoughts on the year, and actually highlights how badly I think this fall season pulled everything together. This was a weak year in anime, but the silver lining is that fall’s continuing shows (Shirobako, KimiUso, Parasyte, FSN) are almost single-handedly ensuring 2015 will be better. And the other ANN writers highlight a whole bunch of other compelling stuff, so clearly animeland will survive. Here’s to 2014!

Shirobako

12 Days of Anime, #7: Going Pro

I don’t know what I’m doing here, guys. Don’t have a goddamn idea. I started out on friggin’ reddit with a post about Nisemonogatari, and now I’m ANN’s official Monogatari analyst. That’s worth noting, right? I’m happy about how things have turned out, but am generally too stressed and busy to actually revel in it, which I guess is how this writing thing goes no matter how you’re doing? I hope?

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12 Days of Anime #8: The Pain and Triumph of William Massachusetts

In all the awful roar GamerGate has created, it’s sometimes hard to remember that the angst at its core is actually a real and tangible thing. Many people do come to games because they feel the world “isn’t fair,” or that they have no talents relevant to it – and shows like Sword Art Online or Mahouka tap into this unhappiness, and to the desire for control it creates. Log Horizon is smarter than both of those shows, and so when Log Horizon addresses the fundamental sadness at the heart of “gamer pride,” it does it with both empathy and a larger scope of understanding. William Massachusetts knows what he is, though his view of the larger world is fractured and flawed. And William Massachusetts is proud.

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Fall 2014 – Week 11 in Review

This was a somewhat hit or miss week in animeland, with the usual top tier turning in great episodes, but everyone else varying from solid to blargh. Amagi Brilliant Park, Chaika, and Bahamut are looking like they’ll fall somewhere under my initial expectations, the top four of Shirobako, KimiUso, Parasyte, and FSN are all keeping it together in solid form, and the MMO contingent are both doing their best to end the season on a high note. Let’s see what we got!

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12 Days of Anime #9: Kakyoin Doesn’t Trust Babies

I certainly had my issues with Stardust Crusaders, but whatever my quibbles with the narrative structure, I can’t deny that no other show featured one of its protagonists desperately trying to outwit a killer baby. Well, except for that one scene in Cross Ange, but let’s not go there. There’s not much to say about this event – I know what I like, and what I like is apparently Kakyoin staring daggers at infants as they plot murder in their crib.

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12 Days of Anime #10: The Rise of Ask Bobduh

So I guess I’m a narcissist, or something? I dunno how it happened, but my ask.fm profile has somehow become one of the central parts of this whole internet-personality gig I’ve got going on. Answer a couple thousand questions, and suddenly everybody wants to know what you’ve got to say!

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Sword Art Online II – Episode 23

SAO tricked me again this week, pulling off a surprisingly effective episode after last week’s absurdity. The story didn’t necessarily get “better,” but its variables were used more thoughtfully, and the execution was stellar. Even in Fairy Dance, the lion’s share of SAO’s aesthetically effective moments were the ones in the real world – Sugu’s story didn’t land for a variety of reasons, but it was often solidly expressed nonetheless. This episode somehow arrived at a pretty respectable end for Mother’s Rosario, so nice job, SAO.

My full ANN post is right here. Notes below!

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12 Days of Anime #11: MISTER JUSTICE

It was really, really tempting to make this entire list out of moments from Samurai Flamenco. I mean, it’s not like the show’s lacking them – from Miami Ballerina to “THE POLLS GIVE ME STRENGTH” to “actually it’s Flamwenco,” Samurai Flamenco is clearly a rich treasure trove of beautiful, inspiringly ridiculous moments. In the end, I settled on just two moments, and the first clearly had to be the proud, majestic MISTER JUSTICE.

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12 Days of Anime #12: My Neighbor SAO

Hey guys! Yeah, I’m participating in the 12 Days of Anime – an aniblogger project where bloggers put out one post reminiscing on some anime-related moment or memory from the year on each day leading up to our day of pagan tree worship and reverence to our god, consumerism. Considering I already put out basically a post a day, this may not be the most intelligent of choices, but I don’t think anyone’s ever accused me of making many of those. I’ll probably alternating these more or less between personal moments of stuff I either worked on, did, or failed to do and straight-up Perfect Moments in Anime, so look forward to a broad scattering of posts over the next couple weeks. Today I’m starting off with one of my many not-so-bright ideas – going on a journey with Sword Art Online.

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