Mob Psycho 100 – Episode 7

Mob Psycho finally had a weaker episode this time, after a fairly consistent streak of excellence. The way this episode was weaker makes me think the show is trying to hit some later arc in the manga, but either way, it resulted in a somewhat unsatisfying middle phase of Ritsu’s current arc. ONE isn’t the most insightful of social scientists, and speeding up his stories only emphasizes that – Ritsu and Shinji were both shortchanged by this episode’s pacing, and the conclusion suffered for it. Hopefully we’ll be back on track next week!

You can check out my full review over at ANN.

Mob Psycho 100

Mawaru Penguindrum – Episode 8

Episode eight starts with a crack of thunder, as Ringo drags her creepy self up from beneath the floorboards. Framed in jolts of lightning and hideous shadows, Ringo’s attempted consummation is anything but romantic – and of course, that’s the only way it could work. By framing Ringo’s actions as a horror movie, Penguindrum both clearly demonstrates that it doesn’t agree with her actions, and also somewhat stylizes and thus softens the dramatic impact of Ringo actually trying to rape someone.

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Orange – Episode 8

Orange has achieved new heights of “will they or won’t they” assholery, following up last episode’s mutual confession with the reveal that Kakeru doesn’t want to date Naho because he might eventually hurt her. As simultaneously infuriating and true to his character that was, it wasn’t really my big problem with this episode. The real issue here is that Orange’s production has at this point entirely sunk, meaning it’s shifted from occasionally attempting to portray the illusion of movement to just kinda sequencing still shots in a row. It’s a shame when a show that so desperately needs strong animation is so entirely bereft of it.

You can check out my full review over at ANN!

Orange

Why It Works: Yukako’s Fairy Tale

I returned to JoJo again this week, unable to avoid the temptation of talking about a Yukako episode. Unfortunately, this article isn’t really about how Yukako herself is awesome – it’s more about the framing of her Cinderella story, and the influences it’s drawing on in both a narrative and visual sense. Hopefully that still sounds pretty entertaining!

Why It Works: Yukako’s Fairy Tale

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure

Nichijou – Episode 2

Welp, I’m still burning through Nichijou, and it’s still offering a wild menagerie of jokes to comment on. As with the first episode, I found enough to comment on just within my notes that I’m making the second episode an article in its own right. These are almost turning into accidental time-stamp writeups, which is very craft of you guys to trick me into doing. Let’s get right to episode two!

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Wandering Son – Episode 5

There is no one unifying point of Wandering Son’s fifth episode. As summer trudges towards its end, all of Wandering Son’s stars deal with the approaching cultural festival in their own way. Secrets are revealed, angry resolutions are made, and incompatible desires drift and collide in small ways. And through it all, Wandering Son’s consistent framing presents them as isolated in their world, tiny figures almost lost in a space beyond their control.

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My Monster Secret, Volume 2 – Review

My Monster Secret is some very solid comfort food. You’re not gonna be impressed by its character writing, you’re not gonna be shocked by its dramatic craft, you’re just gonna laugh and watch some stupid kids make funny mistakes. I’m frankly happy to see it being released now – I generally need a certain density of active manga releases to keep me satisfied, and with both A Silent Voice and Biscuit Hammer having ended, I was running low. My Monster Secret obviously can’t replace either of those shows, but I’m enjoying my time with it just the same.

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

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Summer 2016 – Week 7 in Review

We’re in the settling now. Shows have established themselves and fallen into comfortable rhythms, massive narrative changeups are either far in the past or waiting in the last act, and most productions are just doing their best to pretend scheduling and creating twenty minutes of animation is just as easy the seventh time as it is the first or second. There are highs and lows, but they’re smaller bumps – Love Live has a somewhat weaker episode, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure tries on a new style hat, etcetera. These are the dog days of summer, where we’re all more concerned with the fact that global warming is now a lived reality than we are with which waifus most recently prevailed. But anime endures, and like a barnacle on that great cartoon vessel, so does the Week in Review. Let’s run ’em down.

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Mob Psycho 100 – Episode 6

Ritsu got a focus episode this time, and what an episode it was. Ritsu’s feelings are even more intense and self-focused than Mob’s, and between that and his generally more analytical personality, I was getting mild Flowers of Evil vibes all through this one. I was also impressed with how well the show is making use of its secondary cast – I’d figured characters like the delinquent or body building dudes would just be one-off gags, but they’re actually turning into endearing people I want to see more of. Nice work, Mob Psycho!

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

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Kokoro Connect – Episode 1

Kokoro Connect starts off with a somewhat uneven first episode. That doesn’t really come down to the production, or even the storytelling – the show has nice painted backgrounds that give everything something of a faded, nostalgic look, and the story moves quickly and gracefully into a compelling premise (suddenly we’re swapping bodies for no apparent reason!). The character designs are distinctive and expressive, and nothing really drags. As far as fundamental composition goes, this premiere is a very solid affair. The real issue here is based in the uneasy relationship between the show’s clear goals and its fundamental nature.

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