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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Log Horizon II – Episode 11

Time for this week’s installment of Watching People Narrate Videogames, Triple Threat Raid Edition. This episode was actually pretty great! It couldn’t possibly compare to William Massachusett’s speech (I will never get tired of that speech or that name), but I don’t even really consider that thing a Log Horizon episode. This was a Log Horizon episode, and a very good one at that. Log Horizon is finally getting to describe the actual meat of raid combat, and seems almost giddy to tell us everything it finds fun about these crazy battles.

You can check out my full ANN post here. Notes and such below the cut!

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Parasyte – Episode 11

Parasyte took a moment to catch its breath this week, and so we got little vignettes from a variety of narratives. Which was a lot of fun, actually – Kana’s a pretty endearing mix of confidence and naivety, and that central fight scene was a totally unexpected visual bounty. Almost weirdly so, in fact – so far I’ve felt Parasyte’s atmosphere has generally been more effective than its big action setpieces, but that scene’s action was great. I’ve always liked the way the schoolyard fights generally resolve in one or two quick, brutal strikes, and applying that style to an extended fight made for a really tremendous sequence.

Here’s the full ANN post. Rough episodic notes are below the cut!

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Fall 2014 – Week 10 in Review

Pretty killer episodes this week, at least from the top shelf. KimiUso, Shirobako, and Parasyte all turned in stellar performances, Chaika kept up the dramatic intensity from last week, and Log Horizon suddenly decided to toss off one of the best speeches I’ve seen. The other episodes were middling, but the season’s looking strong as we move into the endgame. Look forward to a pretty stupid amount of content over these next couple weeks – I’m planning on participating in the 12 Days of Anime posts (one post a day for the twelve days leading up to the 25th) along with all my usual review shenanigans, my top shows of the year post will follow that, and even ANN might have some kind of bonus piece to contribute. I hope this is what you want, internet. This is all the blood I have!

Alright, enough of that. Let’s run down some cartoons.

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