Season previews continue, and hey, we’re finally into some shows worth watching! With the majority of the light novel premieres out of the way, this second set is full of shows I either fully recommend or at least feel succeed within their genre. Okada Gundam starts off strong, Comet Lucifer and Concrete Revolutio display reasonable promise, and One Punch Man just fucking dazzles with wonderful animation, art design, and humor. Things were looking kind of dire for a minute there, but seasons have a way of pulling themselves together. Now if only Sakurako and Perfect Insider can pull through as well, we might have a legitimately impressive season on our hands.
Once again, you can check out the full guide over at ANN, or click below the jump to see my added scores and individual links. ANIME HO!
Yeah, this is how you end a series. Paranoia Agent’s finale completely discarded any ambiguity regarding the reality-versus-fantasy questions of the series proper, instead just directly embracing its fantasy leanings in order to create one of the most dramatically satisfying conclusions I’ve ever seen. Pretty much everything in this finale was perfect, from the gorgeous, heartrending conclusion to Keichi’s arc to the thematically thunderous finale of Sagi’s story. This was the ambiguous but optimistic closer Paranoia Agent needed, broadcasting Kon’s anger and desire to make people embrace the hard knocks of life as loud as it possibly could. Kon fucking hates artifice, and through this finale, Paranoia Agent established itself as a screeching ode to truth and sincerity. God damn. What a great show.
You can check out my full writeup over at ANN, or my notes below!
Preview week has begun, and I’m already knee-deep in anime no one should be forced to suffer through. Actually, this first wave honestly hasn’t been that bad – there hasn’t been much I’ve actually enjoyed watching, outside of the obvious Owarimonogatari, but there also hasn’t been much that’s so terrible I felt ready to forsake the medium altogether. Well, there’s been a bit of that. But less than expected! Plus I’ve already powered through a good portion of the light novel adaptations, and with them out of the way, I’m pretty confident nothing else can really hurt me anymore. All I need now is some shows I actually want to watch…
You can check out the full review guide here, or check below for a rundown of my scores so far and links to specific reviews. LET’S ANIME.
Hey all! I haven’t been linking 10 Royal Games videos here every time they’ve come out, but they’ve definitely been coming out! We’re up to close to a dozen Metal Gear Solid 5 videos now, along with half a dozen Ocarina of Time ones, and in my unbiased opinion I think they’re getting pretty good! We’re bantering more easily, covering all sorts of topics, and switching off on people playing the games to keep things moving along. Ocarina of Time started with Neil and has shifted to Dan, Metal Gear Solid opened with Dan and has moved over to me, and I’m sure we’ll do more shifts and introduce more games soon (we’re thinking about the original Dark Souls next, a game we’re all huge fans of).
We’ve also set up playlists for both series now, so you can check out
Metal Gear Solid 5
Ocarina of Time
there! Recent adventures have focused on calling each other nerds for reading books and making a sweet sniper shot seriously you gotta see this shot I’m super cool. We’re still fiddling with the show’s overall dynamics and trying to improve, so if you’ve got any requests or suggestions, please let me know! We’re having a lot of fun, but god damnit this isn’t about us. This isn’t about us.
Yeah fuck it I reviewed Monster Musume. Hey, I’ve already watched the thing, right? It was actually easy to critique this one, since in spite of the hyperbole you may or may not have witnessed on twitter, Monster Musume is a pretty simple show with obvious strengths, weaknesses, and limitations. It’s a harem, but because it’s so absurd, it’s both a much better comedy than most harems and a show you can enjoy even if you’re not identifying with the derpy protagonist. There’s definitely some creepy sequences where it gets into uncomfortably voyeuristic/gropey territory, but most of it’s just a silly fun time, and many of the episodes are also elevated with some really terrific animation. Monster Musume was a light, enjoyable bright spot in a lousy season.
You can check out my full review over at ANN, or… wait, I covered this one weekly. I guess that’s it, then!
Hot damn it’s Wednesday. And a very special Wednesday at that – the final Wednesday of summer season 2015, possibly the weakest anime season since I started doing week in review posts. That’s actually worked out okay for me, though – given the relative scarcity of airing shows I cared about, I’ve been able to burn through all sorts of backlog and review material, getting through Love Live S2, Saekano, The Idolmaster, and Turn A Gundam all in record time. Plus I’ve gotten to watch Paranoia Agent weekly, and there still have been a couple airing shows worth their salt. So let’s start right there, with a show that’s consistently worked to engage its audience on multiple levels and challenge our conceptions of what anime can really be about.
We had another stellar episode of Paranoia Agent this week, one that pulled together three of the show’s central characters, along with the private realities they’re each inhabiting, building up towards a dramatic faceoff with the demons they share. Mitsuhiro was an excellent choice of primary focus character for this sequence; his combined old-detective profession and willingness to go along with the fantasies of the younger generation mean he’s essentially the sole invested bridge character, the only person who can bring all these elements together. And it was also nice to bring Sagi back into the focus again; in contrast to Mitsuhiro’s conviction, she feels more overwhelmed than anyone by the events going on around her, meaning the scenes stuck in her head felt even more frightening than they would otherwise. Just one more great episode of a truly fantastic series.
You can check out my full writeup over at ANN, or my notes below!
G-G-G-GATCHAMANNNNN is over
I can’t really feel that sad, though. This was an excellent conclusion to an excellent series, tying up the show’s existing ideas and character journeys well while giving us a few final standout conversations to remember it by. That melancholy conversation between Tsubasa and Gelsadra in the first half had to be one of my favorite sequences of either season, and the actual battle with Hajime wasn’t far behind. The show really pulled out all the visual stops for that one – Hajime finally got to have a Big Damn Hero moment, and it was glorious. insight has challenged the messages of the first season and swept in more ideas besides, and its thoughts on group culture could not be more relevant to our modern world. Even if this show is aimed specifically at Japanese culture, anyone who uses the internet could probably learn something from this show’s example. HURRAY FOR LEARNING AND EMPATHY AND STUFF.
Anyway, you can check out my huge-ass review over at ANN, or my notes below!
Classroom Crisis comes to an ending with a fairly respectable final episode. I really liked how all the narrative/character/thematic pieces came together in this one – it felt very gracefully composed, which is honestly something this show has often struggled with. There were cute moments and fist-pump moments and some nice silly faces, and overall this finale didn’t quite manage to match the show’s best moments (namely the Nagisa-Kaito and Nagisa-Mizuki conversations from the last few episodes), but still ended things in solid fashion. Of course, it apparently couldn’t end without one more dip into stupid animeisms, so obviously the ending was set up as introducing a possible love triangle between three of the leads. Win some, lose some.
You can check out my full review over at ANN, or my notes below!
New Mononagatari arc! And this one… well, it sure is an Araragi arc. This was definitely one of the weakest arcs of the show so far – it did attempt to push Araragi’s narrative forward, but accomplished very little within its four episodes, and mainly spent time explaining a story that just didn’t have that much resonance to it. Araragi is far from my favorite Monogatari character, but he can still work well when he’s given the right companions to riff off of. Here, where most of his conversations were either with the straight-laced Kagenui or blank Yotsugi, that really wasn’t possible. The best part of this arc was the final confrontation with Tadatsuru, but that was a small consolation for an arc with little else to recommend it. Hopefully this fall’s arcs are more rewarding!
You can check out my full review over at ANN, or my crazy pile of notes below! These notes actually start with notes from when I was first planning to watch this arc, but held off because I knew I’d do it for review, so the first episode has a mix of timestamp writeups from a while back and current notes!