UQ Holder, Volume 7 – Review

Back to the UQ grind again, with a volume that finally dug into one of this manga’s core issues – how goddamn boring its protagonist is. Tota is a shounen lump, and this volume did its best to paint some character on that lump, with generally positive results. UQ is still a surprisingly mediocre performance from the guy who made Negima, but there’s plenty of entertainment to be found regardless.

You can check out my full review over at ANN.

UQ Holder!

Mob Psycho 100 – Episode 3

Mob Psycho 100 actually managed to up the ante this week, by coupling its usual visual splendor with a far more focused and incisive look at Mob’s insecurities. The new-age cult backdrop was a perfect setting for a story focused on peer pressure and the meaning of fitting in, and Mob’s feelings helped him feel constantly vulnerable in spite of never actually being in danger. Mob Psycho is pretty much everything I’d want from a concept like this – yeah there’s some stupid humor, but Mob’s powers are consistently grounded in an absolutely human place, creating a sense of tension regardless of how strong he is. Damn good stuff.

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

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Mawaru Penguindrum – Episode 5

Nine years ago, a typhoon raged through Japan just as Himari was coming down with a terrible fever. With no one to call for help, the Takakura siblings’ mother panicked over what they might do, before their father declared he’d take Himari to the hospital himself. Rushing out the door, he was pursued by both his sons, though only Kanba manages to follow him. And so Kanba raced out into the street, physically chasing his father at the onset of a pursuit that would last him all his life.

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Orange – Episode 4

Dear lord this show is excruciating. Painful from start to finish, saturated with the lost-chances insecurity of youth, extremely good show would not watch again. It almost feels like a defense mechanism that my reviews are so resolutely focused on craft, and not focused on the experience of watching Naho do everything wrong all the time even though she couldn’t possibly do otherwise. It’s a good hurt. Orange is a good show.

You can check out my full review over at ANN!

Orange

Genshiken Second Season, Volume 8 – Review

Genshiken continues its questionable adventure into harem territory, making the most of it but still being fundamentally much worse than what the manga used to be. There are certainly plenty of effective moments here, and the story still has better dialogue than most manga and solid art all around, but Second Season is still an inescapable disappointment. We are in the lean times of Genshiken now.

You can check out my full review over at ANN.

Genshiken

Why It Works: Reigen’s World

Welp, looks like I’m writing at Crunchyroll now. I’ve got a new column over there starting up this week, and opening with a closer look at just one element of Mob Psycho’s first episode. If all goes according to plan, that’ll be the general style – deep dives on specific ideas or characters or elements of craft that pull our favorite shows together. I’m very excited to start on this project, and hope you enjoy my first piece!

You can check out my first article right here.

Mob Psycho 100

Planetes – Episode 8

The Planetes crew was back to the grind this episode, having returned from the moon and immediately being put back to work. While Hachi and Tanabe’s lives largely returned to business as usual, Fee opened this episode by meeting with her old coworker Dolf, now a division manager within Technora. Though Fee wanted to reminisce about the good old days, Dolf had a forward-thinking proposal for Fee – accept a promotion out of the Debris unit and directly into Central. Her talents are too good for a group as pointless and disparaged as Debris. He needs her where he can use her.

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Mawaru Penguindrum – Episode 4

It’s time for a date! Ringo’s ever-demanding diary has upped the ante once again, and so this episode, she’s planning to take Tabuki out for a birdwatching expedition. As the episode opens, we see fate is in the air, represented through Ringo’s happy shoujo stars. Shoma is surprised merely by Ringo’s presence in his house, as he is the typical teenage protagonist – but Kanba has much bigger plans, and so he tasks his brother with tailing Ringo on her journey.

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Planetarian – Episode 3

Planetarian continued to be its hopeful, melancholy self in this third episode, as Yumemi’s long-awaited projection served as a painting of mankind’s hopes etched on a canvas of its dire failures. Planetarian is a very small-scale version of exactly the kind of stuff I like, and though its somewhat flat aesthetics and limited characterization don’t allow for any truly soaring heights, it’s still a very competent and engaging production. I am having a good time with this sad robot.

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

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Summer 2016 – Week 3 in Review

Dear lord, one week after the retrospective and we’re already a quarter through the season. This season ended up offering a stronger collection of shows than I was initially expecting, meaning I get to be fairly discerning in choosing what I actually keep up with. At this point, I’m legitimately excited about everything I’m watching – we’ve got a great mix of pure fun (Love Live, Thunderbolt Fantasy) and engaging drama (Orange, Planetarian), with Mob Psycho offering a dash of action and visual creativity. Let’s start with those new Love Lives and run this week down!

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