Love Live! – Review

YOU CAN’T STOP THESE IDOLS. Yep, I reviewed Love Live! for ANN, and it turns out Love Live! is totally great. I’d watched this series back over the spring/summer as well, but I actually enjoyed it even more watching it this second time. I think even just that recently, I was kind of holding stuff that didn’t fall within my usual genre wheelhouse at arm’s length – “yeah, it’s pretty good, but it’s still a silly idol show.” Nah, that’s dumb. Love Live! has really sharp storytelling and production, and is just a relentlessly enjoyable show in general. It’s funny and endearing and crazy polished, and I’m looking forward to hopefully reviewing the second season too.

My full review is available over at ANN. My clearly indispensable episodic notes are all below!

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Parasyte – Episode 16

We finally got some of Parasyte’s energy back this week, with a pretty solid fight sequence and some general character-rearranging back in the city. It’s kind of sad to admit that Parasyte seems to be at its best when it’s just being a visceral action thing, especially since its aesthetics honestly aren’t that great, but but that’s where we’re at. It’s still fun, it still keeps me engaged – it’s just not the show I was hoping it would be.

Anyway. That’s enough moping, this episode was fine. My full ANN review is available here, and my notes are below the cut!

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Winter 2015 – Week 3 in Review

This week was kind of split between hits and misses. On the hit side, Yurikuma and JoJo both put out episodes that were significant improvements on their earlier material, and both Maria and Yatterman continue to excel. On the miss side, pretty much the most reliable of all shows finally hit a rough patch in this week’s Shirobako, and Rolling Girls failed to demonstrate its actual material will be as energetic and engaging as its introduction. But the season is still young, the schedule’s still strong, and there’s plenty of anime to go around. Let’s run ‘em down!

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Yuri Kuma Arashi – Episode 4

TIME FOR THE BEAR STORM! Also time for the actual storm, as New England is about to get hit by a crazy snow storm and I’m just sitting here like an idiot. Hopefully I can finish the bear storm before the other storm kills my power.

Anyway! Last episode cleared up a whole bunch of stuff regarding the invisible storm, along with giving us some necessary character elaboration for Kureha. We’ve still got a ways to go on the character front, but things are coming together. Incidentally, I ran into this great blog post on a recent Ikuhara interview, which contains lots of interesting details on Ikuhara’s conflicted feelings on creating a show about/for women, his thoughts in selecting Bear Storm’s character designer, and much else. The struggle of making a piece that’s true to an experience you don’t have personal insight into is always a tough one, but Ikuhara’s clearly approaching this with all the help he can find.

But enough about that, it’s time for bears!

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Shinobu Time – Review

It’s time for more Monogatari! It’s time for… well, probably the weakest arc of season two, and also one of the weakest arcs of the entire series. When Monogatari focuses on Araragi and Mayoi, bad things tend to happen, and this arc is no exception – fortunately, the arc’s stellar conclusion and beautiful visuals do at least some work to lessen the sting. And hey, at least this gives me the opportunity to take some acid shots at Monogatari’s “witty sense of humor.” No, I’m not petty.

My full ANN review is here. Copious episodic notes on nice shots and character work below!

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Rolling Girls – Episode 3

As expected, Rolling Girls eased off the accelerator this week in order to transition into what will likely be its standard format – the girls visit a new country, trouble happens, the girls either solve it or are just sort of there, everyone moves on. I’m totally fine with that format given the fun of Rolling Girls’ aesthetics – but as I say in my post, the real trial here will be in making the leads themselves fun people to follow. The show isn’t there yet, which is a shame, but we’ve still got time.

My full ANN post is available here. Notes below!

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Log Horizon II – Episode 16

Slow episode this week, as we spent time eating lunch, and then dinner, and then lunch again with Tohya and friends. It always seems a little strange to me that the same show contains both Shiroe’s narrative and the Tohya/Minori stuff – yeah, it’s not like the Shiroe narrative is the height of narrative/thematic complexity, but it feels like this material is aimed at an audience significantly younger than the rest of the show. Are the same people going to enjoy watching Tohya figure out how maps work and also be able to sit still for a twenty minute speech on the double-edged nature of MMO fanaticism? I dunno.

Anyway. Here’s my full ANN writeup on the episode. Somewhat exasperated notes below!

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Parasyte – Episode 15

Parasyte’s kinda just rambling along at the moment, retreading character points and slowly making its way towards exciting plot beats. There’s just a critical mass a show can reach of touching on certain refrains without further exploring them where it starts to drag, and Parasyte’s about there right now. My eyes were kind of glazed during this episode’s middle sequences, but I fortunately perked up at the ending, as it seems the plot’s starting to kick in again. Go kick some ass, Shinichi. Go do something, for chrissake.

My full ANN post available here. Notes are below!

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Winter 2015 – Week 2 in Review

I am watching too many shows. Way too many shows. Shows on backlog and shows for release review and too many goddamn airing shows. I’ve tried to be ruthless. I cut Saekano because the first few minutes seemed typical. I cut Earth High Defense Club because I just didn’t feel like it. But there’s too much good anime! Too many of the premiers weren’t red herrings, too many of the long shots turned out to be great. I’m not gonna survive this season, you guys. Something’s gonna snap.

Well, whatever. Let’s run ‘em down, starting with the last two episodes of Shirobako!

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Yuri Kuma Arashi – Episode 3

Time for more gay bears! I did an absurd megapost for last week’s episode, and that’s not sustainable, but I should be able to keep up reasonably-sized writeups on this thing. I mean, it’s really up to Ikuhara, I suppose – I feel like I’ve got a decent handle on the flower/bird/bear imagery at the moment, but who knows where we’ll be five episodes from now. All that we’ve seen up til now could very well be a clever trap, and the bears will end up being representative of late capitalism instead of societally villainized sexuality. Stranger things have happened.

But no use theorizing on how exactly this show will make me look dumb in the future. Let’s get to the bears!

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