Natsume’s Book of Friends – Episode 5

This episode of Natsume’s Book of Friends is about, uh, friends!

Well, ostensibly, at least. The narrative frame certainly seems to imply that. Early on, we see Natsume’s two male acquaintances arguing in class over a completely trivial disagreement. They each ask for Natsume’s support, but end up wandering off still bickering. At the end, we see the two of them reunited, having apparently forgotten their decision never to talk again. We even get a “welp, guess that’s the moral of the story” look from Natsume, as Sasada looks on without a clue. All’s well that ends well, and all that.

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Seiren – Episode 12

Seiren’s third arc ended in typically Seiren fashion, leaving me once again scrambling to describe this show in some way more evocative than “okay, I guess.” I actually did chance on a pretty decent hook for this writeup, as the episode’s legitimately successful climax gave me a chance to talk about the pluses and minuses of its distinctive writing style. I’m taking my victories where I can find them!

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

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Why It Works: March comes in like a lion’s Empty Seat

For this week’s Why It Works, I offered one more sendoff to what I feel has been an sadly underwatched anime. March’s adaptation has had some obvious issues of pacing and occasional points where the studio style hasn’t meshed with the material, but overall I’ve felt it’s been a very rewarding show. The awkward comedy that held down some of the early episodes largely disappeared after a while, and the more time its cast had to grow together, the stronger the drama became. Unless the rest of the year has far more highlights than I anticipate, it seems pretty likely March will slot into my top ten of the year.

Why It Works: March comes in like a lion’s Empty Seat

ef – A Tale of Memories – Episode 3

And we’re back with more ef! The second episode did a great deal to increase my confidence in this series, largely because it was so quick in revealing the dark and tragic secret of Chihiro’s memory. Chihiro’s problem is a Maeda-style device that would have made for a totally inert reveal if it were dragged out – her problem is tough to relate to, but that doesn’t actually matter if we can relate to her feelings about her problem. When dramas like this hide their tragic twists, they trade the audience’s ability to sympathize with their characters for a cheap combination of suspense and surprise. By revealing her condition right now, the show can work to put that condition in tangible, relatable terms through her future actions.

Anyway! We’ll see soon enough whether the show actually takes its variables in compelling directions. Let’s get right to it!

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Casshern Sins – Episode 10

Welp, it feels like it’s about time to get back to Casshern Sins. Last episode’s visit to Niko’s flower garden was definitely one of the highlights of the show so far – though it stuck to the general format and preoccupations of the show’s usual fare, its beautiful setting and strong characters helped it stand out in a very tough crowd. Basically all of Casshern Sins’ episodic adventures have been a treat; the show’s running through classic fables with confidence and beauty, and it’s only when things get bogged down in exposition that the production can start to drag. Let’s see what today’s journey through Ruin entails!

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Bakemonogatari – Episode 10

Hoo boy, we’re in it now. Nadeko Snake #2 is a rich and uncomfortable episode, one of those things that’s better for actually being an unpleasant experience. Its visual framing makes it effective in the same way great interactive storytelling can be – you’re not just a witness, you are complicit in the crimes on-screen due to the way you are perceiving them. I did my best to articulate all my muddled feelings on this episode, and hope you enjoy my piece.

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

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Winter 2017 – Week 11 in Review

And so the winter season approaches its end. We’ve got one more rough week after this, but the season’s shows are already beginning to turn out the lights at this point, starting with the scrappy March comes in like a lion. Other shows have a bit more life left in them – Rakugo is certainly tidying up, but Tanya’s narrative shows no sign of ending, and Dragon Maid is as lively as ever. This was definitely a lesser season, but as always, there were odd pleasures to be found here and there. Watching anime on a seasonal schedule means you’ll probably end up watching a lot of crap, but that’s all part of the experience. Let’s take a look at this week’s contenders and RUN ‘EM DOWN!

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Tantei Opera Milky Holmes – Episodes 1-2

Alright, time for some goddamn Milky Holmes. I know from a brief prior attempt that this show is a very very stupid comedy, and thus that you all’s attempt to make me analyze it is your attempt at comedy. Or at least your attempt to promote Milky Holmes itself, which is an extremely valid reason to force me to do these things. But after years of suffering through bad anime comedies and months of unpacking very silly Nichijou gags, I am fully prepared for whatever Milky Holmes may throw at me. Your ball, Milky Holmes.

LET’S GET RIGHT TO IT!

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March comes in like a lion – Episode 22

March comes in like a lion arrived at its first season ending this week, thought it really wasn’t much of a conclusion. If the show were actually finishing here I’d probably be kinda miffed, but as it’s only six months until the next season, this served as a fair enough stopping point. And this episode’s second half was actually a minor highlight, so I can’t really complain. Cya next time, March!

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

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Seiren – Episode 11

Seiren’s third arc is almost at its close this week, and dear lord do I not have any more words to spend on this show. Blurrrgghhhhh. That’s all I got. Seiren is nothing. It offers me nothing to talk about. It’s probably not the worst show I’ve reviewed weekly, but it is almost certainly the most Nothing show. This is a seasonal workout I was not expecting.

You can check out my review over at ANN, or my limited notes below.

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