Rurouni Kenshin Part III: The Legend Ends – Review

Today I conclude my journey through the live-action Kenshin films. This one was unfortunately the worst of the three, reflecting all of the dramatic sagginess you often end up with in trilogies. The film barely has a dramatic arc, and the plans of both its heroes and villains make too little sense to harbor much tension. Still, the fights were fun, and overall this was a pretty charming interpretation of the franchise. I didn’t watch all that much Kenshin as a teenager, but this trilogy definitely sold me on his world.

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

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Winter 2017 – Week 8 in Review

Anime was perfectly alright this week! No ridiculous highlights to report, but also no dramatic failures, with pretty much all my trusted shows turning in reasonable performances. Tanya apparently spent its week off meditating on the true ugliness of war, which was nice to see, while Dragon Maid recovered from last week’s missteps with a perfectly satisfying beach episode. Seiren wasn’t great, but Seiren isn’t great, so that’s not really news. And most importantly, I caught up on all of Kemono Friends, and even wrote an article over at Crunchyroll about one of the show’s various strengths. It’s been a satisfying week over here in anime land. Let’s take a look!

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ef – A Tale of Memories – Episode 2

And we’re back to ef! I’ve spent a little time away from this one, but I’m excited to continue Shin Oonuma’s big SHAFT treatise. The first episode mostly impressed through visual invention, though I did also enjoy the banter between at least one of the couples we’ve met so far. The implied melodrama of the narrative seems to match nicely with the aggressive theater of the presentation, making for a beautiful and cohesive overall package. If the writing can hold up, this could be a pretty special show!

Alright, let’s get right to it.

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Planetes – Episode 25

Planetes’ penultimate episode is called “The Lost,” and opens with the voice of our friend Locksmith reading off a list of unfamiliar names. Given the title, I initially figured these were the people lost in the battle against the SDF. But as it turns out, we don’t really care about those names – instead, this was the list of crewmates who’d actually made the cut. Six months after the SDF’s attack, Hachimaki has succeeded in his dream, and is one of the final eighteen headed to Jupiter. But instead of exulting in victory, Hachimaki seems distant. Empty.

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March comes in like a lion – Episode 19

This week’s March comes in like a lion spoiled me, offering a full twenty minutes of non-stop Shimadaservice. Shimada’s backstory immediately joined the pantheon of top-shelf March sequences, offering a poignant look at the origins of a fundamentally sympathetic man. Tethering crucial reflections on talent and growing up to some very specific childhood memories, it only strengthened the overall definition of one of March’s greatest characters. This arc has been a joy.

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

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Seiren – Episode 8

Seiren’s second arc ended in fairly mundane fashion this week, as Toru and Shoichi headed off to Comiket and then confirmed their relationship through some awkward makeouts. Seiren often really does feel like watching two actual teenagers fall in lust, which ultimately just demonstrates how “realism” isn’t generally the most useful goal in fiction. Real romance is boring, and so is this show.

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

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Why It Works: Kemono Friends’ Unstated Worldbuilding

Today I finally tried my hand at a Kemono Friends article, focusing specifically on the compelling style of worldbuilding that’s ultimately just one of the show’s strengths. It feels just a little awkward to highlight this in particular, since so much of the show’s appeal is just “goofy characters having fun times together in horrible CG,” but I suppose that can always be another article. Either way, hope you enjoy the piece!

Why It Works: Kemono Friends’ Unstated Worldbuilding

The Ancient Magus’ Bride, Volume 5 – Review

Welp, this volume was basically perfect. The Ancient Magus’ Bride was at its best this time, mixing evocative fantasy with rousing character drama in some of the manga’s most beautifully and affecting stories yet. Even the paneling demanded to be noticed in this volume, as Chise and Elias’ distinct fears were contrasted across a stunning finale sequence. This manga is super extremely good.

The Ancient Magus’ Bride, Volume 5

Bakemonogatari – Episode 6

It’s time to begin Suruga Monkey! This was a bit of a transition episode, but still offered plenty to dig into regarding Araragi’s character, along with adding new wrinkles to his relationships with Senjougahara and Hanekawa. I’m almost surprised by how directly all this material reflects on Araragi’s fatal flaws – I’d expected that stuff to come up, but it feels like the focus even as we’re being initially introduced to the rest of the show’s main cast. For a show that’s rambled through over fifty episodes, Monogatari still feels like a pretty focused thing.

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

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Nichijou – Episode 25

Alright, two episodes left. I’ll be okay, probably – after all, from where I’m writing this, Nichijou is actually coming out on bluray in just about a week. I’ll consider it a sacred duty to watch the whole damn thing over again, hopefully while also hooking some of my housemates on it. Nichijou is a bizarre and precious gift, and now that I have seen the light, I will do my best to carry its torch into the dark corners of the world. Everyone must learn that the professor is good, and also to be careful about dogs. All must bear witness to the Nichijou flame.

Alright, that’s enough cultish adoration for now. Let’s burn this sucker down.

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