The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya – Review

After weathering a rewatch of the very inconsistent Haruhi Suzumiya TV series, it was wonderful to learn that Disappearance was actually even better than I remembered. Takemoto is a terrific director, and Disappearance is easily one of the most compelling stories in the franchise so far. I had a whole bunch to say about this film’s visual storytelling, and watching it just made me even more eager to get to High Speed. Haruhi Suzumiya may not be as great a franchise as I remembered, but Disappearance is a tremendous sendoff to one of the 00s’ stranger phenomenons.

You can check out my full review over at ANN.

Fall 2017 Season Preview

Holy crap everyone, it’s time for the season preview. Season previews are exciting to me even in the most mundane of times, and this is far from that. Personally, this summer season has been the least interesting batch of anime since I started watching seasonally (which was… three… five?… nevermind years ago). In contrast, the upcoming season is packed with returning favorites, unexpected revivals, intriguing adaptations, and promising anime originals. It would be very nearly impossible for this coming season to undercut my current 3.5 show roster, and it’s actually looking quite likely that I might have to sacrifice even some promising shows just for the sake of time. Summer may be ending, but a new anime dawn is approaching!

As usual, I won’t be running down every single upcoming show in this list. You can check a site like anichart if that’s what you’re looking for, and can also easily find all upcoming synopses there as well. What I will be focusing on are the shows I think are promising, along with laying out whatever reasons I might have for believing in them, be that solid source material or talented staff or just a great first season. Let’s start with my most anticipated prospects and run this season down!

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Why It Works: My Hero Academia’s Final Exams: Preliminary Report

Today on Why It Works, I jumped back to My Hero Academia for a pretty silly concept piece. My Hero Academia’s sturdy tactical foundations both make its action very satisfying and also make it a rewarding show to break down in a narrative sense, and today I spun that quasi-criticism into an after-action report. “Who would win in a fight, Goku or Naruto” is generally not the most illuminating genre of criticism, but My Hero Academia is actually constructed in such a way that it rewards such in-universe tactical discussions. I had fun with this piece, and I hope you enjoy it too!

My Hero Academia’s Final Exams: Preliminary Report

Chihayafuru – Episode 10

Let’s get back to Chihayafuru! With her team fully established and a tournament goal already in sight, last episode saw Chihaya and the gang setting up a grueling training regimen. I had somewhat mixed feelings on how the episode handled Chihaya’s behavior there – it initially seemed like the show was going to acknowledge that Chihaya was acting in a pretty terrible way, but the finale saw her teammates forgiving her in a way that seemed like the show tonally supported her actions. Chihaya’s let’s-plow-ahead exuberance is her most powerful quality, but her actions aren’t always justified, and I’m hoping the show mines that for interesting drama eventually. Either way, we’re fast approaching the school team’s first tournament, so let’s get to it!

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One Piece – Volume 14

The battle with Baroque Works continues in One Piece’s fourteenth volume, within the leafy confines of Little Garden. The initial conceit of Little Garden was “this is an island where the creatures are huge, but still dwarfed by the resident giants.” Those giants actually get more or less pushed aside in a narrative sense here, which I frankly didn’t mind at all. Their single-minded emphasis on “honorable battle” doesn’t really do anything for me, and though Usopp’s adoration of their focus is pretty adorable, I couldn’t really buy into their feelings purely for his sake. Instead, this volume quickly resolves the giants’ battle, and moves on to something much more exciting – the next showdown with the agents of Baroque Works.

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Classroom of the Elite – Episode 10

Classroom of the Elite’s tenth episode continued this arc’s very solid run, easily establishing this as the most consistent arc of the show so far. It’s a little unfortunate that the show’s ending right around the same time it becomes consistently watchable, but I suppose that’s just another of the odd quirks of watching not-so-great anime. Regardless, I’m happy things are going well, and hope Classroom can hold it together through the end.

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

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Dimension W – Review

It seems like a lot of people really, really wanted Dimension W to be a great show. It had every promotional advantage you could hope for, and it inhabited an extremely fan-friendly genre space, but the show just didn’t have the strength to follow through. Today I’ve got a sturdy review of this unfortunate anime stepchild. I hope you enjoy it!

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

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Summer 2017 – Week 10 in Review

Let’s strap in for the week in review! We’re nearing the end of the season now, but it doesn’t really feel like it, at least from my perspective. With My Hero Academia simply ending a fairly minor arc and Tsuredure Children sticking largely to self-contained skits, Made in Abyss is the only show providing me with all that much closure – and even there, this week’s episode felt more like the introduction to a new stage in Riko’s adventure than anything truly final. But climactic or not, this week’s Abyss was a stunner in all regards, the dramatic payoff to all these weeks of knowing fandom titters. So let’s start right there, and then ramble our way through this week’s choicest offerings!

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Tsuredure Children – Episode 11

Tsuredure Children returned to its usual upbeat wheelhouse this week, offering another endearing sampling of romantic foibles. The show has been remarkably consistent all throughout its run, and I’ve heard there’s even more material, so I hope we somehow get a season two. The world needs more Tsuredure Children.

You can check out my full review over at ANN.

Sound! Euphonium – Novel Review

Today I’ve got some thoughts on the first Sound! Euphonium novel! They are not happy thoughts, unfortunately. Although the original novel does give us a closer look into Kumiko’s head, that’s pretty much all I can say for it – the prose is pedestrian, the narrative is actually far less tightly composed than the anime, and the cast feels less well-defined here than they do in the adaptation. This is a readable book, but definitely not one I’d recommend. Nice work polishing this into a diamond, KyoAni!

You can check out my full review over at ANN.