Flip Flappers – Episode 9

Flip Flappers has explored Cocona’s feelings and general mindscape from every conceivable angle, excavating her self-image, interrogating her feelings towards Papika, and generally articulating the richness of her personal world. We’ve also received some insight into Papika’s character, who has expressed herself consistently and opened up to Cocona in spite of still being a relatively mysterious figure. But Flip Flappers’ third pole has never been granted the luxury of understanding. Yayaka’s character has been articulated largely in contrast; her suspicions towards Papika, her would-be rivalry with the two other leads. Yayaka’s feelings have been as assumed by the narrative itself as they often seem to be by Cocona; but here in episode nine, Yayaka’s world is finally the focus. So what lurks inside Yayaka’s head, what animates her most deeply held feelings?

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March comes in like a lion – Episode 38

March had its last pre-hiatus episode this week, and basically just gave us a check-in with a few of the show’s recently underserved characters. It was very nice to see the Kawamotos enjoying themselves again, and even better to see Nikaidou having finally (for now) recovered from his illness. I can’t say where this story might head next, given we’ve just wrapped up basically all current plot threads, but I do hope Nikaidou is somehow involved.

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

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Genocidal Organ – Review

I finally got around to reviewing the third Project Itoh film, which was far and away the best of the bunch. Empire of Corpses was “campy, watchable trash,” Harmony was “utterly unwatchable pseudo-intellectual garbage,” and Genocidal Organ essentially balances the two, offering reasonably satisfying action and political commentary that doesn’t entirely disappear up its own asshole. I’m not sure I’d actively recommend the film, but if you’re looking for “anime take on a geopolitical thriller,” you could certainly do worse!

You can check out my full review over at ANN.

Winter 2018 – Week 4 in Review

Aw shit I’m late it’s 10:40 and these posts go out at 9 crap crap crap. Alright, this week’s anime! The anime was good this week. That it was. Darling in the Franxx and After the Rain had somewhat bumpy episodes, but Laid Back Camp was as sturdy as ever, and March comes in like a lion headed off on its break with a quick reminder of just how lovable its cast really is. I actually fell behind on Violet Evergarden this week, but it’s kind of a struggle to keep up with shows I can’t write about for anyone, and considering After the Rain already falls into that category (and is like a million times better than Evergarden), hard calls had to be made. Outside of airing anime, I spent this week spamming through Myriad Colors Phantom World and starting off on some new Current Projects, activities which will both bear delicious wordy fruit for you guys at some point. Taking a break from anime to find time to watch more anime; it’s quite the respectable life I live. Anyway, let’s focus in on the airing shows for now, and RUN THIS WEEK DOWN!

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Why It Works: My Number is My Name: Finding Warmth in the World of FRANXX

Today on Crunchyroll, I finally took some time to poke at Darling in the Franxx’s big thematic contrast, the conflict between the sterile world of Franxx’s overseers and the intimacy its actual stars attempt to bring to that world. As far as this conflict goes, the show is doing a pretty solid job of establishing a coherently puritanical society, and the ways the kids push back against that order feel natural as well. The main problem so far is that the character writing just isn’t there yet – shows predicated on a concept like this need the “human element” of the kids’ interactions to dramatically sell their perspective, and Franxx’s stars still feel too archetypal to get there. But if Hiro can be turned into an actually compelling protagonist, there could be a reasonable show here yet!

My Number is My Name: Finding Warmth in the World of FRANXX

One Piece – Volume 16

One Piece’s sixteenth volume opens with the team in crisis. Having sailed to the island of the former Drum Kingdom in search of a doctor, they discovered the only doctor here lived on top of a towering mountain. Strapping the sickly Nami to his back, Luffy set off with Sanji at his side, fighting through snow drifts and giant killer rabbits on the way to the summit. But then, before they could arrive, their movements prompted a mighty avalanche. And so we find our heroes sprinting back down the mountain, time ticking down with the storm at their backs.

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Scorching Ping Pong Girls – Episode 2

Alright, let’s get right back to Scorching Ping Pong Girls! The show’s premiere was mostly just fine, succeeding well enough as a genre setup, but not really excelling in terms of either its aesthetics or its storytelling. The show’s greatest quality so far might be its charming character designs, but those aren’t really a strength that will keep paying new dividends in future episodes. My main hope for the show is that it will double down on its sports drama pretensions, as everything related to ping pong in the first episode was better than pretty much everything related to slice of life or comedy. Agari has already been set up as a satisfyingly flawed competitor with plenty of room to grow, Koyori stands as a fine foil, and the premiere’s brief tidbits of actual strategy implied to me that this show genuinely cares about making its ping pong matches parsable and exciting. I love it when things are parsable and exciting! Let’s dive right in to episode two, and see how Agari handles no longer being the team’s unquestioned darling.

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Chihayafuru – Episode 24

It’s time for Chihayafuru! The last episode was mostly just a check-in episode that pushed all the characters slightly further down their non-karuta-related personal arcs. It wasn’t a standout, but those rarely are, and I’m guessing it’ll take Arata actually returning to karuta in a big way to make his drama feel that satisfying. At the moment, we’ve currently got one show that’s an urgent and exciting sports drama, where Chihaya and her clubmates all apply their unique talents to satisfying karuta matches. At the same time, we’ve also got a Kimi ni Todoke-style slow-burning shoujo love drama, without the endearing face-to-face scenes or strength of characterization to really make that work. I can’t really invest in a romance between two characters who were friends as kids for a couple on-screen episodes, and since then have exchanged maybe a dozen lines in total with each other. Fortunately, I’m guessing last episode’s subdued nature means the show will start revving up into karuta matches again soon, and with two episodes left in the first season, I have to assume that even the Arata drama will start paying off soon. Either way, I’m loving this show in spite of my complaints, so let’s see what episode twenty four brings!

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Winter 2018 – Week 3 in Review

What the crap how is this season so good. We just got off a season that basically justified anime in 2017 altogether, and now here we are opening with a season that’s pretty much just as strong, if a little more genre-constrained. And it’s not like I care about this season’s genre constraints, given I fall neatly into the audience for all its low-key character drama and slice of life offerings. Perhaps the most astonishing thing is this crop’s base aesthetic quality – Laid-Back Camp is mostly just an above-average production, but Evergarden, After the Rain, Franxx, and Universe are all visually stunning every single week. The season has been good enough that it’s forced me to realize half a dozen airing shows is basically my limit; I’d love to be keeping up with Mitsuboshi Colors, but there’s just too much else to watch for me to hold onto it at the moment. There’s plenty to celebrate this week, so let’s get right to it and RUN THESE SHOWS DOWN!

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Why It Works: Past Classics from the Voices of Darling in the Franxx

Got another sort of peripheral-to-ongoing-shows article today, considering I already wrote initial pieces on my other two airing Crunchyroll shows, and Franxx hasn’t yet given me enough in-show material to write about. It’s always nice to find a season to rep great old shows, and hitting both Toradora and Idolmaster made me feel pretty good about this one. The nice thing about watching too much anime is you’re always full of recommendations!

Past Classics from the Voices of Darling in the Franxx