We’re back with more Chihayafuru! The last episode was very likely the strongest episode of the show to date, merging an excellent character introduction with some desperately needed Taichi development. Taichi had really gotten the short straw up until that point, being forced to act as the third tag-along pillar of a Destined Romance that had constantly presented Chihaya and Arata as fated partners. Seeing him articulate his frustration about his lack of talent, and also legitimately earn a win off Chihaya, was a very satisfying experience. And with four members in the bag, we now only need one more signee to make the karuta club real. Let’s get right to it!
Look, I’ve spent eleven straight volumes offering staid, craft-oriented critiques of One Piece. I’ve discussed key structural decisions, the composition of action setpieces, Oda’s evolving visual repertoire, and all manner of other theoretically interesting facets of comic design. I have been very good about trying to ensure you generous supporters get your money’s worth out of these writeups, and that they aren’t simply the style of fan-gushing you can find on basically any forum.
With all that in mind, I think I’ve earned the right to say HOLY SHIT THIS VOLUME’S JOURNEY INTO THE GRAND LINE IS SO FUCKING COOL.
The hits just kept coming this week, a week that answered the desperately unnecessary question “what happens when you’re only watching a couple shows and even those aren’t very good.” This wasn’t exactly a bad week in anime, but when your season is already dangling by a thread, you can’t really afford to have lukewarm performances. The show that overperformed this week was Game of Thrones, so I guess that’ll once again be tying the whole Week in Review room together. We are living through some desperate times here, but I’m gonna fill that goddamn word count somehow.
Welp, I guess I’m reviewing Tsuredure Children weekly now. With the season being what it is and Symphogear streams still nowhere to be found, I’m now picking up Tsuredure Children for ANN. The show’s certainly given me plenty to talk about for Crunchyroll, so I guess it’s about time!
You can check out my overview of the show so far over at ANN.
Alright everybody, let’s get back to our Aikatsu. The show’s last episode wasn’t really a highlight, but it did do some reasonable work in integrating Ran into the main trio. Both Ran and Aoi have gotten recent focus episodes, so I’m guessing we’ll be getting either group conflicts or more Ichigo stuff this time. That’s fine by me – Ichigo seems closest of the main three to what I associate with the “spirit of Aikatsu,” the kind of nonsensical positive attitude that leads to stuff like painting your signature with a giant car-sized brush. More of that bullshit, please. Let’s get right to it!
Mawaru Penguindrum’s eighteenth episode is a singular masterpiece. Focused entirely on Tabuki’s confrontation with the Takakura family, it offers a ferocious articulation of Penguindrum’s central themes, tackling the nature of family, cycles of violence, and hope in a meaningless world in the most desperate terms yet. It’s also one of the show’s most beautiful episodes, courtesy of this episode’s genius director – Shigeyasu Yamauchi.
It’s time to return to A Bride’s Story, with breakout star Pariya taking the lead in a volume that demonstrates even prestigious arthouse projects can be as moe as anything in the goddamn universe. Pariya’s “oh god I’m terrible at everything oh god oh god” personality makes her feel endearingly universal, and this volume’s depiction of the village’s recovery offers plenty more of its unique culture-study pleasures. This sure is a darn good manga.
You can check out my full review over at ANN.
Let’s mosey on back to Ojamajo Doremi. Last episode saw Doremi getting repeatedly dunked on for the sake of a doomed crush, fully reaffirming her status as the world’s unluckiest pretty girl. If there was any moral in that episode, it was more for the dads in the audience, with perhaps a hint of “go easy on your parents, they make mistakes too.” I’m guessing this episode will return us back to Doremi’s classroom and the usual thematic cycles, but we’ll have to see! Doremi has been consistently expanding its dramatic range, so very little would surprise me now. Let’s get right to it!
Classroom of the Elite continued its general downward trend this week, firmly shifting from “I guess this could maybe be good I dunno” into “nope, this is just a generally bad anime” territory. The show’s odds were pretty long from the start, given it opened with a fair number of weaknesses and its theoretical strengths would be very tough to realize, but it’s still always disappointing to see a show fall apart. Ah well.
You can check out my full review over at ANN, or my episode notes below.
Well folks, it’s time for the Week in Review. Once again, my lack of weekly anime watches has me fumbling around for other stuff to write about, but the anime I am watching was pretty strong this week, so I can only slightly complain. My Hero Academia friggin’ nailed the end of the Hero Killer arc, and Made in Abyss is already making the most of its great premise and gorgeous art design. This season may be a show or two short of a full package, but hey, that just means I can work on more Current Projects for everybody. We may be in the midst of a drought, but our backlogs are a vast ocean just waiting to be explored. Anyway, I’ll quit with the doomsaying here, and get work running this week down!