Fall 2017 – First Impressions, Part Two

Preview week is trying to kill me. There were eleven separate premieres yesterday, and we’ve somehow got more hell week to come. None of that matters to you guys, though – all you have to deal with are the desperate, bloodstained fruit of my endless labor. As it turns out, this particular preview week is revealing one of the most promising seasons we’ve had in years, and I’ve got previews of all the new contenders ready for your perusal. You can check out the full list of shows over at ANN, or find my scores and links to individual previews down below. Please enjoy!

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Casshern Sins – Episode 24

At last, it’s time for the final episode of Casshern Sins. Casshern’s long journey has taken him through countless miles of wasteland, and introduced him to dozens of people who’ve all shaped his view on the world. From not understanding his past or his purpose, Casshern has come to terms with his own nature, and learned to appreciate the beauty of our finite existence. Casshern has met and rejected Luna, and gained friends who’ve come to love him for who he is. Outside of Casshern himself, Lyuze, Ringo, and Ohji all seem to have found a kind of peace in this world, while even Dio and Leda have come to understand themselves. The final figures of the old world, Luna and Braiking Boss, now stand as sentinels over the new. Let’s see where this story ends.

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Chihayafuru – Episode 12

Let’s get back to Chihayafuru! Last episode saw Chihaya’s whole team win their first tournament, defeating Nerdy Minor Character and his Merry Men in order to advance to the regional competition. Chihayafuru worked mightily to make sure that last episode in particular felt like a team effort, in spite of the fact that it was ultimately the team’s three ringers that actually won and pulled them through. The episode before that was chiefly dedicated to making sure Tsutomu felt valued in spite of his current, er, non-value, so I’ll be interested in seeing how the show does right by its weaker teammates going forward.

That said, I’m guessing that the last few episodes’ total focus on the new team means we’re likely to get caught up in Chihaya’s Arata fixation soon, and I’m also hoping the show can find a way to make that thread a bit more interesting. I’m not invested in Chihaya’s obsession with Arata, but Arata himself seems like he’s grown into a more well-rounded and endearing character, so I wouldn’t mind seeing him again. Let’s find out what’s in store!

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Fall 2017 – First Impressions, Part One

A new season has come again, which means I’m currently buried in previews for all manner of shows. That actually hasn’t been so bad this time, courtesy of the fact that anime is apparently good again. From shows I was looking forward to to shows entirely outside my wheelhouse, this has been an extremely promising first few days, offering either actual highlights or at least reasonable genre takes in a wide variety of styles. Basically any season would feel like a relief after this summer, but this season seems like it’ll be a real stunner in its own right!

As always, you can check out the full list of previews over at ANN, or click below for links to my individual writeups (if you didn’t know, I’m Nick Creamer over there). Happy show hunting!

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Hyouka, Part One – Review

Today I’ve got a review of the first long-awaited Hyouka release! After far too many years in limbo, this straight-up masterpiece is finally getting released over here, and I was happy to revisit it. Hyouka is an experience that feels richer every time, full of great details and suffused with a strong atmosphere that completely transports you to its world. I hope my words do it some justice!

You can check out my full review over at ANN.

Summer 2017 – Week 13 in Review

At last, another season has come to an end. This one wasn’t a particularly auspicious season, but hey, it happens – sometimes the best shows are in genres I don’t really care for, sometimes I sleep on the wrong shows (sorry, Princess Principal), and sometimes there just aren’t that many things worth watching. Even if the airing catalog wasn’t very deep this time, I had a great time with My Hero Academia, Tsuredure Children, and Made in Abyss, and also found lots of time to watch a whole bunch of older anime. The backlog is basically an infinite yawning gulf of quality entertainment, and no matter how much I tear at it, my expanding genre palette just seems to make it broader and darker all the time. With a very promising season coming up, let’s take a few moments to say goodbye to summer’s final stalwarts. Starting with those lovable kids of Class 1-A, let’s run this week down!

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ef – A Tale of Memories – Episode 7

Let’s get back to ef – A Tale of Memories! It’s been quite a while since we ran through an ef episode, but the show is always a fine thing to return to. Marrying Shin Oonuma’s wild visual flourishes to a story that constantly contrasts romance against creative ambition, it’s a messy but consistently rewarding experience, the kind of strangely personal production anime is renowned for. The show also seems to be hitting its stride at the moment – with Kyosuke having been fleshed out in the last episode, basically all the pillars of the narrative are now carrying their own weight. I’m invested in all three of ef’s potential couples, and would also be happy to see the show contrast the creative visions of Kyosuke, Hiro, and Chihiro. Whether it focuses on romance or art, ef always finds a way to keep things interesting. Let’s get right to it!

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Chihayafuru – Episode 11

Alright everybody, it is TOURNAMENT TIME WOOO. Technically last episode was actually the start of the tournament, but in practice, that episode was mostly about figuring out how Chihaya’s team will deal with the fact that Kana and Tsutomu are so much worse than their other team members. I’d been worried the show would essentially just push them off to the side, but thankfully, Tsutomu’s feelings of rejection and inadequacy were given almost a full episode’s worth of focus, and the idea of using them to waste their opponent’s best players was raised and rejected. Even Chihaya was forced to acknowledge she hadn’t been accounting for her teammates’ feelings, and considering Chihaya has the emotional intelligence of a large rock, that’s a pretty major breakthrough. But with all that very necessary emotional material settled, the team is now in a position to SLING SOME GODDAMN CARDS. I’ve been waiting for Chihayafuru to fully stretch its sports muscles, and I’m guessing this is the time. Let’s get right to it!

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Classroom of the Elite – Episode 12

Classroom of the Elite actually ended pretty well this week, tying a satisfying bow on its most generally effective arc. The series of betrayals and counter-betrayals made for a very propulsive watch, and we even got some decent character moments with a few members of the secondary cast. In the end, Classroom certainly wasn’t a very good show, but it only really fell into terrible territory for its middle act there. Thank you Classroom for not being worse than you were.

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

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Summer 2017 – Week 12 in Review

With Tsuredure Children having already ended, there really wasn’t all that much anime to sift through this week. We’re entering the seasonal Dead Zone now, where our only comforts are the shows that started awkwardly late, a procession of extended goodbyes that can sometimes stumble all the way into the following season. I’m certainly ready for this unfortunate season to end, but now that we’re at the brink, it’s tough to think that I’ll no longer be getting new weekly installments of My Hero Academia. The show’s second season has been a revelation after the somewhat questionable first act, consistently elevating inherently great material and just generally demonstrating how fun a good shounen adventure can be. With JoJo Part Five nowhere in sight and Hunter x Hunter far in the rear view, my weeks will be cloudier for lacking a great punch-stuff story. Symphogear, please rescue us soon.

Anyway, enough lamenting. Let’s start with the dregs and run this week down!

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