Casshern Sins – Episode 13

And we’re back for more Casshern Sins! The last episode was an absolutely terrific one, as Casshern’s brief friendship with a painter offered a clear portrait of how far our hero has come. Casshern’s journey out of purposelessness has felt almost like a classic escape from depression – from cursing his nature and not seeing any point in his own survival, he’s come to find great value and even joy in the world around him. The world is sculpting Casshern, and even in a place this destitute, it’s giving him reasons to live. Let’s see what he runs into this time!

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Natsume’s Book of Friends – Episode 7

Natsume is not the main character of his show’s seventh episode. As the episode opens, we see a white summer hat abandoned in the forest, accompanied by a voice that seems excited to see it. Treating the hat as a strange kind of friend, the voice wonders “is no one going to come pick you up? You’re so pretty.” The view opens up, and we see the bearer of this voice is a young fox in human form. “I’ll show you to Mom,” he says, and then we learn his mother has passed away. This fox’s only friend is the discarded treasure of a human. Like Natsume’s faded shrines and disused railway stations, even the things we abandon can become precious to someone.

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Tsuki ga Kirei – Episodes 1-3

Man, this show is going to be a lot of fun to write about. It’s pretty much brimming with all the small, well-observed details of human interaction that make Kyoto Animation shows so special, and it’s also got a lovely sense of humor that occasionally dunks on its cast without ever feeling judgmental. It’s really just charming and well-constructed all around. If you’re not watching it, check it out!

You can read my full review of the first three episodes over at ANN, or my episode three notes below.

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The Eccentric Family 2 – Episodes 1-2

Aw hell yeah, it’s time to write up some Eccentric Family. Season two’s first couple episodes have mostly just established our two big additions to the cast, but that’s pretty alright by me – it’s been wonderful to meet all these great characters again, and already interesting to see how their society has shifted since last time. The show’s own throat-clearing allowed for a pretty comfortably structured article too, so I guess that’s nice.

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

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Ojamajo Doremi – Episode 9

It’s time for more Ojamajo Doremi! Last episode saw Doremi finally passing the level nine witch exam, in spite of making every terrible choice possible on the way there. There were no extenuating circumstances like when she had to help Pop this time – Doremi is just pretty bad at doing things, and so most of her time in the witch world was spent sampling cakes and getting lost. Still, she at least did demonstrate that she’s pretty good at riddles, which is certainly a talent of sorts. Let’s see what nonsense she gets up to this time!

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Candy Boy – Episodes 1-2

So, Candy Boy. This is a bit of a strange one, both in structure and in content. As far as production intrigue goes, it seems Candy Boy was initially just one eight minute original net animation, released along with the artist Meilin’s Candy Boy music single. I’m pretty sure that’s the only reason this is called “Candy Boy” at all, as the actual content here doesn’t feature any boys at all (so far). Then the show received a seven episode additional series, along with two bonus episodes packed in with those episode’s DVDs. So it’s basically a strange, media mix jumble from top to bottom.

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Casshern Sins – Episode 12

So here we are, just approaching the halfway point of Casshern Sins. So far the show’s stuck to a pretty reliable formula, slowly building up both Casshern and Dio across a variety of melancholy adventures. Casshern is still bound by his violent programming, but he has purpose beyond that now, and seems to be growing more comfortable in his role of potential savior. And even if Casshern’s still not the most reliable of heroes, he’s at least got Friender there to keep him on the straight and narrow. Let’s see what wacky, desolate adventures these kids get up to next!

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Bakemonogatari – Episodes 13-15

At last, we arrive at the end of Bakemonogatari! I unsurprisingly had a ton of stuff to say about this one, and had to scramble to fit the viewing and writing in on the tail end of preview of week. Rewatching the show’s conclusion was as rewarding as all the rest of it, and now I’m even more ready for the summer’s new season. Just keep feeding me Monogatari forever, goddamnit.

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

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ef – A Tale of Memories – Episode 4

And we’re back with more ef! Last episode accomplished something absolutely crucial for this story – it made me actually care about Chihiro and her strange condition. Chihiro seemed designed as that classic mix of frail, demure, and doomed that’s pretty much death to my investment, but by immediately acknowledging and exploring the lived experience of her condition, the show was able to make her feel not just pitiable, but actually relatable. Fantastical situations inherently dampen an audience’s ability to relate to drama, but if those situations are framed in terms of understandable human feelings, that bridge becomes easy to cross. Let’s see what episode four brings!

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Natsume’s Book of Friends – Episode 6

Natsume and his human friends begin this episode by visiting a massive dam constructed over a former village. The mere fact of Natsume’s presence on this trip implies things have changed for him – from largely being known as that weird, quiet kid who seems to see things, he’s now got stable friends who invite him on stuff like fishing trips. Natsume is growing up, both through his experiences with youkai and his experiences with all the humans around him.

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