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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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.

Casshern Sins – Episode 23

And so we approach the end of Casshern Sins. With Leda seemingly destroyed and Dio having embraced his chosen purpose, we’ve arrived at the final battle between Casshern and his brother, a clash in the rain that, no matter what happens, will certainly provide Dio with the closure he seeks. Meanwhile, Luna’s healing gift has proven to be a lie in more ways than one – not only is her blood a fickle power that doesn’t seem to permanently heal people, but too much of it can actually destroy someone. With Lyuze having entered the castle to rescue Casshern, that presumably leaves Ringo with Ohji, and I’m seriously hoping he has enough sense to keep her away from Luna. The pursuit of eternity has become a cursed thing in Casshern Sins, but I still feel these characters deserve some kind of salvation. Let’s see what the end of everything brings.

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Mawaru Penguindrum – Episode 19

It’d be hard for any episode to live up to Shigeyasu Yamauchi’s gorgeous interpretation of Tabuki’s rooftop duel with Kanba. That episode isn’t just great for this show, it’s an all-time great episode within anime at large. In light of that, it’s perhaps a bit less disappointing that Penguindrum’s nineteenth episode doesn’t even really try to compete with its predecessor. This is largely an information-expositing and board-moving episode, shifting us past the focus on Tabuki and into a new and somewhat abrupt arc starring Masako Natsume. This is the point where the cracks in Penguindrum’s overall narrative begin to show, but it still gets its job done.

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Casshern Sins – Episode 22

It’s time to return to Casshern Sins! We’re nearing the endgame now, with the long-awaited arrival at Luna’s sanctuary raising more questions than it answered. After an entire show of seeking, Casshern seemed unhappy with the salvation provided by Luna, now having come to believe that death is actually an integral part of life. That philosophy makes sense of both his own unhappy invulnerability and the many lives he’s had to watch end, but it’s cold comfort to the robots who’ve spent all this time fleeing from Ruin.

Their counterpoint was directly articulated through Ohji’s harsh words, as he lambasted Casshern for idealizing the “beauty of death” even though he’d never had to fear it himself. Ohji’s counterpoint shook Casshern’s own confidence in turn, and so he essentially threw himself to Dio’s wolves. Casshern Sins’ thoughts on living and dying are only growing more complex and urgent by the moment, and this show could still end any number of ways. Let’s get right to it!

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Classroom of the Elite – Episode 9

This week’s Classroom of the Elite represented a big step in the right direction for the show, returning to its bombastic comfort zone with a Lord of the Flies setup perfectly suited to its strengths. Even the show’s visual execution was much more engaging here, and the small outbursts of comedy were well-implemented as well. Classroom is certainly not going to turn into a good show, but this week put it on the right track to being an entertaining one.

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

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Tsuredure Children – Episode 10

Tsuredure Children actually got kinda serious this week, and demonstrated it can handle thornier dramatic territory just as gracefully as the fluffy stuff. There was plenty of fluffy stuff too though, making this an all-around excellent episode. Who would have expected Tsuredure Children to be one of the better character dramas of the… year???

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

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Ojamajo Doremi – Episode 20

Let’s get back to Ojamajo Doremi! The last episode we watched was utterly absurd, turning what theoretically should have been Doremi’s most serious conflict yet into a rolicking, ridiculous caper. Ai and Doremi used magic so freely they both ran out of magic spheres, but the whole “revealing magic to mundane people gets you frogged” deal was handwaved for the sake of an absurd adventure. Doremi is more often thoughtful than ridiculous, but it can do ridiculous very well.

In light of that episode, I’m expecting this one to return to the show’s usual mode, and probably involve some new classroom drama. Let’s get to it!

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