Chihayafuru – Episode 4

And we’re back with more Chihayafuru! Last episode brought us to what I assume is the end of the show’s flashback arc, with Chihaya and her two karuta buddies separating at the end of elementary school. The overall arc left me with some mixed structural feelings, as I felt that not only did this flashback kinda dampen the show’s dramatic momentum, but it also didn’t necessarily sell the depth of the bond between our leads. But even though I had a number of narrative structure concerns, the actual moment-to-moment execution of the show was still very solid throughout. Let’s see what high school brings!

Continue reading

Tsuki ga Kirei – Episode 9

The hammer started to fall in this week’s Tsuki ga Kirei, as narrative convention more or less demanded. Akane’s potential move seems like it could strike a fatal blow for our young lovers, but I hope they at least manage to enjoy what they still have. That aside, this was a pretty excellent Tsuki ga Kirei in all regards, as my review attests. Let’s get to it!

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

Continue reading

Natsume’s Book of Friends – Episode 11

Over its first ten episodes, Natsume’s Book of Friends has settled into a clear rhythm. Depending on your own mileage, it’d probably be fair to call that rhythm either “comfortable” or “stifling.” The show clearly knows the kind of stories it wants to tell, but it’d be hard to watch all that many of them in a row. It’s a consistently competent exercise in a genre space I’m inherently fond of, but even I have had some trouble getting enthusiastic about continuous stories of youkai and humans just barely connecting.

Continue reading

Ojamajo Doremi – Episode 12

And we’re back with more Ojamajo Doremi! Doremi has always been a charming and well-constructed show, but its last couple episodes have felt like a step up even by its own standards. Having fleshed out its initial platform through the addition of Hadzuki and Ai and completion of the Level 9 tests, the show is confidently employing its wider cast to great effect. Managing an ensemble production is inherently tougher than juggling just a few central characters, but Doremi is consistently demonstrating the many strengths of the approach. Let’s see what adventures our terrible witches get into today!

Continue reading

Tsuki ga Kirei – Episode 8

After several weeks of navigating various relationship crises, Akane and Kotarou finally got to have a genuinely good time for most of this episode. Their relationship blossomed very naturally across the course of this episode’s lengthy date, drawing them closer together in a way that felt totally true-to-life. These kids are alright.

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

Continue reading

Natsume’s Book of Friends – Episode 10

Natsume’s tenth episode opens with a lovely forest shot and gentle piano, a picture of serenity before we return to Natsume’s daily troubles. Reflecting once more on how he’s kept his secret close, we first see Natsume once again navigating the difficulties of his isolation, as he plays off noticing a lost umbrella that none of his human friends can see. This umbrella isn’t actually lost, though – it’s harboring a youkai, the dedicated umbrella bearer Akagane. And along with Akagane is another youkai trapped in a small gourd, the gentle koto player Asagi.

Continue reading

ef – A Tale of Memories – Episode 6

And we’re back with more ef! I’m actually really enjoying this show at this point – it’s far from perfect, but it’s exactly the kind of messy I like. Chihiro and Renji’s narrative is legitimately great, and the other narratives continue to swing for the fences, even if they sometimes end up in the cliche romcom nonsense infield. The show’s visual style matches its narrative ambitions – consistently throwing everything against the wall, succeeding at least as often as it fails. Messy shows that try really hard are pretty great. Let’s see what this episode brings!

Continue reading

The Eccentric Family 2 – Episode 8

This was a terrific episode of The Eccentric Family, but I’ve already written basically every word I could think of to describe it, so just head on over to that review there. Writing about this show may kill me eventually, but I think that’d be a pretty okay death.

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

Continue reading

Wandering Son – Episode 9

Wandering Son’s ninth episode opens with Takatsuki waking up and putting on a boy’s school uniform. The show spends significant time on this ritual, varying its shots and emphasizing his specific sequence of motions, like dressing in this uniform is some delicate and critical thing. This moment is delicate and critical – it is important to Takatsuki, and has significance far outside of its immediate, physical difficulty.

Continue reading

Tsuki ga Kirei – Episode 7

Tsuki ga Kirei’s leads took a trip to the amusement park this week, giving them a chance to sigh and fumble and generally not be sure what to do with their hands in an entirely new setting. This episode also saw the show at its most thematically focused, as basically everything here was designed to articulate one more specific and very relatable moment in adolescent love. Good stuff all around!

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

Continue reading