Seiren – Episode 10

Seiren pulled off one of its best episodes this week, demonstrating the unique mix of weirdness and naturalism that can occasionally make it a pretty solid show. I’m still not actually invested in this romance, probably because I just can’t bring myself to care about Shoichi, but I can at least believe in it, which puts it ahead of the first two arcs. Baby steps, Seiren.

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

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Natsume’s Book of Friends – Episode 4

Natsume’s Book of Friends got intense this episode! After three episodes of melancholy pastoral fantasy tinged with slight danger, this episode dipped directly into horror and even action territory for the first time. The results were as uneven as you might expect, but I appreciate the show branching out, and doubly appreciate an extension of the central cast. Loneliness might be one of Natsume’s fundamental themes, but Natsume doesn’t need to be lonely all the time.

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Wandering Son – Episode 8

Wandering Son’s eighth episode is titled “Spring.” Just one episode after the fall leaves heralded Nitori’s unfortunate acne, we’ve arrived at the beginning of a new school year, a time of renewal. Once again, we open with the scenery telling the story. As the main cast discuss their new class assignments, blooming cherry blossoms signal a chance to start over, a new beginning for these awkward friends.

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Bakemonogatari – Episode 8

Today we concluded one of Monogatari’s most famous arcs with that arc’s most famous episode. The climactic showdown between Kanbaru and Araragi was as great as ever, but unsurprisingly, I spent most of today’s writeup pouring over both Araragi’s psychological hangups here and how they reflect the series overall, as well as the larger implications of this episode’s monkey’s paw shenanigans. Fun times all around!

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

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The Great Passage – Episode 1

The Great Passage opens with an evocative shot of a ferris wheel suspended over a great sea, an expanse the narrator describes as the “vast ocean of words.” Our thoughts are imperfect instruments with no inherent vessel, and so our natural state is to be stranded on islands of misunderstanding. Words give our meaning form, and allow our thoughts to connect across this sea. And dictionaries are the ships that cross it, offering clear and sturdy definitions to master the tides.

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March comes in like a lion – Episode 20

And so Shimada’s battle comes to an end. This episode wasn’t necessarily a full highlight, but the opening dream sequence was one of my favorite things the show’s pulled off yet, and there were plenty of other little highlights scattered throughout. I’m going to miss this focus on Shimada, but March doesn’t seem like a show that’d let a good character go to waste, so I’m sure we’ll see him again. You fought hard, Shimada. Now get some goddamn sleep.

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

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Seiren – Episode 9

Seiren began its third arc this week, and that’s about all there is to say about it. Shoichi’s relationship with Kyoko does seem like it’ll be a bit more believable than the last two – instead of either being unconvincingly taken by Shoichi’s non-charms or the ultimate gamer girl, Kyoko has simply been friends with him forever. Their believable chemistry could easily make this Seiren’s best arc yet, but the bar has been set pretty low, so that still wouldn’t necessarily be all that impressive. Ah well.

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

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Planetes – Episode 26

Planetes’ final episode is one long goodbye to all the people we’ve come to know. There’s virtually no conflict in this episode – as a series of arrivals and departures and long-awaited meetings, it feels more like a family reunion than a space drama. It’s bittersweet, as everything in life tends to be. It offers as much hope as a show like Planetes could hope to give.

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Bakemonogatari – Episode 7

We powered through the second episode of Suruga Monkey this time, which was largely spent establishing Araragi and Kanbaru’s relationship. The two of them have a pretty great rapport – like with Mayoi, they’re basically immediately friends, but unlike with Mayoi, at least half of Kanbaru’s jokes involve dunking on Araragi. I can’t say I mind having her lead the story for a bit!

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

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Ojamajo Doremi – Episode 6

Alright, let’s get right back in to Ojamajo Doremi. Last episode saw Doremi using magic to “save” her first classmate, if we are going by an incredibly loose and criminally generous definition of save. She also almost got herself, her classmate, and an innocent (if questionably designed) puppy killed in the process, but hey, magic is more art than science. The main trio also discovered the wonders of capitalism, and Majo Rika was bullied into investing in a new cash register. I am not sure I understand children’s entertainment anymore.

Anyway. All of that was plenty of fun, so let’s jump right in and see what episode six has in store. Ojamajo ho!

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