Casshern Sins – Episode 8

And we’re back with more Casshern Sins! The show’s last episode was one of my favorites so far, offering the most evocative setpiece yet in the form of that lonesome belltower in the sands. “Evocative” is really the word when it comes to Casshern Sins – the show is layered with vague thematic and visual ideas that gesture towards greater meaning without entirely solidifying into clear messages. The result is an anthology of melancholy fairy tales that perfectly strike at the show’s intended tone, vignettes instilled with biblical significance. Let’s see what this new episode brings!

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Bakemonogatari – Episode 4

We’re in deep Mayoi Snail territory now, meaning I finally was able to get away with a reasonably sized episode review. This episode wasn’t really any more exciting than I remembered it being – I enjoyed it more now because I already know the characters, but basically nothing of consequence happened at all, and even the character-establishing banter was pretty mediocre. Mayoi Snail continues to dare any potential audiences to fight through the series.

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

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Planetes – Episode 23

Planete’s twenty-third episode is one steady build to a long-awaited explosion. Early scenes reveal the SDF meddling with INTO’s broadcast satellites, putting us in their own leadership’s perspective for the first time. From a vague threat or thematic counterbalance, the SDF have become one of the principal actors in Planetes, touting a philosophy that the show may actually agree with more than any other. Though their overt rhetoric leans towards apocalyptic nonsense and naive environmentalism, everything we’ve learned about their actual members indicates they’re simply fighting back against INTO’s global hegemony in the only way they can.

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March comes in like a lion – Episode 16

March had another solid episode this week, buoyed by some strong execution and some fundamentally rewarding material. After that fatiguing low swing over the holidays, Rei seems to have rallied back emotionally, and is actually invested in the world around him again. The show is building up towards his reunion with the sisters, but I’m already having a solid time with his recommitment to shogi practice. Hopefully the show can stay this strong!

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

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Seiren – Episode 5

Seiren didn’t suddenly become a good show this week, but its new arc promises to be more inherently ridiculous than the last one, which I am all for. Shoichi’s new love interest Toru is pretty much a perfect idealized fantasy of a gamer girl, and their gaming-focused flirtations were as charming as they were ridiculous. Good for you Toru, you finally found a boy who can appreciate you for your sick headshots.

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

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Nichijou – Episode 24

Aw jeez, we’re really in the last act now. With only three episodes to go, we’re in the final days of what I’d now confidently call the best anime comedy I’ve ever seen. Hell, it’s one of the best comedies I’ve seen in any medium – very few comedies demonstrate the persistent invention, creativity, and beauty of execution that make Nichijou so special. If there’s any consolation, it’s that Nichijou’s craft is so strong that I’ll probably enjoy it almost as much on a second viewing. Comedies often hang heavily on the element of surprise, but in Nichijou, it’s often clear where a gag is going to go, and that doesn’t make it any less funny. So thank you for being so rewatchable, Nichijou. We’re all going to need it.

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Casshern Sins – Episode 7

And we’re back with more Casshern Sins! Last episode dumped a fair amount of actual information on us, from the fact that Luna’s death was very directly responsible for the Ruin to Casshern’s “gift of immortality” really just being the mechanical secret locked inside him. That first one was easy enough to extrapolate from what we know, but the second puts Casshern’s importance in a far more realistic context than “kill him and the rest of you can be saved.” It also introduced a pair of new antagonists, and saw Casshern reuniting with most of his prior traveling companions. For all that, it was a mostly expository episode, so I’d be happy to get back to the evocative vignettes that started this show off. Let’s dive right into another Casshern Sins!

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Bakemonogatari – Episode 3

Welp, we’re finally into Mayoi Snail. I expected this episode writeup to be a lot more negative than it was, but I actually ended up really enjoying this first episode. None of the stuff that generally frustrates me about Mayoi and Araragi’s material made an appearance here, and the conversation between Araragi and Senjougahara was terrific from start to finish. I forgot just how strong of a rapport those two have – the romantic tension here was as strong as basically anything I’ve seen in anime.

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

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Nichijou – Episode 23

Alright, let’s get back to Nichijou! It’s been a little while since I’ve entered Nichiland, at least from my perspective – I’ve burned through half a dozen Casshern Sins since I was last in the neighborhood, for example. With only four episodes left, it’s important for me to carefully ration the remaining Nichijous for the sake of my own emotional stability. A world where there are no more Nichijous is significantly darker than the alternative, but I actually have to watch these Nichijous to get any advantage out of them, so ultimately it’s tough all over. That’s why I gotta savor this exact moment, right before I chomp through another precious episode.

Mmmmmmmm… yeah. Alright. That’s some good savoring. LET’S NICHIJOU!

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March comes in like a lion – Episode 15

March got back onto steadier footing this week, offering a strong episode that made solid use of the show’s secondary cast. The flashback sequences with Kyouko were terrific, and it was also just really nice to see Rei actually invested in something once again. I’m looking forward to the conclusion of this surprisingly gripping match.

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

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