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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Casshern Sins – Episode 11

Hey all, and welcome back to Casshern Sins. Casshern has finally arrived at something resembling a clear goal now – discover the true fate of Luna, and through doing so perhaps save his world. Meanwhile, Casshern’s vague “antagonist” Dio and his confidante are building forces for their own attempt at saving this world, one which would likely necessitate destroying Casshern. Given the last episode focused solely on Dio, I’m expecting us to return to a Casshern-side vignette here, which I’m perfectly happy about. The show’s vignettes have in general been stronger than its overarching narrative, so let’s see what we’ve got!

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Bakemonogatari – Episode 12

At last, we arrive at the most acclaimed episode of Monogatari’s first season. Bakemonogatari #12 is a remarkable episode, and I enjoyed it even more upon revisit. This episode basically condenses more chemistry, flirting, and romantic truth into one episode than most dedicated romances manage in a full series, a pretty solid feat for a show that isn’t even really a romance in general. Nice going, Monogatari.

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

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Mawaru Penguindrum – Episode 15

Penguindrum’s fifteenth episode begins with a young Yuri declaring that “I’ll never be free as long as that tower stands.” In the distance rises a giant, improbable skyscraper in the shape of Michelangelo’s David. It’s a testament to her sculptor father’s power and influence – wherever that tower can see, Yuri remains under his watchful eye. A metaphor made real, standing as the cruel arbitrator of Yuri’s life.

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Ojamajo Doremi – Episode 8

Let’s get back to Ojamajo Doremi! When we left off, Doremi had just flunked her level 9 witch exam, though there were admittedly some extenuating circumstances – not only did Doremi need to help Pop all day, but the test questions were up to interpretation. Still, Doremi probably would have found a way to screw it up anyways, so I guess it’s all the same in the end.

I assume we’ll be learning more about fairies this time, since both of Doremi’s friends now have their own familiars. Outside of that, we’ll have to wait and see. Let’s get right to it!

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Bakemonogatari – Episode 11

And so we finally enter Bakemonogatari’s final arc. My review format’s gonna get shaken up pretty shortly by Crunchyroll’s lack of streaming, but hey, at least twelve is a reasonable end point by itself. Anyway, this episode was all about Hanekawa, and Hanekawa was great. I’ve certainly written enough words about it, so go read those, you big goofball!

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

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Kokoro Connect – Episode 4

Kokoro Connect’s fourth episode is about: I D E N T I T Y.

The show’s always about identity to some extent, of course. The fundamental conceit plays directly into that topic, with body switching facilitating not just romantic drama, but also questions about “true” selfhood and perception of self. It’s one of the reasons I expect my readers picked this one for me to write about – many of my favorites obsess over how we define ourselves, and how we navigate the impossibility of conveying our truth to others. Kokoro Connect uses a classic conceit to facilitate those conversations, and this episode’s conversations center on two of its main characters: Iori and Inaba.

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