My Hero Academia, Volume 9 – Review

My Hero Academia somehow managed to step it up from its consistently excellent execution to a whole new tier this volume. Midoriya and his classmates’ battle against the League of Villains’ new allies is a thrill from start to finish, offering some of the most unique clashes and astonishing visual spectacles yet. This manga cannot be stopped.

You can check out my full review over at ANN.

Owarimonogatari Season Two – Review

At last, the Monogatari franchise comes to something resembling a close. We’ve already got confirmation of a ridiculous surplus of arcs still to come, but as for the story of Araragi’s adolescence, this is pretty much it. Owarimonogatari somehow managed to bring this sprawling narrative to a legitimately satisfying end, something I couldn’t help but marvel at throughout my review. This wasn’t my favorite set of Monogatari arcs, but I’m still very happy to see the show end strong.

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

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A Bride’s Story, Volume 8 – Review

It’s time to return to A Bride’s Story, with breakout star Pariya taking the lead in a volume that demonstrates even prestigious arthouse projects can be as moe as anything in the goddamn universe. Pariya’s “oh god I’m terrible at everything oh god oh god” personality makes her feel endearingly universal, and this volume’s depiction of the village’s recovery offers plenty more of its unique culture-study pleasures. This sure is a darn good manga.

You can check out my full review over at ANN.

Saga of Tanya the Evil – Review

Today I’ve got a review of Saga of Tanya the Evil, one of my unexpected highlights from the winter season. Tanya’s first impression was the trashiest of all trashy trash, and though the ultimate show wasn’t exactly great literature, it turned out to be both a very good kind of trash and also a legitimately sharp show. It’s always nice when an anime surprises you, and I enjoyed writing about this one. Hope you like the piece!

Saga of Tanya the Evil

STARMYU – Review

Today I reviewed STARMYU, which turned out to be something of a hidden gem in the musical anime genre. STARMYU succeeds on solid character work and terrific musical sequences, fully embracing the possibilities of its genre to express dramatic turns in catchy and visually vivid song and dance segments. It’s a little rough around the edges in some ways, but still a very fine show.

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

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My Monster Secret, Volume 5 – Review

My Monster Secret finally gains some ambition in its fifth volume, offering two large-scale narratives that demonstrate this story actually has some legs, Having already read the sixth volume, I know this isn’t a permanent shift for the manga, but it’s still nice to see a story with generally episodic priorities¬†demonstrate it can handle some more dramatically ambitious stuff well. And Mikan has very surprisingly turned out to be one of my favorite characters here, occupying the role of “girl who obviously should win” in a lesser harem. I say “lesser harem” because in this case, the two leads actually are great together, and I’d be happy to see them get together. My Monster Secret is just a positive time all around.

You can check out my full review over at ANN.

Dagashi Kashi – Review

Today I wandered back to give Dagashi Kashi a second look, which didn’t really change my impression of the show overall. The comedy was still pretty hit or miss, the characterization was still kinda thin, and the most successful appeal remained its compelling articulation of rural life. I’m pretty sure I’m just gonna abandon the internet and live out in a shack somewhere in the woods one of these days, and shows like Dagashi Kashi drag me a little closer. ONE DAY!

You can check out my full review over at ANN.

My Monster Secret, Volume 4 – Review

Today I return to that reliable harem staple, My Monster Secret. This volume wasn’t as entertaining as previous ones, but part of that partially comes down to structural issues inherent in the genre, and other parts come down to the fact that the author actually does seem to be¬†trying to improve. Having already read the fifth volume, it seems like this is just a temporary stumbling block, so I’m not terribly worried. Keep on keeping on, Asahi!

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

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Sound of the Sky – Review

This week I got to review Sound of the Sky, which was just a friggin’ fantastic show in all regards. I’d heard vague rumblings about this one for a while, but didn’t expect it to be nearly this beautiful or well-written. I actually think I prefer this one to Haibane Renmei, which I’d consider its pretty close stylistic cousin. Great character work, rich ideas, consistently gorgeous execution. Always nice to find another hidden gem.

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

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UQ Holder, Volume 9 – Review

We’re back in the training arc mines with today’s UQ Holder, but at least this volume gave me a chance to roughly cover the manga’s trajectory to date. UQ Holder is perhaps more interesting as a dramatic problem to solve than an actual story, with “how do you make a compelling shounen drama when your hero’s already an extremely powerful immortal” its central puzzle. The manga’s solutions to that puzzle are inconsistent, but it sure is fun to talk about!

You can check out my full review over at ANN.