Mikagura School Suite – Review

Today I reviewed the hyperactive but generally endearing Mikagura School Suite! Outside of the likable protagonist Eruna, there really wasn’t that much to this one – its storytelling was pretty half-baked, and its aesthetics were nothing to write home about. The one exception was the handful of excellent fight scenes, but with less than half a dozen such scenes scattered across a full dozen episodes, that didn’t really save the show. Still, “mediocre but generally pleasant” makes for a perfectly acceptable viewing experience.

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

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Owarimonogatari, Part Two – Review

Today I return to Owarimonogatari, for the inconsistent but ultimately satisfying Shinobu Mail. Stuck at the end of a broadcast run and crunched by SHAFT’s generally over-ambitious scheduling, Shinobu Mail definitely suffers in the visual department, but it’s still a very rewarding arc in terms of character and theme. Some of the peaks of this arc count among the franchise’s peaks in general, Kanbaru’s argument with Shinobu and Araragi’s phone call with Senjougahara among them. Even in a less consistent arc, it’s hard to keep this series down.

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

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Charlotte, Part Two – Review

Welp, Charlotte’s second half was just as ridiculous as advertised. This was one of the least coherently constructed shows I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen more than my share of extremely shitty anime. Even shows that are worse than this one in terms of moment-to-moment writing at least tend to have a narrative arc – Charlotte doesn’t really have anything resembling a narrative, and is more just a series of disjointed and ridiculous actions. Congrats Maeda, you are still the writer I’ve always known you to be.

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

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My Monster Secret, Volume 3 – Review

I’m back on My Monster Secret again, which is basically the definition of comfort food. I don’t expect this manga’s character writing to wow me or narrative turns to thrill me, but reading about goofy, likable people making fools of themselves in vaguely romantic ways always makes for a pleasant afternoon. My Monster Secret confidently demonstrates that a steady, upbeat execution of these romcom staples is all you need for a good time.

You can check out my full review over at ANN.

Flip Flappers – Review

And unsurprisingly, here’s my overall streaming review for the flip flaps. Flip Flappers was a standout show that I’d really love to see get more recognition, and the review monster is a hungry beast, so this was basically inevitable. Hopefully 2017 will bring us a few more gems of this level!

You can check out my full review over at ANN.

Rurouni Kenshin, Part II: Kyoto Inferno – Review

Today I return to the live-action Kenshin films, for a look at the first half of the Shishio saga. This movie was definitely messier than the first film, in ways that felt almost inescapable. The first movie was just barely able to give all of its characters a reason to exist – with the second arc encountering the general character-creep of most long-running manga, this one just had too many stories to pack into one film. But being less gracefully constructed than the first movie certainly didn’t prevent this one from being a really fun time!

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

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JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable – Review

Today I reviewed the latest of JoJos, Diamond is Unbreakable! This one ultimately rose to be my favorite season, in spite of not really matching the continuous, breakneck entertainment of Battle Tendency. Diamond is Unbreakable just offered so much good stuff, so many great ideas and characters and battles, and all of it framed within the most strangely compelling premise the show has found. I’ve heard both good and bad things about the coming season, but I’m happy this one turned out so well.

You can check out my full review over at ANN.

Platinum End, Volume One – Review

Today I dug into the first volume of the newest collaboration between Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata, which was… well, certainly a collaboration between Ohba and Obata. Obata’s art is perfectly suited to this story – while very technically refined, it also always comes off as sharp and somewhat inhuman, which is ideal for this sort of grand, faux-religious narrative. Platinum End also leans into Ohba’s strengths as a storyteller, which do exist, in spite of him being a generally misanthropic writer. Overall, it’s a pretty fun, trashy time.

You can check out my full review over at ANN.

Rurouni Kenshin Part I: Origins – Review

Today I reviewed the first Rurouni Kenshin live action movie, which was a generally wonderful time! I only absorbed bits and pieces of Rurouni Kenshin back in the day, but this certainly seemed to capture the spirit of what I’d seen, along with just being a generally well-composed, exciting, and surprisingly thematically rich film. As I say in the review, Kenshin mines an extremely fertile vein of thematic territory with its dawn-of-Meiji-era setting, and this film takes full advantage of that. I hope you enjoy the piece!

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

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Owarimonogatari, Part One – Review

The Monogatari review train continues today, as I return to the Ougi/Sodachi-focused stretch of Owarimonogatari. Looked at in total, these arcs feel a little awkwardly placed in the narrative, largely because adding a character like Sodachi is both disruptive and a return to a long-abandoned Monogatari format. But Sodachi’s a reasonably compelling character in her own right, and only getting Ougi’s introduction now is actually some pretty great storytelling – though this is her first chronological appearance in the story, it feels like the natural progression from the times we’ve seen her before. I kinda doubt Monogatari will give us a clean conclusion to Ougi’s narrative, but I guess we’ll have to see what the end of the final season brings.

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

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