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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Jinsei: Life Consulting – Review

Jeez, some shows sure are a load of dirt. Jinsei definitely counts among the worst shows I’ve reviewed for ANN, lacking the fundamental sadism of something like Psycho-Pass 2, but more than making up for that in pure bland mediocrity. As I say in the review, Jinsei is one of those shows you watch and then feel you’ve consumed nothing at all. Thanks for nothing, Jinsei.

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

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Girls und Panzer der Film – Review

Hell yeah I reviewed the Girls und Panzer movie. Mizushima’s Tank Fight Extravaganza turned out to be exactly what was advertised: awesome tank action from start to finish, basically no filler whatsoever. I’m sure my general preferences in anime make it seem like I’m not really a fan of action at all, but action instilled with an actual sense of fun is great. Also, you have to, you know, be good at constructing satisfying action scenes. Girls und Panzer excels at both of those things, so the movie was a blast. Check out my full review below!

Girls und Panzer der Film

Girls und Panzer der Film

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya – Review

My journey into KyoAni’s past has finally brought me to back to Haruhi Suzumiya, which was… well, not as friendly or endearing as it felt when I left it. Beyond the show itself aging like a sack of wet tomatoes in the sun, the fact is, I have aged too, and that means Haruhi herself is less enchanting than she is constantly abusive and a misery to be around. Still, it was a solidly rewarding experience running back through these episodes, seeing what things really do hold up and what things don’t work anymore. Haruhi was a pretty key show for me, so I didn’t mind stopping by to catch up.

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

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Kizumonogatari Part Two: Nekketsu – Review

Kizumonogatari is back, and holy crap this second act. The original novel was already as violent and sexually charged as anything in the series, but transposing that to film resulted in one of the most gloriously over-the-top sensory experiences imaginable. It still seems absurd that this film exists at all. I’m so happy it does.

You can check out my megasized review over at ANN!

Kizumonogatari Nekketsu

Thunderbolt Fantasy – Review

Today I reviewed Thunderbolt Fantasy, because why the hell wouldn’t I review Thunderbolt Fantasy. The show was ridiculously entertaining, easily one of the best times I’ve had this year, and thoroughly deserving of more recognition. I get the feeling the puppet style means it naturally breaks the suspension of disbelief for many fans out there, but hopefully spotlighting its strengths will convince a few more people to give it a chance. I’m sorry I doubted you, Urobuchi. Do whatever weird experiment you want next, I’m definitely on board.

You can check out my full review over at ANN.

Thunderbolt Fantasy