Simoun – Episode 5

Let’s dive right back into Simoun! Episode four featured a pretty dramatic turn for the series, as Aaeru and Limone found themselves coming face-to-face with the enemy. The show’s execution of that confrontation felt a little wonky, but the sequence did a solid job of bringing us closer to both Aaeru and Limone, and hopefully bringing the two of them closer as well. The episode ended pretty much as soon as the pair returned, so it’ll be up to this episode to reveal exactly how that experience shifted things for this crew. Aaeru was already the one most gung-ho about battling, so what will experiencing some of the true terror and ugliness of battle do for her mindset? Aaeru’s been pretty much carrying this narrative by herself for the past couple episodes, so I’m hoping the scars of this experience finally prompt Neviril or some of the other priestesses to take a more active role in the story. Let’s get right to it and find out!

Continue reading

March comes in like a lion – Episode 28

March comes in like a lion continued its phenomenal Hina-focused arc this week, offering plenty more compelling visual tricks, along with our closest look yet into Hina’s headspace. Rei is a great character, but it’s becoming clear that March’s ability to lean into the personal dramas of characters like Hina and Shimada is secretly one of the story’s greatest strengths. I’m guessing we’ll be nearing the end of this arc soon, but I’m enjoying it while it lasts!

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

Continue reading

Fall 2016 – Week 7 in Review

It was very clear this week that many of this season’s shows took careful notes based on my first half in review post, and adjusted their content accordingly. Normally it takes at least a few weeks for shows to shift gears based on my exact preferences, so I was happy to see the response time so accelerated here. Shows like Girlish Number and Sound! Euphonium clearly took my complaints to heart, and as we all know, being able to accept constructive criticism is an admirable quality. I’m glad we can all agree anime turns out better when it listens to me specifically.

Alright, impossibility of my writing affecting anime production in any way whatsoever aside, this week really did see many shows directly tackling some of my existing complaints. Girlish Number dug in to its cast, Euphonium emphasized the variables that had worked in the first season, Yuri on Ice offered its most well-earned and best-composed personal material yet, and Flip Flappers was just fantastic in all regards. The fall season continues to impress in new ways, so let’s start with those flip flaps and RUN ‘EM DOWN!

Continue reading

March comes in like a lion – Episode 6

This episode took place almost entirely in Rei’s head, making for one of the most powerful and difficult to watch episodes yet. There was some stirring imagery here, but also just plenty of well-articulated thoughts on adulthood and depression. March isn’t always a graceful show, but it is extremely good at depicting a few key emotional truths. Good luck Rei, it’s tough for all of us out there.

You can check out my full review over at ANN.

March comes in like a lion

Girlish Number – Episode 5

Girlish Number seems to be experiencing some growing pains at the moment, as it expands beyond “Chitose is a jerk” to try and add some substance to the world around her. The show’s sometimes farcical tone and very simplified version of the industry can work against its attempts to add weight to its critiques, but I appreciated this episode’s attempts to tonally underline this increasingly disastrous production. It’s a messy show, but still a very interesting one.

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

Continue reading

Nichijou – Episode 1

Hey everybody! Today I’m embarking on a quick-thoughts journey through KyoAni’s most lauded comedy, Nichijou. Writeups for this one have been requested in the form of notes as opposed to full episodics, so this time you get all the nitty-gritty minithoughts and immediate reactions on everything as it’s going on. It might actually be best to read these alongside the episode itself, if you get the chance. Doing notes writeups would generally mean less content than the full articles (they’re much cheaper after all, meaning I can’t afford to spend many hours on them), but it turns out I had a million things to say about the first episode, so this one’s still a massive pile of writing all by itself. But enough preamble – let’s get right in to the first moments of Nichijou!

Continue reading

Mob Psycho 100 – Episodes 1-2

Mob Psycho’s second episode turned out to be nearly as visually compelling as the first, and did great work in polishing Mob’s sympathetic character. Mob Psycho’s visual strengths are very obvious, but I’m really happy to also see Mob and Reigen gaining texture over time. I dropped Space Dandy because it was visual experimentation with nowhere to go – as much as I appreciate strong art design, I need to care about what’s happening. So far, it seems like Mob Psycho is going to fit that bill.

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

Continue reading

Shirobako, Part Two – Review

And to the surprise of no one, I return once more to extol the many merits of Shirobako. The show’s second half is even better than the first, mixing its consistent humor, character writing, and fundamental Realness with a whole lot more dramatic gut punches. I normally kinda laugh at demands for more “mature” anime, but I sure wouldn’t mind a whole lot more grounded, devastating career dramas like this one. Subdued dramas like this and Eccentric Family are as my jam as anything can be.

You can check out my full review over at ANN!

Shirobako

The Lost Village – Episode 7

The Lost Village was in peak form this week, pulling off an episode that was both consistently hilarious and also legitimately exciting. With the plot kicking into high gear, Mizushima’s strengths as a director were at their most prominent here, as he abandoned the bizarre framing affectation of the earlier debates in order to make Masaki’s near-execution an actually thrilling spectacle. And there were so many wonderful non-sequiturs scattered throughout this episode that it felt almost like this show was intentionally designed to inspire bad tweets. The Lost Village is itself an extremely good bad tweet. I love this show.

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

Continue reading

Harmony – Review

So I went and reviewed another Project Itoh movie, and this one was basically terrible from start to finish. Absolutely awful prose, super underwritten narrative, not particularly impressive visuals. It basically felt like an actual teenager’s take on neuroscience and the evils of society and whatnot, but not in a way that made its characters feel any more real. Empire of Corpses was fun because it worked as an adventure even if it failed as a thematic exploration, but Harmony was basically all themey-wemey monologues, and so it just kinda flailed around the whole time. It’s a shame!

You can check out my full review over at ANN.

Harmony