Fall 2016 – Week 4 in Review

This was a workhorse week in anime. We’re several weeks out from the premieres, meaning most of this season’s shows have more or less established their tone and structure, but we’re still also some distance from the sort of narrative shakeups that often mark the midpoint of one season productions. That point in the season means many shows are entering a bit of a lean period at the moment – demonstrating their fundamental quality, but not really dazzling with any new talents. Yuri on Ice and Flip Flappers have largely settled into their genre spaces, Girlish Number and Euphonium each hit some mid-sized dramatic turns, and JoJo just kept chugging along. Weeks like this put the onus on me to come up with new stuff to talk about, so thanks a fuckin’ lot, anime. Fortunately, after possibly more than a hundred of these Week in Reviews, I’ve learned how to spend a lot of time talking about basically nothing. So if that sounds like fun to you, pull up a chair and take a seat as we RUN THESE SHOWS DOWN!

Continue reading

Fall 2016 – Week 3 in Review

Anime is so friggin’ good this season. I thought I was lucky last season, given my sturdy crop of half a dozen reliably entertaining shows, but this one is offering a solid handful of shows that could easily be the best anime of a normal season. Yuri!!! On ICE is consistently funny and extremely propulsive, Sound! Euphonium is every bit the equal of its predecessor, Girlish Number is giving Watari Wataru an easy canvas to riff on, and March comes in like a lion might still be my favorite thing I’m watching. With Flip Flappers and Izetta each offering their own very different strengths, pretty much every kind of show I like is solidly represented here. I remember noting in the spring season that all I was lacking was a strong character-focused story – well, I may not be getting a Conrevo-style themey-wemey show this time, but I think I can be content with this embarrassment of character-focused riches. Anime is being very good to me, so let’s stop with the rambling and RUN THESE SHOWS DOWN!

Continue reading

Fall 2016 – Week 2 in Review

Preview week has finally concluded, and most shows are already past their second or even third episodes. This season turned out to be even more bountiful than I’d expected, meaning I’ve had to make some ruthless cuts to make the absolutely most efficient usage of my cartoon consumption experience. Magical Girl Raising Project’s second episode killed the sleepy magical girl, so it’s off the list. Keijo’s second episode only had me intermittently laughing through its first half, so it’s gone. With roughly forty or fifty weekly articles to write, I’ve been forced to cut down my list of “leisure anime” to only the fiercest, boldest, most ruthless entertainment machines on the market. It’s brutal work watching all these cartoons, but I can take solace in compressing the painstaking work of dozens of artists and animators into an offhand paragraph for your lunch break consumption. Let’s grit our teeth, clench our bowels, and RUN THIS DOWN!

Continue reading

Fall 2016 – Virtually Every First Episode Retrospective

Holy shit I’m alive. Having dragged myself through one more gauntlet of endless, senseless, pitiless animation, I can finally say I’ve survived another one. In fact, I’d even go so far as to say this was the least psychologically damaging crop of debuts I’ve had to weather since joining the preview guide. Sure, there were bad shows – there are always plenty of bad shows – but the number of true spirit-breakers was mercifully low, and a surprising number of shows were competently executed even if they didn’t appeal to me. Anime’s current production model may be an unsustainable trainwreck of manic overproduction, but the bastards didn’t get me this time!

And so, having sat through all those many, many hours of animation, it’s time to send my battle report back to the folks back home. As usual, I’ll be running down every single show I watched in general order of how impressed I was, grouping things into categories based on how much they hurt me. Also as usual, you can check out the whole list of reviews over at ANN, or click on any of the titles below to go to that show’s specific reviews (I’m Nick Creamer over there). There’s a ton of very reasonable anime this season, so let’s get right to it!

Continue reading

Fall 2016 – First Impressions, Part Two

The avalanche continues! More shows keep tumbling out, and with yesterday providing the first genuinely impressive crop of the new season, it seems about time to take stock once more. There haven’t really been any unexpected prizes yet, but both Euphonium and Yuri on Ice had terrific premieres, so I can’t complain. Today will mark the premiere of Flip Flappers, and from there, we’ve still got a fair number of potential stars to look forward to. Looks like we’ve got an exciting season ahead of us!

Continue reading

Fall 2016 – First Impressions, Part One

Anime monsoon season has arrived again, beginning with the usual torrential downpour of mediocre cartoons. The season is starting a little slow so far, but that’s really just an issue of scheduling – most of the shows I’m looking forward to have yet to premiere, and those that already have either matched or exceeded my expectations. First episodes aren’t always trustworthy, of course, particularly when it comes to animation quality, but I certainly haven’t been suffering too much!

Continue reading

Summer 2016 – Week 13 in Review

The season well and truly ended this week, offering conclusions to Orange, Mob Psycho, Love Live, Thunderbolt Fantasy, and… well, JoJo is apparently eternal, so Not JoJo. Oh wait, Thunderbolt Fantasy also didn’t end, it’s still got an episode left. So I guess this week was actually just a clusterfuck of endings and non-endings, and we’re not going to get a break between seasons after all, and we’re just going to have to live with that. Either way, I can conclusively say that episodes of anime did in fact air this week, and I had at least a couple things to say about several of them. SO LET’S DO THAT!

Continue reading

Summer 2016 – Week 12 in Review

Oh god it’s happening. We’re already halfway through September, final episodes are beginning to broadcast, and the season is well and truly ending. While I’ve gotten somewhat used to the seasonal panic of the preview guide, I certainly haven’t gotten used to the fact that we’re all that much closer to death. Fortunately, that’s exactly what anime is good for – frittering away the idle hours with cartoon entertainment to avoid the lurking specter of our own inevitable mortality. So let’s set aside our dreary, perpetually fraying existence for a while, and RUN DOWN SOME SHOWS!

Continue reading

Summer 2016 – Week 11 in Review

Surprise surprise, another fine friggin’ week in anime. With this season leaning so heavily into pure entertainment shows over emotional or thematic blockbusters, it can be easy to take weeks like this for granted – I laughed and cheered throughout, but wasn’t truly surprised by anything. But as I said in this week’s Love Live editorial, the craft of fun should never be taken for granted. This season’s shows have worked hard to keep me entertained, and the fact that basically every show this season fits into the “goofy good time” slot doesn’t make it any less impressive of a collection. So let’s run down this season’s silly shows once more, as another strong season begins to come to a close!

Continue reading

Summer 2016 – Week 10 in Review

Well heck dang it’s Wednesday again. Anime was pretty alright this week – a couple clear standouts, a couple weaker entries, an overall par performance. JoJo’s fundamentally great art design is unfortunately still trembling under the weight of several consecutive seasons, and Orange is beginning to lose me with its circular conflicts, but Love Live pulled off a spectacle that was just as funny as last week was successfully dramatic, and even if JoJo wasn’t prepared to be top JoJo, Thunderbolt Fantasy certainly was. It frankly makes me a little sad that I have to scroll all the way down the streaming titles page to reach Thunderbolt’s spot on Crunchyroll – I can kinda understand that its inherently camp nature makes it less appealing to many fans seeking action shows, but it’s seriously so, so much better than 9/10 of the shows in its genre. Surely one day the Thunderbolt Fantasies and Lost Villages of the world will get their due!

Anyway. LET’S TALK ABOUT SOME CARTOONS.

Continue reading