Natsume’s Book of Friends – Episode 12

Natsume’s twelfth episode opens with a shot of a half moon, hanging silently in the sky. We’re given no context for this moon at first, but eventually, it comes to feel like a kind of clock, ticking away Natsume’s remaining hours with each slice removed. In this episode, Natsume is cursed by a youkai, and his arm branded with the “Five Day Mark.” Natsume must fight back against a creature that only wants to destroy him, and must enlist new allies to survive his trial.

Continue reading

Tsuki ga Kirei – Episode 10

Tsuki ga Kirei had another terrific episode this week, powering through Akane and Kotarou’s lowest point in a series of consistently excellent scenes. I was pretty worried going in that this was the beginning of the end for their relationship, but it looks like at least Tsuki ga Kirei might end up offering a smidgen of hope in this blasted world. Please stay together kids, I kinda need this.

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

Continue reading

Aikatsu – Episode 5

Let’s friggin’ Aikatsu! Last episode saw Ichigo nabbing her very first job, starring as a takoyaki shop promoter along with Aoi. That’s not the most auspicious of beginnings, but hey, she’s just starting high school. Speaking of which, the show has only explored Starlight Academy’s functionality as an actual school in the most vague and incidental of ways, so I guess my hope for this episode is that we actually get to see more of these so-called aikatsu they’re so proud of. Either way, Aikatsu ho!

Continue reading

Spring 2017 – Week 10 in Review

After a serious dip in general show quality, the anime returned to something of a neutral setting this week, lifted largely on the back of The Eccentric Family’s terrific performance. Sakura Quest, My Hero Academia, and Re:Creators were all just kinda middle-of-the-road, though their particular brands of middle-of-the-road all gave me unique things to talk about. So in terms of this particular article, I guess you guys once again get to reap the benefits of less than stellar cartoons. This season isn’t ending as well as it started, but basically none of them do – it’s a whole lot easier to make a great first episode than it is to make a consistently satisfying full season narrative. Let’s start out in the weeds of Manoyama and run this week down!

Continue reading

One Piece – Volume 10

At last, it’s time for One Piece’s triumphant return! After far too many days/weeks/months of dilly-dallying, we’re back on the One Piece train with the second volume of the fabled Arlong Park arc. Nami’s backstory, the powers of her crew, and Arlong’s menace all rolled into one explosive manga adventure. And after all this time away, I have to say that… this volume is maybe a bit of a letdown.

Continue reading

The Eccentric Family 2 – Episode 10

The Eccentric Family recovered and then some, offering one of the strongest episodes of the season to date. Splitting its drama across virtually every member of the Shimogamo family, it conveyed the impossibility of living with as much grace as ever. We are very lucky to have a second season of this extraordinary show.

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

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Todoroki’s Secret Weapon: Studios BONES’ Yutaka Nakamura

This week on Why It Works, I found a very good excuse to fan out about Yutaka Nakamura’s kickass animation. His work on the Deku-Todoroki fight was both terrific and clearly emblematic of his recent output, and so it seemed like a perfectly good excuse to poke at his catalog and general style. I’m certainly not an expert when it comes to critiquing animation, but man, the guy can make some awesome scenes.

Todoroki’s Secret Weapon: Studio BONES’ Yutaka Nakamura

Chihayafuru – Episode 4

And we’re back with more Chihayafuru! Last episode brought us to what I assume is the end of the show’s flashback arc, with Chihaya and her two karuta buddies separating at the end of elementary school. The overall arc left me with some mixed structural feelings, as I felt that not only did this flashback kinda dampen the show’s dramatic momentum, but it also didn’t necessarily sell the depth of the bond between our leads. But even though I had a number of narrative structure concerns, the actual moment-to-moment execution of the show was still very solid throughout. Let’s see what high school brings!

Continue reading

Tsuki ga Kirei – Episode 9

The hammer started to fall in this week’s Tsuki ga Kirei, as narrative convention more or less demanded. Akane’s potential move seems like it could strike a fatal blow for our young lovers, but I hope they at least manage to enjoy what they still have. That aside, this was a pretty excellent Tsuki ga Kirei in all regards, as my review attests. Let’s get to it!

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

Continue reading