Flip Flappers – Episode 3

Flip Flappers’ second episode saw Papika and Cocona entering the fanciful world of a rabbit’s mind. From their rabbit ears and tufted tails to the world around them, everything echoed the internal world of Cocona’s rabbit Uexkill, and even the girls themselves were not immune. An urge to chew on everything reflected both Cocona’s personal repression and the desires of Uexkill, while the landscape around them undulated vaguely, offering no more definition than Uexkill could conceive. After that wild adventure, the girls quickly jumped into another Pure Illusion – but unlike episode two, it seems like this world reflects Cocona’s own psychology. So what is Cocona’s mind like?

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Fall 2017 – Virtually Every First Episode Retrospective

A new anime season has begun! As it turns out, in spite of last season’s incredibly tepid lineup, the reports of anime’s demise were greatly exaggerated. This season is looking to easily be the strongest of the year overall, and likely one of the best single seasons in the past several years. Offering phenomenal shows in a wide variety of genres, a strong mix of sequels, originals, and adaptations, and an absurdly deep bench, Fall 2017 looks to be one for the record books. After a season where my weekly diet was “Made in Abyss and Tsuredure Children,” it feels nice to actually have to pick and choose what I have time to watch.

As usual, my work on ANN’s preview guide has given me an exhaustingly full perspective on the season’s offerings, and so I’m here today to rank my selections from the highest highs to the lowest lows. I’ll be grouping shows by vague, perhaps even meaningless tiers, and trying to offer a brief summation of my overall feelings. All of these titles will also have links to the guide itself, so if you want my more extended and theoretically professional critiques, click on through and search for Nick Creamer. Let’s start at the top and run this season down!

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Ojamajo Doremi – Episode 22

Let’s get back to Ojamajo Doremi! Our last episode didn’t really see the story moving all that much, as Ruka’s diabolical magic goods didn’t actually result in any negative consequences, at least for her personally. We’re still at the point where Rika is acting as an annoying freeloader, the girls are trying to figure out some way to beat Ruka, and the moral lessons are temporarily on hold. I’ve enjoyed this change of pace well enough, but Ruka’s story frankly hasn’t been interesting enough to measure up to the show’s usual episodic fare. I’m ready for Ruka to get her just desserts, and hope one of our heroes has a real plan this time. Let’s get right to it!

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Fall 2017 – First Impressions, Part Two

Preview week is trying to kill me. There were eleven separate premieres yesterday, and we’ve somehow got more hell week to come. None of that matters to you guys, though – all you have to deal with are the desperate, bloodstained fruit of my endless labor. As it turns out, this particular preview week is revealing one of the most promising seasons we’ve had in years, and I’ve got previews of all the new contenders ready for your perusal. You can check out the full list of shows over at ANN, or find my scores and links to individual previews down below. Please enjoy!

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Casshern Sins – Episode 24

At last, it’s time for the final episode of Casshern Sins. Casshern’s long journey has taken him through countless miles of wasteland, and introduced him to dozens of people who’ve all shaped his view on the world. From not understanding his past or his purpose, Casshern has come to terms with his own nature, and learned to appreciate the beauty of our finite existence. Casshern has met and rejected Luna, and gained friends who’ve come to love him for who he is. Outside of Casshern himself, Lyuze, Ringo, and Ohji all seem to have found a kind of peace in this world, while even Dio and Leda have come to understand themselves. The final figures of the old world, Luna and Braiking Boss, now stand as sentinels over the new. Let’s see where this story ends.

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Chihayafuru – Episode 12

Let’s get back to Chihayafuru! Last episode saw Chihaya’s whole team win their first tournament, defeating Nerdy Minor Character and his Merry Men in order to advance to the regional competition. Chihayafuru worked mightily to make sure that last episode in particular felt like a team effort, in spite of the fact that it was ultimately the team’s three ringers that actually won and pulled them through. The episode before that was chiefly dedicated to making sure Tsutomu felt valued in spite of his current, er, non-value, so I’ll be interested in seeing how the show does right by its weaker teammates going forward.

That said, I’m guessing that the last few episodes’ total focus on the new team means we’re likely to get caught up in Chihaya’s Arata fixation soon, and I’m also hoping the show can find a way to make that thread a bit more interesting. I’m not invested in Chihaya’s obsession with Arata, but Arata himself seems like he’s grown into a more well-rounded and endearing character, so I wouldn’t mind seeing him again. Let’s find out what’s in store!

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Fall 2017 – First Impressions, Part One

A new season has come again, which means I’m currently buried in previews for all manner of shows. That actually hasn’t been so bad this time, courtesy of the fact that anime is apparently good again. From shows I was looking forward to to shows entirely outside my wheelhouse, this has been an extremely promising first few days, offering either actual highlights or at least reasonable genre takes in a wide variety of styles. Basically any season would feel like a relief after this summer, but this season seems like it’ll be a real stunner in its own right!

As always, you can check out the full list of previews over at ANN, or click below for links to my individual writeups (if you didn’t know, I’m Nick Creamer over there). Happy show hunting!

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Hyouka, Part One – Review

Today I’ve got a review of the first long-awaited Hyouka release! After far too many years in limbo, this straight-up masterpiece is finally getting released over here, and I was happy to revisit it. Hyouka is an experience that feels richer every time, full of great details and suffused with a strong atmosphere that completely transports you to its world. I hope my words do it some justice!

You can check out my full review over at ANN.

Summer 2017 – Week 13 in Review

At last, another season has come to an end. This one wasn’t a particularly auspicious season, but hey, it happens – sometimes the best shows are in genres I don’t really care for, sometimes I sleep on the wrong shows (sorry, Princess Principal), and sometimes there just aren’t that many things worth watching. Even if the airing catalog wasn’t very deep this time, I had a great time with My Hero Academia, Tsuredure Children, and Made in Abyss, and also found lots of time to watch a whole bunch of older anime. The backlog is basically an infinite yawning gulf of quality entertainment, and no matter how much I tear at it, my expanding genre palette just seems to make it broader and darker all the time. With a very promising season coming up, let’s take a few moments to say goodbye to summer’s final stalwarts. Starting with those lovable kids of Class 1-A, let’s run this week down!

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ef – A Tale of Memories – Episode 7

Let’s get back to ef – A Tale of Memories! It’s been quite a while since we ran through an ef episode, but the show is always a fine thing to return to. Marrying Shin Oonuma’s wild visual flourishes to a story that constantly contrasts romance against creative ambition, it’s a messy but consistently rewarding experience, the kind of strangely personal production anime is renowned for. The show also seems to be hitting its stride at the moment – with Kyosuke having been fleshed out in the last episode, basically all the pillars of the narrative are now carrying their own weight. I’m invested in all three of ef’s potential couples, and would also be happy to see the show contrast the creative visions of Kyosuke, Hiro, and Chihiro. Whether it focuses on romance or art, ef always finds a way to keep things interesting. Let’s get right to it!

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