Bakemonogatari – Episode 4

We’re in deep Mayoi Snail territory now, meaning I finally was able to get away with a reasonably sized episode review. This episode wasn’t really any more exciting than I remembered it being – I enjoyed it more now because I already know the characters, but basically nothing of consequence happened at all, and even the character-establishing banter was pretty mediocre. Mayoi Snail continues to dare any potential audiences to fight through the series.

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

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Mikagura School Suite – Review

Today I reviewed the hyperactive but generally endearing Mikagura School Suite! Outside of the likable protagonist Eruna, there really wasn’t that much to this one – its storytelling was pretty half-baked, and its aesthetics were nothing to write home about. The one exception was the handful of excellent fight scenes, but with less than half a dozen such scenes scattered across a full dozen episodes, that didn’t really save the show. Still, “mediocre but generally pleasant” makes for a perfectly acceptable viewing experience.

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

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Winter 2017 – Week 5 in Review

This was another perfectly acceptable week in anime. I’ve pretty much accepted that this is going to be a workmanly season – there’s nothing I’ll love as much as Oregairu or Flip Flappers, but most of my list will consistently turn out solidly enjoyable episodes. Dragon Maid is the comfiest thing I could hope for, Tanya continues to be far too entertaining for its own good, and Rakugo holds up the prestige end of the season with relative grace. March also seems to be recovering from its weaker stretch, which is nice to see. This probably won’t be the season we come back to at the end of the year, but hey, some seasons are just trying to pay the bills. So let’s start with some fuwa fuwa dragons and run this week down!

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Planetes – Episode 23

Planete’s twenty-third episode is one steady build to a long-awaited explosion. Early scenes reveal the SDF meddling with INTO’s broadcast satellites, putting us in their own leadership’s perspective for the first time. From a vague threat or thematic counterbalance, the SDF have become one of the principal actors in Planetes, touting a philosophy that the show may actually agree with more than any other. Though their overt rhetoric leans towards apocalyptic nonsense and naive environmentalism, everything we’ve learned about their actual members indicates they’re simply fighting back against INTO’s global hegemony in the only way they can.

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March comes in like a lion – Episode 16

March had another solid episode this week, buoyed by some strong execution and some fundamentally rewarding material. After that fatiguing low swing over the holidays, Rei seems to have rallied back emotionally, and is actually invested in the world around him again. The show is building up towards his reunion with the sisters, but I’m already having a solid time with his recommitment to shogi practice. Hopefully the show can stay this strong!

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

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Seiren – Episode 5

Seiren didn’t suddenly become a good show this week, but its new arc promises to be more inherently ridiculous than the last one, which I am all for. Shoichi’s new love interest Toru is pretty much a perfect idealized fantasy of a gamer girl, and their gaming-focused flirtations were as charming as they were ridiculous. Good for you Toru, you finally found a boy who can appreciate you for your sick headshots.

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

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Why It Works: Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid and the Power of Adorable Daughters

Today on Crunchyroll, I use the perfection that is Kanna to take a look back at wonderful anime daughters of days past. I guess it’s because I’m an old man now, but it turns out that a fantastic anime daughter is one of the fastest ways to my heart. I’m very grateful I have Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid to ease the passing of Nichijou, even if nothing will truly replace the professor in my heart. And for now, please enjoy this celebration of one of anime’s greatest treasures!

Why It Works: Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid and the Power of Adorable Daughters

Nichijou – Episode 24

Aw jeez, we’re really in the last act now. With only three episodes to go, we’re in the final days of what I’d now confidently call the best anime comedy I’ve ever seen. Hell, it’s one of the best comedies I’ve seen in any medium – very few comedies demonstrate the persistent invention, creativity, and beauty of execution that make Nichijou so special. If there’s any consolation, it’s that Nichijou’s craft is so strong that I’ll probably enjoy it almost as much on a second viewing. Comedies often hang heavily on the element of surprise, but in Nichijou, it’s often clear where a gag is going to go, and that doesn’t make it any less funny. So thank you for being so rewatchable, Nichijou. We’re all going to need it.

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Casshern Sins – Episode 7

And we’re back with more Casshern Sins! Last episode dumped a fair amount of actual information on us, from the fact that Luna’s death was very directly responsible for the Ruin to Casshern’s “gift of immortality” really just being the mechanical secret locked inside him. That first one was easy enough to extrapolate from what we know, but the second puts Casshern’s importance in a far more realistic context than “kill him and the rest of you can be saved.” It also introduced a pair of new antagonists, and saw Casshern reuniting with most of his prior traveling companions. For all that, it was a mostly expository episode, so I’d be happy to get back to the evocative vignettes that started this show off. Let’s dive right into another Casshern Sins!

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Bakemonogatari – Episode 3

Welp, we’re finally into Mayoi Snail. I expected this episode writeup to be a lot more negative than it was, but I actually ended up really enjoying this first episode. None of the stuff that generally frustrates me about Mayoi and Araragi’s material made an appearance here, and the conversation between Araragi and Senjougahara was terrific from start to finish. I forgot just how strong of a rapport those two have – the romantic tension here was as strong as basically anything I’ve seen in anime.

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

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