Winter 2015 – Virtually Every First Episode Retrospective

The preview guide has come to a close, and I covered every damn show except “that Warring States Thing That’s Apparently Just A Worse Sengoku Basara,” so we’ve got plenty to talk about. We get a lot of anime every season, and none of you guys are receiving hazard pay for suffering through the worst of it, so I’m very ready to run down what demands to be watched, what you could maybe watch I guess if you feel like it, and what should be handled with lead-lined gloves and disposed of in a properly licensed waste treatment facility. I wasn’t really expecting much of this season, but the opening episodes ended up offering a stellar first and second tier of shows – yeah, first episodes are often liars, but it’s still nice to start off on the right foot. This post here will give you brief rankings and descriptions of everything I muddled through this week, along with links to the ANN pages containing my longer thoughts. Let’s run them down!

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Winter 2015 – First Impressions, Part Two

The preview guide continues! I’m happy to say this season has completely surpassed my expectations so far, with all the shows I was looking forward to and more besides coming out swinging with strong first episodes. First episodes can certainly be deceiving, but given my preseason expectations were “well, at least some great shows are continuing from the fall,” I’m very pleased to see such an initially strong crop of episodes.

The Rolling Girls

Here’s the link to the preview guide, where you can once again check out all my posts as they arrive. Today’s recommendations are Death Parade, The Idolmaster – Cinderella Girls, and especially The Rolling Girls. Death Parade pretty much fulfills all the macabre promise of Death Billiards with a trashy, beautifully articulated first episode, Cinderella Girls offers understated drama and humor in the KyoAni school, and The Rolling Girls feels like a breathless combination of Kyousogiga and Yozakura Quartet. You’ll find links to all my new reviews with scores below. Hope you find something you enjoy!

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12 Days of Anime, #2: Slaine Makes a Friend

Aldnoah.Zero was largely an exercise in continuously adjusting expectations. From “Urobuchi’s going to write an ambitious mecha war story!” to “Urobuchi will at least guide the writing of a mecha war story!” to “I guess Urobuchi had a week free, huh” to “jeez, this show is a sack of garbage,” it was a long, bumpy road to a point where Aldnoah would no longer offer less than it promised. Fortunately, the place Aldnoah ended up in was actually a pretty decent place to be – yeah, it’s a dumb show with a stupidly overpowered protagonist, no understanding of tone, and no actual focus, but watching Slaine get senselessly beaten on sure is funny.

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Aldnoah.Zero – Review

And the hits keep coming! Well… the reviews do, at least. “Hit” might be a stretch.

Poor Aldnoah – you started with such promise, and yet every new episode felt like another brick removed from your Jenga-tower of potential. At least the final toppling was entertaining – like with Kyoukai no Kanata, it was actually pretty cathartic seeing the finale of a show I’d entered with such expectations explode into such absurd, self-immolating nonsense. In the end, a show I’d hoped would be Urobuchi’s triumphant return ended up being just one more strong reminder that most people are not very good at building off his work. Ah well, at least there’s still Expelled from Paradise to look forward to…

You can check out the full ANN review here.


Winter 2015 Season Preview

Time again for the ol’ season preview, where I run down everything that looks mildly interesting next season. This time that’s actually pretty easy, considering virtually everything I’m enticed by is either a sequel or a second half. Unfortunately (well, for me anyway), that really just means the actual madness will have to wait until I watch everything else for the preview guide anyway. As usual, my preview won’t actually cover everything – it’s easy enough to check out the full list at anichart if you’re interested in checking out the other shows, if you want to for some dumb reason. Winter is looking a great deal more manageable than fall, but winters are always kind of sparse, and there’s certainly still some cartoons to look for. Let’s run ‘em down!

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Summer 2014 – Week 12 in Review

I don’t even know what to say in this intro, because nothing else this week comes close to Aldnoah’s lunacy. Everything else was fine, good shows are good, yada yada. Let’s get to the show.

Oh wait, also, I’m apparently gonna be one of ANN’s staff reviewers now in addition to my streaming work. Meaning I’ll be doing regular full-show reviews there, along with participating in their completely insane Preview Guide. Meaning I’ll be watching the first episodes of basically every goddamn full-length show coming out this season, and writing some sort of reflection on every single one of them. Meaning my hands are probably going to be bloody stumps by the end of next week.

So that’ll be fun! Something to look forward to. Anyway, Aldnoah fuckin’ Zero.

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Summer 2014 – Week 11 in Review

No crazy shakeups to report this week – my lineup’s approaching the end with relative grace, and everything I’d hoped to be good or at least okay has been good or at least okay. This is disappointing! I miss being able to tell you guys something is absolutely awful and wretched and a wonderful thing to get really childishly disappointed about! Hopefully next season will fix this – I’m planning on checking out way too many shows, and have no idea what I’ll end up covering for ANN, so there’s a solid chance I’ll have something to be a big jerk about again. Until then, please accept these humble reflections on shows that are actually pretty good.

Incidentally, I haven’t gotten to this week’s Hunter x Hunter, but I’ll likely watch that later tonight and either add my comments or make an additional mini-post. Busy week!

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Summer 2014 – Week 10 in Review

No complaints about this week in anime – my favorites were great, my second-strings were either solid or great, and I’m barely even watching anything beneath those. Aldnoah continued last week’s “wait, let’s try to be actually good again” streak, Zankyou recovered from its wonky Hollywood interlude, and Hunter x Hunter is just making me too emotional right now. Also, Shounen Hollywood whipped out one of the most absurd, confident concept episodes I’ve seen in… ever? A long time, at least. Let’s run them down!

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Summer 2014 – Week 9 in Review

A very convenient week in anime this time, since two shows didn’t actually air and oh wait that didn’t matter because I wrote three thousand goddamn words for Anime News Network anyway. Actually, that might be its own kind of “reprieve” – normally my writing motivation is “keep writing you goddamn word-monkey you’re wasting hours and drawing closer to death,” but my crazy output the last couple weeks (including writing a big friggin’ editorial that I’ll hopefully finish by this weekend) allowed me to briefly experience the feeling of not feeling guilty for relaxing. That’s actually a pretty rare thing for me, so I guess I got a mental vacation after all.

Incidentally, those ANN posts seem to have gone over very well over there, though I know you guys are understandably sad about the lack of timestamp SAO posts. It seems like ANN is more okay with some snark than I’d initially worried, so I’ll try to hit some kind of balance more of you can be happy with – I’ve only ever written for myself and my own audience before, so I’m still figuring out how to express my voice in a more official context. I hope you all stick with me as I figure this crap out! You’re an awesome, extremely supportive group of readers, and I want to be worthy of that support.

Alright, that’s enough blogging, I’m sure you’ve all got stuff to do. Let’s run down this week’s shows!

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Summer Podcast – Individual Details versus the Big Picture

Hey guys! I was on Deadlight’s podcast a little while back, where we talked about the summer shows in the context of “individual details versus the big picture,” a theme that was kind of sidetracked by Zankyou no Terror deciding to become all about those individual details in its most recent episode. I guess I’d characterize the tone of the podcast as “everyone else thinks everything sucks, I kind of enjoy everything.” You can find more info and timestamps for the various shows discussed over at Deadlight’s blog.