Summer 2017 – Week 7 in Review

The anime was all very respectable this week, maintaining an even course without really offering any major highlights or disappointments. Made in Abyss arrived at a necessary training arc, though given this show’s generally speedy pacing, that “arc” may just take one more episode. My Hero Academia was in exposition mode, but it still managed to offer some fun moments with the class. And Classroom of the Elite finally got as dramatically indulgent as it’s apparently always wanted to, topping off a series of grim inter-class showdowns with the introduction of some actual mad scientists. I complained about the show’s super hammy musical cues when I reviewed its first episode, but as it turns out, those musical cues turned out to be the only element of that episode that would truly indicate the show’s nature. But let’s start in the fringes of the abyss, and run this week down!

Continue reading

Flip Flappers – Episode 2

Flip Flappers’ second episode begins with Cocona waking up in her bed, as if her adventure with Papika were all some strange dream. The sequence of shots here directly echoes the last time she woke up, further emphasizing the unreality of the moment – and even her glasses are intact. But beyond just casting doubt on the reality of the previous episode, this opening’s sequence of precisely repeated shots emphasizes Cocona’s sense of complacency in this life. In comparison with the first episode’s dreary tone, the frightening excitement of Pure Illusion now makes her everyday life seem like a kind of comfort.

And then Papika arrives, and so much for all that.

Continue reading

Why It Works: Translating Tension in My Hero Academia

Today on Crunchyroll I looked back on the Hero Killer arc, in an article that’s more or less trying to suss out my own feelings as to why this arc felt more effective in anime than in manga. The added material for the anime was all pretty great, but I also just felt the anime polished the Stain battle in a variety of ways, and it was fun to break those things down. Hope you enjoy the piece!

Why It Works: Translating Tension in My Hero Academia

Ojamajo Doremi – Episode 18

Let’s mosey on back to Ojamajo Doremi! Last episode saw Doremi in its most reliable and frankly rewarding mode, using the focus on a new member of Doremi’s class to articulate great points about growing up and finding people you can rely on. It also featured one of the show’s most aesthetically powerful sequences yet, with Masaru’s flashback to his father demonstrating this show still has a fair number of execution tricks up its sleeve. Doremi’s little visual flourishes are as reliable as its moral punchlines, and I’m happy to be back on board. Let’s see what our witches get up to today!

Episode 18

Continue reading

Koi Kaze – Episode 1

Alright, we’re storming right into Koi Kaze. Koi Kaze has a very unique reputation in my anime circles – in short, it’s basically “the show that does incest right.” Instead of using incest for immediate fetish material or gags, it’s actually a character drama about two siblings that have romantic feelings for each other, and the consequences of those feelings. It’s not just “an incest show,” it’s a romantic drama that happens to center on an incestuous romance.

Continue reading

Classroom of the Elite – Episode 6

Classroom of the Elite seemed to finally settle into its comfort zone this week, offering consistent goofiness and also some legitimately well-articulated drama. Not expecting Ayanokoji to be a traditionally “good character,” and instead enjoying him as some kind of scholastic Kirito stand-in, is letting me have a much more fun time with the show on its own terms. And given we’re already in the second half, I’m expecting the show to consistently ratchet up its melodrama from here out, something that will make it even more fun. We’ll make a good time of this show yet.

You can check out my full review over at ANN.

Tsuredure Children – Episode 7

After last week’s cumulative piece, my actual episodic Tsuredure Children writeups began in earnest this week, forcing me to find out if I actually can write full articles about twelve minute shows. There turned out to be no problems there, and in fact, Tsuredure Children’s four skit setup allowed me to do a pretty close read on what worked or didn’t across each comic bit. This should be fun!

You can check out my full review over at ANN.

Owarimonogatari Season Two – Review

At last, the Monogatari franchise comes to something resembling a close. We’ve already got confirmation of a ridiculous surplus of arcs still to come, but as for the story of Araragi’s adolescence, this is pretty much it. Owarimonogatari somehow managed to bring this sprawling narrative to a legitimately satisfying end, something I couldn’t help but marvel at throughout my review. This wasn’t my favorite set of Monogatari arcs, but I’m still very happy to see the show end strong.

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

Continue reading

Summer 2017 – First Half in Review

Hey all, and welcome back to the Week in Review. With the summer halfway over, it’s time once again for one of this blog’s more pointless traditions – ranking my overall feelings on the summer’s offerings at the point where it’s least useful to actually make such a ranking. The meaninglessness of this exercise feels even more pronounced this season, since the number of shows I’m watching can be counted on a single hand. I don’t think that’s actually detrimental here, though – if anything, it actually just plays into the general silliness of the system.

That said, considering how little I actually am watching, I’ll still be supplementing today’s post with thoughts on the latest Game of Thrones and all that. I may be struggling mightily to fill my other columns in a season with nothing to watch, but that doesn’t mean you guys have to suffer. Let’s get to it!

Continue reading

Casshern Sins – Episode 20

Let’s get back to Casshern Sins. We’re coming off a pair of Lyuze-focused episodes at the moment, where she ultimately confirmed both her feelings for Casshern and her own will to live. It’s been interesting to get such a deep dive into Lyuze’s feelings this late into the narrative, but it makes sense – having spent the first half of the series blessed with the certainty of hating Casshern, she’s only now forced to reckon with the ambiguity of an open, even possibly hopeful future. The power of certainty, of giving yourself up to a cause or a god or just a personal goal, is a real and almost physical thing in Casshern Sins. Those that can raise their eyes to the horizon and see something worth seeking endure – those that lose hope fall to Ruin. Lyuze had to trade the certainty of vengeance for an uncertain hope, but she can see a real future now. I hope she makes it through.

Continue reading