Spring 2017 – Week 11 in Review

The anime this week was… confusing. On the negative side, my two favorite shows of the season had pretty mediocre episodes. My Hero Academia was stuck in transition land, while The Eccentric Family decided to lean even more heavily into the same conflicts as the first season. On the positive side, basically everything below those shows had a terrific showing, with all of Sakura Quest, Re:Creators, and Tsuki ga Kirei pulling off some of their best episodes yet. I suppose that’s the advantage of watching this many streaming shows – even if the heavyweights momentarily stumble, there’s always something putting its best foot forward. Anyway, I’ve got a million words on Re:Creators this week, so let’s start at the opposite end and RUN THIS WEEK DOWN!

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The Eccentric Family 2 – Episode 9

Management: I apparently forgot to post this back when the review actually went up. Woops!

This week’s Eccentric Family was… well, not the best. This season has had a variety of small issues keeping it below the level of the original all along, and this episode both leaned into those problems and also just wasn’t that interesting structurally. A show of Eccentric Family’s length and pedigree can’t really afford lull episodes, so I wasn’t happy to see this one, but I don’t really see it becoming a trend, either. Ah well!

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

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The Eccentric Family 2 – Episode 11

Things got pretty wild in this week’s Eccentric Family, as secrets were revealed and battles were fought and dramatic declarations were made all up and down these twenty minutes. For all that, I found myself somewhat unsatisfied with how this season is resolving, but my article covers all that. This season of Eccentric Family definitely isn’t as strong as the first, but hey, Eccentric Family is Eccentric Family.

You can check out my full review over at ANN.

Ojamajo Doremi – Episode 13

Let’s dive right into some more Ojamajo Doremi! With Nichijou behind me, there are few shows that give me more consistent joy than Doremi these days. Upbeat and visually charming and stuffed with heart, Doremi and her friends ably demonstrate why us true anime patricians have migrated over to children’s television. I’m not quite at Pretty Cure yet, but I’m sure my conscription into the anime cabal is progressing at a steady clip nonetheless.

Doremi’s last episode wasn’t exactly a highlight, but it did see Doremi and her friends becoming more comfortable using magic to help others. Let’s see where the wands take them this time!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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!

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