Summer 2017 – Week 5 in Review

The hits just kept coming this week, a week that answered the desperately unnecessary question “what happens when you’re only watching a couple shows and even those aren’t very good.” This wasn’t exactly a bad week in anime, but when your season is already dangling by a thread, you can’t really afford to have lukewarm performances. The show that overperformed this week was Game of Thrones, so I guess that’ll once again be tying the whole Week in Review room together. We are living through some desperate times here, but I’m gonna fill that goddamn word count somehow.

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Tsuredure Children – Episodes 1-6

Welp, I guess I’m reviewing Tsuredure Children weekly now. With the season being what it is and Symphogear streams still nowhere to be found, I’m now picking up Tsuredure Children for ANN. The show’s certainly given me plenty to talk about for Crunchyroll, so I guess it’s about time!

You can check out my overview of the show so far over at ANN.

Aikatsu – Episode 9

Alright everybody, let’s get back to our Aikatsu. The show’s last episode wasn’t really a highlight, but it did do some reasonable work in integrating Ran into the main trio. Both Ran and Aoi have gotten recent focus episodes, so I’m guessing we’ll be getting either group conflicts or more Ichigo stuff this time. That’s fine by me – Ichigo seems closest of the main three to what I associate with the “spirit of Aikatsu,” the kind of nonsensical positive attitude that leads to stuff like painting your signature with a giant car-sized brush. More of that bullshit, please. Let’s get right to it!

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Mawaru Penguindrum – Episode 18

Mawaru Penguindrum’s eighteenth episode is a singular masterpiece. Focused entirely on Tabuki’s confrontation with the Takakura family, it offers a ferocious articulation of Penguindrum’s central themes, tackling the nature of family, cycles of violence, and hope in a meaningless world in the most desperate terms yet. It’s also one of the show’s most beautiful episodes, courtesy of this episode’s genius director – Shigeyasu Yamauchi.

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Ojamajo Doremi – Episode 17

Let’s mosey on back to Ojamajo Doremi. Last episode saw Doremi getting repeatedly dunked on for the sake of a doomed crush, fully reaffirming her status as the world’s unluckiest pretty girl. If there was any moral in that episode, it was more for the dads in the audience, with perhaps a hint of “go easy on your parents, they make mistakes too.” I’m guessing this episode will return us back to Doremi’s classroom and the usual thematic cycles, but we’ll have to see! Doremi has been consistently expanding its dramatic range, so very little would surprise me now. Let’s get right to it!

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Classroom of the Elite – Episode 4

Classroom of the Elite continued its general downward trend this week, firmly shifting from “I guess this could maybe be good I dunno” into “nope, this is just a generally bad anime” territory. The show’s odds were pretty long from the start, given it opened with a fair number of weaknesses and its theoretical strengths would be very tough to realize, but it’s still always disappointing to see a show fall apart. Ah well.

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

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Summer 2017 – Week 4 in Review

Well folks, it’s time for the Week in Review. Once again, my lack of weekly anime watches has me fumbling around for other stuff to write about, but the anime I am watching was pretty strong this week, so I can only slightly complain. My Hero Academia friggin’ nailed the end of the Hero Killer arc, and Made in Abyss is already making the most of its great premise and gorgeous art design. This season may be a show or two short of a full package, but hey, that just means I can work on more Current Projects for everybody. We may be in the midst of a drought, but our backlogs are a vast ocean just waiting to be explored. Anyway, I’ll quit with the doomsaying here, and get work running this week down!

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Flip Flappers – Episode 1

Flip Flappers begins with a sharp contrast, a vivid illustration of two very different girls. We first meet Cocona, in a series of shots that speak volumes about both her specifically and Flip Flappers at large. The very first shot of the show is an hourglass optical illusion – it tells the time, but it’s also an image of two girls facing each other, and could even be interpreted as a womb. This strangely charged marker of time passing is followed by the reveal of Cocona herself, seated at her school desk, eyes dark. Cocona exists in a blue and silent world, a sterile classroom that feels far smaller and more shabby than most such spaces. Classrooms are ubiquitous in anime, and their prevalence as key settings means they’re often granted great personality, or staged as open and inviting places. This classroom is the opposite – cramped and cold, it tells us that Cocona’s world is a small and unhappy place.

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Why It Works: Tsuredure Children and the Mechanics of Dialogue, Part One

Aw hell yeah, let’s get crafty. This week’s Why It Works basically uses Tsuredure Children as a jumping-off point to talk about how exactly stories bring dialogue to life, with handy examples from our silly children. Hope you enjoy the piece!

Tsuredure Children and the Mechanics of Dialogue, Part One

Chihayafuru – Episode 7

Hey everybody! Today I wanted to watch some Chihayafuru, so damnit, that’s what I’m gonna do. I’ve kinda burned through my buffer of funded Chihayafuru episodes, but hey, that’s what happens when shows have the audacity to be good. Solid character writing and great color work aside, Chihayafuru is fundamentally blessed with a sense of momentum that makes it an easily marathonable show. Outside of a few slower, reflective moments, basically everything in the show is consistently aiming at its next engaging goal. Right now, Chihaya and Taichi are short just two club members, having conscripted the reluctant Kana with promises of fancy competition uniforms. Let’s see who they grab next!

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