Genocidal Organ – Review

I finally got around to reviewing the third Project Itoh film, which was far and away the best of the bunch. Empire of Corpses was “campy, watchable trash,” Harmony was “utterly unwatchable pseudo-intellectual garbage,” and Genocidal Organ essentially balances the two, offering reasonably satisfying action and political commentary that doesn’t entirely disappear up its own asshole. I’m not sure I’d actively recommend the film, but if you’re looking for “anime take on a geopolitical thriller,” you could certainly do worse!

You can check out my full review over at ANN.

Winter 2018 – Week 4 in Review

Aw shit I’m late it’s 10:40 and these posts go out at 9 crap crap crap. Alright, this week’s anime! The anime was good this week. That it was. Darling in the Franxx and After the Rain had somewhat bumpy episodes, but Laid Back Camp was as sturdy as ever, and March comes in like a lion headed off on its break with a quick reminder of just how lovable its cast really is. I actually fell behind on Violet Evergarden this week, but it’s kind of a struggle to keep up with shows I can’t write about for anyone, and considering After the Rain already falls into that category (and is like a million times better than Evergarden), hard calls had to be made. Outside of airing anime, I spent this week spamming through Myriad Colors Phantom World and starting off on some new Current Projects, activities which will both bear delicious wordy fruit for you guys at some point. Taking a break from anime to find time to watch more anime; it’s quite the respectable life I live. Anyway, let’s focus in on the airing shows for now, and RUN THIS WEEK DOWN!

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Chihayafuru – Episode 24

It’s time for Chihayafuru! The last episode was mostly just a check-in episode that pushed all the characters slightly further down their non-karuta-related personal arcs. It wasn’t a standout, but those rarely are, and I’m guessing it’ll take Arata actually returning to karuta in a big way to make his drama feel that satisfying. At the moment, we’ve currently got one show that’s an urgent and exciting sports drama, where Chihaya and her clubmates all apply their unique talents to satisfying karuta matches. At the same time, we’ve also got a Kimi ni Todoke-style slow-burning shoujo love drama, without the endearing face-to-face scenes or strength of characterization to really make that work. I can’t really invest in a romance between two characters who were friends as kids for a couple on-screen episodes, and since then have exchanged maybe a dozen lines in total with each other. Fortunately, I’m guessing last episode’s subdued nature means the show will start revving up into karuta matches again soon, and with two episodes left in the first season, I have to assume that even the Arata drama will start paying off soon. Either way, I’m loving this show in spite of my complaints, so let’s see what episode twenty four brings!

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Winter 2018 – Week 3 in Review

What the crap how is this season so good. We just got off a season that basically justified anime in 2017 altogether, and now here we are opening with a season that’s pretty much just as strong, if a little more genre-constrained. And it’s not like I care about this season’s genre constraints, given I fall neatly into the audience for all its low-key character drama and slice of life offerings. Perhaps the most astonishing thing is this crop’s base aesthetic quality – Laid-Back Camp is mostly just an above-average production, but Evergarden, After the Rain, Franxx, and Universe are all visually stunning every single week. The season has been good enough that it’s forced me to realize half a dozen airing shows is basically my limit; I’d love to be keeping up with Mitsuboshi Colors, but there’s just too much else to watch for me to hold onto it at the moment. There’s plenty to celebrate this week, so let’s get right to it and RUN THESE SHOWS DOWN!

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Why It Works: Past Classics from the Voices of Darling in the Franxx

Got another sort of peripheral-to-ongoing-shows article today, considering I already wrote initial pieces on my other two airing Crunchyroll shows, and Franxx hasn’t yet given me enough in-show material to write about. It’s always nice to find a season to rep great old shows, and hitting both Toradora and Idolmaster made me feel pretty good about this one. The nice thing about watching too much anime is you’re always full of recommendations!

Past Classics from the Voices of Darling in the Franxx

March comes in like a lion – Episode 37

Rei had his long-awaited first match with Meijin Souya this week, which turned out to be a bit of a pleasant anticlimax. This episode certainly followed through on Souya’s generally mythic presence, but the actual match was nearly over before it began. Still, both that match and the later material between Rei and Souya were entertaining in their own way, so I can’t really complain.

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

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Scorching Ping Pong Girls – Episode 1

It’s time to embark on a new project! Scorching Ping Pong Girls is a recent enough production that I actually watched its first episode for the preview guide way back when it aired, and while I remember finding that enjoyable enough, I didn’t end up sticking with the show. The biggest takeaway I still remember is that it had an unusually sharp sense of emotional interiority for its slice of life/comedy/sports drama space, and also I think the match scenes were handled pretty well? Anyway. It’s maintained a humble but largely positive reputation since then, and seems to still be remembered pretty fondly within my own incredibly specific subsphere of anime fandom. All the various excerpts I’ve seen seem to imply this is a charming and surprisingly robust production, so I’m very on board to get started. Let’s start off with the first episode of Scorching Ping Pong Girls!

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ef – A Tale of Memories – Episode 9

Let’s return to ef – A Tale of Memories! The show’s run through a battery of dramatic twists over the past couple episodes, as Kei has fought to keep Hiro away from Miyako and the Renji/Chihiro relationship has run up against the limitations of Chihiro’s disability. Miyako has revealed herself to be the deeply scarred child of a broken home, while Renji has finally witnessed Chihiro at her most vulnerable. Considering the ways Kei has worked to keep Miyako out of Hiro’s life, I’m not sure it sounds terribly healthy for him to end up with either of these girls, but I’m certainly still invested in their drama. And the Renji-Chihiro story has risen from seemingly contrived origins to stand as a smartly articulated and very compelling romance. I’d frankly be happy if this episode focused entirely on the two of them establishing a relationship beyond the constraints of Chihiro’s diary, but I’ve got a feeling Miyako will be taking center stage this time. And hey, I guess Kyosuke still also exists? Either way, I’m excited to get started on one more episode!

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Flip Flappers – Episode 8

It’s time for Flip Flappers! Let’s explore… what is unfortunately, undoubtedly the worst episode of the series. Sorry to be a bummer, but episode eight just does not match the standard set by the rest of this altogether wonderful show. But exploring how things go wrong can be just as illuminating as exploring what they get right, and it’s not like this is a bad episode by general anime standards, anyway. So let’s get started on Flip Flappers’ biggest flop, and see what we can glean from its mistakes.

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ReLIFE – Review

Today I’ve got a full review of ReLIFE, a neat little character drama that kind of died in fan consciousness due to its all-at-once release schedule. The show is messy and looks like crap, but it’s got a unique pitch that leads to some uniquely compelling thoughts on growing up, as well as a generally good ear for character. It doesn’t really balance out to a good show, but I still enjoyed the ride!

You can check out my full review over at ANN.