March comes in like a lion – Episode 17

March continued its streak of excellent episodes this week, bringing great visual flare to the show’s consistently thoughtful conversations. This episode’s beauty frankly took me a bit by surprise – March is a pretty show, but I haven’t come to expect this level of fresh visual invention for each new episode. Hopefully it’s a sign of good things to come!

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

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Seiren – Episode 6

Seiren continued in its weird, rambling way this week, offering more bizarre one-liners and not all that much else. There was actually a pretty satisfying robot duel between Toru and Tsuneki this episode, but the pleasures are pretty thin on the ground in this show. I can’t really imagine enjoying this show as a romance, which is a pretty damning flaw for a, uh, romance. Ah well.

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

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Why It Works: Rakugo and the River’s Pull

Today on Why It Works, I finally get around to a dedicated Rakugo article! I ended up pretty happy with this one – I switched from Why It Works’ generally conversational tone to a more dramatic, show-based one, and I think it worked out okay. Why It Works lets me experiment in all sorts of ways, and making a weekly column-sized version of one of my big thematic writeups was a lot of fun. Rakugo certainly offers plenty to talk about!

Why It Works: Rakugo and the River’s Pull

Ojamajo Doremi – Episode 5

And we’re back with more Ojamajo Doremi! The witch trio has already been established at this point, and with the perils of childhood already solved, it’s time for our three heroes to dive into the spirited world of witch capitalism. Look, if you’re going to pay off your witch mortgages, sometimes you gotta make some hard witch calls.

I actually am pretty thrilled to see how the salesman life works out for our trio. I’ve apparently arrived at the level of anime fandom where I’m basically done with shows that are cruel for the sake of it, and ready to embrace the upbeat but legitimately thoughtful children’s shows of the truly unsalvageable anime lifer. God help us all.

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Casshern Sins – Episode 8

And we’re back with more Casshern Sins! The show’s last episode was one of my favorites so far, offering the most evocative setpiece yet in the form of that lonesome belltower in the sands. “Evocative” is really the word when it comes to Casshern Sins – the show is layered with vague thematic and visual ideas that gesture towards greater meaning without entirely solidifying into clear messages. The result is an anthology of melancholy fairy tales that perfectly strike at the show’s intended tone, vignettes instilled with biblical significance. Let’s see what this new episode brings!

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Bakemonogatari – Episode 4

We’re in deep Mayoi Snail territory now, meaning I finally was able to get away with a reasonably sized episode review. This episode wasn’t really any more exciting than I remembered it being – I enjoyed it more now because I already know the characters, but basically nothing of consequence happened at all, and even the character-establishing banter was pretty mediocre. Mayoi Snail continues to dare any potential audiences to fight through the series.

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

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Mikagura School Suite – Review

Today I reviewed the hyperactive but generally endearing Mikagura School Suite! Outside of the likable protagonist Eruna, there really wasn’t that much to this one – its storytelling was pretty half-baked, and its aesthetics were nothing to write home about. The one exception was the handful of excellent fight scenes, but with less than half a dozen such scenes scattered across a full dozen episodes, that didn’t really save the show. Still, “mediocre but generally pleasant” makes for a perfectly acceptable viewing experience.

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

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Planetes – Episode 23

Planete’s twenty-third episode is one steady build to a long-awaited explosion. Early scenes reveal the SDF meddling with INTO’s broadcast satellites, putting us in their own leadership’s perspective for the first time. From a vague threat or thematic counterbalance, the SDF have become one of the principal actors in Planetes, touting a philosophy that the show may actually agree with more than any other. Though their overt rhetoric leans towards apocalyptic nonsense and naive environmentalism, everything we’ve learned about their actual members indicates they’re simply fighting back against INTO’s global hegemony in the only way they can.

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March comes in like a lion – Episode 16

March had another solid episode this week, buoyed by some strong execution and some fundamentally rewarding material. After that fatiguing low swing over the holidays, Rei seems to have rallied back emotionally, and is actually invested in the world around him again. The show is building up towards his reunion with the sisters, but I’m already having a solid time with his recommitment to shogi practice. Hopefully the show can stay this strong!

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

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Seiren – Episode 5

Seiren didn’t suddenly become a good show this week, but its new arc promises to be more inherently ridiculous than the last one, which I am all for. Shoichi’s new love interest Toru is pretty much a perfect idealized fantasy of a gamer girl, and their gaming-focused flirtations were as charming as they were ridiculous. Good for you Toru, you finally found a boy who can appreciate you for your sick headshots.

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

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