Nichijou – Episode 26

And here we are. The final episode of Nichijou. It’s been a terrific ride, and as often happens near the end of a great show, I’m actually feeling pretty alright about its ending. I certainly complained enough in the intros leading up to this one, but at this point, I’m just happy to know the show ends strong, and truly is an unmatchable comedy from start to finish. Nichijou is a unique kind of masterpiece, demonstrating an understanding of comedic timing and creativity of both conception and execution that puts it in a class of its own. Sometimes anime is good.

Alright, let’s get right to this.

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Bakemonogatari – Episode 9

Today we begin Bakemonogatari’s hella controversial fourth arc! Yep, it’s time for Nadeko. I had a bit of a tough time writing about this one, but not really because of the Nadeko material itself – more because this episode’s structure made it difficult to establish a single thesis and then explore it throughout a variety of scenes. Fortunately, I’m pretty sure the second episode will offer an extremely straightforward opportunity to explore What’s The Deal With Nadeko, so I’m looking forward to that. And this one was still a very strong episode!

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

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Winter 2017 – Week 10 in Review

The anime was very cheery this week! I mean, I expect that from Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid, but even sadsack productions like Rakugo and March comes in like a lion turned in remarkably optimistic performances. I certainly didn’t mind that – frankly, it feels like all of us could use a little sunshine as the winter trudges to its end. And these were certainly well-earned strokes of positivity, given what the characters in both of those shows have recently suffered. With all that on top of this week’s wonderful episode of Dragon Maid, this was a pretty alright week in anime land. Let’s start with those reliable dragons and RUN THIS WEEK DOWN!

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Spring 2017 Season Preview

The winter season is drawing to a close, which means it’s once more time to look forward and see what the future might bring. This current season was a bit of a wash, and I’m not gonna sugarcoat it – next season isn’t looking great either. Frankly, if you’re not anticipating at least one or two of this spring’s big sequels, it might be worth calling a mulligan on this one. Outside of Masaaki Yuasa’s new films, there are basically no noteworthy projects by any of the creators I generally keep tabs on – no Matsumoto, no Mizushima, no Nakamura, and nothing by Kyoto Animation period. Couple that with a slate of dire-looking premises and previews, and you’ve got the recipe for a fresh season of playing videogames and catching up on backlog. Personally, I recommend the first one – I normally only get excited about a couple games a year, but this year’s already brought us Resident Evil VII, Nier Automata, Nioh, and Breath of the Wild, with Persona 5 still on its way. Those are some pretty great videogames!

But of course, you’re here for anime. The good news is, if you are in the market for sequels, this season has some extremely promising ones. The Eccentric Family counts among my favorite shows of all time, and both My Hero Academia and Rage of Bahamut have strong predecessors to live up to. As usual, my list won’t cover every show – you can check basically any resource to find that, along with handy synopses. I’ll just be running down the shows I’m actually excited about, along with what specifically sticks out to me. So let’s start with my most anticipated shows and run this coming season down!

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March comes in like a lion – Episode 21

At last, March comes in like a lion allowed its characters to be briefly happy. After the terrific but harrowing Shimada arc, it was a wonderful treat to see Rei and Shimada actually enjoy their visit to Shimada’s hometown, and also great to check in with the Kawamoto siblings again. There was even some charming character animation in the last act, a genuine rarity for this show. Thanks for being kind this week, March.

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

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Seiren – Episode 10

Seiren pulled off one of its best episodes this week, demonstrating the unique mix of weirdness and naturalism that can occasionally make it a pretty solid show. I’m still not actually invested in this romance, probably because I just can’t bring myself to care about Shoichi, but I can at least believe in it, which puts it ahead of the first two arcs. Baby steps, Seiren.

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

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Why It Works: Dragon Maid’s Yamada Touch, Part One

Today I’ve got the first of a two-parter all about Naoko Yamada’s recent episode of Dragon Maid. This one offered me the chance to do something I love doing, but only infrequently get a chance to – breaking down a massive number of visual choices made for one specific scene, exploring how all of them facilitate the sequence’s dramatic intent. Not all shows or episodes reward that kind of close look, but Yamada’s stuff and Kyoto Animation’s work in general do it all the time. Good anime are fun to talk about!

Why It Works: Dragon Maid’s Yamada Touch, Part One

Natsume’s Book of Friends – Episode 4

Natsume’s Book of Friends got intense this episode! After three episodes of melancholy pastoral fantasy tinged with slight danger, this episode dipped directly into horror and even action territory for the first time. The results were as uneven as you might expect, but I appreciate the show branching out, and doubly appreciate an extension of the central cast. Loneliness might be one of Natsume’s fundamental themes, but Natsume doesn’t need to be lonely all the time.

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Wandering Son – Episode 8

Wandering Son’s eighth episode is titled “Spring.” Just one episode after the fall leaves heralded Nitori’s unfortunate acne, we’ve arrived at the beginning of a new school year, a time of renewal. Once again, we open with the scenery telling the story. As the main cast discuss their new class assignments, blooming cherry blossoms signal a chance to start over, a new beginning for these awkward friends.

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Bakemonogatari – Episode 8

Today we concluded one of Monogatari’s most famous arcs with that arc’s most famous episode. The climactic showdown between Kanbaru and Araragi was as great as ever, but unsurprisingly, I spent most of today’s writeup pouring over both Araragi’s psychological hangups here and how they reflect the series overall, as well as the larger implications of this episode’s monkey’s paw shenanigans. Fun times all around!

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

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