The Idolmaster: Cinderella Girls, S2 – Review

Unsurprisingly, my journey back through Cinderella Girls’ first season was swiftly followed by a run through the second. And as it turns out, Cinderella Girls is actually a pretty great show! The show certainly lacks the easy humor and aesthetic brilliance of its predecessor, but it makes up for that with a set of dramatic conflicts that actually work. The corporate vision stuff that underlies the show’s entire second half is legitimately engaging, and even Uzuki’s final personal conflict feels very earned and dramatically effective. Cinderella Girls starts off very shaky, but it comes together quite nicely in the end. It’s not a personal favorite, but it’s a fine show.

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

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The Idolmaster: Cinderella Girls, S1 – Review

I apparently just can’t help myself with the dang idols, so I went back and took another look at Cinderella Girls. This show’s early material pretty much confirmed my first impression – the early episodes here are awkward, and the first major conflict kind of undercooked. On top of that, the aesthetic magic that made the original so unimpeachably solid is in large part missing here. Fortunately, the second half of this season pulls together fairly well, and at this point I already know the second season will be even more of an improvement. Cinderella Girls is a scrappy one, but it works out in the end

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

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Winter 2015 – First Half in Review

Dear god, it’s somehow that time again. The time when we all get together to celebrate the cartoons we love by putting them in a meaningless ranking system that denies the very purpose of storytelling altogether. The halfway point rankings feel even more meaningless than usual this season, as the current season is both very good and also full of shows that I’m enjoying all around the same level, but trifling problems like that won’t stand in the way of tradition. Let’s run ’em down!

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Winter 2015 – Week 5 in Review

Aw jeez, we’re nearing the halfway point already? This season and year are going way too fast, and all I’ve got to show for it is all this writing about cartoons. This was a fine week in anime, and it seems the various tiers for this season are pretty established at this point, even though it’s hard to directly compare many of the shows I’m watching. Maria the Virgin Witch is excellent, but shares almost nothing in common with most of my other shows. Shirobako is fantastic, but how do I compare what it does to something like Yuri Kuma Arashi? Fortunately, I’ve long since learned comparisons and evaluations are a sucker’s game – I’m happy just to enjoy the good in the many shows I’m watching.

Also next week I’m gonna rank them anyway because it’s tradition, but that’s besides the point. Let’s run ’em down!

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Winter 2015 – Week 4 in Review

An excellent week in anime this, uh, week, with pretty much everything I’m watching either holding strong, recovering from weaker episodes, or demonstrating new strengths altogether. Death Parade was easily the surprise star this time – Death Parade was almost a show I was watching out of obligation up until now (“yeah it’s well-constructed, but why should I care?”), but this episode felt sharper, more passionate, and more poignant than any of the previous trials. Plus it actually attacked the show’s premise, and even pointed to the idea that the arbitrary nature of these trials is intentionally reflective of how the arbitrary nature of life itself prevents us from being the selves we ought to be. Rolling Girls also made something of a comeback this week, and Yuri Kuma is starting to feel like it’s finally comfortable in its own world. Potential transitioned into results across the board this week, which means I guess I’ll be watching Too Many Shows for some time to come. Let’s run ’em down!

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Winter 2015 – Week 3 in Review

This week was kind of split between hits and misses. On the hit side, Yurikuma and JoJo both put out episodes that were significant improvements on their earlier material, and both Maria and Yatterman continue to excel. On the miss side, pretty much the most reliable of all shows finally hit a rough patch in this week’s Shirobako, and Rolling Girls failed to demonstrate its actual material will be as energetic and engaging as its introduction. But the season is still young, the schedule’s still strong, and there’s plenty of anime to go around. Let’s run ’em down!

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Winter 2015 – Week 2 in Review

I am watching too many shows. Way too many shows. Shows on backlog and shows for release review and too many goddamn airing shows. I’ve tried to be ruthless. I cut Saekano because the first few minutes seemed typical. I cut Earth High Defense Club because I just didn’t feel like it. But there’s too much good anime! Too many of the premiers weren’t red herrings, too many of the long shots turned out to be great. I’m not gonna survive this season, you guys. Something’s gonna snap.

Well, whatever. Let’s run ’em down, starting with the last two episodes of Shirobako!

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Winter 2015 – First Impressions, Part Two

The preview guide continues! I’m happy to say this season has completely surpassed my expectations so far, with all the shows I was looking forward to and more besides coming out swinging with strong first episodes. First episodes can certainly be deceiving, but given my preseason expectations were “well, at least some great shows are continuing from the fall,” I’m very pleased to see such an initially strong crop of episodes.

The Rolling Girls

Here’s the link to the preview guide, where you can once again check out all my posts as they arrive. Today’s recommendations are Death Parade, The Idolmaster – Cinderella Girls, and especially The Rolling Girls. Death Parade pretty much fulfills all the macabre promise of Death Billiards with a trashy, beautifully articulated first episode, Cinderella Girls offers understated drama and humor in the KyoAni school, and The Rolling Girls feels like a breathless combination of Kyousogiga and Yozakura Quartet. You’ll find links to all my new reviews with scores below. Hope you find something you enjoy!

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