Juni Taisen: Zodiac War – Review

Today I offered a streaming review of Juni Taisen, one of this season’s most fascinating and polarizing titles. The show’s relentless violence and depressing flashbacks often made it seem like it must be a cynical thing, but the last episode was such a clear validation of all of its stars that its underlying empathy seems undeniable. Unsatisfying as a battle royale and inconsistent as an antiwar treatise, Juni Taisen most consistently shined as a character piece; fortunately, those characters were strong enough to carry the day. Juni Taisen is one of those deeply unbalanced properties that make anime so interesting, and I was happy to explore those contradictions at length.

You can check out my full review over at ANN.

Why It Works: Rating the Wishes of Juni Taisen

I managed to find one more Juni Taisen topic to send the show off this week, and was pretty happy with the result. Juni Taisen’s finale was pretty much exactly what I’d hoped for, an episode that managed to celebrate the show’s excellent cast without undermining the legitimacy and finality of their choices. The show hit a rough patch from Monkey’s death through the twins, but it came together well enough for me to forgive the stumble. I’m gonna miss these murders.

Rating the Wishes of Juni Taisen

Fall 2017 – Week 11 in Review

Another of our beloved contenders set sail this week, with MMO Junkie ending on a kinda mediocre but still relatively charming OVA episode. Outside of that, the fall season continued to offer nothing but hits this week, with Sunshine managing its second strong episode in a row while all the season’s more stable contenders maintained their usual sheen. I have to admire March comes in like a lion for its confidence in continuously interrupting its excellent Hina arc with diversions that all turn out to be satisfying enough to warrant messing with the narrative structure. March’s choices don’t at all feel like the way this story “should” be told, but at this point, the embellishments feel like expert saxophone solos threaded into a confident jazz standard. Meanwhile, Lustrous continues to surprise in new ways, while Just Because! keeps up its awkward-as-hell consistency once again. It is so very nice when the anime is good. Let’s GET TO IT!

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Fall 2017 – Week 10 in Review

It feels like all of these great shows are now just jostling to remind me exactly how great they are, right before the season ends and we’re all left in the winter void. March comes in like a lion rose to a dramatic crescendo, Land of the Lustrous had one of its most visually jaw-dropping episodes yet, and even Love Live Sunshine managed to shake off its recent woes and deliver a strong performance. With Recovery of an MMO Junkie already taking its bow, we’re really in the final days now – and with the end of the year prompting me to write way too many final lists, I’m getting even more reminders of how good this season is. Considering Land of the Lustrous is likely to be one of my future go-to gateway shows, I can’t really complain about all this anime ending strong. Let’s instead celebrate it while it’s here, and run this week’s episodes down!

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Why It Works: The Ugliness of War in Juni Taisen

Today on Crunchyroll, I broke down the various ways Juni Taisen makes its visions of war tangibly horrific. War stories always have to manage a difficult balance of portraying violence without glorifying it, and Juni Taisen feels more dedicated than most such stories to emphasizing that war is brutish and inhumane, and that its violence is often less awe-inspiring than mercilessly sudden and utterly final. I hope you enjoy the piece!

The Ugliness of War in Juni Taisen

Fall 2017 – Week 9 in Review

Land of the Lustrous is so good you guys what is up with that. I mean, the other anime I’m watching are good too, but seriously, Land of the Lustrous. I think it actually might be on anime of the year trajectory at this point, particularly if we hit any real payoff of its big threads by the end of this season. Aside from that, hey, guess it’s time for the Week in Review! The season’s holding pretty steady at this point, with most shows either moving towards or formally transitioning into their final act. Love Live is still messing around in side arcs, but I actually appreciate that in a structural sense, since I don’t think the show really improves by focusing on the drama of the Love Live itself. MMO Junkie had a criminally adorable episode, and Just Because stayed as well-observed as ever. Look, I don’t know how many ways I can say “this season is phenomenal and we should cherish it while it lasts.” Let’s get right on with it and RUN THESE SHOWS DOWN!

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Fall 2017 – Week 8 in Review

Having honed an already-strong season down to a fine point, my experiences with this week’s anime were altogether pretty darn good. March comes in like a lion is perhaps the biggest surprise – I’d established fairly middle-of-the-road expectations for the show the first time around, but this time it’s consistently keeping up with the season’s top heavy hitters. And of course, both Just Because! and Land of the Lustrous have been great from the start and remained great, with only Just Because!’s production woes really pulling it down. We’re reaching the point where it’s time for me to settle on my favorite shows of the year, and the fall season will certainly be well-represented there. Could either Kemono Friends or Land of the Lustrous secure that top spot, marking a new dawn for CG anime? ONLY TIME WILL TELL! Alright let’s talk shows.

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What Does Your Favorite Juni Taisen Character Say About You?

For this week’s Crunchyroll article, I embraced the silliness of character listicles and made a very ridiculous Juni Taisen article. I’m actually pretty happy with my breakdowns of all the character psychologies here, but I can’t say I’d rely on my findings for any personality horoscoping. But hey, if you like Rabbit and also murdering, I guess follow your bliss.

What Your Favorite Juni Taisen Character Says About You

Fall 2017 – Week 7 in Review

The anime was, uh, brief this week. Just Because!’s production woes finally flowered into an entire week off, while my persistent issues with neo-Kino’s Journey led to me finally dropping it. Outside of those missing contenders, things didn’t actually get that much better – I had issues with this week’s MMO Junkie, Love Live, and Juni Taisen, leaving it to just March and Lustrous to carry the banner. Fortunately, those two performed admirably, with Land of the Lustrous in particular continuing a pretty much unbroken streak of excellent episodes. With Kino out of the picture, it’s likely time to actually pick up Girls’ Last Tour, but that unfortunately has to come after actual work-related shows. Hopefully that’ll make it in by next week, and in the meantime, let’s run down this week’s unfortunately lackluster offerings!

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Fall 2017 – First Half in Review

Well, we’ve arrived at the halfway point again. 2017 feels likely to be remembered as a key year in humanity’s overall decline, but at least this fall season’s Japanese cartoons were pretty good. As usual, I’ll be doing my pointless mid-season rankings today, and jotting down some overall thoughts on the shows I’m watching so far. These rankings are always meaningless, but given there are a fair number of admittedly great shows I’m already not watching purely because of time constraints, you can rest assured that I’m solidly enjoying everything that actually makes this list. Side M, Girls’ Last Tour, Ancient Magus’ Bride… I’d be happy to keep up with any of those shows in a lighter season, and will hopefully find the time to swing back and pick them up later. As for now, I’ll try to be at least a little ruthless in breaking down where I think my active contenders stumble and soar. Let’s get right to the list!

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