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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
Today I conclude my journey through Juni Taisen’s early episodes, talking about how well the show executed on Chicken’s story and also how episode four set up a variety of dramatic tentpoles for the show to come. This is pretty much as far as you can go with an article series like this – as episode six has gleefully demonstrated, we are now in the part of the narrative where all bets are off, and characters will be dying quickly in order to make way for the final confrontations. At least I got half an article dedicated to Monkey before that bastard Nisio killed her off :(((
Dear lord is the anime good you guys. The anime is so, so good. Even the shows I’ve been kinda so-so on, like Kino’s Journey and March comes in like a lion, turned in all-star performances this week. Last season’s emptiness seems to be getting paid back in full this season, as Fall 2017 is pretty much offering everything I want in anime. A thoughtful, subtly executed character drama? Just Because! A rambling, evocative thematic treatise? Kino’s Journey. An over-the-top but still character-focused action spectacle? Juni Taisen. And all those pillars are strongly bolstered by plenty of other shows, including TWO, that’s right, TWO actually funny comedies. We very rarely get seasons this good, and I’m doing my best to appreciate every minute of it. LET’S RUN THIS WEEK’S EPISODES DOWN!
Today on Crunchyroll, I dug into how well Juni Taisen has balanced the assumptions of its premise and the general demands of dramatic characterization. The show isn’t wasting time killing off its contenders, but those contenders are being used well – their deaths are all meaningful in their own way, and the fact that I actually felt very sad for Chicken and Boar is a testament to the show’s overall writing. You can check out my full piece over at Crunchyroll!