Just Because! – Episode 10

This was a pretty routine episode of Just Because!, though I might just be saying that because the big focus scene this time was centered on Hazuki and Haruto, and neither of those people are Ena. Regardless, it offered that same blend of grounded romance and melancholy that has been the show’s most consistent export, and things really do seem to be coming towards a satisfying close. Just Because! remains an unassumingly excellent character drama.

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

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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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Just Because! – Episode 9

The kids are doing their friggin’ best in this week’s Just Because! The show remained as consistently acute and endearing as ever this time, with Ena in particular getting a serious bounty of charming new material. I feel a little sorry for Mopey Mio, but look, Ena’s the one out there putting the hard romcom hours into this relationship. If Mio wants a doomed adolescent romance, she’s gonna have to shape up quick.

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

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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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Just Because! – Episode 8

Ena kept things moving once again in this week’s Just Because!, solidifying her position as the best member of this very awkward cast. I’m sympathetic to Mio’s feelings here, but Ena is just too charming, and her proactive nature is too good at balancing out the rest of the cast’s hesitance. If this show has a “destined pairing” it’s likely Eita and Mio, but I’ll be rooting for Ena regardless.

You can check out my full review over at ANN!

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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Just Because! – Episode 7

Why the heck did Just Because have to go and make the Mio-Eita pairing just as compelling as the Ena-Eita one. I was all set to have a definitive ship for this show, and then this episode had to come along and just totally sell the warmth of their bond and the power of Eita’s feelings. This was a very good episode outside of its visual failings, but seriously, show. You can’t be doing this to me.

You can check out my much more informative review over at ANN, or my episode notes below.

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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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Just Because! – Episode 6

Just Because! pulled off a nicely focused episode this week, essentially using Haruto as the central pillar to contrast Mio and Hazuki’s experiences of young love. While Mio is coming to realize a long-held crush might not be the strongest basis for a relationship, Hazuki is starting to believe that not really knowing Haruto isn’t necessarily enough of a reason not to date him. Both of their experiences felt valid and well-articulated here, continuing Just Because!’s sturdy trend of incredibly well-observed adolescent romance.

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

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Fall 2017 – Week 5 in Review

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!

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