Winter 2017 – First Half in Review

The season halfway point has arrived at last! In spite of early speculation by certain disreputable parties, the winter season hasn’t fallen on its face, and is actually turning out to be stronger than last winter. It’s still certainly a weaker season, but for some reason that’s just how winters tend to be – and given I’m supplementing this season’s offerings with regular injections of unfair additions like Planetes and Nichijou, I can’t really complain. But today, it’s all about the winter shows, as I commence the seasonal tradition of ranking everything I’m watching at the exact point those rankings are least likely to be meaningful. Theoretically, this is supposed to reflect the fundamental pointlessness of constructing hierarchical rankings of art in general – in practice, it’s more like most other traditions: I do it because I started doing it and I’ve been doing it for a while and goddamnit if I’m gonna stop now. So let’s start right at the top and run this season down!

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March comes in like a lion – Episode 17

March continued its streak of excellent episodes this week, bringing great visual flare to the show’s consistently thoughtful conversations. This episode’s beauty frankly took me a bit by surprise – March is a pretty show, but I haven’t come to expect this level of fresh visual invention for each new episode. Hopefully it’s a sign of good things to come!

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

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Winter 2017 – Week 5 in Review

This was another perfectly acceptable week in anime. I’ve pretty much accepted that this is going to be a workmanly season – there’s nothing I’ll love as much as Oregairu or Flip Flappers, but most of my list will consistently turn out solidly enjoyable episodes. Dragon Maid is the comfiest thing I could hope for, Tanya continues to be far too entertaining for its own good, and Rakugo holds up the prestige end of the season with relative grace. March also seems to be recovering from its weaker stretch, which is nice to see. This probably won’t be the season we come back to at the end of the year, but hey, some seasons are just trying to pay the bills. So let’s start with some fuwa fuwa dragons and run this week down!

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March comes in like a lion – Episode 16

March had another solid episode this week, buoyed by some strong execution and some fundamentally rewarding material. After that fatiguing low swing over the holidays, Rei seems to have rallied back emotionally, and is actually invested in the world around him again. The show is building up towards his reunion with the sisters, but I’m already having a solid time with his recommitment to shogi practice. Hopefully the show can stay this strong!

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

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Winter 2017 – Week 4 in Review

Well now I’ve got too many damn shows. Having added two shows to the schedule, along with rewatching and writing the hell out of Bakemonogatari, means I’m actually feeling at least as overbooked as I did last season, and I don’t even have something as infinitely layered as Flip Flappers to make all my Crunchyroll articles easy. This anime gig is tough! Still, “too many good shows” is not the worst of problems, and I certainly don’t mind this season shaping up to be more respectable than anticipated. Thank you KyoAni for introducing me to my perfect dragon daughter, your charity truly knows no bounds. Let’s get right to it and RUN SOME SHOWS DOWN!

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March comes in like a lion – Episode 15

March got back onto steadier footing this week, offering a strong episode that made solid use of the show’s secondary cast. The flashback sequences with Kyouko were terrific, and it was also just really nice to see Rei actually invested in something once again. I’m looking forward to the conclusion of this surprisingly gripping match.

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

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Winter 2017 – Week 3 in Review

Well shit, where the hell did all these shows come from. Last week I was basically on the verge of rechristening the Week in Review in Rakugo’s honor, and now I’ve got all these friggin’ words about dragon maids and nazi lolis. It turned out the winter season wasn’t quite done with me yet, and so it looks like we’ll be returning to my regularly scheduled ramblings. The second episode of Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid was miles better than the first, and the second and third episodes of Tanya were… actually really entertaining? I mean, I can at least say for sure now that the show definitely isn’t Mahouka – a great part of the appeal is watching Tanya get kicked around by the actual deity of her world. Whether that appeal keeps the show entertaining for a full season, I couldn’t begin to say, but either way, it’s time for words. Let’s start with the two newcomers and RUN THESE SHOWS DOWN!

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March comes in like a lion – Episode 14

March had another middling episode this week, which it feels sad to admit is what I’ve come to expect. The show’s fundamental material is still strong, but it could certainly have used a more courageous adaptation. Sequences like this episode’s first half clearly didn’t demand a full half episode in adaptation form, and the show’s visual motifs are starting to feel kind of abused as well. Still a fan, but it’s certainly not the show it could be.

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

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Winter 2017 – Week 2 in Review

This week in anime was… look, I’m barely watching anything this season. ACCA and Interviews with Monster Girls are the only non-Rakugo show I’m not both watching and covering for ANN, and that second one’s already kind of on the borderline. If the season continues at this pace, it seems likely we’ll be at This Week in Rakugo before too long. That’s not actually the worst thing! I’ve probably said it before, but I’m much happier with a show or two I really love than a bunch of “watchable entertainment” I’d be comfortable skipping. My media consumption tends to reflect that – I make top ten lists and whatnot, but as an “anime fan,” I’m probably only a fan of 2-3% of what the medium puts out, and could take or leave the rest. That’s not to say I’m a more refined consumer or anything, it mostly just means I understand that some seasons aren’t going to have much for me to talk about. I’ll figure out if I should adjust my schedule for the season at some point (“Week 6: the award for best Rakugo goes to Rakugo”), but for now, let’s run down this season’s slimmest of pickings!

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March comes in like a lion – Episode 13

March had a pretty shaky episode this week, both in terms of its structure and its visual execution. The actual material being covered was fine, but the show’s adherence to its chapter-by-chapter format and creaky animation didn’t really do this block any favors. I’m probably enjoying the show more than I would if I’d read the manga – since this is my first time enjoying this story, I can accept some sloppy execution.

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

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