Today I took advantage of Crunchyroll’s Hero Week to rep some of the best goddamn shows of the last few years. Gatchaman Crowds, Samurai Flamenco, and Concrete Revolutio are all near and dear to my heart, so I was happy to get a chance to celebrate them, and hopefully turn a few more people on to some of the most compelling stories in recent memory. Everybody deserves a little Nice Justice in their life.
The anime this week was… confusing. On the negative side, my two favorite shows of the season had pretty mediocre episodes. My Hero Academia was stuck in transition land, while The Eccentric Family decided to lean even more heavily into the same conflicts as the first season. On the positive side, basically everything below those shows had a terrific showing, with all of Sakura Quest, Re:Creators, and Tsuki ga Kirei pulling off some of their best episodes yet. I suppose that’s the advantage of watching this many streaming shows – even if the heavyweights momentarily stumble, there’s always something putting its best foot forward. Anyway, I’ve got a million words on Re:Creators this week, so let’s start at the opposite end and RUN THIS WEEK DOWN!
After a serious dip in general show quality, the anime returned to something of a neutral setting this week, lifted largely on the back of The Eccentric Family’s terrific performance. Sakura Quest, My Hero Academia, and Re:Creators were all just kinda middle-of-the-road, though their particular brands of middle-of-the-road all gave me unique things to talk about. So in terms of this particular article, I guess you guys once again get to reap the benefits of less than stellar cartoons. This season isn’t ending as well as it started, but basically none of them do – it’s a whole lot easier to make a great first episode than it is to make a consistently satisfying full season narrative. Let’s start out in the weeds of Manoyama and run this week down!
This week on Why It Works, I found a very good excuse to fan out about Yutaka Nakamura’s kickass animation. His work on the Deku-Todoroki fight was both terrific and clearly emblematic of his recent output, and so it seemed like a perfectly good excuse to poke at his catalog and general style. I’m certainly not an expert when it comes to critiquing animation, but man, the guy can make some awesome scenes.
I guess I should have stopped talking about the anime being good! The cosmos apparently did not appreciate my joy, and so this week in anime was pretty friggin’ bad. The Eccentric Family had easily its worst episode of the season, Sakura Quest kinda fell into its lazy sitcom mode, and Re:Creators took a couple of turns so disappointing that I felt tempted to drop the show altogether. Not really a good showing for what had looked like a pretty bulletproof season.
Still, My Hero Academia had a fucking amazing episode, and one bad week isn’t really enough to shake anything I’m watching. Plus I know you guys love to read through my suffering, so I guess at least one audience gets to benefit from this week’s disappointments. Let’s start with the good news and run this week down!
For this week’s Why It Works, I had fun with a pretty specific deep dive, poking at the various dramatic pillars that made Uraraka’s battle so interesting. My Hero Academia is pretty much bulletproof when it comes to shounen storytelling fundamentals, particularly in this arc, and so it hasn’t been all that hard to keep finding new topics to explore. A classic concept executed well is a very fine thing!
The anime… is good. Really, if anything, I can only complain that this season’s incredibly consistent quality has made it a whole lot harder to come up with reasonable topics for these intro paragraphs. I’ve been leaning on the meta well a bit too heavily, but given I’ve dropped everything that ever caused me any pain whatsoever, it’s just hard to stay even-handed here. Sakura Quest has shrugged off its early messiness, My Hero Academia is slam dunking its brilliant source material, and The Eccentric Family 2 likely had its best episode yet. I try to stay impartial, but folks, it might be time to recommend you try Anime. I’ve heard it’s pretty okay.
Alright, I think that’s around my required word count. Now let’s both of us escape this preamble and RUN THIS WEEK DOWN!
Today on Why It Works, I basically let myself geek out and do all that in-universe theorizing that really isn’t actually criticism. I’ve already read through the whole sports festival arc, but I tried to just rely on exactly what we know so far to inform this article, which meant my terrible memory actually came in handy for once. I really enjoy doing more flavor-focused articles, and I hope you all like them too!
Look, this season is just great, guys. I don’t know how many times I can say it. A season that’s simultaneously airing one of My Hero Academia’s best arcs, the sequel to one of my favorite shows ever, and the spiritual successor to Shirobako would frankly have a damn hard time being bad. Even with Tsuki ga Kirei taking the week off, there were no shortage of high points this week – Sakura Quest had one of its best episodes, My Hero Academia ran through an entire goddamn tournament bracket, and even Re:Creators pulled off some of its most rewarding conversations yet. This is a fine time to be an anime fan!
Alright, let’s get right to it.
Well folks, it looks like we’re somehow halfway through the spring season. Things have been insanely busy on my end, as I’ve been scrambling to deal with a bunch of work-related backend stuff that’s altogether far less exciting than watching cartoons. Fortunately, the cartoons themselves have been as strong as ever – this spring has an extremely sturdy lineup, so stuffed with watchable shows that I’ve essentially had to shave off an entire second tier of contenders. Keeping up with my Current Projects means I don’t really have the time to watch nine airing shows a season anymore, but I certainly can’t complain about having too much to watch!
As usual, this is the point where I vaguely rank the shows I’m watching in some kind of descending order. Also as usual, these rankings are essentially meaningless – I like making ranked lists, but I don’t think they have any meaningful value, and establishing this hierarchy while none of these shows are actually completed only underlines that. So sit back, relax, and let’s have an enjoyably pointless time!