Summer 2016 – Week 13 in Review

The season well and truly ended this week, offering conclusions to Orange, Mob Psycho, Love Live, Thunderbolt Fantasy, and… well, JoJo is apparently eternal, so Not JoJo. Oh wait, Thunderbolt Fantasy also didn’t end, it’s still got an episode left. So I guess this week was actually just a clusterfuck of endings and non-endings, and we’re not going to get a break between seasons after all, and we’re just going to have to live with that. Either way, I can conclusively say that episodes of anime did in fact air this week, and I had at least a couple things to say about several of them. SO LET’S DO THAT!

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Orange – Episode 13

Welp, Orange finally finished up this week, offering sturdy conclusions to both the Naho/Kakeru romantic drama and the gang’s attempts to save Kakeru in general. Those two scenes basically justified this episode, even if the connective tissue was a little shaky – the first offered one of the sharpest descriptions of depression this show has managed, and the second was just a richly earned moment of friendship and catharsis for everyone involved. Orange didn’t really end up a good show, but it certainly had its moments.

You can check out my full review over at ANN!


Summer 2016 – Week 12 in Review

Oh god it’s happening. We’re already halfway through September, final episodes are beginning to broadcast, and the season is well and truly ending. While I’ve gotten somewhat used to the seasonal panic of the preview guide, I certainly haven’t gotten used to the fact that we’re all that much closer to death. Fortunately, that’s exactly what anime is good for – frittering away the idle hours with cartoon entertainment to avoid the lurking specter of our own inevitable mortality. So let’s set aside our dreary, perpetually fraying existence for a while, and RUN DOWN SOME SHOWS!

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Orange – Episode 12

Orange continued to rally this week, offering an episode that felt even more sharp than last week’s shrine visit disaster. Actually getting inside Kakeru’s head made for a poignant and claustrophobic experience, giving a real tangible weight to his feelings of guilt and hopelessness. Naho can’t tell Kakeru the truth because she’s Naho – Kakeru can’t tell his friends the truth because he’s trapped in a cycle of self-loathing that only isolates him more and more over time. Orange is handling its heaviest elements with some real sensitivity here.

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

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Orange – Episode 10

Management: Woops! I apparently forgot to post this one back when it should have gone up. Here it is now!

Orange is frankly starting to drag for me in basically all respects. The show has played its hand – at this point, basically every facet of Naho and Kakeru’s feelings have been thoroughly considered, and most of the emotional peaks just kinda resemble emotional peaks we’ve already seen before. It’s pretty clear that a full television season was not a great choice for adapting this material. Ah well.

You can check out my full review over at ANN, or my very limited notes below!

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Summer 2016 – Week 11 in Review

Surprise surprise, another fine friggin’ week in anime. With this season leaning so heavily into pure entertainment shows over emotional or thematic blockbusters, it can be easy to take weeks like this for granted – I laughed and cheered throughout, but wasn’t truly surprised by anything. But as I said in this week’s Love Live editorial, the craft of fun should never be taken for granted. This season’s shows have worked hard to keep me entertained, and the fact that basically every show this season fits into the “goofy good time” slot doesn’t make it any less impressive of a collection. So let’s run down this season’s silly shows once more, as another strong season begins to come to a close!

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Orange – Episode 11

Orange finally challenged the supremacy of “we have to save Kakeru at all costs” this week, which was an incredibly welcome change of pace. It was great to see Suwa’s friends articulate all the ways his mission of self-sacrifice wasn’t necessarily the right call, even if he ultimately couldn’t deny his fundamentally charitable nature. Kakeru doesn’t necessarily need a cute girlfriend – he needs a support group who are willing to accommodate his needs and assure him they’ll be there for him, but also give him space to sort out his difficult feelings. As easy as it is to assume romantic melodrama is the solution to everything, sometimes there are other options!

You can check out my full review over at ANN.


Summer 2016 – Week 10 in Review

Well heck dang it’s Wednesday again. Anime was pretty alright this week – a couple clear standouts, a couple weaker entries, an overall par performance. JoJo’s fundamentally great art design is unfortunately still trembling under the weight of several consecutive seasons, and Orange is beginning to lose me with its circular conflicts, but Love Live pulled off a spectacle that was just as funny as last week was successfully dramatic, and even if JoJo wasn’t prepared to be top JoJo, Thunderbolt Fantasy certainly was. It frankly makes me a little sad that I have to scroll all the way down the streaming titles page to reach Thunderbolt’s spot on Crunchyroll – I can kinda understand that its inherently camp nature makes it less appealing to many fans seeking action shows, but it’s seriously so, so much better than 9/10 of the shows in its genre. Surely one day the Thunderbolt Fantasies and Lost Villages of the world will get their due!


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Summer 2016 – Week 9 in Review

Alright, now we’re actually three quarters of the way through the season. That generally tends to align with shows’ second-to-last dramatic peaks, and this season was no exception – both Mob Psycho and Love Live had huge episodes this week, and the JoJo/Thunderbolt Fantasy pairing had pretty key turning points as well. Orange is starting to look a little long in the tooth at this point, but other than that, I’d say the season’s crop are holding together quite well. I’m perfectly happy to have two seasons in a row conclude with dignity intact!

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Orange – Episode 9

Orange is still meandering its way towards a conclusion. There were good moments in this episode, but that’s all I’m really expecting from the show at this point – even beyond its slowly drowning production, there’s just not enough substance to Naho’s feelings to really support an entire TV anime. A story can feel true to life without being good storytelling, and that’s basically what we’ve arrived at here – yes, Naho’s the kind of person who would let her feelings run in circles forever, but unless the show can articulate new truths in those feelings over time, that’s not really meaningful from an audience perspective.

Anyway! You can check out my full review over at ANN.