The Best Anime Next Steps

There are a lot of anime out there! Literally thousands, with over a hundred more being released every year. There are new hits every season, and old favorites that have slowly lost their topical sheen. Given all those shows, it can be understandably hard to pick what to watch next – anime, like every other medium, is full of stuff that will disappoint you, and everyone’s tastes are different.

My own tastes in particular are a little weird – I like arthouse stuff and intimate character studies and occasional cathartic message-focused shows. But fortunately, there is indeed such a thing as “normal” taste in anime, or at least the most common preferences shared by fans outside of Japan. And today, I’m hoping to help that audience – or more specifically, hopefully, You.

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Psycho-Pass 2 – Review

Back once more into that dark place. I pretty much already knew this was going to be a painful experience based on my first attempted viewing, but this anime life isn’t all rainbows and sunshine. The show ended up being just as bad as I remembered, and its second half only became even worse, doubling down on its violent unpleasantness and just getting more incoherent as it went along. I found myself consistently wondering what the show’s director and other staff must have thought when they received these scripts. Was it just impossible time-wise to demand rewrites? It is almost difficult to write a story this poorly.

Anyway. You can check out my very thorough review over at ANN, or my episode notes below.

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Winter 2016 – Week 10 in Review

Well I guess some weeks have to be disasters. A couple of the shows I’m watching were fine this week, but there were some real terrible episodes in there, and one in particular… I don’t even know what to say. It’s pretty rare that a generally excellent show completely sets itself on fire just a few episodes before the end, but here we are. This is what we got. So let’s get right into it.

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Fall 2014 – Week 5 in Review

Not much to report – this season is very easily the best of the year, pretty much every show I’m invested in is putting out stellar episodes, and I’ve dropped almost everything I’m not enjoying. At this point, the only real hanger-on is actually Psycho-Pass – I feel kind of committed to finishing it, but I’m not really enjoying the stuff it’s doing. On the other hand, KimiUso, Bahamut, Shirobako, Parasyte – any of them could comfortably be the best show of another season, and none of them show any sign of falling apart. It’s a good time to cartoon.

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Fall 2014 – Week 3 in Review

At the beginning of fall, this year was not really looking good. I had maybe five or six shows I’d be comfortable putting on a top shows list, and the fall season featured a lineup of ambiguous sequels and unknown originals. But holy shit has this season overperformed like crazy. This lineup is a goddamn bounty of riches – there’s at least four shows that would be comfortable top picks in any normal season (Shirobako, KimiUso, Parasyte, Rage of Bahamut), and the shows immediately below this aren’t even that far off – I could easily see Fate/stay night, Amagi, or Psycho-Pass 2 overperforming and vaulting over the competition at any time. Fall seasons tend to be fairly stacked in general, but this one in particular is one of the best seasons I’ve seen. It’s a good time to love cartoons!

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Fall 2014 – Virtually Every First Episode Retrospective

I have been very busy these last couple weekends! Working on the ANN preview guide has meant I’ve had to watch and write about virtually every full-length show that premiered this fall – I believe the only ones we missed were G Reco, Amagi Brilliant Park, and Seven Deadly Sins, and I actually wrote about the first one and took notes on the second anyway. Of course, since all that was for ANN, you guys over here haven’t had heard as much from me. So in light of that, I’ve decided to do a hyper-speed mega-Week in Review rundown of my most summarized thoughts on every goddamn show, complete with links to individual ANN pages where you can find the small essays I wrote on every single one of them. If you want to hear me praise stuff, stick to the top, if you want to hear me tear shit apart, check out the bottom. There’s been a wide, wide range of shows this season, and every one of them has earned a whole bunch of words. LET’S DO THIS.

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Fall 2014 Season Preview

You guys excited about some new cartoons?! This summer was very nearly the weakest season since I started this blog, so I know I’m sure ready. This fall is looking to be the Season of the Sequel – I’ve already got four sequels I’ll be checking out, along with Sword Art Online continuing on its merry way. The list of originals is looking a bit more sparse, but I’m often surprised by what ends up grabbing me anyway, so I’m not too worried about that. As always, all upcoming shows can be seen at anichart.net. And as usual, I’m only going to be covering the shows I’m actually checking out – if your favorite’s not here, feel free to make a case for it in the comments! Let’s start with my top pick and run it down…

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Top Shows Addendum

So I wrote my Top 30 Shows of All Time list, and that was great and super convenient for a while, until I came to a startling revelation – there are more than thirty good shows, and even worse than that, people keep making new ones. Clearly there’s no way I could have predicted this turn of events, but I’m doing my best to take it in stride. And in the spirit of promoting More Good Things, I’ve decided to create this Additional Top Shows supplement.

I don’t really want to cut off shows when they fall out of the thirty – I’d rather recommend more good stuff than less, and the number was initially envisioned more as a quality marker than a hard, arbitrary line. And so instead of having shows disappear and be gone forever, shows that drop out of the thirty, or that just barely don’t make it, will instead find their home here in the Top Shows Addendum. I hope you enjoy this jumbled list of Slightly Less Top But Still Pretty Great Shows!

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Top Twelve Anime of 2013

And so 2013 comes to an end. This has been a big year for me in blogging, what with it being my first year in blogging, and so a lot of these shows hold a possibly unreasonable place in my heart. Nah, I don’t think that’s actually true. I think we’ve just had a great year, and that blogging really has done what I always wanted it to – force me to apply a more critical eye to my media, which, contrary to popular belief, has actually made me appreciate my favorites even more.

And there sure were plenty of favorites! As I said, this has been an excellent year in anime, with tons of genres, styles, and themes represented by stylish, confident productions. If this is your first time checking the blog, let me introduce myself by saying I’m a horribly biased shithead who wouldn’t know a good action show or comedy if it comically murdered me. I like people, and I like ideas, and my list reflects that (if you’re looking for Attack on Titan or Maou-sama, you can find my reviews of those here and here). I like to think I’m pretty good at telling good writing or direction from bad, but everyone has different things that appeal to them, and so you can consider the numbering here a mushy compromise between favorite and best, though the list overall encompasses both. I’m not gonna give you synopses here – if you’re interested, each title links to that show’s description, but that’s not what you’re not paying me for. These comments will cover why I loved these shows. I was aiming for a top ten, but when compiling the list, the shows that immediately bubbled to mind ended up numbering twelve, and instead of arbitrarily cutting two off I’ve decided to honor them all. Also, I’m only counting shows that ended in 2013 here, so no Kill la Kill or other half-finished two-parters. So here it is: my top twelve anime series of 2013!

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Wrong Every Time: Gen Urobuchi and the Human Spirit

Management: Spoilers ahead for Madoka, Gargantia, Psycho-Pass, and Fate/Zero.

It’s not a complicated question. You hold the gun, target in the sights, finger on the trigger. An innocent, no question. But the stakes could not be more clear: one or one hundred. Either you kill this one person, ending their life and putting their blood on your hands, or you do nothing, and one hundred die through your inaction. Is it morally permissible to fire? Is it morally permissible not to? You could ask them first, I suppose – are they willing to die for the sake of one hundred strangers? That would certainly be noble of them, and possibly clear your conscious. But what if they say no? What if the stakes are one thousand strangers? One hundred thousand? One hundred billion?

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