Today I finally got a chance to review one of the stranger anime films I’ve seen in recent memory. Miss Hokusai essentially doesn’t have a plot, but consider I’m me, that really didn’t impact my enjoyment. I’ve often said “plot is details,” and Miss Hokusai seems to agree – it presents a series of idle vignettes that never really try to justify themselves in any larger sense, and simply bring us closer to these characters and this world. It’s a lovely time.
You can check out my full review over at ANN.
Today I reviewed the season’s other trapped-in-a-fantasy-world show! Grimgar was great, in the end – the show had a wide variety of tiny issues, but none that could really substantially detract from the things it did well. It was lovely to see a show that actually treated one of these worlds as a living space, and treated the things people do there as actions with consequences. From what I’ve heard, a great deal of Grimgar’s merits came down to the excellence of its director, so I’m very eager to see whatever he does next. A great show is one thing, but a show that introduces me to a new artist to follow is even better.
You can check out my full review over at ANN!
Time for another show review! This time we’ve got Inari Kon Kon, which was… a show, I guess? It was watchable, but not much more – this one felt very overtly and almost awkwardly like a direct advertisement for the original manga, given its adaptation made zero use of anime as a medium and basically all the conflicts resolved in “go read the manga, available at a location near you.” That said, it was pretty much a harmless experience all around, and there were some cute moments between the central characters. It flopped as a romance or drama, but did reasonably well in depicting some friendships.
You can check out my full review over at ANN, or my notes below!
New Mononagatari arc! And this one… well, it sure is an Araragi arc. This was definitely one of the weakest arcs of the show so far – it did attempt to push Araragi’s narrative forward, but accomplished very little within its four episodes, and mainly spent time explaining a story that just didn’t have that much resonance to it. Araragi is far from my favorite Monogatari character, but he can still work well when he’s given the right companions to riff off of. Here, where most of his conversations were either with the straight-laced Kagenui or blank Yotsugi, that really wasn’t possible. The best part of this arc was the final confrontation with Tadatsuru, but that was a small consolation for an arc with little else to recommend it. Hopefully this fall’s arcs are more rewarding!
You can check out my full review over at ANN, or my crazy pile of notes below! These notes actually start with notes from when I was first planning to watch this arc, but held off because I knew I’d do it for review, so the first episode has a mix of timestamp writeups from a while back and current notes!
C3-bu is a strange little show, marking the second entry in a little genre I like to call “moe club shows that aren’t pointless and terrible.” The first entry in this hopefully burgeoning genre was Girls und Panzer, and going into this show, my most optimistic assumption was that it would be a less good but at least watchable version of that.
C3-bu is not that. Not in the slightest. Girls und Panzer succeeds by working as a legitimate sports show, and C3-bu doesn’t have the slightest pretension of being a sports show. Sports shows survive by infusing their central game with drama, by laying out specific rules to create believable tension, by pulling off fun pure-plot turns in the winding of combat or sport or cards or whatever their chosen game is. And C3-bu never grounds the airsoft enough to make for actual tension – all the battles are essentially “wacky stuff happening,” and sides win because the show’s actual goals demand it.
What are the show’s actual goals?
Because evaluating shows before they even reach their halfway point is obviously an intelligent idea, let’s check in on the season so far. Heroes have risen, villains have fallen, and a couple shows have pretty much just done exactly what I expected them to do. It’s time for the
Summer 2013 First Quarter Anime Roundup
This season is actually kinda crazy-good. I was originally skeptical it could even begin to compare to last season, but a couple wild card hits have set it up as an extremely strong lineup. This is particularly exciting because it’s implying there are some great lesser-known creators out there – last season I knew Urobuchi and Brain’s Base made good things, but my two favorite shows this season were basically shots in the dark. Let’s do it in order…
Maou is kind of a tricky beast to review, because though it’s always fundamentally a comedy, it puts on a number of specific hats throughout its run – satire, sitcom, drama, action, romance, etc. But it’s actually normally quite good at whatever it attempts; the action finales of 5 and 11/12 are fairly satisfying, the everyday life drama of the central characters is more believably slice of life than most actual slice of life shows, the characters are decently well-written (with a caveat – but I’ll get to that). The show’s overall high level of storytelling and aesthetic craft is almost certainly its greatest asset – but it can also sometimes kinda be its greatest weakness.