And so the winter season approaches its end. We’ve got one more rough week after this, but the season’s shows are already beginning to turn out the lights at this point, starting with the scrappy March comes in like a lion. Other shows have a bit more life left in them – Rakugo is certainly tidying up, but Tanya’s narrative shows no sign of ending, and Dragon Maid is as lively as ever. This was definitely a lesser season, but as always, there were odd pleasures to be found here and there. Watching anime on a seasonal schedule means you’ll probably end up watching a lot of crap, but that’s all part of the experience. Let’s take a look at this week’s contenders and RUN ‘EM DOWN!
The anime was very cheery this week! I mean, I expect that from Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid, but even sadsack productions like Rakugo and March comes in like a lion turned in remarkably optimistic performances. I certainly didn’t mind that – frankly, it feels like all of us could use a little sunshine as the winter trudges to its end. And these were certainly well-earned strokes of positivity, given what the characters in both of those shows have recently suffered. With all that on top of this week’s wonderful episode of Dragon Maid, this was a pretty alright week in anime land. Let’s start with those reliable dragons and RUN THIS WEEK DOWN!
The winter heavyweights were both firing on all cylinders this week. Fresh from directing what’s apparently the most perfect anime film ever, Yamada turned in what was likely Dragon Maid’s most technically accomplished episode yet. And over in Rakugo land, the final act continued in fierce fashion, as Bon struggled mightily against his own obsolescence. Seasons aren’t necessarily defined by only their best shows, but Winter ‘17’s top tier is making a strong argument in that favor. We only ever remember our favorites from any given year, anyway – even if nothing else stands out, as long as they shine bright, anime will keep. Let’s dive right into those and the other shows of the week!
I turned back to Tanya for this week’s Why It Works, exploring what was easily the show’s most unexpectedly powerful episode yet. It’s pretty tricky to make a war story that actually, successfully embodies the awful nature of war, but somehow I think the fascist loli show nailed it. Partitioning was the key – Tanya is normally a pretty fun watch, but this episode was intentionally sober and dispiriting from start to finish. It was a pretty great episode!
Anime was perfectly alright this week! No ridiculous highlights to report, but also no dramatic failures, with pretty much all my trusted shows turning in reasonable performances. Tanya apparently spent its week off meditating on the true ugliness of war, which was nice to see, while Dragon Maid recovered from last week’s missteps with a perfectly satisfying beach episode. Seiren wasn’t great, but Seiren isn’t great, so that’s not really news. And most importantly, I caught up on all of Kemono Friends, and even wrote an article over at Crunchyroll about one of the show’s various strengths. It’s been a satisfying week over here in anime land. Let’s take a look!
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!
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!
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!
Yep, Tanya gets a Why It Works. Before ACCA, before Maidragon, before Rakugo, here’s the friggin’ fascist loli show getting top billing. What can I say – Tanya is a well-constructed piece of entertainment. It feels professional in the way Hollywood films feel professional, and that gives me a lot of fundamental craft stuff to talk about. So here we are, starting off my Crunchyroll deep dives of the winter season with Saga of Tanya the Evil!
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!