And somehow, another year has come to a close. This has been a strange year for me – as my first full year of wholly anime-related employment, it’s been often terrifying, sometimes uplifting, and always exciting. I’m not sure it means anything that my move to freelance coincided with the world catching fire, but hey, things happen. At least I also write for Crunchyroll now!
As far as anime itself goes, this has been a very solid year in general. The industry is currently at a somewhat unsustainable level of production, and though foreign streaming and other forms of revenue are putting the industry in a more stable place financially, that still hasn’t adjusted the workflow mechanisms that keep animators so terribly underpaid. That will have to change eventually, but as far as the actual shows go, there were plenty of anime I had a great time with this year, and solid hits in a wide variety of genres. In fact, this year’s crop was so good that I even have some honorable mentions! That’s honestly kind of unusual for me – I generally struggle getting to ten shows without including stuff I’m not totally sold on. So let’s start right there, and run down the shows that just barely missed the list before we count off the final ten!
I mean, you and I know the answer to that. But The Lost Village’s style is awesome and unique and very worth digging into, and so today I’ve got a huge friggin’ article exploring the specific nature of The Lost Village’s charms. I loved this show, and I had a ton of fun talking about it here. The craft of comedy is just really fascinating in general, and I’m sure I’ll return to it again at some time. But for now, let’s just celebrate the glory of Lovepon and Friends one more time.
We had a bunch of very fun episodes this week. Rallying from a weaker start, the conclusion to Red Hot Chili Pepper was one more power episode of Diamond is Unbreakable, and My Hero Academia refused to give any ground in its big All Might battle. And we also had a pair of solid season endings, with Concrete Revolutio and The Lost Village both impressing in their own extremely, extremely, extremely incomparable ways. No Flying Witch did result in a bit of a comfy shortage, but I hear there’s a comfy surplus coming up next week, so things should even out in the end. Let’s get right to it and RUN ‘EM DOWN!
All great things must come to an end. All relentlessly weird things too, for that matter, and so we must at last bid The Lost Village adieu. I was surprised by this show plenty of times, but it ultimately developed its own strange kind of consistent rhythm. It was funny and ridiculous and regularly charming, an unexpected slice of the kind of comedy you almost never see in anime. I think this show’s creators had a lot of fun making it. I certainly had plenty of fun watching.
The season is wrapping up at this point, but this season’s shows still have a few surprises left. In this case, the main surprise was My Hero Academia and JoJo switching places – My Hero Academia was on fire this week, easily vaulting over its usual failings, while JoJo turned down the temperature for an episode that unfortunately evoked some of Stardust Crusaders’ worst tendencies. But aside from that, everything was pretty much business as usual. Concrete Revolutio is speeding towards what’s likely to be an astoundingly good finale, Flying Witch is as consistent as ever, Luluco is still unsure of whether it wants to be a real show or not, etcetera. All this and more in today’s week in review, as we cast our eyes backward and RUN ‘EM DOWN.
We’re in the endgame now, and The Lost Village is doing its best to juggle the needs of an actual narrative with its own wilder inclinations. This episode managed that balance with relative grace; it wasn’t as consistently laugh-out-loud funny as some of the earlier episodes, but it actually did a lot of work to bring this story to a real conclusion. In fact, so much was resolved here that it seems likely the last couple episodes will be able to go big in a more satisfying way, bringing all the remaining story threads together. Let’s end this thing with a bang.
Anime was plenty strong this week, full of epic punches and cathartic emotional revelations and long afternoon naps. JoJo added another feather to this arc’s already outrageously festooned cap, and My Hero Academia finally started in on its higher-tier material. The Lost Village and Flying Witch both did the kinds of things you hope for from those shows, and Concrete Revolutio seems to be sticking the landing by smartly tethering its overall ideas directly to Jiro’s personal development. The season would be strong even if the more questionable shows actually did fall apart, but it’s nice seeing that even stuff like The Lost Village and Kiznaiver are rallying for their last acts. This is a season to be proud of.
Welp, any fears that The Lost Village would get more coherent as it moved towards its conclusion were pretty much put to rest this week. The theme here seemed to be “let’s do every single reveal at once, thus rendering them all meaningless.” It was a bold and characteristically Lost Village tactic, and it worked like gangbusters – nothing here made sense, none of it had any impact, Mikage and Lovepon better sort this shit out. If The Lost Village doesn’t come down to a climactic battle between Lovepon and Koharun, I will be deeply disappointed.
Anime held pretty darn steady this week. In a season this strong, I’m not forced to watch shows that I have to pray for every week – the only inconsistent show I’m watching is Kiznaiver, and even that has established a really strong rhythm over the last several episodes. Concrete Revolutio had a very rich episode this week, and Flying Witch continued to make strong use of the magical cafe for fantasy and humor. Luluco was crap, but hey, Luluco’s been crap for a few weeks now, even that’s not a surprise. I’ve still got plenty (of Conrevo) to discuss though, so let’s start with the conclusion of Koichi’s whirlwind romance and RUN ‘EM DOWN!
The Lost Village continues to be hoeing the difficult road of simultaneously working as a weird self-destructive comedy and actual narrative, but I’d say it held the course pretty effectively this week. I was actually thinking Hayato was going to become something of the audience surrogate in the episode’s first half, and then suddenly his backstory knocked him straight over onto the Lovepon track. The unfortunate thing about horror mysteries is they eventually have to resolve, and making sense would only make The Lost Village worse, but I think its resolution is still keeping things funny enough to be a lot of fun. What a weird show this is.