Fall 2015 – Week 12 in Review

I don’t tend to enjoy writing negative stuff. If I can make some kind of upbeat game or challenge out of it, like I did when writing about Strike Witches or Dragonar Academy, it can be pretty okay – but when it’s just a grim reporting of disappointment and failure, continuing week after week, that’s just the saddest kind of writing. I like being enthusiastic about stuff, and sharing that enthusiasm with people, and lately it’s been feeling like my week in review posts are just too dang negative. But like all good critics, I’m going to remain confident the problem isn’t with me, it’s with the media. I’m just watching too many bad shows! I’ve got bad shows I’m watching on contract and bad shows I’m watching on faith and mediocre shows I’m watching for their occasional glimmers of greatness. If not for all these bad shows, everything would be fine.

So yeah, I’m looking forward to next season. The only show I’ll really be sad to see go is Owarimonogatari, and that one ended so well that I can’t even complain (plus hey, Kizu’s on its way). Other than that, this shambling collections of rejects and ne’er-do-wells can just shuffle on into the past, and we can embrace a whole new collection of anime hopes and dreams. Plus I’ll be posting my top ten shows of the year about a week from now, and it doesn’t really get more positive than that! This cloud shall pass, but for now, let’s take a somewhat skeptical look back at this week’s shows and RUN ‘EM DOWN.

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Fall 2015 – Week 11 in Review

This week in anime wasn’t the best, I’m sad to say. My reliable favorites were reliable-to-great, but… well, there are only two of those. And everything else kinda let me down. I feel like I’ve more or less set myself up for disappointment this season – instead of accepting that it’s a bad season and relying wholly on backlist shows to get me through, I’ve basically just assumed a handful of shows are permanently in “dud episodes” and keep feeling disappointed when they consistently prove their dud episodes are actually just their normal episodes. It’s no way to live, frankly, and I don’t actually know if next season offers any escape – considering how tentative my excitement is for basically everything on my preview list, it seems pretty likely that Monogatari and Iron-Blooded Orphans will be next season’s best shows, too.

But I don’t mean to depress you. Even if this week’s shows were bad (and even when it comes to what I was reviewing for ANN, they were), that doesn’t mean I don’t have stuff to say about ’em. And hey, not every show tripped on its face – in fact, Owarimonogatari pulled off an episode that I’d probably count among the best of the year. So let’s put on a brave face, assume a stiff upper lip, and contort your muscles in any other way you feel appropriate as we RUN ‘EM DOWN.

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Fall 2015 – Week 10 in Review

We’re approaching the end of the season, which at this point means we’re also approaching the end of the year. On a seasonal level, this means shows have really stopped pulling out too many surprises – Perfect Insider and One Punch Man demonstrated some welcome strengths over the last few weeks, but even they seem to be settling into a rhythm for the finales. And on an annual level, this means holy crap it’s time to do all that end-of-the-year nonsense! I’ve more or less settled on my top ten shows of the year, and am working my butt off to manage that list, weekly reviews, actual full show reviews, and regular current project articles for all you lovely people. It’s been an extremely busy week on basically all those fronts; I spent a great deal of last week barreling through way too many episodes of Black Lagoon, and this past weekend I also managed to sneak in the excellent When Marnie Was There. All those and many more attractions in this here week in review! Let’s RUN IT ALL DOWN!

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Fall 2015 – Week 9 in Review

This week in anime was really good! Super good, in fact! It wasn’t just held up by one or two shows – almost every show I’m watching (aside from Beautiful Bones, but that doesn’t really count) either held strong or pulled off one of its best episodes, and a bunch of these episodes even demonstrated strengths their shows hadn’t previously exhibited. The Perfect Insider was full of strong character moments, Owarimonogatari returned to the beautiful art designs of arcs long past, and One Punch Man succeeded not just as an animation showcase, but as an emotional drama. I’ve got all sorts of good things to say about these episodes, so let’s get right to it and RUN ‘EM DOWN!

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Fall 2015 – Week 8 in Review

It’s Wednesday again, which means time once more for the ol’ week in anime! And this week in anime was… well, it was a week in anime. Not really all that much to report, frankly – pretty much everything maintained a fairly even keel, acting more or less in the ways you’d expect them to act. The biggest outlier this time was The Perfect Insider, in that it was both very good and good in ways that defied standard expectations, but everything else existed within its expected parameters. That said, there’s still plenty of finer details to sift through, and I actually watched a fair amount of non-weekly anime this week, so don’t worry, I’ll make today’s tour worth your while. So pull up a comfortable chair and let’s RUN ‘EM DOWN.

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Fall 2015 – Week 7 in Review

Things didn’t go so well this week! The majority of the shows I’m watching demonstrated some pretty lackluster episodes, from my favorites down through the bottom of the pack. Owarimonogatari’s new arc started off poorly, The Perfect Insider stumbled over its worst episode yet, and Utawarerumono tried to perform the same mediocre trick for a third time straight. In contrast, One Punch Man actually consistently impressed me, working as a satisfying episode of anime even outside of its visual tricks. We’ve got a lot of doldrums to get through, but let’s start with that positive note, and then maybe finish up with a guest appearance by something I really, really did enjoy.

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Fall 2015 – First Half in Review

Holy crap we’re already at the halfway point. It doesn’t really feel like a halfway point – Owarimonogatari’s just finished its first larger arc-sequence, and Okada Gundam is still basically in its preamble, so it kinda feels like we’re just getting started. But apparently everything else is already half over, and the halfway point ranking thing has become one of this site’s many random traditions (look, routines help with my insecurities), so here we are again. As usual, this will be the one and only time I rank this season’s overall shows. Ranking shows when they’re only halfway done may seem like an inherently useless gesture, but I assure you, that is definitely the point. “But Bobduh,” you might respond, “you rank your favorite shows of the year anyway, so how can you say you’re making a point about the futility of rankings when you then proceed to buy into them in the same exact way everyone else does?” “Shut up,” I say to this. “Shut up, stop talking, your face is bad.”

With all that cleared up, let’s get right to the listing! What has risen, what has fallen, and what is just sort of staggering on? ALL WILL BE REVEALED.

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Fall 2015 – Week 5 in Review

One more week of anime has come and gone, meaning it’s time once more to sift through the embers and see what riches have been left behind. This was another reasonable week of anime in what is turning out to be a reliable but not particularly dramatic season. The only top tier show I’m watching is Owarimonogatari, and that’s been a known product for years – aside from that, it’s really just One Punch Man as the production powerhouse and Iron-Blooded Orphans as the stable narrative. If things continue at this pace, it’s looking like my top ten shows of the year will be 80% consumed by the year’s first two seasons – not exactly the most impressive finish to a year that started off coasting from Shirobako into Oregairu S2 and Euphonium.

That said, there’s still plenty to talk about in what shows we have left. And I’ve also heard Concrete Revolutio has been doing some noteworthy things – I wish I had a bit more love for pop art, but if you’re less put off by the aesthetic than I am, it’s probably worth a look. There’s always something worth talking about out there, so let’s take a break from the naysaying and run down some fresh new cartoons!

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Fall 2015 – Week 4 in Review

It’s that time again! We had a reasonable crop of episodes this week, with four out of my six active series offering solid episodes, and one of the last two never promising to offer a single solid episode in the first place. I think at this point it’s safe to say Iron-Blooded Orphans is the breakout star of the season – it’s not the flashiest show, but it’s just absolutely solid in everything it does, full of strong characters and well-chosen dramatic turns and plenty of threads I’m excited to see through. Other shows are more tentative, but still enjoyable so far – in particular, I feel like it’d be easy for either The Perfect Insider or Utawarerumono to fall apart, but I’m still having a fine time with them so far. And One Punch Man is starting to wear out its single joke, but I’ve heard the original series picks up from here out, so I’m hopeful this is just a temporary lull. Overall, this isn’t the flashiest season, and certainly can’t compare to the year’s stellar first half, but I’ve got enough that I’m enjoying that I can’t really complain. But that’s enough news in brief, let’s get to it and RUN ‘EM DOWN!

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Fall 2015 – Week 3 in Review

Aw dang it’s the week in review what the fuck do we even have to talk about. Well actually, there’s plenty to talk about now; it’s a relatively new season, there are far more legitimately watchable shows than The Season That Shall Not Be Named, and last week’s awkward halfway point between preview week and the usual fare means we’ve got a sizable glut of anime to get through. I actually surprised myself last Sunday – I was doing my usual accounting of what was about to air, and suddenly realized I had three friggin’ shows to choose between for my first watch, all of which I actually wanted to see. Following a season where “you know what, this snake girl is actually pretty cool” was close to the top end of anime discourse, that’s a pretty nice place to be. Between Owarimonogatari, The Perfect Insider, and… well, I guess any more favoritism than that would be telling. So let’s get started this list of ‘well friggin’ crap these might actually be worth watching’ shows. Let’s RUN ‘EM DOWN!

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