May 20, 2016

Anime Review: Kyoukai no Kanata

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Kyoukai no Kanata title/logoIt’s true I’m a sucker for a high quality production series but I’m starting to see why a lot of people walk away unimpressed from some of them. No matter how good looking, how fluid the animation, or what have you… if the moving pictures on the screen confuse the shit out of you, you’re probably not going to have a good time even if the way that one glasses girl’s hair moves is particularly detailed and satisfying. And, yeah… I get that. I do. I’m still a sucker for good animation, though…

May 19, 2016

Anime Review: Isshuukan Friends

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Isshuukan Friends title/logoSigh. It’s my old nemesis, memory-related plot devices. It’s such a lazy, unrealistic contrivance and rarely is it ever a good choice but rather a convenient way to get out of a tight writing spot. I don’t require world-class quality authorship in my anime screenplays but come on. If you’re reaching for the amnesia cheat then you’ve lost sight of what’s important. And it’s doubly worse when your entire storyline relies on this one fact, nay cannot escape it narratively, continuously circling back on it to revisit the amnesia element as a central non-human antagonistic force. Well, here we go…

Mar 17, 2016

Anime Review: Himouto! Umaru-chan

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Himouto! Umaru-chan title/logoAn often unfortunate fact about the anime biz as a whole is that it is entirely self-aware of its place. It knows that it is a relatively niche medium and it also knows that, for the most part, a significant portion of anime viewers are not casual ones but ravenous beasts consuming series after series that’s churned out. It means it knows its audience well and it plays to their desires, making almost a sort of feedback loop. We get into watching anime because we like what it’s doing and somewhere along the way anime starts to specifically do things because we like that and want more of it. Moe as a concept is probably the most widespread phenomenon of this sort, such that many shows every season are thinly veiled excuses wrapped around a nougaty moe center.

Nov 12, 2015

Anime Review: Shamanic Princess

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Shamanic Princess title/logoI grew up on weird obscure titles found in our small town VHS rental store as well as, a bit later, whatever I could scrounge up from the deep reaches of the early internet. Which is to say, not much, because back then there was no YouTube nor Crunchyroll. At first there were a few websites, then there was DirectConnect, then shitty KaZaA, and, if you were adventurous (like me), there were the archaic-but-useful IRC channels for the various anime fansub groups. Ah yes, XDCC. How you saturated my poor slow internet connection with lovely AVI files. I still have hundreds of CDs burned with those old treasures. Later we would get the wonders of BitTorrent but until it caught on, things were rough. I mention all this because it pertains to the old title I finally, after so many years, got around to.

Nov 10, 2015

Anime Review: Shingeki no Kyojin

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Attack on Titan title/logoWell… shit. Where does one begin when reviewing the titan that is Attack on Titan? Yeah, you know the one. Maybe you didn’t see it or still plan to or saw some screenshots and figured it wasn’t your thing. Maybe you watched it every week as it aired. Regardless, you’ve at least heard of it. I know you have. During its run, and long after, you couldn’t go anywhere near Crunchyroll or any anime community and not see an ad, a picture, or a mention. The looming titan face with exposed muscle and bone is now practically iconic (see below). There are several spinoffs and tons of merchandise. AoT dominated everything, at least until Kill la Kill  and then Sword Art Online II dethroned it (but I’ll deal with those behemoths another day). Don’t even get me started on all of the parodies. It was fantastically popular and still is, and the second season is just around the corner now.