Jan 24, 2015

Anime Review: Golden Time

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Golden Time title/logoIt seems like every time I review a genuine romance anime (as opposed to one of the many fluff pieces) I’m constantly making comparisons to Toradora! and revisiting my opinion of it. True enough, I keep coming away with the same general conclusion: I was probably too dismissive of its merits in hindsight. Perhaps having seen so many inferior series since then has given me renewed appreciation but I still don’t think it excuses Toradora!’s many faults. And, really, is it that much of a compliment when I’m effectively just saying “Wow, you’re not so ugly compared to these other girls!”

Dec 18, 2014

Anime Review: Kami-sama no Inai Nichiyōbi

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Kami-sama no Inai Nichiyōbi title/logoToying around with Christian imagery and ideas is not a foreign concept to anime (with Evangelion being the most extreme example) but it is often a gimmick or confusing at best. I attribute this mostly to the awkward handling of Western religions in general for Japan, but whatever the cause it is usually either a bit cringey or silly (or both). Fortunately, that isn’t the case here but that may be because other than some lip service there isn’t really anything terribly religious going on. Instead, we get an often clever, challenging, and curious take on death and ethics and so on, mired at times by a confusing delivery that’s trying too hard and a short length that leaves things a bit curtailed though not wholly unfinished.

Dec 10, 2014

Anime Review: Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu

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Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu title/logoTime and time again, I feel like I end up defending myself a little bit in these reviews, desperately scrounging at times to justify why I watch (to completion) and subsequently review (no small effort) so much transparently commercial otaku-bait. I get it: the anime genre itself is, on the whole, fairly niche and uniquely pandered to. Most production companies know they aren’t going to score widespread appeal and so deliberately opt to zero in on their reliable base market of late-teen-to-twenties males who already watch and, perhaps most importantly, buy anime merchandise. It’s why anime home releases are so expensive. And so it’s also little surprise you see so many clichés that never seem to die. I’ve been wallowing in the weeaboo now for about fifteen years and I’ve pretty much seen it all. There are countless samey-shows and me-too series. And yet, here I am… about to spend ~3300 words on yet another one.

Nov 30, 2014

Anime Review: Tonari no Seki-kun

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Tonari no Seki-kun title/logoAs someone who, generally speaking, detested school and the many thousands of hours I spent waiting for the bell to ring, I can sympathize with the desire to zone out and just doodle or whatever to pass the time. Of course, in my case that’s about as far as it went; I never did try to sneak in comic books or food or even a Walkman. (Yes, I said a Walkman. Look it up if you’re that young.) Maybe I just didn’t have appropriately sized balls or simply the requisite “fuck it” attitude. And I’m not sayin’ you should do those things… but I understand.

Anime Review: Miss Monochrome

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Miss Monochrome: The Animation title/logoI have been a long, long time fan of Horie Yui ever since seeing (and obsessing over) Love Hina so many years ago. She’s delightfully talented in both speaking and singing roles and she’s managed to maintain that for well over a decade now (though even her great talent can’t save some series). So when I heard she was pushing to produce a short series on an original character of her own I was definitely curious. It’s rare that the world is bestowed with triple-threats like the too-charming Justin Timberlake but they do happen so… maybe Miss Horie is good at character design and synopsis too? Hell, she’s been in the biz long enough to see what works and doesn’t work, right?