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Tag Archives: Yuushibu

Anime of the Year 2013 (15 to 11)

In case you’ve just started reading my Anime of the Year 2013 series, be sure to start with (25-21) and (20-16) before proceeding onward from here.

Koyomi Araragi is still the hero15. Monogatari Series

Each time we’ve revisited this amazing philosophical comedy, it has unfortunately decreased in quality—relatively speaking.  A franchise that was my anime of the year for 2009 and took my number six spot last year still tells really smart stories portrayed by a top-notch cast of voice actors.

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Fall 2013 Wrap-up

The conclusion to this season left me a little more disappointed than the last few seasons.  A lot of anime that seemed to have tons of potential just flopped and even the ones that had a strong story throughout the past three months often left me high and dry upon their conclusion.  There were a few surprising gems that glittered amongst the mud, but metaphorically speaking, none of them were diamonds.  Click here if you want to see how my final rankings differ from my predictions at the start of the season.

Iona and Gunzou1. Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio (9/10)

What made this series so strong was the priority it gave to its character development. Not a single second was wasted on little side characters, but at the same time their significance to the story was not ignored.  This series also had the courage to go 100% CG, which made for epic maritime battles that flowed seamlessly with the rest of the animation.

Manaka gets caught by Tsumugu again2. Nagi no Asu Kara (ongoing)

The vision of this anime’s setting cannot be given enough praise.  Not only is it beautiful, but it’s hard to imagine the complex clash of cultures emerging so organically from this simultaneously heartwarming and tragic story.  We’re only halfway through, but if things keep going at this rate, I think I’m looking at a candidate for anime of the year 2014.

Haruki, Setsuna and Tomua3. White Album 2 (7/10)

What an adventure these three young people undertook.  Their talents and chemistry brought them together to have a ton of fun, which was a treat to watch and in some ways almost experience along with them.  The real tragedy of this series is the ending that left nobody happy.  I wonder if like the first season of this IP, when the season of White Album returns we’re going to get a sequel that will give a better conclusion.

Fino is ready, Raul looks incredulous4. Yuushibu (7/10)

I can’t think of many other recent series that understood what made the premise of their setting so much fun and managed to just keep the jokes coming one after another (Servant x Service did come close).  It also had an amazing, underlying theme about salesmanship, economics racial equality that could be the cornerstone of any moral compass.

Mirai Kuriyama smiles5. Kyoukai no Kanata (7/10)

Oh Kyoto Animation.  What will you come up with next?  It’s one thing to take a bunch of random anime tropes and throw them into a blender–but this series takes nearly everything that I love about anime and sets it into a story that merges serious and ridiculous fun arranged into a complete piece that never failed to make me smile.

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Anime of the Week (12/15 – 12/21)

Anime of the Week – Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio
Iona tries to reason with her sisters, I-400 and I-402

Such fabulous writing. Each member of the Fog that Gunzou and Iona cross paths with grow in their own unique ways and subsequently choose their paths to follow accordingly. It stays so true to each character and that’s something definitely worth praising.                              

December 15 Monogatari Series Ep. 24 I’d have hoped that discussing the details of of Kaiki’s plan to deceive a god would lead down a more philosophical path than the conversation actually brought about.
Little Busters Refrain Ep. 11 It saddens me to find out that Angel Beats borrowed so heavily from the themes that had already been laid out here in Key’s earlier title.
White Album 2 Ep. 11 It’s hard learning the truth about love. I’ve lost count of the number of times the three main characters not only betrayed each other, but also betrayed themselves.
December 16 Magi 2 Ep. 11 Morgiana continues to be my favorite character in this series. She’s such a strong woman in every meaning of strength and I always find myself cheering for her.
December 17 Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio Ep. 11 Although they stuck with each other rather than become allies of Gunzou, it was still interesting to see the unique way I-400 and I-402 came to realize they were more than weapons.
Unbreakable Machine Doll Ep. 11 It’s quite clear this series will not resolve its core conflict between Raishin and Magnus. And with no second season in sight, another anime falls victim to airing before a sufficient amount of content was finished being written.
December 19 Coppelion Ep. 12 It’s hard to sympathize with the antagonists when they keep turning down every chance for redemption they’re given. But it’s also annoying when the protagonists keep giving the bad guys second chances that put everyone they’re trying to save in danger.
Kyoukai no Kanata Ep. 12 It’s ok to bring someone back from the dead if there was a good reason to do so. Personally, I’m not sure there was even a good reason for anyone to die in the first place.
December 20 Nagi no Asu Kara Ep. 12 So far this series has had a great pace, but this episode really seemed to be dragging its heels. Last week established how things were going to happen, so lets go already.
December 21 Outbreak Company Ep. 12 Personally, I think having the climax of this series be in the previous episode was a huge mistake. It left the season finale with nowhere left to go and just foundered about without going anywhere.
Yuushibu Ep. 12 This series did a great job sticking to its theme and not wandering. While it never achieved any level of sophistication, I enjoyed every ridiculous minute of it.
Freezing Vibration Ep. 12 This franchise’s first season told a much more interesting story about what it means to be a pandora. Vibration just stagnated and followed a rather ho-hum plot about military bureaucracy.

Anime of the Week (12/8 – 12/14)

Anime of the Week – Kyoukai no Kanata
Akihito rushes to catch Mirai at the last second

This is the kind of love that I really like. It found its origins slowly and was discovered as two people traveled a rough and difficult road together. But the end result was a couple who would gladly lay down their lives for one another but chose to live for each other instead.                              

December 8 Monogatari Series Ep. 23 What a cliffhanger. And I just know that whatever was in Nadeko’s closet is probably a majory plot point and won’t be revealed until the season finale.
Little Busters Refrain Ep. 10 Aw man. The pace of this series has turned into a mess. There’s still three more episodes, but now they’re doing a clip-show-ish review of events leading up to this point? *shakes head*
White Album 2 Ep. 10 I’m not sure the order of events was properly planned for this series. Was it really worth the emotional baggage to reveal Haruki and Touma’s past this late?
December 9 Magi 2 Ep. 10 The gladiator battle had a really good pace to it, but the crowd is really messed up. One minute they’re on Alibaba’s side and as soon as it looks like he’s about to lose, everyone abandons him? Surely someone who bet money on him should still be on his side, right?
December 10 Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio Ep. 10 Formerly nothing
more than weapons of war, it’s a real treat to see these young women discover they can be more than that by integrating into themselves the best traits of humanity.
Unbreakable Machine Doll Ep. 10 A good revenge story always gets my blood boiling. I can taste Raishin’s hatred and frustration at having to bide his time and wait for a proper time to strike.
December 12 Coppelion Ep. 11 As a writer, what do you do when you’ve run out of ideas? Throw in a ridiculous mecha that the bad guys were somehow hiding and not using the entire series despite getting their butts kicked the whole time.
Kyoukai no Kanata Ep. 11 I most certainly hope that someone I love never lays down their life for me. If it’s you or me, I’ll always say “both.” Never forget that discretion is the better part of valor.
December 13 Nagi no Asu Kara Ep. 11 I know there’s a certain romance to a story about confessing your love at the end of the world. But we should take that as a lesson that we shouldn’t wait until the end of the world to do the important things in life.
December 14 Outbreak Company Ep. 11 Although this series seemed sympathetic to the issues surrounding otaku culture, in reality I think it still depicted us as a dangerous social phenomenon. I don’t like that one bit.
Yuushibu Ep. 11 A true hero doesn’t become a hero because he’s seeking the fame. They’re just brave men and women who make the right decision when nobody else has the courage to step forward.
Freezing Vibration Ep. 11 I totally called it. It took two seasons, but Chiffon turned out to be the character who you hope never opens her eyes.

Anime of the Week (12/1 – 12/7)

Anime of the Week – Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio
Iona tries to reason with Kongou

I wished for a good military anime and I’ve not been disappointed. This week had all the face-paced action and subtle tactics of warfare that I just can’t get enough of. Combine that with some philosophy on existentialism and that’s the icing on the cake.                              

December 1 Monogatari Series Ep. 22 In theory this is supposed to be Hitagi’s arc, but at this rate it’s going to be Nadeko’s second arc with a strong emphasis on Kaiki…
Little Busters Refrain Ep. 9 And now Kengo’s arc has started. Or perhaps this whole second half of the season is just about showing how much Riki has matured.
White Album 2 Ep. 9 I’m not sure where this love triangle is going, but I’m reminded of the two girls competing for one guy scenario that plagued Shana‘s second season.
December 2 Magi 2 Ep. 9 Meh. This cast of characters is already too big and there’s still more movers and shakers entering this spaghetti-like mess of relationships.
December 3 Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio Ep. 9 The battle in this episode takes place on so many fronts–hearts vs minds, friends vs comrades, requests vs orders, power vs subtlety, freedom vs reservation–but never once does it feel spread thin or poorly paced. I love it.
Unbreakable Machine Doll Ep. 9 Nothing about the current situation feels right. I sense there’s some needlessly elaborate deception going on here.
December 5 Coppelion Ep. 10 This series is like a broken record. I can’t stop watching it because it does offer some beauty, but it keeps repeating the same mistakes in its storytelling over and over.
Kyoukai no Kanata Ep. 10 I’m not found of the whole, “it was just a dream,” storytelling device. But I’ll make an exception in this case because it allowed for communication that actually forwarded the story.
December 6 Nagi no Asu Kara Ep. 10 A lot of anime as of late seem to have placed their strong points into their unique settings. This clash of cultures–surface vs sea, tradition vs youth–wouldn’t be so interesting, otherwise.
December 7 Outbreak Company Ep. 10 I had hoped this show would be more along the lines of Genshiken where they actually discuss otaku issues in the larger cultural sense, but it seems to be turning out more like Oreimo–just a bunch of loosely connected tropes and references.
Yuushibu Ep. 10 It’s really quite interesting to think of this anime in terms of economics. There was a major economic shift that put a lot of people out of work and instead of changing to the new paradigm, there’s a push to return to what they’re familiar with.
Freezing Vibration Ep. 10 If there’s a character in an anime that never opens his or her eyes (I like to call them fox eyes) you know there’s probably something sinister about them.

Anime of the Week (11/24 – 11/30)

Anime of the Week – Yuushibu
Fino and Raul... a couple?

I love this anime’s sense of irony as Raul falls for the daughter of the demon lord he wanted to defeat, which would have made him a hero for the ages. Unlike other characters who resent this lost opportunity, it’s great to see Raul is a classy guy who can put his pride behind him and move forward in a peaceful world where heroes and demon lords don’t exist.                              

November 24 Monogatari Series Ep. 21 I’ve always liked how this series has the ability to pair such opposing themes as comedy and philosophy.
Little Busters Refrain Ep. 8 If the first season was about the girls’ side of the Little Busters team, then this season is about the guys.
White Album 2 Ep. 8 It often surprises me how little some Japanese people have experienced their own country. I’d like to say Americans have the excuse of having much more land, but then are we really that much different?
November 25 Magi 2 Ep. 8 I like the whole idea of a balanced mind and body creating a stronger mage, but was there any meaning in not explaining the purpose of their training?
November 26 Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio Ep. 8 There’s a subtle skill in composing a story that isn’t just a string of battles, but also links those confrontations together in a way that makes them unavoidable rather than simply necessary.
Unbreakable Machine Doll Ep. 8 It’s as if this series exists simply to show how much better it is to go all the way with CG animation like Arpeggio rather than mixing it with standard animation whenever a fight scene comes up.
November 28 Coppelion Ep. 9 It’s ok to be over the top for style points if it makes sense with the rest of the setting. But in an otherwise serious, post-apocalyptic ruin, lightheartedness clashes with every other emotion.
Kyoukai no Kanata Ep. 9 What a dilemma. I don’t know how anyone could choose been the world and the one they love. I pride myself on my logical side, but I’m not sure if I could swallow up my emotions to make the right choice.
November 29 Nagi no Asu Kara Ep. 9 If an important event isn’t going to be officially sanctioned by an authority, too many people forget there’s no reason you can’t organize the ceremony privately and carry on with the support of friends and family.
November 30 Outbreak Company Ep. 9 Why do these kinds of anime waste my time with pointless fanservice and stereotypical depictions of perverted men that serve only to degrade my gender?
Yuushibu Ep. 9 I think the main problem men have when their girlfriends drag them along to go shopping is that women are just shopping for themselves. If it was an inclusive activity, I’m sure boyfriends would enjoy it more.
Freezing Vibration Ep. 9 There’s a wise saying all Americans should remember, “As the spiritual descendents of rebels, may we never confuse rational dissenters with traitors.”

Anime of the Week (11/17 – 11/23)

Anime of the Week – White Album 2
Touma and Setsuna perform at the school culture festival

Love is a capricious thing. It can bring people together, but it can also tear people apart. On this stage of warfare set to some awesome music, I can’t think of a better way to have played out the climax of Setsuna’s and Touma’s battle for Haruki.                              

November 17 Monogatari Series Ep. 20 I did not care for this resolution. What does it even mean to go against your nature? We all choose who we want to be.
Little Busters Refrain Ep. 7 What’s going on? Has the series reset? I hope this gets cleared up soon and isn’t some sort of endless eight.
White Album 2 Ep. 7 I sure do love a music anime with a spectacular soundtrack. The previous season was good, but this is over the top.
November 18 Magi 2 Ep. 7 I’m not sure how I want to think about the cross of western-themed magic and wizards with Magi’s very Arabian setting.
November 19 Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio Ep. 7 The reason I find this series thrilling is because its premise is so refreshing I haven’t a clue as to how it will turn out.
Unbreakable Machine Doll Ep. 7 The plot is all over the place in this series. I can’t see how from this point it will wrap up nicely in only 12 eps.
November 21 Coppelion Ep. 8 One of the things I’ve always found a little out of place about this series is the emphasis on the Coppelion’s high school uniforms when they’re supposed to be a military unit.
Kyoukai no Kanata Ep. 8 After the powerful influence of the Hollow Shadow, the Calm makes for a very poetic reflection of opposites.
November 22 Nagi no Asu Kara Ep. 8 I initially predicted this was going to be a Romeo and Juliet romance drama, but more supernatural elements are creeping in.
November 23 Outbreak Company Ep. 8 One of the things that Shinichi forgot to point out about hikikomori life is that there needs to be someone who the shut-in depends on for their secluded lifestyle. An enabler.
Yuushibu Ep. 8 If you’re going to do a swimsuit episode, THIS is the way to do it. Rarely is there such a convenient excuse for a little extra fanservice.
Freezing Vibration Ep. 8 Though this series likes to play up the whole “human experimentation” drama, it feels mishandled in a setting where the ethics of such actions fall into a gray area.

Anime of the Week (10/27 – 11/2)

After a long hiatus, I’m bringing back Anime of the Week, but in a different format. Before, I was just posting whatever I had typed up in Twitter after watching each episode. But that wasn’t working out for me for a couple of reasons. The character limit, while good at encouraging me to be concise, didn’t allow me to fully express everything I wanted to say about each episode. The second reason I’m doing away with Twitter is because it’s the wrong medium for reviewing anime. I know this because I hadn’t gotten a new Twitter follower in months and only two or three over the past year. These catch-up Anime of the Weeks will be leading into my Anime of the Year post coming soon afterwards, so you’ve got something to look forward to while I rehash stuff that aired last month and as always, thanks for reading.

Anime of the Week – White Album 2
Touma grabs Haruki's necktie

I can’t exactly say I had a joyous high school life–it probably could have been worse. But I think I enjoy watching well-written high school romance anime like this one because in hindsight I can see where I had to pass on the opportunity to be happy then as opposed to living my dream today–a full decade after graduating. I don’t regret my choices, but it’s heartwarming to life in someone else’s shoes in twenty minute increments each week.                              

October 27 Monogatari Series Ep. 17 If this arc is about Shinobu, then there’s not enough time left to do two more arcs. Will it be Kanbaru or Hitagi next?
Little Busters Refrain Ep. 4 Rin and Riki have a long history as friends, but their sudden declaration to start dating seemed abrubt.
White Album 2 Ep. 4 Alright Setsuna. Don’t misinterpret things. Be mindful of the old adage, “assumptions make an ass out of u and me.”
October 28 Magi 2 Ep. 1 I would never call this series great, but it dances a fine line between childish and mature that appeals to both audiences.
Magi 2 Ep. 2 He’s helped Aladdin and Alibaba so far, but Sinbad’s power level puts me more in mind of a final boss character than an ally.
Magi 2 Ep. 3 I know all too well what it’s like to be the guy in a group of friends who is the least appreciated of anyone in the group.
Magi 2 Ep. 4 I’ve never liked stories about children banding together to form their own society because inevitably they’re going to grow up.
October 29 Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio Ep. 4 On one hand this series is about man understanding machines, but on the other it’s also about machines discovering humanity.
Unbreakable Machine Doll Ep. 3 Do you ever have one of those moments when you say to yourself, “oh man…I should have seen that coming”?
Unbreakable Machine Doll Ep. 4 The fights in this series use a style that is a compromise between making up rules and using clever tactics.
October 31 Coppelion Ep. 4 Dying to atone for your mistakes won’t solve anything. Dedicate your life to solving the problems you’ve caused.
Coppelion Ep. 5 Necessity is the mother of all invention and finding ways to survive in a radioactive wasteland is a force for motivation.
Kyoukai no Kanata Ep. 5 I’m glad to see that Mirai and Mitsuki have found their self confidence and allowed themselves to make some friends.
November 1 Nagi no Asu Kara Ep. 5 On one hand there is a push to safeguard the community of the sea, but it can’t come at the cost of others’ happiness.
November 2 Outbreak Company Ep. 4 Even if you’re trying to help them some people can’t take a hint. I admit that I’m occasionally one of those people.
Yuushibu Ep. 3 For as silly and ecchi as this series is, it really excels at putting a fantasy-world twist on just about every aspect of daily life.
Yuushibu Ep. 4 Unlike in America, Japanese culture has a hard time accepting that it’s possible for a man and a woman to just be friends.
Yuushibu Ep. 5 Usually the clueless girl seems like she’s being taken advantage of, but Fino is sinister enough to take care of herself.
Freezing Vibration Ep. 4 The writing tries too hard to be dramatic, but as ecchi action series go I’m enjoying it more than Kill la Kill.
Freezing Vibration Ep. 5 No one person can defeat the monsters that lurk within society. It takes the effort of many to change hearts.

Anime of the Week (10/6 – 10/12)

Anime of the Week – Monogatari Series: Second Season
Nadeko tells it like it is

In order to break a stalemate where nobody wants to confront the problem at hand, it might take a sharp tongue that can put the situation into plain words so everyone can accept their mistakes and move on.

As a side note, Kana Hanazawa has played some really amazing characters, but the skilled writing of Nishio Ishin has allowed her to bring forth an impassioned Nadeko, which is the icing on the cake.                              

October 6 Monogatari Ep. 14 Although Kana Hanazawa is well known for playing quiet girls, she’s a good enough actress to play any role she’s given.
October 8 Rozen Maiden Zurückspulen Ep. 12 Is it just me or is there a disconnect in fiction between people experiencing the supernatural and incredulity?
Rozen Maiden Zurückspulen Ep. 13 Although the endings was sloppily left open for a second season, I like the message that life is not a single path.
Unbreakable Machine Doll Ep. 1 This series is showing an excellent balance of comedy, action and drama—all of my favorite genres—plus a sharp art style.
October 11 Kyoukai no Kanata Ep. 2 Based on the flashback at the start and Mirai’s comments at the end, both protagonists have some demons to deal with.
October 12 Coppelion Ep. 2 Laying down your life to save a loved one never sits well with me. I think it’s better to find a way both of you can live.
Kill la Kill Ep. 1 Decrying the Nazis in the history class of this fascist school is laying the irony on little thick don’t you think?
Strike the Blood Ep. 1 I don’t have anything to complain about this series, but it had nothing compelling about it. It was just ordinary.
Yuushibu Ep. 1 There’s been a lot of hero/demon lord anime of late. I’m not sure if this’ll be better or worse than Hataraku Maou-sama.
Kyousou Giga Ep. 1 This is one of those anime that has an interesting style, but there’s absolutely no indication of what it’s about.
Nagi no Asu Kara Ep. 1 This is the most refreshing premise for an anime that I’ve seen in a long time. And Kana Hanazawa takes the role of heroine.

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