[Side A] Winter 2017 – Thoughts on Weeks 1 & 2

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Gaaaah… That’s what I get for saying things and then end up jinxing the situation. As much as I wanted to get out a week in review a bit earlier this week, lab work had me fully decked and basically coming home too exhausted to write, let alone even watch anything.

But yeah, so is life. C’est la vie and all that jazz. I’m happy I can get back to writing. So like I said, I’m splitting up my weekly thoughts into two parts, which have been re-named somewhat and are labeled “Side A” and “Side B”. Not to sound patronizing, but in case some of you out there might be too young to remember this, we used to listen to music on audio cassettes that had you flip it around when it got to the end. There were also things called laser discs, which were basically the spiritual predecessor of the DVD — and yes, they had two sides, as well. Likewise, my thoughts have two sides to them. Neat, huh?

Anyway, that’s enough history for one post. So let’s get down to it then, shall we? Side A of the weekly thoughts — let’s do this! Continue reading

Fall 2016 – Season End Ranking

I made it to the end of a season! Wohoo!

We made it to the end of a year! Wohoo!

Yeah, 2016 was a pretty bad hand, but instead of brooding over what was, I think it’s also just as important for us to appreciate what we have. And true enough, 2016 was quite an adventure for me. I’ve been to three different continents, seven different countries, and fourteen different cities; I’ve met random people on the street and have met new friends and faces in all of my travels. And I’m not here to show how blessed I am; rather, I’m here to tell you that it’s important to count your blessings as well.

It’s one of the reasons why I rushed in a review for Flying Witch, to remind everyone to look for the magic in a dismal world. Because it’s only in realizing what’s important to us — the things we value — that we actually strive to see to it that these things are upheld. It’s what ignites passion and fuels change. Never lose sight of the things that have made your life worth living, no matter how shitty 2016 was.

Because the truth is, there’s no telling how shitty 2017 will be. Or the year after that. But if you know what it is you live for, then that’s an entirely different story.

But what does that have to do with anime? Well, nothing really. But I’ve been trying to link the anime I watch with life in general, and to a certain extent I think I’ve achieved that. What I write basically tries to prove to people that you can learn quite a lot about life through moving images on a television screen, and that every story has a hidden message just waiting to be told. We can bitch and rant about the things we hate about 2016 — just as much as we can bitch and rant about the things that sucked about anime. But I’m here to talk about what makes us enjoy the things we enjoy; what makes us hate the things we hate; what makes us keep coming back for more and more anime despite all of that.

In short — anime is love; anime is life.

And before I go on aimlessly with this lengthy entry, let’s move on to the season end ranking, yeah! (man, what a messy segue) Continue reading

Fall 2016 – Week 12 in Review

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Yeah, it’s that time of the year when you just want to cuddle up in your bed and not move an inch. I know I did this morning, because the cold was just insufferable. And then I realized I needed to go shopping, only to end up getting drenched in the rain on the way back. Thankfully, the anime was ready to greet me back at home, complete with a cup of steaming hot cocoa.

Merry Christmas everybody. 🙂

So yeah, the shows are ending. It’s a little sad, but at the same time there are still some shows that have an episode left before ending forever. And then there’s one show that’s going to go on for a second cour. So let’s recap what happened this week! Continue reading

Fall 2016 – Week 11 in Review

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This week was a little nerve-wracking for me, given I finally submitted my written dissertation proposal, followed by an oral defense that didn’t exactly go as well as I’d hoped. Regardless, I spent a lovely afternoon eating out with friends at a pretty authentic Japanese restaurant (which is hard to find in west England, mind you), after which I treated myself to a performance of the London Symphony Orchestra playing to Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4.

But what about the anime? Well, it did reasonably good; although the funny thing is that even though the shows are obviously preparing to close shop for the year, I honestly can’t help but feel a little indifferent. It’s hard to express the feeling — I do want to see how the shows will end, but I sorta feel like I want to get on to the next season. And it’s not because the shows aren’t doing any good — in fact I feel that their approach to their closure is moving within reasonable expectations (as they should). But at the same time, I think I’m not as excited as I should be. Does any of that make sense?

Oh well, whatever. Let’s take a look back and see what happened last week! Continue reading

Fall 2016 – Week 10 in Review

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Wow, we’re in the double-digits now. Week 10, and then it’s just a little bit more till 2017 — and that means obligatory year-end rankings and what not. But as much as I’m excited for the new year, I was quite similarly excited for what happened this week. If I were to describe this season, I’d probably call it out as some kind of misfit. There were those shows that were obviously good from the start… and then there were those that were just so bad… and then there were those that yo-yo-ed up and down as if trading seats during a game of trip to Jerusalem.

It’s a strange dynamic that is quintessentially Fall 2016. Sure, I feel like it’s screwed me pretty hard, but I feel like it’s been a fun ride nevertheless. So let’s run down just what happened this week: Continue reading

Fall 2016 – Week 7 in Review

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I have to say, this has been a very satisfying season so far. I’m honestly surprised at how well the shows are doing to the point that it seems like there’s a visible line between what is palatable and what is pretty much inedible. That said, it’s been a bit of a chore figuring out how to rank these shows as the weeks go by, because all of them do what they do very well!

If you read my mid-season round up, you may have noticed that there’s quite a spread in terms of genre. That alone makes it difficult to say one show does better than the other — but that’s the format we bloggers have to follow, and believe me if we could just blurt out everything at the top of our heads, life would be so much easier. But we rank shows to give us an idea of how strongly we resonate with the themes that are presented — it’s not to say that any one show is better than the other.

So just what happened this week in animeland? Sit back and let’s RUN ‘EM DOWN! Continue reading

Fall 2016 – Mid-Season Round Up

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Weee! I’m finally writing my first mid-season round up post since I started this friggin’ blog. Two seasons have already passed since then, so I guess third time’s the charm?

But what’s all this for, anyway? I mean, I’m already doing weekly round ups, so why one come mid-season? Well, there are just so many shows, and a number of my RL friends often come to me sometime around mid-season just to ask if there’s anything worth picking up. In some ways, you could say they’re more than happy to make me suffer on their behalf, what having to plough through all these shows expecting for the worst… But at the same time it’s always a good feeling when I can recommend a good title or two. Because let’s face it, some shows grow at their own pace, but knowing a show will be worth the effort is always something helpful to keep in mind.

So this will just be a quick rundown of the current standing of all shows this season based on my current census of titles. As with the season preview list and weekly round ups, these shows are ordered in descending rank. Only the season end ranking places the shows in order of ascending rank (they say it’s more dramatic that way). Also, if you’re lazy and just want a TL;DR, look for the words in bold in the last paragraph of each show description.

On a personal note, I’d highly recommend #’s 1-6. The rest might require a bit of… well, patience. Anyway, enough talk, let’s do this!
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Fall 2016 – Week 2 in Review

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I hate myself.

As much as I said that I’d “limit” my viewing list, turns out I added another two shows, which in total makes for nine shows. That’s pretty much my standard viewing list, so there goes my hopes of “trimming” down anything. 0 – over 9000 in favor of Animu, I guess.

But that’s only because this season is actually pretty great! I’m such an idiot for thinking the releases were pretty dull (shame on you), and that’s probably only because I was in a hurry to tick off things from the list just because the cover art wasn’t so “appealing”. Having said that, wonderful pieces like Akiyuki Shinbo’s interpretation of March comes in like a lion went completely under the radar, and so did Wataru Watari’s gi(a)rlish number.

And so here we go with the week in review as I nonchalantly include these two titles as if I never missed out on watching them in the first place. That said, please–PLEASE do not recommend any more shows for me to watch. I’m seriously going to stick a cacatuar into my eyes if I end up adding another show to my list.

So anyway, back to this week. The shows pretty much powered their way through this week with very little reason for me to be worried. But as always, the first few weeks are the moments these shows tend to place their best foot forward. But if the prize for “most improved show” must go out to someone, then it most definitely has to go to Natsume Yûjinchou GoContinue reading