Spring 2014 Season Wrap

Spring sped on by in a flurry, and the rains quickly passed over to summer before I was ready. My spring in particular was a tumultuous one: I helped my boyfriend choose and move into a new house, every weekend has been redecorating and settling in, and I spent the last couple of weeks of the season in Japan. If you’re still here, thanks for sticking around :) Please let me know what you watched this spring, and how your thoughts compare to mine!

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Winter 2014 Season Wrap

It’s becoming a mantra of mine to complain about how little time I have these days and how far behind I’ve fallen with each season’s anime, but it’s true! And the going got even tougher when there were so many shows from the winter that I couldn’t help but follow–and plenty more that ended up on my backlog. Now that the cold days are mostly behind us, time will likely get even tighter with the warmth outside beckoning. Thankfully, the winter anime did a glorious job of keeping the heart warm despite the chilly weather.

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Spring 2013 Wrap

This spring was a crazy one for me, having just moved from another state and landed a big girl job.  Juggling a full-time position with a personal life is no joke, then I just had to insert a full season of anime along with gameplay for the still new Guild Wars 2.  I also have an hour of commute each way to and from work, which I now fill with reading up on other blogs and commenting.  Now that I’ve finally settled into a semblance of a routine, I hope to be a bit more consistent on blogging.  Despite all the chaos, I was still able to finish up my shows in a reasonable time frame, and landed favorites with RDG and Chihayafuru 2.

Shows covered in this season’s wrap include:

  • RDG: Red Data Girl
  • Chihayafuru 2
  • Ore no Imouto 2
  • Saki: Achiga-hen ~ Episode of Side-A
  • Suisei no Gargantia
  • Arata Kangatari
  • Otona Joshi no Anime Time
  • Sparrow’s Hotel
  • Hataraku Maou-sama
  • Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge
  • Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru
  • Hentai Ouji to Warawanai Neko
  • Kakumeiki Valvrave
  • Devil Survivor 2
  • Karneval

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Winter 2013 Season Wrap

Yet another season ends, while another begins! Quite a few of the anime this season were late add-ins either because they were backlogged or because I overlooked them the first time around.  Many thanks to the people who convinced me to pick them up and catch up with everyone! So you see, I do take your recommendations into account any time through the year :)

While there isn’t really an order to the shows as I discuss them here, I do want to highlight Shirokuma CafeMinami-ke Tadaima, Shin Sekai Yori, and Girls and Panzer as being my personal favorites through these cold months.

Anime in the order that I discuss them:

  • Boku no Imouto wa Osaka Okan
  • Mondaijitachi ga Isekai kara Kuru Sou Desu yo?
  • Psycho-Pass
  • Tamako Market
  • Love Live!
  • Kotoura-san
  • Shin Sekai Yori
  • Girls und Panzer
  • Bakuman 3
  • Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai NEXT
  • AMNESIA
  • Zetsuen no Tempest
  • Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo
  • Magi
  • Maoyuu Maou Yuusha
  • Ore no Kanojo to Osananajimi ga Shuraba Sugiru
  • Minami-ke Tadaima
  • Shirokuma Cafe

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Fall 2012 Season Wrap

Blame Jormungand 2 for the delay in my response to the shows I watched for the Fall 2012 season.  But don’t blame Koko, because her and her chic new haircut are just too cute.

These past few months have been a whirlwind of some really great and really bad anime moments, even more so than any other of the 2012 seasons that I can remember.  I also ended up backlogging a few intriguing shows that I simply could not fit into my schedule, including Shin Sekai YoriRobotics;Notes, and Psycho-Pass.  I have heard enough positive feedback about them from others that I’m probably going to end up marathoning them near the end of the next winter season.

You’ll also notice that I cut my former use of ratings from my season wrap.  Though I feel obligated to assign numbers to these same shows when I “complete” them on MAL, I have a more difficult time justifying my scores here.  Sometimes a show that quality-wise would probably score around a 5, I’d personally feel like giving an 8 because of the enjoyment factor.  So until I convince and artist friend or commission one to draw me some food or home-themed rating images, I’ll cut scores for now! Read on, my dear readers, and let me know what you thought of the season or even past year as a whole!

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My Fickle, Little Monster

Ah, high school–that time of turbulent emotions, assignment deadlines, and lots and lots of free time.  In a way, I was once a lot like Mizutani Shizuku, the protagonist for Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun.  I cared mostly for grades and my student resume. I had my eyes set on the future, and I wanted my student life to appear full and inviting to college recruiters.  Unlike Shizuku, I had my fair share of crushes through my four years of high school; I was just too awkward to pursue anyone, many of whom I had known since kindergarten.  Past perceptions had me pegged as some kind of man-hater, that little girl who liked to kick boys in the shins.  Although my former dislike was a far cry from Shizuku’s indifference, we still shared a growing desire to connect with others.  And while she certainly comes a good distance in forming friendships and acknowledging her attractions to Haru, thirteen episodes and the multitude of see-sawing emotions made any sort of closure impossible.

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Crafting in Aincrad with SAO

Now that Sword Art Online is finished, I wanted to take a bit of time to talk about one of my favorite elements about the anime.  If you follow me on Twitter, you likely already know about my passion for the Guild Wars franchise.  Since Guild Wars 2 didn’t come out until a month after Sword Art Online, the anime helped hype me up for my upcoming re-immersion into the online gaming world.  I had of course participated in the beta, but knowing that my characters and progression would be completely wiped before the official release made it was hard to take it seriously.

But then the game came out, and with my head start access, I rush leveled my first character, a Sylvari ranger, to the max 80 within the week.  It wasn’t until that point that I took a breath and looked more carefully at all the possibilities around me, like jumping puzzles, explorer achievements, and crafting.  I opted for Leatherworking (armor for medium class rangers, engineers, and thieves) and set out again on hitting the cap at 400.  I found the progression in crafting to be just as enthralling and rewarding as pushing my character through the storyline and maps, since it was the very first time I had ever experimented in that area.  When SAO episodes featuring “Liz” the smith and Asuna’s cooking abilities aired, very early in the series, I was extremely excited as a “fellow” craftsman and more appreciative of the anime’s authentic gaming environment. Continue reading

Creative Pride of the Few in Bakuman. 3

“It’d be interesting if 2.0 surpassed the original, but unlike Ashirogi Mutou, I can’t see the author’s face!” (Niizuma Eiji, Bakuman. 3, “Confidence and Resolve”).

I find the ideal workshops–be they writing, music, or other–are the ones with lower seat counts. As valuable as an outsider’s opinion is, it’s important to never lose your sense of self. There’s a balance that must be struck between pleasing the audience and creating a piece unique to yourself that warrants the attention paid to it.  The current arc in Bakuman. 3 questions this argument, that a work created by the input of many deserves to stand on the same stage as a work produced by one.  And given the popularity and seeming perfection of the group work gathered by Nanamine, who’s to say that his methods and final product are not every bit as justified as the old standby collaboration of artist and editor?

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[Final Thoughts] Moyashimon Returns: Brewing Happiness

Obligatory Oikawa picture, just because.

Personal note: let me take a moment before my thoughts on the anime to apologize for my break in blogging.  Life has been busy lately, as indicated in detail in the personal update box in the right-side column on my front page.  I have been keeping up with a good number of anime this season, but have not had the time to sit down and really share my thoughts on them.  For those of you who have stuck around, thank you for your continued support! Now on to my review!

Moyashimon Returns ended just recently and threw us hopes for another season in the making.  Another sequel is exactly what this franchise needs given the somewhat odd direction that this second series takes.  For those of you who have seen the live action version of Moyashimon (I have), or perhaps even read the manga (which I haven’t), this climax and focus on Haruka’s character probably wasn’t much of a shock.  But for viewers solely familiar with the first season or perhaps jumping into Returns as a standalone show, the amount of time spent on her storyline may have felt overly long.

While there were definitely loose ends left from the first season, the original series wrapped up Haruka’s family issues just enough to have possibly forgone further elaboration in following shows.  Instead, Returns devoted the majority of its airtime to someone who once felt more like a side character.  Regardless of the odd choice of character development, the individual stories were still able to circle around a common theme of the pursuit of happiness. Continue reading