The summer anime season is almost over, and I’ve slowly started wrapping up my very long list of shows. I’m experimenting here with with final impressions in installments–instead of my usual massive post of all the shows, I’ll be breaking them down into a few hopefully more manageable reads. Please let me know what you think of this format. I’m also dropping the “Special Ingredient” separation of each review, which can easily be incorporated into one of the main paragraphs. In its place is a 0-3 dango rating system; think of it in the spirit of Michelin star ratings. Just because I give a show 0 dango doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it. On the contrary, my having completed the show proves I found it worthwhile to a certain extent.
Part 2 coming soon!
Gate: Jieitai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri
Shimoneta to Iu Gainen ga Sonzai Shinai Taikutsu na Sekai
These short, two-minute episodes feature 26-year old office worker Murasaki Wakako and her after-work culinary excursions. One side dish shines per scene, and is always accompanied by an alcoholic drink, usually sake. Personal favorites of mine include salmon with crispy skin, Japanese fried chicken, and fresh clams and herbs in broth. Watching Wakako with her simple orders reminds me that while I love to try out new places and foods, I don’t always have to order full courses. Sometimes just one flavor profile is all that is needed. This is particularly true after a long day with coworkers and clients–that heaviness shouldn’t be weighed down even further by dense foods. And while eating with others brings its own joys and unique tastes, sometimes a party of one is exactly what a busy day in the office calls for. Wakako has mastered the confidence to sit and dine alone to give her full attention to the meal at hand.
The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan ended early in the summer, appropriately in an awkward spot between seasons. I was left with a bit of an odd sensation of insecurity–exactly whose disappearance did the title refer to, the familiar and beloved Nagato presented back in 2006, or the 2015 Yuki-chan full of open human emotions? Both are certainly applicable with their own definitions and circumstances. Both evoke a sadness that never fully vanishes at the series’ end.Read More »
I could seriously use a honeydew melon creamsicle almost every day this time of year–Seattle is undergoing another record hot summer with days frequently climbing into the 90s. I’m an Alaskan at heart! Take away this oppressive heat!
Thankfully, we have a ton of new shows to fill the time spent cowering in the shade in front of the fan (because no air conditioners here!), along with a handful of continuing series from the spring. We’re about four-five weeks into the summer, and I’ve mostly chosen the ones I’ll be watching either week-to-week, or all at once at the end of the season.
Miss Monochrome: The Animation 2
Shimoneta to Iu Gainen ga Sonzai Shinai Taikutsu na Sekai
This roller coaster of a spring season has finally drawn to an end, with a few stragglers an episode or a few behind. Quite a few turned into gems that’ll remain favorites for a long time, while others barely clung to my weekly interests. I was sad to say farewell to a couple, notably Hibike! Euphonium, Sidonia, and KinMosa, but the seasons refuse to stay longer than necessary, and I can only hope we’ll see them again soon.
*Please note that there will be obvious spoilers in my final thoughts. The series are discussed as they were finished, and in no order of preference.
Owari no Seraph
Hello! Kiniro Mosaic
Mikagura Gakuen Kumikyoku
Danna ga Nani wo Itteiru ka Wakaranai Ken 2 Sure-me
Dungeon ni Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darou ka
Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha ViVid
Houkago no Pleaides (TV)
Sidonia no Kishi: Daikyuu Wakusei Seneki
Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works (TV) 2nd Season
It took the airing of a sequel to kick my butt into finishing the first season of Nisekoi, a show I had stalled on, then backlogged, back when it first came out at the beginning of last year. Here we are more than a year later in the midst of summer (hooray, June, my birth month!!) and I’m all caught up on the antics. I was sorely disappointed that the ending didn’t bring with it any resolution of the lock-and-key mystery, though that was to be expected with the presence of a sequel. In a way, I felt like I was cheating since I already knew when beginning the original that there was more material to be had and any cliffhanger would immediately be rendered useless.
My feelings towards this show and its characters have been all over the board, and continue to remain in a wobbly state. At first, I was bored with the premise, and had an obvious preference for the only mutual feelings of affection between Ichijou and Onodera. As I was sucked into the rest of the episodes, I slowly warmed up to Chitoge and her bodyguard, Tusugumi. The only person who maintains my disdain is Marika, who I wish would take her unwanted affections and vanish off the screen. Unfortunately, the best girl of the show, Onodera’s best friend Ruri, isn’t part of the harem.
Everything in this series is a re-hash of what has been done before: character archetypes, plot scenarios, conflicts. Nisekoi doesn’t bring anything new to the boards and is ridiculously easy to predict, but it does perform what we already know reliably well.
If you had told me at the beginning of the season that I would pick up this CG-heavy, cutesy battle girls show, I would’ve laughed you off of my screen. I’ve come a long way from my earlier disdain for CG, thanks in large part to gems like Sidonia no Kishi and Sanzoku no Musume Ronja, and the application to Etotama remains with the battle sequences, leaving most everything else to 2D. My true aversion to this show came mainly from the harem set up and bawdy interactions, which oddly enough have now faded into the background of my viewing experience. Etotama slowly but steadily charmed me with its zodiac members and Nya-tan’s well-meaning but usually chaotic actions, the self-aware comedy, and very prettily executed battles.
I can’t begin to count the number of times that The Irregular at Magic High School was recommended to me, so after enough reminders, I finally picked up this show (viewable on both Netflix and Crunchyroll) over the winter and just recently finished it. I don’t remember why I skipped it when it first aired, but it took only one to two episodes for me to add this to my watch list. The setting was none too unique–a high school instructing students on magic and organized by entrance scores–but the lead characters firmly took a hold of the tone of the series through their capability and set themselves apart from other magical high school anime.
“Takeo-kun has really nice skin…and his eyebrows and sideburns really get to me…and his broad shoulders, and nice pecs…and his lips are so sexy!..His hands are so big, too. They make my heart race! I really want to cuddle, and hold hands, and stuff.” -Yamato Rinko
A modern day Beauty and the Beast, Ore Monogatari!! takes a much sweeter route through its tale of romance. Yamato Rinko appears to be your typical adorable female shoujo lead, with her small stature, high voice, and pure aura. Gouda Takeo towers over her and many full-fledged adults with a body builder’s muscles and penetrating stare. But unlike the fairy tale, our girl isn’t a hostage, and our guy is neither prideful, nor full of anger. We have two young people who genuinely care for one another, and come together as a couple in the first three episodes.
“I’ve never liked playing tuba alone. It’s just one boring phrase after another. But when you play in an ensemble and hear all the other parts, it becomes music. It becomes harmony. You can really tell you’re carrying the piece. I’ve liked tuba ever since.” -Gotou Takuya
I’ve mentioned quite a few times in previous posts that I grew up playing the piano, having started at a very young age, but I don’t know if I ever mentioned that I also picked up percussion at the wise age of ten. The choice was a simple one: I took one look at the mallet instruments–glockenspiel, xylophone, vibraphone, marimba, chimes–and saw my piano keyboard. And when I joined the concert band, it was easy to shift into the role of mallet player since all the boys wanted to smack the drums and auxiliary percussion. It wasn’t too long before I realized that to continue on would require I learn the other percussion instruments, as boring as they seemed.