[Review] Long Riders!

Long Riders! is a delightful anime that began airing during the previous 2016 season in October. It was scheduled to complete on schedule in December, but the last two episodes were postponed until February of this year. The show features college girls who enjoy long distance cycling. When I first noticed this anime, I thought it might more closely resemble Yowamushi Pedal, another cycling manga and anime that has become incredibly popular in Japan. While both works center on the bicycle, they differ greatly in terms of topic, setting, and voice. I value each for their contribution, but found myself better appreciating the emotions inspired by Long Riders! Read More »

Fall 2016 Season Wrap

Let us all breathe a sigh of relief that I have finally finished the fall anime! Thanks to my three-week honeymoon and a terrible throat infection/fever, I had a lot of catching up to do after returning home. There were a ton of wonderful shows this past fall that I was almost sorry to complete. 2016 as a whole was actually a great year for anime, and the fall season capped it beautifully. I hope you enjoyed the season and year as much as I did, and that you’ll share with me your thoughts and personal favorites!

  • Bungou Stray Dogs 2nd Season
  • Days (TV)
  • Fune wo Amu
  • Gi(a)rlish Number
  • Haikyuu!!: Karasuno Koukou VS Shiratorizawa Gakuen Koukou
  • Hibike! Euphonium 2
  • Keijo!!!!!!!!
  • Magic-Kyun! Renaissance
  • Natsume Yuujinchou Go
  • Shakunetsu no Takkyuu Musume
  • Shuumatsu no Izetta
  • Udon no Kuni no Kiniro Kemari
  • ViVid Strike!
  • Watashi ga Motete Dousunda
  • WWW.Working!!
  • YURI!!! on ICE

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[Film] An (a.k.a. Sweet Bean)

On my flight home from Australia, I had the luck of stumbling across the 2015 film An while browsing the available movies. An tells the story of a Japanese dorayaki seller and few of the people who impact his life. Dorayaki is a confection pairing little pancakes with an, sweet red bean paste. Obviously it was the setting of the dorayaki shop that drew me in, but it was the story that kept me watching, smiling, then later crying unashamedly. Thank goodness the plane’s lights were dimmed! I really had no idea what I was walking into–the only real hints I had were the drama categorization and the short trailer showing Sentaro learning how to make real an from Yoshii Tokue. The movie ended up sharing so much more than that, including such topics as the human spectrum of emotions regarding helping others, the cages others build and that we create on our own, as well as our resilience and ability to start again. As you can tell, this discussion will include a fair amount of spoilers, so if that deters you from watching, please take my suggestion now to try the film and let me know your thoughts.

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Summer 2016 Season Wrap, Part 2

This second and final wrap for the summer season turned out shorter than expected, as I resorted to reserving a few series for later viewing. There’s still a lot to read, though, and I encourage you to let me know what you thought of these shows. The summer season treated me very well with its wide range of genres. There are always the disappointments in shows that didn’t quite live up to my expectations, but there are also a handful of wonderful surprises.

  • Cheer Danshi!!
  • Fukigen na Mononokean
  • Kuromukuro
  • Love Live! Sunshine!!
  • Macross Delta
  • Mob Psycho 100
  • Nejimaki Seirei Senki: Tenkyou no Alderamin
  • Orange
  • Shokugeki no Souma: Ni no Sara
  • Tales of Zestiria the X

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Summer 2016 Season Wrap, Part 1

Somehow I made it through this busy summer with more shows than I expected, though I did drop a handful that I had originally intended to keep, like Kyoukai no Rinne and Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei-bu LOVE! LOVE! When I found myself repeatedly choosing other series over these to view each week, then faced the large number of un-watched episodes near the end of the summer season, I realized that I had zero interest in either. I already had my hands full with so many other series! Here is the first part of my summer season review, with more to follow.

  • Amaama to Inazuma
  • Amanchu!
  • Arslan Senki (TV): Fuujin Ranbu
  • Battery
  • Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya 3rei!!
  • Handa-kun
  • New Game!
  • Planetarian: Chiisana Hoshi no Yume
  • Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu

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[Review] Taishou Yakyuu Musume.

Can you count a full handful of sports anime featuring an all-female cast? Can you even name three? I could, maybe, if I stretched the category to include table top games like mahjong or survival games like air soft or paintball, but the atmospheres are wholly different from sports anime with all-male teams like Daiya no Ace, Kuroko no Basket, or Cross Game. This unbalance is a shame, because from my own experience and those of my friends and role models, female athletes are every bit as tenacious and competitive as guys, and sometimes even more so.

Taishou Yakyuu Musume. tackles the topic of sports and all its expectations using baseball as the setting. Combined with the time period, the show addresses sex and age discrimination all while featuring familiar tropes of sports, romance, and high school life. Set in 1925, main character, Koume, and her best friend, Akiko, aim to start Touhou Seika Female Academy’s, and likely the nation’s, first female baseball team.

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Spring 2016 Season Wrap – Part 2

Wooohooo! Spring is finally over! Or should I be crying, now that a few of my beloved series are either paused with sequels on the horizon or completely finished? Either way, here is my second and last part of spring reviews. Quite a number of these deserved individual coverage, and maybe that will happen some day with second viewings. Please do read on and let me know your own thoughts on the below shows.

  • Nijiiro Days
  • High School Fleet
  • Boku no Hero Academia
  • Netoge no Yome wa Onnanoko ja Nai to Omotta?
  • Ushio to Tora 2nd Season
  • Koutetsujou no Kabaneri
  • Shounen Maid

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Spring 2016 Season Wrap – Part 1

These past couple of weeks have brought about so many changes! First and foremost: I just turned 30. Happy birthday to me 🙂 KWoo and I went on a very short trip up to Alaska for a belated engagement party and to celebrate both my parents’ wedding anniversary and my birthday. Second is the wrapping up of this spring season, which I have surprisingly kept current week to week. I think I cut out way more at the start than I have in previous years, so the marginally smaller number of shows was much more manageable. Third, I’m now less than two months from the big wedding date, so I’m eyeballing the new summer season with a wary eye. I know I’ll be way too busy in the upcoming weeks to keep up with as many as I would like, but I promise to backlog anything that looks interesting and to chat with you a bit throughout the summer about the few I will watch.

This particular spring, I had a handful of great, a decent amount of pretty good, and sadly too many of the mid-range. I probably could have cut out more, but I’m still too forgiving on the flags that raise in the opening episodes. Now, on to the first part of my season review!

  • Bakuon!!
  • Joker Game
  • Kuma Miko
  • Anne Happy♪
  • Bungou Stray Dogs
  • Flying Witch
  • Sansha Sanyou

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[Review] She & Her Cat

Earth turned quietly on its axis, and in the midst of this big world, she and I quietly lost body heat together. Just as our heat and our breath flow across this planet, she and I flowed across the planet and ended up here so we could meet again.

I finally had the delightful opportunity to watch this short, 4-part piece following a young woman and her cat. I noticed it brought up repeatedly across Twitter and various blogs, made continuous notes to myself to watch it, then just as quickly forgot about it. Happily, the time came where I sat myself down to step into Daru’s world; the natures of the story and characters, and the short length of the anime begs the viewer to watch it all in one sitting. The age of the main human character also makes her easily relatable for viewers just entering young adulthood and well into the middle ages.

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[Review] Yowamushi Pedal The Movie

The events of this film take place shortly after the second series, Grande Road, and as such should not be viewed if you plan on watching the previous two series. The movie is also a step before the third series, which has only been announced. This review will include spoilers.

With KWoo facing a second trip over to Hawaii to bike up Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa and training almost daily in preparation, cycling has been in my peripheral long past the Yowamushi Pedal 2nd Season ending. This movie brought back all the anxiety of the first two television series, as well as my fears of horrifically drawn-out cycling and flashbacks mid-race. While there were many golden moments of silliness and honest feel-good-ery, those positives became overshadowed in the sequel series by an insane amount of stretching of everything I hate about battle and sports anime.

Worry not! The movie took the audience’s trepidation to heart and condensed the featured race, including the finishing stretch, into a single film. Many other improvements were also immediately apparent, including jumps forward in art and overall flow.

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