The weekend’s finally here again, and we’re back with fox girls, alien technology, and Neo Yoki-wait, Hellsalem’s Lot. The first two surprised me in different ways, one being better than expected, and the other having turned out not as good as I had hoped. Regardless, I enjoyed them all and will even go as far as to recommend you try a couple of them if you hadn’t already. Hit the jump to find out which ones!
There’s no rest for the anime blogger, and with 12 Days of Anime and Anime Secret Santa behind us, it’s now time to get on with the fall anime reviews. Some shows finished up early with only six episodes, like the already reviewed Yuki Yuna: Washio Sumi Chapter, while others are still wrapping up their final episodes. I’ll be starting here with three solid entries, one of which was a runaway with its awkward adult romance. Let me know which of these shows was your favorite!
We’ve finally arrived at the end of the series, and I’ve chosen Sakura Quest to lead us into the next year—not because it was the best of 2017, or even necessarily my favorite. Sakura Quest had its ups and downs. There was a time where I was worried the plot wasn’t going anywhere. With enough failures, and never ending communication, Yoshino grew along with Manoyama and found a new purpose in life. That’s the message I want to take to heart and relay to you now: learn from the mistakes of this past year, speak openly with the people around you, and strive to improve in the future. Whatever your belief, I wish you a wonderful holiday season and new year.
Prior to watching Wandering Son, I had already noticed the past few years’ change in approach towards gender identity. I hadn’t given it much thought other than agreeing that if ‘he’ wanted to be seen as a ‘she,’ then who was I to disagree? Using the requested pronoun wouldn’t hurt anybody or inconvenience me, even if in my mind I still considered ‘she’ a ‘he.’ Nitori and Takatsuki helped me realize that my approach needed to go beyond the surface. Instead of just going with the flow, I should delve deeper and see how my own actions are only a drop in the ocean of human equality. Their characters, complex and conflicted, work alongside a strong script and aesthetic to tell a story questioning exactly what it is we’re made of.
You didn’t think I was going to write 12 Days without referencing one of the best series of the year, did you? There is no participating in the event without Land of the Lustrous (Houseki no Kuni), which from the opening scenes established itself as a classic in the making. Everything from writing to visuals somehow improves with each episode, building upon the canvas in a steady and masterful manner. There are countless ways to discuss Land of the Lustrous, but one that has stood out to me from the beginning is the massive space occupying the frames of this show.
Almost a year has passed since the second season of Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju aired, and even now the show stands among the top with the best of 2017. The sequel was not to be outdone by the original season, which focused largely on the past, and spent much of its time contemplating the role of rakugo from present to future. One of the story’s champions for progress can be found in the complicated character of Konatsu.
The near-constant stand up comedy in Girls’ Last Tour owes its success to the convincing personalities of its two main characters, Chito and Yuuri. As straight man and funny man, the girls give the viewers a unique perspective on their lives in a world nearly devoid of any other humans. In a way, their seemingly opposing outlooks mirror the very place they inhabit; as empty the spaces and dire the search for sustenance are, Chi and Yuu still manage to entertain one another and see the good things in life, as shown in the snapshots from their camera. As the viewer, we know we should be worried about them running out of food and fuel. What would happen if one of them became deathly ill, or injured? What if they run into someone far less kind than the ones we’ve met thus far? The danger always lingers, as does the compulsion to keep moving onward and upward.
When I was a child, I latched onto any book I could get my hands on. My genre of choice was fantasy, particularly anything based on Celtic and Gaelic mythology. Some of my favorite authors included Lloyd Alexander (The Chronicles of Prydain), T.A. Barron (The Merlin Saga), Susan Cooper (The Dark is Rising), and, of course, J.R.R. Tolkien (The Lord of the Rings). They each wielded their magic with aplomb, weaving narratives that bewitched my senses and promised a journey of my own someday.
These days, I read far less than I used to or would like, and when I watch anime, most of the fantasy is based on Japanese mythology. When The Ancient Magus’ Bride appeared before me, I felt an instant jolt of nostalgia and affection. Its familiar setting and language brought me back to my childhood, where I imagined going on that adventure promised me so long ago.
I can’t think of a single success story as surprising as Kemono Friends, an anime that aired at the start of the year and quickly stormed through the anime community. I pride myself on an open mind when it comes to anime—I try to give every series the benefit of the doubt no matter my reservations about the art or genre. Somehow Kemono Friends slipped past my net. It wasn’t until I saw the hype on Twitter and many of the blogs I read that I realized I had almost missed out on something special. So I set out to remedy my mistake, and tried the first couple of episodes. The story didn’t seem remarkable, and the CG animation and art were an eyesore…but I kept watching. I wanted to visit the next area with Kaban and Serval. I wanted to meet more Friends. Before long, I realized I didn’t want the story to end. Japari Park had become real.