Flaring Bright in Juni Taisen: Zodiac War

“Don’t worry. All I’m taking is your life. In exchange, I hope you’ll be my friend, too. I’ve wanted that so badly since the first moment I saw you…”
(Rabbit, “Even a Champion”)

There was a time when I veered away from any kind of atmosphere that would get my heart pumping, or suffocate me in fear. Horror films always stuck in my mind and came to life in the darkness of sleep. Action and thrillers threatened to cut me in seemingly everyday activities in the car or walking on the sidewalk. As I dabbled my ankles in these genres over the years, I slowly waded deeper and deeper into the blackness of the unknown. What seemed too frightful as a child promised to excite me as an adult.

Juni Taisen: Zodiac War is this season’s offering from Nisio Isin, also known for his Monogatari series, Katangatari, and Medaka Box. A little bit of fear, the dash of a promise just out of reach, and plenty of violence fill each episode. There’s no comfort to be found in the arms of a protagonist; our writer is just as happy to tell their histories as he is to cut them right out of it. Our twelve characters, each representing a member of the Chinese Zodiac, are no heroes, either. Every one of them, no matter how righteous, reeks of questionable motives.

With an irredeemable cast and a predictable story, it might seem like Juni Taisen offers nothing of substance for enjoyment. In almost every other instance I cite my necessity for unique characters and an interesting plot.

Forget about those. Juni Taisen is a hell of a lot of fun.

Read More »

Fall 2017 Set Menu

Now that everything I’m interested in has finally aired, I can finally discuss all of the shows I’ll be watching this autumn. I decided to go back to an older style of organizing these season previews by arranging them by priority. Don’t be too thrown off by the lower shelving, though, since those shows still comprise of stories I find intriguing, even if I’m uncertain about keeping them on my watch list. Let me know if this presentation doesn’t work for you, or if you like it.

This season includes plenty of sequels, from guaranteed classics like March Comes in like a Lion to guilty pleasures like Food Wars! There are also a surprising number of big idol anime sequels. If sequels aren’t your thing, then rest assured that this fall brings with it a handful of promising new works whose stories not only sound unlike anything I’ve seen before, but whose characters and backgrounds also look phenomenal on screen.

Read More »