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Jun 26, 2019
Geez, Noein was a strange one.

And that is even by my standards. I'm the kind of person who's sunk pretty deeply into speculative fiction. I'm no stranger to esoteric visuals or allegedly 'mind-bending' concepts about quantum realities or multiple timelines. But Noein blends so much of it so constantly that even having reached the end I'm not totally sure I know what was accomplished or why. The brilliant part of the show is that it doesn't actually matter how weird it is, or how many questions you have, because the writing keeps you invested in what's right in front of you; read more
Jun 25, 2019
Arpeggio of Blue Steel is a hard one to review, in part because it weighs out to being a fairly average series. It doesn't have a ton of strengths, nor does it have any really notable failure. It shows up, does its thing, and then departs, so it's really more a question of whether or not that 'thing' will be up your alley.

I can say, in that, it was a good deal better than it had to be, or even then it might have appeared to be. This show really could have coasted with some CG action and cute ship girls and read more
Jun 23, 2019
Occult Academy is a show that ultimately doesn't work, but at the same time manages to be kind of fascinating in its failure. It's not down to any single factor why Occult Academy doesn't work, and it has its share of strengths, though to be fair there are plenty of weaknesses to pick on. However, the way all the pieces go together makes the show overall one I can't recommend.

With the exceptions of the two leads, the characters are essentially one note each... but they play their notes well enough that I don't really hold it against them. A season of anime read more
Apr 1, 2019
Every once in a while you get a work that's legitimately transformative, taking a stale, stagnant, or just under-explored genre and bringing it to a state that's truly new and different. Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka is not that show. It wants to be, but it isn't. That doesn't mean it's a bad show, but if the show were a rocket it would aim for the moon and hit an urban center with a payload of nerve gas. Did that comparison seem disturbingly excessive? If so, it's the right one for this show.

Because what needs to be gotten out of the read more
Mar 21, 2019
Akanesasu Shoujo (Which I will refer to henceforth by its English title, Girl in Twilight) is one of the more fascinating pieces I've watched lately, a curious mixture that both knows what it wants to be and somehow manages to be a little bit of everything alongside. It might not be what it appears to be at first, but when you get down to it, the truth is more than worthy.

Let's talk about the story – we're centered around the Radio Research Club, a group of five high-school girls who like hanging out with each other (sort of) and messing with crystal radios when read more
Feb 1, 2019
Gargantia is the Anime I didn't know I wanted to see. I put it that way in part because, other than that, it's not actually easily to define what it is. The show starts out with a battle between mecha-driving humans and the damn dirty aliens that have hunted them across the stars. Sounds familiar, right? But it takes only a cursory look at the pitch for the series to know that's not the story we're getting. Ledo, a survivor of the opening space battle is, along with his big robot Chamber, stranded on a distant planet, among a strange read more
Jan 30, 2019
Well, it's happened again. I've gone into a show with no expectations, only to find a surprising little gem that's somewhat outside what I would consider my typical fare. Unlike with some other options, Trinity Seven does at least somewhat advertise as something with elements that I would want – the story of Arata, a relative nobody who seeks out magical power only to turn out to be fairly awesome, is pretty cliched and has been done a lot of times, but some of those times it's been done smartly, and I'm something of a sucker for smart and/or stylish fantasy worlds, the read more
Jan 30, 2019
Sometimes, you get a work that “doesn't know what it wants to be” – shows with a confused tone and jumbled presentation that tried to reach for too many different elements and couldn't grasp them all. Star Driver is different. In a weird way, it's a show that knows exactly what it wants to be... but somehow manages to be ignorant of what it is, leading to it rather shamefully squandering loads of potential.

So what did Star Driver want to be? It wanted to be a teen drama/romance mecha fighting show with a 'surprising' emotional heart to it – a spectacle of read more
Dec 19, 2018
There are a lot of stories to be told with a similar pattern: a world of magic, monsters, and spellcasters exists just beneath the surface of what would be recognized as our modern Earth. These urban fantasy stories are usually pretty easy to make interesting, since they have both the high-flying adventure of fantasy, and the relatable nature of being set in something at least like the modern world. However, while there are a lot of advantages to telling this kind of story, you still need the basics of fantasy storytelling down, putting a decent amount of thought and effort into your supernatural read more
Dec 18, 2018
Shakugan no Shana was a pretty good monster fighting urban fantasy. It wasn't perfect, but it had good characters, a cool setting, and some pretty impressive action. Shakugan no Shana Second was, in my mind, a little bit of a step down. The show dragged a little, but it was still good overall.

Then comes Shakugan no Shana Final. In my mind, Final is the perfect capstone to the Shakugan no Shana series, possessing all of the strengths of what came before and then some, along with few if any of the weaknesses. It changes the status quo, escalates the action read more