12 Days of Anime #2 – Nine Great Anime Related Moments from 2014

Tomorrow I’m going to post the anime moment that had left the deepest impression upon me this past year. I’ve already written of 10 moments, but here are nine more moments that I thought merited a paragraph each, of an exciting, impactful or “other” moment in my anime-related life from the past year. Why nine? Because tomorrow is the tenth, the big one (Order of following moments is arbitrary).
Moments will be included for: Nobunagun, Mushishi, Avatar: The Legend of Korra, Chihayafuru, Princess Tutu, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (and Stardust Crusaders), Log Horizon, Hunter x Hunter (2011), and Madoka Magica: Rebellion.

Princess Tutu Anime - Kureha / Rue standing over Prince Mytho

1. Princess Tutu is a Magical Show: Princess Tutu is hands down the best show I’ve watched this year, which makes me not finishing it even worse. I’ve listened to a lot of classic music and ballets as a child, and Princess Tutu using them all was splendid. The story is basically timeless, speaks to my love of narratives and meta-narratives (similar to The Witches’ sub-series in Terry Pratchett’s The Discworld series), and the more thought you put into the show, the more you get into it. Would be a great show to watch with one’s children, for the older readers of my blog.

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Spring 2014 Week 8 Impressions – (Anime Power Ranking)

As usual, shows listed by order of my enjoyment of said episode, links to longer write-ups. This was a pretty good week! While most popcorn shows had somewhat bored me or failed to do as well as they did in the past, everything else did really well!

1) Mushishi Second Season episode 7

Mushishi Second Season anime episode 8 overview

After a week without it, Mushishi is back, and boy does it come out swinging. I think it’s my favourite episode of the season, after the marvelous second episode. There’s not a lot that happened in this episode, there’s not much symbolism, or characters taking action, or anything you can point at and say “This! This is why this episode, and why Mushishi are so great!” – it was a story of human loss, of a human being swept away by the grand forces of Mushishi, emotions, and loss.

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Spring 2014 Anime Midseason Overview (Part 2/2: Non-Action)

Mid-season of the anime season of Spring 2014 is upon us, so time to round up how I feel about the shows I’m current on. Due to the length of the list, I split it in half. The first part covered action shows. This part covers all the rest of the shows.

Shows are listed in order of enjoyment. Numbers are order on the list, and in parenthesis the order in the joint list, comprised of 13 shows. The first three shows in this section are my favourite three shows of the season, and they’re all at basically the same spot. They’re all winners.

1 (1) Ping Pong the Animation

Ping Pong the Animation anime Spring 2014 midseason overview

This show isn’t all that interested in telling us a story we hadn’t heard before. That’s fine, because there aren’t many such stories. This series is interesting in not merely a well-constructed story, but also in one that is well-told. The acting is solid, and the characters are believable. You can understand what is at stake when every conflict is had, or what its purpose is – such as when they use a conflict in the first episode for a third character to look at it and explain to us what is really going on, which in retrospect shows that the “stake-free conflict”, due to how it’s the same conflict that had been ongoing for a while is merely a character’s never-ending capitulation.

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Spring 2014 Week 5 Impressions – (Anime Power Ranking)

It’s a bit late, cause I’ve been tired, but here they are! Some lengthier write-ups for several shows! I should move to writing just these, honestly, for most shows. Welp, just checked, this post is quite long. Yeah, I could definitely move to just these, instead of episodic notes, and this is almost too long as well.

Shows listed in order of enjoyment. Links are to lengthier write-ups.

1) Ping Pong the Animation episode 4

Ping Pong the Animation episode 4 overview - Coach Koizumi Jou philosophy

This show is sort of funny in terms of me discussing it. I have a lot to say during the episode, where I break down shot-composition, imagery, facial expressions, words spoken and unspoken, plot-advancements, every small thing in this show is very much deliberate. People speak of the imagery in Mawaru Penguindrum, or Monogatari. But you know what? That’s only in very certain scenes, and those shows work really hard to hit you on the head. Even if you don’t always get what the imagery is, it’s clear it’s there. Also, there are stylistic choices that aren’t thematic, and don’t really convey much, they’re there as extra baggage riding the train (it’s not bad, it’s just as Studio Ghibli has its style).

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Spring 2014 Week 4 Impressions – (Anime Power Ranking)

It’s late, I’m tired, and I’d rather watch some Princess Tutu than describe my week, or sleep, I’m gorram tired, you guys. Most of the shows had been alright, not “great”, but not bad either. Though I list them by order, unlike most seasons, even stuff at position 10 or so out of 13 did quite respectably, honestly. It’s not like seasons where anything under #3 was utter trash.

Going for shortish points on each. Listed in order of enjoyment/good episode was. Links are to more in-depth/longer pieces on some.

1Isshuukan Friends episode 4

Isshuukan Friends Episode 4 / One Week Friends Episode 4 anime overview - Hase Yuki

Oh man. The fact this is number 1 this week tells you everything. This show had always been great. But this episode… this episode truly felt like an end-of-series episode, and we’re only in the 4th one. I think LNs/manga can be like that, they have an arc in each volume or so, and you can see in adaptations multiple resolutions, whereas had it been an anime original we might have not had this episode until episode 9, or 11. Even if the show turns to utter dreck at this point, it could be recommended as one of the best 4-episode-OVAs to be found.

It was sad. It was so real. Hase’s argument with Fujimiya was exactly the same as some arguments I’ve had with SOs, or arguments I hear between other people. And then they decided to work for it, and their tears, and my tears… very emotional. And yet, nothing “big”, no shouts or melodrama, just… well-told drama. Amazing.

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Spring 2014 Week 3 Impressions – (Anime Power Ranking)

Shows in order of my enjoyment of the latest episode, not the show as a while.

I’m actually dropping/putting on hold a few shows. Finally cutting down on some write-ups (I hope I can!) link are to relevant blog-posts, and only for shows I thought the write-up was good or lengthy enough. First impressions for M3: Sono Kuroki Hagane, extra long write-ups for Isshuukan Friends, M3, and Mekakucity Actors.

1) Ping Pong episode 2

Ping Pong the Animation episode 2 overview - Tsukimoto Makoto / Smile has a face-off with coach Koizumi Jou

From APR – Ping Pong Episode 2 takes what the first episode had done and kicks it to overdrive. The characters which were basic are actually built. The interactions are charming, the characters are all “known” and nothing is new, but they still have depth and convince you of their reality, as their quirky natures rise to the top. A loveable cast, solid acting, and solid direction. The “duel” being narrated from the sides, discussing the other’s personality, the flicks to the butterfly… this ping pong duel had been directed and narrated as a samurai show fight, straight out of a samurai manga, and it’s one of the best such duels I’ve watched or read in a long while.

Verdict: Kept, full write-ups.

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Spring 2014 First Impressions – (Week 1 Anime Power Ranking)

I ran out of energy and desire to cover the final weeks of the Winter 2014 season (I’m so glad it’s over). But we’ve got a new season, so it’s time to see how the first episodes fared! The episodes are those I’ve watched from Wednesday to Wednesday, and are listed in the order of my enjoyment of them.

Each episode’s title links to my full episodic notes for the episode in question, in case you’d like my in-depth reactions.

(Shows Covered, in alphabetical order: Akuma no Riddle, Black Bullet, Brynhildr no Gokukoku (Brynhildr in the Darkness), Captain Earth, Fairy Tail (2014), Isshuukan Friends (One Week Friends), JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders, Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei (The Irregular at Magic High School), Mushishi S2, Nagi no Asukara, Nisekoi, “No Game, No Life”, and Selector Infected WIXOSS.)

Note, Originally Selector Infected WIXOSS and Nagi no Asukara had been placed just above Akuma no Riddle. Then I decided to embrace fun and bumped them down for the faults I enumerate in my write-ups, basically for being muddled and not brave enough.

1) Captain Earth episode 1

Captain Earth episode 1 anime overview

From APR – This show was fun. I actually wanted to watch episode 2 immediately after! While people say it reminds them of Star Driver, not having seen that I thought of Eureka 7. It’s fun seeing a mecha show by people other than Sunrise who had really been off their game lately. This show was very shiny, and we not only got hammered with an extra-heavy dose of “mystical prophecy / portentous memories/dreams”, but we actually got to see the origin, and see the truth behind them. Father being a “Captain” is something many shows would’ve dragged to reveal in who knows how many episodes, but we’ve got it all in the first episode.

This show was gorgeous, it was well-directed, well-acted, and it was interesting. The need for everything to have secrets/symbolism and psychology (really, Freud?) consistent in Bones’ anime is a bit tiring, but guess that’s what post-NGE mecha are about. Still, an extremely strong showing.

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