End-of-Month Rundown – January 2016

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January ended with a snowy bang in our parts (over two feet in some areas) so it’s appropriate several shows that failed to make the cut were subsequently buried.

Those who came here to read reviews of the likes of Norn9, Divine Gate, or Shoujo-tachi wa Kouya, etc. may be disappointed, but we’re committed not to waste our or anyone else’s time with shows that just don’t do it for us.

We’ll probably be sticking with eleven shows you see above; all have passed the 3-episode test.  It’s not a huge list, but that’s fine; we can maximize our attentions and memories far better with a small group than the huge ones of past seasons. The smaller sampling also means a sharper drop-off.

Quick observations:

  • There is an undisputed King of the Winter, and it is Boku dake ga Inai Machi, which blows every other Winter show out of the icy water. It’s cracked 9 on MAL and continues to rise (good for 11th all-time) with the most voters of any Winter show we’re watching, which is a very rare thing.
  • Preston is confident that quality can be maintained or even surpassed, but a slight regression on the back end wouldn’t be the end of the world. Her second pick Grimgar, while not quite as excellent, is also breaking conventions in its ostensible genres and providing its fair share of emotional punch.
  • Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu has only a small fraction of Inai Machi’s audience, and it’s not for everyone, but it’s engrossing enough to be Zane’s top pick. Dimension W is proving the best of recent shows that are about “A Lot of Stuff”, but it’s not guaranteed to stay as good as it started.
  • As for Hannah’s shows, they’re all second seasons or sequels, with Gundam, Durarara!!x2 and GATE all plugging away nicely, in that order.
  • Zane has not committed to finishing Prince of Stride, but the recent racing has been enough of a distraction from the bland characters to keep him interested. As for KyoAni’s latest effort Phantom World, Preston is taking a similar ep-by-ep approach.

Anyway, we hope you’re enjoying our reviews. It’s always better to write and be read than to simply write. Please keep up the thoughtful discussion, but be sure to clearly mark spoilers if you absolutely must include them in your comments. And as always, thanks for reading!

—RABUJOI STAFF

 

End-of-Month Rundown – November 2015

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Click to View Full Size

Average Episode Show Word Count (Words per review):

Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans: 906
Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry: 748
Taimadou Gakuen 35 Shiken Shoutai: 702
Sakurako-san no Ashimoto: 649
Noragami Aragoto: 642
Ushio to Tora: 616
Owari no Seraph 2: 601
Gakusen Toshi Asterisk: 594
Subete ga F ni Naru: 593
Owarimonogatari: 589
One Punch Man: 568
Utawarerumono: Itsuwari no Kamen: 398

Stray November Observations:

  • Gundam IBO remains the best Fall show, with Noragami, One Punch Man, Owarimonogatari, and Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry rounding out the Fall Top 5
  • Zane’s review of RKC episode 9 was 1,196 words, tops among Fall ’15 reviews, edging out Hannah’s IBO episode 1
  • Hannah is continuing her Retro Reviews of Attack on Titan, but is quitting Utawarerumono due to declining interest
  • Among shows we’re still reviewing, only Subete ga F and Asterisk have yet to be awarded a 9 rating, and only those two shows and Taimadou have average ratings under 8
  • One Punch Man and Owarimonogatari are the only two shows with average ratings below MAL’s
  • OPM’s MAL rating (8.88) seems over-inflated, while Taimadou’s (7.17) seems oddly underrated (both, probably, due to source material reader opinion…which is just as valid as anime-only watcher opinion)
  • No Fall shows are experiencing any significant second-half fall-off; it’s been a pretty consistent season
  • To reach the rare 9 average rating, the final four episodes of IBO’s first cour will have to average 9.5 (or two 9s and two 10s)
  • So far, the writers of RABUJOI have written 73,281 words (including 7,377 for the first 13 episodes of Attack on Titan
  • If we printed those words out in single-spaced 12-point type on standard letter stock (~500 words per page), it would be about 147 pages

End-of-Month Rundown – October 2015

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Click to View Full Size

This month, we thought we’d take a look at exactly how much we were writing about each show. One unscientific conclusion to be drawn from this superficial analysis is that “Better Shows” don’t always equal “More Words”…but they can.

Average Episode Show Word Count (Words per review):

Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans: 987
Taimadou Gakuen 35 Shiken Shoutai: 745
Owarimonogatari: 703
Ushio to Tora: 686
Gakusen Toshi Asterisk: 665
Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry: 646
Owari no Seraph 2: 607
Noragami Aragoto: 590
One Punch Man: 589
Subete ga F ni Naru: 569
Sakurako-san no Ashimoto: 564
Utawarerumono: Itsuwari no Kamen: 406

Top 10 Episode Review Word Counts:

Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans – 01: 1,138
Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans – 03: 1,073
Owarimonogatari – 02: 1,029
Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans – 05: 987
Gakusen Toshi Asterisk – 03: 922
Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans – 02: 893
Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans – 04: 846
Taimadou Gakuen 35 Shiken Shoutai – 04: 820
Taimadou Gakuen 35 Shiken Shoutai – 03: 803
Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry – 05: 792

Bottom 10 Episode Review Word Counts:

Utawarerumono: Itsuwari no Kamen – 03: 301
Utawarerumono: Itsuwari no Kamen – 02: 308
Utawarerumono: Itsuwari no Kamen – 05: 400
Owari no Seraph 2 – 04: 422
Sakurako-san no Ashimoto – 04: 431
Gakusen Toshi Asterisk – 05: 435
Utawarerumono: Itsuwari no Kamen – 04: 438
Sakurako-san no Ashimoto – 01: 462
Noragami Aragoto – 01: 482
One Punch Man – 02: 489

Author Verbosity (Words per review):

Braverade: 713
sesameacrylic: 651
MagicalChurlSukui: 603

End-of-Month Rundown – September 2015

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Click to View Full Size

Summer is over as of last week, and we watched and reviewed the last of the Summer anime last night. We’re all done and ready for Fall! As usual, our final watchlist grew beyond our preferred group of 10-12, but unlike usual, there weren’t any late drops.

The only show that will carry over into Fall is Ushio to Tora. Other shows have yet to end (GOD EATER, Working!!!, Durarara!!x2) but will be continued after hiatuses.

Shows speculated or expected, but not confirmed, to have sequels down the road include Food Wars, OverLord, GANGSTA, and Rokka no Yuusha.

Other Fun Facts:

  • As you can see from the matching colors on the left edge, we’ve got an unintentional “Preston Sandwich” with three of her five shows sandwiched between four Braverade and four sesameacrylic slices of bread.
  • Gakkou Gurashi! narrowly edged out Ore Monogatari!! and Charlotte as the King of Summer, with no ties. According to the voters at MAL, the best show of the Summer was Food Wars at 8.72, and the best non-carryover was, oddly, Working!!! at 8.21.
  • The two shows we disagreed with MAL with the most were Gakkou Gurashi (which we rated 1.02 points higher than MAL) and Rokka no Yuusha (which we rated 0.64 points lower).
  • According to our ratings, MAL grossly underrated Gakkou and Charlotte and overrated Rokka, GATE, and Working!!!.
  • The overall weighted average rating for the Summer (including carryovers) was 7.98. MAL’s average rating of that same group of shows was 7.81, or 0.16 points lower.

There were eleven 10-rated episodes this Summer:
(* indicates inclusion on the World Heritage List)

Best Female Character

Hannah: Tadokoro Megumi (Shokugeki no Souma)
Zane: Takeya Yuki (Gakkou Gurashi!)
Preston: Shirayuki (Akagami no Shirayuki-hime) and Ichinose Hajime (Gatchaman Crowds Insight)

Best Male Character

Hannah: Momonga (OverLord)
Zane: Gouda Takeo (Ore Monogatari!!)
Preston: Otosaka Yuu (Charlotte)

Best Couple

Hannah: Albedo x Momonga (OverLord)
Zane: Yamato Rinko x Gouda Takeo (Ore Monogatari!!)
Preston: Tomori Nao x Otosaka Yuu (Charlotte)

End-of-Month Rundown – August 2015

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Click to view full-size

As expected, Gakkou Gurashi! remains the Summer’s highest-rated show, with its engrossing atmosphere and addictive combo of school slice-of-life and zombies. While it probably won’t unseat Ore Monogatari!! as overall King of Summer, the show has a firm lead over Food Wars.

Rounding out the Top 5 are a couple of shows that had a very strong August: the suddenly sensational Maeda Jun joint Charlotte (P.A. Works is BACK), and the equally awesome GANGSTA. Ushio to Tora and Durarara!! are humming along, though neither has 10 episode (yet), which is what separates them from the Top 5.

The second tier of Very Good shows is populated by Shimoneta, Akagami no Shirayuki-hime, a resurgent (if often tardy) GOD EATER, and OverLord, a pleasant surprise we only started watching this month. All these shows are tied at 8.

In the third and final tier there’s still some good stuff, with Dandelion fielding its first 9, Working!!! is its usual lightweight self (MAL rates it much higher than we care too). Gatchaman, GATE, and Rokka no Yuusha remain hit-or-miss, but unique enough to stay on our watchlist for now. Sore ga Seiyuu! brings up the rear, but continues to entertain and inform on the life of a seiyu.

End-of-Month Rundown – July 2015

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A quarter of the way into the Summer 2015 season and what do we see? Two Spring shows at the top of the charts. That only means one thing: nothing this Summer is quite as good as Ore Monogatari!! and Shokugeki no Souma. Even MAL agrees the latter is the best show we’re watching right now by pure rating, while they rank OreMo fourth behind GANGSTA. and Durarara!!x2 Ten.

That doesn’t mean this Summer has been a disappointment so far. It just speaks to the exceptionalism of a “They Will!” rom-com and a delicious cooking battle show, the kinds of shows we only get two per year of anyway, if we’re lucky. Our Summer field is led by another Zane show early on, Gakkou Gurashi, whose first episode demands and then handsomely rewards patience and looks to be at or near the top of the list for it’s whole run.

Akagami no Shirayuki-hime is the Ghibli anime we wanted and wished Ronja had been, with conventional animation (no creepy-ish CGI that you don’t really want to get used to) and a grown-up protagonist (though we didn’t watch far enough to know if Ronja ever grew up). Durarara!!x2’s second of three cours is doing what it do, and Shimoneta is a fun screwball ecchi comedy with social commentary on the limits and travails of population control.

Because we’re only a quarter of the way in, we’ve got a lot of ties in the middle, but their identical ratings (all within a half-point of MAL) belie their diversity: we’ve got a lively new P.A. Works anime in Charlotte; the gritty underworldy GANGSTA.; the freewheeling, hilarious shonen yokai romp in Ushio to Tora; an always welcome new Working!!; and the pretty, if not altogether original, new ufotable joint GOD EATER.

A pair of fantasies, one of which melds the modern with the medieval and undermines its vivid core by casting foreign powers as drooling morons (GATE), while another employs RPG conventions with striking design and music and a true sense of scale and grandeur (Rokka no Yuusha). Gatchaman seems a little wishy-washy about where it’s going, and the RABUJOI watch-list is rounded out by two lightweight but original slice-of-lifes in Dandelion and Sore ga Seiyuu!

As always, there’s something for everyone, and all the shows in the 8s indicate there’s a lot to like, but we’re still waiting for sustained streaks of greatness for the top Summer shows to surpass the best of the Spring. A couple are close.

End-of-Month Rundown – June 2015

Click here for Full-size
Click here for Full-size

Just a couple more episodes (one more Hibike! Euphonium and one more Kekkai Sensen) and Spring 2015 will be a distant memory. Well, a recent memory, anyway. And you know what? It really wasn’t a bad season!

Part of that is that we continued our trend of dropping any shows that couldn’t stay above a 7.5 average on our rating scale, resulting in one of the highest-rated seasons ever on this site. But it was also just because from top to bottom all of the shows offered something either fun, original, entertaining, hilarious, exciting, or all of the above. We were, however, surprised and a little disappointed with how many shows simply ended, often with the regular ending sequence, without any kind of “Thanks for Watching!” card at the end. What gives??

The good news: Two of the Springs top shows—Ore Monogatari!! and Shokugeki no Souma—will continue into the Summer. The bad news: it doesn’t look like we’ll get a second season of Hibike, and who knows if and when Oregairu gets a third season. Good/Bad news: Hannah watched all of UBW, but many have said Zero is better show. Definitely bad news: our budding politician Franklin probably won’t be able to review anything this Summer either. :\

We’re preparing to tackle a very full Summer schedule, and even if we eliminate half of the shows we try out, we’ll still end up with another dozen-show season, at least. It will be a lot to plow through, but we look forward to the process. To get reviews up faster, we’ll continue to try to keep reviews brief and avoid the temptation to upload the entire episode in screencaps. We’ll see how we do.

Stay tuned and thanks for reading!

—RABUJOI STAFF

End-of-Month Rundown – May 2015

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Click to View Full-Size

Here we are: One more month of Spring anime gone. It’s been a great season so far, whether you like drama, romance, comedy, combat, or all of the above.

Fate has a narow lead at the top, but as most shows still have a third of their episodes yet to air, anything could happen in June.

Any comments about the month or season, or in general, just leave ’em in the comments. And as always, thanks for reading!

—RABUJOI STAFF

End-of-Month Rundown – August 2014

0814_chart_thumbFirst of all, thanks again to our readers for another phenomenal month. It’s nice to know someone out there is reading!

It’s been a steady but also active month, as the good shows stayed good, a few more shows were dropped (for different reasons), one show switched authors, and the site literally went dark (we’re white on black, or rather light grey on very dark grey, now).

Like last month, we’ve got a big colorful graph to show you how our selection of summer shows has panned out two-thirds into the season. See the full-size version for a closer look…and stay tuned in the next few days for a slightly belated Fall 2014 Preview.

 


Hannah

So…Zankyou no Terror…that unassailable whiff of prestige we mentioned last month? Still there, but a bit less potent, thanks to the introduction of a pretty lame villain in Five. We still don’t know exactly what Nine did to her to deserve such unrelenting rage (he left her behind during the escape, I guess?), which makes her motivations muddled in addition to being over-the-top. One could argue every other main character in the show has had as rough and messed-up a life as she has, yet she’s the only one actively trying to murder lots of people. Regardless of the Five Problem, ZnT remains our top show this season; a testament to how much other good stuff is going on around Five.

Calling Aldnoah.Zero a Gundam clone is being a bit unfair. While there’s no disputing the influence of the mega-franchise (and I’ll be checking out Reconguista in G come October), A/Z is delivering its own brand of hero in Inaho, and we’ve fully embraced his bordering-on-bland stoicism. Crazy, messed-up stuff happens all around him, but nothing fazes the guy, nor makes him curl into a ball sobbing. His friend Inko keeps a similarly even keel, but injects more humor and spunk into her performance. It’s a small role by Komatsu Mikako, but a good one.

Sword Art Online II’s ducks are in a row now, and we’ve proceeded with the Ballet of Bullets that is the centerpiece of this first cour. But as exciting the action of the BoB is, it wisely takes a backseat to the growing but still somewhat arms-length bond between Kirito and Sinon, two souls tortured by pasts in which they ended some lives to save others. As Nurse Aki, in an awesome supporting role, says to Kirito, if he’s in this much pain, then he’s not the monster he thinks he is, had the right to make the decisions he made, and to make them again should the time come. Death Gun must be stopped. Here’s hoping he lets Sinon help him. I also wouldn’t mind these two meeting in the real world.

Even though I pride myself on carefully selecting anime of only the finest quality and watchability here at RABUJOI, sometimes something rotten gets by Quality Control. That’s a charitable description of the sixth episode of Rail Wars!. The show then decided it wanted to establish and augment the harem around the protagonist, before quickly breaking up that nonsense and geting back to its ostensible premise of traincraft. She’s a harsh mistress, but her ability to stay on the tracks, and contrasting love interests like Aoi and Mari, continue to endear it to me.


Zane

Barakamon the city-boy artist has really grown and become a member of the community, and the show has demonstrated that in a variety of ways, from bringing a fresh batch of city slickers to the island, to the fact that Naru’s near-constant presence in his home has become more of a comfort than a nuisance.

There’s still one member of Hanayamata who has yet to officially join the yosakoi club, and one member – Yaya, ended up on the verge of not only quitting the club, but tossing aside the others’ friendship. They try to get her back, fail, then try again from a different angle, and get her back into the fold. I rather enjoy when conflicts like this crop up in shows with otherwise lowish stakes, because they’re true to real life: sometimes you’re just not on the same wavelength.

The last five weeks of Space Dandy 2 have been a roller coaster, going from fine to great to good to phenomenal. The standard has been set with it’s transcendant, art-filmesque eighth episode, leaving me hungry for hopeful that we’ll get one more episode approaching its like (albeit with a completely different premise and setting) in the final four weeks.

Ao Haru Ride isn’t just about the “new” Futaba and “new” Ken growing closer together, though they seem to be progressing nicely enough. It’s also about how everyone (except, perhaps, Aya) in the new circle of friends is experiencing true, honest friendship for the first time. The Kou triangle would rend weaker friendships apart, but Futaba and Yuuri reach detente through honesty and courage, and they in turn inspire Shuuko to open up as well. Kou, unfortunately, seems to be dithering.

While early on Glasslip’s supernatural elements were overshadowed by the more conventional teen drama, in the last few episodes things have gotten very trippy and unnerving indeed. Now they’re a legitimate obstacle to Touka and Kakeru’s relationship, and they know they can’t keep it their little secret. Glasslip is trying to do a lot in a little bit of time, so sometimes episodes feel overstuffed, but that’s better than being too sparse. Also, all of the characters are becoming interesting as their narratives grow richer and more complex. Sacchan remains the show’s quiet star.


Preston

Akame ga Kill!, which I’ve been likening to a darker, more morally complex Fairy Tail, keeps impressing me in spite of the fact there’s barely an original bone in its body. It’s gotten gutsier, too, killing off two Night Raid members just three quarters in to its first cour…and probably isn’t done. Foes never seem to last long, but more powerful, sadistic ones promptly crop up to take their place, to test Tatsumi, who is now in possession of his own Imperial Arm.

Majimoji Rurumo continues to be the Anti-WCW, wisely focusing on character rather than silly plot. While a few new faces, they don’t get in the way of the core couple. Rurumo continues to wreste with her feelings for Kouta, but meanwhile Kouta isn’t standing still, continuing to improve as a person out of a genuine desire to help and protect both Rurumo and, in one of the saddest episodes of the season, a litter of kittens.

With four episodes in the bag, Sailor Moon Crystal is now where the rest of the summer was this time last month. In those four episodes we’ve met Moon, Mercury, Mars, and the kings who serve Beryl. Looking forward to Jupiter and Venus and seeing the whole troupe kick some demon ass.

Tokyo Ghoul remains a dark and gory show, but not gratuitously so, and it’s been able to successfully leverage its social message by showing us the neither humans or ghouls share responsibility for the mess the world is in. Ken also seems to be gradually grown a pair as he realizes how important he could be; always encouraging.

Super-cool OPs and EDs should never determine whether one watches a show, and even though the mystery and action seemed to be starting to pick up, I was just never ever that impressed with DRAMAtical Murder. The characters act dumb, the story’s a slog, and the animation ranged between ho-hum and fugly.


Franklin

Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun landed in my lap at the end of the month but absolutely dominated everything else I was currently watching. It’s clever, quirky, well drawn and funny. Oh, and it has some charming teen romance drama under the hood too. GSN-k’s only challenge will be to actually go somewhere with the plot threads (at least the central thread between Chiyo and Nozaki) without losing it’s grip on the comedy. I’m confident it can do it, but will it?

Sabagebu! continues to surprise me. For Pete’s sake, I almost dropped this show as “knock-off trash cashing in on Gainax’s ‘dreadful girls with airsoft melodrama'” when I previewed the pilot! Thankfully I gave it a second shot. Sabagebu! is deceptively smart, mercilessly funny, and a real treat each week. Only it’s cheap production values keep it away from top shelf for me — and the more I watch, the less I feel I can hold visual shine against the show.

Love Stage!! came and went this month but, happily, it passed on a high note. The drama between Izumi and Ryouma is now fully established and interesting. Izumi’s character is probably done moping and the rest of the season should bare a lot less angst. Still, Love Stage!! was hard to watch, not a genre I’m familiar with, and I feel it was much more sexually aggressive than a similarly scripted hetero show that would broadcast over the air. I can’t decide if it should be applauded for it’s boldness or avoided.

Oh Rokujouma no Shinryakusha!? what. the. hell? You were a harem comedy once and you were half way entertaining. Sure, procedural, but I got a chuckle. Now you’re a baddy of the week (every other week) show, with an intergalactic politics and trans-space/time mystery plot. You’re not funny at all, your harem filler is dull and unstimulating, and your hero is whatever perfect’ish dude mold you want to pour him into. You’ve out stayed your welcome. Good bye and good luck on some other reviewers docket. xoxo – Frankie

End-of-Month Rundown – July 2014

0714_chart_thumbThis is the twenty-sixth monthly rundown since we started doing them, and July just happened to be our best month ever. For that we only have you, the readers, to thank. Which we do. Vociferously!

As for the rundown, we’ve decided to keep it simple with a nice, big colorful bar graph that visualizes our progress with the many shows we’re watching and compares our ratings to current MAL scores.

Give it a click to see the full-size version. And if you haven’t already you can also check out our four-part Summer 2014 Viewing Guide.

One quarter in, it’s been a very full but very good Summer, even though several shows have yet to truly take off. Individual thoughts below.

 


Hannah: The two shows at the top of my list (and the overall list, for that matter) are both awesome and compelling in different ways. The world of Zankyou no Terror is very much intact—minus a building or two—and deals with more realistic stakes, making it feel grittier and more immediate. And while there are explosions, it’s more a battle of minds—old and grizzled versus young and pissed off—and both sides have been wronged by society. We’re only three episodes in, but it has the unassailable whiff of prestige all over it.

Aldnoah.Zero is, on it’s surface, a much more black-and-white tale of advanced Martians beating up on their distant human cousins, but wisely chooses to put us on the ground, in the thick of the action, where ingenuity and resourcefulness battle brawn and arrogance. It’s doing a very nice job making the small victories of the band of high schoolers—supported by adults in the military—feel as plausible as they are satisfying. It also helps quite a bit that the protagonist is not the typical whiny twerp. He’s downright stoic.

Sword Art Online II is…just beginning. Being a huge fan of the last season but having endured some of its missteps, I am not opposed to it getting its ducks in a row before delving in. I’m in no rush. What I can say is that I like Sinon so far. I like her dual identities in the real and virtual world, I like that she’s voiced by Sawashiro Miyuki, and I like that her hair is my favorite color. I just hope she isn’t reduced to another damsel for Kirito to save. Please, show: let her save him; at least once!

A bit further down on that chart is my fourth show, Rail Wars!, but 7.50 is perfectly respectable. Rail Wars! is right up my alley in many ways, celebrating mass transit and the minutiae of trains and transit, which sound very dry on paper, but spicing it up with tight skirts, guns, martial arts, and other fun stuff, which sounds ridiculous. And yet it all works just fine. The red-haired firebrand of a female lead Aoi is a big reason why.


Zane: No show has given me more laughs per minute than Barakamon, which full of colorful, hilarious, and adorable characters of all stripes. The fish-out-of-water in the center of it all is all but powerless against the charms of the podunk island village where he’s been deposited, and where he attempts to wrestle his creative identity into submission. The premise, if mishandled, could easily enter the realm of hoakiness, but it isn’t being mishandled.

Not far from Barakamon is Gekkan Shoujo-Nozaki-kun, with its addictive brand of rapid-fire exchanges and satirical exploration of the shoujo genre. I will say that the girl’s personal romance story isn’t exactly progressing with any kind of alacrity, but in the meantime there’s plenty of fun to be had and poked at said genre. My only gripes thus far are a slightly over-sized cast and one episode’s worth of excessive violence towards a girl.

I’ve really enjoyed Hanayamata’s joie de vivre and attention to detail regarding the movements and gestures of its characters; a good approach in a show centered around a type of dance. There’s precious little actual dance in it, but I’m finding the other dance—that of a group of one becoming two, then three, than eventually five—just as entertaining.

Space Dandy 2 is…just like Space Dandy, which is just like a box of chocolates. If you like chocolate and aren’t allergic to anything, you’re going to enjoy most of the contents of that box. Sometimes one will stand out among the others as a particularly mind-bendingly delicious piece; sometimes there’ll be a dud. Its eclecticism remains more an asset than a liability.

Ao Haru Ride is my standard shoujo romance show of the season, and so far it’s doing its job well…we’re on board for the ride and like where it’s going. It’s very straightforward in the push-pull, love-me-hate-me dance of the central couple, but it’s wisely putting most of the focus on that couple rather than unduly scattering our attention. And my attention span sucks. Yes the characters can be a bit bug-eyed, but I honestly don’t mind.

Last and least on my list, though not by much, is Glasslip, which is juggling several little mini-dramas within its running time. The literal world isn’t ending for them the way it was in Nagi no Asukara, but that doesn’t make their personal problems any less weighty to them. We come on this long-time circle of friends during what could be their last Summer together. To put a twist on a common phrase from Game of Thrones: Autumn is Coming.


Preston: Curiously, the show I got into last currently tops my list, just as a very similar show in Hitsugi no Chaika did this past Spring. What can I say; I’m a sucker for action-adventure romps in fantasy worlds not too much unlike our own. Akame ga Kill! traverses many very well-tread roads, but traverses them with competence and confidence with a bit of spunk and a little glint in its eye. It’s not groundbreaking, but it’s quite stylish and a load of fun.

Majimoji Rurumo has avoided the pitfalls that sunk Witch Craft Works, namely shoving dozens of characters we don’t give a crap down our gullets or constantly fielding utterly incompetent villains. There’s also nice dissonance in the fact such a sweet romance is brewing as the protagonist’s life is literally being burnt away, one magic ticket at a time. The show also has a zany but not overly goofy visual style and a funky soundtrack to boot.

Sailor Moon Crystal delivered two very respectable episodes to us. The only problem is, it took a month for that to happen. Anticipation doesn’t so much build as I kind of forget about the show until it decides to show up again. This biweekly thing is highly irritating, but I’m not blaming the show, which is, as I’ve said, marches to the beat of a different drummer in more ways than just scheduling, and in a good way.

Ah, Tokyo Ghoul: not nearly as good as MAL thinks it is, but not bad, either. It suffers from a fairly insufferable protagonist supported by a far more likable supporting cast. If nothing else, it provides the darkness and goriness to counter the lighter, flowerier stuff I’m watching. I always strive for balance through contrasting media.

Finally, DRAMAtical Murder, a show chock-full of characters with extremely specific looks hanging around shooting the breeze, as increasingly strange/bad things happen around them. The only women are a snot-nosed little girl and an ox of a grandmother, which is kind of refreshing. But yeah, the OP and ED continue to write checks the show in between can’t quite cash.

(Franklin sounds off on his shows in the comments.)