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Archive for the ‘12 Days of Anime’ Category

I usually try to end 12 days of anime with a moment of personal importance, with reflection on the self and honesty. Ain’t got something like that this year! Not that there weren’t moments or series like that, but none I could really talk about in depth. So let’s do the next ‘me’ thing after that and gush over KyoAni.

Hibike! Euphonium 2 has been stellar. I keep notes over the year to remember key scenes or events I might want to talk about during these 12 days and I ended up with 4 for Hibike! Euphonium 2 alone. I probably could have justified adding a few more to that as well. And it hasn’t even finished yet – as of writing, there are still 2 episodes to go! The finale is going to pull out something, I know it, but even so there is a huge amount I could talk about.

(Oh yeah, MAJOR spoilers for Hibike! Euphonium 2 ahead)

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I’ve mentioned before, but I play Cardfight!! Vanguard. Have done for approaching 2½ years now, and have spent several hundred pounds and countless hours on it.

It may soon become “played”. Bushiroad, the game and the community surrounding it are not going places that fill me with hope, and my interest is dropping like a rock.

Given how much energy and passion I’ve put into it in the past, and given that it has an anime and mostly anime-style art, I felt this warranted a post.

(Warning: this post is long, unnecessarily  and makes no attempt to make sense to people who don’t also play this crappy anime card game)

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I mean, this year started well! The Neo Nectar support in set 6 helped the clan tremendously, and given the Ahsha deck is one of my main decks I was thrilled to have that much needed boost in consistency and power. Then they announced Fighter’s Collection 2016 and with it the introduction of G guardians, a much needed boost to the defensive side of a game where aggression was getting a bit silly that also represented an opportunity to bring in a bit more interactivity (which it did in many cases after this first batch)! And then I went to Springfest with a bunch of friends for a team tournament, where we placed 30th out of 54 – not too bad for a first tournament, even if my deck dragged us down (I personally went 2-4…). It was looking like such a good year for Vanguard for me!

But then came the summer…

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If you follow British anime licensing companies on social media, you will have inevitably been inundated with constant, endless reminders throughout November that, yes, All the Anime are distributing Your Name in the UK in select cinemas (book tickets now)! As annoying as that got, I was still excited. Makoto Shinaki is one of my favourite directors, Your Name had opened to rave reviews and box office records in Japan, and I would get to watch it before many others! So excited, even, that I booked tickets back in September when tickets were first made available. I mean, there was a showing in a town close to me, and it would be subbed! Of course I was going to go.

You can probably tell what happened. I double-checked when I booked the tickets that the showing was subbed. Checked at every stage of the order process. I had full confidence. Hell, one of my housemates joked as we were walking across the car park about it being dubbed instead, which I quipped back with “do you think I’d even be here if it was dubbed?”. Well, we got in sat down, and with anticipation and excitement in my heart… I heard English.

Oh dear.

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I love emotional art and art about emotion. Two of my favourite music genres are post-rock and emo, which hit both points plentifully. In particular I’m drawn to explorations and depictions of depression (hence emo). For these reasons March Comes in Like a Lion has been perfect for me.

The sincerity, warmth, intimacy and sensitivity it has while exploring the characters emotions cuts right to my core. Every single element that the series can use to focus and isolate a particular feeling to express it as purely as possible is used, and the results are profoundly moving.

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This year I finished Cardcaptor Sakura. This is a bit of a big deal for me – it’s the longest non-airing anime series I’ve ever watched! That’s an accomplishment in itself as far as I’m concerned. I’m also happy that I got around to watching such a classic, important series too, in general and with respect to the magical girl genre (which I’m always happy to delve into). I want to discuss it a bit, but I don’t have any specific moment I wanted to detail and explore or any particular structure, just some thoughts I wanted to share – this seemed like a good opportunity.

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Want to know the funniest anime of 2016? Motherfuckin’ Rewrite. That series had me crying.

It is not a good show. The first half wasn’t terrible – there were some charming secondary characters, some great chemistry between Kotarou and Shizuru, and a few jokes that really hit the mark – but was marred by rushing through everything, never allowing the drama to actually build up first, and having some fairly implausible ‘tragic’ backstories.

But the second half is insane.

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I never ended up writing a review for My Hero Academia despite absolutely loving it, mostly because I never found the time. This isn’t going to be that review, but I needed to talk about the final battle, as nothing else this year was comparable.

It’s the end of episode 11. Villains have penetrated the school test environment, and the students who were simply training to be heroes were suddenly plunged into life-or-death fights against people with disturbing and monstrous powers, watching their friends and teachers get badly hurt and injured.

All Might enters. And he is pissed. He is furious. The villains broke into his school and attacked his students just to try and reach him?? His trademark grin that never leaves his face, the grin that makes him the beacon of hope and justice for all, has been turned into a grim snarl.

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