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Nazis have been worryingly prominent this year, and anime does not escape this depressing reality! Fortunately it’s less ‘white supremacists consolidating power while the establishment fails to challenge them’ and more ‘thoroughly bizarre scenes that leave you wondering what the writers were drinking’. While these two examples are not exactly what I’d call good, they are at least a damn sight more entertaining than the rise of neo-fascism.

First up, we have Centaur no Nayami. While no stranger to left-field episode concepts, it is in the end still a school slice-of-life – even if the main character is a centaur – so even the weirder vignettes have a tonal grounding. Sure, an authoritarian government exists in the background, and another main character is a snake girl from a remarkably fleshed out and utterly alien society, but all that is mere world-building detail while the girls talk about crushes or what have you. No matter what happens, it all comes back to this group of friends navigating their day-to-day life as high school students.

And then the show says “fuck everything” and spends half an episode – with absolutely no lead in or contextualisation – depicting the fucking Third Reich (with centaurs!).

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Rare is it that anime allows provide any novel or interesting insight about something I have particular knowledge in. My hobbies are watching anime and playing games and my job is programming – in short, I’m exactly half of fucking twitter, and most of them can talk about this stuff 10 times better than I. But New Game!! finally gave me an opportunity! For once, I could present and discuss a perspective that might be unfamiliar to others! For you see, I’m not simply a programmer – I’m a software engineer. In practice that means I’m basically a programmer, except 90% of my day job is a load of bullshit that gets in the way of coding. But the important thing to note is that it is important bullshit, and THIS is where New Game!! comes in.

Episode 11. The programming intern Naru is blazing through her assignments and flaunts Umiko’s praise for her speed in front of Nene. Nene and Naru don’t exactly see eye to eye, for many reasons I won’t get into right now, but what you need to know is that Nene is stuck doing debugging for the crunch, even though she’d much rather be getting more programming practice in – Naru, knowing this, takes the opportunity to rub it in and make herself look better.

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It wouldn’t be 12 Days of Anime at swabulous dot wordpress dot com without highlighting the most loathsome moment I saw this year! And  this timethat dubious honour goes to Attack on Titan S2 for not one, but two moments of gratuitous, mean-spirited, empty torture porn. I covered this before in my review, but I think the problems bare repeating.

As a reminder, in the first instance we have a heroic dude reduced to a terrified, quivering mess before being slowly and painfully eaten alive and torn to bits, with the camera lingering over the violence all the while. He had of course been given the prerequisite episode or two of characterisation to make us care about him as the show vainly attempts to shock us with yet another unexpected death (zzz, we’ve seen it all before at this point). Now failing to elicit any semblance of surprise, the show resorts to elongating his agony and making his fear as explicit as possible as he babbles “I don’t want to die!” over and over while his arms get bitten off. In the second instance, we have a heroic gal, reduced to etc. etc. etc. It’s more or less exactly the same, except we get a last minute insight into some prior child abuse as she screams “daddy, I won’t do it again!” while she goes crazy from the pain and terror. Lovely!

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It’s 12 Days of Anime! That time of the year where a bunch of anibloggers – myself included, if I can really justify calling myself that anymore – post once a day leading up to Christmas. Posts can be about anything anime related – memorable moments from things you watched this year, a con meetup, just some vague thoughts, really anything!

And in that spirit, I wanted to highlight a wonderful scene from the first episode of a series that I ended up dropping – Shuumatsu Nani Shitemasu ka? Isogashii desu ka? Sukutte Moratte Ii desu ka? AKA WorldEnd: What do you do at the end of the world? Are you busy? Will you save us? AKA SukaSuka because come the heck on.

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Summer was pretty great. New Game!!, Princess Principal, Symphogear AXZ, Kakegurui and the masterpiece that is Made in Abyss – there was a LOT of great stuff, and that’s not even including My Hero Academia or Kirakira Precure continuing. Autumn’s looking pretty solid too – I’m picking up a bunch, that’s for sure.

Speaking of ‘being excited for things happening at the moment’, card games! Legend of the Five Rings releases soon and I’m damn excited for it (not even just because I’m an irredeemable weeb!) and between rotation, the revised core set and the banned & restricted list Netrunner is looking a completely new game! It’s a great time to be a fan of LCGs, that’s for sure.

fall2017chart

anichart.net is useful

Anyway, these are the cartoons I’m checking out for now.

  • 3-gatsu no Lion 2
  • Anime-Gataris
  • GARO -VANISHING LINE-
  • Hoozuki no Reitetsu 2
  • Houseki no Kuni
  • Inuyashiki
  • Just Because!
  • Kekkai Sense & Beyond
  • Kino no Tabi
  • Konohana Kitan
  • Kujira no Kora wa Sajou ni Utau
  • Mahoutsukai no Yome
  • Ousama Game the Animation
  • Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou
  • URAHARA

Thoughts thoughts thoughts:

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Wrapping up the spring season with part 2 of my (shorter) reviews! In part 1, I covered Uchouten Kazoku 2, Anonymous Noise, and Tsuki ga Kirei, which were fantastic if unfocused, forgettable with some good moments, and surprisingly beautiful in turn. This time I’ll be looking at arguably the two biggest series of the season, one of which had started in the winter – Little Witch Academia and Attack on Titan 2.

These will be a little longer than last time as there’s more to talk about – especially in Attack on Titan 2’s case – but they still don’t come anywhere close to my 3000+ word review of the original Attack on Titan!

02-00

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I’m trying a new review format out! Instead of lengthy, analytical essays I’ve decided to go for something hopefully more concise and to the point. Honestly, the long ones were wearing down on me, becoming some massive obligation in my head that took too long and stressed me out – especially when I only really wanted to convey a couple of points or a few feelings about a series. So now I’m just getting to the point! I’m worrying less about justifying everything I write and instead just capturing the core of my perspective.

So let’s get started! In this first post for the spring 2017 season, I’m looking at Uchouten Kazoku 2, Anonymous Noise and Tsuki ga Kirei.

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OK, I lied.

I said winter season reviews would come out, and then they didn’t. I would say blame Persona 5 (a perfectly valid target) but there’s more to it than that.

I simply don’t have the time, energy and enthusiasm for the long-form reviews that I used to. And I worry they’re getting formulaic or whatnot. So for spring, I’m going to be trying something slightly different: I’ll be creating posts collating 3 or 4 (depending on season size and how much there is to say) concise reviews in them, instead of the detailed analyses I have been doing. Because I do still want to share my thoughts on feelings on what I’ve watched, but not 1500+ words worth at a time. Hopefully the reviews will come out more focused and to the point too!

So we’ll see how that goes. In the meantime, here’s what I’ll be picking up for the summer, which has actually already started even if I haven’t watched anything yet!

summer2017

Why doesn’t anichart.net have the graph exporter anymore?

  • 18if
  • Action Heroine Cheer Fruits
  • Ballroom e Youkoso
  • Centaur no Nayami
  • Clione no Akari
  • Dive!!
  • Isekai Shokudou
  • Kakegurui
  • Konbini Kareshi
  • Made in Abyss
  • Nana Maru San Batsu
  • New Game!!
  • Owarimonogatari (ge)
  • Princess Principal
  • Senki Zesshou Symphogear AXZ
  • Shoukoku no Altair
  • The Reflection Wave One
  • Vatican Kiseki Chousakan
  • Youkai Apartment no Yuuga na Nichijou

And of course, thoughts:

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So I am working on reviews from last season, but it’s very on-off, not helped by varying distractions (Dark Souls 3 DLC, card games, Persona 5 soon enough, etc.). It was a good season though! Rakugo S2, Gabriel DropOut, Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid, the end of 3-gatsu no Lion (S2 hype!), and the starts of Little Witch Academia and KiraKira Precure A La Mode!

This season has actually already started, so I’m a bit late to the party on this (it snuck on me – technically speaking, the winter season hasn’t finished yet!), but aside from the first episodes of arguably the 2 biggest shows of the season there’s nothing much to talk about. Something tells me that this will be a season with few real surprises, mostly because the most anticipated shows are sequels and thus represent a somewhat known quantity.

And on that note, here’s what I’m picking up:

spring2017chart

Chart courtesy of anichart.net

  • Alice to Zouroku
  • My Hero Academia 2
  • Clockwork Planet
  • Fukumenkei Noise
  • Hinako Note
  • Natsume Yuujinchou Roku
  • Sagrada Reset
  • Sakura Quest
  • Shingeki no Bahamut: Virgin Soul
  • Attack on Titan 2
  • Tsuki ga Kirei
  • Twin Angel Break
  • Eccentric Family 2
  • Zero kara Hajimeru Mahou no Sho

And a few thoughts:

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Urara Meirochou

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I’ve mentioned before in other reviews, but for a cute-girls-doing-cute-things anime to stand out in this day and age it needs to do one of two things: be absolutely excellent, or have some kind of novel hook. Urara Meirochou goes surprisingly hard on the latter, giving up the cliché school setting for something far more fantastical and whimsical.

In the gigantic and confusing Labyrinth Town, fortune tellers drive the economy and culture. No matter what style of divination you seek, you will be able to find it and more. These fortune tellers – called urara, and all women – borrow the powers of the town’s gods to help their clients, but if they break their ultimate taboo and attempt to divine the nature of those same gods then they will lose their powers.

Four fifteen year old girls receive letters of invitation to start training as urara at the Natsume-ya teashop, one of whom – Chiya – sees in this an opportunity to finally find her mother.

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