Or “weekly livewatch writeup” as it might be more accurately titled. They’ve been taking up much of my writing time lately. Not a bad thing! But it has made doing other stuff a bit hard especially as I’ve been rather under the weather both physically and mentally for the past while. (This is why there was no roundup post last week and why my seasonal first impressions column did not materialize, for the record.)
To also clarify something else just to lay any possible suspicions to rest, I am still writing for The Geek Girl Authority. I’m just on a short hiatus and will likely resume work for them sometime around the middle of next month if everything goes according to plan. At worst, I will be picking my recap columns back up over there next season. Ironically, this season’s main problem has been that there is too much good stuff airing. It’s made knowing what to cover kind of impossible and as a result I have been….largely not covering anything at all. Not really a great approach, to be perfectly frank, but, well, see prior notes about being under the weather.
But enough beating around the bush (and beating myself up, that helps nobody), let’s get to what I have been doing recently.
Twitter “Live Watches”
This is where most of the Good Content ™ is this week.
ANOTHER (for #AniTwitWatches) [1, 2]: Something I am increasingly fond of is shows that I end up treating as kind of a puzzle while I watch them, trying to figure out what they’re going for, what they’re trying to say, and so on. ANOTHER (which may or may not actually be stylized that way, I’m not entirely clear) has been great in this regard. I’ve found myself turning over the series’ use of smalltown social dynamics to dive into the mechanics of “curses” really interesting. I’m still not entirely sure what point it’s trying to make with all this, but figuring that out is half the fun. Bonus: a genuinely freaky nightmare scene in episode 7.
Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha [1, 2]: Here’s my latest “watch a classic anime I haven’t seen yet” boondoggle following the completion of the Utena livewatch (see below). My thoughts on this show are a little mixed at the moment. I am really not fond of the vestiges of its origin as a spinoff of an eroge, there’s some inappropriate perviness in the camera and a few other things. Which I would perhaps mind less if the characters were not mostly children. Yuck. If you can get past that (and as always I don’t hold anything against people who can’t) there’s a solid–god forgive me for using this term–hype-driven magical girl anime in here. Lots of flashy lasers, fun henshin sequences, magical doodads, and snappy directing (which comes from a pre-SHAFT Akiyuki Shinbo. Something I am rather embarrassed to admit I didn’t actually pick up on until it was pointed out to me!)
I’m pretty confident the show will get better as it goes on and relies less on The Aforementioned Fanservice Stuff, and even in the couple episodes I’ve watched it’s already started to drop off (or at least refocus to Arf, who is an adult) as the storyline gets a bit more serious and the show introduces main antagonist Fate Testarossa*. My final “verdict” on it is a long way off yet, so we’ll see.
Revolutionary Girl Utena [1, 2, 3, 4]: I think Revolutionary Girl Utena might be one of my favorite anime ever. It’s a hard call to make. I only finished it recently and there’s so much going on in the show that I’ll probably be turning the symbolism over in my head for years. But it feels telling that despite the fact that I basically just finished it I already want to watch it again. That I have not reviewed it is indicative not of any deficiency on its part or a lack of anything to say on mine, but of my skills as a reviewer. I simply don’t know if I’m there yet. Although honestly it’s been consuming so much of my mental real estate that I’m tempted to try anyway.
But let me offer you this evidence: after several months of drawing the series out as long as I could, I banged out the rest (and the alternate take / sequel film The Adolescence of Utena) in just three days. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a series that’s captivating in this specific way before, and I’m not sure I ever will again. I love this show to pieces.
Sailor Moon: And firmly on the other end of the quality spectrum, at least right now, are these two frankly pretty bad episodes of Sailor Moon. Isolated, they’re merely subpar. Together, they’re insufferable, especially the first, a bizarre bout of (internalized?) misogyny that feels wildly out of place in a children’s series, even one of this vintage. Certainly in a mahou shoujo series. Easily bottom 5’ers, the both of them. Thankfully I believe the show returns to more well-regarded ground this coming week, and you take the good with the bad, so I think I will have kinder things to say in this space next week.
Other Thoughts N Such
As I briefly mentioned up top, there is too much good stuff airing this season. Do you like battle girl shows? Check out Assault Lily Bouquet and Warlords of Sigrdrifa. Idols? Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club is incredible and maybe the single best thing airing in an insanely strong season. Even Jun Maeda of all people is here, responsible for the script on The Day I Became A God, a show whose first episode showed off an incredible amount of promise.
In the realm of things I’m not watching (but have heard a lot of good about), there’s solid action shonen (Jujutsu Kaisen), iyashikei (Sleepy Princess In The Demon Castle), an isekai where the main character wears a Lain-style bear suit (Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear), a traveler story (Elaina The Witch), and even an anime about rap battling boy band idols (the ambiently baffling HYPNOSISMIC -Division Rap Battle- Rhyme Anima). I feel like I’m basically advertising the season, but when there’s just this much stuff dropping it’s hard not to. Unless these somehow all manage to strongly disappoint I imagine people will be talking about this season for a long time.
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