Anime Monthly | Tamako Love Story

Beauty in the Mundane

Tamako Market is a series I feel conflicted on. On one hand, it’s a beautifully animated, gorgeously designed feast for the eyes, which contains bountiful amounts of subtle character animation and cartoon fun courtesy of the foppish bird Dera. On the other side of things however, the show has some undeniable tonal issues, with many of the series’ strengths clashing against its more comedic elements. Naoko Yamada may be one of my favorite directors, but there’s no denying her strengths lie more in calm slice of life than in slapstick comedy.

Dera in many ways drags the whole series down. In an attempt to provide the show a sense of forward momentum, he ends up destroying the series’ slow and lackadaisical mood, leading to several joke-centered episodes that just do not work. Tamako Market is at its best when it fully embraces its artsier elements, such as when a scene within the Usagiyama vinyl coffee shop transitions seamlessly with the music to Midori running under a cloudy sky, emphasizing her hidden feelings. It’s at its worst when it feels obligated to focus on the main plot, such as when the show dedicated an entire episode to Dera’s fruitless attempts at weight loss.

And nowhere is this made clearer than in the series’ excellent sequel movie: Tamako Love Story. Continue reading


Anime Lookout | Winter 2018 Part 2

Well, it’s that time again folks! After three months where I actually managed to write and publish one post every few weeks, we’re back to the typical loop of Anime Lookout content! This time we’ll be covering the shows I picked up in January, as well as a few two cour shows from fall 2016. To my surprise, I actually managed to keep my full slate this season. Excluding Devilman: Crybaby, which I finished but decided not to write about, every single cour and continuing show listed at the end of Part 1 is accounted for! I don’t know if that’s because I was in a particular savvy anime mood, or if my ability to schedule my free time has become more competent, but either way I have quite a few anime to talk about this time around. As usual, I won’t be covering two cour shows that started last season, which means you’ll have to wait until July for any finalized opinions about Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card and Darling in the FranXX. With those disclaimers out of the way though, let’s get on with the show! Continue reading

Anime Lookout | Spring 2018

Ah yes, spring time! The season when the flowers bloom and the sky is blue… Or if you live where I do, it’s the season of rainy days and lukewarm weather. Well, either way the main thing of importance is that we’ve entered yet another round of new anime releases!

Now I’m going to be honest, I tried to keep my slate a little smaller this season. Not because I’m tired of writing these posts, but because I’m trying to focus more on my back catalog rather than add even more shows to my week to week schedule. As such I decided to narrow down this list to titles I only had the utmost interest in. That still means I watched ten premieres, but hey, at least I tried. Anyways, I hope this post is helpful in your own search for new seasonal pickups. Let’s get on with the show! Continue reading

Anime Monthly | Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt

Or How I Learned to Appreciate Hiroyuki Imaishi

CW: Sexual content brought up in the discussion of the show’s humor and visuals.

I have a complicated relationship with Hiroyuki Imaishi. Over the four plus years I’ve spent writing about anime, my thoughts about his work have shifted from good to bad to mediocre along with the confusing evolution of my own taste in anime. Early on I would have said I liked him in spite of his flaws, but if you had talked to me just a year and a half ago I probably would have outright bashed him as a uninteresting style over substance director. However, when looking back on it, I find both of those statements to be highly suspect.

I started writing about anime critically in high school, and as such I can’t help but look back at my old writing and see it as the messy work of someone heavily influenced by the ideas of other critics. While writing in this format from such a young age has been a benefit in terms of readability and general quality, in other ways it’s helped me realize the importance of maturity in critical reviews. My own taste just wasn’t fully developed when I started out. I didn’t know if what I wanted to watch were prestigious adult dramas or high spectacle action comedies, all I knew is that there were critics I enjoyed reading and others I didn’t. As such, a lot of my early writing runs through styles inspired by people like Bobduh, Jacob Chapman, and even a few anitubers. As such, I’ve come to discover that my feelings on Hiroyuki Imaishi have been, well, filtered. Not necessarily untruthful, but certainly not without influence and change.

And no experience made that clearer than watching the second of his major television projects: Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt. Continue reading

Anime Monthly | The Garden of Sinners 1: Overlooking View

A Layered Introduction

CW: Mentions of Plot Related Suicide

If you’ve been following this blog for a long time (and I mean a long, long time), you may remember a little series called Anime Monthly. The central idea of the endeavor was to keep me posting stuff on a regular basis by writing short Anime Lookout style blurbs about whatever shows I had finished in the given month. However, due to a combination of my haphazard series completion rate and a general sense of dissatisfaction, I eventually decided to scrap the series. That being said, even with those years far behind me, I still often find myself disappointed in my large anime backlog and the lack of consistent content on this site. Sure, I keep up with Anime Lookout, but considering the amount of free time I have it’s pretty shameful I don’t manage to at least finish one post per month.

As such, I’ve decided to go back to this dead series and retool it a bit. Instead of writing short blurbs about every backlog show I’ve completed each month, I’ll instead be writing longer posts focused on a specific anime I’ve been watching. This can extend to any type of show, but in particular I’ll be focusing on rewatches and backlog titles, since at the end of the day I already write quite a lot about the seasonal stuff I watch. Who knows though? Maybe you’ll get a post about the latest Precure. Continue reading

Anime Lookout | Winter 2018

Going into this season, I was not expecting to be pleasantly surprised. After the last few years of winter anime being mostly dry and boring, I found it hard maintain any kind of optimism for 2018’s first anime offerings. Yes there were some exciting returning shows, and even a new effort from the ever talented Masaaki Yuasa, but in terms of overall quality I wasn’t expecting much. And yet, I came out of this season with a fuller slate than I could have ever anticipated. Very few of these anime could be considered top tier sure, but the amount of solid slice of lifes isn’t exactly a kick in the pants either. There were some definite stinkers (this is a winter season after all), but considering my initial worries I couldn’t have asked for a more solid turnout.

Anyways, that’s enough with the preamble. Let’s get on with the show! Continue reading

Anime Lookout | Fall 2017 Part 2

You know considering how few anime I ended up finishing in the spring and summer seasons, I’m kind of shocked by how strong this year ended up being overall. In a lot of ways, the fall season salvaged 2017’s anime line up, with a whole bunch of franchise favorites dropping alongside a fresh slate of fantastic adaptations. In fact, I ended up dropping a lot of shows because there was just too much for me to reasonably keep track of. As such you may notice a lot of otherwise decent shows like Mr. Osomatsu 2 and The Idolm@ster: Side M aren’t featured here. If this had been a lesser season, I would have watched all of them to completion, but alas my motivation for them faded.

That being said, this leaves us with a list of shows that are frankly pretty fantastic. I hope you’re ready for a lot of compliments, because there isn’t going to be much negativity in the following entries. Anyways, let’s get on with the show! Continue reading