Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju Season 2 – Episode 1

Rakugo is back-ugo!

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My pick for Best Anime of 2016 wastes no time in this Season 2 premiere reminding me why it’s so special. Right from its opening monologue, Rakugo Shinju is a masterclass in storytelling, every element of the production accomplishing multiple tasks at once.

Take that brilliant Season 1 recap, which not only does the obvious job of summarizing what happened last season, but also reminds us what a rakugo performance looks like, ingratiates us to Yotaro (a character we’ve spent relatively little time with), and sets the general tone for this second season. It’s exuberant and honest and warm, a stark contrast to the quiet melancholy of the first season, and promises us that following Yotaro is going to be a unique experience compared to the time we spent with Kikuhiko.

Click here for the full post on Anime Evo!

The Josei’s Top 10 Anime of 2016: Part 2 (#1-5)

This year’s Top Five is so strong, it’s actually a Top Six.

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Did you miss out on Part 1? Fear not! You can click here for the year in review and the bottom half of the Top 10, including honorable mentions. Or, if you’re ready to check out the cream of the crop, you can hit the jump and read on for more.

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The Josei’s Top 10 Anime of 2016: Part 1 (Honorable Mentions & #7-10)

Think of them as delicious s’mores roasting on this fire of a year!

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We can pretty much all agree that 2016 was, er, not the greatest. But there were a few bright spots, at least, and one of them was definitely the anime. Each season had its standout hits and surprise treasures, filled with compelling characters, stylish animation, striking cinematography, and stories that ran the gamut from clever silliness to sincere enthusiasm to gripping tension to wrenching drama. I watched about 30 shows to completion (yeah, that scares me, too) and would recommend almost all of them to someone, depending on what kind of genres they enjoyed.

Problem is, this makes it nigh impossible to pick just 10 series to highlight as The Best Of The Best. How can I bear to ignore this hidden gem or snub that enjoyable blockbuster? The answer, it turns out, is to just straight-up abandon any pretense of critical distance. Or any modicum of Serious Blogger Professionalism whatsoever, really. That’s why this list has a whole slew of Honorable Mentions before even getting to the Top 10, and why the Top 10 is really just “the 10 shows I liked the best.”

It’s also why there is no #6. Instead, my Top 5 will have 6 shows in it. My blog, my rules, suckas!

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She and Her Cat and Her Story

Adulthood, family, and the purrpose-driven life.

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She and Her Cat -everything flows- is a four-episode short which aired this time last year and quietly earned the honor of being 2016’s Show That Turned Me Into a Puddle of Tears. It’s the story of a young woman (Miyu) struggling to make a place for herself in the working world outside of college, as told through the eyes of the cat who’s been with her since childhood. Graceful, charming, wrenching, and hopeful, She and Her Cat is an understated, emotional gem. 10/10, would let wreck me again.

It’s also a refreshing take on the traditional female coming-of-age tale, which so often focuses on heterosexual romance and the importance of a man to help the woman achieve happiness or fulfillment. Instead, Miyu’s story and struggles are related to her career and—more importantly—to her relationships with two women.

Click here for the full post on Anime Feminist!

Flip Flappers – Episode 13 (Series Finale & Review)

Girls, be adventurous.

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We’ve come to the finish line in predictably bright, bombastic, heart-on-our-sleeves fashion. I’m looking forward to talking about it–but first, as is tradition, let’s start with a spoiler-free review for anyone interested in picking up this fascinating, flawed, heartwarming little series. I’ll let any newcomers know when to click away so they don’t have the finale spoiled for them. As for those of you joining me for our last round of analysis, feel free to scroll on down past those many words and dig on in.

Click here for the full post on Anime Evo!

Glancing Upstream: Fall 2016 Retrospective and Review

It’s the most overworked time of the year~

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In the next couple weeks I’ll be hitting you with final Flip Flappers commentary, my Top 10 Anime of 2016, maybe a short essay or two, and then we turn around and start all over again with the winter premieres, including the much-anticipated return of Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju (and my lengthy commentary about it)! A blogger’s work is never done.

So you’d think that would mean I’d have kept my Fall retrospective thoughts short and sweet, right? Wrong! This season was a cornucopia of strong comedy, positive queer representation, diverse female leads, and geeky premises. And you know I can’t shut up about stuff like that. Hit the jump for too many words about too many shows.

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Flip Flappers – Episode 12: “Pure Howling”

In the words of another 2016 heroine: “Let’s make confessions and lose our shit!”

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In typically explosive, surreal, and dynamically animated fashion, Flip Flappers delivers a penultimate episode that puts a capstone on our main character arcs and gives us plenty of time next week to tie up the rest of the loose ends. While “Pure Howling” sometimes loses focus as it jerks from scene-to-scene, trying to weave multiple stories together very quickly, it more than makes up for any disjointedness with two beautifully staged and immensely satisfying emotional climaxes. Any week I get to write “MY HEART!” in my notes is a good one in my book.

Click here for the full post on Anime Evo!