How Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE’s 2nd Season Struck Comedy Gold

Dumb chats, silly spats, and the absurdity of adolescence.

Boueibu 8 (4)

MyAnimeList hired me as a feature writer, and I promptly used my new power to write an essay-length article about magical boys. 13-Year-Old Me is giving Present-Day Me so many high-fives right now.

Click here for the full article on MAL!

orange – Episode 9

Alas, poor production schedule…

orange 9 (5)

There’s a version of this episode, somewhere, that’s a perfectly fine bridge episode, unexceptional but competent, hinting at future conflicts, furthering a few character arcs, tossing in some adorable friendship shenanigans and cuteness, and setting us up for the big relay race (how have we still not gotten to that?!) next week. But we didn’t get that version. Instead, we got a distractingly low-quality nightmare of an episode, full of off-model shots, choppy animation, and some truly jarring scene transitions. Simply put, the second half of orange looked awful this week.

Click here for the full post on Anime Evo!

orange – Episode 8

Five heads are better than one.

orange 8 (31)

Even though a good portion of orange focuses on realism and day-to-day high school events, I don’t tend to think of it as a “slice-of-life” because it has such a clear end game and driving story line (save Kakeru/change the future). The constant sense that we’re moving towards a tangible goal helps orange maintain tension even during its most mundane arcs and conflicts, but it can also serve to make episodes like this one feel frustratingly slow-paced, as if we’re just marking time before the next major “Kakeru event flag.”

That isn’t to say the quieter stories don’t serve a purpose, or that the cast aren’t likable or interesting enough to carry us through everyday events (I love hanging out with these kids, personally). orange‘s narrative arc is a kind of rise-and-fall, a sequence of highs and lows for Kakeru and, by extension, the rest of the cast. Which, while it can lead to some lulls in the story, is also a pretty excellent depiction of grief and depression. Healing isn’t a constant rising line; it’s a series of crests and troughs, some created by obvious triggers, some by far more obscure ones.

Click here for the full post on Anime Evo!

91 Days – Episode 7: “A Poor Player”

All in the family…

91 Days 7 (8)

91 Days outdid itself this week, zeroing in on the Vanetti siblings in an episode packed to the rafters with layered characters, conflicts political and personal, and a tense, rapidfire chess match of scheming from the shadows. Most impressive of all? About half of it happens outside of the dialogue, through subtle (re)actions or off-screen entirely, leaving us with a snapshot of our cast that’s both dense and loaded with uncertainty.

Click here for the full post on Anime Evo!

Panning the Stream: Summer 2016 Midseason Review

Smooth sailing through the summer stream.

Boueibu 6-7 (1)

I’ve trimmed my watchlist down to a manageable number and am happy to announce that pretty much everything is either holding steady or improving on itself. So if I sound like I’m repeating some of my Rule of Three comments, well, blame these series for being so darn consistent, the little jerks! And then cross your fingers that that trend continues. I’d much rather come back in another five-ish weeks singing these shows’ praises than sighing about how they dropped the ball in the back half, doncha know.

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orange – Episode 7

Guess we’ll be putting out those birthday candles with a steady stream of tears, then…

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It’s Birthday Week on orange, and with it comes a mess of conflicting emotions, much like the holiday itself. We tend to think of birthdays as a celebration of life, marked with parties and packed with presents and frosted goodies, and they often can be. But there’s also an undercurrent of sadness and uncertainty to them, as they’re both a reminder of what’s passed and what might be waiting ahead. Life and death are as intertwined as the past and the future, and orange‘s birthday story line is painfully aware of that.

Click here for the full post on Anime Evo!

91 Days – Episode 6: “To Slaughter a Pig”

A bitter pill lasagna to swallow.

91 Days 6 -banner

We can talk all day about craft–character development, narrative tension, dramatic irony, visual motifs, conflicts both intimate and social–and don’t worry, I’ll touch on pretty much all of that during this post, both positive and negative. First, though, because I tend to get excited about all the analytical stuff and forget to mention the personal stuff, can I just take a moment to say how incredibly start-to-finish entertaining I find this show every week?

It’s a totally personal thing, I know, which makes it hard to write about and not all that valuable to others when it comes to recommendations. But as I went through my episode notes and found comments like “Nero is so chill ❤ I LOVE HIM” and “WHOA ANGELO WHAAAT” snuggled up next to “old guard vs new guard” and “this ep is all about food (decadence/gluttony?),” I realized that I am 100% fully invested in this story, not just as a blogger but as a fan, too. And, a few pulpy over-indulgences and weak characters aside, that’s a seriously great place to be halfway through a series.

Click here for the full post on Anime Evo!