Season Reviews, Sports Edition: Baby Steps, Haikyuu!!

These two shows may share a genre (and a final grade), but they couldn’t be more different.

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Okay, so technically this should be the “series” (not “season”) review of Haikyuu, but c’mon – we all know they’re going to make more. Of course the big surprise this morning wasn’t that Haikyuu DIDN’T get an official Season 2 announcement, but that Baby Steps DID. Yes, The Little Tennis Series That Could will be back in Spring 2015, with more of its unique MC and equally unique take on the sports genre itself.

I’ve quietly become a big fan of the sports anime/manga genre over the last couple years (thanks largely to Chihayafuru, the perfect “gateway” sports show for a shoujo fan if ever there was one), but one thing that continues to surprise me is just how different each show can be, delivering its own style and tone to a genre that is, at its core, about coming-of-age, hard work, and striving to achieve your goals.

Perhaps no two series are more indicative of the many ways a show can go about portraying these themes than Baby Steps and Haikyuu. To see just how different, hit the jump for some spoiler-free reviews on the first 25 episodes of these two sports stalwarts.

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Panning the Stream: Summer 2014 Midseason Review

If I had to pick a single word to describe this season, it would have to be “eclectic.”

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While this past Spring was dominated by very good sports series, and this past Winter was dominated by, uh… kami, I guess? (it was a pretty weak season), this Summer seems to have taken a cookie out of every genre jar. Action flicks, thrillers, rom-coms, satires, school dramas, period pieces, mysteries, Gothic horrors… you want it, this season has got it. And while none of them have been quite as jaw-droppingly perfect as Spring’s Ping Pong or Mushishi, on the whole I’d say there are a lot of solid, B-range shows on the schedule. It’s made it very hard to trim titles off my watchlist, that’s for sure.

And now that we’re six (or five, in Nobunaga Concerto’s case) episodes into the season, I figured I’d pop back in with some quickie reviews to talk about what’s still working, what reeeally isn’t, and everything in between.

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Glancing Upstream: Spring 2014 Retrospective

Summer Premiere Week is upon us, meaning I’ll soon be hard at work panning the simulcasting stream for gold nuggets. But before we turn our eyes ahead, let’s take a quick look back at the Spring season and see how it held up.

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Oh, and this is a spoiler-free zone, so please read through and keep your eyes peeled for a series that catches your eye.

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Quick Dip: Anime Weekly Roundup (6/21-6/27)

Celebrate good times~ come on! 

Here There Be (Mild) Spoilers: Remember, these posts look at some of the common trends and threads in the currently streaming anime that I’m watching (full list is on the sidebar). I keep things vague but if you’re a plot purist, you may want to skim past.

The week’s highs and lows below the jump.

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Quick Dip: Anime Weekly Roundup (6/14-6/20)

The saga continues.

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Here There Be (Mild) Spoilers: Remember, these posts look at some of the common trends and threads in the currently streaming anime that I’m watching (full list is on the sidebar). I keep things vague but if you’re a plot purist, you may want to skim past.

Who stumbled? Who soared? The answers to your burning questions below the jump.

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Quick Dip: Anime Weekly Roundup (6/7-6/13)

Look, Ma, a recurring segment!

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Here There Be (Mild) Spoilers: Quick reminder that these posts look at some of the common trends and threads in the currently streaming anime that I’m watching (full list is on the sidebar). I keep things vague but if you’re a plot purist, you may want to skim past.

This week’s roundup of winners and losers below the jump.

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Quick Dip: Anime Weekly Roundup

In which the Josei takes a look at the week’s new episodes and crowns the winners, losers, and uncertain in-betweens.

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Here There Be (Mild) Spoilers: My “Quick Dip” posts will touch briefly on the shows in the stream (see what I did there?) that I’m currently watching. (For the full list, check out the “Currently Watching” section of the sidebar.) While I’ll keep them vague to avoid giving away anything major, there will be screenshots and comments, and therefore possible spoilers. Read at your own risk.

This week’s roundup below the jump.

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