Panning the Stream: Fall 2017 Midseason Review

I may have chipped away a few series, but this season still rocks.

An androgynous person with short, iridescent hair picks up and hugs another androgynous person with messy grew hair, who has their head buried in their knees.

Unsurprisingly, given the strength of this season, I’m watching way too many shows. I also wrote way too many words about them. So let’s skip the preamble and dive right in, shall we? Away we go, to mages and musicians and MMOs!

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Rule of Three Review: Fall 2017 Anime Digest

Now with friends!

Four girls and two boys in school uniforms stand around a table covered in boxes filled with what look like blu-ray cases. A pink-haired girl looks startled, while the other seem happy. Subtitle: "We have plenty of time to watch and discuss anime."

Change of pace this season: I participated in a three-episode check-in roundtable with Amelia and Vrai over at Anime Feminist. So instead of doing my usual solo act, I’ll just direct you over there for all the chatter. More shows, more voices, and more recommendations for you dear readers!

Oh–and we didn’t mention sequels, but I’m also keeping up with ClassicaLoid (still a delight), Blood Blockade Battlefront & Beyond (still weird and entertaining), Hozuki’s Coolheadedness (still uniquely silly), and Mr. Osomatsu (still tastelessly amusing). Truly, my watchlist runneth over.

Click here for the full post on AniFem!


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Panning the Stream: Fall 2017 Premieres Digest

Let the battle for a spot on my watchlist begin!
A blonde girl in a school uniform stands with her eyes closed and one hand stretched out to the side. Beside, her someone in a black suit and gloves stands, their face and most of their torso hidden by a tall stack of what appear to be blu-ray cases.

This. Season. Is. STACKED. Or, at least, that’s how it looks after a deluge of strong premieres. Six shows impressed me enough to earn a guaranteed three episodes, not including the four sequels I’m locked into; and honestly, in a normal season, at least a few of the fence-sitters would have been “guaranthreed,” too. I eventually had to start dropping stuff not because I hated it, but because I was terrified my watchlist would topple sideways under the weight of all those shows and crush me beneath it.

Point being, there’s almost certainly something listed below that will catch your fancy as much as or more than it did mine. So let’s dive right into ’em, shall we?

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The Josei’s Top 10 Anime of 2015: Part 1 (#6-10)

Ringing in the new year with a loving look back at the old.

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Glancing Upstream

This was my kinda year, both in terms of the types of shows and the way they were executed. Lots of bleeding cool action, entertaining fantasy, charming shoujo, and some ambitious projects from both up-and-coming and seasoned directors/writers made the year not just a fun one, but at times downright stunning.

While there were still plenty of bad or just forgettable titles floating around this year, the industry as a whole seems a lot more financially comfortable than it used to be (thanks in part to international simulcasts), which has led to studios not only releasing more titles, but taking greater risks with some of them, too. Not to say that niche passion projects like Maria the Virgin Witch or animation-fests like One Punch Man would never have seen the light of day in past seasons, but with greater economic stability, big-name studios like Production I.G. and Madhouse (and my darling BONES, who would have positively dominated this list if I’d allowed split-cours) can produce these titles with a little less reticence than they might have in the past. And that’s always a good thing.

Beyond that, two things really stand out after putting this list together: First, that the year was front-loaded like nobody’s business, as half these titles aired during the winter; and two, that it featured a lot of smart, character-driven series, and some particularly well-written female protagonists, which is a huge bonus for me. All-in-all I had me a very good 2015, and am excited to talk about some of its standouts.

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Glancing Upstream: Spring 2015 Retrospective and Review

Well, that was certainly a season of anime.

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Okay, maybe I’m being too hard here. Winter 2015 was a nigh impossible act to follow in terms of sheer depth and breadth, and it’s not like Spring didn’t have its fair share of light, fun series. Plus there were a few clear standouts along the way as well, particularly if you enjoy more realistic YA-style fiction. Still, I’m finding that, while last season I was recommending just about everything to just about everyone, this season is a lot more about “Well, if you like {Genre}, you’ll probably enjoy {Title}.”

Weaker seasons tend to tell you more about your own tastes than the stronger ones, and now that I’ve officially blogged a full year’s worth of anime seasons, I think it’s safe to say that I have a wide range of genre and story interests and will watch just about anything so long as I can get halfway invested in the characters, whether that’s through humor or emotional drama. There are some definite clumsy and/or questionable shows on this list, but I stuck around largely because I liked hanging out with at least a portion of the cast and wanted to see what became of them. So, really, this season’s list is as much about who I liked as it is about what I liked.

Hit the jump for the best characters of the season (and their corresponding series).

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Panning the Stream: Spring 2015 Midseason Review

Time to peek in on the Spring line-up and see how our new team’s holding up.

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The word for this season so far is “light,” and I don’t necessarily mean that in terms of the number of shows I’m watching (although there is that, too). Unlike this past winter, which was jam-packed with ambitious stories, social commentaries, and questions with no easy answers, Spring is more about kicking back and having fun, whether you’re engaging in rom-com shenanigans, trying to make it big in an anthropomorphic CG band, or swearing vengeance against those damn dirty vampires. And while I’ve grumbled about the weakness of this season, there’s something to be said for good old-fashioned escapism sometimes, too.

Lightness notwithstanding, there’s still one major standout, a couple solid sequels, and a few new series which are growing well and showing signs of real potential—including some that should have never worked for me and yet draw me in a little deeper each week. This is either proof that execution trumps premise, or that my taste is getting worse by the minute and it’s all cat girls and panty jokes from here on out. Remember me as I was, not as I am. Then hit the jump to get a rundown of our current roster.

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Rule of Three Review: Blood Blockade Battlefront – Episodes 2-3

Big, Bombastic, Beautiful.

BBB is a first-class example of how a talented director, composer, and animation studio can take solid source material and crank it up to about 11. We likely would have had this frenetic world along with its enigmatic supernatural beings, its underground organization that oozes cool, and its affable but troubled protagonist regardless of the creative team, and it probably would have been fun in any competent director’s hands. But what BONES, Matsumoto, and her team have created here is more than just fun: It’s a visual and aural feast, taking Nightow’s often blank canvas and splashing it with color, depth, and imagery.

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