Glancing Upstream: Summer 2014 Retrospective and Review

This season defied all kinds of initial expectations, for better and for worse.

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Season Review: Black Butler (Kuroshitsuji): Book of Circus

Ciel and Sebastian take their act to the Big Top and bring down the house in this, Black Butler’s best—and darkest—story to date.

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A Note on Spoilers: I want to make these newbie-friendly, so I’ll try to avoid discussing specifics and instead stick to overarching concepts and themes. There are a couple paragraphs toward the end that deal with the finale, so I marked them with a warning message. Of course if you prefer to go into a series without knowing anything about it, then the short version is: It’s disturbing and heartbreaking and excellent. Go watch it.

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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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Rule of Three Review, Boys’ Club Digest: Black Butler: Book of Circus, Love Stage!! – Episodes 2-3

Let’s hear it for the boys ♪ —Well, some of them, anyway…

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I decided to blog these shows together before I’d actually watched the third episodes, because I figured I could come on here and write a pair of shiny reviews about two male-led series with great humor and likable characters, but… well, things got more than a little unpleasant over on the Love Stage this week, so make that one shiny review and one review with a lot of upset tarnish all over its edges. Ravings and rantings below the jump.

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Panning the Stream: Space Dandy 2, Persona 4: The Golden Animation, Kuroshitsuji (Black Butler): Book of Circus

They’re baaaaack!

This trio sees us saying hello to a bunch of familiar faces, whether we’re continuing where our adventures left off or rebooting them altogether (or, in the case of Space Dandy, doing both at once). Will it be just like old times, or have we grown apart from our old friends? Hit the jump to get reacquainted!

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