Glancing Upstream: Fall 2014 Retrospective and Review

Fall is at an end, but that doesn’t mean its best shows have to be.

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We saw two forms of storytelling make a welcome comeback this season: The high fantasy and (perhaps even more importantly) the long-form anime series. As anyone who’s been watching simulcast anime over the past few years will know, one-cour shows have become the norm, and anything longer a happy exception. This season, though, a whopping nine of the 13 shows on my watchlist ran longer than that, and seven of them will be continuing into the coming seasons. So there are a ton of “midseries” reviews in this bunch – and hey, what better time to catch up on some great shows than over the holiday break?

Overall it wasn’t the best of anime seasons, full of shows that fluctuated dramatically in tone and quality (Fate/stay night, Gugure! Kokkuri-san, Your Lie in April), one that shot itself in the foot (Yuki Yuna is a Hero), and a few that suffered to varying degrees from not getting more episodes to tell their extensive stories (Rage of Bahamut, Laughing Under the Clouds). But hey, no season with Mushishi will ever be a total failure, and there were two incredibly consistent, solid, just good old-fashioned well-told stories to round out the Top Three. So let’s focus on those first, starting with one of the great masterpieces of anime, back for its (sniffle) final round of episodes.

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Panning the Stream: Fall 2014 Midseason Review

Good sequels and good fantasies keep the stream from drying up this season.

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My fall watchlist is considerably smaller than my summer one, partly because of time constraints on my part, but mostly because there just isn’t as much that interests me this season. Not counting sequels (and yes, I count Fate/stay night as a sequel even though it technically isn’t), I’ve only kept up with seven new shows this season. Compare that to summer’s whopping 13 at the midway mark, and it sounds pretty dismal by all accounts.

That said, there is a pleasant ray of hope this fall: Fantasies have made a sudden and welcome comeback, as nearly every new series on this list features some element of magic or “arealism.” Better still, a fair number of them are two-cour, continuing this year’s trend of studios producing longer series (a very nice trend indeed). And hey, I’m also trying to watch half a dozen U.S. shows and a trio of sports, so maybe the shortened list isn’t such a bad thing.

Most everything falls (pun always intended) in “solidly watchable” B-range territory, with a couple standouts and a couple series hovering near the chopping block. What’s shining and what’s dimming? Hit the jump for a midseason check-in.

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Rule of Three Reviews, Sequel Digest: Yowamushi Pedal, Chaika the Coffin Princess, Psycho-Pass – Episodes 2-3

Nothing like spending Friday with some old friends.

Figured I’d pop in with quickie updates on the sequels I’m watching this season (sans Mushishi, since it’s only on Episode 2), and let everyone know how we’re doing. Mostly positive statements of varying degrees across the board, so we’ll keep this short, since if you’re looking at sequel reviews then you’re probably already invested in these shows (and if you aren’t watching Yowapeda yet, you really should be, as it’s one of the most delightful shows of the year). Hit the jump to check in with autumn’s returning players.

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Panning the Stream, Sequel Edition: Chaika the Coffin Princess, Yowamushi Pedal, Psycho-Pass

Reunited – and it feels so good.

I was going to knock out all my sequels in one fell swoop, but since the new Mushishi doesn’t air for another week, it made more sense to go ahead and get these (re)Meet ‘n’ Greets out now. I’ve changed up the formatting to include a little information about the first season for the sake of any newcomers. I’m also keeping my overall opinions fairly short to avoid spoilers (and because I’m guessing that most of you already know what to expect). Hit the jump to reacquaint yourself with some old friends and to see if the spark is still there.

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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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