Glancing Upstream: Fall 2016 Retrospective and Review

It’s the most overworked time of the year~

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In the next couple weeks I’ll be hitting you with final Flip Flappers commentary, my Top 10 Anime of 2016, maybe a short essay or two, and then we turn around and start all over again with the winter premieres, including the much-anticipated return of Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju (and my lengthy commentary about it)! A blogger’s work is never done.

So you’d think that would mean I’d have kept my Fall retrospective thoughts short and sweet, right? Wrong! This season was a cornucopia of strong comedy, positive queer representation, diverse female leads, and geeky premises. And you know I can’t shut up about stuff like that. Hit the jump for too many words about too many shows.

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Panning the Stream: Fall 2016 Midseason Review

Peeking in on the autumn lineup.

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I’m writing this from a hotel room in New York, which both explains why it’s a bit late (some of these shows have already moved past their halfway point) and why this introduction is going to be brief. My Fall anime bloc continues to either hold steady or improve each week, depending on the show, which is always a promising sign at the halfway mark. There’s good variety too, so whether you’re looking for something to soothe or something to pump you up, you should be able to find a much-needed break from reality below.

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Rule of Three Review: Fall 2016 Anime Digest

I thought spring was the rainy season, so why am I drowning in shows in October?

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There are far too many shows on this list, but I can’t bear to cut any others at this point. It’s too early to say this is the strongest season of the year, but it sure is looking promising. Some are artistic marvels, some compelling character studies, some soothing balls of cuteness, some just plain fun, and some are…er, Keijo (look, I don’t feel great admitting that either, okay?). Hit the jump for both my pride and my shame.

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Panning the Stream: Fall 2016 Premieres, Round 1

Hey ho and away we go!

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We’re roughly halfway through the Fall premieres, so now’s as good a time as any to compile a shortlist and talk about ’em. As usual, I’m watching all licensed new shows and any relevant sequels and giving you at least a few thoughts on each of them. The Josei Next Door: Sitting through everything, so you don’t have to!

I’ve divided them into three categories: “Guaranteed Three Episodes,” “On the Fence,” and “Slush Pile.” Actually, make that four categories–I’m rolling some sequels/spin-offs into this one, too. There’s a fair amount in that fence-sitting group because, while there haven’t been a ton of out-and-out awful shows, outside of Yuri on Ice there wasn’t anything that really “wowed” me, either. Some solid foundations and a fair amount of variety, though, so hopefully it’ll build well on itself, and you’ll all be able to find something that catches your eye, too.

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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: Show by Rock!! – Episodes 2-3

The ending theme was right: I am indeed having a nice MUSIC!!

I described Show by Rock!! as “utter nonsense” in my premiere review, and remarked on Twitter that it was “so dumb and I loved it,” but after a couple extra episodes, I’m reevaluating my opinion somewhat. SbR isn’t dumb. It’s silly. “Dumb” implies a lack of intent; it suggests that something is amusing without that being the creators’ goal. “Silly,” on the other hand, means that the creators know exactly what they’re doing and are enjoying the heck out of themselves. And I’d say SbR firmly falls into the second category.

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