Panning the Stream: Fall 2016 Premieres, Round 1

Hey ho and away we go!

mkr-op

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.

Continue reading

Advertisements

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.

7-15

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.

Continue reading

Glancing Upstream: Spring 2015 Retrospective and Review

Well, that was certainly a season of anime.

mika6-2

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).

Continue reading

Series Review: Sound! Euphonium

Kyoto Animation and novelist Takeda Ayano make beautiful music together.

euph12-2

Sound! Euphonium is the story of a high school concert band trying to figure out who it wants to be. Are its members content to hang out for a couple hours after class, making friends and fooling around? Or are they willing to set and work towards goals, to find something they want and go after it with everything they have?

Continue reading

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.

image

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.

Continue reading

Panning the Stream: Sound! Euphonium, My Love Story!!, RIN-NE

How to improve your spring anime? Just add cherry blossoms!

Two full meet ‘n’ greets in this one, huzzah! One was exactly what I expected, while the other was something of a pleasant surprise (although we’ll see if it can hold up over multiple episodes). Also, apparently if you throw an exclamation point (or two) into your title, good things happen. Take note, aspiring writers. Then hit the jump for some sweet music, some sweet cakes, and a little bit o’ bland.

Continue reading