Glancing Upstream: Summer 2014 Retrospective and Review

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

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Series Review: Hunter x Hunter

I’m not entirely sure how you review 148 episodes in 1000 words or less, but here goes nothing…

Spoiler-free review below the jump. Actually, think of it more like a sales pitch. And yes, I know it’s a long series. Doesn’t matter. Totally worth the binge-watch.

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Series Review: Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun (“Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun”)

Yep – still great.

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I don’t think it’s any secret that I love this show. Heck, I wrote an entire essay on why it’s freaking amazing. Hilarious and subversive, progressive and approachable, with one of the most lovable casts in recent anime/manga memory, I truly can’t think of a single thing to criticize about this series. Well… except maybe the fact that it’s only 12 episodes long (for now). I was really hoping for a Season 2 Announcement, but alas. Fingers crossed it could still happen. Until then, there’s always the manga…

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Season Reviews, Sports Edition: Baby Steps, Haikyuu!!

These two shows may share a genre (and a final grade), but they couldn’t be more different.

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Okay, so technically this should be the “series” (not “season”) review of Haikyuu, but c’mon – we all know they’re going to make more. Of course the big surprise this morning wasn’t that Haikyuu DIDN’T get an official Season 2 announcement, but that Baby Steps DID. Yes, The Little Tennis Series That Could will be back in Spring 2015, with more of its unique MC and equally unique take on the sports genre itself.

I’ve quietly become a big fan of the sports anime/manga genre over the last couple years (thanks largely to Chihayafuru, the perfect “gateway” sports show for a shoujo fan if ever there was one), but one thing that continues to surprise me is just how different each show can be, delivering its own style and tone to a genre that is, at its core, about coming-of-age, hard work, and striving to achieve your goals.

Perhaps no two series are more indicative of the many ways a show can go about portraying these themes than Baby Steps and Haikyuu. To see just how different, hit the jump for some spoiler-free reviews on the first 25 episodes of these two sports stalwarts.

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Season Review: Tokyo Ghoul

Despite a lack of subtlety and some truly absurd story arcs, a well-developed core cast, a central question with no easy answer, and a riveting final episode make Tokyo Ghoul’s first season a worthwhile (albeit bumpy) ride.

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Very mild spoilers throughout. I can’t review without discussing overarching themes and touching on some character arcs and plot points, but I’ll avoid any specifics.

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