Weekly Check-in: September 27, 2017 (October Premieres & Neo Yokio)

Screenshots from promo videos for The Ancient Magus’ Bride, Children of the Whales, Dances with the Dragons, Girls’ Last Tour, Himouto! Umaru-chan R, Osake wa Fūfu ni Natte kara, Recovery of a MMO Junkie, and Two Car.

A new crop of anime series debut next month and I’m interested in a handful of them. I also sampled Neo Yokio and didn’t like what I watched. Continue reading

Monday Check-In: August 7, 2017

Hiroko Katsuki, her son Yuri, and Minako in Yuri!! on ICE

I began watching Yuri!!! on ICE over the weekend because I figured I should see one of last year’s most acclaimed anime series – it topped many year-end lists and won Crunchyroll Anime Awards in all seven of its nominated categories: Anime of the Year, Best Boy, Best Animation, Most Heartwarming Scene, Best Couple, Best Opening (OP), and Best Ending (ED).

It had a fantastic first episode with main character Yuri Katsuki heading home to Hasetsu in Kyushu and trying to figure out what he wants to do with his figure skating career after some recent failures. I recognized some things during the skating sequences from watching Winter Olympic and other competitions over the years. My goal is to finish watching YOI in the next week or two. Continue reading

Monday Check-In: July 31, 2017

Motoko and Batou at a bar in Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex

I have been watching Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex with a few friends (a re-watch, in my case) and the themes of some episodes feel a little close to reality than when I first watched S.A.C. a decade ago, e.g. an owner of a outdated android wanting to eliminate all other androids of the same model so his would become unique; unauthorized organ donations; hacking of cyber-implants. Motoko’s standard on-duty outfit has stood out to me as out-of-place compared to what her fellow Section 9 agents wear and the series’ English insert songs felt jarring while I was watching with Japanese dialogue, but I am enjoying the action and technological aspects of the series. Continue reading

Monday Check-In: July 24, 2017

A sky battle in New York City from The Reflection

If you paused the first episode of The Reflection and told me look at any still frame, I might confuse it for a panel from a major American comic book. This new anime series from co-creators Hiroshi Nagahama and Stan Lee started off slow and the animation was a little stiff in spots, but I will stick with it to see how its premise of “normal people developing powers from a mysterious global event” unfolds. Continue reading

Backlog Reduction: Please Tell Me! Galko-chan

When I noticed Hajimete no Gal (My First Girlfriend is a Gal) was among the dozens of anime series that started this month, I remembered I hadn’t finished another series with a “gyaru” main character: Please Tell Me! Galko-chan (available on Crunchyroll). I had watched some of it in early 2016 and I recall liking what I saw back then.

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Monday Check-In: July 17, 2017 (Teekyu is back!)

Tomarin is angry after losing money at a pachinko parlor in Teekyu season 9

I watched a few more new anime series last week but not as many as I wanted. Teekyu returned for its ninth season with a Tomarin-focused episode and an ending credits sequence depicting the girls as more realistic-looking teenagers with a portion where the camera pans across their towel-draped bodies. I guess the ending credits are a parody of other anime ending credits that have similar shots of their female characters but Teekyu’s credits unnerved me just like those other ones do…

I saw the first episodes of Anime Strike series Made in Abyss and Princess Principal with some online friends and enjoyed both of them for different reasons. Made in Abyss had beautiful landscapes and a fun adventure story setup with its characters. I liked Princess Principal for its dark, steam-powered London setting and background music directed by Yuki Kajiura; its soundtrack reminded me of Kajiura’s previous action series scores including Puella Magi Madoka Magica and Noir. Continue reading