Penguins, Apples, Turtles ... this show had it all.

I haven’t posted anything about Mawaru Penguin Drum in a while, so some might have wondered if I dropped it. No. I have been eagerly watching each week, but found myself perennially at a loss for words.

Normally, especially for a series that I enjoyed as much as I enjoyed this one, this post would be my “Final Thoughts”. I would be summing up what I thought about it, and telling you why I think you should watch it, or at least who might enjoy it the most. But with Mawaru Penguin Drum, I am by no means ready to express “Final” thoughts. I strongly feel the desire to go back and watch the series over from the beginning. In fact this, I think is key to understanding the experience of watching Mawaru Penguin Drum.

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Pinch!

Tamayura ~hitotose~ is the sort of show that is more about impact than plot, so I’ll just give my final impression quickly. Mix up a bit of cute, a bit of funny, a bit of beautiful, and a whole lot of heart-warming, and you are bound to come up with something like Tamayura ~hitotose~. This “healing” anime by the master of the genre, Junichi Sato, is a window into life in a an idyllic seaside village. The main characters, a group of four girls, are witnesses to both heartache and small wonders. They gradually grow to understand each other and themselves a little better. If this sounds like it can be sickeningly sweet, it can at times, but it also manages to hit just the right tone often enough to make the watch a special experience.

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Kai's level 0 vanguard.

I haven’t been posting much about Cardfight Vanguard lately. They actually had an interesting arc in which Aichi lost control of himself and became a bit of a monster. I enjoyed that because it was quite a shake-up from the earlier episodes, both in terms of Aichi’s character, and the general tone and focus of the series. With episode 50 that arc seems to have come to a close. I believe the next part will be the National championship.

Blaster Blade, Aichi Sendou's avatar, and lynchpin of the Royal Paladin deck.

What really spurred me to write this entry, however, was the release of the English version of the Cardfight decks. There is now an English language Vanguard website, and I recommend checking it out if you are confused about how the game works, as they have straightforward explanations of the mechanics, and many of the cards you see on the show are completely described. At the moment there are two starter packs available, one based on Aichi’s Royal Paladin deck, and one based on Kai’s Kagero clan deck. There is also one booster pack that has a variety of clans represented. I found looking over the battle pack very revealing. For example I discovered that Battle Sister Chocolate is in the Oracle Think Tank clan, and there are at least two other “Battle Sisters”, Mocha and Cocoa, even though Chocolate seems to be the only Battle Sister¬†that gets used in the anime. I guess it is because Misaki is the only one who regularly plays with an Oracle Think Tank deck.

Winter 2012 Anime Season ~ Cumulative shows aired by date. Red dashed line shows approximate point at which half the new shows have already aired (January 6th).

You can file this one under what I did while I was waiting for the final episode of Working’!! to download. Including Black Rock Shooter (whose February premiere pushes it off the right of the chart), there are 22 shows starting this season (by my count). The red line shows that the half the shows will have aired by some time on January 6.

What can you do with this information? Make this lovely chart. Now, if you’ll excuse me, my download has completed.

Seasonal Greetings

December 24, 2011

Christmas Festivities in Sauville.

I hope everyone is staying warm and in good cheer. Tonight is known in these parts as Christmas Eve, and I already had a fun afternoon with family, as I went to the theater to see my nephew act in a Christmas play. I’m not a big fan of Winter, so I can’t claim this is my favorite time of year (it’s more like fourth on my list of seasonal preferences). However I do appreciate the symbolic start of a New Year, and certainly am willing to celebrate the end of the longest night of the year. I also think Jesus was probably the kind of guy that would have been fun to drink a few glasses of wine with, so I’m not averse to taking note of his birth while we’re at it. Whatever your reason for celebrating, if you are having a good time with family and friends you can’t be doing something too bad. Even if it causes you to step away from the anime for a bit, take the time to enjoy the folks around you.

Happy Holidays!

Un-Go ~ final thoughts

December 22, 2011

Shinjurou and the boss.

This is a brief spoiler-free review of Un-go, a Noitamina show from Fall 2011. Un-go is a short series (12 episodes, including an unaired “Episode 0″ that was shown ¬†in theaters) produced by Bones. Before the series aired it was commonly believed to be in the Mystery genre, as it was “inspired by” various stories written about a Meiji-era detective by Ango Sakaguchi, who died at age 48 in 1955. But Un-Go is NOT a Mystery series. Un-Go is an excellent example of a genre called Speculative Fiction, that came to the forefront as the New Wave of Science Fiction, during the 1960s.

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Marika Kato of Mouretsu Space Pirates.

In all honesty, the up-coming Winter 2012 season hasn’t grabbed my attention. Typically by now I would be looking forward to some show, and this post would be about those few shows that really caught my eye. I usually link to other bloggers who do a fine job of providing the comprehensive picture. You can check out the following guides that will provide synopses and possibly trailers for just about every new show of the season:

  • Hanners provides his usual round-up with succinct comments on each new series.
  • Psgels organizes the shows by his own subjective “potential” rating, and points out the positives and the negatives.
  • Sapphire Pyro has a less comprehensive view, but she reads a lot of manga, so her opinions on a show’s potential are quite useful.
  • Caraniel takes the comprehensive route, but doesn’t mince words when sharing her point of view.

There are probably a lot of other worthy season previews that have already come out, or will shortly. Sadly, regardless of which one I read, I can’t shake the feeling that this season doesn’t have an awesome show that I am ready to commit to on the spot. Nevertheless I present three shows after the jump that just might be worth watching.

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