Anime bought: Aniplex USA's DVD volumes 1 ans 2 of Durarara!!x2.
Anime watched: This week felt hectic to me. It is probably because I do not watch any other anime besides my simulcasts on Saturdays and Sundays. But last Saturday I watched the Evangelion Rebuild movies, and I am a big fan of how 2.22 was constructed and executed. I then watched my DVD's of Gunbuster, and the anime still holds well. I finally watched Haruchika because I felt that I should have followed it in a weekly basis. And I was right because I liked it.
Anime bought: Aniplex USA's DVD volumes 1 ans 2 of Durarara!!x2.
1. Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju, episodes 9-13 (Very good) - The tragedy foreshadowed since the beginning of the show finally happened. The loose ends from the past have been tied up, and the show returns to its present. This show has been a delight to watch from start to finish. The whole story has not been told yet, but a second season has been confirmed. Joy.
2. Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash, episodes 9-12 (Good) - These final episodes felt more contemplative than the rest of the show, but they provided an ending with enough closure. Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash was a surprise title for me because of its likable characters, subdued atmosphere and pretty and soothing visuals. I definitely would like to see more from these characters and their world.
3. ERASED, episodes 9-12 (Good) - This anime seemed in the brink of self destruction after episode 10, but thanks to an amazing episode 11 and a very strong episode 12 ERASED managed to end up as a satisfying experience. I will say that at the end of the day this series, with all its flaws, managed to deliver on the promise of offering a tense but emotionally rewarding show.
4. Snow White with the Red Hair, episodes 21-24 (Good) - The final episode was very strong, delivering a solid conclusion and highlighting the major themes of this anime. The second part of Snow White with the Red Hair was less strong than the first one, but it provided a nice complement. I would like to see more of this tale, but the 24 episodes available have been satisfying.
5. Durarara!!x2, episodes 33-36 (Good) - Great, I am happy with how things wrapped up. All the characters seem to have received the conclusions they deserved. Without a doubt I can say that the Ketsu arc was the best part of the inconsistent Durarara!!x2. I will probably never forgive all the crappy visuals, but this second season was still a fun ride despite bumps on the road.
6. Active Raid, episodes 9-12 (So-so) - This series appears to have finally found the identity I was asking for. I like how these first twelve episodes ended. The second half of the show could be fun and perhaps have better overall quality.
7. Dimension W, episodes 9-12 (So-so) - Before the start of its final arc this series still had a chance to be a solid show, but the writing continued to suffer, and it ended as just an okay product. I will soon forget about this title, but I was never bored while watching it.
8. Dagashi Kashi, episodes 9-12 (So-so) - This show ended with not much of a resolution. Aside from its attractive visuals, this is largely a forgettable anime. The only real good thing I can say about it is that it was consistently entertaining and weird.
9. Gate, episodes 21-24 (So-so) - The conclusion to this season was fitting and high energy, but several things continued to be mediocre, and the whole pro JSDF stuff started to become annoying. Still, this is a recommendable show to fans of action and adventure anime.
10. Myriad Colors Phantom World, episodes 9-12 (So-so) - There are a couple of actual good episodes in this stretch, but the series as a whole is a big waste. Kyoto Animation continues to be a juggernaut in terms of visuals, but this show is easily the worst written in their catalog.
Anime watched: I rewatched Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995 series) and the End of Evangelion movie this week. And this is going to sound weird because this series is one of my favorite animes of all time, but I feel that I gained more respect and appreciation for it after this rewatch. Also, for a long time I actively disliked End of Evangelion, but in this rewatch I finally enjoyed it and now see that it has thematic and spiritual continuity to the series.
Anime bought: I finally decided to buy the Bandai Visual USA's DVD release of Gunbuster. I also received the first part of Your Lie in April from Aniplex USA.
1. Bakemonogatari - The story that started it all, and the best rounded work. Except for the Nadeko arc, every arc contains powerful stuff. This anime is a gem because it has imaginative dialogue, darkness, visual uniqueness and even solid comedy. I would have been satisfied if this had been the only Monogatari anime ever produced because it has a bit of everything that makes this franchise great.
2. Nekomonogatari White - I had always been intrigued by Tsubasa Hanekawa, but this arc really took this character to new heights in terms of complexity and maturity. While Nekomonogatari Black muddied things, White is a great tale of redemption and a great conclusion to the titular character. Bakemonogatari will never be surpassed to me, but Nekomonogatari White comes the closest.
3. Hanamonogatari - This arc finally convinced me that Suruga Kanbaru is my favorite character of the franchise. When Kanbaru was first introduced she struck me as a petty and selfish character. Hanamonogatari shows that Kanbaru is a warrior who always kept fighting and never gave up. This is not a particularly greatly written arc, but its bittersweet conclusion really hit my emotions.
4. Otorimonogatari - Who knew that the airhead of Nadeko Sengoku could be this nasty, cunning and even interesting. Monogatari had dealt with dark stuff before, but Otorimonogatari takes it to a darker place that seemed impossible before. This arc also excels at mystery and thriller aspects. I strongly recommend this story to people looking for complexity and some heavy themes.
5. Nisemonogatari - In my opinion this series has an unjustified bad reputation because of all the fanservice, but it is actually a good show that nicely complements Bakemonogatari. There is strong stuff like Senjougahara coming to terms with her past, the introduction of the kind of interesting Fire Sisters and Deishuu Kaiki.
6. Nekomonogatari Black - This arc expands on some of the stuff from Tsubasa Cat, but it is a mixed bag. The start is very strong and important in further understanding Hanekawa. Unfortunately the producers are too obsessed with showing Black Hanekawa prancing around in her sexy underwear.
7. Onimonogatari - This arc provides some important information to the overall Monogatari plot, but it tends to get tedious and boring. The big highlight and saving grace of this arc is of course the emotional departure of Mayoi Hachikuji, which I think was handled in a good way. Mayoi is going to be missed.
8. Owarimonogatari - Ougi Oshino is supposed to be an important character in this series, but she is very annoying. Sodachi Oikura is also supposed to be a highlight, but her arc is kind of underwhelming. The second half is a big improvement as the series shifts its focus to Shinobu and some important and interesting aspects about her past.
Do not like much
9. Kabukimonogatari - This has to be one of the most strange Monogatari arcs. From its title this story is supposed to focus on Mayoi, but the star is actually Shinobu Oshino. For me the real highlight of this mostly pointless time travel arc is seeinng Shinobu as a very vulnerable and scared character for the first time.
10. Koimonogatari - I kind of hate this arc. Its six episodes are spent back in fort between Nadeko Medusa and the weird and kind of creepy exchanges between Senjougahara and Kaiki. I enjoyed some of the Nadeko stuff, but I emerged with doubts about the true nature of Hitagi Senjougahara's character. Is she a victim or a victimizer?
11. Tsukimonogatari - I am for the most part cool with the fanservice in Monogatari, but the first episode of this arc is quite trashy and uncomfortable because Koyomi Araragi comes across as an incestuous molester. There is not much good I can say about Tsukimonogatari. It is designed to be some kind of link to a future arc.
Anime watched: I do not have much to report. I only watched my simulcasts. But I am posting something in a couple of days.
Anime watched: This week I watched Honey and Clover. In this rewatch I found myself turned off by some aspects of it (mainly Shinobu). But at the end of the day I found myself crying over how emotionally devastating but satisfying the conclusion is. I also had time to rewatch Celestial Method, and I liked it better than the first time.
Anime watched: This week I watched the first Fullmetal Alchemist. I watched it once before years ago, but I had forgotten several things from it. The first nine or ten episodes felt quite tedious to me. Eventually things started to click, and it concluded at a high point. I have had a love-hate relationship with FMA mainly because I prefer Brotherhood. The 2009 series is my favorite Fullmetal Alchemist, but after this rewatch I have renewed respect for the 2003 show. Fullmetal Alchemist is a classic for good reasons.
Anime bought: The second part of Gundam Zeta on BD, Parasyte, part one DVD/BD combo, Celestial Method on BD and the Cowboy Bebop movie on BD.
Anime industry: Funimation's decision to launch a kickstarter campaign to produce a new dub for Escaflowne made news this week. I am cool with small companies crowdfunding anime physical releases but it seems wrong for a big company like Funimation to ask money from fans for a physical release. Even worse is that they are asking money to redub an anime show that is fairly popular.
1. Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju, episodes 5-8 (Very good) - It is kind of frustrating to already know that one of the main characters is going to eventually die; I have waited for that event to happen for a month. I am still delighted by every minute of this anime, but I am kind of afraid that the remaining episodes might run out of time and not be enough to give this wonderful show a proper and satisfying conclusion.
2. Snow White with the Red Hair, episodes 16-20 (Good) - Even though the material covered in these five episodes was better than the stuff from the previous four episodes, this second half of this show continues to be inferior than the first half. But that is okay because I keep being in love with this anime. But because this show is two cours long, I expect a strong and satisfying conclusion.
3. Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash, episodes 5-8 (Good) - This show continues to be about characters' interactions and atmosphere. I am enjoying this anime so much that the lack of an actual story does not bother me. My big wish for the rest of the series is that things in the last episode end in a satisfying way because there might not be a second season of this show.
4. ERASED, episodes 5-8 (Good) - After a disappointing episode 5 things have bounced back. It is hard to quantify how good this anime is because the conclusion is going to be crucial to ultimately determine the overall quality of this show. There are some nice emotional rewards, but things remain tense. Still, I am cautiously optimistic that things will work out in the end.
5. Durarara!!x2, episodes 29-32 (Good) - I think it is fair to say that this second season of Durarara!! has displayed the most consistent quality during this stretch of episodes, and the conclusion will probably work out fine. That being said, I am not ready to be completely enthralled and enamored by this show again. I am liking this third arc, but I will make my final judgement in a month.
6. Dimension W, episodes 5-8 (Decent) - After a glimpse for a potential good and intriguing story in its first third, things have not gone too well for this show during this stretch of episodes. There is still potential for good stuff, but the producers are running out of time.
7. Gate, episodes 17-20 (Decent) - This show continues to be the very definition of decent; it is not bad, but it is not quiet good. These episodes offered some interesting elements in the Empire-JSDF conflict, but the execution could have been better. Only a great conclusion can propel this anime to Good.
8. Active Raid, episodes 5-8 (So-so) - I am not even sure what I think about this show. It keeps combining light character antics, otaku tropes and somewhat serious issues, but it has no clear direction yet.
9. Dagashi Kashi, episodes 5-8 (So-so) - By this point it is clear that this show will not have a story. The plus side is that the series is consistent and usually goofy, entertaining, weird and even sweet.
10. Myriad Colors Phantom World, episodes 5-8 (So-so) - These episodes have been better, and its visuals continue to be the highlight, but there is still no story, and the characters are not developed enough.
Anime watched: This week I watched Fushigi Yugi. It is too long, has low quality visuals, but it has some nice emotional moments. It is not a bad anime, but as far as shoujo fantasy anime go, Escaflowne is the gold standard.
Anime bought: Funimation's BD release of Fullmetal Alchemist (standard edition).
Anime watched: This was a relaxing week, but I had time to watch Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches. I liked it more than I expected. The show is an adaptation from what looks to be a fairly long manga, but the producers of the anime smartly only introduced the main characters, included a central romance and wrote a simple premise to wrap it up in 12 mostly satisfying episodes. This is the kind of anime adaptation I want to see more often made.