Animation - Anime, Anime

Ranking All Monogatari arcs

With the end of the decade is drawing near, it’s time for me to revisit one of my favorite franchises of this last decade – and my all times as well – Monogatari series. Monogatari series is one rare show that despite its extreme visual style and convoluted storytelling, it still draws a delicate fan-following and becomes one of the most popular and enduring franchises the last ten years have to offer. With an “Off-season” is around the corner (of which there is no official announcement for anime adaptation as of yet but hey, do you seriously think that Shaft will get pass this golden egg? – and of which I’m mixed about: it’s time to move on), the 10-year era from 2009-2019 follows the completion of Monogatari’s main arc, spawning 15 plus mini-arcs and an entire cast larger than a football field. Monogatari has its ups and downs for sure, and we will get to that in this ranking of all the Monogatari arcs, from worst to best.

Of course, as per any ranked list, there’s some rules that needed to mention here. Some arcs that consists of several mini stories – will be included as one (like the Sodaichi arc). This gets tricky, though, when you scroll back to the Bakemonogatari season, which contains 5 mini-arcs of the same theme, and the Japanese novels and English publishions differ in the way they arranging (split into 2 in the former and into 3 in the latter). I will go with NisiOisin’s original intention – 2 small arcs. ONA’s Koyomi Vamp and trilogy-movie Kizu are included as well, that make it a total of 18 arcs. Without further ado, let’s chase them down:

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Anime, Anime Yearly Summaries, Yearly Summary

2018 Anime Summary

 

In general, I consider 2018 an underwhelming year. It sits there as the worst year of this decade for me. There are only three shows that crack the my Top 50 of the Decade, which is the lowest in any year. It has some solid shows, but none that breaks out as a modern classic. I suspect 2018 will be remembered as the year where Netflix original anime storms the mainstream. While I do have some reservations towards its models (never a fan of releasing the whole batch in one go, and I feel Netflix originals are a tad bit too retro, not in a good way), they do take risks and any platform that brings more exposure to anime is always welcome. 2018 is also a really strong year for comedy. Comedy that is plain silly (Grand Blue), comedy that makes you cry (Anzumatsuri), anti-humor comedy (Pop Team Epic)… this year has it all.

Most Popular Show of 2018: Violet Evergarden

I left the show feeling a bit torn about it. On one hand, the production is top notch and when the show hits right, it sweeps you right away. On the other hand, I don’t buy much of Violet’s central conflicts and the show has a tendency to go over-soapiness and try to explain too much, which I was never fond of. To be fair, Violet Evergarden has never known for its subtlety, its intent is always to pull as many punches as possible. Violet Evergarden, therefore, is at its strongest when it uses Violet as an observer, to put her as a background for side characters with their own struggles to find ways to overcome. When she stays in the spotlight, however, the amount of predictable development and cheesy moments always overwhelm the show’s own emotions. All in all, Violet Evergarden is a roller coaster of emotions, in more ways than one. It either sweeps you away with its grandeur approach, or it doesn’t (like myself). Despite my grumpy Violet Evergarden is still worth a watch, if only for the beautiful CG-animated mechanical hands of Violet.

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Animation - Anime, Anime, Anime Yearly Summaries

2019 Anime Summary

 

Yeah, I’m doing this too. As a whole, I consider 2019 a great year of anime, especially comes right after 2018 which I consider the worst year of the decade. It’s a year where many Anime Auteurs – some of the best working Anime directors today – helming original visions. Ikuhara, Shinichi Watanabe, Yuusa, Shinkai all have their original, passionate projects, and many manga classics like Vinland Saga and Kimetsu no Yaiba receive anime treatments. 2019 also saw many reboot from the 90s, early 00s decade with varying degrees of success, such as Boogiepop wa Warawanai (2019), Fruits Basket (2019) and Blade of the Immortals. On the negative side, the amount of isekai escapism is at its peak, at least in terms of quantity and not for their quality. My format is gonna be this: look at the most Popular show of the year,  the most Underrated show, then some honorable mentions before I get to the top 10. Hope you enjoy the countdown.

Most Popular Show of 2019: Carole & Tuesday

If I have to give one definite quality of Carole & Tuesday, it’s “accessible”, for better or for worse. Streaming in Netflix with the majority of the audiences isn’t used to watching anime, I can see this show as a getaway to have a first dip of what modern anime is like. And there are many aspects of Carole & Tuesday to support that approach: the animation is expressive, the art styles are gorgeous and attentive to details, the plot is simple but inspirational, the leads are likeable enough and most of all, the music is well-produced – everything you would expect from the great master Shinichi Watanabe. On a flip side though, because the anime is too mainstream it unfortunately doesn’t have enough edge or depth. The titular characters Carole & Tuesday suffer from that the most. There is little to no conflict between them, and throughout its 2 cours runtime they often act like one, there is no personality to them at all. That is why the supporting cast is often more interesting than the leads themselves. Second, the story arcs remain quite simple and predictable, and it becomes clear that the show is more concentrated on the music than the story. All in all, with the gorgeous visual, crisp animation and the top-notch soundtrack, if you don’t expect too much of it, you’ll enjoy it as you go along the ride.

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Anime, Yearly Summary

2018 Anime Summary – Part 2: Individual Awards

Now we get to the second part of this 2018 Anime Summary. This can be seen as individual awards, where I will pick the Best, and the Worst, as well as Runner-Ups. It will divide as Individual awards, Production Awards and Character Awards. Get on board for a tour around the town now, shall we?

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2019 Winter Anime, Seasonal Anime Review

Seasonal Anime Review: Winter 2019 First Impression (Full Update)

Like a cold you can’t get rid of, the new season has begun. As tradition, I tailed down all these first new, non-sequel episodes and gave them some quick impressions the moments I finished. This Winter season proves to be a season with no real surprise. It’s certainly the fewest shows in term of quantity for quite a while, and shows that supposed to be stand out are doing a pretty good job. Mob Psycho 100 2 delivers one of the best episode in a while (but to make this post consistent with non-sequel rule I won’t include it in here), Boogiepop tanks but the rest is predictable. This season also marks many shows cut-corner by animating entirely in CG, and the results are pretty clunky (if the bottom two shows are any indication). In total, I watched and reviewed 26 premieres, 2 of them are shorts. Let’s scroll down to see the offerings of this 2019 Winter, from worst to best:

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Anime, Music, Yearly Summary

2018 Anime Summary – Part 1: Music

I must confess before getting into this part that I don’t have an ear for anime tunes and only recently, very recently that I’m actively checking out for anime songs and soundtracks. Now that I’m more familiar with anime songs and know some of the prominent artists in this medium, I want explore more, dig deeper and making this list to celebrate all the goodies of this past year. In regards to OPs and EDs, 2018 is another underwhelming year for me. Normally I can easily come up with more than 5 picks, but this year that number is a high bar. This year, however, produces one of my favorite soundtracks in years so I’m not looking back on it with bitter eyes. Whether it has distinctive visual, or great songs, or how these two are in perfect sync to each other, below are my favorite OPs of the year, in no particular order

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Anime, Yearly Summary

2018 Anime Summary – Overview

Happy new year, folks. I’m not beating around the bush here, these past few months I haven’t found much passion to write at all. I much prefer watching to writing and boy, did I watch a lot this past month. Although I can’t say that I love writing, I do want keep this blog as a logbook/ diary on what I had watched and what my opinions on shows/ films I watched at that given moment. It means that I’ll find new ways to keep you readers informed of what I watch during a month or so. On that end I’ll make a Movie/Show log every fortnight or so with a brief impression about them, and doing more seasonal reviews, bunk reviews instead of full reviews.

Towards that goal, this week will be about the comprehensive summary of 2018 in anime. In general, I consider 2018 an underwhelming year. It has many solid shows, but none breaks out as a modern classic for me. I suspect 2018 will be remembered as the year where Netflix original anime storms the mainstream. While I do have some reservations towards its models (never a fan of releasing the whole batch in one go, and I feel Netflix originals are a tad bit too retro, not in a good way), they do take risque and any platforms that brings more exposure to anime is always a welcome. 2018 is also a really strong year for comedy. Comedy that is plain silly (Grand Blue), comedy that makes you cry (Anzumatsuri), comedy that is too dry (Pop Team Epic)… this year has it all. Less idol shows this year compared to the last few years, but at the same time more hopeless isekai shows, imouto incest shows, shows adapted from mobile games and soft-core porn shows, 2018 sure leaves its mark boldly.

For the next few days, I will split the summary into 5 parts:

Part 1: My favorite 5 OPs, 5 EDs and 2 full songs of the year  Part 2: Several technical/characters/miscellaneous awards   Part 3: Genres shortlists and Awards   Part 4: Honorable Mentions and Top 10 shows of the year   Part 5: List and rank Anime Movies of 2018 (Note: at this moment I list 15 films – 5 watched, 5 more available, 5 non-available. I will post this part once I finish these 15 films in the shortlist.

Stay tune for the next day for Part 1 – my favorite tunes of the year

2018 Fall Anime, Weekly Anime Summary

Weekly Anime Summary – Fall 2018 Week 10

SO I decided to finally drop Karakuri Circus, and catching up with the current Double Decker (so… 1 more episode). Karakuri Circus has its unique charm, but it has a string of mediorce episodes as of late to the point I don’t care for any of these characters any more. With the last season of the year is shaping up towards its end, I pretty much have my top 15 shows of the year ready. How they fare in final ranking will be depend on how these current shows land though. As of late I am watching many shows from early 2010s as well, and maybe at the start of next year I’ll do a film/anime log with basically list down movies/shows I have watched every 2 weeks with my general thoughts. That way I don’t have the burden to do full review (unless I want to), and you guys can still keep tab with what I’ve been watching. But that’s for the future and let’s run this week down:

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2018 Fall Anime, Weekly Anime Summary

Weekly Anime Summary – Fall 2018 Week 8-9

“’Cause nothin’ lasts forever
Even cold November rain”
Boy, November has ended and before you know it, Christmas is on its way. Sorry for the lack of activity in this blog, but at this time, I’m more willing to watch rather than to write about stuffs. Just this last week I came up with a list of 50-something anime of 2010s I will need to watch in oreparation for the Decade list. I don’t want to list those shows here, as I know I”m not going to devour them all and that will make an awkwark void if I stop halfway. I’ll still try to review those shows as I finish, so at least expect this weekly summary and maybe anime reviews at this stage (for movies, maybe recent ones, not project).

This last 2 weeks, this season of anime gets to its lowest point where it tries to connect between this middle arc and climax, think of this stage as our neck, so understandably they are hit or miss at best. Now, sit back and enjoy the show.

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2018 Fall Anime, Weekly Anime Summary

Weekly Anime Summary – Fall 2018 Week 7

It’s this time of a week again. With this week 7, I decided to cut 2 shows as they didn’t win me over in their last episodes. Irozuku basically wasted its 20-minutes, whereas Zombieland Saga and Karakuri Circus further slip into mediocrity. On the other spectrum, Golden Kamuy continues to surprise and Bloom into You becomes a serious contender of the season. Ups and downs like a wave, this batch of Fall Season’s anime never fails to be intriguing. Also, thumbs up for Franz Ferdinand’s reference in Double Decker, which I think is extremely well done. The groupings this week, appropriately, will be around Franz Ferdinand’s songs as well. Enjoy the piece!

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