Zubat’s Top Anime of 2016

This post may be two months late has been in the works for the past two months, and now it’s finally time to share it with you all! Please remember that these are all my personal opinions, and that it’s perfectly ok to disagree with my ranking decisions or omissions – I watched well over 50 airing shows last year and there were many great shows I had to leave off of my list. I’ll keep this rest of this introduction short and save the words for my thoughts below – please enjoy my list of personal favorites from this past year of anime! Continue reading “Zubat’s Top Anime of 2016”

Winter 2017 – Week 6 Update and Impressions

About a month ago, a group of redditors announced that they were putting together their own end-of-year anime awards for the r/anime subreddit. As part of their awards system, small juries would choose a winner for each proposed category as a separate award from the popular vote winner, and so the group setting up the awards invited anyone who was interested to apply to join in the jury voting process. I’m not that involved in the anime community on Reddit, but I figured it’d be enjoyable to share my own unique voice and be a part of that process. So, I chose to apply to become a juror, and after about a week of waiting I was accepted as part of the juries for Best Drama, Best Deuteragonist/Non-Main Lead, and Best Supporting Character.

What followed after that was a crazy three weeks of deciding nominees for each category (or what the qualifying factors were for each category, even), catching up on any show missed in a category, and then FINALLY deciding on our final rankings for each nominee. There were many long debates (like, day+ long debates) and I personally had nearly 50 episodes of anime to power through in just 2 weeks, a tall task for someone like me who doesn’t tend to binge watch a single show for more than 2-3 episodes at a time. But after a long period of discussion, each awards jury summarized their opinions, joined in the document editing process, and finally posted our combined thoughts and winners for each award this past Sunday evening. It was a fantastic moment for us as we were finally able to share our decisions with the r/anime community after weeks of hard work.

…and yet it ultimately came to a final, abrupt conclusion – less than 24 hours after all our hard work was presented to the r/anime community, the post was unstickied from the top of the subreddit by a bot and disappeared from the minds of basically everyone not directly involved with the project.

It would appear that 2017 has an early contender for the “Anticlimax of the Year” award.

hibikew6

Continue reading “Winter 2017 – Week 6 Update and Impressions”

r/anime Awards – Writeups

Note: these are all very rough writeups that were intended as a jumping off point for our awards discussions – as such, take what I’ve written here with a grain of salt. I’ve also included the two chracter writeups I did for the final awards post; those paragraphs are intended as an overall representation of the jury but are somewhat based on my own thoughts on each character as well.

These writeups are also written as a comparison/ranking of all the nominees, and as a result I’m a lot harsher on lower-ranked shows/characters than I might otherwise be, particularly for the Drama category where I very much enjoyed every show nominated.

SPOILERS FOR EVERY SHOW / CHARACTER LISTED BELOW. Turn back now if you don’t want spoilers on the following shows: Euphonium 2, Rakugo, Planetarian, Kiznaiver, Fune wo Amu, Erased, Re:Zero, Flip Flappers, Mob Psycho 100, and Amanchu! Continue reading “r/anime Awards – Writeups”

Winter 2017 – Week 3 Update and Impressions

Recently, I’ve come to a terrible realization about my presence on Twitter. No, that discovery is not that I have no presence at all (I’m already well aware of that fact); but instead, my tendency to be super awkward in many of my attempts at conversation have likely given off an impression of moe to others. From joke after joke going over my head (I’m utterly terrible at telling when someone is serious or not), to needing 3+ tweets to respond to even the smallest comments, I’ve come to realize today that my awkward, [unintentionally] moe tweets almost certainly make me the Mikoto Mikoshiba (from Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun) of Twitter. I can’t say I’m really that upset about that, but it’s certainly been an… interesting realization from this morning, to say the least.

At any rate, I am glad that I’ve been able to talk with people more on twitter over the past few weeks, even as I continue to be my usual, awkward self. I know I’ve gone on at least a few [unsurprisingly] long-winded tweet chains about this, but I really am glad for even just being able to follow others and hear from them; to be able to chat back and forth every so often and get to know others better is something truly wonderful. And this goes to everyone reading this as well – feel free to reach out to me whenever at @PuellaMagiZubat! I can’t say I’ll respond to everything (it can literally take me over a half-hour to respond to the smallest tweets), but I’d love to get to know anyone who reaches out to me as well.

Continue reading “Winter 2017 – Week 3 Update and Impressions”

AKB0048 Episode 2 – Friends and Rivals, Dreams and Reality

Note:  Although it technically began back during 12 Days of Anime with my post on the first episode, this post marks the beginning of my (hopefully regular) writeups on AKB0048, a scifi-idol series from 2012. Check back often as I continue to write about this series (and other shows) going forward!

Sometimes, a small change in perspective makes a whole world of difference.

AKB0048‘s opening episode was filled with the optimism that AKB represented to Nagisa, Yuka, and Orine. As young teens growing up on the dystopic Lancastar, AKB represented a shared dream of a world of song in the stars beyond their industrialized home, a hope that they might be able to stand with AKB and fight against the DES and entertainment bans. But in episode 2, we get our first look at how AKB isn’t just an image for music freedom – AKB represents a wide variety of ideals for many people across the galaxy, and the group faces a diverse set of challenges as a result. And through Chieri’s reappearance on the journey to the second auditions, we learn for the first time that the fights and challenges facing AKB’s idols don’t always come from the enemy.

Continue reading “AKB0048 Episode 2 – Friends and Rivals, Dreams and Reality”

Series Review: Magical Girl Raising Project – Half-Step

Some spoilers for plot developments and character backstories in Magical Girl Raising Project; no character deaths are spoiled in this post.

“What is this show trying to accomplish?” This question is one of my key guidelines for determining my thoughts on the themes or structures of a show. It’s something I’ve reflected on in passing in other writeups – my thoughts on The iDOLM@STER and its spinoff Cinderella Girls were focused on how each show goes in its own direction; and New Game clearly hit it out of the park for me in crafting a combined workplace comedy and heartfelt new hire-SoL. It’s understandable that not every show would be able to achieve what it sets out to do, and in some cases shows may not even have a larger thematic goal to strive for in the first place. But occasionally, there’s the conflicting show that sets a strong foundation towards what it’s trying to accomplish, but doesn’t quite fully commit to achieving that objective.

Enter Magical Girl Raising Project, a Fall 2016 light novel adaption with a basic premise of “mahou shoujo fantasy meets battle royale thriller”. Its large cast features an incredibly broad range of character designs and personalities, perfect for either a high-octane battle to the death or an ideological clash between members of its diverse cast. MGRP takes steps down both of these possible paths, but puzzlingly never commits to fully exploring either possible direction. It’s a decision that would allow either choice to feel natural in any future season, but leaves the series as a relative unknown in the present.

Continue reading “Series Review: Magical Girl Raising Project – Half-Step”

Winter 2017 – Plans for Seasonal and Non-Airing Watches

As my twitter feed has reminded me over the past few days, the winter anime season is already well off and running in another 3-month journey through tales of magic, romance, and drama. Even in weaker seasons like this one, I always find it exciting during the first few weeks of starting new shows, meeting characters for the first time and exploring new worlds and dreamscapes. But the beginning of a new season isn’t just a chance to pick out a set of new shows to follow over the coming months. For me, it’s also a chance to plan out shows I’d like to complete from my ever-growing backlog of unfinished and unstarted shows – maybe it’s a good time to start that one show that’s been in my plan-to-watch for ages, or perhaps finishing up some carryovers from the fall season would help lighten the burden of adding 10 new seasonal shows at once. At any rate, for someone like me who likes planning ahead and setting out watch priorities, it’s one of the most fun times to be an anime fan.

One of the things that’s helped me plan out each upcoming season is ranking shows not based on how much I’ll necessarily like or dislike them, but how much I expect them to be consistently enjoyable for me to watch. Shows like Rakugo and Zestiria are relatively known quantities and I’d expect to continue with them regardless of a weaker opening, while shows like Masamune-kun and Fuuka could be surprisingly great or disappointingly awful. Usually I list these predictions by how long I would choose to watch the show before becoming too frustrated to continue: for example, Hibike! Euphonium from last season was a show that I was expecting to (and did) watch the whole way through the season and so I gave it a “full-cour” expectation, while Kiss Him Not Me was something that needed to impress me in its early episodes with a “3-episode” expectation, and failed to do so.

Based on those metrics, I’ve listed out the shows I’m looking into watching as the season begins, as well as my thoughts for many of those shows. I haven’t included staff information for these shows, but if you’re looking for that info you can find some for many of the airing shows in the Sakuga Blog’s season preview here. I’ve ordered shows by how likely it is that I’ll watch the show to completion, although my predictions could be totally off and I could be dropping a high-tier show just weeks into the season (let’s hope that’s not the case!). And like I mentioned above, I’ve also thought about some of the non-airing shows I’m hoping to start, finish, or continue watching over the next few months and wrote about those following the seasonal shows on this list. In a few weeks, I’m hoping to check back in with what made (and didn’t make) the cut for this season (since there’s no way I could watch everything I list below), and if all goes to plan you’ll hear updates from me on my thoughts on both airing and non-airing shows I’m watching multiple times over the next few months. Enjoy my very late preview to the upcoming season, starting out with my most anticipated shows premiering this week!

Continue reading “Winter 2017 – Plans for Seasonal and Non-Airing Watches”