Thursday, February 21, 2019

Anime Roundup: Have Patience, Because Everything Is Awesome Edition

I realize it's been only five weeks since the last Anime Roundup post. But! I've just been so blown away by a few series I've recently finished watching that not only do I feel compelled to talk about them now, I've decided to make a major change to the way these posts are written.

You may recall that I used to divide the shows up into Japanese-style ranking categories from S (my favorites) to B (couldn't really get into them). However, I now believe that all I really need to do with the B category shows is give them more of a chance. You see, the way I used to do this is I would usually watch two, maybe three episodes and then see if it hooked me or not, and then if it didn't, I would move on.

But now, after having watched or sampled over thirty anime series and movies, I'm noticing that most of them are actually slow burns, and that they seem to be purposely designed that way. It's like the show wants to bring you along gradually before it starts dropping all the amazing stuff as it ramps up to an epic finish.

So, as of this post, I'm doing away with the categories. I'm just going to offer you my random thoughts and opinions, and then you can decide for yourself if you want to check out these shows or not. But trust me, for the optimal viewing experience, you may want to play the long game (I know that for me, I will definitely now be revisiting everything that I formerly lumped into "Category B").

Here we go! Oh, and there will be some mild spoilers, so maybe instead of reading this post, go and watch these shows first and then come back so then we can geek out about them together.

Puella Magi Madoka Magica
I'll start with this one, since it really is the one that finally made me decide to stick around longer with every anime I check out. On the surface, it seems like your typical "magical girl" show in the vein of stuff like Sailor Moon; really, the only reason I decided to give it a chance was that I had heard good things about it. As it turned out, this show is kind of like the magical girl version of Doki Doki Literature Club - a dark and subversive take on a typically innocuous genre. It starts off pretty slowly, and even after pulling a Game of Thrones-ish move in the third episode (which I thought - incorrectly - was going to be quickly reversed), I kept wondering when the heck Madoka was finally going to become a magical girl. I mean, that's the title of the whole show! But then, once it hit episode 8 or so (there are 12 episodes in all), the show began landing one body blow after another, until finally I was shouting "OMG this is so amazing!!" every other minute. Sheer brilliance. Oh, and on top of that, the artwork - especially of the witches and their labyrinths - is trippy and fantastic.

High Score Girl
A wonderful semi-romantic-comedy-drama that is also a historically accurate period piece about video games in the '90s. What more could you possibly want? At first I kept wondering when Akira was going to talk, but then I realized that it's actually better that she doesn't. I loved the tender piano reprise version of the trippy (yes, I've said "trippy" twice in one post now) Zappa-ish opening theme song "New Stranger," and am desperately hoping for a Season 2. I mean, c'mon, showrunners, you can't leave us with that cliffhanger ending, now, can you?

Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online
I'm a huge fan of the original Sword Art Online and Sword Art Online II, so the moment I saw this one was available on Netflix I did a fist pump and said "yessss!" Seriously, I did. And then I proceeded to binge the heck out of it. I should've been able to guess Pitohui's real-life identity early on - I mean, the clues were all there - but the ending actually surprised me, so, good job, show.

Seven Deadly Sins
This is one I had previously lumped into Category B, but then when I revisited it, I ended up loving it! So, there you go. The only part that bugs me is Meliodas' occasional, um, pestering of Elizabeth, which I get is played for laughs, but really doesn't add much to the story or characters and could've easily been left out, as there's still plenty of humor to go along with some great action and a cool plot.

Gunnm (Battle Angel Alita)
You may have heard of the latest James Cameron movie Alita: Battle Angel. Well, this is the original source material from 29 years ago. It, too, starts off a little slow but then picks up pretty quickly. I dug it when Gally had her John Wick-ish "you shouldn't have killed my dog" moment (which I guess is actually John Wick having a Gally-ish moment, seeing as how she predates him in our actual timeline). If I ever manage to get out to the theaters again, then perhaps the film adaptation will show up in the next Movie Roundup post.

Well, that's it for now. I have a feeling these Anime Roundup posts may become even more frequent now that I've unlocked a whole back catalog of stuff to watch. Until next time, mata ne!

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