As what I hesitantly call the dark-horse anime of the season, Girls und Panzer has managed to remain surprisingly strong in the face of such intimidating competitors as JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure and Psycho-Pass. There are definitely plenty of valid reasons why—the skirmishes themselves are well thought out and animated, the characters are likable (if not terribly memorable), and it has yet to bog itself down with glurgy melodrama; even the most somber of scenes are accompanied by hilariously outdated Nazi helicopters and spunky old women, two things guaranteed to improve any show simply with their combined presence.

But belligerent old women and Nazi aircraft are only two parts of a bigger variable in the “why the fuck is this show so good?” equation, a variable that encompasses that broad descriptor of “novelty”. To put it in other words, Girls und Panzer isn’t just the one gimmick of girls engaging in competitive interscholastic tank battles; it’s a slew of gimmicks thrown at the audience one after the other faster than you can say “Holy shit, it’s a giant aircraft carrier!” It’s only when looking back and examining each of these events with the utmost scrutiny that a startling realization begins to emerge: This is why it’s really fucking good, and Episode 8 perfectly illustrates why with the the inclusion of Katyusha, Pravda’s adorable sensha-do president/reference to old war songs. Continue Reading »

There is something so curiously endearing about a show that tries with no shortage of desperation to be the coolest thing since frozen, sunglass-wearing sliced bread. Where most shows would simply have a character make a one-liner before collectedly planting a bullet through an enemy’s forehead, Jormungand painfully draws it out so the audience can fully appreciate just how totally radical it wants them to think it is, because its sense of what’s hip was originally from the dark age of glam metal and Reaganomics and it wants to catch up to what the kids are into these days, like autotuned Engrish. Continue Reading »

Not even a week ago, The Cart Driver played host to a long-winded and indirect marriage proposal toward the greatest anime of the season, and I daresay our time: Girls und Panzer. Not even two episodes passed before I was enraptured by its Captain Planet-esque take on including every single tank design and color under the loving treads and well-timed explosions of the gunmetal-grey rainbow. I was hesitant to make my proposal official, because it was just as likely as not that the show that I’d come to fall in love with would catch bubonic plague and spit a mouthful of bloody teeth in my direction before collapsing in a heap of agonizing, twitching death. But then a plane airdropped a tank with a single passenger directly into somebody’s car, and all doubts as to whether Girls und Panzer would make it past the crucial three episode trial period were assuaged.

Surprisingly enough, especially to me, there’s more to Girls und Panzer than a few audaciously stupid bits held together with bits of old twine and prayer. At the risk of ending up on the receiving end of raucous laughter, this series delivers a more compelling environment than nearly anything else this season, specifically because there are quite a few background details that intrigue me. Continue Reading »

There’s been a fair amount of discussion about Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun over the past few days. And, since it’s already established that I’m not averse to joining bandwagons regardless of how smart it is to do so, I’m going to give my two cents on the matter. To get it out of the way now, I’m treading unfamiliar ground here. Most of my writing about anime is in regard to how certain elements fit into the overall picture, and very few of them involve offhand rape threats in what’s supposed to be a comedy, so finding that I actually have something serious to say on the matter is pretty damn new.

I cheated and read some a few other posts before I actually watched the first episode. To say that the response is mixed to negative would be like saying that the sky is very often blue, or that the sun will rise in some part of the world in a few hours. “Rape culture” is a phrase thrown around quite a bit in response, and I’ll be damned if it isn’t (unfortunately) apt. However, a part of me isn’t convinced that it’s all unintentional; Haru is depicted in such an overdone way as both an inexcusable creep and a world-class genius that I have trouble believing that at least one person onboard didn’t think “Is this trying to poke holes in the kind of culture that promotes this kind of relationship as being totes adorbs?” Or, if their grammar hasn’t been shot, “How could there be a more unhealthy relationship than this?” Continue Reading »

I remember how I was back in July, my rosy-cheeked, shiny-eyed self untainted by the overwhelming sludge of mediocrity that was the summer season. It was a time when Hyouka was more contemptible and exploitative than Violence Jack, and Jinrui was sitting high on the pantheon of greatest things in all history ever; admittedly, beginning the season in a drunken haze probably didn’t help to ease this strange disconnect.

But then Yuru Yuri Two Eighth-Notes and Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse aired, and I gained some perspective on things. No longer was I a rosy-eyed, shiny-cheeked youth, but a grizzled blogger who had seen it all, man. It was at that point when all hope seemed lost that something weird happened: Hyouka somehow got better, and Jinrui slowly descended in quality from godlike to merely pretty good. What made this strange is these two results were caused by the same change in focus: from plot to character development. Continue Reading »


I don’t know what’s been up with these last few episodes of Uta Koi. Maybe something’s circulating in the water that makes writing good mid-Heian period pieces a 100% certainty, but hot damn has it picked up in quality since the Sei Shonagon arc ended. It’s not that Sei Shonagon was a bad character by herself, it’s that her and everyone in the emperor’s court romances like they’ve been huffing paint for the better part of their tenure, making their endeavors more exercises in patience than heartbreaking tragedy. It’s been such a highpoint in my anime viewing these past few weeks that they make almost everything preceding it (relatively) look like total crap.

Episode 11 was so damn good that I don’t feel it’s ever too late to cover  it in addition to Episode 12, something that I’ll hopefully get to by the end of the weekend. So enjoy some more late gushing about how wonderful this was. Continue Reading »

In past posts on Jinrui, I’ve flirted with the fact that the show’s strengths lie in its ability to create stunning, bizarre set pieces to revolve each episode around. Aside from Watashi, who’s apparently witness to nearly every strange happening in the post-civilization world, none of the characters are all that distinctive by themselves. Hell, even she doesn’t stand out much, despite her often taking an active role in the events of each episode. She’s a reactionary element, the audience surrogate and pink-haired, snarky life preserver to cling to as the events of each episode increasingly lose connection with reality, and she doesn’t fare well when out of her element. Continue Reading »

There’s both a good and a bad side to being so sleep deprived that I actually fell asleep three times while writing this sentence. Counting all the positives, we have boundless creativity and a drive to write as many posts as physically possible before the end of the week. Keeping the much vaster swath of negatives in mind though, it doesn’t mean much that I have ideas when I can barely express them coherently. And that, children, is my excuse for getting this post up nearly five days after watching the episode. So yeah, sorry about that. Continue Reading »

There’s a question that kept popping in my mind while I was watching this episode, regardless of how many times I attempted beat it down: Is a nondescript, demure personality completely devoid of recognizable traits something that’s in itself distinct? If you have ten people in a room, nine with vibrant personalities and one without, does the one stand out more than the nine for being the exception to the norm? Or do they fade into the scenery so much that recalling any detail regarding appearance or demeanor becomes a Herculean task?

When I kept asking myself this in lieu of paying close attention to the episode, I realized that it wasn’t a vain search for a way to describe the Assistant; I was trying to pin down my own tenuous thoughts on Watashi. I mean yes, the Assistant isn’t exactly brimming with what would ordinarily be described as distinctive charm, but his repertoire of Hawaiian shirts more than makes up for it. Continue Reading »

Stop smiling, you little fuckers

I didn’t think that Jinrui could shock me with any antagonist that it could conjure up at this point. We’ve had headless chickens, corrupt corporate pawns that care for little more than climbing the corporate ladder, and anthropomorphized space probes, so the level of quirkiness would have to be off the charts to even register with me at this point. That’s why, even considering the simple yet effective fever dream-like quality of the plot and the way that it hinted at their involvement along the way, I didn’t expect that the fairies would finally take an active role as antagonists.

Of all the zany shenanigans that comprise most of Jinrui, very few have been a direct, conscious result of the fairies. In spite of the pivotal role that they play, they’ve been portrayed more as brilliant, if careless creatures rather than manipulative or self-serving; most of their goods are made to help a far-gone, dependent human society on its last gasp, rather than directly suit their own needs. This is the first episode that’s established the mischievous nature hiding behind their perpetual faces of surprised joy, and the effect is only eerier when examined with more scrutiny. Continue Reading »