The Best of 2017 – Juni Taisen

2017-12-23.pngThis is an excerpt from my upcoming Top 10 New Anime of 2017 list.

I never knew I wanted a death game anime from Monogatari author Nisio Isin, but I’m sure glad I got it. Juni Taisen hits the obvious trappings of a death game series with its schlocky premise and eccentric designs, but from there it takes things in pretty bizarre and wonderful directions.

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The Best of 2017 – Sakura Quest

[FFF] Sakura Quest - 02 [98B05E63].mkv_snapshot_14.49_[2017.04.20_03.16.34].jpgThis is an excerpt from my upcoming Top 10 New Anime of 2017 list.

Sakura Quest is another series from the “working series” line of shows by PA Works, following in the footsteps of Hanasaku Iroha and the phenomenal Shirobako. It’s a worthy addition to the grounded adult narratives the studio has been delivering, lightly funny and charming but at its core a sincere story about coming into adulthood in an ageing Japanese society.

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The Best of 2017 – Made In Abyss

2017-12-13 (1)This is an excerpt from my upcoming Top 10 New Anime of 2017 list.

Made In Abyss is a darn impressive adventure series. In its first 13 episodes it’s shown a level of craft and world-building that very few anime can express. If you’ve heard any of the buzz around Made In Abyss you’ll probably know that things get pretty dark, but it never lies about the harrowing abyss.

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Girls’ Last Tour Review (2017)

2017-12-25 (10).pngSometimes I find it hard to have faith in the world we’ve left ourselves. In a heartbeat we could lose it all because of the whims of a few people, so how could we trust that our best intentions will prevail? It seems impossible, it defies rationality. But we aren’t always rational. We’re willing to keep pushing on with only a moment of unconditional support and compassion. And when you distil us to our most primal selves you may find that we can be mean and selfish, but you’ll also find the power we have to care. To care for others, to care for our passions, to care for what we have. Girls’ Last Tour believes in the goodness of others.

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Let’s Talk About Slice of Life Anime

slice-of-life-sol1-720x405.jpgLet’s talk about slice of life anime. Yes, that slice of life. The one allegedly responsible for the fiery death of the anime industry a few years back. It’s no secret that a lot of anime fans don’t really care for slice of life shows. Heck, some would go so far as to say it’s a genuine threat to Good Creators and their ability to make Good Anime. But what if I actually like these shows? This led me to think more about the reasons why I watch slice of life things, and after some soul searching I realised that I still like my cute stuff. A lot of these shows are a hard sell to anyone who hasn’t already sold their soul to the moe gods, but maybe just maybe there’s something to appreciate.

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Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid Review (2017)

0006176a_1374840.pngMiss Kobayashi‘s Dragon Maid is a very silly show, and a very warm show. It’s easy to call things “comfort food” but no other animation studio can craft the endearing low-key stories that Kyoto Animation does. And while Dragon Maid may not have the versatility of K-ON! or A Silent Voice it most certainly has a lot of the heart. It’s like meeting a good friend, a friend who’s fun and trustworthy and always pleasing to be around. It has its quirks and issues but you’re glad you came to know them.

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Sonic Forces Review (2017)

24796572_302091296970019_865302776739234355_n.jpgIt’s been a good year for platformers. Consistently I’ve been filled with that kinetic joy that only smartly composed platforming can give, that immediate gratification from clearing every little jump and obstacle that builds to a rich rewarding experience. And yet here’s Sonic Forces, which just happens to exist. It breezes past you, not being bluntly agitating like many of its 3D predecessors but not containing any committed attempt at an ambitious hook either. After the clever and effervescent and genuinely cool Sonic Mania earlier this year it’s fair to say I wasn’t the only one hoping that Sonic Team could deliver something special, but thankfully I didn’t set my expectations on that. Sonic Forces is a modern Sonic game. Not one of the best, not one of the worst, just one that exists and takes you through its motions.

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