Thinking about Anime 01/09- 01/13

While a few shows were still ringing in the new year, others were off and running including a few new titles (or at least new to me). By the way, this column is called Thinking about Anime because I don’t plan on overthinking things here, that’s for more in depth articles that take a bit longer to write. This week Bleach and Beelzebub brought New Year’s specials. Beelzebub going with the classic retelling of Saiyuki and using it as a fine frame from which to highlight the things that make the characters unique (I especially enjoyed Oga’s faux pious face as the monk, Sanzo). Bleach returned to Soul Society to give the Shinigami some screen time after a bit of an absence in two short vignettes about New Year activities, but it ended up a flatter and less entertaining special than last year’s. While were on the subject of special episodes…they’re not filler, OK? Filler is unduly chastised anyway but slamming a holiday special as filler is just online anime fandom gone bonkers.

I started Knight in the Area, Nisemonogatari, Another, and Brave10 this week. First impressions lead me to think that I will probably continue to watch them all. Knight in the Area and Brave10 feel very mainstream to me, but that doesn’t mean that I won’t enjoy the shows (It feels like I’ve watched enough Sengoku period shows that I’m coming to enjoy the different portrayals). Nisemonogatari picks up like this franchise had never left off, garnering no complaints from me. Another feels a little like a spiritual successor to Ghost Hound, and has the greatest risk of catastrophic failure of all the new shows I started this week. I think taking risks in the production of art is important so I’ll tag along for the journey.

Strong shows continued to impress me again this week (seriously if there’s anybody within the sound of my internet voice who hasn’t given Chihayafuru a try, go now; it streams on crunchyroll). Mawaru Penguin Drum may go down in history as the twistiest twister crammed into 24 episodes; I’m still 2 episodes from

Shirashi Ryoko plays Onihime's weakness for comic gold

the end and still have no idea where we’re going. I also have no idea where we’re going with Guilty Crown because they delivered an acceptable if creepy series finale in episode 12 of 22.

Seiyuu of the Week: Shiraishi Ryoko as Onizuka Hime in SKET Dance

In this week’s episode of SKET Dance the fearsome Onihime is laid low by the contagion that seems to live in Japanese water. Infection vectors aside her sincere voicing of the physical and emotional tolls of the flu gave me the giggles. Shirashi-san’s credits as lengthy and diverse including characters from a friendly fighting butler to a poop throwing monkey. Her role as Arashiyama Sayoko in Natsu no Arashi also showed off the abilities for comic timing that have been so important for Onizuka Hime. Her website also list her numerous albums and make them available for purchase.

And while we’re on the subject of SKET Dance not only am I pleased as all get out that the chocolate monstrosity of an ending is going, but I’m also just plain tickled to have the Sketchbook back. There’s just something refreshingly straightforward about them that I really like (check out their videos on last.fm).

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