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Thinking about Anime 01/16-01/20

The shows this week sort of trundled along. Excellent shows continue to deliver excellent product; the only thing that would make Chihayafuru better is if it had previews. Area no Kishin was the only one that through me for a bit of a loop. Not that the action of episode 2 was all that surprising; the accident was telegraphed well in advance of it’s arrival. Others have made the unavoidable comparisons with Adachi’s classic Touch, but I hope that I don’t get the same feeling as I dropped Touch after 32 episodes no longer being able to bear the characters. This probably places me in the minority of fans of sports anime, but in general I have found Adachi’s stuff very difficult to get into.

Last Exile: Fam of the Silver Wing took the audience back to look at the momentous day of the Grand Race. The episode had lovely moments with younger versions of many of the characters,

Miyano Mamoru gives Mashima Taichi a voice to match this winsome pose

and provided some needed context. I have pretty well resigned myself to watching the first Last Exile again and seeing if all of this makes more sense a second time around. Until then, it is a visually interesting show with characters I don’t mind sharing half an hour with, once a week.

Seiyuu of the Week: Miyano Mamoru as Mashima Taichi in Chihayafuru

Mizusawa High Karuta Club President Mashima Taichi is a wonderfully dynamic character. He acts responsibly towards his team mates, has moments when glimpses of the man he will become startle those who feel they know him best, and can still act like the immature sore loser he was as an elementary school student. Miyano-san is to be congratulated for the wide range of moods that Taichi can bring in the space of a few short moments. His realistic portrayal of Taichi’s rivalry with the often off-screen Arata and his complicated feelings for Chihaya are a joy to listen to each week. Many other enjoyable characters owe their voice to this talented Seiyuu: Kyrie of World Destruction, Kiba from Wolf’s Rain, Oran High School Host Club president Suoh Tamaki, Mad scientist Okabe Rintarou from Stein’s Gate, Moondoggie from Eueka7, and apprentice baker Kanda Eiji from Antique Bakery to name just a few. I look forward to hearing more from Miyano Mamoru for many years to come.

Edit: I can’t believe I forgot this!! The other big development of the week was the entree of 1080p streaming on Crunchyroll. Now, on my computer monitor the difference between the higher grades isn’t so obvious, but when streamed onto our bigger TV the crispness of the details really made the case for the upgrade. Crunchyroll continues to bring better quality video, faster subs, and a wider variety of titles than just about anybody else in the legal anime streaming world.

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