First Reactions: Free! Episode 5

Not that it matters, since the novel Free was based on was in the Kyoto Animation Award contest, but I think they were the perfect studio for this show. Of course, it’s a given that the high-energy swimming scenes would look good.* But the motion-heavy body language is boosting the comedy along with the action. something really pronounced in the one scene where Gou and Amakata revealed they wouldn’t be sleeping outside. Hiroko Utsumi really milked those one-syllable words for all they were worth.

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Summer 2013 Slaparound: Uchoten Kazoku Week 3

Drew: This episode had a fairly simple premise; the main character goes around trying to get his hands on a sky boat, once owned by his teacher but now in the hands of Benten. I want to say that up-front, because this was probably the least-comprehensible episode of anime I watched this month. They introduced a bunch of things from nowhere, like the seaside clocktower that Benten apparently owns. The worst part was the one conversation between Tengu that dropped a bunch of terminology with minimal context, one that I would have been totally lost for if I hadn’t encountered the term Kurama Tengu before. It’s still a visual feast, but the visuals are often a lot less tightly targeted than, say, a Tatami Galaxy. I’m starting to worry (admittedly just a little) that this might be a TV anime with movie problems rather than a TV anime with movie benefits.

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Sell Me in 20 Minutes: Dangan Ronpa, Go-Home Club, and Servant x Service

After sampling a bunch of try-hard comedies, it’s time to get to the real meat of Thursday’s crop. Or at least the stuff that was top-3 on himawari douga when I kicked up the streams.

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First Reactions: Space Brothers Episode 64

Last week’s episode was an utterly amazing display of great body language and visualism on display, coupled with some great human drama. This week’s wasn’t a big step down, as we got a lot of characterization for Serika and Sharon in addition to the titular brothers.

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Delayed Reactions: Space Brothers Episode 63

The reason this episode post took so long is that there was so much brilliance in this episode I legitimately had to watch the episode a good 4 more times, take my reaction notes from different runs, organize them, and edit in some shot-for-shot analysis for the past two days. There was too much stuff both important and sublimely executed that I couldn’t not talk about all of it. Short version: It takes some effort to parlay one character’s death flags into development for another who’s never met her before. This is one episode I’ll be coming back to along with Dear Hibito and Brian as go-tos for why Space Brothers is the best anime of the decade to date, easily the best episode of anime to air since I started this blog, and probably one of my all-time favorites. Like its main character, this show has no ceiling.

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First Reactions: Arata Kangatari Episode 9

Last week set up for a massive, large-scale confrontation between Arata and Kadowaki as an ostensible climax of the show. However, Arata had just entered an entirely separate hostile territory (the water god’s) at the time, so this confrontation was undoubtedly still several episo-

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That was quick

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First Reactions: Arata Kangatari Episode 8

If I were a fantasy villain and my opponent was a Japanese teenager wielding a sword literally destined to conquer all and unite the world, I’d really just give up and retire to a beach to sip pina coladas while I still had assets to leverage into a nice beach house. But professionals have their pride, and they’ve at least got to put on a show before going down in flames. Too, their plan at least involves an equally legendary sword and a man determined to do his job.

Not to say you would guess that was what the episode was about from the first fifteen minutes. Instead, we got the Japan-side episode I’ve been waiting for since the show started. And a double helping of wayward sons getting slapped by their parents.

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First Reactions: Space Brothers Episode 59

It’s like this show is making up for lost time in the recaps by showing off its high gear constantly. In addition to the conclusion of a great flashback, we got an absolutely killer stinger for the engineering competition. This is Ayumu Watanabe’s natural rhythm.

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First Reactions: Space Brothers Episode 58

This week’s episode yielded a number of enlightening gems regarding Vincent Bold’s worldview. The most amusing of which is that he’s anti-Webb, but his animosity towards other groups which work on different aspects of space exploration is something not at all uncommon in the astronomical community. Fortunately, Mutta was there to remind him that we’re all really on the same team. And keep the entire episode from being just a (great) October Sky homage.

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First Reactions: Space Brothers Episode 56

You know you’ve made a good point when Nanba Mutta repeats the statement almost word for word on an episode of Space Brothers airing two days later. This episode was great, and it was great because it built around dialogue that established Pico and Mutta as serious-business engineers.

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