2017 – A Review of the Blog

First of all, Happy New Year to everyone (though for some people I am late and others this is early). While 2017 in the real world had its fair share of ups and downs for me it was a great year as a blogger. This post is just a quick look at the stats from last year. I did do the screen captures a day early so am missing data from the last day of the year.

One thing I was very happy with was I managed to stick to my post schedule which means most days saw three posts go out with some days having an extra post (or two) squeezed in. I’ll admit, it is fairly easy for me to get most of these posts out given my episode reviews are pretty short but I was definitely struggling some weeks when my work schedule got a little out of control and I was falling behind with viewing. The other struggle I am going to face in 2018 is the list of previously viewed anime that I haven’t written reviews for is shrinking (it is still quite long but I’m going to have to rewatch a lot of stuff left on the list to write reviews). Depending on how work goes next year I may need to drop from two series reviews a week to one or else I am going to run my list down. We’ll see how that goes.

Posting December 2017

My follower count also continued to grow. What I find interesting about this is that for all the new followers, a large number of them will click the follow button and then I’ll never see or hear from them again. Still, 2017 has introduced me to some great bloggers. Some are new to blogging this year and some are just new to me and I’m really glad that I’ve had the chance to meet these people. I’m also glad for the people who have been following for awhile and have continued to support and engage with my blog.

Followers December 2017

Most of the year has been pretty stable in terms of number of views. I had a bit of a spike in April and May in the lead up to and then the anniversary. However, it seems the end of the year has gone well and hopefully I can continue to grow in 2018.

Views December 2017

Lastly, how has the blog done overall?

Well, my best ever views are still from the 1st anniversary (May 1) but I’m closing in on 2000 posts so that’s probably my next milestone, though my 200th anime series review will be out on Wednesday with the Noragami Aragoto.

Stats December 2017

However, numbers are numbers. What really keeps this blog going is how much fun it is and how great the community are. Hopefully you will all continue on this anime journey with me through 2018.

The next couple of days will be a little bit light with posts but I’ll have the best and worst of the season results out  and will be starting the poll for best anime of the year. So once again, I hope everyone will have a great New Year.


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Karandi James.

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Autumn 2017 Final

This is the final post of the overview of the season before we move into the Winter 2018 season, though a number of shows will carry over this time. As a result, I’m just giving the list order and the link to the episode reviews. Given many shows already finished last week, I’m not going to write a description of any of these at this time.

As the shows finish, I start to think about my review of the whole series and many times that involves rereading all my posts, re-watching key episodes, or re-watching whole shows now that they are done and getting my full thoughts together. As a result, during January I’ll be reviewing some older series that I hadn’t gotten around to reviewing before I start rolling out the full reviews for Autumn 2017 anime in February. In the meantime, my episode reviews are available.

 Last chance to vote for best and worst anime of the season. If you haven’t had your say there are only hours before the poll will close. Click here to vote. Results of this poll will be up for New Year’s Day and the vote for best anime of 2017 will begin (with a much shorter turn around period). Pretty much, the best three anime from all of the reader polls during the year will be the only ones included in the final poll.

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Must Watch

March Comes in Like a Lion Season 2 (Continuing)

Girls’ Last Tour (Finished)

Land of the Lustrous (Finished)

The Ancient Magus’ Bride (Continuing)

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Usually Entertaining

Recovery of an MMO Junkie (Finished)

Just Because (Finished)

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Okay, I Guess

Our Love Has Always Been 10 Centimetres Apart (Finished)

King’s Game (Finished)

Code: Realize ~Guardian of Rebirth~ (Finished)

UQ Holder (Finished)

Kino’s Journey (Finished)

Black Clover (Continuing – But I May Drop)

Anime-Gataris (Finished)

Juni Taisen: Zodiac War (Finished)

Sengoku Night Blood (Finished)

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They Made This?

Dies Irae (Finished)

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Tried and Dropped

Evil or Live (Episode 4)

My Girlfriend is Shobitch (Episode 2)

TWOCAR (Episode 1)

Taisho Mebiusline Chicchaisan (Episode 1)

Love is Like A Cocktail (Episode 1)

Konohana Kitan (Episode 1)

A Sister’s All You Need (Episode 1)

Urahara (Episode 1)


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Karandi James.

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Our Love Has Always Been 10 Centimeters Apart Episode 6

Review:

I’ll get to a full series review of this shortly but I really look at endings like this and wonder about some romantic tropes that show up again and again. The girl waiting patiently while the guy goes off to pursue his dream might in the context of the show look adorable but other than sending her a DVD the guy didn’t even write. No emails, texts, letters, and not even a phone call. I don’t care how focused on his dream he was, if he neglects the girl for seven years and then expects her to be all smiles and gladness when he returns I’m failing to see romance and just seeing selfishness.

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Needless to say, while this final episode retains the tone of the rest of the show (so adorable for those into that kind of thing) and all of the students graduate and go off to their bright shining futures and all three of the girls and guys eventually get to their happily ever after all nicely paired up (so no relation to reality at that point) so basically this works as an ending. However, despite liking earlier episodes this ending just left a bad taste in my mouth.

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And I’m not just blaming the guy here. The girl has a phone and internet and the means to get on a plane. Nope. She decided to wait (as the show endlessly repeats). Only every time she said it I just wanted to slap some sense into her. Needless to say I won’t be rewatching this one but I’m guessing someone thinks this is a romantic conclusion.


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Karandi James.

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Just Because Episode 12: The End

Review:

This final episode adequately brings their high school life to an end and resolves most of the romantic tangles. It does however take its sweet time about doing so and by the time I was waiting for the post credit scene to get to the final resolution of Eita and Natsume’s relationship I was very much over the episode. Which is a shame because while the show has been slow it has never felt dragged until these final episodes.

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Still, despite that complaint, the story brings itself neatly to an end and while I’m not jumping up and down about this show it was certainly a fairly consistent watch this season with characters I found very recognisable even if I did want them all to take lessons on communication at one point or another. Obviously not everyone gets a happily ever after but no character gets totally thrown under a bus either so that was something I was pretty happy about (really was worried about photography girl).

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I’ll get to a whole series review of this soon.


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Karandi James.

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Puella Magi Madoka Magica Series Review: Make a Wish, Pay the Price

Overview:

I’ve really touched on Madoka before when I wrote a feature regarding the Strange Case of Madoka Magica but I’ve not yet written an actual series review so I figured it was about time.

For those that don’t know, Madoka Magica is about Madoka who is approached one day by Kyubey and offered the power to become a magical girl so she can fight witches and all she has to do is make a wish. If that sounds too good to be true, then you have probably been paying attention. Madoka, unlike so many magical girls before her, takes her time to find out what being a magical girl means and to think about her wish before she decides to seal this contract. In the meantime, the other magical girls continue to fight against the witches and aren’t always coming out on top.

Review:

My feature that I wrote about this show already touched on my thoughts of people calling Madoka a subversive magical girl story. From my view Madoka is simply an origin story extended beyond the first episode for once and giving an outsiders view of what being a magical girl is like rather than subversive (mostly because our protagonist isn’t a magical girl for a large part of the series). So I won’t be rehashing that argument here and will instead just give my thoughts on this series as it stands rather than trying to classify its genre and purpose.

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The first thing that drew me into Madoka Magica was the art style used, particularly for the witches. While I get it isn’t appealing to everyone (and having heard it described as an eye-sore or headache inducing by some critics) I find the visuals of this anime to be fascinating. Not beautiful because that isn’t really the right word for as many times the world depicted here is ugly and unsettling (intentionally so) and even the ‘normal’ world of Madoka is too clean and shiny, too orderly to really be considered beautiful. But it is the jarring contrast between the bathroom where Madoka and her mother prepare for their day and the sterile classroom environment to the realm the witches inhabit with their chaotic, cluttered and disorderly (somewhat nonsensical) appearances that really captured my interest in what was a somewhat mundane opening couple of episodes.

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Sure the music is pulsating during the dream sequence opening and trying to ramp up tension, but you haven’t enough knowledge of the characters to really care about them at this stage and this sequence is more affective toward the end of the series once you know who these characters are and how they came into this situation. Madoka is also playing all the nice girl and unassuming protagonist tropes that she can in these early stages but mostly comes out feeling a little bland. So it is the visuals that really caught me and kept me watching the show.

Which is a good thing. Because by the end of the series, the characters have had time to win you over and even if you don’t agree with individual character choices or actions, you learn to understand what each girl is actually seeking and why they might have made the choice they did. You also fully realise the complete hopelessness of the situation all these characters find themselves in. That feeling of hopelessness is also accompanied by feeling helpless because in my case I couldn’t even bring myself to hate Kyubey for putting the girls into the situation.

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Kyubey gets called evil a lot online and certainly he is the catalyst for all the woes faced by the girls however, his motives are never malicious. We interpret malice because of his emotionless demeanor and matter of fact attitude to the horror, but he actually doesn’t cause any of it. Kyubey has a clear job of collecting energy and the magical girl system is how that is done. He finds girls who have potential (more potential equals more energy so his targets make sense) and he offers them a choice. And that is important. It is always a choice. Perhaps his method is coercive at times particularly when he offers a wish to a girl on the edge of dying or the like, but ultimately the girl chooses and makes the wish she wants. The one thing you might claim malice for is that Kyubey doesn’t explain exactly what the transformation to magical girl entails or what the end result is. Of course, the girls aren’t exactly demanding answers to those questions and you would think at least one of them would ask.

Madoka

Madoka Magica is a series that at the time felt fairly unique. It took all the sweetness and light of a magical girl story and turned it on its head, not just to say ‘hey we can do dark’ but to really explore the characters and how they would react when pushed to their limits and the choices they would make when they found themselves cornered. It ultimately was a deeply satisfying watch though probably one that won’t be as good now as it was when it was released. A lot of what made Madoka truly feel unique has since been cloned a number of times so now it will just be one of many such shows (though arguably the execution is Madoka is pretty solid and that may help it still stand above the crowd).

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I really enjoyed this series and fully recommend at least watching once to most anime fans even if it isn’t your usual kind of genre. The influence of the series is unmistakable and it is a fairly decent narrative in its own right. With interesting visuals, good character relationships and development, and a story that isn’t totally eye-opening but still manages a few surprises, Madoka is well worth the time it takes to watch.

Don’t ask me about the movies, I haven’t seen them.


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200WordAnime: The Ancient Magus’ Bride – Episode 12

Weekend Otaku and I share our thoughts on an Ancient Magus’ Bride episode 12. If you missed the post, be sure to check it out and let us know your thoughts on the show so far.

Weekend Otaku

With some help from Lindel, Chise finishes her wand and returns home in spectacular fashion. Read on to see what Karandi and I thought of the episode, and catch up on any posts you might have missed here.

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Just Because Episode 11: This Certainly Is Roundabout

Review:

With Soma and Morikawa coming to a tentative understanding last episode we really now are just waiting on Eita, Natsume and Ena to get their acts together and actually have a conversation. However, they are all waiting on something as well and episode 11 finally gets to that point.

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Eita and Natsume sit their respective entrant exams while thinking they’ll talk to the other after they get accepted (they probably should have had the conversation earlier but that’s life). Meanwhile, Ena works on the yearbook before finding out the results of the photography competition.

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One episode to go and then this sleepy little love story will draw to a close. I’ve had fun with this show but it is incredibly slow moving at times.

Remember, time is running out to have your say in the reader’s poll for best and worst anime of the season. This week the winner of the best anime poll has swapped three times so it is ridiculously close. If you haven’t voted click here.


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If you enjoyed this post and like the blog, consider becoming a patron to support further growth and future content.

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Karandi James.

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