What I Watched This Week – 9/13-9/19

Title image for Violet Evergarden movie. Two young women in Victorian style dress sit at a small table.Violet Evergarden: Eternity and the Auto Memory Doll – Violet takes a job as a tutor for a young aristocratic girl and gives us some big lesbian wedding energy during a dance at a debutante ball. We have no choice but to stan. Glad to see more of Benedict and his high heels and see his tsundere mask slip a bit with his young apprentice. 8/10 Netflix

Title image for Haikyuu Talent and sense. Volleyball players in uniforms looking intense.Haikyuu!!: Talent and Sense – I’m dying here waiting for part two of To the Top, so I decided to watch the recap movies on Crunchyroll. This summarizes season two, which has 25 episodes, so naturally it leaves a lot out. A lot of my favorite scenes from this season took place at the training camp, so I was a little bummed the movie focuses mostly on the re-match with Aoba Johsai. That match was fire, though, so I wasn’t too sad. 8/10 Crunchyroll

Title image for Haikyuu battle of Concepts. Volleyball players in uniforms looking serious.Haikyuu!!: Battle of Concepts – I think I enjoyed this 90 minute recap movie more than I enjoyed the 10 episode season three it summarizes. The training episodes are my favorite part of the series, so a whole season for one match wasn’t really my jam. Edited down to movie length, the game felt a lot faster and more exciting. 9/10 Crunchyroll

Title image for Working season 2. All the staff of restaurant Wagnaria.Working!! S2 – I liked but didn’t love season one of this workplace comedy, but season two had less of the punching and cross-dressing I didn’t care for, and more of the silly interactions between the characters that I enjoyed a lot. All of the characters are total weirdos and their friendships, rivalries, and romances are a ton of fun to watch. 7/10 Crunchyroll

Title image for Kyo Kara Maoh R.Kyo Kara Maoh R – This five episode OVA wasn’t as charming as the main series, but it was enjoyable enough as an extra. It has some fanservice staples like a hot spring episode and lots of throwaway gags with pretty much everyone in the show. 7/10 Crunchyroll

Title image for Kyou Kara Maou! Demon King Yuri in a black high school uniform with his demon kingdom compatriots.Kyo Kara Maoh Ep. 41-78 – The internet doesn’t seem to agree on if this is one 78 episode season or two 39 episode seasons, but MAL lists it as one item and that’s where I track what I’ve seen, so we’ll go with that. This was a bit like Fairy Tail for me in that I could see why people would have problems with it but I just straight-up had tons of fun watching it. Yuuri and Wolfram are a little bait-y, but I love their weird relationship somewhere between colleagues, friends, and boyfriends. Sometimes the plot was a little inconsistent or resolutions to conflicts were a bit too convenient, but it never takes itself super seriously and I was willing to just roll with it and enjoy the ride. A bit of fluff about an overpowered demon king who hates fighting is perfect right now. 8/10 Crunchyroll

What I Watched This Week – 9/6-9/12

Title image for Kyou Kara Maou! Demon King Yuri in a black high school uniform with his demon kingdom compatriots.Kyou Kara Maou! Ep.1-40 – Characters get isekai-ed in a wide variety of ways in anime, but getting transported to another world when bullies flush your head in a toilet is on another level entirely. I’d held off on watching this for ages because I couldn’t tell if it had good intentions or if it was punching down for laughs, and after watching 40 episodes, I still can’t tell. Sometimes it feels like they’re trying to sneak some gay stuff past the gatekeepers, but at other times it’s like the idea of same sex attraction or two guys in a relationship is the height of silliness. It’s still a lot of fun to watch Yuri the pacifist Demon King and his harem of handsome guys adventure together, so I’ll keep watching. Crunchyroll

Title image for Trigun. Blond man in a red trench coat sits in front of a bullet riddled wall.Trigun – I’d never seen this before and have apparently spent the past 20 years wildly mistaken about the kind of show it was. I was expecting a Cowboy Bebop-like space western about a hardened gunman fighting his cynical way through a cutthroat world, but instead I got a fairly earnest exploration of striving for pacifism and forgiveness in an imperfect society. The show makes its point by repeatedly testing Vash’s resolve with ever increasing stakes, but never forgets the nuance or gets preachy about it. If it didn’t veer sharply from heavy drama to goofy slapstick as often as it did, I’d have rated it even higher. 8/10 Funimation, Hulu

Title image for Love is Like a Cocktail.Love is Like a Cocktail – This was just a super cute series of three minute shorts about a husband making dinner and drinks for his wife when she gets home from the office. Perfectly enjoyable low-stakes cuteness. 7/10 Crunchyroll

Title image for Beyond the Boundary movie I'll Be Here Future. Four teenagers on a city bridge at sunset.Beyond the Boundary OVA & movies – I watched the series earlier this year but totally didn’t notice it had more content until recently. The one episode OVA was a solid little prequel to the series with some pretty fight scenes. I’ll Be Here: Past was a recap of the series, and it was fine as a refresher, but it skips a lot and would probably make no sense to someone who hadn’t seen the show. The second movie, I’ll Be Here: Future, started a little poorly for me with the amnesia plot and Akihito’s insistence on not telling Mirai the truth for what he decided was her own good, but once that got resolved it was a super enjoyable sequel with a great mix of gorgeous action scenes and feelings. Could’ve used some kissing, but it was still plenty romantic. 7/10 for movie #1, 8/10 for the OVA and movie #2 HIDIVE

What I Watched This Week – 8/30-9/5

Title image for Black Lagoon. Pictures of the four main characters in action.Black Lagoon S1&2 + OVA – Violent, edgy stories about morally grey characters isn’t usually something I go for, but I loved this series about modern day pirates running amok in southeast Asia. There’s nuns smuggling weapons, a terrorist maid, homicidal twins, and a wide variety of terrifying women with guns occasionally erupting in an orgy of violence. Rock’s slide from upstanding Japanese businessman to calculating schemer was interesting to watch, and the tension between him and Revy was electric. 8/10 Funimation

Title image for Natsume's Book of Friends. High school students in summer uniforms part ways on a rural road.Natsume’s Book of Friends S6 – This series is like a nice, warm hug on a cold day and I’m a little sad to come to the end of it. It starts off good, then just gets better and better as Natsume gains confidence, learns to lean on his friends, and decides how he’s going to relate to the weird world he’s a part of. Maybe I’ll start reading the manga. 8/10 Crunchyroll

Title image for Pandora Hearts. A blond boy and a dark haired man in front of a clock face.Pandora Hearts – What a mixed bag this show was. The Alice in Wonderland inspired setting was interesting and the mystery the characters were trying to solve about who they were was intriguing, but there were times when everyone got just a little too interested in their own navels, and the ending didn’t resolve much of anything at all. I’m also not sure if it was supposed to be a love triangle between Oz/Gilbert and Oz/Alice, but it sure felt like it. 7/10 Crunchyroll

Title image for Naruto. Title character in his orange tracksuit stands with various characters in front of a mountain with faces carved into it.Naruto Ep. 201-220 – Whew, I did it. I watched all of Naruto part 1, filler and all. The writer/s can’t write female characters to save their life, and I wonder how the reckless and none too bright Naruto ever becomes top dog, but I enjoyed myself for the most part. I really liked a lot of the side characters and some of the fights were pretty creative and fun to watch. The filler episodes weren’t great, but they weren’t bad either. I’ll definitely watch Shippuden, but not right away. 7/10 Netflix, Hulu, Crunchyroll

What I Watched This Week – 8/23-8/29

Title image for Tada Never Falls in Love. High school kids holding cameras stand on a bridge in a Japanese garden.Tada Never Falls in Love – This is 110% not a complaint, but this reminded me of a Harlequin Romance, right down to the make believe European principality. Without spoiling any of the surprises, it’s a sweet story about two people who figured falling in love wouldn’t be an option for them discovering that love doesn’t always respect the plans you’ve made. The ending wasn’t bad, but it left too much unresolved for my tastes. (FYI: If you’re a heathen that ships Tohru x Shigure, the main couple is voiced by their VAs from the Fruits Basket reboot.) 7/10 HIDIVE

Title image for Princess Principal. Girls in Victorian-inspired school uniforms posed together with one pointing a handgun. Princess Principal – At first glance, this looks like a fun steampunk-y adventure where schoolgirls play spy games, but the first episode makes it clear it’s not a CGDCT so much as a cute girls doing stone cold killer things. There were a couple moments where it felt a bit like the episodes were playing in the wrong order, but on the whole this was a solid espionage thriller with good twists and turns and excellent production values set in an alternate universe London. I really enjoyed the mismatch between the cute-looking characters and all the bloody violence they participate in. 8/10 HIDIVE, Amazon Prime 

Title image for Naruto. Title character in his orange tracksuit stands with various characters in front of a mountain with faces carved into it.Naruto ep. 177-200 – I’m nearing the end of my completionist viewing adventure and thank god, because the filler is getting weird. The ramen cook-off was the fun kind of weird, but the fat joke episode was just cringe inducing. 7/10 Crunchyroll, Hulu, Netflix

What I Watched This Week – 8/16-8/22

Title image for Hinomaru Sumo. Boys in sumo belts surrounded by flames. Hinomaru Sumo – If you like your guys thicc and all but naked, then this is the anime of your dreams. Other than being about sumo, it blazes no new ground at all as a sports anime: an energetic first year who’s considered too short for his beloved sport gathers a team of misfits and aims for the high school national championships. Generic as it may be, it delivers a solid mix of wins and losses, friends and rivals, training and matches in a one-season, complete story. It’s only major flaw is the animation, or lack thereof. Pretty much all of the wrestling action is extreme closeups and/or static images run through effects to give the appearance of motion. 7/10 Crunchyroll

Title image for Princess Connect. Fantasy characters gathered around a dining table. Princess Connect Re: Dive – When this aired last season, I didn’t think about watching it at all, but seeing lots of people say they enjoyed it made me toss into the queue after the season ended. There was a lot I liked about it – how the princess was the strongest fighter in their group, the way our hero kept getting dragged off by wolves, the fun atmosphere – but ultimately I was a little frustrated by how the story seemed to wander from genre to genre. Depending on the episode, it was a slice of life, a comedy, a serious fantasy, an action-adventure, or a cooking show. I liked it enough that I plan to watch the sequel, though. 6/10 Crunchyroll

Title image for Barakamon. A man and a young girl walking in the country Barakamon – Opening a show with your protagonist sucker punching an old man for criticizing his artwork is definitely a bold move, and I had my doubts that they could possibly redeem him in my eyes, but they made me root for him by the end. “Self-centered urban professional moves to the country and learns to view the world differently” is well-covered ground, but the assorted characters both child and adult had me cracking up, from the middle school fujoshi, to the indefatigable preschooler, to the village grannies. Seeing him recognize he was several layers of wrong before and watching him start to care for others felt really nice. 8/10 Funimation

Title image for Flying Witch. Characters sitting on the veranda of a Japanese house Flying Witch – I guess I was in a nice, fluffy slice of life anime mood this week. The group of kids wandering around their rural town doing low-stakes things like farming, foraging, and cooking reminded me a bit of Non Non Biyori, but with witches, and without anyone being uncomfortably obsessed with one of the group. Makoto was just air-headed enough to be amusing but not frustrating and the animal familiars were super cute. 7/10 Crunchyroll

Title image for Naruto. Title character in his orange tracksuit stands with various characters in front of a mountain with faces carved into it.

Naruto ep. 155-176 – This was all filler, so I don’t have a whole to say about it beyond wondering why they decided to make Naruto rude and stupid as though the canon episodes never happened. Kind of ready to be done watching this. Crunchyroll, Netflix, Hulu