What I Watched This Week – 2/14-2/20

Title image for Mo Dao Zu Shi. The profiles of two long haired men above a mountain top shrouded in clouds

Mo Dao Zu Shi S1&2 – Despite going into this with fairly high expectations, I was still surprised by how much I ended up enjoying this. All of the political intrigue, power struggles, and bloody fighting scratched the same itch that Kingdom and Arslan scratched for me, but with an added bonus of some top-notch longing between the two main guys. My only complaint is that season 2 ends at what felt like the climax of the mystery, but with a planned season 3 I guess I can hope to find the solution then. 9/10 YouTube

Title image for Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. Girl in futuristic clothes holds a rifle and stands next to a giant insect

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind – It says something about a movie when its message about war and the environment is still completely applicable over 35 years after it’s released. It’s a little depressing that we don’t seem to learn from our mistakes, but good on the writers for getting at the essential nature of humanity so perfectly. In addition to the writing, I also loved the gorgeous painted backgrounds and the glorious lack of CG. They don’t make movies like they used to. 9/10 HBO Max, Netflix

Title image for Rec. Young woman in front of recording microphone holding a script booklet

Rec – I’ve been meaning to watch this short series of half-length episodes for a while now, as it’s unusual for a romance anime to not only feature working adults but also contain a sexual relationship. I enjoyed the complicated dynamic between the advertising salaryman and the aspiring voice actress he takes in after her apartment burns down, and liked how it was a messy mix of attraction, gratitude, and friendship that the characters had to work to untangle. I thought he was a bit of an ass, but I liked their story all the same. 7/10 YouTube

Title image for Bleach. Orange haired high school boy wearing black robes and holding a sword

Bleach ep.111-150 – This chunk of episodes starts off the canon Arrancar arc with a couple runs of filler episodes included in the middle. I thought the filler was pretty decent at spacing out the canon material without totally killing the momentum or being too weird. I don’t love the Arrancar character designs, but I am really enjoying the canon material. Something about the pacing or the way the fights are choreographed just makes it so much more exciting than even the good filler. Additionally, this arc has brought out some fabulous eye candy and I’m in agreement with Keigo’s sister on the appeal of Ikkaku. Ichigo’s dad can get it, too. Crunchyroll, Hulu, Netflix

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