content by

Kelly Quinn

Winter 2017 Anime Preview: Jean the Cigarette Peddler

Welcome once again to the winter anime season preview, where I watch all the worst shows so you don’t have to—and with Hand Shakers airing this season, I really do mean the worst shows. With arguably the most widely anticipated winter show, Trigger’s Little Witch Academia, being held hostage by Netflix until further notice, the list of new anime that is both defendably worthwhile and available to watch instantly this season is rather short (by which I mean I’ve picked only one). On the other hand, we are graced with quite a few highly anticipated sequels, including Blue Exorcist and KonoSuba, which are doing their best to redeem a dismal winter.

So what’s worth a look? Well, there’s this pretty cool show about fantasy politics directed by the guy who did One Punch Man… and you don’t even need an Anime Strike subscription to watch it.

[Read more]

Anime Year in Review: The Ten Best Shows of 2016

Looking back at the year in anime, it’s been a pretty eclectic mix. We’ve had some very highly anticipated adaptations, some ambitious original stories, and even a few unexpected revivals of seemingly long-abandoned franchises (looking at you, D.Gray-man). If anything, 2016 has showcased how flexible and creative the medium can be: we’ve had shows featuring zombie fighting, lexicography, concert bands, mafiosos, superheroes, professional figure skaters—this year we watched a Taiwanese fantasy puppet show and called it anime, for god’s sake.

Narrowing down the top ten was, as always, a unique challenge, and, as always, I’ve left off quite a few of my favorites. But enough excuses—read on to see what made my list for the best ten TV anime series for 2016.

[Read more]

Fall 2016 Anime Preview: That Ice Skating Show

It’s that time again—new anime is here along with the fall leaves, and it is our duty, as usual, to divide the 2D wheat from the chaff. Fall is traditionally a strong season for anime, and though this one is a bit lacking, there are still a few new shows worth checking out. Joining a roster of strong sequels—Haikyu!! is back, along with Kyoto Animation’s Sound! Euphonium, the second part of Bungo Stray Dogs and Iron-Blooded Orphans, and the fifth season of Natsume Yuujinchou (hallelujah)—are a smattering of interesting offerings. Fans of madcap comedies might check out ClassicaLoid, a show about classical composers making magical gyoza, and shoujo and BL fans can unite this season over unlikely romcom Kiss Him Not Me. If you’re in the UK, count yourself lucky because The Great Passage, a literary drama about publishing a dictionary, is apparently available only in your region.

And if you just want the best of the season’s new anime without all the funny business, keep reading—I’ve picked three promising shows that you can start watching right this minute. Here’s a little hint: axel, lutz, loop.

[Read more]

Summer 2016 Anime Preview: Giving 110%

Summer season is upon us at last, and what looked at first to be a rather dismal showing has shaped up in the last few weeks to have quite a few worthwhile new series. Among the interesting trends this season are a cluster of sports shows (Cheer Danshi, Battery, Days) and idol shows (Tsukiuta, B-Project, Love Live Sunshine), as well as several hotly anticipated sequels and spinoffs (Shokugeki no Soma, Cute High Earth Defense Club, Handa-kun), some of them VERY long awaited (Berserk, twenty years after its first TV series, and D.Gray-man Hallow, ten). There’s also a show about a cat that lives in a banana.

As always, I’ve picked out five of the best new shows airing right now, as well as a special bonus this season—two shows that are available to binge watch from start to finish. Quit trying to catch that Zubat for a minute, it’s cartoon time.

[Read more]

Spring 2016 Anime Preview: Plus Ultra!

Maybe it’s the flowers blooming or the lovely warm weather outside that makes this time of year so pleasant… or perhaps it’s the remarkably good season of new spring anime that’s lifting my mood.

Spring season features a long list of worthy contenders, including the fourth installment of fan-favorite JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure and a new entry in the venerable Macross franchise, in addition to a host of new shows. As always, we’ve picked the most promising of the new stuff, and boy is it an eclectic mix this season: we’ve got cartoons ranging from superhero adventure to surreal school comedy to fantasy slice of life. With simulcasts a mere click away, there’s no time like the present—read on for six of this season’s best shows that you can watch right now. [Read more]

Winter 2016 Anime Preview: What the Heck Is “Rakugo”?

The winter anime season is cracking along, and with a few episodes of new shows under our belts, it’s time to carry on with the keepers and drop the duds back into the 2D oblivion from whence they came. In addition to some strong carryovers from fall, such as Haikyu!! and Osomatsu-san, winter sees some highly anticipated continuations (Akagami no Shirayukihime, GATE, Durarara!!) as well as the usual slew of new stuff. This season is shaping up to be a bit of an odd one, with two runaway favorites dominating the conversation while the rest of the season floats somewhere between “not bad” and “please don’t make we watch another five minutes of this.”

As usual, we’ve picked the best of the new anime for your viewing pleasure, from a not-to-be-missed fantasy thriller to a peculiar comedy featuring Japanese candy. Simulcasts are just a click away, so snuggle up in that down comforter and check out our five top picks for winter!

[Read more]

Anime Year in Review: The Ten Best Shows of 2015

It’s that time of year again, when the shops are awash in holiday garland, the houses draped with festive lights, and the blogs festooned with “Best of 2015” lists. Looking back through this year at the good, the bad, the ultimately disappointing, and the thankfully forgettable (goodbye forever, Chaos Dragon), it was surprisingly hard to narrow this list down to ten shows, and I’ve certainly left out some worthy contenders. Yet, for the sake of the season, it must be done. Without further ado then, the best ten TV anime of 2015.

[Can you guess what our favorite show of the year was?]

Fall 2015 Anime Preview: Summarize it in Twenty Words or Less

We’re well into the fall anime season and it’s full of lovely things. The second season of Haikyuu!! is here, for a start, and it’s exactly as wonderful as season one. Noragami Aragoto is kicking into high gear with the start of a widely-anticipated arc for its return to TV, and the Monogatari juggernaut is rolling again with Owarimonogatari. We’re also getting a solid dose of wacky, weird, and just plain strange, from a manic 1960s revival in Osomatsu-san to the time-jumping mishmash of Concrete Revolutio. And then there’s the (not one, but two) anime featuring boys breaking into impromptu musical numbers, and the (not one, but two—really, you can’t make this up) harem anime featuring pink-haired girls with flame powers. I watched all of these and more, dear readers, in order to pick the best of the best for your 2D consumption. With simulcasts a click away, there’s no reason to wait. Settle down with your pumpkin spice latte and check out these three top picks for fall season.

[Onward to robots!]

Summer 2015 Anime Preview: There’s No Such Thing As Too Many Princes

Summer anime is upon us at last, but while temperatures in the northern hemisphere are inching upward, my feelings about this season’s offerings are lukewarm at best. While we’ve got a few notable sequels—Gatchaman Crowds Insight, for one, along with the first new Dragon Ball series in almost twenty years—most of the season is struggling to squeak above utter mediocrity. Still, as always, there are a few worthy contenders among the new shows this season, including a picturesque fantasy romance, a lively 90s throwback, a gritty crime story, and a quirky supernatural school comedy.

With simulcasts in full swing, there’s no reason not to dive in. Crank up the A/C and check out these top picks for the summer season.

[Read more]

Spring 2015 Anime Preview: The Hellish Life of a Pizza Delivery Boy

Spring is in the air and we all know what that means…that’s right, new cartoons! In addition to the return of a few favorites—Fate/stay night UBW begins its second half and cynical school comedy My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU is back, among others—this season brings a slew of anticipated adaptations. From the ultra-stylish Blood Blockade Battlefront to the sweeping historical landscapes of The Heroic Legend of Arslan and the genuine and sweet Ore Monogatari, there’s something for everyone this season. And with simulcasts of basically everything airing in Japan, there’s no reason to wait. The sunshine outside might tempt you to go out, but here are six new shows that are worth staying in for!

[Read More]

Winter 2015 Anime Preview: Season of Sequels

It’s still plenty chilly outside, and what better reason to stay inside with a fluffy blanket than a new season of anime? Actually, calling winter a “new” season is a little misleading: with the amount of sequels airing, it’s difficult to think of a season less new than this one. After five years, fan favorite Durarara!!’s long-awaited second season is finally on the air with a new studio behind it and about twice as many characters as I remember. Shinto romance Kamisama Hajimemashita graces us with an unexpected but very much appreciated second season, and sports powerhouse Kuroko’s Basketball returns for a third. Meanwhile, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Aldnoah.Zero, and Tokyo Ghoul all continue from where they left off at the end of summer.

As far as new shows go, winter is traditionally a lean season, but there are still a few worthwhile titles to help us get through these cold months. Perhaps the macabre theater of Death Parade, or the vibrant energy of The Rolling Girls, or the labyrinth of visual metaphor that is Yurikuma Arashi can help keep the winter chill at bay. With simulcasts a click away, there’s no reason to wait until spring. Here are five of the best new shows available to watch right now.

[Read more]

Anime Year in Review: The Ten Best Shows of 2014

As 2014 draws to a close, it is once again time to look back, reflect, and reduce all our experiences into ranked “best of” lists. Whereas often the year is dominated by one major blockbuster, 2014 was a somewhat eclectic year for anime, featuring a smattering of very good shows (and very bad ones), stunning displays industry talent (and incompetence), some very pleasant surprises (and rather unpleasant disappointments), and, alongside the annual prophecies of doom, a few reminders of how imaginative, innovative, and beautiful the medium can be.

So, without further ado, here’s a list of my ten favorite shows of 2014.

[Read more]

Fall 2014 Anime Preview: Symbiotic Alien Hands Don’t Make Good Pets

Time rolls on and it’s fall once again. You could go out and enjoy the changing leaves, or carve a jack-o-lantern, or try to block out all the inexplicably pumpkin spice-flavored products that spontaneously appear at this time of year like snails on the sidewalk after a rainy night. Or you could avoid the whole mess and watch a brand new roster of Japanese cartoons.

After bidding a fond farewell to an exceptionally good summer season (I miss you already, Nozaki-kun), we’ve got quite an eclectic fall. Highly anticipated adaptions of Parasyte, Your Lie in April, and Fate/stay night debut, and so far manage to not suck. Rage of Bahamut stomps onto the scene with CG dragons and a rooftop chase on horseback. If you fancy a bit of time travel, Tomino’s Gundam Reconguista in G will take you straight back to 1979; or if you’re looking for a more recent nostalgia, The Seven Deadly Sins and Akatsuki no Yona both recall nineties favorites. And let’s not forget sequels: For those looking for their cyberpunk fix, Psycho-Pass returns with a new cast and a new writer. For lovers of robots and fun, Gundam Build Fighters Try delivers both just as effortlessly as the first season. For the sports crowd, Yowamushi Pedal is back and feels like it never left, while Log Horizon returns for the RPG fans. And for those who like good anime, the always lovely Mushishi returns for its final season.

With simulcasts a click away, there’s no need to wait—here are five of the best new anime premiering this fall that you can watch right now.

[Read more]

Laika’s The Boxtrolls Will Knock Your Box Off

The latest film from the brilliant minds and hands at animation studio Laika (Coraline, ParaNorman), The Boxtrolls comes to the big screen laden with quite a set of expectations. With Pixar now apparently passé (what, no one liked Cars 2?), animation fans seem to have pinned their collective hopes and dreams on Portland-based Laika as the shiny new face of original storytelling in animated features. Frankly, that’s a lot of weight for one little film to bear, and in the face of mixed early reviews, I’ll admit that I braced myself for crushing disappointment as I walked into the theater this weekend.

Well good news, boys and girls, your hopes and dreams are safe with Laika for one day more: The Boxtrolls is charming, inventive, and beautifully realized in gorgeous stop-motion animation.

[Read more]

Summer 2014 Anime Preview: In the Name of the Moon!

As summer reaches its sweltering peak, what better reason to stay indoors with the A/C on than a new season of foreign cartoons? With a packed schedule of both new and returning shows, the summer season is looking rather suspiciously good. Fans will be pleased at the return of Space Dandy to both Japanese and American televisions, as well as new seasons of Sword Art Online (with guns!), Free! (with mermaids!), Kuroshitsuji (with circuses!) …and perhaps not so pleased with the return of Sengoku Basara (with uglier character designs!). For the binge-watchers, sci-fi series Knights of Sidonia is now available in full on Netflix. And as if that weren’t enough, there’s a whole roster of new shows, ranging from the rose-strewn Sailor Moon reboot to the moody and mysterious Terror in Resonance. With simulcasts mere moments away, there’s no reason to wait. Here are six of the best new summer shows that are available to watch right now.

[Read more…]