Though I doubt anyone actually notices here on the ever-crowded internet, but I was out for a couple weeks, and now I have returned with renewed vigor to keep writing about the alarming amount of anime I’m watching! For those reading for the first time, I like to choose ten anime at a time and watch them all each episode at a time. I am nearing the finish line for a lot of these. Hunter X Hunter was so damn good that I just caught up to the current episode ahead of the pack, and Ano Hana is the only one to conclude this many episode in, but the rest are still chugging along and they have all been very impressive. A couple of them are definite contenders to be ranked amongst my favorite of all time! Let’s get into the details of what’s been happening since last I wrote!
1. Fairy Tail
Okay, okay, okay. Let’s start off with eating some of my sour and stingy words. Last time, I said that Fairy Tail was in danger of being dropped because I just didn’t like it enough. It wasn’t wowing me or keeping me invested with much. I’m glad I gave it more time because I am warming up to it at an incredible rate. The first arc that actually mattered to me, the Galuna Island Arc, turned into what I was hoping for from the beginning. I wanted to see amazing mages battle against things that are rather personal to them. Gray’s fight and struggle with his master’s final moments brought the raw emotion that I desire from all the anime I watch. The powers are still a little underwhelming, but they have only improved over time, not to mention my mind can now focus on better character development which makes the complexity of powers fall by the wayside in importance.
That theme song is definitely putting in some serious work. It’s been a while since I had to just go to my piano and learn the damn song just to do something about it being stuck in my head. My favorite version is easily the slow flute one they play during the more somber moments of the anime. However, I did see the first “filler” episode at the 19th episode mark, and it definitely had the most annoying hallmark of any filler, which is not having any importance whatsoever. I didn’t mind it, but right now my delight lies with the latest 20th episode that showed Natsu as a kid. He’s finally starting to grow on me and I enjoyed his childlike struggle of trying to protect something for once. It was as adorable and adventurous as one could possibly ask for and Erza as a temperamental kid was an extra treat to see! This anime has definitely improved and now I don’t see any reason to stop watching it!
What a brilliant little tale, that Saika Katana arc was. That was easily the highlight of the last few episodes of this quirky jumble of thoughtful character stories. The Saika arc showed just how dark and dreary this storytelling can get. I was wondering if anything could be more fantastical than the Dullahan and this actually topped it for me. The story of an emotionally manipulative blade that infects the world through it’s unbridled love is a rather haunting, yet disturbingly realistic portrayal of the depths of humanity’s desire to simply be loved.
Masaomi’s character is getting a really good turn in the spotlight in the most current episodes. The yellow scarves arc has been a terrific look into one of the most complex characters in the anime thus far, at least in my opinion. He’s always been very enjoyable from the very first episode, and his attitude with his friends is endearing when he fakes the importance of the errands he’s running behind their back. Izaya is still my personal favorite character. I naturally have a fondness for characters that become professional information dealers, and it’s refreshing to see a character who has so much fun with it. Most information dealers in stories are portrayed as very bored people who happen to have power and intuition.
This anime is definitely increasing in scale. What once started as a simple detective anime with an interesting sci-fi hook is now a balls to the wall psychological race to save the entire society as we know it. Gen Urobuchi’s writing is definitely one of the biggest highlights now. It’s much more than a morally ambiguous system of law now. It’s a clash of two fascinating ideals about the most efficient way to watch over human beings. The escalation of the villains is particularly interesting because we now have two villains and they are also against each other. At the same time, our two protagonists are now positioned against each other, almost powerless as pawns of the greater battle above them between Sibyll and Makishima.
“The Town Where Sulfur Falls” was a standout episode, that pretty much shows a small glimpse of what will happen if the good guys lose. It was a haunting vision of a wave of violent crime that definitely set the stakes of humanity pretty damn high. It’s tough to predict where this anime is going, but all I know is that every turn and twist it has taken me on, I have strapped myself in more securely to see this anime all the way to it’s end. It’s easily among the best of the anime I’m watching and a satisfying conclusion would go a long way to make this one of my favorite anime.
4. Cowboy Bebop
This anime doesn’t know when to stop. And I mean that in a good way. The staggering amount of diversity you get across the episodes I’ve seen so far should have enough to please any person multiple times. Overall the anime still isn’t one of my favorites, but I can’t deny that every single episode has been interesting in their own way. Hands down, one of my favorite episodes was Mushroom Samba. I died of laughter seeing everyone go barking mad at the result of hallucinogens. Spike climbing the infinite stairs was particularly hilarious. Bohemian Rhapsody was also a beautiful episode about how one could grow into a new innocence. At least that’s how I saw it.
The latest episode I watched, Pierrot le Fou, was definitely another chilling episode full of delicious creepy vibes. Unlike the thriller that was “Toys in the Attic” which had a blob monster stalking the crew of the Bebop, this one was in your face with unnerving clown-like horror scenes. I must commend the people behind this anime for their incredible flexibility in story telling and the latent beauty that so many of their episodes effortlessly portray. I definitely dig the maturity of this show, and though the age of the anime does somewhat show, it’s thoughtfulness in every scene more than makes up for that.
5. Hajime No Ippo: Season 2
This was the other anime I said I wasn’t enjoying as much last time I wrote, and once again I am going to have to chow down on my own words. They did one important thing that really made me more invested in the anime, and that was finally introducing a character that feels like an actual villain. The sex crazed Brian Hawk does a perfect job of being a despicable, shameless celebrity that you just want to punch in the face yourself. It’s nice to finally have someone that you would hate to see win, and that makes this upcoming fight all the more intense.
The last episode cuts off right before this match starts, but I can definitely say that this feels like it will be the fight that makes or breaks this season of Hajime no Ippo. The animation and effective portrayal of emotion during the fights have all been consistently amazing, so all we need now is a dynamic back and forth between the strongest hero and villain the show has introduced so far.
6. A Certain Scientific Railgun
The many adventures of Tokiwadai’s ace student has quickly become one of my guilty pleasures. From the catchy techno-pop openings to the incredibly relatable embarassment of Misaka’s childlike interest. I really like the atmosphere of this anime. It’s a great blend of action and comedy, and my small crush on Misaka definitely keeps me more entertained than I honestly think anyone else would be.
Regardless, there was a really good arc this time about the old Skill Out gang. It was a beautiful love story that was empowering to watch. Kurozuma, the old leader of the Skill Out gang, is easily one of my favorite characters in the anime. And how could I not fall in love with the amazing one-episode story about the arcade kid who eventually goes out to be a game developer. The stories are all rather unrelated, yet still very touching, making this a very uplifting anime to watch. And just in time, the conflict started getting more serious right at the 20th episode so now we’re in for another dosage of Misaka’s electrifying railgun action.
Bakuman is still as amazing as it was since episode one. I can’t fault this anime over anything and is tied with the last entry as my favorite anime of the ones I’m watching. There was a healthy dosage of reality in the fact that Mashiro and Takagi had their first separation since they started creating manga. It was sad to see happen, but it was very beneficial for the characters to get the realization of how much they actually help each other. It never gets old to see Mashiro almost lose all his steam, just to get a single text from the love of his life which gives him enough willpower to draw for weeks on end.
The new focus on a mystery manga is going to be an enjoyable change from their last attempt at mainstream. That one always seemed destined for failure, so this mystery one seems like it will progress their manga careers a lot more. Bakuman is an amazing look into the dreams of youth and it hasn’t let that feeling go away yet. As long as it can effectively inspire me, as it does every day, then I will be a die hard Bakuman fan for life.
8. Kuroko’s Basketball
What a depressing slump I was almost in upon writing this. Luckily the 20th episode ended on a cheerful note because the previous episode was tough to watch. I felt like the protagonist’s team was unbeatable. I felt impervious as long as Kuroko and his team mates believed in victory. It almost affected me as much as the fictional characters in the anime when they lost their most important game. However, I say all this in utter fascination of the show. As far as the progression of the story goes, it’s still amazing even though they lost. Like Bakuman, it was a much needed return to reality that opened a lot of characters up to new growth.
Now let me gush on about Aomine, the one who final knocked the main characters off their high horse. I think it’s safe to consider him the closest thing to a villain right now, and what a menacing foe he was. His skill is that..he’s simply too good at the game. He became so good that he lost himself amidst his desire for competition and is now almost a walking shell of his former self. It’s an amazing character design, and his animation on court was easily one of my favorite moments of the anime. His incredibly flashy dribbling and movements were utterly hypnotic. Whether you’re a fan of basketball or not, this anime has enough for any fan of action shows at all.
Thank you, as always, for taking time to read my opinions on anime and everything else. It means a lot that anyone takes the time to do so. If anyone watches these anime, please comment below. (Especially if I just passed your favorite episode of any of these) Next time is probably going to be the biggest blog about these anime since it will be the 26 episode checkpoint and pretty much all of these anime will have a concluded season at that point, so please stay tuned for that one!! I will return to give an update on the new season of anime I’m watching as well!