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12:00 PM on 01.24.2015

Annotated Anime: Stardust Crusaders episodes 25-27

It's been far too long, but after its season-long hiatus, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure has returned to the airwaves!  And neither Joseph Joestar's Stand-user party nor the hardworking folks at David Production are wasting any time getting back in the saddle, as they dive into Egypt to hunt down Dio Brando once and for all.

Josh Tolentino


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First Impressions: Kantai Collection ~Kan Colle~ photo
First Impressions: Kantai Collection ~Kan Colle~
by Josh Tolentino

The first episode of Kantai Collection kicks off with what might be regarded as an almost galling display of pretentiousness: Against a black background, a serious-voiced woman recites the Gosei, a set of five meditative precepts laid out by Imperial Japanese Navy Vice Admiral Hajime Matsushita. To this day, naval students at Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Forces are encouraged to reflect on them every evening.

For better or worse, the material that follows doesn't anywhere near that level of consideration, but if nothing else, Kantai Collection puts on a good display as a properly entertaining anime about cute girls wearing big guns. 

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First Impressions: Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE! photo
First Impressions: Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE!
by Josh Tolentino

Magical Boys. 

As I mentioned back in our Winter 2015 Preview Guide, just mentioning the concept drives home just how golden it is. There's so much potential in the idea of a Magical Boy show, with all the trappings and tropes that make Magical Girl shows so evergreen, that it might just be a bad indicator of the state of the industry if it took this long for it to happen.

That's not to say that Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE! gets away on premise alone. True to the legacy of Director Shinji "Daily Lives of High School Boys" Takamatsu and writer Michio "Shirobako" Yokote, the misadventures of the Battle Lovers make for the funniest anime viewing of the season. 

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Japanator's Winter 2015 Anime Preview Guide! photo
Japanator's Winter 2015 Anime Preview Guide!
by Josh Tolentino

Winter may be upon us, and as the weather cools, it's the perfect time to curl up by the fire or stick your legs under the kotatsu and let the Japanese cartoons roll! This is Japanator's official Winter 2015 Anime Preview Guide!

As ever, we're here to dig deep into the dozens-strong animated offerings straight from Glorious Nippon, to separate the wheat from the chaff and tell you just what might be worth watching, as well as to tell you what we'll be keeping an eye on ourselves.

This winter seems thankfully light in total new series count, with a few standouts, a lot of sequels both widely anticipated and out of left field, and some intriguing newcomers. Let's check 'em out!

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First Impressions: Your Lie in April photo
First Impressions: Your Lie in April
by Hiroko Yamamura

I have to admit, it's been a while since I've actually gasped while watching an anime. However, that's exactly what occurred after I processed the sheer beauty that was the first episode of A-1 Picture's Your Lie in April. I initially steered away from the show, writing it off as a bit of a comedy/cutesy version of Kids on the Slope, a show which I admired, but never really attached to, even though it is set in my home town of Sasebo. Luckily, I had some spare time this week, and crammed the first four episodes in a much needed anime escape.

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Impressions: When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace photo
Impressions: When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace
by Josh Tolentino

"What would you do if you had superpowers?"

It's a question people love to ask each other, and the answers are usually quite mundane. They often involved finding ways to make lots of money using superpowers. Very few of us would volunteer to do what superheroes are supposed to do, namely fight crime and save the innocent.

That's OK! As virtually the entire history of popular fiction has taught us, power isn't what makes a hero heroic. And the stars of When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace are no heroes.

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First Impressions: Log Horizon 2 photo
First Impressions: Log Horizon 2
by Josh Tolentino

We neglected to cover Log Horizon back when it debuted, beyond first look by Karen, who came away distinctly unimpressed. That was a missed opportunity, because, like many a good show, Log Horizon was very much a slow, thoughtful burn in ways that its other peers in the burgeoning "Trapped In A Videogame" anime subgenres were not.

In fact, for many a longtime online RPG player, myself included, Log Horizon was the show they were hoping to see when Sword Art Online and its ilk opened the floodgates: An anime that knew and cared about how MMORPGs work, and more importantly, used that knowledge to enhance the story it told.

Now that we're into the second season, I'm happy to report that that's still the case.

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First Impressions: Shirobako photo
First Impressions: Shirobako
by Jeff Chuang

Shirobako is many things--a story about a struggling animation studio, an anime production starting to go haywire, the promise of five young women in the pursuit of their dreams, and that is just to list a few. Shirobako, to me, is the love letter of the anime creation process as shared and dramatized by the same creators to the people that watch it. Still, it's an anime about an anime. How much that speaks to each of us has a lot more to do with who we are rather than what Shirobako is, so this special anime starts out on an usual note.

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First Impressions: Fate/stay night Unlimited Blade Works photo
First Impressions: Fate/stay night Unlimited Blade Works
by Josh Tolentino

These day it's hard to imagine an active otaku who isn't at least passingly familiar with Fate/stay night, Type-MOON's juggernaut of a visual novel series. 

I'm sure those sorts of folks exist, though, and the duty falls to Ufotable to make both them and the fans - or "Type-Lunatics" as some like to call themselves - happy. And this'll be a the second try, because to hear many veterans tell it, Studio DEEN didn't quite manage the job with their Fate/stay night TV series and Unlimited Blade Works movie.

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First Impressions: Gundam Build Fighters Try photo
First Impressions: Gundam Build Fighters Try
by Josh Tolentino

Gundam Build Fighters was a show aimed at children and designed to promote the toys Bandai wants them to build. It also happened to be the most refreshing Gundam show in years, and an love letter to Gundam's enduring legacy, as well as its oldest fans.

Now, here's Gundam Build Fighters Try, which is, for better or worse (though there's not much "worse" to this proposition, a second helping of all of the above.

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First Impressions: Terra Formars photo
First Impressions: Terra Formars
by Josh Tolentino

Let's get the obvious thing out of the way first: Terra Formars is not very good "Mars" fiction. The concept of Martian colonization and its myriad possibilities is just about the furthest thing from this show's mind, even three episodes in. But that's hardly a problem, because tough badasses have insect powers and use them to beat up cockroach versions of the Hulk.

Which is good enough for me.

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First Impressions: Terror in Resonance photo
First Impressions: Terror in Resonance
by Dae Lee

A new, original anime series directed by Shinichiro Watanabe with music from Yoko Kanno?Whose hand do I shake for making this happen? Terror in Resonance was a wildcard since it was announced,  featuring a relatively unknown studio (MAPPA) and a story that revolves around teenage terrorists with some frightening plans.

 

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