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2:00 PM on 01.30.2015

Annotated Anime: Kantai Collection episode 4

It's not always easy to accept when a show doesn't meet up with our expectations. We form a picture of what it "should be" in our heads, and when it goes in a different direction, one of two things usually happens: 1. We deli...

Josh Tolentino


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Annotated Anime: Gundam Build Fighters Try episode 16 photo
Annotated Anime: Gundam Build Fighters Try episode 16
by Josh Tolentino

Despite its reputation for grit and mature storytelling about deep subjects like war and..stuff, the extended Gundam franchise is host to a great many ludicrous and silly things. For me, one of the silliest things about Gundam, especially the original Gundam series, is the Core Block System.

For those unfamiliar, it's that system that allows a little transforming plane (the "Core Fighter") to form the "abs" of the original Gundam, which would assemble the legs, head, and upper torso around it. Given the original series' reputation as pioneering a concept of giant robots in a military, wartime context, the Core Block System and its combining glory feels like a weird holdover from the Super Robot days, where every robot assembled itself with an eye towards spectacle more than practicality.

Thank goodness for Minato Sakai and his Build Busters teammates, then.

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Annotated Anime: Kantai Collection episode 3 photo
Annotated Anime: Kantai Collection episode 3
by Josh Tolentino

If you thought Kan Colle was just going to be about cute girls displacing not nearly enough water for their supposed channeling of old warship souls, episode 3 is here to toss some water on that notion. And it's not the magic water from a repair bucket either.

Indeed, it's episode 3 that takes what may be a hard left turn into unexpected-yet-historically-accurate drama, though at this early stage it's impossible to tell if it's a trend that will hold (thus threatening to make Kan Colle a more interesting TV series, or break, allowing it and its viewers to remain in safe, comfortable waters.

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Annotated Anime: Stardust Crusaders episodes 25-27 photo
Annotated Anime: Stardust Crusaders episodes 25-27
by Josh Tolentino

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.

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Annotated Anime: Gundam Build Fighters Try episode 15 photo
Annotated Anime: Gundam Build Fighters Try episode 15
by Josh Tolentino

It hasn't even been 24 hours since the last Build Fighters Try recap, but let's get this train going. After all, we've finally arrived at...THE NATIONALS.

Let's fighting!

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Annotated Anime: Gundam Build Fighters Try eps. 13-14 photo
Annotated Anime: Gundam Build Fighters Try eps. 13-14
by Josh Tolentino

Watching Build Fighters Try is fascinating, not just because it's a fun, well-produced piece of mecha entertainment, puppy love and Fumina reaction-face gallery, but also to compare it to the first Build Fighters season and see just how the Build Fighters brand has evolved over the weeks and months.

Sunrise's sophomore gunpla battle effort is both an effective continuation of its predecessor's legacy, but like its characters, mecha, and setting, it's also a different sort of beast, with different goals and ambitions.

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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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Annotated Anime: Shirobako episode 12 photo
Annotated Anime: Shirobako episode 12
by Jeff Chuang

Last time on Shirobako, the final episode of Exodus is in trouble as Aoi cannot find enough animators to complete the complex and difficult animations needed for the climatic moment. This week, in a stroke of fortune, Aoi runs into a particular animation veteran--or god to some--by the name of Kanno, who directed a popular show called Ava that aired in 1995. 

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Annotated Anime: Gundam Build Fighters Try episode 12 photo
Annotated Anime: Gundam Build Fighters Try episode 12
by Josh Tolentino

Another week, another installment of my third-best anime of 2014. But as a fitting Christmas Eve present (the episode went live on December 24th), we get to unwrap the lovely gift that is the timely arrival of Meijin Kawaguchi III, and his legendary Gunpla, the Amazing Red Warrior.

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Final Impressions: Garo: Makai no Hana photo
Final Impressions: Garo: Makai no Hana
by Salvador GRodiles

When Keita Amemiya decided to return to the Garo franchise, this gave the show's fourth season the opportunity to go back to its roots, as the detailed costumes made a triumphant return. Despite the great callbacks to the franchise's early installments, Garo: Makai no Hana suffered from a few issues where the Horrors weren't as interesting as the ones from the previous seasons. However, these mishaps were minor, since a majority of the show’s episodes featured some great themes and monsters.

Seeing that Garo and Garo: Makai Senki both featured some amazing final battles, it’s going to take a lot of work for Garo: Makai no Hana to impress us in the long run. Of course, this will determine whether Raiga is capable of becoming a great Golden Knight that'll bring hope to mankind.

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Annotated Anime: Shirobako episodes 11 photo
Annotated Anime: Shirobako episodes 11
by Jeff Chuang

If you told me that an anime about working in the animation industry will give you one hell of a cliffhanger, I would not have believed you. That's because nobody would ordinarily associate a matter-of-fact approach to real life with page-turning strategies employed largely by pulp manga and daytime soap. It turns out Shirobako decided to show me otherwise.

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