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It must be hard for Hiromasa Yonebayashi. After leaving Studio Ghibli during its hiatus, the director of The Secret World of Arrietty should have been pumping his creative juices into his Ponoc studio's first project. Unfortunately, after watching his latest

Video games made with RPG Maker can wind up churning out some unexpected cult hits. We've seen the likes of Corpse Party, To The Moon, and Always Sometimes Monsters finding not just a massive fanbase, but also various sequels and

This spring season has been a big deal in the anime community! So many shows are returning. Really hyped anime, some of which are based on popular manga, have finally made their debut. Is the hype worth it? I think we should dig into the spring!

The Netflix Effect

Piano No Mori

Piano

Piano no Mori (or just Piano)  is the only Netflix exclusive this season. It's about a very young piano virtuoso, I guess. Piano no Mori looks fantastic, at a movie level of quality. I don't know how many months down the line it will come to Netflix. That's alright. I think Piano no Mori is the kind of anime I can afford to wait for anyway.

I Finally Saw It!

Aggrestsuko

Aggretsuko

So I learned this at the last minute: Aggretsuko is not a spring 2018 anime! It's not even a 2018 anime! It originally debuted in 2016, and found its way to Netflix, where it's been English dubbed.

Sanrio is a weird company. They have Hello Kitty and her animal pals, who sell a whole slew of merchandise. Then Sanrio allows shows like Sanrio Boys to be made. That's not the oddest thing they've let happen. Aggretsuko is their latest project, but it's for sure not for kids. If you've ever had a desk job, a greuling full time position that is unfulfilling, then you know where Aggretsuko is coming from. This is a workplace comedy, but with adorable animals as people! One of our adorable characters is Retsuko, a female red panda who takes out her frustrations by screaming death metal into a karaoke mic in the bathroom. Yep, this is adorable Sanrio! I hope no one is fooled by the cuteness of the character art; don't skip over this on Netflix.

Returning Favorites

Amanchu!

Amanchu 1 final

Amanchu actually came back for another season! My heart grows 20 sizes whenever I watch the show. Something is different this time, and that's my only criticism of Amanchu! Advance. This season is weird, because it's supposed to be about Futabi ("Teko") getting an advanced scuba diving license- AND (possibly) advancing her relationship with Hikari ("Pikari"). The second season has far more episodes about vivid dream worlds than actual character interaction. I hope that the last few episodes carry the relationship between these characters further.

My Hero Academia

MHA S3

My Hero Academia continues to prove why it has gained such an incredible following. You have the excellent action, the drama, and the long-term consequences that heroes like Deku have to live with when fighting villains. If you have ever claimed to love superheroes, but you don't watch MHA, I have to tell you, you are only hurting yourself by not watching it.

Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma

Food Wars new season

We're back to the foodgasams! Shokugeki no Soma had a moment (about half a season) where they were doing things a little different. We've gone away from the beloved shokugeki. It's coming back, because, um, it's in the name of the show, so not to worry. I think that the battle we're headed towards is going to be incredibly fun to watch.

Steins;Gate 0

Steins;Gate 0

It has been a long, long while since I've watched Steins;Gate. The last show in the Science Adventure series I watched was Occultic;Nine, and that is definitely not a show of the same quality as Steins. Steins;Gate 0 takes place after the end of the original anime, so newbies will be confused if starting off with this series. Steins; Gate 0 makes me feel the same emotions as it did in those last few episodes, where Okabe Rintaro was desperately trying to fix a bad future.

Full Metal Panic

Full Metal Panic

I don't think it's fair for me to call this a returning favorite, because I haven't watched all of Full Metal Panic. I liked the FMP I have seen, so it's kind of a favorite? Anyway, the new Full Metal Panic is so good! The action is great, but if you're a true fan, and not a fake-ass loser who didn't watch FMP when I had the chance, you already know what the quality level of Full Metal Panic should be.

FLCL

FLCL Progressive

Fooly Cooly has not one but two seasons for you; I don't know how you feel, but I never expected to see more FLCL in my lifetime.The first season up is FLCL Progressive, and the third season will be FLCL Alternative. Progressive takes place after the original FLCL. We have a completely new set of characters, but one old character definitely makes her presence known. Crazy beings are still popping out of peoples' heads, people are still getting hit by vehicles at high speed (and somehow living) and there's still a giant iron. What's not the same is how Hidomi figures into this story, and how the horn on her head changes her.

You never know what you're going to get in the winter anime season. Is it going to be a hot few months, or will it leave you cold? I think the upcoming spring season is going to be way hotter, but some of this winter's offerings are worth watching, and telling your friends about.

The Netflix Effect

With the moves Netflix is making in the Anime industry, a new category has to be made for all the anime I am unable to watch during their actual season. There are two anime that have debuted on Netflix that are airing at their proper time; they are true Netflix Originals that were produced specifically for the streaming service. You can't see them anywhere else, but at least you don't have to wait months to see them. What you do have to wait for are these shows.

Fate/Extra Last Encore

Fate-Extra_Logo

Every time you turn your back, another Fate show has come out! What's this new Fate about? This time, the protagonist is someone who has lost his memory, and he's been caught up in the Grail War. Last Encore will be ending in April, and all I've sene is a trailer for it.

Violet Evergarden

Violet Ever

Violet Evergarden IS available on Netflix- just not in the United States. SIGH. Praised for its beauty, Violet Evergarden is a sci-fi story about a woman getting in touch with her humanity after being given cybernetic prosthetics. I hear mixed criticism about it. What I know is that a) it looks spectacular and b) It may be boring. By the time Evergarden comes to US Netflix, the Winter season will be over.

Returning Favorites

Sangatsu no Lion (March Comes in Like a Lion)

March Comes in Like a Lion

As Lion has continued, there are less moments of depression and more happiness, but the drama still carries a lot of weight. Looking at the series so far, I think it's best that we don't have a character who's wallowing in pity and dark feelings every episode. We have a lot of characters and issues that can be tackled, so a smart show like Lion can still entertain and touch your soul without focusing on tragedy.

King Baby Duck & his pals Elite4Derek and Wicked Anime's JonStar dive into two more Loot Anime boxes, with their focus on the underdog heroes and gaming-inspired worlds! My Hero Academia! Final Fantasy! Saint Seiya! (Sigh, Black Clover.) Check out

King Baby Duck and his con cohort Elite4Derek and Wicked Anime's JonStar get into the "spirit" of friendship with the unboxing of the October & November 2017 editions of Loot Anime! We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates

King Baby Duck and Wicked Anime's JonStar unleash multiple explosions and flying cabbages as they piece together the recent Nendoroids of Megumin & Darkness from the hit anime series KonoSuba: God's blessing on this wonderful world! Plus hear what makes

Another fall season has crept up on us, with a lot of brand new anime to sample.  The anime landscape has changed so much, even since last season. There are so many choices for official streams. Daisuki is no more, but other streamers have risen up in place of it. Even though people felt sour about Netflix of Amazon's stranglehold on exclusive content, there is still a lot of choice around the internet. Let's see what made the cut this season!

Finally Got to See It!

Fate/Apocrypha

Fate/Apocrypha

There is one undeniable fact about the Fate series: it's beautiful. As someone who doesn't follow the various Fate anime, I still know that the animation is top notch. I don't know if the writing for the Fate shows is as strong as the fighting. I only ever watched 2 episodes of  Fate/Stay Night and one episode of Fate Zero, so the most I know about Fate is that the action is great. Fate/Apocrypha is astounding, as far as visuals go. I haven't watched many episodes, but I'm not at all disappointed so far. In thids Fate, we have twice the servants, so the action may be more satisfying than all Fate shows that have come before.

Returning Favorites

Sangatsu no Lion (March Comes in Like a Lion)

Sangatsu no Lion

Masterpiece. Is it too much to say that March Comes in Like a Lion is a Masterpiece? I'll take the shot to give this series the highest praise I possibly can. March Comes in Like a Lion is an utterly powetic bowl full of heartbreaking drama combined with adorable comedy and pro sports action. Hey, board games are sports of a sort! Our protagonist, Rei Kiriyama, is a young pro shogi player, and he's really good at it. In his personal life, there have been tremendous struggles. He's dealing with depression, and he doesn't have any family to turn to. That's where an adorable family of sisters comes in. Rei transforms professionally- and I'd say spiritually- in the first season. His transformation and growth continues with season 2. If you were to just stop reading this to go watch March Comes in Like a Lion, I wouldn't be mad.

Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma

Shokugeki no Soma

Food Wars! is going though some growing pains. Season 3 looks (there was a lot of chibi) and sounds (Erina Nakiri's voice actor had to be replaces) different now, and there has been less food porn. Why so few foodgasms? Regardless of that, I still love Shokugeki no Soma. We still have the eclectic characters, fun moments, and new threats to the Polar Star gang. It might be slow to start, but Food Wars catches fire soon enough!

Kekkai Sensen (Blood Blockade Battlefront)

Blook Blockade Battlefront and Beyond

Some people have no tolerance for wackiness; I have too much. I liked Blood Blockade Battlefront, but I won't portray it as a show that tells a great narrative. Mostly, B3 is about a supernatural transformation of New York being destroyed countless times, and the heroes looking badass with their blood-based abilities. Why does blood allow you to fly or encase people in ice? I don't know, but it looks awesome. I expect even less of a narrative to occur in Blood Blockade Battlefront & Beyond, but I never needed a central antagonist in B3.

Garo

Garo: Vanishing Line

Garo: The Animation was my first Garo series. I didn't watch any of the live action shows because I'm more into streaming than watching blu rays at this point. I loved the first Garo anime, so, naturally, I watched the second series, Garo: Crimson Moon. That made me less of a fan of Garo. Crimson Moon was not a failure, but it had big shoes to fill. Garo is back for a third time, and this time it's in America, and in the present. I love Garo again! Garo: Vanishing Line is not a deep and thoughtful series. It's meat-headed and has a thing for women's curves.

The stereotypically meat-headded attitude is represented in Vanishing Line's Garo, named Sword. He looks like a character straight out of the game Gears of War, but he doesn't need a gun to fight horrors. Sometimes, he'll straight up punch demons in the face, or chase them with his bike. I know not everyone's into the tokusatsu stuff, but Garo Vanishing Line has entertained me with every episode.

The Runners-Up

UQ Holder

UQ Holder

I don't know what to call this. Is this a Negima sequel? There are a lot of moments in the show that connect directly to Negima, but this show takes its focus away from Negi and introduces us to a world that has discovered the reality of magic. One student has a very unfortunate introduction to magic and the supernatural. I typically give a show one episode to impress me, and UQ Holder's pilot episode definitely did. I expected a Naruto-like tale of a jolly kid who becomes powerful, but UQ Holder decided to tell a somewhat different hero origin. If you don't know Negima, it's one of those classic ecchi shows. So expect lots of awkward sexual situations in UQ Holder.

Infini-T Force

Infini-T

What would you get if you combined Hurricane Polymar, Gatchaman, Tekknoman, and Casshern? A kick-ass TV show! A girl named Emi Kaido becomes a central figure in this battle for multiple universes, even though she has little idea what's going on. Dark forces are attempting to destroy universes in order to create a single, supreme universe. That doesn't sit well with these four heroes, who have been taken from their native worlds.

I think I haven't ever gotten over Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, because I have never lost love for tokusatsu. I love any kind of superhero, so shows like Infini-T Force suit me well. If you want to just watch superheroes attack with cool moves, you have to check out Infini-T Force. If you've never seen any of the Tatsunoko hero shows, consider this an anime history lesson.

Code: Realize - Guardian of Rebirth-

Code: Realize

I have found it hard to like anime adapted from otome (reverse harem) games. It's not that they are terrible, but they all follow the same formula, as dictated by the game genre they originate from. Code: Realize is a bit different. First off, they have a corgi with a steampunk prosthetic leg and a top hat! Job done! Oh, and they also have a cast of characters who come from all over classic fiction. So you have Lupin, Dracula's kid, Van Helsing, and more. The fantasy and steampunk mingling with each other is my main draw to Code: Realize. It's definitely not the animation or the lead character, Cardia, whose dialogue is interchangeable with most females in otome anime.

Kowabon

Kowabon

Kowabon is another anime short with a horror theme. Think Yamishibi, Kagawani, or The World Yamizukan. These are all short shows, with an incredibly low budget. Maybe Kowabon has the highest budget, because it uses rotoscope, a form of animation using real human acting. The difference between this show and all the other ghost stories is that these are modern ghost stories, having to do often with technology. Also, there is no narration. The only "storyteller" is the camera (web camera, security camera, phone camera) we see the action through. It's not Black Mirror level creepy; it's more like The Grudge.

Just Because!

Just Because

I think that my record for finishing slice-of-life shows is pretty poor, but I think I could finish watching Just Because! There's nothing too special about it, but I think that an adorable series about young love and relationships is soothing to peek at every now and again.

 

Our Love is 10 Centimeters Apart

10 Centimeters Apart

This was a late entry in the fall calendar, and I just happened to see that it came out by coincidence. Lucky me, because this is a cute tale of high school romance. The aspect of these characters that appeals to me is that they are both creative people: one is a videographer and the other is an artist. These are minor details, but when you've seen so many romance shows, it benefits the viewer if the characters don't feel similar from show to show.

Houseki no Kuni (Land of the Lustrous)

Land of Lustrous

Anime fans and CG have not gotten along well. Even in 2017, people are still CG averse. I dare anyone to tell me that the CG animation of Land of the Lustrous is not comparable to 2D animation. It's a beautiful series, and the fluidity of the animation allows it to blur the lines between whag we expect from 3DCG and what 3DCG can accomplish. I won't act like there's a marvelous, deep story to go with the great animation, but at least we get to look at sparkly haired people run really fast.

Love is Like a Cocktail

Love is like a Cocktail

Sometimes, you can just have simple fun with anime. Love is Like a Cocktail is a short anime, and it's only about one topic: adult beverages. A woman is married to the most wonderful husband ever: a guy who not only loves her, but also makes the perfect drink for her! If you liked Wakako-zake or I Can't Understand What My Husband is Saying, you would be punishing yourself if you don't watch Love is Like a Cocktail.

Anime-Gataris

Anime-Gataris

We always get one of these shows: an anime about anime. Previous to Anime-Gataris, we had Shirobako, and before that was Genshiken. The industry likes to take a look at itself every once in a while, sometimes with hilarious results. Anime-Gataris is for people who love references to all sorts of anime, from the recent to the obscure.

Kino's Journey: The Beautiful World

Kino's Journey

I never got to see Kino's Journey when the first anime rolled around, but I heard praise for it, and the images kept my interest. Anime always surprises, and so a new Kino anime popped up this season. I felt apprehensive , because I knew that this was an older Kino. Should I hop in, or wait for some far off day when the original series is streamed? I learned that it doesn't matter too much that you jump into Kino's Journey with this series. The nature of the tales in Kino's Journey are episodic, so the amount of previous history Kino has is not crucial.

The story is basically this: Kino, a person who does not ascribe to any gender (Kino is just "Kino") travels from country to country, staying for a few days and then continuing to the next country. The twist is that every one of these countries follows their own distinct laws. So in the first episode, murder is allowed in one country. In another country, you fight to the death to become the leader. So Kino's Journey was a shock. I didn't know that these crazy things happened, or that Kino's bike is actually sentient . All I knew was that Kino...went on a journey, and had two guns. Talk about avoiding spoilers! For a decade and a half, I had no idea how surreal Kino's Journey really was. A beautiful world, indeed.

Testing out Final Cut Pro X for the first time, King Baby Duck shows off what fans of the anime series Squid Girl can expect if they grab Sentai Filmworks' limited edition box set! We are a participant in the Amazon

I remember when Splatoon first came out, and some of the more "hardcore" gamers were whining about its kiddy nature. To those complainers, I say there is no need to fret any longer. Thanks to the powers that be, the