[Season Sampler] The Price of Smiles 1 — Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

If you’re anything like me, you may have given this anime one glance and thought that it looked like a strange concoction of what people would regard as a “generic fantasy show” with very under-stellar elements regarding animation and effects. There’s nothing really that makes this anime stand on its own from just reading the synopsis and watching the PV. To older anime viewers such as myself, it almost looks like a cross between Aldnoah.Zero and Chaika: The Coffin Princess in terms of both style and elements presented to us throughout the show. Both of those shows were at varying levels of popularity and quality, but I think that while comparing Price of Smiles to those shows may be accurate in terms of plot setup and world-building elements, it’s also disingenuous to say that this show is exactly like either of those, as it does have a wide array of differences in terms of execution and tone that keeps it apart as its own entity.

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Violet Evergarden 11 + 12 — An Outburst of Feelings

Violet Evergarden continues to surprise me on several different levels, pulling out some of the biggest emotional gut-punches that I’ve seen from a single anime in a while. While other anime of Winter 2018 such as A Place Further Than the Universe have also had some huge emotional moments, I think Violet Evergarden has one over every show of the season, especially with some of the previous episodes and how they’ve ended. The show is still far from perfect though, and while I still love the show dearly, it’s obvious where some of its problems lie within these two episodes.

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[Season Sampler] Umamusume: Pretty Derby 1+2 — Just Another Day at the Races

While we as a community are still wrapping up from the absolute craziness of the Winter season and its amount of just amazing shows, the spring season just comes in like a lion right after in another feeble attempt to create after-season/pre-season chaos amidst all the shows that are being talked about at once. One of these new spring shows, which I’m sure you’ve seen countless pictures of at this point, is Umamusume: Pretty Derby, an anime about girls that are also horses, but also idols.

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Violet Evergarden 5+6 — In the Eye of the Beholder

Violet Evergarden is one of these shows that I feel at odds with when trying to discuss, as I feel while there’s so many good things to say about the series and how much I enjoy it and what it does, there’s an equal amount of criticisms I have for the show, yet it never detracts from my enjoyment of the show as I’m watching. It’s a complicated feeling for me, as I do deeply enjoy the show, but at the same time, cannot bring myself to call the show anything more than “good” as I’m watching it. I feel there’s plenty more the series could do with itself than the story is showing me at this moment. “Why is that?” is always what I ask myself in these scenarios, and I think episodes 5 and 6 are perfect to discuss why I both love this series and also feel like it could improve upon itself.

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12 Days of Anime 2017 [Day 12]: Anime-gataris — How A Sense of Community Creates A Closer Relationship to Art

It seems appropriate to cap off this set of 12 Days of Anime posts with Anime-gataris, as I think it’s something that both readers and other content creators can appreciate to end the year on a more uplifting note than perhaps some of us may have experienced over the last several months. Anime-gataris itself may not seem to have a lot going for it at first, as many of its jokes start off as being solely referential or just about wacky club dynamics that you can get from plenty of other anime as well.

At first, there may not seem to be enough appeal for a sort of show that runs on those concepts alone though, and perhaps if the show had just left it at that, it would have never really become something that would have been worth talking about in of itself.

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12 Days of Anime 2017 [Day 11]: Girls und Panzer – How Unity Can Help Us Support Each Other

I wasn’t really sure what to expect from a show that basically has the synopsis of “girls join a tank club and fight with tanks”, especially since I heard some rather good remarks concerning the recent film that the series had gotten, but I ended up being pleasantly surprised with the series as a whole. While I still don’t think that it’s the best of its kind and other anime, such as High School Fleet have expanded on this sort of “genre” (if you want to call it that) in a much better way, it’s always good to see the roots from what those newer, better shows were built off of, something I addressed in my previous 12 Days of Anime article.

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12 Days of Anime 2017 [Day 10]: Doki Doki Literature Club – How We View Media Can Refine Our Perspective

Now, I’m going to start this off with saying that I realize that this may not feel like it meets the definition for “anime” for some, but personally I feel that Doki Doki Literature Club is close enough and unique in its own way to at least consider it a part of the “anime-esque” media, considering it greatly pulls from the convention of Japanese visual novels. Oddly enough, I could probably be writing this about the actual Japanese visual novel Kimi to Kanojo to Kanojo no Koi (Totono) and make the same sort of comparison, but without any translation for it (something which I hope happens at some point), this is what I have to work with.

Doki Doki Literature Club (DDLC) is questionably innovative in what it does for this reason, but that doesn’t make it any less gratifying to see it play out in of its own. There’s something to be said about how we perceive media, and I think DDLC makes an excellent observation about that which can change how we view certain works in the future, while also giving us appreciation for the past works that led up to the creation of a better one. It becomes a sort of love letter to the creators and players of these sorts of games, which I think is pretty neat in its own regard.

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