Every Anime I Watched in 2023 and What I Thought about Them
Mage in a Barrel
by iblessall
3M ago
Over the years, these year-end wrap-up posts have taken a variety of shapes and forms. In the past, I’ve enjoyed making list of my top shows of the year. But in a year where few airing television anime really moved me, I thought I’d forgo that formality by telling you all 28 (more or less) new things I watched in order to provide a more thorough chronicle of my anime-watching activities. Hopefully it’s enjoyable and not too tedious! 30. Jujutsu Kaisen S2 (Shibuya Incident Arc) I promise this isn’t just my contrarian streak rearing its head again or just about what the show did with Nobara. If ..read more
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Great Escapes: A Fond Look at Makoto Shinkai’s Disaster Film Triology
Mage in a Barrel
by iblessall
6M ago
As sometimes happens on Discord, instead of Twitter, these days, I was talking with some friends about Makoto Shinkai, director of smash-hit Your Name., regular-hit Tenki no Ko, and not-really-a-hit Suzume. It reminded me that I’ve never really set down my thoughts on the three films, nor on Shinkai’s evolution since he made a it big. And, hey! Suzume released this year (2023) in the states so this is still timely! Right? My personal history with Shinkai is perhaps atypical. The first thing of his I watched was Voices of a Distant Star. In a way, I see Voices as emblematic of my Shinkai. Here ..read more
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Who Will (and Won’t) Trust Jujutsu Kaisen after Episode 43?
Mage in a Barrel
by iblessall
6M ago
Before you begin to read, please allow me to inform you that there are spoilers ahead for the anime adaptation of Jujutsu Kaisen up to episode 43. I tell you this because, unlike the lawless land of Twitter where the social contract of posting about weekly shows with some semblance of awareness that many people have lives and can’t watch new episodes immediately when they come out has been left in tatters by the need to chase clout, this blog values preserving your individual experience with a show. Since last Thursday, I have been doing a good amount of thinking about how Jujutsu Kaisen‘s 43 ..read more
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I’d Like to Apologize to These Two Spring 2023 RomCom Anime
Mage in a Barrel
by iblessall
11M ago
It turns out there is still room in this heart for cute romance. Some of you might not know this, but I have this tradition on Twitter where I post my own little seasonal preview as a screenshot of a .txt file a week or two ahead of each season to inform the people what might be good to watch. Unfortunately, at the time I was somewhat flippant about the only two shows from the season that I’ve watched so far: Skip and Loafer and My Love Story with Yamada at Level 9999. I am the fool. Skip and Loafer Skip and Loafer caught my attention initially simply because it had actual art direction (than ..read more
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The Only Good Anime of Winter 2023
Mage in a Barrel
by iblessall
1y ago
WARNING: Many words ahead. More than I expected. Watching seasonal anime these days feels much different than it used to for me. While I’m still good at picking up shows that I’ll enjoy and have gotten better at not feeling guilty about not watching things people say I should watch, the reality is that picking up a show feels like a crapshoot because the industry’s current state means there’s a good chance the production of almost any given show could implode any week. Regardless, I watched a bunch of stuff this season. Here’s what I thought of what I watched. Bungo Stray Dogs (Season 4) Hey ..read more
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An Objective* and Comprehensive** Look Back at the 2022 Anime Year
Mage in a Barrel
by iblessall
1y ago
* Not objective ** Not comprehensive It’s been a good number of years since I’ve watched enough yearly anime to make an annual retrospective post make sense, but it finally happened. Not only did I watch a good amount of seasonal anime, but I also have checked out a fair few older shows for the first time, leading to a very healthy anime diet (at least as healthy as metaphorically eating anime can be). That said, I didn’t feel I watched enough to make a proper top anime of 2023 list, so instead you’ll just get some categorical short reflections on various moments and shows from the year. I ho ..read more
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Is “Bocchi the Rock!” Mean to Bocchi?
Mage in a Barrel
by iblessall
1y ago
Something I’ve been considering almost since the start of Bocchi the Rock! is the central source of the show’s comedy and how that intersects with a compassionate understanding of mental health. Whenever you have a story that wants to mine a character’s struggles (in whatever form) for laughs, inevitably it raises the question of whether the humor is coming from a place of understanding or cruelty. And thus, the question: Is Bocchi the Rock! mean to Bocchi? I’ll start off by saying, I don’t think so. While the reality is that Bocchi probably needs counseling more than she needs the affirmatio ..read more
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So… I Started Watching Anime Again | Summer 2022
Mage in a Barrel
by iblessall
1y ago
A few months ago, I told a friend I was getting back into watching seasonal anime. Although it’s something that sounds a bit like a joke, I was serious. After about a year and a half away from the seasonal grind, I finally found the desire to watch things again—and how I was rewarded! These are the best anime of the summer 2022 season. 6. Engage Kiss Regrettably, I was informed that Engage Kiss, from the writer who brought you Classroom Crisis (good), Saekano (good but also bad), and White Album 2 (…), is getting another cour. This is unfortunate because Engage Kiss does not in any way deserv ..read more
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Yesterday wo Utatte, Episode 4
Mage in a Barrel
by iblessall
4y ago
Ah, teenagers. After three engrossing episodes focused on individual characters, the fourth episode of Yesterday wo Utatte splitting its focus between Shinako and Rou felt like a bit of a letdown. It’s not that Yesterday isn’t capable of dealing with more than one characters’ headspace at the same time—episode 3 gave us of some of that with Rikuo, after all. Rather, it’s that Rou’s issues, compared to the more “adult” concerns of the other three, feel more mundane. Rikuo has his relatable self-sabotaging attitudes and habits, adrift in the world without a plan or purpose. Shinako’s spinning h ..read more
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Yesterday wo Utatte, Episode 3
Mage in a Barrel
by iblessall
4y ago
Never expected to be saying this after last week’s rough going, but that was rather pleasant (in the end), wasn’t it? I was kind of expecting Yesterday wo Utatte to pivot to letting us see a little bit more into Haru this week given the fact that Rikuo had his moment in the premiere and Shinako took focus last week. Giving us a relatively objective look at the three main characters through their own headspace and lives was always needed to happen to prepare a solid foundation for the story going forward, and that’s what we’ve now got. For my part, I’d like to see this kind of rotation maintai ..read more
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