While it's still not technically summer for me yet (I've still got finals week and a lecture to give to my school before I get my Masters), I've had some more free time lately so I've decided to start chipping away at my backlog. I've got 100+ titles in there, ranging from shows I fell behind on to stuff from years ago. There's not much of a plan of attack here; I just look at the list, decide what sounds interesting at the current moment in time, and watch that.
While I'd ideally like for this to be a weekly installment, I don't trust myself enough to pull that off. I'm also still following currently airing shows, so some weeks I might not touch the backlog at all. With that in mind, I've decided to make this a numbered series instead, in the hopes that writing little blurbs when I finish will keep me on track. Wish me luck!
Noragami - Episodes 1-12
I completely wrote this show off before it started airing because the preview images and synopsis didn't grab me at all; in fact, it sounded pretty boring and run-of-the-mill as far as supernatural shows go. But I heard increasingly good things about it as the season finished up, so I stuck it in my Hulu queue to give it a second chance. I'm really glad that I did. The show follows Yato, a unknown god with no shrine who takes on odd requests in exchange for 5-yen coins, and Hiyori, a girl who periodically looses her body after saving Yato from getting hit by a car. Yato also fights demons with the help of a ghost named Yukine that can transform into a sword.
The show kind of reminds me of Kamisama Kiss, albeit without the shoujo tone and presentation. I agree with some reviews that I read that complained about how long Yukine's arc took to resolve (seriously, why did no one pull the kid aside and tell him the problems his actions were creating?) but it was pretty tolerable in a marathon session. I probably would've been much more annoyed by it if I'd been following it from week to week. The way that it built up the relationships for the lead-in to the finale was well worth it in my opinion. I highly reccomend this show to any fans of anime that are character-driven with a supernatural bent. And also if you like Hiroshi Kamiya.
Rozen Maiden Zurückspulen - Episodes 11-12
(The screenshots are not from those episodes because I'm lazy.)
I put this on hold right before the last two episodes aired for reasons that I no longer remember, but I am happy with how everything was resolved. I stopped reading the manga a little bit after this point, and it was a fair adaptation from what I remember of it. But even with "the story goes on" tease at the very end, I'm glad that it ended where it did for the same reason that I stopped reading the manga.
In this version of the story, the Alice Game is surprisingly not the most interesting thing going on here. I was much more invested in Jun gradually learning to assert himself and not be ashamed of his hobbies. At the end of the show, he's in a much better place than he would've been without all of the universe hopping craziness. I really enjoyed how his character arc wrapped up, as well as that interesting bit at the end where Jun realized that his old self honestly wasn't that different from Kirakishou looking for a place to belong.
In contrast, everything else with the dolls felt increasingly ridiculous. In the first version of the manga, the worldbuilding and rules were pretty consistent, but here it felt like they were thrown out the window to accommodate the new plotline and were specifically contrived to make certain events happen. I mean, Suiseiseki and Souseseki can control time and space now? When did that happen? Original universe Jun is also used like a deus ex machina, showing up at the exact right moment to resolve the major problem with no further input from anyone else. Why couldn't he just do that in the first place? But regardless of my gripes, it was fun to see an adaptation that went closely along with the original plot and character designs. If you have any interest in the Rozen Maiden franchise, this one's not a bad watch.
And that's it for now! Hopefully I can continue this through the summer!
Images from Crunchyroll.com and Hulu.com.