It’s been a long time since the last Log Horizon series came out. That series ended with several mysteries still in play, and several new plot hooks set up, like Krusty having been teleported to the Chinese server, and the introduction of Geniuses – more powerful monsters with their own weird, metagame logic sent by whoever on the moon server had brought them to this world in the first place. This season doesn’t resolve those issues particularly, but it does push some plot developments forward in that regard, particularly related to the characters’ plot development.

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1917 is a movie that is two things at once. It’s a movie that is a bleak and striking depiction of the horrors of ground warfare in the First World War, and presents those horrors in a way that respects what  the people who fought in that war went through, and without glamorizing those horrors. It’s also an intricately done magic trick, presenting the illusion of this story being told in one (mostly) unbroken take. This review will contain some spoilers.

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It’s been a long time since Mamoru Oshii did any anime, with the short film Je T’aime from 2010. It’s been even longer since he did comedy, with the last clear-cut comedy he did having been several episodes of Patlabor: The Mobile Police New Files in 1990. Over a decade since the last time he did anime, and over 30 years since he’s done comedy anime. There are fans who have only know his creative output as not only a director of serious anime, but a director of deadly serious anime. So, it was a surprise this past year to see Oshii returning not only to anime, but to comedy anime, and as a series instead of a short or a film, with Vlad Love.

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Inuyasha was a show based on Rumiko Takahashi’s works that I fell off of back in the day before it completed. A combination of heavy filler on a more conventional shonen action series, combined with the show’s very long length made it tricky for me to keep up with the show. When I learned that there was a sequel series due to come out, that was an anime original show, and was following the daughters of the first series protagonists, I was intrigued, and decided to try to keep up with the show this time. That show was Yashahime.

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Gunhed is a film that I remember seeing often on TV schedules for the SCI-Fi channel back in the day, but never got around to watching in its entirety. I was impressed by the film’s effects work, but I was never really able to watch enough of the film to really get the plot. At long last, though, I’ve finally gotten around to watching the movie in is entirety.

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Studio Trigger’s more recent fare is interesting from a critical standpoint because it’s very clear that they are a studio that does not shy away from being political and generally attempting to be progressive. They’re also a studio who, rather than directly addressing Japanese politics, tends to address their narratives through the lens of American politics, often through the X-Men books, which means that due to their distance from American politics, they can stumble into some rakes that are otherwise avoidable, and BNA: Brave New Animal is a great example of this.

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The Akudama of Akudama Drive; Clockwise from Top: Doctor, Courier, Brawler, Cutthroat, Hacker, Hoodlum. Not pictured: Ordinary Person/Swindler

We occasionally get new Cyberpunk anime every now and then, though usually, the protagonists of those series have some degree of… license by the establishment. The Major in Ghost in the Shell is a government agent. So are the protagonists of Cyber City Oedo 808. The Knight Sabers from Bubblegum Crisis are superhero mercenaries who contract with the government. Rare are the cyberpunk anime that have protagonists who work for hire, not only outside the law but in violation of the law. Akudama Drive is one of the series that fits that theme, and utterly nails the concept.

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Yuna, the protagonist of Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear

I’ve generally avoided a lot of the more OP Isekai Anime series – no wish fulfillment shows with characters that have a superpowered cheat ability getting ported into a fantasy world modeled on a MMORPG in my watched list. Oh, there are Isekai shows on there, and even ones with people who have abilities that are somewhat overpowered (Log Horizon comes to mind). However, all of those are ones that are cases where an existing power from the game’s world is applied differently. Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear is the first show with this concept that I’ve ended up watching, and it’s probably the best place to jump in on this idea.

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Iwa-kakeru kind of got a bad break. This year was the year where we were supposed to get the Tokyo Summer Olympics and with it, as one of the new events, Bouldering – or Sport Climbing. So, Iwa-kakeru would have been placed to perfectly strike when the iron was hot, adapting a manga about this brand new Olympic sport, to rise off of the heat of that Olympic fever. And then COVID-19 happened and the Summer Olympics were pushed back at least one year. So, the question becomes whether Iwa-kakeru can hold up without that boost of Olympic excitement.

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I’ve reviewed most of the anime adaptations of Hayate: The Combat Butler, and reviewed much of the manga that’s been officially released in English to date (in spite of the official US release being several years behind the Japanese release – which has since ended). When I learned that author Kenjiro Hata’s latest manga, Tonikawa, was getting an anime adaptation, that show quickly ended up on the list of shows on my watchlist for that season, and I was not disappointed.

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