Millionaire Detective: Balance Unlimited is the anime series about a co-protagonist who buy anything except a break for their show. It’s a show that came out the year that officers from Minneapolis Police Department murdered George Floyd, leading to a new wave of Black Lives Matter protests that not only spanned not just the United States, but Japan as well. It’s a show that got postponed for a cour due to production difficulties from COVID-19. Consequently, as a part of that, it’s a series that wrapped up its season just in time for the officers who murdered Breanna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky to not face charges for their actions. And it’s about a co-protagonist who uses their astronomical, Nagi Sanzenin levels of wealth to get away with breaking the law under the auspices of having a badge.

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I love anime that are somewhat educational about something. While Hajime No Ippo has a very over-the-top depiction of boxing, I felt like I came away from it with a better appreciation of the sport. Shirobako and Animation Runner Kuromi gave me a better appreciation of what goes into anime (though again, both works are romanticized), and so on. So, this past season, I decided to give the anime series Diary of Our Days at the Breakwater a shot for a similar reason, and I’m very glad I did.

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Season 1 of Fruits Basket stopped at about the same place that the previous adaptation of the show had done – after Tohru had seen Kyo’s true form for the first time, and unlike others before had refused to reject him – and had indeed accepted and embraced him (both literally and figuratively) in spite of this, along with Tohru getting to, albeit briefly, meet Akito for the first time. Season 2 enters some new ground (as far as anime adaptations are concerned), diving a little deeper into the inter-relationships between members of the Zodiac, Akito, and the larger Sohma family.

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I don’t know if I’m watching Mandy at the best of all possible times or the worst. I’m watching it while surrounded by a toxic cloud of smoke that makes it unsafe to go outside, in the largest wildfire season Oregon has faced in my lifetime or my parents’ lifetime, while under a Level 1 evacuation warning. On the one hand, I’m watching the movie with an ambient atmosphere that exudes dread going in. On the other hand, maybe that’s what’s helping me get the most out of it.

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I love martial arts films – particularly those from South East Asia (starting with Hong Kong but expanding over time to Thailand, Korea, and Malaysia), thanks to role-playing games – with two, in particular, starting me down this path.

The first was Dragon Fist by Chris Pramas, which seeded my love for wuxia. The other was Feng Shui, which expanded my love to the entire Ur-genre. However, when trying to sell people on Feng Shui, I had to downplay why the game had that title – the concept of a variety of factions from through history, past and future, doing battle over “Feng Shui Sites” – places of great magical power where those who hold them can shape the flow of destiny. If I had seen Bury Me High, I would have had a lot more confidence and just told people to watch this instead.

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Miles Morales taking a leap of faith.

When I saw The Lego Movie, I was impressed with how the film gave me a false impression of stop motion with 3D animation, and I enjoyed the comedy of the film. While I felt that Lord & Miller’s particular flavor off comedy wouldn’t work for Solo, but when I learned they were doing a Spider-Man movie, my interest was piqued, but I didn’t get around to watching Into The Spider-Verse until Covid-19.

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When I reviewed Come Drink With Me on the blog, I described it as a “Wuxia Western,” as the initial plot of the film – with Golden Swallow going to rescue her brother from bandits holed up in a monastery – could easily be the plot of a western. It is only with the introduction of Drunken Cat’s plot that the wuxia elements come to the fore. Dragon Inn, by comparison, maintains a better balance of the concepts, melding them together to make a cohesive whole.

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This past season of anime started with me having about 6-7 different series I was planning to watch… and then COVID-19 hit and with postponements, that number dropped down to two. One of those was Fruits Basket Season 2, which is still ongoing, but the other was a new Isekai series based on a Light Novel, and one with a premise that really caught my interest – My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! (or HameFura for short).

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I have some significant gaps in the classics of Toonami. I watched most (though not quite all) of Gundam Wing when it first aired. Same with Outlaw Star, and a fair amount of Dragon Ball Z (at least through the end of the Namek arc). However, I never really watched much of Yu-Yu Hakusho, and I never got around to watching any of The Big O. Maybe it was the title of the show – it certainly wasn’t the aesthetic – the retro-futuristic style grabbed my interest. However, it wasn’t until recently that I finally got the opportunity to watch The Big O in its entirety – and it’s an interesting show to unpack.

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After completing Super Robot Wars V a year or so ago, I decided I wanted to watch some of the anime series from that show, particularly before moving on to X (along with wanting to watch a couple of the shows from X as well to set up the story for comparison). That, combined with the fact that I’d been watching various anime series on weekends with my parents, and that my mother had watched the original first season of Space Battleship Yamato while growing up in Hawaii, lead me to bump the reboot of that series up on my list.

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