Sunday, August 31, 2014

One Week Ramblings: Looking Back at The Devil is a Part-Timer!

Even the Demon King needs 10000-yen bills.
There isn't much to say about this show, except that it scores very high marks in overall execution and pure entertainment factor.


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Osananajimi Series, Part 2: PDA

It's been a long while since I initially started the Osananajimi Series, where I look at one of anime's favorite romantic interest archetypes and how it reminds me of the relationship between God and a Christian who has grown up in the church. This time, what I will be talking about is pretty applicable to all Christians, and there won't be a specific anime series that I will be drawing from, instead drawing from the osananajimi archetype in general.

The subject of this post is PDA. However, it does not stand for Public Displays of Affection here, but rather, Promises, Deeds, and Attributes--what childhood friends have to do with them, and what they have to do with our relationship with God.

It's a promise that transcends... well, you'll have to watch Kanon to see.


Sunday, August 24, 2014

One Week Ramblings: Looking Back at Fruits Basket

One thing I will sometimes do during these weekly ramblings is pick a show from my anime history and look back at it. (In other words, like Annalyn's Rewind posts at her blog.)  This will be separate from my Hall of Fame Inductions as the focus is less on recommending the show to others and more on what it means to me personally. Of course, I will very likely induct eligible shows I cover here properly into the Hall of Fame.*

For my first post of this nature, I thought I'd pick a show that was particularly influential to my anime history. I had a number of options, but after reading this article on Anime News Network on some "gateway anime" choices, as well as some other blog posts on the show (beware spoilers!), I decided on Fruits Basket.

Now, while Fruits Basket was among my first anime series I finished, it was not truly a "gateway" show in that it neither introduced me to an anime (or even to the shoujo genre, as Cardcaptor Sakura took that technically) nor was it the show that got me particularly interested in anime; nevertheless, it was a pivotal show that I watched during an important period of my anime history, and to this day it remains a show that holds a dear place in my heart.

I'll be doing a proper Hall of Fame induction of this show soon, so I'll be talking more about the show's qualities then. As for what the show means to me, there are a number of things that this show did for me.

Probably what really made this show so important to me was its various messages about life. They were very nice and positive messages that show that there is good in this world, and really helped me enjoy the show on a greater level than I had for most other shows I had watched until then. It helps that those messages were naturally incorporated into the show itself, thanks to a very nice protagonist in Tohru Honda, an optimistic and cheerful girl that sees the good in everyone. (She is also one of the major reasons I'm a big fan of her Japanese voice actor, Yui Horie.) She's one of my favorite characters in anime (although I like her even more in the manga; more on that later).

Of course, I have to talk about the other characters in the show, specifically the members of the Zodiac. They're a fun and varied bunch (well, most of them; Hiro was pretty insufferable in the anime), from the cool but soft-hearted Yuki to the tsundere Kyo, and fun side characters like the cheerfully childish Momiji and the crossdressing Ritsu and the absolutely adorable Kisa (one of the few girls among the Zodiac members). In addition to them, Tohru also has some good friends that play significant roles, too.

With a great cast, good messages, and a solid plot overall, plus some great comedy helped by some fun artistic direction, this show has pretty much everything it needs to be a top-tier show. I gave it a raw score of 9/10 (an A-) and a personal score of 9.7/10.0, both of which place the show cleanly among my favorites. If there's one particular thing I didn't like about the show, it was how it was cut short compared to the manga. While the anime does have a decent conclusion in and of itself, it is ultimately just a prelude to an even greater story found in the original manga. After enjoying the anime so much, I started reading the manga, and Fruits Basket also became the first manga series I bought in its entirety, even as it was being released in the U.S. by Tokyopop.

The manga is my all-time favorite manga series, and for good reason. It takes the foundation shown in the already excellent anime series and develops the characters and plot to further depths, introducing some Zodiac members the anime didn't have time to cover, providing more insight into the story's "villain", Akito, and showing that for all of Tohru's goodness, she is far from being "too perfect" (a complaint that is easy to make about the anime's Tohru, though it never bothered me too much). Unfortunately, it doesn't look like a reboot of the anime to cover the rest of the manga material will be coming, which is unfortunate, as if the anime could cover the entire story, it would probably be in my top 5 anime of all time. As it is... it's still in my top 20 and a show I remember fondly.

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News Corner

Sentai Filmworks has announced their December slate of releases. It includes a number of things, including some new licenses such as Reideen, the Queen's Blade OVAs, and The Ambition of Oda Nobuna, as well as the bilingual limited edition Blu-ray/DVD release of Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions! The releases are all available for pre-order on RightStuf, and will also start appearing for pre-order on other sites.

And in a particularly big bit of news, the original CLANNAD visual novel will be coming to Steam! Fans of the anime (which personally is my 2nd favorite anime of all time) will definitely want to check it out.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Hanayamata, Eps. 5-6: Live Like A Main Character

With Tami now part of the Yosakoi club, all Hana and Naru need to do to make the club official is to get Yaya to join the club (even if only in name), and then get Sally-sensei to be their advisor. Of course, that is exactly what happens, and before they know it, the Yosakoi club is officially a thing, and suddenly everyone is seriously practicing and thinking of logos and going to public yosakoi performances for inspiration.

Also, confusing their fathers with their sudden cheerfulness.
First of all, I should mention that I love it when others blog about the shows I love, such as this show, especially when other Christian anibloggers talk about the Christian themes in these shows. After all, I do not intend these posts to be comprehensive looks at every Christian theme in these shows, and there are certainly themes that I've missed. Alternatively, they save me some of the work of writing these posts if they cover an episode I haven't covered already, which is a good thing, right? Anyway, if you haven't already, do check out Japesland's post on Hanayamata (specifically episode 5) over at Beneath the Tangles.

Before I talk more about these episodes myself, I guess I'll use this part where I make my normal spiel about being careful of spoilers after the jump, and mention that now I will be noting just how spoilerrific the post will be. Spoiler Warning: The very end of this post will have a fairly major spoiler, so stop at the second picture if you don't want to see it. Otherwise, just the usual minor spoilers are after the jump.


Monday, August 18, 2014

One Week Ramblings: The Actual Church of Barakamon

I've been very enthusiastic blogging about Barakamon, one of the best shows this season and definitely the one I would most readily recommend to anyone. One of the reasons why I love this show so much is how it presents Christian values in every episode--it's what I'm blogging about it, after all--which I had thought at first to be incidental rather than intentional, like most cases of Christian values I find in anime. However, these Christian values might not be as incidental as I thought.

While it was probably mentioned before, episode 7 of Barakamon confirms that the show takes place on the Gotou Islands off of Nagasaki. And if you read the Wikipedia entry I just linked to, particularly the Demographics section, you'll find out, as I did, that the people of the islands are descended from a Christian sect that escaped there during the persecution of Christians in the 1600s, and that there are many Catholics and Catholic churches on the islands, making it one of the most notable Christian communities in Japan. This is especially notable given that Japan has a very small Christian population, at supposedly less than 1% of the entire population--in anime, this means that very few anime are actually about Christians and Christian values; as I mentioned before, most cases of Christian values in anime are completely incidental.

Now, I cannot say for sure that the author of Barakamon is intentionally drawing on Christian values, or that the characters living on the island are Christians; nothing directly related to Christianity is shown, outside a picture of a cathedral as one of the tourist spots one of Seishuu's off-island friends wants to visit. Nevertheless, it is very clear that the people of the island live according to Christian values, in their sense of hospitality, grace, and overall friendliness, and knowing the Christian background of the islands, it now makes much more sense that their culture is steeped in those values, regardless of their actual beliefs.

All this is to say that Barakamon is probably the closest thing to an actual Christian anime airing on TV in a long time. Christian anime fans like myself who are long used to having to find redeeming values in a definitively non-Christian field of media should be glad to know that there is at least one major series for which the Christian faith is, if not a core part of the show, at least a significant factor in it. It certainly has given me a new appreciation for what was already one of my favorite shows of the season.

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News Briefs:

Lots of anime movies have their Blu-ray and DVD listings solicited.

Two Studio Ghibli favorites are appearing on Blu-ray for the first time: Kiki's Delivery Service and Princess Mononoke. In addition, Hayao Miyazaki's most recent (and probably last) work, The Wind Rises, is now available for pre-order on Blu-ray and DVD.

In addition, Patema Inverted and Welcome to the Space Show are also available for pre-order on Blu-ray and DVD.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Barakamon, Eps. 5-6: Past Victory

As I continue my biweekly coverage of this show, I am glad to see other bloggers covering this excellent show. If you have not yet already, do check out D.M. Dutcher's post on how the people of the island can represent what the Christian Church should be like. I would also highly recommend checking out Takaii's continuing coverage of the show at Random Curiosity.

Special thanks to Random Curiosity for the Barakamon screencaps. Have a delicious oyster shell as thanks!
Of course, I am still covering this show as part of my YamaHanaBara series. In these episodes, our exiled calligrapher Seishuu Handa has had plenty of time to get accustomed to the ways of the island. Can he show some of his old friends and calligraphy acquaintances how he has grown when they visit? I probably don't need to say it at this point anymore, but expect minor spoilers after the jump.


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Sakura Trick: Yuri for Christians, Revisited

Some time ago, I wrote a post asking the question of whether or not yuri shows like Sakura Trick were good for Christians to watch. In this post, I will look back at that specific show and what, if any, are its good points for potential Christian viewers, as well as what pitfalls it might have.

Posting a picture of manga art because I actually like it over the anime art in this case.
As a reminder, this post addresses things from the perspective of Christians who consider homosexuality a sin, but who, in the name of love, do not judge others who are in same-gender relationships. Others with differing views are welcome to comment on this post, of course. For all commenters, please be respectful of others regardless of differing views.

Also, there are some small spoilers after the jump, as usual.


Monday, August 11, 2014

One Week Ramblings: Raw Scores and Personal Scores

As a reminder, the Weekly Ramblings series now features my talking about something anime/manga-related, with various news at the end.

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Recently, I have implemented a new scoring system to complement my existing scoring system for anime. This new system, the Raw Score, follows a straight 1-10 scale (technically 0-11, but only one show will get an 11 and I'll never give out a 0) with no decimals, and scores are determined more by the shows own strengths and weaknesses than on my personal preferences and biases. For more information on raw scores, click here.

I have also updated my MAL page, such that raw scores are used for Score, while personal scores are under the Tags. As you can see, by and large my Personal Scores are higher than my Raw Scores, sometimes by quite a lot, and are pretty much never below the Raw Scores (assuming that a 10/10 raw score corresponds to a personal score of 9.7/10.0).

There are some interesting things on my end regarding how much higher Personal Scores are than Raw Scores. There are two shows, for instance, which have a Raw Score of 6/10 (a barely above average B-) but a Personal Score of over 9.0: Sister Princess and Dog Days (both seasons). I wrote a blog post on the former and have inducted the latter into the Hall of Fame under special conditions, but in both cases, I am well aware that, while I greatly enjoyed both shows, it was for reasons that go well beyond how good the shows themselves are (you can read about those reasons in the links given). In a sense, I consider them my "guilty pleasure" shows, though I believe both shows are at least good enough that they can be recommended to fans of similar shows.

On the other hand, while I will probably never hand out a Personal Score lower than a Raw Score (by and large, my personal preferences make me like a show more rather than less), I do have some shows where the Personal Score is exactly the same as the Raw Score. Probably the most notable example is Attack on Titan, which is a 8/10 (B+) show that I scored an 8.0/10.0. (Actually, all of my current examples of Personal Score = Raw Score are 8's.) I have mentioned in the past that Attack on Titan is really not my type of show, so the enjoyment I get out of it is pretty much entirely my appreciation for how well-done the show itself is; this is reflected in how my score for the show is entirely made up of its Raw Score. (The same can be said for Gunslinger Girl, another show scoring 8.0 on both scales. As for the third, Crest of the Stars, that has more to do with my withholding full judgment on the show as I have yet to see the sequels.)

Overall, I place more weight on Personal Scores than Raw Scores, though Raw Scores are good for what I choose to recommend to others--and will be a major part of an update to the Hall of Fame section of this blog.

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News Briefs:

- Cardcaptor Sakura will start streaming on Crunchyroll on Tuesday, though only the first 6 episodes will be available for free. All 70 episodes will be available for subscribers, and all episodes will be available both subbed and with the Animax dub.
- Funimation had plenty to announce during Otakon. They have officially scheduled Cowboy Bebop's Blu-ray release for December, and will have two unique Premium Editions, exclusive to Amazon and Funimation's site, respectively, each with different premium items and packaging. They have also license-rescued The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (both seasons, plus the shorts, but not the Disappearance movie) as well as Lucky Star, as well as the movies for Strike Witches and Steins;Gate.
- An impromptu Q&A session on Sentai Filmworks' Twitter (amusingly tagged #Notakon due to Sentai not being at Otakon but the session essentially being their "panel") has a couple of noteworthy notes. Most notably, No Game No Life has been confirmed to be getting a dub, and the Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions! Premium Edition box set is scheduled for December release.
- Finally, it's been a long time coming, but Season 3 of Working!! (known in the U.S. as Wagnaria!!) has been greenlit! The original manga will come to a close soon, but it remains to be seen whether the anime will be able to cover the rest. Nevertheless, I for one am glad to see one of my favorite comedies get another season, and I know some others will be too.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Hanayamata, Episodes 3 & 4: No Regrets for Those Chosen

Hanayamata continues to impress me with how well it is working in character development into what would normally be just another cute-girls-doing-cute-things show. Though it is also plenty cute, for anyone who likes that (like me).

Cute even when in boy's clothes.
This post will be focused more on episode 4 than 3, since episode 4 has more of the connections with Christianity than episode 3 does. Episode 3 was still a great episode, though, as it continues to look into Yaya's jealousy as this time, she gets to interact more with Hana and understand things from her end. Meanwhile, episode 4 explores the relationship Naru has with Tami, a childhood friend of hers whom she looks up to as a big sister and someone like a princess (given Tami's high-class upbringing). I probably don't need to say this anymore at this point, but expect some spoilers after the jump.


Sunday, August 3, 2014

One Week Ramblings: Sporting Behavior Edition

I will be doing something new with the Weekly Ramblings, where I will be talking about a random subject related to anime and related media. Various news will be included at the end of these posts.

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Last season introduced two new sports anime series, both of which have continued into this season. Both are very good shows that I am enjoying quite a lot, and are easily recommended for sports anime fans as well as anime fans interested in trying a sports show. What is interesting, though, is how these two shows excel in two very different ways due to the nature of the sports involved.

These two shows are Haikyuu!! and Baby Steps.

Haikyuu!! is about volleyball, and chronicles one team's journey into the tournaments. Volleyball is very much a team sport, something the show makes very clear as it highlights each different player's role. As such, one of the show's greatest strength is in the development of the relationships between the players, as they learn to work with each other to defeat their opponents.

On the other hand, Baby Steps is about tennis--singles tennis, specifically--which means matches are one-on-one. Correspondingly, instead of teamwork, the show focuses on one player as he grows in his tennis skill. This show, then, excels in the individual development of that one player through each match.

A team sport about teamwork, or an individual sport about individual growth? Both are great at what they do, and really, a lot of it comes down to simply whether you like team interactions or individual development better (or, more simply, whether you like team sports or individual sports better). I personally like team sports more, so Haikyuu is the one I'm liking more at the moment, though I'm really enjoying both shows, so I'm quite happy either way.

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News Briefs

Here's a show I was not expecting to get a sequel, but am quite glad it is getting one: Kamisama Hajimemashita, known as Kamisama Kiss in the US. It's a show that I enjoyed quite a bit and I am definitely looking forward to more of it.

In more unfortunate news, Studio Ghibli have announced that they are considering dismantling their production branch, meaning we might not see much of any new works from the studio.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Summer 2014: What I'm Watching (Part 2)

Part 2 features even more shows, ranging from some big name titles to a variety of hard-hitting comedies. Let's get started!

Invaders of the Rokujyoma!?
Japanese title: Rokujyouma no Shinryakusha!?

I'm kind of surprised no squid girls are involved.

In looking for a place to live alone, Koutarou Satomi thought he hit the jackpot when he found a rokujyoma (6-tatami-mat, about 9 ft. x 12 ft.) available for just 5000 yen (about $50 USD) per month. For a single high-school boy who doesn't need a lot of space, it is a steal. Literally, as Koutarou finds out that he "stole" the room from a ghost girl, Sanae, who is now determined to chase any new roommates out. As Koutarou learns why the rent is so cheap, his apartment is then invaded by an underground dweller, a space princess, and a magical girl that everyone thinks is just a cosplayer, all of whom are looking to claim the apartment as her own. But Koutarou is not going out without a fight... and neither is the landlady who has to deal with them all.

It's a good thing this show airs on Fridays. This harem comedy is precisely the type of show that one might want to watch after a long workweek: lighthearted, silly, and requiring no brainpower at all. That amidst all of its silliness it can muster some heartwarming moments between characters is a nice bonus. It's not going to win awards but it's a fun show for fans of harem comedy.

Available on: Crunchyroll
Licensed by: Sentai Filmworks

Locodol
Japanese title: Futsuu no Joshikousei ga [Locodol] Yatte Mita.

These local-m@sters live for the love of the town.

The small town of Nagarekawa is not exactly prospering, but that might change when Nanako Usami gets drafted by her uncle to become the town's local idol, a.k.a. a Locodol. Joining fellow Locodol Yukari and others, they do promotional work and small amateur performances for the town. So maybe they might not shine on the big stage, but maybe they can at least bring a smile to the faces of the locals.

I have said this a lot about this show, but it's important enough to repeat: this is not your normal idol show, where the girls sing and dance their way to personal stardom. These girls are just trying to help out their local town; they only get basic compensation from the people's taxes, their songs are amateur performances of town anthems and mascot themes, and any popularity they have is literally just being the talk of the town. And yet, because of all this, this show has an intimate charm to it that other idol shows don't. There's also plenty of moments of growing bonds between Nanako and Yukari, and plenty of laughs along the way. Check it out if you want to see a different sort of idol show.

Available on: Crunchyroll

Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun
Japanese title: Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun

When truth and fiction stop being strangers.

Chiyo Sakura gathered up her courage to confess to her crush, Umetaro Nozaki... almost. She ended up just saying that she's his fan, leading to some confusion when he responds by giving her an autograph. Then, he invites her over to his house... where she ends up as his assistant. Turns out, Nozaki is a mangaka, and not just any mangaka, but the author of one of Chiyo's favorite shoujo manga, "Let's Fall in Love"! As Chiyo wonders just how a guy as dense as Nozaki can create a manga that "represents the heart of girls", she gets a behind-the-scenes look at the process of creating a shoujo manga when the people involved are just a bit crazy.

Truly good clean comedies are getting rarer and rarer these days. While plenty of shows feature comedy of varying degrees, shows that are dedicated to the comedic art and bringing out the most and biggest laughs are rather infrequent—even more so shows that do so without relying on crude or sexual humor. Which is why when a show like Nozaki-kun comes along, it is appreciated like a rainstorm during a drought. Nozaki-kun is character-based comedy at its finest, providing a cast of characters with fun, quirky personalities, and using those personalities and how they play off each other to make its comedic situations. The show also likes to play off various manga tropes and gender stereotypes to milk comedic dissonance for all it is worth. The end result is absolutely hilarious, and is IMO the best comedy of the season, possibly even best of the year. This is definitely a must-see for fans of comedy, especially if you want something you don't have to feel guilty laughing about.

Available on: Crunchyroll
Licensed by: Sentai Filmworks

Sabagebu! Survival Game Club

Such a cute, girly picture. Surely this will be a cutesy, harmless little show about pellet guns...

Momoka is saved from a pervert on the train by a fellow schoolmate... wielding two Desert Eagles. Turns out, this girl is Miou, the president of the Survival Game Club dedicated to airsoft battles, and after various incidents, she forces Momoka to join the club. But Momoka is not as sweet of a girl as she seems, and behind her unassuming smile lies a ruthless, vengeful girl who is sure to keep things interesting in the club.

Summer seems to be the season for airsoft-based shows, with Stella Women's Academy, High School Division Class C3 airing this time last year and taking a surprisingly serious look at the sport. This time, the show goes for pure comedy... but not the usual silly sort that shows about a bunch of girls normally do. Oh no, this show goes for a much more sadistic type of comedy, one where the lead female is actually quite nasty and not the type of person you would like in real life, surrounded by people that are largely just as unsympathetic as they mistreat each other all for the sake of comedy. Expect the show to push boundaries and be generally irreverent (a recent episode even makes a joke of bulimia). Whether this kind of black comedy is actually funny is up to individual tastes, but if it is, well, this show has you set. Also, expect plenty of fourth-wall-breaking courtesy of one lemony narrator. (The real scary thing is, the original manga was actually serialized in a shoujo magazine; this show is audience-wise technically the same sort as Blue Spring Ride. I still cannot wrap my head around that.)

Available on: Crunchyroll, The Anime Network
Licensed by: Sentai Filmworks

Sailor Moon Crystal
Japanese title: Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon: Crystal


In the name of the moon, she will punish the people who made the original anime deviate so far from the manga.

Sequel Alert?: This is a full reboot of Sailor Moon that follows the manga. No prior experience with the franchise is necessary.

Usagi is an ordinary, crybaby 14-year-old girl who one day meets a mysterious talking cat, Luna. Luna then gives Usagi the power to transform into a magical girl, which is immediately put to the test as evil forces attack the town. Usagi must find the other Sailor Guardians and get to the bottom of the situation, while trying to figure out the identity of the handsome, mysterious Tuxedo Mask.

Ah, Sailor Moon. There is no denying the importance of this franchise on the history of anime, and with this reboot focusing on the very first work of the franchise--the original manga--this show is, if nothing else, an interesting history lesson on the origin of many anime tropes. There's probably a major nostalgia factor involved, too, though I personally don't have many memories of Sailor Moon growing up, so any nostalgia is more in how this show affected other shows of its time. But all of that is secondary to the most important question about this show: is the story itself enjoyable to watch? Personally, I would say so; there might not be anything particularly amazing yet but the show overall is plenty of fun and seems to be assembling a good cast of Sailor Guardians together (not to mention Tuxedo Mask). How well the show has aged may vary in the minds of others, but with no major missteps of execution yet (barring the use of CG for transformation scenes), it should hold up well enough even in the modern age of anime. The only real problem with this show? It airs every other week, making the wait between episodes painfully long...

Available on: Crunchyroll
Licensed by: Viz Media

Space Dandy (Season 2)

Don't worry; they have not found any new aliens while they were gone.

Sequel Alert: This is a sequel to the first season of Space Dandy, which started at the beginning of the year. The episodes are fairly standalone, though you might want to at least watch a couple episodes of the first season first.

Alien hunter Dandy, his robot companion QT, and the Beetlejucian Meow continue to try to find undiscovered alien species, getting themselves in all sorts of crazy situations in the meantime.

The first season of Space Dandy didn't impress me at first, but it grew on me as it went along, and now I am looking forward to new episodes every week. There's a very weird sense of humor that this show uses, on the one hand being fairly crude and sexual (Dandy spends a lot of time hanging out at a restaurant called "Boobies"), which I'm not a fan of. On the other hand, there's also a very creative sense of humor that can get almost absurdist at times, and that is pretty fun. That Dandy and co. started becoming likable characters helped, too. This show is helmed by the legendary director of Cowboy Bebop, Shinichiro Watanabe, though this show is pretty different from his other works; not only that, but Space Dandy brings on board a different scriptwriter for each episode, including some well-known writers like Masaaki Yuasa of The Tatami Galaxy fame. This means that different episodes can be pretty uneven in both tone and quality. In the end, though, this show is basically a playground for Watanabe and his crew, and the end result is pretty darn fun.

Available on: Funimation, Cartoon Network's Toonami block (dubbed; check local listings)
Licensed by: Funimation

Terror in Resonance
Japanese title: Zankyou no Terror

9/12, once again the harbinger of an attack of terror.

Tokyo is struck by a terrorist attack from two mysterious teen boys known only as Nine and Twelve. As the people are sent into a panic, the police force scramble to try to solve clues posted by the boys as "Sphinx" to try to prevent further damage and figure out the who and why of this new threat. Meanwhile, Lisa Mashima, a girl bullied at school and pestered by a nagging mom, finds herself involved in Sphinx's schemes.

Space Dandy isn't Shinichiro Watanabe's only work this season, as he partners up with his musical partner-in-crime Yoko Kanno once again, this time to bring us this psychological thriller on the noitaminA block. Terror in Resonance can be a very unnerving series; the opening attack is definitely meant to be reminiscent of 9/11 (which occurred on 9/12 in Japan... see what they did there?), there's nuclear weapons material involved, and if that all is not enough, there's also all the bullying done to Lisa, whereupon one wonders if her involvement with Sphinx will lead to her breakdown. Nine and Twelve, by the way, are not bland antagonist-protagonists; they have a history and a background behind their actions, even if much of it is still hidden. There's also that good ol' element of watching the two sides try to outwit each other, as a detective named Shibasaki leads the charge against Sphinx. Add in a very effective soundtrack by Yoko Kanno, and you have a show that is a very compelling watch.

Available on/Licensed by: Funimation

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Feel free to post in the comments about what you are watching!