Anime ABC’s – Z Voting Round

The Final Vote is Upon Us!

It’s been a long journey these past 4 years, but we are sadly coming to a closing out this rotation of Anime ABC’s. Don’t worry though, this isn’t the end of the project, I still have a bit more up my sleeve in that regard. For now though, let’s stick to the main event:  the vote!

Anime ABC’s Z Voting Round Link <- Click Me!

Voting is open from today until 9/22/20 11:59 PM as usual.

Remember, if a show is missing from the list, be sure to consult my alphabetized list of everything I’ve ever discussed here. If you don’t see it there, go ahead and vote for it using the “Other” option. Encourage other folks to vote for it as well, it could always win!

Not Sure What Anime ABC’s Is?

Anime ABC’s is a fun community focused event that I run here at Jon Spencer Reviews. Any and all people can participate in this event, even if you know nothing about anime! So how exactly does this all work? It’s simple! Just follow the link above and vote for as many of the listed shows (or provide your own) that seem interesting to you. Each round moves to the next letter in the alphabet, so the current “Y” round is the twenty fifth anime ABC’s. This is done to keep things interesting and to allow for more variety with each passing round.

The goal of this series is to encourage community input, interaction, as well as to allow me to discover cool new shows, or in some cases, rediscover ones that I previously watched. You can check out my previous ABC reviews for:

Be sure to click on any of the titles listed above (you can’t click on the pictures below, the link thing doesn’t work in a collage) to see what a finished product will look like!

What are you waiting for? VOTE NOW!

‘I’m Thinking of Ending Things’ Film Review

Grade: A

Jessie Buckley in I'm Thinking of Ending Things (2020)

If there is one thing that makes Charlie Kaufman such an interesting writer, it is his exploration of the human psyche and what makes the mind tick. Whether it be the fulfillment of desire/longing to live another life (Being John Malkovich), what we decide to do with our memories both good and bad (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), the dedication of achieving an ambition (Synechdoche, New York, Kaufman’s directorial feature), or finding meaning in a life filled with monotony (Anomalisa, which Kaufman also directed). The films which Kaufman has written for may be quirky, existentialist fantasies, yet somehow, they feel as real as can be. The characters Kaufman creates are just ordinary people, though it takes a certain fantastical situation to help dig in to the recesses of their minds as to make them relatable, whether they achieve their goals or not.

The same could be said for Kaufman’s newest feature I’m Thinking of Ending Things, based on Iain Reid’s debut novel, which hit Netflix on September 4th. Like Kaufman’s earlier works, I’m Thinking of Ending Things is yet another mind-bender about the human psyche that deals with existentialism, identity, and how we perceive relationships told through the inner monologues of a young woman (Jessie Buckley) as she goes off to meet her boyfriend Jake’s (Jesse Plemons) parents (Toni Collette and David Thewlis) during a snowstorm. As expected from a Charlie Kaufman film, things take a turn for the psychologically bizarre.

How else can I describe I’m Thinking of Ending Things without spoiling anything? It is a film that requires you to accept the eerie bizarre reality of its protagonist’s mental state, where one event twists into a completely different outcome in the strangest of ways, until we find ourselves pulled into its deteriorating state of psychosis. I cannot guarantee that I’m Thinking of Ending Things will go down easy with the average viewer, especially with scenes that feel as if they could halt the movie in its tracks, but it will give fans of Charlie Kaufman the satisfaction of questioning everything they have seen.

Anime ABC’s Y is for Yuri!!! on ICE

A Love Letter to Figure Skating

When a work has so much love and passion for a given idea or topic poured into it, it’s almost impossible to ignore. It comes through in the final product. Yuri!!! on ICE is an anime that took the world by storm because of its love for professional figure skating and the statements it makes on love itself. However, it’s passion is also the show’s biggest downside, often sacrificing quality for its passion.
Continue reading “Anime ABC’s Y is for Yuri!!! on ICE”

And the Girls Keep on Rolling, a Character Study for The Rolling Girls

Messy, Quirky, and Certainly Unique

If somebody asked me to explain what The Rolling Girls was all about in just a few words, this would be what comes to mind. It’s a messy show with lots of quirks, but it’s also an anime that’s a unique experience. While it may not be the strongest series I’ve watched, nor even one I could call a favorite, its themes are beautifully illustrated through the series’ characters. Continue reading “And the Girls Keep on Rolling, a Character Study for The Rolling Girls”

#Anitwitwatches Season 8 – The Princess and the Pilot

Welcome to the Eighth #Anitwitwatches!

We’ll be doing something a little different for this season of the watch so please be sure to read this full article for all the relevant information. To start, we are going to be watching a film that was suggested by patron yon.nyan called The Princess and the Pilot thanks to your votes. I don’t know much about it but it seems like it’ll be a pretty fun film!

Below you’ll find information on what the watch is as well as the schedule for the eighth season of #anitwitwatches. Thank you to everybody who has participated in the past and all of you who will be joining for the first time with this series!

What is #Anitwitwatches?

This is a weekly community event meant to bring folks together to revisit old favorites and discover new shows. It’s meant to be something you can get as involved in as you want, there is no pressure to participate every week or every watch, but we’d love to have you to share in the experience and discuss the shows we are watching all the same!

I was inspired to do this after seeing the “rewatches” that people do over at Reddit in the r/anime sub. Since I interact with a lot of you guys on Twitter, I thought it would be the perfect place to do something similar! That said, even if you do not have a Twitter you can still join in by posting any content via WordPress, YouTube, or whatever suits your fancy. If you do, be sure to send me an email at jonspencerreviews@gmail.com so I can share your wonderful creations!

For everyone else, simply watch the episodes for the week based on the schedule below. Make sure to use the hashtag, #anitwitwatches when you do, and that’s it! Discuss with the other folks participating, create content, and generally just have a fun time!

This next show was chosen based on YOUR votes, so let’s get to the watch schedule.

The Princess and the Pilot Schedule

We will be taking a 2 week break, meaning that we will NOT be watching anything for the week of 8/31/20 OR 9/7/20. This is to give me time to properly prepare for hosting the watch and give everybody else a little break before starting something new. We will be keeping the Monday time slot for this watch after careful consideration and feedback.

To offer more clarification beyond the usual speech, I want to further clarify why we are taking a two week break and the plans for the next watch. I happened to get asked in for jury duty so I need to take an additional week off, plus Labor Day is one of the days we’d normally watch. Therefore, it just made sense to give an extra two weeks. However, the biggest reason by far is my plans for the season 9 watch. I won’t say what I have planned exactly, but you better get ready for some spooky fun 😉

If you have not done so, you can see where you can watch The Princess and the Pilot for free, and legally, by using because.moe. Unfortunately, I cannot realistically check all regions but I aimed to make this as accessible as possible. That said, I won’t stop you from doing what you need to in order to participate. The more the merrier!

Here’s the super easy schedule for the film, it’s exactly one day:

Since this is a film, we’ll only be having the one watch date so nice and simple. I hope you’re excited to watch this one and I look forward to all the excellent discussion!

Gosick’s Most Interesting Story & Why it’s NOT Victorique and Kujos’

A Tale Spanning Centuries

Over and over again I’ve been recommended Gosick for both its mystery and romance angels. While I can say the show is alright to that regard, following Kujo, or “The Reaper who Comes in Spring”, and Victorique the “Golden Fairy of the Library”, it’s far from the most interesting thing Gosick has to offer. Today I want to explore the rise of science as the mystical is slowly lost within this world. Continue reading “Gosick’s Most Interesting Story & Why it’s NOT Victorique and Kujos’”

Pet’s Commitment to Presentation

Pet was Disappointing

I don’t think that stating this should come to a surprise to anyone who’s watched it. What looked to be a show that was going to borrow on ideas present in Inception and Paprika was instead a fairly muddy story about interpersonal drama and abusive relationships. While Pet ultimately has some interesting things to say, it simply doesn’t deliver on expectations for a variety of reasons. However, one place it doesn’t compromise on is in its presentation, and the reason I stuck with the anime for all 13 episodes. Continue reading “Pet’s Commitment to Presentation”

Saying Goodbye to The Rolling Girls – Concluding our Seventh #Anitwitwatches

Come and Vote!

The time has arrived once again to say goodbye to another great season of #anitwitwatches! For our seventh season of the watch we had The Rolling Girls, which is a weird little spectacle that a lot of folks missed out on. I think folks have had a pretty good time with it so far, even if we can all pretty much agree it isn’t super amazing or anything, but sometimes a show’s “uniqueness” can really make it worthwhile regardless. Below I’ll leave a link to our vote on Twitter where you can help decide what we’ll be watching next. Keep an eye out as we’ll be announcing the winner alongside the concluding thoughts for The Rolling Girls on 8/24/20.

I’ll be reviewing The Rolling Girls shortly after the watch concludes, so please look forward to that as well!

What is #Anitwitwatches?

This is a community initiative I started a few months ago where we get together and collectively watch an anime. Then, we talk about it on Twitter using the hashtag #anitwitwatches. The first ever watch was for Tonari no Seki-kun which was a lot of fun. You can view more information on the watch, as well as my review on Seki-kun here.

Here’s a complete list of every show watched and reviewed based on what season of the watch they were featured in:

  1. Tonari no Seki-kun
  2. Rampo Kitan
  3. School Days
  4. Girls’ Last Tour
  5. Wandering Son
  6. The Perfect insider
  7. The Rolling Girls – Review coming soon!

Why is X Show on the Poll?

As I mentioned last time, each show was carefully considered using a series of criteria to ensure that this activity remains fun and varied each time. This time around the #anitwitwatches poll only consists of films. That’s for a few reasons. The first being that I have something in mind for October and didn’t want to overlap. The second being I have jury duty all of September and my schedule for this event got thrown off as a result. A short summary is provided below and in the actual voting thread above as well.

  1. The Princess and the Pilot – A Patron pick thanks to Yon.Nyaan! I really don’t know much about this movie but it sounds super interesting. A love story set in a time of war. Beyond that, I don’t really know but I’m certainly intrigued!
  2. Lu Over the Wall – Hey, another Patron pick! This time we have Scott to thank. Yusa has been in the spotlight when it comes to the anime community for some time, but even still, he’s not somebody who’s work has been seen by many in the anime community. This film was an exception to the normal criteria something needs to satisfy in order to qualify for the watch, but I think it’s an entry that would be worth it!
  3. Night on the Galactic Railroad – An older film that I included merely for my own self-indulgence. I’ve wanted to watch this for sometime, but if that’s not incentive enough, this is a prerequisite to me reviewing Penguindrum, a series you’ve all been requesting from me for some time now. So maybe vote for it?
  4. In This Corner of the WorldWhile this is a war-time story it’s not like the rest. The color palette should make that obvious. I don’t really know all too much about it but it’s been sitting in my queue for ages.

A Note About Patrons

You’ll notice that two of the options were provided by Patrons this time around. One of the benefits to being a Patron of mine is having a say on community projects like this along with several other perks, like an extra vote on this poll. This will be a new feature of this series moving forward where at least one option on every poll will be a Patron pick.

Why should you become a Patron? Beyond the perks, the main reason to pledge your support for what I do here is to help me keep programs like this going. Eventually, I’d love to give away a copy of every show we watch for this series to lucky participants. Plus, your support helps pay the bills, which is kind of important! So please consider learning more about the Jon Spencer Reviews Patreon by clicking the button below.

Image result for patreon button

Join in the Fun!

So get to voting! I hope to see you for the next watch and would love to hear about shows you’d like to see added to the poll in the future. If you have any questions feel free to ask, I’d be more than happy to answer!

Alien: Covenant: A Tale of Two Tales (An Average Conclusion)

Long is the way and hard, that out of hell leads up to light

John Milton, Paradise Lost

As the level of anticipation for this last Alien entry has risen to be nearly palpable, so too rises the level of disappointment of the movies overall. Looking back over the series, you can track the quality of the movies and almost create a roller coaster ride with the line connecting them. The thunderous beginning of the series, followed by twists and turns and corkscrews in the movies that come after. All of these aspects inevitably ending with this movie: a slow and sad end of the ride. Ending a series with a movie like this reminds us all of lessons taught repeatedly throughout many franchises in the last decade: a simple premise  CANNOT uphold 40 years of movies and still remain as fresh as the start. I’m pretty bad at analogies involving roller coasters, but I’m pretty good at being bitter and jaded about movies, so let’s end this project with Alien: Covenant.

Continue reading “Alien: Covenant: A Tale of Two Tales (An Average Conclusion)”

My 4 Year Journey with Hunter x Hunter (2011)

I Was Skeptical

It used to be when you first became an anime fan that there was an almost unspoken list of anime everyone was silently expected to check out. You’d see shows like Code GeassCowboy Bebop, Death Note, and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood appear on almost everyone’s list. As time when on, this list has changed, and for many even, doesn’t even really exist anymore. Some shows have survived the test of time and are regarded as “must-see” classics, while other titles have found themselves wasting away to obscurity. Hunter x Hunter is a show that has debatably hit this titan status as you’ll see it recommended countless times to both new and veteran fans alike. Today we are going to discuss my four year journey with the 148 episode series, and what a journey it was. Continue reading “My 4 Year Journey with Hunter x Hunter (2011)”