Anime highlight: Noir

I happened to rewatch a couple of episodes of Noir recently, and was surprisingly absorbed in. My general opinion on the series was that the episodic stories were pretty good while the overarching plot disappointing. To me, the characters’ backstory felt unengaging and too convoluted for a series otherwise grounded in reality. I like the more stand-alone episodes, though. While they have improbable amounts of plot armour, they have interesting stories and flesh out the characters nicely. More importantly, they gave life to a very convincing Europe both culturally and visually — if France exists in the early-00s anime world, it is probably in Noir. To be sure, Urasawa’s overlooked Master Keaton and later Monster also do a great (and arguably better) job at offering Europe-centric drama, but these exotically European anime remain few and far between.

Doing a comprehensive review isn’t the aim of today’s post, though; I have rewatched only up to three episodes and would simply like to take the example of episode 3 to highlight a few choices and details that made the series very engaging so far. This post could have been different if I had more free time with my newly-obtained summer job, but all things considered this kind of article can also be interesting once in a while.

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Yotsuba& is almost as good as Ryuushika Ryuushika


Among the manga serialised in Gangan Online (Barakamon, Nozaki-kun, WataMote, Danshi Koukousei), there is a little-known ongoing series I am infatuated with: Ryuushika Ryuushika.

The reason I gave such a title to this article is because I often see Ryuushika Ryuushika compared to Yotsuba& and never the other way around. This saddens me, because this gem of a manga very much stands on its own — not just as a side dish “if you liked Yotsuba.”

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A collaborative Ping Pong review

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“He’s got to have a hole in his defense! He’s reading me — he’s predicting my moves. Show me your weak point! I just can’t afford to end here!” Think these lines are from the latest battle shounen? Wrong: they’re from none other than Ping Pong: The Animation! If the theme of table tennis doesn’t pique your interest, looking at the show’s creators certainly should. Masaaki Yuasa, known for making great creative anime, teams up with Taiyou Matsumoto, a mangaka with similar experimental tendencies: the harmless fun-filled game of table tennis suddenly got a whole lot more interesting.

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