The 400th episode of Naruto Shippuden was so bad that it invalidates the entire filler arc. This is no Chuunin exam. It doesn't remotely live up to the standard the real author set for it. Lee isn't acting remotely like himself in this episode. The fights are awful. The new characters are boring retreads of ideas that have already been explored. It's all just shit. It was an idle hope that Naruto filler would be worth anything from the start.
Let's hope the filler ends soon and we get back to the actual Naruto again soon. Probably this summer? Fairy Tail has its own share of filler problems. This week's Fairy Tail is filler. Next week's is from a Fairy Tail manga not by the original author, but at least somewhat sanctioned by the original author. The week after that it's based off of a Fairy Tail light novel, again not written by the original author, but again at least sanctioned by the original author. What would you even call that? Semi-filler?
Hopefully Fairy Tail will get back on track with the Tartaros arc this spring. Semi-filler Fairy Tail is definitely better than filler Naruto, but I'd really rather have both of these series producing their actual content again. Hunter x Hunter's already gone, as is Bleach, so we're running really low on Shonen Action series at this rate.
One good bit of news is that Dragon Ball Kai is being translated again, this time by Unison Subs, a portuguese fansub group which has taken pity on all the English speakers of the world, who can't produce one fansub team to fansub into the world's most-spoken-language. So these Portuguese, population 5 million or whatever, are going out of their way to fansub the series in English, population 5 billion or so, because the Portuguese are bigger fans of the series than all five billion of us. It's shameful for us, but says a lot about how great Unison Subs is as a group. Not only are they taking care of their own country's needs, by subbing it in Portuguese, they saw the pain of the English speaking world not having subs like they had, and gave it to the rest of us too. The Portuguese are Christ-like beings of pure luminosity. In the day of our darkest sorrow, where we'd fallen six episodes of unsubbed Dragon Ball behind, they came to us bearing subtitles. 'Good news' from angels on high indeed!
Next week Idolm@ster will be filler too. This season just hasn't been very satisfying for a variety of reasons. Still, I guess it was better than 2014's winter season. Boy that was miserable.
Meanwhile, I've finished rewatching Rocket Girls, Tamayura, and Binbou Shimai Monogatari. Rocket Girls is really great, and I'd love to rank it higher than 74th, but the fact is all the series above it are also classics, so it's very difficult to see where I would put it. At just twelve episodes, it's even shorter than Air or Madoka Magica, which is already in the 50's. Prince of Tennis is over 100 episodes. Am I really supposed to treat Rocket Girls' 12 episodes as better than hundreds of Prince of Tennis eps? For now the show will just have to stay where it is.
Binbou Shimai Monogatari is even shorter, at just ten episodes in length. The manga actually stretches a long way past where the anime ended, but it just tended to meander around without saying or doing anything. The manga wasn't bad, it just wasn't treading any new ground either. I'm kind of suspicious that the manga was eventually plain cancelled, because even the manga's ending seemed abrupt and unsatisfying. The anime would have been better if it had followed the manga to the end, in which case it would've needed to be twice as long a series. But it wouldn't have been much better, so I understand why they stopped the show where they did.
Tamayura was a struggle to get through. It's a very slow paced show and it has a lot of obnoxious, loud characters that aren't funny in the least. There were times I thought about just giving up and cutting Tamayura from my rankings. But I couldn't do that when there were also so many heartfelt, beautiful moments interspersed between that all as well. The aesthetics of this show are just incredible, from the Maaya Sakamoto music to the still frame pictures they're always showing off, to the bamboo lantern festivals, to the kimonos, to the fireworks displays, to the sakura trees in full blossom, this show is always achingly beautiful to look at. One time, a girl looks at a blank picture book her friend had prepared but hadn't gotten to use because she was too ill to go on their school field trip together and just breaks down into tears, explaining, "but, but it's just so completely empty. . ." It's one of the most powerfully emotional scenes of any anime, and it's all so subtle and refined, as the girl isn't even crying for herself, but for someone else instead, and it's not like anyone died, but still the girl felt the pity welling up inside of her to an uncontrollable extent all the same, because she was just that sensitive to how Maon must have felt. This is the power of Tamayura. Always, just around the corner, the show reminds you of why it's so good, right before you have a chance to forget again.
Maon is the best part of Tamayura, from when she's reading her picture book to the crowd and her parents in Hitotose, to when she makes friends with Norie when she was young, to practically any scene where she just stands there with her graceful shy poise. But Fuu is cool too. Chihiro is such a sweet girl, always thinking of others before herself. A little something can be found in all the cast if you watch long enough. Tamayura may be a struggle, but it's definitely a must see anime, as proven by my ability to watch the entire series not just once but twice through now. I'm looking forward to the new, incoming fourth season that starts this year. Tamayura and I still have a long ways to travel together.
My next targets to finish rewatching are Kokoro Toshokan and Myself;Yourself, both of which I'm nearly done with. Since Myself;Yourself was worse than I remembered, and Kokoro Toshokan was much better than I remembered, I flipped the two's rankings to each other's slots. Now Kokoro Toshokan is 88th and Myself;Yourself is 137th. Rewatching shows helps you become a better judge than just untrustworthy initial impressions and fleeting memories. Kokoro Toshokan's soundtrack, voice acting, and just overall mood is as piercing as Clannad After Story or Little Busters Refrain. I didn't remember it as being anywhere near this sad the first time through. Or maybe it really was this sad, but I just worked hard to forget because it was too painful to remember. >>.
After them comes Aishiteru ze Baby (which is sad enough itself!), Valvrave and Chihayafuru.season 2, all of which I'm about halfway through now.
After these shows will come Ojamajo Doremi, the last hurdle before I complete my New Year's Resolution, and prove all of my favorite anime series are not just worth watching, but worth rewatching as well.