As my wife and son began re-watching this series today, I thought I’d repost this review here from its original appearance in 2012 over at Black Gate. I should add that since I wrote this article I’ve tried a number of well-recommended anime series and I’ve yet to find one that so fully fulfilled and exceeded its promise. After five years I still think of it quite highly and I think it may well be a masterpiece. Anyway, here’s what I wrote in 2012:
I haven’t watched much anime in my time. Frankly I haven’t gotten a lot out of the shows I’ve seen, many of which seem to consist of posing in the midst of fights and shouting at opponents. But I chanced upon something a few weeks back that began with potential and then delivered on it episode after episode. I found fabulous world building and strong character arcs. I watched half hour after half hour the way I devour chapter after chapter in a great fantasy novel, poised on the edge of my seat wondering how things would resolve.