From a strictly presentation-focused standpoint, The Night is Short, Walk On Girl every bit as impressive of a film as its name is long. But the thing is, as much as NiSWOG blew me away with its animation, I’m still not quite sure how much I like it as a film on the whole.
Madoka Magica’s place in the current anime production landscape is a bit tricky to pin down, to be sure. But despite some contradictions in the series’ image, Madoka Magica itself is an outstandingly solid show, owing largely to keeping a strong hold on its core ideals.
Nostalgia is such a weird idea. Parts of it are clearly tied to good memories of your own past, sure - it's the whole reason why people have comfort foods and hold onto familiar objects from their childhood like stuffed animals. Then there's a huge aspect of it that's not even tied to anything specific - even something similar to what we know can draw out that craved feeling of comfort. And, if you hit a sweet spot, you can get the same impression off something that's by all means outside of your own experience.
"Body swap" stories have made the rounds dozens times. Its ilk of well-worn and seemingly-predictable contrivances are what can make subversions so very very fun.
Monogatari is fairly hard to recommend out-of-hand. It’s also not-so-secretly a personal favorite of mine. It has a broad and well-balanced cast, every single episode is a visual treat, and in retrospect the anime is possibly the most one-to-one adaptation of a source material I’ve ever seen that still manages to take advantage of its new medium. How those three things in particular reinforce one another is what makes Monogatari grab you and never let go.
There is, to understate it, a mile-long list of various problems with the way that anime and manga tend to portray relationships.
It's so satisfying when a score is so well-matched to the material it's created to accompany that the two can become inseparably associated in your mind. Kids on the Slope is on the top of its game with regards to this.