Version 5.2-ish ~ Haruhi gave rock and roll to you.
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17 December 2014: It's all right, we can always get more Chaikas

Chaika and Chaika
Speak no evil.

I didn't finish writing my introduction to the second season of Hitsugi no Chaika: Avenging Battle before it finished airing. I haven't read the light novels, so I don't know if the anime ending diverged from the books. I don't believe the light novel series themselves end for a few more months, so there's a good possibility there are some differences, despite how much Japan loves spoilers. I guess there's also the possibility the anime and the books have never been anything alike, and I wouldn't even know. (The Scrapped Princess novels by the same author are significantly different from the anime adaptation.)

Fredrica and Akari
That's some good sneaking.

At a minimum, I can't imagine the Fredrica moments are nearly as amusing in print. Basically every Fredrica scene in the anime is pure gold thanks largely to comedic timing and wacky visual gags. She also renewed my appreciation for Saito Chiwa, whom I haven't thought about for years. In fact, I think I need to nominate Fredrica for Girl of the Year even though she arguably isn't a girl 2/3rds of the time and technically isn't so much a character as a plot device. Puella Ex Machina.

Red Chaika
Thighka.

I'm partial to two-cour shows in general now simply because they're relatively rare these days. They used to be the norm, but I suppose financial risks and production considerations make shorter shows more attractive, to say nothing of audience attention spans. Thankfully, Hitsugi no Chaika is well worth the time. I understand many viewers felt unsatisfied with the ending, but I didn't find it inappropriate in the context of the show as a whole. However, I do hope to see more of Hitsugi no Chaika in an epilogue at least once the light novels conclude.


9 December 2014: ufotable's Fate/stay night would be a lot better if it wasn't for Fate/stay night

Saber
Saber works better as a supporting character than as a lead.

I'm not entirely convinced Fate/stay night needed a remake. Whipping boy Studio DEEN's first adapted this TYPE-MOON game in 2006 with the Saber-centric "Fate" route, followed by a 2010 movie based on the Rin-tastic "Unlimited Blade Works" route. Logically, the Sakura-suffering "Heaven's Feel" route should be next, but it appears ufotable plans on adapting it (as a movie) after animating their own "Unlimited Blade Works" project, this time as a television series that sort of succeeds ufotable's 2011 Fate/Zero prequel.

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2 December 2014: "It's not easy being a genius" and other lies told in April

Kousei and Kaori
Ah! Ghost glasses!

Despite having no sympathy for its lead, a pathetic middle school boy with deep-seated emotional problems, I find Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso (Your Lie in April) exceptional thus far. It's a two-cour adaptation of an award-winning manga that's already ended, so I'm optimistic the anime will have a real conclusion after a solid run instead of meandering aimlessly before trailing off like I might expect from some crappy harem comedy. (Read: A one-cour advertisement for some sorry light novel series.) Nevertheless, Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso does teeter on the brink every episode, mostly because the lead character is an incredibly vulnerable boy and practically every other character in the show (men, women, boys, and girls) is obsessed with him. It technically is a harem comedy if you think about it, so letting a schmuck (albeit a talented one) drive the story turns the entire vehicle into a train wreck waiting to happen if A-1 Pictures should falter even a little bit.

Tsubaki
Williams Rotation.

In a way, this is appropriate for a show about musical prodigies. The episodes and the characters are excellent when they are on their games, but even a single minor mistake could cascade into catastrophe. Thankfully, A-1 Pictures has been spot-on so far, serving up beautiful visuals and captivating music during the performances. The supporting characters are also charismatic, even the childhood friend who unfortunately turns into a Childhood Friend. Even the erstwhile womanizing ladies' man who has displayed no actual evidence of such proclivities and appears to be hiding a sensitive side. Hell, I'm even interested in the mopey shell-shocked lead's wheelchair-bound Tiger Mom's specter, albeit to a much lesser extent than, say, the blond dervish (who is probably secretly dying despite her vivacious, constantly churning limbs), or the stiletto in a red dress. Especially the stiletto in a red dress.


23 November 2014: Anime triage

Conan and Sera
As if there is any chance in Hell of Sera turning out to be bad.

Because of "circumstances," I find myself dropping about half the shows I was following this season. Well, perhaps not so much dropping as putting on hiatus for the time being. Maybe I'll catch back up during a particularly lousy season that coincides with greater anime-watching opportunities. (Won't be next season, because next season looks pretty sweet.)

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16 November 2014: Shirobako is fascinating

Tarou and Aoi
This fucker.

Shirobako is one of those rare shows that not only features a cast of only adult characters, but happens to (semi-seriously) focus on a workplace environment. Moreover, the work in question happens to be about anime production. In a sense, it sort of like Otaku no Video except about the daily operational minutia rather than about ambition and dreams perverted by success. Miyamori Aoi is a junior production assistant at a fictitious anime studio. Shirobako examines the stress and hardships she and her co-workers endure to meet increasingly demanding deadlines in the face of contrasting work ethics and various emergencies. The struggle between competing interests is not unlike the doujinshi production parts of Genshiken except that the experience and professionalism of the Shirobako characters contrast starkly with that of the younger Genshiken menagerie.

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12 November 2014: Magic Kaito 1412 and Detective Conan

Kaito
This heist might be a little too easy.

Because the manga dates back to 1987, Magic Kaito actually predates Detective Conan, although its kohei quickly overshadowed it. Kaito occasionally makes guest appearances on Detective Conan, and, in fact, got 12 excellent Magic Kaito specials of his own spread amongst the Detective Conan broadcasts between 2010 to 2012. These re-tell the origin of Kaito Kid and probably tested the waters for a standalone series. The new television series which began autumn 2014 retreads a lot of familiar ground, but includes a few cast and story changes (and different character designs compared to the Detective Conan appearances). It airs in the half-hour family slot immediately preceding the weekly broadcast of Detective Conan

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6 November 2014: I'm so stoked Cross Ange is going to be two cours

Ange
All things considered, Angelise is taking this rather well.

I should probably be blogging about Cross Ange: Tenshi to Ryuu no Rondo (Cross Ange: Rondo of Angels and Dragons) on a regular basis because I think it has the potential to provide as much mileage as Gundam SEED Destiny did. Let's be clear. I am not watching Cross Ange "ironically," okay. This show is shit, but it is great shit. It's never boring and you'll stare in disbelief at some of the idiocy that transpires, but I still enjoy it a great deal. It's got Banana Mizuki stabbing dragons in the face, for crying out loud!

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2 November 2014: Not a bad season for Ayako fans

Sento and Moffle
A gentleman takes off his hat indoors, Moffle.

Kawasumi Ayako is in three shows this season. She returns as the regal Saber in ufotable's adaptation of Fate/stay night, she's back as the not entirely forthright LRIG Hanayo in selector spread WIXOSS, and she voices a surly (male) mascot in Amagi Brilliant Park.

Saber
Saber, that outfit's wearing you.

Ayako's Saber remains basically the same as her previous turns as Saber (excepting the farcical Carnival Phantasm), meaning she's generally pretty good and has some neat battle cries, but doesn't otherwise offer a lot of range since Saber is fairly taciturn. Her Hanayo has been largely absent from the initial episodes of selector infected WIXOSS. The show has thus far been churning through apparently endless amounts of grief involving other (read: inferior) characters. This basically leaves Moffle in Amagi Brilliant Park—an amusing character with occasional mugging, but Moffle is no Nodame, I'm afraid. These days, however, I'll take what I can get.