Version 5.3.2 ~ Haruhi gave rock and roll to you.
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27 February 2017: Welcome to welcome to Kemono Friends and the future of anime

Bag, Lucky, and Serval
Toonces, watch out!

If you've been paying attention to anime at all, you've noticed Kemono Friends exploded in the past month into an international phenomenon that's not entirely easy to explain. From the looks of it, it's popular because it's popular, but that's not to say this popularity is unjustified, because the show itself is quite good.

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20 February 2017: Fight the power with Idol Jihen

Shizuka and Natsuki
Go on, Shizuka, curse the bitch out.

I started watching Idol Jihen (Idol Incidents) because Ueda Reina is in it. Unfortunately, she's not in it much, although the OP suggests there will be more to her character later. The show itself is all right, but just barely. It frankly plays out like a rejected Aikatsu! arc, which is fine for a few episodes, but maybe not enough for a whole season. I was also expecting the entire Diet to consist of idols, but instead the idol parliamentarians are just various members of fractured idol-based opposition parties trying to challenge The Establishment comprised of old, unpleasant, corrupt politicians and uncaring corporate assholes.

Mika
Rocket Nerd promotes her vision to her hallucination.

Idol Jihen has its moments, but through seven episodes there's only been one episode I fully liked (the one with the gosurori ghostbuster), but that was mostly due to execution. I am a bit tired of the constant struggles against Old People. The show falls flat when it tries to present these battles in a semi-serious fashion involving such weapons as Children's Feelings. The show is much better off when Old People instead get swayed by idols doing idol things and everyone realizes how much better off the world can be after their idol epiphanies. Well, at least the OP and ED are catchy.


13 February 2017: The momentum behind Gabriel DropOut

Vigne and Gabriel
So that's what Gabriel's hair looks like brushed.

Gabriel DropOut is a sort of clever "cute girls doing cute things" show and about what I expected from Doga Kobo based on my impressions of its previous shows. There are huge gaps in my familiarity here, so don't give too much weight to that assessment. The setup behind Gabriel DropOut involving a former Angel School star turned lazy deadbeat is amusing, but is basically still just one joke, so the show started losing steam well before its mid-season mark.

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6 February 2017: Seiren pulls out of its nosedive

Tooru
A challenger appears.

The first arc of Seiren was a stunning disappointment. It was inept in almost wholly unoriginal ways, which made it doubly worse because this meant it should have been able to avoid all its missteps. The first episode of its second arc, however, gets the next route off to a good start by revisiting some of the elements that made Seiren's Amagami SS predecessor at least memorable, even if it was not exactly capital-G Good.

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30 January 2017: I've got three shows below the Cosprayers Line

Tazuna and Koyori
Dude sure loves gears.

I started using The Cosmopolitan Prayers more than 10 years ago as a metric to measure the lower limits of tolerably bad anime. Long-time readers will recognize the familiar invective, "WORSE THAN COSPRAYERS" which started out somewhat facetiously, but evolved to become a standard I've applied regularly where appropriate, albeit usually for shows I've quit watching. Through the first third or so of the current season, I'm somehow still watching the following three shows which fall below the Cosprayers Line of dubious quality: Masamune-kun no Revenge, Seiren, and Hand Shakers.

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23 January 2017: The most uncommon character in Demi-chan wa Kataritai is the teacher

Tetsuo and Hikari
Dude has really long fingers.

No, not the teacher who is a succubus. She's just another Christmas cake virgin, same as practically all female teachers in anime. (P.S. Spoilers.) I'm referring to the male teacher, who is perhaps the rarest of anime creatures: The adult male lead in a harem comedy. Or, more specifically, he is an adult male anime character who behaves like a goddamn grown-up despite being the lead in a harem comedy.

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16 January 2017: Youjo Senki and the Moshidora of reincarnation anime

Tanya
Shouldn't she be wearing some goggles?

On its face, Youjo Senki (The Saga of Tanya the Evil) should be absolute light-novel garbage. According to those who have investigated the source material, the original light novel really is the sonorous trash you get in these sorts of reincarnation stories. The actual execution, though, is surprisingly deft. And while its appeal is somewhat niche, it does appeal to me, and it safely stays out of the uncanny valley of military anime. Notably, the air battles are quite good, and are a great deal more satisfying than what we got from Brave Witches or Strike Witches. It's easy to accept this is the way witches and warlocks might fight, particularly when one is clearly stronger than the others.

Tanya
Duckface.

However, there's still the issue of Tanya's backstory. Through two episodes at least, there's not really a compelling reason why she needs to be a reincarnated Japanese salaryman. I can at least appreciate that the flashback to her previous death was executed in a clever way. Then again, at this point, just not getting hit by a truck sort of qualifies as being somewhat clever by default. Possibly the story will actually include Tanya's past life's corporate experience as a way to improve her chances on the battlefield, but I'm not expecting any sort of Moshidora epiphanies. Really, trying to make a Moshidora connection to Youjo Senki is tenuous at best, and I confess I only bring it up here and in the title of this post so I can pretend to casually mention I read an 800-page Peter Drucker book from the '70s in 2011 for a baseball anime which hardly anyone watched. Good times.


9 January 2017: KOI DANCE KOI DANCE KOI DANCE

Kaede
Kaede is also the same age as Mikuri.

I started watching Nigeru wa Haji da ga Yaku ni Tatsu (literally, Running Away Is Shameful But Helpful, but officially, We Married As a Job!) because of the above piece of fan art of Kaede posing curiously. It was obviously a reference to something, but I wasn't familiar with its origin. Thankfully, the Twitter pointed me towards the JDrama source.

Mikuri and Hiramasa
That is a lot of yellow.

Since this occurred during the downtime between anime seasons, I figured I'd give the show a try. I'm not quite halfway through its 11 hour-long episodes, but it seems pretty good so far. The production values do have that sort of home video lighting which seems characteristic of Asian television shows. The male lead also seems unusually staid for a man in his thirties. I'm not sure if this is because the show is based on a manga, or if he's supposed to represent a caricature of the so-called "herbivorous" man, or if people like him actually are fairly common in modern Japan. In any case, the cast is good, not overly large, and there are no school-aged spazzes in sight—at least, not so far.