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8 February 2016: I sure hope 4D anime turns out better than 3D anime

Kei
At least he's not also voiced by Kaji Yuuki.

There sure seems to be a lot of freaky-looking 3D anime characters this season. I assume this is due to advances in technology making the technique viable enough from a financial perspective (and not abhorrent enough from an artistic one) to make 3D production attractive these days. Whatever the reason, this season you'll find 3D characters used 100-percent of the time in Ajin and Bubuki Buranki, and at least some of the time in Luck & Logic, Aikatsu!, Pretty Cure, Gate (if you count the dragons), and probably a couple other shows I'm either forgetting or not watching.

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3 February 2016: It's been five episodes and I still don't know who the Prince of Stride is

Riku
This isn't part of a race. Riku's just late for school.

Pretty much the only reason I started watching Prince of Stride: Alternative is because it's about running. As a somewhat avid runner, I haven't had a lot of success with manga or anime that feature running as a core component. Generally, the story will screw it up in some sort of way that aggravates me too much to continue. This was the case with the Suzuka manga. I lasted maybe two chapters. I later learned from other readers that the Suzuka manga is aggravating in its own right for reasons entirely unrelated to running. But I digress.

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26 January 2016: I finally started watching Log Horizon

Akatsuki
Well, Akatsuki does seem to be everybody's favorite character.

Log Horizon initially aired in the autumn of 2013. I didn't watch much that season, so I passed it up because it was another show about people trapped in a fantasy role-playing game world, a popular anime setting which still displays no sign of going away any time soon. Since then, Log Horizon has gone on for three additional cours and is now generally regarded as the proper way to do one of these shows. It's the title most detractors of Sword Art Online (such as this example) recommend in its stead. I'm much less critical of Sword Art Online than it probably deserves, particularly since I don't tend to disagree with arguments raised against it, but I do agree Log Horizon is likely a far superior work as a whole. I say "likely" because I've only seen the first quarter or so, and it could conceivably fall off a cliff later on, but also because its "objective" score is relatively low. (I suspect some shows are simply better as a whole than their individual episodes suggest. Shirobako is like that.)

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19 January 2016: Pleasantly surprised by Dimension W and Konosuba

Aqua
Belldandy, this ain't.

If you at least skim my half-assed preview for the winter 2016 anime season, you'll notice I basically had no expectations for Dimension W or Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! (Give Blessings to This Wonderful World!, hereinafter Konosuba). Although I've only seen two episodes of the former and one of the latter so far, both shows are solidly entertaining. This is mostly thanks to their execution rather than their subject matter.

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12 January 2016: I wish they had made more Aiura instead of animating Hai to Gensou no Grimgar

Barbara
A very welcome Noto Mamiko appearance, but she probably has a small role.

You can't shake a dead cat without summoning a "trapped in a fantasy world" anime far from the tree these days. The prettiest looking one of these this season is Hai to Gensou no Grimgar (Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash), which at least distinguishes itself by trapping an entire party of Japanese kids in its fantasy world instead of just Potato-kun and some girl he has to rescue all the time. Grimgar also looks great with watercolor backgrounds and pleasant designs which should remind viewers of Aiura, a 2013 show produced by some of the same staff.

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3 January 2016: In re Winter 2016

Hotaru
Yeah, Hotaru's eyes are always like that.

I'm not going to watch all of these shows, but here are the ones at least on the radar. They're even sort of in order.

  • Dagashi Kashi: The original manga about cheap ass candy is fucking delicious. I don't see how anyone could screw this up as long as the anime keeps the crazy crossed eyes and incredulous reaction faces. This is your best God damn show, right here.
  • Gate: Jieitai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri second cour: Yeah, I know most viewers have a fairly negative opinion of this show. I'm almost inclined to say they're opposed to it as a matter of principle because it glorifies the military, sort of like how some readers loathe Robert A. Heinlein's Starship Troopers because they find it "fascist." Whatever, man. This is some good shit.
  • Aikatsu!: I only gave Aikatsu! another chance fairly recently, but I'm totally on board now. Bring on the idol activities!
  • Go! Princess Precure and Mahou Tsukai Precure!: The current season will end in about a month with episode 50. I'll be sad to see it go, but the next iteration is frickin' WITCH PRECURE for crying out loud. We're there.
  • Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu: I don't really know what this is about. Something about an ex-con who just wants to tell stories? In any case, it seems different, and probably won't have any of that "moé shit" people love to cry about.
  • Dimension W: I'm going to watch this for Ueda Reina and the Toyota 2000GT.
  • Luck & Logic: ORIKASA FUMIKO. Holy shit. Omigawa Chiaki, Kayano Ai, and Ueda Kana are in this too, as are Uesaka Sumire, Taneda Risa, Touyama Nao, and Minase Inori. I hope this doesn't turn out to be too much bullshit about the trading card game or whatever, but I'll at least give it a chance thanks to the cast.
  • Akagami no Shirayuki-hime 2nd Season: I'll watch the second cour if I ever get around to finishing the first one. I stopped watching because I was tired of watching Snow White getting conveniently rescued from would-be rapists every week, but I heard the show stopped being about that.
  • Detective Conan: Yep, here's my control.
  • Hai to Gensou no Grimgar: Eh, it has pretty watercolors.
  • Prince of Stride: Alternative. As an avid runner, I have to watch this. I'm also guaranteed to drop it in disgust the minute someone does something unrealistic, like I did after the first chapter of Suzuka.
  • Ao no Kanata no Four Rhythm: I know at least one person who's psyched about this, so I'll give it a try. Something about flying kids.
  • Oshiete! Galko-chan: Something about three girls fucking off in class. Based on a manga which I've not read.
  • Ajin: The manga is sort of interesting. Kaji Yuuki is in this, though.
  • Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo!: It's DEEN, but it has girls who twist their bodies a lot, at least according to the promo art. That's something, right? Really, though, I am curious to see what Studio Deen is up to these days, and Deen is responsible for the best anime of all time. Besides, the people who were loudest at jeering, "LOL DEEN," were the ones who worshiped SHAFT until Madoka went mainstream.
  • Divine Gate: I guess it would be interesting to watch TWO shows called Gate in the same season, right? Besides, Ito Kanae is in this.
  • Saijaku Muhai no Bahamut: I really wish this would have come out three months ago so we could have had a triumvirate with Cavalry and Asterisk. It's the same setup.
  • Musaigen no Phantom World: Eh, it's Kyoto Animation. I'll keep watching if it involves ghost girlfriends.
  • Shoujo-tachi wa Kouya wo Mezasu: This sounds like a shittier Saekano.
  • Ooya-san wa Shishunki!: This is a three-minute show, right? I ain't watching if it's not a three-minute show.
  • Mahou Shoujo Nante Mouiidesukara.: I think the period is part of the title. How bad could it be? It has Mahou Shoujo right in the title!
  • Sushi Police: This looks too shitty to not at least try.
  • Ojisan to Marshmallow: It's got an old dude as the love interest. That never happens.
  • Nurse Witch Komugi-chan R: Eh...it's not Momoi as Komugi. But she plays her mom instead. Is that good enough?
  • Nijiro Days: Shoujo about three dudes? I guess one is in love with some chick and the other two dudes cockblock him for sport?
  • Bubuki Buranki: I have no idea what this is, but it's an original anime. That still counts for something, right?
  • Boku dake ga Inai Machi: I'm not especially interested in this time travelling manga artist mystery thingy, but whatever. Really, I'm just not up for another noitaminA show right about now.
  • Heavy Object: This show is hot garbage. I should really just stop watching. Seriously. Hot garbage.

Christ, that is a lot of shows. There are also a bunch of specials and OVAs. I hope you weren't relying on me to keep track.


21 December 2015: Shomin Sample needs more Hara Yumi

Aika
Aika reminds me too much of Chiwa from Oreshura.

I would not have watched Ore ga Ojou-sama Gakkou ni "Shomin Sample" Toshite Gets♥Sareta Ken (Shomin Sample: I Was Abducted by an Elite All-Girls School as a Sample Commoner) except for the fact that Hara Yumi (the voice of Takane in THE iDOLM@STER and Yuuko in Tasogare Otome x Amnesia) is in it and somebody (whose trustworthiness is now shot) insisted the manga is funny. As it turns out, Hara Yumi is barely in it at all, and the anime—regardless of how the manga or light novel might be—is not funny. At best, I can merely say that it could have been a lot worse.

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16 December 2015: I'd probably like Hidan no Aria AA more if I had watched the original series first

Urara
That stock is just for looks.

Pretty much as a matter of general principle I won't watch a sequel without watching the original first. However, I do make exceptions when I don't expect to enjoy a show, or if I'm fairly confident I wouldn't like the original. In these situations, it's likely the new series has some hook or meaningful changes that distinguish it from the earlier series. This was the case with Futakoi Alternative, a fantastic series which took the basic framework of (I'm told) a dreadful harem comedy and turned it into something interesting. I was hoping this would also be the case with Hidan no Aria AA, but my impressions of the show through 11 episodes are mixed at best.

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