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Dated 10 November 2011: Fate/zero Saber > Fate/stay night Saber

Saber
Fate/Zero Saber is the best-dressed Saber.

I definitely like the Fate/zero Saber more than I like the Fate/stay night Saber. Specifically, Fate/zero Saber > Unlimited Blade Works movie Saber > Carnival Phantasm Saber > Fate/stay night game Saber > Fate/stay night series Saber.

Saber
If you think about it, Saber is a mahou shoujo.

I probably like the Fate/zero Saber best because she seems sensible and not retarded. That has always been my biggest beef about the Fate/stay night Sabers. She seems a little...slow in both the game and the television series. I guess she also seems kinda slow in the Unlimited Blade Works movie, but it's less objectionable there because of her diminished role. In her game route and the anime series, she and Emiya are infuriating. Most of the fault lies with Emiya. Famously, the player quickly realizes that the correct choice in the game is always the "noblest" one in accordance with the Otaku Virtues and never the intelligent choice.

Emiya, Saber, and Ilya
Carnival Phantasm Saber features Kawasumi Ayako's comic tough girl voice.

Carnival Phantasm is amazing, but Saber hasn't been in it enough to surpass the Unlimited Blade Works version. Carnival Phantasm does have an enormous ensemble cast, after all.

Dated 18 November 2011: Carnival Phantasm episode eight inspires Saber rematch against Fate/zero

Saber
I actually left out a whole lot of Sabers.

Aaron writes:

I don’t know if you've watched it since that blog post where you say Carnival Phantasm doesn’t have enough Saber, but ep 8 is all about her.

Saber and Rin
I bet secretly Rin wants to wear it.

Actually, I had not seen it yet at the time, but I've watched it now. As expected, episode eight is pretty awesome. I think I do need to put Carnival Phantasm Saber ahead of Unlimited Blade Works Saber. Hell, I'll move her ahead of Fate/zero Saber if the latter ends up spending most of the season with a useless thumb panda hand, even if she is a snappy dresser.

Akiha, Hisui, Ciel, Kohaku, Arcueid, Saber, Ilya, Rin, Taiga, and Sakura
Needs more of this sort of thing.

Great outfits are a TYPE-MOON staple, it seems. (Yes, I'm including the extended universe and derivative works.) Rin's red sweater over black zettai ryouiki, Arcueid's white turtleneck with long purple skirt, girl Shiki's red leather jacket with a kimono, Karen Ortensia's Strike Witches uniform, Sion's seifuku (I think that's what it is anyway), Phantas-Moon's low-back battle costume, and basically everything about Kaleido Ruby (except the cat ears) are all winners.

Dated 12 August 2013: Senki Zesshou Symphogear G: In the Distance, That Day, When the Star Became Music... and Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya both feature battle costumes

Yumi
This was awesome even though they gonged Anime-chan.

I had fairly high hopes for both Senki Zesshou Symphogear G: In the Distance, That Day, When the Star Became Music... and Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya prior to the start of the season. Now—nearly halfway through summer 2013—I'm pleased both are turning out to be quite good. Symphogear G is a sequel to widely panned but wildly entertaining original Senki Zesshou Symphogear: Meteoroid-Falling, Burning, and Disappear, Then... from winter 2012. Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya is based on the eponymous parody manga riffing on the Fate/stay night universe. It's pretty amazing how adroit it is at drawing out the best Fate/stay night has to offer. I liked the manga so much from the first few chapters that I stopped reading it so that I would not spoil myself on the anime. It does not disappoint. All around, even without including DokiDoki! Precure, this is a pretty good season for magikal girls trashing the joint.

Kirika, Shirabe, and Maria
You're going to need to give up more than some lunch money.

Symphogear G introduces the very aerodynamic Maria and her little cohorts, Shirabe and Kirika. As antagonists, they're approximately as sinister as the Velka Knights from Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha A's and will almost certainly join Hibiki, Tsubasa, and Chris at the end of the season against a common enemy: Post-menopausal Belldandy.

Maria
You can tell Maria isn't really evil because her cape is awesome.

There's not much to say about the actual plot or story behind Symphogear G. You're supposed to watch it to see these girls thrash each other with preposterous weapons while singing. Moon debris features prominently in Symphogear G as a reminder that the collateral damage from the first season was quite severe, making it likely this season will also not end quietly. At a minimum, I expect the survivors will need to change schools again.

Illya
Don't worry, Illya. It gets worse.

Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya cynically takes the point of view of a reluctant magikal girl tricked into taking on the role after a recalcitrant magic wand divorces itself from its previous master. The jokes are not quite as frantic as they are in Carnival Phantasm, but Prisma Illya does reinforce suspicions that TYPE-MOON parodies are better than canonical TYPE-MOON properties.

Miyu and Illya
There sure are a lot of armpits in this show.

The character designs in Prisma Illa are quite different from Takeuchi Takashi standard typically associated with TYPE-MOON, but I think they work in this comedic context just as rounder designs served Carnival Phantasm well. I wasn't expecting the action sequences to be so energetic, particularly since I still associate SILVER LINK with the belt tightening it imposed during Tasogare Otome x Amnesia. Hopefully it didn't blow its Prisma Illa budget on the high-flying episode four.

Hibiki
Hibiki preparing to punch more things.

Like its 2012 predecessor, Symphogear G is the closest thing we're likely to get to a mahou shoujo opera unless someone actually talks Kajiura Yuki into composing The End of My-HiME opera I've been wishing for since 2005. Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya demonstrates how much better a TYPE-MOON property can get if you sideline all the idiotic male characters. I'm certainly not one of those viewers who abhor male anime characters on general principle, but I have to admit a lot of these TYPE-MOON chumps are quite odious, particularly with regard to Fate/stay night which had Shirou AND Shinji, both of whom should have been recast as boat anchors. Things are so much nicer without them, even if Caster is still trying to kill everybody.

Dated 8 October 2013: What Inu to Hasami wa Tsukaiyou and Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya have in common

Natsuno and Kazuhito
Wow. Natsuno is sure in a good mood tonight.

At first glance, Inu to Hasami wa Tsukaiyō and Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya probably don't appear to have that much in common, but I can think of at least one thing. Okay, TWO things if you include the fact that I finished watching both of them at about the same time and thus went looking for an excuse to force both shows into a single blog entry, but really ONE thing that I wanted to discuss: PERVERSIONS. Oh, baby, let's get it on.

Maki
When they point the finger it means you're a rival.

So, Inu to Hasami wa Tsukaiyō. Dog and Scissors. This show made no God damn sense. And I'm not talking about the part where a boy who loves books is murdered, gets his soul trapped in the body of a wiener dog with telepathy, and is adopted by his favorite author. That part I get. What I don't understand is what the deal is with his psycho kid sister and her MAGURO EATAH kitchen knife or the part with the singing maid or Maki the SHINING! idol rival author. And who was the broad in the wheelchair? Really, Dog & Scissors is terrible and somehow only managed to work in three jokes: (1) Natsuno Kirihime (Akiyama Shinobu) is insecure about her small breasts. (2) Natsuno frequently physically abuses Harumi Kazuhito (the dog) with a pair of scissors after he insults her. (3) Natsuno wants to have sex with the dog.

Natsuno
Always with the scissors.

Okay, not really really, but yeah, really. I mean, sort of really? There are a lot more bestiality jokes in Dog and Scissors than I was expecting, okay, even if most of them are just about tsundere bullshit. And while the show does end with a non-ending ending (which is probably why none of the things I mentioned earlier made any sense—they're probably explained in the light novels), it does sort of try to resolve the "romance" sub-plot at the, uh, climax. [SPOILERS] Natsuno gets drunk one night and takes the dog into bed with her, but ralphs all over him before she can force him into doing her human-style. Yes, Kazuhito narrowly avoids inter-species coitus from beyond the grave.

Illya and Ruby
I'm impressed Illya's anime bed isn't made of concrete.

Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya started late, ended early, but is coming back for more. I had relatively high expectations for Prisma Illya because I liked the manga chapters I sampled. I'm glad that it is returning for another season, because I felt the show only scratched the surface with regard to exploiting the subject matter or letting us know the characters.

Illya
Berserker-chan.

Most of us have probably formed some general impression of who Illyasviel von Einzbern is based on the Fate/stay night game, anime, and movie, as well from her appearances in Carnival Phantasm. Still, I think it is accurate to claim that viewers don't really know Ilya very well at all, since much of her personality comes from fairly stereotypical characterizations. Yeah, yeah, I was going to talk about how Inu to Hasami wa Tsukaiyō and Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya are similar because of perversions. I'm getting to that.

Illya
Illya ruins her outfit.

As I was saying, even after Kaleid Liner, we still don't really know Ilya. Probably the main thing viewers will remember about Ilya is her fetish. As an aside, it was at this point in the entry that I struggled to find a way to use the word "cis" as a pejorative in the same sentence as the term "maid-sexual." I suppose it's not that strange of a fetish. I mean, for example, I bet being maid-sexual is a lot more mainstream than being obsessed with cake sex. It's just that Illya's encumbrance is particularly violent.

<&Nakar> To be fair raping maids is a Nasuverse tradition

I guess there's a third thing Inu to Hasami wa Tsukaiyou and Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya have in common: Both shows could have looked better. Dog & Scissors was obviously low-budget and would have suffered quite a bit from this had the show not already been so low-tier. Prisma☆Illya had really jarring character designs, although I guess it's probably a good thing its mahou shoujo weren't blessed with superlovely character designs. Kaleido Ruby in particular probably would have been too dangerous. Besides, maid rape is easier to play off as a gag when everyone has knobby faces. (See also K-On!) I do want to point out Prisma☆Illya had rad fight scenes like three episodes in a row, though. Because of it, I'm looking forward to more from Silver Link, although I guess this means I might have to watch Strike the Blood now.

Dated 15 October 2013: In re Summer 2013 Anime -or- The End of Silver Spoon ~Air/My Purest Love for Bacon~

Nakajima and Yoshino
I couldn't think of a gouda cheese pun to use for this caption.

Summer 2013: Silver Spoon [1-11] > Uchouten Kazoku [1-13] > Symphogear G [1-13] > Love Lab [1-13] > Genshiken Nidaime [1-13] > Prisma☆Illya [1-10] > C3-bu [1-13] > Turning Girls [1-7] > Detective Conan (701-711) > DokiDoki! Precure (23-34) > RailgunS [13-24] > Dog & Scissors [1-12].

Yoshino and Hachiken
These two are pretty upset even though Yoshino's not pregnant.

Dropped: Gatchaman Crowds (1-9) > Servant x Service (1-3) > Kiniro Mosaic (1-4) > Kitakubu Katsudou Kiroku (1-2) > Gen'ei o Kakeru Taiyou: Il Sole Penetra le Illusioni (1-3) > Chou Jigen Game Neptume The Animation (1) > High School DxD NEW (1-4) > Futari wa Milky Holmes (1-2). WORSE THAN COSPRAYERS: Shingeki no Kyojin (13.5-14).

This chart started out as a joke, but has grown kinda out of control. Of course, the whole ranking anime thing started out as a joke too, and then suddenly five years went by.

Yoshino and Aki
Yoshino makes me want to eat smoked cheese more than Churuya ever did.

Gin no Saji (Silver Spoon) was easily the best summer 2013 series that I watched. It was consistently entertaining and I was impressed with how Hachiken's character developed over the show's 11 episodes. Even the quandary with "Pork Bowl" ended up much better than I expected. That was the plot point I had the most reservations about, but I'm quite pleased with how Silver Spoon resolved it.

Professor Akadama
Five will get you tengu he's going to trash the joint.

Uchouten Kazoku (The Eccentric Family) stands out among the summer 2013 shows for being intelligent about idiots and being strange while feeling familiar. The focus is on tanuki family dynamics, but it turns out the problems fuzzball shapeshifters have with their families aren't too different than those experienced by humans, except perhaps tanuki aren't as quick to embrace Shakespearean revenge tragedies. To be fair, all I really learned about tanuki is that they are dumbasses and that they are easily panicked, but maybe that's all anyone needs to know about tanuki.

Benten
Tall-collar service.

More importantly, I learned Mamiko can knock 'em dead better than ever. Her work as Benten was transcendent. I've never wanted to be a decrepit old man more. In fact, thanks mostly to Noto Mamiko's superb work, but also because Benten herself is such straight-up trouble, I'm nominating Suzuki Satomi for 2013 Girl of the Year. I'd also like to mention that Nakahara Mai is better than ever, although I encourage her to take more parts like her role in Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita and and fewer roles as young boys.

The Shimogamo mom
The Shimogamo matriarch is lucky so many dudes wanted to do her tanuki-style.

Senki Zesshou Symphogear G: In the Distance, That Day, When the Star Became Music... had a great ending. Basically, if you didn't like that final episode then you just don't like anime. That said, the show itself did have a few issues. First of all, Dr. Ver's comically evil persona never seemed particularly threatening, except for maybe when we learned he wanted to make babies with Maria. Second, Maria herself turned out to be a bit of a disappointment. I certainly was not expecting her to spend most of the show crying. I guess it's a good thing there's not going to be a follow-up cour devoted to her efforts at repopulating the planet, because she'd probably cry the entire time then too.

Maria
Listen, sugar, either go back to whaling on some deadbeats
or help me repopulate the planet, but get to work.

Sorry, Maria really needed to focus more on tearing shit up and coming up with new cape-fu moves instead of all the moping she did. Still, I'll ignore a lot of faults when a show spends most of its time focusing on mahou shoujo whaling on each other while singing. Shirabe and Kirika were endearing even though their fights lost a lot of impact because there was no danger of anyone getting hurt. Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS already demonstrated that providing lots of collateral damage is not a substitute for emotional resonance.

Illya
The fan service in Prisma☆Illya gets out of control.

I've already written about the endings to Love Lab, Genshiken Nidaime, and Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya.

Yura
Oh, hey, it's Evangelion's Train of Despair.

Tokurei Sochi Dantai Stella Jo-Gakuin Koutou-ka C3-Bu spent too much time on Yura taking all the fun out of a game, but that was sort of the point. In a way, C3-bu felt as if Gainax wanted to stretch out a Gainax ending as far as they could. Technically, C3-bu did have a Gainax ending, but then they went ahead and made another episode that seemed to contain material I'd usually expect in a standalone OVA. Maybe that's the way it was originally planned, but someone figured at the last minute that it probably wouldn't sell or something.

I finished watching Turning Girls weeks ago.

Ran, Kogoro, and Conan
Ran shows off her crazy metabolism again.

I fell behind on Detective Conan but managed to catch up by the time I finally got this thing written. As for Meitantei Conan itself, it's still a reliable control for comparing shows season-to-season. It does need more Kazuha, though. I was concerned maybe her prolonged absence was related to Miyamura Yuko's longer commuting requirements. (She moved to Australia a few years ago.) I'm not sure if that's a factor, but it appears autumn 2013 starts off with at least four Heiji (with Kazuha in tow) episodes to follow the two that finished up the summer 2013 season. I'm certainly in favor of a six-episode block of Kazuha episodes, but I'm curious if they would have been spaced out instead if Miyamura Yuko still lived in Japan.

Cure Rosetta
Relax, yo. Cure Rosetta has got this.

DokiDoki! Precure did two notable things during the summer 2013 cour. One, it introduced a sass-talking Kugimiya Rie Cure. Two, it raised the stakes in the all-singing, all-dancing 3DCG ED wars. Aside from that, DokiDoki! is turning out to be one of the less interesting Pretty Cure generations, although episode 34 did have some rad Cure Rosetta beatdowns.

Saten and Uiharu
This made no sense, but I'll allow it.

To Aru Kagaku no Railgun S needed more SATEN, but I'm glad it found excuses to trot her out in different hairstyles and various street clothes. The ending of the series was rather ridiculous with its casualty-free battle between espers and drones. I guess I was pleased to see SATEN behind the controls of a giant robot, though. P.S. Spoilers.

I already covered Dog and Scissors.

I won't revisit the shows I dropped except to say I also dropped Gatchaman Crowds. This one comes as a bit of a surprise because it seemed so promising after a strong start. However, I was unable to take the villain seriously and never cared what he did. I also did not sympathize with Rui at all nor had any interest in his reasons for crossdressing. The turning point was the episode where Rui is mercilessly beaten for what ended up being a hilariously long time and I realized I had absolutely no emotional investment in any of the characters and was only still watching to see how long Hajime could prolong her violently upbeat attitude. I fell behind after that, and once I learned how disappointed other fans were with the series finale, I decided to simply quit watching altogether.

Saten and Uiharu
Hey, sweetie, eyes on the God damn road.

This season summary is a lot more piecemeal than previous ones, but I kinda get the feeling the amount of time required to compile these things does not expand linearly with the number of additional shows watched. Maybe the one I write three months from now for the autumn 2013 shows will be a lot more cohesive and contain greater detail and not be dragged out over several weeks. At least, maybe it will be that way if I continue to watch only three shows. I've got up to 10 I might consider, but I can't see following more than seven for the time being.

Dated 16 August 2014: Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya 2wei isn't as good as Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya E1n

Illya
The faces do seem slightly less knobby this season, though.

The first season of Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya was unexpectedly good. The TYPE-MOON universe is so filled with overwrought narratives it's no surprise viewers who are fans (but, importantly, not fanatics) of TYPE-MOON enjoy its parodies so much. (See, for example, the brilliant Carnival Phantasm.) The first season of Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya hits its marks almost perfectly. It had clever juxtapositions of familiar elements, funny inversions of standard mahou shoujo stereotypes, and outstanding fight scenes.

Kuro
Hey, a bow.

Unfortunately, Prisma☆Illya stumbles in its second season, perhaps because it has become too familiar. Rather than simply being a Fate/stay night parody, the Prismaverse now has its own emerging myths and canon. It hasn't outright bogged itself down with its own "overwrought narratives," but it is neglecting much of what made the first season so good. This may be a roundabout way of saying that the second season is slow, but I'm not sure pacing is really the issue. I think the actual problem is I don't care about Kuro as an antagonist. She's also not likeable enough to sympathize with as an inevitable "frenemy" character, either. Many viewers also complain about the fan service. Although I generally won't criticize a show for its fan service, no matter how aggressive it is, there is a desperate quality to the fan service this season, to the show's detriment. On the plus side, episode six demonstrates that Silver Link can still do cool shit with the fight scenes, so there is that.

Dated 30 September 2014: Summer 2014 season conclusion

Slaine
Slaine has seen some shit.

Aldnoah.Zero was far and away the best show from Summer 2014. I know a lot of viewers disagree with this opinion, but I thoroughly enjoyed all of its episodes. I've written a lot about it. Probably too much, considering I don't like it thaaat much even though it did almost get a perfect score on my little chart jobbie.

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Dated 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.