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Dated 8 February 2013: Dokidoki! Precure didn't make my heart pound, but it's all right

Mana
Works in theory.

Preliminary expectations for Dokidoki! Precure appeared to fall into one of two camps: The first group—viewers who had no strong feelings about Smile Precure! one way or the other—appeared to be mostly ambivalent about Dokidoki! Precure based on what little information was available before it aired. The second groupd—people who were huge fans of Smile Precure!—seemed determined to hate Dokidoki! Precure on general principle, and found only negative things to say about the promotional materials and pre-broadcast information.

Mana and Mimura
A boy and his purse.

The latter attitude didn't surprise me at all, since the same thing happened to Futari wa Pretty Cure Splash Star after Max Heart ended. Indeed, I was guilty of this churlish prejudice as well, unfairly reviling Splash Star for being what I assumed would be a blatant ripoff of the originals, only with inferior character designs. (Turns out Splash Star is really good in its own right, and is in some ways the best series of the franchise.)

Yashima and Mana
Drink water; drive on.

Based on its first episode, Dokidoki! Precure appears to be off to a good start. I am pleased the main heroine (Aida Mana) is a solidly competent girl in apparently all aspects of her life. She's basically the opposite of Nozomi from Yes! Pretty Cure 5. I've heard some fans accuse the Dokidoki! characters of being "Mary Sues," but this seems a silly position to take in light of the fact that most Pretty Cure heroines are extremely competent and capable in at least one aspect of their civilian lives (the hapless Nozomi, Tsubomi, Miyuki, and Ayumi contingent notwithstanding). I'm all for a year of Cures that kick ass and take names.

Street vendor and Mana
This dude was all hands.

One thing I don't quite figure is all this jazz about Cure Spade, I mean, Cure Sword being the "last" Pretty Cure. That's going to make for some awkward explanations during the next All Stars movie when an entire battery of fully armed and operational Cures fall in behind Cure Black and Cure White. Except All Stars movies are not canon, so I guess they'll handwave it away. Nice to see Cure Sword soloing those critters in the intro. She didn't do too hot, but I guess she did better than Cure Moonlight in the Heartcatch Precure! intro. Goes to show Cures shouldn't work alone.

Dated 13 February 2013: Notes taken with a voice recorder

Rei
To be honest, Rei is taking this relatively well.

With apologies to ani-nouto for stealing its shtick, let's give this a try.

Makoto
I'm going to start calling her Cure Sam Spade and hope it catches on.

In re Dokidoki! Precure episode two:

  • What are you doing? She'll be fine. I'm pretty sure Cure Sam Spade could survive a fall from orbit.
  • Cure White Lie.
  • I'm pretty sure introducing gold and spreading it around a closed mercantilist economy with no external trading partners will only produce inflation. And apparently it also kills swallows.

Rei
Vividred Operation should just frame an entire episode
with the POV centered between Rei's thighs.

In re Vividred Operation episode five:

  • When this baby gets to 200%, you're going to see some serious shit.
  • Why didn't you take her to a hospital?
  • I'm pretty sure Akane is just using this as an excuse to continue stripping her naked.
  • Rei's life doesn't suck enough. It should be more like...Kotoura's life. Well, like Kotoura's life before it got better.
  • I'm also pretty sure that bird is Lieutenant Hayase. [P.S. Spoilers.]

Masuzu and Eita
Does that mean they're not pretending to be boyfriend and girlfriend anymore?

In re Oreshura episode six:

  • Oreshura, adding a new girl is almost never a good idea.
  • This must be the episode where they couldn't spend any money.
  • This girl kinda sucks.
  • Fight the power.
  • This is a pretty lackluster episode.
  • Chiwa still sucks.
  • I'm going to be really disappointed if there isn't more bullying this episode.
  • This girl actually sucks more than Chiwa.
  • It's kinda comical how little effort the bodyguard has to expend to keep Eita away.
  • Does this mean that everyone is now aware of Eita's chuuni past? I'm not exactly clear as to how that all played out, and I'm not familiar with the corresponding sequence of the original light novel.

Dated 14 April 2013: Winter 2013 season wrapup

Caesar, Oryou, Saemonza, and Erwin
The best team in the best show.

I'm undecided as to whether or not the final two episodes of GIRLS und PANZER qualify as part of the winter 2013 season. They were delayed from the autumn 2012 season and should probably belong there with the rest of the series, but then again they did actually air late in winter 2013. There are only 40-some minutes of new material, but that's more than Teekyuu, so it arguably has as much right to be here as the various two-minute shows. Whatever the case, these two final episodes of GIRLS und PANZER were far and away superior to any of the other shows from winter 2013.

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Dated 29 April 2013: Spring 2013 initial impressions

Man and Old Man
The Hustler.

The preseason buzz for spring 2013 seemed fairly pessimistic. (Sort of seems that way more often than not lately.) Thankfully, this quarter is shaping out to be pretty decent, at least through the first third of the cour. I guess I was looking forward to Death Billiards from the name alone—turns out it's another excellent Anime Mirai short movie, by the way—and that show about giants eating people, and the second season of Railgun, so it's not as if I believed spring 2013 would be a total write-off. It turns out there are at least a couple of gems and one shiny rock to admire.

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Dated 11 July 2013: Spring 2013 wrapup

Shiny Chariot
Shiny Chariot's Magical Festa is a tough act to follow.

Overall, the spring 2013 season was a little bit of a letdown considering it started fairly strong. (I can sort of prove it too.) From a subjective standpoint, it probably felt worse because the start of the season coincided with the release of Little Witch Academia and Death Billiards which are both excellent short films, although not part of the spring 2013 anime season itself. As you can probably predict, both the best show and the worst show I watched were pretty consistent episode to episode.

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Dated 26 August 2013: DokiDoki! Precure improves, Detective Conan remains the same, and Turning Girls is over already

Aguri
Aguri talks the talk.

I've mentioned the best shows I'm watching this season, and the worst ones (that I haven't dropped), but what about the rest? Well, I'm also watching DokiDoki! Precure, Detective Conan, and I watched the seven-episode series Turning Girls.

Cure Ace
Maybe Cure Ace really is Queen What's-Her-Name.

DokiDoki! Precure got better during summer 2013 because it sidelined Regina (perhaps her home planet needed her?) and brought in Kugimiya Rie to voice Cure Ace. All that Regina nonsense sucked, so I'm glad to see her go, even though she'll probably be back to fuck up the autumn 2013 cour. It turns out Cure Ace's civilian form is another shrimpy kid, but thankfully there's none of that Cure Muse crap this time around. She's not without her own faults, though. Cure Ace is sort of condescending and talks about Pretty Cure as if she's an old soldier who has been around for a long time and helped develop some of the doctrine. Excuse me, aren't you like 10 years old? Are you sure you aren't pulling these koans out of your ass?

Conan and Ran
Ran is going to have back problems from bending over so much.

I haven't mentioned Detective Conan much on these seasons summaries lately because the fansubs had fallen so far behind. Well, they're caught up again so Detective Conan can return to its role as my anime control group since it's still as good as it ever was. Shit's going down again this summer. Could use more Heiji and Kazuha, though.

Kaeru
Kaeru is the best Turning Girl because she is the most pathetic.

Turning Girls is good, but—like many gag anime comprised of five-minute webcasts—it's a bit overrated. It's fine for what it is, but much of its success depends on its format. I don't think I could watch an entire cour of full-length Turning Girls episodes. It's great in small doses, but any more would be too much.

Aguri
Drink water. Drive on.

It took me more than half the season to introduce all the shows I'm watching summer 2013, and I haven't even mentioned all the shows I've dropped. Hopefully I'll be able to knock those out before it's time to do the end-of-season wrap-ups. Or I could just focus exclusively on my latest Pretty Cure re-watching project. Apparently this site qualifies as a Precure blog.

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 23 October 2013: KILL la KILL leads the six shows that I'm watching so far

Mikisugi and Ryuuko
Relax, it's cool. He's her teacher.

I'm watching fewer shows autumn 2013 than I usually do. I suppose on average it's still about one episode each night, but with less time watching anime and less attention devoted to The Twitter, I do have noticeably more time to pursue other interests—to include updating an anime blog that's nearly in its 13th year.

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