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Dated 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.

Dated 19 December 2016: Bubuki Buranki is best if you've seen it already

Kinoa, Shizuru, and Kogane
Also, the faces are top-rate.

The first time I watched the first season Bubuki Buranki, I didn't think it was very good. It wasn't until after Epizo's introduction that the show really clicked for me, although I enjoyed the fight between Kinoa and her ex-boyfriend during which his attacks consisted entirely of literal flashbacks to their Meet Cute and early relationship. Upon re-watching the first season, though, I loved the show and its absurd excuses to feature giant robots punching things at the whim of angry teenagers making faces. Perhaps I was just late in appreciating the motivations and relationships among the various factions.

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Dated 21 November 2016: The uncanny valley of military anime

Jonas
Damn it, Private Death Flag, where is your rifle?

The so-called "uncanny valley" occupies the spot between the clearly artificial and the standards accepted as (or indistinguishable from) genuine articles. This concept is generally applied to automata and realistic human robots which generate a sense of uneasy revulsion on the part of the viewer because they're "just not quite there." However, I am applying this concept to explain why I can't quite accept military-themed anime such as this season's Shūmatsu no Izetta and last season's Nejimaki Seirei Senki: Tenkyou no Alderamin.

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Dated 24 October 2016: Autumn 2016 progress report: So far, so good

Shizuru, Kinoa, Kogane, and Raijoudou
Do not question Shizuru's methods.

Bubuki Buranki: Hoshi no Kyojin leads the shows I'm watching this season. I was a bit skeptical about bringing Kaoruko back to the show after being absent for essentially all of the first season, but I think it works with her as a mouthy antagonist. I particularly hope we'll get to see her get stomped by Reoko.

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Dated 25 September 2016: Looking forward to autumn 2016 anime

Kogane
Who's ready for more BBK/BRNK faces?

There are a surprising number of shows I'm interested in scheduled for autumn 2016. Most of these are sequels of some sort, but there are a few new properties that have caught my eye. Notably, I've yet to do any concerted investigating into the upcoming season, so the following only include titles that I noticed at some point and deemed worthy of preemptively annotating in my anime spreadsheet.

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Dated 17 August 2016: Masou Gakuen HxH is not the second coming of Seikon no Qwaser

Hayuru
Masou Gakuen HxH leads off the first episode with the Japanese girl in a cold open.

Although trashy fan service shows aren't exactly rare, the full-on, uncensored, blatantly gratuitous ones aren't particularly common either. In recent memory, there was Valkyrie Drive: Mermaid (which I haven't seen yet), and the ever-popular High School DxD series (which is relatively tame as far as these sorts of things go). This season, we have Masou Gakuen HxH (Hybrid x Heart Magias Academy Ataraxia) which is sort of like IS: Infinite Stratos except that in Masou Gakuen, Potato-kun's purpose is to recharge the girls' fighting ability through the power of arousal rather than just standing around wondering why they're all angry with him.

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Dated 6 July 2016: Sansha Sanyou: I don't think that bit about three girls each having the same kanji (葉) in their names ever comes up

Youko
Youko announces her departure to her empty little apartment.

I sort of like the idea of "Cute Girls Doing Cute Things" anime, but I have such a low success rate with them that I tend to avoid such shows as a matter of general principle. I'll check in every once in a while to see if my impressions of them has changed, but I usually end up dropping these shows relatively quick. This was the case with the well regarded Kiniro Mosaic despite Karen being an appealing nutjob, and was the case with Girlfriend (Kari) despite, um, the Tange Sakura character being an appealing nutjob. It's also why I've never started Yuyushiki and why I never watched Gochūmon wa Usagi Desu ka? (Is the Order a Rabbit?) even though I'm intrigued by the one who apparently carries a pistol for some reason I don't understand.

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Dated 6 May 2016: We can't stop here, this is kabane country

Mumei
Go on, Mumei. Curse the bitch out.

The best anime this season is a steampunk show about cowardly idiots and assholes on a train getting killed by zombies. This is not to say that Koutetsujou no Kabaneri (Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress) doesn't have problems, 'cause it's got a mess o' problems, but they're the sort of thing I'm happy to overlook as long as all the right people keep getting fucked up. (See also the second half of Shiki, another noitaminA show, in fact.)

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