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Dated 9 October 2017: The Ancient Magus' Bride reminds us that fairies are assholes

Chise
Arguably worse than mosquitoes.

The long-awaited anime adaptation of Mahō Tsukai no Yome (The Ancient Magus' Bride) is really here. Based on the first episode, Wit Studio is faithfully reproducing the look and feel of the magic realm (well, England, actually) where 15-year-old Chise finds herself. Although it's probably unrealistic to expect the standard set in the three prequel OVAs and the first episode to persist throughout the next two cours, I'm fairly confident Wit will be able to do the series justice. It's a gorgeous manga, so expectations for the anime are quite high. No pressure.

Chise
It's been a long day.

Despite the title, Mahoutsukai no Yome isn't really about a child bride, although the opening minutes of the anime (and the opening pages of the manga) are meant to invoke some troubling impressions. There are dark undercurrents in the series, but they're offset for the most part by the magic and splendor of the story and setting. I'm seven volumes deep into the English-language releases by Seven Seas Entertainment, so I've got a general idea where the anime is going to go. I'm still a bit uncertain how to promote it, since this isn't a title that relies on tremendous highs or emotional whirlwinds to keep readers interested. I suspect some of the complaints I saw about the OVAs' pacing will apply to the TV series as well, at least among some viewers. I'm by no means suggesting The Ancient Magus' Bride is for everyone, but it definitely deserves investigating for at least an episode or two. At a minimum, it's a stark rebuttal to the typical complaints people have about "anime these days."

Dated 19 June 2017: SukaSuka found romance at the WorldEnd

Chtholly
Best Girl.

Shuumatsu Nani Shitemasu ka? Isogashii desu ka? Sukutte Moratte Ii desu ka? continues to surpass all expectations. That an anime adaptation of a light novel with a ridiculous title (WorldEnd: What do you do at the end of the world? Are you busy? Will you save us?) could turn out to be one of the best shows of the year is somewhat absurd, yet here we are. With 10 episodes in and two to go, I'm looking forward to the ending which was telegraphed in the first episode's 60-second prologue, but I'll also be sad to reach the end of the series, given that successful anime romances are so rare.

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Dated 6 March 2017: Demi-chan wa Kataritai is a cool show


I wonder where they got the water.

SDS of Ogiue Maniax fame recently remarked that his circle of friends and co-workers "automatically gravitate towards pairings" and that they were skewing his perception of anime fandom. This struck me as somewhat odd, but the more I thought about it, the more I had to admit the practice is much more commonplace on, say, the Twitter, than I had noticed. Because I am not a 'shipper, I guess I never appreciated how prevalent 'shipping happens to be, and that fans who reflexively 'ship characters of shows they watch might respond with greater aversion to implications that I might ignore.

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Dated 14 November 2016: I'm looking forward to some crazy Asuka drama

Asuka
Asuka drops her facade for a moment.

For the most part, I think viewers of Hibike! Euphonium consider Asuka to be a bit of a comic relief character. This is an understandable position given that she's constantly fucking with people and generally has one of the more energetic personalities on the show. Nevertheless, there have been numerous hints dropped both in the first season and in the current one suggesting that Asuka has some sort of shit going on that the viewer doesn't quite know about yet.

Asuka
A more typical Asuka.

Not being familiar with the source material, I don't have any idea if there's anything to these hints, or whether we'll see them addressed this season in the remaining episodes of the show, but it seems likely. Perhaps Kyoto Animation has been showing off Chekhov's euphonium all this time with no plans to toot that horn, but I like my chances. You know what's not gonna get resolved? Reina and Taki. Never gonna happen, Reina.

Dated 10 October 2016: There sure are a lot of adults in anime lately

Nozomi
This butt is over-18.

Anime sure loves high school boys. Arguably, the only characters anime loves more than high school boys are middle school girls. Whether you agree with this assessment or not (and don't take it too seriously, okay, this is why I don't have comments enabled), I don't think I'll get much opposition if I claim a lot of (mostly shitty) anime skews towards school-aged protagonists in school settings. In the extreme, you even get shows such as Guilty Crown or Kakumeiki Valvrave where preserving a school's social structure is the single most important goal of the characters, despite living in a state of war.

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Dated 7 September 2016: Amaama to Inazuma has a lot of sweetness but basically no lightning

Kotori
Kotori doing something domestic again.

Cooking shows aren't exactly a rarity in anime, but Amaama to Inazuma (Sweetness and Lightning) is unique in its slower pace and fairly unremarkable recipes. Rather than the usual over-the-top incredulous reactions to newly discovered flavors, Amaama to Inazuma focuses instead on the simple pleasure of preparing food and eating together. This, it does extremely well, and it's very satisfying watching the characters learning how to cook for each other. (Although it still bugs me they never wash their hands first.) However, there is an elephant in the room: the looming potential romance between teenage Kotori and her teacher, Kouhei, a recent widower. Nevertheless, through nine episodes, there has been no hint of any such subplot, so it's possible no such romance ever develops.

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Dated 26 March 2016: In re the End of Boku dake ga Inai Machi ~ERASED/My Purest Heart for Airi~

Airi
Surprise, everyone.

If you've been paying attention to the winter 2016 anime season at all, you probably noticed Boku dake ga Inai Machi (officially localized as ERASED, but sometimes colloquially Bokumachi) was a heavy favorite early on to be the season's best show. Personally, I had a few problems with the series preventing me from rating it quite so high, and a significant number of fans also grew dissatisfied with the show's second half, but ERASED is still regarded as one of this winter's best anime, despite some issues with the ending.

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Dated 17 February 2015: The Changing of the Cures was the highlight of my visit to Buckingham Palace

Window
Sure, Window, go ahead and sit this one out. Cure Lovely has got this.

After more than 10 years of Pretty Cure, it's sort of amazing how quickly its one-year seasons pass now. It seems as if it wasn't that long ago when Window was busy making a name for herself as the new Worst Cure Ever. She turned out all right, though, and of that I am glad. A girl can go a long way once she starts distinguishing herself by punching people in the face. As a series, Happiness ChargePrecure! distinguished itself in three major ways: (1) Its filler episodes were actually pretty good, which is fortunate because its high marks didn't hit all that high. (2) It reminded viewers that Pretty Cure as a franchise is decidedly in favor of heterosexual schoolgirl crushes on older boys, no matter what manner of lesbian dreams some of its male viewers might have. (3) There were shit-tons of scrub Cures from all around the world—enough that I fell into despair when I thought about trying to keep my Cure Rankings list updated.

Cure Flora, Aroma, and Pafu
Relax, kid, you'll get used to it.

Following the HappinessCharge Precure! conclusion (which was fairly lackluster in my view), Go! Princess Precure sprang into action, ushering a level-up in CG integration. Thus far, I have a fairly positive view of the new series, partly because of the gokigenyouing, partly because of the ballet, and mostly because it seems to be more about beating ass than cultivating feelings. I know I'm supposed to be opposed to the CG integration as a matter of principle, but so far it's been a net gain. None of the characters seem to stand out all that much for me, but that's the sort of minor complaint they can cure by devoting a few episodes to kicking deadbeats in the neck. If they keep up their early episode aggression, these erstwhile princesses and I will get along just fine.