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Dated 6 February 2017: Seiren pulls out of its nosedive

Tooru
A challenger appears.

The first arc of Seiren was a stunning disappointment. It was inept in almost wholly unoriginal ways, which made it doubly worse because this meant it should have been able to avoid all its missteps. The first episode of its second arc, however, gets the next route off to a good start by revisiting some of the elements that made Seiren's Amagami SS predecessor at least memorable, even if it was not exactly capital-G Good.

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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 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 22 April 2016: Wake Me Up Asuna needs better punctuation and probably more pestering about household chores

Asuna
There's no landscape mode.

Thanks to MVB's recommendation on the Twitter, I installed the Wake Me Up Asuna Android app even though it really should be called Wake Me Up, Asuna or even Wake Me Up, Asuna! There's not much to say about it. It does what its website describes, and it doesn't seem to have any weird bugs or battery-sucking behavior (at least not on any of the three devices I tested). The synthesized Haruka DeTomaso Pantera voice sounds fine, but I also didn't challenge it with a hard-to-pronounce name. There are no ads, and you can use it for free providing you don't care about English subtitles or feel like buying Asuna new clothes. Speaking of which, she will nag you within the first 24 hours to buy some different clothes, but I've gone a few days since blowing her off and she hasn't asked again yet.

Asuna
The housewife sweater is free.

"Asuna's sweet words will definitely make you feel as if she is your wife!" is a bit of a stretch. Mostly she just stands there. It's a little weird when she's pretending to sleep. Like, she'll keep standing there, swaying randomly. The lights will still be on, and every once in a while she'll crack her eyes open, I guess to see if the coast is clear. Thankfully, I don't believe the application has camera permissions, so Asuna probably won't really stare at you while you sleep. I also sort of feel Asuna is a weird choice to be the first of these daily assistant character jobbies, but I guess she needed to be a popular mainstream character with a Life Debt to Sony.

Dated 2 April 2016: In re Rainbow Days

Natsuki and Anna
Sure, just stand there watching her sleep. It's not weird or nothin'.

I only started watching Nijiiro Days (Rainbow Days) because I thought it was going to be about a dude getting cockblocked by his friends as he attempts to hook up with some girl from his school. It turns out I was dead wrong about a critical part of that premise (his friends are actually trying to help him get with the girl), but it also turned out the show is pretty good even without cockblocking, jerkface friends.

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Dated 21 June 2015: Ore Monogatari!! is about getting what you wish for

Rinko
This is how Rinko sees Takeo all the time.

For years I've lamented the lack of anime romances wherein couples get together early on and spend the rest of the series developing their relationship. Typically, an anime "romance" will either be about unrequited love in the form of tsundere bullshit, or (more commonly) simply not commit at all. There is the occasional Kare Kano, but such shows are quite rare. Amazingly, the spring 2015 anime season gave us Ore Monogatari!!, a show which basically does everything I wished for all these years. And yet, perhaps predictably, it's still a little unsatisfying.

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Dated 3 March 2015: Maria the Virgin Witch is pretty good even if it is a show about virgins and witches

Maria
Maria's orbs are huge.

Junketsu no Maria (Maria the Virgin Witch) is quite different from what I was expecting. It's turning out to be semi-serious fare with actual stories and sub-plots about different factions involved in Maria's little war instead of a lurid fan service comedy. (Maria does seem to spend a lot of time on screen being very blonde, very aerodynamic, and mostly nude, though.) Thankfully, her hatred of war and entirely emotional approach to it, though idealistic and childish, manages to not annoy the shit out of me like the other occasions when obtuse anime pacifists carry on about some sort of nonsense or other. Oh, hi, Cagalli. I didn't see you standing there.

Joseph
Somehow not a potato.

The witch part of Maria the Virgin Witch is interesting enough, I suppose, except that none of them appear to be evil. I guess from the point of view of the show's religious leaders, many of the witches are bad—oh, so bad—but from a modern anime viewer's perspective, I have to say they're pretty good. Especially the Noto Mamiko witch. The virgin part hasn't gotten annoying yet either. Where it goes from here will depend on how it handles its "Stop Using Sex as a Weapon" plot. Like My-Otome, nearly 10 years ago before it, characters in Maria the Virgin Witch have figured out that you can rape away an uppity girl's magic powers. (P.S. Spoilers.) I get the feeling Junketsu no Maria won't simply shrug this off the way My-Otome did, but I hope it also doesn't suddenly turn into a morality play about the Otaku Virtues.

Dated 20 February 2015: War is all Hell, even on a healing anime such as Aldnoah.Zero

Slaine
Slaine's pistol in episode 13 looks the same as
the one Asseylum waves around in the first OP.

Guess what's about to hit the fan on Aldnoah.Zero. Go on, guess. The rest of this entry contains substantial spoilers for both seasons of Aldnoah.Zero and quite a bit of speculation as well. If you're not prepared, avert your eyes, etc.

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