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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 2 October 2017: Symphogear? Still stupendous

Granny and Maria
Something something Maria, something something huge tomatoes.

I don't write about Symphogear as much as I ought to, consider that it's FUCKIN' GREAT. It's basically a miracle that we've gotten four seasons already with a fifth season supposedly on the way. This season, Senki Zesshou Symphogear AXZ ended up my second-favorite show, after Re:CREATORS but ahead of Princess Principal (which is itself way better than I expected). Still, I don't have much to say about Symphogear except that it's Symphogear. You either understand the appeal or you don't. It's definitely not something I expect to have any success in describing though text. Not in any way that does it justice, at least.

Shirabe and Prelati
Something something the appeal of a girl made of saws.

No doubt, there are still dubious readers on the fence about the whole thing. To be honest, the famous Symphogear meme chart pretty accurately describes the typical first-time viewing experience, aside from some outliers (like me) who were totally on board ever since Zwei Wing hit the stage in episode one of the first season. As to what you might expect in Symphogear AXZ? More singing while fighting (fighting while singing?), and more solving problems by punching them. The Hell else do you need?

Dated 18 September 2017: The Tsuredure Children are all right

Kaji and Akagi
Best couple.

Tsuredure Children started out as an online comic that turned into a published 4-koma before getting an anime adaptation. It consists mostly of relationship gags involving the students who go to the same high school, thus showcasing a variety of different attitudes and personalities among would-be lovebirds who generally know each other. I say "would-be" because it seems the majority of these couples are of the "he likes her, she likes, him, and both are too chickenshit to tell each other" variety. This is not to say they are all like this; there's a whole range of folks in this spectrum. On one end, we have the aggressive student body president whose forward approach seems to bother quite a few people on the Twitter, and on the other end we have Potato-kun, the spastic otaku who irritates the shit out of me. The main focus of the various stories concerns the difficulty of expressing feelings honestly, and depicts the various consequences of each approach

Yuki
Girlfriend 1, Imouto 0.

The show as a whole is pretty amusing, and a mostly straightforward adaptation of the comic, albeit in a truncated fashion because there are a whole mess of different couples in the comics. With only a single cours of half-length episodes to work with, a lot of my favorite characters only appear as cameos, if at all. Notably, the anime is sorely lacking in Patricia, whose running gags spill over into the stories of a number of other couples, including the (also missing) teacher-student pair. The anime also omits the musician who hides her secret identity (poorly) behind a mask that she refuses to remove. Thankfully, the anime does properly retain the visual gags involving the couples it does feature, and the timing for the gags are impeccable. I would be in favor of Tsuredure Children getting another season, but chances are it will remain in the single-cours pit along with other good romantic comedies that feature intersecting narratives such as Nijiiro Days and Hatsukoi Limited, alas.

Dated 4 September 2017: It's Google Sheets' fault I did not blog about Kuromukuro

Yukina
I wanted to like Kuromukuro. It didn't work out.

Spreadsheets killed anime blogging. At least that's my excuse for not even having a Kuromukuro category until now. I wanted to like this show, but it turned out to be too irritating to watch. I mostly bitched about it on the IRC and probably also the Twitter when it aired in spring 2016. (I dropped it before the second cours began summer 2016.) Anyway, here is a tardy, low-effort collection of gripes for y'all to skim over.

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Dated 21 August 2017: I was probably predisposed to like Princess Principal on general principle

Ange
Princess Principal also features some good hats.

Princess Principal features steampunk alternate history, Kajiura Yuki music, and copious helpings of espionage. Moreover, it's an original anime. Those don't appear to be quite as common these days; everything seems to be a light novel or mobile video game adaptation. Based on these elements, I was guaranteed to at least give the show a try. And, hey, it turns out it's pretty good. At a minimum, the action is a lot better than I was expecting, and the stories frequently take unexpected turns away from anticipated norms when the plot encounters common tropes. Nothing too crazy, but enough of a twist to make each resolution more satisfying than I was expecting.

Princess
Princess Mode activated.

I do agree with critics who noted it wasn't really necessary to introduce the princess in the first episode. It probably would have made the payoffs in the second and third episodes stronger. Then again, she's right in the title of the anime, so it's not as if she could have caught viewers by total surprise. Incidentally, the episodes are not in chronological order, seemingly to produce the same effects as when Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu aired out of order. It works so far, but the titles also imply there are more episodes than I'd expect in a single cours. Maybe this suggests they're teeing it up for a second season, or maybe it means nothing at all. In either case, I'm at least optimistic the season will end in a sensible, satisfying way and not the non-ending-ending bullshit that is too often the norm. As an original anime, Princess Principal doesn't have an excuse to screw up its second half, particularly considering the first half has been so strong.

Dated 14 August 2017: I'd be more inclined to watch Fate/Apocrypha if it weren't so much work

Mordred
You can't tell from a still, but Mordred has, like, mecha armor.

Experts predict that at the current rate of growth, all anime will be Fate/stay night by 2062. There is, shall we say, at lot of Fate anime. Besides the first television series in 2006, there is the Unlimited Blade Works movie from 2010, the Fate/Zero anime from 2011-12, the Unlimited Blade Works series from 2014-15, the Fate/Grand Order: First Order movie from 2016, and Fate/Extra coming in 2018. This doesn't even count Carnival Phantasm or anything else I might have overlooked. One does not explicitly need to watch all the other Fate/stay night properties in order to watch Fate/Apocrypha, but I think it's sort of expected a fan will make at least a token effort before attempting a 25-episode Netflix binge once it becomes available.

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Dated 7 August 2017: There is a 50/50 chance you will like Kakegurui

Yumeko and Ryouta
Don't worry, Potato-kun doesn't fuck up this show.

If you're even passably familiar with gambling-type anime and manga, then you already know the genre leans heavily on absurd premises and tension-filled high-stakes outcomes that frequently turn against expectations due to sudden twists or deft maneuvers by characters trying to outwit or intimidate their opponents. As such, the success or failure of any given title often lies very much on its execution. Based on what I've seen of the anime and read of its manga, the execution in Kakegurui (Compulsive Gambler) is top-notch.

Dimension W and Kakegurui
The Kakegurui manga was also previously released digitally.

Specifically, the art style lends itself well to garish deformations of its otherwise superlovely character designs, contrasting starkly with the calmer scenes and Yumeko's penchant to adopt a Fruits Basket Face almost by default. Notably, Hayami Saori is wonderful as Yumeko, and a major plus for the anime which would otherwise be a clear runner-up to the manga. It's close, anyway, and I might still give the manga the edge. Bear in mind, I'm basically spoiled on the anime by reading part of the manga, so it's not clear to me whether I'd actually like the manga better otherwise. In either case, both are enjoyable, and the anime does not suffer from any meaningful faults. I suppose the color palette is bit darker and heavily red in the anime compared to the impression which the black & white manga conveyed to me, but it works. Incidentally, the manga volumes are A5-sized, so notably bigger than typical Yen Press offerings.

Dated 31 July 2017: Kyoukai no Rinne is as good as ever

Rinne
I think the title gets localized as RIN-NE just to be petulant.

Joining the ranks of Pretty Cure and Detective Conan is Kyoukai no Rinne (often just RIN-NE), a long-running Takahashi Rumiko show which I'm willing to watch essentially indefinitely despite its recycled jokes. That probably doesn't sound like high praise, but I'm not claiming the show is brilliant—just that it's pleasant and enjoyable despite a fairly static setup.

Sakura
Super-pleasant girl enjoys her meal.

At 67 episodes now and counting, the cast of characters has grown quite a bit from when the anime adaptation first started in 2015. I guess this helps prevent the constantly recycled jokes (Rinne is beset by poverty, Sakura observes something startling but reacts nonchalantly, Rinne's dad is a cretin, etc.) from getting old. I'm not actually tired of the re-used jokes, though. Sakura's droll reactions remain as amusing as ever. I fell behind my Girl of the Year awards, but Sakura was a two-time winner of my short-lived Girl of the Week project in spring 2016.