Version 5.4 ~ Haruhi gave rock and roll to you.
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4 October 2022: Which Gundam? Witch Gundam

Aerial
Everybody has a plan until they get Gundamed in the face.

Despite blogging about anime for more than 20 years, I know surprisingly little about the Gundam franchise as a whole. Aside from some inescapable tropes and details, basically everything that I do know comes from Gundam SEED and Gundam SEED Destiny (the only installments that I've watched). Oh, and the compilation movies for the original Mobile Suit Gundam, but that was a long time ago. However, after the prologue to and the first episode of Kidou Senshi Gundam: Suisei no Majo (Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury), I'm fairly confident in assuming regular-type Gundam TV ain't normally like this. And I'm not just saying that because the lead character is a girl.

Suletta and schoolmates
Be nice to the new girl.

I've seem multiple fans describe Mercury Witch Gundam as Utena Gundam, which seems about right to me, with the heavy caveat that I don't know anything about Shoujo Kakumei Utena (Revolutionary Girl Utena) either. It at least fits the stereotypes I've encountered related to Utena. Maybe nobody has turned into a car yet, but it's only been one episode. Basically everything that did happen in the first episode was absurd, and that also fits with my secondhand impression of Utena. Y'know, maybe it's not that weird. Maybe Gundam is always like this and I just never knew. I'm at least aware people get slapped in Gundam, and there is slapping in the first episode of Kidou Senshi Gundam: Suisei no Majo. Maybe it's not that different after all.


27 September 2022: Summertime Render turned out to be pretty good

Hizuru and Shinpei
He'll be fine.

I haven't seen much discussion of Summertime Render during its two-cours run. This is understandable due to, ah, let's just say, "a variety of reasons," but it is sort of a shame because it's one of the better anime I've watched during 2022 so far. It's not the best one, but it's at least in good company, even if I can't quite figure out whether it's supposed to be Summertime Render, Summer Time Render, Summertime Rendering, or Summer Time Rendering. What a mess.

Shinpei, Ushio, and Mio
Ushio spends much of the show only wearing a swimsuit, but she gets by.

I started watching it because I figured it was going to be an anime about a ghost girlfriend haunting Potato-kun. It turns out it's more about time loops and the challenges faced when confronted by an adversary who is also able to exploit time loops. The events and where they fit in the timeline start to get somewhat complex, and does require a fair amount of attention if the viewer hopes to keep track of who knows what at each particular point in time. Fortunately, the characters have ways of copying and transfering memories quickly, so the show doesn't get bogged down with constant exposition to bewildered accomplices.

Mio
I like Mio's SAKANA shirt.

There is still one episode left in the Summertime Render anime, and I have no idea whether this will be mostly an epilogue, or whether it's going to be a high-intensity scramble to wring out the best-possible outcome from one last opportunity. Hell, I haven't even ruled out the chance that it's going to conclude the series on a cliffhanger. This is a cliffhanger-heavy show in general, so it would be in keeping with the tone of many of the previous episodes. Expect some griping on my part if that happens, though. Still, the source manga has concluded, so things will probably be fine for the final episode. Probably. Maybe.


20 September 2022: I hope Lycoris Recoil and Engage Kiss can both stick their landings

Chisato and Takina
What are you thinking about?

You might see Lycoris Recoil and Engage Kiss compared every so often (and I guess that's what I'm doing now), but they don't share much in common. Well, I guess they both have Aniplex and A1-Pictures behind them, and both anime air on Saturdays, but the shows themselves aren't similar. Also, both are headed towards a big finish this weekend, although I can see how Lycoris Recoil might earn itself a sequel, depending on how things go.

Chisato
Look, there aren't even any bullet holes!

To be clear, Lycoris Recoil is a significantly better show than Engage Kiss. I like both, although for different reasons, but there's a good reason why fans of Lycoris Recoil are so enthused. It features a well-balanced mix of serious drama with genuine stakes, wacky high jinks, and significant amounts of entertaining (albeit unrealistic) gun play.

Sharon and Shuu
My opinions about SHARON HOLYGRAIL are wholly positive.

On the other hand, Engage Kiss has a combat nun sensibly named SHARON HOLYGRAIL who only takes off her habit's headpiece during sex. It also features a high school demon girl whose motivation for being so devoted to Potato-kun is somewhat unclear. She at least seems willing to accept she must have had a good reason. Maybe she found instructions scrawled on her hand telling her to be, and just assumed there was a good reason that she merely forgot.


13 September 2022: I guess that's why Yofukashi no Uta is a noitaminA show

Nazuna
Not sure if gap moé.

I generally expect more from anime airing in the noitaminA block. It's not always a clear indicator of quality, as there have been a fair number of noitaminA shows that seemed "undeserving" of the designation, but they do seem to be better more often than not. In the case of Yofukashi no Uta (Call of the Night), I have read some of the manga because I enjoyed the author's previous work, Dagashi Kashi, but I can't claim to have been a huge fan.

Seri
What's a nice girl like you doing in an alley at night?

The Yofukashi no Uta anime adaptation, though, is really well done. The visuals, the music, and Tenchan's characterization of Nazuna are all top-notch. (Haruka DeTomaso Pantera also appears in the anime, and Sawashiro Miyuki is reportedly joining the cast as well.) There's honestly not much about the show's ostensible plot that I especially care about, but each episode continues to impress me with the execution. It's possible I merely failed to fully appreciate the manga, but Call of the Night might also deserve to be one of those examples where an anime adaptation improves upon its source material.


6 September 2022: Love Live! Superstar!! is still Kanon's show

Kanon
Come with me if you want to love live.

I had a lot of reservations when I learned Love Live! Superstar!! was adding new characters for its second season. Superstar!! was the only Love Live! iteration I regarded as actually being a good anime. Its much smaller cast was a big part of that. Through seven episodes so far, the second season has at least not ruined the good thing it had going, and remains pretty all right in and of itself. Kanon is still the character I like the most, though, and by a significant margin.

Keke
At least I like Cuckoo a lot more now than I did originally.

Fortunately, the second season continues to present Kanon as the Love Live! Superstar!! center point rather than taking a more chaotic or uncommitted ensemble-cast approach. For example, it sensibly found an excuse for Kanon to exhibit her preternatural ability to basically "fast travel" once again in order to personally set one of the newbies straight. It resulted in a scene that advanced both characters.

Shiki
She's weird.

Don't get me wrong. The rest of the cast is pretty good, too, and none of them actually suck. The supporting cast does suffer a bit from being relegated to various gimmicks at times, but they are being fleshed out more and more over time. It's not at all like, for example, Cure Honey from HappinessCharge Precure!, about whom I could tell you absolutely nothing that doesn't involve rice. Even Natsumi—the unpopular would-be video streamer who is obsessed with money—has more going on already than I initially feared.

Margarethe
I believe this is what the kids used to call being "extra."

This is not to say it's all been a huge success, though. MARGARETHE WIEN, or whatever her name actually is, disappeared basically immediately and looks to be another Lanzhu (from Love Live! Nijigasaki). I.e., someone contending for rival status who ultimately turns out to be mostly irrelevant. I'm also not particularly impressed with the character development for Shiki thus far, but I guess there is still nearly half a cours remaining. Maybe there will be something surprising to learn about her. Personally, I'm hoping she's secretly an android sent back in time from the future by Honoka to keep the idol wars from destroying humanity. It could happen.


30 August 2022: Overlord viewers who haven't read the books must be so confused

Philip
This fucker is too stupid to live. And yet....

I haven't checked if Overlord season four is adapting a proportionally greater amount of the source material than the previous seasons did, but it feels like it. The anime has covered a lot of ground at breakneck speed, and it appears the remaining episodes will bring us all the way to the end of volume 14 (at least based on the content in the OP). Notably, the anime has already skipped past the Holy Kingdom arc that will be covered by the upcoming movie.

Neia
GET HYPED

For anime-only viewers, this timeskip occurs without explanation. Unfortunately for anyone relying solely on in-show context to fill in the gaps when it comes to events and organizations not explicitly depicted in the TV anime thus far, there is a fairly significant error that appeared in the official subtitles for episode eight of season four. Specifically, the Holy Kingdom and the Slaine (Slane) Theocracy are treated as being one and the same. They are not. It's an understandable mistake if the translation team is working without the benefit of knowing what the movie will cover, since the Holy Kingdom hasn't been previously introduced in the anime at all, while the Theocracy has been a fixture since the first season.

King Ramposa III
This old dude.

To clarify, the Kingdom is the country that has featured most prominently in Overlord so far. It's called the Kingdom because, you know, it has a king (the old dude). Last season and this season, there's also the Empire. This is the country with (can you guess?) an Emperor (the young blond guy who is stressed out all the time). We don't know that much about the Theocracy, but they seem to be religious douchebags who deserve to get thrashed. The Holy Kingdom is the country receiving humanitarian aid (the grain that Philip steals) from our intrepid heroes.

Jircniv
This stressed-out guy.

The Crunchyroll's subtitles mistakenly refer to the Holy Kingdom as the Theocracy, which is incorrect and wildly confusing because Nazarick regards the Theocracy as an adversary and would have no reason to provide it with humanitarian aid. [Update: They fixed it.] It's spoilers for the upcoming movie, but I'll leave it up to your imagination to discern why the Holy Kingdom would need humanitarian aid. (Spoilers: Because it gets frickin' wrecked. This wouldn't have happened if y'all had more R.U.N.E.C.R.A.F.T.)


23 August 2022: Isekai Ojisan is brilliant

Elf and Uncle
Oh my God. These two are so good.

It turns out Isekai Ojisan (Uncle from Another World) is a lot funnier than I would have expected of an isekai parody. Actually, I guess it's not really even necessarily a parody. It just happens to subvert expectations by tackling all the stereotypical tropes the wrong way. There have only been five episodes so far due to a Covid-related two-week delay after the fourth episode, but every installment has been solid.

Elf
I want to know how her armor does that.

I've only read a few chapters of the manga, but this anime adaptation is outstanding. In particular, Koyasu Takehito as the Sega-obsessed uncle and Haruka DeTomaso Pantera as the elf girl from the other world are perfect. The anime also has a somewhat crude appearance to it (as does the original manga) that fits well with the gags, and the comic timing is right on. Seeing as how there are eight volumes of the ongoing manga so far, I have to assume there's more to the series than just non-stop anecdotes of the uncle's isekai misadventures, but I'd honestly be okay with it either way.


16 August 2022: The Netflix is letting Kakegurui Twin ride

Mary
I appreciate the Nii Manabu character designs.

I'm aware the Netflix is reportedly performing below expectations (or at least below its ambitions) financially. I don't have a solution in mind, but I have to believe its practice of dumping shows all at once to support its "binge" model is detrimental to the sort of word-of-mouth promotional impact that would be available by releasing episodes weekly. This isn't a lament unique to Kakegurui Futago (Kakegurui Twin) either. It applies to nearly all anime that ends up on the U.S. Netflix.

Midari
You can tell it's a prequel because Midari isn't missing an eye yet.

I enjoy the Kakegurui manga enough to buy it (although I'm behind on Kakegurui Twin), but not enough to binge-watch Kakegurui Futago on the Netflix. (Or maybe I enjoy it too much to binge-watch?) In any case, I wish the series would have gotten a regular seasonal release instead. As far as the show itself goes, it appears to be a truncated adaptation of the manga. It sort of has to be, since the anime is only six episodes long, and there are 12 volumes and counting of the manga. Frankly, that sounds like a lot for a spin-off prequel, but I guess it could always start covering the main manga's events in parallel from Mary's point of view, if it hasn't had to do so already. I said I was behind, okay?