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23 November 2021: Demon Slayer's Mugen Train arc is better as a movie than a TV series

Nezuko
Nezuko gets to do something.

I enjoyed the first season of Kimetsu no Yaiba (Demon Slayer) and also thought its Mugen Train movie was good. I'm hardly alone in having this opinion, as the series proved hugely popular, resulting in enormous sales for the manga on which it is based. Similarly, Gekijouban Kimetsu no Yaiba: Mugen Ressha-hen did extremely well in theaters, surpassing Spirited Away to become Japan's box office champion. The movie follows the events from the first anime season, and there was initially some concern the second TV season would pick up from where the movie left off, thus making it required viewing from a continuity standpoint.

Tanjirou
You sure about this?

Instead, the Mugen Train movie is being spread out over the first nine episodes of the second season of Kimetsu no Yaiba. After this arc concludes on Saturday, the entertainment district arc will reportedly begin, although I'm unsure how many episodes that will run. Re-watching the movie as television episodes has not been ideal. It doesn't seem as if there are major edits or changes to the ordering of scenes to accommodate the time constraints of television episodes, but the experience seems flawed.

Rengoku
These are some eyebrows.

As far as I can tell, the reason for this effect is because of the weekly interruptions breaking up the impacts of both the narrative and the action scenes. It's a fairly obvious or at least foreseeable consequence of repackaging the movie into a different format, but more pronounced than I anticipated. Nevertheless, I don't think it would have made sense to re-create the entire arc with the television format in mind, so this probably was the best option. Besides, it's not as if the arc is actually bad this way—it mostly just fails to match its own standard.


16 November 2021: I don't care if Takt Op. Destiny probably isn't supposed to be written as {tákt: op. Destiny}

Ms. Brown, Cosette, and Anna
To a Musicart with a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

I'm adding braces and styling the title of {tákt: op. Destiny} this way because doing so approximates how it appears in the anime. It also seems appropriate because the series itself is also very stylish, possibly to its detriment. It is a neat looking show, but I don't know if I can call it good. Nevertheless, at a minimum, the idea of using eccentric superpowered girls to fight off the monsters that attack whenever they detect music is sort of interesting. It's not exactly the sort of anime that everyone will like, though.

Walküre
Walküre should definitely be singing while fighting.

It would probably benefit {tákt: op. Destiny} to feature more music. Since the focus is on classical music, I guess it's not realistic to expect the Musicarts to sing while fighting, Symphogear style. I would absolutely enjoy an aria or two, but Takagaki Ayahi is not in the cast, and I don't expect there are many other seiyuu who would theoretically be up to the task.

Takt, Cosette, and Anna
I find it odd that no one is riding shotgun.

This is also a road trip anime. I appreciate those because they're sort of rare. (I get the feeling Japan's extensive rail infrastructure contributes to the relative scarcity of road trip anime.) It works here because {tákt: op. Destiny} is set in the United States. I guess it's not technically a road trip anime, but there is a road trip in it. Close enough, eh.


9 November 2021: Taishou Otome Otogibanashi might actually be playing it straight

Yuzuki and Tamahiko
Kiss her, you idiot.

Taishō Otome Otogibanashi (Taishō Otome Fairy Tale) is about a Taishou-era 17-year-old rich kid who loses the use of his right arm in a car accident that also kills his mother. Subsequently, his hateful father banishes him out of sight to a house overlooking a small village. Oh, and the father buys the guy a tiny, freakishly cheerful, 14-year-old girl to be the dour boy's wife.

Yuzuki and Tamahiko
Those are some colorful straps.

I was expecting some plot twists leading to melodrama, or at least a revelation or two about why the girl is so pleasant all the time despite her predicament. Tamahiko, the boy, has a fairly negative outlook on the world, and the series balances this with Yuzuki's constant—and apparently earnest—cheerfulness. After five episodes, it's looking less and less like Yuzuki might be harboring some dark secret. Maybe this series really is what it appears to be.

Tamako and Tamahiko
Dude's 12-year-old sister turned out to be okay.

I will be disappointed if Yuzuki simply has no problems with being sold as a child bride to a complete stranger to help cover a family member's debt, and lacks any agency or complex character traits of her own. It's probably also worth pointing out some similarities to Ai Yori Aoshi also exist, at least on the surface level. Unfortunately, as flawed as Ai Yori Aoshi is, it still bests Taishou Otome Otogibanashi in terms of both drama and romance. Nevertheless, I plan to continue watching Taisho Otome Fairy Tale. The show itself is fine. I don't genuinely have any meaningful issues with it, even if it is seemingly offensive in principle.


2 November 2021: Maybe Saihate no Paladin is a better book than it is an anime

William and Mary
I would not have known she was a mummy if the series hadn't said so.

I wasn't planning on watching Saihate no Paladin (The Faraway Paladin) this season, but the first episode was better than I was expecting, and it turns out Hocchan is in this. When I say it was "better than I was expecting," I'm not suggesting it blew me away. Rather, I was just relieved it avoided most of the dumb isekai x JRPG nonsense I expected. Also, the storytelling was deliberate and did not rush through its setup, and I appreciated that.

William
There were no horny-baby jokes in this show.

That said, the pacing does seem sort of slow for an anime. Or, I guess I should clarify, it seems slow for a single-cours anime. I'm four episodes through its 12-episode run, and I have no idea what its plot or main story is going to be. This would be fine if subsequent seasons are planned, but it does seem as if a read-the-books non-ending ending is the most likely outcome. I have heard the books are good, so maybe that is the way to go. Then again, I've heard "the books are good" said about a whole lot of stuff which only turned out to be good for sufficiently broad definitions of good, so why should this be any different?

Mary, Blood, and Gus
An isekai protagonist and his three undead parents can be a family.

Well, the isekai aspect is relatively muted so far. Where it has appeared, it mostly relates to William's dissatisfaction with his old life and his commitment to becoming a better person now that he's been given a second chance. Notably, he seems committed to following the less traveled path of becoming a better person by, you know, being a better person instead of coasting down the "becoming a better person by exploiting a fortuitous cheat power and basking in the adoration of comely, nubile companions who are attached to him" sluice. So yeah, it's at least plausible the books are actually good.


26 October 2021: Komi Can’t Communicate is worth your time even if you have to watch it on the Netflix

Komi
This is the good stuff.

I was only mildly interested in watching the Komi-san wa, Komyushou desu. (Komi Can’t Communicate) anime because I lost interest in the manga fairly quickly. I mean, the basic premise is fine, and the characters are all right, but there wasn't enough going for it to help it compete against all the other titles I'm reading. Honestly, the best thing in its favor was Komi's bug-eyed nervous face when she's confronted with something emotionally challenging.

Komi
Komi's non-anxious form looks sort of weird, honestly.

Fortunately for the Komi-san anime, this visage is something the anime captured perfectly. The anime also devoted a surprising amount of attention to the shading and texture of Komi's stockinged legs, so maybe I shouldn't be surprised it got her comic form right. This brings me to my main reason for suggesting the Komi-san wa, Komyushou desu. anime is worth a shot: Its animation is unusually high-effort. The production values for this show went above and beyond what I would expect of a series that takes place largely at a school. There are visual flourishes everywhere. It's impressive without becoming distracting.

Komi and Tadano
Such is the power of ditching gym class.

With regard to the Netflix, the U.S. release is a few weeks behind the Japanese one. (And it's even a week-by-week release instead of a binge-friendly dump like most typical shows on the Netflix.) Consequently, you may have seen some criticism about the lack of translated on-screen text in the official release, especially compared against what you might expect from, say, a fansub. There is a lot of text that was not translated in the first episode of the official release, but that episode had A LOT of text in general.

Tadano
For real, that episode was wall-to-wall on-screen text.

But to be clear, we're not talking about an assault against typesetting in general (cf. the FUNimation's infamous three-line attacks), but rather the Netflix appears to have prioritized what on-screen text was critical to translate and what it could omit because it would either be apparent by context or be too difficult to read without pausing. In that sense, I'm okay with those decisions (at least for the first episode, anyway). Purists who want everything translated, even if it means pausing scenes at various points to read it all will be better off hunting for fansubs, but I don't think viewers who prefer to watch episodes all the way through without interruptions will find the specific omissions in the official release objectionable.


19 October 2021: In re Isekai Shokudou 2: Still looks like a nice place to eat

Aletta
Aletta is pleasant.

There's honestly not all that much to Isekai Shokudou (Restaurant to Another World), but I enjoyed the first season enough to watch its sequel. Isekai Shokudou 2 continues its first season's parade of enthusiastic patrons whose displays of excitement are not entirely over the top, unlike some other food-reaction-shot anime. I at least don't remember any guests literally orgasming from their meals.

Kuro
Kuro is pleasant on the inside.

There's also not really very much tension or drama. There are a number of side plots related to the customers and how they happened to find the magic door to the restaurant, but these are also secondary to showing off the various dishes and encouraging viewers to try them. In that respect, Restaurant to Another World is fairly successful. At a minimum, it's a reminder that I have available to me an incredible assortment of different cuisines and the means to sample them (even if they do cost more than a few coppers, typically). I should probably do so more often. I don't even need to travel to another world to do it.


12 October 2021: I am enjoying Tsuki to Laika to Nosferatu

Anya
Nice hat.

Cold War PseudoSoviets sending a vampire into space is an interesting enough premise that I would give Tsuki to Laika to Nosferatu (localized as either Moon, Laika, and the Bloodsucking Princess or Irina: The Vampire Cosmonaut) a chance on general principle. Having Hayashibara Megumi voice the lead role seals it. (She's had plenty of lead roles, but this is much less common these days.) Giving it an OP by ALI PROJECT is also a bonus.

Irina and Lev
The tubes contain cosmonaut food. I wonder if there is also CMYK cosmonaut food.

I like that Tsuki to Laika to Nosferatu rejects most of the typical vampire lore. Irina is also not physically superior to the human candidates by some unreachable degree. She is better, since she can nearly keep up—despite an utter lack of any prior training—with the human candidate who had been working for some time toward becoming the first cosmonaut before becoming her trainer.

Anya, Irina, and Lev
Anya measured Irina's blood pressure, and she can bleed, so I guess she's not undead.

I originally assumed the NotSoviets wanted a vampire cosmonaut because of their inherent survivability or reduced need for life-support systems, but it turns out it has more to do with how vampires are regarded in that world as a sub-human race. Therefore, they are test subjects treated as expendable and useful to a nascent space program sort of the way dogs and monkeys are.

Irina and Anya
She's wearing the muzzle because of racism.

There are some light-novel elements in the series that hold it back to some degree (minor tsundere dishonesty, some jerkface assholes, stuff like that), but nothing that significantly detracts from my overall enjoyment of the show so far. I'm hoping we can avoid a vampires-are-people-too arc, but that's probably inevitable considering our vampire cosmonaut is a 43-kilogram girl who hides vulnerable emotions and not, y'know, Alucard from Hellsing.


5 October 2021: 86 Eighty Six season 2 two looks promising

Lena
That's still in regs, right?

I'm going to go ahead and say that 86 Eighty Six manages to avoid being bad by being good. There is certainly a "people die when they are killed" logic to this statement, but I guess what I really mean is the series continues to overachieve in comparison with my expectations for it. Much of this is pessimism on my part, because I've heard from the beginning that the source material is good. However, those sorts of claims aren't very reassuring since "good" light novels typically seem to only be good for sufficiently generous definitions of good.

Ernst
Ain't you Shinichi's dad from Detective Conan?

Fortunately, the execution in the case of 86 Eighty Six actually is good. There's basically always something in every episode that's done well enough to be noteworthy, and the story is also sound. The various twists remain unexpected (but are also not total ass pulls) and do keep the series interesting even though much of it sounds pretty cheesy if you're just describing it to someone. Notably, I was already spoiled about a resolution to the previous season's ending because I saw the cover to one of the later light novels, but even knowing that did not ruin the effect provided by the 1st First episode of the 2nd Second cours. I'm looking 4 forward 2 to watching more.