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31 January 2023: The 80,000 Gold anime is okay

Mitsuha and Anke, Britta, and Carla
Is it normal to strip naked in a general store?

I'm still watching Rougo ni Sonaete Isekai de 8-manmai no Kinka wo Tamemasu (Saving 80,000 Gold in Another World for My Retirement), sometimes abbreviated as Roukin, but I'm not getting much out of it. It's one of those isekai fantasy shows where primitive locals marvel at modern conveniences that we take for granted. Boil-in-a-bag fish entrées?! Vegetable peelers?! Shampoo?! AMAZING!! This is also a world that is ignorant of crop rotation and fertilizer, so yeah, one of those sorts of shows. Maybe the king will eat a Dorito and instantly drop dead from the intense nacho cheesiness.

Mitsuha
I guess you do what you gotta do to experience "Rediance."

It's fine. I wasn't expecting much from it, and I'm not especially impressed by any of it so far, but it's not really objectionable. Well, there are A LOT of plot elements that would not hold up to even the slightest bit of scrutiny, not least of which is Mitsuha's severely underutilized teleportation ability, but don't worry about it. This is an anime adaptation of a light novel written by the author of Watashi, Nouryoku wa Heikinchi de tte Itta yo ne! (Didn't I Say to Make My Abilities Average in the Next Life?!) which got an anime release in the Autumn 2019 season. I guess the difference is I dropped Noukin after a single episode, rating it WORSE THAN COSPRAYERS, but I'm still watching Roukin after four episodes. It's got that going for it.


24 January 2023: I've already dropped Spy Classroom and Revenger

Raizou and Yuuen
He can't be that hurt. His bandages aren't even bloody.

I decided to watch REVENGER because it was characterized as a Urobuchi Gen anime. The stereotypes and baggage associated with Urobuchi-type anime is frequently negative, but I generally find those complaints either overblown or incorrectly attributed. I don't like everything that has his name attached, but REVENGER seemed like a safe bet. Well, it's not great. I didn't care about any of the lead characters, and I wasn't exactly moved by the plights of their clients. Even the prospect of watching deadbeats getting assassinated in unnecessarily complicated ways each week didn't seem interesting enough for me to continue watching, alas.

Lily
Nice chair.

I did not have high expectation for Spy Kyoushitsu (Spy Classroom). However, I did like the promotional art, and the cast includes a lot of seiyuu who I enjoy, so I thought it would at least be worth a chance, even if it turned out to be a forgettable, mediocre affair. Well, the first episode wasn't awful, but it did make me dread watching more. That's a pretty quick drop for a season in which I'm following relatively few shows, but maybe I'll give it another try if I encounter reliable reports later about the anime turning itself around.


17 January 2023: In/Spectre S2 is my favorite show this season

Masayuki and Yuki-Onna
All things considered, he's taking this well.

I liked the first season of In/Spectre enough to start buying the manga. 16 English-language volumes later, the second season has finally started. As far as the name of the series goes, Kyokou Suiri (Invented Inference) is what the author titled it back when there was only going to be one book (covering the "Steel Lady Nanase" story). After writing more, he lamented the original title isn't as apt as it was originally. (See the author's notes in volume nine of the manga.) Eh, it happens. "Karmaburn" doesn't really sound like the name of an anime blog, for that matter.

Yuki-Onna and Masayuki
He has gratitude and money, and she needs need cash to buy ice cream.

Anyway, Kyokou SuiriInvented InferenceIn/Spectre Season 2 is great, although I can see how it might be a mixed bag for anime-only viewers. It's not really paced for seasonal anime, and long monologues are not uncommon. I, for one, find the mysteries interesting, the stories clever, and the characters enjoyable. I don't know how long the author, Shirodaira Kyo (城平京), intends to continue writing this series, but I hope it's for a long time.


10 January 2023: Witch Gundam: Some people need killing, Suletta

Suletta
Space Oomfie.

As you may have noticed, I really enjoyed the first cours of Kidou Senshi Gundam: Suisei no Majo (Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury). I've watched so little from the Gundam franchise that I'm hazy on a lot of its common, recurring themes. Nevertheless, I at least know the depiction of death and the consequences of war are integral companions (in some way) to the cool-robot plastic-model-sales aspects.

Nika
Nika realizing how much extra work killing that guy is going to create for her.

However, I'm not well versed in terms of how Gundam presents these elements or how it communicates its perspectives about them. My assumption is that it adopts a "killing is bad" approach, but I'm willing to trust it at least has a more nuanced view than something like Sword Art Online II:

2016-01-08-18:16< Evirus> The robber had already killed one person and was about to shoot the mom, the teller, basically everyone. But sniper girl, who was like five at the time, managed to get the gun and shot the robber dead. And she was a pariah ever since, even to her mother.

ANYWAY, I don't know if this ultra-pacifist view crudely depicted in SAO II in any way accurately reflects a mainstream Japanese view, nor do I know if Gundam has anything similar. For the purpose of this blog post, I'm going go assume neither are true. That said, episode 12 of Kidou Senshi Gundam: Suisei no Majo ends with a violent death that leaves one of its leads shocked and deeply troubled.

Prospera and Suletta
At a minimum, Prospera is way better than Sinon's mother.

Now, the most important aspect of this character's reaction is her disbelief the person responsible for the killing could appear untroubled by the act. That is the critical focus of the scene, but the implication "all killing is bad" still looms. We'll have to wait until the second cours begins in April 2023 for more clarity on these points, but anything other than unambiguously concentrating on the mental-state aspect of the scene will appear alien to me.

Unidentified gunman
I think this qualifies as an imminent threat to life or bodily harm even if he's not using the sights.

The distinction derives from my inculcation in a common American belief that using deadly force is justified in the defense of others. The legality and scope of this doctrine varies by region and jurisdiction (as do American self-defense doctrines and perspectives as a whole, for that matter), but I presume it's at least much more common in the United States than it is in Japan. I just don't know how it's portrayed in Gundam.


3 January 2023: In praise of Kita Kita

Ikyuo and Hitori
Not yet, Kita Kita!

Bocchi the Rock! is great. It's way better than I was expecting. A huge part of this comes down to execution, though. This is not a slight against its source material (which I haven't read), but rather a reflection of how much I enjoyed the creative choices the anime used to communicate Hitori's discomfort and personal struggles. I also liked seeing "Bocchi" advance as a character, although a significant part of this progress was thanks to new friends dragging her forward. This does mean high school Hitori probably would have stayed in the same place as middle school Hitori were it not for some fortuitous encounters creating these opportunities for her, though.

Ikyuo, Nijika, Ryou, and Hitori
She's doing it again.

This brings me to the subject central to the title of this post. (Alternate title: "The End of Bocchi the Rock! ~Air/My Purest Love for Kita Kita~." Do people even still get that reference?) For a while after her introduction, I was afraid Kita Ikuyo Kita Kita would be one-note character whose scenes mostly involved gags about adoring Ryou. Thankfully, it turned out she had a much more important role to play, even if her "Kit-Aura" may be a little too fearsome. Ikuyo is a good foil for Hitori, and I enjoy the contrasts provided by their characters. There's no shortage of amazing Bocchi scenes where her anxiety warps time and space or glitches reality, but I also like the gags involving Kita Kita's mabushii being sort of excessive.

Hitori and Ikyuo
This is not Mental Out. At least I don't think it is.

Possibly I just enjoy characters with high genki levels in general. In any case, I don't have a lot of complex reasons for explaining why Ikuyo is great. I guess I will add that—depending on how you feel about Kessoku Band's music—her position as its only vocalist also seems like the sort of thing that deserves more attention. As an aside, even though I said, "only vocalist," I do harbor suspicions Bocchi will be unexpectedly pressed into service to take Kita Kita's place during an unplanned contingency in some theoretical future installment. Maybe Hitori wouldn't feel up to it yet, but I'm confident her seiyuu could tackle this all day, any day. Aoyama Yoshino was a WUG!


27 December 2022: I don't really get ASMR

Ore-kun
You can tell it's lewd because he's blushing.

I don't know why I started watching Aru Asa Dummy Head Mic ni Natteita Ore-kun no Jinsei (My Life After I Became a Dummy Head Mic One Morning), but I think the reason I didn't stop is because the episodes are only a few minutes long. It still manages to drag, though. The basic premise is some guy reincarnates as a dummy head microphone and reacts in humorous ways to mildly lewd predicaments. Well, it turns out his spirit ends up inhabiting a wide variety of other things as well, and the predicaments are mildly lewd, but they're not especially humorous.

Panda
You're not Momo.

It helps that Sugita Tomokazu voices the spirit of the guy who keeps possessing the object of the week. I suspect getting him on board to chew the scenery was important to getting this anime launched. He still doesn't make the show good, though. For that matter, neither does Kitou Akari who has a recurring role as one of the girls in the series. She speaks in a monotone deadpan that sounds an awful lot like Momo from Machikado Mazoku (The Demon Girl Next Door) most of the time. Maybe actual fans of ASMR videos would have a greater appreciation for the full Aru Asa Dummy Head Mic ni Natteita Ore-kun no Jinsei experience, but I haven't gotten much out of it.


20 December 2022: I'm so glad Isekai Ojisan is back

Sumika
The nephew's childhood friend is also great.

Originally a Summer 2022 show, Isekai Ojisan (Uncle from Another World) went on hiatus after its seventh episode due to, well, let's just say, "Circumstances," since I'm not confident the reasons I've seen expressed are necessarily complete. There may be some nuances or complexities on the production side that haven't been properly communicated to random-ass people like me.

Elf
I like the elf even though she doesn't bathe.

ANYWAY, Isekai Ojisan has returned for the remainder of the Autumn 2022 season, resuming where it left off. That's not a lot of content (I think the anime is going to be 13 episodes total), but I'll take what I can get. In any case, the gags remain fresh and funny, and expanding the cast of characters (read: increasing the harem's membership) has not diluted the purest fount of tsundere that I've encountered since basically ever. Haruka De Tomaso Pantera is SO GOOD in this show.


13 December 2022: These dog and cat anime will go on as long as they have to

Dog, Master, Cat, and Alien
She's honestly taking this pretty well.

Have I not mentioned either Sekai no Owari ni Shiba Inu to (Doomsday with My Dog) or Yoru wa Neko to Issho (Nights with a Cat) yet? Both anime have been running since the Summer 2022 season and I have no idea when they're expected to end. They're both shorts, so the episodes are only a few minutes long at the most, and that includes the credits.

Fuuta and Kyuruga
Is cat.

Doomsday with My Dog is about the last human on earth rolling around with her devoted dog. She's the last human, but at least she can talk to animals and there are various aliens and yokai who show up once in a while. Nights with a Cat is just a bunch of vignettes about a cat doing cat-type things that will feel familiar and relatable for anyone who has spent any amount of time around house cats at all.

Pii and and Kyuruga
Is cat.

There's not really anything outstanding about either series, but all the episodes are pleasant, and some of the gags are clever and funny. There are already more than two dozen Yoru wa Neko to Issho episodes, and more than 50 Sekai no Owari ni Shiba Inu episodes. I don't know how many cours these shows are going to run, but I am still interested in watching more.