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Dated 24 January 2012: Initial Impressions, Winter 2012

Hibiki
Hibiki has large headphones.

Senki Zesshou Symphogear is badical. If you can't enjoy teenage girls fighting with the power of song, you can't enjoy anime. I am a little perplexed by the numerous (coincidental?) similarities with Suite Precure♪, though. Both shows are music-themed and feature superpowered teenage girls named Kanade and Hibiki who fight inhuman adversaries known as Noise by using either their magic or a science sufficiently advanced as to be indistinguishable from magic. Senki Zesshou Symphogear is much better than Suite Precure♪ so far, though, even if it does have comically large swords.

Rihoko
I guess Rihoko is kinda fat for an anime character, but
not really fat enough to be the Fat Love Interest.

Amagami SS+ is a worthy sequel to Amagami SS. It follows the same format, although the girls are sequenced in a different order this time. From the looks of it, Amagami SS+ will be 12 episodes offering two-episode arcs for each of the six lead girls, continuing from where the original four-episode arcs in the first season left off, not including timeskip epilogues. Probably the only real problem with Amagami SS+ is that Potato-kun continues to be a bit of a tool with very little to offer in the way of explaining why any of these girls give him the time of day (let alone explaining why some even deigned to sleep with him). Such are harem comedies, I suppose. Even serially monogamous ones.

Athrun
Damn it, Athrun, who did you let die now?

I'm not sure if I should lump the Mobile Suit Gundam SEED "HD" rebroadcast in with the rest of the winter 2012 shows, or group it with my "Also Watching" cluster. Technically, there is new material, where Sunrise was unable able to crop the original 4:3 broadcast without terrible framing problems. Aside from the shortscreen upscale with sporadic new shots, there's not much to this rebroadcast aside from a new ED arrangement I don't like as much as the original. Still, Gundam SEED is pretty good if you aren't carrying too much U.C. baggage. Let's not confuse it with the dreadful Gundam SEED Destiny sequel, at least. In other news, re-watching SEED makes me wish Hummy would have worked in a "Cosmic Era 70" intro to at least one episode of Suite Precure♪. I like seiyuu jokes.

Ayase
Ayase decides it's time to tear shit up.

Guilty Crown is not nearly as bad as people claim—it's just juvenile. Some degree of tolerance for tropes intended to appeal to children and teenage boys is required to fully appreciate Guilty Crown. That said, there are elements of the show that don't make any damn sense. Still, I enjoy it for the nice production values and the sufficiently tolerable male lead. Nevertheless, it is a little hard to stomach a successful terrorist organization run entirely by teenagers.

Genta, Ayumi, Mitsuhiko, and Ai
The kids in Detective Conan are drawn comically short.

Detective Conan is Detective Conan. This season appears poised to be as good as it ever was. Detective Conan also remains the best source for regular Hayashibara Megumi and periodic Kansai-ben Miyamura Yuko (Neon Genesis Evangelion's Rei and Osaka-type Asuka) content.

Kokoro
Kokoro's I.Q. dropped this season, but so did everyone else's.

Tantei Opera Milky Holmes II isn't quite as good as the first season yet, but it's nothing more Kokoro and Arsène couldn't fix.

Shana
Shana should leave her hair on fire at all times.

I'm not going to call the plot of Shakugan no Shana III complicated, but it seems a bit more convoluted than it needs to be. There's a lot of stuff going on at the same time now, and not all of it makes good sense. It's mostly interesting, or at least amusing, which is a huge step up from Shakugan no Shana II which I'm trying my best to forget even though it's only been a few months since I watched it.

Carmel
You know, Carmel doesn't really appear to Manipulate
Objects any more than anyone else does.

It turns out J.C. Staff is not only bad when it comes to fight scenes. It's also bad at war. At least with that arc over, Shakugan no Shana Final can finally answer the important questions: Whatever happened to horny dude after his afternoon of life-threatening copulation with horny chick? Obviously she fucked him into next year, and they were still airborne last we saw them, but what's going to happen when they hit the ground?

Rebecca
I guess Rebecca looks sober here, even with her trousers unbuttoned.

Speaking of which, if Margery is the Shakugan no Shana drunken office lady, then Rebecca is the Shana drunken sorority girl, even though I think she's been sober the whole time. The girl just don't look sober. Ever. I like Rebecca.

Marika
Piracy goes in here.

Moretsu Pirates seems fine so far, but it's kinda boring, even if it does have schoolgirls wearing skirts in zero-G. For being "bodacious space pirates," they don't seem very bodacious, spacey, or piratey.

Hitagi and Araragi
Potato-kun is a pretty half-assed vampire.

I am watching Nisemonogatari. It's pretty good if you like that sort of thing, but it's painful to watch if you have a low tolerance for SHAFTisms. Nisemonogatari is a pretty ambitious harem comedy, but I guess that's still a lot better than typical low-brow ones.

Cure Melody
Cure Melody dies.

Suite Precure♪ is a disaster at this point. Worst Pretty Cure series ever. I hope Smile Precure! is a big improvement. With a starting cast of at least five Cures, I hope Smile tries to tap the focus on interpersonal relationships that made Yes! Precure 5 so successful. I will also accept wall-to-wall mahou shoujo beatdowns a la the first generation, Futari wa Pretty Cure.

Dated 26 March 2012: I forgot to think of a title for this Symphogear post

Tsubasa
The only problem with Inazuma Kick is it isn't secret.

In a winter 2012 line-up crowded with disappointments, Senki Zesshou Symphogear is easily the best show of the season. I only hope the final episode will feature a secret enka weapon.

Dated 3 April 2012: Season Wrap-up, Winter 2012

Genjuro and Chris
When in doubt, hug Chris.

Senki Zesshou Symphogear was awesome because it was preposterous. Symphogear went above and beyond to remain entertaining. From the first BADICAL episode to its ridiculous climax, Symphogear always remained fun to watch. I can't claim with a straight face that it's actually good, but I never claimed a show had to be good to be the best show of the season. More of this sort of thing, please.

Yassan and Hidenori
It's all about the timing.

The best show of Winter 2012 if you want to use boring metrics such as "funny" or "consistent" is Daily Lives of High School Boys (Danshi Kōkōsei no Nichijō or "Nichibros" affectionately, among fans). Shockingly, this was a very amusing comedy and nothing at all like what I thought it would be about based on the title. Daily Lives of High School Boys also accomplished the rare No Bad Episodes achievement. Hell, I'd even go so far as to recommend it. That's something I can't do for Symphogear.

Saya
Black Rock Shooter needed more DARK MAMIKO.

I liked Black Rock Shooter for its almost confrontational use of allegory and metaphor to illustrate the trauma of suffering teenage feelings. I don't believe I have an especially high tolerance or patience for teen angst in general, so I consider my positive overall opinion of Black Rock Shooter to be a testament to its solid, stylish execution and depiction of envy, despair, humiliation, friendship, and courage. I can see how other viewers might wildly disagree, though.

Kazuha and Amakazu
Kazuha aikidos the shit out of some deadbeat.

Detective Conan remains as good as ever. It's somewhat amazing that after more than 650 episodes it still has compelling stories about its key characters. It's also just as satisfying as ever to watch Ran and Kazuha whip the Hell out of some goob. If you're new to these wrap-ups, Detective Conan is sort of my control group of quality since it's pretty consistent and appears ready to run as long as it has to.

Tsugumi
Guilty Crown needed more Butt OS.

Guilty Crown was all over the place this season. It's quite a mess, but was pretty entertaining in an absurd sort of way when it was about [spoilers] and [spoilers] and [spoilers!], but then it just started getting stupid. Shu as a protagonist was its biggest flaw, and things would have been so much better if Guilty Crown had killed him unexpectedly and replaced him with Ayase. For a show that I ranked number one for a large part of the season, Guilty Crown fell a long way in its inability to pull off a satisfying conclusion. It also didn't make a damn lot of sense, but a show doesn't need to make sense to be the best of the season. (See Symphogear.)

Flay
Poor Flay is just misunderstood.

The "HD" rebroadcast of Mobile Suit Gundam SEED is not much different from the original. It's mostly just cropped and upscaled. I still like it, though, even if Flay's breasts are now flying out-of-control all over the OP.

Lucius
That is some pretty good ramen.

I finished Thermae Romae months ago. It's a good thing it was so short, though. I can't imagine watching a full cour of it.

Miyuki and Nao
Flag of England and lance corporal rank.

It's a bit of a relief that Smile Precure! is charming. These girls can't fight worth a damn. That's kind of the trend for Pretty Cure over the last few years, though. There's not nearly enough ass kicking. I remain hopeful that Cure March will get her act together later, even if she does end up carrying the rest of the team. Notably, Nao wears combat boots and her favorite shirt appears to have lance corporal rank insignia on its sleeve and the flag of England on the breast. SHOW ME YOUR WAR FACE, CURE MARCH!

Ai
Ai is pretty awesome even though she tastes like ramen.

Amagami SS+ was a huge letdown because it retconned nearly all of the progress Potato-kun made in the first season. It would be almost inexplicable, except that I should have predicted the craven devotion to upholding the Otaku Virtues. In nearly every respect, the second season of Amagami SS is wasted potential, and a waste of time. At least Tsukasa remains the Amagami Best Girl by showing she's smart enough not to fall for stupid tricks.

Asia
Potato-kun comes for Asia's box.

High School DxD is both a disappointment and a pleasant surprise. On the one hand, it's a lot better than a trashy show like that has any right to be. On the other hand, it didn't turn out as good as it appeared it would be from the early episodes following the cookie-cutter first episode.

Arsène
The best Milky Holmes II had to offer.

Tantei Opera Milky Holmes II was not nearly as good as the first season. Then again, the first season was a lot better than anyone expected it to be, so I guess it works out. Too much lard, not enough Arsène, and the only new gag I liked was Hercule turning out to be a huge pervert in secret.

Akazawa
Hair down > twin-tails.

Another was another letdown for me. It started off boring, got interesting, got stupid, and ended up being completely retarded. I think it tried recapture the elements that made Shiki so good, but instead of B-movie fun Another was just poorly written dreck. So many problems. There's only so much handwaving I'm willing to accept. And another thing: [SPOILERS] If everyone forgets about the dead extra person after he's killed, how do they know it's over? Wouldn't the class continue looking for the extra person until everyone was dead? In any case, it seems a lot of people who were very critical of Guilty Crown for being puerile were much more forgiving of Another despite the two shows sharing similar flaws. I took the opposite view. I dunno, maybe I liked Butt OS and wheelchair-fu more than I thought. A classroom of students too stupid to live? Not so much.

Shana
Dere-Dere Mode, activate!

Shakugan no Shana III was a lot better than Shakugan no Shana II but was still terrible. I blame J.C. Staff's persistent problems with producing compelling fight scenes. They're bad enough at it that sequences only a few seconds long routinely come out horrid. Thus, when J.C. Staff tries to drag out fight scenes over multiple episodes, the end result is disastrous.

Shinobu
Whatever happened to Shinobu's helmet and goggles?

Nisemonogatari is awesome if you like that SHAFTXSHINBO jive. It'll irritate the crap out of you if you have little to no patience for it, though. And let's be clear on this: Koyomi is a harem comedy protagonist. A shitty one. Also, the obsession with little sisters has got to stop. I suppose I don't "get" Japanese fetishes, but I am really tired of the imouto thing. It's basically only okay when it's like Harima + Yakumo from School Rumble (platonic friendship with the kid sister of his unrequited love). I suspect many viewers will further disagree with me here, but as much as I like Sakamoto Maaya, I believe Hirano Aya, the original voice of Shinobu (back when she didn't talk) would have been a better match. I assume Hirano Aya was replaced for reasons related to her relatively recent personal and professional problems.

I already described my problems with Suite Precure♪. I still want to know whether or not Cure Rhythm's battle costume smells like cake, though.

I dropped Moretsu Pirates because it was boring. I heard later that the show is actually about privateering, anyway.

Dated 12 August 2013: Senki Zesshou Symphogear G: In the Distance, That Day, When the Star Became Music... and Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya both feature battle costumes

Yumi
This was awesome even though they gonged Anime-chan.

I had fairly high hopes for both Senki Zesshou Symphogear G: In the Distance, That Day, When the Star Became Music... and Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya prior to the start of the season. Now—nearly halfway through summer 2013—I'm pleased both are turning out to be quite good. Symphogear G is a sequel to widely panned but wildly entertaining original Senki Zesshou Symphogear: Meteoroid-Falling, Burning, and Disappear, Then... from winter 2012. Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya is based on the eponymous parody manga riffing on the Fate/stay night universe. It's pretty amazing how adroit it is at drawing out the best Fate/stay night has to offer. I liked the manga so much from the first few chapters that I stopped reading it so that I would not spoil myself on the anime. It does not disappoint. All around, even without including DokiDoki! Precure, this is a pretty good season for magikal girls trashing the joint.

Kirika, Shirabe, and Maria
You're going to need to give up more than some lunch money.

Symphogear G introduces the very aerodynamic Maria and her little cohorts, Shirabe and Kirika. As antagonists, they're approximately as sinister as the Velka Knights from Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha A's and will almost certainly join Hibiki, Tsubasa, and Chris at the end of the season against a common enemy: Post-menopausal Belldandy.

Maria
You can tell Maria isn't really evil because her cape is awesome.

There's not much to say about the actual plot or story behind Symphogear G. You're supposed to watch it to see these girls thrash each other with preposterous weapons while singing. Moon debris features prominently in Symphogear G as a reminder that the collateral damage from the first season was quite severe, making it likely this season will also not end quietly. At a minimum, I expect the survivors will need to change schools again.

Illya
Don't worry, Illya. It gets worse.

Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya cynically takes the point of view of a reluctant magikal girl tricked into taking on the role after a recalcitrant magic wand divorces itself from its previous master. The jokes are not quite as frantic as they are in Carnival Phantasm, but Prisma Illya does reinforce suspicions that TYPE-MOON parodies are better than canonical TYPE-MOON properties.

Miyu and Illya
There sure are a lot of armpits in this show.

The character designs in Prisma Illa are quite different from Takeuchi Takashi standard typically associated with TYPE-MOON, but I think they work in this comedic context just as rounder designs served Carnival Phantasm well. I wasn't expecting the action sequences to be so energetic, particularly since I still associate SILVER LINK with the belt tightening it imposed during Tasogare Otome x Amnesia. Hopefully it didn't blow its Prisma Illa budget on the high-flying episode four.

Hibiki
Hibiki preparing to punch more things.

Like its 2012 predecessor, Symphogear G is the closest thing we're likely to get to a mahou shoujo opera unless someone actually talks Kajiura Yuki into composing The End of My-HiME opera I've been wishing for since 2005. Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya demonstrates how much better a TYPE-MOON property can get if you sideline all the idiotic male characters. I'm certainly not one of those viewers who abhor male anime characters on general principle, but I have to admit a lot of these TYPE-MOON chumps are quite odious, particularly with regard to Fate/stay night which had Shirou AND Shinji, both of whom should have been recast as boat anchors. Things are so much nicer without them, even if Caster is still trying to kill everybody.

Dated 15 October 2013: In re Summer 2013 Anime -or- The End of Silver Spoon ~Air/My Purest Love for Bacon~

Nakajima and Yoshino
I couldn't think of a gouda cheese pun to use for this caption.

Summer 2013: Silver Spoon [1-11] > Uchouten Kazoku [1-13] > Symphogear G [1-13] > Love Lab [1-13] > Genshiken Nidaime [1-13] > Prisma☆Illya [1-10] > C3-bu [1-13] > Turning Girls [1-7] > Detective Conan (701-711) > DokiDoki! Precure (23-34) > RailgunS [13-24] > Dog & Scissors [1-12].

Yoshino and Hachiken
These two are pretty upset even though Yoshino's not pregnant.

Dropped: Gatchaman Crowds (1-9) > Servant x Service (1-3) > Kiniro Mosaic (1-4) > Kitakubu Katsudou Kiroku (1-2) > Gen'ei o Kakeru Taiyou: Il Sole Penetra le Illusioni (1-3) > Chou Jigen Game Neptume The Animation (1) > High School DxD NEW (1-4) > Futari wa Milky Holmes (1-2). WORSE THAN COSPRAYERS: Shingeki no Kyojin (13.5-14).

This chart started out as a joke, but has grown kinda out of control. Of course, the whole ranking anime thing started out as a joke too, and then suddenly five years went by.

Yoshino and Aki
Yoshino makes me want to eat smoked cheese more than Churuya ever did.

Gin no Saji (Silver Spoon) was easily the best summer 2013 series that I watched. It was consistently entertaining and I was impressed with how Hachiken's character developed over the show's 11 episodes. Even the quandary with "Pork Bowl" ended up much better than I expected. That was the plot point I had the most reservations about, but I'm quite pleased with how Silver Spoon resolved it.

Professor Akadama
Five will get you tengu he's going to trash the joint.

Uchouten Kazoku (The Eccentric Family) stands out among the summer 2013 shows for being intelligent about idiots and being strange while feeling familiar. The focus is on tanuki family dynamics, but it turns out the problems fuzzball shapeshifters have with their families aren't too different than those experienced by humans, except perhaps tanuki aren't as quick to embrace Shakespearean revenge tragedies. To be fair, all I really learned about tanuki is that they are dumbasses and that they are easily panicked, but maybe that's all anyone needs to know about tanuki.

Benten
Tall-collar service.

More importantly, I learned Mamiko can knock 'em dead better than ever. Her work as Benten was transcendent. I've never wanted to be a decrepit old man more. In fact, thanks mostly to Noto Mamiko's superb work, but also because Benten herself is such straight-up trouble, I'm nominating Suzuki Satomi for 2013 Girl of the Year. I'd also like to mention that Nakahara Mai is better than ever, although I encourage her to take more parts like her role in Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita and and fewer roles as young boys.

The Shimogamo mom
The Shimogamo matriarch is lucky so many dudes wanted to do her tanuki-style.

Senki Zesshou Symphogear G: In the Distance, That Day, When the Star Became Music... had a great ending. Basically, if you didn't like that final episode then you just don't like anime. That said, the show itself did have a few issues. First of all, Dr. Ver's comically evil persona never seemed particularly threatening, except for maybe when we learned he wanted to make babies with Maria. Second, Maria herself turned out to be a bit of a disappointment. I certainly was not expecting her to spend most of the show crying. I guess it's a good thing there's not going to be a follow-up cour devoted to her efforts at repopulating the planet, because she'd probably cry the entire time then too.

Maria
Listen, sugar, either go back to whaling on some deadbeats
or help me repopulate the planet, but get to work.

Sorry, Maria really needed to focus more on tearing shit up and coming up with new cape-fu moves instead of all the moping she did. Still, I'll ignore a lot of faults when a show spends most of its time focusing on mahou shoujo whaling on each other while singing. Shirabe and Kirika were endearing even though their fights lost a lot of impact because there was no danger of anyone getting hurt. Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS already demonstrated that providing lots of collateral damage is not a substitute for emotional resonance.

Illya
The fan service in Prisma☆Illya gets out of control.

I've already written about the endings to Love Lab, Genshiken Nidaime, and Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya.

Yura
Oh, hey, it's Evangelion's Train of Despair.

Tokurei Sochi Dantai Stella Jo-Gakuin Koutou-ka C3-Bu spent too much time on Yura taking all the fun out of a game, but that was sort of the point. In a way, C3-bu felt as if Gainax wanted to stretch out a Gainax ending as far as they could. Technically, C3-bu did have a Gainax ending, but then they went ahead and made another episode that seemed to contain material I'd usually expect in a standalone OVA. Maybe that's the way it was originally planned, but someone figured at the last minute that it probably wouldn't sell or something.

I finished watching Turning Girls weeks ago.

Ran, Kogoro, and Conan
Ran shows off her crazy metabolism again.

I fell behind on Detective Conan but managed to catch up by the time I finally got this thing written. As for Meitantei Conan itself, it's still a reliable control for comparing shows season-to-season. It does need more Kazuha, though. I was concerned maybe her prolonged absence was related to Miyamura Yuko's longer commuting requirements. (She moved to Australia a few years ago.) I'm not sure if that's a factor, but it appears autumn 2013 starts off with at least four Heiji (with Kazuha in tow) episodes to follow the two that finished up the summer 2013 season. I'm certainly in favor of a six-episode block of Kazuha episodes, but I'm curious if they would have been spaced out instead if Miyamura Yuko still lived in Japan.

Cure Rosetta
Relax, yo. Cure Rosetta has got this.

DokiDoki! Precure did two notable things during the summer 2013 cour. One, it introduced a sass-talking Kugimiya Rie Cure. Two, it raised the stakes in the all-singing, all-dancing 3DCG ED wars. Aside from that, DokiDoki! is turning out to be one of the less interesting Pretty Cure generations, although episode 34 did have some rad Cure Rosetta beatdowns.

Saten and Uiharu
This made no sense, but I'll allow it.

To Aru Kagaku no Railgun S needed more SATEN, but I'm glad it found excuses to trot her out in different hairstyles and various street clothes. The ending of the series was rather ridiculous with its casualty-free battle between espers and drones. I guess I was pleased to see SATEN behind the controls of a giant robot, though. P.S. Spoilers.

I already covered Dog and Scissors.

I won't revisit the shows I dropped except to say I also dropped Gatchaman Crowds. This one comes as a bit of a surprise because it seemed so promising after a strong start. However, I was unable to take the villain seriously and never cared what he did. I also did not sympathize with Rui at all nor had any interest in his reasons for crossdressing. The turning point was the episode where Rui is mercilessly beaten for what ended up being a hilariously long time and I realized I had absolutely no emotional investment in any of the characters and was only still watching to see how long Hajime could prolong her violently upbeat attitude. I fell behind after that, and once I learned how disappointed other fans were with the series finale, I decided to simply quit watching altogether.

Saten and Uiharu
Hey, sweetie, eyes on the God damn road.

This season summary is a lot more piecemeal than previous ones, but I kinda get the feeling the amount of time required to compile these things does not expand linearly with the number of additional shows watched. Maybe the one I write three months from now for the autumn 2013 shows will be a lot more cohesive and contain greater detail and not be dragged out over several weeks. At least, maybe it will be that way if I continue to watch only three shows. I've got up to 10 I might consider, but I can't see following more than seven for the time being.

Dated 11 May 2014: Symphogear and JoJo's Bizarre Adventure are basically the same thing

Jotaro
A man is only as serious as his hat.

I'm inclined to say I don't fully understand why fans of JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken: Stardust Crusaders like it so much, but I think maybe I actually do. There's a certain childlike appeal to the show and its preposterous, burly heroes. Perhaps watching the show invokes the kind of imagination-fueled fun viewers likely enjoyed as young boys while playing with action figures.

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Dated 24 May 2015: Idle compilation of idol measurements

During a span of drunken Symphogear confessions, @zoid9000 happened to share the following:

Well, it so happens that I already have a spreadsheet handy with similar data for idols from various anime and games. Technically, these Symphogear characters are idols of a sort too, so I included them as well. As a caveat, the data found here is not necessarily accurate, because I relied almost exclusively on secondary sources. So if people hand-jamming idol bust sizes onto the various wikis I consulted got their information wrong in some way, I'm potentially compounding the problem by further republishing incorrect data and/or introducing new errors myself.

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