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Dated 19 July 2012: Iriya's Sky, Summer of Re-Runs

Ryosuke and Risara
This blog post is presented in Feel-A-Round.

Summer 2012 is shaping up to be a quiet season of anime for me. Aside from shows continuing from spring 2012, not much from the current season interests me. This might be the quarter where I catch up on my re-watching backlog and finish reading those books on Byzantine history I've been meaning to complete. At the moment, I'm only watching Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita, Smile Precure!, Binbogami ga!, AKB0048, and Dakara Boku wa, H ga Dekinai.

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Dated 23 October 2012: The swords in Sword Art Online are neither artistic nor online, discuss

Kirito and Asuna
I couldn't think of a caption that involved sex, DEBAN, or Mount Doom.
I think those buckles are just for show, though.

It turns out it didn't take me long at all to catch up with Sword Art Online. Perhaps it's because I already read through the corresponding portions of the light novel, but I found the show much less objectionable on a whole than most of its critics. The biggest complaints I see tend to fall into two categories. First, Kirito is accused of being a "Mary Sue," and second, Asuna is characterized as too compliant or unassertive or lacking independence. I agree there is merit to these complaints in that the factors exist, but I'm not convinced they qualify as reasonable concerns to care about.

Kirito
At least Kirito is better than Tsukasa.

With regard to Kirito's "Mary Sue" qualities, it's true he has the abnormally good fortune of being better at basically everything than anyone else he encounters in the game, but that doesn't especially bother me. I guess anime has bombarded me with so many incompetent, weak-ass milquetoasts that even a potato with good stats is preferable to average spuds. So I don't care if Kirito's battles are tensionless because I know no real harm will to come to him. Other lead characters in various television shows and movies have plot armor too; he's no different.

Asuna
Now you're gonna get fish juices in your hair and sweater, sweetie.

So what about Asuna? I guess as Primary Love Interest she doesn't get much opportunity to do much except carve up chumps and soy sauce the shit out of some fish, but nobody else does much when Kirito is around either. So to me, the criticism about Asuna's contributions aren't so much directed at Asuna, but more towards that first issue regarding Kirito again. At least Asuna doesn't spend all her time being wined, dined, and supined, despite being Primary Love Interest—a genuine concern given that Kirito not only has the mysterious pull of a harem comedy protagonist, but also the willingness to pick a Best Girl and go with her. Given my track record for lamenting about the notoriously asexual proclivities of ostensibly male anime protagonists as a whole, I'm all right with giving a pass to one of their main squeezes even if she's best remembered for shacking up with one of them. It can't be helped.

Dated 28 October 2012: Initial impressions of the autumn 2012 season

Erwin, Caesar, Oryou, and Saemonza
This scene was awesome.

Autumn 2012 so far: JoJo's Bizarre Adventure (1-4) > Smile Precure! (34-36) > Sword Art Online (15-17) > GIRLS und PANZER (1-3) > Medaka Box Abnormal (1-3) > Busou Shinki (1-4) > Aikatsu! (1-3) > Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! (1-4) > Little Busters! (1-4).

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Dated 18 November 2012: Sword Art Online is getting boring

Asuna
Less contemplating, more escaping.

I think the biggest problem with Sword Art Online is that so few of the players seem to treat it like a game. All the players in the new non-lethal virtual world take everything so personally. I remember even .hack//SIGN taking itself less seriously. It also doesn't help that a major character from the first cour has spent all her time since then doing fuck all. I already know what does and does not happen, but that knowledge doesn't make the slog through these episodes any less tedious.

Dated 28 December 2012: Autumn 2012 season summary

Miho
It turns out you can bully a girl into seizing the reins of destiny.

I knew that GIRLS und PANZER was going to be good, but I certainly wasn't expecting it to be so popular. As others have pointed out, GIRLS und PANZER sets the new standard for anime catering to military otaku. This is largely due to its extensive attention to detail, but it also doesn't forget to remain accessible to general audiences. You don't need to catch a Sergeant Oddball reference to appreciate Yukari infiltrating the Not American school in a Sunkus uniform. Sadly, GIRLS und PANZER may have been a bit ambitious in its planning and production. The show's finest moment is unavailable to Western audiences (officially, anyway) due to copyright and licensing issues. Its final two episodes have also been pushed until spring 2013. Personally, I'm glad studio Actas decided to work to standard and not to time, so I'm all right with the delay.

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Dated 2 August 2014: Sword Art Online II isn't called Gun Art Online, you know

Kirito and Asuna
Only married one year and your wife is already an anime popsicle.

Assuming you watched the first season of Sword Art Online (not exactly required) or were already passably familiar with the show and its criticisms before watching Sword Art Online 2, then it shouldn't surprise you at all that Kirito is sugoi-awesome at everything he does. Again. Based on some initial reactions to the first three episodes, it appears some people are, in fact, at least a little irritated by this. But is there any grounds for criticism? They had to expect this after getting two cours of it already. If it's a real problem, why watch the show at all?

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Dated 30 September 2014: Summer 2014 season conclusion

Slaine
Slaine has seen some shit.

Aldnoah.Zero was far and away the best show from Summer 2014. I know a lot of viewers disagree with this opinion, but I thoroughly enjoyed all of its episodes. I've written a lot about it. Probably too much, considering I don't like it thaaat much even though it did almost get a perfect score on my little chart jobbie.

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Dated 23 November 2014: Anime triage

Conan and Sera
As if there is any chance in Hell of Sera turning out to be bad.

Because of "circumstances," I find myself dropping about half the shows I was following this season. Well, perhaps not so much dropping as putting on hiatus for the time being. Maybe I'll catch back up during a particularly lousy season that coincides with greater anime-watching opportunities. (Won't be next season, because next season looks pretty sweet.)

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