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Dated 17 January 2013: Initial impressions of the winter 2013 season

Rei
If you haven't seen this by now...

This is a little earlier than I typically like to post initial impressions for a new season, since I consider it premature to make assumptions about shows after only a couple of episodes. However, I'm already more or less familiar with most of the shows I'm following this season because they are either continuations or adaptations of things I've read. Only Vividred Operation and Love Live! School Idol Project remain unknowns at this point.

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Dated 31 March 2013: Winter 2013 shows I dropped

Female Knight
Yes, Female Knight, these shows were aggravating.

Since I'm less likely now to start something I'm not certain I'll enjoy, I drop fewer shows these days. However, this trend apparently gets offset by my decreasing patience with shows in general, so I still dropped four shows winter 2013. Moreover, all four were fairly well-regarded by fans who aren't even disreputable. That is, the shows didn't suck; they just didn't appeal to me.

Kotori and Niko
Making faces won't help you.

The "best" show I dropped was Love Live! School Idol Project which I stopped watching after episode five. I can see why other people enjoy it, but I never cared about the characters or the plight of their school. Some of the characters have interesting traits, but I didn't find them to be interesting people. I understand that schools closing due to Japan's declining birthrates is a genuine phenomenon, but it's not a problem that resonates with me personally. Also, I may have exceeded safe school-closure dosage levels after exposure to so many shows invoking that particular plot device.

Manabe and Kotoura
Haruka is vexed by Manabe's enthusiasm again.

I dropped Kotoura-san at episode nine. This is unusual for two reasons: First, Kotoura-san is a really good show sometimes. Or at least it really has its moments. Second, after watching nine episodes of a single-cour series, I was so close to the end anyway it seems sticking it out and hoping for the best would have been a reasonable proposition. On problem with that though: Kotoura-san also annoyed the Bejesus out of me pretty frequently. Pointless cockblocking, idiotic one-note gags, and some really shitty writing offset the show's good qualities. I guess on average it's still at least okay as a whole, but it just wasn't worth it to me.

Demon King and Hero
Potato-kun in a place that that didn't even have potatoes.
Huge tracts of land, though.

It seems so long ago now, but I dropped Maoyuu Maou Yuusha at episode three. It was frankly kinda boring, and the lengths it went to in order to prevent its lead characters from becoming romantically involved were kinda ridiculous. When the season's starchiest Potato-kun isn't the high school kid in the harem comedy, but rather the skillful warrior in the fantasy epic about economics and logistics, there's a problem.

Kyouya and Shion
Go on, mister. Brush the shit out of her.

I had no interest in starting GJ-bu until maybe a couple weeks ago when its vocal fans and their adoration reached critical mass. Something about brushing girls' hair? I dunno, couldn't be that bad. The most passionate fans were particularly enamored of a character named Shion and episode five—the one where she gets her hair brushed. Okay, I guess I can watch five episodes of this thing. Well, it turns out it's not a bad show at all, but it did not appeal to me in the slightest. I guess it's because I prefer "cool," confident, and capable female characters doing things adeptly or with aplomb. Conversely, I dislike "cute" girls who are deliberately broken or inept in some fashion to appear more attractive. As a rule of thumb, I think I should just avoid anything described by other anime fans as "adorable." That seems to be a politically correct code word for "loli" or "mentally deficient" depending on whether the character in question is a small child or an adolescent. (E.g., Rikka from Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!) You may remember that I railed against K-On! for its aggravating Retard Moé shtick.

Kirara
I never did figure out why she's a cat.

However, GJ-bu wasn't so much Retard Moé as it was Autism Moé. This is not a term I coined or attached to the show, and I can't remember who said it first, but I certainly agree it is apt. These are not normal girls by any stretch of the imagination. I'm not suggesting solidly average boring girls would have been an improvement, but I'm increasingly put off by the "cute girls doing cute things" trope being extended ever further away from merely eccentric (or even neurotic) behavior towards an ideal where anime girls are basically pets or small children. This is not a new or unique criticism of moé to be sure, and I don't even have any opposition towards moé in general. I just can't enjoy the glamorization of these hopeless girl-shaped caricatures, even if they do have flaxen hair. Snow White had that too, but let's face it, she wouldn't have lasted two days alone in that forest without her benevolent animal friends.

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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Dated 24 August 2016: Love Live! Sunshine!! and falling into darkness

Yohane
That feather in her hair ball is probably lousy with germs.

I am now further along in Love Live! Sunshine!! than I ever got in First Love Live. I dropped Love Live! School Idol Project after five episodes because it didn't really speak to me. Love Live! Sunshine!! does not speak to me either, but it's at least modestly more entertaining so far thanks to Yoshiko's batshit crazy chuuni alter ego. It also has You regularly in a trucker hat with her name on it, Kanan who might be a U.S. Navy SEAL, and Hanamaru who is basically Machi except without the crippling social anxiety or the SEXUAL HARASSMENT.

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Dated 24 July 2017: The top 10 best Love Live! School Idol Project girls

Muse
The round eyes aren't as bad in long shots.

I first tried watching Love Live! School Idol Project as it aired winter 2013, but I gave up after five episodes because I just never got into it. I finally gave it another try and watched all 13 episodes of the first cours this month. My recollection regarding the popularity of Love Live! is that the first cours was a mild success, producing some avid fans, but it wasn't until the second cours (Love Live! School Idol Project 2nd Season) started airing spring 2014 that it exploded into a real phenomenon, peaking in the American market when its 2015 movie received a U.S. theater release. This is an outsider's perspective, to be sure, and actual fans of the franchise will likely disagree with me on a number of points, but this how it seemed to me.

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Dated 28 August 2017: The top 10 best Love Live! School Idol Project girls, part two

Maki and Nico
It's not easy being the Best Girls.

If you caught the last installment, then you know I finished the first season of Love Live! School Idol Project with the characters ranked in the following order:

Preliminary Ruling: Maki > Nico > Umi > Kotori > [GOOD/BAD LINE] > Hanayo > Eli > Honoka > Nozomi > Rin.

Notably, last-place Rin had no redeeming qualities. Well, all of that was based entirely on the first season of the anime. Now that I've watched the OVA, the second cours, and the movie, I hereby present the final standings:

Maki > Nico > Kotori > Umi > Hanayo > [GOOD/BAD LINE] > Eli > Honoka > Nozomi > Rin.

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Dated 25 September 2017: Love Live! Sunshine!! was better the second time around

Yohane
Yohane's hairball is fuckin' fake.

I watched Love Live! Sunshine!! without watching (all of) First Love Live and thought it was all right, but not great. Having watching all of Love Live! School Idol Project now, I re-watched Sunshine to see if being able to contextualize the show would make me like it better. Well, I do like it more, but it's still mostly just all right, and still not great. To be honest, I can't tell if I like it more thanks to knowing more about the franchise as a whole, or if it's because of the solid barrage of You cheesecake pictures on the Twitter over the past year. Incidentally, Maki > Nico > Yohane > Hanamaru > Kotori > Kanan > You > Umi > Hanayo > Riko > Chika > Yoshiko > Eli > Honoka > Mari > Dia > Nozomi > Rin.

Leah, Yoshiko, Hanamaru, and Ruby
Airborne idol, airborne idol, where have you been?

Naturally, as with A-RISE before them, I absolutely favor Saint Snow over Aqours as far as their idol-type credibility goes. Saint Snow only has one song, but two different arrangements appear in the show, and it is an actual duet with two people singing simultaneously (as opposed to sequentially, which seems to be the more common practice in these idol-type tunes). Really, though, my main reasons for liking Saint Snow are because everyone says their name with such overly dramatic awe (SAAAINT SNOOOWW!) and because half of Saint Snow ninja flipped over Aquors for no goddamn reason when they first met other than to show them that she could. What's not to love?