Version 5.4 ~ Haruhi gave rock and roll to you.

16 December 2015: I'd probably like Hidan no Aria AA more if I had watched the original series first

That stock is just for looks.

Pretty much as a matter of general principle I won't watch a sequel without watching the original first. However, I do make exceptions when I don't expect to enjoy a show, or if I'm fairly confident I wouldn't like the original. In these situations, it's likely the new series has some hook or meaningful changes that distinguish it from the earlier series. This was the case with Futakoi Alternative, a fantastic series which took the basic framework of (I'm told) a dreadful harem comedy and turned it into something interesting. I was hoping this would also be the case with Hidan no Aria AA, but my impressions of the show through 11 episodes are mixed at best.

Kinji and Aria
Potato-kun is only here to spaz out Aria's fans.

I never watched the original Hidan no Aria (Aria the Scarlet Ammo, spring 2011) because I heard it featured a lot of bullshit involving an unlikable male protagonist. Its spin-off, Hidan no Aria AA (apparently the AA part should be read as "double eh" and not "eh eh") reportedly centers around a new girl, Akari, instead of Potato-kun, and I was promised various hijinks without all the "shitty parts" of the original series. At least that's the way it was described on the Twitter, and true enough, Potato-kun makes only a few token cameos in the entire series.

There's a good reason for this.

Nevertheless, I don't think I fully appreciated all the wacky adventures and absurd battles of Hidan no Aria AA because I wasn't familiar with the context which would have been familiar to viewers who had watched the first series. Not that you necessarily need to know all the backstory to "get" yandere turbo lesbians. Likewise, I'm probably not missing a whole lot of explanation regarding the myriad ninjas and secret techniques; there's a good chance the entire thing is a Jedi hand wave anyway.

I do like the little horns.

But not having that background or context did keep me from enjoying the show as much as maybe I could have. Perhaps there is a benefit in suffering through a dreadful cour in order to get the real payoff four-and-a-half years down the line. Now, I'm not suggesting all y'all need to watch Hidan no Aria first before watching Hidan no Aria AA; the best course of action is to probably watch neither. But those of you who did watch the original will probably have a better chance of enjoying the spin-off more than I did, even if you don't particularly care about yandere turbo lesbians or a city infested by schoolgirl ninjas.

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