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12 September 2023: Azaka is the only Kara no Kyoukai character with any charisma

Azaka
These are cute pajamas.

I've been meaning to say this for a long time, and I might even have said it on the Twitter at some point, but I stand by this claim: Azaka is the only character in Kara no Kyoukai (Garden of Sinners) who has any charisma. Now, don't get me wrong. I like Shiki and Touko, but I wouldn't describe what their personalities have going for them as charisma. I like Mikiya too, but that dude definitely ain't got charisma. Anyway, Azaka is the reason why I find "Oblivion Recording" (the sixth installment of the OVA series) retains so much more re-watching value to me. And I'm not just saying that because Azaka kicks a vagina flower in the nads.

Azaka
Locks are only good for keeping out honest people.

In the interest of heading off foreseeable objections, I suppose I should concede it's been a long time since I've watched most of these movies, and I should probably reconsider such a broad statement without at least giving the "Mirai Fukuin" ("Future Gospel") characters more attention. However, the reality is I've been thinking about making this claim since before that even came out (10 years ago), and I needed a blog post for this week. It was either going to be this or something about more anime guns again.


5 September 2023: Akikan! really is WORSE THAN COSPRAYERS

Budoko
Maybe Budoko gets more pleasant as the show progresses.

I started watched Akikan! (Empty Can!) as it aired during the Winter 2009 anime season, but I quit because I thought it was WORSE THAN COSPRAYERS. However, the irritating voice of a character introduced in the third episode did influence my decision to drop it then. As it turns out, this character's seiyuu was Yuuki Aoi, who has since gone on to have a successful career. She's rather popular, and I enjoy her work too, so I started second-guessing my 2009 self's opinions. Could it have really been that bad?

Najimi and Budoko
I admit Budoko's character design is amusing when she doesn't talk.

As it turns out, yes, it really was that bad. Budoko is a bratty, child-sized grape soda who speaks in a deliberately annoying voice. I think Yuuki Aoi was only 16 years old herself when she recorded the role, but I don't think being less experienced necessarily impaired her voice acting ability. If anything, she was probably too good at bringing a loathsome soda can to, err, life.

Melon and Kakeru
This scene is about erections.

I did actually try to watch further this time around, but I still only made it to episode four. Noto Mamiko voices a new can (a sports drink), but it's just not worth it. I don't know if the type of humor and tropes that saturate Akikan! are especially dated now. It's not as if I enjoyed humor of this variety in 2009 either. However, it also doesn't seem like the comedy styles found here are common in anime anymore. Possibly this is because I simply don't watch as many shows like this now, or maybe they're less common in general now that anime lineups are all isekai all the time. In any case, I suspect nobody besides boys discovering anime for the first time ever found the jokes in Akikan! funny either.


29 August 2023: The Summer 2023 Anime Season So Far

Mie and Komura
Enjoy this apple. Or else.

Somehow, Suki na Ko ga Megane wo Wasureta (The Girl I Like Forgot Her Glasses) is my top show this season. I say "somehow," but I know why: It's because the girl Potato-kun likes squints when she doesn't have her glasses (which is often), and it makes her look angry as fuck all the time. This is a dumb gimmick, but I love it. The juxtaposition between her appearance and her demeanor is so good. More surprisingly, outside of the trailer and first episode that made everyone (including me) assume GoHands was going to commit anime crimes all season long, the visuals have been fine. If anything, I'm sort of disappointed it looks as normal as it does. Maybe Sukimega would be a bottom-tier show during most quarters, but you go to Seasonal Anime War with the shows you have, not the shows you wish you had.

Ageha
Carcinization.

Hirogaru Sky! Precure is only sort of average as far as Pretty Cure seasons go, but it's such a step up from Delicious Party♡Precure that it seems wonderful in comparison. God, they really fucked that one up. Anyway, Hirogaru Sky! has made notable changes to the existing Pretty Cure formula. It has a "blue" lead instead of a "pink" one, it has an adult Cure, and it has the franchise's first male Cure. Nevertheless, despite these departures, the series as a whole seems really...normal.

Misha and Anos
Not even bothering to make a magic umbrella.

Maou Gakuin no Futekigousha: Shijou Saikyou no Maou no Shiso, Tensei shite Shison-tachi no Gakkou e Kayou II (The Misfit of Demon King Academy: History’s Strongest Demon King Reincarnates and Goes to School with His Descendants Season 2) re-started after a mid-season interruption that forced a delay for the remaining episodes of the cours. It's a lot of magic bullshit, none of which seems as interesting to me as the first season's Misha and Sasha content, but I haven't gotten tired of the constant ass pulls yet.

Yohane, Lailaps, and Dia
Dia still sucks, though.

Genjitsu no Yohane: SUNSHINE in the MIRROR (YOHANE THE PARHELION -SUNSHINE in the MIRROR-) needs more music. And where the Hell is SAINT SNOW? C'mon. I mostly like what it's doing anyway. It's had a few twists that are sort of interesting. I'm not sure I'm entirely on board with what the series has planned for what I presume will be a big finish, but I'm willing to give it the benefit of the doubt. The Yohane focus has rehabilitated my opinion of Love Live! Sunshine!! to some degree, but I still think Nijigasaki and Superstar are superior installments overall.


22 August 2023: Chainsaw Man is still good

Power and Denji
Power is great.

Chainsaw Man (the manga) first caught my attention via a flood of Reze fan art years ago. I didn't know who that was, so I Googled the character and crashed straight into spoilers. I didn't really care, because I don't generally read shounen manga. Consequently, my first real exposure to the title came from its anime. I enjoyed it, but I lacked context for the complaints I kept seeing about it. I wasn't even able to determine if those anime complaints from manga fans were widespread, or if they were due to an overly vocal but ultimately small segment of readers.

Denji and Fumiko
She's not wrong.

After watching the anime (which didn't even get far enough to introduce Reze, by the way), I uncharacteristically went back and read all of the manga and now I'm caught up with weekly-ish releases. The manga now ("part two") feels a lot different compared to the manga before, and I'm once again seeing a variety of complaints from fans who want it to be more like how it was before. I can't tell this time either if I'm only encountering the gripes of a loud minority, but at least I have context for it now. As far as how I view the manga, I suppose it departs from the stereotypes that I typically associate with shounen manga? Maybe that's why I still enjoy it and the new characters. All you Reze fanatics are mental cases, though. She's not that good.


15 August 2023: I should probably re-watch Hibike! Euphonium

Reina
Softcream Summer.

I was mostly ambivalent about Hibike! Euphonium (clumsily localized as Sound! Euphonium) when it first came out, despite being Internet-adjacent to school-band veterans and fans of Kyoto Animation. I basically thought it looked great, but was otherwise mostly merely fine. It's why I've mentioned it so little on this blog. However, in hindsight and with its movies behind me (albeit also sort of a long time ago now), my opinion of the series has improved in retrospect. Meaning, I think I like it more now? Or at least I like what I remember of the series more now.

Mirei and Kumiko
Tall newbie is tall.

However, I don't know if I would actually like it more if I re-watched it. Seeing as how I'm watching relatively few shows during the current season, I could probably just binge watch it all and find out for sure. Other people did. There's a good excuse for it now: A new OVA is already out, and there's even more Euphonium on the way soon.

Kumiko
Does this qualify as an Asuka cameo?.

Actually, I did re-watch Hibike! Euphonium Movie 3: Chikai no Finale (Sound! Euphonium: Our Promise: A Brand New Day), and now I'm going to spoil the Bejesus out of something that has been bugging me since I first watched it years ago. (This is your last warning: I'm gonna do it even though Kumiko probably doesn't even believe in Bejesus.) Asuka shows up. She almost certainly used the arrival of Kaori and Haruka as a distraction so she could flank Kumiko and fluff her defenseless poofy hair from behind.

Asuka's postcard
Слава Україні!

And then she disappears in seconds despite (or because of) Kumiko's very obvious desire to reconnect with her. It's how Asuka do. But I gotta ask, "What was on that postcard Asuka gave to her before leaving?" I don't think the movie explains this at all, but I presume the books do. My guess is I'm way overthinking it, and probably it's simply a postcard that Asuka had received and happened to have with her. But by giving it to Kumiko, she indirectly passes along her current address, thereby offering Kumiko a way to reach her in the future. It didn't seem like they had exchanged contact information previously. Anyway, this is a rhetorical question. I'm happy to wait for future Euphonium installments to elaborate on the exchange in due time (or never explain it), even if it means waiting years more.


10 August 2023: Here we go again (Umimi 2023)

Million Live! CD, front
Oh my God, The Million Live! anime really happening.


8 August 2023: I dropped Zom 100 way before getting to #100

Akira
Enjoy your life.

I was impressed by the energy and style of the first episode of Zom 100: Zombie ni Naru Made ni Shitai 100 no Koto (Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead), but it was probably inevitable that I would lose interest so fast. I don't have much enthusiasm for zombie-type shows most of the time. In fact, I'll even go so far as to say I dislike zombie-related media in general. In that sense, it's a testament to the first episode that I liked it enough for me to watch three more.

Shizuka
Do more cardio.

I suppose part of why I kept with it even that far can also be attributed to the arrival of a mysterious, cool survivalist voiced by Kusunoki Tomori. I was hoping she'd stick around, but she disappeared entirely as the show turned its attention to expanding the cast. I presume she'll be featured prominently again soon enough once all the introductions are complete, but I don't feel like watching all of that. The source manga is still ongoing, so I'm taking that to mean I'll only have a non-ending ending to look forward to even if I do stick with the anime. For viewers who enjoy zombie stories, it's probably still an entertaining series, but I'm out.


1 August 2023: My Happy Marriage doesn't seem so happy yet

Kaya and Miyo
The stepsister is such a cunt that I'm starting to like her.

I started watching Watashi no Shiawase na Kekkon (My Happy Marriage) because it features Ueda Reina in the lead role. The premise involves a girl who has been mistreated by her family ever since her mother died. She is arranged to be married to an infamously cold man who has reportedly frightened multiple previous fiancées into running away. Naturally, it turns out he's actually a good person who cares about her. She also thinks he's hot. Oh, and he has magic powers.

Kiyoka
Dude's actually in the military. He's not LARPing.

Maybe this element of the setting was deliberately concealed, or maybe my casual perusal of the show's promotional material caused me to miss this detail, but yeah, people in this world have magic powers. Notably, the My Happy Marriage heroine lacks any supernatural powers (or at least appears to lack them), despite being part of a bloodline renown for magic ability. This is ostensibly the reason why everyone has been so cruel to her, but really it's just because they're all sadists. I dunno what to tell you. Sometimes people are assholes.