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Dated 7 May 2018: There's more to Golden Kamuy than 3DCG bears

Asirpa and Sugimoto
At least the smaller animals are 2D, even when they're delicious.

Golden Kamuy was one of the Spring 2018 shows I was looking forward to the most. It stumbled a bit out the gate when the first episode's infamously out-of-place looking 3DCG animals dominated most of the show's initial discussion. That this got the most attention is a bit of a shame, because Golden Kamuy has a lot going for it. Notably, the manga is good enough that a few misses in the anime adaptation are not going to be enough to ruin it. I didn't watch the all-3DCG Berserk, but the problems facing Golden Kamuy here are by no means as severe. It's not as if the entire show is 3DCG—just the larger animals when they appear.

Asirpa
Golden Kamuy is also about Asirpa looking displeased.

Seeing as how the show isn't actually about bears, 3DCG or otherwise, it's pretty good most of the time. Well, that's assuming you have an appetite for the horrors of war, collecting the skins of dead convicts, brutal violence, Japanese history, Ainu cultural lessons, and delicious meals made with freshly killed game. I suppose I'm not fully prepared to resist arguments that anyone interested should just read the manga instead, but I do believe the anime adds bits worth appreciating separately. I suggest watching the anime first before turning to the start of the manga. The way I see it, the anime will inevitably finish far short of the still ongoing manga's current position, and you'll probably want to read it anyway.

Dated 16 April 2018: Piano no Mori seems better than I was expecting

Shuuhei and Kai
Well, there is a forest.

I only watched the first episode of Piano no Mori (TV) because of the Gainax name attached to it. Hopefully, Sakuga Blog will at some point lay out how much of the Fukushima Gainax has anything to do with the Gainax of yore, if anything. Regardless of how much the name might even matter anymore, it at least served to expose me to an episode of anime I would not have otherwise considered watching. I won't call the first episode stunning, but it was at least surprising and better than I was anticipating. I went into the show knowing nothing aside from a brief vague description about two boys who play piano in a forest. That's technically true, but doesn't really detail what the show is about.

Reiko
For one thing, one of the characters is a prostitute.

As far as what a curious viewer might expect, I don't think I can offer reliable predictions based on a single episode, but think it's likely comparisons with Nodame Cantabile, Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso, and, uh, Piano will be inevitable. You know, because all of these shows are about people playing piano. There is some imperfect 3DCG in Piano no Mori, but I get the feeling this is an increasingly unavoidable component of anime in this particular era. In any case, it was not distracting enough to take me completely out of the show. It's certainly should not be a reason to dismiss it out of hand. I can't promise Piano no Mori will be good, but I at least claim the first episode is different and worth your time if you are still finding your way around the new anime season, trying to figure out what might be worth watching.

Dated 9 April 2018: I'm looking forward to Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory

Tessa and Leonard
I guess you need to watch The Second Raid
to know who the person on the right is.

There has been a running gag for years about Full Metal Panic! fans in anguish about Kyoto Animation working on other projects instead of animating another sequel to follow Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid. To some extent, I fit that category of disgruntled fans in the sense that I did want another FMP season, although it's not accurate to claim I harbored Kyoani any ill will, if only because I had long ago concluded no such sequel would ever be forthcoming. Surprisingly, there is going to be a fourth season after all: Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory. (Get it? Full Metal Panic! IV. Anyway....) Xebec is making this one, and it starts on 13 April. Do you need to watch the first three seasons before watching FMP IV? I dunno. Probably?

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Dated 26 December 2017: Infini-T Force: Local girl finds hero inside her

Emi
Emi has an epiphany.

Infini-T Force is my surprise of the season, not because it was necessarily better than I was expecting, but rather because it got me to understand the appeal of its related superhero series and sentai-type antics in general. I typically have a very low tolerance for nonsense which I characterize as shounen jive. In particular, characters described as having "a strong sense of justice" irritate the Bejesus out of me and I usually avoid any such shows if at all possible out of general principle.

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Dated 30 October 2017: Infini-T Force makes me want to watch more Gatchaman

Ken
Literally the only costume in this series I recognized.

I've heard Infini-T Force compared to the CG cut scenes in a video game, and I suppose it does have that quality to it, but I am a total sucker for crossovers, so here I am. It would actually help a great deal if I had any idea who any of these characters were aside from Ken from Science Ninja Team Gatchaman and Casshern from...whatever it is Casshern is from. Casshern I only know of—not know about. The rest of the characters? I have no idea. I understand that I'm supposed to recognize them, because they are all anime heroes with cultural and historical import. But, c'mon, it was a long time ago, okay.

Emi
I do like the polka-dot dresses Emi's school uses for uniforms

Through four episodes, the show is all right, with a suitable amount of action and CGI mugging by the various heroes slumming with a poor little rich girl. Speaking of which, I don't believe Emi has any corresponding analogue in any of the heroes' original shows (and it seems the villains might not either). I'm not fully convinced she has a good reason to be so nihilistic (basically suicidal, really), but I do like she caused the MacGuffin to take the form of a giant novelty pencil. I also like that she calls Ken ossan even though he's probably, like, 25, tops. (He was a teenager in the original Gatchaman anime.) I do hope more characters show up for additional crossover shenanigans, but that seems less and less likely the more they talk about all the original worlds being destroyed. It sure seems they ought to be more distraught at the death of billions, but at least Emi's house is really warm and contains plenty of avocados. Plus their host is very aerodynamic. You gotta focus on the positive side.

Dated 29 May 2017: KADO: Gap moé and harnessing the unlimited power in your balls

Saraka
At least the flower on her head is not a fried egg.

I started watching Seikaisuru Kado because it is an entirely 3DCG anime, and I liked at least one of Toei's 100% 3DCG things, Rakuen Tsuihou: Expelled from Paradise. Unfortunately, Kado: The Right Answer, despite not featuring periodic shots of Angela Balzac's spanking-brand-new 16-year-old butt, is a lot less interesting than Expelled from Paradise. In fact, the most compelling episode thus far was the episode zero prologue about chrome plating, to such an extent I sort of wish the series were entirely about chrome plating instead.

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Dated 3 April 2017: Hand Shakers CHECK

Tazuna and Koyori
Front view.

It has been more than seven years since the last Karmaburn.com CHECK, but inspired but the upcoming return of more Cardcaptor Sakura, I hereby present Formerly Mute Doll's battle costume from Hand Shakers. (Again, with apologies to Kero-chan and Paiway.)

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Dated 27 February 2017: Welcome to welcome to Kemono Friends and the future of anime

Bag, Lucky, and Serval
Toonces, watch out!

If you've been paying attention to anime at all, you've noticed Kemono Friends exploded in the past month into an international phenomenon that's not entirely easy to explain. From the looks of it, it's popular because it's popular, but that's not to say this popularity is unjustified, because the show itself is quite good.

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