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Dated 16 April 2024: The iDOLM@STER: Shiny Colors is only medium shiny so far

Kano
Kaho, does your shirt say LOVE MEAT?

Prior to April, basically everything I knew about The iDOLM@STER: Shiny Colors came from fan art. However, I've since watched two episodes of the TV anime, and I guess it's fine? It's 3DCG animation, but it's at least as good as it was in the Million Live! anime. In fact, it might even be better. Unfortunately, I don't find Shiny Colors as interesting, but that may be because I felt I sort of knew the Million Live! cast better. Would prior familiarity be helpful in a show that seems to be a straightforward idols-doing-their-best series? I'm not sure.

Yuika
Learning Yuika wears a monocle made her my favorite L'Antica.

I wouldn't say I'm burned out on idol anime, but the Shiny Colors setup does feel a little rote so far. Frankly, I don't need to see idols doing their best. Hiori accusing Mano of not doing her best will be more interesting to me if Mano really does slack off and drag others down, but we all know that's not happening. Best case scenario, Hiori resents Mano and Producer all season for being dropped on her and Meguru, because it's demonstrates a lack of confidence that the original duo was good enough.

Kiriko
Well, I might dislike Kiriko if it turns out her gimmick is being constantly injured.

The part I liked best from the first two episodes so far was the completed L'Antica music video. That was pretty good, but I didn't really need to watch them filming it and overcoming unexpected production challenges. Ultimately, what this probably means is the Shiny Colors anime wasn't made for me, and I would presumably enjoy the experience a lot more if I already liked the characters before starting the series. I don't dislike any of them, but I'd much rather be watching a second season of Million Live! if I had a choice.

Dated 2 January 2024: The End of 2023 ~Air/My Purest Heart for Tired Evangelion Jokes~

Suletta
I don't mention Witch Gundam until the end.

I started out thinking about doing a "Best Anime of 2023" summary, considered a "Favorite Anime of 2023" post would be better instead, then briefly contemplated an "Underrated Anime of 2023" write-up next before settling on just highlighting a few series I enjoyed without constraining myself to any particular category. And here we are. Don't be afraid of your freedom.

Yamada
This is the face Anna makes when she overhears people speaking from the heart.

Foremost is BokuYaba (Boku no Kokoro no Yabai Yatsu | The Dangers in My Heart), which I'm front-loading because its second season begins on January 7th. Get on it, if you haven't already. This has been a hard sell on occasion because summaries describing it are so misleading. The irony is not lost on me that a series I praise for its authenticity deceives the audience at the outset with misdirection. As I've previously advised, Kyoutarou is not an "edgelord," he's a cringelord. BokuYaba is about the mistakes that occur when people make bad assumptions about themselves and others. Likewise, it's a mistake to make assumptions about BokuYaba.

Soyo, Raana, and Taki
MVP.

Second, I got to BanG Dream! It's MyGO!!!!! late, but better late than never, eh. I had initially written it off as some sort of Cute Girls Doing Cute Thing show cobbled together as a vehicle for yuri 'shipping, but it turns out to be about DRAMA. Probably, technically, it's melodrama, but that bit when Best Girl Rāna starts backing up the singer (whose pockets may still be filled with rolly pollies) while she's forcing herself to bleed out on stage instead of packing up so everyone can get the Hell out of there? And then Rāna seamlessly transitions to The Forbidden Song that causes the Begging Bassist to go completely mental as The Quitter quits the venue and nearly banishes herself from the hero's party by piling down some stairs? That is some Good Shit right there.

Ganta and Isaki
Especially if the entire story includes telescopic sex.

Kimi wa Houkago Insomnia (Insomniacs After School) was a lot better than I was expecting. It's not much of a stretch to imagine a couple of teenagers who spend a lot of time napping together might also fall in love, so, spoilers, I guess. Mostly I'm glad neither of them tragically dropped dead at the end of the anime or some bullshit like that. The manga did end recently, but the U.S. release is still 10 volumes behind, so I'm on the fence about reading it before it's caught up, considering how many other titles I'm still following. What they ought to do is make more of the anime and cover the entire story.

Umi
Not one Like!

The IDOLM@STER Million Live! was entirely too short considering how many idols it featured, but at least we got an Umi episode. If y'all ain't heard, I do love me some Umimi.

Frieren
I enjoyed how nonchalantly Frieren made this decision.

Beyond this list, there are a lot of really good shows that I watched in 2023 that you probably already know about. Like, is it necessary to say I'm enjoying Sousou no Frieren (Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End), or that Kidou Senshi Gundam: Suisei no Majo (Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury) was fuckin' great? The former is hugely popular and is continuing into the Winter 2024 anime season, and the latter is frickin' Gundam, so it's not as if anyone is going to forget about it. I certainly won't. Honestly, there is entirely too much capital-G Good anime each year, and 2024 doesn't seem as if it will be any different.

Dated 10 October 2023: BanG Dream! It's MyGO!!!!! was the best anime from the Summer 2023 season

Tomori, Anon, Soyo, and Taki
What's in the bag? WHAT'S IN THE BAAAG?!

Regular readers of this blog may remember I listed Suki na Ko ga Megane wo Wasureta (The Girl I Like Forgot Her Glasses) as my top Summer 2023 show with only a few weeks remaining in the season. However, the word-of-mouth reputation of BanG Dream! It's MyGO!!!!! (at least on the 𝕏-Twitter) convinced me to give it an eleventh-hour try despite my lack of interest in the franchise. (I dropped First BanG Dream! after eight episodes in 2017.)

Anon
Anon is so frustrated, she turned into a Force ghost.

The all-3DCG aspect of It's MyGO!!!!! also probably would have put me off a bit, were it not for Bubuki Buranki and Seikaisuru Kado (KADO: The Right Answer) getting me most of the way on board years ago. Honestly, though, it looks fine. My main issues with 3DCG in anime tend to involve scenes where it's combined with regular 2D animation while looking weirdly different in motion. No such problems here. But I digress.

Soyo and Saki
Begging always works.

BanG Dream! It's MyGO!!!!! is about girls being self-absorbed, inconsiderate, manipulative, and deceitful with each other. Sometimes they're outright cunts about it. So, yeah, it's pretty good. There are a few characters who care more about music and bands than starting shit or being mean for no reason, but I like them anyway, too. What I like most about It's MyGO!!!!! is that the series begins on a low point and mostly stays in downer mode throughout. This is a departure from the uplifting narrative arcs that I'm accustomed to seeing in anime about A Bunch of Girls Who Like a Thing.

Taki and Umiri
I like Umiri even though she is not a cunt.

Viewers who form deeper emotional connections with the characters will likely enjoy the series even more than I did. However, don't expect things to get wrapped up in a tidy way by the end of the series. If you've heard about MyGo!!!!! before reading this, you've probably also heard about Ave Mujica (or have at least seen illustrations of their not-exactly impenetrable disguises). It seems that band is also getting its own anime, so we can expect more disastrous girl-band drama in the future, except gothic-chuuni flavored this time. I'm looking forward to it already.

Dated 25 July 2023: The Girl I Like Forgot Her Glasses is not a GoHands atrocity

Kaede
The girl you like is a mental case, Potato-kun.

I am going to go ahead and claim Suki na Ko ga Megane wo Wasureta is good, actually. Or rather, it's good for sufficiently unclear definitions of good. I probably can't reasonably claim that The Girl I Like Forgot Her Glasses is objectively good, but it is the Summer 2023 series that I am looking forward to the most each week. Notably, the jarring visual flair associated with GoHands in recent years is toned down considerably compared to something like 2017's Hand Shakers, for example. In fact, I'm going to claim the visuals are my favorite part of Sukimega.

Maho, Ai, and Asuka
Look at how pissed off she looks while casually greeting her friends. This is the best.

Specifically, I thoroughly enjoy how Potato-kun's love interest spends nearly all of her screen time squinting. It makes her appear constantly cross. (This is an actual plot point.) That's it. That's the entire reason and 100-percent of the show's appeal to me. (It's good squinting, Brent!) I do wish the series had more going for it. At least Potato-kun doesn't actively irritate me all the time anymore. Ai being helplessly blind without her glasses is a repetitive joke that mostly makes her appear, ah, not very smart, unfortunately. The romance angle is fine, I guess. It's neither good nor bad in my view. The wall-to-wall angry squinting, however, is world class. Good job, GoHands.

Dated 28 June 2022: I don't know why I watched Black★★Rock Shooter: DAWN FALL

Black Rock Shooter
That's some nice shootin', Rock.

I sure have watched a lot of Black Rock Shooter for someone who claims not to care about Black Rock Shooter at all. I'm not even confident my understanding about Black Rock Shooter in general is even accurate. As far as I know, it is a Hatsune Miku song that was turned into a sort of popular music video, then an OVA, then a 2012 anime written by Okada Mari, and now Black★★Rock Shooter: DAWN FALL. I don't even know if Dawn Fall shares continuity with anything that came prior.

Monica
It would have been better if the human characters didn't wear these masks all the time.

What I do know is that Black★★Rock Shooter: DAWN FALL was 12 episodes of a grimdark future where there is only war. Well, war and rape. I don't mean this in a metaphorical sense, and I can see why you might think that considering a lot of what happens in the 2012 Black Rock Shooter was allegorical. No, I'm letting you know that a significant plotline in the 2022 anime involves young girls being raped literally to death.

Smiley
Is it better or worse that the rapist is a big freaky robot with limited emotional range?

So, is Black★★Rock Shooter: DAWN FALL actually good? Well, mostly not? I don't know if it's better for people who have strong attachments to the franchise. I can't claim I do, although I recognize Dead Master and Strength as characters who were present in previous Black Rock Shooter installments—that sort of thing. And I'm not fundamentally opposed to a series introducing characters, trying to make us care about them, and then having something terrible happen to them. I don't think I'm in favor of sadism, but I can appreciate that a show like this can still exist, and even be associated with an IP people presumably still value. Also, learning this was licensed by Disney was wild.

Dated 21 December 2021: I dropped Blade Runner: Black Lotus after four episodes

Elle
One of the rare scenes not set in the dark.

I never felt Blade Runner needed to expand into a franchise. Consequently, I had a lot of reservations about the 2017 sequel. That it turned out to be good (and arguably better than the original film) is something of a miracle. Unfortunately, the Blade Runner: Black Lotus 3DCG anime doesn't come close to reaching this bar. Not that it would be at all reasonable to expect it to, of course, and I'm not suggesting Black Lotus is a bad series necessarily. However, I am suggesting it didn't need to be made, or that it at least doesn't need to be a part of the Blade Runner world.

Elle
These umbrellas are so fresh.

Admittedly, being a Blade Runner property is the only reason I gave Black Lotus a chance, and it was sort of neat recognizing the callbacks in the setting and general atmosphere of the show. Catering to fans of an existing property will only carry a series so far, though, and there just wasn't enough in Black Lotus to keep me engaged. Maybe it got a lot better after I stopped watching, but its first four episodes were merely all right. How about next time, instead of setting something in the Blade Runner world, y'all set it in the world of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? How about that?

Dated 25 May 2021: Thunderbolt Fantasy season three is the most complicated puppet show I have ever watched

Rin and Sho
I heard you like puppets.

Admittedly, I have not watched very many puppet shows, but the list of puppet shows that I have watched does include seasons one and two of Thunderbolt Fantasy, so I think I am at least somewhat entitled to characterize its third season as being more complex than its predecessors. At a minimum, I feel it takes focused concentration to ensure I am not missing critical plot developments or under-appreciating character decisions. This is not to say Thunderbolt Fantasy: Tōriken YÅ«ki 3 is a daunting show to follow in principle—just that there are some factors making it a surprisingly demanding watch considering I initially got on board strictly for puppet-fu.

Nanasatsu Tenryo
If you're going to spend the rest of your life as a sword, you may as well look fabulous.

For one thing, the names of the characters are spoken in Japanese, but the subtitles display their Chinese (or sometimes English) variants. This practice is not unique to the third season, but has made names more difficult to remember as the cast list grows. And then every character seems to have their own thing going on, so there are more plot threads to track. Additionally, most of the scenes this season have been somewhat dimly lit. This doesn't help when characters are routinely changing locations by literally teleporting through magic portals. Sometimes it's difficult to determine if I'm supposed to recognize locations. Still, these are not strong complaints, and Thunderbolt Fantasy continues to serve up awesome Taiwanese puppet fights, so I'm pretty stoked this third season exists at all.

Dated 11 May 2021: Godzilla Singular Point seems to have more than one point

Mei
Mei stares a lot in this show.

I don't actually know that much about the Godzilla franchise, but I'm under the impression that the movies typically start with people noticing something unusual, and then something really unsettling happens, and then everyone gets their shit wrecked, sometimes by Godzilla, sometimes by whatever Godzilla is fighting. This at least holds true of the few Godzilla properties I have seen, and it seems to hold true in the Godzilla Singular Point anime.

Jet Jaguar
Have harpoon gun. Will travel.

Godzilla doesn't appear in the first six episodes of Godzilla S.P, but there is a nerdy grad student who wears birth control glasses that are constantly on the verge of sliding off her face. There's also an AI that's probably technically malware, and an old man with a bitchin' car and a totally sweet garage-built robot, and some regular dudes who don't have the greatest survival instincts, but are getting by so far nevertheless.

Yun, Gorou, and Haberu
You have to be the size of a child to fit in this robot.

As an anime, Godzilla Singular Point is pretty good so far, and is probably worth your time once it hits the U.S. Netflix at, I dunno, some later date. Or at least it's worth your time providing you have any sort of interest in either Godzilla or nerdy girls who wear birth control glasses. At a minimum, it's better than the three-movie 3DCG thing that's already on the Netflix. That one just wasn't very compelling. I did feature Ueda Reina, though.