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Dated 26 January 2016: I finally started watching Log Horizon

Akatsuki
Well, Akatsuki does seem to be everybody's favorite character.

Log Horizon initially aired in the autumn of 2013. I didn't watch much that season, so I passed it up because it was another show about people trapped in a fantasy role-playing game world, a popular anime setting which still displays no sign of going away any time soon. Since then, Log Horizon has gone on for three additional cours and is now generally regarded as the proper way to do one of these shows. It's the title most detractors of Sword Art Online (such as this example) recommend in its stead. I'm much less critical of Sword Art Online than it probably deserves, particularly since I don't tend to disagree with arguments raised against it, but I do agree Log Horizon is likely a far superior work as a whole. I say "likely" because I've only seen the first quarter or so, and it could conceivably fall off a cliff later on, but also because its "objective" score is relatively low. (I suspect some shows are simply better as a whole than their individual episodes suggest. Shirobako is like that.)

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Dated 5 April 2014: Golden Time and Wake Up, Girls! share a common problem

Mayu
The once and future center.

Both Golden Time and Wake Up, Girls! are good concepts with some flaws in their execution. For the most part, the two shows' flaws are not related, but there is one issue they both share: Neither Kaga Koko nor Shimada Mayu seem special enough.

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Dated 2 January 2014: Autumn 2013 season summary

Regina and Cure Ace
Go on, Ace. Slap the shit out of her.

I only watched five shows from the autumn 2013 anime season. It really should have been six, but subs for Detective Conan lagged again.

Autumn 2013: KILL la KILL (1-12) > Golden Time (1-12) > DokiDoki! Precure (35-46) > Kakumeiki Valvave [13-24] > IS Infinite Stratos 2 [1-12, OVA2]. Dropped: None.

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Dated 8 December 2013: I guess the Valvrave school festival Shouko promised is cancelled

Shouko
Don't worry, Shouko, it'll get worse.

I was pretty annoyed with this season of Kakumeiki Valvrave until episode 21. It was as lousy as ever, but the last few episodes had also been sort of boring. That's a really bad combination, but I'm pleased to say episode 21 brought back the good kind of Valvrave lousiness: Suffering and stupidity. [P.S. Spoilers herein abound.]

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Dated 1 December 2013: Needs more Golden Time Paris-Hen

Banri
I like how Banri wears his FUCK YEAH shirt all the time.

If you've been following me on the Twitter, then you've probably figured out that I like Golden Time more than my last entry about it might suggest. Potentially, this is attributable to the fact that the anime has now advanced beyond what I've read of the manga and original light novel.

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Dated 18 November 2013: I'm starting to think the Sony Vaio Z line is kinda delicate

The best part about having a $2400 laptop suffer a hardware failure while you're away from home is relying on dubious bittorrent clients on your phone to stay up to date with currently airing anime. Turns out Golden Time was worth it this week, though.

Dated 10 November 2013: I'm not sure if I should be enjoying IS Infinite Stratos 2

Houki and Cecelia
I don't remember why the ears were necessary.

As sequels go, IS Infinite Stratos 2 plays it pretty safe, offering mostly filler around a fairly uninteresting plot. It knows its bread and butter involves inspiring (somewhat facetious) arguments about the relative merits of the bevy of girls surrounding Potato-kun as he fails again and again to notice his harem's interest in him.

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Dated 28 October 2013: I'm disappointed with the Golden Time anime adaptation

Kaga
When they point the finger, it means you're a rival.

I was looking forward to Golden Time because I felt both the manga and the original light novels successfully combined the two components I claim critical to a romantic comedy's success: Medium-Wackiness and Emotional Resonance. The Golden Time anime does not deviate from the source material, but the way it covers some significant events is haphazard and rushed.

Nana
In case you blinked during her appearance, this is Nana.

From a narrative standpoint, watching Golden Time is sort of like hearing a synopsis from a reader who only skimmed the books. All the key points are there, but getting them from this type of storytelling isn't conducive to understanding how they relate. The viewer is less likely to appreciate the moments themselves.

Kaga
It's not the same without a hangover.

The biggest problem so far is episode four was clearly rushed. A lot of important events occur shortly after Banri's and Kouko's night in the woods, but episode four of the anime runs through them all without conveying their gravity. Specifically, the confrontation with Chinami, the subsequent encounter with Nana, Kouko taking the stage, and the departure from the club are all important events that the anime basically glosses over, skipping to the morning after. (Significantly, the anime also entirely omits the binge drinking that occurs throughout those events.) I was also dissatisfied with how the anime covered Kouko's struggle at Banri's club and with how it handled Banri's unexpected journey.

Linda, Kouko, Banri, and other dancers
To be fair, this probably would have been painful to watch.

Before the Golden Time anime started, quite a few people expressed their reservations after learning Kon Chiaki is at the helm. (She's the director perhaps best known for "ruining" the Nodame Cantabile sequels.) Through four episodes, I have to grudgingly admit that these pessimists were right.

Kouko and Chinami
Chinami does kinda suck.

Despite all the criticism J.C. Staff attracts these days, I still consider it a very capable studio when it plays to its strengths. Emotional resonance is its bread and butter. Unfortunately, compared to its deft execution in other adaptations such as Toradora! and Honey & Clover, Golden Time is an underachiever. Maybe episode four was just a aberrant one-off, but it was ham-fisted even compared to the Nodame Cantabile sequels Kon Chiaki herself directed, let alone compared to the brilliant first season. One-off or not, it's troubling that such important parts of Golden Time didn't get better treatment.

Banri's mom
Nice smock.

Nevertheless, despite the flaws in how Golden Time is presented, I do still like the show. I think this is a testament to the strength of the original source material. It's a real shame the anime isn't taking a bit more care with how it covers the events, because it has the potential to be very good. It seems merely slowing down a bit would suffice, Kon Chiaki notwithstanding. I suspect it's likely the rush is inspired by desires to hit a milestone by the end of the season, but this makes it more difficult to simply enjoy the ride.