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Dated 18 July 2014: Spring 2014 season wrapup

Fredrica and Akira
This cat is so chill.

Just a few months ago, I noted I followed an unusually large (for me) number of shows. This time around, I tried following too many shows and ended up DNFing on shows I wanted to follow but didn't get around to finishing even though I never officially dropped them. Apart from that, there were no major deviations from my expectations addressed during my initial impressions.

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Dated 27 April 2014: Ayako Doctrine, don't fail me now (selector infected WIXOSS)

Hanayo and Yuzuki
LET'S GET READY TO RUMBLE!

selector infected WIXOSS is the very model of the Ayako Doctrine at work. There was basically no chance I would even consider watching this show were it not for her presence in the cast. As a reminder, the Ayako Doctrine does not claim that any anime featuring Kawasumi Ayako will be good. Rather, it only purports that any show she is in will be better than it would have been without her presence.

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Dated 11 March 2014: Witch Craft Works is what IS Infinite Stratos should have been like

Tanpopo and Honoka
Witches don't really keep a low profile.

Suppose you should be whiling time away in a cosmopolitan airport when a comely stranger inquires about the 501st Joint Fighter Wing decal on your notebook computer, asking if you serve in the military. Chances are, even if you do sheepishly admit that it comes from an anime, you'll probably neglect to mention that its valiant stars don't wear pants.

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Dated 17 February 2014: Belated season introduction to winter 2014 shows

Mazinger
Pilder fucking on!

I should probably put together a season introduction for Winter 2014, considering that half of it has already passed. At this time, I'm still following 14 15 of the shows currently airing this cour (Jesus Christ, fourteen FIFTEEN?), and may add Gundam Build Fighters if I ever get around to starting it. I present the following shows in order of their precedence on the chart at the time I started writing this sucker, but you shouldn't put too much weight on their positions or particular ratings because this ain't anime titration, you know.

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Dated 28 December 2012: Autumn 2012 season summary

Miho
It turns out you can bully a girl into seizing the reins of destiny.

I knew that GIRLS und PANZER was going to be good, but I certainly wasn't expecting it to be so popular. As others have pointed out, GIRLS und PANZER sets the new standard for anime catering to military otaku. This is largely due to its extensive attention to detail, but it also doesn't forget to remain accessible to general audiences. You don't need to catch a Sergeant Oddball reference to appreciate Yukari infiltrating the Not American school in a Sunkus uniform. Sadly, GIRLS und PANZER may have been a bit ambitious in its planning and production. The show's finest moment is unavailable to Western audiences (officially, anyway) due to copyright and licensing issues. Its final two episodes have also been pushed until spring 2013. Personally, I'm glad studio Actas decided to work to standard and not to time, so I'm all right with the delay.

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Dated 2 December 2012: GIRLS und PANZER episode six is amazing

A Saunders tank crew member
Guess there are no atheists in tanks taking fire either.

From the very first line of the episode, GIRLS und PANZER reveals why it's the best show of the season. Comparisons to last season's Upotte!! are natural because both shows caters to the still niche military otaku segment of anime fans, but GIRLS und PANZER has Upotte!! beat when it comes to execution.

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Dated 28 October 2012: Initial impressions of the autumn 2012 season

Erwin, Caesar, Oryou, and Saemonza
This scene was awesome.

Autumn 2012 so far: JoJo's Bizarre Adventure (1-4) > Smile Precure! (34-36) > Sword Art Online (15-17) > GIRLS und PANZER (1-3) > Medaka Box Abnormal (1-3) > Busou Shinki (1-4) > Aikatsu! (1-3) > Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! (1-4) > Little Busters! (1-4).

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Dated 1 October 2012: Tari Tari > Hyouka because of the characters

Wakana and Naoko
Oh God. The doujinshi.

Perhaps I haven't been particularly forthcoming about this, but the most important aspect of a show to me often tends to be its characters, or rather, how well I like its characters. I'll forgive lousy animation, stupid plots, and poor contrivances as long as I like the characters. This is not to say either Tari Tari or Hyouka necessarily suffer from any of these flaws, but it may explain what some people consider inexplicable and inconsistent tolerances on my part when it comes to these sorts of shortcomings.

Sawa
LISTEN TO MY SONG!

However, I did considerably like Tari Tari more than Hyouka because none of the characters in Hyouka resonated with me. I can respect that Kyoto Animation flexed its muscles a bit with Hyouka and genuinely committed itself to making a standout series over the past two cours, but all the layered depth and unspoken motivations, and developing relationships in that "SHAFT series with money" could not compete with Konatsu's dork rays, Sawa's unwitting-sex-bomb powers, and the refreshingly unstarchy comedy stylings of Wien and Taichi. Wakana deserves special mention as the sometimes emotional, sometimes dead inside, frequently mortified sweet kid cornerstone of an admittedly oftentimes conventional cast.

Wakana
SPHERE POWERS UNLEASHED!

This is rather qualified praise for Tari Tari, and I concede Hyouka will likely be remembered better (and longer) in the years to come, but Tari Tari succeeds because it is basically is a P.A. Works layup of the sort J.C. Staff used to be able to accomplish reliably. Tari Tari is less ambitious, but it combines (harmonizes?) its different parts well (like a chorus?) with just a touch of quirkiness (and sometimes badminton) to keep things lively. It worked for me. I liked basically every character, even the foppish principal and the assortment of comically evil antagonists such as bitter Big C, the former best friend of Wakana's dead flibbertigibbet mom. I can't quite make the same claim for Hyouka. At the end of the day, I don't really care what happens to Mayaka and Satoshi, or whether Chitanda succeeds in ruining Houtarou's life.

Houtarou and Chitanda
At least Hyouka fans seemed satisfied by its non-ending ending.

What if it turns out I like the characters better because I like the show better, and not the other way around like I've been saying? I guess there's not really a conclusive way of knowing. I admit Hyouka's overt attempts at adding stylized animation for the sake of "look at me!" visual flair's sake annoyed me because I found it so intrusive, whereas Tari Tari is chock-full of audible cues in the form of sudden small cries and startled noises that I found endearing because I get the feeling I was not supposed to notice them. Perhaps I would have liked the characters in Hyouka had they been, say, more conventional J.C. Staff properties. It's a mystery.