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Dated 2 July 2018: Continuing shows and sequels of Summer 2018

Emiru and RUR-9500
The matching guitars are actually magic beam rifles. This is not a joke.
P.S. Spoilers.

Seven or eight of the shows I plan to watch during the Summer 2018 anime season are shows continuing from Spring 2018 or sequels. Specifically, Overlord III, One Room 2, and Cinderella Girls Gekijou 3rd Season are sequels, and the shows continuing from last season are Detective Conan, GeGeGe no Kitarou, Major 2nd, Hugtto! Precure, and possibly Piano no Mori.

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Dated 6 January 2012: Season Summary, Autumn 2011

Haruka and Chihaya
Haruka visits Chihaya's spartan apartment in episode 11.

Leading the way by a large margin in autumn 2011 is The IDOLM@STER TV. I am solidly in the camp that believes Idolmaster exceeded all expectations. It doesn't quite win the coveted No Bad Episodes award (thanks for dragging down the curve, Hibiki), and some of the early summer 2011 episodes stumbled in parts, but taken as a whole Idolm@ster performed very well. As much as I enjoyed Hanasaku Iroha in the spring and summer, iM@S is easily my choice for show of the year. Some may argue Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica deserves Show of the Year, but I believe its baggage will prevent it from being as fondly remembered in the long run.

Chihaya
Chihaya alone in her apartment, episode 20.

I am both disappointed and relieved Idolm@ster did not use a Miki + Producer scandal as its final plot arc—disappointed because I have a perverse interest in drama and trauma in my -rama, but relieved because the actual final arc was a great way to end the season that fit very well with the tone and progression of the show over its 25 episodes. Thankfully, it also leaves the door ajar for another 25 episodes.

Chihaya's apartment
Chihaya's apartment, episode 25.

I'm conflicted as to whether Idolm@ster is a harem comedy or not. I have to conclude that it is, but it's a harem comedy the way the original To Heart anime is a harem comedy, and not in the way the insipid ToHeart2 is a harem comedy. Notably, despite more than a dozen nubile girls commanding his attention, Producer is a serious love interest to none of them. Miki might disagree with me here, and although she gives Producer the green light early and often, there is no real romantic or sexual tension between them. All the girls all fond of Producer, but in wholly appropriate ways. The girls want to be good idols for him, but they also want to succeed for their own sakes. Likewise, the girls of To Heart are fond of Hiroyuki as he serially befriends the Hell out of them, but they have their own goals and aspirations independent of him, unlike standard brainwashed harem comedy heroines inexplicably devoted to Potato-kun. Making Producer a part of his idols' lives, but not the center of their attention prevents Idolm@ster from going down a very bad road.

Inori
Inori tries to save Guilty Crown.

It's a long drop from the top spot to the second-best show I watched in autumn 2011: Guilty Crown. No matter how many unique things Guilty Crown may try and no matter what nuances it gives its characters, the package as a whole is wrapped in some of the most juvenile, cliché, and outright ridiculous developments. Still, none of these faults necessarily prevent Guilty Crown from being entertaining. If you have no stomach for a show quite obviously intended for male viewers in their early teens, then you will probably not wish to suffer through another cour of Guilty Crown. I, on the other hand, am quite looking forward to the second half of the show in winter 2012. Hell yeah.

Shaga
You wouldn't hit a girl with glasses, would you?

I almost dropped Ben-to after episode two because I assumed a show based on a fairly thin gimmick would wear out its welcome very quickly. Nevertheless, I kept watching because I was determined to at least learn what Panty was doing in this show. Surprisingly, the characters remained likeable and the premise remained entertaining. The unapologetic Sega pimping helped, too. It was also good to have Horie Yui and Tamura Yukari playing off each other. They make a good duo, and the dynamic is even better in Ben-to than it was in B Gata H Kei.

Ika Musume
They'll all be dead in a couple days anyway, de geso.

Shinryaku!? Ika Musume is not as good as the first season, mostly because it felt like it was playing off the same jokes over and over. The first season benefited from numerous examples of one-upmanship as Ika Musume learned or did something more improbable than the last. There were a few such moments this season, but Shinryaku!? Ika Musume paled in comparison to its brilliant first season.

Conan and Ran
I wonder what Conan saw in the mirror, Ran?

This was a good year for Detective Conan, particularly with regard to the summer's London arc, but the autumn portion was mostly about par for the course. It was also a good year for Ran, the 2011 Girl of the Year. The many Detective Conan OPs and EDs are notoriously cruel to Ran + Shinichi 'shippers, but the ED closing out the autumn 2011 season offers hints as to the shows eventual conclusion. (Detective Conan can't really run forever, right? Right?) Avert your eyes if you fear my psychic powers lend credence to what is admittedly merely a wild guess on my part: Shinichi will not return to his normal age. Ran will suffer the same fate as Shinichi and Haibara and become a small child again herself. Ran will finally learn Conan's secret and the series will end. I'm counting on anime's penchant for packing OPs and EDs with spoilers to ultimately prove me right. Besides, there's a legitimate way out: The numerous Kaito Kid specials this year have been good enough that I think an outright spinoff is a solid possibility. I sure hope Sawashiro Miyuki is prepared to play a scandalously clad high school ojou-sama witch for the next 10 years.

Saber and Irisviel
Saber and Irisviel both need hats.

Fate/zero is beautifully animated and basically better in every way possible than its horribly flawed predecessor Fate/stay night (except for lacking a Tohsaka Rin old enough to properly boast her trademark sweater + zettai ryouiki flawless combination). Even Saber manages to seem, well, not smart, but at least cool. And I like Irisviel far more than I expected, probably boosted by her fine taste in vintage automobiles. Still, the Fate/zero dialog dumps are so sonorous, and there's so much of it. I'm sure its second half will do better during winter spring 2012 when everyone starts killing each other.

Cure Beat, Cure Melody, Cure Rhythm, and Cure Muse
Probably shouldn't have stood around being useless
while Cure Melody was getting her ass kicked, eh.

Suite Precure♪ surpassed Fresh Pretty Cure somewhere around the Cure Muse arc as the most underachieving iteration of the Pretty Cure franchise, and since then it has done nothing but continue to fall in my estimation. Suite is not quite in freefall, but Lord, it ain't falling up. For over a thousand generations the Pretty Cure were the guardians of peace and justice in the Old Republic. Before the dark times. Before they started letting cats and small children into their order. Also, I really hope impressionable young Suite Precure♪ viewers do not grow up thinking Cure Melody's solution is in any way an appropriate solution to resolving a hostage situation. I hope Smile Precure! does better, but its large starting cast and rumors of additional non-human Cures fill me with dread. (Yeah, I guess I'm racist. Speciesist?) At some point, Kaoru and Michiru have got to get tired of getting snubbed by their inexplicable exclusion from the Sacred Order of the Pretty Cure and crash the show to trash the joint and bust some heads the old fashioned way. Got to.

Shana
Go on, Shana. Curse the bitch out.

Shakugan no Shana Final is not that bad. Honest! It's way better than the second season of Shakugan no Shana, okay? Then again, I still rate it below Suite Precure♪, which ought to tell you something. On the plus side, this whole season has been about war, albeit not a very competently executed war. It also doesn't help that J.C. Staff still has trouble with fight scenes. In other news, two of the main characters engaged in sexual intercourse so vigorously one of them required magical augmentation beforehand to prevent permanent injury or possible death from the encounter. True story. [P.S. Spoilers.]

Sena
UNIVERSE!

I dropped Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai after three episodes, but I accidentally acquired a copy of episode nine in a game of chance, so I watched that too. The show is all right—bettter than Shana III at least, but I don't have any interest in it. This is unsurprising because I have no interest in the manga either, having dropped it at least three times since it first came on the scene. I also don't like the anime character designs at all.

Dated 21 December 2011: Something that bugs me about this last Idolmaster arc ~or~ The Idolm@ster TV and Neon Genesis Evangelion are the same show

Haruka and Miki
Miki, the sound voice of reason, lectures Haruka.

The Idolm@ster TV has been pretty good with its attention to detail. However, I'm a bit confused about one seemingly obvious aspect about the current arc that doesn't make sense. Unless I missed something, everyone gets together for a party on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. In the subsequent episodes, they struggle to coordinate their schedules so that they can practice together for their New Year's live performance. This concert is on New Year's Eve or New Year's Day, right? Well, there is only one week between Christmas and New Year's. It sure seems like a lot of days go by as practice after practice gets canceled or postponed, and then a lot more days during which Haruka is mired in her deep, blue funk. It sure seems a lot of stuff happens in the course of one week, and we haven't even gotten to New Year's yet. If you can point out an error or misunderstanding on my part or otherwise clear things up, send me a telegram.

[Update: That was fast. So the live performance is not on New Year's Eve or New Year's Day.]

@Evirus The New Year's Live isn't in New Year's Eve; it's supposed to be an homage to the RL New Year's Live: http://jouttex.otadesho.com/the-idolmster-2-new-year-live/
-@SieteSeventh

Haruka
Haruka and two conflicting calendars.

However, I am inclined to believe this incongruity is intentional. Calendars appear in numerous scenes in episode 23 as Haruka strives to get the group back together. Curiously, these calendars are not all in agreement. One shows January 2012, but another shows November 2012. At least two display January 2013. Kotori's desk calendar remains unchanged both before and after Christmas, but the month shown does not match any likely possibilities.

Azusa, Makoto, Yukiho, Chihaya, and Haruka
Don't you girls have any chairs? Metal folding chairs?

There is a simple answer that explains both the unusually long month and these dueling calendars—one that other people have surely surmised already: Haruka has initiated Third Impact. Yes, Idolm@ster Instrumentality has begun. Just as Shinji anguished over his chance to re-create his world into a form less painful (Love Eva), Haruka holds the future in her hands. Haruhi help us all. On the other hand, when they get around to making The End of Idolm@ster ~Air/My Purest Love for Honey~ it is going to kick all ass.

Dated 8 August 2010: Seitokai Yakuindomo is the surprise of the season

Hagimura, Aria, and Shino
My favorite parts are the announcements
accompanied by whistle and drum.

I only started watching Seitokai Yakuindomo because of its angela ED. The show's description in all the promotional material prior to the start of the season sounded dreadfully uninspired. However, this is not your ordinary anime student government. Amazingly, the female members are dirty as Hell. Hardly anything they say should be repeated in polite company. One of them drops two f-bombs (in English) during one episode. The comedic timing is pretty good, so the jokes work even if there's not much variety.

Tsuda, Shino, Aria, and Hagimura
Wide angles are funny.

Seitokai Yakuindomo is based on a four-panel comic strip, so I can't claim its wall-to-wall sex jokes are part of B Gata H Kei's legacy, but I do wonder why we haven't seen more of these kinds of shows before. You know, B Gata H Kei was also a 4-koma first. Maybe there's a whole slew of yet unexplored comic strip sex comedies waiting to be animated.

Hagimura and Tsuda
A bedroom as boring as Tachibana Kanade's.

Sex jokes alone aren't enough, though. Seitokai Yakuindomo thankfully includes small moments of character interaction that show there's more to this cast than just stereotypes. Although Hagimura is the butt of relentless short jokes, by isolating her with Tsuda for moments of friendship power-ups, Seitokai Yakuindomo really does add an element of tenderness to an otherwise crass show. It's a good mixture of sweet and sour in this surprisingly hot soup.

Dated 27 June 2010: Try a little tenderness, Goro (but not on the mound)

Shimizu Kaoru
Baseball is a cruel sport, Shimizu.

Shimizu Kaoru easily won Best Girl of the Year rights in 2009. Despite her lack of screen time, it appears she is making a solid run at repeating for the title in 2010. Unfortunately, it's difficult to mesh Shimizu's daily life into the current main plot of the sixth season of Major. Thus, I was very glad to see the recent episode focusing exclusively on her. Hopefully her role will expand again as the season progresses. She still has a lot of catching up to do before she passes Aoba from Cross Game. However, lucky for her, Shimizu is up last.

Goro
Just ask yourself what Ryoko would do, Goro.
[Hint: Ryoko is a beast.]

With regard to the main story, Major takes the narrow path between embracing serious baseball drama and remaining accessible to casual fans of the sport. For example, Goro's recent moral dilemma about payback—contrasting the view of Murdoch (the belligerent new troublemaker on the team) versus Goro's position on the matter—does occur on the field occasionally, but rarely as overtly as depicted in episode 12 of Major season six (episode 141 overall). Ultimately, the qualified instructions Keene relays probably prove the most appropriate, but I personally think Murdoch was right this time.

Dated 24 April 2010: Major season six off to a good start

Keene and Goro
Even this is a spoiler.

It's difficult to talk about the sixth season of Major without revealing numerous spoilers for the early part of the series. Major is epic, with long story arcs and characters that first appeared as small children now returning as young adults. In fact, if I remember right, Kaoru's little brother Taiga is the only character still in high school.

Taiga
Wow, an anime high school kid who isn't late for school.

To tell you the truth, it's a little difficult sometimes keeping all the names and faces straight. There's a running gag where Goro occasionally has to get old acquaintances and teammates to reintroduce themselves because they've been out of the show so long.

Shimizu Kaoru
I'm calling my shot. Shimizu is going to be Goro's Girl in White
during Major season six à la Glenn Close in The Natural.

Speaking of long-time characters, I wonder how they are going to keep Shimizu Kaoru in the story for season six. I certainly hope 2009's Girl of the Year stays in the game. I feel a little bad for her, since she's too good.

Shimizu Kaoru
Try a little tenderness, Honda.

It's hard to even discuss the OP with much detail since Japan loves to put spoilers in its OPs, EDs, and episode previews. I'm told Legend of Galactic Heroes is notorious for having massive spoilers in its next-episode previews, for example. I also remember one episode of Monster with a helpful warning from Soldats to avoid the next-episode preview due to spoilers. Them is some solid fansubbing ethics right there.

Honda father and son baseball jerseys
Honda father and son jerseys.

But I digress. I'm pleased Major season six begins with a new arrangement of its very first OP. I still prefer the original arrangement more, but this new version appropriately sounds more mature and I enjoy the numerous parallels found in their respective sequences. I don't know if this will be the final season of Major, but wrapping things up by coming full circle wouldn't be a bad way to go.

Dated 20 April 2010: The real star of B Gata H Kei

Yamada Chika
No, not her.

Don't get me wrong. Through three episodes of B Gata H Kei, Yamada is wonderful. I'm certainly rooting for her and Kosuda to figure out they like either other. Maybe it's the deretsun trope reversal, or maybe it's the way Yamada appreciates the things Kosuda does for her—appreciates them enthusiastically, to her little sister's despair. It must be traumatizing having the bedroom next door to Yamada's.

Nihon F3
Kosuda's SLR.

The real star of B Gata H Kei is Kosuda's camera. All his photography club jazz makes me want to buy a Nikon F3 even though I haven't touched any of my film cameras in years. Somehow it's endearing when B Cup sports product placement and base when K-On! does it. Even if B Gata H Kei is about challenging double standards, I still have my prejudices.

Yamada views Kosuda's photograph
Yamada views Kosuda's photograph.

I am glad to see B Gata H Kei take the time to develop a character's gimmick into a Honey and Clover-type moment where Yamada wonders what it's like to see the world through Kosuda's eyes, albeit briefly. Now if only she would simply realize how he sees her. I'm getting Hatsukoi Limited flashbacks.

Dated 18 April 2010: The real Angel Beats! main character

Tenshi
The only Angel Beats! character I don't dislike
is the one that doesn't talk or do anything.

I'm not going to call Angel Beats! a lousy show, but it's not one that I can take seriously without feeling foolish. Nevertheless, Angel Beats! generates more discussion than any other show at a certain IRC channel where idling slowly is preferred. Granted, approximately one-hundred-point-all percent of this discussion is derisive, but everyone seems to acknowledge that it is interesting to discuss even if they don't necessarily enjoy the show. (I sort of felt the same way about Gundam SEED Destiny.)

Tenshi's dorm room
Tenshi's room is depressingly drab. I guess it's
still better than Minori's spartan bedroom.

My favorite part about episode three was discovering Tenshi apparently lives in a painfully normal and somewhat boring dorm room that she keeps immaculately clean. As far as I'm concerned, this just lends credence to my theory that Tenshi is the actual protagonist of the show, a fact that is sure to be revealed in some melodramatic twist two-thirds of the way through the series. It probably has to do with snow and piano recitals.