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Dated 17 January 2023: In/Spectre S2 is my favorite show this season

Masayuki and Yuki-Onna
All things considered, he's taking this well.

I liked the first season of In/Spectre enough to start buying the manga. 16 English-language volumes later, the second season has finally started. As far as the name of the series goes, Kyokou Suiri (Invented Inference) is what the author titled it back when there was only going to be one book (covering the "Steel Lady Nanase" story). After writing more, he lamented the original title isn't as apt as it was originally. (See the author's notes in volume nine of the manga.) Eh, it happens. "Karmaburn" doesn't really sound like the name of an anime blog, for that matter.

Yuki-Onna and Masayuki
He has gratitude and money, and she needs need cash to buy ice cream.

Anyway, Kyokou SuiriInvented InferenceIn/Spectre Season 2 is great, although I can see how it might be a mixed bag for anime-only viewers. It's not really paced for seasonal anime, and long monologues are not uncommon. I, for one, find the mysteries interesting, the stories clever, and the characters enjoyable. I don't know how long the author, Shirodaira Kyo (城平京), intends to continue writing this series, but I hope it's for a long time.

Dated 20 December 2022: I'm so glad Isekai Ojisan is back

Sumika
The nephew's childhood friend is also great.

Originally a Summer 2022 show, Isekai Ojisan (Uncle from Another World) went on hiatus after its seventh episode due to, well, let's just say, "Circumstances," since I'm not confident the reasons I've seen expressed are necessarily complete. There may be some nuances or complexities on the production side that haven't been properly communicated to random-ass people like me.

Elf
I like the elf even though she doesn't bathe.

ANYWAY, Isekai Ojisan has returned for the remainder of the Autumn 2022 season, resuming where it left off. That's not a lot of content (I think the anime is going to be 13 episodes total), but I'll take what I can get. In any case, the gags remain fresh and funny, and expanding the cast of characters (read: increasing the harem's membership) has not diluted the purest fount of tsundere that I've encountered since basically ever. Haruka De Tomaso Pantera is SO GOOD in this show.

Dated 15 November 2022: Imagine SPY x FAMILY without spies or family

Yor
Yor doesn't have anything to do in this show.

SPY x FAMILY is one of those well-made shows that I inevitably lose interest in despite not having any major complaints about it. Basically, the same thing happened as I was reading the manga, too. I just stopped one day and didn't really miss it. I suppose the series simply doesn't align that well with the sorts of things that I like despite not having any critical faults of its own.

Anya and Becky
I said Anya-focused school antics.

Well, I guess I do dislike Yor's brother. He's certainly my least favorite part of the anime thus far. And there's a Loid-obsessed lady who will appear later. She's not great either. Really, I think I would be satisfied with nothing but Anya-focused school antics. Maybe getting kidnapped less often, but still trying to do Anya-type things with her mind-reading abilities despite her efforts not always necessarily going to plan. I'd be okay with a show like that.

Dated 20 September 2022: I hope Lycoris Recoil and Engage Kiss can both stick their landings

Chisato and Takina
What are you thinking about?

You might see Lycoris Recoil and Engage Kiss compared every so often (and I guess that's what I'm doing now), but they don't share much in common. Well, I guess they both have Aniplex and A1-Pictures behind them, and both anime air on Saturdays, but the shows themselves aren't similar. Also, both are headed towards a big finish this weekend, although I can see how Lycoris Recoil might earn itself a sequel, depending on how things go.

Chisato
Look, there aren't even any bullet holes!

To be clear, Lycoris Recoil is a significantly better show than Engage Kiss. I like both, although for different reasons, but there's a good reason why fans of Lycoris Recoil are so enthused. It features a well-balanced mix of serious drama with genuine stakes, wacky high jinks, and significant amounts of entertaining (albeit unrealistic) gun play.

Sharon and Shuu
My opinions about SHARON HOLYGRAIL are wholly positive.

On the other hand, Engage Kiss has a combat nun sensibly named SHARON HOLYGRAIL who only takes off her habit's headpiece during sex. It also features a high school demon girl whose motivation for being so devoted to Potato-kun is somewhat unclear. She at least seems willing to accept she must have had a good reason. Maybe she found instructions scrawled on her hand telling her to be, and just assumed there was a good reason that she merely forgot.

Dated 23 August 2022: Isekai Ojisan is brilliant

Elf and Uncle
Oh my God. These two are so good.

It turns out Isekai Ojisan (Uncle from Another World) is a lot funnier than I would have expected of an isekai parody. Actually, I guess it's not really even necessarily a parody. It just happens to subvert expectations by tackling all the stereotypical tropes the wrong way. There have only been five episodes so far due to a Covid-related two-week delay after the fourth episode, but every installment has been solid.

Elf
I want to know how her armor does that.

I've only read a few chapters of the manga, but this anime adaptation is outstanding. In particular, Koyasu Takehito as the Sega-obsessed uncle and Haruka DeTomaso Pantera as the elf girl from the other world are perfect. The anime also has a somewhat crude appearance to it (as does the original manga) that fits well with the gags, and the comic timing is right on. Seeing as how there are eight volumes of the ongoing manga so far, I have to assume there's more to the series than just non-stop anecdotes of the uncle's isekai misadventures, but I'd honestly be okay with it either way.

Dated 12 July 2022: I'm too old to enjoy Engage Kiss, but I still do

Kisara
You can tell she's serious because she changed clothes.

I have to concede Engage Kiss is "bad" by the standards I'm probably supposed to apply when evaluating anime. It embodies a number of qualities I associate with juvenile shows that cater to teenage boys. For one thing, the protagonist is a schlub who starts the series with two women (well, one woman, and one high school girl who is actually a demon, so she's probably hundreds of years old, if conventions hold) who are interested in him romantically for no clear reason.

Kisara
It's like Fruits Basket Face, except less sane.

However, the first two episodes do embrace a refreshingly carefree approach to old tropes that's sort of nostalgic in this modern era dominated instead by newer (but no less inane) clichés, and governed by sensibilities that are limiting without necessarily making things better. It's in this environment that Engage Kiss manages to shine, with some surprisingly satisfying gags that work well because the setting and premise are both absurd.

Kisara
Durable dress.

It's the little things, like hiding Tupperware® under a dress, or perfecting just-in-time delivery without resorting to drones, or broke shitbags shamelessly bumming cigarettes that really sell me on this series. Or maybe I just like the idea of a yandere demon employee because I haven't actually watched very many shows featuring yandere characters, so the stereotype still feels fresh to me.

Kisara
She seems nice.

Whatever the reason is, and I admit I'm not trying very hard to justify my affection for this bad (it's only mildly bad, okay!) show, I am rather enjoying it so far. It manages to feel both familiar and new at the same time, and it doesn't drag. I can't promise it will turn out to be capital-G Good at any point, but I've watched a lot worse.

Dated 14 June 2022: I'm starting to think KoiSeka will not end with a double suicide

Fudo and Desumi
Red Gelato and Shinigami Oujo are slacking off.

The gimmick behind Koi wa Sekai Seifuku no Ato de (Love After World Domination) is that Red Gelato, the main protagonist from a squad of heroes (think Power Rangers or Super Sentai) and Reaper Princess, one of the leaders of the villainous side, are secretly in love. The show is mostly about their struggles with romance while hiding their affair from the public and their respective teammates.

Red Gelato and Shinigami Oujo
I don't fully understand Desumi's battle costume.

This is not the first "daily lives of heroes and villains" thing I've encountered. Both Dokkoida?! and Sunred come to mind, for example. However, this is the first anime with an overtly Romeo and Juliet-esque spin on the premise that I've seen, although surely similar parodies must exist already in some form. Unfortunately, I'm not expecting the actual romance in KoiSeka to go anywhere. I'm already 10 episodes into the show as of this blog entry, so I'm doubtful there will be anything more to this series than light comedy.

Hellko
I do like Desumi's cat.

However, Koi wa Sekai Seifuku no Ato de doesn't really need to be much more than light comedy to succeed. The gags are amusing enough, and it seems the anime is reasonably popular this season. Consequently, barring any unexpectedly brilliant developments or an unfortunate collapse of some sort, I'm going to go ahead and suggest Love After World Domination is "fine" with occasionally good moments, but is not particularly remarkable otherwise.

Dated 5 April 2022: The End of KiseKoi ~Air/My Purest Love for Cosplay~

Marin
Best Girl.

I'm pleased to report Sono Bisque Doll wa Koi wo Suru (My Dress-Up Darling) completed its first cours with a solid finish, capping off a remarkable run well ahead of whatever expectations I may have had prior to starting the series. I'm by no means alone in praising the show as the best from the Winter 2022 anime season, so I'm hopeful we'll see a second cours at some point.

Nowa and Marin
Things I know about Nowa: She has great hair, and is purportedly freakishly strong.

In addition to the factors I've mentioned in my previous posts, the small cast also worked in its favor. I was sure the childhood friend who bitched Wakana out years ago was going to appear at some point, and similarly expected at least one arc involving Marin's friends getting into her business. The fact that neither of these things came to pass is a credit to the storytelling in KiseKoi and the attention it gave to Marin's point of view as her romantic feelings grew.

Wakana and Marin
These are some fireworks.

My Dress-Up Darling consistently defied expectations in these small ways throughout the season, but their impact in the aggregate is considerable. I hope authors and directors of future works take note of this phenomenon. You'd expect a story should need entirely original, novel ideas to gain this benefit, but Sono Bisque Doll wa Koi wo Suru demonstrated simply not following familiar tropes to their specific expected destinations can be enough to transform scenes that would otherwise have been unremarkable.