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Dated 21 June 2022: Mahoutsukai Reimeiki is not as good as Zero kara Hajimeru Mahou no Sho

Zero
I would later watch Toji no Miko because of the character designer.

I guess I never wrote a proper blog entry for Zero kara Hajimeru Mahou no Sho (Grimoire of Zero) from the Spring 2017 anime season. It was all right. I liked Miss Not Shimakaze, and I was able to pad my list of anime about loving books. Consequently, when I learned this season's Mahoutsukai Reimeiki (The Dawn of the Witch) was a spin-off with sequel-type continuity, I figured it was worth giving a try.

Roux and Sable
She's standing on a chair because she's short.

Well, it's not great. I can't even blame it all on Potato-kun, even though the series made him as dull as possible. The show is just not very good, and I'm not interested in any of the characters—not even the returning ones who I liked in Grimoire of Zero. I'm already 10 episodes into it, so I'll still finish it out. Somehow, I'm still disappointed despite never having high hopes in the first place.

Dated 31 December 2019: Ascendance of a Bookworm is good, but I've lost all interest in watching more

Main and Gunther
Did fist bumps already exists in this community or did Main introduce them?

I find the individual episodes of Honzuki no Gekokujō - Shisho ni Naru Tame niwa Shudan o Erandeiramasen (Ascendance of a Bookworm) reasonably well done, but there's something about the show as a whole that I find rather unappealing. I've never been able to precisely identify what the issue was, but now I guess I don't have to. Honzuki is getting a (split-cours) second season which starts in April, but I think I'm done with this franchise.

Main
You're not Alice. Why are you so yellow now?

So, spoilers for the first season's grand finale, but Honzuki somewhat abruptly switched from "Main's disease will eventually kill her" to "we found a solution to Main's disease, but this social class we've entirely ignored up until this very moment will capriciously kill you and your entirely family and there's nothing you can do about it unless you're strong in The Force." I don't have any problem with including these sorts of elements in a fantasy show, but the way Ascendance of a Bookworm is putting all its pieces together is not at all compelling. I'd much rather watch more chuuni magic school battle nonsense like Assassin's Pride than more Honzuki, to tell you the truth.

Dated 29 October 2019: Honzuki no Gekokujō - Shisho ni Naru Tame niwa Shudan o Erandeiramasen is okay, but mostly just okay

Tuli, Main, and Eva
Nakajima Megumi and Orikasa Fumiko are both in this, incidentally, for those of you who care about that sort of thing.

I am more tired of isekai anime with male protagonists than I am of isekai just in general, so I'm willing to give Honzuki no Gekokujō - Shisho ni Naru Tame niwa Shudan o Erandeiramasen (Ascendance of a Bookworm) more chances to prove itself than I normally would. Although I liked the fourth episode quite a bit, I'm not especially impressed with the show as a whole so far. Even with regard to the fourth episode I enjoyed it mostly because Main's efforts—which were doomed from the very start—went to waste. It seems the usual tendency in these isekai jobbies is for the resurrected protagonists to use their superior knowledge to smugly dominate the simple folk around them, so it's nice to see things go tits up once in a while despite their best efforts.

Tuli, Main, and Lutz
This plan should have been a non-starter. It's difficult enough trying to cram a manga collection on an Ikea shelf.

I get the feeling that after these initial setbacks, Main is going to start smugly lording her knowledge of modern technology and techniques over these townsfolk more aggressively now that she's not constantly on the verge of dying. I don't know where any of this is going, since Honzuki no Gekokujō - Shisho ni Naru Tame niwa Shudan o Erandeiramasen so far seems to be genuinely about a woman's attempts to introduce books (and literacy) to this backwater where she was resurrected. Well, I say resurrected, but it's more like she hijacked this poor kid's life. Seeing as how introducing books and literacy to her new world could take more than a single lifetime to accomplish, maybe Main will still succumb to Key AIDS and this Japanese lady's spirit will move on to hijack the lives other other little girls, one after another. Not that I think Ascendance of a Bookworm will actually be some manner of bibliophile metempsychosis horror show, but I think that ought to at least be on the table.

Dated 10 September 2019: Y'all should read JK Haru Is a Sex Worker in Another World

Front cover: JK Haru is a Sex Worker in Another World
Despite being a light novel, JK Haru is not illustrated.

JK Haru wa Isekai de Shoufu ni Natta (JK Haru Is a Sex Worker in Another World) gained some notoriety last year when a licensed version became digitally available. Hard copies are now in print as well. Being an isekai light novel, the book is somewhat tongue-in-cheek despite the subject matter. However, I believe the tone it adopts appropriately approximates the sort of setup readers might expect in an isekai light novel about prostitution, thereby facilitating its ability to get them interested in the story before confronting them with the uncomfortable realities that correspond with sex work in general and the vulnerability of prostitutes specifically.

That said, JK Haru Is a Sex Worker in Another World is not a grim book, despite a number of unsettling scenes and events. Moreover, the misogyny and violence encountered in the fantasy world setting are not exactly out of line with the sorts of hazards women face in many sectors of our real world. It's a difficult balancing act for the text, contrasting amusing adventures with these threats. And while there is plenty of sex in JK Haru—as you might expect—the scenes are typically presented matter-of-factly and not written to titilate. Sex work in JK Haru is not glamorous, and the book keeps the attention on the work part, not the sex part.

Notably, I never felt as if JK Haru Is a Sex Worker in Another World was deliberately prurient the way that, frankly, so many light novels seems justifiably accused of being. I've seen enough comments on the Twitter to know many readers will disagree with me on this point, but I think this may have to do with one's initial expectations of the book and what sort of demands are placed on it. JK Haru is presented from Haru's first-person point of view, which I think makes it more effective at conveying the bleakness of her world and the impact of the events around her. Likewise, it also better communicates the joy she finds when she pursues various recreational diversions or actually has sex she enjoys. It also avoids presenting the violence in her world or the sadism she encounters as elements the reader is expected to like (unlike the corresponding scenes in some other light novels I might name). There are surely readers who do prefer that sort of content and wish JK Haru had more of it, but I'm inclined to regard that as an indictment against those readers themselves and not the text for obstensibly failing to omit it.

Incidentally, the various twists and reveals in JK Haru Is a Sex Worker in Another World are good enough that I recommend a spoiler-avoidance posture if you expect to read it.

Dated 13 August 2018: I like Overlord better the more I watch it

Nfirea, Enri, and Nemu
Enri put on her best clothes for the visit, but not only did Nfirea
not even bother to change his shirt, it isn't even tucked in.

The third season of Overlord thankfully had only a three-month hiatus following the second season. The break between the first and second season was more than two years, which was entirely too long for casual fans of the anime who had not read the books. A lot of the events that occur in Overlord happen simultaneously or close to it, so it's helpful to keep the timeline and chain of events straight as more and more characters get introduced. That was a lot harder to do when I could barely remember a lot of the context I was supposed to know.

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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 19 March 2018: Overlord II and Dagashi Kashi 2 have something in common

Momonga
Sure seems as if Momonga has spent a lot of his screen time this season sitting.

Both Overlord II and Dagashi Kashi 2 feature a lot fewer scenes of some of its main characters than I was expecting. In the case of Overlord II, it seems the vast majority of this sequel's screen time is devoted to minor returning goofballs or entirely new characters who mostly serve to expand the worldbuilding aspects of the story, albeit at the sacrifice of characters from the first season who I was hoping to see more of again. Not that Lizard Man politics and alliances are not interesting in their own right, or that I'm not engaged by old man good guy combat butler Sebas Tian picking up a teenage girlfriend who can reportedly almost cook palatable meals...but this wasn't at all what I was expecting from a second season of Overlord.

Zaryusu and Crusch
I admit I am amused by the albino Lizard Man lady who can't be in direct sun.

Based on other reports I've seen, the source material for Overlord does seem rather detailed and intricate enough to make me think its probably a lot better than other fantasy light novels. At a minimum, it doesn't appear as if the author is at all half-assing the writing, so perhaps the books are good enough to be regarded as regular fantasy novels and don't deserve the stigma I reflexively assign to most (but not all) "light" novels. The Overlord books have actually been licensed, and at least six English-language volumes are out already, so I guess I could give them a try. Hopefully they feature adequate amounts of Momonga doing Momonga-type things and aren't, like, wall-to-wall Lizard Man politics.

Kokonotsu and Hajime
Another Millennial desperate for an unpaid internship.

Dagashi Kashi 2, like Overlord II, has fewer appearances by its putative main character than I was expecting, but it also differs from its first season in few other ways. For one thing, it's a shorter, half-length show this season. The character designs are also a bit different, but I don't really have an opinion about this change because the voices are still the same. Hotaru's absence from a significant part of the season was unexpected, though. It's a sensible departure, in that it opens up space to develop the new character who temporarily fills Hotaru's role as the resident nutjob, but I'm not sure I'm totally okay with the lack of Hotaruness this season. Sadly, it also seems the original manga is ending soon. This Hotaru-free future seems less than ideal.

Dated 17 April 2017: An outsider's perspective on Granblue Fantasy the Animation

Katalina, Lyria, Gran, and Vyrn
Most of that will buff right out.

I learned everything I know about the Granblue Fantasy game from an IRC and the Twitter. It seems like it would be a moderately amusing way to waste time, but I'm mystified at how dedicated some of the players are, particularly those who probably would not self-identify as especially hardcore or committed. It seems as if there is an addictive quality to the gameplay, because when people talk about how they are doing, the representations always seem to be about quantifiable achievements and metrics, instead of how much fun they are having. This (admittedly small) circle of fans seems disinterested in the anime. They are either critical of its quality, or they ignore it entirely because it stars Gran (the male player character) instead of Djeeta (the female player character alternative).

Cat and Katalina
At least take off the metal gauntlet first.

I am watching Granblue Fantasy the Animation with no real understanding of the gameplay or story and only the aforementioned framework as any sort of context. From this vantage, Granblue Fantasy the Animation seems "fine," but isn't particularly captivating. It's a fantasy anime with fantasy-type elements, but these elements are not components of a well-thought-out world, but rather just there because they're just expected to be there or because they make for neat visuals. Just don't be thinking too much about them; it's fine.

Katalina and Lyria
She's even wearing her new sandals indoors.

As for the characters themselves, again, they are merely adequate or unobjectionable, without really any particular aspect that seems interesting or novel so far. The antagonists who have been introduced through three episodes are all very obviously villainous with cartoonishly evil voices to assist the audience in establishing cursory perspectives about them without having to really pay attention. Maybe Djeeta has something going for her, and the show suffers dramatically from her omission, but—as I understand it—the game plays out exactly the same regardless of whether the player chooses to play as Gran or as Djeeta anyway, so I'm not sure what her presence in the anime might have improved aside from perhaps maybe everything just works so much better because Djeeta is easy on the eyes.

Gran, Vyrn, Lyria, and Katalina
Is there a reason why the shrimpiest character is the only one with a Big Gulp?

Granblue Fantasy the Animation also competes with Zero kara Hajimeru Mahou no Sho (Grimoire of Zero) and Shuumatsu Nani Shitemasu ka? Isogashii desu ka? Sukutte Moratte Ii desu ka? (WorldEnd: What do you do at the end of the world? Are you busy? Will you save us?) this season, both of which are better shows for the time being. The former has Not Shimakaze explaining the difference between majutsu and mahou (a distinction you may remember from Fate/stay night) and is yet another entry on my list of anime about people who love books, along with Read or Die, R.O.D. the TV, Dantalian no Shoka, and Demonbane. SukaSuka is the adaptation of a light novel and has a super-long title, so I'm pretty dubious about it, but the first episode was reasonably good and non-objectionable, so maybe it has some promise. It's too early to tell how Granblue Fantasy the Animation is going to end up, but it's starting in third place among its peers.