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Dated 4 December 2017: Wake Up, Girls! Shin Shō remembers that Shimada Mayu is first among equals

Shiho and Mayu
In unrelated news, I'm pretty stoked Shiho is in this too.

I can't remember where I first heard Wake Up, Girls! characterized as "failure moé," but the term has stuck with me as a fairly apt way of describing the franchise, notably for its upward swings from being the underdog as the only idol show without a Sunrise affiliation, to achieving solid triumphant moments, including what was reportedly a stunning performance at Anime Expo 2017 in Los Angeles (which I missed). Unfortunately, the current season of the anime, Wake Up, Girls! New Chapter, has fared woefully from an animation standpoint, giving the impression that the WUGs have taken a couple steps backwards. The Yamakan-helmed first season had its own problems at times, but nothing anywhere near this dire. Through seven episodes, extensive use of stills and slow pans turn much of the show into a radio drama, and it's obvious quite a bit of daylight separates reality and desire when it comes to production efforts. Problems plague even the official subtitles, which continue to display an incorrect name for one of the main characters in the opening credits even now.

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Dated 14 August 2017: I'd be more inclined to watch Fate/Apocrypha if it weren't so much work

Mordred
You can't tell from a still, but Mordred has, like, mecha armor.

Experts predict that at the current rate of growth, all anime will be Fate/stay night by 2062. There is, shall we say, at lot of Fate anime. Besides the first television series in 2006, there is the Unlimited Blade Works movie from 2010, the Fate/Zero anime from 2011-12, the Unlimited Blade Works series from 2014-15, the Fate/Grand Order: First Order movie from 2016, and Fate/Extra coming in 2018. This doesn't even count Carnival Phantasm or anything else I might have overlooked. One does not explicitly need to watch all the other Fate/stay night properties in order to watch Fate/Apocrypha, but I think it's sort of expected a fan will make at least a token effort before attempting a 25-episode Netflix binge once it becomes available.

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Dated 22 May 2017: Only one character remains on the Saekano balance beam

Megumi
The face of a Best Girl trapped in a harem comedy with a loathsome protagonist.

Despite some very questionable components, I liked the first season of Saekano a decent amount. Unfortunately, its Saenai Heroine no Sodate-kata♭ sequel (How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend Flat) isn't working for me. All of the problems I have with the show were present during the first season, but either the execution was better or I was simply more willing to accept its shortcomings, something I acknowledged when I blogged about it. Ultimately, it's Potato-kun being a shitbag and the show's proselytization of the Otaku Virtues that kill my enthusiasm for Saekano Flat. These are the sort of bits that can sort of work from a meta perspective when lightly used, but the heavier a show relies on these tropes, the less meta it feels and the more bona fide it becomes. And then you just end up with regular ol' tsundere bullshit and a harem comedy gravity well which pulls inversely proportional to its hold on reality.

Utaha
I bet those boxes are empty.

What I'm left with is loathing for Potato-kun and open disdain for every other character on the show with the sole exception of Megumi, who has rocketed so far ahead in the show's Best Girl standings that she can almost assuredly boat race the rest of the competition from here on out. And this is nearly entirely a consequence of her (thus far, through six episodes and one pool-romp prologue) refusal to go along with Tomoya's high-intensity idiocy. That said, I'm still not quite as hostile to the show as these couple of paragraphs might suggest, so it's not as if I intend to drop it. I'm just disappointed Saekano Flat keeps tumbling into avoidable pitfalls. The show is unworthy of its animation and its Misaki Kurehito superlovely character designs. I guess it does deserve the glare of displeased long-hair Megumi, though.

Dated 29 September 2015: Chaos Dragon would have been better as a documentary

Ulrica and Meryl
I don't know why Ulrica has wings on her boobs,
but they're probably for generating downforce.

I'm tempted to describe Chaos Dragon as the broth of too many cooks, but I'm not quite optimistic enough to believe that. More likely it's just your regular ol' half-assed train wreck. As I understand it (and certainly do not rely on my impressions as the truth, garnered as they were from the rumor and conjecture of various secondary sources), Chaos Dragon is an anime adaptation of a real-world Red Dragon role-playing game campaigned by esteemed writers and directors including Nasu Kinoko (Fate/stay night), Narita Ryohgo (Durarara!!!), and Urobuchi Gen (Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magika). The actual anime itself is incoherent and frankly terrible in wholly unremarkable ways. I have no interest in the lead character, Ibuki, and never agreed there was a good reason to make this kid king. I also didn't care about that nonsense about the Red Dragon's powers, or killing suicidal friends, and definitely not the bewildering responses to news about his sister.

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Dated 7 January 2014: 2013 Girl of the Year

Hajime
As always, no wagering.

I started these Girl of the Year awards in 2009 mostly as a goof. Then I kept doing doing it every year and now I can't stop. Can I still pass judgment in a fair and balanced manner even though I watched relatively few shows in 2013? What if I refuse to accept nominations for girls from shows I haven't seen? Not to worry. This contest has always been rigged. Actually, it's not so much a competition as it is an exhibition.

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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 23 September 2012: Sailor Moon R is kinda terrible

Usagi
Even Usagi needs to get loaded just to make it through an episode.

In anticipation of the new Sailor Moon series slated for 2013, I've been grinding through my backlog of unwatched episodes. That is, every single episode following the first season's 46-episode run. I was warned about the early episodes of Sailor Moon R, but the rest don't seem very good either. Perhaps I don't have the right mindset, but the relentless shrieking and wailing aren't especially endearing. And then they introduced Chibi-Usa. Sigh.

Ami, Minako, and Rei
The Sailor Senshi find themselves in another fine mess.

I'd be more willing to put up with this if the fights were better, but every battle seems to include the exact same canned attacks and the same last minute rescue by an oddly familiar mysterious masked man. I still have well over a hundred episodes to go, but I'd be more enthusiastic about them if I knew they would be more like the Codename: Sailor V manga which is basically about a vigilante working above the law to kick deadbeats in the neck. It's okay; they have it coming. Man, I need to re-watch First Precure again. Cure Ikaruga don't play.

Dated 29 June 2012: The End of Tasogare Otome x Amnesia ~Air/My Purest Love for Hime Cuts~

Yuuko
An unoccupied classroom, eh?

I can't think of a way to address the end of Tasogare Otome x Amnesia without revealing fairly important spoilers, but I'll try to minimize the damage. Anyone paying attention likely already knows the ending suffers from a serious flaw, though.

Light Yuuko, Yuuko, and Dark Yuuko
I sure hope you figured this part out by yourself.

As you might expect, the anime's ending stumbled because the original manga is still ongoing. This gave the Tasogare Otome x Amnesia anime basically three choices: (1) A non-ending ending, which seems to be the most common cop-out, (2) an original ending after diverging from the manga (Full Moon wo Sagashite did this with amazing success), or (3) a real ending that the original (but still ongoing) manga later attempts to follow or improve upon, as in the case of the Neon Genesis Evangelion manga.

Yuuko and Teiichi
Yuuko is not subtle.

Well, the Tasogare Otome x Amnesia anime took the first choice...sort of, but did it in a way that is both better and worse than the typical non-ending ending: It has an original, option-two-type ending which is actually pretty good, but then at the last minute it turns into a non-ending ending, betraying any emotional investment or payoff it might have achieved had it just wrapped things up there. I'm not sure if Silver Link simply chickened out, or if they have hopes for a second season.

Yuuko
Yuuko is not subtle.

I just said the almost ending is "actually pretty good," but it has a few problems too. Yuuko and Teiichi obviously won't get a happy ending together; Yuuko is dead, after all. But no matter how successful Tasogare Otome x Amnesia may have portrayed the romance, it's still difficult to forget that Teiichi is only a first-year middle school kid. He's just not old enough to be making such bold pronouncements about love and still be taken seriously. This is one place where a timeskip would have been appropriate before the bittersweet ending it tried to achieve. Either way, the anime should have left it alone instead of forcing an opening for a possible sequel. It's a stunning lack of commitment to a conclusion that invoked commitment as a major theme.