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Dated 11 October 2022: Akulas is not Bakarina

Aileen
If you were really pulling on her arms, those gloves would slip off and she would escape.

First of all, I don't even know if anyone is actually referring to Akuyaku Reijou nano de Last Boss wo Kattemimashita (I'm the Villainess so I'm Taming the Final Boss) as Akulas. Hell, probably as many viewers thought of Otome Game no Hametsu Flag Shika Nai Akuyaku Reijō ni Tensei Shiteshimatta... (My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!) as either Hamehura or Hamefura as they did Bakarina. These light novel titles are an absolute nightmare.

Lilia
Lilia seems really boring and irrelevant, so I'm expecting some huge twist later.

ANYWAY, Akulas, like Bakarina, is an isekai about a girl who reincarnates as a villainess character from a video game that she's been playing. The series is about her efforts to avoid the unfortunate fate that she remembers her character ultimately suffering in the game. Then something-something "the friends we made along the way."

Claude
You can tell he's supposed to be the evil one because of the way he's dressed.

Consequently, comparisons between Akulas and Bakarina are natural, although the two series don't appear to have much else in common, at least not through the first three episodes of Akuyaku Reijou nano de Last Boss wo Kattemimashita. As far as differences go, the Akulas lead is trying to team up with the game world's end boss (who inadvertently kills her character in the game), whereas Bakarina herself concentrates primarily on reversing her inherited character's reputation for being a cunt.

Cedric
Way to fuck it up, you stupid asshole. Now you're left with nothing. Nothing!
Nothing except for your wealth, power, and the girl who you wanted to marry.

Notably, Aileen from I'm the Villainess so I'm Taming the Final Boss seems much more intelligent than Catarina from My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! who—bless her heart—is dumb as all Hell. As far as the shows themselves go, I watched two seasons of Bakarina, and still like it enough that I guess I would still watch more. Thanks to its early start, I'm already a quarter of the way through Akulas. It seems all right, but I'm not especially interested in it. I don't really have any complaints about the series; it's just not my thing. But maybe Lilia will stab someone in the neck later.

Dated 27 September 2022: Summertime Render turned out to be pretty good

Hizuru and Shinpei
He'll be fine.

I haven't seen much discussion of Summertime Render during its two-cours run. This is understandable due to, ah, let's just say, "a variety of reasons," but it is sort of a shame because it's one of the better anime I've watched during 2022 so far. It's not the best one, but it's at least in good company, even if I can't quite figure out whether it's supposed to be Summertime Render, Summer Time Render, Summertime Rendering, or Summer Time Rendering. What a mess.

Shinpei, Ushio, and Mio
Ushio spends much of the show only wearing a swimsuit, but she gets by.

I started watching it because I figured it was going to be an anime about a ghost girlfriend haunting Potato-kun. It turns out it's more about time loops and the challenges faced when confronted by an adversary who is also able to exploit time loops. The events and where they fit in the timeline start to get somewhat complex, and does require a fair amount of attention if the viewer hopes to keep track of who knows what at each particular point in time. Fortunately, the characters have ways of copying and transfering memories quickly, so the show doesn't get bogged down with constant exposition to bewildered accomplices.

Mio
I like Mio's SAKANA shirt.

There is still one episode left in the Summertime Render anime, and I have no idea whether this will be mostly an epilogue, or whether it's going to be a high-intensity scramble to wring out the best-possible outcome from one last opportunity. Hell, I haven't even ruled out the chance that it's going to conclude the series on a cliffhanger. This is a cliffhanger-heavy show in general, so it would be in keeping with the tone of many of the previous episodes. Expect some griping on my part if that happens, though. Still, the source manga has concluded, so things will probably be fine for the final episode. Probably. Maybe.

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 13 September 2022: I guess that's why Yofukashi no Uta is a noitaminA show

Nazuna
Not sure if gap moé.

I generally expect more from anime airing in the noitaminA block. It's not always a clear indicator of quality, as there have been a fair number of noitaminA shows that seemed "undeserving" of the designation, but they do seem to be better more often than not. In the case of Yofukashi no Uta (Call of the Night), I have read some of the manga because I enjoyed the author's previous work, Dagashi Kashi, but I can't claim to have been a huge fan.

Seri
What's a nice girl like you doing in an alley at night?

The Yofukashi no Uta anime adaptation, though, is really well done. The visuals, the music, and Tenchan's characterization of Nazuna are all top-notch. (Haruka DeTomaso Pantera also appears in the anime, and Sawashiro Miyuki is reportedly joining the cast as well.) There's honestly not much about the show's ostensible plot that I especially care about, but each episode continues to impress me with the execution. It's possible I merely failed to fully appreciate the manga, but Call of the Night might also deserve to be one of those examples where an anime adaptation improves upon its source material.

Dated 6 September 2022: Love Live! Superstar!! is still Kanon's show

Kanon
Come with me if you want to love live.

I had a lot of reservations when I learned Love Live! Superstar!! was adding new characters for its second season. Superstar!! was the only Love Live! iteration I regarded as actually being a good anime. Its much smaller cast was a big part of that. Through seven episodes so far, the second season has at least not ruined the good thing it had going, and remains pretty all right in and of itself. Kanon is still the character I like the most, though, and by a significant margin.

Keke
At least I like Cuckoo a lot more now than I did originally.

Fortunately, the second season continues to present Kanon as the Love Live! Superstar!! center point rather than taking a more chaotic or uncommitted ensemble-cast approach. For example, it sensibly found an excuse for Kanon to exhibit her preternatural ability to basically "fast travel" once again in order to personally set one of the newbies straight. It resulted in a scene that advanced both characters.

Shiki
She's weird.

Don't get me wrong. The rest of the cast is pretty good, too, and none of them actually suck. The supporting cast does suffer a bit from being relegated to various gimmicks at times, but they are being fleshed out more and more over time. It's not at all like, for example, Cure Honey from HappinessCharge Precure!, about whom I could tell you absolutely nothing that doesn't involve rice. Even Natsumi—the unpopular would-be video streamer who is obsessed with money—has more going on already than I initially feared.

Margarethe
I believe this is what the kids used to call being "extra."

This is not to say it's all been a huge success, though. MARGARETHE WIEN, or whatever her name actually is, disappeared basically immediately and looks to be another Lanzhu (from Love Live! Nijigasaki). I.e., someone contending for rival status who ultimately turns out to be mostly irrelevant. I'm also not particularly impressed with the character development for Shiki thus far, but I guess there is still nearly half a cours remaining. Maybe there will be something surprising to learn about her. Personally, I'm hoping she's secretly an android sent back in time from the future by Honoka to keep the idol wars from destroying humanity. It could happen.

Dated 5 July 2022: Delicious Party♡Precure is only okay

Kokone, Yui, and Ran
Eat more carbs.

Through 17 episodes, Delicious Party♡Precure is fine, thanks to a well-understood formula that such a long-running franchise can reliable draw upon, but there's not much else going for it. It's starting to look like Delicious Party is going to end up closer to the HappinessCharge side of the scale than its predecessor, Tropical-Rouge! Precure, for example.

Amane and Rosemary
Take this job and shove it.

Still, 17 episodes isn't particularly far for a weekly series that runs all year, so perhaps the show will turn things around. There are a few aspects that reduce my optimism in this regard, though. Significantly, it turns out the adversary who eventually switches sides to become a Cure herself has been under some sort of mind control the whole time, so she never really did anything wrong. How they fucked this up, I have no idea.

Gentle
Gentle's outfit is so good.

Enemies becoming friends has been a Pretty Cure staple from the beginning. But the cliché continues to work because viewers still care about character growth and redemption arcs. Taking this agency out of Amane's actions reduces her motivation for joining the Cures to one mostly predicated on undeserved guilt. It's not her fault she was stealing recipes. She wasn't even any good at it!

Black Pepper and Cure Precious
I don't know if it's better or worse that Black Pepper's battle costume looks silly.

I'm also not a huge fan of the male characters in Delicious Party♡Precure. This is an area where the franchise has not excelled. I'm sure there are viewers who enjoy Rosemary and Takumi and find their contributions to be important and satisfying, but I sure don't. It's not uncommon for Pretty Cure to include prominent male protagonists in various guises, but nothing about these two make me think they are necessary or valuable so far.

Dated 24 May 2022: Summertime Render got more interesting when its POV character changed

Hizuru
Hizuru just does this sometimes.

Summertime Render (alternatively, Summer Time Rendering or other variations) is a two-cours adaptation of a 13-volume manga. Really, I only started watching it as an excuse to expand my collection of posts containing the Ghost Girlfriends tag, even though the ghost girlfriend in question seems to be stuck wearing a swimsuit forever in the afterlife.

Shinpei and Mio
I originally thought Mio was a lot younger.

I'm not a huge fan of Potato-kun, but he's at least not ruining the show for me. Nevertheless, I did get a lot more interested in the series once the point of view in the latest episode shifted to the mysterious lady who was initially notable mostly for her prominent breasts. I'm going to claim it's because her perspective provided clarity and focus to some of the mysteries presented during the previous five episodes, but I can't rule out the possibility it's actually because I like her birth control glasses and Hikasa Youko coolness.

Hizuru
"My glasses are up here."

So is Summertime Render actually a good anime? Sort of? Maybe for sufficiently flexible definitions of good? Reactions to the series seem somewhat divided, and I've seen some unfavorable comparisons to Higurashi (which itself is a mixed bag as far as I'm concerned), but the underlying secrets are somewhat interesting and I've been enjoying the series so far.

Ushio
I find it odd Ushio's funeral was so soon after her death.

The increased importance of Hizuru within the story should offer better insights as the characters navigate the island's mysteries. Ideally, the series will also henceforth minimize the frequency of animeisms that it has occasionally been indulging in to its detriment. (Translation: It would be better if there were fewer scenes of Potato-kun faceplanting into Hizuru's cleavage or grilling Mio about her panties.)

Dated 22 March 2022: Waiting on Delicious Party♡Precure

Cure Precious
I feel like the mascot should at least have a helmet.

There have been five episodes of Delicious Party♡Precure so far, but it's been two weeks since the last episode, and current projections estimate it will be at least another two more before episode six airs. (Toei is reportedly delaying the broadcast as it assesses the extent of a cybersecurity breach.) As a result, the third Cure of the initial trio has been left waiting in the wings. Her character hasn't even really been properly introduced yet. She's only appeared in minor scenes, typically involving her meals being ruined.

Ran
Miss Not Appearing In This Show.

Although there is no rigid formula, Pretty Cure has commonly introduced its main cast fairly quickly. The lead Cure will get her powers in the first episode, another girl will become a Pretty Cure in the second episode, and so forth. In the case of Delicious Party♡Precure (based on the titles of the upcoming episodes), it doesn't appear the third girl (Ran) will get her powers until episode seven, maybe in the middle of April if all goes well. It's not a huge delay for a series that runs for a full year, but it's still nearly two months later than the norm.

Gentle
Nice hat.

On the plus side, the character design for Pretty Cure's first-round adversary this season (voiced by Kayano Ai), is a GAME-BREAKING HOME RUN. Just look at that outfit! So good. I do think that her name, Gentle (ジュントルー), is sort of silly, even though I was totally okay with past names such as Bunbee, for example. I keep hearing that Gentle is supposed to be somewhat of a pacifist (and she did make a statement sort of against violence in an early episode), but I'm not seeing this reflected in the battles from the first five episodes. Maybe what she really means is she won't straight-up punch Cure Yum-Yum in the mouth, assuming Cure Yum-Yum ever joins this show.