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Dated 18 June 2018: Previewing new shows for Summer 2018

Yuki
Maybe she has PE first period?

After two strong anime seasons, I'm mostly ambivalent about the upcoming Summer 2018 season. The shows I'm most interested in (Overlord III, Major 2nd, and Hugtto! Precure) are all either sequels or continuations of existing shows. Thanks to the sheer volume of anime that comes out each season now, I'm sure I'll find plenty of acceptably amusing titles to watch, but I'm otherwise merely mildly optimistic about the synopses I've read and the PVs I've watched.

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Dated 30 April 2018: Hinamatsuri is the best Spring 2018 show so far

Utako
I suppose Utako isn't a bad person all the time.

The best show of the Spring 2018 anime season so far is Hinamatsuri. It is genuinely funny and its characters are endearing, even when they're not being bad people. When I say "they," I mostly mean the two leads, Hina herself and her reluctant guardian, the up-and-coming yakuza member Nitta. I suppose Utako the bartender is also a bad person, insomuch as extortion and contravening labor laws are generally regarded as not things good people do. Hina and Nitta are entertaining, although I'm not sure why Nitta doesn't take advantage of Hina's powers even more often than he does for his yakuza-type business. I guess he'd rather fixate on the frequent destruction of his beloved vases. Those vases were all purchased with dirty yakuza money, incidentally, so I don't feel too sorry for him.

Anzu
Go on, Anzu. Curse the bitch out.

Besides, the real stars of Hinamatsuri are Hitomi and Anzu, who are absolutely stealing the show through the first four episodes. Hitomi, by virtue of her uncanny ability to be better than everyone else as well as being a generally good person. Anzu is initially one of the Bad People, but transforms into a good person thanks to the poverty moé thrust upon her. The OP reveals that Anzu lands on her feet, so I can't feel too bad for her, but I do commiserate more with her losses than I do for Nitta and his doomed vases. I've only read the first few chapters of the manga, so I have no idea where the show is going to go. It does appear there will be a timeskip at some point, based on the sequence that started the first episode. I sort of worry Hitomi might be a little too powerful in three years, though, the way things are going.

Dated 9 April 2018: I'm looking forward to Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory

Tessa and Leonard
I guess you need to watch The Second Raid
to know who the person on the right is.

There has been a running gag for years about Full Metal Panic! fans in anguish about Kyoto Animation working on other projects instead of animating another sequel to follow Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid. To some extent, I fit that category of disgruntled fans in the sense that I did want another FMP season, although it's not accurate to claim I harbored Kyoani any ill will, if only because I had long ago concluded no such sequel would ever be forthcoming. Surprisingly, there is going to be a fourth season after all: Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory. (Get it? Full Metal Panic! IV. Anyway....) Xebec is making this one, and it starts on 13 April. Do you need to watch the first three seasons before watching FMP IV? I dunno. Probably?

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Dated 26 March 2018: Sora yori mo Tooi Basho and Yuru Camp△ are the best shows of Winter 2018

Rin
There's also the matter of Rin's excellent hair.

Yuru Camp△ finished its 12-episode run last week with an open-ended conclusion to its deeply satisfying season. As far the actual narrative goes, I can't exactly claim Laid-Back Camp was particularly eventful, but the show's real strengths came from its pleasantly relaxed mood and its freakishly endearing lead character, Rin, anyway. I do like the other characters as well, though, and I'm particularly relieved Nadeshiko turned out to be a lot better than I initially feared, but Rin basically carried Yuru Camp△ for me. She did, after all, clinch the Girl of the Quarter crown in week 10 by racking up most of my Girl of the Week awards. If you place any stock in B.S. numerical ratings, I did score Yuru Camp△ in first place for most of the season before Sora yori mo Tooi Basho passed it.

Hinata
"When angry count four; when very angry, swear."

There's actually one episode of Sora yori mo Tooi Basho left, but I'm all but certain to subjectively regard it as this season's best show regardless of how it actually plays out. Sora yori mo Tooi Basho (see this post for more about the show's name) is exceptionally well done. I'm particularly impressed with how it pays off the numerous little heartfelt investments it made during the course of the series. Also of note is the astute directing which has juggled comedy, drama, and even a little horror with skillful touches of emotional resonance in the right amounts and at the right times.

Violet
Mission top secret, destination unknown.

Speaking of emotional resonance, compare Sora yori mo Tooi Basho with the much hyped Violet Evergarden for example, which turned out to be a hot mess of wildly disparate levels of quality depending on the episode. I felt nearly all of them were clumsy and overwrought, with the exception of two episodes (both of which credit Sawa Shinpei as the episode director, incidentally). In particular, Sora yori mo Tooi Basho has made much better use of its music than Violet Evergarden has, as I've mentioned before. All in all, I'm very impressed with Sora yori mo Tooi Basho, and I'm looking forward to its creative team's future projects.

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 30 June 2016: The End of Kuma Miko ~Air/My Purest Paralyzing Social Anxiety for Thee~

Natsu and Machi
Machi trying to prepare rice the newfangled way.

Many voices cried out against the anime-original ending to Kuma Miko: Girl Meets Bear, but Swabulous Max's response most closely reflects my own views on the subject. There are just a couple of additional points to underscore my opinions on the matter and to highlight where we differ.

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Dated 16 October 2012: Summer 2012 season summary

Asuna triple-monitor desktop
This was a proof of concept that I will never use
again (because I bought a fourth monitor).

I get the sense I wasn't exposed to a large portion of the shows that aired this season—an obvious consequence of not watching all that much compared to past seasons. Nevertheless, I'm not convinced I actually missed anything, although I do admit a curious fascination with Sword Art Online (despite the profoundly negative reactions to its cour-ending climax). I haven't yet watched a single minute of it, but I have read the first four volumes of the light novels (which I'm expecting the first two cours to cover). Learning that Kajiura Yuki is providing the music has put the show over the top, and I'll probably marathon the summer 2012 segment to catch up with the autumn 2012 episodes. Naturally, this will change my summer 2012 anime summary rankings, but it is late enough already and I can always reflect the addition with an update, so here goes:

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Dated 18 March 2012: It turns out Daily Lives of High School Boys isn't yaoi

Bungaku Shoujo
Whatever you do, don't say, "It could be worse."

I think I confused Daily Lives of High School Boys (Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou) with Kimi to Boku. I've since been told Kimi to Boku. isn't yaoi either, but my point is I wasn't watching Daily Lives of High School Boys because I thought it was boys love instead of wacky-antics comedy. As it turns out, Daily Lives of High School Boys is pretty funny, and medium wacky.

Hidenori and Bungaku Shoujo
Hidenori is a slow runner.

My favorite characters are the literature girl and Hidenori, but only when they're together. Speaking of which, Sugita Tomokazu doesn't bother acting at all when he voices Hidenori; he just goes into funny-voice mode.