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Dated 3 January 2023: In praise of Kita Kita

Ikyuo and Hitori
Not yet, Kita Kita!

Bocchi the Rock! is great. It's way better than I was expecting. A huge part of this comes down to execution, though. This is not a slight against its source material (which I haven't read), but rather a reflection of how much I enjoyed the creative choices the anime used to communicate Hitori's discomfort and personal struggles. I also liked seeing "Bocchi" advance as a character, although a significant part of this progress was thanks to new friends dragging her forward. This does mean high school Hitori probably would have stayed in the same place as middle school Hitori were it not for some fortuitous encounters creating these opportunities for her, though.

Ikyuo, Nijika, Ryou, and Hitori
She's doing it again.

This brings me to the subject central to the title of this post. (Alternate title: "The End of Bocchi the Rock! ~Air/My Purest Love for Kita Kita~." Do people even still get that reference?) For a while after her introduction, I was afraid Kita Ikuyo Kita Kita would be one-note character whose scenes mostly involved gags about adoring Ryou. Thankfully, it turned out she had a much more important role to play, even if her "Kit-Aura" may be a little too fearsome. Ikuyo is a good foil for Hitori, and I enjoy the contrasts provided by their characters. There's no shortage of amazing Bocchi scenes where her anxiety warps time and space or glitches reality, but I also like the gags involving Kita Kita's mabushii being sort of excessive.

Hitori and Ikyuo
This is not Mental Out. At least I don't think it is.

Possibly I just enjoy characters with high genki levels in general. In any case, I don't have a lot of complex reasons for explaining why Ikuyo is great. I guess I will add that—depending on how you feel about Kessoku Band's music—her position as its only vocalist also seems like the sort of thing that deserves more attention. As an aside, even though I said, "only vocalist," I do harbor suspicions Bocchi will be unexpectedly pressed into service to take Kita Kita's place during an unplanned contingency in some theoretical future installment. Maybe Hitori wouldn't feel up to it yet, but I'm confident her seiyuu could tackle this all day, any day. Aoyama Yoshino was a WUG!

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 29 November 2022: I look forward to Bocchi the Rock! and Kidou Senshi Gundam: Suisei no Majo the most each week

Ikuyo and Hitori
I wonder if she has her eyes open.

I look forward to Bocchi the Rock! each week because it's excellent, not because I'm anticipating big surprises or anxiously awaiting the resolution of cliffhangers. If I thought about it some more, I could probably reasonably chart out how the rest of the season is going to go, but it doesn't matter. The key to Bocchi's tremendous appeal is its impeccable execution. This is a great show, top to bottom, back to front.

Suletta and Miorine
Despite what you might think, this gesture is definitely threatening.

I'm not quite prepared to call Kidou Senshi Gundam: Suisei no Majo (Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury) a great show even though it's also doing everything well so far. Nevertheless, I do look forward to each episode even more than I look forward to Bocchi the Rock! each week. I think the biggest contributing factor is that Witch Gundam has greater potential for unpredictable (and unsettling) developments. Even though it's been good so far, basically anything can happen because it's Gundam and because there aren't really any constraints on the possible directions the story may take.

Chuatury
Chu-squared is one of the good people, okay.

In light of this distinction, is it worth pointing out Bocchi the Rock! is about a character with anxiety, whereas Witch Gundam is about generating anxiety in the viewer? I suppose it's not really about generating anxiety, but I don't think I'm alone in experiencing some apprehension as to how the series will play out. I do mean this in a good way, though. Consequently, on some level, this means I look forward to Bocchi the Rock! each week because I'm eager to see good things to happen to good people, while I look forward to Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury because I'm concerned bad things might happen to good people.

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 1 November 2022: Bocchi the Rock! is excellent even though there's basically no ROCK yet

Ikuyo and Hitori
Not just "no," but "Hell no."

As it turns out, Bocchi the Rock! doesn't have anything to do with either SHOW BY ROCK!! or Hitoribocchi no Marumaru Seikatsu. Maybe it was obvious to everyone else, but I don't actually know anything about SHOW BY ROCK!! or Hitoribocchi. Anyway, Bocchi the Rock! does star a girl named Hitori, but the Bocchi nickname is something she picks up later after joining a band, which is no mean feat for someone with crippling social anxiety.

Hitori
You might think she's just wasted one, but there are ways to reuse these.

Notably, that crippling social anxiety is the reason why "Bocchi" joined a band to begin with. You see, she's unsatisfied with her isolation and regards this move as way to change her lot. She is behind schedule, but at least this has provided her with additional time to improve her guitar skills. Through four episodes, it's apparent she's really good, even though her band mates haven't quite noticed yet.

Ryou and Hitori
Wait, are you drinking coffee and ice water at the same time?

At some point, her secret identity as a reasonably popular guitar-playing YouTuber is going to pay off, presumably as she overcomes the challenge of playing as a band in sync with the other members (as opposed to entirely alone, the only way she has ever played guitar thus far). She also seems fairly adept at coming up with new songs on the spot as long as she's not thinking about it.

Hitori
I should have embedded a video clip of this, because a screenshot doesn't do the sequence justice.

I'm probably portraying Bocchi the Rock! as if it's a serious show, but it is actually a comedy. (It's based on a 4-koma.) More importantly, it is also genuinely funny. Moreover, the production values as a whole are excellent and really go a long way towards selling various gags. I suspect, without them, bits related to Hitori's intense insecurity would come across as sad or uncomfortable instead of endearing.

Dated 25 October 2022: Akiba Maid War was maid for me

Nagomi and Ranko
Nagomi is the main character, right?

Akiba Maid Sensou (Akiba Maid War) is fantastic. I initially had some reservations, but I gave it a try because it's an original anime and because I like the character designer. Maybe I didn't investigate the available information closely enough, or maybe the series was somewhat secretive about its content. Either way, I was mostly unprepared for what the show was actually going to be like.

Maids
I thought the show would be more like this most of the time.

As it turns out, Akiba Maid War is wild. Familiarity with the various stereotypes being smashed together probably would help to some degree, but it's likely not strictly necessary for one's enjoyment. It does seem this type of show is not for everyone, though, but at least curious viewers will probably be reasonably certain fairly quickly whether or not they are one of these people. At a minimum, any doubt will disappear by the end of the first episode.

Ranko
This is a spoiler, but it's probably only a spoiler if I tell you it's a spoiler.
P.S. Spoilers.

Through three episodes, Akiba Maid Sensou has easily exceeded any expectations I may have had for it. It will be absolutely incredible if the series can continue doing all the things it has been doing right so far. This is turning out to be an excellent anime season with a lot of good shows. Amazingly, they are also all entertaining for unrelated reasons.

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 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.