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Dated 22 April 2019: There are at least two shows this season about not being able to study

Uruka
Lucky for Potato-kun, Uruka is tsundere, not yandere.

I guess I did know ahead of time that there were two shows with Benkyou ga Dekinai in the title, but managed to forget when the season started. In any event, I had decided to watch Boku-tachi wa Benkyou ga Dekinai (We Never Learn: BOKUBEN) and skip Midara na Ao-chan wa Benkyou ga Dekinai (Ao-chan Can't Study!) based on their descriptions, and because Bokuben at least had some people on the Twitter mildly looking forward to it. Well, I ended up watching the first episode of Ao-chan by accident (it aired first) and decided to stick with it.

Takumi and Ao
Dude is literally sniffing his hand after groping Ao's thighs.

After three episodes of each, I'm going to continue watching Midara na Ao-chan wa Benkyou ga Dekinai and I'm dropping Boku-tachi wa Benkyou ga Dekinai. I was concerned Ao-chan's little goblin father was going to ruin the show for me, particularly after his antics in the first episode, but I'm relieved to discover the show itself is pretty much a straightforward sex comedy about misunderstandings. One key that allows the show to work for me is that both Ao and her love interest are actually already into each other, and probably should be engaging in activities that might inadvertently help address Japan's declining birth rates, but they're both pretty dense. This is a small (but appreciated) departure from the usual formula where both parties are 100-percent pure. Ao-chan Can't Study! might end up being that way too, since—let's face it—anime is fucking chickenshit, but the show is okay for now. It also helps that the episodes are only half-length.

Nariyuki and Fumino
I guess now she can't get married.

Boku-tachi wa Benkyou ga Dekinai, on the other hand, drags. I get the feeling that I would probably be okay with some of its cliches in manga form, because a reader can just blow through at his own pace. But the anime spends entirely too much time on antics I've seen plenty of times before and don't feel compelled to revisit. Most of the show's fans seem to have been fans of the manga first, but I'm not sure how they regard the adaptation specifically. I, for one, could do with less Postmodern Tsundere bullshit. I'm actually even okay with all the characters. I guess even Potato-kun has his own positive qualities, but the show absolutely does not work for me. Frankly, I stopped caring whether these BOKUBEN bonklers manage to study or not. I can't guarantee I won't also tire of Midara na Ao-chan wa Benkyou ga Dekinai too, but for the time being I hope she goes all season not being able to study.

Dated 25 March 2019: Kouya no Kotobuki Hikoutai is good, but I wouldn't call it magnificent

Kylie
Go on, Kylie, curse the bitch out.

The air battles in Kouya no Kotobuki Hikoutai (The Magnificent KOTOBUKI) are consistently fantastic. Those alone managed to keep the show at the top of my Winter 2019 list all season long. However, I never got particularly invested in the story or the characters, perhaps with the exception of the flashback-heavy one with Kylie before she became a pilot. In contrast, Mizushima Tsutomu was much more successful with GIRLS und PANZER (admittedly a very tough act to follow), which has much more engaging characters complemented by the excellent tank battles.

Kylie
Somehow, Kylie wasn't a hellion as a kid.

With 11 episodes down and presumably only one to go, KOTOBUKI seems poised to hit its big finish. This would have greater significance if I cared more about the characters or the things they had at stake, but at least I'm confident the dogfights will be awesome. Incidentally, since my initial post included comparisons with Girly Air Force, I suppose I should note that my interest in Girly Air Force crashed and burned within four episodes. I don't think I've seen anyone else mention it on the Twitter in all that time either, so I guess it probably didn't have enough going for it even if Eagle was very American.

Dated 14 January 2019: There are two Girls with Planes shows in the Winter 2019 anime season

Gripen and Kei
No, this is not a Meet Cute.

Technically, I guess there's only one show about girls with planes: Kouya no Kotobuki Hikoutai (The Magnificent KOTOBUKI), since Girly Air Force seems to be about girls who are planes. Both shows have only one episode out so far, but Kouya no Kotobuki Hikoutai seems to be far and away the better show. For one thing, the planes in Girly Air Force are strictly 3DCG sentient artificial intelligence jobbies based on contemporary jet fighters. For other, Potato-kun is in Girly Air Force. He's not too bad, actually, but the cranky Chinese girl he's partnered with is going to get annoying if she doesn't get any actual character development. Probably the real weakness of the show will be the so-called "Xi" menace which is responsible for war in China and all the refugees from the mainland fleeing to Japan. Bogus opponents hurt Strike Witches and Sky Girls and will probably hurt Girly Air Force for all the same reasons.

Kirie
The googles do nothing.

Thankfully, enemy aircraft in Kouya no Kotobuki Hikoutai appear to have human pilots (although none were clearly shown in the first episode). At a minimum, they certainly have more personality than the Xi or the Neuroi or WORMs, even if it's only revealed in little displays such as the dipped wings at the conclusion of an air battle. Kotobuki also benefits from direction by Mizushima Tsutomu who looks ready to combine ideas from his work on GIRLS und PANZER and The Third Girls Aerial Squad of Shirobako fame. Curiously, the female characters are all 3DCG (but look good for basically the same reason 3DCG characters worked in Bubuki Buranki, as opposed to Ajin). I don't know how realistic the air battles are in Kotobuki, but they look and sound great, and the anime goes out of its way to show details of the controls. Overall, the dogfighting depicted with The Magnificient KOTOBUKI's propeller-driven planes is much more compelling than the super high-G BFM (read: bullshit fighter maneuvers) demonstrated by the AI jets of Girly Air Force.

Zero
He probably also has a video about the Hayabusa.

Incidentally, if you're interested in the practical elements of World War II fighter aircraft and the associated engineering aspects that influence performance and combat effectiveness, "Greg's Airplanes and Automobiles" on the YouTube is fascinating.

Dated 26 December 2016: Keijo!!!!!!!! is better than Shakunetsu no Takkyuu Musume

Nozomi
Walk it off.

Keijo!!!!!!!! is not just a better sports anime than Shakunetsu no Takkyu Musume (Scorching Ping Pong Girls), it's a better show overall. This is probably contrary to conventional expectations from prior to the start of the autumn 2016 season, but I think most viewers now accept that Keijo!!!!!!!! turned out to be much better than anyone reasonably hoped before the season began.

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Dated 8 October 2015: The low-hanging fruit of autumn 2015 anime blog posts

Julis
On the plus side, Kakuma Ai sounds pretty good as Julis-Alexia von Riessfelt.

Conveniently, there are two shows this season with similar premises and comparable first episodes. Both feature high school boys who meet half-naked tsundere pink-haired girls and duel them for unnecessary reasons putatively related to their magic school's magic business. The first of these, Gakusen Toshi Asterisk (The Asterisk War: The Academy City on the Water) aired first to, well, not acclaim, but at least without outrage. It looks suitably pretty with shiny cityscapes and bright colors sort of similar to the Toaru Majutsu no Index and Toaru Kagaku no Railgun bullshit academy cities. The second show, for reasons I'm too weary to pursue, has a number of different titles. It's sometimes known as Rakudai Kishi no Eiyuutan, Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry, Chivalry of a Failed Knight, or alternatively A Tale of Worst One. Yeah, I'm just gonna use Asterisk and Cavalry respectively.

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Dated 10 February 2015: A tail of two catgirls

Kanako
A catgirl doing cat things.

If you know anything about anime, then you're at least aware catgirls are a common fetish, and may even be familiar with the various controversies surrounding them. Are they furries? What if their paws and tails are real? Should they also have human ears in addition to their cat ears? This entry casually compares the catgirls in Isuca and The iDOLMASTER Cinderella Girls as an excuse to introduce these Winter 2015 shows and to revisit some of my grievances regarding catgirls.

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Dated 15 October 2014: Akatsuki no Yona and Nanatsu no Taizai are not the same show

Hak and Yona
It ain't easy being a princess these days.

I'm watching two shows this season with fairly similar basic plots. The teenage princesses in Akatsuki no Yona and Nanatsu no Taizai are both assembling teams of skillful warriors in order to defeat usurpers. That's about it with regard to their similarities, though. The remainder of this blog entry deals with themes and elements found in the source material for both anime. Although I'll avoid explicit spoilers, readers who wish to avoid learning anything in advance about either of these shows should probably just stop reading and watch both anime to develop their own comparisons. They've got princesses gettin' the band back together! Give 'em a shot!

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Dated 23 September 2014: This is a pretty good season for asexual male protagonists

Nozaki and Chiyo
Never gonna happen, Chiyo.

I watched two shows during summer 2014 that featured male leads who were committed to their work above all else (three, if you consider Inaho instead of Slaine the male lead of Aldnoah.Zero). Despite being the author of a romance manga, Chiyo's titular crush in Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun failed to see her as a potential love interest at all even after working in close proximity with her for months. Normally, this should probably be a pretty heavy blow to Chiyo's self-esteem, but basically all of Nozaki's interests are related to his manga itself, so I guess it's somewhat less insulting that even teenage hormones weren't enough to interest him in her.

Miwa, Tamako, and Seishuu
It's not a date.

As I mentioned earlier, Seishuu's case in Barakamon is a bit less straightforward because he essentially has no suitable potential love interests to pursue. Naru and Hana are seven, the nurse is married, and everyone else is old. Well, not everyone else. There's still Miwa and Tama, the middle school girls who hang around him every day. Both of them are appalled, by the way, that he appears not to have had any interests other than calligraphy even when he still lived in the big city. It's canon.