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Dated 14 January 2020: 22/7, In/Spectre, and Fate/Baby are my top three shows of the Winter 2020 anime season

Ishtar
Ishtar is a game-breaking home run.

If you believe in my B.S. episode ratings, Fate/Grand Order: Zettai Majuu Sensen Babylonia (Fate/Grand Order: Absolute Demonic Front Babylonia) is my highest-ranked show so far this season. Fate/Baby sure sounds great and looks fuckin' fantastic, but I can't exactly call it a good show. It's one of those anime where I can't quite care about what happens, and it probably only genuinely makes sense to people who are enthusiastic about the Fate/Grand Order game. But none of that presents much of an obstacle to my ability to enjoy the series. I mentioned that it sounds great, and that's not just because it features Ueda Kana yammering back and forth on a regular basis. The audio mix for the sound effects during the frequent battles makes for an entertaining experience if you've bothered with an audio setup that can take advantage of it. Visually, the animation also remains impeccable.

Sakura, Miu, and Reika
Welcome to to idol mines, suckers.

Thankfully, 22/7 (Nanabun no Nijyuuni) also looks good. I'm expecting some janky 3DCG bits once we get to the all-singing, all-dancing portions of this idol show, but the anime looks pretty good so far, at least. I've been medium-hyped for 22/7 for some time now, thanks to Sally Amaki being a bilingual goofball on the Twitter. I'm hoping her character gets some English lines that aren't complete non sequiturs, though. Each of the idols had a different character designer, but the styles got evened out so they look more uniform when they're together. (Like in the Pretty Cure team-up movies.) This is the sensible thing to do, but I sort of wish they could have remained unique for reasons not at all explained in the show.

Kotoko
Nice hat.

I wasn't sure what to expect from In/Spectre (Kyokou Suiri), but I knew fans of the manga were looking forward to the anime adaptation, and the trailer looked okay. The first episode was good, and I like Kotoko so far, even though she doesn't have any depth perception. She also seems to move pretty well, despite her prosthetic leg. It sort of seems as if her cane is mostly for show. Frankly, it's a little early yet to judge In/Spectre (or 22/7, for that matter), but my top three anime of Winter 2020 at the moment all have / in their titles, and this was a serendipitous bloggering opportunity I didn't want to pass up. I'm sure y'all understand.

Dated 26 November 2019: There sure are a lot of anime-original episodes of Detective Conan these days

Conan
Well, this hasn't changed at all.

Surprising almost one one, I'm sure, there are not a lot of plot-specific episodes of Detective Conan. Rather, there are probably readers who may be legitimately surprised to hear that Detective Conan even has a plot. Even though most episodes of the show do not feature any continuity, the anime-original ones are notably inferior to the non-plot-specific episodes that at least still derive from the source manga. I can usually tell when an episode is an anime original, mostly because the mystery's contrivances will be stupid instead of merely silly, and oftentimes characters will do something perplexing simply because the action more easily advances the story from point A to point B. Basically, I'll be watching an episode, and something will happen to make me think it's an anime-original one, and when I check later it will turn out I was right. In fact, I'm not sure I've been wrong yet.

Ai
I'm pretty happy Hayashibara Megumi continues to have regular appearances, even if Ai seems sort of bored.

Having a greater ratio of anime-original episodes in Detective Conan now is perfectly understandable, seeing as how the anime has nearly exhausted the available cases from the source manga by this point. One of the secondary impacts, though, is that this means I can no longer reliably use Detective Conan as my control. For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, I started rating shows by episode as a goof years ago, but then the chart kept growing and now it's just one of those things I guess I'm going to continue doing indefinitely. But I also can't assume that my rating standards will remain consistent from season to season and year to year. Hence, I used Detective Conan as my control, theorizing that I could count on such a long-running show to remain pretty much as good as it ever was. Therefore, how much better or worse another show's rating is relative to the average Detective Conan score for the same time period would offer a reliable check on quality beyond the numerical scores themselves. This is probably no longer the case if there are more anime-original episodes of Detective Conan now, and assuming the anime-original episodes are not as good. I guess I'm going to need to come up with some other form of sham metric now. Alas.

Dated 6 August 2019: There's less impenetrable lore so far in Lord El-Melloi II Sei no Jikenbo {Rail Zeppelin} Grace note than I was expecting

Reines
Sure are a lot of TYPE-MOON characters with crazy eyes.

There's a non-zero chance I started watching Lord El-Melloi II Sei no Jikenbo {Rail Zeppelin} Grace note (The Case Files of Lord El-Melloi II) because I dropped Tsuujou Kougeki ga Zentai Kougeki de Ni-kai Kougeki no Okaasan wa Suki desu ka? (Do You Love Your Mom and Her Two-Hit Multi-Target Attacks?) and Uchi no Ko no Tame Naraba, Ore wa Moshikashitara Maou mo Taoseru Kamo Shirenai. (For My Daughter, I'd Even Defeat a Demon Lord), leaving my queue empty of shows with super-long titles (unless you count Symphogear). Besides, The Case Files of Lord El-Melloi II features Ueda Reina in the voice cast, production by TROYCA, and I'm basically too far down TYPE-MOON's Fate-franchise rabbit hole to not at least give new installments a chance. Speaking of which, I'm going to go ahead and say newcomers can forget about trying to get up to speed on all the Fate mumbo jumbo before watching this. Someone going in blind with no prior knowledge of the Fate universe can get by well enough. Although it would probably help to at least watch Fate/Zero, I don't think it's strictly necessary, based on how I'm faring despite having forgotten a lot about Fate/Zero by now. Frankly, there's just entirely too much Fate canon to explore, and it goes back so far that it's not really reasonable to expect new viewers to have seen all the previous installments before starting Rail Zeppelin.

Gray, Waver, and Kairi
Hey, it's that guy.

Thankfully, the first six episodes (this includes the episode 0 special prequel) of Lord El-Melloi II Sei no Jikenbo {Rail Zeppelin} Grace note have been fairly episodic, and free of the wall-to-wall nonsense that saturates all things Fate. (E.g., the series does explain eventually what the fuck a "Rail Zeppelin" is.) So far, The Case Files of Lord El-Melloi II has been about, well, the case files of Lord El-Melloi II. It's a detective show featuring mages set a little before the start of the Holy Grail War from the original Fate/stay night game and its direct anime adaptations. I get the feeling this isn't necessarily going to remain the case for much longer, because surely a show set in the Fate universe isn't going to go too long without piling on more convoluted, interconnected plot threads, right? Even Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya wasn't able to resist lore's allure. Frankly, I'd be content if Lord El-Melloi II Case Files: Rail Zeppelin Grace Note remained mostly an excuse for TYPE-MOON cameos, but I'm fine with it either way.

Dated 16 July 2019: I was guaranteed to watch Cop Craft as a matter of general principle

Kei, O'Neill, and Tilarna
This is some shakedown.

Seeing as how Cop Craft features a post-WUG Yoshioka Mayu and an Orikasa Fumiko + Nakahara Mai + Inoue Marina trifecta in its cast, I knew I was going to at least give the first episode a chance. The fact that its main character is an adult instead of yet another teenage boy? So much the better. You'll also find other notable talents in the show's credits, but I can't claim I would have personally regarded the inclusion of anyone else alone sufficiently persuasive. Fortunately, the first episode was legitimately interesting, which was somewhat of a relief.

Kei and Tilarna
Well, I guess someone is about to get fucked.

As either a police drama or a buddy comedy featuring two mismatched partners fighting crime, Cop Craft may tread a well-worn path, but this is a formula with a good chance for success. I suppose it's also technically yet another isekai, albeit it not one in the typical contemporary sense a la Tsuujou Kougeki ga Zentai Kougeki de Ni-kai Kougeki no Okaasan wa Suki desu ka? (that mom show). It's too early in the season yet to make any reliable projections, but I at least have solid hopes for Cop Craft among the shows I'm watching during Summer 2019.

Dated 10 September 2018: Reliability of Detective Conan as a control for anime statistics questioned

Conan and Genta
They might be making Genta bigger. That's him behind Conan.

If you're familiar with the spreadsheet I use to keep track of the anime I watch, you may have noticed that I have Detective Conan identified as the control for comparing the scores I assign to different series season by season. The idea being that a show like Detective Conan which has now run for more than 900 episodes apparently without any change in quality could be useful in qualifying the numerical 1-to-5 scoring system I use. (Think of it as 😠 ☹ 😐 🙂 😀 I guess.)

Kogoro and Ran
Ran and her alcoholic dad haven't changed much.

However, it seems the average quality of Detective Conan episodes has declined somewhat lately. The apparent change isn't dramatic, but it's enough to make me wonder what's going on. Based on information from the the Detective Conan wiki, I guess I'm blaming it on the block of anime-original episodes. These tend to be just a bit more contrived and unsatisfying instead of merely overly convoluted like normal episodes. Despite these concerns, I suppose I can still claim Detective Conan is as good as it's always been. Or at least it's probably still good enough to use as a basis for comparison against a bunch of other made-up numbers.

Dated 16 February 2016: I bet that truck in ERASED was going 88 kilometers per hour

Satoru
The only thing more dangerous than a Japanese truck would be two Japanese trucks.

Boku dake ga Inai Machi (literally The Town Where Only I Am Missing, but officially ERASED or commonly Bokumachi) is widely regarded as one of the best shows this season, just behind Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū. I rank ERASED quite a bit lower because of problems I had with the end of its first episode and because of issues I had with its fifth and sixth episodes. This blog entry includes some spoilers (nothing explicit), but my view through six episodes is that the ERASED viewing experience wouldn't necessarily be diminished by spoilers. I think a viewer can know in advance what happens (at least through six episodes) and still enjoy watching the show. This is partly because a number of twists are easily foreseeable for anyone who puts a little thought into the matter or pays attention to how many episodes remain in the series.

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Dated 23 November 2014: Anime triage

Conan and Sera
As if there is any chance in Hell of Sera turning out to be bad.

Because of "circumstances," I find myself dropping about half the shows I was following this season. Well, perhaps not so much dropping as putting on hiatus for the time being. Maybe I'll catch back up during a particularly lousy season that coincides with greater anime-watching opportunities. (Won't be next season, because next season looks pretty sweet.)

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Dated 12 November 2014: Magic Kaito 1412 and Detective Conan

Kaito
This heist might be a little too easy.

Because the manga dates back to 1987, Magic Kaito actually predates Detective Conan, although its kohei quickly overshadowed it. Kaito occasionally makes guest appearances on Detective Conan, and, in fact, got 12 excellent Magic Kaito specials of his own spread amongst the Detective Conan broadcasts between 2010 to 2012. These re-tell the origin of Kaito Kid and probably tested the waters for a standalone series. The new television series which began autumn 2014 retreads a lot of familiar ground, but includes a few cast and story changes (and different character designs compared to the Detective Conan appearances). It airs in the half-hour family slot immediately preceding the weekly broadcast of Detective Conan

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