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Dated 2 November 2021: Maybe Saihate no Paladin is a better book than it is an anime

William and Mary
I would not have known she was a mummy if the series hadn't said so.

I wasn't planning on watching Saihate no Paladin (The Faraway Paladin) this season, but the first episode was better than I was expecting, and it turns out Hocchan is in this. When I say it was "better than I was expecting," I'm not suggesting it blew me away. Rather, I was just relieved it avoided most of the dumb isekai x JRPG nonsense I expected. Also, the storytelling was deliberate and did not rush through its setup, and I appreciated that.

William
There were no horny-baby jokes in this show.

That said, the pacing does seem sort of slow for an anime. Or, I guess I should clarify, it seems slow for a single-cours anime. I'm four episodes through its 12-episode run, and I have no idea what its plot or main story is going to be. This would be fine if subsequent seasons are planned, but it does seem as if a read-the-books non-ending ending is the most likely outcome. I have heard the books are good, so maybe that is the way to go. Then again, I've heard "the books are good" said about a whole lot of stuff which only turned out to be good for sufficiently broad definitions of good, so why should this be any different?

Mary, Blood, and Gus
An isekai protagonist and his three undead parents can be a family.

Well, the isekai aspect is relatively muted so far. Where it has appeared, it mostly relates to William's dissatisfaction with his old life and his commitment to becoming a better person now that he's been given a second chance. Notably, he seems committed to following the less traveled path of becoming a better person by, you know, being a better person instead of coasting down the "becoming a better person by exploiting a fortuitous cheat power and basking in the adoration of comely, nubile companions who are attached to him" sluice. So yeah, it's at least plausible the books are actually good.

Dated 26 October 2021: Komi Can’t Communicate is worth your time even if you have to watch it on the Netflix

Komi
This is the good stuff.

I was only mildly interested in watching the Komi-san wa, Komyushou desu. (Komi Can’t Communicate) anime because I lost interest in the manga fairly quickly. I mean, the basic premise is fine, and the characters are all right, but there wasn't enough going for it to help it compete against all the other titles I'm reading. Honestly, the best thing in its favor was Komi's bug-eyed nervous face when she's confronted with something emotionally challenging.

Komi
Komi's non-anxious form looks sort of weird, honestly.

Fortunately for the Komi-san anime, this visage is something the anime captured perfectly. The anime also devoted a surprising amount of attention to the shading and texture of Komi's stockinged legs, so maybe I shouldn't be surprised it got her comic form right. This brings me to my main reason for suggesting the Komi-san wa, Komyushou desu. anime is worth a shot: Its animation is unusually high-effort. The production values for this show went above and beyond what I would expect of a series that takes place largely at a school. There are visual flourishes everywhere. It's impressive without becoming distracting.

Komi and Tadano
Such is the power of ditching gym class.

With regard to the Netflix, the U.S. release is a few weeks behind the Japanese one. (And it's even a week-by-week release instead of a binge-friendly dump like most typical shows on the Netflix.) Consequently, you may have seen some criticism about the lack of translated on-screen text in the official release, especially compared against what you might expect from, say, a fansub. There is a lot of text that was not translated in the first episode of the official release, but that episode had A LOT of text in general.

Tadano
For real, that episode was wall-to-wall on-screen text.

But to be clear, we're not talking about an assault against typesetting in general (cf. the FUNimation's infamous three-line attacks), but rather the Netflix appears to have prioritized what on-screen text was critical to translate and what it could omit because it would either be apparent by context or be too difficult to read without pausing. In that sense, I'm okay with those decisions (at least for the first episode, anyway). Purists who want everything translated, even if it means pausing scenes at various points to read it all will be better off hunting for fansubs, but I don't think viewers who prefer to watch episodes all the way through without interruptions will find the specific omissions in the official release objectionable.

Dated 5 October 2021: 86 Eighty Six season 2 two looks promising

Lena
That's still in regs, right?

I'm going to go ahead and say that 86 Eighty Six manages to avoid being bad by being good. There is certainly a "people die when they are killed" logic to this statement, but I guess what I really mean is the series continues to overachieve in comparison with my expectations for it. Much of this is pessimism on my part, because I've heard from the beginning that the source material is good. However, those sorts of claims aren't very reassuring since "good" light novels typically seem to only be good for sufficiently generous definitions of good.

Ernst
Ain't you Shinichi's dad from Detective Conan?

Fortunately, the execution in the case of 86 Eighty Six actually is good. There's basically always something in every episode that's done well enough to be noteworthy, and the story is also sound. The various twists remain unexpected (but are also not total ass pulls) and do keep the series interesting even though much of it sounds pretty cheesy if you're just describing it to someone. Notably, I was already spoiled about a resolution to the previous season's ending because I saw the cover to one of the later light novels, but even knowing that did not ruin the effect provided by the 1st First episode of the 2nd Second cours. I'm looking 4 forward 2 to watching more.

Dated 13 October 2020: More Autumn 2020 first impressions

Nana and Nanao
The front of Nanao's uniform reminds me of a Heinz bottle.

Adding onto this post about shows airing during the Autumn 2020 cours, my early top show is Munou na Nana (Talentless Nana) which had a surprisingly solid first episode, albeit one that relied on breaking from expectations, so you're better off avoiding spoilers and watching the first episode blind. Unfortunately, it looks as if the source manga isn't rated highly, so potentially the story doesn't fare so well later on. More optimistically, perhaps the low scores are merely due to problems the anime adaptation can fix.

Syalis
The horror of an anime bed made of concrete.

I'm more pessimistic about Maou-jou de Oyasumi (Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle) which is one of those shows with a neat idea that runs the risk of wearing out its welcome if it turns out to only offer one basic joke that it repeats ad infinitum. I think the source manga remains well liked, so maybe I should have more faith it its potential for creativity.

Inuyasha and Kagome
I don't even know why Inuyasha himself is a dog except that it's in his name.

Despite being almost entirely ignorant about InuYasha, I'm reasonably sure its sequel (spinoff?) will probably be at least sort of good thanks to having a respectable pedigree. Kyoukai no Rinne is actually the only Takahashi Rumiko thing I've ever seen, but that was pretty good. Her other works are popular, and I remember people being nuts for InuYasha back in the day, so Hanyou no Yashahime (Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon) at least has odds in its favor.

Tsukasa and Nasa
Mi casa es Tsukasa.

Tonikaku Kawaii (TONIKAWA: Over The Moon For You) also has a pedigree, but not one quite as good. It has probably already referenced its creator's other works a few times by now unbeknownst to me, though. The first two episodes were fine, but not outstanding, and I'm already quite tired of Potato-kun's penchant for freaking out. It's one of those "comic" behaviors that isn't as objectionable in manga form, but doesn't translate well to anime. I'm also worried a bunch of wacky cockblockers will move in with the couple. In fact, I can probably think of a whole lot of different ways this could go wrong, even though I think the manga remains popular. There are a lot of shows this season, so I'm not going to be as patient with it as I might have been just a few months ago.

Dated 6 October 2020: Autumn 2020 first impressions

Setsuna
2D & 3DCG integration during the all-signing, all-dancing parts finally look right.

A new anime season is upon us again. Every quarter, I assess which shows I expect to watch during the upcoming season and add them to my animetrics table. However what actually seems to happen is that I just watch whatever comes out first, providing it's not shounen jive or something that looks super bad. In the past, I would write up a comprehensive post that summarizes every show that I sampled, but those days are long gone now.

Kasumi
Are you Best Girl? You sort of seem like you might be Best Girl.

What I can do, though, is draw your attention to a few of the bright spots from this first batch. Unexpectedly, the launch of a new Love Live installment caught me by surprise. I knew one was in the works, but somehow missed that it was starting in October. I don't actually regard myself as a Love Live fan, but I have seen all of it and I guess I'm going to watch Love Live! Nijigasaki Gakuen School Idol Doukoukai (Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club) too. The first episode was about what I would have expected from a new Love Live spinoff, but I can at least identify three highlights: (1) The somen joke was genuinely amusing. (2) The character who I expected to suffer from debilitating shyness seems to merely be kuudere. (3) The aggravated red-eyed girl at the end made faces I enjoyed.

Elaina
Flan has a better hat, but she's been a witch longer than Elaina.

Majo no Tabitabi (Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina) had the best first episode of the shows I sampled. [Update: I wrote this before I watched Munou na Nana (Talentless Nana), the new champ. It's worth checking out, but I suggest going in blind to avoid spoilers.] The visuals look fantastic, and the episode itself did not go the way I expected, so I'm hopeful that the rest of the show will continue to remain interesting. I also like witches and big hats, and this show had witches AND big hats, so that's a bonus.

Claudia
I don't think it's actually Claudia's fault everyone keeps dying.

Finally (for now), I'm going to mention that Senyoku no Sigrdrifa (Warlords of Sigrdrifa) has airplanes and tolerable lore. The dogfights are nice (albeit with handwaved physics), but they are not as spectacular as in The Magnificient KOTOBUKI. (Admittedly, that's a really high bar.) One serious potential problem is they're basically fighting the Neuroi from Strike Witches. Those types of adversaries are basically never interesting, so this could be a liability for Sigrdrifa too. One thing I am curious about, though, is why the anime appeared to cast Kayano Ai and Horie Yui in what seemed like unimportant bit parts. I can't tell if there's no meaning to it, or if it reveals these characters will actually take on much greater importance as the show develops. I guess I'm going to have to stick around to find out.

Dated 21 July 2020: I don't know what I expected from DECA-DENCE, but it wasn't this

Natsume
I sort of get the feeling this job would benefit from additional PPE.

The first episode of DECA-DENCE makes it look like a post-apocalyptic coming-of-age tale about a girl who refuses to give up her dreams. Based on the second episode, it still seems to be all that, but we learn there is a lot more to this world than previously revealed. (And we also learn one of the characters is tired of living.)

Natsume
Still looks more comfortable than many anime beds.

I'm not sure what to make of DECA-DENCE yet. The show looks fantastic, and the animation is great. I enjoy the two apparent main leads (recent graduate Natsume and Kaburagi, her supervisor at work) so far, but I'm glad that green-haired douche from the first episode took a week off. It's also not clear yet whether Deca-dence—the name of the giant mobile fortress—has anything to do with "decadence." Maybe it's meant to be ironic; life as a tanker looks austere.

Dated 7 July 2020: Dokyuu Hentai HxEros and Maou Gakuin no Futekigousha demonstrate it can be better to be first than good

Retto
I bet this watch doesn't even keep time.

The Summer 2020 anime season is upon us, and the first shows I watched were Dokyuu Hentai HxEros (SUPER HXEROS) and Maou Gakuin no Futekigousha (The Misfit of Demon King Academy). These were not exactly shows I was looking forward to seeing, but they were among the ones first out the gate, so why not? As it turns out, neither are as bad as I might have feared, although I can't exactly call them good either.

Retto and Kirara
Ol' Red here is literally powered by this blonde girl's indefatigable libido.

In the case of Dokyuu Hentai HxEros, there have been multiple anime in the past that involved teenagers harnessing the power of their youth to battle various evildoers. Dakara Boku wa, Ecchi ga Dekinai. (So, I Can't Play H!) comes to mind, as does Hybrid × Heart Magias Academy Ataraxia (i.e., the other HxH anime—the one that is not Hunter x Hunter). SUPER HXEROS was actually sort of amusing thanks to its embrace of tokusatsu live-action tropes. The show is self-aware, but not to a negative extent.

Anos and Misha
Picking up The Precious Thing is apparently a big deal in Misha's eyes.

I'm expecting Maou Gakuin no Futekigousha to be light-novel rubbish, but I genuinely appreciate that the first episode skipped the backstory and setup entirely, dropping the reader straight into the reincarnated demon king's first day at Evil Hogswarth. (Okay, fine, at a slightly eviler Hogswarth.) The characters at school are entirely forgettable so far, and exist mostly so the "misfit demon king" has various assholes he can easily defeat. (They totally have it coming.) His parents seem really dumb, but in a good-natured sort of way, so I'm willing to watch more. Overall, not a great start to the Summer 2020 anime season, but good enough for its first week.

Dated 4 February 2020: Healin' Good ♡ Precure is off to the races

Chiyu and Nodoka
Short-sleeved sweatshirts are pretty great otherwise, though.

The first episode of Healin' Good ♡ Precure covers a lot of familiar ground for anyone who has seen a fair share of Pretty Cure; this is the franchise's 15th generation since 2004. Cure Grace herself is off to a good start. Her very first attack consisted of an overly complicated kick, and I'm generally in favor of Cures who understand the value of extraneous style points. I joked in my previous post about Cure Grace being "joined by Cure Fartlek and Cure Pain Is Just Weakness Leaving the Body." Well, we do briefly meet the other girls who will become the next Cures, and Chiyu does appear to be an avid runner, so maybe we will get a Cure Fartlek this season. Never mind that she's dressed in attire only non-runners would expect actual runners to wear, at least in that weather. Sorry, if you're not wearing the least amount of clothing you can get away with without getting stared at by spinsters and police officers, I'm going to assume you're a casual jogger or a someone getting a slow start on her New Year's resolution—doubly so if you're wearing some sort of matching ensemble instead of ratty old clothes that look like shit.

Hinata
This was 100-percent your fault.

The first episode of Healin' Good ♡ Precure also briefly introduces Hinata. Based on the OP, it seems she's going to be the yellow Cure. She's done a fair amount of mugging already, so she's out in front so far as this Precure generation's Best Girl. There are a lot of stereotypes about how each "color" of Cure is supposed to behave, but I'm hoping this will evolve so that yellow represents less defensive bullshit and more...Cure Twinkle-type behavior. It is too early to tell, though, since I'm literally making tenuous predictions from a few seconds of screen time and cuts from the OP. Speaking of which, the OP is as good as you've heard from the Twitter, and the ED continues to advance the all-singing, all-dancing 3DCG agenda. It's come a long way from the Fresh Pretty Cure ED.