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Dated 29 February 2016: My favorite shows of winter 2016 so far

Cure Miracle and Cure Magical
Get pumped, witches.

As you can see from my per-episode chart, it took a while for Dagashi Kashi to secure the top spot I predicted, but it's in good company. Konosuba is my current number four show, but its rating is higher than what I gave my top show, One Punch Man, autumn 2015. I certainly disagree with people who claim this is not a very good season. Besides, there are at least three "NOT KID'S STUFF" serious shows worth watching1 in addition to some entertaining lighter fare, so I'm pretty deaf to most complaints.

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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 24 August 2014: I like Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun because Chiyo is remarkably orange

Chiyo
Tiny pictures are the way of love.

I got a late start on Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun, but was convinced to give it a try after being alerted that it invoked the the Ayako Doctrine. Not that you need to be an Ayako fan in order to enjoy Nozaki-kun. The show is quite clever and funny. Really, the only reason why I wasn't already watching it was because I ran out of space in my schedule while I was following dreadful wrecks such as Rail Wars! Besides, I sort of already had a general idea of what Nozaki-kun might be like simply by the way it looks. (Hint: Chiyo's enormous polka dotted head ribbons never stop being amusing.) Specifically, I trusted that it was the show's execution more than its setup that would make or break the series for me. I was willing to wait to hear how other people responded to the initial episodes first.

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Dated 4 May 2014: Three detective shows of spring 2014

Miyuki and Hajime
Hajime:Miyuki::Seki::Yokoi.

I'm watching three shows about detectives this season: Detective Conan, Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo Returns, and Ryuugajou Nanana no Maizoukin. All three are pretty good, but I'm most pleased with how Nanana is progressing.

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Dated 10 June 2013: I started watching Aiura

Kanaka
It probably doesn't mean she has crabs.

I forgot to mention that I started watching Aiura. It's a pleasant enough show, but I don't have much to say about it because it's so short. (It's another one of those jobbies with four-minute episodes.) I guess I can say I also have no idea why crabs and Steve Jobs are in the OP. There has been some speculation that crabs refer to the zodiac sign Cancer1 since Steve Jobs died of cancer, but I'm calling that one a coincidence absent some more compelling reason why that would be in the OP either.

Saki and Ayuko
It's not easy being best.

I can also say that the show does appear to be the labor of love of somebody with a deep appreciation of the bare thighs of teenage girls. There is that. Oh, and it's the second show this season (along with Valvrave the Liberator) where the BEST GIRL is named Saki. If you include Saki from Natsuiro Kiseki, that makes girls named Saki three-for-three in shows from recent memory seizing BEST GIRL honors. When Genshiken Nidaime starts in a few weeks, girls named Saki will go four-for-four. I might be on to something here.


Note 1: Or possibly the genus, since hardly anyone in anime outside of The Melody of Oblivion seems to care about the western zodiac.

Dated 24 May 2013: She ain't heavy, she's my [SPOILERS]

Shingeki no Kyojin characters
Full-size version
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This post is about something that might be a simple typographical error. Or it might be about spoilers. Or it might be about nothing at all. It is about Shingeki no Kyojin, and although I have read all the manga chapters currently available and seen all the anime episodes that have aired, I will attempt to avoid discussing anything that would be an actual spoiler. Well, unless the above image is itself a spoiler, in which case...oops. I will also discuss all characters in the present tense, but do not assume that has any bearing on whether or not a character lives or dies. Knowing who doesn't die is as much of a spoiler as knowing who does die. Right? [Spoilers: Chiyo lives.] According to this image, Mikasa is 170 cm tall and weighs 68 kg. That seems unusually heavy for an anime character, particularly one of her apparent build. It's not inappropriate for a sufficiently muscular real life girl of her proportions to weigh that much, but from an anime standpoint she's a beast.1 This would not be noteworthy at all if the rest of the characters depicted in that picture had similar builds, but if you accept all those numbers as accurate, Mikasa's fellow soldiers are kinda shrimpy compared to her. Every depicted character who weighs more than Mikasa is both male and at least 5 cm taller.

Cure Rosetta
There is a third explanation....

So, why is that? Well, the simple answer is that Mikasa is a badass. She's the BEST GIRL in Attack on Titan (even though Sasha can tear into a hot potato like none other) and she's probably my current front runner for 2013 Girl of the Year. Being hard core enough to do the things she does, it's sensible that she would be much more muscular than the other characters, even if they're all drawn pretty much the same way in the anime and the manga. The other answer is purely speculation based on something that has already been depicted in the anime but has not been explicitly explained in the first 45 chapters of the manga. For that reason, maybe it counts as spoilers, and maybe it's pure bullshit. I guess it's minor spoilers for people either not watching or a few episodes behind on the anime, and spoilers about what probably won't get explained anytime soon in the anime: In the flashback where young Eren convinces Mikasa to fight, the anime and manga both show a brief "power up" sequence of liquid kickass coursing through her muscles before she attacks, gripping the knife so hard she crushes its hilt and launching herself at her target with such ferocity she shatters a floorboard. Did these things literally happen? Are they unusual events within the in-universe laws of physics? (Which, remember, allow people to Spider-Man their way around town with cans of compressed gas and spring-coiled cables.) We know that childhood bullies were terrified of her and that she's freakishly strong, but does she actually have the ability to Hulk out with superhuman strength that nobody seems willing to question? We know Eren's possibly-up-to-no-good dad visited Mikasa for undefined purposes and has some Important Thing in the basement that everyone's forgotten about after the first episode, but is Mikasa different because she's Just That Good or is she different because of some sort of genetic/magic enhancement? (One that makes her weigh more than her fellow soldiers who seem to have tears and anxiety in the places where Mikasa stores extra beatdowns.)


Note 1: The Body Mass Index calculator for 15-year-old girls at CDC.gov reports Mikasa has a healthy weight.

Dated 5 April 2013: Little Witch Academia was not the best anime I watched last week

Akko and Diana
How do you know she's a witch?

Little Witch Academia is an excellent short movie from the Anime Mirai 2013 project. In the case of Little Witch Academia, young animators benefited from the tutelage of former Gainax members now with Studio Trigger. The resulting project is a charming well-animated story reminiscent of the underrated Mahou Shoujo Tai Alice1 (2004-2005). I give Little Witch Academia a solid recommendation and look forward to more great things from Studio Trigger. I'm also curious if the rest of the Anime Mirai efforts are as good. With titles such as Death Billiards, how can they not be?

Noriko
Blue-Headband Noriko > Yellow-Headband Noriko.

All right, so why wasn't Little Witch Academia the best anime I watched all week? Well, it so happens I re-watched Top wo Nerae and Top wo Nerae 22 the same week. Considering I hold Top wo Nerae in such high regard, it's surprising how little I've written about it in over 11 years of anime blogging. (Similarly, there's basically no mention of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann on this site either, although in Gurren Lagann's case, it was because it aired during a period when the only anime that I was watching were Macross 7 and Tokimeki Memorial ~Only Love~.)

Nono
Sure is a step up from her old job cracking dishes at a maid-uniform diner.

You know where I'm going with this, right? Some of the individuals responsible for Little Witch Academia were involved with Top wo Nerae 2 (and Gurren Lagann) while they were with Gainax, so the pedigree is certainly there. Little Witch Academia turning out so well will surely add fuel to fellow former-Gainax fanboy flames. (Although I still have hope for post-diaspora, current-Gainax, Gainax actual.)

Yoko
Yoko is 14.

Speaking of Gurren Lagann, pre-orders for the Region A complete box set of Blu-ray discs are now available for an eye-opening $550 or so. For that kind of money, I certainly hope they are not upscales only marginally better than the DVDs. I'm not certain, but I seem to recall hearing that neither Gurren Lagann nor Top wo Nerae 2 were produced in full HD resolutions (because they were made in that unfortunate transitional period after traditional cells but before full HD digital work). If true, this at least explains why the Blu-rips of Top wo Nerae 2 are only small improvements over my R1 DVDs at best. Still, I waited a long time for Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann Blu-rays before ultimately purchasing the R1 DVDs last year or so. Now that Blu-rays are nearly upon us, I'm tempted to repurchase them—just not five-hundred-fifty-dollars tempted.


Note 1: Officially known as The Adventures of Tweeny Witches in English.

Note 2: Also called GunBuster and Diebuster, respectively, but Diebuster is officially titled GunBuster 2 on the R1 DVDs because people are jackasses.

Dated 15 September 2011: Revisiting Idolmaster Baseball

Ami and Mami
Ami's hair is probably shorter due to a bad breakup.

With nearly a full cour of The IDOLM@STER TV completed, I've decided to revise my iM@S baseball lineup. The most important change is Yukiho is no longer a narcoleptic like she was in Xenoglossia, but rather a cringing, terrified girl. If you think I'm starting someone like that on the mound, you're crazy. Yukiho rides the pine and possibly pinch runs. Cowards can run fast.

Kotori
No pressure, Kotori.

Thankfully, we now have Kotori on the roster. Kotori is my new pitcher, and hopefully she and Ritsuko work together well enough to form an effective battery. I also hereby reaffirm my decision to name Miki as the relief pitcher. She's made a habit of coming to the rescue in the current series, so I'm confident she can put out fires and pull the 765PROs out of trouble if Kotori gets into a jam.

Hibiki and Takane
Hibiki and Takane join the team.

I also reaffirm my decision to place Mami and Ami in the middle infield. I'm pleased they are no longer shrimpy kids. Although they aren't exactly freakish giants, they are a lot taller than I expected. I'm staying with Mami at shortstop and Ami at second base because I'm hoping Mami's side-tail will stabilize her head as she pivots while throwing to second or first. [Update1.] I've also decided that Mami > Ami because she has better hair and because she sort of holds underdog status now that Ami's popularity is ascendant as part of Ryuuguu Komachi.

Yayoi
Sit your ass down, Yayoi. You're dead weight.

The inclusion of Hibiki and Takane also means I no longer have to start Yayoi in right. Iori moves from left field to right field, and Hibiki takes left field while batting in Yayoi's old spot in the lineup. Takane goes into the bullpen as a relief pitcher. She'll mostly be in the set-up role with Miki as the closer, although all three will start if games are frequent enough to require a rotation.

Producer
Producer also does not look like Tommy Lasorda.

The IDOLM@STER TV has been mostly positive with regard to refining the iM@S baseball team, but there is one downside: We now know Producer looks nothing at all like Earl Weaver. No one is more disappointed than I.


[Note 1: Now that I think about it, a long sidetail on her left could easily get in Mami's field of vision as she pivots, but hopefully it won't matter under a baseball cap. If it turns out to be a problem, I may need to go with the dangerous hair-down Mami or swap her and Ami's fielding positions.]