Version 5.4 ~ Haruhi gave rock and roll to you.
karmaburn.com karmaburn.com

Dated 9 April 2024: Ooi! Tonbo: Life is like golf

Tonbo and Kazuyoshi
Beware the golfer with one club.

Someone on the IRC opined, "Tonbo is...it's like a kid's anime? But not really?" I didn't know what he meant, but I sort of understand after watching the first episode. It's Tonbo herself. She comes across as much younger. She's in her final year of middle school, but I would have no trouble accepting her as a seven-year-old child instead. Perhaps that's deliberate, since that's about when she lost her parents. A synopsis I saw described it as a car accident, but didn't specify where. Was it on the island? That seems to be the sort of small community where everyone knows each other. If it happened on the island, and there was another car involved, surely she would still see the driver of that vehicle all the time.1 How awkward. (My guess is it was off the island, and she moved there when her grandfather became her guardian.)

Kazuyoshi and Tonbo
Your name is Igaiga now. Deal with it.

Anyway, Ooi! Tonbo does seem tonally odd. I'm probably overthinking it, and it'll turn out to be an actual kid's sports anime. It does have familiar clichés such as when the pro golfer guy narrates amazing techniques that he spotted in a split second. However, the source material apparently runs in a weekly golf magazine (presumably for adults), so maybe the tone actually is weird for what it is. Not that I'm expecting something darker. This is surely an anime about good times on rustic golf island as a former pro golfer fleeing his old life gets his act together again with the support of genuine small-town folks and through the power of unorthodox golf techniques. There are already 49 volumes of the manga, though, and it's still ongoing, so anything can happen.


Note 1: I suppose all of the other occupants in a multi-vehicle collision could have also died, but I feel as if accidents that violent require speeds I wouldn't expect on the island. Probably they died off the island, or in a single-vehicle accident, or the entire parental death thing is an unexplained bit of the backstory that I'm completely overthinking. [Update: The second episode confirms their deaths occurred off the island.]

Dated 26 March 2024: I have too many shows teed up for Spring 2024

Nadeshiko
It's not a metaphor.

With less than a week left before the start of the Spring 2024 anime season, I currently have 19 shows that I'm willing to at least try. Moreover, I compiled this list weeks ago without closely scrutinizing what series will even be airing in April. There's a good chance I've overlooked multiple anime I'd also consider, and I may have missed series that were announced only recently. Based on past experiences, what's likely to happen is I'll end up dropping a lot of these, but that still leaves a significant number of shows to follow.

Kumiko
I didn't expect to like Hibike! Euphonium more now than when I started the series.

Some of these titles are a lock. For example, I'm guaranteed to follow Yuru Campâ–³ SEASON 3, Hibike! Euphonium 3, and Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! 3 (KONOSUBA -God's Blessing on This Wonderful World! 3), and Wonderful Precure! regardless of how they turn out. Likewise, I'll probably stick with Kimetsu no Yaiba: Hashira Geiko-hen (Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Hashira Training Arc) and The iDOLM@STER: Shiny Colors.

Mano
Everything know about Shiny idols, I learned from fan art.

Maou Gakuin no Futekigousha: Shijou Saikyou no Maou no Shiso, Tensei shite Shison-tachi no Gakkou e Kayou II Part 2 (The Misfit of Demon King Academy: History’s Strongest Demon King Reincarnates and Goes to School with His Descendants Season 2 Part 2) probably has enough momentum that I won't drop it outright, and I'm curious enough about the Spice and Wolf do-over (Ookami to Koushinryou: merchant meets the wise wolf) that I'll at least watch some of it, despite finding the first anime horribly overrated.1 Anyway, I support the assertion that good media do not need to be remade. Rather, it's the bad ones that would benefit from an opportunity at being unfucked. Since I have a generally negative opinion about the 2008 Spicy Wolf, then this remake should be right up my alley. I hope it's not bad a second time.

Lawrence and Holo
I've since learned Holo has "the form of a sweet 15-year-old girl" via @Kotobukiya_EN.

Besides these and a few more I didn't mention, the current lineup also includes eight new shows, at least two of which are anime-originals. There's even a baseball anime. This place could use more robots, though. Preferably giant ones, but I'm not going to be picky if the alternative is a robot-free-zone spanning three months, alas. It's probably hypocritical of me to say this, though, seeing as how I never got around to watching Brave Bang Bravern! during Winter 2024. I heard it's great. I suppose I could just watch that, but I can't resist New Season allure, and there's so much of it.


Note 1: I got to Spice and Wolf late, after its positive reputation was well established and generally uncontroversial. Well, I disliked nearly all of it for reasons too lengthy to include in this aside. I probably should have written a blog post detailing those reasons at some point instead of bitching about it on the IRC and on the Twitter (such as here, for example).

Dated 16 May 2023: Prospera is a caring mother who loves her tall daughters

Prospera and Miorine
Weird how your dad never mentioned murdering all those people.

The viewpoints I see about Kidou Senshi Gundam: Suisei no Majo (Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury) in my sliver of the anime fandom uniformly vilify Prospera, differing only in the intensity of the condemnations. However, I still regard her as a protagonist. I also support her quest for revenge even though I'm uncertain as to the specifics of her plan. (Spoilers henceforth for the first 17 episodes.)

Delling
You're not young Bel, right?

A significant factor responsible for this (apparently minority) view is my unwillingness to minimize Delling Rembran's role orchestrating and initiating the mass murder depicted in the "PROLOGUE" episode. I don't believe there's been any meaningful attempt to justify the assault, so I'm mystified this doesn't come up more often. It's as if viewers collectively shrugged and concluded it was all right because we barely knew those people.1

Elnora and Nadim
You don't always recognize the last time you'll see a loved one when it happens.

Elnora Samaya, of course, did know those people. She escaped with four-year-old Ericht as the facility's sole survivors while cold-blooded killers butchered her husband, her mentor, and everyone at Fólkvangr. (I'm unsure how many died in total, but it seems like dozens.) Consequently, this factor shapes my perspective about everything Elnora has done (and has been accused of doing) in her Propsera guise. To be clear, I also do not perceive her purported transgressions as being especially egregious. The worst accusations I can levy involve emotional manipulation, but assigning blame exclusively to Prospera for the actions others take strips agency away from those victims and reduces them to mere instruments.

Elnora
I guess she doesn't have a shitload of Suletta pictures decorating her desk.

Granted, I'm taking Prospera at her word when she offers explanations or insights.2 For example, I assume Ericht really was dying and that Elnora did not turn her into a child-Gundam chimera for Fullmetal Alchemist reasons. I'm also accepting Prospera's explanation to Miorine in episode 14 about enrolling Suletta to fulfill her wish of attending school while keeping her in a safe(r) environment as sincere. Likewise, I scrutinize her role as a mother through the same lens Suletta uses. Every on-screen interaction (and every historical one, according to Suletta's beaming admiration) appears authentic. Although, Prospera is possibly playing a long con, and has devoted considerable energy for decades to deceive and exploit her own daughter(s) in pursuit of a convoluted revenge plan.

Suletta
See, Suletta trusts her.

Maybe Prospera's true face (as it were) will be revealed and she'll get her comeuppance when Suletta (and Ericht) turn on her, but I'm not sure I find this prospect convincing. This is partly because I don't know the particular specifics of her revenge plan. After all, Prospera has had at least some opportunities to stab Delling in the neck, so simply offing him doesn't seem to be the primary objective.3

Delling and Prospera
I do find it odd they use portable data-storage devices.

Moreover, I'm increasingly cognizant that The Tempest ends with a wedding, not a bloodbath. I'm disinclined to believe G-Witch will end with Elnora in ruin, and Delling triumphant. However, I'm also skeptical the conclusion will adopt the forgiveness aspects from The Tempest, particularly since Prospero's betrayal involved a loss of authority, not the literal murder of everyone he cared about. I'm pro-revenge enough that I would find such a finale distasteful, almost as a matter of principle.


Note 1: E.g., "What Delling did to that lesbian couple was objectively terrible, but not subjectively so because they weren't 'our' lesbian couple."

Note 2: Maybe she's manipulating me.

Note 3: I have no idea how Quiet Zero fits into this.

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.

You and Saya
Coconuts and Saya are pretty lucky You is looking out for them.

Dagashi Kashi is an uncomplicated show, but it succeeds because it's easy to enjoy the characters and their candy-related shenanigans. Hotaru and Saya are the real stars of the series, but it helps a lot that Coconuts is not a potato, if you get my meaning. Sure, he's a little dense when it comes to Saya, but his observation that Hotaru is "pretty cute when she doesn't talk" is fairly astute for an anime male lead. Likewise, his buddy Tou is totally all right. I like how he's always slumming in a Hawaiian shirt and sunglasses. The dude is leagues above the usual shitheads male anime leads tend to surround themselves with. TYPE-MOON, I'm looking in your direction.

Mira and Kyouma
Fast cars and polite, well-dressed robots.

I'm probably enjoying Dimension W more than most people thanks to my growing appreciation of Ueda Reina. Still, her role in the show isn't nearly as large as I would have expected, so maybe I just enjoy the mysteries and the pacing more than most viewers. There's enough detail in each episode for me to follow the story, but not so much that it becomes predictable. I've read some of the manga, and there's actually a lot more background and world building in the source material that is absent from the anime. This is probably a wise decision, as it keeps things moving along and none of the omitted bits seem critical to the main story.

Mira
Yeah, I'm not watching the Toonami dub either, Mira.

The Toonami broadcast dub started airing recently, but I'm not sure Dimension W is really going to draw a large general audience. I don't think it's nearly episodic enough to engage anyone who isn't on board from the beginning. I'm totally with it, though. Depending on how the final arc shakes out, Dimension W could easily end up being my favorite show from this season.

Sukeroku and Yakumo
Paper fans are a lot more durable than I'd imagined.

Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū turned out to be much different than what I was expecting. First episode aside, Rakugo devotes all of its time to an extended flashback covering the rakugo master's youth and his relationship with the now-deceased father of the surly lady from the first episode. There are homosexual overtones, but it's starting to look like the climax of the series may involve fighting over a woman. I'm doing Rakugo a disservice by commenting on it so lightly, as it is an excellent and serious show. We don't get anime this good very often, so anyone who complains about anime being all moé shit these days had best be watching it lest he be disregarded as a hypocritical crank hereafter. In other news, there's an amusing amount of Evangelion alumni in the cast. Voice actors for Kaworu, Kaji, Rei, and Touji all have important roles.

Kazuma and Aqua
I bet that thing dies.

Like Rakugo, Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! is a Studio Deen production, giving this oft-maligned studio two series in this season's best four shows. Crunchyroll described Konosuba as a pastoral. I agree with this view and would like to add that Konosuba comes across overall as the best case scenario for a NEET reincarnated in a fantasy world. Yeah, Aqua is a sloppy and generally horrid person, and Darkness' one shtick can get pretty tiresome rather quickly, but...you know, this don't seem so bad. I'd sleep in that stable. The show itself is quite funny and very refreshing considering the over-saturated Fantasy and Reincarnation genres we're stuck with. Even though Konosuba is my number four show of winter 2016, I feel as if it ought to be higher.

Kayo
I want to read a 4-koma comic strip about Kayo's shitty life.

If you look at initial impressions from the first couple weeks of the season, you'll find near unanimous agreement claiming Boku dake ga Inai Machi (ERASED) is the best show of the season. I can't agree with this at all, but I also can't disagree too vehemently. ERASED is very good when it's good, but it's also the sort of show that really hurts itself when it's bad. It's probably unfair to hold a time travel show to such a high standard that even minor plot holes become damning, but the plot holes (and contrivances) do bother me. I went over this already, though, and don't feel the need to revisit those criticisms at this time.

Kouji and Sherry
The rising sun was a bit much. P.S. Spoilers.

I should probably say a few words about the second season of Gate, particularly since I seem to enjoy it much more than most viewers. However, it's one of those shows that has so much baggage and requires so much context that it's just too much work to address at this time. At a minimum, it requires a lot more explanation than is appropriate for one of these little blog updates. Maybe I'll get around to it someday (just as maybe I'll get around to writing down all those Aldnoah.Zero thoughts. I will at least say anyone on the fence about starting the series should disregard the criticisms of opponents who are hostile towards military force projection as a matter of principle.

Ojou, Galko, and Otako
Meanwhile, Ojou helps you find her nipples.

Oshiete! Galko-chan probably deserves to be at the top of this list, especially considering I've given it a perfect score through eight episodes. However, it's an episodic short series with eight-minute episodes and essentially no continuity. Galko-chan is mostly deft observational humor and gags about Galko herself behaving differently than one might stereotypically expect, but it's fun to watch. Additionally, Noto Mamiko is really making the most of her role as the show's narrator.

Mofurun
This was a pretty good catch, especially since it doesn't have opposable thumbs.

I only intended to highlight three or four shows from this season, but there are just too many gems currently airing. I haven't even mentioned the latest Pretty Cure or any of the bad shows with good ideas. Back in the day, I'd probably have gotten a lot more mileage out of the current crop. Before the dark times. Before the Twitter. Well, that platform does seem intent on self-destructing, so maybe good ol' anime blogging will return one day.


Note 1: Rakugo, ERASED, and Ajin (which I dropped after one episode).

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.

(more…)

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.

Seo
Seo Yuzuki has been racking up Girl of the Year points all season.

Fortunately, the execution has been dead on. Through seven episodes, Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun is a solid comedy. However, I am somewhat fearful that its jokes may burn out quickly if there aren't more variations or diversions from the characters' quirky attributes. This is a common problem with a lot of anime—not just comedies—where many characters' defining shticks end up dominating their personalities. (See, for example, Cure March from Smile Precure! She's basically a Pokemon now, unable to say anything aside from her signature catchphrase.)

Kashima
This, for example, is basically Kashima's joke right here.

So far so good, though. Chiyo herself does not rely on any particular gimmick, unlike, say, Yuzuki.1 In fact, I attribute Chiyo's appeal to two factors: (1) Chiyo is a great point-of-view character. I particularly love how Ozawa Ari mutters her incredulous sotto voce reactions. This is my first time noticing this seiyuu, but I'm looking forward to more of her work in future comedic roles. (2) Chiyo is really orange. What? It's a good color.


Note 1: In re Seo Yuzuki: I enjoy how Sawashiro Miyuki is playing the basketcase Yuzuki so far. Everything she does is splendid, but I'm concerned she'll get pigeonholed if the series runs more than one cour.

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.

Tensai
I hope one of Nanana's treasures is a Buster Machine.

Of these three, Nanana is my clear favorite this season, largely thanks to its master detective. This is fortunate, because my original reason for watching the show appears determined to spend all of her eternal damnation playing video games. I guess ghost hands can't cramp up. Between Detective Conan and Kindaichi Returns, I definitely enjoy Conan more. However, I'm not sure if that's due to the strength of the show itself, because of my pre-established familiarity with the characters, or because I just happened to discover Meitantei Conan before I learned Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo even existed.

Juugo
It helps that Juugo is sort of a punk.

I've basically been on board with Nanana as a matter of principle since I heard about its premise. There's no Ghost Girlfriend Clause, but perhaps there ought to be. It's also not a exactly a detective show, although there's a detective in it. Through four episodes, she's stealing the show. I'd be pretty okay with her as the lead instead of Juugo.1

Tensai and Juugo
She probably swiped through all of your pictures, too.

I am exceptionally pleased with the character Ikkyuu Tensai, a self-described master detective with a ridiculous name. Specifically, I'm astonished she actually is a master detective, and apparently stays that way the entire time, not just when the plot requires it. It's too early in the year to know who's going to win, but I think it's pretty likely Tensai will at least get a nomination for the title of 2014 Girl of the Year.

Ran
Ran has better hair than Miyuki.

I'm putatively watching Detective Conan this season, but actually following it will depend on whether or not the current episodes get fansubbed. The usual suspects are falling quite behind again, or they've taken their work to the Dark Web. Yes, that insidious DARK WEB which you have surely heard about from a television news special report. The DARK WEB which teems with pornography and hacktivism and unofficially imported family-friendly cartoons STRAIGHT FROM JAPAN. Actually, there's probably still that one dude on YouTube who's subbing Detective Conan as a goof. I haven't fully embraced streaming video yet when it comes to anime distribution, though. No, really.

Ran and Conan
Ran bends over again.

Luckily, Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo Returns has, well, returned from an extended absence with this season's aptly named show. I was wholly ignorant about this franchise, but its description reveals a lot of similarities with Detective Conan. Based on what the Wikipedia tells me, the Kindaichi manga actually predates the Detective Conan manga. I don't know if Meitantei Conan copied the Kindaichi formula, but there are a lot of similarities, at least based on the few Kindaichi episodes I've watched so far. Detective Conan isn't a total ripoff, though. At a minimum, it made the Kindachi elements more accessible by (eventually) toning down the crimes (even though someone still dies in some horrific manner basically every week) and by making it less realistic via reverse-aging formulas, implausible techno gadgets, Ran's youthful lack of lower-back problems, and Professor Agasa's amazing ability to periodically cram five neighborhood children into his wheezing Type 1 Volkswagen Beetle and drive them into the wilderness without attracting any attention.

Hajime
Ah, now I see.

Even though Kindaichi may have come first, Detective Conan is clearly the better established leader in the high school detective genre and probably better known to all but the most ardent Kindaichi fans. The similarities are undeniable: Teenage master detectives solve crimes the police cannot. Loyal aerodynamic childhood friends serve as putative love interests. Perhaps as a tongue-in-cheek reference to Detective Conan, the first episode of Kindaichi Returns features a man trying to flag down Miyuki by calling her "Ran" during a moment of mistaken identity.

Note 1: I've seen others accuse the male lead of being too generic, but that's patently unfair. In my view, "too generic" should refer to cretins with zero distinguishing positive characteristics such as Junichi from Amagami SS and all the various harem comedy leads who spend every waking hour trying to become the leading chickenshit stupid asshole champion ever since the last dude scorched off his balls by clumsily handling the Chickenship Stupid Asshole Torch. Tragically, there's at least one important objective distinction that immediately separates Juugo from Potato-kun: He's not afraid of touching girls—not even dead ones. It's tragic that this simple quality is now sufficient to segregate worthless members of the Otaku Virtues congregation from the increasingly less common non-craven punks, but that's a separate blog post altogether. I was going to write about detectives.

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.