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Dated 6 April 2021: IDOLY PRIDE and SukaSuka both spoiled their anime endings during the opening minutes of their first episodes

Kotono
It's not easy being an idol.

IDOLY PRIDE turned out to be a much more satisfying anime than I was expecting. I already had some idea where the show was going, since it became increasingly clear what the first episode's prologue implied as the anime progressed. Nevertheless, it also still retained enough ambiguity to allow the show to develop dramatic tension as it approached its climax. Ultimately, this was still very much a story about Mana and Makino, and remembering this worked out well for the anime.

Mana
What is the sound of one ghost clapping?

However, there is more to IDOLY PRIDE than just the anime, and this is where my lack of familiarity with the franchise as a whole falters. Based on the release dates of the associated videos on the YouTube, IDOLY PRIDE has been in the works for over a year. Was it just delayed for reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic, or was it originally planned as an extended mixed-media production? There are CDs to purchase, and a mobile game of some sort to play, but I don't know how critical the anime itself is to the whole.

Chtholly
Goodbye, Chtholly's last bit of blue hair.

I didn't really need to mention SukaSuka here, since it's not as if Shuumatsu Nani Shitemasu ka? Isogashii desu ka? Sukutte Moratte Ii desu ka? and IDOLY PRIDE really have that much in common aside from dropping spoilers at the start of the first episode. The SukaSuka spoilers are much more overt, though, and consequently much more memorable. There is also a certain finality to the series, in that while there are still additional volumes to adapt, adding a sequel to SukaSuka would not necessarily be the same thing as "making more" SukaSuka. In the case of IDOLY PRIDE, there are certainly enough characters to provide new opportunities for expansion through sequels, but I'm hesitant to suggest there's any need at this stage.

Dated 16 February 2021: This is an IDOLY PRIDE spoiler, but I don't think it matters anymore

Mana
"I can see my house from here."

There are plenty of other shows I'm watching that I should probably write about instead, but y'all getting an IDOLY PRIDE update instead. Deal with it. Okay, so after six episodes, I don't know why there is a ghost. Mana gives Makino someone to talk to, but there's no reason why she needs to be dead. She could have just retired, or started her own production company instead, or any number of other options. Or she could still have died, but not returned as a ghost. So far, Mana returning as a ghost has had no meaningful impact on the story.

Mana and Makino
I wonder if Mana can change her outfit.

And we do have confirmation that she's an actual ghost (as opposed to a hallucination). One of the other idols can see her, although they haven't continued interacting after the episode with the initial revelation. If we're racking and stacking idols in the show, I do like Mana best, so I appreciate having her around, but I was sort of expecting her whole phantasmness to have a bigger role in shaping the IDOLY PRIDE lore. As far as I can tell, there aren't even any other ghosts in IDOLY PRIDE—former idols or otherwise.

Dated 26 January 2021: I could tell you about all the good anime I'm watching this season, or I could tell you about IDOLY PRIDE instead

Kotono
We can tell you're the kid sister because you look the same except for having darker hair.

Actually, wait, IDOLY PRIDE is pretty good too, or at least it is for sufficiently generous definitions of good. I started watching IDOLY PRIDE because it was described as an original anime and the PV made the show seem oddly sincere. Meaning, I was expecting a brand new entry into the idol wars to lean more on a gimmick of some sort. (See, for example, this season's Gekidol and its gimmick.) However, it looked as if IDOLY PRIDE would simply be a straightforward show about idols trying their best. [Spoilers: It is not.]

Kouhei and Mana
She is sort of distracting.

So yeah, there is a gimmick. (Spoilers from here on out.) One of the idols is a ghost. Well, not one of the idols in the troupe, but there is a ghost. Specifically, it's the older sister of the dour idol who has main-character hair. However, the only one who can see or hear her is her old manager (a former classmate from high school) who is now in charge of a lot of rookie idols. I'll need to go back and re-watch some scenes to be sure, but I suspect it's also entirely possible that there is no ghost and Manager Guy (Kouhei) is just cracking up. I mean, he does do that thing where he'll look in her direction and respond aloud to her while everyone else around him is deeply confused by his constant non sequiturs. I have to say that's probably a worrying trait to see in someone who is responsible for your career.

Kouhei and Mana
Mana doesn't cast reflections or shadows, but Kouhei appeared to feel her leaning on him.

Whether Mana actually is a ghost or just a constant hallucination that Kouhei can't shake, I'm enjoying the dynamic. I get the feeling a single-cours anime is not going to be long enough to get me invested in what the other idols have going on, but I am enjoying IDOLY PRIDE so far. In fact, I'm probably enjoying it somewhat disproportionately, since I'm not sure I can really characterize the show as being anything more than merely okay. Still, I'm eager to see where this is going, even though I suspect it would probably be better as a ghost-girlfriend romance than as an idol show about rookies doing their best.

Dated 17 September 2018: I dropped two ghost-girlfriend shows in Summer 2018

Yuuna and Kogarashi
A ghost with legs? Inconceivable.

The main reason why I started watching Shichisei no Subaru (Seven Senses of the Re'Union) and Yuragi-sou no Yuuna-san (Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs) was because both shows featured ghost girlfriends and thus gave me an excuse to pad the Ghost Girlfriends tag on my blog. Besides, Tasogare Otome x Amnesia and Nanana's Buried Treasure were both good, even if Rokujouma no Shinryakusha!? was, uh, not.

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Dated 16 September 2014: It turns out I dropped Rokujouma no Shinryakus​ha!? before finishing my blog entry announcing I was watching it

Sanae
Ghost in a jar.

Originally, I was going to say I was watching Rokujouma no Shinryakusha!? (Invaders of the Rokujouma!?) because it had a ghost girlfriend even though the ghost in it isn't quite girlfriend enough to be a ghost girlfriend. Neither was Nanana, for that matter, but I wanted an excuse to trot out my Ghost Girlfriends tag again. I'm not actually a fan in particular of ghost girlfriends, but I liked Yuuko from Tasogare Otome x Amnesia and I thought Itoshi no Kana (My Lovely Ghost Kana) was way better than it had any business being. I wasn't too impressed with Asura Cryin' despite the presence of Haruka De Tomaso Pantera, though. Rokujouma no Shinryakusha!? also features an ecclectic group of individuals all living in the same house, a formula that I've enjoyed in such shows as Dokkoida?! and Love Hina, but it wasn't enough. I was already pretty far behind with Rokujouma, but I dropped it because the ghost girlfriend's flavor of Postmodern Tsundere is the stupid variety. I'm actually okay with Postmodern Tsundere (it's way better than Modern Tsundere, at least), but it's so poorly executed here that I've lost all motivation for catching up with the series. I'd rather use the time to continue reducing my Detective Conan backlog.

Dated 26 June 2014: Digging for Nanana's Buried Treasure

Nanana
Nanana looks okay for a dead girl.

Despite being consistently good and reigning as my top-rated show all season long before being nipped at the very end by Hitsugi no Chaika (indeed, it would get a No Bad Episodes ribbon except I've decided not to award that anymore for shows with less than 20 episodes), there's something unsatisfying about Ryuugajou Nanana no Maizoukin (Nanana's Buried Treasure). Don't get me wrong, I certainly liked Nanana a lot as a whole. I was particularly impressed with its master detective character character, Tensai, and relieved that the male lead, Juugo, wasn't a passive, craven, potato. However, I was disappointed in its titular character, Nanana herself.

Tensai
The Best Girl in Nanana has a silly name.

There's nothing actually wrong with Nanana, and perhaps that's the real problem. She's the ghost of a murdered genius now stuck haunting a tiny apartment on the island she helped create, but nothing about her seems particularly genius or spectral. She spends all of her time playing video games. (Being a ghost, she doesn't need to sleep.) Aside from that, she doesn't do much else except eat pudding and occasionally dole out hints about her "buried treasure."

Nanana
Nanana actually isn't very aggressive for someone with
lingering regrets keeping her from the afterlife.

About that first part: Why does she eat if she's a ghost? How can she eat? Since she can eat, why does she eat only pudding? I guess she eats pudding because she likes how it tastes, but she has no interest at all in any other food? Did she enjoy nothing else when she was still alive? In a way, I guess Nanana's pudding diet is allegorical of Nanana herself. No matter how much you love pudding, anyone alive would get sick of the lack of variety. Likewise, no matter how much you might like Nanana, you'd want to see her display some other facet of herself. She might as well be an an A.I. or a Dutch wife.

Juugo
Nanana and Juugo should have fought more often.

Tragically, this is one of the rare examples of "girl roomie" anime, and it completely goes to waste. I'm grateful the show did not devolve into stupid mishaps testing Otaku Virtues or degenerate into something hopelessly contrived like Nozoki Ana (which was technically also about challenges to the Otaku Virtues). I didn't watch enough Bleach to see how it handled the situation, but I heard Rukia eventually moved out of Strawberry's closet. Aside from Rizelmine, I can't think of any other "girl roomie" shows off the top of my head, but surely there some example that occupies a zone between constantly freaking out about the girl in the room, and spending every waking moment ignoring her. (Oh, wait, IS <Infinite Stratos>.)

Chaika
I'm going to start planting screenshots from totally unrelated shows in my blog posts.

Anyway, Ryuugajou Nanana no Maizoukin is really a lot better in basically all the areas I expected it to stumble, but I'm still left somewhat disappointed because it turned out to basically avoid everything I thought the show would actually be about. I suppose it's better this way. I'm not quite optimistic enough to believe it would have been a better show by focusing on either the "girl roomie" or "ghost girlfriend" dynamics. I certainly can't complain about getting a Grade A detective out of the affair. If only there were fewer jumping puzzles....

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 12 December 2012: The fourth monitor

Yuuko
The original plan was six monitors. Now it seems excessive.

There's a space because that's where I mounted the center speaker.

There's a Chihaya because I didn't have another suitable image of Yuuko handy, at least not in 1920x1200.

[Update 2: I hid the previous three-monitor setup so well I forgot about it.]

[Update 3: All four monitors are 24" 1920x1200 IPS panels. One Dell U2410 (good monitor, but I hate the control buttons so much), one HP ZR24w (which won't do 1:1 1080, by the way), and two Dell U2412.]

[Update 4: Minor adjustment.]

Ayanami desk