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Dated 14 February 2018: iDOLM@STER XENOGLOSSIA is a classic story about a teenage girl and her giant robot finding true love together

Haruka and Imber
Shameless flirting.

I was a stranger to the iDOLM@STER franchise the first time I watched iDOLM@STER XENOGLOSSIA. I mentioned this before, but perhaps I should have noted I was also mystified by the amount of hostility displayed by some fans of the original games (arcade and Japanese Xbox 360 exclusive) toward Xenoglossia when the anime came out in 2007. Although I understood in principle the objections fans would have concerning the different character designs and replaced voices, I was not personally invested in any of the characters, so some of the more venomous attacks seemed excessive. Moreover, the character designs looked fine to me, at least relative to other anime of the period and Sunrise shows in particular. I finally watched my DVDs over the past few months, and actually enjoyed Xenoglossia a lot more on re-watch than I did during its initial broadcast, despite having a better understanding now of THE iDOLM@STER as a whole. Or maybe I like Xenoglossia more because I've watched several cours of bona fide iDOLM@STER anime now, not "despite" watching them.

Iori
Yukarin Iori with purple hair is good too.

Still, I'm not quite sure how I would characterize iDOLM@STER XENOGLOSSIA. It's not really much of a giant robot show for a show about giant robots, and it's not an idol anime despite having (regular-type) idols and iDOLs in it. It's not a "cute girls doing cute things" show, nor is it an early example of the more recent phenomenon where anime girls band together to be really excited about some typically male-dominated activity, like Bakuon!! or Two Car or GIRLS und PANZER. Honestly, it really is a love story about a teenage girl and her much older robot boyfriend. Notably, the affection Haruka develops for Imber is not at all unusual, as all of the other pilots also develop complex feelings toward their robots as well. In fact, jealousy plays a huge role in the plot, as do the inevitable love triangles.

Azusa
Also, Xenoglossia Azusa > regular Azusa.

IDOLM@STER XENOGLOSSIA does not take itself too seriously, but does not devolve into camp either. I buy into the HARUKA X IMBER pairing enough to believe there should be real questions raised about the ED once its setting becomes clear. I also enjoy the romance enough that I think I like the Xenoglossia Haruka more than I like the regular Haruka. Not that there's anything wrong with the regular Haruka necessarily, but I like the Xenoglossia Haruka's attitude better. Perhaps it's because she comes across as more of a main character in her own show, while the "real" Haruka necessarily seems more like a token default protagonist in a franchise with an ensemble cast, must the way I regard Miyafuji in Strike Witches or ol' Bucky in the Kantai Collection anime. I don't know if true fans of THE iDOLM@STER will ever regard Xenoglossia as positively as I do—the different voices must be especially jarring for them—but perhaps they'll come to appreciate the series if they think of it as one of those in-universe television programs the iM@S characters themselves occasionally feature in as actresses.

Dated 29 January 2018: DARLING in the FRANXX is more than a one-way reflection

Delphinium
The robots are named after flowers, but I don't know if there is any meaning to it.

Studio Trigger's Gainax heritage basically guarantees I'll give any of its shows a try. They haven't all been hits, but I'll generally find at least something to enjoy. DARLING in the FRANXX is Studio Trigger's two-cours science fiction partnership with A-1 Pictures featuring giant robots and lots of sexual allegories. The show is not at all subtle, with wall-to-wall metaphors about marriage, intercourse, orgasm, infidelity, and polyandry. And that's just the first three episodes. Unfortunately, it also stars an exceptionally dull teenage boy (because of course it does). At least he isn't a whiny brat, I guess. (That role was already taken by one of the supporting cast.)

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Dated 4 September 2017: It's Google Sheets' fault I did not blog about Kuromukuro

Yukina
I wanted to like Kuromukuro. It didn't work out.

Spreadsheets killed anime blogging. At least that's my excuse for not even having a Kuromukuro category until now. I wanted to like this show, but it turned out to be too irritating to watch. I mostly bitched about it on the IRC and probably also the Twitter when it aired in spring 2016. (I dropped it before the second cours began summer 2016.) Anyway, here is a tardy, low-effort collection of gripes for y'all to skim over.

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Dated 5 June 2017: Re:CREATORS is my favorite show this season

Mamika
Magikal girls have the strongest conviction.

I'm rather pleased Re:CREATORS will be two cours even though it means the pace is somewhat leisurely. Or, at least it seems that way because it happens to be the sort of show where the viewer constantly feels as if something could happen at any minute. "Gunpuku," who we now know is named Altair, seems content to let things unfold without haste, an attitude which gives greater impact to the violence of her actions when she suddenly snaps in response to an emotional trigger. It's a great scene, regardless of how you feel about the outcome, and where your personal loyalties lie.

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Dated 10 April 2017: Re:CREATORS evolved from light novels

Souta
Looks like 2016, going by the calendar.

From what I've been able to gather based on the first episode, the basic premise of Re:CREATORS involves the arrival of various characters from contemporary popular fiction to the land of their authors: Japan. That is, rather than Potato-kun getting hit by a truck and reincarnating in a fantasy world, characters from these fantasy light novel, video game, and/or anime worlds are transported to Japan instead. There have been shows with similar premises (e.g., Hataraku Maou-sama!), but this twist is still fresh enough to give Re:CREATORS the edge in capturing my attention this season.

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Dated 19 December 2016: Bubuki Buranki is best if you've seen it already

Kinoa, Shizuru, and Kogane
Also, the faces are top-rate.

The first time I watched the first season Bubuki Buranki, I didn't think it was very good. It wasn't until after Epizo's introduction that the show really clicked for me, although I enjoyed the fight between Kinoa and her ex-boyfriend during which his attacks consisted entirely of literal flashbacks to their Meet Cute and early relationship. Upon re-watching the first season, though, I loved the show and its absurd excuses to feature giant robots punching things at the whim of angry teenagers making faces. Perhaps I was just late in appreciating the motivations and relationships among the various factions.

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Dated 15 April 2016: For crying out loud, don't watch Do You Remember Love? first

Minmay
Hikaru-vision.

We've got a new Macross series now, and by the looks of it (through the first two episodes, at least), it seems to be pretty good. As a Macross fan, I'm glad to see the new series get positive attention, but this renewed interest is not without pitfalls. Some neophyte fans attempt to get a feel for the Macross universe by watching the Do You Remember Love? (Chō Jikū Yōsai Macross: Ai Oboete Imasu ka) movie before they watch the original series. Look, don't do that.

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Dated 21 November 2015: She's not heavy, she's my Object

Milinda
Eyes on the road, toots.

I first learned of Heavy Object when I encountered an enthusiastic blog post celebrating the light novel's manga adaptation probably about five years ago. I hadn't heard of the title previously, but the blogger's excitement inspired me to at least give it a try. I gave up in disgust after five chapters, coincidentally also the end of the (first) manga's publication, as it turned out. Ostensibly, Heavy Object is a science fiction story about pitting fantastic huge fighting machines against each other in a futuristic war. Unfortunately, it was clearly written by someone who didn't know fuck all about war and didn't give a shit about conducting any research or addressing even the most obvious and painfully distracting plot holes. (I didn't know at the time that the author also wrote A Certain Magical Index. Man, that explains so much.) Given that the currently airing anime adaptation covers the same source material as the manga adaptation, it was obvious I would be predisposed to dislike the Heavy Object anime as well. Well, yeah. I do sort of loathe this anime. I'm still watching it, though, even though with eight episodes down I'm only about a third through its two-cour run. I'm not watching it "ironically" and I don't typically hate-watch shows, but there's something about it that prevents me from simply ignoring it, and I think I've figured out what it is.

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