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Dated 22 June 2021: The End of DYNAZENON ~Back Arrow/My Fluorite Eye's Singular Point Song for Thee~

Mujina
This is a picture of Mujina that doesn't show her thighs.

First off, SSSS.DYNAZENON is excellent. After this show and SSSS.GRIDMAN, I feel like Studio Trigger has finally figured out how to convey the sort of interpersonal tension and emotional baggage that they were trying to get right in Kiznaiver. As you may have surmised, the kaiju monster v. robot battles in SSSS.DYNAZENON are sort of incidental to the show's success. I mean, they're entertaining, but the series really is about the characters.

Koyomi and Chika
Both of them get their shit together. P.S. Spoilers.

If there's a weak spot, it's that I never cared that much about Yomogi. He's fine, but Koyomi (the NEET) had a much more interesting character arc. The bait & switch SSSS.GRIDMAN pulled with its leads was critical to its success, and I was sort of hoping SSSS.DYNAZENON would do something similar, but it worked out anyway. I don't know what this next thing is going to be, but I am looking forward to more.

Ren
I like it when they show the hidden eye of hidden-eye characters.

As I said recently, Back Arrow is bullshit. Appropriately, its ending is also bullshit, and none of that matters because I wouldn't have it any other way. Do the end-of-series reveals make any sense? Enough so, I guess. Do I wish they seemed more sensible? Not at all. How much you enjoy this show very much depends on your expectations for it. Ideally, you should expect scenery to get chewed. And how.

Vivy
I came here to sing songs and kick ass, and I'm all out of songs. (Well, except one.)

Based on reactions I saw on the Twitter and elsewhere, reactions to the ending of Vivy -Fluorite Eye’s Song- are generally negative. I think most of the dissatisfaction has to do with logical inconsistencies, lazy storytelling, and not making any damn sense. Basically every criticism I've seen has been valid, although I'm considerably more positive about the show overall than its detractors. Potentially, this has to do with expectations and me setting a pretty low narrative hurdle for Vivy to clear. Possibly, I just have a soft spot for singing robots the way Jenny Nicholson has a soft spot for animatronics.

Mei
Extremely loose birth control glasses is somebody's fetish.

Godzilla Singular Point also recently ended. Y'know, there was a lot less Godzilla in a show about Godzilla than I was expecting. Unfortunately, what the show was mostly about was barely comprehensible technobabble. It had some neat ideas, but I'm not really sure a Godzilla anime was the right vehicle for it. Really, they could have just done that story on its own, separately, without involving Godzilla at all. (And they almost sort of did.) The other part of Singular Point, though, with the dudes and their extremely Kugimiya Rie robot, was a lot more fun, even if none of those characters wore birth control glasses.

Mei and Lina
Lucky for Mei, her extremely loose birth control glasses stay on when she runs.

I still enjoyed Godzilla Singular Point overall, but I don't know that I would recommend it to anyone who isn't obsessed with grad students who always dress like it's laundry day. For that matter, SSSS.DYNAZENON is probably the only one of these four that I would recommend without qualification. Back Arrow, I can recommend to people who enjoy bullshit and fucked-up bangs. Vivy -Fluorite Eye’s Song-, I can recommend to people with fond memories of Chuck E. Cheese. Also, robosexuals.

Dated 1 June 2021: I like Back Arrow because it is bullshit

Atlee
I like Atlee even though I don't know how her hat stays on.

Back Arrow caught my eye prior to the Winter 2021 anime season because it was listed as a two-cours original anime. That suggested the show would have a reasonably well-developed story leading to a conclusive, coherent ending. Through 21 episodes so far, it's definitely got a story, and it seems to be headed toward an actual ending, but I don't know if I'd call it well-developed or coherent. Fortunately, Back Arrow doesn't really seem to need to be either of those things. It's gotten pretty entertaining simply by layering on more and more inexplicable developments. I suspect the ending will still leave a number of aspects unaddressed, but—based on the way it's getting there—it sort of doesn't matter. What I'm saying is Back Arrow is not only bullshit, it is now wall-to-wall bullshit and has been all season. It's pretty great.

Ren
I want to see what Ren's hair looks like right out of a shower.

Moreover, Back Arrow has also done a reasonably good job juggling its fairly sizable cast. Before the show started, I had preconceptions about which characters would get the most screen time. Thankfully, nearly all of my predictions were wrong, and the show devotes a considerable amount of attention to the more interesting characters while sidelining the, frankly, more boring-er ones. Nevertheless, I do still wish Ren Sin and her Han Megumi brilliance would get more scenes. I've still got quite an appetite for her constantly angry attitude, even if she does have fucked-up bangs.

Dated 4 May 2021: I'm enjoying SSSS.DYNAZENON

Yume
I love how unaccommodating the ergonomics are for flying this thing.

As with SSSS.GRIDMAN before it, SSSS.DYNAZENON is not really about either giant robots or kaiju. Rather, it is about the human struggles affecting the characters themselves. After five episodes, the most consequential plot line in the show appears to be Yume's quest to learn more about her older sister and come to grips with her death. Sure, there is that whole kaiju thing and people reappearing from 5000 years ago, but Yume's got a lot going on, okay.

Mei and Yume
Yume is basically an entirely different person around someone she trusts.

Nevertheless, she still finds time to go to giant-robot practice (I love that they have actual giant-robot practice) and seems to have embraced this whole fighting monsters thing as a reasonable part of her life. Unfortunately, SSSS.DYNAZENON has not yet abandoned Potato-kun as a protagonist. Sidelining Yuuta in favor of Rikka and Akane was one of the best things SSSS.GRIDMAN ever did. I'm not saying Yomogi is entirely worthless, but I really got my hopes up when Chise took an interest in learning how to pilot as well.

Dated 23 February 2021: Back Arrow is full of idiots

Shuu, Bit, and Sola
Here is the stupidest character flanked by the smartest one and the second-smartest one.

I think I enjoy Back Arrow, but these characters are all so dumb. I mean, they're supposed to be, for comedic effect, but it's sort of extraordinary. The villagers are the worst offenders. The series introduces one of the main characters in the first episode by having her rescue—at the last possible second—a child who pretends to accidentally fall off a cliff because she enjoys the thrill of being saved in mid-air. Later, an amnesiac plummets from the sky in a pod. The villagers assume it contains food and start a large fire under it to cook its contents (without checking to see what's in it first). This inspires the pod's mysterious passenger to leap out and create a ruckus. If this is how the village prepares all of its meals, remind me to never eat there.

Ren
Actually, the lady with the fucked-up bangs is probably second-smartest.

Anyway, this is the sort of cartoonish logic that governs the characters' behavior. But at some point, Back Arrow just needs to ditch these villagers. First of all, they worship The Wall because they're superstitious nincompoops. And they are literally dead weight. Like, they're all on this massive mobile battle fortress, and none of them figured out how to turn on the lights. They're still huddling in tents and burning wood to stay warm instead of just taking up inside the dreadnought's living quarters. Maybe they're distrustful of these accommodations because their captive was the one who informed them of these facilities and the galley (which they're also not using, of course, but I've already gone over their culinary failures). Again, this is all done for laughs, but I don't think the gags are going to stay amusing enough to justify dragging these hicks around for two cours. Especially Bit. Fuckin' hate Bit. Kid's worthless.

Dated 15 December 2020: I'm probably less likely to watch Wonder Egg Priority if I find out what it's about before it starts

Ai
Every word in Wonder Egg Priority is English, but that combination has no meaning!

The Winter 2021 anime season is going to be a busy one. Not only are there a mess of sequels coming out, there are also a fair number of anime-original offerings for anyone exhausted from years of light novel adaptations. One such show is Wonder Egg Priority from CloverWorks which recently released a PV but offered basically no other information. I know it features a character with heterochromia and there is at least one dekochin, but I'm otherwise entirely ignorant about it. However, I am curious enough to watch at least the first episode, and it seems likely the anime will at least look good.

Elisha
I guess this post is getting the "Girls With Guns" tag.

The promotional material for another original anime, Back Arrow, features cowboys and giant robots. These are not things I associate with each other (well, there was Bakuretsu Tenshi years ago), so there's the potential for some originality here. It's reportedly going to be at least two cours and I'm reasonably confident Bones isn't going to just half-ass this project. It looks like it has a fairly large cast, too, and I spotted Ueda Reina's name associated with the show. The combination of these factors are enough to get me to at least check it out. The PV could use more robots, though.

Shadow and Reki
Prince of Stride: Alternative at least had Hanakana supporting its racers.

Among the remaining original anime offerings, I'm almost certainly going to ignore all the ones about idols. I'm also staying away from the GoHands project which looks suspiciously like another secret sequel to Hand Shakers. You're not getting me twice, fuckers. On the upside, there is a racing show called SK∞ (SK8 the Infinity) about dudes skateboarding down into a mine shaft while beating the shit out of each other. It probably suffers from not-enough-anime-girls syndrome, but it might turn out to still be entertaining anyway.

Dated 28 January 2019: Egao no Daika teaches a 12-year-old girl that smilewar is all Hell

Yuuki
This queen's bed looks smaller than queen-sized.

Egao no Daika (The Price of Smiles) caught my attention because it is an original anime featuring mecha. But then the initial responses to the first episode suggested it was more about a silly country's 12-year-old monarch trying her best with the assistance of her loyal childhood friend, Potato-kun. Based on those reports alone, I wrote the show off. But then I heard about what happens in episode two and decided to give it a try out of curiosity. Yeah, I am totally on board. Yes, the show still stars a naïve awkward-age girl, but it's actually about a war that Smilestan's Deep State kept hidden from her. Moreover, it's clear from the OP and the ED that Egao no Daika also stars a soldier fighting for the opposing side. Indeed, Ittōheisō Shining has had a more prominent role in the show through its first four episodes than Queen Princess Yuuki.

Stella
I like Hayami Saori in this role, but I'd rather have Dark Mamiko.

Thankfully, Egao no Daika is also not one of those shows where Potato-kun spends half the series wiping out enemy mecha on easy mode before suddenly realizing people die when they are killed. I can at least guarantee this is not going to happen in The Price of Smiles. Rather, soldiers in this show display no hesitation killing their opponents even when they can see the whites of their eyes. There is still some question as to how Yuuki is going to react to the war now that she's getting a crash course in reality. It's more likely than not that she'll continue to oppose it, but other possibilities remain on the table since this is an original anime. Personally, I'm hoping for at least two cours of gripping war melodrama, but we're probably only going to get the 12 episodes scheduled thus far, alas.

Dated 7 January 2019: In re anime materialism

<&Seem> Oof. My overburdened media shelf decided to finally collapse and it took with it all the remaining Macross/Gundam models I'd kept intact and displayed since the early 2000s
<&Seem> Just look at these shattered things and thinking all I can do is toss them in the garbage ( ._.)

Learning of Seem's misfortune reminds me that recovering my own anime merchandise from the inevitable future SoCal earthquake is going to be troublesome. Viewed from the perspective that the things you own end up owning you, there is something perversely attractive about the prospect of going through life with fewer material possessions. I do know people who favor that lifestyle, but fewer still who both favor it and actually embrace it. I, on the other hand, like having things, even though each acquisition incrementally increases the burden and complexity of storing it all and finding new spaces for additional hoarding.

GIRLS und PANZER BD box
Meanwhile, I imported more Japanese BDs.

I'm not prepared to take the position that losing everything in a catastrophe should be viewed as liberating, but hearing about events such as the above does remind me that I don't really have any sort of plan for the Blu-rays I buy and never watch, nor do I have any idea what I'm going to do with my growing collection of anime tchotchkes. I do occasionally see people selling off their stuff on the Twitter, but it sort of seems as if those efforts are intended to ensure the items at least go to people who will appreciate them, rather than to recoup financial value. Probably that's the best case scenario, long term.

Dated 29 October 2018: There are other reasons to watch SSSS.GRIDMAN besides Rikka's thighs, you know

Rikka and Shou
She'll make point five past lightspeed.

If you've been paying attention to the anime Twitter, you've probably noticed the flood of Takarada Rikka pictures. Rikka is a character from SSSS.GRIDMAN who is notable for having unusually large thighs for a tiny anime girl, and also for wearing a long sweater that makes it appear as if she is not wearing any pants. It seems The Fandom deemed this to be a noteworthy combination, and fan artists took note. P.S. Fuck pants.

Akane
You know, I should probably get some blue-light-filtering glasses.

With regard to SSSS.GRIDMAN itself, there is also a bit of buzz about the show since it is a Studio Trigger production that adapts the '90s television series Denkou Choujin Gridman (Gridman the Hyper Agent). I'm not familiar with this series, but I am familiar with Studio Trigger staff's penchant for moments of occasional greatness. (Likewise, I'm also familiar with their penchant for disappointing overly optimistic fans.) Through four episodes, I am enjoying it more than I liked DARLING in the FRANXX from spring and summer 2018, at least.

Akane
This railroad apartment was the perfect place.

The highlight of SSSS.GRIDMAN for me, as you might expect, is the Ueda Reina-voiced Shinjo Akane. I am 100% Team Akane, although she does occasionally kill innocent anime girls. Even more concerning, she's a bit of a slob and inexplicably seems to never take out her garbage. I guess at least it's all bagged, but sheesh. To tell you the truth, I'm not entirely certain whether I find Akane appealing because she's voiced by Ueda Reina or if it's because she's a psychopath, but I suppose there isn't any reason why it can't be both.