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Dated 4 June 2024: Unnamed Memory is a mess

Tinasha and Oscar
I'm disappointed the law of conservation of mass does not apply to cat-mode Tinasha.

Remember when I said, "I like Unnamed Memory even though it feels rushed"? Yeah, about that... Well, it definitely still feels rushed in ways that are absolutely to its detriment. Basically all of the plot beats in the anime seem to occur arbitrarily without being properly introduced or established in any sort of way that I should care about. I have to assume the books are not like this, but I don't know why the anime adaptation would choose to depict events this way. With only a few episodes left in the cours, it's unsalvageable.

Tinasha
I'm disappointed fan art does not dwell on the weird tan lines Tinasha should have.

In fact, I'm so unsatisfied with the Unnamed Memory anime that I have zero interest in reading the books even though they're all but guaranteed to be better. That doesn't matter anymore. To be clear, I had considered it initially. The series is complete and only six volumes long. Maybe I wouldn't end up liking it, but there was enough positive buzz about it that I was willing to read the first volume and see how it goes. Nope, not anymore. The anime isn't bad enough for me to drop it entirely this close to the end, but it is bad enough to kill any interest I might have in uncovering what potentially went wrong.

Dated 7 May 2024: I like Unnamed Memory even though it feels rushed

Tinasha
You can tell "teenage" Tinasha has work to do because she's wearing gloves..

Unnamed Memory is about a prince who can't get anyone pregnant without killing her. This is because of a curse, not because of any inherent baby-making quirks and features driving him. At least that's what the witch who cursed him said. I don't think he's actually tested it. Anyway, his proposed solution involves impregnating a powerful witch (a different witch) who can withstand his cursed precious bodily fluids instead of queuing up unsuspecting or risk-happy regular-type women and hoping for the best, or seeing if a baby can gestate in a box. (The witch can survive the curse because of her powerful magic, not because she's built up a tolerance to iocane sperm.) It's basically that Re:Zero comic asking if witches can get pregnant, if you think too much about it.

Tinasha and Oscar
Don't let the height-difference antis find out about this 'ship.

Tinasha, the witch in question, looks like a teenage girl when he initially propositions her, but this doesn't seem to factor into his request in any way. It's fine. She's old. Maybe not Frieren old, but old enough to mention Oscar Lyeth Increatos Loz Farsas (the prince dude) bears a resemblance to his great-grandfather when he was the same age. It doesn't matter, since Tinasha ages up to a more 20-something appearance shortly thereafter because of Reasons, and she's going to work on removing his curse the magic way anyway. Don't worry about it.

Lucrezia, Tinasha, and Oscar
I guess she's not that short.

I was expecting a dumber light-novel tone from this setup, but the show has been surprisingly all right so far. It does feel rushed, though, as if the anime adaptation may be blowing through the source material. Another possibility is maybe the books contain more insights into the characters' inner thoughts that aren't reflected in the show. In any case, I feel as if there hasn't been sufficient on-screen attention to developing the relationship between Tinasha and Oscar. Most of their scenes together involved verbal sparring, so it's not as if he's been trying to sweet talk her. Their testy exchanges don't quite work as romantic banter, and if you subscribe to the theory that the most effective way to court a woman is to be an asshole, he hasn't been doing that either.

Tinasha
I don't think "adult" Tinasha looks much different.

For now, I'm going to chalk it up to the limitations of the single-cours anime framework that plagues us, and appreciate that the show is still interesting despite its faults. There's also the looming possibility everything we've observed in the series thus far is false or manipulated. We know memories in this world can be untrustworthy (because of witches fucking with them), and there's no way to know this predicament doesn't extend to the main cast. There's also the matter of Tina's claim that she can't reverse time, which honestly only raises a lot of questions already answered by her claim that she can't reverse time.

Dated 2 April 2024: More about Spring 2024

Nadeshiko, Reimi, and Akira
Where we're going, we don't need roads.

Last week, I provided a quick rundown of what I expect to watch this season. This post augments that one by including additional titles that I plan to try, but won't necessarily watch all the way through. By the time I finally post this, the first episode of Shuumatsu Train Doko e Iku (Where Does the Doomsday Train Go? or Train to the End of the World) should be out. This is an original anime with Mizushima Tsutomu attached, so I'm more optimistic about it than the rest of the shows I'm considering. In many of those cases, I've only read potentially misleading descriptions and won't even have necessarily watched the corresponding trailers.

Mira
I don't know anything about you.

Astro Note is one of those anime I know nothing about. I believe the first episode has already leaked, but I remain wholly ignorant about its contents aside from learning it's an original anime. It's enough to warrant a try out of general principle.

Hoshino
Have I even seen any fan art of you? You don't look familiar at all.

Blue Archive I know only from fan art. Based on that, I'm confident the series will be about scantily clad schoolgirls making passes at their teacher while toting around firearms designed by people who know absolutely fuck all about guns. I did watch a trailer, and it mostly seems to feature only the shrimpy kids. Where are all the aerodynamic students?! Are the shrimpy girls the ones who are popular among those who actually play the game? Did fan art lead me astray?

Haruka
I assume this has nothing to do with Boukyaku no Senritsu.

Boukyaku Battery (Oblivion Battery) is a baseball anime with an amnesia gimmick. Curiously, it's the catcher who lost his memory, and not the pitcher. I could totally see how this story would work with a now-clueless pitcher taking cues from a knowledgeable catcher (you know, like in Bull Durham), but having a catcher who doesn't know what he's doing sounds like a bad time for a battery. I also noticed there's an ONA from 2020 with these characters except set after high school, while this new TV series is set at the beginning of high school. I'm not sure what the deal is, but I'm going to assume the ONA adapted material from later in the original manga, and it's not the TV series aging everyone down to make them more relatable to an adolescent audience.

As for the rest of the new Spring 2024 anime that I'm going to try out...

  • Jii-san Baa-san Wakagaeru (Grandpa and Grandma Turn Young Again). Everything I know about this comes from its title. I can't tell from the promo art if I'm looking at the couple while they're old, but they look oddly young, or if I'm seeing them when they're already young again, but they still look oddly old.
  • Unnamed Memory. @frog_kun raved about the source material years ago. My taste and hers often don't align, and she tends to be a lot more enthusiastic than I am about the same titles, but it's still enough of an endorsement to warrant a try.
  • SeiyÅ« Radio no Ura Omote (The Two Sides of Voice Actor Radio). Hasegawa Ikumi is in it. I don't think she's voicing one of the leads, though.
  • Ooi! Tonbo is about golf. Eh. Golf.
  • NIJIYON ANIMATION 2. Yeah, I'm watching more because they're making more. It's a vicious cycle.

Dated 5 September 2023: Akikan! really is WORSE THAN COSPRAYERS

Budoko
Maybe Budoko gets more pleasant as the show progresses.

I started watched Akikan! (Empty Can!) as it aired during the Winter 2009 anime season, but I quit because I thought it was WORSE THAN COSPRAYERS. However, the irritating voice of a character introduced in the third episode did influence my decision to drop it then. As it turns out, this character's seiyuu was Yuuki Aoi, who has since gone on to have a successful career. She's rather popular, and I enjoy her work too, so I started second-guessing my 2009 self's opinions. Could it have really been that bad?

Najimi and Budoko
I admit Budoko's character design is amusing when she doesn't talk.

As it turns out, yes, it really was that bad. Budoko is a bratty, child-sized grape soda who speaks in a deliberately annoying voice. I think Yuuki Aoi was only 16 years old herself when she recorded the role, but I don't think being less experienced necessarily impaired her voice acting ability. If anything, she was probably too good at bringing a loathsome soda can to, err, life.

Melon and Kakeru
This scene is about erections.

I did actually try to watch further this time around, but I still only made it to episode four. Noto Mamiko voices a new can (a sports drink), but it's just not worth it. I don't know if the type of humor and tropes that saturate Akikan! are especially dated now. It's not as if I enjoyed humor of this variety in 2009 either. However, it also doesn't seem like the comedy styles found here are common in anime anymore. Possibly this is because I simply don't watch as many shows like this now, or maybe they're less common in general now that anime lineups are all isekai all the time. In any case, I suspect nobody besides boys discovering anime for the first time ever found the jokes in Akikan! funny either.

Dated 29 August 2023: The Summer 2023 Anime Season So Far

Mie and Komura
Enjoy this apple. Or else.

Somehow, Suki na Ko ga Megane wo Wasureta (The Girl I Like Forgot Her Glasses) is my top show this season. I say "somehow," but I know why: It's because the girl Potato-kun likes squints when she doesn't have her glasses (which is often), and it makes her look angry as fuck all the time. This is a dumb gimmick, but I love it. The juxtaposition between her appearance and her demeanor is so good. More surprisingly, outside of the trailer and first episode that made everyone (including me) assume GoHands was going to commit anime crimes all season long, the visuals have been fine. If anything, I'm sort of disappointed it looks as normal as it does. Maybe Sukimega would be a bottom-tier show during most quarters, but you go to Seasonal Anime War with the shows you have, not the shows you wish you had.

Ageha
Carcinization.

Hirogaru Sky! Precure is only sort of average as far as Pretty Cure seasons go, but it's such a step up from Delicious Party♡Precure that it seems wonderful in comparison. God, they really fucked that one up. Anyway, Hirogaru Sky! has made notable changes to the existing Pretty Cure formula. It has a "blue" lead instead of a "pink" one, it has an adult Cure, and it has the franchise's first male Cure. Nevertheless, despite these departures, the series as a whole seems really...normal.

Misha and Anos
Not even bothering to make a magic umbrella.

Maou Gakuin no Futekigousha: Shijou Saikyou no Maou no Shiso, Tensei shite Shison-tachi no Gakkou e Kayou II (The Misfit of Demon King Academy: History’s Strongest Demon King Reincarnates and Goes to School with His Descendants Season 2) re-started after a mid-season interruption that forced a delay for the remaining episodes of the cours. It's a lot of magic bullshit, none of which seems as interesting to me as the first season's Misha and Sasha content, but I haven't gotten tired of the constant ass pulls yet.

Yohane, Lailaps, and Dia
Dia still sucks, though.

Genjitsu no Yohane: SUNSHINE in the MIRROR (YOHANE THE PARHELION -SUNSHINE in the MIRROR-) needs more music. And where the Hell is SAINT SNOW? C'mon. I mostly like what it's doing anyway. It's had a few twists that are sort of interesting. I'm not sure I'm entirely on board with what the series has planned for what I presume will be a big finish, but I'm willing to give it the benefit of the doubt. The Yohane focus has rehabilitated my opinion of Love Live! Sunshine!! to some degree, but I still think Nijigasaki and Superstar are superior installments overall.

Dated 15 August 2023: I should probably re-watch Hibike! Euphonium

Reina
Softcream Summer.

I was mostly ambivalent about Hibike! Euphonium (clumsily localized as Sound! Euphonium) when it first came out, despite being Internet-adjacent to school-band veterans and fans of Kyoto Animation. I basically thought it looked great, but was otherwise mostly merely fine. It's why I've mentioned it so little on this blog. However, in hindsight and with its movies behind me (albeit also sort of a long time ago now), my opinion of the series has improved in retrospect. Meaning, I think I like it more now? Or at least I like what I remember of the series more now.

Mirei and Kumiko
Tall newbie is tall.

However, I don't know if I would actually like it more if I re-watched it. Seeing as how I'm watching relatively few shows during the current season, I could probably just binge watch it all and find out for sure. Other people did. There's a good excuse for it now: A new OVA is already out, and there's even more Euphonium on the way soon.

Kumiko
Does this qualify as an Asuka cameo?.

Actually, I did re-watch Hibike! Euphonium Movie 3: Chikai no Finale (Sound! Euphonium: Our Promise: A Brand New Day), and now I'm going to spoil the Bejesus out of something that has been bugging me since I first watched it years ago. (This is your last warning: I'm gonna do it even though Kumiko probably doesn't even believe in Bejesus.) Asuka shows up. She almost certainly used the arrival of Kaori and Haruka as a distraction so she could flank Kumiko and fluff her defenseless poofy hair from behind.

Asuka's postcard
Слава Україні!

And then she disappears in seconds despite (or because of) Kumiko's very obvious desire to reconnect with her. It's how Asuka do. But I gotta ask, "What was on that postcard Asuka gave to her before leaving?" I don't think the movie explains this at all, but I presume the books do. My guess is I'm way overthinking it, and probably it's simply a postcard that Asuka had received and happened to have with her. But by giving it to Kumiko, she indirectly passes along her current address, thereby offering Kumiko a way to reach her in the future. It didn't seem like they had exchanged contact information previously. Anyway, this is a rhetorical question. I'm happy to wait for future Euphonium installments to elaborate on the exchange in due time (or never explain it), even if it means waiting years more.

Dated 10 August 2023: Here we go again (Umimi 2023)

Million Live! CD, front
Oh my God, The Million Live! anime really happening.

Dated 25 July 2023: The Girl I Like Forgot Her Glasses is not a GoHands atrocity

Kaede
The girl you like is a mental case, Potato-kun.

I am going to go ahead and claim Suki na Ko ga Megane wo Wasureta is good, actually. Or rather, it's good for sufficiently unclear definitions of good. I probably can't reasonably claim that The Girl I Like Forgot Her Glasses is objectively good, but it is the Summer 2023 series that I am looking forward to the most each week. Notably, the jarring visual flair associated with GoHands in recent years is toned down considerably compared to something like 2017's Hand Shakers, for example. In fact, I'm going to claim the visuals are my favorite part of Sukimega.

Maho, Ai, and Asuka
Look at how pissed off she looks while casually greeting her friends. This is the best.

Specifically, I thoroughly enjoy how Potato-kun's love interest spends nearly all of her screen time squinting. It makes her appear constantly cross. (This is an actual plot point.) That's it. That's the entire reason and 100-percent of the show's appeal to me. (It's good squinting, Brent!) I do wish the series had more going for it. At least Potato-kun doesn't actively irritate me all the time anymore. Ai being helplessly blind without her glasses is a repetitive joke that mostly makes her appear, ah, not very smart, unfortunately. The romance angle is fine, I guess. It's neither good nor bad in my view. The wall-to-wall angry squinting, however, is world class. Good job, GoHands.