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Dated 10 May 2022: Paripi Koumei is not an idol anime, but I'm pairing it with Love Live! Nijigasaki anyway

Eiko and Kongming
It must be inconvenient carrying that thing around all the time.

I initially passed on Paripi Koumei (a contraction of Party People Koumei, but officially localized as Ya Boy Kongming!) because a show about Zhuge Liang (a Chinese strategist from the Three Kingdoms era) reincarnating in modern Japan and adapting his expertise for use within the music industry didn't really appeal to me. However, I kept hearing good things about it, and the OP is really catchy, so here we are.

Eiko
I enjoyed Eiko's bewilderment at her sudden spike in popularity.

It turns out the series really is good. It's also worth pointing out Paripi Koumei is much more about Eiko, a singer who Kongming decides to support, than I had realized before I started watching it. Or, at least it was for its first four episodes. The latest two have been about a rapper who Kongming pursues, and there are more characters from the OP who I still don't recognize, so I don't actually know if Eiko's role will remain as prominent.

Yuu and Kaoruko
Somehow, questions about their hair never come up, though.

Questions about who the series is going to focus on also appear in Love Live! Nijigasaki Gakuen School Idol Doukoukai 2. Besides the already sizable cast, the second cours of Nijigasaki adds new characters who, through six episodes already, haven't honestly appeared very much. From the looks of it, this season is probably going suffer from having too many characters to juggle, just as its first season did.

Setsuna
It's not as if she was stealing recipes from restaurants and fighting Pretty Cure.

I did enjoy the resolution of the whole Setsuna v. Nana secret identity thing, despite never genuinely believing this double life was truly necessary in the first place. Actually, maybe that was its appeal. The absurdity of it all amused me, as did the student body's baffling inability to penetrate her flimsy disguise. It's at least a contributing factor as to why Setsuna (and Nana) have rocketed towards the top of my Love Live! character rankings. (Meanwhile, fellow student council presidents Eli, Ren, and Dia are mired deep in the bottom half of the list.)

Lanzhu
I was expecting you to have done more stuff by now.

I'll probably still enjoy whatever Love Live! Nijigasaki decides to do going forward, but I expect it will be a far cry from Love Live! Superstar!! and its successes. Speaking of which, I hope adding those four new idols doesn't end up ruining the second cours of Superstar!! for me, but that's a whole 'nother topic.

Dated 26 April 2022: The lore in Shokei Shoujo no Virgin Road is actually interesting

Menou
WHAT MAKES THE GREEN GRASS GROW?

I don't have a huge appetite for lore, and often find it enervating (Fate/Grand Order, I'm looking in your direction), but the setting and backstory for Shokei Shoujo no Virgin Road (The Executioner and Her Way of Life) strikes the right balance of being both silly enough and sensible enough for me to appreciate. For example, I'm totally okay with the explanation as to why everyone in this isekai destination speaks modern Japanese.

Menou and Akari
This was a pretty transparent attempt to tee-up some make-up sex later.

I'm also enjoying the casual duplicity that surely taints probably every character's interaction with every other character, even their allies. I have seen some indications on the Twitter that there were some (presumably juvenile) viewers who took the first-episode betrayal rather poorly, but I'm willing to assume those reactions are in the minority, and only came to my attention at all because their outrage amused more seasoned anime fans. Besides, knowing even the bare minimum about the show from the synopsis or the PVs, or potentially even from the title should have provided sufficient notice that the first episode of the series might be somewhat misleading.

Momo
It helps that Momo has nice hair.

In any case, I'm enjoying basically every part of The Executioner and Her Way of Life even though I don't typically pursue anime that correspond with many of its more prominent themes. The light-novel bullshit is fine with me so far, and even the very anime antics of a Kuroko-esque turbo lesbian being used as gags aren't off-putting. Momo is sufficiently exasperated by various hassles frequently enough to round out her character, so I'm mildly pro-Momo at this point. She's quite a step down from the Spring 2022 anime season's other Momo, of course, but that's a really high bar, so don't view it as a strike against the Shokei Shoujo Momo, necessarily.

Dated 5 April 2022: The End of KiseKoi ~Air/My Purest Love for Cosplay~

Marin
Best Girl.

I'm pleased to report Sono Bisque Doll wa Koi wo Suru (My Dress-Up Darling) completed its first cours with a solid finish, capping off a remarkable run well ahead of whatever expectations I may have had prior to starting the series. I'm by no means alone in praising the show as the best from the Winter 2022 anime season, so I'm hopeful we'll see a second cours at some point.

Nowa and Marin
Things I know about Nowa: She has great hair, and is purportedly freakishly strong.

In addition to the factors I've mentioned in my previous posts, the small cast also worked in its favor. I was sure the childhood friend who bitched Wakana out years ago was going to appear at some point, and similarly expected at least one arc involving Marin's friends getting into her business. The fact that neither of these things came to pass is a credit to the storytelling in KiseKoi and the attention it gave to Marin's point of view as her romantic feelings grew.

Wakana and Marin
These are some fireworks.

My Dress-Up Darling consistently defied expectations in these small ways throughout the season, but their impact in the aggregate is considerable. I hope authors and directors of future works take note of this phenomenon. You'd expect a story should need entirely original, novel ideas to gain this benefit, but Sono Bisque Doll wa Koi wo Suru demonstrated simply not following familiar tropes to their specific expected destinations can be enough to transform scenes that would otherwise have been unremarkable.

Dated 8 March 2022: Sono Bisque Doll wa Koi wo Suru remains the best series of the Winter 2022 anime season

Wakana and Marin
They're not panties, so it's not embarrassing.

Through nine episodes, Sono Bisque Doll wa Koi wo Suru (My Dress-Up Darling, also KiseKoi for short) continues to outperform even the most optimistic expectations I initially had for it. Two factors are primarily responsible for how it has accomplished this. First, it is sincere about its subject matter. Second, the series subvert clichés, even though it's mostly doing it in only small ways.

Marin, Sajuna, and Wakana
Marin has good hair.

With regard to the first point, I can't claim to know anything about cosplay, but KiseKoi seems earnest about the subject. The anime's instructional segments also seem framed to be accessible, informative, and sort of encouraging to neophytes who may have an interest in getting into cosplay themselves.

Marin
There is fan service, but that's not what makes KiseKoi good..

Concerning the second point, I'm pleased with how My Dress-Up Darling presents common anime tropes. There are a lot of scenes with setups that are extremely familiar to anyone who has watched a lot of anime. However, they end up playing out differently from the norm. This is not to say KiseKoi is subverting these conventions, but it's remarkable how simply executing them in ways slightly differently than usual makes all the difference.

Marin
It's not easy being anime.

To some degree, the success Sono Bisque Doll wa Koi wo Suru achieves by simply doing things right is an indictment against all those other anime that end up being mostly mediocre because they seem to embrace shortcomings viewers regard as avoidable. Well, maybe My Dress-Up Darling is an example of how good an anime can be as a result of doing small things right. I should probably also mention the romance part of the series, since KiseKoi, you know, is a romantic comedy after all. However, I'm going to wait and see how it all progresses and just state, for now, that the anime is also handling this aspect well.

Dated 25 January 2022: Sono Bisque Doll wa Koi wo Suru is about liking who you like

Marin and Wakana
I haven't seen any fan art yet of a younger Marin with all-pink hair.

I typically only write one blog entry for each anime I watch these days. On occasion, a series will receive a post at the start of the season and a follow-up at its conclusion, but it's probably just as likely for me to ignore a show altogether. It works out this way because I only update this blog about once per week, which limits some options if the number of shows I sample every season exceeds the number of weeks they run.

Marin
You should have stolen his outdoor shoes.

Simply put, A LOT of new anime comes out these days. Moreover, while the 80-percent-of-everything-is-crap maxim holds, it still suggests the sheer amount of worthwhile shows now is greater than it's ever been, nostalgic biases notwithstanding. Basically, every season now includes at least a dozen anime I find interesting enough to try. Except, I guess, this season.

Marin, Nowa, and Wakana
I continue to admire Nowa's two-toned twin-tailed hair.

Discounting never-ending staples such as Pretty Cure and Detective Conan (and I guess Demon Slayer almost counts now), I'm only following two shows: Akebi-chan no Sailor Fuku (Akebi’s Sailor Uniform) and Sono Bisque Doll wa Koi wo Suru (My Dress-Up Darling, A.K.A. KiseKoi). I honestly can't remember the last time I followed so few shows; at a minimum, it has been more than a decade. Even during the Covid-disrupted seasons early in the pandemic, I was watching more shows than I am now.

Marin
I'm being serious when I claim Akebi-chan is a lewder show than KiseKoi.

Since I'm not especially taken with Akebi-chan, this likely means KiseKoi is going to get a disproportionally high number of blog entries—and it sort of deserves it. Through its first three episodes, KiseKoi has hit its marks without belaboring the foreseeable conflicts its setup requires it to address. In doing so, it has avoided the standard pitfalls I've come to expect.

Akebi
For one thing, the girls in Akebi-chan keep their fingernails trimmed short.

This is not to say KiseKoi is breaking new ground. Marin is very much a manic pixie dream girl, but she is a personable one, so I can understand why she exploded in popularity among fan artists. I don't know for certain how well I would regard My Dress-Up Darling during a more crowded season, but I'm at least inclined to believe I would equally appreciate the little things it has been doing so well so far.

Dated 7 December 2021: Neither Getsuyoubi no Tawawa 2 nor Ganbare Douki-chan need a blog entry, but they're getting one anyway

Maegami-chan
I know it's her (other) gimmick, but these are some fucked-up bangs.

Getsuyōbi no Tawawa 2 (Tawawa on Monday 2) is a follow-up to an Autumn 2016 adaption of Himura Kiseki's weekly illustrations that publish on the Twitter every Monday. There's continuity and regular characters whose lives intersect with otherwise unrelated story arcs. But really it's just an exercise in randy situation comedies involving enormous breasts. The anime episodes are short and faithfully follow the various stories, but it still looks weird to me without the blue-ink monochrome of the source material.

Douki-chan
Never gonna happen.

Ganbare Dōki-chan (You Can Do It Dōki-chan) is another anime short and was paired with the Tawawa sequel for its debut because the Douki-chan artist and the Getsuyōbi no Tawawa artist collaborate on occasion. Unlike the Tawawa illustrations, Douki-chan follows a single story arc. Its titular heroine is a lovesick office lady who lacks the confidence to express her feelings to the co-worker she admires. Complicating the effort are myriad assertive rivals who always seem to appear at inopportune moments. Both Getsuyōbi no Tawawa 2 and Ganbare Dōki-chan have already concluded their 12-episode runs because they started toward the end of the Summer 2021 anime season. As anime adaptations go, they were all right, but it's good their episodes were short. I don't think either would have worked with full-length episodes.

Dated 30 November 2021: Love Live! Superstar!! is the best Love Live! anime

Kanon
Despite appearances, Kanon is good at waking up in the morning.

Love Live! Superstar!! only had 12 episodes, but they spanned both the Summer 2021 and Autumn 2021 anime seasons in order to accommodate the Tokyo Olympics. It was also the best Love Live! anime of the franchise, for basically all the reasons SDS already covered at Ogiue Maniax. I presume others have also expressed the same view for similar reasons, and maybe I'd even know about them if anime blogging weren't dead.

Kanon and Kanon
This child is full of lies.

Notably, its lead, Shibuya Kanon, felt most like a genuine person among all the various characters of the Love Live! cinematic universe galaxy. I understand there are Honoka fans with a great deal of fondness for that character's development, but I've always regarded her as a casualty of a franchise that I find (as a whole) sort of off-putting in myriad minor ways that clearly don't bother real fans. Still, this is why I can't consider myself an actual Love Live! fan, and it's why I'm ambivalent about the show most of the time.

Kanon, Chisato, Sumire, Keke, and Ren
The all-singing, all-dancing 3DCG has come a long way.

However, Love Live! Superstar!! really got it right by keeping its cast of idols smaller than those of its predecessors. Devoting more time to them individually gave me, as a viewer, more opportunities to find reasons to care about them. True, Keke and Sumiere seem more like "wacky characters" than "actual characters." Likewise, Ren and Chisato seem more like capital-S, capital-C Supporting Characters to me than members of an ensemble cast.

Kanon
I still like Kanon best even though she has fucked-up hair.

In that sense, Kanon is the only True Character of the series, which I guess is why I regard Love Live! Superstar!! as being her show. Consequently, I guess she's also the titular superstar by default. I mean, she's not a superstar in the way that Sheryl Fuckin' Nome is a God damn superstar, but I've got no problem naming her as the overall Love Live! BEST GIRL. That she achieves this by tackling relatable problems and without the benefit (benefit?) of high-tension melodrama is a testament to what the franchise finally got right.

Dated 9 November 2021: Taishou Otome Otogibanashi might actually be playing it straight

Yuzuki and Tamahiko
Kiss her, you idiot.

Taishō Otome Otogibanashi (Taishō Otome Fairy Tale) is about a Taishou-era 17-year-old rich kid who loses the use of his right arm in a car accident that also kills his mother. Subsequently, his hateful father banishes him out of sight to a house overlooking a small village. Oh, and the father buys the guy a tiny, freakishly cheerful, 14-year-old girl to be the dour boy's wife.

Yuzuki and Tamahiko
Those are some colorful straps.

I was expecting some plot twists leading to melodrama, or at least a revelation or two about why the girl is so pleasant all the time despite her predicament. Tamahiko, the boy, has a fairly negative outlook on the world, and the series balances this with Yuzuki's constant—and apparently earnest—cheerfulness. After five episodes, it's looking less and less like Yuzuki might be harboring some dark secret. Maybe this series really is what it appears to be.

Tamako and Tamahiko
Dude's 12-year-old sister turned out to be okay.

I will be disappointed if Yuzuki simply has no problems with being sold as a child bride to a complete stranger to help cover a family member's debt, and lacks any agency or complex character traits of her own. It's probably also worth pointing out some similarities to Ai Yori Aoshi also exist, at least on the surface level. Unfortunately, as flawed as Ai Yori Aoshi is, it still bests Taishou Otome Otogibanashi in terms of both drama and romance. Nevertheless, I plan to continue watching Taisho Otome Fairy Tale. The show itself is fine. I don't genuinely have any meaningful issues with it, even if it is seemingly offensive in principle.