Version 5.4 ~ Haruhi gave rock and roll to you.
karmaburn.com karmaburn.com

Dated 22 November 2022: Collecting Kantai with the ships you have

Shigure
I like Shigure because she has nice hair.

Is it necessary to watch the first season of Kantai Collection before watching the current anime? No, but it turns out the answer is no for an atypical reason: Because it wouldn't help. This is to say that my ignorance of Kancolle as a franchise—despite having watched the first anime nearly EIGHT YEARS AGO still leaves me with an incomplete understanding about KanColle: Itsuka Ano Umi de (KanColle: Let's Meet at Sea). I've also watched the movie. That doesn't help, either.

Mogami
I might have recognized you if you had more fan art.

Through three episodes (it started late), there's nothing I remember of the previous Kancolle anime that would assist me with the second season. What would really help is a greater understanding of the video game. I would probably also benefit from being more familiar with the actual ships and the naval battles they joined. As it is, I am less invested in the show and its events than I think it wants me to be.

Shigure
Looks humid.

This is not to say that the anime is confusing or difficult to follow, though. The plot so far is straightforward and the characters' motivations are not unclear. What I'm missing are ties to the characters themselves, since I basically don't know any of them. Shigure, the lead, I only know because an old anime blogger used to post about her regularly. She seems okay, but I don't expect to be as moved as I might otherwise be if the season really does turn out to be about her survivor's guilt.

Kongou
Are you going to die this season?

Of course, I don't genuinely know if an emotional connection with these boats is really going to be necessary to get the most out of the long-awaited second season of Kantai Collection. The opening episodes have had a much more serious tone and higher stakes than what I remember of the first season. This could change, but we're quite a distance away at the moment from curry battles and friends who poi all day and POI POI POI all night. Kongou did briefly appear in the most recent episode, though. Maybe her BURNING LOVE remains unquenched.

Dated 11 October 2022: Akulas is not Bakarina

Aileen
If you were really pulling on her arms, those gloves would slip off and she would escape.

First of all, I don't even know if anyone is actually referring to Akuyaku Reijou nano de Last Boss wo Kattemimashita (I'm the Villainess so I'm Taming the Final Boss) as Akulas. Hell, probably as many viewers thought of Otome Game no Hametsu Flag Shika Nai Akuyaku Reijō ni Tensei Shiteshimatta... (My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!) as either Hamehura or Hamefura as they did Bakarina. These light novel titles are an absolute nightmare.

Lilia
Lilia seems really boring and irrelevant, so I'm expecting some huge twist later.

ANYWAY, Akulas, like Bakarina, is an isekai about a girl who reincarnates as a villainess character from a video game that she's been playing. The series is about her efforts to avoid the unfortunate fate that she remembers her character ultimately suffering in the game. Then something-something "the friends we made along the way."

Claude
You can tell he's supposed to be the evil one because of the way he's dressed.

Consequently, comparisons between Akulas and Bakarina are natural, although the two series don't appear to have much else in common, at least not through the first three episodes of Akuyaku Reijou nano de Last Boss wo Kattemimashita. As far as differences go, the Akulas lead is trying to team up with the game world's end boss (who inadvertently kills her character in the game), whereas Bakarina herself concentrates primarily on reversing her inherited character's reputation for being a cunt.

Cedric
Way to fuck it up, you stupid asshole. Now you're left with nothing. Nothing!
Nothing except for your wealth, power, and the girl who you wanted to marry.

Notably, Aileen from I'm the Villainess so I'm Taming the Final Boss seems much more intelligent than Catarina from My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! who—bless her heart—is dumb as all Hell. As far as the shows themselves go, I watched two seasons of Bakarina, and still like it enough that I guess I would still watch more. Thanks to its early start, I'm already a quarter of the way through Akulas. It seems all right, but I'm not especially interested in it. I don't really have any complaints about the series; it's just not my thing. But maybe Lilia will stab someone in the neck later.

Dated 4 October 2022: Which Gundam? Witch Gundam

Aerial
Everybody has a plan until they get Gundamed in the face.

Despite blogging about anime for more than 20 years, I know surprisingly little about the Gundam franchise as a whole. Aside from some inescapable tropes and details, basically everything that I do know comes from Gundam SEED and Gundam SEED Destiny (the only installments that I've watched). Oh, and the compilation movies for the original Mobile Suit Gundam, but that was a long time ago. However, after the prologue to and the first episode of Kidou Senshi Gundam: Suisei no Majo (Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury), I'm fairly confident in assuming regular-type Gundam TV ain't normally like this. And I'm not just saying that because the lead character is a girl.

Suletta and schoolmates
Be nice to the new girl.

I've seem multiple fans describe Mercury Witch Gundam as Utena Gundam, which seems about right to me, with the heavy caveat that I don't know anything about Shoujo Kakumei Utena (Revolutionary Girl Utena) either. It at least fits the stereotypes I've encountered related to Utena. Maybe nobody has turned into a car yet, but it's only been one episode. Basically everything that did happen in the first episode was absurd, and that also fits with my secondhand impression of Utena. Y'know, maybe it's not that weird. Maybe Gundam is always like this and I just never knew. I'm at least aware people get slapped in Gundam, and there is slapping in the first episode of Kidou Senshi Gundam: Suisei no Majo. Maybe it's not that different after all.

Dated 27 September 2022: Summertime Render turned out to be pretty good

Hizuru and Shinpei
He'll be fine.

I haven't seen much discussion of Summertime Render during its two-cours run. This is understandable due to, ah, let's just say, "a variety of reasons," but it is sort of a shame because it's one of the better anime I've watched during 2022 so far. It's not the best one, but it's at least in good company, even if I can't quite figure out whether it's supposed to be Summertime Render, Summer Time Render, Summertime Rendering, or Summer Time Rendering. What a mess.

Shinpei, Ushio, and Mio
Ushio spends much of the show only wearing a swimsuit, but she gets by.

I started watching it because I figured it was going to be an anime about a ghost girlfriend haunting Potato-kun. It turns out it's more about time loops and the challenges faced when confronted by an adversary who is also able to exploit time loops. The events and where they fit in the timeline start to get somewhat complex, and does require a fair amount of attention if the viewer hopes to keep track of who knows what at each particular point in time. Fortunately, the characters have ways of copying and transfering memories quickly, so the show doesn't get bogged down with constant exposition to bewildered accomplices.

Mio
I like Mio's SAKANA shirt.

There is still one episode left in the Summertime Render anime, and I have no idea whether this will be mostly an epilogue, or whether it's going to be a high-intensity scramble to wring out the best-possible outcome from one last opportunity. Hell, I haven't even ruled out the chance that it's going to conclude the series on a cliffhanger. This is a cliffhanger-heavy show in general, so it would be in keeping with the tone of many of the previous episodes. Expect some griping on my part if that happens, though. Still, the source manga has concluded, so things will probably be fine for the final episode. Probably. Maybe.

Dated 10 August 2022: Here we go again (Umimi 2022)

Million Live! CD, front
The Million Live! anime sure is taking its sweet time.

Dated 26 July 2022: Lycoris Recoil is excellent

Chisato
I don't know that Center Axis Relock is the best stance to adopt
while leaping in the air, but I also don't know that it's not.

I wasn't planning on watching Lycoris Recoil because I thought it was another show about girls running a cafe. It turns out it's about girls shooting people. And sometimes running a cafe. I suppose I might have guessed firearms could factor into the series, considering the word recoil is right in the title, but I was surprised at the attention to detail given to its gun-handling scenes. I'm much more used to anime characters who can't even be bothered to use the sights. In contrast, the characters in Lycoris Recoil handle their weapons in convincing ways that reveal the production team clearly did their research, presumably modeling scenes after real-world examples.

Takina
I guess Takina's washing her hair tonight.

This is not to say the gunplay in Lycoris Recoil is entirely authentic, but rather that it looks really good in ways that most anime don't bother with, so I appreciate the extra effort. This is just one factor in the show's favor though. So far, this series has been pretty fun to watch. The story has also kept the viewer in the dark about some obviously significant events that have influenced the setting. It has been doling out information, but in chunks, which is quite an improvement over the more typical practice of just dumping it all out in the first episode.

Fuki and Chisato
It's not Chisato's fault she's better.

The dynamic between the two leads is also engaging. If I had to provide a complaint about Lycoris Recoil, I suppose Chisato's wall-to-wall genki boisterousness is sort of a lot to handle sometimes. Nevertheless, this fits the rest of her personality well, and I enjoy the confidence and casual ease with which she approaches her tasks. Anzai Chika, who played Reina in Hibike! Euphonium, is in this, but she's voicing Chisato. This is sort of surprising since Reina (at least superficially) seems a lot more like Chisato's no-nonsense partner, Takina.

Tokyo Skytree
Somehow, this is Chisato's fault. Allegedly.

Much of the imagery surrounding Lycoris Recoil hints as more ominous developments in the coming episodes. As an original anime, chances are good there will be an actual ending of some sort, or at least not some manner of non-ending ending such as those plaguing shows constrained by external source material. Consequently, I'm looking forward to the rest of the series, particularly considering how often it has pleasantly surprised me so far. Lycoris Recoil has done a lot of things well, so I'm eager to see what it will do next.

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.