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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.

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 22 March 2022: Waiting on Delicious Party♡Precure

Cure Precious
I feel like the mascot should at least have a helmet.

There have been five episodes of Delicious Party♡Precure so far, but it's been two weeks since the last episode, and current projections estimate it will be at least another two more before episode six airs. (Toei is reportedly delaying the broadcast as it assesses the extent of a cybersecurity breach.) As a result, the third Cure of the initial trio has been left waiting in the wings. Her character hasn't even really been properly introduced yet. She's only appeared in minor scenes, typically involving her meals being ruined.

Ran
Miss Not Appearing In This Show.

Although there is no rigid formula, Pretty Cure has commonly introduced its main cast fairly quickly. The lead Cure will get her powers in the first episode, another girl will become a Pretty Cure in the second episode, and so forth. In the case of Delicious Party♡Precure (based on the titles of the upcoming episodes), it doesn't appear the third girl (Ran) will get her powers until episode seven, maybe in the middle of April if all goes well. It's not a huge delay for a series that runs for a full year, but it's still nearly two months later than the norm.

Gentle
Nice hat.

On the plus side, the character design for Pretty Cure's first-round adversary this season (voiced by Kayano Ai), is a GAME-BREAKING HOME RUN. Just look at that outfit! So good. I do think that her name, Gentle (ジュントルー), is sort of silly, even though I was totally okay with past names such as Bunbee, for example. I keep hearing that Gentle is supposed to be somewhat of a pacifist (and she did make a statement sort of against violence in an early episode), but I'm not seeing this reflected in the battles from the first five episodes. Maybe what she really means is she won't straight-up punch Cure Yum-Yum in the mouth, assuming Cure Yum-Yum ever joins this show.

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.