Version 5.4 ~ Haruhi gave rock and roll to you.
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Dated 12 November 2018: I've started watching the most popular anime in the world: Goblin Slayer!

Elf and Priestess
This is the highlight of Goblin Slayer! thus far.

I watched the first episode of Goblin Slayer! when it first aired, found it to be a straightforward adaptation of the manga (it was toned down a bit, honestly), and decided not to watch more. After all, I had only read about a volume or so of the manga before losing interest. (I've never read any of the original light novel.) Somewhat predictably, that episode's content generated a lot of discussion on the Information Superhighway about Goblin Slayer! and its relative merits (or lack thereof). The reactions I saw on the Twitter, at least, were almost uniformly negative.

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Dated 5 November 2018: I'm not sure I want to watch a full year of Sword Art Online: Alicization

Kazuto
Relax, he's fine.

I don't regard myself as part of the Sword Art Online fandom, a demographic I associate with "newer" anime fans (newer than me, okay), but at the same time I think I'm much less critical of the franchise than most "old ass" anime fans. Pretty much all of the major criticisms of the anime and its source material are accurate, but I also take the position—somewhat—that it doesn't really matter. Not exactly high praise, indeed, but perhaps sufficient to establish that I am happy to watch Sword Art Online: Alicization, yet not particularly enthused that it is reportedly going to be about 50 episodes long.

Asuna, Midori, and Suguha
Asuna is the best-dressed guest at this hosptial.

I think I've already been spoiled on most of the major Alicization plot developments. At least nothing in first five scene-setting episodes seemed unexpected. This does make me wonder what it is about the show that I'm even anticipating, though. Potentially, I'm only watching because Sword Art Online is a big property and I'm motivated to stay up to date since I've seen all of the anime thus far already. That could be it, but there are plenty of big shows that I've simply abandoned or ignored completely.

Yui, Suguha, and Asuna
If you didn't watch the SAO: Ordinal Scale movie, you may be confused why Yui is here.

I can't even claim to be watching it for the characters, since I'm only modestly fond of Asuna and Yui and basically ambivalent about everyone else, at best. All those jokes about MORE DEBAN? Yeah, I don't really care if y'all get more deban or not. Oh, I also like the character who died of AIDS, but I'm not expecting her to make an appearance in SAO: Alicization. You know, because she already died of AIDS. At least I think Kajiura Yuki is still doing the music, so there you go; that'll be my motivation for dragging myself through this show for the next year.

Dated 25 June 2018: Anime product placement strikes again

Asuna
I also own Sony phones.

I bought AKG K701 headphones in 2011. These are the same headphones Mio wears in K-On!, but I think I can at least claim I did not buy them because of Mio since I sort of hated what few episodes of K-On! I even watched. (I did like the movie, though.) But, on the other hand, I did at least know these were "the Mio headphones" when I bought them. Sure, I was already considering these AKGs before I even learned of the K-On! connection, but I can't necessarily argue that the increased awareness generated by the buzz following their appearance in the anime had no influence on my decision to ultimately buy them.

Sony MDR-100ABN h.ear wireless headphones
NFC pairing is also magic.

Then there's the Sony MDR-100ABN headphones that I bought in 2018. Their appearance in Sword Art Online: The Movie —Ordinal Scale— most definitely factored into my decision to buy them. Sure, I was in the market for both wireless and noise-cancelling headphones, but the fact that I specifically purchased the Asuna-flavored version was absolutely influenced by the handful of seconds they appeared in the anime. (Wireless headphones are great around the house and having noise cancellation on a plane may as well be Goddamn magic, incidentally.) They were actually a little difficult to find because I bought them after their newer WH-H900N successors had been out for a while already. Hey, at least I didn't hunt down the insanely priced SAO-limited-edition ones (since I'm not not actually an SAO fan, despite appearances).

Dated 12 June 2018: In defense of DARLING in the FRANXX

Mitsuru
Look, it ain't that bad, okay.

Depending on which corner of the anime fandom you find yourself, I imagine you're either on the side that doesn't believe DARLING in the FRANXX needs defending, or in the camp that doesn't believe it deserves defending. My basic perspective on the show is that it is not capital-G Good, nor is it part of the "bad but has good parts in it" category, but rather that it is a flawed result of some efforts that I genuinely appreciate.

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Dated 29 January 2018: DARLING in the FRANXX is more than a one-way reflection

Delphinium
The robots are named after flowers, but I don't know if there is any meaning to it.

Studio Trigger's Gainax heritage basically guarantees I'll give any of its shows a try. They haven't all been hits, but I'll generally find at least something to enjoy. DARLING in the FRANXX is Studio Trigger's two-cours science fiction partnership with A-1 Pictures featuring giant robots and lots of sexual allegories. The show is not at all subtle, with wall-to-wall metaphors about marriage, intercourse, orgasm, infidelity, and polyandry. And that's just the first three episodes. Unfortunately, it also stars an exceptionally dull teenage boy (because of course it does). At least he isn't a whiny brat, I guess. (That role was already taken by one of the supporting cast.)

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Dated 7 September 2016: Amaama to Inazuma has a lot of sweetness but basically no lightning

Kotori
Kotori doing something domestic again.

Cooking shows aren't exactly a rarity in anime, but Amaama to Inazuma (Sweetness and Lightning) is unique in its slower pace and fairly unremarkable recipes. Rather than the usual over-the-top incredulous reactions to newly discovered flavors, Amaama to Inazuma focuses instead on the simple pleasure of preparing food and eating together. This, it does extremely well, and it's very satisfying watching the characters learning how to cook for each other. (Although it still bugs me they never wash their hands first.) However, there is an elephant in the room: the looming potential romance between teenage Kotori and her teacher, Kouhei, a recent widower. Nevertheless, through nine episodes, there has been no hint of any such subplot, so it's possible no such romance ever develops.

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Dated 27 May 2016: Wake Me Up Asuna gets a new free outfit but no new punctuation

Asuna
Birth control glasses.

Just a few observations now that I've been using the Wake Me Up Asuna app for over a month. It really can fail for no apparent reason. It's only happened once, but that's pretty unreliable for an alarm clock. Hence the need for its prominent disclaimers and warnings, I guess. It also can go batshit crazy and drain your battery out of nowhere. That's only happened once too, and I haven't been able to reproduce the bug. The real news is—aside from the initial nag—Asuna hasn't pestered me to buy her any new clothes, and now there's even a new free outfit, shown above.

I get the feeling we're only a few years away from a wave of digital assistants, probably something like the Amazon Echo combined with a Cortana that's more like the Halo version than the Windows version. I'm hoping for a Yui voiced by a synthesized Ito Kanae—a Yui that will randomly crash the fuck out of my SMRT-HOEM with erratic bugs. The future's gonna be awesome.

Dated 22 April 2016: Wake Me Up Asuna needs better punctuation and probably more pestering about household chores

Asuna
There's no landscape mode.

Thanks to MVB's recommendation on the Twitter, I installed the Wake Me Up Asuna Android app even though it really should be called Wake Me Up, Asuna or even Wake Me Up, Asuna! There's not much to say about it. It does what its website describes, and it doesn't seem to have any weird bugs or battery-sucking behavior (at least not on any of the three devices I tested). The synthesized Haruka DeTomaso Pantera voice sounds fine, but I also didn't challenge it with a hard-to-pronounce name. There are no ads, and you can use it for free providing you don't care about English subtitles or feel like buying Asuna new clothes. Speaking of which, she will nag you within the first 24 hours to buy some different clothes, but I've gone a few days since blowing her off and she hasn't asked again yet.

Asuna
The housewife sweater is free.

"Asuna's sweet words will definitely make you feel as if she is your wife!" is a bit of a stretch. Mostly she just stands there. It's a little weird when she's pretending to sleep. Like, she'll keep standing there, swaying randomly. The lights will still be on, and every once in a while she'll crack her eyes open, I guess to see if the coast is clear. Thankfully, I don't believe the application has camera permissions, so Asuna probably won't really stare at you while you sleep. I also sort of feel Asuna is a weird choice to be the first of these daily assistant character jobbies, but I guess she needed to be a popular mainstream character with a Life Debt to Sony.