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Dated 21 May 2024: Jii-san Baa-san Wakagaeru is about grandpa and grandma turning young again

Ine and Shouzou
Don't give him too much sake.

Surprising no one, Jii-san Baa-san Wakagaeru (Grandpa and Grandma Turn Young Again) is exactly what its premise made it out to be. I suppose there's a slight twist in that they're able to shift back and forth between their normal elderly forms and their younger selves (albeit still with gray hair) without much difficulty. Through seven episodes, it's a nice enough show about a couple in their 80s experiencing life in the modern era as young adults instead. There are frequent reminders that the elderly are fundamentally the same people on the inside as they were when they were young. The series communicates this by highlighting past influences from a bygone era that shaped "Grandpa" and "Grandma" into who they are. They may be young again, but their experiences and the environment in which they grew up are more responsible for defining them than whatever their physical ages may be.

Ine and Shouzou
Only one way to find out.

There's no shortage of anime characters who are actually old but appear young. In addition to reincarnations, I'm including characters in comedies who look inexplicably youthful for no logical reason and those with extraordinary long lives due to magic or other supernatural forces. Compared to them, Jii-san Baa-san Wakagaeru is much more successful at making me believe Shouzou and Ine are actually elderly. All too often, finding out Ms. Teenage Girl in some anime is supposed to 300 years old has no impact. "Sure, if you say so." Does this mean Grandpa and Grandma Turn Young Again is a good show? Eh, it's better than I was expecting at least. It doesn't seem to be especially popular, but maybe everyone is afraid it's going to explore if octogenarians can get pregnant.

Dated 11 July 2023: There was more than one witch in Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury

Elnora
I heard you liked helmets.

Now that Kidou Senshi Gundam: Suisei no Majo Season 2 (Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury Season 2) has finished, I should probably capture my concluding thoughts on the series while they remain somewhat fresh. However, I get the feeling that would result in a long blog post, so maybe I ought to break things up into multiple entries despite the risk I might simply lose interest in writing more before completion. Anyway, the first post in this series (?) is about Elnora. If you've been following me on the Twitter, this should surprise you not at all.

Elnora and Dr. Cardo
Notably, I never stopped seeing Elnora as the girl she used to be.

Many viewers (if not most viewers) seemed to regard Prospera as the main villain of the series. This is not an incorrect perspective, but I think it's incomplete. I take the position that she is both an antagonist and a protagonist. This is not to say that I thought of her as the protagonist—that's clearly Suletta—but I do see her as a protagonist. (Fuck your deuteragonist and tritagonist nonsense. You're reading an anime blog, not a fan wiki.) That's not a controversial position for me to take, is it?

Elnora
Maybe she'll start calling you Mom without sounding sarcastic.

I'll need to put more thought into this, but my initial impulse is to suggest Elnora embraced the forgiveness aspect reflected in (or constrained by) The Tempest a lot more readily than I expected. Like, she had already forgiven Delling during the scene where she's fucking with Miorine's head to get her to aspire for the Benerit leadership role, right?

Elnora
I wonder how soon Elnora realized she was going to end up in this chair.

I also found Prospera's Quiet Zero plot to be a lot less sinister than what most people were assuming. (Never mind that I still have no idea what Notrette's original Quiet Zero plan—or Delling's intentions for the project, for that matter—were meant to be.) Now, I'm not part of the "Prospera Did Nothing Wrong" faction, but I do view her actions from a position that is decidedly more favorable to her than most seem willing to adopt. Let's just say I'm grading on a curve.

Dated 17 August 2021: I'm only still watching Jahy-sama wa Kujikenai! because it is new

Jahy
The Dark Realm might not have been a meritocracy.

I probably would not have started watching Jahy-sama wa Kujikenai! (The Great Jahy Will Not Be Defeated!) if there had been more shows to watch this season. The best thing it seemed to have going for it was some speculation prior to its start that it would be controversial in certain circles for reasons I did not explore (but which I assume are probably related to the titular character's pantsless child form). However, after three episodes, it does not appear as if anyone gives a shit about this—at least not enough to attack it.

Jahy
At least her labor is being exploited now.

As far as its qualities go, entertainment-wise, Jahy-sama wa Kujikenai! is just okay at best. None of its jokes land for me. It certainly would not be my first recommendation to anyone looking for a series with this sort of setup. Y'all would be much better off watching Machikado Mazoku or Hataraku Maou-sama! or Gabriel DropOut instead. Even with not much else to watch this season, I'm still going to drop it if the reappearance of the mahou shoujo who wrecked Jahy's kingdom doesn't improve things significantly. So far, she's had zero lines and only a few seconds of screen time, but her school-uniform alter ego is in the ED experiencing various misfortunes. I do appreciate me some unrighteous misfortune.

Dated 10 February 2020: Adding Slave Hero to Isekai Quartet hasn't ruined it yet

Naofumi and Raphtalia
"Naofumi, what are we going to do inside the Shield Prison?"

Finding out that the cast of Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari (The Rising of the Shield Hero) was joining Isekai Quartet did not exactly fill me with a lot of confidence about its second season (which inexplicably isn't called Isekai Quintet), but it's been okay so far. Then again, the Shield Hero cast hasn't been in the first four episodes very much. Most of my trepidation derives from my fairly negative impressions of Shield Hero as a show (I watched 13 episodes), my lack of interest in the characters, and the rather defensive attitude the franchise's more vocal supporters seem to adopt on the Twitter. These did not seem to be ideal additions to a comedy about characters being portrayed as dipshits.

Ainz and Aqua
Aqua is sort of racist, to tell you the truth.

Naturally, the Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! cast fits right in, because they're dipshits to begin with. Aqua is a delight—so much so that I want retcons of other Tenchan roles except portrayed as basically Aqua analogs. (For example, Asseylum Vers Allusia from Aldnoah.Zero except with Aqua's personality and intelligence. You can't tell me Slaine's tragic loyalty to Aqua Vers Allusia wouldn't have improved the second season.) Given a choice, I'll definitely take idiots like Aqua over sourpusses like Naofumi when it comes to wacky comedy crossovers.

Dated 20 August 2019: Dr. STONE is neither a doctor nor a stone

Yuzuriha and Taiju
Guess who gets to be Eve and Adam? Go on, guess.

I wasn't really planning on watching Dr. STONE, but its premise involving mankind (and one particular species of bird, for some reason) being petrified for eons before re-emerging in a new primitive society sounded too weird to completely dismiss. Then I kept seeing reports that it was legitimately good, so that's basically how I got myself into this mess. It turns out the anime is pretty good (I have no idea about the original manga), despite my general loathing of shounen jive. Unfortunately, one of the lead characters shouts all of his lines (which, it seems from the Twitter, is a trait some people actually enjoy?!) because he's constantly excited or agitated about something. God, just chill out a little bit, okay? At least he's not as bad as Zenitsu from Kimetsu no Yaiba, since at least Taiju isn't a shithead. I swear to Haruhi, these two are the evil opposites of Momo from Machikado Mazoku who is wonderfully chill all the time. Maybe there is a Law of Conservation of Indoor Voice that I don't know about.

Kohaku and Senku
Senku pretends he's not trying to impress the
first blonde girl he's met in the new world.

Despite this, Dr. STONE manages to be interesting, if absurd. This is very much a cartoon, but it doesn't ignore the fundamental questions a viewer will likely come to ask. For example, why did everyone turn to stone? Why was Senku the first one revived? If you start drawing the girls with Key eyes, does it increase the likelihood one of them will contract Key AIDS? These are the sorts of things a sophisticated anime audience demands to know of its shounen anime. Dr. STONE doesn't actually answer all of these questions right away, but it acknowledges they exist. It seems I can expect to be watching this show for at least two cours, and it is paced accordingly. After seven episodes, the anime is only just now starting to introduce outside characters. Thankfully, they don't seem to be shouting literally all of their lines. One of them does appear to be totally dying of Key AIDS, though. P.S. Spoilers.

Dated 31 December 2010: 2010 Girl of the Year

Aoba
Aoba is the Best Girl of 2010 even though
Adachi Mitsuru can only draw one face.

Congratulations to Tsukishima Aoba, 2010's Best Girl. This was a pretty easy choice despite a lot of strong contenders. More about Aoba herself and the rest of this year's nominations below.

Shimizu
Shimizu sees Goro again after a long absence.

Shimizu Kaoru from the sixth season of Major got an automatic nomination by virtue of being last year's winner. Unfortunately, Shimizu did not get many scenes during this epic baseball show's final season, and had many of her presumably more important moments from the manga relegated to the montage during the last episode. I suspect Major probably has enough material for a seventh season, but I don't think we'll get any more in anime form unless there are OVAs.

Conan and Ran
This usually means somebody's about to get fucked.

I've decided to add Mouri Ran to basically every Best Girl of the Year list from here on out on general principle because Ran is one of anime's All Time Babes. Detective Conan doesn't change much and appears capable of running indefinitely, and Ran is enough of a sweetheart that she could potentially win this contest any year, so consider her a baseline metric of sorts. Certainly anyone below the Mouri Ran Line has no hope of winning.

Sasha and Katja
Katja breaks Sasha's brain.

Only people who watched Seikon no Qwaser will fully understand why Katja gets a nomination. Too many people either did not watch the show at all or gave up on it far too early to fully appreciate just how ridiculous Qwaser managed to be. Katja's contributions are too numerous to list here, but I'll point to three key moments that cemented her nomination in 2010's Best Girl competition: (1) The scene where she connects her phone to her television. (2) The railgun powered by breast milk. (3) The scene where incorruptibly loyal Hana comes flying in out of left field.

Yamada
Yamada is basically Ranpha, the early years.

Yamada from B Gata H Kei barely makes the list for being outrageous (only medium outrageous in a year containing Seikon no Qwaser) and for being an excuse for Yukarin to say amazing things.

Nagato Yuki
Be glad this isn't a Key story, Yuki.

Nagato Yuki qualifies this year because of the Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya movie. As I've said before, this is more her movie than Haruhi's. Now, in order to answer the obvious question that people who have seen the movie must be asking without venturing into spoiler territory before those who have not seen it, let me just say this: Based on how Kyon views Nagato in the beginning of the film, the middle, and the at the end, I think the impact she has on him (and hopefully the viewer) elevates her into the upper pantheon of this year's nominees.

Ika Musume
Squids love the long ball.

A late arrival, especially because I did not start watching Shinryaku! Ika Musume until it was already half over, Ika Musume herself easily gains a nomination as one of 2010's Best Girls. A genius at everything (except invading) and filled with verve and imagination, Ika Musume should be on everyone's list of this season's Best Girls. Well, I guess there is that technicality about whether or not squids can be girls, but I consulted the judges panel and they allowed it.

Aoba
Nobody on the team trains harder than Aoba.

Finally, our victor, Tsukishima Aoba from Cross Game wins the title of Best Girl of the Year for 2010 with her solid showing throughout the yearlong baseball anime. Aoba nearly won the title last year, and was an early favorite to win even though Cross Game ended in March.

Aoba
The best coaches are in the stands.
-Charles M. Schulz

It's easy to describe Aoba as another Haruka Tomatosauce tsundere, but I believe Aoba honestly hated Kou when they were children—jealous of the attention he got from her sister. However, Aoba grudgingly comes to respect Kou's physical talents for baseball and dedicates her considerable knowledge and love for the game into transforming him into the type of pitcher who can make her sister's dream come true. My memory is very hazy on this point, so the accuracy of the following anecdote is suspect at best: I believe Don Drysdale once lamented it was a shame the Los Angeles Dodgers did not have a pitcher with Orel Hershiser's brain in Kevin Gross' body. That's basically the idea behind the Aoba + Kou combination in Cross Game. It's a pity Adachi Mitsuru could not re-write the rules of Japanese high school baseball, but Aoba's head—and her heart—were enough for her to win it all this year, even if her arm could not officially compete.

Asuka
That's still an awesome phone.

If you're wondering why Shikinami Asuka Langley didn't win by default, it's because Rebuild of Evangelion 2.0 came out in 2009. Also Soryu > Shikinami.

[Update: Added Panty from Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt.]

Dated 13 August 2007: Incorruptible Loyalty. In consideration of two-dimensional crushes

Shinji, Rei, Mana, and Asuka
Shinji is aghast. Rei should be ashamed.
Asuka loves Kaji. And Mana is quite the sticker-whore.

Who is the best anime/manga character of all time? Of ALL TIME. This is a question frequently discussed (usually inadvertently) in many forums and channels (although the term "best" is usually taken to mean "hottest"). These discussions often arise in the form of binary comparisons of characters from popular contemporary shows such as "Teana > Subaru" or "Shamal > Signum" that ultimately lead to final decrees such as "FATE > *."

Nanoha and Fate
Nanoha and Fate.
Fate > Nanoha.

Whatever the cause, and regardless of form, one thing is certain: Anime fans are fickle. Inevitably, their favorite characters are quickly replaced season by season; demonstrations and pronouncements of current favorites (such as message board avatars) are ephemeral, soon replaced, and sooner forgotten.

Saber, Emiya, and Rin
Saber, Emiya, and Rin.
Rin > Saber.

I've mentioned this phenomenon among anime fans in the past, and the general consensus seems to be that this flightiness is entirely normal. After all, they are fully cognizant of the fact that their favorites cannot love them back; these fans are not delusional even as they compulsively download and hoard pictures of their favorite characters and collect figurines and paraphernalia emblazoned with their likenesses, only to begin the cycle anew next season when they develop a new favorite in a month or two.

Meyrin, Athrun, and Lunamaria
Meyrin, Athrun, and Lunamaria.
Meyrin > Lunamaria.

I am not damning this behavior. I am merely setting the stage for the real object of my curiosity: Why is it so rare to find a fan with unshakable, indefatigable, incorruptible loyalty to a single character—one for whom there is no superior, no equal, no rival, no successor? To be honest, in the past seven or eight years during which anime emerged as my primary hobby, I can think of very few people who appear completely devoted to a single character. Bear in mind that this is a fandom in which nearly unimaginable perversions, grandiose neuroses, and unspeakable habits are not at all uncommon. And yet, I know of far more people who genuinely enjoy, for example, guro than I know people for whom there is adamantly only one best character. Are the latter the more perverse, since they are the more rare?

Souju and Sara
Souju and Sara.
Souju > Sara.

Perhaps this behavior is related to the aforementioned tendency to associate "best character" with "hottest character." Relying on the old standard, "familiarity breeds contempt," (or the more modern axiom, "show me a hot girl, and I'll show you a guy who's tired of fucking her"), it seems natural that people who are fully aware their 2-D love affairs will remain unrequited must quickly find and fixate on new characters as their fervor for their current favorite inevitably fades. So, do the rare Incorruptible Few not realize that their idols can't love them back, or is it that they just don't care?

Sara
Sara.
A Little Princess > The Secret Garden. Wait....

My optimism tells me it is the latter. For that reason, as far as I am concerned, for these few, their unique peculiarity is an attribute—their uncommon determined, dedicated devotion their defining characteristic. And so, so damning if I am wrong.

Soryu Asuka Langley
P.S. Asuka > *
Soryu Asuka Langley

Dated 18 June 2007: Macross 7

Gigil
Gigil is the best singer in Macross 7.

Well, at least he is through the first 36 episodes.

I didn't think much of Gigil at first. As far as antagonists go, he didn't seem all that interesting. However, the big ugly bastard has won me over with his incorruptible loyalty to Sybil.