Version 5.4 ~ Haruhi gave rock and roll to you.
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Dated 6 September 2022: Love Live! Superstar!! is still Kanon's show

Kanon
Come with me if you want to love live.

I had a lot of reservations when I learned Love Live! Superstar!! was adding new characters for its second season. Superstar!! was the only Love Live! iteration I regarded as actually being a good anime. Its much smaller cast was a big part of that. Through seven episodes so far, the second season has at least not ruined the good thing it had going, and remains pretty all right in and of itself. Kanon is still the character I like the most, though, and by a significant margin.

Keke
At least I like Cuckoo a lot more now than I did originally.

Fortunately, the second season continues to present Kanon as the Love Live! Superstar!! center point rather than taking a more chaotic or uncommitted ensemble-cast approach. For example, it sensibly found an excuse for Kanon to exhibit her preternatural ability to basically "fast travel" once again in order to personally set one of the newbies straight. It resulted in a scene that advanced both characters.

Shiki
She's weird.

Don't get me wrong. The rest of the cast is pretty good, too, and none of them actually suck. The supporting cast does suffer a bit from being relegated to various gimmicks at times, but they are being fleshed out more and more over time. It's not at all like, for example, Cure Honey from HappinessCharge Precure!, about whom I could tell you absolutely nothing that doesn't involve rice. Even Natsumi—the unpopular would-be video streamer who is obsessed with money—has more going on already than I initially feared.

Margarethe
I believe this is what the kids used to call being "extra."

This is not to say it's all been a huge success, though. MARGARETHE WIEN, or whatever her name actually is, disappeared basically immediately and looks to be another Lanzhu (from Love Live! Nijigasaki). I.e., someone contending for rival status who ultimately turns out to be mostly irrelevant. I'm also not particularly impressed with the character development for Shiki thus far, but I guess there is still nearly half a cours remaining. Maybe there will be something surprising to learn about her. Personally, I'm hoping she's secretly an android sent back in time from the future by Honoka to keep the idol wars from destroying humanity. It could happen.

Dated 23 August 2022: Isekai Ojisan is brilliant

Elf and Uncle
Oh my God. These two are so good.

It turns out Isekai Ojisan (Uncle from Another World) is a lot funnier than I would have expected of an isekai parody. Actually, I guess it's not really even necessarily a parody. It just happens to subvert expectations by tackling all the stereotypical tropes the wrong way. There have only been five episodes so far due to a Covid-related two-week delay after the fourth episode, but every installment has been solid.

Elf
I want to know how her armor does that.

I've only read a few chapters of the manga, but this anime adaptation is outstanding. In particular, Koyasu Takehito as the Sega-obsessed uncle and Haruka DeTomaso Pantera as the elf girl from the other world are perfect. The anime also has a somewhat crude appearance to it (as does the original manga) that fits well with the gags, and the comic timing is right on. Seeing as how there are eight volumes of the ongoing manga so far, I have to assume there's more to the series than just non-stop anecdotes of the uncle's isekai misadventures, but I'd honestly be okay with it either way.

Dated 16 August 2022: The Netflix is letting Kakegurui Twin ride

Mary
I appreciate the Nii Manabu character designs.

I'm aware the Netflix is reportedly performing below expectations (or at least below its ambitions) financially. I don't have a solution in mind, but I have to believe its practice of dumping shows all at once to support its "binge" model is detrimental to the sort of word-of-mouth promotional impact that would be available by releasing episodes weekly. This isn't a lament unique to Kakegurui Futago (Kakegurui Twin) either. It applies to nearly all anime that ends up on the U.S. Netflix.

Midari
You can tell it's a prequel because Midari isn't missing an eye yet.

I enjoy the Kakegurui manga enough to buy it (although I'm behind on Kakegurui Twin), but not enough to binge-watch Kakegurui Futago on the Netflix. (Or maybe I enjoy it too much to binge-watch?) In any case, I wish the series would have gotten a regular seasonal release instead. As far as the show itself goes, it appears to be a truncated adaptation of the manga. It sort of has to be, since the anime is only six episodes long, and there are 12 volumes and counting of the manga. Frankly, that sounds like a lot for a spin-off prequel, but I guess it could always start covering the main manga's events in parallel from Mary's point of view, if it hasn't had to do so already. I said I was behind, okay?

Dated 9 August 2022: Overlord IV ~I Love It When a Plan Comes Together~

Aura and Shalltear
For a kid who's only in her 70s, Aura has a lot to deal with.

I assume nobody is trying to watch the fourth season of Overlord without watching the first three seasons first or reading the books. Without the foundational background, most of the events so far must be somewhat confusing. Since the first anime season came out seven years ago, there are surely potential viewers today who were too young to get in on it in 2015. If any of y'all are reading this, I don't know what to tell you. At least all of it is available on the Crunchyroll, so it's accessible, even for non-subscribers using the free, ad-supported tier. Get caught up.

Shalltear
It's all right, Shalltear. You can just kill them all later.

In my case, I'm pleased simply to get more Overlord anime at all, even if years of memes may have colored my expectations as to how certain scenes ought to transpire. I'm also relieved that the use of 3DCG has (at least so far), not suffered as it did during the third season. Man, some of that was dire. I'm also pretty stoked there's a movie in the works that will cover one of the best arcs from the books. If you've seen people going on and on about some pope, that will make sense after the movie. It's gonna rule.

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 19 July 2022: Kami Kuzu☆Idol reveals not all idols do their best

Asahi and Yuuya
She may be dead, but she still has feet.

I mostly started watching Kami Kuzu☆Idol (Phantom of the Idol) as an excuse to pad my Ghost Girlfriends tag. The series is about an unmotivated (read: total deadbeat) male idol who gets possessed by the ghost of a recently deceased female idol. Combined, they—I dunno—do idol-type things better, I guess. I enjoyed Ginban Kaleidoscope, which also involved being possessed by a ghost, so I figured I could make space for Kami Kuzu☆Idol in my Summer 2022 anime queue.

Yuuya and Asahi
I like how she hijacked his body without consent to indulge in physical pleasure.

Through three episodes, it's fine. So far, it's about what I expected. I don't have any complaints about Kami Kuzu☆Idol, but it also hasn't done anything particularly remarkable or memorable yet. Touyama Nao as the ghost is doing a very Touyama Nao voice, if you like that sort of thing. Honestly, I think the show would be more interesting with the premise reversed. Like, instead, make it about highly motivated TOP FUEL GENKI idol who gets possessed by the ghost of a disgruntled dead idol who is a constant downer. I'd watch that too.

Dated 12 July 2022: I'm too old to enjoy Engage Kiss, but I still do

Kisara
You can tell she's serious because she changed clothes.

I have to concede Engage Kiss is "bad" by the standards I'm probably supposed to apply when evaluating anime. It embodies a number of qualities I associate with juvenile shows that cater to teenage boys. For one thing, the protagonist is a schlub who starts the series with two women (well, one woman, and one high school girl who is actually a demon, so she's probably hundreds of years old, if conventions hold) who are interested in him romantically for no clear reason.

Kisara
It's like Fruits Basket Face, except less sane.

However, the first two episodes do embrace a refreshingly carefree approach to old tropes that's sort of nostalgic in this modern era dominated instead by newer (but no less inane) clichés, and governed by sensibilities that are limiting without necessarily making things better. It's in this environment that Engage Kiss manages to shine, with some surprisingly satisfying gags that work well because the setting and premise are both absurd.

Kisara
Durable dress.

It's the little things, like hiding Tupperware® under a dress, or perfecting just-in-time delivery without resorting to drones, or broke shitbags shamelessly bumming cigarettes that really sell me on this series. Or maybe I just like the idea of a yandere demon employee because I haven't actually watched very many shows featuring yandere characters, so the stereotype still feels fresh to me.

Kisara
She seems nice.

Whatever the reason is, and I admit I'm not trying very hard to justify my affection for this bad (it's only mildly bad, okay!) show, I am rather enjoying it so far. It manages to feel both familiar and new at the same time, and it doesn't drag. I can't promise it will turn out to be capital-G Good at any point, but I've watched a lot worse.

Dated 28 June 2022: I don't know why I watched Black★★Rock Shooter: DAWN FALL

Black Rock Shooter
That's some nice shootin', Rock.

I sure have watched a lot of Black Rock Shooter for someone who claims not to care about Black Rock Shooter at all. I'm not even confident my understanding about Black Rock Shooter in general is even accurate. As far as I know, it is a Hatsune Miku song that was turned into a sort of popular music video, then an OVA, then a 2012 anime written by Okada Mari, and now Black★★Rock Shooter: DAWN FALL. I don't even know if Dawn Fall shares continuity with anything that came prior.

Monica
It would have been better if the human characters didn't wear these masks all the time.

What I do know is that Black★★Rock Shooter: DAWN FALL was 12 episodes of a grimdark future where there is only war. Well, war and rape. I don't mean this in a metaphorical sense, and I can see why you might think that considering a lot of what happens in the 2012 Black Rock Shooter was allegorical. No, I'm letting you know that a significant plotline in the 2022 anime involves young girls being raped literally to death.

Smiley
Is it better or worse that the rapist is a big freaky robot with limited emotional range?

So, is Black★★Rock Shooter: DAWN FALL actually good? Well, mostly not? I don't know if it's better for people who have strong attachments to the franchise. I can't claim I do, although I recognize Dead Master and Strength as characters who were present in previous Black Rock Shooter installments—that sort of thing. And I'm not fundamentally opposed to a series introducing characters, trying to make us care about them, and then having something terrible happen to them. I don't think I'm in favor of sadism, but I can appreciate that a show like this can still exist, and even be associated with an IP people presumably still value. Also, learning this was licensed by Disney was wild.