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Dated 17 May 2022: Both Deaimon and SPY x FAMILY are about families

Nagomu and Itsuka
I can't tell if Itsuka is precocious or if Nagomu is just not every smart.

I get the feeling a lot of people on the Twitter avoided Deaimon: Recipe for Happiness because of overblown concerns the 10-year-old would grow up to marry the much older male lead. The manga is still ongoing, so I guess I can't rule out the possibility that this might happen, but I'm at least reasonably confident it hasn't happened (or else someone would have spoiled this by now). There are also other, much more likely love interests, namely Kanoko, Nagomu's girlfriend from the start of the series when he was still living in the city. Anyway, I'm going to go ahead and claim straight out that this is a dumb thing to worry about and people should just watch the show.

Mitsuru and Nagomu
I'm not expecting him to fuck the high school girl either, okay.

Because, as it turns out, Deaimon is just sort of nice and well done all around. Through six episodes, it happens to be my highest-rated series of the Spring 2022 anime season (if you put any stock in my animetrics chart) despite not doing anything groundbreaking. Every episode has been consistently good, though, and I appreciate the yet-unresolved absurdity involving the girlfriend from the city. I'm more invested in that looming confrontation than the inevitable one involving poor Itsuka's shitty father. That's probably not the way I'm supposed to regard the main plot, but it is how it is.

Yor, Anya, and Loid
That's a nice floor.

As with Deaimon, SPY x FAMILY has also got that found-family thing going on, but y'all probably already know this because the series and the manga it's adapted from are both popular. Basically, if you're not watching SPY x FAMILY already, you probably should be. I won't claim it's an exceptional anime, but it does do all the things you'd want it to do, and it does them really well. I've read enough of the manga to feel confident both of the planned split cours of the anime will remain entertaining, even though I'm not looking forward to Yor's brother showing up.

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 3 May 2022: I'm watching two sports anime: Birdie Wing and Gunjou no Fanfare

Eve and Viper
Underground golf does not have to take place underground.

BIRDIE WING -Golf Girls' Story- has the misfortune of coming right on the heels of Sorairo Utility, giving it a sort of distasteful corporate flavor in comparison. I don't know if that's actually justified, but it sure is odd that we got two girls-playing-golf shows in back-to-back seasons after years of no golf anime at all. Still, Birdie Wing isn't nearly as wacky as it needs to be, although episode four was progress. It is set in Nafrece, so it potentially takes place in the same universe as Madlax (and Valkyrie Drive, of all things), but Eve hasn't started golfing in a white cocktail dress within the first four episodes.

Aki
Some of these dudes are dicks to each other, but they're also sort of tsundere.

Gunjou no Fanfare (Fanfare of Adolescence), on the other hand, is too wacky. Or at least its first episode was. It's toned it down since then. I'm mostly thinking of utterly implausible and entirely unnecessary contrivances such as a truck blowing over in the wind (?!) and the genki kid being a natural despite never having ridden a horse before. None of that was necessary. What is necessary is a substantial increase in screen time for the token girl. I was really hoping prior to the start of the series that the token girl was actually a secret girl who was busting through sexist horse-racing-school conventions, but that turned out to not be the case.

Aki, Hayato, Soujirou, Eri, Shun, Kouta, and Yuu
Eri's thighs don't touch.

Really, Gunjou no Fanfare is just about boys on horses doing boys-on-horses things. I suspect the show is meant to also sort of be fujoshi bait, but I don't exactly have my finger on the pulse of what that entails. That's a question for Ogiue Maniax. In terms of the anime themselves, both Birdie Wing and Fanfare of Adolescence are "fine," but I wouldn't characterize either as must-see shows of the Spring 2022 anime season by any stretch of the imagination.

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 19 April 2022: Aharen-san wa Hakarenai is off to a good start; Kono Healer, Mendokusai, not so much

Reina and Matsuboshi
Aharen-san is small.

Aharen-san wa Hakarenai (Aharen Is Indecipherable) is about Reina, a weird girl with KCY, and her classmate who is undaunted in his determination to be her friend despite constantly finding her perplexing. The anime works surprisingly well as a comedy that relies heavily on visual gags. Critically, the comic timing is deft, so the show is consistently funny. This is a harder thing to succeed at than I think many people appreciate, so I'm pleased it's doing so well.

Matsuboshi and Reina
And she does not adhere to conventional notions about personal space.

This is not to say that Aharen-san does not occasionally stumble. I'm not a huge fan of the girl who is constantly sort of hovering protectively around Reina. It's not a deal breaker, but her frequent anxiety attacks do less for the show than the other gags. However, even at its worst, Aharen Is Indecipherable has been much funnier than Kono Healer, Mendokusai (Don’t Hurt Me, My Healer!) which I wanted to like, but...man.

Karla
I was also expecting her voice to be deadpan.

Don’t Hurt Me, My Healer! (alternatively This Healer is Annoying or This Healer's a Handful) seemed like it could be funny, based on what little of the manga I had read. Unfortunately, it turns out the dread I felt ever since I watched its first PV was justified. It's one of "those" awful anime comedies that thinks drawing out reactions is funnier than it actually is. I dunno, maybe those types of jokes really work for some viewers, but I dropped it after watching one episode. I might revisit the manga, though.

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 22 February 2022: Ranking Ranking of Kings

Miranjo
Not Best Girl.

Because I was watching so few shows this season, I went back and started watching a universally well-regarded (and fortuitously two-cours) series I had skipped last season: Ousama Ranking (Ranking of Kings). As it turns out, it does deserve its high praise—or at least the first cours does. In particular, seeing how the young prince navigates through the both hidden and openly hostile threats around him does a lot for getting viewers on the kid's side.

Hiling
Best Girl.

Unfortunately, my enthusiasm for the show declined dramatically during its second cours. This is going to sound like a stupid complaint, but why is there so much fighting? It feels like this whole season has been endless battles. It seems as if most of the show's fans still enjoy the series, so I might be an outlier here. And it's not as if I actively dislike Ousama Ranking now, I just wish a king's ranking had more to do with his cleverness, or perseverance, or benevolence, or having an aerodynamic size queen for a stepmom, instead of having sick moves.

Dated 8 February 2022: Girls' Frontline: ✅ Shoot, ☐ Move, ✅ Communicate, ☐ Do Cute Things

M4 SOPMOD II
I do love me some Yukarin.

Having an interest in firearms did not enhance my interest in the Girls' Frontline anime. My unfamiliarity with the video game was probably also a significant limiting factor. From an outsider's perspective, the first two episodes of Girls' Frontline (also known as Dolls' Frontline because of...reasons) featured tedious, protracted gun battles during which an endless stream of gunfire was exchanged until one side was sufficient attrited enough for the episode to concentrate on something else. It didn't make for great storytelling.

MP5
I didn't watch long enough to figure out if people are constantly slapping MP5.

Girls' Frontline is hardly the first "girls with guns" anime to have this problem. It's not even the first "girls who are guns" show to suffer in this way. Enjoying this anime requires either having pre-formed opinions about the characters (such as from already enjoying the video game) or dismissing things such as development and motivation as less important than appearance.

M16A1
I appreciate that M16A1 shoots left-handed.

In any case, I had no interest in watching anime versions of what I assume are battles based on game events. It seems weird to admit, but I would have had more interest in Girls' Frontline if there were no fights at all. Cute Guns Doing Cute Things probably isn't exactly the sort of gimmick most people wanted to watch, but I would have been more interested in that than in what we actually got.