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Dated 26 October 2021: Komi Can’t Communicate is worth your time even if you have to watch it on the Netflix

Komi
This is the good stuff.

I was only mildly interested in watching the Komi-san wa, Komyushou desu. (Komi Can’t Communicate) anime because I lost interest in the manga fairly quickly. I mean, the basic premise is fine, and the characters are all right, but there wasn't enough going for it to help it compete against all the other titles I'm reading. Honestly, the best thing in its favor was Komi's bug-eyed nervous face when she's confronted with something emotionally challenging.

Komi
Komi's non-anxious form looks sort of weird, honestly.

Fortunately for the Komi-san anime, this visage is something the anime captured perfectly. The anime also devoted a surprising amount of attention to the shading and texture of Komi's stockinged legs, so maybe I shouldn't be surprised it got her comic form right. This brings me to my main reason for suggesting the Komi-san wa, Komyushou desu. anime is worth a shot: Its animation is unusually high-effort. The production values for this show went above and beyond what I would expect of a series that takes place largely at a school. There are visual flourishes everywhere. It's impressive without becoming distracting.

Komi and Tadano
Such is the power of ditching gym class.

With regard to the Netflix, the U.S. release is a few weeks behind the Japanese one. (And it's even a week-by-week release instead of a binge-friendly dump like most typical shows on the Netflix.) Consequently, you may have seen some criticism about the lack of translated on-screen text in the official release, especially compared against what you might expect from, say, a fansub. There is a lot of text that was not translated in the first episode of the official release, but that episode had A LOT of text in general.

Tadano
For real, that episode was wall-to-wall on-screen text.

But to be clear, we're not talking about an assault against typesetting in general (cf. the FUNimation's infamous three-line attacks), but rather the Netflix appears to have prioritized what on-screen text was critical to translate and what it could omit because it would either be apparent by context or be too difficult to read without pausing. In that sense, I'm okay with those decisions (at least for the first episode, anyway). Purists who want everything translated, even if it means pausing scenes at various points to read it all will be better off hunting for fansubs, but I don't think viewers who prefer to watch episodes all the way through without interruptions will find the specific omissions in the official release objectionable.

Dated 19 October 2021: In re Isekai Shokudou 2: Still looks like a nice place to eat

Aletta
Aletta is pleasant.

There's honestly not all that much to Isekai Shokudou (Restaurant to Another World), but I enjoyed the first season enough to watch its sequel. Isekai Shokudou 2 continues its first season's parade of enthusiastic patrons whose displays of excitement are not entirely over the top, unlike some other food-reaction-shot anime. I at least don't remember any guests literally orgasming from their meals.

Kuro
Kuro is pleasant on the inside.

There's also not really very much tension or drama. There are a number of side plots related to the customers and how they happened to find the magic door to the restaurant, but these are also secondary to showing off the various dishes and encouraging viewers to try them. In that respect, Restaurant to Another World is fairly successful. At a minimum, it's a reminder that I have available to me an incredible assortment of different cuisines and the means to sample them (even if they do cost more than a few coppers, typically). I should probably do so more often. I don't even need to travel to another world to do it.

Dated 12 October 2021: I am enjoying Tsuki to Laika to Nosferatu

Anya
Nice hat.

Cold War PseudoSoviets sending a vampire into space is an interesting enough premise that I would give Tsuki to Laika to Nosferatu (localized as either Moon, Laika, and the Bloodsucking Princess or Irina: The Vampire Cosmonaut) a chance on general principle. Having Hayashibara Megumi voice the lead role seals it. (She's had plenty of lead roles, but this is much less common these days.) Giving it an OP by ALI PROJECT is also a bonus.

Irina and Lev
The tubes contain cosmonaut food. I wonder if there is also CMYK cosmonaut food.

I like that Tsuki to Laika to Nosferatu rejects most of the typical vampire lore. Irina is also not physically superior to the human candidates by some unreachable degree. She is better, since she can nearly keep up—despite an utter lack of any prior training—with the human candidate who had been working for some time toward becoming the first cosmonaut before becoming her trainer.

Anya, Irina, and Lev
Anya measured Irina's blood pressure, and she can bleed, so I guess she's not undead.

I originally assumed the NotSoviets wanted a vampire cosmonaut because of their inherent survivability or reduced need for life-support systems, but it turns out it has more to do with how vampires are regarded in that world as a sub-human race. Therefore, they are test subjects treated as expendable and useful to a nascent space program sort of the way dogs and monkeys are.

Irina and Anya
She's wearing the muzzle because of racism.

There are some light-novel elements in the series that hold it back to some degree (minor tsundere dishonesty, some jerkface assholes, stuff like that), but nothing that significantly detracts from my overall enjoyment of the show so far. I'm hoping we can avoid a vampires-are-people-too arc, but that's probably inevitable considering our vampire cosmonaut is a 43-kilogram girl who hides vulnerable emotions and not, y'know, Alucard from Hellsing.

Dated 5 October 2021: 86 Eighty Six season 2 two looks promising

Lena
That's still in regs, right?

I'm going to go ahead and say that 86 Eighty Six manages to avoid being bad by being good. There is certainly a "people die when they are killed" logic to this statement, but I guess what I really mean is the series continues to overachieve in comparison with my expectations for it. Much of this is pessimism on my part, because I've heard from the beginning that the source material is good. However, those sorts of claims aren't very reassuring since "good" light novels typically seem to only be good for sufficiently generous definitions of good.

Ernst
Ain't you Shinichi's dad from Detective Conan?

Fortunately, the execution in the case of 86 Eighty Six actually is good. There's basically always something in every episode that's done well enough to be noteworthy, and the story is also sound. The various twists remain unexpected (but are also not total ass pulls) and do keep the series interesting even though much of it sounds pretty cheesy if you're just describing it to someone. Notably, I was already spoiled about a resolution to the previous season's ending because I saw the cover to one of the later light novels, but even knowing that did not ruin the effect provided by the 1st First episode of the 2nd Second cours. I'm looking 4 forward 2 to watching more.

Dated 7 September 2021: Kanojo mo Kanojo is a great show because it is preposterous

Nagisa, Naoya, and Saki
It's a pragmatic solution. Don't just dismiss it out of hand.

Not having a whole lot else to watch from the Summer 2021 anime season, I decided to give Kanojo mo Kanojo (Girlfriend, Girlfriend) a try on a goof. It turns out it's sort of fantastic. I initially assumed it was going to another one of those dreary harem comedies with a loathsome male protagonist surrounded by multiple girls who are entirely out of his league and yet inexplicably attracted to him. Or that it was going to be on of those dreary harem comedies where Potato-kun is actually sort of an all right dude, but is inexplicably incapable of noticing that every girl he comes into contact with keeps throwing her panties at him. It turns out Kanojo mo Kanojo is neither of those things. Rather, it's got some manner of Möbius strip horseshoe theory thing going on where all the environmental factors and character decisions that should be working to the show's detriment end up making it better.

Naoya and Nagisa
Busted.

It's no accident Kanojo mo Kanojo is working out this way. The recurring focus of the show's various dilemmas is on an unending series of incorruptibly honest decisions to pursue uncompromising choices that should result in self-destructive consequences by any reasonable objective standard. And yet it all continues to work out. I can't vouch for the manga source material, but the anime embraces the absurdity of its premise and absolutely succeeds in its execution.

Naoya and Saki
Never gonna happen.

Significantly, there is no hint of melodrama. That is something Girlfriend, Girlfriend really cannot afford. If Kanojo mo Kanojo ever decides to examine the consequences and societal frictions associated with polyamorous relationships, or attempts to position the various love interests against each other from hostile postures of envy or jealousy, it will do so at its peril. There had also better not be any of that typical harem comedy bullshit where a series gets its viewers to root for one of the girls to "win." (If it does, the erstwhile winner will probably be First Girl Childhood Friend, even though she has nothing in her favor compared to her rivals except for her hair.)

Rika, Naoya, Nagisa, and Saki
Busted.

Even though I only started watching Girlfriend, Girlfriend a short while ago, it did not take long before I caught up. There are currently 10 episodes out so far and only two to go. Since the source manga still seems to be running (I think eight volumes are out), a non-ending ending to the anime is probably basically guaranteed. I don't know how far Kanojo mo Kanojo can take its premise without getting derailed, but I would be in favor of additional seasons if it can keep up the show's high-intensity, relentless pace episode after episode without running out of steam.

Dated 31 August 2021: I sure watch a lot of Love Live! for someone who claims not to care about Love Live! at all

Rina and Setsuna
It probably tastes fine with enough hot sauce.

Thanks to a fairly light season, I went back and undropped Love Live! Nijigasaki Gakuen School Idol Doukoukai (Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club) from the Autumn 2020 anime season. Initially, I was going to watch it concurrently with this season's Love Live! Superstar!!, but I only had seven episodes left in Nijigasaki, and Superstar!! episodes have been delayed twice for the Olympics already.

Kasumi
It's not easy being Love Live!'s Queen of Faces.

As it turns out, Love Live! Nijigasaki Gakuen School Idol Doukoukai is just all right. The series does seem more episodic than its predecessors, but that's probably because it is only one cours1 and its idols are soloists, unlike the ones forming μ's and Aqours in previous Love Live! iterations. As individual characters, I enjoy Setsuna's double life and her unsafe use of pyrotechnics. I enjoy Rina's gimmick even though it's objectively stupid and I suspect her illustrated expressions are insincere much of the time. And I enjoy Kasumi, Love Live!'s reigning Queen of Faces, even though she's sort of a shit idol. Eh, I guess I'm technically looking forward to the second cours next year.

Kanon and Sumire
Kanon is very bendy and occasionally doesn't wear pants.

Through the first five episodes, Love Live! Superstar!! is mostly notable for my positive impressions of Kanon, the ostensible main character. I typically have a low opinion of the lead girl in these sorts of things. For example, I was not a fan of Honoka, not a fan of Chika, and definitely not a fan of Ayumu. This phenomenon isn't only limited to Love Live! either. Miyafuji from Strike Witches was on my shit list for a while. However, my opinions regarding Kanon are uniformly positive, and I don't have any special reason why. Conversely, the show's efforts to make Keke more interesting by making her a huge nutjob aren't working for me at all, even though I typically love me some nutjobs.

Keke
How long has Sunny Passion been around again?

As the series goes, Love Live! Superstar!! has also been fine. It does share a significant shortcoming with Love Live! Nijigasaki, though. Neither of those shows had interesting rivals such as A-RISE or Saint Snow like First Love Live! and Love Live! Sunshine!! did. Aside from looking like Aikatsu! transfer students, Sunny Passion hasn't had a lot going for them, never mind Keke's efforts to convince us otherwise. Someone is going to have to really step up if one of the characters hopes to be the titular superstar of the series.


Note 1: It's actually split-cours, with a sequel expected in 2022

Dated 24 August 2021: My hopes for Fena: Pirate Princess (Kaizoku Oujo) sank

Fena
I can tell she's a pirate because of how she's dressed.

Fena: Pirate Princess (Kaizoku Oujo) is a Crunchyroll and Adult Swim co-production that did not begin until mid-August. It's a simulcast with the subtitled episodes releasing on the Crunchyroll while the English dub airs on Adult Swim. I don't know if this late start (relative to other Summer 2021 anime) is to align its schedule with the rest of the Adult Swim lineup, but it seems the Japanese broadcast will not begin until October.

Yukimaru
Ain't this guy, like, 16?

It's not a bad show, even though I'm dropping it after three episodes during a season when I'm already not watching nearly as much as I typically do. I wouldn't call it a good show, either, though. I genuinely can't tell if Fena: Pirate Princess actually does seem more like a Western cartoon instead of a Japanese anime, or if I'm just biased into feeling that way because I know it's a co-production between the Crunchyroll and Adult Swim. After all, I haven't even bothered to investigate who is working on the show. It's just an impression I can't shake.

Karin and Fena
These ninja pirates could use a better barber.

Ultimately, it doesn't really matter if the reason why I'm less into Kaizoku Oujo is because it is "not anime enough" or some other reason, since I just don't find the show engaging enough to keep watching either way. I'm not at all invested in Fena, or the ninja pirates (ninja pirates!) she's hanging out with now, nor am I interested in the antagonists pursuing her, even though some of them clearly benefit from character-design-based plot armor. I guess I do like the ninja pirate voiced by Yuuki Aoi okay, but that's possibly only because of her fucked-up bangs.

Hanna
Hanna could probably benefit from a rear sight or two on that gun.

The show's tone is also unusually light, despite (mostly obscured) violence and bloodletting. I wouldn't call it tonal whiplash, because there haven't been any moments in the first three episodes that I would characterize as deeply dramatic. The bigger problem is the jokes and whimsy aren't working for me. Some of the visual gags might work in a full-on wacky ninja-pirate adventure show. In any case, I'm out, but it's probably still worth investigating for yourself to see if it's your sort of thing.

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.