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Dated 16 July 2019: I was guaranteed to watch Cop Craft as a matter of general principle

Kei, O'Neill, and Tilarna
This is some shakedown.

Seeing as how Cop Craft features a post-WUG Yoshioka Mayu and an Orikasa Fumiko + Nakahara Mai + Inoue Marina trifecta in its cast, I knew I was going to at least give the first episode a chance. The fact that its main character is an adult instead of yet another teenage boy? So much the better. You'll also find other notable talents in the show's credits, but I can't claim I would have personally regarded the inclusion of anyone else alone sufficiently persuasive. Fortunately, the first episode was legitimately interesting, which was somewhat of a relief.

Kei and Tilarna
Well, I guess someone is about to get fucked.

As either a police drama or a buddy comedy featuring two mismatched partners fighting crime, Cop Craft may tread a well-worn path, but this is a formula with a good chance for success. I suppose it's also technically yet another isekai, albeit it not one in the typical contemporary sense a la Tsuujou Kougeki ga Zentai Kougeki de Ni-kai Kougeki no Okaasan wa Suki desu ka? (that mom show). It's too early in the season yet to make any reliable projections, but I at least have solid hopes for Cop Craft among the shows I'm watching during Summer 2019.

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 31 July 2017: Kyoukai no Rinne is as good as ever

Rinne
I think the title gets localized as RIN-NE just to be petulant.

Joining the ranks of Pretty Cure and Detective Conan is Kyoukai no Rinne (often just RIN-NE), a long-running Takahashi Rumiko show which I'm willing to watch essentially indefinitely despite its recycled jokes. That probably doesn't sound like high praise, but I'm not claiming the show is brilliant—just that it's pleasant and enjoyable despite a fairly static setup.

Sakura
Super-pleasant girl enjoys her meal.

At 67 episodes now and counting, the cast of characters has grown quite a bit from when the anime adaptation first started in 2015. I guess this helps prevent the constantly recycled jokes (Rinne is beset by poverty, Sakura observes something startling but reacts nonchalantly, Rinne's dad is a cretin, etc.) from getting old. I'm not actually tired of the re-used jokes, though. Sakura's droll reactions remain as amusing as ever. I fell behind my Girl of the Year awards, but Sakura was a two-time winner of my short-lived Girl of the Week project in spring 2016.

Dated 1 July 2015: Punch Line sure had a lot more plot than I was expecting

Strange Juice
This bus did not have safety glass.

More people probably would have watched Punch Line if they had banked on its noitaminA time slot instead of its first episode. I know a lot of people were immediately dissuaded from watching the series due to its premise. "A teenage boy develops superpowers whenever he sees panties? What is this ridiculous fan service horseshit?" It turns out the real problem with Punch Line is that it has too much plot. Thus, anime fans who might have enjoyed the time looping, mystery, and conspiracy components of the show but were turned away by an aversion to fan service missed out on the series. Likewise, many anime fans who wanted PANTIES and FIGHTING and PANTIES may have been let down by the more serious parts of the show.

Yuuta
It's because he saw panties.

I belong to the latter camp. While I did not find anything particularly wrong with the Punch Line plot, it brought a lot more complexity to the show than I was expecting. I basically wanted an entire series about Strange Juice doing Strange Juice things and maybe stupid missions assigned by the talking cat ghost. Instead, Strange Juice was barely in the show and I ended up finishing the series almost entirely due to the charm Kugimiya Rie brought to her character, Meika.

Dated 23 April 2015: Will watch for twin braids and talking cats

Rokumon and Mamiya
Feeding a stray cat in your bedroom is good way to get fleas.

I'm not too enamored with the current season so far. It's not bad, but there's nothing that I'm really looking forward to each week. The closest thing so far is the second half of Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works, but even though it's done really well and a better adaptation of its source material than anyone has any right to expect, it's still just Fate/stay night. Kyoukai no Rinne isn't exactly thrilling to watch, but it currently occupies my number-two spot after three episodes simply by being sort of amusing and because I like the way it looks.

Rokudo, Mamiya, and Rokumon
Who didn't see this coming?

Someone with a better understanding of anime and manga history can probably comment better on the style used for the Kyoukai no Rinne anime and how it relates to its Takahashi Rumiko heritage. I can only tell you that it looks really nice in a pleasant kid's show sort of way that fits really well with Mamiya's surprisingly calm reactions to the arguably freaky shit that happens around her every damn day. It's actually a good thing Kyoukai no Rinne is presented in that style, to be honest. A twin-braid Inoue Marina-voiced girl who bums around in raglan shirts would be some powerful service otherwise.

Dated 19 August 2013: I think I'm only watching To Aru Kagaku no Railgun S and Inu to Hasami wa Tsukaiyou for the hime cuts

Kirihime
Woofies.

To Aru Kagaku no Railgun S (A Certain Scientific Railgun S) and Inu to Hasami wa Tsukaiyō (Dog and Scissors) don't have much in common except they're both at the bottom of the list of shows I'm watching this season and they both have characters with hime cuts. Oh, and pets.

Misaka and Saten
"Hi. I'm done with my stupid bullshit so the rest of the show
can be about you playing baseball and mahjong."

RailgunS is pretty terrible because it's so contrived. I do feel it is unfair to lambaste the show for its plot holes since most shows reveal pretty sizable plot holes after even cursory inspections, but Railgun S takes itself so seriously that I sort of feel it has it coming. The most egregious examples involve keeping Kuroko on the bench for nearly two solid cours because her teleportation ability would speed the plot along too quickly.

Saten
BEST GIRL.

To me, the most damning aspect of this second season of Railgun is that it actually improved after introducing the odious Touma to heroically solve Misaka's little problem. And watch over a kitten. To be fair, viewers looking for a show that is neither pretentious nor too low-brow yet still punctuated by periodic action scenes with satisfyingly serious slugfests will probably find a fair amount of material to enjoy in Railgun S as long as they're not too critical of Misaka's martyr complex or Accelerator's ludicrous villain voice. Me, I'm just watching it for SATEN SATEN SATEN and her easygoing BEST GIRL ways. Now with baseball shirts, variable hairstyles, Internet mahjong, and casual cooking!

Kirihime
It's not quite yet okay if it's you.

Exin asks:

Have you seen [Inu to Hasami wa Tsukaiyou] yet? I saw the advertisement on yourube [sic] before it started, watched an episode and found it refreshingly nice.

Kirihime and Kazuhito
Get a room.

Indeed, I am watching and enjoying Dog & Scissors even though it is pretty awful in an Akikan! sort of way (albeit without Grape's horrible voice). This is one of those shows any reasonable viewer is forced to acknowledge as "objectively bad" although it can still be entertaining in a stupid sort of way. It really does have far too many flat-chest jokes and dog-abuse jokes. There's also a lot more foreshadowed bestiality than I was expecting.

Kirihime
Relax. She's only looking for her underwear.

If I have to conclude that Dog and Scissors is "objectively bad, subjectively bad," I think I have to categorize Railgun S as "objectively good, subjectively bad." Anyone who fears his reputation may be damaged by the type of anime he watches will likely loathe both To Aru Kagaku no Railgun S and Inu to Hasami wa Tsukaiyō. However, anime sophomores (i.e., ones who are neither neophytes nor jaded, seasoned, middle-aged veterans) will likely be able to find something to enjoy in RailgunS. On the other hand, the only people likely to enjoy Dog & Scissors are probably either the aforementioned neophytes or the elderly set of anime fans—the poor bastards who have been watching too long and seen too much to still be angry young men—so long their tastes have wrapped around enough and granted them the ability to enjoy just about anything.

Dated 3 April 2012: Season Wrap-up, Winter 2012

Genjuro and Chris
When in doubt, hug Chris.

Senki Zesshou Symphogear was awesome because it was preposterous. Symphogear went above and beyond to remain entertaining. From the first BADICAL episode to its ridiculous climax, Symphogear always remained fun to watch. I can't claim with a straight face that it's actually good, but I never claimed a show had to be good to be the best show of the season. More of this sort of thing, please.

Yassan and Hidenori
It's all about the timing.

The best show of Winter 2012 if you want to use boring metrics such as "funny" or "consistent" is Daily Lives of High School Boys (Danshi Kōkōsei no Nichijō or "Nichibros" affectionately, among fans). Shockingly, this was a very amusing comedy and nothing at all like what I thought it would be about based on the title. Daily Lives of High School Boys also accomplished the rare No Bad Episodes achievement. Hell, I'd even go so far as to recommend it. That's something I can't do for Symphogear.

Saya
Black Rock Shooter needed more DARK MAMIKO.

I liked Black Rock Shooter for its almost confrontational use of allegory and metaphor to illustrate the trauma of suffering teenage feelings. I don't believe I have an especially high tolerance or patience for teen angst in general, so I consider my positive overall opinion of Black Rock Shooter to be a testament to its solid, stylish execution and depiction of envy, despair, humiliation, friendship, and courage. I can see how other viewers might wildly disagree, though.

Kazuha and Amakazu
Kazuha aikidos the shit out of some deadbeat.

Detective Conan remains as good as ever. It's somewhat amazing that after more than 650 episodes it still has compelling stories about its key characters. It's also just as satisfying as ever to watch Ran and Kazuha whip the Hell out of some goob. If you're new to these wrap-ups, Detective Conan is sort of my control group of quality since it's pretty consistent and appears ready to run as long as it has to.

Tsugumi
Guilty Crown needed more Butt OS.

Guilty Crown was all over the place this season. It's quite a mess, but was pretty entertaining in an absurd sort of way when it was about [spoilers] and [spoilers] and [spoilers!], but then it just started getting stupid. Shu as a protagonist was its biggest flaw, and things would have been so much better if Guilty Crown had killed him unexpectedly and replaced him with Ayase. For a show that I ranked number one for a large part of the season, Guilty Crown fell a long way in its inability to pull off a satisfying conclusion. It also didn't make a damn lot of sense, but a show doesn't need to make sense to be the best of the season. (See Symphogear.)

Flay
Poor Flay is just misunderstood.

The "HD" rebroadcast of Mobile Suit Gundam SEED is not much different from the original. It's mostly just cropped and upscaled. I still like it, though, even if Flay's breasts are now flying out-of-control all over the OP.

Lucius
That is some pretty good ramen.

I finished Thermae Romae months ago. It's a good thing it was so short, though. I can't imagine watching a full cour of it.

Miyuki and Nao
Flag of England and lance corporal rank.

It's a bit of a relief that Smile Precure! is charming. These girls can't fight worth a damn. That's kind of the trend for Pretty Cure over the last few years, though. There's not nearly enough ass kicking. I remain hopeful that Cure March will get her act together later, even if she does end up carrying the rest of the team. Notably, Nao wears combat boots and her favorite shirt appears to have lance corporal rank insignia on its sleeve and the flag of England on the breast. SHOW ME YOUR WAR FACE, CURE MARCH!

Ai
Ai is pretty awesome even though she tastes like ramen.

Amagami SS+ was a huge letdown because it retconned nearly all of the progress Potato-kun made in the first season. It would be almost inexplicable, except that I should have predicted the craven devotion to upholding the Otaku Virtues. In nearly every respect, the second season of Amagami SS is wasted potential, and a waste of time. At least Tsukasa remains the Amagami Best Girl by showing she's smart enough not to fall for stupid tricks.

Asia
Potato-kun comes for Asia's box.

High School DxD is both a disappointment and a pleasant surprise. On the one hand, it's a lot better than a trashy show like that has any right to be. On the other hand, it didn't turn out as good as it appeared it would be from the early episodes following the cookie-cutter first episode.

Arsène
The best Milky Holmes II had to offer.

Tantei Opera Milky Holmes II was not nearly as good as the first season. Then again, the first season was a lot better than anyone expected it to be, so I guess it works out. Too much lard, not enough Arsène, and the only new gag I liked was Hercule turning out to be a huge pervert in secret.

Akazawa
Hair down > twin-tails.

Another was another letdown for me. It started off boring, got interesting, got stupid, and ended up being completely retarded. I think it tried recapture the elements that made Shiki so good, but instead of B-movie fun Another was just poorly written dreck. So many problems. There's only so much handwaving I'm willing to accept. And another thing: [SPOILERS] If everyone forgets about the dead extra person after he's killed, how do they know it's over? Wouldn't the class continue looking for the extra person until everyone was dead? In any case, it seems a lot of people who were very critical of Guilty Crown for being puerile were much more forgiving of Another despite the two shows sharing similar flaws. I took the opposite view. I dunno, maybe I liked Butt OS and wheelchair-fu more than I thought. A classroom of students too stupid to live? Not so much.

Shana
Dere-Dere Mode, activate!

Shakugan no Shana III was a lot better than Shakugan no Shana II but was still terrible. I blame J.C. Staff's persistent problems with producing compelling fight scenes. They're bad enough at it that sequences only a few seconds long routinely come out horrid. Thus, when J.C. Staff tries to drag out fight scenes over multiple episodes, the end result is disastrous.

Shinobu
Whatever happened to Shinobu's helmet and goggles?

Nisemonogatari is awesome if you like that SHAFTXSHINBO jive. It'll irritate the crap out of you if you have little to no patience for it, though. And let's be clear on this: Koyomi is a harem comedy protagonist. A shitty one. Also, the obsession with little sisters has got to stop. I suppose I don't "get" Japanese fetishes, but I am really tired of the imouto thing. It's basically only okay when it's like Harima + Yakumo from School Rumble (platonic friendship with the kid sister of his unrequited love). I suspect many viewers will further disagree with me here, but as much as I like Sakamoto Maaya, I believe Hirano Aya, the original voice of Shinobu (back when she didn't talk) would have been a better match. I assume Hirano Aya was replaced for reasons related to her relatively recent personal and professional problems.

I already described my problems with Suite Precure♪. I still want to know whether or not Cure Rhythm's battle costume smells like cake, though.

I dropped Moretsu Pirates because it was boring. I heard later that the show is actually about privateering, anyway.

Dated 11 March 2012: Smile Precure is Pretty Cure for beginners

Cure Beauty, Cure Peace, Cure Happy, Cure Sunny, and Cure March
Choosing leaders by their affiliated colors is an insane practice.

After six episodes into Smile Precure!, the introductions and basics are mostly set and viewers can probably look forward to numerous monster-of-the-week episodes as the show spoonfeeds the viewer a variety of subplots before developing the mini-boss mid-season arc in a few months' time. On the one hand, it's good that Smile Precure! got all five Cures established in only five episodes, but there is definitely a by-the-numbers feel to the entire process thus far. It is quite obvious nothing has gone at them at full speed yet. The first three episodes in particular took things very slowly, carefully explaining each new Cure's powers and expectations during linear, lackluster fights. There was a lot of standing around as each new girl found her footing, tried a practice shot, miffed, and then took a mulligan as teammates and villains patiently waited for the rookie Cure to get her act together and try again. This is basically the opposite approach from the near-hazing trial-by-fire Cure Blossom and Cure Marine received in the second Precure All Stars DX2 movie where they were thrown completely in over their heads, floundering though one predicament after another as more experienced and capable mahou shoujo bailed them out time and again.

Miyuki
Miyuki loses sight of the mission.

I'm exaggerating here regarding the easy time the Smile Precure! villains are giving the new girls, but only slightly. Both Cure Happy and Cure Peace are dojikkos, and at least one is a dojikko even as a Cure. They are further hamstrung by being restricted from using their special attacks more than once per episode. They also miss a lot. It appears Smile Precure! is downplaying the franchise's focus on fighting, but that also makes the weekly fights comical affairs. I thought Wester and Souler from Fresh Pretty Cure were slackers. Man, those two would be employees of the month on the Smile staff. The Smile villains don't make any effort to defeat Pretty Cure at all.

Cure Sunny, Cure March, Cure Happy, Cure Peace, and Cure Beauty
The name of the game is "Sucker Punch."

I also believe this is the most otaku-friendly iteration of Pretty Cure so far, exceeding even Heartcatch Precure! and Fresh Pretty Cure. Possibly this is due to the blatant moéification of Cure Peace, who is basically Cure Pine except without the confidence or competence. Frankly, I hope this "cute," meek, harmlessness of hers is a short phase, because she's the next Cure Blossom and Cure Rhythm, only worse. Personally, I believe a show with children as its primary demographic—and young girls in particular—should make its potential role models confident, strong, capable, and determined.

Reika, Yayoi, Miyuki, Akane, and Nao
Well, everyone else is using this screenshot too.

Thankfully, despite the aforementioned aspects that I dislike, Smile Precure! as a whole is quite good, with ample charisma among its engaging characters (despite my personal disdain for dojikkos) and a helping of the camaraderie that made Yes! Pretty Cure 5 so much fun. Probably largely thanks to the dumbed down fights and junior varsity coaching by Candy on the sidelines, Smile Precure! gets my vote so far as the most accessible "starter" Pretty Cure series that anyone new to the franchise—regardless of age—can approach and understand and appreciate without effort. It's not good at all with regard to the Pretty Cure aspects that I care most about, but it's a good show nonetheless.