Version 5.4 ~ Haruhi gave rock and roll to you.
karmaburn.com karmaburn.com

Dated 16 June 2020: If you fell behind watching Railgun Tango episodes, this is your chance to catch up

Dolly
Someone is going to have to clean that, Dolly.

There has not been a new episode of Toaru Kagaku no Railgun T (A Certain Scientific Railgun T) since the seventh week of the Spring 2020 anime season. Moreover, the next episode is not scheduled to air until the 24th of July. Through 15 episodes, my perspective on the Index/Railgun franchise has not changed. It's heavily flawed, but there have been a few things I've liked.

SATEN and Kuroko
I want cake.

Ito Kanae's setup and SATEN's subsequent pratfall in episode 14 is basically the highlight of Railgun season three thus far. Misaka x Touma 'shippers (y'all exist, right?) probably enjoyed the scene for other reasons. I liked it because SATEN amuses me and because I enjoy Ito Kanae's voice work.

Misaki and Mitori
This tightly controlled facility allows kids to run in the halls.

On a sort of related note, Shokuhou Misaki also amuses me, but I'd prefer if she talked more like a normal person and less like an anime weirdo. There has been a lot of Misaki this season, but not enough for me to understand what the Hell was going on sometimes without looking up background information (like why she acted the way she did around Touma). Possibly that information was provided in episodes from different installments of the Raildex Animatic Universe, but someone who only watches the Railgun episodes will find a significant part of it perplexing.

Touma
Touma isn't dim, it's your screen.

With regard to the animation itself, the quality has remained high, no doubt thanks to the numerous Covid-19 delays and breaks between episodes to accommodate production requirements. This presumably accounts for the current hiatus as well. Nevertheless, I think it's worth pointing out that precautionary measures (contrast dimming) meant to reduce the risk of flashing-light-induced seizures among susceptible viewers means that the screen dims significantly anytime Misaka does anything, because all of her powers involve flashing lights. I don't know if there is a better solution for addressing these concerns, but I hope the industry develops one someday.

Dated 21 January 2020: I'm committed to watching Railgun Tango even though I'll probably hate a lot of it

SATEN
SATEN constantly looks as if she needs a haircut, but she apparently never gets one.

There is no end to the amount of bitching I could do about Toaru Kagaku no Railgun T (A Certain Scientific Railgun T) and the Index universe as a whole. Seriously, though, it is mostly bad. Like, wall-to-wall bad. Nevertheless, I fully intend to watch both cours of Railgun 3 even though Railgun 2 was not nearly as good as Railgun 1, and it's been so long since I've seen Railgun 1 that I have to question if I would even like it as much now as I did then. (I bought the Blu-rays anyway. Still unopened.)

Kuroko and SATEN
I'm also not 100-percent sure I remember why Kuroko is in a wheelchair.

What I do know is that I still really like SATEN even though my reasons for liking her are entirely superficial. Here is a numbered list:

  1. SATEN has excellent hair. Like, for real. This is straight-up one of the biggest reasons.
  2. She's voiced by Itō Kanae, who typically uses a much more normal-sounding voice than you usually find in anime. Or at least it sounds normal to me.
  3. I get to continue writing SATEN Ruiko's surname in all capital letters (you know, like, on the Twitter) even though I've entirely forgotten why I started doing that in the first place. In any case, I've done it too long now to stop.
  4. As the only character in the main Railgun cast without superpowers, the distinction makes her the special one, I guess. I'm at least under the impression this is a big part of the reason why other SATEN fans like her—especially other SATEN fans who probably don't care about my first three reasons.

That's it. That's my list. You thought there would be five reasons, right? Because five is an honorary round number, eh. Fuck you, no it's not. Four reasons are all I need. And really I only needed the first two. SATEN's hair and Ito Kanae are wonderful.

Dated 27 August 2019: I'm still rooting for the mahou shoujo in Machikado Mazoku, you know

Momo and Yuuko
Yuuko is pretty lucky that Momo goes so easy on her.

One of the best surprises of the Summer 2019 anime season is how good Machikado Mazoku (The Demon Girl Next Door) turned out to be. Shadow Mistress Yuuko is the hapless opponent of Chiyoda Momo, a veteran magikal girl who grossly outclasses "Shamiko" in basically every way imaginable. In the grand tradition of overpowered pink mahou shoujo, Momo quickly subdues Yuuko with the power of friendship, which works out pretty well in Yuuko's favor, since I'm guessing the only other option is a humiliating and pointless death. Viewers who liked Gabriel DropOut will probably find a lot to enjoy here as well, in that both shows regard the struggle between good and evil as a bit of a farce.

Yuuko and Lilith
You're only flying because you're short, aren't you?

I instantly took a liking to Momo, because she's freakishly strong and constantly droll. She's not an emotionless kuudere stereotype, but rather apparently just not easily excited. I think that's understandable for a veteran mahou shoujo who has probably seen some shit in her day and just does what she wants now. I haven't read the original Machikado Mazoku 4-koma comic, but the anime adaptation is consistently funny and peppered with amusing gags. After seven episodes, The Demon Girl Next Door is right up there with an Okada sex disaster and a fantastic fifth season of Symphogear in a three-way tie as this season's top three shows.

Dated 18 June 2018: Previewing new shows for Summer 2018

Yuki
Maybe she has PE first period?

After two strong anime seasons, I'm mostly ambivalent about the upcoming Summer 2018 season. The shows I'm most interested in (Overlord III, Major 2nd, and Hugtto! Precure) are all either sequels or continuations of existing shows. Thanks to the sheer volume of anime that comes out each season now, I'm sure I'll find plenty of acceptably amusing titles to watch, but I'm otherwise merely mildly optimistic about the synopses I've read and the PVs I've watched.

(more…)

Dated 10 July 2017: Alice to Zouroku is more frabjous than I expected

Sana and the March Hare
Fuck you, rabbit.

There are a lot of tonal shifts in Alice to Zouroku (Alice and Zouroku). The shifts themselves are not jarring. It's just that the show covers a lot more emotional ground than you might expect. There are people getting fucked up in fight scenes, but also scenes of a little girl joyously talking to the plants she's watering. There's also a dramatic arc which abruptly ends midway through the one-cours show. I don't know how closely the anime follows the manga, but I presume that must be at least partially responsible for the somewhat unconventional way everything plays out.

Zouroku and Sanae
You can tell Sanae is a responsible girl because she packed an umbrella.

Ordinarily, these sort of factors result in a disjointed show that's mostly a mess, but Alice to Zouroku is quite good the whole way though. I like that despite having superpowers, Sana is still very much a little kid with all the weaknesses and vulnerabilities that come along with that. It helps that Ohwada Hitomi does a fine job voicing her. I like the way Sana talks and the inflections she uses. I also like that the show is filled with interesting bits, such as its depiction of "Wonderland" and how various superpowers manifest. Naturally, I also like that there's a combat maid who shows up to bail people out from time to time, because of course there's a dependable combat maid. Ultimately, it's not so much that Alice to Zouroku is necessarily capital-G Good, although it is pretty good, but rather mostly that the show is really likeable. I think that's reason enough to give it a try.

Dated 26 July 2016: Flying Witch is fantastic

Akane and Makoto
Eh, there's no rush.

Unlike ani-nouto, I found Flying Witch to be an exceptional show and am willing to watch additional episodes of it essentially indefinitely. From a genre standpoint, I don't typically watch shows like Flying Witch, so perhaps that's one reason why I enjoyed it so much. Or maybe the show just happened to catch me at a time when I could appreciate its idyllic, laid back atmosphere and pace.

(more…)

Dated 3 January 2016: In re Winter 2016

Hotaru
Yeah, Hotaru's eyes are always like that.

I'm not going to watch all of these shows, but here are the ones at least on the radar. They're even sort of in order.

  • Dagashi Kashi: The original manga about cheap ass candy is fucking delicious. I don't see how anyone could screw this up as long as the anime keeps the crazy crossed eyes and incredulous reaction faces. This is your best God damn show, right here.
  • Gate: Jieitai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri second cour: Yeah, I know most viewers have a fairly negative opinion of this show. I'm almost inclined to say they're opposed to it as a matter of principle because it glorifies the military, sort of like how some readers loathe Robert A. Heinlein's Starship Troopers because they find it "fascist." Whatever, man. This is some good shit.
  • Aikatsu!: I only gave Aikatsu! another chance fairly recently, but I'm totally on board now. Bring on the idol activities!
  • Go! Princess Precure and Mahou Tsukai Precure!: The current season will end in about a month with episode 50. I'll be sad to see it go, but the next iteration is frickin' WITCH PRECURE for crying out loud. We're there.
  • Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu: I don't really know what this is about. Something about an ex-con who just wants to tell stories? In any case, it seems different, and probably won't have any of that "moé shit" people love to cry about.
  • Dimension W: I'm going to watch this for Ueda Reina and the Toyota 2000GT.
  • Luck & Logic: ORIKASA FUMIKO. Holy shit. Omigawa Chiaki, Kayano Ai, and Ueda Kana are in this too, as are Uesaka Sumire, Taneda Risa, Touyama Nao, and Minase Inori. I hope this doesn't turn out to be too much bullshit about the trading card game or whatever, but I'll at least give it a chance thanks to the cast.
  • Akagami no Shirayuki-hime 2nd Season: I'll watch the second cour if I ever get around to finishing the first one. I stopped watching because I was tired of watching Snow White getting conveniently rescued from would-be rapists every week, but I heard the show stopped being about that.
  • Detective Conan: Yep, here's my control.
  • Hai to Gensou no Grimgar: Eh, it has pretty watercolors.
  • Prince of Stride: Alternative. As an avid runner, I have to watch this. I'm also guaranteed to drop it in disgust the minute someone does something unrealistic, like I did after the first chapter of Suzuka.
  • Ao no Kanata no Four Rhythm: I know at least one person who's psyched about this, so I'll give it a try. Something about flying kids.
  • Oshiete! Galko-chan: Something about three girls fucking off in class. Based on a manga which I've not read.
  • Ajin: The manga is sort of interesting. Kaji Yuuki is in this, though.
  • Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo!: It's DEEN, but it has girls who twist their bodies a lot, at least according to the promo art. That's something, right? Really, though, I am curious to see what Studio Deen is up to these days, and Deen is responsible for the best anime of all time. Besides, the people who were loudest at jeering, "LOL DEEN," were the ones who worshiped SHAFT until Madoka went mainstream.
  • Divine Gate: I guess it would be interesting to watch TWO shows called Gate in the same season, right? Besides, Ito Kanae is in this.
  • Saijaku Muhai no Bahamut: I really wish this would have come out three months ago so we could have had a triumvirate with Cavalry and Asterisk. It's the same setup.
  • Musaigen no Phantom World: Eh, it's Kyoto Animation. I'll keep watching if it involves ghost girlfriends.
  • Shoujo-tachi wa Kouya wo Mezasu: This sounds like a shittier Saekano.
  • Ooya-san wa Shishunki!: This is a three-minute show, right? I ain't watching if it's not a three-minute show.
  • Mahou Shoujo Nante Mouiidesukara.: I think the period is part of the title. How bad could it be? It has Mahou Shoujo right in the title!
  • Sushi Police: This looks too shitty to not at least try.
  • Ojisan to Marshmallow: It's got an old dude as the love interest. That never happens.
  • Nurse Witch Komugi-chan R: Eh...it's not Momoi as Komugi. But she plays her mom instead. Is that good enough?
  • Nijiro Days: Shoujo about three dudes? I guess one is in love with some chick and the other two dudes cockblock him for sport?
  • Bubuki Buranki: I have no idea what this is, but it's an original anime. That still counts for something, right?
  • Boku dake ga Inai Machi: I'm not especially interested in this time travelling manga artist mystery thingy, but whatever. Really, I'm just not up for another noitaminA show right about now.
  • Heavy Object: This show is hot garbage. I should really just stop watching. Seriously. Hot garbage.

Christ, that is a lot of shows. There are also a bunch of specials and OVAs. I hope you weren't relying on me to keep track.

Dated 16 December 2015: I'd probably like Hidan no Aria AA more if I had watched the original series first

Urara
That stock is just for looks.

Pretty much as a matter of general principle I won't watch a sequel without watching the original first. However, I do make exceptions when I don't expect to enjoy a show, or if I'm fairly confident I wouldn't like the original. In these situations, it's likely the new series has some hook or meaningful changes that distinguish it from the earlier series. This was the case with Futakoi Alternative, a fantastic series which took the basic framework of (I'm told) a dreadful harem comedy and turned it into something interesting. I was hoping this would also be the case with Hidan no Aria AA, but my impressions of the show through 11 episodes are mixed at best.

(more…)