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Dated 5 November 2018: I'm not sure I want to watch a full year of Sword Art Online: Alicization

Kazuto
Relax, he's fine.

I don't regard myself as part of the Sword Art Online fandom, a demographic I associate with "newer" anime fans (newer than me, okay), but at the same time I think I'm much less critical of the franchise than most "old ass" anime fans. Pretty much all of the major criticisms of the anime and its source material are accurate, but I also take the position—somewhat—that it doesn't really matter. Not exactly high praise, indeed, but perhaps sufficient to establish that I am happy to watch Sword Art Online: Alicization, yet not particularly enthused that it is reportedly going to be about 50 episodes long.

Asuna, Midori, and Suguha
Asuna is the best-dressed guest at this hosptial.

I think I've already been spoiled on most of the major Alicization plot developments. At least nothing in first five scene-setting episodes seemed unexpected. This does make me wonder what it is about the show that I'm even anticipating, though. Potentially, I'm only watching because Sword Art Online is a big property and I'm motivated to stay up to date since I've seen all of the anime thus far already. That could be it, but there are plenty of big shows that I've simply abandoned or ignored completely.

Yui, Suguha, and Asuna
If you didn't watch the SAO: Ordinal Scale movie, you may be confused why Yui is here.

I can't even claim to be watching it for the characters, since I'm only modestly fond of Asuna and Yui and basically ambivalent about everyone else, at best. All those jokes about MORE DEBAN? Yeah, I don't really care if y'all get more deban or not. Oh, I also like the character who died of AIDS, but I'm not expecting her to make an appearance in SAO: Alicization. You know, because she already died of AIDS. At least I think Kajiura Yuki is still doing the music, so there you go; that'll be my motivation for dragging myself through this show for the next year.

Dated 27 May 2016: Wake Me Up Asuna gets a new free outfit but no new punctuation

Asuna
Birth control glasses.

Just a few observations now that I've been using the Wake Me Up Asuna app for over a month. It really can fail for no apparent reason. It's only happened once, but that's pretty unreliable for an alarm clock. Hence the need for its prominent disclaimers and warnings, I guess. It also can go batshit crazy and drain your battery out of nowhere. That's only happened once too, and I haven't been able to reproduce the bug. The real news is—aside from the initial nag—Asuna hasn't pestered me to buy her any new clothes, and now there's even a new free outfit, shown above.

I get the feeling we're only a few years away from a wave of digital assistants, probably something like the Amazon Echo combined with a Cortana that's more like the Halo version than the Windows version. I'm hoping for a Yui voiced by a synthesized Ito Kanae—a Yui that will randomly crash the fuck out of my SMRT-HOEM with erratic bugs. The future's gonna be awesome.

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 23 October 2015: If you're not watching 35th Platoon for Ueda Reina, I can only assume you're watching it for Itou Kanae

Mari and Ouka
I don't understand why they wear belts with suspenders,
let alone TWO belts with suspenders.

Wondering why a company has 35 platoons is the least confusing part of Tai-Madō Gakuen 35 Shiken Shōtai (Anti-Magic Academy: The 35th Test Platoon). Indeed, most of the show makes no sense to me, largely because I find it difficult to remain engaged enough to follow along with what's happening. Everything about it seems rather low-effort and perplexing. Why is the sniper girl even a character? What does she bring to the show? She's been dead weight through three episodes, so I guess she's there for comic relief. (Read: Random breast groping, because it's definitely not sexual assault as long as the perpetrator is also female.)

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Dated 23 December 2014: Two voices

Sento
It sort of bugs me there are no sights on that weapon.

I first noticed Kakuma Ai because of her Aldnoah.Zero supporting character. She voices Nina, the schoolgirl refugee who nearly collided a ship with a giant obstacle the instant they let her steer. There's not much to the character that really stands out, but her panicky cries as she nearly wrecks the boat were pretty amusing. But then I noticed she's also in Amagi Brilliant Park, voicing Sento who sounds completely different than Nina. Sento didn't do any panicky yammering in the episodes I watched, but I did like the way she said "brilllyant paahk." I'm not particularly familiar with the rest of her work, but given the contrast between Nina and Sento and their aforementioned highlights, I'm encouraged to pay more attention to her in the future.

Emi
Emi's piano? Also a weapon.

Hayami Saori, who voices Emi from Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso caught my attention for the same reason I really enjoy Ito Kanae: She speaks with a normal voice. I find artificially squeaky "anime" voices a bit tiresome at times, and perhaps moreso when that fake-sounding anime voice is one the seiyuu uses as her "real" voice. Hayami Saori, on the other hand, sounds like a genuine person to me, which contributes a great deal towards my positive impressions of her character. Emi, if you don't know, is pathologically passionate about piano in such a way that would be sort of grating if I hadn't fully bought into her character. Emi's success in this regard speaks volumes to Hayami Saori's contribution to the show. It turns out I've also liked her in a few of her previous works, so she's another seiyuu to keep an ear out for, as it were.

Dated 17 May 2011: Hanasaku Iroha episode seven was MAMIKORE

Tomoe
CHUG! CHUG! CHUG!

I knew Tomoe was the best character in Hanasaku Iroha. I'm glad she got a spotlight episode, but I hope it's not the last one she gets for the series.

Tomoe
She may be weary...

Another member of the Christmas Cake Club, Tomoe shows why all these shows starring teenagers need older characters around—preferably ones who have their acts together enough to take care of themselves and are resolute enough to make life decisions before the end credits roll.

Nako and Ohana
You were too young to see this, girls.

As for the show itself, Hanasaku Iroha is easily the best show I'm watching this season. Most people seem to prefer the other hana show, Ano Hana which is short for Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Boku-tachi wa Mada Shiranai, which translates to "we still do not know the name of the flower we saw that day." What is it with long-ass titles this season? I'm not saying Ano Hana isn't good, but I definitely enjoy it less; every single character on that show annoys me to some level. In the competition between leading shows with hana in the title from spring 2011, it's Hanasaku Iroha in a walk, even if Ohana isn't really dead.

Ohana and Potato-kun
Must be St. Patrick's Day.

In other news, all y'all who criticize the Hanasaku Iroha OP are nuts. It's ridiculously pretty. Oh, right, the voice. Yeah, I guess I can see that.

Dated 3 June 2009: I dropped Eden of the East and K-On! but I'm still watching Queen's Blade

Reina
Reina is always back-to-back with Death.

Queen's Blade is awesome. No, wait. It's horrible. Actually, it's awesome because it's horrible. Or is it horrible because it's awesome? You kinda have to see it for yourself. On the one hand, it is wall-to-wall fan service. And I don't mean soft core Hatsukoi Limited fan service, I mean hard service of the "Look at all the tits! There must be...57 tits!" variety. And also the snake-rape and acid-lactation variety. No, really. And it goes on like that.

Tomoe
I wonder if Tomoe even knows what kind of show she's in.

But it also has A-List seiyuu in nearly every role. Kawasumi Ayako plays the lead girl, an inept middle-child named Reina who manages to lose nearly every single fight. (Really, a victory for Reina is a loss during which she doesn't piss herself.) Ayako isn't in Lafiel mode by any means, but she's taking it a lot more seriously than her He Is My Master role, for example. And it has Noto Mamiko playing an absurd miko character, also dead seriously. I guess it's a chance to get away from her Shimako typecast.

Airi
Of course there's a maid character.

And it has Hirano Aya yammering at a thousand words per minute about all sorts of insane crap related to this "Queen's Blade" reality television show she's trying to promote, albeit with only dubious success. That's what Queen's Blade is technically about: a ridiculous contest, but none of the characters seem especially motivated. I can't really blame 'em. Nanael is crazy.

Nanael
I still think Nanael is making it up as she goes along.

On a whole, Queen's Blade isn't a show you watch for its merits—you watch because it's a curiosity. Still, it's a freak show, not a train wreck. If it were a better show, Queen's Blade would be boring and pointless. If it were any worse it probably wouldn't be any fun. As it is, it's brilliant slack-jawed entertainment and I can't stop watching.