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Dated 18 October 2022: I can't tell who Urusei Yatsura is for

Lum and Ataru
Lum, you have no one but yourself to blame.

Despite how long I've been at least sort of aware of Urusei Yatsura as a property that exists, I've never really known anything about it. I knew it well enough to recognize Lum, but remained ignorant about essentially every other part of it.

Lum
Service.

In fact, I'm inclined to believe anything of substance that I did know about it came from a small mention in this blog post that SDS wrote a decade ago. Consequently, I didn't really know what to make of the news that the anime was returning for 2022, with Uesaka Sumire voicing Lum, no less.

Shinobu
The first time I saw this gag was in Love Hina, but I guess this must have come earlier.

Having watched the first episode now, the series seems sort of anachronistic. I don't mean that it's dated, but it does very much feel like a product of a different time. This is hardly surprising, considering the original manga began in 1978 and ended in 1987. The whole thing predates Heisei, let alone Reiwa. I don't know if the new anime is remaining true to the source material, but it feels as if it is, at least based on my aforementioned impressions that it's from a different time.

Lum and Ataru
Y'know, your two species probably can't procreate together.

Thus, it's not clear to me who is actually watching the new Urusei Yatsura. Is it aimed at new fans who are unfamiliar with the original? Or is it for older fans who loved the original manga and/or the 1981 anime and are eager to recapture some of that ol' Showa magic? When it comes to nostalgia, I tend to believe fans are often better off not revisiting things they loved in their youth—at least without being emotionally prepared to confront the reality that can often sour the experience.

Ataru
Land lines! Rotary phones!

It's not at all uncommon to discover that cartoons we loved as children were, in fact, really not all that good. This is not to say that Urusei Yatsura 2022 will produce the same sort of reactions. Hell, maybe it's better than ever. I haven't seen a lot of impressions of the first episode—good or bad—but probably that's just because I'm not adjacent to the sort of audiences that will either enthusiastically embrace (or violently reject) the new Urusei Yatsura anime.

Dated 27 September 2022: Summertime Render turned out to be pretty good

Hizuru and Shinpei
He'll be fine.

I haven't seen much discussion of Summertime Render during its two-cours run. This is understandable due to, ah, let's just say, "a variety of reasons," but it is sort of a shame because it's one of the better anime I've watched during 2022 so far. It's not the best one, but it's at least in good company, even if I can't quite figure out whether it's supposed to be Summertime Render, Summer Time Render, Summertime Rendering, or Summer Time Rendering. What a mess.

Shinpei, Ushio, and Mio
Ushio spends much of the show only wearing a swimsuit, but she gets by.

I started watching it because I figured it was going to be an anime about a ghost girlfriend haunting Potato-kun. It turns out it's more about time loops and the challenges faced when confronted by an adversary who is also able to exploit time loops. The events and where they fit in the timeline start to get somewhat complex, and does require a fair amount of attention if the viewer hopes to keep track of who knows what at each particular point in time. Fortunately, the characters have ways of copying and transfering memories quickly, so the show doesn't get bogged down with constant exposition to bewildered accomplices.

Mio
I like Mio's SAKANA shirt.

There is still one episode left in the Summertime Render anime, and I have no idea whether this will be mostly an epilogue, or whether it's going to be a high-intensity scramble to wring out the best-possible outcome from one last opportunity. Hell, I haven't even ruled out the chance that it's going to conclude the series on a cliffhanger. This is a cliffhanger-heavy show in general, so it would be in keeping with the tone of many of the previous episodes. Expect some griping on my part if that happens, though. Still, the source manga has concluded, so things will probably be fine for the final episode. Probably. Maybe.

Dated 20 September 2022: I hope Lycoris Recoil and Engage Kiss can both stick their landings

Chisato and Takina
What are you thinking about?

You might see Lycoris Recoil and Engage Kiss compared every so often (and I guess that's what I'm doing now), but they don't share much in common. Well, I guess they both have Aniplex and A1-Pictures behind them, and both anime air on Saturdays, but the shows themselves aren't similar. Also, both are headed towards a big finish this weekend, although I can see how Lycoris Recoil might earn itself a sequel, depending on how things go.

Chisato
Look, there aren't even any bullet holes!

To be clear, Lycoris Recoil is a significantly better show than Engage Kiss. I like both, although for different reasons, but there's a good reason why fans of Lycoris Recoil are so enthused. It features a well-balanced mix of serious drama with genuine stakes, wacky high jinks, and significant amounts of entertaining (albeit unrealistic) gun play.

Sharon and Shuu
My opinions about SHARON HOLYGRAIL are wholly positive.

On the other hand, Engage Kiss has a combat nun sensibly named SHARON HOLYGRAIL who only takes off her habit's headpiece during sex. It also features a high school demon girl whose motivation for being so devoted to Potato-kun is somewhat unclear. She at least seems willing to accept she must have had a good reason. Maybe she found instructions scrawled on her hand telling her to be, and just assumed there was a good reason that she merely forgot.

Dated 31 May 2022: I'm glad Machikado Mazoku and Komi-san are both back

Momo and Shamiko
Momo puts up with a lot of stuff she doesn't care about.

Machikado Mazoku: 2-Choume (The Demon Girl Next Door 2) and Komi-san wa, Komyushou desu. 2 (Komi Can't Communicate 2nd Season) both pick up where their first seasons left off. In that respect, it's basically more of the same for these sequels. In my case, I am fully on board with both of these shows because they're fuckin' great.

Momo and Shamiko
You can tell she's not serious because she's not using her dominant hand.

In particular, I enjoy the way Kitou Akari delivers her lines as Momo in Machikado Mazoku. Maybe I don't have any reason to know how Momo should sound, but her deadpan and somewhat tired way of speaking goes a long way towards convincing me she really is a veteran magikal girl who has already saved the world at least once and is now sort of slumming it without much enthusiasm in the world she protected.

Shouko
I appreciate "anxious Shouko" more than "hot Shouko," but I'm pretty sure everyone does.

In contrast, Shouko, the titular Komi-san, is basically in a constant state of anxiety, but her struggles and the reactions of those around her continue to amuse me. I wouldn't characterize the anime as a must-watch series necessarily, but it is done well and I do find Shouko herself and some of the members of her menagerie enjoyable to watch, so I'm glad the show got a second cours.

Dated 15 March 2022: 86 Eighty Six ends its operational pause

Lena
Congratulations on not being dead.
P.S. Spoilers.

To tell you the truth, I sort of forgot 86 Eighty Six season 2 two had delayed its final 2 two episodes to March 2022 Two Thousand Twenty Two. I mean, things were sort of tense when we last saw our characters, but it totally could have just ended the season where it was. I would have accepted a cliffhanger-ish ending and an indefinite wait until the next cours, whenever that happens to be. I mean, I think it's reasonable to expect there will be another cours at some point. The anime seems pretty well-regarded, and I've warmed up to it as well, despite some initial misgivings.

Frederica and Shin
Congratulations on not being dead.
P.S. Spoilers.

86 is at its best when it's exploring how its characters relate to each other and to their shared experiences with war. These aspects of the series are much more compelling than how it depicts the war itself or the dynamics of the societies involved. This is not necessarily because I find many of those elements unrealistic, but rather more because I'm not invested in their outcomes. I'm not particularly invested in most of the characters either, but the series has devoted enough time to developing them that I can at least appreciate their emotional resonance.

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 31 March 2020: I watched GeGeGe no Kitarou for two years

Kitarou
I liked the way Sawashiro Miyuki voiced Kitarou.

I knew basically nothing about GeGeGe no Kitarou before I started watching it two years ago. From the promotional material and initial surge of fan art, I at least determined that it was originally a manga from the 1960s that had five previous anime adaptions. It already had hundreds of episodes and numerous updates to its character designs. I decided to give it a chance based solely on this information, even though the NekoMusume character now had legs that went up to her neck. What I found was a modern family show with traditional ties in an anime that frequently featured thoughtful—yet entertaining—episodes.

Monroe, Pii, and NekoMusume
You would not believe how sick NekoMusume is of your shit.

I can't claim the show taught me a lot about yokai and their associated myths, but I'm at least a lot more familiar with them now. This is a sharp contrast to my first encounter with yokai, in Azumanga Daioh. They seemed perplexing and bizarre back then. I suspect this sort of familiarization was also intended for the younger viewers of GeGeGe no Kitarou. I don't know how often yokai feature in children's stories told to contemporary Japanese kids, but watching cartoons about them probably at least reinforces their understanding about old-timey lore. For little kids, it was sort of a violent and grisly show by American standards, though—about on par with what they'd see in Detective Conan.

Agnes
At least the first Backbeard arc gave us Agnes.
P.S. EINS, ZWEI, GUTEN MORGEN.

Ultimately, was it really worth watching 97 episodes of GeGeGe no Kitarou just to say I've seen it? It's not the sort of show I'd recommend for people to plow through if it doesn't immediately capture their attention (to say nothing of the hundreds of episodes that ran prior to the latest iteration), but watching it week-to-week was all right. There wasn't much of a cohesive narrative, discounting some of the longer arcs. Thankfully, the second "Backbeard" arc turned out to be much shorter than the first one, as Backbeard was not much of an antagonist. It turns out the true villains are the evils we bring forth from within ourselves. P.S. Spoilers.

Dated 24 March 2020: Four thoughts about Fate/Grand Order: Absolute Demonic Front Babylonia; the third one will shock you

Ana
Ana is a good girl.

Firstly, I fully expected to find Fate/Grand Order: Zettai Majuu Sensen Babylonia (Fate/Grand Order: Absolute Demonic Front Babylonia) mostly incomprehensible, since I was basically ignorant about its lore aside from what I managed to glean via the Twitter and from the copious amounts of fan art devoted to the franchise. This did, indeed, turn out to be the case. It certainly does not help that Fate/Baby was episode seven within its underlying Fate GO game's narrative.

Leonardo and Romani
Leonardo never pulled up a chair of her own.

Secondly, none of that mattered, since the animation in Fate/Grand Order: Absolute Demonic Front Babylonia was frickin' amazing. It was literally so good that the story was inconsequential. It's worth watching just because it looks so good. I know in a post-Shirobako world we're not supposed to mention the B-word, but the anime adaptation of a franchise that prints money clearly had resources available to it, that, say, Cop Craft did not. The animation in Cop Craft gave me the impression people were doing the best they could in the face of adversity they did not control. The animation in Babylonia made me think animators were showing off and trying to outdo each other week after week.

Ishtar
Believe it, baby.

Thirdly, these conditions serendipitously produced the best variant of Tohsaka Rin (Toosaka, whatever) of all time. Even better than Kaleido Ruby. I don't actually know why Ishtar looks like Rin from Fate/stay night. I literally could not break it down for you even though the show explicitly addressed it, and I've read the various summaries found in wikis for the game and whatnot. I find these explanations unsatisfactory. In any event, it doesn't matter. All you need to know is that Ishtar is a game-breaking home run. Oh, and Ereshkigal is okay, too.

Gilgamesh
It turns out Gilgamesh was a lot more chill back in the day.

Finally, Fate/Grand Order: Zettai Majuu Sensen Babylonia was a really loud show. I don't think the show streamed with a discrete LFE channel (I didn't check), but it was at least mixed in such a way that every episode got considerable use out of my subwoofer. Planet With was sort of like this too, but it was sort of unpleasant during Planet With. On the other hand the deep impacts and 'splosions in Fate/Baby were really satisfying. I keep telling people not to skimp on the audio portion when setting up their preferred viewing space, whether it be a television or a computer. Hopefully, fans of Babylonia followed this practice as well. Totally worth it.