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

Dated 14 May 2024: I still like Konosuba

Aqua and Kazuma
The balloons are a nice touch.

Since I enjoyed the first two seasons and also agreed the movie deserved its high praise, I didn't have a good reason to worry that I wouldn't like Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! 3 (KONOSUBA -God's Blessing on This Wonderful World! 3). Still, I felt the latest installment from the franchise (the Megumin spinoff) faltered a bit, and it's not uncommon for sequels to underperform compared to their predecessors. Thankfully, the third season of Konosuba continues to highlight what makes it good: Lousy people being shitty to each other.

Megumin, Darkness, Aqua
It's not easy being Lalatina.

Well, they're not all lousy people, and they're not always shitty to each other. Notably, I guess I can't characterize Darkness that way, at least not in the way Aqua, Kazuma, and Megumin easily fit that description. Darkness is only lousy when the series continues to beat her masochist drum. Repeating that joke too much is one of the most notable failing of Konosuba as a series. However, I'm pleased the third season has refrained from overplaying that gag. In fact, Darkness actually gets some much-needed expansions to her character. She's now the decent, apologetic person who has to constantly corral her unruly and irreverent friends. Poor Lalatina, you don't deserve this. Still, watching you woefully suffer is a good change of pace from your usual shtick.

Dated 7 May 2024: I like Unnamed Memory even though it feels rushed

Tinasha
You can tell "teenage" Tinasha has work to do because she's wearing gloves..

Unnamed Memory is about a prince who can't get anyone pregnant without killing her. This is because of a curse, not because of any inherent baby-making quirks and features driving him. At least that's what the witch who cursed him said. I don't think he's actually tested it. Anyway, his proposed solution involves impregnating a powerful witch (a different witch) who can withstand his cursed precious bodily fluids instead of queuing up unsuspecting or risk-happy regular-type women and hoping for the best, or seeing if a baby can gestate in a box. (The witch can survive the curse because of her powerful magic, not because she's built up a tolerance to iocane sperm.) It's basically that Re:Zero comic asking if witches can get pregnant, if you think too much about it.

Tinasha and Oscar
Don't let the height-difference antis find out about this 'ship.

Tinasha, the witch in question, looks like a teenage girl when he initially propositions her, but this doesn't seem to factor into his request in any way. It's fine. She's old. Maybe not Frieren old, but old enough to mention Oscar Lyeth Increatos Loz Farsas (the prince dude) bears a resemblance to his great-grandfather when he was the same age. It doesn't matter, since Tinasha ages up to a more 20-something appearance shortly thereafter because of Reasons, and she's going to work on removing his curse the magic way anyway. Don't worry about it.

Lucrezia, Tinasha, and Oscar
I guess she's not that short.

I was expecting a dumber light-novel tone from this setup, but the show has been surprisingly all right so far. It does feel rushed, though, as if the anime adaptation may be blowing through the source material. Another possibility is maybe the books contain more insights into the characters' inner thoughts that aren't reflected in the show. In any case, I feel as if there hasn't been sufficient on-screen attention to developing the relationship between Tinasha and Oscar. Most of their scenes together involved verbal sparring, so it's not as if he's been trying to sweet talk her. Their testy exchanges don't quite work as romantic banter, and if you subscribe to the theory that the most effective way to court a woman is to be an asshole, he hasn't been doing that either.

Tinasha
I don't think "adult" Tinasha looks much different.

For now, I'm going to chalk it up to the limitations of the single-cours anime framework that plagues us, and appreciate that the show is still interesting despite its faults. There's also the looming possibility everything we've observed in the series thus far is false or manipulated. We know memories in this world can be untrustworthy (because of witches fucking with them), and there's no way to know this predicament doesn't extend to the main cast. There's also the matter of Tina's claim that she can't reverse time, which honestly only raises a lot of questions already answered by her claim that she can't reverse time.

Dated 2 April 2024: More about Spring 2024

Nadeshiko, Reimi, and Akira
Where we're going, we don't need roads.

Last week, I provided a quick rundown of what I expect to watch this season. This post augments that one by including additional titles that I plan to try, but won't necessarily watch all the way through. By the time I finally post this, the first episode of Shuumatsu Train Doko e Iku (Where Does the Doomsday Train Go? or Train to the End of the World) should be out. This is an original anime with Mizushima Tsutomu attached, so I'm more optimistic about it than the rest of the shows I'm considering. In many of those cases, I've only read potentially misleading descriptions and won't even have necessarily watched the corresponding trailers.

Mira
I don't know anything about you.

Astro Note is one of those anime I know nothing about. I believe the first episode has already leaked, but I remain wholly ignorant about its contents aside from learning it's an original anime. It's enough to warrant a try out of general principle.

Hoshino
Have I even seen any fan art of you? You don't look familiar at all.

Blue Archive I know only from fan art. Based on that, I'm confident the series will be about scantily clad schoolgirls making passes at their teacher while toting around firearms designed by people who know absolutely fuck all about guns. I did watch a trailer, and it mostly seems to feature only the shrimpy kids. Where are all the aerodynamic students?! Are the shrimpy girls the ones who are popular among those who actually play the game? Did fan art lead me astray?

Haruka
I assume this has nothing to do with Boukyaku no Senritsu.

Boukyaku Battery (Oblivion Battery) is a baseball anime with an amnesia gimmick. Curiously, it's the catcher who lost his memory, and not the pitcher. I could totally see how this story would work with a now-clueless pitcher taking cues from a knowledgeable catcher (you know, like in Bull Durham), but having a catcher who doesn't know what he's doing sounds like a bad time for a battery. I also noticed there's an ONA from 2020 with these characters except set after high school, while this new TV series is set at the beginning of high school. I'm not sure what the deal is, but I'm going to assume the ONA adapted material from later in the original manga, and it's not the TV series aging everyone down to make them more relatable to an adolescent audience.

As for the rest of the new Spring 2024 anime that I'm going to try out...

  • Jii-san Baa-san Wakagaeru (Grandpa and Grandma Turn Young Again). Everything I know about this comes from its title. I can't tell from the promo art if I'm looking at the couple while they're old, but they look oddly young, or if I'm seeing them when they're already young again, but they still look oddly old.
  • Unnamed Memory. @frog_kun raved about the source material years ago. My taste and hers often don't align, and she tends to be a lot more enthusiastic than I am about the same titles, but it's still enough of an endorsement to warrant a try.
  • Seiyū Radio no Ura Omote (The Two Sides of Voice Actor Radio). Hasegawa Ikumi is in it. I don't think she's voicing one of the leads, though.
  • Ooi! Tonbo is about golf. Eh. Golf.
  • NIJIYON ANIMATION 2. Yeah, I'm watching more because they're making more. It's a vicious cycle.

Dated 26 March 2024: I have too many shows teed up for Spring 2024

Nadeshiko
It's not a metaphor.

With less than a week left before the start of the Spring 2024 anime season, I currently have 19 shows that I'm willing to at least try. Moreover, I compiled this list weeks ago without closely scrutinizing what series will even be airing in April. There's a good chance I've overlooked multiple anime I'd also consider, and I may have missed series that were announced only recently. Based on past experiences, what's likely to happen is I'll end up dropping a lot of these, but that still leaves a significant number of shows to follow.

Kumiko
I didn't expect to like Hibike! Euphonium more now than when I started the series.

Some of these titles are a lock. For example, I'm guaranteed to follow Yuru Camp△ SEASON 3, Hibike! Euphonium 3, and Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! 3 (KONOSUBA -God's Blessing on This Wonderful World! 3), and Wonderful Precure! regardless of how they turn out. Likewise, I'll probably stick with Kimetsu no Yaiba: Hashira Geiko-hen (Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Hashira Training Arc) and The iDOLM@STER: Shiny Colors.

Mano
Everything know about Shiny idols, I learned from fan art.

Maou Gakuin no Futekigousha: Shijou Saikyou no Maou no Shiso, Tensei shite Shison-tachi no Gakkou e Kayou II Part 2 (The Misfit of Demon King Academy: History’s Strongest Demon King Reincarnates and Goes to School with His Descendants Season 2 Part 2) probably has enough momentum that I won't drop it outright, and I'm curious enough about the Spice and Wolf do-over (Ookami to Koushinryou: merchant meets the wise wolf) that I'll at least watch some of it, despite finding the first anime horribly overrated.1 Anyway, I support the assertion that good media do not need to be remade. Rather, it's the bad ones that would benefit from an opportunity at being unfucked. Since I have a generally negative opinion about the 2008 Spicy Wolf, then this remake should be right up my alley. I hope it's not bad a second time.

Lawrence and Holo
I've since learned Holo has "the form of a sweet 15-year-old girl" via @Kotobukiya_EN.

Besides these and a few more I didn't mention, the current lineup also includes eight new shows, at least two of which are anime-originals. There's even a baseball anime. This place could use more robots, though. Preferably giant ones, but I'm not going to be picky if the alternative is a robot-free-zone spanning three months, alas. It's probably hypocritical of me to say this, though, seeing as how I never got around to watching Brave Bang Bravern! during Winter 2024. I heard it's great. I suppose I could just watch that, but I can't resist New Season allure, and there's so much of it.


Note 1: I got to Spice and Wolf late, after its positive reputation was well established and generally uncontroversial. Well, I disliked nearly all of it for reasons too lengthy to include in this aside. I probably should have written a blog post detailing those reasons at some point instead of bitching about it on the IRC and on the Twitter (such as here, for example).

Dated 19 March 2024: I don't know why I'm still watching Sasaki and Peeps

Sasaki and Peeps
This fight could have been an e-mail.

As far as I know, there is only one episode of Sasaki to Pii-chan (Sasaki and Peeps) left this season. I should have dropped it after that bowling alley fight in episode two. Let me be absolutely clear about this: All of the fights in this anime are terrible. They're not interesting, there's no tension, and they never feel necessary. They're not the worst I've ever seen, but Lord, they ain't good. If this were a better show, I would say something like, "Thankfully, the fights comprise only a small part of the series, and are not critical to one's enjoyment of the narrative."

Shizuka and Sasaki
There are A LOT of shrimpy girls in this series, but they aren't love interests.

Unfortunately, Sasaki to Pii-chan is not a better show. Maybe it'll get good after 50 episodes? I get the sense the audience is supposed to be in it for the long haul. I don't know how many volumes of the source material this single cours has covered, but it doesn't feel like much. The show drags, and it seems as if it wants to explore a lot of different ideas, but also wants to do them all at once. Consequently, there's no chance for any sort of satisfying conclusion or storytelling beat this season. It's just going to end, and I'm not going to care.

Dated 5 March 2024: I'm less enthusiastic about The Apothecary Diaries now even though it's still good

Maomao
Not every episode is about poison. Sometimes there's one about drool.

I'm glad Kusuriya no Hitorigoto (The Apothecary Diaries) rolled straight into the Winter 2024 anime season after Autumn 2023 instead splitting or ending after a single cours. 12-episode shows seem to be the norm now, and I think that limits the effectiveness of certain stories. Apothecary Diaries in particular has a long continuous plot (or multiple subplots) that are advanced a little bit every once in a while interspersed with episodic stories, so it's good it received more time to develop them.

Maomao
Not every episode is about poison. Sometimes there's one about money.

I read the first volume of the light novel not that long ago, and its chapters are structured the same way, so it seems the anime adaptation is straightforward and faithful to the source material. (Well, the occasional comedic exaggerations are embellishments.) I don't read a lot of light novels, but Kusuriya no Hitorigoto seems to be one of the better ones. I don't know if this has more to do with how light novels are translated or if it's a tribute to the original text itself, but I'm at least eager to read more.

Pairin
Not every episode is about poison. Sometimes there's one about lactation powers.

On the other hand, I'm less subjectively interested in the Apothecary Diaries anime even though I still find it "objectively" good. It hasn't dropped off in terms of quality or anything like that. It's not boring, and the subject matter hasn't shifted, so I'm unsure why I don't seem to enjoy it as much as I previously did. I'm still looking forward to reading the second volume of the book, though, so perhaps this response results from liking the book more than the anime? It is a mystery.

Dated 20 February 2024: I've got 99 Levels but a Maou ain't one

Level 99 art by nyoro
https://www.pixiv.net/en/artworks/115972798
by nyoro

< garamir> In that scene, she's blowing a monster-summoning horn to help her classmates level up. Nobody appreciates her help in this matter.
< garamir> Since she's a gamer, she power leveled her whole life and is now level 99. So her training method of "don't use safety equipment, grind dungeons solo, just heal your arm if it gets chopped off and don't be a baby about it" is not common.

I started watching Akuyaku Reijou Level 99: Watashi wa Ura-Boss desu ga Maou dewa Arimasen (Villainess Level 99: I May Be the Hidden Boss but I'm Not the Demon Lord) because of the above fan art and subsequent explanation to my inquiry about it. Also, because I remembered the show stars a character named Dolkness, which is simply an incredible anime name. Okay, maybe as far as outrageous anime names go, perhaps Dolkness is not on par with something top-tier such as Chateau Dankworth, but it's still amazing. More importantly, Dolkness is attached to a show that I enjoy watching—something that can't be said of Chateau Dankworth's Koroshi Ai (Love of Kill).

Alicia
The hero is late because she helped a stranger. Never help strangers.

I, for one, can't get enough of her Dolknessness. If I have any complaints at all, it's that Yumiella's internal voice doesn't sound like Power from Chainsaw Man. There's no reason why it should, but I'm amused that the possibility exists since she's voiced by Fairouz Ai. It's too bad that it would not match her character's personality. Most of the time, Yumiella is fairly laid back and generally doesn't get particularly excited. Her monotone way of speaking and her dead eyes are by no means unique traits, but I'm at least not tired of this gimmick yet.

Yumiella
Thigh gap.

I guess this means the various villainess-themed stories remain the last variant of isekai nonsense for which I still have any sort of appetite. I can't claim I like villainess-type isekai anime, but I do seem to end up watching a lot of them. This is not to say Akuyaku Reijou Level 99 is an underappreciated gem that I discovered late this season. (Cf. BanG Dream! It's MyGO!!!!! from Summer 2023.) Dolknessness ~The Animation~ is all right, but it's probably not going to surprise anyone who's already developed some sort of sense as to what it's going to be like.

Dated 9 January 2024: Sasaki and Peeps feels like a prank

Pii-chan
I don't know what sort of voice I expected instead, but it wasn't that.

I started watching Sasaki to Pii-chan (Sasaki and Peeps) despite knowing basically nothing about it. Well, I knew Yuuki Aoi voiced a talking bird, and that was reason enough for me. And I guess I also knew someone convinced Frog-kun that it got better later. It turns out it's about a salaryman who is not at all phased that his newly acquired pet bird is a wizard from a different world. Oh, and magic also works in Japan. I guess there's no reason why it wouldn't.

Sasaki and Pii-chan
You may remember me from such anime as 80,000 Gold, Etc.

Anyway, it feels as if I'm being pranked largely because of how the two leads are voiced. I'm at the point where I can't hear Tomokazu Sugita voice any character without, well, without it sounding as if it's just Tomokazu Sugita voicing a character. Additionally, Yuuki Aoi has given the bird an unexpectedly deep voice. You know how the cat in Machikado Mazoku (The Demon Girl Next Door) has a deep voice that's played for laughs? It's a similar effect, except played straight. The first episode is double-length, which is enough time to bring in the psychics who are part Japan's secret psychic government agency, and, it's like...are you putting me on?

Otonari and Sasaki
How long have you been sitting there?

Anyway, I'm going to keep watching, and hope its focus on arbitrage diminishes a bit. I also don't want it to devolve into magic v. psychics battling. Okay, but then what do I want from Sasaki and Peeps? I suppose I want talking-bird adventures. And I suppose I'm also curious to find out how out-of-place the subplots involving the neighbor feel. I've seen people claim on the social-type media that she was an editorial addition glomming onto some sort of wayward teen girl trend, possibly inspired by HigeHiro. I see the source material (a light novel) is still ongoing, so I'm not expecting much from this anime. Maybe being elaborately pranked by it wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing.