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Dated 1 July 2019: I'm watching Re:Zero because of Isekai Quartet

Emilia and Subaru
This is some compositing.

I tried watching Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu (Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World-) when it aired during the Spring 2016 anime season. I made it five episodes before dropping it because I found the show rather irritating. Fast forward to the Spring 2019 anime season, and somehow Isekai Quartet finished at the top of my rankings, edging out Kono Oto Tomare! I did, in fact, expect this to happen. (The watching part, not the ranking part, that is.) I've made it through the first cours of Re:Zero so far, and do have to admit it improves quite a bit after the initial episodes.

Partial eclipse.

I'm a little surprised how few spoilers I knew, and how many I had forgotten. That probably helped, by preserving the sense of mystery that pervades the second half of the first cours. I do 100-percent still remember the Rem and Emilia spoiler which is still to come, though. However, since I don't actually 'ship any of the characters, knowing this probably isn't going to matter much one way or another. In any case, my renewed curiosity in Re:Zero is probably a testament to the success of Isekai Quartet as a marketing ploy. Seeing as how Isekai Quartet is getting a second season, with the promise of unspecified newcomers, I suppose it's possible the premise will expand to include more than just four Kadokawa-affiliated isekai properties, although then maybe they'll need to call the sequel something like Isekai Octet or whatever. I think I'd be okay with that.

Dated 14 February 2018: iDOLM@STER XENOGLOSSIA is a classic story about a teenage girl and her giant robot finding true love together

Haruka and Imber
Shameless flirting.

I was a stranger to the iDOLM@STER franchise the first time I watched iDOLM@STER XENOGLOSSIA. I mentioned this before, but perhaps I should have noted I was also mystified by the amount of hostility displayed by some fans of the original games (arcade and Japanese Xbox 360 exclusive) toward Xenoglossia when the anime came out in 2007. Although I understood in principle the objections fans would have concerning the different character designs and replaced voices, I was not personally invested in any of the characters, so some of the more venomous attacks seemed excessive. Moreover, the character designs looked fine to me, at least relative to other anime of the period and Sunrise shows in particular. I finally watched my DVDs over the past few months, and actually enjoyed Xenoglossia a lot more on re-watch than I did during its initial broadcast, despite having a better understanding now of THE iDOLM@STER as a whole. Or maybe I like Xenoglossia more because I've watched several cours of bona fide iDOLM@STER anime now, not "despite" watching them.

Yukarin Iori with purple hair is good too.

Still, I'm not quite sure how I would characterize iDOLM@STER XENOGLOSSIA. It's not really much of a giant robot show for a show about giant robots, and it's not an idol anime despite having (regular-type) idols and iDOLs in it. It's not a "cute girls doing cute things" show, nor is it an early example of the more recent phenomenon where anime girls band together to be really excited about some typically male-dominated activity, like Bakuon!! or Two Car or GIRLS und PANZER. Honestly, it really is a love story about a teenage girl and her much older robot boyfriend. Notably, the affection Haruka develops for Imber is not at all unusual, as all of the other pilots also develop complex feelings toward their robots as well. In fact, jealousy plays a huge role in the plot, as do the inevitable love triangles.

Also, Xenoglossia Azusa > regular Azusa.

IDOLM@STER XENOGLOSSIA does not take itself too seriously, but does not devolve into camp either. I buy into the HARUKA X IMBER pairing enough to believe there should be real questions raised about the ED once its setting becomes clear. I also enjoy the romance enough that I think I like the Xenoglossia Haruka more than I like the regular Haruka. Not that there's anything wrong with the regular Haruka necessarily, but I like the Xenoglossia Haruka's attitude better. Perhaps it's because she comes across as more of a main character in her own show, while the "real" Haruka necessarily seems more like a token default protagonist in a franchise with an ensemble cast, must the way I regard Miyafuji in Strike Witches or ol' Bucky in the Kantai Collection anime. I don't know if true fans of THE iDOLM@STER will ever regard Xenoglossia as positively as I do—the different voices must be especially jarring for them—but perhaps they'll come to appreciate the series if they think of it as one of those in-universe television programs the iM@S characters themselves occasionally feature in as actresses.

Dated 16 October 2017: Two Car looks good, sounds good

Yuri and Megumi
They're late for school, but not toast-in-mouth late.

It's not as good as Bakuon!! or Aa! Megami-sama through two episodes, but Two Car is pretty all right as far as a motorcycle anime goes. Whereas Ah! My Goddess (at least the manga) excelled at promoting motorcycles as magnificent machines offering transcendental experiences under theoretically plausible, realistic (banal, even) situations, Two Car takes an approach somewhat closer to Bakuon!!'s. That is, it presents medium-wacky motorcycle hijinks in a world which does not exist, but really ought to. If you can accept that sensha-dō is a real girl's sport, then accepting the world of Two Car where high school girls dominate the sport of sidecar motorcycle racing should be a cinch.

Nagisa, Izumi, Chiyuki, and Misaki
Oh my God, so much attitude.

The teams, of course, consist of common anime stereotypes, which I guess is necessary when introducing a whole slew of characters in a short amount of time. Look, this ain't Anna Karenina, okay. The ostensible lead pair are two girls who will probably bicker incessantly throughout the show until they discover their rivalry has brought them closer together. I'm also quite amused by the Perfect Student x Delinquent pair spotlighted in the second episode. They remind me of the best couple in last season's Tsuredure Children. Also, both of them have great hair.

Misaki and Chiyuki
Misaki and Chiyuki are not Shiho and Umi, okay.

The character designs are by Tiv, so great hair was basically guaranteed. I am also extremely fond of the motorcycle noises. They make the show very satisfying to listen to, providing you're watching it on a setup with decent speakers or headphones. The original Strike Witches OVA had this going for it, although it seemed less pronounced in the series. Possibly I just stopped appreciating it as much, so I guess we'll see if my enthusiasm for the audio component of Two Car remains as high throughout the series. So far so good, though, meaning it's probably worth your while giving the show a chance if you care at all about these sorts of things.

Dated 10 November 2013: I'm not sure if I should be enjoying IS Infinite Stratos 2

Houki and Cecelia
I don't remember why the ears were necessary.

As sequels go, IS Infinite Stratos 2 plays it pretty safe, offering mostly filler around a fairly uninteresting plot. It knows its bread and butter involves inspiring (somewhat facetious) arguments about the relative merits of the bevy of girls surrounding Potato-kun as he fails again and again to notice his harem's interest in him.


Dated 3 February 2013: I started watching Kotoura-san

Some teacher and Haruka
Good ol' rock. Nothin' beats that!

First of all, is it strange to find it unusual that the show is simply called Kotoura-san and not something Moll Flanders-ish like Kotoura-san Whose Life was Rotten until She Made a Friend and Now It's Better? I guess it is only an anime adaptation of a manga (a 4-koma, no less) and not an anime adaptation of a manga adaptation of a light novel. Anyway, yeah, that's what happens. At least that's what's happened so far.

Doughnut of shunning.

Kotoura Haruka's life does start out pretty rotten. She develops psychic powers as a small child, but instead of being viewed as a medical and scientific marvel, she is shunned and despised and alienated by people who somehow don't realize this little girl HAS PSYCHIC POWERS. It's established later on that at least one other person with similar powers existed at one time, so I keep waiting for Professor X or some other psychic mentor to show up and teach her how to use her powers for good instead of using them to unintentionally antagonize everyone around her.

Manabe and Haruka
This counts as a meet-cute, right?

I'm mostly okay with the melodrama about Haruka's suffering. Between Kotoura-san and Oreshura, it's a good season for wanton cruelty. I'm not sure what direction Kotoura-san plans to take, though, since the arc about Haruka's horrid life seems about over, and the preview for episode five suggests the show will be about wacky good times from now on. It makes the tone of the show a little uneven, and I am still waiting for more psychics to show up. Maybe since Male Protagonist is not a potato, Kotoura-san figures there are already enough freaks in the show.

Haruka and Manabe
It's because he's a teenage boy, Haruka.

Manabe is a decent fellow who sort of reminds me of Nenji from Nanaka 6/17 in how he watches over Haruka. It's a sad comment on the state of the contemporary anime male protagonist that someone as self-assured and direct as Manabe is so unusual. Hopefully, random-ass convenient cockblocking won't prevent Manabe and Haruka from initiating a romantic relationship until the final episode. I say "hopefully," but let's be realistic here: He likes her and she likes him, but it's only been four episodes. Of course there's going to be random-ass cockblocking.

Dated 24 May 2012: Amending the winter 2012 season wrap-up to include Aquarion Evol

Amata, Andy, and Mikono
Just when things were finally looking up for Andy.

Now placing after Smile Precure! but ahead of Amagami SS+ is Aquarion Evol which I started watching after receiving an IRC update about the comic tragedy that befalls some of its characters during the second cour. I wasn't watching it before because I've only seen the first episode of the original series and I'm opposed to watching sequels before finishing previous works ahead of time. (I dropped the original Aquarion because I didn't find it especially interesting even though the show seemed to be entirely about people cumming in robots.)

Andy and Mix
Mix is cross.

Reassured that familiarity with the original Aquarion was not strictly necessary before watching Evol, I took a chance and crashed through the first 13 episodes of the latter. Fans of the show may be perplexed that I don't hold the series in higher regard, but quite frankly the lead girl, Mikono, annoys the bejesus out of me.

< SoSD> mikono is designed to be hated by everyone except japanese
< SoSD> hope this helps

Mikono spends at least half of the first cour telling everyone that's she's worthless while doing everything she can to ensure there is no room for doubt. For no good reason, this marshalls Must Protect Mode from Potato-kun and his rival for Mikono's affection: her brother.

Shuush and Mikono
Amata surprises Mikono with his excitement.

Thankfully, the comedy stylings of Andy Hole and his Classic Big-Bang Tsun-Tsun love interest, Mix, keep Aquarion Evol entertaining. Not that Amata constantly launching Mikono into the air with his boners can't be entertaining, but it's just not as interesting as hapless Andy's cockblocked adventures.

Dated 21 June 2011: Today's Viewer Mail excerpt

Minko's date is off to a good start.

Ron writes:

I've been a fan of your blog since June 2003....I especially enjoy jumping in the way-back machine for stuff like Nuku Nuku and SDF Macross. Lots of fond memories of those particular anime.

How do you feel about bulimia, Minchi?

Man, I've been doing this a long time. If you include the non-anime Geocities years, it's been almost 12 years. 12 years! I can't even remember what I posted about before this turned into an anime blog. I think there was one month dedicated to supermodels wearing stockings.

Wait, what do these pictures have to do with anything?

P.S. I also like how comments have never been enabled.

Well, I did add that Twitter button jobbie. Confidentially, comments are disabled so I can milk new entries out of reader responses instead of writing updates like, "Hanasaku Iroha was really good this week," and posting four pictures of Minko suffering through what was almost a date.


P.S. Hanasaku Iroha episode 12 was really good—probably the best episode of the series so far. I don't despise Ohana's mother anymore. Tomoe > Minko > Ohana > Yuina > Ohana's grandmother > Namiko (Koichi's co-worker) > Ohana's mom > Nako (what is with all the KO names?) > Yuina's grandmother > annoying consultant lady.