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Dated 21 May 2024: Jii-san Baa-san Wakagaeru is about grandpa and grandma turning young again

Ine and Shouzou
Don't give him too much sake.

Surprising no one, Jii-san Baa-san Wakagaeru (Grandpa and Grandma Turn Young Again) is exactly what its premise made it out to be. I suppose there's a slight twist in that they're able to shift back and forth between their normal elderly forms and their younger selves (albeit still with gray hair) without much difficulty. Through seven episodes, it's a nice enough show about a couple in their 80s experiencing life in the modern era as young adults instead. There are frequent reminders that the elderly are fundamentally the same people on the inside as they were when they were young. The series communicates this by highlighting past influences from a bygone era that shaped "Grandpa" and "Grandma" into who they are. They may be young again, but their experiences and the environment in which they grew up is more responsible for defining them than whatever their physical ages may be.

Ine and Shouzou
Only one way to find out.

There's no shortage of anime characters who are actually old but appear young. I'm including characters in comedies who look inexplicably youthful for no logical reason and those with extraordinary long lives due to magic or other supernatural forces. Compared to them, Jii-san Baa-san Wakagaeru is much more successful at making me believe Shouzou and Ine are actually elderly. All too often, finding out Ms. Teenage Girl in some anime is supposed to 300 years old has no impact. "Sure, if you say so." Does this mean Grandpa and Grandma Turn Young Again is a good show? Eh, it's better than I was expecting at least. It doesn't seem to be especially popular, but maybe everyone is afraid it's going to explore if octogenarians can get pregnant.

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 2 January 2024: The End of 2023 ~Air/My Purest Heart for Tired Evangelion Jokes~

Suletta
I don't mention Witch Gundam until the end.

I started out thinking about doing a "Best Anime of 2023" summary, considered a "Favorite Anime of 2023" post would be better instead, then briefly contemplated an "Underrated Anime of 2023" write-up next before settling on just highlighting a few series I enjoyed without constraining myself to any particular category. And here we are. Don't be afraid of your freedom.

Yamada
This is the face Anna makes when she overhears people speaking from the heart.

Foremost is BokuYaba (Boku no Kokoro no Yabai Yatsu | The Dangers in My Heart), which I'm front-loading because its second season begins on January 7th. Get on it, if you haven't already. This has been a hard sell on occasion because summaries describing it are so misleading. The irony is not lost on me that a series I praise for its authenticity deceives the audience at the outset with misdirection. As I've previously advised, Kyoutarou is not an "edgelord," he's a cringelord. BokuYaba is about the mistakes that occur when people make bad assumptions about themselves and others. Likewise, it's a mistake to make assumptions about BokuYaba.

Soyo, Raana, and Taki
MVP.

Second, I got to BanG Dream! It's MyGO!!!!! late, but better late than never, eh. I had initially written it off as some sort of Cute Girls Doing Cute Thing show cobbled together as a vehicle for yuri 'shipping, but it turns out to be about DRAMA. Probably, technically, it's melodrama, but that bit when Best Girl Rāna starts backing up the singer (whose pockets may still be filled with rolly pollies) while she's forcing herself to bleed out on stage instead of packing up so everyone can get the Hell out of there? And then Rāna seamlessly transitions to The Forbidden Song that causes the Begging Bassist to go completely mental as The Quitter quits the venue and nearly banishes herself from the hero's party by piling down some stairs? That is some Good Shit right there.

Ganta and Isaki
Especially if the entire story includes telescopic sex.

Kimi wa Houkago Insomnia (Insomniacs After School) was a lot better than I was expecting. It's not much of a stretch to imagine a couple of teenagers who spend a lot of time napping together might also fall in love, so, spoilers, I guess. Mostly I'm glad neither of them tragically dropped dead at the end of the anime or some bullshit like that. The manga did end recently, but the U.S. release is still 10 volumes behind, so I'm on the fence about reading it before it's caught up, considering how many other titles I'm still following. What they ought to do is make more of the anime and cover the entire story.

Umi
Not one Like!

The IDOLM@STER Million Live! was entirely too short considering how many idols it featured, but at least we got an Umi episode. If y'all ain't heard, I do love me some Umimi.

Frieren
I enjoyed how nonchalantly Frieren made this decision.

Beyond this list, there are a lot of really good shows that I watched in 2023 that you probably already know about. Like, is it necessary to say I'm enjoying Sousou no Frieren (Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End), or that Kidou Senshi Gundam: Suisei no Majo (Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury) was fuckin' great? The former is hugely popular and is continuing into the Winter 2024 anime season, and the latter is frickin' Gundam, so it's not as if anyone is going to forget about it. I certainly won't. Honestly, there is entirely too much capital-G Good anime each year, and 2024 doesn't seem as if it will be any different.

Dated 28 November 2023: I stopped watching seven shows during the Autumn 2023 anime season

Komari
Everyone loves this shark.

It's probably misleading to say I dropped seven shows this season, since I wasn't expecting to finish any of these when I started them. (There's a lot of other anime this season that I find much more compelling.) Anyway, I dropped two shows after a single episode: Hikikomari Kyuuketsuki no Monmon (The Vexations of a Shut-In Vampire Princess) and Kimi no Koto ga Dai Dai Dai Dai Daisuki na 100-nin no Kanojo (The 100 Girlfriends Who Really, Really, Really, Really, Really Love You). I understand Hikikomari has it's fans, but it really wasn't for me. Hyakkano, I've addressed already.

Pepesha
SHY has a Mamikore alcoholic.

I watched two episodes of Saihate no Paladin: Tetsusabi no Yama no Ou (The Faraway Paladin: The Lord of Rust Mountain) and three episodes of SHY and Tearmoon Teikoku Monogatari: Dantoudai kara Hajimaru, Hime no Tensei Gyakuten Story (Tearmoon Empire). I didn't find anything objectionable about these three shows. I probably would have watched them during a duller season, or if I had more free time right now. I suppose it's worth noting Saihate no Paladin is the second cours of something I watched two years ago, but I did lose interest towards the end back then.

Keiya and Isaku
This is some beach episode.

Somehow, I watched five episodes of Ojou to Banken-kun (A Girl and Her Guard Dog) which is a very shoujo age-gap romance notable only because the would-be couple starts the series already into each other. I guess it's also notable for having a lot of plot contrivances, and for having a Kitou Akari lead who sounds extremely Kitou Akari, if that's important to you. I also watched six episodes of Boukensha ni Naritai to Miyako ni Deteitta Musume ga S Rank ni Natteta (My Daughter Left the Nest and Returned an S-Rank Adventurer), which is sort of a lot of episodes for a show that I never found especially interesting. Mostly, I was motivated to continue watching because the source material has ended, so I was at least not concerned about getting a non-ending ending. Hayami Saori voices the lead, so S-Rank Mususme has that going for it if you're a Hayamin fan.

Dated 11 July 2023: There was more than one witch in Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury

Elnora
I heard you liked helmets.

Now that Kidou Senshi Gundam: Suisei no Majo Season 2 (Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury Season 2) has finished, I should probably capture my concluding thoughts on the series while they remain somewhat fresh. However, I get the feeling that would result in a long blog post, so maybe I ought to break things up into multiple entries despite the risk I might simply lose interest in writing more before completion. Anyway, the first post in this series (?) is about Elnora. If you've been following me on the Twitter, this should surprise you not at all.

Elnora and Dr. Cardo
Notably, I never stopped seeing Elnora as the girl she used to be.

Many viewers (if not most viewers) seemed to regard Prospera as the main villain of the series. This is not an incorrect perspective, but I think it's incomplete. I take the position that she is both an antagonist and a protagonist. This is not to say that I thought of her as the protagonist—that's clearly Suletta—but I do see her as a protagonist. (Fuck your deuteragonist and tritagonist nonsense. You're reading an anime blog, not a fan wiki.) That's not a controversial position for me to take, is it?

Elnora
Maybe she'll start calling you Mom without sounding sarcastic.

I'll need to put more thought into this, but my initial impulse is to suggest Elnora embraced the forgiveness aspect reflected in (or constrained by) The Tempest a lot more readily than I expected. Like, she had already forgiven Delling during the scene where she's fucking with Miorine's head to get her to aspire for the Benerit leadership role, right?

Elnora
I wonder how soon Elnora realized she was going to end up in this chair.

I also found Prospera's Quiet Zero plot to be a lot less sinister than what most people were assuming. (Never mind that I still have no idea what Notrette's original Quiet Zero plan—or Delling's intentions for the project, for that matter—were meant to be.) Now, I'm not part of the "Prospera Did Nothing Wrong" faction, but I do view her actions from a position that is decidedly more favorable to her than most seem willing to adopt. Let's just say I'm grading on a curve.

Dated 27 June 2023: You might think Golden Kamuy is about gold and kamuy-type things

Asirpa
Asirpa is short.

The fourth season of Golden Kamuy was supposed to finish at the end of 2022. A staff member's death delayed production, and the cours restarted as a Spring 2023 show. As with other long-running anime (well, longer-running, relatively speaking), there's not much I can tell you about this series if you're not watching it already. Read the manga. It's great. I would tell you to start watching the anime, but that's probably a harder sell now that there are nearly 50 episodes (more, if you count the OVAs). You should have started already.

Tsurumi
Don't stare. It's impolite.

This is one of those series that does everything well. There's comedy, there's drama, it's wacky, and it's serious. There are a lot of characters, and most of them are mental cases, but you'll also spend enough time with them (well, the ones who don't suddenly die) to appreciate what they've got going on and what motivates them. We already know the anime will cover the entire manga, so it's at least something newcomers can start without worrying about it being incomplete. There are honestly still some rough parts where the scenes or action are clearly difficult to animate, but we're at least well past the immersion-breaking 3DCG bears and fire from the first season.

Dated 20 June 2023: If my Kimi wa Houkago Insomnia post is late this week, it's because I overslept

Ganta and Isaki
I appreciate the focus on photography.

I decided to watch Kimi wa Houkago Insomnia (Insomniacs After School) on a whim this season purely because its anichart/anilist synopsis described the series as being about two insomniacs who secretly sleep together in their school's abandoned observatory. [Note: Sleeping together as in both literally napping, not sleeping together as in sleeping together, okay?]

Isaki
Maybe I'm just nostalgic for life without light polution.

As it turns out, there's not very much napping in the show. I guess that would make for a boring series if the leads are conked out all the time. Although it occurs to me there is at least one anime that's literally just a girl sleeping, ain't there? Anyway, what Insomniacs After School is really about is two people who are clearly into each other taking their sweet ass time figuring it out. It's a pleasant show despite the typical arms-length romance. I find the leads engaging, and the characters in the supporting cast are personable.

Isaki and Ganta
Failing to plan is planning to fail.

I do think Kimi wa Houkago Insomnia focuses too much on the male lead's point of view. Ganta has significant hangups that shape his path through the story, but Isaki is a more interesting character. Initially, it appeared she might be one of those tragic love interests who dies of some sad anime disease, but this prospect seems less and less likely the more we learn about her. I mean, she still could drop dead, I suppose—I don't know how the manga is playing out so far—but it's not as if this is a Key visual novel, so I think she'll be fine.

Ganta and Isaki
Figure it out, you two.

Isaki and Ganta totally should be sleeping together more, though. Even if it's purely platonic, Insomniacs After School has them literally acknowledge that crashing together gave the two of them some of the best sleep they've ever had. I guess the series needs to stall to prevent the story from turning into documentary about making star babies in the observatory.

Ganta and Isaki
It's a good thing you made it to the shuttle on time.

The manga is currently 13 volumes long and still ongoing, so maybe this is one of those shows that really needs a second cours in order to really get going. I don't encounter a lot of discussion about the series, though, so I'm not exactly optimistic about the likelihood of getting more later. I definitely do want more, though.

Dated 16 May 2023: Prospera is a caring mother who loves her tall daughters

Prospera and Miorine
Weird how your dad never mentioned murdering all those people.

The viewpoints I see about Kidou Senshi Gundam: Suisei no Majo (Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury) in my sliver of the anime fandom uniformly vilify Prospera, differing only in the intensity of the condemnations. However, I still regard her as a protagonist. I also support her quest for revenge even though I'm uncertain as to the specifics of her plan. (Spoilers henceforth for the first 17 episodes.)

Delling
You're not young Bel, right?

A significant factor responsible for this (apparently minority) view is my unwillingness to minimize Delling Rembran's role orchestrating and initiating the mass murder depicted in the "PROLOGUE" episode. I don't believe there's been any meaningful attempt to justify the assault, so I'm mystified this doesn't come up more often. It's as if viewers collectively shrugged and concluded it was all right because we barely knew those people.1

Elnora and Nadim
You don't always recognize the last time you'll see a loved one when it happens.

Elnora Samaya, of course, did know those people. She escaped with four-year-old Ericht as the facility's sole survivors while cold-blooded killers butchered her husband, her mentor, and everyone at Fólkvangr. (I'm unsure how many died in total, but it seems like dozens.) Consequently, this factor shapes my perspective about everything Elnora has done (and has been accused of doing) in her Propsera guise. To be clear, I also do not perceive her purported transgressions as being especially egregious. The worst accusations I can levy involve emotional manipulation, but assigning blame exclusively to Prospera for the actions others take strips agency away from those victims and reduces them to mere instruments.

Elnora
I guess she doesn't have a shitload of Suletta pictures decorating her desk.

Granted, I'm taking Prospera at her word when she offers explanations or insights.2 For example, I assume Ericht really was dying and that Elnora did not turn her into a child-Gundam chimera for Fullmetal Alchemist reasons. I'm also accepting Prospera's explanation to Miorine in episode 14 about enrolling Suletta to fulfill her wish of attending school while keeping her in a safe(r) environment as sincere. Likewise, I scrutinize her role as a mother through the same lens Suletta uses. Every on-screen interaction (and every historical one, according to Suletta's beaming admiration) appears authentic. Although, Prospera is possibly playing a long con, and has devoted considerable energy for decades to deceive and exploit her own daughter(s) in pursuit of a convoluted revenge plan.

Suletta
See, Suletta trusts her.

Maybe Prospera's true face (as it were) will be revealed and she'll get her comeuppance when Suletta (and Ericht) turn on her, but I'm not sure I find this prospect convincing. This is partly because I don't know the particular specifics of her revenge plan. After all, Prospera has had at least some opportunities to stab Delling in the neck, so simply offing him doesn't seem to be the primary objective.3

Delling and Prospera
I do find it odd they use portable data-storage devices.

Moreover, I'm increasingly cognizant that The Tempest ends with a wedding, not a bloodbath. I'm disinclined to believe G-Witch will end with Elnora in ruin, and Delling triumphant. However, I'm also skeptical the conclusion will adopt the forgiveness aspects from The Tempest, particularly since Prospero's betrayal involved a loss of authority, not the literal murder of everyone he cared about. I'm pro-revenge enough that I would find such a finale distasteful, almost as a matter of principle.


Note 1: E.g., "What Delling did to that lesbian couple was objectively terrible, but not subjectively so because they weren't 'our' lesbian couple."

Note 2: Maybe she's manipulating me.

Note 3: I have no idea how Quiet Zero fits into this.