Version 5.4 ~ Haruhi gave rock and roll to you.

Dated 15 January 2018: Everybody relax, it's not as if they're tearing each other's clothes off in Koi wa Ameagari no You ni

Masami does not come across quite as lame in the anime as he does in the manga.

Right up front, you should know Koi wa Ameagari no You ni (Love Is Like After the Rain) is about a teenage girl who falls in love with her 45-year-old manager at the family restaurant where she works part-time. Nevertheless, it is not as—as the kids say—"problematic" as you might think, maybe because it is seinen instead of shoujo. (This last part is not a joke. If you've read a lot of shoujo, you know the genre revels in "problematic" developments.) Assuming the anime basically follows the manga, I think we can expect something much closer to Sweetness and Lightning than, uh...actually, I can't think of a show off the top of my head that follows through with this sort of pairing. (This assumes Tsumugi and her teacher did not started tearing each other's clothes off at some point in the Amaama to Inazuma manga.)

There is a lot of glaring in this show.

Rather, Koi wa Ameagari no You ni offers beautiful animation (assuming you're fine with the elongated character designs) with solid WIT STUDIO production values and the potential for the noitaminA block to potentially mean something again. That is, you don't necessarily need to dodge the show if the premise makes you uncomfortable. (Likewise, if you find the premise titillating, expect to be disappointed.) In a season chock full of so many good shows already, I can't claim After the Rain qualifies as a "must see" by any means, but it is at least worthy of more consideration by potential viewers who may have prematurely dismissed it based on preconceptions.

Dated 2 January 2018: Two Car has a third wheel

Yuri and Megumi
Yuri > Megumi.

I was expecting Two Car to devote episodes to all of the various racing teams which it had introduced at the start of the series. In fact, while it did do this for a few of the groups (including the announcers), the show instead concluded by focusing on the lead pair. Specifically, it focused on the lead pair and their would-be love triangle rivalry over their coach. After the show's only male (and faceless, to boot) character skipped town at the end of the first episode, I thought for sure Two Car would simply finish with some vague promise of pursuing him to the Isle of Man where they would TT battle for his heart. But, in fact, he returned so Megumi and Yuri could compete for his affection once again. (At least he has a face now.)

Nene and Ai
The episode about these two was pretty good.

Based on the reactions I've encountered, it seems Two Car is somewhat niche in its appeal. I found this a little surprising, but possibly that simply means I'm part of that niche. In any case, I enjoyed Two Car quite a bit for what it is and its GIRLS und PANZER approach to ignoring the genuine hazards of its rather dangerous activity. I was also not put off by the romantic subplot involving the coach. It's obvious Megumi's and Yuri's feelings will never reach him, and none of the other characters have the slightest interest in him. In that respect, it's a lot less objectionable than, say, a harem comedy where Potato-kun obliviously stiff-arms overly eager girls by the helmet as they inexplicably pursue him for no Goddamn reason. In Two Car, he's mostly just an excuse for Megumi and Yuri to continue bitching each other out. I know this aspect of the show also aggravated the Bejesus out of some viewers, but I'm rather a fan of otherwise likable girls being horrible to each other for my amusement.

Dated 9 October 2017: The Ancient Magus' Bride reminds us that fairies are assholes

Arguably worse than mosquitoes.

The long-awaited anime adaptation of Mahō Tsukai no Yome (The Ancient Magus' Bride) is really here. Based on the first episode, Wit Studio is faithfully reproducing the look and feel of the magic realm (well, England, actually) where 15-year-old Chise finds herself. Although it's probably unrealistic to expect the standard set in the three prequel OVAs and the first episode to persist throughout the next two cours, I'm fairly confident Wit will be able to do the series justice. It's a gorgeous manga, so expectations for the anime are quite high. No pressure.

It's been a long day.

Despite the title, Mahoutsukai no Yome isn't really about a child bride, although the opening minutes of the anime (and the opening pages of the manga) are meant to invoke some troubling impressions. There are dark undercurrents in the series, but they're offset for the most part by the magic and splendor of the story and setting. I'm seven volumes deep into the English-language releases by Seven Seas Entertainment, so I've got a general idea where the anime is going to go. I'm still a bit uncertain how to promote it, since this isn't a title that relies on tremendous highs or emotional whirlwinds to keep readers interested. I suspect some of the complaints I saw about the OVAs' pacing will apply to the TV series as well, at least among some viewers. I'm by no means suggesting The Ancient Magus' Bride is for everyone, but it definitely deserves investigating for at least an episode or two. At a minimum, it's a stark rebuttal to the typical complaints people have about "anime these days."

Dated 19 June 2017: SukaSuka found romance at the WorldEnd

Best Girl.

Shuumatsu Nani Shitemasu ka? Isogashii desu ka? Sukutte Moratte Ii desu ka? continues to surpass all expectations. That an anime adaptation of a light novel with a ridiculous title (WorldEnd: What do you do at the end of the world? Are you busy? Will you save us?) could turn out to be one of the best shows of the year is somewhat absurd, yet here we are. With 10 episodes in and two to go, I'm looking forward to the ending which was telegraphed in the first episode's 60-second prologue, but I'll also be sad to reach the end of the series, given that successful anime romances are so rare.


Dated 6 March 2017: Demi-chan wa Kataritai is a cool show

I wonder where they got the water.

SDS of Ogiue Maniax fame recently remarked that his circle of friends and co-workers "automatically gravitate towards pairings" and that they were skewing his perception of anime fandom. This struck me as somewhat odd, but the more I thought about it, the more I had to admit the practice is much more commonplace on, say, the Twitter, than I had noticed. Because I am not a 'shipper, I guess I never appreciated how prevalent 'shipping happens to be, and that fans who reflexively 'ship characters of shows they watch might respond with greater aversion to implications that I might ignore.


Dated 14 November 2016: I'm looking forward to some crazy Asuka drama

Asuka drops her facade for a moment.

For the most part, I think viewers of Hibike! Euphonium consider Asuka to be a bit of a comic relief character. This is an understandable position given that she's constantly fucking with people and generally has one of the more energetic personalities on the show. Nevertheless, there have been numerous hints dropped both in the first season and in the current one suggesting that Asuka has some sort of shit going on that the viewer doesn't quite know about yet.

A more typical Asuka.

Not being familiar with the source material, I don't have any idea if there's anything to these hints, or whether we'll see them addressed this season in the remaining episodes of the show, but it seems likely. Perhaps Kyoto Animation has been showing off Chekhov's euphonium all this time with no plans to toot that horn, but I like my chances. You know what's not gonna get resolved? Reina and Taki. Never gonna happen, Reina.

Dated 10 October 2016: There sure are a lot of adults in anime lately

This butt is over-18.

Anime sure loves high school boys. Arguably, the only characters anime loves more than high school boys are middle school girls. Whether you agree with this assessment or not (and don't take it too seriously, okay, this is why I don't have comments enabled), I don't think I'll get much opposition if I claim a lot of (mostly shitty) anime skews towards school-aged protagonists in school settings. In the extreme, you even get shows such as Guilty Crown or Kakumeiki Valvrave where preserving a school's social structure is the single most important goal of the characters, despite living in a state of war.


Dated 7 September 2016: Amaama to Inazuma has a lot of sweetness but basically no lightning

Kotori doing something domestic again.

Cooking shows aren't exactly a rarity in anime, but Amaama to Inazuma (Sweetness and Lightning) is unique in its slower pace and fairly unremarkable recipes. Rather than the usual over-the-top incredulous reactions to newly discovered flavors, Amaama to Inazuma focuses instead on the simple pleasure of preparing food and eating together. This, it does extremely well, and it's very satisfying watching the characters learning how to cook for each other. (Although it still bugs me they never wash their hands first.) However, there is an elephant in the room: the looming potential romance between teenage Kotori and her teacher, Kouhei, a recent widower. Nevertheless, through nine episodes, there has been no hint of any such subplot, so it's possible no such romance ever develops.