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Dated 16 March 2015: Idols need boats, idols need boats, idols idols idols idols idols idols idols need boats

Oodoyo
Ayako Boat needs more lines.

I enjoy both Kantai Collection and The iDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls, and I still look forward to the new episodes each week, but neither show is particularly successful at getting me invested in the characters. This is surely because both shows are adaptations of already successful games and are intended to cater to established fans. However, this means cramming both shows with simply too many characters that never get developed. They end up existing simply as catchphrase-spouting bits of scenery.

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Dated 4 February 2015: Kantai Collection for the casual landlubber

Kongou
Kongou sure knows how to make an entrance.

Everything I know about Kantai Collection (also known as Kancolle) comes from secondary sources. Specifically, I have absolutely zero first-hand knowledge of the popular game. Of what I do know, I gleaned probably eight percent from anime heads on The Twitter, various bloggers, and IRC drones.  The remaining 92% I learned from hydrodynamic fan art. Some of these illustrations, no doubt, potentially promote misleading characteristics of various Kantai Collection boats, if not the franchise as a whole.

Shimakaze
Apparently nobody has had the heart to tell Shimakaze
that she mistook a shampoo hat for a skirt.

Through the first four episodes, it's apparent some knowledge and enthusiasm for the game is necessary in order to fully appreciate the Kantai Collection anime. The show is wall-to-wall cameos clearly intended to stoke ardent fans of underappreciated boat girls. The characters also occasionally holler non sequiturs that are obviously catchphrases from the game's voiced components. Some of the game mechanics also found their way into the show despite not making a whole lot of sense from a narrative standpoint. Still, the project seems well done and there's a palpable sense of affection that comes across so that I at least feel as if people in the shipyard care about the fleet.

Dated 28 October 2012: Initial impressions of the autumn 2012 season

Erwin, Caesar, Oryou, and Saemonza
This scene was awesome.

Autumn 2012 so far: JoJo's Bizarre Adventure (1-4) > Smile Precure! (34-36) > Sword Art Online (15-17) > GIRLS und PANZER (1-3) > Medaka Box Abnormal (1-3) > Busou Shinki (1-4) > Aikatsu! (1-3) > Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! (1-4) > Little Busters! (1-4).

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Dated 4 July 2011: Strike Witches side arms

Charlotte Yeager
Shields. Shiiieeelllldddssss!

It kinda bugs me that when Charlotte Yeager's BAR jammed she (1) didn't make any attempt to clear the malfunction, and (2) didn't have a side arm. Okay, sure, a real-world .45ACP would be useless during an air battle, but Yeager still could have drawn a Colt 1911 in that situation. I'm pretty sure they're all using magic weapons anyway—at a minimum, ones with unlimited ammo and barrels that don't overheat.

Update: ani-nouto adds...

Most of the shooting was rather magical, but in the beginning of the original GONZO SW we saw Sakamoto's gun overheating (just so that she could switch to sword).

Dated 23 February 2011: Sometime I worry IS: Infinite Stratos isn't really trying

Ichika and Charles
Look on the bright side. Tea brewed that hot probably would have tasted terrible.

Just so you know, the closet transvestite in Infinite Stratos is basically the least convincing boy in the history of anime. And I'm not just saying that because Ichika's harem runs so deep that you can assume any character in a five-episode radius around him is female—even ones that are able to hide their breasts in Flatspace while in "disguise." Also, while I do like dere Yukana, I'm a little disappointed every girl in the school appears to be kinda unintelligent. Maybe it's because the school is filled with the anime science fiction equivalent of dumb jocks.

Dated 9 January 2011: Winter 2011 initial impressions for Rio -Rainbow Gate!-, IS Infinite Stratos, Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica, Freezing, and that one show with the cats (Yumekui Merry)

Ichika
I see many bentos in your future, Potato-kun.

Bottom line up front? The only shows worth following right now are Kimi ni Todoke 2nd Season, introduced earlier and hopefully as good as the first season, and Infinite Stratos if you like that sort of thing. With regard to every other show, you're better off burning through the backlog of good shows you've been meaning to watch—or at least I am.

Rio
I think this has something to do with how Rio cheats at cards.

Rio -Rainbow Gate!- did not suck as bad as I was expecting, not that I had high hopes for an anime based on a pachinko machine's motif or whatever the Hell it's supposed to be. Based on episode one, I predict the rest of the season will be filled with a lot of boobs (no nudity), lots of really shiny skin, and several different outfits every episode. What I didn't expect were the CARD BATTLES which I suppose were okay because they weren't obvious efforts to market merchandise for some game aimed at grammar school students. I guess Rio -Rainbow Gate!- counts as a gambling anime the way Battle Spirits Brave does. I'll give it at least one more episode.

Cecilia
Yukana is pretty awesome in this, to tell you the truth.

Infinite Stratos has a Negima-sized harem around a non-worthless male protagonist, air battles stolen from Soukou no Strain (and a few Touhou games), and mecha from Sky Girls. The first episode was about what I expected and didn't have anything offensive or lousy to really complain about if you were already inclined to watch it in the first place.

Madoka
The widefaces are medium-wide.

Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica had a lot of SHAFT X SHINBO being SHAFT X SHINBO. If you think Shinbo is a genius and SHAFT an amazingly creative studio, then you'll love this regardless of how you feel about magikal girls. This isn't really mahou shoujo anyway, just as Bakemonogatari was not a high school love comedy. The Kajiura Yuki music isn't quite as good as her recent work on Pandora Hearts just yet, but it's only been one episode. I did not include Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica in my two-deep "okay to watch now" list above because SHAFT being SHAFT, there will probably be extensive revisions and updates in the Blu-rays fixing stuff they didn't finish on time before the broadcasts. You might as well wait for those unless you are sure you'll watch it multiple times anyway need to watch it before buying the retail release.

Akemi
Madoka:Caterpillar::Akemi:Butterfly.

One thing that bugs me about the Puella Magi Madoka Magica alternate title to Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica, though: Is that supposed to be Latin? If so, isn't the gender wrong? Is that supposed to be masculine nominative plural? Genitive singular? Is this SHAFT's idea of a "ROMANES EUNT DOMUS" joke? Anyway, send me a telegram if your Latin is better than mine or if you otherwise know what the Hell that's supposed to be.

Bridgette
[SPOILERS] Satellizer gets motorboated
so hard she CGIs all over the place.

Freezing feels like Queen's Blade only bloody, grim, and dark instead of stupid and funny. Bridgette L. Satellizer Poemer has not whipped out the DARK MAMIKO quite yet, but I have high hopes this 36-22-33 hamburger-loving 17-year-old (it's canon, okay) will break it out soon enough. Unfortunately, I've only seen it thus far in a steam-censored 4:3 version, so again you're probably better off waiting unless you're sure you'll want to be frozen twice.

Merry
At least Merry isn't making that stupid :3 mouth.

There wasn't anything wrong with Yumekui Merry. The premise is fine. The animation is fine. The characters and character designs are fine. It has all the markings of another J.C. Staff layup. I just didn't have any interest in the show at all. It had cats, but they talked too much and didn't do a lot of cute cat things. "John Doo" isn't especially threatening, and Merry kinda looks like a girl who is supposed to look like a boy that looks like a girl. In any case, dropped.

Ume
Ume seems like such a sweet girl, too.

So there you go. Kimi ni Todoke 2nd Season if you enjoyed the first season (definitely do not watch the second season if you have not already seen the first season! What is wrong with you people?), Infinite Stratos unless you like to pretend you are too good to watch anime that looks like anime, and Madoka Magica if you already knew you'd like it on general principle regardless of what I said about it. Me, I'll be finishing up Heartcatch Precure!, churning through several hundred remaining Detective Conan episodes, and maybe watching more Bagpuss. It's on Youtube.

Dated 9 October 2010: Summer 2010 season wrapup

Summer 2010 wasn't an especially good season of anime:

Major season six > Asobi ni Iku yo! > Strike Witches 2 > Detective Conan (579-590) > Seitokai Yakuin Domo > Shiki (1-11) > Amagami SS (1-13) > Heartcatch Precure! (20-33) > Shukufuku no Campanella.

Dropped: Legend of the Legendary Heroes (1) | Worse than Cosprayers: Ookami-san to Shichinin no Nakama-tachi (5) > Mitsudomoe (1).

Major was easily my favorite show from summer 2010, although I felt the "yips" arc went on too long.

Aoi
This was my favorite part of the OP.

Asobi ni Iku yo! was a lot better than I was expecting. It stayed fun the whole way through, but I would have liked to see more of the evil-type Momiji. And they never explained what the deal was with her older younger sister.

Minna and Mio
Not this shit again.

To some degree, I enjoyed the second Strike Witches season more than the first one. Nevertheless, it really did feel like a re-hash of the first season.

Detective Conan is Detective Conan. I continue to enjoy it as I plow through the hundreds of unwatched episodes I have remaining. As you can see, I've long since realized there are no meaningful spoilers in Detective Conan, so I've started watching the currently airing episodes along with my backlog of older ones.

Aria, Tsuda, Shino, and Suzu
The rules segments with the drum and whistle were my favorite parts.

I really enjoyed Seitokai Yakuin Domo and its relentless stream of sex jokes and short jokes. It was probably funnier to native speakers, though; it's tough to adapt verbal comedy to different languages.

Shiki hit a long skid of tedious episodes, but the recent ones are quite good, especially if you enjoy hollering directions to idiot B-movie characters. E.g., "Don't go in there!"

Amagami SS is pure cheese. That said, I still look forward quite a bit to each new episode as Potato-kun attempts to trophy-love every girl in the school.

Cologne
Obi-Wan Kenobi supplants Tart as the least annoying Precure mascot.

I'm still not a huge fan of Heartcatch Precure! but it is growing on me.

Shukufuku no Campanella kinda sucked, but all the scenes with the Tortilla sisters or Agnes made it worth it. Also, "ARMAGEDDON JA YO!"

I tried watching Legend of the Legendary Heroes which I figured would be tongue-in-cheek, but it wasn't very interesting. Dropped after one episode.

Now, two shows I not only dropped but considered to be, ahem, WORSE THAN COSPRAYERS: Ookami-san to Shichinin no Nakama-tachi was inexcusably terrible. How J.C. Staff fucked this up, I have no idea. I dragged my way through five episodes. Finally, I realize I'm in the minority in not enjoying Mitsudomoe, but the only thing I saw in the one episode I managed to watch was ugly children doing horrid things.

Dated 4 August 2010: Strike Witches 2 is better than ever

Barkhorn
Barkhorn is awesome because she's always serious.

After re-watching the first season of Strike Witches while waiting for more episodes of Strike Witches 2, I've concluded that the sequel surpasses the original—at least through the latest four episodes. The real problem with the first season of Strike Witches is the show takes a tremendous dive during the final third of the show. The instant Wilcke pulls out that pistol the show effectively gets shot out of the sky and goes down in flames. The final three episodes of the last DVD were especially bad.

Yeager and Barkhorn
I love it when Barkhorn calls Yeager "Liberion."

Season two, on the other hand, returns to the elements that made the first season enjoyable. I am in favor of a retcon that wipes the "plot" episodes of the last season, merging the rest of what's left into a single continuous arc. True, in some respects the second season has been too much like the first season. For example, the recent episode about Karlsland's experimental striker unit evoked many of the same elements found in Charlotte Yeager's supersonic episode from the first season. But c'mon, Gertrude Barkhorn with JETS! The very idea brings a tear to my eye. So beautiful.

Yeager
The very recognizable Charlotte Yeager.

Besides, it's not all the same. There were numerous problems with the broom-training episode, but don't overlook the positive aspects it brought. First, it reminds us that the Strike Witches really are witches, as opposed to traditional magikal girls or true mecha musume. Second, it brought Perrine-H. Clostermann into the Lynette Bishop and Yoshika Miyafuji clique. Gallia's haughty witch was a bit of an outcast the first season, so it's nice to see her with friends this time around. It's easy to forget she's also one of the younger members of the wing.

Yoshika and Ursula
Hopefully Ursula isn't a complete slob like her sister.

Minor changes are the keys to success here. All too often sequels seem all too eager to screw up a good thing by making it bigger and better. Cameo appearance by Ursula Hartmann aside, I'm really glad Strike Witches 2 has not fallen to the temptation to overload the show with more and more witches. There's no question Strike Witches 2 could still crash and burn, but as long as it stays the course, I'm content to let this war go on as long as it has to.