Version 5.4 ~ Haruhi gave rock and roll to you.

Dated 22 August 2023: Chainsaw Man is still good

Power and Denji
Power is great.

Chainsaw Man (the manga) first caught my attention via a flood of Reze fan art years ago. I didn't know who that was, so I Googled the character and crashed straight into spoilers. I didn't really care, because I don't generally read shounen manga. Consequently, my first real exposure to the title came from its anime. I enjoyed it, but I lacked context for the complaints I kept seeing about it. I wasn't even able to determine if those anime complaints from manga fans were widespread, or if they were due to an overly vocal but ultimately small segment of readers.

Denji and Fumiko
She's not wrong.

After watching the anime (which didn't even get far enough to introduce Reze, by the way), I uncharacteristically went back and read all of the manga and now I'm caught up with weekly-ish releases. The manga now ("part two") feels a lot different compared to the manga before, and I'm once again seeing a variety of complaints from fans who want it to be more like how it was before. I can't tell this time either if I'm only encountering the gripes of a loud minority, but at least I have context for it now. As far as how I view the manga, I suppose it departs from the stereotypes that I typically associate with shounen manga? Maybe that's why I still enjoy it and the new characters. All you Reze fanatics are mental cases, though. She's not that good.

Dated 28 May 2018: GeGeGe no Kitarou is surprisingly informative

Neko Musume, Nezumi Otoko, and Kitarou
Well, she's not THAT tall. There are just a lot of short characters.

I don't know very much about yokai or Japanese fairy tales in general. In fact, probably most of what I know comes from that one episode of Azumanga Daioh. Oh, and I guess I've gleaned enough from other anime over the years to become racist toward kappas. Good job, School Rumble. In comes GeGeGe no Kitarou, a family show about yokai. Because it's heavily aimed at children, it also provides a lot of background and explanations about the various monsters of the week and their traditional lore. Hence, I get to learn along with the young audiences about yokai and how they might fit in the modern world.

Mana and Neko Musume
Also, she's wearing heels.

As far as the anime's other merits go, it's reasonably well done and I enjoy Sawashiro Miyuki as Kitarou. It's a good enough show that I'm still interested week-to-week, but I can't claim I'm at all in the target audience demographic. I do have to admit that I only started watching because of all the attention GeGeGe no Kitarou received before the season started due to the radical changes it made to one of the supporting character's designs. Originally known as Hakaba Kitarou, the franchise began in the '60s as a manga series and has appeared on television every decade since. The character design for Neko Musume has evolved each time around. However, her appearance in the 2018 iteration is entirely unrecognizable compared to her original form. It's a good hook, and I'm okay with shows making these types of changes from time to time, even if it means making a shrimpy character really tall and giving her legs that go up to her neck.

Dated 17 September 2010: The first Darker than Yin OVA is top fuel moe

Hei and Yin
Hei gives Yin a hat.

I frequently see two complaints about the Darker than Black sequel, Gemini of the Meteor: (1) That it had too much "moe shit," and (2) it didn't have enough Yin. Typically, one encounters these complaints separately, as they would be contradictory if expressed together; Yin is a stereotypical moe character. And how.

Hei and Yin
Five will get you ten Hei is moe for hats.

Viewed in simplest terms, Yin is a quiet, passive albino of the Ayanami Rei and Nagato Yuki variety. In bridging the first and second season, the Darker than Black: The Black Contractor OVAs take the all-Yin-all-the-time route and play up her moe characteristics quite heavily, even if the plot is ostensibly about building up to Yin-killing-people moments. [P.S. Spoilers.]

Hei gives Yin a shirt.

I generally adopt a neutral attitude towards moe. While I agree there is too much moe-centric anime nowadays, proportionally speaking, I am not opposed to it on principle and I have no objection to its presence in Darker than Black, even when it is layered as heavily as during the first "Darker than Yin" OVA. And oh, it's heavy all right. I suspect one's reaction to the first OVA likely defines the shape of one's attitudes towards moe in general, one way or another.

Dated 10 September 2010: Stupidity over shyness in Amagami SS episode 11, Sae part three

Turns out that's not a petticoat.

Calling Sae shy would be an understatement. This is a girl who started out being too shy to talk to herself. Lucky for Sae, the brother of her only friend appears willing to overlook that particular disability of hers if it means better opportunities for copping a first-year feel.

Sae and Junichi
She's waiting for you to drop your salute first, Potato-kun.

Through two and three-quarter Amagami SS arcs, I submit only Sex Hair had any believable chemistry with Junichi. Sae and Junichi do have more chemistry together than Morishima and Junichi did, but that's not really saying much. Their burgeoning relationship still feels very contrived.

My God, it's full of stars. At least I hope they're stars.

I guess I can kind of appreciate that Sae might develop a crush on ol' Potato-kun as he's the only person to pay attention to her, but his obliviousness to her attraction seems so implausible. It's a silly excuse to use merely to keep them apart. They couldn't come up with a better way to cockblock for three episodes?

Junichi, Sae, and Umehara
Had he rubbed the black obelisk, Junichi might
have had a 2001 moment of inspiration.

Still, Sae would be all right were it not for her squeaky K.C. voice. Her extreme meekness actually makes Junichi appear assertive for a change. It's a nice improvement to his character, even if he inexplicably does remain too stupid to bend Sae over a kotatsu.

Dated 7 September 2008: Where is my Mahou Shoujo Fate Testarossa movie? Dang

Fate Testarossa
This is the only life Fate Testarossa knows.

You know, I really hope this upcoming Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha season one movie isn't just a glorified clip show. If they're going to make a movie re-telling the first season's story, what they ought to do is re-tell it from Fate Testarossa's point of view. They've got enough material to fill a 90-minute to two-hour block easily, and Fate's story is far more compelling than Nanoha and Yuuno's daily life.

Fate Testarossa
It's not an especially good life.

This movie should also fill in some of the gaps the series glossed over. For example: I bet Fate doesn't know how to swim. There's no way her mom ever taught her. In fact, I have a feeling that Fate is entirely ignorant of many things most people take for granted because she never had a regular childhood. She's kind of like Kirika, only more so. Fate probably doesn't know how to ride a bicycle, and isn't familiar with fairy tales, never owned a box of crayons, and doesn't know how to braid hair. But man, can she take a beating.