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Dated 6 August 2018: This is Shoujo☆Kageki Revue Starlight

Hikari
This was a blatant effort to encourage anime tourism.

I starting watching Shoujo☆Kageki Revue Starlight thinking it was going to be an idol anime that would contrast nicely when watched back-to-back with Ongaku Shoujo. Yeah, that turned out to be wrong. It's not an "idol anime" at all, or at least it's less so an idol anime than it is a "wack ass giraffe fight club" anime, as I've seen it characterized on the IRC. To tell you the truth, I'm not entirely sure what to call it.

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Dated 16 April 2018: Piano no Mori seems better than I was expecting

Shuuhei and Kai
Well, there is a forest.

I only watched the first episode of Piano no Mori (TV) because of the Gainax name attached to it. Hopefully, Sakuga Blog will at some point lay out how much of the Fukushima Gainax has anything to do with the Gainax of yore, if anything. Regardless of how much the name might even matter anymore, it at least served to expose me to an episode of anime I would not have otherwise considered watching. I won't call the first episode stunning, but it was at least surprising and better than I was anticipating. I went into the show knowing nothing aside from a brief vague description about two boys who play piano in a forest. That's technically true, but doesn't really detail what the show is about.

Reiko
For one thing, one of the characters is a prostitute.

As far as what a curious viewer might expect, I don't think I can offer reliable predictions based on a single episode, but think it's likely comparisons with Nodame Cantabile, Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso, and, uh, Piano will be inevitable. You know, because all of these shows are about people playing piano. There is some imperfect 3DCG in Piano no Mori, but I get the feeling this is an increasingly unavoidable component of anime in this particular era. In any case, it was not distracting enough to take me completely out of the show. It's certainly should not be a reason to dismiss it out of hand. I can't promise Piano no Mori will be good, but I at least claim the first episode is different and worth your time if you are still finding your way around the new anime season, trying to figure out what might be worth watching.

Dated 2 October 2017: Symphogear? Still stupendous

Granny and Maria
Something something Maria, something something huge tomatoes.

I don't write about Symphogear as much as I ought to, consider that it's FUCKIN' GREAT. It's basically a miracle that we've gotten four seasons already with a fifth season supposedly on the way. This season, Senki Zesshou Symphogear AXZ ended up my second-favorite show, after Re:CREATORS but ahead of Princess Principal (which is itself way better than I expected). Still, I don't have much to say about Symphogear except that it's Symphogear. You either understand the appeal or you don't. It's definitely not something I expect to have any success in describing though text. Not in any way that does it justice, at least.

Shirabe and Prelati
Something something the appeal of a girl made of saws.

No doubt, there are still dubious readers on the fence about the whole thing. To be honest, the famous Symphogear meme chart pretty accurately describes the typical first-time viewing experience, aside from some outliers (like me) who were totally on board ever since Zwei Wing hit the stage in episode one of the first season. As to what you might expect in Symphogear AXZ? More singing while fighting (fighting while singing?), and more solving problems by punching them. The Hell else do you need?

Dated 13 March 2017: BanG Dream! dropped

Kasumi
This is a good season for hair horns.

I never actually did any research to verify these impressions, but I gathered BanG Dream! was another salvo fired in the idol war in support of the sort of full-spectrum operations adopted by the Wake Up, Girls! project. That is, it's an anime about a girl band which corresponds with a real life girl band presumably comprised of the seiyuu who will do crossover events and whatnot. The anime part at least started out sort of amusing, with high genki determination and amusing moments peppered with actual gags. I particularly liked Arisa's American approach to trespassers. Kasumi best not try that shit in Texas.

Arisa
"Live Alive" this ain't.

Unfortunately, the more recent episodes took a more serious turn involving a mother on the verge of dying from Key AIDS and people feeling guilty about not being good enough martyrs. I can understand why the show might want to introduce some drama in an effort to get viewers more invested in the outcome, but it's not at all successful for me, at least. The tonal shift is not jarring exactly, but I think it's still unnecessary. And then the show added another twist which I guess will be the final obstacle they'll all have to overcome. Even a show as good as Hibike! Euphonium did not pull off all of its bits of band drama flawlessly; BanG Dream! is having a much rougher time of it. This is not something I want to continue watching, anyway. It's not bad, exactly. I've just lost all interest.

Dated 25 September 2016: Looking forward to autumn 2016 anime

Kogane
Who's ready for more BBK/BRNK faces?

There are a surprising number of shows I'm interested in scheduled for autumn 2016. Most of these are sequels of some sort, but there are a few new properties that have caught my eye. Notably, I've yet to do any concerted investigating into the upcoming season, so the following only include titles that I noticed at some point and deemed worthy of preemptively annotating in my anime spreadsheet.

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Dated 2 December 2014: "It's not easy being a genius" and other lies told in April

Kousei and Kaori
Ah! Ghost glasses!

Despite having no sympathy for its lead, a pathetic middle school boy with deep-seated emotional problems, I find Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso (Your Lie in April) exceptional thus far. It's a two-cour adaptation of an award-winning manga that's already ended, so I'm optimistic the anime will have a real conclusion after a solid run instead of meandering aimlessly before trailing off like I might expect from some crappy harem comedy. (Read: A one-cour advertisement for some sorry light novel series.) Nevertheless, Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso does teeter on the brink every episode, mostly because the lead character is an incredibly vulnerable boy and practically every other character in the show (men, women, boys, and girls) is obsessed with him. It technically is a harem comedy if you think about it, so letting a schmuck (albeit a talented one) drive the story turns the entire vehicle into a train wreck waiting to happen if A-1 Pictures should falter even a little bit.

Tsubaki
Williams Rotation.

In a way, this is appropriate for a show about musical prodigies. The episodes and the characters are excellent when they are on their games, but even a single minor mistake could cascade into catastrophe. Thankfully, A-1 Pictures has been spot-on so far, serving up beautiful visuals and captivating music during the performances. The supporting characters are also charismatic, even the childhood friend who unfortunately turns into a Childhood Friend. Even the erstwhile womanizing ladies' man who has displayed no actual evidence of such proclivities and appears to be hiding a sensitive side. Hell, I'm even interested in the mopey shell-shocked lead's wheelchair-bound Tiger Mom's specter, albeit to a much lesser extent than, say, the blond dervish (who is probably secretly dying despite her vivacious, constantly churning limbs), or the stiletto in a red dress. Especially the stiletto in a red dress.

Dated 10 October 2012: Horie Yui makes me want to re-watch Toradora!

Minori
Minori tearing through the school with real conviction.

Basically every time I listen to Honey Jet!!, when I get to "Silky Heart," I recall Minori ripping through the school with real verve. Those few seconds in the second OP provide convincing credibility affirming Minori's reputation for athleticism. That is some good anime-type running right there. Kind of a rare thing, now that I think about it.

Dated 8 September 2012: Status updates for the Fushigi no Umi no Nadia, Full Moon wo Sagashite, and Ai Yori Aoshi re-watching projects

Kaoru and Aoi
Aoi lap-pillows the shit out of Kaoru.

I finished re-watching Ai Yori Aoshi even though that meant going outside the one-episode-per-week framework I previously decided upon in my attempt to mimic its initial broadcast schedule from 10 years ago. This was not because Ai Yori Aoshi is so great I couldn't help myself, but rather because I was re-watching it via my old Pioneer DVDs, so it was easier to burn through a block of five episodes in a row than to fuss with disc swaps every week. I don't mean this as another sign physical media are dead, since I do still value the tangible qualities they impart, but there are certainly inconveniences associated with optical media that seem anachronistic in an ever-increasingly instant-gratification age.

Nadia
Nadia is pouting in this scene because
Jean never visits her bunk. True story.

I don't remember Nadia being such a harpy. That girl just will not stop bitching. Frankly, I am amazed Jean manages to put up with her unrelenting complaining and her hippie bullshit. Then again, maybe it's a good thing that she's so disagreeable all the time. Were it not for her acerbic personality, Jean probably wouldn't be able to keep his mind on science and aeronautics. He's at that age, y'know. And they're stuck on a boat together (and/or island sometimes). And she doesn't seem to like wearing a lot of clothes. And she's a very bendy and athletic circus acrobat. I'm just sayin'.

Madoka
I love Madoka even though she is not a cunt all the time.

Full Moon wo Sagashite? Still the best anime of all time, although I guess you wouldn't necessarily realize it at this point (episode 22). After 10 years, Full Moon wo Sagashite still remains somewhat of a difficult sell, particularly now that in many respects it not only is "old" but it sort of looks old, too. I'm not sure what it is...perhaps the lack of shiny skin? Since Full Moon wo Sagashite aired in 2002, myco (Mitsuki and Fullmoon's voice actress and singer) has released a solo album, my collage, and another album as the lead vocalist for the band Quintillion Quiz. I was able to purchase a my collage CD, but Quintillion Quiz's Mement Mori appears to only be available on iTunes. Both albums are good, but Mement Mori in particular is a steal at only eight bucks or so for the entire album. It rocks quite a bit more than myco's earlier work with the band Changin' My Life. I'm afraid I have no idea what Kana is up to these days, though....