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Dated 6 May 2016: We can't stop here, this is kabane country

Go on, Mumei. Curse the bitch out.

The best anime this season is a steampunk show about cowardly idiots and assholes on a train getting killed by zombies. This is not to say that Koutetsujou no Kabaneri (Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress) doesn't have problems, 'cause it's got a mess o' problems, but they're the sort of thing I'm happy to overlook as long as all the right people keep getting fucked up. (See also the second half of Shiki, another noitaminA show, in fact.)


Dated 3 January 2016: In re Winter 2016

Yeah, Hotaru's eyes are always like that.

I'm not going to watch all of these shows, but here are the ones at least on the radar. They're even sort of in order.

  • Dagashi Kashi: The original manga about cheap ass candy is fucking delicious. I don't see how anyone could screw this up as long as the anime keeps the crazy crossed eyes and incredulous reaction faces. This is your best God damn show, right here.
  • Gate: Jieitai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri second cour: Yeah, I know most viewers have a fairly negative opinion of this show. I'm almost inclined to say they're opposed to it as a matter of principle because it glorifies the military, sort of like how some readers loathe Robert A. Heinlein's Starship Troopers because they find it "fascist." Whatever, man. This is some good shit.
  • Aikatsu!: I only gave Aikatsu! another chance fairly recently, but I'm totally on board now. Bring on the idol activities!
  • Go! Princess Precure and Mahou Tsukai Precure!: The current season will end in about a month with episode 50. I'll be sad to see it go, but the next iteration is frickin' WITCH PRECURE for crying out loud. We're there.
  • Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu: I don't really know what this is about. Something about an ex-con who just wants to tell stories? In any case, it seems different, and probably won't have any of that "moé shit" people love to cry about.
  • Dimension W: I'm going to watch this for Ueda Reina and the Toyota 2000GT.
  • Luck & Logic: ORIKASA FUMIKO. Holy shit. Omigawa Chiaki, Kayano Ai, and Ueda Kana are in this too, as are Uesaka Sumire, Taneda Risa, Touyama Nao, and Minase Inori. I hope this doesn't turn out to be too much bullshit about the trading card game or whatever, but I'll at least give it a chance thanks to the cast.
  • Akagami no Shirayuki-hime 2nd Season: I'll watch the second cour if I ever get around to finishing the first one. I stopped watching because I was tired of watching Snow White getting conveniently rescued from would-be rapists every week, but I heard the show stopped being about that.
  • Detective Conan: Yep, here's my control.
  • Hai to Gensou no Grimgar: Eh, it has pretty watercolors.
  • Prince of Stride: Alternative. As an avid runner, I have to watch this. I'm also guaranteed to drop it in disgust the minute someone does something unrealistic, like I did after the first chapter of Suzuka.
  • Ao no Kanata no Four Rhythm: I know at least one person who's psyched about this, so I'll give it a try. Something about flying kids.
  • Oshiete! Galko-chan: Something about three girls fucking off in class. Based on a manga which I've not read.
  • Ajin: The manga is sort of interesting. Kaji Yuuki is in this, though.
  • Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo!: It's DEEN, but it has girls who twist their bodies a lot, at least according to the promo art. That's something, right? Really, though, I am curious to see what Studio Deen is up to these days, and Deen is responsible for the best anime of all time. Besides, the people who were loudest at jeering, "LOL DEEN," were the ones who worshiped SHAFT until Madoka went mainstream.
  • Divine Gate: I guess it would be interesting to watch TWO shows called Gate in the same season, right? Besides, Ito Kanae is in this.
  • Saijaku Muhai no Bahamut: I really wish this would have come out three months ago so we could have had a triumvirate with Cavalry and Asterisk. It's the same setup.
  • Musaigen no Phantom World: Eh, it's Kyoto Animation. I'll keep watching if it involves ghost girlfriends.
  • Shoujo-tachi wa Kouya wo Mezasu: This sounds like a shittier Saekano.
  • Ooya-san wa Shishunki!: This is a three-minute show, right? I ain't watching if it's not a three-minute show.
  • Mahou Shoujo Nante Mouiidesukara.: I think the period is part of the title. How bad could it be? It has Mahou Shoujo right in the title!
  • Sushi Police: This looks too shitty to not at least try.
  • Ojisan to Marshmallow: It's got an old dude as the love interest. That never happens.
  • Nurse Witch Komugi-chan R:'s not Momoi as Komugi. But she plays her mom instead. Is that good enough?
  • Nijiro Days: Shoujo about three dudes? I guess one is in love with some chick and the other two dudes cockblock him for sport?
  • Bubuki Buranki: I have no idea what this is, but it's an original anime. That still counts for something, right?
  • Boku dake ga Inai Machi: I'm not especially interested in this time travelling manga artist mystery thingy, but whatever. Really, I'm just not up for another noitaminA show right about now.
  • Heavy Object: This show is hot garbage. I should really just stop watching. Seriously. Hot garbage.

Christ, that is a lot of shows. There are also a bunch of specials and OVAs. I hope you weren't relying on me to keep track.

Dated 5 November 2015: I'm not sure if Saekano succeeds because of its source material or in spite of it

Nice hat.

Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata (Saekano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend) is an anime adaptation of an ongoing series of light novels about a group of high school kids developing a visual novel game for Comiket. It's a harem comedy and relies heavily on tropes and common character archetypes. Tomoya is an unapologetic otaku clad in birth-control glasses. His tsundere childhood friend is hopelessly in love with him, but naturally he's completely oblivious. Since she is in a harem comedy, Eriri has plenty of competition from more aerodynamic rivals who offer Potato-kun the green light early and often. Really, the only reason the "YES" embroidery on his bedroom pillow isn't completely worn down is due to the preservative powers of the Otaku Virtues. The damn shit's better than Woolite.


Dated 1 July 2015: Punch Line sure had a lot more plot than I was expecting

Strange Juice
This bus did not have safety glass.

More people probably would have watched Punch Line if they had banked on its noitaminA time slot instead of its first episode. I know a lot of people were immediately dissuaded from watching the series due to its premise. "A teenage boy develops superpowers whenever he sees panties? What is this ridiculous fan service horseshit?" It turns out the real problem with Punch Line is that it has too much plot. Thus, anime fans who might have enjoyed the time looping, mystery, and conspiracy components of the show but were turned away by an aversion to fan service missed out on the series. Likewise, many anime fans who wanted PANTIES and FIGHTING and PANTIES may have been let down by the more serious parts of the show.

It's because he saw panties.

I belong to the latter camp. While I did not find anything particularly wrong with the Punch Line plot, it brought a lot more complexity to the show than I was expecting. I basically wanted an entire series about Strange Juice doing Strange Juice things and maybe stupid missions assigned by the talking cat ghost. Instead, Strange Juice was barely in the show and I ended up finishing the series almost entirely due to the charm Kugimiya Rie brought to her character, Meika.

Dated 1 June 2011: Part Two: In re Ano Hana and Pretty Rhythm Aurora Dream, two shows I've started watching (but haven't started liking)

Naruko, Menma, and Jinta
Either Menma is real or Naruko needed a massage.

I won't address every character in Ano Hana, but I have to mention Menma MacGuffin. Honma Meiko bugs me because she's incredibly immature and really quite dumb. At first I thought she was that way because her mental age was frozen after she died, but I've since determined Menma's just not very smart. Even her still-grieving mother admits that Menma was kinda slow. Lady, slow ain't the word. Anyway, it also bugs me that the show takes painful steps to avoid doing anything that could prove or disprove Menma's existence to the other characters as she avoids directly interacting with any of them except Potato-kun. Since Menma is a ghost that can touch things, eat, and even cook, these convenient omissions and contrivances are just annoying since it would be a cinch for them to determine whether or not Menma is all in Jinta's head.

Naruko and Jinta
That's right, Naruko, Jinta is cracking up.

Ano Hana does have good production values, and I can understand why other people enjoy it. If you care about the characters, you'll probably enjoy it as well. It's at least better than the other Haruka Tomatosauce show about a ghost girlfriend, Asura Cryin'. However, neither are as good as the AYAKO DOCTRINE show about a ghost boyfriend and figure skating, Ginban Kaleidoscope. Which brings me to Pretty Rhythm Aurora Dream, another show about figure skaters. And while Pretty Rhythm might not have ghosts, crazy shit does occur in the astral plane.

Aria and Rhythm
Unlimited Pants Works.

Pretty Rhythm Aurora Dream is...not good. It is incredibly low-budget, and essentially every background character is rendered merely as a pastel silhouette, even background characters with speaking roles. Basically every yen budgeted for this show appears to have either gone towards the bad CGI sequences or possibly a massive merchandising effort. There are live-action segments bookending each episode during which grammar school girls shill for the Prism Store and its wall-to-wall crap. Well, it's good for the economy. Japan could use a boost in spending right about now, so I guess it's all right, even if it does involve shamelessly whoring 11-year-old girls to sell "fashionable" junk to six-year-old girls. I've only watched one episode so far, but I have a sinking feeling Pretty Rhythm will run for at least 40. I'll give it like one more episode—two, tops.

Dated 28 May 2011: Part One: In re Ano Hana and Pretty Rhythm Aurora Dream, two shows I've started watching (but haven't started liking)

Menma and Jinta
Menma hassles Jinta from beyond the grave.

I started watching Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Boku-tachi wa Mada Shiranai (Ano Hana or We Still Do Not Know the Name of the Flower we Saw That Day) because of all the hype, and I'm watching Pretty Rhythm Aurora Dream because, well, why not? The last show I watched about figure skaters turned out to be pretty good, and I'm already watching three magikal girl shows (Suite Pretty Cure, Sailor Moon, and Cutie Honey), so what's one more? I blame Zero Episode Test.

You have three two guesses as to why Naruko is so popular.

In contrast to popular opinion, I did not enjoy the first episode of Ano Hana. I thought the second episode was a lot better. Nevertheless, after seven episodes, I still don't really enjoy it as a whole. Claims about its purported gut-wrenching emotional content are overwrought, in my opinion, for one pretty important reason: I don't like any of the characters.

Jinta and Menma
There's probably a lot of glare on the TV anyway.

I loathed Potato-kun immediately. Basically, I was horrified that dumb kid from Rozen Maiden ended up in another show. Despite not liking any other character in the show as well, I at least would have found it more interesting with someone else in the lead. Must every anime male lead be so uninterestingly bland, and with such dubious redeeming values? I would even have preferred Anal-chan's fat mom in the lead role.

Stupid Naruko, don't you know this train goes through a tunnel?

Speaking of "Anal," that is, "Anaru," the childhood nickname of Anjou Naruko, she has rocketed in popularity as an otaku fan favorite, thanks to her very aerodynamic figure, suppressed nerd leanings, black underwear, and the copious amount of time she seems to spend lounging in bed. Well, there was a momentary dip when the web preview for episode five suggested she might not be a "pure-pure" girl, but her popularity continued its climb after the show verified her sexual history was a non-threatening, blank slate. Despite an affinity for Haruka Tomatosauce, I don't really like Naruko either, mostly because she's obviously manufactured to be such a harmless character designed to appeal to a certain demographic of young viewers.