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Dated 10 May 2022: Paripi Koumei is not an idol anime, but I'm pairing it with Love Live! Nijigasaki anyway

Eiko and Kongming
It must be inconvenient carrying that thing around all the time.

I initially passed on Paripi Koumei (a contraction of Party People Koumei, but officially localized as Ya Boy Kongming!) because a show about Zhuge Liang (a Chinese strategist from the Three Kingdoms era) reincarnating in modern Japan and adapting his expertise for use within the music industry didn't really appeal to me. However, I kept hearing good things about it, and the OP is really catchy, so here we are.

Eiko
I enjoyed Eiko's bewilderment at her sudden spike in popularity.

It turns out the series really is good. It's also worth pointing out Paripi Koumei is much more about Eiko, a singer who Kongming decides to support, than I had realized before I started watching it. Or, at least it was for its first four episodes. The latest two have been about a rapper who Kongming pursues, and there are more characters from the OP who I still don't recognize, so I don't actually know if Eiko's role will remain as prominent.

Yuu and Kaoruko
Somehow, questions about their hair never come up, though.

Questions about who the series is going to focus on also appear in Love Live! Nijigasaki Gakuen School Idol Doukoukai 2. Besides the already sizable cast, the second cours of Nijigasaki adds new characters who, through six episodes already, haven't honestly appeared very much. From the looks of it, this season is probably going suffer from having too many characters to juggle, just as its first season did.

Setsuna
It's not as if she was stealing recipes from restaurants and fighting Pretty Cure.

I did enjoy the resolution of the whole Setsuna v. Nana secret identity thing, despite never genuinely believing this double life was truly necessary in the first place. Actually, maybe that was its appeal. The absurdity of it all amused me, as did the student body's baffling inability to penetrate her flimsy disguise. It's at least a contributing factor as to why Setsuna (and Nana) have rocketed towards the top of my Love Live! character rankings. (Meanwhile, fellow student council presidents Eli, Ren, and Dia are mired deep in the bottom half of the list.)

Lanzhu
I was expecting you to have done more stuff by now.

I'll probably still enjoy whatever Love Live! Nijigasaki decides to do going forward, but I expect it will be a far cry from Love Live! Superstar!! and its successes. Speaking of which, I hope adding those four new idols doesn't end up ruining the second cours of Superstar!! for me, but that's a whole 'nother topic.

Dated 18 January 2022: My Dress-Up Darling is about liking what you like

Wakana and Marin
I wonder if they ate the cake she brought afterwards.

I have a favorable view of Sono Bisque Doll wa Koi wo Suru (My Dress-Up Darling) despite knowing nothing about its source material. Its first two episodes were solid, and I'm optimistic enough to presume it will not suddenly wreck itself by crashing into all the usual ways something like this goes wrong. Notably, the second episode spent nearly its entire length dedicated to Wakana's alarm at unexpectedly finding himself examining Marin's body closely as he takes all the measurements he needs so that he can make her cosplay outfit. These sorts of setups typically exasperate me with how they commonly play out, but I'm good with how this show performed it.

Shizuku and Marin
At least the ball gag is something she can just buy.

The second episode also echoed Marin's refrain from the first episode that people should be allowed to like what they like without being attacked over something that isn't anyone else's business. In Wakana's case, it's his obsession with dolls. (I should probably point out he appears to be obsessed with only one particular type of traditional doll, and not dolls in general. Although, in keeping with the show's themes, I guess that wouldn't have mattered anyway.) Marin, for her part, absolutely adores a gothic lolita character from a series of bishoujo games. (Specifically, the games in question are rated for adults only and have significant amounts of pornographic content, including various degrees of BDSM events.)

Marin and Wakana
Is that an engineer's ring?

It's yet unclear to me how the show will go, as there are a few ways it could turn out. The childhood friend who traumatized Wakana by bitching him out about liking dolls is sure to return (I'm pretty sure I can identify her in the opening credit sequence), presumably once the two leads are settling into a comfort zone. Typically, this sort of osananajimi reappearance involves some manner of tsundere bullshit, so how Sono Bisque Doll wa Koi wo Suru handles the inevitable conflict will likely influence how I end up regarding the show as a whole. Don't fuck this up, people.

Dated 14 December 2021: SELECTION PROJECT is not as good as IDOLY PRIDE

Rena
I'm so disappointed you did not turn out to be a total cunt.

I would not still be watching SELECTION PROJECT if it did not share so many similarities with IDOLY PRIDE. (Spoilers throughout. Avert your eyes if you care.) Straight away, both shows feature troupes of newbie idols trying to make it big. Both shows have ALL CAPS titles. Both shows feature idols who die in a car accidents. Both shows feature idols who turn out to be the younger sisters of the dead idols. Both shows feature plot points about the sisters' complicated feelings of inferiority, guilt, and grief. Both shows feature idols who were transplant recipients of hearts donated from the dead idols. It's a whole thing. One notable difference: The dead idol from IDOLY PRIDE continues to hang around as a ghost, while the Hayamin-voiced idol from SELECTION PROJECT fucks off entirely after dying.

Shiori, Rena, and Suzune
The OP is easily the best part of SELECTION PROJECT.

The big difference between the two shows, though, is that IDOLY PRIDE is surprisingly good, while SELECTION PROJECT sort of sucks. It is just not a good series, mostly because it is neither upbeat enough to enjoy for wacky idol activities nor downbeat enough to take seriously. It has camp elements, but none of them are amusing. It probably should have pared down its cast by at least half instead of filling the series with a lot of entirely undeveloped placeholders. The idol from Hokkaido is the worst offender. The poor girl literally has no scenes that do not involve food in some way.

Suzune
Episode 11's epilogue ends on a mildly ominous note.

A smaller cast would have given SELECTION PROJECT more opportunities to develop the characters critical to its dramatic sequences. That it failed to do so stands in stark contrast to Love Live! Superstar!! which benefited significantly from its tighter-knit group. There is still one episode left in SELECTION PROJECT, so I suppose it might still manage to turn it around, but it seems almost certain SELECTION PROJECT will end up as just another uninspired, lackluster, below-average series that I'm not going to remember well later except for curiously sharing a lot of plot points with IDOLY PRIDE.

Dated 12 October 2021: I am enjoying Tsuki to Laika to Nosferatu

Anya
Nice hat.

Cold War PseudoSoviets sending a vampire into space is an interesting enough premise that I would give Tsuki to Laika to Nosferatu (localized as either Moon, Laika, and the Bloodsucking Princess or Irina: The Vampire Cosmonaut) a chance on general principle. Having Hayashibara Megumi voice the lead role seals it. (She's had plenty of lead roles, but this is much less common these days.) Giving it an OP by ALI PROJECT is also a bonus.

Irina and Lev
The tubes contain cosmonaut food. I wonder if there is also CMYK cosmonaut food.

I like that Tsuki to Laika to Nosferatu rejects most of the typical vampire lore. Irina is also not physically superior to the human candidates by some unreachable degree. She is better, since she can nearly keep up—despite an utter lack of any prior training—with the human candidate who had been working for some time toward becoming the first cosmonaut before becoming her trainer.

Anya, Irina, and Lev
Anya measured Irina's blood pressure, and she can bleed, so I guess she's not undead.

I originally assumed the NotSoviets wanted a vampire cosmonaut because of their inherent survivability or reduced need for life-support systems, but it turns out it has more to do with how vampires are regarded in that world as a sub-human race. Therefore, they are test subjects treated as expendable and useful to a nascent space program sort of the way dogs and monkeys are.

Irina and Anya
She's wearing the muzzle because of racism.

There are some light-novel elements in the series that hold it back to some degree (minor tsundere dishonesty, some jerkface assholes, stuff like that), but nothing that significantly detracts from my overall enjoyment of the show so far. I'm hoping we can avoid a vampires-are-people-too arc, but that's probably inevitable considering our vampire cosmonaut is a 43-kilogram girl who hides vulnerable emotions and not, y'know, Alucard from Hellsing.

Dated 14 September 2021: I think I like the idea of Bakarina more than I actually enjoy Bakarina now

Catarina
I don't know what these are called either.

I enjoyed the first season of Otome Game no Hametsu Flag Shika Nai Akuyaku Reijō ni Tensei Shiteshimatta... (My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!) a fair amount, and I enjoy its +X sequel as well, but I'm definitely not as motivated to jump on new episodes when they come out. I'm still caught up, but this season has basically just been okay. Maybe it's because of excessive kidnapping?

Maria
I'm starting to think Maria might be a lesbian.

Really, it's probably because Bakarina is a gimmick-focused show that has basically already accomplished everything I was expecting from it, and now it's just looking for additional reasons to keep going. I like Catarina as a character, but I don't really need the rest of her posse at this point. (There are a lot of characters.) Some of them are basically straphangers.

Atsuko
I don't actually have anything to say about Atsuko.

I get the feeling there is going to be a third season announced at the conclusion of Otome Game no Hametsu Flag Shika Nai Akuyaku Reijō ni Tensei Shiteshimatta... X. I mean, we got a callback to Catarina's old life at the end of the 11th episode of a presumably 12-episode show. I assume there's going to be something involved with that. Something that's not another kidnapping. I'm not implying Hamehura is on the wrong path. There's not really anything I actively dislike about the series, and I'll probably watch a third season if one ends up being announced. If there is a third season, it had better also bring back angela, though.

Dated 14 July 2020: Sword Art Online is back and it's the SAO we know

Alice
I still don't actually know what "Alicization" means, unless it involves energy beams to the face.

The final cours of Sword Art Online: Alicization - War of Underworld began on Saturday, picking up where it left off six months ago. First, a quick overview: Sword Art Online is the franchise. Alicization is its third major season (and once complete, will be four cours long—as long as the first two seasons combined). War of Underworld is the double-cours second half of Alicization.

Alice
I bet that sleep spell wouldn't have worked if Alice S. 30 had an N95 mask.

The original SAO cast was absent from most of the previous 12 episodes, which focused instead on Alice Sythesis Thirty, a UCLA Bruin introduced for the third season. Kirito has been present during War of Underworld, sort of, but relegated to mostly convalescing in a wheelchair while Alice S. Thirty pushed him around so he could be nearer to people who want him dead.

Kirito and Sinon
He's probably trying to figure out what's going on with your outfit.

Kirito has been showing signs that he's still awake somewhere behind his dead-fish eyes, so it's a cinch he's going to make his grand return at some point. Kirito's, uh, new best friend Eugeo also features prominently during the opening and closing credits of the new season, so maybe he's going to be back, too.

Asuna and Sinon
Somehow Asuna is the only one to recognize flying is a big deal.

Asuna and Sinon both joined the titular war at the end of the previous cours. Leafa and Klein logged in during the first episode of the current cours. So yeah, they're getting the old crew back together for the season's big finish. Fans of the original cast who have been dying for more Silica and Lisbeth deban presumably won't have to wait much longer. First-season characters are not the only thing that has returned, though. Sexual assault is also back.

Quinella
I'm including the time the pope Jedi mind fucked Eugeo.

Actually, sexual assault has never really left. Attempted rape, etc., is such a common occurrence in the Sword Art Online franchise that I'm not sure I could name all the times it appears without accidentally forgetting a scene or two. I don't even object to its inclusion on principle, necessarily—it's just always contrived and presented so poorly and obnoxiously, though.

Leafa
I can't rule out the possibility Suguha just enjoys suffering.

In the instant case, Leafa logs in, makes a new friend, and is instantly tentacle raped by an exaggerated over-the-top villain (the most common sort of villain in SAO). It goes beyond even the infamous first-season example involving Asuna. (That's specific enough to identify which one I mean, right?) Leafa suffers through it for entirely unconvincing reasons.

Gabriel Miller
You can identify SAO villains because they all make this face.

Maybe Sword Art Online includes these scenes and presents them in this way because possibly a significant majority of SAO fans enjoy and appreciate them, but I'm optimistic enough to hope it's done out of deference to Kawahara Reki's light novels. I don't know how much the SAO anime deviates from the source material, but I sort of get the feeling that it's not doing it enough.

Alice
I don't remember Alice S. XXX wearing this outfit before.

If you listen to the commentary track for Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale, it's quite obvious the production team changed or rejected a significant number of Kawahara's ideas and scenes. I can only guess at what the movie's original script might have looked like, but I think all but the most puerile viewers can identify with certainty which elements of the television show desperately needed re-working.

Dated 30 June 2020: I guess I'm re-watching Kaze no Yojimbo

George
A lot of scenes look like manga panels, and I mean that in a good way.

Despite the number of times I've mentioned Kaze no Yojimbo here over the years, I've not actually re-watched the series since the final DVD came out in 2005. I have also not heard of the series being available on any streaming service, and the R1 DVDs are now out of print (although potentially still available). It's not clear to me how someone who wanted to watch the show for the first time today would go about it. I'm not even sure if piracy is a viable option, considering the show was never popular even in the early aughts.

Miyuki
You can tell Miyuki is important because she has anime hair.

With regard to the show itself, it has obvious parallels with Kurosawa's Yojimbo film. Curiously, I don't remember the promotional materials and professional reviews for Kaze no Yojimbo playing up that angle. Instead, I recall there was more of an effort to portray Kodama George (the titular bodyguard) as a sort of Spike Spiegel character. That is entirely inaccurate, and Bodyguard of the Wind bears no resemblance to Cowboy Bebop at all.

Miyuki and George
I don't think you're supposed to spread out like this on a Japanese train.

Clearly, I enjoy the show quite a bit, but not enough to re-watch it frequently. And I'm at a loss as to how to recommend the show. The answer is I can't recommend it. It's difficult to acquire and not really something with broad appeal. The first episode opens with a mystery, and multiple subsequent mysteries are layered on top of each other before any of them are resolved. It's also a 25-episode show that starts slowly. Even back when it was new, almost everyone quit watching it by the gambling episode, well before the series makes any progress with its plot.

Miyuki and George
The rural landscape consistently looks fantastic in Kaze no Yojimbo.

At least the ending is satisfying. (Well, I remember it being so when I last watched it 15 years ago.) Aside from being inspired by the Kurosawa film, Kaze no Yojimbo is not constrained by other sources (e.g., it doesn't adapt manga chapters or anything like that), so its ending feels pre-planned and deliberate. (That shouldn't be such a rare thing, but unfortunately weak endings and non-ending endings continue to plague anime today.) In any case, that's how I feel about the show's ending based on what I remember. I guess I'm going to find out if it still holds up in 2020.

Dated 4 February 2020: Healin' Good ♡ Precure is off to the races

Chiyu and Nodoka
Short-sleeved sweatshirts are pretty great otherwise, though.

The first episode of Healin' Good ♡ Precure covers a lot of familiar ground for anyone who has seen a fair share of Pretty Cure; this is the franchise's 15th generation since 2004. Cure Grace herself is off to a good start. Her very first attack consisted of an overly complicated kick, and I'm generally in favor of Cures who understand the value of extraneous style points. I joked in my previous post about Cure Grace being "joined by Cure Fartlek and Cure Pain Is Just Weakness Leaving the Body." Well, we do briefly meet the other girls who will become the next Cures, and Chiyu does appear to be an avid runner, so maybe we will get a Cure Fartlek this season. Never mind that she's dressed in attire only non-runners would expect actual runners to wear, at least in that weather. Sorry, if you're not wearing the least amount of clothing you can get away with without getting stared at by spinsters and police officers, I'm going to assume you're a casual jogger or a someone getting a slow start on her New Year's resolution—doubly so if you're wearing some sort of matching ensemble instead of ratty old clothes that look like shit.

Hinata
This was 100-percent your fault.

The first episode of Healin' Good ♡ Precure also briefly introduces Hinata. Based on the OP, it seems she's going to be the yellow Cure. She's done a fair amount of mugging already, so she's out in front so far as this Precure generation's Best Girl. There are a lot of stereotypes about how each "color" of Cure is supposed to behave, but I'm hoping this will evolve so that yellow represents less defensive bullshit and more...Cure Twinkle-type behavior. It is too early to tell, though, since I'm literally making tenuous predictions from a few seconds of screen time and cuts from the OP. Speaking of which, the OP is as good as you've heard from the Twitter, and the ED continues to advance the all-singing, all-dancing 3DCG agenda. It's come a long way from the Fresh Pretty Cure ED.