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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 14 February 2018: iDOLM@STER XENOGLOSSIA is a classic story about a teenage girl and her giant robot finding true love together

Haruka and Imber
Shameless flirting.

I was a stranger to the iDOLM@STER franchise the first time I watched iDOLM@STER XENOGLOSSIA. I mentioned this before, but perhaps I should have noted I was also mystified by the amount of hostility displayed by some fans of the original games (arcade and Japanese Xbox 360 exclusive) toward Xenoglossia when the anime came out in 2007. Although I understood in principle the objections fans would have concerning the different character designs and replaced voices, I was not personally invested in any of the characters, so some of the more venomous attacks seemed excessive. Moreover, the character designs looked fine to me, at least relative to other anime of the period and Sunrise shows in particular. I finally watched my DVDs over the past few months, and actually enjoyed Xenoglossia a lot more on re-watch than I did during its initial broadcast, despite having a better understanding now of THE iDOLM@STER as a whole. Or maybe I like Xenoglossia more because I've watched several cours of bona fide iDOLM@STER anime now, not "despite" watching them.

Iori
Yukarin Iori with purple hair is good too.

Still, I'm not quite sure how I would characterize iDOLM@STER XENOGLOSSIA. It's not really much of a giant robot show for a show about giant robots, and it's not an idol anime despite having (regular-type) idols and iDOLs in it. It's not a "cute girls doing cute things" show, nor is it an early example of the more recent phenomenon where anime girls band together to be really excited about some typically male-dominated activity, like Bakuon!! or Two Car or GIRLS und PANZER. Honestly, it really is a love story about a teenage girl and her much older robot boyfriend. Notably, the affection Haruka develops for Imber is not at all unusual, as all of the other pilots also develop complex feelings toward their robots as well. In fact, jealousy plays a huge role in the plot, as do the inevitable love triangles.

Azusa
Also, Xenoglossia Azusa > regular Azusa.

IDOLM@STER XENOGLOSSIA does not take itself too seriously, but does not devolve into camp either. I buy into the HARUKA X IMBER pairing enough to believe there should be real questions raised about the ED once its setting becomes clear. I also enjoy the romance enough that I think I like the Xenoglossia Haruka more than I like the regular Haruka. Not that there's anything wrong with the regular Haruka necessarily, but I like the Xenoglossia Haruka's attitude better. Perhaps it's because she comes across as more of a main character in her own show, while the "real" Haruka necessarily seems more like a token default protagonist in a franchise with an ensemble cast, must the way I regard Miyafuji in Strike Witches or ol' Bucky in the Kantai Collection anime. I don't know if true fans of THE iDOLM@STER will ever regard Xenoglossia as positively as I do—the different voices must be especially jarring for them—but perhaps they'll come to appreciate the series if they think of it as one of those in-universe television programs the iM@S characters themselves occasionally feature in as actresses.

Dated 17 July 2017: Isekai Shokudou breaks all the rules about location, location, location

Aletta
I like Aletta even though she admitted her bodily fluids are not poisonous.

Food-based anime is all about reaction shots. Isekai Shokudō (Restaurant to Another World) is no different, but it does spice up the usual recipe by with its fantasy element and its somewhat unremarkable menu. As the title indicates, the restaurant in question features an entrance which pops up periodically in fantasy world locations, ensuring an eclectic mix of clientele who are amazed by the exquisite way food can taste when it does not consist entirely of plain boiled meat and wilted vegetables.

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Dated 20 February 2017: Fight the power with Idol Jihen

Shizuka and Natsuki
Go on, Shizuka, curse the bitch out.

I started watching Idol Jihen (Idol Incidents) because Ueda Reina is in it. Unfortunately, she's not in it much, although the OP suggests there will be more to her character later. The show itself is all right, but just barely. It frankly plays out like a rejected Aikatsu! arc, which is fine for a few episodes, but maybe not enough for a whole season. I was also expecting the entire Diet to consist of idols, but instead the idol parliamentarians are just various members of fractured idol-based opposition parties trying to challenge The Establishment comprised of old, unpleasant, corrupt politicians and uncaring corporate assholes.

Mika
Rocket Nerd promotes her vision to her hallucination.

Idol Jihen has its moments, but through seven episodes there's only been one episode I fully liked (the one with the gosurori ghostbuster), but that was mostly due to execution. I am a bit tired of the constant struggles against Old People. The show falls flat when it tries to present these battles in a semi-serious fashion involving such weapons as Children's Feelings. The show is much better off when Old People instead get swayed by idols doing idol things and everyone realizes how much better off the world can be after their idol epiphanies. Well, at least the OP and ED are catchy.

Dated 16 January 2017: Youjo Senki and the Moshidora of reincarnation anime

Tanya
Shouldn't she be wearing some goggles?

On its face, Youjo Senki (The Saga of Tanya the Evil) should be absolute light-novel garbage. According to those who have investigated the source material, the original light novel really is the sonorous trash you get in these sorts of reincarnation stories. The actual execution, though, is surprisingly deft. And while its appeal is somewhat niche, it does appeal to me, and it safely stays out of the uncanny valley of military anime. Notably, the air battles are quite good, and are a great deal more satisfying than what we got from Brave Witches or Strike Witches. It's easy to accept this is the way witches and warlocks might fight, particularly when one is clearly stronger than the others.

Tanya
Duckface.

However, there's still the issue of Tanya's backstory. Through two episodes at least, there's not really a compelling reason why she needs to be a reincarnated Japanese salaryman. I can at least appreciate that the flashback to her previous death was executed in a clever way. Then again, at this point, just not getting hit by a truck sort of qualifies as being somewhat clever by default. Possibly the story will actually include Tanya's past life's corporate experience as a way to improve her chances on the battlefield, but I'm not expecting any sort of Moshidora epiphanies. Really, trying to make a Moshidora connection to Youjo Senki is tenuous at best, and I confess I only bring it up here and in the title of this post so I can pretend to casually mention I read an 800-page Peter Drucker book from the '70s in 2011 for a baseball anime which hardly anyone watched. Good times.

Dated 21 December 2015: Shomin Sample needs more Hara Yumi

Aika
Aika reminds me too much of Chiwa from Oreshura.

I would not have watched Ore ga Ojou-sama Gakkou ni "Shomin Sample" Toshite Gets♥Sareta Ken (Shomin Sample: I Was Abducted by an Elite All-Girls School as a Sample Commoner) except for the fact that Hara Yumi (the voice of Takane in THE iDOLM@STER and Yuuko in Tasogare Otome x Amnesia) is in it and somebody (whose trustworthiness is now shot) insisted the manga is funny. As it turns out, Hara Yumi is barely in it at all, and the anime—regardless of how the manga or light novel might be—is not funny. At best, I can merely say that it could have been a lot worse.

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

Megumi
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.

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Dated 16 October 2015: I watched Hanayamata for Ueda Reina

Naru
Ueda Reina was fine as Naru, but I think I like her better in more assertive roles.

After learning Ueda Reina won a rookie seiyuu award in 2015, I decided to watch Hanayamata, since voicing Naru appeared to have been her first starring role. Ueda Reina is good enough to continue drawing my attention in other roles (such as Mikan in Jitsu wa Watashi wa and Loose Cannon Witch Killer in 35th Platoon), particularly as Kousaka Umi in THE iDOLM@STER: Million Live! where she appears to be the best idol (at least on paper), now that Shiho has stopped being a bitch to everyone else. As far as Hanayamata itself goes, it was a pleasant enough show about a bunch of girls getting interested in yosakoi and becoming better friends as they improved at it.

Hana
Hana was less of a nutjob than I was expecting.

The anime had a somewhat contrived crisis for its ending, but it wasn't too offensive. Any Hanayamata viewers should probably have expected by that point that things were going to work out all right. This was a pleasant anime where good things happened to good people, so I didn't really have any meaningful complaints about the show itself. With regard to minor gripes, I guess I wished the OP hadn't so obviously spoiled who was going to end up in the club, but spoilers are an anime OP & ED staple. I also would have liked to have had more interaction between the teacher and "Umibouzu," but it wasn't their show. I'd definitely watch a second season of Hanayamata, but these 12 episodes are probably all we're ever gonna get.