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Dated 20 August 2018: I'm still watching ISLAND for some reason

Setsuna and Rinne
This counts as chemistry, right?

I started watching ISLAND basically for the same reason as Anime War Crime Tribunal. I.e., hoping it would be entertainingly bad. I guess not entirely for the same reason. I'm also partially in it for the Yukarin lead and, uh, I guess maybe that's it. Unfortunately, ISLAND has been mostly unremarkable. It does have some wacky twists and unexpected revelations, but they are the sort that mostly just don't make much sense and not the variety that might stun you with disbelief. I guess I'm complaining that it is not sufficiently schlock.

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Dated 12 June 2018: In defense of DARLING in the FRANXX

Mitsuru
Look, it ain't that bad, okay.

Depending on which corner of the anime fandom you find yourself, I imagine you're either on the side that doesn't believe DARLING in the FRANXX needs defending, or in the camp that doesn't believe it deserves defending. My basic perspective on the show is that it is not capital-G Good, nor is it part of the "bad but has good parts in it" category, but rather that it is a flawed result of some efforts that I genuinely appreciate.

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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 6 February 2017: Seiren pulls out of its nosedive

Tooru
A challenger appears.

The first arc of Seiren was a stunning disappointment. It was inept in almost wholly unoriginal ways, which made it doubly worse because this meant it should have been able to avoid all its missteps. The first episode of its second arc, however, gets the next route off to a good start by revisiting some of the elements that made Seiren's Amagami SS predecessor at least memorable, even if it was not exactly capital-G Good.

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Dated 10 October 2016: There sure are a lot of adults in anime lately

Nozomi
This butt is over-18.

Anime sure loves high school boys. Arguably, the only characters anime loves more than high school boys are middle school girls. Whether you agree with this assessment or not (and don't take it too seriously, okay, this is why I don't have comments enabled), I don't think I'll get much opposition if I claim a lot of (mostly shitty) anime skews towards school-aged protagonists in school settings. In the extreme, you even get shows such as Guilty Crown or Kakumeiki Valvrave where preserving a school's social structure is the single most important goal of the characters, despite living in a state of war.

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Dated 17 August 2016: Masou Gakuen HxH is not the second coming of Seikon no Qwaser

Hayuru
Masou Gakuen HxH leads off the first episode with the Japanese girl in a cold open.

Although trashy fan service shows aren't exactly rare, the full-on, uncensored, blatantly gratuitous ones aren't particularly common either. In recent memory, there was Valkyrie Drive: Mermaid (which I haven't seen yet), and the ever-popular High School DxD series (which is relatively tame as far as these sorts of things go). This season, we have Masou Gakuen HxH (Hybrid x Heart Magias Academy Ataraxia) which is sort of like IS: Infinite Stratos except that in Masou Gakuen, Potato-kun's purpose is to recharge the girls' fighting ability through the power of arousal rather than just standing around wondering why they're all angry with him.

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Dated 22 April 2016: Wake Me Up Asuna needs better punctuation and probably more pestering about household chores

Asuna
There's no landscape mode.

Thanks to MVB's recommendation on the Twitter, I installed the Wake Me Up Asuna Android app even though it really should be called Wake Me Up, Asuna or even Wake Me Up, Asuna! There's not much to say about it. It does what its website describes, and it doesn't seem to have any weird bugs or battery-sucking behavior (at least not on any of the three devices I tested). The synthesized Haruka DeTomaso Pantera voice sounds fine, but I also didn't challenge it with a hard-to-pronounce name. There are no ads, and you can use it for free providing you don't care about English subtitles or feel like buying Asuna new clothes. Speaking of which, she will nag you within the first 24 hours to buy some different clothes, but I've gone a few days since blowing her off and she hasn't asked again yet.

Asuna
The housewife sweater is free.

"Asuna's sweet words will definitely make you feel as if she is your wife!" is a bit of a stretch. Mostly she just stands there. It's a little weird when she's pretending to sleep. Like, she'll keep standing there, swaying randomly. The lights will still be on, and every once in a while she'll crack her eyes open, I guess to see if the coast is clear. Thankfully, I don't believe the application has camera permissions, so Asuna probably won't really stare at you while you sleep. I also sort of feel Asuna is a weird choice to be the first of these daily assistant character jobbies, but I guess she needed to be a popular mainstream character with a Life Debt to Sony.

Dated 2 April 2016: In re Rainbow Days

Natsuki and Anna
Sure, just stand there watching her sleep. It's not weird or nothin'.

I only started watching Nijiiro Days (Rainbow Days) because I thought it was going to be about a dude getting cockblocked by his friends as he attempts to hook up with some girl from his school. It turns out I was dead wrong about a critical part of that premise (his friends are actually trying to help him get with the girl), but it also turned out the show is pretty good even without cockblocking, jerkface friends.

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