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Dated 19 March 2016: AIRBORNE! P.S. Gate spoilers.

F-4 Phantom II fighters
FOX ONE.

Episode 23 of Gate: Jietai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri featured the most realistic depiction of an airborne operation I've ever seen in an anime. Although I guess I need to qualify that statement by mentioning the second-most realistic depiction of an airborne operation I've ever seen in an anime is the first episode of, uh, Coyote Ragtime Show. You know, the part with the maids. Nevertheless, the mere fact that the Japan Self-Defense Forces conducted the operation in phases—eliminating air defense and establishing air supremacy first before dropping paratroopers into Empire territory—is leaps and bounds ahead of the sort of thing you see in most anime ostensibly about war. Heavy Object, I'm looking in your direction....

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Dated 23 November 2014: Anime triage

Conan and Sera
As if there is any chance in Hell of Sera turning out to be bad.

Because of "circumstances," I find myself dropping about half the shows I was following this season. Well, perhaps not so much dropping as putting on hiatus for the time being. Maybe I'll catch back up during a particularly lousy season that coincides with greater anime-watching opportunities. (Won't be next season, because next season looks pretty sweet.)

Jurai and Mirei
I'm pretty sure this is how cooties are transmitted.

I only started watching Inou-Battle wa Nichijou-kei no Naka de because of Studio Trigger. Thus far, it comes across as fairly unremarkable, although the basic setup is sort of amusing. This is no Little Witch Academia or Kill la Kill, so I'm left judging the show on its merits. It's fine, but the turbo-dere crazy girl was the only one I really liked. Since she's basically never in the show, what's the point? This is an easy one to put on hiatus, because I don't expect any spoilers down the road to ruin my chances of enjoying it. If it turns out to be a stinker, then I'll have dodged a bullet by ducking out early now.

Elizabeth and Meliodas
Succor.

As much as I enjoy watching a runty old man brazenly fondle a nubile, 16-year-old princess who suffers from poor depth perception, I'm dropping Nanatsu no Taizai because I'm already reading the manga. There are currently more than 100 chapters out, making it a cinch that even a two-cour show will just trail off at some convenient stopping point without resolving anything. The anime adaptation is pretty good, and the fights have been entertaining, but I need to clear up some room in the ol' anime block.

Akako
Oh ho ho.

I'm putting both Magic Kaito 1412 and Detective Conan on hold. I consider Magic Kaito to sort of be a Detective Conan property anyway, even though that's not technically accurate, and I've got a huge backlog of Conan episodes numbering into the hundreds, so it's easy to set both shows on back burners. Really, most of y'all should probably be watching both of these shows. It just goes to show that "nobody watches shows if they're really popular."

Sento
Bad dream?

I haven't been enjoying Amagi Brilliant Park nearly as much as most viewers, largely because the current flavor to Kyoto Animation's work doesn't quite agree with me. That said, I have enjoyed it more than Hyouka (which I think most viewers would describe as vastly superior), and I've definitely liked it more than the episodes of Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! that I watched. (I skipped Kyoukai no Kanata, Free!, and Tamako Market entirely.) Kyoto Animation is very good at what they do, and I can tell the original light novel probably would have fared much worse had it been adapted by most other studios. Nevertheless, I can't ultimately care too much about the show and was mostly watching for Ayako. 50 Cent was pretty good until the series decided she needed to fall in love with Kanye West. The dude simply isn't charismatic enough to get me to care about this relationship angle. Even if he is at least better than the typical Potato-kun, that's a low standard to reach.

Hitoe
I'm pretty sure the entire thing is Hitoe's fault somehow.

I will definitely undrop selector spread WIXOSS at some point (providing it doesn't get another season). I intend to follow this suffering to the end (of this cour anyway), even though I basically get no enjoyment out of the show anymore. These are broken characters stumbling their way through an asinine situation for implausible reasons. I'm mostly just waiting to see if Akira is going to kill somebody before Hanayo gets pregnant. She is going to get pregnant and spawn stupid playing card babies, right? Oh, like you have a better reason to watch this show.

Asuna
The Lion King.

I was going to pause Sword Art Online 2 because I've read the Mother's Rosario arc and already know what happens. Still, this arc should be about as good as Sword Art Online ever gets, so I might as well keep watching. I'm not sure how standard (read: Kirito) fans will react to the Asuna-led focus of these remaining episodes, but I hope they at least enjoy these episodes more than they like the second half of the first season. (You know, the one where Asuna spent all of her time sitting in a chair and waiting to be rescued when she wasn't too busy being sexually assaulted.) Unfortunately for people watching the anime, there are spoilers for this arc that will be difficult to avoid because they're of the variety that detractors of Sword Art Online won't be able to resist revealing.

Asuna
Aim for the face.

Actually, there's a good chance I'll place Sword Art Online 2 on hiatus anyway.

P.S. Asuna dies.

Sailor V
That is totally the Sailor V costume from the back...

Sailor Venus
...but it changes to the Sailor Venus battle
costume when we see it from the front.

Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon Crystal was an easy one to put on hold because it only airs every two weeks and because I frankly don't like it. I like the idea of Sailor Moon, but I can't claim to particularly enjoy the manga, the 90-some episodes of the original anime that I've watched, or the Crystal Bullshit episodes of the remake that I've seen so far. With Chibi Usa about to make her appearance, this was a no-brainer. I still haven't officially dropped it (or the original anime, for that matter), since I feel I should watch the entire thing as a matter of principle, but it is a slog.

Ange and Salia
Busted. P.S. Spoilers.

You know what show I'm not putting on hold? Motherlovin' Cross Ange. This is some good shit, yo. Week after week of solid entertainment. Two cours, baby!

Dated 6 November 2014: I'm so stoked Cross Ange is going to be two cours

Ange
All things considered, Angelise is taking this rather well.

I should probably be blogging about Cross Ange: Tenshi to Ryuu no Rondo (Cross Ange: Rondo of Angels and Dragons) on a regular basis because I think it has the potential to provide as much mileage as Gundam SEED Destiny did. Let's be clear. I am not watching Cross Ange "ironically," okay. This show is shit, but it is great shit. It's never boring and you'll stare in disbelief at some of the idiocy that transpires, but I still enjoy it a great deal. It's got Banana Mizuki stabbing dragons in the face, for crying out loud!

Tusk and Ange
Yes, it's true. This man has no dick.

If you've been paying attention to the OP and ED, you should have figured out the cast doesn't comprise entirely of lesbian rapists and their Stockholm Syndrome-afflicted victims. There's also at least one young man who appears positioned to be Ange's love interest despite appearing to lack genitals. Well, he's here now, and seemingly not some alpha male rebel soldier who will help Ange bring righteousness to an unjust world, but rather a well-meaning doofus with Yuuki Rito's vulnerability to anime gravity. He's not Potato-kun, because he doesn't adhere to the Otaku Virtues, but he's still more of a schmuck than I expected.

Tusk and Ange
Stop complaining and eat your gruel, princess.

I assume Sunrise was sort of trying to set up the Meet Cute that transpires in My-Otome 0~S.ifr~ between Lena Sayers and Not Kira Yamato, but it doesn't go quite so smooth. For example, Tusk (forget it, Jake, it's Sunrise) tries to praise and flatter Ange at one point, but the only compliments he can think of are all about her looks. "You're completely mental, but I've seen you naked, and you're really hot, plus I've been alone on this God damn island alone with nothing but poisonous snakes to keep me company for a long time, okay. Let's make out." To be fair, I don't think I'd be able to come up with anything better given the circumstances.

Ange and Tusk
Stab it again for me, sweetie.

I appreciate that anime is capable of mature romances and poinant scenes of meaningful character development, but it's also capable of ignoring all that in favor of showing how a squadron of lesbian rapists, hapless well-meaning rookies, total cunts, and spoiled princesses can join together to promote vague objectives by fighting a convenient menace. It's important to remember that nothing in this show is realistic to begin with, so trying to preserve any sense of logic or reason while watching Cross Ange is counterproductive. There are dragons and people using magic, you know. This is a world where a frilly bra and panty set crammed into an air intake can render a war machine completely FUBAR.

Hilda
Hilda? Also a snake.

Try not to wonder why a venomous snake might leap up out of nowhere simply to bite Ange deep in her inner thigh. Moreover, don't object that sucking on a snake bike doesn't actually remove the venom, particularly if enough time has passed for the poison to circulate through her body and completely incapacitate our uppity little princess. Sometimes crotch sucking makes the heart grow fonder. I heard absence can do that too. Maybe being reunited after spending all that time on the island will help Ange get along better with the annoying girl she bitched out for no reason, the broads that banded together to mutually despise her, and the Yukarin psycho who tried to kill her.

Dated 11 July 2013: Spring 2013 wrapup

Shiny Chariot
Shiny Chariot's Magical Festa is a tough act to follow.

Overall, the spring 2013 season was a little bit of a letdown considering it started fairly strong. (I can sort of prove it too.) From a subjective standpoint, it probably felt worse because the start of the season coincided with the release of Little Witch Academia and Death Billiards which are both excellent short films, although not part of the spring 2013 anime season itself. As you can probably predict, both the best show and the worst show I watched were pretty consistent episode to episode.

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Dated 12 April 2005: Kannaduki no Miko (Kannazuki no Miko)

Kannaduki no Miko (also romanized Kannazuki no Miko) is a pretty good 12-episode series, although it does take six or seven episodes to really get going. I would have given up on the show except it featured Ayako Kawasumi doing a serious, evil-sounding voice (which is always top notch), and I already saw spoilers about the later episodes which gave me hope that the show was going to get interesting later.

Kannaduki no Miko opening
Opening credits. Yup, it's a shrine, all right. On the frickin' MOON.

Kannaduki no Miko is about a love triangle with a lesbian slant. Souma (male) and Chikane (female) both love Himeko (female). The problem is Chikane and Himeko are the Moon Priestess and Solar Priestess, respectively, and Souma is one of the Orochi—one of the so-called "Eight Necks"—and is supposed to be trying to kill them instead of trying to screw one of them. Since Souma is in love with Himeko, he spends most of his time protecting Chikane and Himeko from the other seven Orochi. Protecting them with his GIANT ROBOT. Oh, I forgot to mention that part, didn't I?

Himeko and Chikane
Himeko and Chikane

Most of the time Souma, Chikane, and Himeko are high school students at an upscale academy. Souma is the "prince" of the school. He is handsome and athletic and popular and everyone assumes he's dating Chikane, the beautiful well-bred girl and undisputed queen of the campus—the girl everyone loves. Himeko, on the other hand, is just some blah, worthless, nothing of a girl.

Souma and Himeko
Souma and Himeko on a date

It's not at all clear at the beginning why Chikane is in love with Himeko. Like I said, she's kinda worthless. Pretty much the only thing she has going for her is her genuine, unassuming, sincere nature. Everyone else we see in the school appears to be catty and coniving and mean. But c'mon, it's a big school. There has to be someone else decent on campus.

But Himeko is the Solar Priestess, while Chikane is the Moon Priestess. Chikane has to love her, because it's destiny and all that. It took me about eight episodes to fully accept this, though.

Oh, I was going to talk about the GIANT ROBOTS. Yes, apparently the world is in peril, and the Solar Priestess and the Moon Priestess have to save it by chanting. The Orochi try to kill them using giant, monstrous robots. Normally, this would be pretty easy to do, but Souma is in love with Himeko, turns traitor, and keeps the other seven Necks at bay. Let's ignore for now that Himeko is kinda worthless. Souma is in love with her, and that's that. Souma is also fortunate in that the Orochi are mostly content to go after our story's two helpless priestesses one at a time. They're pretty half-assed about it too, which is good for Souma, and good for Himeko, and good for Chikane, too, even though it royally pisses her off that she gets her ass bailed out of trouble by Souma all the time.

It's kinda hard to describe the other seven Necks. They form a rather absurd ensemble of caricatures including a manga artist, a pop idol, and a kid who alternates between acting like a cat and pursuing her obsession with administering medication. Most of the time they stand around bitching at each other until one of them goes and tries to kill Himeko and Chikane.

Corona
Corona the pop idol villain demonstrating a defining idol pose.

If Kannaduki no Miko sounds kinda mediocre right now, that's because it is—during the first half of the series. The second half of the series is pretty awesome, and is somewhat twisted.

The turning point of the series involves a substantial spoiler, so just stop reading if you're already at all interested in watching Kannaduki no Miko. Personally, I wouldn't have watched it all the way through if I didn't know all the spoilers already, but once I got past episode six or so, it got pretty captivating.

Being stuck in the losing corner of the love triangle, and constantly being rescued by the odious Souma, whom she loathes, and constantly being unable to protect her dear Himeko herself, Chikane snaps.

Yeah, Chikane kinda turns evil. Not SUPER evil, just kinda evil, and she already seemed kinda evil to begin with. And then she starts kicking ass wholesale.

Chikane
Chikane stops fooling around. You're all screwed. So, so screwed.

I should probably mention the sexual assaults at some point. I'm too lazy to craft an adequate segue, so I'm just going to come right out and say that there are a few sexual assaults depicted in Kannaduki no Miko. They come in the "I'LL RAPE YOU UNTIL YOU LOVE ME" variety, the "Hey, do you wanna get ahead in this business or what?" variety, the "Shut up, I need this" variety, and also the "Oh, lighten up already, you know you could use a good fuck" variety.

I guess it all sounds kinda twisted, but that's mostly what makes Kannaduki no Miko so good once you get past the boring first half. Ayako's evil voice is always welcome, and everyone pretty much gets what's coming to them, so the payoff is good.

Kannaduki no Miko ending
From the closing credits of Kannaduki no Miko

Plus it has KOTOKO singing the OP and ED. The ED, "Agony," is a particularly good way to end most of the episodes. It captures the thematic nuances of the show well.