Version 5.4 ~ Haruhi gave rock and roll to you.
karmaburn.com karmaburn.com

Dated 17 January 2023: In/Spectre S2 is my favorite show this season

Masayuki and Yuki-Onna
All things considered, he's taking this well.

I liked the first season of In/Spectre enough to start buying the manga. 16 English-language volumes later, the second season has finally started. As far as the name of the series goes, Kyokou Suiri (Invented Inference) is what the author titled it back when there was only going to be one book (covering the "Steel Lady Nanase" story). After writing more, he lamented the original title isn't as apt as it was originally. (See the author's notes in volume nine of the manga.) Eh, it happens. "Karmaburn" doesn't really sound like the name of an anime blog, for that matter.

Yuki-Onna and Masayuki
He has gratitude and money, and she needs need cash to buy ice cream.

Anyway, Kyokou SuiriInvented InferenceIn/Spectre Season 2 is great, although I can see how it might be a mixed bag for anime-only viewers. It's not really paced for seasonal anime, and long monologues are not uncommon. I, for one, find the mysteries interesting, the stories clever, and the characters enjoyable. I don't know how long the author, Shirodaira Kyo (城平京), intends to continue writing this series, but I hope it's for a long time.

Dated 11 October 2022: Akulas is not Bakarina

Aileen
If you were really pulling on her arms, those gloves would slip off and she would escape.

First of all, I don't even know if anyone is actually referring to Akuyaku Reijou nano de Last Boss wo Kattemimashita (I'm the Villainess so I'm Taming the Final Boss) as Akulas. Hell, probably as many viewers thought of Otome Game no Hametsu Flag Shika Nai Akuyaku Reijō ni Tensei Shiteshimatta... (My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!) as either Hamehura or Hamefura as they did Bakarina. These light novel titles are an absolute nightmare.

Lilia
Lilia seems really boring and irrelevant, so I'm expecting some huge twist later.

ANYWAY, Akulas, like Bakarina, is an isekai about a girl who reincarnates as a villainess character from a video game that she's been playing. The series is about her efforts to avoid the unfortunate fate that she remembers her character ultimately suffering in the game. Then something-something "the friends we made along the way."

Claude
You can tell he's supposed to be the evil one because of the way he's dressed.

Consequently, comparisons between Akulas and Bakarina are natural, although the two series don't appear to have much else in common, at least not through the first three episodes of Akuyaku Reijou nano de Last Boss wo Kattemimashita. As far as differences go, the Akulas lead is trying to team up with the game world's end boss (who inadvertently kills her character in the game), whereas Bakarina herself concentrates primarily on reversing her inherited character's reputation for being a cunt.

Cedric
Way to fuck it up, you stupid asshole. Now you're left with nothing. Nothing!
Nothing except for your wealth, power, and the girl who you wanted to marry.

Notably, Aileen from I'm the Villainess so I'm Taming the Final Boss seems much more intelligent than Catarina from My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! who—bless her heart—is dumb as all Hell. As far as the shows themselves go, I watched two seasons of Bakarina, and still like it enough that I guess I would still watch more. Thanks to its early start, I'm already a quarter of the way through Akulas. It seems all right, but I'm not especially interested in it. I don't really have any complaints about the series; it's just not my thing. But maybe Lilia will stab someone in the neck later.

Dated 13 September 2022: I guess that's why Yofukashi no Uta is a noitaminA show

Nazuna
Not sure if gap moé.

I generally expect more from anime airing in the noitaminA block. It's not always a clear indicator of quality, as there have been a fair number of noitaminA shows that seemed "undeserving" of the designation, but they do seem to be better more often than not. In the case of Yofukashi no Uta (Call of the Night), I have read some of the manga because I enjoyed the author's previous work, Dagashi Kashi, but I can't claim to have been a huge fan.

Seri
What's a nice girl like you doing in an alley at night?

The Yofukashi no Uta anime adaptation, though, is really well done. The visuals, the music, and Tenchan's characterization of Nazuna are all top-notch. (Haruka DeTomaso Pantera also appears in the anime, and Sawashiro Miyuki is reportedly joining the cast as well.) There's honestly not much about the show's ostensible plot that I especially care about, but each episode continues to impress me with the execution. It's possible I merely failed to fully appreciate the manga, but Call of the Night might also deserve to be one of those examples where an anime adaptation improves upon its source material.

Dated 14 June 2022: I'm starting to think KoiSeka will not end with a double suicide

Fudo and Desumi
Red Gelato and Shinigami Oujo are slacking off.

The gimmick behind Koi wa Sekai Seifuku no Ato de (Love After World Domination) is that Red Gelato, the main protagonist from a squad of heroes (think Power Rangers or Super Sentai) and Reaper Princess, one of the leaders of the villainous side, are secretly in love. The show is mostly about their struggles with romance while hiding their affair from the public and their respective teammates.

Red Gelato and Shinigami Oujo
I don't fully understand Desumi's battle costume.

This is not the first "daily lives of heroes and villains" thing I've encountered. Both Dokkoida?! and Sunred come to mind, for example. However, this is the first anime with an overtly Romeo and Juliet-esque spin on the premise that I've seen, although surely similar parodies must exist already in some form. Unfortunately, I'm not expecting the actual romance in KoiSeka to go anywhere. I'm already 10 episodes into the show as of this blog entry, so I'm doubtful there will be anything more to this series than light comedy.

Hellko
I do like Desumi's cat.

However, Koi wa Sekai Seifuku no Ato de doesn't really need to be much more than light comedy to succeed. The gags are amusing enough, and it seems the anime is reasonably popular this season. Consequently, barring any unexpectedly brilliant developments or an unfortunate collapse of some sort, I'm going to go ahead and suggest Love After World Domination is "fine" with occasionally good moments, but is not particularly remarkable otherwise.

Dated 5 April 2022: The End of KiseKoi ~Air/My Purest Love for Cosplay~

Marin
Best Girl.

I'm pleased to report Sono Bisque Doll wa Koi wo Suru (My Dress-Up Darling) completed its first cours with a solid finish, capping off a remarkable run well ahead of whatever expectations I may have had prior to starting the series. I'm by no means alone in praising the show as the best from the Winter 2022 anime season, so I'm hopeful we'll see a second cours at some point.

Nowa and Marin
Things I know about Nowa: She has great hair, and is purportedly freakishly strong.

In addition to the factors I've mentioned in my previous posts, the small cast also worked in its favor. I was sure the childhood friend who bitched Wakana out years ago was going to appear at some point, and similarly expected at least one arc involving Marin's friends getting into her business. The fact that neither of these things came to pass is a credit to the storytelling in KiseKoi and the attention it gave to Marin's point of view as her romantic feelings grew.

Wakana and Marin
These are some fireworks.

My Dress-Up Darling consistently defied expectations in these small ways throughout the season, but their impact in the aggregate is considerable. I hope authors and directors of future works take note of this phenomenon. You'd expect a story should need entirely original, novel ideas to gain this benefit, but Sono Bisque Doll wa Koi wo Suru demonstrated simply not following familiar tropes to their specific expected destinations can be enough to transform scenes that would otherwise have been unremarkable.

Dated 8 March 2022: Sono Bisque Doll wa Koi wo Suru remains the best series of the Winter 2022 anime season

Wakana and Marin
They're not panties, so it's not embarrassing.

Through nine episodes, Sono Bisque Doll wa Koi wo Suru (My Dress-Up Darling, also KiseKoi for short) continues to outperform even the most optimistic expectations I initially had for it. Two factors are primarily responsible for how it has accomplished this. First, it is sincere about its subject matter. Second, the series subvert clichés, even though it's mostly doing it in only small ways.

Marin, Sajuna, and Wakana
Marin has good hair.

With regard to the first point, I can't claim to know anything about cosplay, but KiseKoi seems earnest about the subject. The anime's instructional segments also seem framed to be accessible, informative, and sort of encouraging to neophytes who may have an interest in getting into cosplay themselves.

Marin
There is fan service, but that's not what makes KiseKoi good..

Concerning the second point, I'm pleased with how My Dress-Up Darling presents common anime tropes. There are a lot of scenes with setups that are extremely familiar to anyone who has watched a lot of anime. However, they end up playing out differently from the norm. This is not to say KiseKoi is subverting these conventions, but it's remarkable how simply executing them in ways slightly differently than usual makes all the difference.

Marin
It's not easy being anime.

To some degree, the success Sono Bisque Doll wa Koi wo Suru achieves by simply doing things right is an indictment against all those other anime that end up being mostly mediocre because they seem to embrace shortcomings viewers regard as avoidable. Well, maybe My Dress-Up Darling is an example of how good an anime can be as a result of doing small things right. I should probably also mention the romance part of the series, since KiseKoi, you know, is a romantic comedy after all. However, I'm going to wait and see how it all progresses and just state, for now, that the anime is also handling this aspect well.

Dated 1 February 2022: I dropped the CHATEAU DANKWORTH anime after one episode

Song and Chateau
Is this a meet cute?

The only reason I gave Koroshi Ai (Love of Kill) a chance at all was because one of its leads is named Chateau Dankworth which, obviously, is an incredible name. Aside from that, though, it didn't seem to have a whole lot else going for it that sounded interesting to me. Still, there have been times when shows I am skeptical about surprise me, sometimes just from execution alone. Well, I can't be certain CHATEAU DANWORTH ~THE ANIMATION~ wasn't going to do that eventually, but it didn't inspire much confidence during its first episode, and I wasn't going to stick around any longer to find out for sure.

Chateau and Song
It's not a date.

I don't expect I have many readers left who might feel irked by my negative views on Koroshi Ai, so I'm not really motivated to provide details about what I didn't like about it or why I think it's a lousy anime. Besides, there was a lot. So maybe it will be more productive to identify some things that I did enjoy about Love of Kill: It has mid-episode eyecatches. Not all shows do anymore. Also, CHATEAU DANKWORTH seems like a sourpuss. At least she has that going for her.

Dated 7 December 2021: Neither Getsuyoubi no Tawawa 2 nor Ganbare Douki-chan need a blog entry, but they're getting one anyway

Maegami-chan
I know it's her (other) gimmick, but these are some fucked-up bangs.

Getsuyōbi no Tawawa 2 (Tawawa on Monday 2) is a follow-up to an Autumn 2016 adaption of Himura Kiseki's weekly illustrations that publish on the Twitter every Monday. There's continuity and regular characters whose lives intersect with otherwise unrelated story arcs. But really it's just an exercise in randy situation comedies involving enormous breasts. The anime episodes are short and faithfully follow the various stories, but it still looks weird to me without the blue-ink monochrome of the source material.

Douki-chan
Never gonna happen.

Ganbare Dōki-chan (You Can Do It Dōki-chan) is another anime short and was paired with the Tawawa sequel for its debut because the Douki-chan artist and the Getsuyōbi no Tawawa artist collaborate on occasion. Unlike the Tawawa illustrations, Douki-chan follows a single story arc. Its titular heroine is a lovesick office lady who lacks the confidence to express her feelings to the co-worker she admires. Complicating the effort are myriad assertive rivals who always seem to appear at inopportune moments. Both Getsuyōbi no Tawawa 2 and Ganbare Dōki-chan have already concluded their 12-episode runs because they started toward the end of the Summer 2021 anime season. As anime adaptations go, they were all right, but it's good their episodes were short. I don't think either would have worked with full-length episodes.