Version 5.4 ~ Haruhi gave rock and roll to you.
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Dated 20 February 2024: I've got 99 Levels but a Maou ain't one

Level 99 art by nyoro
https://www.pixiv.net/en/artworks/115972798
by nyoro

< garamir> In that scene, she's blowing a monster-summoning horn to help her classmates level up. Nobody appreciates her help in this matter.
< garamir> Since she's a gamer, she power leveled her whole life and is now level 99. So her training method of "don't use safety equipment, grind dungeons solo, just heal your arm if it gets chopped off and don't be a baby about it" is not common.

I started watching Akuyaku Reijou Level 99: Watashi wa Ura-Boss desu ga Maou dewa Arimasen (Villainess Level 99: I May Be the Hidden Boss but I'm Not the Demon Lord) because of the above fan art and subsequent explanation to my inquiry about it. Also, because I remembered the show stars a character named Dolkness, which is simply an incredible anime name. Okay, maybe as far as outrageous anime names go, perhaps Dolkness is not on par with something top-tier such as Chateau Dankworth, but it's still amazing. More importantly, Dolkness is attached to a show that I enjoy watching—something that can't be said of Chateau Dankworth's Koroshi Ai (Love of Kill).

Alicia
The hero is late because she helped a stranger. Never help strangers.

I, for one, can't get enough of her Dolknessness. If I have any complaints at all, it's that Yumiella's internal voice doesn't sound like Power from Chainsaw Man. There's no reason why it should, but I'm amused that the possibility exists since she's voiced by Fairouz Ai. It's too bad that it would not match her character's personality. Most of the time, Yumiella is fairly laid back and generally doesn't get particularly excited. Her monotone way of speaking and her dead eyes are by no means unique traits, but I'm at least not tired of this gimmick yet.

Yumiella
Thigh gap.

I guess this means the various villainess-themed stories remain the last variant of isekai nonsense for which I still have any sort of appetite. I can't claim I like villainess-type isekai anime, but I do seem to end up watching a lot of them. This is not to say Akuyaku Reijou Level 99 is an underappreciated gem that I discovered late this season. (Cf. BanG Dream! It's MyGO!!!!! from Summer 2023.) Dolknessness ~The Animation~ is all right, but it's probably not going to surprise anyone who's already developed some sort of sense as to what it's going to be like.

Dated 30 January 2024: The elf is most delicious in Dungeon Meshi

Senshi and Marcille
Hard work is going to make you hungrier.

I've been hearing for some time from adjacent Internet sources how entertaining the Dungeon Meshi (Delicious in Dungeon) manga is, so learning Studio Trigger would be animating the anime meant I was guaranteed to give it a try, even if I had to watch it on the Netflix. (I also continue to pay for the Netflix even though it irritates the shit out of me. Don't get me started. But I digress.) Through four episodes, it's nice—the animation in particular—but it's not really the sort of show I'd normally be watching.

Marcille
Marcille looks like that because she's eating spicy food, not because she's sexually aroused.

I suppose I have at least some interest in a few cooking-related anime and manga, but it's clearly not one of the sub-genres that I'm passionate about, considering my muted reactions to fan favorites such as Shokugeki no Soma (Food Wars!) and Yakitate!! Japan. Consequently, I'm really only watching the Dungeon Meshi anime because I enjoy Studio Trigger and because Marcille's reactions amuse me. I can't help but notice she gets worked up a lot more over things than Frieren, but maybe Marcille is only a little baby elf compared to Frieren.

Dated 23 January 2024: Chained Solider is what we're calling it to avoid having Slave in the title

Kyouka and Yuuki
It's not a date.

Mato Seihei no Slave (localized as Chained Soldier instead of as Slave of the Magic Capital's Elite Troops) is a new anime based on the manga by the same author who wrote Akame ga Kill!. Consequently, you might expect it to be edgy nonsense (I mean that in a good way, okay), but it's more of a gratuitous fan service romp. I suppose I could characterize the manga as a guilty pleasure except I don't feel guilty about enjoying it. It's great, actually.

Himari and Yuuki
You're in the sort of anime where this happens, Himari. Deal with it.

Through three episodes, the anime isn't quite as good, mostly because (I suspect) this is the sort of thing that works better as manga than as anime. For one thing, there's something not right about seeing it in color—or at least in these colors. There is, also, the fan service, which does honestly come across differently animated than in manga form. Still, I'm generally in favor of gratuitous content, even if a show is forced to prepare a censored version for the delicate to go along with the uncensored version for general audiences.

Kyouka and Yuuki
See, just like Fullmetal Alchemist.

Oh, am I going to need to describe the premise? Fiiine. Chained Soldier is about women (well, teenage girls, mostly) with superpowers defending the world (well, Japan, mostly) against inhuman monsters. The leader of one of these groups has the ability to enslave these beasts, but it turns out her power works on humans, too (well, on one male human in particular, anyway). Naturally, payment is required in exchange for using this power. In principle, it's like Darker than Black (where a price is paid for using one's powers) or, uh, Fullmetal Alchemist (where, uh, you know, equivalent exchange). Same thing, honestly, except lewd.

Dated 16 January 2024: 10 years of Tales of Wedding Rings

Satou and Hime
This anime bed is made of concrete.

I've been reading Kekkon Yubiwa Monogatari (Tales of Wedding Rings) since it first came out a decade ago. It's honestly not an especially compelling story, but I got in at the ground floor because I like Maybe, the manga duo who also gave us Katsute Kami Datta Kemono-tachi e (To the Abandoned Sacred Beasts) and Tasogare Otome x Amnesia (Dusk Maiden of Amnesia). Wedding Rings is a fairly straightforward Hero v. Evil Menace fantasy story. It's also one of those deals where the hero's strength is bolstered by the power of polygamy. There are plenty of stories where magic abilities correspond with boner status (e.g., Dakara Boku wa, Ecchi ga Dekinai and Dokyuu Hentai HxEros, among others), but that's not quite what's going on here.

Saphir, Nephrites, Hime, Granart, and Amber
There sure has been a a lot of polygamy anime lately.

Still, the whole going-on-wife-collection-adventures thing sets the tone for what you can expect. I don't think the anime will attempt to cover the entire manga in a single cours, but I also have my doubts about the likelihood of this getting multiple seasons. Through two episodes, it's mostly just fine, although I'm less enthusiastic about it since most of what I liked about the manga is how it looks. In comparison, the Tales of Wedding Rings anime simply looks like, well, just another anime. I'm sticking with it, but I can see how anyone coming to the series with a blank slate may be somewhat unimpressed.

Dated 9 January 2024: Sasaki and Peeps feels like a prank

Pii-chan
I don't know what sort of voice I expected instead, but it wasn't that.

I started watching Sasaki to Pii-chan (Sasaki and Peeps) despite knowing basically nothing about it. Well, I knew Yuuki Aoi voiced a talking bird, and that was reason enough for me. And I guess I also knew someone convinced Frog-kun that it got better later. It turns out it's about a salaryman who is not at all phased that his newly acquired pet bird is a wizard from a different world. Oh, and magic also works in Japan. I guess there's no reason why it wouldn't.

Sasaki and Pii-chan
You may remember me from such anime as 80,000 Gold, Etc.

Anyway, it feels as if I'm being pranked largely because of how the two leads are voiced. I'm at the point where I can't hear Tomokazu Sugita voice any character without, well, without it sounding as if it's just Tomokazu Sugita voicing a character. Additionally, Yuuki Aoi has given the bird an unexpectedly deep voice. You know how the cat in Machikado Mazoku (The Demon Girl Next Door) has a deep voice that's played for laughs? It's a similar effect, except played straight. The first episode is double-length, which is enough time to bring in the psychics who are part Japan's secret psychic government agency, and, it's like...are you putting me on?

Otonari and Sasaki
How long have you been sitting there?

Anyway, I'm going to keep watching, and hope its focus on arbitrage diminishes a bit. I also don't want it to devolve into magic v. psychics battling. Okay, but then what do I want from Sasaki and Peeps? I suppose I want talking-bird adventures. And I suppose I'm also curious to find out how out-of-place the subplots involving the neighbor feel. I've seen people claim on the social-type media that she was an editorial addition glomming onto some sort of wayward teen girl trend, possibly inspired by HigeHiro. I see the source material (a light novel) is still ongoing, so I'm not expecting much from this anime. Maybe being elaborately pranked by it wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing.

Dated 5 December 2023: I'm not as interested in The Ancient Magus’ Bride as I used to be

Morrigan and Chise
On the plus side, Ayako Doctrine invoked.

I've been buying the Mahoutsukai no Yome (The Ancient Magus’ Bride) manga for more than eight years. When I started, I didn't really think about how long I'd be reading it, let along buying it, but I do have volume 19 pre-ordered. I still enjoy it, but it's no surprise the story has evolved over that time. And when I say it has evolved, I mean it gained a magic school arc. This is also the focus of Mahoutsukai no Yome SEASON 2 Part 2, currently airing now. Seeing as how Chise is still a teenager, it does make sense to end her prolonged truancy. It's also providing more opportunities for her to interact with humans her age.

Philomela and Chise
How you feel about Philomela will influence how you feel about the magic school arc.

Unfortunately, I—as the reader and viewer observing Chise's life of sorcery and mystical weirdness—don't care so much about the other humans her age. I mean, they're fine. A lot of them have had shitty lives, and some of them have exasperating hangups, as one might expect of humans in general and human teenagers in particular, but I don't find the sources of these tensions quite as engaging as one might expect. So yeah, I'm still watching the anime, and I'm still buying the manga, and I'm even still enjoying them both, but I do sometimes wish I could see what Silky has been up to instead.

Dated 28 November 2023: I stopped watching seven shows during the Autumn 2023 anime season

Komari
Everyone loves this shark.

It's probably misleading to say I dropped seven shows this season, since I wasn't expecting to finish any of these when I started them. (There's a lot of other anime this season that I find much more compelling.) Anyway, I dropped two shows after a single episode: Hikikomari Kyuuketsuki no Monmon (The Vexations of a Shut-In Vampire Princess) and Kimi no Koto ga Dai Dai Dai Dai Daisuki na 100-nin no Kanojo (The 100 Girlfriends Who Really, Really, Really, Really, Really Love You). I understand Hikikomari has it's fans, but it really wasn't for me. Hyakkano, I've addressed already.

Pepesha
SHY has a Mamikore alcoholic.

I watched two episodes of Saihate no Paladin: Tetsusabi no Yama no Ou (The Faraway Paladin: The Lord of Rust Mountain) and three episodes of SHY and Tearmoon Teikoku Monogatari: Dantoudai kara Hajimaru, Hime no Tensei Gyakuten Story (Tearmoon Empire). I didn't find anything objectionable about these three shows. I probably would have watched them during a duller season, or if I had more free time right now. I suppose it's worth noting Saihate no Paladin is the second cours of something I watched two years ago, but I did lose interest towards the end back then.

Keiya and Isaku
This is some beach episode.

Somehow, I watched five episodes of Ojou to Banken-kun (A Girl and Her Guard Dog) which is a very shoujo age-gap romance notable only because the would-be couple starts the series already into each other. I guess it's also notable for having a lot of plot contrivances, and for having a Kitou Akari lead who sounds extremely Kitou Akari, if that's important to you. I also watched six episodes of Boukensha ni Naritai to Miyako ni Deteitta Musume ga S Rank ni Natteta (My Daughter Left the Nest and Returned an S-Rank Adventurer), which is sort of a lot of episodes for a show that I never found especially interesting. Mostly, I was motivated to continue watching because the source material has ended, so I was at least not concerned about getting a non-ending ending. Hayami Saori voices the lead, so S-Rank Mususme has that going for it if you're a Hayamin fan.

Dated 21 November 2023: The science in Dr. STONE is indistinguishable from magic

Magma
Probably the last person who should have a gun.

When the series began, the science-based exploits described in Dr. STONE seemed somewhat plausible, at least for a show where everyone on the planet was petrified by a mysterious force and our protagonist measured the passage of time by counting in his head for thousands of years. Now in its third season (specifically, the second part of its third season), basically everything requires a similar sort of acceptance. It's not that the scientific principles are unsound, it's more that the viewer is required to ignore the engineering demands necessary to realize these designs, and the amount of time it should take to get stuff built.

Gen
Now would be a good time to break out some of that Jedi Mind Shit, Gen.

It's fine, though. Heroic achievements and overcoming incredible odds are very much a part of Dr. STONE, so I'm not bothered that everything gets constructed on time and works perfectly as intended, just as the superhuman physical feats that characters casually perform don't bother me.

Yuzuriha
We're never going to find out how the thing on her head survived thousands of years.

I don't actually know how much of the series remains. I think there are only five episodes left in the season, but I don't know if that means there are only five episodes left overall. In any case, the anime is still entertaining, and knowing that there will be an actual ending goes a long way towards reassuring viewers that the time invested in a lengthy series is worthwhile.