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Dated 21 May 2024: Jii-san Baa-san Wakagaeru is about grandpa and grandma turning young again

Ine and Shouzou
Don't give him too much sake.

Surprising no one, Jii-san Baa-san Wakagaeru (Grandpa and Grandma Turn Young Again) is exactly what its premise made it out to be. I suppose there's a slight twist in that they're able to shift back and forth between their normal elderly forms and their younger selves (albeit still with gray hair) without much difficulty. Through seven episodes, it's a nice enough show about a couple in their 80s experiencing life in the modern era as young adults instead. There are frequent reminders that the elderly are fundamentally the same people on the inside as they were when they were young. The series communicates this by highlighting past influences from a bygone era that shaped "Grandpa" and "Grandma" into who they are. They may be young again, but their experiences and the environment in which they grew up is more responsible for defining them than whatever their physical ages may be.

Ine and Shouzou
Only one way to find out.

There's no shortage of anime characters who are actually old but appear young. I'm including characters in comedies who look inexplicably youthful for no logical reason and those with extraordinary long lives due to magic or other supernatural forces. Compared to them, Jii-san Baa-san Wakagaeru is much more successful at making me believe Shouzou and Ine are actually elderly. All too often, finding out Ms. Teenage Girl in some anime is supposed to 300 years old has no impact. "Sure, if you say so." Does this mean Grandpa and Grandma Turn Young Again is a good show? Eh, it's better than I was expecting at least. It doesn't seem to be especially popular, but maybe everyone is afraid it's going to explore if octogenarians can get pregnant.

Dated 7 May 2024: I like Unnamed Memory even though it feels rushed

Tinasha
You can tell "teenage" Tinasha has work to do because she's wearing gloves..

Unnamed Memory is about a prince who can't get anyone pregnant without killing her. This is because of a curse, not because of any inherent baby-making quirks and features driving him. At least that's what the witch who cursed him said. I don't think he's actually tested it. Anyway, his proposed solution involves impregnating a powerful witch (a different witch) who can withstand his cursed precious bodily fluids instead of queuing up unsuspecting or risk-happy regular-type women and hoping for the best, or seeing if a baby can gestate in a box. (The witch can survive the curse because of her powerful magic, not because she's built up a tolerance to iocane sperm.) It's basically that Re:Zero comic asking if witches can get pregnant, if you think too much about it.

Tinasha and Oscar
Don't let the height-difference antis find out about this 'ship.

Tinasha, the witch in question, looks like a teenage girl when he initially propositions her, but this doesn't seem to factor into his request in any way. It's fine. She's old. Maybe not Frieren old, but old enough to mention Oscar Lyeth Increatos Loz Farsas (the prince dude) bears a resemblance to his great-grandfather when he was the same age. It doesn't matter, since Tinasha ages up to a more 20-something appearance shortly thereafter because of Reasons, and she's going to work on removing his curse the magic way anyway. Don't worry about it.

Lucrezia, Tinasha, and Oscar
I guess she's not that short.

I was expecting a dumber light-novel tone from this setup, but the show has been surprisingly all right so far. It does feel rushed, though, as if the anime adaptation may be blowing through the source material. Another possibility is maybe the books contain more insights into the characters' inner thoughts that aren't reflected in the show. In any case, I feel as if there hasn't been sufficient on-screen attention to developing the relationship between Tinasha and Oscar. Most of their scenes together involved verbal sparring, so it's not as if he's been trying to sweet talk her. Their testy exchanges don't quite work as romantic banter, and if you subscribe to the theory that the most effective way to court a woman is to be an asshole, he hasn't been doing that either.

Tinasha
I don't think "adult" Tinasha looks much different.

For now, I'm going to chalk it up to the limitations of the single-cours anime framework that plagues us, and appreciate that the show is still interesting despite its faults. There's also the looming possibility everything we've observed in the series thus far is false or manipulated. We know memories in this world can be untrustworthy (because of witches fucking with them), and there's no way to know this predicament doesn't extend to the main cast. There's also the matter of Tina's claim that she can't reverse time, which honestly only raises a lot of questions already answered by her claim that she can't reverse time.

Dated 30 April 2024: Yuru Camp△ seems to be more about the destination now than the journey

Nadeshiko
Keep your fingers away from the lens, Nadeshiko.

I know there were some changes on the production side before the start of Yuru Camp△ SEASON 3 (Laid-Back Camp Season 3), but I don't know if they're responsible for the different vibes I'm getting compared to the previous seasons. Part of this is the revised character designs. While I don't find them objectionable, if I compare them against the first-season character designs, I unquestionably prefer the previous ones more. It's particularly apparent during back-to-back viewings of episodes or clips from the earlier seasons.

Rin and Ayano
Rin looks more obviously different to me than Ayano does.

However, the real departure in Yuru Camp△ SEASON 3 compared to where the anime began is in the excruciatingly detailed, photorealistic backgrounds that appear in seemingly every scene now. I presume this is accomplished by taking actual photographs or video footage of locations and filtering them to fit in with the rest of the anime. I don't know this is what's actually happening, but I get the strong sense that the motivation driving this practice has to do with encouraging anime tourism, or at least attracting fans who recognize anime tourism is an activity they could theoretically enjoy.

Nadeshiko
You could stand RIGHT HERE!

Fans of the Yuru Camp△ anime most definitely geolocated where scenes occurred and made pilgrimages following the first two seasons. Perhaps the pursuit of emotional and spiritual satisfaction motivated these trips, or maybe it was to feed social-type media beasts. In any case, providing these fans comported themselves as good tourists instead of being nuisances to the locals, I can see why encouraging further visits of this sort might occur. That's what season three feels like now to me. As much as I enjoy the series, I can't shake the overwhelming feeling that I watching a vacation promo for each destination.

Dated 23 April 2024: I wasn't expect this much plot in Dungeon Meshi

Laios, Chilchuck, Marcille, and Senshi
This is my wall. It was made for me.

I watched nearly a full cours of dead-sister-recovery efforts before realizing Dungeon Meshi (Delicious in Dungeon) wasn't merely going to be about eating monsters. There's actually a plot, and it involves more than recovering dead sisters. I dunno, I guess I didn't really think about it and sort of assumed the source manga ran for 14 volumes concentrating nearly entirely on convincing a recalcitrant triangular elf to sample variations on the fantasy campaign equivalent of redneck dwarven roadkill cuisine.

Laios and Toshiro
I know you're important because you were in the opening credits.

As it turns out, in addition to getting a dead sister out of dragon storage, there are also plot lines about the dungeon's mastermind, the controversial use of forbidden magic, and some yet-unrevealed questions related to new characters. I'm not sure what to think about the influx of new characters, actually. After 16 episodes, I feel as if there's still a lot I don't know about the original core cast.

Chilchuck, Marcille, Senshi, and Laios
I also feel as if y'all should be more alert.

Is getting more plot a good thing? For me specifically, I suppose it is. I've never been a big fan of cooking shows, so I've only regarded the culinary focus of the series so far as being mildly interesting at best. I was mostly watching because I enjoy Studio Trigger and its signature stylistic flourishes. It's also accurate to recognize I enjoy Marcille too, even if she is triangular.

Dated 16 April 2024: The iDOLM@STER: Shiny Colors is only medium shiny so far

Kano
Kaho, does your shirt say LOVE MEAT?

Prior to April, basically everything I knew about The iDOLM@STER: Shiny Colors came from fan art. However, I've since watched two episodes of the TV anime, and I guess it's fine? It's 3DCG animation, but it's at least as good as it was in the Million Live! anime. In fact, it might even be better. Unfortunately, I don't find Shiny Colors as interesting, but that may be because I felt I sort of knew the Million Live! cast better. Would prior familiarity be helpful in a show that seems to be a straightforward idols-doing-their-best series? I'm not sure.

Yuika
Learning Yuika wears a monocle made her my favorite L'Antica.

I wouldn't say I'm burned out on idol anime, but the Shiny Colors setup does feel a little rote so far. Frankly, I don't need to see idols doing their best. Hiori accusing Mano of not doing her best will be more interesting to me if Mano really does slack off and drag others down, but we all know that's not happening. Best case scenario, Hiori resents Mano and Producer all season for being dropped on her and Meguru, because it's demonstrates a lack of confidence that the original duo was good enough.

Kiriko
Well, I might dislike Kiriko if it turns out her gimmick is being constantly injured.

The part I liked best from the first two episodes so far was the completed L'Antica music video. That was pretty good, but I didn't really need to watch them filming it and overcoming unexpected production challenges. Ultimately, what this probably means is the Shiny Colors anime wasn't made for me, and I would presumably enjoy the experience a lot more if I already liked the characters before starting the series. I don't dislike any of them, but I'd much rather be watching a second season of Million Live! if I had a choice.

Dated 9 April 2024: Ooi! Tonbo: Life is like golf

Tonbo and Kazuyoshi
Beware the golfer with one club.

Someone on the IRC opined, "Tonbo is...it's like a kid's anime? But not really?" I didn't know what he meant, but I sort of understand after watching the first episode. It's Tonbo herself. She comes across as much younger. She's in her final year of middle school, but I would have no trouble accepting her as a seven-year-old child instead. Perhaps that's deliberate, since that's about when she lost her parents. A synopsis I saw described it as a car accident, but didn't specify where. Was it on the island? That seems to be the sort of small community where everyone knows each other. If it happened on the island, and there was another car involved, surely she would still see the driver of that vehicle all the time.1 How awkward. (My guess is it was off the island, and she moved there when her grandfather became her guardian.)

Kazuyoshi and Tonbo
Your name is Igaiga now. Deal with it.

Anyway, Ooi! Tonbo does seem tonally odd. I'm probably overthinking it, and it'll turn out to be an actual kid's sports anime. It does have familiar clichés such as when the pro golfer guy narrates amazing techniques that he spotted in a split second. However, the source material apparently runs in a weekly golf magazine (presumably for adults), so maybe the tone actually is weird for what it is. Not that I'm expecting something darker. This is surely an anime about good times on rustic golf island as a former pro golfer fleeing his old life gets his act together again with the support of genuine small-town folks and through the power of unorthodox golf techniques. There are already 49 volumes of the manga, though, and it's still ongoing, so anything can happen.


Note 1: I suppose all of the other occupants in a multi-vehicle collision could have also died, but I feel as if accidents that violent require speeds I wouldn't expect on the island. Probably they died off the island, or in a single-vehicle accident, or the entire parental death thing is an unexplained bit of the backstory that I'm completely overthinking. [Update: The second episode confirms their deaths occurred off the island.]

Dated 2 April 2024: More about Spring 2024

Nadeshiko, Reimi, and Akira
Where we're going, we don't need roads.

Last week, I provided a quick rundown of what I expect to watch this season. This post augments that one by including additional titles that I plan to try, but won't necessarily watch all the way through. By the time I finally post this, the first episode of Shuumatsu Train Doko e Iku (Where Does the Doomsday Train Go? or Train to the End of the World) should be out. This is an original anime with Mizushima Tsutomu attached, so I'm more optimistic about it than the rest of the shows I'm considering. In many of those cases, I've only read potentially misleading descriptions and won't even have necessarily watched the corresponding trailers.

Mira
I don't know anything about you.

Astro Note is one of those anime I know nothing about. I believe the first episode has already leaked, but I remain wholly ignorant about its contents aside from learning it's an original anime. It's enough to warrant a try out of general principle.

Hoshino
Have I even seen any fan art of you? You don't look familiar at all.

Blue Archive I know only from fan art. Based on that, I'm confident the series will be about scantily clad schoolgirls making passes at their teacher while toting around firearms designed by people who know absolutely fuck all about guns. I did watch a trailer, and it mostly seems to feature only the shrimpy kids. Where are all the aerodynamic students?! Are the shrimpy girls the ones who are popular among those who actually play the game? Did fan art lead me astray?

Haruka
I assume this has nothing to do with Boukyaku no Senritsu.

Boukyaku Battery (Oblivion Battery) is a baseball anime with an amnesia gimmick. Curiously, it's the catcher who lost his memory, and not the pitcher. I could totally see how this story would work with a now-clueless pitcher taking cues from a knowledgeable catcher (you know, like in Bull Durham), but having a catcher who doesn't know what he's doing sounds like a bad time for a battery. I also noticed there's an ONA from 2020 with these characters except set after high school, while this new TV series is set at the beginning of high school. I'm not sure what the deal is, but I'm going to assume the ONA adapted material from later in the original manga, and it's not the TV series aging everyone down to make them more relatable to an adolescent audience.

As for the rest of the new Spring 2024 anime that I'm going to try out...

  • Jii-san Baa-san Wakagaeru (Grandpa and Grandma Turn Young Again). Everything I know about this comes from its title. I can't tell from the promo art if I'm looking at the couple while they're old, but they look oddly young, or if I'm seeing them when they're already young again, but they still look oddly old.
  • Unnamed Memory. @frog_kun raved about the source material years ago. My taste and hers often don't align, and she tends to be a lot more enthusiastic than I am about the same titles, but it's still enough of an endorsement to warrant a try.
  • Seiyū Radio no Ura Omote (The Two Sides of Voice Actor Radio). Hasegawa Ikumi is in it. I don't think she's voicing one of the leads, though.
  • Ooi! Tonbo is about golf. Eh. Golf.
  • NIJIYON ANIMATION 2. Yeah, I'm watching more because they're making more. It's a vicious cycle.

Dated 26 March 2024: I have too many shows teed up for Spring 2024

Nadeshiko
It's not a metaphor.

With less than a week left before the start of the Spring 2024 anime season, I currently have 19 shows that I'm willing to at least try. Moreover, I compiled this list weeks ago without closely scrutinizing what series will even be airing in April. There's a good chance I've overlooked multiple anime I'd also consider, and I may have missed series that were announced only recently. Based on past experiences, what's likely to happen is I'll end up dropping a lot of these, but that still leaves a significant number of shows to follow.

Kumiko
I didn't expect to like Hibike! Euphonium more now than when I started the series.

Some of these titles are a lock. For example, I'm guaranteed to follow Yuru Camp△ SEASON 3, Hibike! Euphonium 3, and Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! 3 (KONOSUBA -God's Blessing on This Wonderful World! 3), and Wonderful Precure! regardless of how they turn out. Likewise, I'll probably stick with Kimetsu no Yaiba: Hashira Geiko-hen (Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Hashira Training Arc) and The iDOLM@STER: Shiny Colors.

Mano
Everything know about Shiny idols, I learned from fan art.

Maou Gakuin no Futekigousha: Shijou Saikyou no Maou no Shiso, Tensei shite Shison-tachi no Gakkou e Kayou II Part 2 (The Misfit of Demon King Academy: History’s Strongest Demon King Reincarnates and Goes to School with His Descendants Season 2 Part 2) probably has enough momentum that I won't drop it outright, and I'm curious enough about the Spice and Wolf do-over (Ookami to Koushinryou: merchant meets the wise wolf) that I'll at least watch some of it, despite finding the first anime horribly overrated.1 Anyway, I support the assertion that good media do not need to be remade. Rather, it's the bad ones that would benefit from an opportunity at being unfucked. Since I have a generally negative opinion about the 2008 Spicy Wolf, then this remake should be right up my alley. I hope it's not bad a second time.

Lawrence and Holo
I've since learned Holo has "the form of a sweet 15-year-old girl" via @Kotobukiya_EN.

Besides these and a few more I didn't mention, the current lineup also includes eight new shows, at least two of which are anime-originals. There's even a baseball anime. This place could use more robots, though. Preferably giant ones, but I'm not going to be picky if the alternative is a robot-free-zone spanning three months, alas. It's probably hypocritical of me to say this, though, seeing as how I never got around to watching Brave Bang Bravern! during Winter 2024. I heard it's great. I suppose I could just watch that, but I can't resist New Season allure, and there's so much of it.


Note 1: I got to Spice and Wolf late, after its positive reputation was well established and generally uncontroversial. Well, I disliked nearly all of it for reasons too lengthy to include in this aside. I probably should have written a blog post detailing those reasons at some point instead of bitching about it on the IRC and on the Twitter (such as here, for example).