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Dated 19 November 2019: It's probably a little hypocritical for me to be so stoked about Aikatsu! On Parade

Raki
Idol activities are no joke.

One of my pet peeves is people who insist on watching sequels without catching up on previous seasons first, just so they can feel like they're part of a current wave of hype. I'm expecting to see examples of this in January when the second season of that Quintuplets show starts (5-Toubun no Hanayome 2). Likewise, Magia Record: Mahou Shoujo Madoka☆Magica Gaiden may generate enough attention that newer fans who haven't seen the original anime (from nine years ago already!) and/or its movies might want to jump straight in without catching up first. Naturally, I'll discourage that practice. However, at the same time, I'm enjoying Aikatsu! On Parade even though there are literally hundreds of older Aikatsu! episodes that I haven't seen, to include the entirety of Aikatsu! Stars and Aikatsu! Friends.

Sumire, Akari, and Hinaki
As nightmares go, this don't seem so bad.

However, I am a sucker for crossovers, so the prospect of seeing Ichigo, Aoi, Ran, Akari, et al. return is a gimmick I can't ignore. Unfortunately, it does mean that the Aikatsu! On Parade episodes that feature idols from Stars or Friends go underappreciated, since I'm entirely unfamiliar with their characters. I do find this validates my stance against skipping ahead to watch sequels without being caught up, despite the hypocrisy of disregarding the principle when it suits me. And I guess to be fair, I absolutely do not expect anyone interested in watching Toaru Kagaku no Railgun T next season to watch all the Index and Accelerator seasons first too. Additionally, I also don't know if the upcoming Madoka anime even shares continuity with the original. Being caught up is potentially not really necessary there either. Just don't try and tell yourself it's okay to watch Heya Camp△ without watching Yuru Camp△ first, fuckers.

Dated 12 November 2019: Assassin's Pride sort of disappoints me, but I mean that as a compliment

Elise and Melida
Melida is still not as yellow as Alice Synthesis XXX

I had low expectations for Assassin's Pride because of its synopsis: "Kufa is a noble born to a duke's family who is sent to tutor a young woman named Merida. If it turns out that Merida has no talent with mana, Kufa is secretly instructed to assassinate her." It also looked to be super-chuuni, but I gave it a chance anyway, though, because sometimes I'm just in the mood for super-chuuni bullshit. It turns out the first episode at least had visually neat aspects suggesting the people making the anime were not just phoning it in despite the show's light novel origins.

Kufa and Melida
Assassin's Pride sure likes its angles.

Since I'm not familiar with the source material, I wasn't actually expecting Assassin's Pride to be a magic-battle high school show of the sort we used to see all the damn time before the current wall-to-wall isekai trend. I legitimately assumed this was going to be some high-chuuni "I must protect her" nonsense with the lead characters constantly on the run or something, perhaps a la Innocent Venus. On the plus side, the various battle tournaments shown thus far have advanced quickly. Still, I hope there's going to be more to the story than this, even though the show is surely destined for a non-ending ending after a single cours. Ordinarily, I would have just stopped watching a show like this, but the start showed enough of a spark that I'm optimistically hopeful there will be more of that sort of thing, thereby making its remaining episodes worth watching.

Dated 5 November 2019: Rifle Is Beautiful doesn't actually feature any rifles

Yukio, Erika, Izumi, and Hikari
I'm disappointed none of them shoot left-handed.

I'm being pedantic by arguing that rifles, by definition, have rifled barrels. The guns in Rifle Is Beautiful (officially known as Chidori RSC or Chidori High School Shooting Club, depending on who you ask) are light-based, don't shoot any sort of projectiles, and accordingly do not have rifled barrels. (I mean, I guess they technically could, but it would be pointless to add rifling to the barrel of a light-based gun except to shut up nitpicking anime bloggers.) As far as the show itself goes, this is yet another anime where high school girls get really into a thing. In the best-case scenario, you end up with something phenomenal like GIRLS und PANZER or Yuru Camp△. Below that, Bakuon!! and Sabagebu! set really high standards as well. Honestly, these sorts of shows should count themselves lucky just hitting the C3-bu, Minami Kamakura Koukou Joshi Jitensha-bu, or Two Car tiers.

Tsubasa and Mikaze
Tsubasa kicks Mikaze's ass.
P.S. Spoilers.

As far as Rifle Is Beautiful goes, the show is basically fine. Through the first four episodes, I don't find any of the characters particularly memorable, but I am impressed by the show's attention to detail. I'm reasonably familiar with guns, but I'm entirely ignorant about the sport featured in this anime. It seems to be real, though. Notably, the sport itself in Rifle Is Beautiful sounds much more difficult than how it's been depicted thus far. If you've done much shooting from a standing position, you'll appreciate that it can get rather fatiguing fairly quickly. Even assuming these light-beam rifles are significantly lighter than, say, an FAL, maintaining precise hits on a tiny target with a 1mm bull's-eye 10 meters away for the duration of a 45-minute match is no joke. Incidentally, Rifle Is Beautiful is also noteworthy in being one of the few shows I can name off the top of my head featuring a marksmanship competition of any sort involving guns. There was one in Stratos 4, many years ago, with characters using Howa Type 64 battle rifles, but Stratos 4 is also basically a perfect anime.

Dated 29 October 2019: Honzuki no Gekokujō - Shisho ni Naru Tame niwa Shudan o Erandeiramasen is okay, but mostly just okay

Tuli, Main, and Eva
Nakajima Megumi and Orikasa Fumiko are both in this, incidentally, for those of you who care about that sort of thing.

I am more tired of isekai anime with male protagonists than I am of isekai just in general, so I'm willing to give Honzuki no Gekokujō - Shisho ni Naru Tame niwa Shudan o Erandeiramasen (Ascendance of a Bookworm) more chances to prove itself than I normally would. Although I liked the fourth episode quite a bit, I'm not especially impressed with the show as a whole so far. Even with regard to the fourth episode I enjoyed it mostly because Main's efforts—which were doomed from the very start—went to waste. It seems the usual tendency in these isekai jobbies is for the resurrected protagonists to use their superior knowledge to smugly dominate the simple folk around them, so it's nice to see things go tits up once in a while despite their best efforts.

Tuli, Main, and Lutz
This plan should have been a non-starter. It's difficult enough trying to cram a manga collection on an Ikea shelf.

I get the feeling that after these initial setbacks, Main is going to start smugly lording her knowledge of modern technology and techniques over these townsfolk more aggressively now that she's not constantly on the verge of dying. I don't know where any of this is going, since Honzuki no Gekokujō - Shisho ni Naru Tame niwa Shudan o Erandeiramasen so far seems to be genuinely about a woman's attempts to introduce books (and literacy) to this backwater where she was resurrected. Well, I say resurrected, but it's more like she hijacked this poor kid's life. Seeing as how introducing books and literacy to her new world could take more than a single lifetime to accomplish, maybe Main will still succumb to Key AIDS and this Japanese lady's spirit will move on to hijack the lives other other little girls, one after another. Not that I think Ascendance of a Bookworm will actually be some manner of bibliophile metempsychosis horror show, but I think that ought to at least be on the table.

Dated 22 October 2019: I am legit stoked about Sword Art Online: Alicization - War of Underworld

Alice
The most powerful swords are the ones without blades.

I am counting on reports from the Twitter that the War of Underworld arc of Sword Art Online: Alicization will be mostly Kirito-free for all of the next cours and a third of the final one. Based on how the AIDS "Mother's Rosario" arc and the Gun Gale Online spin-off panned out, I'm expecting to enjoy this quite a bit. For one thing, I already view Alice Synthesis Thirty pretty favorably, even though it's mostly because she sounds like an old sourpuss instead of a teenage girl when she talks, and because I think her armor's yellow and blue color scheme works really well—never mind that I sort of dislike UCLA.

Alice
I wanted to see unattended Coma Kirito fall off Alice's dragon.

After a perfunctory recap episode and two proper episodes of Sword Art Online: Alicization - War of Underworld, the anime seems to be off to a good start. True to SAO form, there sure are a lot of sneering assholes among the various unimportant characters. I'm okay with it, because Lalatina is entirely too resilient for any of these scrubs to fuck with, and I don't really care if random schmucks are dicks to Kirito for no reason. Honestly, I don't even know what War on Underpants War of Underworld is even about (so far it is about playing a Goblin Slayer simulator on easy mode), but it sort of doesn't matter as long as it's at least indirectly about Alice being very yellow. She sure ditched that eye patch rather fast, though.

Dated 15 October 2019: I'm pretending to watch Fate/Grand Order: Zettai Majuu Sensen Babylonia for reasons other than Ishtar

Ishtar, Mash, Fou, and Ritsuka
Potato-kun, are you wearing capri pants on this expedition?

The actual story and lore associated with Fate/Grand Order is incomprehensible to me because everything I know about it comes from secondary or tertiary sources such as people on the Twitter talking about the game, or from its fan art, or from people on the Twitter talking about the game's fan art. And while I have a semi-coherent understanding of the original Fate/stay night game, the currently airing Fate/Grand Order: Zettai Majuu Sensen Babylonia (Fate/Grand Order: Absolute Demonic Front Babylonia) anime is so removed from those origins that what I do know doesn't help at all. Compounding the problem, the anime seems to be adapting the seventh major arc of the FGO game, so there's an implied understanding that viewers should be familiar with the equivalent of six previous seasons. After the prologue and two proper episodes (plus the Fate/Grand Order -First Order- OVA), I'm still sort of lost.

Ishtar
I can't rule out the possibility Marisa stole Ishtar's shit.

Thankfully, it seems recognizing references or knowing all the lore is not strictly necessary to enjoying the Fate/Grand Order: Zettai Majuu Sensen Babylonia anime. For one thing, it looks fantastic, and is probably the first solid example of a show where I can clearly identify 3DCG elements without having any of it bother me at all. (Okay, the lions bother me a little bit.) For example, flowing water actually looks as if it belongs in the same world. Additionally, the action scenes are entertaining, albeit rather busy. There is a lot of shit going on and a lot of cuts that seem designed to impress via fancy animation. Well, they are fancy, and I am impressed, but I think I'd prefer a less frantic style. Really, though, these are minor complaints on my part at best (even the stuff about the incomprehensible lore). As a matter of general principle, I'll almost certainly continue to watch Fate/Grand Order: Absolute Demonic Front Babylonia for as long as it runs, providing it periodically features Ishtar doing Ishtar-type things.

Dated 17 September 2019: Senki Zesshou Symphogear is an anime miracle

Maria
I like this power-up, but I admit I was hoping for another Gungnir jacking.

I'm going to start out by insisting it's not just preschool girls who enjoy shows about mahou shoujo punching things. It's okay for boys to like them too. I've been on board with this concept since at least 2004 with My-HiME, First Pretty Cure, and their subsequent sequels. In 2012, Senki Zesshou Symphogear took this idea, expanded it to include singing while punching things, and raised both the intensity and absurdity levels. From my seat in the stands, this was an anime game-breaking home run. Amazingly, the popularity of Symphogear has proven sufficient enough that we gotten five seasons of it, all five of which are currently streaming on the Crunchyroll. Moreover, Discotek has even licensed it for a U.S. Blu-ray release next year.

Hibiki and Chris
Somehow, despite all the shit they've seen, it's still
possible for them to stare at something in disbelief.

Urgings on the Twitter for followers to "watch Symphogear" has turned into a meme of sorts, but I assure you the sentiment behind these admonitions is genuine. Granted, the appeal of magikal girls singing while punching things isn't always immediately apparent to every anime fan, but there's an old graph that accurately captures the trajectory of impressions by initially skeptical viewers. It's not easy ramping up the stakes continuously, but Symphogear has kept its intensity up through all five seasons. Now on the verge of its series finale, expectations are pretty high, but Symphogear has never let me down before.

Dated 3 September 2019: Sounan desu ka? is Dr. STONE without Dr. Stone

Homare and Mutsu
Don't let rabbit shit go to waste.

Sounan desu ka? (English title, Are You Lost?) has turned out to be reliably amusing thanks almost entirely to Homare, without whom the rest of the girls would be as fucked on that island as they would be on the moon. For perfectly valid anime reasons, Homare spent a considerable part of her childhood getting stranded over and over with her hyper-competent survivalist father. This provided her with the knowledge and experience to keep herself and the other girls who are stranded with her on a deserted island alive through an otherwise harrowing situation. Every other girl with her is basically dead weight, but Homare has managed to provide substinance and shelter with relative ease, so she's already advanced from survival basics to quality-of-life considerations.

Homare
Look at how happy she is to have metal.

In this respect, there are some similarities with Dr. STONE in that both shows are about pursuing makeshift improvements in a primitive environment, and applying science and cunning against the various threats posed by nature. Dr. STONE is significantly more ambitious in this regard as it also involves threats posed by man, whereas Sounan desu ka? takes a more matter-of-fact approach toward its concerns, many of which are inspired by whining teenage girls. Lucky for them, Homare is a treasure, and incredibly patient and accommodating. It is abundantly clear to me that she would be perfectly happy being stranded apparently indefinitely. Really, if you are going to be lost in the middle of nowhere, being lost with Homare is basically your best-case scenario.