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Dated 13 June 2023: Dr. STONE is still good

Senku
Being confident helps.

No one who has been following the previous installments of Dr.STONE NEW WORLD (Dr. Stone 3rd Season) should be surprised it's still entertaining for basically all the same reasons. If there are criticisms to levy against it, they'll probably relate to how fast science is advancing. Or, I suppose more accurately, how fast production is advancing. There are no quality control problems or time constraints in the story that prevent the characters from designing and constructing whatever marvel is necessary to overcome the latest predicament. Everything just works. And that's okay! This is not a series about the 99-percent perspiration part. It's also consistent with the other feats regularly displayed.

Kohaku
Kohaku knows what she's doing.

Frequent readers of this blog (and of my grousing on the Twitter) may recall I regularly complain about tropes and storytelling conventions that I broadly describe using the pejorative "shounen jive." I don't have strong opinions about this from a taxonomic perspective, but my general sense is I'm perfectly fine with it (if what Dr.STONE does even qualifies as being shounen jive) providing that it's done in this way. I guess what I'm saying is I'm unsure if I regard Dr. Stone as the exception to a style of anime that I typically don't like, or if I like it because it does not adopt the elements I disfavor. In any case, the anime is still good, and the story seems to moving along well, and you should start watching it (from the beginning!) if you ain't started already.

Dated 25 April 2023: I'm not enjoying Demon Slayer very much this season

Nezuko
Counterpoint: I always enjoy Nezuko kicking deadbeats.

I've enjoyed the Kimetsu no Yaiba (Demon Slayer) anime for most of its run, but I've certainly not been a fan of all of it. In particular, I only have so much patience of the shounen jive that's just part of the territory when it comes to these sorts of shows. People who actually like shounen anime and manga may appreciate those tropes and styles, but I could do without a lot of it. However, with regard to the current Katanakaji no Sato-hen (Swordsmith Village Arc) season, the actual problem is my disinterest in Tanjiro as a character. I mean, he's fine, but I mostly liked him before because he wasn't Zenitsu or Inosuke. He might not have the charisma to carry this season alone.

Genya
Wait, he has a gun. Are demon slayers allowed to use guns instead of swords?

This wouldn't be an issue if the other characters in Kimetsu no Yaiba: Katanakaji no Sato-hen had more going for them. So far, I don't give two shits about the swordsmiths, and the other demon slayers don't seem to have personalities at all, aside from just sort of being assholes in general, even if they're not especially malicious about it. And I guess unless you count Yelling as a personality. They've got that going for them, too, but that's true of a lot of Demon Slayer characters it general. (Specifically, WAY TOO MANY of them.) Honestly—and I say this with utmost sincerity—I'm praying for a lot of scenes with the weird-looking Hanakana-voiced girl with the fucked-up hair.

Mitsuri
No pressure.

I don't know what her deal is, but the OP and ED to these Swordsmith Village Arc episodes clearly indicate Mitsuri is one of the three main focus characters. Through the first three episodes, she has done absolutely fuck all, but now that The Fighting has begun, I expect she'll start getting more scenes. Just to be clear, I'm rolling the dice here. All of my previous impressions of this character throughout her various appearances in the series thus far have been mostly negative, but Demon Slayer this season doesn't seem to have a lot going for it, so I'm hoping she'll save the show. She can still be weird. In fact, probably the weirder the better.

Dated 8 November 2022: I find Chainsaw Man more interesting than Golden Kamuy

Sugimoto and Asirpa
That is the sort of suspicious look reserved for strangers who don't eat brains.

Golden Kamuy is a good anime based on a great manga. The adaptation is fairly straightforward, and the series is now in its fourth season, with more than 40 episodes completed. Anyone still watching it has probably been with the show since the beginning or has at least read the manga. In my case, I believe this is the first time I've been ahead of the anime relative to how much I've read, even though my progress is governed by the release schedule of the English-language version published by VIZ. (The original run completed earlier this year.)

Denji
Relax, he gets better.

I suspect knowing what happens has dampened my enthusiasm for the Golden Kamuy anime somewhat. Although it's still good, an important part of the experience in the past has been my constant bewilderment at some of the unpredictable mishaps facing our intrepid (and not so intrepid) menagerie of heroes and misanthropes. In contrast, I don't know jack shit about Chainsaw Man.

Power
She did knock.

Well, I do know that the manga is wildly popular. I also know one of the characters who hasn't appeared in the anime yet dies. I was expecting a lot of fighting and shounen jive, but I was at least informed ahead of time that it does not have tournaments, so that's a plus.

Makima
Makima seems like a nice lady.

Through six episodes of the fourth season of Golden Kamuy and five episodes of Chainsaw Man, the former is doing well at all the things I expect it to do well, thanks to the strength of its source material. The latter is intriguing and features people being weird and stupid, but in amusing ways. Not surprisingly, it does have chainsaws, but there also seems to be less shounen jive than I was expecting. I'm still uncertain what the show is actually about, but I am more entertained than I thought I would be. I probably still won't bother reading the Chainsaw Man manga, though.

[Update: Via ANN, "Golden Kamuy Season 4 Delays Remaining Episodes Due to Staff Member's Passing."]

Dated 29 March 2022: Ranking of Kings disappointed me

Kage and Bojji
More of this would have been better.

I am going to caveat this by acknowledging first of all that Ousama Ranking (Ranking of Kings) was never actually capital-B Bad. However, I am hard pressed to identify another show with greater distance between how much I enjoyed it at the beginning and how disinterested I was by the end. I'm sort of appalled, to tell you the truth. Anime War Crime Tribunal provides a spoiler-heavy examination that covers basically every issue I had with the series, although I'm more negative about the problems overall.

Dorsche and Hiling
He's not going to be big enough for her.

I feel as if I must be overlooking shows that genuinely collapsed, but I suspect those examples that escape me at the moment likely showed less initial promise. Ousama Ranking, at a minimum, had a solid start (that admittedly started declining towards the end of its first cours). I did already mention that I was sick of all the fighting. Well, it went on like that during the second cours, but then the monkey's paw curled, the fighting stopped, and it got even worse. As I understand it, the source manga is still running, so maybe the story gets good again. The very end of the final anime episode did open the door for that possibility, but I'm in no hurry to revisit Ranking of Kings in any capacity for the time being.

Dated 15 February 2022: The End of Demon Slayer ~Air/My Purest...wait, it's not over yet

Zenitsu
Can we just keep Zenitsu unconscious the whole time from now on?

There sure is a lot of shouting and crying in Kimetsu no Yaiba. I don't really have much more to add to my last Demon Slayer post except maybe to be sort of incredulous that we got such an extended backstory for the season's extended-episode epilogue. Not that I should have been surprised by that, as these sorts of delayed backstories have always been part of the show's formula.

Nezuko
Don't try and tell me Nezuko ever brushes her teeth.

Judging from the fan reactions this season, the Yuukaku-hen (euphemistically localized as "Entertainment District Arc") portion of the series was very well received. I can understand why, as the animation was amazing, and the fights hit all of the sorts of beats the people who enjoy shounen jive like. I continue to appreciate the show for what it is, and I do intend to watch Kimetsu no Yaiba: Katanakaji no Sato-Hen (the "Swordsmith Village Arc" of Demon Slayer), whenever that comes out. I wonder if Nezuko will still be biting down on that piece of rope by then, or if she'll have a new bamboo harmonica to play. That rope would get so nasty so fast!

Dated 28 December 2021: I think I'd like Demon Slayer more if I had more interest in shounen jive

Tanjirou and Inosuke
Y'all are unconvincing girls.

Now that the second season of the Kimetsu no Yaiba anime is past its Mugen Ressha-hen (Mugen Train movie repurposed as TV episodes) arc and has aired four episodes of the Yuukaku-hen (Entertainment District) arc, I'm afraid my interest in the series remains well below the heights reached during the anime's first two cours. It's fine, but I feel as if I'm the wrong target audience.

Daki and Tanjirou
I do appreciate Sawashiro Miyuki's addition to the series.

This is not unexpected, since my interest in Demon Slayer has always been something of an outlier for me; I don't typically watch or read popular shounen properties. I presume my disinterest with the current arc is because it is building up to its next big moments and it is complementing its narrative journey with the sort of flourishes and gags that I don't care for. I don't know how many episodes remain in this second season, but I believe it is continuing uninterrupted into the Winter 2022 anime season. I'm definitely still going to watch it, and not just because I don't currently have a lot other Winter 2022 shows on my radar. It's just unfortunate I'm not the right person to fully appreciate the series.

Dated 23 November 2021: Demon Slayer's Mugen Train arc is better as a movie than a TV series

Nezuko
Nezuko gets to do something.

I enjoyed the first season of Kimetsu no Yaiba (Demon Slayer) and also thought its Mugen Train movie was good. I'm hardly alone in having this opinion, as the series proved hugely popular, resulting in enormous sales for the manga on which it is based. Similarly, Gekijouban Kimetsu no Yaiba: Mugen Ressha-hen did extremely well in theaters, surpassing Spirited Away to become Japan's box office champion. The movie follows the events from the first anime season, and there was initially some concern the second TV season would pick up from where the movie left off, thus making it required viewing from a continuity standpoint.

Tanjirou
You sure about this?

Instead, the Mugen Train movie is being spread out over the first nine episodes of the second season of Kimetsu no Yaiba. After this arc concludes on Saturday, the entertainment district arc will reportedly begin, although I'm unsure how many episodes that will run. Re-watching the movie as television episodes has not been ideal. It doesn't seem as if there are major edits or changes to the ordering of scenes to accommodate the time constraints of television episodes, but the experience seems flawed.

Rengoku
These are some eyebrows.

As far as I can tell, the reason for this effect is because of the weekly interruptions breaking up the impacts of both the narrative and the action scenes. It's a fairly obvious or at least foreseeable consequence of repackaging the movie into a different format, but more pronounced than I anticipated. Nevertheless, I don't think it would have made sense to re-create the entire arc with the television format in mind, so this probably was the best option. Besides, it's not as if the arc is actually bad this way—it mostly just fails to match its own standard.

Dated 4 May 2021: I'm enjoying SSSS.DYNAZENON

Yume
I love how unaccommodating the ergonomics are for flying this thing.

As with SSSS.GRIDMAN before it, SSSS.DYNAZENON is not really about either giant robots or kaiju. Rather, it is about the human struggles affecting the characters themselves. After five episodes, the most consequential plot line in the show appears to be Yume's quest to learn more about her older sister and come to grips with her death. Sure, there is that whole kaiju thing and people reappearing from 5000 years ago, but Yume's got a lot going on, okay.

Mei and Yume
Yume is basically an entirely different person around someone she trusts.

Nevertheless, she still finds time to go to giant-robot practice (I love that they have actual giant-robot practice) and seems to have embraced this whole fighting monsters thing as a reasonable part of her life. Unfortunately, SSSS.DYNAZENON has not yet abandoned Potato-kun as a protagonist. Sidelining Yuuta in favor of Rikka and Akane was one of the best things SSSS.GRIDMAN ever did. I'm not saying Yomogi is entirely worthless, but I really got my hopes up when Chise took an interest in learning how to pilot as well.