Version 5.4 ~ Haruhi gave rock and roll to you.
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Dated 1 July 2015: Punch Line sure had a lot more plot than I was expecting

Strange Juice
This bus did not have safety glass.

More people probably would have watched Punch Line if they had banked on its noitaminA time slot instead of its first episode. I know a lot of people were immediately dissuaded from watching the series due to its premise. "A teenage boy develops superpowers whenever he sees panties? What is this ridiculous fan service horseshit?" It turns out the real problem with Punch Line is that it has too much plot. Thus, anime fans who might have enjoyed the time looping, mystery, and conspiracy components of the show but were turned away by an aversion to fan service missed out on the series. Likewise, many anime fans who wanted PANTIES and FIGHTING and PANTIES may have been let down by the more serious parts of the show.

Yuuta
It's because he saw panties.

I belong to the latter camp. While I did not find anything particularly wrong with the Punch Line plot, it brought a lot more complexity to the show than I was expecting. I basically wanted an entire series about Strange Juice doing Strange Juice things and maybe stupid missions assigned by the talking cat ghost. Instead, Strange Juice was barely in the show and I ended up finishing the series almost entirely due to the charm Kugimiya Rie brought to her character, Meika.

Dated 21 June 2015: Ore Monogatari!! is about getting what you wish for

Rinko
This is how Rinko sees Takeo all the time.

For years I've lamented the lack of anime romances wherein couples get together early on and spend the rest of the series developing their relationship. Typically, an anime "romance" will either be about unrequited love in the form of tsundere bullshit, or (more commonly) simply not commit at all. There is the occasional Kare Kano, but such shows are quite rare. Amazingly, the spring 2015 anime season gave us Ore Monogatari!!, a show which basically does everything I wished for all these years. And yet, perhaps predictably, it's still a little unsatisfying.

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Dated 31 May 2015: Welcome back, Kugimiya Rie

Dingo and Angela
Angela Balzac shows Dingo how large the pizzas are in DEVA.

The past couple of years have been pretty good for Kugimiya Rie roles, as it appears she has moved beyond the tiny, flat-chested modern tsundere typecasting that plagued her for so long. Notably, she was excellent in Rakuen Tsuihō (Expelled from Paradise) as Angela Balzac (admittedly another tsundere, but fortunately the neoclassical variety). Ordinarily I would not have expected her in a role like this, but she did an outstanding job. The movie itself is also excellent, so I'm definitely buying the Blu-ray when it comes out later this week.

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Dated 18 May 2015: It's not just the books that disappeared, Yuki-chan

Kyon, Ryoko, Haruhi, Yuki, and Koizumi
Small gods move in mysterious ways.

I still enjoy the Haruhi franchise quite a bit, even in its Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan guise. For the most part, the characters remain true to their established forms, with the notable exception of Yuki herself. You wouldn't expect this to be problematic, since the entire premise of Nagato Yuki-chan no Shoushitsu is that it takes place in an alternate reality based on the Suzumiya Haruhi no Shoushitsu book and movie. However, Yuki-chan from the television anime is neither the "original" Nagato nor her alternate counterpart from the 2010 feature film.

Yuki and Kyon
It's funny because she's short.

Disappearance movie Nagato is quiet and incredibly meek, but Disappearance TV Yuki is sort of spacey and oblivious instead in a clumsy sort of way that's supposed to make her appear cute. She already has an established friendship with Kyon, which at least provides a framework for the overarching story about her crush on him, but she's also clearly not alt.movies.nagato warmed up a bit. Part of the difference is how this Yuki plays video games constantly instead of spending all of her time reading. I'm not entirely sure what inspired this change. Some have postulated it makes her more relatable to the show's target demographic, but I wonder if it's actually to make her appear less introspective and thus reinforce the sort of clueless, helpless vibe she currently extrudes? In any case, it's not a good change, but also not bad enough to sink the entire series, thanks to Haruhi still being Haruhi and doing all the in-character Haruhi things Her faithful have come to expect of their small god.

Dated 13 May 2015: Go! Princess Precure is more Go! than it is Princess

Twilight
Yes, Sawashiro Miyuki voices a a Pretty Cure character now.

I'm pleased that Go! Princess Precure continues to have solid fight scenes and generally has good production values. These are pretty important attributes when your primary reason for watching Pretty Cure is to see girls in pretty dresses kicking deadbeats in the neck. Oh yeah, the characters are also good. I'm particularly enamored with Kirara, the model who chimes in to remind impressionable young viewers that it's also important to be beautiful after Haruka boasts about being strong and Minami adds, "Be excellent to each other!" But seriously, though, it must be humiliating to get your ass beat by a 13-year-old calling herself Cure Twinkle.

Ranko and Kirara
This is not a pretty dress.

All three of them routinely wreck shit, actually. It's a relief since I was expecting Cure Flora, the lead Cure, to be freaking out about being more princessish by now. The inevitable fourth Cure hasn't appeared yet, but I don't have any reason to worry she'll usher in a wave of nonsense about feelings and stuff. Actual spoilers are probably available now, but based strictly on guesswork, I'm presuming the fourth Cure will either be Haruka's roommate or the recently introduced Sawashiro Miyuki villain. Just as long as it isn't Pafu, the dog mascot thing. I'm still racist when it comes to non-human Cures.

Dated 3 May 2015: Fate/stay spoilers matter

Saber
At least they didn't make her bend over the entire time.

I'm looking forward more to the upcoming Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya 2wei Herz! series than I am to each weekly installment of Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works. This is not because I think the former is a much better series. (I was only moderately impressed with the last Prisma☆Illya installment.) On the contrary, ufotable's adaptation of Unlimited Blade Works has been excellent thus far, so I should like it more than I do. True, the Fate/stay franchise itself carries a lot of baggage, but the fact that this baggage exists isn't what's affecting my anticipation so much. It's because I already I know what happens for the most part.

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Dated 23 April 2015: Will watch for twin braids and talking cats

Rokumon and Mamiya
Feeding a stray cat in your bedroom is good way to get fleas.

I'm not too enamored with the current season so far. It's not bad, but there's nothing that I'm really looking forward to each week. The closest thing so far is the second half of Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works, but even though it's done really well and a better adaptation of its source material than anyone has any right to expect, it's still just Fate/stay night. Kyoukai no Rinne isn't exactly thrilling to watch, but it currently occupies my number-two spot after three episodes simply by being sort of amusing and because I like the way it looks.

Rokudo, Mamiya, and Rokumon
Who didn't see this coming?

Someone with a better understanding of anime and manga history can probably comment better on the style used for the Kyoukai no Rinne anime and how it relates to its Takahashi Rumiko heritage. I can only tell you that it looks really nice in a pleasant kid's show sort of way that fits really well with Mamiya's surprisingly calm reactions to the arguably freaky shit that happens around her every damn day. It's actually a good thing Kyoukai no Rinne is presented in that style, to be honest. A twin-braid Inoue Marina-voiced girl who bums around in raglan shirts would be some powerful service otherwise.