Version 5.4 ~ Haruhi gave rock and roll to you.

Dated 1 July 2019: I'm watching Re:Zero because of Isekai Quartet

Emilia and Subaru
This is some compositing.

I tried watching Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu (Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World-) when it aired during the Spring 2016 anime season. I made it five episodes before dropping it because I found the show rather irritating. Fast forward to the Spring 2019 anime season, and somehow Isekai Quartet finished at the top of my rankings, edging out Kono Oto Tomare! I did, in fact, expect this to happen. (The watching part, not the ranking part, that is.) I've made it through the first cours of Re:Zero so far, and do have to admit it improves quite a bit after the initial episodes.

Partial eclipse.

I'm a little surprised how few spoilers I knew, and how many I had forgotten. That probably helped, by preserving the sense of mystery that pervades the second half of the first cours. I do 100-percent still remember the Rem and Emilia spoiler which is still to come, though. However, since I don't actually 'ship any of the characters, knowing this probably isn't going to matter much one way or another. In any case, my renewed curiosity in Re:Zero is probably a testament to the success of Isekai Quartet as a marketing ploy. Seeing as how Isekai Quartet is getting a second season, with the promise of unspecified newcomers, I suppose it's possible the premise will expand to include more than just four Kadokawa-affiliated isekai properties, although then maybe they'll need to call the sequel something like Isekai Octet or whatever. I think I'd be okay with that.

Dated 13 May 2019: Isekai Quartet is a ploy to get us to watch more isekai anime

It's because Ainz can't close his eyes. He has no eyelids.

As far as gimmicks go, I find Isekai Quartet fairly effective because I'm a sucker for crossovers. Plus, I was already a fan of the Ple Ple Pleiades shorts accompanying the Overlord anime. Isekai Quartet essentially expands Ple Ple Pleiades by adding characters from Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu, Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo!, and Youjo Senki for additionally high-wacky antics. I have watched all of these shows, and although I dropped Re:Zero after five episodes, I'm at least familiar enough with the franchise to understand the basic references and character dynamics.

Ram seems okay.

As far as the show itself goes, Isekai Quartet has half-length episodes and is not particularly ambitious. It seems to mostly trust that viewers will enjoy seeing the interactions among characters from different shows they already like. Nobody strays too far from their idiom, and the series is entertaining enough for what it is. Isekai Quartet is surely also an effort to encourage viewers to explore these shows further if they didn't catch them the first time around. Youjo Senki and Konosuba both have movies I want to watch, and Re:Zero recently announced a sequel. I have to admit that I'm amused enough by Ram's mistreatment of Subaru during each episode of Isekai Quartet that I'm considering giving the first season of Re:Zero another chance. If I do, maybe I'll be caught up before the sequel begins. Just as planned, I'm sure, eh, Kadokawa.

Dated 4 September 2017: It's Google Sheets' fault I did not blog about Kuromukuro

I wanted to like Kuromukuro. It didn't work out.

Spreadsheets killed anime blogging. At least that's my excuse for not even having a Kuromukuro category until now. I wanted to like this show, but it turned out to be too irritating to watch. I mostly bitched about it on the IRC and probably also the Twitter when it aired in spring 2016. (I dropped it before the second cours began summer 2016.) Anyway, here is a tardy, low-effort collection of gripes for y'all to skim over.


Dated 31 July 2017: Kyoukai no Rinne is as good as ever

I think the title gets localized as RIN-NE just to be petulant.

Joining the ranks of Pretty Cure and Detective Conan is Kyoukai no Rinne (often just RIN-NE), a long-running Takahashi Rumiko show which I'm willing to watch essentially indefinitely despite its recycled jokes. That probably doesn't sound like high praise, but I'm not claiming the show is brilliant—just that it's pleasant and enjoyable despite a fairly static setup.

Super-pleasant girl enjoys her meal.

At 67 episodes now and counting, the cast of characters has grown quite a bit from when the anime adaptation first started in 2015. I guess this helps prevent the constantly recycled jokes (Rinne is beset by poverty, Sakura observes something startling but reacts nonchalantly, Rinne's dad is a cretin, etc.) from getting old. I'm not actually tired of the re-used jokes, though. Sakura's droll reactions remain as amusing as ever. I fell behind my Girl of the Year awards, but Sakura was a two-time winner of my short-lived Girl of the Week project in spring 2016.

Dated 26 July 2016: Flying Witch is fantastic

Akane and Makoto
Eh, there's no rush.

Unlike ani-nouto, I found Flying Witch to be an exceptional show and am willing to watch additional episodes of it essentially indefinitely. From a genre standpoint, I don't typically watch shows like Flying Witch, so perhaps that's one reason why I enjoyed it so much. Or maybe the show just happened to catch me at a time when I could appreciate its idyllic, laid back atmosphere and pace.

Chito and Makoto
This sort of witchcraft looks like work.

I've seen a few people compare Flying Witch favorably with Yotsuba&!, and I suppose that's apt with regard to how the two feel, even if there's not necessarily much the two have in common. Nine-year-old Chinatsu would probably get along very well with Ena and Miura, though. I think the key is both Flying Witch and Yotsuba&! are about fully enjoying every moment even if it might otherwise seem mundane.

Chinatsu is one of the few anime children I'm totally okay with.

Yotsuba herself enjoys everything because she's a small child, but Makoto, Akane, Chinatsu, and company "enjoy everything" because they seem to be at peace with the world and their place in it. Even Inukai, victim of careless magicking while intoxicated, seems somewhat content to delay resolving her condition even though it still agitates her if she thinks about it. She seems quite capable of simply not thinking about it most of the time, or at least that's my explanation for why she's allowed so much time to go by without any progress.

Al and Inukai
It's a living.

Ultimately, although I wouldn't call Flying Witch flawless, I don't have any real complaints about it. All I'm left with as far as criticism is concerned is that I have a hard time accepting Makoto as a 15-year-old. This is probably related mostly to her appearance and how she dresses, but her mannerisms also seem sort of peculiar for a teenager. I also have a somewhat difficult time accepting her as a witch, but this is actually a plot point so I guess it gets a pass. She's got a long way to go before reaching Akane's level, that's for sure.

Makoto and Chito
Maybe nobody is staring because she's dressed so conservatively.

In any case, Flying Witch is solidly good enough that I'm genuinely surprised anyone can have a low opinion of it. From a pseudo objective standpoint, I gave the show about a 4.5/5, which is basically Konosuba-level. (Notable because Konosuba is also sort of about enjoying where you're at.) It's also higher than what I gave Shirobako, although admittedly that show is more about a constant state of agitation than pleasantly whiling away the time.

Dated 6 July 2016: Sansha Sanyou: I don't think that bit about three girls each having the same kanji (葉) in their names ever comes up

Youko announces her departure to her empty little apartment.

I sort of like the idea of "Cute Girls Doing Cute Things" anime, but I have such a low success rate with them that I tend to avoid such shows as a matter of general principle. I'll check in every once in a while to see if my impressions of them has changed, but I usually end up dropping these shows relatively quick. This was the case with the well regarded Kiniro Mosaic despite Karen being an appealing nutjob, and was the case with Girlfriend (Kari) despite, um, the Tange Sakura character being an appealing nutjob. It's also why I've never started Yuyushiki and why I never watched Gochūmon wa Usagi Desu ka? (Is the Order a Rabbit?) even though I'm intrigued by the one who apparently carries a pistol for some reason I don't understand.


Dated 30 June 2016: The End of Kuma Miko ~Air/My Purest Paralyzing Social Anxiety for Thee~

Natsu and Machi
Machi trying to prepare rice the newfangled way.

Many voices cried out against the anime-original ending to Kuma Miko: Girl Meets Bear, but Swabulous Max's response most closely reflects my own views on the subject. There are just a couple of additional points to underscore my opinions on the matter and to highlight where we differ.


Dated 24 June 2016: Bakuon!! turned out to be the best show from Spring 2016

Yume and Hane
Hane gets by with help from her reliable imouto.

I was expecting to enjoy Bakuon!! on general principle, but I'm still surprised to see it at the top of my Spring 2016 rankings. Silly and a little irreverent, Bakuon!! is a charming show about high school girls who really like motorcycles. If you've seen much anime, you're surely familiar with the "girls really enjoy this thing" brand of moé pandering. For example, K-On! did this with guitars, GIRLS und PANZER did this with tanks, and Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai did this with incest.

Objects in mirror are larger than they appear.

In light of this, I get the feeling "Girls Really Like a Thing" shows probably do better when the Thing in question is a bit esoteric or at least a niche interest among the show's target demographic. (Mountaineering, for example, as opposed to yet another girl who loves anime, manga, and video games.) Then again, specification alone wasn't enough for Haifuri, so it's just a rule of thumb at best.

Raimu breaks a lot of laws on this show.

The above K-On! mention may remind longtime readers I railed against "retard moé" seven years ago and cause them to wonder why I enjoyed Bakuon!! so much when its lead character is, to put it mildly, dumb all Hell. It is entirely possible I like Hane largely because of my Ueda Reina bias, but I think an important distinction relates to how Hane and her idiocy fits within the world around her.

Onsa and Yukari could exchange haircare tips.

Specifically, Hane does not make life more difficult for those around her. Moreover, her idiocy is more along the lines of startling ignorance rather than a lack of capacity to reason or learn. The impolite axiom "stupid people make everything more difficult" frequently manifests as a narrative tool or comic trope to rally action and reactions among a story's characters. This was certainly true in the K-On! episodes I watched, where Yui's, um, peculiar mannerisms (autism, some boasted) coupled with Ritsu's laziness to construct comedic situations opposite the serious Mio.

Honda logo
The motorcycle brands themselves are also essentially characters in the
show, from Honda and Kawasaki to even Suzuki and!

Hane, on the other hand, clearly does not know much about anything, but she's eager to learn—at least about motorcycles. Her enthusiasm for the subject makes her endearing because her more knowledgeable friends are happy to educate and indulge her in their shared interest. Maybe I like Hane because everyone else likes Hane. She seems like she'd be fun to be around, maybe ride some motorcycles and go camping with, even if she is dumb as all Hell.