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Dated 26 December 2018: Golden Kamuy and SSSS.GRIDMAN are among the best shows of the year

Asirpa
This is the sort of happiness you can only achieve by eating animal brains.

Some questionable publicity concerning some really jarring 3DCG got Golden Kamuy off to a bad start, but the strength of its source material pulled through. I'm one of those people who believe it's better to watch an anime first before reading its source manga, so basically all of the second cours was new to me. I'm told that the show truncated quite a bit of material in order to reach the second season's climax (and that it also cut out scenes that would have otherwise included more 3DCG animals). And what a climax it was. Basically, without going into spoilers, CRAZY SHIT HAPPENS, and there are real payoffs regarding characters that the viewer has gotten to know over the course of 24 episodes. With so many strong episodes this season, the second cours of Golden Kamuy is even better than SSSS.GRIDMAN.

Akane
It turns out Akane was the show's real protagonist. P.S. Spoilers.

Hopefully, word has gotten out by now that Studio Trigger did an excellent job with SSSS.GRIDMAN. I was a bit hesitant going in, since Trigger does falter somewhat frequently, and I was entirely ignorant of the GRIDMAN franchise. In fact, I'm ignorant when it comes to the entire genre, for that matter. Basically everything I know comes from posts by @TheIvanhobe on the Twitter. It turns out SSSS.GRIDMAN is satisfying even for viewers like me. I can only imagine how stoked people who recognized the various callbacks and references must have been. I should probably point out that while I put the second half of Golden Kamuy over SSSS.GRIDMAN, I find SSSS.GRIDMAN to be better if you compare its 12 episodes to the full 24 episodes of Golden Kamuy.

Shirase
That is one blue sky.

I should also mention that while I regard SSSS.GRIDMAN and Golden Kamuy to be among the best shows of the year, both were surpassed by five other shows from earlier in 2018. At the very peak is Sora yori mo Tooi Basho (A Place Further Than the Universe), an anime that even The New York Times recognized as being one of 2018's best. I put Hinamatsuri not too far behind, and then (for pretty different reasons), Hanebado!, Yuru Camp△, and Shoujo☆Kageki Revue Starlight. Overall, a pretty good year for anime. I can't claim that Winter 2019 looks ready to compare with Winter 2018, but maybe there will be some surprises coming up again as well.

Dated 29 October 2018: There are other reasons to watch SSSS.GRIDMAN besides Rikka's thighs, you know

Rikka and Shou
She'll make point five past lightspeed.

If you've been paying attention to the anime Twitter, you've probably noticed the flood of Takarada Rikka pictures. Rikka is a character from SSSS.GRIDMAN who is notable for having unusually large thighs for a tiny anime girl, and also for wearing a long sweater that makes it appear as if she is not wearing any pants. It seems The Fandom deemed this to be a noteworthy combination, and fan artists took note. P.S. Fuck pants.

Akane
You know, I should probably get some blue-light-filtering glasses.

With regard to SSSS.GRIDMAN itself, there is also a bit of buzz about the show since it is a Studio Trigger production that adapts the '90s television series Denkou Choujin Gridman (Gridman the Hyper Agent). I'm not familiar with this series, but I am familiar with Studio Trigger staff's penchant for moments of occasional greatness. (Likewise, I'm also familiar with their penchant for disappointing overly optimistic fans.) Through four episodes, I am enjoying it more than I liked DARLING in the FRANXX from spring and summer 2018, at least.

Akane
This railroad apartment was the perfect place.

The highlight of SSSS.GRIDMAN for me, as you might expect, is the Ueda Reina-voiced Shinjo Akane. I am 100% Team Akane, although she does occasionally kill innocent anime girls. Even more concerning, she's a bit of a slob and inexplicably seems to never take out her garbage. I guess at least it's all bagged, but sheesh. To tell you the truth, I'm not entirely certain whether I find Akane appealing because she's voiced by Ueda Reina or if it's because she's a psychopath, but I suppose there isn't any reason why it can't be both.

Dated 12 June 2018: In defense of DARLING in the FRANXX

Mitsuru
Look, it ain't that bad, okay.

Depending on which corner of the anime fandom you find yourself, I imagine you're either on the side that doesn't believe DARLING in the FRANXX needs defending, or in the camp that doesn't believe it deserves defending. My basic perspective on the show is that it is not capital-G Good, nor is it part of the "bad but has good parts in it" category, but rather that it is a flawed result of some efforts that I genuinely appreciate.

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Dated 29 January 2018: DARLING in the FRANXX is more than a one-way reflection

Delphinium
The robots are named after flowers, but I don't know if there is any meaning to it.

Studio Trigger's Gainax heritage basically guarantees I'll give any of its shows a try. They haven't all been hits, but I'll generally find at least something to enjoy. DARLING in the FRANXX is Studio Trigger's two-cours science fiction partnership with A-1 Pictures featuring giant robots and lots of sexual allegories. The show is not at all subtle, with wall-to-wall metaphors about marriage, intercourse, orgasm, infidelity, and polyandry. And that's just the first three episodes. Unfortunately, it also stars an exceptionally dull teenage boy (because of course it does). At least he isn't a whiny brat, I guess. (That role was already taken by one of the supporting cast.)

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Dated 12 June 2017: The End of Re:CREATORS ~Air/My Purest Love for Gunpuku~

Altair
What? You can't see it?

I'm calling it. Re:CREATORS will end (next season) with Potato-kun re-drawing and re-writing Altair as a wall-to-wall dere-dere moé-moé...kyun! schoolgirl whose MAD gets super popular on the NicoVideo. Still the best show this season, though. Even ahead of Little Witch Academia TV which is also really good. I should write about that before it ends.

Dated 29 October 2015: It turns out Inou-Battle is a pretty successful harem comedy

Tomoyo and Jurai
15-love.

I put Inou-Battle wa Nichijou-kei no Naka de (When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace) on hold halfway through the autumn 2014 season to watch different shows, but I came back to it and finished it off a year later. There wasn't anything particularly bad about the series when I put it on the shelf last year, except I felt it was a rather unremarkable effort by Studio Trigger, a company better known for KILL la KILL and the Little Witch Academia movies. But now that I've finished Inou-Battle, I believe it is a excellent show—not relative to anime in general, mind you—relative to other harem comedies. You see, harem comedies tend to be mediocre at best and typically cursed with one or both of the following typical flaws: (1) Uninteresting harem candidates, or (2) an unlikable male lead.

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Dated 23 November 2014: Anime triage

Conan and Sera
As if there is any chance in Hell of Sera turning out to be bad.

Because of "circumstances," I find myself dropping about half the shows I was following this season. Well, perhaps not so much dropping as putting on hiatus for the time being. Maybe I'll catch back up during a particularly lousy season that coincides with greater anime-watching opportunities. (Won't be next season, because next season looks pretty sweet.)

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Dated 2 June 2014: Viewer mail double feature

Takane
(Unrelated picture.)

Bernard writes:

I noticed you didn't seem to have an entry for Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, I remembered that one was pretty interesting, was wondering what you thought of it.

I watched the first episode because of Nakahara Mai, but I wasn't particularly interested in it for whatever reason despite the unexpected violence. I heard that it's good, though.

Erin writes:

Just wanted to say, that after a few years away from anime that your blog is the one I haphazardly browse to see what I've missed.

Thanks for reading! I wish I could point to some amazing bit of anime that you missed over the past few years, but nothing really stands out. Oh, there is a lot of material that's very good and plenty of stuff that's "important" from an "I can't believe you never watched that!" perspective, but the hoary joke about television being a medium because nothing on it is rare or well done sort of applies here. Despite all the anime that I've really enjoyed, I don't know there's much I would recommend to someone "a few years away from anime" besides Little Witch Academia.