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Dated 3 December 2018: Look, I don't care if Japanese-speaking Taiwanese puppets aren't really anime, Thunderbolt Fantasy is great

Xie and Shang
Well, she did poison him.

Oh. Have I not previously blogged about watching Thunderbolt Fantasy? So yeah, Urobuchi Gen of Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Fate/Zero, and Psycho-Pass fame apparently got interested in Taiwanese puppet shows one day and got the ball rolling on the first season of Thunderbolt Fantasy in 2016. It turns out Taiwanese puppet shows are awesome and wuxia puppetry was a genre I didn't realized I was interested in. I also found the production values unexpectedly good. Are Taiwanese puppets shows always like this? As an additional bonus, Sawano Hiroyuki's music supports a solid cast.

Lin
These are some fancy puppets.

The second season of Thunderbolt Fantasy is currently airing. (Yes, you should watch the first season before starting this one.) Not all the surviving characters from the first season have yet reappeared in the second season. I'm actually a little surprised at the relatively small number of characters thus far in the sequel. I'm much more accustomed to ballooning cast lists as shows run longer. This has also prevented the sequel from following a "sword-of-the-week" formula like I had originally feared. And while the highs are yet not quite as good as those of the first season, I am enjoying the sequel and am basically prepared to watch more Taiwanese puppet shows as they become available.

Dated 25 September 2017: Love Live! Sunshine!! was better the second time around

Yohane
Yohane's hairball is fuckin' fake.

I watched Love Live! Sunshine!! without watching (all of) First Love Live and thought it was all right, but not great. Having watching all of Love Live! School Idol Project now, I re-watched Sunshine to see if being able to contextualize the show would make me like it better. Well, I do like it more, but it's still mostly just all right, and still not great. To be honest, I can't tell if I like it more thanks to knowing more about the franchise as a whole, or if it's because of the solid barrage of You cheesecake pictures on the Twitter over the past year. Incidentally, Maki > Nico > Yohane > Hanamaru > Kotori > Kanan > You > Umi > Hanayo > Riko > Chika > Yoshiko > Eli > Honoka > Mari > Dia > Nozomi > Rin.

Leah, Yoshiko, Hanamaru, and Ruby
Airborne idol, airborne idol, where have you been?

Naturally, as with A-RISE before them, I absolutely favor Saint Snow over Aqours as far as their idol-type credibility goes. Saint Snow only has one song, but two different arrangements appear in the show, and it is an actual duet with two people singing simultaneously (as opposed to sequentially, which seems to be the more common practice in these idol-type tunes). Really, though, my main reasons for liking Saint Snow are because everyone says their name with such overly dramatic awe (SAAAINT SNOOOWW!) and because half of Saint Snow ninja flipped over Aquors for no goddamn reason when they first met other than to show them that she could. What's not to love?

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

Yukina
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.

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Dated 7 September 2016: Amaama to Inazuma has a lot of sweetness but basically no lightning

Kotori
Kotori doing something domestic again.

Cooking shows aren't exactly a rarity in anime, but Amaama to Inazuma (Sweetness and Lightning) is unique in its slower pace and fairly unremarkable recipes. Rather than the usual over-the-top incredulous reactions to newly discovered flavors, Amaama to Inazuma focuses instead on the simple pleasure of preparing food and eating together. This, it does extremely well, and it's very satisfying watching the characters learning how to cook for each other. (Although it still bugs me they never wash their hands first.) However, there is an elephant in the room: the looming potential romance between teenage Kotori and her teacher, Kouhei, a recent widower. Nevertheless, through nine episodes, there has been no hint of any such subplot, so it's possible no such romance ever develops.

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Dated 31 August 2016: JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamond Is Unbreakable is MAMIKORE

Yukako
Domesticity Is Unbreakable.

I am enjoying Diamond Is Unbreakable quite a bit more than I enjoyed Stardust Crusaders. This is not to say Stardust Crusaders wasn't good, but rather its strengths involved a lot of shounen jive. I got my fill of that pretty quickly. On the other hand, Diamond Is Unbreakable does not seem to involve inflated power levels or a bunch of stalling with mini-bosses. Rather, it seems to be more about the Bizarre than it is about the Adventure or even the JoJo.

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Dated 24 August 2016: Love Live! Sunshine!! and falling into darkness

Yohane
That feather in her hair ball is probably lousy with germs.

I am now further along in Love Live! Sunshine!! than I ever got in First Love Live. I dropped Love Live! School Idol Project after five episodes because it didn't really speak to me. Love Live! Sunshine!! does not speak to me either, but it's at least modestly more entertaining so far thanks to Yoshiko's batshit crazy chuuni alter ego. It also has You regularly in a trucker hat with her name on it, Kanan who might be a U.S. Navy SEAL, and Hanamaru who is basically Machi except without the crippling social anxiety or the SEXUAL HARASSMENT.

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Dated 2 August 2016: I hope I don't need to like Ikuta in order to enjoy Nejimaki Seirei Senki: Tenkyou no Alderamin

Ikuta
Would you really want a hammock that high in the trees?

I've only seen two episodes of Nejimaki Seirei Senki: Tenkyou no Alderamin (Alderamin of the Sky). So far all I know is the show involves some supposedly genius teenager who becomes a general in a magic/steampunk war. I also know he's a pompous, sophomoric, condescending ass who acts as if he's doing everyone a favor by deigning to acknowledge their existence with his jibber jabber. Additionally, I also learned THE SPOILER, which basically sapped most of the interest I had in the show to begin with.

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Dated 17 July 2016: I sure hope Handa-kun has more than one joke

Handa
Handa-kun gives everyone the stink eye again.

Despite a fair bit of persistent reluctance remaining from the very moment I learned of Handa-kun to begin with, I watched the first episode anyway. I enjoyed Barakamon quite a bit, but essentially every aspect of the show I liked is probably going to be absent from its Handa-kun prequel. Notably, a Barakamon prequel set while the main character is a first-year high school student will not have an adult protagonist. Who in Hell thought we needed yet another anime starring a teenage boy? For crying out loud. Moreover, a Barakamon prequel will almost certain not feature Miwa or Tomo. This is unacceptable.

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