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Dated 7 May 2024: I like Unnamed Memory even though it feels rushed

Tinasha
You can tell "teenage" Tinasha has work to do because she's wearing gloves..

Unnamed Memory is about a prince who can't get anyone pregnant without killing her. This is because of a curse, not because of any inherent baby-making quirks and features driving him. At least that's what the witch who cursed him said. I don't think he's actually tested it. Anyway, his proposed solution involves impregnating a powerful witch (a different witch) who can withstand his cursed precious bodily fluids instead of queuing up unsuspecting or risk-happy regular-type women and hoping for the best, or seeing if a baby can gestate in a box. (The witch can survive the curse because of her powerful magic, not because she's built up a tolerance to iocane sperm.) It's basically that Re:Zero comic asking if witches can get pregnant, if you think too much about it.

Tinasha and Oscar
Don't let the height-difference antis find out about this 'ship.

Tinasha, the witch in question, looks like a teenage girl when he initially propositions her, but this doesn't seem to factor into his request in any way. It's fine. She's old. Maybe not Frieren old, but old enough to mention Oscar Lyeth Increatos Loz Farsas (the prince dude) bears a resemblance to his great-grandfather when he was the same age. It doesn't matter, since Tinasha ages up to a more 20-something appearance shortly thereafter because of Reasons, and she's going to work on removing his curse the magic way anyway. Don't worry about it.

Lucrezia, Tinasha, and Oscar
I guess she's not that short.

I was expecting a dumber light-novel tone from this setup, but the show has been surprisingly all right so far. It does feel rushed, though, as if the anime adaptation may be blowing through the source material. Another possibility is maybe the books contain more insights into the characters' inner thoughts that aren't reflected in the show. In any case, I feel as if there hasn't been sufficient on-screen attention to developing the relationship between Tinasha and Oscar. Most of their scenes together involved verbal sparring, so it's not as if he's been trying to sweet talk her. Their testy exchanges don't quite work as romantic banter, and if you subscribe to the theory that the most effective way to court a woman is to be an asshole, he hasn't been doing that either.

Tinasha
I don't think "adult" Tinasha looks much different.

For now, I'm going to chalk it up to the limitations of the single-cours anime framework that plagues us, and appreciate that the show is still interesting despite its faults. There's also the looming possibility everything we've observed in the series thus far is false or manipulated. We know memories in this world can be untrustworthy (because of witches fucking with them), and there's no way to know this predicament doesn't extend to the main cast. There's also the matter of Tina's claim that she can't reverse time, which honestly only raises a lot of questions already answered by her claim that she can't reverse time.

Dated 2 January 2024: The End of 2023 ~Air/My Purest Heart for Tired Evangelion Jokes~

Suletta
I don't mention Witch Gundam until the end.

I started out thinking about doing a "Best Anime of 2023" summary, considered a "Favorite Anime of 2023" post would be better instead, then briefly contemplated an "Underrated Anime of 2023" write-up next before settling on just highlighting a few series I enjoyed without constraining myself to any particular category. And here we are. Don't be afraid of your freedom.

Yamada
This is the face Anna makes when she overhears people speaking from the heart.

Foremost is BokuYaba (Boku no Kokoro no Yabai Yatsu | The Dangers in My Heart), which I'm front-loading because its second season begins on January 7th. Get on it, if you haven't already. This has been a hard sell on occasion because summaries describing it are so misleading. The irony is not lost on me that a series I praise for its authenticity deceives the audience at the outset with misdirection. As I've previously advised, Kyoutarou is not an "edgelord," he's a cringelord. BokuYaba is about the mistakes that occur when people make bad assumptions about themselves and others. Likewise, it's a mistake to make assumptions about BokuYaba.

Soyo, Raana, and Taki
MVP.

Second, I got to BanG Dream! It's MyGO!!!!! late, but better late than never, eh. I had initially written it off as some sort of Cute Girls Doing Cute Thing show cobbled together as a vehicle for yuri 'shipping, but it turns out to be about DRAMA. Probably, technically, it's melodrama, but that bit when Best Girl Rāna starts backing up the singer (whose pockets may still be filled with rolly pollies) while she's forcing herself to bleed out on stage instead of packing up so everyone can get the Hell out of there? And then Rāna seamlessly transitions to The Forbidden Song that causes the Begging Bassist to go completely mental as The Quitter quits the venue and nearly banishes herself from the hero's party by piling down some stairs? That is some Good Shit right there.

Ganta and Isaki
Especially if the entire story includes telescopic sex.

Kimi wa Houkago Insomnia (Insomniacs After School) was a lot better than I was expecting. It's not much of a stretch to imagine a couple of teenagers who spend a lot of time napping together might also fall in love, so, spoilers, I guess. Mostly I'm glad neither of them tragically dropped dead at the end of the anime or some bullshit like that. The manga did end recently, but the U.S. release is still 10 volumes behind, so I'm on the fence about reading it before it's caught up, considering how many other titles I'm still following. What they ought to do is make more of the anime and cover the entire story.

Umi
Not one Like!

The IDOLM@STER Million Live! was entirely too short considering how many idols it featured, but at least we got an Umi episode. If y'all ain't heard, I do love me some Umimi.

Frieren
I enjoyed how nonchalantly Frieren made this decision.

Beyond this list, there are a lot of really good shows that I watched in 2023 that you probably already know about. Like, is it necessary to say I'm enjoying Sousou no Frieren (Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End), or that Kidou Senshi Gundam: Suisei no Majo (Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury) was fuckin' great? The former is hugely popular and is continuing into the Winter 2024 anime season, and the latter is frickin' Gundam, so it's not as if anyone is going to forget about it. I certainly won't. Honestly, there is entirely too much capital-G Good anime each year, and 2024 doesn't seem as if it will be any different.

Dated 31 October 2023: The IDOLM@STER Million Live! anime is finally here

Umi
I recognize this pose from clips I've seen of the game.

As part of the iM@S franchise, Million Live! has been around for more than 10 years. Considering how (relatively) quickly Cinderella Girls received an anime, I had been wondering when an adaptation for Million Live! might drop. There was a PV featuring the characters as superheroes, but that was more than six years ago now. Well, the anime-anime is finally here!

Chizuru, Tomoka, Shiho, Kana, Hibiki, Arisa, and Takane
Despite what fan art may lead you to believe, Takane has a lower BMI than Hibiki.

I am, at best, only a secondary or tertiary fan of the franchise. Meaning, I don't really know anything about the characters or the game, so I can't claim to be particularly invested it. Nevertheless, learning that the anime was going to use 3DCG animation didn't exactly inspire a lot of optimism. True, there have already been quite a few shows I've been okay with even though they were entirely 3DCG, but being "okay" with them isn't the same thing as "preferring." Thankfully, the 3D animation used in the Million Live! anime doesn't look bad at all. Well, I do think Takane's face looks odd, but that has more to do with how her character design changed than it does the animation format. Besides, she's not one of the leads here.

Miki
I didn't need a name thingy for Miki. I recognized her from the couch.

Speaking of which, THERE ARE SO MANY IDOLS. I knew this going in, but it's especially apparent since the series is really trying to give everyone some screen time. In fact, the anime provides onscreen name placards as characters appear, and it seems it will continue to do so for the entire show. [Update: They stopped appearing for established characters after episode four.] Even I already knew the characters well enough to recognize them on sight and not get them confused with each other, but displaying the names is still probably the right decision. I could do without the constant emphasis about each idol's characteristic quirks, though. I feel like those sorts of cues are generally unhelpful. Rather than flushing out their personalities, I think it's reductive.

Shizuka, Mirai, Producer, and Tsubasa
These are the four main characters.

Still, the Million Live! anime is not off to bad start. However, I do hope it gets more than one cours, if only to provide more time to better realize the characters who are most critical to the anime's plot. Both the original iM@S anime and main Cinderella Girls adaptation ran for two cours, so it would be a shame if Million Live! joined U149 in only getting one, particularly with such a large cast. Maybe it should have adopted the Love Live! Superstar!! approach by starting with only a core group and expanding during subsequent seasons. Or maybe I'm just being greedy now.

Dated 29 August 2023: The Summer 2023 Anime Season So Far

Mie and Komura
Enjoy this apple. Or else.

Somehow, Suki na Ko ga Megane wo Wasureta (The Girl I Like Forgot Her Glasses) is my top show this season. I say "somehow," but I know why: It's because the girl Potato-kun likes squints when she doesn't have her glasses (which is often), and it makes her look angry as fuck all the time. This is a dumb gimmick, but I love it. The juxtaposition between her appearance and her demeanor is so good. More surprisingly, outside of the trailer and first episode that made everyone (including me) assume GoHands was going to commit anime crimes all season long, the visuals have been fine. If anything, I'm sort of disappointed it looks as normal as it does. Maybe Sukimega would be a bottom-tier show during most quarters, but you go to Seasonal Anime War with the shows you have, not the shows you wish you had.

Ageha
Carcinization.

Hirogaru Sky! Precure is only sort of average as far as Pretty Cure seasons go, but it's such a step up from Delicious Party♡Precure that it seems wonderful in comparison. God, they really fucked that one up. Anyway, Hirogaru Sky! has made notable changes to the existing Pretty Cure formula. It has a "blue" lead instead of a "pink" one, it has an adult Cure, and it has the franchise's first male Cure. Nevertheless, despite these departures, the series as a whole seems really...normal.

Misha and Anos
Not even bothering to make a magic umbrella.

Maou Gakuin no Futekigousha: Shijou Saikyou no Maou no Shiso, Tensei shite Shison-tachi no Gakkou e Kayou II (The Misfit of Demon King Academy: History’s Strongest Demon King Reincarnates and Goes to School with His Descendants Season 2) re-started after a mid-season interruption that forced a delay for the remaining episodes of the cours. It's a lot of magic bullshit, none of which seems as interesting to me as the first season's Misha and Sasha content, but I haven't gotten tired of the constant ass pulls yet.

Yohane, Lailaps, and Dia
Dia still sucks, though.

Genjitsu no Yohane: SUNSHINE in the MIRROR (YOHANE THE PARHELION -SUNSHINE in the MIRROR-) needs more music. And where the Hell is SAINT SNOW? C'mon. I mostly like what it's doing anyway. It's had a few twists that are sort of interesting. I'm not sure I'm entirely on board with what the series has planned for what I presume will be a big finish, but I'm willing to give it the benefit of the doubt. The Yohane focus has rehabilitated my opinion of Love Live! Sunshine!! to some degree, but I still think Nijigasaki and Superstar are superior installments overall.

Dated 15 August 2023: I should probably re-watch Hibike! Euphonium

Reina
Softcream Summer.

I was mostly ambivalent about Hibike! Euphonium (clumsily localized as Sound! Euphonium) when it first came out, despite being Internet-adjacent to school-band veterans and fans of Kyoto Animation. I basically thought it looked great, but was otherwise mostly merely fine. It's why I've mentioned it so little on this blog. However, in hindsight and with its movies behind me (albeit also sort of a long time ago now), my opinion of the series has improved in retrospect. Meaning, I think I like it more now? Or at least I like what I remember of the series more now.

Mirei and Kumiko
Tall newbie is tall.

However, I don't know if I would actually like it more if I re-watched it. Seeing as how I'm watching relatively few shows during the current season, I could probably just binge watch it all and find out for sure. Other people did. There's a good excuse for it now: A new OVA is already out, and there's even more Euphonium on the way soon.

Kumiko
Does this qualify as an Asuka cameo?.

Actually, I did re-watch Hibike! Euphonium Movie 3: Chikai no Finale (Sound! Euphonium: Our Promise: A Brand New Day), and now I'm going to spoil the Bejesus out of something that has been bugging me since I first watched it years ago. (This is your last warning: I'm gonna do it even though Kumiko probably doesn't even believe in Bejesus.) Asuka shows up. She almost certainly used the arrival of Kaori and Haruka as a distraction so she could flank Kumiko and fluff her defenseless poofy hair from behind.

Asuka's postcard
Слава Україні!

And then she disappears in seconds despite (or because of) Kumiko's very obvious desire to reconnect with her. It's how Asuka do. But I gotta ask, "What was on that postcard Asuka gave to her before leaving?" I don't think the movie explains this at all, but I presume the books do. My guess is I'm way overthinking it, and probably it's simply a postcard that Asuka had received and happened to have with her. But by giving it to Kumiko, she indirectly passes along her current address, thereby offering Kumiko a way to reach her in the future. It didn't seem like they had exchanged contact information previously. Anyway, this is a rhetorical question. I'm happy to wait for future Euphonium installments to elaborate on the exchange in due time (or never explain it), even if it means waiting years more.

Dated 25 July 2023: The Girl I Like Forgot Her Glasses is not a GoHands atrocity

Kaede
The girl you like is a mental case, Potato-kun.

I am going to go ahead and claim Suki na Ko ga Megane wo Wasureta is good, actually. Or rather, it's good for sufficiently unclear definitions of good. I probably can't reasonably claim that The Girl I Like Forgot Her Glasses is objectively good, but it is the Summer 2023 series that I am looking forward to the most each week. Notably, the jarring visual flair associated with GoHands in recent years is toned down considerably compared to something like 2017's Hand Shakers, for example. In fact, I'm going to claim the visuals are my favorite part of Sukimega.

Maho, Ai, and Asuka
Look at how pissed off she looks while casually greeting her friends. This is the best.

Specifically, I thoroughly enjoy how Potato-kun's love interest spends nearly all of her screen time squinting. It makes her appear constantly cross. (This is an actual plot point.) That's it. That's the entire reason and 100-percent of the show's appeal to me. (It's good squinting, Brent!) I do wish the series had more going for it. At least Potato-kun doesn't actively irritate me all the time anymore. Ai being helplessly blind without her glasses is a repetitive joke that mostly makes her appear, ah, not very smart, unfortunately. The romance angle is fine, I guess. It's neither good nor bad in my view. The wall-to-wall angry squinting, however, is world class. Good job, GoHands.

Dated 14 February 2023: I'm still watching season two of Maou-kun Goes to Maou High School

Sasha
Of course she has mystic eyes.

I don't have a compelling reason to still be watching Maou Gakuin no Futekigousha: Shijou Saikyou no Maou no Shiso, Tensei shite Shison-tachi no Gakkou e Kayou II (The Misfit of Demon King Academy 2nd Season), but I also don't have a reason to stop. There's not exactly a shortage of shows about overpowered characters easily crushing those who oppose them, but I don't feel as though I watch a lot of those, and I'm pretty sure I watch even fewer where the lead is so smug about it. (Overlord fits the former, but Momonga's anxiety rules out the latter.)

Eleanor, Sasha, and Anos
Eleanor and Sasha both have good hair.

I liked the first season well enough. There were a number of twists I enjoyed, and the story focused on developing a manageable number of characters in interesting ways. Here in the second season, a lot of episodes seem to include strap hangers who are mostly just serving as an entourage following Anos (Maou-kun) around as he continues untangling the various mysteries surrounding the two thousand years he's been out of action, but it's still okay. I would personally prefer more Sasha stories, or an arc or two centered around Maou-kun's parents, but it's fine either way.

[Update: I forgot to mention Anos was re-cast between seasons.]

Dated 24 January 2023: I've already dropped Spy Classroom and Revenger

Raizou and Yuuen
He can't be that hurt. His bandages aren't even bloody.

I decided to watch REVENGER because it was characterized as a Urobuchi Gen anime. The stereotypes and baggage associated with Urobuchi-type anime is frequently negative, but I generally find those complaints either overblown or incorrectly attributed. I don't like everything that has his name attached, but REVENGER seemed like a safe bet. Well, it's not great. I didn't care about any of the lead characters, and I wasn't exactly moved by the plights of their clients. Even the prospect of watching deadbeats getting assassinated in unnecessarily complicated ways each week didn't seem interesting enough for me to continue watching, alas.

Lily
Nice chair.

I did not have high expectation for Spy Kyoushitsu (Spy Classroom). However, I did like the promotional art, and the cast includes a lot of seiyuu who I enjoy, so I thought it would at least be worth a chance, even if it turned out to be a forgettable, mediocre affair. Well, the first episode wasn't awful, but it did make me dread watching more. That's a pretty quick drop for a season in which I'm following relatively few shows, but maybe I'll give it another try if I encounter reliable reports later about the anime turning itself around.