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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.

Dated 25 October 2022: Akiba Maid War was maid for me

Nagomi and Ranko
Nagomi is the main character, right?

Akiba Maid Sensou (Akiba Maid War) is fantastic. I initially had some reservations, but I gave it a try because it's an original anime and because I like the character designer. Maybe I didn't investigate the available information closely enough, or maybe the series was somewhat secretive about its content. Either way, I was mostly unprepared for what the show was actually going to be like.

Maids
I thought the show would be more like this most of the time.

As it turns out, Akiba Maid War is wild. Familiarity with the various stereotypes being smashed together probably would help to some degree, but it's likely not strictly necessary for one's enjoyment. It does seem this type of show is not for everyone, though, but at least curious viewers will probably be reasonably certain fairly quickly whether or not they are one of these people. At a minimum, any doubt will disappear by the end of the first episode.

Ranko
This is a spoiler, but it's probably only a spoiler if I tell you it's a spoiler.
P.S. Spoilers.

Through three episodes, Akiba Maid Sensou has easily exceeded any expectations I may have had for it. It will be absolutely incredible if the series can continue doing all the things it has been doing right so far. This is turning out to be an excellent anime season with a lot of good shows. Amazingly, they are also all entertaining for unrelated reasons.

Dated 18 October 2022: I can't tell who Urusei Yatsura is for

Lum and Ataru
Lum, you have no one but yourself to blame.

Despite how long I've been at least sort of aware of Urusei Yatsura as a property that exists, I've never really known anything about it. I knew it well enough to recognize Lum, but remained ignorant about essentially every other part of it.

Lum
Service.

In fact, I'm inclined to believe anything of substance that I did know about it came from a small mention in this blog post that SDS wrote a decade ago. Consequently, I didn't really know what to make of the news that the anime was returning for 2022, with Uesaka Sumire voicing Lum, no less.

Shinobu
The first time I saw this gag was in Love Hina, but I guess this must have come earlier.

Having watched the first episode now, the series seems sort of anachronistic. I don't mean that it's dated, but it does very much feel like a product of a different time. This is hardly surprising, considering the original manga began in 1978 and ended in 1987. The whole thing predates Heisei, let alone Reiwa. I don't know if the new anime is remaining true to the source material, but it feels as if it is, at least based on my aforementioned impressions that it's from a different time.

Lum and Ataru
Y'know, your two species probably can't procreate together.

Thus, it's not clear to me who is actually watching the new Urusei Yatsura. Is it aimed at new fans who are unfamiliar with the original? Or is it for older fans who loved the original manga and/or the 1981 anime and are eager to recapture some of that ol' Showa magic? When it comes to nostalgia, I tend to believe fans are often better off not revisiting things they loved in their youth—at least without being emotionally prepared to confront the reality that can often sour the experience.

Ataru
Land lines! Rotary phones!

It's not at all uncommon to discover that cartoons we loved as children were, in fact, really not all that good. This is not to say that Urusei Yatsura 2022 will produce the same sort of reactions. Hell, maybe it's better than ever. I haven't seen a lot of impressions of the first episode—good or bad—but probably that's just because I'm not adjacent to the sort of audiences that will either enthusiastically embrace (or violently reject) the new Urusei Yatsura anime.

Dated 27 September 2022: Summertime Render turned out to be pretty good

Hizuru and Shinpei
He'll be fine.

I haven't seen much discussion of Summertime Render during its two-cours run. This is understandable due to, ah, let's just say, "a variety of reasons," but it is sort of a shame because it's one of the better anime I've watched during 2022 so far. It's not the best one, but it's at least in good company, even if I can't quite figure out whether it's supposed to be Summertime Render, Summer Time Render, Summertime Rendering, or Summer Time Rendering. What a mess.

Shinpei, Ushio, and Mio
Ushio spends much of the show only wearing a swimsuit, but she gets by.

I started watching it because I figured it was going to be an anime about a ghost girlfriend haunting Potato-kun. It turns out it's more about time loops and the challenges faced when confronted by an adversary who is also able to exploit time loops. The events and where they fit in the timeline start to get somewhat complex, and does require a fair amount of attention if the viewer hopes to keep track of who knows what at each particular point in time. Fortunately, the characters have ways of copying and transfering memories quickly, so the show doesn't get bogged down with constant exposition to bewildered accomplices.

Mio
I like Mio's SAKANA shirt.

There is still one episode left in the Summertime Render anime, and I have no idea whether this will be mostly an epilogue, or whether it's going to be a high-intensity scramble to wring out the best-possible outcome from one last opportunity. Hell, I haven't even ruled out the chance that it's going to conclude the series on a cliffhanger. This is a cliffhanger-heavy show in general, so it would be in keeping with the tone of many of the previous episodes. Expect some griping on my part if that happens, though. Still, the source manga has concluded, so things will probably be fine for the final episode. Probably. Maybe.

Dated 16 August 2022: The Netflix is letting Kakegurui Twin ride

Mary
I appreciate the Nii Manabu character designs.

I'm aware the Netflix is reportedly performing below expectations (or at least below its ambitions) financially. I don't have a solution in mind, but I have to believe its practice of dumping shows all at once to support its "binge" model is detrimental to the sort of word-of-mouth promotional impact that would be available by releasing episodes weekly. This isn't a lament unique to Kakegurui Futago (Kakegurui Twin) either. It applies to nearly all anime that ends up on the U.S. Netflix.

Midari
You can tell it's a prequel because Midari isn't missing an eye yet.

I enjoy the Kakegurui manga enough to buy it (although I'm behind on Kakegurui Twin), but not enough to binge-watch Kakegurui Futago on the Netflix. (Or maybe I enjoy it too much to binge-watch?) In any case, I wish the series would have gotten a regular seasonal release instead. As far as the show itself goes, it appears to be a truncated adaptation of the manga. It sort of has to be, since the anime is only six episodes long, and there are 12 volumes and counting of the manga. Frankly, that sounds like a lot for a spin-off prequel, but I guess it could always start covering the main manga's events in parallel from Mary's point of view, if it hasn't had to do so already. I said I was behind, okay?

Dated 24 May 2022: Summertime Render got more interesting when its POV character changed

Hizuru
Hizuru just does this sometimes.

Summertime Render (alternatively, Summer Time Rendering or other variations) is a two-cours adaptation of a 13-volume manga. Really, I only started watching it as an excuse to expand my collection of posts containing the Ghost Girlfriends tag, even though the ghost girlfriend in question seems to be stuck wearing a swimsuit forever in the afterlife.

Shinpei and Mio
I originally thought Mio was a lot younger.

I'm not a huge fan of Potato-kun, but he's at least not ruining the show for me. Nevertheless, I did get a lot more interested in the series once the point of view in the latest episode shifted to the mysterious lady who was initially notable mostly for her prominent breasts. I'm going to claim it's because her perspective provided clarity and focus to some of the mysteries presented during the previous five episodes, but I can't rule out the possibility it's actually because I like her birth control glasses and Hikasa Youko coolness.

Hizuru
"My glasses are up here."

So is Summertime Render actually a good anime? Sort of? Maybe for sufficiently flexible definitions of good? Reactions to the series seem somewhat divided, and I've seen some unfavorable comparisons to Higurashi (which itself is a mixed bag as far as I'm concerned), but the underlying secrets are somewhat interesting and I've been enjoying the series so far.

Ushio
I find it odd Ushio's funeral was so soon after her death.

The increased importance of Hizuru within the story should offer better insights as the characters navigate the island's mysteries. Ideally, the series will also henceforth minimize the frequency of animeisms that it has occasionally been indulging in to its detriment. (Translation: It would be better if there were fewer scenes of Potato-kun faceplanting into Hizuru's cleavage or grilling Mio about her panties.)

Dated 16 February 2021: This is an IDOLY PRIDE spoiler, but I don't think it matters anymore

Mana
"I can see my house from here."

There are plenty of other shows I'm watching that I should probably write about instead, but y'all getting an IDOLY PRIDE update instead. Deal with it. Okay, so after six episodes, I don't know why there is a ghost. Mana gives Makino someone to talk to, but there's no reason why she needs to be dead. She could have just retired, or started her own production company instead, or any number of other options. Or she could still have died, but not returned as a ghost. So far, Mana returning as a ghost has had no meaningful impact on the story.

Mana and Makino
I wonder if Mana can change her outfit.

And we do have confirmation that she's an actual ghost (as opposed to a hallucination). One of the other idols can see her, although they haven't continued interacting after the episode with the initial revelation. If we're racking and stacking idols in the show, I do like Mana best, so I appreciate having her around, but I was sort of expecting her whole phantasmness to have a bigger role in shaping the IDOLY PRIDE lore. As far as I can tell, there aren't even any other ghosts in IDOLY PRIDE—former idols or otherwise.

Dated 26 January 2021: I could tell you about all the good anime I'm watching this season, or I could tell you about IDOLY PRIDE instead

Kotono
We can tell you're the kid sister because you look the same except for having darker hair.

Actually, wait, IDOLY PRIDE is pretty good too, or at least it is for sufficiently generous definitions of good. I started watching IDOLY PRIDE because it was described as an original anime and the PV made the show seem oddly sincere. Meaning, I was expecting a brand new entry into the idol wars to lean more on a gimmick of some sort. (See, for example, this season's Gekidol and its gimmick.) However, it looked as if IDOLY PRIDE would simply be a straightforward show about idols trying their best. [Spoilers: It is not.]

Kouhei and Mana
She is sort of distracting.

So yeah, there is a gimmick. (Spoilers from here on out.) One of the idols is a ghost. Well, not one of the idols in the troupe, but there is a ghost. Specifically, it's the older sister of the dour idol who has main-character hair. However, the only one who can see or hear her is her old manager (a former classmate from high school) who is now in charge of a lot of rookie idols. I'll need to go back and re-watch some scenes to be sure, but I suspect it's also entirely possible that there is no ghost and Manager Guy (Kouhei) is just cracking up. I mean, he does do that thing where he'll look in her direction and respond aloud to her while everyone else around him is deeply confused by his constant non sequiturs. I have to say that's probably a worrying trait to see in someone who is responsible for your career.

Kouhei and Mana
Mana doesn't cast reflections or shadows, but Kouhei appeared to feel her leaning on him.

Whether Mana actually is a ghost or just a constant hallucination that Kouhei can't shake, I'm enjoying the dynamic. I get the feeling a single-cours anime is not going to be long enough to get me invested in what the other idols have going on, but I am enjoying IDOLY PRIDE so far. In fact, I'm probably enjoying it somewhat disproportionately, since I'm not sure I can really characterize the show as being anything more than merely okay. Still, I'm eager to see where this is going, even though I suspect it would probably be better as a ghost-girlfriend romance than as an idol show about rookies doing their best.