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Dated 22 May 2017: Only one character remains on the Saekano balance beam

Megumi
The face of a Best Girl trapped in a harem comedy with a loathsome protagonist.

Despite some very questionable components, I liked the first season of Saekano a decent amount. Unfortunately, its Saenai Heroine no Sodate-kata♭ sequel (How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend Flat) isn't working for me. All of the problems I have with the show were present during the first season, but either the execution was better or I was simply more willing to accept its shortcomings, something I acknowledged when I blogged about it. Ultimately, it's Potato-kun being a shitbag and the show's proselytization of the Otaku Virtues that kill my enthusiasm for Saekano Flat. These are the sort of bits that can sort of work from a meta perspective when lightly used, but the heavier a show relies on these tropes, the less meta it feels and the more bona fide it becomes. And then you just end up with regular ol' tsundere bullshit and a harem comedy gravity well which pulls inversely proportional to its hold on reality.

Utaha
I bet those boxes are empty.

What I'm left with is loathing for Potato-kun and open disdain for every other character on the show with the sole exception of Megumi, who has rocketed so far ahead in the show's Best Girl standings that she can almost assuredly boat race the rest of the competition from here on out. And this is nearly entirely a consequence of her (thus far, through six episodes and one pool-romp prologue) refusal to go along with Tomoya's high-intensity idiocy. That said, I'm still not quite as hostile to the show as these couple of paragraphs might suggest, so it's not as if I intend to drop it. I'm just disappointed Saekano Flat keeps tumbling into avoidable pitfalls. The show is unworthy of its animation and its Misaki Kurehito superlovely character designs. I guess it does deserve the glare of displeased long-hair Megumi, though.

Dated 17 August 2016: Masou Gakuen HxH is not the second coming of Seikon no Qwaser

Hayuru
Masou Gakuen HxH leads off the first episode with the Japanese girl in a cold open.

Although trashy fan service shows aren't exactly rare, the full-on, uncensored, blatantly gratuitous ones aren't particularly common either. In recent memory, there was Valkyrie Drive: Mermaid (which I haven't seen yet), and the ever-popular High School DxD series (which is relatively tame as far as these sorts of things go). This season, we have Masou Gakuen HxH (Hybrid x Heart Magias Academy Ataraxia) which is sort of like IS: Infinite Stratos except that in Masou Gakuen, Potato-kun's purpose is to recharge the girls' fighting ability through the power of arousal rather than just standing around wondering why they're all angry with him.

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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 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.

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Dated 2 April 2016: In re Rainbow Days

Natsuki and Anna
Sure, just stand there watching her sleep. It's not weird or nothin'.

I only started watching Nijiiro Days (Rainbow Days) because I thought it was going to be about a dude getting cockblocked by his friends as he attempts to hook up with some girl from his school. It turns out I was dead wrong about a critical part of that premise (his friends are actually trying to help him get with the girl), but it also turned out the show is pretty good even without cockblocking, jerkface friends.

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Dated 21 December 2015: Shomin Sample needs more Hara Yumi

Aika
Aika reminds me too much of Chiwa from Oreshura.

I would not have watched Ore ga Ojou-sama Gakkou ni "Shomin Sample" Toshite Gets♥Sareta Ken (Shomin Sample: I Was Abducted by an Elite All-Girls School as a Sample Commoner) except for the fact that Hara Yumi (the voice of Takane in THE iDOLM@STER and Yuuko in Tasogare Otome x Amnesia) is in it and somebody (whose trustworthiness is now shot) insisted the manga is funny. As it turns out, Hara Yumi is barely in it at all, and the anime—regardless of how the manga or light novel might be—is not funny. At best, I can merely say that it could have been a lot worse.

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Dated 5 November 2015: I'm not sure if Saekano succeeds because of its source material or in spite of it

Megumi
Nice hat.

Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata (Saekano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend) is an anime adaptation of an ongoing series of light novels about a group of high school kids developing a visual novel game for Comiket. It's a harem comedy and relies heavily on tropes and common character archetypes. Tomoya is an unapologetic otaku clad in birth-control glasses. His tsundere childhood friend is hopelessly in love with him, but naturally he's completely oblivious. Since she is in a harem comedy, Eriri has plenty of competition from more aerodynamic rivals who offer Potato-kun the green light early and often. Really, the only reason the "YES" embroidery on his bedroom pillow isn't completely worn down is due to the preservative powers of the Otaku Virtues. The damn shit's better than Woolite.

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Dated 23 October 2015: If you're not watching 35th Platoon for Ueda Reina, I can only assume you're watching it for Itou Kanae

Mari and Ouka
I don't understand why they wear belts with suspenders,
let alone TWO belts with suspenders.

Wondering why a company has 35 platoons is the least confusing part of Tai-Madō Gakuen 35 Shiken Shōtai (Anti-Magic Academy: The 35th Test Platoon). Indeed, most of the show makes no sense to me, largely because I find it difficult to remain engaged enough to follow along with what's happening. Everything about it seems rather low-effort and perplexing. Why is the sniper girl even a character? What does she bring to the show? She's been dead weight through three episodes, so I guess she's there for comic relief. (Read: Random breast groping, because it's definitely not sexual assault as long as the perpetrator is also female.)

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