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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 26 December 2017: Infini-T Force: Local girl finds hero inside her

Emi
Emi has an epiphany.

Infini-T Force is my surprise of the season, not because it was necessarily better than I was expecting, but rather because it got me to understand the appeal of its related superhero series and sentai-type antics in general. I typically have a very low tolerance for nonsense which I characterize as shounen jive. In particular, characters described as having "a strong sense of justice" irritate the Bejesus out of me and I usually avoid any such shows if at all possible out of general principle.

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Dated 18 September 2017: The Tsuredure Children are all right

Kaji and Akagi
Best couple.

Tsuredure Children started out as an online comic that turned into a published 4-koma before getting an anime adaptation. It consists mostly of relationship gags involving the students who go to the same high school, thus showcasing a variety of different attitudes and personalities among would-be lovebirds who generally know each other. I say "would-be" because it seems the majority of these couples are of the "he likes her, she likes, him, and both are too chickenshit to tell each other" variety. This is not to say they are all like this; there's a whole range of folks in this spectrum. On one end, we have the aggressive student body president whose forward approach seems to bother quite a few people on the Twitter, and on the other end we have Potato-kun, the spastic otaku who irritates the shit out of me. The main focus of the various stories concerns the difficulty of expressing feelings honestly, and depicts the various consequences of each approach

Yuki
Girlfriend 1, Imouto 0.

The show as a whole is pretty amusing, and a mostly straightforward adaptation of the comic, albeit in a truncated fashion because there are a whole mess of different couples in the comics. With only a single cours of half-length episodes to work with, a lot of my favorite characters only appear as cameos, if at all. Notably, the anime is sorely lacking in Patricia, whose running gags spill over into the stories of a number of other couples, including the (also missing) teacher-student pair. The anime also omits the musician who hides her secret identity (poorly) behind a mask that she refuses to remove. Thankfully, the anime does properly retain the visual gags involving the couples it does feature, and the timing for the gags are impeccable. I would be in favor of Tsuredure Children getting another season, but chances are it will remain in the single-cours pit along with other good romantic comedies that feature intersecting narratives such as Nijiiro Days and Hatsukoi Limited, alas.

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 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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