Version 5.4 ~ Haruhi gave rock and roll to you.
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Dated 19 March 2016: AIRBORNE! P.S. Gate spoilers.

F-4 Phantom II fighters
FOX ONE.

Episode 23 of Gate: Jietai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri featured the most realistic depiction of an airborne operation I've ever seen in an anime. Although I guess I need to qualify that statement by mentioning the second-most realistic depiction of an airborne operation I've ever seen in an anime is the first episode of, uh, Coyote Ragtime Show. You know, the part with the maids. Nevertheless, the mere fact that the Japan Self-Defense Forces conducted the operation in phases—eliminating air defense and establishing air supremacy first before dropping paratroopers into Empire territory—is leaps and bounds ahead of the sort of thing you see in most anime ostensibly about war. Heavy Object, I'm looking in your direction....

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Dated 3 May 2015: Fate/stay spoilers matter

Saber
At least they didn't make her bend over the entire time.

I'm looking forward more to the upcoming Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya 2wei Herz! series than I am to each weekly installment of Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works. This is not because I think the former is a much better series. (I was only moderately impressed with the last Prisma☆Illya installment.) On the contrary, ufotable's adaptation of Unlimited Blade Works has been excellent thus far, so I should like it more than I do. True, the Fate/stay franchise itself carries a lot of baggage, but the fact that this baggage exists isn't what's affecting my anticipation so much. It's because I already I know what happens for the most part.

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Dated 23 April 2015: Will watch for twin braids and talking cats

Rokumon and Mamiya
Feeding a stray cat in your bedroom is good way to get fleas.

I'm not too enamored with the current season so far. It's not bad, but there's nothing that I'm really looking forward to each week. The closest thing so far is the second half of Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works, but even though it's done really well and a better adaptation of its source material than anyone has any right to expect, it's still just Fate/stay night. Kyoukai no Rinne isn't exactly thrilling to watch, but it currently occupies my number-two spot after three episodes simply by being sort of amusing and because I like the way it looks.

Rokudo, Mamiya, and Rokumon
Who didn't see this coming?

Someone with a better understanding of anime and manga history can probably comment better on the style used for the Kyoukai no Rinne anime and how it relates to its Takahashi Rumiko heritage. I can only tell you that it looks really nice in a pleasant kid's show sort of way that fits really well with Mamiya's surprisingly calm reactions to the arguably freaky shit that happens around her every damn day. It's actually a good thing Kyoukai no Rinne is presented in that style, to be honest. A twin-braid Inoue Marina-voiced girl who bums around in raglan shirts would be some powerful service otherwise.

Dated 30 December 2014: Fate stay/night: Unlimited Blade Works is still good even though it's no Carnival Phantasm

Rin
Nice couch.

The first cour of Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works is quite good despite all the problems in its source material. This is a testament to ufotable's deft execution, because that source material is sufficiently flawed that it could easily turn into a train wreck in less capable hands. The mythology behind the Holy Grail War is so preposterous that it seems more appropriate for any Fate/stay night adaptation to play it safe and simply be a straight-up farce like Carnival Phantasm. It's a credit to ufotable that I don't spend every moment of every episode asking perfectly reasonable questions such as, "Why hasn't Berserker killed them yet? Why isn't he killing them now?"

Shirou and Saber
Saber could use some coaching.

The first cour of Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works legitimately is good, though. The action sequences are exceptionally well done, the production values are great all around, and (most amazingly) Emiya Shirou does not come across as a shitheel. Unfortunately, this is a split-cour series, so we're going to have to wait until spring to find out what manner of CGI euphemism we'll get this time around. Who knows, maybe ufotable will actually animate the sex scene? J.C. Staff did that with Shingetsutan Tsukihime, the first anime adaptation of a TYPE-MOON game (Internet memes notwithstanding), even if it turned out that vampires don't have nipples.

Dated 9 December 2014: ufotable's Fate/stay night would be a lot better if it wasn't for Fate/stay night

Saber
Saber works better as a supporting character than as a lead.

I'm not entirely convinced Fate/stay night needed a remake. Whipping boy Studio DEEN's first adapted this TYPE-MOON game in 2006 with the Saber-centric "Fate" route, followed by a 2010 movie based on the Rin-tastic "Unlimited Blade Works" route. Logically, the Sakura-suffering "Heaven's Feel" route should be next, but it appears ufotable plans on adapting it (as a movie) after animating their own "Unlimited Blade Works" project, this time as a television series that sort of succeeds ufotable's 2011 Fate/Zero prequel.

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Dated 2 November 2014: Not a bad season for Ayako fans

Sento and Moffle
A gentleman takes off his hat indoors, Moffle.

Kawasumi Ayako is in three shows this season. She returns as the regal Saber in ufotable's adaptation of Fate/stay night, she's back as the not entirely forthright LRIG Hanayo in selector spread WIXOSS, and she voices a surly (male) mascot in Amagi Brilliant Park.

Saber
Saber, that outfit's wearing you.

Ayako's Saber remains basically the same as her previous turns as Saber (excepting the farcical Carnival Phantasm), meaning she's generally pretty good and has some neat battle cries, but doesn't otherwise offer a lot of range since Saber is fairly taciturn. Her Hanayo has been largely absent from the initial episodes of selector infected WIXOSS. The show has thus far been churning through apparently endless amounts of grief involving other (read: inferior) characters. This basically leaves Moffle in Amagi Brilliant Park—an amusing character with occasional mugging, but Moffle is no Nodame, I'm afraid. These days, however, I'll take what I can get.

Dated 10 July 2012: Spring 2012 season wrapup

Rin, Yuka, Saki, and Natsumi
Rin, Saki, and Natsumi realize by now that Yuka
with an idea can be a dangerous thing.

I've already explained why Natsuiro Kiseki is my favorite show from spring 2012. However, I didn't mention how shabby the animation looks at times. I'm really surprised to see such lapses from Sunrise, but the show is otherwise so good I'm willing to ignore those faults.

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Dated 31 July 2009: Kara no Kyoukai 6 is pretty awesome

Azaka, Mikiya, and Shiki
I'm still waiting for ufotable to animate a show entirely via claymation.

It surprises me not at all that the sixth installment of Kara no Kyoukai is excellent—the first five were excellent as well. However, Kara no Kyoukai 6 is awesome in ways I wasn't expecting.

Shiki
Wait, why is Shiki dressed like a nun?

Sure, the music is top notch. The score she is producing for this title may be some of Yuki Kajirua's best work. That I already knew. Likewise, the fights are of the caliber a fan of these films would come to expect. What I wasn't expecting was discovering Azaka is a character from seemingly a completely different show.

Azaka
Kara no Kyoukai ~Only Love~

Much of Kara no Kyoukai 6 feels like parody because the tone is so different compared to the first five. Plus there are those eerie Marimite vibes. And Azaka's moe blob imouto roots. The Hell did that come from? And also Azaka kinda talks like a cross between a Kugimiya Rie stereotype and genki-time Mimiru from .hack//SIGN.

Shiki, Azaka, and Mikiya
Azaka bursts in on Shiki and Mikiya. Don't you ever knock, sis?

"GEH," I shit you not. It works, though, and ufotable wisely minimizes Azaka's and Mikiya's screen time together to duck those very moe blob pitfalls in the most lighthearted installment of Kara no Kyoukai yet. Alas, now my wait begins anew for the seventh movie.