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Dated 10 January 2023: Witch Gundam: Some people need killing, Suletta

Suletta
Space Oomfie.

As you may have noticed, I really enjoyed the first cours of Kidou Senshi Gundam: Suisei no Majo (Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury). I've watched so little from the Gundam franchise that I'm hazy on a lot of its common, recurring themes. Nevertheless, I at least know the depiction of death and the consequences of war are integral companions (in some way) to the cool-robot plastic-model-sales aspects.

Nika
Nika realizing how much extra work killing that guy is going to create for her.

However, I'm not well versed in terms of how Gundam presents these elements or how it communicates its perspectives about them. My assumption is that it adopts a "killing is bad" approach, but I'm willing to trust it at least has a more nuanced view than something like Sword Art Online II:

2016-01-08-18:16< Evirus> The robber had already killed one person and was about to shoot the mom, the teller, basically everyone. But sniper girl, who was like five at the time, managed to get the gun and shot the robber dead. And she was a pariah ever since, even to her mother.

ANYWAY, I don't know if this ultra-pacifist view crudely depicted in SAO II in any way accurately reflects a mainstream Japanese view, nor do I know if Gundam has anything similar. For the purpose of this blog post, I'm going go assume neither are true. That said, episode 12 of Kidou Senshi Gundam: Suisei no Majo ends with a violent death that leaves one of its leads shocked and deeply troubled.

Prospera and Suletta
At a minimum, Prospera is way better than Sinon's mother.

Now, the most important aspect of this character's reaction is her disbelief the person responsible for the killing could appear untroubled by the act. That is the critical focus of the scene, but the implication "all killing is bad" still looms. We'll have to wait until the second cours begins in April 2023 for more clarity on these points, but anything other than unambiguously concentrating on the mental-state aspect of the scene will appear alien to me.

Unidentified gunman
I think this qualifies as an imminent threat to life or bodily harm even if he's not using the sights.

The distinction derives from my inculcation in a common American belief that using deadly force is justified in the defense of others. The legality and scope of this doctrine varies by region and jurisdiction (as do American self-defense doctrines and perspectives as a whole, for that matter), but I presume it's at least much more common in the United States than it is in Japan. I just don't know how it's portrayed in Gundam.

Dated 20 December 2022: I'm so glad Isekai Ojisan is back

Sumika
The nephew's childhood friend is also great.

Originally a Summer 2022 show, Isekai Ojisan (Uncle from Another World) went on hiatus after its seventh episode due to, well, let's just say, "Circumstances," since I'm not confident the reasons I've seen expressed are necessarily complete. There may be some nuances or complexities on the production side that haven't been properly communicated to random-ass people like me.

Elf
I like the elf even though she doesn't bathe.

ANYWAY, Isekai Ojisan has returned for the remainder of the Autumn 2022 season, resuming where it left off. That's not a lot of content (I think the anime is going to be 13 episodes total), but I'll take what I can get. In any case, the gags remain fresh and funny, and expanding the cast of characters (read: increasing the harem's membership) has not diluted the purest fount of tsundere that I've encountered since basically ever. Haruka De Tomaso Pantera is SO GOOD in this show.

Dated 6 December 2022: I stopped caring about Delicious Party♡Precure

Secretoru
I'm dismayed I know so little about Secretoru even after 38 episodes.

Typically, when I lose interest in a series, I'll still say that it's fine and it's just that the show doesn't align with what I want to watch at the moment. Well, Delicious Party♡Precure is not fine. I don't really want to say that it's "bad," but I've watched a lot of children's anime, and this installment of Pretty Cure is uninspired, even for (especially for?) a kids' show. There's just not really a reason to watch it, I'm afraid.

Rosemary
Adults in Pretty Cure should be adversaries or appear only sparingly.

Delicious Party♡Precure doesn't do anything really objectionable, but perhaps that's its problem. The no-stakes way it handled Amane's Cure Finale arc is indicative of the show's broader problems. It doesn't really provide any reason for me to think anything that happens matters at all, and there's an unavoidable sense of arbitrariness and randomness to the storylines that make me wonder if writers are just punting any time there's a potential conflict and treating any obvious questions as unimportant nitpicks. I, at least, feel this contributes to my sense nothing matters, even within the narrow confines of a Pretty Cure series.

Black Pepper
At least two things wrong with the series are visible in this screenshot.

I suppose I'm compelled to make at least one food-based reference, so I guess I'll say Delicious Party♡Precure is neither a hearty meal nor a junk food snack. It's mostly just sort of bland and thin without any genuine substance or taste. There are still enough episodes remaining for the series to potentially pull off a strong finish, but it's looking almost certain now it will displace HappinessCharge Precure! as my least favorite installment of the franchise.

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 11 October 2022: Akulas is not Bakarina

Aileen
If you were really pulling on her arms, those gloves would slip off and she would escape.

First of all, I don't even know if anyone is actually referring to Akuyaku Reijou nano de Last Boss wo Kattemimashita (I'm the Villainess so I'm Taming the Final Boss) as Akulas. Hell, probably as many viewers thought of Otome Game no Hametsu Flag Shika Nai Akuyaku Reijō ni Tensei Shiteshimatta... (My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!) as either Hamehura or Hamefura as they did Bakarina. These light novel titles are an absolute nightmare.

Lilia
Lilia seems really boring and irrelevant, so I'm expecting some huge twist later.

ANYWAY, Akulas, like Bakarina, is an isekai about a girl who reincarnates as a villainess character from a video game that she's been playing. The series is about her efforts to avoid the unfortunate fate that she remembers her character ultimately suffering in the game. Then something-something "the friends we made along the way."

Claude
You can tell he's supposed to be the evil one because of the way he's dressed.

Consequently, comparisons between Akulas and Bakarina are natural, although the two series don't appear to have much else in common, at least not through the first three episodes of Akuyaku Reijou nano de Last Boss wo Kattemimashita. As far as differences go, the Akulas lead is trying to team up with the game world's end boss (who inadvertently kills her character in the game), whereas Bakarina herself concentrates primarily on reversing her inherited character's reputation for being a cunt.

Cedric
Way to fuck it up, you stupid asshole. Now you're left with nothing. Nothing!
Nothing except for your wealth, power, and the girl who you wanted to marry.

Notably, Aileen from I'm the Villainess so I'm Taming the Final Boss seems much more intelligent than Catarina from My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! who—bless her heart—is dumb as all Hell. As far as the shows themselves go, I watched two seasons of Bakarina, and still like it enough that I guess I would still watch more. Thanks to its early start, I'm already a quarter of the way through Akulas. It seems all right, but I'm not especially interested in it. I don't really have any complaints about the series; it's just not my thing. But maybe Lilia will stab someone in the neck later.

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 23 August 2022: Isekai Ojisan is brilliant

Elf and Uncle
Oh my God. These two are so good.

It turns out Isekai Ojisan (Uncle from Another World) is a lot funnier than I would have expected of an isekai parody. Actually, I guess it's not really even necessarily a parody. It just happens to subvert expectations by tackling all the stereotypical tropes the wrong way. There have only been five episodes so far due to a Covid-related two-week delay after the fourth episode, but every installment has been solid.

Elf
I want to know how her armor does that.

I've only read a few chapters of the manga, but this anime adaptation is outstanding. In particular, Koyasu Takehito as the Sega-obsessed uncle and Haruka DeTomaso Pantera as the elf girl from the other world are perfect. The anime also has a somewhat crude appearance to it (as does the original manga) that fits well with the gags, and the comic timing is right on. Seeing as how there are eight volumes of the ongoing manga so far, I have to assume there's more to the series than just non-stop anecdotes of the uncle's isekai misadventures, but I'd honestly be okay with it either way.

Dated 12 July 2022: I'm too old to enjoy Engage Kiss, but I still do

Kisara
You can tell she's serious because she changed clothes.

I have to concede Engage Kiss is "bad" by the standards I'm probably supposed to apply when evaluating anime. It embodies a number of qualities I associate with juvenile shows that cater to teenage boys. For one thing, the protagonist is a schlub who starts the series with two women (well, one woman, and one high school girl who is actually a demon, so she's probably hundreds of years old, if conventions hold) who are interested in him romantically for no clear reason.

Kisara
It's like Fruits Basket Face, except less sane.

However, the first two episodes do embrace a refreshingly carefree approach to old tropes that's sort of nostalgic in this modern era dominated instead by newer (but no less inane) clichés, and governed by sensibilities that are limiting without necessarily making things better. It's in this environment that Engage Kiss manages to shine, with some surprisingly satisfying gags that work well because the setting and premise are both absurd.

Kisara
Durable dress.

It's the little things, like hiding Tupperware® under a dress, or perfecting just-in-time delivery without resorting to drones, or broke shitbags shamelessly bumming cigarettes that really sell me on this series. Or maybe I just like the idea of a yandere demon employee because I haven't actually watched very many shows featuring yandere characters, so the stereotype still feels fresh to me.

Kisara
She seems nice.

Whatever the reason is, and I admit I'm not trying very hard to justify my affection for this bad (it's only mildly bad, okay!) show, I am rather enjoying it so far. It manages to feel both familiar and new at the same time, and it doesn't drag. I can't promise it will turn out to be capital-G Good at any point, but I've watched a lot worse.