Version 5.4 ~ Haruhi gave rock and roll to you.
karmaburn.com karmaburn.com

Dated 22 November 2022: Collecting Kantai with the ships you have

Shigure
I like Shigure because she has nice hair.

Is it necessary to watch the first season of Kantai Collection before watching the current anime? No, but it turns out the answer is no for an atypical reason: Because it wouldn't help. This is to say that my ignorance of Kancolle as a franchise—despite having watched the first anime nearly EIGHT YEARS AGO still leaves me with an incomplete understanding about KanColle: Itsuka Ano Umi de (KanColle: Let's Meet at Sea). I've also watched the movie. That doesn't help, either.

Mogami
I might have recognized you if you had more fan art.

Through three episodes (it started late), there's nothing I remember of the previous Kancolle anime that would assist me with the second season. What would really help is a greater understanding of the video game. I would probably also benefit from being more familiar with the actual ships and the naval battles they joined. As it is, I am less invested in the show and its events than I think it wants me to be.

Shigure
Looks humid.

This is not to say that the anime is confusing or difficult to follow, though. The plot so far is straightforward and the characters' motivations are not unclear. What I'm missing are ties to the characters themselves, since I basically don't know any of them. Shigure, the lead, I only know because an old anime blogger used to post about her regularly. She seems okay, but I don't expect to be as moved as I might otherwise be if the season really does turn out to be about her survivor's guilt.

Kongou
Are you going to die this season?

Of course, I don't genuinely know if an emotional connection with these boats is really going to be necessary to get the most out of the long-awaited second season of Kantai Collection. The opening episodes have had a much more serious tone and higher stakes than what I remember of the first season. This could change, but we're quite a distance away at the moment from curry battles and friends who poi all day and POI POI POI all night. Kongou did briefly appear in the most recent episode, though. Maybe her BURNING LOVE remains unquenched.

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 8 February 2022: Girls' Frontline: ✅ Shoot, ☐ Move, ✅ Communicate, ☐ Do Cute Things

M4 SOPMOD II
I do love me some Yukarin.

Having an interest in firearms did not enhance my interest in the Girls' Frontline anime. My unfamiliarity with the video game was probably also a significant limiting factor. From an outsider's perspective, the first two episodes of Girls' Frontline (also known as Dolls' Frontline because of...reasons) featured tedious, protracted gun battles during which an endless stream of gunfire was exchanged until one side was sufficient attrited enough for the episode to concentrate on something else. It didn't make for great storytelling.

MP5
I didn't watch long enough to figure out if people are constantly slapping MP5.

Girls' Frontline is hardly the first "girls with guns" anime to have this problem. It's not even the first "girls who are guns" show to suffer in this way. Enjoying this anime requires either having pre-formed opinions about the characters (such as from already enjoying the video game) or dismissing things such as development and motivation as less important than appearance.

M16A1
I appreciate that M16A1 shoots left-handed.

In any case, I had no interest in watching anime versions of what I assume are battles based on game events. It seems weird to admit, but I would have had more interest in Girls' Frontline if there were no fights at all. Cute Guns Doing Cute Things probably isn't exactly the sort of gimmick most people wanted to watch, but I would have been more interested in that than in what we actually got.

Dated 12 May 2020: Log Horizon isn't funny

Minori and Akatsuki
Minori and Akatsuki realize they are rivals.

I finished my re-watch of Log Horizon. It did not go as well as I was expecting. I remembered liking the series more in the past. Objectively, this is still true. I know this because I keep track of my ratings for individual anime episodes on a spreadsheet. (This was originally a joke, but then I kept doing it. See this, for example.) So I can technically quantify numerically specifically how much liked the series more in the past, even though I didn't score the second season very high to begin with. In any case, I liked the series less overall the second time around. That's not doing the upcoming third season any favors. There are two basic problems I have with the anime.

Lenessia and Crusty
You know you like it.

First, none of the jokes work for me. This includes the recurring gags involving Naotsugu and Akatsuki. There wasn't a reason to repeat them beyond the first episode. Then Tetora shows up in the second season. And fuuuck, Tetora is not amusing. None of those jokes work either. The other problem is the inverse relationship between the characters' reported ages and the maturity levels of their behavior. Well, at least that's the way it seems for the girls.

Nyanta and Serara
I seriously thought Serara was 12.

The worst offenders are Marielle (28), Henrietta (28), and Serara (16). Marielle is whiny and petulant, constantly throwing literal tantrums about the work she has to do. (She's sort of in charge.) Henrietta is obsessed with molesting Akatsuki and does so at every opportunity. Serara is the nekosexual girl who really, really, really likes Nyanta. All of these characters and their behavior are played for laughs. None of it is funny. On the other hand, Minori is only 14, and the princess who ends up saving her kingdom when the men in charge couldn't get their shit together is only 15. Presumably they'll be older during season three, though. Maybe they'll become less mature in keeping with the rest of the show.

Dated 21 April 2020: Something something DATABASE [or] re-watching Log Horizon

Shiroe
That collar would be so uncomfortable

Log Horizon is much, much better than typical isekai fare. However, as an anime, it's perhaps not as entertaining as people make it out to be. I suspect it's probably better as a book. This is my second time watching the anime, and I like it about the same now as I did originally, but there are definitely parts of it I find less interesting than others. There is a lot of info-dumping, for example, and there are a few arcs that I simply don't care about, such as kids learning the hard way how to be adventurers because nobody will listen to Minori.

Isuzu
I guess he's fine when he doesn't talk.

With regard to that particular arc, Log Horizon deliberately made the boys shounen-type dipshits in order to make Minori a more sympathetic character. I guess it's working, because Minori is the only member of that party I care about. I appreciate that Rudy has an actual character arc, but he was way too annoying in the beginning. It was unrecoverable. It also helped that Shiroe reached out to Minori instead of her brother when the two of them were slaves in an MMORPG sweatshop. I guess he liked her better, too.

Minori
Minori getting shit done.

The mentoring Shiroe provides to Minori, her shounen-type dipshit brother, and other characters does make Shiroe more likable. Most fans of the show point to Shiroe's various schemes and plans when identifying his attributes, but I think those are less important than his penchant for helping people. I mean, the craftiness is neat, too, but I think that aspect gets overstated when fans highlight the elements that differentiate Log Horizon from other isekai anime. The problem is you'll run up against a bunch of questions you're meant to ignore if you think too hard about how those plans of his work out. In comparison, despite being simple and straightforward, the mentoring thing remains compelling because other shows often try to prop up their protagonists by focusing on how great they are at everything. (For example, consider Kirito from Sword Art Online.) Conversely, Shiroe's whole shtick is that he makes other people better.

Henrietta and Akatsuki
Henrietta's relentless harassment is fine because they're both girls, right?

There are a lot of characters in Log Horizon, and I like most of the ones who are not shounen-type dipshits, but I could do without the jokes some of them are stuck with. For example, every gag involving Akatsuki. It's a shame, because I'd probably like Akatsuki quite a bit without them. She's at least a fan favorite even despite those tired jokes.

Lenessia
They definitely just wanted to dress up the princess in ridiculous clothes.

I do wish Log Horizon explored the NPCs more, though. I'm more interested in how they handle sharing their world with immortal superbeings. The show does address this to some degree, but still think it deserves more attention. Perhaps there is a stronger focus on this in the books, and I'll get my wish when season three starts in October. Well, if it starts in October. Just don't put all the attention on shounen-type dipshit NPCs, okay.

Dated 24 March 2020: Four thoughts about Fate/Grand Order: Absolute Demonic Front Babylonia; the third one will shock you

Ana
Ana is a good girl.

Firstly, I fully expected to find Fate/Grand Order: Zettai Majuu Sensen Babylonia (Fate/Grand Order: Absolute Demonic Front Babylonia) mostly incomprehensible, since I was basically ignorant about its lore aside from what I managed to glean via the Twitter and from the copious amounts of fan art devoted to the franchise. This did, indeed, turn out to be the case. It certainly does not help that Fate/Baby was episode seven within its underlying Fate GO game's narrative.

Leonardo and Romani
Leonardo never pulled up a chair of her own.

Secondly, none of that mattered, since the animation in Fate/Grand Order: Absolute Demonic Front Babylonia was frickin' amazing. It was literally so good that the story was inconsequential. It's worth watching just because it looks so good. I know in a post-Shirobako world we're not supposed to mention the B-word, but the anime adaptation of a franchise that prints money clearly had resources available to it, that, say, Cop Craft did not. The animation in Cop Craft gave me the impression people were doing the best they could in the face of adversity they did not control. The animation in Babylonia made me think animators were showing off and trying to outdo each other week after week.

Ishtar
Believe it, baby.

Thirdly, these conditions serendipitously produced the best variant of Tohsaka Rin (Toosaka, whatever) of all time. Even better than Kaleido Ruby. I don't actually know why Ishtar looks like Rin from Fate/stay night. I literally could not break it down for you even though the show explicitly addressed it, and I've read the various summaries found in wikis for the game and whatnot. I find these explanations unsatisfactory. In any event, it doesn't matter. All you need to know is that Ishtar is a game-breaking home run. Oh, and Ereshkigal is okay, too.

Gilgamesh
It turns out Gilgamesh was a lot more chill back in the day.

Finally, Fate/Grand Order: Zettai Majuu Sensen Babylonia was a really loud show. I don't think the show streamed with a discrete LFE channel (I didn't check), but it was at least mixed in such a way that every episode got considerable use out of my subwoofer. Planet With was sort of like this too, but it was sort of unpleasant during Planet With. On the other hand the deep impacts and 'splosions in Fate/Baby were really satisfying. I keep telling people not to skimp on the audio portion when setting up their preferred viewing space, whether it be a television or a computer. Hopefully, fans of Babylonia followed this practice as well. Totally worth it.

Dated 15 October 2019: I'm pretending to watch Fate/Grand Order: Zettai Majuu Sensen Babylonia for reasons other than Ishtar

Ishtar, Mash, Fou, and Ritsuka
Potato-kun, are you wearing capri pants on this expedition?

The actual story and lore associated with Fate/Grand Order is incomprehensible to me because everything I know about it comes from secondary or tertiary sources such as people on the Twitter talking about the game, or from its fan art, or from people on the Twitter talking about the game's fan art. And while I have a semi-coherent understanding of the original Fate/stay night game, the currently airing Fate/Grand Order: Zettai Majuu Sensen Babylonia (Fate/Grand Order: Absolute Demonic Front Babylonia) anime is so removed from those origins that what I do know doesn't help at all. Compounding the problem, the anime seems to be adapting the seventh major arc of the FGO game, so there's an implied understanding that viewers should be familiar with the equivalent of six previous seasons. After the prologue and two proper episodes (plus the Fate/Grand Order -First Order- OVA), I'm still sort of lost.

Ishtar
I can't rule out the possibility Marisa stole Ishtar's shit.

Thankfully, it seems recognizing references or knowing all the lore is not strictly necessary to enjoying the Fate/Grand Order: Zettai Majuu Sensen Babylonia anime. For one thing, it looks fantastic, and is probably the first solid example of a show where I can clearly identify 3DCG elements without having any of it bother me at all. (Okay, the lions bother me a little bit.) For example, flowing water actually looks as if it belongs in the same world. Additionally, the action scenes are entertaining, albeit rather busy. There is a lot of shit going on and a lot of cuts that seem designed to impress via fancy animation. Well, they are fancy, and I am impressed, but I think I'd prefer a less frantic style. Really, though, these are minor complaints on my part at best (even the stuff about the incomprehensible lore). As a matter of general principle, I'll almost certainly continue to watch Fate/Grand Order: Absolute Demonic Front Babylonia for as long as it runs, providing it periodically features Ishtar doing Ishtar-type things.

Dated 20 August 2018: I'm still watching ISLAND for some reason

Setsuna and Rinne
This counts as chemistry, right?

I started watching ISLAND basically for the same reason as Anime War Crime Tribunal. I.e., hoping it would be entertainingly bad. I guess not entirely for the same reason. I'm also partially in it for the Yukarin lead and, uh, I guess maybe that's it. Unfortunately, ISLAND has been mostly unremarkable. It does have some wacky twists and unexpected revelations, but they are the sort that mostly just don't make much sense and not the variety that might stun you with disbelief. I guess I'm complaining that it is not sufficiently schlock.

(more…)