Version 5.4 ~ Haruhi gave rock and roll to you.
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Dated 6 November 2017: Net-juu no Susume shows it's not easy being an elite NEET

Morika
I don't know if it's better or worse that she's not just having everything delivered.

Net-juu no Susume (Recovery of an MMO Junkie) is about a woman who voluntarily drops out of the rat race to become, as she calls it, an 373370 N3370. Well, she says it instead of typing it out in 1337, but you get the idea. She starts playing a massively multiplayer online role-playing game, gets herself a bigger monitor for her PC, and basically lets herself go. She doesn't even bother to clean herself up a bit before heading to the convenience store for food. It's a miracle her solar-powered cat gets any light at all. Through five episodes (of only 10, apparently?), the show is not so much about why she's done this, but rather more about the characters and players she interacts with and some of the difficulties she encounters trying to keep her real identity separate from her game identity.

Morika and Yuuta
At least she still cleans up good.

Ultimately, my main draws are Noto Mamiko voicing Morioka Moriko and Ueda Reina as Lily, one of the video game characters. Netojū has moved reasonably quickly when it comes to setting up the video game characters and having their players meet. This is definitely the sort of show which would suffer if it dragged out the corresponding revelations, particularly since all the players seems to live remarkably close to each other. Ultimately, I'm not expecting anything too grand from Net-jū no Susume. It's sufficient to me that Noto Mamiko and Ueda Reina are in it, since I genuinely enjoy their performances here. It's also noteworthy that all the characters in the show are adults, even if their judgment at times might not be particular mature. It certainly feels a lot more genuine than, say, Inuyashiki, which I had prematurely expected to be this season's "adult in the room." [Spoilers: It was not.]

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 6 February 2017: Seiren pulls out of its nosedive

Tooru
A challenger appears.

The first arc of Seiren was a stunning disappointment. It was inept in almost wholly unoriginal ways, which made it doubly worse because this meant it should have been able to avoid all its missteps. The first episode of its second arc, however, gets the next route off to a good start by revisiting some of the elements that made Seiren's Amagami SS predecessor at least memorable, even if it was not exactly capital-G Good.

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Dated 18 May 2015: It's not just the books that disappeared, Yuki-chan

Kyon, Ryoko, Haruhi, Yuki, and Koizumi
Small gods move in mysterious ways.

I still enjoy the Haruhi franchise quite a bit, even in its Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan guise. For the most part, the characters remain true to their established forms, with the notable exception of Yuki herself. You wouldn't expect this to be problematic, since the entire premise of Nagato Yuki-chan no Shoushitsu is that it takes place in an alternate reality based on the Suzumiya Haruhi no Shoushitsu book and movie. However, Yuki-chan from the television anime is neither the "original" Nagato nor her alternate counterpart from the 2010 feature film.

Yuki and Kyon
It's funny because she's short.

Disappearance movie Nagato is quiet and incredibly meek, but Disappearance TV Yuki is sort of spacey and oblivious instead in a clumsy sort of way that's supposed to make her appear cute. She already has an established friendship with Kyon, which at least provides a framework for the overarching story about her crush on him, but she's also clearly not alt.movies.nagato warmed up a bit. Part of the difference is how this Yuki plays video games constantly instead of spending all of her time reading. I'm not entirely sure what inspired this change. Some have postulated it makes her more relatable to the show's target demographic, but I wonder if it's actually to make her appear less introspective and thus reinforce the sort of clueless, helpless vibe she currently extrudes? In any case, it's not a good change, but also not bad enough to sink the entire series, thanks to Haruhi still being Haruhi and doing all the in-character Haruhi things Her faithful have come to expect of their small god.

Dated 10 April 2015: The most fucked-up moment of Shirobako

Sakaki
This one is only medium-fucked-up.

No, not this one.

THIS ONE:

SEGA DREAMCAST 4
I would pre-order one.

Granted, the show is not meant to be entirely realistic, but this is just dirty.

Dated 4 February 2015: Kantai Collection for the casual landlubber

Kongou
Kongou sure knows how to make an entrance.

Everything I know about Kantai Collection (also known as Kancolle) comes from secondary sources. Specifically, I have absolutely zero first-hand knowledge of the popular game. Of what I do know, I gleaned probably eight percent from anime heads on The Twitter, various bloggers, and IRC drones.  The remaining 92% I learned from hydrodynamic fan art. Some of these illustrations, no doubt, potentially promote misleading characteristics of various Kantai Collection boats, if not the franchise as a whole.

Shimakaze
Apparently nobody has had the heart to tell Shimakaze
that she mistook a shampoo hat for a skirt.

Through the first four episodes, it's apparent some knowledge and enthusiasm for the game is necessary in order to fully appreciate the Kantai Collection anime. The show is wall-to-wall cameos clearly intended to stoke ardent fans of underappreciated boat girls. The characters also occasionally holler non sequiturs that are obviously catchphrases from the game's voiced components. Some of the game mechanics also found their way into the show despite not making a whole lot of sense from a narrative standpoint. Still, the project seems well done and there's a palpable sense of affection that comes across so that I at least feel as if people in the shipyard care about the fleet.

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 24 November 2013: All right, I'm ready to rewatch THE iDOLM@STER TV

Miki
Miki has pretty good hair for someone who sleeps so much.

As you might expect, THE iDOLM@STER TV anime is a bit different if you're already familiar with the characters, their songs, and the dances. The first time I watched the series, I merely had a general understanding of the franchise at best, with most of what I knew coming from (once again) the fan art or from criticisms I had heard of the "apocryphal" Xenoglossia series from years back. I'm still largely ignorant of the gameplay, but I've at least been exposed to the music, more of the fandom, and Haruhi knows how many hours of all-singing, all-dancing videos on YouTube and NicoVideo. I've also played enough Shiny Festa to know I'm pretty terrible at it.

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