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Dated 27 May 2019: I probably would have stopped watching Fruits Basket by now if it weren't Fruits Basket

Tohru
Death to those who make Honda Tohru cry.

I am enjoying the new Fruits Basket anime mostly as a matter of general principle. It's well done, and hits all the right marks that I think it ought to, but I'm frankly not especially into it. Somewhat appropriately, this is how I felt about the first Fruits Basket anime as well. I don't even remember exactly when I watched it, but I do know it was several years after it aired and already regarded as a classic. Despite going in without knowing anything about the story, I did enjoy the 2001 Fruits Basket, no small part due to being a Horie Yui fan. In fact, I even bought the DVDs in 2009 (although I haven't re-watched the show). Still, even though I thought the show was quite good, it still wasn't the sort of show I typically watch, so I wasn't quite as invested in it as its more ardent fans tend to be.

Tohru
Not counting her mom, who is already dead.

This is pretty much how I feel about the 2019 Fruits Basket anime. Iwami Manaka is also very convincing as Honda Tohru, which is pretty important because Tohru is basically one of the all-time sweetest and nicest girls in the world. Nevertheless, I'm not particularly into the show itself, even though I intend to watch both cours (assuming it also runs 20-something episodes like the 2001 anime). Notably, there's a lot I don't remember about Fruits Basket now, so these 2019 episodes feel quite new to me. Since I haven't read the manga, I have no idea if this phenomenon is because one or both of the anime deviated from the original story, or if they're both faithful adaptations and I've simply forgotten nearly everything from the first anime. I mean, I have, but I'd expect some recollections to return by seeing newly adapted scenes of the same thing again now. In any case, both the 2001 and the 2019 Fruits Basket adaptations occupy that curious position where I'm willing to recommend them, despite being neither deeply enthusiastic about either anime nor knowledgeable in any capacity when it comes to the source material.

Dated 14 February 2018: iDOLM@STER XENOGLOSSIA is a classic story about a teenage girl and her giant robot finding true love together

Haruka and Imber
Shameless flirting.

I was a stranger to the iDOLM@STER franchise the first time I watched iDOLM@STER XENOGLOSSIA. I mentioned this before, but perhaps I should have noted I was also mystified by the amount of hostility displayed by some fans of the original games (arcade and Japanese Xbox 360 exclusive) toward Xenoglossia when the anime came out in 2007. Although I understood in principle the objections fans would have concerning the different character designs and replaced voices, I was not personally invested in any of the characters, so some of the more venomous attacks seemed excessive. Moreover, the character designs looked fine to me, at least relative to other anime of the period and Sunrise shows in particular. I finally watched my DVDs over the past few months, and actually enjoyed Xenoglossia a lot more on re-watch than I did during its initial broadcast, despite having a better understanding now of THE iDOLM@STER as a whole. Or maybe I like Xenoglossia more because I've watched several cours of bona fide iDOLM@STER anime now, not "despite" watching them.

Iori
Yukarin Iori with purple hair is good too.

Still, I'm not quite sure how I would characterize iDOLM@STER XENOGLOSSIA. It's not really much of a giant robot show for a show about giant robots, and it's not an idol anime despite having (regular-type) idols and iDOLs in it. It's not a "cute girls doing cute things" show, nor is it an early example of the more recent phenomenon where anime girls band together to be really excited about some typically male-dominated activity, like Bakuon!! or Two Car or GIRLS und PANZER. Honestly, it really is a love story about a teenage girl and her much older robot boyfriend. Notably, the affection Haruka develops for Imber is not at all unusual, as all of the other pilots also develop complex feelings toward their robots as well. In fact, jealousy plays a huge role in the plot, as do the inevitable love triangles.

Azusa
Also, Xenoglossia Azusa > regular Azusa.

IDOLM@STER XENOGLOSSIA does not take itself too seriously, but does not devolve into camp either. I buy into the HARUKA X IMBER pairing enough to believe there should be real questions raised about the ED once its setting becomes clear. I also enjoy the romance enough that I think I like the Xenoglossia Haruka more than I like the regular Haruka. Not that there's anything wrong with the regular Haruka necessarily, but I like the Xenoglossia Haruka's attitude better. Perhaps it's because she comes across as more of a main character in her own show, while the "real" Haruka necessarily seems more like a token default protagonist in a franchise with an ensemble cast, must the way I regard Miyafuji in Strike Witches or ol' Bucky in the Kantai Collection anime. I don't know if true fans of THE iDOLM@STER will ever regard Xenoglossia as positively as I do—the different voices must be especially jarring for them—but perhaps they'll come to appreciate the series if they think of it as one of those in-universe television programs the iM@S characters themselves occasionally feature in as actresses.

Dated 24 April 2017: I've already dropped 10 shows from Spring 2017

Nono and Fudou
This is not Re:Zero.

There are a lot more shows each season these days than there used to be. I'm willing to give a lot of them a try, but I'm not quite as willing to slog through something in hopes it gets more interesting later. Lest you think I'm being too negative because I dropped 10 shows before the fourth week, bear in mind I'm still watching 17. Cripes, that is a lot. No wonder I never make any progress through my sizable backlog of anime I'd like to re-watch someday.

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Dated 16 December 2015: I'd probably like Hidan no Aria AA more if I had watched the original series first

Urara
That stock is just for looks.

Pretty much as a matter of general principle I won't watch a sequel without watching the original first. However, I do make exceptions when I don't expect to enjoy a show, or if I'm fairly confident I wouldn't like the original. In these situations, it's likely the new series has some hook or meaningful changes that distinguish it from the earlier series. This was the case with Futakoi Alternative, a fantastic series which took the basic framework of (I'm told) a dreadful harem comedy and turned it into something interesting. I was hoping this would also be the case with Hidan no Aria AA, but my impressions of the show through 11 episodes are mixed at best.

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Dated 27 January 2015: Cross Ange second cour: Let's Get This Rondo Started

Salamandinay and Ange
Oh, Sunrise.

I'm not sure precisely when Cross Ange: Tenshi to Ryuu no Rondo (Cross Ange: Rondo of Angels and Dragons) went off the rails, but it's pretty much just headed straight towards where the fuck ever now. There's a post-apocalyptic parallel universe populated with randy dragon girls, for crying out loud. P.S. Spoilers.

Ange and Tusk
I'm starting to think Ange and Tusk are both bar magnets.

I've seen some viewers claim that it's worse than Kakumeiki Valvrave now in terms of making sense, but that's honestly an unfair and misleading characterization. Whereas Valvrave suffered from lots of annoying bullshit that didn't make any sense, Cross Ange is packed with amusing bullshit that doesn't make any sense. It's an important distinction, okay. Blessed Haruhi, this is a great show.

Dated 30 September 2014: Summer 2014 season conclusion

Slaine
Slaine has seen some shit.

Aldnoah.Zero was far and away the best show from Summer 2014. I know a lot of viewers disagree with this opinion, but I thoroughly enjoyed all of its episodes. I've written a lot about it. Probably too much, considering I don't like it thaaat much even though it did almost get a perfect score on my little chart jobbie.

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Dated 12 August 2014: Sabagebu! has more in common with Upotte!! than Stella Women's Academy, High School Division Class C³

Kayo
Traitorous otaku.

It's natural to compare Sabagebu! with Tokurei Sochi Dantai Stella Jo-Gakuin Kōtō-ka C³ because both shows are ostensibly about airsoft survival games, but they're really quite different. Sabagebu! basically makes no effort to adhere to any sense of realism. (Well, some of the firearms handling is surprisingly adept—way better than most anime.1) The airsoft component in Sabagebu! is merely an excuse for peculiar gun antics in an otherwise shoujo (well, sort of shoujo) comedy. C3-bu, on the other hand, was perhaps a bit too realistic. It accurately reflected some of the real concerns and faults encountered within the airsoft community.2 Sabagebu! doesn't care about any of that. Sabagebu! is just an excuse for teenage girls to shoot their frenemies in the face as blood splatters freely. As free as a burning brassiere. (There's more blood in each episode of Sabagebu! than in two cours of Noir.)

Urara and Momoka
An important consideration when purchasing furniture is ensuring it is bulletproof.

With its "imaginary" firefights, Sabagebu! is more like Upotte!! because it depicts reckless gunplay and sharp acts of violence without repercussions. (The Sabagebu! girls get back up and resume bitching each other out after dying.) Really, shooting each other in the face is hardly the worst thing the Sabagebu! characters do to each other. Although the Sabagebu! anime deviates from the manga, it remains true to the spirit of shoujo in the sense that there is real cruelty in these friendships and rivalries. Considering that teasing other girls into developing eating disorders is an accepted way to reshuffle a girl's social pecking order, the inconvenience of waiting to re-spawn after taking a bullet to the noggin is fairly insignificant.


Note 1: In re Sword Art Online II: We'll see if the Sword Art Online II anime fixes the mistakes made by the original light novels regarding the Colt 1911 grip safety.

Note 2: In re C3-bu: For example, characters in C3-bu observed real world meatspace codes of conduct and standards of fairness that rang true with veteran airsoft players. Likewise, the story arc involving Yura's growing competitive streak crowding out her ability to simply enjoy herself was portrayed accurately enough to take a lot of the fun out of the episodes themselves for viewers with distasteful memories of the same.

Dated 5 April 2014: Golden Time and Wake Up, Girls! share a common problem

Mayu
The once and future center.

Both Golden Time and Wake Up, Girls! are good concepts with some flaws in their execution. For the most part, the two shows' flaws are not related, but there is one issue they both share: Neither Kaga Koko nor Shimada Mayu seem special enough.

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