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    I'm glad that Hataraku Saibou episode 6 deliberately tries to vary its formula. Child Red Blood Cell is very cute.

    Watched Muhyo to Rouji episode 2. Since this episode consists of two stories, it moves a bit faster and is therefore a bit more fun to watch than the first episode.

    Watched Sunohara-sou no Kanrinin-san episode 6.

    Watched the first Kemono Friends: Welcome to Japari Park ONA. Is that a different Serval?

    Watched Hugtto Precure episode 27.

    I can academically recognize that Hanebad episode 7 is trying to make Serigaya a sympathetic character, but characters with unrelentingly, unapologetically sh*tty attitudes just don't garner empathy. Trying hard is respectable, but villains try hard too. So just putting in a lot of practice time doesn't automatically turn a character into one that viewers feel pity for. Furthermore, the entire show seems to be steadily developing the theme that mastering badminton turns players into a**holes. The casual players and the players who haven't won championships exhibit compassion and sportsmanship. Every single championship level active player in the show is a snotty, self-absorbed, condescending elitist.

    Watched the rather slow paced Gintama episode 359.

    High Score Girl episode 5 is getting quite bittersweet.

    Planet With episode 6 is just a super episode: exciting and emotionally resonant.

    Probably because I knew exactly what I was facing, I think I watched Hotaru no Haka again with a somewhat detached, objective & cynical perspective which resulted in me only crying a little bit rather than choking up. Watching the film more objectively is fascinating because I can now see aspects of the film that I didn't recognize or consider when I first watched it twenty years ago. Particularly, now I wonder exactly how much Seita's relatively privileged upbringing affected his decision making. I'm also more conflicted over his characterization now when I recognize that he's literally a devoted brother to a fault, specifically to a mortal fault. Since I forgot to attend the GhibliFest screening of Porco Rosso earlier this summer, if we include Nausicaa, I think I've now seen theatrical presentations of 17 of the 21 theatrical Ghibli movies. The figure might be 18 because I honestly can't remember whether I saw Kokuriko-zaka Kara theatrically or on home video.

    Watched Baki episode 8.

    Yama no Susume 3 episode 7 is a pleasant one, but I'm disappointed that Hikari and Aoi together can't cover a mesely 28 yen in sales tax as a favor.


      Watched Ani ni Tsukeru Kusuri wa Nai! 2 episode 6.

      I'm aware that Overlord has a large scale story, so a slower pace and introduction of numerous characters is necessary, but season 3 episode 6 is another episode that makes me wonder whether the pace and numerous characters actually amount to anything. The series has previously introduced many characters that have never re-appeared or had any significance. I wonder how much this is legitimate world building versus how much is just pointless padding.

      Watched Jashin-chan Dropkick episode 6.

      Especially the robot segment of Asobi Asobase episode 6 was highly amusing.

      Went to FUNimation's subtitled theatrical screening of the Cowboy Bebop movie. Somewhat ironically, it launched with a lengthy reunion interview with the English dub cast. Reaffirming why I reject dubs, particularly Wendee Lee repeated multiple times that she essentially disregarded Keiko Nobumoto's original script and Megumi Hayashibara's original vocal performance in favor of writing her own dialogue for her vision of Faye Valentine. And despite the entire cast repeatedly proclaiming their respect for the series' characters, not one of the actors even a single time expressed any respect or appreciation for the original Japanese creators of those characters. The movie itself has never been quite as stylish as the earlier television series, but seeing the film again on a big screen vivified my awareness of the movie's exceptional exploitation of the full cinematic screen. Shot composition throughout the film is brilliant. The movie frequently, deliberately draws the eye all the way across the entire frame. I also had two tangential impressions of the movie. Spike has always been partly inspired by Lupin III. But I distinctly realized during this viewing that with relatively few and minor changes, the Cowboy Bebop movie could be remade as a Lupin the III movie. Moreover, I wonder if and how much inspiration Christopher Nolan took from this film when writing and directing The Dark Knight. If one places stock in Patton Oswalt's Joker theory, this summary describes both the 2001 Cowboy Bebop movie and the 2008 Dark Knight: the villain is a mentally broken, trenchcoat-wearing, automatic knife carrying, former soldier who turns terrorist bomber just to create chaos. His self-appointed antagonist is a vigilante martial artist detective who pilots a one-seat armed vehicle. The final battle between the hero and villain is a fight in an open air tower that ends with the villain's finger on a detonator switch and him looming over the seemingly defeated hero.

      Angolmois episode 6 is a fine episode somewhat marred by some scenes with sub-par art design.

      Watched Lupin III Part V episode 19.

      Regrettably, Tsukumogami Kashimasu episode 4 is a rather distasteful episode. In the prior three episodes, Seiji & Oko have secretly utilized their tsukumogami upon request to assist clients. However, in episode 4 Seiji is aggressively rude to a client based on unfounded rumors he's heard. Moreover, transitioning from just rude to outright immoral, he exploits the tsukumogami to his own ends to spy on a romantic rival. I'm sure that creator Megumi Hatakenaka perceived the story as sweet and harmless male jealousy, but at the same time it's illustration of Seiji just behaving like a thoughtless and crude a**hole.

      Watched Isekai Izakaya Nobu episodes 19 & 20.

      Sadly, as usual, Shichinin no Subaru episode 7 is intended to be dramatic, but most of its plot twists are actually just dumb because once their implications and details are considered, the plot points make no sense.

      Watched Chio-chan no Tsuugakuro episode 7.

      I was pleasantly surprised that Wakaokami wa Shougakusei episode 12 developed more unpredictably than I'd expected. Also watched episode 13.

      Satsuriku no Tenshi episode 7 is a tedious episode that reeks of video game fetch mechanics.

      Watched Harukana Receive episode 7.

      Hataraku Saibou episode 7 feels misplaced, as it feels like it should have been a series' ending episode given that its conclusion could only have ended in extremes of one way or the other. I do appreciate the way the episode remained objective. Even if a destructive cell is just a cell doing what comes natural, it's still destructive.

      Read some comics. The first issue of the 2018 Nancy in Hell reboot is exactly what I hoped and expected it to be. It feels quite a bit like a female-lead hybrid of Army of Darkness and Highway to Hell (1991). Ninja-K issue 9 is an exciting and momentous issue featuring exceptional penciling artwork by Juan José Ryp. Issue 10 is technically relevant to the ongoing story but feels like a disposable placeholder. Gideon Falls issue 6 again feels a bit unsatisfying. Despite being the most overt and revealing issue so far, and despite it concluding with a climactic revelation, it still feels a bit abstract and moreover unsatisfying. The first issue of writer Brian Michael Bendis' new yakuza action thriller Pearl appears to be another modern incarnation of the Romeo & Juliet archetype. In both writing and illustration the first issue is entirely adequate but not exceptional. Read Mage III issue 11. The final seventh and eighth issues of Malefic wrap up the story adequately while continuing to escalate the series' twisted, provocative, kinky madness. Having now finished reading the series, I still think that the most apt description of it is to call it a less pretentious and slightly less grotesque cousin to Quinn & Vigil's Faust: Love of the Damned comic series. The first issue of writer Warren Ellis' new mini-series Cemetery Beach is actually strikingly reminiscent of the first issue of the current Barbarella comic series. But the similarity is coincidental because the story setting isn't highly original. The first issue is energetic and briskly paced but particularly for that reason not tremendously substantial. For better or worse, illustrator Jason Howard's art enhances the action spectacle side of the story but does very little to enhance the darker, more oppressive and threatening tone of the story and setting. I don't watch contemporary children's cartoons, so my comparison may be lacking when I describe the first issue of Bully Wars as evocative of a Dexter's Laboratory or Spongebob Squarepants style of post-Ren & Stimpy self-aware but still child-oriented satirical cynicism. The first issue both looks and reads like a dynamic, cinematic children's cartoon. So it earns credit in that respect, but I'm definitely not the audience demographic for this type of storytelling. Read a preview copy of Cold Spots issue 1 and didn't like it. The protagonist is a raging jerk. Seems like there's a typo on the next to last page because I don't understand what, "Someone why doesn't," means. And no offense intended to illustrator Mark Torres, but the art looks like a bad imitation of Mike Mignola's. In many panels people's faces look deformed.

      Watched the Jets/Redskins pre-season week 2 game and the Radiers/Rams and Bucs/Titans week 3 games.


        Watched Planet With episode 7 and the very interesting episode 8.

        Watched Hugtto Precure 28.

        As of episode 9, Baki is starting to become a bit tedious because the home field boys still insist on fighting with rules and techniques against practically inhuman monsters who fight with the intention of inflicting permanent injury or death. It's kind of like the amateur leagues trying to fight the pros. Also watched episode 10.

        Watched Ani ni Tsukeru Kusuri wa Nai! 2 episodes 7 & 8.

        After several episodes lacking substantial action and gratification, Overlord III episode 7 finally served up a little bit of fun. Episode 8 is the best episode of the series in ages because it's unpredictable and finally depicts Ains actually behaving like the sinister monster he's supposed to be.

        I especially appreciated the Dragon Ball Z and Gundam Unicorn sight gags in Jashin-chan Dropkick episode 7. Also watched episode 8.

        Went to the theatrical screening of Night is Short, Walk On Girl. Despite the film being only 90 minutes, it still feels long because it's so dialogue heavy. But I enjoyed the movie even more the second time because I went into it this time with more awareness of the relationships of the large cast and the various interwoven plot threads.

        Watched High Score Girl episodes 6 & 7.

        Glad to see that Isekai Maou to Shoukan Shoujo no Dorei Majutsu episode 8 fulfills the promise made by the prior episode.

        The forced drama in Hanebad episode 8 is thick enough to cut with a knife. Episode 9 is also schizophrenic, but at least it takes some time to establish context.

        Watched Yama no Susume 3 episodes 8 & 9.

        A bit unexpectedly, Tenrou episode 6 actually isn't too bad. Episode 7, however, is back to normal.

        None of the episode of Satsuriku no Tenshi have been good, but episode 8 is especially weak.

        Banana Fish episodes 7 & 8 are terrible soap opera.

        Even if Shichisei no Subaru has been laying the groundwork for its revelation from the beginning, now that episode 8 has revealed the revelation, it's so implausible and ridiculous, because the show hasn't actually adequately laid proper groundwork to make the scenario believable, that the show now feels like a terrible joke.

        I fully anticipated that Shinya Tensai Bakabon would eventually parody animation quality (again). Episode 6 did so fairly well.

        Watched Harukana Receive episode 8.

        At the somewhat local theatrical screening of the first two Donten ni Warau Gaiden short movies, I was one of only two people in the theater. The two hour-long movies are exactly what one would expect. They're slightly above average animation quality and heavily angsty bishounen melodrama with just enough action to keep them from being purely talking heads. Actually, the second film does contain a moderate amount of action. And both films feel distinctly intended for well-versed fans of the franchise because both films make plentiful unexplained references to the larger story.

        Watched Asobi Asobase episode 7. Episode 8 may be the most uproariously hilarious episode of the series so far. Good God, "I caught it in my phone!" made me laugh out loud.

        I'm conflicted over the fifth episode of Starlight. The show repeatedly emphasizes the scenario concept that Seisho Music Academy and its elite students are strictly the most talented and most highly motivated, yet repeatedly the show undermines its own scenario. This episode depicts Mahiru as a weak-willed, easily distracted hanger-on. Certainly the girls will have differences in skill and talent, but when multiple girls including Mahiru and Karen are depicted as so hesitant, uncommitted, or inferior, the viewer has to wonder how these girls even got accepted to this prestigious academy in the first place. Episode 6 is fine. Episode 7 reveals a surprise plot twist that actually doesn't entirely feel surprising given the groundwork that the show has laid previously.

        The “Super Duper Cut” is the definitive edit of Deadpool 2. Much of the additional 15 minutes of footage is heavily front loaded, but additional footage and reworked dialogue appear throughout the film. More importantly, the extended cut of the movie feels better paced, more cohesive, and more coherent. The extra running time gives the film time to breath and feel more like a linear story than a choppy series of sequential events. Some additional violence and additional jokes also flesh out the film and make the film feel more complete and substantial.

        Watched Mr. Plinkett’s review of The Last Jedi. Sadly, it’s not either especially funny or especially insightful. It’s mostly just an hour of complaining that Last Jedi isn’t an Empire Strikes Back remake.

        Watched the Baltimore/Indinapolis, Philadelphia/Cleveland, Tampa/Detroit, Pittsburgh/Tennessee, New Orleans/Los Angeles, Cincinnati/Buffalo, and Arizona/Dallas pre-season games. I think NBC's new "green zone" visual highlighting is unnecessary.


          Watched Hugtto Precure episode 29.

          Watched Isekai Maou to Shoukan Shoujo no Dorei Majutsu episode 9.

          Watched Gintama 360-362.

          Watched Isekai Izakaya Nobu episodes 21 & 22.

          Watched Shinya Tensai Bakabon episode 7.

          Watched Chio-chan no Tsuugakuro episodes 8 & 9.

          Watched Lupin Part V episode 21. The episode is interesting because it's unpredictable and escalates a previous interesting concept to higher degree.

          Watched Angolmois episodes 7 & 8.

          Watched Emiya-san Chi no Kyou no Gohan episode 9.

          The problem with the cliffhanger climax of Harukana Receive episode 9 is that viewers can already predict how the next match will turn out. The entire series has been building up to a certain reunion, so it virtually has to happen.

          The climax of High Score Girl episode 8 is exceptional and really pays off the anticipation.

          Viewed in isolation, Planet With episode 9 is exciting, but as the culmination of its previous episodes, episode 9 is fantastic.

          Watched Hataraku Saibou episode 8-9.

          Watched Asobi Asobase episode 9.

          Finally, in Baki episode 11 the home team begins to assert itself.

          Despite not being helmed by either the Tiger & Bunny TV series director or films director, the Tiger & Bunny conceptual spin-off series Double Decker still manages to feel distinctly reminiscent of Tiger & Bunny. Unfortunately, it also happens to feel so reminiscent of numerous other past anime that it practically has no identity or uniqueness of its own. Despite having character designs by Masakazu Katsura, in both physical design and color design the characters all bear a striking resemblance to Yasuomi Umetsu's signature style. In fact, the Seven-O police team is highly reminiscent of the cast of Yasuomi Umetsu's Wizard Barristers. Doug Billingham's bullet concoction machine is straight out of a sentai hero show while his use of special bullets looks and feels remarkably similar to Amon from Witch Hunter Robin. The cop/detective/hero opposed to freakish superhuman criminals feels like a hybrid of Tiger & Bunny and Dimension W while the seeming protagonist being incompetent and largely an observer also recollects The Reflection. I was not especially enthused by either Tiger & Bunny or The Reflection. This show feels very heavily indebted to both, which probably explains my lack of enthusiasm for it.

          Watched the first episode of Kamisama Minarai Himitsu no Cocotama: Natsu da! Oohashagi Special because it's one of the current season shows I still hadn't sampled. I can tell easily why the Cocotama franchise has been so popular. This second series first episode has a pleasant, simple charm that would be very appealing to young children. The first episode also briefly introduces the new mini-goddess Ribon, who is very amusingly stupid.

          Watched Jashin-chan Dropkick episode 9.

          Kyoto Holmes episode 6 is another rather dumb one because it demands an impossible degree of suspension of disbelief to propose that such an elaborate multi-step hoax got pulled off flawlessly within literal seconds. Furthermore, beginning with episode 6, the inclusion of Rikyu feels most like an editor insisted that the story include more characters because Rikyuu adds nothing of substance to the show. Episode 7 rather bluntly reveals the careless weaknesses of this series. It's bad enough that Aoi is able to accurately judge the authenticity of antiques without touching them or examining them closely. And the show furthermore makes no effort to explain any of her reasoning or judgments. But it gets worse when it proposes that even a professional antiques appraiser works strictly by memory and gut instinct, without any tools, any science, any investigation, or any research. Determining that an antique is counterfeit strictly by announcing, “It doesn't feel authentic to me,” is not professional credibility. As a result, this show about antiques appraising seems as if it was written by someone who had less than average common knowledge about antiques appraising. Also watched episodes 8 & 9.

          Overlord III episode 9 is pretty interesting.

          Watched all but the final five minutes of the Jacksonville/Tampa pre-season week 4 game. When the result of the game was obvious, I switched to watching the Broncos/Cardinals game.


            I think that possibly viewers were supposed to feel some empathy and even pity during Satsuriku no Tenshi episode 9, but the episode is just a chore to watch because it alternates between dull and stupid. In a community of heartless killers, a murderer who accuses Rachel of being immorally narcissistic is so hypocritical that it would be laughable if the show didn't present the scenario with such deadpan seriousness. As a result, the scene is just dumb. Seemingly the episode wants to milk even more pity for Zac, but he's never been a sympathetic character because he has no sense of responsibility or remorse. He's not a nice guy hiding underneath a psychopathic exterior. He's a remorseless killer with only a fractured, inconsistent sense of gratitude. He's aggressively, willfully stupid and one disposable exception lacking context doesn't suddenly shine a new light on his entire personality.

            I'm conflicted over Lupin Part V episode 22. After a very smart episode 21, I appreciate what this episode is trying to do, but it works in a very hamfisted way.

            Watched Ani ni Tsukeru Kusuri wa Nai 2 episode 9.

            Tenrou episode 8 isn't great, but at unlike the average, it's not bad.

            Watched Yama no Susume 3 episode 10.

            Super Dragon Ball Heroes episode 3 is rather disappointing because Super Saiyajin Blue Vegetto seems uncharacteristically weak.

            Went to the Fathom Events theatrical screening of Perfect Blue. Seeing the film again for the first time in years reminds me of what a masterpiece the movie is.

            I'm a bit disappointed by Isekai Maou to Shoukan Shoujo no Dorei Majutsu episode 10. The first of the two surprises in the plot was sadly a bit predictable. But it's not out of character for the style of the show. However, the secondary plot twist is far more unsettling because it contradicts several episodes' worth of prior context. So it feels like a cheap, arbitrary twist rather than a thoughtful and organic natural plot progression.

            Watched Hugtto Precure episode 30.

            Watched Harukana Receive episode 10.

            On the whole, Chio-chan no Tsuugakuro episode 10 isn't an exceptional episode, but it does contain a few exceptional gags.

            Baki as of episode 12 is really starting to get a bit tedious. It's starting to feel redundant because the antagonists behave like robots, and the lead characters refuse to either learn from their mistakes or fully commit to their own principles.

            Overlord III episode 10 is another transitional episode without much meat.

            As of issue 4, writer Garth Ennis' horror comic series A Walk Through Hell can be summarized loosely as two people are trapped in a haunted house, so one tells a ghost story to the other. The ghost story may or may not be related to the haunted house the couple are presently within. The comic is made confusing by several factors. The series started out with a heavy focus on social media and xenophobia. But after the story's first two or three pages, that undercurrent appears to have been abandoned. The story gradually increases its focus on the flashback, so the reader becomes confused by the jarring shifts in narrative focus. And the writing strives to emulate natural speech, so the dialogue is often fractured and incomplete, forcing readers to piece together what's going on from context and intuition. The fifth issue of Isola continues to suffer from a similar problem. The writing wants to be mysterious but is actually so opaque that readers lack a strong connection and empathy for the story and characters. Being mysterious is one thing, but events just happening over and over again for seemingly no reason, and all of them seemingly leading to no resolution just feels unsatisfying. Issue 5 describes itself as the end of a chapter, but rather little seems to have occurred, and the end of the issue lacks any sort of closure or climax. I've tried to appreciate this series, but since it's now taking a several month hiatus, I may quit myself of it now that it's reached an arbitrary stopping point. From a strict perspective the Silencer Annual issue 1 isn't necessary. It's a flashback that literally illustrates details the core story has already described. But literally seeing the flashback rather than having it narrated provides some gratification. On a side note, increasingly I wonder why this series struggles so much to deliberately avoid using the proper names of mainstream DC characters including Superman, Batman, and Ra's al Ghul. For example, the issue refers to Batman as “Detective” eight times and as either “He” or “Him” a whopping twenty-one times but only drops the name “Batman” once. Silencer is a Batman universe character, so I don't understand why the comic is so eager to play up the Batman connection yet simultaneously so hesitant to actually say the name “Batman.” The first issue of Image Comics' new crime/action series Dead Rabbit feels a bit like a less pretentious cousin to the earlier Renato Jones 1% series. The first episode was, I'll concede, a bit better than I expected, but my expectations were minimal. The first issue is fine, although not unique or creative enough to make me curious about reading further. Read Cavewoman: Raptorella's Revenge 2 and Nancy in Hell (2018) issue 2.

            Iron Fist season 2 has been praised for having improved fight choreography. Within the season's first three episodes I see evidence of the fight choreography making more use of surrounding props, but the fight choreography otherwise still doesn't look appreciably different or superior than the first season. In my eyes too much of it still looks like street brawling rather than formal, precise kung fu or trained martial arts. To its credit, the second season does pick up the pace, but it doesn't feel any smarter than the weak first season did. Notably, Joy's frustration seems dubiously misplaced. Her father and brother lied to her for years. Danny kept the secret for only a few weeks, yet she blames Danny exclusively. Moreover, she accuses Danny of being manipulative and shrewd. The show actually suggests that Danny isn't thoughtful enough to be manipulative. He's too simple-minded (read: dumb) to be devious. The early episodes also emphasize Colleen's practically obsessive efforts to track down clues about her mother despite the fact that her characterization has already firmly established that she had little connection to her family and little reason to care as much as she suddenly seemingly does.

            Watched most of the Eagles' opening day win over the Falcons, the Bucs rack up an impressive victory over the Saints, the Panthers defeat the Cowboys, and the Packers pull a surprise comeback against the Bears. Also watched the Jets humiliate the Lions, and watched the Raiders lose to the Rams because QB Derek Carr played so terribly.


              By episode 10, I'm not sure what Hanebad is trying to do and not even certain that the show itself knows. Co-protagonist Ayano started out sympathetic, but especially in this episode she's an outright villain. However, the show suggests that it wants to redeem her, but the way in which such redemption would come contradicts the entire point of the effort.

              Watched Ani ni Tsukeru Kusuri wa Nai! 2 episode 10.

              Watched Sunohara-sou no Kanrinin-san episode 7.

              Hugtto Precure episode 31 is quite a nice episode.

              I'm a bit disappointed by Angolmois episode 9 because after episode 8 set up a tense situation, episode 9 ignores the set-up in order to create a sensationalistic, cinematic conflict instead of a logical one that makes sense in relation to the scenario. Episode 10 is a transitional episode lacking much action.

              On one hand Isekai Maou to Shoukan Shoujo no Dorei Majutsu episode 11 is the most intense episode of the series, but even as it tries very hard to explain its plot twist, the explanation still isn't convincing to me.

              Planet With episode 10 is a fun, neat episode.

              Watched Wakaokami wa Shougakusei episodes 14-16.

              High Score Girl episode 9 is again a sweet episode because the show has spent so much time setting up its character relationships. Also watched episode 10.

              Asobi Asobase episode 10 is fun and includes a few exceptionally funny gags.

              Finished off Izakaya Nobu episodes 23 & 24, which definitely feel like the end of the series.

              Watched Hataraku Saibou episode 10.

              Watched Overlord III episode 11.

              To varying degrees of effort and success, Predator, Predator 2, and Predators aimed to be suspenseful, harrowing action films. They were films about humans being stalked by unseen hunters. Shane Black's The Predator, on the other hand, is not a sci-fi rendition of “The Most Dangerous Game” nor is does it even attempt to be a taut, frightening film. The Predator is barely restrained lunacy. It's a hyperbolic comic book on screen, filled with guns, explosions, gore, juvenile jokes, and a menagerie of exaggerated one-note G.I. Joe rejects as characters. The characters in this film, both human and alien, aren't individuals; they're distinctive personality quirks with bodies. They may as well have code-names instead of proper names. Ironically, while the film does actually have some substantial plot revelations – roughly on par with the first and third films – the emphasis is distinctly on creating a boyhood fantasy. Despite the film having a consistent narrative backbone, everything seems to occur spontaneously, as if director Shane Black was imaginatively creating the story with action figures in a sandbox. Despite referencing the prior movies, The Predator feels most like a version of Paul Anderson's Aliens vs Predator that doesn't suck quite so much. It's not a serious film whatsoever. It's a goofy grindhouse fantasy far more in the vein of ridiculous action pictures like Punisher: War Zone, Crank, True Lies, and Big Trouble in Little China, or a Predator film with the larger-than-life attitude of a Marvel Cinematic Universe movie. From a rational, objective, adult perspective, the film is not good. From the perspective of a twelve-year-old boy who only cares whether the film is “cool,” it's a complete success because it's batsh_t f_cking crazy.

              After watching Iron Fist season 2 episodes 4-7 I realized that the show itself isn't especially dumb. It's just most of the characters who are stupid.

              Read Paper Girls issue 24. Head Lopper volume 3 issue 1 still has the problem present in volume 2. Occasionally the panel layout and art makes distinguishing exactly what's occurring confusing. But this issue does feel like a solid, interesting beginning to a fantasy adventure. I'm pleased and also a bit saddened that Mage III issue 12, now so close to the end of the series, is the first issue of "Hero Denied" that truly feels like a Mage comic to me.

              Watched the Bengals beat the Ravens. After Ryan Fitzpatrick did such a good job leading the Bucs to a win over the Eagles, I wonder if we actually need Winston back. Watched the Jaguars beat the Patriots. Watched the Bears beat the Seahawks.


                Lupin Part V episode 23 is fun. I'm conflicted over episode 24. It contains a massive series altering revelation that's treated like a disposable gag because the production staff knew it wasn't a good idea but couldn't think of any other option. More importantly, the episode involves so many moving pieces that it feels just a bit rushed. I would have liked more context and establishment for the pieces being put in place before the final move. I also realized that I'd accidentally skipped over episode 20, so I went back and watched it.

                Because I'd never seen any of it and had an opportunity, I watched the first episode of Toei's 1988 shoujo drama Hello! Lady Lynn. The show has fairly good animation quality. Otherwise it's predictably similar in tone and style to other pre-adolescent shoujo dramas like Candy Candy, Futari no Lotte, Lady Georgie, and Minami no Niji no Lucy.

                Unfortunately instead of getting better as it unfolds, Shichisei no Subaru consistently goes in the opposite direction. Watched episode 9. The climax prior to the cliffhanger in episode 11 tries quite hard and would have actaully been emotionally resonant had the entire plot thread been introduced from the outset instead of introduced only one episode before. Episode 12 is unfortunately typical of the series. The most obvious and superficial conflict gets resolved, but none of the underlying larger plot points are even explained. As much as I want to like this show, it's just not very good.

                Satsuriku no Tenshi episode 10 was literally such a tedious chore to watch that I had to force myself to struggle through it. None of the story development is real, and there's no sense whatsoever in any attempt to take seriously the hypocritical self-serving claims of immoral scum who try to project their own weakness on someone else and claim that the victim is more evil than they are. Episode 11 isn't good, but thankfully it's not quite as toilsome as episode 10.

                The final episode of Isekai Maou to Shoukan Shoujo no Dorei Majutsu is passable but sadly unexceptional.

                Watched the second Welcome to Japari Park short.

                Harukana Receive episodes 11 & 12 are a fine ending to a pleasant show, with the caveat that the show is only a first chapter of a story rather than a full story.

                Angolmois episode 11 is a non-stop action episode with a tremendous and impactful body count.

                Watched Chio-chan no Tsuugakuro episodes 11 & 12.

                Watched Yama no Susume 3 episodes 11 & 12.

                High Score Girl episode 11 had two particularly nice moments. And I'm surprised and impressed that it made a joke about the infamous loading times on the original single-speed Neo-Geo CD console.

                Still upsetting that Tenrou is ostensibly an action show, but it's so boring. Ryoko is really the only appealing character, and she's only a minor supporting character. Yuliy in particular is not an appealing protagonist because he never learns from his mistakes. He behaves on impulse, and whenever he tries to think about his actions, he makes the wrong choices. And good Lord, the climax of episode 10 is just plain dumb. Watched episodes 9 & 10.

                Watched Baki episode 13.

                The final three episodes of Iron Fist season 2 aren't brilliant, but at least they're eventful and lead into the promise of some rather laughably silly stuff.


                  Tenrou episode 11 is abysmal. Not only are the art design and animation quality sub par, the episode's plot developments abandon logic and even established principles just so the episode can depict the particular plot developments it wants to feature, regardless of whether they make any sense.

                  Watched Asobi Asobase episodes 11 & 12.

                  Watched Wakaokami wa Shougakusei episode 17.

                  Finished the 13th and final episode of Yama no Susume season 3.

                  Regrettably, Angolmois episode 12 concludes the story with a rather pointless ending.

                  Watched Planet With episodes 11-12.

                  Watched a dubbed anime for the first time in years. After driving an hour to the far side of Tampa for the theatrical screening of the Boku no Hero Academia movie, I didn't learn until I reached the theater that the screening was dubbed. I'd already driven an hour and bought my ticket weeks in advance, so I decided to just stay rather than sacrifice all of the investment. English dubs do seem to have improved enough that I don't find them unbearable anymore, but I did literally spend the entire feature thinking about how much more I'd enjoy the film in its original language. The theater was surprisingly packed, and the film seemed to garner a very positive reception, particularly whenever a familiar character made a first appearance in the film. The movie is, essentially, a Japanese animated version of Teen Titans. The characters' powers are much more diverse than those of Dragon Ball, but the fights are far more simplistic in Boku no Hero Academia compared to Dragon Ball. Furthermore, the stakes feel much lower in Boku no Hero because the characters philosophically can't kill their opponents. In effect, Boku no Hero Academia feels almost exactly like a “real world” sibling to Fairy Tail. The biggest difference is the fact that the storytelling in Boku no Hero Academia feels just a bit more grounded and logical than the free-wheeling make-it-up-as-it-goes narrative construction of Fairy Tail.

                  Watched Overlord III episodes 12 & 13. I'd say it's highly debatable whether the path through this season has been entirely relevant or worthwhile, but at least the show ends up seemingly where it ought to.

                  Hanebad episode 11 is fine, but episode 12 concludes with an atrocious ending. Episode 13 is stylistically exceptional, and while it does address its characterization foibles, it feels as though it wraps everything up neatly just a bit too easily and simply.

                  Shoujo Kageki Revue Starlight episodes 9-12 frustrate and disappoint me. Despite the show's nice animation and distinctly Ikuhara-inspired eccentricity, it just never seemed to have a larger coherent story. The show introduces a major plot twist part-way through, but that plot twist doesn't seem to actually have any significance. The show constantly emphasizes the "Starlight" play only to discard the most significant aspect of that emphasis in the series' final ten minutes. Rationally I can recognize that the show's climax does have predication, yet it still feels abrupt, left-field, and self-contradictory.

                  Finished off the simple and pleasant Sunohara-sou no Kanrinin-san episodes 8-12.

                  The first season of High Score Girl has a mostly nice final episode, but it closes with a terrible unresolved ending.

                  Watched Kyoto Holmes 10-12. Episode 11 is practically laughable because it's such an overwraught soap opera.

                  I was particularly curious about Tensei Shitara Slime Datta Ken. The first episode is wholly conventional, meaning that it's not bad, just very average.

                  Hugtto Precure episode 32 is a particularly good one as it really focuses deeply on Homare's personality. I remain highly curious about Homare's choker, though. Is it an accessory or literally a tattoo around her neck? In her mermaid fantasy world, she didn't have it. Episode 33 is also a strong episode. The show seems to have realized that its incorporation of inspiring moral and philosophical messages is being well received, so it's continuing to include them. Also watched episode 34.

                  Jingai-san no Yome is evidently just a natural, logical evolution (no pun intended) of Pokemon.

                  Watched Ani ni Tsukeru Kusuri wa Nai 2 episodes 11-13.

                  Read the first issue of Patience! Conviction! Revenge! It is mildly amusing, but regrettably the first issue is strictly a pastiche of clichés, so absolutely nothing about it is surprising. Witty to be sure, but neither as surprising nor anywhere remotely as action-oriented, violent, or anarchic as initially promised. John Wick issue 3, at last, feels more coherent than the prior issues. However, it still fails to explain how John Wick miraculously transformed from a street-smart kid into a calmly efficient terminator. And clearly at this point in the origin comic story, it's not planning to explain. Black Hammer: Age of Doom issue 5 at last provides a clear and complete explanation for the series' core mystery. While the explanation itself is adequate, far more compelling and fascinating is the varying ways the characters react to learning the truth of their circumstances. Barbarella issue 9 is a bit predictable, yet it's still fun, sexy sci-fi that doesn't dumb down. Thankfully, Silencer issue 9 returns to the caliber of writing that has largely typified the series and made it such an enjoyable read so far. The first issue of Batman: Damned is fantastic looking. The graphic art has an amazingly rich, tactile detail and an aesthetic that evokes the 1970s turned up to eleven. Regrettably, the first issue's story is nearly non-extant.

                  Watched the Dolphins beat the Raidders and the Seahawks beat the Cowboys. Our Bucs lost game 3 to the Steelers, but the boys made a respectable effort. Then they played miserably against Chicago and got humiliated. Watched the Saints beat the Giants. Watched the Chiefs narrowly beat the Broncos.


                    Regrettably, from beginning to ending, Tenrou is is heavily flawed show. Episode 12 thankfully isn't quite as bad as episode 11, but it still rests at the low par of the series average. Not only is Yuily tremendously ineffective, he's both foolish and stupid. The show is tremendously uneven. It's a horror action series, yet it's never either frightening or exciting. The action scenes are elaborate but also wildly sloppy. The action scenes always consist of people wildly firing guns or blades and punches just swinging wildly in hopes that they connect with something. The show halfheartedly injects a romance that doesn't go anywhere. It introduces a stratified vampire culture then doesn't use it. The show constantly creates bathos when its efforts at melodrama lack impact, surprise, and emotion. The show routinely inserts unfunny comedy, presumably as failed comic relief since the show doesn't actually generate enough tension to need comic relief. Apart from nice looking art design and occasionally some strong animation, this entire series was a rather miserable failure.

                    Sadly, I feel as if I wasted my time watching Satsuriku no Tenshi episode 12.

                    Oddly, Akanesasu Shoujo seems like a show I ought to like. Its characteristics are all narrative conceits that interest me. But the execution of the first episode left me cold. In particular, it feels like a second tier early 90s sci-fi action in the vein of Grandoll or Alice in Cyberland.

                    On first impression, I assumed that Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru was a variation of YowaPedal: a sports show in which a character who's skilled in a racing sport due to mundane reasons gets drafted into an organized team. But the show's first episode eventually reveals that its scenario is actually even more simple and straightforward than that. This seems like a perfectly fine sports drama for viewers who appreciate bishounen and anime series like Prince of Stride Alternative. On a side note, I was very surprised to see the show reference Otoku Juku. These days I wonder even how many Japanese fans will understand that reference, much less American viewers.

                    Studio Deen seems to be one of Tokyo's default studios for adaptations of Chinese mythic adventure stories. Deen's Ken En Ken: Aoki Kagayaki is technically a Taiwanese story, but it still feels like a Chinese or Chinese-influenced series like Reikenzan or more specifically Akatsuki no Yona. It also feels as though it's going to become wildly complicated, like Houshin Engi. Moreover, a number of the first episode's plot developments feel highly arbitrary and even dumb. Why would the Taibai Empire build giant robots when it could empower its soldiers with magic, instead? Why attack and destroy your own territory and citizens? Yin finding a magic scroll feels highly arbitrary, as does the abrupt and amazingly coincidental timing opening of the position of royal engineer. In fact, every decision chief engineer Mo Heng makes seems highly questionable.

                    To be clear from the outset, Zombieland Saga is not good. But considering the success of similar themed and toned shows Kore wa Zombie Desu ka and Gakkou Gurashi, I can easily envision this show likewise catching on. To its credit, it is an ironically brilliant hybrid. Zombies are popular, as a girl idol group anime. So why not an anime about an undead idol singer group? Last season Gokudolls brought viewers transgender yakuza idols. This season viewers get zombie idols. This show particularly reminds me of Francesca, but this doesn't seem as unique or unpredictably funny as Francesca was.

                    I'm honestly surprised to admit that the first episode of Seishun Buta Yarou wa Bunny Girl Senpai no Yume wo Minai is moderately intriguing. It's a contemporary style of show that hasn't been made in a few years. It's particularly within the adolescent angst & relationship comedy vein of Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai, Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru; Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai; Ore no Kanojo to Osananajimi ga Shuraba Sugiru; Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata, Amagami, and particularly Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu. Typically I haven't really been engrossed by most of these types of shows, but this one has just the right amount of deadpan to prevent it from feeling pretentious or too artificial.

                    I spent most of the first episode of Bakumatsu honestly trying to decipher who the show's target audience is. Finally, at the end of the episode when the show reveals its premise, I realized that the show appears to be targeted at Japan's small niche of Bakumatsu & Sengoku era anime otaku. The show is literally a revisionist “what if” fantasy proposing that all of Japan's historically significant warlords united as a single team. The combination of bishounen, Edo-era samurai, and time travel sounds exactly like Touken Ranbu, but the aesthetic style of Bakumatsu is closer to Examurai Sengoku or a low rent Sengoku Basara. In fact, the show's art design is passable, but particularly when the first episode's first action scene occurs, the art and animation quality both nosedive in response to the demand for extra resources.

                    Watched Hataraku Saibou episode 11-13.

                    What the hell did I just watch? The first episode of Sora to Umi no Aida is literally a bad cellphone game turned into an anime. Absolutely nothing about it makes any sense. Anything resembling plausibility or common sense get immediately jettisoned as soon as the episode begins with its setting narration. I don't mind silly or goofy anime that has a firm foundation, a viable setting. But this show feels like a nonsensical hybrid of a dramatic anime like Rocket Girls, Planetes, or Uchuu Kyodai along with a silly slapstick comedy like Show By Rock, Etotama, or Namiuchigiwa no Muromi-san. Perhaps the best description of the show is Sora Yori mo Tooi Basho set in a ridiculous shounen adventure setting.

                    Watched the first episode of Uchuu Senkan Tiramisu Zwei.

                    Bakutsuri Bar Hunter is obviously the latest iteration of the Pro Golfer Saru/Dandoh/DJ Tonkatsu Agetarou motif. Kouta is such an accomplished fisherman that he transitions his skill into a new field, in this case, fishing for digital UPC barcode monsters. The show is also easily identifiable as a Coro Coro shounen anime, not only because it opens by illustrating an issue of Coro Coro Comic magazine but also because it includes a poop joke only 80 seconds into the first episode. In fact, the show does look and feel like a conventional younger audience shounen anime. It's much closer in style to programs like Duel Masters and Penguin no Mondai than a real left-field oddity like Heybot.

                    RErideD: Tokigoe no Derrida is rapidly revealing itself to be idiotic. I can loosely accept the idea that advanced cybernetics scientists Derrida & Nathan have brilliant minds for technology but almost no common sense for practical, daily human interaction. But the show insists that viewers also unquestioningly accept leftover super high tech devices just left abandoned yet still functioning, AI soldier robots that behave like zombies instead of programmed machines, and an experienced soldier/scavenger who behaves as if he has no experience or preparation at all. I also don't understand how a devastated, abandoned war-ravaged town is literally right next to a perfectly thriving metropolis. How exactly was the war so devastating that it completely ruined one city yet seemingly didn't even touch the city just a few miles away? And all of these massive logic holes are just within the first two episodes. Even with its abundant flaws, this show isn't quite as stupid as Sora to Umi no Aida, but it's close.

                    Continued in next post.


                      Continued from above post.

                      Hora, Mimi ga Mieteru yo is the daily life of a young man and his pet/roommate catboy. The humor skews heavily toward fushoshi-bait jokes.

                      The first episode of Tonari no Kyuuketsuki-san is essentially a variation of Kiniro Mosaic. It just swaps blonde foreign girl for doll-like vampire girl.

                      I think that perhaps because of my age I have a difficult time relating to Yagate Kimi ni Naru. I suppose protagonist Koito Yuu is supposed to be a fairly typical high school girl, but she comes across to me as not just a late-bloomer but as a girl with a deeply distorted vision of the world. Since the songs and manga she likes romanticize falling in love, she believes that falling in love should be instantly euphoric and ethereal. I think that if she expects to be swept off her feet into a breathless whirlwind romance, she's going to be alone forever. She seems to be under the impression that she doesn't have to start by liking someone of being interested in someone. She expects her romantic relationship to go from zero to sixty in a single heartbeat, but reality doesn't work that way. She doesn't seem to comprehend that the fantasies she idealizes are just that: fantasies. To be able to enjoy a romantic drama like this, the characters need to be empathetic. I just don't feel any relationship, any sympathy, or any empathy for any of the characters in this first episode.

                      Watched Gurazeni episode 13, the first episode of season 2.

                      Watched the first episode of Hinomaru Zumo. Its production values are fine. It's narrative development is strictly conventional.

                      The first episode of Uchi no Maid ga Uzasugiru is essentially exactly what was promised. I am glad to see that it does provide Misha with a legitimate psychological reason to antagonize her new maid.

                      Goblin Slayer is the first grotesquely dark and violent sword & sorcery show since Berserk. It's not quite as gruesome or intense as it potentially could be, but considering that it's a 2018 television anime, it definitely pushes the envelope of contemporary broadcast standards.

                      Brain's Base's Gakuen Basara is Production I.G's Sengoku Basara anime transitioned into a high school setting. So the horses become motor scooters, and swords get replaced with baseball bats and soccer balls. But otherwise it's essentially the same show.

                      The very title of Kishuku Gakkou no Juliet reveals that it's a variation of Romeo & Juliet. The series' first episode includes some very nice editing, but otherwise it's entirely unremarkable. The show's visual design and comedy are very reminiscent of shows including Nisekoi, Yamada-kun to 7-nin no Majo, and Midori no Hibi.

                      The first episode of Irozuku Sekai no Ashita kara is an uncertainty. It's attractive looking but not especially engrossing. But typical PA Works original productions tend to take a few episodes to hit their stride, so this is a series worth keeping an eye on.

                      Radiant feels like Rave or Black Clover with a loose aesthetic influence from the Soul Eater anime. The show definitely feels like a shounen adventure for younger viewers because it operates with a very simplistic logical development. The first episode does introduce some confusing narrative development, however. The flashback depicts young Seth seemingly already infused with magic. If people gain magic from encounters with Nemesis, how did Seth gain his power even earlier than the flashback? Furthermore, if people gain magic by encounters with Nemesis, why did nobody in Pompo Hills, especially including Tommy, get infected by magic?

                      The first episode of Sword Art Online: Alicization isn't tremendously interesting, but I assume that the story will pick up as it develops.

                      A short while ago I was shocked to learn that my friend Phil had never seen an HK John Woo film. Since he's particularly a John Wick fan, I at least sat him through The Killer. However, I'm still not certain whether, or to what extent, Phil enjoyed or liked the film. Since he'd only seen Avengers: Infinity War once, I watched that with him again as well.

                      Andrew Luck put up a good effort in the Colts loss to the Patriots. His receivers just did him too few favors. Giants vs Panthers was a pretty good game. Watched the Vikings narrowly beat the Eagles, and the Texans edge past the Cowboys.


                        I was a bit surprised by Himote House because it initially seemed like a poorly rendered CG variation of Takunomi. But it's subtle inclusion of anime references and its last minute surprise reveal made it a bit more entertaining than expected.

                        Okoshiyasu, Chitose-chan feels a lot like this generation's version of Shibawanko no Wa no Koro.

                        Gaikotsu Shotenin Honda-san is low quality Flash animation, but I think it's the show I wanted Denki-gai no Honya-san to be. Unlike Honya-san, which is about the staff at a manga-centric bookstore, Honda-san seems to concentrate much more on the otaku culture centered within the store.

                        I appreciate that Dakaretai Otoko 1-i ni Odosarete Imasu seems a bit less sappy than most yaoi anime. But I'm typically not interested in bishounen anime, and yaoi series even less.

                        Watched Slime episode 2. While not a lot happens, the show is an amusing distraction.

                        Predictably, the first episode of Toaru Majutsu no Index III is a "fans only" endevour that makes little concession for new viewers and offers even less of interest for new viewers.

                        Watched Emiya-san Chi no Kyou no Gohan episode 10.

                        I'm a bit conflicted over the first episode of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind. Protagonist Giorno doesn't seem especially likable, but the series also provides a legitimate reason why he's not an entirely moral or respectable character.

                        To say that SSSS.Gridman looks and feels like Evangelion is a bit ironic since Evangelion was based partially on shows like Gridman. The anime aesthetics work quite well, and the first episode was more interesting visually and tonally than I expected it to be.

                        Release the Spyce is the latest reinforcing example of why I believe in watching full episodes rather than judging by promotional art and trailers. The show's advance trailers suggested a very heavy-handed show targeted at international appeal by hamfistedly over-emphasizing each character's personality quirks. Thankfully, the first full episode is quite a bit more restrained and naturalistic, coming across exactly like the contemporary-set version of Princess Principal that it appears to be. The first episode isn't quite as dynamic or stylized as Princess Principal, but it's also not as gratuitous or sensationalistic as Senran Kagura. So apart from the questionable implication of the girls relying on natural drug stimulants, the titular “spyce,” the show comes across as a solidly produced conventional action anime.

                        Although their focal practices are different - cheerleading and acting - Anima Yell does feel somewhat comparable in style to Hinako Note.

                        As expected, the first short episode of Shuudengo, Capsule Hotel de, Joushi ni Binetsu Utawaru Yoru is simply porno.

                        Otona no Bouguya-san feels like a side story to Bikini Warriors and a bit of a more salicious version of Dia Horizon (Hi).

                        Apparently I was foolish to have held moderate hopes for Ulysses: Jeanne d'Arc to Renkin no Kishi. The first episode isn't quite as bluntly and obviously awful as the season's worst offerings, but it's actually little better. The premiere episode is a complete mess of tonal and content inconsistency. The series seemingly can't decide if it wants to be harem comedy, historical action, or sword & sorcery fantasy. It includes both alchemy and fairies: note fairies that don't look anything like the same species, for unexplained reason. It includes armor clad British ninja who appear to be highly stealthy but weak fighters. The first episode includes cross-dressing seemingly just because it throws in everything else. Nothing feels consistent or believable, and nothing makes any sense. This show feels exactly like the worst type of light novel based on internet blogging by a teenage author with no writing experience and no vision for his or her own story.

                        Judging by its first episode, Sono Toki, Kanojo wa is a slow-paced, realistic high school romantic drama. It's also essentially a motion comic.

                        Watched Jingai-san no Yome episode 2.

                        I can't stomach Gyakuten Saiban season 2. It's a courtroom drama for very young children because it's typified by goofy slapstick reactions and playground logic. Furthermore, the official subtitle translation is painful not just because of its Americanized character names but also because of deliberate mis-translations like inserting dick jokes.

                        The [email protected] Side M: Wake atte Mini! is literally just the male companion piece to BanG Dream! Garupa Pico.

                        Gonzo seems to have fallen far from grace, or Conception is a production from the studio's C team. Conception is a generic isekai sword & sorcery/harem fantasy with a gratuitous emphasis on sex except a significant portion of the first episode feels literally unfinished. Multiple scenes throughout the first episode lack animation, as though the production simply ran out of time or money to complete the animation. The episode isn't terrible. It's not the worst show of the season, but it's not good. It's narratively mediocre, and its production values are sub-par. Sadly, the best aspect of the first episode is the slightly catchy ending theme song.

                        Seemingly complimenting Zombieland Saga, which is about zombie girls forming an idol unit, Devidol is a CG spontaneous dialogue show ostensibly about devil girls who decide to form an idol unit. But the framing story is just an excuse for GDGD Fairies/Tesagure! Bukatsumono/Minarai Diva style idol chatter. Actually, I think the first half of the show is scripted while the second half is improvised.

                        I'll admit that I approached Kitsune no Koe with trepidation. Regrettably, the first episode did little to dissuade my bias. The animation quality is just slightly sub-par, and the episode's narrative details feel forced. If Hu Li is the essential “ghost voice” behind Kong, him having to sneak into the studio and risk being delayed makes for good drama but no common sense. Furthermore, him being poor and having to work crappy jobs to get by and support his shut-in brother likewise makes no sense for someone so important behind the scenes in the entertainment industry. And while the show may eventually explain itself, its suggestion of suicidal angst due to be outed as part of a scam makes little sense. I can certainly envision the phony singer and his management being persecuted by the public, but I don't see why the actual talented “ghost singer” would be likewise so demonized.

                        I have a number of thoughts on the first episode of Ore ga Suki nano wa Imouto dakedo Imouto ja Nai and sadly none of them are positive. Literally on the heels of Kitsune no Koe, a show about a young man taking credit for someone else's work, we're treated to another show about a young man who takes credit for someone else's work. While the tone of Kitsune no Koe aims for pity and drama, ImoImo aims for sitcom. In either case, I don't see anything praiseworthy about fraud. Conceptually the show is reminiscent of Eromanga-sensei. But while Eromanga-sensei naturally involved risqué humor, this show abruptly introduces crass sex gags seemingly just because someone – perhaps the original author, perhaps an editor – thought that sex jokes are a “popularity magnet.” In this show they just seem out of place and unfunny. Furthermore, to its dubious credit, the ImoImo anime looks and feels exactly like a leftover from 1997. Its visual design looks remarkably like a late 90's production. Its dated reference to SisPrin does more to weigh it down awash in bad nostalgia than buoy the show in charming homage reference. Once again, this isn't one of the worst shows of the season; it's just entirely bland.

                        Watched Drew Brees perfectly set the NFL record for most passing yards ever during the Saints' victory over the Redskins.


                          So all the viewers who were triggered and traumatized by the first episode of Ogre Slayer now have Merc Storia to watch instead, a perfectly safe, non-threatening, child-friendly fantasy anime about characters who function is to magically calm the conflicted hearts of wild monsters. So it's a variation of Pokemon without the catching and battling.

                          I quite wish the Beelzebub-jou no Okinimesu mama series was set in some fantasy kingdom rather than set in hell. The show does its best to explain its scenario, but it's still very difficult to take seriously. The show depicts hell as ruled by Satan's assistant Beelzebub. This “hell” is a frilly pink fairy tale kingdom of kittens and cotton candy. Beelzebub explains that demons aren't inherently evil. They exist as a part of God's design in order to give human free will a full range of possibility. If the show claimed to be some fantasy kingdom, the story and character relationships would still work exactly the same and would be entirely plausible. Setting the story in hell seems satirical, but the show doesn't have any satirical point to make. Rather, it's parody strictly for the pointless sake of parody. Watched episodes 1 & 2.

                          Watched Pig & Bunny Girl episodes 2 & 3. To a small degree, I respect the show's effort to provide some kind of rational explanation, but regrettably for all of its scientific sound, the explanation doesn't make sense because if it did then tens of thousands of Japanese people would be "invisible." The third episode is especially predictable, but I appreciate its sincerity.

                          The first episode of Karakuri Circus is fine. Although it's a slightly older manga, it doesn't feel quite as dated as Ushio to Tora. Some of the character reactions do feel a bit over-exaggerated, even by anime standards, but the relevant scenes are quick and not terribly distracting.

                          Judging by its first episode, Hashiri Tsuzukete Yokattatte, or “I'm Glad I Could Keep Running,” isn't actually a show about running at all, like Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru is. Practically speaking, it appears to be a show about young adult uncertainty. Ostensibly it's a romantic slice of life drama about college age students who atted a voice acting technical school. But the first episode has practically nothing to do with the anime industry or romance. It's just young adults expressing their anxieties.

                          Watched Wakaokami wa Shougakusei episode 18.

                          Hugtto Precure episode 35 is another example of the subtle way in which anime is totally different from American cartoons. The story conceit of a child feeling neglected because the parents are expecting a new baby is fairly commonplace. Hugtto Precure episode 35 uses the story foundation but adds the detail of the mother feeling anxiety about her need to deliver her next child by caesarean section. That extra detail and the small additional drama it entrails seems like a narrative point that would never, ever appear in an American children's cartoon. On an unrelated point, I'm almost shocked by how much more power Cure Ange exhibited in just this isolated episode. I'm conflicted over episode 36. I'm intrigued to learn that it seemingly continues the story from the latest Precure theatrical film. And I'm thrilled to again see multiple incarnations of Cures teaming up. But this episode feels very choppy and nearly incoherent.

                          Senran Kagura Shinovi Master is an odd production. It's a gratuitous as expected with the T&A, but it strictly presents its fan service in a matter-of-fact unsexy light, as though the episode was embarrassed about its own nature. There's just no reason for this show to be explicit if its gratuitous shots have no feeling and contribute nothing to the tone of the show. Furthermore, depicting the team defeated so easily doesn't create drama; it just makes the heroines seem weak and inexperienced. On a side note, when you're Christmas shopping in Harajuku, I don't think you can legitimately call yourself “living in the shadows.”

                          Watched Irozuku Sekai no Ashita kara episode 2.

                          Watched Hora, Mimi ga Mieteru yo episode 2.

                          Watched Ani ni Tsukeru Kusuri wa Nai 2 episode 14.

                          Watched Tonari no Kyuuketsuki-san episode 2.

                          Oddly, only part of Golden Kamuy episode 13, the first episode of season 2, feels as though it directly picks up where episode 12 ended. This episode also ramps up the weirdness that began to arise within the story in episode 11.

                          Production I.G's Noblesse -Awakening- OVA is simply a pilot adaptation of a Korean action/horror comic. It introduces the characters, allows for some gruesome action scenes, then gives the heroes a brief opportunity to show off. In effect, it's a brief introduction to the scenario and characters. It's also a rather odd production. Some shots look distinctly odd, like experimental digital animation. The action scenes demonstrate the fluidity and detail typical of I.G but are also mostly just flash and visual effects rather than intricate animation. The short film is fairly grim and quite grotesque, yet it also has an oddly incongruous sense of humor.

                          The second episode of Goblin Slayer develops exactly as predictable. The first episode throws viewers into the deep end. The second episode explains the groundwork, establishing the protagonist's identity, back story, and what he does in a general, broad overview sense.

                          Watched Slime episode 3.

                          After watching SAO: Alicization episode 2 I can see why the series is going to be fifty episodes. It's proceeding at a snail's pace.

                          The first episode of Inazuma Eleven: Orion no Kokuin almost feels like two different shows. The episode's first half seems like a natural progression of the franchise's story. The second half of the episode abruptly introduces multiple plot developments that are so implausible or contradictory that they make the show suddenly feel like a bad shounen fantasy instead of a sports anime. Case in point, if these players aren't the best Japan has to offer, why were they picked as the representatives of the Japanese national team?

                          Watched Jingai no Yome-san episode 3.

                          Particularly the first half of Himote House episode 2 is fun because of its absurdity and because of its BGM choice.

                          Had a chance to watch the silly first episode of this past spring's Telebi Yarou Nanana.

                          Watched Gaikotsu Shotenin Honda-san episode 2.

                          Continued in next post.


                            Continued from above.

                            Watched the first episode of the locally produced Dawn and the Dead web video series. I'm very conscious of the monumental task that is completing even a short moderately professional looking video production, so I have to credit this pilot episode merely for existing. However, objectively, it's not especially good. Lead actress Heather Budzian looks the part, but even accounting for her characterization still feels a bit stiff. Co-creator and actor Austin Janowsky comes across slightly more believably, but his dialogue is so cliché to the genre that it's impossible to take seriously. The practical make-up is impressive but the implementation of CGI blood squibs looks cheap & awful. The narrative is problematic even in a mere ten minutes. The pilot takes a novel approach to explaining the zombies, but given the explanation, why zombies at all? Why not something far more formidable like an army of cyborg dinosaurs? Except the minimal budget doesn't support anything more elaborate than zombies. It's strikingly uneven characterization that suddenly protagonist “Harmony” wants to be in charge, yet minutes later she instead insists on leading from behind. Where did that gung ho, not afraid of anything attitude disappear to?

                            The first episode of DC's Titans TV series is something of a pleasant surprise. Seemingly beholden to the DCU style, the first TV episode is typified by the same dark and gritty visual atmosphere that typified Snyder's movies. The first episode, however, feels much less like it's trying to establish a tone or a brand and more like it's simply trying to be an entertaining episode. So it doesn't feel as encumbered as the DC movies have felt. It's tonally more comparable to the Netflix Marvel programs or particularly an even more violent companion to the 2014 Constantine television series. Except it's tone skews a bit younger because most of the cast is relatively young. Some of the intense graphic violence does feel like it's trying just a bit too hard to be adult and provocative, but the violence is constantly gratuitous in order to evoke a visceral shock from the viewer. It's a literally bloody fun episode.

                            Before I get into very light spoilers I’ll summarize with the comparison that MFKZ is a pale shadow of Aachi & Ssipak. Regrettably, I can also say that MFKZ is one of the most boring action films I’ve ever seen. Despite having plenty of action scenes including numerous shootouts and gallons of splashed blood, the film never manages to feel exciting. As if by intention, the action scenes are frequently very slowly paced, and nothing ever has a sense of tension. Now onto some more specific criticisms. The movie is both uneven and pointless. The film seemingly can’t decide whether it wants to be a crime thriller or a supernatural action, so it does neither well. At times the movie jarringly throws trailer-style text on screen, but there’s no tonal consistency to the effort. The first instance evokes a noir sentiment. Another instance feels like Batman television series satire. Another instance feels like a bad comic book. The movie repeatedly emphasizes a seemingly symbolic crow, but the crow actually has no meaning or significance whatsoever. The protagonist, Angelino, is so self-assured that he’s an ineffectual loser that even when he does have power, he refuses to use it. In fact, not just Angelino but every character in the film is essentially pointless. One distinctly gets the feeling that practically all of the events in the movie would still have occurred in largely the same way if any given character, including even the protagonist, was removed from the film. Multiple characters literally don’t even get names because they’re so irrelevant. The movie is pointless because it ends literally exactly as it began. No character learns anything of value. No character changes in any appreciable way (except Luna, but she has zero impact on the film’s story). Regrettably, even during the film’s post-credits “making of” sequence, the Japanese Studio 4C animators repeatedly state that they didn’t understand the story or what they were asked to animate. The film is moderately good looking, but regrettably that’s the only praise I can give it.

                            Watched the Eagles crush the Giants. Watched the Falcons beat the Bucs, and the Cowboys crush the Jaguars. Watched Aaron Rogers do it again, leading a fourth-quarter comeback win against the 49ers.


                              Wednesday evening I attended a free preview screening of the military tactical thriller Hunter Killer. I went into the film with low expectations and came out surprised. The film is based on a novel and does feel a bit fictionalized. A bit too frequently the film features scenes that feel just a bit too hair-raising or too quick to be fully believable. But largely the film is competently tense, dramatic, and credible. The movie never feels hammy or campy. The acting and directing are consistently respectful and respectable. The movie is just a little bit thin on genuine characterization because its focus is more on scenario. The characters are more accurately described as archetypes. But given that caveat, the film is a functionally engrossing and satisfying tale, as one would expect from a decent military thriller novel. I came out of the theater thinking it was an “A-“ movie not because it’s a masterpiece but because it’s solid and competent all around with its only particular significant weakness being somewhat stretched plausibility.

                              As has been widely reported, The Witch in the Window is less a supernatural horror and more of an incisive family relationship drama that intersects with a supernatural thriller. The relationship between estranged father Simon and his twelve-year-old son Finn isn't entirely realistic, but it is affecting and compelling. A spiritual presence affecting a child and parent has been done before, for instance in the recent acclaimed The Babadook. But Witch in the Window feels more authentic, more heartfelt, and more cohesive than The Babadook, which feels far more manipulative and pretentious.


                                Finished off Shinya Tensai Bakabon episodes 9-12.

                                Watched Okoshiyasu, Chitose-chan episode 2.

                                Watched Zombieland Saga episode 2.

                                Watched Welcome to Japari Park episodes 3-5.

                                Watched Slime episode 4.

                                Watched Goblin Slayer episode 3.

                                SAO: Alicization episode 3 continues to develop frustratingly slowly.

                                Watched Jingai no Yome-san episode 4.

                                The first half of Hugtto Precure episode 37 again suffers from some of the disjointed jumpiness that characterized episode 36, but the extended action scene that begins in the episode’'s A part and ramps up in the second half holds together much better and illustrates the heights the Precure anime is able to reach during the All Stars team-ups that give the show so much more flexibility and opportunity because of the larger ensemble. I’'m admittedly biased yet still gratified to see the newer generation Cures giving such respect and deference to the first generation pair. I also appreciate the confirmation that Cure Yell is indeed the spiritual underclassman to Cure Black. I also think it'’s neat to see the vast range of Cures partnered up not by their traditional team affiliations but rather by their complementing personalities or combat specs.

                                The first issue of the Batman/The Maxx: Arkham Dreams comic miniseries is tremendously fun. It has a distinctly offbeat, oddly clinical perspective that feels very satirical. Paper Girls issue 25 wraps up with a genuinely surprising plot development, but I'm frustrated that readers now have to wait until next spring to get the next issue. I really like the Black Hammer universe comics, but I've been tentative about the Quantum Age series. Issue 3, however, feels much stronger than the first two issues. I'm not suggesting that it makes the first two issues better, but it does suggest the possibility that Quantum Age simply got off to a rough start with its first two issues and will improve from issue 3 onward. A Walk Through Hell issue 5 is quite a disappointment because it wraps up its first story arc in the most perfunctory way possible. Horror stories often have ambiguous endings, but this storyline ending doesn't just feel ambiguous. Rather, it feels as though writer Garth Ennis just got bored and lost interest in completing his own story. I read the two comic stories in the first issue of High Heaven. The title story feels much more like a scenario adapted into a comic than an actual story. The concept of Heaven being a dull, utilitarian, bureaucratic commune could be funny, but this story doesn't seem to do anything with the scenario. Rather, the story feels disjointed and under-developed. The Hashtag: Danger story is even worse because it entirely lacks context and is literally a five page set-up for a mere three-panel gag. Read Barbarella issue 10.

                                Watched the Broncos crush the Cardinals, and the Redskins narrowly beat the Cowboys, and the Chiefs crush the Bengals. Watched the Falcons beat the Giants.