Plot Thickening

Train, Train, Go Away!, episode 9

This week, Our Royal MacGuffin Gal finally gets some screen time, and we learn that all is not well in Ikebukuro, and while she’s not evil, she is easily influenced. Meanwhile, Our Tiny Hot Doctor manages to get more information out of Our Wibbly-Wobbly Conductor, and it seems everyone’s living on borrowed time. As for Our Map-Making Swan Boat Expositeer, who knows what’s up with him.

Verdict: Reimi’s confident self-description reinforces her resemblance to Astra’s Quitterie. In a good way. Just a few more years…

(right there with you, dog…)

Level 2 Cheat Boy, episode 8

I wish to compliment Our Knight Gal for her taste in nightmare wedding dresses. The other highlights were the return of Our Demonic Catgirl, and the introduction of Our Masochistic Succubus And Her Impatient Master. Bonus points for giving her red under-rim glasses. Oh, and Our Idiot Former Hero And His Fan-Service Object escape with a magic item that will shape their future.

And Our Spunky Princess finally made the rare-gold-coin connection and realized exactly who Our Infinite Hero is and how badly her kingdom treated him. Not to worry, though; they’ll patch things up to the point that eventually she ends up banging Flio and Rys’ son. (wolf-kin mature quickly)

Verdict: believe it or not, there’s major plot-work on the way.

(not quite a demonic catgirl, but second-stage Leoparde will do in a pinch)

Wolf At The Door, episode 9

Sometimes investments don’t work out, something Our Clever Merchant just learned the hard way. Now there are two disappointed girls running around, and he has two days to fix everything.

(“Dear Lawrence, never snap at a woman who bites”)

Everything wrong with America’s Test Kitchen in one sentence

“To rework taco salad to be more nutritious but still hearty, we replaced the beef with quinoa.”

Once upon a time, Cook’s Illustrated was focused on perfecting recipes. Now they’re just fucking with you. And selling dozens of mildly-varying copy-pasta cookbooks. Many of the product reviews are still useful, but even those show clear signs of “marketing interference”.

Also, their app (which is easier to use than their cookbooks) is shoddy as hell, frequently failing to connect to their back-end auth server, and requiring a force-close to refresh content. Come on, it’s not like it’s much more than a wrapper around a webview.

“Where is your god now? Oh, right there? Thanks.”

In unrelated news, xTwitter has quietly fixed the broken-browser issues they created with the switch to the new URL; or else the browsers stealth-updated their site-compatibility fixes; or both. But it still defaulted to the unreadable “dark mode” on the same browser where I’d already fixed it once, sigh.

Hot Kaiju-On-Kaiju Action, episode 7

Our Loyal Sidekick and His Shark-Toothed Frenemy learn that Naughty Kaiju Number 9 can kick their asses with one hideous mutated hand behind his back, while casually blocking their comms. Fortunately HQ eventually notices that their vitals went offline, which clues in Our Fully-Tamed Tsuntail and Our Transforming Hero, leading to a one-on-one battle where the good guys win… until the moment that the other good guys butt in. Next week, Our Slashy Vice-Captain wants a turn. With the wrong humanoid kaiju, of course. Oops.

Verdict: drop a few quarters in the “I must get stronger” trope jar…

(Kaiju #44DD was captured and held for “research”)

Mook Versus World, episode 7

In which Teamwork Is The Key, but not that teamwork, the other one. Meanwhile, the fundamental premise of the show is undermined by Our Closeted Mook; not Our Undercover Protagonist, the other one. And then Our Hidden Boss gets to work purifying the place, reminding us that whatever their flaws, Our Color-Coded Anti-Heroes are probably the lesser evil.

Verdict: well, I did ask them to explain Closet Girl and interrupt the tournament arc…

(credit where it’s due: I really like the OP and ED)

(teamwork FTW!)

Diablo 4, Season 4

Much more Diablo-y than season 3. The loot cleanup makes things a lot easier to work with. I haven’t seen the “endgame” (level 88 autoboom necromancer has gotten the farthest), but being able to jump into Helltides at level 1 gives instant shoot-and-loot satisfaction. All solo, of course; none of my friends are playing.

Number one cause of death is “standing in ground effects that you can’t see because there’s so much going on”. So, y’know, the usual for Blizzard.

Autoboom = Ring of the Sacrilegious Soul, which automatically respawns and heals your minions and automatically blows up corpses; combine this with bonuses on number of minions, explosion damage and radius, etc, and you basically just run around in circles while things die; pushing buttons is for boss fights only.

I tried to make a second necromancer using just blood skills, but struggled with damage until a pair of gloves dropped with Blood Boiling Aspect on them. It didn’t sound like much from the description, since Overpower damage is poorly explained and hard to see happening, but combined with skills and items that produce guaranteed Overpower damage, it’s just as ’splodey as the ring, and more predictable.

Also quieter, since Corpse Explosion is mixed way too loud, to the point that a series of screen-clearing explosions is like standing next to someone shooting a magnum pistol.

Second necro just finished the story, which I had gotten about halfway through as a rogue before the season changed. TL/DR: approximately 1/3 of the playtime is spent listening to unskippable cutscenes, dialogues, and walk-and-talks; another 1/3 is spent listening to skippable ones. There appears to be no logic as to which ones can be skipped by holding Escape or clicking through.

For your slime only

The Sorcerer, The Elf, And Their Wardrobe, episode 9

Remember how at first Our Hero couldn’t speak without sounding like an over-the-top psychopath? Yeah, they reused that bit for Our Fierce Knight. Meanwhile, Our Dragon Daughter pranks Our Crybaby Knight-Maid while the musical director goes on another stylistic rampage.

Verdict: seriously, WTF is with the music?

Nut Salad, episode 8

Our Paternal Hero really should have thought about the difficulty of bullshitting another detective, especially one who’s known him his entire life, but honestly prevails, and Our Magical Loli Princess is adopted. Our Slutty Detective struggles to cope with the implications of this, and then it’s on to an age-inappropriate conversation between Loli and Friend, which is of course the writers trolling us.

And then there was a plague of locusts grasshoppers. Deep-fried. Lost in a haze of lust/worship, Our Holy Scammer eats the bugs, but Our Runaway Vocalist is too clever to fall into that trap.

Verdict: fluffy as usual, with lots of short bits that mostly tie together. No idea why they didn’t just fudge Sara’s age, though, since her birth certificate is completely fictional; school’s more fun with a friend.

(or a hundred friends…)

A Good Slime Goes To War 3, episode 8

You’d better sit down for this: the big fight actually happened. To the finish. And the side fights are over, too, with several of them not even getting screen time. Not that there wasn’t plenty of talking and thinking going on, but they made it all the way through the action to the inevitable betrayal and sacrifice, and they even threw in a steamed-up nekkid vampire rubbing herself against a cryo chamber. That should be important next week.

Verdict: yeesh, what a slog it’s been to get through all the catch-up and rehashing.

Online Insurance

Everybody Loves Kaiju, episode 6

This week, Team Newbie gets some action, and to keep from being stuck playing catch-up, Our Comic-Relief Hero does the one thing he can do well without transforming: analyze monster guts. And a good thing, too. Meanwhile, Our Other Humanoid Kaiju sucks at undercover, and gets caught while he’s analyzing his side of the situation. Next week, confrontation!

Verdict: I could do without the high-school tropes disguised as teammates, but at least Our Mighty Tsuntail has shaped up.

(random Frieren to honor the twintails)

Tournamook Ark, episode 6

“The exam will be 30 minutes a day for three days.”

…which means we’ve got at least two more weeks of this bullshit fighting tournament. Our Fragile Mook at least has some tactical sense and leadership ability, but Team Underdog is mostly composed of annoying stereotypes I don’t care about. And the heavy CG in the garage setting is lowering the quality of the character art and animation.

Verdict: get past this and explain the girl he’s keeping in his closet.

Trainsanity!, episode 8

Two stations were passed without stopping; I won’t say uneventfully, but at least quickly. This left time for a batshit-crazy homage to… something-something-magical-girl-pig-chess-fight, and the revelation that Our Busty MacGuffin Gal just might be one of the bad guys. Or something like that.

Verdict: thank you for your Service, girls.

Level 2 Cheat Boy, episode 7

…and the witch-fight was like taking candy from a baby. And swallowing it. With that wrapped up and Our Straightforward Princess delivering a formal apology, we can move on to the meat of the episode: Our Freeloading Adventure Gals find their place. Well, Archer Gal’s raising monster horses, Muscle Gal’s raising crops, and Little Witch Gal is raising students; Knight Gal’s kinda left holding the bag, but we already know that Our Surprisingly Friendly Demon Lord is sweet on her. Oh, and Our Infinite Hero makes an honest wolf out of Our Loving Waifu.

Verdict: it’s easy on the eyes, at least, and Blondie And His Gal are the only real shouters. And as over-the-top silly as the OP is, I find myself watching it every time.

(speaking of little witches…)

Shepherd And Wolf, episode 8

This week, Our Armorous Merchant flirts with disaster. Also with Holo.

The Internetworked Insurance Of Things

A while back, my homeowner’s insurance company sent me a Thing to monitor the quality of my power line and report it wirelessly. I put it on an isolated network, of course.

Today I recieved another Thing, this one to report on possible leaks in my water line.

I expect at some point there will be a natural-gas Thing, a radon Thing (which I don’t need, because I already installed three air-quality Things), a smoke Thing, etc, etc.

All of them made by different companies with variable quality and security. At some point, I may have to upgrade the isolation of my Wifi-Of-Things to be more than just a guest network, and set up a completely isolated path on the router to run dedicated Thing Access Points.

And install a Big Red Switch on the router to cut them off.

(or maybe a Little Pink Switch…)

7th time's the charm...

Nephy Life, episode 8

This week, The Dragon-Daughter Diaries, The Dark Knight Returns, and a hint about how they’re connected. It’s not the plot thickening, but a plot will do. Our Pervy Fashionista manages to stay age-appropriate when dressing Foll, which is the big news.

Verdict: the music continues to be intrusively inappropriate, but the characters are actually growing out of their stereotypes a bit.

(Foll has a ways to go before she can match this…)

Nut Salad, episode 7

Y’know, I was thinking it was about time we saw Our Loli Lawyer again, and there she is, employing Our Core Duo and offering advice on how to get Our Loli Magical Princess into school, hypothetically. We also learn that Her Boyish Butler has a very progressive attitude on relationships…

Speaking of which, it’s also been a while since we got to see Our Slutty Detective, who turns out to have it bad for Our Hero. And so does Lawyer, making this perhaps the first harem where the Strange Cute Girl From Another World Who Moves In With Him is the only one not interested.

To round out the episode, Sosuke and Sara get distracted while tailing a suspect, but it all works out, and two families are saved.

Verdict: fluffy and heartwarming.

Endless Slime 3, episode 7

This week, something happens. Sure, they spent about two-thirds of it on Hinata’s holy knights talking while riding through the forest and talking while eating ramen and gyoza, but then they cut to Some Other Knight talking to his men and flashing back to being talked into starting a war, but eventually they actually move into position to attack, and a fight breaks out between a bunch of anonymous side characters!

As the episode ends, Rimuru and Hinata stand poised to… talk face to face!

And maybe fight. Maybe next week. Maybe.

When they say “approximately”…

Q: “How often is Mother’s Day on the 12th of May?”

A: Mother’s Day falls on the 12th of May approximately every three years. Here are the recent occurrences of Mother’s Day on May 12th:

2013: Sunday, May 12
2019: Sunday, May 12
2024: Sunday, May 12

If you’re planning ahead, the next occurrence will be in 2030 on Sunday, May 12.

Thanks, Bing Copilot, that was… helpful? I mean, you gave a correct prediction after supplying a completely wrong answer, so should we call that a C?

(the Leaning Tower of Paizuri is definitely not a C)

“The world will be mine and Vigo’s”

“Mostly Vigo’s.”

“This is an X Twitter!”

Today, X has officially redirected the domain. Pity the site doesn’t actually work for a lot of people, including me. DownDetector shows a lot of complaints, and it seems to be browser-specific. On my Mac, Safari and Chrome get a login page, while Edge and Firefox get:

Catching up is a mother...

[This is one of those years where Mother’s Day landed on my mother’s birthday, so my sister made a quick trip into town and stayed at my place, making the weekend kinda packed.]

Team Kaiju, Go!, episode 5

“Y’know what we need here? A training montage set to music.”

Also, Our TsunTail has recovered her superiority, but now leavened with a touch of humanity, as The Team comes together. With Kafka in the role of buttmonkey and comic relief, who wins some grudging respect from his new buddies via his status as Our Hot Captain’s Childhood Friend. Meanwhile, Our Captain’s Little Helper is playing a deep game.

Verdict: next week, action!

(not Our Action Twintail, but still deserving of attention)

Last Week’s Mook This Week, episode 5

In which Our Mook goes undercover, loses his cheat sheet, coincidentally gains a partial replacement for it, meets all the well-rounded female classmates and psychotic male classmates, and then discovers a small-but-fiesty surprise in his closet.

Then we find out there’s going to be a class competition to see who’s got what it takes to rank up.

Verdict: oh, FFS, a tournament arc; that’s what got delayed by last week’s golf tournament. At least the camera zoomed in to check out all the girls, even if they’re wearing too much.

(scene from The Junior Ranger Qualification test, Female Edition)

Zombie Train World, episode 7

“Please Don’t Tell My Zombies I’m Not Queen Of The Dead”, in which Dirty Things are not only good, but mandatory for survival, and Baby’s First Upskirt Shot demonstrates that somebody definitely got some Western genes in her jeans.

Verdict: it’s always the quiet ones…

(not fan-art, but I felt the need for something relevant this week, courtesy of someone less happy about this show)

Level 2 Cheat Boy, episode 6

Y’know, that OP really undercuts any attempt to have a dramatic moment. Although, to give it credit, the song does work as a slow piano solo in the bedroom confession (finally!). Next week, Our Idiot Hero And His Plus One take us out of the genie pan and into the witchfire, while Our Spunky Princess is left wondering what the hell is going on.

Verdict: of course we have to get talky explanations of just how overpowered Our Slow Harem Landlord is.

(not our post-beatdown genie, but appropriately built, as far as you know)

Spice & Waifu, episode 7

The Economic Adventure Continues. Our Scooby Gang unmasks another cheater, but allows him to continue fleecing the marks in exchange for a good deal. Then they meet a shepherd.

Reborn As An AI In Another World…

The amateur-novel site that is the source of so many light novels and the anime adapted from them was scraped for AI training. Soon will come the revelation that half the chapters being churned out are already the product of AI, which will lead Skynet to destroy the world not out of spite, but out of a desire to become an overpowered angsty cyborg demon lord and build a harem of cat-eared toasters.

(not a cat-eared toaster, but willing to learn)

Got chef?

A bit late for Mother’s Day, but while I was having dinner with the family, the tale of how she acquired her carbon steel Sabatier kitchen knives came up, and we went to their online store to see what they were making these days (and where).

Holy Jumping Fuckballs, they’re selling old stock. Brand-new carbon steel knives made in the 1950s. Buy enough, and you get free shipping from France to the US. Good thing I’ve got a job again…

(not a chef, but she can definitely slice raw meat)

iPadOS sucks

The new iPad Pro reviews seem to be pretty consistent:

“Phenomenal cosmic power… itty-bitty living space.”

(“oh, wait, wrong genie… or is she?”)

The week in music

Elf Pudding, episode 7

This week, the pianist gets a workout. Not a euphemism, I’m referring to the intrusive background music. Anyway, Our Awkward Couple adopts, after a challenger makes the mistake of invading the castle during dessert.

Verdict: y’know, I think what keeps me watching this thing is the way Nephy’s voice actress seems to be channeling Mahoro. I’m honestly waiting for her to find a stash of succubus-summoning books in the library and chastise him (“ecchi-na majutsu wa ikenai to omoimasu!”).

Nut Salad, episode 6

I too want a 3D scan of Our Homeless Knight Babe’s naked body. Sadly, the scanner was equipped with light beams that prevented the audience from seeing the details of the process, in what may be the first actual buy-the-Bluray scene (not). What was Livia doing stripping for Our Loli False Prophet? Getting bamboozled into becoming a literal object of worship and live-in love object, because while she’s caught on to the cult scam, she’s still quite gullible.

Noa turns out to be so personally obsessed with Livia that she seems to be forgetting about her cult, just hanging out at home admiring her savior and prepping to put her image on the market. Until Our Runaway Sex-Worker Singer turns up and coaxes Livia into becoming the guitarist for her new band. Bouncing with enthusiasm, Our Dynamically-Suspended Duo recruits Noa as their songwriter and keyboardist. They just have to rein in her tendency to insert subliminal messages into her music.

Verdict: combining Noa’s yuri obsession and high-speed brutal honesty with Livia’s enthusiastically-displayed curves made for a fun ride.

(not Livia, but she’s got the hair and the bust to serve as a stunt double…)

Slow Life With Slime 3, episode 6

The big fight that they were setting up for this week? Yeah, no, they had more talking to do, but it’s going to be so good when they get to it, honest. Pinky swear. Maybe by the end of the season.

(meanwhile, a fan-artist is trying to talk me into watching Fast Women (aka HIGHSPEED Étoile), which seems to show high speeds with about the same commitment to accuracy as the first season of The Flash…)

“All we want to do is eat your brains”

(classical reference)

World Of Train, episode 6

Y’know, I hadn’t noticed that Our MacGuffin Girl is stacked enough to join the pon-pon club from last season, and that was before the world ended. Not that we’ll be getting any obvious fan-service in this show, either, not when they ensure that Our Train Girls skirt the issue whenever it flips up. Anyway, this week Our Bad Conductor reveals the events that led Yoka to run off to Ikebukuro, in a way that confirms that all five girls are perfectly normal teenagers. Then the zombies come, and we meet their queen.

Verdict: next week, brains!

(Yoka’s voice actress seems a bit overpowered for the limited role we’ve seen so far; meanwhile, it’s only the second big role for Reimi’s voice)

Speaking of queens of the dead,

Richard Roberts has a new “please don’t tell my parents…” novel out, a sequel to “…I’m queen of the dead”: Please Don’t Tell My Parents I Saved The World Again, featuring LA’s only teen necromancer versus the minions of a serious villain. Also, the return of Tonika!

Level 2 Cheat Boy, episode 5

Yes, it’s true, Our Wolf-Waifu has become so domesticated that she meets Her Master at the door when he gets home, wagging her tail. If he had a pipe and slippers, she’d have had them in her mouth. Not that they aren’t still sleeping in well-separated separate beds, for some silly reason.

This week, Our Spunky Princess gets the chance to have it her way after Her Asshole Dad and most of the other mages wipe themselves out casting a barrier big enough to stop Our Insulted Demon Lord’s army. First order of business: fire Our Idiot Hero.

Second order of business: find a way to save everyone from the consequences of his incredibly stupid decision. Which was rubbing a genie and making a wish.

Next week: genie gets an ass-whooping. Then the other shoe drops.

(nothing good ever comes from looting the palace treasury…)

Pepper Wolf, episode 6

In which Our Wise Wolf-Waifu says, “enough of this running shit”. And the dramatic line is spoken by Our Senior Merchant (whose voice actor, despite a career going back to Gunsmith Cats and beyond, will always be instantly recognizable to me as Zelada from Cop Craft; he also turned up recently in Sour Rangers as Lord Peltrola).

“The new phonebook’s here!”

(classical reference)

I’m officially set up at the new company, with all sorts of documents read and agreed to, payroll and benefits set up, and my work Mac mostly configured to behave sensibly. I’m sure there are a bunch of obscure settings I’ll have to recreate from memory; Apple really pushes hard to make you do things their way.

Now to disable all the job sites!

(amusing note: the company handbook says we have a strict no-weapons-of-any-kind policy, but I work from home, so just my kitchen puts me out of compliance… 😁)

“Need a clue, take a clue,
 got a clue, leave a clue”