Anime

Three more to go


Shangri-La Frontier, episode 24

Extra-shouty with extra-shiny CGI, as Our Overambitious Hero comes up with a way to farm mobs he can’t kill in a fair fight. Some fun reaction shots from Vanilla Bunny, with the promise of Chocolate Bunny reactions next week.

Verdict: one more to go; will Our Overarmored Heroine manage to squeeze in a scene?

Van Interrupted, fin

Van fight. Lavender fight. Instant redemption. All is forgiven. No bath scene.

Verdict: technically, this was better paced than the first season, in that it didn’t suddenly accelerate over a cliff. It was just faithful to a source that isn’t faithful to the slow-life theme. Meh.

(the tag “Frieren eaten by a mimic” (ミミックに食われかけフリーレン) has more fan-art than this show; just sayin’)

This week’s endings:

  1. Wednesday, Gushing Over Magical Girls
  2. Saturday, Solo Leveling
  3. Sunday, Shangri-La Frontier

(took me a moment to remember the actual title of the first one…)

This week’s premieres:

None for me, thanks. If you’re also not up for Angel Meets Potato-kun or a new Saint Seiya season, have some Loco Musica to forcibly reset your preferences.

Note that I did not say “cleanse your palate”. Eye candy, yes, but she's more ear candling than ear candy.

Next Monday’s premieres:

Shouty Train, God Game, Re-Monster, 7th Shota, Spicy Wolf, Regurgitated Hero (double episode, no less). So, that’s one.

Most of the season starts next weekend. I will not be catching them all.

It ain't over 'til it's over!


Frieren, fin

Half the episode was wasted trying to make more of the dull mages retroactively interesting, but the rest was fine. Bonus points for Fern picking a Very Practical Spell for a traveling mage.

Verdict: the tournament arc did its best to suck the life out of the show, but only managed to half-suck.

(okay, it was mildly amusing that psycho chick spent half the season hitting on a guy who wasn’t even there; it didn’t improve either character, but it helped make up for their presence in the show)

The Last Pon-Fighter, fin

Okay, this one was bullshit. My expectations after last week’s fake cliffhanger were low, but they failed to meet them anyway. Even the brief plug for Mahjong Soul was half-assed.

Why not use one of the other tables when Janta-kun broke? Because Girl#2 threw a tantrum and Girl#4 seconded the motion: it would be a betrayal of the broken inanimate object. So half of the episode is like a post-graduation “our club broke up, but we still meet as friends sometimes” downer epilogue.

And then they finally decide to call for service, and discover it will cost about $150 for the repair, which Girl#1 can’t afford, and she’s surprised that they all want to pitch in. Never mind the solid-gold mahjong set on the counter and Our Poor Little Riiche Girl who could buy the service company with her allowance.

Waiting three months to make a service call was apparently to force enough time to pass for the show to end with cherry blossoms and a very-short-but-qualified newcomer.

Verdict: Our Pon Gals might be naturally padded, but this episode was strictly artificial stuffing all the way. Hell, even the repair took too long because they had to order the part, instead of taking it out of one of the other machines they weren’t using anyway. Having the barely-used magic bird write out “the end?” was more of an insult than a promise. The only reason to Buy The Blurays is if they promise to hire animators to replace all the non-panned stills and cardboard-cutout “animation”, and cut the volume on the music.

(y’know, usually when women get this attached to an appliance, it’s got “massage” features…)

Solo Ragdolling, episode 11

The prestige-class fight cheated on the animation in several places, but it at least made Our Hero look like the underdog again after wiping the floor with his opponents for the last few weeks.

But they took plenty of time to set up the still-unannounced next season’s events, which kind of negates any built-up drama. As did the lite-cheesecake shots of his little sister. And of course the drama of having him lose the easy-out option was undercut by telegraphing the stunt he’ll pull next episode.

Verdict: everyone else announced second seasons at the big anime show this weekend; why wait?

(“gosh that defensive item really came in handy!”)

The Apothecary Diaries, fin

And so the Daddy Issues arc is resolved. Maomao’s months-old leg injury, not so much. How many times has she reopened it off-camera? Bonus points for finally tying the first OP’s dancing into the show.

Verdict: with the second season not coming until 2025, I’m going to have to break down and read at least the two novels that have been covered up to now. How much I read past that, I don’t know yet.

Spice & Wolf: The Remake

…will be two cours; please don’t suck, so I have something to watch for six months.

(unrelated spicy wolf)

July: Cat Food Porn Girl

Not food for cats, or porn catgirls, but food porn by cats, with a girl. I’m not recommending it, just noting its existence…

[Update: I rewatched this trailer because I thought some of the voices were familiar. Turns out, almost all of them are; the human girl is a kitten among tigers.]

Less exciting than cat food porn: Shy 2 teaser

Yeah, whatever; the endless Russian invasion overflowing with Kufufu ruined the first season for me.

(nothing relevant left in my collection, so I’ll start using up some of my spare Frieren pics)

Next year: Beelzebub returns!

Oh, also the rest of the Slime-Killing Witch characters.

Oopsie!

Someone pasted in the wrong blurb, making Rerun’s Special Magic considerably more entertaining:

“What happens when you put one down-on-his-luck amateur novelist and one amnesiac ghost girl in one bargain-basement haunted apartment?”

Unrelated, Blue Archive shooting blanks

I have questions, but on the other hand, I’m a bit afraid of the answers…

Molesting Magical Girls, episode 12


Now that’s how you sell Blurays! First, Our Commanding Dom restores her faith in the world by seeing that Our Busty Sub ain’t broken, and then manages to lure her into a compromising position without using her powers. Just two fingers. Where they feel best.

Then, armed with new toys, Our Sleepy Loli takes on Our Ditzy Redhead in a giant monster fight, giving everyone in the neighborhood a giant upskirt shot. Dom and Our Shooty Catgirl go undercover to increase the exposure, quickly joined by Busty and Our Punchy Blonde in a knock-down, knocker-out, knicker-down, drag-em-out fight with a photo-finish.

Verdict: this was the funniest episode yet, and they still managed to work in their character-development kink! I’ll be sad when it’s over next week.

The end is near


Frieren, episode 27

If either Fern or Stark were slightly more self-aware, they’d have figured out why she went out to the middle of nowhere to see him when she was upset. After all, she’s made some connections to the other young female mages, who would be sure to sympathize with her situation.

Other good news includes some prime OG flashbacking, revealing the chance encounter that brought the party together. But the best news of all is that the test is over; stick a fork in it, it’s done.

Verdict: the bad news is that the show ends next week.

[Now subbed on Youtube by ADN, if you prefer immediate ads to slow-arriving torrents]

Our Pon Girls ring in the New Year, then meet up to spend a full day at the parlor. Yes, they’re in new winter outfits, although at least Girl#3 and Gothy are in unseasonably short skirts. But there’s no good reason for the THIS IS COMEDY music to show up to celebrate homemade mochi, and we end this penultimate episode on a cliffhanger: Janta-kun broke. For some reason, this is considered a crisis rather than the minor inconvenience of taking the cover off of one of the half-dozen other tables that have been in the background all season. I’m guessing they never read the part in the manual about cleaning and maintenance.

Now, if they wanted a real surprise, the girls would finally find the stairs to the second floor. The exterior shots clearly show a big upstairs window, but the interior has normal ceilings, so the door behind the counter must provide access. They did promise a pajama party, after all…

Verdict: Rehash all the things! Cooking, eating, playing, talking to the magic bird, and making random mahjong references! Fortunately they left out emulating cheat videos and making man-face jokes. Next week, it ends.

Solo Leveling, episode 10

And so we bid a fond-but-unfondled farewell to Joohee for a while, and then follow Our Unlaid Hero through a dungeon grind until he levels up enough to qualify for a prestige class. Via a major quest, of course.

Verdict: two more episodes to go, which doesn’t sound like enough time to enter the red gate after switching class, much less clear it. Which means that the time spent on his sister’s classmate is all setup for a second cour. Which they really shouldn’t keep us in suspense about.

The Apothecary Diaries, episode 23

Nothing in previous episodes has given us any reason to feel sympathy for Lakan, but we’re going to get his life story anyway, up to the point where he discovers that he accidentally abandoned his pregnant lover and ruined her life. At the end of the flashback, he’s been humanized, but he’s still a dick in the present as Maomao challenges him to chess for very personal stakes.

Verdict: despite some small stumbles, this has been a great show. Wrap-up next week. If they don’t announce more coming soon, I’ll finally start reading the novels (translation of book 11 comes out in May, and the show has only covered the first two).

(I’ve run out of decent Maomao pics, so here’s some nyan-nyan instead)

Chocolate Bunny Power, Activate!, episode 23

It’s dangerous to go alone; take a pair of shoulder bunnies. Our Too-Casual Hero forgot to bring a holy weapon to a lich fight, and only succeeds because Chocolate Bunny is just that awesome.

Slow-Living In A Van Down By The River, episode 11

This week, Our Psycho Hero snaps completely and goes on a killing spree, and His Crazypants Girlfriend is right there beside him, pissed-off enough to reveal the full extent of her power. So naturally, Our Slow-Living Pharmacist challenges him to a one-on-one duel to prove a point. Next week.

Verdict: and next week is the end, so this show is definitely not going to go back to what it’s good at (cheesecake bathing) and will end on its weak point (the story).

(maybe we’ll get lucky in an end credits montage?)

Molesting Magical Girls, episode 11


[Hidive was 7 hours late on this one; other streaming platforms got it out on time, though]

Super Catgirl And The Power Of Love! Giant Nun Shrinks From Combat! Busty Gets Her Groove Back! Dom Brings The Smack Down! Machiavellian Mascot Unmasked! Is This The [Blistered] End Of Lord Enome?

Verdict: good squishy.

Call Of The Night 2 in production

The teaser video is just a panned still with no release date attached, but at least it will show up someday.

Not enough diversity in new Shogun series!

No, seriously, dipshits are complaining about it.

Apple broke USB (again)

Many people who’ve updated to MacOS 14.4 can’t connect devices that worked in 14.3. Changing security settings may work around it.

Killing time


Solo Leveling, episode 9

To my surprise, they did not drag out the big fight another week by intercutting scenes of side characters. They didn’t fully animate it, either, though; lots of flashing blades and sound effects to save on budget.

Related, proof that Our Hero is no longer entirely human is that he’s not thoroughly distracted by Joohee’s change of clothing post-dungeon. That blouse was clearly a present for him, or at least the gift wrap.

Verdict: if they don’t announce a second season soon, this is just going to stop in an unsatisfying place.

(I was honestly expecting them to airdrop a Cha scene into this week’s episode)

The Apothecary Diaries, episode 22

Roses are blue, nails are bright red; next week father/daughter thing comes to a head.

Verdict: honestly, is there anything Maomao can’t do? Sure, she comes by her brains legitimately, but she’s turning into Encyclopedia Brown here. Not that it’s bothering me enough to even consider not watching the show.

(my real disappointment is that Gyokuyo didn’t get up to any mischief)

Chocolate Bunny Raising Project, episode 22

In which Our Goofball Hero finds himself wrapped up in two naked bunny girls. Kinda.

Verdict: Chocolate Bunny is made of awesome. Pity she doesn’t currently have a human form.

Van Life, episode 10

This week, both heroes are depressed. Me too, because bath time seems to be gone for good.

Verdict: my low expectations are not being met, but I have not yet kicked the hero party out of the rotation. Fingers crossed that Tisse gets in one more hot-springs review this season.

Unrelated juicing…

It’s ripe-pineapple season at Dole, and the fruits of their labor are flooding local stores. It’s a bit tedious to carve up the silly things, but I really like ripe pineapple, so even holding back I’ve gone through three in as many weeks.

With this latest one, I found myself looking at the bottle of Monin Yuzu Syrup sitting next to the Sodastream. Turns out they go well together. Really well.

Fake things


Frieren, episode 26

Good news! The second test is over! Bad news! We had to sit through the extended dance mix of How Übel Thinks to get there.

Verdict: the climax of the big fight was worth it, as was Frieren’s reaction to the treasure. But we’re still not done with all these characters I don’t care about, since there’s a third test. Hopefully the downtime before it will be focused on the real cast.

(“the last thing you’ll ever see”)

Everybody Have Pon Tonight, episode 10

The opening dream sequence was a nightmare of foreshadowing, with Girls 1-3 obviously cheating to set up a victory over Our Gothy Girl, based on assembling a hand based on the numbers 2 & 5. At which point Our Poor Little Riiche Girl jumps out of the table to shout Merry Christmas. Note: this is not what I had in mind for costume changes.

Sadly, in reality the parlor must not have good heating, because our girls are bundled up in bulky clothing that eliminates any chance of repeating last week’s conspicuous bounce. Anyway, they cook and eat and play and have a Christmas party, and the THIS IS COMEDY music gets almost as much of a workout as poor Chonbo.

Verdict: I wish this show were as funny as it thinks it is. And that the girls played strip mahjong; I wouldn’t mind a repeat of the Asobi Ni Iku Yo OVA mahjong scene

(not what our girls look like at the table this week…)

Dear AliExpress…

This was halfway down the first page of a search for “26mm mahjong” (the standard tile size for the Japanese version, although tables like Janta-kun use 28mm tiles):

It wasn’t the only one, and there were also buttplugs, catheters, and less-recognizable toys, some of them electric. Honestly, do you have to copy every feature of Amazon?

No sub, Hidive?

HiDive just updated their completely-overhauled app on all platforms, and I no longer get any subtitles at all on my FireTV; the controls are just gone.

Customer Service, on the other hand, is on the ball, recommending that I try to watch a show that’s got dubs as well, which should still have the correct UI for switching to subs, and then that will carry over to shows that don’t display the UI. That is, there’s a global preference, but it’s not displayed on the preferences page, just on the pause screen of shows where both dub and sub exist. Nice QA work, guys.

Fortunately, the only thing I need it for this season is Molesting Magical Girls. Hmmm, that sentence didn’t come out quite right. Or did it?

(unrelated unmolested magical girls)

Correcting the headline

Let me just fix this for them:

Wackjob Tranny Calls Cops On JK Rowling

Sorry, dude, but you were born a dude, with tiny little dude parts, and there is nothing in this world that can change that, no matter how much gaslighting and surgery you indulge in to perpetuate your cosplay fantasy. Even removing your tiny little dude parts just makes you a second-stage cutter, not a woman.

We play along out of politeness, something you depend on and abuse, but when you attack, we no longer have a reason to pretend.

(the pathetic thing is that no one was a bigger ally to The Alphabet People than Rowling, and these clowns are determined to turn her against them)

Molesting Magical Girls, episode 10


In which Our New Underlings turn out to be childhood friends who’ve been supressing not only their deep friendship, but their intimate lesbian desires, revealed courtesy of Our Mighty Dom’s desire for a free show. And a juicy show it is, making all previous hentai-ish scenes in this show just a tease.

In the second half, Our Much-Abused Magical Gals are still off training, so it’s up to Our Full Team Naughty to respond to an attack on the city by the forces of Lord Evil Lord And The Crying Nun.

Verdict: the first half starts out as some real character-building for Loco Musica and Leberblume, before whiplashing into hot girl-girl sex. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but hoo-boy is it going to send the forum whiners into orbit. Extra credit to Kiwi-chan for her starring role as Super Leoparde!

(celebrating the creation of our full five-girl sentai team, Loco and Leber were added to the end credits animation and song)

Dear Alexa,

I do not consider it appropriate for you to scan my network for non-Amazon devices, interrogate their status, and then ask me if I want to order new batteries for them. It’s not like I wouldn’t have bought batteries from you anyway, it’s the “what else are you doing with the information you gather about devices on my network” that’s the issue.

(…and that’s why you’re on the other network!)

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