The larger the effect on sentences can be dramatically random.

— ovdluhe.c

Okay, now there's something on


Finally!

Frieren, episode 17

Yeah, right there with you, Sein. New OP song isn’t as off-genre as the previous one, but still doesn’t grab me. ED song is just new lyrics for the previous song.

Verdict: mildly worried about massive cast expansion next week, but they’ve earned my trust.

Solo Leveling, episode 1

Welcome to The Tutorial. We’ll be providing flashbacks, exposition, and cameos of characters you’ll learn to care about later, as well as a chance to see the consequences of poor decision-making in a dungeon.

On the bright side, despite the trailers and previews, the original Korean character names are used, which leaves me wondering if they’re producing two versions of the Japanese audio, with some lines re-recorded for the international audience. If so, I imagine they picked the Japanese names to match the lip flaps.

Verdict: showing several side characters early is a good choice, despite how random those scenes will look to people who haven’t read the source material.

(okay, I’m really just here for Esil; if they get that far…)

The Apothecary Diaries, episode 13

There are significant tone shifts in the new OP and ED, but the show itself is picking up right where it left off, with Jinshi and Maomao seeing each other a little differently.

Verdict: yes please.

Watching Paint Dry In Another World

(officially, Sasaki & Peeps)

They made a double-length episode that delivers an entire novel’s worth of exposition. One would hope this is so that every future episode can consist exclusively of magic, action, and cute psychic girls doing cute psychic things, but I kind of doubt it.

Verdict: he’s a magical girl and a crossworld trader and a newly-minted secret agent. And probably other things that I’m unlikely to stay awake long enough to find out.

Pon Pon-pon-pon Pon-pon Pon-pon

[not to be confused with Pon-pon-pon Pon-pon-pon-pon Pon-pon]

(officially, Pon no Michi; no one’s licensed this one)

The only active torrent seems to have multi-language machine-translated subs, which offends the folks on Reddit who know something about mahjong.

The “This Is Comedy!” background music is mixed way too loud, the exterior background art is obviously just a bunch of traced photos, and the character art is only occasionally attractive, and not terribly fan-serviceable. Except in the OP/ED animations and the trailers, which apparently used up all the money.

The girls are slightly more animated than cardboard cutouts, but their giant breasts are firmly glued in place. I might have seen one blink-and-you’ll-miss-it bounce on Girl#4 as she got excited about the chance to join the cast; the rest of the breast physics are restricted to the OP/ED.

The less said about the “humorous” deformed faces and inside-baseball reference jokes, the better. And of course there’s mahjong exposition. I’m sure there will be a lot more, especially with a magical talking bird hanging around, with a very familiar voice.

Speaking of voices, I did not recognize Our Loud Speed-Reading Heroine as Miss Kuroitsu. Then again, I didn’t recognize her as Magia Magenta from Gushing, either.

(unrelated gaming girl is not this stacked in-game)

Note on Molesting Magical Girls

Apparently, Our Sadistic Heroine and Her Magical Playthings are officially middle-school girls. Which will come as a real shock to anyone who actually looks at them. I mean, the last time I saw a fourteen-year-old girl who was that stacked, her name was Sakura Ando [1, 2] (Ai Shinozaki was doing busty bikini work at 14, but she still had a lot of baby fat in her face, which made her look her age; Saaya Irie was of course famous for having huge boobs at 11, but it took years for the rest of her figure to catch up; Erika Yazawa’s boobs made a good living, but she was at least 15 when she bounced into Idoling!!!).

Meanwhile, the season-preview thread on the ANN forums is full of people throwing around the word “pedophilia”, with no grasp of the meaning of the word (hint: an actual pedophile would be repulsed by the sight of a teenager with the body of a Penthouse model).

One correction: I initially described the junior member of the bad-girl team as A, based on her brief appearance in the credits. Looking ahead, she’s an actual little girl who looks her age, but she doesn’t seem to get lewded. The other girls lewd overtime to make up for that.

(speaking of words that don’t mean what someone thinks they mean…)

Starting the season


Is It Okay To Eat Expository Lumps In A Dungeon?, episode 1

(officially, Delicious In Dungeon)

Y’know, for such a simple setup, it requires an awful lot of exposition up front. And the food-porn exposition inevitably leads to a shouty freakout by Our Not-Eaten Mage Girl.

Verdict: if it stays this talky, I’m out. Even the tentacles looked bored.

(dungeon take-home bag is unrelated)

Taking in the trash so you don’t have to!

Okay, I was a touch bored, so…

Molesting Magical Girls

(officially, Gushing Over Magical Girls)

Meet our cups cast: A, B, C, D, E, and F. Our Reluctantly Villainous Heroine is C, whose firmness is immediately displayed in her fully nude transformation scene. We only see Her Villainous Partners in the credits this episode, but they appear to be A and F. Our Briefly-Pure Magical Girls are B, D, and E, whose first encounter with the new villain on the block gets them thoroughly fondled by a summoned tentacle-gimp plant monster and then whipped so hard by C-sama that their asses are still beet-red the next day at school. Because of course they’re all in the same class, and we’re treated to expository lingerie close-ups as the girls change out of their gym clothes, plus a triple-titty transformation scene when they get the call to action. That covers about the first half of the episode.

It seems that Our Dark Mascot was correct when he intuited that Our Heroine’s obsession with the local MG team wasn’t admiration for their successes, but subconscious sadistic enjoyment of their suffering. Which she is now in a position to consciously inflict, and which makes her feel all tingly down there.

By the way, her name’s Utena (no relation); she doesn’t seem to have a villain name yet. HiDive is apparently airing the less-censored version, which includes perky nipples and closeup crotch-shots but silences some “sound effects”; those (and more detailed imagery) will be on the Bluray.

(unlucky magical girl is unrelated)

Combat Harem Dog

(officially, Chained Soldier)

In which peaches produce melons, according to the end credits. Anyway, Our Future Househusband is a loser who can’t get a girl despite being well-trained in the wifely arts, until the day he wanders into an expository lump and meets the F-cups of his dreams, which are attached to a sword-swinging supergal whose power is enslaving cannon fodder. She’d never tried it on a human before, so she’s surprised when he turns into super-dog and tears through slightly-animated target dummies. This also impresses her subordinates, who consist of two DD-cups and a loli.

TL/DR: they hire him as housekeeper and combat slave, and Wacky Hijinks are sure to ensue. Despite the huge boobs and the full-body french kissing, this was pretty tedious due to the exposition, power-kanji displays, and origin flashbacks, especially compared to how far C-sama got with her victims in the previous show.

(reasonable approximation of Our Dominating Heroine)

Just Die Already

(officially, My Instant Death Ability is So Overpowered, No One in This Other World Stands a Chance Against Me!)

In which Our Casually Evil Power Broker blows up the grownups, and Our Redheaded Twintail Leftover’s huge boobs act as life preservers. That pretty much covers it; the rest is mostly CGI, tedious exposition, and flashbacks.

(unrelated Christmas present is about the right size)

Unrelated,

Link pushed the wrong button.

(receptionist is Best Girl in Immoral Guild; can’t imagine what made me think of this show…)

Enter the dragon!


…after getting her girlfriend’s permission first!

Sasaki & Peeps: the voices

Despite the unpromising promo videos, I may have to watch the first episode due to the cast: Kyon, Tanya, Hestia, Rizu, Megumin, Momo, Boxxo, Ruti, and even Optimus Prime.

As for Pon No Michi

The trailer somehow reminds me of another Pon video. Not as “animated”, of course.

Meanwhile, 44 years later…

Netflix remakes Shōgun. Honestly, my first cynical thought was to check to see how many characters they’d swapped the race and/or gender for.

(between badly-dubbed anime and the original mini-series, I think I can nail down the birth of my interest in Japan…)

Bits and pieces


The Lasagna Paradox

My mom loves spices but her stomach does not, so when I made lasagna yesterday, I tried to tone it down significantly, cutting the spices by half and replacing the Italian sausage with ground beef [(velveting 1, 2] the meat to improve the texture). Hopefully it mellowed overnight, because when I tried it fresh out of the oven, it was still inexplicably quite zippy. Anyway, I hope she can eat it today. 😁

[Update: it still had a spicy finish to it, so I went back to the original cookbook, Tough Guys Don't Dice by the late James A. Thorson, and discovered that he handwaved the quantities of everything, and the precise values in my recipe had been invented over time as my gaming group tinkered with what fit into a standard Pyrex lasagna pan. I'm going back to the drawing board with this one, and definitely including the velveted ground beef option, which had amazing texture.]

Charming Sharra

Or, The Adventures of Karen of Ethshar. This is the first time I’ve ever just stopped reading one of Lawrence Watt-Evans’ fantasy novels, and it is entirely due to the main character being annoying and stupid. I simply don’t want to spend time with her as she demands to see life’s manager until (hopefully) learning her lesson and growing into a better person.

Hey, look, Bing Copilot worked for me!

I had a very specific problem that was poorly served by the way Google and other search engines chop up your search string, normalize the words, and then match them to wildly irrelevant results. And ads.

What I was looking for was a very specific type of fruitcake that my mother makes, and that she used to receive as a Christmas gift from her aunt decades ago. The first way it differs from the most common variety is by not being a cake; the small amount of flour is present only to coat the fruit and nuts so that they stick together when the only other major ingredient is added: sweetened condensed milk.

I’m pretty good at Google incantations, but because it just breaks language into keywords, it can’t tell the difference between recipes that contain a few tablespoons of flour and ones that contain several cups. The thing LLMs do well, on the other hand, is retain the connection between adjacent words, so I could specify “no more than 1/2 cup of flour” and have it correctly limit the search results.

The first pass included recipes that contained eggs and sugar, so I added “and no eggs”, and ended up with four “Texas” fruitcakes that aren’t what you’ll get if you buy a “Texas fruitcake”:

  1. Stella’s Texas Fruitcake
  2. Texas Fruit Cake
  3. Homesick Texan’s Pecan Date Fruitcake
  4. Never-Fail Fruit Cake

If I asked Copilot for more recipes like these, it just repeated the same list, and I’m willing to believe that there just aren’t a lot out there. The good news is that it didn’t insist on padding out the results with false positives.

Fun fact: with no actual “cake” involved, the ingredients are self-preserving, so it can’t really go bad (which is the original point of the heavily-sweetened alcoholic English fruitcake), but it should still be baked right away. We learned that the hard way this year, when, while stirring the pounds of fruit and nuts together with the cans of condensed milk, Mom got interupted by visitors, and had to cover up the bowl and set it out in the passively-refrigerated garage. One thing led to another, and it was three days before she fetched it back inside to portion into bread pans and bake. And it was a rock, firmly stuck to the mixing bowl. It took several hours of warmth and prying to break it up, and then restoring the original texture required some more condensed milk.

DanMemo ends (outside Japan)

The phone/tablet gacha game based on Is It Okay To Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon is finally ending service in February. I sank a fair amount of time into it, and bought enough tokens to compensate the developers for producing a decent game with all the voice actors from the anime and original stories by the author. It gets old after a while unless you’re into throwing money at it, but it did have some nice cheesecake of the vast female cast, and several of the original songs are pretty good.

It sould be nice if they followed up the end-of-service announcement with a client update that bumped the point recovery and free gacha rates, so people could spend the next two months exploring character stories they could never unlock before. Probably won’t happen, though; they have another game now. Hopefully there’s an archive of ripped art and music out there somewhere.

(the Japanese servers are staying up, because apparently there’s a very active “PvP” community that still spends money on gacha pulls)

Glocks at half-mast


JMB/GG meetup

Gaston Glock has died, after a very full and successful life. I picture him meeting up with John Moses Browning in the afterlife and getting along just fine. Unlike many of their fans in this life. 😁

Purah Explains It All

Maplestar has promised a sequel to that Purah video by the end of the year. Clock’s ticking… [Update: January 4th!]

McPharmacist & Waifu & Sister, Too

The new trailer for season two makes it clear that Ruti loves Red in a completely inappropriate way. So whatever happens with the new hero-dick, they’ve got that going for them.

(wrong waifu, but I doubt I’ll get complaints…)

Merry Christmas


Hope everyone’s happy, healthy, stuffed, and loaded with goodies. I’m thinking next year I should make myself an Ammo Advent Calendar. Other than just stacking Federal and Remington boxes in a tree shape, I mean.

Ladies Served Fresh Daily

(obscure reference)

For women-women who might have found a Glock under the tree, my local members-only range has an upcoming confidence-builder:

Ladies Only ‘Ballistic Therapy’

This does not require a membership.

Rerun Returns

Second season announced. No details about the story beyond what was in the last episode.

Important Pixiv note

If your “discovery” page has become cluttered with unwanted content, it’s likely because their algorithm is prioritizing viewed images over favorited. In other words, if you clicked on a thumbnail and it turned out to be something you didn’t like or weren’t interested in (or had such content below the fold), it’s still being treated as something to show you more of.

You can clear it from the profile menu under “Browsing history”. Note that doing so doesn’t cause your recommendations to refresh immediately.

How the sausage espresso is made

James Hoffmann takes a deep dive into how Nespresso gets away with it, extracting info about how their pods extract coffee, and why third-party and refillable pods aren’t as good, no matter what beans you put into them.

Wrapping up the fall season


Tearmoon, fin

After the rush, the padded ending! Honestly, if they’d decided up-front not to bring in more than the barest hook for a followup season (the serpent book on the table), they could have paced the last few episodes better, and made it less dependent on narration and exposition.

Verdict: flawed but fun, and honestly, what comes after this is where the source material starts shark-jumping, as

Mia’s granddaughter jumps back from a second-generation flawed future, accompanied by a new self-rewriting future-history book written by Anne’s little sister, who believed every tale of Mia’s genius.

Rerun’s Special Magic, fin

“My power is overwhelming!”
   “No, my power is overwhelming!”
“Back to me!”
   “I pressed the ‘I Win’ button!”
“Yeah, nah, I got this.”

Followed by a debriefing, a training montage, a showoff, the sight of Our Bushy-Browed Valkyrie wearing a literal bush, and The Big Sendoff. And, yes, even Bunnyboy’s official military uniform has him wearing short pants and thigh-highs.

Verdict: the biggest question I was left with was WTF was up with their hair coloring; the nicest thing I can say is that I didn’t quit it in disgust or boredom like I have so many others recently.

(you-know-who appeared briefly in a panned still, sigh)

The Apothecary Diaries, episode 12

Reminder: there are mini-episodes as well (just noticed you have to select the ミニアニメ tab). (don’t bother with the auto-translated captions; find a sub if you need it)

And so we reach the epilogue to the first book. If you’ve ever wondered what anime would be like if they didn’t chop up 3-4 light novels to fit them into 12 episodes, here you go.

Verdict: more, please.

(I haven’t read the books, because I really like the show, and don’t want to get into the adaptation-deficiency mindset)

New Frieren trailer

Congratulations! You’ve unlocked the tournament exam arc achievement! In most other shows, a multi-episode competition with lots of flashy action would be cause for despair, but I think they’ve given us sufficient reason to trust them.

Another winter show I won’t watch…

Fluffy Paradise – worked-to-death office lady reborn in another world as a loli granted the unique power of being loved by all non-human creatures. NO

Frieren, episode 16


Ah, the uncomfortable truths of adventuring: endless side quests and charisma checks! As usual, lot of nice little moments, including advancing the relationship between Fern and Stark. Nice tie-in for Kraft (the character, not the mac-n-cheese company).

Verdict: imagine what seasons would be like if everyone else in the business started with good source material and treated it (and the viewers) with respect…

(I didn’t have a cake for my recent birthday, but not for this reason…)

Unrelated

I’ll be hosting Christmas supper dinner lunch, so it’s time to start cleaning the house and converting the present-wrapping station back into a dining table. I haven’t done any exterior or interior seasonal decoration except pulling a pair of Santa figures out of the closet, so it’s just going to be food and prezzies.

Not this sort of “Santa figure”, sadly

I made the mistake of driving half an hour to a specialty grocery store earlier this week, and forgot my airpods. I’d gone too far to just turn back, so I was forced to spend nearly two hours listening to (shudder) Christmas Music.

I took damage.

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