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Paranoia Agent, full series eps 1-13 (rewatch)

Even though I've got an absurd pile of new blu rays to watch, I had a real hankering to revisit this one after I wrote my intro post the other week, where I included it in my favourites. I realised it had been many years since I saw it, so I wanted to see whether I felt the same way.

Definitely yes!

I love everything that I've seen by Satoshi Kon, and this is no exception. Haha, I feel like I understand his brain. You will have your own opinion on what that says about me. Killer soundtrack by Susumu Hirasawa too, who also seems to completely understand Kon's vision. (By the way, if you like the music in Paranoia Agent, check out Hirasawa's Blue Limbo album, which Kon recommends in an interview in the bonus features. It's excellent.)

I was reading a blog the other day that described Paranoia Agent as a "flawed masterpiece", and I think that's about right - but I'm very happy for flaws in something experimental. It's a fascinating exploration of delusion and trauma, and I enjoyed it as much today as I did a decade or so ago.

I think my only real criticism is that although the animation is often gorgeous, there are some moments when it was very obviously rushed and done on the cheap. This wouldn't be such a big deal if there weren't other moments when the animation style is chosen very deliberately to tell a story, such as a moment where two animation styles are deliberately used at the same time to show the thoughts of a character. It leaves you looking at the jarring cheap animation, and wondering whether it really was rushed and done chearly, or whether it was just a bad decision.

I'd recommend it to anyone who is open to watching shows where the on-screen visuals are not necessarily literal reality, and where the camera is an unreliable narrator. It's challenging and brilliant.
Watched with my mother over the weekend and past week:

Apothecary Diaries Episode 24 (End). Yay! Second season announced!
7th Time Loop: The Villainess Enjoys a Carefree Life Married to Her Worst Enemy! Episode 12 (End). Very good series, my mother loved this one too. I really hope we get another season for this.
Doctor Elise: The Royal Lady with the Lamp Episodes 7-12 (End). Another excellent anime that I hope we get more of!
Why Raeliana Ended Up at the Duke's Mansion Episodes 5-12 (End). Yet another banger of a series, More! More!

On my own, I watched:

A Sign of Affection Episode 11-12 (End). So good! So wholesome! So cute!
Tales of Wedding Rings Episode 11-12 (End). well this had a very lame ending, I hope they plan to do a second cour to finish the story properly, we were left in the middle of nothing at the end of this season. Plus, another male MC with girls hanging all over him, but with no balls whatsoever - so typical.
Banished From the Hero's Party I Decided to Live a Quiet Life in the Countryside Season 2 Episodes 8-12 (End). This second season was even better than the first, with a decent ending!
Train to the End of the World - Just watched episode 1. This has got to be the most unusual and original anime of the season. I can't see anything else competing in the insanity that I just watched.

If I had to put describe episode 1 in terms of other anime I would say it is Kemono Friends meets Girls Last Tour, mixed with Shimeji Simulation/.
Gods’ Games we Play episode 1 One turn.

Spice and Wolf: Merchant Meets the Wise Wolf episode 1 Moonlit meeting.

Train to the End of the World episode 1 A new journey begins.

TSUKIMICHI -Moonlit Fantasy- season 2 episode 25 Making a move.

Ms. Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles (Rewatch) episodes 1-12 (Complete. I was a bit too harsh in my initial viewing of this series and ended up enjoying it more this time around.) 3.5/5

My Girlfriend is Shobitch
episodes 1-7
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I only got a chance to watch one new series episode yesterday evening, because my mother wanted to watch more anime last night:

Villaness Level 99: I May Be the Hidden Boss But I'm Not the Demon Lord Episodes 5-7. We actually re-watched episode 5 over again because my mother often forgets what she watched if it's been more than a few days before. A week is a stretch for her.

I watched last night from the Spring 2024 season:

Spice and Wolf: Merchant Meets the Wise Wolf Episode 1. This is going to be a remake of the original series, not a Season 3, although let's hope it continues on for more seasons past the original series. I do like the updated animation. I thought this was supposed to air on April 2, today, but I guess we got it a day early.
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I am looking forward to the Spice and Wolf remake even if it's a retread, but for some reason it seems as though we're watching the worst shows first again.

Re: Monster ep1: I had some tiny hope that the main character being green (...and then blue) would be the unique selling point to lift this crummy isekai-by-numbers tripe up above the competition but it's just the same edgy trash we get every season with a different coat of paint. The lead had a overpowered super-skill in the kind-of real world but he was then killed, so he's reborn as a humble goblin and allowed to speed run his next life, acquiring new skills and friends hand over fist as he works his way up to be the best goblin ever. Throw in some female-only slaves kept for non-consensual breeding purposes (yep), lazy RPG-style pop-up menus and a few ham-fisted attempts to demonstrate the lead's excellent leadership skills through awkward social bonding, and the tone of this first episode was all over the place. It also bugged me that all of the fantasy animals were just made of fur-covered meat (with no organs or skeletons). My partner said that the anime staff probably couldn't be bothered because the source material was so obviously weak; I don't disagree. Well, at least I got this one out of the way early.

Gods' Games We Play ep1: I got so bored watching this that I started doing some tedious filing halfway through, and the filing was more interesting. The show's concept definitely has potential - humans with special gifts are forced to play high stakes games with the gods to relieve their tedium - but it's all squandered on generic characters, excessive hand-holding from the narrative and a script so unnaturally wooden that it makes Re: Monster look like Shakespeare. My lasting impression was that this series thinks it's an awful lot cleverer than it is, which is a real shame when the entire joy of these gaming shows comes from pulling the rug out from under the audience with witty twists and turns. At least the lead wasn't completely unlikable for once.

Konosuba episodes 6-10 & OVA: The silliness continued. The OVA can be skipped if you're not a fan of women being humiliated and huge boob jokes. I wonder if it's only Japanese people who get reincarnated into this fantasy world.
I started watching Mashle, episodes 1-4. It’s actually a really fun shounen that’s like Saitama from OPM being in the world of Harry Potter. I’m not sure the premise has legs enough for 26 episodes and the second season, but we’ll wait and see.

Also Spice and Wolf remake, aaa
As a Reincarnated Aristocrat, I'll Use My Appraisal Skill to Rise in the World Episode 1 Hidden talents.

I Was Reincarnated as the 7th Prince So I Can Take My Time Perfecting My Magical Ability
Episode 1 Rebirth.

Re:Monster Episode 1 A goblins life.

Spice and Wolf: Merchant meets the Wise Wolf Episode 1 Encounter.

The Banished Former Hero Lives as He Pleases Episode 2 Superior sword.

Train to the End of the World Episode 1 The journey begins.

TSUKIMICHI -Moonlit Fantasy- Season 2 Episode 25 Festival.

The Legendary Hero is Dead! -
Episodes 1-3


Spy x Family -
Episodes 1-4

The Legendary Hero is Dead! - Episodes 4-7
My Girlfriend is Shobitch episodes 8-10 & OVA (Complete. This was pretty poor overall, with most of the crude jokes falling short for me.) 2/5

My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU
episodes 1-11
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Frieren: Beyond Journey's End (Japanese) - Episode 18 - 20

Solo Leveling (Japanese) - Episode 2 - 4

Spice and Wolf: Merchant Meets the Wise Wolf (Japanese) - Episode 1

Finally catching up on what I got very behind with from last season as well as starting this season.
Konosuba series 1 episodes 1-5: This is a very silly series. Very much parodying the whole isekai genre. Just one question: are the previews (dubbed) supposed to cut out half way through or is it a cost-cutting exercise to squeeze everything on one disc? Oh, and I do like the giant toads.

Bit late on the reply but the way they cut off is intentional, when I originally watched it on Crunchyroll it caught me off guard as well and I thought something was up with the upload.
Spice and Wolf (remake) ep1: This show has more intelligence in its slowest moments than a lot of its competition will ever achieve at their best. Both of the leads are engaging and interesting, and the plot flows around them in a natural, enjoyable way; I wasn't ever bored even though this first episode is a simple one and I'd already seen the original version of the show before. The remake seems decent enough so far but what I'm most interested in is new material, so I'm expecting it to get better later on. There are small nitpicks here and there - the music wasn't so memorable this time around - but the only thing I actively disliked was the horrendous CG horse, which is in nearly every single scene and looks to have been modelled/animated by someone who has genuinely never seen a horse before in their life. It's hideous. It sabotages all of the beauty that the animators have lavished everywhere else. Still, it will take more than a single stupid-looking CG horse to spoil a good show, and I'll keep this one on my watchlist.

Train to the End of the World ep1: A very pleasant surprise. I was worried that the promising title would get bogged down in samey 'cute girl' tropes but all of the school-age female leads are distinct from one another, both visually and in terms of personality, and the script is well-written enough that it kept me fully engaged. There's already a strong plot established right from the start and we get to see exactly why the cast is getting involved, and the lavish, insane worldbuilding is wonderful to behold after the garbage I watched the other day. It loses a few points for the ugly CG train but there's so much to like here that it's a minor quibble, and at least it genuinely resembles a Japanese train this time. This show has definitely earned a second episode; I want to see what the characters get up to next!

Himouto! Umaru-chan complete series 1: OK, she's a monsterous manipulative slob who treats her brother appallingly, but she is cute and talented (and an attractive teenage girl) so of course she gets away with it. So many fake personalities I'm amazed she can remember who she is. I suppose I'll have to put Season 2 on my to buy list. While the twelve two minute extra short episodes are fun, do they really need the one minute of credits on a black screen after each one? Lots of other extras including some Japanese commentaries which I'll get to eventually.
Stella Women's Academy High School Division C3 episodes 1-5: standard new shy girl at school enticed into joining a club desperately short of members, who play an obscure sport. In this case it's pellet gun war games. Animation nothing astounding but there's a few interesting scenarios. Absolutely no mention of school work or other students.

He Is My Master episodes 1-5: you think it's just the standard harem story with a very rich boy and some poor desperate girls who've run away from home .... until he opens the suitcase and a sax mad alligator jumps out. He's blatantly sleazy and one of the girls is happy to encourage him (but not in the way you'd think). This is much more fun than I expected. Moderately saucy so far. Some of the longest episode titles I've seen. Episode five is "There's a rumor about an adolescent boy living alone with a fortune inherited from his parents who is taking advantage of the lack of supervision in his large mansion to live out his dream and fantasies while surrounded by young girls who serve him" Phew!
Bartender: Glass of God episode 1 Reading the customer.

Metallic Rouge episode 13 Strength. (Complete. A series with potential to be stronger than it turned out to be by the final episodes.) 3/5

Sengoku Youko
episode 13 Scream. (Complete. This was a good fantasy series and I look forward to the next season in the summer.) 3.5/5

Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU
episodes 12-13 & OVA (Complete. This was a solid first season and I’m intrigued to see how the narrative continues.) 3.5/5

My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU TOO!
episodes 1-10
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