Joshiraku – While I haven’t read or watched everything Kouji Kumeta has done, after watching this, Kakushigoto, and parts of Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, I suspect he may be kind of talented at writing gag manga. The story is nominally about five young women employed as rakugo performers, but is really just an absurd gag comedy where the characters sit in a room and clown on each other. The jokes are rapid fire and packed with cultural references to everything from Japanese TV to anime to manga to Hollywood movies, and I’d be lying if I said I caught them all, but I was steadily entertained regardless. 7/10
Legend of the Galactic Heroes Gaiden Ep.27-52 – Like I said last week, I’m watching this via Hidive, who mashed together the 1998 and 99 gaiden series and organized the stories chronologically according to the story timeline, so these episodes covered most of the 98 series and one story from the 99. They all primarily focused on Reinhard and Kircheis as they rose through the officer ranks of the military, although they did give glimpses of Alliance figures from time to time. With the exception of the story Disgrace, which wasn’t very good, the stories all gave more definition and flavor to the characters while also delivering more of the political wrangling and space fleet battles that made the main series so entertaining. Big shout out to the hair-twirling scene between Reinhard and Kircheis. That was the reddest meat I’ve seen thrown to shippers other than the “there’s only one bed” scene in Free season 2. 7/10
Land of the Lustrous – This is one the first shows I added to my VRV watchlist years ago, and with all the Hidive titles leaving at the end of the month, now was the time to watch it. While I am not generally a fan of 3D animation, Orange has shown they’re one of the few studios that knows how to use it effectively, and this show about translucent and shimmering gem people is exactly the sort of thing that benefits from it. It took me several episodes to warm up to the main character, Phos, who is selfish and lazy and impulsive, only to find myself a few episodes later wishing for their old personality to come back after they go through several traumatic changes. While the show is animated beautifully, and the writing swept me right along with it, at the end of 12 episodes it felt like the story stopped just as it was getting good without feeling like it concluded. 7/10
Blue Gale Xabungle Ep.1-12 – I generally enjoy older anime, and I knew this wasn’t trying to be a particularly serious mecha series, but I’ve given it the old college try and I’m just not enjoying this. The comedy bits aren’t hitting for me, and I absolutely cannot get past how much the main character looks like Ernie from Sesame Street. Although I don’t think I’ll continue this, it was interesting to watch yet another old mecha and see how it influenced later shows, like Back Arrow in this case.