What do you mean we’re halfway through Winter already? I guess I should stop procrastinating then. With that in mind let’s get to Fall’s batch of shorts.
This season was actually pretty thin on the ground, in both quantity and quality terms but with only a handful of shorts airing and over half of those not being licensed, you’ve gotta make do with what you get really. On the plus side, Silver Guardian got bumped up to full length episodes, sparing me from having to watch it again.
The second season of these Idolm@ster shorts is much the same as the first, once again releasing both on tv and as weekly web shorts, it’s more of the franchise’s 5 million characters engaging in brief comedy skits. As before your enjoyment is probably going to hinge on how familiar you are with the Idolm@ster franchise but it’s harmless enough fluff even if, like me, you have close to zero past experience with it.
Love is Like a Cocktail is about a woman whos’ husband facilitates her alcoholism. OK maybe not quite. The general premise is workaholic protagonist Chisato unwinding via various cocktails provided by her husband Sora, and the various interactions they have while she’s drinking. It’s not bad but it’s ultimately too formulaic. Chisato gets home, abandons her super serious work persona and drinks the concoction of the week, the pair have a moment together and the episode ends. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with this formula, it almost feels like the show is undermined by its titular cocktails. Where the show works best is in those quiet moments where Chisato and Sora are just sitting around, the show does a decent job of making them feel like a real couple, they have a surprising amount of chemistry for how little time they’re around for and clearly care about one another a lot. But with half of each episode being given over to the drink of the week, with a recipe for said drink provided halfway through they’re just not given enough time to shine. On a personal level it doesn’t help that as someone who just doesn’t enjoy alcohol at all these segments do precisely nothing for me.
The ED does have a lemon riding a motorcycle though, so it’s got that going for it.
Rainy Cocoa is in the weird position of being the 4th season of a show that was never previously licensed. To counter this Crunchyroll also released the 3rd season alongside it. So let’s look at them both together.
The sequel problem definitely has an impact on the show, with the viewer already assumed to have familiarity with a bunch of characters from the old show, it’s a spinoff so most of said characters don’t actually appear for more than a few seconds, but they’re constantly refered to and the namedrops can be a little overwhelming at points.
Once season 3 gets going though, it’s actually not terrible. Centering on an (as far as I can tell) minor character from the first two seasons moving to Hawaii to work in a newly opened branch of the titular coffee shop. It slowly builds up a fairly large ensemble cast but ultimately doesn’t really go anywhere, given the runtime is a whole two minutes per episode, including the opening theme, there’s a pretty hard limit on how much they can do. It is pretty unashamedly homoerotic, so if you want cute boys hanging out for a couple of minutes it’s not the worst option out there.
And then season 4 happens and the entire supporting cast vanishes. Aside from a brief handwave about how one specific character is “gone” that’s never elaborated on, everyone just goes away leaving only protagonist Nozomu. At which point things kind of reset to the start of the previous season with Nozomu slowly befriending a new set of guys. And then around episode 8 things take a weird turn into meta territory with the cast trying to promote the coffee shop by producing an anime short for Kawaii Kon (which is a real anime convention in Hawaii incidentally). This culminates in them producing what appears to be the show this one is a spinoff of. This whole development comes out of nowhere and goes nowhere, it’s all a bit odd really.
All in all Rainy Cocoa mostly just left me slightly confused with its weird priorities.
Based on a BL game, which is something of a novelty at least, Taishou Mebius Line is mostly just kind of confusing. It has a big plotline going on about the army trying to weaponise the undead, presumably the plot of the game itself, but generally it’s just a series of encounters between the main character and the game’s various love interests. The characters also randomly morph into superdeformed versions of themselves for no apparent reason at points, and rather than just a visual thing this is actually acknowledged as happening in universe, it doesn’t seem important to anything, it just happens. And then the series ends with a time loop for whatever reason. Maybe this all makes sense if you’ve played the game, but it’s really just slightly baffling otherwise. It also doesn’t help that more than half of the obvious romance options from the game lean heavily into military fetishism, which really isn’t my cup of tea at all.
It’s this thing again. Another sequel that’s firmly in the “more of the same” camp, if you liked the first season of Love Rice, you’ll probably like the second. This time they’ve brought noodles into their vaguely defined conflict between humanised grain based products. It’s got the same random rice puns, homoerotic music videos and people riding around in cars shaped like their own heads as the first season, so if you want more of that you’re in luck.
And that’s it, like I said, this season didn’t have a lot going on. Given this is going up so late I’ve naturally made a dent in the Winter cohort, and the drought has eased off a little, at least in terms of quality if not quantity.