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Aug. 25th, 2016 @ 09:31 pm #RPGADAY
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
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12) What game is your group most likely to play next? Why?
Good question. A month ago, I would have said 'Dungeon World', since we had scheduled the first session for the new campaign. I have a game of 13th Age scheduled, but that's a one-shot with an online group, not 'my' group. So, I don't really know what's going to be next.
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Aug. 24th, 2016 @ 08:18 pm #RPGADAY
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
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11) Which gamer most affected the way you play?
I think that's A., in whose Amber campaign I played. Little mechanics, lots of story, lots of inter-party stresses (if not open conflict). For someone who had mainly played the rules-heavy Rolemaster, that was a bit of an eye-opener.
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hand-eye coordination
Aug. 23rd, 2016 @ 07:46 pm #RPGADAY
Current Mood: calmcalm
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Missed yesterday, so doing two today.

9) Beyond the game, what's involved in an ideal session?
Enjoying the company of the other players. Playing RPGs is a social experience -- and I don't play with people I don't like. That's not to say that I haven't had good experiences gaming with people that weren't my friends outside of the game, but if I actively dislike someone, I will not play with them.
There is a school of thought that holds that bad gaming is better than no gaming, but I disagree.

10) Largest in-game surprise you have experienced?
Hm. Nothing really springs to mind. I rarely play in mystery games, so there's seldomly a 'big reveal'. I do play in plotted games, but there the occurrences follow in a logical order.
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Aug. 21st, 2016 @ 10:45 pm #RPGADAY
Current Mood: mellowmellow
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8) Hardcover, softcover, or digital? What is your preference?
I will go on record that I am an absolute fan of the Bits and Mortar program, which provides a PDF of a book that you buy. Some of my favourite publishers, Evil Hat and Cubicle 7, participate in the program. Which means I have the hardcovers of the full run of The One Ring, while I also have all the books in PDF form. This is ideal for me: I play a lot online, and PDFs are easy to find stuff in when you're at the computer anyway. And I read most of my RPG books on my tablet, which is really convenient when travelling or just sitting on the couch.
So for me, the order would be: hardcover + PDF, PDF, hardcover, softcover.
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Glowing LED
Aug. 21st, 2016 @ 01:48 pm (no subject)
Current Mood: happyfestive
Happy birthday, andrewducker!
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Aug. 20th, 2016 @ 04:52 pm #RPGADAY
Current Mood: lazylazy
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7) What aspect of RPGs has the biggest effect on you?
The social aspect. Playing together with friends, working together towards a goal, having fun.
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Aug. 19th, 2016 @ 08:38 pm #RPGADAY
Current Mood: relaxedrelaxed
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6) Most amazing thing a game group did for their community?
I'm guessing this is meant like community service? Yeah, we don't do stuff like that. On the other hand, I've been running games for beginning players, and that's a lot of fun. So I guess I have been growing the community a bit?
Speaking of community, I want to plug RPGGeek.com here. It is the RPG-focussed sister site of BoardGameGeek (in fact, accounts carry over). I have never encountered a more welcoming RPG community anywhere. If you're interested in RPGs and/or Play-by-Forum games, this is the place to be.
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Aug. 18th, 2016 @ 09:46 pm #RPGADAY
Current Mood: okayokay
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5) What story does your group tell about your character?
Baldrick the Bard had been caught by two guys who were out to get the reward for his capture. He managed to convince them that Hazel the Halfling Thief had an amazing talent to retrieve treasure. Not only did he have lots of treasure on him, but he had already infiltrated the camp of the Lords of Light. There was no doubt that he would have taken over the camp by now -- surely if they would go to the camp and asked for Hazel, the guards would let them in and Hazel would reward them richly if they would release Baldrick in his care!
They ate it up, went to the camp and were murdered by the guards who didn't like hoodlums who tied up other people...
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Sneaky Bastard: Solid Snake
Aug. 17th, 2016 @ 09:21 pm #RPGADAY
Current Mood: okayokay
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4) Most impressive thing another's character did?
Not a character, but a player. I've DM'ed a scenario for a family who had never played before. The father was kinda holding back, not really sure what he should do -- or perhaps he wanted his daughters and their friend to have the spotlight. But somewhere when we were about a third into the scenario, when the adventure began in earnest, it seemed to 'click' for him and he started playing his character instead of regarding it as a game piece to be moved around the board. I'm not sure the others noticed, but to me, those are the kinds of moments that make it all worthwhile.
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Aug. 16th, 2016 @ 09:33 pm #RPGADAY
Current Mood: pensivepensive
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3) Character moment you are proudest of?
I think this is when Hazel, the Halfling Thief, got killed by an animated giant statue. He saw his afterlife: a Halfling hole filled with gold, even including the solid gold throne he had found just before. Then death sent him back. Hazel concluded that his mission in life was to save children: every notable thing he did was saving children, and he saw himself rewarded in the afterlife for it.
(Yes, young kids get intro trouble a lot in our Dungeon World game. I guess our GM has a thing for that -- he has young kids himself.)
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Aug. 15th, 2016 @ 07:33 pm #RPGADAY
Current Mood: okayokay
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2) Best game session since August 2015?
That would have to be the first Dungeon World session that we play on Twitch.tv. I had not anticipated on playing. The game, my fellow players and the system turned out to be a pleasant surprise. I have Dungeon World, but I was never able to grok the system. Playing it with an experienced GM showed me how it works, and that even inspired me to pitch it to my university friends instead of D&D.
Close runner-ups would be the introduction session of D&D that I ran for a family of four, and the same scenario I did for damanique, issue_i and a friend.
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Aug. 14th, 2016 @ 06:59 pm #RPGADAY2016 #1
Current Mood: lethargiclethargic
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1) Real dice, dice app, diceless, how do you prefer to "roll"?
Real dice, no contest. I like dice, I have quite the collection. I like the shapes, the colours, the forms. I also like the physicality of rolling the dice, that moment when they leave your hand but have not come to a rest -- everything is still possible during that time. The shared triumph when the other players can immediately see that you rolled a critical, or the groans when you roll a fumble... Nothing else but physical dice can give you that.
Of course, when playing online, that doesn't really work. For those cases, we use Dicestream through Google Hangouts. It's pretty neat, and it allows for the shared experience.
I've played diceless games -- well, actually only one, the Amber Diceless RPG and it's direct descendant Lords of Gossamer and Shadow. Of course there are no dice to roll in such systems. But I don't miss it there, because the system is designed with a much higher power level which gives such a different experience than the usual D&D-like thing.
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Aug. 14th, 2016 @ 10:58 am Ikebana workshop
Current Mood: accomplishedflowery
I like learning new things, and the easiest way to get acquainted with a new field is to join an introductory workshop. So when we saw the announcement for an ikebana workshop in Zeist, we decided to join. We had to get up early (or at least earlier than we usually do on Saturdays) and we were there nicely on time. As usual with these things, I was the only man present.
The instructor started off with a little introduction on ikebana (though her pronounciation of the Japanese terms was all wrong and there were some easily-caught errors in the story...) She is a master in the Ohara school of ikebana, and she introduced some of the concepts. She taught us the first arrangement, and explained about the materials and the angles, which was quite fascinating. During the work, I found that my intuition would sometimes go against the rules -- that's not entirely unexpected, but still. I was pretty pleased with my result, and then the instructor came by to fiddle with it a bit more so it would conform better to the forms. Not sure I liked that result better than my own, but perhaps I need to learn about the esthetics of the school more before I appreciate it.

Ikebana uses a piece of lead with copper nails sticking out to 'pin' the flowers on. You can see it in the photos. Much was made of the price of it, but it turned out to be less than 20 euros. I get that it's a lot of money for some people, but surely if you can shell out 22.50 for the workshop, 18 euros is not that much of an additional investment to be able to continue at home? Long story short, we bought one, and now our arrangements are sitting side by side on the dresser (the other one is in a piece of oasis).
Good fun, and I think I'd like to know more about it. Perhaps there are some clips on youtube to tell us more about the different arrangements.
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Glowing LED
Aug. 4th, 2016 @ 09:45 pm Last new anime
Current Mood: okayokay
Show by Rock!! Short!!: Short episode about a girl band consisting of anthropomorphic animals. As usual with these kinds of things, there's little plot to find.

Taboo Tattoo: Seigi is pretty good at martial arts. He rescues an old man who is attacked by hoodlums, and he gives him a tattoo on his hand as thanks. Turns out that this is some sort of secret weapon from the US that will give the wearer super powers. Seigi didn't ask for this, but having the tattoo makes him a target! Not only for a unit from the US army who is sent to recover the tattoo, but also from a gangster who is after the tattoos.
Typical supernatural battle anime, if there is such a thing. Did not really grab our attention.

Tales of Zestiria the X: Two friends explore ancient ruins for fun, but the village elder tries to keep them away from a particular ruin... Inside, they meet a soldier girl who got trapped there when she followed etched murals depicting a promised hero...
Based on a JRPG. Epic high fantasy, promises many magical moments. Also looks gorgeous!

Time Travel Shoujo: Mari's father, a scientist, has been missing for a few years -- presumably he is on a 'study trip', but nobody knows where he is. Then, by some accident, she travels back in time when handling one of her father's books! She visits one of the scientists that her father was an admirer of, in England...
It's not that nice to look at, but I enjoy a good time travel story, and this one seems to be focussed on showing scientists and their methods. And it even depicts correct usage of an AED -- what's not to like?

Tsukiuta the Animation: Two boybands, each with six members, are holding a combined handshake event. A young boy is sent there by his sister, since she is ill and she desperately wants the special merchandise that will be available at the event. He goes there and meets several of the members, but doesn't know it's them -- so his sister is very jealous when she hears about that. At the concert after the handshake event, it is announced that the two groups will work together for a concert.
By now you should know that we're not big on series focussing on bands (either girl or boy), and this one did not make converts out of us...

Onara Gorou: It's about a fart. A personified fart, who can speak. Who dispenses wisdom, solving problems and reforming delinquents.
It's so stupid that it doesn't even have it's own ANN encyclopedia entry. The ending theme is kinda cool though.
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Aug. 3rd, 2016 @ 10:28 pm More new anime
Current Mood: bitchybitchy
Shoukugeki no Souma S2: The second season of Shoukugeki no Souma, and it dives right in to the next cooking contest between Souma and one of his fellow students. It just continues straight on, so there's no time lost on flashbacks or fillers -- it just barrels on! So if you liked the first one (and we did), then this is also a must-see!

Berserk: There was this Berserk TV series, and then there were some movies, and now there's another TV series -- they're apparently continuations of each other. We've seen the first TV series, which got really dark at the end. We haven't seen the movies, but this new series is again definitely not sunny. Guts, the main character, is invincible, and the rest of the characters are kind of expendable, fodder to be fed to random demons and undead. It's kinda boring to see such a bleak world portrayed under the guise of it being 'dark and edgy'.

Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei-bu Love! Love!: Second season. After a long conversation in the bath, the student council catches a plane to study abroad. And right the next day, the school gets invaded by another monster -- but luckily Wombat returns and he gives the boys their updated bracelets that will make them even more powerful Battle Lovers!
It was fun for the first season, but it promises to be more of the same for the second season. We're kinda done with the concept.

Love Live! Sunshine: A girl really wants to emulate an existing girl group and create a group of school idols. She is recruiting, but nobody is joining -- and the school council president is not going to approve the club application, even if she manages to find five prospective members!
So there was a Love Live! anime before that showed a group of 'school idols'. That one is done, and this is a new iteration of the same concept -- though of course with fresh characters and in a non-Tokyo location. It did not grab us, just like the first iteration of the concept did not grab us.

OZMAFIA!!: Short CGI anime about a boy transferring into a school and being chased by a sword-wielding maniac when he gets lost on the grounds. He gets saved by his handsome teacher.
As usual with these short episodes, it is entirely unclear what it is about. The art is meh and there's no indication of some plot.

Qualidea Code: Creatures called 'Unknown' attack Earth. Kids get taken to shelters as the attack begins and cryogenically frozen. After some time, they get defrosted. Some of them have special abilities, and they are used to fight against the Unknown. There are three schools, and they are in competition with eachother -- which is not the most productive way to use those talents...
This is again one of those 'hypercompetent highschooler with special powers'-things. This also means that the characters are not very likable and there is little dramatic conflict. Meh.

Regalia: The Three Sacred Stars: Twelve years, a battle between giant mecha blew up a kingdom. Now, a pair of girls live together, and one of them gets called out. Turns out that the mecha can be summoned, and they get attacked with them!
Could be a cool mecha series, could also fall flat...

Saiki Kusuo no Psi Nan: Saiki is a very powerful psychic. He can read people's minds, he has precognition and powerful telekinesis. You'd think he'd have an easy life, but this is certainly not the case: he would have liked to be just a normal kid. So he has to carefully manage his appearance and powers, while keeping his parents (who of course know about his powers) happy...
It took some time to grow on us, but the hyperbolic situations coupled with the understated comedy is actually pretty funny.

Scared Rider Xechs: Some people have a sort of spirit familiar that they can use to transform. They use this to fight against extra-dimensional beings in some sort of mecha suits. Akira is one of these, but he can't transform... When a 'Director' is transported to the base he has to protect, the enemy attacks in an attempt to stop the Director of getting into the big mecha...
It's not clear what has happened to make the world like this, or what those spirits are, or who the enemy is. And the main character is kinda whiny, so that doesn't help either. In the end, we just didn't care what happened.
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hand-eye coordination
Jul. 30th, 2016 @ 05:34 pm More new anime
Current Mood: calmcalm
Hatsukoi Monster: Kaho is a spoiled rich girl, and to get away from it all, she moves to Tokyo to go to highschool there. She almost gets run over by a truck, but she gets saved by a boy. She promptly falls in love with him. Turns out that he lives in her apartment building too, and he agrees to be her boyfriend. But even though he looks like a teenager, he is a fifth grader -- as do three of his friends.
This is so stupid it hurts.

Hitori no Shita: The Outcast: Soran goes to visit the village where he used to live. Just the day before, his grandfather's grave was dug up! When he goes there to check it out, he sees a girl digging up graves -- and he gets attacked by zombies! Somehow he survives and returns to his quiet college life in the city -- but then the girl joins his classes!
Set in China (we think), the girl seems like a super-natural hunter type. It didn't really grip us.

Kono Bijutsubu ni wa Mondai ga Aru!: Literally: "This art club has a problem!" So, it's set in a highschool, and the problem is that the club president is lazy, the advisor doesn't really do anything, that the other male member is only joining to try to create his ultimate 2D girl, and that the female member is in love with him.
It's funny, but not in a slapstick/hilarious way. Surely there's more character coming to keep the comedy going, but so far it was pretty nice.

Masou Gakuen HxH: Single male protagonist and a group of half-naked girls with improbable bosoms. We didn't even last through the intro.

Momokuri: Yuki has noticed a super-cute boy who is one class below her. She heavily obsesses over him, and then one day she confesses to him and he agrees to date her. That only increases her stalker-like tendencies...
It's cute how they both gets flustered when they meet the other. It's fun, but I wonder how creepy it would be if it would be an older boy obsessing over a girl that's a year younger?

New Game!: Aoba joins a game company right after graduating highschool. Of course, her colleagues (all of them women) all have their own quirks, which takes getting used to. Now, she gets to work with the people she respects on a game series she loves!
It's like Shirobako in that it tries to portray how things are in a creative industry. But it's more geared towards comedy than realism. It's fun to watch though.

ReLIFE: Arata is a 27 year old loser: he doesn't have a job (even though he pretends he does when he meets with friends) and lives off his parents' pocket. Then one night, he is approached by a guy offering him a job for a year, which also includes living expenses. All he needs to do is take a pill every day. Arata can't resist the offer, and then finds out that he will turn back into a 17 year old student: the job is that he has to go back to school! Of course Arata is ill equipped to do this...
Quite interesting, and I want to see how this 'job' affects Arata and how he will change to get his life back on the road.

Orange: One day, the first day ever that she overslept, Naho receives a letter. From herself, ten years into the future. The predictions of the letter all come true, and it also offers advice: 26-year old Naho has some deep regrets, and she wants her younger self to be free of those regrets. Young Naho lets some of these things go, but then decides to follow the advice of older Naho.
Really interesting, and promises to be a bitter-sweet high school romance with an added time-travel/retrospective aspect.

Rewrite: Koutaro has an easy-going school life, but he does have a problem: every night, he is visited by an apparition of a girl who nibbles on his arm. He learns about the school 'witch', a senior who runs the occult club. She is never at school though -- but then he gets an invite from her, and he has to chase her through the school at night.
The first episode is double-length, so the story moves really slowly. The writers certainly didn't want to give away too much too quick. It could be interesting though -- especially because it seems to share a theme with ReLIFE: the question posed to Koutaro is: "If you have to change something, would you change the world or yourself?" Hm.

Servamp: Mahiru always takes on any job, because he doesn't want to spend time arguing who will do it. So when he finds a black cat, he decides to take care of it too and name it Kuro. But then it turns out that this is actually a vampire! Vampires can form a contract with their master, and when they get attacked by another vampire, Mahiru forms the contract and Kuro turns into a combat monster!
We liked the first part, and then it turned into the usual overpowered shounen battle fantasy and we lost interest.

Fudanshi Koukou Seikatsu: You know what 'fujoshi' are? Well, apparently there are also 'fudanshi', but they will insist they are not homosexual! And apparently someone thought it would be cool to make a series about it! And of course it is stupid -- luckily the episodes are very short.

Bananya: Ultra-short episodes about a banana-cat... More something for the pre-school crowd. Cute though.

Mahou Shoujo: Naria Girls: Another short episode series. This one is especially boring: it's mostly three girls talking (sounds improvised too) and trying to be funny, while on screen we see their CGI renditions moving with lots of clipping errors. Not interesting at all.

Mob Psycho 100: 'Mob' (so called because he is totally unremarkable) has psychic powers. He works for a psychic -- well, actually, a fraud, who makes good use of Mob's talents. It is up to Mob to save the day repeatedly.
The designs are ugly and the story is meh. I actually had to watch the start of the episode again when I was going to write this review, that is how little impact this episode had.

Puzzle & Dragons Cross: Ace is a young energetic boy who runs lots of errands for his neighbours. Everyone likes him. He also can see 'drops', which is mystical energy of some sorts to summon dragons to you. And then there is an attack by wild dragons, and Ace has to use his 'drop-vision' to help out a master summoner.
Based on a card game for kids, and it shows in the designs and the simplistic plot.
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Jul. 26th, 2016 @ 05:34 pm (no subject)
Current Mood: happyfestive
Happy birthday, jwhoogakker!
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Jul. 26th, 2016 @ 05:33 pm (no subject)
Current Mood: happyfestive
Happy birthday, sbslink!
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Jul. 25th, 2016 @ 10:29 pm More new anime
Current Mood: tiredtired
DAYS: Tsukushi is a bit of a clumsy guy. His classmate Jin invites him to join an indoor soccer match (why? I guess we'll never know) and Tsukushi makes up with his great resilience and enthousiasm what he lacks in actual soccer skills. He decides to join the soccer club, and again shows his spirit at the initial training.
Sports anime, this time with soccer. Tsukushi is our 'miracle rookie' who has the potential to grow, Jin is the experienced player who will mentor him. You already know how it will go from here on out -- so why bother watching the show?

Fukigen no Mononokean: A schoolboy gets possessed by a youkai -- a supernatural monster. This one was probably a cat in life, and it attaches itself to his back at the first day of highschool. It drains his strength and gets bigger all the time, so the boy constantly collapses... Then he meets a mysterious person who claims he can get rid of the youkai, and he does -- but the price is high, and now the schoolboy has to work for him to pay off his debt!
For some reason, I tend to like stories featuring Japanese monsters, and this is a nicely quirky setup.

Handa-kun: It's a prequel for Barakamon, showing the highschool life of Handa-kun, who was by that time already an accomplished calligraphist. The series starts really odd with his all-male fan club trying to create an anime, and the only the second part is the series proper? And Handa-kun overthinks everything and gets misunderstood, which is supposed to be funny.
We really liked Barakamon, so I was looking forward to this. But it just wasn't funny and it lacked any kind of sparkle. A pity!
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Counting (Shuffle)
Jul. 24th, 2016 @ 12:11 pm More new anime
Current Mood: lazylazy
Amanchu! tells the story of Futaba, whose parents have moved and who is starting her highschool life without any people she knows. This had made her melancholic. Hikari is her polar opposite, full of energy. Hikari loves the ocean: her grandmother runs a scuba school at the beach. The two meet at school, and Futaba is taken in by Hikari's honest and energetic weirdness.
Looking at the characters, the school uniforms and how cats are drawn, we were strongly reminded of the Aria series. And it turns out that they're based on a manga by the same person! That alone is a reason to watch the series, but the intro sung by Maaya Sakamoto doesn't hurt either. And it promises to be fun!

Ange Vierge: There are five worlds (of which Earth is one) and the portals between the world have opened. Monsters called Ouroborous have come through the portals, threatening the existance of the five worlds! It is up to a group of teenage girls to fight them off using their special powers. The episode starts with a fight, then the girls seem to spend an awful long time in various baths (naked, of course, so there's lots of steam and weird lighting effects...) and then there is another fight. There's lots of girls introduced who only have one or two lines, and that's it basically.
It's like one of those series that we've seen countless rehashes of. And while that's fine, this iteration of that particular setup seems to be especially devoid of plot, instead insisting on showing semi-naked girls to keep us interested. Of course, it didn't work.

Battery: This season's Noitamina offering, so an original story! Takumi's family moves to his grandfather's house somewhere in Okayama just before he enters middle school. At his grade school, he was the pitcher, and he has gained some reknown for this. So when he goes out on a walk and meets Go, the local catcher who is going to middle school too, they agree to throw a few balls around. Grandfather used to be a pitcher too, but Takumi doesn't seem to be too interested in his stories or advice.
Takumi is stuck in what he is and has, whereas grandfather is looking for potential and eagerness. Takumi and Go could go far, but first Takumi needs to overcome his arrogance. And yes, it's a sports anime, but it is remarkably low-key. There is a focus on the characters, and the way moving with your family back to your hometown is portrayed really grounds it in reality instead of improbable 'special attacks' and what-not that feature so much in other sports anime -- the "miracle rookie" effect is notably absent here. It reminded me of "Ping-Pong the Animation", which was also a very enjoyable sports anime in the Noitamina slot.

B-Project: Tsubaki is hired as the A&R manager for a group of male idols, divided into several sub-units and united under the B-Project. She doesn't know what an A&R manager does, though, so that's a bit of a problem for her. She just goes with the flow, and then her absolute hearing can point out a mistake in the score and gets a recording session 'unstuck'.
And of course we get a huge cast of cute boys with various personality types so that you can choose your own favourite... Haven't we seen this type of thing before? Wasn't there this series about a girl who is the song producer for 'her' band of boys? We didn't last more than a single season for that either, so this is an easy miss for us.

Cheer Danshi!!: Haruki's parents run a judo center, and he and his older sister of course are well-trained in judo. But in college he hurt his shoulder and can't compete anymore, while his sister goes on to win a tournament. Kazuma, his friend, suggests starting up an all-male cheering squad, since Takumi's cheering for her sister really helped her during the decisive match. Of course, you'd need more people to start a squad.
It's refreshing to see a series set in college, but with the focus on clubs/circles, it's not immediately apparent that this is very different from highschool. Remember Genshiken? That setting was so much more 'grown-up' than this -- but perhaps it still needs to grow a bit. It is interesting though, Haruki is a likable fellow and the animations of the acrobatics are really well-executed.
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Bishoujo squad!