Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata's humor is definitely very meta. I myself was divided on it.
On the one hand, I found it slightly disconcerting just how thick the meta was being laid on in Episode 00. On the other hand, some of it was genuinely inspired and pointed. My experience is that anime too often uses this sort of humor to sound provocative and self-critical when really its pure self-congratulating, whereas in this case I could sense a sincere edge to the humor, causing it to rise to the level of actual satire. I definitely liked that.
On the whole, I felt that Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata was extremely Bakemonogatari-esque. I have the impression that you're a big Bake fan, so I'm a bit surprised that you never mentioned and/or saw such a similarity. Granted, Saenai's male lead seems much more like Love Hina!'s than he does Koyomi, but the female cast... 3 of the main 4 remind me vividly of one or more of the Bake female cast. The artist is the only exception.
By first episode, you mean episode 00 right? I've seen both episode 00 and episode 1. And I actually flipped through 00 again before writing this post.
Here's the things I noticed about episode 1:
1) Frequent lampshading of the show's own tropes
2) The main character essentially ignoring three talented beauties and focusing his attention on his game and a more mundane girl (the "boring girlfriend" in the title.
3) Small hints that the "mundane" girl has changed in the six months since meeting the MC.
I strongly suspect that one or both of 2 and 3 are important to the show's overall theme. I also think that the title ("How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend") is very intended to be tongue in cheek. I'm also somewhat optimistic the show is going to actually say something interesting using these themes by the end, especially as the writer previously penned White Album 2.
But the one thing that gives me some pause is how "meta" the jokes are. I didn't mind it a lot in episode 00, because having a bunch of gorgeous girls discuss anime at a hot spring strikes me as so over the top that I can't take it seriously. On the other hand, episode 01 is more serious in tone, and therefore the "the top two beauties in my school are secretly a talented write and a talented illustrator" thing bugged me a lot more there.
On the whole I'd say I'm going a bit wait and see on the show.
I am very, *very* curious to get your take on Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata.
If you've watched it already, or chose to watch it later, I'm sure you'll know why.
I just watched its first episode, and I have my own thoughts on it, but it's the sort of anime that you tend to be really good at picking apart and explaining, so I'm admittedly quite eager to hear your take on it.
Thanks for the PM reply. I now recall you bringing up similar points to me before on previous legal questions, so I apologize for sending that latest PM to you. I'll probably search out experienced lawyers for questions of this nature in the future.
I've also considered actually trying my hand at original fiction that could later be adapted into a VN. That, I would imagine, would be legal. So maybe that's the best route to go if I can manage to have some success with it.
As for your last VM to me, yeah, it's true you like some atmosphere and drama mixed in with light and fluffy bits. There's definitely more "pure fluff" shows out there - Girlfriend (Beta) comes to mind for me - than your favorites. "Feels authentic" and "faces issues/problems that are practical and real life-esque" are probably other terms I'd add to the sorts of anime shows and anime characters you like.
"Believably overcomes real life issues with a quirky charm and a slightly eccentric smile" might be a good way to describe some of the anime characters you like. Maybe with "Also with a calm head behind the playful appearance" added on. That would fit Holo and Matsuri well, and Nozomi as well.
It's not far off my own fondness of genki girls, ideally ones driven by a serious purpose (Sayaka, Honoka, etc...).
Thanks for posting that as a VM. I'll have more to say in reply to that VM later today. But an idea recently came to me. For various reasons, I want to keep discussions on this idea private, so I want *that* conversation to be strictly over PMs. It has to do with Madoka Magica: Pure Pink Pretty Lovers, a fanfic I wrote a long time ago that you read some of, IIRC.
Posting here because I know you worry a bit about freeing up inbox space:
-I really like gorgeous, slightly moody romance dramas with likeable pairings and some good wham moments. Nagi no Asukara did a pretty good job with all that - for me it isn't a classic like EF, but it's pretty darn good.. The fall VN adapdation trio of Ushinawareta, Grisaia and Daitoshokan? All decent shows IMO, but none reached the same highs.
-Your observations on my taste are astute and mostly accurate. Just remember that I do like some atmosphere and drama mixed in with my light and fluffy bits - with all due respect to Yuki Yuna and NagiAsu, IMO this was a better year for light, fluffy and charming series than for dramatic ones, so my choices are a little bit skewed in that direction.
Like a number of people, it initially bothered me that they were given their "offerings" back simply because they decided to put up a last stand.
But the more I think about it, the more I'm satisfied with even the explanation that such a major victory was the appropriate time for them to get their offerings back. And I also do really like the theory that what got them released is Yuuki herself gaining a level in divinity. Seriously, the issue just doesn't bug me as it did (a bit) while I was watching.
It'll be interesting to see if there's a sequel and if so, if it gives an explanation or further hints as to what happened. I just hope that if they do so, it's a satisfying explanation.
I still don't consider it a strong ending, but in a way it actually feels fitting as I've generally thought of the Yuuki Yuuna's subtle, low key nature (relative to what's going on) as the key thing that differentiates it from Madoka.
BTW, Unlimited Blade Works did have a very strong season finale and at this point the plot has deviated quite a bit from the 2006 version. Or at least, I think it has - it's starting to become clear to me that I don't remember all that much of the 2006 version.
Just thought you might want to know.
(I did actually flip through a bit of the 2006 version just to see if it would jog my memory... and man, it has not aged well animation wise.)
Yuuki Yuuna is still one of my five favorite anime shows of the year. While the ending wasn't quite what I had hoped, it was also a lot better than it could have been, and I'm largely content with it. On the whole, Yuuki Yuuna was a very pleasant surprise for me, probably the nicest surprise of the year (I expected to really like Love Live! Season 2, of course).
I might do up a list of my Top 10 Anime shows of 2014 over the next few days. I doubt I'll write up a long blog for it, but I'll probably write a paragraph or so on each of the 10 if I settle on 10.
I'm debating whether to advise you to let your own thoughts on Yuuki Yuuna settle before reading the fan theories or to dive right in. Because some of the possibilities raised make me like the ending a lot more - Argent Solbright's speculation in particular comes to mind, but I feel that Konakaga's also makes the show feel a bit less deus ex machina as well.
Prior to reading those theories I have to admit I was underwhelmed by the ending but still would have considered it my favourite show this year just because it had such a long run of strong episodes.