Why am I neck deep in romcoms

Writing update: According to my notes, I started writing Isekai Therapist 2 just before Christmas, and yesterday I hit the end of the first draft. So it’s going well. In no way have I set aside Healers; it’s still brewing in the back of my mind. The change of pace continues, is all. And honestly, at this point I only have 4 novellas sketched out (#4 and #5 collapsed into one, I don’t think it’s going to condense more than that). At this pace I could have all four off the table in appreciably less than a year. Weird.

Game update: Got a new controller, continued Garden Story, it’s cute. Continuing my usual refrain, I’m not particularly good at Zelda-likes, or anything that needs reflexes. But it’s going fine. I seem to be ~90% of the way through the story. I think there’s just a final dungeon left, so I’m collecting all the collectibles and such.

Anime update: How did I become a person who keeps up with the current seasons, seriously? Within the last year. Very strange.

Anyway, this season my lineup is:

  • Trigun Stampede: Original Flavor Trigun was on my top five for a very long time, and is still in my top ten. I am also a person who likes to see a markedly different take on a media property: if you’re going to retread something, I prefer that you at least attempt to say something different this time. Otherwise I can just watch the original. Because it still exists. Redoing the same thing in the same way (but maybe with shinier visuals or whatever) is a creatively bereft cash grab, and we all know it.

    Combine these two together, and you get my opinion on Trigun Stampede so far: It’s a very different show from the first one, and I like it so far, for very different reasons (and with a few reservations). It heads for drama/trauma/melodrama immediately out of the gate, which is fine with me. I like melodrama, obviously. My reservation is that they seem to have written Millie out. And I don’t have reservations about that merely because “it’s different from the original” — that’s not a reason to be pissed about something, in my book. It’s because it shifts the balance of the party. Especially since they are going with a drama-laden tone with a traumatized Vash right off the bat, they need, NEED an optimist on deck. We seem to be going with a “rookie becomes disillusioned” arc for Meryl, fine okay; the old guy is obviously doomed; Vash is in full end-of-series broken mode from the get-go without hiding it behind goofy mode much; Wolfwood will eventually catch up, and he’s cynical; they need an optimist to balance all of that out. So I am … skeptical about that.

    (Side note: I spoke favorably about the Fruits Basket reboot a bit ago. I stand by that. That reboot also took a different tone than the first adaptation, and completed the story. Different enough.)
  • Buddy Daddies, a.k.a. Three Men and a Baby meets Grosse Pointe Blank, a.k.a. Gay Spy x Family Except Haha, We’re Clearly in Queerbait Country Just Kidding. This is a show where two assassin roommates accidentally adopt a four-year-old. Everything that may have popped into your head right now? Is probably true. It’s very violent, the leads are half trash and half heartwarming, it knows exactly what it’s doing by throwing out queerbaiting jokes, I cannot stop watching what on earth is wrong with me. I don’t have high hopes for this show doing anything interesting with its setup, but so far it’s funny, and it’s hitting the “we know we suck as humans, but we want things to be better for this kid” button, and I am a sucker for that. Also, the kid in question is equal parts annoying and adorable, which seems right.
  • The Ice Guy and His Cool Female Colleague – this title is the most underwhelming thing, I can only assume it sounds better in Japanese. Anyway, this is a modern fantasy workplace rom-com about the descendant of a folkloric snow maiden, who is a little over-enthusiastic and tends to create snowstorms whenever he has too many emotions; and his co-worker, who I’m sorry, if she isn’t intentionally on the spectrum, she’s accidentally on the spectrum – she’s quiet, loves her cat, and doesn’t quite know how to carry on a conversation. They also have other co-workers who are descended from folklore creatures / figures, like a kitsune, the Buddha, and Every Nineties Anime Protagonist Ever (I’m kidding, but truly, look at him). It’s all very cute, a little bit “we have one joke, here it is”, but the characters are charming and they’re actually adults. Young adults, but still.
  • This was from the Fall 2022 season, but I took AniFem’s recommendation and started Romantic Killer on Netflix. I’m trying not to spoil myself, but apparently this show turns darker in the second half; I’ve watched 5 episodes so far.


    There was this comic from Tumblr where a pink-haired girl tries valiantly to avoid becoming the protagonist of every anime genre. (The original post has been taken down, so I don’t want to link to a mirror if the creator has decided to pull it.) Romantic Killer starts out as that, but only for shoujo romance. The messy, nerdy, totally fine protagonist is “chosen” by a fairy-like magical creature who informs her that lucky her, it’s here to make sure she finds romantic heterosexual love! You’re welcome!

    Her completely reasonable response is halfway between “no thank you” and “fuck off”. The fairy-creature proceeds to arrange an escalating series of ridiculous meet-cutes and shoujo manga tropes: She trips over a guy on the subway! She gets stuck in the rain and a guy lends her an umbrella! Her long lost childhood friend appears out of nowhere, even though she didn’t have a long lost childhood friend! And so on. She dodges them with a combination of awkwardness, reacting like an actual person and not a romcom cliche machine, and occasionally running away screaming.

    It’s capped off by this Para Para style absolute banger of an ending theme, which starts out with the fairy-creature snarkily commenting about how nobody’s going to see it because this is a streaming platform. I am perversely glad that I started watching this on a version of the app that allows watching the credits, because now this thing is stuck in my head. (Context: Apparently “ikemen” more or less means “hot guy”, which is also what the EKs stand for on the mannequins. The dub just translates it as “hot guy”, although it keeps some other terms of shoujo-cliche art like “kabedon” so … who knows. The terrible CG comes from an in-story terrible video game that the fairy-creature made.)

Anyhow, that’s my season, apparently: cute rom-com, unhinged rom-com, queerbaiting assassins, and a traumatic remake. I also have The Fire Hunter saved to watch later; not in the mood for more post-apocalyptic stuff when I’m braced to get through The Last of Us.