Monday, September 19, 2011

Summer 2011: A Look Back

As a new season begins, I look back at the previous season. I did poorly at keeping up American cartoons this season, not even watching the ones I was honestly looking forward too. Honestly, I've been watching stuff online rather than on TV for so long that I can never remember what time shows come on, but I'll try to keep up this season. I also only watched one American animated film, Cars 2, and didn't see Winnie the Pooh or The Smurfs (thank god). I did keep up the anime schedule, and didn't see any of the movies, but none of them have been translated yet.
I watched a lot of stuff this season, a bunch of which I wouldn't have started if I hadn't decided to watch all of them, and I would like to continue to do so if time allows it.

Let's look back at the season and see how it fared:

  1. Cars 2: I liked the movie okay enough, and it was fun, but it was certainly the weakest Pixar film. More action and fun, but not as poignant as the original, and harder to take seriously. It's still better than most animated films.
  1. Usagi Drop: Best anime of the season. Animation is beautiful, story is sweet and charming, and it really takes its audience seriously. An anime I can honestly recommend to non-anime fans (My mom even liked it!)
  2. Mawaru Penguindrum: Its a shame this series didn't get a license, because it really is a good show. Hopefully the license will get picked up soon. A vastly original and entertaining bit of colorful mindfuck  of a series.
  3. No. 6: A great blend of classical dystopian science fiction and Boys Love, this series is fascinating and . It does however have lots of issues with pacing, and some elements introduced later in the series will frustrate science fiction fans, but a good series overall.
  4. Kamisama Dolls: This series was sort of a throwback to older anime, and it's a welcome one at that. The plot never seems to go anywhere, but the premise is interesting enough to hold attention.
  5. Blood-C: This is the most frustrating anime I have ever watched. It takes its sweet dear time to get anywhere, the first several episodes being mostly slice of life with a fight tacked on to the last ten minutes, as it creeps towards a gruesome and over the top ending. It's like a horror film that spends way too much time on the setup before the actual horror part of the film starts.
  6. The Mystic Archives of Dantalian: An interesting premise, with a monster of the week format. It's like The Twilight Zone, if there were more recurring characters and the answer to each strange event was the same every single episode. It loses points for the tsundere Dantalian, but gains points because the other main character Huey is a likeable, witty, confident and capable adult, and his interaction with Dantalian is actually fun to watch.
  7. Croisee in a Foreign Labyrinth: A generic iyashikei series, with beautiful animation, and occasional depth to the characters. Mostly it's just cute and sweet and fluffy, and works best when its not trying to shoehorn in messages about how one culture is different from another. It also is very poignant at times, particularly when it examined the role of women, particularly high class women, in eighteenth century France. Camille is easily the most interesting and well-written character, while Yune is adorable and Mary Sue-ish, Claude switches between being sweet and a total jerk, and Alice is annoying at first, but actually grows on you once you learn more about her.
  8. Heaven's Memo Pad: A generic mystery series. In general the series is a bit of a mess, and the initial premise doesn't make sense, because Alice can't be a NEET if she works as a freelance detective, but the characters are fun and have some depth, and the reveals are sometimes pretty unique for this genre. Most of the time it just meanders from plotline to plotline, and is only occasionally good.
  9. The Idolmaster: After the tedious first episode, it gets a lot better. The characters are surprisingly decently written despite the huge cast size, and it can occasionally be sweet and poignant. It occasionally shows how difficult it is to get into show business, and the girls work long hours training and preparing yet very few ever get any results. For the most part, its a bit dull, and falls into generic anime traps often.
  10. Nekogami Yaoyoruzu: Nice classic anime fluff, unmemorable, but fun nonetheless.
  11. Sacred Seven: A very silly and generic shounen. While the animation is occasionally nice, the series is overall bland and hard to take seriously, though some may say that's the point.
  12. Morita-san wa Mukuchi: Very generic school girl series. The short running time of the episodes does keep it from being boring, and it can be funny at times, but there are far too many better school girl series to really recommend it.
  13. Baka and Tests: Summon the Beasts 2!: After an incredibly fun and satirical first season, this season is an extreme disappointment. Each character has been reduced to one trait, the satire elements are totally gone, and it goes absolutely nowhere. More annoying than entertaining.
  14. Double J: Occasionally surreal, but mostly very dull. Characters are mostly non-existent, animation is limited and dull, only occasionally funny.
  15. Nyanpire: Occasionally funny, and the cute art can be fun to look at. For the most part, the series is just annoying.
  16. Uta no Prince-sama Maji 1000% Love: Extremely generic reverse harem series. While the animation can be pretty at times, the characters are bland, the premise is stupid, the dialogue is lame and its extremely hard to enjoy non-ironically.
  17. Ro-kyu-bu! Fast Break: Occasionally dabbles in uncomfortable pedophilia undertones, but the basketball games can be entertaining, and some of  the characters are likeable. Overall, its too uncomfortable and bland to recommend to anyone.
  18. Yuru Yuri!: Really, really boring school girls anime. It's very rarely entertaining, and so bland and badly done that it can't be recommended to anyone.
  19. A Dark Rabbit Has Seven Lives: The story is both too stupid and confusing to take seriously, the main relationship is too creepy to get behind, none of the characters are likeable, and the character designs are just dumb. A dud through and through.
  20. Mayo Chiki!: The story is almost offensively generic, the characters are so unbelievably stupid, and there is utterly no continuity. Jirou and Subaru are actually a likeable pair, but the series is ruined by Subaru's master Suzutsuki, who sets up a stupid scenario every goddamn episode forcing Subaru and Jirou in uncomfortable situations for no goddamn reason. Might have enjoyed the series without her, because every stupid thing that happens is because of her. It's also a waste of a potentially interesting premise.
  21. R-15: Occasionally funny, even a little sweet, but its almost always uncomfortable, creepy, unlikeable and stupid. Stupid premise, and mostly offensive. The main character has a gay friend with a crush on him, who's made a joke of in every single scene he appears in, even being "stood up" and it being treated as a joke. Most the characters are one note (in some cases literally) and none of them make any sense.
  22. Twin Angel: This series is the ultimate example of "so bad it's good". It does every single possible thing wrong, and as a result you get one of the stupidest yet most entertaining series of the season. 
  23. Mayuu Hikenchou: One the the worst series I have ever seen. Detestably nasty and gross, entirely centered around nothing but breasts. Every joke, every plot point, every dialogue and every gruesome act centers around breasts. The only show I couldn't sit through more than one episode for.

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