Spring Season 2011 Season-End Report   3 comments

Finally, we have reached the end of the Spring 2011 Anime Season. We had both good and bad shows, and fortunately there are more good than bad. On the other hand, it’s still sad that there were no mecha shows than ran this season, but most of the mecha shows air in the fall season anyway. There are definitely more slice-of-life, drama and comedy titles, if those weren’t already staples in anime. And there were also a couple of new shounen shows that aired. So without further ado, here’s the final report on the Spring 2011 Season I have been working for almost a week.

Note: For my rating system, I pretty much use the ANN rating system (Masterpiece, ExcellentSo-so, etc) as opposed to the number system. As for (ONGOING) titles, the presented rating is temporary and is subject to change, if I feel like changing it.


Hanasaku Iroha
Status: 13/26 (ONGOING)

I have not been posting a lot in the past few days due to lack of free time, but after I watched the latest episode of Hanasaku Iroha, I realized I should be writing more on this blog. Not because this show is spectacular or anything that would fill up an episode review, but because I think someone out there in Japan who’s making this show must be reading my blog or something. Or maybe they read my thoughts on this show telepathically (check my episode 8 review), and then chose to do what I was thinking of.

In case you didn’t read, I said somewhere between the lines of Ko’s introduction in the ninth episode not being a good decision for the show, and they should introduce him later and/or erase him from the series. Though the show didn’t exactly remove him the way I thought it would (and that would be a bad decision anyway because that would leave the conflict unresolved), the show did the proper way to end his relationship with Ohana. Also, I find it interesting that they introduced Ohana’s mom back to the show in the latest episode. I was thinking she would appear much later when something pivotal to the show will happen. If you’re watching, you know what I mean. Anyway, I don’t have any problems with Satsuki’s reappearance to the show. In fact, it made the show more focused on the whole Kissuiso family as a whole rather than Ohana herself. And that is good. Usually, slice-of-life shows focus more on the development of the main character/s, rather than the whole cast. It’s not common for anime to give more emphasis on side characters, and usually a single episode or arc is given as development to those characters.

And that what makes the style of this show closer to J-drama rather than anime. In J-drama, it’s normal to give focus on many characters because, well, they’re real actors, and their talent agency demands producers to give them more screen time. It’s part of the J-drama appeal that makes every character closer to the audience. And that’s Hanasaku Iroha is all about, the whole Kissuiso family. Their everyday challenges in life. And their skanky old hotel.

Rating: Good, worth seeing


Astarotte’s Toy
Status: 12/12 (COMPLETE)

AHA, I WAS RIGHT! I TOLD YOU IT WOULD NOT HAPPEN!

In case you have no idea what I’m talking about, check my initial impressions on this show. Surprisingly, I didn’t drop this show half-way, because I was interested on how would they handle such a scene. And it didn’t deliver, which was very, very disappointing.

So if you’re saying this show is meant to be sweet, light-hearted or anything like that, SCREW YOU. This show fails even at that angle. This show is so insidious, it tries to make you feel nice and warm inside, while what it’s really doing is awaking your inner pedophile by showing these children proud of not wearing any panties. And the way the story went was really boring. All I got from watching this show was wasting my 6 hours watching this little girl with daddy issues, this vanilla main character whose basically a babysitter, and these other characters who I don’t give two shits about. And don’t forget the premise that the show prances around, but ends up being a completely different one. This show doesn’t know what it wants to be. It has eye-rolling loli fanservice, a love-slave-boy-toy-daddy relationship, and a dramatic story between mother and child. It’s three completely different things conflicting with one another. And the ending is basically this show’s, except very anti-climactic and very bland. It was a real cop-out to the whole show’s premise, and it only made this show unmemorable.

But then I would have no problems with the show, if only it didn’t have the premise that it tries to present. The drama aspect was not bad at all, but that was not what I was hoping to see. Cut the blow job and everything jailbait, and you get this nice drama about this grown man trying to help this little girl get through her issues. Of course assuming Japan has no intention showing a grown man and a little girl without showing any sort of pedophilia.

Rating: Weak, I wish I’d done something better with my time


Dororon Enma-kun Meeramera
Status: 12/12 (COMPLETE)

I enjoyed this show a hell lot from start to end, but this show got a little weird to me after the halfway mark. Every episode, there’s always some situation where a demon causes wild chaos among all people in the neighborhood, sometimes even the whole world, and the power has to be something odd, sometimes strangely erotic. The bizarre thing is, for some reason, it reminded me of a lot of Neon Genesis Evangelion, where every episode a new angel attacks, and it causes widespread chaos among NERV and Tokyo-3, and every episode the power has to be something weird and different. Going back to Enma-kun, I feel there is a dichotomy between the strange quasi-apocalypse these people are experiencing every episode, and the somewhat innocent, wacky, sexy fun way this show is trying to make of it. That was interesting to see, at least.

But probably the best thing I liked about this show is the way the show sugarcoats its rather adult and mature themes with the zany and wacky comedy style and the crazy cast of characters. It becomes very apparent in the ending, where Hell and Heaven decided to mass murder Earth to get people’s souls, which harks back to my point in the previous paragraph, but the way the show presented it was by using the term “Superglue” for souls, and the way it was mentioned wasn’t serious at all. Also, I’ll try not to spoil the ending, but it had a lot of euphimisms, to say at least. A lot of cartoons, even the old Looney Toons ones, use a lot of these euphimisms in order to interpret something very disturbing in a comic way. This show is no exception. This is truly a cartoon in every word, except it was made by Go Nagai. So there’s the wacky insane comedy coupled with sexual innuendo. There’s also the Go Nagai’s signature hot-blooded rage facial expression, and all the other things that both long time Nagai fans and new fans can enjoy. I was amused by the parodized version of Kekko Kamen/Cutie Honey, but that’s only a bonus for the advanced. For new fans, there’s the doujins of Enpi-chan you can always enjoy after watching the show.

Rating: Good, Worth Seeing


Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko
Status: 12/12 (COMPLETE)

If there’s one director that has caught my attention recently with his works, that would be Akiyuki Shinbo. He’s the guy who made two recent noteworthy shows — Bakemonogatari, which I have mixed feelings for, and Madoka Magica, one of my favorites of the past five years. But if there’s one thing that always bugged me about Shinbo, it’s that sometimes he goes way too out of the ordinary with his dialogues and characters, it comes off as pretentious at times. And that was my main problem with Denpa Onna. Take note I was disappointed with this show, as I told in my not-so-helpful mid-season review, but I was still compelled to finish this show because (a) it’s a Shinbo work, so anything could happen; and (b) the concept that this show tries to tell was interesting. And as I said, anything could happen in a Shinbo show ending, it could be something spectacular, or maybe something dramatic, or maybe something. But it would not appear to be so.

The ending of the show was the crappiest, most anti-climactic, filler-tastic, unresolving, unspectacular, stupid and boring ending I’ve seen in his work. A baseball episode? A FUCKING BASEBALL EPISODE? And that’s not my only problem with the show. Like I said, his works sometimes go a little bit over pretentious by giving us too much amazing visuals and thought-provoking dialogue, the concept and premise of the show could not handle the level of artistic quality. That was my problem with Bakemonogatari, but Denpa Onna is magnitudes worse. The concept of this show is basically a boy goes to this town to live with is cousin, except his cousin is weird. And his newfound friends are also weird. Shinbo made the weirdness of these characters stand out by foreshadowing the fact that aliens and UFOs and ESPs could be true. But the truth is, it’s not. Or is it? Well I can’t say because fucking baseball episode didn’t do shit. I still can’t figure why the fuck do those girls glow all the time. Also, the fanservice gets too distracting sometimes. My other problems are only trivial, like the dialogue, but maybe that’s due to the fact that I’m not Japanese. However, if there’s something that this show doesn’t fail in, it’s the production values. When SHAFT wants to make a quality show, then by god it will. The visuals and the backgrounds are so stunning, I wonder why Maria Holic Alive can’t have that budget. The music is on-par with the nice animation and the light-hearted style of the show. The show as a whole package is visually appealing.

But in the end, I could not give any more praise to the show other than that, because I don’t feel fulfilled after watching this. The show just bores the hell out of me, sometimes even irritates me. I mean, C’MON MAN IT’S JUST A FUCKING FREETHROW IN A FUCKING BASKETBALL PRACTICE GAME YOU DON’T NEED TO SHOUT INSPIRATIONAL SHIT LIKE IT’S THE FUCKING NBA FINALS! I wish Shinbo could have just done another Madoka Magica. His knack for spectacle can’t work for every show, especially if it’s about a dude and a bunch of weird chicks being weird.

Rating: So-so, it didn’t really grab my attention.


SKET DANCE
Status: 13/– (ONGOING)

I felt this show started out strong in the beginning, but as the episodes progress, the comedy part starts to wane out. The continuous burstfire of jokes will make me laugh every now and then, but eventually I get tired of it. And I feel there is an inconsistency between jokes in terms of comedic level. Some jokes are too corny. Some make me scratch me head in confusion. And some are just too “Japanese”, even for someone like me who’s exposed to the culture most of the time. But that doesn’t make the show bad or anything. I still get excited every time a new episode comes out. Watching this show every week is a nice break between good but overly serious stuff and crappy shows that makes me want to punch the monitor so hard. I don’t need any sort of thinking to watch this show.

The best thing about this show is the cast. Bossun gets a little over the board sometimes, but he’s a nice character that keeps the wackiness in check. Himeko is the “straight” character in this manzai duo… or trio, and she’s very much unlike most of female characters in anime, which is a nice refreshing thing to see. And Switch is probably the funniest character in the group. His shtick alone makes every episode with him in it solid comedy gold. And don’t forget about the side characters, especially Shinzo the modern samurai, and Roman the shoujo manga girl. The character in this show are the sole driving force behind its appeal.

The latest arc was not that impressive in terms of story, but comedy-wise it is about the same as the rest of the show that already aired. I wish they’d done something else though. And maybe I should also start getting on the manga to see what comes out of the show in the future. As for the anime, I still thinks it holds up as the funniest show this season, and I think everyone should get on it too.

Rating: Decent, I didn’t lose my time


Hen Zemi
Status: 13/13 (COMPLETE)

For those who have been following this show like me, I’m pretty sure you people were not disgusted by this show from the start, and have decided to watch this for purely intelligent reasons.

There’s pretty much nothing in this show memorable, aside from the somewhat scientific approach on how these people come about different kinds of perversions and fetishes. And of course, all the characters are very, very open about their weird tastes. Well, almost everyone except the main character Matsutaka. That’s the thing about this show. The professor would get his members, and sometimes the members themselves volunteer, in these different experiments that are meant to be scientific, but in reality it’s just them getting into deeper and weirder realms of perversion just to sate themselves. But not all of the show is that, sometimes they go into other directions , like some of the episodes where they focus more on the relationship between a male and a female member of the group. It’s suppose to be sweet and romantic, but the thing is, the idea of perversion will always be present even in those episodes.

The last episode did give an open ending for the series, but I think one series is enough for me. I can’t imagine getting multiple sequels of a show about an old man eating food with piss on it, or people getting excited over someone drinking semen out of a bottle. It creeps the hell out of me, especially since I watch this show every morning while I’m having my 15-minute breakfasts.

Rating: So-so, it didn’t really grab my attention.


Ao no Exorcist
Status: 11/24 (ONGOING)

At first, I was fairly skeptical with Ao no Exorcist, well, because it’s a mass-appeal show. It has these aspects in it which appeal to almost everyone. And most of those shows I don’t take very seriously, like Soul Eater or Fullmetal Alchemist, which I do agree are excellent shows, but their mass appeal turns me off sometimes. I’m just that type of guy who wants something else other than those kind of shows. But surprisingly, Ao no Exorcist was an unexpected hit for me. I didn’t know I would enjoy this show as much as I had thought.

The level of production in Ao no Exorcist is something worth noticing, which is somewhat expected of a full-blown Aniplex title. For a show about demon fighting, which is very common in anime, it feels very engaging for me, unlike most of “shounen” shows out there. The crisp animation and the nice backgrounds give the show so much edge in its storytelling and narration. The story itself is no Gurren Lagann, but I can say the pacing is just perfect and the presentation of the story doesn’t bug me out as much as something like Soul Eater. I have said before, its dark and creepy themes remind me a lot of D.Gray Man, a show I could have enjoyed a lot if it were not because of those filler episodes. The soundtrack in this show is probably the best of the season, if not, one of the best produced soundtrack in anime. I’m not kidding. I have listened to multiple anime soundtracks before, and I’m fairly knowledgeable with different anime music composers. I didn’t give much attention to Hiroyuki Sawano before, but his work in Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn, and this show, were just amazing. His style reminds me a lot of Taku Iwasaki, another great anime music composer. I’m sure the guys at Anime Instrumentality would love this soundtrack. Also, I didn’t care about the ending theme at first, but it has grown to me more then, and it made me feel like delving into more K-Pop.

As for the characters, I couldn’t care less about the trite comedy and the silliness, but at least they’re not as annoying as someone like Ed from Brotherhood, or those zany characters from every shounen show ever. And there is always something for me in this show, like Kamiki and Shiemi, which both fuel my inner moé passion.

I can definitely see this title become a success outside Japan, because it is specifically designed to be so. I don’t have much to say aside from that, so excuse me while I get myself some candid Kamiki fanart from Gelbooru or something.

Rating: Very Good, don’t miss it


[C] The Money of Soul and Possibility Control
Status: 11/11 (COMPLETE)

During my mid-season report, I pointed out some reasons to why I’m disappointed with this show. And guess what, my opinions didn’t change one bit. In fact, I might as well echo them here again.

The concept of this show is interesting, but it was handled very, very poorly. The mechanics of the “deal” were unclear until the end. The rules and regulations regarding assets and their attacks were vague as fuck. So apparently you can pass assets from one person to another? Are assets supposed to be the “future” of the entre? Then why is Q (Mikuni’s asset) imaged after his sister, someone that exists, while Mashyu was imaged after Kimimaro’s future daughter, who is yet to exist? Also, the way the story unfolded from start to finish felt too convoluted. Stuff happens simply because the plot tells it to do so. Mashyu suddenly becomes stronger when she’s about to die, for some reason. The South East Asian District suddenly went bankrupt, for some reason. [C] avoided the North American District, for some reason. Kimimaro gets a black card, for some reason. Mikuni’s money sword broke into pieces, for some reason. Kimimaro bought back the future, because apparently Mikuni could not do that, for some reason.

And don’t get me started with the animation of this show. The fight scenes were clunky and the action was uninteresting. The way this show does the “sudden” frame skips, sometimes to the point of whole scene skipping, is annoying, and I can clearly see that as a poor cost cutting technique rather than a narration style. Character designs are inconsistent as hell, and their color palettes are jarring. The effects simply look bad. The overall aesthetic of this show is subpar even in the very last episode.

I was very interested in this show in the beginning, but my certain expectations were unmet, and the poor qualities start to put me off really bad. In the end I was only watching this for completion. The only saving grace of this show is probably the music, both the score and the opening/ending themes. I wouldn’t say it’s the worst show of the season, but I was definitely disappointed with this one.

Rating: Not really good, but not a total waste of time either


Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Boku-tachi wa Mada Shiranai
Status: 11/11 (COMPLETE)

First of all, I must confess that I felt bad while watching the last episode, because basically I was laughing my ass off while these kids were shouting and crying all at the same time. I thought I may be suffering from IEED, but maybe it’s just I find that scene so dramatic its awkward.

Anyway, I find the ending of AnoHana a nice way to cap off a good drama show. It was played out well, and my expectation were mostly met. I just wished they gave Menma’s family more screen time in the last episode. But the best thing that I liked about the ending is how did Menma’s wish had something to do with Jinta himself rather than his feelings for her. Jinta’s own emotions were something that I have overlooked, and my focus was more on the whole group’s reconciliation, and on Jinta’s unfulfilled love for Menma. I think the involvement of Jinta’s mother was a real good way to incorporate the two key points of the show, the two losses of his life. Also, even if I did find that particular scene in the shrine strangely comedic, I’m also fully aware that the only way for this group to make mends is by talking it out with each another. I wasn’t expecting a whinefest though.

Even though I enjoyed the show for the most part, it still have some minor issues. Some of the scenes were too dramatic its impossible for anyone to show that level of emotion. It takes away the realism, but at the same time it gives enjoyment to the show by upping the drama level. Other than that, this show is a drama cliche done well. Excellent characters, good music, solid animation, and a plot, which may not be that original, but it still pulls heartstrings and make tears well up for anyone who wishes to do so.

Rating: Good, Worth Seeing (I’m torn between Very Good and Good with this one, but given all the factors, you can still pretty much live without watching this.)


Deadman Wonderland
Status: 11/– (ONGOING)

Anime for most of people, is cartoons only with violence and sex in it. Dictionary.com seems to agree. I can’t say this for everyone, but for me, I remember my early anime days watching that disturbing episode of Evangelion, getting constantly mindfucked by Akira, and popping this nebulous CD with the words “Bible Black” in it into the player. And that’s why I gravitate towards the violent stuff in anime more than anything else. And that is why Deadman Wonderland is an easy pick for me.

Deadman Wonderland isn’t as violent as something like, say, Elfen Lied, but it’s way up there in terms of blood and body parts going all over the place. It’s very graphic in terms of violence, but from time to time it presents things in a suggestive manner, maybe so it can be aired in national broadcast or something. But it is not reason to enjoy the constant carnage between the prisoners and the guards inside the jail. As for the cast, expect no less from the number of batshit insane characters in this show. And the plot pretty much follows a single storyline, so there’s no filler in the show overall. This show however suffer from a lot of major plot holes, and that makes the show less than believable. But who cares anyway, its all about the violence anyway. And the insane antics this show presents. I cannot take these characters very seriously, as they could die anytime in the show. Except for Ganta and Shiro, because they’re the main characters. As for the production values, the animation in this show is above average. The music is worth noting, in which it goes between heavy metal and eerie sounds, which is very appropriate for the show.

The latest episode did continue on the story where they are trying to escape the dreaded prison, but it would not be as easy as it looks for them. I’m looking forward for more episodes to happen, but I’m more interested in what insane thing the show would do next. As if gun pointing at nipples and human skinning were not violent enough for me, I’ll definitely finish this show until the end.

Rating: Good, Worth Seeing


Sekai Ichi Hatsukoi
Status: 12/12 (COMPLETE)

In my mid-season report, I mentioned that I was put off by how the show introduced new characters right at the high point of the main arc, but as it later progressed I didn’t bother much about that. The new characters were co-workers of our main characters Onodera and Takano, and also there was another story after that involving one mangaka and a book store clerk. This maybe have made the show derailed further from its original premise by going only to not one, but THREE stories at the same time, but Sekai Ichi Hatsukoi remains to be a decent show. Even though it plays out the regular tropes usually found in Yaoi and BL, with usually the climax involving a third party, the show plays out straight and doesn’t detour from the stories by making pointless fillers, which is usually the sickness of 12-episode harem shows.

Anyway, my favorite part of the last arc (which basically introduced a conflict to the main arc) is how the show made the characters convincing by giving them honest emotions. If you followed the show, you know that Onodera isn’t that much comfortable with Takano’s rather invasive methods, but he still has feelings for him and he just doesn’t want to accept it yet. These are real emotions that actual people feel, and I like it because I feel it’s taking a different route than most anime out there, where characters must “feel this then feel that” without giving much thought to their character development. Most of the characters in this show are like that, of course not all of them (my examples are the bookstore clerk and the mangaka), but it still doesn’t ruin the experience of a good bromance story.

And that’s the main reason I enjoyed watching this show, even if I never watched a Yaoi title in my life, and I’m not homosexual in any stretch of the word. A nice story with good pacing and good characters is something that anyone can enjoy, given they’re not offended by males touching and kissing each other like suction caps.

Rating: Decent, I didn’t lose my time


Steins;Gate
Status: 13/24 (ONGOING)

If I can give a title the show of the season award, it would no doubt be Steins;Gate. In fact, I might as well do that at the end of this post. This show is the Madoka Magica of the spring season, for lack of a better comparison. Well, this and Kaiji. But Kaiji has already been awesome since the first season, about three years ago. And the show didn’t have that contemporary appeal to begin with. So the award goes to this show.

The best thing about Steins;Gate is the level of thinking that was put into the concept and the story of the show. Expect no less from Nitroplus, which by the way, also wrote Madoka Magica. The level of detail that was put into the concept of this show, going as far as to give reference to real things and events, was a real button pusher for me, especially for some like me who’s a lot into science fiction and to some extent, the more Lovecraftian style of horror. And the psychological horror part was the easy seller. These characters, to put simply, are digging up their own grave, and they barely realize it except for Okabe, who is the main character of the series. They continue to experiment with this partly-stolen time travelling technology, while not realizing the consequences in doing so. Those consequences became apparent in the latest episode. And the events that took in the latest episodes were the best I’ve seen in any anime, or show in general, that tackles the issue of time travelling. It is defintely up there, along with Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo and The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya.

But if there’s one problem I’m having with the show, it is the pacing. Man, the pacing is slow as hell. But for some reason, it doesn’t affect my feelings for the show in any way. Every episode is a serious cliffhanger, and I feel like I’m being punished for having to wait 7 days to watch the next one. Thank god there’s other anime to watch aside from this.

As for the other things, the characters are very, very enjoyable, especially Okabe and Mayuri. I love the tension between Okabe and Makise, and I like the over laid back nature of these other characters like Daru and Suzuha. I also have to give props to these two experienced directors (Hiroshi Hamasaki and Takuya Sato) for giving care and importance to a show adapted from a critically-recognized game, despite being produced in a relatively unknown animation studio. I’m definitely hooked for this series, and I know I won’t be disappointed for the episodes to come.

Rating: Very Good, don’t miss it


Softenni
Status: 12/12 (COMPLETE)

I completely forgot to remind myself to append this title to my last mid-season report. But that doesn’t seem needed at this point, since nothing much happens in the show, at least plot-wise.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t like the show in any sort of way. This show was a nice run for its length. Light-hearted, funny and appropriate in terms of balancing fanservice and non-fanservice, whatever that means. This show pretty much follows the story of the Shiratama team as they train themselves to grab a spot in the Japanese soft tennis tournament. Along the way, they come across fellow soft tennis players from schools like Akatama and Kurotama. You probably have noticed the nice play in the name, if you could decipher a bit of Japanese. Anyway, the thing about this show that has definitely caught my attention is how it changes its tone from a light-hearted slice-of-life to an ecchi show to over-the-top shonen fighting action, which is reminiscent of Prince of Tennis, to just bizarre and random comedy. And the thing is, it works well for this show. It doesn’t stray too much from the main premise, and the show just plays it out straight. I enjoyed the little things that this show had done, from the exaggerated confrontations between two teams, to some jokes that I wasn’t expecting at all (i.e. the scene with Chitose’s reaction time at episode 11 was a sudden LOL moment). I can’t say this is the best show of the season, but it was well worth watching it every week.

My only issue with the show is that I wished it did have more tennis action. And the end was a serious cliffhanger. But that didn’t left me disappointed with the show, in fact it left me wanting for a second season. It might happen, as long as it does well in those uncensored DVD sales.

P.S. I have watched an episode from the DVD. Those underage boobs are ugly. DO NOT WANT.

Rating: Decent, I didn’t lose my time


Hidan no Aria
Status: 12/12 (COMPLETE)

I had no idea this show was only set for 12 episodes. Seriously, I’m disappointed. Why can’t this show just continue for another season, like how Shana or Index did? Was it so brilliant that JC Staff couldn’t do any more of it? Or maybe Rie Kugimiya ran out of tsundere power? I don’t think the latter could be the reason, because it’s impossible for Kugimiya to lose her thunder (tsunder). But I want to see more, and it was sad news to know this, given the fact that this show isn’t regarded much in the anime community, and the chance of a second season could be even more far behind.

But in all seriousness, it was a good 12 episodes, because I had a lot of fun watching it. It maybe not as popular as something like Anohana while it was airing, but I was definitely having more fun watching Aria. I may be in the minority here, but watching this show gave me a reason to write this blog. It’s these kinds of shows (Aria, Index II, Dragon Crisis, and all those other hidden gems) that are considered unvoiced in the community, and they need a voice to be represented. And that, I think, is one of my jobs as a crappy writer of this crappy blog.

And if you noticed I didn’t say anything about the show, just read my Hidan no Aria posts on the blog. Also, expect my episode 11 and 12 review sometime next week.

Rating: Good, Worth Seeing


The World God Only Knows II
Status: 12/12 (COMPLETE)

The second season of The World God Only Knows, or Kaminomi, or TWGOK, whichever you prefer, pretty much gives us the same stuff that was shown from the previous one. Same premise, the same formula done over and over again… or is it?

I definitely think this sequel was a step-up from the first season. It had more serious and well thought out storylines. Especially the last two arcs (Kosaka the “normal” girl, and Nagase the teacher), which were the best I’ve seen from the show at this point. The first season didn’t really affect me that much. Not to berate the first season, it had good visuals and decent storylines, but hell, Shiori’s arc was too predictable. The second season however, particularly the last two arcs, had more density to it, for the lack of a better term, in terms of plot and dialogue. What I liked the most about these two arcs were the slight hints that Keima could be slowly starting to appreciate reality, unlike before which all he cared about was playing his fuck games rather than his outside image. But these are only small hints, and it is still a long way to go for him.

Since I never got the chance to talk about the first season, I figured I should discuss my favorite things about this show in general. Anyone who watched this should already know this show pokes fun at different clichés, mostly taken from eroge and Japanese dating simulators, and even from some harem anime. But the satire that this show presents is different from, let’s say, Haruhi Suzumiya in a way, because it is blown way out-of-proportion, but witted at the same time. Keima does things the way he does it in visual novels, thinking it would work with normal girls he targets. But in the end it kind of does, making him the best pickup artist that ever existed. If you look at it in a way, the girls in his games are linear characters, with personalities only programmed into them. The girls around him are, of course, real people with real personalities, but that doesn’t make them depart from their anime personalities (i.e. tsundere, yandere, kuudere, etc.) and from regular anime tropes (the athletic girl, the sempai, the book worm, the pop idol, etc.). It’s like anime inception or something like that. But it is better off that way. Imagine a nerd having to date real girls with no quirks whatsoever. It would be boring as fuck.

For those who have yet to watch this show, it’s definitely worth spending your time. Good plot, decent comedy, excellent music, above average animation, and a fun watch for anyone who thinks their Kanon or Clannad could be used in real life. Let me tell you now, you can, provided you have a moe goddess pretending to be your sister, assisting you in your quest. Or you could just screw her instead.

P.S. I’m a fan of Gundam, particularly the UC universe and the OYW era, and the last episode was the best filler I’ve ever seen in anime.

Rating: Good, Worth Seeing


Kaiji II
Status: 12/– (ONGOING)

If there’s any way I would like to start my report on Kaiji, it would be something like this:

HOLY WANGDOODLES THIS SHOW IS SO FUCKING AWESOME! MMMMM! YOU DESERVED THAT YOU ASS FUCKER! MMMMM! YOU JUST GOT YOUR ASS PWNED YOU GODDAMNED PIG! OH SNAP! YEAAH! FUCK YEAH! HOW DOES IT FEEL NOW HUH? YOU JUST GOT DIVINE RETRIBUTION UP YOUR ASS YOU STUPID PIECE OF SHIT!

And that is how I feel about Kaiji so far. Even after just the end of the first arc, which ended at episode 8, I still couldn’t forget the epic battle that just took place in the depths of the underground prison camp. I had literally both of my middle fingers raised up while I was uttering those words above as I witnessed the most epic ass-kicking I’ve ever seen in anime. Even more so after that, now that the show is closing to the climax of the second arc, I have a feeling this arc could even top the first one. It is just that awesome.

This show never ceases to amaze me every episode, even as to leave me wanting for more every week. The pacing of this show is just perfect, with no dull points, and especially no fillers whatsoever. The characters are very well fleshed out, including side characters and villains alike. You can feel the nitty gritty, dark and desperate side of these characters. And most importantly, the level of narration that this show has done is just crazy insane. Nobody can deny the power of Norio Wakamoto, rabidly repeating words over and over again. The exaggerated visuals and the characters’ reactions just brings more suspense and excitement to the already thrilling gambling aspect of the show. And like the first season, they always managed to up the ante ever arc.

I can definitely say this is one of my favorites of this season. Too bad no one is going past through the fugly character designs and the mature, realistic themes of this show, but I would easily recommend this to anyone, especially to the ones who don’t watch much anime and/or is put off by the sight of cute girls with cat ears.

Rating: Very Good, don’t miss it


Nichijou
Status: 13/26 (ONGOING)

Sigh, Nichijou. I really want to like you. I really want to. But you’re making it so hard for me. I don’t know why. You were designed to be as funny and random as Azumanga Daioh, yet you’re not really getting me hooked as much as I want to.

I really had high hopes for Nichijou, even dating back to my mid-season report not too long ago. But since then, this show has been going to a gradual decline in terms of comedy, and sense. This show is just being random for the sake of being random. And even the randomness fails to be random. Raise your hand if you think nothing in “Things We Think Are Cool” and “My Own Little Thoughts” are funny. Well, I raised mine. The level of hit-or-miss of the comedy in this show just increases per episode. Around episode 3-6, there were almost 3-4 funny scenes (which are very funny, but 3-4 good jokes in 22 minutes is a bad sign for a comedy), and from 6 to 13, I could only think of 1 or 2 every episode. It’s not a good sign once you bring math and numbers to a comedy show. I also think those 5-second intervals between segments are bad and unimaginative, it doesn’t make any sense and they’re just being there to waste precious 5 seconds of my life.

But still, I hadn’t give all hope to this show. The characters themselves are the driving force of this show. I liked all of them (well, almost all except Mai) and I find them very relaxing and entertaining. But most of the time, they’re not being funny at all. I can easily compare this to a favorite stand-up comedian acting in a shitty movie. But it’s not that extreme in the case of Nichijou. And unlike those unmoé comedians, the characters in this show are very, very cute and heartwarming. Also, at least I could look forward to at least one funny joke every episode. And those jokes usually involve Yukko overreacting and being awkward, coupled with a bombastic orchestral music playing in the background, which makes every episode worth watching. The opening and ending music makes up for the show too.

I don’t think this show has the power to appeal to anyone, but for me, I feel accomplished that I managed to finish half of a random comedy show, unlike Excel Saga which I could not get through an episode without flipping my brains out. And at least there’s something to look forward to in the second half, since my favorite character Nano would be starting to go to school. There’s a ton of robot jokes I’ve been asking for since the start. I hope the show can deliver.

Rating: Decent, I didn’t lose my time


30-sai no Hoken Taiiku
Status: 12/12 (COMPLETE)

I don’t have much to say about this show. It was a nice, short 1 hour of my time trying to rummage through the final four episode. Nothing amazing happened, but at the same time the ending was very, very sweet.

The nice thing about this show is the occasional spastic comedy that happens in it. My personal favorite is the “Dotei King” segment, where Imagawa had a fight with Ando, so he secludes himself in a desert to enter a life of eternal virginity. The scenes that happen after that were just insane hilarious. Anyone can watch this episode by itself, and it can still be funny. Aside from that, the show does a clever, funny way to try to tone down the dialogue, by having the sex terms censored, but instead of a bleep, a random sound voiced by, again, the one and only Norio Wakamoto was put in. But in the end, the censoring almost did nothing to tone down the whole theme of the show. The other thing that cleverly censors the heavy adult themes, thus making this show ostensibly cute, is the occasional “chibi” and cute animation, and the simple art that this show presents. The main background music, which I can only describe as “girls cheerfully chanting la la la la la”, is one of the things that makes this show non-offensive. The music was very appropriate to the blissful nature of the show. Also, the upbeat pop-rock ending theme is nice too.

As I looked at the ratings on ANN for this title, I was not expecting such harsh negative scores. But like they say, don’t trust anything with opinions on the internet, including mine. But in all honesty, I enjoyed this show for what it is. It’s a nice, romantic story about two middle-aged adults wanting to experience copulation. And it has gods of sex in it. And virgin powers. Norio Wakamoto. Seriously, go watch it now, it’s only, like, 3 hours to get through.

Rating: Decent, I didn’t lose my time


Tiger and Bunny
Status: 13/25 (ONGOING)

One of the shows that was the talks of this season was Tiger and Bunny. Or at least it was. This show didn’t really grab my attention, but since everyone was talking about this left and right, I thought back then I should get on with it, while the hype is still strong. But to be honest, I don’t understand the buzz behind this show from the start. As the episodes progress, I hear less people talking about it. At least from what I see in forums and blogs.

The premise of the show was not that groundbreaking. It’s innovative, I agree, but sometimes the “hero show” thing gets played a bit much. And that’s where the obvious plot holes come in. Don’t get me started because it would be too time consuming. The story definitely could have been done much better. It started off pretty nice, but as it goes along, it starts doing things that comes off as bland and generic. I don’t see a stroke of creativity in the writing of this show. The characters are fine, but they’re nothing special. I wish they have done more focus on some things, like Tiger’s background story, rather than Bunny’s. I’m already desensitized by Batman, so I don’t need another one. The production values are above average, but the animation style sometimes get too “western” for me. Not that I hate western animation or anything, but seeing caucassians and black people speak Japanese gets a bit weird sometimes. I think this show would translate better in an English dub.

I really want this show to be successful, but seeing all the problems it has, I’m not too sure on how this show will do in the future. Honestly, it now feels more like a chore to watch this every week. But I’m not dropping this yet, I’ll continue to watch this show, given I have spare time to do so.

Rating: So-so, it didn’t really grab my attention.


X-Men The Anime
Status: 12/12 (COMPLETE)

My expectations for X-Men show are low enough, it didn’t made me drop this show. But saying that, this show isn’t all that bad either. In fact, it is the better of the three Marvel-Madhouse collaborations that have come out so far. Ironman was just plain stupid, Wolverine was dull and plain stupid, and X-Men…. is just plain. Plain and bland. Like plain bread. Or vanilla ice cream.

But if there’s one reason to watch this show, it is the nice re-envisioning of the X-Men characters in Japanese animation. I can tell you right now, it dusts away the two cartoons the franchise had before. But be warned, it might come off as too exaggerated for some. Like how fans of the old Transformers cartoon feel about the Michael Bay designs. But that is another story. The characters in this version are just badass. Just look at Wolverine’s hair, or Cyclop’s muscles, or Beast’s face. And I’m not even talking about the females. Storm’s character is the hottest I’ve ever seen from any X-Men medium ever made. I dig the short hair. And don’t forget about her boobs. And Emma Frost’s boobs as well.

But aside from that, there’s nothing much. The whole “Japan” thing started okay, and it ended quite nicely. There’s also the other Marvel cameos in the last episode. I shat bricks when they showed Deadpool there more than once, and there’s also one scene with Ironman. Not sure if there’s a Stan Lee cameo though. As for continuity with other stories, I’m not the guy to ask. But if you want something that doesn’t have cute girls with screechy voices (oh wait there’s Yukari Tamura), nice solid animation and a story that doesn’t take much brainpower, then X-Men might be just for you.

Rating: Decent, I didn’t lose my time


Battle Girls Time Paradox
Status: 13/13 (COMPLETE)

Through the course of my anime watching, I have seen many shows with titles that didn’t made any sense prior to watching, and would only make one after I finished watching them. This show is no different, but at the same time it feels so different when I realized why this show is titled “Battle Girls Time Paradox”.

It’s because this show was written so poorly, those who were making this show probably had no idea how time travel works, or how time itself works. So I ask, does time travel involve going into a completely different dimension, not within the same timeline as the one you’re at right now? Let’s say it does, do you think doing anything in that dimension will change the future of the dimension where you came from? Also, when someone from the future gives you an item, how would you think the item got to that person in the first place?

Not only that, this show has probably the worst ending I’ve ever seen in anime. Imagine the FREAKING FIRST EPISODE, frame per frame, reused as the last scene of the episode where it’s supposed to leave a final impression on the audience. And this show has the dumbest premise ever involving the Warring Era of Ancient Japan. Aside from everyone in the past being women, one of the major generals happens to be a dog. A dog. A fucking dog.

The story of this show is one of the most stupid, trite shit I’ve seen. Everyone should become friends, blah-blah-blah that kind of crap. While the background art and the character designs aren’t eye-gouging, everything that this show presents comes off as bland, including the fanservice. Yes, it fails even in the only part where it’s supposed to succeed. The only thing that made me finish this show is my slight interest for the ending, in which you can see my thoughts just on the previous paragraph.

If there’s one good thing I got from this show, it’s my eagerness to watch Sengoku Basara again, a superior show which I never got around to watching the second season. And if you’re still having second thoughts on watching this show at this point, you should be erased from history with this show as well.

Rating: Bad, really not recommended


Hoshizora e Kakaru Hashi
Status: 12/12 (COMPLETE)

Anime based off from visual novels have proven to be very divisive among anime fans. Most of those shows fall into these generic romance harem drama comedies with some half-assed plot and crappy comedy. But some of those shows have one or two things in them that make them stand out from the rest of the crowd. In the case of Hoshizora e Kakaru Hashi, it’s the nice setting and the background art of the rural village that surrounds the main characters. Of course, other shows have done that in the past as well, but I’d say you’ll be better off not watching them.

Anyway, it’s impossible to not like a single female character in this show, because like every harem anime out there, every girl is designed to cater to a specific audience. Mine’s the gray haired girl. As for the story, well there’s an overarching story between the main guy and the girl whom he accidentally kissed. But like every harem anime ever, there are also stories for other girls in the show.

As with the other aspects of the show, this one unfortunately suffers from too many filler episodes. And for me, beach episodes, hot spring episodes, study group episodes and festival episodes are filler. So that would make the whole show at least 50% filler. Not only that, I found some directorial choices in this show problematic. There is a flashback of a scene just 20 seconds after it happened. I know these shows aren’t supposed to be watched with a critical eye, but sometimes they’re just too noticeable to be ignored.

While I just gave my honest review of this show, I seem to realize that I don’t hate this show at all. Partly because I’m a fan of the aesthetics of visual novels. But I’m sure I’ve seen better visual novel-based shows before, and this one pretty much adds nothing new to my knowledge of dating 2D girls and whatnot.

Rating: Weak, I wish I’d done something better with my time


Maria Holic Alive
Status: 12/12 (COMPLETE)

Of all the show I have been watching this season, Maria Holic’s 2nd season gets the short end of the stick. It’s a second season of a show about a lesbian high school girl, to begin with, and this show also isn’t up with the quality of the other shows airing. Also, because SHAFT is doing two shows this season, I couldn’t help bu think the other show (Denpa Onna) is getting more attention than this. But it is nothing to say when it comes to Maria Holic and its appeal.

I managed to finished this show because, like SKET DANCE, I didn’t need any brainpower to watch an episode. But unlike most comedy shows, watching the first season is a requirement to be able to get the comedy of this show. Or at least read the Wikipedia page, if you’re that desperate to get to this. Though dubbed as a second season, this show doesn’t have that connection from the first season. The show is episodic, except for some, and if you watched the first one but isn’t compelled to watch this one, you’re not missing much. As for my favorite parts of the second season, there’s the episode where Kanako becomes insane (she becomes insane every other episode though) when a little boy went to school, claiming himself to be the fiancée of one of her classmates. That was a very funny episode. Aside from that, the animation is still the same, the opening and ending theme doesn’t stick to me as much as the first season did, and the character and cast are still the same old characters they were. The show in general is decent enough, but it’s not something everyone should seek.

And if you’re one of those people who wants to get into Akiyuki Shinbo and SHAFT works, I’d recommend you check out his A-Grade shows first, like Bakemonogatari and Madoka Magica, and then you can watch this with his other B-grade shows.

Rating: Decent, I didn’t lose my time

And finally we have reached the end of our spring season-end report. But no season-end report would be complete without ranking the best things of the season titles, and hopefully next season’s wouldn’t be as long as this one. As for the continuing titles, I might be planning to write a report separate from next season’s final report, but I can’t promise anything at the moment. And so here are my rankings for the spring season of 2011. I hope to see you next season with my initial impressions.

Moe Show Award: Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko
Manly Show Award: Kaiji II

My Top 5 Best Female Characters:
– Nano from Nichijou
– Kamiki Izumo from Ao no Exorcist
– Shiina Mayuri from Steins;Gate
– Ohana Matsumae from Hanasaku Iroha
– Himeko from SKET DANCE

My Top 5 Best Male Characters:
– Okabe Rintarou from Steins;Gate
– Kaiji from Kaiji
– Kaburagi Kotetsu from Tiger and Bunny
– Katsuragi Keima from World God Only Knows II
– Switch from SKET DANCE

Worst Character of the Season Award: Tanemura Kouichi from Hanasaku Iroha

Best Animation Award: Hanasaku Iroha
Best Music Award: Ao no Exorcist
Best Story Award: Steins;Gate
Best OP theme Award: Whole New World God Only Knows by Lia/Elisa from The World God Only Knows II
Best ED theme Award: Comic Sonic by The Pillows from SKET DANCE

Show I Can Show My Non-Anime Friends Award: Tiger and Bunny
Show I Dare Show My Non-Anime Friends Award: Softenni

I Want More of This Award: Hidan no Aria
I Want Less of This Award: Hen Zemi

Best Show of the Season: Steins;Gate
Worst (Finished) Show of the Season: Battle Girls Time Paradox

Posted July 2, 2011 by coral422 in Uncategorized

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3 responses to “Spring Season 2011 Season-End Report

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  1. All the ones you didn’t like (or were decent to you) are the ones I love❤ XDD and vice versa to the ones you did like
    of course it's all good cause every one has their opinion on their type of anime :3 lol.Trust 0w0

  2. of course the ones I love are the ones I listed.There are some I never heard of yet 0w0;;

    Major fan of SKET DANCE,Tiger and Bunny, and Steins;Gate.

    personally I trust ANN ‘ ^ ‘ but you did good too

    • You know I wrote this post back then when half of these shows weren’t even finished. I just failed to do a follow up post on those, but I’m certain my view (or rating) on some of those shows have changed over the period they aired. I now think Tiger and Bunny was actually good, and Steins;Gate and Hanasaku Iroha are, if not, near perfect. And yeah, thanks for comparing my shit blog post with a pro site like ANN.

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