Posted on 31 January 2011 with categories: Monthly Summaries

Before I start with this summary, I have an announcement to make. I already told this in the shoutbox, but tomorrow I’m finally going to say goodbye to my sutdent life and start my new job. What this means for this blog is that I’ll still be able to cover twelve series a week, but I won’t be as fast as I used to be. Especially expect entries on busy days to be released, because I can only make posts in the evening now. I’m also going to stop trying to give a post to every obscure OVA out there (along with DVD specials that I don’t have much to say about), so I’m just going to keep with the major ones that get released, like Black Lagoon and Gundam Unicorn. I will try to follow all of the major movie releases though, but again: expect delays there.

This season is a very interesting example of quality over quantity. It’s small, there are hardly any series that carried over from the previous season and there are six series that I really don’t want to waste my time on. What remains though, is pretty darn good. Especially the best of the season really surprised me here with a solid execution for just about every good series. There is a ton of potential in this season, only held back by the fact that there are way too many series about teenagers.

#23 (new) – Rio – Rainbow Gate – (4,5/10) – Rio is terrible, but it’s so bad that it’s good. The best was episode three, but after that the fun quickly died and got monotonous. Dropped.
#22 (new) – Oniichan no Koto Nanka Zenzen Suki Janain Dakara ne – (5/10) – They’re brother and sister, but they’re not actually blood related. Ooh, we’re edgy now. At least the execution isn’t as ludicrously poor as KissXSis, but do we really need more series like it?
#21 (new) – IS ~Infinite Stratos~ – (6,25/10) – If there is anything I don’t like, then it’s a series that’s devoted to nothing but dull harem hi-jinks. I tried to keep watching for a bit longer, but I gave up at the point where the spoiled brat suddenly completely changed character and went from tsundere to just badly overplayed dere. Dropped.
#20 (new) – Beelzebub – (6,5/10) – Beelzebub is being adapted by someone who is notorious for his poor adaptations. I really don’t want to waste any time on this, and when it became clear that the second episode was just spamming the same jokes over and over again with poor acting and jokes that fell flat and weren’t built up properly, I tuned out. Dropped.
#19 (new) – Freezing – (6,75/10) – A pretty good start, but it couldn’t keep this up for me. A big part in this obviously is due to that male lead who is beyond clingy, but it’s pretty much the entire cast that doesn’t really seem to know where it wants to go. Dropped.
#18 (new) – Cardfight Vanguard – (6,75/10) – Granted, for a series that’s solely made to sell cards to kids, it’s not that bad. It’s incredibly cheesy, though. You can feed an orphanage for a week with the corn that it produces. Still, the monster designs are pretty decent. They could have done worse. Dropped.
#17 (new) – Dragon Crisis – (7,75/10) – The big problem with Dragon Crisis is that it’s ridiculously cliched. I’m willing to overlook this for now though, because the execution is pretty good. The characters are well portrayed and acted (albeit rather annoying at times), and the dialogue is nicely written. And the good soundtrack and animation of course also help.
#16 (new) – Gosick – (7,75/10) – With Gosick, I dislike the small picture, but I like what’s going on in the big picture. The different mysteries all feel like they are solved way too easily with pretty poor build-up, but when you connect them they seem to be hinting to something deeper. Another problem is that none of the characters really caught my attention so far yet, but we’ve still got 20 episodes left, so anything can happen at this point.
#15 (new) – Kore wa Zombie Desu ka? – (7,75/10)

Hmm, the tricky thing with Zombie was that it had a very good first episode, and then episodes 2 and 3 failed to live up to that. There is still plenty of potential on this one left, though. Especially if it’s indeed true that the drama will be as good as the cliff-hanger of episode three suggested.

#14 (17) – To Aru Majutsu no Index – (7,75/10)

Unfortunately, I did find the Croche di Pietro arc to be the worst Index arc so far. Especially the way in which it ended with that anti-climactic deus ex machina sealed the deal that the entire story had potential, but was just a complete mess in terms of execution. I liked the Venice arc, though. It was very short (why are all of the good arcs in Index II so short?), but it was well built up and a lot more solid than its predecessor.

#13 (17) – Kimi ni Todoke 2nd Season – (7,75/10)

Ack! It’s frustrating to see that there actually is potential for a good romance here, but the characters just refuse to develop themselves! Every time you think that they finally are going to get some progress in their relationship, they come with some sort of anti-climax. I really hope that that new character is going to be able to finally get things moving between the lead couple.

#12 (new) – Wolverine – (8/10)

It’s much, much better than Iron Man. Wolverine knows what it is, and delivers on that: simple but effective action. It’s got a good atmosphere and the action moves around enough to prevent this from getting boring. I’m enjoying the results right now, even though the acting is stiff and a bit hammy at times.

#11 (15) – Mitsudomoe – (8/10)

Something very rare happened here: a comedy sequel is actually turning out to be better than the original. There still are the bad parts, but they are really outweighed by the hilarious parts that are even funnier than the first season. Plus, the amount of misunderstandings has been toned down significantly.

#10 (new) – Showa Monogatari – (8/10)

The way in which it aired its first two episodes three months in advance is a bit strange, but Showa Monogatari is a good series with a down to earth portrayal of a normal family around the 1960s. It’s certainly good to see that the creators are attempting series like this again.

#9 (new) – Fractale – (8/10)

Fractale made the decision to flesh its characters out with rather annoying and moe antics. That makes some parts of it a bit hard to sit through, but it is worth it in the end. The story is definitely intriguing and I like how this show isn’t afraid to get really dark at times. Three episodes so far, and this show has to screw up pretty badly if I’m going to end up liking Kannagi more.

#8 (15) – Bakuman – (8/10)

Bakuman still is slow but solid, but things are definitely starting to happen right now. The characters have gotten more enjoyable to watch, we’ve gotten more in-depth with the manga writing business now that Moritaka and Nizzuma Eiji actually got to meet each other, and it finally looks like things are getting interesting.

#7 (new) – Yumekui Merry – (8,25/10)

Gorgeous artwork and direction, and I’m also enjoying the characters a lot. The main flaw of this series is that the main characters don’t have the most amounts of background or other thing that sets them apart, but it’s well built up and executed.

#6 (3) – Letter Bee – (8,5/10)

This month didn’t show the best side of Letter Bee, but it still was really good here, especially Gauche versus Lag was wonderful to watch.

#5 (new) – Hourou Musuko – (8,5/10)

A very solid character study. Hourou Musuko is the kind of slice of life series where the pacing is slow, yet a lot of stuff happens thanks to its huge cast. I especially like how the creators put life in the entire school and backgrounds, and the main characters themselves are also well portrayed and interesting.

#4 (8) – Star Driver – (8,5/10)

This is really getting solid here. The past episodes have continued to shift the themes and purposes of this series back and forth and gave a totally new spin to the cast of characters. We’ve nearly gotten to the parts I’ve been looking forward to the most.

#3 (new) – Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica – (8,75/10)

Well, you can definitely see that Shaft is working with a different writer this time. Madoka Magica turned out to be a great deconstruction of the mahou shoujo genre with a good script, a great style that at the same time doesn’t overtake the entire series, and some excellent twists along the way. Four episodes in, and this already is my favourite Shaft series since ef – a tale of memories.

#2 (2) – Heartcatch Precure – (9/10)

Heartcatch Precure had an excellent finale, and as usual it followed some tropes, wile averting others. It really worked out wonderfully in the end though, and it really is a shame to see this one go.

#1 (new) – Level E – (9,25/10)

I love this show. It’s looking out to be the best comedy I have seen in years. The comedic timing is top-notch, and the characters are all just lovable in their quirks, and at the same time they’re all away from the usual cliches that you see with alien stories. It’s absolutely hilarious and contains twists that turns around entire characters, time and time again.

22 Responses

  1. Alec says:

    i find Oniichan no Koto decent enough. its definitely 10x better than KissXSis that seems to go nowhere with their comedy

  2. miden says:

    I find most of your ratings pretty spot on and pretty similar to mines such as rio being so sad its good LOL! and im looving the wandering son right now, its just so great! Im having so much fun reading your posts keep up the good work and hope the best for you and your new job! :)

  3. Jeremy says:

    I agree with your whole ranking system :) Can’t wait to see how it’ll change next month!!

  4. nnofa says:

    where can u watch showa monogatari?
    I cant find it in animecrazy >

  5. Zoberraz says:

    You know, I really enjoy Madoka and I’ve liked the Nanoha-series too. Heck, the only gripes I can bring up with them is Madoka’s peculiar character designs (the heads, really) and how StrikerS was very thinly stretched.

    Your interest in PreCure has the series intrigue me… but there are seven installments total! I end up not being sure of what it’s about and it looks somewhat intimidating to get into.

  6. psgels says:

    nnofa: unfortunately it’s not subbed yet.

    Zoberraz: ah, don’t worry: Heartcatch Precure is a standalone story and you can watch it without having seen any of the previous Precure series.

  7. sadpanda says:

    Kudos to psgels for blogging Level E, which for isn’t getting the attention it deserves. Strange considering it’s by the guy that did YuYu Hakusho and Hunter X Hunter.

    Similar case with Bantorra which was probably the best series of 2010.

  8. AKI says:

    Welcome to the corporate world!

  9. Zoberraz says:

    *watches the first 3 episodes of Heartcatch Precure*

    Oh wow. That one has enough sugary content to crystalize the blood. ~_~;

    I think I’m getting what you meant when you referred to Madoka as a seinen magical girl series, vs PreCure being the Shoujo one. Madoka is thought provoking and has mature themes, while Heartcatch PreCure finds a place in the “sparkly-for-the-heck-of-it and for kids”.

    No offense. You and I share very similar tastes in our anime, but sometimes we differ. PreCure is apparently one of those. XD

    Still, I appreciate your tip in your previous response. Now, at least, I’ve tried it.

  10. totoum says:

    Though what’s interesting is that Madoka’s writer tweeted that he watched and enjoyed Heartcatch Precure lol

  11. Jeff says:

    Well, it must be nice to have a college degree that actually leads to a job! I paid $50K for mine and still haven’t used it yet and am unemployed on top of it. So please, tell me what your secret is? How were you able to convert college into an actual job in your field?

  12. kurini says:

    I hope you will have time to enjoy anime as much as you want :)

    And I love fractale! hope it won’t end up like kannagi!

  13. EMChamp says:

    I’m glad Star Driver is getting some love here at 4#, it really is a great show despite having a potentially off-putting first few episodes. I like these rankings for the most part except for a few caveats.

    Level E, I like the show but I struggle to see it at the top spot. This is really due to personal taste. I struggle to like animes that are comedy because much of the over the top humor is lost on me.

    By the same token I really enjoy the show Infinite Stratos even though it doesn’t have all the trappings of a good anime and I would still give the show a 7.75, so I suppose that’s just an example of how taste affects rating.

  14. EMChamp says:

    I would just like to agree with the comment that this anime season is pretty good, surprisingly so even. When reading the summaries for the season I have to admit the only show I was remotely interested in was Fractale. Now I follow at least 6 new series.

    I mean, was I alone in seeing a show titled ” Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica” and saying to shounen-loving myself “…not with a ten-foot pole”?

  15. Belle says:

    Good luck at your new job!

    @EMChamp, no you are not alone. I saw the title and immediately said no way in hell! (I’m also female. :P) My guy friend convinced me to watch a few episodes and now I’m hooked.

  16. hoiut says:

    There were no less than 17 anime worth watching this past month? Wow. You are quite the overachiever to have taken on such a full plate.

    The gap between #17 and #18 is frighteningly large.

  17. brianwuzhere says:

    @EMChamp, I wasn’t too crazy about the character designs and was unaware as to how misleading the trailer turned out to be. So, yeah, originally I was just gonna watch this for the SHAFT. That is until I watched the third episode and it went from this could be interesting to wow, this is amazing. And to think, we’re only a third of the way through.

  18. Ncrdrg says:

    Pretty good ranking. Star Driver especially had a great month and you easily pointed out the major weak points of most series. The rest is fairly subjective.

    It’s true Zombie had a lot of trouble delivering as well as its opening episode.

    Madoka is my anime to watch TBQH. Level E has the best comedy hands-down but I always prefer Drama over Comedy.

  19. Blade says:

    9.25 for Level E? by the way you were writing all your articles thus far it sounded like at least a 9.5

  20. Rabujoi says:

    Agree with most of your rankings. I too just had to drop Rio and IS, and am probably on my last ep of Freezing (the service is getting stupid, and why the heck is it in 4:3??). Kimi ni Todoke is excruciating, but i think that’s what its creators were going for. Level E and Maho Shoujo are the standouts this season, Fractale is decent and has potential, and I’m not regretting continuing to watch my three Fall carryovers (Bakuman, Star Driver and Index).

  21. Qwertzu says:

    Well; ive just watched the first episode of oniichan no koto i found it to be quite amusing. Usually i dont like most of those female underwear fashion shows, but this one made me laugh a lot. Also Eris voice acting is just awesome once again.

  22. Kiarae says:

    Nice to see this listing, and it’s pretty spot on! I would have personally switched Level E and Madoka Magica though (albeit excluding Precure, which I haven’t seen) since I think it takes a lot of skill to create an animated series that wasn’t based off a manga initially and that broke the traditions of Magical Girl anime to the point where I cannot wait each week for the episode to come out.

    Won’t knock Level E though. Togashi’s work has always drawn me in if my YuYu Hakusho collection is any indication and seeing this work animated after so many years is like a dream! The animation is excellent and the story is staying true to the manga thus far. There needs to be more series like this animated!

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  • Juno
    (Thursday, Apr 24. 2014 12:23 PM)
    The only time they ever get along seems to be during non-canon alternate universes made for fanservice, official or not.
  • Juno
    (Thursday, Apr 24. 2014 12:21 PM)
    Erm, no. They didn’t “get along” so much as Sayaka at least sympathized nicely with her. At least, until the end, when she basically swore never to sympathize with her again. XDDD
  • Juno
    (Thursday, Apr 24. 2014 12:20 PM)
    Another interesting point is that the character relations are pretty fluid, too. Characters can act differently toward each other in different timelines/potential futures. Rebellion actually solidifies Homura’s consistent feelings toward Mami and also that Sayaka just cannot seem to be on good terms with Homura… but even then, for a while, they got along pretty well until the end. XD
  • Juno
    (Thursday, Apr 24. 2014 12:17 PM)
    Madoka’s characterization seems pretty non-linear and only show up when necessary, so it’s definitely easy to see that they’re “dependent on the plot,” but there’s a ton of stuff there to piece the characters together into something coherent and solid.
  • AidanAK47
    (Thursday, Apr 24. 2014 11:55 AM)
    Madoka’s characters act pretty confusingly? I never got that. I always felt there actions were pretty logical in the first viewing.
    Though a second viewing of anything can help. Mostly because you know the main story so you can focus on the little details.
  • Juno
    (Thursday, Apr 24. 2014 11:27 AM)
    If anyone wants me to ask any specific questions, let me know. Funny enough, people are saying the same thing I’ve been saying for a long time–that multiple viewings help us understand the characters better. Because a lot of characters DO act pretty confusing at first, but upon a second viewing, after we know more about them, those actions make complete sense. Meaning that Madoka’s characterization is not linear.
  • Juno
    (Thursday, Apr 24. 2014 11:20 AM)
    Thankfully, derailment usually doesn’t happen with serious topics like this, so it’ll probably just die down over time when there are plenty of great answers and not a lot more to say, or go on for a very long time if there are a disparity in perspectives from different people.
  • Juno
    (Thursday, Apr 24. 2014 11:17 AM)
    On a very, very interesting note, I just asked one of the small communities of respectable Madoka fans to sit down and think with me about the potential flaws of characterization and development in Madoka, or why they may be perceived as flaws. I’m getting a lot of well-thought-out answers, so when the thread starts to die down (or derail, which hasn’t happened yet), maybe I’ll share the link here.
  • Juno
    (Thursday, Apr 24. 2014 11:15 AM)
    @Kenjeran: I keep hearing that Up has a really emotionally engaging short intro or insert or something. I STILL haven’t seen it yet, but that might be a potential example.
  • Emma
    (Thursday, Apr 24. 2014 08:36 AM)
    I must say Daimidalar, the breast grabbing/groping really bothered me actually in that one that I wouldn’t watch it.

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