This was one of the best months we’ve seen in a long while in anime. It may not look like I followed many series (there WAS a lot of crap this season), but the shows that were good were really, really good, and a ton of them were just amazing. This month showed some rock-solid endings, twists, turns and executions. It turned out to be an incredibly diverse season with series that all stood out in their own ways and not just one genre dominating. More seasons like this, please.
#22 (19) – Astarotte no Omocha – (7/10) – So I ended up dropping this, quite early in this month. It just went nowhere, it just devolved into a generic romantic fanservice comedy: the exact thing that it should not have done with such a premise. It was good when it still focused on drama, but in terms of romance it has nothing and just kept repeating itself. The worst were the idiot prince and the way in which Asuha completely devolved into someone who can’t stop talking about not wearing any panties. This all was really badly written.
#21 (21) – The World God Only Knows – (7,25/10) – The final teacher arc had the poor luck that it ended in a completely nonsensical way. After that the series decided to end with an episode that would have been good, had it any sense of comedic timing. The end result was a horribly forced ending that was a pain to sit through, and only cemented at how tired I am of this series.
#20 (20) – Inazuma Eleven – (7,25/10) – In the end, I decided to drop this. It’s indeed dark for a kids’ series, but my main issue was that the characterization left much to be desired. In five episodes it introduced like, 30 different characters. Now, who are these characters? Why should I care about them? What makes them different aside from their character designs? Only four or five of them really matter, and they are the typical shounen cliches. In fact, this mostly feels like a rip-off of the original Beyblade series (yes, I watched that one).
#19 (22) – Hen Zemi – (7,5/10) – After twelve episodes, was it really worth it watching Hen Zemi? Unfortunately, I have to say no. The reason why the OVA worked so well wasn’t just the fact that it had much better writing, but also because it was short but sweet. The TV-series now is just an endless string of gross things and fanservice: it gets boring once the shock factor wears off. By now we expect Hen Zemi to be disgusting. It is, and hardly brings any extra spice in that aside from that.
#18 (14) – Yondemasuyo, Azazel-San – (7,75/10) – I’ll get to more detail about this when the final episode airs, but what interestingly seemed to be the biggest pitfall for this series was that it ran out of inspiration for jokes. The otaku arc in particular just seemed to not know what kinds of jokes it should make. The final arc was better, but again: it was a tad forced and predictable in the way it played out.
#17 (11) – X-Men – (7,75/10) – When comparing the X-Men to Wolverine, I still like the X-Men better, but that’s just because Wolverine had a really simple story and had lots of issues with its acting. The X-Men unfortunately did dull in a bit in their final arc when the drama all boiled down to teenaged emo. The big problem is that the creators shafted the main cast in favor of Hisako and Takeo, who were by far the least interesting characters of the entire series.
#16 (18) – Gintama – (8,25/10) – The past arc of Gintama was a great one, although it ended rather xenophobic (but then again, that’s Gintama: the aliens are nearly all portrayed as mind-numbing idiots, punching bags for Gintoki or completely evil bastards). The arc however did deliver a lot of depth to Otose and the people from her past and it certainly was a major improvement over the comedy episodes of the previous months.
#15 (new) – Appleseed XIII – (8,25/10)
Forgive me, but I can’t seem to remember for the love of me where I managed to find the first episode of Appleseed XIII. I liked it a lot though. It’s chock full of symbolism to the ancient Greek mythology and the characterization is a lot better than in the movies. Deunan really acts like she’s on her period, though.
#14 (13) – Fireball – (8,25/10)
Fireball remained a great watch throughout its entire run. Now it’s of course not hard to remain interesting for only two minutes, but this did it with a style that I really enjoyed. The comedic timing and the graphics were still as great as ever.
#13 (11) – Showa Monogatari – (8,25/10)
Irregular releases are still irregular, but we’re nearing the end. This month showed actually some very interesting drama around Yuuko in quite a realistic way. Sure, the acting could have been better, but the themes, and drama really relate back to problems anyone could have had. Of course you have to like history in order to be able to enjoy this, but this by far doesn’t deserve the negligence in terms of fansubs.
#12 (16) – Ao no Exorcist – (8,25/10)
Ao no Exorcist at the moment is surprisingly enjoyable. The fleshing out of the earlier episodes has paid off and at this point there hardly is any boring moment left, despite the generic set-ip. Characters are used well, the banter has gotten funnier, the drama has gotten more sincere. This is the right direction, although it does need to stop putting so much stupidity in its filler episodes.
#11 (7) – Gyakkyou Burai Kaiji – (8,25/10)
The Pachinko arc was intense, but it did suffer a bit from Kaiji’s formula: again we have a set-up that consists out of a lot of money on the line, a seemingly easy game and a predictable outcome. What I liked was the introduction of the old man, who seems different from the other sidekicks that Kaiji had so far. Also, that daughter. What the hell are the creators building up to?
#10 (8) – Sket Dance – (8,5/10)
This month saw the best and the worst episode of Sket Dance so far, but the tournament arc really made up for it by being really fun, yet somehow taking its characters seriously. Now all that’s left is to wonder how long this series can keep up this excellent pace.
#9 (4) – Tiger & Bunny – (8,5/10)
This month we got to see the halfway climax for Tiger & Bunny. It;’s a solid story with a ton of character development, but it also spent a lot of time building up. There’s a lot of promise in this show becoming even better for its second half.
#8 (9) – Deadman Wonderland – (8,5/10)
It really is a bloody shame that Deadman wonderland doesn’t have the time to fully show off its story, because it’s still one heck of an exciting series inside an insane setting. The animation has its ups and downs but when it has its ups it really looks gorgeous, and beyond the insanity, the characters are still surprisingly good. There’s some nice character development, not to mention that the delivery also really knows how to make its scenes count. Only complaint is that Ganta at times may angst a bit too much. At others though, he’s a great lead character.
#7 (3) – Gosick – (8,5/10)
This month wasn’t as good as the previous one, but it really does come close to that. The climax was a wonderful one and the stories again were full of intrigue and imagination. At this point the character development has also really kicked in, which really paid off here.
#6 (15) – Hana-Saku Iroha – (8,75/10)
Now this is a major improvement! The past arc for Hana-Saku Iroha has been amazing, and chock full of character development. It kept pushing its characters into situations where they were forced to confront their flaws and weaknesses and especially the acting was just wonderfully detailed, both in terms of voice acting and animation. If this is the pacing that this show can keep up, we’re in for a major treat.
#5 (6) – [C]The Money of Soul and Possibility Control – (8,75/10)
C was really rushed, and yet it pulled off an amazing finale. The main themes and subplots managed to come together, the direction got better than ever and aside from the way its plot evolved, it was just a damn entertaining series to watch. Especially the ending was really well delivered and brought some great closure to this series.
#4 (5) – Steins;Gate – (8,75/10)
Steins;gate’s plot really got interesting this month, but what’s more is that the execution also got rock and rock solid. The animation makes excellent use of its limited budget, the acting just gets better and better, the pacing and atmosphere hardly ever show a weak moment and it looks like this series has only just started.
#3 (10) – Dororon Enma-kun Meerameera – (8,75/10)
The ending to this sereis was absolutely fantastic. It just released all breaks and delivered one absolutely crazy roller coaster ride full of old references and that just kept upstaging itself in terms of downright insanity. This was entertainment at its finest and I had one hell of a time. Oh, and the background music also was as solid as ever. I can’t wait to hear what the same composers end up delivering for No6.
#2 (2) – Hyouge Mono – (9/10)
This month showed an even bigger focus on politics than this show already had before, still with the rock-solid execution and acting of this series, combined with an amazing plot twist along the way. What I especially like about this series is how much balls the delivery has. There’s a ton of detail put in the way that these people interact with each other, making this an awesome “lots of talking”-series.
#1 (1) – Ano Hi Mita no Hana no Namae o Boku-Tachi wa Mada Shiranai – (9,25/10)
And with its final month, Anohana somehow managed to actually surpass itself. Its conclusion brilliantly weaved together everything this show needed and give every character a chance to show a bit of himself, leading to a heart-wrenching ending. It’s perhaps not entirely realistic and yeah, it had its share of overacting, but everything remained well within the boundaries of my suspense of disbelief thanks to the script that just kept pushing the characters forward and once again left no moment wasted.