How good do I consider this season to be? Well, to put it like this: I’ve got eighteen series this season that I’d rate at 8,25/10 or higher. In other words, there are eighteen series that I really, really like airing at the same time. The last time such a thing happened was back in September of 2009, and this season we’ve only just started yet!
The main flaw of this season pretty much what has been the main flaw of every season for the past years: length. There are quite a few series that aren’t going t fit their stories in their allotted time, and there again are too few series that dare to go beyond 13 episodes. With the way that the anime sales have bloomed over the past years though, I really hope tat soon we’ll be able to say goodbye to this very annoying trend.
#33 (new) – Mayo Chiki – (2,75/10) – Now this was just horrible. Just one big excuse for cute girls and fanservice and nothing more. The premise is based around the entire cast being complete and utter morons, and it’s just another one of those really bad fanservice comedies that pop up every season. Ignore this one at all costs! Dropped.
#32 (new) – Manyuu Hiken-Chou – (3/10) – Look. I often tell fanservice shows to be a bit more creative. I have said before that I have nothing against creative fanservice that fits within the setting of the series. And yeah, I guess that Manyuu Hiken-Chou does get creative… but I DID NOT MEAN CREATING OUTRIGHT PORN!
#31 (new) – Kaitou Tenshi Twin Angel – (3,75/10) – What the hell happened here? I mean, the original OVA was decent: it was nothing special, but it had some nice morals and showed that being a mahou shoujo really isn’t as easy as it seems. Then this show comes along and it pretty much turns into a really stupid kaitou-busting show full of the most annoying moe antics and stereotypical characters. There’s nothing enjoyable about this: the characters just try to be as energetic as possible but completely forget to be entertaining or even remotely interesting! Dropped.
#30 (new) – Nyanpire – (4/10) – Unfortunately Gonzo’s first series in two years turned out to be Bad Gonzo. I mean, making a kids’ show is one thing, but this was just one huge commercial for a crappy J-Pop band who does the ED. The jokes are also completely unfunny: when I watch a comedy, I want to watch something that makes me laugh, not cringe! Dropped.
#29 (new) – Uta no Prince-Sama Maji Love 1000% – (4/10) – I prepared myself that this would be a campy series. But I never could have imagined the amount of stupidity and cheese that this show ended up delivering. Just about every character is hamming it up, and not to mention how ridiculously stupid the entire premise of this show is. I gave up at the point where the teachers actually forbade the characters to have any romances with each other. What the hell? Isn’t that why you’d want to watch this show in the first place? Dropped
#28 (19) – Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu – (4,25/10) – I’ve seen this one recommended quite a few times, but based on the first episode of the second season, I really don’t get the appeal. It’s just a show about a bunch of idiots and cute girls. I did not find anything even remotely funny about that one episode I watched, and it was a complete chore to sit through. Was that just me, or was it really a bad episode for this series to start with? Dropped.
#27 (new) – Rou Kyuu Bu! – (4,5/10) – This is bad. I mean, for starters we have a show about grade schoolers with a ton of fanservice, but the creators also succeeded in putting together the most obnoxious cast imaginable. The five lead girls all try to act as annoyingly moe as possible. On top of that though, it tries to have a serious story. Those parts don’t mesh! Dropped
#26 (new) – R-15 – (5/10) – Now, there are shows about idiots. Those idiots however completely pale in comparison to the characters in this series: this is the epitome of stupidity. It’s just a bunch of morons pretending to be geniuses filled with random fanservice. It’s nice to see how creative it can get with that for just one episode, but after that it just gets repetitive and actually tries to take itself seriously. There’s no way in which that’s going to work. Dropped.
#25 (new) – Morita-San wa Mukuchi – (6/10) – So, this is nothing but various sketches around a shy girl, nothing more. While I can understand where the creators are coming from, you can’t just base your entire series around this; it’s way too one-sided and forced. Not to mention the utterly poor direction of this thing.
#24 (new) – Yuruyuri – (6,5/10) – At first it looked to be different, but in the end Yuruyuri unfortunately turned out to be exactly what it says on the title: very unsubtle lesbian jokes. It started off pretty decent, but after only three episodes they ran out of inspiration and just kept going with dull lesbian and boob jokes. Dropped.
#23 (new) – The Idolm@ster – (7,25/10) – The Idolm@ster is tolerable, but after three episodes I have to wonder: what makes this show worth watching? The interesting direction of the first episode was immediately dropped, and instead every episode so far has focused on one of the different girls. The first two being the Kugimiya Rie Tsundere and the really shy girl who is afraid of men. The drama around them was weak (especially the one around the tsundere) and the rest of the side characters only used their airtime to just further establish the fact that they’re a bunch of walking cliches. Dropped.
#22 (new) – Nekogami Yaoyorozu – (7,25/10) – So, this show is tolerable. Aaand… that’s a bit of the problem here: yes, it’s better than most of the moe antics shows out there, but still it only gets a chuckle out of me every few minutes. There really are very few reasons to keep watching this series. Only go for this one if you’re really bored. Dropped.
#21 (new) – Itsuka Tenma no Kuro Uragi – (7,5/10) – Okay, so right before I went on my holiday, I wrote up a quick first impression for this series, and published it. At least, that’s what I thought happened, but that post got lost somehow, so that’s why there is no first impression of it. In any case, beyond being the series with the villain with the silliest name, Itsuten is a very cheesy romance show with a lot of angst and moe. Its story does have some potential, but the annoying moe antics, overacting and fanservice certainly aren’t helping its case at the moment.
#20 (new) – Sacred Seven – (7,75/10) – The big problem with Sacred Seven is that it could have been so much more: it’s an original story, it’s got an excellent director, an excellent scriptwriter, and what do they come with? A school emo mecha series. So far in the past four episodes, the emo part is what hurts this series the most: the characters just aren’t well fleshed out and because of that they feel rather unengaging. There are moments where it really shows to be exciting (most notably the second episode), but so at this rate it’s not going to be amongst the highlights of this season. It does have a very good OP, though
#19 (13) – Showa Monogatari – (8/10) – Oooohh…. what the hell happened to that thirteenth episode? I’ve been waiting for ages now and still nothing. This show has had by far the weirdest airing schedule I have ever seen. As for this month, only one episode aired, and in terms of script it was very good. Overall the cast has received quite a bit of depth by now. The bad part is that Kouhei’s voice actor really can’t act, which really hurt during the dramatic bits.
#18 (10) – Sket Dance – (8,25/10) – The music arc was a bit of a disappointment and it lacked the whimsy of the rest of the series, though the other episodes were as fun to watch as ever. This series is really at its best when it manages to stuff in its high amount of energy.
#17 (new) – Dantalian no Shoka – (8,25/10) – After watching Gosick, it is refreshing to see that the main character here actually has a retort to all of his female companion’s insults. Dalian still is smarter than he is, but at least he can have a normal conversation with her without sounding like an idiot. Overall the mysteries in this series need a bit of work, but the atmosphere is really good, and the animation is also quite impressive. Will this work with only 12 episodes, though?
#16 (new) – Blade – (8,25/10) – You know, after the way in which the X-Men turned into a disappointment, I kind-of wrote this series off. Especially when it showed that it had Madhouse’s acting problem again. It’s indeed a bit of a cheesy action series and all, but I don’t know. This series has something, I just can’t put my finger to exactly what. In either case it still has the potential to become the best Marvel series so far if it pulls through: it wisely spends a lot of time on both its main character and villain, and on top of that the side-characters all wisely avoid some of their biggest pitfalls: the female side-kick is useful without hogging over the screen, the enemy vampires pose a threat by killing people actually very often, the main character is bad-ass yet not overpowered. Oh, and this show follows a black vampire slayer in the middle of the Philippines. Thank you, Madhouse for really trying to go around the world instead of just keeping with the same base setting over and over again.
#15 (20) – Nurarihyon no Mago – (8,25/10)
A major improvement. The direction is snappier, the story is more interesting, the pacing moves along faster and the atmosphere is more varied. You can really see that a different staff is adapting this series this time, and alongside all the other flops of Studio Deen this year, it’s good to see that at least here they’re showing that they can still put out a good series.
#14 (new) – Ikoku Meiro no Croisée – (8,25/10)
This one turned out to be a series about cultural differences. It’s quite an interesting variation to the usual slice of life set-up, and I really have to praise Satelight for putting down a very authentic portrayal of France of a century ago. the background art in particular is just great. There are some problems in the character department (mostly because of one particularly annoying character), but overall it’s a heart-warming series so far,
#13 (6) – Hana-Saku Iroha – (8,25/10)
During the past month, Hana-Saku Iroha has been really good, but not as good as during June. This mostly is because the main cast didn’t receive that much attention and instead the side-cast was really well developed. What the next month needs to do is give the same treatment to the main cast.
#12 (new) – Kami-Sama no Memo-Chou – (8,25/10)
This series stands out because it had the best opening episode of the season amongst Penguin Drum. After that it dulled in a bit in order to focus on character building, but there still is a lot of potential here. It’s especially the dialogue that’s well written and the mysteries are well built up, but there are weaknesses. Some bad guys are just plain stupid, and it also has JC Staff-esque fanservice that is completely overused and often out of place.
#11 (new) – Blood-C – (8,25/10)
This show is definitely not for everyone, in top of being completely different in tone compared to the other parts of the blood franchise. It’s a simple series that really just planned to use its first four episodes to build up its atmosphere, but I really like it so far. The atmosphere works, the fight scenes are just completely amazing, and I’m really eager to get to the point where this show starts off for real. The big potential pitfall is that there will be too much build-up, but so far it’s heading into the right direction.
#10 (new) – Usagi Drop – (8,5/10)
This one’s by far the most realistic show of the season. It chronicles how hard it is to take care of a young child, without exaggerating this. There’s a good backstory due to the strange family construction that this series takes place in and the dialogue is all wonderfully down to earth.
#9 (12) – Ao no Exorcist – (8,5/10)
At this point, I’m really watching Ao no Exorcist for the characters: they’ve grown into a lovable bunch with excellent chemistry and the relationships between them are all really well done. So yeah it’s a shounen series, with its share of cliches, but that’s not important here at all.
#8 (11) – Gyakkyou Burai Kaiji – (8,5/10)
The past month has been a lot of build-up, but the tension was still very high and it was very entertaining to watch. There were times at which it took a bit long to get to its point, like with the old guy episode, but it’s not like we’re back to the really slow pacing of the first season. Now all that’s left is to wait whether or not it’s actually going to pay off.
#7 (new) – Kamisama Dolls – (8,5/10)
This turned out to be a very enjoyable and action-packed thriller. It’s all well directed and balanced, alternating between action, drama, comedy and horror quite nicely and while it does have some fanservice cliches, it’s got an intriguing and nicely fleshed out cast of characters and the exciting parts of this series are really delivering so far.
#6 (new) – No.6 – (8,5/10)
Excellent music, excellent animation, excellent characters and an excellent setting. No.6 is a very solid adventure series with strong, constantly evolving characters in an interesting setting. There’s only one problem with this show, but it is a really big one: the length! There’s no way in which 11 episodes is going to be the right number for this one.
#5 (12) – Natsume Yuujinchou – (8,75/10)
The third season of Natsume Yuujinchou has had a wonderful start. Somehow, the creators actually managed to make it increasingly better with every single episode. The atmosphere is still really soothing, yet the stories it tells are strong and well thought out. It’s still a heart-warming story and what’s more: Natsume’s development is really kicking in now. It’s been a major theme of this third season and every episode seems to contribute to it in one way or another.
#4 (2) – Hyouge Mono – (8,75/10)
This was a month for the plot to progress for Hyouge Mono: a lot of changes have been made, a lot of characters have developed, and risen up in ranks, giving a completely different feel to the series. On top of that, Sasuke is just as eccentric as he’s ever been, and this series is giving him more and more incentives to show that eccentricity. It’s still a rock-solid series with amazing acting and characterization that obviously isn’t for everyone.
#3 (new) – Mawaru Penguin Drum – (8,75/10)
This is good. It’s by var the best series of the new season. The direction is wild, vivid and detailed with all kinds of references of which you’ll never know whether they’re symbolism or foreshadowing. The characters are great, the chemistry between them is awesome, the story is imaginative. Just about everything works here.
#2 (4) – Steins;Gate – (9/10)
What a plot! This month Steins;Gate really revealed how much thought went into its plot and narrative structure, and it was glorious. There are so many questions that it’s asking and the time travel plot is now really hitting some high notes with all of the interconnected twists and turns it takes.
#1 (9) – Tiger & Bunny – (9/10)
At this point, Tiger & Bunny has become bloody brilliant. Every episode has delivered an amazing story that gave a ton of development to the main cast, the main storyline has gotten better and better, and just about every character ended up more enjoyable to watch.