Oh heck. It may not be the Alice arc, but once again this was really good. Ayaka’s brother’s introduction gave a completely different light on her character and I have no doubt that the creators can make something nice out of it. Especially that ending: at first I thought it was some sort of flashback. Then I accidentally caught a glimpse of next week’s preview (I always really try to avoid those). Yeah. This will be an awesome finale.
Now, I do want to hi-jack this post for a bit for some general observations of this entire summer season, especially considering that this series has a pretty big part in this. I remember noting at the start of this season that this might be the best summer season so far. Now, the season of course hasn’t ended yet, so anything can still happen, but I do not think that it will end up like this. My favourite Summer Seasons so far are the ones of 2006 and 2007, and I do not think that this season overall can beat them.
And the biggest reason for that is in my opinion the trio of No.6, Kami-Sama no Memo-Chou and Kamisama Dolls. I mean, Penguin Drum and Natsume Yuujinchou are both doing fantastic. They are more than enough to make this season awesome at this point. Blood-C although it is not as great as it could have been still looks to be rock-solid, while the slice of life series of Ikoku Meiro no Croisee and Usagi Drop are also doing really well. Meanwhile there is the big surprise of Blade, and Dantalian no Shoka is also very charming. The Kamisama series and No.6 should have been the icing on the cake, and while they are really good series: they could have been pure gold if they were longer. It’s by far the biggest weakness of this season.
Compare that to 2006, which had four 2-cour series which made brilliant use of their length (Bokura ga Ita, Chevalier, Night Head Genesis and NHK ni Youkoso), some rock-solid 1-cour series who knew exactly how long they were (Flag, Kemonozume and Honey and Clover), added to some awesome light-hearted shows (Akazukin & Power Puff Z).This season unfortunately wasn’t enough to really match that and it still stands as my favourite Summer Season ever. As for 2007, it is slightly more difficult. The thing with that season is that it had five absolutely amazing and ground-breaking series (Baccano, Higurashi Kai, Shigurui, Mononoke, Sayonara Zetsubou-Sensei), but hardly anything memorable aside from that. This season has definitely beaten it in terms of quantity and it has many more series worth watching, but unfortunately only Penguin Drum really matches up to these best series, with perhaps also Natsume Yuujin-Chou San if the ending is really good. If Kamisama no Memo-Chou, Kamisama Dolls and No.6 were longer however, they actually would have stood a chance to also stand in that tier. In that case this season would have also blown Summer of 2007 out of the water.
As for third place though: I’m pretty confident that this season will take that. 2008 had some really good series with Xamdou, Ultraviolet, Blade of the Immortal, Natsu no Sora and Natsume Yuujinchou I, but that just doesn’t match up to the huge array of excellent series that are aired right now. 2009 meanwhile had a select number of classics (2009 had Tokyo Magnitude, Aoi Hana, Spice and Wolf II, GA and Umineko, but in the end this season is just richer, has more variety consistency. 2010′s only noteworthy series meanwhile were Shiki, Kuroshitsuji II and Occult Academy, with perhaps also Denyuuden added. That also just doesn’t match up.
However, I am very happy with this season. The thing is that 2006 and 2007 were near godly years for anime, in which so much stuff happened at the same time. This was the summer season that came closes to those years, and who knows. This upward trend might be continuing. At the very least, the next season is one that isn’t bothered at all by short series lengths. I’m quite hopeful for the future.
Rating: ** (Excellent)