The ratings I have given may seem lower than usual, but I’m actually quite positive about this season. The big reason why is that for once, there are plenty of series that are planned to go beyond 13 episodes. And that’s a massive improvement over the seasons of the past year. Because of this, series can take a bit longer to get going, but for now I’m happy, because there are a lot of potential gems here.
The biggest plus of this season is its creativity. There are a ton of series with very imaginative settings, that try to do something different, or that just put a lot of thoughts into their execution beyond just the basics. Again, this needs time to really pay off. In a way, this is better than the past summer season, which started off incredibly strong, but many series didn’t have the room to fully grow and take off.
#29 (new) – Chibi Devi – (2,25/10) – For me, this was the worst show of the season. Ridiculously cheaply made, really bad jokes, really bad acting and based on a very flimsy premise. Dropped.
#28 (new) – Maken-Ki – (3,75/10) – Maken-Ki is stupid fanservice with a lot of boobs, panties and fighting. Dropped.
#27 (new) – Mashiro Iro Symphony – (4,25/10) – With this series, Manglobe has exited my top 10 of favorite studios. Blacksmith and TWGOK were one thing, but this was just bad in every way aside from perhaps good inbetween animation. The drama is cheesy, the characters are one sided and stereotypes, and there’s nothing interesting about it whatsoever.
#26 (36) – Shakugan no Shana – (5/10) – After watching the first episode of the third season, I am glad that I didn’t continue with it. It’s good to see that this series is evolving, but the direction in which it evolved was rather questionable. The twist around Yuuji in particular is such a cheese ball of a twist, especially considering the cast of this series. Dropped
#25 (24) – Digimon Xros Wars – (5,25/10) – What surprised me the most about this installment of the Xros Wars saga is how incredibly hyperactive the new male lead is. Overall, Digimon Xros Wars is a show who downplays itself because it probably thinks that kids are idiots. It’s a huge change with the original Digimon series, but change alone isn’t always good.
#24 (new) – Maji de Watashi ni Koi ni Shinasai – (5,75/10) – Now this was fun! Or at least, that’s what I thought after the first episode. The first episode made no sense, but it was over the top and every character was having fun in his or her role. And then the second episode came and things got really dull. and then the third and fourth episode came and this show degenerated into nothing but fanservice and dull repeated harem antics. This is what you get when you want to open with a bang, but have no intentions of putting in any other effort at entertaining your audience beyond it.
#23 (new) – Sengoku Paradise: Kiwami – (6/10) – This one is good…. for about one laugh. If you’re really bored you might want to give it a chance, but in the end it’s not really worth it compared to the other comedies this season.
#22 (new) – C3 – (6/10) – I like diverse shows. However, that doesn’t mean that I automatically consider any show that has it good. A very nasty example of this is C3: this set up would have been nice, if only the acting wasn’t so abysmally bad, it didn’t feel like the Shaft of three years ago, it didn’t force its drama and plot twists, and it wasn’t so damn cliched. These characters are in no way fun to watch. They’re incredibly stupid stereotypes with superpowers.
#21 (new) – Mobile Suit Gundam AGE – (6,5/10) – At this point, I’ve gotten tired of Gundam shows, so I have very little patience for them. At this point I see too much potential for this show to become a boring repetition of random battles. The first episode just had too many things that made me tired of this genre. Wake me up if it does turn out to be different. Dropped
#20 (new) – Guilty Crown – (7/10) – This one turned out to be the big disappointment of this season. It has an excellent pedigree, and yet it hardly takes any chances or risks. It’s full of cliches and characters who don’t know what they want to be. The female lead in particular is bad for doing absolutely nothing within the span of the first three episodes. The animation looks gorgeous, but even that turned out half-assed with the third episode.
#19 (new) – Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai – (7,25/10) – In the end, I decided to drop this show. I just don’t get what’s so good about it. The only thing that I liked about the first three episode was that it has very solid dialogue. Beyond that though, it’s just another harem with too many cliches, forced characters and uninteresting drama.
#18 (new) – Sekai-Ichi Hatsukoi – (7,5/10) – I dropped this show. The biggest reason for this is lack of time though, but at the same time I also have to say that while the comedy in this show is nice and the characterization is good, I’d rather watch a show about actual gay people, rather than angsty bishies who keep raping each other.
#17 (15) – Nurarihyon no Mago – (7,75/10) – Agh, this is my problem with most shounen series: how long did it take again for this story to take off? It’s been forty episodes, and Rikuo is put into yet another training arc that bogs down the story. Also, the entire set-up of this arc bugs me: it’s well directed, but when Rikuo created his Parade of 100 demons, I expected him to do this for the sake of creating a small army. What the past episodes have been doing is take random characters away from the others, and throwing them in predictable one-on-one or two-on-one battles. The big problem is that they tended to end with a very predictable save at the last possible moment that could have been seen from miles away. How much more of this build-up and random battles against waves of uninteresting enemies until things get interesting here?
#16 (new) – Kimi to Boku – (7,75/10) – This one has potential. It has this boring atmosphere that at first sight seems like an instant failure, but then it comes and turns that atmosphere around again. The characters all have their moments that get on my nerves, thoug, but none are as bad as the blond kid. Will he ever shut up?
#15 (new) – Persona 4 The Animation – (7,75/10)
Persona has the potential to become great as it goes on. Its premise can get really good in terms of character development if handled well. At the moment it’s still a bit too stuck in its own formula to really take off, though. There is little time given to flesh out the characters, which is why the parts where they show their inner secrets lack the impact they could have had.
#14 (new) – Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon – (7,75/10)
This series’ biggest asset is its creativity. It’s set in an original world and the cast of characters is HUGE and very colourful. The overall plot feels a bit random and silly, but it’s definitely building up to something. The character designs themselves are abysmal, there are some definitely annoying characters and a lot of time is spent on just goofing off, but there’s some definite potential here.
#13 (new) – Phi Brain – (7,75/10)
This is a rather silly show about puzzles. In particular the antagonists make really weird decisions and have really strange motivations, but it’s worth it to see what kind of puzzles the creators come with, and the overall cast is eccentric, yet fun to watch. There is a very real chance for this show to become TOO eccentric, though. The key will be good variety in the puzzles from this point on.
#12 (17) – Shinryaku!? Ika-Musume – (8/10)
Overall Squid Girl’s second season has been a little step down compared to the frist season, but for comedy sequels’ standards it isn’t much of a step. The animation has gotten slightly worse, and some stories are too forced, but there still are a bunch of really hilarious stories. It needs to keep this up, because getting worse from this point isn’t an option.
#11 (9) – Bakuman – (8/10)
I do have to say that Bakuman is currently the best Shounen Jump series out there. Unlike Gintama and Sket Dance it isn’t throwing a bunch of random stories around in the hope that it’ll get lucky and strike gold, while unlike Nurarihyon no Mago it isn’t breaking up the flow with constant training arcs. The second season does have fixed some of its pacing issues, but on the other hand it’s not yet Hunter X Hunter material, and things have been rather monotonous.
#10 (new) – Tamayura ~ Hitotose – (8/10)
The two big slice of life series are both very, very different, but they’ve got one similarity: they depend on characters with annoying sides, and they somehow make it work. For me, Tamayura does it the best of the two at this point. It’s really well animated, and it actually uses photos really well to flesh out its cast. The drama around it isn’t random, but tells a lot about the characters. Some parts like the whistling and the shota fangirls can get annoying, though.
#9 (new) – Hunter X Hunter – (8,25/10)
Here is the thing with this new season: it’s much faster than the first season. That has advantages and disadvantages. The story flows more, it’s easier to get into and as the result a lot of very interesting stuff has already happened in just four episodes. Now, the thing remains that this show skips a lot of time to flesh out the characters because of this. Out of all adaptations that feel rushed this season, this one actually does its best to hide it so far, but the real test for this show will be the point where the characters will actually show themselves off. Will these be as great as well? Right now, the only parts that really are worse than the first season are the music, and some of the voice acting.
#8 (new) – Mirai Nikki – (8,25/10)
Mirai Nikki is over the top suspense, and it realizes that. The characters are fun and well acted together, there’s a good whiff of romance without overdoing it, and the first three episodes have been very entertaining with a pretty good atmosphere.
#7 (new) – Fate/Zero – (8,25/10)
Fate/Zero stands out as the most solid series of the season. I refuse to watch Fate/Stay Night but this was completely different and much more interesting (and heck, we’re talking about actual adults this time). My big complaint about it is that it’s a bit boring with its exposition. There are long scenes of characters just standing in one place and do nothing but talking, and characters stop in the middle of fights to explain their moves. That breaks flow.
#6 (new) – Ben-To – (8,25/10)
What makes Ben-To so addictive is its direction. It has definite harem elements, but tis delivery is fresh and interesting. The jokes all work great, the timing of this show is perfect, and even when it’s not funny, the characters are interesting and well acted, rather than most other moe shows that have just boring characters. On top of that the fights are a lot of fun to watch, and the premise of fighting over half-priced lunches just kicks ass.
#5 (new) – Last Exile – Ginkyou no Fam – (8,5/10)
If you’re planning to watch this series, I have one message for you: watch up to the second episode. Both episodes are completely different in tone. The first episode is rather childish, where the second is very serious. It actually manages to blend the two together very well and most importantly it knows when to ditch its silliness. What really impressed me is how much the creators put into the setting. This show is full of creativity and the world it’s played in actually feels alive.
#4 (new) – Chihayafuru – (8,5/10)
This show has the best characters of the new season. They’re really well animated, very dynamic (showing both their young and old versions in full details really helps!), plus the karuta matches were really made exciting. The big challenge for this show is making the karuta matches this way. It’s a very simple game, so keeping up this pace will be a challenge.
#3 (new) – Un-Go – (8,5/10)
I really like the storytelling in this series. This show knows that it’s Noitamina and tries to stuff as much into its episodes as possible. The result is that it’s really fast paced, but not in a bad way. Episodes do require a second watch-through in order to get everything, but for me that’s not a bad thing at all. My only gripe is that the cast of characters is rather flat.
#2 (4) – Hyouge Mono – (8,75/10)
This month was all about character development. Naturally this was a great chance for the cast to shine, in a very weird arc that completely ditched the warfare in favor of esthetics. This is Bee-Train though, so I’m really looking forward to what they have planned for the ending.
#1 (1) – Mawaru Penguin Drum – (9,25/10)
Penguin Drum has definitely changed this month. I think that it’s for the better. It’s both become hilarious and the character development is really kicking in. It keeps finding new ways of showing symbolism and toying with its storyline. And yet, amidst the chaos, nothing is just thrown in at random. It would be awesome if the final third will be able to live up to the potential that has been built up so far.