As usual, my December summary is a bit earlier than usual so that I have time to work on my 2011 summary (I’ve got 4 more posts for that planned; what the hell am I doing?), but it’s not like we’re getting any more episodes after this.
Overall, I will definitely remember this month due to all the things that happened here. I suddenly had to pull a rush job, moving this site to another domain after Blogsome suddenly announced that it was going down (which by the way, it still hasn’t), having to come up with a new design in less than a week. On top of that, it was also a really busy month for me in real life due to me finally moving out of my parents’ house and buying my own place to live.
In terms of anime, this was very consistent with last month: pretty much every series performed like I expected it to do, with only a few minor exceptions. It definitely wasn’t the strongest season we’ve had. In fact, when looking at the shows that debuted this season, this season at this point ties with Autumn 2010 as the least impressive Autumn Season since 2001. It mostly stood out because it broke some nasty trends of the past few years and for that I can say that it headed into the right direction again. And because of this, there are still plenty of series that still need to finish, so let’s find out if it can make me come back to these words in three months time.
#18 (18) – Persona 4 The Animation – (6,5/10) – The pacing in this show is still terrible. Sometimes it tells you which days it skips, at others the change into another day is completely random and unnanounced. I mean, what’s the point of this date system if you don’t use it consistently? Overall, this month this series had some nice ideas, which in the end didn’t really amount to anything. The bear? Cool, I guess, but he’s still bloody annoying. The thing with the killer also is nice and all, if we actually knew something about his character. This show spends so many times on random dialogue, and yet it doesn’t even flesh its characters out well.
#17 (17) – Shinryaku! Ika-Musume – (6,75/10) – That final episode was horrendous. Why on earth did the creators find it a good idea to YET AGAIN abandon all comedy for a serious story in this series? There is no way for that to suddenly work. Apart from that, this month was much of the same, but overall this sequel was a waste of time. I really hope that Milky Holmes avoids this next season, but that show is based on a Pachinko Game instead of a manga, so anything can happen there.
#16 (16) – Guilty Crown – (7/10) – I have watched every Noitamina series except for one. And yet, I can easily say that Guilty Crown has the worst characters compared to any other show from that timeslot. Fractale? The character s there at least were likable. Library Wars? the cast at least was engaging. In this show, no single character is interesting. Everyone is just a tool to make Shu look awesome, even though Shu is a whining protagonists who just keeps changing character depending on what the plot demands. Holy crap he was annoying this month.
#15 (15) – Bakuman – (7,5/10) – Oh for god’s sake, the whole issue with the angry Miura was hard to sit through. I mean, I get the point that they tried to made, but it was just so dragged on. Miura isn’t the best acted anyway so it was rather hard to buy him. I liked Yuriko’s subplot though. It’s short and to the point, and yet in much less time it also gets a lot out of her character. Take an example of that, Bakuman.
#14 (10) – Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon – (8/10) – I have very mixed feelings with this series, but in the end I do have to praise it. Sure, it makes no sense with the creators consistently pulling all kinds of rules out of their asses, but these rules were inspired and imaginative, and they actually got some neat things out of the characters this way.
#13 (13) – Mirai Nikki – (8/10) – One of Mirai Nikki’s biggest problems was that most of its villains were dull. They were badly developed, not fleshed out well enough, and just not interesting to watch. A show that’s as crazy as this really needs good and enjoyable characters to make the most out of this. That is what I realized after watching the latest arc, which did have an interesting antagonist. The show suddenly got a lot more enjoyable when that guy took the center stage.
#12 (14) – Kimi to Boku – (8/10) – The final episode of this first half of Kimi To Boku was also the best episode so far. I like that. Overall, the final month only cemented the characters even more as well written. Compared to the first episodes, the characters have gotten less annoying. Yes, even Chizuru. But that guy still gets on my nerves.
#11 (12) – Phi Brain – (8/10) – In this month, Phi Brain finally got to business. And it worked. It remembered to develop the main villain well, and because of this the episodes involving him were a bit cheesy, yet had some solid drama as well. The puzzles also continue to get larger and more dangerous, which is a good sign for 2012
#10 (9) – Nurarihyon no Mago – (8,25/10)
It’s a shame that Nurarihyon ended with a sequel hook, because that ending would have been the perfect time to close off this series. Overall, the last month of this series was really well done. Finally this show got to what it actually was about: a war between small armies. Finally it got down to business. Finally the characters came together, and the graphics looked really solid in the process. It took way too bloody long to get here, but it’s still good to see that amidst an ocean of shounen shows that end on a bad note, this one didn’t.
#9 (5) – Last Exile – Ginyoku no Fam – (8,25/10)
Overall the strongest month for Last Exile was the first month. Right now it’s still very solid, but there are a few too many inconsistencies for my tastes. Shangri-La had this too, but to make up for it it had a crazy plot that kept moving, whereas Last Exile is much slower. The build-up still is pretty solid though, and the characters still are pretty good and well acted. Bring on that second half!
#8 (8) – Hunter X Hunter – (8,25/10)
The thing with this show s that it’s just too similar to the first season. The surprise and suspense is gone because of that. Those who haven’t seen the first season however, are in for something awesome here. This does remain as one of the best shounens out there.
#7 (7) – Tamayura Hitotose – (8,25/10)
Tamayura ended with a very solid note. The character development really stood out in these final episodes, plus it ended with a heart-warming finale. Perhaps it wasn’t th best slice of life series I’ve seen, but nevertheless it was a very solid attempt.
#6 (11) – Ben-To – (8,5/10)
What I especially liked about the finale is how well built up it was. This lead to a few episodes without food battles, but the pay off in the end was really worth it. The characters all were interesting to watch, and everything came together wonderfully for the ending. This definitely was what I expect an action comedy to be.
#5 (6) – Fate/Zero – (8,5/10)
This was the month in which Rider really showed what an awesome character he can be. Things are definitely slowly getting better and better, and even though we have to wait three months for the next episode, it overall was one of the most solid shows of the past three months.
#4 (4) – Chihayafuru – (8,5/10)
This was the month of the first Karuta tournament, and I love how short and to the point it was. This show has a wonderful balance: it makes sure to spend enough time on everything, yet it also never drags on or feels padded out. By far its biggest virtue here was how in every episode, it involved every character, and added a bit to every one of them. Now that’s some solid writing to nail consistently.
#3 (3) – Hyouge Mono – (8,75/10)
It is really impossible to find episode 36 anywhere. This is a bloody shame for a show that consistently ranked among my top 3 this past season. Especially Rikyuu’s development over the past episodes was memorable here, with a few misers involved, though. When this ends, I can only hope that Koichi Mawshimo will continue make many more series, despite his age (he’ll be turning 60 this year).
#2 (2) – Un-Go – (8,75/10)
This month, Un-Go ended pretty much as solid as how it’s ever been. The plot twists it came with were really well done, and it still left no moment wasted. I like how you really needed to pay attention to this series in order to be able to follow it. This show just kept throwing you for a loop with some really plausible scenarios, only to turn things around completely.
#1 (1) – Mawaru Penguin Drum – (9,25/10)
The ending may not have explained everything, but who cares? It did give conclusion to the things it should have. It all fitted wonderfully and it did push the characters to new levels. It was a very sad ending that worked really well as the conclusion of this series.