Posted by psgels on 29 February 2012 with categories: Monthly Summaries

At first I thought that this would be a season that would at least be exciting. In the end, what stood out about the most is how many series make me go wtf this time. And they just keep increasing. And really: while there aren’t any absolute classics here, it does make this season really fun to watch and keep up with.

#20 (24) – Guilty Crown – (6,25/10) – In its first half, Guilty crown was offensively boring. Right now however, it’s just plain offensively bad. The plot twists it pulls just are consistently pulled out of its ass, and yet at the same time it’s not really going anywhere. It’s not fun; the characters are obnoxious and Shu is still a terrible character who randomly changes every episode, yet remains consistently obnoxious. Please Noitamina, don’t make writing of this level to be the new standard for your new shows. I know it sold well and all, but for god’s sake this should never become the norm!
#19 (new) – Smile Precure – (7/10) – Here is the thing, Smile Precure: I know you’ve got a big audience who will watch you no matter what, but that’s no excuse to just be completely boring at the start. You can be amazing halfway through, but if you don’t give us a reason to keep watching, then that’s all for naught. All I’ve seen so far are a bunch of dull introduction episodes. There are no major side-characters whatsoever other than the Precure, the standard bad guys and that mascot thing. This show is nowhere near as bad as Suite Precure’s opening, but at the same time I also see no hints that it’ll get better later on.
#18 (new) – Black Rock Shooter – (7/10) – Halfway in, and I’m not very impressed by this series. The biggest reason is because of how incredibly forced the drama and angst is. I could have lived with relatively little focus on the Black Rock Shooter world (because really: that one has even less depth), but the angst is way too forced, and just there for the sake to create drama. It’s gotten very annoying now. Mari Okada, you disappoint me.
#17 (17) – Listen Girls, I am Your Father – (7,5/10) – This show is not like Kimi to Boku. That show used it annoyance to somehow become good. Papa however, is annoying, only to become heart-warming afterwards. It’s nowhere as neatly meshed, especially when the girls take a bath for the umpth time. This show is worth it for the small moments that really are heart-warming, but the rest of the airtime tends to be rather boring.
#16 (15) – Ano Natsu de Matteru – (7,75/10) – Ano Natsu got dominated this month with that cliche-filled beach arc. Sure, the characters developed a bit, but it was all predictable and the fanservice was pointless and obnoxious, not to mention that the annoying harem subplot also didn’t really steer this show into a good direction. I will have to say though that I am at least glad that this show is heading somewhere.
#15 (11) – Last Exile – Ginyoku no Fam – (7,75/10) – I’m very iffy about Last Exile at the moment: it’s not like Fam is badly developed or anything, and I want to like her, but most of the time she just doesn’t belong in this series. Overall the “war is bad themes” of this series are starting to get a bit boring, and the world building isn’t really bringing anything new to the table at this point. I really fear whether this show would be able to deliver a solid climax.
#14 (19) – Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou – (8/10) – This show is a hit and miss comedy: it’s cringe-worthy when a joke falls flat, but it’s also hilarious and very creative when it actually works. The ration at the moment seems to hang steady around 50:50, and at the very least I admire it for this creativity here. It’s not the best comedy of the season, though.
#13 (14) – Inu X Boku SS – (8/10) – Inu X Boku is nothing special, especially for David Production’s standards. And yet, it’s consistently able to put a smile on my face. Even though the characters are simplistic, they are also heart-warming in a way. It’s a bit shallow, but very charming.
#12 (7) – Rinne no Lagrange – (8/10) – Out of the three big mecha/sci-fi shows this season, Rinne no Lagrange is the only one who dulled in a bit this month. This is mostly due to time spent on building up, but the fact remains that lately it hasn’t been as sharp as it used to, though it did offer solid character building. Now all that’s left is to use it.
#11 (18) – Nisemonogatari – (8,25/10)

I actually really liked this month for Nisemonogatari. Fially the plot was about something meaningful other than mostly fanservice, and the animation really is gorgeous as well. I also really liked the way in which the Karen arc ended. And then there was the toothbrush scene. Just… wtf.

#10 (10) – Mirai Nikki – (8,25/10)

It’s about bloody time, but the character development has finally kicked in. And indeed: this show has become a lot more entertaining compared to the first half. In particular Yukiteru has become much more interesting to watch now. It’s nothing deep and it’s still full of plotholes and bad twists and all, but it’s just so over the top entertainment that at this point, I don’t mind.

#9 (13) – Poyopoyo Kansatsu Nikki – (8,25/10)

I love this show. In only five minutes it consistently tells fun little stories about the entire cast, and really brings them alive. The creative jokes just keep coming, but on top of that: it also fleshes out who the characters are in a really fun way by showing a very good look at their everyday lives. half of the jokes don’t even involve Poyopoyo but instead are about how they live their lives.

#8 (8) – Aquarion Evol – (8,25/10)

The romantic comedy really is not a genre that I’m often into, and I find the vast majority of these series to be dull and trite. Aquarion Evol is a major exception though. It just has this energy, on top of its just bizarre context and sexual undertones. This month has continued to explore the “males versus females”-themes and it did so with some solid character-building arcs that made the collective cast very enjoyable to watch. The music still is completely awesome, and the graphics still look incredibly flashy.

#7 (9) – Mouretsu Pirates – (8,25/10)

This really is the stand-out series in terms of characters feeling real. In this series, there are hardly any stereotypes, and the acting is very believable, and this only solidified more this month. It’s clear that Tatsuo Sato is behind the helm of this series, because it really takes its time to let everything play out. Because of that it’s not the most exciting series yet, but in terms of character and world building it really is excellent. This month also put a lot of focus on politics and really took its audience seriously when it discussed everything involved in being a pirate.

#6 (6) – Hunter X Hunter – (8,5/10)

This month featured the conclusion of the Hunter Exam arc. As usual there were things that I liked and things that I liked a little less when comparing it to the 1999 series, but the things I liked are getting better and better. I am disappointed that this adaptation didn’t spend the same amount of care to Gon’s final fight (an episode that I considered in the 1999 version to be absolutely fantastic), and the cast of side characters is noticeably weaker and less interesting, but the character development on the main cast is still really, really good.

#5 (12) – Another – (8,5/10)

What really makes Another stand out as a horror series is how down to earth the characters are. The acting here is top-notch, and because of that the contrast with the brutal gore really stands out. This show has some very interesting build-up and the atmosphere is still excellent. \

#4 (5) – Phi Brain – (8,5/10)

Phi Brain has yet again just gotten better and better this month. I’m really surprised at how engaging this show has gotten, but the character development just continues to push the characters forward. I just have to wonder: how on earth are the creator planning to top this for the second season?

#3 (4) – Tantei Opera Milky Holmes – (8,5/10)

This month had both the most and least entertaining episode of the second season, so it’s a bit hard to judge. When at its stride though, it was absolutely hilarious and without a doubt the biggest WTF of the entire season (and with this season, that has to say something). In particular the train episode was just glorious.

#2 (2) – Natsume Yuujin-Chou – (8,75/10)

Not as strong as the previous month, but this series still stands on top of the season with its well thought out stories about youkai. The fourth season is really dedicated to develop everyone around Natsume, and it’s doing a great job at that. My one complaint is that some parts (like Nyanko-sensei) are getting a bit repetitive.

#1 (3) – Chihayafuru – (8,75/10)

This series has been as solid as ever. Where it lacks in varietyk it more than makes up in character development, giving every major character enough time to play out, and it always finds something meaningful for every character in every episode. Now that’s good writing, especially considering how it’s been doing that throughout the entire series now.

24 Responses

  1. kalandra says:

    I haven’t been keeping up with your blog much, but I assume Bakuman have been drop right?

  2. LifeCarrier says:

    I’m a kinda perplexed at you being so scandalized by nisemonogatari’s fanservice.

    The fanservice on this show despite being very prominent, is in great part tongue-in-cheek, so, I personally find it easier to be amused rather than put off by it.

    I’d say this show is mostly a self-aware parody of otaku culture, particularly its fetishistic/moe loving ways. Whether you find that enjoyable is what makes you either love or hate this show.

    I find the combination of tongue-in-cheek fanservice, artsy backgrounds and shots, witty dialogues(which aren’t always funny as they seem to think they are I’ll admit), sillyness and undertones of grandiose morality more palatable than most of what anime has offered in a while and offers today.

    Hoping Sakamichi no Apollon changes that.

    Btw I find it funny that despite not really watching anime anymore (I’d watch if there were shows akin to gits, berserk, cowboy bebop, planetes still around) I come to read your summaries and reviews from time to time…I guess despite not being that interested in the shows I’m still interested in reading your opinions on them, so for providing it, I thank you.

  3. Al Pacino says:

    Black Rock Shooter=Forced Drama.
    Well, that just like what your feel, palm.
    I going to fight to defend of drama of BRS is not Forced because have the other world who work like a metaphoric who give more meaning in the feeling of character, the ost is pretty good and the characterization is good too.
    What I see when is a drama you like, you say is awesome and when is not you say is Force.
    But that just like what I feel too, palm.

  4. asiafan says:

    I agree on most of your comments except for some. I get why you dislike ecchi stuff thrown in for no reason, but I can let that slide. However, I would like to ask, why do you think the introduction episodes of Smile Precure are boring?

    I get it when some people say they are cliche, not funny, or too girly, but BORING? Seriously? Which part is considered boring? The story as a whole keeps moving forward, the characters are interesting and I am pretty sure they will develop over the course of the story. This anime is not the best anime ever made, but it sure hell is more entertaining than some of the other shows I watched.

    I’m thinking you are forgetting that this is after all a 50 episode anime that might take a while to fully develop, but from what I’m watching, its already getting better.

    • psgels psgels says:

      That’s the thing: I find it boring. At the moment the creators are running down a checklist of introducing everyone, but to me, it hardly offers anything else. I know that it’s going to be 50 episodes, but that doesn’t mean that I want to sit through 20 boring episodes before it gets good.

      • asiafan says:

        Well, I guess if it is your thing, then its fine. But I do recommend giving it another chance, cause I think you really don’t need to wait 20 episodes in to get the good stuff.
        But that’s just my opinion.

  5. Vicious says:

    English please.

  6. joojoobees says:

    Chihayafuru: “especially considering how it’s been doing that throughout the entire series”

    That is the thing that really impresses me about this show. Most series have a few episodes that don’t come off quite as well as the others, or places where it dragged a bit, or whatever, but Chihayafuru is so competently put together that each episode is great. Not “great” as in knocked on my ass, I never could have seen that coming, great (although there were a couple of those), but great in that I get sucked in immediately, and then it just delivers — it delivers tension and comedy and joyous tears. I have never seen a show that was this consistent before.

    And this show does a good job of showing true characters development, unlike some shows where “development” means we see a lot of a character, or we see them in a maid uniform or something. Here the characters GROW.

  7. starry says:

    Yay for Chihayafuru making the top spot. Great show, lovely characters, so sad to see it ending next month.

  8. Hades says:

    I’m impressed that both Another and Phi Brain are at you top 5 of the month… man, this season must be really bad for animes to reach the point where something as bland as Another is ranked up there.

  9. mulliganmonkee says:

    Black Rock Shooter isn’t quite so awful imho. Sure, the drama might stretch a little here and there but not in an entirely unconvincing, implausible fashion – this is highschool angsty teenage girls for starters. And for a highschool (action?) drama, it’s actually not annoying and quite enjoyable. For a dry season like this one, it could turn out a lot worse :/

  10. ronbb says:

    Great review–there isn’t much that I would disagree with. Cheers to Chihayafuru–this series is solid. The story is somewhat linear, but I really love its character development, pacing and music. The series has not disappointed me from its first week on–it has got me addicted…

  11. hoiut says:

    I agree with the others here about BRS — I think you’re being just a tad too hard on that little show. Never in my life have I ever seen drama that forced. But while it is forced, it is ridiculously extreme and intense. The intensity more than makes up for it.

    There’s a huge degree of symbolism here, and the atmosphere is so dark it’s succulent. I was never a fan of the whole Hatsune Miku or Black Rock Shooter subculture (mostly because I’d never heard of it), and unlike many fans I don’t know the names of the caricatures/effigies/simulacra who duke it out in the parallel world, but I must say this anime is certainly turning out quite a bit better than I hoped.

    That is to say, I assumed from the outset that it wasn’t meant to be taken seriously, but as an allegorical spin on the psychological motifs often abused in anime.

    • Sei says:

      I think it is not bad as a series, but not very good as a NoitaminA series. This season is just very bad for NoitaminA

  12. jreding says:

    I second the commenters above re Nisemonogatari, BRS and Chihayafuru.

    Further, I’d rate AnoNatsu a lot higher. It surely is “all predictable” but I think AnoNatsu’s point is exactly to a be a predictable and cheesy summer romance one can shamelessly indulge in. And the animation in that show is really good.

    On the other hand, I start to become a bit bored of Natsume. Not only have Nyanko-sensei’s antics become repetitive, most episodes involve minuscule character development on Natsume’s side and the same type of melancholic Youkai story over and over again. And I lost all hope that we will get to see more of Reiko.

  13. kero says:

    Yay for Chihayafuru!

    Such a great show.

    I never got past episode one of phi brain.. so I always wonder if I’m missing out when you rate a show highly. But I still don’t think I’d go back to it.

    • brianwuzhere says:

      Phi Brain has significantly improved since episode 1 on both the emotional level as well as the creativity of the puzzles. I think you should give it another try.

      • someloser says:

        What exactly do you mean by the creativity of the puzzles? are they still going about showing outrageous contraptions where our “genius” “solves” them by having random numbers pop in his head and all of a sudden he gets the answer?

        I swear, the most insulting part of the show was how it expected us to believe the credibility of the ability of our protagonist, when everything was solved without showing process or answers. I don’t care if the puzzles have gotten more creative, the question is whether the storyline has finally started using these puzzles correctly to bring out the protagonist.

  14. RABUJOI says:

    Black Rock Shooter (4.0): Yeah, the emotions and issues are blown way out of proportion, but I’ve been enjoying that intensity so far. In this case, the elemental and the ridiculously over-the-top are assets. Great action in the dreamworld, too.

    Aquarion Evol (3.889): It looks and sounds like nothing else on right now, and I mean that in the best way.

    Mouretsu Pirates (3.813): A girl balancing being a space pirate with being a high schooler – it was all going to be in the execution, and so far it’s being executed brilliantly and with confidence. I feel very assured they know where they want this to go.

    Guilty Crown (3.8): I don’t necessarily disagree with your rationales for hating this, but for whatever reason, I’ve been able to continue following it and still find it entertaining on a basic(base?) level.

    Rinne no Lagrange (3.688): I also consider it the weakest of the three mecha series, but far from weak. The character trio is really starting to gel; as you say, it comes down to utilization.

    Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam (3.625): Like Black Rock Shooter, my expectations for this didn’t quite meet reality, but it’s still been fun, if for no other reasons then the epic battles and fantastic soundtrack.

    Chihayafuru (3.571): The soundtrack is unapologetically bold, dramatic, and even corny at times, but both the core trio and supporting players continue to shine; Chihaya brightest of all. It’s a series that’s full of love.

    Mirai Nikki (3.571): Like BRS, over-the-top; but I’d say Mirai Nikki is more fun to watch and less serious than BRS, at least thus far.

    Nisemonogatari (3.563): The Karen Arc was full of solid dialogue and yes, far livelier animation than was typical for Bakemonogatari. I too am a little perplexed about just how far the incestuous stuff will get. At the very least though, Shinbo is not concerned with Araragi being a squeaky-clean hero!

    Another (3.438): Sakakibara is turning out to be a very good lead male: he’s neither whiny or insane, but is always staying level-headed and seeking the answers. He and Misaki make a great pair.

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  • Bam
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 06:43 AM)
    @Friend: perfect, I on the other hand am not as fast lol
  • Friend
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 06:19 AM)
    I should have the rough draft ready by the next 24 hours, so I’ll show it to you then.
  • Friend
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 06:16 AM)
    @Bam :-) “Rome wasn’t built in a single day”
  • Bam
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 06:14 AM)
    @Friend: very pragmatic- I like your style ;)
  • Friend
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 06:09 AM)
    @Bam Heres what I’m planning to do: I’ll draw the city as it might have looked like pre-industrial revolution and post-columbian. So, maybe the late 17th century. Then, I’ll add in the changes brought in by industry. Afterall, every building isn’t built at the same time, so it’ll give that contrast of old/new, making the city much more authentic.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 06:07 AM)
    @Friend: hard question … needs some serious thought if we’re trying to feel authentic.
  • Friend
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 06:04 AM)
    What would they use electricity for, if they’ll even accept it?
  • Friend
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 06:04 AM)
    @Bam I’ve been thinking about that as well. Their irrigation was already a masterpiece, so I think hydraulic piping would only perfect their skill at city planning. Now, energy is what I’ve been stuck on.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 06:02 AM)
    @Friend: you’re on the right track with the modernization of the culture, but I need to ponder a little bit about what would’ve happened in that scenario. Metals, medicine, energy and irrigation would be the significant advances that they could use without serious industrialization, but I need time to think what these would’ve all meant to them and where they could’ve taken their society with it.
  • Friend
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 05:56 AM)
    @Bam Yes, it’s very bright and sentimental. It is a morning prayer/celebration. \.0/

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