Spring 2011 Initial Impressions

Yes, I’m doing Spring initial impressions before Winter final impressions. I was going to do Winter, but I had to wait on Yumekui Merry to end and by the time it did, they finally announced Madoka’s ending air dates, so I’m waiting on Show of the Season/Year to end. I’ll probably have it done about a week from now. Hopefully I’ll be able to knock out Madoka Thursday night, but if not, then I’ll hopefully do it Friday as early as possible.

Dog Days – An original series by the creator of Nanoha about a boy who gets summoned into a world of animal-eared and -tailed people to help fight in their wars.

So this one isn’t quite what it sounds like at first. The wars are what I’ve seen accurately described as glorified school sports festivals. However, even if the show isn’t as dramatic as it would imply, it’s still a lot of fun. The characters are lovable, the action is great, and there’s even a bit of fanservice here and there that isn’t overdone. I didn’t know quite how I felt about it after the first episode after the jarring difference between my expectation and reality showed up, but the second episode was a strong showing and I was more than able to accept the show for what it is. I’ll definitely be following it.

Nichijou – I’m not really sure how to describe this except as “a comedy series about some eccentric characters doing crazy and hilarious things.”

This show is wacky and weird and I love it. It’s easily one of the best things airing this season, if not the best all around. KyoAni is pulling out all of the stops for this one. They’re making sure that this series will be the next big thing. It features amazing animation by their teams. It’s also hilarious. Some people don’t like the comedy that this show has, but most people seem to love it. Easily at the top of my list this season and I can’t wait for more. If you watched episode 0 and found yourself a bit turned off from the series, just go ahead and jump right into episode 1. Most people, including myself, felt the same way.

Hanasaku Iroha – An original series for the studio’s 10th anniversary project. Ohana, who has had a strained relationship with her mother for as long as she can remember, is sent to live with her grandmother and work at her hotel when her mother and her boyfriend skip town to avoid debt.

Oh, wow. This show ended up being way better than I ever could have expected. This is definitely the best surprise of the season. The artwork is gorgeous, the characters are realistic… Everything just falls into place so well. Ohana is absolutely adorable and you find yourself really attached to her. You always hate to see her accidentally mess something up or get in trouble for something she didn’t know she did wrong, but you love to see her grow up a little and come out stronger for it. This is another show that’s easily at the top of my list this season. In fact, if there are only two shows I’m sure will be at the top, it’s Nichijou and Hanasaku Iroha.

Steins;Gate – Based on the visual novel. A group modifies a microwave and discovers that it allows for time travel. The become wrapped up in a conspiracy as a result.

Now admittedly, I don’t know crap about this. I know that it takes place a year after Chaos;Head in the same world, but that it otherwise has little to do with it. I’ve also never had anything to do with Chaos;Head because I can’t get the VN to work on my computer after it’s been patched and I’ve heard too many terrible things about the anime. However, after taking a blind dive into Steins;Gate, which remains untranslated, I’ve had a bit of a time trying to figure out whether or not I even really care for it that much. It’s not that bad, and I like the characters, but we’re two episodes in and I feel like the plot hasn’t advanced too much beyond some paranoia and brief instances of pointless time travel (text messages and a banana). I’m sure it’ll get better as it goes along, though, and I am interested in seeing where it goes. It’s certainly not in danger of being dropped, but I just wish I had a better idea of what I’m in for already.

30-sai no Hoken Taiiku – An anime based on a self-help instruction book series that teaches 30-year-old men about having relationships with women and how to have sex.

I honestly had no idea what to expect from this, but it’s turned out to actually be a pretty solid comedy. It has me laughing a lot. Given the original content (or what I’ve seen of it) and the fact that this is on TV and heavily censored, I don’t expect that anyone will actually learn much from this, but it’s definitely worth checking out just for the laughs. Expect a lot of gags and even some references to other anime.

Sket Dance – (Mis)Adventures of a school club dedicated to solving the problems of other students.

This is one of the contenders for filling out my top three shows this season. It’s a good premise with a great cast and a lot of interesting people to help out. I can’t help but laugh the whole way through each episode. This season seems to be a little oversaturated with comedies, but I still find myself loving most of them. This show is one of the better ones, though.

A-Channel – A comedy series based around the lives of four friends.

I was pretty indifferent to this show after the first episode, but it’s picked up bit in the second. I feel like it was overhyped, though. Before the season started, a lot of people were saying things like “Why watch Nichijou when A-Channel’s going to be airing?” Then Nichijou aired and people were saying things like “Eh, A-Channel’s going to be better anyway.” Then the show rolled around and it wasn’t bad, but it was just nowhere near as good as Nichijou. It just feels too slow and cliche to compare. Nichijou tends to be a lot funnier and the cast is better. After only watching the first episode, Run was the only character I cared about. After watching the second, Tooru didn’t come across as quite as annoying and I started to like her a little better. The other two? Hell, I still don’t even know their names. That’s how little they mean to me in this show. That said, I will definitely be following it. It’s in no danger of being dropped.

Maria-Holic Alive – Second season of Maria-Holic.

Not much to say about this. As usual, it’s one of those “If you liked the first season you’ll like it and if you didn’t you won’t” deals. My biggest gripe about the original series was that I felt like it paled a bit in comparison to the manga and that the final episode, which was filler done in a more traditional SHAFT style, was the best part of the series. This season, though, I don’t have that bias. I actually haven’t read the series past volume 3, which was where the first season ended, so I have no basis for comparison. Hopefully I’ll enjoy this season a little more not knowing what’s in store for me.

Softenni – A comedy featuring a middle school soft tennis team.

This was a random pickup that wasn’t on the season chart. There’s only been one episode subbed so far (the second isn’t out yet, but it did air yesterday), so I’m not super sure how I feel about it yet, but I kinda like the characters and how the premise is set up. I don’t think I’ll mind sticking with this one just to see where it goes.

Hen Zemi – A group of students in an odd college class and one normal girl. She tries to stay sane in these abnormal surroundings.

Words simply can’t express anything about this show. Not what it’s about, not how it is, not even what kind of content it has. I’d definitely recommend that anyone who picks it up checks out the OVAs first (the first two came out before the TV series started airing) and see what you’re in for. Topicality is just way out there, though. NTR, poop eating, and peanut butter-colored nipples… And that’s some of the least offensive stuff.

Astarotte’s Toy – A young succubus is approaching the point where her soon-to-be matured body will require a man’s “life essence” and she needs to build a harem to stay alive. However, she dislikes men.

Now I have to warn everyone that the premise for this show is a bit misleading. That’s only how it starts out. I haven’t read the manga, but people who have say it turns out to be a sweet slice of life where the man who gets dragged into the harem ends up acting more as a father figure. I’m totally cool with that. In fact, I’d be much happier watching this show if it would get to that already. That kind of thing is more up my alley. As for the setup episode, though, I do think I like the cast. Olaf is awesome. I’m looking forward to it getting to the heart of series.

The World God Only Knows S2 – Second season of The World God Only Knows.

So yeah, more of the same. I loved this show in the first season though and the second is off to a good start, so I’ll definitely be keeping up with it.

[C]: The Money of Soul and Possibility Control – A young boy who struggles to obtain a secure lifestyle in a crumbling economy is offered money if he takes a risk on his future.

Hell if I know what to think of this one. It’s off to a weird start. I don’t think it’ll be bad, but we don’t know much about it yet. Looks like it might end up as a partner battle series, which I’m totally cool with. We’ll see.

Ano hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai – An original series about a group of friends who have drifted apart and changed. When approached by one of them, a young boy from the group who has become a shut-in is asked to help her fulfill her wish.

This show, AnoHana for short, is quite deceptive. I can’t say too much without giving away the surprise that’s in store for everyone that checks it out, but I will say that I agree with the person who I saw say it’s probably going to end up as a BAWWW-fest. I wasn’t initially aware that this was by the same animation team as Toradora, but I could tell in one shot in particular where the girl in the white dress was looking to the side and I noticed that the way the eyes were drawn was the same way they drew some Toradora characters from the side (namely Taiga). That’s a big plus for me. I did, after all, say that I picked this one up entirely for the art style. This one shows a lot of potential.

Hidan no Aria – A young boy at a school for armed detectives/soldiers in a private organization are trained has a run-in with a small girl from the same school, who happens to be one of the strongest on campus.

Kugimiya’s been all over the place lately, but this looks like it’s going to be one of my all-time favorite roles for her. I jumped into this one pretty blindly, but I think I’ll definitely be happy with it. The voice cast is awesome and the characters and setting have me really interested. I like the main character’s quirky little power, too. It’s hilarious. And Aria? Aria’s great. She’s got that fiery spunk that makes her oh so appealing to go along with all of that skill. Lucky main character got a face full of that DFC right at the beginning of the series, too… This may end up being one of my top shows this season.

Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko – A young boy whose parents are often away on business moves in with his aunt and her mysterious daughter. She has been missing for half a year and washed up from the sea. She doesn’t remember anything about the time she was gone and believes it to be the work of aliens.

A wacky SHAFT show at its best. This one’s kinda out there, just like Erio, the young girl pictured above. She spends most of her time wrapped in a futon speaking nonsense, but she’s quite the endearing character by the end of the first episode, showing a quick tendency to become friendly with those who don’t turn her away for her strange behavior. I have a feeling that one’s enjoyment of this is going to be determined entirely by how they feel about SHAFT’s work, because it’s in full force here. SHAFT-angles, SHAFT-OPs, all that fun stuff. But as a fan of SHAFT, I’m all over this series. It’s going to be my favorite of their shows this season for sure. (But probably not this year. I doubt any show they do will top Madoka. I doubt any show this year will top Madoka.)

And that’s it. Expect Winter final impressions about a week from now after Madoka is done. I’ll throw in finished shows from Fall, as well, and probably Houkago no Pleiades if I feel like it’s worth the time to cover.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: