Summer 2011 (+Steins;Gate, Nichijou, & Hanasaku Iroha) Final Impressions

I apologize for the delay. I would normally have written this up over the weekend, but I was pretty busy this weekend. (More on that in a bit after I finish up this post.)

As usual, we’ll begin with the carryovers from the previous season. We have three this time around, all excellent shows.

Steins;Gate – There just isn’t enough that I can say about this show to express how great it was. I thought Madoka was going to be hands-down the best show this year, with Fate/Zero possibly coming close. But you know what? Steins;Gate crushed Madoka under it’s epic-sized boot. It was an absolutely amazing series and if Fate/Zero doesn’t pull some ungodly epic of its own by the end of its run, Steins;Gate is Show of the Year for me. Bottom line: DO NOT PASS THIS SHOW OVER. If you like anime at all, you owe it to yourself to watch it. The first couple of episodes may be kinda slow for you, but by episode 3, you should see yourself interested in the series, and you need to follow through to the end. Funimation’s already licensed it, so you should probably just buy it when it comes out. It’ll be worth the money, I promise.

Nichijou – This was honestly an excellent comedy series. One of the best I’ve ever seen. It’s a shame that it didn’t do well in Japan. KyoAni went all out on this one and thoroughly impressed me. The animation was excellent. Probably some of the best I’ve ever seen from them. The one thing I don’t like about the show is that now that I’m invested in it, I know I’ll never see a second season. Damn you, Japan. Damn you and your horrible taste. Why do you make crap like R-15 sell and let great stuff like Nichijou pass you by? KyoAni’s convinced their reputation is ruined because of this show, when it should bolster it to the highest level it’s ever been at. Bottom line: Watch it. Hell, buy it when Bandai’s version comes out. Maybe we can convince KyoAni that it’s a series worth saving.

Hanasaku Iroha – I was pretty impressed by this. It was an anime original for the studio’s anniversary and it was more than just a way to show off. This show had a lot of heart and a lot of character, and it was always interesting from week to week. I don’t have a lot to say about it, but I did respect the ambitions of the writers and staff very much. Bottom line: If you like slice-of-life series, this is one you should watch.

And that takes care of Spring (with the exception of Sket Dance, which is still ongoing). Time for Summer.

Usagi Drop – Definitely one of the best shows I watched this season. It was my replacement heartwarming series after Astarotte’s Toy ended. Definitely a great series with a real message and a lot of heart. I haven’t read the manga, but I know how it ends, and I have to agree with everyone else that strongly recommends against following up on the rest of the series. The anime apparently covered the only good parts of it anyway. Bottom line: Definitely worth a watch. Don’t pass this one up.

Ikoku Meiro no Croisée – I really enjoyed this when it started, but as it went on, it starting bringing in a lot of unnecessary drama. Stuff came in that felt like it didn’t really belong. What’s that? A little Japanese girl may not fit in in France? Well no shit. Let’s get back to some more scenes of her doing cute stuff, please. No? Well fuck you, too. Bottom line: Worth it if you can tolerate the mood whiplash the series tends to carry after the first few episodes.

YuruYuri – I went into this one with low expectations and I’m glad I did, because there really wasn’t anything here. It was a very average series with very few episodes that I would consider good. For a show supposedly centered on high school girls with homosexual tendencies and preferences, there was surprisingly little yuri. And for a comedy series, there was surprisingly little comedy. Bottom line: Eh, I wouldn’t bother with it. You won’t really be missing anything.

Double-J – Here’s where someone’s going to hate me, part 1. This show was great. It was only a few minutes per episode, but the cast was amazing and the jokes were funny. It was easy to pick up, watch, and move on with your life in record time. I loved it. I hear the whole Yoriani block has been axed, though. Shame if it’s true. Bottom line: If you’ve got half an hour to kill, go for it. I can certainly think of worse ways to spend my time.

Morita-san wa Mukuchi TV – Like this, where someone’s going to hate me, part 2. Worst crap I watched all season. The only reason I didn’t flat out drop it was because it was only 3 minutes of my time every week and I figured I might get lucky one week and find something to validate those 3 minutes. Nope. Nothing worth having here. Every week I would never laugh, never smile, never bat an eyelid, and always end the episode with a simple “…That’s it?” Major disappointment. Bottom line: Don’t go anywhere near it. This is one of those “worse ways to spend your time.” Seriously. Leave it alone. It’s not worth it. Not even for Kana Hanazawa, who almost never talks anyway.

Kamisama no Memochou – Pretty good. It only had a few really impressive arcs (3 of them) but they were definitely impressive. The rest of the show was just okay. Seems kinda weird to have been licensed… I think before it even started or when it was only one or two episodes in. I don’t think it’ll be a big financial success. Bottom line: Pick it up if you’re looking for a JC Staff series or a half-assed mystery series where the mysteries are solvable from the very first clue presented. It’s a fun watch, but it’s not really exciting.

Ro-Kyu-Bu! – Loli basketball. NBA Jam: Loli edition. Super loli extreme spats fetish. Whatever you’ve heard it called. It’s actually good. Really good. One of the better shows I watched this season. There’s nothing exceptional about it, but I did find myself really enjoying the characters and the situations they were in. The basketball was actually well animated and it was a pretty exciting watch. I didn’t expect that. Bottom line: May as well pick it up. You’ll either find something to like about it or find nothing to like about it. Depends on what kind of person you are. But hey, if you find something you like about it, there’s definitely a great show in store for you.

R-15 – Yeah, no. Just… no. Not worth anything. Not even going to bother talking about it. It was a disappointement. So much wasted potential. Bottom line: Don’t even bother. Garbarge. The fanservice isn’t even good.

Kamisama Dolls – Honestly, this was easily one of the best shows I watched this season, and I didn’t really expect anything at all from it. Sleeper hit of the season, probably sleeper hit of the year. This show was great. It had everything. Most importantly, though, it had batshit psycho high-schoolers in control of killing machines. Loved it. Bottom line: Pick it up, spread the word, get some hits for Crunchyroll or something. We need a second season of this.

Mayo Chiki! – One of the best shows I watched this season and easily one of the best harem comedies ever. It had everything I could have possibly wanted, except for an obvious ending with the best character in the show (Kanade, a.k.a Trolljou-sama). Definitely worth watching if you want a good laugh, and hell, the fanservice is leagues above R-15 if you were looking for that, too. Bottom line: Oh man, I really hope we get another season of this. This show was awesome.

Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu Ni – It was interesting for sure. Most of the series wasn’t quite up to par with the first season (despite having much more Aiko), but there were two flashback episodes covering the characters’ pasts that were hands down the best things I’ve ever seen in the series. They were absolutely excellent in every possible way. They were animated to perfection, directed excellently, and had some of the coolest cinematic presentation I’ve ever seen in anything ever. Bottom line: If you liked the first season, pick it up. Even if you didn’t, at least check out the two flashback episodes (8 and 11) to see some of the best storytelling in the whole of entertainment. I’m not exaggerating. They were so good. Very few cinematic masterpieces were done this well.

Dantalian no Shoka – Yeah, more garbage. There were a handful of good episodes here, but most of it was boring crap. Plots that never went anywhere and were never addressed again (the all-knowing kids, for example), boring characters and villains, deus ex machina out the ass, and the best characters in the series only had an episode each to themselves and barely showed up in the last episode. Bottom line: Only worth watching to hear Dalian say “Yes” every now and then. For shame, Gainax. I expected better from you.

I’ll cover Sket Dance whenever it ends, as well as Idolmaster, which is probably set to end by the end of this year.

Pick for Show of the Season: Kamisama Dolls. I really wanted to give it to Usagi Drop, but Kamisama Dolls just got better and better, and by the end I absolutely couldn’t call anything else the best show this season. It was amazing and the way it teased some of the future content from the manga was great. I really do hope that we get to see another season of this some day, because I was thoroughly impressed despite expecting next to nothing from it.

As an aside, I’d like to confirm that Show of the Season for Spring was indeed Steins;Gate. It finished just as strong as it ran.

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One Response to “Summer 2011 (+Steins;Gate, Nichijou, & Hanasaku Iroha) Final Impressions”

  1. Keita Suminoe Says:

    awesome,..again, im pretty much impressed how you review anime, i mostly agree on those and i like how you praise good anime

    and banzai for steins;gate!
    i tried the visual novel, the side stories(other route) was good as how this anime ended (but also kinda sad)

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