2011 Summer Anime Season Opinions and Recommendations… Thus Far

Whee!!! The summer season is upon us and as always, I have yet to finish most of my previous season’s anime. But, considering that I still have one month of Summer Vacation left, I was able to, believe it or not, watch the first episodes of most of the anime on offer this season!

A feat deserving of a standing ovation… if I do say so myself. Anyways, here are my brief opinions on this season’s shows based solely on the first episode together with my rating.

In the immortal words of Mario, “Here We Go!”

WARNING: Absolutely 0 plot spoilers in this post! (^o^)


Ratings (from best to worst):

“Give it a Watch”
“Worth a Watch”
“Average”
“Pass”

– Double-J

Simple 4 minute long episodes about a girl joining the Traditional Arts & Crafts Preservation Club. The art and animation is really simplistic (some might say ‘stylized’) and static with few facial expressions aside from the mouth and eyes moving. Dialogue is pretty quick so the humor might be go over your heads if you aren’t paying attention. Due to the short run of each episode and the rather static characters, character development time is few and far between and you hardly get to know them. Aside from these problems, I’d say it’s worth a watch if you’re bored or just want a quick chuckle.

Verdict: “Worth a Watch”

– Ro-Kyu-Bu!

Lolis are great. But only when done right and when not as the main gimmick of the entire show. The premise is simple enough, a guy gets called in to coach a basketball team consisting of 5 lolis. Honestly, it’s what you’d expect. Average characters, average humor, average male lead, average fan-service, the works… The basketball choreography isn’t even that great. I say give this a pass if you’re not already eying it.

Verdict: “Average”

– Kami-sama no Memo-chou

From J.C.Staff, we have a brand new anime series about a Loli NEET Detective who solves crimes and gathers information… all from the comfort of her bed room. Talk about my dream job! (^.^;) Premise aside, the first episode (actually the first 2 episodes as they had a double airing of sorts) did well to present an honestly intriguing mystery and likable characters that kept me entertained and engrossed for the duration of the episode.

Verdict: “Give it a Watch”

– Sacred Seven

Sunrise’s Shounen Action Battle show for the season is okay I guess. The premise is slightly more unique than usual with characters fighting while utilizing the power of ‘power stones’. Characters are okay and the fighting is pretty cool. But other than that, I can’t really consider it anything more than slightly above average.

Verdict: “Worth a Watch” if you like your Shounen Action.

– Ikoku Meiro no Croisée The Animation

This is a perfect example of how anime can show off other cultures. Taking place in France, it isn’t hesitant on laying down tons of French in the dialogue, which is supposed to be in French. I know some people always complain about such shows and how ‘it shouldn’t be in Japanese’. However, these same people fail to remember that a ton of American cartoons also portray people in foreign countries speaking English. Whatever the case, the show is definitely a ‘Slice of Life’ one, and a simple one at that. It revolves around a young Japanese girl who goes to France to work. Overall, I like the feel of it better than Hanasaku Iroha as, unlike Iroha, it doesn’t feel like the entire cast is trying to see her fail. At this point in time, nothing much really happened and I doubt that anything will… though, that’s not really a bad thing. I’ll say that this is surely one of the most unique series this season, taking place in a foreign country.

Verdict: “Worth a Watch”

– Kaitou Tenshi Twin Angel ~Kyun Kyun Tokimeki Paradise!!~

There should be a rule banning Tamura Yukari from ever voicing any other Magical Girl characters. Seriously, I and many a anime fan, will inevitably compare the character and show to the usually vastly superior Nanoha. In this case, Nanoha being vastly superior is an understatement. Watching it, I had no idea if it was meant to be a parody of a Magical Girl anime or what. It’s so awfully cliched and filled to the brim with unnecessary Otaku pandering ‘moe’ elements that I was at a lost for words. Other than the blatant Nanoha throwbacks with Yukarin’s voice, we even have a Tuxedo Kamen straight out of Sailor Moon! Hoshi no Witch Meruru from Ore no Imouto Konna Ni Kawaii Wake Ga Nai was perfectly acceptable as it was an honest to goodness parody of Nanoha. This, on the other hand, is a farce. Even if I were to take it as a parody show, it’s not a very good one… It’s boring. It’s cliched. Bah. Humbug.

Verdict: “Pass” …or “Worth a Watch” if you can see it as ‘ironically’ funny.

-YuruYuri

Hot on the heels of A-Channel and Nichijou is YuruYuri, a slice of life show that has deceptively little Yuri. The important thing for me when judging ‘Slice of Life’ shows is the characters, character interactions an humor. For me, YuruYuri scored a hat-trick, doing well in all three categories. Not as good as Nichijou but definitely better than A-Channel in my books.

Verdict: “Worth a Watch”

– Kami-sama Dolls

Ooh, one of the better shows this anime season is Kami-sama Dolls. I love how they are able to take the ‘fighting monster partner’ concept so seriously and execute it so well. Many have praised the show for having a mostly older than high-school aged cast of characters. For me, as long as they are able to appeal, be relatable and entertain me sufficiently, I don’t really care if they are 9 or 99. Brilliant premise, solid characters, great set-up.

Verdict: “Give it a Watch”

– Morita-san wa Mukuchi

Another ‘shortie’, the episodes of Morita-san wa Mukuchi are even shorter than Double-J’s at only three minutes in length. Still, the simpler premise and more familiar setting does lend itself well to the short run-time. Characters are easier to understand, the show is easier to get into and the animation is ‘traditional’. The humor is definitely hit or miss, the main gimmick this time round being a girl who doesn’t speak in fear of offending others. Considering it’s only three minutes long, I’d say give it a watch if you have the time to spare.

Verdict: “Worth a Watch”

– Nyanpire The Animation

The triumphant and glorious return of Gonzo? Not so! (That rhymed!!!) It’s about a cat who gets turned into a vampire cat. Nuff said. The episode is only one sketch long with a long-ass live action dancing ending sequence that takes up one-third of the entire episode’s run-time. I myself didn’t find the jokes funny, so I can’t recommend this one.

Verdict: “Pass”

– Usagi Drop

Can you really still make an illegitimate child when you’ve past your prime? Whatever the case, Usagi Drop did not fail to disappoint me in the emotional department as we are treated to one of the more touching anime this season. Special mention to the quirky and adorable Rin-chan who I can’t wait to see more of in future episodes.

Verdict: “Give it a Watch”

– No.6

No.6 is kind of a tough one to judge as nothing much really did happen in the first episode aside from character introductions and world building. I’m a fan of dystopian classics such as Clockwork Orange, Brave New World and The Handmaid’s Tale, so I do like what I have seen so far though with the dystopian elements of power, control and technology. Characters are okay, but none of them really made any impact on me other than Nezumi (Rat). Will continue to watch to see what develops.

Verdict: “Worth a Watch”

– THE IDOLM@STER

I’ve always wanted to play the IDOLM@STER games but haven’t due to their graphic-novel style of gameplay that requires a certain level of Japanese comprehension that I have yet to attain. So I suppose The IDOLM@STER anime is a great alternative to get my feel for the series while I brush up on my Japanese. With this first episode, we have the usual character introductions and world building. I did enjoy the unique way in which the character introductions were handled (through the recording of a documentary) and fancied the vast and varied characters, personalities and looks of all the idols. Considering all the fandom and hype surrounding the IDOLM@STER franchise, I have high expectations for this series.

Verdict: “Worth a Watch”

– Blood-C

Being a huge fan of the original Blood: The Last Vampire animated movie by Production I.G. I had high hopes for this series. While not as dark as the original, thankfully, my high hopes were met in the form of girls with swords, action and supernatural intrigue. Saya, the main protagonist, is voiced by none other than Mizuki Nana. Her Saya voice does sound an awful lot like Cure Blossom’s. (^.^;) I can see some people not liking the care-free and innocent nature of Saya, but that’s precisely what I love about her. As said numerous times in the past, I just can’t get enough of the juxtaposition of innocent and quite demeanor and kick-ass butt kicking ability, hence my love for characters such as Tama-chan from Bamboo Blade, Eve from Black Cat, Fate from Nanoha and Anri from Durarara. Lastly, the action was downright pornographic in its level of detail and fluidity. Bonus points (or negative points?) for having zero boob or panty shorts throughout its entire duration. Hope this trend continues.

Verdict: “Give it a Watch”

– Mayoi Chiki!

Appearing like your run of the mill romantic-comedy in the beginning, Mayoi Chiki! definitely surprised me with it’s pretty clever twist, me having not seen any prior Mayoi Chiki! material of any kind. The show didn’t fail to elicit laugh after laugh with some great comedy and character interactions (the Kamen Rider joke killed me). Undoubtedly a refreshing series that I would place a notch above the average harem comedy.

Verdict: “Give it a Watch”

– Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu Nii!

What can I say? It’s Baka Test, one of the better comedies that I have ever had the pleasure of watching.

Verdict: “Give it a Watch”

– Nekogami Yaoyorozu

A ‘Slice of Life’, I would suppose, of the various gods and goddesses living on Earth. Sadly, I wasn’t hooked by the characters or the humor but can see its appeal.

Verdict: “Worth a Watch?”

– Manyuu Hikenchou

The obligatory fan-service anime of the season, not unlike Queens Blade or Seikon no Qwaser. This time, with the added bonus of breast cutting (magically, without gore), breast discrimination and breast size augmentation! I can’t say that it’s not a pretty ‘innovative’ concept with beasts being status symbols, the bigger the breasts the higher your status. Is this a complicated and ingenious social commentary on how women (and men) place so much emphasis on breast size in modern day society? Who knows.

Verdict: “Worth a Watch” if you’re into this kind of stuff, otherwise “Pass”.

– R-15

It’s great to be gifted. But what if the thing you’re gifted at is being an Erotic Novelist? That’s the main setup for this school-life drama and I have to admit that the idea did amuse me greatly… for about the first 5 minutes. Sadly, I didn’t think that R-15 had strong enough characters to back up this somewhat head-turning set-up. For what it’s worth, it did get a number of laughs out of me, but not enough to be considered worthy of a watch if it progresses as it is. I do still have hope for the series so I will be staying around for another episode.

Verdict: “Average”

– Itsuka Tenma no Kuro Usagi

After watching a ton of anime, there is a certain ‘animation style’ that you see time and time again. Itsuka Tenma no Kuro Usagi has that style that just screams ‘average’… and in some ways it is. The characters are somewhat stereotypical but I was genuinely intrigued by the events of the first episode and am really interested to see what happens next. Not to mention, there were some particularly humorous scenes. This first episode didn’t feature much action but did certainly do a fantastic job in giving us a taste of what we have yet to see (hopefully).

Verdict: “Worth a Watch”

———

Yet to watch:

– Mawaru Penguindrum

– Dantalian no Shoka

———

In summary, we have:

“Give it a Watch”

Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu Nii!
Kami-sama Dolls
Blood-C
Mayoi Chiki!
Kami-sama no Memo-chou
Usagi Drop

“Worth a Watch”

Ikoku Meiro no Croisée The Animation
Nekogami Yaoyorozu
THE IDOLM@STER
No.6
YuruYuri
Double-J
Sacred Seven
Morita-san wa Mukuchi
Manyuu Hikenchou

“Average”

Ro-Kyu-Bu!
R-15

“Pass”

Nyanpire The Animation
Kaitou Tenshi Twin Angel ~Kyun Kyun Tokimeki Paradise!!~

3 Responses to 2011 Summer Anime Season Opinions and Recommendations… Thus Far

  1. VillainHana says:

    Ah, I was wondering what you thought of this season. I guess I got my answers.

    Not counting 2 Cour length carry-overs from last season that I’m still following (Steins;Gate, Ao no Exorcist, Hanasaku Iroha and Nichijou), I am watching Blood-C, Kamisama no Memocho, Ikoku Meiro no Croisee, Baka/Test Ni, The iDOLM@STER, Ro-Kyu-Bu, Sacred Seven, Yuri Yuri, and Kaito Tenshi Twin Angel.

    With the Blood franchise, I never watched the original Moive, but I did watch Blood+. And the Saya of Blood-C is very different from the Saya of Blood+. Though I must say I do like the changes. Concerning the fighting, the biggest change I like is that Blood-C’s Saya is already an experianced vampire slayer, while Blood+’s Saya takes a long (painfully long in my opinion) time to learn how to fight (though I suppose 50 episodes will do that). Not to mention Blood-C has some of the best Sword combat I’ve seen in a while. I do like Saya herself, and unlike many others the CLAMP character designs don’t bother me.

    Sacred Seven was a bit odd to me. I was expecting a much more standard Mecha show with the political intrigue and ace pilots and whatnot, but what I got was a Shonen action show not with a mech per-say, but a Tokusatsu/Mecha Musume-esque powered suit thingie. However I’m not dissapointed really. It’s good for it’s action which is well animated and and quite cool if I do say so myself. I don’t love the show, but I do like somewhat for it’s sheer entertainment value considering that the show is very nice eye candy. However that’s basically it for me since I haven’t gravitated to the characters much.

    With Twin Angel, the first time I watched it was a very surreal experiance. Actar, you know with some Anime how in a background shot, a TV will be on and it will have some random made-up magical girl show with the lolis, hearts, high-pitched singing and a transformation sequence? I felt like I was watching that, but just brought out of the background and made the main show. I never even watched Sailor Moon before, not even the Americanized dub, but yet and still my immediate though was Tuxedo Kamen when I saw that Bishonen look-alike on screen, to say nothing of being reminded of Nanoha thanks to Yukari Tamura. And as you said, I didn’t know if this was supposed to be parody or not. I didn’t know whether to laugh or to feel sad. However, after watching the 2nd episode, I realized JC Staff is not doing parody. Even with Yukarin, Tuxedo Kamen and that Team Rocket-esque duo, they do mean what they are doing. But even still, I kinda enjoy it. In an ironic “laughing at it, not with it” kind of way.

    Ikoku Meiro no Croisee was a total surprise for me. I really didn’t expect it to be as good as I found it. The culture clashes presented do have a good point (The French love of Cheese and Coffee, different foods and eating utensils, the idea of Saving Face, the clash of Individual over the Group and the Group over the Individual). Not to mention the character interactions are very nice, and I love the characters themselves. Not to mention Yune looks like a Doll, what with her small size and heavily patterned Kimono. I really do like this show.

    When it comes to Kamisama, although I like the premise of a NEET detective who does her sleuthing through the internet, and I like the girl herself (even if the whole thing seems like a modern day version of Gosick) it has something I really like. I really like big city settings, and when they are done correct, it almost feels like the setting is it’s own character. It feels like the city has a voice, and a life of it’s own. It’s a combination of good art and design, interesting characters and the right music that makes city settings come to life. This is one of the reasons I liked Durarara so much. I may be biased due to growing up and living in NYC, but that is how I feel. For me, it’s either this or Ikoku Meiro no Croisee that’s the best of this season so far (although my love of the still airing Steins;Gate trumps them both, as I seriously love that show).

    Ro-Kyu-Bu is another show that was different than I expected. I expected a Basketball-flavored K-ON or A Channel that would be more about talking about random things with some basketball on the side. What I got was a Sports Anime with lolis. It does put a larger emphasis on Basketball than I thought it would. I really don’t watch much Sports Anime, with the only other one I can really think of that I have watched is Bamboo Blade (I watched that because I have always had an interest in Martial Arts, and that came before the fact it was a Sports Anime). Also, this series’s fanservice suites me more than R-15’s or Manyuu Hikenchou’s (both of which are overzelously censored). So I find it pretty enjoyable actually.

    My opinions of Yuri Yuri and The iDOLM@STER are pretty much the same as yours Actar.

    Shit. I talk WAY too much.

  2. konakonaotaku says:

    I couldn’t help for notice that you didn’t include Milky Holmes in either your recommendations or yet to watch list. Did you forget it??

  3. I suggest you to watch Hidan no Aria (Aria the Scarlet Ammo)緋弾のアリア

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 )

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: