Monday, July 25, 2011

Summer 2011 - Check-in

A quick rundown on where things stand almost a month in:

The Top Tier:


Natsume Yuujinchou San
Episodes Watched: 3
Rating: A
Comments: No loss of quality here at all. Great director, great studio, great manga = great anime.


Ikoku Meiro no Croisee
Episodes Watched: 3
Rating: A
Comments: Magnificent. Satelight has done a great job spinning a relaxed fable about a 13 year-old Japanese girl learning about late 19th-Century Paris. I love all the characters, I love the atmosphere, I love the music. I love the series. It's slow-paced but if that doesn't bother you, I can't imagine a heart so cold and barren as to shut out this show.

Usagi Drop
Episodes Watched: 3
Rating: A-
Comments: As long as this show keeps from indulging itself with the big emotional moments, it can be great. It's a fabulous premise and generally, the series has done a nice job keeping it low key and letting the drama speak for itself. Rin is adorable, but Daikichi - a single salaryman with no experience trying to raise a kid because it's the right thing to do - is the real revelation here.

Definitely Blogging:

Mawaru Penguindrum
Episodes Watched: 3
Rating: B+
Comments: I'm not ready to jump on the bandwagon trumpeting this as a classic. It's gorgeous, fantastically imaginative and unique (though it reminds me of FLCL). It's just that it tends to spin its wheels at times, and I haven't really found any reason to care about the story or characters yet.

Dantalian no Shoka
Episodes Watched: 2
Rating: B
Comments: Pretty conventional for a GAINAX series, though very well-done. No warmth from any of the characters yet - it's a very dark, austere show that does a nice job with the "Hammer Horror" atmosphere. Fantastic OP and creeeepy ED.

No. 6
Episodes Watched: 3
Rating: B
Comments: An old-school, boys adventure sci-fi story that plays like it was made when the book was written, 1999. It's fun, though don't look for subtle and realistic dialogue. Premise - dystopian society, killer wasps, conspiracies - is a good one. People are hanging up on the bromance but honestly, it's very low-key and no big deal.

Kamisama Dolls
Episodes Watched: 3
Rating: B
Comments: A genuinely interesting premise and an interesting dichotomy of styles. The over-the-top moe antics of Utao are way too self-indulgent, but if they keep those in check it could be a winner. Might have the most interesting plot of the new series this season.

R-15
Episodes Watched: 3
Rating: B
Comments: The irony here is that the show is being misjudged in exactly the same way the main character is misjudged on the show. Rather than a cheap exploitation, it's actually a show about the struggle between love and lust and lead Taketo's desire to rise above his baser instincts and write (and live) romance instead of sex.

Probably Blogging:

Nurarihyon no Mago Sennen Makyo
Episodes Watched: 3
Rating: B
Comments: Without doubt, better than the uneven first season. A new director has brought an edgier style and better pacing, and the story is about to begin the best arc in the manga.

Baka Test Ni! 
Episodes Watched:3
Rating: B
Comments: Not as inspired as the first season so far, but still generally pretty funny.  Plus, Hideyoshi.

Will Probably Watch, Probably not Blog:

Nekogami Yoruyazu
Episodes Watched: 3
Rating: B-
Comments: One of the most amazing voice casts ever in what appears to be a supremely lightweight series about chibi Cat Gods in modern Tokyo. But it's cute, and fairly consistently funny.

Kamisama no Memochou
Episodes Watched:3
Rating:C+
Comments: I enjoyed the premiere a lot - it had a real sense of style to it and I liked the mold of Gosick, EotE and Durarara! But the next two eps left me strangely cold. I'm on the fence.

Sacred Seven
Episodes Watched: 3
Rating: C+
Comments: I'm just hanging on to this one by a thread. I haven't quite figured out whether it wants to be taken at all seriously, but it hasn't captured my imagination. In a good season, it just doesn't stand out - it's awkward and a little sloppy in the storytelling.

Mayo Chiki
Episodes Watched: 2
Rating: C+
Comments: One of the surprise hits of the Summer. I don't quite buy it myself, but hey - I can see some charming elements here. You've got your reverse trap and fetishes galore, so it's hard to see how it could miss on the popularity scale.

Blood-C
Episodes Watched: 3
Rating: C
Comments: The biggest disappointment of the season for me so far. Among the most self-indulgent of CLAMP's shows, it seems disinterested and uninspired. Neither the slice-of-life or the gore is doing anything for me, and they seem oddly disconnected from each other.  Episode 3 ended on a marginally interesting note, at least.

Dropped:

Ro Kyu Bu!
Episodes Watched: 4
Rating: C
Comments: Dropped. Not the worst thing I've seen, but doesn't offer anything that especially interests me. The fanservice is a bit off-putting and the premise is pretty absurd.

Itsuka Tenma no Kuro Usagi
Episodes Watched: 1
Rating: C-
Comments: Dropped after one episode. Just didn't seem to offer anything remotely fresh or interesting.

Yuriyuri
Episodes Watched: 1
Rating: C-
Comments: See above.  A waste of a great comedy director, Ohta Masahiko.

9 comments:

  1. My list pretty much matches yours except for Mawaru Penguindrum which is my favourite series of the season and well I haven't seen R-15 nor Mayo Chiki (I have a near zero-tolerance policy towards harem series :p )

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  2. I can agree with your previews pretty much as well. The gems are Natsume, Ikoku, and Usagi Drop. Nurarihyon is a good series as well. This weeks episode was especially good. I gave up on R-15 after 1 episde.

    And finally Blood-C has been kinda disapointing for the reasons you mentioned but I believe it will step up its game and make a comeback soon.

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  3. @Baka
    Are you really considering to drop Baka? I know it has not been up to the level of previous season. Still won't you blog it anyway for the possibility it shown you before? (hopeful for it continuity)

    @Ikoku
    Yes, YUNE your are the best

    @Natsume
    I will watch faster

    @Blood-C
    Serve you right. C rating.

    @Ro Kyu Bu
    :(

    I wanted to give response to all of them but it might be too long, therefore I settle with those I have stronger feeling.

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  4. @Blaat Thanks for commenting! R-15 really isn't a harem series - Taketo's heart clearly belongs to one girl.

    @Ikaze Baka falls under "probably blogging" and I think it's unlikely I won't keep covering it. Third ep was very good.

    Yune FTW.

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  5. I'm enjoying Sacred Seven a lot more than I thought I would. It's full of cheesy goodness and the key to appreciating such a show is to not take it too seriously.
    Hmmm... Or maybe we're just too deprived of mecha series that anything remotely close to one works for me. When will the good old times when we get Gundam, Macross and Code Geass in the same year come again? :(

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  6. That was pretty much my spin on S7 too, but it seems to take itself just a bit too seriously to me.

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  7. (Elianthos here, openID for my LJ profile is freezing up atm) My coment got swallowed by interweb imps.
    In short: I agree with your rating but for Penguindrum (I haven't watched it, somehow I'm not convinced by the concept although it seems so colourful and those penguins are adorable. Waiting for the series to end and related reviews before watching it. I mean... the crazyness can be both a blessing and a curse in my book. I was never able to warm up to FLCL for instance ). The only series I've ended up liking and following are your top three here and Tiger&Bunny.

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  8. No Steins;Gate, eh? That's awfully good, too.

    If you didn't care for FLCL, Penguin Drum may not be your thing. Not that they're so alike, but there is a certain vibe. For my money, FLCL is certainly the better show. But MPD had two cours to fill and FLCL was only 6 episodes.

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  9. (Elianthos)
    Steins;Gate; another case of 'wait for reviews of the finished series' for me. I'm not realy in the mood for it right now, but I was interested in its concept, so no hurry here.
    ---
    Patience is a virtue ;D

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