Spring 2011 Anime (Part 1)

I don’t think I’ve done one of these posts since spring last year… Probably for good reasons; I didn’t pick up much last summer (Campanella dominated my blog for most of the season), and was bogged down with work through autumn and winter. But in the usual unorganized AngryJellyfish manner, here are my thoughts on spring’s anime offerings after three episodes. As ever, starting with the weakest:

15: Dog Days

I moved this up and down my ratings list before deciding it belonged here. It isn’t a bad series by any means, it just fails to stand out in a season this awesome. Maybe I’ll warm to it more if/when it develops a plot, until then it serves as mildly amusing filler while I wait for better things to air.

Main strength: NORIO WAKAMOTO!

Main weakness: I haven’t fallen in love with any of the characters *yet*, they seem mostly generic.

14: Toriko 

I expected I’d be rating this higher, but so far it has been repetitive. Admittedly, episode 1 was One Piece filler and ep. 2 actually WAS a remake of the TV special, but then episode 3 failed to add anything (except fill one course of Toriko’s full-course meal). But it’s shonen, I’m prepared to give it plenty of time to build up.

Main strength: I love the concept, but…

Main weakness: As with all good food, they’ll have to keep the ingredients fresh!

13: X-Men 

I finally got around to watching a MADHOUSE Marvel adaptation, and it isn’t bad. The pacing is good, the music is great, the characters are the freaking X-Men… what’s not to like? IMO the animation holds it back, and the plot hasn’t gripped me anywhere near as much as it should have. It has mystery, action… but I still find myself distracted!

Main strength: Probably the music, the themes and BGM are very good.

Main weakness: I hear inconsistent animation is a recurring theme in the Marvel anime… why MADHOUSE?

12: Seikon no Qwaser II 

Oh Qwaser, what ever am I to do with you? This second series seems even more extreme than the first, which isn’t a good thing for me (I’m not watching it for the rape or lactation, honest)! Despite this, I like the characters, I like the action, I’d love the whole world if it didn’t run on breast milk!

Main strength: I’m undecided. Making Hana a main character and Alexander a trap were both good moves!

Main weakness: Only the core plot point of the entire franchise. Yet still I’m drawn to it…

11: Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko 

Well it gets automatic points simply for being by SHAFT, with (so far) flawless animation and some great themes… but they’ve made a lot of series like this now. I fear that some day I’ll become as tired of SHAFT’s quirkiness as some people are of KyoAni’s moe blobs. 😦

Main strength: OP and ED – not quite the best of the season though, we’re not in the top 10 yet!

Main weakness: Feels like a mashup of ef, Arakawa and Bakemonogatari, which so far isn’t as awesome as it sounds.

10: Hyouge Mono 

If I knew more about the Sengoku period, or knew anything at all about the tea ceremony, this series could have been in my top 3. Despite the fact I don’t, it’s still in my top 10. I keep watching it because it’s very stylish, and different to anything I’ve come across in anime before.

Main strength: Oda Nobunaga is probably better in this than in BASARA – despite the lack of Norio Wakamoto!

Main weakness: Requires very specific knowledge to fully appreciate this series.

9: Tiger and Bunny 

Fantastic idea, and unexpected from Sunrise: combining superpowers and capitalism to make a world where heroes defend justice while posing for the camera and advertising Pepsi. I also love the interactions between the two main, titular characters.

Main strength: All the above really, while not shining at anything it’s a very good all rounder.

Main weakness: Some bad CGI in places makes this the last series to be held back on account of animation quality.

8: Nichijou TV 

I’ll admit to being a huge fan of 4-koma comedy manga and their anime adaptations. Nichijou is a pretty standard example, following the every day lives (which is what Nichijou actually translates as BTW) of some amusing people. And robots. And talking cats.

Main strength: It’s this high mostly because it appeals to my personal taste in anime, but…

Main weakness: It isn’t quite Azumanga Daioh.

So that’s part one of my preliminary season review. Ideally I’d like to finish the season with another list showing how my ratings have changed as these series progress and (in the case of the 12 ep ones) end, but we’ll see how it goes. If nothing else, look forward to my top 7 over the next few days!


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