Spring 2011 Anime – Final Thoughts

Spring is SO last season now, but with some final episodes only subbed this morning, this is about as up-to-date a post as you can expect from me! My last posts on the spring season saw me list my thoughts on everything that started that season, based on 3-5 episodes; this post contains my final thoughts on the anime that ended this season, based on the whole series. This means that the 6 of my former Top 10 that are still airing won’t be included. Will the remaining series still be ranked in the same order? Read on and find out!

 

9: Oretachi ni Tsubasa wa Nai (New entry)

What’s that you say? This wasn’t in my original list? That’s true, because after one episode of this show I decided to drop it. Then, for reasons I don’t fully understand myself, I picked it up again. It didn’t improve. Oretsuba’s strongest point is it’s premise: multiple personalities inhabiting one body, and a look at the very different lives lead by these very different ‘people’. Each personality had a different name and appearance (to the viewer at least, making things less confusing – it’s implied they look the same to other characters). Each was assigned one (or more) of the generic female characters as a ‘romantic interest’, (it’s a H-game adaptation, I use that word lightly), but it wasn’t the heavy fanservice or harem hijinks that spoiled this for me. The pacing and execution were dreadful, and the ending (which could have been very good) was far too rushed.

Rating: 1.5/5

 

8: Seikon no Qwaser II (Down two places)

Qwaser II was never going to outshine sequels of Kaiji and Maria+Holic. Even so, I looked forward to it. While the fanservice isn’t exactly my fetish, the first series appealed to me in other ways. The production values were solid; the characters well introduced, developed (in more ways than one…) and likeable; the plot was half-decent and very well paced. Though there was fanservice in every episode, the eps where fanservice was the only plot were few in number, and spaced out. All this was forgotten in the sequel. It had a weak plot, and only enough of it to last 6 episodes (half the series). This was followed by FIVE consecutive episodes of ecchi ‘filler’, before they introduced a new plotline in the rushed final episode, ending on a cliffhanger. The fanservice was even more frequent and explicit. IMO, it’s only good feature is its blatant protest against censorship.

Rating: 1.5/5

 

7: Dog Days (Up one place)

In a similar style to Seikon no Qwaser II, Dog Days effectively ended (plot-wise) at episode 10… then went on for three more episodes. In this case it is more forgiveable, because at least the pacing was consistent; Dog Days took ages to get going, so it only makes sense that the closure take equally as long. That doesn’t make it a good thing. Overall, it is a very slow, mildly amusing (but never laugh-out-loud) show with generic characters that is unlikely to stick in people’s minds for long now it has finished. It is only the high production values that save this series from a 2.5/5 or lower rating. Heck, it was so forgettable I’m struggling to write as much about it as the others, hence all this filler!

Rating: 3/5

 

6: Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko (down one place)

Those automatic points I gave it for being a SHAFT series are pretty much all it has left. I cannot fault the animation and music. And at least it was better than the likes of Bakemonogatari and Dance in the Vampire Bund. Why is SHAFT my favourite studio again? Anyhow, it was another slow-paced ‘comedy’ that simply didn’t make me laugh. Character-wise, at least it had Meme-tan, who may actually be the best new character from the whole season, and is the only reason I’d consider watching a sequel. Erio was okay, but quickly lost her novelty value. Can’t remember the male lead’s name, showing how much of an impression he left on me. While the ending wasn’t great, it wasn’t intended to be the final episode (the show was delayed by the earthquake), so I’ll let it off at least until episode 13 comes out on Blu-Ray.

Rating: 3/5

 

5: C: The Money of Soul and Possibility Control (down one place)

I’m going to struggle to write about C, simply because I struggled to understand it! The financial stuff went way over my head. In that sense it reminds me greatly of Shangri-la; strong production values, lovely character designs, some pretty epic action scenes… hadn’t a clue what was going on, but it was entertaining enough! In my first list I stated that I found the characters boring, which I would like to withdraw – they’re not amazing, but I definitely grew to like them more as the series went along. In summary, it’s difficult to fault C, but if you plan to watch it then knowledge of economics would be an advantage!

Rating: 3.5/5

 

4: Deadman Wonderland (down one place)

After a promising start, Deadman Wonderland quickly descended into a train-wreck. No doubt people with knowledge of the manga would be able to comment in more detail over where the anime went wrong, but there are obvious flaws even to those who haven’t read it (like me). E.g. bad pacing, rushing through everything way too fast and jumping from one thing to another as if it had ADHD. This wasn’t helped by the fact it was only 12 episodes long – they tried to fit too much into too little time. And while I assume there will be a sequel (depending on DVD/Blu-Ray sales), some level of closure would have been nice, but wasn’t offered. So, why the hell is this series ranked 4th? Because for all it’s faults, I enjoyed it purely for the action, violence (which wasn’t TOO badly censored), great characters, and just the sheer, amazing concept.

Rating: 3.5/5

 

3: X-Men (Up four places)

In case you were wondering why so many series had dropped one place in my rankings… now you know. X-Men had it’s faults, I’m not going to deny that. It took a while to get going (hence my low initial ranking), and the animation wasn’t up to MADHOUSE’s usual quality (read: the incredibly high quality they achieve in every series that isn’t a Marvel adaptation. Funny, that). Once it did get going, however, I found X-Men difficult to fault. The action scenes were spectacular, and the characters were still the freaking X-Men (they introduced an anime-original X-Man/Woman/Girl since I made my first list, but she wasn’t bad at all). The plot was simple, but mainly served as an excuse for the aforementioned epic action… Basically, my reasons for liking this show are the same as for Deadman Wonderland, but X-Men was definitely the less flawed of the two.

Rating: 4/5

 

2: Dororon Enma-kun Meeramera (Down one place)

Never quite good enough to take the number one spot, Enma-kun lost out only to Steins;Gate in my initial rankings, but since then has dropped below a couple of other Spring shows, one of which ended this season (you should be able to guess which series I’m on about by now :razz:). All the strengths I listed in the first list still apply; okay, maybe it didn’t have the best OP and ED of the season once the others had time to grow on me, but they’re still damned awesome. The series’ major flaw was that it was so formulaic, the humour became repetitive, and by the end it wasn’t raising as many chuckles as SHAFT’s superior spring comedy show (okay, can you guess what my number one is NOW?). I would still recommend Enma-kun though, it’s a fun show that featured great characters and some really ingenious parodies.

Rating: 4/5

 

1: Maria+Holic Alive (Up one place)

SURPRIZE! Or not… Oh yeah, that’s why I like SHAFT! The first episode pacing issues that held it back in my initial rankings are long forgotten, due to the good pacing of every other episode. The characters haven’t stopped being awesome, and the jokes haven’t stopped being funny (despite the fact that in theory they should also be getting a bit repetitive by now, they just don’t). The OP changed from the already fantastic song by Father Kanae to an even more catchy one for the majority of the episodes, which will make things interesting come my end of year theme song rankings… Anyway, if you loved the first season as I did, you’ll love Maria+Holic Alive.

Rating: 4.5/5

 

So no 5/5 series from Spring just yet (you can only do so well with a formulaic comedy series, no matter how good), but these are just the shows that have already ended. For now, onwards to the summer!

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