Summer 2011 Anime (Part 2)

Okay, time for my Top 8 ongoing series! This is where things truly get awesome, so if you’re looking to pick up a new show and want recommendations, these are what I’d suggest first:

8: Dantalian no Shoka (MAL)

Dantalian is ranked 8th largely for the same reason as Croisée is rated 9th – I really like the time period. The reason Dantalian ranks higher is that it features magic, action (if you can call Epic Reading ‘action’, that is) and looks as though it has more potential to develop a decent plot. Also love the strange animation style, from who else but Gainax.

Main strength: Easily the best OP of the season.

Main weakness: So far it is episodic; the episodes are good, but if it continues then maybe my hopes of plot development won’t be realized.

7: Blood-C (MAL)

My first taste of the Blood franchise… maybe that’s why I like it? I’ve not heard many good comments from fans of Blood+, however, and many sites rate it low/average. But for me, CLAMP character designs, Production I.G., a mix of slice of life and action, and one of the most likable characters of the season make this a winner.

Main strength: Probably Saya’s songs… hope the other characters don’t end up putting her off singing them altogether!

Main weakness: Hasn’t really progressed in three episodes, but it has 3/4 of the series left to do so.

6: Hana-Saku Iroha (A-P)

A great slice of life/comedy show, Hana-Saku Iroha ranks 6th for the second time in a row. Over time the characters have developed and are now even more likable, while an increasing amount of attention is being payed to the fact their inn is running low on money… here’s hoping they sort that out by the end of the series!

Main strength: Still the characters.

Main weakness: Compared to last season, at least, it’s the OP. I much preferred the first one. 😦

5: Kaiji 2 (A-P)

I’m surprised myself at how low this ranks, but if anything that just goes to show how epic the rest of my Top 5 are! You should all know what I think about Kaiji by now – this series is awesome, but sure takes its time to get anywhere…

Main strength: Epic Gambling – the games themselves, the prizes/penalties at stake, the antagonists, and Kaiji’s strategies. They’re what make this series so great, IMO.

Main weakness: Series like this can benefit from being drawn out, as it builds tension… but they do take it a little too far in Kaiji. 😛

4: Usagi Drop (ANN)

The hardest of all to rank, I placed Usagi Drop 4th because it doesn’t beat the intrigue of #3, the hilarity of #2 or the epicness of #1. It has to be one of the most realistic anime I’ve seen in terms of how a child acts, and how difficult it is to suddenly take custody of one. Or so I’d assume anyway… Looking forward to seeing how it develops!

Main strength: Daikichi and Rin are far from the usual generic male lead/loli stereotype. Their interactions are adorable.

Main weakness: It’s only flaw is the lack of impact in the first few episodes, though I’ve no doubt it’ll develop well.

3: No. 6 (A-P)

Just beating it’s rival noitaminA series, No. 6 appealed more to me in it’s early stages by getting straight to the point. It knows it only has 11 episodes to tell a story, and so immediately throws in car chases, killer bees, conspiracies and some great characters. All this with awesome animation from Bones!

Main strength: Pacing – fast enough to make every minute interesting, but not so fast that you lose track of what’s going on.

Main weakness: None so far. I only hope they do manage to finish it well in 11 episodes…

2: Nichijou (A-P)

Shooting up from 8th place in the Spring rankings, Nichijou has been the biggest surprise for me. At some point early in the series, it suddenly went from raising the occasional chuckle to leaving me in fits of uncontrollable laughter. And has kept it up in every episode since then. And surely that’s all a comedy show needs to do.

Main strength: I said last time that it wasn’t quite Azumanga Daioh. It still isn’t – while the format is similar, Nichijou has it’s own unique style of humour.

Main weakness: Some of the puns don’t translate well… worth waiting for a decent sub release for that reason.

1: Steins;Gate (MAL)

It was inevitable that my favorite series for the past 17 weeks wouldn’t be knocked off the top spot by a range of shows that, while intriguing, haven’t had as long to develop, so maybe No. 6 is the real winner here. But seriously, if you’re not watching Steins;Gate, there aren’t many series (ongoing or otherwise) I’d recommend more right now.

Main strength: Okabe/Okarin/Hououin Kyouma or whatever other name you want to call him. What an amazing character!

Main weakness: Nothing springs to mind.

As before, these rankings are not final. They are here to let people know which series I like AT THE MOMENT, so that if you want to know what’s worth picking up this season and care about my opinion on the matter (haha) then it may be of some help. A final ranking will be posted at the end of the season for any of these series that end then, so if you prefer to marathon complete series, you may be better off waiting for that. 🙂

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