Summer 2011 Anime – Final Thoughts (Part 1)

Alrighty then! Before I get into the Autumn season properly (I’ve only sampled Ika Musume S2 so far – and no, I can’t see myself blogging that), I’ll let the internet know what I thought about the shows that just ended. As before, I’ll rank them from the series I was least impressed with up to my absolute favorites, and compare these current rankings to the ones I gave them two months ago (part 1/part 2). Don’t worry, it’s been a far more dynamic season this time around, so there’ll be more than the occasional ‘down/up one place’ change this time! The only series from back then which is still ongoing and isn’t included in my ‘final thoughts’ is, of course, Toriko.

16: Kamisama no Memo-chou (Down five places)

 We’ll start with the major disappointment of the season. I didn’t like the characters, because there wasn’t much to like. All generic stereotypes with little attempt at development. While anime may get away with that for some genres, such as comedy, where simply being funny is all I want from a character, it didn’t work for Kami Memo because it is a plot driven series which saw it’s major characters put themselves at risk more than once… and I honestly didn’t care whether they survived or not. I also found most of the plots predictable, and/or boring. The reason why I’m giving it 2.5/5 is because, at the very least, it is better than OreTsuba last season, and the animation remained superb. Overall, it certainly didn’t do much to redeem J.C.Staff in my eyes… though I’ll no doubt watch Bakuman 2 and Shana III anyway.

Rating: 2.5/5

15: Yuru Yuri (Up one place)

Yuru Yuri benefits slightly from Kami Memo’s failures, but the show itself didn’t improve much, aside from picking up (very few) more running gags along the way. It certainly didn’t get any worse; the animation and music were nice, and there were times when it made me laugh hard. Just not many times. Again, the characters were pretty generic, but it was much less of an issue due to the moe/comedy setting. Maybe Yuru Yuri would have ranked higher if I wasn’t comparing it to Nichijou every week, but it’s difficult not to compare them, and the difference in overall quality is pretty staggering.

Rating: 3/5

14: Mayo Chiki! (Non-mover)

My fears about Mayo Chiki! were soon realized – the early episodes were full of energy, and its crazy OTT characters made it stand out at the time, but it soon fell into generic ecchi harem comedy habits. Later episodes felt repetitive, and the final episode was a VERY strange note to end on… though after watching it, I feel the strangest urge to check out Mirai Millennium next year… Anyway, the series certainly had its good points, the characters had at least a little depth as well as being hilarious, and the animation was above average. Just don’t expect anything that new from it after the first few eps are done.

Rating: 3.5/5

13: Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu 2 (Non-mover)

Patience, we’ll get to the dynamic part soon! Baka Test 2 stays where it was before though, because while it was certainly fun to watch, it really didn’t match up to the first season. It felt more disjointed, jumping from place to place (beach, school trip, school, flashbacks to the past etc), and the majority of the jokes were reused from the first series. That girl’s bath peeping arc went on one episode too long as well… So, the positives? The characters are still likable, the jokes are still funny (even though some variation would be nice), and the production values are still high.

Rating: 3.5/5

12: Uta no Prince-sama: Maji Love 1000% (Up three places)

All the shows discussed up until now have either stayed constantly meh, or disappointed me in some way. I don’t think you could accuse UtaPri of either of those things – it’s far too flamboyant to be ‘meh’, and it really grew on me as the series went on. Did it actually get better, though? Probably not. 😛 It was still full of cheese and fangirl pandering, but all nicely animated at least! Shining Saotome also has to be one of the greatest uses of Norio Wakamoto’s voice ever. All in all, hardly the series of the season, but great fun!

Rating: 3.5/5

11: Kamisama Dolls (Down one place)

Kamisama Dolls was probably the most difficult series of the season to rate. On the production side, the animation quality wasn’t great. Plot-wise, it jumped around a lot… I struggled to keep track of who was a ‘friend’ and who was an ‘enemy’ from the protagonists’ stand point, since the character interactions were quite complex; one week’s bad guy could end up fighting along side them a couple of weeks later. Lastly, it didn’t end, leaving itself open for a possible sequel. The thing is, every episode was really enjoyable despite these issues, and they seemed to prioritise what little animation budget they must have had on making the action scenes look good at least.

Rating: 3.5/5

10: Hanasaku Iroha (Down four places)

You’ll notice the ratings are now at 4/5, a sign that we’re now in the Top 10 of what has been a good couple of seasons overall. Hanasaku Iroha fell to this position from 6th more as a result of the strength of the other shows than due to its own weakness, but there’s not much between it and my #5 ranked series, believe me, and I would still recommend it to anyone who likes drama/comedy. A slight complaint I had was that, while the characters remained incredibly likeable throughout, I found the episodes towards the end didn’t quite match up to the ones from the first ¾ of the series, as if the ending had been dragged on just a little too long.

Rating: 4/5

9: Blood-C (Down two places)

I feel like one of a small number of people standing up for this series; A-P rates it over 1000 places below UtaPri, making it by far the lowest rated show on the site out of those I picked up recently. As I said before, maybe I’d feel differently if I’d seen other series from the Blood franchise. But as a stand-alone series, I quite liked Blood-C. Yes, it was censored. Yes, it took ages to build up. And yes, it’ll be at least a year before we get to see the proper ending, when the movie comes out on disc. That’s why it fell even in my ratings. But fair play to them, the plot twist at episode 11 was quite epic, and the gorefest that followed was impressive even in its heavily censored state. I urge people to give this show a chance, at the very least!

Rating: 4/5

I’ll leave it there for today, but the second half should be up soon! Check back to find out which series dropped four places, and which one rose by an impressive seven!


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