Summer 2011 Anime – Final Thoughts (Part 2)

Continuing from yesterday, here are my Top 8 series out of those which just finished:

8: Dantalian no Shoka (Non-mover)

My hopes of plot development weren’t realized in the end after all; the final episode managed to fit all the characters that I assumed would be important into one story, but it was no less episodic than those that came before it. On the other hand, this show was produced by Gainax. They like to play around a bit with episodic series, and while Dantalian was no Panty & Stocking, there were times when their antics left me wondering whether I was still watching the same show. 😛 The characters were likeable, and that OP was a thing of beauty, so the lack of any real plot (while disappointing) is largely forgivable.

Rating: 4/5

 

7: No. 6 (Down four places)

 

Now here’s an anime which DID have a plot… it just seemed to take a back seat as the series went on, and far more time was spent on character development. This was an unusual move for such a short series, which didn’t quite work in my opinion, but it made it difficult to dislike the show – the ending explained virtually nothing, and was blatant fan pandering… but I am a fan, so I was fine with that! No. 6 is slightly less flawed than Blood-C, hence the higher rank, but flawed it still is, so it won’t be making my Top 5 this time.

Rating: 4/5

6: Ikoku Meiro no Croisée (Up three places)

There was never any doubt that Ikoku Meiro no Croisee would rise in my rankings, as slow paced slice of life can take a while to get going. Yune herself became much less withdrawn, and her character developed quite a bit as a result; the rest of the cast were just lovely. The reason it ranks above Hanasaku Iroha is that the pacing felt better, I didn’t get the same feeling of it being drawn out too long (probably because it was half the length :razz:). But, for the most part the series is just cute – it didn’t really have any stand out moments that would make me rate it higher.

Rating: 4/5

5: Tiger & Bunny (Up seven places)

It’s no real secret that I’ve had issues with this series in the past – it wouldn’t have had to climb seven places if I hadn’t ranked it so low to begin with, afterall. But while a lot of those issues remained (mostly the obvious CGI and the often predictable plot), the second half of Tiger & Bunny was very strong on the whole. The ending in particular was hard to fault, a good couple of last episodes that wrapped the plot up nicely while remaining good fun. Which is probably why I rank it above the other 4/5 rated shows – most of them dropped down to that score, but Tiger & Bunny rose up to it.

Rating: 4/5

4: Usagi Drop (Non-mover)

What makes Usagi Drop a 4.5 when Ikoku Meiro no Croisee is a 4/5? They’re both cute, have great characters and really high good animation, after all. Heck, Croisee’s final episode felt like an ending, which is more than can be said for Usagi Drop! Well, I struggle to put the reason down in words. I think I just liked how realistic the series was, focusing on a lot of the issues a single guy would have to deal with in order to bring up a child – the effect it has on his career, looking after Rin when she was ill etc., it just felt as though it had more depth than most series of its kind. Oh, and Rin probably beats Yune in terms of cuteness as well. 😛

Rating: 4.5/5

3: Kaiji 2 (Up two places)

Kaiji’s main strength and weakness will always be the slow pacing, in my opinion. It results in tension and cliffhangers of epic levels, which I love, and it is probably better this way than if they stormed through each arc in half the time… BUT, when you look back on it, there isn’t actually much content, and that’s what holds me back from giving it a full 5/5. While I preferred the arcs from the first season to the Chinchiro, The Bog arc followed by a fantastic ending balanced things out. It was great fun to follow each week! Shame they had to cut out the ED for a lot of the later episodes, though.

Rating: 4.5/5

2: Nichijou (Non-mover)

I don’t usually give comedy series full marks, overlooking them in favour of shows with epic plots and character development instead. But every now and then, a show appears that demands my attention by making me laugh, hard and repeatedly. Nichijou is one such series. It joins the likes of Hale+Guu and Azumanga Daioh on my 5/5 list. Why? The energy in some episodes went beyond hyper, the timing was perfect nearly every time, and most importantly, it varied the jokes instead of just recycling the same ones over and over again! The large cast of characters helps to add to that variation, and they’re all great fun. More people need to watch this series!

Rating: 5/5

1: Steins;Gate (Non-mover)

Bet you didn’t see that coming! I wonder if, in some other universe, there’s another me who doesn’t like this show, or who simply didn’t watch it, or who (SHOCK HORROR) doesn’t like anime!? ANYWAY, my preference for plot-driven shows over comedy still stands as long as those shows are done properly, and Steins;Gate is virtually flawless. There’s no point going into the specifics, as everything was good. Who couldn’t like a series where the characters build a time machine out of a microwave oven and a mobile phone? AND IT’S GETTING A MOVIE! I only hope that’s a good thing, and that it doesn’t turn out to be lame or a recap or whatever…

Rating: 5.1/5

Well that’s the end of Spring and Summer’s seasons, as far as my watching list is concerned. Now, I just need 16 new shows to replace them all…

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