Autumn 2011 Anime (Part 1)

Happy Halloween! While I realize Mirai Nikki 4 is out, and probably would have suited the theme of this evening a bit more, Halloween is a pretty big and busy event with my family, and includes a food spread only exceeded in size and awesomeness by our Christmas feast… which usually lasts at least three days, virtually without breaks…

Anyway, I haven’t had time to watch the latest Mirai Nikki yet, so will instead begin my usual summary of this season’s series as a whole. Fortunately, even the worst of Autumn’s offerings aren’t what I’d call the stuff of nightmares. 😛 They are all Autumn series this time too – the only series left over from previous seasons is Toriko, and since that could go on forever I’ll leave it out. So starting with the bottom half:

17: Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon (ANN)

This show is a mystery to me. Its based on a light novel, which surely means it must have a selling point beyond the fanservice-friendly art. Witty banter, character development, maybe even plot? These first four episodes haven’t given me much of the above. While not entirely without hope, Horizon could easily become a trainwreck.

Main strength: On paper, the premise sounds intriguing. Confusing as hell, but intriguing.

Main weakness: Agonizingly slow paced after its action packed first episode.

 

16: Maji de Watashi ni Koi Shinasai!! (ANN)

The first episode was fantastic, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that it wouldn’t be representative of the series as a whole… so far, it hasn’t been. Things soon dropped into generic, heavily censored harem antics, which not even a record attempt for the amount of times the word ‘pantsu’ could be fit into a single discussion could hope to salvage.

Main strength: The fact I didn’t expect much to begin with means that its failures are more or less forgivable.

Main weakness: I’ve seen it all before, often done better.

 

15: Tamayura: Hitotose (A-P)

I picked this up because the slow-paced, feel good feeling it gave off in episode 1 reminded me strongly of Aria. However, the lack of Martian Venice and gondolas has taken away much of the magic, which the camera can’t quite compensate for. Also, they left the best character (Chihiro) behind when the protagonist moved house!

Main strength: It offers some greatly appreciated variation in this largely action-packed season.

Main weakness: The animation looks pretty dated.

 

14: Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai (ANN)

The first episode was strong, and the second episode was arguably one of the funniest things I’ve seen this season. I liked the interactions of (what at this point) were the only three characters in the club. However, episodes 3 and 4 felt very underwhelming, and the new characters fairly generic. The animation also seemed to take a nosedive.

Main strength: It can be hilarious, it has already proven as much.

Main weakness: Could become a generic harem show, which I really don’t want to happen.

 

13: Un-Go (ANN)

Episodic detective shows aren’t really my thing; at ~20 minutes an episode, there’s no time for complex, multi-layered mysteries to be developed. The episodic, throwaway cast are poorly developed, making things even more dull. So far, Un-Go is un-derwhelming as a result, but ep 3 looks as though it’ll be a two-parter, so there is still hope!

Main strength: Inga is certainly an… interesting character.

Main weakness: Overall, the early episodes failed to leave much of an impression on me.

 

12: Phi Brain: Kami no Puzzle (ANN)

The premise sounds good on paper – I like puzzles, even if I’m not great at them. The problem is, watching other people solve them isn’t actually that interesting, even if the characters’ lives are at risk if they fail. Another, minor issue is that the puzzles are often presented in a way that makes it difficult for the viewer to have a go themselves!

Main strength: Includes the best trap of the season, and the best name… Anna Gram? Seriously? I love it. 😛

Main weakness: Needs something to make it more interesting to watch – a main villain or more visually impressive puzzle would do the trick.

 

11: Persona 4 The Animation (ANN)

Most of the series with big flaws are now out of the way. Persona 4 JUST misses out on my Top 10, because at this point nothing that exciting has happened. I can’t say the animation has been spectacular, either. Still, I love how the show has kept in a load of elements I presume are present in the game (the calendar and personality chart etc).

Main strength: It has an interesting concept, and could get pretty good in time.

Main weakness: The protagonist is pretty dull – here’s hoping his personality develops along with the meter!

 

10: Shakugan no Shana III (Final) (ANN)

Since Season II was disappointing, and aired so long ago that I’ve forgotten most of what was going on in the first place, I wasn’t overly enthusiastic about Final, picking it up solely for the sake of completion. But so far, I’m actually quite impressed. If it sticks to the action and plot, and holds back on filler-like romance/comedy eps, it’ll be perfect.

Main strength: Catchy OP, not my favorite of the season, but close!

Main weakness: I can’t believe I’m saying this, but a bit of recap would have been nice after 4 years… Like hell I’m watching Season II again to refresh my memory.

 

9: Hunter x Hunter (2011) (ANN)

The final title for this post, slap bang in the middle. I had to give this a chance, since its such a well known shounen staple. I like it so far, and the animation from MADHOUSE is better than your usual (presumably) long running series… but even with content cut out or squeezed into fewer eps, its still off to a relatively slow start.

Main strength: The ED is awesome… if only because it reminds me of Kaiji 2!

Main weakness: If its like One Piece, it could be tens of episodes and several arcs before it really gets good.

That’s all for now, but expect part 2 sooner than usual…

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