Summer 2011 Anime Mid-Season Review
Seeing as to how we are approaching the middle of the season, most anime by now should have given us a proper impression and have set the mood for what the rest of the series will be like.
All the plot building should mostly be done, and we should be getting into the midst of the action. As such, I find it only fair to do a mid-season review of the anime of Summer 2011.
This has been a relatively good season so far, there were a few series that exceeded expectations and then there were those that slowly dwindled off into the land of ‘not-interested’, and what is a season without that one controversial series?
So lets take a look at what Summer 2011 has brought us thus far, shall we?
There is always that one series every season where some will hate it and some will love it. This is definitely the most frustrating series of the season for me. One would have thought that the BLOOD franchise + CLAMP had to equal to AWESOME right? Perhaps not.
The start of the series has got to be one of the slowest that I have ever seen. Usually I would stop watching such a series, and boy was I tempted to do so, but the fact is that I still wanted to believe that there was some sort of redemption in it for the series and the 4th episode was the turning point. Was it too late in the game? Maybe, seeing as to how it is set to have only 12 episode + 1 movie, but there is a way to bring people back on board, and that is to have a good and solidly paced plot from here on in which it seems like it might end up doing.
If you are out for blood then the action scenes here will satisfy your hunger. The fight scenes are filled with enough blood to make it live up to its name, the main character is frustrating beyond believe and I feel like the animation is not anything fantastic (despite what some other people may feel). The one thing that I do like about this series are the philosophical insights to life narrated every episode.
Genre: Action, Mystery, CLAMP (there are very obvious CLAMP elements in it)
Finally a BONES animation that brings the studio out of its recent slump after a string of crappy anime. The animation is what you would expect of BONES. Nice, fluid, clean and crisp animation with a spot-on colour palette for the show, and if good animation is not your thing then how about a good and solid plot of a dystopian society filled with questions and a slight dose of action to go along with it?
An intriguing plot surrounded by the mysteries of what No.6 is without over doing any elements makes this a well-rounded show. The pacing of the story is well-done and that means that you won’t have to worry about being bored, and for BL fans, this series will give you your fix of underlying BL-ness this season. After 5 episodes, this series does not look like it will be dropping off and should entertain us till the very end.
Genre: Action, Drama
The third season of Natsume definitely brings back all the good stuff of the previous seasons whilst upping the level of character development. Every episode is bound to leave you with that same heartwarming, fluffy and nostalgic feeling at the pit of your stomach. Brought to us by Brain’s Base who produced the first two seasons, the mood and the tone of the show definitely hasn’t change. The only factor that has change is that in this season, we see more of Natsume dealing with the changing dynamics of his relationships with his friends and his acceptance towards Yokai as well as his increased understanding of Reiko.
The episodic style of Natsume means that every episode finishes itself off and delivers the best impact of calmness without making you feel like you are eager for the next episode. This is definitely an easy and soothing anime to watch. To top it off, the ED will have you sitting in your chair staring at the it as it plays just to keep you in the mood for that little bit longer.
If you liked the first season, you will love the second. The second season of Nurarihyon is much better than the first. Whilst I did enjoy the first season, I did get bored of the show as the season progressed. However, the change in directors from the first to the second season was a good choice on the part of the production studio.
Studio DEEN has a habit of bringing us sub-par animation quality in the past, and even though Nurarihyon no Mago may not be exceptional when it comes to the animation, you probably won’t have too much of an issue with it. The atmosphere, interesting main and supporting characters, constant plot progression and fast paced episodes will keep you more entertained than the first season ever did.
This is probably my favourite shounen series of the season. Filled with action and humorous moments as well as an entertaining family of characters, you will not be disappointed by this season if you liked the first.
Genre: Action, Shounen, Comedy, Supernatural
This is a series that seems to be on a steady decline from the expectations one would have after the first episode.
The first episode of Kamisama no Memo-chou was an hour long, had a nice mysterious mood to it and kept me wanting more. However, the episodes that followed did not maintain my level of interest in the show. They should have made this into a movie and be done with it. The second case was far from interesting and the conclusion to that was highly unsatisfying. As for the third case, I doubt you can even call that a case.
The first episode made it seem like there was plenty of possibilities for the characters to develop into interesting personas, but the fact remains that the characters have not developed much since the first episode. We are shown snippets of some of the characters past, told that the character has changed, but the execution made it so uninteresting that one could not help but be bored and lose interest in what happens to any of the characters. Alice remains unchanged and whatever impression we get of any of the characters are because of what we are “told”/shown but never followed through in such a way that we believe that they really are who they claim to be.
The good thing is that the animation does look good and deceives one into thinking that they will be getting more than what they actually recieve.
Genre: Mystery, Detective
Surprisingly decent. I had not expected much from the show when I first saw the poster thinking that it was going to be another moe show, but this series actually has quite a bit of substance to it. The mystery that surrounds these God-like “Dolls” that look like machines, coupled to with the mysterious past of the main character Kyouhei actually keeps me wanting more as the series progresses.
After 5 episodes, we are not too much closer to knowing what exactly happened between Kyouhei, his Seki and his village but the introduction of new characters from Kyouhei’s past and his return to the village seems like the development of the plot is going in the right direction and those questions will be answered soon.
The fights between the machine-like dolls are always interesting to watch even though the designs of the machines are pretty odd. The only thing that I don’t really like are the few pointless moments that are tossed in without much reason, like the cake scene and fan service shots of the girls. I have resigned myself to the fact that most anime throw in fan service moments just to keep the crowd pleased, but because I am a girl, I am unable to appreciate those moments.
Genre: Drama, Action, Science Fiction
If i had to use a sentence to describe what Usagi Drop is, it would be: A slice-of-life series with movie quality animation and soundtrack to back up a solid, heartwarming story about a man and his grandfather’s illegitimate child.
This production by Production I.G is leaps and bounds better than it’s other series this season – BLOOD-C. Though they are different in style, the animation quality and unique creative style of Usagi Drop manages to stand out among all the other anime this season. Even with the increase amounts of Slice-of-Life series produced over the recent years, Usagi Drop still manages to be a standout series.
Despite the fact that I think that this is a good series, I feel that it has to be watched in small doses and so following it weekly is probably the best way to watch this series. After 5 episodes, the relationship between Rin and Daikichi is starting to develop into something more solid. Daikichi is starting to settle into the role of being a father and Rin is starting to find herself a family. The progress made each episode may not be anything huge, but this what this anime is like, slow and steady. Despite the minor, yet crucial, progress each episode, it is definitely a nice, heartwarming and adorable anime to watch.
Genre: Slice of Life, Family
This is the quirky anime of the Summer season. The art style and the originality of the storyline makes it feel like you have been hit by something unexpected. This is one of the three Brain’s Base anime out this season and this is definitely the most fun to watch anime this season.
After five episodes, it looks like things are settling down. All the main characters have been introduced (Takakura Household + Ringo + Penguins + unknowns) and the Takakura brothers tag-team have made significant progress in their search for the Penguindrum. The series places a huge focus on character development and centers episode plots around the main characters with the search for the Penguindrum being the catalyst for it all. Other more sinister and darker plots relating to the Penguindrum also seem to be brewing in the background.
The amount of drama in this show has not reduced and if over-the-top reactions is not your kind of thing, then perhaps this might be a bit hard for you to watch. One thing that some may find hard to stomach is the Variety-Show-like transformation scene that Himari goes through to become the Penguin Queen, but in all honestly, I think that that scene actually adds to the quirky factor of the series. Some may also get creep out of the stalkerish attitude that Ringo has (I know that I was) or scene between Himari and Kanba at the end of episode 1, but don’t let that stop you from enjoying a good and funny anime.
Genre: Comedy, Family, Romance, Science Fiction
Uta no Prince-sama
Oh my god, watching this series is time that I am never going to get back. I love a good reverse harem show, but this is definitely not a good one. I have only seen the first couple of episodes so this is probably not going to classify as part of the mid-season review, but I am not going to be able to bring myself to watch more of this show unless I have nothing better to do.
My first issue with the show is the odd eyes that the main character has, she looks like a blind cat. The second issue with the show is that it is a typical Reverse-harem setup with each male character having their alone moments with the main female character whom they are all attracted to for no reason. The issue with the show is the execution method, I actually like La Corda d’oro and how that was done even though it may not have been the best show, but the stock standard execution method of this show makes you feel like you are playing the dating-sim game and watching it unfold in front of your eyes. As for whether that is a good or bad thing, I will let you decide it for yourself. The saving grace for the show, in my opinion, would be that the songs are not that hard on the ears.
Genre: Reverse Harem, Romance, Shoujo
I had thought that this was going to turn into another Gosick, but surprisingly, despite some similarities, the path of which Dantalia no Shoka follows is quite different. After 4 episodes, this anime seem to have developed an episodic story-telling style and thus far it does not seem like any deeper darker plot is brewing the background. Every episode follows the same style of being slightly eerie and generally is about a phantom book that Dalian and Huey are chasing after.
Some episodes presents a nice mystery like with episode 4 but some of the other episodes may fall slightly short of being mysterious but makes up for that with a relatively interesting story with a decent outcome. The plot in general does not excite me much but every episode is still a good watch.
Perhaps whilst this is not the best anime of the season, there is consistency throughout the series so far and that is one thing I appreciate. The animation is good, the music suits the story, the backdrops are pretty, and the nice dark melancholic atmosphere makes this one of the darker series of this season.
Genre: Mystery, Supernatural, Action
That’s all folks! I hope that these mid-season reviews has help you in some way. Let me know if you have any other anime to recommend or if you disagree with any of the reviews! =) Be it bad or good, it is always nice to hear some sort of feedback, that way I won’t feel as lonely. (^ ^)
Posted on August 7, 2011, in Anime, Reviews, Season Reviews, Summer 2011 Previews and tagged Blood C, Dantalian no Shoka, kamisama dolls, Kamisama no Memo-Chou, Mawaru Penguindrum, Natsume Yuujinchou San, No. 6, Nurarihyon no Mago Sennen Makyou, usagi drop, uta no prince-sama. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.