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?


BLOOD-C

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.

Rating: 6.5/10

Genre: Action, Mystery, CLAMP (there are very obvious CLAMP elements in it)

BLOOD-C Reviews


No. 6

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.

Rating: 8/10

Genre: Action, Drama

No.6 Reviews


Natsume Yuujinchou San

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.

Raing: 9/10

Genre: Supernatural

Natsume Yuujinchou San Reviews


Nurarihyon no Mago Sennen Makyou

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.

Rating: 8/10

Genre: Action, Shounen, Comedy, Supernatural

Nurarihyon no Mago Sennen Makyou Reviews


Kamisama no Memo-chou

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.

Rating: 6.5/10

Genre: Mystery, Detective

Kamisama no Memo-chou Reviews


Kamisama Dolls

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.

Rating: 7/10

Genre: Drama, Action, Science Fiction

Kamisama Dolls Reviews


Usagi Drop

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.

Rating: 8/10

Genre: Slice of Life, Family


Mawaru Penguindrum

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.

Rating: 8.5/10

Genre: Comedy, Family, Romance, Science Fiction

Mawaru Penguindrum Reviews


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.

Rating: 4/10

Genre: Reverse Harem, Romance, Shoujo


Dantalian no Shoka

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.

Rating: 7.5/10

Genre: Mystery, Supernatural, Action

Dantalian no Shoka Reviews

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. (^ ^)

About Saranaufogus

An Anime fan who can't seem to keep her thoughts to herself. Find me on: Instagram | Twitter

Posted on August 7, 2011, in Anime, Reviews, Season Reviews, Summer 2011 Previews and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Well let’s see…
    Blood-C: A really good series with an excellent pacing that tells more story in five episodes than the best series in one nanosecond… although the comparison doesn’t hold up beyond the nanosecond. But since the series seems to want things that way, who are we to complain about the series self-indulgence? I mean, we’re only *watching* it.
    3,5/10
    No. 6: One of my favorites this season. Especially the literature references are nice and the plot seems to go forward as much as its characters grow. The question is only whether everything comes together as beautiful as it’s build up.
    8/10
    Nura… I hate long titles… Mago: I’ve seen the first series, thought it was a nice shounen series… but nothing more. And the second season doesn’t want to change my opinion. A pity. Shounen-Series should be braver to do their own thing.
    6/10
    Kami-sama no Memo-chou: The first episode made me think that this will be a mixture of A-Team and Sherlock Holmes Cyber Punk Style. Well, like Blood-C the series seemed way more entertaining in my head than what I’ve seen so far. It’s one of these series that tries three things: 1) Seem cool – people with unique talents that are helpful 2) Seem funny – people with bottomless stupidity are always funny (the script-writer at least thinks so) 3) Seem preachy – it’s a wonderful world as long as we all love each other. Well, they try these things and make it a bland series that somehow ignores what it was supposed to be due to its concept. It has its nice moments but then there are also more than enough moments where I can practice eye-rolling and yawning.
    6,5/10
    Kamisama Dolls: I’ve thought they had a nice idea with the whole dark past-thing and how the shit came back to haunt the present. It gave the plot momentum and it didn’t give the series a clean-slate-start where everything before the first episode isn’t important to the protagonists. I have to say after four episode the series lost a bit of that momentum and in some moments I had the notion of wishing this series would be about this dark past instead of… this. The main problem is that the humour is (again) of the “bottomless stupidity”-sort and the plot doesn’t push that hard to get things done.
    6/10
    Natsume 3: It’s more of the same, right? And in this case it’s actually a good thing ^^ ! That’s how laid-back slice-of-life is done… *sigh* If only Blood-C could know HOW stupid its slice-of-life is in comparison to this.
    8/10
    Usagi Drop: Okay, I’ve read the manga and the last few chapters left me a bit disappointed with the knowledge where this whole thing is going. But the beginning is in anime-form as good as in the manga. So I guess they did things right with this adaptation.
    8,5/10
    Mawaru Penguindrum: My favourite series of this season ^^ . That’s the kind of series I’d really like to see more often. In one word, I’d say it’s “quirky”. This series really doesn’t care about the traditional tropes and how they’re used normally. Also nice is how the ultimate goal of the series, the “penguindrum”, remains a total mystery without bringing the plot to a standstill for the sake of secrecy as it was done with Blood-C.
    9/10
    Dantalion no Shoka: It’s the perfect 7,5/10-show, I’d say. Episodic stories of a slightly fairy-tale-like presentation with simple but charming characters. This series doesn’t seem to aim high but also doesn’t fall flat. It really contends just with what it is essentially.
    7,5/10
    Sacred Seven: You don’t follow that series, Saranaufogus – and you don’t need to. It’s seemingly a series written for teenage boys BY teenage boys. It doesn’t care about depth but it cares about its hero being the strongest of all… you know, it’s *that* kind of series. It’s ridiculous if you take it serious and its humour is even worse than the one of a teenage boy. It’s not completely bad, just stupid in a boyish sort of way.
    5/10

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  2. And the rest ^^ …
    Blade: Okay… I get it, Madhouse just doesn’t know how to make a Marvel-Anime so they tried “Iron Man” – and failed. They tried “Wolverine” – and failed. They tried “X-Men” – and failed. Christ, do they even try to make this work? X-Men had slight improvements and those are still there in Blade but in comparison to other Animes it’s still just a terrible series.
    5/10
    Ikoku Meiro no Croisée: It’s like Aria – the type of Slice-Of-Life that just stands there and enjoys the sun. Well, it is relaxing, nice and all… but nothing beyond that. I’d really wish that Slice-Of-Life could be a bit more ambitious with what they want to say like Mushishi.
    8/10
    IDOLM@STER: Okay… so it’s a series for fans that gives a shit about the rest of humanity and their “standards”. At least we never have a lack of this kind of series in a season. It certainly didn’t convince me to play the game but at least after the final episode I can have this dialogue:
    Me: You know, one thing I found out about Idolmaster? It’s crap. Says even so in the title.
    Fan: No, it doesn’t!
    Me: Okay, did you see the series?
    Fan: Yeah, it really reminded me of the game and how great it is.
    Me: See! Your imagination made the series great and mine added ‘It’s crap’ in the title, we’re on the same page here, pal.
    4/10

    And just as a recommendation if you haven’t seen it yet: Revolutionary Girl Utena 😉 . The series has the same script-writer as Mawaru Penguindrum. It’s a bit more difficult to get into than Mawaru Penguindrum but it’s just… different.

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  3. LOL! I love your description of Blood-C as always. You had me thinking for a moment that you actually thought that the pacing was great. =_=” (Just woke up and had to re-read what you written. =p)

    No. 6: Hmm, I have this sinking feeling that they won’t be able to bring it altogether in a way that would be able to satisfy the whole build up but I am hoping that my gut feeling is wrong.

    Nura: I hate long titles too. I’m sad you don’t feel as excited as I do when watching the show =p. You are right that this is a very typical out of the box Shounen anime that follows a certain formula, but to me the thing that I like about Nura are the characters and humour. It is nothing fantastic but just something to watch and enjoy without using your brains. heh. God knows that Blood-C makes

    Kamisama no Memo-chou: Eye-Rolling and Yawning. Love your description of those scenes. I am really annoyed with Alice. She is getting more and more on my nerve.

    Kamisama Dolls: Yeap, it does seem like they have lost some momentum with the show but it is still a decent watch nonetheless. What frustrates me is like what you said, they don’t seem to be pushing to get things done. I would like some progress but when you compare how much “progress” is made in this show as compared to BLOOD-C, I am just thankful for small givings. =p Though at the rate BLOOD-C is picking up, we might be in for a huge onslaught of information, or is this just my wistful thinking? haha

    Natsume: Diff between B-C and Nat3 in their slice-of-life scenes is that there is actually some substance to Natsume and there is a on-going branding style to the execution.

    Mawaru Penguindrum: OMG, how creepy is Ringo? o_O!

    Sacred Seven: LOL! Actually…. I did see the first episode and I decided I am not going to watch it. I might go back to it when it ends but bleah, when you say typical Shounen, that is what I think about. A boys show. First ep made it seem exactly like what you said “written for teenage boys by teenage boys”

    Blade: LOL! You actually watched the show? I have to applaud you for it. I don’t understand the whole idea of adapting US shows into anime especially when there are already a animated version of them in the US. That show was created in a certain medium with a certain targeted crowd. Trying to conform such a story/style to a more anime like style just never seemed like it was going to work in my mind. And what is the point anyway? I have not seen any of the eps of any of the Marvel stuff by Madhouse but the whole thing seems odd, the character designs look very Americanized and not anything like what Japanese anime characters are like, that was enough to put me off.

    Ikoku Meiro no Croisée: I want to watch that series… But first I would have to find the time to do so. =p Since you rated it so highly, I shall have to check it out! =)

    IDOLM@STER: I have a limit of one painful fanservice anime per season and I think ‘Uta no Prince-sama’ filled that slot.

    Revolutionary Girl Utena: I have seen the first few episodes of it and it is a different style of Mawaru but not in a bad way. I stopped watching because it is an old show and the files that I had found were really low in quality. Am still looking for higher quality versions. Any clue where to find any? Also, is the story for Revolutionary Girl Utena complete in the anime?

    @Morgoth: Could you email me (you can got to the ‘About’ page to contact me) your email address? I have something I would like to ask you. =p

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  4. Blood-C: Well, the best kind of irony is the one where you have to think for a moment to see the insult ^^ .
    No. 6: It does seem to me a little too much like a traditional adolescence-story with a touch sentimental fluffy-puffy going on. In any case it lacks a bit of the hard sci-fi-vibe I got from the first episode and that I actually liked – but the second episode already destroyed my hopes on a series that makes the humanity of the future seem alien to us (which I find an interesting concept in sci-fi-literature that is used far too seldom for my taste).

    Nura: After literally seeing this Shounen-Pattern over a hundred times, I really get bored of it and I really want to see series doing something for themselves. I actually think that Tiger & Bunny is the best Shounen-Anime right now, not because it’s a great series but because it shows a new Shounen-Style – one that tries to imitates a western style. Of course to us western viewers it may seem like “been there, done that” but with Animes it’s still a very fresh ground to cover. Madhouse seemingly tried to do the same thing but failed horribly.

    Kami-Memo: Especially since Alice is the most useless character of the “A-Team”… at least I feel that way. Always when she does something with her computers and deducts some stuff I think “Okay, if that’s the best she can do – I’m not impressed…”. It reminded me GOSICK whose mysteries were so tedious that I actually agreed with Victorique to insult the rest of the cast for their stupidity.

    Kami-Dolls: Well, it certainly tries to be mediocre… And it’s not funny despite what the series might think. I can write better jokes dead-drunk than those script-writers. And the series should be more self-conscious. Sacred Seven at least seems to know it’s an average series for teenage boys, Kami-Dolls in contrast believes it’s trying to say something important (it doesn’t of course).

    Natsume: Don’t forget… all the substance Blood-C is supposed to have must remain a secret. And to improve the contrast the slice-of-life has to seem as empty and silly as possible. And you have to remember: Natsume doesn’t build up to some plot-twist that will revolutionize humankind… no, wait, Blood-C doesn’t either. Well, anyway, Natsume knows that slice-of-life-scenes shouldn’t be some kind of biological experiment for the creative capabilities of monkeys.

    Mawaru Penguindrum: Well… she has her priorities straight, hasn’t she ^^ ?
    Sacred Seven: Well, I do like the maid-army… It’s such a great plot-device, I think. If there’s ever a Shounen-Protagonist without real power… just give him a damn Maid-Army! That’s what Maid’s are really for: War! A revelation straight out of some teenage boys imagination, I’d assume…
    Blade: To make it short: Yes, it is crap. Not even a teenage boy is stupid enough to write a plot like the one in Iron Man. At one point the plot just seemed to say: “Okay, folks, we give up! We have no idea either, what this shit is about!”

    Ikoku: Well, it’s the perfect series that you can watch in a half-awaken state so in the time where you change from awake to sleeping you could watch it. There’s no plot, the dialogue’s simple and nobody cares about the lost French-German-War a few years ago or fears that the world slides into the First World War, it’s an easy life this anime lives.

    Idolmaster: At least I can argue that the franchise is popular… What do you watch Uta for? For the singing ^^ ? Although it’d be funny to have an important character in the series with a seiyuu that cannot sing while the script says the complete opposite so that the other characters are forced to praise a guy for singing off-key ^^ .

    Utena: Oh my God, it’s complete as far as I can remember since it hast 39 (?) episodes or something along those lines.

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  5. I have heard some good things about Tiger Bunny, I take it that from your impression of that show it is worth a watch?

    Kamisama no Memo : Alice never really seemed that bright. She just seemed pompous, especially in episode 4, her attitude then was painful.

    Blood-C: Episode 6 is out tonight/tomorrow right? We shall have to see what happens in this episode since that will mark the slightly more than halfway mark.

    Mawaru: Priorities…. (= _ =!)

    Uta: I watched it because I was hoping for a nice reverse-harem? =p But disappointed I was.

    Now if only we could get those lurking in the backgrounds to comment too so it won’t seem like we are having a very public private conversation.

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  6. Hmm, Tiger & Bunny isn’t a great show so you might not like it but it does have its good moments like Episode 15 and 16 where the whole setting got a dark twist. It’s a pity they didn’t stay true to that atmosphere from then on.

    Kami-Memo: I hate it when a writer takes an intelligent character and isn’t up to the job of writing such a character…

    Blood-C: Yep, this night the next episode comes out. Should be a hell of fun-ride if they actually start to talk about the GREAT Twist.

    Mawaru: Well, it is a person who believes in fate after all. I only assume she never wants to read what is written at the end of her Fate-Diary…

    Uta: It’d be great if series like this would present itself with the an air of annoyed indifference in the synopsis à la “You know… it’s a reverse harem with some singing and romance… nothing big, oh and did I mention that the animation-quality drops after the first episode? Yeah, I know, gets on my nerves, too, but you know how it is, ye gotta keep to traditions when you know ’em. And it has a happy end… no, sorry, it’s not the kind of series where spoilers matter. Wait, the character she finally chooses at the end? Uhm, actually I don’t know the character names, they shouldn’t matter anyway if you have seen this type of show before.”

    They will come out of hiding… at some time… I hope…

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