Fall 2011 Anime Roundup
Hopefully this will help with weeding out some shows from your list of anime to watch, or add some to your list.
We are 3 weeks in and it is time for a season roundup!
Note: This post will cover the shows we will be reviewing, a short impression and what we think is worth our time to watch.
Since Thursday is the only down time I get from anime with nothing (that I watch) out on that day, I have managed to bug M0rg0th to get off his butt and help with this post.
Despite the fact that I feel that this season is plagued by a huge amount of mediocre series, there are a few shows that seem to shine above the rest even if they are not something we will be left talking about for ages.
Hopefully this will help give you an overview of the series out this Fall and the ones we would be reviewing and watching.
Post Format: Title – Series Potential Rating
(Please note that the categories/distribution reflect out taste rather than it simply being classified through our ratings of the show)
The Special Ones
UN-GO – 7.5/10
Despite the fact that the first episode was not the best thing around, I liked the fact that we were able to participate in the mysteries and were not held at a distance by unrevealed clues which is a flaw many other detective shows suffer from. Then again, by positive outlook of this series could be due to my soft spot for Mystery and BONES Studio productions.
Fate/Zero – 8.5/10
The show has had a good start thus far with the focus being heavily placed on character development. As the build up continues, so does the introduction of action into the series. One of the biggest contributor to the series’ successful buildup in atmosphere is the epic orchestral soundtrack and nice animation. If you are looking for some action with a darker and a more serious plot as compared to the typical shounen series, I would recommend giving this a try.
Last Exile – 8/10
With only one episode out, I was weary of putting this series in my top 3 of the season since it is too early to judge. However, this show probably has the best cinematography of the season and is not held back by a crappy plot. Air crafts, action, sky pirates and a bunch of girls, I think guys would like it and girls would be able to enjoy it without worrying about being put off by distasteful fan-service.
Fate/Zero – 9/10
The series is right now still attempting to set the stage for what is to come but due to thoughtful dialogues I don’t feel bored and since I know the Light Novels I can’t wait to see how the fights get animated. I had some doubts about the Light Novels and I think some of the greatest weaknesses also exist in the anime-version (the mass of new information you get each episode about the setting for example and the way the story relies on that much information) but overall it’s definitely above-average shounen-fantasy-action.
Chihayafuru – 7/10
If you look at parts of Chihayafuru then you would assume this is a really great Josei-story (or Shoujo, whatever… genre aren’t really what you call an ‘exact science’) but overall there’s a lingering sensation of simply ‘too much’. The series over-dramatizes because of how much drama happens at the same time which makes it hard to consider it plausible or anythingy else but obviously unreal. That together with my doubt how well executed the anime-orginal content at the end will be (the manga is still on-going) and I have problems believing that the series will stay as good as it’s right now. But what it is right now is one of the best series of the season for me – the characters are interesting, the story is entertaining and the storytelling is well-paced.
UN-GO – 8/10
Despite my misgivings about the first episode, I have to admit that this show is one of the few where I actually can seriously hope that it can get better. The first episode’s weaknesses mostly resulted out of the rushed pacing but (as I hope) when the series now tries to tackle mysteries in arcs then it might just well become one of the best mystery-series out there. Ah, I forgot… and the series has to learn what it wants to do with its supernatural elements. The first episode didn’t really make it clear why this stuff is part of the story. Otherwise, one of the series with the potential to get far better than what the first episode promised.
The Notable Ones
Ben-To – 6.5/10
Turn off your brains and enjoy this show because this is one of those shows where thinking only gets in the way of entertainment. I had really questioned the first couple of episodes but the third episode manage to win me over to it’s side. This is no winner and it sure is “unique”, but I am sure that you would be able to find some entertainment value in watching this series since it does have a few bright moments. Essentially, if you need some mindless laughter, this show should manage to get a couple of giggles out of you.
Chihayafuru – 7.5/10
To put it bluntly, I enjoy a good shoujo series. The production crew behind this series was the main reason why I had high hopes for this show before it aired and although it had not reached the mark that I had anticipated it to be at, I am hopeful for the future of the series when we finally get back to present times. The show does have it exxagerated and overdramatic moments but the characters do well in bringing some charm to the series. If you are looking for a show with a light hint of romance or a shoujo series that does not get caught up in being melo-dramatic, I would recommend this show.
Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai – 6.5/10
There is nothing special about this series since it is merely a bunch of high school kids forming a club to make friends with one guy being surrounded by a bunch of girls. But what I liked about the series was the light hearted comedy that makes it an easy watch even if it is nothing great, that plus the fact that this is probably one of the better harem fan-service series of the season and it does not put me off. This is another one of those sit back and enjoy series that you would be able to get a few laughs out of watching it.
Mirai Nikki – 7/10
I am not convinced that this show would turn out to be a 7 since it seems to be lingering around the 6 points mark for me. However, it is early in the game and this show has proven to have some nice creepy moments with the sadistic and crazy Yuno. Oh, and I get a kick out of seeing Yuki filled with fear. Want crazy creepy girls? Want to see the epitome of annoyance? Want to satisfy your craving for a plot regarding present/future left behind by Steins;Gate? This might be it. (P.S: I am not saying this is anything like Steins;Gate, just merely talking about the small similarity in theme)
Guilty Crown – 7/10
This is another series with only one episode out so I am finding it hard to judge since the first episode felt rushed and choppy to me. However, I was entertained and it was above the rest of the mediocre crap for me. Pretty animation, dystopian society plot, action and it being another one of those shows with a magical female partner accompanied by a whiny main lead, is what I would describe this show as being.
Hunter x Hunter 2011 – 7.5/10
This show…hmm… well, it was definitely the right choice for the production studio to start from scratch instead of continuing from where the ’99 series + ovas had left off. The execution and direction is very different and is closer to the manga in this series, which might put off fans of the ’99 series. We have yet to get to the good part of the show (which is the Hunter Exams onwards) but I am hoping that the violence would not be toned down in this series simply to suit it’s morning time slot. This series is a classic story that we all know is a shounen plot with a darker edge to it. To a new comer of the franchise, tournaments, trainings, “powering-up”, intriguing characters and much more is what this series will promise if it follows the manga storyline.
Kimi to Boku – 6.5/10
Apart from episode 3, the first couple of episode borderline on being boring. I would recommend this to people who would like a nice relaxing series to watch that is uncomplicated and simple in its nature. It makes for a good break from all the other action, shounen and noisy series out there this season. This is the series that will give you that much needed break and silence, or you can simply watch the show and join me in counting the number of cats each episode if you do end up getting bored whilst watching it. =D
Sekai-ichi Hatsukoi – 6.5/10
If you have seen the first season you know what you are getting out of this season. This is the BL show of the season and my guilty pleasure. =P
Ben-To – 7/10
I guess, everyone has one series each season which one shouldn’t like normally but still does. In my case it’s Ben-To. I just like how the series executes its weird, over-the-top fun and the only things that makes this series rather disappointing are its harem-tendencies. These parts didn’t get obnoxious up to this point but with series like this it’s always the question what happens when the basic idea is rehashed often enough to become stale. It all depends whether the series can grow beyond its set-up with its humour to make it funny till the end.
BokuTomo – 6.5/10
The second episode was better than the first but it got obvious that making friends was just a under-developed plothook for another one of these Slice-of-Life-comedies concerning a weird club and its members. It is fun occasionally but nothing I haven’t seen before. Depending on how good the jokes will be, it might be good or just mediocre.
C3 – 6.5/10
The first three episodes finished the introduction-part of the story and it suffered a bit due to its assumption that sentimental drama could already work at this point. But for me it seemed a bit too early to care about personal character-driven drama-moments since there’s no question that it isn’t the end. Although the way it was presented it sure as hell might have been a mediocre finale of a shounen-series. The humour in episode 02 was acceptable and the action average – all in all it could become a decent shounen-series even if not a very memorable one.
Guilty Crown – 7/10
The first episode presented a very uninspiring story with a few minor flaws in terms of storytelling and characterization. It’s too early to speak of the series as a failure but the series definitely has much to do to redeem itself due to the bitter taste of disappointment the first episode left. Well, since I have seen only one episode there’s not much to say how much quality one has to expect from this series.
HunterxHunter 2011 – 7.5/10
Right now, I see here a Mainstream-shounen-series with the capability to become good at some point. But I still don’t see why I should regard it a classic or a truly great series. Well, the series can take its time for all I care, I mean, it is popular and as far as I know this series doesn’t suffer the problems Naruto has despite that one also being a long-running mainstream-shounen-series. So, I guess, this series is good overall.
Last Exile – Fam, Silver Wing – 7/10
The first episode was spectacular to look at but the story was rather uninspiring. The characters tend generally towards the moe-side-of-things which make them hardly interesting. But still it’s a very light-hearted tale that still knows a bit about the sense of adventure the original series had. Right now, the series still seems quite good but the way the story is set up there’s hardly any great potential to be found in this series story-wise. Due to its length there’ll be probably a few plottwists but the fact that the script-writer for the series doesn’t have the best record for successful series at this point, I’m doubtful that one should expect much out of the story.
Mirai Nikki – 6.5/10
It’s an unusual decision to go ‘full-wimp’ with the shounen-main-character as you never go ‘full-wimp’ with a shounen-main-character. But he has a diary and a loony as girlfriend who’s much smarter than him which isn’t quite paradise but better than nothing, I guess. It isn’t the best effort you can find out there as far as shounen-series go that try to do their own thing. This series is still very much like a mainstream-shounen-series at its heart but what it does different makes it a nice series.
Simply Part of the Crowd
C3 – 6/10
I have only seen the first episode (have yet to find the time and motivation to watch the next couple of episodes though I had heard it is better than the first) All I can say is that the animation is trippy and emits a psychedelic aura. The characters are pretty much moe, dramatic and sadly does not really appeal to me as much as it would to others. Overall, I would suggest you give this series a try because I have only seen the first episode. Alternatively, you can read M0rg0th’s two cents worth written below.
Persona 4 – 6/10
So far it has been very much like watching a game come to life. The story is rushed and the viewer would feel left out if they haven’t played the game (like M0rg0th and I). The art is also not my cup of tea with it’s funky gradients and the music does not suit the mood and sticks out like a sore thumb (even if it is from the game). However, the promise of things getting better (as told by those people who have played the game) does leave me intrigued. This is definitely a big step up from Persona Trinity and it does have a few nice moments of mystery in it which are related to the deaths of people hanging from antennas. All I worried about is if the mystery of this series would take a back seat to the fighting between the Personas.
Phi Brain – 6/10
The show is not terrible per say, it is merely not good at all. The puzzles are easy and the show gives off the feeling like as though it was created by people who were either too lazy to think or not smart enough to come up with puzzles( and solutions to them) to make the characters smart in a believable manner. This falls amongst the bunch of mediocre series out this season and is definitely one of my biggest disappointments since all I wanted was a mere decent puzzle series.
Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon – 5/10
So, the moment you accept that it’s just another mindless shounen series it’s actually acceptable to watch. I still consider it a bad story though since it tries to have one – for whatever reason. There probably even is a story behind this series but the way it’s executed I have absolutely no interest to wait for a story while I have to sit through grating fanservice-humour and banal shounen-action.
Gundam AGE – 5/10
The new Gundam series is basically the same stuff you’d expect to see when one tries to create another Gundam-story. But where this series tries to be different is its goal of appealing to kids. And this is done in the worst possible way by having a derivative Gundam-story that largely relies on the tropes from its predecessors and taking all the seriousness away that a kid can’t stomach. This together creates a ridiculous series that only due to nostalgia may work for you. There’s nothing new to be seen for Gundam-fans here and the rest will just see how a pretentious brat has to save the universe again by himself – not only because he can but because the story entrusts nobody else with that important job.
Majie de Watashi… (M0rg0th: search the name yourself, it’s too bloody long for me to care writing it, ra 😉 (Me: “dear readers, whatever he said”) – 4/10
Shounen-action of the very banal sort with typical humour: It’s difficult to see it as anything else but very cheap entertainment. The characters are rather dull, the action’s simple and the story is one of those that you wake up to in the morning saying: ‘Now this was a stupid dream…’. There’s no promise for it to get better. If you like it – consider it your ‘guilty pleasure’ because honestly: it’s really bad.
Mashiro-iro Symphony – 6/10
Now there’s a surprise: Although the story’s only advantages lie in being a good anesthetic… it’s actually executed quite well. The series really wrangles with its own story trying to restrain itself from becoming garbage. Therefore it has good storytelling and a rather nice atmosphere but in the end I think it’s wasted effort as it’s still just a very underwhelming story.
Phi Brain – 4/10
With episode 3 I have given up any hope of this being a series that needs to be watched. Its puzzles range from mildly interesting to time-wasting and the characters who try to solve them are just unappealing. The story is simply baffling with its irrational simplicity and I have no hope of seeing this series really doing anything noteworthy in this season.
Kimi to Boku – 6/10
One question arises when watching this series: Why exactly would you want to make a Slice-of-Life-series with a bunch of guys if it ends up being nearly the same as those SoL-series with a bunch of girls? Well, it’s a sham, I think. This series is the same shit you have seen before – only slightly different. Whatever promise there is that this series could do its own thing appears only in rare moments throughout the episodes aired so far. All in all: mediocre – and nothing new.
Persona 4 – 6/10
It still feels very game-y to me and this feeling bothers me a lot. It’s a faithful adaptation that tries to appeal to the game-fans instead of using the source-material to tell its own story in anime-form. But I guess, if one can beyond the part of it having “game-y flaws” then this should be solid shounen-series.
Shana III – 5/10
Soap Opera Time! So basically the last series is just this one big cheesy event and everything builds up to it – assuming you care enough about it to sit through the whole drama. The dialogues feel superfluous for the most part more concerned with effect than substance. The only good thing is that Shana has yet to show that she’s still capable of her typical stupid antics. I hope she has forgotten them but then her being all serious and professional isn’t that appealing as a character-development either. You know it’s time for serious business since it’s “The Finale” but I just don’t think Shakugan no Shana is the kind of series who can handle this atmosphere. But if it can combine that with a good portion of action it might just become a good shounen-series. But I don’t have high hopes that this will happen…
Tamayura: Hitotose – 4/10
It’s like Aria – but worse. It may be charming to see girls being insufferably nice to each other while they walk through the day as if living a peaceful dream – but what’s the point? This can’t be all this series has to offer. No matter how charming it can be, when it has nothing to offer me as a viewer than it’s just a waste of time. I might as well stare at a nice-looking wall, let’s see how “healing” that is… This is one of Junichi’s lesser works as Slice-of-Life-director and he has directed better series than this in the past.
Reasons to smash my TV/Computer
- Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon
- Chibi Devil
- Chibi Devil
What We Will Post
- Hunter x Hunter 2011
- Mawaru Penguindrum (from the last season)
- Sekai-ichi Hatsukoi
- Last Exile : Fam, the Silver Wing
- Guilty Crown
- Shana III
What We Might Post
or do short impressions of, simply because we can’t shut up. =P
- Kimi to Boku
- Last Exile: Fam, the Silver Wing
- Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai
- Persona 4
- Guilty Crown
(Essentially, I am a fickle person and can’t seem come to a decision. I will most likely end up posting reviews or short impressions of what I feel like at that time, and that would probably end up being most of them. =_=”)
(Well, it’s one of them I will constantly blog for this season but I’m not sure yet which one it will be. I guess, I will wait for their next episode to judge what I’d like more to write about.)
Since most of our plans for the reviews are tentative and dependent on our “love” for the show (except for the ones that we said we will post about), we would most likely end up posting a bit more than usual in hopes of settling on ones that we feel… motivated to post about.
I hope you enjoyed reading our two cents worth.
Naturally, we would love it if you shared with us your thoughts on the shows out this Fall.
(If you are blogging shows from this season, don’t forget to share your list of shows that you will be blogging as well) =D
P.S: incase this whole “ra” thing at the end of my post is a mystery to you, that is actually my nickname. So, you don’t actually have to type out Saranaufogus cos it is a long nick and a pain in the arse to type. (I know this ‘cos I am a lazy person and can feel your pain.)