Monday, October 31, 2011

Fall 2011 Anime -- Impressions

Here are my personal reactions to most of the new shows. Fate/Zero, Horizon, and Boku ha Tomodachi ga Sukunai ("Haganai") are the most popular shows with anime watchers in Japan and overseas.

But my own favorite shows are Chihayafuru, Kimi to Boku, Ben-Tou, Guilty Crown, Haganai, and Last Exile. Mirai Nikki is pretty powerful, too.

Anyway, here's the list, in alphabetical order, with some comments:

Ad-lib Anime Laboratory -- Katou Emiri, Fukuhara Kaori, and a guest (Sakurai Takahiro and Kobayashi Yuu, so far) ad-lib lines from which a short anime is then made. Highly enjoyable for watching the seiyuus work, but the anime produced aren't that interesting.
Ben-Tou -- Absurdly hilarious story about supermarket battles over half-price bentos. No, really. Yuuki Aoi is terrific as the fujoshi battle-watcher. So is Kayano Ai as the vicious class president. Good work also from Ise Mariya and Shimono Hiro. Sleeper hit.
Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai  -- Friendless misfits of various kinds create a club whose aim is to make friends. Funny and well produced. One of the most popular shows of the season.

  -- Oonuma Shin (ef melodies/memories, Baka to Test) brings us his smart version of a harem comedy, with real comedy, good animation, and lots of fanservice. And Tamura Yukari is terrific as the loli superbeing. But there is something missing, for me.
Chibi Debi! -- Ten-minute episodes about a young girl who finds a demon baby in her bed. Nicely done, but not as enjoyable as I hoped.
Chihayafuru -- Top-notch show following some well-rounded characters into the world of karuta, a Japanese card game based on classical poetry. Best of the season so far, for me.
Fate/Zero -- Good first episode begins to wander in second ep, drifting back toward the monster show I abandoned in F/SN. Not my thing, so I can't really judge it. But this is the most popular show of the season, both in Japan and abroad.
gdgd Fairies -- Short episodes of not much animation and a lot of talking. Not very interesting, for me, even if it is basically a seiyuu showcase.
Guilty Crown -- Done by the same writers who did Code Geass, and it shows. But this has a sharpness and elegance of its own, and Kayano Ai as the central point of fanservice and magic continues to show she is the real thing. Much-watched, but with many negative voices. The writing seems pretty slap-dash, to me. I look forward to it every week, but can't rate it that highly.
Hunter × Hunter -- Entertaining shounen comedy adventure. Not my thing, but excellent through two episodes. Fans of the original show are less pleased, and want the old cast back. 
Kimi to Boku -- Slice of life featuring a group of high-school boys. Some complain they are not enough like boys, more like the K-On girls in male drag, but I find the show gentle and enjoyable, and the boys seem like some boys I knew in high school.
Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon -- One of the most highly anticipated shows of the season, with an interesting and complex background, and lots of fanservice. Ponderously slow at first, but the highly visual episode five was excellent. Probably the second most popular show, both in Japan and abroad.
Last Exile -- Ginyoku no Fam -- The highly anticipated sequel got off to a good start, painting a broad canvas full of action and populating it with sharply drawn characters. The connections with the original show are beginning to come out as we reach episode four.
Maji de Watashi ni Koi Shinasai!! -- Fanservice and romance in a school that teaches mecha fighting. If you liked Infinite Stratos, maybe you will like this. Neither did it for me.
Maken-Ki! -- Boobsalot and not much else.
Mashiro-Iro Symphony - The color of lovers -- Pure harem anime that works for me. Romantic feelings.
Mirai Nikki -- Is doing a great job of adapting the manga. Looks like a good one.Yuno is in the running for top yandere shoujo of all time.
Mobile Suit Gundam AGE  -- Kiddy Gundam, but none the worse for that. I was riveted by the first two episodes, but then my attention began to wander.
Persona 4 -- Nowhere near as smart as it thinks it is. A disappointment to me through two episodes.
Phi Brain: Kami no Puzzle -- ditto
Sekai-ichi Hatsukoi 2 -- Another warm bath in a gay male world of shoujo publishing.
Shakugan no Shana III (Final) -- I'm sure I'm missing something, but I wrote this franchise off long ago as "monster of the week." The first part of the first episode seemed well produced, but it wasn't for me.
Shinryaku!? Ika Musume -- Cute, but doesn't come near my funny bone.
Tamayura - Hitotose -- Can this be better than the OVA? Perhaps it can. Sentimental to the Nth degree.
Un-Go -- Started slowly, looking like an episodic detective mystery. But depth and complexity are beginning to appear.
Working'!!  -- Well done, but perhaps one season was enough for me.


Anonymous said...

>Shana III
>Monster of the week


abandonedfactory said...

I agree with much of what you said, but in particular: Chihayafuru is the best of the season. This one show is so good that I'm satisfied with this season (everything else is just the icing on top). The show looks great. It has several complex and interesting characters. I like the way they have incorporated Karuta. Really quite the gem.

hashi said...

@anonymous -- I'm probably unfair to Shakugan no Shana. I abandoned it halfway through the first season, mainly because the fighting bored me. I looked at a few minutes of ep1 of this season, and could see there had been changes, but really nothing in that short viewing made me want to watch more. Just a personal reaction.

Dakuro said...

Well I'm kind of busy right now and i didn't watch to much anime this seasons just some: fate zero, ben to (1 episode), Guilty Crown and shakugan no shana, and well just ben to is the worse anime that i saw in my life and the must stupid i have to say... no plot, nothing...

hashi said...

@Dakuro -- Ben-tou is one of the funniest animes I have ever seen. There is a long but interesting debate on AnimeSuki between people who love the comedy of Ume (the dark-haired class rep), and people who find it loathsome and boring. It's a particular kind of humor that some people like and others don't.

Furuba-tan said...

hashi, do you know how many episodes there will be of ad lib? and how many already aired? can't find much infos about this show.

hashi said...

@Furuba-tan -- I can't find a clear statement of how many episodes, but Shoboi Calendar shows that it is only on every two weeks, on Saturdays, and there have only been two eps so far, with Sakurai Takahiro and with Kobayashi Yuu as the two guests. The next ep will be broadcast on the 12th, with Kishio Daisuke guesting.

I have found the epsiodes on the Japanese streaming site Himawari Douga ( Search for アドリブ. Unfortunately, the first two eps seem to have disappeared from there. Ep1 is still available on, another Japanese streaming site. Shoboi Calendar only lists times for six episodes, the sixth being broadcast on Christmas Eve. It might continue into the new year, but I doubt it.

Jen said...

Totally agree with Persona 4 (it was so pathetic I was both horrified and somewhat amused) and Phi Brain. Chihayafuru and Mirai Nikki are turning out to be the best for me, the former for daring to be different and exploring the characters convincingly, and latter for being just gluing my eyes to the screen. XD I had high hopes for Guilty Crown but it just decided that 'ok, we're gonna spam fanservice. Let's not bother if the story makes the slightest sense'. Never before have I seen a story that needs a premise this badly not get one.

Kunagisa said...

One of the few rare bloggers that likes Horizon!

I wonder as a Yuuki fan how excited were you when you watched episode 6.

hashi said...

@Kunagisa -- Lol. Maybe I gave the wrong impression. At first, I could really make neither head nor tail of the show. But I gradually began to understand its appeal, and then ep6 did it for me, and I really began to get it. Excited by Ao-chan's performance in ep6, and by reactions to it? You bet I was.