Apr 4, 2011

Winter 2011 End-of-Season Impressions

Overall, I'm not entirely sure how to feel about this season. Puella Magi Madoka Magica was the only thing that stood out, and of those continuing from the previous season the only one not trodden in mediocrity was Bakuman. That being said, there were some damn good OP's and ED's.

Accelerator returns in the final episodes of To Aru Majutsu no Index II
To Aru Majutsu no Index Season II
This has been a mixed bag. The first two arcs were great, and then it descended into predictable mediocrity which actually got a bit boring. This was until the last few episodes. The second to last arc started off incredibly, and I was hooked instantly, with almost all of it's characters taking part in saving Academy City once again. However, the last episode of the arc was a bit of an anti-climax, before immediately going into a final arc (if you can call it that) for the last couple of episodes, which provided hardly any closure to the season and hinted towards a third. All in all, this second season of Index was disappointing, with a mediocre middle that went on far too long to be made up for with the interesting arcs either side. Perhaps unsurprisingly, my favourite arcs included Accelerator and the girls from the Railgun spin-off... so I suppose I'm just more of a Railgun fan.

One of many sparkly and fabulous scenes from Star Driver
Star Driver
My opinion of Star Driver is becoming very much like the show itself, repetitive and predictable. Much like Index II, this show was stuck in a rut of extreme mediocrity throughout the 25 episodes, which is a real shame considering the potential it had. The animation was pretty good, especially in those damn Zero Time scenes, and the characters were brilliant, it's just a shame that it was all so identical and seemingly pointless until the final third perhaps. In fact it was after the break from the mould of episode 14, which I celebrated with a post of it's own that Star Driver started to slowly improving, albeit with a couple of misstep still. However, I watched the finale this morning and the animation was so brilliant and the episode so excellent itself (although still retaining the usual ridiculous motives and ass-pulls) that it almost makes up for week after week of the same thing. All in all, whilst this certainly wasn't a terrible show, it wasn't exactly memorable, and this time next year I'll probably barely remember it and it'll likely be one of the first to go when I have to delete some anime to make space on my far-too-small hard-drive.

Star duo 'Ashirogi Muto'
This for me was the gem of the last two seasons, a light-hearted show about two best friends looking to become mangaka. I loved the characters, nail-biting tension was often provided by the wait on results for various competitions, the drama and rivalries were great, and I even liked the romance. This show had it all, except for maybe big mecha battles. Although the animation could be a bit off at times this show has shot straight to one of my all-time favourite anime, and I simply can't wait until the second season in October, I've even started reading the manga, which is rare for me because I usually find manga far too awkward to read on a website.

Merry's not too pleased with my views on her show
Yumekui Merry
This still has one episode left but I don't think the final one will change my views too much and I didn't really feel like delaying this post for a whole week just for it. I'm unsure about Yumekui Merry, for the first couple of episodes I found it brilliant, but it seemed to slowly decline through the rest of the season. I love the characters, especially Merry herself, but I never got drawn into the overarching story too much and have gotten to the point of watching it half-heartedly just to finish it. The low budget didn't help either as it led to some poor animation, with numerous close-ups and stills due to the restrictions of money, which was somewhat distracting. All in all, I think Yumekui Merry will end up with a fate similar to that of Star Driver.

Yoshii fights to save Voyeur after the girls (and HideYoshi) prove too much for him in their traditional Chinese dress
Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu: Matsuri 
One of my favourite anime series, Baka to Test to Shōkanjū, returned this season with two OVA's titled Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu: Matsuri, before returning for a second series this summer. The two OVA's carried on with what made me love the series in the first place; the comedy was great, the summoning battles were as entertaining as usual, taking up the majority of the second episode, with excellent animation to top it all off. If you were a fan of the original season last year, you'll definitely want to watch these.  

Due to disruptions from the earthquake and tsunami, the final two episodes of Madoka have been delayed indefinitely, with a plan to have them air sometime this month, so I'll make a post when they're finally out. I've also been watching the four episodes from the Young Animator Training Project and will make a post once I've finished them all.


  1. i gotta get hold of this show, people have been raving about it for a while