Jul 4, 2011

Spring 2011 End-of-Season Impressions

Despite the fact I finished Lucky Star (and a J-drama called 'Life') a week and a half ago, my laziness has reached new peaks, and as such I haven't even come close to starting those posts... so expect them eventually. However, the Spring 2011 season is more or less over, and I can't delay this post as much as the others, so here it is!

It's not a real anime without a beach episode!
Hanasaku Iroha
Quite frankly, I don't have much more to say about this beyond my mid-season impressions post. The animation continues to be brilliant and the story is still engaging with an expert mix of both comedy and drama. I can say that the quality of episodes has only dropped twice, but even then they were incredibly entertaining, and their seeming lack of quality was only because of the other brilliant episodes with which they are compared. I'm more than excited for the next half of this series during the Summer season.This series has also managed to get me emotionally on some occasions, however, not as much as some other shows, which brings me on to...

My face when the final episode ended... except with considerably more tears

Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai
This anime, man. Man, this anime. I may hesitate to call this a masterpiece, but it was certainly emotionally draining. I am unashamed to say straight away, that not since Clannad ~After Story~ Episode 18 have I cried so damn hard like a little girl as I did during the final episode of this show. The fact it managed it in only 11 episodes as opposed to (what was by then) the 42 that Clannad took, is all the more impressive. I spent a good two-thirds of the finale with tears rolling down my face and then suddenly those letters... DAMN THOSE LETTERS. Oh, I'm getting teary-eyed at the thought of it. Anyone, enough about how much of a little girl I am and into the actual show itself. The animation isn't exactly anything special, in fact it was sometimes prone to some of the problems consistent in SHAFT productions, but overall it was good enough. The story was up and down for me. At times it was excellent, but at others it would just become incredibly cheesy, or just have everyone bursting into tears left right and centre as if to force an emotional response, although it of course still worked in the finale (then again, ever since Clannad it's considerably easier to make me cry than it used to be). Despite this, the story did remain more or less solid and other than a few nit-picks there wasn't much wrong with it. The music choice, at least in the OP and ED, was brilliant and complimented the series well, and I challenge you to find anyone whose watched this series that doesn't at least tear up when they hear the ED (I know that for many, me included, the beginning of the ED alone was often enough to push them over the edge into tears during some of the more emotional scenes). Overall, I'd definitely recommend this to anyone, especially if they enjoy a good tear jerker. The run of only 11 episodes isn't too long either and this show certainly didn't need any more, in fact I myself had doubts over how they'd even manage to drag it on into the 11th episode.

Never trust adorable teddy bears
Tiger & Bunny
Much like Hanasaku Iroha, I don't have much to say about this show beyond what I said in my mid-season impressions. The quality has remained consistent, and it's first multi-episode arc kept me interested and entertained from start to finish. Most of the characters have also been given their own episodes for character development, and Kotestsu especially is definitely growing on me as a genuinely nice guy who cares more for others than himself. It rarely offers anything new in terms of story, but the way in which it packages it means I couldn't care less, I just want more of it. I'm also delighted to discover that this show will be continuing into the Summer season.

It's far too difficult to find screenshots from the anime rather than the visual novel on Google...
This is almost certainly within my top three shows of the season, and has even managed to make me develop a liking for Dr Pepper, which I previously found disgusting (hooray for marketing in anime!). The main character, Okabe, is more than enough to carry this show by himself, but luckily for us he has a cast of supporting characters which are equally as interesting and enjoyable. Not only are the characters brilliant, but they are complimented by an equally brilliant story, with (particularly recently) twists and turns that you probably didn't see coming (unless you were spoilt for one of the biggest ;_;) and sciencey fun to keep you more than entertained! In short, this show is excellent, why aren't you watching it? If you are watching it, why aren't you wearing your lab coat and swigging Dr Pepper? If you are doing those things, why the hell are you reading this blog post instead of getting more SCIENCE!? I can't wait for the second half of the series, and I'll make sure I have a Dr Pepper ready for each new episode.
A Channel
And so this season's cute girls doing cute things (with even more yuri undertones than usual) offering is over, and it wasn't that bad. The show was pretty basic in terms of episode layout and had even less plot than slice-of-life shows usually have, but it somehow managed to put it all together to create a satisfying and entertaining episode week in week out. Whilst it's certainly nowhere near a masterpiece and the characters weren't exactly original either, it was consistently... mediocre enough (and not in a bad way like Star Driver) to make me actually look forward to it each week, and not just for my latest dose of Tooru. Although I'll probably largely forget about this after a couple of seasons, it definitely wasn't a waste of time, and if you're looking for a light-hearted slice-of-life to wind down to you should definitely try this out. However, the insistence for a insert song EVERY FREAKING EPISODE can get a bit annoying after a while.

"You'd do WHAT to Ryuushi!?!?!?"
Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko
Denpa Onna is a strange show really... mainly thanks to it's strange characters. This series doesn't have too much in ways of plot, but very much like Steins;Gate it has characters that are more than enough to make it entertaining by themselves. The only real criticism I have for this show is SHAFT's usual neglect on character design which can at times just make things look ridiculous, and I swear it got worse in the second half of the series. Anyway, back to the characters. The female cast is the first thing you'll notice about this show. Each of them has an incredibly unique personality, whether it's the far too childish aunt, the tall girl with more than enough interest in cosplaying, or the cousin who thinks she's an alien (above right). That's without even mentioning the white-haired loli who may or may not have esper powers or the laid-back and hyperactive Ryuushi (above left). The main character himself is also very likeable, and will often share the same thoughts as you in terms of his quirky supporting cast. Already the show sounds like it's bound to be full to the brim with fun, and I haven't even went into some of the more minor characters. In summary, this show may not be a masterpiece of story telling, but it sure as hell is fun to watch! Although it did end with a few unanswered questions, these will hopefully be answered in the final and 13th episode, which we unfortunately have to wait quite some time for (not the first time SHAFT has done this, nor the second) as it comes out with one of the blu-ray releases.

There isn't really anything more to say about this show (and I'm also getting lazy towards the end of this post), so I'll just copy and paste what I said last time: "Some of the sketches are brilliantly funny, whilst others are good enough to bring up a chuckle but often suffer from lasting far too long. The common overreactions from Yuuko in particular are also hit and miss, with some being funny and some just being plain annoying. However, almost all characters are very likeable even outside the main group, with a certain eight year old professor, her robot Nano and their cat Sakamoto being certain highlights. The animation is also what's to be expected of KyoAni, being fluid and of very high quality, often raising some scenes from mediocre to excellent all by itself. Despite some rather frequent misses which are the fault more of the source material than KyoAni themselves, Nichijou remains to be more than enough fun to keep me watching, with the characters and animation being particular reasons." However, I think it seems to be improving by each episode, and I'll definitely carry on watching it into the Summer season.

You may have noticed a certain anime missing (if by some miracle there are actually people who check this blog regularly) and that's because I did indeed drop Ao no Exorcist like I said I was considering in the last post.
As for next season, there are four shows from this season carrying on, along with two new ones I am definitely planning to watch, along with a few others I might try out. This means that my hopes for a quieter season after which I watched seven shows (and started nine) are completely gone, and in fact I may end up watching EVEN MORE shows than I was this season. I'm dreading the Summer 2011 posts now... but I suppose it'll mean I'll always have something new to watch when I'm bored!