Anime Review Spring 2011 Season:
A Recap after 1 Episode
It’s been a while since I did one of these. Now that I have sampled each of the first episodes of every subtitled anime show that debuted during the Spring 2011 Season (Defined as Mar. 22nd, 2011 to June 21st, 2011), here’s my quick summary of the good, the bad, and the ugly. If you are interested, I did the same thing for the Winter 2011 Season, the Fall 2010 Season, as well as the Summer 2010 Season and Spring 2010 Season.
First, the numbers: So far to date, I have found 57 different series/shows/specials where the first episode has been subtitled into English. Out of those, 48 are continuing series with multiple episodes — please note that so far I have only viewed and reviewed the first episodes only. 21 out of the 48 multi-episode shows received a “thumbs up”, 27 receiving a thumbs-down. Of the remaining 9 single-episode shows/specials, only 2 received a thumbs-up and 7 received a thumbs-down. To be honest, I was aiming for a 60-70% passing rate, but there was just so much terrible stuff, even grading on a curve I couldn’t bring myself to give more of the shows a thumbs-up. Oh well. Here’s a quick look at what I consider the best, the worst, and everything in-between. To see the individual review, click on the show’s name below.
Highest recommendation: MUST SEE TV!:
- Hanasaku Iroha Episode 1 – Not what I would have expected as my pick for the top-rated show of the season, but it seems to hit all the right notes for an introductory episode. Beautiful artwork and character designs, and a bittersweet, potentially-touching story. It may not be the most original idea, but they’re doing it well.
Strongly Recommended: – Most likely I’ll watch the entire season.
- Tiger and Bunny Episode 1 – Post-modern superheroes meet reality television competition, makes me think of Captain Amazing from Mystery Men. Fun!
- C: The Money of Soul and Possibility Control Episode 1 – One of the shows with the most buzz of the season, and the first episode holds up nicely. It’s a real head trip, just take the blue pill and follow Alice down the rabbit hole.
- Hyouge Mono Episode 1 – A complete surprise, considering that I’m not a fan of stories set in historical Japan. Yet the main character’s over-the-top reaction and foppish-dandy attitude is entrancing to watch.
Moderately recommended: – Worth watching, and there’s a decent chance I’ll watch the entire season.
- Steins;Gate Episode 1 – A hard sci-fi mystery with a crackpot leading the charge? I’m in!
- Deadman’s Wonderland Episode 1 – Completely ridiculous set-up, but it should be quite a wild ride.
- Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai Episode 1 – Looks like a painful tale of introspection and redemption, but why oh why Japan must you make your titles so long?
- Yondemasu-yo, Azazel-san Episode 1 – I liked the one-shot last year, and the first episode proves just as fun. My pick for top comedy of the season.
Mildly recommended: – Watchable, not sure if I’ll continue for the entire season yet or not.
- Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko Episode 1 – Shaft at their Shaft-iest with their trademark animation quirks and storytelling style.
- Nichijou Episode 1 – I soured on the preview OVA, but this was quite a bit better. Azumanga Daioh lite.
- X-Men Episode 1 – Finally, a Marvel adaptation that was decent, both artwork and story. It’s about time.
- Blue Exorcist Episode 1 – Kinda cliche shonen story, but it has some potential.
Slightly recommended: – Not sure if I’ll watch the entire series or not, but signs don’t look good.
- Dog Days Episode 1 – Childish fantasy adventure, bordering between fun and stupid.
- Kaiji Season 2 Episode 1 – Preposterous set-up, but leaving me wondering what happens next.
- Showa Monogatari Episode 1 – Wonder Years in Japan. Nostalgic or boring — you decide!
- Detective Conan OVA: A Secret Order from London – Detective Conan is never great and never bad, and this lives up to that expectation.
- Kung Fu Cooking Girls Special – One-off cartoon that makes me wonder what else I’m missing from China.
On The Fence: – Watching for now, but chances are I’ll drop before the series completes.
- Moshidora Episode 1 – Baseball via a business management course. Not as clever as I hoped.
- Fireball Charming Episode 1 – 2-minute CGI short. Fast-paced dry, laconic humor.
- A Channel Episode 1 – Lucky Star lite. K-On lite.
- Sengoku Otome: Time Paradox Episode 1 – Insipid girl-out-of-time fantasy.
- Appleseed XIII Episode 1 – Story’s a mess, and animation is clunky. But hey, it’s Appleseed!
- Fujilog Episode 1 – Bottom of the barrel animation, but sitcom-style humor is spot-on.
Slight Thumbs-Down: – Includes shows that may be decent by not within my interests, or shows that I might be convinced to give a second shot if enough people recommend them.
- Sket Dance Episode 1 – Fairly stupid high school comedy. For something similar, watch Ookami-san instead.
- Dororon Enma-kun Meeramera Episode 1 – Remake of classic show, with too much kiddie/potty humor.
- Inazuma Eleven Go Episode 1 – Underdog soccer team story for kids.
- Suzy’s Zoo Daisuki Witzy Episode 1 – Actually quite nice…if you’re three years old.
- The World God Only Knows Second Season Episode 1 – More of the same, which is a shame.
- Pretty Rhythm Aurora Dream Episode 1 – Preteen girl empowerment show.
- Gintama’ Episode 202 – Like Naruto or Bleach, a wildly popular show that leaves me cold.
- Hen Zemi Episode 1 – A solid disappointment, as the novelty has worn off.
- Honto ni Atta: Reibai Sensei Episode 1 – The best of the YuruAni flash animation shows? That ain’t sayin’ much.
- Senjou no Valkyria 3 OVA Episode 1 – Outcast squadron military action/adventure…done poorly.
- Amagami SS OVA Episode 1 – Just like the series, boring and all hell.
- Katte ni Kaizou Episode 1 – Just say no to uncomfortable penis jokes.
Moderate Thumbs-Down: – Pretty terrible, but not the worst shows in the world.
- Softenni Episode 1 – Let’s just say I’m a little bit leery about sexual/perverse humor when it comes to junior high school students.
- Happy Kappi Episode 1 – Donut-lovin’ capybara? Painful computer-generated animation? I’m out!
- Toriko Episode 1 – A One Piece crossover episode, and unfortunately just as stupid as One Piece.
- Fairy Tail OVA – This seems only to exist to show a well-endowed girl run around in a skimpy cat-girl outfit.
- Plastic Nee-san Episode 1 – Short, poorly animated humor skit about model-building sisters.
- Yu-Gi-Oh Zexal Episode 1 – Preteen boy empowerment series. Has there *ever* been a watchable anime series based on a card game?
- Seitokai Yakuindomo OVA – All sex jokes and short-person jokes, just as bad as the original series.
- Digimon Xros Wars Second Season Episode 1 – Second verse, same as the first. Just another children’s show.
- Seibu Tetsudou Ekiin Tako-chan Episode 1 – Low-budget promo for train company. Entirely forgettable.
Solid Thumbs-Down: – Terrible, just terrible. There’s no reason to be watching these.
- Astarotte’s Toy Episode 1 – Underage demon must eat semen. May be well animated, but how the hell did this get green-lit?
- Seikon no Qwaser Season 2 Episode 1 – More of the boobie-sucking show, now with extra cross-dressing!
- Maria Holic Alive Episode 1 – Female sex fiend humor plus Shaft equals awful.
- 30-sai no Hoken Taiiku Episode 1 – Slapstick sexual advice for Forever Alone men. A major disappointment.
- Shukufuku no Campanella OVA – As mind-numbingly stupid as the series, but with nudity added.
- Tono to Issho Gantai no Yabou Episode 1 – Completely humorless sequel to a completely humorless series.
Oh Dear God Why Does This Even Exist? – You watched it, now you can’t unwatch it!
- Hidan no Aria Episode 1 – Perhaps the worst collection of anime cliches you could possibly assemble into one place. You could make a drinking game out of this.
- Nana to Kaoru OVA – It’s all about the bondage and domination…without the X rating. Kinda defeats the purpose.
- Hoshizora e Karaku Hashi Episode 1 – No…wait a minute. *This* is the worst collection of anime cliches imaginable. Talk about aiming for the lowest common denominator.
- Highschool of the Dead OVA – Unlike the television series, this is 100% of the fanservice with 0% of the dramatic tension. Massive fail.
- Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt OVA – The least entertaining of the trash left on the cutting room floor from the series spliced together into one unfunny P.O.S.
- Asobi ni Iku yo OVA – Harem anime existing only for harem anime’s sake. Only good for wanker material.
…And finally, the Wild Cardz Memorial Prize for the Worst Show of the Season goes to…
- Oretachi ni Tsubasa wa Nai Episode 1 – Not only does it contain some of the most unappealing anime cliches, but it is also tirelessly unfunny and completely devoid of any recognizable plot. I suppose they were trying to go the Durarara route of presenting three seemingly unrelated groups of people and stories in the big city; imitation is teh sincerest form of flattery, but when it falls flat it’s simply painful to experience. Add to that one of the most annoying main characters in existence and a couple of facepalm-worthy panty flashes, and this one just barely nudges some of the other craptacular shows this season to earn the “worst of season” award. We Without Wings is “we without entertainment”.
And as always, there are still a handful of shows from the Winter 2011 season that will eventually be subtitled in the upcoming months (especially some of the movies), and I’ll tackle those as they become available.
So, what’s next? We have 21 shows moving on to “Round Two” (although two of those don’t have second episodes that have yet been subtitled at this time), where I’ll watch the second episodes and give those a thumb-up or thumbs-down. Many of those in the “On the Fence” or “Slightly Recommended” categories will likely be dropped in the second round.
Furthermore, it’s now time to look “forward” to the Summer 2011 season, and I’ll post my own preview and thoughts in the next week, and then start watching and reviewing those shows as well. And, of course, I’m still continuing with the Winter 2011 shows (where I’m still watching 6 shows after 5 episodes). Slowly but surely chugging along.
So….comments, anyone? Or am I just talking to myself here?