Summer 2011 Anime Preview
Part 1 of 2: Television Series
- Chartfag’s Summer 2011 Chart – The go-to source for a quick and easy look at the entire season on a single page! This is a must for any serious anime fan.
- Random Curiosity Summer 2011 – Arguably the best look at anime shows from arguably the best anime blogging site on the internet. A picture, basic details, a full paragraph description, a full paragraph commentary, and frequently links to video promos. He says he spent about 100 hours putting it all together, definitely worth checking out. The only disadvantage: Quick single-line summary list of OVAs and Specials, no details or opinions.
- Star Crossed Anime Blog Summer Preview – One of my favorite anime bloggers looks at the season, giving each show a “potential” rating from 0% to 100%. One major drawback, however, is the tendency to primarily judge the show based on the studio and/or director making it, and the voice actors involved, rather than the show itself. One major advantage, however, is that it is the only blog to seriously preview the OVAs and Movies as well. That’s one of my big gripes, how everyone seems to focus like a laser on the weekly series, and practically ignore everything else.
- Sea Slugs Team Summer Preview – The seven contributors to Sea Slugs run through the entire season, show by show, each one giving their quick one-or-two-sentence opinions and whether they will watch it or not. Snarky as hell? You bet!
- The Cart Driver is worth checking out, as well as Hanners’ Anime Blog, plus Emory Anime Club and T.H.A.T. Anime Blog
All of the above posts happened a few months ago, and here it is at the beginning of September with the fall season right around the corner, and I’m getting around to looking “ahead” to the Summer shows myself…even though most of them are already several episodes in to their seasons. Up to now, I have intentionally avoided watching any of the shows, and also intentionally avoided even looking at any of the commentary about the shows to avoid having my own opinions ‘contaminated’.
For the pre-viewing impressions, because there are so many shows for this season I decided to break this post into two parts. This section (Part 1 of 2) will cover the weekly anime series, or about 27 shows (thankfully not as exhaustively heavy as the Spring season0. The second section to come shortly (Part 2 of 2) will cover everything else: Original Video Animations, Specials, Movies, Original Net Animations, and Shorts.
The format will be somewhat similar to what I did for the Spring 2011 Anime Season back in May. Each show gets a picture, and also a brief one-to-four sentence text opinion, which may include (at most) one or two sentence description, if any at all. Please note that unlike most reviewers, (in *most* cases) I don’t really care which studio is making the show, who is producing/directing it, and what voice actors are involved — instead I’m more interested in the basic concept, the plot, the story, and the characters. And, of course, I am most concerned in what shows are interesting to **me** (rather than what shows are “good” on a more conceptual level), so all of my opinions are colored through my own personal lens.
The previews will be divided into four sections. First, shows that caught my eye, as in those that appear to be the most interesting. Second, shows that may have potential, might be worth watching or perhaps everyone else is saying it’s worth checking out. Third, shows that are not entirely hopeless, as in there’s an outside chance one or two of them might break out of the sludge. Finally, shows that are guaranteed crap, those that have no hope whatsoever. And now, on with the show:
1. Shows That Caught My Eye
Kamisama Dolls – Weekly television series. First of all, the artwork looks very nice, and the preview video really sold me on this one. Billed as “Girl Meets God”, it opens with a murder mystery involving people who control powerful “dolls” that serve as vessels for gods. I don’t expect anything groundbreaking, just some fast-paced action fun.
Usagi Drop – Weekly television series. “Bunny Drop”, based on the popular manga series, involves a 30-year-old single man who ends up taking care of a 7-year-old younger relative whom nobody wants. Seems that as I get older that I am learning to appreciate these lighter, touching, slice-of-life type stories more as opposed to the constant diet of sci-fi/fantasy. This show also has probably the most buzz of any of the shows of the new season. It is also one of two shows under the distinctive “noitaminA” timeslot — and while these shows may not be universally good, they are always worth checking out.
Blood-C – Weekly television series. Ah, the return of Blood: The Last Vampire. Many moons ago I had watched the Original Video Animation and found it utterly fascinating and ground-breaking. Then I bought the DVD, and was incredibly annoyed at the overwrought story and laughably terrible voice-acting. A few years back, there was a regular weekly series, Blood+, but I only watched the first one or two episodes and could not garner the interest to continue or return to the show. Now it is back with new CLAMP character designs, new staff, new story…we’ll see how it goes. I probably should go back and give Blood+ another shot.
Ikoku Meiro no Croisee – Weekly television series. Culture shock with a young Japanese girl traipsing around nineteenth century Paris. Everyone is comparing this to Gosick — and for good reason, too: the story is by the same person. But it’s a different story altogether, and I’m wondering whether it will be fun and light-hearted, or just too sickly-sweet-cute for its own good.
Kamisama no Memo-chou – Weekly television series. …aaaaand another series that could be compared to Gosick, at least with the basic story premise, set in modern times. Transfer student works with ultra-cute shut-in (N.E.E.T.) girl to solve mysteries: sound familiar? Artwork looks nice, and this could either hinge on the relationship of the two characters (as in Gosick), or on how interesting the mysteries turn out to be. I’m cautiously optimistic about the former.
2. Shows That Have Potential
Natsume Yuujinchou – Weekly television series. This is apparently the *third* season of this show…a show that I must admit I’ve never heard of before. People seem to like it, but I have no idea what it’s really about, but if it looks good that will give me a reason to go back and check out the earlier episodes.
Dantalian no Shoka – Weekly television series. Hmmm. Teenager inherits grandfather’s mansion, in basement finds mysterious girl who is gateway to magical world through books. Well, the artwork looks nice. Yet another show that everyone seems to want to compare to Gosick; did that show have such an impact, or purely coincidence?
Mawaru Penguin Drum – Weekly television series. The ultimate of dark horses for the season, because before the show came out it seems no one had a clue what it was about. Tons of buzz because of the character designs by the same person who created Otome Youkai Zakuro (I was cool on the story, loved the art); written by director for Revolutionary Girl Utena. There’s no pre-show story description available, so it’s anyone’s guess how it will turn out. At the very least, should be interesting.
Sacred Seven – Weekly television series. Billed as a “New School Battle Action” series, what immediately pops to mind when I hear that (based on recent memory) are Star Driver, Freezing and Infinite Stratos. Not exactly warm thoughts. However the artwork is pretty decent and the preview made me move this up a notch, so we’ll see how it goes.
Nyanpire the Animation – Weekly television series. One of the most prestigious animation companies of the past decade has apparently made some bad decisions and fallen on hard times…and this is supposed to be GONZO’s big comeback? Not exactly a splash, to be sure. But I am going against the overwhelming blog opinion and placing my bets that this could be a surprise humor hit.
No. 6 – Weekly television series. Set in the “futuristic” world of 2013 (insert eerie background tone here), it’s a tale of rich kid/poor kid trying to get along in a highly stratified society. The major drawback? It’s billed as a “Boy’s Love” story, which is basically yaoi-lite. I guess it depends upon how much that actually plays into the story as to whether I’ll keep watching. As long as the whole BL thing is just minor incidental stuff, I might be able to bear it. Especially since this is the second of the noitaminA shows this season.
3. Shows That Are Not Totally Hopeless
Blade – Weekly television series. The fourth and final team-up between Marvel and Madhouse Animation. Alas, it has been an utterly disappointing collaboration by all counts, so I do not hold up hopes that this will be good at all. I was only vaguely aware that Blade was part of the Marvel universe, and my knowledge is based entirely on watching parts of the live action movies with Wesley Snipes. My expectations are colored through that exposure.
Rou Kyuu Bu – Weekly television series. My initial comparison is to last season’s Softenni, which involved a group of ultra-cutesy junior high school students on a struggling sports team. Alas, the innuendo and sexual nature of Softenni was off-putting to the extreme, and given that the premise for the story mentions “lolicon” right off the bat, I’m setting my defense shields to maximum. Could be a cute story of underdog team going from last to first…but I’m not holding my breath.
Nurarihyon no Mago: Sennen Makyou – Weekly television series. It’s the return of the somewhat-popular series from last year. I did watch several episodes of Nurarihyon no Mago but ultimately dropped it; it’s okay and started off strong, but started to get mired up in long, drawn-out fights, much in the same way Bleach was cool at first but turned sour very fast. I would expect the same tiresome pacing and younger-audience focus in the second season.
Yuruyuri – Weekly television series. Hm. Something tells me there might be some girl on girl action involved…although I can’t quite tell why…. Basically it sounds like K-On (right down to the tea time club) with girls who are a bit more than friends and with the moe-moe dial turned up to eleven.
Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu Ni – Weekly television series. Idiots and Tests and Summoned Beasts returns for a second season. I watched the first episode of the first season and dropped it; then a year later the two-part OVA which was slightly more interesting, so I went back to give the first season a second chance, and made it to the sixth episode before I lost interest. It’s not a bad show, but reliant heavily on anime tropes and very, very repetitive.
Nekogami Yaoyorozu – A cute-as-buttons cat-god bugs a lazy antique store owner…as well as several of her other cat-god friends means there is never a dull moment. On the positive site, it *does* look really cute. On the negative side…yeah. There’s nothing new here. Signs point to no.
4. Shows That Are Guaranteed Crap
Double J – Weekly television series. Part of the YuruAni low-grade Flash animation block…which has been universally awful. As in Nyaru-Ani awful. Why does this even exist?
MonHun Nikki Girigiri Airu Mura-G – There were a series of MonHun (Monster Hunter) shorts last year, humorous side-stories based on the video game. This looks to be a continuation of that, or at least in the same vein. Weak humor with flash animation, only of interest to hardcore fans of the game.
Uta no Prince-sama Maji Love 1000% – Weekly television series. Female teacher joins school for budding idols with tons of bishie men! Aieee! Reverse harem! Run away! Good god, this looks thoroughly awful!
Twin Angel: Twinkle Paradise – Weekly television series. This is the obligatory show for magical girl fans. Added craptacular bonus: it’s based on a pachinko game. I expect it will probably be as wonderful as Rio Rainbow Gate!
Morita-san wa Mukuchi – Weekly television series. There was a one-shot OVA on this some months ago, some of the most sub-par animation of the season. But that paled in comparison to the dull thud of every joke falling flat on the floor. I mean, c’mon, the humor is based on a girl who takes so long thinking that she never says anything. An-y-thing.
Mayo Chiki – Weekly television series. Urk. Butler show. Not only that, but a butler who is a trap! (As in, he’s a she.) Looks like a show that is based entirely on uncomfortable sexual situations and misunderstandings. Pretty much the type of show held up as an example of what gives anime a bad name.
R-15 – Weekly television series. How the flying fuck did this get the green light? It’s a story of a 15-year-old porn writer who gets surrounded by a harem of girls at school. I think I should just don a “Look of Disapproval” mask the entire time I’m watching this.
Manyuu Hiken-chou – Weekly television series. I have no problems admitting to being a fan of large boobs, nothing wrong with that. But this is just beyond the pale two times over, it’s a comedy set in historical Japan, but with a twist where your rank in society is based on the size of breasts. Nothing good can come of this. (In fact, I’m placing my bets that this will end up in competition for worst show of the season…but there’s so much crap to choose from!)
The Idolmaster – Weekly television series. It’s an adaption of a popular video game where you “raise” teenage girls to be the perfect idol. Pure masturbation fodder. But there is also the possibility it could be so bad that it is good in a point-and-laugh sort of way.
There were also various shows that others may included in their lists but I left off of mine, primarily because I may have already covered them in the Spring 2011 Season (Appleseed XIII comes to mind). This is due to the fact that I determine what shows fall into which season based strictly on their general audience debut date, compared against the objective, exact dates of the equinoxes and solstices. Also one series that was on some lists was the sequel “Last Exile: Fam the Silver Wing”, but that appears to have been pushed back.
Anyway, that’s the episodic television anime shows for the season! Coming up soon is “Part 2 of 2”, covering the specials, movies, and OVAs! And after that, I’ll watch and review the first of every subtitled show listed above.