Summer 2011: First Thoughts

A year ago we were graced by the season of Summer 2010, when the flagship series were High School of the Dead, Occult Academy, and Amagami SS. We were thankfully saved by Shiki, but otherwise we left that season screaming for something better. It seems someone heard our pleas, because Summer 2011 has showered us with a quantity of promise we haven’t seen in a while. Sure, the worst of the season are still scraping the bottom of the barrel for ideas – and the less we must say about them, the better – but the cream of the crop should leave everyone highly satisfied for the next three months.
Introduction by: Elineas

Kamisama no Memo-chou

Sorrow-kun’s First Thoughts
Episodes seen: 1
Initial impression: B-
So what’s been touted as J.C. Staff‘s take on Gosick in a contemporary setting has made an unremarkable start, but I’m willing to give it more time. Just as Gosick before it, if you’re going to be an episodic or modular mystery series, eventually you’ll present mysteries that are actually interesting. What I am running out of time for already is the male lead. Narumi is bland, passive and easily influenced… everything I can’t stand about male leads in anime. Mystery anime like Kamisama no Memo-chou and Gosick need to take a leaf from Denpa Teki na Kanojo‘s book, and employ a male lead that actually has a pair.

Ascaloth‘s Second Opinion
Episodes seen: 1
Initial impression: C+
I’ll have to admit that Alice, the main character at the centre of the entire premise, was pretty much the sole draw to the series for me simply due to her bastard-daughter-of-L-and-Komori Kiri image. What I got out of the one episode to have aired so far was a cast of off-the-wall but none-too-memorable characters, otaku tropes out the wazoo, and a hastily-paced excuse of a detective plotline which makes leaps of logic that could make Death Note look well-grounded in comparison. There might be plenty of time and room for this series to get good, but it’ll have to happen soon because frankly, there’s better stuff out there at the moment.

Mawaru Penguindrum

Elineas’ First Thoughts
Episodes seen: 1
Initial impression: A-
There’s flair, and then there’s Ikuhara. Every step of Mawaru Penguindrum reeks of an artistic freedom granted to very few people. Juxtapositions of colorful and monochromatic backgrounds set wildly different moods. Recurring motifs dominate many of the scenes, innocently suggesting what may come to pass. If that’s not enough, Ikuhara tops it off with a zany sequence that is stunning and yet reminiscent of Revolutionary Girl Utena. There may be a few questionable lines of dialogue and the undercurrents of the narrative are on some levels typical, but the confidence and precise execution Mawaru Penguindrum exudes makes it the show with the greatest potential this season.

Akira‘s Second Opinion
Episodes seen: 1
Initial impression: A
Talk about fabulous. Mawaru Penguindrum is a blitz of rainbows and sparkles. Underneath the beautiful animation and colorful palette, there’s quite a bit of substance to this show. At this point, there are a billion questions and no answers (What exactly is the “Survival Strategy”, anyways?), but the characters are fascinating, as is the dynamic between them. The first episode touched upon some fairly heavy themes, notably the question of fate – if this theme can be adequately developed and fleshed out while losing none of the rainbows and sparkles of the first episode, Mawaru Penguindrum will be this season’s big winner.

Usagi Drop

Ascaloth’s First Thoughts
Episodes seen: 2
Initial impression: A

There are some series that one just knows will define the year from the very first episode, and Usagi Drop happens to be one of those. Utilizing a social issue of contemporary society – the illegitimate child as a spanner in the workings of a traditional Asian family with all of its hierarchies – the series have crafted a very sweet version of the standard bachelor-raises-loli trope, complete with the heartwarming and not-so-sweet implications of such an undertaking, in just a mere couple of episodes alone. Usagi Drop is a keeper for the season, and its potential is such that I’m reasonably confident of its reserved spot in this year’s upcoming Year in Review editorial.

Elineas‘ Second Opinion
Episodes seen: 2
Initial impression: A-
Noitamina has been volatile this year with high concepts or excessive melodrama, but Usagi Drop, like Wandering Son before it, shows that its slower dramas still have much of the timeslot’s former brilliance. From Production IG’s signature pastel aesthetic to Suguru Matsutani’s lilting music, Usagi Drop maintains a peaceful atmosphere that perfectly balances both the melancholic and amusing tones of the premise. What’s even better is the subtle tension of the character interactions, especially between the hardworking Daikichi as he begins to learn about child rearing and the isolated Rin as she begins to open up. And frankly, I don’t blame Daikichi for picking Rin up; after all, who could resist a kid as cute as that?

No. 6

Sorrow-kun’s First Thoughts
Episodes seen: 2
Initial impression: B-
While Usagi Drop has been hitting the ball for six, high into the upper stands, No. 6, Noitamina’s other series this summer, has been keeping its cards close to its chest. Bones’ animation is astonishing, and already we’ve seen a number of mysterious subplots brewing at a few of the levels of its dystopian setting, the most notable being a strange virus which causes its victims to age rapidly before dying. I’m not sure if there’s any meaning in Shion so easily casting aside the two most important women in his life so he could flit in a bromance adventure with the rebel, Rat. I rarely find bromances charming, and given Noitamina’s two most recent high concept disasters, I just don’t know what to think of this one right now.

Ascaloth‘s Second Opinion
Episodes seen: 2
Initial impression: A-
Taking elements from Orwell‘s ever-famous 1984 just like the disappointing Fractale did the same from Huxley‘s almost-as-famous Brave New World, No. 6 takes the latter’s place not just as Noitamina’s concept piece for the season, but takes it further with an opposite yet similar theme from its counterpart earlier in the year. With some excellent animation and a teasing paucity of details from the get-go, BONES is delivering something truly compelling here, although given the studio’s less-than-stellar record at producing quality storylines, some reservation may be in order.

Blade

AC’s First Thoughts
Episodes seen: 2
Initial impression: D
It sounds assumptive, but I think Blade is bound to fail. Firstly, the hero is anything but intriguing to watch: he’s incredibly dull and severely lacks edge. And having a uninspiring hero is the first major step in the wrong direction, especially when he is the titular character himself. As for the story, I reckon that it will be following the same clichéd route of the good guys-versus-the bad guys with the Japanese sidekick by the side. So, along with the shoddy animation and generic 80’s rock music, I’d say that Blade will end up having the same fate as Wolverine.

Kamisama Dolls

Elineas’ First Thoughts
Episodes seen: 2
Initial impression: B-
Kamisama Dolls feels like a strange callback to the anime of a decade ago. The character and aesthetic designs seem rather antiquated, and the high concept and humor provided seem more at home with the other fantastical series of the 1990s and early 2000s. Whether or not any such connection exists, Kamisama Dolls seems to hold the same trappings as those shows. The premise is intriguing, but characters give and withhold information at the convenience of the script, not of the story. Pacing is also somewhat haphazard, at times jumping all over the place during key events while spending too much time on idle humor. It can go places, but it needs work.

Shadowmage‘s Second Opinion
Episodes seen: 2
Initial impression: B
The premise of humans controlling fighting dolls is usually reserved for shows catering to the K-12 demographic, but Kamisama Dolls introduces a college student as the protagonist and enters into a tale that seems to be a shounen action anime for adults. There’s bad-boy rival who acts the counter-balance to the protagonist, awkward slapstick humor, and magical “Gods” that the characters use to fight, but despite all the typical shounen action trappings, there are hints of more sinister elements brewing underneath. I have no clue of the story can ultimately deliver, but Brains Base seems to trust the source material.

Ikoku Meiro no Croisée

Akira’s First Thoughts
Episodes seen: 2
Initial impression: B
Croisée does a lot of things right. It’s beautiful, intricate and heartfelt. The creators’ love affair with Paris is readily evident: architecture is rendered with great detail, and great attention is paid to re-creating the atmosphere of the bustling French metropolis. Yet, this newest entrant into the saturated slice-of-life genre has a lot to prove before it can be deemed truly excellent. So far, Croisée has not delivered on substance. The characters are still fairly poorly developed, and the show focuses almost exclusively on the little joys of everyday life – a cup of coffee, a walk through the market, freshly-baked bread in the morning. This is fine, but if Croisée can’t up the stakes, then it’ll be pretty, but not relevant.

Elineas‘ Second Opinion
Episodes seen: 2
Initial impression: B
I’m not quite sure when idealistic depictions of Europe became popular, but it gives Ikoku Meiro no Croisee a certain charm. Its backgrounds are meticulous and enchanting, characters are constantly pointing out intricacies of their surroundings, and Ko-Ko-Ya – who I initially mistook for as Choro Club – provides excellently soothing music. The show also utilizes its setting effectively to set up small cases of cultural dissonance, settling it nicely into a progression of slice-of-life events. This does beg the question of whether the show will expand beyond simple characterization and trivial interactions, but at this point all it asks for is a fun romp through 19th century idealized Paris. Besides, Yune gives Rin stiff competition for most adorable loli of the season.

Yuru Yuri

AC’s First Thoughts
Episodes seen: 2
Initial impression: B-
From the onset, it looks like K-On! because of the all-girl premises, the slice-of-life, the character archetypes and the Chipmunks-like OP. Yet, it feels more like Minami-ke with the comedy style and dialogue. The good thing is, it’s not as cynically moexploitive as K-On!, the chemistry between the girls are fairly interesting and characters are likable. It’s good for light-hearted viewing and all but I’m just wondering just how long the show can go on before it becomes too mediocre and tiresome. I just think that it’s not as quirky as I thought it should be.

Ascaloth‘s Second Opinion
Episodes seen: 2
Initial impression: C
I hot-potato’d this upon the “Yuru Yuri, hajimaru yooo~” opening refrain, and gritting my teeth to see the couple of episodes through hasn’t improved my opinion of it too much. Similar to the infamous K-ON! it might be at first glance, but most of the gags devolved quickly into generic mediocrity, and those are the ones that didn’t hammer in the titular tendencies of half the all-female cast; yuri comedy may be amusing in small doses like what happens in That-Series-Which-Shall-Not-Be-Named it is all too often compared to, but overloading on it every few minutes just turns it into a toxic mess. To be honest, I’ve better things to do with my limited time than this.

Natsume Yuujinchou San

Elineas’ First Thoughts
Episodes seen: 2
Initial impression: B+
If there is one difference that can be noted from Natsume Yuujinchou San, it’s the change in Natsume himself. Unlike the lonely and uncertain boy he was at the beginning of the first season, Natsume has become more open, more wise, and more willing to help out those in need. This subtle change makes watching the third season more rewarding, as he presents more tact and quicker understanding of the issues that plague the yokai he helps. Otherwise, Natsume Yuujinchou San presents the same touching stories it’s been telling since the beginning. Calm music, subdued art and the ever lovable Nyanko-sensei accompany each turn, lending a melancholic but soothing atmosphere the show’s been known for. For Natsume Yuujinchou, there is no such thing as too much of a good thing.

Sorrow-kun‘s Second Opinion
Episodes seen: 2
Initial impression: B
I’m a self-admitted fan of Natsume Yuujinchou, and while the third season continues in the vein of telling sweet, heartfelt episodic stories steeped in Shinto folklore, neither of the two stories presented so far share the same thematic depth as the best parables from its two preceding seasons. There isn’t much to say about Natsume Yuujinchou San, honestly. If you enjoyed the previous two outings, you should be watching this. At the same time, that it has settled itself in a nice little rut creates a danger of it growing stale. I want to know more about the characters, especially Reiko, and not just when she was a socially reclusive teenager.

Uta no Prince-sama

Shinmaru’s First Thoughts
Episodes seen: 2
Initial impression: D
From the buzz going in (if you can call it that), I hoped for an experience similar to the kooky Rio: Rainbow Gate from the winter season. The first episode delivered just that: An absurd opening sequence modeled like a pop concert, Wakamoto Norio as a flashy principal, a cadre of flamboyant reverse harem types, a trap for a teacher, and so on, all with the air of a show that knows how ridiculous it is and revels in it. It’s utterly stupid, but also kind of fun. Or, at least, that’s what I thought after the first episode; unfortunately, the second is simply dull and insipid, involving a plot to write a pop song in the most boring, plain fashion possible. More of the first episode would make the show worth watching; more of the second would be a good suicide aid.

Kylaran‘s Second Opinion
Episodes seen: 2
Initial impression: C+
I love a good shoujo manga or anime. The last one I really watched and enjoyed was Hanasakeru Seishounen, and unfortunately it doesn’t seem like I’ll be able to enjoy one this season either. First of all, the voice acting in the first episode was terrible – even Wakamoto Norio’s usual greatness seems somewhat lackluster in his appearance as the principal – despite the best efforts of stellar lead Miyukichi (who thoroughly charmed me after her visit to AX). Of course, the setting seems to be just an excuse to cater to a niche fanbase. Seriously, what kind of reputable academy would ONLY have a track for those wanting to be idols or composers? Nodame Cantible at least provided an excellent view of the music world in Japan; this anime (granted, it’s based off a game), just seems like a sorry excuse to do a reverse harem.

Morita-san wa Mukuchi

AC’s First Thoughts
Episodes seen: 2
Initial impression: C+
So what exatcly is the overall appeal of Mukuchi? The show fares alright for the moment: the comedy is mildly amusing in a cute way, the girls are cute and likable, and everything else is sweet and nice. But I can’t help but ask myself if this show is anything special. It may be novel to have a show that revolves around observations of daily life from a reticent point-of-view, but what else does the show offer? For the moment, I may commend how appropriately timed the episode durations are, but there’s nothing else I can say.

Sorrow-kun‘s Second Opinion
Episodes seen: 2
Initial impression: B-
Morita Mayu is what would happen if you mixed Shiori from The World God Only Knows with Sawako from Kimi ni Todoke – silent, and easily misunderstood. In other words, drop the “easily misunderstood” part and she’s my type of character (so tired am I of obnoxious, belligerent loud-mouths in anime). As a taster, I trialed the thirty minute OVA before starting on the TV series, and pretty much giggled my way through the simple, light-hearted, but well-timed jokes set to a backdrop of (to be kind) unremarkable animation. The TV series has it the wrong way around: the animation is better, but the jokes have no charm. I don’t think three minute episodes makes for the best pacing. Hanazawa Kana is good in this, but, well, I’ll probably be cold and buried before I ever criticize her.

Blood-C

Shadowmage’s First Thoughts
Episodes seen: 1
Initial impression: C
The Blood franchise is a production heavily seeped in Western culture. The original OVA was like an ambitious indie film, and Blood+ was like a Hollywood blockbuster. Blood-C is 100% unfiltered CLAMP. The first episode introduces an entire classroom full of personalities who have been pried out from other CLAMP shows. The only unorthodox thing the series has going for it is that the female protagonist, Saya, happens to fall into the the big breasted, ditzy character stereotype, but I’m sure this will annoy more people than it’ll intrigue. Of course, this being a series from the Blood franchise, Saya has another side where she goes Battousai Himura Kenshin mode on supernatural monsters. If CLAMP is your thing, jump right in; if not, wait for the review.

AC‘s Second Opinion
Episodes seen: 1
Initial impression: B-
It may sound petty, but CLAMP’s stick insect-like character designs are distracting to me; I’m constantly reminded of its past works such as Tsubasa Chronicle and Code Geass during the show. Apart from that, the show is off to an average start: the story is taking the slow approach of revealing only bits and pieces of the plot along the way, and the characters are very vanilla for the moment. More importantly, Saya’s polar personality between a steely vampire slayer and a high school klutz is a tad jarring. I wish to see more characterization and plot-thickening as the story continues, hopefully at a quicker pace.

R-15

Kylaran’s First Thoughts
Episodes seen: 1
Initial impression: C+
This anime is surprisingly clever. Each one of the characters has a name that puns off their respective talents. To name a few obvious ones: Enshuu Ritsu as one word means “pi” in Japanese, the programmer’s girl is a pun of “Wireless LAN,” and the clarinet girl’s name literally translates as “It’ll sound if I blow” (harhar). I have to admit, I like Raika’s harsh personality; I certainly don’t think her verbal abuse is boring. The jokes aren’t terrible in the first episode, but make no mistake about the similarity between the setting and premise of this show with that of Infinite Stratos. Perhaps that should serve as warning enough about what to expect.

AC‘s Second Opinion
Episodes seen: 1
Initial impression: C
Quite honestly, I don’t like what I see here. R-15 gives off the same vibes as Astarotte’s Toy: I was expecting something more over-the-top and frisky, but what I got was something that’s best described as eccentric and kiddish. The characters are quirky but they hardly capture my attention from the onset and aren’t that likable either; one character has already gotten under my skin, for one. If this show sets out to be a raunchy comedy full of hijinks, then it seems that it has come off short with the lulz and comedic impact.

The Idolm@ster

Kylaran’s First Thoughts
Episodes seen: 2
Initial impression: B-
Hell, yes! My inner fanboy cannot stop squealing. The first episode served as a very general and standard introduction to all the characters, but it borrows the interesting nameless first-person perspective that the game used. Not only does that make the first episode feel faithful to the original game, but its presentation was also interesting enough to attempt to place the reader inside the actual studio. I only wish they would have kept it. Also, the music is nothing special, but their choice of song is particularly fitting for the show. Both the first episode’s ending and the second episode’s opening reference the way songs are made in the original game, and the endings might be reserved for character songs. Although a cast this large makes working through all the girls tough, it also means more character interactions and dynamics.

Akira‘s Second Opinion
Episodes seen: 1
Initial impression: B-
A1’s trying so incredibly hard to make sure all the girls have the most adorably squishy face – and they succeed. Aimasu’s colossal animation budget is put to good use here, and the visual direction is outstanding. The first episode generated buzz through its unconventional “documentary” format, simulating the actual “silent interviewer” format used for real-life idols. A1’s vision should be appreciated. At the same time, it’ll be very hard to give each girl ample screen time to develop and grow. Aimasu might suffer from Strike Witches syndrome: too many characters, none too memorable, each with their 5-10 minutes in the spotlight. If A1 can somehow avoid this most inevitable of conclusions and continue to surprise with unconventional storytelling techniques, Aimasu might just become this season’s sleeper hit. For now, it’s far too early to tell.

Mayo Chiki!

Shadowmage’s First Thoughts
Episodes seen: 1
Initial impression: C+
Sex appeal. The first episode of Mayo Chiki’s got it, so seeing as my slot for fan service shows has grown cobwebs over the seasons, I guess I’ll pick this up and see how long I can go before I toss it aside like a leper. The show’s animation is nice to look, the girls are cute, and the comedy is not completely eye-rolling. For yet another comedy about a guy afraid of girls somehow entangled with a reverse trap and an S&M chick, the show is interesting enough to have a hair antennae above the pack.

Akira‘s Second Opinion
Episodes seen: 1
Initial impression: B-
Let me just say that this show has an excellent sense of style. With character designs done by famed eroge artist Kikuchi Seiji and a massive animation budget, Mayo Chiki! is great fun to watch. The writing, however, is dreadful – the plot (guy finds out other guy’s secretly a girl) has been done a million times, and the events in the first episode are, for the most part, straight copied from every other silly rom-com anime. Despite all this, Mayo Chiki!’s characters show some promise. They’re crazy enough to bring the awful script out of the dumps and make the show genuinely entertaining. Add some nice animation to the mix, and you have yourselves a decently funny show.

Manyuu Hikenchou

Kylaran’s First Thoughts
Episodes seen: 1
Initial impression: lolno (D-)
So, let’s take what’s actually a somewhat interesting and comedic premise of using boob size to reference wealth disparity in Edo period Japan, and then butcher it with ridiculous characters, too much fanservice, and some censorship so bad it’s not even funny. Now, some may argue it’s unfair to raise the point of censorship against the show, but quite frankly having three-fourths of your screen censored completely ruins experiencing the main focus of the show: rampant and excessive sexuality. Although the first episode attempts to be dramatic, you just can’t help but laugh the entire time at how outrageous the characters are. That and the main character’s sword is named “Boob Slicer” and she has the power to steal the fat from other women’s chests and increase her own bust size. What else is there to say?

Shinmaru‘s Second Opinion
Episodes seen: 1
Initial impression: Z-
Tell me if you’ve heard this one before: Breasts are the key to society. The bigger the boobs, the higher one’s status. A flat chest means one is among the poorest of the poor. Also, the rich like to slice up breasts for fun and to thin the ranks at the top. With such a winning premise, how could Manyuu Hikenchou possibly be bad? This is one of the few instances where censorship improves the product. Whereas something like Seikon no Qwaser at least has a streak of knowing ridiculousness running through it, Manyuu Hikenchou is straight up horrifying to watch, in the worst possible way. Even if the foundation weren’t so distasteful, the writing (clunky and stupid) and production values (cheap as hell) don’t make up for it at all. This is why we can’t have nice things.

Nekogami Yaoyorozu

Akira’s First Thoughts
Episodes seen: 1
Initial impression: C+
Nekogami Yaoyorozu’s creator, FLIPFLOPS, is an old veteran of the Touhou doujin scene. His background clearly influenced Nekogami’s world and characters. Unfortunately, his worldview is far inferior to that of ZUN’s, and his show ends up feeling like a cheap carbon copy of Touhou. The characters have no personality, and the jokes weren’t funny in the least. There’s really not much going for Nekogami, but it’s not bad enough to be considered awful. It’s just decisively mediocre, and utterly forgettable.

Nurarihyon no Mago: Sennen Makyou

AC’s First Thoughts
Episode seen: 1
Initial impression: C
Anyone who expects substantial difference in the second outing is in for a disappointment: everything is set to be the same as the first season – the snail-paced development, the bloated cast and shallow characterization – and the only difference this time round would be the antagonist. Speaking of which, the sneak peek at the villain is perhaps the only (mildly) interesting thing so far, but this doesn’t mean much when there’s nothing particularly exciting to be expected here. Nurarihyon no Mago‘s first season bored me to death, and I reckon that the second season will bore me to death too.

Itsuka Tenma no Kurousagi

Kylaran’s First Thoughts
Episodes seen: 1
Initial impression: B-

Artistically, it seems to be a very interesting show, particularly with the use of CG animation for the spells and strong juxtaposition of primary colors to enhance the drama of some of these scenes. Also, there’s a cute overall touch to the visuals that provides that soft, fluffy moe feel that seems to be in style for anime set in school these days. In fact I would argue that the entire show is about aesthetically strong contrasts: we see a cute girl suffering in agony, blood and gore despite the softness of the art, and slightly rougher sketching on the more action-oriented parts relative to the rest of the visual style. The main thing that prevented this show from being more than interesting is its dull premise and boring characters; the whole narrative seems contrived.

Sacred Seven

Shadowmage’s First Thoughts
Episodes seen: 1
Initial impression: I don’t even…
Now what the hell is this? Any sensible person would have paced out the first episode of Sacred Seven across two to three episodes, but Sunrise seems to have been emboldened by succeeding at smashing a few episodes together for the first episode of Code Geass and decided to have a second go at it. Congratulations to the company of the rising sun, they have managed to both succeed and fail at the same time. They fail because so much information is thrown at the audience that the events up as a blur in one’s mind. However, they succeed because they somehow managed to cram down the corniness of Saint Seiya, butlers in giant robots, a division of NERV consisting of maids, all without giving the viewer time to say “WTF is this sh*t?”

Shinmaru‘s Second Opinion
Episodes seen: 2
Initial impression: C
There’s not much to separate Sacred Seven from other similar shows just yet, other than good production values, but I’m willing to give it some leeway so far because it seems clear that it’s a show for the younger set. The overall hook is simple, the action is silly and outlandish, and the general scenarios are quite goofy. But, somehow, there’s something keeping me watching; it’s not that Sacred Seven is excellently conceived, but more that it’s a decent slice of goofiness. Sometimes that’s needed. I’m not sure, though, whether I want more self-awareness; it is a bit amusing that a corps of sniper maids is treated with such seriousness.

11 Responses to “Summer 2011: First Thoughts”

  1. @AC: After watching the second episode of Nurarihyon, I thought I was watching a different show. Maybe it’s actually going to go somewhere now.

  2. Lots of good points here.

    I completely agree with Shinmaru about Uta-Pri. The first episode succeeded by being ridiculous. Norio Wakamoto doing backflips in the air, and a nonsensical plot worked in its favor. When they shifted tone, in episode two, the show lost its charm. If they go ridiculous in a big way, it will be stupid fun. If they try to be serious, it will suffer from being just plain stupid.

    I disagree with Sorrow-kun about Memo-Chou, or more specifically about Narumi. I just don’t see him that way. It’s tough to say with only one (albeit long) episode, but he doesn’t come across as the bland protagonist. For one thing I don’t think of him as the protagonist. At any rate, I think it is unfair to say he is easily influenced. He was influenced by Ayaka, but I think she is a special case. Note he didn’t decide to become a NEET and hang out behind the ramen shop. He has his own sense of self.

    I’m loving Penguin Drum.

    I’m still curious about Blood-C. I think the first two episodes (especially the first) were designed to set up a dichotomy between Saya’s day and night activities. Clearly a town with monsters appearing all the time cannot be completely unaware of such happenings. I just don’t know what they are trying to do here. I am willing to give it a little more time to develop the idea, though.

  3. @Hogart

    I couldn’t watch the second episode in time to make changes to my blurb. Not like it matters now, though. But now that I have watched it, you may be right. Yura’s role and the fight scenes in the first season are two of the main problems; Yura has always been that bystander and the fight scenes are way too boring for a shounen show.

    Not sure if things will really change from now on, but it’s a step towards the right direction: at least in episode 2, the atmosphere is considerably and deliciously darker and the fight scenes look better. But there are still a number of departments that Sennen Makyou can improve on, so let’s hope it stays on the right track.

  4. For me the 3 shows at the top of the Summer season in order are definitely Penguindrum, No.6, and Usagi Drop.

    However, I did enjoy Kamisama no Memo-chou more than you guys did apparently. I thought Narumi’s flat personality was sort of the point of the story. They made sure to drive it really hard into us that he lacks personality, etc. Now we have to see what they plan to do with this. They may be aiming to give him a lot of development, have him get personality and rally come into his own as it goes along. What makes me at all apphrensive are moments like the end with the lolicon gags, which are extremely tiresome, and the fact that JC staff has been pretty suspect lately (What the fuck compelled me to make it through Hidan no Aria?).

    Ikuhara definitely demonstrates to me though that he still has more directorial talent in his pinky than half the nobodies today.

  5. This truly is why we can’t have nice things.

  6. I’m glad Usagi Drop is as well enjoyed by the staff as it is by me. Completely love the understated, subdued approach. Such a refreshing change to the sanctimonious dramas that seem to inundate anime these days. That alongside the pastel backgrounds, great voice acting and relevant + contemporary issues make it a winner.

    I like Penguindrum as of now but I do not feel it deserves the plaudits the blogosphere has been showering it with. Interesting concept and aesthetics but it still falters with extremely generic characters and voice acting.

  7. Hey, Occult Academy’s ending is my all-time favourite ending of… all time!

    Penguindrum was nice in its ability to interest us, but it’s all too early to judge as to whether it’ll be an excellent show or not.

    Uh, about the (I admit) shallow mysteries and weak ‘main’ character in Kamisama, did you guys watch Dantalian no Shoka yet? It’s not a mystery show per se, but it has that aura of Gosick around it – and the main character seems to be a mature gentleman too!

    (p.s. Why don’t you guys just skip the bad shows >_>)

  8. I watched the first episode of Dantalian, and this is what I have to say (copypasted from the forums):

    “Gosick with a pinch of Spice and Wolf, and a dash of Index.

    One outstanding question pops into my head during the episode: just who is this superiority-complex girl Dalian? Obviously, she’s not human but even this doesn’t make Disward ask the same question. As for the show itself, it’s potentially interesting: we have the supernatural elements, good presentation and production values. Underwhelming but not necessarily a bad start; plus, a cryptic ED too.

    But I’m not sure if I want to follow this show to the end. I may consider to do so if only it made its debut a lot earlier this season, and now I’m not motivated to follow any new shows.”

    Concerning why we don’t skip the bad shows, TIF would reiterate this mantra: “We watch bad anime so you don’t have to.” But as for me, sometimes bad shows are very entertaining too. Just look at what service Deadman Wonderland did for me :B

  9. […] “Whereas something like Seikon no Qwaser at least has a streak of knowing ridiculousness running through it, Manyuu Hikenchou is straight up horrifying to watch, in the worst possible way. Even if the foundation weren’t so distasteful, the writing (clunky and stupid) and production values (cheap as hell) don’t make up for it at all. This is why we can’t have nice things.” – Behind the Nihon Review […]

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