Wrapping up the 2011 Summer Season Pt.1

Hi. I’m back. I bet you thought I was dead, right? Nope, just slow…really slow.

To me this was the season of mischaracterization. Some series managed to hold a plot together, others had tremendous chemistry, and others had great production values, but many many fell by the wayside due to poor characterizations of the major players of their anime. Even series that managed to hold themselves together for the majority of their run managed to tear asunder all their hard wrought character development by the time the finale rolled around.

This time around I’m going to try something a little different. Thanks in part to Kevo’s weekly anime rankings I’ve been actually having to quantify my enjoyment of individual shows on a weekly basis. So here I am, against my better judgment, attempting to rank the twenty shows (not counting long running shounens or shows that aired that didn’t complete in Summer (so no Penguindrum/Nurarihyon/iDOLM@STER)) that I completed in the summer season. I will be looking at the show as a whole not just the portion that aired during summer and therefore two cour shows ending in summer have a huge advantage over one cour shows; an advantage I have no desire to correct, so suck it one cour shows.

 

I don't know anything about her, but can I please see more?

20. Sacred Seven – Even though Sacred Seven is on the bottom rung it could have been so-so much worse. I have watched to completion far worse shows than Sacred Seven and hated myself for every minute of it. Sacred Seven could have been a delicious Sunrise Brand Trainwreck but the characters were just too damn boring. There is a little absurd humor here and there but it is far from intentional.

Pros

  • Hands-down the greatest moment of the season was when I started episode 5 and was greeted by this.
  • I wished I loved anything as much as Wakana loves rocks. Not gems or minerals, rocks. 24 hours of rocks documentary. Rocks with feelings. Rocks performing. Hey look what I found! Oh, is that a type of feldspar? Nope! It’s a nondescript rock of no discernible inherent interest.
  • The animators had to know how dumb Squall Arma looked on that moped…or next to literally any of the other characters. He’s like seven feet tall and they are five-foot nothing. When he goes out on a date with Ruri she looks like she should be his child.
  • The animation especially in the first episode was quite good. The monster of the week wasn’t bad but couldn’t compare to a different monster of the week show that aired this season.
  • More maid assault team, less whiny mech pilot please
  • Nice Boat ending

Cons

  • When your protagonist dreams of emulating a rock, and not in a good way like being as tough or steadfast, you have some problems with character motivation.
  • Likewise when your mascot character is a rock that says Hell alot, I have to wonder what kind of viewer you are trying to draw in. Californians?
  • Almost every side character except Wakana sucks as well
  • The plot is convoluted schlock
  • Hey! Some dude just told us that this Kenmi cat was bad news. ALSO he is highly implicit in the death of your parents. We should watch him closely from now o- doh! he got us for tax evasion.
  • Why the hell is your transformation a frog?

Seiyuu Notables

  • Katsuyuki Konishi as Yuuji Kenmi – Look dude I can see what your selling. I god help you if you aren’t selling it as best as you can. But I’m not buying. Please stick to baby-rearing delinquents.

 

Why Shamo matters.

19. Nekogami Yaoyorozu – Without a devoted fan love of Touhou, beyond some sexy doujins of Kanae, Yukari, and Patchouli, I’m not sure I can appreciate this show to it’s fullest extent. The dramatic parts fell flat, the comedic parts weren’t funny, the chemistry could get annoying, the plot was built on flashbacks, and I never got any warm fuzzy feelings. However it had a wealth of talented voice actors and with one or two exceptions they all did fine jobs. It’s just the material they were working with was paper thin and derivative from episode one.

Pros

  • The Tapir-riding, dream-eating deity episode was great till it got all sappy.
  • The manager and underling pair that kept running afoul of Shamo, the poverty god.
  • Uhh did I mention Yurara the tapir-riding goddess already?
  • Friendship? I guess whatever overrated.

Cons

  • ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ…huh wha? Oh right review
  • Too…many…boring…flashbacks…can’t…stay…awa-ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
  • I just don’t get what Mayu sees in you Yuzu. You have the personality of a knitted doily.
  • Generally I can’t understand what everyone else sees in Mayu, but I think that’s purposeful
  • Gonta is an annoying piece of shit

Seiyuu Notables

  • Tomatsu Haruka as Mayu doing a little but of her Nagi from Kannagi shtick with the antiquated way of speaking. One of the few things that kept me watching.
  • The supporting cast was pretty strong as well: Takagaki Ayahi as Yurara, Toyosaki Aki as Shamo, and MAKO as Yoshino all did great work. Taketastu Ayana as Meiko, Kayano Ai as Sasana, and Yuuko Sanpei as Gonta all did satisfactorily.
  • For shame Horie Yui. I know you can do better than Yuzu.

 

Nightmares. Night. Fucking. Mares

18. Kamisama Dolls – Talk about a show that has no idea what it’s doing. The focus is on all the wrong characters, the pacing is slow on a geologic scale, the tone is schizophrenic, and I do not have high hopes of them getting the second season they are so clearly bidding for. I have to place most of the faults of this show solely on the shoulders of Seiji Kishi, the director. I’ve been a supporter of his, in no small part thanks to the awesome work he did on Seto no Hanayome, but after this and Angel Beats I am having a harder time backing him up. Angel Beats was hilarious but the drama for the most part was shoved right on down my throat. He continues this trend of force-fed drama torture in Kamisama Dolls but spices it with comedic moments that fall flat on their face and then lay there bleeding and weeping.

Pros

  • This is all unfortunate because Kamisama Dolls actually has an interesting story to tell. Trying to take it’s cue from the likes of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, the story of a town drowning in a corrupted tradition and the effect it has on the next generation could be compelling if, yknow, they actually focused on it. Likewise the mystery surrounding the nature of the dolls almost makes me wish this could get a second season.
  • The characters are also interesting. Kyouhei, while not being the most inspiring of sorts, occasionally gives us a glimpse of why he is allowed to be the main character. Likewise Kyouhei’s relationship with Aki is unique and could go a long way into making Aki a compelling villain. The dynamic love/hate relationship between separated at birth twins Kirio and Utao could make up for Utao’s flimsy bro-con toward Kyouhei.

Cons

  • Hibino needs breast reduction surgery and/or an animator that understands human proportions and anatomy
  • Kuuko needs more screentime
  • I think Mahiru would have been better utilized if we’d yknow, known she existed from the start
  • Buy DVDs so we will make a second season ending.
  • Utao enraged by crushed cakii
  • Hey look it’s Aki! Time to remind everyone that the real bad guy is the corrupt village that raised us. K bye

Seiyuu Notables

  • Sawashiro Miyuki as Kuuko – Work it girl.

 

One loli to rule them all...

17. Ro-Kyu-Bu! – Alright don’t be too shocked. Before I incriminate myself more by having this on the list and higher than three other shows lemme say this: the first four and the last three episodes aren’t bad. That’s almost sixty percent of the show. However what Shin says about it is 100% true as well. Especially the middle half is chocked full of loli fanservice, with training episodes that take place conveniently at pools and/or at the beach, there is plenty of bikini’d animated underage flesh parading across the screen. On the flip side, the rag-tag basketball team on the verge of dissolution, that is brought back from the brink by an inspiring coach, whom in the process is healed by the team, is about as close as you can get to generic sports drama. Hell, that’s 90% of  the plot of Mighty Ducks. As long as you can get around/ignore/furiously fap to all that non-bouncing, (with the exception of the stereotypical large-breasted loli) sweating, spats wearing, loli veal, Ro-kyu-bu proves beyond just watchable…almost actually good.

Pros

  • Giving away my proclivities off the bat: Hina is absolutely adorable.
  • Also Mokkan
  • Even the adults are loli
  • おー is the new です

Cons

  • The animation and art is so terrible I don’t think the loli service could be titillating even if they started frenching
  • Character building lol
  • loli with tits
  • Characters besides Hina and Mokkan were annoying

Seiyuu Notables

  • It’s fair to say my nutbladder exploded all over the screen the moment Hanazawa Kana as Tomoka opened her mouth in the first episode.
  • Ogura Yui created a monster in Hinata. A ridiculously cute monster.

By your powers combined...

16. Dantalian no Shoka - A newbie Gainax director trying to show off his talents off. Does he succeed? Ummm no, not quite. Certain stories were compelling, such as the episode they fought bookworms from INSIDE of the book. Others were farcical but funny enough that I didn’t hate them for wasting my time, such the episode with the weird, power rangers-esque suitors going after a quicksilver homunculus and in the process driving off her magician creator. The worst ones though suffered from two things: pacing issues and Dalian and Huey’s apparent uninterest.

Pros

  • The best episodes: Flamberge and Hal destroying the doll town. Huey and Dalian fighting bug monsters inside an Osamu Kobayashi imagined world. Huey’s fighter pilot backstory.
  • Digitalboy has already briefly gone over Dalian’s interesting vocal pedigree
  • The foley artist was great. Loved the sound of clacking things whenever Dalian moved.
  • I loved the opening and its sobering latin even though it didn’t fit the show very well.
  • The ending was good and creepy and fit the show
  • That one episode that was like the bachelor crossed with captain planet.

Cons

  • I just never could get over how passive Huey and Dalian were about everything. I could enjoy the episode with the immortal lovers if Huey and Dalian didn’t just stand there coldly analyzing everything. Whenever they are captured or corned they are so damn nonchalant it’s like they don’t even care. Maybe they were going for suave and debonair but it comes off like they are as bored with what’s happening to them as I am watching their “predicaments”.
  • And another thing Huey was a man of ACTION in the first few eps. He shot and anything that moved with his trusty pistol but by the end he was nothing but Dalian’s bitch
  • Like seriously Huey. You realize this dude is bad. Do SOMETHING. Oh what’s that? You are just going to get shot instead…oh, okay I guess that works too.
  • Seriously what was that ending. Talk about blowing your load.
  • The return of buy DVDs so we can make a second season ending.

Seiyuu Notables

  • Sorry Miyukichi, Dalian is pretty damn annoying. You went a long way to soften some of that but can’t help the way a character is written.

It is impossible to escape QB because Kato Emiri is EVERYWHERE.

15. Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu niGenerally it is assumed if you enjoyed an anime from the start, you will also enjoy the second season of it. On the flip side if you were somewhat indifferent from the start, like I was, you’ll be watching a second season in hopes that the anime will mix things up and surprise you. BakaTest season two is more of the same with a slightly greater focus on Aki/Mizuki/Minami love triangle. This was not one of my favorite aspects of season one. However on a few episodes BakaTest managed to deliver on the comedy and cutesy pastel shots of the girls + Hideyoshi so it gets a pass.

Pros

  • Woah…Woah…where did this Kudou Aiko chick come from and why is she so awesome. Her and Voyeur have great chemistry.
  • Summoned Beings that give away the thoughts and emotions of their summoners was absolutely hilarious. That they resemble elementary school students in both speech and mannerism only adds to the comedy. I wished they’d stuck around a lot longer.
  • I actually enjoyed the Minami back story somewhat even though it was a tad melodramatic
  • The first and last arcs were pretty funny but for entirely different reasons. The first one was all about chemistry the second was funny for the battles.
  • Mizuki’s summon being is a hawt succubus
  • Minami’s summon being is a fucking stone wall with a tail. I died laughing.
  • Yandere female love interests +1

Cons

  • Moping female love interests -1
  • Aki’s sister only appears at the beginning of the season
  • The peeping arc was just so dumb and led to all the idiocy of the middle arcs
  • Shoko/Ryuuji back story was meh

Seiyuu Notables

  • Kato Emiri as the Kinoshita twins because i did say she was everywhere and awesome no matter what she does.
  • Tsuda Kenjirou as  Shin “Narrator 2″ Fukuhara – the cuts were some of my favorite parts of every episode and this guys monotone voice as narrator and preview dude made them hilarious. Also get this dude is Fire Emblem in Tiger & Bunny. Mind. Blown.

IfyouknowwhatImean

14. Nichijou - Sorry all you Nichijou lovers. I rarely found this show funny. Incredibly rarely. I’ve heard some people call this evolutionary Azumanga but I laughed my ass off at Azumanga, it’s one of my favorite comedies. If this is what Azumanga is evolving into I think some animated genocide is in order.

Pros

  • One of the only reasons this show is not lower on the list: they incorporated Nano into the main cast. Prior to that this show wasn’t just unfunny, it was horribly disjointed. When the four leads finally got together the show improved vastly.
  • I cannot fault the animation no matter how inappropriate I felt it was in a given situation. Yeah okay Yukko stabs herself with a pen and it really hurts, why does her pain need to manifest itself as a beam that flies out of her mouth and impales the planets on the way out of the solar system. I get that it’s exaggerated but I don’t get why the exaggeration is inherently funny.
  • Professor is adorable and the amusing combination of Professor and Sakamato actually brings together a seiyuu duo from  a previous KyoAni production: Shiraishi Minoru and Konno Hiromi from Lucky Channel! Great casting choices
  • The scenes were Mio beats up the police officer and the scene where she beats up the ship full of generics were among my favorite moments
  • The rest of them are filled with the occasional Mai troll
  • I loved the first ED. The very first one. I wasn’t as big a fan of the iterations. If you strip down the backing and make it a capella the vocal faults of the singer are all too obvious.
  • The first opening was good, the second opening was okay but lost me with the yodeling.

Cons

  • Not funny. This is a perfect example of why Nichijou’s humor falls flat to me. I get it, both toasters and tissue boxes have rectangular slots. What else ya got? What? That’s it…uhhh k.
  • SHUT UP YUKKO. SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP
  • Not enough Mai trolling
  • Too many shitty segments like Helvetica Standand, Short Thoughts, and Like Love.
  • Jan-ken-pon cannot match up to tsukuri mashou, sorry Nano and Hakase.
  • Not enough screentime/fanart for Sakurai-sensei
  • Bloated with random unfunny characters
  • What’s with the freaking steam and air coming out of people whenever they are distressed. It just looks weird.

Seiyuu Notables

  • Despite my general dislike of this series I have hard time faulting the seiyuu.
  • Yukko’s seiyuu Honda Mariko was annoying as hell but it fits the character no matter how much I might hate it.
  • Togashi Misuzu timed Mai’s “ageru” were perfectly and to hilarious effect
  • The perpetual nerves of Kosuge Mami’s Sakurai-sensei made want to do her…taxes…so hard…yeah

Kishida Mel's gorgeous illustrations for the KamiMemo light novels.

13. Kamisama no Memo-chou- This is why it’s hard for me to rank shows. Every once in awhile I come across a show I have no easily quantifiable reason to rank as high in preference as I do this one. I can point out flaws in this show quite easily but pointing out the things done well is much harder. I really enjoyed one arc is the best explanation I can come up with. For me that’s enough to put it as high as I do…also I “liked” Alice’s character design. Make what you will of those quotes.

Pros

  • The hour long premiere really set me up into hoping this was gonna be a great show. It was giving me heavy Denpateki Kanojo vibes.
  • The second arc was a downgrade from the first but still was good enough that I was eager to continue watching
  • Alice has a couple good speeches here or there about the nature of detective work as speakers for the dead, which is hardly an original concept, especially since I’ve read Orson Scott Card’s Speaker for the Dead but still a good throwback to the books for me.
  • The arc in which Yondaime’s old gangbanger pal comes back to town was excellent. In terms of straight up mystery it was exactly how I liked it. There were plenty of clues hanging around but the answer wasn’t immediately obvious. The final reveal was surprising but not wholly unpredictable. There was no deus ex machina involved and each episode methodically added on to the next and to the composition of the entire arc. What seemed somewhat directionless was actually carefully constructed.
  • I dig Alice’s character design

Cons

  • Look I know us viewers are always clamoring for a protagonist who is more than just a wet blanket analog for the viewer but you have to actually give us some reasoning behind his motivation. It makes me wonder if maybe the wet blanket is preferred to the anomolous protagonist who seems to have no clear motivation for why he does stuff or even why people like him. It’s like they took that audience insert and switched his mode from passive to active but that didn’t fail to make him any less uninspiring.
  • I’ve mentioned before how Narumi is like Watson to Alice’s Holmes. Unfortunately we never get to see Holmes in action and watching Watson blindly stumble onto clues is not that interesting.
  • Furthermore the environment the series takes place in seems to provide no actual danger to the protagonists. Yondaime can talk all he likes about things getting ugly and display the bruised and bloody faces. When it’s time to throw down there are no weapons just manly fists. Even in a fight against the mafia there are no firearms involved. Hence I can’t ever even imagine the scenario that Narumi is in any real danger.
  • wtf even is a NEET detective. I think you need a new definition of NEET. That whole aspect of the series should be tossed out because they are clearly not NEETs. My guess is actually that the director or scriptwriter had no idea what to do with some of the concepts introduced by Alice but couldn’t leave them out because holy shit Heaven’s Memo Pad (w/e the fuck it is) is right there in the title.

Seiyuu Notables

  • Kayano Ai takes Alice, a character who looks tailor made for Kugimiya Rie, and creates a low-key, contemplative, shut in genius who looks great in thigh highs. Alice could have been way more annoying if portrayed incorrectly.

Adorable young girls dominated the field this season.

12. Ikoku Meiro no Croisee- The show doesn’t tread any new ground. It’s an inoffensive, low-key, safe, production about which it is next to impossible to hold strong feelings one way or the other toward. However Yune is adorable and the situations she gets into are often charming and pleasant. It’s a Satou Junichi slice of life series to the core.

Pros

  • Did I mention that Yune was cute? Just the faces she makes are adorable and hilarious.
  • Gong~ Gong~
  • Alice was annoying but grew on me
  • The phantasmagoria episode was fantastic.
  • Grandpa Claudel is a straight up PIMP
  • Drunk Yune was hilarious and adorable and the transition from that to sad Yune remembering her sister was excellently done
  • The finale was well done and actually gave some nice development to Claude who’d been a sourpuss most of the time.

Cons

  • Through 90% of the series Claude was Mr. Angst
  • Never finished the Claude/Camille story. I mean Camille especially is just wasted. Could have been an interesting social commentary on nobility and the roles of women at the time but aside from a few offhand comments her story never went anywhere
  • As cute as it is to see Yune trying new french foods, it’s not exactly compelling storytelling.

Seiyuu Notables

  • Toyama Nao you are absolutely adorable as Yune.

11. R-15- Many of you probably wrote off R-15 from episode one as pure ecchi schlock. While that is pretty much true, it’s also damn funny pure ecchi schlock. It’s all about the concept. A school for people gifted in such categories as: genius idol, genius cheerleader, genius nun, and genius fortuneteller accepts a genius writer…of pornography. I don’t know if it’s horrible or hilarious that he’s named after Akutagawa Ryuunosuke but if the concept sounds ridiculous that is because it is. Having a ridiculous concept and a blatant disregard for class or tact allows a series to be as outlandish as it wants. Which often leads to hilarity. This shall henceforth be known as the Seikon no Qwaser principle.

Pros

  • If they really wanted to this show could have created a great shipping war among the ladies. Sadly the best one gets the shaft in the end and the rest were hardly competing.
  • In case you didn’t know I’m Team Utae. There was actually seriously good choices in depicting her rejection. I particularly like this darkened karaoke scene. Poor Utae
  • That being said the funniest moments are probably when Takuto uses his super powers as a great porn writer to basically give his opponents the equivalent of a verbal orgasm. The lines he uses are really flowery and ridiculous and the girls reactions are over the top.
  • I just pity the poor fools who didn’t watch this to the end for the moment when Takuto’s entire class started singing the words to his lyrical masterpiece about trying to get into Narukara’s pants. It was like listening to “Chu Chu Lovely Muni Muni Mura Mura Purin Purin Boron Nurururerorero” by Maximum the Hormone except performed by a clearly trained choir.
  • Also Narukara finally played a new song on her clarinet

Cons

  • But seriously did Narukara really have to wait till the end of the show to play any other damn song on the clarinet or is the budget REALLY that tight?
  • shit quality art
  • A bunch of side characters need to just go die off in a hole somewhere.
  • That Enshuu Ritsu dude who is gay for Takuto reciting his “formula” to calm down, yeah okay that’s just the number Pi. I get that’s his name but seriously why call it a formula.
  • Takuto totally picks the wrong chick. Narukara is cute sure but she’s boring and dense. Utae knows you are a porn writer, respects you for it, and probably digs it a little. That is a woman who supports your porn habit. They don’t come along everyday. You know she’d probably be down with all kinds of freaky shit.

Seiyuu Notables

  • The entire cast is either complete novices or people with one or two other roles under their belt. That being said I thought they all did a decent job. I’m not gonna say they gave the best performance of the year or anything but considering how new they were it wasn’t bad.
  • Standouts from the crowd were the three leads: Goudo Aya as Akutagawa Takuto, Kashiyama Nanami as Sonokoe Utae, and Fukuhara Yurina as Narukara Fukune.

Pt. 2 will be along either this week or the next. This one was just getting tl;dr to include the final 10. So stay tuned for all the good/better shows in the next post.

Bye Bye

5 thoughts on “Wrapping up the 2011 Summer Season Pt.1

  1. I’m p. sure Kamimemo’s Alice was voiced by Ogura Yui, not Kayano Ai. Kayano Ai was the girl that killed herself or something, I don’t know, I dropped this on ep2.
    P.S.: gg is the best

    • yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhh…R-15 is highest up cause that’s the only one I didn’t regret watching either in a big way or just in some small part of me.

      Check out the clip from the last ep that I mentioned in the post:

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