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The Top 12 Anime of 2011 – #6 to #1

Sorry to break the Hidamari Sketch streak but this was my favorite screenshot from 2011.

Did you feel your ears pop just now? I know I did. We’ve finally here – the rarefied air were this year’s best anime titles inhabit.

Before getting to the final countdown here’s some stats that the numerical-minded might find interesting. Using just the top 6 anime series:

  • This year has three anime original series, 2010 saw 2, 2009 had none, 2008 included 2, and 2007 also had 2.
  • This year marks the fourth year that a Shaft series appeared and the third year that KyoAni has appear as well.
  • This year Brain’s Base joins Shaft from 2010, AIC from 2008 and KyoAni from 2007 by placing two anime in the top 6 in one year.

6  -  Natsume Yuujin-chou San

That part of human nature that seeks out the new works against a show like Natsume Yuujin-chou. We get more excited over a new anime series that’s merely good then over an exceptional series like Natsume Yuujin-chou just because it’s in it’s third season and it’s “old”. I’m no different and it took a concerted effort to keep Natsume at the level it deserves. And it definitely belongs this high because, even though it felt like the same old Natsume, the show had a new script writer and that helped explain why the episodes felt sharper and more accomplished this time. This season also started to really display the slowly deepening character development of Natsume and those around him. One of the things I remember thinking about the first season was how sparse the cast was and now in the third season there’s this large cast of youkai and humans that has slowly congealed around Natsume.

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5  -  Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai

Better known under the much-needed shorter name of AnoHana, this anime original found on the noitaminA programming block picked up the anime original banner from Madoka’s hand and continued to proudly show why they are needed for displaying anime at the top of it’s craft. The most interesting point related to AnoHana I can add at this point is the observation I noticed about how this title is handled by anime fandom during it’s run and after it’s run. While airing, I saw a near universal positive consensus towards AnoHana but after it’s conclusion I started seeing more and more of a negative consensus forming. I don’t know if it’s because the people who didn’t like it kept quiet during it’s broadcast or if it was a belated desire by some to look like a critic (and not just a “fanboy” or “fangirl”) or maybe it comes from trying to cover-up how on several occasions AnoHana, a mere anime, brought these people to tears. Who knows?

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4  -  Nichijou

The newest comedy series by KyoAni, Nichijou, was definitely a polarizing force amongst anime fans this year; then again, KyoAni has been polarizing since it rocketed to prominence with Haruhi over 5 years ago. Comedies are always difficult to get everyone on board because people’s sense of humor are so unique. Which is why I don’t begrudge the people who didn’t find Nichijou funny. The people who gleefully crowed about it’s apparent failure rubbed me the wrong way, however. There were the people who always complain that KyoAni only makes one type of anime but when KyoAni does something different they complain that it’s different. Then there was that animator from Gainax that was gloating over the low sales numbers for Nichijou and I love Gainax but I wanted to ask him how long before Gainax produces another hit anime – the guy that directed their last hit left Gainax with several other veterans to create a new studio. I think I even remember Mr. Fractale, Yamakan, crowing about Nichijou’s low sales numbers. Sorry, seems I’ve fallen into brooding rant mode; I just wanted to fill a paragraph and I was stuck when I started with ‘Nichijou is a funny anime, you should try it.’

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3  -  Mawaru Penguin Drum

Moving on, early during Penguins’ run I realized that the ending was needed to explain this anime and by extension allow the viewers to figure out how good Penguins truly was. It was like a mantra I chanted after every episode, “This will make sense eventually,” and I’m pleased that my faith was rewarded with an ending that made sense and cast the whole series in the best possible light. I’m looking forward to rewatching Penguins now that it basically all makes sense. One of the interesting aspects related to watching Penguins was reading what the blogosphere wrote about it. The examination of how this anime and Shaft/Shinbou were connected was a highlight so to was reading the episode posts written by the one fan translators. This anime was the type of anime that needs careful attention to it’s translation even down to picking the best word among synonyms and reading why things got translated the way they did was enlightening and fun. I hope the director of Penguins and Utena, Kunihiko Ikuhara, won’t wait another decade+ to create another anime.

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2  -  Steins;Gate

At this point what is left to say about Steins;Gate that hasn’t already been said? Not much but I’ll try anyways. There’s the remark that it’s quite possibly the best visual novel adaptation anime has ever had or that I’ve decided that I might just try the Steins;Gate visual novel to see all the stuff that didn’t make it into the anime. (A dangerous and slippery slope I know but that’s how much I liked Steins;Gate.) Or there’s the observation that Steins;Gate would have been number 1 in 2010, 2009, or 2008.

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1  -  Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Because I like to repeat myself, at this point what is left to say about Puella Magi Madoka Magica that hasn’t already been said? Instead of trying let me share my favorite scene of Madoka. It’s the scene between Madoka and her Mom, in episode 11, on the stairs of the shelter. Throughout the series we’ve had the chance to see the beautiful relationship the two of them share, something so rare in anime, and that makes Madoka’s decision all the more painful. It’s an adult decision – Madoka’s first and last – and when Madoka’s Mom realizes Madoka has made an adult decision she makes the equally hard decision to let Madoka go with her blessing even when every fiber of her being is screaming to keep Madoka safe in the shelter. It’s a powerful scene. The type of scene that pushed Madoka into the top spot as my favorite all-time anime past Gurren Lagann which has been my favorite anime for the past 4 years. I was starting to think that I’d never see an anime series surpass Gurren Lagann and now I’m wondering how long it’s going to be before something surpasses Madoka.

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I’d like to thank all the people who read my 10000+ word review of the 2011 year in anime; I hope you enjoyed it and maybe discovered an anime or two that you want to watch now.

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Top anime 2011 Awards Part 0: Introduction and Anti-Awards
Top anime 2011 Awards Part 1: Cast and Character Awards
Top anime 2011 Awards Part 2: Genre and General Awards
Top anime 2011 Awards Part 3: VMA Awards
Top anime 2011 Awards Part 4: The Misfit Awards
Top anime 2011 Awards: Top 13 Anime – #13 – #7
Top anime 2011 Awards: Top 13 Anime – #6 – #1 <- you are here


Filed under: anime, awards

The Best Anime Of 2011 – Part 2: Genre and General Awards

Step 2 in making extraordinary anime is to take your cast of memorable characters and give them a stage that lets them shine.

I’m not fussy about which stage is chosen nor do I think one type is inherently superior to another. A well-done comedy is as difficult to make as a well-done drama and both deserve the same level of praise for succeeding in their respective spheres of influence. With a competent execution, a shoujo anime is as good as a shounen anime and/or a slice-of-life anime and/or a sports anime and/or a science fiction anime and/or romantic comedy anime and so on and so forth.

This bit of enlightenment was something I learned after starting my anime blogging and pushing myself to watch a wider variety of anime. Which is one of the reasons I’d suggest giving anime blogging a chance to people that want to deepen their appreciation of the art form.

Before getting to the awards, as a reminder, I’ll try to keep spoilers to a minimum but there’ll be some because of how they’ll relate to specific awards. As for the continuing shows, only the part of the series that ran during this year is under consideration for this year’s awards.

 

Best Action

Seasonal Winners:

Winter – Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Spring – Nichijou

Summer – Nichijou

Autumn – Ben-To

Wildcard –  Tiger and Bunny, Last Exile — Ginyoku no Fam

Overall Winner: Nichijou

Yes Nichijou is a comedy but no other anime of 2011 could match KyoAni’s level of talent and commitment that made Nichijou’s numerous action segments attention-grabbing, entertaining, and pleasing to the eye. It’s closest competitor was Ben-to and with a little larger budget it might have been able to make this award competitive.

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Most Entertaining

Seasonal Winners:

Winter – Rio – Rainbow Gate

Spring – Dororon Enma-kun Meeramera

Summer – Mayo Chiki

Autumn – Ben-To

Wildcard –  Hyouge Mono

Overall Winner: Ben-To

What Ben-to lacked in budget didn’t stop it from being supremely entertaining. It started with a quirky idea – people willing to trade blows over the chance to snag a half-priced meal – and just kept running with it. Ben-to’s toughest competitor was Rio – Rainbow Gate. This was another show that stuck (some might say courageously) to it’s silly premise and never stopped offering something new/bizarre/absurd.

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Most Interesting Setting

Seasonal Winners:

Winter – Rio – Rainbow Gate

Spring – Hyouge Mono

Summer – Ikoku Meiro no Croisee

Autumn – Last Exile — Ginyoku no Fam

Wildcard –  Ben-to

Overall Winner: Ikoku Meiro no Croisee

I love anime (and basically any type of TV/movie) set in a historical time period because I find the differences between then and now interesting to see. This probably makes me a bit bias towards picking Ikoku Meiro no Croisee but, even so, late 19th century Paris is not a common subject in anime and makes a great change of pace from the usual.

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Best Plot

Seasonal Winners:

Winter – Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Spring – Steins;Gate

Summer – Steins;Gate

Autumn – Mawaru Penguin Drum

Wildcard –  Hyouge Mono

Overall Winner: Puella Magi Madoka Magica

This turned out to be a very close thing for PM3 in the end; back last winter I thought for sure that it had this award sewed up but then came Steins;Gate and then Penguins. Up until the beginning of PM3 I respected Shaft/Shinbou for the ability to tell a good story but being able to handle a show that was plot heavy seemed beyond their grasp. (Look at Vampire Bund, for example.) Then PM3 comes along and suddenly Shaft/Shinbou is handling the plot to perfection and not skimping on the storytelling. I know the credit largely goes to Gen Urobuchi who was behind the script but it still was a shocking thing to see.

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Best Story

Seasonal Winners:

Winter – Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Spring – AnoHana

Summer – Ikoku Meiro no Croisee

Autumn – Ben-to

Wildcard –  Hanasaku Iroha, Steins;Gate

Overall Winner: AnoHana

AnoHana’s win in this category is closely tied to their win in the Best Character Development for Cast category. I actually thought PM3 would win this award as well back last winter but AnoHana was too built from the ground up to win this award to not win this award.

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Best Final Episode

Seasonal Winners:

Winter - Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Spring – Dororon Enma-kun Meeramera

Summer – Nichijou

Autumn – Ben-to

Wildcard –  Hanasaku Iroha, Natsume Yuujinchou 3

Overall Winner: Puella Magi Madoka Magica

PM3 had the plotting and the storytelling that assured the epic awesomeness of the final episode. The most interesting nominee in this category is Natsume Yuujinchou 3. As a slice-of-life series it seems counter-intuitive to expect a good final episode from a series that doesn’t have a clearly defined structure but somehow Natsume finishes another season with an episode that manages to give a sense of accomplishment and completeness. (And conversely makes one yearn for just “one more season”.)

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Best Ending

Seasonal Winners:

Winter – Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Spring – AnoHana

Summer – Steins;Gate

Autumn – Mawaru Penguin Drum

Wildcard –  Tiger and Bunny

Overall Winner: Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Getting the ending right is a tricky thing and is where so many anime (and other forms of media) fail. This year, with so many quality original anime series, we had many series that actually got it right. PM3 did it the best and so they win this category.

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Best Slice-of-Life

Seasonal Winners:

Winter – nothing I watched qualified

Spring – Hanasaku Iroha

Summer – Natsume Yuujinchou 3

Autumn – Tamayura – Hitotose

Wildcard –  Ikoku Meiro no Croisee

Overall Winner: Natsume Yuujinchou 3

Hanasaku Iroha finally clicked with me when I realized it wasn’t a drama but a slice-of-life series about a dramatic girl with an interesting family. Even so, nothing could really compete with Natsume. I would have argued that the first two seasons was a display of probably the absolute very best of the slice-of-life genre but the third season came along and somehow found the room to improve upon the first two seasons.

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Best Science Fiction

Seasonal Winners:

Winter – Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Spring – Steins;Gate

Summer – Steins;Gate

Autumn – Last Exile — Ginyoku no Fam

Wildcard –  Tiger and Bunny

Overall Winner: Steins;Gate

This was a very tight race between PM3 and Steins;Gate which would have surprised me more then a year ago, before the start of PM3. On one side there’s a magic girl anime and on the other there’s a visual novel adaptation. However, PM3 impressed me with it’s meditation on the three laws of thermodynamics and Steins;Gate was able to feel fresh and new in the crowded sub-genres of time travel and parallel time lines. It was a tough decision but I finally chose Steins;Gate for feeling more like a SF series and because it showed that there’s still room for new ideas in time travel and parallel time lines.

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Best Comedy

Seasonal Winners:

Winter – Level E

Spring – Nichijou

Summer – Nichijou

Autumn – Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai

Wildcard –  Fireball Charming, gg’s fansub of Hidan no Aria

Overall Winner: Nichijou

Nothing in 2011 made me laugh louder, longer and more often then Nichijou. I’m surprised not more people found it funny but I understand that comedy is a tough business. Second was gg’s fansub of Hidan no Aria; this is how you take a very mediocre anime and make it enjoyable.

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Best Drama

Seasonal Winners:

Winter – Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Spring – AnoHana

Summer – Steins;Gate

Autumn – Mawaru Penguin Drum

Wildcard –  Un-Go

Overall Winner: AnoHana

Some people might say that AnoHana was the best (worse?) melodrama this year but I never felt it crossed the line into melodrama and, instead, was the best drama of the year. (Though, I also like the Key/KyoAni anime series so these same people might find my judgment impaired :) .) Not that it had a chance but Un-Go earned the wildcard spot for turning out to be a pretty interesting drama series which is somewhat surprising when the series was billed as a mystery/SF series and the mysteries were poorly done and the SF was shallow and generic. I’m glad that I decided not to drop Un-Go early on.

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That’s it for part 2, the next part is the VMA awards.

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Top anime 2011 Awards Part 0: Introduction and Anti-Awards
Top anime 2011 Awards Part 1: Cast and Character Awards
Top anime 2011 Awards Part 2: Genre and General Awards <- you are here
Top anime 2011 Awards Part 3: VMA Awards
Top anime 2011 Awards Part 4: The Misfit Awards
Top anime 2011 Awards: Top 13 Anime – #13 – #7
Top anime 2011 Awards: Top 13 Anime – #6 – #1


Filed under: anime, awards

The Best Anime Of 2011 – Part 1: Cast and Character Awards

The first step to making extraordinary anime (at least to me) is to populate the anime with a stellar cast of memorable characters and 2011 was full of anime that took this idea to heart.

One general trend that seems to be really gathering steam of late is creating male main characters who have an actual backbone. There are still shows that cling to the tired character type of the lame/weak male main character but, on balance, they are mainly the cheaper, lower-tier anime series. For this I think we have to thank Tomokazu Sugita and his performance as Kyon from The Melancholy of Haruhi. He might not have been first one to staunch the tide of wet noodle “guys” but with every snarky remark (and DVD sale) he created a counter-image of what a male main character could be.

Another trend, albeit a bit on the meta side, among characters I noticed this year was during the Saimoe competition. I didn’t cover this annual net competition of Japanese (and whoever else could sneak in) anime fans for the most popular female “moe” character but I lurked on an almost daily basis at the places that covered Saimoe. What I was surprised by was the near-total failure of the incumbent franchises to win against the new anime series. I don’t know if this anti-establishment fervor was merely a display of fatigue towards the older anime franchises or was this a signal of a shift in anime fandom. Maybe it’s a sign that 2012 will be the end of the world ;) .

Before getting to the awards, as a reminder, I’ll try to keep spoilers to a minimum but there’ll be some because of how they’ll relate to specific awards. As for the continuing shows, only the part of the series that ran during this year is under consideration for this year’s awards.

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Best Female Main Character

Seasonal Winners:

Winter – Madoka from Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Spring – Nano and The Professor from Nichijou

Summer – Christina from Steins;Gate

Autumn – Chihaya from Chihayafuru

Wildcard –  Ohana from Hanasaku Iroha, Homura from Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Overall Winner: Madoka from Puella Magi Madoka Magica

I confess that I have weakness for characters that are heroes and those that are willing to sacrifice for someone else or for some “greater” good. Madoka is both all while being a normal kid so it was a forgone conclusion that she was winning this award the moment PM3 finished airing last spring. The race for second, meanwhile, would not have been clear cut if I had to pick.

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Best Male Main Character

Seasonal Winners:

Winter – Prince Baka  from Level E

Spring – Rintarou Okabe  from Steins;Gate

Summer -Rintarou Okabe  from Steins;Gate

Autumn – You Satou from Ben-to

Wildcard –  Tiger from Tiger & BunnyFuruta Sasuke from Hyouge Mono

Overall Winner: Rintarou Okabe  from Steins;Gate

This was another easy pick to make. From episode 1 I could tell Okabe – the Mad Scientist of Tokyo – was special; he is the type of character that seems almost supernatural in comparison to even the best male characters from the other anime series. The only problem was that after Chaos;Head I feared the story for Steins;Gate would ruin any chance for Okabe to shine (or maybe even sparkle). Thankfully, that fear proved unfounded and Okabe takes his place among the great anime characters of all-time.

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Best Supporting Character(s)

Seasonal Winners:

Winter – Mami from Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Spring – Grandma Sui from Hanasaku Iroha

Summer – Nyanko-sensei from Natsume Yuujinchou 3

Autumn – Rider aka Iskander from Fate/Zero

Wildcard – Oda Nobunaga from Hyouge Mono, Dio from Last Exile — Ginyoku no Fam

Overall Winner: Grandma Sui from Hanasaku Iroha

A couple years ago I lamented the lack of old people in anime. I pointed out that when an anime does include an old person, he or she is often the most awesome character in the entire cast. Hanasaku Iroha is but the latest example of why there needs to be more old people in anime. Grandma Sui beat a roster of very tough opponents, most particularly Rider from Fate/Zero. He is literally 75% of the reason to keep watching Fate/Zero and makes a strong argument for cutting everyone else out of the show and just focus on Rider and his master Weaver.

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Best Screen-grabber

Seasonal Winners:

Winter – Madoka’s Mom from Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Spring – Meme from Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko

Summer – The Penguins from Mawaru Penguin Drum

Autumn – Matsukaze from Maji de Watashi ni Koi Shinasai!!

Wildcard –  Momoka from Mawaru Penguin Drum

Overall Winner: The Penguins from Mawaru Penguin Drum

This award is for the character(s) that best maximizes the small amount of screen time given them to leave an indelible mark on the show and on the viewers. Mom’s are a rare commodity in anime due, in part, to their ability to stop wacky hi-jinks and shenanigans. Madoka’s Mom and how she interacted with the plot was one of the reasons PM3 reached such a height of greatness as it did. It was difficult to pick someone else but the Penguins just deserved this award too much. Without them I don’t think Mawaru Penguin Drum would have been nearly as good or as entertaining or as comprehensible.

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Best Couple

Seasonal Winners:

Winter – Takuto and Wako from Star Driver

Spring – Prince Enma and Princess Yukiko from Dororon Enma-kun Meeramera

Summer – Christina and Rintarou Okabe  from Steins;Gate

Autumn – Shouma and Ringo from Mawaru Penguin Drum

Wildcard –  Aunt Touko and Uncle Shigeru from Natsume Yuujinchou 3, Madoka’s Mom and Dad from Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Overall Winner: Christina and Rintarou Okabe from Steins;Gate

With everything else that happens in Steins;Gate it’s kinda surprising that the animators where able to fit the development of Chistina’s and Okabe’s relationship into the show as well, even finding the space to make it feel so natural and heartwarming to see. This component also played an important role in making the viewers care about what happened with the plot of the show.

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Best Character Ability/Power

Seasonal Winners:

Winter – The ability to beat entropy from Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Spring – Rintarou Okabe’s ability to remember past world lines from Steins;Gate

Summer – The scarf that can make animals talk from Nichijou

Autumn – The ability to make a person answer one question truthfully and completely from Un-Go

Wildcard –  Seeing ghosts and spirits from Natsume Yuujinchou 3

Overall Winner: The ability to beat entropy from Puella Magi Madoka Magica

I think I was first introduced to entropy and how the universe will eventually wind-down many years ago with a story by Isaac Asimov called “The Last Question”. Personally, I don’t often think about the need to reverse entropy because I probably won’t be around to care but it is a problem that will eventually need addressing by someone. Beating entropy as Kyubey’s motivation made sense for an emotionless alien species and was another facet that showed the quality of thought put into PM3.

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Best Cast of Characters

Seasonal Winners:

Winter – Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Spring – AnoHana

Summer – Natsume Yuujinchou 3

Autumn – Mawaru Penguin Drum

Wildcard –  Hanasaku Iroha, Tiger and Bunny

Overall Winner: Mawaru Penguin Drum

This was the toughest category to pick in this section of awards because each of these series had such great casts of characters. Even when I decided that Penguins was a hair above the other choices due to the high quality of even it’s very minor characters in a cast as large as Penguins had – I still feels like I’m slighting the other choices.

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Best Character Development for Cast

Seasonal Winners:

Winter – Star Driver

Spring – AnoHana

Summer – Ikoku Meiro no Croisee

Autumn – Mawaru Penguin Drum

Wildcard –  Hanasaku Iroha

Overall Winner: AnoHana

AnoHana was built to win this award and it’s not really a shocker that it did so. The most surprising nominee was Ikoku Meiro no Croisee because on the surface it looked like a mere “cute girls doing cute things” anime but a great deal of character development was tucked into the show. A sequel that further explores the cast would be something I’d love to see.

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Best Character Development of a Single Character

Seasonal Winners:

Winter – Madoka from Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Spring – Rintarou Okabe  from Steins;Gate

Summer – Rintarou Okabe  from Steins;Gate

Autumn – Maon Sakurada from Tamayura – Hitotose

Wildcard –  Ringo from Mawaru Penguin Drum

Overall Winner: Rintarou Okabe from Steins;Gate

After going through the level of tragedy and pain that forced him to change from the wannabe mad scientist punk with delusions of grandeur to an emotionally scarred adult that’s been forced to make tough decisions and then had to watch those decisions hurt his family and friends over’n’over – I do not begrudge Okabe the happy ending he got at the end of Steins;Gate. This helped push Steins;Gate from being just a generic SF series about time travel into something exceptional.

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That’s the end of part 1; I hope to have the second part up within a day. Comments and feedback are always appreciated – I’d love to see what others would pick.

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Top anime 2011 Awards Part 0: Introduction and Anti-Awards
Top anime 2011 Awards Part 1: Cast and Character Awards <- you are here
Top anime 2011 Awards Part 2: Genre and General Awards
Top anime 2011 Awards Part 3: VMA Awards
Top anime 2011 Awards Part 4: The Misfit Awards
Top anime 2011 Awards: Top 13 Anime – #13 – #7
Top anime 2011 Awards: Top 13 Anime – #6 – #1


Filed under: anime, awards

The Top Eight Anime of the Spring 2011 Season, #4 to #1

A part of me didn’t want to finish this post because then I’d be quasi-officially done with the spring season and I’ll miss it; it was a great season. I really shouldn’t be sad, though, the few new summer anime that I already checked out make the summer look like another promising season and there’s a number of great series continuing as well.

4 – Dororon Enma-kun Meeramera

Filled with tenacity and manliness, Brains Base’s adaptation of Dororon Enma-kun Meeramera does things it’s own way and demands it’s viewers to accept it for what it is and not what the viewers want. In this way it’s strongly reminiscent of Gainax’s Panty and Stocking. Also like P&S, Dororon Enma-kun Meeramera frequently uses fan service not to stimulate the senses but as a means to further push the show over-the-top and in completely random directions. This helped make Dororon Enma-kun Meeramera a unique experience and set it apart from most other anime of recent memory as did the age of the original source material. The age meant everything felt a bit rougher around the edges then what is generally expected of today’s stuff. That’s not necessarily a bad thing; for instance, the characters weren’t a group of random character traits thrown together to appease as many groups of fans as possible, like so much recent anime seems to be.

The age of the source material also injected a nostalgic undertone to the show that further made the show interesting. My innards were tickled when the main character’s fire staff stopped working at one point because the AA batteries that powered it died and he couldn’t find replacements. It reminded me when I was little and how all the cool toys seemed to run on batteries and it was a constant battle to convince my parents that I needed another set of batteries.

Brains Base also earns top marks for the care and attention they gave to Dororon Enma-kun Meeramera’s production quality. The vocal work, in particular, was particularly memorable. (For fans of Norio Wakamoto (and really, who isn’t a fan (I bet communists and people who don’t rewind their movies aren’t)), he’s in a few episodes as the King of Hell – as if to be the exclamation point on the quality of vocal work.)

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3 – Nichijou

A long time ago, when Yamakan was actually a rising star, Kyoto Animation had a comedy series called Lucky Star and many people, including myself, didn’t think it was all that funny at the beginning. Eventually it hit it’s stride, 8-9 episodes in, and became a pretty funny anime. Fast forward several years and KyoAni is getting around to doing another comedy series, this time called Nichijou Everyday Life. The first episode aired and it was light years better than Lucky Star’s first episode. From there, each episode has built upon the success of the last one and by mid-season it was regularily leaving me in stitches – gasping for breath – a pile of giggling goo. Which is the long way of saying I’m thoroughly enjoying Nichijou and I expect the second half of the series to push this series into becoming my favorite comedy from KyoAni. It probably won’t even be a real contest since, with Nano now being allowed to go to school, Nano is going to get loads more screen time and I shouldn’t need to remind people that Nano=Win.

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2 – Steins;Gate

Normally I wish the Japanese would stop using English punctuation marks in weird ways; but, I like the semicolon and personally use it more than I probably should so I’ll give Steins;Gate a pass on this one. Besides, Steinsgate sounds like a political scandal and that’s one area that this anime hasn’t touched upon, at least not yet. It has so far included conspiracies, mad scientists, computer hacking, murder threats, comedy, time travel, improbable science wrapped within cool sounding technobabble, shadow organizations, budding relationships, parallel world lines and one man’s quest to put right what once went wrong. In short, Steins;Gate has been an awesome ride so far; it’s even been able to use time travel without stepping on the toes of Puella Magi Madoka Magica and vice versa.

The ending could still be a big disappointment and drag down my opinion of the entire show but, for right now, it’s making a fast beeline towards becoming a classic anime. The first couple of episodes of the summer season really cement this as the show to beat this summer.

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1 – Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai

The anime that needs no introductions this season. I’m not going to act cool by being a contrarian for the sake of being contrary; AnoHana is a masterpiece and deserves all the accolades it has received and will receive. It showcases the power of anime series as a storytelling format, especially when freed from trying to fit a story told in another medium into the confines of an anime series.

With AnoHana’s win, the last three anime seasons have all had an original anime as it’s top anime. The first was Panty and Stocking for the Fall 2010 season, Puella Magi Madoka Magica for the Winter 2011 season and now AnoHana for the Spring 2011 season. Will summer see this trend continue? Only time will tell.

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I’d like to thank all the people who read my 5500+ word review of the Spring 2011 season; I hope you enjoyed it and maybe discovered an anime or two that you want to watch now.

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Spring 2011 Awards Part 1: Cast and Character Awards
Spring 2011 Awards Part 2: Genre and Misfit Awards
Spring 2011 Awards Part 3: VMA Awards
Spring 2011 Awards: Top 8 Anime – #8 – #5


Filed under: anime, awards

Top Picks – Spring 2011 Anime, Part 1: Cast and Character Awards

The near-totality of Puella Magi Madoka Magica’s dominance in the various categories made writing up a winter seasonal awards post pretty pointless. This season, however, saw a more diverse and larger group of noteworthy anime to choose from.  There was shows about ghostly girls, alien girls, superheroes both in America and Japan, demons of Hell with undemon-like behavior (4 different ways), conspiracies,  cautionary tales about monetary policies and privately owned prisons, the everyday life of various people from metaphorical trolls to lesbian stalkers to high school girls, historical tales set in the Sengoku period (both genderbent and tea-centric) and an alternative 1920’s where Victorian fashions were still worn along with the standard handful of decent to poor shounen series and low-budget/low-quality fan service shows that every anime season seems to have. So let’s take a look back the spring anime season.

Before starting, below is a listing of the shows that I watched this season and are the pool from which the picks for all the awards are coming from.

Also, as a reminder, I’ll try to keep spoilers to a minimum but there’ll be some because of how they’ll relate to specific awards. As for the continuing shows, only the part of the series that ran during this season is under consideration for this season’s awards.

Carry-over shows watched this season (1): Gosick

New shows watched this season (20): X-Men, Dog Days, Tiger and Bunny, Nichijou, Yondemasu yo Azazel-san, Hanasaku Iroha, Fireball Charming, Steins;Gate, Hyouge Mono, Hidan no Aria, A Channel, Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko, Dororon Enma-kun Meeramera, Maria+Holic Alive, Ao no Exorcist, The World God Only Knows II, Seikon no Qwaser II, C – The Money of Soul and Possibility Control, Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai (AnoHana), Deadman Wonderland

Shows that got dropped (8): Hen Zemi, Oretachi ni Tsubasa wa Nai, Hoshizora e Kakaru Hashi, Sengoku Otome – Momoiro Paradox, 30-sai no Hoken Taiiku, Sket Dance, Sofuteni, Astarotte no Omocha!

Best Female Main Character(s)

Winner: Nano from Nichijou, The Professor from Nichijou

Runner-up: Ohana from Hanasaku Iroha

Nano’s eternal quest to slow how quickly The Professor gets into trouble, pass as a human and go to school makes her an obvious pick for this award but leaving out the other half of this comedic duo dynamo – The Professor – with her precocious intelligence bent on world snack domination just felt wrong. They beat out Ohana; she was a character that I was sure at the beginning that I would detest but she turned out to be the exact opposite.

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Best Male Main Character

Winner: Rintarou Okabe from Steins;Gate

Runner-up: Tiger from Tiger and Bunny, Furuta Sasuke from Hyouge Mono

Early on, when I was still unsure how the plot to Steins;Gate would play out, the reason I kept watching was mad scientist Rintarou Okabe was an absolute treat to watch. I was worried, however, that he’d become boring after a while if the “mad scientist” shtick got old but, with every episode, we learn more about him and what makes him tick and he’s pure distilled awesomeness.

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Best Supporting Character

Winner: Grandma from Hanasaku Iroha

Runner-up: Matsurika from Maria+Holic Alive

A couple of years back I wrote a short post about how anime needs more old characters. One of the reasons is their age instantly gives them the a body of experience that quickly and easily gives them a depth to their character that younger characters have to struggle to obtain. The grandma, Sui Shijima, from Hanasaku Iroha is another great example of this and is easily the best part of the show.

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Best Screen-grabber

Winner:  Meme from Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko

Loud, brash, and egocentric Meme becomes a screen-grabber whenever she’s onscreen, even if the other characters would rather her not be. I still don’t particularly like Meme because of her complete lack of decent parenting shown at the beginning of the series but throughout the series she’s shown that there is a decent human being inside.

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Best Couple

Winner: Prince Enma and Princess Yukiko from Dororon Enma-kun Meeramera

I keep this award just to actual couples in the anime so that sadly left AnoHana out of the running, even with it’s tantalizing hints at how the characters would couple-up after finally moving on from the memory of Menma. Instead, I choose the oddball couple of Prince Enma of Hell and Princess Yukiko, the ice demon. I’m not sure how it’ll work out but this relationship was on the smaller reasons for how good Dororon Enma-kun Meeramera ended up being.

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Best Character Ability/Power

Winner: Rintarou Okabe’s ability to remember past world lines from Steins;Gate

Runner-up: The ability to control an element from Seikon no Qwaser II

By rights, being able to control an element should win this category but, much like the alchemy in Full Metal Alchemist, it’s never exploited to it’s full potential. (For example, who cares if one can make cool iron scythes; let me see that person fight if his lungs are full of helium or that person has all the calcium drawn out of his bones, breaking them, and then having a heart attack from having way too much calcium in the blood or that person’s sodium levels are changed causing diarrhea, disorientation, lethargy, seizures and a coma or one of my sister’s favorite, the nursing student one, have his potassium levels changed causing paralysis, a heart attack and an inability to breathe among other fun things.) Rintarou Okabe’s ability to remember past world lines in a normal person wouldn’t be that noteworthy except he happens to be studying time travel and one of the side-effects of the type of time travel he’s perfected causes him to jump to alternative world lines.

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Best Cast of Characters

Winner: AnoHana

Runner-up: Hyouge Mono, Tiger and Bunny

This was almost as easy to pick the winner as the next award but Hyouge Mono and Tiger and Bunny put up a spirited charge. I could even see Hyouge Mono edging AnoHana but there’s only been 5 episodes subbed so far and the characters are just now getting a chance to shine.

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Best Character Development for Cast

Winner:  AnoHana

This is the easiest award to pick for this season and should be self-evident.

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Best Character Development of a Single Character

Winner:  Rintarou Okabe from Steins;Gate

I love how Steins;Gate started out with a great character, Rintarou Okabe, and has slowly built him up even more. Episode 13 gave us some tantalizing hints at how much room there still in for Rintarou Okabe to grow. I could very well be back next season calling him one of the greatest characters of the year (if the ending doesn’t stink and he gets the chance to continue improving).

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That’s the end of part 1; I hope to have the second part up within a day. Comments and feedback are always appreciated – I’d love to see what others would pick.

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Spring 2011 Awards Part 2: Genre and Misfit Awards
Spring 2011 Awards Part 3: VMA Awards
Spring 2011 Awards: Top 8 Anime – #8 – #5
Spring 2011 Awards: Top 8 Anime – #4 – #1


Filed under: anime, awards

Weekly Highlights 01 – This Might Become “A Thing”

Posted by Author | Anime, Anime Review, AnoHana, Commentary, Manga Review, Nichijou, Rakuen, comedy, drama, gosick, steins gate | Sunday 24 April 2011 7:31 pm

When you watch anime there are always little moments that stick out to you.  Maybe the actors delivered a particularly funny line, the animators drew up an amazing action sequence, or the writers tug hard at your heartstrings.  In the interest of getting out of my writing rut, I’m going to share a few of my highlights from the last week.  Who knows, this might become “a thing”.  Over the past week, I particularly enjoyed some moments from Gosick, Nichijou, Steins;Gate, and AnoHana.

Gosick – Mighty Victorique

Some of you who went to school might have had those desks with the seat connected to the table.  If you ever tried to pick one of those up, you’d discover they’re a pretty hefty piece of furniture.  When they replaced the wooden desks at my school with new ones, they actually got heavier.  You would also find these desks to be a rather awkward lift.  None of this seems to matter to Victorique though…

Victorique Picks Up a Desk

My, how strong you are!

See, this is what happens when you make the cute one angry.  She lifts a desk above her head that probably weighs as much as she does.  Then she throws it at you.  So what if Victorique could never really lift a desk?  That Avril also got hurt in the process is a nice bonus.  Geez, she’s annoying…

Nichijou – The Afro of Holding

I tend to wear pants all the time, and I prefer ones with really deep pockets.  I don’t carry a lot of stuff most of the time, but when I do, I like the convenience.  In particular, the pants I wear to conventions have large enough pockets to hold my camcorder.  Nichijou seems particularly proud of the hyperspace arsenal, which puts my pants to shame.  But none of them can hold a candle to this…

Guy Pulls a Pancake out of his Afro!

Bet you can't pull a rabbit out of there!

I firmly believe that afros are inherently funny, so this short scene was already off to a good start.  Not many people think about other uses for the ‘fro, though.  Just think of the convenience.  You can carry things in your hair!  On the other hand, try not to think about where that pancake has been…

Steins;Gate – Dirty Minds

Most of the time, sexual innuendo doesn’t give me much amusement.  It always seems like the lazy way out of a joke.  The situation or the story isn’t inherently funny, but if you plug sex into the equation, suddenly it’s hilarious!  Yeah, not really.  However, when a writer puts some effort into setting the joke up, even requiring past events to make it work, you can end up with this little gem…

Kurisu Makes a Delicious Innuendo

This really speaks for itself.

If you don’t understand that line, then congratulations!  You’re innocent.  Of course, I might have just totally boned your innocence, and if so, I apologize.

AnoHana – Simple Pleasures

I’m grown up now.  I’m 22 years old, I’m about to graduate from college, and I’m gearing up for my first long-term professional job.  It’s time to enter “the real world.”  Life and its stresses can easily bog you down, especially under pressures to succeed and make ends meet every month.  Occasionally, you just need to relax…

Naruko, Tetsudo, and Jinta Celebrate

We did it, we did it, we did it, YEAH!

Several of us in the aniblogosphere have written posts about Pokemon in the past.  Personally, it reminds me of carefree days when I’d sit there with Gameboy in hand, tracking down Pokemon with my Venusaur while waiting for the next episode to air.  It’s a silly little game, pointless even, but it’s comforting.  And sometimes, like in AnoHana, it’s the silly little victories with your friends that can mean the most to you.

With that, I’ve wrapped up my thoughts for the past week.  If you’ve got any highlights of your own, feel free to share them.  Hopefully, I’ll be back with more next week!


Spring 2011 Season Preview

Alright, so we’re pretty much on the eve of the start of the Spring 2011 season, which means it’s time for our previews. Below, you’ll read what each of the 4 of us think of the many many shows that are coming up. It seems that noitaminA is creating great anticipation again with its financial thriller [C] The Money of Soul and Possibility Control, and the much hyped urban fantasy/scifi thriller Steins;Gate has caught our attention. We fork in our interests quite a bit from there, which is expected given the huge number of shows next season, but studio Shaft’s works seem to be on all our radars, a sign of the respect it’s earned over the past 2 years.

Rakuen

I would like to start by saying there is entirely too much anime airing this season. This is both good and bad. On the positive side, with at least 48 series listed on the latest guide I found, there’s a little something for everyone. If you can’t find a show you’re remotely interested in here, anime might not be your thing. On the negative side, it also makes it very difficult for me to watch everything I want to see. Right now, I have 15 series on my list. I am a little enthusiastic about 7 of them, while I’m definitely ready to try out the remaining 8. I expect to see this number dwindle rapidly. 7.5 hours of anime viewing per week is almost impossible to keep up to date, let alone remembering all the characters, plots and so on. Enough of my kvetching. I should get into the meat of my little segment.

I decided to order my lists by airing date, starting with the series I have a little interest in watching. Dog Days occupies the earliest spot on the list. I expect this to quickly devolve into harem territory, but I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for the summoned hero bit. Next up is the new season of Kaiji. The titular character participates in a gambling event where the stakes are his life. Joojoobees piqued my interest in his post about the first season, but I haven’t gotten to it. So, this go on the Want to Watch list by default. Then, we have Hidan no Aria, which gets a first episode watch based solely on adorable girls with lethal weapons.

A Channel seems to be going with a typical four-girl band for a school comedy, but it is a school comedy, so I’ll give it a shot. The little one, Tooru, also has a baseball bat that shows up all over the promo art… so it could be interesting. Next, we have Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko, or in shorter terms, a new Shaft show. I loved Soredemo, but didn’t like Arakawa. This seems to lean more towards the latter, what with the main girl insisting she’s an alien. Ao no Exorcist continues the “son of Satan will fight his fate” trend. I wonder if this theme comes up because many people have a desire to fight their own fates. What better example is there than the son of evil trying to do good? Finally, The World God Only Knows rounds out this portion of the list. I went back to finish the first season, which means the series did hold some interest for me. I just don’t know if it can do it for another 12 episodes.

The rest of my list comprises of shows I have stronger interest in, and Moshidora has the “earliest” airdate. Giant Killing got me into sports anime, and Big Windup has continued to strengthen my view of the genre. Like Big Windup, we have a female manager trying to lead a baseball club to victory. However, its airdate has been postponed, so it might have to wait for a later season. KyoAni’s Nichijou also airs this season, but I didn’t even realize they animated it until I started writing this. The synopsis itself got me hooked. A principal might wrestle a deer? This is a school comedy I’ve got to see! Hana-Saku Iroha kind of reminds me of Love Hina with the hot springs centric plot, but that’s where the similarities end. It looks like it completely lacks the male lead, meaning no harem, and the plot sounds more focused on drama. I think both of those aspects are Good Things. Showa Monogatari adds another drama to my list with its family orientation and historical setting. This is a more tentative entry on my list, but the Olympic setting piqued my interest.

Now we’re to two of my most anticipated shows. First, STEINS;GATE, which just looks phenomenally awesome in both the artwork and the synopsis. It has the whole time-travel thing, as well as the struggle for survival with the SERN organization on their tails. I get a little Persona vibe from it too, but it might only be me. Sket Dance is yet another school series, but this one stood out from the pack. The premise reminds me of Haruhi, except with less aliens, time travelers, and espers. Unlike the rest, this has the best chance of a strong overarching plot, which I’m really hoping happens. If someone who’s read the manga could confirm it, it’d be much appreciated. Returning to the outlier series on my list, there’s C, plus its long title. It’s got an economically crapsack Japan and a main character who gets sucked into the shuffle. Sounds interesting, and with its noitaminA slot, I’ve got hopes for it. Last, but not least, is Deadman Wonderland. The fight for survival premise fittingly relates to the old Coliseum. It could have a bit too much violence for my tastes, but want to give it a good shot.

Looking back at my list, there’s plenty of comedy, action, and drama with a variety of premises. This could very well be my most anticipated season since I first got into currently airing shows. I hope school and work don’t kick my ass too hard, so I can have the time to watch all these shows.

Top 3: Steins;Gate, Sket Dance, C

lvlln

There sure are a lot of shows coming out next season, but somehow the only ones I’m looking forward to are the sequels: The World God Only Knows, Maria+Holic Alive, and the Kampfer specials.

Just kidding; besides those 3, We Still Don’t Know the Name of the Flower We Saw That Day (AnoHana) on noitaminA’s block sounds like it has potential, simply for being a real-life drama on noitaminA. Oh, and it also contains a character type that’s near and dear to the hearts of everyone here on this site, a hikikomori. Then again, noitaminA has been really hit or miss lately, with the trainwreck that is Fractale and the hugely disappointing Kuragehime, even if AIC’s Wandering Son is absolutely knocking it out of the park this season. AnoHana is being made by A-1 Pictures, which is responsible for some pretty poor shows such as Kannagi and last year’s Anime no Chikara duo Sora no Woto and Occult Academy, so I’m very prepared to be disappointed. Still, the director has A Certain Scientific Railgun on his resume, and that didn’t suck too much, and I’ve heard his Toradora! did drama well.

Besides that, only 2 other non-sequels have caught my eye: Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko and Steins;Gate. Denpa Onna because it’s Shaft, even if it sounds just like another version of Arakawa Under the Bridge, which turned out… alright. Steins;Gate because I’ve read some other people really excited about it. Plus, I like modern-day scifi stories.

But really, the sequels are what I’m looking forward to.

The World God Only Knows was a surprisingly entertaining show for which didn’t have a bit of faith in going in. But Keima’s cynical, almost nihilistic personality combined with his occasional outbursts made for good comedy. A show that was as meta as that could have been a lot more meaningful, sure, but it was a fine source of dumb laughs. The 1st season ended on a planned cliffhanger, and though I doubt the pickle Keima got into will last more than an episode, I look forward to seeing how he will continue to add to his transient harem.

What I liked about Maria+Holic was Asami Sanada‘s Kanako, the perverted lesbian man hating protagonist. Her smooth, soft voice is unique, and seeing her character constantly abused somehow didn’t get old. Didn’t hurt that it was Yuu Kobayashi as Maria doing the abusing. She plays male characters well, and she does crazy well, too. Then there’s Marina Inoue as Matsurika. I like to think of it as a gay Stalker-tan being forced to live with an abusive Kaere and her snarky maid Symmetrical-tan. What more whacky antics will these 3 and the rest of the cast get into?

And bottom of the sequel list is Kampfer. Now here’s a show that was pure guilty pleasure. Looking for things like action, plot, character development, or meaningful relationships was a fruitless endeavor. I just loved seeing Natsuru and his/her thick head be dragged around by his psychotic harem. And this show’s cast is pretty much a who’s who list of female voice actors right now. I wish they’d do a 2nd season instead of just a couple episodes, but I suppose they’ll do.

Top 3: The World God Only Knows, Maria+Holic Alive, We Still Don’t Know the Name of the Flower We Saw That Day

Raphael

Pleasantly, there’s a good bit of original anime in this crop. Tiger & Bunny is among them and has received more press for the large amount of product placement it’ll employ than for the fact that Sunrise is doing a superhero show. I’m hoping it will be fun and won’t drag. Another of these original shows is Dog Days by the team behind Nanoha. The setting and premise don’t appeal to me, but I may well give it a whirl; it’ll probably at least look nice. The most promising of this lot in my eyes is C. Strong staff, very interesting premise, noitaminA. Unfortunately, the trailer didn’t meet my expectations, with the wonderful character designs not translating as well as I’d hoped and the animation looking a tad under par. It’s still the season’s series I’m most eagerly awaiting. The last two original anime, Hana-saku Iroha (which, judging by trailers, will look stunning) and AnoHana seem to fall squarely into the slice of life/drama genre zone. They also have the same head writer in Mari Okada. Both could be enjoyable if done well, but I feel like both could also try my patience, especially given that Hana-saku Iroha is reportedly 26 episodes. I’ll give them a go.

Moving onto the adaptations, we have manga-based slice-of-life comedies in A Channel and Nichijou. I’ve read the source of the former, and I was expecting to discard it quickly… but I found myself really enjoying it. It’s nothing new, but the humor has a slightly mean bent and I got several good laughs out of it. I’m curious to see how it translates to anime, as there’s a fairly new studio on board but also the director and series composition guy who did Saki. The latter is Kyoto Animation’s spring offering and, like Hana-saku Iroha, is supposedly two-cour. I found the prequel OVA nowhere near as funny as I do A Channel’s manga, but I definitely felt it had charm to it. I’ll give both of these series a try. Other comedies include Xebec’s entries Hen Zemi and Softenni. I’ll be watching Hen Zemi because I liked its OVA for its disgusting humor, but I do wonder if things will get cleaned up for TV. In addition, the OVA’s director will not be returning for the series; instead he’s been replaced by the director who did Rio – Rainbow Gate! and To Love-Ru. Meanwhile, the man behind the OVA will be working on Softenni, which I get big Saki vibes from. I’m also a massive tennis fan, so – though I’m sure I’ll feel silly for thinking there might be actual tennis-playing involved – while I really, really doubt I’ll enjoy it anywhere near as much as Saki, I’ll give it a shot. Hopefully I won’t want to be shot because of it/need several shots of something to get through it. (Punning is hard, give me a break (ha!).) Shaft will also have two comedies airing: the sequel to Maria+Holic, and the bizarre enough for me to check out Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko.

To the action/adventure side of things, Steins;Gate stands out as having potential to be very entertaining and entertainingly technobabble-filled. Premise sounds great, art looks great, and Jukki Hanada is at the writing helm. Really looking forward to this. We also have Ao no Exorcist, Deadman Wonderland, and Hidan no Aria. The first has good buzz and the director of Darker than Black going for it, and it could be interesting. As for the latter two, I’m up to date with what’s been translated of the manga of both. Deadman Wonderland is packed full of gore, action, good characters, and plot twists, and I love it. I’m unsure whether it’ll get the treatment it deserves, though, as Manglobe will be dividing its efforts between it and the second season of The World God Only Knows. But I’m hoping for the best. Hidan no Aria has been less fun for me to get through. I would’ve dropped it very quickly (for its mix of mostly-loli fanservice, poor art, and storm of cliches) if I hadn’t found the concept of a school for armed detectives so enticing. I plan to be watching the anime too, even though Rie Kugimiya as yet another flat-chested tsundere should’ve deterred me, and – despite my grumbling – I’m sure I’ll have some fun. Interestingly, this (along with Gosick) will make two shows airing simultaneously that focus on a foreign-loli-Holmes/Japanese-high-school-boy-Watson duo.

As for the rest? Moshidora‘s unusual premise has piqued my interest, and I plan to check it out; Hyouge Mono, Toriko, Sket Dance, and Showa Monogatari don’t appeal to me; OreTsuba (We Don’t Have Wings) and HoshiKaka (A Bridge to the Starry Skies) look very similar and similarly uninteresting; and Astarotte no Omocha! does not exist. And finally, though I’m almost certain I’ll be unable to get through an episode, I feel obligated to check out Sekaiichi Hatsukoi because BL anime adaptations are just so rare.

Top 3: C, Steins;Gate, Deadman Wonderland

CPAnime

Despite the overwhelming amount of new anime coming out, it feels like most of the stuff out there is either for teens or a generic (adult) drama. Thankfully, there are enough shows out there that choosing which anime I will be watching will still be a difficult task. The following are a few of the anime that I have the most interest in for varying reasons.

It has been about two years since I started watching anime on a season by season basis, and one of the first shows I watched in this way was Maria+Holic. So, with the benefit of two years of full time anime watching experience, it will be interesting for me to see if I find Alive anywhere as interesting as the original was in 2009. Sometimes I wonder if the only reason I tuned in on a week to week basis was to see the OP and ED, so it will be interesting to see if my tastes have changed, or if this show is actually as awesome as I remembered.

Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko

I am also pretty interested in the other Shaft show, Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko, but mainly because I don’t know anything about it. Shaft has built up some serious street cred over the past few months with Madoka Magica, but there is also the possibility that this could turn into an Arakawa under the Bridge 2 situation, especially given the synopsis. Another thing that worries me is that Shaft is doing two shows this season, and seeing as how they can barely manage one most of the time, I think the quality is inevitably going to suffer. Still, girls with mysterious pasts are kind of one my things, so I’ll be checking this one out for sure.

C is another interesting show for me, but for some different reasons. It reminds me a lot of Madoka in that there is a contract being made, though I doubt that the main character will be naive as some of the characters in Madoka, as the show doesn’t seem to be hiding its cards. From the previews I’ve read up to this point, it seems like the show might have a difficult time with its first few episodes as there looks to be a lot going on. Hopefully, a deeper understanding of economics or business won’t be needed for this show, as that could turn off some viewers. Personally, I have confidence that this shouldn’t be a problem as it is part of the noitaminA time slot, but even that is no longer a guarantee.

Moshidora

Staying on the business end of things, the one show I am looking forward to the most this season is Moshidora. While its broadcast schedule kind of seems up in the air, I’m looking forward to watching this during the baseball season. Since I’m a business student and a baseball fan, this show is kind of a no brainer for me, and I can potentially see myself blogging this. Still, I do have my doubts as to whether this will work, despite its popularity in Japan. Mainly, I am concerned that the translation of the material into an anime will fail to jump off the page, if you will, and just become another boring class lesson, though I doubt it.

Finally, the one show that will undoubtedly be my guilty pleasure is Hen Zemi. I recently watched the first episode of the OVA and was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it. The only real criticism I could levy against it, besides the obvious, was that it took too long to get to its punch lines. I am a bit concerned that the TV broadcast will be impeded by those god forsaken censors (Kiss X Sis‘s OVAs, for example, were and are infinitely better than the censored TV broadcast), but as long as the staff is witty enough, it can probably work around this. Though, it is XEBEC. So… that could be good or bad, depending on your preferences (btw, where is my LxB sequel?).

Top 3: C, Moshidora, A Channel

And that about wraps it up. Which of the dozens and dozens of shows are you looking forward to this spring?





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