Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Looking Back at Summer

Chitose likes summer...

It's hard to believe the fall season is here already and summer is gone - and I never really did a proper writeup on the spring season, or winter before that for that matter. I should probably just pull a Yukiho, dig a hole and bury my blog in it, but since I have some time to play hooky at work, I might as well write up a few thoughts on the summer season, for what my two cents are worth.

Favorite Summer Anime: Idolmaster

Part of me can't believe this is true, but honestly this is what I looked forward to the most each week. This is where if you like your anime to be serious and have a plot you're free to throw up and/or make a localhost entry to block this domain until the end of time. Regardless, it's been a fun ride so far, and unlike K-On there's actually a healthy dose of different songs throughout too - no endless repeats of the same song, no cutting away to the empty school grounds in mid-concert, and so on.

I'm generally a sucker for anime about idols - I even watched all of Lovely Idol - so this was likely to be a hit for me from the beginning, and A-1 has done a great job with scenes like Ryuuguu Komachi's dance routine in ep 6, Makoto going all Jackie Chan in ep 8, and others. Granted, at other points the animation can be a little weak, but overall I can't complain. It's hard not to root for a dozen bishoujo trying their best, and while the Producer seems pretty ineffective in general so far, his heart's in the right place and I'm sure in the second cour he'll bring his idols up to Ryuuguu Komachi's level and beyond.

Probably not for everyone, but I'm enjoying it so far - and there's some hints of serious business to come, like Chihaya's family situation, that I think could add some powerful drama in the second cour if done right (and if A-1 bothers to go there at all - with such a big cast, you never know). Very glad this runs on through the fall season for another cour.

Runners-up:

Nichijou - I can't say this is Kyoani's best anime ever, since I'd rank it towards the bottom of what they've done - but it did have some genuinely funny moments to it, and bizarre humor is generally right up my alley. Every time the airship appeared (far too infrequently) it was epic - Starla-hime should get her own series. And while Yukko's antics got a little old after 26 episodes, and the more experimental animation sometimes fell a little flat, it was still an enjoyable watch. I don't think I'll re-watch it a hundred times or anything, but it was another series I looked forward to each week.

Yuru Yuri - Not hilarious every episode, but when it was funny it was pretty epic. Chinatsu chasing down Akari, only to get caught in the act at the most predictable time. Ayano's "Toshino Kyouko!" Chinatsu's horrific drawing skills. Akari's endless battle with her lack of screentime and presence. Chitose-vision. Almost anything with Sakurako and Himawari. There were too many laugh out loud scenes to list, which makes up for some of the series being a little underwhelming, like they were trying to play it safe instead of dialing funny up to 11. I'd love to see a second season someday - it's just one of those casts you miss once they're gone.

Everything Else

I know - I didn't watch anything even remotely serious. I'm a viewer of moe crap, or whatever people call non-serious anime these days. But in the end, anime's something I watch for entertainment, not to show off my dual majors in philosophy and sociology. Some other anime I did watch this season:

Hanasaku - Liked the series overall, but as Kurogane pointed out, the story meandered more than a little in the second cour. Also, Ko-chan? Really? A girl would pick the boring guy over a guy who RIDES A MOTORCYCLE and CAN FREAKING COOK? Who's more plausible for the cover of a romance novel with their shirt off, Ko-chan or Tohru? Yeah, that's what I thought too.

Ikoku something-something - Please, no more long anime titles. Also, I like french bread and baguettes but there's too much dog poop on the streets of Paris in real life for me to romanticize it. I also have this vague feeling of doom watching this because WWI isn't *that* far off, and Yune's kids would likely end up just the right age to go to the trenches of Verdun to show their élan. I had the same problem watching Taishou Yakyuu Musume, wondering how they and their kids would fare with a sky full of B-29s overhead. Yune is cute, I just never got around to finishing watching this - I blame real life trumping idealized late 19th century Parisian life, but it was a nice, relaxing series so I might well finish it down the road.

Mayo Chiki - I wanted to like this, and it had some pretty funny parts early on, but the lack of progress with Jirou and Subaru had me rolling my eyes halfway through. It's funny because I kept finding myself thinking the whole premise and setting is just ridiculous, but I didn't have a problem with the setting of Yoakena for one - still, for whatever reason, I couldn't really get into Mayo Chiki. Maybe it's the overly-oblivious guy coupled with the girls-give-me-a-nosebleed and the impossibly big harem - it feels like I've seen it a million times. As a guy, I never complain about fanservice, but it's not enough to keep me watching either.

Carnival Phantasm - I never watched Tsukihime, but damn, this is funny regardless. Some parts I just don't get, but most of it has me laughing even on re-watch, and doesn't hurt the OP is also addictive as hell.

It's been a decent season overall, even if I didn't end up watching very much compared to past seasons. Fall is looking like it'll be a great time to be an anime fan, with sequels to Ika Musume, Working, and Shana, all of which I liked the originals of, as well as a ton of new stuff - but I'll leave the preview posts to the professionals.

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