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Top 10 of Summer 2011

October 2, 2011

Autumn shows have started popping up, so it’s time to close out the previous season in the usual manner – hoorah for lists!  This summer season was one of the strongest I can remember – a few truly excellent shows and plenty of good solid shows too; I just hope Autumn has enough shows to pick up the slack!  I kept on 13 shows this season so it was pretty easy to rank them this time.

10. Sacred Seven

This was terrible; legitimately shambolic – but in spite of that (or maybe because of it) Sacred Seven was hilariously entertaining!  Sacred 7 just never seemed to know what it wanted to do, spending inordinate amounts of time on crap that had no relevance to the ‘plot’ and then realising it was running out of time in the final episode and just firing everything it could possibly think of into the mix for the lulz.  It’s a stupid, stupid show, but there was no way I could hate it since I laughed so much at the pure distilled silliness it fired out.  Plus I really liked that fictionjunction OP/ED (why they switched the songs about midseason I’ll never know).  Sometimes its nice to just watch a really terrible, but fun show.

9. Kamisama Dolls

Another legitimately terrible show that had no concept of tone – Kamisama Dolls was a mess, but I’m not nearly as good-natured about its terribleness as I am with Sacred Seven, because Kamisama Dolls actually did have potential and just squandered it.  Disregarding the incredibly derpy animation, the concept had loads of interesting factors…….that the anime decided to completely disregard in favour of Utao eating cake & Hibino’s grossly misshapen boobs!  Why the show decided to focus on the most irritating/least interesting characters is something I can’t really forgive it for, especially since it did have interesting characters in the shape of Kuuko, Aki & those mysterious village elders.  Also second season cliffhanger did not improve my humour in the last episode – don’t fill your 1st season with crap and expect me to await a sequel with bated breath goddamnit!!

8. Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu Ni!

This sequel was something of a disappointment as it just squandered its run time on rehashing the same jokes over and over and over again.  There was a distinct lack of the wit and effort that went into season one, as there was no sign of the clever parodies and fun throwaway lines that made me really love the first season.  Rather this sequel was just pure harem fluff, even Hideyoshi & Mutsurini got sidelined in favour of Akihisa’s boring harem.  I hope that this signals the end of the show, I don’t think it needs another season if this is the best they can do.

7. Uta no Prince-Sama: Maji Love 1000%

This show was sitting much higher on the list mid-season, but plummeted down the rankings as it became clear that the fun of the 1st half was not going to come back.  UtaPri was a hugely cheesy, entertaining, hilarious series and I loved every second of it…….when it was being cheesy, entertaining and hilarious.  Unfortunately the show decided it needed to introduce some kind of angsty plot towards the end, and even worse, decided to go with a harem-end when it was abundantly clear Fish Eyes would have preferred to end up with not-Hayato-sama.  The pacing was pretty poorly planned out – some of the bishies really had their routes completely shafted (poor Psycho Glasses & Arab Cat Prince) while not-Hayato-sama sucked up way too much time & fun with his crappy angst.  Still I really enjoyed UtaPri, hopefully there will be more silly reverse harem shows that have this kind of budget in the future.

6. Dantalian no Shoka

Dantalian is another show that could have been so much better than it turned out.  That’s not to say that it’s not a good show, it has some truly wonderful episodes, but overall the feeling that it lacked that extra something prevails.  There is clear potential for another series at the end, and I wouldn’t mind watching more, but really this show could have easily been wrapped up in one season if Dantalian had of focused on one plot thread throughout its run.  Instead we got lots of hints of interesting subplots, but no real resolution on anything in the end, which is always the problem with episodic shows like this.  Gosick got around that by deciding to firmly focus on one plot in its latter half – it was a slog to get to that point, but worth it for the satisfying finale; Dantalian gave us some fascinating episodes all the way through, but lacks that solid ending that would have made it all the better.  So it’s a good show, but could have been great.

5. Kami-sama no Memo-chou

I ranted about this show a lot over its run due to JC Staff’s irritating insistence on putting in stupid fanservice that ruined any attempt to create a believable atmosphere.  Still, KamiMemo had some decent character development for its male lead (pity Alice & most of the other characters stayed one-dimensional to the end) and I did like the writing for some of the episodes.  The show was also great eye candy – really nice background detailing & well animated characters.  Once again there is a lot of wasted potential, and a feeling that this could have been so much better with a little bit more care & thought, but overall I was pretty happy with the ending we were given.

4. No.6

The show really shot itself in the foot in its final quarter – there was really no need for the magical tree fairy or wasp tornadoes.  No.6 was at its best when it was focusing on the characters and creating intrigue about the city, it felt well written and interesting (and the BL didn’t hurt my enjoyment either) but when they started adding magic into the mix everything started to go a bit wrong, and I couldn’t shake the feeling that it really should have stuck to straight scifi.  The last episode took the biscuit in LOLWUTness, but it wasn’t enough to completely sour me on the show – the early episodes were good enough to cancel most of the asspull shite the finale threw at us.

3. Usagi Drop

I loved Usagi Drop.  It’s a simple, quiet little series that’s exceptionally well written and acted – it actually surprised me that I enjoyed it so much.  Generally I don’t really get on with this kind of ‘nice’ show (and I think that if Usagi Drop went on for much longer I’d have started to get restless), but the depiction of Rin & Daikichi’s relationship was just so realistically well done that I couldn’t help but fall in love with the show – it was just so heartwarming & adorable.

2. Natsume Yuujinchou San

So I’ve just said I don’t usually like ‘nice’ shows, yet here’s another one!  Natsume is an absolute joy of a show – it just leaves me with this warm glow each and every episode.  Because I wasn’t actually expecting a third season of the show, I had picked the manga up after Zoku – as a result I already knew what was coming in this series, so there wasn’t really the same emotional punch I got from the previous seasons (although still got watery eyed a few times regardless).  That didn’t stop me from rushing to see each new episode though – a clear sign that I’m really enjoying something.  A fourth season has already been greenlit for Winter – massively looking forward to that too!

1. Mawaru Penguindrum

Nothing else really comes close to Penguindrum – it’s in a league of its own and will probably be one of the most memorable shows of the year (it will have to have an exceptionally awful 2nd half to fall off the top spot).  Everything Penguindrum does is dripping in symbolism – nothing seems to be throwaway and its possible to tie yourself in knots trying to figure the show out.  Its been fascinating to read the blog posts the show has generated, everyone seems to have something to say about the show and no two people seem to have the same idea about what’s going on!  It’s a rare show that can get people this involved in it.  For my part I’m trying not think too hard about the show and just let it entertain me, sometimes over thinking something can kill any fun you have watching.  I’m hugely excited about the 2nd half of Penguindrum – especially after that amazing mid-season climax; just where will the show go now!?

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

There we go, my personal Top 10 of Summer – no honorable mentions this time, as the only other show’s I kept on were Mayo Chiki (generic harem), Blood-C (hilariously gory and majorly boring in equal measure) and NuraMago S2 (more of the same – Night Rikuo is still hawt).  Now this post has taken forever to write given I’m only using one hand, so while I do want to write Autumn First Impressions, it may take a while – until then~!

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. October 2, 2011 6:39 pm

    Can’t disagree with your assertions about Penguin Drum. That show keeps delivering ~ episode after solid episode. I’m really looking forward to seeing what they have in store for the second half.

    • October 4, 2011 12:57 pm

      I hope I haven’t got my expectations up too high – it would be a real shame if the 2nd half of Penguindrum was bad.

  2. October 2, 2011 8:31 pm

    I tried Penguindrum, but it really weirded me out to be honest. XP It’s just not for me, I guess.

    Summer has been amazing though for slice-of-life shows. Natsume Yuujinchou San, Ikoku Meiro no Croisee, and Usagi Drop were all great shows.

    I’ve also been liking the second season of Nura Clan so far, and what little I’ve seen of Cat God was pretty fun too.

    • October 4, 2011 12:59 pm

      You’re not the first person to say that too me – guess Penguindrum’s odd style is not for everyone!

      Summer really was good for s’life – I dropped Croisee because I felt that Natsume & Usagi were enough for me, but I want to go back to it as it was a lovely show.

      S2 of NuraMago has been pretty solid – pacing has been much better than S1 anyway.

  3. October 3, 2011 5:20 am

    I agree with your points on Usagi Drop and No. 6. To be honest, No. 6 didn’t turn out quite like either of us expected, or wanted. It did indeed get very confusing, albeit its ambitious start.

    On KamiMemo, I personally didn’t have any major gripes with the show. Your mention of fanservice ruining the atmosphere didn’t register much with what I remembered about the episodes (I mean this in the nicest way possible…honest!). I think that even if such fanservice existed, the greatstory and plot were more than enough to make up for it.

    As for sacred seven….I think it is indeed somehow extremely enjoyable to watch because of how bad it is. Something in the vein of Terribad.

    • October 4, 2011 1:03 pm

      The more I think back on No.6 the more disappointed I get – I really wanted that show to be good, its really unfortunate that the ending sucked so badly.

      I think I was much more critical of KamiMemo because I’ve started to get really annoyed with JC Staff – I was almost looking for things to pick on! The pacing could have been much better & it would have been nice if the other characters outside of Narumi had of been developed – a lot of wasted time in the show IMO.

      Sacred 7 was definitely borderline Terribad (needed more swearing, blood & boobs) – I had lots of fun laughing at it!

      • October 7, 2011 3:27 pm

        Haha, it really miffs me when a show like that straddles on the line between “still sane” and “terribad”. Almost like it’s still trying, but ultimately still failing. Much to our amusement.

  4. October 8, 2011 7:41 am

    (I don’t think anybody’s immune to J.C. Staff hate, what with all their recent shows: Ookami-san, Bakuman, Yumekui Merry, Aria, and even (from what I’ve heard of) Index S2 sucked.)

    Maybe Sacred Seven was intentionally horrible? It’s hard to make something intentionally terribad. Yet, it would be the ultimate troll if somebody made a horrible, nonsensical anime that had horrible characterization, no sense of plot, and mediocre pacing/development /intentionally/, and then used all their budget on a final, hour-long ‘special’ episode that wraps everything up and makes everybody realize: ‘HOLY SHIT, EVERYTHING MAKES SENSE!’

    …And then blow everything up cause /that’s how terribad rolls/.

    It was rather funny that the bland, generic male lead for KamiMemo would get the most development – I definitely got a lot of Durarara vibes from the show. Ryuugamine was also a bland, generic male lead until… well… I don’t know. He’s still a bland, generic male lead. Eh, that sucks (perhaps they’re bland and generic so that the producers can easily build personalities on them?).

    tl;dr: MAYO CHIKI WAS FUCKING AWESOME

    IT WAS ABOUT MAYONNAISE

    AND CHICKENS

    HOW AWESOME IS THAT HUH

    • October 8, 2011 3:08 pm

      JC Staff have just gotten really lazy – none of their shows seem to have any soul lately. They still look the business, and even produce a few interesting episodes now and then, but overall its just bland, lazy by-the-numbers type adaptations.

      I think Sacred Seven was just a bit of fun for anyone working on the show – I never really got the impression they were trying to be srsbns for moment, and by the finale it was really ‘fuck it, lets go nuts!’. That’s probably why I enjoyed it, rather than got irritated at the waste of potential.

      Problem with KamiMemo was that it had some interesting side characters, but unlike Drrr!! it didn’t give them any time – bland male lead sucked up all the time spent on character development, which was good for him, but bad for the show as a whole.

      MayoChiki was my guilty pleasure of the season – Eri Kitamura’s Oujo-sama stole the show!

  5. October 8, 2011 6:57 pm

    We have the same top 2 🙂 Except for me, Natsume ended up first on my list, but not necessarily cause it was better. It managed to end another season magnificently. It was the best season yet and I don’t think season 4 will be able to top it. It concluded a story, which is something Penguindrum obviously hasn’t done yet. I flippin love Natsume x)

    But ya, Penguindrum is an adrenaline rush of pure awesomeness. Who knows when another series like this will come by. I love hearing everybody discuss their theories about it. It truly is near perfection!

    I definitely wasn’t a fan of Kami-sama. I can agree that the art was good, but that’s the best I can say about it. Looking back on the story, I can’t even think of anything that was even that interesting about it. It was boring and there were no arcs that I actually liked. They could have at least tried to develop Alice’s character!

    In all, gotta agree, summer was a great season for anime!

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