A Seasonal Review: Winter 2011

I decided I would do a seasonal wrap-up of sorts with my thoughts on the last season. I was planning to put this out last week, but better late than never. I’ve loosely ranked the shows in terms of my enjoyment with some brief comments about each. Obviously, I’m only including the shows I’ve (partially) watched.

This season seemed to have fewer shows than usual, but it made up for it with a few stellar shows of top quality. There was also very little continuing from the Fall season— the only ones I’m still watching were Star Driver and Index. And only Gosick is continuing in to the Spring season.

#15. Freezing
This is basically a poor excuse for porn. Dropped.

#14. Rio: Rainbow Gate

See above, except Rio was partially redeemed because it was unbelievably ridiculous. I don’t even know what they were doing half the time with the “gambling”.

#13. Dragon Crisis

Wins this season’s awards for most obnoxious character (Rose) and most cliched cast. “Ryuuji! Ryuuji! Ryuuji! Ryuuji!” There, I spoiled most of the show for you.

#12. IS: Infinite Stratos

This season’s obligatory standard harem show. Complete with falls, roommates and walking in on girls in the shower.

#11. Gosick

As a mystery show, this leaves a lot to be desired. Mainly that the mysteries are painfully obvious. I will say however that it’s been picking up lately, especially in the arcs where they went to Victorique’s mother’s hometown and to the department store. Aside from the problems with the mystery, I think the other issue is that the characters are kind of dumb. The main character and the unicorn hair guy especially. It doesn’t make Victorique seem particularly smart when she spends most of her time outsmarting idiots.

#10. Onii-chan no Koto nanka Zenzen Suki Janain Dakara ne!!

Onii-chan started out with an enjoyable first episode and then devolved into an infinite chain of stalking. People hiding in bushes and stalking each other is only funny up to a certain point. Ten episodes is way past that point. The creators completely shafted Nao for the entire middle segment of the show in favor of Shuusuke being dragged around by random people and being disgusting.

#9. Yumekui Merry

Yumekui Merry was beautiful visually, but the story and characters left much to be desired. Three years ago I would have loved this, but now I’ve become so immured in these shounen-esque tropes that the show was just too predictable. It’s unfortunate that as I’ve watched more anime I’ve managed to become sick of this entire genre…

#8. Toaru Majutsu no Index II

Touma continues his crusade to punch as many girls as possible in the face. The main problems are too much talking, especially during fights, and so many characters that they can’t spend enough time on each. The best part of this show is the imaginative world they have created.

#7. Fractale

Fractale also has an imaginative idea for a world, but becomes bogged down in the execution. It wastes too much time with jokes about how the main character is a pervert, and just overall does not make the best use of its short timeslot. Still, many of the ideas are good, and it’s a fun show.

#6. Mitsudomoe Zouryouchuu!!

The second season of Mitsudomoe continued the antics of the Marui sisters which made the first season fun, but toned down the repeated jokes and replaced them with new ones to make it even better. Yabechhi and Hitoha even resolved their misunderstanding about the Gacchi rangers, which after an entire season I didn’t think would ever happen.

#5. Kore wa Zombie Desu Ka?

I wouldn’t accuse Kore wa Zombie Desu Ka of making any sense, but it more than made up for it by being hilariously random. Where else could we have an orchestra of ninjas in maid costumes fighting against a fleet of flying whales, or our main villain getting a happy ending by being reincarnated as a penguin?

#4. Star Driver

Star Driver had a fantastic buildup and development of its characters, but unfortunately failed to deliver in the ending. It definitely could have been a much better show with twelve more episodes, but still, the path there was quite the ride.

#3. Level E

Level E had the best comedy of this season. It really knows how to build up a joke properly, as evidenced by the amazing first arc which took an entire episode pretending to be a serious show about aliens before revealing the punchline. The rest of the show didn’t quite live up to the standards of the first arc, but still, a fun watch nonetheless.

#2. Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Madoka has all around been excellent: well-developed characters, shocking plot twists, gorgeous visuals, and tightly choreographed fight scenes. The only problem is it hasn’t actually finished yet!

#1. Hourou Musuko

Hourou Musuko was my favorite show of the spring season. It really knows how to treat its characters right. In only twelve episodes, we’ve been introduced to an emormous cast, and the creators have succeeded in fleshing out all of them fully. Hourou Musuko is a perfect example of how to develop your characters and how to use time effectively. It also has beautiful art and an excellent sense of flow: in spite of jumping around all the time between the different characters, the viewer never feels disoriented.

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