Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Review of the 2010 Japanese anime season

With the anime fall season almost at an end, so begins my review of this years offerings. As said this is my personal list and views; so please if you read this talk about your favourite of the season or discuss my views, use that comment box at the bottom.

I can say that this is my proper look at how the Japan anime schedule works and I have a bigger perspective on new anime series. I'm that kind of person that will watch anything recommended to me, whether it starts really cliche or starts very uninteresting; I'm that kind of guy.

When I recapped through all the four season sheets, I found out that its been very up and down season however I can safely say that there have been some stand out series from all of them. Here is my brief overview:

Winter 2009/2010 - Biggest and critical acclaim from this season is from Brain Base's Durarara!! which volume one has recently come out in the UK thanks to BEEZ entertainment, sadly by my own fault, I've only watched the first episode but there was something special when watching through it, maybe it was the Horo (Spice and Wolf) cardboard cut-out ^_^

Other highly reguarded series that I haven't watched (and need to) are Dance In The Vampire Bund and Katanagatari.

Series I watched: I was very interested in Sora no Woto when I read the description, although the series looks incredibly moe, it descibes a story of an on-going war that is currently on cease fire and I was hoping for some kind of teenage warfare survival story that would give me lots of shocks and with a war looking like World War 2; I had to give it a go. In the end however I was a little disappointed, its a series that is greatly light-hearted through-out most of the episodes and by the end of it, it succeeded in what it wanted to do.

Another I watched this early season was Baka To Test To Shoukanjuu which I didn't take seriously for starters but ended up being too silly for my liking and thus ending up very mediocre, I didn't really laugh, didn't like some of the personalities and too many characters however there was enough charm to give it an above average rating.

Spring 2010 - I feel bad for not getting a chance to watch some of these series from the Spring season, for example i'm a big fan of Natsume Ono and I feel awful when I say I haven't watched House Of Five Leaves neither have I watched the winner of the 14th Japan Media Arts anime series The Tatami Galaxy, although lucky for for us that both are licensed and are on the way for a UK DVD release thanks to BEEZ again (thanks guys!!), others like Working! are on my list to watch at the moment. I have also rated some of these series very highly but there is one, in particular that I have alot to talk about.

Series I watched: K-ON!! (Season 2) has me switching my views to whether its a genius series or a train wreck of averageness. My positives for the series are the main five characters, there friendship and characteristics are what makes K-ON!! so special to alot of people and I have to agree, the animation is also very high-class, everything looks so natural. Lastly memorable moments like episode 12 & 20 are well developed and makes it one of the stand out moments of the series.
I didn't like all of it though for reasons, I refused when I found out how long it would go on for, the 26 episodes hold some boring and unimaginative ideas, I found myself skipping through some of it, the Openings and Closings are really embarrassing to listen and watch for all the wrong reasons, its very in-your-face when watching it and the music is a J-Pop mess, I could say that the Openings and Closings are equivalent to We Are The Physics just bad. Last thing I will say is that I felt it was more like a cash-in than a proper sequel but its merits were enough to give it a decent score but not a place on my Top 5. Hopefully the movie will shut me up and prove me wrong but it will be unlikely.

Other series I watched at this part of the season is Kaichou Wa Maid-Sama which was a very typical romantic comedy that has some interesting premises and characters but I found it very forgetable, I think I would blame the constant aggressive attitude of Misaki Ayuzawa to the male students through-out the series, although she has a reason, it didn't have to happen every single episode.

Summer 2010 - I seem to have left Shiki since the first episode and I would call this the stand out series for this part of the season for all the talk about it and for good reason, the start of it was very intriguing and mysterious and I will look forward to watch it again.
I did watch the first of this season a few months ago but i have not had the guts to begin Strike Witches 2, probably because i'm going to expect the same kind of thing.

Series I watched: One series that has almost come to an end this week is Amagami SS, its a 24 episode series that splits them up into six arcs for different girls. So basically you get a male lead that dates every girl throughout the series. A very good idea but it suffers from brief character development and rushed endings but its enjoyable in its own right.

Another series that took my attention is Ookamisan and her Seven Companions, a series that struggled on what it wanted to be at the start it felt like it was turning out to be a rom-com but as the series progressed; more drama was added to the plot. Again it was one of those series that was fun but only came off decent.

However this part of the season put out a really awful series by the name of Seitokai Yakuindomo which for a 4-koma adaptation is pretty bad and I have my reasons, the structure for every three minutes endedup being a sexual innuendo and because of this I felt the female case was very unlikable. I will be very disappionted if this series gets sequel because in my view, I don't want another 13 (even worse 26) episodes like that.

Fall 2010 - Last but not least this part of the season has been certainly entertaining this last few weeks, its probably been my most watched of the previous seasons. Again these series I'll need to catch up on are To Aru Majutsu No Index season 2 (I've almost finished Railgun so I'll be on that soon), Bakuman which I preferred to stick with reading the manga for this and the stand-out series Star Driver which got me intrigued again when UK anime reviewer MasakoX gave the first episode a perfect score. (MasakoX's other reviews can be found here)

Series I watched: First up is *deep breath* Ore no Imōto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai, which I actually prefer to fan favourite "Lucky Star", it has all that obsessiveness from an otaku and the corporate views on how anime series work, that's why I like it and make the series more dramatic as episodes go on.

When I started Fortune Arterial I found it to be another cliche rom-com drama with the tag "Vampire" hidden somewhere and it did look like that half way through the season but the series has started to open up a bit and raises tension towards the main characters of the series and looks to be a really exciting ending, I just hope its not spoiled.

My views on Gainax's Panty And Stocking With Garterbelt have been very positive, again it was one of those series that started of slow but as the references to Worldwide pop culture and American cartoon parodies started to rush in it blew me away. The creators from various tweets enjoyed making it and I can't blame them.

Shinryaku! Ika Musume (otherwise known as Squid Girl) has been my recent catch-up on my list and Squid Girl as a foreign entity has been very comical when she interacts with the human cast. A hit-and-miss show but i have enjoyed it.

I will do my Top five list soon, they have so far not been mentioned in my review, so look out for that soon!

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