Spring 2011 – the best of the rest
May 31, 2011
I have been posting about several series this season, but of my three principal series, one has finished already, and one is about 4 episodes behind in the subs. As you can see on my main page, this hasn’t stopped me from posting about the continuations of Gosick, Cardfight! Vanguard, Season two of Kaiji, Tiger & Bunny, and Steins;Gate. Spring 2011 has been really great so far. In addition to the shows I have been blogging about, there are a few other shows I have been following, though with less enthusiasm. In this post, I thought I would comment briefly on my impressions of the “best of the rest”. In this case:
- HanaSaku Iroha
- Ano Hana
- C – Control
- Ao no Exorcist
Hana Saku Iroha
This show, a 15th anniversary showcase by P. A. Works animation, is truly gorgeous. It also started out all dramatic, with people getting slapped by the mean old lady who ran the inn. The second episode built on the premise in a truly wonderful way. Then everything went to hell. Alright, it almost seems like it has found its way back to some sort of a serious tone, and the art work has been top notch throughout, but what a disappointment! I’m continuing to watch this show. Maybe it will “get better”. Maybe it was my fault for believing that the serious tone at the outset would carry throughout the series. Anyways, this one deserves respect for looking good, but I can’t recommend it until I see how it turns out.
Ano Hana – Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai
This is another well animated show. Perhaps because it is in the Noitamina slot, it has been fairly relentless in presenting its story. Instead of random hijinx, each episode seems like the characters are legitimately struggling towards the resolutions of the underlying tensions presented in the situation. One great thing about this show is that the characters are all pretty interesting, and flawed in very believable, human ways. Another nice part of this show is the sense of nostalgia felt by the characters, as they remember the innocence of youth, even as it leads them to memories that are terribly painful. If I had to pick one series that I am not formally following on this blog to represent the best of Spring 2011, this would probably be it.
C – the money of soul and possibility control
I’m still unsure what to make of this one. It presents itself as a shounen battle series, but then shows aspirations of being philosophical, or perhaps an allegory about the nature of money, and the impact it has on our lives. Certainly I find the battles the least interesting aspect of this show; despite the use of M&A jargon, and pseudo-economic terms like “flation”, the battles are really excuses to have things move fast, and explode, to draw speed lines, have the actors shout, and draw fake blood. There’s also the suggestion of a romantic subplot, but the real substance is the ethical quandary the hero finds himself in. Different characters present the hero with conflicting interpretations of the right thing to do. The answer is by no means clear, and at least some of these other characters resist neat categorization as enemies, or bad guys. This complex presentation of a moral dilemma keeps me engaged. Will this show ultimately make a clear and important argument about the role of money in society and our lives? It is too early to tell.
Ao no Exorcist
Unlike C-control, this one is pure shounen fantasy. The lead character is both the son of Satan, and grew up in a family of exorcists. So he is a super exorcist that all the other exorcists would hate, if they knew he was the son of Satan. Plus he shoots blue flames and has a katana. Only instead of being a real exorcist, he is studying to be one, so it is actually a school comedy, but with a bunch of monsters. Of all the shows listed here, this is the hardest for me to justify. The recent inclusion of a filler episode had me seriously considering dropping this show. At least it isn’t as boring as A-Channel.
Below the line (some shows that did not make it)
- A-Channel. This show has a clear, appealing art style, and good character designs. If only it had something else going for it.
- Nichijou. I honestly tried, but simply couldn’t find anything funny about this show. It kind of reminds me of the person who gets in your your face with a bunch of “Ho ho! I’m wacky!” until you want to punch the crap out of him.
- Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko. This show rubbed me the wrong way. I don’t really like these kind of harem setups anyways, but the first two women introduced came off as really stupid. If other people want to believe mental retardation is “cute”, they can leave me out of it.
I checked out a few other shows that were even worse than these, but I won’t bother listing them. For the most part I have been pleased with this season. Even when a show turns out to be as dumb as it sounds like its going to be it can be fun to watch one episode, and see that you were right. I’m looking forward to checking out a bunch more crap in Summer 2011, which is right around the corner. Hope you have some plans to get out from behind the monitor as well as tuning in to some new anime. Laters!