December and Fall '11 Roundup

This only make sense because I'm only able to catch up with these titles in the past couple of days. (Sorry)

The Good


While the anime didn't conclude with an epic battle like I imagined, I must say it ended pretty well. The final Orthros storyline was pieced together clumsily with a back-story that superficially flipped the allegiance of the characters, but the frivolous story style makes it easy to ignore that point. I'm sad to see Yarizui went out of action in the final part of the anime, but it's nice to see that Sato possibly trigger a flag with her.

Still, even with the rather conclusive ending, Ben-To is still an anime that is hard to impress. I don't suppose David Productions expected to make a killing with their first piece of work with such a ridiculous premises, but I don't suppose many people expected something like Ben-To to do okay anyway. While I must say that Ben-To was enjoyable to a certain extent, I don't see myself ever recommending it to anyone.


Working'!! seems to get progressively better as it shifts from the jokes based on the character's traits to the jokes that runs with the character's development. It's hard to say any real character development takes place, but the tiny advancements Sato has towards Yachiyo and the supposed "improvements" to Inami's phobia helps make the anime stop looking like they're running the same three jokes over and over again. I'm not too impressed with their original jokes though.

The first season quickly became my top series that year, but I don't find myself liking the second season just as much. While I can't deny that the increase in budget boosts the entertainment value with awesome graphics, I don't like the fact that they seemed determined to run the jokes with a huge stack of cheese on top. Excessive cheesiness is one of the few things in anime I can't stand, but if they thinks it actually helps make Popura any cuter, I'll give. (sigh) They did all that for the sales numbers anyway. Thankfully, that's my only real problem with the anime.

Tamayura ~Hitotose~

And with that last episode, Tamayura jumped straight to the top of the list and became my favourite series of Fall '11. I've always loved slice-of-life animes like these, but I've always thought that Tamayura had something lacking; and it was not until the end where I began to feel that they've played the friendship aspect of the characters extremely well. It's not like other notable slice-of-life series didn't toy with the same idea, but I don't think any of the other series has been able to use that idea as one of it's main selling points. Tamayura not might be consciously doing that as well; but the selling point of Tamayura was always been pretty vague, and perhaps that's what highlighted the bonding between the main girls of the show. Well, it works for me, at least.

Tamayura remains to be snoozer in the end, because (like what I've mentioned above) they don't really have a solid selling point, like Aria's beauty of Venice, K-ON's moeblobs, Croiseé's innocence and the sense of adventure, Lucky Star's comedy, etc. That itself makes it really hard for a non-slice-of-life fan to get into. I myself had times where I fail to absorb what's going on in the series out of boredom, and that is the anime's weakness. Tamayura is enjoyable, but not memorable.

The Average

Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai

With Yozora's development in the end after revealing their past connection to Kodaka, I don't find myself hating her anymore, which is good, but the fact that it came so late makes it kind of pointless anyway. My beef is that after the secret is revealed, absolutely nothing happens. At least, nothing happened except that they knew. It doesn't feel like they have gotten any closer at all. So why the did it matter? I mean, I'd be pissed if Kodaka gets Yozora instead of Sena, but at least I wanted it to mean something before it ends. Not in the next season, because I don't see myself catching it anyway.

Last Exile ~Ginyoku no Fam~

I got to admit that after that magic of the beauty of the Last Exile universe wore off, the series had became a little tiring to watch. For one, the story has been terribly slow and Fam still fails to shows any signs of character development. They would need a lot of clever scenery and shots that would help portray the diversity and vastness of the different countries, as much of the recent backgrounds are almost totally blue sky, and that's it. At the end of every episode they still left a hook that would keep me interested in the story, but they aren't bold enough to make it more dramatic. Well, now that they've given us a character to loathe (Princess Liliana) and with Alvis revealed, that should keep my attention for a while.

The Below Average

Shinryaku!? Ika Musume 

If I may put it bluntly, Ika Musume has always been a "dumb comedy' to me, and I picked it back up after dropping it early on because I'm able to see it that way. With a bit of cuteness as a plus, of course. I don't really buy the character designs (except for Ika-musume herself) with the kind of animation quality they had to offer, but mini-Ika was simple moé overload. So overall, the anime allows me to turn my brain off and enjoy it. But for the love of god, they actually went with a real story to warp up the series. And it sucked. They took the simplest possible "quarrel between friends" story and ran with it. Then I had to re-activate my brain because I need all of it to process how stupid it was. Goddammit.

Shakugan no Shana Final

What Shana ever stood for, I never knew. I've always seen Shakugan no Shana as a supernatural fighting shounen story with a romance angle which I, unlike many others, don't think it necessarily sucked. I actually welcomed the idea of the romance-heavy plot in season 2 because it helps prevent the story from being so one-dimensional.

Fine, then they decided to throw all of that away and went for a war scenario instead. An entire cour went into the war between the bad guys and good guys, but I dunno, does any one really cares? They brought a whole bunch of characters we barely or never knew about and who cares if any or all of them died? This is a sequel, and want to see a continuation of the story that revolves around the characters we knew and cared about. All we get after 12 episodes is (yet another) Sato getting it on with veteran prostitute milf flame haze Margery Daw and Shana finally knowing who she really wants to be. Wait, she never knew that before? News to me. Perhaps they simply pulled an overused plot from within the Divine Gate and ran with it.