With 2011 ahead, i want to quickly give a run-down of the series i watched in 2011 with my impressions and verdicts. A total of 21 series this year, which is my all-time high. I’m trying to expand my viewing horizons and i can say for sure that 2012 will have a lot more offerings than this.
Here’s Part 1 of my 2011 in Review: a quick run-down of the 2011 series i watched.AnoHana – 11 episodes, A-1 Pictures Strengths: Great animation, great overall cast, definitely not a rushed series Weaknesses: Menma may not be to your liking, very melodramatic towards the end Overall Verdict: Give it a watch, the good outweighs the bad. 8/10 Ao no Exorcist – 25 episodes, A-1 Pictures Strengths: Very likeable main lead, good soundtrack, one of the better shounen series Weaknesses: Rushed due to running out of manga chapters to animate, some annoying minor characters, animation decreased sharply Overall Verdict: If you want to watch a shounen series that’s short, Ao no Exorcist is the perfect solution. Otherwise, i wouldn’t waste my time on this one. 7/10 Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu Ni! – 13 episodes, Silver Link Strengths: Creative animation, catchy OP/ED, Minami really shines this season Weaknesses: Jokes are clearly unfunny, female-on-male violence gets old very fast, more Shouko (i’m probably the only one who doesn’t like her..) Overall Verdict: Stay far away from this season. 6/10 Ben-To – 12 episodes, david production Strengths: Amazing soundtrack, great well-rounded characters, over-the-top premise that really delivers Weaknesses: Episodes 9 and 10, and Ume. Not enough Ben-to fights. Overall Verdict: A really creative and wacky series for sure. I recommend. 8/10 Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai – 13 episodes, AIC Build Strengths: Well-timed jokes, a cast that really is fun to watch Weaknesses: Sometimes jokes are reused, serious scenes that are a bit corny Overall Verdict: Very pleased with this one. I actually liked some of the reused jokes. Anyways, it’s a good watch mainly for the characters. 8/10 C3 – 12 episodes, Silver Link Strengths: Really creative visuals, addicting OPs Weaknesses: Extremely rushed, lame one-dimensional villains, rushed character development, episode 1 Overall Verdict: The very definition of a generic series if you take away the creative visuals. 6/10 Dantalian no Shoka – 12 episodes, Gainax Strengths: Amazing OP sequence, great animation and soundtrack, utilizes the episodic approach well Weaknesses: Character development is a bit low, a bit rushed towards the end Overall Verdict: Most under-rated series for sure. I really liked this show when everyone hated it. 8/10 Deadman Wonderland – 12 episodes, manglobe Strengths: Great OP sequence, gore and violence is top-notch (eyeball removal for example), interesting premise Weaknesses: Very rushed, Main character is annoying, Plot is completely botched Overall Verdict: If you want violence, stay because Deadman Wonderland delivers. If you want plot, turn around now. 7/10 Dog Days – 12 episodes, Seven Arcs Strengths: Over the top and fun, great OP sequence, A+ voice acting, most characters are likeable Weaknesses: Animation has highs and very low lows, sudden shift from fun to serious, a bit rushed Overall Verdict: I can’t say whether to recommend or not, the good and the bad are equal for the most part. This show is very divisive. 7/10 Fate/Zero – 25 episodes (part 2 in April), ufotable Strengths: Well developed characters, amazing animation, not even rushed at all, A plot that really adds depth to the entire show Weaknesses: Episode 1 is an hour full of men talking about boring stuff (but important), annoying cliffhanger ending Overall Verdict: You must watch this show, period. 9/10 Hanasaku Iroha – 26 episodes, P.A. Works Strengths: Stunning background art, a really great conclusion, great animation Weaknesses: Way too long and episodes are really stretched thin, Minko can get really annoying, romance aspect of the show is very weak Overall Verdict: If you enjoy slice of life, check out HanaIro. If not, i don’t think you can handle 26 episodes of this. 8/10 Kamisama Dolls – 13 episodes, Brain’s Base Strengths: Great character development, strong adherence to a consistent plot, outstanding OP and ED, great assortment of facial expressions Weaknesses: Awkward bits of comedy in the most serious of scenes, giant cliffhanger Overall Verdict: It’s a show that can appeal to most. But be wary of the awkward comedy moments. 7/10 Kimi to Boku – 13 episodes, J.C. Staff Strengths: Very well rounded characters, heartwarming stories, good use of flashbacks Weaknesses: Way too mellow for the first two episodes, stereotyped characters Overall Verdict: If you can withstand the first two episodes, you’ll be rewarded for your efforts. 8/10 Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica – 12 episodes, Shaft Strengths: Creative animation and background art, a plot that really works for 12 episodes, episodes 3 and 10 Weaknesses: Not the best character development Overall Verdict: A must watch, period. It’s a really creative and thrilling series. 10/10 Mawaru Penguindrum – 24 episodes, Brain’s Base Strengths: Extremely creative, usage of symbolism, characters with detailed backgrounds Weaknesses: Not for the casual anime fan, very confusing Overall Verdict: I’m still watching this series but i can safely recommend this show to those wishing for a new experience in anime. 8/10 (may likely be a 9) Natsume Yuujinchou San – 13 episodes, Brain’s Base Strengths: Amazing animation, OST and OP/ED. Character development for Natsume is very well done. More lovable youkai stories. Weaknesses: I didn’t like the Matoba arc. Overall Verdict: The best season since season 1. Start watching this series already! 10/10 No.6 – 11 episodes, BONES Strengths: Great main characters, a really cool and interesting setting and premise Weaknesses: The most rushed episode of the year, it’s so bad i would stop at episode 10 and mark as completed. OP is kinda annoying. Overall Verdict: There is a kiss between the two male characters, not a big deal (unless you’re a fujoshi). Watch 10 episodes and mark as completed. 7/10 (with episode 11) 8/10 (without) Steins;Gate – 24 episodes, White Fox Strengths: The best storytelling this year with many plot twist that make sense, amazing main characters Weaknesses: Slow start, Some animation issues (a lot of dark scenes), some minor characters aren’t well developed Overall Verdict: This is the Code Geass of 2011: Over the top, great characters and a memorable ending. You must watch this show. 10/10 The iDOLM@STER – 25 episodes, A-1 Pictures Strengths: Really diverse and likeable characters, music is good, memorable moments that i never saw coming Weaknesses: Slow, some animation dips Overall Verdict: It may look like another K-ON (which i hate), but this show really surprised me at how great it was. Give this one a chance for sure. 8/10 UN-GO – 11 episodes, BONES Strengths: Great soundtrack, interesting lead characters, great OP/ED Weaknesses: A bit of a weak start, the mysterious are solved in a Deus Ex Machina fashion Overall Verdict: Very imaginative and surreal at times. I recommend not for the detective aspect, but the real true mysteries. 8/10 Usagi Drop – 11 episodes, Production I.G. Strengths: The most realistic anime i’ve seen so far, great use of watercolors, very heartwarming, really interesting minor characters Weaknesses: Sometimes it drags Overall Verdict: It’s sweet, it’s slice of life, it’s a wonderful series. Highly recommend. 9/10