Fall ’11 Wrap-up


Art credit to Kanlee.


Becuz I think the hopelessness of this couple is too adorable. x3

Ok, I told myself I’d get this done before Nisemonogatari comes out so let’s get on with it…


Current



Guilty Crown – Biggest upset of the year.

Five episodes going in, I’m like “ok, ya got it down, your sci-fi magic and the whole terrorist conspiracy run by a bunch of highschool drop-outs and Shu, you’re an idiot for being a wide-eyed idealist but I think I can still love ya.” I don’t think I’ve been betrayed by my expectations this much before but they just hit another record low after that episode where Shu went through a BSOD that not only drove him so far into the OOC zone, he might as well have fallen of the horizon, but made no sense whatsoever. Angst about it, yes. Suck your thumb and curl up in fetal position, what the hell?

The characterization was going pretty badly at that point already but I thought I would be able to forgive it if they pulled themselves back together in a efficient fashion. The only thing GC did was fall apart in that area even more. I mean, Shu gives this speech about how the Undertaker members “believed in him” and I’m like “HUH?! Did I miss something?” cuz when had we ever seen him proving there was a mutual level of nakama between him and them and that he was competent to get them to start believing that?

Wasn’t he running around trying to impress some broad (I’m so over that little kuudere harlot in the slit suit) by trying to be some other guy? Said guy who, btw, is just so boring, I can fall asleep hearing his name.

The story got so predictable, too, but I never expected they’d go for an Ragnarok-on-Japan-like ending at 13 episodes so I guess they chickened out and want to wrap it up as quickly as they can to salvage what is still good for the next 11 episodes or whatever…shit, are they even going to go through with that since this has gone so crappy? My guess is yes. There’s no way it’s possible to explain everything in that last episode (which is coming out in two weeks for some weird reason).

F*** it, I don’t know why I’m continuing to waste my time with this but I’ve held out this far so mind as well finish it. The only person I actually care for is Hare who managed to stay in-character throughout and made something of an effort to be likeable. Too bad she probably won’t get her guy even though he’s not worth it but eh.

Oh, and Funell, too. Just because it’s the hyrbid bastard child between a Roomba and a giant white crab. And dangit, can that little machine drive a TANK! :P



Gundam Age – This is very shallow of me as an anime fan but given how non-stimulating the show is, can you blame me for fawning over FlitxYurin? I mean, I really did like the premise to this installation in the Gundam franchise and frankly, I don’t care about the childish looks of the designs because it reminds me of Digimon and I loved Digimon…first and second seasons anyway or that the mobile suits aren’t as on-par with other Gundams we’ve seen. The thing is, it’s just so…badly written (though better than Guilty Crown any day). Even if you really consider this one is for the kiddies, it’s ridiculous how not serious they’re approaching the issue at hand. Of course, they turned that all around in recent episodes, one of which I skipped so I was all murky on what was going on when I went back to catch up. But hmm, nope, still not doing a lot to get my interest involved with the plot.

I really plan on dropping it when the next generation arc starts. Since so many death flags has been raised for Yurin that it’ll just depress me if I have to see Flit being constantly reminded about her death for the rest of his life. I mean, it hasn’t happened yet but knowing Sunrise and how they deal with relationships in Gundam, I’d be surprised if they let her live…even in a kiddy show!
But I hope they do even though I’m slightly conflicted on the topic in general cuz all promo pics of the next protagonist (aka Flit’s son) indicate that childhood friend Emily will get the guy. But who knows? Maybe Yurin lives and Flit will have an affair with her? What are you saying?! 8P

It’s not that I dislike Emily. It’s just that I think Yurin and Flit are right for each other. They have a deeper connection and it’s simply endearing when I see them together. And I don’t want him choosing Emily just because Yurin died cuz that’s not fair to the girl or him or most of all, their supposed kid.

*sigh* Well, whatever the case, Yurin will probably be the one Flit will never be able forget regardless of what happens to her and who he marries and has a child with. I sense some fic ideas about to sprout but not sure if I want to go through with it since I don’t really love AGE much. :/

…Please don’t kill Yurin off. :’(


Finished



Working!! – This may be one of those impossibles where the second season was actually better than the first but since Working!! is an easy, laidback series, it’s not surprising.

I was impressed. I loved that it maintained the same humor without being a repeat of last season’s and nicely fit in a good amount of character development here and there. The new characters were also a delight and I love the fact that there’s not just a few but a few more people who can piss Souta off cuz he really was a bigger jerk this time around.

Inami was extremely cuter than before! Kyaa! So cute, Inami~ <3
I don't hate Yamada anymore either since she made me laugh but she can sometimes still be annoying.
Popura, you will never be tall. xD;
And Jun…gambare! ^^;

Do I expect a third season? HELL YEA! 8D


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Dropped


UN-GO – Heard this got really good reviews despite a weak start. Ironic, I drop it when things actually started looking good. But that was due to work so I couldn’t keep up and once I had the time, I didn’t feel like going back to it and don’t think I ever will. What’s more is that while I think they’ve got a really good idea going for the series, the anime is too littered with choppy and weird animation, awkward voice-acting especially by the main lead, and most of all, the lack of fluidity in the script.

That may just be me but…it looks like a mess, I’m sorry, it just does. And I don’t want to continue watching it if I have to spot out everything that irks me and criticize it. :S

Mirai Nikki – Now this was one of the highlights of the season. That’s quite a compliment as I see thi-,I mean, last year’s fall line-up as such a disappointment compared to previous ones. Then again, I haven’t watched much of the other shows but whatever. Getting back on topic, it’s hard to make an adaptation of a manga successful but they’ve really nailed it with Mirai Nikki. It’s not the violence and gore that keeps you, it’s the suspense that does and keeps you coming back for more.

I probably dropped this around ep 8 or so, somewhere after the arc with the crazy half-blind priestess. Again, mostly due to work but ultimately concluded what I knew from the beginning. I wasn’t going to love this and I was right. It’s good but I just don’t love it. No problem with that. *shrug*
However, I have to applaud them for reweaving the plot to fit the time constraint of an anime. From what I’ve heard, the players in the game lasted a lot longer than they did in the anime but hell, it worked out just fine from what I’ve seen and for that, I’m impressed.


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Hmm, right, that’s about it. Nisemonogatari coming up this weekend. Ya’ll better watch it (for those of you who liked Bakemonogatari anyway).

Black Rock Shooter, which is going for 8 episodes instead of 12, won’t start until February. Weird but ok, I’ll wait for it.

Yep, laterz. :)

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13 thoughts on “Fall ’11 Wrap-up

  1. A lot of people were going on and on about how this Fall season was so fantastic and now the new season (Winter) looks horrible…But I am the complete and utter opposite.

    I dropped Un-Go (which was, actually, the biggest disappoint for me along with Kimi to Boku, I heard that this series (Kimi to Boku) was supposed to be a “breath of fresh air” and “different,” but it was basically just the “four cute girls doing cute things” premise only with guys and it also had many other issues that I won’t get into), for largely the same reasons you did. I really wanted to like it though, because the premise seemed really neat, but it just ended up being a mess like you said.

    I also dropped Mirai Nikki. I liked it well enough, but I didn’t have the desire to actually sit down and watch it, which means that something just wasn’t appealing to me. I don’t exactly what it was, but I think the issues that I have with Mirai Nikki are similar to the ones that I had with Deadman Wonderland (or it could just be the main protagonist, they both annoyed me).

    As for Guilty Crown, I didn’t have any large expectations when going into it, so I wasn’t largely disappointed by it like many were. I eventually dropped it though, because while the artwork and animation, the action, and Gai were enough to keep me going for a little bit…There just wasn’t enough to keep me watching, and I had an extremely busy semester this past fall.

    I have never read or watched Working!, but I want to. So maybe, one day, I’ll get started on that. Especially since I’ve only ever heard good things about it.

    Really, the only shows that I watched fully through this season were Mawaru Penguindrum and Chihayafuru. Mawaru Penguindrum was definitely good, but I had major issues with the writing, the lack of character development that then lead to plot twists that seemed more like asspulls, and the abusive use of flashbacks (that one nearly had me climbing up the walls in annoyance by the end of the series). So I feel that it has been largely overrated and overhyped.

    On the other hand, Chihayafuru has been an absolute pleasure to watch thus far (it is now up to episode 13). I have yet to be disappointed with an episode and everything about this series from the characters to the plot to the premise to the artwork and to the pacing has just been so well done and tight. Truly fantastic! I just hope Chihayafuru will be able to keep this up until the end.

    I liked Bakemonogatari, even though I had some major issues with it, so I’ll be checking out Nisemonogatari. I don’t know if I’ll like it or stick with it though. I’ll just have to wait and see. And I’ll definitely be checking out Black Rock Shooter! : )

    • exactly this, except i didn’t watch guilty crown. i think mawaru penguindrum was a really good concept but it was just so complicated in the way they told the story that i almost dropped it :/ while at the end the important things mostly tied together, i’m still so confused about everything. things like the diary going into momoka and tabuki’s relationship confused me. did i miss something about that? because i was convinced momoka died when they were children? it was vague and confusing in many ways, but still a very good show.

      and chihayafuru has absolutely been amazing. this is one show i knew i wasn’t going to drop halfway through XD

      • Gulity Crown drew me in with the pretty graphics~ But it didn’t get me to stay.

        I agree, Mawaru Penguindrum had some REALLY great concepts as well as themes and issues that it tried to explore, but it was being too ambitious and basically fell apart. I actually wrote up a review and on the series and my thoughts and feelings on it as whole here: http://lilyginnyblack.tumblr.com/post/14929376919/my-personal-top-10-anime-of-2011-10-8 so, if you want, you can read that (since I really don’t feel like re-typing *all* of my thoughts and such again). But here are some of my thoughts on the series:

        I had major issues with Tabuki’s character (his character development was simply awful!) as well as with Ringo’s character development (you don’t go from insane to sane that quickly and easily). As for Momoka, I don’t even know. They focused so much on her (and Ringo) at the beginning of the series, taking away from time that could have been used to give Himari, Kanba, and Shoma necessary character development that they never got, and by the end of the series both Momoka and Ringo lacked any *real* importance, and the siblings took center stage but we barely knew them. Also, Momoka was nothing short of a a Mary-Sue plot device in my eyes.

        The pacing was bad and the writing was poor, since a large portion of the character development and plot points seemed to be inlaid in the symbolism that was found all over the series. And while I don’t have an issue with symbolism as a whole, I do like it and I *loved* Revolutionary Girl Utena, which was by the same director (though different writer, and it shows!) the writing cannot rely *so* heavily on symbolism, since people will interpret symbolism in various ways and draw various conclusions that may or may not line up with the information that we are directly told about the characters and plot in series.

        So, you didn’t miss anything, the plot was just executed badly and the series suffered from poor writing that lead to many discrepancies in the plot points as well as in the characterizations of the characters. Many of the questions were left open ended and up to the viewer to decide and conclude on their own (though, with Momoka, the way I see it is that she met Sanetoshi on the subway that got targeted and blown up, but instead of that being what “killed” her, Sanetoshi’s curse killed her and her soul went into the Penguin hat…Or something like that).

    • Right with you there, hun. Fall is losing it’s touch and lately, Winter has always had at least one show that managed to please the majority. This fall line-up was a bit of a failure. :/

      I’m sorry Kimi to Boku was a disappointment to you. I didn’t watch it but I thought it that it was going to be different, too, so when you said it follows like any other moe-school-girl anime, I was like “*facepalm*”. Srsly, it is sad that there’s hardly any originality being put into the things we like anymore.
      As for UN-GO, it never was an ambitious anime but I was expecting more than what we got. Shame. :(

      Yea, I feel the same. I don’t mind a violent thriller every now and then but it’s usually hard to keep me after a few episodes cuz…that’s all it really is to me. Violence and suspense. *shrug* And so true, the main protagonist, tsk, it just takes away from you wanting to continue.

      The only thing I find right about Guilty Crown was its music. That’s the only thing they haven’t gone wrong with (supercell, you are wonderful). I think Production I.G. needs to reorganize pronto if it wants to be keeping its good name in the business. It had too many hits-and-miss the past year.

      I’m sure you’ll love Working!! and it won’t even take you that long to marathon cuz it’s so easy and fun to watch, you’ll be done with both seasons like that *snap*. :) I read a few chapters of the manga but 4-komas never really held my interest for long so I just stuck to the anime.

      One day~, I shall watch Mawaru Penguindrum~ and I pwomish~ *rolls around on the floor* Zeeee, zeeeeee, zeeeeeee~… /3
      I’ve been convinced since you first mentioned how good, if difficult, it was and if so, I think I’ll need a longer break to contemplate over it. Ahhh~, I refuse to look at the calendar since it’ll remind me I have no time left. ;_;
      But yea, I will check it out in the future. ^^

      And I’m glad that Chihayafuru is living up to everyone’s expectations. I had a good feeling it was going to be a season favorite. The only reason why it never made my list was that it was out of my area of interest. But at least fall had something worth watching.

      It is hard to follow a second season, I agree. Hopefully, Nisemonogatari will hold out for more than 3 episodes. And that’s a bit of a surprise to me though I guess it shouldn’t be since the last time we talked about Bakemono, we only covered the Tsubasa arc and how awesome Araragi and Hitagi were as a couple. What didn’t you like about it? *curious* :3

      Yay for Black Rock Shooter~! <3

      • The thing is though, I think this year of anime was actually very good, it just started out with a bang, continued with a bang until the summer and then sputtered out in the Fall. The thing with this year was that there were a lot of good anime that decided to push or break boundaries (either in content, presentation, characterizations and so on and so forth), so we had a lot of anime that expanded upon what “anime” means, and then we had a couple anime that, while staying within the usual confines of “anime” or their specific genre, were just plain good. Of course, there were also crappy series too, but that is inescapable, and the anime that were really good this year, were so good they almost made me forget about the awful ones.

        And yeah, I don’t know if Kimi to Boku changes after the first episode…But I was only able to make it through maybe half of the first episode before I simply could not deal with the awfulness of that series. First, the characters were just plain been there done that character types, two they did not act like guys-even though in Japan, China, and Korea guys have more touchy-feely relationships in comparison to America and other Western cultures and societies (though bromance is certainly changing that, or so I think)-the way these guys behaved in the anime was, literally, no different from females. No, men and women may behave slightly differently in different parts of the world, but really, the behavior of these guys just screamed FEMALE! I didn’t get gay vibes either, just female vibes. Other issues that I had with it were with writing and the art style. Writing wise the jokes were falling flat and there would be large gaps of literally *nothing* being discussed. No conversation, no nothing. It got incredibly boring. Then there was the drawing style…The eyes were done really weird. The rest of the art style was fine, so usually in a case like that I would let it slide, since it isn’t like One Piece were nothing about the style at all is appealing to me. But with everything else being so horrible (the characters, the writing, the unfunny humor) this was just the icing on the cake. So, I dropped it after 15 minutes in and never bothered to finish it or check out the rest. It was simply not my cup of tea.

        As for Penguindrum, I definitely think you should check it out one day, because the animation, art, music, and direction are all really fantastic and unconventional, but the series ended up being plagued by bad writing (for the characters that then made the plot seem contrived and weak), bad pacing, and a horrible overuse of flashbacks that made it so that by the end of the series I just wanted it all to be over. It started out with a lot of potential and promise, but ended up being a bit of a mess at the end.

        Actually, I wasn’t expecting Chihayafuru to interest me either! I’m not a huge sports fan (both for anime and in real life) and I never really got into card game anime (I watched like two episodes of Yugi-oh in my life and only saw the movie in theaters because my little cousin really liked the series), and the josei genre can be very hit-or-miss with me, since it all depends on how the main character is characterized and how the romantic elements are handle. The only reason I decided to check it out at all was because of the art style. I’m really glad that I did though, the balance between the “sports” element and the interpersonal relationships and emotional aspects of the series is perfect! Also, Karuta ended up being a very different type of card game then I expected, hahaha!

        With Bakemonogatari I had an issue with the fanservice. I thought it was too much and most of the time highly unnecessary and took away from the feeling of the series overall. I liked Araragi and Senjougahara together, like, I enjoyed their interactions with each other, but I didn’t like Senjougahara by herself. I also felt like they saw each other a lot at the beginning, briefly in the middle of the series, and then at the end. But for most of the middle part of the series they hardly saw each other and Araragi was always hanging out with other characters, yet he is in love with Senjougahara by the end. The romantic plot line just didn’t do it for me. And I liked the characters, but I don’t think their individual personalities or interactions with Araragi were able to shine as much as they could have, because they all ended up getting restricted by the episode limit and the fact that once their arc was done and over they basically all but disappeared. Of course, this is all going off of memory for me, so I can’t do exact details, but while I liked the series I don’t think it was fantastic or anything. It’s kinda like my feelings on Penguindrum, really. But, I will definitely give Nisemonogatari a shot, at least, because I did like the individual arcs in Bakemonogatari, I’m just not fond of the series when I look at it “overall.”

        My wall of text is now done~

        • Late reply is late. Sorry, hun, been busy and sick and all. ^^;

          I wish I could had the same perspective with you on that last one about liking the great ones so much that the crappy ones didn’t matter but it’s often rare that I do. I do share your some of your feelings on how 2011 had a decent jumpstart into the year but burnt out by the end…even though my memory is vague cuz all I can remember by seasons are…Madoka, Steins;Gate, and some things about fall but that’s all (maybe cuz I felt the year was a rather, er, not long persay but long enough).
          I never felt the anime that I watched (mind you, there were few since I limited my choices) actually broke any boundaries, though, but that’s because I always thought that there were no boundaries to begin with. Only standards and that’s not the same, is it? If anything, yes, we have expanded on a lot of things which is a great improvement like you say. However, I think it’s still a while before we can have one of those really good years of anime back since I still view the industry as being in a mess and chucking out half-arse project only to run away with the money in the end. But ah well, we can’t demand everything and expect to get it all in one day, huh?

          I hope that you’re referring to pop culture when you were talking about interactions between guys. Not that I’m an intellectual or anywhere near knowledgeable of that area (despite one of those backgrounds being my own) but I’m pretty sure that all the physical “acknowledgement” between men these days are an ongoing fad that was born from, well, media mostly. Because it appeals to the audience, namely the female side. From what I seen from personal experience, there aren’t a lot of Asian men who’d be touchy-feely in public unless they are really close friends or family. I mean, I’ve seen this bromancy behavior more common here in the States that I do when I’m in Hong Kong or China. Even with my own family, I always think its awkward to hug someone that I don’t see often or barely even talked to. But ah, that’s just from my perspective and I hope I didn’t sound rude or anything, I always think I come off as that and if so, sorry. ^^; The point is, I think, depends on the person and how his relationship with certain others are perceived cuz everyone’s different, right? That’s why I wouldn’t think about background when I look at how other people act. Sometimes those things do show up, sometimes they don’t. It varies. *shrug*

          Anyways, back to your comment. Ack, that’s just awful. I mean, there’s obviously a distinction among what’s feminine and what’s gay and what’s “guys just being friendly with other guys” but when they do it like that where everything just oozily overlaps the other, it’s…blergh. That’s lazy. Which is why I’ll take your word for it on the writing and the art. If you get some underwhelmed delivery in one department, then who’s to say that it’s not the same for the rest?

          Ah, unconventional animes tend to run into those problems a lot, I suppose. Because they try so hard to color outside the lines (in reference to what you said about boundaries). Sometimes, if they’re lucky, they succeed but not without some flaws that are so blatant, you kind of wonder if people love it so much they don’t really care. It’s a bit of mystery cuz we don’t know who to point the blame at. Though I usually think it’s the producers’ fault for pulling the brakes off a speeding train filled with ideas till it just exploded but kept on going and going and going until it hopefully runs off a cliff somewhere. And then what? More cleanup! Oi…

          Haha, when you put josei and the genre sports together, you know it usually means more than it sounds. Though I missed the part where it said sports (and cards, I had no idea) were involved.

          I see where you’re coming from and can understand why. Which is why, let me say first, I’m not going to try to say anything to change your mind, ok? *holds hands up* Lol But since you took the trouble to point all those out, I’d like to explain for them in my own way.
          Firstly, seeing as how Bakemono is a harem-like series (it is never officially called as such but the cast set-up is proof enough), I think one would expect that it’s bound to include fanservice one way or the other. Which is why it never really bothered me. Not to mention (though it might have a lot to do with Shaft’s crazy symbolisms and that I have no idea how different it is when reading the novel and comparing it to the anime), the plot deals with a lot of content that is NC-15/16 at best. I mean, two episodes in, we get the story of how Senjougahara was sexually harassed by a cult brought on by her own mother. Things like that tend to distort/change the character’s personality whether they want it to or not and they have no control on what they will become into either. Then there’s another approach to it like, for example, Kanbaru who’s lesbian and a self-proclaimed fujoshi. Already we know she’s pretty open about her sexuality, even with Araragi who she once considered her rival, so it’s more than perfect excuse to let the innuendo go visual at times. There’s also the issue of repressed feelings as demonstrated by Hanekawa, whose alter-ego is the very opposite of the proper Iinchou-image she made for herself. Of course while I say that most of the fanservice aspects can derive themselves from psychological problems or one’s personality, orientation, and/or age/puberty stage (really, it’s mostly this as well), etc, I won’t say that it’s exactly the same both ways. Like the lolicon thing which is clearly more moe-incentive.

          But when it comes down to the real base of it, is that this series is directed toward the male demographic. Our protagonist is a virginal high school boy who also happens to have vampire traits left over from his first encounter with possibly the most dangerous of the supernatural beings as far as that universe is concerned. And like all male leads surrounded by damsels in distress, he sets out to help them, complications come what come all. This isn’t a tale about chivalry, it’s a bizarre phenomenon thrown into a modern setting. Therefore, it’s inevitable that fanservice will be displayed along the play out of the plot. It just depends on how you interpret that expression. Then again, maybe I’m the one who’s interpreting it all wrong. ^^;

          Next, the relationship between Araragi and Senjougahara. I don’t think that their interactions should be judged on how much screentime they spend in each other’s presence because they’re a couple so that’s gotta mean they spend time together off screen as well. Prior to their first official date, Araragi has had study sessions with Senjougahara. And in school, other characters (Kanbaru and Hanekawa) have noted how they’re together, too. So there’s much more going on than what they’re letting us see. Why they don’t show it is no surprise either. The main focus of the show is Araragi helping the girls and dealing with oni gone wild, not bantering with his yandere girlfriend. Again, chalk it up to the harem-theme.

          That aside, we already know why Senjougahara is so in love with Araragi as she mentions many reasons throughout the course of the series. I mean, when you tell the guy you just confessed to in strange, blunt terms such as “You were fallen for by a crazy virgin so starved for love that she’d fall for anyone who showed a little kindness. Curse your usual behavior” to confirm you’re serious, then hell, what can you say to that? You know how girls are when they “fall in love”. They’re like bricks stacked on top of each other, knock one off, then two, then the whole pile tumbles and good luck dealing with the weight of the rest of them.
          Araragi’s realization, on the other hand, I can see some viewing as a bit abrupt because he just says it like it’s natural to reply to her like that. But the thing is, he didn’t say it until Senjougahara poured out everything to him on their first date. She offered him all that she had (her helping him study, her kohai, her father, the stars, and so on) and she told him that although she loves him, she’s really afraid of being hurt by him and hating him for it. So though Senjougahara comes off as cool, smart, beautiful, arrogant, sharp-tongued, mean and teasing towards Araragi 99% of the time, she’s also like any other person with her own insecurities that she hasn’t overcome by herself yet. And I think why Araragi was able to appreciate and ultimately, return her affections then was that despite those insecurities, she had the honesty to tell him all that. That’s how I see it. I know there are some romances that require more than what the producers show you but truthfully, it doesn’t have to take more than enough to be enough. Again, everyone’s POV for themselves.

          As for the other characters, well yea, they spotlight in their respective arcs and when it’s done, they’re packed away for the next girl. But they don’t completely disappear. As more characters were introduced and their problems dealt with, they linger around for a little while and come back every now and then. Senjougahara played messenger in Mayoi’s arc and a bigger role in Kanbaru’s, Kanbaru was a sort of assistant to Araragi in Nadeko’s and at that point, they really appear in and out to help him in one way or another. They’re not always there but the fact that their arcs preceded so-and-so’s are always present in how Araragi deals with the next dilemma that crosses his way.

          Moreover, Bakemonogatari is just the first two novels of the entire series as a whole. As it goes on, these girls actually meet up with and interact with each other. Whether SHAFT will animate those, I can’t say but it loses some of its harem-structure by then, I suppose. *doesn’t know cuz she only read the Wiki page*

          Fwoo~, right then. Wow, that was a lot.
          Anyways, I agree that Bakemono is not fantastic and it has its flaws but those don’t stop it from being so intriguing to me. Nisioisin’s style of storytelling is very unique (along with all the clever wordplay and puns) and not everyone is bound to love it which is absolutely fine. And that’s really all I can say about that.

          *arches eyebrows* Missy, are you trying to pick a war with moi? …lol, I’m just kidding. I welcome being slammed by your wall of texts anytime. *huggles* x3

          • Lol, no war! I come in peace, which is why what I am going to say now is just an honest opinion that I thought about for a while, actually.

            I realized (after I watched Nisemonogatar) that I basically just hate everything about the series though. Nothing about it (outside of things such as music, animation, and whatnot) appeals to me: not the characters, not the relationships, and certainly not the fanservice (specifically the fanservice that goes on between Araragi and Hachikuji. I remember disliking that in the original Bakemonogatari series, and then when I watched Nisemonogatari…I was actually extremely disturbed and uncomfortable by the loli-con fanservice. Really, I think Bake and Nisemonogatari appeals too much to the male eye, which takes away from what it could be. Personally, fanservice is one of the most important factors for me when it comes to liking a series, I don’t mind it every once in a while and I don’t mind when the fanservice is more equal opportunity, but when it is all male fanservice or all female fanservice…It usually just ends up taking away from the plot. And, I don’t know, Araragi and Senjougahara’s relationship just doesn’t work for me, something is missing. It might just be that I just don’t get their relationship, but…Well, when it comes to Nisemonogatari, I’m going to watch it up until episode 3, then I’m going to decide whether I drop it or not. I probably will though, now that the “newness” of the directing style has faded for me…There isn’t much left that I like about the series. I was hoping Nisemonogatari might be different because it was supposed to focus on Araragi’s sister, but so far it has been nearly the same as Bakemonogatari. So this series, I think, that we will just have to agree to disagree about.

            When it comes to the “guy relationships” that I mentioned, it is largely pop culture, and while I do agree that “bromance” in Western society is more touchy-feely physically, I think that the male bond that can be found in East Asian culture and society is more touchy-feely emotionally, especially in comparison to Western society. Of course, I’m not saying that two guys in Japan are suddenly going to burst out in tears in each others arms or something because, well, no. Just no. But, I don’t know how to explain this properly, so I think I’m going to end this here. But I will say that I find it funny when some people can’t tell the difference between fanservice (IRL) and the actual reality. I actually want to look into queer studies some more when it comes to East Asia (and Japan specifically) because the LGBTQ community is just so small and not much is really known about it. As an Asian Studies major I am immensely curious about it! (I actually just went to Google to try and see what I could find on this and found a book entitled Male homosexuality in modern day Japan: cultural myths and social realities, I definitely want to read that!

            Getting back on topic though, when it comes to this year (for me) it went as such/these are the anime that stood out to me:

            Winter

            Madoka – a huge success that showed what the Magical Girl genre can really be and do and which showed that not only shonen series can be popular.

            Hourou Musuko – it did awful ratings wise, but the material that was covered in that series (and the way that it was covered, considerate and delicate) was new and fresh.

            Level E – a Japanese comedy that actually made me laugh and which was nostalgic in its 90s feel (which makes sense, since the manga came out in the 90s).

            Spring

            [C]- Even though it ended up being a mess in the end, there was a lot of creativity that went into this show and they tried to do something different.

            Steins;Gate- Time travel at its finest and one of the best Visual Novel adaptations, so here was a really well done sci-fi series.

            Ano Hana- This one didn’t really push any boundaries either, but it was well done melodrama with an interesting plot and a very good script.

            Ao no Exorcist (Blue Exorcist)- They messed up once they got to the end and started making anime only stuff, but this started off as a really good and strong shounen series that was, once again, not breaking any boundaries, but was doing a genre justice.

            Tiger and Bunny- Salarymen superheroes and a main character who was in his mid to late thirties, at the start, widowed, and had a daughter and a beard. This pushed the typical anime conventions right out the door. There were some traces here and there, but not much. The western superhero genre is basically unheard of in the anime and the relationship between the two main characters are left ambiguous and literally up to our own interpretation (no matter how we see their relationship, it is correct; so hetero or homo or bromantic, whatever, it is all correct) and the characters themselves are interesting when it comes to gender identity (one of the girls sees herself as an androgynous female and the trans male sees himself as agender (or genderless) and while Nathan (the trans male) does still follow a lot of the seterotypes he does also own his own business and is portrayed in an overall positive and successful light. Due to the shows Western influence there was also a lot of nationalities that popped up (Japanese, Russian, British, Hispanic, Chinese) and there were actually a lot of African Americans in the show as well. T&B brought back a lot of older fans of anime that had been loosing interest before and showed the Japanese anime company that something they thought would be a complete and utter flop, could actually flourish and be extremely successful.

            (Since that was the one I wrote the most about, you can tell that was the one that I’ve spent the most time in fandom with!)

            Summer

            Mawaru Penguindrum- Obviously, the directing and the animation styles and the way of storytelling were refreshing and a jump start that the anime community needed, I think. Whether or not this show was successful at achieving that, however, is up to the individual to decide. Still is pushed against conventions there.

            Usagi Drop- Just a fantastic slice-of-life that didn’t have any wacky characters or moe antics nor did it cover a rather controversial and complex topic such as gender.

            No. 6- Plot ended up being a mess and most of the characters weren’t all that great when it comes to characterization, but the relationship between Nezumi and Shion was what interested me here. The genre didn’t have yaoi/shonen-ai/BL in it at all, yet the relationship between Nezumi and Shion got extremely close to that (definitely going over any “bromance” lines with two on the lips kisses and subtext everywhere). So here we had a series that was mostly sci-fi and dystopian with the two main characters having an ambiguous relationship with each other (that wasn’t just undertones or fanservice like you usually see in shows that are aimed to bring in a female side demographic).

            Spring

            Chihayafuru and literally that was it (with the exception of Penguindrum, which carried over from summer). And I already talked about Chihayafuru.

            So, overall this year we had anime that decided not to stay within the boundary of “what constitutes an anime” (Tiger and Bunny), ones that have pushed conventions of the typical relationships that we see present in anime (No. 6, Tiger and Bunny), ones that have pushed the content of what is usually found in an anime/have interesting premises (Hourou Musuko, [C], Steins;Gate (time travel isn’t something you see done often in anime)), ones that have mix things up when it comes to direction and storytelling (Mawaru Penguindrum), ones that have decided to mix things up when it comes to genres (Chihayafuru) or to completely deconstruction a genre and show that not only WSJ anime can be extremely popular (Madoka), and then we had a lot that were just plain good examples of their genre (Ano Hana, Usagi Drop, Level E, and even Ao no Exorcist to a certain point).

            Of course, I don’t expect that the anime industry will suddenly start being filled to the brim with good stuff every year (and this past year had a lot of decent to just plain horrible anime), but this seems to be a step in the right direction. They were shown that you can step out of the box and still get major hits such as Madoka and Tiger and Bunny or that you don’t always have to resort to certain characterizations and antics in order to deliver a good anime (such as Usagi Drop), and even further than that: anime don’t have to just be adaptations. There were quite a few anime original series this year that were really good and which sold well in Japan.

            This is Japan that we are talking about though, the country that has meetings for meetings, so any change will probably be slow in coming, but I think last year was a pretty good start (and I want to see what will come from it). As for the US/Western/Outside of Japan anime industry…Right now it is definitely going through a change/evolution and feels like it is in an awkward in-between phase. I really don’t know much about business and economics and such though, so I don’t really have much else to say here outside of the fact that I am interested in seeing how going digital will affect (effect? Ugh, I always mess up on which one to use!) anime and manga and how using social networking sites and whatnot will influence the way anime and manga companies work outside of Japan. So, while I won’t be delusional in my positivism, I will try and stay realistically positive.

            That could all end up blowing up in my face though…

            • Ahhhhhhh, I take back most about what I said on the fanservice after watching Nisemonogatari. You were right, they did go overboard to it being just plain senseless. They didn’t even go this far for the first season. Ack, so embarrassed that I got it mixed up and interpreted it for something else. >.<
              So I understand your perspective a lot more now that I watched the second episode and highly suggest you just drop it immediately instead of waiting for the third ep since it'll probably continue the way it is now. And it may or may not be worst off since Araragi's sisters have a bit of eccentric brocon…yea. I'll still keep watching it, though, cuz I like the story and the dialogue and such. :)

              *nodnod* Yea, that I can see. It is hard to explain but you know how Asian cultures (and many others, actually, like Latino ones) are quite family-oriented, right? I wouldn't term it as touchy-feely (unless they really are but anyone with normal sense can guess that) but I suppose I would call it, um…well, I really can't think of anything specific at the moment but I get the gist of what you mean. I think they're more in-tuned with that kind of relationship than Westerners are with theirs is what I want to say.
              And that would be a very interesting subject to go into! I'm serious cuz from all this snippets I read over the internet on how Asian people interpret gay and lesbian topics in their community, it's a pretty complex discussion. And by that, I don't mean the people in our generation since we were born in this age where we grew up in a more out-of-the-box-thinking environment but more of the overall norm and old standards and expectations that probably still have a good hold on society. It's not like in America where they're passing laws to approve gay marriages because as far as I know, it's not even common to think about gays. At least that's the impression I got after reading someone's comment on how it is in South Korea. But I'm sure in China, many people can't be too open about it either…I'm not sure why, it's just based off what little I've read. :/

              Whoo, impressive list! I don't have much to comment on it since the…75-80% of what I watched on your list I agree on 80% anyway. And even though I haven't watched some of the others, judging from your and other people's reviews of them, I can certainly say they're applaudable this is not a word but it doesn’t matter for tackling things that aren’t mainstream and closer to RL issues and diversifying content. Which is good cuz when I have free time and look back on what I want to marathon, I’ll have something to watch and think a lot about.
              I suppose I wasn’t as open to those anime as much I’d like to have been (and am probably still not) cuz I still go for the ones that immediately appeal to me first only to be horribly let down again :P. Not to mention, while I thought most of them were good and some of them even great, if it didn’t manage to make me love it, then it’ll be harder for me to remember it. I know, it’s bad and shallow and it’s a hard habit to break. I guess I’m too sheltered in my comfort zone but I’ll be working on that once I graduate and go out and learn more.

              That aside, I can only hope with you on both things. Taking a new direction, I’m not too worried about since there were will always be a person/studio/producer who can give us something that is not only worth watching but of praise-worthy material as well, regardless of how many viewers it’ll receive. The industry, on the other hand, is definitely relying more on those social networks to get their marketing around but the more crucial matter is exactly what will they be advertising towards us. Will they take the risk on a certain idea that will at best, generate more positive reviews than accumulate a massive number of fans? OR will they just pick any ero-game/generic and unoriginal medium to adapt and animate just to reel in some cash? I mean, as much as I hate the latter, I suppose I can’t blame them if they do choose that as everyone is still in a recession. *sigh* Let’s see how it goes (and hope it doesn’t really blow up in our faces). *shrug* :/

              • Yes, I didn’t remember the fanservice being quite *that* bad in Bakemonogatari, which was one of the reasons why I was bugged about it, but not to the extent that I didn’t feel like watching. The fact that the first episode was more of a recap/reintroduction and didn’t really advance the plot didn’t help much either. I’m going to give the second episode a watch, at least, but thanks for the warning and heads up! ^^

                And yes, many Asian countries, especially East Asian countries, are very family oriented. At my university last semester I took a class on the Politics of Gay Marriage, and I actually did my paper on the connection between Western Family Values and the influence of Confucianism on East Asian Americans and how that has influenced their thoughts and feelings on gay marriage, of course, I also talked about how age, whether or not they were born in America, and etc. influenced their thoughts and views on things too. I also made mention of the ancient Chinese male bond that I found out about, and which was encouraged thanks to the patriarchal nature of the society, as well as thanks to Confucianism. It is a really complicated topic, so I won’t go much more into here, but it is one that I find very interesting and want to look into some more…Especially when it comes to how the gay lifestyle and gay marriage topics are handled in East Asian countries.

                Ah, and the only thing the two of us can do right now when it comes to the anime community and industry is to see what will happen.

  2. Guilty Crown made me sad. I’m never overhyping an anime again. The first few episodes started out great, but now it’s just… bleh. I’ll still watch for the animation and music though.

    This season was pretty dissapointing to me. The only thing I kept up with was Mirai Nikki, Tamayura, and Chihayafuru. God, I love Chihayafuru. It’s definitely my favorite of the season. I also marathoned Mawaru Penguindrum, which I quite enjoyed.

    I watched the first episode of Un-Go and haven’t watched any more since. I kind of want to finish it, but the first episode just didn’t hold my interest very well.

    I’m so, so, so, so excited for Nisemonogatari and Black Rock Shooter. Hopefully winter will be a better season for anime than fall was for me.

    • Pretty much the same reasons I’m sticking with it. Though I’m sure there will be other anime that I’ll overhype again (*sigh*) but after GC, I’m a bit more cautious now.

      Glad you enjoyed Chihayafuru and the others. ^^ Your list better than mine at least.

      I think marathoning won’t make it any less difficult to watch but you can try. It’s hard, though, cuz you’re going “Uh, wut?” most of the time.

      If those two are the only ones we’re pinning our hopes to, then that’s a lot to hope for. *nod nod* @.@;

  3. Hm…let’s see…

    Started off with Guilty Crown, Phi Brain, Persona 4, Chihayafuru, Un-Go and Working…

    Only finished Un-Go, and still watching P4. :P

    Guilty Crown was already mediocre in the beginning, except for a few moments of awesome (ie Opening song). But it turned into a chore somehow…
    Phi Brain: got boring with solving a puzzle each time after the third or forth ep. stopped and didn’t bother going back…
    Chihayafuru: Finish adorable and hilarious children flashback segment. Then they grow up and reality ensures, so I left. :P
    Un-Go: Actually finished the whole thing… I liked it for its quirkiness, but I did know from the beginning though that the show is only a persona preference thing. Enjoyed it myself.
    Working: Missed an episode and couldn’t continue…Need to find time and excuse to go back!
    Persona 4: Watch for all the inside jokes and referencing. Again, a personal preference. XD

    It’s seems to be hard for anime to please us anymore…:P

    • Ya. I almost wished it never happened. Its only saving grace is the music.

      I tried Phi Brain for like 20 minutes and then left. It really didn’t appeal to me either.

      Bwuahaha! Nobody wants to grow up, eh? xD

      Glad you to managed enjoy UN-GO at least. I tried but couldn’t follow through.

      Where did you stop? You must go back and finish it! It was so good~ lol xD

      I think those who liked P4 the game or didn’t mind the approach to the anime had an easier time watching it. Ep 1 confused me as hell and that’s why I didn’t continue. @.@;

      Why do you think I’m drowning myself in my old DVDs? T_T

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