Fall 2011 Final Review

Back for a final review of the Fall 2011 season. For simplicity sake, I’m dividing this post into “finished” and “continuing” series. Series that have reached a definitive end (even if just for now) and don’t have any rumor of possible continuation, are deemed “finished”, and series like Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon and Guilty Crown, which are most definitely going to be continued, are deemed “continuing”.

For “finished” series, this season I followed Shinryaku!? Ika Musume, Working’!!, Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai, Ben-to, and Tamayura~hitotose.  Shinryaku!?, Working’!!, and Tamayura are all continuations from previous seasons or OAVs, while Boku wa, Ben-to, and  are original premiers.  The more comedic series, Shinryaku!?, Boku wa, and Working’!!, offered a refreshing break in-between more action or character-driven series like Ben-to, and Tamayura.  But that’s not to say the comedies didn’t offer their own substance in way of character development or excitement.  In general, the series I would like to see more of, and think there’s a chance of a continuation are Boku wa Tomodachi ga SukunaiC³and Working’!! (I feel like there’s still room for fresh material to continue the story of the Wagnaria crew).  Ben-to and Tamayura~hitotose both reached logical, definite conclusions, and I’m satisfied with their endings. I’m almost apprehensive of asking for another season of Ben-to, as this may not live up the enjoyment of the first season (but I’m all for more Asebi, so I’d be willing to try it if it did get a second season).  Shinryaku! Ika Musume, while amusing to me, is really a hit-and-miss sort of comedy style, and it’s quite fortunate to have gotten this second season.  I’m not hopeful for a third season, but if the hit-and-miss hits enough people to generate good revenue, enough to justify a third season, more power to them.

(I’m not used to giving ratings, but I’ll see how this goes.) Overall, for “finished” series this Fall 2011 season, I’d give an 8.7 out of 10.  A lot of the series, as stated, are continuations from previous seasons or OAVs, so they bank on previous success.  But there was quite a good bit of excellent new material to give a nice blend of old favorites and fresh series to keep me thoroughly entertained.

 

On to the “continuing” series, Guilty Crown, Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon, and Gundam AGE.  Ultimately, the only two I’m eager to see continue are Guilty Crown and Kyoukai Senjou, as they are the only ones to truly not make me cringe 90% of the time.  Guilty Crown was poised to become the next Code Geass, but, as many other blogs will quickly remark, this just wasn’t the case. Ohma Shu is no Lelouch Lamperouge.  But I do admire the unique premise, drawing voids that take on form depending on the owner’s heart is very interesting and I’ve been surprised to the individuality and applications of the voids Shu has so far drawn.  While the main protagonist leaves much to be desired, the 11th episode, marking the halfway point of the series, shows him finally acting the part of the hero. My fingers are crossed that this will continue into the Winter 2012 season.  Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon also broke it’s pre-determined impressions, as many, including myself, spent much of the series wondering what was going on.  While normally this would be considered a minus for a series, Kyoukai Senjou pulls it off in such a fashion that makes me overlook the confusion and enjoy it more so now that everything just seems to be happening in a way that makes me happy to understand.  While this is a confusing idea to some (trust me, I’m still wrapping my head around it), I’m still looking forward to the second season, announced to air in 2012.  Finally, there’s Gundam AGE, my most disappointing series this season.  Not that there’s inherently anything wrong with it, but if you’ve seen other Gundam series such as Gundam 00, Gundam AGE seems to spit in the face of previous success. The character designs are very childish, as is the dialogue, and I’ve never found myself rooting for the bad guys because I can’t stand what they did to the Gundam design.  I’ve really only continued watching because, steadily, AGE is recovering ground inch-by-inch. Supposedly this series is going to span three generations, i.e. Flit’s son and grandchild eventually become the focus. I’m hoping for Flit to leave the cockpit soon, I honestly can’t stand the thought of someone as generally annoying as that child piloting (what is, in my opinion) one of the greatest machines ever imagined.

Rather disappointing “continuing” series, compared what I expected going into Fall 2011.  My rating is a 7.0 out of 10.  Passable because the tail-end of the season sees some remnants of what I hoped for going in.  For Guilty Crowns sake, Shu better man up or shut up, take a lesson from Dan the Man and use some “GUTS!”.   Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon needs to do nothing but continue the great plot movement of the last 4 or so episodes in the first season (I fear the first episode of the second season will be a recap of the first season, if anyone involved with this show is reading, please don’t do this, just jump right back into the story).  Gundam AGE…*sigh* just, stop ruining what I like about the Gundams. If Flit is going to lose, don’t let it be because of something so simple as type-disadvantage.  If Flit is going to whine, let someone else b**** slap him. And if the UE is an alien force, give them a good reason for attacking human colonies (may I suggest reading the Ender’s Game series? very good example of extraterrestrial misunderstanding).

Next season has less in store (for me, anyway) than Fall 2011. I plan on following Kill Me, Baby! and Another for sure. As well as continuing Guilty Crown and Gundam AGE.  There’s a high possibility that I’ll pick up others perhaps a few episodes in if I get good impressions and have the time.

Until next time,
– BeldenOtaku

Additional note, just finished Azusa Nakano’s Speed Draw :3, you can check them out here. Enjoy, and Happy New Year.

Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai: We Have Few Friends/Final Review

Hey minna,
back with the Neighbor’s Club for a final episode (in this season anyway) of Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai.  After Yozora’s little fire fiasco last episode, Kodaka and the rest of the neighbor’s club don’t see her until she returns to class, with short hair that finally jogs Kodaka’s memories of her back in their childhood.

This final episode spends most of its time showing Yozora hidden thoughts throughout most of the series, from recognizing Kodaka as her childhood friend on his first day, to creating the Neighbor’s Club so they could spend time together. All the while, Yozora is hoping Kodaka would eventually realize who she was…

Wrapping up with Yozora’s reintroduction into the Neighbor’s Club, Rika has an M-rated fantasy when she thinks Yozora is a guy, and even Yukimura believes she’s male. Until Sena cooly points it out, and the routine we’ve come to know and love returns, with Yozora handily putting down Sena’s rare insults, and keeping the other’s perversions in check, while maintaining her fearful control over Marie.  Quite a koi ending with Kodaka silently sitting back, watching his friends in the Neighbor’s Club carry on, and saying how he’ll stay in this Neighbor’s Club, for making friends.

Overall, a very entertaining series that manages to engage me in the story as well.  With a cast of cute characters, Haganai could do no wrong, even in the ending. I’m glad they didn’t do a harem ending with Kodaka “choosing” one of the girls (a bit cliche in my opinion).  Instead, it’s a nice closure with Yozora and Kodaka reunited as childhood friends, but still open to another season to continue the activities of the Neighbor’s Club. Recommended to anyone who likes comedy series and appreciates tasteful fanservice (I’m still concerned about what Sena did to Kobato that night in the bath)…

Until next time,
– BeldenOtaku

Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai: You see, Girls wearing Yukata are Extremely Cute

Hey minna,
back with another episode of Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai.  This is really the big head-turner episode of the season, leaving  you in awe at what happens. But I have to start at the beginning, with the decision to go a festival in town, and for once it wasn’t just a decree by Yozora, it was really a unanimous decision to go have some fun before school starts.

Making strides against their anti-social tendencies, Yozora and Rika both find themselves quite comfortable at the festival, spending time with the other members of the Neighbor’s Club.  And who could stay unhappy with cute girls in yukata around? (Nobody, that’s who.)   After they enjoyed their fair food, well, everyone but Kodaka really, who’s one desire was to find better takoyaki, even with all the girls in yukata surrounding him, priorities I guess.

After an evening of fun and prizes, especially for Rika who walks away with a new game console.  The club decides to call it a night, and Yozora and Sena decide on a draw in their competition.  To kill time until a ride can get there to take everyone home, the gang fires off some prize fireworks, fun is had and it looks to be a classic summer ending…until Yozora’s hair starts smoldering.  Quick and responsive, Kodaka grabs the bucket of water and tells Yozora to turn around, swiftly dowsing her.  Not exactly the most flattering thing to happen to you, Yozora then walks home alone…not to be seen at the club room or around school, until she’s called from role on the first day.

Yozora walks in just as the teacher calls her name, and the shock of the episode, her hair is cut shorter. This jogs Kodaka’s memory, that Yozora was the friend he left years back.  Making for a tearful reunion, I’m left wondering how the season will wrap up.  I honestly don’t think Sena has much of a chance anymore, unless Kodaka and Yozora just totally ignore the fact that they both remember being childhood friends now.

Until next time,
– BeldenOtaku

(I personally think Yozora looks 100x cuter with the shorter hair, almost blacked out from sheer cuteness :3 )

Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai: No One Sleeps at Training Camp

Hey minna,
back with another outing of the Neighbor’s Club, and a new episode of Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai.  The group goes on vacation to Sena’s family’s beach house for an overnight training camp.  Not surprisingly, Rika seems to have the most, uh, fun, I guess is what you could call it.

After a train ride and an hour long walk, the gang finally arrives and the first thing on their minds is the beach. But first, they must practice posing by the water and shouting “Beach!”, because that’s what all the popular people do, right?  Well, a seemingly pointless rituals proves to be just that, chalking it up to inexperience, Yozora suggests that they all practice private until they’ve “perfected” their poses…yeah, because it was the poses that ruined it. (Maybe it’s not so bad being normal…)

Rika spazes out after everyone starts to sunscreen up with Kodaka’s help (I think she’s the prime example of “too much yaoi”).  Sena (for some crazy desire to suffer, in my opinion) asks Yozora to spread sunscreen on her back (big mistake).  She soon regrets this, as Yozora has her pinned to the ground, topless, begging for help.  After she breaks free and starts telling off Yozora, Sena remembers that something is missing (remember the part about being topless? it wasn’t just fanservice…well, not total fanservice), not that it’s anything Kobata hasn’t already seen, but he still plays possum later when Sena asks him about it (I respect Kobata for being such a gentleman, and a downright nice guy, even if no one else in his school thinks so :3)

A few funny scary stories and a true horror story by Yozora later, Kobata, continually the gentleman, escorts (it seems) everyone to the bathroom throughout the night. Yozora is the last he escorts, and, just before dawn, they share a moment over not betraying friends…when will they figure out it was each other that they left so many years ago?

Well, another interesting and funny episode of Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai, I’m curious how the season will wrap up. Will it be Yozora and Kodaka finding out about their lost past? Or will it be some medley of character wrap-ups?

Until next time,
– BeldenOtaku

Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai: The Board Chairman’s Memories are Painful

Hey minna,
back with another episode of Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai.  After Yozora and Rika leaving the rest behind at the pool, Yozora decides to compensate by having a “Wear your Swimsuit to Meeting Day”…so what’s with the horsehead? Maybe it was best she didn’t get in the pool after all. And I was little disappointed when Rika went for such a normal swimsuit choice, but, in the end, maybe it was for the best.

After scaring all the little kids with a demon horse head, Yozora (in what can only be called a gift from God) agrees with Sena, the Neighbor’s Club should go to Sena’s family’s private beach for an overnighter training camp.  The date doesn’t really matter, because, as Yozora puts it, it’s not like anyone in the club has any friends to worry with….so she does realize that they still don’t have any friends.

But Sena makes sure to have her father’s permission to use the house first, which brings up Kodaka and Kobata, whom her father really wants to meet. Seems Pegasus (cool name, btw, I don’t see why he’s so mad) and Kodaka’s dad were best buds back in the day, which is he agreed to take them into the school even after entrance rush was over.  To relive some good ol’ times, Pegasus gets drunk and passes out on Kodaka’s bed in their guest room.  Not half as bad as whatever it is that made Kobata run screaming out of the bath, while a birthday-suit-clad Sena comes chasing after her…I did not see that coming.  My floor has a few new blood stains now, *nosebleed*.

More than just fanservice, Boku wa Tomodachi is starting to show that it really can have substance on comedy alone.  Sena’s father is a laugh and a half, and even though I feel so sorry for Kobata, her and Sena make a funny pair. But, at the same time, I still find the need to point out…WHY DON’T THEY HAVE FRIENDS YET? I know it’s trivial and not the “real” point of the series, but it bugs me to think they don’t think of each as friends yet. But that’s probably just me. Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai keeps up the comedy and the next episode, about their overnighter, looks just as funny.

Until next time,
– BeldenOtaku

Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai: No School Swimsuits this Time

Hey minna,
back with another episode of Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukuani. For the first time, we see Kobato in her normal (well…”normal” for the rest of us) attire, and learn that (well, remember that) the Neighbor’s Club is full of the strangest people.   After Kodaka runs some errands, seeing all the “popular” people spending their summer time with friends, he comes home to find Kobata upset, as the air conditioner has decided to give out on them.

After “revealing her true form” and donning some cooler clothing, Kobata accompanies Kodaka to his club meeting in the air conditioned club room. Much to her displeasure, Kobata is soon ogled over by Sena and the newly yuri-discovered Rika, Yozora is quick to dish out some correction via fly-swatter.

After watching the bad ending (very bad, I mean, in real life, that would’ve been a sick joke) to a video game, Sena suggests they go to a pool, Kodaka concurs seeing it as good run-through, y’know, if they had friends. After fighting crowds to get there, and some awkwardness in the changing room (because everyone is still convinced Yukimura is male (though I’m starting to think Yozora knows otherwise, hence the girl’s swimsuit), Everyone’s day reaches an end when they find Rika and Yozora on the bus back home when everyone else is ready to try to enjoy themselves despite the crowd.  Noting that Yozora is still still the same loner/anti-social she was back when it was jus the three of them, Kodaka, Sena, and Yozora, back when the club was first started.

Is this where the plot takes a more serious turn? To try and turn these once-loners and shut-ins into functioning, sociable people who can actually have fun with their friends? I hope so, it was sad to see Yozora so (what seems like) afraid of people that had to go home and leave the others behind.

Until next time,
– BeldenOtaku

Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai: My Cell Phone has Few Calls

Hey minna,
back from my forced hiatus with Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai.  The gang starts off the summer with lazy days in the club room, but the only problem is lack of communication in the club schedule. So, to remedy the situation, Rika suggests they exchange phone numbers to contact each other when they can or cannot come to club.  Apparently this is culture shock to Kodaka and Yozora, who never thought a cell phone could 1.) send phone to phone messages 2.) contact other cell phones 3.) exchange addresses wirelessly 4.) do other things besides look up karaoke locations.

Cell phones aside, let’s take a look at the real story here….RIKA DISCOVERS YURI!! Finally, she’s going full on with the eechi genius bit, and her perversions don’t stop there. She even makes it a point to make Kodaka into a pervert as well.  Before you know it, she’ll be writing fan-ficiton centered around the threesome that is Kodaka, Sena, and Yozora…

Even though Sena misses out on most of the cell phone fun because she doesn’t have one herself, she is able to catch the tail-end of the excitement by exchanging phone numbers with Kodaka and planning to get Yozora’s number secretly and spam her (or whatever her plans are). But Yozora beats her to the punch and sends some sort of prank mass spam to her phone. Although her plan backfires, when she walks right into Kodaka’s arms, so to speak, teary-eyed ready to receive his caring affection.  By the way, is it just me, or does it seem like running out of the room squeaking “Idiot Yozora!” is Sena’s go-to for tight situations?

Next episode seems to feature more swimsuit fanservice, looks like fun.
Until next time,
– BeldenOtaku