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.

Shinryaku! Ika Musume: Episodes 11 & 12/Final Review

Hey minna,
back with the final squidastic adventures of Ika-chan.  This squiddly series ends much like the first season with a touching squidisode with the mystery girl in red showing up to give a short parable related the troubles in life.  (Oddly reminiscent, really)

Episode 11 contained the three parts “Isn’t that Hypnotism!?”, “Isn’t That an Alliance!?”, “Isn’t it Just the Two of Us!?”.  By far, my favorite part with in “Alliance!?” when Ika-chan did squidly battle with the combined product of Ayumi’s father and the three stooges. Quite the epic struggle and a nice change of pace for the show.  But I was on the edge of my seat all through “Two of Us!?”, because I truly fear the wrath of Chizuru, but (strangely), I wish they’d had more Chizuru-nyan. :3

Episode 12 wraps up the second season with “Won’t You Practice!?”, “Isn’t That a Festival!?”, and “No, Really, Isn’t That a Festival!?”.  The last two being parts of the same story and the heartwarming end to the series.  After Eiko and Ika-chan have a falling out, they refuse to interact with each other. To try and patch things over, everyone decides to meet up for a night at the festival (complete with yutaka).  After various festival-typical activities, Ika-chan gets separated from Kiyomi and the Invasion Club, prompting a search for the lost and sad squid girl.  Eiko, after sifting through a pond when she thought she saw Ika-chan is pointed in the right direction by the red dressed mysterious girl from way back in the first season.  Some tears are shed, everyone is reunited, and Chizuru makes the observation that perhaps Ika-chan’s invasion has already occurred, as she seems to really be the center of their lives now. (Things quickly returned to normal, by “normal”, I mean arguing…)

In summary, Shinryaku! Ika Musume is a very funny comedy series, with unique characters that seem to keep the jokes coming.  Even with the continuous hilarity, the cast still manages to mature and grow as the series progresses. The animation isn’t anything to get excited over, but it’s a comedy, so it’s not like I picked it up for amazing graphic expectations to start with.  Very much recommended to anyone with a light sense of humor that laughs at ironic situational comedy.

I can’t be sure if there’s a third season in store for Ika Musume, but I certainly wouldn’t miss it if it did.  You have to remember, Ika-chan still has a lot of land to invade to accomplish her mission. :3

Until next time,
– BeldenOtaku

Shinryaku! Ika Musume: Episodes 7 & 8

Hey minna,
back with another double feature of Shinryaku! Ika Musume.  If you don’t already know, I’m a student and this time of year is full of tests and finals, so, I have to make this one quick. Sorry if I can’t go in as much depth as usually would. Starting next week winter break kicks in and I’ll more time, so just bear with me :3

“Won’t You Come for Dinner?”: Ayumi’s father (the guy who made all those creepy Ika-chan costume heads) invites Eiko, Chizuru, and Ika-chan over for dinner.  After an evening filled with awkward and blunt conversation (not to mention the scariest toilet I’ve ever seen). Ayumi’s father reveals that it was all a thank-you for helping his daughter become more sociable.

“Isn’t That Amnesia?”: After falling down a flight of stairs, Ika-chan loses her memory.  Which leaves everyone else open to retell the story. Cindy claims Ika-chan is an alien, Chizuru asserts that she’s her sister.  And Sanae tries to turn Ika-chan into her girlfriend. Luckily, Ika-chan regains (most of) her memory after trying to take her hat off causes a sharp pain…so she really will die if she took it off.

“Won’t You Join a Club?”: Exactly as the name suggests, Ika-chan, along with Kiyomi and her friends from school, form the “Invasion Club”.  Deeming anywhere that they go together “invaded”, eventually encompassing the whole town in their “territory”. Making Episode 7 a pretty fun episode altogether, “Amnesia” is one of my favorite episode-parts so far.

“Won’t You Watch the House?”: Kicking off Episode 8, Ika-chan is left in charge of the house while Eiko and Chizuru work and Takeru is on a school trip, making her responsible extra important is the news of a burglar on the prowl in their neighborhood.  This burglar gets more than he bargained for when he’s forced to put up with Ika-chan’s boredom after she lets him in the house thinking he’s Chizuru’s father. Luckily (?), Sanae had “surveillance” cameras put up in their house, so the burglar was caught red-handed and arrested by the time Chizuru and Eiko got back.

“Won’t You Quit?”: Put simply, Ika-chan is tired of being so easily swayed when shrimp is involved, so she decides to quit cold-turkey.  Avoiding shrimp at all costs.  Seeing the depression state she’s slipped into (and how she hallucinates shrimp in the streets), Eiko and Chizuru decide to trick Ika-chan into eating shrimp again, but it was for her own good, so everything works out fine :3.

 

“Isn’t That Heat Stroke?”: After mysteriously awakening in the beachside infirmary, Ika-chan finds out he collapsed from heat stroke, and is unable to move until she’s rehydrated and rested.  Unfortunately for her, Sane is also brought in, bring about fears of her treachery, Ika-chan is scared it’s just a trick so Sanae can do unspeakable things to her when she can’t defend herself.  Despite her best efforts, Ika-chan can’t stay awake to keep guard.  But, true to her word, Sanae doesn’t lay a finger on Ika-chan while she’s incapacitated.  Which brings me to think that Sanae is *this* close to doing yaoi-type things to Ika-chan…just you wait, it’s coming.

Sorry about the write-and-run format this time, but, to be honest, Shinryaku! isn’t exactly a plot-driven anime, so it’s really no big deal.  So long as the cute comedy stays good, I’ll keep watching…I’ll probably keep watching just to see how far Sanae goes…

Until next time,
– BeldenOtaku

Shinryaku! Ika Musume: Episode 6

Shinryaku! Ika Musume Season 2 PV

Hey minna,
back with another episode of the invasion, Shrinryaku! Ika Musume. Episode 6 holding the parts “Won’t you go jogging?”, “Aren’t you SP?”, and “Won’t you go on an Adventure?”. Continuing with the light-hearted comedy, this week’s episode also features Mini-Ika-chan in the third part.

“Won’t you go jogging?” kicks off the episode with a healthy run around town four Ika-chan and family, which comes to end for all but Chizuru and Goro when Ika-chan discovers a restaurant serving shrimp curry.  Realizing they never really gave Ika-chan a tour of the city, Eiko and Takeru spend the day showing her around.  Primarily, to the temples and Buddha shrines (that Ika-chan was tricked into thinking that the large statue was actually fierce monk waiting to strike…). Meanwhile, Goro pushes his limits trying to keep up with Chizuru’s super-human stamina jogging, we may not see from him in the near future…

“Aren’t you SP?” focuses on Sanae and her never-ending desire to be with Ika-chan.  But not this time, Ika-chan has picked up some protection of her own, Takeru’s friends from school agree to become her personal special police.  Until Sanae sees this as a great way to spent lots of time with Ika-chan herself. Outshining them with determination, Sanae takes up the role as Ika-chan’s primary defense against extraneous threats….and bird droppings. But, in the end, her desires get the best of her, and she is forced to subdue herself to protect Ika-chan from “the bad guys”.

“Won’t you go on an Adventure?” was my favorite part of this episode, as it follows Mini-Ika-chan’s adventures as she’s whisked away on a sheet of paper by the wind, out into the wide world of the backyard.  There, she finds many fun and beautiful things, like flowers that reach into the sky and an abandoned doll house, but she also face trials, like being stranded in a tuna can, floating for dear life after a heavy rain, as well as being chased down by two ferocious felines, until she is finally rescued by Eiko…all this turns out to be a strange dream by Goro, who seems deeply troubled by it (wouldn’t bother me, seems like a fun dream).

Again, continuing with the light comedy and adding a dash of cuteness (thanks to Mini-Ika-chan), Shinryaku! Ika Musume keeps up the good work. And I look forward to the next episode.

Until next time,
– BeldenOtaku

Shinryaku! Ika Musume: Episode 5

Shinryaku! Ika Musume Season 2 PV

Hey minna,
back with episode 5 of the most squidtastic series of the Fall 2011 series, Shinryaku! Ika Musume, containing “Isn’t That Radio-Controlled?!”, “Isn’t it Tanabata?!”, “Won’t You Play by Yourself?!”. Same squidding comedy we’ve come to know and love, with solid stories to boot.

In “Isn’t That Radio-Controlled?!”, Takeru and
Ika-chan play with his new R/C car, that he saved up for.  After nearly colliding with Eiko, Ika-chan is revving to go let loose with the car outside, but Takeru wants to protect his hard-earned toy and says he wants to keep it inside. Disappointed, Ika-chan concedes…until Takeru leaves the house to play with another friend, then she decides to take the car out for a quick spin on the beach.  The fun doesn’t last long, as Ika-chan unintentionally runs the car clear into a stone wall. After a futile attempt at pacifying Takeru before admitting her crime, Takeru receives a new and improved R/C, compliments of the MIT stooges, complete with….hovercraft capabilities?! They should’ve called this episode “Isn’t that R/C Car Squidding Flying?!”

“Isn’t it Tanabata?” focuses on, well, Tanabata.  The story is most centered on Ika-chan trying to figure out her one wish to put on the bamboo stalk.  Narrowing it down from “Eat lots of shrimp”, “grow taller”, and, of course “Conquer the land” is very difficult for her, but, luckily, she has great friends willing to help her out. Takeru and friends even take care of “Conquer the land” and “Play a lot” for her.  After finally settling on “Eat an ocean of shrimp”, Ika-chan takes a look at some of the wishes others have put up on the bamboo stalk.  After shuttering in fear of what some of the others wish to do with Ika-chan…she simple wishes for safety, a good choice, in my opinion.

Finally, “Why Don’t You Play by Yourself?!” gives light into the daily activities of the lone squid girl, perfectly docile and easily amused inside the home by television. But, once outside, her imagination roams as she explores and plays on everything.  Letting nothing keep her back, she scales the highs and lows of her surroundings, in search of single-handed fun. By that, I mean, she teaches Takeru how to play by yourself, by either enjoying television or finding your own amusement at places like the park from simple objects such as walls or ants.
The comedy stays pure and the characters lovable. Shinryaku! Ika Musume, you have no complaints from me.
Until next time,
– Belden Otaku

Shinryaku! Ika Musume ~ Episodes 2 & 3

Shinryaku! Ika Musume Season 2 PV

Hey minna,
back with a double feature of Shinryaku! Ika Musume, episodes 2 and 3,  “Won’t You Go to Elementary School!?, Won’t You Cosplay!?, Aren’t You Lighter!?” and “Won’t You Go for a Walk!?, Won’t You Exercise!?, Won’t You Help People!?” respectively.

Episode 2 starts with a typical episode frame, Ika-chan is curious about the school Takeru goes to and decides to accompany him, she ends up inadvertently stealing the affections of his class and begins her conquest anew with the support of the class. Until she dares cross the path of some uppity students playing soccer, yet again, she gets distracted with pride (despite her inability to actually play soccer) and tries to win more respect from her subjects as she challenges the kids for control of the field. Long story short, the kids decide to just share the field and fake Ika-chan’s victory…and then the teacher returns with ice cream, leaving Ika-chan by the wayside.  “Won’t You Cosplay” follows Nagisa and Ayumi as they dress up to gain confidence, which inspires Ika-chan to change her appearance, this doesn’t go over well and she quickly reverts to her usual “cosplay”.  “Aren’t You Lighter!?” was my favorite of episode 2 as it proved that Ika-chan is an invader of both land AND air, using her weight-adjusting bracelets (typically used to offset weight and increase the strength of her tentacles), Ika-chan can reduce her weight to near zero and ride the wind….until a larger bird has other plans.

Episode three starts off with a funny little side story between Ika-chan and Alex, Sanae’s pet dog.  Jealous his owner’s affection toward Ika-chan, Alex is left no choice but show who’s boss ’round these parts…and bites Ika-chan.  To remedy the situation, Sanae and Eiko propose that Ika-chan walk Alex and bond with him.  While a little cold at first, Alex warms up to Ika-chan and they really connected as they double-teamed against a large dog holding Ika’s sandal hostage. Though Alex’s fondness for her quickly dissipates  as Sanae lavishes all her sympathy on Ika-chan instead of Alex. “Won’t You Exercise!?” follows Ika-chan’s interest in the morning stretch routines of some school kids on the beach, after some misunderstandings later at the Lemon, Ika joins the kids for the exercises, finding them quite useful to getting herself energized in the morning. Her excitement doubles as she learns that filling the stamp-spaces on her attendance card will garner her a prize, though she is banned from returning after trying to cheat her way to the prize by faking the stamps on her card.  Finally, “Won’t You Help People?!” shows Ika’s dedication to the ocean, even to those who enjoy it like her, as she volunteers (bribed, really) to be a lifeguard with Goro. Though she had a rough start, seemingly more concerned with the ocean’s safety than the safety of the beach-goers, she shines in the end, saving the lives of four young boys who strayed too far out into the water.

Episodes three and four continue the light-hearted humor that Shinryaku! has slated for itself.  I’m really appreciated the detailed backgrounds and transition shots, definitely stepping up it’s game for the second season.  As always, a great way to enjoy a relaxing end to the day and I look forward to the next episode of Shinryaku! Ika Musume.

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Until next time,
– BeldenOtaku

Shinryaku! Ika Musume (Season 2) – Episode 1: “Aren’t You Going to Invade?”, “Aren’t They Love Rivals?”, & “Isn’t That a Jellyfish?”

Shinryaku! Ika Musume Season 2 PV

Hey minna,
back for the start of the Fall 2011 season (denoted by the new “Fall 2011″ category). It couldn’t have a stronger start than the premier of the second season of Shinryaku! Ika Musume.   This is a continuation from the first season, and although there’s a bit of a facelift, don’t be mistaken, Ika-chan is still out wreak havoc on humanity for polluting the oceans…or so she says she is.

The series, while keeping all the character designs and not really changing anything visually, does seem to be cleaner in animation than the first series, but still not anything to get excited about.  The improvements in animation probably come from a somewhat bigger budget brought about through confidence in the series, based on the first season’s success.

Ika-chan is back! And the series keeps the old format of dividing each episode into three sub-episodes, which allows for multiple comedic ventures. “Aren’t You Going to Invade” starts, seemingly, as a recap, but surprised me when was actually fresh material (that cleverly included a wrap-up of Ika-chan’s current situation), as Ika-chan goes on a paranoid rampage, convinced everyone, and everything, is a ploy to stop her invasion plan, even shrimp can’t be trusted.  This ignites a revival to re-initiate her plans to overthrow humanity and try, once again, to lay siege to the Lemon restaurant….Chizusa quickly puts an end to this.

“Aren’t They Love Rivals?” introduces Kiyomi’s crew and (cleverly) recaps Ika-chan’s current relationships with some of the supporting cast members, with poor (Ika-obsessed) Sanae at the bottom.  Sanae decides to find out how Ika-chan truly feels about her, this doesn’t go over well, but, fortunately, Ika-chan has enough compassion to not want to crush Sanae’s feelings, leading into a seemingly never ending back-and-forth of “I dislike you….is something I wouldn’t say…but, I don’t like you….although….”

“Isn’t That A Jellyfish” is a chance for simple humor, as multitudes of stinging jellyfish threaten to close the beach.  Chizuru puts forth an idea to make a competition to see who can catch the most jellyfish, which both draws people to the beach and would help to clear up the infestation.  Ika-chan is confident in her abilities to put the humans to shame, if she can just hold onto the bag.  Her ego gets a little deflated when the winner is announced… Cindy Campbell and the Three Stooges? Although, they really only caught a single jellyfish and used a “Multiplication Ray” on it to win rather unfairly.

Season 2 of Shinryaku! Ika Musume is off to a great start, I especially like the OP and ED, they’re new, but keep the feeling of the originals, very fresh and appreciated by this humble *gesu* fan.

Looking forward to more of Ika-chan’s “invasion” this fall, definitely the don’t miss comedy of the season.

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Until next time,
– BeldenOtaku