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.

Tamayura~hitotose: A Brand New Year/Final Review

Hey minna,
back with my favorite slice of life for the season, for the final episode of Tamayura~hitotose.  Fu and friends’s exhibition finally begins, with Momoneko-sama as their first customer… Their show brings in all of their friends and family, from near and far, as Fu showcases her photography, Kaoru her aromas, Norie’s sweets, and Maon’s original recital of “The Fairy of Takenoko; Noko-chan”.

Fu’s photos instill all the emotions she sought to capture into everyone who viewed them.  Kaoru finally gets to properly display her talents for her father.  Everyone can’t get enough of Norie’s sweet confections.  And Maon thrills the audience with her daring tale of Noko-chan (played by Kou).  Even Shihomi compliments their hard work, and points out that, without knowing it, Fu has grasped something very important.  It’s that very important lesson that Fu finally realizes, on a cold mountain road New Year’s Day (after Sayomi took a “wrong” turn) as the sun begins to rise over the city and lighting the mountain view.  It’s through using her father’s camera, and continuing to take pictures of the things she enjoys, that she remains connected with him.  She has the ability to continue making memories with her father when she takes pictures, no matter what the circumstances.  And with a very heart-warming ending, one that ties together all the lessons Fu has learned as well as what Norie, Kaoru, Maon, and all of her friends and family have learned as well.

A very pleasing, and thoughtful, slice of life series that, admittedly, is more plot-driven than your usual slice of life.  Fu’s unfolding life leading up the exhibition are lined with experiences and people who, along the way, show her just what life has in store, and who can be there with you to help you through the hard parts.  But the story wasn’t singularly centered around Fu, many episodes explored the backstory and maturing of her friends as they discover their own potentials.

The animation stayed great throughout the entire series and I really liked how multiple backgrounds, character designs, and intricate side items really improved the overall visual quality to something beyond your typical anime series.  The music was almost criminal how they picked just the right time to let loose some touching melody just as I fear I can’t hold in my joy/anxiety/tears any longer.  Highly recommended to any slice of life fan, and also recommended as a first-view to any one new to the slice of life genre.

Tamayura~hitotose will dearly missed, but I feel like this was a great place to leave the series.  Fu and her friends have their whole lives standing before them, just as they close a chapter in their lives, they begin a new one (as denoted quite well by the New Year).

Until next time,
- BeldenOtaku 

Tamayura~hitotose: A Christmas Eve Story

Hey minna,
back with another tearjerking episode of Tamayura~hitotose.  The girls are getting closer to putting on their exhibition showcasing their unique talents.  Fu’s photography, Norie’s cooking, Kaoru’s aromas, and Maon’s….recital?

Maon tells the others that, when she traveled to a book signing, afterword, she went to a play recital, and now feels inspired to do so herself.   She feels drawn to try it, because this might be her career, true to style and her calling for the performing arts.  Fu, Norie, and Kaoru are all behind her as she prepares to try her first recital at her family’s inn in Mitarai. As Maon struggles to write her recital, the other girls get the word out, soon, everyone is excited for the recital as well.  Takehara residents, as well as friends in Mitarai start to gather for the occassion. Only one problem, the inn’s hall is too small.

 

Now, Maon stands in the Virgo theater, the same theater she hoped to one day perform in.  In a few hours, Maon would stand on that stage, in front of all their friends and family, to recite her own story. Thankfully, Maon has all her friends behind her, ready to support her and give her the encouragement she needed to go on stage, even though her story still didn’t have an ending.

As she takes the stage, Maon’s story unfolds.  A tale of one young bird, on an island of birds that loved chirping and singing to one another. Though unable to sing herself, this young bird decided to travel to another town, where she met new birds.  There, the bird was able to sing, maybe because the trip made her bolder, but with her friends she became more confident. But the birds back on the island didn’t believe she could sing, so she went back, and everyone was so proud of her song, though she still found it difficult. Maon ended her unfinished story by thanking her mother and father for believing in her, and for the help everyone’s giving to her.  A very touching episode to say the least (I’m being modest, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t almost cry).

 

The episode ends with the girls standing atop the hill where they unsuspectingly met back in 1999, just as snow starts to fall and they look forward to the oncoming exhibition.  I believe this brings Maon’s personal growth full circle.  I imagine the next episode will wrap up Kaoru’s development as well, and bring a big final thoughts to Fu’s overall story.  I should remember to stock up on tissues…

Until next time,
- BeldenOtaku

Tamayura~hitotose: What Will the Me of Tomorrow be like?

Hey minna,
back with half a week’s worth of anime to catch up on, so I’m getting started with Tamayura~hitotose, my slice of life series for the Fall 2011 season.   Continuing with its themes of growing up and matriculation, this episode focuses on Kao-tan, who, unlike the others, isn’t as confident in her desires or what she wants to do in life.

After noticing she’s been in a bit of a slump and somewhat distant when it comes to what’s bothering her, Fu, Maon, and Norie become worried.  Kaoru, who’s only true individual talent seems to be herbs and aromatics, suffers from doubt as to whether or not that’s what she wants to do, and even if she’s suited for it.  She sees Fu with her photography and being mentored by a professional photographer, Maon, with all of her hobbies has only to choose which one, and Norie is well on her way to becoming a great sweets confectionary. Meanwhile, she can’t erase her own about doubt what to do with her life.

After receiving messages from all her friends during their experiences, Kaoru realizes what she wants to do with her life, she wants to share it with her friends, and be together no matter what they choose to do.  In doing so, Kaoru also has an idea for a joint-exhibition, to show the talents of all four girls.  Fu’s photos, Maon’s whistling, Norie’s sweets, and Kaoru’s fragrances would all be on display for everyone to experience. Kaoru even has the venue set up for the 30th of December.

As the series starts to wind down, next episode seems to take place on Christmas, just a few days before the date of the exhibition.  Tamayura is set up to leave me in tears, though it comes as no surprise.  I love the growth that all the girls have each individually undergone, meanwhile, Fu, the main character, is taking lessons for herself each step along the way.

Until next time,
- BeldenOtaku