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.

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Ben-to: Japanese Grilled Eel 790 kCal/Final Review

Hey minna,
back for the last meal and episode of the half-priced action series, Ben-to.  Yarizui-sempai is stil bedridden as Sato takes the stand against Orthros, for half-priced grilled eel, feature plate of the Dog Days of Summer.  But all isn’t well, a veteran wolf has entered the city to take down Orthros once again.  He even seems to have made Sato run away from the supermarket, meanwhile enlisting the remaining wolves to make their stand against the seemingly unbeatable twin duo.

This newcomer, carrying the nom de guerre “Herecle’s Combo”, plans to force Orthros out, just like he did 3 years ago. By enlisting the wolves of the area to stand with him and simply allow Orthros to take their bento and leave, the rest are spared defeat, and decide the remaining half-price bento among themselves.  Planning to shun the Kyo twins, it seems as if Herecle’s Combo is about to, once again, push out the strongest fighters in the bento food chain…until Sato returns. What seemed like fleeing, was actually bold strategy. Sato run and worked up a sweat to build his hunger, in order to drive himself for the delicious grilled eel.  His growling stomach moves the other wolves to hunger as well, soon becoming a free-for-all.

Sato reminds the wolves of the city that it’s defeating strong opponents that makes the food taste so delicious, and the fights worth winning.  Despite his efforts, Herecle’s Combo is quickly pushed aside so the true wolves can begin the fight.  With Sato and Saito teaming up against Orthros, it must truly have bene quite a fight to behold. Too bad they cut to them eating afterwards, where it seems the Kyo twins are considered friends now. Meanwhile, Sato returns to Yarizui’s bedside, with fresh grilled eel and an honor seal to boot.

One of my favorite action series of all time, probably because of the random premise (high class fighting over half-price bento, that’s original). If there’s one thing to complain about, it’s the lack of fighting, maybe it was a cost thing or maybe they just wanted more non-fight plots, but (especially the final fight with Orthros) I’m left wanting to see more.  Recommended if your tired of the more mainstream fighting series, or just want a fast-paced story that you can watch over a weekend.  Not sure if Ben-to could get away with second season, but it does, you can be sure I’ll be on it quicker than Sato on half-priced bento.

Until next time,
– BeldenOtaku

….oh yeah! Needed more Asebi!!!!!

Ben-to: Pocari Sweat 125 kCal

Hey minna,
back with my favorite meal of the day and a new episode of Ben-to.  Orthros is still on the prowl, ready to fight again after taking down the Ice Witch the night before.  As Shaga and Nikaidou work to track down some history on this fearsome duo, Yo and Yarizui prepare for their next encounter with Orthros.

Yarizui contends that it was light cold that lead to her defeat, and that simply getting well will assure a victory against Orthros.  Yo complies and helps to restore her to her normal strength, through vitamin drinks and cold remedy medicine.  Meanwhile, Shaga uncovers the Kyo twins history, it seems they moved from Yumehiro, where a convenience store, Sonic Store, owned by their parents, recently sprang up. Until 3 years ago, Orthros were wolves who would frequent Sonic Store, that is, until something happened.

Shaga informs the Kyo twins of Yarizui’s plans to meet them at Super Odori for dog days and grilled eel, a day that lays in infamy for Orthros. As Yarizui’s cold seems to have gotten worse, a new player enters the scene from Yumehiro, someone who seems to put the Kyo twins in danger.

Who is this new fighter? Why does it seem like Orthros is the victim now? What happened three years ago in Yumehiro? Why do I end these posts with questions like I need to convince you to watch the next episode? I hope the last episode turns into the best fight yet.

Until next time,
– BeldenOtaku

Ben-to: Episode 10

“It tasted warm and kind, just like my grandmother used to cook it. Japanese food, kind to the heart and body.  Fried chicken with plums, dried sardines, and the vegetables of the season. 480 kCal”

Hey minna,
back with my favorite meal of the day and a new episode of the duke-it-out series of the Fall 2011 season, Ben-to.  Finally back to the bento fights I started watching for, it seems a new force is quickly taking down wolves across the city.  Known as Orthros, it seems a duo of strong fighters has taken down some of the strongest fighters in the east, and now is making its way to the west, and no one in the city is up to fighting him, even the now dethroned monarch didn’t stand a chance.  Due to injuries and speed of the attacks, no one remembers his or her face…

It seems the Kyo twins are behind these take downs, in their search for the Ice Witch.  Now that Yo is recovered from the injuries of a previous fight, he seeks out his first meal since being discharged.  Even though he tried taking it easy, the Kyo twins, Orthros, had different plans.  Yo went down pretty quick, so he didn’t take too much damage, but he did leave the Kyo twins disappointed that he wasn’t much of a fight, and still continue to seek out the Ice Witch.

If you thought the fight with Monarch was something, the fight with Orthros was at least 10x more epic.  Their use of the shopping baskets to supplement their dual fighting style makes them a high-speed team that should never be taken lightly.  Easily knocking down all the other wolves in the store, the Kyo twins now set their sights on their long-awaited target, Yarizui, the Ice Witch.

Breaking through through defensive basket-style is near impossible, even Shaga, armed with chopsticks, couldn’t get past their overwhelming speed and skill. Even getting in a few solid hits, the Ice Witch doesn’t stand against Orthros’s assault.  The Kyo twins leave, victorious, with Yo and the others remaining to wallow in defeat.  Will Yo seek out revenge?  Or is it up to Yarizui to finish what they started?

Until next time,
– BeldenOtaku

(btw, I decided the title was ridiculously long, so I just wrote in ‘Episode 10’ and put the actual title as a quote at the beginning)

Ben-to: Western and Japanese Food Mix 2910 kCal/Warm Rice Porridge 340kCal

Hey minna,
back with another helping of Ben-to.  I’m not sure how to go over this episode, I typically like to keep everything on NewAnimeThursday PG-13 at most, so…I’m at a loss of how to describe the amount of yaoi in this episode.  Aside from Ume essentially getting *this* close to “having her way” with Omoshiroi, how does she not know of her little “hobby”? It’s obvious Omoshiroi is more into BL.

Second point, where are the fights? I thought Ben-to was about the battle for half-priced bento, not everyone who hates Sato (who happens to fight for half-price bento).  I don’t mind the character development, it just seems off-point to what the first part of series followed.

This episode wasn’t at all a total loss, it had moe moe Asebi after all. So I’m happy :3. I won’t say I don’t like this episode compared to the rest of the series, I’m forseeing a lot more personal arcs with the characters in episodes to come, I just don’t want to see it forget the thing I kept coming back to see, bento fights.

Until next time,
– BeldenOtaku

 

Additional thought: after looking at the pic of Asebi jumping out the window, it makes me wonder, are more and more people in Ben-to starting to believe they can fly?

Ben-to: Jumbo Garlic Chive Hamburger Patty 765kCal

Hey minna,
back for my favorite meal of the day and a new episode of Ben-to. Though there wasn’t a fight this episode, Sato still manages to land his broken butt in the hospital, though, thanks to Shaga, they wrapped him up to look more injured than he actually was, he was chasing down girls screaming “NOT A FREAK!” soon enough.

 

 

Surprisingly, Sena may be a great bento fighter, but she sucks when it comes to fighting video games, and she’s a bad sport too. After a triple-loss to the hands of Shaga, Asebi, and Sato, she *accidentally* hurls Sato’s Sega Saturn out the window.  In order to save his precious game system, Sato forgets he can’t fly and soars to rescue it.  Which brings us back to the hospital, where Sato turns caveman, grunting every time the student council president from Shaga’s school, believing she’s with the Ice Queen, Sena, comes close.

At first, I thought the nom de guerre “Freak” (“hentai”) was bit harsh, but now, I’m convinced, it’s perfect.  It’s a good thing Omoshiroi was in a hospital, she was about to suffer from severe blood loss.  “Muscle Cop” strikes again, and he’s about to take on an army of angry nurses…insert awkward thing that happens to guys *y’know what I’m talking about* here. Sato truly is a freak, but I do feel sorry for him, because one Ume finds out he revealed himself in front of Omoshiroi again, he’ll have hell to pay.

Btw, glad to see more air time for walking clutz-tower of moe, Asebi :3

Until next time,
– BeldenOtaku

Ben-to: Omelettits Bento 752 kCal and Tent of Seafood Bento 1100 kCal

“A pool, so basically……swimsuits!”

Hey minna,
back for my favorite meal of the day and another episode of Ben-to.  Just because the Monarch has been dealt with doesn’t mean Sato has it easy now, the gang travels to an indoor pool park to participate in the poolside ben-to fight it’s known for.  But there’s still time for some long overdue fanservice.

The only complaint I have with this episode: Not enough Asebi, possibly the most dangerous ben-to fighter out there, and she gets next to no screen time or actual plot points.  Though I did appreciate that it seems store owners and “Gods of Discounts” actually grasp the weight of the situation they present to the ben-to fighters, and actually work to make it interesting.

This latest battle features not only a fanservice advantage, but also a new battlefield, the open water.  Free to drift with currents, four ben-to, placed in freshness-sealed bubbles, were released into the pool, which makes it ever harder for a fighter to stake a claim on his lunch.  Swimsuits also presented a new challenge, though more so for the girls (and Sato). Just when it looks as if Sato has thrown in the towels and is headed toward the locker rooms, he surprises everyone by riding pool jets to the honor seal ben-to, using a discarded costume fin (torn of earlier from the dolphin suit the God of Discounts was wearing) for added mobility.  Several innuendos later, and Sato stands victorious…and naked, in front of Oshiroi…Shiraume is quick to point out his fatal mistake.

Next episode seems to feature Sato recovering from some “unforeseen accident”…is it safe to say Shiraume has something to do with it?

Until next time,
– BeldenOtaku