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Anime Review: Winter 2011 Season - A Recap

Anime Review Winter 2011 Season:
A Recap

It's been a while since I did one of these. Now that I have sampled each of the first episodes of every subtitled anime show that debuted during the Winter 2011 Season (Dec. 22nd 2010 to Mar. 21st, 2011), here's my quick summary of the good, the bad, and the ugly. If you are interested, I did the same thing for the Fall 2010 Season, as well as the Summer 2010 Season and Spring 2010 Season.

First, the numbers: So far to date, there have been 41 different series, shows, and specials where the first episode has been subtitled. Out of those, 26 have multiple episodes -- please note that I have only viewed and reviewed the first episodes only. 17 out of the 26 multi-episode shows received a "thumbs up", 9 receiving a thumbs-down. Of the remaining 15 single-episode shows, 5 received a thumbs-up and 10 received a thumbs-down. Here's a quick look at what I consider the best, the worst, and everything in-between. To see the individual review, click on the show's name below.

Highest recommendation: MUST SEE TV!:

  • Ojii-san no Lamp - An unexpected surprise, given that I generally dislike stories that deal with Japan's history. But the artwork is beautiful and the story is touching (albeit somewhat melodramatic). This was one of the one-shot specials produced as part of the 2010 Young Animator's Project.

Strongly Recommended:

  • .hack//Quantum OVA Episode 1 - Another pleasant surprise; I have always brushed off the whole .hack anime/manga franchise as lightweight juvenile fantasy fluff, so this came out of nowhere. Well-paced, great action scenes, interesting characters, interesting setting, and the artwork/animation is especially gorgeous.
  • Level E Episode 1 - Despite the pre-show buzz, I was somewhat skeptical considering this is based on a fifteen-year-old manga from someone who produced one of the crappier shonen kiddie shows. Happily, my fears were unfounded as Level E turned out to be pretty funny and interesting right out of the gate. Let's hope they can keep it up.

Moderately recommended: - Worth watching, and there's a decent chance I'll watch the entire season.

  • Fractale Episode 1 - Studio Ghibli wannabe. Out of all the shows, this is the one I had the highest expectations. Ended up being somewhat lacking, both in the story and animation departments; but still interesting enough to continue.
  • Is This A Zombie? Episode 1 - Thought it would be just another derivative comedy, but ended up being a funny farce poking fun at itself. Stupid stuff, but I LOLed.
  • Hourou Musuko Episode 1 - Gender-bender stories make me squirm, but this was really well-done. And really, really beautiful, too.
  • Gosick Episode 1 - Loli Sherlock Holmes? First episode seems kinda simplistic, but I gotta feeling there's more than meets the eye to this comedy/mystery.
  • Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica Episode 1 - Shinbo lets loose, and the result is not your normal magical girl show. The darker tinge to the storyline may make this watchable.
  • Kizuna Ichigeki - Second-best of the Young Animators Project series. Underdog fighting show, but surprised that it was actually funny and engaging.

Slightly recommended: - Not sure if I'll watch the entire series or not

- The wacky comedy of the season, but it relies on about three jokes it just keeps pounding into the ground.

On The Fence: - Watching for now, but chances are I'll drop before the series completes.

Slight Thumbs-Down: - Includes shows that may be decent by not within my interests, or shows that I might be convinced to give a second shot if enough people recommend them.

  • Nichijou Original Video Animation - Azumanga Daioh lite...without the humor.
  • Oh My Goddess: Itsumo Futari de OVA Episode 1 - Subpar in every aspect.
  • Suite Precure Episode 1 - Your standard technicolor magical girl crap.
  • Otona Joshi no Anime Time - Interesting concept, but this individual show failed to meet up with expectations.
  • Koi Sento - Creepy computer animation, nonsensical story.

    Moderate Thumbs-Down: - Pretty terrible, but not the worst shows in the world.

    Solid Thumbs-Down: - Terrible, just terrible. There's no reason to be watching these.

    Oh Dear God Why Does This Even Exist? - You watched it, now you can't unwatch it!

    ...And finally, the Wild Cardz Memorial Prize for the Worst Show of the Season goes to...

    • Kampfer Fur Die Liebe - Boy becomes girl becomes boy becomes girl -- and there are boobies EVERYWHERE! If you happen to find sexual harassment absolutely hilarious, then this show is for you.

    And as always, there are still a handful of shows from the Winter 2011 season that will eventually be subtitled in the upcoming months (especially some of the movies), and I'll tackle those as they become available.

    So, what's next? There are 17 shows listed above that advance to the "next round", and I'll review their second episodes. Furthermore, we are already in the middle of the Spring 2011 season, and I'll be looking at the first episodes of those shows as well. Furthermore, there are still a bunch of shows from 2010 that have only recently been subtitled in the past several weeks to cover as well. Busy, busy, busy!

    So....comments, anyone? Or am I just talking to myself here?


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
May. 15th, 2011 12:06 am (UTC)
I read all of these, but tend ot be lurker-y, mostly because I have nothing pithy to say. ^_^;
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )


Matthew High

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