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Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon – Retrospective, Part 1 – The Premise, the World, & Episodes 01-06 »« Retrospective Look – June 2011

Retrospective Look – July 2011

Double J   2011 07   Divine Ro Kyu Bu   2011 07   Divine TIGER & BUNNY   2011 07   Divine Beelzebub   2011 07   Divine
Sacred Seven   2011 07   Divine Yuruyuri   2011 07   Divine Morita san wa Mukuchi   2011 07   Takaii Mawaru Penguindrum   2011 07   Divine
Nekogami Yaoyorozu   2011 07   Divine R 15   2011 07   Enzo Manyuu Hikenchou   2011 07   Divine Dantalian no Shoka   2011 07   Divine

The first month of a new season is always one of the most interesting. It’s the perfect opportunity to get into a bunch of new shows, yet it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer number of them. Here’s what we have to say about all the ones we’re following, which will hopefully give you a better idea as to what’s worth watching.

* For your convenience, the header for a series now links to its post archive if it’s being covered. Simply mouseover the title to see if it’s clickable.

Changes since last month:

  • Prooof picked up Nichijou again.
  • Enzo takes part in his first Retrospective Look!
  • Divine put Kaiji Hakairoku-hen and Toriko on indefinite hold.
  • Note: Once again, please be considerate of others who may be interested in picking up a series after reading about it here by placing discussion of any major spoilers in <spoiler></spoiler> tags. There will be little to no tolerance for anyone intentionally spoiling the enjoyment of others.

     

    Technical Note: Just like the season previews, the list is ordered by the date and time that the shows air. The schedule is intended to give a quick overview of all the shows that at least one writer is watching, and serves as a table of contents to jump to specific entries. In lieu of “Top” links, you can use the back button in your browser to quickly return to the schedule.

    Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
    Beelzebub
    07:00 NTV (1/9)
    Bleach
    18:00 TX
    Kami-sama Dolls
    25:30 TX (7/5)
    Usagi Drop
    24:45 CX (7/7)
    Ro-Kyu-Bu!
    23:00 AT-X (7/1)
    Nekogami Yaoyorozu
    08:30 AT-X (7/9)
    D P T E D P T E D P T E D P T E D P T E D P T E
    Ao no Exorcist
    17:00 MBC TBS (4/17)
    Natsume Yuujin-chou San
    25:30 TX (7/4)
    Double-J
    25:29 NTV (6/28)
    NO.6
    25:15 CX (7/7)
    Ouran High School Host Club Drama
    24:20 TBS (7/22)
    R-15
    25:00 tvk (7/9)
    D P T E D P T E D P T E D P T E D P T E D P T E
    Nurarihyon no Mago Sennen Makyou
    17:30 MX (7/3)
    Yuruyuri
    26:00 TX (7/4)
    Morita-san wa Mukuchi.
    25:30 KBS (7/5)
    THE IDOLM@STER
    25:25 TBS (7/7)
    Itsuka Tenma no Kuro Usagi
    25:05 TVS (7/8)
    TIGER & BUNNY
    25:58 MBS (4/2)
    D P T E D P T E D P T E D P T E D P T E D P T E
    Hanasaku Iroha
    22:00 MX (4/3)
    Steins;Gate
    26:05 TVS (4/5)
    BLOOD-C
    25:40 MBS (7/7)
    Dantalian no Shoka
    25:23 TX (7/15)
    Nichijou
    26:20 TVA (4/2)
    D P T E D P T E D P T E D P T E D P T E
    Ikoku Meiro no Croisée The Animation
    24:30 CTC (7/3)
    Mayo Chiki!
    25:55 TBS (7/7)
    Kami-sama no Memo-chou
    25:30 MX (7/8)
    Sacred Seven
    26:28 MBS (7/2)
    D P T E D P T E D P T E D P T E
    Manyuu Hikenchou
    25:00 tvk (7/10)
    Mawaru Penguindrum
    26:10 MBS (7/7)
    D P T E D P T E
    Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu Ni!
    26:15 TX (7/7)
    D P T E
    Legend: 25 Divine 8 Prooof 17 Takaii 19 Guardian Enzo Not covering/watching
    Double-J
    Episodes 01 – 05
    Double J   2011 07   Divine
    Double J   2011 07   Takaii

    Divine: Some of the humor is definitely lost in the Flash-based shorts about the Traditional Arts & Crafts Preservation Club, as I distinctly recall the manga being a lot funnier. I have fairly reserved expectations of Yuruani’s latest “anime” when it was added to the season preview, and the main reasons for that were its brevity and style. I can’t actually recall an overly hilarious scene from the first five episodes, so that’s never a good sign. Funnily enough, I can from the manga, which to me suggests there’s something wrong with the delivery of the material. It’s a bit of a shame because the cast is pretty awesome and it looks like the series would’ve been better with a more “traditional” format.

    Takaii: Five minutes of trying to save the ancient arts of Japan — from etching in the ends of toothpicks to preserving the ancient style of drawing old-fashioned manga. We follow Usami and her friend Sayo as they venture into the mysterious Cultural Activity Preservation Club. While it feels like we’re watching a visual novel rather then an anime, I was surprised with how many popular seiyuu are hiding in this show. From Taketatsu Ayana and Kato Emiri to Omigawa Chiki and Kobayashi Yuu, it’s a shame that Double-J is so short since it’s basically voices over a static image and even if the images aren’t great, the voices ARE! At this point, I believe the ending song is what has me coming back each week.

    Ro-Kyu-Bu!
    Episodes 01 – 05
    Ro Kyu Bu   2011 07   Divine
    Ro Kyu Bu   2011 07   Takaii
    Ro Kyu Bu   2011 07   Enzo

    Divine: I somehow went from not blogging this show — not even the first episode — to making time for it amidst several others I picked up, so that should say something about this easily misperceived series. By far and large, the most impressive episode was the second one, which had better drama than every other show airing right now. I was pleasantly surprised by the character dynamic between Subaru and Tomoka, which may have dwindled in recent episodes, but is still far beyond my expectations. Ro-Kyu-Bu isn’t shy about the whole lolicon bit either, poking fun at misunderstandings fairly frequently. The difference is, it’s aware of how it comes off and maintains a fairly innocent air, allowing the bits of drama to drive the story. Nothing has been quite at the level of episode two, but I’m still impressed overall.

    Takaii: I’m afraid that if people saw me watching this in public, they might call me some loli-con freak. Fears aside, this show is actually pretty entertaining. Middle school girls playing basketball, getting coached by the ace of a local High school team which had to disband after people found out their captain had been toying around with an underage girl. If that last sentence didn’t scare you off, then the idea of this show probably isn’t bothering you too much. To which I say, give this show a shot. Sure the basketball aspect isn’t terribly strong and I’m not sure if I’d even call certain scenes fanservice, but I can say that it isn’t boring.

    Enzo: I’m not normally bothered by fanservice, but I knew when the premiere of Ro-Kyu-Bu featured an extended scene of five 6th-grade girls showering that this series was going to test the limit. Mostly, I just find the service here really pointless and unnecessary. The premise is fairly thin to begin with, and while the characters have a certain amount of charm there just isn’t enough here to keep me hooked in. It’s as if the show can’t quite decide if it wants to be a service show or a sports series or something else altogether, trying at many and succeeding at none. I didn’t find the girls first game (against the boys team, for control of practice time in the gym) especially realistic as a basketball fan, and I didn’t find male lead Subaru’s tactics as coach especially admirable.

    TIGER & BUNNY
    Episodes 14 – 18
    TIGER & BUNNY   2011 07   Divine
    TIGER & BUNNY   2011 07   Enzo

    Divine: I really liked the direction Sunrise’s superhero anime was heading in recent episodes, shifting from Barnaby avenging his parents to Kotetsu’s powers fading. Because of that, I’m actually a little disappointed that the story dialed back to Barnaby’s problem and made Kotetsu’s one take a backseat. I really wanted to see everyone’s reaction when our veteran hero finally broke the news to them, but now it looks like we won’t be seeing that happen until the very end of the series. While the story may have concluded prematurely as far as Wild Tiger goes, it felt like the right way to go about it after watching him return home to see his daughter, Kaede. Regardless, the overall story has picked up in a really good way, from the revelation on who Lunatic’s father is to what’s happening to Barnaby now, so T&B remains one my favorite shows in the past two seasons.

    Enzo: July was the month that Tiger & Bunny got serious. It began by confronting the issue of Ouroboros and Barnaby’s parents head-on, and ended by dealing with Kotetsu’s difficulties with his daughter Kaede. In between it (apparently) killed off the man who (apparently) killed Mr. And Mrs. Brooks, and introduced a new dilemma – Tiger losing his powers. Kotestu is what drives this series for me – he’s one of the great lead characters in recent anime largely because there are so few like him. He’s a single Dad, approaching middle-age, with no romantic prospects but still has the admiration of the young heroes he mentors. I think his struggle with what it means to be a NEXT is a metaphor for the aging process, and I hope the rest of the series really explores this side of his story and doesn’t pull any miracles out of the hat. I’ve loved blogging this series at LiA and I look forward to the final couple of months.

    Nichijou
    Episodes 14 – 18
    Nichijou   2011 07   Divine
    Nichijou   2011 07   Prooof
    Nichijou   2011 07   Takaii

    Divine: Last season I favored A-Channel over Nichijou, and while I enjoyed the former more for its slice-of-life humor, the latter has really taken shape with its sheer comedy. In the first half of the series, it was a combination of the humor not appealing to me and me not getting accustomed to its style, but since then, I find this show ridiculously amusing. It’s like Kyoto Animation’s influence just took over and inexplicably made it all work. Things got even better when Nano started going to school and met Yuuko, who is still my favorite character because of her stupidity. Yuuko’s over-the-top argument with Mio was absolutely insane, in a good way. It’s hard to believe that I was considering dropping this show a couple of months back. That would’ve been a mistake.

    Prooof: Damn this show can be funny; I burst out laughing and I’m not even sure why. This month’s episodes have been ridiculously random and unique, which is what makes it interesting. I especially love Minakami’s antics, even if she can be pretty heartless, but the random bits featuring all sorts of characters are also very refreshing. I don’t always understand everything, and this can be hit and miss for people, but I’m still enjoying my weekly dose of utter unpredictability.

    Takaii: Every time I think about Nichijou ending, I feel this strange urge to run and yell at the closest living person near me. I hope I’m not the only one sad that this series is going to end this season! After a whole season of watching Mio, Yukko, Mai, Nano, Hakase, and Sakamoto live their ordinary lives, I can’t imagine a Saturday where I don’t join them on their silly, random adventures. The skits that are normally way too far left field haven’t appeared in a while and anytime a side character appears they are fundamental part to making a joke hilariously hilarious. It’s going to be a sad day when I don’t get to watch Hakase and Nano take part in some fun activity as an eyecatch.

    Sacred Seven
    Episodes 01 – 05
    Sacred Seven   2011 07   Divine
    Sacred Seven   2011 07   Enzo

    Divine: Unlike Tiger & Bunny, Sunrise’s new original series didn’t leave a very strong impression in the first couple of episodes and was fairly formulistic in its approach. In recent episodes, things have improved by changing up the pace with the school-life side of things though. We still have an Ashi to defeat every week, but the foreshadowing of Alma and Ruri’s past gives me something to look forward to. The characters have been amiable as well, so it’s been enjoyable watching them get into various situations together. I suspect the plot will come together in a more significant way once we past the halfway point, especially now that Night, Fei, and Kenmi are coming back into the picture. For now, I’m pretty content with watching all the Alma x Ruri moments, even though I don’t think they’ll amount to anything in the end.

    Enzo: I confess that I was on the fence about this show for quite a while. I was never quite sure just how seriously it was taking itself. It’s a pretty absurd premise, and the dialogue is ridiculous, but there was enough charm in Hellbrick and the kind of earnest seriousness with which all this nonsense was presented to keep me interested for a few episodes. But this is a busy season, and there just wasn’t enough in Sacred Seven that interested me to keep me hooked in. It’s an incredibly intricate plot, but it just never grabbed me – I don’t find Alma or Ruri especially charismatic leads and there’s not enough emotional investment to make me want to go to the hard work of keeping up with the plot.

    Beelzebub
    Episodes 24 – 28
    Beelzebub   2011 07   Divine

    Divine: The more I watch this long-running shounen series, the harder it is to let slip wayward until I can’t be bothered to catch up. That’s partly because the story has shifted to St. Ishiyama High already –something that I didn’t expect to happen so soon. As a result, all the key characters from differing grades are thrown into the same class, allowing them to interact more. I’ll be quick to say it feels like a cheap way to get everyone in more scenarios together, but it actually works really well. In addition to the likes of Toujou, there’s plenty of Aoi to go around. The new St. Ishiyama characters Kazuya and Azusa are nice additions as well, since they’re voiced by Asanuma Shintarou and Hikasa Youko. Then there’s the third ending sequence, which makes me wish they’d make an entire anime with that style. I love the song by “Tomato n’ Pine” too, so it doesn’t look like I can drop Beelzebub just yet. See below.

    Show Beelzebub ED3 ▼

    Ao no Exorcist
    Episodes 12 – 16
    Ao no Exorcist   2011 07   Divine
    Ao no Exorcist   2011 07   Prooof
    Ao no Exorcist   2011 07   Takaii
    Ao no Exorcist   2011 07   Enzo

    Divine: In hindsight, it doesn’t seem accurate to compare AoEx to Fullmetal Alchemist beyond the first couple of episodes. Once Rin entered True Cross Academy, the series became more of a high school-like affair where exorcism was merely a plot-device to give it a unique twist. I didn’t particularly mind because of the character development involved, but the progression in the first half was a lot more “peaceful” than I imagined. In recent episodes, that’s clearly changed with Amaimon’s involvement, turning AoEx more into the kind of show I was hoping for — a shounen series full of action. Shura’s revelation served as an awesome start to it all, and now with the newly-appointed Paladin in the picture, it feels like we’re finally making some headway toward a climactic finish.

    Prooof: After a dry spell, things are getting pretty exciting again as Rin’s secret is revealed and some big fights are starting to ramp up. Mephisto’s behind-the-scenes scheming is pretty awesome too and he reminds me of Urahara from Bleach, though I have no idea what his agenda is. I don’t follow the manga so I can’t make any comparisons about the plot on that front, but I’m fairly interested now even if this goes for an anime-original ending. It still suffers from common shounen-genre flaws and the themes are generic, but the fights are cool and story development is picking up.

    Takaii: One of my favorite shows from last season, I’m always excited when Sunday comes around. I don’t know how this show captured my attention, but I’ve never felt disappointed after any episode. With all the emotional moments, the past few episodes have more then made up with enough action scenes to satisfy anyone. It’s like the show managed to strike the perfect balance between story and action — something I don’t really expect from shows that get the original ending treatment. I have to give a A-1 pictures a pretty big thumbs up for doing such a great job with this show.

    Enzo: It’s not as if Ao no Exorcist has done anything to blow me away, but it’s definitely a series that’s offered as much consistency as any series currently airing. It’s unusual in that the most interesting relationship in the show features a deceased character – Shiro, whose relationship with stepson Rin is the heart and soul of the series. There was a wonderful flashback episode that covered that this month, but for the most part it’s been a slow build to the moment when Rin’s dark secret would be revealed to his classmates. We’re at a turning point for the series now, with things having fundamentally changed forever, and I’ll be interested in seeing where things turn from here, especially between Rin and Shiemi. If you’re looking for a solidly entertaining shounen that doesn’t break much new ground put covers old ground brilliantly, this is the show for you.

    Nurarihyon no Mago Sennen Makyou
    Episodes 01 – 05
    Nurarihyon no Mago Sennen Makyou   2011 07   Enzo

    Enzo: I wasn’t a huge fan of the first season of Nurarihyon, but there were some real highlights and the strength of the characters shone through the sometimes awkward direction. S2 has brought us a new director and a snappier pace, along with a harder edge to the material from the manga. Things just seem more focused and on-point now. A large chunk of time has been spent in flashbacks, but I think this is necessary to set up the epic Kyoto Arc to come. All in all it’s a substantial improvement and quite entertaining. The long-awaited first manga chapter was finally adapted, and Grandpa Nurarihyon is finally getting his turn in the spotlight. Manga fans say the Kyoto Arc is awesome, so I’m looking forward to it. Shipping wars are heating up too, with Yura definitely having punched her ticket.

    Hanasaku Iroha
    Episodes 14 – 18
    Hanasaku Iroha   2011 07   Divine
    Hanasaku Iroha   2011 07   Prooof
    Hanasaku Iroha   2011 07   Takaii
    Hanasaku Iroha   2011 07   Enzo

    Divine: The drama in Hanairo seems to come and go on a whim, which is my main gripe with this series. I’d like to believe that P.A. Works has everything thought out, but the episodes about filming at Kissuisou were a really weak follow-up to Ohana’s trip to Tokyo and even her school. I don’t really care about Enishi and Takako, especially if they’re screwing up. It’s just not a pleasant thing to watch, plus it takes screen time away from the main girls. I really question why their subplot deserves so much attention when Kou is completely neglected every chance he gets. If he’s too far away, there’s always Minko and Tooru’s relationship that hasn’t gone anywhere. Also, instead of focusing on what outsiders bring, I’d like the problems stem from within the inn. Nako’s episode was a step in the right direction, so hopefully things continue that way.

    Prooof: I’m actually enjoying the fact that each arc shifts the focus and development among the various characters, even secondary ones. There was the unique premise of filming a movie at the inn, and though things didn’t pan out, Enishi and Takako got a decent amount of screen time, which I wasn’t expecting but still found enjoyable. I know a lot of people felt this arc was mediocre, but I thought the fresh story made things quite interesting. Yuina, one of my favorites in the show, and Nako also had their own mini-arcs which suited me just fine. My main complaint is that the target audience is too obvious at times and the little bits fanservice feel distracting and unnecessary.

    Takaii: Another show that’s pushing right along from last season, things have been a little hit or miss the past few arcs. Something just hasn’t translated right ever since the focus changed to the side characters. While some arcs (Nako’s) have been better than others (Enishi’s), I’m not sure what I want to see from this show anymore. The conflict between Ohana, Ko, Minchi, and Tohru is just sitting there and Ohana’s relationship with her mom has gotten a bit better but is also still just, sitting there. Come on P.A. Works! I know you have the ability to create something that can get my eyes bawling. Using Angel Beats as a measurement, I wouldn’t be surprised if P.A. Works is just slowly breaking us down for a spectacular finale.

    Enzo: No series irritates me more than HanaIro. Why? Because it can be so damn fantastic when it wants to be, but it seems content to waste entire episodes on irrelevant side stories and generally weak slapstick comedy. This feels like some of the laziest writing Okada Mari has ever done, and July was not a good month for the show. Neither the school trip arc or the film arc was well-conceived or well-executed. Things perked up a little with the most recent ep, focusing on Nakochi. It was still irrelevant to the main storyline, but at least it was entertaining. There’s so much wasted potential here, and I have a great deal of trepidation about where these last 8 episodes will take HanaIro. It’s a series that for me unquestionably has the widest gap between it’s best and worst episodes of any 2011 series, and that makes it a frustrating and difficult series to follow.

    Ikoku Meiro no Croisée The Animation
    Episodes 01 – 05
    Ikoku Meiro no Croisee The Animation   2011 07   Divine
    Ikoku Meiro no Croisee The Animation   2011 07   Takaii
    Ikoku Meiro no Croisee The Animation   2011 07   Enzo

    Divine: I almost feel compelled to promote this heartwarming series at every opportunity, even if slice-of-life shows generally aren’t your thing. If you’ve seen the ARIA series and enjoyed it, then this should be an absolute shoo-in. The premise is simple yet unique, and provides us with a cultural clash that makes Yune and Claude’s interactions so interesting to watch. That’s even before I take into account how adorable and hardworking Yune is, which makes me want to see her showered with affection. However, I like how Claude is relatively hard on Yune when she accidentally messes up, since it tends to lead to some emotion-filled scenes where they grow closer. Claude teaches her a lot of things about France, and in return learns a lot about himself and how to be a better person, which is the most rewarding part of this show. Yuuki Aoi as Alice is a big plus.

    Takaii: I’ve wanted to ask this question for the longest time: When everyone is speaking Japanese, isn’t it a bit difficult to accept that the entire French population is “supposed” to be speaking French? I normally don’t have a problem with this, but I know that in the beginning when everyone assumed Yune couldn’t speak French (even though they were speaking Japanese the entire time) it was driving me crazy that you couldn’t tell when you were supposed to assume when someone was speaking what. My tiny little gripe aside, everything else has just been a pleasure to watch. The interactions between Yune and Claude have progressed from socially awkward to something almost family like and I love all the little culture clashes that occur between the two. Overall, it gives off this warm family feel with some humor slipped in here and there.

    Enzo: In a very strong summer season, Ikoku Meiro no Croisée may just be my favorite among the new shows. There are so many things this manga adaptation has done well, starting with presenting the cultural divide between the Japanese and the European mind. The setting – late 19th-Century Paris – is lovingly detailed by the team of French and Japanese animators at Satelight, and in fact you can see that a great deal of love has gone into this series, right down to the linguistics. Of course Yune is beyond kawaii, absolutely adorable – but it’s never overbearing. She wears it well, because she’s a tough little bird and an honorable girl. I love Oscar and Claude as well, especially Claude – he’s such a proud and decent kid, but he lacks his Grandfather’s social graces. Romance may or may not be coming down the line, and the introduction of side character Alice could go either way, but there’s no series I anticipate more and none that can make me feel so happy.

    Bleach
    Episodes 329 – 332
    Bleach   2011 07   Prooof

    Prooof: Recent fights have been ultra fast-paced and high-adrenaline, but they are starting to feel a bit repetitive as they consist of different combinations of shinigami and clones one after another. As the arc approaches the climax I’m hoping for some more interesting fights, and now that Nozomi has her powers back as well she may be able to contribute in that regard. Her abilities seem extremely overpowered and difficult to believe, but that’s just a natural flaw that comes with a shounen show that goes on for too long.

    Natsume Yuujin-chou San
    Episodes 01 – 04
    Natsume Yuujin chou San   2011 07   Enzo

    Enzo: My love affair for Natsume Yuujinchou is hardly a secret, so it’s no surprise that the third season has been a big win for me. The series has been amazingly consistent in each of its incarnations, relying on one-shot storylines with memorable supporting characters to shed light on Natsume’s situation and the human (and youkai) condition. If anything, the first month of “San” has focused a little more on Natsume’s childhood, with several flashbacks to his elementary days and to the life of his Grandmother Reiko. We’ve also seen an evolution in Nyanko-sensei’s character, in that he seems to have become even more “domesticated” and content to share Natsume’s company and partake of the varied culinary and gustatory pleasures of the human world. But there are some darker manga chapters out there, and I expect to see a little more of Madara as the weeks progress.

    Yuruyuri
    Episodes 01 – 04
    Yuruyuri   2011 07   Divine
    Yuruyuri   2011 07   Takaii

    Divine: For a relatively low-key starring cast and a studio that I don’t really associate with comedies, Yuruyuri has been a truly pleasant surprise. Four episodes in, I can easily see why the light touches of lesbianism made the manga so popular. All it really takes are Kyouko and Chitose to take over with their fantasies and have Chinatsu and Ayano on the receiving end. With a cast of eight main girls, the possibilities really open up, and there are slight parallels between some of the pairings, such as Kyouko/Yui and Sakurako/Himawari. I thought it was a bit redundant at first, but they all add something different to the group. I love the character designs and overall look of this adaptation too. I just wish it didn’t have me doing so much extra work every post, piecing together full-length images every other screenshot. *shakes fist*

    Takaii: I don’t want to admit it, but I really like this show. Unlike another slice of life I was covering last season, this one’s quirky premise and interesting cast of characters rocketed this series pretty high on my “do not get behind” list. If you’ve been holding back on watching because of the show’s yuri aspect, there’s nothing too serious except for some delusions from Chitose. All of which are still pretty tame in all respects. I’m not sure what the allure of this series is, but there’s just something about the cast which makes me coming back for more. I know that I’m a bit predisposed as someone who likes these slice-of-life types of shows, but there isn’t anything to complain about. How can you not love Akari and her lack of a presence?!

    Kami-sama Dolls
    Episodes 01 – 04
    Kami sama Dolls   2011 07   Divine
    Kami sama Dolls   2011 07   Prooof
    Kami sama Dolls   2011 07   Takaii
    Kami sama Dolls   2011 07   Enzo

    Divine: I pegged this as the new title I was looking forward to the most this summer, and while it hasn’t really disappointed, I can’t say I’m completely sold on it either. The premiere was a strong showing, introducing Aki and raising a lot of questions about his past with Kyouhei, but since then, there hasn’t been too much else. Granted, I already came in with the understanding that Aki’s trying to provoke Kyouhei into realizing his “true” nature, so that wasn’t really new to me. I’m still happy with what I see so far, even without anything substantial to go on just yet, hence why I’m optimistic things will get better once we learn more of Karakami village’s dark secrets. I’m also holding onto hope that Kyouhei will be a Seki again after seeing how knowledgeable he is about Kukuri. That doesn’t mean I want less of Utao though, nor Hibino for that matter.

    Prooof: For me, Utao’s moe-ness is really standing out because of her hilarious facial expressions, bro-con, immature antics, and total inexperience controlling Kukuri. The quality of actual plot is yet to be seen. It’s definitely on the darker side, as Aki tries to provoke Kyouhei for his own goals and they both get caught in the pace of twisted village politics. Though Aki is a crazy murderer, white-haired bishies tend to end up becoming the tormented anti-hero, so I have a feeling the actual villian is someone/thing else, probably something from the village. Isolated villages with dark histories and deep-rooted traditions tend to provide an easy source of conflict.

    Takaii: This show still hasn’t managed to grab my full attention and I can feel myself starting to slowly grow bored of it while watching each episode. The Gods that the Seki control are pretty nifty, but I still don’t care for the main cast of characters. Be it Kyouhei’s “I don’t want to get involved” attitude to Aki’s blatant disregard for human life or the crazy college girl who’s obsessed with the supernatural. If anything, the saving grace for this show falls upon Utao and her carefree attitude and the hundreds of different faces she makes throughout each episode.

    Enzo: I pegged Kami-sama Dolls as a sleeper going into the season, and though it hasn’t been a masterpiece I think that prediction has borne out. Excellent studio (Brains Base) solid director (Kishi Seiji) and an interesting premise were enough to catch my attention. There have been flaws, most notably an annoyingly self-aware fixation with little sister Utao’s moe levels. But on balance, there’s been something genuinely interesting every episode and Seiji-sensei has been brilliant in doling out new information and characters at just the right pace. Male lead Kyouhei is an interesting character with a dark past we know only snippets of, and Aki is a real mystery – presented as a psychotic villain early on, I’ve felt strongly that he’s more victim than baddie. One gets the sense that we’ve just seen the tip of the iceberg with this story – there’s a lot more out there, and I’m anxious to see it unfold. I’m never “wowed” after an episode of Kami-Dolls, but it always ends up being one of the series I’m most looking forward to.

    Morita-san wa Mukuchi.
    Episodes 01 – 04
    Morita san wa Mukuchi   2011 07   Takaii

    Takaii: Between Double-J and Morita-san, I’m not sure I see the point in having a five minute long anime that airs once a week. Besides not having enough time to really do anything, the humor that Morita-san claimed it would have just doesn’t come off that funny. Like Double-J, it was surprising to hear someone like Hanazawa Kana voicing someone in a show like this. Unlike Double-J, Morita-san has been slowly growing on me. Double-J tends to rely on being completely ridiculous and random to get laughs out, whereas Morita-san manages to use its characters to make those five minutes as memorable as possible.

    Steins;Gate
    Episodes 14 – 17
    Steins Gate   2011 07   Divine
    Steins Gate   2011 07   Takaii
    Steins Gate   2011 07   Enzo

    Divine: I’m quite amazed by how Steins;Gate was able to take the tense atmosphere from Kyouma’s repeated attempts to change the past and with a flick of a switch, go back to how things were before (for the most part). I definitely didn’t expect to be laughing again when the situation looked so dire, but one “sonuvabitch!” later and things weren’t so bad anymore. Be that as it may, the second half is very different from the easygoing first half. I still get goose bumps thinking about what Suzuha went through in one attempt, considering the amount of time that passed for her. It was probably the first time in this series that I really felt the impact that time travel has on the characters. The feeling of regret was overwhelming and contrasted heavily with the uplifting moment just prior when Suzuha learned who her father is. At the same time, it was an absolutely riveting scene that I can’t wait to see more of as Kyouma tries to go beyond 1% with everyone’s help.

    Takaii: Another show continuing on from last season, I’d say that love isn’t a strong enough word to describe how I feel about this show. The implication of time travel is a rather difficult topic, and I love how the show is attacking this problem in the easiest manner — undo what’s already been done. As Okabe continues his rampage to prevent a certain event, it’s been an amazing ride watching every side character get at least an episode to explain how they think and why they sent their specific D-mails. With a general game plan in mind, there’s one thing I’m left wondering — the first D-mail he sent saved Kurisu’s life, right? In all honesty, I don’t think I’ll be able to handle it if Kurisu ends up undoing her second chance at life. This is one of those rare moments where I wouldn’t mind a well played deus ex machina since you can fix anything with time travel, right?

    Enzo: Steins;Gate certainly works as a thriller, as a mystery and as a science fiction series. But the reason it works so well overall is how good it is at portraying the characters and making us care what happens the them. The show took its time setting things up, peppering the first 13 eps with lots of humor and great dialogue, but that all paid off when it stepped on the gas this month. The show has (by necessity) gotten much more serious and much darker this month but it’s still a joy to watch. It’s also loads of fun to try and guess where things are going and riddle through the various clues – in fact, some folks have gone back and re-watched the early episodes with a jaundiced eye. But I’d rather not – I prefer guessing and being surprised. I rank episode 16 as one of the two or three best of any series in 2011.

    Usagi Drop
    Episodes 01 – 04
    Usagi Drop   2011 07   Divine
    Usagi Drop   2011 07   Prooof
    Usagi Drop   2011 07   Takaii
    Usagi Drop   2011 07   Enzo

    Divine: As a series that depicts the hardships of raising a child and the sacrifices that have to be made, Usagi Drop doubles as a life lesson of sorts. There’s been some emphasis on contacting Rin’s mother and finding out how she could possibly abandon such an adorable and well-behaved child, but to me this show will always be about Daikichi and Rin first and foremost. The two of them are really cute together and I love how Daikichi is turning out to be a great father even without realizing it. It’s amusing when he complains a bit, because he’ll eventually make the sacrifices needed to raise Rin on his own. There isn’t a bad thing I can say about this series, since it focuses on realism and tells a very heartwarming story. Nine-year-old Matsuura Aya’s performance as Rin has been simply amazing and gives the impression that Daikichi is really dealing with a child who’s very mature for her age. Everyone should be watching.

    Prooof: The drama series aired on NoitaminA have really been on a roll the last few months, and Usagi Drop is holding its part as a great heartwarming show. Though I suspect a lot of people are watching this show mostly because of how adorable Rin is, that characteristic is certainly true. Watching Rin get peeved at Daikichi and talking back at him provides a lot of humor, and no episode so far has failed to bring a smile to my face. The cast is slowly expanding, Daikichi is slowly learning about being a father, and their relationship as a family is slowly growing. Family values are promoted, the characters and their interactions are realistic, and the story is engaging, so I’m eager to see where this goes.

    Takaii: The show that I really wanted to cover this season, but probably wouldn’t have enjoyed as much if I had actually covered it, ended up being one of my favorites of this season. With the draw of a salaryman who discovers the joys and hardships of raising a child, I had already marked this show as a must-watch. I’m a big sucker for shows that deal with a broken family and how their relationships eventually bring them closer together. Sure Daikichi and Rin aren’t a broken family, but there are still so d’aww moments that it still gives off that same fuwafuwa feeling.

    Enzo: Usagi Drop has kept it simple so far, and it’s worked like a charm. The premise of this series – single salaryman Daikichi takes in 6 year-old Rin, daughter of his recently deceased Grandfather whose mother is AWOL – is so loaded with potential emotion that it needs very little help. It’s a can’t miss, and so far it isn’t missing. Rin is adorable, and I like the fact that all of the child roles are being played by actual kids. But the real wonder of this series is Daikichi, who’s played by Tsuchida Hiroshi. A 30-year-old single male taking in a kid he barely knows simply because it’s the decent thing to do? Sign me up to watch that. I’ve enjoyed the supporting cast and the very realistic focus on how challenging the basics of caring for a little girl prove to be for Daikichi. As long as the show doesn’t push too hard for the waterworks, it should continue to be a huge winner. NoitaminA strikes again.

    NO.6
    Episodes 01 – 04
    NO.6   2011 07   Divine
    NO.6   2011 07   Takaii
    NO.6   2011 07   Enzo

    Divine: The sci-fi aspect hasn’t been as predominant as I thought it would be, yet still serves as a terrific contrast to the dire state of the world outside the utopia and the supposedly conspiracy that it’s hiding. To that end, the pacing of this adaptation has been quick but by no means rushed, giving me hope that we’ll see parts from all nine light novel volumes that it’s based on. I’m still indifferent on what to make of Shion’s relationship with Nezumi, as I really don’t care to read too heavily into it. What I do like is how different the progression’s been compared to anime lately. From the initial four-year time-skip to Shion escaping to West Block, we’re given quite the runaround on the truth of the world that Nezumi intends to show him. I can’t really tell quite where they’re headed to make a point of what I mentioned in the preview, but the uncertainty is what makes this series so engaging.

    Takaii: A show that has an interesting dystopia as its base, NO.6 grabbed me with its promise of a strong plot. Sure Shion may be the stupidest protagonist of the season right now, but for someone who was sheltered and brainwashed into mindlessly following any order the state gave him, I didn’t expect too much. Then there’s the mysterious Nezumi who is a total badass around everyone except Shion, probably out of respect for saving his life. The two make a good team that is giving the world of NO.6 a realistic and rather chilling feel to it. You have the one who’s stuck living off of ideals and one who’s living by experience.

    Enzo: NO.6 is a throwback. It feels like a series I might have rented on DVD (or VHS) from my local library or the little video place in Japantown back when I was first really getting into anime, a decade or more ago. In hindsight BONES was a perfect choice to adapt this YA novel. Their series always seem to have an earnest, adolescent way of treating the absurd seriously. A large portion of the discussion surrounding the show has focused on the shounen-ai undertones, and they’re certainly there. I confess I do find some of the scenes between protagonists Shion and Nezumi hilarious when I suspect they’re not supposed to be, but their relationship is really pretty innocent. I love the way the dialogue in this series is dramatic and larger than life like the way it used to be in the bygone days of late ’90s anime. The plot of the series is also quite interesting, a blend of dystopian future angst and sci-fi elements.

    THE IDOLM@STER
    Episodes 01 – 04
    THE IDOLM@STER   2011 07   Divine

    Divine: I honestly didn’t see this highly anticipated producer simulation adaptation turning into a slice-of-life series that’s reminiscent of K-ON, yet here I am four episodes later blogging it for that very reason. Production values by A-1 Pictures have been excellent, making it easy to get into IM@S, whereas the easygoing atmosphere with a bunch of different character types is another case of cute girls doing cute things — something I’m not the least bit opposed to. Much like how I imagine the game goes, some of the girls’ personalities immediately stood out from the rest, and I found myself watching just to see those particular girls interacting with others. e.g. Miki. There are some cute moments, some quirky moments, and some serious moments, which together make for a surprisingly entertaining series whether you’re familiar with the game or not.

    BLOOD-C
    Episodes 01 – 04
    BLOOD C   2011 07   Divine
    BLOOD C   2011 07   Prooof
    BLOOD C   2011 07   Enzo

    Divine: I wasn’t looking forward to this remake of the Blood concept as much as other people were, and partly gave into that hype when I decided to blog it, so I’m not all that displeased with how uneventful it’s been so far. CLAMP’s story definitely leaves something to be desired, after seeing Saya slay ancient monsters every episode without any real significance. Nothing has really come together because it feels like barely anything has started. The most recent episodes made some good strides on changing that, with talk about a “contract”, Saya treated like a monster herself, and glimpses of an earlier Saya. The small town setting doesn’t really open the door to a lot of possibilities though, unless they’re really going to pull one over our heads where nobody is who they seem. That may not be such a bad idea, because at this point, it does feel like Blood-C needs a major turn of events to redeem itself.

    Prooof: The story is mediocre at best, though it’s also somewhat non-existent for the most part of the first few episodes. Right now, it just feels like a slice-of-life with a battle scene mixed in each episode. The two sides, the lighthearted daytime and the darker bloodier nighttime, make an interesting contrast though, and the fights give off the appropriate creepy atmosphere. Saya’s an awesome fighter, except I have no idea how she could be so clumsy and dull at the same time. The tongue-in-cheek humor is pretty funny, though the school life antics don’t really contribute much else yet. I’m not impressed yet, but the plot seems to be picking up so it’s worth watching casually.

    Enzo: No other show seemed to carry as heavy a weight of expectations as CLAMP and Production I.G’s Blood-C, and for the most part it’s failed to deliver. What this show feels like to me is a “Blood” doujin brought to the screen, and not necessarily in a good way. CLAMP was a doujin circle before they were anything else, and even their successful series maintain some of that quality – but perhaps because this is an adaptation of a well-known property it feels more self-indulgent than ever. The pacing has been atrocious, the slice-of-life scenes abysmal and the transitions between that and the bloody combat blocky and awkward. Some of that was certainly intentional, as CLAMP was attempting to show a village where things clearly weren’t what they seemed. For all that, though, delivering four basically mediocre episodes is a very risky start. There are small signs of life in that episode 4 was the best yet – largely because of an absence of dialogue and reduced roles for the annoying supporting cast – but if this were a show with a lesser pedigree I’d likely have dropped it already.

    Mayo Chiki!
    Episodes 01 – 04
    Mayo Chiki   2011 07   Divine
    Mayo Chiki   2011 07   Takaii

    Divine: I watch this show for Konoe Subaru — it’s as simple as that. In fact, I think everyone should just watch it for the reverse trap butler. Iguchi Yuka blows my mind with a voice I’ve never heard her used before and in a role that’s very unlike a typical tsundere. As far as a romantic comedy goes, Mayo Chiki has been everything that I want to see from one. The support cast of a sadistic master and an overzealous younger sister works as great catalysts to spark things between Jirou and Subaru. The one qualm I do have with this series is that the drama feels incredibly forced and jarring. It’s almost cringe-worthy at times because it feels so far out of left field. I appreciate the added dimension the series is trying to provide, redefining Subaru’s character ever so slightly, but there needs to be some better build-up to make it believable.

    Takaii: Besides Usagi Drop, Mayo Chiki is my other favorite of this season. With a strong lineup of seiyuu, a ridiculous high school romcom involving girls dressed up as butlers, and more girls doing whatever they want to, what else could you ask for? Oh wait, there’s also the blossoming love between our two protagonists — Kinjirou and Subaru. Like Toradora where Ryuuji and Taiga had some really cute couple-like moments, I have high hopes that Jirou and Subara eventually make it to that point. Even though this is slated as a single cour show, there have been tremendous amounts of growth in the relationship department between the two — something I couldn’t be happier about.

    Mawaru Penguindrum
    Episodes 01 – 04
    Mawaru Penguindrum   2011 07   Divine
    Mawaru Penguindrum   2011 07   Enzo

    Divine: I probably failed to spark much interest in Ikuhara Kunihiko’s 24-episode original series back in the season preview, as I figured most people would be as curious as I was based on the staff involved. To Japanese fans, there was a lot of anticipation toward it, much like the highly successful Madoka Magica. After getting a feel for what Mawaru Penguindrum actually entails, I have to agree that the anticipation was well warranted. Brain’s Base and Ikuhara have produced a very unconventional series that I have no idea where it’s headed, but never fails to keep me hooked with its Sailor Moon-like transformation sequences and invisible penguin antics. Let’s not forget the stalker girl with a diary that supposedly has the future written in it. So far, there’s a lot of potential with the way it keeps me guessing, so I feel like this is the must-watch show of the season.

    Enzo: If Blood-C was the most talked-about series before the start of the summer season, Mawaru Penguindrum seems to have taken the honor now that we’re a month in. I get more feedback on this series than any other at Lost in America, and it seems to have sparked lots of lively discussion everywhere you look. This show is clearly the work of a massively talented director – I can’t think of a show since FLCL that’s been as striking and original in terms of visuals, and the storyline is jam-packed with interesting ideas and pop culture and classic cultural references. But I’m not ready to jump on the bandwagon proclaiming that Ikuhara has given us a masterpiece yet. The fourth episode started to feel a bit repetitive, the humor wasn’t as sharp and I still haven’t found much to empathize with in any of that characters except perhaps Shouma. Ikuhara has something fascinating and worthwhile here, but he hasn’t closed the deal in making it a classic.

    Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu Ni!
    Episodes 01 – 04
    Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu Ni   2011 07   Divine
    Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu Ni   2011 07   Takaii
    Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu Ni   2011 07   Enzo

    Divine: Just when I starting thinking that Bakatest’s sequel was too much of a rehash of the first season, the latest episode brought back the summons and left me amused to no end. The only things better than cute summoning beasts are talking summoning beasts that spill all the characters’ secrets. Don’t get me wrong; I was thoroughly amused by Akihisa and Yuuji’s failed attempts at picking up girls and Hideyoshi pretending to be Yuuko. It’s just a completely different level of hilarity when the guys try to keep a cool front in front of the girls only to have their summons speak their minds. The same goes for Himeji and Minami when it comes to Akihisa, which was so predictable yet so awesome to see. That episode single-handedly re-sparked my interest in this entire sequel, even though there wasn’t actually anything bad about it per se. This is just more akin to the Bakatest that I know and love.

    Takaii: The return of what some people call the funniest comedy of 2010, Bakatest has rightfully lived up to its name. The first few episodes may have been a little slow, but they still worked really well as catch-up episodes giving old and new viewers a chance to see what Bakatest is all about. Starting with episode four, it really feels like main bulk of the show has finally kicked into gear. Bringing back the trademark jokes and lawl moments are exactly what I’ve been waiting for — like Himeji’s dark drunk side.

    Enzo: I was a huge fan of Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu – it was #6 on my “Best of 2010” list. It was one of the most visually amazing comedies I’ve ever seen – and genuinely, consistently funny. For whatever reason, “Ni” has not made me laugh to the same degree. It’s still gorgeous – the character designs are amazing, and director and Shinbou protégé Oonuma Shin does a fantastic job using edgy visuals to support the story rather than overwhelm it, something I can’t always say about Shinbou himself. But somehow the humor seems more sadistic this season, and I’ve missed the original impetus that drove most of the comedy – Class F’s usually fruitless efforts to fight the social injustice that made them the castoffs of the school. Mind you, Voyeur still makes me laugh with every appearance and there’s been plenty of Hideyoshi, so things are still pretty good. Now that the setting has moved back to the school I’m hopeful things will pick up.

    Itsuka Tenma no Kuro Usagi
    Episodes 01 – 04
    Itsuka Tenma no Kuro Usagi   2011 07   Divine
    Itsuka Tenma no Kuro Usagi   2011 07   Takaii

    Divine: There must be something about Kagami Takaya’s writing that doesn’t adapt easily, because I’m starting to feel that Itsuten is suffering from the same problem that Denyuuden did — they’re trying to cram too much material into every episode. It’s not often that I find myself wishing a series would slow down so that it’s less ambiguous to follow. It looks like I wasn’t too far off the mark about this being the most story-filled offering of the season at least, as suggested by recent developments about Himea’s ties with Ba’alskra and Haruka’s other self. Normally I’d give a series the benefit of the doubt that everything will come together at the end, but it’s hard to when it’s ZEXCS. Despite my reservations, I’m still cautiously optimistic about this adaptation turning out better than it seems. I still prefer the manga’s female character designs, but I really like the color palette used in the anime. It has a lot of “pop”.

    Takaii: ZEXCS once again manages to make me have dirty thoughts when watching anime. With fanservice, pantsu shots, and naked bodies lying around everywhere, it’s a good thing this show doesn’t take itself too seriously. I’m not too sure why I still watch this show (oh wait, I’m covering it!) but looking at this one with a critical eye will probably just give you a headache. If you take it as it is — a show with a very strange plot and a lot of cute girls fighting over the same guy — the random situations that everyone gets thrown into become quite funny.

    Kami-sama no Memo-chou
    Episodes 01 – 04
    Kami sama no Memo chou   2011 07   Divine
    Kami sama no Memo chou   2011 07   Prooof
    Kami sama no Memo chou   2011 07   Takaii
    Kami sama no Memo chou   2011 07   Enzo

    Divine: As mentioned in the season preview, I don’t really have anything against J.C. Staff’s work and it was Kamimemo’s manga that left me on the fence about this adaptation. There really wasn’t anything in the early chapters that grabbed my attention, except for Alice for a short while. However, the appeal of her character quickly diminished when I see more of her superiority complex. In the anime, there was an immediate draw from the way it reminded me of Shigofumi, but since then the mystery aspect has dwindled. Alice just solves cases without much effort and Narumi is taken along for the ride. None of the cases have been as particularly interesting as the first one either. I do like the urban setting and how the other NEETs are surprisingly reliable though. What I’d like to see are darker cases like the first one, where they provide enough clues to keep me speculating. Without any hints, it’s just Alice whipping out answers and that’s no fun.

    Prooof: Nothing really stands out, making Kamimemo very mediocre. Most characters are uninspiring, the protagonist is annoying, interactions aren’t unique, and the plot is simple but fails to be engrossing. Things on the detective/mystery front have certainly failed my expectations too, in part because of the case of the week (or two weeks) format, and there’s not that much else going for it. As for the cast, Alice is amusing, but mostly just in the area of cute fanservice. Min and the Yondaime are cool characters, but otherwise the pacing is messed up and the writing is sub-par.

    Takaii: Even if the mystery side of things isn’t that strong right now, I’m still really enjoying this show. Don’t get me wrong; I’m just a huge fan of anything related to the mystery genre. But in spite of the fact that all the mysteries thus far haven’t been anything mind-blowing, the characters more then make up for it. Not everyone in the world is born a leader, including Narumi, and I think it feels pretty realistic how he isn’t Mr. Macho yet still quickly leaves his comfort zone to do what he thinks is right. With team NEET, I’m impressed that this series gives them a rather cool persona since I’m guessing normal people wouldn’t ever want to be considered a NEET.

    Enzo: I liked Kamimemo right out of the gate. The premiere episode looked and sounded great, with some really thoughtful and deep dialogue from Alice and a sense of style that pervaded the whole affair. I felt like it combined some of the best elements of Durarara!, Gosick, and Eden of the East while still carving out its own identity, right down to the use of “Colorado Bulldog” as the ED. Well, three weeks later and I find the show to be pretty generic and somewhat dull. Maybe J.C. Staff has found their level here, but nothing seems as sharp or interesting as it did in the premiere – and symbolically, “Colorado Bulldog” is gone too. What’s interesting is that the premiere was an anime-original episode, and the next three were taken from the LN – which makes me wonder if the source material is the weak link here. I think there’s potential in this premise and these characters (though Narumi being a doormat isn’t helping), but I don’t think this studio and staff are the ones to bring it out.

    Nekogami Yaoyorozu
    Episodes 01 – 04
    Nekogami Yaoyorozu   2011 07   Divine
    Nekogami Yaoyorozu   2011 07   Enzo

    Divine: The female cast is still the best thing that this cute-looking comedy has going for it. The lighthearted comedy works a lot better with the voices delivering it, especially when Tomatsu Haruka is flipping out as Mayu because she’s deemed useless. Part of Nekogami’s appeal is that it’s relatively easy to get into, given that there really isn’t much of a plot to begin with. Lately, we’ve had local deities reacting to new “problems” that arise when another god shows up. It’s been fairly straightforward and mildly amusing so far, plus there were some more sentimental moments from Yuzu’s past. Not exactly the type of material to move you to tears one way or another, but ample to make this series inexplicable amusing to watch. It helps that Horie Yui and Tomatsu Haruka are two of my favorite seiyuu and this is one of the few times I get to see them starring together.

    Enzo: Nekogami Yaoyorazu may have the most impressive female seiyuu cast of any series I’ve seen – it’s truly astonishing how many huge names are lined up for this show. Even more astonishing when you consider it’s not a big-money production from a platinum-class studio, but a very small and humble comedy adapted from a manga by Flipflops. This isn’t a show that will change your life but it’s still good fun to hear the likes of Tomatsu Haruka, Horie Yui, and Sanpei Yuko cutting up with this material. While the show is mostly an exercise in putting the very kawaii chibi Gods in ludicrous positions – often caused by lead character Mayu’s constant screwups – there are some very clever jokes scattered here and there and the whole exercise is good-natured and approachable.

    R-15
    Episodes 01 – 04
    R 15   2011 07   Enzo

    Enzo: I don’t have a lot of company in liking this series, but be that as it may, I do. I went into it with very low expectations and was genuinely surprised to enjoy it as much as I do. The censor bars are some of the most blatant and annoying ever, and the mostly inexperienced seiyuu cast isn’t always polished. But there’s a surprising amount of heart to R-15. The lead, Taketo, is a genuinely nice guy who just happens to be misunderstood because he’s been a successful porn writer since middle school. The really interesting part for me is how the series itself is misjudged in much the way the protagonist is – as a cheap, shallow and perverted waste of time – when in reality it’s a good-hearted and surprisingly complex story about the internal struggle between the desires for love and for lust.

    Manyuu Hikenchou
    Episodes 01 – 04
    Manyuu Hikenchou   2011 07   Divine

    Divine: With the way that the comedic aspect has picked up, Manyuu Hikenchou reminds me a lot of Hyakka Ryouran. It even sounds like it with fellow K-ON stars Kotobuki Minako and Toyosaki Aki starring. Setting it apart is the use of breasts as a central part of the story, which quickly deteriorates things even when they’re used in a comedic sense. Recent episodes have been primarily about Chifusa and Kaede’s getting caught up in various situations, rather than overturning the Manyuu clan’s cruel influence on the world. It’s not all that unexpected given the nature of this show, but it is worth noting that it doesn’t really take itself seriously when breasts are being flaunted. We basically have adult humor in an Edo period setting. Between the ludicrous premise and all the nonsensical developments, I actually find myself somewhat amused. If you’re only in it for the boobs, you’re better off waiting eight days for AT-X’s broadcast. It’s mostly uncensored. Better yet, go find some real p…

    Dantalian no Shoka
    Episodes 01 – 03
    Dantalian no Shoka   2011 07   Divine
    Dantalian no Shoka   2011 07   Prooof
    Dantalian no Shoka   2011 07   Takaii
    Dantalian no Shoka   2011 07   Enzo

    Divine: The parallels between Asura Cryin’ creator Mikumo Gakuto’s dark fantasy and GOSICK are still valid in my mind, especially when I see how childish and demanding Dalian can be. Huey doesn’t get pushed around as easily as Kazuya though, providing a noticeably different dynamic. The anime hasn’t been quite as graphic as the early parts of the manga, but the episodic progression thus far has worked well in easing me into the setting and the characters. Presentation-wise, there’s little fault to be had, which in combination with the idea that more Biblioprincesses out there, provide enough visual appeal and plot to keep me hooked. I don’t mind how cases are wrapped up within a single episode, since they’ve been progressively getting better. Dalian is still a bit of a marvel too, so there never seems to be a dull moment when she’s put into different scenarios. Sawashiro Miyuki <3.

    Prooof: Dantalian no Shoka is off to a solid start. There’s the interesting premise of mystical books, the BGM and OP is good, and the characters are smart and likeable, albeit a bit flat. The story is just meandering from one phantom book to another so it’s not particularly exciting, and the esoteric knowledge required to understand some of the dialogue makes it easy to lose track. The epic gate-opening transformation sequence is a little cheesy, and Dalian is a clichéd tsundere, but these aren’t breaking points, and I’m hoping the plot heads somewhere intriguing.

    Takaii: GIVE ME MORE ONO DAISUKE RIGHT NOW. After hearing his voice in multiple shows this season, I’ve been slowly growing fond of the characters he plays. In Huey’s case, I don’t think the casting could have been any better. His voice resonates well whether he’s fighting the beasts of a phantom book or making fun of Dalian’s sweet tooth. I don’t know if I’m weird, but I think it’s pretty cool that Huey and Dalian fight by pulling phantom books out of Dantalian’s bookshelf and reading them to their enimies. It’s almost like they get to live out the stories a book tells!

    Enzo: I’m a huge GAINAX fan, so it’s a surprise to me that I’m not more disappointed that Dantalian no Shoka doesn’t feel more like a GAINAX series. This is the most “conventional” show I can recall them doing, and it even looks much more like a BONES or A-1 effort than a GAINAX series to me. But I’m enjoying it, especially the third episode. The author of the original LN series is clearly someone who loves books, and esoteric knowledge for its own sake – and those are qualities that I appreciate. As well, I like the fact that the characters on the show are all smart and spend very little time acting stupid, and that this is a show that treats the audience like they’re smart too. Until this last episode I wasn’t sold on the characters, who seemed so remote as to project no warmth at all, but this week’s show did a lot to humanize them and make them likeable. Also features my favorite OP for a long, long time.

    Ouran High School Host Club (Drama)
    Episodes 01 – 02
    Ouran High School Host Club Drama   2011 07   Divine

    Divine: Jdramas aren’t for everyone and intentionally wacky ones based on manga/anime are even less so. With Ouran’s drama, it even took me a good portion of the premiere to get accustomed to all the actors and actresses in their roles. After that, it’s been nothing but a blast with Yamamoto Yuusuke in the lead role as Tamaki though. The second episode was absolutely hilarious at his expense, and all the key scenes had me thinking of the anime counterpart when I saw them. A lot of my amusement actually comes from those unconscious comparisons. The Hitachiin twins are a bit much with real actors, but Haruhi’s knack for bringing Tamaki down is portrayed really well by Kawaguchi Haruna. I came into this drama hoping that it would capture the essence of the original material and so far it’s done just that. Good times.

    August 3, 2011 at 11:35 pm
    77 comments »
    • August 3, 2011 at 11:41 pmsaturos13

      Just like to thank Enzo for blogging Natsume Yuujinchou San….

      • August 4, 2011 at 9:41 amMrBrownSound

        Yeah I love reading his posts on Natsume Yuujinchou.

    • August 3, 2011 at 11:47 pmGuardian Enzo

      This is a big moment for me!

      And you’re very welcome, Saturos. We may not get as many comments as some shows, but those of use who love NY know how great it is…

      • August 4, 2011 at 2:06 amlkaze

        Did you manage to reach your goal of changing people mind about their expectation of Natsume?

        • August 4, 2011 at 9:34 amGuardian Enzo

          I’m the wrong one to ask, I think, but judging by the comments I think a few people picked up the series because it showed up on RC. If so – mission accomplished.

      • August 4, 2011 at 9:43 amMrBrownSound

        I picked up Natsume Yuujin-chou because of your post, It’s my favorite anime/manga as of now. Thanks so much for covering it. I look forward to your future posts on the anime.

      • August 4, 2011 at 4:49 pmBambi

        I also picked up Natsume Yuujin-chou after seeing your enthusiasm. A friend of mine recommended it a year ago, and even though I found it promising I watched only the first episode. When I read your first post I felt “time has come”. Now it’s in my favourites. Thank you! : )
        So, mission accomplished – confirmed

      • August 4, 2011 at 5:16 pmGuardian Enzo

        Ah, this is all sweet music to my ears…

    • August 3, 2011 at 11:54 pmGuardian Enzo

      Were those images for HanaIro really the ones we chose, Divine (I know mine was) or was that a setup? They could hardly have been more perfect as a quartet!

      • August 3, 2011 at 11:58 pmProoof

        wow I just noticed that… very interesting

      • August 4, 2011 at 12:29 aminfo600

        Did you guys pick a screenshot for each of your snapshot segments?

      • August 4, 2011 at 12:38 amDivine

        That just happened coincidentally. Pretty nice how it worked out.

        info600: Yes, we take our own screenshot for every entry, hence why the image has the author’s name in it.

      • August 4, 2011 at 3:01 amShirt

        Couldn’t help but lol @ the pic next to Enzo’s input.

      • August 4, 2011 at 4:16 amKoroshiya

        Thats a pretty pro coincidence.

      • August 4, 2011 at 6:26 amMrRei

        That was nice! Made me have a second look.. :D

    • August 3, 2011 at 11:58 pmXin

      Still making my way through the post, but had to chime in that I fully agree with Takaii about the ending song being what makes me sit through Double-J every week. lol…that dang song, I catch myself subconsciously humming it all the time!

    • August 4, 2011 at 12:25 amJoojoobees

      Double-J: I pretty much agree with both Divine and Takaii. The cast is excellent, as is the ED. Unfortunately 5 minutes is too short to get into the feel. I think when you are watching a longer show, similar material could “feel” funnier, because you are already in a good mood, but here, there is maybe one amusing thing, then it is over. If I were already in a good mood from the previous amusing thing, I would probably come away thinking it was funnier. The artwork is pretty disappointing.

      HanaSaku Iroha: I agree with the Guardian here. I just can’t watch this show anymore. I had such high hopes for it, and it really let me down. It looks great, but the excellent drama I imagined never materialized.

      Steins Gate: The strongest show continuing from last season, I still am a little worried they will screw it up, but that is mostly because I want this one to be excellent from start to finish. :crosses fingers:

      Blood-C: I’m still eagerly watching this one, but it is mostly because I think it shows potential (rather than that it has proved itself).

      Penguin Drum: I’m a believer. We have another 20 episodes to go, but this one got off to one hell of a start. I’ve loved every episode so far.

      Memo-chou: I’m not totally sure about this one. I like the cast a lot. I might have a lower threshold for considering mysteries interesting, as I was entertained by all those up to the one in episode 4. I hope it gets back to the deeper (and darker) mysteries and sets aside the silly fan service.

      Dantalian no Shoka: I really have not been impressed by this show, although the ED is awesome. The stories seem pretty stupid, and I can’t take these shows seriously where tons of people die and no one really seems to care. Not to mention Dalain is completely annoying.

    • August 4, 2011 at 12:29 amewok40k

      Well, for me it is:
      Hana iro – still love the series, even with seemingly non-important topics covered – I am well aware than in rl there is large amount of tensions like those between Ohana x Tooru x Minchi that remain static due to a)inexperience b)being oblivious to other person (which is fueled again by inexperience!)
      Yuruyuri – watch it in yuri goggles, have yuri giggles! surprise comedy hit!
      Stein’s gate – possibly best sow of the season, continues to deliver unique mix of sci-fi, drama, comedy and thriller… now can somebody film Ever17? please?
      Kamisama dolls – while the main premise of the show is taking off less than spectacular, I’ve found Kuuko and her dynamic with newly encountered Aki to be pure comedic gold – even if it is black comedy – because you can’t spell slaughter without laughter!
      Blood C – while people are complaining about the show not meeting expectations, I am very happy with both Clamp chara design, sense of underlying mystery/threat in the lighthearted first half and dynamic combat in the second half of the each episode.
      Mawaru penguindrum – a very interesting show, with great visual side to match mysterious story, it is second only to steins gate in generating questions… but it fails so far with answers. still it is great show that I am feeling will surprise us yet a few times…
      Kamisama no memo – while it fails at the expected “mystery” side it has nice dynamics of characters, and surprisingly is a modern show not school centered, and concerning with people outside normal anime “early teenage competence zone” (trait shared with kamisama dolls), plus it has realistic life problems to deal with.
      Dantalian no shoka – I am a book otaku, so much that my only times skipping school involved getting into library to read some then-obscure books… (getting “Lord of the rings” was most difficult in a mid -1980s communist country…). Add to this interesting, smart characters, and nice dynamic between Huey and Dalian. It is nice to see tsundere launch barrage of verbal abuse on a cynical war veteran who just shrugs it off with “I’ve seen much worse” attitude.

      One thing I might pick up again is Ao no exorcist which I probably too easily dropped on the assumption we’re in a for a fillers galore, just when a main events started to happen. Plus Meph is one of best “mysterious minion with own agenda” chars, almost on a par with such magnificent bastards of anime history like Xellos from Slayers…

    • August 4, 2011 at 12:36 aminfo600

      Ikoku Meiro no Croisée / Usagi Drop: they’re competing for the most heartwarming series for the year and I highly doubt any other series this year will match them

      Hanasaku Iroha: I was hoping that I was not the only one seeing what the glacial pace of the overall arc is… guess I was wrong…

      (hehe, I ended up only watching 3 shows this season, with scared seven, Ao no Exorcist and Steins;Gate made me stop watching them within/after 1 episode)

      • August 4, 2011 at 2:59 amShirt

        Ikoku Meiro no Croisée / Usagi Drop

        They’re so heartwarming in fact that I stopped watching them past episode 2. I couldn’t bare the waiting period. I want it all in one or two nights because the warm and fuzzy comes in waves.

    • August 4, 2011 at 12:43 amPikachu

      I really enjoy reading these “retrospective look” posts since I could read from a different blogger’s opinion on the shows I watch. Keep up the good work guys! C(^-^D

    • August 4, 2011 at 1:49 amZaku Fan

      Currently watching
      Bleach – Its Bleach.

      Sket Dance – Good comedy show that no one watches

      Nekogami Yaoyorozu – One of those relaxing anime that no one watches. The laugh ride is not like Nichijou’s rollercoaster of straight face -> amused -> straight face -> LOL -> straight face. Most of the time its just being amused.

      Natsume Yuujin-chou San – Definitely no Key drama. There are many sad parts to its episodes so far but they are all down played rather than thrown in your face. The end feeling from each episode so far is exquisite contentment or bittersweet.

      TIGER & BUNNY – Nothing surprising on the story side but its components are so well done that it doesn’t meander, lose pace or simply run out of ideas like so many other anime.
      The Sky High episode was an excellent one especially with its ending of him waiting for the girl

      Steins;Gate – Reaching this point without crashing and burning given its excellent first half, is quite remarkable while balancing comedy and drama. The part where Makise held out her hand to a despairing Okarin and the story switching from there on, to a more relaxed manner really shows how strongly these 2 complement each other. Makise balances Okabe balances Makise

      Dantalian no Shoka – Not too interesting for eps 1 and 2. 3 picked up the pace with some depth. Dalian is maturing into a less irritating lead while Huey’s VA is very good, especially when reading the books

      Nichijou – Nakamura is an excellently stupid addition to the cast while Nano, Hakase and Sakamoto’s segments continue to still be the best parts

      Mawaru Penguindrum – Wierd, interesting, layered. Might crash and burn later but so far so good

      Morita-san wa Mukuchi – Short and slow. Nothing too special. “Honto ni Atta! Reibai Sensei” did a better job wth short running time anime

      Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu Ni! – Eps 1 was funny. Ep 2 was not. Ep 3 was good while Ep 4 was just average to below average. The main problem is the over abuse. Season 1 was way way less abusive

      Manyuu Hikenchou – The blazing white light of purity (censoring) killed this anime. The first episode wasn’t too bad, especially the village girl who wanted to kill the main character. Would have continued watching if it wasnt as white as pure snow

      Kami-sama no Memo-chou – Nothing special. They might have been better off adapting that manga about the girl who was a billionaire from stocking trading. Then at least the premise would be more interesting.

      R-15 – Some funny stuff but the ecchi humor is not for everyone. Slightly less amusing than Nekogami

      THE IDOLM@STER – Not sure if it improved but episode 1 was pretty much duuuh

      • August 4, 2011 at 4:55 amburreechu

        “Bleach – Its Bleach.”

        yea that’s why i DON’T watch it tbh

      • August 4, 2011 at 7:43 amSaangi

        Sket-Dance is an epic win. More people should watch it. Utterly random (Random Good) cases, dramatic and thrilling stand-offs, cool tricky mysteries and top it up with a good serving of comedy, it is definitely going to be a good long term series(I hope XP).

    • August 4, 2011 at 2:33 amGhostalker

      The series I am watching right now are as follows:

      Blood-C: My most highly anticipated anime for this season has so far may be a little less eventful for many other viewers but for me managed to be at top of my summer list after 4 episodes. Albeit a lot of detractors among the community, I watched this series knowing that this is a series produce b CLAMP hence I already anticipated that it might be like this that’s why I guess I’m enjoying it at a pretty high level. As for the series itself, I enjoy the character of Saya be it her singing day-form or that night fiery-eye blood-thirsty slasher form, the fighting choreography is visually impressive as the whole bloody scenes. What I am hoping for is for it to finally stop beating around the bush and start focusing to the more relevant side of storytelling, so far a lot of the mystery stems from the Elder Bairn asking Saya to “Honor the Covenant”.
      Double-J: the comedy of this mini-series works for me really well, the animation which I will admit the first time I ever experience has quite the “getting use to stage” but after 5 episode I think works. Also I found the whole manga preservation thing really amusing!
      Kamisama Dolls: After just a few minutes, this series captures my heart primarily because of the shows tendency to be violent and sometimes bloody but still able to maintain some sort of humor. Looking forward for more of this series.
      Mawaru Penguindrum: The opening episode gives me a very nice and positive feeling. So far I love the humor and the drama that is well balanced. I’m not really a big fan of the animation being very brightly colored and the transformation sequence – The Transformation sequence is nice to watch in the first and second time but after the 3rd time it is already growing old in me and I’m already wishing they animate it differently already.
      Morita-san wa Mukuchi: The other mini-series that I’m watching, so far the comedy which mostly centered from the silent Morita Mayu is likeable.
      Usagi Drop: The premise is what made me interested in trying this series and to my deligh it delivered really well. The art may be a little bit unusual for me but for what the series is trying to portray – I think it really works.

      Series that I’m interested but may or may not watch till the season is over:

      Baka To Test to Shoukanjuu Ni!: watched the first season and OVAs and enjoyed it.
      Dantalian no Shoka: I like the premise of the seemingly Gosick nature of this show.
      Kamisama no Memochou: The premise is interesting and the art design looks really good, it’s just that it’s not in my priority list.
      Natsume Yuujinchou San: I’ve watched the first two season of this series and I like it for its supernatural and lighthearted theme.
      THE iDOLM@STER: The premise looks interesting with all those highly energetic girls wanting to become big someday.
      YuruYuri: Four high school girls and comedy, looks good but not in my priority list.

      Other series I may try to look at:
      - Ikoku Meiro no Croisee
      - Mayo Chiki: I read that this is romantic comedy which I’m a big fan so may be yes.
      - Itsuka Tenma no Kuro Usagi
      - Rou-Kyuu-Bu

      Carry-over from past season:

      Steins;Gate: This series is developing really well, though the past month they focus only to the whole Mayuri thing, which at first made really good impact but as it keeps on repeating kinda lost its steam to me already, I hope this next few episode they recover pre-Mayuri thing style.

    • August 4, 2011 at 2:39 amLuxorcist

      You were right, Enzo. I was missing one of the best shows this season and last with Steins;Gate. Thanks for telling me. ^_^

      Anyways, it looks like I’ve dropped or put on hold half of the shows this season from lack of interest. And it doesn’t look like there’s a clear must-see this season like we had with Anohana last season and Madoka before that. I guess the closest would be… Usagi Drop?

      • August 4, 2011 at 3:12 amShirt

        Usagi Drop’s Original Soundtrack is so sad! T_T
        Listening automatically learns you how touching the anime will be.

      • August 4, 2011 at 9:43 amGuardian Enzo

        To me, there are 4 “must-see” shows this season (which is pretty good, actually):

        Usagi Drop – a can’t-miss premise executed with restraint and dignity. Seeing lead characters like Daikichi and Kotetsu gives me hope for anime.
        Ikoku Meiro – Just flat-out wonderful. Great soundtrack, beautiful art, and the most engaging characters of the season. And yes, Yune may be the cutest thing ever.
        Natsume Yuujinchou – because all three seasons are “must see”. This is a truly great mythos and no one should ignore it.
        Mawaru Penguin Drum – clearly the weakest of these 4, IMO, but a truly great talent on display. It’s FLCL without the focus and riveting characters, but even without those things I wouldn’t have wanted to miss out on FLCL’s coolness and mind-f*ck.

    • August 4, 2011 at 2:57 amShirt

      Dang, Enzo’s in deep now. Congrats on your first Retrospective Look. :]

      “Honto ni Atta! Reibai Sensei” is everything Double-J will never be. I got some Nichijou laughs out of that show. The best thing about it is that it’s still airing.

      Tiger & Bunny has been a really great show. I was surprised about Kotetsu’s daughter and equally disappointed with the promise he broke with her. Blue Rose’s tsundere attitude is pretty addictive and I love every second of it. Ever since I started watching the show, I’ve been buying a lot more Pepsi. lol (Damn you, blatant subliminal messages!)

      • August 4, 2011 at 8:52 amLuxorcist

        Tiger & Bunny is pretty fun to watch, especially since it provokes so much speculation :D

    • August 4, 2011 at 3:02 amlkaze

      Ro-Kyu-Bu! is good or at least required to watch before No.6

      Ikoku YUNE is the best!! THE CUTEST!! and FTW(FULLSTOP) Aoi good too

      Kamisama doll there always mentioned of Hibino’s breast every episode. Now I’m trying to keep track of it

      Stein Gate Hentai Tensai Shoujo , Mado scientis , American Virgin. Never before will I thought that nickname can be so entertaining. Wacky interaction between lab member, deep plot, and at times let you think about how will the plot continue. This can easily be the best show of the season for me.

      Usagi Drop Heart warming anime that no word could perfectly describe it. Will be the first time I wish protagonist and heroin not be romantically involved

      No.6 very addictive plot that force me to go through the shonen ai aura(but well worth it

      Idolm@ster Rie Kugimiya only work this season. Will watch!

      Blood-C Why do I keep watching it? I ask myself everyday!

      Mayo Chiki Namero!! The most memorable word in the series.

      Mawaru Penguindrum yandere stalker , manipulative vixen, 生存戦略!How can it be bad

      R-15 surprisingly good watch

      Manyuu Hikencho @Divine : No!! It is nowhere near Hyakka , don’t even compare. I mean, come on!! Breast Illusion?

      Ouran Will …. Learn …. Japanese …. to…. comment….on ….Divine….blog.(That how hard the japanese for me)

    • August 4, 2011 at 3:05 amIronicTales

      Thanks for your insights, It helped me decide whether to drop or stay with some shows airing this season
      Real nice to get other opinions because I’m finding myself to push through shows without enjoying them.

      Might be dropping Blood-C, I don’t know why I even picked it up in the first place

      *Whips out Twinkie…. HUZAHH!*

    • August 4, 2011 at 3:39 ammac65

      (At least) two series with scary creepy girls:
      Mawaru Penguindrum and Kami-sama Dolls. I feel
      like I’m in high-school again!

      Usagi Drop and Ikoku Meiro no Croisée are my top two.
      Ro-Kyu-Bu! is a favourite too.
      Nichijou got really good in the second half, esp. with
      Nano attending school. Let’s see what Biscuit has to add…
      Mayo Chiki!is amazing! …and YuruYuri.

    • August 4, 2011 at 3:50 amMR.KLAC

      hello one more you forget to mention where twin angels anime?

      besides you forgot that?

      oh well of summer i’m on twin angels, yuru yuri, r-15, mayo, & manyuu!!!

      • August 4, 2011 at 4:11 ammac65

        It’s even missing from the schedule (above).
        Yea, I watch that too, ’cause it’s simple fun!

      • August 4, 2011 at 11:19 amDivine

        Your question’s already been answered in the technical note.

        • August 4, 2011 at 11:07 pmShirt

          The schedule is intended to give a quick overview of all the shows that ‘at least one writer is watching…’

          :]

      • August 4, 2011 at 6:00 pmx

        Watched a few episodes of Kaito Tenshi Twin Angel. Dropped it because I couldn’t stand Aoi for some reason.

    • August 4, 2011 at 4:16 amKarmafan

      My favorites this season of the new series have been Ao No Exorcist, Blade, Dantalian, Blood-C, Ikoku meiro, Natsume, Nurarihyon, Ro-Kyu-Bu, Usasi-Drop, and Kami-Sama No Memo-Chou…

      Blade – has turned out to be one of the better of the marvel anime adaptions.

      Ikoku and Usai are both very enjoyable and probably my top favorites along with Natsume.

      Blood-C – has been kinda a disapointment plot wise but I still enjoy watching the series. Clamp is taking way too long setting the story up. This is only acceptable if they are planning for a multi season show but they have lost viewers with taking so long to get the show up and running. I disagree with Enzo about the “annoying side characters” comment. The twins are adorable, the teacher/scientist is interesting and I like most of the side characters. I also don’t mind Saya’s singing at all.

      Ro-kyu-Bo – has been a big surprise. I watch the 1st episode of every new series and then decide to do one of three things… keep watching, try one more, or cut it loose. I thought for sure before the season started that this show was gonna be a 1st episode and drop it show but once it started I have really enjoyed it. There is alot more to this show then it just being a loli show. In fact they have downplayed that angle pretty much (thank god).

      Nura and Natsume – both are new seasons of good shows I already enjoy. Nura has turned out to be quite violent this season and probably one of the bloodiest after Blood-C. Natsume is like a slice of life series like Ikoku and Usai only it has a Supernatural flavor to add to the story. Its nice to watch series like these sometimes that have no fan service, no real violence, and have believeable fleshed out characters.

      Overall this season is one of the strongest in recent years for me with 17 series for me to follow each week.

      • August 4, 2011 at 4:10 pmKarmafan

        Blood-C 5 was a good episode. It made some nice strides on explaining the storyline and had a pretty cool monster that Saya fought. Next week looks even better.

    • August 4, 2011 at 4:25 amNhelraios

      Thanks for this post as always. I’m really liking Enzo’s writing, its somewhat similar to Divine(hence people mistaking him for Divine in his posts lately lol).

      Kamisama dolls and Steins Gate are my best picks for this season. I just love how they’re back to back in Tuesdays. I’m also liking Natsume Yuujinchou(which I recently maratoned both prequel shows) and Yuru Yuri alot. Pretty sure the latter is because of Chitose having her fantasies for like every 5 minutes in the show lol.

    • August 4, 2011 at 5:51 ambriex

      I must admit Beelzebub has become one of the show I’m eagerly waiting the most simply because of the new ED by Tomapai. I watch the first 24 episode just for killing time. Heck, I don’t even remember most of the episode because there are too many filler episode. But now the story has started to picked up. Not to mention there will be a dose of Kunieda’s kick ass moment in the upcoming arc.
      I give the urge to everyone to try watching the ED03 since Divine already give the streaming link at Beelzebub entry above. After that maybe you will put Beelzebub into your watching list :p

    • August 4, 2011 at 6:26 amNayrael

      Of what I am watchign this Season…
      Kamisama Dolls – know many people hate it for being generic but I honestly don’t give a f*** about a show being generic or not. It is a good show with no major flaws and I like it

      Steins;Gate – while I feel its awesomeness reduced a bit in last ep’s, I still love it and I am pretty sure the most awesome stuff has yet to come. ’tis just a Calm before the Storm

      Hyougemono – where be my subs T_T

      Bunny Drop – cute, cute and cute. ’nuff said!

      Blood C- – normally, all the Slice of Life scenes would annyo me. But they don’t: I skip ‘em. And action part of the show I LIKE :D

      Bibliotheca Mystica de Dantalian – I liek this show a lot. Mystery is good for a supernatural show, the main male is actually a likable character and the female I find cute. All good things from Gosick are there while bad elements are not

      Tigger&Bunny – damn this show is awesome! Storytelling, comedy, action, durama, characters, revelations… it wins at everything and it definitely became one of my favorite shows ever

      Beelzebub – I like the Manga and the Anime ain’t that bad anymore either. The fillers are actually funny like they should have always been. Many complain about the fillers being there but I myself feel like fillers and Beelzebub fit well together

      Blue Exorcist – already going towards AO ending and it doesn’t look like this will be one of good Anime alternatives. *sigh*

      Grandson of Nurarihyon – being a huge fan of the Manga, this is a must-watch for me. Thankfully, it doesn’t disappoint… unlike first season whose Kana-loving Director thought not just that he could do better than the Mangaka, but also that Kiyo Cross Squad and Kana were more important than the big plot, character development and other stuff that everyone else would find more important >.<

    • August 4, 2011 at 6:29 amlkaze

      Manyuu Hikencho @Divine : No!! It is nowhere near Hyakka , don’t even compare. I mean, come on! Breast Illusion?

    • August 4, 2011 at 6:31 amlkaze

      Stein Gate Hentai Tensai Shoujo , Mado scientis , American Virgin. Never before will I thought that nickname can be so entertaining. Wacky interaction between lab member, deep plot, and at times let you think about how will the plot continue. This can easily be the best show of the season for me.

      • August 4, 2011 at 11:17 pmShirt

        Oh, of course! Steins;Gate has it all and I don’t think we’ll ever have such a package again until next season. Honestly, after each episode, as soon at the ED starts, it feels like a massive chunk of story sinking in. It’s like it’s its own genre!
        (btw What genre is Steins;Gate anyway? Needzsomemoar)

        Those are some snazzy shots you got there. Definitely some of the top moments so far. hahaha
        (The Food for Thought was more than a treat. Totally forgot which episode that came from.)

    • August 4, 2011 at 6:51 amKinny Riddle

      Nichijou Totally agree with Divine that it would be a mistake to drop this now. Like Divine, I too contemplated dropping this a few weeks ago, which is unprecedented as I’ve never dropped anything by Kyo-Ani before. Unlike previous Kyo-Ani works, Nichijou initially lacked the oomph for the first half of the series, though as Nano started attending school in the second half, Kyo-Ani promptly switched into full gear and cranked up the laughter significantly.

      Hanasaku Iroha Enzo, I think you’re being unfair to Okada Mari there. For Okada only penned last week’s Nako episode for the whole of July. The previous 3 episodes with Enishi and Takako were written by someone else. Just simply compare those two arcs and you can tell the difference in quality.

      You can’t blame a sub-par episode on a writer being “lazy” when she isn’t even the one writing it. :)

      Kamisama no Memo-chou Since Index II ended, I have a feeling JC Staff intends to save up most of its ammo for Shakugan no Shana III, the series’ final season coming this fall. This explains why Hidan no Aria and so far Kamisama no Memo-chou have been so disappointing.

    • August 4, 2011 at 9:48 amGuardian Enzo

      @Nayrael – If Hyouge Mono were subbed on a regular schedule, I’d certainly have written about it here and it would be a must-see. It’s truly excellent.

      @Kinny – T’is true, you can definitely tell which eps Okada-sensei writes and which she doesn’t. But she’s still the head writer for the series and responsible for overall composition, so she has to take responsibility (or credit) for whichever direction the show takes.

    • August 4, 2011 at 9:55 amDelwack

      Thanks for the retrospective look! These are in my opinion the best RC posts (along with the season previews). These posts always offer a broad range of excellent perspectives from the entire staff.

      Usagi Drop and Ikoku Meiro no Croisée The Animation – It’s rare that everyone agrees, and I must say, the Dwaa factor in these two shows make them almost must-watch for anyone who has a heart.

      It’s hard for me to talk about Tiger & Bunny without comparing it somehow to Sacred Seven. The former has been awesome, the latter disappointing, though not entirely unenjoyable.

      Ro-Kyu-Bu! – is definitely a nice sleeper, I just wish it would do away with the fanservicy pandering to the base and focus more on the characters and developing them, although they do plenty of that already. I suppose I shouldn’t complain, but I know it’ll put off people who can’t (or won’t) see past it.

      I’m waiting for Steins;Gate to finish completely before I watch it, all at once.

      R-15 – I agree with Enzo almost completely here in terms of the development and meta-irony. The censoring is so annoying in this series that I really wish they would either dial the fan service back so it’s unnecessary (I doubt they would do this, since they have to pander to the base) or find an appropriate time/place to air it. I suppose if they dialed it back it would lose that meta-irony though.

      Mayo Chiki! has been a fun ride. The drama feels so out of place I wish they would either tone it down, build it up better, or get rid of it completely. I have a hard time empathizing and just feel really weird when watching those scenes. I fail to connect and get this alienated feeling. In retrospect, I can appreciate it, but it doesn’t stop the immediate revulsion reaction from taking its toll.

      Kamisama Dolls needs more time to develop. The setup is there but nothing truly gripping has happened in the opening episodes. It looks like it’s getting there, but there is always the danger of it remaining merely ok. I feel there’s a lot of potential for developing the story along exciting lines but it hasn’t happened just yet.

      I don’t particularly find Idolm@ster or Memo-chou particularly compelling, though I continue to watch both. Not sure why.

      I really don’t know what to think of Mawaru Penguindrum I haven’t seen an ep since 2. It certainly is weird. I’m still undecided on if I want to watch this now or adapt more of a wait-and-see. Weirdness for weirdness sake doesn’t compel me.

      I’ll freely admit the after being so excited with Ao no Exorcist I read the manga, and now the original ending is going to kill me. While I may enjoy the anime original parts, I can no longer be truly objective, try as I might.

      I agree Blood-C was perhaps the biggest disappointment. I couldn’t watch after the first episode. I was hoping it would contain the elements that made me love Blood+ as it’s spirtual successor. It simply did not.

      Hansaku Iroha – I dropped this fairly early on. I couldn’t quite put my finger on why, but the retrospective post opinions actually helped me realize why I did.

      I must not be a fan of pure comedy, since Bakatest (both seasons) and Nichijou have failed to excite me.

      I’m also unsure as to what exactly turned me off for Itsuka Tenma no Kuro Usagi and Nekogami Yaoyorozu but I was.

      I’ll now be picking up a few series too. I somehow missed Dantalian no Shoka and I’ll have to continue watching No. 6 though the first episode put me off and having the main char described as the ‘dumbest ever’ doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in not getting frustrated. I’m also likely to pick up Yuriyuri.

      And since I simply don’t believe you can accomplish anything meaningful in the shorts, I’ll continue to ignore Double-J and Morita-san

      This has been a great season, and actually a great year overall so far. I wish there was so many good shows every year.

    • August 4, 2011 at 1:51 pmSuppa Tenko

      Waga tomoyo KaGAmi!

    • August 4, 2011 at 1:52 pmStereoman

      Enzo, you picked the best screenshot ever for Tiger & Bunny! :D

    • August 4, 2011 at 3:16 pmGuardian Enzo

      Don’t I know it. That moment is everything I love about Kotetsu as a character.

    • August 4, 2011 at 3:50 pmab

      why is Kaiji on-hold?

      • August 4, 2011 at 9:38 pmDivine

        See last month’s post for your answer.

    • August 4, 2011 at 4:07 pmwendeego

      The show I’ve been comparing Dantalian no Shoka to so far has been Shikabane Hime–another show produced by Gainax that was ultimately pretty conventional. Another way that Shikabane is similar is that it, just like Dantalian, had an AWESOME OP.

      Then again, Shikabane definitely had its moments, and I’ve seen enough clever stuff come out of Dantalian so far that I think Gainax might be able to get some mileage out of it, even if all their best staff members are working on Idolm@ster or something. Dantalian’s my guilty pleasure of the season, for one! It’s kind of like a Boy’s Own Adventure straight from London, with Strapping Young Gentlemen and Eldritch Creatures and Finely Made Tea; except with references to esoteric texts, which makes it twice as good!

    • August 4, 2011 at 7:30 pmRelic

      I’m pretty happy with the season since its geared I feel mostly towards slice of life and romantic comedy my favorites like yuru and mayo and all that. About the only shows I’m only not watching like 6-7 shows this season. The boobs one, dantalian, sacred 7, penguindrum, nurarahiyon, and like No.6 are all I can’t get into, the rest I pretty much look froward to each week, quite a season I’d say. I’m not looking forward to the end of Nichijou though :’( I need it! lol. I’m surprised I liked idolm@ster but its not how I thought it would be (way too girly and stupid, but instead a cool original idea of what idols life is like from business perspective, not bad in fact a favorite)and Usagi I almost didn’t watch cuz I thought the whole episode had crayon art like the opening of the show. Woulda been a HUGE mistake. nice season. lots of silly and cute happenings with some laughs inbetween.

    • August 4, 2011 at 9:37 pmmomogoldfish

      At this rate I’ll have no spaces left in my top 5 come fall season! With Madoka already being a shoo-in, competition is tough for the remaining 4 places:

      Top-tier (will be top 5 unless something happens that utterly betrays the spirit of the show)
      -Tiger & Bunny: Absolutely enjoyable first half and shifted gear into serious mode without a hitch. Also Tiger is undoubtedly the best male character of the year in an arena filled with spineless harem leads and rowdy teenagers.
      -Steins;Gate: Makes great use of the time-travel gimmick for drama and suspense. Though the Show Spoiler ▼

      plot point has been forestalled by Madoka but still remains incredibly effective.

      Second-tier (high chance of making it in but needs more ep)in order of preference.
      -Mawaru Penguin Drum (greatest potential but also greatest risk of turning into a colourful confetti of nonsense)
      -Usagi Drop (in if it can maintain its quiet slice-of-life mood without turning boring)
      -No. 6 (rather worried about the pacing, hopefully they can flesh out everything in a mere 11 ep)
      -Natsume Yuujincho San (The mood this season seems slightly off so far…maybe it’s coz of the new writer…hopefully it picks up)

      Third-tier (great titles but will be in only if the above titles self-destructs)
      -Dantalian (though I love the BGM and Ono Daisuke~)
      -Ikoku Meiro (lovely art but a bit quiet for my taste)
      -Ano Hana (again disjointed pacing…)

      Also love how they are streaming titles on Niconico english site this season. I would’ve watched Uta Prince as a guilty pleasure and for the lovely art anyway but the comments just gave me an excuse to watch each ep twice XD, but Blood-C only once because the plot is so slow that you can read the comment at the same time =_=”

    • August 4, 2011 at 10:51 pmdeafvader

      Thanks for this!
      Currently must watch for me are : Mayo Chiki, Tiger bunny, Usagi drop and HanaIro
      Rest are just time fillers to keep me occupied

    • August 4, 2011 at 11:45 pmvic

      Penguindrum episode 5 was awesome all over again! SEIZON SENRYAKU!

    • August 5, 2011 at 12:54 amoutcast

      Divine did you drop break blade?
      I understand if you did. Something potentially really good lost a lot of steam/flair nearing the end.

    • August 5, 2011 at 12:57 amoutcast

      Also what happened to blade. No short thoughts about that show?

    • August 5, 2011 at 1:57 amDivine

      outcast:

      No, I didn’t drop Break Blade. I haven’t had time to get around to it since I’ve been busy with work and this monthly post. I already gave some quick thoughts about the final movie in my post about the fifth one, having watched it back then, so I’m not in a rush to blog it.

      As for Blade, I didn’t want to check it out since I really didn’t need any more shows added to my list.

    • August 5, 2011 at 2:27 ammegalith

      Takaii:

      I hope I’m not the only one sad that this series is going to end this season!

      No you’re not. ;_;
      And the worst thing is.. It’s most likely not going to get a second season another season.

      • August 5, 2011 at 3:19 amShirt

        omg.. I didn’t realize that till just now. D’x

    • August 5, 2011 at 5:50 amaero

      Too be honest, I was expecting a little more out of the Blood C. I like the art style, but I’m hoping for a better storyline.

    • August 5, 2011 at 6:49 amamado

      im missing quite a bit. sadly school is already hard enough and hopefully my grades arent too bad that my parents will lessen my time.

    • August 5, 2011 at 6:51 amstainglass

      The closes anime I can think of with the Beelzebub ED3 animation style is amongst the like of Kure-nai or Porfy no Nagai Tabi……would Nichijou count?

    • August 5, 2011 at 9:28 amHalfDemonInuyasha

      In terms of Blood-C, just check out episode 5 now; it’s already starting to push things forward and episode 6 looks to carry it on from there. It’s pretty much CLAMP’s style from various series’ of theirs I’d seen (Rayearth, Angelic Layer, Chobits, Cardcaptor Sakura, etc); the story moving along in a slower, more subtle fashion than others. To some, it may seem like a completely repetitive thing each episode, but little by little, things begin to shift. Usually to a darker tone too that come along with pretty good plot twists.

      • August 5, 2011 at 9:40 amGhostalker

        Crazy theories are pooping in my head about the meaning of what is revealed on this episode. Anyways its a good watch. Blood x CLAMP = Blood-C :)

        • August 5, 2011 at 9:41 amGhostalker

          make that popping…

    • August 5, 2011 at 9:32 amGhostalker

      Thanks to Divine and Takaii’s wonderful recommendation of Mayo Chiki!, watching it now. I’m always a fan of romantic comedies but somehow fail to try reading feedback from their blogs, I can’t believe I almost missed this one.

    • August 5, 2011 at 1:23 pmShinmarizu

      Divine: Fully agree with Sawashiro Miyuki = <3. I cannot get enough of her voice, even more so with how cute Dalian sounds when she complains. My favourite seiyuu.
      Otherwise, very thankful that everyone's covering stuff. I'm watching way too much this season.

    • August 5, 2011 at 9:02 pmbobon721

      It’s a shame you guys decided not to blog NuraMakyo. Yeah, the disappointment that was the first season might’ve made you think the second might not be that different. I guess you thought wrong. In just 5 episodes it turned out to be the most exciting show of the season with the brilliantly executed pacing and faith to the manga, very much different from season 1. Animation quality did seem to drop with all the action that was going on, though.

      • August 5, 2011 at 10:52 pmGuardian Enzo

        I’m blogging it over at LiA actually – I agree, it’s definitely better than S1.

    • August 5, 2011 at 9:32 pmSeishun Otoko

      A very solid season and that’s on top of the some of the best which were carried over from last season. It’s interesting that some of the big names didn’t quite live up to their expectations but the outliers (MPD, Mayo Chiki, IdolM@ster, R-15) are turning out to be really fun.
      Tiger & Bunny is still on top of my list but Mawaru Penguindrum is certainly moving up the ladder very quickly.

    • August 5, 2011 at 11:11 pmGuardian

      My thoughts this month-

      Ao no Exorcist: Really coming into its own at last, with the kind of intense action I was hoping for the whole time. Rin totally tore Amaimon a new asshole, so much so I’m rather surprised he’s back.
      Blade: No love for the final Marvel Madhouse project, looks like. I’m enjoying it better than Blood-C, at least, with a faster-moving plot and some of the same bloody vampire-killing action. I’m especially glad he finally pulled out a second move, that First Moon attack was cool but getting boring.
      Bleach: At least the fillers have a lot of fighting, but I’m about ready for the Fullbring arc. I say this every week, but I’ll probably keep saying it until they just DO IT.
      Blood-C: The daytime scenes are boring and Saya’s singing is god-awful atrocious, but the night-time scenes are intense and incredibly bloody. I hope CLAMP can somehow reconcile these two parts of the whole, probably with the “covenant” that must be honored.
      Dantalian: Sometimes I like Dalian and sometimes I want to throw her out a carriage. Her “Yesu”s get me every time >_< I like the show too, it's got a very dark and supernatural theme, and I'm a bibliophile myself. :)
      Kuro Usagi: The best animation this season, absolutely gorgeous and almost every scene practically jumps out of the screen. Tons of fanservice, too.
      No 6: I like this show for the dystopic future it shows, and some of the side characters (Dogcatcher especially, and Nezumi's pretty awesome). The shonen-ai stuff is cute enough but sometimes overwhelms the plot. Teasing the two male leads getting together seems to be as much of a focus as the weird bees.
      Penguin Shit: Dropped this month, I hate this show so bloody much. Why I ever tried a show by the god-awful creator of Utena I have no idea, I should've known as much as I hated Utena I'd hate this as much or more. Bland protagonists, terrible art, and Ringo needs to die brutally. I honestly have no idea why anyone likes or watches this show. I see nothing positive about it. Well… cute penguins. Still not wasting another minute on it.
      Ro-Kyu-Bu: I hate sports anime but I love this show. It must be the lolis, they're just so adorable. Maho's my favorite so far.
      Sacred 7: I like the opening theme, and Hellbrick amuses me. Lately the fansubs have been plagued with machine-subbing trolls, which is bothersome, but eventually someone always comes along and fixes them. Pretty generic shonen but not bad for all that.
      Steins;Gate: Best anime of 2011. Bar none, no arguments.

    • August 18, 2011 at 11:42 pmewok40k

      I am posting it here because it seems Blood-C was (prematurely!) dropped from the blogging.
      Episode 6 is a WHAM! episode.
      Show Spoiler ▼