Winter 2011 Anime Season Final Impressions

Late post is late. Anyways, due to things keeping me busy in real life, I fell behind in my winter season anime. It took me a while, but I eventually finished all the titles I set out to. Ah well, better late than never. Here are some of my thoughts as the Winter 2011 season comes to a close.

Highlights:

Puella Magi Madoka Magica

  • One Word: Entropy
  • Favorite Character: Homura
  • Favorite Episode: 10

Definitely the highlight of the season. Mixed classical magical girl archetypes with grim dark premise. A great show that started average, but ended spectacularly. One of SHAFT’s best shows since Arakawa Under the Bridge and may very well be a contender for best of the year. Will it survive the test of time?

Star Driver

  • One Word: APPRIVOISE
  • Favorite Character: Takuto Tsunashi
  • Favorite Episode: 25

Superbly animated by BONES, a studio with a decent pedigree for mecha as RahXephon and Eureka Seven can attest. Decently written story and decent pacing, though not without its flaws. Build-up and exposition, albeit slow at times, was very well done leading up to its thrilling finale.

Wandering Son

  • One Word: Tien
  • Favorite Character: Shu Nitorin
  • Favorite Episode: undecided

The better of the two noitaminA shows, the one that strove for less and accomplished more in the process. Style of art made the show stand out from among its contemporaries. Was relatively stable in quality whereas Fractale failed in its execution half way through.

Mazinkaiser SKL

  • One Word: Badass
  • Favorite Character: Devilman bros
  • Favorite Episode: 3

Need a cure from the fabulous induced by Star Driver? Well sit your ass down and watch some Mazinkaiser SKL. A throwback series which accomplished exactly what it said out to do. Featured classic Go Nagai character designs and equally classic disregard for plot. Made up for its lack of story with classic giant robot destruction rivaling that of Gurren Lagann.

.hack//Quantum

  • One Word: Onyxia
  • Favorite Character: none
  • Favorite Episode: 1

A downhill cycle from the beginning. Decent animation, strong first episode, great premise, but lackluster ending. Unlike Mazinkaiser SKL which could afford to have empty vessels as characters, .hack//Quantum required strong characters for the show to work. It is still a decent admission to the .hack franchise however, and worth the 1 hour or so.

Level E

  • One Word: Trollingwood
  • Favorite Character: Prince Baka
  • Favorite Episode: 3

Consistently funny, great entertainment, a pleasant surprise. Level E was a show that was consistently above average, not great, but not terrible. One of Studio Pierrot’s better shows in recent years.

Kimi ni Todoke II

  • One Word: Bubbles
  • Favorite Character: Kazehaya
  • Favorite Episode: undecided

Continues where the first season left off. One of Production I.G.’s recent hits which has a lot of fandom divided. Lots of bubbles and cuts to super deformed mode. Nevertheless, a decent title for the shoujo demographic.

Fractale

  • One Word: Yamakan
  • Favorite Character: none
  • Favorite Episode: 2

Yukata Yamamoto’s crusade against moe, while a valiant effort, ultimately ended in his admittance of defeat. Fractale is fragmented and failed to live up to expectations, despite featuring an interesting premise. Fractale aims big, but comes up short. This is not to say it is a terrible show, it is still worth checking out, just not the greatest.

Guilty Pleasures:

  • IS: Infinite Stratos – This show is actually two shows. A standard harem show, and an action/mecha oriented show. Rather enjoyable in small doses, but utter failure when combined. If it had stuck to one and only one, it would’ve saved me from so many headaches.
  • Kore wa Zombie Desu Ka? – Tried to be more than the average harem show by having plot. Didn’t work. And what exactly is so appealing about a man transforming into a magical girl. Obviously, I missed the memo where we’re all supposed to think this is funny.

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11 Responses to Winter 2011 Anime Season Final Impressions

  1. gaguri says:

    I’ve only watched Madoka, really enjoyed it. I wouldn’t put any of the girls as my favourite characters, but they were still developed very well. Was looking forward to Fractale but after reading all those disappointing impressions I couldn’t be bothered to follow it.

    Anyway this is a really nice blog, so keep it up!

    • Tronulax says:

      Hey thanks! My problem with Fractale was I sort of envisioned a Mamoru Oshii esque Ghost in the Shell re-imagining. Fractale’s direction was the complete opposite. Angsty characters instead of emotionless ones and a setting left largely unexplored. It had potential, but the 11 episode limit restricted it from getting anywhere.

  2. Pingback: Japanese Anime Stories » Blog Archive » Winter 2011 Final Impressions | Anime New Modality

  3. Woming says:

    Haha, you seem to have gotten your male characters and female characters mixed up there.

  4. rikuhe6 says:

    I agree that Fractale was a disappointment. It’s funny that Yamakan is essentially speaking out against his roots, because without the likes of Haruhi and Lucky Star, he wouldn’t be known at all.

  5. Cyborg99 says:

    Agree with all of your highlights, EXCEPT .hack//Quantum. The thing made very little sense however you look at it. I get Mazinkaiser SKL, its basically an hour or so of robots fighting each other in the hopes of selling toys. But what was the point of .hack? First episode was pretty good but just went downhill from there.

  6. walllum says:

    I loved Fractale!

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