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Community Discussion: Blog by Lifesong | Lifesong's Summer 2011 New Anime GuideJapanator




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Anime nerd, occasional gamer and Japanese figure collector. Recently I've been digging into visual novels, and using that as an excuse to blog. I will read and blog English language visual novels for my feature on request; hit me up on theglorioblog.com(or here on Jtor) if you have something you think I should read.

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Summer is here and despite barely having time to watch everything for myself this season I've decided to blog it again. I am going to change a few things up but this guide will follow the same basic idea from my last guide. I will watch the first two episodes of everything new as it is subbed and write up a short impression for it, as well as some basic info on what you can expect to see from each anime. As time goes on and more second episodes are released and viewed I will update this blog placing the newest one at the top.

This time around I am going to make an exception for and exclude anime shorts as there really isn't much to say about them, if anyone is curious watching one takes about as long as reading up on it anyway.

Each anime will be awarded one of three excitement levels to help differentiate them. I have always hated numeric rating systems so instead of using one myself each of these levels will have a name and a brief explanation below.

Excited
Anime that not only left a good first impression on me but also left me wanting the next episode when the credits rolled.

Enjoyed
Anime that was fun to watch but didn't particularly pull me in. The kind of anime where I feel like watching more if I have time but won't be in any particular rush to keep up with.

Hated
Anime that was either painful to watch or simply boring enough to put me to sleep.

As always any comments, criticism or questions are welcome. You can also follow me on twitter where I stalk other Japanator members and make occasional comments about the anime I am watching. At least until google+ takes over the scene.

The Mystic Archives of Dantalian
Animated by Gainax





Premise
Hugh inherits his grandfathers old mansion, along with a large collection of valuable books. Among the pile of books he finds what appears to be a young girl named Dalian who is the gatekeeper for the Archives of Dantalian a collection of demonic books and wisdom.

My Thoughts
So far I have enjoyed Dantalian a good deal but this anime does suffer from a few short comings, the largest being that the transition from light novel to anime is very obvious as we have moments of dialog that interject into the pace in an awkward fashion. The animation is low key in general as there is a lot of dialog but the music and artwork really help to bring this setting to life.

Our show starts off with Huge as a child inside the Archives of Dantalian. How he got there is not explained but the scene does a good job establishing a connection between himself and the archive before jumping ahead to the scene where Huge meets Dalian. The characters are reminiscent of Gosick on a surface level but without the school setting and all the supporting characters Gosick had. Because of that I expect that as we go along the character dynamics between Dalian and Hugh will be the paste that will make or break this anime.

My Verdict? Excited
I love the dynamics between Huge and Dalian and the atmosphere of this anime in general. It's hard to tell what direction this anime will take in that so far it has been very episodic but I can't wait to watch more and find out.

Watch If
If you like mystery and suspense.
If you can enjoy an anime largely driven by the dialog of two characters.
If you like magic and magical themes.

Don't Watch If
If you don't like Victorian settings and themes.
If you didn't like Gosick and or wished for Gosick to be more realistic. (this anime goes the other direction)
If you don't like dialog heavy anime.


Twin Torture: Lolicon Paradise
Animated by J.C. Staff





Premise
Two magical girls protect artifacts made out of fragments from the holy grail.

My Thoughts
I try to give everything I watch a fair chance but there is just nothing redeemable about this anime. The villains thrown as us so far have been criminals who smuggle lettuce, a loli thief who rides around in a mecha unit and her man servant a blond eyed blue haired man in a military suit. Along the way we have seen our main characters turn into cat girls and play with toys after breathing in some magical dust to running around naked with towels wrapped around themselves for a quarter of an episode, all the while throwing around incredibly cheesy one liners.

My Verdict? Hated
I want to scrub this from my mind not even because I feel dirty having watched it but because it so severely insulted my intelligence. Most painful first two episodes of this season by a massive margin.

Watch If
If love everything magical girl and feel a need to "catch them all".
If you love cute girls doing cute things.(Trying at least don't expect much)
If you are a lolicon.

Don't Watch If
If you are not a lolicon.
If you are looking for something intelligent.
If you are not masochistic.


R-15
Animated by AIC





Premise
Takuto is a teen who writes porn. He attends a school for "gifted" people.

My Thoughts
Looking for a so bad it's good anime to kill some time with? R-15 is ready to fulfill your desire. This anime is so over the top I don't even know where to start. There is one scene with the school idol who is feeling depressed. Takuto wanting to help her decided to recite a poem for her, a very erotic poem at that! While reciting it she strips and transforms into a naked butterfly ultimately thanking our protagonist in a way that causes him to blackout from excitement. I can't take this show seriously at all.

My Verdict? Enjoyed
Don't get me wrong this anime is pretty awful. It goes from being painful to watch when it is trying to be funny to side splitting funny while it is trying to be serious. But if you are the type who likes to watch anime that is memorable for being so bad that poking fun at it redeems it in your eyes this is one to check out.

Watch If
If you like anime that is so bad it's good.
If you like ecchi.
If you like over the top ridiculous settings and themes.

Don't Watch If
If you don't like ecchi.
If you are looking for a quality show.
If strong censorship ruins a broadcast for you.


Cat God
Animated by AIC PLUS+





Premise
Cat god Mayu has been banished from heaven for abusing her powers. She now must live on earth with a character voiced by Yui Horie.

My Thoughts
Snooze fest anime simple as that. If I could die from boredom I wouldn't be here writing this now. This anime is at best mildly cute, at worst a nightmare of inconsistency and bad story telling.

My Verdict? Hated
Having a hard time sleeping? Trying to make it though an episode of this should help.

Watch If
If you absolutely love and adore cute things.
If you want to watch the most boring thing this season.
If you can forgive an anime for being astoundingly mediocre in every way.

Don't Watch If
If you like things to happen in an interesting way in your anime.
If you have anything else you can do with your time.
If you are a looking for good animation, cute heartwarming moments or acceptable story telling.


God's Notebook
Animated by J.C.Staff





Premise
Alice is a NEET detective Narumi is her assistant together they solve mysteries.

My Thoughts
At first I thought the premise would hold this show back but after seeing it in execution it works pretty well. The animation is perhaps a bit boring at times but the mysteries and the characters are the main draw so I can be forgiving. Speaking of the mysteries they are well written and engaging something I am happy to see after Gosick dropped the ball in that regard. Alice comes across as a genuinely intelligent and thought out character, wise for her age perhaps but a genuinely brilliant type. Narumi on the other hand just comes across as naive. The dynamics between the two are not so interesting per say but the results of Narumi working for Alice has done a lot to help pull me in.

My Verdict? Excited
It is hard to make this show sound exciting, largely because the excitement comes from the intrigue and the way the character dynamics play out with some fairly dark themes. I love the vibes this show is giving off, so far this is my favorite thing out of all this new anime. If you are going to watch one new show of the season this is the one I would recommend and expect the most from. I just hope that JC Staff won't screw it up. (they have pulled out a masterpiece before)

Watch If
If you like solving mysteries.
If you like watching naive characters work their way though tough situations.
If you liked Gosick and are interested in a more modern rendition.

Don't Watch If
If you don't like mysteries.
If you need a ton of action in your anime.
If you are turned off by a large portion of dialog in your anime.


Blood C
Animated by Production I.G





Premise
Shrine Maiden Saya must destroy monsters with her special sword and powers. That is if she can keep from face-planting long enough to make it from place to place on time.

My Thoughts
Lets start off with the positives this anime has to offer. The action sequence in both of the first two episodes look fantastic. They are only a few minutes in length each but have both been exciting to watch. Which brings me to the negatives of this show EVERYTHING else. I really want to like this anime but having a laid back happy go lucky Saya with an incredibly boring village life that takes up most of the screen time just isn't working for me.

Imagine an episode of Aria with 20 minutes of the girls practicing their skills only to cut away to a 5 minute combat scene where Akari jumps out of her boat sprinting across the water at high speeds with a Katana drawn, proceeding to beat down a demon which results in massive blood spurts turning the water red in the wake of her battle. Okay so maybe that sounds awesome but it doesn't work in practice trust me.

My Verdict? Hated
The first episode I was willing to forgive because it was not what I expected. I went into episode two with my expectations lowered and found myself equally disappointed. With the exception of the short action bits this show is simply boring. I like my intense action driven anime. I also like my heartwarming slice of life anime. The two don't mix well at all. I may continue watching just to see what this anime has in store but so far I am incredibly bored.

Watch If
If you love Clamp artwork and character designs.
If you like awesome action scenes.
If despite my warning you think the idea of Akari spending some of her screen time each episode battling monsters sounds awesome to you.

Don't Watch If
If you are looking for more of Blood+. This is nothing like it.
If you don't like the acts weak with a badass switch character type.
If you can't tolerate slow paced anime.


Mayo Chiki!
Animated by Feel





Premise
Kinjirou is our main character. A boy who's mother and sister are wrestlers. Kinjirou has developed a fear of women after being used as a punching bag his entire life. In fact whenever he is touched by a woman his nose bleeds. One day at school he walks in on Subaru changing, a student he and the rest of his classmates believe to be a boy only to discover his secret, Subaru is actually a girl! A girl who is only allowed to be a butler provided she can make it though school without anyone finding out. In a whimsically sadistic fashion Kanade Sabaru's master decides to force the two to become friends and maybe more?

My Thoughts
Kinjirou is one unlucky guy who would seemingly love to be anywhere else that doesn't involve being in this anime. I can understand completely. This show conspires against him pretty hardcore. His mom and sister are psychotic so his only safe haven is school. But that ends pretty quick as he walks in on a chick who is supposed to be a dude getting changed and sees his classmates panties. Thinking his classmate must simply be a pervert he turns around to leave in his best attempt at minding his own business. Only to get chased down by said classmate and wind up saving her from a falling jarred frog. Who was to know that she had equipped her Magical Butler Suit of Unbuttoning which forced Kinjirou into mounting her mystically semi naked self and coping a feel. Of course Subaru being the understanding sort returns the favor by knocking him the hell out. Poor guy!

My Verdict? Hated
As much as my sympathy goes out to Kinjirou for being suckered into the most unlucky position in anime this season that won't be enough to keep me watching. Bits of this show are funny, one reference to Fate/Stay Night had me rolling. That said most of the laughs come at the cost of my intelligence. I simply don't want to watch any more of this. Unless I hear something about the later episodes to change my mind I doubt I will.

Watch If
If you like violent retribution for accidental infringement.
If you like ecchi.
If you like cross dressing butlers.

Don't Watch If
If you don't like ecchi.
If you don't like cross dressing butlers and or sadistic masters.
If you are looking for something intelligent.


A Dark Rabbit has Seven Lives
Animated by Zexcs





Premise
Sudden girlfriend appearance. The twist being that the girl in question is some kind of elder vampire who cast a spell on our main character as a child allowing him to die up to 6 times every 15 minutes and regenerate afterwards and be just fine.

My Thoughts
I really enjoyed the first two episodes. I didn't have any expectations for this going in but for what it is I found it to be a good watch. Not the most original concept but there is only so much you can do within the first few episodes of a sudden girl friend appearance that hasn't already been done.

Two episodes in the story is only just beginning so it is hard to say if this will be something of value in the long run or not, episode 3 should be telling. So far the execution is what I have enjoyed and what made up for the lack of originality. I can only hope this show will have a worthwhile plot to back it all up.

My Verdict? Excited
This introduction had the right balance of cute girls and magical combat to catch my eye and get my hopes up. I am looking forward to watching more.

Watch If
If you like magical circles and the magical combat that comes from it.
If you like sudden girlfriend appearance anime.
If you like vampires.

Don't Watch If
If you don't like sudden girlfriend appearance anime.
If you don't like ecchi.
If you don't like vampires and the tropes they bring.


Kamisama Dolls
Animated by Brains Base





Premise
Our main character is Kyouhei a college student who has left his village and dark past behind him, or so he would have liked to believe. His village communicates with and manipulates gods to help them with their daily lives. After some antics ensue that destroys his living place he is taken in by a man on orders from the village and begins living there with the man his own sister Otau and the mans daughter a girl about his own age Hibino.

My Thoughts
Easily one of my favorites this season. The premise has a good amount of intrigue and the cast all come across as easily likeable characters. Add in Brains Base signature animation quality and I think we have a winner. Also Miyuki Sawashiro is one of the supporting characters introduced in episode 2 which is always a plus in my book.

My Verdict? Excited
Loved it, I don't really have anything negative to say. Can't wait for the next episode.

Watch If
If you like a good mix of action and intrigue.
If you like high quality animation
If you are looking for a more mature setting in your anime.(sure they are still in school but at least university life is is a step beyond high school.)

Don't Watch If
If you are turned off by bullet breasts.(Hibino looks like she would fit right in with the cast of HotD)
I you don't like robots and robot combat.(that is what these "gods" essentially are in practice.)
If you really hate the guy forced to live with girl scenario and the tropes that are sure to come with it.


The iDOLM@STER
Animated by A-1 Pictures





Premise
A new producer takes over an Idol production studio, and helps guide the girls in their idol careers.

My Thoughts
Episode one introduces us to the cast from the first person view of a camera man. He remains completely silent while subtitles tell us what he is thinking and saying. I thought it was an interesting way to introduce the idol cast in a pick your favorite type way but I am glad the show ditched that angle by the second episode.

Something that strikes me as funny about this anime and the premise in general is the target audience. The idea initially seem to be something that one of my sisters would have loved a few years back when they were watching things like America's next top model. Perhaps because of that I found myself looking for realism in the way the idols were managed and the advice they were given. I quickly came to the conclusion that show is very much about idealism and not the soul crushing dramatic melodrama of becoming a model on a reality TV show.

My Verdict? Excited
Bring on the idealistic management of 12(13?) girls who work toward becoming popular idols! Since the show is obviously asking us to pick favorites mine is Chihaya Kisaragi. On a side note it has been a very long time since I have felt guilty about something I am watching. Something I am actually experiencing a little over giving this my seal of approval. But you know what? Screw you guilt! I am going to watch this despite you.

Watch If
If you like idols or simply like cute anime girls in general.
If you like idealistic views on management.
If you can swallow your shame and watch a show about girls and their rise to fame.

Don't Watch If
If you need some good old fashioned testosterone in your anime.
If you are looking for a realistic take on idols and their rise to fame.
If you are looking for something to watch with other people.(unless you have incredibly nerdy friends in which case go ahead and ignore this.)


No. 6
Animated by Bones





Premise
Our first two episodes follow a boy who starts off as one of the elite, only to be striped of his rights after aiding a fugitive.

My Thoughts
Gorgeous animation! Bones knocked this one out of the park! This show is one to watch if only for visuals. There is also a strong sense of intrigue that helps to add some flavor as our main character goes about discovering the reality of the dystopia he has been living in.

My Verdict? Excited
Despite some awkward yaoi vibes I really liked the first few episodes. This show is one to watch this season.

Watch If
If you like awesome animation.
If you like science fiction.
If you like futuristic societies.

Don't Watch If
If you are turned off by yaoi undertones.
If you don't like science fiction.
If you don't like dystopian settings.


Penguin Drum
Animated by Brains Base





Premise
Magical Zombie Penguin Girl Initiate survival strategy! In all seriousness girl dies is later resurrected by a penguin hat and her brothers are told to find the penguin drum or she will die again.(seriously)

My Thoughts
Uh what? I really don't know what is going on with this anime but then that is most of the charm it has shown us so far. While it is true that stellar animation and high expectations are carrying this show, I can't help but give in an allow myself to expect good things from it. I highly recommend this to anyone who hasn't give it a shot yet.

My Verdict? Excited
Not easy to write about or make sense of but good, Watch it!

Watch If
If you like awesome animation.
If you like Brains Base.
If you are cool with a plot that does not make a lick of sense.

Don't Watch If
If you want to make sense of your anime.
If you passionately hate penguins.
If slightly incestuous vibes turn you off.


Usagi Drop
Animated by Production I.G





Premise
A man adopts a young girl after his grandfather dies leaving her alone.

My Thoughts
I have enjoyed the first few episodes. This anime has a very slow slice of life feel about it that I can appreciate. That said I feel it may be a bit too slow and it did leave me somewhat bored at times.

My Verdict? Enjoyed
I enjoyed this show but could just as easily drop it and forget about it as I could keep up.

Watch If
If you want to see a 30 year old single man raise a child.
If you like heartwarming slice of life or drama that resembles slice of life.
If you are looking for something a bit more mature then what you might expect from your average anime.

Don't Watch If
If you don't like slow paced anime.
If you could care less about a single parent raising a child.
If you are hoping for this to fulfill your desire for a Yotsuba Anime. (I am just going to assume that everyone here has this desire.)


Uta No Prince-sama
Animated by A-1 Pictures





Premise
Girl goes to music school to become a composer, gains male harem.

My Thoughts
I am not the target audience for this and I know that. That said as someone outside the target audience I found it to be incredibly bland. I feel as though I have seen everything this show has to offer before and really don't even watch reverse harem in general.

The number one thing I find myself looking for in harem reverse or otherwise is humor. Sometimes a harem will have more then that or even define itself more strongly with something else. However I expect at least that much from a harem and Uta No Prince-sama fell flat in my opinion.

My Verdict? Hated
Not painful to watch but sinfully boring.

Watch If
If you love reverse harem.
If you like watching cute boys do cute things.
If you love music and musical themes.

Don't Watch If
If you don't like reverse harem.
If you don't like cute boys who do cute things.
If you are outside the target audience.


Yuru Yuri
Animated by Dogakobo





Premise
Cute girls do cute and often funny things at school with yuri overtones.

My Thoughts
For the first few minute of this anime I thought I was watching another A-Channel. By the end of the first episode I found that this show had a great sense of humor and that it is very self aware, wasting no time in making fun of its own characters and stereotypes. Hardly a must watch for this season but something I personally have very much enjoyed. For anyone looking for a place to get your next cute girls do cute things in a cute way fix this is it.

Of note something I think is worth pointing out. This show is far less ecchi then I was expecting. Plenty of hinting at ecchi things and no lack of yuri overtones but very little in the way of actually showing skin. So far I don't think we have seen a single panty shot!(I won't guarantee this though as I have to admit I am close to immune to such things at this point)

My Verdict? Excited
I loved this shows self aware sense of humor. One of the funniest additions of the new season in my opinion.

Watch If
If you like to see cute girls doing cute things.
If you like school comedy.
If you like blatantly yuri overtones.

Don't Watch If
If you don't like yuri overtones.
If you are tired of watching cute girls do cute things in a cute way.
If you don't like the sexual deviant character type.


Ikoku Meiro no Croisée
Animated by Satelight





Premise
Yune is a 13 year old Japanese girl from the 1800s who travels to France to live with a metal worker named Claude. Culture shock portrayed in a very laid back slice of life fashion dominates the first two episodes.

My Thoughts
Crazy language antics hold this show back. There is a narrator who sounds French enough to me but Claude can't seem to differentiate French from English when he teaches words to Yune. Language antics aside though I very much enjoyed the first two episodes. I would compare this to Aria for anyone who has watched it. IkokuMeiro's best comes out as a heartwarming slice of life that moves at it's own slow pace. Pretty visuals dominate the screen and Yune is a very cute easy to like character.

My Verdict? Excited
I don't know if this show will live up to the Aria vibes it has given off in the first two episodes but it has earned my attention. This might be something that many will find boring but for myself and those who like this type of anime I expect it will be a real treat to watch.

Watch If
If you like slow paced slice of life anime.
If you are interested in 19th century France.
If you liked Aria or Tamayura.

Don't Watch If
If you can't tolerate distracting language issues.
If you find slow paced slice of life anime boring.
If you could care less for France and metal working.


Blade
Animated by Madhouse





Premise
Blade is a Daywalker, his mother was bit by a vampire before he was born. She died because of the bite and Blade is seeking revenge from the vampire who killed her, Deacon Frost.

My Thoughts
I honestly know very little about Blade and perhaps because of that found this rendition to be an acceptable take on the character. Of the 4 Marvel Anime's Madhouse has made this one strikes me as being their strongest entry. However I still feel like it is considerably lacking in a few ways. The majority of the action isn't very exciting and the animation feels stiff in the same way the rest of the Marvel anime has. But I can't call this an abomination in the same sense that Iron Man was either.

My Verdict? Enjoyed
This is a watchable show. Not the highest quality stuff around but I managed to enjoy the first two episodes despite some major flaws. I don't expect to watch any more of it myself but I would recommend any Marvel and or Blade fans out there to give it a shot. It might surprise you.

Watch If
If you like Marvel.
If you like vampire hunters.
If you don't need high quality animation to enjoy your action.

Don't Watch If
If you don't like Marvel or vampire hunters.
If are looking for high quality animation.
If you still haven't forgiven Madhouse for their last 3 attempts. (better and watchable doesn't necessarily mean good.)


Ro-Kyu-Bu!
Animated by Studio Blanc





Premise
Subaru is high school basketball wiz who's club activities have been suspended after some circumstance involving the coaches eleven year old daughter. He is asked to become the coach for a team of elementary age schoolgirls. At first he is reluctant however after seeing great potential in one of the girls he decides to do everything he can to help them.

My Thoughts
The first episode can only be described as awful, garbage even. The cast is introduced as being a team full of girls who with one exception know little to nothing about basketball. One of the girls who is taller then the rest is told to guard the net because of her natural advantage and breaks down crying only to be revealed as having developmental issues afterwards. And let us not forget the shower scene. Personally I believe that there is a clear line between characters and real people and am not bothered by such a thing to any strong degree but that said it's not what I want to take out this show either.

Episode 2 pulled a 360 on me and focused in on Tomoka and some drama from her past playing basketball with her old school. Proving that this show has a little more going for it then I initially experienced. I am not sure that it was enough to save this from the monstrosity that was episode 1 but I am glad that I watched the second episode as I did enjoy it.

My Verdict? Enjoyed
The anime was lacking and the art style feels inconsistent but the focus added in the second episode pulled it far above it's debut and made it into something that I might be able to enjoy on a weekly basis if the lolicon ecchi is not piled on too thickly.

Watch If
If you like basketball.
If you enjoy or can at least tolerate obvious lolicon material.
If you like rooting for the underdog.

Don't Watch If
If you don't like or can't tolerate lolicon and or the sexual deviant character types.
If you don't like sports.
If you don't like stupid characters.(one is even said to be developmentally challenged.)


Sacred Seven
Animated by Sunrise





Premise
Stones have fallen from space and granted powers to the people who have found them. Aruma our protagonist has lost his stone and his power can only go berserk and harm people. Ruri is an incredibly wealthy girl who has a stone of her own which she uses to save Aruma and bring his power under control in order to recruit him in her fight against the Darkstones.

My Thoughts
The main character is a bit boring, but Ruri and the side cast prove to be interesting enough to make up for it. The real draw here is the action. The action sequences look great and are wonderfully animated. I can't say much for the plot but it serves it's purpose and keeps the action coming at us. Something that might grow old but for now is good enough to carry this show.

My Verdict? Enjoyed
While I am not personally the biggest fan of this genre I love to watch good animation, something Sunrise has done a good job with in these first few episodes. I see myself continuing to watch this for now. At least until the magic of how good it all looks wears off.

Watch If
If you like Power Rangers or similar things.
If you like high quality action sequences.
If you like to watch air surfing Eureka Seven style.

Don't Watch If
If you don't like action oriented shows where the action has more personality then the main character could ever hope to achieve.
If you don't like Power Ranger like plot lines and the tropes that come with them.
If you don't like mecha. (the mecha take a backseat role so far but they do exist.)
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