Looking back on the Summer 2011 anime season
It's easy for me to write an entry on my early impressions of a season, full of blind optimism that's based on a few episodes of a show. It's much harder to look back after the fact and admit to myself (and others) where I was wrong, where what I was watching didn't work out and was a waste of time that I should have given up on earlier. Staying silent is the easy way, but I've come to feel that it's a little bit dishonest; it's tacitly leaving up things that I now know are wrong.
As a result, this time around I don't feel like tossing off another breathless early season impression post (for the fall season) without looking back and being honest for once. So here we go, a retrospective view on my views of the summer 2011 season:
Shows I finished:
- Kamisama Dolls: I really enjoyed what there was of this; I found it
well done, with interesting characters and situations. Unfortunately
it has a non-ending that may frustrate some people; it is basically a
'continued in the manga (and maybe in the second season)' thing, where
we don't get any actual answers or real resolution of anything except
the immediate situation.
(If there ever is a second season, I'll happily watch it.)
- Sacred Seven: This was never deep but I always found it entertaining;
that it was inextricably silly was part of the attraction. It achieved
what I expected of it. Some of the peripheral characters were great.
(Sadly they changed the opening at some point. I still love the opening song.)
- Dantalion no Shoka: I enjoyed it, but from early on I accepted
that it was a horror show and the real purpose
of the nominal protagonists was exposing us to the horror stories
(and being interesting people), not actually doing anything. As part
of this, I'm not bothered that it doesn't particularly have an ending.
People who want more structure and an actual ongoing plot that is
resolved should avoid it.
(Evirus calls it the anime equivalent of a collection of short stories, and I think that's a very good description of it.)
- Natsume Yuujinchou San (#9): I like this when I watch it, but I'm
unable to feel any urgency about watching it, especially since
I basically already know how the stories are going to feel. I
think I've probably burned out on feel-good stories of friendship,
even if they have supernatural elements.
- Mawaru Penguindrum (#6): That the crazy people have reasons to be crazy does not make them any less crazy or any more attractive. At the same time I do like what this show is doing; I'm just not all that enthused about watching it in practice, so I haven't watched any for a while.
I am someday going to finish Natsume, even if it takes me a year. I don't know if I'll ever watch much more of Penguindrum, and I'm probably going to wait until it finishes so I can read people's commentary on whether it was worth it in the end.
Effectively or actually abandoned:
- Mayo Chiki #2: I haven't been in the mood to watch the kind of
comedy that this show delivers. That may change someday, but I
doubt I'll do more than dabble in it. My memory is that what it
did, it did quite well; it's just that its genre didn't enthuse
me this summer.
(For various reasons my enthusiasm for anime has been at a low ebb lately. In another season I might have watched more of this.)
- Kami-sama no Memochou #4: I didn't consider it a positive development
when the protagonist got more and more involved with a Yakuza group.
I'm pretty sure that the show disagreed with me about this, and as a
result my enthusiasm waned. This may have been unfair, but see above
about my enthusiasm.
- Itsuka Tenma no Kuro Usagi #5: The incoherence overwhelmed me.
- Blood-C #7: I stuck with this far longer than I should have. Everything
I've read about further developments makes me happy that I
abandoned it; extended 'it was all just a hallucination' plots
make me grind my teeth for all sorts of reasons. See Aroduc if you want more.
(And I must say that I am shocked, shocked, that a Clamp-influenced show would have a softly spoken nice person who turned out to be powerful and evil. Who could possibly have seen that twist coming based on Clamp's earlier work?)
- Nekogami Yaoyorozu #1: as predicted, this failed to sustain my interest and I never watched another episode. Various grumpy reviews of it (from Aroduc and SDB) did not help.
That makes five shows that I started out expecting to like and watch all the way through and either stalled out on or abandoned, and only three that I watched all the way through. Maybe that's a typical ratio for people, but I've previously liked to think I had better early judgement.
(Possibly in the past I've just been more stubborn about watching mediocre shows all the way through once I started on them, and giving up on them early is a positive development. Or maybe I've given up on more shows than I vaguely remember, and I should go back and review other seasons too.)