My (somewhat) early impressions of the Fall 2011 anime season
Another season brings another set of shows that I've seen a few episodes of. Now I want to write down my impressions of them so that I can look back later and reflect on how wrong I was. This is a smaller set than I've done previously; for various reasons, I haven't had as much time and enthusiasm for watching anime lately.
Shows I've seen, more or less in the order seen:
- Maji de Watashi ni Koi Shinasai: The first two episodes were goofy
fun, but I found the third episode kind of boring. Having people talk
about their feelings is not what made me interested in this show;
as a harem show, we've seen all of this before and MajiKoi is not
doing anything particularly unusual in that department.
(By this point I don't actually care why generic female protagonists one through N are pursuing the male protagonist, so the less time any harem show spends on trying to explain it the better. Infodumps and flashbacks take valuable time away from more potentially entertaining things, like crazy fights. I think that this is one thing that Infinite Stratos got right; to the extent that it bothered to create reasons at all, it generally showed them during the show instead of having characters explain things.)
- Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon: the action scenes were well animated.
Everything else was almost completely incoherent, silly, or both.
I wish they hadn't attempted to explain any of the background; I think
it would have worked better. Unfortunately, I am feeling somewhat lost
in subsequent episodes due to the large cast that's somewhat hard to
keep straight. In fact, the more episodes I watch the less I can keep
things straight, which is busy draining the drama from all of the nice
- C3: The more I've watched of this the more interesting it gets.
The first episode was a not bad magical girlfriend story (unfortunately
with the now apparently mandatory fanservice); the next four episodes
picked it up from there and kept getting more interesting. Of course,
it's possible that things will slow down now that many of the characters
have been introduced; there is a certain tendency in anime for manic
openings that almost immediately slide into something predictably
boring, and as a harem/magical girlfriend show this could easily go
that way. I'm optimistic, though.
- Shakugan no Shana III: I feel quite ambivalent about this. It's
nice that they're making things happen, but what happened with Yuji
gave me whiplash and they still haven't explained it. But if I'm
being honest, I have to admit that I've been watching Shana for
long enough that I'm probably going to stubbornly see this through
to the end no matter how it is.
(I agree with Aroduc that this show has pacing problems. I managed to accidentally watch the third episode before the second episode and I didn't even notice. It might even have improved the experience.)
- Guilty Crown: The first few episodes are a perfectly acceptable
beginning to a perfectly ordinary action show, of a type we've seen
before (most recently in Sacred Seven). I'm willing to watch that,
especially since it seems nicely animated and they're willing to be
(The third episode ends on a surprising note, which I like.)
- Last Exile - Fam, The Silver Wing: The first episode is a nice dose
of action and interesting things (although it suggests a somewhat
predictable path for future episodes; I think that I can look forward
to another installment of 'stuck up princess gets exposed to normal
life'). Its connection to the original Last Exile seems unclear,
but it does successfully remind me of the good early episodes of
- Persona 4 The Animation: People who are familiar with the game
may get more out of this than I do, but for me this comes across
as an ordinary, acceptable action series. I don't expect anything
deep or moving, but I think I'm going to be kept reasonably
- Fate/Zero: Given that I kind of know that the story ends badly,
this is more interesting and enjoyable than I expected. It's well
done and the characters are interesting (and I'm pretty sure I'm
supposed to dislike the ones that I by and large dislike).
- UN-GO: I've seen three episodes of this and the more I see the more
I've liked; I like the characters, the interactions are interesting,
it has a decided tinge of the supernatural to help, and the mysteries
aren't cliched and aren't too obvious (at the same time you can see
the answer coming). I could still get bored of the 'mystery of the
week' formula, but so far it's looking good.
Note that UN-GO is not necessarily a show to watch if you want to see actual justice happen. The setting has a quietly totalitarian government that is a strong believer in 'realpolitik' and in the first two episodes the government covers up real crimes with a politically expedient false explanation and thus lets the actual perpetrator go. In fact the second episode implies that the nice government agent we see a lot of may have calmly had an innocent person killed to reinforce the coverup. To its credit I don't think that UN-GO considers this a good thing (and various characters are starting to push back against it), but I also don't think we're going to see this totalitarian system go down in flames over the course of the series.
(So far I am carefully not thinking too much about this aspect, but it may get to me at some point.)
- Mirai Nikki: When I watched the first episode of this, I had
managed to forget that the premise had the protagonist trapped
and forced to fight for his life. That he is a middle schooler
and has a crazy person hanging out with him does not increase
the chances that I will watch any more of this. (She is at
least an interesting crazy person, though.)
(Then I skimmed some information about later episodes, and apparently I missed the memo that this is a brutal and grim show with lots of unpleasant things happening. So, definitely no more for me and I could have saved my time here.)
Of these shows, I expect to watch C3, Fate/Zero, Shana III, Last Exile, and Guilty Crown all of the way through (more or less in that order of enjoyment), barring a show getting stupid and bad. MajiKoi I expect to watch one more episode of and then probably give up as it becomes clear that the first two episodes were exceptions, and Horizon is losing my interest fast. Persona 4 depends on if I feel I have time and interest. For UN-GO, I hope to watch it all the way through but I'm aware that I may get abruptly bored with a mystery a week.
May watch an episode of if I feel enthused at some point:
- Chihayafuru: I have in the past enjoyed sports anime, and I think that this is broadly one. On the other hand, I've got enough to watch this season as it is, so the sensible thing may be to skip this.
Have not watched for various reasons:
- Invasion! Squid Girl (aka Shinryaku! Ika Musume) second season:
This wins some sort of peculiar award as the series I most wish that
I could appreciate, but as I've already determined
it's not for me.
- Phi-Brain: Kami no Puzzle: I've decided to more or less declare a
moratorium on shows where the protagonists are forced into danger
because someone will kill them if they don't (I've previously called this the 'trapped protagonist' genre). To put
it one way, I don't really enjoy watching things where the protagonists
are basically screwed and doomed from the start.
(It helps that most everyone is reporting that Phi-Brain is pretty bad.)