Looking back at the Fall 2010 anime season

December 29, 2010

Since I wrote about my first reactions, I feel like writing a retrospective of the season. I wound up regularly watching five fall shows this season, and this time around this list is definitely in order:

  • Star Driver: if pressed, I would have to summarize this as an Utena-oid magical girls show except with giant robots and boys (mostly). It's the clear standout of the season for me, partly because it is so novel and unusual instead of being yet another retread. I like seeing anime try something new, especially when they can carry it off and be interesting. I have no idea where it's going to go, but the journey so far has been very enjoyable (over the top crazyness and all).

    Like all magical girls shows, it is only nominally about giant robots beating each other up; it's really about all of the people involved on all sides of the action and what drives them to do what they do. The giant robot fights sure are scenic, though, and I would much rather have the giant robot activation sequence than your typical henshin deck.

    (It is not as good as Utena, but then few things are.)

  • Panty & Stocking: as I suspected, this did wind up changing its approach; it moved from crazy monsters to parodying movies and cliched settings, and eventually made somewhat sarcastic gestures at having a plot in order to have an appropriate feeling ending. (The ending didn't make sense, but then if you're looking for solid logic you're really watching the wrong show.)

    I am not sure if this is good but I found it interesting, if only to watch GAINAX play around with all sorts of themese and techniques for various segments. If you have less interest in wild experiments, this is probably not the anime for you. (I do think that the wild experiments were reasonably successful, but other people may well have less patience with them. Or with the characters, who are not all that attractive if you take them seriously.)

  • Otome Youkai Zakuro: in the end, this was a competent and entertaining tour through its expected cliches, but it never rose above its mere competence. It was an enjoyable way to pass the time, but I agree with Aroduc; no one is going to really remember this in six months.

  • A Certain Magical Index II: this remains just like the first season. At this point it is very much an acquired taste, and yes, people still talk too much and are various kinds of idiots or too clever or both.

  • Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girls: as I expected, I did not get the 'less fanservice' that I was hoping for. This never rose to whatever initial potential I saw in the first episode but remained watchable if you didn't take it too seriously; however, it was definitely a second-rate show.

    (As an aside, the only way I can reconcile the Princess Sen of the first episode with the Princess Sen of later episodes is to assume that the Hanzo/Sen scenes in the first episode were not reality but instead Hanzo's fevered dreams of what she would like them to be.)

I also saw all of Seitokai Yakuindomo, which is not a fall season show; if I included it in this list, it would earn second place behind Star Driver.

Also seen that I feel like noting:

  • The World God Only Knows: already discussed, dropped at the third episode.

  • I watched an episode of Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru after all, due to an enthusiastic review from Dave Baranyi on rec.arts.anime.misc, but it failed to really grab me. I have the second episode and sort of want to watch it sometime, but.

    (I find Dave Baranyi's opinions at least worth paying attention to and checking out, even if I don't always agree with them. For example, he recommended Cross Game, which turned out to be the best anime of Spring 2009 and which I completely passed on initially.)

  • I am theoretically watching Hakuouki Shinsengumi Kitan's second season, but since this is going very slowly it clearly doesn't rank very high.

(It doesn't rank so low that I consider HSK abandoned. It's not bad, it's just not very compelling.)

Written on 29 December 2010.
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Last modified: Wed Dec 29 13:08:08 2010
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