Brief Impressions – Summer Anime 2011

(These are just 5 of the new shows. Others might be commented upon as we get to it, or deemed uninteresting or suffer from such quality issues it’s unlikely they will be have time wasted on them. Mileage varies etc)

Dystopian future kids huff drugs with the best of them

This is what happens when you don’t pay attention in class

No 6

I’m going into this show with no preconceptions or foreknowledge, so I was kind of surprised by the yaoi-ish content level. In any case this show is one of those “your world/universe is not as it seems” sci-fi thrillers, and it seems not to be revealing all its premise cards yet, so I have to reserve judgement until things develop further. However two seasons ago I also said the same about Fractale, which ultimately was a disappointment, so hopefully this isn’t an omen. No 6… of the Prisoner will be familiar with what that means, so it remains to be seen whether this is a deliberate homage/reference or if it’s a coincidence.

Saya says nahahya
Yes, this is the fall line of lens we have here


What a weird Frankenstein’s monster of a show this is. In many ways it seems to be a middling school drama stitched to some violent fights typical of the Blood franchise using a loose episodic framework. The discordance between the halves is made even more stark by some odd usage of “dead air” moments, especially when Saya is alone and “in transition” between the two stages, so to speak. I have no idea how this show will pan out, or if they will gradually mesh the two halves of the show as the plot progresses. It’s a storytelling gimmick that might deliver if done well. Then again, they can also just ramp up the oddness and go for atmosphere. About the only definitive thing we can conclude is that the show loves its XXXHolic-ish character designs. The fight in this opening episode is decent, but nothing special in terms of animation. Considering the core of any Blood show is still the visceral fighting, more needs to be done to raise this show above average.

This is not the Lady Gaga concert
Just wait till you see my transformable ride


Mawaru Penguin Drum

It’s Utena’s director back with Utena-esque antics. Needless to say, first impressions are almost worthless, but fans of Utena can be assured that it’ll be chock full of visual oddities and motifs. Still infinitely more entertaining than Mr Hopper’s Penguins.

character traits


Yuru Yuri

This show is definitely a mile up from K-On in terms of comedic quality in the “slackers in a club with an activity that is only tangentially related to what we see on screen most of the time” department. At least it tries to mix things up, whereas K-On’s Plan A, B and C for viewers was moe, more moe and “did I mention moeisms?” Still, the first half is liberally dosed with a ton of the standard cliches and behaviour we expect from such shows, but the 2nd more than made up for it with a huge dollop of meta-humour. There also doesn’t seem to be any Y chromosomes in sight, as befits the title.

Rin's run into the future


Usagi Drop

My pick of the lot, definitely. It’s a straight Noitamina drama with a lot of small naunces, that’s really all that’s needed to right the ship after the mess C made the previous season. You get the kind of family situation that, while left field, has happened again and again since time immemorial. Our protaganist is saddled with a tot, which makes this another entry in Japan’s ever popular “adult/high school kid taking care of much younger children” sub-genre. Put it simply, this is a non 4-koma version of Yotsuba that’s generally serious in tone. I have high hopes for the show, assuming it can avoid the lolita fetish minefield that seems to inflict a lot of shows in Japan that follow the same basic plotline.

EDIT: It has come to my attention that the show is josei. Heh, that scratches that last issue.

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