A part of me didn’t want to finish this post because then I’d be quasi-officially done with the spring season and I’ll miss it; it was a great season. I really shouldn’t be sad, though, the few new summer anime that I already checked out make the summer look like another promising season and there’s a number of great series continuing as well.
4 – Dororon Enma-kun Meeramera
Filled with tenacity and manliness, Brains Base’s adaptation of Dororon Enma-kun Meeramera does things it’s own way and demands it’s viewers to accept it for what it is and not what the viewers want. In this way it’s strongly reminiscent of Gainax’s Panty and Stocking. Also like P&S, Dororon Enma-kun Meeramera frequently uses fan service not to stimulate the senses but as a means to further push the show over-the-top and in completely random directions. This helped make Dororon Enma-kun Meeramera a unique experience and set it apart from most other anime of recent memory as did the age of the original source material. The age meant everything felt a bit rougher around the edges then what is generally expected of today’s stuff. That’s not necessarily a bad thing; for instance, the characters weren’t a group of random character traits thrown together to appease as many groups of fans as possible, like so much recent anime seems to be.
The age of the source material also injected a nostalgic undertone to the show that further made the show interesting. My innards were tickled when the main character’s fire staff stopped working at one point because the AA batteries that powered it died and he couldn’t find replacements. It reminded me when I was little and how all the cool toys seemed to run on batteries and it was a constant battle to convince my parents that I needed another set of batteries.
Brains Base also earns top marks for the care and attention they gave to Dororon Enma-kun Meeramera’s production quality. The vocal work, in particular, was particularly memorable. (For fans of Norio Wakamoto (and really, who isn’t a fan (I bet communists and people who don’t rewind their movies aren’t)), he’s in a few episodes as the King of Hell – as if to be the exclamation point on the quality of vocal work.)
3 – Nichijou
A long time ago, when Yamakan was actually a rising star, Kyoto Animation had a comedy series called Lucky Star and many people, including myself, didn’t think it was all that funny at the beginning. Eventually it hit it’s stride, 8-9 episodes in, and became a pretty funny anime. Fast forward several years and KyoAni is getting around to doing another comedy series, this time called Nichijou – Everyday Life. The first episode aired and it was light years better than Lucky Star’s first episode. From there, each episode has built upon the success of the last one and by mid-season it was regularily leaving me in stitches – gasping for breath – a pile of giggling goo. Which is the long way of saying I’m thoroughly enjoying Nichijou and I expect the second half of the series to push this series into becoming my favorite comedy from KyoAni. It probably won’t even be a real contest since, with Nano now being allowed to go to school, Nano is going to get loads more screen time and I shouldn’t need to remind people that Nano=Win.
2 – Steins;Gate
Normally I wish the Japanese would stop using English punctuation marks in weird ways; but, I like the semicolon and personally use it more than I probably should so I’ll give Steins;Gate a pass on this one. Besides, Steinsgate sounds like a political scandal and that’s one area that this anime hasn’t touched upon, at least not yet. It has so far included conspiracies, mad scientists, computer hacking, murder threats, comedy, time travel, improbable science wrapped within cool sounding technobabble, shadow organizations, budding relationships, parallel world lines and one man’s quest to put right what once went wrong. In short, Steins;Gate has been an awesome ride so far; it’s even been able to use time travel without stepping on the toes of Puella Magi Madoka Magica and vice versa.
The ending could still be a big disappointment and drag down my opinion of the entire show but, for right now, it’s making a fast beeline towards becoming a classic anime. The first couple of episodes of the summer season really cement this as the show to beat this summer.
1 – Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai
The anime that needs no introductions this season. I’m not going to act cool by being a contrarian for the sake of being contrary; AnoHana is a masterpiece and deserves all the accolades it has received and will receive. It showcases the power of anime series as a storytelling format, especially when freed from trying to fit a story told in another medium into the confines of an anime series.
With AnoHana’s win, the last three anime seasons have all had an original anime as it’s top anime. The first was Panty and Stocking for the Fall 2010 season, Puella Magi Madoka Magica for the Winter 2011 season and now AnoHana for the Spring 2011 season. Will summer see this trend continue? Only time will tell.
I’d like to thank all the people who read my 5500+ word review of the Spring 2011 season; I hope you enjoyed it and maybe discovered an anime or two that you want to watch now.