Anime Reel – Anime & Manga TV News

What are you watching? January 2011 edition

Posted on: January 24, 2011

Hi there! I’m Seiya, pinch-hitting for Dom.

Japanese TV is divided into quarterly seasons, and this January brought us a new one. Kicking off with Rio Rainbow Gate on the 4th, to the most recent Fractale on the 14th, at least 17 new anime shows have premiered so far this month.

Magical girls with guns

If you got one wish, what would you wish for?


So, what are you watching?

Through the first three weeks, not including today, here are my impressions on the new shows (in the order of the premiere date):

Rio Rainbow Gate: Pass. Uninteresting characters, uninteresting artwork, nothing for me to care about.

Kimi ni Todoke 2nd season: Couldn’t get around the artwork to watch the first season. If you liked the first, you’ll probably be watching the second.

Puella Magi Madoka Magica: The artwork is a bit funky here too, but the characterization and storytelling are drawing me in. First impression was that it could be an interesting deconstruction of the magical girl genre; after three episodes, it certainly is heading in that direction.

Infinite Stratos: Just pure fun. Slapstick, fanservice, big robot-like machines, high-budget fight scenes, and one boy in an all-girl’s school. What more could you want?

Dream Eater Merry: I’m a little torn. This is based on a light novel series, but the story seems a bit dragged out. The characters are on the bland side, and after three episodes there’s a lot of fighting but we don’t know what for. It’s on probation for me.

Wolverine: Pass. If I’m going to watch this, I’ll watch it in the “original” English.

Gosick: Interesting, but it took three episodes for the characters to flesh out even a little bit. Based on a mystery novel series. I’ll probably keep watching it.

Card Fight! Vanguard: Pass. A show designed to sell a card game.

Freezing: On the one hand, girl-on-girl action, boobies. nudity. On the other hand, the voice acting (led by a miscast Mamiko Noto) and bland storytelling. It’s on probation.

Oniichan no koto nanka zenzen suki ja nain dakara ne!: Guilty pleasure. Lots of slapstick and fanservice, odd and ill-proportioned character designs, and very little redeeming value, but still I watch and laugh. The ending theme is kinda catchy, too.

Mitsudomoe Zouryouchuu: I gave up on the first season when it became clear it was going to keep beating the same drum over and over again, and I found myself just not caring.

Beelzebub: As far as I can tell, it’s Urusei Yatsura if Ataru were a delinquent and Lum were a baby boy. Pass.

Kore ha Zombie desu ka?: I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised. Now I’m looking forward to see which veteran seiyuu gets to voice the Eucliwood in Ayumu’s delusions each week.

Dragon Crisis!: If you weren’t paying full attention, you might think this was ToraDora! all over again, what with Rie Kugimiya yelling “Ryuuji!” all the time. The story is taking a little while to unfold, but the characters are interesting enough for me to keep watching for the time being.

Level E: Too much sparkling, pass. I know people who love it; just not my thing.

Fractale: Another show where I wasn’t sure quite what to expect. I haven’t quite hit the “pleasantly surprised” mark on this yet, though. Two episodes has got me wanting more, though.

Wandering Son: I had heard good things about the storytelling of the original manga, but the atmosphere also really fits what I remember of junior high school in Japan. Be prepared for as much heartache as heartwarming on this one, though.

Not mentioned here are Starry Sky and Haiyoru! Nyaruani, which both started in December; for Starry Sky, see Level E. Nyaruani is pretty much a gag show that’s 4 1/2 minutes an episode with half of that being the ending animation.

But that’s just what I think. What do you think of this January’s new shows?


6 Responses to "What are you watching? January 2011 edition"

Here’s where Seiya and I disagree. I can expand on this in a separate post soon, hopefully:

Infinite Stratos: Not content to steal every genre cliche in a high school romance, it’s stolen most of them from Gundam too. Guilty pleasure at best, horrible tripe at worst.
Dragon Crisis!: Mildly amusing at times, but a generally uninspired addition to the already-crowded high school fantasy romance action genre.
Beelzebub: Urusei Yatsura was a Sunday property, this is Jump. Therefore, it’s Dragonball if Goku was a baby and Buruma was a demon.

That’s OK, we’re allowed to disagree. 😛 Infinite Stratos hasn’t done anything (yet) to come close to horrible tripe status. Dragon Crisis’ appeal is currently riding on the characters, who have actually shown some personality. And did Buruma zap the heck out of Goku that often?

So far, Madoka is the only “new” show I’m watching. I probably should be giving Fractale and Gosick a shot, but haven’t gotten around to it and most of the others aren’t my kind of thing. Also watching Kimi ni Todoke 2 (not technically new) and Star Driver (not technically “this season” but is currently running and awesome).

Also, Suite Precure starts in two weeks. Not that I would know anything about that. >.>

I’m currently watching Madoka (God DAMN, but this is getting interesting!), Fractale (I’m mostly intrigued; plot should start next episode), Gosick (I’ll be watching the third episode shortly, but I’m enjoying it so far), Yumekui Merry (… maybe something will happen next episode?), and Star Driver (not this season, but still running and FABULOUS).

Gosick – Kinda reminds me of Baccano! with a linear plot.

Oniichan etc. – A guilty pleasure here too.

Fractale – Miyazaki-like in a good way, as far as character design and artwork. Haven’t seen it in other media, so I am not disappointed.

Puella Magi – Moe overdose, but that’s not a bad thing…

Infinite Stratos – unoriginal, but it’s exactly what I like and the voice cast is stellar.

Gosick – different to my usual, but loving it just the same.

Fractale – Err . . . jury’s still out on this one. It’s a bit WTF so far (haven’t been able to catch episode two yet)

Yumekui Merry – also a bit confusing, but Merry is just too cute not to watch it.

Beelzebub – Meh. Doesn’t live up to the manga, which was actually pretty neat.

Level E – Yeah, I like it. It’s quirky and funny without resorting to panty shots and/or moe strategies to keep people watching. Based off an older manga, it would seem, so the style is quite retro. :p

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