Thursday, January 13, 2011

Comments on new Winter, 2011, TV anime season

For those of you who are just casual anime fans, here's some commentary on the current state of TV anime, and on the shows running in Tokyo right now.

First, TV anime can be divided into 5 broad categories:
Long-running current series
On-going new series
Long-running re-runs
New series, short
Re-runs, short

The long-running series are those like Naruto, Meitantei Conan, Doraemon and Sazae-san. These are shows where new episodes air each week, but there's little chance of the show ending any time soon. Many of these shows have filler episodes that run in arcs lasting a few weeks to several months (as is the case with Bleach). Filler episodes tend to be really bad compared to the episodes based on the original manga. In general, long-running series often feel like they've lost their edge because there's no clear end-point to the storylines, and in the middle the animation quality goes down, as has happened in the more recent episodes of Conan. Other shows in this grouping include Fairy Tail, Crayon Shin-chan, Chibi Maruko-chan, One Piece, Reborn and SD Gundam.

On-going new series, unlike the long-running shows, have a clear ending. In the past, it was common for a series to run 100+ episodes, with 26 episodes marking a weaker title. In the last couple of years, 13-episode shows have come to dominate the air, while a series making it to 26 episodes is more rare. In this category, we have shows that are just starting their second season, including Shakugan no Shauna, Kimi ni Todoke, Mitsudomoe, Index II and Durarara. On-going series generally still have good-quality animation, and there's an obvious goal to the storyline.

In contrast to the other categories, long-running re-runs can usually be said to consist of shows from the 1980's or 90's, with more than 26 episodes total, that air 2 or more times a week. Gaeru, Inuyasha, Dragon Ball, Gundam 00, Star of the Giants, Urusei Yatsura and Touch fall into this grouping. While newer shows like Bleach, Gintama and Naruto also air older re-runs once a week, the bulk of the re-runs are near-daily, and are marked by having comparatively lower-quality production values. Additionally, many of these shows have already been translated commercially for the overseas markets.

Re-runs, short are kind of an oddball grouping. Most of the series here are only 13 episodes long, and may have aired as recently as last summer, but are back on the air with one episode a week. From the outside, it may look like these are brand new shows, with high-quality production values, and fresh story lines, but in fact you can get the entire set of episode summaries off Wikipedia as of right now, and for most you can find the full series at fan subber sites. These shows include Strike Witches 2, Milky Holmes, Occult Academy, Soul Eater and Valkyria Chronicles. Re-runs, short, makes up maybe half of the shows starting out at epsiode 1 this season.

Finally, we have new series, short. Unfortunately, this seems to be one of the smallest categories of the batch, with new episodes starting at #1 airing weekly from the beginning of January. Because these are completely new shows, there's no way of knowing where the storyline is going to go at the outset, and the animation quality will be unpredictable. There may also be little to no information on a given show on the net in English, and no English wiki page, so if you're unfamiliar with the source material, the TV series itself may be confusing at the beginning. Shows in this grouping include Dream Eater Merry, Beelzebub, Is this a Zombie?, Freezing, Rio Rainbow Gate and Level E.

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It's too early to say that I really like certain shows, because there may only be one or possibly 2 episodes out so far.

Of the shows that I'm actively recording, I like:
Soul Eater (re-runs)
Only the World God Knows (re-runs)
Occult Academy (re-runs)

I haven't decided on:
Level E
Infinite Stratos
Yume-kui Merry
Gosick
Durarara
Valkyria Chronicles
Dragon Crisis
Is this a Zombie? (AKA: Kore wa zombie desu ka?)

I'm watching, but don't really care for:
Shakugan no Shauna
Strike Witches 2
Toaru Majutsu no Index II
Meitantei Conan
Tegami Batchi Reverse

I'm waiting to see the first episodes (which haven't started yet) of:
Fractale
Hourou Musuko

I've stopped watching:
Rio Rainbow Gate
Freezing
Aquarion
Jidou Sports

Anything not mentioned here I'm not actively watching right now.

1 comment:

Bunny said...

A quick look at your list:

The world god only knows - too much galget games does this to you.

Occult Academy - I enjoyed this show, quite fun.


Level E, based on a comic about 15 years ago. Somewhat comical SF. Probably the only watchable show.

Infinite Stratos - harem anime.

Yume-kui - at least its not "O-Pants Anime" Not sure what to make of it yet.

Gosick - weird girl + spineless boy where have we seen this formula?

Dragon Crisis - "O-Pants Anime" might have a plot, probably not.
Is this a zombie - I think its supposed to be harem comedy.

SW2 - "O-Pants Anime" Well, Hayashi called it that. Popular, had a bunnygirl and lots of fan service.

Index 2 - Personally, I preferred railgun, but anything with Misaka in is good ^^;

Conan - The kids love it. You're well outside the target audience of Shogakusei.

Fractale was last night, not watched it yet. Noitamina stuff is often good.

Rio Rainbow Gate - Pachinko does not anime make. Sadly, utter drivel. Not even the surfeit of bunnygirls can save this from ignomy. I bet american fanboiz love it.

Freezing - Too much censorship to sell the DVDs mean half the time, Satellizer is kicking butt and you can't see anything! Plus, in 2040 or whenever, all women have Zeppelin sized tits.

Aquarion - this is a recycle, it gets better. One wonders about the obsession with 12000 years. It shows up a lot. (eg, the PS game "Soukaigi" ^^)