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Dated 5 August 2011: Summer 2011 initial impressions

Rin
I won't buy you lipstick because you don't have any lips.

Usagi Drop surprised me by being much better than I expected. After five solid episodes to open the series, it has climbed to the top of the list. However, it is a good thing Rin is such a nice, well-mannered, and thoughtful kid. Were it Daikichi's sister's cousin's devil child twisting in the wind in episode one, I wager that brat would be on her own and the show would have to be about her bouncing from home to home in foster care or something. I heard there's a timeskip in the manga, but I also heard the anime might not make it that far. I've not read any of the manga nor learned any spoilers aside from knowing the timeskip exists, but I wonder if it has to do with how Daikichi's concern for Rin is very paternal yet Rin explicitly rejects him as a father?

Yuina and Minko
Daikon goes in here.

Hanasaku Iroha remains one of my favorite shows this season, although it really needs more Minko and Tomoe episodes. It also needs less of Ohana's spineless uncle and that wretched consultant lady he dragged to the inn—a lot less. Hopefully now that the movie fiasco is over we can move on to more Minko episodes about her unrequited love for daikon and Tohru, preferably without overdoing Tohru's guilty boners for Ohana.

Cure Beat
Cure Beat's guitar is full of mercy.

The Cure Beat arc of Suite Precure exceeds expectations, probably because it puts the Cure Muse mystery arc on hold for now. Cure Beat needs to reverse her windmill move, though, and do it Pete Townshend style. I, for one, am pretty glad Suite Precure is turning into FLCL instead of K-On! I'm also impressed by the new transformation sequences and the quality of some of the recent fight scenes.

Miike
THE ENFORCER. Well, the parking enforcer anyway.

Wait, did Tanaka Rie just join Detective Conan's menagerie of regular characters? I swear that was her.

I should probably say more about Detective Conan because Something Important happened last season. However...spoilers.

Chihaya
Chihaya appears to use Sony MDR-V6 headphones.

Sony MDR-V6 headphones
We're headphone buddies!

Idolm@ster needs more song and dance numbers. I presume the absence of music from the first episode was a stylistic choice designed to fit the documentary framework. The show is all right so far, but because there are purportedly many former current Gainax staff members behind the show, I'm hoping for a Gainax ending—possibly with more Bio Concerto. In related news, Chihaya by a mile. Chihaya > Miki > Ritsuko > Azusa > Makoto > Takane > Kotori > Hibiki > Yayoi > Iori > Mami > Ami > Haruka > Yukiho.

Huey's Imco lighter
The real star of Dantalian no Shoka is Huey's Imco lighter.

Imco lighter
You may recognize it from Haibane Renmei
as the lighter Reki uses.

I'm mostly watching Dantalian no Shoka out of general principle because of Gainax. Huey seems all right. I was impressed during the first episode when he revealed he wasn't another damn Potato-kun. However, I am getting pretty tired of Dalian's tsundere bitchiness. Her lack of charisma is going to wear on me, even if she does say "YES" all the time. (Bad gourds don't say "no.")

Masa
Masa stole Aoi's haircut.

Uta no Prince-sama - Maji Love 1000% was less gay than I expected, but I can't find a reason to keep watching it. This is not Miracle Train. Miracle Train was actually pretty good. Prince-sama just has Wakamoto Norio playing Wakamoto-Norio-playing-a-character as its main draw. I haven't officially dropped it yet, but I'm also in no hurry to watch the second episode.

Aoi and Haruka
Twin Angel needs more Galaxy Angel.

I only watched Kaito Tenshi Twin Angel - Kyun Kyun☆Tokimeki Paradise!! because of Asakawa Yuu. I'm sorry to say the first episode was horrible. Consider it dropped. I'm hoping it turns out to be a lot better later on. I'll start watching again it if I see a lot of people sucking up to @julia320 on Twitter praising the show. This has not happened yet.

Dated 9 October 2011: Summer 2011 season wrapup

Tomoe
Hanasaku Iroha could have used more Tomoe.

Despite the melodramatic Ohana + Kou angle, Hanasaku Iroha narrowly eeks out Usagi Drop as the best Summer 2011 show by turning the inn into a character. Love Hina did the same thing, although I didn't notice it until the Hinatasou reappeared in Earth Defender Mao-chan; I realized I missed the inn itself. As for Hanasaku Iroha, it is disappointing that the tensionless romance between Ohana and Kou was so uninteresting, but every other aspect of an otherwise engaging show earns it the top spot.

Kouki's mom, Kouki, and Rin
Go cry about the Usagi Drop ending somewhere else.

Usagi Drop likely would have fared much better were it longer than its mere 11 episodes. Every episode was good, earning it the No Bad Episodes award, but there simply needs to be more to the show to make it a solid series. With only 11 episodes, it's practically in OVA territory. Then again, perhaps it would not be better served with additional episodes. I know there are controversial events following a timeskip resulting in a widely disliked ending. Although I have a general understanding of these spoilers, I have not read the manga itself so I cannot speak for their execution. If the events are done well, perhaps more Usagi Drop episodes would make the show even better. If all they're going to do is antagonize most viewers, then maybe it's best that Usagi Drop ended when it did.

Chihaya
LISTEN TO MY SONG!

The IDOLM@STER succeeds by taking simple things and doing them very well. It also help that it has a deep cast of charismatic characters, allowing the viewer to latch onto his favorites. Ahem. Chihaya > Miki > Takane > Makoto > Ritsuko > Mami > Hibiki > Ami > Iori > Azusa > Kotori > Haruka > Yayoi > Yukiho. I am a little troubled by the slightly knobby faces, but they never cross into K-On! territory, so I'm satisfied.

Kaito
Nice hat, Kaito.

I'm treating the Magic Kaito / Kid the Phantom Thief episodes of Detective Conan separately. Not quite a spinoff, and not quite OVAs, they aired in the regular Detective Conan timeslot to focus on the titular long-time Detective Conan side character before crossing over with the Detective Conan series proper. These episodes were very good, although I'm not sure how they fit into the canon. I'm a little confused as to the timelines and the ages of the characters involved, but this might be because there are large gaps in my list of watched Detective Conan episodes. Fujimura Ayumi does a really good cranky voice as Aoko, too.

Waon, Kanade, Ellen, Hibiki
It turns out Waon is kinda awesome.

Suite Precure♪ has been mostly good, benefiting from a well-done Cure Beat arc. Although I'm opposed on principle against [spoilers] making non-human characters bona fide Cures, I guess I'm okay with it since Ellen is stuck in human form and hasn't been able to transform back into a cat (or anything else). I'm hoping the Cure Muse episodes are as good, because right now I find Cure Muse hopelessly uninteresting. Worst Cure ever.

Flam
Dantalian no Shoka needed more Flamberge.

Dantalian no Shoka should have been better, but could have been worse. It's not much of a series, ending abruptly at 12 episodes, but it had enough good moments interspersed throughout to make it the anime equivalent of a collection of short stories. I did want more episodes with the fireman and Flamberge, though. Koshimizu Ami played Flam exactly the way I picture Marisa from Touhou. (I don't actually know jack shit about Touhou). I still don't know why Flam wears a straitjacket dress, though.

Sonoko and Ran
Sonoko gossips with Ran.

Detective Conan is Detective Conan, but if you leave out the Kaito episodes mentioned above, this was actually a relatively weak cour of episodes—enough to knock it down a bit, whereas the average Detective Conan cour would typically be above Suite Precure♪ and Dantalian no Shoka.


Dropped shows: I dropped Uta no Prince-sama - Maji Love 1000% after one episode because it didn't interest me. I considered watching a second episode for a long time, though. Likewise I dropped Nekogami Yaoyorozu after one episode semi-reluctantly. After all, it did star HOCCHAN and Haruka Tomatosauce, but I couldn't bring myself to watch more of it.

Hoshino
Cosprayers Line.

Kaito Tenshi Twin Angel - Kyun Kyun☆Tokimeki Paradise!!, at least the one episode I watched, was WORSE THAN COSPRAYERS. I only watched the first episode at all thanks to Asakawa Yuu's constant pimping of her new show on Twitter, but it just wasn't very good. Very likely it had a good episode or two somewhere down the line, but I wasn't sticking around to find out. If someone watched it all and can identify any must-watch episodes of Kaito Tenshi Twin Angel - Kyun Kyun☆Tokimeki Paradise!!, send me a telegram.