Version 5.4 ~ Haruhi gave rock and roll to you.
karmaburn.com karmaburn.com

Dated 25 September 2016: Looking forward to autumn 2016 anime

Kogane
Who's ready for more BBK/BRNK faces?

There are a surprising number of shows I'm interested in scheduled for autumn 2016. Most of these are sequels of some sort, but there are a few new properties that have caught my eye. Notably, I've yet to do any concerted investigating into the upcoming season, so the following only include titles that I noticed at some point and deemed worthy of preemptively annotating in my anime spreadsheet.

(more…)

Dated 3 January 2016: In re Winter 2016

Hotaru
Yeah, Hotaru's eyes are always like that.

I'm not going to watch all of these shows, but here are the ones at least on the radar. They're even sort of in order.

  • Dagashi Kashi: The original manga about cheap ass candy is fucking delicious. I don't see how anyone could screw this up as long as the anime keeps the crazy crossed eyes and incredulous reaction faces. This is your best God damn show, right here.
  • Gate: Jieitai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri second cour: Yeah, I know most viewers have a fairly negative opinion of this show. I'm almost inclined to say they're opposed to it as a matter of principle because it glorifies the military, sort of like how some readers loathe Robert A. Heinlein's Starship Troopers because they find it "fascist." Whatever, man. This is some good shit.
  • Aikatsu!: I only gave Aikatsu! another chance fairly recently, but I'm totally on board now. Bring on the idol activities!
  • Go! Princess Precure and Mahou Tsukai Precure!: The current season will end in about a month with episode 50. I'll be sad to see it go, but the next iteration is frickin' WITCH PRECURE for crying out loud. We're there.
  • Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu: I don't really know what this is about. Something about an ex-con who just wants to tell stories? In any case, it seems different, and probably won't have any of that "moé shit" people love to cry about.
  • Dimension W: I'm going to watch this for Ueda Reina and the Toyota 2000GT.
  • Luck & Logic: ORIKASA FUMIKO. Holy shit. Omigawa Chiaki, Kayano Ai, and Ueda Kana are in this too, as are Uesaka Sumire, Taneda Risa, Touyama Nao, and Minase Inori. I hope this doesn't turn out to be too much bullshit about the trading card game or whatever, but I'll at least give it a chance thanks to the cast.
  • Akagami no Shirayuki-hime 2nd Season: I'll watch the second cour if I ever get around to finishing the first one. I stopped watching because I was tired of watching Snow White getting conveniently rescued from would-be rapists every week, but I heard the show stopped being about that.
  • Detective Conan: Yep, here's my control.
  • Hai to Gensou no Grimgar: Eh, it has pretty watercolors.
  • Prince of Stride: Alternative. As an avid runner, I have to watch this. I'm also guaranteed to drop it in disgust the minute someone does something unrealistic, like I did after the first chapter of Suzuka.
  • Ao no Kanata no Four Rhythm: I know at least one person who's psyched about this, so I'll give it a try. Something about flying kids.
  • Oshiete! Galko-chan: Something about three girls fucking off in class. Based on a manga which I've not read.
  • Ajin: The manga is sort of interesting. Kaji Yuuki is in this, though.
  • Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo!: It's DEEN, but it has girls who twist their bodies a lot, at least according to the promo art. That's something, right? Really, though, I am curious to see what Studio Deen is up to these days, and Deen is responsible for the best anime of all time. Besides, the people who were loudest at jeering, "LOL DEEN," were the ones who worshiped SHAFT until Madoka went mainstream.
  • Divine Gate: I guess it would be interesting to watch TWO shows called Gate in the same season, right? Besides, Ito Kanae is in this.
  • Saijaku Muhai no Bahamut: I really wish this would have come out three months ago so we could have had a triumvirate with Cavalry and Asterisk. It's the same setup.
  • Musaigen no Phantom World: Eh, it's Kyoto Animation. I'll keep watching if it involves ghost girlfriends.
  • Shoujo-tachi wa Kouya wo Mezasu: This sounds like a shittier Saekano.
  • Ooya-san wa Shishunki!: This is a three-minute show, right? I ain't watching if it's not a three-minute show.
  • Mahou Shoujo Nante Mouiidesukara.: I think the period is part of the title. How bad could it be? It has Mahou Shoujo right in the title!
  • Sushi Police: This looks too shitty to not at least try.
  • Ojisan to Marshmallow: It's got an old dude as the love interest. That never happens.
  • Nurse Witch Komugi-chan R: Eh...it's not Momoi as Komugi. But she plays her mom instead. Is that good enough?
  • Nijiro Days: Shoujo about three dudes? I guess one is in love with some chick and the other two dudes cockblock him for sport?
  • Bubuki Buranki: I have no idea what this is, but it's an original anime. That still counts for something, right?
  • Boku dake ga Inai Machi: I'm not especially interested in this time travelling manga artist mystery thingy, but whatever. Really, I'm just not up for another noitaminA show right about now.
  • Heavy Object: This show is hot garbage. I should really just stop watching. Seriously. Hot garbage.

Christ, that is a lot of shows. There are also a bunch of specials and OVAs. I hope you weren't relying on me to keep track.

Dated 28 October 2012: Initial impressions of the autumn 2012 season

Erwin, Caesar, Oryou, and Saemonza
This scene was awesome.

Autumn 2012 so far: JoJo's Bizarre Adventure (1-4) > Smile Precure! (34-36) > Sword Art Online (15-17) > GIRLS und PANZER (1-3) > Medaka Box Abnormal (1-3) > Busou Shinki (1-4) > Aikatsu! (1-3) > Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! (1-4) > Little Busters! (1-4).

(more…)

Dated 1 October 2012: Tari Tari > Hyouka because of the characters

Wakana and Naoko
Oh God. The doujinshi.

Perhaps I haven't been particularly forthcoming about this, but the most important aspect of a show to me often tends to be its characters, or rather, how well I like its characters. I'll forgive lousy animation, stupid plots, and poor contrivances as long as I like the characters. This is not to say either Tari Tari or Hyouka necessarily suffer from any of these flaws, but it may explain what some people consider inexplicable and inconsistent tolerances on my part when it comes to these sorts of shortcomings.

Sawa
LISTEN TO MY SONG!

However, I did considerably like Tari Tari more than Hyouka because none of the characters in Hyouka resonated with me. I can respect that Kyoto Animation flexed its muscles a bit with Hyouka and genuinely committed itself to making a standout series over the past two cours, but all the layered depth and unspoken motivations, and developing relationships in that "SHAFT series with money" could not compete with Konatsu's dork rays, Sawa's unwitting-sex-bomb powers, and the refreshingly unstarchy comedy stylings of Wien and Taichi. Wakana deserves special mention as the sometimes emotional, sometimes dead inside, frequently mortified sweet kid cornerstone of an admittedly oftentimes conventional cast.

Wakana
SPHERE POWERS UNLEASHED!

This is rather qualified praise for Tari Tari, and I concede Hyouka will likely be remembered better (and longer) in the years to come, but Tari Tari succeeds because it is basically is a P.A. Works layup of the sort J.C. Staff used to be able to accomplish reliably. Tari Tari is less ambitious, but it combines (harmonizes?) its different parts well (like a chorus?) with just a touch of quirkiness (and sometimes badminton) to keep things lively. It worked for me. I liked basically every character, even the foppish principal and the assortment of comically evil antagonists such as bitter Big C, the former best friend of Wakana's dead flibbertigibbet mom. I can't quite make the same claim for Hyouka. At the end of the day, I don't really care what happens to Mayaka and Satoshi, or whether Chitanda succeeds in ruining Houtarou's life.

Houtarou and Chitanda
At least Hyouka fans seemed satisfied by its non-ending ending.

What if it turns out I like the characters better because I like the show better, and not the other way around like I've been saying? I guess there's not really a conclusive way of knowing. I admit Hyouka's overt attempts at adding stylized animation for the sake of "look at me!" visual flair's sake annoyed me because I found it so intrusive, whereas Tari Tari is chock-full of audible cues in the form of sudden small cries and startled noises that I found endearing because I get the feeling I was not supposed to notice them. Perhaps I would have liked the characters in Hyouka had they been, say, more conventional J.C. Staff properties. It's a mystery.

Dated 19 April 2012: Initial impressions of the spring 2012 anime season

Fujiko
Fujiko is one of anime's All-Time Babes.

Lupin III: Mine Fujiko to lu Onna is good—refreshingly so. The first two episodes have been solid, and it's such a relief to watch something that's not in the modern moé style. As much as I love Sawashiro Miyuki, I'm still not sure how I feel about her taking over the role of Fujiko. It seems as if Masuyama Eiko still had the role not that long ago, but I see now that the Detective Conan v. Lupin III movie was in 2009. I guess she couldn't do the voice forever. And as much as I love Horie Yui, Sawashiro Miyuki is definitely doing a better job as Fujiko than HOCCHAN did as Honey.

Niiya and Yuuko
Ghost hime-cut.

Tasogare Otome x Amnesia is a pleasant surprise. The RSS feed for the scanlated releases of the manga has actually been in my aggregator for ages, although I couldn't remember why I added it. (I've never read a single chapter.) I've seen a lot of comments about how SHAFT-like the show is, but I didn't get that sense at all. That SHAFT jive usually annoys the Bejeezus out of me, but I didn't notice any pretentious, intrusive direction in the first two episodes. So far Tasogare Otome x Amnesia has been entertaining and funny, and this season's resident ghost girlfriend is quite charming.

Rea
Not a zombie hime-cut.

Some people dismissed Sankarea because it's a Studio DEEN production. I'm not nearly as critical of Studio DEEN as contempory anime fans seem to be. Studio DEEN is responsible for the best show of all time, after all. Not that Sankarea is at all in the same league, but it does seem interesting and well done. I'm not sure how I feel about zombie girlfriends, but definitely less favorably than ghost girlfriends, that's for sure.

Medaka
Rally 'round the flag, boys.

Medaka Box is this season's most underrated show. It's underrated because so many viewers are incredibly critical of it, dismissing it as an unworthy product of a post-exodus Gainax. It's possible I am more lenient because of the Gainax badge, but I don't think Medaka Box is bad at all. On the contrary, the show is amusing with a thankfully all right male lead. Medaka herself is very likable, although possibly I'm mesmerized by that crazy shit she does with her eyes. Also, Medaka reminds me of Haruhi, only benevolent.

Moji
KAMINA LIVES!

I haven't started this season's Detective Conan yet, but if it's as good as it always is, you can expect it to place about here in the early season rankings. [Edit: Followed by the continuing episodes of the Gundam SEED "HD" re-watching project.]

Kaoru and Sentaro
Love at first sight.

Sakamichi no Apollon is one of those "objectively good" shows. I think it's pretty well done, but that doesn't necessarily mean I'll like it. It's pretty obvious the new wimpy kid and the big tough kid are in love with each other, but I have a feeling the show will pretend to be about jazz and Miss Third Wheel instead all season long.

Yuki
Social Anxiety Poster Boy.

Tsuritama is also "objectively good," but I can't tell if I'll still be interested in the show after a few more episodes of this stuff. I've got books on Byzantine history I've been meaning to read.

Saber
Your sword is showing, lady.

Fate/zero from episode 14+ is about as good as where it left off two seasons ago. I expect it to get even better now that it's free to kill off basically everyone. Anyone familiar with Fate/stay night knows how this will end, but I'm curious how ufotable plans to get us there.

Cure March
I like Cure March, but that hair is tragic.

I think I was biased to dislike Smile Precure! on general principle, but it's turning out to be pretty good. It could use more brawling, though. Smile Precure! is basically Fresh Yes! Precure 5 except with less ass kicking and less illicit romance.

Nyarlathotep
Nyarlathotep is Top Fuel Asumin.

Haiyore! Nyarlko is good because it is such high-energy, but I'm not optimistic enough to believe it can sustain these levels successfully over the course of the season. If I had to guess, I'd suspect fickle anime fans will start to disavow the show by next season.

Natsumi and Saki
Needs more pratfalls and less bitching at each other.

Natsuiro Kiseki episode two was a lot better than episode one. It helps that I kinda like Sphere. Nevertheless, I'm not especially enamored with the drama elements. The physical comedy is pretty good, though, as is the characters' almost casual acceptance of magic.

Fourteen
I wonder how M14 feels about M1A?

Upotte!! is pretty bad, but totally watchable. Hey, sometimes I enjoy following a show just because it's anime. And Upotte!! is very anime.

Kuroyukihime and Haru
Hey, they found a way to make Potato-kun worse than usual.

Accel World plummeted in my opinion once I saw episode two and realized the entire show was going to be shounen jive and practically doomed to be wall-to-wall exposition and unnecessarily long, tedious fight scenes.

Elina
I wasn't expecting continuity.

Queen's Blade: Rebellion manages to be an abomination in comparison with its first two seasons. I don't like the cast as much, and the entire thing just reeks of terrible. It's a pity, because the plot sounded kinda interesting on paper. However, if the rest of the series isn't much better than the first episode, Queen's Blade: Rebellion will be WORSE THAN COSPRAYERS.

Dated 3 April 2012: Season Wrap-up, Winter 2012

Genjuro and Chris
When in doubt, hug Chris.

Senki Zesshou Symphogear was awesome because it was preposterous. Symphogear went above and beyond to remain entertaining. From the first BADICAL episode to its ridiculous climax, Symphogear always remained fun to watch. I can't claim with a straight face that it's actually good, but I never claimed a show had to be good to be the best show of the season. More of this sort of thing, please.

Yassan and Hidenori
It's all about the timing.

The best show of Winter 2012 if you want to use boring metrics such as "funny" or "consistent" is Daily Lives of High School Boys (Danshi Kōkōsei no Nichijō or "Nichibros" affectionately, among fans). Shockingly, this was a very amusing comedy and nothing at all like what I thought it would be about based on the title. Daily Lives of High School Boys also accomplished the rare No Bad Episodes achievement. Hell, I'd even go so far as to recommend it. That's something I can't do for Symphogear.

Saya
Black Rock Shooter needed more DARK MAMIKO.

I liked Black Rock Shooter for its almost confrontational use of allegory and metaphor to illustrate the trauma of suffering teenage feelings. I don't believe I have an especially high tolerance or patience for teen angst in general, so I consider my positive overall opinion of Black Rock Shooter to be a testament to its solid, stylish execution and depiction of envy, despair, humiliation, friendship, and courage. I can see how other viewers might wildly disagree, though.

Kazuha and Amakazu
Kazuha aikidos the shit out of some deadbeat.

Detective Conan remains as good as ever. It's somewhat amazing that after more than 650 episodes it still has compelling stories about its key characters. It's also just as satisfying as ever to watch Ran and Kazuha whip the Hell out of some goob. If you're new to these wrap-ups, Detective Conan is sort of my control group of quality since it's pretty consistent and appears ready to run as long as it has to.

Tsugumi
Guilty Crown needed more Butt OS.

Guilty Crown was all over the place this season. It's quite a mess, but was pretty entertaining in an absurd sort of way when it was about [spoilers] and [spoilers] and [spoilers!], but then it just started getting stupid. Shu as a protagonist was its biggest flaw, and things would have been so much better if Guilty Crown had killed him unexpectedly and replaced him with Ayase. For a show that I ranked number one for a large part of the season, Guilty Crown fell a long way in its inability to pull off a satisfying conclusion. It also didn't make a damn lot of sense, but a show doesn't need to make sense to be the best of the season. (See Symphogear.)

Flay
Poor Flay is just misunderstood.

The "HD" rebroadcast of Mobile Suit Gundam SEED is not much different from the original. It's mostly just cropped and upscaled. I still like it, though, even if Flay's breasts are now flying out-of-control all over the OP.

Lucius
That is some pretty good ramen.

I finished Thermae Romae months ago. It's a good thing it was so short, though. I can't imagine watching a full cour of it.

Miyuki and Nao
Flag of England and lance corporal rank.

It's a bit of a relief that Smile Precure! is charming. These girls can't fight worth a damn. That's kind of the trend for Pretty Cure over the last few years, though. There's not nearly enough ass kicking. I remain hopeful that Cure March will get her act together later, even if she does end up carrying the rest of the team. Notably, Nao wears combat boots and her favorite shirt appears to have lance corporal rank insignia on its sleeve and the flag of England on the breast. SHOW ME YOUR WAR FACE, CURE MARCH!

Ai
Ai is pretty awesome even though she tastes like ramen.

Amagami SS+ was a huge letdown because it retconned nearly all of the progress Potato-kun made in the first season. It would be almost inexplicable, except that I should have predicted the craven devotion to upholding the Otaku Virtues. In nearly every respect, the second season of Amagami SS is wasted potential, and a waste of time. At least Tsukasa remains the Amagami Best Girl by showing she's smart enough not to fall for stupid tricks.

Asia
Potato-kun comes for Asia's box.

High School DxD is both a disappointment and a pleasant surprise. On the one hand, it's a lot better than a trashy show like that has any right to be. On the other hand, it didn't turn out as good as it appeared it would be from the early episodes following the cookie-cutter first episode.

Arsène
The best Milky Holmes II had to offer.

Tantei Opera Milky Holmes II was not nearly as good as the first season. Then again, the first season was a lot better than anyone expected it to be, so I guess it works out. Too much lard, not enough Arsène, and the only new gag I liked was Hercule turning out to be a huge pervert in secret.

Akazawa
Hair down > twin-tails.

Another was another letdown for me. It started off boring, got interesting, got stupid, and ended up being completely retarded. I think it tried recapture the elements that made Shiki so good, but instead of B-movie fun Another was just poorly written dreck. So many problems. There's only so much handwaving I'm willing to accept. And another thing: [SPOILERS] If everyone forgets about the dead extra person after he's killed, how do they know it's over? Wouldn't the class continue looking for the extra person until everyone was dead? In any case, it seems a lot of people who were very critical of Guilty Crown for being puerile were much more forgiving of Another despite the two shows sharing similar flaws. I took the opposite view. I dunno, maybe I liked Butt OS and wheelchair-fu more than I thought. A classroom of students too stupid to live? Not so much.

Shana
Dere-Dere Mode, activate!

Shakugan no Shana III was a lot better than Shakugan no Shana II but was still terrible. I blame J.C. Staff's persistent problems with producing compelling fight scenes. They're bad enough at it that sequences only a few seconds long routinely come out horrid. Thus, when J.C. Staff tries to drag out fight scenes over multiple episodes, the end result is disastrous.

Shinobu
Whatever happened to Shinobu's helmet and goggles?

Nisemonogatari is awesome if you like that SHAFTXSHINBO jive. It'll irritate the crap out of you if you have little to no patience for it, though. And let's be clear on this: Koyomi is a harem comedy protagonist. A shitty one. Also, the obsession with little sisters has got to stop. I suppose I don't "get" Japanese fetishes, but I am really tired of the imouto thing. It's basically only okay when it's like Harima + Yakumo from School Rumble (platonic friendship with the kid sister of his unrequited love). I suspect many viewers will further disagree with me here, but as much as I like Sakamoto Maaya, I believe Hirano Aya, the original voice of Shinobu (back when she didn't talk) would have been a better match. I assume Hirano Aya was replaced for reasons related to her relatively recent personal and professional problems.

I already described my problems with Suite Precure♪. I still want to know whether or not Cure Rhythm's battle costume smells like cake, though.

I dropped Moretsu Pirates because it was boring. I heard later that the show is actually about privateering, anyway.

Dated 24 January 2012: Initial Impressions, Winter 2012

Hibiki
Hibiki has large headphones.

Senki Zesshou Symphogear is badical. If you can't enjoy teenage girls fighting with the power of song, you can't enjoy anime. I am a little perplexed by the numerous (coincidental?) similarities with Suite Precure♪, though. Both shows are music-themed and feature superpowered teenage girls named Kanade and Hibiki who fight inhuman adversaries known as Noise by using either their magic or a science sufficiently advanced as to be indistinguishable from magic. Senki Zesshou Symphogear is much better than Suite Precure♪ so far, though, even if it does have comically large swords.

Rihoko
I guess Rihoko is kinda fat for an anime character, but
not really fat enough to be the Fat Love Interest.

Amagami SS+ is a worthy sequel to Amagami SS. It follows the same format, although the girls are sequenced in a different order this time. From the looks of it, Amagami SS+ will be 12 episodes offering two-episode arcs for each of the six lead girls, continuing from where the original four-episode arcs in the first season left off, not including timeskip epilogues. Probably the only real problem with Amagami SS+ is that Potato-kun continues to be a bit of a tool with very little to offer in the way of explaining why any of these girls give him the time of day (let alone explaining why some even deigned to sleep with him). Such are harem comedies, I suppose. Even serially monogamous ones.

Athrun
Damn it, Athrun, who did you let die now?

I'm not sure if I should lump the Mobile Suit Gundam SEED "HD" rebroadcast in with the rest of the winter 2012 shows, or group it with my "Also Watching" cluster. Technically, there is new material, where Sunrise was unable able to crop the original 4:3 broadcast without terrible framing problems. Aside from the shortscreen upscale with sporadic new shots, there's not much to this rebroadcast aside from a new ED arrangement I don't like as much as the original. Still, Gundam SEED is pretty good if you aren't carrying too much U.C. baggage. Let's not confuse it with the dreadful Gundam SEED Destiny sequel, at least. In other news, re-watching SEED makes me wish Hummy would have worked in a "Cosmic Era 70" intro to at least one episode of Suite Precure♪. I like seiyuu jokes.

Ayase
Ayase decides it's time to tear shit up.

Guilty Crown is not nearly as bad as people claim—it's just juvenile. Some degree of tolerance for tropes intended to appeal to children and teenage boys is required to fully appreciate Guilty Crown. That said, there are elements of the show that don't make any damn sense. Still, I enjoy it for the nice production values and the sufficiently tolerable male lead. Nevertheless, it is a little hard to stomach a successful terrorist organization run entirely by teenagers.

Genta, Ayumi, Mitsuhiko, and Ai
The kids in Detective Conan are drawn comically short.

Detective Conan is Detective Conan. This season appears poised to be as good as it ever was. Detective Conan also remains the best source for regular Hayashibara Megumi and periodic Kansai-ben Miyamura Yuko (Neon Genesis Evangelion's Rei and Osaka-type Asuka) content.

Kokoro
Kokoro's I.Q. dropped this season, but so did everyone else's.

Tantei Opera Milky Holmes II isn't quite as good as the first season yet, but it's nothing more Kokoro and Arsène couldn't fix.

Shana
Shana should leave her hair on fire at all times.

I'm not going to call the plot of Shakugan no Shana III complicated, but it seems a bit more convoluted than it needs to be. There's a lot of stuff going on at the same time now, and not all of it makes good sense. It's mostly interesting, or at least amusing, which is a huge step up from Shakugan no Shana II which I'm trying my best to forget even though it's only been a few months since I watched it.

Carmel
You know, Carmel doesn't really appear to Manipulate
Objects any more than anyone else does.

It turns out J.C. Staff is not only bad when it comes to fight scenes. It's also bad at war. At least with that arc over, Shakugan no Shana Final can finally answer the important questions: Whatever happened to horny dude after his afternoon of life-threatening copulation with horny chick? Obviously she fucked him into next year, and they were still airborne last we saw them, but what's going to happen when they hit the ground?

Rebecca
I guess Rebecca looks sober here, even with her trousers unbuttoned.

Speaking of which, if Margery is the Shakugan no Shana drunken office lady, then Rebecca is the Shana drunken sorority girl, even though I think she's been sober the whole time. The girl just don't look sober. Ever. I like Rebecca.

Marika
Piracy goes in here.

Moretsu Pirates seems fine so far, but it's kinda boring, even if it does have schoolgirls wearing skirts in zero-G. For being "bodacious space pirates," they don't seem very bodacious, spacey, or piratey.

Hitagi and Araragi
Potato-kun is a pretty half-assed vampire.

I am watching Nisemonogatari. It's pretty good if you like that sort of thing, but it's painful to watch if you have a low tolerance for SHAFTisms. Nisemonogatari is a pretty ambitious harem comedy, but I guess that's still a lot better than typical low-brow ones.

Cure Melody
Cure Melody dies.

Suite Precure♪ is a disaster at this point. Worst Pretty Cure series ever. I hope Smile Precure! is a big improvement. With a starting cast of at least five Cures, I hope Smile tries to tap the focus on interpersonal relationships that made Yes! Precure 5 so successful. I will also accept wall-to-wall mahou shoujo beatdowns a la the first generation, Futari wa Pretty Cure.

Dated 1 January 2012: 2011's Girl of the Year

Miki and Producer
Consolation prize.

Choosing the Girl of the Year for 2011 shows how views held at the mid-year mark can change months later even without much additional information. As you may recall, the initial front runner was Homura from Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica, with Charles and Ran looking to place and to show. However, after another six months of deliberation, I think I may need to reconsider my choices.

Cure Marine
Cure Marine is proof All Stars hazing works.

Going through my initial recommendations, Erika from Heartcatch Precure! does even better in light of how uninspiring the entire cast of Suite Precure♪ has been. Nearly all the Suite Precure♪ characters are all right. (Not Cure Muse. Cure Muse is straight-up terrible.) However, they are so underdeveloped. Even Buki and Miki from Fresh Pretty Cure have more personality than the Suite cast. And the Suite Cures all seem to make such terrible choices. Not that Erika was a sound voice of reason in Heartcatch, but Erika at least had a lot more verve than any of the current crop of Cures, so the things she did were almost always entertaining, even when they were ill conceived. Nevertheless, while Erika certainly makes the Suite cast look bad, it's not enough to win her Girl of the Year.

Minami
My copy of Management is twice as thick.

As far as I can tell, Moshidora was wildly unpopular, but I thought it was pretty good. It's rare for a show to get better with every episode. I might be looking at this through baseball goggles (they're like instrument goggles, okay), but Minami from Moshidora easily deserves a Girl of the Year nomination. She doesn't have enough to win, but you can't expect someone to go to the Koshien and win Girl of the Year in the same year, can you? Nobody is that good. Oh, wait. Aoba from Cross Game did that just last year.

Hana and Sasha
Go on, Hana, curse the bitch out.

Hana carried the second season of Seikon no Qwaser through its early lacklustre episodes. Carried it in her ass. [P.S. SPOILERS.]

Charles
Who are you going to believe, sweetheart? Me or your lyin' eyes?

Early in the year, it really seemed as if Charles from IS: Infinite Stratos had a legitimate change of winning. I suppose she did, but as I mentioned with regard to the OVA, the end of the series basically threw away everything that made Charles great. Instead, she just became another blushing simpleton in Ichika's harem. How things would have been different if she had been absent from the series' final scene! It could have played out otherwise unchanged, but for a brief cut away to Charles sitting quietly in her room, reading one of those books Ichika keeps around for show, maybe looking up curiously to ask, "What is that racket outside?" Alas, somewhere along the way the writers forgot what made her great. Charles doesn't win.

Makoto, Kotori, Chihaya, Ritsuko, Takane, Yukiho, Haruka, Producer, Hibiki, Ami, Miki, Mami, Azusa, Iori, and Yayoi
Say, do we have any cake?

Based on how much I like The Idolm@ster TV, you might expect one of the 765 girls to win this year. The truth is, I'm not even sure who to nominate. Idolm@ster relies very much on its ensemble cast, and as much as I like most of the girls individually, I like them collectively more. So, the first ever group nomination goes out to Chihaya, Miki, Takane, Ritsuko, Haruka, Mami, Makoto, Iori, Hibiki, Ami, Azusa, Yayoi, Kotori, and Yukiho. They don't win, though. I'm not ready.

Eiko
It's a good year for horn hair.

Even though I'm still not entirely sure squids are eligible to win Girl of the Year, Ika Musume managed a nomination last year for being pretty much non-stop awesome. Unfortunately, the second season of Ika Musume spent a lot of time, well, treading water for the most part. In fact, I'm inclined to think the Best Girl in Ika Musume II isn't even the title character. Eiko has been a solid straight man throughout the series, perhaps because she doesn't rely on having some broadly painted quirk to define her. Of course, now that I think about it, Eiko's role doesn't even necessarily require a female character. Eiko could have been a teenage boy, and the only real change to the show would be perhaps not having Ika Musume sleep in the same bedroom. Nobody from Shinryaku!? Ika Musume gets a nomination, by the way. Not this year.

Homura and Charlotte
Hey, there's more cake over at Suite Precure♪.

If you've been paying attention, you've already figured out the heavily armed witch killer Homura does not win this year. There were two obstacles in her way. First, Homura is handicapped by my general dislike of SHAFT and Shinbo and the sophomoric fans they attract. Second, Homura's defining characteristic—or at least the one working most in her favor—is her indefatigable dedication. It's admirable, but even Homura can learn a thing or two about tireless devotion from this year's winner: Ran.

Ran
Believe it, baby.

Long-suffering Mouri Ran is 2011's Girl of the Year. Ran has always been good enough to win every year, but a relatively weak field for 2011 coupled with an especially good year for Ran puts her over the top. Ran's peculiar similarities to Homura also helped seal the win. I say "long-suffering," but not very much actual in-show time has passed for Ran. Like Homura, Ran is essentially trapped in time, doomed to absorb hundreds of failures, surrounded by death, and never achieving the peace she seeks with the one she loves.

Ran
Lifetime Achievement Award.

For over six hundred episodes and more than a dozen movies, poor Ran hasn't been able to catch a break, but thankfully, there was some progress in 2011. This year, Detective Conan was at least kind enough to offer her the Valentine's Day arc, the White Day arc, and very compelling London arc, all of which which combine satisfyingly in ways unexpected for a show as generally static as Detective Conan. Congratulations, Ran, 2011's Girl of the Year.