It's been a while since I've written anything up, so I may as well take the time at one in the morning to do so. Summer's just about over, and everything's done and finished (with the exception of Ao no Exorcist, which'll be finishing today). So here are just some random thoughts.
Steins:Gate - This was a pretty great series. Having watched it from the beginning and see it turn from a relatively easy-going show (microwaving Kara-Age, general Mayuri foolishness) to a relatively riveting masterpiece, I have to once again bow down to the storytelling genius of those people at White Fox (from which Katanagatari comes from). What the animation lacked, the characters made up for. Seeing Okabe harden after seeing Mayuri die countless times was nothing new (perhaps even predictable), yet still done in a way that made me care, and even more so when Kurusu gets involved. This sort of twist was done by Madoka earlier in the year, but it nonetheless worked here as well. And to be honest, I was pretty damn happy with the Kurusu end there, albeit the Angel Beats-esque epilogue left an odd taste at the end. Oh, and original soundtrack was great. One of the best shows first half of 2011.
Mawaru Penguindrum - It's odd how much hype was on this show as it was going in, probably because of the crazy things director Ikuhara has done in the past. For the most part, it's been a let down. The plot is indeed intruiging but the sad fact is that half of the time, the plot is eschewed in exchange for some humour or some SHAFT-worthy "wtf?" moments. Yes, penguin antics are pretty funny. And the slapstick works sometimes. But the imagery that's pretty much everywhere (from the minimalist animation of non-essential characters to the everpresent penguin logo) went over my head at many points. A few of the backstory episodes weren't my cup of tea, but it's uplifting to see that the plot has accelerated as the first cour ends (albeit the diary seems to play little role now, meaning that much of the first half is moot). I'm not ready to declare a verdict yet, but I'm hoping that Penguindrum can get back on track in the fall.
The iDOLM@STER - It's pretty obvious that I have a bias towards iM@S and the anime, but this has been a relatively pleasant surprise for me. There's nothing really unique about iDOLM@STER; many of the stories are pretty easy to guess, yet it's still charming and uplifting every time. The first 13 episodes were more focused on character introduction (with most of the idols getting an episode), and so the fall portion should be more active, given that the idols have gotten past their first concert. The animation quality by A-1 has to be the biggest part of the anime, especially during the dance scenes -- both Smoky Thrill and the concert inserts (Marionette no Kokoro and Jibun REST@RT) were pretty damn great. OST and ED choice have been nice as well, especially with Go my way! and i featured in very recent endings and pretty much at least one insert per episode (most notable aside from the ones in episode 13 is likely Agent Yoru wo Yuku during Makoto's karate scene). It was probably just my love of iDOLM@STER, but I actually felt emotionally invested during this last episode, especially while seeing the concert go horribly wrong at first (before, of course, favorite character Miki comes to save the day). I like to say that this show has the been the number two show this season, and I mean it. Every Thursday (or Friday), this show never lets me down. Now, bring on Jupiter! (Hopefully.)
Nichijou - Well, this had its ups and downs. The heartwarming mixed with the crazy mixed with the cute mixed with the epic is not enough to characterize Nichijou. To be honest, most of the time, Nichijou missed its mark - whether the daifuku scenes or the rather weak attempts of science teacher trying to catch Nano (and usually falling victim to her own schemes). But it was worth it just to see some of the best short skits I've seen in anime - including pretty much of all of the daydreams Yuuko has, the "wtf?" running of Mio (and in general other athletic activities) and the misfortune (sometimes fortune) of Yuuko. While this is probably Kyoto Animation's last anime for a while (damn them, why can't they just do something good for a change like adapt some more of Key's visual novels?), it's been a pretty good ride. I won't miss it, but I won't forget it either.
And here are some honorable mentions: Tiger and Bunny, Usagi Drop (which was arguably the best of Summer 2011), Natsume Yuujinchou (I didn't actually watch it, but I've heard about it).
As for the fall, since this'll probably be my first (and last post) in a while until the new year, I'm slated to watch Fate/zero, Mirai Nikki, Shakugan no Shana 3, and Guilty Crown. Everything else is tentative until November, when I'll likely begin catching up on stuff.
So until then, I'll leave you with an upcoming anime by JC Staff that should be a blast. I do love my Mirai Millenium.