2011 So Far – in chart form

We like charts here on RABUJOI. This one plots the ratings of all the anime series we’ve reviewed so far in 2011. We’ve included Summer 2011 series, even though we’ve got 5-6 more weeks of episodes in those seasons. When the Summer season does conclude, we’ll update this chart.

So what do we see? Well, while we deem a 2.5 rating to be “Average”, our actual average is closer to 3.5, which we deem “Standout”. This is because there’s a lot of anime out there, but we try to only watch the best. There are exceptions, of course: the main outlier here is Morita-san wa Mukuchi, which rates just above 2 or “Mediocre” (UPDATE: As of episode 7, we’ve dropped Morita-san :P). There are a lot more series out there we’d probably rank this low or lower, but we don’t have the time or the stomachs to sit through them.

So why do we watch Morita-san wa Mukuchi? Well, it’s only three minutes long; hardly a major investment. So it isn’t that we rate high. We just watch series that regularly deserve above-average ratings. Thus when a truly brillant series comes around – like AnoHana or Mawaru Penguindrum, you’ll see a lot of 4s. At the end of the day, it’s all subjective. We also just like charts. Did we say that already?

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2011 So Far

With most of Spring 2011 all wrapped up and the Summer 2011 season starting this weekend, it seemed a good time to line up all the series that have aired this year (excluding Fall 2010 carryovers) and see what’s what so far:

Episode # : 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 AVG

AnoHana 4 4 4 3.5 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 3.955
[C] 3.5 4 4 4 3.5 4 4 4 4 4 4 3.909
Hanasaku Iroha 4 4 4 3.5 3.5 3 3 4 4 4 4 4 3.769
Puella Magi Madoka Magica 3.5 3.5 3 4 3.5 4 4 4 4 4 4 3.5 3.750
Deadman Wonderland 4 3.5 4 3.5 4 4 4 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.727
Level-E 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3 3.5 4 4 3.538
Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3 3.5 3.5 3.450
Fractale 3.5 3 3.5 3.5 3 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3 3.5 3.364
Kimi ni Todoke 2nd Season 2.5 2 2.5 3.5 3.5 4 4 3.5 3.5 3.5 3 3.5 4 3.308
Sket Dance (First Half) 2.5 3 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3 3 4 3.5 3 3.5 3.5 3.308
Ao no Exorcist (First Half) 3.5 3 3.5 3.5 3 2.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3 3.273
The World God Only Knows II 3.5 3 3 2.5 3 3.5 3.5 3.5 4 3.5 3.5 2.5 3.250
Tiger & Bunny (First Half) 3.5 3 3 3.5 3 3 3 3 3.5 3.5 2.5 3 3.5 3.154

Weekly Average 3.4 3.3 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.7 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.8 3.520

Stray Observations:

•  Overall, Spring 2011 was a particularly good season. Even if I included the huge Fall 2010 season in the table above, the top three Spring series would still dominate the podium. Quality, not quantity. Summer 2011 has its work cut out for it.

• AnoHana, just an episode shy of perfection, became a personal favorite. [C] came two shy. These two series couldn’t be more different, but both rocked.

• Best Music: Taku Iwasaki. He provided the excellent score for [C], and has also scored Katanagatari, Gurren Lagann, Soul Eater, etc.

• Hanasaku Iroha sagged a bit in the middle there, but its first half began and ended extremely strong. And even those middle episodes had their charms. Looking forward to the second half this Summer.

• At first I didn’t quite know what to make of Puella Magi Madoka Magica, but it quickly found its stride and ended up one of my all-time favorites, despite its relatively modest score.

• Deadman Wonderland has just one episode to wrap everything up. This show deserves a second season. More than Tiger & Bunny.

• Level E and Denpa Onna both involve “aliens” of some kind – and both scored extremely consistent ratings. Moreso if Denpa’s final double episode is a good one.

 In hindsight, perhaps some episodes of Fractale were ranked too high. This is possibly due to the great visuals and imaginative setting, which carried that series.

• I was harsh in the beginning of Kimi ni Todoke’s second season, but perhaps that was just because I hadn’t quite settled back into the romantic futility. As a result, this series had the most rating variation.

• Sket Dance’s only flaw was its opening episode, with its red herring protagonist. Since then it’s been consistently funny and entertaining, so I’m sticking with it.

• I’m also optimistic about Ao no Exorcist‘s second half, but not as excited about Tiger & Bunny‘s. Prove me wrong, Tiger & Bunny!

• The World God Only Knows II took a dip of .167 below its first season. Hopefully, the third season will arrest that downward trend.

• Best Female Seiyu: Winter: Eri Kitamura as Sayaka in Puella Magi Madoka Magica.
Spring: Haruka Tomatsu as Anaru in AnoHana. She was also Megumi in Shiki.

• Best Male Seiyu: Winter: Level E’s “Prince”,  Daisuke Namikawa.
Spring: Tomokazu Sugita as Sket Dance’s “Switch.”

Kimi ni Todoke 2nd Season 12

Well, after about 39 episodes of hand-wrining neurosis, I really couldn’t have asked for a better finale to Kimi ni Todoke. The two lovebirds finally know about their feelings for one another, and couldn’t be happier that they both feel the same way. They’re far more comfortable around one another, and no longer care what other people think (or at least, can live with what other people think).

Sawako and Kazehaya aren’t the only ones who’ve made progress. Kurumi and Kento are left to lick each other’s wounds – even if from the looks of it Kurumi isn’t all that interested. Chizuru has some really thoughtful things to say (I love it when this show treats her like a human rather than a clown), and Ryu’s confession to her – and her reaction to it – are just about pitch-perfect. Good luck, you crazy cats! Also, if Yano ever had a thing for Pin, it doesn’t amount to anything, but that’s okay, as Yano seems to like her independence.

Oh yeah, can’t forget: Sawako finally gives Kazehaya his gifts! Continuity, FTW! And while I thought it was silly that she didn’t give him these gifts at the proper times, but better late than never, and heck, from Kazehaya’s perspective, his girlfriend is already showering him with gifts. Nothin’ wrong with that. Nothin’ wrong with this ending, either. It wasn’t cheap, and it tied most everything up in a neat little bow. One last thing: Pin getting annoyed by the couple’s “sparkly aura” and shooing it away? Frikkin’ hilarious. Rating: 4

Series Mean Ranking: 3.346

Kimi ni Todoke 2nd Season 11

Wow, a lot cleared up this week: first of all, Sawako and Kazehaya’s classmates are not only incredibly nosy, but incredibly thick as well. Kazehaya has to repeat himself several times in order to make it clear who Sawako is to him: namely his girlfriend. Sawako can scarcely believe it herself. It’s great to hear both Kazehaya and Sawako speak so clearly about these things at last; without all the cryptology and misunderstandings.

This is an episode packed with catharses; Kent confesses that he misled Sawako; while Chizuri admits she also unwittingly discouraged Kazehaya. A drunk (and rather pathetic) Pin steps back and gazes at the relationship he has helped to forge, while reminding Kazehaya never to rely on the benefit of doubt. The best line of the episode was Pin’s: “Does she really look like someone who would just somehow understand things?” Kazehaya is too punch-drunk in love to realize she really isn’t. Rating: 3.5

Kimi ni Todoke 2nd Season 10

This seemed more like an episode for Kazehaya and Sawako than for us, the audience. We are already very much up to speed about where both parties stand in the feelings department, yet the show decided they needed to embellish this by having the two lovebirds confirm it several times in various exchanges during seemingly the umpteenth school festival (seriously, where do they get the money to hold so many?)

It wasn’t totally redundant, however: for the first time…bascially ever, Sadako actually says what’s on her mind; something heartfelt, not cobbled together and laced with stammering. She almost sounds confident, bless ‘er! This is huge, because so much of what she says that has any significance is heard by no one but us; this is a notable change of form.

Also, Kazehaya finally has the pelotas to call out to Sawako (after strategically letting her walk away to the ideal distance), telling her he likes her in public; in front of dozens of classmates. Granted, many of these classmates are so thick and grotesquely stupid, they probably still don’t understand, but there you are. He also, thank god, tells Joe to fuck off (firmly, yet politely, mind you) so he can keep talking to his girl. Attaboy…Progress~ you makes it. Rating: 3