Unlimited Route Works

I had intended to finish this series months ago, but kept putting the second half off a bunch while watching new stuff, so while I am on a roll here, presenting a one-and-a-half-part review on Kami Nomi zo Shiru Sekai aka The World God Only Knows.

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Katawa Shoujo

There are a lot of visual novels out there, most untranslated as Japanese developers don’t have a market for them over here, or are disinterested. They range from school comedy, to drama, to supernatural and fantasy. Most involve courting a girl and having sex with her. Others not so much. Ultimately, it comes down to single experiences and what you take away from it. Katawa Shoujo is a unique entry to this field. Developed independently by twenty-one anonymous people worldwide who met on the world’s most popular imageboard, 4chan, supported only by one single JPEG and an idea, spent five years developing what would become one of the biggest English Visual Novels to hit the internet.

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A 2011 in Animu Review

FUNNELS. FUNNELS EVERYWHERE. Also Newtype.

UNLIMITED GUN WORKS

2011 has been quite the season for many reasons. Many spectacular series were had which made this year’s Anime Saimoe Tournament one of both legend and massive filibuster. Still, throughout it all, I felt it was necessary to take a look into what made this year so goddamn awesome and look into the next year of upcoming delights.

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Just an Inch

With the holidays over and the new year in, the season comes to a close in ever the so melancholy way. This week starts the new season of shows, along with four carry-overs from the previous season, Shana, Guilty Crown, Mirai Nikki, and Gundam AGE. Let’s wrap up the old and begin the new.

huhuhuhuh, coming

One short-order orgasm coming up.

Haganai ended on probably the best note it could for something that has future season potential, without leaving too much hanging. You finally get to close the nagging secret you’ve known throughout the entire show, how they both knew each other, but he didn’t know who she was until she cut her hair short. The others didn’t get much screen time for this episode, and the season ends on an open note, hinting the possibility in the future for more, which is always good.

Title: Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai
Sub Group I Watched: Mazui
Episodes: 12
Rating (1-10): 9

Favorite Character: Yozora Mikazuki
Least Favorite Character: Yukimura Kusunoki
Real Favorite Character: Sena “Meat” Kashiwazaki
Superior Favorite Character: Rika Shiguma
A CHALLENGER APPEARS: Kobato “Kukuku” Hasegawa

he is pervert after all

...as delicious as you when you were asleep...

Ben-To finished exactly as it should have, although not seeing The Ice Witch fight the twins for the final time was a bit of a letdown, but Pervert jumping in and taking the win would have been better if they showed the actual fight. I feel like they could make more of this show and I’d love to watch it, but even if they don’t, I am content with what I got, it was a true underdog show of the season that was interesting to watch with every episode.

Title: Ben-To
Sub Group I Watched: EveTaku
Episodes: 12
Rating (1-10): 8

Favorite Character: Sen “Ice Witch” Yarizui
Least Favorite Character: Ume Shiraume
Why Ume Shiraume? I felt she wasn’t needed, while I enjoyed the counterbalance effect and her attitude, she just seemed over-the-top and unreasonable without any cross-check throughout the show. She needed to get clocked in the head at least once for good measure.
Favorite Lunch: That special one from the pool episode looked pretty good. I’ve never had omelet rice though.
“Pervert”: While funny, they could have tried harder. But then when they referred to them as “wolves” and “dogs” there isn’t much room for interpretation.

Normally normal.

That's perfectly normal.

Another season in Wagnaria closes with the last episode of Working!! and it went out on an interesting note with Popura Poplar talking about the future and Yamada spinning it into a tale of her leaving. This along with how she reached the accident sheet got our intrepid Pedo Bear Takanashi all emo over her not being the cute little girl anymore. We also got to finally hear and see Maya Matsumoto more as she interacts with this story, and is the subject of Sato’s terror for a moment. I’m not sure if they plan to make more of this show, but I seriously hope they do, it is a terrible amount of fun.

Title: Working!!
Sub Group I Watched: Horrible
Episodes: 13
Rating (1-10): 8

Favorite Character: Popura “Poplar” Taneshima
Least Favorite Character: Kyouko Shirafuji
Inami Time? They scaled back the Inami this season, which was fine given what we got, but they still haven’t elected to tie up much from the first season. Really, I wish they never went there in the first season, it could have stayed blissfully ignorant, but poor Inami, she deserves to be a little less crazy.
Creepy Soma: What makes this character so much fun to watch, is that if you’ve ever worked in a restaurant, there is always one person, who knows everything about everyone and somehow occupies all points of the floor at the same time. They’re the ones you can’t touch because they have blackmail on everyone.
Another Season? It’s possible, there is still plenty they can do with the cast, and at the very least, tighten up the Inami arc from the first season. But more of the same would be acceptable.

om nom nom

I'M GONNA EAT YOU

UN-GO was probably the only series this season to offer a truly excellent ending that wrapped up the show nicely without any loose ends. It got a bit hard to follow in places because of the vagueness that surrounded Inga and Bettenou, and it was hard to deduce who was who and what was what, but the last episode kind of sorts that out in the most simple primitive way possible, and that’s through ol’ fashion force. Still, they didn’t really explain the monster’s existences or how they came to be, except it being something from the war, but oddly enough I did not need an explanation, it seemed like “magical bullshit” was good enough for me.

Title: UN-GO
Sub Group I Watched: Horrible
Episodes: 11
Rating (1-10): 8

Favorite Character: Kazamori Sasa
Least Favorite Character: Izumi Koyama
Tasty Souls: I felt this was a bit of a gimmick in the series, that they could have removed it and it would have retained the same charm it had throughout the show. The extra mechanic seemed to catch up at the end when it was necessary to explain who and what Inga and Bettenou were. Fortunately they weaved this flawlessly, but I often think I would have been fine without the supernatural element.
Character Overload: I kinda got annoyed with the constant re-introduction of characters a bit in each episode, but admittingly, it made it easier to remember some of the sporadic faces.
Political Statement? It’s nothing new to anime, Japan likes to sneak little pieces here and there about how they perceive the world and politics today. 9/11 came up at least once if I recall, and though they don’t really say what the “war” was, I think they hinted at terrorism and a possible struggle over communications and energy.

For the Horde

Super Fish Catch

Ika Musume‘s second season draws to a close, and leaves open the possibility of more. Overall I think the first season had a little bit more going on, but the addition of Kiyomi and her friends added another layer to an already random show full of random moments. I do wonder though, if they make a third season, if there will ever be an end to it, will she return without succeeding in the invasion, or will she go somewhere else besides the beach and start a new chain of adventures? But I’m overthinking this, it’s simply squidding fun.

Title: Shinryaku!? Ika Musume
Sub Group I Watched: FFFpeeps
Episodes: 12
Rating (1-10): 7

Favorite Character: Chizuru Aizawa
Least Favorite Character: Martin
U Mad Eiko? That tends to be the fun in her pseudo-tsundere character, she is always mad or annoyed with Ika, but as the last episode shows, cares for her a lot.
English Cindy: Still one of the high points this season, the english episode was fun, because it actually sounded good and not like someone with a basic sense of it tried haphazardly.
MIT Shenanigans The snow machine was probably their best invention yet, and best screw-up.

Cool Story Bro.

I watch Maken-ki for the plot.

I tend to be a glutton for punishment, and that punishment is sitting through an obvious fanservice show looking for signs of the plot they tease you with in the first couple episodes. Well in Maken-ki they finally deliver, in the very last episode, and cheap the entire fucking thing out. I mean, oh look, here is a big bad with some mind control or someshit and oh look, our dorky perverted “hero” is now a fucking super-strong monster who gets PIERCED THROUGH THE HEAVENS by his big-titted heroine. You know what? Just drop the super powers and all that bullshit and just give me fanservice, at least then I would keep watching for the right reason and not the trainwreck reason. I don’t even feel like completing the rest of this review, it got a 5. Don’t bother. I didn’t even make a new screenshot because I permanently deleted the folder after I finished watching. Oops.

The preview chart is out for next season’s draw, which includes eight shows added to the four carrying over from this season, bringing my total up to twelve for this season, as much as I believe I had for the summer. Heavyweights include Zero no Tsukaima and Tantei Opera Milky Holmes along with some new shows that look interesting. I’m setting up my shit for the new premieres, so I’ll have a first week preview after everything airs next week. Roughly.

Into the Unknown Future

Four more shows meet their final number this week, clearing out the schedule for the next season to begin, and Ika Musume begins her second season up front. Let’s get started:

Why did it take until now to be good?

Kukuri's pissed now son

So sadly, by the end of Kamisama Dolls I was confused. Here you have a pretty tight series in terms of story and characters, and you play Code Geass with it throughout the middle of the show, making fun of Utao’s face, Hibino’s huge tits, and Kyouhei’s retarded emo feelings about everything. But in the final few episodes, holy fucking shit, everything breaks the fuck out and we have ourselves a real classic showdown here, worthy of some of the best action sequences. But to add insult to injury, they play the “Second Season” card and not give the first one a real ending beyond Aki realizing he is a crazy douche. Real classy guys. Fuck.

Title: Kamisama Dolls
Sub Group I Watched: Horrible
Episodes: 13
Rating (1-10): 7

Favorite Character: Utao Kuga
Least Favorite Character: Kuuko Karahari (mostly because she had little to no role through most of the show)
WHAT DOES THE SCOUTER SAY ABOUT HIS POWER LEVEL? There were a few points in the final episodes where it was just turning into a cockfest, and you wonder who was just going to beat the shit out of each other and finish it.
Favorite SHIPPING Kyouhei and Hibino. Obviously.
Serious Siscon: Seriously. Utao was just a little too clingy for me often.

Where was the F Class KKK then?

You made Himeji cry you motherfucker.

Baka Test Ni! finishes much predictably as the first, very idiotic and open-ended, leaving room for another season I am sure. Overall I’d say this season wasn’t too bad, bringing Minami into the dere more was certainly a plus, but Himeji didn’t shine until the end, no one else was given much time really except maybe Hideyoshi. The flashback episodes were pretty good. So really by itself there wasn’t much value to this, but if you watched the first season, you’ll feel right at home.

Title: Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu Ni!
Sub Group I Watched: FFFpeeps, Commie
Episodes: 13
Rating (1-10): 7

Favorite Character: Minami Shimada
Least Favorite Character: Miharu Shimizu
Best HONEST EMOTION Summon: Minami. Period.
Best INNER DEMON Summon Himeji. Aww yeah.
Bro Love: Only for Hideyoshi.

It's ketchup for the 4kids version

Goddamit Huey. Always sleeping on the job.

Much like Kamisama Dolls, Dantalian no Shoka also suffered from mid-show slowdown, though they spiced it up a little bit with interesting angles here and there, including the other two biblioprincesses. The ending? Nothing to drive home over actually, they didn’t build up to the finale in any sort of way, it was like “here it is, have fun” but at least spent the first half of the episode backstorying it for you. How kind. In the end, excellent show, good cast of characters, would welcome a second season, which seems likely given the open ending.

Title: Dantalian no Shoka
Sub Group I Watched: Commie
Episodes: 13
Rating (1-10): 7

Favorite Character: Dalian
Least Favorite Character: Flamberge
Best Pair: Huey and Dalian
Worst Pair Hal Kamhout and Flamberge
Victorique? Almost.

No seriously

The only part of the episode that was good

I don’t really know what to say. When Mayo Chiki first aired I thought this was going to be a light comedy about a female butler. What I got instead was something almost to the tune of Kampfer’s stupid no-plot but with better characters, which judging from the final episode cameos, makes perfect sense. Honestly, a whole lot of better effort could have gone into this, but you could tell they were gunning for a second season from the second to last episode, hell, the last episode was a filler! Truly sloppy. It’s a decent watch, but if you want serious business anime, don’t.

Title: Mayo Chiki
Sub Group I Watched: Ayako, WhyNot
Episodes: 13
Rating (1-10): 7

Favorite Character: Subaru Konoe
Least Favorite Character: Nagare Konoe
Best Pair: Kinjirou and Kanade
Worst Pair Kinjirou and Nakuru
Cool Wall Position Uncool.

I will update this post tomorrow with the final rankings for the week. Until then, take a look at a new page feature, The “Weeaboo” Cool Wall featuring a shamelessly stolen idea from a popular UK motoring show adapted for this season’s anime.

New shows next week, standby for Ika Musume preview to be tacked on here tomorrow also.