What’s Hot; What’s Not, Fall 2011

So when I updated my prior article, I put in a brief ranking of shows this season, only to realize that I was suffering from brain death and forgot about three I was following. That did kind of blow my rankings totally. Yep, it’s another “large” season, where I’ve got a lot of shows that I like, although no breakout show like Puella Magi Magical Madoka is to be found among them. (Fate/Zero is certainly good, but it’s not exactly groundbreaking, 7 years after F/SN.) So to make sure I don’t do that again (ha, right!), I thought I’d commit my thoughts to electrons somewhere, now that we’ve passed the 1/3 point of Fall,2011. So without further ado, in order, here’s my picks for this season thus far.

Fate/Zero — Never has the line, “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey” been so true. Sure, we know how it’s going to end. But watching Rider’s quirkiness, Lancer’s honor, Kirei and Tohsaka’s duplicity, and “Archer’s” sheer conceited arrogance makes this show so much better than the original Fate/Stay Night. Watching no less than six Masters and Servants face off on a single battlefield in episode 5 was a blast. Shifting alliances, targets of opportunity… Gen Urobachi knows his business. QUITE HOT

Mirai Nikki — Probably the series I anticipated the most, and it’s actually better than the manga, so far. The plot is a lot clearer, and Gasai Yuno is just about the perfect storm of cute and Axe Crazy (currently, literally). On the negative side, Yukiteru won’t stop being a passenger for way too long, and I think that’s going to drag the series down for a while. As long as they do something about that mess of an ending, it will still finish highly. HOT

Ben-to — (tie) For reasons already explained, it’s tickling my funnybone, while providing enough fanservice to keep me happy. But the character depth is not as shallow as one might suspect, especially when Ayame sends Sato after Shaga, when the latter is obviously in need of some company. Shortly after that, the viewer realizes that Shaga really does mean the question she keeps mock-seriously asking Sato, “How did we end up in the ‘friend’ zone?” Of course he isn’t picking up on it; that’s required, but it makes me wonder if, like Ichika in Infinite Stratos, Sato is still looking for his puberty. VERY WARM

Boku ha Tomodachi ga Sukunai — (tie) The girls are really cute, but every single person in the group is a misfit of some sort. Out of which Kodoka, the one guy in the Friends club, will assemble a harem. This one is likely to lose ground now that the loli nun has shown up. She’s as noisy as Index, but at 1/3 the brainpower. And watching Yozora bully her didn’t really help. An interesting wrinkle is that late in episode 3, it’s revealed that Yozora and Kodoka are actually childhood friends, but Kodoka hasn’t connected the cute, but bullying, girl with the the “boy” he was friends and fought with against bullies, years ago. As of episode 4, we not only got the loli, but we got the pervy science nerd too. Who, now that she knows a boy that saved her life (not really), she promptly offers kinky sex to, because she needs a test subject to study it. WARM, BUT COOLING RAPIDLY.

Maken-Ki — More cute girls, the makings of a plot, and they’re toning down the fanservice white-outs to tolerable levels after the first couple of episodes. Like one or two. And Takeru mans up and smacks the crap out of a mook that Kodama screwed up and let get the best of her. A harem center that isn’t a wimp, who’da thunk? SIMMERING NICELY

Maji-koi — which has forgotten what a plot is, let alone considered keeping the one it had. Not only has it abandoned any pretense of having plot in favor of harem hijinks, it then turns around and ignores the primary haremettes for 2/3 of the episodes to make room for a character we haven’t seen since she got spanked in the first episode. Literally. Oh, and this harem center shows his manliness by letting himself get beaten to a pulp by a girl. NOT HOT

Mashiro-iro Symphony — Quickly getting sappy; the tsundere is already seriously thawed out, and there’s just nothing here to hold my interest. Purple haired girl is totally two-dimensional. Rapidly tanking. CHILLY

Abandoned with all due Haste (ALL FRIGID):
Guilty Crown – Logic. Fail. Unable to re-initialize interest engine. Fatal error at 0×000000. Would you like to save before exiting? Y/N: _N_.
C3 — Got interesting….briefly.
Horizon — With what, and in whose hat? Sensible shoes. Butter pops. And bewbies!
Hunter X Hunter Cute and kinda fun, but ultimately, it’s about a kid and aimed at kids.
Shaukugan No Shana III — Look, it’s angst! Yuuji’s missing! Excuse for more angst! Oh, and he’s been possessed and is now leading the enemy. Cue even more angst when the others find out!
Tamayura Hitose The bore-fest is still broadcasting? Wow.
Chihayafuru Wait, what was this about again? Oh, right, girl obsessed with an obscure game that nobody wants to play.

Well, that’s enough for now. I’m going to post this and come back later for the tags.

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