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Power Rank – January 2011 February 8, 2011

Posted by aggrogahu| in Anime, Power Rank.
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aggrogahu| says:

  • We’ve got a big batch of new shows for 2011’s first Power Rank. If you haven’t been keeping up with the Winter season, now’s a good chance to discern what’s worth watching.
  • I started up a quick FAQ to explain the PR in a nutshell. It will be fleshed-out further as PR keeps rolling.
  • どうぞ!

Update: the layout is now true html as opposed to one giant image. There might be some bugs as a result.

Puella Magi Madoka Magica
 
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aggrogahu| A dark Magical Girl show isn’t new; however, this approach on the genre works extremely well with the characteristic SHAFT production; sporadic camera cuts, zoomed-out shots, and intense music make Madoka’s world very vast and surreal. The plot plays upon Magical Girl genre conventions which, in tandem with the solid production, makes this show very refreshing.
bjw Well, here it is, the most anticipated series of Winter 2011, and boy does it deliver. At its core, Madoka is a deconstruction of the mahou shoujo genre, and it shows throughout these first few episodes. It all boils down to a precarious contract that grants any one wish, and the anxiety felt in determining its worth. We never lose sight of how the main characters analyze this deal, and that’s because we don’t want to.
navycherub If you want action, good characters, the beginnings of an interesting plot, unique visuals, and even great music, Madoka has you covered and then some. Easily my most anticipated and enjoyed show of the month, not a single episode was out of place.
Fractale
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aggrogahu| These first few episodes have laid out the premise and it seems the story will be set into motion in a big way soon. The light-hearted mischief was pretty fun, but no significant events happened in the bulk of the first episodes except for a big setup of things to come.
bjw From what we’ve been given so far, Fractale’s a very solid series with a lot going for it. The premise is simple enough while still allowing for complex development, and hey, I’ve always been kind of a sucker when it comes to dystopian themes.
navycherub With a weak first episode, fun second episode, and intense third episode, Fractale jumped up to having one of the best first months of the whole batch. My only real complaint is the lack of thorough explanations, but that is understandable and forgivable this early for a show like this.
Kore wa Zombie Desu ka?
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aggrogahu| This show’s gag/harem comedy and shounen action elements are just as odd of a combination as the cast itself, but everything fits. The show elicits good lols, the action is well-animated and over-the-top (as action in anime should be), and the serious sections don’t feel forced. Zombie succeeds at being whatever kind of show it decides to be, much to my enjoyment.
bjw I was completely caught off guard by this series. I’m not going to say it’s hilarious, nor will I say that it’s full of intrigue. It just works. And damn well at that. Zombie’s success lies in its cast of quirky characters, and if Studio DEEN plays its cards right, it’ll only go uphill from here.
navycherub While it progresses slightly awkwardly at times, Zombie always managed to entertain, keep my attention, and make me want more by the end of each episode this month. A nice mix of humor, action, and even some fanservice.
Yumekui Merry
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aggrogahu| The dream-vs-reality premise allows for imaginative battles against the show’s diverse “dream demon” characters and the main protagonists. Overall, character designs are a major plus in this show, as well as the overall solid production. I’m not a fan of the repetitive Monster-of-the-day format though.
bjw The driving force in Yumekui Merry revolves around dreams—and as one would hope with any dream-related setting—the result is a fairly versatile and interesting series. So far it’s been a pretty fun ride with very few hitches, but I’d like to see it go above and beyond. There’s a ton of potential here, especially if Merry’s storytelling goes the episodic route.
navycherub I wasn’t coming in expecting much, but Yumekui Merry has taken me for a loop with the nice action and fun characters. It may not be the best show ever, but it is damn sure worth watching.
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aggrogahu| While the comedy is hit-or-miss, the show has shown thoughtfulness in tying together the episodes in a clever way. It’s an oddball of a show, but it shows cohesiveness in its quirkiness.
bjw Easily the biggest surprise of the season for me. Level E is smart, funny, and full of surprises. And even after becoming accustomed to its formula, it’s still a very convincing series that manages to pull me in with ease.
navycherub It started awkwardly, but by episode 3 I was hooked on Level E and the Prince’s lovable antics. The rest of the cast is a bit weak but they are brought out well by the situations that they are put into and it typically works out by the end.
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aggrogahu| New characters as well as new developments between the regular cast make for a much more “interesting” set of episodes this month. At this point, the parallel romance relationships are becoming interesting too now that the developments aren’t drawn-out across episodes.
bjw It’s really just more of the same, but that’s not bad at all.
navycherub Bakuman’s pace is arguably slower than Kimi ni Todoke’s, and its focus still being on a romance that isn’t nearly as interesting as KnT’s really hurts it. On top of that, we are still stuck in the less interesting beginnings of their lives as mangaka, so I can understand why one would easily lose interest. Hopefully it picks up when the other mangaka are introduced and used more often in the story.
 
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aggrogahu| The mystery elements, while somewhat interesting, aren’t executed as well as they could be. With that said, Victorique is the main reason one would be watching this show; she’s a tsundere in a snobby Victorian, vulnerable Lolita way, and her range of emotions and glimpses into her back-story make her more and more likable.
bjw Although it’s a fairly imaginative mystery series, GOSICK is unfortunately plagued with underwhelming suspense. You can thank plot armor for that. Every episode essentially boils down to waiting for the apathetic, crime-solving genius Victorique to lay down the law. Regardless, GOSICK is still a series with a lot of potential. It’s also worth mentioning that while it’s fun listening to Victorique’s solutions, her sarcastic laugh might just steal the show for me.
navycherub The number one thing you figure a mystery anime would be good at is mystery, but GOSICK really hasn’t delivered on interesting and difficult mysteries, which is a shame given how almost everything else it has is wonderfully executed. I like it, but it could do so much better.
Kimi ni Todoke 2
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aggrogahu| Despite how any progress made from the first season seems to be reversing now, the show still maintains its charm; the characters are fun to watch as they interact with each other, and the art direction remains solid with the lovely music and bubbly water-color backgrounds.
bjw KnT’s second outing has accomplished nothing of worth. All that you’ll find here is frustration due to awkward moments galore. Oh, and Production I.G. also had the nerve to include an episode recapping the uneventful first season. You know, as if the show weren’t slow enough.
navycherub While Kazehaya and Sawako’s “relationship” (if you could really call it that at this point) may make some lose patience, the introduction of a new major character and the developments surrounding him as well as Kazehaya’s new and improved perspective on the way he relates to Sawako make Kimi ni Todoke very enjoyable.
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aggrogahu| This month’s arc was interesting in that it revealed some mechanics of the island while succeeding in making me invest in Mizuno’s character emotionally. The battles continue to be fancy, but the pace of them and the greater story continue to be repetitive as ever.
bjw Star Driver is starting to heat up and it’s about time. The plot still feels largely unexplored despite being this late into the season, but the point is that it’s advancing and with this comes more entertainment. You can’t really ask for more than that when it comes to Star Driver because, well, let’s be honest here: Star Driver won’t be giving you anything more.
navycherub Mizuno’s arc was addicting and ended on a great point, and the fight against Head was easily the best Star Driver has had to offer so far. The plot is also finally starting to heat up, so Star Driver was quite good this month.
Wandering Son
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aggrogahu| This show might as well be a second season. It’s difficult to fully grasp the strong tensions between the characters when there are so many that were just introduced. The art direction and animation are amazing though.
bjw There’s a lot to like about Wandering Son: the direction, art, and impressive soundtrack make up just a few examples. However, I can’t shake the feeling that what I’m watching is boring. A rather colorful cast promises exploration in a number of issues relevant to those growing up in society today, and yet, it’s this same seemingly robust cast where I find its flaws. This will most likely fix itself for me as the series progresses into February.
navycherub While I do like the story, character interactions, and art, Wandering Son suffers for being just a bit confusing; understandable, since it begins in essentially the middle of the story, but a lack of real introductions to the characters makes it hard to follow at points.
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Comments»

1. bjw - February 8, 2011

I don’t know how you always manage to hyperlink the PR image to itself. I’ll fix it.

Edit: Oh, and I just caught a typo. Bakuman went from rank 10 to 6, but the differential says 10(+6) rather than 10(+4).

aggrogahu| - February 8, 2011

WordPress makes an image a hyperlink by default. Also, fixed my math >_>.

2. Yi - February 8, 2011

I need to watch more anime this season… Good thing I did manage to pick up number one though. Madoka’s awesome!

3. potato - February 9, 2011

way too much drama in those choices for me
baby bel is my top pick and level E is runner up but may be too dark even if its a comedy

4. Kilani - February 12, 2011

I saw IS & Freezing in the tags and was scared. Thankfully it’s not polluting this list! I agree with this list very much.

aggrogahu| - February 13, 2011

Hahaha. Yeah, there was no way those were making top 10. The order I typed out the tags was actually the comprehensive final ranking, meaning IS was 14th and Freezing was 16th (out of the 17 shows in the running).


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