Otaku Debate: Did the Summer Anime Season Suck?

Surprisingly, last week’s debate didn’t generate the knee-jerk negative reaction towards obesity that I expected. Most of the poll respondents said they preferred their girls anywhere from “meaty” to “slightly chubby,” which could be considered average weight for most people. It’s nice to see our readers have rejected the “thin = sexy” message of pop culture and formed more realistic standards of beauty!

This week’s topic is a bit of a painful one for me. In my humble opinion, this anime season has been a total letdown. Most of the shows, such as Seitokai Yakuindomo and Ookami-san, were just too bland to be worthwhile… and the few that showed promise, like Occult Academy and Highschool of the Dead, turned out to be total duds. The only show that’s marginally entertaining at this point is Mitsudomoe, but the very risque humor makes it appealing to only a small subset of otaku.

Now, I don’t think this means anime is doomed or anything silly like that. We’ve had bad seasons before, particularly in the early nineties after the last economic crash. Still, that doesn’t make it any less depressing to slog through such mediocrity. Has this season left you in a similar state of despair? Or do you think that I’m being overly negative? Are there any anime this season you did enjoy, or are you taking refuge in old classics like Dirty Pair and Gundam while this storm blows over? Vote in the poll below, and share your thoughts in the comment section!

(Just FYI: I consider K-ON!! to be a spring season show, so it doesn’t figure into this debate.)

Did the summer anime season suck?

  • It was average, I guess. *yawn* (38%, 42 Votes)
  • I think it was pretty good. (23%, 25 Votes)
  • I agree with Jon. It was horrid. (19%, 21 Votes)
  • I haven't watched any shows from this season. (12%, 13 Votes)
  • You're full of crap! This season was awesome! (8%, 9 Votes)

Total Voters: 110

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Yen Plus adds K-ON! and Yotsuba&!

Yotsuba doesn't like being upstaged.

The launch of Yen Press’ online magazine Yen Plus went unnoticed by most otaku, mainly because the titles it included were exclusively Korean manhwa instead of manga. However, this month’s issue remedies that by adding two very well-known manga titles to the roster; the ever-popular slice-of-life series K-ON! and Kiyohiko Azuma’s beloved Yotsuba&!. But are these two manga really worth the subscription price?

Well, I decided to check out this month’s issue for myself. After hassling with the Yen Plus online reader’s annoying lag for a bit, I jumped straight to the first chapter of K-ON!. I must say, I find the manga to be much better than the anime, if only because they ditched the psuedo-character development and focused purely on the personality-driven gags, especially those involving Yui. The 4-koma manga essentially distills the plot, cutting out all the fluff and making for a much more lighthearted and enjoyable experience. As for Yotsuba&!, it remains one of the best manga of this decade. If you’ve never heard of it, this excellent article explains exactly why it’s so awesome. Frankly, I think the inclusion of Yotsuba&! chapters alone makes this magazine well worth the price of subscription.

At only $2.99 a month, subscribing to Yen Plus is a good way for even the poorest manga enthusiasts to support the series and artists they love. With two great new titles, I definitely think it’s worth your time and money. One Manga may be gone, but the phenomenon of online manga has a bright future.

Review: K-ON!! 21

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Last week’s episode of K-ON!! had a rather solemn tone, making viewers teary-eyed as the HTT girls finished their final festival together. With this in mind, the next episode could have had any tone imaginable. It could have kept the serious, dramatic feel of the school festival, or shifted back to the lighthearted but ultimately pointless moe fluff that made this show so infamous.

Sad to say, they decided to go with the latter. It reminds me of a previous annoying filler episode a few weeks back. However, this episode was far more entertaining than that disaster, with the jokes being good and the interactions spot on. Of course, since I’m an evil hater critic who loathes all things good and pure, I still had some problems with it. My main complaint is that the episode doesn’t bring anything new or interesting to the table… just more predictable moeblobbery that fails to surprise anyone. With only five episodes remaining, can they really afford to be wasting time with this kind of filler?

Read more after the break. Continue reading

Review: K-ON!! 20

My God... it's full of stars!

Finally! This is the K-ON!! episode fans have been waiting for! With the last two episodes being possibly my favorites of the entire season thus far, I had rather high expectations for this one. Could it maintain the great character-based comedy that made the last two so enjoyable?

I heard this episode actually moved some people to tears, and it’s easy to see why. It was one of the best and most heartfelt episodes of the second season. However, its sluggish pacing kept it from being perfect. In particular, Yui’s long “thank you” monologue just drags on for what felt like hours. Despite this, the jokes were humorous, the music was excellent and the camaraderie between the girls was as entertaining as ever. Overall, a solid episode with a few minor flaws.

Read more in-depth after the break.

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