American TV has slowly started experimenting beyond the standard “debut every series in September and see what sticks” model, but it’s still the case that fall is the season where the big ticket items are debuted. Similiarly, the big anime seasons tend to be spring and fall, with the winter and particularly the summer season left to left to flounder with continuing shows and one or two decent new offerings.
That was certainly the case last summer, as noted by our very tepid awards post for summer 2010. It was not the case in winter 2011, with some remarkably solid offerings including Madoka, which is still the most likely candidate for show of the year. It’s also not the case here, with some strong continuing series being equaled or bested by shows that debuted this season. Neither of us were prepared for how remarkably strong, on balance, this season’s offerings were.
It’s unfortunate that the strength of the best series of this season eclipsed some other gems. When the most competitive category is “Best Show We Didn’t Cover,” that’s a good sign that summer 2011 was a great three months for anime. And that remains true even though the second most competitive category was “Most Offensive Series.”
As bear didn’t have a chance to watch most of the summer shows, this post is written entirely by 3HM.
Yesterday I tore apart A Channel for being a slice-of-life show that distinguished itself not by its comedy (of which there was little) or its originality (of which there was less) but by its willingness to exploit its cast, in what is typically a rather chaste corner of the anime world. Today, I turn to My Ordinary Life (Nichijou), the latest slice-of-life show from Kyoto Animation, perhaps feeling a bit more charitable simply by comparison.
Once upon a time Kyoto Animation did shows like Full Metal Panic and The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, which—love them or hate them—were on the leading edge of the industry. Now the studio seems content to cash in on a never-ending stream of cutsey shows on girls doing nothing, and My Ordinary Life promised to be more of the same.
Or at least, that’s what one would think. But My Ordinary Life plays fast and loose with a number of slice-of-life conventions, and the result is more engaging than I had expected.