First Impressions: Fall 2010 Anime Season

As he does for every season, Jon Ingoglia of JanaiBlog recently held one of his Anime Samplers, where we all vote on which new shows of the season look the best, and we then watch 1 or 2 episodes of each (ending in a few extra episodes of our favorite of the night!). There were some big hits and big misses among the bunch. Here for you are my quick first impressions of some of this season’s biggest new titles!

Iron Man (Episodes 1 & 2)

This anime is based off of the Marvel character of the same name. Tony Stark, also known as Iron Man, comes to Japan with the intent on finding a way to give the country clean, free energy and, in the process, announce his retirement as Iron Man. He has new Iron Man suits all built and is ready to pass the torch on when he is attacked by combat machines from a group only known as Zodiac. Now before he can retire, Tony has to don the Iron Man suit once more.

I heard a LOT of negative things about this title, but it really wasn’t that bad. The animation was great, but that was expected with Marvel behind it. The story however was average at best, and while it kept us entertained enough to watch two episodes, we were more than ready to move on when all was said and done. If you’re an Iron Man fan, you’ll surely enjoy this, but otherwise you might find it to be rather lackluster.

Star Driver: Kagayaki no Takuto (Episode 1)

More like Star FABULOUS!

This is about a school on an island, and a kid named Takuto that misses his boat and actually swims all the way to said island. He says he just wants to live a good school life, but he clearly has a whole other agenda involving a legacy that his father left him. A group of masked people are stealing shrine maidens from the island and ‘unlocking’ certain gates using battle mecha called Cybodies. Only chosen people can use these mecha, but Takuto happens to be a special, fabled person that will shake things up with his presence.

Sound vague and confusing? It is! This was by far the worst title of the night. The character designs were insane and the story failed to hold my interest. The only thing that DID catch my eye was the FABULOUS nature of these characters and mecha. It made for a few laughs, but other than that, this series just wasn’t worth it to me.

To Aru Majutsu no Index II (Episode 1)

This is the second season of To Aru Majutsu no Index, a story about a girl named Index who has a bunch of magical books stored in her brain and the events that surround her. Although I’ve watched a few episodes of the spin-off series To Aru Kagaku no Railgun, I’ve never seen Index itself. I enjoyed it more than I thought I was going to, and it did a decent job of explaining some of the major plot points that are needed to understand the anime without watching the first season, but in the end than that I wasn’t really thrilled by it.

Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt (Episode 1)

One of my personal favorites of the season! This wasn’t even on our agenda for the evening, but we watched it anyway! This anime is about two angels on Earth named Panty and Stocking who are searching for heaven coins, and they get them by fighting off demons with the help of a priest named Garterbelt. It is animated very much like an American cartoon, and each episode consists of two 15-minute stories, much like cartoons in America are.

Despite that, it has a very Japanese feel to it, and the music and art direction are unique, funky, and superb. If you can deal with the sometimes jeuvenile comedy, then you will LOVE this show!

Super Robor Taisen OG: The Inspector (Episode 1)

This mecha anime centers around humans trying to rebuild after losing a war. This is thrown into a spin as the president of the Unified Colonies publicly acknowleges the existence of aliens, and reveals a plan to get rid of the aliens so that they can continue living in peace.

Now THIS was a mind-blowing show! The mecha action was absolutely breathtaking, and I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. It was engaging, interesting, and all-around entertaining. If you like mecha or just action anime in general, check this one out!

The World God Only Knows (Episodes 1-3)

This anime centers around Keima, an otaku who spends all of his free time (and much of his school time) engrossed in dating sims. He is known online as “The Capturing God”, and runs a blog telling people how to get every story branch in all of the visual novels he’s played. He accepts a challenge from a blog reader of his, only to find out that it was really a contract with Hell! Now he has Elsie, a demon, following him around, and he must help her get rid of all of the ‘loose souls’, or demons that reside in people’s hearts, and he can only do this by taking the evil spirit’s place in that person’s heart by making them fall in love with him! The worst part is that if he doesn’t succeed, the collars around both Keima and Elsie’s necks will decapitate them!

This was the favorite of the night! It was funny, witty, enjoyable, and incredibly heartfelt. You really fall for Keima, and as he is forced to pull away from his games and integrate into real life, you begin to see him change and grow, even in the first three episodes! I HIGHLY recommend this anime to everyone!

Samurai Girls (Episode 1)

This anime takes place during the Tokugawa Shogunate, where all of the famous warlords from history have passed on their names to young girls who are in opposing schools. The student councils are responsible for waging war against the other schools, but when one of the girls decides to rebel, it causes some major problems.

I found this show to be pretty boring. There was quite a bit of fanservice in it, however, so if you’re into that kind of thing, you might enjoy it. There isn’t much else for me to say about it other than that the music was pretty good, at least.

Bakuman (Episodes 1 & 2)

Masahiro is a failing school student who only wants to be a manga artist, but never really tried his hand at story writing. Takagi is in his class and has the best grades in class, and his dream is to be a manga writer, but he can’t draw at all. Takagi spies Masahiro drawing in class and ropes him into promising to team up with him and create a manga. It gets even better from Masahiro when he finds out that the girl of his dreams, Miho, wants to be a voice actress! She promises to voice their heroine when they make it big, and so Masahiro goes along with Takagi on a quest to make it big so he can marry Miho and live his dreams.

This was the other big hit of the night! It was downright hilarious, entertaining, and oddly addicting; both episodes seemed to fly by way too fast because they were so enjoyable! If you’re into romantic comedies with some fairly dark drama mixed in, you will definitely want to check this show out!


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