Report Card: Crunchyroll Winter 2010 Season - Mania.com



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Report Card: Crunchyroll Winter 2010 Season

A look at what worked and what didn't for the winter season

By Chris Beveridge     March 30, 2010


Crunchyroll Report Card
© N/A

The winter 2010 season of new shows available on Crunchyroll has drawn to a close and we're taking a look at what came out and looking at them as a whole. This season was the first where we looked at all the new shows that started up on Crunchyroll (but not longer/currently running series as we didn't want to jump in the middle) and it's a very different experience from watching a show in the old 4-5 episode format or the newer 12/13 episode sets and full collections thereafter. The weekly approach certainly has you breaking down each episode more but at the cost of the larger picture that we often see more clearly now in the half season sets. With the season drawing to a close for the most part, we're definitely enthused to see what the spring 2010 season will bring, particularly with Crunchyroll now being invested in by TV Tokyo directly.

Class Grade Notes
 B

Chu-Bra (read detailed notes here)

Probably the most controversial of the titles, the focus on middle school girls (and a boy) where one of them starts an underwear club will not go over well with a lot of people, even in the anime world. It's full of fanservice but what balanced it out is that it was actually pretty amusing, had some good designs and managed to be surprisingly educational. It's a guilty pleasure through and through and one we looked forward to each week. This would be an easy purchase should it get licensed.

 C-

Cobra: The Animation (read detailed notes here)

Cobra's been riding high on its multi-year anniversary and following up on two OVAs with a new TV series is smart. Sadly, the show had a lot of balance issues and the multiple episode stories lost steam part way through each time. There's a lot to love with the character who is definitely manly and is surrounded by women who are not high school girls as well as the whole science fiction angle but it never found a good voice. The single episode stories are the highlights but it's not a show that we're eager to see again.

 A

Durarara!! (read detailed notes here)

This is the only show that just hit its halfway mark but we're pretty confident about it based on what we've seen that it'd be an easy purchase. Similar in style to Baccano!, also by the same original light novel author, Durarara!! has been a show with surprisingly detailed and layered character stories that weave in and out of each other. Surprises abound but it's a show that manages to top most of what it's done so far at the end of the first half and that's not an easy thing to do. Beautiful designs, crazy energy and a cast of characters that could easily be spun into their own series. Very much an easy purchase.

 A-

Hanamaru Kindergarten (read detailed notes here)

As has been famously said, never work with kids or animals. I think that applies to anime as well but Hanamaru really managed to be something special as it focused on a small group of kindergarten kids and the new teacher they get, the first male teacher there. The antics are amusing (and generally believable) while the character relationships offer up real emotion as well as humor. Gainax knocked this one out of the park for a lot of fans, especially with unique ending sequences for each episode that offered special time for the kids. There's a certain offbeat humor to be had in a lot of this and if you like that, it'll work great, even with kids involved.

 C

Omamori Himari (read detailed notes here)

This series felt like it was predictable from the first frames, which is never a good sign. That it played out true to form only reinforced it as a show designed to fill a time slot because they didn't have anything else like it that's been done repeatedly. Omamori Himari does have its moments as it plays to the harem angle with numerous girls and female ayakashi moving into the leads life as he finds himself to be a very gifted demon slayer, should he actually work at it and accept it. It's filled with bouncy moments and lots of panty flashing and innuendo but it fell into the trap of being predictable and not having enough time to really differentiate itself from hordes of other similar shows. It is entirely forgettable. 

 B+

So-ra-no-wo-to (read detailed notes here)

The only original project of the batch, part of the Anime no Chikara project, Soranowoto is the kind of show like Omamori Himari that is predictable but really manages to define itself to become a unique offering. Showing us a world where the future is very different after multiple wars and loss, the focus on a small group of female soldiers at a city fortress allows a lot of small moments of discovery. Each new episode expands more on them and their world, in a fairly moe way since they want us to care for these girls so strongly, while eventually teasing out a bigger storyline at the end that really defines it all. Some of it could have been introduced earlier and a couple of episodes are average at best, but the visual quality, the designs and the overall idea was spot on and would be a title we'd grab without se

In addition to our own thoughts on the show, we polled our readership that was watching all of these series right alongside us to see what they'd actively recommend to others as a show to watch or eventually purchase when it hits video (either in Japan or a hopeful US license). The results seem to mirror our own feelings about the properties with only a few minor differences overall here and there. How do you feel about this past seasons new shows? Sound off below or in the discussion thread here

Which shows would you recommend from the winter 2010 season?
Chu-Bra   20.83%
Cobra: The Animation   6.25%
Durarara!!   64.58%
Hanamaru Kindergarten   54.17%
Omamori Himari   14.58%
Soranowoto   60.42%
.

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