A thoughtful response to current anime.

Category Archives: Level E

Sun Tzu’s Picks: Top 10 Anime of 2011

2011 has ended, as years often do.  Soon the new year’s anime will be starting; I haven’t taken a close look at them, but I’ve heard there isn’t much to be excited about.  So rather than worry about the upcoming year right now, let’s take a moment to stop and reflect on the year that has passed, and rank the ten best anime of the year.

Some rules regarding what I consider eligible to receive a ranking: I’m counting anime (so no J-Dramas or My Little Pony) that aired on TV (so no movies or OVA) starting in 2011 (so no Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu for #1 anime five years running).  I’m also excluding any anime that were just continuations of a series that began prior to 2011.  There were a few good second seasons that aired this year, like Ika Musume 2 and TWGOK 2, but those shows have already received consideration during their original airing years, and it’s time for them to step aside and make room for new blood.  Shows that aren’t done airing or shows that I haven’t finished watching are fine, though, so long as I’ve seen enough of them to have an opinion.  All the descriptions below are going to contain spoilers, so maybe you should just read the titles and then go off and watch all of them?

The Top 10 Anime of 2011, in Ascending Order (the last shall be first and the first shall be last)

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Concluding Thoughts – Level E

Good things about the show:  The hammerblow punchlines.  In the best traditions of science fiction short stories, Level E generates complex situations, brings them to a climactic head, and then introduces a tiny change in perspective that forces you to reevaluate everything you’d ever thought about everything and suddenly everything is resolved.  The definition of a good plot twist is something you feel like you should have seen coming but didn’t, and there are a few truly excellent plot twists in Level E.  The prince and Captain Craft also have an excellent tsundere bromance going on. I just wooted a little when I saw that my spellchecker recognizes both tsundere and bromance – you and me, we are going to get along, spellchecker.  And even without Captain Craft around, the prince is an amazing troll, and it’s always fun to watch amazing trolls at work.

Bad things about the show:  Some of the arcs didn’t have punchlines, and some of them didn’t focus on the prince.  Without either of those two things, what does the show even have?  Just a bunch of technobabble and drawings of aliens.  That’s not what interests me about science fiction, you guys.  There were a few arcs that just went completely nowhere.

Memorable moment in the show:

The first punchline, when the prince’s plan is revealed.  That was the moment that I was truly enlightened as to the nature of this show.  Up until that point I had thought it was a mediocre action show with an interesting protagonist.

Worthwhile characters in the show: The prince was amazing, with his innocent smirking smile that he preserved no matter the situation, whether he was tormenting some poor mortal or in danger of his life.  He had an admirable dedication to the Way of the Troll.  Captain Craft was also pretty good, he was adorable trying to be a responsible adult in a world shaped by a petulant child.  The Color Rangers didn’t get strongly characterized, but I feel like I would have liked to have spent more time with Color Rangers White and Black.

All in all: The show kind of sags in the middle, but it picks up again near the end.  If you can handle the delayed gratification of an end-loaded science fiction short story, and if you have an appreciation for the fine art of the troll, you will get a kick out of Level E.

Level E – Episode 13

Let’s finish up Level E, then we’ll be halfway to the glorious future of Spring Season.  And with Madoka stalled indefinitely, we just have to make it through the rest of Kore Zombie and then write three series conclusion posts!  All in the next couple days.  Well, no one said the life of an anime blogger was easy.  There are compensating factors, though.  Like for example, I get to watch the crown prince of Dogura (I had been referring to him as “the prince of Dogura”!  how foolish I feel) and his definitely crazy, possibly evil blackmailer fiancée bounce off each other.  Too bad it’s only lasting one more episode, but we will just count ourselves lucky to watch Level E episode 13 at all.

…thirty minutes pass… Read more of this post

Level E – Episode 12

Two more episodes of Level E to go.  I imagine this is the final arc.  I hope it is, because the single episode arcs in Level E have not really wowed me.  Let’s also hope that they bring in some original damn characters – if this arc turns out to be a callback to the STD insect alien princess, I think that I shall scream.  Well, let’s not worry about the little things, and watch Level E Episode 12 in a spirit of optimism.

…thirty minutes pass… Read more of this post

Level E – Episode 11

So that’s one vote for finish up and one vote for immediately start Spring. The one vote for moving to Spring seems to have a valid reason, though, and the one vote for finishing up seems to be hating on Spring for no good reason? I’m hype about Spring. On the other hand, it is not my place to argue with your motivations. Theirs not to make reply, theirs not to reason why, theirs but to do and die. I’ll compromise and spend a couple few more days trying to finish out Winter Season, and if I can’t get it taken care of, I’ll give up and start in on Spring. For now, let’s watch some Level E! We ended an arc last time, so the slate is once more wiped clean as we head into episode 11.

…thirty minutes pass… Read more of this post

Level E – Episode 10

Ok, while we wait for the exciting conclusion to Fractale to be subbed, let’s shift gears to Level E, which is coming off a really awful episode. We’re starting a new arc, though, so let’s forget all of that nonsense and begin episode 10 of Level E!

…thirty minutes pass… Read more of this post