I’ve made a few category changes, and among them I’ve introduced some new tiers to “Reviews” to review series as the season goes on. Today’s will be Second Take, taking a good hard look at my current lineup again as we’re 3-4 episodes into Winter 2011.

Winter 2011 - Top 9

1. Infinite Stratos
A lot of people label this as “generic harem” and I would tend to agree somewhat. It’s a terribly ideal setting, you’re the only guy that can pilot a thing that only girls can pilot, so getting sent to a school of only girls, well, a harem end is natural. Then you pile on the childhood friends, tsunderes, and probably a shy girl and this anime is destined for a Love Hina finish, right? Wrong. IS thankfully makes our MC not a complete failure, and the IS units themselves aren’t just people inside robots, they’re people AS robots. It has all of the charm of Sky Girls and Strike Witches with a touch of a few other series, along with COUNTRY RIVALRY to boot. Say what you want, but I am thoroughly enjoying this series.
Current Rating: 8

2. Puella Magi Madoka Magica
We thought we were going to get something close to Nanoha with a SHAFT spin, but what we really got was “Monty Python’s Flying Magical Girl Circus” combined with a much darker image than previously expected, like that scene from Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life and poor Mami was the mint wafer. A lot of speculation and talk are flying around this series, enough to dedicate a full wiki to it. Honestly, with or without Mami, this series is shaping up to be one of the most interesting series I have seen in awhile, and the only thing that didn’t bump it to number one on my list was that I’ve yet to pin a favorite character in this series yet, versus Britain (Cecila) in IS.
Current Rating: 8

3. Kore wa Zombie
Besides the Dyson Bladeless Fan (seriously Dyson, you should give me one of your fans), this series puts a creative and comedic spin on the generic harem created by random women moving into the house, much like Sora no Otoshimono. Besides Ayumu, who was killed and turned into a zombie by Eu, a Necromancer who communicates by writing on notepads, there is the Magical Girl Haruna, and a Vampire Ninja Seraphim. I ranked it at number three because it’s hilarious how it flips between serious and not serious in any given moment, and it’s like I’m watching Angel Beats in a whole different way or something. Like I expect Eu to suddenly hack the world. Either way, I am okay with this.
Current Rating: 8

Victorique is full of HHNNNGGGGG moments, moreso than should be allowed by federal law. Needless to say, I initially was going to rank this third, and really after the third episode I should, but Zombie inched ahead slightly. For those who quip this is Rozen Maiden Season 3, they’re pretty much right, but I am very much amused by her Sherlock Holmes mystery-busting talents, as well as Kujo’s naive sense of obviousness. More can be done though, so this one will be fighting with my number three for awhile I think.
Current Rating: 7

5. Dragon Crisis
A lot of people had high expectations for this when it released, and after the second episode, some support dropped out, namely because the MC, Ryuji, decided that Rose was an inconvenience to him because he didn’t like how his parents didn’t pay attention to him for treasures as a kid, after being told that he discovered Rose and Rose saw him as a parent or guardian. Sure, make her cry, and when the bad guy comes for her, you leave her to be taken away. Needless to say, I was also not impressed at this, and my hope is that his resolve is changed in the next couple episodes, because I for one tire of the weak beta MC in an action/supernatural anime, expecially a KugiRie series, waaaay too many of those.
Current Rating: 7

6. Fractale
Nadia rumors aside, this series is a bit confusing slightly, but somewhat enjoyable to watch. I think after a few seasons of watching quick series and comedy, SoL, and such, that I’m finding it a little hard to adjust my ADD to really enjoy this series, and this season’s lot is making it tough too. I think as this series goes forward though I might get a better idea of what I am watching, they are mixing between dropping too much and dropping too little at you in the beginning, which is good. The art style is also rather interesting and reminds me much of Overman King Gainer. Hell, so does the story now if you take out the robots.
Current Rating: 7

7. Oniichan no Koto
Not going to lie, I’m dangerously close to dropping this one. I like comedy and “ecchi” fanservice as much as the next guy, but besides the >_< faces, which I found to be a profound turn-off for this series, there are the "noodle" bodies, and shallow personalities of all of the characters. Shuusuke's "going straight" in the last episode, eh.. kinda interested to see how they are going to play a reverse-Tomoki, but really it just means Nao is going to step up her perversion while twintail girl is also going to step up hers, and you know it's not going to go into anything you'd actually like to see, so eh. I'm a fair man though, I will give it another episode or two to decide.
Current Rating: 6

Continuing from Last Season: Index
The second half of Index is getting better, Orsola fanservice helped, and now Agnese and the two sisters from the Catholics might make this interesting, but dear lord Touma’s wordswordswordswords, I laughed when Index sighed during the last episode’s monologue, they really are getting trite. I’m in the process of slowly reading the novels from the beginning of the second season up, anime will probably finish by the time I finish them because of work and all. Pretty interesting read really.
Current Rating: 7

Continuing from Last Season: Super Robot Wars OG: The Inspector
Honestly some of this series confuses the hell out of me, the other dimension, the aliens, all of the other shit, but Lamia Loveless is awesome and so is Excellen Browning, among everyone else. It’s Super Robots, you need nothing else than to blow shit up and be this awesome.
Current Rating: 9

Another snowstorm looms this week, so if I have time around work, I plan to dive into another chunk of pre-game setup for this summer/fall’s Saimoe tournament, as this year is going to be a helluva year for character entries I think. What I am probably going to do is draw up a short list of characters I believe will make it to the main tournament, and some theoretical matchups. Also going to make some headway on the poster designs for this year. Hit for all of that.

I wish this customer would go away so I can get some sleep.

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