Summer 2011 reviews: An Ordinary Memo Pad

So with this weekend comes the finales of three of the shows I was following this season. This review will be for two of the three (Hanasaku Iroha gets one by itself) and will encompass my thoughts on Nichijou and Heaven’s Memo Pad. Obviously spoilers abound beyond the break.

First with the average. Heaven’s Memo Pad isn’t bad, but it isn’t good either. After a double-length first episode that was an anime original, the series meanders through three mysteries in 8 episodes and arrives at the final arc. Meo’s story was one that had plenty of potential, but ended up being by-the-books. The ramen arc provided some good backstory to Min-san, but outside of the following arc, no other characters are given such treatment. We are treated to a long portion of inter-yakuza fighting with Renji coming back that drags on for an episode longer than needed. Finally the final arc is good, but too late to build upon for a better story.

Overall, I feel that Heaven’s Memo Pad isn’t the fault of J.C. Staff for improperly animating/directing the series, but from the original material. The first episode was written by the anime staff, and serves well as the introduction, but the remaining episodes (outside of the final arc) lack that spark that makes you want to keep watching. I wonder what would happen if it got the Railgun treatment (first arc=source, rest=anime original) as the stories may have been better.

Animation-wise, J.C. Staff did a passable job. It’s not exceptional, but it’s a bit darker than their previous fare that I’ve viewed. The OP animation is very good, in fact I quite watching after the OP once because that was enough to satisfy my Memo Pad needs. The OP is passable, and the ED grew on me. OST wasn’t anything special.

Final score: 74. Needed more work done to flesh out the main cast, especially Alice.

And now to a show that really grew on me over the past three months, Nichijou. I thought the lack of connectivity between the segments at the beginning was alright, but the incredible hit-or-miss part really made the show suffer. When we had the “Nano’s going to school” plot, it greatly helped to have the segments tied together somewhat and allowed the world to really shine. Some of the later episodes were really well and the show kept topping itself with episode 25 being the highlight of the season.

While the finale wasn’t the best episode, it was the best way to end the series. Having everyone go over to Nano’s house and celebrate her birthday was a great way to show the growth of her character. She wanted friends and to be treated like a normal person and it finally happened. Yukko, Mai, Mio, Hakase, and Sakamoto-san (not to mention her classmates) don’t care that she’s a robot; she’s just Nano. Her realization of that and her decision to keep the screw as it’s a part of her was such a sweet moment. Even Sakamoto-san going back to the house after realizing the trouble he’s gone through was a nice touch. The final scene works very well in parallel to the first one in episode 1. Then the return of Janken was the highlight for me. It was the perfect finale for the show.

Nichijou may falter with its plot, but KyoAni has done a masterful job with the animation. The extra time between K-On!! and the premiere only helped strengthen the quality for a 26 episode series. I never once remarked “this could be better animated.” Background characters were walking around, people in the background were performing actions that would be mentioned later, and the animation was very fluid. The OPs were very “Hyadain”ish and didn’t appeal to me much. I enjoyed the second ED’s animation and the rotating songs, but I greatly enjoyed the animation and song from the first ED best. (FLYING SHARKS GO!) I also enjoyed the OST as it felt appropriate for every single scene. It emphasized everything to make the scenes better.

Final score: 82. After a subpar start, the second cour proved to be one of the more entertaining shows of the year. A very good comedy and a possible import if it wasn’t for Kadokawa’s 2 episodes a disc plan.

Hanasaku Iroha‘s review will be up later today.

7 thoughts on “Summer 2011 reviews: An Ordinary Memo Pad

  1. Nichijou is my favorite show of the past two seasons, bar none. While I agree that it got better after the midway point, I was enjoying it far before that. Perhaps it was because I went into the show with no expectations and was (literally) blown away by that first episode, but I love every minute of the over exaggerated everyday life the show presented. Hanasaku Iroha was another great show that I followed along with Nichijou, but there were points in its run that I just let episodes pile up and only got around to watching at a later point. Nichijou was a weekly occurrence for me that I just couldn’t miss. Both shows had wonderful finale’s, and they’ll both be missed.

    That said, Bandai Entertainment announced that they had licensed both the Nichijou anime and manga, so I will most certainly be picking up those domestic releases.

    • It just had more miss than hit for me to begin with. I think once they were able to make the show more stable (have a general plotline for an episode), it became much easier to tolerate and a better show in general. It was still one of the shows I made sure to watch every Sunday though. Believe it or not, I went in with low expectations after the OVA wasn’t that great and it improved over the year. I wonder if they’d make it different if they could re-do it.

      I look forward to seeing Bandai’s release of the series next year.

  2. I agree that Nichijou got better once Nano started going to school. As you know, the show never grew on me that much but whatever enjoyment I derived from it mostly came from the Shinonome group. Mio, Yukko, and Mai could be funny sometimes if they weren’t too…crazy. But the skits for just about all the other characters rarely made sense to me much less made me laugh. I do agree though, the animation was superb. Glad to know KyoAni never lets their animation falter even in a strictly comedic anime😄

  3. Everyone talking about Nichijou. I haven’t seen it, but I saw Kamisama no Memochou.

    Needs more Meo.

    On a serious note, I thought the first few episodes were interesting enough, then filled with slightly interesting filler followed by a nice ending.
    Overall, a decent anime, but nothing exceptional.
    Wonder if they’ll be a season 2. Hopefully they’ll develop the characters more if they do. Not sure how the novel progresses out, so yeah.

    • Kamisama no Memochou is unlikely to get a second season. Disc sales aren’t looking too good nor are increases in novel sales. Meo was a good character, but that was because we actually learned about her unlike a lot of the leads in the series. You’re right, it was decent, but nothing great. At least JC Staff didn’t have fanservice to throw in unexpectedly.

  4. I thought Heanen’s Memo Pad was a very intresting and funny anime that kepted you hooked intill the final episode. Well thats my opinon at least… ^^ I really hope they’ll make a second season even though the chances of that is very slim.

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