Anime Trends 2011: At least no one (of note) went bankrupt

All told, 2011 was a stable year in the anime business. No anime company of any worth (so 4Kids doesn’t count) went bankrupt, although over in the manga world TokyoPop bit the bullet. The tsunami and resulting nuclear incident will unfortunately overshadow anything else that happened with anime this year. While there were no dramatic changes in the industry, a number of trends began or picked up steam in 2011. It is these trends, more than any anime production, that will be this year’s industry legacy.

Trend #1: Lawsuits

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Lost Along the Way from Utena to Star Driver

bateszi has already ruminated on the connection between¬†Star Driver and Utena¬†and while I’m a bit late to the party, I wanted to add my own reflections. Right now I’m watching Utena for the first time while finishing Star Driver on Crunchyroll. Fortuitously, I just finished Episode 4 of Utena a few hours after watching Episode 21 of Star Driver. The scenes below are from these episodes.

First in Utena:

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Darker than Black is the new black

Darker than Black is an enigma. The more I watch it, the less I understand how I feel about it. I wanted to write an article extolling its virtues, for example its deep characters and beautiful art. Then I went back and re-watched season 1 and did a double take, was this the same show I remembered? It was like I was back in the 90s when it was okay for a main character to waste half an episode being introspective instead of advancing the plot. I’d still recommend that people watch it, but be aware that this isn’t the second coming of Cowboy Bebop.

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