The first episodes of many new shows for the spring 2011 anime season are showing up at both Crunchyroll and VIZ's new streaming portal. Here's a roundup of the newest and most significant titles that just premiered in the past week.
Viz has added relatively few shows over time, but have two new items in their lineup--the first being a simulcast that is one to keep an eye on.
Tiger & Bunny (watch at VizAnime)
Another case of a great show camouflaged behind a terrible title. The concept alone is brilliant: Superheroes sport corporate sponsorship and duke it out in the public eye, vying for ratings and popularity. "Wild Tiger," a hero whose star is slowly but surely on the wane, finds himself not only transferred abruptly to another outfit, but forced to take on a partner he doesn't want.
The look of the show -- which is spectacular -- would make this one worth checking out all by itself, but the idea and so far the execution are also spot-on. I wouldn't be surprised if this turns out to be one of the best of the whole season, if not the year.
Neuro (watch at VizAnime)
An interesting concept: a detective with vaguely demonic origins (he thrives on eating mystery) pairs up with an ordinary high-school girl to get his fill when she takes on the role of a junior detective. It's competent enough, and it has a few fun twists, but apart from the supernatural elements added on top there's not much here that hasn't already been done in Detective Conan.
Four shows kicked off their broadcast season this week at Crunchyroll, with many more on the way in the coming weeks.
SKET Dance (watch at Crunchyroll)
SKET stands for Support, Kindness, Encouragement and Troubleshooting--the four mottos of the campus club Sket-Dan ("Living Assistance Brigade"), who are determined to solve any problem brought to them. Sadly, most of the stuff that comes their way is too lightweight for them--until a hapless student shows up with a real problem, and quickly becomes their newest recruit. It's cheerful and genial without being anything all that groundbreaking. Fans of the "quirky high school" subgenre will enjoy this one.
We, Without Wings - Ore-tachi ni Tsubasa wa Nai (watch at Crunchyroll)
Folks from various walks of life in the city of Yanagihara meet, fall in love, clash with each other, and leave the viewer smacking his forehead in confusion. Most of the segments are interspersed with an image of a TV switching channels, which is a good metaphor for something this disjointed: it plays like four different shows spliced together at random. The various sexual harassment gags only help leave that much worse a taste in the mouth.
Sekai Ichi Hatsukoi - World's Greatest First Love (watch at Crunchyroll)
Would-be literary editor Onodera's new job turns out to be the last thing he wanted: he's the new editor for a publishing company's shojo manga division. Worse, his new boss is the guy he had a crush on in high school. File this one alongside Gravitation as being clearly aimed at the male-romance crowd with just enough other elements to be halfway accessible to others. (Some interesting technical details about manga production are littered throughout, too.)
Astarotte's Toy (watch at Crunchyroll)
Astarotte's a succubus in the Creature Realm--one who hates men, but will have to get over her aversion to them if she wants to survive. Those who crack up at the "body parts conveniently obscured by objects in the foreground" gag will love this show; everyone else, probably not.
Images: Tiger & Bunny © Sunrise T&B Partners, MBS. Image courtesy VIZ Media. SKET Dance © S/S, TS, T. Image courtesy Crunchyroll.