Now that the summer anime season is wrapping up, I can look back on the shows I decided to stick with and give a better (or worse) perspective on them.
Let's start with Natsu no Sora, the anime from the creator of Someday's Dreamers about young magicians studying magic. First of all, it's loads better than Someday's Dreamers (which you may recall I quite hated). I rather enjoyed it. It was very sweet and adorable. The pace is rather slow, but it's actually kind of calming, and it's something different from the other shows out there. It does have a serious side, as characters cope with either having a difficult time casting their magic (like Gouta), or with the motivations of their clients (like Kuroda).
Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu ended up being very cute, but had little substance. The "we're together but not really together" relationship between the two main characters was rather annoying, as was the addition of a rather pointless love triangle. But it was very, very cute, and funny. Haruka's journey to become comfortable with her secret anime addiction has its ups and downs, as she deals with her father's reaction to her hobby and struggles with allowing Yuuto to continue covering for her and occasionally taking the fall for her.
I did not continue with Koihime Musou as I had too many other shows I felt were far better that I wanted to continue watching. Plus I had trouble getting over the fact that they were just female adaptations of male characters.
I ended up really enjoying Yakushiji Ryoko no Kaiki Jikenbo (or Ryoko's Case File). I'd say it was my favorite of the summer shows. It's very well done, the characters stay interesting, the story keeps you on edge. Once it's completed, I recommend checking it out. Hopefully this one will get picked up in the states.
Didn't bother with Strike Witches, either. Again, I felt there were better uses of that time, watching better shows. And whatever story there might have been was shadowed by all the ecchi and fan service.
Antique Bakery ended up being a LOT better than I thought it would be. It was very amusing. And when it wasn't being totally ridiculous, though very funny, (which it was about 60% of the time), it was fairly serious. In between the ridiculous antics of a group of pretty boys running a high class bakery (complete with an openly gay character making eyes at everyone), there were some serious story lines. Child kidnappings (a story line which ties together with the main character being kidnapped when he was a child), abusive relationships, sexual bigotry, and professional boxers dealing with threatening injuries. It's still a pretty boy/boys love anime, so if that's not to your taste then you probably shouldn't watch it. Though I will say the boys love themes are rather subdued for the most part, with the exception of a few episodes where it plays a large role.
I still intend on writing up reviews of Chocolate Underground, Natsume Yuujinchou, and Telepathy Shojou Ran from the summer season once they're finished, and some shows from the spring which are now wrapping up. So stay tuned!