Last season I saw a rather depressing number of people saying something along the lines of “I didn’t expect anything from Silver Spoon and was really surprised when it turned out to be excellent”. Then again, if you pick your shows based on pictures on seasonal charts alone, how were you supposed to know it was a best-selling manga by the same author who wrote Full Metal Alchemist? The picture just shows some guy with glasses and a cow. Even if you looked at the staff, the name ‘Hiromu Arakawa’ won’t necessarily jump out to everyone as being significant. With all the information out there, how would you know which name was important?
Why, by reading the World Famous  Cart Driver Anime Season Preview of course! Share it with all your friends and maybe they too will be equipped with vital knowledge going into the new anime season. Hopefully this time I will be able to save a few people saying “I was totally surprised by Golden Time because I expected nothing from that” when their favourite anime is Toradora.
Coppelion is a combination of Japan’s two favourite things: Schoolgirls and the post-apocalypse. It was originally supposed to air in 2011, but something about a plot in which an earthquake caused a nuclear power point to meltdown resulting in Tokyo becoming a barren radioactive wasteland hit a little too close to reality at that specific time. I’m generally against self-censorship for the sake of public decency, but delaying 2 years seems to be to be the right way to handle something delicate like this. The plot, as such, concerns biologically engineered schoolgirls who go into Tokyo to rescue people. Why they chose schoolgirls is a little beyond me, probably because I’m not Japanese and therefore don’t understand the mystical power behind the schoolgirl. I need to read Short Cuts a few more times I guess.
They haven’t announced the staff yet, but judging by the filters and swooping camera angles in the trailer, I assume this is GoHands. They’ve previously done Mardock Scramble and K, two anime I wish I liked more than I do. They’re just a little too stupid even for me. I’m sure GoHands have a great anime in them somewhere that’s not quite that stupid, but given Coppelion is about super powered biologically engineered schoolgirls fighting in a radioactive Tokyo, I’m hazarding a guess that their fine tradition of incredibly stupid anime will continue.
Noitamina is back in force! This year has been a bit of a wash for them. Not because their anime were bad, but because there only was one, Silver Spoon. Which is still a good show, but was already a known property. Not some untranslated award-winning josei manga adaptation by auteur director. Just a bog-standard A1 Pictures adaptation of an already popular manga by the Full Metal Alchemist author. Now we’ve got 2 big ambitious anime original titles. At least one of these two have to be good, right? This won’t be another Guilty Crown/Black Rock Shooter combo, right?
Samurai Flamenco is a super sentai series with a really vague plot description, so it’s hard to tell much about it thus far. It does have Takahiro Omori directing. He was the guy who directed most of Brains Base’s early titles before they started to suck around 2011. Durarara, Baccano, Princess Jellyfish and Natsume are all him. He also did Hell Girl and Koi Kaze, two pretty highly regarded titles. I’m delighted to see him back, especially since he’s finally doing something that’s not another bloody Natsume sequel. First time I’ve seen him do something anime original, which is exciting. The series composition is handled by the author of Kamichu, although he is more recently known for writing the script for OreImo. Possibly the strangest part of all this is it’s being animated by Manglobe. Manglobe used to be really ambitious, going from Samurai Champloo to Ergo Proxy to Michiko to Hatchin, but then they made Sacred Blacksmith and basically have sucked ever since then. Suddenly now they’re back with a big ambitious 2 cours anime. I hope this works out for them because I’d like old Manglobe back.
I’ve just realised all you new kids might not have heard of Noitamina if you’ve only got into anime in the past year, so let’s do a little refresh course. Noitamina is a late-night TV timeslot that started in 2005 with the aim of offering anime targeted at people other than young men. This mostly meant adaptations of manga targeted at adult women. Noitamina doesn’t actually make the anime themselves, they’re just part of the production committee and bring on very specific titles that fit their target. The anime from Noitamina was a list of fantastic show to fantastic show. Honey and Clover, Paradise Kiss, Nodame Cantabile, Moyashimon, Mononoke, Eden of the East, Tatami Galaxy, Jellyfish Princess. It consistently got the highest viewing figures for late-night TV, which is where almost all anime air in Japan. However this wasn’t making them quite enough money, so come 2011 we suddenly got Fractale, Ano Hana, Guilty Crown, Black Rock Shooter, stuff that just didn’t belong and was targeted at the young adult male audience. However it still got stuff like Bunny Drop, Kids on the Slope and Wandering Son, so the target demographic has expanded to basically everyone. Nowadays Noitamina is more a slot where the bigger, more ambitious original anime or award winning manga adaptations are put with a guarantee that they’ll get a slightly bigger audience than just the same otaku crowd.
Right, history of Noitamina out of the way, finally time to talk Galilei Donna. Interesting to note the contrast in character design between the two Noitamina shows. One is bishies in uniform. The other has moe girls from the character designer of Sword Art Online. As I said, now Noitamina is happy to target both genders. The plot description for Galilei Donna sounds more interesting to me than Samurai Flamenco, albeit that’s partly because I don’t really like superhero stuff much. Galilei is about a trio of sister’s on international most-wanted lists. The creator is the guy who made Kite and Mezzo Forte, neither of which I’ve seen, but get really varied reviews. That varied review part tends to be whether people watched the censored version (dramatic gritty stories about revenge and guns) or the uncensored version (dramatic gritty stories about revenge and guns that also happens to have graphic pornographic scenes). I wonder if this means Noitamina will have some graphic sex at last? The furthest they’ve gone graphically was Takizawa Akira waving his Johnny around in Eden of the East.
Golden Time is based off a light novel NO WAIT COME BACK by the author of Toradora. A lot of people liked Toradora and this looks like that except it’s set in college and doesn’t feature a tsundere, both of which are big pluses. I feel like the traditional tsundere as popularised by Asuka Langley, Naru Narusegwa and Shana is slowly dying out, and that’s probably a good thing. I’ve been burned on them since around 2010. I wonder what happened in 2010…oh right, OreImo. Maybe it’s not that tsunderes are dying out so much as I avoid the anime that proudly boasts it has a tsundere inside.
The director for Golden Time is Chiaki Kon, who started her directing career making a bit of a splash with Higurashi but since then did the huge mess that was Umineko, those creepy rapey BL anime like Junjou Romantica and Sekai-ichi, and the Nodame Cantabile sequels. Those are the most damning because there’s a real noticeable drop in quality from the first season of Nodame to the sequels. She does have the screenwriter from the Key/KyoAni shows alongside her though, so I guess if you liked the aggressive melodrama of Toradora then teaming that up with the scriptwriter from those Key shows seems like a perfect match. I’ll admit my interest in this is near zero. I wasn’t too keen on Toradora, despise melodrama in general, and to top everything off it’s being animated by JC Staff whose anime I have been happily ignoring for the past 2-ish years and have no intention of stopping for this. Chances are that if you like Toradora or stuff like Clannad, you will probably like this too.
Sports anime seem to be primarily targeted and consumed by ladies. One of the anime with the biggest fangirl following in Japan in recent years was Kuroko Plays With His Balls, which was a pretty by-the-numbers basketball show. On some level it makes sense. Men getting really sweaty and angry together with plenty of opportunity for changing room scenes and male bonding. But if that’s the case, why don’t more women watch pro-wrestling? Those men only wear tight black speedos and are frequently just hugging each other. Yowamushi Pedal has the character designed from Big Windup, another sports anime with a massive female following, so I expect this show to get a similar level of following. Manga seems to have a bit more to it than your usual generic sports show. Director has been around forever, mostly as an animator. He did work on stuff like Akira and Ghibli movies, although his last outing as a director was the pretty awful Zetman. The scriptwriter paired with him writes for stuff like Aria and K-ON though, which is an odd mix. I’m not hugely excited by the staff list, but for sports anime this definitely looks like the pick of the season. It has the most exploitable looking main character all ready to be the Oomie or Sucky or whatever those BL terms are.
Kill La Kill
The totally obvious instant classic of the season. By the same team who made Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, except this time not at Gainax. Hiroyuki Imaishi and co left Gainax after they made Panty and Stocking to set up studio Trigger. So far all Trigger have done are dumb barely animated youtube series like Inferno Cop and Turning Girls, and Little Witch Academia, that single episode Anime Mirai short that’s now getting more thanks to non-Japanese fans. This is their first proper anime and they’ve been selling it as having their hearts and souls poured into it. Full of hand-drawn animation and delicious old-style Gainax animation now that Gainax has nobody left there to do Gainax-style animation. The actual plot sounds super vague at the moment, with nothing more than schoolgirls fighting in the post-apocalypse. Again. Despite me predicting this to be an instant classic, I’m trying not to get too worked up. With Imaishi running the show, I’m a little worried he’ll have nobody steering his creative process to make Kill la Kill work properly. But it’s Trigger’s first proper anime. I need to see this.
Arpeggio of Blue Steel: Ars Nova
This is new for me. An anime adaptation of a manga I’ve actually read. Arpeggio of Blue Steel is about humanity being trapped on land by a race of sentient battleships which have human forms. The explanation behind this is long and complicated, but all you need to know is 1) cute girls and 2) giant battleships. While I’m pretty stoked to see an adaptation, I have to remember that the main reason I’m stoked is I believe an anime could really fix some of my issues with the manga. Make the battles easier to follow, the characterisation more consistent, start the story at the actual beginning instead of halfway through. So who do we bring on board to fix this manga? Why none other than Seiji Kishi and his wonderful team who did Devil Survivor 2 and Danganronpa! Well fuck, so much for those dreams.
What’s probably more interesting is the anime is going to be entirely in CG. The general anime fan reaction to CG has been, to sum up in one word, “eurgh”. With good reason, most CG in anime looks god awful, especially when they try to do character animation. Blue Steel is being done by Sanzigen, one of the few studios who are making some real ground with CG. They did the CG segments for Black Rock Shooter and animated that fantastic looking 009 RE Cyborg movie. Cyborg 009 had some of the old CG issues with collision detection so regular scenes of characters picking up a phone or something still looked a bit odd. It made up for that with some of the most mind-blowing action scenes, such as one where the main character jumped from missile to missile in mid-air. Some people see CG animation as treading on their traditional style, but given Arpeggio exists in the same season Kill la Kill does, I think we’re safe. We live in a world where both can exist and that is a happy world indeed.
BlazBlue: Alter Memory
Look, I get it. You love fighting games. You love anime. Blazblue is a fighting game with anime characters in it with anime-tastic personalities. The mechanics of the game itself may indeed be solid and entertaining. That does not mean the story itself is good. Video game stories are nearly universally terrible, and that’s for games where the story is a central focus. That’s not the case for a fighting game, which is just a measly framework with hastily cobbled together excuses to get characters to punch each other in the face. The fact that the studio animating this is are Hoods, the guys responsible for Quasar of Stigmata (the breast milk one) and Manyu Hikenchou (the breast mutilation one) should give you an idea of what sort of quality level we’re aiming for here. The director’s previous works have been H2O Footprints in the Sand and Higurashi Kira, the god-awful spinoff that no right-thinking fan of Higurashi acknowledges existing. It’s cool to like the BlazBlue games, but don’t mistake that for the story of those games being anything other than utter rubbish.
Log Horizon is based off a light novel NO WAIT COME BACK about a video game in which real human beings were sucked into NO WAIT COME BACK with the source material being written by the same author who wrote Maoyuu Maou Yuusha NO WAIT COME BACK oh no everyone left. You know, I do think there was a good anime in Maoyuu. Shame it was animated by the same guys who did Queens Blade and Ikkitousen. The director on this was the director of Fairy Tail, so he’s finally free after working on that anime for so many years. He hasn’t done much outside of that, apart from some hentai. I’m sure not all stories about people being in a game world are as terrible as Sword Art Online and Accel World, but it will take a bit longer for those scars to heal. I’m not ready for Log Horizon. It’s not you, it’s me.
Diomedea usually just do really trashy anime. Their lineup consists of stuff like Campione, Nogizaku Haruka and Lotte’s Toy. You know, that one about the 11 year old girl drinking semen. The one anime they did that can stand up in respectable company is Invasion Squid Girl. Imagine that, an anime about a girl whose hair is made out of tentacles by the studio who did an anime about an 11 year old girl drinking semen turns out to be totally harmless and could be shown at 10 in the morning to little children. I bring this up because Gingitsune looks like the second anime they’ve ever done that won’t get you arrested for showing it to children. It’s about an old shrine and messengers and gods and stuff. It’s rather s’life focused with a focus on old-timey spirits from Japanese folklore and the like. It seems harmless, certainly not much to get excited about. However so was Invasion Squid Girl, and I kinda dug Squid Girl, so it’s worth a shot.
Strike the Blood
Based on a light novel NO WAIT COME BACK by the same author who wrote Dantalian and Asura Cryin’ NO WAIT COME BACK actually you could probably leave, this isn’t very exciting. I read a bit of the manga adaptation and the first chapter had a girl get her skirt flipped by some punks, then turn to the main character yelling “PERVERT” and hitting him because he happened to be standing in the same vicinity as she was when her underwear was on show. It’s being animated by Silver Link, for whom adapt these sorts of light novel titles accurately. In other words, they’re all crap (all right they did Watamote, but Watamote exists in some weird parallel dimension and I am hereby not considering it as reliable reference material for season previews). The director hasn’t done any directing before. He did work on End of Evangelion, but I think his job there was to get Hideki Anno his tea. The writer is a guy I know pretty well though. Hiroyuki Yoshino, otherwise known as the worst script-writer working in anime today, responsible for the second half of Gundam Seed Destiny and Guilty Crown. In summary: Don’t watch this.
Let’s talk about incest. A serious discussion now, put on your glasses so you look scholarly. I don’t have a problem with it as a story theme. Actually I don’t have too much problem with it in real life either. I wouldn’t do it, and it’s pretty weird, but if two consenting siblings want to fuck then who are we to stop them. The problem with anime is it’s treated like some regular fetish. It’s an incredibly lazy way to create a love interest that requires no effort on the part of the bland male lead to get to know to girl. Pupa has incestuous siblings as its lead two characters, but this came about from years of abusive parents so they grew abnormally attached to each other. It’s depicted as part of their slightly demented psyches.
Also cannibalism. Yeah. Pupa is a horror story about incest, abusive parents, horrifying monsters and cannibalism. Reviews are a bit varied, with people hesitating to call it good, but you can certainly tell it left an impact on them. It is unfortunately being animated by Studio Deen, although Deen have been improving their animation quality lately. The director has been around forever, working on things like Urusei Yatsura and Kimigure Orange Road. His most recent directing job was House of Five Leaves, which I know a lot of people liked. It’s worth checking out if you like horror. Pupa is probably the closest we’ll get to a Saya no Uta adaptation.
Beyond the Boundary
The latest KyoAni joint, guys who did…do I really need to outline what KyoAni have done? Fine, they did Haruhi Suzumiya, K-ON, Clannad, Hyouka, Free, Chuunibyou and so on. There’s something comforting about doing previews for KyoAni titles. While studios like Sunrise and A-1 have different staff for every anime, KyoAni always bring along the same people for every show with similar results every time. Another thing that’s nice and reliable about KyoAni is I won’t like it. Beyond the Boundary is based off a light novel and sounds awfully similar to the set up for the Monogatari series. Teenage protagonist with half-monster body that can regenerate wounds meets teenage girl in school who is falling/about to fall and then they go meet other supernatural oddities. Problem is it lacks Nisioisin’s writing and Shaft’s bizarre animation style, the two things that make the Monogatari series stand out from every other light novel adaptation ever. KyoAni’s animation may be of high quality, but compared to what Shaft managed with a teeny budget, handful of still frames, and an overly imaginative architect, KyoAni stuff looks boring as hell. But don’t mind me, I’m sure you lot will love this. I’ll continue stewing in my anti-KyoAni corner and throw paper aeroplanes at you losers.
Kyousogiga was originally a one episode thing released on the web by a bunch of the Toei folks who make Precure. It was a load of beautifully animated, highly original, colourful nonsense. I guess Japan must have liked it, or at the very least the evil kingpins that run Toei must have liked it. It got another 5 episode web release thing that I never ended up watching so I can’t tell you much about that. Now we finally have a proper TV series, so no more dealing with webrip quality. We can finally watch proper high quality illegally ripped Kyousogiga. Huzzah for us. Supposedly this one will do some recapping of what appeared in the previous episodes, so it might be newbie friendly? Or it might be that recap at the start of the new Rozen Maiden that was utterly baffling even to people who have watched the series 10 times already. Then again, Kyousogiga has always been baffling. I really hope a TV series would have the time to fully explore the characters and concepts that were on show in that web release. It seemed like a genuinely interesting anime that didn’t have enough time to tell its story. I think there is a great anime in here. This is their chance.
Ah the good old visual novel, with your fuck-all-the-heroine storylines and personality-less main characters. Seems like your crown as reliable provider of each season’s most terrible anime has been overtaken by light novel adaptations recently. Even your female-targeted brethren has been encroaching on your Worst Anime Ever territory. Time for you to reclaim your title with some properly bad anime. Actually if this was something other than a visual novel, I would be totally down for it. It’s hot women doing jousting, like a genderswapped Knights Tale. Looking at the trailer I see a huge problem. The women are wearing totally the wrong armour. If you are a woman with large breasts, your chest armour should protrude outwards from the centre of your chest and slope back to either side of your body. This way the weight of the lance will be deflected to the sides of your body when it hits you. If the armour moulds itself around each individual breast, the weight from the lance impact would instead be directed right into the centre of your chest, cracking your ribcage, piercing your lungs and leaving you instantly dead. Due to this technical inaccuracy, I cannot watch Walkure Romanze.
Nagi no Asukara
In a post on Eccentric Family, I helpfully explained why that show was completely different from any other anime by PA Works. It had an entirely different staff with source material from the author of Tatami Galaxy. Nagi no Asukara, on the other hand, has the director of Red Data Girl, bland character designs that look like their skin was varnished, and an original story by Cart Driver Favourite Mari Okada. I’m sure Okada is a perfectly nice person in real life and I would quite like to have a drink with her and discuss how awesome Aquarion EVOL is, but she can’t write drama to save her life. Which would be fine if she was brought into a sillier anime like EVOL, but due to the popularity of stuff like Ano Hana, she will keep bring brought in to write more terrible drama. So just like the drama in Hanasaku Iroha, Black Rock Shooter, Fractale and many more, the drama in Nagi no Asukara will be terrible.
Ace of Diamond
If you’re going to watch a sports anime this season, I’d recommend that cycling anime from earlier. Ace of Diamond is animated by the seemingly godly combo of Production IG and Madhouse and the director did stuff like Chi’s Sweet Home, Kobato and Polar Bear Cafe, but that doesn’t matter if the source material isn’t strong. The cycling manga had a little something to it. Ace of Diamond felt super generic with irritating shounen protagonist and everyone yells all the time. We haven’t seen any trailer or even how the animation is going to look so you never know. It might have the most original art style and the best animation ever. But I feel safe in betting against Ace of Diamond.
I Wanna Be the Strongest in the World
I’m surprised they haven’t made more anime about female pro wrestlers. Or about pro wrestling in general, considering even the male version involves sweaty men in speedos hugging each other. Having the animation studio behind Queens Blade and Ikkitousen behind this adaptation should give you a good idea of the kind of show this will be. I suggest not watching this. If you are turned on by female wrestlers, I highly recommend ignoring this softcore wrestling porno and instead read Ring X Mama. Because if you’re going to watch a wrestling anime because you like the girls, it might as well be one where they all fuck.
My Mental Multiple-Choice Power Is Completely Ruining My School Romantic Comedy
A wild Light Novel adaptation has appeared. Wild Light Novel adaptation used teenage girl with helium-induced voice drops from sky onto bland loser male lead. It’s not very effective. Scamp used every light novel from the past 10 years with similar sounding premises being terrible with a gradual slope downwards in quality over time to even worse. It’s super effective. Wild light novel adaptation held on using the Monogatari series. Wild light novel adaptation used director of Rosario to Vampire and Baby Princess. But nothing happened. Scamp used complete indifference. Wild light novel title fainted.
I’m just going to call the ones that can be instantly ignored “light novel trash” from here on.
Light novel trash.
Light novel tra-actually I’m just going to break this one down a bit further, because I know there will be people out there who will try to say “no seriously this is actually good I read the source material”. I read the source material too. It’s about a puppet girl that keeps wanting to fuck her master. They then go to magical high school where the main character acquires a harem of girls including the posh ojou-sama, the tsundere, yada yada you know the drill. The director has mostly only done porn and a bunch of Queen’s Blade sequels so yeah just porn. So to repeat: Light novel trash.
Light novel tr…actually no, let’s not call this one trash because I honestly don’t think it’s trashy enough to be put into the same category as the above three. It’s about some teenage shmuck who doesn’t want to become a shrine maiden or whatever the equivalent of that is for dudes. But then monsters attack and he has to and so on. While not trash, Tokyo Ravens is mostly just generic. By the same studio that brought you Infinite Stratos and the director who brought you Korean Zombie Desk Car and the original author wrote Black Blood Brothers, none of which fill me with excited. There’s a sort of harem set up in Tokyo Ravens, but minimal fanservice and mostly focus on fighting monsters. It’s fine I guess, and ultimately harmless in the grand scheme of things, but not really worth checking out.
Glasses club about a group of boys in a club that wear glasses. That is literally it. What completely baffles me about this one is it’s based off a set of drama CDs. How the hell does that work? It’s not like the brilliantly titled “Yandere Boys” that was featured in Watamote. At least there the personality comes through when they speak. Glasses are not a personality trait. How do you know the people you are listening to are even wearing glasses, and how does the idea of them wearing glasses make it any different when you’re just listening to them? I genuinely can’t wrap my head around the concept. In fact it bothers me so much I’m not going to talk about the anime anymore.
Non Non Biyori
Non Non Biyori is based off a manga about a city girl who moves to the countryside. It reminded me of the set up for Hare+Guu of all things. They have a lot of the same aspects within their community, such as the school being only one classroom where the ages are spread between 6 and 16 with a teacher who sleeps through the entire class. Non Non Biyori doesn’t have a village chief with an afro for chest hair, an alternate dimension inside the stomach of one of the characters, a surprisingly heartfelt story about a child living with his single mother who has become estranged from her family, and all those other aspects of Hare+Guu that made it great. It’s also a similar setup to Higurashi, so I assume the girls all die horribly in this one too.
To be fair though, Non Non Biyori is going for a more realistic approach with greater emphasis on the differences between city and countryside life. It’s sweet if admittedly not that compelling. The adaptation is by Silver Link, although it’s not the usual Oonuma Shin who does most of their stuff. Instead it’s this new guy who directed Kokoro Connect, with a lot of the same staff. They’re much more standard anime directing style than the Shaft-inspired Oonuma Shin is, but I don’t necessarily think they’re bad. I didn’t watch much of Kokoro Connect, but I don’t remember its problems being with the directing. Plus that will have given them some good experience directing their own show. Non Non Biyori may not be my kind of show, but if all those crappy light novel adaptations were simply practice for Oonuma Shin before he did Watamote, then I am totally OK with these guys practising on low-key cute girl manga.
Are you a lady? Do you like vampires? Does non-consensual sexual harassment sound sexy to you? Then you’re in luck, for here’s Diabolik Lovers, a game about 6 sadistic vampire brothers who take a girl into their mix and then mentally torture her for a year or so. I can feel myself getting wet already. We have the exploitable shota with a teddy bear, the sexy gloves wearing senpai who never buys glasses that fit his face so he keeps having to push them back up, the fedora wearing gamer nerd who goes by the gamer tag ‘mensrights94’. You know, all the usual bishie fodder material.
Neppu Kairiku Bushi Lord
Let me start this off by saying firstly that I don’t think whatever the fuck this anime is supposed to be will be coming out this season. They claimed it would, but with no specific air date, character art or plot description yet released, I kinda doubt it. I’m writing about it because it has such a bizarre history. It was originally announced in 2003 by the publishing company Broccoli as some sort of glorious collaboration between Gainax and Nitroplus. Everyone then left the project one by one and the creator went and died, so the whole thing was put on hiatus. Suddenly it props up again in 2013 with Bushiroad, the guys who make anime-themed card games. Still with the folks at Nitroplus supposedly doing the scripts and the director behind Kamen no Maid Guy and Needless. It has giant robots in somewhere and may or may not have games attached because it’s planned as a mixed media project. The whole thing sounds like a big horrible mess and I can’t wait to see what comes out of all this, if anything comes out ever.
Tesagure! Extracurricular Stuff
From the creator of gdgd Fairies and Straight Title Robot Anime. If you’ve seen either of those two, you will know exactly what to expect from this. They’re animated in that CG programme used to code Hatsune Miku dance videos (or as I know them, create Touhou characters singing Backstreet Boys). They are bizarre and surreal and I’m not sure I can handle another one of them. But they’re super cheap to make and gdgd Fairies did quite well for something that cost nothing to make, so more power to this dude.
Super Seisyun Brothers
A little insight into season previewing: I don’t write these previews in order. I’ve been writing them steadily over the course of a month when enough info has been released to say something substantial about each one. This is the last anime I’m writing about because up until now I had thought this was one of those 5 minute shorts. It might still be? It airs early September but it’s AIC+ who don’t do shorts normally. It’s a s’life manga by the staff who made Asobi ni CAT PLANET CUTIES although the designs look more shoujo-ish than tit-tastic. It’s about a family and their interactions with friends and so forth. Very mundane description and very little to preview, although that may be because I’m tired of previewing and I’m running out of witty things to say.
Yozakura Quartet Hana no Uta
Yozakura Quarter was originally made into an anime back in 2008. It was pretty stylish, but that was about all it had going for it. I watched while it was airing so my memory is a little fuzzy, but I do seem to remember the villain Enjin being one of the worst characters ever and single handedly dragging down every other character into a pile of crappiness with him. I thought that would be last I saw of Yozakura Quartet, but then some higher up decided it was worth another crack. In came an entirely new team and studio who made OVA’s in a whole new style. Now we get an anime version too. The artstyle has been completely overhauled, going for a more fluid, cartoony style. Which is cool if you’re the kind of person who gets wet dreams from your favourite in-betweeners sneaking into your bed at night, but the style was the one thing I actually liked about Yozakura Quartet. Not that I don’t like this new Trigger-esque style either, but I clearly saw Enjin in that trailer with his white hair, long coat and stupid dog-ears. As long as he’s still in, I can’t get hyped.
White Album 2
Talk about a real strange anime to do a sequel of. White Album was a visual novel adaptation from a few years ago that barely anyone cared about while it was airing and even less people care about now. So why is there a sequel? Ah, for this is a trick question young one. This is as much a sequel as Persona 4 is to Persona 3. It has got none of the same characters and a completely unrelated story. Only the town is the same. The game is pretty highly regarded in visual novel circles, noted as being considerably better than the first. The directors only previous work has been Muv Luv Alternative Total Eclipse, but lets not blame that on him. Don’t think the source material was up to scratch on that. He does have the original writer for the games supervising the scripts, so nobody can blame adaptation decay if the anime turns out crap. I personally have little interest because melodramatic VN adaptations are not my cup of tea, but if you do like melodrama then this might be worth a shot.
Gundam Build Fighters
People who are stupid try to claim moe killed giant robot shows. That’s rubbish. Moe killed the hyperviolent OVA market. What killed giant robot shows are stuff like Yu-Gi-Oh, Beyblade and Bakugan. Giant robot anime were made to sell robot models to kids. Then it transpired you could make a lot more money having the kids be able to buy the actual game the characters are playing rather than some crappy tiny version of what they pilot, and so giant robots died down. It wasn’t until some bright spark finally copped on that ladies love men in spandex outfits getting really angry at each other that giant robot anime returned in force.
Gundam mostly stuck to that fandom with Seed and 00, only briefly returning to nostalgia mining with Unicorn, before realising they really need that new generation of fans excited for Gundam before they all go off doing drugs or some other equally expensive life consuming hobby. They made Age, but nobody cared about Age and it bombed. The Sunrise Executive Boardroom of Evil convened and realised they needed to move with the times and make a show where the kids could actually buy the game the characters play. So we get Gundam Build Fighters. I’m convinced they made something with a similar premise before, but I can’t think of what it was so maybe everything I just said came straight out of my backside.
5 Minute-length Shorts
On the left is Miss Monochrome, a figure created by Yui Horie to stand on stage and dance in her place. It’s basically like Hatsune Miku except they actually gave her a personality and a voice actress behind her. It’s very strange indeed, but as a character she’s become unusually popular. Japan likes 2D idols I guess? Turns out Miku’s popularity had nothing to do with the lack of a real person or personality behind her. I’m honestly kinda interested in the show because the animation is being done by Sanzigen so I’m foolishly hoping for another set of shorts as good as Fireball. The one on the right is Teekyu, which is getting a third season. It’s about girls playing tennis and being lol so random. The one in the middle is something I am so completely indifferent about I can’t even be bothered to look up its name.
Anime for Young Children
Top left is Tamagochi anime. I hope they have a scene where one of the tamagochi gets dropped into water and dies so the mother has to buy a whole new one. Top right is Battle Spirits. I believe it’s the 6th one? Ah who’s counting. Bottom left is something called Geist Crusher? Thanks google translate for giving that show an awesome name. Bottom right is Bottom Biting Bug season 2. One season wasn’t enough to bite all the bottoms.
IS: Infinite Stratos 2
More generic harem disguised as awesome mech suit battles. I haven’t watched it, but fans of the show claim France is the best. The fact that such a line can be declared about a certain anime just goes to show how wrong this anime is. Shameful propaganda.
Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic 2
I feel I should have given Magi more of a chance, because I liked a lot of the things about it. But it didn’t strike me as a particularly good adaptation. Anyway, it’s more Magi. More sexy bare-chested men and slave girls.
I love this picture. It manages to capture everything about Freezing you need to know. Two ladies with giant blades fighting each other with all their clothes torn off. They even managed to come up with a subtitle for this season with sexual connotations. Bravo Freezing, I truly respect you.
Normally for a Pokemon sequel I would just post the lyrics to the Pokerap or something equally dumb, but I want to mention the Pokemon The Origin TV Special that’s airing. It’s only a single episode thing which I assume will be about an hour long. A lot of people are excited for this because it follows the story of the games, which confuses me. Yes I love the Pokemon games, but not for their story. I love it because I love the Pokemon themselves. Isn’t what makes the TV series work is they use that world as a jumping off point to tell smaller stories about each town and pokemon and person they come into contact with? The story of how a bland male protagonist got through Rock Tunnel without using flash doesn’t sound like thrilling viewing to me.
Kuroko plays with his balls 2
The popularity of this thing took me by surprise. It’s a perfectly fine sports show, if admittedly very cheaply made, but the way it took off with fangirls shocked me. It’s not even that gay, particularly by sports anime standards. And sports anime can be very gay indeed.
Hajime no Ippo Season 3
I will just have to hang my head in shame and admit I’ve never watched Hajime no Ippo. Neither have most people, but that makes it worse. Considered one of the finest anime ever made with near universally high ratings no matter where you go, and yet so few people have watched it. So join me, fellow ignoramuses, in hanging our heads in shame that we haven’t seen this classic and instead decide to kid ourselves that no really, this light novel adaptation will actually be good this time and not trash like every other time.
Little Busters! Refrain
I wish we lived in a world where most anime fans completely stopped caring about Key adaptations so a sequel to one of their shows went by completely unnoticed. Wait, we do live in that world? Thank you JC Staff!
Phi Brain 3
Three seasons of this thing. From my knowledge it is enjoyed exclusively by British people.
Valvrave the Liberator 2
The Valvrave production committee.
As usual, I only cover movies that are getting home video releases over the next 3 months. Normally I would also cover OVAs but there are no new ones. There will be more of the Geass Akito and new Ghost in the Shell Arise OVAs but asides from them it’s only DVD specials and hentai.
Saint Young Men
Release date: 23 Oct
Jesus and Buddha sitting in a tree. K-I-S-S-I-N-G. First comes love. Then comes marriage. Then they go to hell for being gay. I’ve been pretty excited for a Saint Young Men for a while. The story is about Jesus and Buddha chilling in Japan, going shopping and being generally cool dudes. It’s by the same author who wrote Arakawa Under the Bridge, and I fucking love Arakawa. It was a shining gem of romantic off-kilter weirdness in a sea of generic high school romcoms, mercifully free of fanservice which was a first for a Shaft anime at the time. I never thought we’d see an anime of Saint Young Men because too many people would get up in arms about this offensive cartoon. Not that there’s anything offensive about Saint Young Men in the slightest. It’s depiction of Jesus and Buddha comes off as just two genuinely nice guys hanging out.
I was a little worried when they announced the staff. No Shaft on board this time so the chance of seeing Jesus pull the Shaft head-tilt has been cruelly ripped away from me. Instead we get shunted over to boring old A1 Pictures with a KyoAni luminary as the director. Making Buddha moe is arguably more offensive than having an upskirt Jesus shot, or maybe Jesus and Buddha will spend the whole time swimming and fondling each other’s pecs. There was an OVA released of Saint Young Men by the same staff. It was fun, had a unique artstyle and went a long way to alleviating some of my worries. The big issue is whether they can make the movie have a good story and flow. The OVAs were fine, but got boring due to their complete aimlessness. Some road-trip style movie would work great.
Release date: 18 Sep
Did you like Humanity has Declined? I certainly did. It had its issues and not every arc worked, but it’s one of the most original anime this decade. My opinion of it has only gone up over time. Aura is based off a novel by the same author, Romeo Tanaka. He also wrote a few highly regarded VNs like A Drug That Makes You Dream and Cross Channel. The problem with Aura is it would have seemed way more original if it came out a year ago. It’s about a dude who finds a girl in his class who has an extreme case of Chuunibyou. Gosh where have we heard that one before? The original novel for Aura was published before that KyoAni Chuunibyou light novel was made, so technically that was ripping off Aura, but that won’t matter in the eyes of the viewing public. Even leaving that aside, it’s still way less original than Humanity has Declined because it’s set in bloody high school rather than set during the slow, sad, indifferent death of humanity. It’s all the same crew doing the adaptation, so a hearty welcome back to Seiji Kishi and co. I still want to check this out. Humanity has Declined was such a strange show that I’m willing to give anything by the same author a shot.
Dragonball Z: War of the Gods
Release date: 13 Sep
Hanasaku Iroha: Home Sweet Home
Release date: 16 Oct
I sort of liked Hanasaku Iroha, but more of the same would push my patience a bit. I’m not sure if I could sit through more stupid teenage girls not listening to each other. It would have to be an entire movie about Ohana’s mother to get my interest up…wait, what’s that? This movie is about Ohana’s mum when she was younger? Holy shit I am so down for that!
Mardock Scramble: The Third Exhast
Release date: 25 Sep
The final Mardock Scramble movie. I sort of liked the first one, even though the image of Pussyhands will forever be ingrained in my mind, haunting me at 3 in the morning as I wake up in a cold sweat. The second movie was a complete mess although it did include Norio Wakamoto being eaten by a flying shark. I have no idea what on earth to expect from a final movie. I believe there will be more gambling, because that totally fit into the story in the second movie. Never mind that we had homosexual dolphins, now we’re playing blackjack. I do appreciate Mardock Scramble, if only because it allows me to put all those ridiculous scenarios in a single paragraph and have it completely baffle anyone who has never seen the movies before, but be understandable to anyone who has.
The Mystical Laws
Release date: Already out
Let’s finish off with an anime by a religious cult. If you’ve ever read Shinmaru’s fantastic terribad list, you may be familiar with Happy Science. They’re a religious cult based in Japan, although they have spread across the world quite a bit. I believe they have a big base in Australia too. One of their recruitment tools is to make anime movies with surprisingly decent animation and famous voice actors. Their last one, Rebirth of Buddha, had the voice actress of Holo voicing the main girl. That movie also had Buddha on top of a giant golden elephant fighting a tentacle monster while being surrounded by CG angels. The thing these movies share asides from bizarre religious messages, perfect Aryan man as leader, and long boring speeches about spirituality, is how they are all completely terrible in the strangest ways. The problem is nobody has pirated the DVD yet, even though it has already been released. When it comes to advertisements created to get people suckered into a religious cult, I am totally OK with endorsing piracy. Someone out there get this movie at put it online. It will be an education. It will be glorious.