Hello, friends of The Cart Driver! We’re here to bring to you what will hopefully be a fun series of posts and not something we abandon because we all get bored and/or, god forbid, get a life or something.
Perhaps a few of you have accounts at My Anime List. Even if you do, though, you may not have heard of the Fantasy Anime League group on the site. The long and short of it is that the group takes the basic structure of fantasy sports leagues and applies it to anime. The goal is to guess which anime in a given season (the league usually runs during the spring and fall seasons) will be most popular among MAL users. There’s a bit more to it than that, but look at the club to get all the minutiae behind the game.
We at The Cart Driver of course love to humiliate others, because we’re bitter, awful people. So Scamp, Inushinde and myself have all entered the Fantasy Anime League to determine which among us shall emerge the King of The Cart Driver. (It’ll totally be me, btw.) Every 2-3 weeks or so we’ll check back in on our teams and chat about how awesome we are, the Lelouchesque strategies we are employing and so on. And we invite all of you lovely people to join the league yourselves and match wits against the Masters of Anime! The season starts September 30th, so get your teams in before then! It’s not difficult to keep up with, trust me.
To give you an idea of the sheer amount of thought and planning that goes into the construction of a Fantasy Anime League team, we’ll present our teams and strategies, because when you are trying to defeat people, giving out pro tips by the handful is obviously the thing to do.
- Little Busters
- Tonari no Kaibutsu
- Psycho Pass (bench)
- Robotic;Notes (bench)
Little Busters and Chuunibyou are the obvious picks for the season. MAL loves KyoAni almost as much as they love Key. Little Busters could crash and burn horribly. In fact, there’s a very high probability that it will, but FAL relies on viewers, not critical acclaim. So even if Little Busters does crash, it will still have plenty of people watching it, and I can always sub it out if everyone bails towards the end. Beyond there things get a little bit trickier. K is a bit of a wildcard choice, despite the hype its receiving. Original anime usually are hard to predict. When in doubt though, bet on bishies and pretty animation, which is about the only thing we know K will have.
When it comes to shounen, Magi has lower anticipation numbers on the site next to Bakuman 3 and Code:Breaker, but I’m banking on Magi’s shirtless dudes, flashy looking promo material and better manga reviews to prop it above the other two. I’ve been burned picking sequels before, so I’m betting 2 previous seasons of Bakuman will prevent it from raising too high. With Code:Breaker, the more early-00’s art and poor manga reviews lead me to believe it won’t get the same fervour Magi will. As for Shoujo, I’m hoping that the more traditional flowery shoujo of Kamisama Kiss won’t get the same broad appeal of Brains Base working on Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun.
Oh yeah, and the two Noitamina. Protip for FAL: Put Noitamina anime on the bench. Because they always air late into the season, you don’t want them on your team in the first week because they won’t get any points while those that do air will while sitting forlornly on your bench. Issue here is they’ve introduced a new rule that you can only make a substitute every 3 weeks. So I can’t sub in both Noitamina in week 2. It’s a risky move on my part, but I have a feeling one of the two Noitamina won’t take off. It’s just a gamble to see which one does by the time the second week comes around.
- Bakuman S3
- Little Busters!
- That KyoAni anime that isn’t Little Busters! because J.C. Staff is doing Little Busters!
- K (bench)
- Psycho-Pass (bench)
I’m taking a few chances with my team. Sequels can sometimes be sketchy, because there will be inevitable dropoff from season to season. However, Bakuman’s second season had a respectable viewer count, and I’m banking on season three retaining much of that viewership. If you stick around for season two of a crap show, then you’re going to watch season three, yeah? Robotics;Notes is also a gamble because, as Scamp mentioned, it won’t be scored for the first week. However, I am so confident in my team that I decided to give everyone else a handicap and definitely didn’t neglect to take airing dates into consideration.
With Code:Breaker, I liked the number of people reading the manga. As Sword Art Online shows, fans of a series being adapted from one medium to another will show up in DROVES to bitch and complain every week. I laugh at Scamp thinking people actually care about bad reviews. Sword Art Online posts are the most popular episodics on this site, you fool! Little Busters! is a no-brainer. People will watch and weep every week while we at The Cart Driver hold ourselves back from showering the blog in vomit from our gagging. And, of course, people adore KyoAni so Chuu2etc. is a double no-brainer.
I’m having a bit of trouble gauging K, so it’s going on my bench for now even though there’s a solid amount of hype behind it. All we know is that it looks super pretty. Psycho-Pass is another potential heavy-hitter. The hype building behind the creative team is solid, but I’d like to see an episode or two first before I commit more than a bench spot.
- Little Busters
- Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai
- Shinsekai Yori
- Kamisama Hajimemashita (Bench)
- Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure (Bench)
A good way to judge how popular a show’s going to be on MAL is to see just how many favorites it has before it’s even aired. Even though Little Busters isn’t going to be adapted by KyoAni, it’s still undoubtedly going to be one of, if not the most watched show of the season, due to Key adaptations garnering at times inexplicable amounts of attention. A roster without Little Busters has no chance of winning, in other words.
As for Chuuni, it’s about somebody trying to cope with his chuunibyou past, but with a sense of self awareness about it, two things that sell anime like hotcakes to weebs and otaku the world over. That, and it’s KyoAni’s hound in this particular race track, so that almost guarantees the same popularity as Little Busters. Similarly, Robotics;Notes and K combine things that get your average anime fan drooling over their Pico dakimakuras, so these are safe, if uninteresting choices. Yeah, Robotics;Notes is a late bloomer, but if it doesn’t end up one of the most popular I’m going to be legitimately surprised. As for K… well, beauty sells, and this is fucking gorgeous. I mean people watched Guilty Crown, after all.
Something that I’ve seen very little of in terms of picks is Shinsekai Yori, which confuses me. It has children and teenagers with psychic powers, which I assume panders to the chuunibyou fantasy in all of us enough to warrant a tidal wave of popularity.
My last two choices, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure and Kamisama Hajimemashita are risks, hence being benched, but the power of bishounen is not to be underestimated even by the most seasoned FAL participant. The Season of the Chuunibyou is upon us, and I shall claim the crown as the FAL Champion of The Cart Driver.
Hopefully this is not you, The Reader, right now.
And there you have it! We’re all ready to have fun, yeah? At least, until the end when the winner is clear and showers the site with his gloating while the two losers figure out the cheapest way to hire someone to commit a murder. Then maybe not so fun!