This is the 19th season preview listed on this website’s archives. 20 if I feel like counting the one I did for summer 2008 back on an old livejournal blog where I only covered about 3 upcoming anime and I predicted that Nogizaka Haruka’s Secret would be the next Haruhi Suzumiya. So I’ve been getting these previews wrong for a long time, sometimes catastrophically so. However, 20 season previews later, I think I’m finally getting the hang of it. And by ‘get the hang of it’ I mean ‘list a bunch of facts and make some dumb jokes to mask that I’m being super vague about whether it will be good or not’. Join me, won’t you~?
Red Data Girl
Red Data Girl is about a teenage girl who goes to Anime High School, like 90% of all anime ever. She can see spirits or something like that. The plot synopsis is just a load of mystical technobabble and generic high school set up, but the promising part is that it’s based on a regular Novel rather than it’s lighter compatriot. That difference is important. It’s like Coke and Diet Coke. They may appear the same in many ways, but everyone knows the regular Coke is better, right? Oh Scamp, first anime of this preview and we’re already throwing out controversial statements.
Adapting Red Data Girl is PA Works, guys behind Hanasaku Iroha, Another, Angel Beats, Tari Tari etc. They don’t have a stellar history. My favourite anime by them is probably Angel Beats, which is a long way from being a classic. That said, none of their stuff is offensively awful either. Canaan and Another might be dumb, but they always appear to have a reasonable amount of effort put into them. Ultimately, I’m cool with PA Works. I’m even cool with the fact that all their character designs are starting to look the exact same. They’ve conformed to this Kishida Mel shiny-face look. It’s not strictly a bad look, but it does make them look like they’ve all been varnished. Since I’ve mentioned the character designer Kishida Mel, I am hereby honour bound to post a picture of him.
This is the guy who does those cutesy character designs for Sora no Woto, Hanasaku Iroha and now Red Data Girl. You are a cool guy Kishida Mel.
Demon Lord at Work!
I have an intense burning desire to call this out as crap, but before that I first have to find something to base that dislike on beyond gut feeling. It’s based off a light novel, which is a pretty bad start given the standard of writing in light novels today. It does have a manga adaptation, which I gave a shot and…it’s all right. It’s about a demon king who has to work at McDonalds to make ends meet. It’s even kind of funny, and the male characters have some personality. Fine then, how about the promo art? Those character designs sure are generic. On the other hand, not a single piece of promo art depicts the girls as just something to drool over. It’s surprisingly lacking in cheesecake fanservice. OK, well then the staff should be crap, right? The director had a history of bad anime with Shuffle, but then went onto do a quite fine job on Future Diary. Animation studio is White Fox, who have a solid record of late with Steins;Gate, Katanagatari and Jormungand. So I guess this could be good? It’s hard to get enthusiastic about it in such a packed season, but it’s worth a shot anyway.
Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet
Gen Urobuchi has carved out a nice little niche for himself in anime making grimdark violent anime. His stuff sells extremely well, and I’m delighted for him because have you seen what the other total garbage that passes for the darker anime nowadays? Blood-C, Deadman Wonderland, Btooom, the Marvel X Madhouse anime? I’ve been hearing people complain that they’re bored of his shtick, but when he’s the only person doing this stuff well, I’m more than happy to let him keep making it.
So, Gargantia. It’s about some mecha pilot from a war torn galaxy being transported by SCIENCE onto a flooded planet where people travel around in giant city boats. It looks more fantastical than the grimdark stuff he usually does, and I do quite like the promo art they’ve been releasing of all the giant city boats. It’s like some sort of futuristic steampunk. It’s being animated by Production IG, who I usually like. I can’t say I’m overly keen on the director though. His most recent thing was that rather terrible FMA: Bros movie, where they decided the best thing to do to FMA was turn it into the most generic shounen movie ever. It was like something the Naruto/Bleach franchises fart out, and all the fluid animation in the world couldn’t hide that. Bitching about the FMA:B movie aside though, I really like the look of Gargantia. Colour me excited.
One the one hand, I do appreciate that the Asian version of admirable men is not this hyper-masculine feelings-are-for-pussies, buff dude. That always struck me as such an infantile idea of masculinity. That said, my impressions reading the first chapter of the Karneval manga was that these guys…they’re just flat chested women. If nobody told me, I’d assume they’re women, and fairly attractive women at that. I don’t really have an issue with it myself, but it does make me wonder about the level of heterosexuality of women who like these sorts of bishies. The manga is fanservice for ladies. The studio is Manglobe who might as well be a completely different studio from the guys who made Samurai Champloo back in the day since all they produce is trashy stuff themselves. Not even good trash, but stuff like Sacred Blacksmith and Pure Shite Symphony. The director’s most notable work is Kodomo no Jikan, the script writer’s main job was on Amnesia. Yep, it’s going to be trash only worth it if you like men who look like women.
I really should stop talking about character designs so much in season previews, since they have practically no effect on the eventual quality. It just happens to be quite easy, because all the evidence is already in front of me. Plus we’ve got our old favourite early 00’s mecha sameface character designer from Gundam SEED, Fafner and Ryvius, Hisashi Hirai. Beyond the character designs, it is mecha, which I’m always happy to see more of. The studio is Dogakobo, who are shite, but that’s mostly because what they adapt are porn games and 4-komas. When it comes to a studio going so far out of its comfort zone, they’re often doing this because it feels like they have a point to prove, and all bets are off. As for the staff, one of my usual points of reference is that if they worked on Akane Iro ni Somaru Saka, then it will suck. This director directed Akane…Saka, but then went and did Jormungand and Katanagatari. Most of the staff are like that. Predominately terrible titles with the occasional “huh, where did that come from” among them. My expectations are low, but I always hold onto a glimmer of hope when there are giant robots.
Attack on Titan
As I said at the start, I’ve been doing these season previews since 2008, and in that time I cannot remember a manga getting more critical acclaim combined with commercial success come out in that time as the apocalypic horror-action manga Attack on Titan. It’s won boatloads of awards, one of the best-selling manga ever, and I’ve been reading nonstop praise for it for the past few years. It even had a live-action movie green lit. I thought the live-action movie would mean it would end up like 20th Century Boys and never get an anime, but since the movie appears to be caught in development hell, I guess we get an anime too? Huzzah for that! It’s being adapted by Wit Studios, a brand new spin-off group from Production IG. So far so good. The staff are…interesting.
When I say the director did Death Note and the series composition guy does the new Jojo’s, I think you may see where I’m going with this. They do bombastic dramatic action. In particular Tetsuro Araki, the director, does bombastic dramatic thriller better than anyone else. Thing is, with the exception of Death Note, the stuff he’s given to adapt haven’t been very good. Kurozuka, Highschool of the Dead, even friggen Guilty Crown. They all totally nail their respective styles, but falter on the actual story/writing side. Especially Guilty Crown. The thing about Guilty Crown is that it looks phenomenal, which was Araki’s job, but let down by possibly the worst writing for an anime in a decade. Araki still sat in those production meetings and approved of the scripts as they came through so he’s not blameless, but he’s shown with Death Note that if you give him good source material, he will nail bringing that to animated form. The fantastic trailer demonstrates as much.
The Hentai Prince and the Stony Cat
Since I just brought up 20th Century Boys, reading the manga adaptation of Henneko (as I believe the shortened name is) brought to mind a certain scene from 20th Century Boys. The lead character Kenji goes to a giant cult concert in a packed stadium watching a pair of stand-up comedians. The comedian crack an unfunny joke that makes zero sense, and the entire stadium collapses with laughter. Kenji is utterly baffled and even quite scared as the people fall around him, gripping his shoulder as they gasp for breath between the jolts of laughter. That was me reading Henneko. The light novel community and the manga-reading community seem to really like this title, which genuinely confuses me. The entire set up, joke, and reason this exists is for the main character to say perverted things and for girls to call him a pervert. That is literally it. Wasn’t that part of the reason we agreed Fractale sucked?
At least with that though, I get it to a certain extent. Teenage boys discovering their own perverted thoughts derive pleasure from watching someone else spell out those thoughts and identify with him. What truly leaves me in a Kenji in the Cults Stadium levels of confusion is the character designs. People really praise this guy’s designs a lot. All I see is a bunch of 8 year old girls with the same face and no nose. I am genuinely baffled. It’s not like I ask that much of character designs, but at the very least I’d like the characters to look different. It’s the same face with different hair colours, and its the face of an 8 year old girl. Hisashi Hirai is the same, but at least we appear to have agreed that those character designs are terrible. But this guy, the internet goes nuts for.
It will be a popular anime too, and I still won’t be able to understand why.
Arata the Legend
From the same mangaka who brought you Fushigi Yugi and Ayashi no Ceres. I wonder how many people who are anime fans nowadays care about Fushigi Yugi still? It was a big deal back in the day before I was an anime fan, but I only hear it now referenced by old-timers saying “lol remember Fushigi Yugi and how that was really big despite begin shit”. Arata Kangatari is quite a bit different. If we feel like being anal, yes it’s shoujo because where it’s published blah de blah, but its more classic fantasy adventure than anything else. It’s about a dude who has to dress as a princess because his nation never provided a female heir, but then shit gets real and he gets blamed for something and lots of fantasy action happens. It seemed all right from what I read, although apparently I didn’t get far enough into the story to reach the bit which involved the standard ‘high school student gets transported into fantasy land’ trope to appear. But still, if you’re looking for pretty dudes, this is a hell of a lot better than Karneval. Satelight are doing the animation, which is a BIG step up from Manglobe. Staff are admittedly nothing to write home about (series composition of Rio Rainbow Gate anyone?) but if you want fantasy action with hot dudes, this seems perfectly serviceable. If you’re wondering whether the dudes really are hot, take a look at that man’s chest in the promo picture and try keep your knickers dry. Yeah, didn’t think you could.
Valvrave the Liberator
Three anime original mecha anime this season. Three! Oh holiest of mecha gods, I praise thee for finally delivering. Admittedly Majestic Prince looks kinda crappy, but Gargantia looks awesome. Then there’s Valvrave, because if there’s going to be a season of mecha, then Sunrise need to throw their lot in too. The director is the guy who did Kurenai and Red Garden, so hopefully that means there will be a musical episode. Series Composition is by a guy who’s been around the block quite a bit, working on Turn A and Azumanga. His biggest role, without a doubt, is he wrote Code Geass alongside Goro Taniguchi. Since Goro appears to be sulking in a basement somewhere, this is the next best thing we have to a new anime by the Geass creator.
I really want Valvrave to succeed, because this is a bit of a point of pride for me. I have been reminded time after time for getting stupidly hyped up for Guilty Crown because it had the director of Death Note and the writer for Code Geass. Turns out that was just me not doing my research properly. The director for Guilty Crown kept up his end of the bargain and made GC look stunning. Hiroyuki Yoshino, the writer for GC, wrote a measly 3 episodes on Geass, and his CV before GC consisted of Gundam Seed Destiny and the Seikon no Qwasar manga. In retrospect, I really should have seen that coming. Since I should cover my bases here, I should mention that this guy writing Valvrave did also write the script for that awful Negima anime. There, expectations suitably tempered. Moderately excited for more Sunrise mecha.
Flower of Evil
While stuff like Titan and Gargantia are the big obvious titles of the season, I’m going to let you in on a little secret: This is actually the one I’m most excited to see come out. Not just for me to watch, although I’m sure I’ll enjoy that part too. I absolutely can’t bloody wait to see people’s reactions to this. I read a bit of the manga and it is ffffffuuuuuuucccckkkked uuuuuuuuuppp! So gloriously messed up and I dying to see people squirm. Plus they’ve got arguably one of the best directors in anime working on this. Hiroshi Nagahama doesn’t have a whole lot of anime on his books. In fact, he’s only directed two anime in his life: Mushishi and Detroit Metal City. Talk about versatility, and also talk about bringing the best out of the source material. Reading the Mushishi manga after watching the anime is like watching a fireworks display on TV instead of going there yourself. Flower of Evil is really different from DMC and Mushishi again, being a sort of psychological horror story. I don’t think this will get particularly big, because it’s kinda ugly and creepy, but I highly recommend you check this out.
Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge
Crime Edge is about a guy who has a massive fetish for cutting hair, until one day he meets a girl whose hair can’t be cut, until the main character finds a magical pair of scissors that can cut anything. That synopsis, if you’re like me, would make you go “that’s so dumb, I have to watch this”. Unfortunately the manga it’s adapted from takes it story surprisingly seriously and as a result is quite generic and boring. The staff are pretty crappy too. Director of Fate/Stay Night is not a good starting point, and neither is having Studio Gokumi doing the animation, most famous for their stellar work on WHO IS IMOUTO! Yup, sorry Crime Edge. In an off-season I might have given you a chance, but not this season. Not with so much other better stuff to watch.
Devil Survivor 2
Devil Survivor 2 is a DS game by Atlus, creators of Persona 4, as part of their seemingly endless Shin Megami Tensei universe of games. I’m not entirely sure why they’ve chosen to go with the second Devil Survivor game, but I suppose Persona 4 has none of the same characters from the earlier Persona games, so it’s probably a case that you can just jump straight in. Like everything else Atlus makes ever, it’s a contemporary fantasy story involving a bunch of young adults in incredibly trendy clothes fighting demons. While admittedly saying it has a good story for a video game is like saying “he’s very good at long division for a dog”, Atlus is one of the few I’d begrudgingly trust to have an interesting story. How it translates to anime format is a different story, because video game story telling is such a different environment from every other medium, so it comes down to the director.
Seiji Kishi. Again. Same guy who did Persona 4. I’ve got mixed opinions on how the Persona 4 anime handled its story, but what’s undeniable was the animation was clearly bottom of the barrel. It lasted almost entirely on its style alone. So hopefully we’ve got a different studio working on it this time, rather than the guys at AIC+ who weren’t even paid for their work on Persona 4? Yes, we do, we’ve got Bridge, a studio whose only previous effort was Mitsudamoe. Oh well. The trailer doesn’t even have that same instantaneous drool quality that the original Persona 4 trailer had. Not that the trailer for Devil Survivor 2 is bad. Actually it’s pretty great in its own right, and I’m quite interested to see what this turns out to be like. But there’s no yellow. Where’s all the yellow damnit!
The little bit of the Mushibugyo manga I read reminded me a lot of Needless. Very sharp speedline-heavy artwork with incredibly dumb writing and plot as a feeble excuse to get people fighting in ridiculous manners and the small amount of actual fabric the girls are wearing inevitably gets torn off during the fight. The first chapter had the girl get tied up by a spider monster and all her clothes ripped off as she goes “kyaaaa~!” and somehow doesn’t suffer serious mental trauma from this attempted rape. I did know people who liked Needless for whatever odd reason, but at least I’ll grant that Needless executed on its style pretty well. That was Madhouse though, while Mushibugyo is being animated by Seven Arcs, guys from Dog Days and Seikirei. Weirdly, this is being aired at 6:00pm, absolute primetime slot for happy family cartoons. Oh Japan, you’re idea of a family cartoon is rather strange.
Oh dear Madhouse. We’re right down to dating sim adaptations now. Photo Kano is a PSP game in which you take photos of girls and then they fuck you. At least, I think that’s how the game mechanics work. I do feel a little sorry for the director. This is his first full-time gig, but when you look at some of the stuff he’s done animation and episode directing on before, holy crap is it just non-stop highly regarded anime after another. Samurai Champloo, Tatami Galaxy, Wolf’s Rain, Kaiba, Rahxephon, Gurren Lagann, Eureka Seven, Cowboy Bebop, Full Metal Alchemist, One Outs, Moribito. Finally he gets his big break and they throw a dating sim at him.
My youth romantic comedy is wrong as I expected
Is the name a proper sentence that won’t make Microsoft Word put green squiggles under it? Then it’s based off a light novel. Yahari (the Japanese shortened name) is about a boring dude who can’t make any friends so he gets sent to a club where the school’s prettiest girls becomes his friend/girlfriend to try teach him how to make friends. It’s another in a long line of light novel plotlines that have some vague hints of themes and an actual purpose behind the story, but the ultimate goal is still wish fulfilment. The kind of wish fulfilment in which the main character doesn’t have to do anything but still gets the prettiest girl and eventually a harem. Sorry, my cynicism is showing, how rude of me. Studio is Brains Base, who I’m officially moving off my ‘Wall of Cool’ because they keep making crap. The director did work under the dude who directed Gintama and Daily Lives of Highschool Boys though, so maybe there’s hope yet?
Dem 90’s eyes! They’re bloody huge! Wait no Scamp, no more talking about character designs, you did promise yourself that. So Namiuchigiwa. It’s about a mermaid who meets a dude. That’s all the plot description says. It’s based off a manga which has no english translations, never appears in any top-selling manga lists, and has no english reviews of I could find online. There is no trailer and only one piece of promo art. The studio is Tatsunoko, who used to make those Gatchaman and Yatterman stuff back in the day, but nowadays are so all over the place, from [C] Control to Pretty Rythem Aurora Dream, that they’re a name which means basically nothing. So yeah, those 90’s eyes eh?
Date A Live
Look at them boobies! And striped underwear! Which belongs to your sister!?! Phwoar, I sure do hope she’s blood-related, because that way it will be hotter!
Space Battleship Yamato 2199
They’ve remade Yamato. They’ve been remaking Yamato for a while now. Yamat 2199 has been slowly coming out 3-4 episodes at a time on home video, and they’re at about episode 14. Now it’s finally airing on TV. Why I’m putting this up instead of other anime re-airing on TV (such as Katanagatari airing in Noitamina, which is why there’s a curious lack of Noitamina anime this season) is because this Yamato remake isn’t technically finished yet. The TV broadcast will probably finish the series before the home video releases do, so if you are one of the very few watching this, that’s worth keeping in mind. Because of the release format, practically nobody has been watching it, certainly not in English speaking fandom. It’s got theatrical releases in Japan as they squash episodes together into movie length, but I don’t know if they’re attracting any significant numbers. I’ll give the series a shot once its drawing to a close.
Oh right, I should mention what Space Battleship Yamato is. It’s possibly the most influential anime ever, kickstarting the entire medium into creating more serious adult anime. The entire market that we consider to be mature serious anime started with Yamato. I have my doubts that something so seminal will hold up today, and I generally against just remaking shit, but it’s worth checking out as history even if its story might not hold up.
Tetsujin-28 Gou Gao
Speaking of seminal anime, and since we’re in a season with 3 anime original mecha series airing, how about the grandaddy of all mecha anime? Tetsujin 28 was the first mecha anime as we know it today. It has been remade many times before, including a TV series in 2004 which, in a move that will surprise nobody, garnered fuck all interest for the rest-of-the-world anime fandom. Not that I think the Japanese give a shit. It was made to wrangle some nostalgia with families, although I do quite like the image of some aloof Japanese business executive going “WHAT DO YOU MEAN THE AMERICANS DON’T WANT TO LICENSE TETSUJIN 28?”. This remake are a bunch of 5-minute shorts with a pop-art style of animation, which at the very least looks unique.
4-koma adaptation of a bunch of girls doing cute things and absolutely nothing else. It’s probably going to have episodes between 3-5 minutes in length. Please stop making these Japan.
4-koma adaptation of a bunch of girls doing cute things and absolutely nothing else. It’s probably going to have episodes between 3-5 minutes in length. Please stop making these Japan.
Kara the Animation
Kara are a Korean all-girls bubblegum-pop group. They’ve decided the best way to extend their appeal is to make an anime about them doing a whole load of other jobs, like firemen or police or boat captain or prostituting themselves to a purity obsessed dirty old men demographic. Actually that’s unfair, maybe it’s just the Japanese idol market that operates as a pseudo-slavery model roping in girls at a young age with promise of fame and glory and making them strip down for illegal-in-any-other-country photoshoots. But then I did some reading into the Korean idol market and it turns out they’re also obsessed with the model of scrubbed up plastic teenagers being bombarded with abuse should they dare even think about sex with another man should their fans’ fantasies be shattered, and then Korean business executives scratch their heads in confusion when their worldwide musical sensation from this cesspool is a fat bloke doing a silly dance mocking this attitude. But then I went and read a bit more about Kara specifically, and they seemed comparatively normal. Still weirdly plastic, but they’re in the early 20’s and have boyfriends and stuff like that.
If I’m capable of wrenching myself away from my spitting hatred of idol culture, Kara the Animation is a quite interesting project. It’s their attempt at reaching out to fans in Japan, and they’re even doing the voices of the characters in the show themselves. That means it will be in Korean with Japanese subtitles. It’s animated by Korean studios, but is airing in Japan, so its qualification as an anime is pretty suspect, and will inevitably be referred to as one of those borderline cases in all those stupid “what is anime” arguments that occur every 5 seconds on forums. It’s fairly intriguing from an academic standpoint, but I have no interest in actually watching it.
Train Heroes and Poli the Robocar are about public sector vehicles turning into superheroes. The ice-skating idol franchise extravaganza Pretty Rhythm is getting a sequel called Pretty Rhythm Rainbow Live. Danchi Tomoo is based off an award-winning manga, but the trailer is some awful looking CG thing, so fat chance of it even being subbed, let alone being any good. Finally, My Little Pony Friendship is Magic is getting a Japanese dub, which means we now have to call it MAI LITTERU PONII: TOMODACHI WA MAHOU!
Uta no Prince-sama 2000%
The trashiest of the super trashy otome game adaptations has gotten a sequel. I’m sure someone out there will correct me and point to another otome adaptation that is even trashier, but I guess Prince-sama’s self-awareness in its trashiness is what brought people in. I’m afraid I can’t see the appeal myself, particularly when the music was so ear-gratingly awful. It’s almost like a parody of boyband music.
Gosh, we really are getting the trashiest sequels this season. This is one of those classic ‘girls fight while the clothes explode’ anime. We get the sequels were deserve I guess. Speaking of getting the sequels we deserve~
My Little Sister Is A Humongous Twat
The light novel for My Little Sister Can’t Be This Irritating was quite big before the anime appeared, but I didn’t expect it to be an industry defining trendsetter whose absurd naming scheme, incest fetish, and laughably shallow attempt at social commentary before saying “fuck it” and going back to harem construction, would be the thing other anime and light novels chased after for the next 3 years. It does amuse me that there are still people out there who try to claim that no seriously, My Little Sister Can’t Resist My Juicy Cock is actually a heartfelt look at honest sibling relationships and in no way a pandering load of bullcrap.
To be fair to My Little Sister Can’t Masturbate to Eroge Every Single Day, it does have significantly better writing than any other incest light novel title, even if the bar there is so low it practically goes through the centre of the earth. In fact, I’d go so far as to call it ‘average’, which is pretty high praise compared to its compatriots. I’m even half tempted to watch this sequel too, considering I blogged the entire first season plus dumb ‘true end’ route that changed basically nothing about the story. Maybe in the first episode someone will shoot Kirino in the face, her self-insert brother will fall into a coma, and the story can finally focus on Kuroneko and her non-incestuous adventures. A man can dream, can’t he? One thing I will be eternally grateful to My Little Sister Can’t Stop Waving Her Pre-Pubescent Butt In My Face for is the naming scheme, because it provides me with incredibly easy material to make silly jokes with.
You’ve Been Summoned, Azazel-san 2
Japan went nuts for this, and I don’t really get why. I just saw a bunch of people yelling. Whatever, good for the people who like yelling as humour I guess.
A Certain Scientific Railgun S
I tapped out after one episode of Index, but golly has the franchise really been expanding in the past few years. Railgun falls quite nicely into the category of anime I don’t watch but am quite happy to see a sequel of. It’s popular, it seems ambitious, it doesn’t have anything really obvious that I find objectionable, it’s made by JC Staff so it’s not like making Railgun means they’re not making something else I want a sequel of because JC Staff haven’t made something I liked in over 5 years, and more of it seems to make people happy. So good for you guys, here’s a sequel to Railgun. I’m happy for you.
Haiyore! Nyaruko-san W
Another thing Japan went nuts for and flew completely over my head because I didn’t watch the 90 bajillion live action super sentai series it parodied. Bla bla bla make sequels to things I like bla bla bla etc.
Hayate the Combat Butler
And now we jump to sequels that make the original fanbase really mad. Hayate is still in the hands of Manglobe rather than JC Staff, and boy oh boy do people seem to really not like what Manglove have done to Hayate. Now there’s more of it, so prepared to be continuously disappointed. Or maybe Manglobe have gotten better with all this practice? Yeah, let’s pretend that’s what is going to happen.
Weird spin-off things
DD Hokuto no Ken is a super-deformed Fist of the North Star series, which on the scale of things is relatively normal for weird spin-offs of established anime properties. Heck, this isn’t even the first Hokuto no Ken DD series. What’s far stranger is DLE (the same flash guys who made Thermae Romae) making an alternate version of the hit 70’s shoujo manga Glass Mask except now all the characters are street thugs. It’s utterly bizarre, but also kind of great. My knowledge of 70’s shoujo is pretty limited, but if you offered me Rose of Versailles re-imagined as a yazuka comedy, I would love it.
As always, I don’t cover what anime are getting theatrical runs in Japan over the next 3 months. I’m covering what gets released on home video, as that’s when us dirty pirates get to watch it.
Evangelion 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo
Release Date: April 24th
For those of you who have literally just fallen out of your mother’s vagina, Neon Genesis Evangelion was the industry shaking sensation in which Hideaki Anno revolutionised the giant robot genre by being super depressed and projecting that onto all his characters. After calming down and leaving Gainax to set up Studio Khara, they started the process of remaking Evangelion as a movie series. The first, You Are (Not) Alone, released 10 years after the original movie End of Evangelion, was essentially the exact same as the first few episodes of the original TV series. The next movie, You Can (Not) Advance, was a radical change from the events of the first TV series. It wasn’t nearly as hyper depressing, and they parachuted in a new character whose purpose seemed at the time to be solely for an extra pair of tits to have flailing around.
Now we have You Can (Not) Redo, the third in what I believe will be 4 movies. I’ve been keeping as far away from spoilers as possible, so all I know is that Evangelion starts to Gay It Up a bit, which I kinda knew would happen what with himself appearing in the promo art. I’m surprised the home video release is so soon after the theatre release. Alarmingly close too, since I was banking on it not being out for ages and going back to rewatch the entire franchise because my feelings on Evangelion as a whole are very scrambled at the moment. Anyway, it’s Evangelion. Those of you who didn’t already know all that are probably having your umbilical cords cut right about now.
Release date: 20th Feb
The latest movie by Mamoru Hosoda, director of Girl Who Leapt Through Time and Summer Wars. It’s been doing the rounds at movie festivals and I got a chance to see it. It’s really aggressively maudlin, in a way his previous movies were not. Summers War is a goofy family movie, while Girl Who Leapt Through Time is practically s’life, but Wolf Children is really attempting to be a tragic tearjerker. The closest comparison I could think of was Clannad After Story. I didn’t really like it, but most other people who’ve watched it seem to love because their hearts haven’t been coated with stone yet. BD raw rips are already out, we’re just waiting on fansubs. You can make your own mind up then.
Fuse Teppou Musume no Torimonochou
Release date: 12 April
Here’s one that crept up on me. Fuse is about a girl trying to hunt down this guy who has the spirits of a bunch of legendary samurai in him. They probably fall in love and then be torn apart in a bittersweet sort of way. It’s based off a novel by the same author who wrote Gosick, which doesn’t exactly bode well for great writing. The creative team working behind the movie are pretty strange though. Director of Xam’d and the writer for Code Geass, same guy I mentioned earlier who is now working on Valverave. It aired in theatres in Japan last October, but I’ve heard absolutely nothing about it since then so I have no idea if it was supposed to be any good or not. Still though, it’s got such an eclectic mix of talents behind it that I kinda want to see whether it worked out or not.
Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha the Movie 2nd A’s
Release date: 22 Mar
The second Nanoha movie. Or Nanoha A’s movie. Are they different things? Whatever, it has lesbians. Go nuts.
Release date: 22 Mar
Another movie that I got to see at a festival. It’s a grim and dirty story about cannibalism, animated in CGI. It is terrible. Don’t watch it.
OVA and Specials
Kick-Heart is a short movie by auteur extraordinaire Maasaki Yuasa, director of Tatami Galaxy, Kaiba and Mind Game. His stuff is routinely regarded as amazing yet with zero chance of ever selling because they’re too weird and artsy. Madhouse animated his previous projects, but their lack of funds means they dropped him. Production IG stepped in, but instead of giving him money up front, decided to say nuts to the Japanese audience and went straight to the English and French audiences and asked them to fund his new project through the crowd-funding site Kickstarter. Turns out Yuasa has quite a number of fans across the globe, because they were happily throwing money at the project, raising the $150,000 required, and another $50,000 more.
It’s quite a feel-good story, as many Kickstarter stories often are. Where the Kickstarter nightmare begins is when the thing that was funded doesn’t ever come out. Thankfully, according to the latest reports the team have sent out, Kick-Heart is already fully animated and voiced, and they’re just finishing up all the stuff around it. The only real question left is ‘will it be any good’? That’s harder to answer. I like Yuasa a lot, but he needs a firm hand on his shoulder to keep his crazier side in check, and I doubt he’d have that in a vanity project like this. Plus, since the story is about a masochistic wrestler, I hardly think it will be a work of considerable depth or anything. It does look fun though, and since it’s Yuasa is will look pretty unique stylistically. Just so long as it’s fun, I’ll be happy.
A short OVA based off a manga about cute little 1 inch high robot girls whose job it is to exterminate bugs in the most brutal and militaristic method possible, using miniature rocket launchers and the like. It’s one of those anime that are packed in with the manga, so realistically it’s only for fans of the manga. If you are a fan, weeellll it has the director for BREAD OF HAPPINESS working on it, so I wouldn’t hold out for something marvellous.
Anime Mirai 2013
Apparently this is the new name of the Young Animator Training Project. Not as self-explanatory, but certainly snappier. ‘Anime Future’. I like it. Basically this is the government giving studios money to make these 30-minute movies to train up young animators and give them experience. This is the third year they’re running it, with 4 short movies each time. There’s usually a generally agreed-upon stand out piece. First year it was the sentimental Oji-san no Lamp, and the second year it was the fucking creepy Wasurenagumo. They’re all worth checking out, even if one of the four is also inevitably a dud. This year especially though, because they really have got a super interesting lineup. It’s being released in theatres first, so I don’t know when we’ll get to see them, but let’s go through them one by one anyway.
Little Witch Academia
Might as well start with the show-stopper. Imaishi, the guy who was also behind Gurren Lagann and Panty and Stocking, left Gainax and set up his own studio called Trigger. They haven’t made an anime yet. Well, I suppose they made Inferno Cop, but that doesn’t really count. This is their first actual animation anime with classic Gainax style animation, now that Gainax don’t make good anime anymore. The actual thing itself I don’t have a huge amount of interest in, although the trailer looks pretty great. Magical girls in a magical school doing magical things with faces made out of rubber. I’m more interested in this from my academic standpoint of this being Trigger training in the mountains, and this is their version of fighting the bear. It shows their skill, but what they eventually become from this is the much more interesting question.
From a new studio trying out their hands at smaller projects to once great giants trying to rebuild. Ryo is by blast-from-the-past Gonzo, making some sort of samurai story. It looks very serious-face samurai story, which I’ve never been all that interested in. The director is rather more interesting, being the main Gonzo guy behind Full Metal Panic, Last Exile and Last Exile Fam, Tower of Druaga, Gatekeepers etc. He’s been around the block, and apparently hasn’t gone and found work elsewhere yet. I’m not really sure what Gonzo are trying to do anymore. I hear most of their work is in video games as anime has proven an unprofitable mess for them. Shame, but for the guys who brought Strike Witches into this world, I say good riddance.
This one’s history was weird. The novel was originally the winner of a Kodansha prize for new authors, and they announced they were making it into an anime. I even put it in my summer season preview last year. But then they said “wait no, actually it’s an OVA”. And then it was “wait no, it’s part of Anime Mirai”. I have a sneaking suspicion the plot of this story might end up being a teensy bit rushed when squeezed into a 30 minute block. Or maybe that’s why they ended up scrapping plans for anything longer because they realised how little plot there was? It’s got a real cyberpunk plot of some girl being sucked into cyberspace. The crew working on it really are all newbies too. It’s got the biggest variable quality potential of all of these. Trailer looks neat at least, but I guess the trailers for all of these look quite neat.
I’m personally most excited for Death Billiards, if only because the name Death Billiards, plus the fact it’s Madhouse, brings to mind some kind of Kaiji-esque death game. Trailer looks cool as usual. The director doesn’t have a lot under their name, and all really recent stuff. Most notably though, they were the episode director for Steins;Gate episode 12. And if you’ve seen Steins;Gate, yes it is that episode. So I’m really interested to see what this is. Despite the fact that Madhouse are slowly shedding all their staff and have been relegated to animating stuff like Photo Kano, I still hold onto the hope that one day they will rise again.
This was originally a self-published doujin series that somehow managed to get a Japanese arm of a French gaming company to fund and produce an anime pilot for. This was back in 2011, but was cancelled for whatever reason. Now they’ve gone and released that same pilot up on Nico. Whether it gets any more made depends entirely on the amount of hits the video gets. Which is frankly quite useless to us foreigners because the version they’ve put up on Nico isn’t subtitled. Shame, because the story seems to involve schoolgirls piloting robots fighting Nazi robot zombies, but given that it appears to be fairly miraculous this came out at all, expecting them to hire someone to do subtitles was likely way beyond their means. Pilots are normally made behind closed doors, but whenever a pilot does make it out into the real world, they always make me feel kinda sad. By their very nature, they’re supposed to get you interested in seeing more while being completely insubstantial themselves.
Girls und Panzer 11 & 12
Release date: March 18-25
You know you’re pumped. I know I am. Considering how well Girls und Panzer has been selling, there’s a really good chance they will end this season with some sort of teaser for a new season. The question then is do they keep the main cast? Girls und Panzer lives on the directing of its battles, not by the characters. You could completely change the cast but keep the staff and I would be perfectly fine. It could be better off, because they might introduce an interesting character for a change. Whatever man, more Girls und Panzer wooh~!