I was sitting down by my computer, wondering what I should have for lunch, when my phone went off. ‘Err, Juiz? I know there are a bunch of anime airing this summer but I don’t know much about any of them. Could you possibly write up a season preview for me, with pictures and your opinion as to whether they’ll be any good or not?’
Order received. Noblesse Oblige. Please continue to be a Messiah.
Spice and Wolf Season II
Studio: Brains Base
Synopsis: Does this really need an introduction? It’s smexy Horo and smexier economics in full swing in some medieval setting with practically no random princesses needing saving or any of that malarky.
I loved the first season and was delighted at the announcement of the second season, but then I heard the dreaded sound: A new studio would be animating the second season! This is rarely a good sign, just look at Minami-ke. Even when the name Brains Base came to the fore (animators of the supremely awesome Baccano) I was still worried. Brains Base, as great as they are, are not great with animation quality and their characters frequently move as thoughthey have had a vibrator stuck up their backside (Kurenai). But then came the episode 0 OVA and all worries were instantly gone. They handled the show the only way they know how, with their flowing dialogue that was even better than the first season. So Spice and Wolf is in good hands and dare I say that this season could be even better than the first?
Umineko no Naku Koro ni
Studio: Studio Deen
Synopsis: Umineko no Naku Koro ni takes place in the year 1986, during the time frame of October 4 and October 5 on a secluded island named Rokkenjima. The head of a wealthy family named Kinzo Ushiromiya, who lives on and owns Rokkenjima, is near death, and eight of his family members arrive on the island to discuss how Kinzo’s assets will be divided once he is dead. Also on the island are three family members who live there, five of Kinzo’s servants, and his personal physician. After the eight family members arrive, a typhoon traps them on the island and shortly after people start to get mysteriously murdered.
Apparently this is connected to Higirashi in some form. No idea how though and since I haven’t seen Higurashi, I won’t be watching this. But I will point out that the animation looks more like 07 Ghost than typical moe so…look, don’t take advice from me on this one. I do plan on watching Higurashi one day so I’m keeping away from reading too much about this in case I read spoilers.
Zan Sayonara Zetsubō Sensei
Synopsis: Itoshiki Nozomuis always in despair! Even simple things likepayingfor the toll on the subway can send him to a despair so deep only attempted suicide is the answer. How Strange is it then, that he should be the teacher of a High School Class filled with students with even more emotional problems than his. This great Comedy will leave you in anything but ‘Despair’ as you meet each of his students and watch their wacky adventures.
Why oh why do they need a third season of this? First season was hilarious but the jokes got old pretty quickly. A second season was a bit too much and I ended up dropping it halfway through. But a third season? No thank you.
Synopsis: The short stories in the two volumes of Bakemonogatari deal with a high school boy named Koyomi Araragi and strange students he encounters. (“Bakemonogatari” is a wordplay on the Japanese term bakemono for supernatural creatures and the term monogatari for stories.) One student, a girl named Hitagi Senjōgahara, almost literally falls into his lap, only to have him discover she has no weight.
I read reviews of the novel and I can’t help thinking how quickly SHAFT must have jumped at the opportunitytoanimate this. Full of quickfire jokes with no real story progression, yup, typical SHAFT all right. Although I’ve never loved a SHAFT production, I keep getting excited when they announce a new show because you can see the potential they have. However their fanbase is dropping after the dull Maria Holic and the hugely underrated Natsu no Arashi. But the Video shows that they won’t be changing their own quickfire, rapid, weird animation style so they are banking on SHAFT fans to keep coming back. And yes, I am actually really looking forward to this.
Umi Monogatari (Sea Story)
Synopsis: The “transforming magical girl action” story centers on Marin and Urin, two “pure” sisters who live alongside the fish in the sea, but yearn to be in the world beyond the water and above ground. One day, a beautiful ring falls in the middle of the sea, and Marin and Urinretrieveit. The two decide to leave their waterbound world for the first time to deliver the ring. After an arduous journey, they come across an isolated island where a high school girl named Kanon lives. The encounter between Marin and Kanon — the maiden of the sea and the maiden of the skies — awakens a hidden power as the world is threatened by an enveloping darkness.
This anime is based off a line of pachinko games. Pachinko is basically gambling machines, sorta pinball-esque. You might expect that this would translate into a dire anime and I certainly think so as well. However, this particular game is apparently the best selling pachinkogame around, although that’s *slightly* down to the moe girls involved. So it might not be completely horrible, but I seriously doubt it will be any good.
Seitokai no Ichizon
Studio: Studio Deen
Synopsis: The members of the student council of Hekiyou Gakuen are chosen by a popularity vote. As a result, all the members are cute girls except for Sugizaki Ken, who studied hard to enter the council. This novel is about the endless chattering of the members with full of parodies of “The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya”, “Dragon Ball” etc.
ARGH! I’m not quite sure what Deen are thinking with this. Then again, Deen are one weird studio. At least they’re also doing a new Hetalia. Although Hetalia doesn’t exactly have any girl as cute as that one…
Doesn’t look like this is airing until next season. At least that’s something to look forward to…
Tokyo Magnitude 8.0
Studio: Bones and Kinema Citrus (so basically just Bones)
Synopsis: The story will center on Mirai, a middle school freshman girl who goes to Tokyo’s artificial Odaiba Island for a robot exhibition with her brother Yutaka at the start of summer vacation. A powerful tremor emanates from an ocean trench, the famed Tokyo Tower and Rainbow Bridge crumble and fall, and the landscape of Tokyo changes in an instant. With the help of a motorcycle delivery woman named Mari who they meet on Odaiba, Mirai and Yutaka strive to head back to their Setagaya home in western Tokyo.
Easilly the most ambitious project this season. It’s airing in the timeslot that held Nodame: Paris and currently holds Eden of the East, so any anime in that slot has some big shoes to fill since that is the anime slot that usually gets the highest ratings for any new anime. The director has worked on some awesome stuff like FMA and Ghost in the Shell and the rest of the staff aren’t too shabby either. To top it all off, this is Bones animating, probably the best animators out there. This all seems to point to a quality series but I’m always a bit iffy with Bones, they often have anime with huge ambition but never quite deliver. Still, in a summer season, something with this much ambition is a real breath of fresh air. Keep your eye on this, it certainly could be a classic.
Sora no Manimani
Studio: Studio Comet
Synopsis: Saku Ooyagi returns to his hometown after seven years and is soon reacquainted with his childhood friend, Mihoshi Akeno. The reunion is far from merry since the last memory they have of each other is of her falling off a tree and him saving her. In any case, Mihoshi is determined to improved their relationship and forces Saku to join the astronomy club she founded.
Studio Comet are one of those ‘one-hit wonder’ studios. They’ve done School Rumble and not much else. School Rumble was already a fantastic manga, they simply animated it faithfully. It’s pretty much the same crew on this anime so the only way to know if this would be any good was to look at the manga. However the reviews all say something along the lines of ‘pretty good’ or ‘decent’, no glowing reviews but no dire reviews either. So this will probably be the exact same except animated. It’s apparently shoujo-ish so you should enter if you like slice-of-life type stuff. I’ll give it a shot but to be brutally honest, I’m not expecting much.
Studio: NHK Enterprises
Synopsis: In 2029, a large scale ground sinkage occurred in Mediterranean Sea and chemical elements such as oxygen, carbon, gold, molybdenite, and cobalt suddenly disappeared from the earth’s crust. Human population was decreased by 90% in sixty years. Researchers found out that the disappeared elements were drained into a planet “Nega Earth”, which located in different dimensions. To save the Earth, a special team “Element Hunter” is organized. All the members are under 14 years old because young and flexible brains are required to access to “Nega Earth”.
Look, this is a cartoon aimed at children to teach them about elements. Which is far better than a half hour commercial for spinning tops or trading cards it must be said and I certainly hope it becomes a hit amongst 10 year olds. But please, if you are older than 12, do not say you are looking forward to this or complain when there’s no subs. It’s a kids show.
Synopsis: Teppei Arima is a second-year high school student who lost both of his parents in a traffic accident on their way home from a family trip. His grandfather, Isshin Arima, happens to wield the puppet strings in Japan’s vast economy and demands that Teppei becomes his successor as the head of the Arima Group. To prepare for his debut into high society, Teppei enrolls in an elite academy for the scions of the rich and powerful.
It actually makes sense to turn a porno game into an anime instead of a straight up hentai video. For one, they get the series on tv where it instantly gets more viewers than a OVA release would. That should mean that even more money enters the anime industry. So don’t go dissing porno game adaptations. They do a wonderful job of guaranteeing an income for anime companies so they can work on real anime. Good old Japanese NEET’s and their parents seemingly never-ending supply of cash. Where would the anime industry be without them?
Taishō Yakyū Musume
Studio: JC Staff
Synopsis: The two novels are set in 1925 when two 14-year-old Japanese high school girls named Koumeand Shōko decide to start a baseball team in Japan where few baseball teams — male or female — exist at the time. First though, the two girls have no clue where to find nine players, how to use the equipment, and what even the rules are.
JC staff seem to have the theory that if they animate everything with high school girls in, they will eventually get something to stick. They certainly won’t be changing that tactic after the popularity of Toradora so here is their next batch of moe for you to devour. Will this one be any good? The promo has cool jazz music and baseball set in 1925 is certainly a new idea but these normally aren’t my type of anime. Plus, why baseball? Please Japan, pick a better sport!
Studio: JC Staff
Synopsis: Fumi and Akira were close childhood friends until Fumi had to move away. Ten years after losing touch with each other, the two girls meet again as high school freshmen. The two struggle to reconnect after so much has changed, and both deal with the trials and tribulations of high school— sometimes independently and sometimes with each other’s help.
Yuri…bleah. Never liked yuri. It’s generally two girls being insufferably nice to each other that results in too much eye-rolling. Actually if you do happen to like yuri, this guy directed both Nodame and Honey and Clover, so there is some real experience behind the helm at this one. But yuri is just so…dull.
Cobra The Animation
Synopsis: When Utopia More discovers an ancient record that holds the key to unlocking the secrets of the universe, she becomes the target of the ruthless Gypsy Doc of the Pirate Guild. Utopia finds herself saved by the easy-going yet legendary space pirate, Cobra, whose custom made Psychogun makes him a force to be reckoned with. Together, the two of them attempt to stop Gypsy Doc (along with Cobra’s revived arch-nemesis, Crystal Boy) and his efforts to steal the record and use its secrets to rule the universe.
When I first saw this I thought ‘Madhouse doing a remake of an older anime? The last time they did that was Casshern and that was excellent’. That was before I watched the trailer and realised what this animewas about. Basically, imagine Strike Witches where each character has aged 20 years. Seriously Madhouse, you used to be cool. No really, WTF is this? I may be a complete Madhouse fanboy but god, they’re kinda testing my limits with whatever this crap is.
::EDIT:: OK, screw all that, it’s been delayed anyway until the start of 2010.
Studio: PA Works
ANN doesn’t seem to think this will air at all but the trailer says ‘airs this summer’ so ANN are idiots.
Synopsis: The visual novel tells a present-day story about a detective, a young man, a virus researcher, a freelance writer, and a cat mascot character who are brought together by bizarre events with worldwide implications in the Tokyo neighborhood of Shibuya.
Now this looks highly promising. PA works are a very new studio but they got a lot of praise for True Tears, their only other anime, and it looks like this time they’ve gone for something a bit…darker shall we say. The staff are pretty damn good as well but what sold me was the quality of the animation in the preview. For a new studio, that is some serious quality right there. Keep your eye on this, it could be the surprise hit of the season.
Yoku Wakaru Gendai Mahō
Synopsis: The story revolves around Koyomi Morishita, a clumsy highschoolfreshman girl who is often mistaken for a grade-schooler because of her shortness. Koyomi becomes a disciple of Misa Anehara, a 25-year-old graduate student who happens to be one of the most powerful modern-day magicians.
I do try to be optimistic while writing these season previews because I got sick when reading other previews when all people were saying was ‘looks crap, also looks crap, this entire season is a dud bar *insert sequel here*’. On the other hand I have to say that this looks about as generically dull as you can get. It’s based off a short novel series, which generally make good anime adaptations, so it could be vaguely interesting. But I really doubt it. I really, really doubt it.
Synopsis: The story centers on Kana Nakamichi, a middle-school girl who had already lost her parents and just recently lost her only remaining relative, her grandmother. As a result, she ends up living and working at a newspaper delivery office. Everyone else living at the office are all charming, self-assertive bishojo. The manga follows Kana’s daily life in the fast-paced yet joyous environment.
Great, another 4-panel gag moe anime. Studio Feel? Oh hurrah, they animated Da Crapo and Nagastatee whatchamacallit, the one where the fella was on the island with lots of women. Yeah, more bloody moestuff. I don’t like moe enough to watch the amount of moe crap Japan brings out every season. Even good moe, like K-ON, bores me. So I’m hardly going to enjoy Kanamemo now, am I.
Synopsis: Set in 2130, large swaths of Japan have been quarantined as polluted “Black Spots (BS)” in the aftermath of World War III. However, there are people who have settled behind the massive walls of the Black Spots, where they have developed mysterious powers. The city people on the outside have a label for the Black Spot people they have ostracized: Needless.
Madhouse are a big studio. They make a hell of a lot of anime and for that they need a hell of a lot of staff. Remember that not all of their staff are exactly any good. Guess what? The director of Needless has also worked on other Madhouse masterpieces such as Kamen no Maid Guy and Strawberry Panic.Whoop debloody whoop. What has happened to you Madhouse? You started the year strongly with Ride Back but what have you done since then? Needless and Cobra? Come on Madhouse!!! Bring us more Kaiba, more Casshern, Death Note, Black Lagoon etc. At least their doing Kobato next season.
Hetalia: Axis Powers Season 2
Studio: Studio Deen
Synopsis: Italy, once home of the strongest empire in the world, has changed. This is the story of Italy, now a cowardly pasta-loving fool, and his friends (other personified countries of the world) as they live through strange moments in world history.
I do love Hetalia, I really do. When it goes into full swing historical parody and racial stereotypes it can be one of the funniest anime in existence. However I’m beginning to feel a bit iffy about this second season. The jokes could really start to run stale and I don’t want my Hetalia viewing experience to be damaged. Oh well, at least the fangirls will be squeeing in delight.
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya Season 2?
This is very tentatively placed here. In case you aren’t the type to follow anime news, there is currently a re-run of Haruhiin Japan at the moment. It will end this season and, if there is a new season, it will start at the same time as all these. Now, I’ve sorta been ignoring all the hype around whenever this new season is because I wasn’t a huge fan of the first season but that new episode piqued my interest right up again (was the directing always that good? God, I need to watch the first season again, I can’t remember what happened). Will there be a new season after this re-run? I tried to find out but all I could find were a bunch of people yelling ‘HARUHI-SAMAAA’ so I didn’t get much info. Still, a new FMA and new Haruhi in one year? ‘Tis quite a year for anime.
And that’s just about it
There’s a few kiddyshows airing as usual but I obviously haven’t put them in. There are also some movies airing soon enough. Summer Wars in a movie by Madhouse and the director of The Girl who leapt throughTime, so that should be lighthearted and funny enough(I wasn’t that big of a fan of Girl through Time). Then there’s the next big Ghibli movie, Ponyo, which will premier in America on 14 August, which defo worth a watch for for that mans wild imagination and to see what sort of crazy worlds he can create next. However the anime movie I’m most excited about is Cencoroll. Animated pretty much entirely by one person, it looks like it might be streamed on Crunchyrollwhenever it comes out (ANN list CR as the online distributor). I have no idea when it’s coming out, bar ‘sometime in 2009′ but here’s the trailer to get you interested.
I have no problem with people taking information from this preview. However if you do, please for gods sake have a nice big link back to this page saying how wonderful Bokutachi is etc. I kept coming across my exact same spring preview last season with either this measly little link down the bottom or, even worse, no link whatsoever. So please, do link back here when you takesome information from here. I sound like a whiny little git but what happened last season was ridiculous.
F: Princess Lover, Element Hunters
E:Kanamemo, Umi Monogatari, Seitokai no Ichizon, Yoku Wakaru Gendai Mahō, Cobra the Animation
D: Needless, Aoi Hana, Taishō Yakyū Musume, Sora no Manimani
C:Hetalia Axis Powers Season 2,
B:Spice and Wolf Season II, Bakemonotagari, Tokyo Magnitude, Canaan