I’m not quite sure if I’m blessed or cursed with the number of anime I’ll most likely be watching this winter season, combining many of the below shows along with the plenty I’m already watching from the fall. I may have to resort to saving some of them up for later viewings or marathon nights. Like the current fall season, winter looks to include a good number of sequels, as well as an HD remake of an anime I’m very interested in trying. Soooooo, without further ado, (you know the routine):
Scrumdiddlyumptious (a.k.a. Chef’s Choice)
In a world where humans and spirits have been thrown together in chaos, three forces vie for power. Just what are the steadily increasing Reality Count and Collapse of Negentropy? Having escaped from the Labyrinth of the Jabberwock, the beautiful Koto pursues the shadow of the “Black Rabbit”.
Set in a Kyoto where time stands still, the story of the various people who pursue the Black Rabbit unfolds. (MAL)
A strange blend of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Shinto-inspired deities comes in the form of this 1-episode film. At least, that’s what I can surmise from the trailer and vague summary. The colors are gorgeously varied and I simply love the kaleidoscope of shapes. This world crosses the fantastical with advanced technology, human with spirits, and crudely drawn shapes with highly detailed background art. The original creator of the anime, Toudou Izumi, has been involved in his fair share of colorful, young-girl lead shows, including the extensive Precure series, as well as Ashita no Nadja–an anime that I started but never was able to finish. I honestly have no idea what to expect in terms of direction and quality, but this trailer has convinced me to jump into its flood.
Natsume Yuujinchou Shi
The fourth season of Natsume Yuujinchou. As with…[its]…prequels, it is about the everyday adventures of Natsume Takashi, a boy who has had the ability to see ghosts since he was young, and his bodyguard spirit, Madara, nicknamed Nyanko-sensei. Takashi is on a journey to return names written in his Book of Friends, which he inherited from his grandmother Reiko, to spirits in his village. Thoughout these adventures, he meets various spirits and demons, assists them, and engages in life threating situations, all with the sole purpose of freeing them from their contracts. (MAL)
Being as I’m a die hard fan of the first three seasons and that I had no doubt about watching the third season that aired not too long ago, it comes as no surprise that I’m completely on board for watching this fourth season. I have not read the manga, but I still think that there should be plenty enough material to finish up a complete 12-episode season. I’m hoping that we’ll finally get to see Natsume tell both his family and friends the truth of what he sees, and perhaps even get to see him finish returning all the names in his Book of Friends. I also am extremely curious to know what will happen to his relationship with Madara/Nyanko-sensei if he ever does empty all the names in the Book. I have so many questions regarding the more dramatic, plot-driven side of this story, but I also still want a few episodic stories thrown in since those are what pushed me to love this series in the first place.
Area no Kishi
Believing himself to be useless at football, Aizawa Kakeru opts to become the manager of his school’s football team, while his brother Suguru is its ace, and is even good enough to represent Japan. However, Kakeru may be harbouring a strong talent within himself that only Suguru can see, and the two often get into arguments over Kakeru’s denial of his skills. Things are made more complicated with the return of Nana, an old playmate of theirs that Kakeru has a crush on. Join the brothers in their journey to the national and even international championships! (MU via MAL)
I don’t want to get my hopes up too high, but I am REALLY excited about this show. I loved playing soccer when I was growing up for both school and the Boys & Girls Club. I also realized that I very much like sports anime in general, and the premise of this story reminds me a lot of Cross Game. Romance, sports, self-doubt about ability, it all points to a great dramatic story full of plenty of intense matches, and daresay a battle to some sort of regional or national tournament? I’m completely ignorant about how the leagues run in Japan or about how popular the sport there, but I’m guessing it’s still more of a big deal there than here in America. The only thing that worries me is that I’m not even remotely familiar with the majority of the titles on either of the producer or animation company’s lists of works. Of Shin-Ei Animation, I know nothing, and of TV Asahi, I’ve only seen Binbou Shimai Monogatari–a touching though ultimately unremarkable show about two poor sisters–and Doraemon. The quality for both story and animation/art quality are largely unknown, but that only contributes to my curiosity about Area no Kishi.
26 years ago, in a third-year classroom of a middle school, there was a student named Misaki. As an honors student who was also good at sports, the charming girl was popular with her classmates. When she suddenly died, her classmates decided to carry on as if she was still alive until graduation. Then, in the spring of 1998, a boy named Sakakibara Kouichi transfers to that classroom, and he grows suspicious of the fearful atmosphere in that classroom. In particular, there is a beautiful, aloof girl named Mei Misaki who wears an eyepatch and is always alone drawing pictures. (MAL)
Bring it on, PA Works, I dare you to bring me more of your gorgeous background art which I fell in love with in Hanasaku Iroha. I’ve been craving a good horror/psychological thriller for a while now, and this looks like it just may fill that urge. Mirai Nikki has done a wonderful job of surprising me with its twists and horror, but other than that, the genre has been distinctly scarce for the past year. The trailer looks intriguing in both setting and atmosphere, with its darker, red-tinted color scheme. I’m also interested in what could be the cause of the mysterious girl’s eye patch. I’ve never understood the whole appeal of eyepatch girls, the allure of the possible glass eye or gruesome hole hidden beneath that innocent white cloth. The story of her eye patch better be downright shocking, enough to turn my stomach or give me nightmares. What scares me is that the director for this anime is also the one who directed the mess that was Blood-C, and also the one who directed the xxxHOLiC series, anime that are among my all-time favorites. I’m hoping he aims more for the mystery found in xxxHOLiC, and less for the predictable “shockers” that littered Blood-C.
Rinne no Lagrange
Kyono Madoka is a 17-year-old girl, who loves her home town Kamogawa and likes to help people in trouble. She rides a robot called Woks in her jersey wear and fights against aliens. (MAL)
About halfway through I thought this looked more like an everyday-life type of schoolgirl anime, then suddenly we’ve got mecha and battleships and tight-fitting body suits. I know the summary pretty much says the exact same thing, but still, the transition in the PV was pretty quick. I’m reminded slightly of Bounen no Xamdou with the clean, futuristic setting and color scheme. There’s nothing on the track records for the staff members that really excite me, though there is the inclusion of Uchuu no Stellvia with the series production director–an anime that has plenty of flaws but is nonetheless one of my favorites. Xebec put out the awesome artgasm that is Break Blade, and coupled with the PV, I’m pretty sure that the art in Lagrange will be fantastic. The title of the anime itself is also intriguing, given the history of the name “Lagrange”. I’m hoping the title has some actual meaning, and isn’t the creators’ idea of a cool name that befits an anime about mecha.
The story centers around a spirited high school girl named Marika. She keeps herself busy with the space yacht club and her part-time job at a high-class retro café. One day, two men suddenly appear and claim to be subordinates of her dead father. They demand that she assume command of the space pirate ship Benten Maru. A privateer ship’s compact was made during a war of independence a century ago, and according to that compact, the ship must be inherited by the captain’s next direct descendant. Marika finds herself embarking on a new life as a space pirate. (ANN)
Pirates in an anime that has nothing to do with One Piece? Sign me up!
I’m not sure how knowledgeable our protagonist and the world she lives in is aware of life outside the planet or the existence of space pirates, but from the description and the start of a loud PV on YT, it seems like life isn’t too different from our own. Suddenly the girls are in suits and floating through zero gravity and then our protagonist is on a ship with a pirate hat and surrounded by crew members wearing clothes just as or even more outlandish than hers (some of them closely resemble her school mates). The jump from somewhat normal to definitely bizarre looks swift, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I like bizarre if it’s handled stylistically (look at Mawaru Penguindrum). Satou Tatsuo, who’s the same series production director in Langrange, heads the directing in Mouretsu. Hopefully he’ll be able to do an equal quality job on both shows.
The black swindler Kaiki Deishu, who once deceived Hitagi, returns to town and spreads the incantation which cursed Nadeko before. Koyomi’s sisters Karen and Tsukihi try to capture Deishu but… (MAL)
Ahhhh, SHAFT pops out another sequel to a highly successful and enjoyable anime, this time for Bakemonogatari. I think it extremely interesting that they’re choosing to follow Araragi’s sisters as the protagonists–at least that’s what I get from the PV. I also have mixed feelings about the changes I see in beloved characters like Senjougahara and Hanekawa. Senjougahara’s long hair is a bit like a glamor; chopped short, I’m not sure if she’ll be as physically alluring to me as she was the first time around. Hopefully her irresistible slyness more than makes up for it. I’m a big fan of SHAFT, though admittedly I always prefer the the original to any following sequels. Although I may have a hard time imagining how his “normal” sisters will work out in the supernatural world that was separated from them in the prequel, I’m still willing to give this anime a try and hope that it’s the first of SHAFT sequels that I enjoy as much as the first.
Busou Chuugakusei Basket Army
The story is set in August of 2026 at the Fuji Training Facility. Natori Touko, a third-year middle school student in the Eastern Private Defense Academy, is entrenched in field training with instructor Kamiya. It has been a harsh training regiment, but it is finally the last day. Kamiya proposes a extracurricular class under the name Newest Weapons Research. But then, an incident occurs that rocks all of Japan. (MAL)
Well, this summary tells me almost nothing about the story or about its characters, but judging from the promotional artwork with its short-skirted, gun-toting females, I’m not sure if I should take this anime too seriously. I’ve been unable thus far to find any information on voice actors and staff members, but I have found out that the episodes are to be only 3 minutes long each. My experience with short-length episodes is next to none, since I gagged at the English-dubbed Hetalia (which I really want to watch in Japanese) and couldn’t stand the first episode of Double J. Other than that, I can’t really recall any other anime I’ve seen with shorts like this. If anyone subs this, I have no problem giving it a try.
Mobile Suit Gundam Seed HD Remaster
C.E. 71: In the midst of war between the Naturals (OMNI) and Coordinators (ZAFT), a unit from ZAFT is dispatched to hijack the Earth Alliance’s newly developed mobile suits on the neutral colony of Heliopolis. Orb Civilian Coordinator Kira Yamato attends the technical college on Heliopolis. After ZAFT hijacks 4 of the 5 mobile suits, Kira stumbles upon the last one, Strike, forced to pilot it to save his and his friend’s lives. During this confusion, Kira also reunites with his childhood Coordinator friend, Athrun Zala, who ironically turns out to be a ZAFT soldier and one of the hijackers at Heliopolis. Having control of Strike, Kira joins the Earth Alliance boarding the ship known as Archangel, to protect his friends while despairing over becoming the enemy of his childhood friend and people.
My first excursion into a Gundam series hasn’t been going too well, since Gundam AGE is pretty boring and has one of the most annoying female characters of the entire year, but I haven’t lost hope for the Gundam franchise. I’m definitely interested in seeing what this anime will look like digitally remastered in HD. I’ve come a long way in my appreciation for mecha, a genre that I used to avoid like the plague, so hopefully Gundam Seed will become yet another title that I can add to my list of favorite mecha anime.
New Prince of Tennis
In Japan an “All Star Team” is being formed, containing the 50 best tennis players from the entire country. (MAL)
I haven’t seen the original series, and I’m no fan of the sport, but I’m willing to try out another sports anime for this season. I’m just hoping that this show doesn’t turn out as long as its predecessor, since I balk at watching any anime that breaks the 100-episode limit. Judging from the promotional artwork, it looks like Prince might be a bit of a bishounen, with their shiny/spiky locks and glittering sweat. That’s not so much a problem for me, but I do hope that the anime focuses more on competition and less on romance.
Recorder to Randoseru
Miyagawa Atsushi is an 11-year-old boy. Since he is 180 centimeters tall and has a grown-up looking build, he has always been running into troubles. On the other hand, his 17-year-old elder sister Atsumi is only 137 centimeters tall and has a childish looking build. Atsumi takes good care of Atsushi, who acts his true age. (MAL)
The whole notion of this anime is really…weird…to me, correction, impossible. I can understand a really tall 11-year-old and really small 17-year-old, but no way can a prepubescent boy have a man’s build. It really just sounds like a bunch of fantasies being played out, like some middle-aged man who’s young at heart wishes his bullying older sister was actually a cute little sister. Here again is a work of which I can hardly find any information, at least only through MAL. The mangaka doesn’t seem to have any other works, and the manga itself had no reviews or ratings. Weird, huh? I almost passed over this since my winter will already be packed, but the premise is so strange that it interests me enough to give it a try.
Zero no Tsukaima F
The final of the TV series.
Well, the PV and the given summary don’t show us much, but being as I watched all three of the previous seasons, I feel obligated to give the fourth an attempt. When I first watched Zero no Tsukaima, I wasn’t too familiar with Kugimiya Rie’s tsundere roles, nor was I too exposed to magical girl-type anime. Everything felt new and Louise’s abuse of Saito was funny the first time around. Then came the second season…and then the third…and I wasn’t laughing anymore. I was annoyed by Louise’s continued poor treatment of Saito, and each following season felt like a poor remake of the jokes in the first. Enough time has passed for me to feel ready to go back to the setting and its characters, but let’s hope that Louise has matured just as much as she has in the promotional artwork (that is one hiiiiigh slit in her dress).
Poyopoyo Kansatsu Nikki
A slice of life anime about the Sato family, who keeps a round shaped cat named “Poyo”. (MAL)
Slice-of-life, cute cat….sure, why not? I’m almost always ready to try out a new slice-of-life anime, and I’m a real sucker for animals. This super-warped kitty looks like he’ll (or she’ll) have plenty of strange attributes and equally quirky owners. Again, not much information is given except what little I can decipher from the official site. I believe the VA for the main character, Poyo, is voiced by none other than Ootani Ikue, who voiced One Piece‘s Chopper and Pokemon‘s Pikachu. I’m not a fan of either show, but I won’t deny her skills and look forward to seeing what unique sounds she’ll give to Poyo. I also really like the soft crayon art shown in the posters and hope that they’ll keep to that in the actual anime.
Daily Lives of High School Boys
The original gag comedy manga follows the humorous yet “realistic” everyday life of Tadakuni, Hidenori, Yoshitake, and other students at a boys’ high school. (MAL)
It looks like the boy slice-of-life isn’t locked to just the 2011 fall season, as we have yet another on starting off 2012. Unlike Kimi to Boku, this new anime looks…intriguing. Based on the PV alone, the boys actually look like boys and their actions seem more believable as how a group of guys might act around one another. My main complaint about KtB was that their activities looked identical to activities in almost every other girl-oriented s’life, and so the sex switch felt like it had no meaning. Here, hopefully, that will not be the case. And, unlike KtB, Danshi Koukousei takes place at a single-sex school. I haven’t seen a setting with an all-boys school since HanaKimi, and I doubt the humor will be even remotely similar. Regardless, I’m anxious to see what type of humor Danshi Koukousei will present.
Black Rock Shooter
I saw the OVA when it first came out and thought it was okay, though nowhere near as spectacular as Hatsune Miku-crazed fans seemed to think it was. The art style was definitely different, and the contrast in colors and movement between Mato’s school life and that of the BRS was fun to experience. Sadly, I thought the story somewhat lacking in energy. Sweet school girl with a seemingly alter-identity just isn’t original, and I expected more out of a character who has generated so much hype prior to the OVA. The TV series will be taking the same setting and characters as created in the OVA, and will last a mere eight episodes. I do think it’s a nice touch to bring back more conflict between Mato and Yomi, since I’m not a believer in permanent happy endings.
Kill Me Baby
Kill Me Baby is a 4-panel style manga that follows the comedic life of a typical school girl Yasuna and her assassin classmate Sonya. Sonya’s attempt to fit in often fails when her natural assassin instincts kick in and Yasuna’s attempt to be more friendly with Sonya often gets her hurt or intimidated. Kill Me Baby’s cute sense of humor will keep you wanting more. (Amazon)
To be honest, the 15-minute PV for this anime is really annoying, primarily because of the repetitive music and its high-pitched vocals. I barely lasted one minute through it. Regardless, I am interested in watching this anime since the ridiculousness of the set up makes me think a little of Azumanga Daioh, Nichijou, and FMP Fumoffu. Violence+comedy is quite overdone in anime, but hopefully Kill Me Baby will handle it carefully and doesn’t resort to repeated jokes. And just how did a school girl start out as an assassin, and why is she in school with civilians?
Inu x Boku SS
The Shirakiin house’s daughter, Shirakiin Riricho, who has a complex about being unable to live independently and unprotected, feels the need to move out and live on her own under the condition of residing in the mansion named “Ayakashi Kan.” In this mansion, only those who have cleared a very strict examination could reside in it, and for each resident, they are accompanied with one agent of the Secret Service (S.S.). Although Riricho has rejected the company of the S.S., while residing in the mansion she finds out that the agent dedicated to protecting her is actually the Fox Spirit whom she previously rescued. (MAL)
Little girls, isolated settings, and male protectors: we’ve seen a fair share of these in the past year with GOSICK, Dantalian no Shoka, and Kamisama no Memochou. While the first two were certainly enjoyable, they were chock-full of plot holes, weak characters, and stagnant and/or rushed pacing. The third was probably the worst of the three, but I still found the atmospheres of all three enjoyable in their own ways. As unoriginal and unbelievable as the summary of this story sounds, I think it’s likely that I’ll like it just as much as the previous three. Riricho’s butt-brushing short skirt certainly looks like it panders to loli fans, but I’m more interested in her SS agent, a fox spirit in human form. I want to know more about him than about why such a young girl chooses to live alone in a home with such ridiculous rules for residency. I am kind of disturbed that some promo art shows him, shall we say, in some suggestive situations, but let’s hope that’s just the promo and not actual material for the anime.
Papa no Iu Koto o Kikinasai!
Segawa Yuta is a freshman of a university. He lost his parents when he was small and was raised by his sister Yuri. Yuta has been living alone since Yuri got married to a middle aged man when Yuta was a junior high student. One day, Yuri visited Yuta’s apartment and asked him to take care of her three daughters while Yuri and her husband were on a trip. He unwillingly accepted the job but the plane Yuri took went missing. In order to prevent the daughters from being adopted separately by relatives, Yuta decided to take in all three girls. A life of a strange family in a tiny apartment begins. (MAL)
When I first saw the above image, I was hopeful that we might get treated with an anime like Minami-ke, but the above description and the anime’s CD PVs made this out to be a moe-fest of sisters all for one lucky, young “father.” Despite the family title, I can’t help but view this as a twisted kind of harem…but we’ll see. Maybe it’ll turn out more warm hearted and touching than it appears to be.
The story reimagines the legendary adventures of the 10 brave warriors assembled by the warlord Sanada Yukimura in the year 1600, in the middle of Japan’s tumultuous Sengoku (Warring States) era. (ANN)
I’ll admit it, I’m a bit of a fan of sexy samurai/reverse harems, oh yes I am. And where I didn’t want any of that in the New Prince of Tennis, I have no problem with it in Sengoku era/samurai-themed anime. It’s why I watched Hakuouki, and probably why I should try out Sengoku Basara. I have a particular preference for the somewhat brawny ones who keep their chests bare… bwahahahahahaha. The art style, for the character designs specifically, looks smooth and shiny. I only hope that the boys are as dangerous as they are pretty, since I also like me some nifty blade action, no pun intended.
The story will take place 12,000 years after the first Aquarion television series at a city modeled after Hong Kong. A new cast of characters, piloting a new Aquarion robot, will fight enemies from another dimension. (ANN)
Huh. A Macross Frontier look-a-like. I never saw the original Aquarion, but I heard some pretty mixed things about it. Much like Macross, I never saw any of the prequels, but jumped in with Frontier and absolutely loved it. I’m hoping that sharing the original creator with the Macross series will mean great things for this new series, one that shares none of the same staff as its predecessor. I think it a bit strange though that the connections between the two are so blatant since the PV also shows a similar scene of two female characters floating in space all glow-y and multi-colored, much like a well known scene with Ranka and Sheryl. Will the soundtrack be just as spectacular in Aquarion EVOL?
Senhime Zesshou Symphogear
Humans have been menaced by mysterious monsters called “Designated Aberrant Disaster: Noise”. Tsubasa and Kanade are a popular vocal unit “Twei Wing”. They wear the new weapon “Symphogear” and fight against Noise to save the earth. (MAL)
I find it kind of coincidental that this anime follows my thoughts on Aquarion EVOL, since this anime, too, features a couple of supernatural-looking females. Even more coincidental is their use of music (at least that’s what I gather given the use of “Symphogear”) to fight against “Noise.” I wonder if the girls heading the theme song performances, Takagaki Ayahi and Mizuki Nana, will have as much of an impact on my expectations for anime soundtracks as did the ladies of MF. If I keep with Space Pirates, Gundam Seed, Aquarion EVOL, and Symphogear, I will be watching the most space-themed anime in one season than I ever have before.
Ano Natsu de Matteru
The anime will be an adolescent romantic comedy. The three main characters are the two girls Ichika Takatsuki and Remon Yamano, and the boy Kaito Kirishima. (MAL)
I like me some romance and comedy, but the advertised combination of J.C. Staff and the creators of Onegai Teacher scares me. The CM, thankfully, doesn’t look too bad, and I’m excited about the choice of seiyuu for our female leads: Tomatsu Haruka (Naruko of AnoHana) and Yamano Remon (Rika Furude of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni). I don’t usually hold to seiyuu, but I’m grasping for anything that will make this show a quality high school romantic comedy. I feel like I haven’t really had one from J.C. Staff since…well…a long time.
These thoughts will be short since I’ve obviously found the following anime uninteresting and/or stupid. Be glad I included pictures, PVs, and summaries. :p
Tantei Opera Milky Holmes 2
Second season of Tantei Opera Milky Holmes.
I didn’t watch the first season, though I did try one episode and found it horrific in all its loli cotton candy colors. I’m annoyed that J.C. Staff is wasting time on this sequel instead of focusing on the amount of work they’ll already be managing with their three other anime shows of this season.
High School DxD
The story follows Issei Hyodo, a dim-witted, lecherous second-year high school student who is killed by a girl on his first date ever. Issei is reincarnated as a devil, and from that day forward, he serves as an underling of Riasu, a high-level devil who is also the prettiest girl on Issei’s campus. (ANN)
Stupid ecchi and gore, need I say more? Alright: a loli licking a Popsicle, clothes bursting off of transforming females, and a PV full of censoring shafts of light. This is a NO.
Amagami SS+ Plus
The second season of Amagami SS.
Yet ANOTHER sequel of yet ANOTHER harem. Cute, but vapid.
Kuribayashi Minami returns to Japan after a long stay in Los Angeles. She enters an upper-class girl’s high school “Gokurakuin Jyoshi High School”, so called “Gokujyo”. She tries to dominate the school with her beauty but her plan is spoiled by the silly and pervert behaviors of her eccentric classmates. (MAL)
Why are her classmates perverted? Why are they all grabbing her around the waist and showing the panties beneath, and why is Minami’s shirt open all the way past her bra’s lowest dip? Why am I wasting space talking about an anime I refuse to try?
An ordinary girl transforms to protect the earth! The 9th title in the “Precure” franchise, “Smile Precure!”. (MAL)
My refusal of this anime is less because of quality and more because I’m just unfamiliar with its several prequels and side stories. Plus, I’m not really in the mood for young, mahou shoujo anime bursting with rainbow colors.
These season previews always wipe me out and take forever to finish. I start them out all excited, but as I get further along with the PVs and summaries I watch and read, I start to find my eyes glazing over and my words jumbling all together until almost every one starts to sound repetitive. Finishing feels as relieving as printing off a term paper :p
I look forward to hearing your own thoughts about the upcoming winter season, as well as your votes for whatever anime you’d like me to try some more episodic blogging.