Posted by psgels on 18 November 2011 with categories: Seasonal Previews

Holy crap, the next season will be big. To put it into perspective: there will be 22 new series. All non-kiddie. The only Winter season that had more than that was the winter of 2009. Yes, we’re indeed looking at the second-biggest Winter Anime Season in history.

That’s not the only strange thing about this season, though. It’s full of new companies making their debut on a full fledged series. It’s also got a ton of mecha in it, with Satelight suddenly deciding to go all out. There’s also a ton of moe, courtesy of JC Staff. Winter Seasons usually are a bit bleaker than the other seasons, with it being winter and all. This time however, just about every series here however is bright and colourful, with only one real exception.

The downside to this is of course that there will be very few dark series. For that, we have to rely on the series that will carry over from the current Autumn Season (which are quite a lot).

As for the potential, this is a very hard season to really gouge for, due to the lighter nature of most series. Are there any obvious classics among them? To that, I have to say no. However, there are series that can grow into those if they’re handled really well: there are people in this season with set-ups that might actually pull it off if they get really lucky. Above all though, this will be a very entertaining season.

Amagami SS+ Plus

Summary: “A second-year high school boy finds himself uneasy during Christmas time due to an experience in the past. However, this year at Christmas, he gets his last chance to ask out a graduating female senior named Haruka Morishima—or one of several other classmates. The story of the anime will be arranged in an omnibus format, with each heroine getting her own version of the story animated. Each heroine will sing her own version of the ending theme song.” – (Taken from ANN)
Director: Tomoki Kobayashi
Series Composition: Noboru Kimura
Other Notable Staff: Machida Touko (Script)

The Positives: Director Switch. This season will be directed by the director of Sola, Utawarerumono and Tears to Tiara, so let’s hope that this will be a bit less lackluster than the first season, as unlikely as it may sound with that track record.
The Negatives: Just… why? I’m just baffled as to why this series got a continuation, other than AIC milking its moe shows again. The cover art shows the exact same characters as the first season again, even though the arcs I managed to sit through were pretty conclusive. What the hell are they really going to do? Add in even more forced romace? Rewrite the entire series? In any case, I did watch about 10 series of the first Amagami before giving up on it, but at this point I have no idea why I stuck with it so long. It was incredibly forgettable romance that failed to stand out in any way. Can the new series really bring a change in that?

First-Glance Potential: 0%

Zero no Tsukaima Final

Summary: “Meet Louise, a budding magician. The students at the Tristein Academy call her “Zero Louise”, due to her current record of zero successes with magic. In fact, her magic tends to go spectacularly wrong. Now, as an important test of her aptitude for magic, she must summon a familiar to be her servant. At this critical moment, she summons up all her magic and wishes for a familiar that is “devoted, beautiful and powerful”, and gets… Hiraga Saito, an ordinary Japanese boy. It’s difficult to say who is more surprised and dismayed, but the rules don’t allow for second attempts. Louise is stuck with her strange familiar, and he with her.” – (Taken from ANN)
Director: Yoshiaki Iwasaki
Series Composition: Noboru Yamaguchi

The Positives: The series composition will actually be handled by the writer of the Zero no Tsukaima manga. The director did work on a bunch of good series like Sky Girls and Wagaya no Oinarisama…
The Negatives: But unfortunately the same guy worked on just as many lesser shows, like Ookamisan and Twin Angel. And really, the thought of two Kugimiya Rie shows at the same time… with the two characters who started off her infamy. Louise was the first Shana clone out there, and while I blame Shana for creating a really obnoxious stereotype, I blame Zero no Tsukaima even more for adhering to it and making it even more popular.

First-Glance Potential: 0%

High School DXD

Summary: “The story follows Issei Hyōdō, 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. “ – (Taken from ANN)
Director: Tetsuya Yanagisawa
Series Composition: Takao Yoshioka

The Positives: Um, Takao Yoshioka usually isn’t that bad of a scriptwriter, with the series composition of Elfen Lied, Daimaou and Sky Girls under his name… usually…
The Negatives: What do you want from me?! The url of this show’s website is called “Harem King”!

First-Glance Potential: 0%

Papa no Iu Koto o Kikinasai!

Summary: “Segawa had just gotten into college and settled into his first semester with new friends, but the plane that his older sister and her husband were riding went missing. As a result, Segawa has to watch over the middle school girl Sora, the fifth-grader Miu, and the kindergartener Hina in his tiny 3-meter-by-4-meter (9-foot-by-12-foot) apartment. “ – (Taken from ANN)
Director: Itsuro Kawasaki
Series Composition: Naruhisa Arakawa
Other Notable Staff: Tomohiro Matsu (Original Creator)

The Positives: So here we have the generic moe romantic comedy of the season… only it’s directed by a guy who normally handles action series: Itsuro Kawasaki.
The Negatives: Most of his series though miss something, and he only really nailed a series with Densetsu no Yuusha no Densetsu, which did have a very strong source material. I really cannot say the same for this show though. It feels like Rou Kyuu Bu II or something. The entire premise is dedicated to pandering to a certain type of audience. Naruhisa Arakawa is the same: she wrote a lot, but ultimately most of these works are rather generic. With the big exception of the Legend of Black Heaven, but that unfortunately seems completely different.

First-Glance Potential: 0%

Baby, Please Kill Me

Summary: “A four panel series about the not-so-ordinary school life of hyper Yasuna, her (unwilling) partner-in-crime Sonya the assassin and Agiri, a ninja with highly questionable skills.” – (Taken from ANN)
Director: Yoshiki Yamakawa
Series Composition: Hideki Shirane
Other Notable Staff: Shinya Hasegawa (Character Designs)

The Positives: The character designer of Utena, wut? The director isn’t anything special, but he’ll probably make this mildly fun.
The Negatives: I still haven’t forgiven Hideki Shirane for ruining Yumekui Merry. And it’s good that this doesn’t have a serious story, because he seems to be really bad at that (Aria The Scarlet Ammo, anyone?). In any case, this seems like it’ll be typical JC Staff: typical but ultimately unfunny antics by moe young girls. We’ve got enough of those series already.

First-Glance Potential: 20%

Recorder to Randoseru

Summary: “The manga revolves around Atsushi Miyagawa and his sister Atsumi Miyagawa. Atsushi looks like an adult at 180 centimeters (about 71 inches) tall, but he is actually an elementary school boy. Atsumi looks like a little girl at 137 centimeters (54 inches) tall, but she is actually in high school. “ – (Taken from ANN)
Director: Hiroshi Kimura
Series Composition: Ryou Karasuma
Other Notable Staff: Takaaki Anzai (Music)

The Positives: Next up in the category of series that can only happen in Japan: two siblings who look nothing like their ages. At first sight this seems like it might just be an interesting series. This will be the debut of director Hiroshi Kimura, and he has worked on episodes of series as Koi Kaze, Haibane Renmei and Gungrave, so he should know what it takes to tell a serious story.
The Negatives: However, this is still produced by Seven, the same people who gave us Morita-San wa Mukuchi, the incredibly poorly produced show where it felt like nobody really cared what they were making. The series composition guy will be the same. I really have no idea what’s up with these really cheaply produced series lately.

First-Glance Potential: 25%

The New Prince of Tennis

Summary: “This continues what happened in the “Prince of Tennis “, after the end of the tournament . In “The New Prince of Tennis,” Ryoma and the others (team members and teams they faced) begin a new adventure when they are the only 50 middle school students to be invited to the Japanese High School Representatives Selection Camp where only the top potentials in the Japanese tennis world train.” – (Taken from ANN)
Director: Shunsuke Tada
Other Notable Staff: Cher Watanabe (Music), Takuya Hiromitsu (Sound Direction)

The Positives: This thing will be produced by MSC. They’re a small animation company, founded from Production IG, and while they did produce a bunch of OVAs (which mostly were Prince of Tennis OVAs), this will be their first full fledged Television series. As newbies on the market, I wish them good luck. The director they got for this one also is an interesting one: the director of Bungaku Shoujo and World Destruction. That does show that this guy needs good source material, but he’s got an interesting style.
The Negatives: I’ve heard… some bad things about the Prince of Tennis franchise. I’ve never seen a single episode of it, but from what I’ve heard it’s got one of the most obnoxiously perfect main characters in the book. Beyond that, I also have a very unnerving question here: in total, the Prince of Tennis has gotten 209 episodes and one movie… and they still haven’t left middle school?! What have they been doing for these past 200 episodes? O.o

First-Glance Potential: 50%

Nisemonogatari

Summary: “The story is set in the early 21st century as a sequel to another NisiOisin story, Bakemonogatari, and it centers around the “Fire Sisters” Tsukihi and Karen Araragi. “ – (Taken from ANN)
Director: Akiyuki Shinbo
Series Composition: Fuyashi Tou, Akiyuki Shinbo
Other Notable Staff: Satoru Kousaki (Music), Akio Watanabe (Character Designs), Toshiharu Iijima (Art Direction)

The Positives: Oooh, you really make things hard, don’t you, Shaft? Here is the thing: with this, Shinbo has finally done what I’ve been hoping him to do for ages now: stop being involved in a truckload of different series at the same time and just focus on one series and make that one as good as possible. I really hated how he basically used his own style as an excuse to rush through all of his series, instead of just making one good one. With this, he has actually taken a half-year break and not released anything.
The Negatives: However, will that be enough to finally put an end to some of the most obnoxious Shaft tropes? The big one is how there hasn’t been a single Shaft Sequel that was just as good or better than its original, and I already didn’t like Bakemonogatari. The thing is, that I really want to like this guy, but when he keeps telling these half-assed stories full of pointless symbolism that actually gets in the way of telling this story, then I’m not in.

First-Glance Potential: 50%

Senhime Zesshou Symphogear

Summary: “The anime follows two girls in a top vocal unit named Zweiwing who fight to save humanity against a threat known as “Noise.” “ – (Taken from ANN)
Director: Tatsufumi Ito
Series Composition: Akifumi Kaneko
Other Notable Staff: Elements Garden (Music), Noriyasu Agematsu (Original Creator), Thomas Romain (Art Director, Future Visuals), Fumiaki Kouta (Action Director)

The Positives: Encourage Films did a random ONA in the past, but this is the first time they do a full series on their own. I wish them good luck. This is all in all a very weird production, because the original creator is one of the musical composer from the band Elements Garden. On top of that, Thomas Romain, the director of the japanese inspired Code Lyoko and co-production of Oban Star Races and the original creator of Basquash will handle the art direction. It’s clear that this studio emerged from Satelight, and it’s very interesting to see that someone like Thomas Romain went along with them. Fumiaki Kouta behind the action direction also brings a lot of promise considering his huge experience. Also: it’s a music battle tv anime. What the hell?
The Negatives: And then bizarrely enough this also got the director of Shugo Chara Party (that huge cop-out) and a guy behind the series composition without any other experience (pseudonym?). Ah well, Tatsufumi Ito has shown that he can direct with his work on some episodes of Casshern and Croisee.

First-Glance Potential: 70%

Ano Natsu de Matteru

Summary: “All that’s known at this point is that this is an original story about a romantic comedy between three teenagers.”
Series Composition: Yosuke Kuroda
Other Notable Staff: Taraka Uon (Character Designs)

The Positives: Here is an interesting project: most romantic comedies nowadays are adaptations of either mangas, light novels or hentai games. This time however, we have a series that is completely anime original. And not only that, it’s written by Yosuke Kuroda. Now, I have not seen Onegai Teacher, which seems to be the closest comparison to this series, but we’re talking about the guy who wrote Madlax, Infinite Ryvius, Gundam OO, and who adapted Trigun, High School of the Dead, Phantom, Gungrave, Honey and Clover and Ookiku Furikabutte. If anyone can make a romantic comedy work, then it’s this guy.
The Negatives: Though granted, Yosuke Kuroda isn’t perfect. His list of bad shows is also quite long with Maken-Ki, Ring ni Kakero, Kokoro Library, Spider Riders and Yumeria. If this guy really wants to though, he can make something very interesting here.

First-Glance Potential: 70%

The Knight in the Area

Summary: “Believing himself to be useless at soccer, Aizawa Kakeru is the manager of his school’s Soccer 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 when Suguru dies in a car accident and Kakeru got a heart injury and needs a heart transplant, given by their parents’ heart. Seven, an old playmate of theirs that Kakeru has a crush on. She join Aizawa Kakeru in his journey to the national and even international championships.” – (Taken from ANN)
Director: Hirofumi Ogura
Other Notable Staff: Tadashi Agi (Original Story)

The Positives: Tadashi Agi seems to be a veteran in the manga business. I haven’t seen any of his works, but his experience might be interesting for this series. This is produced by Shin-Ei Animation, and it’s been a while since they released anything (they were behind a truckload of Doraemon movies, but also Kappa to Coo to Natsuyasumi. Hirofumi Ogura meanwhile was the director of Kuroshitsuji II, which proved to be an excellent tongue in the cheek sequel.
The Negatives: You know… something tells me that the original creator is a really, really big fan of a guy named Adachi. My big problem with this show at the moment lies with the premise of this show, which feels like someone took an Adachi storyline, and turned it into a soap opera, removing all the subtlety from it. The reason Adachi’s works work is because of how well they’re told, not because how he tries to be as sad as possible.

First-Glance Potential: 70%

Poyopoyo Kansatsu Nikki

Summary: “The slice-of-life manga centers around a mysterious “spherical cat” named Poyo, its family, and the people in Poyo’s everyday life.” – (Taken from ANN)
Director: Akitaro Daichi

The Positives: Do not get fooled here: this show is being directed by the guy who is pretty much the best and most consistent comedy director out there. Akitarou Daichi has a track record of working on a ton of different series, and being consistently hilarious no matter what he’s working on.
The Negatives: At the same time though, I’d really wish that this guy would get back and work on a project with a bit more ambition. I mean, this is also the guy who brought us Now and Then, Here and There and the adaptation of Fruits Basket.

First-Glance Potential: 70%

Brave10

Summary: “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. “ – (Taken from ANN)
Director: Kiyoko Sayama
Series Composition: Mamiko Ikeda
Other Notable Staff: Yukiko Ban (Animation Director)

The Positives: This will be produced by Studio Sakimakura, who are completely new on the market. Nice! Also nice is that another series at least tries to take the Sengoku Era seriously, without turning its characters into girls or something. Yukiko Ban meanwhile is a very solid choice behind the animation director, having previously done so with Amatsuki, .Hack//Sign and Shinrei Tantei Yakumo. It’s also great to see Kiyoko Sayawa back again, as she’s one of the few female directors out there, and her work on Pretear and Skip Beat definitely caught my eye. This show can become what Hakuouki failed to do.
The Negatives: I’m a bit iffy on Mamiko Ikeda. She’s not entirely bad, she did a great job on adapting Victorian Romance Emma, Tsukikage Ran and Fruits Basket… only not so much on Regios, Maid Sama, Nagasarete Airantou and Hanasakeru Seishounen…

First-Glance Potential: 75%

Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou

Summary: “As the title indicates, the gag comedy manga follows the humorous yet “realistic” everyday life of Tadakuni, Hidenori, Yoshitake, and other students at a boys’ high school.” – (Taken from ANN)
Director: Shinji Takamatsu
Other Notable Staff: Audio Highs (Music), Kenichi Tajiri (Art Direction), Souta Ooya, Ai Yoshimura

The Positives: Here we do have an interesting project: the first 100 episodes of Gintama (basically the best part of the show) were directed by Shinji Takamatsu. Even though his previous attempt at a series failed with Sora no Manimani, I’m still curious to see what he can do with a bit of a wilder premise that isn’t just any other romantic comedy. He brought some solid directors along with him it seems, and also the art direction seems to have potential here.
The Negatives: My main complaint here is that the whole premise isn’t that interesting, but slice of life comedies really depend on their execution anyway.

First-Glance Potential: 75%

Aquarion Evol

Summary: “Twelve thousand years in the past, mankind was at mercy of the mythical creatures known as Shadow Angels, immortal winged beings with overwhelming powers and technology. That is, until one of their kind, Apolonius, fell in love with a female human warrior, Seliane. Apolonius joins forces with the humans to free them from their oppression, by using the legendary giant fighting robot Aquarion” – (Taken from Wikipedia)
Chief Director: Shoji Kawamori
Director: Yuusuke Yamamoto
Series Composition: Mari Okada
Other Notable Staff: Yoko Kanno (Theme Song)

The Positives: Oh boy. Shoji Kawamori and Mari Okada working together on one series. I have no idea how well that’s going to go, but it definitely has me interested. I never bothered to watch Aquarion because its premise just didn’t seem interesting enough to marathon compared to all the other shows that I still need to check out (yeah, it was a very subjective reason), however when it airs weekly like this I think that I’ll have enough motivation to keep watching it. Especially now that Mari Okada is involved. Oh, and not to mention the director of NHK ni Youkoso and B Gata H Kei. These are some of the strongest names that Shoji Kawamori worked together with in a long time.
The Negatives: If Kawamori TROLLS ME ONE MORE TIME….

First-Glance Potential: 80%

Black Rock Shooter

Summary: “Mato Kuroi just got into junior high school, and on the first day, someone catches her eye; her classmate Yomi Takanashi. The two meet.The innocent and naive Mato. The mature Yomi. Seemingly opposites, but the time they spend together only strengthens a growing friendship. But as they go into their second year at the school, they get placed in separate classes, and they begin to grow apart. But somewhere simultaneously… In another world, a young girl, blue fire residing in her eyes, Black Rock Shooter faces another young girl; this one holding a jet-black scythe, Dead Master, and a battle to the death begins to unfold.” – (Taken from ANN)
Director: Shinobu Yoshioka
Series Composition: Mari Okada
Other Notable Staff: Yusuke Yoshigaki (Animation Director), First-Glance Potential: 80%

Tantei Opera Milky Holmes 2

Summary: “In the future world, people use ‘Toys’ that grant them superhuman abilities like ESP and telekinesis. This has led to a boom in both minor crimes and the need for Toy-using detectives to track down the offenders and bring them to justice. Opera Koyabashi runs the detective agency, Milky Holmes, staffed by four cheerful and energetic girls.” – (Taken from ANN)

The Positives: The exact staff of this series hasn’t been announced yet, but it’s very likely that the same guys will be returning for this sequel of the series that really surprised me when it first came out. At first it seemed like this really dull moe show, but it actually turned out to be a very funny detective parody with very likable characters and surprisingly good animation at times (courtesy of Seiya Numata).
The Negatives: The big question will be: will this be as good as the first season? The problem with comedy sequels is that they’re hardly ever as good as their predecessors. The second season is the point where the inspiration runs dry, the best jokes have been already told, the writers try too hard, all resulting in a lesser experience. Especially in the case of the good comedies like this one. Let’s hope that this can avoid this syndrome.

First-Glance Potential: 80%

Inu x Boku SS

Summary: “The Shirakiin house’s daughter, Shirakiin Ririchiyo, 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.” – (Taken from ANN)
Director: Naokatsu Tsuda
Series Composition: Saizo Nemoto
Other Notable Staff: Haruko Iizuka (Animation Direction), Takyua Satou (Supervision)

The Positives: There are very few studios nowadays that can immediately gain my interest upon a normally dull looking show as David Production. With Ben-To they showed that even with the moe shows, they try their best to make it entertaining. And indeed, the premise here does seem more interesting than your average moe show. On top of that we’ve got a talented animation director working here and it’s supervised by the director of Niea and Steins;Gate. The director will be a new guy, which is also interesting. He worked on a bunch of interesting episodes already. Saizo Nemoto also sounds quite interesting, as he adapted quite a few episodes for Bantorra, Steins;Gate, Shangri La and Toward the Terra.
The Negatives: Saizo Nemoto is also currently writing Towa no Quon, which disappointed a little. That’s all I have.

First-Glance Potential: 85%

Mouretsu Pirates

Summary: “Marika is a first year high school student living in a far away galaxy known as Uminoakeboshi. One day she finds out that her recently deceased father was once the captain of the space pirate ship called the Bentenmaru. More importantly, the only one to inherit the captain’s title has to be a direct descendant – meaning that Marika is next in line to become the captain of the ship.” – (Taken from ANN)
Director: Tatsuo Sato
Series Composition: Tatsuo Sato
Other Notable Staff: Hiroshi Takeuchi (Chief Animation Director), Kenji Teraoka (Mechanical Design), Masahisa Suzuki (Mechanical Design), Shoji Kawamori (Mechanical Design)

The Positives: Hell yeah! This sounds like a fun and exciting story from Satelight. They got some really good animators and designers behind it (including the animation director of The Big O of all things), and Tatsuo Sato will really be the man of this season, with two very ambitious mecha series under his helm. I’m expecting a lot here from the director of Nadesico, Stellvia, Tokyo Tribe, Shingu and Shigofumi, especially since he’s also writing the series composition on top of directing. It’s been a while since someone had the guts to do that.
The Negatives: Moe and boobs. Please don’t let those get in the way of making this one fun.

First-Glance Potential: 85%

Rinne no Lagrange: Flower declaration of your heart

Summary: “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.” – (Taken from MAL)
Chief Director: Tatsuo Sato
Director: Toshimasa Suzuki
Series Composition: Shoutarou Suga
Other Notable Staff: Eiji Umehara (Script), Hiroshi Oonogi (Script), Shigeru Morita (Script), Touko Machida (Script), Yuuichi Nomura (Script), Chizuru Kobayashi (Character Designs), Michie Watanabe (Art Director)

The Positives: Could it be? Is Xebec finally getting a bit ambitious again? It’s been ages since we’ve seen a good mecha, so I really hope that this one will be it. The chief director behind it in any case will be amazing, and I’m expecting a lot from the same guy who brought us Shingu, Cat Soup, Nadesico, Tokyo Tribe and Shigofumi. The cast of this series seems huge, which seems to be working in his favor. The director of Heroic Age and the Fafner Movie also can make things quite interesting here and the team is complete with nobody other than the guy who wrote Darker than Black and various episodes of all kinds of awesome series as Chevalier, Blood+, Ghost in the Shell, Seirei no Moribito and Wild Arms. Oh, and to make matters even better: Hiroshi Ohnogi (you know, the guy behind the series composition of Birdy the Mighty, Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood, NOEIN, and Shangri-la, among many others will be among the scriptwriters. This has some HUGE potential.
The Negatives: The obvious flaw of this is the fanservicy character designs, but also the collection of scriptwriters: it’s got some of the best, but also some of the worst ones. Most notably Machida Touko, who has ruined many great premises by her mediocre scriptwriting.

First-Glance Potential: 90%

Another

Summary: “Horror novel reader Kouichi Sakakibara moves to his grandparents home after his father went abroad, but soon after turning 15 he’s hospitalized by a sudden pneumothorax, missing his first day of school. In the hospital he meets a mysterious girl called Mei Misaki. After recovery he joins the 3rd year 3-Class at North Yomiyama Middle School. Kouichi finds Mei Misaki is in the same class, but notice that the rest of his classmates don’t see her and avoid to speak about it. He later hear from his aunt from the story of a prestigious girl in the same class from 26 years before that died in an accident. Refusing to accept it her classmates kept pretending she was still alive. In that year’ graduation commemorative photograph, the girl supposedly not to be was there. Her name was Mei Misaki.” – (Taken from ANN)
Director: Tsutomu Mizushima
Series Composition: Ryou Higaki
Other Notable Staff: Kou Otani (Music), Satoru Hirayanagi (Art Director), Yoshimasa Yamazaki (3D Director), Yoshikazu Iwanami

The Positives: This one will be a show to keep your eye out to. PA Works assembled some great staff for it, including their usual background art artists (just look at Hana-Saku Iroha for the amazing things these people can do), Kou Otani is making the soundtrack, the series composition will e done by one of the scriptwriters of Seirei no Moribito, and to finish things off: Tsutomu Mizushima (who also directed Ookiku Furikabutte, Blood-C, xxxHolic and Squid Girl) will be directing it. The series is in an excellent genre as well, so I’m looking forward to this.
The Negatives: A high school. The creators had better make good use of this cliche.

First-Glance Potential: 90%

Natsume Yuujinchou Shi

Summary: “Natsume Takashi has the ability to see spirits, which he has long kept secret. However, once he inherits a strange book that belonged to his deceased grandmother, Reiko, he discovers the reason why spirits surround him. Containing the names of these spirits, a binding contract was formed between the spirits and the owner of the book. Now, Natsume is determined to free the spirits and dissolve the contracts. With the help of a spirit cat, his days are filled trying to return the names to these spirits.” – (Taken from ANN)
Director: Takehiro Omori
Series Composition: Sadayuki Murai
Other Notable Staff: Makoto Yoshimori (Music)

The Positives: Well, what can there be said about this series at this point? The third season that aired this summer was just exquisite and brought in a ton of character development for the titular character. And then to think that it was nowhere near finished. The staff for this series will be the same, so the incredibly strong direction and script of Takehiro Omori (who previously directed Baccano, Jigoku Shoujo, Fancy Lala and Koi Kaze) and Sadayuki Murai (who previously adapted Boogiepop Phantom and Mouryou no Hako, two utterly brilliant adaptations) should be able to work their magic again.
The Negatives: So far, Natsume’s stories that just took part into one single episode have been the strongest. I really hope that the creators put in many of these kinds of episodes. The main storyline of Natsume Yuujinchou is very good, but not THAT good.

First-Glance Potential: 95%

57 Responses

  1. Avatar Firechick says:

    Eh. To me, the upcoming winter season is horrible. ONLY Natsume Yuujinchou interests me (or maybe I’ll watch Poyopoyo or Inu x Boku SS)!

  2. Avatar Addictd says:

    Even though there a lot of shows, maybe 2 or 3 really got my attention…meh, I’ll just have to wait and see.

  3. Avatar Nimroc says:

    If anything this seem like a uncertain season, Natsume Yuujinchou is the only one I feel entirely sure of that I will like it.
    As for the rest, depends on the execution I guess.

  4. Are you putting Kyouso Giga under the OVAs/Others category then? Curious to hear your thoughts about that, it’s what I’m looking forward to the most this season.

  5. psgels psgels says:

    OVAs and specials will indeed come tomorrow.

  6. Avatar Whisperer says:

    wtf.. there wasn’t even ONE promising (at a first glance) title. Even Black Rock Shooter sounds a bit… retarded :( The autumn season was already stretching it with only one 100% interesting new show (UN-GO), but it looks like I’ll have nothing in the winter. Oh well.

  7. Avatar mousoukyoku says:

    Another and Nisemonogatari are the only shows where I more or less know I’ll be watching them, which is kind of sad. I’m used to be interested in only a few series each season but these 2 are yet again novel adaptations and furthermore the material is by authors I already like anyway. I do have to read Another before it starts airing in January (?) though, but I’m glad I won’t have to read Nisemonogatari, since as it’s the case with all of Nishio Isin’s monogatari-series it’s nothing I particularly want to consume in written form (which still takes more time for me to complete even considering I gradually got better at Japanese). I never want to see a Zaregoto-anime though… And I guess Another features yet another (duh) narrative trick Ayatsuji Yukito is known for so I’m wondering how they will convert that aspect into visualized form.

  8. Avatar Sasa says:

    Looks pretty awesome. I will definitely watch Natsume, but for everything else there are quite a few I want to look into. Winter has actually always been quite a treasure box for me – the series they show are often more special.

  9. Avatar swa says:

    Ano Natsu de Matteru screams Onegai Teacher/Twins so badly that I’m starting to feel sick already.

  10. Avatar AidanAK47 says:

    Sigh…Moe truly is destroying the anime industry.

    Still there might be a few surprises. Hopefully.

  11. Avatar MAGIC says:

    Just felt like letting you know that The Knight in the Area is not at all like Adachi’s works, in my opinion. I haven’t been keeping up with the series, but I read the manga up until about chapter 20 or so, and it mostly just a generic sports manga with no emphasis on slice of life. Most of the focus is on soccer techniques/skills/etc. Not to say it’s not good, I did enjoy it, but I’ve lost interest. The best part was the twist when his brother suddenly died, but since you’ve included it in the summary, I guess it’s not such a big twist anymore…

  12. Avatar C160 says:

    I think you need to lower your expectations on Brave10. This is definitely a show catering to yaoi fangirls.

    The previous Aquarion(s) is so-so in terms of plot and characters, and it definitely has lots of orgasms.Yes, I’m still sane and very serious. It’s just the way it is. But it’s still fun for me as a mecha fan, until the a bit after the halfway point where the drama is turned up like whoa. Still, I think you need to watch the first series to really understand Evol.

  13. Avatar swa says:

    Skilled brother suddenly dying in a traffic accident? What the? Hmmm… Deja vu…

  14. Avatar kero says:

    Read through the list and the only thing I know I’ll definitely watch is Natsume Yuujinchou.

    Maybe Another and Black rock shooter and Ano Natsu. [and will check out the cat one for an episode just in case it is good]

    … it’s a good thing some of the autumn shows are running over into winter. Maybe that’ll be enough.

  15. Avatar Oroboros says:

    Winter lineup looks like a shit-sandwich besides Nisemonogatari. I’m more than ready to be proven wrong, but surprise is always better than disappointment. :)

  16. Avatar Starry says:

    Too much moeshit and high school settings, ugh. Oh well, the series that I’m watching this fall are all two cour so they’ll carry over to this season. The only thing that catches my eye is Black Rock Shooter and only because I enjoyed the visuals of the OVA. Hoping for one or two surprises.

  17. Avatar Cholisose says:

    More Natsume Yuujinchou is win.
    Another sounds promising.
    I’m kind of curious about Inu X Boku SS.

  18. Avatar Mormegil says:

    Too early for this! We’re only in the middle of the fall season! O_O

  19. Avatar jzar says:

    not really looking forward to any of the new season…. :)

  20. Avatar Ebisu says:

    Wow, I didn’t expect Area no Kishi to get animated. The summary isn’t very accurate and the manga has a sports shonen format. It resembles a bit to Adachi’s works but it focuses more on football strategy and tactics (though it’s got its fair share of drama).
    Another cute cat anime!?

  21. Avatar Kiarae says:

    Mouretsu Pirates certainly has my attention because it’s PIRATES!!

    Also interested in Another?!, and I don’t usually like horror type anime. Shiki is what changed my attitude towards at least giving them a look through and this one looks like it’ll be something similarish.

  22. Avatar Kalandra says:

    Moe and boobs. Please don’t let those get in the way of making this one fun.

    Can be said for most of the series here, even those you rate with 80%+ potential.

  23. Avatar Kalandra says:

    Papa no Iu Koto o Kikinasai! definitely has some potential, if it got better staff.

    Anyway, alot will depend whether they looking to do loli/moe antics, or actual slice of life, ala Usagi Drop.

  24. Avatar Alvin B. says:

    Looks like enough to get me to break my anime dry spell.

  25. Avatar Scruffy says:

    Shaft can make good sequels. Hidamari Sketch is a prime example.

  26. Avatar Joojoobees says:

    Mini-skirt Space Pirates! Yeah, it might well be stupid, but it sounds like a Harlock parody, so I’ll watch it just for that.

  27. Avatar Sho says:

    Not too bad for a winter season imho. So far, the top 5 most promising looking shows (to me)would have to be:

    -Natsume Yuujinchou Shi
    -Mouretsu Pirates
    -Another
    -Ano Natsu de Matteru
    -Inu x Boku SS

    Hopefully we’ll have some surprises =)

  28. Avatar Blue says:

    The only thing I’m definitely watching is Natsume Yuujinchou, but I’ll take a look into lots of other things that pull my interest.

    I was really looking forward to Zero no Tsukaima…but then I remembered that I was really looking forward to Shana and was disappointed. Maybe I was only able to enjoy those shows before because I was young.

  29. Avatar Aline says:

    I LOVE YOUR NEW FORMATTING!!!

  30. Avatar Pax says:

    This looks like quite a bad season…I am only interested in Another and in Natsume Yuujinchou Shi.

    As for Prince of Tennis, I doubt you will be ready for it lol

  31. Avatar ender650 says:

    I will be watching Natsume for sure, also Another look promising and PA Works is one of my favorite studios. Black Rock Shooter could be good but I worry about Yoshioka Shinobu and Yamamoto Yutaka (Ordet) since I have not been impressed with the majority of their past work.
    Another hopeful is Ano Natsu de Matteru

  32. Avatar ma says:

    For the current season There was 3 shows which i was sure about them to not disappiont (Chihayafuru – Fate/Zero and Last Exile:Fam) and one of them disappointed me (LE:F).
    For next season, There’s only Natsume that I’m sure about.
    As someone who pay a lot attention to Seyuus , I’m really interested in Inu x Boku SS.

  33. Avatar elianthos says:

    Only Natsume is certain for me XD. Nisemonogatari is a jump in the dark: I liked Bakemonogatari overall and much more than I expected to (pseudo-harem & fanservice elements are one of my pet peeves but somehow I tolerated them becuase I found the story and quirks and puns and meta evened those out ), but I’m no Nisio and no Shaft fangirl… I find them both to be very hit and miss. So, I’ll check it out but with caution.
    Popoyo might be something cute and enjoyable to watch. Everything else is me.
    I’ve watched the the previous incarnations of Aquarion and was not fond of either, hence I’ll avoid the third one unless the reviews of teh whole series turns put to be stellar. Sooo… in terms of watching list this is a very average-to-subpar season for me :p. Also… I can officially consider NoitaminA dead ^_^;;; .
    Thank you very much for putting the list together psgels ^^V.
    Let’s see if the movie&OVAs fare a bit better…

  34. Avatar Gottis says:

    Echizen Ryoma is very much perfect, at least in the manga, but he’s more bearable in the anime (and in fact my favorite Prince of Tennis character. >_> … This coming from someone who’s seen ALL the episodes, read the manga and watched all the musicals released on DVD so far, all the seiyuu concerts, plus the live action movie and the two seasons of the live action Chinese series.) Yeah, I’m a PoT fangirl. >_>

    And OMG The Knight in the Area!!! *_______*

    Yeah, those are the only two shows I’m interested in so far. We’ll see.

  35. Avatar Some guy says:

    So much goddamn moe shit.

  36. Avatar Shii says:

    I think you forgot to mention Kyousogiga and Gokujyo

  37. Avatar chounokoe says:

    For me it’ll be Another and nothing else. Kinda sad, but at least that gives me some time to catch up on my reading.
    If anybody is asking if Another is going to be any good, it’s based on a novel of the same name (and apparently is adapted directly from it and not from the manga like in Shiki’s case) by Ayatsuji Yukito (who writes horror fiction as well as detective fiction in the same literary subgenre as Môryô no Hako author Kyôgoku Natsuhiko).

    The novel is pretty cool because it has a very sombre, depressing tone. Also, Ayatsujis previous horror novels were inspired by works of Dario Argento and other classical Western horror pieces.
    What I seriously dislike is the design of the anime…it apparently wants to swim on the “guts and girls” wave started by Higurashi no naku koro ni. That’s pretty sad, because I loved the original cover design and even the manga (which was a huge step towards mainstream) didn’t look as…moe’fied.

  38. Avatar Façade says:

    Awesome, ill be looking forward to it.. time to select which ones ill be using my limited time watching :)

  39. Avatar Kaja Rainbow says:

    It’s easy to tell exactly which demographics most of those shows are targeting (Prince of Tennis, Natsume, and Danshi being the main exceptions from the huge blob of moe). Even Another has a girl with a bandage over her eye for the ‘moe injured girl’ look. Though hearing that it’s adapted from an apparently decent novel, it might be better than that.

    Space pirates whee. But just from the character design there’s a clear danger of it falling into the “moe and boobs” trap.

    Eh. I typically watch maybe one of a given season’s series, at most, anyway. (Often zero.) More into manga than anime overall. Right now the main thing I’m watching is Penguindrum.

    Though the series with that crazy tea drinking guy looks interesting and I might have to go back and catch up on it. I loved what of the manga I read (but if its translation wasn’t in limbo, I’d likely be reading that instead of watching the anime).

  40. Avatar Kaja Rainbow says:

    Clarification: “moe” should’ve been better termed as “male otaku appeal”, since there’re multiple forms of that. And, I’ve seen anime targeted at that demographic that was pretty decent at least. It’s just that I’d love to see, say, more strong female leads whose lives doesn’t revolve around some guy and who isn’t obviously designed to appeal to the male otaku audience.

    Really, there’s overall more variety in manga than anime from what I’ve seen. Then again, anime costs more to produce so it requires more profit to succeed. So they’re focusing on the most profitable audience.

    I do enjoy your reviews though, and they really do help in filtering out the more potentially interesting stuff to watch. (Hell, I think it was your reviews that got me to actually watch Panty and Stocking which didn’t look like my type of show.)

  41. Avatar Lemi says:

    Meh, from the 1st impression, I only interested in Natsume Yuujinchou and that Pirates anime, maybe that high school boys gag comedy too but not that much, the others just don’t interest me. :\

  42. Avatar Li says:

    The only series I plan on watching off the bat is natsume. The rest seem like shit, but i’ll wait until your first impressions until i make my final judgements

  43. Avatar Ichi says:

    I’ll try all those animes, but yeah this season seems bad to me x:
    But yeah…. Natsumeeeee *_*

  44. Avatar matt says:

    “The main storyline of Natsume Yuujinchou is very good, but not THAT good.” …………What???

  45. Avatar Cholisose says:

    @Matt
    Yeah, that was my reaction too. XD The main storyline to Natsume Yuujinchou is amazing. The author is a master of gradual character development.

  46. Avatar MDS says:

    Ano natsu seems very promising.
    BRS is a double-edged sword, not to mention it airs on Noitamina block.
    For strange reasons, Another gave me Ookamikakushi vibe…
    And Natsume 4, can’t wait for that. Few series got its 4th season.

  47. Avatar paj says:

    Natsume. . . a definite watch. “Another” is a decent novel from what was interpreted for me. But the Manga is good for me so I’ll definitely check it out. As for the rest. . .not one has really caught my eye. But i hope i can find a gem among them. Thank goodness for the autumn shows that will be carrying over.
    I really enjoy the format that you put the reviews in.

  48. Avatar Hara says:

    Another season of Natsume Yuujinchou ?! AWESOME !

  49. Avatar binbo-gami says:

    yesss.. I can’t wait for Natsume Yuujinchou Shi!!

  50. Avatar Bwaffles says:

    Omg yes! Black Rock Shooter, I can’t wait :D

  51. Avatar Eroporn says:

    please do not give any high expectation to any anime before it’s being aired.. otherwise,you’ll making facepalm in front of your screen watching that series. yeah..

  52. Avatar Jo-chan says:

    I’m looking forward to 6 out of the 22 titles. XD

  53. Avatar Engix says:

    Having watched most of the 1st episodes so far, I can say that this season is HORRIBLE. They’re are about 3 or 4 note worthy shows. But that’s it

  54. Avatar Earle Feindt says:

    Howdy! This is kind of off topic but I need some advice from an established blog. Is it hard to set up your own blog? I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty quick. I’m thinking about making my own but I’m not sure where to begin. Do you have any ideas or suggestions? Thanks

    • psgels psgels says:

      Starting up a blog can be as easy or difficult as you want it to be. If you’re not technically savvy, then I recommend the following steps:

      – Visit http://wordpress.com/
      – Click on “Get Started here”, and follow the steps.

      And that’s all. ;)

  55. Avatar yaplog says:

    After I start your Rss feed it appears to be a lot of garbage, is the issue on my side?

  56. , and when he sees that Kevin is being harassed by everyone he passes on the street he comes up with an absurd but very funny plot to escape the town using an old Underground Railroad map from his high school history book. Let’s look at some websites where you can either watch clips of old TV shows or even full season episodes of some online TV shows. Today, any computer has a CD or a DVD writer, and that is what you will need to record your downloaded movies.

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