The upcoming Spring Season will be a bit small: only 33 new series will premiere. Last year, in comparison, we had 40 of them. In any case, here is my preview for them. As usual, I can only comment on the anime themselves, and not on the source material they’re based on, since i don’t read any manga or light novels.
I’s unfortunate, but only four series of these shows aren’t about teenagers. We’ve now gotten to the point where this is really getting annoying and one-sided. And to be honest, this season is in one thing very mediocre: the actual premises. Very few of the premises really stand out as potential classics, and most of them really are the same usual teenaged stories or moe shows compared to previous spring series. I’m really talking about the taglines of a series that immediately catch your attention.
Looking beyond that and to the creators involved, and the potential for some of these series, and then we’ve got a very solid bunch. I’ve got about 11 series that I’m really looking forward to, along with quite a few others that could turn out very nice. Unfortunately, the fact remains that yet again, there will be a ton of moe and dull romantic comedies.
There are two major themes of this season aside from that: coming of age, and thrillers. The most series this season come from Studio Deen again. And really, by now you’d think that with the amount of series they release, they’d at least use one of those slots for something interesting or expermental. But no, we apparently only need moe and bishies. Sunrise also has three shows, which thankfully look more promising. The most impressive company this season will be A-1, with two shows with a lot of potential coming up.
The Positives: I… um… what?
The Negatives: I’m just completely baffled here. For those of you who don’t know: Haiyoru Nyarani was released a few years ago as this utterly terrible flash OVA that was very poorly produced and had the most mind-numbing banter imaginable. It kicked off the very annoying trend of showing horrid flash shows that are barely animated and that just feature cute girls talk to each other and fail miserably in their attempts to be funny. Xebec saw this, and thought “hey, we can make an anime about this too!”, or so I can only imagine. Just… what the hell? These guys have completely given up. Thank god there still is Good Xebec.
The Positives: Keiji Gotou surely worked on a ton of different series here.
The Negatives: Brains Base, seriously? Are you seriously saying that you too have sold out and followed the horrible bandwagon of turning famous historical figures into moe stereotypes? Are you seriously trying to beat a horse that has been dead for half a decade now?
Rock Lee no Seishun Full-Power Ninden
The Positives: I really like Masahiko Murata. He’s the director of some really good horror series: Shikabane Hime and Gilgamesh. His sense of action is raw and cold, just like his characterization.
The Negatives: Just… no. Are they really going to milk out the Naturo franshile like what Toei is currently doing with One Piece? Is there really a need for this? Is there really a need to use such a good director as Masahiko Murata?
Pretty Rythm Dear My Future
The Positives: Nothing.
The Negatives: Oh, I remember watching the first episode of the first season of this one. What really stood out was how abysmally poorly it was in every single aspect. The animatio was virtually nonexistant, and the writing in particular was incredibly stupid and convenient. I can’t believe they’re making a second season of this.
Jewel Pet Sunshine Second Season
The Positives: I remember when kids’ series were actually about something other than selling toys…
The Negatives: There’s going to be even more of this?
Queen’s Blade: Rebellion
The Positives: The positives should be obvious by now…
The Negatives: Will there ever come a point at which the guys at Arms will stop producing these bad fanservice shows? I mean, I remember the frst show they ever made: Elfen Lied. That was good. What happened afterwards? Did they just realize “hey, we can actually make a lot more money while putting in a lot less effort!” or something?
The Positives: The best I can think of is that the series composition isn’t anything bad.
The Negatives: It’s got the director of Astarotte no Omocha. My big problem with this one is that I just can’t find anything about it that interests me whatsoever. It’s just another mediocre high school romance show, but this time based on a 4koma; the designs look generic and being produced by AIC seals the deal here.
The Positives: Information about this thing is very scarce. I managed to find out that it’s being produced by the same company who produced Hanoka. Now, that actually was an interesting experiment to animate a small action series in only flash vector graphics…
The Negatives: … so of course their next work will be yet another one of those horrid flash school series. Of course. Let’s at the very least hope that they won’t be as cheap as the crap that companies as DLE produce.
Nazo na Kanojo X
The Positives: The character designer of Bokura no and Tokyo Godfathers? Awesome. Ayumu Watanabe only directed a few doraemon movies before, so I’m interested in what he can do as a director of an actual tv-series.
The Negatives: Ugh, it’s Hoods again, or the guys who just produce porn over and over again. This really seems like a typical raunchy romance of theirs again, especially since Deko Akao isn’t really such a good writer (having adapted Astarotte no Omocha and Pretty Rythm before…). It’s a real shame to waste such a good character designer on this.
Kore wa Zombie Desu Ka? Of the Dead
The Positives: Well, it’s bound to have a few good episodes, like the first season.
The Negatives: This show pissed me off so much. It could have been a fun gory show, but instead it dabbled way too much into dull harem hijinks, along with a joke of a story to close itself off with. The staff is exactly the same, and it really looks like they’re going to pull the exact same here. In the meantime though, I’ve thankfully been exposed by a lot of comedies who weren’t so lazily adapted at this one, and who were genuinely fun despite having a lot of moe in it (Enma, Ben-To, Milky Holmes), so this one is going to have to be really impressive for me to also follow it all the way through.
The Positives: Takao Kato still puzzles me a bit. He’s a very mediocre director, who at the same time captured the Pandora Hearts Manga really well. I’ve given up with this guy though. Too many of his series were just unremarkable, but there is hope, at least. Naruhisa Arakawa also certainly isn’t a bad writer per se. He wrote Legend of Black Heaven for example, and adapted Spice and Wolf and Papakiki.
The Negatives: “Hey, you know Strike Witches? That’s really popular, right? Let’s do that too!”, said Xebec, five years after Gonzo originally aired it… just… no. Let’s also not forget that Naruhisa Arakawa also wrote Love Love, Yosuga no Sora and CosPrayers…
The Positives: Nisioisin as the original writer will at least lead to some nice wordplay, I guess.
The Negatives: My interest was piqued a bit when I noticed that Gainax seemed to be behind this, not to mention that it has one guy overseeing both the direction and the series composition of this thing. Unfortunately, that guy turns out to be the “bad Gainax director”, who has been directing their worst series and stories with He is My Master, Houkago no Pleiades, This Ugly Yet Beautiful World, or those Mahoromatic OVAs. On top of that the premise also seems very generic, as yet another school romantic comedy about a student council. I see nothing that stands out here.
Dusk Maiden of Amnesia
The Positives: Yukiko Ban was a main character designer for Bee-Train (she designed the characters for Avenger, .Hack//Sign and Yakumo), and a good animation director for Studio Deen (07-Ghost, Amatsuki). The designs for this show will at least be good.
The Negatives: Just… go to the website of this series. Then you’ll immediately see where the mind of this series lies. I mean, could they really have been less subtle? I’d like to see the Silver Link guys as the Shaft Graduates without actual talent (in comparison: I consider Shinbo to be very talented, I’d just wish that he’d use it better). Ever since they left the company to form their own, all they pretty much worked on was mediocre and unimpressive. I’ve given them enough chances by now, but all they can hope for here is that the source material is good enough to pull them through.
Hiiro no Kakera
The Positives: The director of Hetalia’s next project. Also, the character designer is very good.
The Negatives: I used to be a big fan of shoujo, but now the genre has become just way too diluted by angsty bishies to still be as enthusiastic about it. Here we yet again have an interesting sounding premise, but every single one of these series just descends into a bishie fest full of bad acting and characters trying too hard to look cool that is too focused on wish fulfillment. Especially considering the direction that Studio Deen have gone into the latest years. The series also is supposed to have a very good character designer (Ergo Proxy, Detective Story, Blassreiter, Berserk Movie), but I’m really not seeing that here.
Saki Achiga-hen episode of side-A
The Positives: So, we had the Saki TV-series, which ended with a really obvious sequel hook, and so the next season will focus on some completely different characters instead. Okay. At the very least this won’t be a Manabu Ono series with his enormous boobs trademark…
The Negatives: Oh, I remember that it was a really big chore to sit through the first Saki series, as it turned itself into some magical girl series in which the matches were determined by how well the different characters could manipulate luck (no, seriously). At the very least I hope that the new cast will be more interesting than the old cast, because these girls got very bland very quickly.
The Positives: Noboru Takagi, the guy who adapted Baccano, Durarara and Koi Kaze. This premise is a major step down from those, though. It does seem slightly better than the usual romantic comedy. Emphasis on slightly, though. And I admit that I’m always interested in new directors: most of the time they’re nothing special, but things get interesting when they manage to already show off their own style.
The Negatives: There are going to be TWO zombie moe comedies in one season? And both are produced by Studio Deen? What the hell man, go back to your good premises again dammit.
The Positives: Seriously, this series has a killer staff: the guys behind Hanamaru Youchien creating a new anime original series, aided by the scriptwriter of Mouryou no Hako, Natsume Yuujinchou San & Shi and Boogiepop Phantom, animated by Sunrise.
The Negatives: That really makes me wonder: what the hell will this series be about? This show seriously has some of the most generic promo art I’ve seen in a while. On top of the characters looking very generic, they’re just not doing anything at all. From the impression I get here, this seems to be one of those shows to promote four random idols. Those things usually turn out terrible, which is why it’s so sad to see so many great people work on this.
The Positives: What the…? What are Shoji Kawamori and Mari Okada doing here?
The Negatives: What the hell is this, man? There’s going to be another idol promotion show this season? Why two of them? And why of all people Shoji Kawamori and Mari Okada, the people who are currently working on Aquarion Evol? Is this AKB48 really popular enough to warrant this?
The Positives: Oh good lord. This show reunites certain staff together: the people who made Mai Hime, which was a very good series…
The Negatives: … only to be followed up later by Mai Otome, which was one gigantic mess of a series. The director later went on to direct the Girl who Leapt through Space, a mediocre comedy, while Hiroyuki Yoshino… went on to write Seikon no Qwaser, Code Geass, Macross Frontier and Guilty Crown. Thankfully this is an adaptation, and granted, Yiroyuki Yoshino did show that he is good at that with Denpateki na Kanojo. But really, this is another trainwreck waiting to happen unless they go back to their roots with Mai Hime.
Arashi no Yoru ni
The Positives: They’re going to remake Arashi no Yoru ni into a television series? This could get interesting, especially now that they have more time to tell the story (this will have 52 episodes of 11 minutes long, interestingly). Tetsurou Amino is also a very interesting choice for a director With Shiki, he did prove that he is a very good director.
The Negatives: It will be entirely in 3D CG, though. This just doesn’t seem like the right story for that.
Shining Hearts: Shiawase no Pan
The Positives: Once in a while, you run into a series where the direction and series composition are done by the same guy. This season has Mouretsu Pirates, and last season had Tamayura. These are often very well done series, because there is one guy who is holding in the reigns quite well for his own vision…
The Negatives: … so I can’t believe that this season is the turn for Itsuro Kawasaki. His series are often quite mediocre, with a few series that admittedly did end up well. (Denyuuden, small parts of Sengoku Basara, Wild Arms (although that series was also helmed by Koichi Mashimo) and bizarrely enough Papakiki, although that series still has some very bad parts). Still, I’m positive here: what can he do when he’s involved much more than usual here? Does he have a vision to make this an interesting RPG adaptation?
Ginga e Kickoff!!
The Positives: This series airs on the NHK channel. The one advantage of series that air there is that they don’t necessarily have to be profitable. At first sight this may look like yet another sports show, but yet again this show has a very solid staff. In particular Takashi Yamada, who also wrote the series composition for Heartcatch Precure, Ojamajo Doremi, Marie&Gali and Shion no Ou. Kounosuke Uda? This guy is the director of One Piece. I assume not the entire series, but I couldn’t find how big that part was.
The Negatives: The big problem with this one remains the premise. It’s yet again the story of a young boy with passion for the sport he plays. The creators will have to put in some serious work to make this stand out, instead of making such a soap opera like what Knight in the Area is currently doing. The standards for this genre are very high, after all.
Kuroko no Basuke
The Positives: And yet again they put some really, really solid writers on the sports series. Noboru Takagi is the guy who adapted Baccano, Durarara, Koi Kaze and wrote C. Can he bring a dull story about basketball to life? Will the director of Bungaku Shoujo be able to bring life to this series.
The Negatives: I unfortunately keep looking at these high school sports series with a negative feeling. The thing is that I’ve already seen so much of them, and the only reason they stood out was due to their ridiculously good execution. These kinds of series miraculously keep pulling me in, even when their premises are nothing special. I expect Kuro no Basuke to do the same.
Kimi to Boku 2
The Positives: The staff for the second season hasn’t been announced yet, but it’s safe to assume that it will be the same as the first season. That means Manabu Kanbe as the director and Reiko Yoshida behind the series composition. A very solid combination, as they did breathe life to the manga and portrayed a unique way for the characters to interact with each other.
The Negatives: But yeah: that way does get on your nerves quite a bit. This show is hard to watch at times, but that was also what made it interesting to see how it would nearly always end its episode on an interesting note.
The Positives: Finally! A show that doesn’t look completely generic and like the others. As for the director, he never really directed anything I watched (he’s the director of D.Gray Man, Saint Tail and Clamp School Detectives; and Hamtaro). In any case though, I’m very interested in the premise here.
The Negatives: Atsuhiro Tomioka, oh boy. This guy strikes me as someone who rushes in with his own vision, and it’s always the question whether the end result is good. This is the guy who adapted Samurai 7, Nishi no Yoki Majo, Trinity Blood, Disgaea, Zombie Loan, Inazuma Eleven, Danbooru Senki and Chrno Crusade. The quality between all these adaptations varies greatly, so this series can really go anywhere, although it’ll probably be rushed.
Saint Seiya New Omega
The Positives: The thing that immediately stands out: Yoshihiko Umakoshi, the character designer of Heartcatch Precure and Casshern Sins is on another series. And this time he’s going to also act as the animation director. That combined with Toei’s staff of excellent animators, and we’re in for a lot of eye candy here. The director will be another rookie (seriously, for the past years Toei has been putting the episode directors of Heartcatch Precure as the directors for all sorts of different projects), and the Heartcatch Precure episodes this guy worked on were some of the highlights of the series. To make things even better, Reiko Yoshida is a very experienced writers and has helmed a lot of classic series, including a few originals.
The Negatives: I have never followed Saint Seiya, and none of the OVAs that appeared particularly caught my interest, but if this can be watched without being familiar to the whole franchise I’ll certainly give it a shot. That’s going to be my big fear though: the Saint Seiya franchise at this point is huge. Will it be easy to get into?
Phi Brain Second Season
The Positives: Well, this was about the last series of the currently airing series that I’d expect to get a sequel, but here it is. And really: there is a lot of great stuff that they can do with this. Phi Brain is currently at the point where you can really see that Sato Junichi’s characterization is paying off, and the character development is getting very good now, not to mention that the puzzles can only get more interesting with the way things are set up.
The Negatives: My one big question is what the new season will be about. The current season is building up to a very easy to see climax, but this will also be a climax that will be very hard to beat, as it really looks into the characters and pasts of the main protagonists and antagonists.
The Positives: I am a big fan of Ryousuke Takahashi, so I was very pleasantly surprised when I found out that he would be involved in this project. It’s only going to be six episodes long, and I don’t know whether it counts as an OVA or TV-series, but I’m thrilled to see a series that reunites him, with Leiji Matsumoto of all people. The music also will be excellent: it’s got the composer of Chihayafuru and Shion no Ou, and the style of this guy could pretty well fit in a space opera. Junki Takegami as a scriptwriter doesn’t really say anything to me to be honest, but this guy does have a lot of experience. He just didn’t really work on many series I saw, with the big exception of being the guy who adapted the first Gunslinger Girl season.
The Negatives: The big question mark here is the director: he’s the director of Slap Up Party, something that meant to be an RPG parody, but didn’t know what a parody was. I’m not very confident with him behind the reigns, although as a standalone episode director he does know his stuff and worked on some impressive episodes.
Hyou-ka: You can’t escape
The Positives: My big problem with Kyoani is that they keep making shows I’m not interested in. I know that they’re really well animated, but for me to watch a bunch of moe blobs in their daily lives, there has to be something that catches my attention, and neither K-On, Lucky Star nor Nichijou succeeded in that. But lo and behold, it’s like they heard me, because their next series will be an actual mystery-series. Awesome! The series composition guy will be the writer of the Full Metal Panic novels, and the guy who wrote the Druaga no Tou series, which also is quite interesting.
The Negatives: My one concern with this series: I don’t “get” Yasuhiro Takemoto’s sense of humour. Lucky Star, Fumoffu, those Haruhi ONAs… they all bored me to death, so I really hope that he will keep to his mystery in this series and just ignore the comedy altogether.
The Positives: Now here is one who really caught my eye. This premise is potentially gold, and A-1 Pictures behind the animation is showing a lot of potential here. The art will look amazing: Hiroshi Kato also did the art for many other gorgeous looking series. The director has only worked on Doraemon movies before, so he has experience in directing, and let’s see what he can do with an actual mature series like this.
The Negatives: Oh god, not Makoto Uezu. This guy sometimes gets lucky when he’s got good source material, but he also screwed up potentially interesting stories up often enough. I’m looking at you, Kore wa Zombie Desu Ka. Since he also adapted “classics” such as School Days, Seikon no Qwaser and Akane-Iro ni Somaru Saka, in which it felt like he wasn’t even trying, I’m really holding my heart out for this guy.
Fate/Zero Second Season
The Positives: Well, it’s finally time for the second season of this series. The first season was entirely dedicated to building up, so there had better be some payoff now. In either way though, this was an incredibly solid series: well produced in all ways, so this series definitely has the potential to come well together.
The Negatives: The only slight downside I can think of now is that familiarity with Fate/Stay Night is slightly assumed, both for the in-universe concepts of magic and the personalities of some of the characters and I’m not going to watch that series again.
The Positives: More Kenji Nakamura! This guy is really an excellent director, and with A-1 Pictures backing him, he can really flex his creative muscles again, and again this is a series completely different from his other works. The premise very well could work here.
The Negatives: Just one question. The guy who wrote Suite Precure will be writing this? Why him? Also, the thing remains: Noitamina should not be about high school kids. There are enough other shows who do that.
Eureka Seven Ao
The Positives: Awesome to see Eureka Seven back. the original series took a while to get going, but when it went off, it really was amazing. And the director of the series has finally returned for some more. This will be his first full series again after directing that series, so I’m very curious what he can do with a re-imagining of this series. A lot of work has also gone into the designs of this series (including getting Shoji Kawamori to design the main mecha). This is definitely one to look out for.
The Negatives: I see none so far, but it would be a bit of a shame if Bones can’t also get this to 52 episodes.
Sakamichi no Apollon
The Positives: Well, this is it: the big one. The show in which Shinichiro Watanabe finally returns for another series. Aided by Studio Mappa, who are apparently the same division of Madhouse who were behind series as Dennou Coil and Casshern Sins. I really want to see more of these guys. The story being about Jazz fits him really well, and yet it’s very different from his usual series (and yet, his short film Baby Blue on Genius Party showed that he can also very well animate non-action series). Add that to an excellent character designer and animator (think the character designs for Hyouge Mono and the animation direction of Sarai-ya Goyou).
The Negatives: At the same time, it would have been even more awesome for Shinichiro Watanabe to just do a Noitamina series, but a full fledged rich and diverse series as Cowboy Bebop. He can really make it happen, especially with how ridiculously solid the trailer looked, showing that he had nowhere lost his touch. Also, one of the scriptwriters worries me a bit. Yuuko Karihara adapted Sora no Otoshimono, Persona, Stitch and Kamichama Karin. Can she keep up with this series?