I’ll be blunt: the upcoming winter season looks abysmal. I mean, I have seen bad seasons before, but this might go down as the worst season aside from Winter 2010. There are basically two series that I’m really looking forward to. And they are sequels. Beyond that… oh lord… there is a whole lot of mediocrity. It’s been a while since I raged so much at compiling a preview as today.
That alone doesn’t make this season so bad. There is a fair share of series coming out, so there might be surprises. No, what really gets to me is that this season seems specifically designed to piss me off. It may not have incest or Romance of the Three Kingdoms, but it does have just about everything else that gets on my nerves. I think that seven or eight of people from my top 10 of staff members that get on my nerves the most is doing something this season, it’s unbelievable.
Seriously, it’s a good thing that the current season is so awesome, because this is just… ugh…
As always, I cannot comment much on the original source material because I’m not familiar to it.
The Positives: The most interesting part of this production seems to be that nearly every voice actress in this production will voice two or three characters. It might be fun to see them switch between their different ranges in one series.
The Negatives: Yes people. There you have it. More Idolm@ster, from the creators of 30-Sai no Hoken Taiku, otherwise known as that one show about the 30-year old virgin. The animation will be really bare-bones, and seeing as I have never even laughed at one single joke these creators made, this one seems destined for my drop-list.
D.C.III ~Da Capo III~
The Positives: I have nothing.
The Negatives: Good lord, even more Da Capo? There have been four TV-shows already, totaling 78 episodes already, and now they want to make more of this dating sim? Really? What’s so good about this one to warrant it so many adaptations? The creators also seem like nothing special: the writer seems decent, but nothing really special. Same for the director: they have nice experience, but nothing outstanding whatsoever.
The Positives: Takashi Watanabe. What happened that caused you to make Starship Operators and Boogiepop Phantom? They were so good, and so completely different from all other series you usually do…
The Negatives: Oh for Christ’s sake.
Maoyuu Maou Yuusha
The Positives: The soundtrack from the same guy who did Kobato? Fair enough, sounds promising.
The Negatives: Oh lord. Here is one match-up that I really fear: the creators of Dakara Boku wa H ga Dekinai, Aki Sora, Yosuga no Sora, Love Love? and other really bad fanservice shows (and Spice and Wolf; I still have no idea how that happened), together with Arms, the single worst animation company out there. Who the hell found that a good idea?
Ganbare! Lulu Lolo
The Positives: This is another one of the kiddie shows, apparently based on a best-selling children’s novel. Nothing is really known about who is going to make or produce it, but this seems nice enough for the smallest children.
The Negatives: It’s for really small kids, and there are no signs that it’ll be for anyone other than that.
Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai NEXT
The Positives: The staff has changed. The writer of the original novels this is based on will join the anime staff, so this will be a pretty faithful production.
The Negatives: The director has also changed: the assistant director of the first season will take over, but unfortunately this was the director of Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate, which was incredibly boring for the few episodes that I watched it. Added to that, that the first season also just could not catch my attention: none of the characters were interesting and I just did not get the chemistry between them at all. Not going to follow this one.
The Positives: It will be better than your average kiddie show.
The Negatives: I’m really getting pissed off by Level 5 right now. Setting their games aside, all of their anime basically all just look the same if you remove the topic that they’re about (football, mecha, youkai).
The Positives: Tensai Okamura… is this really where you want to be after Wolf’s Rain and Darker than Black?
The Negatives: Oh lord, this sounds bad. Really bad. Vividred seems to be an anime original series… from the director of Strike Witches. And yes, the girls are running around in underwear again. That alone already was pretty bad, but in combination with Hiroyuki Yoshino this is going to turn into a trainwreck of enormous proportions. In terms of adaptations this guy is fine, currently doing a very good job on Magi. But his original scripts, oh god, these have issues. Seikon no Qwaser, Mai Otome, Guilty Crown and Code Geass’s storylines all come from this guy. Granted, he also wrote Sora no Oto which seems to be much more in the direction of what Vividred will be, but even that show had some major pacing issues.
Love Live! School Idol Project
The Positives: Err… there have been plenty of good idol shows. Seriously, nothing is known about this yet so I can’t say much about the staff yet.
The Negatives: But for god’s sake people, haven’t you learned anything from AKB0048? You can have idol shows that are awesome, just put some imagination in your premises. Not have the umpth school show with idols in id. Agh!
Mondai-Ji-tachi ga Isekai Kara Kuru Sou Desu yo?
The Positives: Uh, one of the directors has experience directing with Valkyria Chronicles, and Keizou Kusakawa directed a few good series (Nanoha A’s)… at least it’s something.
The Negatives: This again looks pretty bad. Most of the shows these guys worked on were downright mediocre, and on top of that they’ve got yet another badly sounding light novel with an impossibly long and quirky sounding title that was inspired by all those incest shows.
The Positives: New blood: this will be the debut for the director on a full series. I wish him best of luck. A show about four high school girls is all about its chemistry, which you need to portray well otherwise my interest just gets lost completely.
The Negatives: So, chemistry. This is more than just adapting, it’s writing the characters in such a manner that they’re appealing and interesting to watch. So what kind of experience does Hideaki Koyasu have in this area? Akikan, Limeiro Senkitan, the Kurenai OVA, Yuruyuri… yeah. Don’t get me wrong: this guy is great when he has a crazy script to work with, but with four random high school girls this just doesn’t seem to be the case.
The Positives: Aaaaaand the winner of the worst pun of the year is….. *drumroll*
The Negatives: The staff behind this series has not yet been announced yet beyond Dogakobo (who after Natsuyuki Rendezvous unfortunately seem quite content to go back to bad moe shows), but what can they ever hope to do with a premise as stupid as this? The only salvation I see for this show is if they take it over 9000, but can Dogakobo really do that?
Hakkenden: Touhou Hakken Ibun
The Positives: I still have no idea what made Toward the Terra so good, but I keep hoping. Osamu Yamasaki! Return to that brilliance! Mitsue Yamasaki is also quite good for the episode he’s worked on, and this will be his first work as an actual director for a whole series.
The Negatives: Agh, Studio Deen with its bishies again. No, not again! Miyuki Abe’s other works all seem to be generic yaoi and shounen ai. Try to do something different for a change!
The Positives: If this show has anything, it’s experience: Touko Machida has written a lot. Some of those things were actually good (GA, Muteki Kanbanmusume), and Yoshimitsu Ohashi has also directed a lot, some of which was very good (Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto, Witchblade, episodes of Michiko e Hatchin, Witch Hunter Robin).
The Negatives: They were behind a lot of bad stuff, though. However, this remains a otome game adaptation. I have never seen one that actually worked. Still, could this be the first to actually do something right? I sure hope so.
Ai Mai Mi
The Positives: Nothing is really known about this show aside from the premise and the incredibly quirky name of the original mangaka for this one. Ah well, if they make it quirky enough this might be worth watching.
The Negatives: I do however wonder where the mind of this series lies. Base on the promo art showing a girl holding a bag of tentacles, I suspect the gutter.
Ore no Kanojo to Osananajimi ga Shuraba Sugiru
The Positives: A-1: Solid. Tatsuhiko Urahata: solid (we’re talking about a guy who adapted a ton of stuff already, including Hajime no Ippo, Gunslinger Girl, Master Keaton, Monster). Kanta Kamei, hell yeah solid (the director of Usagi Drop).
The Negatives: Which brings me to the actual premise: just simple romance with a childhood friend and a really long and quirky title. You really couldn’t try harder? The staff here isn’t so good that they can make boring premises like this worth watching, they’re more the types of creators who can really bring out the best of any source material.
The Positives: A supernatural 4-koma adaptation from the director and series composition guy of Minami-Ke and the first season of Minami-Ke and Yuruyuri. It depends on the source material of course, but they can make this work.
The Negatives: Of course, I also thought this about Yuruyuri, which turned out to be a string of bad lesbian jokes, so I’m still withholding my enthusiasm until I see what kind of material they have to work with. There is very little to be found about the author of this thing, so anything can happen here. Although it also doesn’t help that this is AIC again. I don’t have the most confidence in these guys and that’s an understatement.
The Positives: More Minami-ke, slice of life about nothing that is actually quite enjoyable, albeit nothing special.
The Negatives: To be honest, this seems to be the weakest line-up so far to continue with this series. Feel is not the most solid studio out there, Keiichiro Kawaguchi can be solid when he wants to, but also has a habit of being really boring, and most of Takamitsu Kouno’s scripts and adaptations also aren’t much to write home about. I like how the producers continue to change creators to keep things fresh, but this might not have been the best choice.
The Positives: Shinbo: when he’s good he’s really good. Katsuhiko Takayama: when he’s good he’s really good.
The Negatives: This… will get annoying. This premise sounds a bit like Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo, and with the right people working on it it can really become great. I just really fear Shaft’s long drawn-out discussions about nothing and fanservice here. Please: just do something about that horrible pacing of yours! I really want to like Shaft and all, but they annoy me way too much for that.
Cuticle Detective Inaba
The Positives: An exciting time for Susumu Mitsunaka: this will be his first full series to direct, so anything can happen. It’s a bit of a pity that he has such a silly premise to work with, but ah well. Makoto Nakamura is solid enough to back him up with the series composition. At least this doesn’t piss me off in any way, that’s also good in this season.
The Negatives: The thing with this show is that it has a really silly premise, yet it tries to look serious. Good perhaps for some deadpan humour or something, but will it actually work?
The Positives: Very solid staff members here: Daisuke Okumura has done the photography of many interesting-looking anime (Shikabane Hime, Gurren Lagann, Mine Fujiko to Iu Onna’s OP, Penguin Drum), Takanori Tanaka did some beatiful backgrounds (Dennou Coil, Ghost Hound, Seirei no Moribito), and Michiko Yokote has written and adapted many, many awesome series (Princess Tutu, Kobato, Strange Dawn, Bake Neko). The mangaka is a typical shounen mangaka, but he does seem to have his own unique style which actually seems retained in the promo art. I’d look forward to this, if it wasn’t for one thing…
The Negatives: Oh god, Yutaka Yamamoto. Not him. The problem with him is that he really wants to be there with the big guys, and he is ambitious, but he still needs to learn so much, and doesn’t seem to realize this. This lead to the disaster that was Fractale. And really: technically his series always look great and stuff, but they’re a mess when he starts to meddle with the story. This is an adaptation, but that still doesn’t convince me, considering how disappointingly out Kannagi (one of his other series) ended.
Yama no Susume
The Positives: The character designer of Black Rock Shooter? Could have been far worse. Also, the director of NHK ni Youkoso, Aquarion Evol (under Shoji Kawamori) and B Gata H Kei seems very promising here. Finally! Something new that is actually looking promising!
The Negatives: I have become very cynical while writing this season preview. It sounds promising, however the overabundance of moe on the promo art still has me worried. Have some variety dangit!
Bakumatsu Gijinden Roman
The Positives: I must say, I have no idea what happened to TMS Entertainment, but suddenly they have become much, much more ambitious and experimental than what they were before. Here they adapt another one of Monkey Punch’s works after Lupin, and again they plan to give it a different spin by adding a few centuries to the setting. That’s what I like: an adaptation that takes both the original source, and a bit of its own style and flavour. The director is quite versed with this, having previously done this with Kuroshitsuji’s second season, even though his work on the Knight in the Area was a bit mediocre. The soundtrack will also be awesome, if going by Hiroshi Takaki’s previous work on AKB0048 and Kyosogiga.
The Negatives: I am not confident whether Tatsuto Higuchi can write a good script for this. He’s not bad or anything, but he definitely lacks experience in this genre (he did storyboard a bunch of manga, which were about cute girls fighting in fanservice outfits…). I am confident that he’s able to write a fun script based on his experience, but I’m most worried about the overarching story. Yes, that’s very important for an episodic series.
AKB0048 Next Stage
The Positives: The official staff list has not been announced yet, but I think that we can be pretty sure that the main staff will be the same as for the first season. This means Hell yeah! Mari Okada and Shoji Kawamori once more together on one project. I remember how pleasantly surprised I was with the first season: it won me over, even though I hate the idol business, and it was exactly because of how it tried to bite the hand that fed it that made up for so much.This really was one series that needed a second season, and I’m really glad that it got one.
The Negatives: I really hope that this team will again get the freedom that they got in the first season. Considering the collective ego of both Mari Okada and Shoji Kawamori, this should probably be fine, but the chance still remains for this to turn into a sell-out.
The Positives: Squeeeeee! By far the biggest flaw of Chihayafuru’s first season was that it was too short: the ending was inconclusive. I sure as hell did not expect a continuation, due to the bad sales, but I am SO glad that it got one. The first season was just so beautifully made, and the chemistry between the characters was fantastic. It left on such a huge cliff-hanger that it will be instantly awesome again.
The Negatives: You need to have seen the first season in order to really enjoy this.