Posted on 30 August 2013 with categories: Uchuu Kyoudai

For the past months I have been losing interest in Space Brothers, due to the huge standard that it set in the past. Sure it was still great, and had great moments, but it was not as good as what it once was. It lacked that spark. Even Sharon, while really sad, didn’t have that. A character is about to die: in essence every show is doing that (though granted, this series did it different from usual). I missed that spark: what made Space Brothers really special.

Now, these past four episodes. Nearly all of them reminded me why this series stands out. Sure, the pacing still is very slow, and the recaps at the start of the episodes have become even more annoying. But it had what I’ve missed for quite a while now: scenes that really hit me, whether they’re large or small, serious or comedic.

Episode 67 stood out not because of one moment, but how Mutta and Deniel grew closer together. The bond that developed between them in which they could just do stuff without saying things out loud, and how they both very well understand the dangers of being a fighter pilot.

Episode 68 had me laughing harder at an anime than what I’ve done in a really long while when Mr Hibbit appeared. Oh, how Hibito’s words come to bite him back!

Episode 69 again had me laughing again just as hard at Mutta’s photo that was taken. Sure they’re small things, but for some reason, that face he made really cheered me up. Also he’s an astronaut now!

Episode 70: Mutta actually got an offer to go into space that was not what he was after. It would realize his dream of becoming an actual astronaut, but he’d get nowhere near the moon. It really forced him to think about his future. Also holy crap, Vincent hasn’t been to space yet?!

It’s one thing to write a good story about astronauts. You can also get in pretty good character development. If you have that you generally have a pretty good series. What Uchuu Kyoudai did in the past was more than that. It’s the thing that is hard to describe, because a lot of it lied in the details: in both the script and the characters it went the extra mile and threw in lots of nice details and touches. Ever since the desert arc, that has been lost a bit (honestly, it started showing when Hibito was stuck on the moon). It’s all hard to describe, but I think a variation: don’t stay hanging around the same thing for too long, and if you do: spice things up. That was something that the first forty episodes of this series were just brilliant at.
Rating: 6/8 (Awesome)

Posted on 29 August 2013 with categories: Silver Spoon

These past three episodes of Silver Spoon have continued very strong, and you still can see the series’ strength in the way that it combines comedy, personal drama, and the realities of farming. And all of them are really good!

First, the comedy: some episodes focus on it more than others (the crop circle episode focused on it the most), but the jokes are awesome, and not just random: they really are intertwined with the actual plot of the episode. It was an episode in which the characters made no sense, but they were so hilarious in their quest to just view this new big truck that was supposed to come out, and I love how creative they were in creating their own obstacles, making elephants out of mosquitoes.

The character drama here is subtle, but I really like it. Occasions such as when the male lead was surprised that people were more worried over him being gone than that he didn’t do his job: that really felt a great conflict for his character, since he never really was used to the fact that people care about him. The rest of the cast as well: they’re all seriously thinking about their future, which is very nice to watch.

And then, there is the farming. I did not expect this series to show a cow giving birth. That was heavy stuff, but I have to give props to the animators here: that is not an easy scene to just show on the screen, and they did it really well, and realistically (for as far as I know; I am not a cow gynecologist at all). The same goes for how it doesn’t shy away from showing modern technology taking over farms. Perhaps it didn’t show animal abuse, but it did show how hard it is for the farmers who didn’t adapt to modern technologies, how they basically can never go on a holiday, and how children are pretty much destined to carry over the business because there is nobody else.
Rating: 5,5/8 (Excellent)

Posted on 27 August 2013 with categories: Rozen Maiden 2013

Now that I’ve caught up four episodes of this series, I’m seeing even more what an amazing story this series has. It just took Rozen Maiden, and made something completely different out of it while still staying true to the original. That’s great, rather than just doing the same thing all over again. Of course, going into a different direction from the original when done bad, becomes really, really bad. But these kinds of series: they have their own idea and they just went for it, even though it’s completely against the mainstream.

What I think caused this, is that the original fans of Rozen Maiden have grown up, and therefore the series got to be aimed at older audiences. And it really was cleverly done: the annoying characters are nearly entirely removed: Suiseiseki is just gone, Kanaria has made a few apppearances in which she had a really good role, and Hina Ichigo is practically dead. The characters got older, and the themes got much, much more geared towards mature audienes.

All of the cute girls fighting is gone now, and it has made way for the focus on being trapped. Nearly every single character in this series is trapped, in one way or the other. Old Jun is trapped in his daily life, Shinku and Suigintou are trapped in the old world, a ton of characters are trapped by that seventh doll, who in her turn is trapped with her lack of body.

As a result, a lot of this series is just characters, waiting to be set free. Some take action, others just sit there, unable to do anything, but I really like this theme, and how well this show explores it by showing so many different perspectives. And it’s expecially fascinating to see how everyone deals with it. The small comforts they find, what they use for their hope, or the things they try to escape this emptiness. And also how they relate to the other characters, who are going through the same thing they are. Very touching stuff.

Oh, and the comic relief is still there, it’s only much more subtle. It actually juxtaposes the dolls against real life quite well. My favorite joke was how Shinku and Suigintou made this big mess of Jun’s room, and how after getting told off they actually kept the place clean, despite their huge egos.
Rating: 6/8 (Awesome)

Posted on 22 August 2013 with categories: Random Posts

It took me ages to catch back up on this one. I originally intended to drop it, but then I heard strange positive words about it. Now that I’ve caught up to episode 20, I have to say: whoa. What happened?

The series originally struck me as this decent mecha show that was doomed to not stand out due to characters who were way too busy exhibiting their own quirks. For its first half, it was there, I guess: surprisingly charming, but nothing special, and then its second half came. And it was a bit weird, but it actually managed to improve in every single way. Even the animation.

Seriously, most series have gorgeous first episodes and then settle for this average animation quality afterwards. The cg battles of Majestic Prince have had some really good production values! Not to mention that the fights are all really well directed and intense.

But what really struck me was that I was completely proven wrong about the characters. Episode 19 in particular: oh my god what happened there. I mean, when the kid left on this dangerous mission saying stuff like “when I get back, I’ll tell you my crush on you”, he was obviously setting his own death flag here. But the way it happened. That actually made me teary-eyed.

The character development in this series actually turned out to be really good. It made me really think of how I originally labelled these characters too cartoonish, choosing it over Valvrave, which at the beginning seemed to have more solid characters, and yet the complete opposite turned out to be true. What Majestic Prince actually did was take these quirks and develop them. You have the guy who always wants to be a hero: he still does, but he showed much more stuff about his character, plus throughout these episodes we got to see different sides of what it means to be a hero. The ditzy girl? She’s still ditzy, but she actually got to see the upsides and downsides of being ditzy, she both got in trouble and the spotlight, sometimes thanks to this ditziness, others due to complete other reasons. That’s good storytelling! Compare that to Valvrave, which never really did anything remotely similar to these subtle characterizations and just went for shock value.

The question is: how do you recognize this as early as possible? I mean, there were hints right in the first episode that the charactrs were more than just their quirks, but they were very subtle, and could be very easily confused with a series that just had bad characters. I think that the thing with having quirky characters is that you need to balance things out: you need to know the difference between using these quirks for sympathy, and just using them to be obnoxious. Being creative helps. Having a straight man who is an actual straight man helps too: someone with an actual brain. Good chemistry will also be a hint: see if the characters work well together.

And most importantly: Are these characters one-trick ponies?

Also, did episode 20 just hint at what I thought it hinted at?

Posted on 21 August 2013 with categories: Tamayura

Something weird happened. Like, I watched these three episodes over the course of multiple days (time issues), and now that I’m sitting down and writing an entry after watching episode 07, I realize that I have no clue anymore about what episodes 05 and 06 were about. Seriously, I remember dreaming away a bit and all, and they went on a trip… thingy… but apart from that I’m blank.

Now, there are two possible reasons for this:
1) My memory is degrading really badly.
2) Nothing worth remembering happened in these two episodes.

While I fully admit that my memory isn’t perfect, it’s time to give a bit of a critical eye to this second season of Tamayura, and mostly the big picture: what exactly is the point of this sequel? At the beginning, this seemed to be about Potte starting her own club, and taking her passions further by standing out of her comfort zone. Beyond that though… what else?

We have this new selection of characters… who are there but have yet to make a lasting impression. The cast beyond Potte made no development whatsoever so far; like, has anything been added to their characters, AT ALL in this second season?

In the meantime I’m still dreaming away with that awesome soundtrack, but what were the characters doing in this episode for example? Potte entered a competition, they attended a festival, they went to Potte’s childhood friend… haven’t we seen this in some way before or am I going crazy? To me it really seems like this show is just repeating itself. Though granted, the ending wwas charming.

Why did I originally like this series? It’s because it did more than most slice of life series about a bunch of random girls: it had strucuture, and characters who felt charming and had depth. I feel like that depth and energy is missing in this sequel. Or more like, it lacks: it’s not completely absent, but not fully there either.

Comparing this to Aria The Natural, Aria’s second season: that series was rather tough to get through due to how slow it was, but it was varied, and it continued to add to its cast. And it didn’t do this just by introducing a bunch of new characters, but also slowly building further upon the main cast. When is More Aggressive going to do that?
Rating: 4/8 (Nice)

Posted on 16 August 2013 with categories: Seasonal Previews

My impression of the upcoming season? Holy crap! There are tons of different series to watch out for! Lots of big names will return, and we will get a ton of series with amazing animation. This could very easily become the best season of the year, especially in terms of TV-Series. To give an indication: there are a whopping seven series that I’m psyched for to come out. It’s rare for a season to get to that number the last couple of years.

Movies and OVAs to watch out for:
Here is a list of the upcoming OVAs and Movies that will be up for release that interest me. In this case though, I can just leave out the “OVAs”-part of this description and title, because there are none! Seriously, there is not a single interesting OVA on the schedule at this point. Only a bunch of random harem OVAs that are the umpth instalment of series that have been going on for ages.

Persona 3 The Movie #1: Spring of Birth

Impressions: AIC doing another Persona thingy, but thankfully Seiji Kishi is only the supervisor, and the director is someone else. However, the question remains whether this will be an as soulless adaptation as Persona 4. The problem I have is that the new director is the director of Bakuman, which for me also had huge pacing issues. Heck the creators know that they’re trying to push a huge game into a bunch of movies, right? They know that you need to take some creative liberties in order to make everything fit, right?

Ano hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai.

Impressions: Okay, the big question: will the Anohana movie be a recap movie, or not? And that’s the tricky thing here: you can’t say for sure. It’s an alternative retelling, showing the story from the perspective of Menma, one of the major characters. You can take such a premise everywhere, because some of the series actually DID show things from her perspective. It all depends on how lazy you get, or how ambitious you get. This can become anything inbetween a recap and a new insight into a heart-wrenching albeit annoying character.

Captain Harlock

Impressions: Yes, there will be a new CG Harlock movie. The original Harlock was all about melancholy in space, and judging by the trailer, the creators seem to be going for the same effect, albeit a bit more action-packed (the original series had action, but the pacing was very slow). The graphics look very good, but the biggest challenge will be for this series to get the characters right. Can it evade the dreaded botox-faces that plague just about every3D movie? Can it actually balance out the characters who are constantly gloomy? The director will be the guy who directed Appleseed, and that was not his strongest forte!

Code Geass – Boukoku no Akito

Impressions: Hell yeah, finally the second instalment is up, with my favorite director behind the scenes in an original story where they apparently got a lot of freedom to do what they wanted. Now, Kazuki Akane usually really gets fired off when his stories enter their second halves, but until that we still get to see his impeccable sense of action.

Gekijou-ban Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica Shinpen: Hangyaku no Monogatari

Impressions: So after two recap movies, the third and final Madoka Magica movie will have an original story. From the beginning I have said to not do this, because the story of Madoka Magica fits perfectly into just 12 episodes. It ha a very good ending that was very conclusive. But still, the creators and Urobuchi Gen in particular still can make something borderline classic out of it with the right mindset. One of the biggest issues will be that Gen’s ego needs to win from Shinbo’s.

Patema Inverted

Impressions: Aack! I still need to watch the prequel OVA that came out for this movie a few years ago. Anyway, this is the full instalment. And yes, it’s by the guy who made Time of Eve. This is a guy who likes to take full control of his series, and he does nearly everything: the direction, the script, he wrote the original story. One to watch out for.

Upcoming TV-Series:
Here is a list of all of the upcoming TV-series. Again, minus the kiddie series because I’ve gotten really tired of saying the same thing over and over again. Excluding those series there are about 37 series coming up in total. A very healthy number.

Sekai de Ichiban Tsuyoku Naritai!

Summary: “One day, all of a sudden, a main vocalist of a popular singer group in Japan becomes a female pro wrestler.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: ARMS
Director: Rion Kujo
Series Composition: Kazoho Hyodo
Original creator: ESE
Character Designer: Rin-Sin

Impressions: Here we go with ARMS and their porn shows again. Moving on.
Trailer Impressions: Har har har, it’s funny because it looks and sounds like they’re having sex.

First-Glance Potential: 0%

Diabolik Lovers

Summary: “The story centers around the six sadistic Sakamaki vampire brothers. Yui Komori is a positive-thinking girl who nevertheless is troubled by seeing spirits and experiencing poltergeist phenomena. In her second year in high school, she transfers to a new school — a night school for entertainers and celebrities — due to her father’s work. There are rumors that there are vampires among the student body, and Yui ends up living with the Sakamaki brothers.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: ZEXCS
Director: Shinobu Tagashira
Series Composition: Seiko Nagatsu
Original creator: Rejet
Character Designer: Yuuko Yahiro

Impressions: … this is just Uta Prince but then with Vampires! Holy crap, Zexcs have fallen as well? Really, I don’t mind bishies and all, but would you at the very least try to look like you’re at least trying to do something new here. This show is just a carbon copy of shows that girls like, lumped together without any more thought put into it. Also, apparently this one will be directed by a character designer, so the goal really seems to be to make the bishies as pretty as possible, it seems.
Trailer Impressions: And yet, the bishies just look like every other cast of bishie out there. Also these vocalists can’t sing!

First-Glance Potential: 0%

Infinite Stratos 2

Summary: ” Infinite Stratos (IS), a weaponized exoskeleton system, has become the dominant tool of warfare and conflict. Unfortunately for the men in society, only women are able to operate Infinite Stratos…with very few exceptions. One of those exceptions is Ichika Orimura, an orphan raised by his older sister, who is herself a famous IS pilot. When his compatibility with Infinite Stratos is discovered after he accidentally touches one at the age of 15, he is given a scholarship and enrolled in a school that specializes in training IS pilots. Which means an interesting life surrounded by girls for this shy, unassuming boy.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: 8-Bit
Director: Susumu Tosaka, Yasuhito Kikuchi
Original creator: Izuru Yumizuru
Character Designer: Kumi Horii
Music: Hikaru Nanase

Impressions: I remember what a giant troll the first season was. “Interesting science fiction premise? HA Screw that! Here are some harem hi-jinks!” – And yet, it sold. It sold ridiculously well, so here we have the inevitable second season. So yeah, don’t get fooled that it’s by the director of Macross Frontier or anything: this is a very blatant harem show with some mechas thrown in. It’s a shame, because Hikaru Nanase is one of my favorite soundtrack composers.

First-Glance Potential: 0%

Tesagure! Bukatsu-mono

Summary: “The anime will center around the extracurricular activities of students.” – (Taken from ANN)
Director: Koutarou Ishidate
Series Composition: Masatake Yamaguchi

Impressions: Crappy flash show about a random high school club alert. Moving on!

First-Glance Potential: 0%

Gundam Build Fighters

Summary: “The story is set in the near future when GunPla Battles, competitions that pit Gundam plastic models against each other, have become popular worldwide in the “Second GunPla Boom.” Sei Iori (pictured above), a first-year middle-school student and the only son of a model shop owner, is talented at building GunPla, but inexperienced in the GunPla Battles. He encounters a mysterious boy named Reiji who happens to be an accomplished Gundam Fighter. Together, they strive for the GunPla Battle world championships. Sei’s customized GunPla is the Build Strike Gundam (pictured above)” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Sunrise
Director: Kenji Nagasaki
Series Composition: Yosuke Kuroda
Original creator: Yoshiyuki Tomino
Character Designer: Kenichi Ohnuki

Impressions: I usually omit kiddie shows because I pretty much end up saying the same thing over and over about them and they are totally irrellevant unless you’re under the age of 14, but I do want to make an exception here, because it’s sad to see that Gundam has now devolved into one as well: a series that seems solely designed to sell toys, or Gundam model kits in this case. The problem is also that this being Gundam, Sunrise put some good people on it: Kenji Nagasaki directed No.6, which was well directed aside from its ending, and Yosuke Kuroda has penned many good original stories. I have seen this pattern way too much though: it’s a kiddie show and with that in mind not even the most talented people like Dai Sato can make something remotely interesting.
Trailer Impressions: Fancy transformation sequences! Buy our toys!

First-Glance Potential: 0%

Freezing Vibration

Summary: “Set in a slightly futuristic world where Earth has been invaded and is at war with aliens from another dimension called the Nova, the story follows the adventures of a Japanese boy named Kazuya Aoi who enrolls for training at a special school for genetically modified girls called Pandoras who battle the aliens, and their male partners, called Limiters, who use a special power called “freezing” to limit their opponent’s mobility. The protagonist makes the acquaintance of an unusual older girl named Bridgette L. Satellizer who appears to be the most powerful Pandora in her class, but has not yet chosen a male partner to be her Limiter, and in spite of the warnings of all his friends, he decides to be her Limiter.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: ACGT
Director: Takashi Watanabe
Series Composition: Masanao Akahoshi
Original creator: Dall-Young Lim
Character Designer / Chief Animation Director: Mayumi Watanabe

Impressions: I watched the first episodes of the first freezing. It’s basically lots of gore and fanservice, plus a bunch of stupid characters. Girls pick fights for no reason, and it was really geared to go into the harem route. There really was nothing redeeming about it aside from some neat action here and there perhaps. Moving on.
Trailer Impressions: Okay, I have to grant it: the soundtrack was nice. But what were those famous artworks doing right in the middle of those girls fighting each other?

First-Glance Potential: 20%

Unbreakable Machine Doll

Summary: “It is the early 20th century, and Raishin Akabane is a student puppeteer from Japan, who has come to the Walpurgis Royal Academy of Machine Arts in England to study the emerging field of Machinart: a combination of magic and technology with military applications. He is accompanied by a girl named Yaya, who is actually his Automaton: a living machine doll powered by magical circuits specialized in hand-to-hand combat. In the Academy, there is a combat tournament exclusive to the Top 100 students and their automata, to decide who shall be bestowed with the title of “Wiseman”, the greatest puppeteer.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Lerche
Director: Kinji Yoshimoto
Series Composition: Yuuko Kakihara
Original creator: Reiji Kaitou
Character Designer: Atsuko Watanabe

Impressions: I hate how some series literally force the setting of a school onto their stories, even if this doesn’t make any sense. Why are students competing for a title named “Greatest Puppeteer”? What happened to the people who graduated that school then? Are they all dead? Beyond that, we have the director of Queen’s Blade and a bunch of hentai series, together with the one who adapted Persona 4. This one may look pretty, but that’s all there is to it, it seems.
Trailer Impressions: Okay, it’s very flashy at the very least, but beyond that…

First-Glance Potential: 20%

Ore no Nounai Sentakushi ga, Gakuen Love Come o Zenryoku de Jama Shiteiru

Summary: “The story centers around Kanade Amakusa, a boy cursed with the mental power of “absolute multiple-choice” — a multiple-choice quiz will suddenly appear in his mind, and the choice he makes will become his reality. For example, he would have to choose between going nude from the waist up or the waist down in school. While in school, he is given another choice: 1) A beautiful girl will fall before him or 2) he will fall from the rooftop in female clothes. He chooses option 1, and a blonde girl named Chocolat falls before him.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Diomedea
Director: Takayuki Inagaki
Series Composition: Hiroko Kanasugi
Original creator: Takeru Kasukabe
Character Designer / Chief Animation Direction: Hiroyuki Saida

Impressions: You know what the thing is? In the right hands this premise can become comedic gold. But no, a cute girl has to fall on his lap, yadda yadda, boobs. I mean, you just need to look at the promo art to know instantly where the mind of this series lies, and the director of Rosario to Vampire doesn’t make things better.
Trailer Impressions: Oh my god! Everything about this trailer is annoying!

First-Glance Potential: 20%

Outbreak Company

Summary: “Outbreak Company’s story centers around Shinichi Kano, a “thoroughbred class” otaku with a light novelist father and an erotic game artist mother. The NEET (not in education, employment, or training) high school dropout has no special talents except for his vast knowledge, opinions, and insight on moe. Despite this, the Japanese government assigns Shinichi as a “moe” evangelist to the Holy Eldant Empire, a parallel world with an entrance through a thick forest of trees in the Mount Fuji area. In this fantasy world where dragons soar the skies, Shinichi forms a deep friendship with the half-elf maid girl Myuseru and the beautiful young empress Petoraru. Even as he deals with the threats of war between different factions, he worries that he himself is an invader (shinryakusha) to this wondrous land.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Feel
Director: Kei Oikawa
Series Composition: Naruhisa Arakawa
Original creator: Ichiro Sakaki
Character Designer: Takashi Mamezuka

Impressions: This is one of those stories that just seems to drown completely into its own meta. A cute idea that I fear is never really going to work because it tries to be way too tongue-in-cheek. There is giving a wink to your audience, and then there is just blatant ass-kissing. I also don’t expect much of the staff. They’re pretty standard, and Naruhisa Arakawa has a lot of experience… doing pretty mediocre adaptations.

First-Glance Potential: 25%

Valvrave the Liberator 2

Summary: “Thanks to the development of the Dyson Sphere, The majority of the human populace lives in space. The Dorssia Military Federation, and the Atlantic Rim United States exist as major Military countries, while JOIR is a neutral principality, the story follows Haruto Tokishima as a normal boy going through high school in T.C (True Calendar) year 71. This all changes when Haruto meets the humanoid weapon Valvrave.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Sunrise
Director: Kou Matsuo
Series Composition: Ichiro Okouchi
Character Designer: Tatsuya Suzuki

Impressions: Oh god, there is more. There is an entire season more of this. I’m not going to watch it. It started off entertaining enough, but as soon as it started taking itself seriously the fun quickly died, and then it only got worse. This is a series that aims to shock its audience, while not caring about anything such as a plot or anything.

First-Glance Potential: 30%

Meganebu!

Summary: “Akira Sōma, the 17-year old club president and founder of the eyeglasses club. He categorizes all of humanity into three groups: “glasses,” “those who don’t wear glasses,” and “the ladies.” He scolds those who wears contacts, going around and calling them “weaklings!!” There are many times when he, the passionate boy that he is, would argue with his fellow club-mates about glasses. His favorite kind of glasses are ones with square frames, and both of his eyes have 0.03 vision (in the Japanese eyeglasses prescription notation).” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Studio Deen
Director: Soubi Yamamoto
Series Composition: Deko Akao

Impressions: They actually made a show about glasses. I mean, this is just bizarre. I only included one of the characters’ descriptions in the synopsis, but they are all equally cheesy. In fact, this was so cheesy that it became hilarious. Oh, this show will be bad, but at least it’s going to be bad in a way that we haven’t seen before.

First-Glance Potential: 30%

Log Horizon

Summary: “The story begins when 30,000 Japanese gamers are trapped in the fantasy online game world Elder Tale. What was once a “sword-and-sorcery world” is now the “real world.” The main lead Shiroe attempts to survive with his old friend Naotsugu and the beautiful assassin Akatsuki.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Satelight
Director: Shinji Ishihara
Series Composition: Toshizo Nemoto
Music: Yasuharu Takanashi
Original creator: Mamare Touno

Impressions: I had to do a double-take when I read the premise. Why am I reading the premise of Sword Art Online here? It’s also originally written by Maoyuu’s original author. I didn’t like Maoyuu, but I’m not sure whether that was because of the story itself, or because of how it was just handled poorly. Anyway, Shinji Ishihara directed Fairy Tail and Tokyo Majin Gakuen Kenpuchou, which mostly stand out with their action. Toshizo Nemoto also worked on Tokyo Majin Gakuen, although he also did Dog & Scissors and Inu X Boku. All adaptations that had their pacing issues. Thankfully Yasuharu Takanashi is an excellent composer. This seems to be an ambitious project for Satelight and they’re already set on 26 episodes, so this will probably a show with high production values, and a bad storyline. So yeah, pretty much Sword Art Online II.

First-Glance Potential: 40%

Walkure Romanze

Summary: “The visual novel centers around Takahiro Mizuno, a student training to be a begleiter (knight’s assistant) at an academy where aspiring knights joust. He himself had come to this academy to train as a knight, after becoming the unrivaled junior champion in his own home country. However, an injury in a tournament’s finals forced him to withdraw. Instead, he decides to be a begleiter to one of the academy’s maiden knights and help her win.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: 8-Bit
Director: Yusuke Yamamoto
Series Composition: Kazuyuki Fudeyasu
Character Designer: Keiichirou Katsura

Impressions: It’s such a shame to see actually talented creators being assigned to… series like this. I mean you can’t get anything out of a premise like this unless you really try. The thing is though, that Kazuyuki Fudeyasu and Yusuke Yamamoto: they both actually managed to make very entertaining series about series with hopeless premises: Milky Holmes and B Gata H Kei respecively. With this series, they need that experience more than ever.
Trailer Impressions: Had some silly shots, but overall this seems still too dull.

First-Glance Potential: 40%

Kuroko no Baske 2

Summary: “Tetsuya Kuroko is a former member from the legendary middle school basketball team known as “The Generation of Miracles”. Upon meeting Taiga Kagami he decides upon becoming his shadow to help him become Japan’s greatest basketball player.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Production IG
Director: Shunsuke Tada
Series Composition: Noboru Takagi
Original creator: Kuroko no Baske
Character Designer: Yoko Kikuchi

Impressions: Kuroko’s basketball is a seires that I didn’t continue watching. Why? I guess it was because it’s a shounen jump adaptation: these things tend to go on for ages, and unless they’re really god right away I’m not really motivated to spend time on them. The first two episodes that I saw were okay, and had some nice basketball matches, but I saw little in terms of variety to keep up with it for longer. And yeah, with this it’ll probably have 52 episodes. That’s too much for me to give it a second chance.

First-Glance Potential: 60%

Non Non Biyori

Summary: “The slice-of-life comedy is set in a countryside school with only five students total. The nearest bookstore is 20 minutes away by bicycle, a certain “Ju_p” magazine comes out on Wednesdays instead of Mondays, and the video rental store is 10 stations away. Fifth-grade schoolgirl Hotaru Ichijō transfers from Tokyo to this school and readjusts to the slow life in the country. Her fellow schoolmates are first-year middle schoolgirl Natsumi, second-year middle schoolgirl Komari, first-grade schoolgirl Renge, and Komari’s big brother Suguru in the third year of middle school.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Silver Link
Director: Shinya Kawamo
Series Composition: Reiko Yoshida
Original creator: Atto
Character Designer / Chief Animation Director: Mai Otsuka

Impressions: Basically, life in the countryside as seen from a bunch of fifth-graders. It’s Silver Link, but it does have the director of Kokoro Connect (that guy from Bee-Train who moved over), so who knows? It’ll be charming, but will it be charming enough to be worth watching?
Trailer Impressions: At the very least this does not feel as obnoxious as Silver Link series usually do. Very mellow, but that’s fine. It’s not trying too hard to be funny like most other shows of this genre are.

First-Glance Potential: 60%

Neppu Kairiku Bushi Road

Summary: “Neppu Kairiku Bushi Road will be part of Bushiroad’s new Five Qross “hybrid trading card game” that combines paper cards with online gaming, via QR codes printed on the back of the cards. Each card will have a unique serial code as a countermeasure against overseas counterfeits. The first batch of Five Qross cards will feature two other anime — Fantasista Doll and IS (Infinite Stratos) — besides Neppu Kairiku Bushi Road.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Kinema Citrus
Director: Masayuki Sakoi
Screenplay: Norimitsu Kaihou
Original creator: Sunao Yoshida
Character Designer: Mai Toda

Impressions: This is a weird one. It’s basically a commercial for a random company out there, in the same way that Infinite Stratos and Fantasista Doll were, however those two series looked like sell-outs. this one… it looks different. It’s this strange project that has been announced like ten years ago at this point, and only now got picked up again, which also intrigues me. But yeah, at the end of the day it does have the director of Needless and Kamen no Maid Guy. These are two series that weren’t necessarily sell-outs, but were full of dumb action and fanservice humour.

First-Glance Potential: 60%

Arpeggio of Blue Steel

Summary: ” The sci-fi story takes place in the future where humanity has been pushed to near extinction by the mysterious against the mysterious and unknown, “Fleet of Fog.” The heroes commandeer one of the Fleet’s submarines and begin to fight back.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Sanzigen
Director: Seiji Kishi
Series Composition: Makoto Uezu
Original creator: Ark Performance

Impressions: It’s a bit of a shame that Seiji Kishi is doing this series, but at the very least this isn’t another game adaptation. The thing is that the characters here seem colourful, and fun, the science fiction story is clichéd, but it sounds like it has potential. I just don’t know whether I want to trust Seiji Kishi with this.. There are so many better directors.
Trailer Impressions: This contained quite a bit of animation, but ultimately all that it did was show a bunch of characters or things unleashing their flashy powers. that should not be the meat of the story!

First-Glance Potential: 65%

Gingitsune

Summary: “After her mother passed away, Saeki Makoto was granted the ability to see an agent of the gods named Gintaro. Being the only person who can see the sprit, Saeki helps people around the community with their problems with help from Gintaro.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Diomedea
Director: Shin Misawa
Series Composition: Hiroshi Yamaguchi
Original creator: Saoyri Ochiai
Character Designer: Naomi Ide, Mayuko Matsumoto

Impressions: What I miss here is ambition. Really, this show seems fine, but I detect very little reasons to keep watching it if all the lead girl is going to do is help a bunch of people. It’s going to need to be very genuine in order to set itself apart from the series that are already there as well. It does help that it has some good staff behind it though. Shin Misawa has like two decades of experience, and the same goes for Hiroshi Yamaguchi (although their series do range from good to bad across the entire spectrum). I can’t comment much on the original mangaka because she only seems to have done one thing before.

First-Glance Potential: 70%

Phi Brain 3

Summary: “Daimon Kaito solves puzzles like a boss.”
Produced by: Sunrise
Director: Hirotaka Endo
Series Composition: Mayori Sekijima

Impressions: Here you have it. The series that I never thought would get a second season. Let alone a third! And technically, it doesn’t need one: all season all have a beginning and end. I’m still not sure who in their right mind green-lighted all of this, but the thing remains that it had some really good characters, even though it did waste A LOT of time through its airtime. I also really hope that Sato Junichi is going to return as the director again, which helped a lot with the first two seasons, but I can’t yet see his name among the staff. In any case though, the promo art is full of fabulous characters again, so let’s hope that this time things will get a bit more varied.

First-Glance Potential: 70%

Tokyo Ravens

Summary: “The school supernatural fantasy centers around Harutora, a boy from a branch of the Tsuchimikado family of onmyoudou occult practitioners. However, he lacks the ability to see spirit energy, so he is now just an ordinary high school student. Natsume, a girl who was Harutora’s childhood friend and the next head of the Tsuchimikado family, reunites with Harutora and changes his future.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: 8-Bit
Director: Takaomi Kanasaki
Series Composition: Hideyuki Kurata
Original creator: Kouhei Azano
Character Designer: Atsuko Watanabe

Impressions: The impression that I get from this series is that it seems decent, though juvenile. The whole premise is one that we’ve seen over and over again, the promo art is badly drawn, and don’t get me started about how this is a SCHOOL supernatural fantasy series. What also doesn’t get my hopes up is that the director of Kore wa Zombie Desu Ka is involved here, though granted that had its moments. It’s also going to depend on whether the original source material is good or not.
Trailer Impressions: Okay, this wasn’t actually half-bad. I like the music a lot, the direction works out quite well. It’s still very juvenile though. That will probably be a big problem.

First-Glance Potential: 70%

Magi: The Kingdom of Magic

Summary: “In a fantastic middle-age world where slavery is very common, there are mysterious tall towers named “Dungeon” which mysteriously appeared out of nowhere fourteen years before the story line. Someone who conquers a Dungeon becomes very powerful and wealthy. Our hero Ali Baba is a teenager who works for merchants to support himself. He dreams for conquering a lot of Dungeons and becoming a very rich person. One day, he comes across with a strange young boy named Aladdin who carries a mystical flute with supernatural powers in it. Ali Baba and Aladdin agree to travel their first Dungeon together.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: A-1 Pictures
Director: Koji Masunari
Series Composition: Hiroyuki Yoshino
Original creator: Shinobu Outaka
Character Designer / Animation Direction: Toshifumi Akai

Impressions: Ah, the second season of Magi. It’s a show that I wanted to finish, but in the end couldn’t. Getting busier is one of the reasons, but it also just wasn’t interesting enough to warrant to continue. The characters were compelling, but it lacked genuine tension and at times it seemed to be trying too hard to be dark and edgy. So yeah, I’m not going to watch this one, but props to those who kept on with it.
Trailer Impressions: Nice eye-candy, as expected.

First-Glance Potential: 75%

Ace of Diamond

Summary: “The story follows Eijun Sawamura, a pitcher who joins an elite school with a brilliant catcher named Kazuya Miyuki. Together with the rest of the team, they strive for Japan’s storied Koushien championships through hard work and determination.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Madhouse, Production IG
Director: Mitsuyuki Masuhara
Series Composition: Takeshi Konuta
Original creator: Yuuji Terajima

Impressions: Here we have a series with… a unique staff listing. We have Madhouse and Production IG collaborating (when was the last time that that happened, aside from those movies that consist out of tiny different shorts), about a bunch of kids who play baseball and being directed by the director of Polar Bear Cafe. Well, if that one baseball episode of Polar Bear Cafe was an indication then at least the baseball scenes will get well animated, but it remains a weird match-up. My big worry is Takeshi Konuta, who previously adapted Library War, which really was not an example of how to do an adaptation right. Furthermore, baseball series have a really high standard, after Touch, Cross Game, One Outs and Ookiku Furikabutte. You can’t just make a baseball series about hard work and guts and hope that that’s all you need to do.

First-Glance Potential: 75%

Strike the Blood

Summary: “The school action fantasy story of Strike the Blood revolves around Kojō Akatsuki, a boy deemed the world’s most powerful vampire (once thought to only exist in legend and lore), and Yukina Hirameki, a girl entrusted with watching over the vampire and if needed, hunting him down.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Silver Link
Chief Director: Takao Sano
Director: Hideyo Yamamoto
Series Composition: Hiroyuki Yoshino
Original creator: Gakuto Mikumo
Character Designer: Keiichi Sano

Impressions: Silver Link doesn’t exactly have the best track record with me, but who knows/ They did make Kokoro Connect. What strikes me most here is that it’s simple, and just focused on the interplay between the two main characters. They just have to get those two characters right and they’ll at least have an enjoyable series. Big problem here is Hiroyuki Yoshino who is trying to make a soap opera out of everything whenever he gets the chance, though luckily this is a light novel adaptation, rather than an original story. The guy who wrote them also wrote Asura Crying, which despite the bad direction did originally have some potential. Both directors have both done little in terms of directing an entire series, aside from two series that were doomed to fail, so let’s see if they’re a bit more motivated with a series with a bit more potential.

First-Glance Potential: 75%

BlazBlue Alter Memory

Summary: “” – (Taken from )
Produced by: Hoods Entertainment
Director: Hideki Tachibana
Series Composition: Deko Akao
Character Designer / Chief Animation Director: Tomoyuki Shitaya

Impressions: Well, finally a game adaptation in which Seiji Kishi isn’t involved. In fact, the assistant director will be Seiji Misuzhima, who directed the first Full Metal Alchemist, Un-Go, and Natsuiro Kiseki, among others. This show is going to need it, because Hiteki Tachibana is a TERRIBLE director. He completely butchered Dragon Crisis and Higurashi’s Kira OVA. His big problem is that his series focus on the complete wrong things. Deko Akao is decent at adapting, so here she too needs to do her best to make up for this guy.
Trailer Impressions: Eye candy, action-packed. Seems interesting enough.

First-Glance Potential: 75%

White Album 2

Summary: “The story centers around a college junior named Haruki Kitaharaand his relationships with Setsuna Ogiso and Kazuki Touma in the light music club.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Satelight
Chief Director: Seiya Numata
Director: Masaomi Ando
Series Composition: Fumiaki Maruto
Original creator: Takeshi Nakamura
Character Designer / Chief Animation Director: Satoru Fujimoto

Impressions: What made the first White Album so good? It’s because from out of nowhere, it took the concept of a harem and did something completely in its own style, disregarding any sort of conventions. It was annoying, but it was unique and in the end it really came together. The second White Album looks a lot more generic, but perhaps Satelight has a trick up their sleeve. Especially since they never do series like this. Fumiaki Maruto… this guy probably is someone who doesn’t write for anime who they managed to reel in with their connections, so that sounds promising. What’s really weird about this though? It’s the directional debut of Seiya Numata. That just makes no sense whatsoever. For those of you who don’t know him: he is one of the most awesome animators out there. His work is always completely crazy: full of energy, realistic movements, over the top motions. It’s crazy. For an example: he was the main animation director for Shion no Ou and the second season of Milky Holmes. I have no clue what he’s doing here on such a serious drama…
Trailer Impressions: And the thing is, the animation isn’t even that good…

First-Glance Potential: 75%

Hajime no Ippo Rising

Summary: ” Ippo, a timid highschooler, is one day saved from being beaten up by Takamura, a boxer. Enthralled by Takamura’s skills Ippo begins to learn boxing, soon finding love for the sport and a drive to challenge the boxing world.” – (Taken from ANN)

Impressions: Nothing has been revealed yet of who will adapt the third season, which does have me on a bit of an edge. This is because the first and second seasons were incredibly good adaptations. Everything went right there: the music, the animation, the pacing. It all just fit, and both in really different ways. The manga is good and all, but with these kinds of sport series you also really need the animation to bring everything alive. The promo art that has been released so far however, doesn’t look that way. The character-designs look mellow, and they lack the punch that the first seasons had. Especially this thing here. But yeah: if this does work, then we’re in for an incredibly intense and engaging series.

First-Glance Potential: 80%

Little Busters – Refrain

Summary: “” – (Taken from )
Produced by: JC Staff
Director: Yoshiki Yamakawa
Series Composition: Michiru Shimada
Original creator: Jun Maeda
Character Designer: Haruko Iizuka

Impressions: Well, Little Busters, go ahead. I managed to sit through the sometimes cringe-worthy first half. Go ahead and hit me with your best stuff. The refrain part that is supposed to be the amazing part of this story. The director and series composition have not changed, so you’ll have to do with them. Go ahead and just show me whether the plotholes, melodrama and bad voice acting were worth it!
Trailer Impressions: From this trailer I get the impression that the creators are really trying. This wasn’t such a thing that was hastily cobbled up. Some effort went into this. That’s the first good sign.

First-Glance Potential: 80%

Yowamushi Pedal

Summary: “The story centers around Sakamichi Onoda, a high school otaku who loves figures from anime and games so much that he would ride his commuter bicycle to and from Tokyo’s Akihabara shopping district in a 90-kilometer (about 60-mile) round trip over steep slopes. Onoda ends up joining the competitive sport of bicycle racing.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: TMS Entertainment
Director: Osamu Nabeshima
Series Composition: Reiko Yoshida
Original creator: Wataru Watanabe
Character Designer: Takeshi Yoshida

Impressions: Ah, a manga adaptation about cycling. What makes this one special is that it’s by the director of Zetman, and the character designs (and therefore also probably the chief animation direction) will be done by the guy who directed the animation for Ookiku Furikabutte. I have no idea what that adds together, but I really want to see how the cycling scenes will end up looking now, because these people are in theory able to make stunning cycling sequences: Osamu Nabeshima’s energy on one hand and Takeshi Yoshida’s attention to detail and realism on the other hand.
Trailer Impressions: Not the best animation… but it looks fun.

First-Glance Potential: 80%

Golden Time

Summary: “The school romantic comedy of Golden Time revolves around Banri Tada, a college student who lost all of his memories upon graduating his high school. The story follows Banri, Kouko Kaga, a girl whose seemingly perfect looks belies her hidden regrets, Kouko’s significant other Mitsuo Yanagisawa, and other students at Banri’s college in Tokyo, including NANA Hayashida, Chinami Oka, Nijigen-kun, and NANA-senpai” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: JC Staff
Director: Chiaki Kon
Series Composition: Fumihiko Shimo
Original creator: Yuyuko Takemiya
Character Designer: Jin Aketagawa

Impressions: Finally! Chiaki Kon is doing something other than bishie-series. Really, as one of the most (if not THE most) prolific female directors, you shouldn’t keep doing the same thing over and over but instead set an example for all other aspiring female directors out there. And with this, she actually has a really good premise. When was the last time a story starts out when the main character already has a significant other? Oh, and this has the character designer of Revolutionary Girl Utena, which is also awesome. Really, this can become quite an interesting college series when done right.
Trailer Impressions: This was charming; I can see this work as a romantic comedy, but I’m not sure whether it’ll become something special.

First-Glance Potential: 80%

Coppelion

Summary: “The story is set in 2036, after radioactive contamination from a nuclear accident has put Tokyo under a blockade. Three high school girls have been sent to this dead city. Thanks to genetic engineering, the three girls have been impervious to radioactivity since birth. They form a special forces unit, codenamed “Coppelion,” in the 3rd Division of Japan’s Ground Self-Defense Force.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: ?
Original creator: Tomonori Inoue

Impressions: They have yet to announce anything about the staff behind this series, but holy crap does it look good! This one gets my award for the best promo art of the season. Just look at those details. There is also a lot that they can do with this premise if they go the right way. I’m excited for this one.
Trailer Impressions: Stunning scenery, but the animation also is just amazing here. Wait, this is obviously being produced by Gohands.

First-Glance Potential: 85%

Nagi no Asukara

Summary: “???” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: PA Works
Director: Toshiya Shinohara
Series Composition: Mari Okada
Character Designer / Animation Director: Yuriko Ishii

Impressions: Yuriko Ishii really didn’t seem to try hard on these character designs, because they really look like something generic, just with a lot of extra polish (literally: look at these characters shine!) She wasn’t this bad when she adapted the characters for Persona – Trinity Soul or even Another. But yeah, who cares? Mari Okada is back with a new series, and her stories at the very least are always interesting to watch. Also, she is assisted by the director of Bantorra. This will be their third series together, after Bantorra and Kuroshitsuji, so I really hope to be able to see the same energy and creativity in the storyline.
Trailer Impressions: Holy crap, the backgrounds look gorgeous! Such a shame of those character-designs. But this hints at quite an interesting character drama.

First-Glance Potential: 85%

Kyoukai no Kanata

Summary: “The dark fantasy follows a high school sophomore named Akihito Kanbara. Although the boy appears human, he is half youmu and invulnerable to wounds because he can heal quickly. One day, Akihito meets freshman Mirai Kuriyama when it seems she is about to jump from the school rooftop. Mirai is isolated because of her ability to manipulate blood, which is unique even among members of the spirit world. Disturbing events begin to unfold after Akihito saves Mirai.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Kyoto Animation
Director: Taichi Ishidate
Series Composition: Jukki Hanada
Original creator: Nagomu Torii
Character Designer: Miku Kadowaki
Music: Hikaru Nanase

Impressions: Could it be? Is Kyoani trying something different, and it’s not just a fluke? Finally! Finally they do something different from a random high school slice of life series. It’s based on a light novel so they can’t do anything lazy with it, and Jukki Hanada is fairly skilled in adapting stuff. The director will be on his first full directing job, but he’s got enough experience working on other Kyoani projects, going back as far as Air and Munto. Also, Hikaru Nanase, one of my favorite composers, will do the soundtrack!
Trailer Impressions: HOLY CRAP THAT ANIMATION!

First-Glance Potential: 90%

Yozakura Quartet ~Hana no Uta~

Summary: “” – (Taken from )
Produced by: Tatsunoko Productions
Director / Character Designs / Chief Animation Director: Ryo-timo
Series Composition: Manabu Ishikawa
Original creator: Suzuhito Yasuda

Impressions: Remember those awesomely animated Yozakura Quarted OVAs? Well, they’re going to make a series out of that. Still with the ridiculous talents of Ryo-timo, who also directed the animation for Birdy the Mighty Decode, and many other beautiful-looking episodes (think Noein, Bokura no, Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt). This is the Yozakura Quarted what it should have been! (Yes, you don’t need to have watched the first series).
Trailer Impressions: This is mostly a recap of the OVA, but at the end there are some new scenes. You can see that the budget is a bit lower (obviously), but it’s still full of creativity and eye candy.

First-Glance Potential: 90%

Kill La Kill

Summary: “The story centers around two fiercely fighting schoolgirls, Ryūko Matoi and Satsuki Kiryūin . On a campus ruled by force, a transfer student wielding a Basami sword brings about upheaval.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Studio Trigger
Director: Hiroyuki Imaishi
Series Composition: Kazuki Nakashima
Character Designer / Chief Animation Director: Sushio

Impressions: The first TV-series produced by Studio Trigger, the studio that Hiroyuki Imaishi founded after leaving Gainax, and this time he’s reuined with Gurren Lagann and Ooedo Rocket writer Kazuki Nakashima. While I’m not the biggest fan of Gurren Lagann, there is no denying how much talent there was put into that show, and I love seeing what these guys can do now. Especially after Panty and Stocking, there can only be creativity here. Also, it will be 2 cours long. Now let’s also hope that the story is good.
Trailer Impressions: A few images, but they already look quite amazing.

First-Glance Potential: 90%

Samurai Flamenco

Summary: “To those ‘adults’ who don’t want to become adults…” and “Hero will never give up, never hide, never be defeated, never accept evil.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Manglobe
Director: Takehiro Omori
Series Composition: Hideyuki Kurata
Character Designer: Yoshimitsu Yamashita

Impressions: Could it be? Is Manglobe finally going to make good stuff again? Well, the indication is certainly there with a 2-cour Noitamina series helmed by Takehiro Omori, who is an incredibly solid and versatile director. And this time they seem to go for the nostalgia of old-school superheroes. The action director and designs are also done by the guy who did the animation direction on all four Natsume Yuujinchou series. So yeah, this is definitely one to watch out for. The only archilles heel here is Hideyuki Kurata. This guy is a really good writer: he wrote Read or Die, Now and Then, Here and There and Kamichu, but the past few years he really ended up cranking out some bad shows. But on the other hand, let’s see what he can do with a really good director again.
Trailer Impressions: Aah, classic retro cheese with a lot of detail and touches.

First-Glance Potential: 90%

Galilei Donna – Storia di tre sorelle a caccia di un mistero

Summary: The story is about “three moons” — three of Italian astronomer Galileo’s female descendants who are on international wanted lists. – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: A-1 Pictures
Director: Yasuomi Umetsu
Original creator: Yasuomi Umetsu
Character Designer: Shingo Adachi

Impressions: Finally Noitamina is back in full force this season, with two original series. A-1’s contribution is a series that air for just one season, and it’s directed and written by a guy who is… interesting. He’s been in the business for a very long time, and yet his work ranges from really talented, to borderline porn. Yet he intrigues me, because he’s not among the crappy directors who just shove boobs everywhere: his serious work is actually really good. Just take a look at one of them. Or one of the more mellow examples. Note how good the animation is. You don’t just get that with a lot of budget, that really took talent. Oh, and he also directed one of the best and most unique shorts of Robot Carnival, so he definitely can do short stories incredibly well. But what about long series? His only other long work so far, Mezzo, didn’t really get the best reviews even though I never really watched anything of it.
Trailer Impressions: This consisted out of a bunch of stills, but really: the soundtrack that accompanied it was really, really good.

First-Glance Potential: 90%

Kyousogiga

Summary: “” – (Taken from )
Produced by: Toei Animation
Director: Rie Matsumoto
Series Composition: Rie Matsumoto
Character Designer: Yuki Hayashi

Impressions: Yes yes! I have been asking for this one for so long, and they actually made it! It’s only 10 episodes, but that’s perfect. Kyousogiga is poetry: it doesn’t need to last long. Just longer than… two OVAs. The OVAs were so charming, and really genuine while being full of some really creative animation techniques. It’s basically the show in which the talented Toei animators could try out new stuff and experiment. Rie Matsumoto really was a discovery: her directional style is incredibly warm and that is what made me originally a fan of Kyoutogiga.

First-Glance Potential: 95%

Pupa

Summary: “The “life-and-death sibling” story follows Utsutsu and Yume Hasegawa, a boy and his little sister who find themselves all alone. One day, Yume sees a mysterious red butterfly and her body undergoes a strange metamorphosis — into a creature that eats humans. Utsutsu struggles to find a way to restore his sister.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Studio Deen
Director: Tomomi Mochizuki
Original creator: Sayaka Mogi

Impressions: This one looks amazing, but what’s more important: it’s going to be helmed by an amazing director: Tomomi Mochizuki. He’s currently already active as the one who adapts the current Rozen Maiden series, but he really shines as a director, with an impeccable visual style and an amazing feel for his characters. This will be by far be the darkest series that he’s ever done, but with Zettai Shounen and Sarai-ya Goyou he showed that he can make an incredible atmosphere.

First-Glance Potential: 95%
Posted on 14 August 2013 with categories: Random Anime Recommendations

Hey, i’m back with another list of recommendations. This one is just in written form because I don’t feel like getting everything edited properly. This will still be a list of random recommendations from the nearly 1000-series long list of the anime I have seen, and I’ll still write about the different series out of the top of my head (doesn’t really give the same improvised feeling, but whatever). With this, I hope to introduce a few of you to some series you didn’t know about.


Seikai no Senki II
Seikai no Senki is the third installment of the Seikai trilogy. You need to watch them in order, however all searons are significantly different from each other. Seikai no Senki is the third installment, and the focus is on politics. What sets this one apart is how intelligent it is, and it uses that incredibly well to use these politics to create a very exciting story. And this is in combination with characters who are really, really articulate about their thoughts (this is based on a light novel, and it shows!). The first Seikai seasons were perhaps a bit dry (though still really good as well), but this one knows to excalate perfectly.


Kuchuu Buranko
Kuchuu Buranko is this unique little series about psychology. Right when you see it for the first time, this starts out with its wacky colour scheme and over the top quirky style. Yes, this was done by Kenji Nakamura, the same guy who did Tsuritama and Gatchaman Crowds. It has this formula that you nowadays never see anymore: every episode we see a person with some kind of over the top psychological problem, and the main character of the series is a psychologist, tasked with solving these problems. At first this series seems very shallow, but as it goes on we see a very interesting overall picture develop, and in the end it turned into a series that actually changed my perceptions about the practice of psychology. Its a fun show to watch, however do note that it never shies away from trying to annoy you; however if it didn’t do that you’d miss one of the big points that this show is trying to make.


Shangri-la
Now here is an interesting one. This is basically the series that nearly bankrupted Gonzo. Of course things were already going bad for them, but what they did was they bet their entire future on this series selling well. And it became a massive flop. And it’s a shame, because personally, I really liked it, although it is a series with huge ups and huge downs. The animation varies between absolutely gorgeous and off-model. The story jumps from one place to the other and it has quite a few holes. But I loved how ambitious it was. The creators came up with this really strance concept of carbon trading, and all sorts of neat and interesting ideas. The characters are also a bit of a mixed bag, but there really is a lot of charm to them. A lot of people hated this series though, Do NOT watch this if you like to objecitvely analyze your series!


Romeo X Juliet
Ah, more Gonzo. This one didn’t work, though. This is their re-imagination of the classic Shakespeare story, and in true Gonzo fashion they just created their entire own story and made thankful use of creative liberties. It really could have worked, but unfortunately the story gets really bogged down in the middle by really a LOT of emo and angsting. At a certain point the story comes to a halt and never realy picks up again and it just remains boring for the rest of the airtime. A really big shame.


Jungle wa Itsumo, Hale Nochi Guu
Here is the thing with this series: if you love black humour, then by all means: do not miss this series. The humour in this seires is pitch-black; it tries to make the life of the main character, Hale, as miserable as possible. It’s a journey to crack his mind. And in the process this series produces some absolutely delightful comedy. I watched this before starting this blog, so I don’t have a review of it on this site, but I have never seen a series that does abusive comedy with the same flair as this show. Because while most other series that are so dark, they lack one thing: they don’t feel genuine. And this series does. The downside is that this is quite a long comedy, and it’s not always funny. There will be plenty of annoying scenes amidst the hilarity. And how many other series take place in the junble? Oh, and it’s also got one of those instantly recognizable openings.


Chaos;Head
Chaos;Head is from the same series as Steins;Gate and Robotics;Notes, but apart from that it has absolutely nothing to do with them. It’s a story about paranoia and not knowing who you can trust while the fate of the world is at stake. Apparently the series really butchered the original source material it was based on, but meh. For someone who was unfamiliar to it, it was nice enough. It’s incredibly sloppy, I’ll give it that, and it’s also quite low-budget, but it has interesting ideas and interesting plot twists overall, but it’s also nothing special either. A nice watch if you’re in the mood for something paranoia-ish.


.Hack//Liminality
Tihs is one that my memory is very vague on, but what I remember is that I watched this after becoming a fan of .Hack//Sign. I was excited to see that there was more of the series with .Hack//Dusk and Liminality. While Dusk turned out to suck, Liminality had me intrigued, as it tells the background story of some of the concepts that were used in .Hack//Sign. I was young, and a lot of the dialogue went over my head, but thinking back, it definitely made an impression to me and it still stands as my second-favorite .hack//-installment after Sign.


Himitsu The Revelation
Those of you who followed my blog back in 2008 know that I was a REALLY big fan of this series. This series is based on the works of a mangaka who who has mastered the art of mystery. Her stories are the product of brilliance, and that also really shines through in the anime version. As a murder mystery, it knows exactly how much it should reveal. Every clue adds a tiny bit to the puzzle.The storie are all incredibly varied, and some of them can become really disturbing, but they are all chockful of creativity. Not to mention, the premise was amazing: after death, your memories can be downloaded and viewed, and they use that for murder victims in order to solve who killed them. Also, awesome soundtrack is awesome!


Bokura ga Ita
Here is an interesting shoujo series. I remember really liking it when I watched it. It supposedly had these really realistic characters and this very doned-down atmosphere for a shoujo series. The thing is though, that when I think back at it, I hardly remember anything that really captured me. Of course it was a long time ago and all, but I can only recall lots of angst (and I mean LOTS), along with nothing much happening for 26 episodes. So yeah, it’s probably very good if you like serious shoujo series, though I’m not sure anymore exactly why it was.


Yami to Boushi to Hon no Tabibito
Hentai game adaptations that are actually good are really rare. Especially back in the days in which this series was released (2003). Most really are dull harems with no effort put into them whatsoever. What set this series apart though, was its sense of adventure. It’s about this traveler who goes back and forth between a bunch of creative worlds and has a bunc of creative adventures. It’s not great or anything, there are a bunch of really juvenile and annoying characters here, but when compared to the same old stuff that you usually get with these kinds of series. And I also remember that it had a really good ending: the destination was worth the journey.

Posted on with categories: Kamisama no Inai Nichiyoubi

It took me a while to realize and all, but Kamisama no Inai Nichiyoubi actually has a very good soundtrack. Its dreamlike tunes are just the perfect touch that this series needs on top of what it already does right: its thought-provoking themes and charming characters.

This series really does its random stories right: it makes them count, rather than make them just boring filler. In these two episodes, it explored its themes even further, now that the characters are in the city of the dead. At this point the creators have twisted the meaning of “death” so much, that people are seeing it in a completely different way. Especially now that living is so harsh, there are more and more people who willingly choose it, now that it’s not final anymore. Sure, you’re a zombie and all, but actually knowing that you’ll be fully conscious after you die makes a pretty big difference here. It’s different from reincarnation, though: this series really stresses that if you die, you don’t get a second chance at living. You really become a zombie aside from the fact that you don’t need brains or don’t lose your mind.

It uses all of this to be very heart-warming. What’s really weird about this series is how Ai collects her travel companions. Every single time, it’s like out of nowhere: oh hey, we’re travelling together now, without any prior hints whatsoever. The last part is what gets me the most: not even a bit of foreshadowing? It’s also a bit weird that they just “handed” that baby over to this random gravekeeper who didn’t really do anything throughout the entire arc. Still, three characters who vaguely met each other: I can actually see them just end up travelling together in this kind of world. For comfort, at the very least.

I think that loneliness is a big underlying theme in this series. It’s never mentioned fully, but this series is full of characters who are alone: they are fundamentally different from the people around them, living people stuck among the dead, or dead people stuck among the living (nt to mention those gravekeepers who are neither of those). Then there is the way in which no children can be born anymore, destroying the wishes for people to have children. This episode showed the way out for a lot of people: a place in which everyone can just blend in and get rid of loneliness.

When you watch this without paying attention, it will feel like a bad show. But seriously, when I start thinking about it I really realize how solid this storyline is put together!
Rating: 5.5/8 (Excellent)

Posted on 13 August 2013 with categories: Random Posts

Hey everyone, we’re back with another podcast. This time it’s about a director (Seiji Kishi), a writer (Mari Okada) and an animation studio (Bones). It’s about an hour length in total, and in it are Deadlights, Juno, Slashe (Nihon Review) and Mr. Flawfinder (Standing On My Neck). Enjoy, for those of you who are interested.

http://deadlightanime.blogspot.nl/2013/08/seasonal-anime-podcast-episode-3.html

Posted on with categories: Shingeki no Kyojin

This string of episodes was just amazing. Really, I’ve heard that for an epic series, Shingeki no Kyojin has a simplistic story, and that is indeed true. However, this series is a master at emotions. Its aim is not to deliver the most complex storyline, but instead it’s here to deliver epic action scenes, and that’s something that was elevated to an artform here.

This just was complete despair. Episode 16 was all about everyone accepting the fact that they were all going to lay their lives in front of Eren. The two episodes featured this massive slaughter that had just about everyone run for their lives, with only some people escaping through some sort of miracle. That’s something that I have very rarely seen done better.

Oh, and tactics. Military bloody tactics. When was the last time that these were done so well? When was the last time at which you actually had an entire grasp of how big the army in question was? What the positions looked like? How the formations change depending on the situations? How well this was translated over to the animation screen? I mean, that was just brilliant. I remember how the small armies in Sengoku Basara, Guin Saga, and even Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto were just lumped together as “one army”. Here, every squadron counts. Every position has meaning and affects what happens throughout these two episodes.

Also I still love the kinds of series that downplay their main characters. Eren again had nothing to do in this episode and thus we get to see much of the side-characters who could show their characters off. And really: the main cast remains the main cast: there are people with huge talents in this series, but they are all downplayed: Eren has huge powers, but they’re incredibly random. Armin is really smart, but he’s really weak. Mikasa is very nimble, but she often isn’t at the right time at the right place, and that commander guy is also very nimble, but a total asshole who left his subordinates in total darkness about his plans, nearly killing them. It’s amazing how well this all balanced out.
Rating: 6,5/8 (Amazing)

Shoutbox

Name:
Email:
For:  
Mail will not be published
  • Jalapeno Bagel
    (Thursday, Oct 23. 2014 02:15 PM)
    show might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but its a detailed look into anime production that’s pretty damn rare, especially in english.
  • Jalapeno Bagel
    (Thursday, Oct 23. 2014 02:09 PM)
    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1287579779/art-of-making-santa-company-a-complete-guide btw, if anyone’s interested in animation, this might be of interest.
  • Jalapeno Bagel
    (Thursday, Oct 23. 2014 01:23 PM)
    oh ok. that explains it lol. quite…brilliant,
  • Jalapeno Bagel
    (Thursday, Oct 23. 2014 01:21 PM)
    wait what. why is a love hotel so close to an amusement park. jesus, the permits they must’ve paid.
  • Emma
    (Thursday, Oct 23. 2014 01:21 PM)
    @Bagel: My brother and his friends don’t allow me to mention that film, it is a dirty word.
  • Jalapeno Bagel
    (Thursday, Oct 23. 2014 01:20 PM)
    especially that earthbending. i will never forget how off-sync that earthbending was with the effects.
  • Jalapeno Bagel
    (Thursday, Oct 23. 2014 01:19 PM)
    @Emma oh it better. The Last Airbender would’ve been watchable if it at least had the action to warrant it. But those sorry excuses of martial arts…it was like watching a parody movie.
  • Jalapeno Bagel
    (Thursday, Oct 23. 2014 01:18 PM)
    @Emma well yeah, but those are from the past. speaking of which, don’t know if we can get films like that anymore. even the critics seemed to have moved onto the faster pace of contemporary films.
  • Emma
    (Thursday, Oct 23. 2014 01:17 PM)
    @Bagel: Oh it was still a middling film that I gave a 3/5 to but its moreso not as bad as people say, focus on the action, which there was enough of and its watchable.
  • Emma
    (Thursday, Oct 23. 2014 01:14 PM)
    @Bagel: Theres old classic Japanese films like 7 samurai, rashamon and black cat.

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

Featured Posts

Akatsuki no Yona – 03

Hak and Yona flee Soo-Won’s men, but Yona’s mental and physical condition continue to deteriorate. Yona and Hak are both haunted by memories from the past. This was easily the best episode in the series so far. Whereas the first two episodes primarily took place in the present or the future, this episode is mostly spent in […]

Grisaia no Kajitsu – 03

This isn’t looking good. Let me explain, Grisaia has a somewhat nakige visual novel approach. Meaning that it has a comedic relatively plotless first half, followed by a tragic heroine backstory related story arc. Notable examples of this is any Key visual novel anime adaption you can think of. So for the first half we […]

Shingeki no Bahamut: Genesis- 03

Okay, so this episode didn’t focus on Leone and Amira’s adventure. Instead, it focuses on building Kaisar’s character and it does so a bit awkwardly. This episode takes Kaisar and puts him into an overly bombastic situation in order to tell us about Kaisar’s past family problems, but it was so out of tone from […]

Gugure! Kokkuri-San- 03

This show has a great cast, but some chinks in the armor are starting to appear in the comedy. So far, this anime seems to lack a consistent tone, which shows through just how hit-and-miss the comedy is. It attempts to mix elements of light and dark comedy along with slice-of-life and tries to excel in all three […]

Psycho Pass 2 – 02

Episode two continues right where episode one left off and progresses about how you might have guessed. Akane chases the mysterious villain pulling the strings, getting only cryptic responses from Kitazawa. Shimotsuki confronts Akane with her misgivings about Akane’s handling of the arrest. And we finally get some subtle hints towards Kougami’s existence and how his disappearance might […]

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks – 02

The stage is set, the actors are in place and the curtain is rising. So I can say this episode’s title was certainly apt. Unfortunately this week we have no bombastic fight scene to ogle and instead we get a heavy dose of info dumping. This is not the most exciting of episodes but the […]

Grisaia no Kajitsu – 02

The grisaia visual novel was by no means perfect. In fact if I was to summarize it as concisely as possible I would deem it a mixed bag. Some great moments but quite a number of bad storytelling decisions. Still there was hope for this anime adaption. After all the Steins Gate adaption managed to […]

Parasyte-the Maxim- 02

Before I continue reviewing this anime, let me put up a disclaimer: I will be discussing the anime of Parasyte, not the manga. If you want to talk about spoilers, I recommend you go to a site that will talk about those things. Don’t be an ass and discuss spoilers down in the comments, because […]

Some Quick First Impressions: Grisaia no Kajitsu, Trinity Seven and Inou Battle wa Nichijou-kei no Naka de

Grisaia no Kajitsu Short Synopsis: Our protagonist joins a school that has five troubled girls in attendance. AidanAK47’s impression: Grisaia has all the elements to cause many to write it off as a typical harem anime. Protagonist who only wants a ordinary life? Check. Joins school with several female beauties? Check. Panty shots? Sigh…check. The […]

Latest Reviews

Clipboard06

Nerawareta Gakuen Review – 84/100

Let me talk a bit about Ryousuke Nakamura. For a long time, this guy was my hero. He started off as an assistant director to Monster, in my opinion a big reason why that series got such a ridiculously solid adaptation, and then in 2008 he came with the groundbreaking Mouryou no Hako. No TV-series […]

Clipboard03

Kick Heart

Okay, so I didn’t want to exit 2013 without having seen Masaaki Yuasa’s Kick Heart. It’s only twelve minutes anyway, and I consider him to be one of the best anime directors out there. The story here is pretty silly and mostly serves as a backdrop, so I mostly want to talk about the nature […]

Clipboard01

Kyousogiga Review – 90/100

Everyone’s taste is different, and that’s a wonderful thing because that allows us to have so many different forms of media that all aim toward their own niche. My blog is obviously written from the perspective of my own taste, and even when a show doesn’t cater to it (which is nearly always), I love […]

Clipboard04

Ore no Nounai Sentakushi ga, Gakuen Lovecome o Zenryoku de Jama Shiteiru Review – 80/100

Noucome! You do not want to know how long I have been waiting for a series like this. More than half a decade, at the very least. Finally a series comes along and puts the incredibly overused harem genre in its place. And it actually does it well. Thank you! So to elaborate: the harem […]

Clipboard01

Pokemon: The Origin Review – 75/100

Normally I try to avoid spoilers with these reviews, but screw it, it’s Pokemon. Pokemon The Origin is a bomb of nostalgia. If you haven’t played Pokemon Red, Blue or Green, then you will not enjoy this one slight bit. This really is made as pure undilluted fanservice for the fans of the first games. […]

Clipboard08

Tamayura – More Aggressive Review – 75/100

I’m not going to dedicate a post for my impression for the final three episodes of this series. It was just too boring to write much about. I guess that that gives a pretty accurate indication of what I think about this series. Right at the start of Tamayura’s second season, I asked one question: […]

Clipboard04

Silver Spoon Review – 86/100

When Noitamina started airing two series per season, it was amazing. It’s a timeslot that on average tends to be aimed at a much older audience than usual, and having two series with the same mentality definitely helped to bring more diversity to anime overall. Unfortunately it’s a schedule that could not be kept up […]

Clipboard07

Yondemasuyo, Azazel-San Z Review – 82,5/100

Reviewing a comedy sequel usually is quite simple: in most cases it just drops the bomb and runs out of inspiration, and in rare cases it actually manages to stay hilarious. The tricky thing with these kinds of series is that you need to remain funny, and you need to have the inspiration for that. […]

Clipboard05

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet Review – 81/100

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet tells the storyline of a planet that is completely submerged, with only giant ships residing on the surface, while one of those ships gets visited by this guy and his AI-mecha from this very technologically advanced civilization. Yes, this show is about world building. What this show managed to do […]