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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
Infinite Stratos 2
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.
Impressions: Crappy flash show about a random high school club alert. Moving on!
Gundam Build Fighters
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!
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?
Unbreakable Machine Doll
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…
Ore no Nounai Sentakushi ga, Gakuen Love Come o Zenryoku de Jama Shiteiru
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!
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.
Valvrave the Liberator 2
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.
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.
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.
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.
Kuroko no Baske 2
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.
Non Non Biyori
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.
Neppu Kairiku Bushi Road
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.
Arpeggio of Blue Steel
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!
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.
Phi Brain 3
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.
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.
Magi: The Kingdom of Magic
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.
Ace of Diamond
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.
Strike the Blood
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.
BlazBlue Alter Memory
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.
White Album 2
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…
Hajime no Ippo Rising
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.
Little Busters – Refrain
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.
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.
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.
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.
Nagi no Asukara
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.
Kyoukai no Kanata
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!
Yozakura Quartet ~Hana no Uta~
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.
Kill La Kill
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.
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.
Galilei Donna – Storia di tre sorelle a caccia di un mistero
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.
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.
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.