Posted on 7 September 2014 with categories: Seasonal Previews

Okay, let me first eplain a bit what happened: most people probably noticed that I’ve been posting less and less often. The reason for that is that my personal life has changed completely compared to how it was in the early years of this blog. I both have a job, and a lot of real life friends, so I can’t just dedicate all of my time to the site like I used to. I hit my limit when I returned back from my holiday to America: I sat down to watch the latest episodes of Ping Pong, and that’s when I realized that I had no energy to actually watch anything, let alone write about it. As soon as I realized that, I cut off everything with the site. I didn’t watch any anime, I didn’t post, I didn’t read any comments. I was completely burnt out and purposefully decided to step away and do nothing for a few months, in order to regain my mojo. I needed time away. It wasn’t that the anime had gone bad: with Mushishi we had the single best series in the past years, so this was no matter of quality. Just me, burning out.

Now over the past months, I realized that I still enjoy anime, but I’m not going to write episodic reviews anymore. These were really toxic for me. They ate up all my attention to the point that I couldn’t do anything else anymore. Instead though, I do still enjoy writing previews (hence this post) and full series reviews. As for the site, we’re planning to introduce some big changes, in order to keep the site sustained and alive.

Now as for this season: it’s awesome yo! There’s a lot of big names involved, some very good sequels, new stuff from people I thought were already long gone. And also surprisingly few series that are just utter crap or nothing but fanservice. It’s a big season for the fantasy crowd. Lots of shows about fantasy kingdoms and royalties, shows that created their own universes.

Series that I Don’t Look Forward To

Ore, Twin Tail ni Narimasu

Why I don’t like it: I think that we’ve found another candidate for the most pathetic villain motivation ever. This series is solely meant for people with a fetish for people who dress their hair in twin tails. So yeah, this is basically porn.

Hi sCoool! SeHa Girl

Why I don’t like it: Only in Japan, can they get away with such a silly title. I mean, I know that most Japanese people aren’t very good at English and all, but at least they must realize that this looks stupid, right? But yeah, this is coming from the guy who gave us gdgd Fairies, a totally absurd and low-budget comedy series, so that could be the reason for it. Apart from that… what can I say about it? It looks terrible! Next!

Orenchi no Furo Jijou

Why I don’t like it: Dear god! That face is going to haunt me in my dreams! Did you have to draw him in that position, with that particular expression? I mean I am not of innuendo at all to even I am getting the creeps here. Also who the hell comes up with these ridiculous premises?

Le Fruit de la Grisaia

Why I don’t like it: Yup, this one’s bad. It’s got the warning-signs: a group of five overly cute girls, lack of male characters, a hentai game adaptation. Moving on!

Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai

Why I don’t like it: Hoods (you know, the guys who gave us Seikon no Qwaser) bringing us a hentai game adaptation. Yeah, you can see where this is going. This one’s bad, nothing to see here. In the trailer, the creators just gave up and showed us shots of the game instead of the animation.

Ushinawareta Mirai o Motomete

Why I don’t like it: Generic hentai game adaptation romance. Not offensively bad or anything, just incredibly boring.

Bonjour Koiaji Pâtisserie

Why I don’t like it: Generic reverse harem by Silver Link, moving on.

Girl Friend BETA

Why I don’t like it: This is another one of those terrible gimmicky series that they need to stop making: it’s based on a dating sim where the male lead can pick between more than one hundred girls. While I admire how there are more than the usual five this time, how on earth were you going to put all of them into one series without making them all cardboard boxes? This is for hardcore voice actor fans only, and even that’s stretching it.

Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru

Why I don’t like it: They’re apparently starting a new timeslot called “animeism”, but if the first show of that slot is a very generic school comedy with magic directed by Seiji Kishi, then yeah, you’re pretty much screwed right from the start.

Wolf Girl & Black Prince

Why I don’t like it: Another shoujo romance, though this one’s a bit creepy, about a girl who is forced to be treated like a dog or be exposed as a liar. Is this really what gets popular these days? Fantasies of being abused and treated like an animal?

Inou Battle Within Everyday Life

Why I don’t like it: Well, so much for Studio Trigger then. Their follow up of Kill La Kill, a school battle series, is another school battle series. Only this one looks ten times more generic. I mean, the premise is really just this: a bunch of high school kids awaken with super powers and nothing happens. Aside from a bit of romance. What can they really do with that. Any shred of potential left is dispelled with the trailer, which looks uber-generic.

Trinity 7

Why I don’t like it:This story advertises itself as a “romantic comedy but sometime serious magical school story”, so yeah, we basically know what time it is when the promo art only features ONE GUY. This one seems for the Index and Railgun crowd, but I’m not in the mood for any more magical school series, unless they promise to be really good or anything.

Terra Formars

Why I don’t like it: When I first saw this one, it made me mildly optimistic: it had science fiction, the director of Steins;Gate and Shigurui was on board, the premise suggested themes of intergalactic colonization, the cast didn’t consist out of teenagers. However, the more I looked into it, the worse it started to look. Apparently this show is about humanity that sends a bunch of cockroaches to Mars, only to find out that 500 years later they mutated into these weird human-like killing machines, and it’s up to the main characters to kill ‘em all. Now not only is this ridiculous, it brings up many red flags: when you look at the trailer, all of these mutated cockroaches look more silly than threatening, and they all have the same designs. That’s really bad monster design and it takes away all tension: those copy-paste armies never have been good for that, not to mention that they’re not sentient. This is the anime equivalent of Bug Squasher or something.

Madan no Ou to Vanadis

Why I don’t like it: Tatsuo Sato is actually doing both the direction and series composition for this series, but alas it’s the premise that’s really not good here. The fact that this is a light novel adaptation should already say enough, but this show has the premise of a generic guy getting to be the slave of a magical girl in sexy outfit. You can see that Tatsuo Sato did his best to at least try and make something out of this (the art for example of the anime looks so much better than the light novel art), but what can you do with the plot here? I mean the magical girls will fight each other with over the top flashy powers and the main characters will kick ass and hint at a romance that will never be there. You can’t do anything with this.

Amagi Brilliant Park

Why I don’t like it: There are some big names behind this one: Kyoto Animation is returning with the team behind Full Metal Panic to adapt another one of the author’s stories. I’m suspecting that this will be the next Fumoffu. Only problem is that I didn’t really like Fumoffu: I gave it about one episode and it failed to make me laugh even once, and ultimately I preferred Gonzo’s version of Full Metal Panic over theirs, but in the end I never really was a big fan of FMP. It also doesn’t help that the premise for this one is riddled with silly teenaged romcom cliches, so I really doubt that this one will end up topping Full Metal Panic.

Denkigai no Honya-san

Why I don’t like it: This one’s weird. At first this seems like just another slice of life shows about nothing, but it’s being supervised by the team behind Milky Holmes (the good ones, at least), who are completely crazy, especially when together. The trailer was weird, had unnecessary fanservice, but in the end there was enough visual comedy for me to want to give it one episode. That’s the thing though: I see no reason whatsoever for why this show could even be remotely entertaining past episode one when they ran through their best jokes about working in a book store.

Donten ni Warau

Why I don’t like it: Well, so it took about a year before the Shingeki no Kyojin-wannabes start appearing (do not tell me that that promo art did not remind you of that). Besides that, this anime confuses me. The creators seem to try and do whatever they can to hide that this is a bishie-series, it seems. Nothing seems connected to each other: if you were to look at the character-designs, premise and promo art, you would not suspect that they were all about the same series. I mean, this is Dogakobo. Can they really pull off another Natsuyuki Rendezvous without a skilled director accompanying them?

Fate Stay Night

Why I don’t like it: Stop milking out the Fate franchise, for Christ’s sake. Ufotable, you’re better than this. You’ve amassed enough talent over the years, now do something original with it. This one is especially grating because Studio Deen already made a movie about this. I mean I’m all for remakes and all, but this is just getting too caught up in the past. Do you want to know when the last time was that Ufotable made a series that wasn’t of the Fate franchise? 2007, with Manabi Straight. And there seems to be even more Fate set for 2015.

World Trigger

Why I don’t like it: I must say, I really dig the promo art for this one. Plus, it’s got a soundtrack by Kenji Kawai. No doubt will this one be a feast for the senses! The story is the problem here: it’s a shounen jump adaptation of a battle manga: aliens invade, and a bunch of kids fight back with alien technology. Been there, done that! I get why this is made though. Naruto is about to end and this sounds like a good time for the companies to start to search for a replacement.

Nanatsu no Taizai

Why I don’t like it: A-1 coming with an adventure series, seems like it’s going to be classic fantasy. The “Seven deadly sins” part of the title is very misleading, because apparently they’re just the nicknames of a bunch of really strong warriors. There are a few problems here: the way in which the story is rather generic, and how it’s set up there is only one way for the story to end: with overthrowing that evil government. Problem is that we’re dealing with a manga adaptation that to my knowledge hasn’t finished yet. So yeah, good luck fitting in that story…

Shirobako

Why I don’t like it: Basically a circlejerk series: PA Works doing a show about making an anime, obviously featuring a bunch of cute girls. My guess is that this one will be on the opposite side of Bakuman: whereas Bakuman tried to add too much drama, this one will add too little. Why do I want to watch this? Perhaps it might be nice to watch how an anime gets made and all, but there are enough behind the scenes videos and these are a lot more authentic. The characters here look just boring.

Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso

Why I don’t like it: I’m spotting an annoying trend here. Ever since Ano Hana the Noitamina producers seem to think that we want teenaged dramas. No, I’m a fan of Ano Hana because it was such an emotionally heart-wrenching story, not because it was about teenagers. But here is the real thing with this series: yeah sure it’s very polished. A-1 Pictures has made sure to make everything look pretty, the acting is good and not stereotypical. And yet, I see no reason to watch this series. There’s nothing that stands out: it’s just a bunch of teenagers talking with a bit of standard romance. Why would I want to watch that?

Sora no Method

Why I don’t like it: The writer of Kanon and Sola is behind this one. You can see that this one is better than most visual novel adaptations, because there is AN ACTIAL MALE ON THE PROMO ART. He’s in the background, but at least it’s something. Here’s the thing: I liked Sola. It actually had a very nice plot there. I’m not feeling this yet though. The character-designs for example: while they look nice at first sight, the creators basically used the same faces, only to swap hair- and eye color (and in one case the facial expression to the typical deadpan). It all looks… a bit too manufactured. This one could get a benefit of the doubt though… it’s also gonna depend on how annoying the female characters are…

Series I Am Looking Forward To

Gugure! Kokkuri-san

Summary: “A little girl named Kohina ends up summoning by a Kokkuri-san, a lower-ranking ghost in Japanese folklore. The Kokkuri-san she calls ends up being a white-haired handsome, young man. Although he had intended to merely haunt her at first, he becomes worried about her terrible eating habit of cup ramen for every meal, so he decides to haunt her in order to protect her.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: TMS Entertainment
Director: Yoshimasa Hiraike

Impressions: This one… it intrigues me somehow. It actually looks like a solid comedy that can keep fun for several episodes. It’s basically going to take jabs at the Japanese folklore, but I have to say that I like the idea of a spirit watching over a young girl because she only eats instant ramen. That’s a bit more than what you usually see with these premises. If there’s enough for an entire season though, that remains to be seen.

First-Glance Potential: 50%

Sanzoku Musume no Ronja

Summary: “Ronja is the only daughter of Mattis, a bandit leader who lives in a castle in the middle of a large forest. When Ronja grows old enough, she ventures into the forest to interact the strange and magical creatures that live there. She learns to live in the forest through her own strength, with the occasional rescue from her parents. Ronja’s life begins to change, however, when she happens upon a boy her own age named Birk.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Polygon Pictures (and Ghibli)
Director: Goro Miyazaki
Series composition: Hiroyuki Kawasaki

Impressions: Here’s a weird example of how history came full circle. Before founding Studio Ghibli, Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata worked on a few of the World Masterpiece Theatre series from Nippon Animation. Now that Nippon Animation has buggered off creating new series after their long-time producer passed away, there was a long silence of nobody adapting classic children’s literature. The one to break that silence? Studio Ghibli, now in trouble themselves now that Miyazaki has retired. It’s a really weird construction because they work together with Polygon Pictures, who do everything in CG and it’s especially jarring when you compare it to Knights of Sidonia, which worked much better when fully CG’d. Hiroyuki Kawasaki is an excellent adapter though, and they can get some great stuff out of this story if they do it well.

First-Glance Potential: 65%

Gundam Reconguista in G

Summary: “Some time has passed since the end of the Universal Century, a history marked by space colonization and space warfare. Humanity’s prosperity, which ushered in a new era known as Regild Century (R.C.), was believed to endure alongside the global peace. It is the year R.C.1014. The Capital Tower is an orbital elevator that rose above the Earth’s surface and linked Earth and space. As the conduit of the Photon Battery energy source to the surface, it is regarded as sacred. Beruri Zenamu is in the middle of training for the Capital Guard (established to protect the Capital Tower), when the tower is attacked by G-Serufu — a highly maneuverable mobile suit with technology that is not from any known country.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Sunrise
Director: Yoshiyuki Tomino

Impressions: Wow. Here is something I totally did not expect: Tomino directing another television series. I mean, coming November he’ll turn 73. No matter how you look at it: this is going to be his final series. He could have been retired at this point, and he’s got nothing to lose for his final magnum opus in the Gundam Franchise. It of course depends on how much Sunrise is willing to let him get away with, but one theme of all of his post-depression works is that they’re all very colourful and creative. Even in Turn-A Gundam where Sunrise restricted this, you can see lots of subtle jabs against them in the storytelling. The whole premise embraces the campy nature of what Gundam has devolved into over the years. The trailer is very good: it shows his directional style very well, in which he just keeps throwing stuff at the viewer and keeps pushing the scenario forward, instead of dragging on and on.

First-Glance Potential: 85%

Cross Ange: Tenshi to Ryuu no Rondo

Summary: “Due to humanity obtaining the data technology that has evolved to a great amount- called “Mana”- the human race is able to subjugate all wars, starvation, pollution, and other problems on Earth by using its power, which is similar to magic. Earth has obtained the utopia of complete peace and no wants. First princess of the Misurugi Empire, Angelize. As with everyone else, she also had no wants or worries. She was celebrated by the people of the empire, and was supposed to wear the crown. However, she realizes the shocking truth that she is a Norma. “Norma”: An irregular existence that cannot use Mana, and are treated as heretics and as “things” rather than people. Having everything stolen from her, she isolates herself on a remote island. What was waiting for her there was a fateful meeting with a group of Norma girls who know nothing but battle. The girls spend their days riding humanoid robot weapons called “Barameiru” hunting giant dragons that have come from another dimension to invade. Having her name taken from her, what will soldier Ange see at the end of the fight? What can she believe in? What will she obtain? The story of a single girl’s fortitude starts now.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Sunrise
Director: Yoshiharu Ashino
Series composition: Tatsuto Higuchi

Impressions: Not only does this actually sound really interesting, it’s being directed by the guy who directed Mahou Shoujotai. My favourite anime ever and the single series that got me into blogging in the first place. The trailer was great to watch, and the music was fantastic! I like how they take the usual story of a princess, that anime is obsessed with, and basically take all that away. The only problem here is the character-designs: they suck and are pretty generic.

First-Glance Potential: 90%

Akatsuki no Yona

Summary: ” King Il of Kouka, a land said in legends to have been founded by four dragons, has only one remaining heir, a daughter named Yona. She lives a happy life in the palace with her cousin Soo-won, who she loves in spite of her father’s opposition to them marrying. Her life is turned upside down when Soo-won murders her father and steals the throne. Yona, with her childhood friend and bodyguard Hak, must retreat to gather allies and reclaim her place as ruler of the kingdom.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Studio Pierrot
Director: Kazuhiro Yoneda
Music: Kunihiko Ryo

Impressions: Finally a show about a strong female character who isn’t trying to shove her boobs into your face. Like, the way it’s supposed to be. Kunihiko Ryo as a composer makes sober, but very authentic music so that also fits really well. The director of this one is a new guy so I can’t say much, but I think that he can do a very fine job. The trailer for this one is awesome by the way. It foregoes the flashy graphics and instead shows the things I’m actually looking for. There is change: the lead characters changes multiple times through the trailer ALONE. Plus, I love how it used facial expressions. That really hit me. Here’s the potential sleeper hit of the season.

First-Glance Potential: 90%

Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu

Summary: “Shinichi Izumi is a normal high school boy whose right hand has become infected with an alien parasite that names itself “Migi” (“right”). Migi is the first parasite to develop a symbiotic relationship with its host, as he and Shinichi slowly develop a grudging friendship. Migi isn’t the only Parasite on earth, however, and as cases of Parasites killing humans begin to emerge, humans seek to kill off Parasites. Shinichi and Migi find themselves caught in between these two sides of the struggle over planet earth.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Madhouse
Director: Kenichi Shimizu
Series composition: Shoji Yonemura

Impressions: Based on the manga Parasite, which is supposed to be an awesome manga, so I’m very curious what this one’s gonna turn into. Madhouse is a very solid choice for adapting it. It’s got a newbie director with lots of experience, and Shoji Yonemura adapted Guin Saga, co-wrote Fantastic Children, wrote Figure 17 and is overall a very solid writer. The premise looks solid, the promo art looks very intriguing and immediately caught my eye. Bring it on!

First-Glance Potential: 90%

Shingeki no Bahamut Genesis

Summary: ” Mistarcia is a magical world where humans, gods, and demons mingle together. In the past, the black-and-silver winged Bahamut has threatened to destroy the land, but humans, gods, and demons overcame their differences to fight together and seal its power. The key to that seal was split in two, one half given to the gods and the other to demons, so that they would never be united and Bahamut never released. Now, two thousand years later, the world is in an era of peace – until the day a human woman steals the gods’ half of the key.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Mappa
Director: Keiichi Satou
Series composition: Keiichi Hasegawa
Series composition: Yoshihiro Ike

Impressions: This one immediately looks awesome to watch. It created its own universe and lore, it looks utterly gorgeous so far, it has the director of Karas, Asura and Tiger & Bunny, Yoshihiro Ike for the soundtrack and Mappa behind the animation completing this dream team. These guys can make something very enjoyable together.

First-Glance Potential: 90%

Garo: Honoo no Kokuin

Summary: “Mendosa, the chief adviser of the king of Valiante, begins a campaign to hunt down “witches,” resulting in the deaths of many magical knights and their sorcerer assistants. Anna, a sorceress married to the knight Herman Lewis, gives birth to a son before her execution. Herman takes their child, Leon, and flees, raising him to be the heir of the legendary Golden Armor. By the time Leon grows up, Valiante is completely in the control of Mendosa, who drives out Prince Alfonso and his mother. Alphonso decides to seek out the man who inherited the Golden Armor to reclaim the throne and save his people.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Mappa
Director: Yuuichiro Hayashi
Series composition: Yasuko Kobayashi
Original creator: Keita Amemiya

Impressions: Yeah, I pretty much fangasmd when I saw who the original creator behind this series is: the guy who created Mahou Shoujotai, my favourite anime ever. I mean, I can’t believe this: one season with a series from the director AND the original creator from my single favourite series. what the hell?! This one has lots of nostalgia value for me, but even then the setting is creative, the visuals look gorgeous, courtesy of Mappa and with a writer like Yasuko Kobayashi (she also wrote Casshern Sins, adapted Shingeki no Kyojin and Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure) we really are good. The director is someone completely new, so I really wonder what he can do with this gem.

First-Glance Potential: 95%

Psycho Pass 2

Summary: ” The series takes place in the near future, when it is possible to instantaneously measure and quantify a person’s state of mind and personality. This information is recorded and processed, and the term “Psycho-Pass” in the anime’s title refers to a standard used to measure an individual’s being. The story centers around the “enforcement officer” Shinya Kogami, who is tasked with managing crime in such a world.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Production IG
Director: Naoyoshi Shiotani
Series composition: Tow Ubukata
Story concept: Gen Urobuchi

Impressions: A big change between the first and second season of Psycho Pass is that Gen Urobuchi is taking a step back. He’s now just there for the “Story concept”, which probably just means that he came up with the whole concept. Thankfully the guy taking over is also a very good and creative writer: Tow Ubukata came up with Le Chevalier d’Eon, he wrote Fafner, he wrote Heroic Age. This guy really is a science fiction writer through and through. His only issue seems to be pacing, but that doesn’t really seem to be much of a problem here with Psycho Pass and what they already built up.

First-Glance Potential: 100%

Mushishi Zoku-chou Season 2

Summary: “Mushi; the life-blood of nature. They exist everywhere in various forms: micro-organisms, fungi, bodies of water. Sometimes, they’re even mistaken to be plants, animals, or spirits. But regardless of their appearance, they exist, nonetheless, living the only way they know how. At times, their actions can cause strange or unexplainable phenomena. Enter Ginko, the Mushishi (mushi master), as he continues encountering, studying, and dealing with the mysterious mushi along his journey into the unknown.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Artland
Director: Hiroshi Nagahama

Impressions: Well, what’s there left to say? The single best anime of the past number of years continuing on to its second season. I haven’t finished the first season yet, but I sure as hell am planning to do that, because this series is better than any other series of its kind. It was a long wait, but the perfect way of storytelling carried through into the second season and there is no sign whatsoever of it stopping. All stories so far are beautifully told and with this we get 12 or 13 more stories to finish things off, based on the manga. You really cannot expect better than this.

First-Glance Potential: 100%
Posted on 28 May 2014 with categories: Seasonal Previews

Some trends for the upcoming summer season: the series aimed at girls seem to be getting big again after a long drought. The problem is that like the series aimed at boys, a lot of them are looking to be really bad. Beyond that, there are lots of series that have concepts that have been done to death by now. I’m nearly inclined to dub this season “The Summer of Dead Horses”.

On the good news though, there are quite a number of series that are looking to have some serious potential. And not in the way of the Autumn of 2013 in which everything seemed great, only to feature many, many disappointments, but actually in the way that there will be a lot worth watching here, series that take themselves seriously, or are trying out something different. Well, many. Many for the standards of the past few years.

As usual, lots of assumptions follow. I do not read manga so I have no idea about any original source material and stuff. My impressions are purely based on the stuff that I can say something about, like the staff, premise and promotional material. These ain’t full reviews, yo.

Series that I Don’t Look Forward To

Momo Kyun Sword

Why I don’t like it:`Yeah, this one is going to be terrible. It’s in the genre where cute girls with lots of boob fight with big powers, while at the same time raping the original story of Momotaro (the kid who was born from a peach). I mean, just look at the art here the creators weren’t trying to be subtle about the characters’ cleavage in any way were they?

Pripara

Why I don’t like it: It’s yet another one of those shows there to promote idols. Seriously, that too has turned into a complete dead horse. I wouldn’t mind so much if we just got one of these shows once in a while or something, like what it used to be in the past, but nowadays they’re everywhere! Idols are not so special that they deserve this many series people! The only saving grace here is that it’s from the director of Milky Holmes, but this isn’t a genre he can parody so well because it would make the idols look bad. Blegh.

Himegoto

Why I don’t like it: This is a stupid cross-dressing show with a ridiculous premise. The worst thing is that it’s the same bloody premise that every single bad cross-dressing series uses for its shenanigans: for some contrived reason a dude needs to enter a female only high school and therefore he needs to dress up like a girl. Blah boring! Skip this one!

Jinsei

Why I don’t like it: Well first of all it’s a light novel adaptation with an overly cute girl on the front page. That’s one of the clearest early signs that this will be bad. And yeah, it’s a dull school series. The premise however does hold a tiny shred of potential: it’s about the writer of a life advice column of the school newspaper that follows a few of the life advice requests he needs to write about. If they can deal with those requests intelligently, then this might make a chance. But then I direct your attention back to the covers of the light novels, which all feature overly cute girls in suggestive poses and yeah… this one’s gonna suck.

Survival Game Club

Why I don’t like it: Blah blah, another club full of girls at school that does something. Again something we’ve seen waaaay too many times by now. This time it’s about survival games, and is that me or does that really sound eerily similar to that Gainax show about the gun club that came out last Autumn?

Persona 4 The Golden

Why I don’t like it: Ooh, I still remember what a disaster the original Persona 4 anime was, and now they’re planning to make more! It was completely incomprehensible for people who didn’t play the game. It spent huge amounts of time on things that didn’t matter, and flew through the important bits. It was littered with bad humour. It was the first point at which I realized that Seiji Kishi had completely lost it with his new style, and he’s back. However he really turned into a Shinbo-wannabe right now by assuming the task of chief director while another director is the real one. And I know that having a chief director and a director is more common and all, but none are trying to rip off Shinbo as blatantly as he is. I have a pity with the fans of the Atlus that they keep getting stuck with this guy. I mean in the span of a couple of years he managed to turn me off completely to their games.

Nobunaga Concerto

Why I don’t like it: Normally I’m a bit more lenient on historical manga that look kindof serious. But for god’s sake come on! A high school boy who travels back in time and who must become Oda Nobunaga? Is that the best you can think of? Let’s try to rape his character even more by turning him into a high school boy for god’s sake. Japan has many more interesting time periods. You don’t have to stick with this guy. Here is the weird thing: when Sengoku Basara did it, the warring states era was hardly ever used as a setting. After that though, every single historical series suddenly was about that bloody period, to the point where there was hardly anything else. I mean come on Japan: move on!

Francesca

Why I don’t like it: You just know that this one will be bad: it’s basically one big advertisement for Hokkaido (like, the island), personified in a cute girl. As a zombie. Or at least, something that’s supposed to be a zombie. WHATEVER IS ON THAT PROMO IMAGE IS NOT A ZOMBIE.

Akame ga Kill

Why I don’t like it: This one doesn’t seem like anything special: it’s just another show in which a boy and a girl use magical powers to fight some evil empire. The weapons look stupid, the character designs bland. The sole salvation here is that there isn’t a school to be found, but that’s nowhere near enough to make up for the blandness of the rest.

Hanayamata

Why I don’t like it: Here’s a case of talented people being wasted on the wrong project. I mean, these people aren’t bad at all. They worked on some really good stuff: Madhouse, Reiko Yoshida and Atsuko Ishizuka (the latter in particular: she’s one of the few female directors who actually made it into the big leagues and consistently gets assigned to projects). However, what’s the show about? High School Girls dancing. Now Yosakoi is something that we haven’t seen before and all, but there is no hint whatsoever that there will be any depth here. Tip for future promo artists: don’t feature an all-cute girl cast on your image who look way too much like each other and nothing else. That’s just bland and boring!

Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya 2wei!

Why I don’t like it: For god’s sake stop milking out the Fate franchise! It’s done, it’s over! Enough already and think of something new here. this is just getting ridiculous!

Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance

Why I don’t like it: Yeah, this one will be really bad, all of the warning signs are there. A promo full of only cute girls, they all use magic, they are all of nobility, and there is exactly one guy who gets to be special and ends up inbetween them for contrived reasons. Next!

Shounen Hollywood

Why I don’t like it: Aaagh! More idols! Such creativity! This one does come from the director of Sukitte Ii na Yo, however can we for god’s sake tone it down on the sheer number of these things?

Invaders of the Rokujyouma!?

Why I don’t like it: Yup, many warning signs that this is going to be terrible. All the male characters are absent from the main promo art on the website, character designs who all look the same aside from hair, eyes and boob sizes, a bland premise for a show. Not to mention Shin Oonuma and Silver Link being at it again. This is one to skip.

Argevollen

Why I don’t like it: Aaah yes, finally! Xebec is going back to making mecha series, the thing that they did that they were actually good at, until they radically shifted their focus towards producing crappy fanservice shows. Tatsuo Sato will write it, and this is a guy who also wrote Mouretsu Pirates, Basquash, Madesico, Shingu, and adapted Azumanga Daioh, and the director will be… what?! Atsushi Ootsuka? The director of To Love-Ru, Kanokon and Ladies Versus Butlers? Some of the worst shows Xebec has ever made!?! Seriously, you really couldn’t get anyone better? And yeah, the trailer confirmed that this is just going to be a dumb action series with a generic plot.

Magimoji Rurumo

Why I don’t like it: I do have to hand it to Rurumo: it’s got its own premise. It’s not completely original, but at the very least it has a premise that doesn’t attempt to rip off as many other generic series as possible. However, that does not mean that I look forward to a series with a tagline called “Pervert and Apprentice”. I find sex jokes bad really easily, so this show is going to have to try really really hard not to be annoying. So yeah, that’s not going to happen.

Love Stage

Why I don’t like it:Kenichi Kasai, the director who gave us the brilliant rendition that were the first season of Nodame Cantabile and Honey and Clover! After years of silence he’s finally back with another series: shounen ai! Fans of shounen ai: rejoice! Non-fans of shounen-ai: keep waiting. He may be brilliant, but he isn’t able to make people buy a genre they previously weren’t into.

Dramatical Murder

Why I don’t like it:Oh my god, BL with an actual plot! The problem with boys’ love series is that they’re just too often entirely dedicated to fanservice, to the point where the fanservice gets completely in the way of any potential that might have been there. Show me a great series that has a gay couple in it and I won’t complain at all. The reason I’m not looking forward to this is the one who’s going to adapt this: Machida Touko. Her adaptations comprise Amnesia, Allison to Lillia, Ookami Kakushi… basically lots of series that completely botched any potential that their original source material had.

Rail Wars

Why I don’t like it:Here’s an interesting one. The premise is creative, I like that, and I really want to like this series, but everything else is throwing up red flags: the guy who adapted Kanokon will adapt this, it’s based off of a bunch of light novels, the stereotypical character descriptions, and how the poses that the characters are all making are all trying a little too hard. Don’t get me wrong, these don’t immediately mean that we’re dealing with a bad series here. But there are an awful lot of hints that do point into that direction.

Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun

Why I don’t like it: I don’t really have anything to whine about here. It seems like a standard romance, just not a special one. It will work decently if the creators take care in developing all of the characters, they don’t make the romance too stupid or convoluted, the usual stuff. It won’t stand out in any way though, which is why I’m not looking forward to it.

Free – Eternal Summer

Why I don’t like it: Well, this obviously had it coming, the actually well produced slice of life series with lots of gay undertones. What sets Free apart from the shows like Utapri is that it actually bothers to put some effort into its characterizations, and making the characters come alive rather than portraying them as a bunch of cardboard boxes. They’re stil stereotypes, but hey at least it’s something: it’s progress. I’m obviously not going to watch it, but I do have a question to the fans of the series: does it really warrant a second season, or is this just milking it?

Ao Haru Ride

Why I don’t like it: Don’t get me wrong: Ao Haru Ride looks like a very solid romance. I can just say with certainty that the premise just isn’t interesting enough that I’m going to continue watching it. I mean, it’s got the director of Yahari blahblah, a solid scriptwriter, a premise that’s neither good nor bad or overused. It’s just another high school romance that doesn’t try to pretend it’s anything else. And I just don’t want to watch those shows any more.

Bakumatsu Rock

Why I don’t like it: Oooh, the cheese. Plus this show gets points for being historical and not featuring Oda Freaking Nobunaga. This sounds like a series that’s so bad that makes it worth watching at least an episode, featuring some bizarre love child between AKB0048 and Utapri. It will be glorious. Gloriously bad, but glorious. (For those uninitiated, this is a show about a bunch of bishies who try to save the Bakumatsu era with hard rock!)

Psycho Pass Recap

Why I don’t like it: This entry is just here to prevent confusion, which will very likely to be there considering how bad rumours can spread over the internet. Psycho Pass Season 2 will air for the upcoming fall season. I am psyched about that one. This summer season meanwhile will re-air the first season as an 11-episoded series with 50-minute episodes, and a few re-cuts here and there that probably will not amount to much. However, they’re really trying to make this one big, and they’re really profiling this series as targeted towards adults. This is good, Noitamina is slowly but steadily returning to what actually made it good. This is actually pretty important here, because this isn’t trivial. Out of all the possible series to focus on, the producers chose Psycho Pass. Not Guilty Crown, not Fractale. Psycho Pass. They really want to keep the original spirit of the timeslot going.

Series I Am Looking Forward To

Kuroshitsuji – Book of Circus

Summary: “In Victorian-era London, on the night of Ciel Phantomhive’s tenth birthday a fire destroyed his manor and killed both of his parents. In a moment of death Ceil strikes a deal with a demon, his soul in exchange for revenge. This demon becomes his butler and calls himself by name of Sebastian Michaelis, to protect and serve Ciel until the deal has been completed. One month after the fire Ciel returns from being missing, with his new butler Sebastian. Ceil is now the head of the Phantomhive corporation, handling all business affairs as well as the work as the Queen of England’s guard dog and looking for his parents murders.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: A-1 Pictures
Director: Noriyuki Abe
Series composition: Hiroyuki Yoshino

Impressions: OH GOD NO! The new season of Kuroshitsuji has a completely new staff behind it. Noriyuki Abe is actually a very skilled director: before directing Bleach he gave us Great Teacher Onizuka, and that was no fluke even with a very strong source material. Kuroshitsuji is exactly the kind of series that can get something great out of him again. The first two seasons were adapted by Mari Okada, and this actually fitted her very well as a series with the craziness that went on. For season three though… we have to deal with Uber-troll Hiroyuki Yoshino. If you don’t know him, be glad. This is the guy who wrote the original story for Seikon no Qwaser, Guilty Crown, Code Geass, Mai Otome. This guy writes grandiose stories which are often so grandiose and convoluted that they collapse in on themselves. His adaptations are hardly ever complete, even when well written. You’re almost guaranteed to get a completely botched up ending here, even though the endings are what I loved about the first two seasons of Kuroshitsuji. And to make things even worse, Ichiro Okouchi, the original creator of Code Geass and the writer of Valvrave is joining in for the scripts!

First-Glance Potential: 30%

Tokyo ESP

Summary: “The science fantasy story begins with Rinka, an extremely poor high school girl who lives with just her father in modern Tokyo. One day, she is going home from school when she chases a “flying penguin” to the top of New Tokyo Tower — only to have “fish swimming in the air” suddenly appear before her. One of the fish goes through Rinka and gives her extraordinary powers beyond those of normal humans, particularly the ability to slip through solid objects.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: ?
Director: ?
Series composition: ?

Impressions: Because no staff has been announced whatsoever, I’m going to go and give this one the benefit of the doubt. Why? The bits of creativity in the premise and the promo artwork. Because of that it might have potential, but the whole premise is one that really can go both ways: from great to terrible. It needs to be more than “girls fight each other with supernatural powers”. We’ve seen that so many times before. Give us some depth here.

First-Glance Potential: 50%

Sailor Moon Crystal

Summary: “Usagi Tsukino was a normal second-year middle school girl whose own life changes one day when she encounters a black cat. The cat’s name is Luna who can talk and bears a crescent moon on her forehead. Luna tells Usagi that she is the chosen guardian of justice with the power to transform into Sailor Moon. Usagi now has a new responsibility which is a mission to find the Illusionary Silver Crystal as well as the other chosen guardians to protect the Moon Princess. During her mission, she must deal with various enemies sent by Queen Beryl who is also after the Illusionary Silver Crystal.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Toei
Director: Munehisa Sakai
Series composition: Yoji Kobayashi

Impressions: First of all I should exclaim that I’m not a Sailor Moon fan. My relationship with it was a weird one, because it was one of the series that I watched on Dutch television before I actually discovered the internet. However, it had just the bad luck to air at a really inconvenient time in the morning, right before Card Captor Sakura. I LOVED Card Captor Sakura, and in comparison Sailor Moon seemed just a cheap knock-off (I only learned later that it in fact was quite a bit older) with some annoying characters and a romance purposefully dragged itself out for ages. Not to mention that the network ended up cancelling giving Card Captor Sakura an even more impossible timeslot in favour of Sailor Moon. So that’s not the reason I’m looking forward to this. The reason I’m looking forward to this is that it’s the first ambitious shoujo series we’ve had in many years now. We seriously needed something to revitalize the genre, and Toei really seems to have allocated a big budget to make it happen. For that, I want this series to succeed. Not for Sailor Moon, but for the shoujo genre as a whole. It used to be one of my favorite genres, but it got completely pushed aside by the shounen genres to the point that the only shoujo shows we nowadays get are school series.

First-Glance Potential: 70%

ALDNOAH.ZERO

Summary: “In 1972, a hypergate was discovered on the surface of the moon. However, war breaks between humans on Earth and those who immigrated to Mars.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: A-1 Pictures
Director: Ei Aoki
Series composition: Katsuhiko Takayama
Original writer: Gen Urobuchi
Music: Hiroyuki Sawano

Impressions: Yup, we’ve got a solid one here. The winner of the most creative website, and overall it’s got a really solid casting behind it with an original story by Gen Urobuchi, directed by Ei Aoki who is very consistent as a director (you may remember him from one of the Kara no Kyoukai movies and Fate Zero), the music from the guy who wrote the score for Shingeki no Kyojin and Kill la Kill (and Kalafina for the opening yay!). Yes, this is ambitious. The key deciding factor for this one will be the series composition: Gen isn’t gonna write it this time, someone else is. So who will it be? Katsuhiko Takayama, the guy who in the past adapted ef, Kimi ga Nozomu Eien, Ga-Rei Zero, Hantsuki, only to afterwards completely lose it with Boku no Pico, Asobi ni Iku Yo, Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu, Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate, Majikoi, Sasami@Ganbaranai and Dusk Maiden of Amnesia. So, the matter for this series will entirely depend on one thing: does this guy still have it? Can he still write serious stories, or has his mind been diluted too much by writing senseless crap? I mean, if that’s well, then the rest of the creators can make something out of it. He is the one who will make or break this show.

First-Glance Potential: 75%

Glasslip

Summary: “I won’t forget the summer we met. The place was a little town tucked in between the ocean and the mountains. There, they met a transfer student. The sun is so dazzling, and the fireworks are so fleeting. A story that starts in summer that six high school students experience.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: PA Works
Director: Junji Nishimura
Series composition: Rika Sato, Junji Nishimura

Impressions: There was a time at which I worshipped Junji Nishimura, the guy behind Simoun, one of my favourite series in like, ever. Then came Kyou Kara Maou… and Nurarihyon no Mago… and Dog Days… and I really started to doubt this guy… however this time, I’ll bite. This guy is brilliant at original stories, which is exactly what this series is: he’s both writing and directing it so he should have an amount of control that should allow his talents to surface again after so many years (dear god, I feel old now that I realize that True Tears was already six years ago!)

First-Glance Potential: 75%

Barakamon

Summary: “The slice-of-life comedy manga centers around the ikemen (handsome) 23-year-old calligrapher Seishu Handa, who moves to the remote Gotou Islands off the western coast of Kyushu. Seishuu grew up in the city, and the manga chronicles his interactions with the people of the island, who drive tractors on public roads and don’t enter through his front door when they visit. On top of that, Seishuu’s house becomes a hangout for the island’s children.” – (Taken from AN)
Produced by: Kinema Citrus
Director: Masaki Tachibana
Series composition: Pierre Sugiura
Music: Kenji Kawai

Impressions: After many years of absence, Kenji Kawai is doing the soundtrack for another series! Awesome! And it’s quite an interesting slice of life series which really seems to be aiming to bring something new to the table. We know that it’s in able hands, with the director of Tokyo Magnitude,

First-Glance Potential: 80%

Tokyo Ghoul

Summary: “The suspense horror/dark fantasy story is set in Tokyo, which is haunted by mysterious “ghouls” who are devouring humans. People are gripped by the fear of these ghouls whose identities are masked in mystery. An ordinary college student named Kaneki encounters Rize, a girl who is an avid reader like him, at the café he frequents. Little does he realize that his fate will change overnight.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Studio Pierrot
Director: Shuhei Morita
Series composition: Chūji Mikasano

Impressions: Now this is an example of how you grab my attention. Promo art that stands out and immediately tells you that something is going to happen here. The premise may not say much, but we know that we’ve got ourselves a horror story, plus it’s made by people who are outside of the conventional anime business. The Shuhei Morita directed Freedom, which was actually a pretty good science fiction series, and he has done many other short indie films, rather than big titles. They also got an actual playwright in in order to adapt this series, rather than picking from the usual scriptwriters, and I’m really curious what difference he can bring to the table.

First-Glance Potential: 90%

Zankyou no Tokyo

Summary: “On a summer day. A massive terrorist bombing suddenly struck Tokyo. The culprits behind the act that woke up this complacent nation from its slumber, were just two boys. Now, the culprits known as “Sphinx” begin a grandiose game that encompasses all of Japan.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: MAPPA
Director: Shinichiro Watanabe
Music: Yoko Kann

Impressions: Now this series screams Noitamina, this series understood it. It’s not even that the characters are teenagers that can distract from that. Here we have a series with a skilled and famous director, lots of production behind it, looking ambitious from all sides and dealing with actual current issues that are grounded in the real world, rather than just the fantasy that most anime series are stuck at. The trailer looks and sounds excellent, and with Shinichiro Watanabe being really busy this season, this series is something to look out for!

First-Glance Potential: 95%

Space Dandy 2

Summary: ” Space Dandy is a space hunter, someone who is paid to search for new, undiscovered alien species. It’s an industry where the prize goes to the person who finds aliens the fastest. Dandy searches unknown planets for strange beings with his companions, QT the worn-out robot and Meow from Betelgeuse. Meanwhile, they’re being chased by minions of the Gogol Empire, for reasons that are still a mystery.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Bones
Chief Director: Shinichiro Watanabe
Director: Shingo Natsume

Impressions: Two Shinichiro Watanabe series in one season. Holy balls this is going to be awesome. And with Space Dandy, we already know what kind of a series it is: every single episode is different. Shinichiro Watanabe can handle two series at the time because of how much freedom he can give out with this series: every episode is basically in the hands of a group of talented people, and they’re instructed to be as creative as possible. The first season already showed that that was a great combination, as long as you don’t expect the next Cowboy Bebop. However, I do wonder what the creators have in store for closure. The second season needs that, something to really leave behind a fantastic taste.

First-Glance Potential: 100%
Posted on 25 February 2014 with categories: Seasonal Previews

So, I’m just going to continue to write articles whenever I have inspiration. One thing I always loved doing is compile these previews for the upcoming season, and that still hasn’t changed. There are a few changes now though, because I don’t feel like going into detail about all of the crappy shows that come out every single time, so my entries for them are very much simplified in order to save time. Also, my standards have become much harsher. Series that I was previously willing to give a chance right now are most likely shows that I’m not interested in anymore, due to a huge amount of red flags showing.

For example, in the past I probably would have praised this season for at the very least not containing anything that is absolutely utter crap, but the problem with that is that it glosses over the fact that there is so much mediocrity coming out. The only silver lining I can offer is this: there are hardly any pointless sequels. At the very least there are a lot of attempts at new series, and the sequels that are there, are there for a reason. And in the end, there are a few series with a very good pedigree that I’m looking forward to.

Series that I Don’t Look Forward To

Sengoku Musou

Why I don’t like it: Sengoku Musou is yet another piece set in the sengoku era, just like the countless other shows that preceded it. It really looks like a generic clone of the other series: everyone has weird outfits, the focus is on fighting. Nothing here looks like they put any effort in it.

Soul Eater Not

Why I don’t like it: I watched about half of Soul Eater. When I saw this promo material, I really had to do a double-take. I mean dear god, how much can you moefy something? The original soul eater had its own style, but this looks just like a generic cloned show about cute girls. The trailer’s even worse. Everything looks generic.

Baby Steps

Why I don’t like it: Boring show about this guy who has no skills and joins a tennis club. The same thing we’ve seen many times before, just with tennis. The only mitigating factor is that it’s got a really good direction for the action: Masahiko Murata, but he won’t be able to save this premise.

Haikyu!!

Why I don’t like it: Yet another high school sports series, this time with volleyball. And really, the premise looks to be incredibly generic again without much creativity. At this point a sports series really needs to come with something really impressive in order to be able to beat the standard that was set in the genre a few years ago. The director of Cuticle Detective Inaba is not one to do it.

Brynhildr in the Darkness

Why I don’t like it: Okay while it’s good that Arms is finally stepping away from doing these crappy fanservice shows, this one looks like a boring “boy meets supernatural girl with loads of mysteries”-story, without much more. The trailer has good music, but put the focus too much on bad action and a pointless swimsuit.

Mekaku City Actors

Why I don’t like it: Oh hey. Did you know that Shaft really likes NEET? Well, if you didn’t: here is another one! Obviously my Shaft-bias is working against this series, though granted it does look slightly better than their usual series. The show has promise if the right people were behind it, not Shaft.

La Corda D’Oro Blue Sky

Why I don’t like it: The first la Corda D’Oro was already incredibly contrived and so it really did not need a second season. For those who don’t know: it’s about this talentless girl who receives a magical violin that makes her able to play beautifully and make her compete with the top music students at her school. The same creators as the first season also seem to be behind this one.

Bokura wa Minna Kawaisou

Why I don’t like it: Brains Base doing romance again, but it doesn’t really look promising in any way. A generic premise without much to say about the different characters other than that they look boring, Apparently it’s from the people who adapted Blood Lad, so if you liked that one you might give it a chance.

Futsuu no Joshikousei ga Locodol

Why I don’t like it: The director of KissXsis doing a 4koma adaptation about two idol high school girls. Do I need to say more? Moving on.

Blade & Soul

Why I don’t like it: Gonzo doing another MMORPG adaptation. You know, if this was the old Gonzo then I would have been slightly interested, but this? This looks like your generic battle anime with silly powers and no substance. However, what is the director of Steins;Gate doing there? Maybe this could- no, wait. The trailer contained some really bad action so never mind.

Inu Neko Hour

Why I don’t like it: All 47 Japanese prefecutres…. as dogs. Okay, I thought that this would be a random catgirl show when I first saw the title. At least it’s creative. It’s in no way going to be a good series, but at least it’s creative.

Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei

Why I don’t like it: This series has this one line in its premise when I looked it up on ANN: “the young woman who feels far more for her brother than sibling love”. Yeah. It’s one of those shows. Beyond that, it’s a high school show about magic users, so yet again another really bland and boring premise.

Black Bullet

Why I don’t like it: Boring fighting show with a ridiculously complicated reasoning in order to try and explain why the fate of humanity rests on a bunch of teenagers. It fails. Great background art though.

Akuma no Riddle

Why I don’t like it: Another ridiculously stupid premise: there is a school, where one of the students is targetted by 12 assassins who all disguise themselves as random students. Lots of early warning signs, like loads of snarky characters and character-designs that look exactly the same aside from just some hair swapped around. Unfortunately it looks like just another battle show without much creativity.

Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii

Why I don’t like it: I think the best way to describe this one, is if you see it as the director of Fushigi Yuugi doing a similar series. The premise of a princess being sent off to a young king who somehow did a really good job at conquering at least has that same feeling. The premise does seem rather juvenile, though and I don’t have much hope for it.

Kanojo ga Flag o Oraretara

Why I don’t like it: The director of Space Brothers doing a crappy harem show. Well, so much for him then.

Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky

Why I don’t like it: The one thing that this series has going for it is that the people adapting it have more than a decade of experience. An RPG adaptation isn’t necessarily bad, if enough things work well. However, the central focus of this series seems to be fighting with alchemy. Boring! Been there, done that!

Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu ka?

Why I don’t like it: Kazuyuki Fudeyasu is working on this project, and he is a great writer who uses lots of emotion in his storytelling. If only the story he’s going to tell this time was a bit more than “a girl works at a cafe and cute girls drop by”. I mean have some variety at the very least: advertise with a diverse cast. Why does everyone have to be a cute girl on the promotional material? In this way everyone just looks like each other!

No Game, No Life

Why I don’t like it: OH MY GOD, THE EYE CANDY! Anyways, this one probably is the most interesting show in the list that I’m not interested in, it looks good, it’s got a very good director and adapter. I would have given it potential, if it wasn’t for a few red lights that I saw here. First of all, there’s the overabundance of cute girls. They try to hide it, but when you look at the trailer you see lots of shots just being cute girls demonstrating flashy powers. Been there, done that. The premise of this show is that all violence has been outlawed. That’s definitely not something that you can gather from the trailer. The whole premise of this show depends on the games that nations need to play in order to compete with each other. If you can make these games creative and inspired, then that would make a good series, but you don’t do that by focusing way too much on these flashy powers. That’s boring!

One Week Friends

Why I don’t like it: This show. It’s a cross between 50 First Dates and Kimi ni Todoke! It’s probably going to be the best school series on this list, but it lacks a bit of ambition if I have to be really honest here. You can make this work really well, but only if you really put in the effort, which I don’t think these creators will be able to.

Mangaka-san to Assistant-san to

Why I don’t like it: Yet another ridiculously complicated excuse to have two characters frisk up each other and just show some touching some boobs. I mean I’m not denying that some mangaka indeed draw inspiration from their girl/boyfriends for their sex scenes and all, but that doesn’t mean that you have to make an entire series about it. Here’s an idea: how about we make a series that’s about a guy and a girl, who are in a healthy relationship and are living together after about a year of dating? Outrageous right? You can show all the sex you want!

Kamigami no Asobi ~Ludere deorum~

Why I don’t like it: Ahem. Let me quote the premise for this series, because this is too priceless not to share: “Kusanagi Yui is ordered by Zeus, a god and the headmaster of a school he created, to teach the meaning of love to young and handsome gods. The reason he has for doing this is to cancel the negative effects of the weakening bond between the world of the divine and the world of the humans.” – This has got to be the most ridiculously far-fetched premise I have ever seen for a bishie series, and with stuff like Uta Prince already existing that has to say something!

Series I Am Looking Forward To

Fuun Ishin Dai Shogun

Summary: ” In the late Edo period, Japan had experienced an unprecedented crisis by Kurofune (Black Ships), the ships from foreign countries. But a giant robot called Onigami, which has existed since ancient time, dispelled the Kurofune ships and the exclusion of foreigners was accomplished. The story begins in Japan where Meiji restoration in 1868 didn’t happen.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: ACGT, JC Staff
Director: Takashi Watanabe
Script: Dai Sato

Impressions: This one looks like crap, and it probably will be. However I do want to put your attention to the two main people in charge, who are two of the biggest trolls walking around in the anime business. Takashi Watanabe, I know he is intelligent. Otherwise he could not have directed something as Boogiepop Phantom and Starship Operators. Most of the time though, he just acts like a complete idiot. Dai Sato goes the same: this guy is a really talented writer with a drive to create unique works of art, however has been known to sell out if he’s assigned on a project just to make money. It also doesn’t really help that the art for this one is horrible.

First-Glance Potential: 20%

Hitsugi no Chaika

Summary: ” Toru Acura is a 20-year-old retired soldier meandering through life now that the war has ended. He encounters Chaika Trabant, a 14-year-old sorceress carrying a coffin, and follows her in hopes of finding meaning to his life again. The two travel with Toru’s adopted sister, Akari, the employed member of the group and thus Toru’s source of income.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Bones
Director: Sochi Masui
Script: Touko Machida

Impressions: Yes, there is hope! This series can be seen as the spiritual successor to Scrapped Princess: it’s based on a novel by Scrapped Princess’ author and the director is also going to return. Now while I wasn’t the biggest fan of Scrapped Princess, I did appreciate what it was trying to do. It just could have been done better, so here’s to a second chance. The premise of focusing on a war veteran after a war has ended? That’s actually pretty nice. Simple, but you can do stuff with that. I do have to put a question mark to the promo art though: that puts the emphasis on fighting with magical powers. Don’t do that! Focus on the psychological aspect!

First-Glance Potential: 50%

Nanana’s Buried Treasure

Summary: ” original novel centers around the treasure of Nanana, a ghost who was once a beautiful but NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) girl. A boy named Jugo was disowned by his father and forced to transfer to a high school on the “Special Student Zone,” an artificial island. With only 40,000 yen (about US$400) a month to live on, Jugo chooses a low-rent apartment that happens to be haunted by Nanana. Jugo and members of the school’s adventure club join a “treasure hunt royale” on the island for the Nanana Collection, a treasure that possesses a mysterious power.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: A-1 Pictures
Director: Kanta Kamei
Script: Hideyuki Kurata

Impressions: Well, it IS a Noitamina about teenagers, and granted this does look very sketchy, there are other parts of the story that seem like they have ambition in them. For that I’m interested. Kanta Kamei is a solid director after what he has shown with Silver Spoon and Bunny Drop, and my inner mystery-fan might find this one interesting.

First-Glance Potential: 50%

Selector WIXOSS

Summary: “Hope, desire, greed. Girls with each of these feelings in their hearts are being swallowed into the vortex of a dangerous game…” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: JC Staff
Director: Takuya Sato
Script: Mari Okada

Impressions: Mari Okada again, this time accompanied by the director of Steins;Gate and JC Staff. This can work. The trailer looks quite impressive: it knows its atmosphere, and this seems to become quite a psychological series that ties these six girls together. I see potential here to become a very interesting series, and Mari Okada can actually go all-out psycho here. Note: a good story takes balance: you can’t just go psycho all the time and think you can get away with it.

First-Glance Potential: 80%

Knights of Sidonia

Summary: ” It’s been a thousand years since the Gauna, a strange alien race with no known method of communication, destroyed the solar system. A portion of humanity managed to escape using enormous “seed ships” like the Sidonia, which have allowed them to maintain the population while drifting through space. Nagate Tanikaze is a young man who has been raised deep in the bowels of the ship. When he goes into training to pilot the huge robotic weapons known as Gardes, Nagate is entrusted with piloting the legendary unit known as Tsugumori. Nagate and his fellow pilots put their lives on the line against the Gauna, in the ultimate battle for the survival of humanity.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: POLYGON PICTURES
Director: Kobun Shizuno
Script: Sadayuki Murai

Impressions: Sadayuki Murai is one of the best people at adapting stories currently in the business. He brilliantly adapted Mouryou no Hako, the final two seasons of Natsume Yuujinchou and Boogiepop Phantom for their anime format. This time it’s a manga written by the creator of Blame, which seems to be quite a famous manga, although I’ve never read it. It’s in full CG so the faces look a bit awkward, but the trailer has me intrigued and it looks very good. Just one thing: please let that girl do more than just hold the main character’s hand and get dragged along. If you do that then I’ll drop this show really quickly.

First-Glance Potential: 80%

Captain Earth

Summary: “One night right before summer vacation, Daichi Manatsu, a second-year in high school, sees a weird round rainbow floating in the sky above Seed Island (Shuushi/Tane Island) and ventures there alone. He has seen this rainbow before. With the memories of his father’s mysterious death and an encounter of a mysterious boy and girl, Daiji arrives on the island while the alarm of a building labeled “Earth Engine” is going off. Someone asks him if he’s a captain, just as robotic intruders from Uranus called “Kiltgang” arrive. The battle around the shining stars is about to begin.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Bones
Director: Takuya Igarashi
Script: Yoji Enokido

Impressions: Do you know what this is? This is the creators of Star Driver making another series! Basically, what this means is the following: this will be a mecha-series made by people who haven’t been into the genre, and therefore aren’t the most familiar with most of its conventions, as seen with the Galactic Pretty Boy. What has me most interested here is that there are some people involved who can deliver some really great series. Bones is very solid as an animation studio, Takuya Igarashi directed Ashita no Nadja, and Ouran High School Host Club (series that really stood out in their presentation), while Yoji Enokido wrote Revolutionary Girl Utena, Redline and parts of FLCL, and Rahxephon. Yes, there is talent here! One side-note though: the visuals are boring and standard. The robot and characters look generic.

First-Glance Potential: 85%

Ping Pong

Summary: “Tsukimoto Makoto (nicknamed Smile) is a quiet high-schooler who’s been friend with the loud and energetic Hoshino Yukata (nicknamed Peko). They’re both in the table tennis club and are very good at it, though Smile’s personnality enables him from winning against Peko. The club teacher however notices Smile’s talent and tries to make him gain some sportive tenacity.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Tatsunoko Production
Director: Masaaki Yuasa
Script: Taiyo Matsumoto

Impressions: I said before: at this point sports series have to bring something very impressive to the table. These are the people to do it. The guy who wrote Tekkon Kinkreet and Masaaki Yuasa. Two people who have an amazing eye of bringing people to life. That’s what a series like this needs. The premise is generic here, so they’re going to have to do something very special here to make it work. But if anyone can, they will. The trailer already showed signs of potential.

First-Glance Potential: 90%

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders

Summary: “” – (Taken from )
Produced by:
Director: Kenichi Suzuki, Naokatsu Tsuda
Script: Yasuko Kobayashi

Impressions: I remember how incredibly fun the first season of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure was. And the great thing is that every arc is significantly different, with different characters to do things with. This is the series you need to be at if you want over the top action, because it will deliver, and much, much more. It’s one of those series in which both the source material rocked, and the animation really managed to bring the characters alive. This will be chockful of adrenaline!

First-Glance Potential: 95%

Mushishi: Zoku-Shou

Summary: “They are neither plants nor animals. They differ from other forms of life such as the micro-organisms and the fungi. Instead they resemble the primeval body of life and are generally known as “Mushi”. Their existence and appearance are unknown to many and only a limited number of humans are aware of them. Ginko is a “Mushi-shi” who travels around to investigate and find out more about the “Mushi”. In the process, he also lends a helping hand to people who face problems with supernatural occurances which may be related to the “Mushi”.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Artland
Director: Hiroshi Nagahama
Script: Hiroshi Nagahama

Impressions: Well, what can really be said here? One of the best anime ever made, getting a second season in order to animate the rest of the manga chapters that the first season never got to, all by the same creators and the same director. Hiroshi Nagahama is a brilliant director who screws every possible convention in order to get the best out of his work, no matter what. There of course is the danger of expecting too much, so I’m not going to expect this to blow my mind. And I’ll try to get to the 1-Hour special as soon as possible.

First-Glance Potential: 100%
Posted on 25 November 2013 with categories: Seasonal Previews

This season. It feels like a spring or autumn season is coming. Perhaps not a big one, but I’m surprised by the amount of solid titles that are coming out. There are quite a number of series I’m looking out for, plus also a few that already have the potential to become the best of the year unless the competition really ramps it up. We’re in for an interesting season, that’s the least. Unfortunately, there also are a lot of really bland series coming up. It’s a season of extremes.

Wake Up Girls

Impressions: Here is one to probably steer away from: Yutaka Yamamoto, a guy who basically is just one big troll, is going to direct a movie. It’s about seven high school girls. Who become idols in order to save a production company. Yes, he actually came up with this. It’s not an adaptation. Out of all the possible plots that he could have picked, he picked one of the most generic ones. Heck, with Fractale he actually tried to show that he had some ambition.

Bayonetta: Bloody Fate

Impressions: This is going to be Gonzo’s new project, and it’s helmed by the director of Afro Samurai and the X-Men. What this basically means is that Bayonetta will be a movie about eye candy: throwing as much visual stuff at the screen and hope that the audience won’t be bored enough to realize that the storyline is pretty rubbish. It’s also got the screenplay from the guy who wrote the X-Men anime, which only reaffirms this.

Hunter X Hunter: Last Mission

Impressions: Here is the interesting thing about this movie: it’s going to be adapted by the guy who also adapted the 1999 version. Including the OVA, the part of the franchise that managed to receive the best and most heartful adaptation so far. That is very promising, because even though this guy isn’t perfect (he also was behind the much more lackluster Greed Island Arc that just felt lazily adapted), he knows how to do it, and how to bring the best out of the characters. Here’s to hoping that he can do it again. The director will be completely different though, so who knows where that’ll end up?

Amazing Twins

Impressions: Sato Junichi and Mari Okada. A combination between these two prolific creators was bound to happen someday, and it comes in the form of this quirky-looking OVA about some girls with superpowers. It looks out of the league for both of them, as this seems to be a pure action series, but that does provide opportunities. Both of them are ridiculously talented when they get something right, now the thing will be whether they can make this happen for this set of short OVAs as well.

Majocco Shimai no Yoyo to Nene

Impressions: Here is another one to look out for. Not just because of Ufo Table, but also because they put their best director on it: Takayuki Hirao. This guy screams alternative and he has guts to go where nobody else dares to go. He directed the fifth and best of the Kara no Kyoukai Movies, and was the only one who was deranged enough to try and animate a story by Junji Ito. His storytelling skills are sometimes a bit wonky and for that he will need good source material. But it looks like a nice and ambitious family movie.

Mouretsu Pirates

Impressions: Mouretsu Pirates was a bit of a weird series that got progressively better with every single arc thanks to some very good build-up. Tatsuo Sato is a great director and he will be both writing and directing this movie, which means that he has a lot of control about its content, and that’s very promising for a movie.

Buddha 2

Impressions: Buddha 1 was amazing. A brilliant adaptation of Osamu Tezuka‘s classic. So of course I’m looking forward to the continuation! The director is going to be different for this one, though: Toshiaki Komura, someone with less experience than the first one and who is mostly known for directing Precure series and awful fighting stuff like Kinnukuman and Ring ni Kakero. I hope that he has a good team to back him up, because a story like this deserves people who handle it with care.

Tiger & Bunny The Rising

Impressions: So yeah, a lot of people probably noticed that I’m not posting movie reviews anymore. I really want to pick up movies again, however I need to find a way to actually sit down and watch long stuff again. I’m currently battling my own laziness and concentration for it, because I still need to watch the first movie before checking this one out. And the second movie too has the brilliant director of Yoshitomo Yonetani behind it, who is a master of chaos.

Kaguya Hime Monogatari

Impressions: This is one of my top movies to watch out for this winter. It’s probably going to be Isao Takahata‘s last full movie ever. And for those who don’t know him: he’s the one who co-founded Ghibli with Hayao Miyazaki. Out of all of the directors I have ever witnessed in anime, he is by far the most realistic one. Nobody has ever been able to top his feeling of characters since the late sixties when he got his first directing jobs. It causes his movies to be very slow, but I’d still like to see his talents one more time.

Mushishi

Impressions: Talk has been going on for quite a while now that there would be more Mushishi, and with this it has finally be announced: a one-hour special on January 4th. Reuniting all of the past staff that gave us one of the most memorable series out there. However, I am disappointed a bit: I had secretly hoped an entire new television series: there seems to be enough manga material left for that. However, I guess that you can’t have everything. A one-hour special is awesome enough.

Upcoming TV-Series:

Saikin, Imouto no Yousu ga Chotto Okaishiin Da Ga.

Summary: ” In the romance comedy, a girl named Mitsuki Kanzaki lives with her step-brother Yuya after her mother remarries. One day, Mitsuki is possessed by the self-proclaimed spirit of a young girl, Hiyori Kotobuki. Hiyori (in Mitsuki’s body) must fall in love with Yuya to move towards the “Gates of Heaven.”” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: ?
Original creator: Mari Matsuzawa

Impressions: This has to be one of the most ridiculously stupid, insulting and contrived premises to try and make incest acceptable.

First-Glance Potential: 0%

Oneechan ga Kita

Summary: “The story revolves around Tomoya Mizuhara, a 13-year-old boy who suddenly gains a big sister when his father remarries. 17-year-old Ichika is a little strange, and her affection for Tomoya is rather overwhelming, if not scary. On top of things, Ichika’s friend Ruri is the ultimate sadist. Then there is Ichika’s big-breasted quarter-Japanese friend Marina.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: C2C
Director: Yoshihide Yuuzumi
Original creator: Rikou Anzai

Impressions: This will have 3-minute episodes, and it seems strangely like older-sister incest. Next.

First-Glance Potential: 0%

Maken-Ki Two

Summary: “Takeru Ohyama, a young normal yet perverted minded guy, got accepted and now goes to a school that, unknown to him, was where combat and magic is used. On the first day, he meets again after three years: Haruko Amaya, his childhood friend, Inaho Kushiya, a girl who says she’s his fiance, and Kodama Himegami, a blonde who wants to kill him. Finding out that there are many girls there that just don’t like him, he is told that everyone there uses a special magic ability while using an item or weapon called a Maken. Later, he finds that no Maken is acceptable for him and doesn’t know what to do, since in this school the students get into duels that showcase their magic and combat power, of which he seemingly has none.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Xebec
Director: Hiraku Kaneko
Series Composition: Yosuke Kuroda
Original creator: Hiromitsu Takeda

Impressions: Oh god, the director of Seikon no Qwaser and Xebec have found each other. Prepare for porn!

First-Glance Potential: 0%

No-Rin

Summary: “The story centers on the students at the Tamo Agricultural High School (Tamo Nourin Koukou, shortened to No-Rin). Kousaku Hata is a student there and is something of an idol otaku. The newest transfer student happens to be the super-popular idol Yuka Kusakabe who Kousaku adores. The school also has a childhood friend with a local dialect, a bishounen with glasses, a cute animal mascot, a girl with large breasts, a female teacher prone to flight of fancy, and more.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Silver Link
Director: Shin Oonuma
Series Composition: Michiko Yokote
Original creator: Shiratori Shirow

Impressions: Oh my god, Shin Oonuma is getting lazier and lazier. I mean, when you thought that he couldn’t go lower than with that Fate/Stay night ripoff, with this show they basically just putting up a sign saying “Otaku! Buy this!” I mean, can we please move away again from the idea that “big boobs” are a character trait?

First-Glance Potential: 0%

Wake Up Girls

Summary: “Green Leaves Entertainment is a tiny production company on the verge of going out of business in Sendai, the biggest city in Japan’s northeastern Tohoku region. The agency once managed the careers of magicians, photo idols, fortune-tellers, and other entertainers, but its last remaining client finally quit. In danger of having zero talent (literally), the president Tange hatches an idea of producing an idol group. On the brash president’s orders, the dissatisfied manager Matsuda heads out to scout raw talent. Matsuda makes a fateful encounter with a certain girl…” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Ordet
Director: Yutaka Yamamoto
Series Composition: Machida Touko
Original creator: Yutaka Yamamoto

Impressions: I’ve talked about this one above: Yutaka Yamamoto could have picked any premise he would have liked (he has the ego to get away with things, we know that), and he goes for a generic idol series with seven cute girls. Yay for originality!

First-Glance Potential: 0%

Nisekoi

Summary: “Nisekoi follows high school student Raku Ichijou, the son of a leader in the yakuza faction Shuei-Gumi, and Chitoge Kirisaki, the daughter of a boss in a rival gang known as Beehive. They unexpectedly meet when Chitoge hops a wall and knees Raku in the face. After she runs off, Raku realizes he has lost his pendant which was given to him by his childhood sweetheart with whom he made a secret promise. After discovering Chitoge is a new transfer student in his class, he forces her to help him look for the pendant. During the search, they begin to dislike each other.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Shaft
Director: Akiyuki Shinbo
Original creator: Naoshi Komi

Impressions: So many red flags going up here, it’s ridiculous. Right after finishing the Monogatari series Shinbo is immediately going to continue with another series. It’s a romance series, adapted from Shounen Jump, meaning that there is no way in hell that they’re going to be able to stuff the entire series into just 13 episodes, and it’ll probably drag out as hell due to the weekly format of that magazine. Also: “during their search they begin to dislike each other”… yeah right.

First-Glance Potential: 0%

Robot Girls Z

Summary: ” Robot Girls Z focuses on three high school girls: Z-chan (based on Mazinger Z), Gre-chan (based on Great Mazinger), and Grenda-san (based on Grendizer). The group forms the Robot Girls Z unit in Nerima Ward Oizumi Academy’s Photon Power District in Photon Power Town that promotes Photonic Energy as the future energy source and fight the evil Baron Ashura and her Mechanical Beasts Girls Garada-chan and Doublas-chan who seek to use Photonic Energy for their nefarious purposes.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Toei Animation
Director: Hiroshi Ikehata
Series Composition: Kzuho Hyodo

Impressions: This one seems like Toei’s lesser department doing another series, because it completely lacks any sort of creativity whatsoever. It’s just another series that turns things into cute girls, only this time it’s classic robot series. This is not how you do a homage! This is just blatant ass-kissing. You’re putting these girls at places they totally don’t belong! The director and series composition are both really meh: both people who seem lazy and not really inspired to make something good out of this one.

First-Glance Potential: 0%

Go! Go! 575

Summary: “The anime ties into Project 575, which lets anyone create songs using the traditional Japanese 5-7-5-syllable meter found in haiku and tanka poems.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: SEGA

Impressions: I’m thinking: how on earth can they make this work? No staff has been announced yet, but even then: it’s two characters who read Haiku. Who on earth can make an enjoyable series that lasts an entire season out of that?

First-Glance Potential: 0%

Chuuninbyou Demo Koi ga Shitai II

Summary: “High school freshman Yuuta Togashi was once a “chuunibyou patient” i.e. an overly self-conscious middle schooler. He wants to bury this embarrassing past and begins a new life in high school—unsuccessfully. His classmate Rikka Takanashi, a “current” chuunibyou patient, has found traces of residual symptoms on him and used the fact to force Togashi “making a contract” with her.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Kyoto Animation
Director: Tatsuya Ishihara
Series Composition: Jukki Hanada
Original creator: Torako

Impressions: I’ve ranted about Kyoto Animation before, but let me quickly explain why I dropped Chuuninbyou quite early: all of their characters look the same! They always keep relying on the same archetypes and gags over and over, and even when you think that they’re going to try something different, the first episode airs and they find some way to make their characters look way too much like their previous iterations. I’m of course not denying that things can get better later on, but the question is: do I want to pain myself sitting through the same characters over and over again? Right now my answer to that is no.

First-Glance Potential: 0%

Magical Warfare

Summary: “In this modern magic action story, Takeshi Nanase is an ordinary high school boy who has a somewhat dark past. Due to certain circumstances, he formed a “fake” couple with his childhood friend Kurumi Isoshima, but otherwise, he lives a normal life. However, one day, he comes across a girl named Mui Aiba, in a uniform he has never seen before, collapsed on the school campus. This encounter changes Takeshi’s destiny completely. Mui tells Takeshi that she is a magician, and she apologizes, for she turned Takeshi into a magician, too. What Takeshi once knew as one world is actually two — the world where magicians live and the world where humans live.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Madhouse
Director: Yuzo Sato
Series Composition: Kazuyuki Fudeyasu
Original creator: Hisashi Suzuki

Impressions: Another boring premise with silly promo art that fails to stand out whatsoever. It’s a light novel adaptation, which raises even more red flags. The only bright point is that the staff behind this one is quite good: the director of Kaiji, Agaki and One Outs (but also Iron Man) and the series composition of Hajime no Ippo (but also Kampfer and Kamen no Maid Guy). And those negative examples are unfortunately what I’m fearing here: yes these guys have adapted some wonderful stuff. But they made that with great premises. Not bland and boring crap like this.

First-Glance Potential: 10%

Super Sonico the Animation

Summary: “Super Sonico is the mascot girl of the “Nitro Super Sonic” events held by Nitroplus. In her back story, she is already a photoshoot model, game character, and a musician, even as she studies as a college student. She is also part of a three-piece girl band named “Daiichi Uchū Sokudo” (Fastest Speed in Space) as the vocalist and guitarist.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: White Fox
Director: Keiichi Kawamura
Series Composition: Yosuke Kuroda

Impressions: This one has me puzzled: so it’s a mascot of Nitro+, and it’s getting its own anime. If it’s going to be good, then it’s probably the first of its kind to actually deliver, because the potential for failure is incredibly high here. The problem is corporate: of course she’s a mascot so you can’t make her look bad or anything, she needs to be constantly appealing and you can’t do anything risky with her because it might lead to bad views about Nitro+. The creators behind it aren’t that bad or anything, but I really doubt that they can do anything with this.

First-Glance Potential: 20%

Hamatora

Summary: “The story revolves around “Minimum” or “minor miracle”— special hereditary powers discovered only in an extremely limited number of humans. Those who possess such powers are known as “Minimum Holders.” Partners Nice and Murasaki form a detective agency called “Hamatora” in Yokohama in 2014 — but their “office” is a table at Cafe Nowhere where they and their friends wait for clients. An old acquaintance of theirs, a cop named Art, hires them for a serial murder case he is investigating, and they discover that the murder victims are all “Minimum Holders.” As Minimum Holders themselves, Nice and Murasaki are drawn into this case, whether they like it or not.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: ?
Director: Seiji Kishi
Series Composition: Yukinori Kitajima

Impressions: When the page loaded and I could only see a few vague hints, I could already tell immediately that this would be Seiji Kishi’s new series. It’s painfully obvious, and usually when you can recognize a director’s personal style, it’s good. With him though, I see him blatantly recycling some of the ideas he used in Daganronpa and Devil Survivor. I mean come on: over the past year he has done three series and one movie. This guy is overworked and needs to stop right now. The worst thing is that the premises of his series aren’t that bad. It’s just the execution that keeps on getting worse.

First-Glance Potential: 20%

Neppu Kairiku Bushi Road

Summary: “An asteroid collision brought with is a deadly menace known as “Shinbo.” Faced with destruction, humanity retreated to land reclaimed from the sea. The one ray of hope is a device that can fight the Shinbo called “The Mechanical Divine General.” Ame, the princess of the refugees, and Sutou, who carries the blood of the Yagyu family, must awaken its power in order to save the world.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Kinema Citrus
Director: Masayuki Sakoi
Series Composition: Norimitsu Kaihou
Original creator: Sunao Yoshida

Impressions: It’s probably a coincidence, but I love how they decided to call the deadly menace that destroys humanity Shinbo (hey, it’s not my idea!) – But yeah, the plot here is pretty generic and pretty stupid (a princess of refugees seems very much like a silly attempt to make that character more special than what she actually is). The director of Needless and Maid Guy also makes me fear about whether this show will be more than cheap entertainment.

First-Glance Potential: 20%

Mikakunin de Shinkoukei

Summary: “The comedy revolves around Kobeni Yonomori, who on her 16th birthday suddenly has a young man with little presence named Hakuya Mitsumine and his younger sister Mashiro appear in front of her. It turns out that Hakuya is her fiancé, and Mashiro is her future sister-in-law. The three (and Konbeni’s older sister Benio) start living together underneath the same roof, and hilarious happenings occur.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Dogakobo
Director: Yoshiyuki Fujiwara
Series Composition: Fumihiko Shimo
Original creator: Cherry Arai

Impressions: This one seems like the standard premise for a sitcom, and nothing more. So slice of life that depends on the antics of three characters, and possibly a lot of cuteness. I personally don’t think that it will work. Perhaps one episode will be nice, but it won’t have enough material for 13 episodes. Unless you like the 4-koma adaptation genre, I see this one as instantly forgettable.

First-Glance Potential: 20%

Nobunagun

Summary: “Shio Ogura is a Japanese high school student, who is visiting Taiwan on a school trip when she is suddenly attacked by monsters. Agents known as “E-Gene Holders” from the government agency DOGOO also arrive, who wield weapons infused with the spirits of historical figures. Shio is revealed to also be an E-Gene Holder when the soul of Oda Nobunaga awakens after she tries to rescue a friend.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Bridge
Director: Nobuhiro Kondo
Series Composition: Hiroshi Yamaguchi
Original creator: Masato Hisa

Impressions: When I first saw the promo material, my reaction was that it was a really artsy project that probably would rely a lot on being cool. Then I read the premise and this show lost all of the hope that I had for it. The plot of this show is one that I hope will die out very soon, because it really is a dead horse at this point. And as for the staff behind it… Nobuhiro Kondo previously directed Kekkou Kamen and Keroro Gunsou… two series that I haven’t seen before, but I doubt whether that kind of experience can really make something good out of this series. Hiroshi Yamaguchi though… this guy is a good writer when he wants to be. He really needs to try though, in order to make something workable out of a bad premise like this.

First-Glance Potential: 20%

Sakura Trick

Summary: “The story revolves around Haruka and Yuu, two girls who go to a high school that is slated to be shut down in three years. To share “something special” between them, they share a kiss, and their relationship deepens from that moment onward.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Studio Deen
Director: Kenichi Ishikura
Original creator: Tachi

Impressions: Kenichi Ishikura is an episode director who previously worked at Shaft, and then went on to direct the umpth Da Capo series (which was really forgettable). But yeah, we have a lesbian romance series, which unfortunately still remains a series about a bunch of high school girls who all look the same, stuffed together. I like yuri, but I like it because of how good the stories of yuri-series on average tend to be. But I’m not sure whether just the addition of romance will be enough to lift this bland premise up from mediocrity.

First-Glance Potential: 30%

Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha

Summary: “The story revolves around Inari Fushimi, a shy, not-so-bright middle school girl living in Kyoto’s Fushimi ward. She has a crush on her classmate Tanbabashi, but cannot express her feelings. One day, as thanks for helping a fox pup, the deity Ukanomitamanokami grants her the ability to change her form.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Production IMS
Director: Toru Takahashi
Series Composition: Machida Touko
Original creator: Morohe Yoshida

Impressions: I’m on the fence about this one. The thing is that it’s a romance series that has the potential when done the right way. It also seems to want to take itself seriously. And it does have the director of Otona Joshi no Anime Time I. However it is a manga adaptation, and Machida Touko isn’t really good at adapting things. With that, I really fear that this will end up as a generic romance show that ends inconclusively and doesn’t go anywhere.

First-Glance Potential: 40%

Wizard Barristers: Benmashi Cecil

Summary: “The show takes place in Tokyo in 2018, where normal humans and those who can use magic coexist. As a result, there are laws against using magic, and a “magic courtroom” exists to preside over lawsuits regarding magic use. In these cases, “Benmashi” or wizard barristers defend those who use magic. The anime follows Cecil, the youngest Benmashi in history, and her associates as they defend clients in these cases.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Arms
Director: Yasuomi Umetsu
Series Composition: Yasuomi Umetsu
Original creator: Yasuomi Umetsu

Impressions: Okay, and the biggest WTF of the season in terms of staff is going to this series. Yasuomi Umetsu, the guy who is currently doing a pretty bad job with Galilei Donna, is going to follow it up IMMEDIATELY with a new series. Animated by Arms of all things, the single worst major production company out there. I… have no idea what he’s doing. He’s again going to write it from scratch and direct it at the same time. What puzzles me is how he got away with it, and why on earth he’s not doing a better job if he’s got so much ambition. I mean, this is not something you do normally in order to get a paycheck: he really needs to have wanted to do this in order to suddenly come out of nowhere with two completely original series. Why did Galilei Donna have such bad writing then? And if it’s apparently so easy to just get yourself an original series, why aren’t more people doing it?

First-Glance Potential: 40%

Witch Craft Works

Summary: “Honoka Takamiya is perfectly content with living his quiet life as an average high school junior. The only disruptions to his mundane daily routine all seem to stem from unexpected encounters with his school’s super-popular student idol, Ayaka Kagari, the talented, phlegmatic, and gorgeous daughter of the school board chairman. To his dismay, Takamiya’s classroom seat turns out to be right next to Kagari-san, thus he suffers jostling, harassment, and even a beating from her inescapable crowd of jealous fans. As if this isn’t bad enough, Takamiya’s world–as well as a portion of his school–suddenly collapses around him, and he is twice lured into bizarre and fantastic deathtraps. Astonished at his own survival, Takamiya learns that his rescue is thanks to the cool head–and fire power–of a witch… named Ayaka Kagari. From then on, Honoka quickly discovers, with Ayaka’s devoted help, that neither his school, nor the people he thought he knew, nor even he himself are in any way normal.” – (Taken from )
Produced by: JC Staff
Director: Tsutomu Mizushima
Series Composition: Tsutomu Mizushima
Original creator: Ryuu Mizunagi

Impressions: Tsutomu Mizushima’s biggest problem is that he’s overworked: he doesn’t take his time for his series, despite being a really good director. Thankfully there has been some time since Yondemasuyo, Azazel-san, but I wonder whether it is enough. I mean, he needs to be really sharp again in order to make this premise consistently funny for an entire season, because it’s a school magic series. A very overcrowded genre, especially when it’s about this helpless male being escorted and protected by a cool and powerful female. What can they do to make this fresh? For one, the chemistry between the main couple NEEDS to be good. If it’s even remotely bland, then this show has no chance to remain interesting.

First-Glance Potential: 50%

Sekai Seifuku ~ Bouryaku no Zvezda

Summary: “?”
Produced by: A-1 Pictures
Director: Tensai Okamura
Series Composition: Tensai Okamura, Meteo Hoshizora

Impressions: Tensai Okamura is coming with a new original series, combined with A-1. That sounds great, doesn’t it? Well, the thing with him is that he’s a hit or miss director, but when he hits, he really hits hard with stuff like Darker than Black and Stink Bomb, but he has also written series that… didn’t really go anywhere. I really want to like this one… but just look at the promo art. Obviously there is THAT outfit, but I have another issue with it: EVERYONE is trying to make some quirky facial expression. That to me, is a sign of trying too hard. Adding too much of one spice while not caring about the rest.

First-Glance Potential: 70%

Noragami

Summary: “At the boundary between this realm and another, there live eight million gods, dead spirits who serve the gods, and other assorted spirits who help and meddle in the affairs of humans. A sweet middle school girl named Hiyori Iki has been enduring bullying from her classmates, and she goes to the restroom by herself to cry. Scrawled on the bathroom wall is a phone number and the message, “I solve your troubles.” After Hiyori calls the number, she encounters a homeless, unemployed figure who proclaims himself a “god.” Crude, unpredictable, and worthless, he does not answer people’s prayers and no one acknowledges him. However, he has one sole power, the ability to cut all who pass between this world and the next.” – (Taken from )
Produced by: Bones
Director: Kotaro Tamura
Series Composition: Deko Akao
Original creator: Adachitoka

Impressions: This one looks like it might actually be quite interesting to watch if it’s handled well. Of course, it is an adaptation, and to me this sounds like a story that will have a hard time fitting into its time-frame. Deko Akao is quite a flawed writer. However, the director seems to be a young talent who has been running around Bones, and with this he’s getting his first chance to direct a full series. The website for this really screams that budget has been put into it. So yeah Deko Akao, don’t be lazy this time: give this story the attention it deserves. Use your head and think.

First-Glance Potential: 70%

Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta

Summary: “The story of love and aerial combat follows a former prince who lost everything to a revolution, and a girl who became the symbol for the revolution. The orphaned prince, now renamed Karueru, embarks on a one-way journey to discover the ends of the heavens. Aboard the levitating island of Isura, he meets a girl named Claire. This is a tale of a prince who lost everything leaves for a journey with no guarantee of returning to his hometown safely. With hatred and revenge in his mind, he met several people that taught him about friendship…and love.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: TMS Entertainment
Director: Toshimasa Suzuki
Series Composition: Shinichi Inotsume
Original creator: Koroku Inumara

Impressions: Remember Toaru Hikuushi e no Tsuioku about a fighter pilot who has to escort a princess? Well, the author wrote more novels, and this time we’re getting a TV-series about it. I’m fine with that: planes and fighter pilots are a pretty interesting topic to make a series about, and with this we have a bit more time to delve into the characters and the setting than just one movie. The director of Heroic Age and Rinne no Lagrange seems solid, as long as he won’t have to write his own story, but he knows his characterization at least. Shinichi Inotsune has adapted a variety of series, including good ones like Ristorante Paradiso. This has potential to work out.

First-Glance Potential: 80%

Nobunaga the Fool

Summary: “The Western Planet and the Eastern Planet. Once upon a time, the two sides were bound by the “Dragon Pulse” spanning the heavens. The civilization that once had prospered has now turned to a tale of dreams, as the inextinguishable flames of war tear the realm asunder. The two planets remain engulfed in endless battles. The return of the super technology known as “sacred treasures” could revolutionize the world order, but no one knows of them but one person — a “heretical girl.” A girl from the Western Planet, Jeanne Kaguya d’Arc, saw heavenly visions of the birth of a “Star Messiah” who will save the world. She embarks on a journey to the Eastern Planet with Leonardo da Vinci, “the one who observes the world.” They come across the heretic of the Eastern Planet and “the greatest fool of the day,” Oda Nobunaga.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Satelight
Director: Eiichi Sato
Series Composition: Shoji Kawamori
Original creator: Shoji Kawamori

Impressions: Nobunaga… oh god not another one, please let this guy rest for onc.. HOLY CRAP THAT LOOKS AWESOME. I mean, this show. This is what he needed, because it dares to do something new with the guy. This is the kind of premise that is so ridiculously stupid that it might actually work, and Shoji Kawamori, who is strangely writing a series for once, rather than sitting at the position of chief director, is one of the people crazy enough to actually make it work. His ego will make sure that no idea is too crazy. And combined with that we have the director of Kiss Dum, which will make this an entire trainwreck. But it will be glorious!

First-Glance Potential: 80%

Houzuki no Reitetsu

Summary: “Houzuki is the aide to the great king of Hell, King Enma. Calm and super-sadistic, Houzuki tries to resolve the various problems in Hell, including a rampaging Momotarou and his companions. However, he also likes spending his free time on his hobbies, such as fawning over cute animals and raising “Goldfish Flowers.”” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Studio Wit
Director: Hiro Kaburaki
Series Composition: Midori Gotou
Original creator: Natsumi Eguchi

Impressions: Wit Studio seems to be split off from Production IG, and it looks like they took a lot of talent with them, and they actually came with quite an interesting premise to animate again, this time without Production IG at their side. It’s a premise that dares to be different. It’s an adaptation, but it’s the kind of adaptation that I can see would fit within an anime timeslot. It’s got a solid director who knows how to shoot stuff, and the writer wrote for a chunk of good series that Production IG did back in the days, so these people can pull it off. Now all that’s left is to hope that the manga this is based on is good.

First-Glance Potential: 85%

Silver Spoon Second Season

Summary: “Yuugo Hachiken decided to escape from the stressful school and home environment in the city by enrolling at Ouezo Agricultural High School. Unlike his peers who’ll eventually embark upon an agricultural career, he decides to study there only because he believes it’ll be less competitive academically. Unfamiliar with his new surroundings, he tries his best to adapt to the agricultural world he had never thought of living in.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: A-1 Production
Original creator: Hiromu Arakawa

Impressions: Noitamina next season will rock, with the second halves of both Samurai Flamenco and Silver Spoon. Silver Spoon is a series that takes a very honest, yet also silly and endearing, look at farming, and the first episode was very effective at that. Like full metal alchemist, everything was calculated and let’s hope that the second season will be as enjoyable.

First-Glance Potential: 85%

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 )
Produced by: Studio Deen
Director: Tomomi Mochizuki
Original creator: Sayaka Mogi

Impressions: Okay, so it got delayed one season. That still doesn’t change that I’m looking forward what is promising to be the first good show with incest in a long, long while. Tomomi Mochizuki is one of the best directors that Deen could have gotten, and it’s great to see him in the director’s chair again, and if that means a few delays in order to get things just right, then I’m willing to wait. I’m really looking forward to how disturbing they can make this one.

First-Glance Potential: 100%

Space Dandy

Summary: ” The story follows Dandy, an alien hunter who is “a dandy guy in the space”, in search for aliens with his robot assistant QT and a cat alien named Meow.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Bones
Chief Director: Shinichiro Watanabe
Director: Shingo Natsume
Script: Dai Sato, Keiko Nobumoto

Impressions: Space Dandy isn’t just awesome because it’s helmed by Shinichiro Watanabe. No, it also reunites parts of the Cowboy Bebop writing staff: Dai Sato and Keiko Nobumoto. The three brains behind one of the most solidly executed and celebrated anime ever are finally coming together again to make something new, and let’s see what 15 years of extra experience has brought to them. This will be their big chance to come with something big again. They’ve got 26 episodes, they’ve got the talents of the animators of Bones behind them. The character-designer behind Cowboy Bebop, and I can already see a ton of different musical artists who will be behind the soundtrack. This will be big.

First-Glance Potential: 100%
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 20 May 2013 with categories: Seasonal Previews

Movies and OVAs to watch out for:
Here is an upcoming list of the movies and OVAs coming out that I deem noteworthy (I basically left out the kiddie movies, or the ones based on franchises that I don’t care about). And really: there are some big names coming up! Lots of great stuff is about to arrive here.

Ark IX

Impressions: This is a single OVA that will come out, as the promotional material of a new light novel series. It’s set in this post apocalyptic world, and the main character is a detective, so I’m smelling a good mystery series here. The problem is obviously that they’re never going to fit all that into just one episode, so let’s hope that this will just be a successful pilot.

Mirai Nikki Redial

Impressions: Mirai Nikki will be getting a new OVA. The interesting thing seems to be that it’s going to be completely anime original, penned by the manga artist. It’s meant to take place after the events of the series, and probably will be some sort of epilogue. But considering how the series ended, I see potential here.

Yozakura Quartet – Tsuki no Naku

Impressions: Hell yeah! Yozakura will not only be getting new OVAs, but sometime in the future there will also be a TV-series, with Ryo-Chimo behind the direction. Prepare for some awesome animation and fantastic direction, combined with lots of fun and interesting characters!

The Garden of Words

Impressions: The Garden of Words is Makoto Shinkai, and based on its trailer, it definitely oozes his style, while at the same time showing how he’s trying to branch out as a director. With Hoshi wo Ou Kodomo this was more towards Ghibli, but this one seems totally different. The one thing that caught my attention was that the acting was much stronger and less subtle than his early works. Let’s see what effect that has on his style.

Hal

Impressions: The premise for this movie sounds AWESOME: it’s a science fiction premise about a girl whose boyfriend dies. A robot named HAL then takes his place for her in order to ease her grief. It’s made by Wit Studio (the guys who are currently also doing Shingeki no Kyojin), and both the director and scriptwriter are rather new. However, remember that one episode of Fractale, that looked absolutely amazing and was nothing like the rest of that series? Yes, the guy behind that will direct this movie. He also worked on some stunning episodes of Kaiba and Yojou-han among others.

Ghost in the Shell Arise

Impressions: Ghost in the Shell Arise is the third installment of Ghost in the Shell with completely different staff members. And the creators are really going to have to fill some of the biggest shoes imaginable: those of Mamoru Oshii and Kenji Kamiyama, pretty much the best two directors walking around in Production IG. Tow Ubukata writing it will help a lot, because this guy has a very good sense of creativity when it comes to science fiction. The chief director is a character-designer, which will probably make for some really good visuals, and the director for the first OVA will be the director of Gilgamesh and Shikabane Hime, which means a really solid atmosphere. The ingredients are definitely there to make something awesome!

Kara no Kyoukai – Mirai Fukuin

Impressions: Since Kara no Kyoukai was such a big success, I’m not surprised that the creators are trying to animate more of it. Normally I would call this milking out a cow, but the previous OVA that was made completely sold me due to how daring it was. It did not try to copy the movies, but instead had its own direction, based on a concept that many thought would make an incredibly boring animation, and I hope that this new OVA will also again go into its own direction.

Kaze Tachinu

Impressions: Hayao Miyazaki’s latest film. Seriously, how old is this guy already? And he’s still making movies? I really admire his dedication, even though he’s not as fast as he used to be. Again, he does the direction here, the script, and it’s based on an original story written by himself. At this point, Hayao really can do anything he wants, really; he can even hire Hideaki Anno to voice the main character (yeah).

Short Peace

Impressions: I love these types of movies: the ones that consist out of multiple shorter films, all made by different creators with their own styles. Katsuhiro Otomo (yeah, the Akira guy) is overseeing everything, and this time the stories are based on some of his works, but he grabbed himself a wide variety of different talents with widely different styles.

TV-Series
Well, we’ve got ourselves a first: for the first time in more than a decade, the summer season is actually bigger in terms of quantity than its preluding spring season. I actually have more series to look forward to than what I did with the past spring season. The big downside to this season: too many sequels. Now, whether there are series that have the potential to top Aku no Hana and Shingeki no Kyojin… the potential is there, but to be honest I don’t see it as likely.

Brothers Conflict

Summary: ” The original project centers around a girl who suddenly gets 11 brothers — from 32 years old down to 11 years old — when her father remarries. She joins the Asahina family under one roof at the Sunrise Residence complex.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Brains Base
Director: Jun Matsumoto
Series Composition: Natsuko Takahashi
Original creator: Atsuko Kanase
Character Designer: Kumi Ishii

Impressions: This is the male version of Sister Princess!

First-Glance Potential: 0%

High School DXD

Summary: “The story follows Issei Hyōdō, a dim-witted, lecherous second-year high school student who is killed by a girl on his first date ever. Issei is reincarnated as a devil, and from that day forward, he serves as an underling of Riasu, a high-level devil who is also the prettiest girl on Issei’s campus.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: TNK
Director: Tetsuya Yanagisawa
Series Composition: Takao Yoshioka
Original creator: Ichiei Ishibumi
Character Designer: Junji Goto

Impressions: Yeah, blahblah boobs, blahblah. The first season was already just about boobs and bad humour, I see no improvement whatsoever here.
Trailer Impressions: This trailer can be summarized as follows: “Boob boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs”. This show is about boobs, if I hadn’t made this clear yet.

First-Glance Potential: 0%

Ro Kyu Bu SS

Summary: “Subaru Hasegawa is a high school freshman, he joins the basketball team but soon finds out the team is inactive because the captain is being suspected as a lolicon. He miraculously is entangled with the job of being the coach of an elementary school’s basketball team. With these girls and their love for basketball Subaru can only take them so far.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Sanzigen (?)
Director: ?
Series Composition: ?
Original creator: ?
Character Designer: ?

Impressions: I found Ro Kyu Bu to be really bad and misguided, therefore I’m not at all glad that it’s gotten a second season. I watched for long enough to see what point it tried to make: pushing little girls into this competitive game in order to keep their status quo, even though they just want to randomly goof off. The thing is, that it wasn’t handled well at all. Why did the elemantary schoolers have to dress up as maids. Why was there so much fanservice. And who was crazy enough to think of this set-up in the first place? This could have had potential, but the creators just turned it into otaku-bait, which makes it all the more weird because we’re talking about kids who are not even teenagers here.

First-Glance Potential: 0%

Love Lab

Summary: “The comedy manga revolves around the girls at the elite Fujisaki Girls’ Middle School, which has tsundere (initially aloof and abrasive, but later kind-hearted), meganekko (eyeglasses-wearing girl), and other kinds of students.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Dogakobo
Director: Masahiko Outa
Series Composition: Takashi Aoshima
Original creator: Ruri Miyahara
Character Designer: Chiaki Nakajima

Impressions: I really dislike how the premise introduces the characters in this series. It just labels them as stereotypes right from the start. It’s as if they’re not going to even bother with any kind of characterization or something. But then again, it’s a 4koma so I’m not sure how much we can expect from this. It does have the team of Mitsudomoe behind it, so let’s hope that they can add some humour to this. They have it, although Yuruyuri showed that they don’t always show this.
Trailer Impressions: Really, really generic.

First-Glance Potential: 0%

Futari wa Milky Holmes

Summary: “A bunch of detective mahou shoujo along with their male guardian solve crimes.” – (Taken from )
Produced by: JC Staff
Director: Hiroshi Nishikiori
Series Composition: Hideki Shirane
Character Designer: Mariko Fujita

Impressions: No! No! No! No! Here is the thing with Milky Holmes: the first two seasons were awesome. Why? It was a parody. The creators realized what a hopeless premise they had and just tore it apart with a ton of random nonsense and craziness. It was glorious. However, afterwards, for some bizarre reason, the Alternative OVAs appeared, in which they actually played the concept straight. It was bad. Really bad. Very generic mahou shoujo fare. The first two series also completely removed the male main character, and these two ovas also showed why: this guy is completely generic and pointless! This is a classic example of a corporate milking taking over a good franchise.

First-Glance Potential: 0%

Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Ilya

Summary: “This spinoff re-imagines the Fate/stay night character Illyasviel von Einzbern in an alternate universe as a magical girl” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Silver Link
Chief Director: Takashi Sakamoto
Director: Shin Oonuma
Series Composition: Keni Inoue
Original Creator: Type-Moon
Character Designer: Nozomi Ushijima

Impressions: This really feels like a blatant cash-in on the Fate/Stay Night fandom.Just stuff the girls there into mahou shoujo outfits and you have a series. I really have no faith in the creators here, because it’s typical Silver Link with really bad humour, and many of their staple people involved.
Trailer Impressions: So yeah… they go to school… and I’m still not impressed.

First-Glance Potential: 0%

Senki Zesshou Symphogear G

Summary: “Two years ago, a pair of idols, Tsubasa Kazanari and Kanade Amō, collectively known as ZweiWing, fought against an alien race known as Noise using armor known as Symphogear. To protect a girl named Hibiki Tachibana, who got severely wounded by the Noise, Kanade sacrificed herself. Two years later, as Tsubasa has fought the Noise alone, Hibiki ends up gaining the same power as Kanade.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Satelight
Director: Katsumi Ono
Series Composition: Akifumi Kaneko
Original creator: Noriyasu Agematsu, Akifumi Kaneko
Character Designer: Satoru Fujimoto

Impressions: How on earth did this thing get a second season? I have no clue what Satelight saw in the disaster that was the first Symphogear, but ah well. A big plus is that this series actually has a competent director. They switched in the director of Hataraki man and Yugioh 5D’s here. Let’s hope that it will be at least… bearable with this…
Trailer Impressions:

First-Glance Potential: 10%

Monogatari Second Season

Summary: “Although there are still traces of the brief period he became a vampire, third-year high school student Koyomi Araragi is human again. He happens upon others with their own supernatural problems and finds that he can empathize. Koyomi becomes involved in their lives, seeking to help them and occasionally asking for advice from Meme Oshino, the homeless man who helped him become human again.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Shaft
Director: Akiyuki Shinbou
Series Composition: Fuyashi Tou
Original creator: NisiOisin
Character Designer: Akio Watanabe

Impressions: The monogatari series has its moments. Unfortunately, I have gotten tired of it. I do not want to watch these moment if it means having to force myself sitting through hours of talking about nothing, or Shaft just repeating themselves yet again. Wake me up when they try to do something new again…
Trailer Impressions: The trailer is small and all, and there was no actual animation, but it did reinforce my opinion: with all the lines I could have sworn that I heard them before. This trailer said nothing about what would be new or different.

First-Glance Potential: 10%

Kitakubu Katsudou Kiroku

Summary: “”Kitakubu” (literally, “go-home club”) is Japanese slang for kids who go home instead of joining clubs, sports, or other afterschool activities. In one high school, there is a real “Kitakubu” of girls who do whatever they like. The president is a free spirit named Sakura, while Botan is the combative heir to a school of ancient martial arts. Claire happens to be the daughter of the head of the powerful Kokonoe conglomerate. Natsuki joins the club at the invitation of another freshman, Karin, but she is unprepared for the hijinks there.” – (Taken from SNN)
Produced by: Nomad
Director: Hikaru Sato
Series Composition: Go Zappa
Original creator: Kuroha
Character Designer: Takahiro Sasaki

Impressions: Oh goodies, another series about a club of high schoolers doing nothing. I can see that they really flexed their creative muscles for this one. Go Zappa is a bad writer to start with, so it’s going to depend on Nomad and Hikaru Sato and the original source material to make up for that. I mean, it’s definitely possible and all. But by these guys?

First-Glance Potential: 20%

The World God Only Knows: Goddesses Arc

Summary: “Dating sim master Keima Katsuragi wants nothing more than to immerse himself in the 2D world, chasing digital girlfriends. But when the so-called “Capturing God” answers a mysterious email from an unknown sender, Keima finds himself chasing down real-life ladies in an attempt to help the peppy demon Elsie de Lute Irma capture “lost souls” escaped from the depths of hell. Now, lest the explosive collar around his neck detonate, Keima must convince various girls to fall in love with him in order to scare out the souls hiding in their hearts.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Manglobe
Director: Shigehito Takayanagi
Series Composition: Hideyuki Kurata
Original creator: Tamiki Wakaki
Character Designer: Akio Watanabe

Impressions: I was hoping that in the meantime, the staff has changed or something, in order to give people with a better sense of pacing a shot at this series, But unfortunately not. This series definitely holds potential, but these guys just managed to suck all energy from it. All sense of good characterization was just lost with shallow romance and some really annoying main characters, and I don’t think that that can be fixed, even if the story gets better.

First-Glance Potential: 20%

Servant x Service

Summary: “The slice-of-life comedy manga centers on the employees of a government ward office in a city in Hokkaido. The story follows the daily lives of the health and welfare division members.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: A-1 Pictures
Director: Yasutaka Yamamoto
Series Composition: Kento Shimoyama
Original creator: Karino Takatsu
Character Designer: Terumi Nishii

Impressions: The thing with this series is that from the outside, it looks very interesting. But that’s mostly due to Terumi Nishii, the character designer, being really good. The characters here look realistic and down to earth and overall very pleasant to watch (this is the guy who designed the characters for Penguin Drum, by the way). Because when I looked a bit closer, it looked like a series that totally was not my type: random jokes about people doing nothing. Both the director, original writer or series composition guy give me a lot of faith that this will be interesting to watch either, unfortunately.
Trailer Impressions: A bit of a taste of the humour that we’re going to get, and I found it to be so boring and dull!

First-Glance Potential: 20%

Kin-Iro Mosaic

Summary: “The story begins with Shinobu Oumiya, a 15-year-old, seemingly “pure Japanese” girl who actually did a homestay in Great Britain. Even after coming back to Japan, she still misses her time overseas. One day, an air mail letter arrives from Alice, the girl in Shinobu’s host family in Great Britain. The letter reads, “Shinobu, I’m coming to Japan!” The “Japanese/British girls’ mixed comedy” follows the lives of Shinobu, Alice, and other girls from both Japan and Great Britain.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Studio Gokumi
Director: Tensho
Series Composition: Yuniko Ayana
Original creator: Yui Hara
Character Designer: Kazuyuki Ueda

Impressions: These girls are fifteen! Holy crap! Seriously though, when was the last time I watched a 4Koma that I actually liked? This seems to go back to Geijutsuka Art Design Class or something. The creators can still make something out of it if they use the clash in cultures right though, so it’s not entirely hopeless here.
Trailer Impressions: Why does the English girl have to be blond?

First-Glance Potential: 40%

Gen’ei o Kakeru Taiyou

Summary: “A story of girls who solve mysterious matters that occur in this world, using the mystical tarot cards that hold the power to read destinies.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: AIC
Director: Keizou Kusakawa
Series Composition: Michiko Itou
Original creator: Haruyasu Akagi, Hidenori Tanaka
Character Designer: Shinpei Tomooka

Impressions: Michiko Itou and Keizou Kusakawa have done quite a few series, but the last time they did something together was with Ro Kyu Bu, a series about a bunch of girls in a basketball team with a lot of fanservice. Genei looks the same only with better production values and fairies. And I mean, I see potential behind this series if the “mysterious matters” that these girls solve are actually interesting. But I don’t think that these people can do that and will focus more on shallow stories with fanservice instead.
Trailer Impressions: Shallow, but at least it will look very pretty.

First-Glance Potential: 40%

Kingdom 2

Summary: ” In the Warring States Period of ancient China (475-221 BCE), Shin and Hyou are war-orphans in the kingdom of Qin. They dream of one day proving themselves on the battlefield. One day, however, Hyou is taken to the palace by a minister. Winding up on the losing side of a power-struggle, Hyou manages to return to the village, barely alive. Shin then meets a boy who closely resembles Hyou, Ei Sei. For now he is the king of Qin; later he will become the emperor Shi Huangdi.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Studio Pierrot
Director: Akira Iwagana
Series Composition: Naruhisa Arakawa
Original creator: Yasuhisa Hara
Character Designer: Itsuko Takeda, Kumiko Tokunaga

Impressions: I remember the first Kingdom. It had the potential as a good warfare series, but all I could see was the really bad animation and the incredible overacting. Together, this just did no look right and any good story would have been way too annoying to follow with that. I have heard that it got better as it went along though, and at least a staff change seems to indicate that the second season will only get better.
Trailer Impressions: No CG, which surprised me. I mean, the animation still looks really cheap, but it’s not as bad anymore.

First-Glance Potential: 40%

Hyperdimension Neptunia

Summary: “This story anthropomorphizes the game console wars as female role-playing game characters.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: David Production
Director: Masahiro Mukai
Series Composition: Shogo Yasukawa
Original creator: Tsunako
Character Designer: Hitomi Takeuchi

Impressions: As much of a fan I am of David Production, this definitely is the worst promotional art they’ve ever done. Having said that though… they’re really going to animate a series about the console wars? I have no idea what I’m supposed to imagine by that to be honest, especially with David Production. They also put on two rookies on the helm: both the director and the series composition guy have never done a full series before. This can really go anywhere.
Trailer Impressions: Aagh, that was really generic! Also hire someone who can actually sing!

First-Glance Potential: 40%

Fantasista Doll

Summary: “In this science-fiction story, Uzume is an ordinary second-year middle school student who comes into possession of five “dolls” who fight and power up with special cards.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Hoods Entertainment
Director: Hisashi Saito
Original creator: Goro Taniguchi
Character Designer: Hiromi Kato

Impressions: I can only say “smörgåsbord” when I look at the different staff members here. We have the porn production company of Hoods, adapting a story from the director of Code Geass (and Planetes and Infinite Ryvius), with music from the composer of Heartcatch Precure, Jigoku Shoujo and Shiki, among many others, there is the director of Sora no Otoshimono and the character designer of Kobato and Needless. Usually I can say something about the direction of a series based on cast-members, but here this has me just baffled. The only thing I can say at this point is that the promo art looks really generic.
Trailer Impressions: Generic music and transformation sequences. The story had better be really good to make up for that…

First-Glance Potential: 50%

Watashi ga Motenai no wa Dou Kangaete mo Omaera ga Warui!

Summary: ” Kuroki Tomoko is an lonely “ordinary girl” who has the dream of becoming popular. for her misfortunes she’s branded deranged and lonely and spends most of her time playing games and watching shows. She then enters high school and that triggers her interest in popularity, She tries to achieve her goals in any way she can, but it doesn’t always end the way it should.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: ?
Director: ?
Series Composition: ?
Original creator: Nico Tanigawa
Character Designer: ?

Impressions: Watashi blahblah (seriously, I’m not going to even try and remember how to spell these names unless they prove themselves) will be another one of those high school adaptations, but at this point we hardly know anything about it. Who will adapt it? Who will direct it? That still has to be announced. Does it hold potential? That entirely depends on whether its jokes will work or not. It won’t have anything else besides that.

First-Glance Potential: 50%

Makai Ouji: Devils and Realist

Summary: ” After his uncle’s business fails, William Twining, an intelligent young noble, finds himself in a dire financial situation. With no funds for his school tuition, he searches his house until he comes upon the basement. There, he accidentally summons Dantalion, who recognizes William as a descendant of Solomon, and the Elector—the individual that will choose a substitute ruler for when the Emperor of Hell, Lucifer, rests. From that moment on, William’s life is irrevocably interwoven with the supernatural world as other demonic candidates for substitute king vie for his nomination and Heaven attempts to retrieve his soul.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Dogakobo
Director: Chiaki Kon
Series Composition: Michiko Yokote
Original creator: Madoka Takadono
Character Designer: Kikuko Sadakata

Impressions: You know what the thing is about this series? It is probably going to be really good if the creators manage to avoid it boiling down to just shounen ai. Seriously, I like the creativity it has, it’s got the potential for lots of intrigue. But all I can see is a manga creator who also did the manga for Utaprince, Chiaki Kon who is still stuck in Junjo Romantica and Michiko Yokote who is doing way too many series this season. Prove me wrong here!

First-Glance Potential: 50%

Kimi no Iru Machi

Summary: “Kirishima Haruto is your average Hiroshima Prefecture countryside Japanese student that is about to start his 3 year High school life. But before that happens a girl from Tokyo, Eba Yuzuki, whose father is the friend of Haruto’s father, shows up at his house to live with him and his family so she can attend the same high school. Haruto isn’t happy of the situation; a stranger that happens to be a girl of his same age, not his relative, living in the same house like him will cause complications. Truth is Haruto has another girl in mind, Kanzaki Nanami, whom Haruto has hidden romantic feelings for since middle school. And so starts his complicated life.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Gonzo
Director: Shigeyasu Yamauchi
Series Composition: Reiko Yoshida
Original creator: Kouji Seo
Character Designer: Terumi Niishi

Impressions: I found the OVA for Kimi no Iru Machi to be terrible. It was a really generic romance with zero personality, so when I realized that there was a TV-series coming out for it, i really was not looking forward to it. Then I found out that it would be produced by Gonzo. Then I found out that it was going to be directed by Shigeyasu Yamauchi, and adapted by Reiko Yoshida. That duo has got a ton of experience, and they can actually really make a risk-taking studio like Gonzo shine again. The big question is whether they will also be able to do that with a source material that is as bad as Kimi no Iru Machi. I mean, of all the stories they could have picked. Why this one?!
Trailer Impressions: This does not look good…

First-Glance Potential: 60%

Hakkenden: Eight Dogs of the East Second SEason

Summary: ” Five years ago, almost every villager of Ootsuka died due to a tragic plague. But mysteriously enough, three survivors: a girl and two boys, emerged. Now living in a church, the three live in isolation, hidden from those who may seek to find them. Shino, one of the survivors, has control over the power of Murasame, the blade of life. But when the imperial church seeks to take the Murasame for themselves, their peaceful life becomes a thing of the past…” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Studio Deen
Director: ?
Series Composition: ?
Original creator: Miyuki Abe
Character Designer: Hiromi Kato

Impressions: If there is any series that I regret a bit in dropping the past year, it’s probably this one. I didn’t know that it would have a second season, and the only reason I dropped it was because I didn’t think it would get good enough after four episodes to further spend my time on. So yeah, it’s a series with a pretty good story and set of characters.

First-Glance Potential: 70%

Genshinken Second Season

Summary: “College freshman and ACG lover Kanji Sasahara settled down his extracurricular activity in Genshiken (The Society for the Study of Modern Visual Culture) in order to become a true and thorough otaku. Meanwhile, Saki Kasukabe, the girlfriend of another freshman Genshiken member (also a bishōnen), Makoto Kohsaka, was dragged into Genshiken’s otaku-ish activities reluctantly, yet her resentful attitude towards otakus is changing without her notice.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Production IG
Director: Tsutomu Mizushima
Series Composition: Michiko Yokote
Original creator: Shimoku Kio
Character Designer:
unichiro Taniguchi

Impressions: The only thing I ever watched about Genshinken is the first half of its first episode (before starting this blog, actually, so that was loooong ago), but I did not like it. I didn’t really associate with the “otaku”-culture, and still don’t. But hey, it’s like eight years later, the staff has completely changed aside from Michiko Yokote and I like just about everyone involved in this production. So yeah, it’s definitely got potential.

First-Glance Potential: 70%

Stella Women’s Academy, High School Division Class C3

Summary: “Yura Yamato has just arrived at the high school division of Stella Girl’s Academy, and Sonora Kashima invites Yura to join a club called “C3.” Sonora is the third-year student who became the new head of this club for survival games. The other members include two second-year students (part-Japanese Karira Hatsuse and G36K-wielding Honoka Mutsu) and two other new students (Rento Kirishima whose family runs a Japanese sweets shop and the really short Yachiyo Hinata).” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Gainax
Director: Masayoshi Kawajiri
Original creator: Ikoma
Character Designer: Manami Umeshita

Impressions: First of all, this show has awesome promo art. I like the use of colours and there definitely is emotion in it, as opposed to the really clean art you always see for these promotional images. The director is an entirely new guy, so let’s see what Gainax can do here to make up for Medaka Box which turned out to be rather generic. I mean, this has the potential to be really dull, but the way it’s presented hints at a very good chemistry between the characters.

First-Glance Potential: 70%

Teekyu 2

Summary: “Piyo’s original manga centers around a girls’ tennis team. (The title is a wordplay on a Japanese term for tennis, teikyū.) However, the four high school girls on the team hardly play any actual tennis.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Mappa
Director: Shin Itagaki
Series Composition: Shin Itagaki
Original creator: Roots
Character Designer: Shin Itagaki

Impressions: Mappa, as much as I like Teekyu’s randomness: your next serious project had better be something really awesome here.

First-Glance Potential: 75%

Uchouten Kazoku

Summary: “The comedy drama of Uchouten Kazoku is set in Kyoto, where tanuki (shape-shifting raccoon-dogs), tengu (long-nosed goblins of Japanese folklore), and humans intermingle. The story follows the Shimogamo family of tanuki who live in the Tadasu no Mori forest of Shimogamo Shrine.” – (Taken from )
Produced by: P.A. Works
Director: Masayuki Yoshihara
Series Composition: Shoutarou Suga
Original creator: Tomohiko Morimi
Character Designer: Kousuke Kawazura

Impressions: Very nice promo material as well, and I’m looking forward to this comedy from PA Works, provided that they handled the comedy right. Shoutarou Suga and Masayuki Yoshihara perhaps aren’t the best for that, but I don’t know the source material for that to say for sure.
Trailer Impressions: This one said absolutely nothing.

First-Glance Potential: 75%

Free!

Summary: It’s about swimming
Produced by: Kyoani
Director: Hiroko Utsumi
Series Composition: Masahiro Yokotani
Original creator: Kouji Ouji (if this isn’t a pseudonym then I don’t know anymore…)
Character Designer: Futoshi Nishiya

Impressions: I love what a brilliant troll move this is. I have been begging Kyoani for doing something different beyond cute girls. So here Kyoani comes with a show about a bunch of guys who look like swtimming catalog models. Regardless of whether it will actually be fun, I approve of this move. The guy from Hataraku Maou-Sama is also doing the series composition here…
Trailer Impressions: What can I say really?

First-Glance Potential: 75%

Blood Lad

Summary: “Blood Lad follows Staz, a vampire that is obsessed with the human world, and Fuyumi, a human girl that was killed and turned into a ghost after wandering into the demon world. Staz promises to help Fuyumi regain her humanity by bringing her back to life, as it means that he would be able to visit the human world” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Brains Base
Director: Shigeyuki Miya
Series Composition: Takeshi Konuta
Original creator: Yuki Kodama
Character Designer: Kenji Fujisaki

Impressions: Hell yeah, another director of Aoi Bungaku is returning. It’s the guy who adapted Kokoro, and who later did half of Supernatural. This will be his next series, together with the guys at Brains Base. And he got himself quite an interesting premise. It’s the kind of premise that can be great with the right execution, and terrible with the wrong one. The big problem will be the series composition. This will probably be a long manga, and Takeshi Konuta has already screwed up once with that kind of problem with Library Wars.
Trailer Impressions: Sounds catchy, provided they don’t put the action above everything else.

First-Glance Potential: 80%

Danganronpa The Animation

Summary: “The story follows a group of high school students, each with a different exceptional talent, who are locked inside a school and told that the only way to escape is to kill another student without getting caught. After a murder, the remaining students must hold a trial with their lives on the line to find out who the killer is.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Lerche
Director: Seiji Kishi
Series Composition: Makoto Uezu
Character Designer: Kazuaki Morita

Impressions: I like the concept, I like the promo art. This feels like Btooom that requires more thought and careful planning. This is the kind of action series that I’m looking out for, that don’t just revolve arond random action. The only problem is that Seiji Kishi is a bit of a double-edged sword: as a director he can be really good or really bad, depending on his mood.
Trailer Impressions: Good music, stylish, strange character-designs. This can work out pretty well.

First-Glance Potential: 80%

Inu to Hasami wa Tsukaiyou

Summary: “The absurd mystery comedy centers around Kazuhito Harumi, a high school boy who is obsessed with reading books. One day, he is killed in the middle of a robbery — and resurrected as a dachshund dog. Unable to read in his new form, the hapless Kazuhito now belongs to Kirihime Natsuno, a sadistic novelist who uses scissors on Kazuhito to abuse him.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Gonzo
Director: Yukio Takahashi
Series Composition: Toshizo Nemoto
Original creator: Shunsuke Sarai
Character Designer: Youko Satou

Impressions: Well, it’s taken a while, but for me, this is the first sign of Gonzo’s recovery ever since they went nearly bankrupt back in 2009 and got majorly reduced in size. With that, I mean that this is their first series since that point that doesn’t hope to cash in on previous successes (Last Exile), or just completely terrible (Leviathan). They are starting to train new directors to fill the old gap as well: this is Yukio Takahashi’s first full directing job, and this is a guy who has proven himself well as an episode director on series as Red Garden, Shangri-La and a unit director of Yukikaze and the second Macross Frontier Movie. Of course the humour can be completely terrible, but at least the premise here holds potential and it looks like they’re actually trying to be a bit creative again.
Trailer Impressions: Perhaps it has some acting issues, but it’s the only trailer this season that actually made me laugh. That’s a good sign.

First-Glance Potential: 80%

Tamayura – More Aggressive

Summary: ” For her first year of high school, Fu Sawatari moves to Takehara, a scenic old town near Hiroshima, on the Inland Sea. Her father, who has passed away, grew up in Takehara. She loves taking photographs with her father’s old film camera, a Rollei 35S. The story follows her and the friends who gather around her as she comes to love her new home.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: TYO Animations
Director: Sato Junichi
Series Composition: Sato Junichi
Original creator: Sato Junichi
Character Designer: Haruko Iizuka

Impressions: Tamayura is a strong contender for the award for the strangest title of the season. I have seen the Tamayura OVA and Hitotose. What on earth do the creators mean by “more agressive”? This is a slice of life series, not an action title…. Either way though: it’s Sato Junichi, who is just terrific at creating slice of life. The characters area already really charming. Now it’s a matter of building further upon that like what he did with Aria.

First-Glance Potential: 85%

Kamisama no Inai Nichiyoubi

Summary: “After God abandoned the world, people stopped dying, and people stobbed giving birth. One young gravekeeper, a girl named Ai, meets a boy who slaughters her whole village.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Madhouse
Director: Yuuji Kumazawa
Series Composition: Tomoko Konparu
Original creator: Kumihito Irie
Character Designer: Shinichi Miyamae

Impressions: I LOVE the premise behind the world of this series. Talk about potential here. Tomoko Konparu as the main writer and adapter will definitely be able to bring justice to it, like what she did with Ashita no Nadja, Uta Koi, Les Miserables, Nodame Cantabile and Nana. Yuuji Kumazawa’s only directing job may have been Oda Nobuna no Yabou, but I give him the benefit of the doubt for now. It’s not like he could have made anything good with a premise like that anyway.
Trailer Impressions: Good music, it looks very nice. The backgrounds are also very creative.

First-Glance Potential: 90%

Gatchaman Crowds

Summary: “The story is set in Japan in the early summer of 2015. 180,000 people live in Tachikawa City, the “second metropolis” of the Tokyo area. Among them are “Gatchaman” — warriors who fight in special reinforced suits powered by “NOTE,” the manifestation of special spiritual powers in living beings. A council has scouted a group of individuals with latent powers to protect Earth from alien criminals. In recent years, the council has assigned Gatchaman warriors to deal with the mysterious entity known as “MESS.”” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Tatsunoko Productions
Director: Kenji Nakamura
Series Composition: Toshiya Ono
Character Designer: Yuuichi Takahashi

Impressions: Yes, Kenji Nakamura is back! The guy behind Mononoke, Ayakashi, Tsuritama and Kuchuu Buranko will next do a remake of a classic series. The fun thing about those kinds of series is that they always are really creative, and with Kenji Nakamura added to that, it’s bound to be lots of fun. Toshiya Ono who helped write Tsuratama will also be back.

First-Glance Potential: 90%

Silver Spoon

Summary: “Yugo Hachiken is an ace with studying, and wants to be away from his family,and believes he can do he could go to any school with no problems, so trading regular high school for Agriculture school, he begins a new journey. Upon arriving at the school and starting classes he is quickly proven wrong, and must uncover the truth about farming, and Agriculture, and how to keep up with his news friends, who are already used to the farming world.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: A-1 Pictures
Director: Tomihiko Ito
Series Composition: Taku Kishimoto
Original creator: Hiromu Arakawa
Character Designer: Jun Nakai

Impressions: It’s finally time for Silver Spoon, the next series from Full Metal Alchemists’s Hiromu Arakawa. And it also couldn’t be any more different in subject matter. Adapting it is a very good team at A-1 Pictures helmed by Tomohiko Ito (the guy behind Occult Academy) and Taku Kishimoto, who previously adapted Usagi Drop. Tehse guys know how to deal with characterization. Yeah!
Trailer Impressions: Ska? Awesome!

First-Glance Potential: 90%

Rozen Maiden New Series

Summary: “Due to a deep trauma at school Sakurada Jun has refused to return. He spends his time in his room, surfing the web and ordering anything that takes his fancy, only to return the items just before payment is due. One day, he finds a web site that tells him to put his order in a drawer of his desk. He does so thinking it to be a joke, only to find that the letter disappears and a strange package arrives soon afterwards. It contains an exquisite doll, that, when wound, comes to life. She treats him as a servant of little worth, but over time helps him come to grips with his fears and in the life-or-death fights that soon follow her arrival.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Studio Deen
Director: Mamoru Hatekayama
Series Composition: Tomomi Mochizuki
Original creator: Peach Pit
Character Designer: Kyuta Sakai

Impressions: The reason why Rozen Maiden is the series I’m looking forward to the most isn’t simply because I’m a big Rozen Maiden fan, even though that really helps: the concept is awesome, and especially the first season was just perfect. In particular there went a lot of thought into the characters. But no. The reason why this stands above the others is due to Tomomi Mochizuki doing the series composition (along with the script and the sound direction (!)). As a writer to adapt your stories, this guy is pretty much the best guy you can get, bar none. He’s a king of realism, and his sense of characterization is fantastic. But it’s not just that: his adaptations are awesome. It’s not like he aims to be perfectly faithful, but rather he knows what works best for each story, and he takes risks. Oh dear god, he takes risks. Touka Gettan airing backwards? That’s his influence. The awesome conclusions for Kimagure Orange Road and Fancy Lala? He wrote and adapted that. Add that to the character-designer of Steins;Gate and the music from Utena and Asatte no Houkou. Yeah. I’m looking forward to this.
Trailer Impressions: Both new and old material together.

First-Glance Potential: 100%
Posted on 17 February 2013 with categories: Seasonal Previews

The upcoming season is relatively small: 27 series, 13 of which seem interesting. Production IG will be a powerhouse with many different series, and there will be a lot of mechas and bishies. There are a lot of sequels, and relatively little crap. Oh, and one of the reasons there are a bit fewer series is because I left out the kiddie shows this time. It just takes up too much of my time for some info that’s just completely useless.

Movies and OVAs to watch out for:
In the past I also did a separate post for the upcoming movies and OVAs for each season, but here is the thing: writing up these posts really takes up nearly an entire day. I can manage to do this once, but two days after each other… I don’t have the time for that anymore. Still, I do want to highlight the upcoming movies and OVAs, because there’s often a lot of good stuff amongst them. This is no complete list, just the ones that caught my attention:

Anime Mirai

Impressions: Anime Mirai, otherwise known as the Young Animator Training Project. For the third year in a row, four studios have received a budget and made a short story based on it. Madhouse, Studio Trigger, Zexcs and Gonzo each have their own entry and a lot of freedom, so now let’s see what they have come up with this year. I really like this initiative.

Hana-Saku Iroha – Home Sweet Home

Impressions: Aah, finally the Hana-Saku Iroha movie will air, written by Mari Okada her first movie) and directed by Masahiro Ando, so it’s pretty much the staff of the TV-series making a movie, and there is enough inspiration left. Looking forward to it.

Precure All Stars New Stage 2: Kokoro no Tomodachi

Impressions: I’m not going to watch this. I just to say: the counter is currently on 32 Precures. This is starting to turn into pokemon.

Aura: Maryuuinkouga Saigo no Tatakai

Impressions: You don’t often see this: a movie adapted from a light novel. Normally these things get TV-series. It’s from the same writer as Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita, so it’s worth a look. The premise reminds me a bit of Chuuninbyou demo Koi ga Shitai: a girl arrives pretending to be from a different world, and the main character suffered from delusions like that in his past.

Steins;Gate Fuka Ryouiki no Déjà vu

Impressions: Steins;Gate will also have a movie, and just like Hana-Saku Iroha it will also be the staff of the anime to adapt it, meaning that we have a very solid team behind the movie. The question to ask is: the series ended very conclusively. What will the sequel be about?

Saint Young Men

Impressions: The movie that starts like a bad joke: Jesus and Buddha sharing an apartment. And they made an entire movie based on that. A-1 Pictures is behind it and the promo material does look gorgeous. A-1 Pictures will produce it and it will be directed by one of the staff members who worked on a lot of Kyoto Animation projects. There really are not many comedy movies, so I hope that this one will work.

Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai.

Summary: “Living on the shadow of his prodigious younger sister, Kyousuke Kosaka conducts a normal lifestyle until he accidentally finds out that she hides a secret. In addition to being smart, pretty, and popular; Kirino Kosaka is also an obsessive consumer of anime and eroge (adult computer games). After being assured that Kyousuke is committed to not mock her and keep this concealed from their parents, she starts to share a bit of her world with him. Kirino faces several problems as she tries to keep the appearances and balance her exemplar school life with her hobbies. Her brother then becomes a crucial ally while dealing with all the difficulties that lie ahead.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: A-1 Pictures (?!?)
Director: Hiroyuki Kanbe
Series Composition: Hideyuki Kurata
Original creator: Tsukasa Fushimi
Character Designer: Hiroyuki Oda

Impressions: Blagh! Incest! Still the worst premise of the season. Next.

First-Glance Potential: 0%

Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Bride

Summary: ” The story takes place in Japan in the early 21st century, in an alternate reality where the Tokugawa Shogunate has remained in power. In this reality, student councils are tasked with oppressing schools. Yagyuu Muneakira is a high school student who rebels against his student council with the help of girls who’ve had the names of famous samurai heroes passed on to them.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: ARMS
Director: KOBUN
Series Composition: Satoru Nishizono
Original creator: Akira Suzuki
Music: Tatsuya Katou
Character Designer: Tsutomu Miyazawa

Impressions: Well, here you have ARMS again with their boobs. They continue to churn out sequel after sequel, so it’s no wonder that Hyakka Ryouran would end up with one, and this one is even more shameless than before with a title like that… Just skip this one if it’s anything like the first series. Just a lot of bad boob jokes, fanservice and terrible voice acting…
Trailer Impressions: Yup, lots of fanservice, bad fight scenes… and maid outfits.

First-Glance Potential: 0%

Pretty Rythm Rainbow Live

Summary: “” – (Taken from )
Produced by: Tatsunoko Productions
Director: Masakazu Hishida
Series Composition: Shuji Iuchi
Character Designer: Mai Matsuura

Impressions: Pretty Rythm’s previous seasons were just terrible. At least for the first episodes that I kept with, they were horrible cash-ins for the mahou shoujo idol genre with really annoying and paper-thin characters. The director for this season is completely the same as last time, so I really don’t expect anything from this series at this point.

First-Glance Potential: 0%

Haiyore! Nyaruko-san W

Summary: “” – (Taken from )
Produced by: Xebec
Director: Tsuyoshi Nagasawa
Series Composition: oboru Kimura
Original creator: Manta Aisora
Character Designer: Shintetsu Takiyama

Impressions: Why people just keep coming back to that godawful Haiyore concept is beyond me. We get it, she is the female personification of a monster from the Cthulu mythos. It’s good for a joke for one time. Not to drag this on for years now. The first series wasn’t even that good. It was just a string of bad moe jokes we’ve seen many times before. Why is there enough material for a second season for this?

First-Glance Potential: 0%

Uta no Prince-sama – Maji Love 2000%

Summary: “Nanami Haruka wants to be a song writer, so she attends an idol training school filled with beautiful bishounen. The school pairs each aspiring songwriter with an aspiring idol, but Haruka finds herself paired with 6 bishounen idols. To make things more difficult, Nanami is also not allowed to date any of her beautiful partners.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: A-1 Pictures
Director: Yuu Kou
Series Composition: Yuu Kou
Music: Elements Garden
Character Designer / Animation Director: Mitsue Mori

Impressions: So here it is, the inevitable second season of Uta Prince, which sold so incredibly well that it it mind-boggled me. I mean I could understand a good series with bishies selling well and all (like what happened with Hakuouki), but the first episode I watched of it was so ridiculously cheesy that I suspected it was some kind of practical joke or something.

First-Glance Potential: 0%

Date A Live

Summary: “In the story, a boy named Sido (Shidō) Itsuka meets a spirit girl who has been rejected by a devastated world. The girl, who Sido names “Tohka,” happens to have wiped out much of humanity 30 years ago, and now she is back. The only way to stop her is to date her.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: AIC Plus+
Director: Keitaro Motonaga
Series Composition: Hideki Shirane
Original creator: Koushi Tachibana
Music: Go Sakabe
Character Designer: Satoshi Ishino
Other Notable Staff: Takaaki Suzuki (World Setting)

Impressions: For this preview, Date A Live was the first series I looked at. And then you have a seires with such a ridiculously stupid premise… it did not give me the best first impressions for the rest of this season. Keitarou Motonaga has directed many different series, including a few good ones, but he only seems to try if he has an actually good premise, which is a very big problem here… Hideki Shirane’s works in the past years also don’t really seem that promising, with him having written Queen’s Blade Rebellion and Platonic Heart, both of which were horrible. And I also still haven’t forgiven him for what he did to Yumekui Merry’s second half… The nail in the coffin is that this is AIC, who haven’t exactly had the best track record with me.
Trailer Impressions: The soundtrack is pretty good for this series. The creators just have no idea how to use it. There are all these choirs, and the scenes include characters and mechas who try way too hard to look cool… and unnecessary panty-shots and harem hi-jinks…

First-Glance Potential: 10%

Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Come wa Machigatteiru.

Summary: “The romantic comedy revolves around an antisocial high school student named Hachiman Hikigaya with a distorted view on life and no friends or girlfriend. When he see his classmates talking excitedly about living their adolescent lives, he mutters, “They’re a bunch of liars.” When he is asked about his future dreams, he responds, “Not working.” A teacher gets Hachiman to join the volunteer “service club,” which happens to have the school’s prettiest girl, Yukino Yukinoshita.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Brains Base
Director: Ai Yoshimura
Series Composition: Shoutarou Suga
Original creator: Wataru Watari
Character Designer: Yuu Shindou

Impressions: … is this another Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai or something? At the very least, this series deserves no points whatsoever in the originality department. Thankfully the rest of the cast seems competent: Shoutarou Suga has written an awful lot of interesting series and episodes. But romantic comedies? Can he succeed to make this one not boring? Another interesting point is that this will be Ai Yoshimura’s first full series to direct. I’m always one to encourage fresh talents here, so good luck! Try to give this one some spark, how difficult it may seem.

First-Glance Potential: 15%

The “Hentai” Prince and the Stony Cat.

Summary: “The story centers around a second-year high school boy named Youto Yokodera. Youto is always thinking about his “carnal desires,” but no one acknowledges him as a pervert. He learns about a cat statue that supposedly grants wishes. The boy goes to pray that he will be able to express his lustful thoughts whenever and wherever he wants. At the statue, Youto encounters Tsukiko Tsutsukakushi, a girl from his high school with her own wish — that she would not display her “real intentions” so readily.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: JC Staff
Director: Youhei Suzuki
Series Composition: Michiko Itou
Original creator: Sou Sagara
Character Designer: Haruko Iizuka

Impressions: Another series with a pervert main character, but at the very least this premise does seem to hint at some good character chemistry with the main characters being polar opposites, rather than just being there for the fanservice. As for the people who are going to adapt this… I don’t trust Michiko Itou. Her track record with series as Twin Angel and Ro Kyu Bu, which were both mind-numbingly stupid, gives me enough reason to be wary of this. It is not really easy for me to like a romantic comedy and if I do watch one, I want one with substance.

First-Glance Potential: 20%

Photo Kano

Summary: “The main character is an ordinary second-year high school student named Kazuya Maeda who gets a single-lens reflex camera at the end of summer vacation. He begins taking pictures of the girls at his school, and the photos may lead to romance.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Madhouse
Director: Akitoshi Yokoyama
Series Composition: Akitoshi Yokoyama
Character Designer: ae Shimada

Impressions: My first impressions for this one? Bad. I mean, I get the idea of a guy with a photo camera. It can be a very nice hobby. But if you do make a show about it… at least try to be a bit subtle, okay? Don’t just stuff a girl in bloomer with a box of valentine chocolate on the front cover. It leaves hardly anything to the imagination. In any case though, the director has me intrigued, looking at his track record. He is someone who whenever he is involved with something, is involved as a lot of different functions. He’s also both writing and directing this. Someone who likes to be in control and has a lot of different skills, and some of the episodes he worked on really were amazing and really well done. I wonder if it was his idea to go with that promo art…
Trailer Impressions: I am not a photographer or anything, but is it normal that you first take a picture of a girl’s crotch before you focus on her full pose?

First-Glance Potential: 30%

Yuyushiki

Summary: “The series follows the school life of three girls in the data processing club, Yuzuko, Yukari, and Yui.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Kinema Citrus
Director: Kaori
Series Composition: Natsuko Takahashi
Original creator: Mikami Komata
Character Designer: Yoshiyuki Tabata

Impressions: This… just… what? So, we have a voice actress for hentai-series. She then starts to direct and animate for a few series, and suddenly she’s directing a new series. Just… what the heck happened here? Beyond that this seems like an average “random girls doing random things”-series, in other words a genre that hardly ever manages to catch my attention. It probably will be solid for its genre, but not good enough to catch my interest.
Trailer Impressions: It’s a trailer that does its utter best to not show you anything that’s going on. All we got was a bit of random movement and some dull background song.

First-Glance Potential: 30%

Mushibugyou

Summary: “The action story is set in Edo-era Tokyo in the early 1700s. The eighth shogun Tokugawa Yoshimune ordered boxes to be installed so commoners can submit their thoughts. After hearing their voices, the shogun creates a new magistrate unit — Mushibugyō — to protect the people in the heart of the city. Each member is a specialist with unique fighting skills.” – (Taken from )
Produced by: Production IG
Original creator: Hiroshi Fukuda

Impressions: This is one of those series for which little is known yet, other than its original material and the fact that Production IG will be behind it. The premise also is a bit too vague to really say anything about it. It could become good with t the right people behind it, as a fun little action series. Even though the guy on the promotional material has drunk way too much coffee…
Trailer Impressions: Never mind what I said! When the very first scene is about a girl nearly getting violated by a giant spider… yeah. My only compliment is that the art style is surprisingly good, but when you’ve got your mind in the gutter like that it doesn’t really help your case….

First-Glance Potential: 30%

Hataraku Maou-Sama

Summary: “In another dimension the Devil King Sadao is only one step away from conquering the world when he is beaten by Hero Emilia and forced to drift to the other world: modern-day Tokyo. As “conquering the world” are the only skills the Devil King possesses – and are obviously unnecessary in his new situation – he must work as a freeter to pay for his living expenses.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: White Fox
Director: Naoto Hosoda
Series Composition: Masahiro Yokotani
Original creator: Satoshi Wagahara
Character Designer: Atsushi Ikariya

Impressions: The premise, in the right hands, can be comedic gold. But then it really as to be the right hands, otherwise it will end up horribly dull. So let’s take a look at the ones who are going to have to adapt this: Naoto Hosoda is the director of Mirai Nikki and the second season of Minami-Ke, which is regarded by many as the worst Minami-ke series… Masahiro Yokotani meanwhile wrote Busou Shinki. That does not bode well.
Trailer Impressions: Generic J-Pop, but misleadinglygood animation. No humour whatsoever…err…

First-Glance Potential: 30%

Aiura

Summary: “The story centers around Amaya, Iwasawa, and Uehara — three “annoying, spirited high school girls with zero motivation” — and their classmates. Their daily life is “what happens when there is nothing happening.”” – (Taken from Mangaupdates)
Original creator: Uji Chama

Impressions: Very little is known about this series and about who will adapt it, but this is a 4-Koma adaptation about three girls doing nothing. A genre that I’m not really fond of. If the characters change, or if there is more than just their daily lives. Otherwise I just get the feeling that I’m watching paint dry. Sorry!

First-Glance Potential: 50%

Karneval

Summary: “Nai searches for someone important to him, with only an abandoned bracelet as a clue. Gareki steals and pick-pockets to get by from day to day. The two meet in a strange mansion where they are set-up, and soon become wanted criminals by military security operatives. When Nai and Gareki find themselves desperate in a hopeless predicament, they encounter none other than the country’s most powerful defense organization, “Circus”. The Circus is a Defense organization that works for the government. They perform raids to capture criminals and solve crimes that the Security force otherwise cannot handle. After their raids, they put on shows as an apology for scaring the citizens. Their group consists of the strongest, most capable fighters that use a special type of bracelet, known as Circus I.D., to fight.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Manglobe
Director: Eiji Suganuma
Series Composition: Touko Machida
Original creator: Touya Mikanagi
Character Designer/Chief Animation Director: Toshie Kawamura

Impressions: Toshie Kawamura is something like Manglobe’s new in-house animation director and character-designer, because he is involved in a lot of their projects. It’s a shame that he is not very good though, although the promo art here does look like his best and most creative work. But we’re talking about Manglobe here: what happened to their ambition behind Ergo Proxy and Michiko e Hatchin? They used to recruit their staff all over the place, with all kinds of different backgrounds. Here, they just return to the director of Mashiro-Iro Symphony, which was an utterly crappy harem. The sole salvation here will be the original material, which granted does look promising with the right execution, but then we come to the one who will have to adapt this: Touko Machida is not good at that, and I really hope that she has learned ever since her adaptations of Okamikakushi and Allison to Lillia….
Trailer Impressions: The voice acting is really bad, but in terms of visuals it looks nice and colourful. At least the trailer shows a lot of movements and action.

First-Glance Potential: 50%

Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Prince

Summary: “The story follows humanity after it expanded its frontier into space in a quest for resources. Advances in genetic engineering research allow humans to adapt to the new frontier, leading to the advent of evolved children such as the protagonist Izuru. Izuru enrolls in an academy city called Gurantseere to fulfill his mission of “protecting humanity” with robotic mecha.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Dogakobo
Director: Keitaro Motonaga
Series Composition: Reiko Yoshida
Original creator: Rando Ayamine
Character Designer: Hisashi Hirai
Other Notable Staff: Fimihiko Shimo (Script)

Impressions: Both Keitaro Motonaga and Reiko Yoshida are doing other series this season. Okay. Still, collectively there is a lot of talent between the writing and directing staff, so this could actually become something. Dogakobo have shown that with Natsuyuki Rendezvous, they can do something actually good. The problem however is the premise. I mean, it tries to dance around the obvious, but we do have another high school mecha series here. What can they do to stand out?
Trailer Impressions: It’s a silent trailer so I can’t comment much on the music and voice acting, but what I’ve seen… good background art, overdone facial expressions, and unfortunately nothing that makes it stand out at first sight…

First-Glance Potential: 60%

Namiuchigiwa no Muromi-san

Summary: “The comedy story centers around Muromi-san, a mermaid who happens to speak with a Hakata accent. She is suddenly caught by Takurō Mukōjima, a boy in his high school’s fishing club.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Tatsunoko Production
Director: Tatsuya Yoshihara
Series Composition: Kazuyuki Fudeyasu
Original creator: Keiji Nashima
Character Designer / Animation Director: Kikuko Sadakata

Impressions: That is the ugliest mermaid I have seen in a long, long while. It’s not really the hair… but those eyes…. they are kind of unnerving. Anyway, Kazuyuki Fudeyasu wrote Milky Holmes. He also adapted Ben-To. This guy has energy. And something tells me that he’s also going to put that energy in this series… I’m expecting something bizarre…

First-Glance Potential: 70%

Danchi Tomoo

Summary: “The manga centers around a fourth-grade boy named Tomoo who lives in an apartment complex with his mother and big sister. With his father away on a long-term work contract, Tomoo gets into one misadventure after another with his friends.” – (Taken from ANN)
Director: Ayumu Watanabe
Original creator: Tobira Oda

Impressions: Apparently the manga this was based on was nominated for a Tezuka Cultural Prize, back in 2007, alongside works as Hyouge Mono, Moyashimon and Death Note. My impressions seems that the manga manages to capture the life of being a kid. And seriously, only the director for this production is known, but he is a really good one: Ayumu Watanabe directed Nazo no Kanojo X and is still working on Space Brothers. He will be able to bring that out.
Trailer Impressions: Really bad animation with lots of CG. Unfortunately this seems to be a very cheap production, so the question remains whether it will be enough to show why the manga is so good.

First-Glance Potential: 75%

To Aru Kagaku no Railgun

Summary: “Academy City is a highly developed place in terms of technology. It is said to be 20 to 30 years ahead of the rest of the world. Eighty percent of its 2.3 million residents are students. The focus of studies here is directed towards esper powers. Misaka Mikoto, one of the top level espers in town, shares a room with Kuroko Shirai, another high level esper who is a member of Judgement, a law enforcing agency composed of students. Both attend to Tokiwadai, a private school reserved for the high-leveled and the rich. Kuroko’s partner at Judgement, Kazari Uiharu, is a low level esper who studies at Sakugawa middle school. Her best friend and classmate there is Ruiko Saten, a level zero (no esper powers). Together, the four encounter several adventures in the exciting scientific town.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: JC Staff
Director: Tatsuyuki Nagai
Series Composition: Seishi Minakami
Original creator: Kazuma Kamachi

Impressions: 100 episodes of the To Aru franchise. Let that sink in for a while. I personally don’t think that it warrants so much. Collect the best parts in 26 episodes and you’d have one heck of a series, but this is just too long. In terms of the staff nothing much has changed though, and Tatsuyuki Nagai and Seishi Minakami? These guys are awesome! They worked on many awesome series including Anohana, Honey and Clover, Birdy the Mighty Decode, Shigurui and Asatte no Houkou.

First-Glance Potential: 75%

Devil Survivor 2 The Animation

Summary: “The setting of Devil Survivor 2 spans the whole country of Japan. It tells the story of Japanese high school students who received an email from a website foretelling deaths. Mysterious creatures invade the country, and the students enter a pact, enabling them to summon demons. The plot may unfold differently depending on the player’s actions.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Bridge
Director: Seiji Kishi
Series Composition: Makoto Uezu
Music: Kotaro Nakagawa
Character Designer: Etsushi Sajima
Other Notable Staff: Mohiro Kitoh (Original Septentrion Design)

Impressions: Another series based on a series in the games of Shin Megami Tensei. And it’s by the director of Persona 4. Oh god, no. I still have not forgiven him for what he did there. Thankfully, the rest of the production looks a lot ore solid here. Bridge only did comedies so far, and this seems to be their first full series, and they are looking very ambitious. Makoto Uezu is someone who sometimes delivers really good, and sometimes really bad adaptations. And that’s the thing with this series: it’s got interesting source material, but it can both become great, or crash and burn horribly. And Mohiro Kitoh behind the mecha designs rocks.
Trailer Impressions: A solid trailer, it’s short but shows some nice animation, the soundtracks is good and it doesn’t loo overly lciched or silly. The problem will be the pacing again and whether that will be better this time…

First-Glance Potential: 75%

Yondemasuyo, Azazel-San

Summary: “Akutabe, a detective, summons devils to solve the troubles of his clients. One day, a low class devil Azazel Atsushi is summoned by Akutabe and is used harshly by him and his assistant Rinko Sakuma.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Production IG
Director: Tsutomu Mizushima
Original creator: Yasuhisa Kubo

Impressions: Oh god, they actually made one: a sequel to Yondemasuyo Azazel-san. This is a comedy that is not for everyone, and I have seen very few other comedies in which the humour was as black there. There is so much bile in it, and yet it had me in stitches for many times. There is always the matter of this series losing inspiration, but with this premise there is plenty of material left that can be explored, especially if the episodes are only 10 minutes long again.

First-Glance Potential: 80%

Valvrave the Liberator

Summary: “The story is set in an era when 70% of the human race lives in space due to the development of space cities. Between two major powers — the Dorushia Military Pact Federation and the Atlantic Ring United States (ARUS) — there is a small neutral nation called Jiouru that has prospered economically. The protagonist Haruto, a high school student who lives in Jiouru, encounters the mysterious “forbidden” humanoid weapon Valvrave when the Dorushia army invades.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Sunrise
Director: Kou Matsuou
Series Composition: Ichiro Okouchi
Character Designer: Tatsuya Suzuki

Impressions: Holy crap, what a combination between staff members. The writer of Code Geass, together with Matsuo Kou of Red Garden, Kurenai and Natsuyuki Rendezvous fame. I mean seriously, this will be either the trainwreck of the season, or a really epic and creative series. It all depends on how much freedom the creators have. Matsuou Kou is at his best with the more freedom that he has, while Ichiro Okouchi works better when he has less freedom (just look at Berserk, and Overman King Gainer also was awesome because that had the famous Yoshiyuki Tomino all over it, for example). In any case this will become interesting to follow…
Trailer Impressions: Reaaaaaly vague. We just saw a bunch of mechas and characters, although I do like the choice of music. Apart from that, it didn’t really show off anything…

First-Glance Potential: 80%

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet

Summary: ” While fighting an intense inter-galactic war, a mecha pilot was accidentally warped into a space-time neither he nor the computer of his mecha could recognize. After waking up from a long-time hibernation, he found himself trapped on a planet, with human residents talking in an unknown form of language, using inferior technologies, and — most shocking to him — naturally breathable air.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Production IG
Director: Kazuya Murata
Series Composition: Gen Urobuchi
Music: Taro Iwashiro
Character Designer / Animation Director: Masako Tashiro

Impressions: Here is a series that put some effort in its promotional material. Just take a look at the official site, there’s a lot of neat artwork there. On top of that, we have Urobuchi Gen doing another original script of his. At this point he is in a very good position, where he has a lot of freedom. I really hope that he makes more and more use of this, while continuing to get better at writing. Kazuya Murata has not directed in a really long while. In fact, he seems to be returning after many years of not working on anything. I wonder what this can add to this series, because it definitely looks interesting here.
Trailer Impressions: Here I noticed a problem that I’ve often seen with Urobuchi Gen’s works: his characters are rather dull. The trailer was fairly long so we could see quite a bit about them, but there is nothing that makes them stand out. They’re just bland in every way.

First-Glance Potential: 80%

Arata Kangatari

Summary: “In a mythical world where humans and gods co-exist, Arata has the unfortunate honor of being the successor to the matriarchal Hime Clan. This means he has to pretend to be a girl or face death if his true gender is discovered! On the day of his inauguration, an assassination plot forces him to flee – and he somehow winds up in modern-day Japan! Meanwhile, a boy named Arata Hinohara gets sucked into the first Arata’s world and finds himself dealing with people after his life!” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Satelight, JM Animation
Director: Kenji Yasuda, Woo Hyun Park
Series Composition: Mayori Sekijima
Original creator: Yuu Watase
Music: Kou Otani
Character Designer: Masahiro Aizawa

Impressions: Yuu Watase is a big name in the shoujo genre: she was the one who wrote Fushigi Yuugi, which had a big influence. I watched the first episodes of it, and the one thing that struck me was how mind-numbingly stupid the female lead character was, to the point of making it really hard to watch. It definitely had potential though, and this premise again can lead to a great fantasy-epic that relates back to the current world. The director is a Satelight regular, being involved in many of their series (including NOEIN), and directing Croisée, while Mayori Sekijima is pretty experienced in adaptations to make it work if it has the potential. On top of that this seems to be a Korean co-production, showing yet again that the people at Satelight have a lot of international connections (first France, now Korea)

First-Glance Potential: 80%

Uchuu Senkan Yamato 2199

Summary: “The year is 2199. The human race has been crushed in their war with the Gamilos, driven into underground cities by the invader’s assault. Scientists estimate they have only a year left. The young officers Susumu Kodai and Daisuke Shima receive a mysterious capsule from a ship that made an emergency landing on Mars and return with it to Earth. It contains humanity’s last hope: the planet Iscandar on the other side of the Magellan Galaxy has the technology to defeat the Gamilos and restore the planet. The space battleship Yamato is entrusted with this task, but they have only one year before humanity ends.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Xebec, AIC
Director: Akihiro Enomoto, Yutaka Izubuchi
Series Composition: Yutaka Izubuchi
Original creator: Leiji Matsumoto
Music: Akira Miyagawa
Character Designer: Nobuteru Yuki
Other Notable Staff: Hiedakki Anno (Opening Storyboards), Hiroshi Ohnogi (Script), Sadayuki Murai

Impressions: Yes, I also had to do a bit of a double-take when I suddenly saw Hideaki Anno (you know, the guy behind Evangelion…)’s name between the credits. And that really shows in what way this series stands out: it’s a remake, but it’s a really well produced one. There are a lot of great names who are responsible for some of the episodes here, and you can really see that this is made by fans, who want to make the original Yamato (which is incredibly outdated at this point) accessible to modern audiences. I have seen three episodes so far and was planning to catch the rest as it comes out on television, but the creators really managed to tell the original story, while also adding a lot of new stuff and details.

First-Glance Potential: 85%

Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge

Summary: “Haimura Kiri is a seemingly ordinary boy with one slight problem: he is obsessed with cutting other people’s hair. One day he meets Mushiyanokouji Iwai, the “Hair Queen” who cannot cut her hair because of an inherited curse. Kiri finds out that his scissor, “Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge” is the only thing that can cut them. But little did he know that their meeting sparked the start of an old murder game to kill the “Hair Queen” using the cursed killing tools, the “Killing Goods.” Can Kiri protect Iwai from the Killing Goods Owners? Let the game begin!” – (Taken from Mangaupdates)
Produced by: Studio Gokumi
Director: Yuji Yamaguchi
Series Composition: Tatsuhiko Urahata
Original creator: Tatsuhiko Hikagi
Character Designer: Katsuzo Hirata

Impressions: Aaand the biggest wtf-premise award goes to: Crime Edge. I mean, cutting people’s hair is already strange, but this show seems to go out of its way to make its premise as strange as possible. And you know, I don’t think I mind that. Just go a little crazy, it’s much better than having a normal premise. The director has experience with weird shows like that: he previously di Touka Gettan and Yami to Boushi to Hon no Tabibito. Tatsuhiko Urahata meanwhile has experience with everything. He is an awesome adapter, with his works ranging from Horizon to Gunslinger Girl Il Teatrino and Hajime no Ippo and Master Keaton and Monster.
Trailer Impressions: This is how you do a trailer: really charming on one hand, and “wtf are those bloody scissors doing there?!” on the other.

First-Glance Potential: 85%

RDG Red Data Girl

Summary: “The story revolves around Izumiko Suzuhara, a girl raised within the confines of Tamakura Shrine, one of the Kumano shrines that are part of a World Heritage site. However, after Izumiko spent practically her entire life at Kumano until middle school, it was decided that she and her childhood friend Miyuki would enroll in Houjou High School in Tokyo. On a school trip to Tokyo, a mysterious entity known as Himegami appears and a terrible incident occurs. Izumiko’s family carries a great secret that Izumiko is about to learn.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: P. A. Works
Director: Toshiya Shinohara
Series Composition: Michiko Yokote
Original creator: Noriko Ogiwara
Music: Masumi Itou, Myu
Character Designer: Minako Shiba

Impressions: I must say, I’m intrigued by the premise here. It sounds pretty solid and has a lot of potential to develop into something good. What makes this even better is that we’re talking about the director of the Book of Bantorra, which was a series that I absolutely loved (he also directed the first season of Kuroshitsuji). Michiko Yokote is a scriptwriter who I trust and she can really make the premise work. This is based on a story by the same author of Good Witch of the West, which I really liked. It’s great to see that this time, her story can be adapted by a bunch of people who know what they’re doing, instead of rushing through it.
Trailer Impressions: Very elegant, and it takes itself seriously. The backgrounds are really good, and the narration is good. The animation also looks very good, and the trailer really knows how to build its atmosphere. Good signs, good signs.

First-Glance Potential: 85%

Aku no Hana

Summary: “The story opens as middle school student Takao Kasuga receives an F on a math test. But he doesn’t even seem to notice because he’s too engrossed in surreptitiously reading Beaudelaire’s The Flowers of Evil. And the day goes downhill from there. In a moment of weakness, he finds and takes home the gym clothes belonging to sweet, pretty Nanako Saeki on whom he has a major crush. Unfortunately for Takao, there’s a witness to the theft: Nakamura, who has a huge chip on her shoulder and a sadistic streak.” – (Taken from Mangaupdates)
Produced by: Zexcs
Director: Hiroshi Nagahama
Series Composition: Aki Itami
Original creator: Shuzo Oshimi
Music: Hideyuki Fukasawa
Character Designer: Hidekazu Shimamura

Impressions: Zexcs previously was a studio who made mostly unremarkable series, and sometimes got lucky and delivered a good one. They have been getting much better lately. And holy crap, the director of Mushishi is back! Finally, years after doing Detroit Metal City he’s ready for another one, and I must say: this sounds like an awesome drama. Finally there is a school drama that just immediately stands out from its peers with such a simple, yet deceptive premise.

First-Glance Potential: 90%

Shingeki no Kyojin

Summary: “Several hundred years ago, humans were nearly exterminated by giants. Giants are typically several stories tall, seem to have no intelligence, devour human beings and, worst of all, seem to do it for the pleasure rather than as a food source. A small percentage of humanity survived by walling themselves in a city protected by extremely high walls, even taller than the biggest of giants. Flash forward to the present and the city has not seen a giant in over 100 years. Teenage boy Eren and his foster sister Mikasa witness something horrific as the city walls are destroyed by a super giant that appears out of thin air. As the smaller giants flood the city, the two kids watch in horror as their mother is eaten alive. Eren vows that he will murder every single giant and take revenge for all of mankind.” – (Taken from Mangaupdates)
Produced by: Wit Studio (Production IG)
Director: Tetsurou Araki
Series Composition: Yasuko Kobayashi
Original creator: Hajime Isayama
Character Designer: Kyoji Asano

Impressions: Back when I dabbled in manga (I really want to continue with that experiment… as soon as I have time again), one of the mangas that I checked out and really liked was Shingeki no Kyojin. Holy crap, that was intense, but it would also have been very difficult to animate properly. And here is the thing: if there is any director who can bring out the strength of the manga, it would be Tetsuro Araki, the director of Death Note and Kurozuka. He really can make this work! Yasuko Kobayashi also fits this show perfectly with his brilliant adaptations of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure. Add that to Production IG’s expertise, and yes. I am really looking forward to see this in animated form.
Trailer Impressions: Fucking epic.

First-Glance Potential: 100%
Posted on 16 November 2012 with categories: Seasonal Previews

I’ll be blunt: the upcoming winter season looks abysmal. I mean, I have seen bad seasons before, but this might go down as the worst season aside from Winter 2010. There are basically two series that I’m really looking forward to. And they are sequels. Beyond that… oh lord… there is a whole lot of mediocrity. It’s been a while since I raged so much at compiling a preview as today.

That alone doesn’t make this season so bad. There is a fair share of series coming out, so there might be surprises. No, what really gets to me is that this season seems specifically designed to piss me off. It may not have incest or Romance of the Three Kingdoms, but it does have just about everything else that gets on my nerves. I think that seven or eight of people from my top 10 of staff members that get on my nerves the most is doing something this season, it’s unbelievable.

Seriously, it’s a good thing that the current season is so awesome, because this is just… ugh…

As always, I cannot comment much on the original source material because I’m not familiar to it.

Puchimas

Summary: Based on the Idolm@ster Franchise. “The anime depicts the overly hyper daily life of the 765Pro idols of The Idolmaster and mysterious creatures named Puchidoll who somewhat resemble the idols.” – (Taken from AniDB)
Produced by: Gathering
Director: Mankyuu
Series Composition: Sao Tamado

The Positives: The most interesting part of this production seems to be that nearly every voice actress in this production will voice two or three characters. It might be fun to see them switch between their different ranges in one series.
The Negatives: Yes people. There you have it. More Idolm@ster, from the creators of 30-Sai no Hoken Taiku, otherwise known as that one show about the 30-year old virgin. The animation will be really bare-bones, and seeing as I have never even laughed at one single joke these creators made, this one seems destined for my drop-list.

First-Glance Potential: 0%

D.C.III ~Da Capo III~

Summary: Based on a visual novel
Director: Kenichi Ishikura
Series Composition: Kenichi Ishikura
Original creator: Circus
Music: Ryousuke Nakanishi
Character Designer: Kouhaku Nishio

The Positives: I have nothing.
The Negatives: Good lord, even more Da Capo? There have been four TV-shows already, totaling 78 episodes already, and now they want to make more of this dating sim? Really? What’s so good about this one to warrant it so many adaptations? The creators also seem like nothing special: the writer seems decent, but nothing really special. Same for the director: they have nice experience, but nothing outstanding whatsoever.

First-Glance Potential: 0%

Senran Kagura

Summary: “” – (Taken from )
Produced by:
Director: Takashi Watanabe
Series Composition: Takao Yoshioka
Original creator: Yukinori Kitajima
Character Designer: Takashi Torii

The Positives: Takashi Watanabe. What happened that caused you to make Starship Operators and Boogiepop Phantom? They were so good, and so completely different from all other series you usually do…
The Negatives: Oh for Christ’s sake.

First-Glance Potential: 0%

Maoyuu Maou Yuusha

Summary: “The story centers on the characters Maou (Demon Queen) and Yūsha (Hero) who live in a world where humans and demons are at war. Yuusha confronts Maou about the destructive war that the demons have imposed on humans. However, Maou tells him that the war has created a reason for humans to work together and improved human society overall. She convinces him that humans would fall into a bloody civil war without their battles against the demons. To prevent such a conflict, Yūsha decides to join forces with Maou.” – (Taken from )
Produced by: ARMS
Director: Takeo Takahashi
Series Composition: Naruhisa Arakawa
Music: Takeshi Hama
Character Designer/Animation Direction: Hiroaki Karasu

The Positives: The soundtrack from the same guy who did Kobato? Fair enough, sounds promising.
The Negatives: Oh lord. Here is one match-up that I really fear: the creators of Dakara Boku wa H ga Dekinai, Aki Sora, Yosuga no Sora, Love Love? and other really bad fanservice shows (and Spice and Wolf; I still have no idea how that happened), together with Arms, the single worst animation company out there. Who the hell found that a good idea?

First-Glance Potential: 10%

Ganbare! Lulu Lolo

Summary: “The anime centers around the daily life of two twin bear sisters: the orange-colored Lulu and the yellow-colored Lolo. The two take on new jobs and despite the occasional failure and tears, give their best efforts.” – (Taken from ANN)

The Positives: This is another one of the kiddie shows, apparently based on a best-selling children’s novel. Nothing is really known about who is going to make or produce it, but this seems nice enough for the smallest children.
The Negatives: It’s for really small kids, and there are no signs that it’ll be for anyone other than that.

First-Glance Potential: 20%

Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai NEXT

Summary: ” Hasegawa Kodaka is a recent transfer student to St. Chronica’s Academy, a Catholic high school. As with every other school he has ever attended, he finds it difficult to make friends there because of his naturally-blond hair and fierce-looking eyes, which make him look like a dangerous “yankee” to his prejudiced schoolmates. One day, Kodaka accidentally comes across the equally solitary and very abrasive Yozora Mikazuki while she converses with her imaginary friend Tomo. Realizing that neither of them have any social lives, they decide that the best way to improve their situation is to form a club: the Neighbor’s Club precisely intended to make friends and learn social skills.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: AIC Build
Director: Toru Kitahata
Series Composition: Tatsuhiko Urahata, Yomi Hirasaka
Original creator: Yomi Hirasaka
Music: Tom-H@ck
Character Designer/Animation Director: Yoshihiro Watanabe

The Positives: The staff has changed. The writer of the original novels this is based on will join the anime staff, so this will be a pretty faithful production.
The Negatives: The director has also changed: the assistant director of the first season will take over, but unfortunately this was the director of Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate, which was incredibly boring for the few episodes that I watched it. Added to that, that the first season also just could not catch my attention: none of the characters were interesting and I just did not get the chemistry between them at all. Not going to follow this one.

First-Glance Potential: 20%

Youkai Watch

Summary: “The story begins one hot summer days when a boy named Keita discovers an old capsule toy vending machine in the forest. Keita receives a mysterious watch and meets a ghost butler named Whisper. Whisper tells Keita that the watch allows him to see supernatural creatures — both good and evil — that he could not see before in everyday life.” – (Taken from ANN)
Original creator: Level 5

The Positives: It will be better than your average kiddie show.
The Negatives: I’m really getting pissed off by Level 5 right now. Setting their games aside, all of their anime basically all just look the same if you remove the topic that they’re about (football, mecha, youkai).

First-Glance Potential: 20%

Vividred Operations

Summary: “” – (Taken from )
Produced by: A-1 Pictures
Director: Kazuhiro Takamura
Series Composition: Hiroyuki Yoshino, Kazuhiro Takamura
Character Designer: Kazuhiro Takamura
Other Notable Staff: Tensai Okamura (Script)

The Positives: Tensai Okamura… is this really where you want to be after Wolf’s Rain and Darker than Black?
The Negatives: Oh lord, this sounds bad. Really bad. Vividred seems to be an anime original series… from the director of Strike Witches. And yes, the girls are running around in underwear again. That alone already was pretty bad, but in combination with Hiroyuki Yoshino this is going to turn into a trainwreck of enormous proportions. In terms of adaptations this guy is fine, currently doing a very good job on Magi. But his original scripts, oh god, these have issues. Seikon no Qwaser, Mai Otome, Guilty Crown and Code Geass’s storylines all come from this guy. Granted, he also wrote Sora no Oto which seems to be much more in the direction of what Vividred will be, but even that show had some major pacing issues.

First-Glance Potential: 25%

Love Live! School Idol Project

Summary: “The school idol project is set at a school between Tokyo’s Akihabara, Kanda, and Jinbouchou neighborhoods. The school faces the danger of being streamlined out of existence, so nine of its female students decide to become idols to protect their school and boost attendance.” – (Taken from AniDB)
Produced by: Sunrise

The Positives: Err… there have been plenty of good idol shows. Seriously, nothing is known about this yet so I can’t say much about the staff yet.
The Negatives: But for god’s sake people, haven’t you learned anything from AKB0048? You can have idol shows that are awesome, just put some imagination in your premises. Not have the umpth school show with idols in id. Agh!

First-Glance Potential: 30%

Mondai-Ji-tachi ga Isekai Kara Kuru Sou Desu yo?

Summary: “The story follows Izayoi Sakamaki, a boy bored with the entire world. One day, an envelope arrives for him. The moment Izayoi opens the envelope, he is transported to an alternate world. There, he discovers that two other “problem children” were transported by envelopes as well — a taciturn girl named You Kasukabe with a cat, and a beautiful yet haughty girl named Asuka Kudou. A girl named Kuro Usagi (Black Rabbit) summoned the three to the community “No Name” to overthrow the devil.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Diomedea
Chief Director: Keizou Kusakawa
Director: Yasutaka Yamamoto
Series Composition: Noboru Kimura
Original creator: Tarou Tatsunoko
Character Designer: Naomi Ide

The Positives: Uh, one of the directors has experience directing with Valkyria Chronicles, and Keizou Kusakawa directed a few good series (Nanoha A’s)… at least it’s something.
The Negatives: This again looks pretty bad. Most of the shows these guys worked on were downright mediocre, and on top of that they’ve got yet another badly sounding light novel with an impossibly long and quirky sounding title that was inspired by all those incest shows.

First-Glance Potential: 30%

GJ-bu

Summary: “Each of GJ-bu’s nine volumes contains 36 four-page short stories about the lives of high school students.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Dogakobo
Director: Yoshiyuki Fujiwara
Series Composition: Hideaki Koyasu
Original creator: Shin Araki

The Positives: New blood: this will be the debut for the director on a full series. I wish him best of luck. A show about four high school girls is all about its chemistry, which you need to portray well otherwise my interest just gets lost completely.
The Negatives: So, chemistry. This is more than just adapting, it’s writing the characters in such a manner that they’re appealing and interesting to watch. So what kind of experience does Hideaki Koyasu have in this area? Akikan, Limeiro Senkitan, the Kurenai OVA, Yuruyuri… yeah. Don’t get me wrong: this guy is great when he has a crazy script to work with, but with four random high school girls this just doesn’t seem to be the case.

First-Glance Potential: 40%

Mangirl!

Summary: “The story follows the daily life of naive Editor-in-Chief Hana and Japan’s cutest manga editors as they attempt to realize their dream of launching the #1 manga magazine — even though they have zero experience in actually editing manga.” – (Taken from AniDB)
Produced by: Dogakobo
Original creator: Kagari Tamaoka

The Positives: Aaaaaand the winner of the worst pun of the year is….. *drumroll*
The Negatives: The staff behind this series has not yet been announced yet beyond Dogakobo (who after Natsuyuki Rendezvous unfortunately seem quite content to go back to bad moe shows), but what can they ever hope to do with a premise as stupid as this? The only salvation I see for this show is if they take it over 9000, but can Dogakobo really do that?

First-Glance Potential: 40%

Hakkenden: Touhou Hakken Ibun

Summary: “Miyuki Abe’s manga inspiration for the anime reimagines the setting from the classic Hakkenden samurai novel as a female-oriented manga with supernatural elements.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Studio Deen
Chief Director: Osamu Yamasaki
Director: Mitsue Yamazaki
Series Composition: Osamu Yamasaki, Mitsue Yamazaki
Original creator: Miyuki Abe
Character Designer: Hiromi Kato

The Positives: I still have no idea what made Toward the Terra so good, but I keep hoping. Osamu Yamasaki! Return to that brilliance! Mitsue Yamasaki is also quite good for the episode he’s worked on, and this will be his first work as an actual director for a whole series.
The Negatives: Agh, Studio Deen with its bishies again. No, not again! Miyuki Abe’s other works all seem to be generic yaoi and shounen ai. Try to do something different for a change!

First-Glance Potential: 50%

Amnesia

Summary: “The game begins on the morning of August 1, when the protagonist wakes up and discovers she has absolutely no memories of the past. A boy appears before her, and he introduces himself as a “spirit” named Orion. The protagonist struggles to regain her memories under the guidance of Orion. She then gets a phone call, but she does not recognize the name on her mobile phone screen. She meets her apparent “boyfriend,” despite not knowing his face.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Brains Base
Director: Yoshimitsu Ohashi
Series Composition: Touko Machida
Music: Yoshiaki Dewa
Character Designer: Maho Yoshikawa

The Positives: If this show has anything, it’s experience: Touko Machida has written a lot. Some of those things were actually good (GA, Muteki Kanbanmusume), and Yoshimitsu Ohashi has also directed a lot, some of which was very good (Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto, Witchblade, episodes of Michiko e Hatchin, Witch Hunter Robin).
The Negatives: They were behind a lot of bad stuff, though. However, this remains a otome game adaptation. I have never seen one that actually worked. Still, could this be the first to actually do something right? I sure hope so.

First-Glance Potential: 50%

Ai Mai Mi

Summary: ” The manga follows girls in a manga club — Ai, Mai, Mī, and Ponoka-sempai — who might be fighting evil invaders threatening Earth, facing off against rivals in tournaments, and dealing with other absurd situations when they are not drawing manga.” – (Taken from ANN)
Original creator: Choboraunyopomi (Just why!?)

The Positives: Nothing is really known about this show aside from the premise and the incredibly quirky name of the original mangaka for this one. Ah well, if they make it quirky enough this might be worth watching.
The Negatives: I do however wonder where the mind of this series lies. Base on the promo art showing a girl holding a bag of tentacles, I suspect the gutter.

First-Glance Potential: 60%

Ore no Kanojo to Osananajimi ga Shuraba Sugiru

Summary: “A young boy called Eita enters high school aiming for the National University School of Medicine. Because of his parents’ divorce and his goal, he shuns anything to do with romance or love. One day Masuzu, the school beauty with the silver hair, who’s just returned to the country, enters his life in a most unexpected way. Chiwa, his childhood friend since elementary school, will not let this go without a fight.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: A-1 Pictures
Director: Kanta Kamei
Series Composition: Tatsuhiko Urahata
Original creator: Yuuji Yuuji
Music: Masatomo Ota
Character Designer: Mai Otsuka

The Positives: A-1: Solid. Tatsuhiko Urahata: solid (we’re talking about a guy who adapted a ton of stuff already, including Hajime no Ippo, Gunslinger Girl, Master Keaton, Monster). Kanta Kamei, hell yeah solid (the director of Usagi Drop).
The Negatives: Which brings me to the actual premise: just simple romance with a childhood friend and a really long and quirky title. You really couldn’t try harder? The staff here isn’t so good that they can make boring premises like this worth watching, they’re more the types of creators who can really bring out the best of any source material.

First-Glance Potential: 60%

Kotoura-San

Summary: ” The school fantasy story follows Haruka Kotoura, a girl who recently transfered to a new school. Kotoura happens to be able to read people’s minds, and she joins the school’s ESP club.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: AIC Classic
Director: Masahiko Outa
Series Composition: Takashi Aoshima
Original creator: Enokids
Character Designer: Takaharu Okuma

The Positives: A supernatural 4-koma adaptation from the director and series composition guy of Minami-Ke and the first season of Minami-Ke and Yuruyuri. It depends on the source material of course, but they can make this work.
The Negatives: Of course, I also thought this about Yuruyuri, which turned out to be a string of bad lesbian jokes, so I’m still withholding my enthusiasm until I see what kind of material they have to work with. There is very little to be found about the author of this thing, so anything can happen here. Although it also doesn’t help that this is AIC again. I don’t have the most confidence in these guys and that’s an understatement.

First-Glance Potential: 60%

Minami-Ke Tadaima

Summary: “There are three of the Minami sisters: Haruka, Kana and Chiaki, who have an average life. The girls only have each other to depend on and help each other get through everything from love confessions to cooking.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Feel
Director: Keiichiro Kawaguchi
Series Composition: Takamitsu Kouno
Original creator: Cohaku Sakubara
Character Designer: Gou Suzuki

The Positives: More Minami-ke, slice of life about nothing that is actually quite enjoyable, albeit nothing special.
The Negatives: To be honest, this seems to be the weakest line-up so far to continue with this series. Feel is not the most solid studio out there, Keiichiro Kawaguchi can be solid when he wants to, but also has a habit of being really boring, and most of Takamitsu Kouno’s scripts and adaptations also aren’t much to write home about. I like how the producers continue to change creators to keep things fresh, but this might not have been the best choice.

First-Glance Potential: 60%

Sasami-san@Ganbaranai

Summary: “The story follows a hikikomori (shut-in) named Sasami who is unmotivated about even changing clothes or eating. Her brother Kamiomi takes care of her, even though she despises his slave-like nature. Sasami spends her days viewing the outside world via a “Brother Surveillance Tool” on her computer. In the outside world, the three beautiful Yagami sisters and Sasami’s brother are in the middle of relationships worthy of a romantic comedy.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Shaft
Director: Akiyuki Shinbo
Series Composition: Katsuhiko Takayama
Original creator: Akira
Character Designer: Hiroki Harada

The Positives: Shinbo: when he’s good he’s really good. Katsuhiko Takayama: when he’s good he’s really good.
The Negatives: This… will get annoying. This premise sounds a bit like Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo, and with the right people working on it it can really become great. I just really fear Shaft’s long drawn-out discussions about nothing and fanservice here. Please: just do something about that horrible pacing of yours! I really want to like Shaft and all, but they annoy me way too much for that.

First-Glance Potential: 65%

Cuticle Detective Inaba

Summary: ” The series tells the story of Hiroshi Inaba, a part-man, part-wolf, former “secret doberman” who begins his own detective agency.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Zexcs
Director: Susumu Mitsunaka
Series Composition: Makoto Nakamura
Original creator: Mochi
Character Designer / Chief Animation Director: Satoshi Koike

The Positives: An exciting time for Susumu Mitsunaka: this will be his first full series to direct, so anything can happen. It’s a bit of a pity that he has such a silly premise to work with, but ah well. Makoto Nakamura is solid enough to back him up with the series composition. At least this doesn’t piss me off in any way, that’s also good in this season.
The Negatives: The thing with this show is that it has a really silly premise, yet it tries to look serious. Good perhaps for some deadpan humour or something, but will it actually work?

First-Glance Potential: 70%

Senyuu

Summary: ” In the story, a gigantic hole suddenly opened up in the world one day, and demons appeared. The king thinks that this portends the return of the demon king Rukimedesu, who was sealed away by the hero Kureashion a millenium ago. The king decreed that the descendants of the hero must take on the threat, and 75 people showed up. Hero No. 45 (Aruba) and a sadistic palace warrior (Rosu) team up, and their adventure begins.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Ordet
Director: Yutaka Yamamoto
Series Composition: Michiko Yokote
Original creator: Robinson Haruhara
Music: Daisuke Sakabe
Character Designer/Chief Animation Director: Ushio Tazawa
Other Notable Staff: Daisuke Okumura (Director of Photography), Takanori Tanaka

The Positives: Very solid staff members here: Daisuke Okumura has done the photography of many interesting-looking anime (Shikabane Hime, Gurren Lagann, Mine Fujiko to Iu Onna’s OP, Penguin Drum), Takanori Tanaka did some beatiful backgrounds (Dennou Coil, Ghost Hound, Seirei no Moribito), and Michiko Yokote has written and adapted many, many awesome series (Princess Tutu, Kobato, Strange Dawn, Bake Neko). The mangaka is a typical shounen mangaka, but he does seem to have his own unique style which actually seems retained in the promo art. I’d look forward to this, if it wasn’t for one thing…
The Negatives: Oh god, Yutaka Yamamoto. Not him. The problem with him is that he really wants to be there with the big guys, and he is ambitious, but he still needs to learn so much, and doesn’t seem to realize this. This lead to the disaster that was Fractale. And really: technically his series always look great and stuff, but they’re a mess when he starts to meddle with the story. This is an adaptation, but that still doesn’t convince me, considering how disappointingly out Kannagi (one of his other series) ended.

First-Glance Potential: 70%

Yama no Susume

Summary: “Aoi and Hinata promised that they would again see the sunrise they had seen at the apex of a mountain as young children. As time passes by, somehow without any apparent reasons, Aoi becomes acrophobic, Will they ever see the sunrise together again. A piece that became popular in a fanzine is now out on manga.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: 8-Bit
Director: Yuusuke Yamamoto
Original creator: Shiro
Character Designer: Yuusuke Matsuou

The Positives: The character designer of Black Rock Shooter? Could have been far worse. Also, the director of NHK ni Youkoso, Aquarion Evol (under Shoji Kawamori) and B Gata H Kei seems very promising here. Finally! Something new that is actually looking promising!
The Negatives: I have become very cynical while writing this season preview. It sounds promising, however the overabundance of moe on the promo art still has me worried. Have some variety dangit!

First-Glance Potential: 75%

Bakumatsu Gijinden Roman

Summary: ” The story of the game this is based on follows Roman, a phantom thief who operates at night in the Genroku era (1688-1704). The anime Bakumatsu Gijinden Roman will shift the timeframe to Bakumatsu, the era that spelled the end of the shoguns’ rule over Japan.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: TMS Entertainment
Director: Hirofumi Ogura
Series Composition: Tatsuto Higuchi
Original creator: Monkey Punch
Music: Hiroshi Takaki
Character Designer: Satoshi Hirayama

The Positives: I must say, I have no idea what happened to TMS Entertainment, but suddenly they have become much, much more ambitious and experimental than what they were before. Here they adapt another one of Monkey Punch’s works after Lupin, and again they plan to give it a different spin by adding a few centuries to the setting. That’s what I like: an adaptation that takes both the original source, and a bit of its own style and flavour. The director is quite versed with this, having previously done this with Kuroshitsuji’s second season, even though his work on the Knight in the Area was a bit mediocre. The soundtrack will also be awesome, if going by Hiroshi Takaki’s previous work on AKB0048 and Kyosogiga.
The Negatives: I am not confident whether Tatsuto Higuchi can write a good script for this. He’s not bad or anything, but he definitely lacks experience in this genre (he did storyboard a bunch of manga, which were about cute girls fighting in fanservice outfits…). I am confident that he’s able to write a fun script based on his experience, but I’m most worried about the overarching story. Yes, that’s very important for an episodic series.

First-Glance Potential: 75%

AKB0048 Next Stage

Summary: “In the beginning of the 21st century, a world war broke out amongst mankind. In the aftermath of the war started by humanity itself, the earth’s ecosystem was irrecoverably affected, and it had no choice but to escape the now devastated earth to live in space. A new era began with the Star Calendar 0000. Shortly afterwards entertainment was prohibited by law and the sacred place for otaku, Akihabara, became the public entertainment’s absolute area of defense and the only place to perform such activities. In Star Calendar 0048 once more a group was formed in the hope to resume the legacy of the legendary idol act AKB48, which continued to shine even during the earth’s downfall. With the law in place they were deemed as an illegal act and unable to hold official live events. This is when the group’s concept changed. Instead of the idols you can meet they became the idols who come to meet you. Branded as terrorists by authorities they didn’t give up and decided to take up arms to protect the stage they stand on, the fans who cheer for them and the citizens who are deprived of entertainment.” – (Taken from AniDB)
Produced by: Satelight
Original creator:

The Positives: The official staff list has not been announced yet, but I think that we can be pretty sure that the main staff will be the same as for the first season. This means Hell yeah! Mari Okada and Shoji Kawamori once more together on one project. I remember how pleasantly surprised I was with the first season: it won me over, even though I hate the idol business, and it was exactly because of how it tried to bite the hand that fed it that made up for so much.This really was one series that needed a second season, and I’m really glad that it got one.
The Negatives: I really hope that this team will again get the freedom that they got in the first season. Considering the collective ego of both Mari Okada and Shoji Kawamori, this should probably be fine, but the chance still remains for this to turn into a sell-out.

First-Glance Potential: 85%

Chihayafuru 2

Summary: “Chihaya Ayase is a frank and ebullient girl who becomes fascinated by the obscure world of competitive karuta, a card game based on Japanese poetry. Introduced to the aggressive style of the game by a quiet and thoughtful elementary school classmate named Arata Wataya, the two quickly become close friends. They start playing as a group with Taichi Mashima, Chihaya’s smart and athletic childhood friend, until they have to part ways during their middle school years due to several circumstances. As their high school life begins, they meet once again.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Madhouse
Original creator: Yui Suetsugu
Other Staff: Has not been announced yet, but will probably be the same as the first season.

The Positives: Squeeeeee! By far the biggest flaw of Chihayafuru’s first season was that it was too short: the ending was inconclusive. I sure as hell did not expect a continuation, due to the bad sales, but I am SO glad that it got one. The first season was just so beautifully made, and the chemistry between the characters was fantastic. It left on such a huge cliff-hanger that it will be instantly awesome again.
The Negatives: You need to have seen the first season in order to really enjoy this.

First-Glance Potential: 100%
Posted on 12 August 2012 with categories: Seasonal Previews

Oh my god. Remember how I said in the preview for the movies for the current Summer Season that it has the potential to become the best season for movies in a decade? Well, upcoming fall season actually is looking even better. I did not think it was possible, but seriously: there are so many awesome movies coming out, it’s just incredible.

So yeah, brace yourselves for the point at which all these movies will finally be able to arrive on DVD, because 2012 is going to be a fantastic year for movies.

Franchise OVAs

Comments: This is a list of all the ovas and dvd specials that are going to come out. A rundown: Otome wa Boku ni Koshiteru, Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu, Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai, Minami-ke, Kami Nomi zo Shiru Sekai, High School DXD, Kore wa Zombie Desu Ka and Upotte. And to be honest, the only one I even remotely care about is Minami-Ke, but even that is a series that I can hardly remember when I watched its third season.

Ongoing OVA and Movie Series

Comments: These are continuing instalments of movies that are appearing, including the umpth Precure movie. And really: what’s not to love? Tales of Symphonia will conclude, Berserk will air its third instalment, concluding up to the point where the Television series left off (in other words, the BEST part), Mardock Scramble will conclude, and Evangelion is also back at a point at which it’s probably really going to take off, if the second movie was any indication. Interesting bit of trivia: for Evangelion they got their hands on a rather peculiar director to help along with the regular creators: Mahiro Maeda, the director of Gankutsuou. Yeah.

Katayoku no Khronos Gear

Summary: “The story is set in the near future not long from now, when humanity has completed an orbital elevator and begun developing the outer planets in earnest. An enigmatic extraterrestrial enemy known as “Obliquus” has set its sights on the solar system, and humanity enters a state of war with the first aliens it has encountered. To counter the enemy’s overwhelming technological superiority, the Khronos Foundation has assembled the descendants of every country’s heroes from Japan’s Musashi Miyamoto and Ryouma Sakamoto to France’s Napoleon and Joan of Arc. The foundation then fuses the descendants with “Gear” battle suits as special biological weapons, thus giving birth to “Khronos Gear.”” – (Taken from )
Type: OVA
Produced by: AIC
Director: Hiroku Hayashi
Screenplay: JR Eri Sakurajima
Other Notable Staff: Ayu Kawamoto, (Art Direction)

The Positives: The director originally came up with the concept for the Legend of Black Heaven and El Hazard, so he definitely has imagination.
The Negatives: You know, I find it very impressive that these guys managed to track down the descendants of Joan of Arc. Especially since she died as a virgin. I think this is one of those OVAs where you can pretty much get your impression from watching the trailer: it’s all really typical moe fantasy (with orgasmic power-up scenes included). Along with such a stupid premise, I’m not seeing much hope for this one.

First-Glance Potential: 0%

Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica Zenpen: Hajimari no Monogatari & Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica Kouhen: Eien no Monogatari

Summary: ” After experiencing a bizarre dream, Madoka Kaname, a kind 14-year-old girl, encounters a magical creature named Kyube. Madoka and her friend Sayaka Miki are offered the opportunity of gaining magical powers if they agree to make a contract with the strange little being. He will also grant them one wish, but in exchange they shall risk their lives by accepting the responsibility of fighting witches. Invisible to human eyes, witches are catalysts of despair in the areas they inhabit. An ally of Kyube, a magical girl named Mami Tomoe, befriends and encourages the two girls to accept the contract. For an unknown reason, another magical girl named Homura Akemi is determined to prevent Madoka from accepting the deal.” – (Taken from ANN)
Type: Recap Movies
Produced by: Shaft
Director: Shinbo, Yukihiro Miyamoto
Screenplay: Gen Urobuchi
Other Notable Staff: Yuki Kajiura (Music)

The Positives: For those who haven’t watched Madoka Magica yet: this is for you. The chance to watch it on the silver screen.
The Negatives: You know, it really sounded great when three whole movies of Madoka Magica got announced, right? Well, two of those three are just recap movies: only the third will feature any new content, and really: that ending was very conclusive: how do they plan to add to that? In any case though, my real issue with these movies is that I cannot find an answer to the question of “What will these movies add to the Madoka Franchise?”

First-Glance Potential: 30%

Kaiketsu Zorori Da-Da-Da-Daibouken!

Summary: “Hara’s books follow Zorori, a mischievous bandit fox who dreams of becoming the “King of Pranks.” Zorori aims to “build my own castle and make a beautiful princess my wife,” and he embarks on one misadventure after another with his two boar companions Ishishi and Noshishi. In the film, Zorori is after a trove of riches discovered by the treasure hunter Zorondo Ron.” – (Taken from ANN)
Type: Movie
Produced by: Sunrise
Director: Tomoki Iwasaki
Screenplay: Takeshi Mori
Other Notable Staff: Yutaka Hara (Original Creator), Kouhei Tanaka

The Positives: So, the producer of Legend of Legendary Heroes will direct the next movie for the Kaiketsu Zozori franchise, written by the director of Vandread, The Skull Man, Otaku no Video along with music composed by the same guy who also did the soundtrack for Hyouka, One Piece, Nurarihyon no Mago and A TON of other series. Kindof an impressive resume for a kids’ movie.
The Negatives: Kaiketsu Zozori is a bit of an overblown kids show that went on for way too long, can this movie really reel in new fans or is it just going to aim itself at kids?

First-Glance Potential: 40%

Usogui

Summary: “There are gamblers out there who even bet their lives as ante. But to secure the integrity of these life-threatening gambles, a violent and powerful organization by the name of “Kagerou” referees these games as a neutral party. Follow Baku Madarame a.k.a. Usogui (The Lie Eater) as he gambles against maniacal opponents at games – such as Escape the Abandoned Building, Old Maid, and Hangman…” – (Taken from Mangaupdates)
Type: OVA
Director: Kazuo Tomizawa
Original Creator: Toshio Sako

The Positives: This one screams pilot. It’s based on a shounen manga that is in no way going to fit inside an OVA, but this really looks like the producers are trying to see whether it works for animation, so we might as well see a proper Usogui series in about a year or something. And they got the character designer of Barefoot Gen to direct it… interesting.
The Negatives: So yeah, don’t expect anything from this OVA, it will only be an introduction, nothing more.

First-Glance Potential: 70%

Macross FB7: Ginga Rukon Ore no Uta o Kike!

Summary: “The story is set in 2059, five decades after the Space War I conflict seen in the first Macross story. Macross Frontier, the 25th New Macross Class super-long-distance colonization fleet, is journeying through the galaxy to a new paradise to call home. However, it is locked in a state of war with a strange enemy called Vajra. Ozma Lee, the leader of the S.M.S. Skull Team that is fighting the Vajra on the frontlines, encounters a mysterious lifeform, different from even the Vajra, one day. This mysterious lifeform shares visual memories of a certain other colonization fleet with Ozma and two other Macross Frontier characters, Ranka and Sheryl.” – (Taken from AniDB)
Type: Movie
Produced by: Satelight
Director: Tetsurou Amino
Screenplay: Tetsurou Amino

The Positives: So this is going to be a remake of the Macross 7 series, in which the characters of Macross Frontier are also going to make an appearance. Tetsurou Amino directed the original Macross 7 (which I didn’t see, by the way) and this guy really impressed me with his work on Shiki, so who knows? Satelight will also very likely brings its best animators to this project, so it’s definitely going to have a ton of eye candy again.
The Negatives: I hate to say it, but the Macross Franchise is really getting milked out right now. This is the third movie in what? three years? This one definitely sounds like it was thought up by producers with a lack of imagination.

First-Glance Potential: 75%

Horimiya

Summary: “People say that the youthful days are always bittersweet, but maybe it’s just bitter? Kyouko Hori is a flashy high school girl, who, despite her ostentatious appearance, excels in academics and has a family-loving character. Izumi Miyamura is a bland high school boy, who, despite not wanting to stand out in class, secretly wears piercings outside of school and has a large body tattoo. One day, Miyamura finds Hori’s little brother injured and helps him back to Hori’s house, where the relationship between Hori and Miyamura begins with Hori’s discovery of Miyamura’s secret.” – (Taken from Mangaupdates)
Type: OVA
Produced by: Hoods Entertainment
Director: Shingo Natsume
Screenplay: Yuniko Ayana
Other Notable Staff: Hero (Original Creator)

The Positives: This story is definitely inspired by His and Her Circumstances, with the whole “pretending to be someone you’re not”-angle. The question will now be how well the creators make use of this shoujo story. And the guy to direct this and bring the characters to life is an interesting guy: this will be his first full series to direct, but before this he worked as the unit direction of the Full Metal Alchemist-movie, he directed episode 6 of the Tatami Galaxy and worked as an animator for anime as Welcome to the Space Show, Welcome to the NHK, Gurren Lagann, Read or Die and Panty and Stocking. He’s got an interesting resume for a starting director.
The Negatives: Yukino Ayana previously wrote the series composition for Denpa-Onna to Seishun Otoko, which didn’t know how to pace itself. But hey: this is a short OVA so the danger of it dragging on is much smaller.

First-Glance Potential: 75%

Ippatsu Hicchuu!! Devander

Summary: “The story revolves around a spirited, carefree boy named Kazuma Harukaze, who lives with his little sister Sakura and his horse Lovely on a farm within sight of Mt. Fuji. One day, a “meteor” lands nearby, and it turns out to be Hinkeeru — a messenger from Muzanda who has come to warn Earth of a grave danger — and a robot horse named Robony.” – (Taken from ANN)
Type: OVA
Produced by: Tatsunoko Productions
Director: Hiroshi Sasagawa
Screenplay: Junki Takegawa
Other Notable Staff: Junio Okawara (Mechanical Designs)

The Positives: This is just one of those shows that made me do a double-take to check whether it was really true what I saw. I mean, we have this guy walking around on this robot horse who turns out to be named “Robony”. And to make matters even weirder, Robony was designed by who is probably THE classical mecha designer out there: he is the guy behind the designs of Gundam, Votoms, Reideen, and a ton of other classic mechas. Apparently this is to celebrate Tatsunoko Production’s 50th anniversary. The director is also a complete veteran: the director of Yatterman and all kinds of classic kids’ shows of 30 years ago (this guy was born in 1938!) The script also is written by a veteran, who has written and adapted a ton of series, ranging from Naruto to Yugioh and Yatterman. This definitely is an homage to Yatterman by the way.
The Negatives: The danger is aiming this too much at kids. This really should be something aimed at the older fans.

First-Glance Potential: 80%

Kizumonogatari

Summary: ” “I think it’s about time I talked about Kiss-Shot-Acerola-Orion Heart-Under-Blade. I believe it’s something I have to do. I met her in the spring break between my second and third years of high school. That meeting had such impact, and was also quite devastating.”” – (Taken from ANN)
Type: Movie
Produced by: Shaft
Director: Shinbo
Original Creator: Nisioisin

The Positives: Do you remember that very misleading OP of Bakemonogatari? Now that was actually a teaser for the Kizumonogatari movie, the sequel to both Bakemonogatari and Kizumonogatari. The thing is that I read in an interview once that Nisioisin doesn’t like to repeat himself, which is something I really like, even though I’m definitely not a fan of his writing style that overemphasizes wordplay and takes ages to get anywhere. Still, this will very likely be full of really nice eye candy and animation, on top of that it seems much more action-packed than what Bakemonogatari and Nisemonogatari were.
The Negatives: That pacing still worries me though. Shaft does have an actual budget for this series now, and they’renot producing way too many series any more like when Bakemonogatari was aired, but I still need to run into a -monogatari adaptation that I really liked.

First-Glance Potential: 80%

Arata Naru Sekai

Summary: “The story follows a “time researcher” and a group of children in a depopulated world that finds itself stuck in time. In order to save humanity, some of the characters are chosen to travel to the future (depicted in the anime), and others to the past (depicted in the manga), while those who are deemed unsuitable for the technology stay in the present (depicted in the novel.)” – (Taken from ANN)
Type: OVA
Produced by: Madhouse
Director: Yuzuru Tachikawa
Screenplay: Hitoma Iruma
Other Notable Staff: Satoru Kousaki (Music)

The Positives: This is an ambitious project: it’s going to be both a manga, light novel and anime at the same time, penned by the guy who wrote the Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko novels, and I’m curious what his work is like without Shinbo dancing all over it. And really: this sounds very interesting with a story that deliberately spans different mediums. The director will also have his first full-on directing job, and he sounds like a solid Madhouse director here, having worked on an episode of Mouryou no Hako, Kurozuka and Steins;Gate in the past.
The Negatives: The problem is that I probably won’t be able to get 1/3 of the story, since I don’t read light novels.

First-Glance Potential: 85%

Fuse Teppou Musume no Torimonochou

Summary: “In Fuse Gansaku: Satomi Hakkenden, the female hunter Hamaji comes to her brother in order to hunt Fuse. Thus, the karmic cycle of retribution that began long ago with the Satomi family begins anew.” – (Taken from ANN)
Type: Movie
Produced by: TMS Entertainment
Director: Masayuki Miyaji
Screenplay: Ichirou Okouchi
Other Notable Staff: Kazuki Sakuraba (Original Creator), Michiru Ooshima

The Positives: Yes! The director of Xam’d is back with another work, this time an adaptation of the author of Gosick who based her story on the Hakkenden. Michiru Ooshima also is a really good choice for the soundtrack. This probably won’t be such an arthouse project as with the original Hakkenden OVA, but as a standalone story there is a ton of potential.
The Negatives: Ichirou Okuchi, the writer of Code Geass… yeah. Still, he did adapt the Berserk movies and Shigofumi, so he can definitely adapt something.

First-Glance Potential: 85%

Sakasama no Patema

Summary: “The film’s story will take place in an underground world where tunnels extend everywhere. Even though they live in dark and confined spaces, people wear protective clothes and lead quiet and enjoyable lives. Patema, a princess in her underground village, loves to explore the tunnels. Her favorite place is a “danger zone” that her village prohibits people from entering. Even though she’s scolded, Patema’s curiosity can’t be held back. No one ever explained what the supposed danger was. On her usual trip to the “danger zone,” Patema faces unexpected events. When hidden secrets come to light, the story begins to unfold.” – (Taken from ANN)
Type: Movie
Produced by: Purple Cow Studio Japan
Director: Yasuhiro Yoshiura
Screenplay: Yasuhiro Yoshiura
Other Notable Staff: Yasuhiro Yoshiura (Original Creator)

The Positives: So what was previously released were a bunch of preview OVAs. I didn’t watch them because I was just waiting for the full movie to arrive. In any case, Yasuhiro Yoshiura is the creators of Pale Cocoon, Eve no Jikan and Mizu no Kotoba. He definitely has a unique vision through his works, so this movie is definitely going to be interesting.
The Negatives: If I’d have to say one thing that he lacks, it’s making things come together. That also struck me with Eve no Jikan. Great individual stories, but it just seemed to miss something in the big picture, and I do hope that this gets fixed for this movie release because it definitely seems interesting.

First-Glance Potential: 90%

Hana-Saku Iroha: Home Sweet Home

Summary: “When her mother runs off with her latest boyfriend, Ohana Matsumae is sent to live with her grandmother, who she has never met nor spoken to. Her grandmother is not pleased to find Ohana on her doorstep, and sets her to work at her Taisho-era (1920s) hot springs inn. It’s not a lifestyle that Ohana would have chosen, but she decides not to be discouraged and to make the most of her difficult circumstances.” – (Taken from ANN)
Type: Movie
Produced by: PA Works
Director: Masahiro Ando
Screenplay: Mari Okada
Other Notable Staff: Shirou Hamaguchi (Music), Kanami Sekiguchi (Animation Director)

The Positives: Sweet, they stuck with the main staff members of the TV-Series, and on top of that this will probably be Mari Okada’s first written movie screenplay. There is enough inspiration left to fill a movie here, especially since we already know the characters and therefore don’t need the lengthy introduction arc that bogged the TV-series down a bit around its beginning.
The Negatives: So yeah, unfortunately this will likely be a movie for the fans, and not new audiences.

First-Glance Potential: 90%

Rakuen Tsuihou: Expelled From Paradise

Summary: “???”
Type: Movie
Produced by: Toei Animation, Nitroplus
Director: Seiji Mizushima
Screenplay: Gen Urobuchi

The Positives: Awesome: a new completely original movie, animated by Toei, directed by Seiji Mizushima (the director of Natsuiro Kiseki, Full Metal Alchemist, Un-Go) and written by Gen Urobuchi (Madoka Magica, Phantom, Fate Zero). It’s going to be a science fiction project, but apart from that nothing is known yet what it’ll be about. It’s also got a really cryptic official website that makes Psycho Pass look like the bible in comparison.
The Negatives: I can’t say anything negative yet. The people involve here are awesome, and Toei’s movies always have this charm to them when they’re done by the experimental part of Toei, of which this definitely belongs to.

First-Glance Potential: 95%

Tiger and Bunny – The Beginning

Type: Movie
Produced by: Sunrise
Director: Yoshitomo Yonetani
Screenplay: Masafumi Nishida
Other Notable Staff: Yoshihiro Ike (Music)

The Positives: The Tiger & Bunny movies just got even better once I found out who the director is going to be: Yoshitomo Yonetani’s name is synonymous to crack: he was behind Dororon – Enma-kun, Hoshi no Umi no Amuri and Brigaddon. He has this unique style and is always really fun to watch, and his crazy touch is definitely going to be interesting and unconventional for Tiger & Bunny here, aided by the series’ original scriptwriter.
The Negatives: Now, the series did end pretty conclusive. I’m not going to spoil this here, but the creators are going to have to be very careful to avoid some deus ex machina in order to actually get a story here.

First-Glance Potential: 95%

Asura

Summary: “The unrelentingly dark drama follows the struggles of a child during a famine in medieval Japan. His mother was so impoverished and starved that she tried to eat Ashura at the beginning of the story.” – (Taken from ANN)
Type: Movie
Produced by: Toei Animation
Director: Keiichi Satou
Screenplay: Ikuko Takahashi
Other Notable Staff: George Akiyama (Original Creator), Yoshihiro Ike, Norihito Sumitomo, Susumu Ueda (Music)

The Positives: Holy crap! Toei actually made a movie out of this!? Oh my god, this manga was actually labelled like an anti-Miyazaki story, and this seems unrelentingly dark here. On top of that, the director of Karas and Tiger and Bunny will direct this. The scriptwriter of some of Mononoke’s stories and Ojiisan no Lamp will adapt the story and the ever-lovely Yoshihiro Ike will delier the soundtrack If they can manage to make this work this will definitely be an incredible movie.
The Negatives: The big danger for this one is making it devolve into something that is shocking for the sake of shocking. Make it count and actually flesh these characters out.

First-Glance Potential: 95%

009-Re:Cyborg

Summary: “The nuclear age has brought with it the arms race, which has led to the advent of weapons powerful enough to destroy the world itself several times over. Unwilling to take the plunge into Armageddon, the world powers, in league with a group known only as the Black Ghost, have developed super soldiers known as the Cyborgs, designed to fight the wars of the world in space. Unfortunately, the Black Ghost didn’t ask the Cyborgs how they felt about their role in the new world order. This classic work from manga legend Shotaro Ishinomori (Masked Rider) not only told a thrilling tale set against a backdrop of Cold War tensions, but it also helped define the genre of super team stories such as Battle of the Planets, Voltron, and The Power Rangers.” – (Taken from Mangaupdates)
Type: Movie
Produced by: Production IG, Sanzigen
Director: Kenji Kamiyama
Screenplay: kENJI kAMIYAMA
Other Notable Staff: Shotaro Ishinomori (Original Creator), Kenji Kawai, Yasuhiro Aoki

The Positives: Kenji Kamiyama is back! And how, with this remake of one of the classics in anime (it was written in 1964 and formed the prototype for all power rangers and super sentai series to follow). On top of that, the always awesome Kenji Kaway will do the soundtrack, and one of the people behind the storyboard is one of the main episode directors of Mahou Shoujotai. Remakes are usually awesome, but to have such a rock-solid staff behind one this time makes me even more excited than usual for one.
The Negatives: Like with all remakes, this will have to balance between the original vision of Cyborg, and the vision of the creators themselves. The key here is freedom while doing justice to the source material. That’s always a bit difficult.

First-Glance Potential: 100%

Gothicmade

Summary: “On a tiny colony world named Carmine, young women known as Songstresses inherit the generation memories of those who came before them, using their knowledge to help a populace that suffers under the harsh policies of the ruling interplanetary league. Newly reborn as a Songstress, 16-year-old Bellin Ajelli sets off a holy pilgrimage across the planet. Rumors of a possible terrorist attack result in Prince Truhallon of the militant Donau Empire being sent in to protect her, but his very presence is the antithesis of everything Bellin stands for. The two are as different as night and day, but they’re stuck together until they reach the capital.” – (Taken from ANN)
Type: Movie
Produced by: Automatic Flowers Studio
Director: Mamoru Nagano
Screenplay: Mamoru Nagano
Storyboard: Mamoru Nagano
Original Creator: Mamoru Nagano
Character Design: Mamoru Nagano
Key Animation: Mamoru Nagano
Layout: Mamoru Nagano
Photography: Mamoru Nagano
Other Notable Staff: Seikou Nagaoka (Music), Hiromasa Ogura, Yasuhiro Ogura

The Positives: Now this is it: a completely unique movie. It was already announced seven or eight years ago, and with this, it’s finally done. This is Mamoru Nagano’s magnum opus. He was involved everywhere. In fact, the reason for why this movie took so long to make was because he took up so much of this movie’s production to himself, from the key animation to the storyboards: everything needed to be done perfectly. After such a long wait and build-up, I just have to see what it eventually turned into because really: we’re likely never again going to see another movie like this.
The Negatives: But yeah, that’s also the danger of such a project: it will either be an amazing and really personal experience… or a complete train-wreck because Mamoru Nagano took way too much into his own hands. But even then though, it will most likely be something special.

First-Glance Potential: 100%

Nerawareta Gakuen

Summary: “The story is set in Abeno 6th Middle School, a prep school attended by the main character Kouji Seki. The school puts a high emphasis on studying, but the resulting stress leads to unruly students. Michiru Takamizawa is elected the student council president, and she begins ruling over the school with a brutal iron fist. Kouji rises up against Michiru, and Kazumi Kusumoto joins him in the battle with the student council.” – (Taken from ANN)
Type: Movie
Produced by: Sunrise
Director: Ryousuke Nakamura
Original Creator: Taku Mayumura

The Positives: Holy crap, Ryousuke Nakamura is back! This guy really is my favourite director who started his career during the past ten years, and just about everything he touches becomes brilliant. I mean, just look at the trailer on the official website. It looks so completely gorgeous and expressive. On top of that, I cannot confirm this and I’ve only read this somewhere, but there are rumours that Tetsurou Araki (the director of Death Note and Kurozuka) also helped to work on this movie after his work on Guilty Crown was finished.
The Negatives: There is the premise, which at first sight doesn’t seem like much. Yet, the author did write the Order to Stop Construction, which was delightfully witty. It probably won’t be something as unique as Mouryou no Hako and Hashire Melos though.

First-Glance Potential: 100%
Posted on 11 August 2012 with categories: Seasonal Previews

The next season: 36 new series, and that’s probably not even the total amount, since I’m quite early with my preview this time. There will probably be a few more announcements next week for the latecomers. What sets this season apart is how relatively little bad series there are. I mean, there are a number of kids series and bad fanservice shows and all, but much fewer than usual for an Autumn season. Plus, for some strange reason the kids’ shows nearly all have really good people working on them, do not ask me why. That’s another theme of this season by the way: really talented people working on relatively dull or just outright questionable premises.

With most of these previews, I usually have a clear one that sticks out. This time though, I don’t. I’ve got about 7 shows that all intrigue me equally, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg here. Seriously, this season is definitely going for the quantity, because there were a lot of shows that piqued my interest. On the other side of the coin though, it does have one major weakness: everything looks the same! There are a lot of very similar premises out there and series with the exact same genre. On top of that, just about every show deals with teenagers again. We definitely don’t have the sheer amount of imaginative premises that we’ve gotten used to from the past half year here, unfortunately.

Also, do note that I’ve decided not to include Kyousogiga for now. We just don’t know yet whether it’ll be an OVA or TV-series. However, I do want to note that if it does turn out to be a full fledged TV-series, helmed by the same director, then it will immediately rise to the top of the list of shows I’m looking forward to.

Onii-chan Dakedo Ai Sae Areba Kankei Nai yo ne—

Summary: “The story centers around Akito Himenokōji (Ryota Ohsaka), a boy who was separated from his twin sister Akiko six years ago, but they end up living under the same roof together during high school.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Silver Link
Director: Keiichiro Kawaguchi
Series Composition: Kazukyuki Fudeyasu
Original creator: Daisuke Suzuki
Other Notable Staff: Kyousuke Kawamura (Character Designs)

The Positives: Kazuyuki Fudeyasu… in theory could make this into something enjoyable, after what he did to Milky Holmes.
The Negatives: If you don’t understand what the title means: BE GLAD!!!

First-Glance Potential: 0%

To Love Ru Darkness

Summary: ” The story is about Yuuki Rito, a high-school boy who cannot confess to the girl of his dreams, Sairenji Haruna. One day when coming home and sulking in the bath-tub a mysterious, nude girl, appears out of nowhere. Her name is Lala and she comes from the planet Deviluke, where she is the heir to the throne. Her father wants her to return to her home planet so she can marry one of the husband candidates, but she decides that she wants to marry Rito in order to stay on Earth.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Xebec
Director: Atsushi Ootsuki
Original creator: Saki Hasemi

The Positives: I see no positives about this one whatsoever.
The Negatives: Good lord, they’re still going with this show? This makes 52 episodes of mind-numbing fanservice. Or am I really missing something beyond the boobs that makes this worth watching?

First-Glance Potential: 0%

Hiiro no Kakera 2

Summary: “Tamaki Kasuga has supposedly gone to live with her grandmother after her parents are transferred overseas. But the real reason for her arrival is that she must continue the role, handed down from her ancestor Princess Tamayori, to seal the sword Onikirimaru. Five young men serve as her guardians against the mysterious Logos.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Studio Deen
Director: Bob Shirohata
Series Composition: Yoshiko Nakamura

The Positives: It has bishies.
The Negatives: Studio Deen, for god’s sake stop making these crappy bishie series and get back to actually doing justice to the shoujo genre.

First-Glance Potential: 0%

Monsuno

Summary: “Chase Suno and his friends, Jinja and Bren, are on a search for Chase’s father, Jeredy Suno. However, they soon become involved in something else upon reaching their father’s lab and becoming involved with an organism known as Monsuno. Chase, choosing to side with his father’s work, denies S.T.O.R.M. access to the Monsuno and escapes. They are now on the run from the military organization, S.T.O.R.M., while still looking for Chase’s father. However, a mysterious organization also has his eyes set on Chase and the group’s Monsuno.” – (Taken from Anidb)
Produced by: Jakks Pacific
Director: Yoshiaki Okamura
Series Composition: Michael Ryan
Other Notable Staff: Michael Tavera (Music)

The Positives: An American-Japanese co-production…
The Negatives: … about spinning tops that summon monsters. Yup, it’s another kiddie show. The director also isn’t looking good, being the director of Element Hunters and all. Moving on…

First-Glance Potential: 0%

Seitokai no Ichizon – Hekiyoh Gakuen Seitokai Gijiroku

Summary: ” The series, which is also called Hekiyō Gakuen Seito-kaigi Jiroku (The Records of the Hekiyō Academy Student Council’s Activities), revolves around a private high school whose student council is chosen entirely by popularity vote. Because of this, Ken Sugisaki is the only male representative, in the otherwise all bishōjo student council, that may enter the “sacred sanctuary” of the council’s meeting room. At the behest of Council President Kurimu Sakurano (pictured at right), Sugisaki records the minutes of the council meetings, which devolve into daily conversations about the students’ lives and interests.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: AIC
Director: Kenichi Imaizumi
Series Composition: Reiko Yoshida
Original creator: Sekina Aoi

The Positives: Staff change! This season is handled by AIC, adapted by Reiko Yoshida (a very experienced writer) and directed by the director of Kateikyo Hitman Reborn.
The Negatives: I did not like Seitokai no Ichizon. It was like, funny for one episode and then it lost all of its charm. Most of the jokes were bad moe jokes anyway. Do I think that this will change with the new people working on it? Not really, bad moe jokes is everything that this show is. The creators are going to have to try really hard to make this consistently hilarious, and I don’t see that happen.

First-Glance Potential: 0%

Battle Spirits: Sword Eyes

Summary: “The story is set 14 years after Atlantia, the largest country in the world of Legendia, was torn apart by riots. The protagonist Tsurugi Tatewaki was secreted away from the chaos at a young age. Oblivious to his true birthplace, Tsurugi grows up as a spirited boy in the neighboring rocky land of Pacifis. One day, Tsurugi suddenly comes across the ‘Shining Sword,’ and his great adventure begins. An army of darkness is hunting down the 12 Sword Braves, and as the army pursues Tsurugi, a figure appears before him. Bringer is a Card Battle Droid entrusted with the duty of protecting Tsurugi. Trained by Bringer in the ways of the Battle Spirits combat, Tsurugi joins the other Sword Braves in rising up against the army of darkness with his Key Spirit ‘Shining Dragon’.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Sunrise
Director: Masaki Watanabe
Series Composition: Atsuhiro Tomioka

The Positives: The thing with the Battle Spirits franchise is that Sunrise keeps enlisting actually competent writers and directors to its installments (heck, Dai Sato worked on one of them). This time they got the director of Bartender. I am not kidding with that. Atsuhiro Tomioka, many of you may know him better as as the guy who adapted Zetman. The potential is definitely there.
The Negatives: The thing however with this franchise is that even though it isn’t among the worst of the kiddie series, it’s clear that the creators are forced to dumb themselves down a lot. From the few episodes that I did watch, they were trying way too hard to conform to the standards of kiddie series that really limits creativity, for the sake of selling toys through a business model that has proved to be lucrative. But then again, I only watched the first episodes of these series, so perhaps they got better later. With so many episodes however (all previous four seasons had 50 episodes, this one will likely have that as well), this franchise is just way too long for me to actually give it a chance.

First-Glance Potential: 0%

Bakuman 3

Summary: “Moritaka Mashiro and Akito Takagi have come a long way since they started making manga in middle school, but trials still await them as they head towards their goal of getting an anime adaption for one of their manga. As they continue to grow as artists and as people, they will be faced with new friends, new rivals, and new hurdles to overcome.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: JC Staff
Director: Noriaki Akitaya, Kenichi Kasai
Series Composition: Reiko Yoshida
Original creator: Tsugumi Ouba

The Positives: For those of you with enough time and patience this will be a treat.
The Negatives: Sorry Bakuman, you could have been a nice series for me. But there is no way I’m going to watch 75 episodes of you dragging on. You’re just not worth it, especially after you pulled a bunch of soap operas in the second season. This might be bearable for a series with a regular length, but not one that is as long as this one. Zero potential, because I already know that I’m not going to continue watching it.

First-Glance Potential: 0%

Haitai Nanafa

Summary: “?”
Produced by: Passione
Director: Hiroshi Kimura
Series Composition: Takeshi Konuta

The Positives: Passione is relatively new, and this will be their first full series to produce. Nice.
The Negatives: The thing is, that this is like Recorder and Randsell: it’s got five minute episodes and even the same director, so I really fear that it will be as dull and under-produced as that series.

First-Glance Potential: 10%

Hayate the Combat Butler: Can’t Take My Eyes Off You

Summary: “Abandoned by his parents and given a monumentally large debt as a Christmas present, 16-year old Ayasaki Hayate is at the lowest point of his life. Desperately trying alter his hapless fate, he decides to kidnap someone to hold for a ransom. Due to an ill choice of words, the girl he tries to kidnap misunderstands the action as a confession of love. His plan is totally crushed when he gives his real name out. Realizing his wrongdoing, Hayate proceeds to rescue the girl from the yakuza, who had instead kidnapped her. The girl, as a token of thanks, offers Hayate a job as her butler. Hayate, overwhelmed by her kindness, vows to protect her even at the cost of his life.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Manglobe
Series Director: Yooichi Ueda
Director: Masashi Kudo
Series Composition: Rie Koshika
Original creator: Kenjirou Hata

The Positives: Manglobe is… well, I guess I can’t use that argument anymore, can I? Anyway, the character-designs at least look better now, although I’ve heard that they really don’t work in animation-form.
The Negatives: Hayate the Combat Butler has been recommended to me quite a few times now, but really: with this instalment it will probably have 100 episodes. Is such a huge amount really worth it? Does it really stay hilarious enough for its entire run? Is it really fun enough to make up for Rie Kugimiya in yet another of her tsundere roles? On top of that, this season will be directed by the director of the ultimately very dull Asobi ni Iku Yo.

First-Glance Potential: 10%

Aoi Sekai no Chūshin de

Summary: “All the characters are parodies of Nintendo or Sega games such as Sonic the Hedgehog, Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda etc. Segua Kingdom has been losing the war against Ninterdo Empire but the tables are turned by the appearance of a boy called Gear (a parody of Sonic the Hedgehog).” – (Taken from MisaoFan)
Produced by: ?
Director: Tetsuya Yanagisawa
Series Composition: ?
Original creator: Anastasia Shestakova

The Positives: Perhaps this has potential for a few classic game jokes or something?
The Negatives: It’s very hard to find something about this series, but basically we have an adaptation of a parody manga with a lot of fanservice, adapted by the guy behind Kannadzuki no Miko and High School DXD. I’m not expecting much from this one.

First-Glance Potential: 20%

Teekyuu

Summary: ” Even though the four high school girls are in the tennis team, they hardly play any actual tennis.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Mappa
Director: Shin Itagaki
Original creator: Tsugeo Terada

The Positives: This is a case of awesome people working on… what!? I mean really: Mappa, the people who broke off from Madhouse studio that did Sakamichi no Apollon is now going to work on somehting that sounds like K-On with tennis. It’s also directed by Shin Itagaki, who is someone who really knows how to make exciting action scenes, as shown by Ben-To and Basquash.
The Negatives: What really worries me is the original source material here. Looking at some of the other works of Tsugeo Terada, there is a lot of hentai doujin among them. This is not looking good and I predict a lot of bad fanservice.

First-Glance Potential: 30%

Hidamari Sketch × Honeycomb

Summary: “Yuno has been accepted to her dream school: Yamabuki Arts High School. To attend the school, Yuno moves and starts to live in a small apartment building named the Hidamari Apartments located near the school. Once there, she starts making new friends like her classmate Miyako and the second year students, Hiro and Sae. Surrounded by good friends, Yuno starts moving towards her dream of being an artist.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Shaft
Original creator: Ume Aoki

The Positives: Hidamari Sketch is not one of my series. I tried watching it, but after around four episodes, I came to the conclusion that just too little happened. It was just too slow and boring to hold my attention. I can understand the appeal though.
The Negatives: However, there is one thing that I’m wondering about: how can series like this last for four entire seasons? Is there really enough material to warrant 50 episodes, or are the creators just repeating themselves over and over? I mean, me and Shaft sequels have a very bad relationship, so I’m very sceptical about this one.

First-Glance Potential: 30%

Aikatsu

Summary: “In the card game, players use collectible clothing cards to help their idols pass auditions in pursuit of becoming the top national idol singer.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Sunrise
Director: Ryuichi Kimura
Series Composition: Yoichi Kato
Other Notable Staff: Seiji Mizushima (Supervision), Hiroko Yaguchi (Character Designs)

The Positives: Oh great, another show based on a card game. Prepare yourselves, because this season really has a ton of them and… Seiji Mizushima?! The Director of Un-Go, Natsuiro Kiseki, Hanamaru Youchien, Full Metal Alchemist, Gundam 00… what’s he doing here with the supervision? And you know about the director? He was the assistant director for Natsuiro Kiseki and Hanamaru Youchien.
The Negatives: And on the other side of the coin we have the guy who wrote the utterly terrible Miracle train. This season is bizarre in these choices, really.

First-Glance Potential: 30%

Busou Shinki

Summary: “The slice-of-life battle story is set in a future that has neither World War III nor an alien invasion — just an ordinary future set after our current age. In this world, robots are part of everyday life, and they contribute in various aspects of society. “Shinki” are 15-centimeter-tall (about 6-inch-tall) cute partners made to assist humans. Equipped with intelligence and emotions, they devote themselves to serving their “Masters.” These Shinki can even be equipped with weapons and armor to fight each other. Such Shinki are named “Busou Shinki” (literally, “armed divine princesses”). In particular, the Shinki Ann (Arnval), Aines (Altines), and Rane (Altrane) serve a high school freshman named Masato. Things change when a new Shinki, the bellicose Staarf, joins them.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: 8-Bit
Director: Yasuhito Kikuchi
Series Composition: Masahiro Yokotani
Other Notable Staff: Ryouma Ebata (Character Designs, Chief Animation Direction), Takahiro Kishida

The Positives: To think that they actually made a full fledged anime about this. And take a look at the character-designer, Takahiro Kishida: he also designed the characters for Baccano, Durarara, Noein and Madoka Magica, so the producers are definitely gambling on this as an advertisements for their action figures (because yes, that’s what this series is).
The Negatives: So yeah, this basically requires an original storyline to be written for these figures. So who do the producers get? The director of Infinite Stratos. Sure, he also directed Macross Frontier, but that was under Shoji Kawamori. But I guess that he’s not all bad, with that series and Kurogane Communication under his helm. My real worry here lies with the guy who is going to have to write everything: This is the guy adapted World Destruction, Beelzebub, and Maria Holic. His one original story is from Reideen, which was more wasted potential than anything and saved by good directing. Add that to the story of the OVA which just involved a boy finding one of these girls, even though it did have really good staff behind it, and it seems that on top of that these guys will probably be facing a lot of restrictions in this adaptations from above. To be honest this isn’t sounding too good.

First-Glance Potential: 40%

Chou Soku Henkei Gyrozetter

Summary: “The card game this is based on depicts battles between cars that transform into robots. The arcade machine for the game features a steering wheel for controlling the game’s cars, but the machine “transforms” into a lever control setup for piloting the robot mode. Square Enix claims that this is the first physically transforming arcade machine.” – (Taken from )
Produced by: A-1 Pictures
Director: Shinji Takamatsu
Series Composition: Dai Sato
Other Notable Staff: Naoki Sato (Music)

The Positives: My very first impression when I saw this was: great, not another kiddie show to promote toys. And then I found out who were involved: the director of Daily Lives of High School Boys and the first 100 episodes of Gintama will direct, and Dai Sato will be writing it. On top of that it also turned into a show to promote various cars, the soundtrack is composed by the same person who composed the awesome soundtracks of X and Blood-C and they got a lot of different designers together for the various mecha designs. And on top of that A-1 Pictures will animate it. That’s a lot of ambition for a kids’ series, don’t you think?
The Negatives: As much as I’d love to see more Dai Sato (this is the guy who wrote Eureka Seven, Ergo Proxy and various episodes of Cowboy Bebop and Ghost in the Shell, and he’s characterized by his very intelligent dialogue), I want to see him do an actual non-kiddie show again: one that can take itself seriously. Because he already did this before with Battle Spirits and also with the Tekken movie. After he went off and created his own writing studio, he unfortunately had to take a lot of jobs for the heck of it in order to make some money, it appears. It’s a bloody shame, because a writer like him really needs to get his chances.

First-Glance Potential: 50%

Girls und Panzer

Summary: “The “military teen battle action” manga is about “high school girls x battles in tanks.”” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Actas
Director: Tsutomu Mizushima
Series Composition: Reiko Yoshida
Other Notable Staff: Takaaki Suzuki (Military Advisor)

The Positives: From the creators of Squid Girl: a series with a bunch of girls and a tank. Okay, fair enough. These people know what good comedy is, and this time they’re dealing with an original story so they can go all out. Just don’t let this get a sequel.
The Negatives: Reiko Yoshida is busy this season: three series at the same time. Also, it’s a bunch of girls with a tank! I can just imagine the creators coming up with this “Quick! We need another premise! What do people like besides girls?” “Uh, tanks?” “Good enough! Let’s go!”

First-Glance Potential: 65%

Suki-tte Ii na yo

Summary: “Mei Tachibana has spent her 16 years without making either boyfriend or friends. One day, she drop-kicks a popular boy in school, Yamato Kurosawa, because of a misunderstanding but for some reason it seems that he takes a liking to her and one-sidedly claims that they’re friends. Furthermore, he not only protects Mei from a stalker, he does it with a kiss…?!!” – (Taken from Mangaupdates)
Produced by: Zexcs
Series Director: Toshimasa Kuroyanagi
Director: Takyua Satou
Series Composition: Takuya Satou
Original creator: Kanae Hazuki
Other Notable Staff: Yuuji Nomi (Music), Yoshiko Okuda

The Positives: This most definitely looks unlike anything Zexcs have ever done before. I think we can blame Yoshiko Okuda for that, who has an interesting track record as an animator so far with experience on episodes of Casshern Sins and Shigurui. Yuuji Nomi also did the soundtrack of Bokura no and Hi no Tori, so that also sounds very promising. On top of that, this will both be directed and adopted by one of the two directors of Steins;Gate. The series director meanwhile is completely new. He worked as an animator for a few years, after which he moved on to a few series for episode direction (Ao no Exorcist, Inu Boku, Working and Kimi ni Todoke) and this will be his first chance to direct an actual series. Interesting.
The Negatives: For the negatives, I unfortunately have to turn to the original source material. Looking at the author’s other works, she seems very fond of smutty shoujo romances, and to be honest, that’s exactly what this series sounds like. It’s so entirely typical, so the execution really is going to have be good here to prevent us from watching yet another couple of paper bags in a “will they won’t they” relationship.

First-Glance Potential: 65%

Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun

Summary: “The romantic comedy centres around Shizuku Mizutani, a girl who has absolutely no interests except for school and her plans for the future. One day she delivers print-outs to the chronically absent Yoshida. After delivering the school materials to Yoshida, he believes the two of them are friends.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Brains Base
Director: Hiro Kaburaki
Series Composition: Noboru Takagi
Original creator: Robico
Other Notable Staff: Masato Nakayama (Music), Chikako Shibata (Art Direction), Hitoshi Tamura, Norihiro Naganuma

The Positives: It’s a bit difficult to explain what a director of photography does, but he basically is in charge of the camera work, and making everything look good. Now, the guy who does this for Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun also did this for the various seasons of Natsume Yuujin-chou, Durarara and Kuragehime. Add that to the director of Kimi ni Todoke and we’ll probably have a very pretty looking series here. Noboru Takagi is also a very good writer, having adapted Baccano, Durarara, Koi Kaze and Sankarea in the past.
The Negatives: Now the question is: can they make this story work? I’m glad to see more shoujo romance, but if it’s just going to be like “will they won’t they” like with Kimi ni Todoke, then I’m not feeling like sitting through that again. The set-up is really clichéd for a shoujo series: especially dating a bad boy has been done to death, so something definitely needs to set this one apart in its progression or execution. I’ve taken a look at some of the other stories that Robico, the writer of the manga this is based on, has written and they’re typical romances, although all of them aren’t as plain as what Kimi ni Todoke was: from what I could gather she always tries to at least give a side or story to her character. She also seems to like to use irony in some of her short stories, so let’s see whether her longer ones can also make use of this.

First-Glance Potential: 70%

IXION SAGA DT

Summary: “The game and anime follow Kon Hokaze, a boy who embarks on a journey from our world to an alternate world known as Mira, which is full a mysterious energy known as Alma. After saving Princess Ecarlate from attackers, he soon finds himself in the middle of a struggle around Alma.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Brains Base
Director: Shinji Takamatsu
Series Composition: Akatsuki Yamatoya
Original creator: Capcom
Other Notable Staff: Shinji Takeuchi (Character Designs, Chief Animation Director), Junpei Fujita, Hiroshi Fujima (Music)

The Positives: So here is the thing: Ixion Saga is based on an MMORPG. Since these games are known for their plots, the main creators will need to put a lot of new and original stuff to make it work. And wouldn’t you know, they happen to be the people behind the Gintama anime: its series composition guy and the director of my personal favorite first 100 episodes, so be exact. That series had some really good fillers, so they have shown that they’re able to create original content. Atsuki Yamatoya also worked on the series construction of Simoun, which I found to be utterly brilliant.
The Negatives: The downside is that these two don’t always try to deliver good stories. Akatsuki Yamatoya is just as well fine with doing stuff like To Love Ru and Blue Dragon. Also, how on earth did they succeed in making this show this ugly? Shinji Takeuchi is the character designer of Gintama, so he should know how to correctly portray colourful characters.

First-Glance Potential: 75%

Medaka Box 2

Summary: “Medaka Kurokami, a first year student at Hakoniwa Academy, excels at everything she does. She becomes the Student council president and along with her childhood friend, Zenkichi Hitoyoshi, she plans to solve all of the student body’s problems that are submitted to a suggestion box, dubbed the “Medaka Box.”” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Gainax
Director: Shouji Saeki
Series Composition: Shouji Saeki
Original creator: NisiOisin

The Positives: Well, even though this involves Gainax’s worst director and Nisioisin, I enjoyed the first season. It was nothing special, but the craziness it evolved into… I could appreciate that, and the second season is promising more of that, if you liked that, then you’ll probably like this sequel as well.
The Negatives: It remains a shounen jump adaptation that needs to squeeze in 52 chapters in one year. That rather scares me, because that gives this series the danger of dragging on horribly, like so many other of its predecessors have done as well. When I see the first signs of this happening, I’m bailing out.

First-Glance Potential: 75%

Chuu-2 Byou Demo Koi ga Shitai!

Summary: “In the novel, Yuuta Togashi, a boy who used to suffer from “chuu-2 byou” (adolescent thoughts that teenagers commonly have — especially delusions of grandeur or the belief that one is special compared to everyone else.), and Rikka Takanashi, who still has the syndrome, made a true contract with each other (that is, they are dating). They are in the middle of enjoying “real life” to the fullest … or should be. However, Satone Shichimiya a.k.a. “Sophia Ring SP Saturn VII,” a friend from middle school and the one suffering the most from “chuu-2 byou,” appears and turns Togashi’s life upside down. And so, a battle between “Saturn” and “Jaou Shingan” (True Eye of the Devil King) begins.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Kyoto Animation
Director: Tatsuya Ishihara
Series Composition: Jukki Hanada
Original creator: Torako
Other Notable Staff: Kazumi Ikeda (Character Designs, Animation Director), Hiroyuki Takahashi (Setting)

The Positives: Trying to find information about light novels is really hard on the internet. I’m surprised nobody has yet set up some kind of AniDB for light novels yet. Because of that, I also have no idea what the source material is going to be like. It does sound interesting if it goes in-depth to what that “Chuu-2 Byou” actually does to teenagers, despite the really bad title. Jukki Hanada is a good choice to adapt this material, and on top of that Kyoani put its best director on the job: Tatsuya Ishihara was behind Air and Clannad, whose adaptations I really loved.
The Negatives: But it can just as easily turn into yet another show in which cute girls fight and a male lead is in the middle of them. There are too many of those, so this show will have to set itself apart, and not just with Kyoani’s trademark really good animation. Is this the right type of material to make Kyoani shine, or have they just gotten more generic?

First-Glance Potential: 75%

Magi

Summary: “This story is about the flow of fate and the battle to keep the world on the right path. Aladdin is a boy who has set out to explore the world after being trapped in a room for most of his life. His best friend is a flute with a djinn in it named Ugo. Soon enough, Aladdin discovers he is a Magi, a magician who chooses kings, and he was born to choose kings who will follow the righteous path, battling against those who want to destroy fate. Follow his adventures as he meets others from 1000 Arabian Nights, like Ali Baba and Sinbad, and fights to keep the balance of world in check!” – (Taken from Mangaupdates)
Produced by: A-1 Pictures
Director: Koji Masunari
Series Composition: Hiroyuki Yoshino
Original creator: Shinobu Outaka
Other Notable Staff: Toshifumi Akai (Character Designs, Chief Animation Director), Takashi Hashimoto

The Positives: Oh god, this will definitely be the eye candy series of the season. A-1 have really managed to improve themselves even more, and with this they also brought in Takashi Hashimoto in for the special effects. The list of series this guy has worked on is HUGE, and includes things as direction the animation of Mononoke and Bake Neko, including their conceptual designs and the Special Skills director of Karas. And then there is the director: the guy who directed the really imaginative Read or Die, Risky Safety, and Kamichu. Whole premise is loosely based on the Arabian Nights. Interesting!
The Negatives: Oh god no! Not Hiroyuki Yoshino! The guy behind the script of Guilty Crown, Macross Frontier, Mai Otome, Seikon no Qwaser and Code Geass. This guy’s name is nearly synonymous with train-wreck. Thankfully he is adapting a story this time, but when I look at who wrote it, I’m not really positive either: he’s the guy who wrote Sumomomo Momomo before this, a series whose only redeeming quality was its catchy name (Plums and peaches too!), otherwise it was just a run off the mill romantic fighting school comedy. Magi thankfully sounds much more creative, but can he really do justice with a story based on the Arabian nights? I mean, such a setting sounds really promising, but not when it’s chock-full of shounen cliches. Especially not with Hiroyuki Yoshino having to adapt it.

First-Glance Potential: 75%

Jormungand 2

Summary: “The series follows Koko Hekmatyar, a young arms dealer who sells weapons under HCLI, an international shipping corporation that secretly deals in the arms trade. As one of the company’s unofficial weapon dealers, she secretly sells weapons in many countries while avoiding the local authorities and law enforcement as most of her work is actually illegal under international law. Traveling with her is her team of bodyguards who are mostly composed of ex-military veterans. Her latest addition to her crew is Jonah, a seemingly emotionless child soldier who is skilled in combat yet ironically hates arms dealers. Jonah joins Koko as he wishes to find the arms dealer responsible for his family’s death. What follows is Koko and her crew’s escapades around the world.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: White Fox
Director: Keitarou Motonaga
Series Composition: Yosuke Kuroda
Original creator: Keitarou Takahashi

The Positives: Well, those who watched this series know what to look forward to: snarky military action with a lot of intrigue.
The Negatives: The first season for me missed something. The characterization was just one-sided, especially on the villains’ side. That’s something that this sequel is definitely going to have to fix.

First-Glance Potential: 75%

Initial D New Season

Summary: “High school student Takumi Fujiwara works as a gas station attendant during the day and a delivery boy for his father’s tofu shop during late nights. Little does he know that his precise driving skills and his father’s modified Toyota Sprinter AE86 Trueno make him the best amateur road racer on Mt. Akina’s highway. Because of this, racing groups from all over the Gunma prefecture issue challenges to Takumi to see if he really has what it takes to be a road legend.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: ?
Director: ?
Series Composition: ?
Original creator: Shuuichi Shigeno

The Positives: I’ve actually never watched anything of Initial D, but who knows? A hot blooded racing anime has potential, especially now that the creators are giving it a modern touch. This series will air twice every month, so it’ll follow the same formula as Wangan Midnight, allowing the creators to just take their time. Nice choice.
The Negatives: I’ve heard that Initial D was not the best looking series (to the point where the car CG stood out way too much, and one particular character resembling a potato more than a human being), so I wonder if this new series will have the same problems or not.

First-Glance Potential: 80%

K

Summary: “?”
Produced by: Gohands
Director: ?
Series Composition: ?
Other Notable Staff: Gou Nakanishi (Producer)

The Positives: This is an original project by Gohands, and the only thing we know so far is a bunch of voice actors, a bunch of promos and that it’s got a producer who worked on most notably Fafner, Stellvia and Heroic Age. Based on the promo images, this seems like an action series with good animation and a lot of different characters walking around. The trick will now be to give them all character and make them all interesting, so I hope they went with the right people behind this.
The Negatives: One warning sign though was that everyone looked around the same age. If you want to have a diverse cast, then go for it. Switch up the ages as well. Also, make sure not to go overboard on the CG, Gohands.

First-Glance Potential: 80%

Code:Breaker

Summary: “Riding the bus one day, Sakurakouji Sakura looks out the window to see people being burned alive with a blue fire as a boy her age remains unharmed and stands over the people. When she goes back to the site the next day, there are no corpses or evidence of any kind of murder, just a small fire. When Sakura goes to class, she discovers the new transfer student is the same boy she saw the day before. Sakura soon learns that he is Ogami Rei, the sixth “Code: Breaker,” a special type of assassin with a strange ability and also a member of a secret organization that serves the government” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Kinema Citrus
Director: Yasuhiro Irie
Series Composition: Yasuhiro Irie
Original creator: Akamine Kamijou
Other Notable Staff: Masayuki Sakoi (Assistant Director), Yukie Akitani

The Positives: Kinema Citrus, with the director of Full Metal Alchemist – Brotherhood and Kurau Phantom Memory. Hell yeah! This guy knows how to portray action scenes and how to do characterization properly, and he’s doing both the direction and series composition.
The Negatives: This does seem like the least interesting story he’s worked on so far, though. The original mangaka seems to have written Samurai Deeper Kyo before this. The premise for Code Breaker just seems… plain in comparison to what Yasuhiro Irie and Kinema Citrus did before this, so let’s hope that it at least has some good character development.

First-Glance Potential: 80%

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure

Summary: “This is the story of the Joestar family, and their battles against bizarre enemies. Jonathan Joestar’s battle against the vampire Dio Brando starts it all, and it continues into roughly each second generation of Joestars through all parts of the story.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: ?
Director: ?
Series Composition: ?
Original creator: Hirohiko Araki

The Positives: Finally a show that doesn’t look like the others! I tend to love remakes of classic series, so I’m very interested what the creators can do with this, and the character designs at least look very artistic. We still have no bloody clue who will end up doing this, but they definitely plan to make it interesting to look at.
The Negatives: However, try to look at that trailer on the official website and you get treated to some very jumpy and awkward animation, showing that character designs like this are hard to move around.

First-Glance Potential: 80%

Btooom!

Summary: “Ryota Sakamoto is one of the top-ranked players of BTOOOM!, an online battle game. But no amount of simulated warfare could have prepared him for what is to come …Ryota wakes one evening to find himself dangling from a tree by a parachute with no recollection of how he got there. Before he can orient himself to his unfamiliar surroundings, Ryota is attacked. As a barrage of explosives rain down on him, Ryota realizes that he too has a pack of bombs …bombs that look very similar to the ones used in BTOOOM! Ryota may have mastered the online game, but can he come out on top in this real-life game of survival?!” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Madhouse
Director: Kotone Watanabe
Series Composition: Yosuke Kuroda
Original creator: Junya Inoue

The Positives: Yosuke Kuroda as the scriptwriter is a really solid choice. This guy is really experienced. The director is also very interesting: he hasn’t done much, but the episodes that he did work on were really, really good: A Spider’s Thread of Aoi Bungaku, plus a few episodes of Madoka Magica, Chihayafuru and Supernatural. I wonder what he can do with the actual series here.
The Negatives: So… basically we have Sword Art Online again here, only this time with a survival theme and instead of an MMORPG the focus is on an action game. Okay, sounds promising. The mangaka of Btooom seems to like a lot of horror as well and his stories definitely have potential. There is that fact that the manga isn’t finished yet though…

First-Glance Potential: 80%

Robotics;Notes

Summary: In Robotics;Notes, the player assumes the role of Kaito Yashio, someone who enjoys fighting games. He is in his school’s robot club. The story begins when the protagonist finds out that one of Robotics;Notes’ main heroines is actually a genius programmer who created the game engine for a world renowned fighting game. The main character then decides that he wants to create a robot based around command inputs and motion capture technology. He decides to go to the karate club to look for someone to perform the motion capture sequences. – (Taken from Wikipedia)
Produced by: Production IG
Director: Kazuya Nomura
Series Composition: Jukki Hanada
Original creator: Chiyomaru Shikira
Other Notable Staff: Chikashi Kubota (Animation Character Designs), Tatsuya Matsubara (Producer), Naotaka Hayashi (Scenario)

The Positives: Well, so after Chaos;Head, Steins;Gate there is Robotics;Notes. The whole futuristic approach really reminds of Eden of the East. And yes, for those wondering: Naotaka Hayashi is a member of 5pb, the company who published the game that this is based on. He’ll be able to keep Jukki Hanada in check, who sometimes manages to lose himself in his own scripts. Beyond that Jukki Hanada managed to turn into a very solid writer who manages to deliver when he needs to in his adaptations recently, as shown by Level E and Steins;Gate. This is also necessary for Kazuya Nomura, the director of Sengoku Basara 2 and its subsequent movie.
The Negatives: So yeah, the big challenge will be to stuff everything into just Noitamina’s 11 episodes. This is pretty much tackled by people with pacing problems. Sengoku Barara’s second season for example had its awesome moments, but near the end you could see that Kazuya Nomura was unable to make everything come together due to his excessive focus on build-up. Also, Noitamina is for adults, put them in there for god’s sake!

First-Glance Potential: 80%

Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo

Summary: “After being kicked out of the main dorms for bringing in a stray cat, Kanda Sorata is forced to live in the smaller Sakura Halls where problem students are sent to live. Although he doesn’t mind his room-mates, Sorata can’t wait to move out of Sakura Halls. But when Shiina Mashiro moves into the dorm, everything changes. Mashiro is an artistic genius who, at a young age, won many awards for her skills, but due to her childhood being so focused on art, she has no common sense and social skills. Forced to take the role of taking care of Mashiro, Sorata learns about himself and begins on a path of self improvement” – (Taken from Mangaupdates)
Produced by: JC Staff
Director: Atsuko Ishizuka
Series Composition: Mari Okada
Original creator: Hajime Kamoshida
Other Notable Staff: Masahiro Fuji (Character Designer)

The Positives: Mari Okada! That definitely gives it a plus, because even though she writes really good original script, she is also brilliant at adapting other works, as shown by Hourou Musuko, Gosick and the Armed Librarians. What’s also good is that there is character-development in the premise of this series. And to make things even better: they got the director of the final two stories of Aoi Bungaku, and half of Supernatural, both which were really artistic and well directed. And on top of that she worked on a ton of awesome episodes of series like Mouryou no Hako, Monster, Nana, Chihayafuru, and Himitsu. My favorite female director out there is Sayo Yamamoto, but damn: she comes close.
The Negatives: So of course the next move for these two would be a seinen romance. A bit strange when you consider that they’re both women, and from the outside this does look like wish fulfillment for the common fetish of helpless girl (pretty much like Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko). On top of that, JC Staff is a lot more conservative than the companies that they usually work with. The thing with both of them is that they need freedom. But something tells me that Mari Okada is going to grab that anyway. Also, I don’t really like the character-designer: she was the one behind the IMO ugly designs of Zero no Tsukaima and Hayate the Combat Butler.

First-Glance Potential: 85%

Zetsuen no Tempest: The Civilization Blaster

Summary: “Yoshino Takigawa is visiting his friend’s family grave. After getting there, he encounters Evangeline Yamato, a woman in search for his friend, Mahiro Fuwa, who left a month ago to find his family’s killer without any clues to who it might be. Evangeline informs Yoshino that two places where Mahiro has been spotted have been quarantined, due to an epidemic. When Evangeline is questioning Yoshino at gun-point, Mahiro comes out of nowhere and swiftly saves him and can stop bullets in mid-air, claiming to have a deal with a sorceress; not just any, but the strongest sorceress, Hakaze Kusaribe, who promised to help find his family’s killer with her magic so he can kill the killer himself. After saving Yoshino, Mahiro informs him about the epidemic, a curse that turns living things into metal, claiming the Kusaribe clan plans to revive the Tree of Zetsuen that could destroy the world.” – (Taken from Mangaupdates)
Produced by: Bones
Director: Masahiro Ando
Series Script Editor: Mari Okada
Original creator: Kyou Shirodaira
Other Notable Staff: Michiru Oshima (Music), Hiroki Kanno (Chief Animation Director)

The Positives: From the original author of Spiral, very interesting. This guy knows how to write mind games really well. But what about the rest? Well, the plot for this story definitely sounds much more interesting than that of Spiral. Add that to that it’s going to be adapted by Mari Okada, who is excellent at adapting stories, along with a chief animation director who previously designed the characters for Full Metal Alchemist – Brotherhood and Rahxephon, along with none other than Masahiro Ando, the director of Sword of the Stranger, Hana-Saku Iroha and Canaan, and you might just have something that can surpass Spiral very easily.
The Negatives: Unfinished manga alert! Abort! Abort! With Spiral this ended in a disaster where this caused the series to be unable to answer just about every single damn question that it asked.

First-Glance Potential: 85%

From the New World

Summary: ” In the future Japan has become a fractured country, and small towns now exist. The rulers of this world have the cursed power of Telekinesis. When an incident occurs, 5 children come to realize the world is not as it seems, and learn the bloody history behind this world. These 5 children unite and help the world as it falls into a downward spiral of chaos.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: A-1 Pictures
Director: Masashi Ishihama
Series Composition: Masashi Sogo
Original creator: Yuusuke Kishi
Other Notable Staff: Chikashi Kubota (Character Designs)

The Positives: A-1 Pictures adapting the work from an award-winning novelist about a dystopian science fiction mystery story. Count me in! The director is a very interesting guy. He doesn’t direct often, but he did the really stylish OP for Senkou no Night Raid, he did half of Speed Grapher (which I unfortunately didn’t watch), he was the chief animation director of Read or Die and directed the animation for Welcome to the Space Show. This guy needs some freedom (he also designed the characters for Eiken of all things), but he can really make this work. Masashi Sogo meanwhile is a decent scriptwriter for this. He worked both on good and lesser series, but he can really make this work I feel. I especially enjoyed his work for Yukikaze.
The Negatives: The big potential pitfall: the 5 children. The promotional material already made it clear that they’re just a small part of this world, but make sure that they can play out their role, instead of forcing them in the midst of struggles they don’t belong, having to pull deus ex machina to get them out again.

First-Glance Potential: 85%

Little Busters

Summary: ” The story follows the life of Riki Naoe, a high school student who has been a member of a group of friends named the Little Busters since childhood. Riki brings multiple girls at his school into the Little Busters to have enough people to play a baseball game.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: JC Staff
Director: Yoshiki Yamakawa
Series Composition: Michiru Shimada
Original creator: Maeda Jun
Other Notable Staff: Magome Togoshi (Music), Maruko Iizuka (Character Designs, Aimation Director)

The Positives: After Air, Kanon, Clannad and Angel Beats, this will be the next Key work. This one’s another adaptation, and this time it’s JC Staff’s turn to have a go at it. I’ve heard from various sources that the original story is even better than Clannad, so I’m definitely interested here. Michiru Shimada can make it work. On one hand she did a very botched adaptation of Before Green Gables, but her adaptation of Kaze no Shoujo Emily was amazing and very well thought out.
The Negatives: I haven’t seen Hatsukoi Limited enough, but I do wonder: is the director of that one good enough to make this work as a tear-jerker? Beyond that he also directed Kill Me Baby, but such a gag manga isn’t really comparable to something by Key. And here is the thing: what made Air and Clannad stand out (both with the movies and the TV-series) was that there were some amazing people working on it. Can these people live up to that in their own way?

First-Glance Potential: 85%

Psycho Pass

Summary: There is a gun involved. And it’s about a Ministry of Wellfare Public Safety Bureau Criminal Investigation Department. And Psychopaths (Psycho pass -> Psychopath, get it?)
Produced by: Index
Director: Huh?
Series Composition: Wut?
Other Notable Staff: Where?

The Positives: The creators are being really mysterious with this one. And it’s really working as well. This will definitely be some sort of police series, an interesting new direction for Noitamina, and the way in which it does this will probably involve some sort of science fiction. But the exact how and what are still completely unknown. This is unique for a Noitamina-series, but goddamit whoever the people behind this are: they definitely wet my appetite.
The Negatives: The only promotional material was of a gun that looked very CG-ish. Be sure to use your CG well, Psycho Pass!

First-Glance Potential: 85%

Litchi DE Hikari Club

Summary: “Nine sexually frustrated teenage boys build a robot fuelled by lychee fruit to help them kidnap girls and aid them in their plot for world domination.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: ?
Director: ?
Series Composition: ?
Original creator: Usamaru Furuya

The Positives: And the winner of the most creative premise of the season: Lichee Light Club. I mean, this just looks bizarre from start to finish, and with such ideas behind it it’s bound to have a few laughs. A horror comedy isn’t done often, so this definitely has potential, and it also definitely stands out from the rest. Good job.
The Negatives: We still don’t know who will adapt this, nor if it’s actually going to be able to make it on October, since there is no official art yet on the website to be found. The above image was either that, or some strange live action picture.

First-Glance Potential: 85%

Kamisama Hajimemashita

Summary: ” After her father having run away due to gambling debts, and being evicted from her apartment, Nanami meets Mikage, a strange man who is afraid of dogs. Nanami “saves” Mikage from a dog and tells him her story. He gives Nanami his house as a thank you for saving him. Nanami accepts the offer, due to having nowhere else to go. Mikage draws her up a map showing her where to go. Upon arriving, she finds that it is a rundown shrine. Nanami is then almost killed by Tomoe, who was expecting Mikage to finally return after his 20 year absence. She is then greeted by both Onikiri and Kotetsu, as the new land god of the shrine. Unable to accept Nanami as the new land god, Tomoe mocks her then leaves the shrine, which, without Tomoe’s power transforms back into a run-down state. Not wanting to rob Tomoe of his home and realizing that her powers as a god are too weak anyway Nanami leaves, but eventually is brought back by Tomoe after she seals a contract with him, making him her familiar.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: TMS Entertainment
Director: Akitaro Daichi
Original creator: Julietta Suzuki
Other Notable Staff: Junko Yamanaka (ANN)

The Positives: YES! YES! For more than three years I have been waiting for Akitaro Daichi to actually direct a proper series again. I mean, he’s doing a wonderful job with Poyopoyo right now, and his adaptation of Gag Manga Biyori also was hilarious, but remain just random gag series. For those who are unfamiliar with him: I consider him to be the single most consistent comedy director out there, who at the same time gets even better when he has something serious in his hands (he was the guy who directed Now and Then, Here and There for example). On top of that, the premise here sounds like we’ll finally get another good shoujo series again, and Julietta Suzuki has potential as a writer: her short stories won a few awards and her stories overall seem much more imaginative than what I’ve been used to from most shoujo-series of the past years. TMS Entertainment, I really like the complete change in direction you took this year.
The Negatives: My one worry is TMS Entertainment, in the way that they’re obviously taking a huge risk this year. Now don’t get me wrong: I really like that, but I fear that like with Zetman, they won’t have enough support to fully animate it. Especially considering how the manga has 13 volumes currently published… and is still ongoing.

First-Glance Potential: 85%

Shoutbox

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  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Sep 24. 2014 04:28 AM)
    @Vincent: well it end up getting more attention (from the imbeciles not serious critics) than Ping Pong, so go figure. Actually SAO is far bigger then the superior Log Horizon so genericity might just be the recipe for success, so never mind.
  • k-off
    (Wednesday, Sep 24. 2014 04:22 AM)
    @Vincent No, we didn’t. I thought it was a bit less generic than the other sports anime, that’s all.
  • Vincent
    (Wednesday, Sep 24. 2014 04:15 AM)
    Remember when all of us thought Baby Steps would amount to something? Cute
  • k-off
    (Wednesday, Sep 24. 2014 03:10 AM)
    @Bam Nope, I should get it next Tuesday.
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Sep 24. 2014 02:34 AM)
    @K-off: did you get your Sherlock Holmes boxset m8?
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Sep 24. 2014 02:17 AM)
    Or A Nigga Named Slickback
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Sep 24. 2014 02:16 AM)
    @K-off: haa! that kinda reminds me of Sir Integra Fairbrook Wingates Hellsing lol
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Sep 24. 2014 02:16 AM)
    @Aidan: thx friend.
  • k-off
    (Wednesday, Sep 24. 2014 02:09 AM)
    @Bam Nah, it was a reference to Servant x Service. The heroine is trying infiltrate a public office to find out who allowed such a ridiculous name to pass. Lol
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Sep 24. 2014 02:08 AM)

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