Winter 2009 Anime Season Preview

The new year is upon us, and with it, another anime season. Like the summer season, there are less series debuting as opposed to the fall and spring. I’ll be keeping the same format I had for the Fall 08 preview (the interest tier system). Basically Tier 1 equates to a definite first watch/really interested and Tier 5 is for a show that I wouldn’t touch w/ a 10 foot stick. Also I’m bringing back guest writers.

Now, the writer bios.

angelicmask: (Gender: F) I’m more of a shoujo series person in general, but I watch all kinds of things, really. I like drama, tragedy, romance, sci-fi (not mecha so much), and psychological elements. Some favorites include Saikano, Code Geass, Vampire Knight, Soul Eater.

LainEverliving: (Gender: M) I’ve been an anime fan for nearly seven years, although it was Princess Mononoke (which I saw during the super limited theatrical run!) that first got me into everything. Although I generally like shows from all genres and am open to both shounen and shoujo series, my favorites tend to be more on the psychological, philosophical, and tragic side, including Evangelion, Serial Experiments Lain, Haibane Renemi, Air, and Millennium Actress. I’m also a huge fan of individual animators, and will frequently watch shows just to see their latest work. I interned at the US branch office of Studio Madhouse in the Spring of 2007, and hope to work in the film and television business as a screenwriter.

andinel: (Gender: M) I can’t really put a date on when I got into anime, but my taste in anime is similar to my taste in games and movies. My favorite anime series so far have almost all been fantasy or sci-fi with a couple of comedy series thrown in the mix, and that’s not going to change any time soon. My favorite series so far have been Code Geass, Slayers, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, and FLCL. 

On to the preview! As always, plot synopsis are taken from ANN unless stated otherwise.

(Update 1/8/09: added another guest writer, andinel)

 

Akikan!

Studio: Brains Base
Genres: Romance, Comedy, Shounen
Plot Synopsis: The story revolves around a typical high school boy named Kakeru Daichi and the can of melon juice soda that he bought from a vending machine. The can suddenly transforms into a beautiful but standoffish girl that Kakeru nicknames “Melon,” and more “Akikan” (”empty can”) girls appear. However, Akikan girls need to be infused with carbon dioxide from kissing to survive.

Thoughts: I would’ve passed this series off as another ecchi dating-sim adaptation, if it were for 2 things. One, it isn’t a dating sim, rather it’s a light novel. This means that the story isn’t limited to the standard outline for harems. Second, the show is made by Brains Base. As of late, they’ve been churning out quality show after quality show. So I wouldn’t count this one out.
TIER: 2
Blogging Chance: 50-60%

angelicmaskI’d have to see some serious plot development in this to be interested. Right now it just seems like a novel idea without much substance.

LainEverliving: For some reason, I really haven’t warmed to Brain’s Base’s shows at all on the occasions I’ve previewed them, and I tend to only watch shows like this when I’m familiar / curious about the production studios or creators involved. So, I’m probably not the target audience for this, let alone someone who would run out to see it. The whole concept of girls coming out of beverage cans has to rank among the creepier things the anime world has come up with, though: I mean, just imagine having a cool, refreshing drink, only to choke on a bishoujo desperate for some CO2 luvin’. Sorry, it’s just not for me.

andinel: The concept seems interesting, but I’m not sure how much I’ll want to watch it. I’ll give it an episode or two and see what I think.

 

Asu no Yoichi!

Studio: AIC
Genres: Romance, Comedy, Ecchi (potentially)
Plot Synopsis: The titular character Yoichi decides to leave his family’s mountainside home after his father tells him there is nothing more he can learn in martial arts there. The teenaged boy ends up in a martial arts dojo in the city with four girls.

Thoughts: I’ve seen the manga promo work, and honestly, it reminded me of Sekirei. However, I haven’t seen the ‘ecchi’ label tagged on to anime though. The story concept reminds me of Amaenaide yo!. I’ll probably check out the first few episodes and then see from there.
TIER: 3
Blogging Chance: 30-40%

angelicmask: How many more harem romance series do we need, really?

LainEverliving: Everyone knows by now that, in a tough anime market, the sure-fire path into a (male) otaku’s pocket is by appealing to that other object in his pants with a bountiful assortment of cute girls. And, while the femmes are cute enough, there’s a limit to just how many shows like this I’m going to jump for. On the staff side, though, chief animation director Yumiko Ishii has served as a key animator on some good stuff, like Mushishi, Haibane Renmei, and Fullmetal Alchemist, so if I hear that there’s some really good animation in it, I might change my mind.

andinel: This show sounds like fun. There’s a lot of potential for both the romance and the comedy, but I hope they lean toward comedy with this one.

 

Birdy the Mighty Decode: D

Studio: A-1 Pictures
Genres: Action, Comedy, Sci-Fi
Plot Synopsis: Second Season of the Birdy the Mighty Decode series from Summer 08

Thoughts: I tried to watch the first season, but honestly, it bored me. Probably won’t be checking this season out.
TIER: 4
Blogging Chance: 5-10%

angelicmask: Haven’t seen the first season, so I won’t be watching this either.

LainEverliving: Mere words cannot express the great admiration I have for Birdy’s character designer and chief animation director Ryoochimo (aka Ryochimo Sawa), one of the great animator talents of our time as evidenced by his work on The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone. The first Birdy Decode series was his character design debut, and his work is as sharp and attractive in design as it is in motion. Working with director Kazuki Akane (famed for the enduring classic Esacflowne), and super-talented screenwriters Hiroshi Ohnogi and Seishi Minakami (another personal favorite), this show is likely to be a favorite, after I catch up on the first Birdy Decode series (which I have yet to finish).

andinel: I haven’t seen the first season, so I don’t think I’ll watch this.

 

Chrome Shelled Regios

Studio: ZEXEC
Genres: Sci-Fi, School, Adventure
Plot Synopsis: In this school fantasy story set in the distant future, creatures contaminated by pollution have overtaken the land, forcing humanity to live in isolated mobile cities called Regios. One such city named Czerni is a self-contained school in which freshman Reifon Aruseifu has just enrolled. Reifon reluctantly joins the 17th Martial Arts Studies Unit led by the third-year student Nina Antōku and embarks on a series of adventures.

Thoughts: I probably wouldn’t have checked this show out if I had not seen the promo artwork in Newtype. Now I’ll probably check it out of kicks.
TIER:3
Blogging Chance: 30-40%

angelicmask: Sounds interesting. I’m curious to see what these “creatures” are. 

LainEverliving: I didn’t have much of an opinion on this show one way or another until I heard that director Itsuro Kawasaki was going to be involved. He helmed the Tsubasa RERSERVoir CHRoNiCLE Movie, which I’m rather fond of, so that positively disposes me to see more of his work. Otherwise, the show seems rather standard, and I’m not a fan of animation studio ZEXCS, but the character designs are nice, so I’ll consider it at least.

andinel: This seems to be taking contamination a little too far. I don’t think I really like the concept of “polluted creatures” being a primary force in a show. I might give this one a shot, but I’m not entirely optimistic.

 

Genji Monogatari Sennenki

Studio: (Unknown)
Genres: Shoujo, Romance, Historical
Plot Synopsis: (None Available)

Thoughts: Not a lot of info available, but I can see this being compared to Fushigi Yuugiand Saiunkoku Monogatari. I’ll let my friends fangirl over this and tell me what they think.
TIER: 5
Blogging Chance: 0%

angelicmask: The artwork looks pretty. Might check it out for kicks.

LainEverliving: An adaptation of The Tale of Genji (considered by some to be the world’s first novel, and at the very least a towering work of Japanese literature) by director Osamu Dezaki, screenwriter Tomoko Konparu, and studios Tezuka Production and Tokyo Movie (noted for Akira)? Sign me up! My only concern is that eleven episodes may not be enough to successfully convey this massive, enduring literary work. Nonetheless, this should be an excellent choice for literature fans, romance fans, and anyone interested in Japanese culture (of which I am all of the above).

andinel: Shojo shows aren’t really my thing. I think I’ll pass on this one.

 

Hajime no Ippo: New Challenger

Studio: Madhouse
Genres: Sports, Drama, Comedy
Plot Synopsis: Sequel to the popular 2000-2001 Boxing anime series.

Reason to Watch: Hajime no Ippo is one of the highest rated anime series out there. The second season appears to be direct continuation, so if anything, this season will serve as an incentive to some to watch season one.

Thoughts: Hajime is one of those series I SHOULD check out… but probably won’t for a little while. I’m just not a big fan of hardcore sports anime. Since I don’t see myself watching the first season in the next few weeks, I’m not gonna check this one out.
TIER: 4
Blogging Chance: 0%

angelicmask: I’m not a sports anime fan either, so this is a ‘no’ in my book.

LainEverliving: Full disclosure: everything that Madhouse does, I automatically try to check out. That said, Hajime no Ippo is, as Tekky says, an extremely well respected sports show, so it’s little wonder that I’d be excited. However, like Tekky, I’ve yet to ever see the original series! This new show being released makes me really want to go back to the first series, and with the involvement of the awesome Koji Sugiyama (key animator on Fullmetal Alchemist, the Evangelion Movies, and main animation director of the underrated Gundam: The 08th MS Team) as character designer, I couldn’t be more interested.

andinel: Again, I haven’t seen the first season, so I’ll wait until I watch that to give this one a try.

 

Hetalia Axis Powers

Studio: Studio DEEN
Genres: Historical, Fantasy, Comedy
Plot Synopsis: Think of it like WWII, except every country is a pretty boy instead. A hilariously stereotypical pretty boy. America loves burgers, Russia is into the vodka, and China has pandas and a Wok.

Thoughts: Chibi country anthromorphs? Count me in. Hopefully the comedy will be there to back up the unique story concept. Might be hard to blog though
TIER: 2
Blogging Chance: 40-50%

angelicmask: LOL. The synopsis sounds good. I’ll most likely be checking this one out.

LainEverliving: Has the potential to be tremendously offensive, tremendously funny, or more likely, a combination of both. I will give the creators due credit for coming up with an idea that I never would have, but as for wanting to watch the show itself… well, for that, I really don’t know. Bob Shinohara, director of the fangirl favorite Gravitation, is helming this, so I’m sure it will have a similarly off-kilter feeling that could help.

andinelThis one is definitely worth a shot, but I don’t think a World War II anime in this style could ever really work in anything but comedy. It’s an interesting enough concept for me to give it more than a couple of episodes, though, so I’ll probably watch this one.

 

Kemono no Souja Erin

Studio: Production I.G.
Genres: Fantasy
Plot Synopsis: Erin was born into an oppressed tribe of the Kingdom Ryoza. Her mother,Soyon, was in charge of Touda, dragon like creatures used as weapons in the war, but when the Touda started dying of an unknown cause, Soyon took the blame and was executed. The newly orphaned Erin was adopted by a beekeeper named Joun who taught her about nature and helped her to discover the secret of the Touda’s natural enemy: Oujuu, King of Beasts. Her newfound understanding and uncanny ability to communicate with Oujuu will lead her into the realms of murder and intrigue on an international level.

Reason to Watch: The writer for the novel that this series is based off of is also the writer of another popular fantasy novel, Seirei no Morbito.

Thoughts: Odds are pretty high that I’ll be watching Seirei no Morbito over this winter break. Depending on how much I like that show, I’ll decide whether I want to watch this or not. But either way, I probably won’t blog this due to it’s 50 episode length.
TIER: Depends on Seirei.
Blogging Chance: 10-20%

angelicmask: This sounds pretty interesting and seems to have promise for plot. I’ll probably check this out.

LainEverliving: With a pedigree of being based on a source novel by Nahoko Uehashi (of Moribito fame), Kemono so Souja Erin looks to be an interesting fantasy series, a genre I’m rather looking to get into right now. Nice character designs by Takayuki Goto and the involvement of screenwriter Jun’ichi Fujisaku (who co-wrote the Tsubasa RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE & xxxHolic Movies, which I’m rather fond of) are in its favor, and the involvement of Production I.G. has enticed me into wanting to check it out. The large episode count does make me wonder on the animation perspective how much the staff will have to default to co-producing studio Transarts to meet deadlines, since with longer running TV series, animation quality sadly does tend to drop.

andinel: I’m a big fan of fantasy-style anime. I haven’t seen Seirei no Mobito, but I’ll give this one a try. The story doesn’t sound too intriguing to me at first glance, but it might grow on me.

 

Konnichiwa Anne

Studio: Nippon Animation
Genres: Drama, Historical, Slice of Life
Plot Synopsis: 26th World Masterpiece Theater anime. Prequel to Anne of the Green Gables.

Thoughts: The masterpiece theater animes have never interested me, and odds are, there’s going to be a dire lack of fan subs.
TIER: 5
Blogging Chance: 0%

angelicmask: I’ve never actually checked out a masterpiece theater anime, but it’s not really something that I’m interested in at the moment. Maybe if I hear that it’s worth seeing I’ll tune in.

LainEverliving: I’ve had an interest in the original Anne of Green Gables for several years, mostly due to the involvement of a number of Ghibli talents like Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata years before they founded their famed company, but the series is woefully unavailable in America. I have a feeling the same fate will befall this prequel series, but if I can find it, I will gladly check it out. Nippon Animation, the production company, has in the past been a hotbed for new emerging talent who train with the studio before moving on, and for the veterans who instruct them, and this time, they’ve enticed Takayo Nishimura (who’s previously worked with Makoto Shinkai on 5 Centimeters Per Second) to do character designs and animation direction, so it’ll be an interesting production to watch, if it ever makes it stateside via the web or otherwise.

andinelNo, I am not watching this. I don’t really care for this type of show, and I’m not really interested in watching an anime based on a work of western fiction like Anne of Green Gables, unless the series is drastically different from the book.

 

Kurokami the Animation

Studio: Sunrise
Genres: Supernatural, Fantasy, Action
Plot Synopsis: Wending his way home after a bender one evening, master moocher and game programmer Keita Ibuki decides to satisfy a craving for ramen at a noodle stand. Instead of slurping soup, though, he surrenders his meal to a manic girl who, unbeknownst to Keita, is a Mototsumitama, a guardian of the coexistence equilibrium. When his new acquaintance is attacked, Keita gets caught in the crossfire and loses an arm. Awakening from the shock of his injury, Keita finds himself back in his apartment… arm intact! But just whose arm is it?! Asking the strange girl raiding his refrigerator reveals only that Keita’s life has become a great deal more complicated.

Reason to Watch: Based off the popular manwha (korean manga) written by Sung Woo Park and Dall-Young Lim.  Also, Bandai recently announced a 3 country simul-cast on TV.  In Japan, S. Korea, and America (ImaginAsian TV), so this is a first for the anime industry.

Thoughts: My friend initially described the manwha to me as Sekirei minus the boobs. After a little while I decided to check it out, and sure enough, it was quite interesting. I expect Sunrise to do wonders when it comes to the action scenes.
TIER: 2
Blogging Chance: 75-80%

angelicmask: Sounds like something I’ll check out. I may look up the manwha in the meantime. 

LainEverliving: I was excited about this series as soon as I heard about it. First off, I’ve met the director Tsuneo Kobayashi (known for Emma and The Twelve Kingdoms) at Anime Expo some years ago, and he’s a really cool guy. Secondly, as with Kemono so Souja Erin, I think this fulfill my fantasy fix while also supplying plenty of action, especially if character designer / chief animation director Hiroyuki Nishimura gets to strut his stuff. It also looks like Kurokami will be a historical first, airing in Japan, South Korea, and the United States nearly simultaneously on TV (so for those of you with iaTV, you can watch it just 8 hours after Japan does!). For the rest of us, the DVD release will be later in 2009.

andinel: This sounds awesome. I really want to watch this, and I hope that it will be as good as it sounds. Also, an anime based on a manwha done by Sunrise should be fairly decent, if not good.


Major 5th Season

Studio: Studio Hibari
Genres: Sports, Drama, Comedy
Plot Synopsis: 5th season of the baseball anime, Major.

Thoughts: *copy+pastes his thoughts from Hajime no Ippo: New Challenger*
TIER: 5
Blogging Chance: 0%

angelicmaskYeah … passing on the sports anime again.

LainEverlivingI haven’t seen any of the first four seasons of Major, and though I like baseball (and baseball anime, from the little of it I’ve seen), I don’t think I’ll be able to start soon enough to see this any time in the near future. So sorry, nothing to comment on or recommend here.

andinelI have four seasons of this show to watch before I even get close to watching this.

 

Maria†Holic

Studio: SHAFT
Genres: Romance, Comedy, Shoujo-ai
Plot Synopsis: The story centers on a sophomore named Kanako who enrolls in all-girls school because she has a phobia of men and wants to find her destined yuri partner. She meets a captivating freshman named Mariya who fits her criteria — except her seemingly ideal mate happens to be a cross-dressing sadistic boy.

Thoughts: I was more excited about this anime BEFORE I read the manga. Now I’m mixed. I will admit, however, the manga is tailor made for Akiyuki Shinbo and the SHAFT team.
TIER: 2
Blogging Chance: 60-70%

angelicmask: Ha! I like that little twist in the plot, there. I’ve never actually checked out any shoujo-ai, but this seems to be mild. I’ll hear what people have to say about it, I guess.

LainEverliving: With a premise like this show has, one seriously has to wonder how it could not be entertaining. Additionally, having just (finally!) started watching Gurren Lagann, I’ve become fond of Marina (Yoko) Inoue, and she’ll be among the main seiyuu involved. Plus, this will give me my long-awaited chance to check out Akiyuki Shinbo and his staff at SHAFT, which I’ve been hearing lots of good things about but have yet to actually see in action. Besides all this, I’ve liked character designer Hideyuki Morioka’s animation on Evangelion and Fullmetal Alchemist in the past, so it’ll be cool to see his design skills.

andinel: I don’t know the SHAFT studio all that well, and this show isn’t exactly my favorite genre. Maybe if I read more about it, I’d be more interested, but for now, I think I’ll pass.

 

Maria-sama ga Miteru 4th Season

Studio: Studio DEEN
Genres: Shoujo-ai, Slice-of-lice, School
Plot Synopsis: The 4th season of running Maria-sama ga Miteru series.

Thoughts: Not sure at this point about whether I’ll actually complete the Maria-samaseries in time for the 4th season. I also don’t like blogging sequels unless I absolutely love them.
TIER: 3
Blogging Chance: 20-30%

angelicmask: Haven’t seen the previous seasons, so this is a no.

LainEverliving: Knowing that Maria-sama ga Miteru has become extraordinarily popular, I did my duty and checked out the first few episodes at a PMX screening this year, and was rather unimpressed. Perhaps I’m just not the target demographic, but somehow the idea of schoolgirls struggling to define just what kind of a relationship they should have with their sempais while confined to a pseudo-Catholic setting doesn’t compel me. I like yuri just as much as the next person if it’s done well, but honestly, as with all love stories, greater challenges than etiquette should ideally exist to test the hearts of both the characters and audience. Barring a major turn-around, I don’t think I’ll be watching far enough up through the series to get to this point.

andinel: Again, a multiple-season show for which I have yet to see the first seasons.

 

Minami-ke Okaeri

Studio: asread
Genres: Slice-of-life, Comedy
Plot Synopsis: 3rd season and the continuation of Sakuraba’s Minami-ke story about 3 sisters.

Thoughts: I already promised to myself that I’ll finish the first season over break, and odds are that I’ll also watch season 2. So if that works out, I can see myself watching this season as well. However, Minami-ke isn’t exactly an easy show to blog.
TIER: 2-3
Blogging Chance: 20-30%

angelicmask: I’m in the same spot as Tekky, here. I’ll likely watch this once I finish the previous seasons.

LainEverliving: I haven’t seen either of the first two seasons, so that’s a rather insurmountable obstacle at the moment. That said, the show does sound moderately interesting, but not really something I’m going to make a major effort to see.

andinel: Huh. Another multiple-season series that I haven’t watched at all. Again. What is up with this list?

 

Ride Back

Studio: Madhouse
Genres: Sci-Fi, School, Mecha
Plot Synopsis: Ride Back tells the story of a girl and her “iron horse” robot motorcycle in 2020, a tumultuous time of anti-government student protests.

Thoughts: I made the mistake of including this in my Fall preview, and while some more info has been released… I can’t say that I’m interested in this show.
TIER: 4
Blogging Chance: 10-15%

angelicmask: Depending on how this plays out, it could be interesting. I’ll wait to hear what other people have to say first, though.

LainEverliving: I can’t even tell you how excited I am about this series. First, we’ve got Madhouse doing a short series, so you know the animation is going to be good. Next, we’ve got Atsushi Takahashi helming the show in his series directorial debut. This may raise the question of who Atsushi Takahashi is, to which I will refer the eager answer seeker to the credits of the Oscar winning Spirited Away. Yes, Mr. Takahashi worked on that film, as an assistant director no less! Additionally, he directed several excellent episodes of Paranoia Agent. Finally, the story of student protests in a time of unrest, matched with Satoshi Tazaki’s retro designs, strikes a chord of cool that hasn’t been seen in anime in a while. Count this show at the top of my anticipated list.

andinel: I’m not really sure what this show is trying to do. Maybe I’ll check out an episode or two, but it’s unlikely. Judging from what’s been on this list so far, I think I’ll be too busy with other series to give this one a shot, but maybe if I find a free moment, I’ll figure out what this is really about.

 

Shikabane Hime; Kuro

Studio: GAINAX
Genres: Horror, Action
Plot Synopsis: Continuation of the Fall 08 series, Shikabane Hime; Aka. The story is about Makina, an undead girl who has the task of hunting out 108 corpses to go to heaven.

Thoughts: I’ve fallen way behind in watching Aka. Considering that the first season got licensed, it wouldn’t be surprising if season 2 got licensed as well. Didn’t blog season 1, probably won’t blog this one.
TIER: 3 (for now), 2 (after finish Aka.)
Blogging Chance: 5%

angelicmask: Haven’t seen the previous seasons, so I won’t be seeing this one.

LainEverliving: I’m still in the process of watching Shikbane Hime: Aka, but I’ve liked what I’ve seen so far, and I’m looking forward to the next series. Hopefully it will continue to serve its first and foremost purpose: providing a valuable training ground for the young GAINAX animators, and giving us animation fans a chance to try and spot new talents.

andinel: I did want to see Aka in the fall, but I didn’t have the time. I’d be interested in watching it if I like Aka, but judging as it’s licensed now, I’m probably going to have a hard time finding fansubs for either show.

 

Slayers Evolution-R

Studio: J.C. Staff
Genres: Fantasy, Comedy, Adventure
Plot Synopsis: Hajime Kanzaka, the author of the original Slayers light novels, had already indicated that the ongoing Slayers Revolution television anime series was conceived as the first part of a storyline that will last half a year (with a break in between).

Thoughts: Yeah… too many seasons to catch up on before I can watch this. I’ll pass
TIER: 5
Blogging Chance: 0%

angelicmask: I’m also gonna pass on this one.

LainEverliving: Okay, it’s time for confession: I’ve never seen even one episode of the classic Slayers anime, or of any of its subsequent sister, sequel, and spin-off series. This is something I certainly must correct, but I don’t think I’m going to try and start here. Nonetheless, seeing that Slayers is such an enduring series, this gives me more incentive to deal with my sin and dive into the vintage time capsule for some cel-painted comedy fun.

andinel: Yes! Slayers is one of my favorite series of all times, and I will be watching this from the day it comes out until the last episode. Granted, Revolution was not nearly as good at the end as it was at the beginning, but I still enjoyed it. I hope that Evolution-R will be better than it, at least. But still, more Slayers!

 

Sora wo Kakeru Shoujo

Studio: Sunrise
Genres: Adventure, Sci-fi
Plot Synopsis: None available.

Reason to Watch: Sunrise has really been pushing this show as the spiritual successor to the Mai-Hime/Otome series.

Thoughts: Not much known about the story. But, I really like the artwork thus far and the fact that it’s sci-fi makes me interested even more.
TIER: 2
Blogging Chance: No Idea…

angelicmask: Hmm, I’d have to know more about the plot to make any real judgement.

LainEverliving: With a title that’s essentially a play on Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo (The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, FYI one of the best anime films ever made), it seems Sunrise is kind of grasping at straws. I can’t say I’m really excited about it, but maybe if I have time I’ll try to check it out.

andinel: From what I’ve seen, I like what Sunrise has done. I haven’t seen Mai-Hime/Otome, so I don’t really know what to expect from a “spiritual successor.” Still, without any idea of what the show’s about, it’s going to be hard to place on my list to watch for more than maybe an episode or two, unless I find out more about it by the time it comes out.


 

Sora o Miageru Shoujo no Hitomi ni Utsuru Sekai

Studio: Kyoto Animation
Genres: Fantasy, Magic
Plot Synopsis: (Original OVA description) Akuto, the main source of energy is running low and the Heavens, a world of islands, hidden beyond time, floating above ours, has united against the Magical Kingdom whom uses the most energy. To save both the Magical Kingdom and the Heavens and restore the flow of akuto, the Magical King Munto must follow a vision and find the girl Yumemi in the lower world. Yumemi herself is just a normal girl except that she is the only one who can see the islands of the Heavens floating above. When Munto appears before her she starts thinking about hers and others responsibility to the world.

Reason to Watch: Kyoto Animation’s last 8 series have been widely acclaimed. Quite an impressive track record.

Thoughts: I admit, I’m a KyoAni fanboy. I absolutely love their series (okay Air is an exception due to my dislike of overly tragic endings). However, the OVA doesn’t have high ratings, and I have a sinking suspicion that this show was a last minute change up after Tonari no 801-chan got cancelled. Nonetheless, I’ll be checking this out.
TIER: 1
Blogging Chance: 75-80%

angelicmask: I’ll wait and hear what people have to say about this. Seems moderately intersting.

LainEverliving: It’s Kyoto Animation. No further thoughts are required. Seriously though, it will be exceedingly interesting to see what KyoAni does with an original TV production not based on someone else’s story, which is a first for them. I have a feeling this is a big experiment for them, to see if original studio-created series will be as popular (which is an incentive for them, since such shows produce more revenue). I’m also thrilled that Tomoe Aratani, who is easily one of the most talented people at KyoAni, is back in the character design and chief animation director chair once again. Seiki Tamura is also doing art direction, and his beautiful backgrounds are certain to make this another visually extraordinary production.

andinel: I hope this name gets shortened. It seems a little typical of a magic-focused fantasy series from the plot summary, so it would take doing something a little more interesting with this show to get me really interested.

 

The Tower of Druaga ~the Sword of Uruk~

Studio: GONZO
Genres: Fantasy, Adventure, Comedy
Plot Synopsis: Continuation of the Spring 08 anime adaptation of the 1970s game, The Tower of Druaga.

Thoughts: I don’t know about you guys, but I loved the first episode of Aegis. Unfortunately, the show kinda went downhill from there, and I’ve been stalled at episode 5. However, YouTube has put the episodes back up until Dec. 25th. And will people PLEASE stop bashing on a show just because it’s GONZO?
TIER: 3
Blogging Chance: 40-50%

angelicmask: Haven’t seen the first season, and I’m really not a game adaption person, so this is a no go for me.

LainEverliving: I haven’t seen the first series, so I’m at (once more) a disadvantage here. However, I like director Koichi Chigira quite a lot (having also met him at Anime Expo, and from his early work on the Tokyo Babylon OVAs, as well as the still unreleased in the US film Brave Story), and I feel greatly for GONZO’s struggles, so I wish everyone involved all the best. As for watching it, I will make a real effort to see the first series, so that I can at least have a sense of what GONZO’s up to these days, and if they can make this new series shine even in the midst of avoiding (hopefully) collapse, I will tip my hat to them.

andinel: This show is a continuation of a series from the fall which I didn’t see based on a game I haven’t played. That’s just too many chances for it to go wrong.

 

Viper’s Creed

Studio: Sony Pictures
Genres: Action, Military, Sci-Fi
Plot Synopsis: The story revolves around the members of a private military company (PMC), and the uneasy tension between them and the regular military after a war that caused massive environmental destruction.

Thoughts: Not really a show I’d watch on my own. Reminds me of Real Drive andBlassreiter from last spring.
TIER: 5
Blogging Chance: 0%

angelicmask: Eh, doesn’t sound too interesting to me. I most likely won’t watch it.

LainEverliving: Viper’s Creed seems like a show that has potential, with studios AIC Spirits and Digital Frontier (of the recent CG film Appleseed) combining their talents under the direction of Shinji Aramaki. However, I’ve found Aramaki’s directing work to be a little undefined, although that may well have to do with the CG format of his previous works, which is still in the infancy of development. Laying all that aside, there’s no questioning his abilities as an artist and mechanical designer, so at the very least, I’ll expect some neat design work in this, should I check it out.

andinel: This looks interesting enough for me to give it a try.

 

White Album

Studio: Seven Arcs
Genres: Romance, Drama
Plot Synopsis: (manga description) Touya Fuji, a college student, is dating a rising idol singer named Yuki Morikawa. There are numerous challenges to the couple’s relationship from the other people at Fuji’s college, Morikawa’s work, and elsewhere.

Thoughts: I, for one, am excited about this series. It’s got a non-standard story concept… AND, it’s premiering in the same season as last year’s True Tears.
TIER: 2
Blogging Chance: 70-80%

angelicmask: Sounds interesting and I like the artwork, so I’ll likely check it out.

LainEverliving: My primary interest in White Album can be summed up in a single name: Kou Yoshinari. The brother of Gurren Lagann mecha designer Yo Yoshinari, Kou is a fanatically possessed ‘control-freak’ animator who regularly puts on dazzling displays of technical prowess (observe his shot of Ed falling down the waterfall in the fourth Fullmetal Alchemist opening, or Wrath being tossed by Gluttony into a pool of water during their fight in the FMA Movie). On White Album, he’s doing character designs (a first for anime, although he’s held this position on video games before), so I can’t wait to check out his work. Besides this, the intriguing story description and involvement of voice talents Aya Hirano and Nana Mizuki (who’s also starring in Ride Back) has had me hooked ever since I heard about it.

andinel: Romance drama series aren’t really my thing for the most part. Maybe I’ll look into this, but chances are that I won’t.

 

Zoku Natsume Yuujinchou

Studio: Brains Base
Genres: Supernatural, Slice-of-life
Plot Synopsis: (First Season Description) The story revolves around Natsume, a boy who has been able to see ghosts since he was little. Unfortunately, humans shun him, and there is not much fondness between him and ghosts either. One day, he inherits a Yūjin-Chō (”Book of Friends”) from his grandmother. The book is actually full of contracts that his grandmother made to trap ghosts. As one ghost after another shows up, Natsume tries to release or help them — even while many of them seek vengeance on him.

Thoughts: Another show that I thought was good, but nonetheless ended up going on hold. When I do finish the first season, I’ll probably watch second season as well… just maybe, not while it airs.
TIER: 2
Blogging Chance: 10-15%

angelicmask: This actually sounds kinda intersting. I may check out the first season and see what I think from there.

LainEverliving: Again, my Brains Base bias may be holding me back from a good thing (certainly in this case something that sounds better than Akikan!), but I just can’t summon the enthusiasm I should for this show. However, if there’s one thing that could convince me, it’s Takahiro Omori’s involvement as director (since he did one of my favorite anime episodes ever, episode 8 of Haibane Renmei). The plot also sounds interesting, and character designer Akira Takata is a favorite of mine (and also a Haibane Renmei vet), so maybe I’ll finally be able to get over my prejudice and enjoy something from this studio (after watching the first series, that is).

andinel: I don’t really know what to expect from this. There are a number of things in the description that make me want to watch at least one episode of the series, but I think I’m going to have a fairly busy season with everything else I need to get done. I’ll fit this one in if I have time.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE SEASON: Well, I personally feel like the upcoming winter season has got nothing on the current fall season. This will probably be a good thing when it comes to my classes. Thankfully, some of my favorites from the fall will be continuing into winter. However, I will have two blogging shows up in the air since Chaos;Head and ef – a tale of melodies will be ending this season. We shall see, we shall see…

-Tekky

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