Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Fall 2013 Anime Season

I'm back from the dead! Stuff has happened this past summer, like moving and new job hunting, but the real reason for my hiatus here (given that I have continued blogging during other wonky periods) is that I am selfish and just got burnt out. I feel up to doing it again, so if you want to read my thoughts on nerdy crap I like, I hope you enjoy it. (Especially my favorite nerd, who encouraged me to write again.)

As always, most of what's airing this season is bad, but there are some good-looking choices. I opted not to include seiyuu lists this time (although I note seiyuu a few times- I just don't feel like giving an exhaustive list of noteworthy seiyuu for the tenth horrible harem show of the season), but otherwise it's the same as previous season posts.

Saikyou Ginga Ultimate Zero Battle Spirits (Strongest Galaxy Ultimate Zero Battle Spirits):
The children's card game show no one cares about of the season.

Oshiri Kajiri Mushi (Butt-Biting Bug) season 2:
A children's show about an anthropomorphic butt-biting bug and his friends.

A series of five minute shorts about a "spacey" idol named Miss Monochrome who strives to be a top-seller but is "tossed around by others." She hates color also, hence her name. Miss Monochrome's seiyuu Horie Yui (Hourou Musuko's Anna, Aoi Hana's Kyouko) is not only singing the theme song, she created the original character designs. Inoue Kikuko (Aa, Megami-sama's Belldandy), who has been a big seiyuu name since the 90's, is voicing a character only named "Kikuko." 

There aren't any trailers, but you can see Miss Monochrome's origin here, as a hologram performing at one of Horie Yui's concerts a la the Vocaloid characters.

So... an in-joke of a series aimed at Horie Yui fans, with Inoue as a nod to some of the old school seiyuu fans, I guess. Since its episodes are only five minutes each, I'll probably try one, but don't expect to follow it.

Naruto SD: Rock Lee no Seishun Full-Power Ninden Mou Iccho (Naruto Spin-Off: Rock Lee And His Ninja Pals Once Again):
A second season of Naruto spin-off comedy shorts focusing on Rock Lee. I never got into Naruto, so there's no draw for me.

An adaptation of a manga that ran in Weekly Young Magazine and Monthly Young Magazine (home to Akira, Ghost in the Shell, Xxxholic, and... uh, Kiss x Sis), in which a nuclear accident has rendered Tokyo uninhabitable. Twenty years after the accident, Tokyo is still blockaded. The government receives a distress signal sent from within Tokyo and sends three girls it has genetically engineered to be immune from the effects of radiation- and have other super-abilities, going from the promo- into Tokyo to find whoever sent the distress signal. This anime was green-lit in 2010, but put on hold because of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

I like the premise and know the three leads could be good characters and know that anime in general is heavily skewed towards having high school-aged protagonists, but the high school-aged lead aspect feels especially shoe-horned into this premise. Annoyingly so when they're girls going on a military mission in mini-skirts, with the glasses one wearing a super-clingy sweater over a tiny waist and big boobs, jutting her hip in a way meant to accentuate that. I get that the story might be good, but still annoyed by that. On the utterly objective positive side, two of my favorite seiyuu, Noto Mamiko (Marimite's Shimako) and Sakamoto Maaya (Canaan's Alphard) have roles as side characters.

PVs here and here.

Within Kyoto, there's a "mirror capital" in which humans and youkai live together peacefully and everyone's immortal. The mirror capital is protected by three siblings, Kurama, Yase, and Myoue, who are waiting for their parents, Myoue Jonin and Koto, to return. A fourteen year-old girl named Koto (her name spelled differently than the other Koto's) and her younger brothers A and Un, wind up in the mirror capital while searching for their mother. They want to find a rabbit that should enable them to return home, and Koto has some kind of connection to the mirror capital. A Kyousogiga ONA came out in 2010-2011.

Never saw the ONA, but I'm looking forward to this. I like the art style, the premise is different, and the trailer (streaming here) makes it look like fun. Toei is animating it and Todo Izumi, the folks who've been collectively in charge of writing Precure under a pseudonym, are writing this, so this looks like it will be more family-aimed than your usual fare. Old school seiyuu fans can look forward to Hisakawa Aya (Sailor Moon's Ami, Utena's Miki, Heartcatch Precure's Yuri) as non-protagonist Koto, and fans of newer favorites can look forward to Kugimya Rie (Marimite's Touko, a million other tsundere girls) as Koto, Kitamura Eri (Madoka Magica's Sayaka) as Yase, Ishida Akira (Mai-Hime's Nagi, a million other smarmy evil dudes) as a character named Inari, and Saito Chiwa (Madoka Magica's Homura) as a character named Doctor Shouko.

Gaist Crusher:
Another show made to sell a game to kids, about some boys who transform into super-powered armor to fight metallic creatures that attack people.

Kyoukai no Kanata:
Kyoto Animation's first heavily fantasy series since their TV adaptation of their Munto OVA, hopefully Kyoukai no Kanata will be better than that series. Kyoukai no Kanata is an adaptation of a two volume light novel series about a high school girl named Mirai who has the ability to manipulate blood into solid objects. Mirai's ability makes her feel isolated, so she tries to commit suicide. A half-demon boy named Akihito stops her. Going by the trailers (here and here), demon-fighting is involved.

The first volume of Kyoukai no Kanata won an Honorable Mention in the second Kyoto Animation Award fiction contest in 2011, which no one won. Kyoto Animation published both volumes of Kyoukai no Kanata, so it was basically made to be a Kyoto Animation show.

The premise doesn't wow me, but I'll give this a shot. Their Munto adaptation from several years ago notwithstanding, Kyoto Animation normally does at least solid work, and it's nice to see them put their lush animation towards something more ambitious than their usual. Also, Kawasumi Ayako (Kannazuki no Miko's Chikane, Fate/Zero's Saber) and Shindou Naomi (Mai-Hime/Mai-Otome's Shizuru; haven't seen her in much since the Mai franchise) have roles.


Nagi no Asukara:
In Nagi no Asukara's world, all people used to live in the sea with help from clothing given to them by the sea god. (Guess they never took off their clothes? Or is there a time limit to put them back on before you start drowning? I'm just asking the important questions.) Some people gave up their sea god clothing to live on land, and from then on, the land humans and sea humans lived separately and forgot each other. A land-dwelling boy named Tsumugu befriends four girls who live in a village in the sea.

I like the folktale-ishness of the premise, but the show itself looks haremy, so I'll pass.

PVs streaming here.

Infinite Stratos season 2:
The second season of a shitty sci-fi harem show, about a world in which only women are capable of using a highly advanced form of fighting technology but our bland everyman lead finds he can use it and enrolls in the academy for girls training to use that technology.

PV streaming here.

Kill la Kill:
Kill La Kill's protagonist Ryuuko uses a weapon shaped like half a pair of scissors, and the woman who killed her father has the other half. She hears that Satsuki, the student council president of Honnouji Academy, knows the killer's identity, so she enrolls in Honnouji. The elite students chosen by Satsuki wear a super-powered uniform that allows them to rule the other students under her command. Ryuuko confronts Satsuki, shaking up the school.

Kill La Kill is the most-anticipated show of the season because it's reuniting the team that worked on Gurren Lagann. I loved Gurren Lagann's style but what I watched of it didn't do much for me story-wise. I'm not sure what I dislike more about Ryuuko's super-powered uniform- its servicey-ness after transforming, or the fact that it's alive and stands a good chance of being one of those pervy comic relief characters, like the talking bird I hated in Tamako Market. Still hoping this will be fun, though. The two leads seem cool, and again, the style.

Extra-long subbed PV streaming here. All unsubbed PVs here.

Outbreak Company:
A light novel adaptation about a teenaged otaku named Shinichi, whose father is a light novelist and mother is an eroge creator. He is a NEET whose only interest is moe. As a result, the government asks him to act as a "moe evangelist" to the Holy Eldant Empire, a parallel world with dragons and elves and magic. Shinichi needs to prevent war from breaking out there, and befriends a half-elf maid girl and  a tsundere Empress named Petoraru and a couple other women who seem fond of pushing their boobs up with their arms.


PV here.

Golden Time:
On the plus side for this series, its protagonist is in college. Yay, older than usual protagonists! The plot sounds awful, though.

Banri fell off a bridge shortly before his high school graduation, causing him to lose all his memories before then. After attending his college's orientation, another student there, Kouko, whacks him with a bouquet of roses then hands them to him because they had promised to marry each other as children. He took the entrance exam for that college to get away from her, but she took it also to follow him there. Ah, love.

PV here.

Aikatsu! season 2:
An adaptation of a card game aimed at girls, about a school where students train to become idols. A girl named Ichigo enrolls with her best friend Aoi after being inspired by her idol Mizuki.

I was cynical about this show before its first season aired because of its card game origins, but I've heard it starts out decent and becomes good. I'm glad it got a second season, in that case.


Freezing Vibration:
Noto Mamiko's voice is wasted on this series. Freezing Vibration is the sequel to Freezing, which is about a boy who enrolls in a school for genetically modified girls called Pandoras who use their abilities to fight aliens, and the boys they partner with, called Limiters, who use a power called "freezing" to limit the aliens' mobility.

I knew this would be shitty, but tried an episode of the first season anyway and it was.

PVs found here.

Strike the Blood:
Another light novel adaptation. A high school boy named Koujo turns out to be the world's most powerful vampire, so a girl named Yukina is assigned to watch over him and kill him if need be.

So-so premise, awful-looking trailer.

Trailer here.

Yuusha ni Narenakatta Ore wa Shibushibu Shuushoku o Ketsui Shimashita:
Raul failed the entrance exams to become a hero, so he got a job at the Magic Shop Leon electronics store. A new girl starts working there, the daughter of the demon king who defeated him and caused him to fail his exam.

For a magical mundane story involving a hero and a demon king that is fun, I would point you to last spring's Hataraku Maou-sama!/The Devil is a Part-Timer! The trailer for this series is pretty much "boobsboobsboobsboobs wiggling butt boobsboobsboobsboobs", so I'm not very hopeful about this one.

PV here.


Kuroko no Basuke (Kuroko's Basketball) season 2:
The second season of a show about a boy named Kuroko Tetsuya who was part of an amazing middle school basketball team. On meeting a boy named Taiga in high school, Kuroko decides to help him become Japan's #1 basketball player.

I have never watched this series, but good for it getting a season two. I'm glad for this series' continued success because of the death threats its creator and several Kuroko doujinshi events have gotten this past year, causing the events to be cancelled. (More about it here.)

PV available here.

Log Horizon:
Another series about an online RPG that traps its players. Its protagonist is a grad student named Shiroe who isn't good at interacting with people. After he finds that he and other players can't leave an online RPG called Elder Tales, he forms a guild called Log Horizon to survive in the world of the game.

Online RPGs don't interest me, so I'll pass. (For anyone who cares, I have watched a few episodes of Sword Art Online, just to see what the fuss is about. I thought it was alright.)

PV here.

White Album season 2:
The second season of a visual novel adaptation, about a college student dating an idol, and another idol he becomes interested in who likes him back. Not sure why all three of them wear school uniforms if at least one of them is supposed to be in college.

I tried the first season, but all I remember of what I watched is that I liked its opening theme song by Mizuki Nana.

PV streaming here.

Little Busters! Refrain:
I never got to trying the first season of Little Busters! even though I liked Air, Kanon (2006), Clannad, and Clannad ~After Story~. Little Busters! is an adaptation of a visual novel by the same folks who created the Air, Kanon, and Clannad visual novels- but not adapted by the same folks who adapted Air, Kanon (2006), and Clannad to TV. I've heard that it's just an okay adaptation.

Its protagonist Riki was orphaned as a child, but a group of kids calling themselves the Little Busters befriended him, helping him recover. The story takes place in their second year of high school.

PV streaming here.

Hajime no Ippo: Rising:
The third season of an adaptation of a series that has been running in Weekly Shounen Magazine since 1989, about a high schooler named Ippo who is inspired to become a boxer after a boxer named Takamura saves him from being beaten up. Ippo aims to become the boxing World Champion.

I haven't tried anything in the Hajime no Ippo franchise and am not particularly interested in it, but good for the fans getting this third season.

@crazycomposawig chimed in with some good commentary on Hajime no Ippo on Twitter, in which he notes the good and "eugh" aspects of it:
Aside from some "ugh, bromosociality" Ippo is fairly notable for dealing with the complex ~feels of being in a violent sport and aside from 1 fight (a MASSIVE authorial recant of previous anti-American blegh) this season is The Campiest Fights. Just FYI ^^; The main reason I have trouble recommending Ippo (and Eyeshield21) is that one fight prominently stereotypes black athletes...& while the aftermath is used to good effect (cultural stereo.s are debunked), the whole BLACK MUSCLES ARE DIFFERENT bit...

Tesagure! Bukatsu-mono:
A show about high school students and their extracurricular activities, the only noteworthy thing about Tesagure! seems to be that it's using MikuMiku Dance software.



Sekai de Ichiban Tsuyoku Naritai!:
Sakura and Erena make up the idol duo Sweet. A pro-wrestler named Rio injures Erena while Erena is shooting a TV program, so Sakura gives Rio a drop-kick and decides to become a pro-wrestler to avenge Erena. Cheesecakey wrestling ensues.

It's too easy to snark about this one.

PV streaming here.

Makoto is the heiress of a shrine dedicated to Inari. Inari's divine messenger Gintarou appears to Makoto at the shrine, but no other humans can see him. Gintarou can see into the future and locate lost objects, but he's lazy and kind of a crank. He befriends Makoto and sticks around, and they help those who ask them for help, human and not.

So... Kamisama Kiss minus the romance. This look like it could be enjoyable. I tend to check out whimsical-look-at-the-supernatural shows involving Japanese deities and monsters, so I will check this out.

PVs here and here.

Yozakura Quartet ~Hana no Uta~:
The second season of Yozakura Quartet, which I haven't tried. Humans and youkai co-exist peacefully in the town of Sakurashin, which contains a gateway linking the human world to the youkai world. The leads are four teenagers- two humans, one youkai, one who's been half-youkai since she was possessed when she was little- who protect the town and gateway from supernatural threats.

Like I said, never tried the first season. Not really interested in it either.

PVs streaming here and here.

A Weekly Shounen Magazine series about a high school baseball player named Eijun. Inspired by playing a game with an elite pitcher from another school, Eijun transfers to the pitcher's school to join his team and become its ace.

Nothing I'm hearing or seeing of this series makes it stand out from any of the other "I am inspired by this person who is great at this sport I am not great at to become the best person at this sport through guts!" series, so, won't try this  I hear that it's a really well-executed example of its subgenre.

PV available here.

Walkure Romanze:
Sadly, despite the Utena-ish uniforms and snuggling in the promo art, this one doesn't look promising for yuri. It's an adaptation of a harem visual novel about a boy named Takahiro who trains to be a knight's assistant at an academy for aspiring knights. He originally wanted to become a knight, but an injury forced him to give that up. The knight-in-training he assists is the pink-haired girl in the promo art.

In my vision of this series, there is no Takahiro and we get a Strawberry Panic!-esque love polygon among competent ladies in French military-style uniforms. One can dream.

PVs here and here.

Akira loves his glasses, so he starts a glasses club and makes some of his male classmates join.

Trailing on Free!'s coattails, Meganebu! is this season's fujoshi-aimed boys-form-a-school-club series. I followed Free! (will write about it and the other shows I stuck with from the summer season in another post), but will pass on this one.

PVs found here.

Magi: The Kingdom of Magic:
The second season of a series loosely based on One Thousand and One Nights, featuring Ali Baba and Aladdin as leads.

Magi has admittedly been on my to try list for a while. I didn't expect to like its first season because the only female character in its promo art was bound in chains and wearing skimpy clothing, but someone told me that the show itself doesn't treat her badly and the story is good, so I'll give it a shot at some point.

PV streaming here.

Phi Brain: Kami no Puzzle season 3:
Sixteen year-old Kaito loves solving puzzles. A mysterious organization called POG challenges Kaito to solve potentially deadly puzzles all over the world, and he does so to fulfill a promise he made as a child. He aims to eventually solve the ultimate puzzle, the Divine Puzzle.

I never tried the first season, but apparently this show is as silly as it sounds. Going from the first PV linked below, a couple of the guys in the show (the two blondes) have a thing for Kaito. But just in an occasional gag way, it seems.

PVs streaming here and here.

Teekyuu season 3:
The third season of a slice-of-life about a girls' tennis club.

Never tried the first season, still not really interested.


Yowamushi Pedal:
An adaptation of a Weekly Shounen Champion series. Sakamichi is a wimp who loves anime and wants to join his high school's anime club. Two of his classmates are famous cyclists, inspiring him to join the cycling club, which Utena's Saionji evidently belongs to also. Sakamichi trains and discovers his own talent for cycling.

Even before looking it up, you can tell this is a shounen manga adaptation. I like cycling, but am not that interested in watching a show about it. I enjoyed Nasu: Summer in Andalusia, though.

PVs streaming here.

Machine-Doll wa Kizutsukanai:
A light novel adaptation set in the early 20th century. At England's Walpurgis Academy of Machine Arts, students learn how to combine magic and technology for military applications. Raishin, a new student from Japan, arrives with Yaya, his living machine doll powered by magic and made for hand-to-hand combat. He competes to win the Academy's tournament for students who fight with machine dolls.

Doesn't interest me.

PVs found here.

Non Non Biyori:
An adaptation of a manga running in Comic Alive, home to Sasameki Koto and Himawari-san. Non Non Biyori is about a combined middle school and elementary school in the country. A girl from Tokyo named Hotaru transfers in and becomes good friends with the three other girls at that school. One of the girls has an older brother in his third year of middle school there also. There aren't any other students there. The focus is slice-of-life as the seasons change in the country.

This doesn't look bad. I'm not really interested in it, but it doesn't have any service and could be an alright choice if you're looking for something slice-of-life to watch this season. (I know, what a ringing endorsement.)

PVs here and here.

Arpeggio of Blue Steel:
By 2039, global warming has fully happened. Some mysterious warships called the Fleet of Mist appear and start attacking humans. Humanity seems like it's going to lose, but a humanoid life form exits a submarine belonging to the Fleet of Mist and offers to help humanity.

Doesn't seem bad, but doesn't look all that interesting either.

PVs found here.

Gundam Build Fighters:
Basically Angelic Layer with Gundams. In the near future, GunPla Battles, competitions pitting Gundam plastic models against each other in fights, are popular. Sei, a middle school boy, is great at making Gundam plastic models but has no GunPla Battle experience. He meets a boy named Reiji, who has a lot of GunPla Battle experience. They decide to strive together to make it to the GunPla world championships.

Not of interest to me. I've actually never really gotten into a Gundam series, although I've tried several.

PV streaming here.


BlazBlue Alter Memory:
An adaptation of a fighting game franchise set in the year 2199. Ragna the Bloodedge has a bounty on his head for wanting to destroy the system governing the world. He's sighted the 13th Hierarchical City of Kagutsuchi, so fighters who want that bounty head to Kagutsuchi.


PV here.

Tokyo Ravens:
Another light novel adaptation. Harutora comes from a family of onmyouji, but lives as a normal high school student because he doesn't have an special abilities. Harutora's estranged sister Natsume, who is set to become the head of their clan, reunites with Harutora to demand that he fulfill his childhood promise of becoming her familiar. Japan was once ravaged by a war between onmyouji called the Great Disaster, and the onmyouji are set to go to war again.

Boy, the PV looks dumb. And maybe otaku shows are making me paranoid, but I'm getting some eau de incest from its leads.

Update: ANN said Natsume is Harutora's sister, but apparently she's his cousin. Thanks to Helen for pointing that out!


Ore no Noonai Sentakushi ga, Gakuen Love Come o Zenryoku de Jama Shiteiru:
Winning the "promo art that makes me want to gouge my eyes out" award, an adaptation of a light novel series about a boy who is cursed with his life basically being a visual novel. Frequently, two possible actions will pop up in his mind, and he has to choose one or the other. This is how he winds up making a choice that causes a busty blonde girl to fall in front of him. She doesn't have any memories but claims she is meant to solve his "curse." The cast also includes a tsundere "cool beauty" who worries about how small her boobs are and an ojousama.


PV streaming here.


Galilei Donna: Storia di tre sorelle a caccia di un mistero:
A Noitamina show. In 2061, Earth is in an ice age. Three descendants of Galileo, Hozuki, Hazaki, and Kanzaki, live in Tuscany. A mysterious organization puts out an international arrest warrant for the "Galileo Donna", the three of them, so they put aside their differences to avoid being caught and find out more about the organization and why it wants them arrested.

I'm looking forward to this. Its premise sounds good and adventurey and reminds me of R.O.D. the TV, its PVs reinforce that impression, and its three leads aren't getting the service treatment.

PVs streaming here.

Samurai Flamenco:
Best title of the season. The other Noitamina show, about a guy named Masayoshi who wants to become a superhero. Thanks to an invention of his grandfather's, he debuts as a superhero calling himself Samurai Flamenco. Hidenori, a police officer who isn't as passionate about justice, learns Samurai Flamenco's secret identity. Hidenori keeps getting into trouble because of Masayoshi.

Promo videos here, here, and here.

Samurai Flamenco's director, Omori Takahiro, helmed Baccano!, Durarara!, Natsume Yuujinchou, Kuragehime, and a few other strong shows, and the person in charge of its series composition is Kurata Hideyuki (Battle Athletes, Battle Athletes Victory, Read or Die, R.O.D. the TV), and the premise sounds fun, so I'm looking forward to seeing what this is like.

Valvrave season 2:
I only watched an episode of season 1. It was dumb, very amusingly so after the ending credits, but I didn't watch more. Apparently the first season was such a hot mess, it included Russian space Nazis. (And, trigger warning, a character gets raped late in the first season and the show treats it like it's no big deal.) I can see people sticking with it because it's such a horrible show, but I've been content with just hearing about it from the people hate-watching it.

Valvrave is about... I'm not sure what.

Trailer here.


Pokemon XY:
The anime accompanying the release of the Pokemon X and Y games being released worldwide on October 12, apparently set in a country based on France.

I never got into Pokemon as a kid, so the franchise doesn't hold any nostalgic value for me, like it would hold for a lot of the adult folks I imagine buying the new games and maybe checking out the show.

Unannounced October date

An adaptation of a horror series running in Comic Earth Star, the same magazine running the boob wrestling series. Pupa's leads, Utsutsu and his little sister Yume, don't have anyone except each other. One day Yume sees a red butterfly and changes into a creature that eats humans. Utsutsu tries to find a way to change her back, and lets her eat some of his flesh for the time being.

Trailer streaming here.

I like horror, but I'm not keen on this premise. Guess I'll give it a shot to give an opinion, t hough.

Update: Ahh, Bushi Road below just got confirmed as a winter release, so never mind. ^^; Thanks to Helen for catching that!

Neppu Kairiku Bushi Road:
Oh wow, this series was originally green-lit in 2003, as part of a mixed media project that studio Gainax, the Takara toy company, and multi-media company (focusing on anime, manga, and video games) Broccoli were to collaborate on. People working on this project kept dropping out of it until the entire thing was scrapped. Now it's being revived by studio Kinema Citrus, software company Nitroplus, and home video distributor Bandai Visual. The original story creator is the guy who wrote Trinity Blood, which didn't do much for me.

As for the actual story- its leads are Ame, a princess miko from the country of Ise (where the Ise Grand Shrine is), Suou, a "cursed human weapon", and Shin, the leader of the country of Toorai. There will be mech monsters also.


And, that's it!