Apologies for the delay, but, well, this is a mightily huge selection to trawl through this time. Even with some judicious cherry picking and a marginal focusing of the usual criteria, I’ve only managed to narrow things down to 20 shows this season, which is of course lunacy. Additionally, it seems likely that this season will automatically run over in July and may not even start in April, depending on how much delay the recent horrific 9.0 earthquake imposes on television scheduling. As a result, I’m organising this season’s anime’s alphabetically (Normally I go by expected first airing date!).
Anyway, without further ado:
Well, lets start with this little 4-koma. A-Channel looks to be the usual comedy slice of life sketch type for this season; possessing a familiar vibe of Azumanga Daioh or Lucky Star. It revolves around 4 girls (as ever!); a Dejikko airhead called Run, the vicious chibi thing Tooru, timid yet glamourous Yuuko, and the semi-sensible meganekko Nagi. Its got the usual ingredients for Manzai comedy I guess.
These things always live or die based on the punchlines they can pull off; but ironically I wouldn’t consider it a failure if it just makes you groan (because at least that means you get it). No, indeed, they lose out when they make you ‘derp?’ instead, which can happen more often than you might think… especially if you’re not up to date with your Japanese puns. Since we know little else at this stage, this’ll be one of those wait and see types for me.
Anticipation Rating: 65% A-class LOL ROFL.
Ao No Exorcist
Ao no Exorcist is the first of three new Shounen anime’s this season. The world is made up of Assiah, which is the human’s reality, and its mirror image, Gehanna, which is full of demons. Demons can pass the otherwise impenetrable barrier between the two by possessing something on the other side, assuming the shell is strong enough to inhabit them. Satan himself has the problem that nothing is strong enough to contain him, seeing as how he’s the god of demons; and so for this purpose he creates a son from a human woman. But in a question of nature vs. nurture, will the boy, Rin, truly become the anti-christ, or will he rebel against his roots to the last and become the embodiment of resistance, the exorcist?
Well, this is truly biblical sounding, isn’t it? Since I’ve now dropped Fairy Tail; I guess I do have an opening for a ridiculously long running series, but this will have to impress me alot to secure a slot that could be used for something else. My general thought is that if an individual series runs beyond 52 episodes, its taking too long to tell its story. But, I have to say, I probably fancy this over Toriko.
Anticipation Rating: 55% of possessions are just people pulling an act with Alka-Seltza’s
Astarotte’s Plaything (aka. Astarotte no omacha)
Possibly the most amusing dubious humour anime forthcoming. It follows the succubus crown-princess of the kingdom of Alfheimr, Astarotte. She has just hit her tenth birthday; and it is now her duty to construct a personal harem. Apparently, succubi need to collect male fluids (!) in order to live and maintain their youthful appearance. Unfortunately, Astarotte despises men, and tries a catch 22; that her first member has to be a human, which she thinks is impossible since the link between Alfheimr and Midguard, via the Yggdrasil, has been broken for over a century. But then, to her shock, her supervisor immediately brings her 23-year-old Naoya, who has a 10 year old daughter, Asuha, all his own with him.
Vulgar? Yes. Disturbing? Perhaps. Takes the piss out of jailbait? Definately.
I sense another eyebrow raiser on par with ‘B Gata H Kei’ here. But then again, B Gata was truly excellent; proving that absurd sexual premises sometimes make for good shows. No doubt this is not for the prudish, but I’m pleasantly anticipating that this could manage the same level of excellence, especially since the studio that made Ika Musume are involved.
Anticipation Rating: 90% of people agree that succubi are responsible for the issues of teenage pregnancy.
Yondemasu yo! Azazel-san! (aka. He’s calling for you, Azazel!)
Supernatural deadpan comedy? Apparently so. This focuses on a detective-cum-diabolist, Akutabe, who uses summoned demons to help him solve his cases. Of course, Azazel and the others come to the world begrudingly for sacrifices only to be sealed up in ridiculous looking chibi forms; and as Akutabe and his student Rinko order the demons around, the question really to be asked is; who is the real demon here?
Not entirely sure how to react to this one, to be honest. The premise rather amuses me as being some kind of pisstake of the Roger Zelazny novel ‘A night in Lonesome October’; but it kind of depends on how they play it. I’m assuming they’re going to try for deadpan; and I guess that could work, especially if the demons are endearing and Akatube manages to pull off a good magnificent bastard.
Anticipation Rating: 7 out of 10 people were confused about the difference between pentagrams and stars of david.
Control (aka. C- The Money of Soul & Chance Control)
A near-future sci-fi economics anime? Huh? Well, this is a what if premise. As in, what would you do if offered a limitless source of funds? Yogi Kimimaru gets that exact what if, as one day he is approached by a mystery man called Masakaki. As a poor student in a Japan that is increasingly despairing over its social and economic downturn, it seems a miracle. But when he moves into the cyberspace world of the financial district and interacts with the big guns of industry like Mikuni Souichirou and Q, what will happen?
I guess this is an interesting idea; that as our economy becomes more and more virtual and credit-based; it begins to form its own kind of virtual world. How they’re going to take this concept is anyone’s guess, but the ‘what if’ premise reminds me of ‘Eden of the East’ and its phone of unlimited wishes. Can’t say I’m holding my breath, but I’ll keep an eye open for this.
Anticipation Rating: In breaking news: Ridiculous 67% tax rate causes outrage.
Gory contemporary fantasy action show? Ganta Igarashi gets framed for a mass murder of his classmates; as during the incident he gets a crimson shard shot into him that gives him the power to manipulate blood. He is sentenced to death in what amounts to an island based ‘amusement park’ for criminals, fitted with an irremovable poison injecting collar that slowly kills him. The death prison is used a lucrative form of gladiatorial entertainment, and to survive, Ganta is forced to kill others with his newfound ability from the crimson shard, which gives him the currency he needs to buy antidotes in this sick game and survive. His only ray of sunshine (ironically) is a spirited albino girl called Shiro, as he quests to find the ‘Red Man’ who really killed his classmates.
Whew, people fighting with Sanguine Thaumaturgy? Yes, this is probably the show I’m most anticipating out of the lineup this season; not because it promises ultra-violence (though thats certainly a plus sometimes), but because it has a clear narrative setup with alot of promise; something that not alot of shows manage with their meandering and lethargic coughs that pretend to be plot. Assuming it remains well animated, I can only see good coming from this.
Anticipation Rating: Is blood really meant to gush out at 100 mph? Thats surely breaking the speed limit!
Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko (aka. Electromagnetic girl & Adolescent Boy)
Ah, this is new SHAFT show this season; and Shinbou’s at the helm again with his own brand of lunacy. This focuses on Makoto Niwa, who moves in with his aunt, and meets his cuckoo-head cousin Erio Touwa; who believes she was abducted by aliens after she dissapears for six months and has no memory of the events that occured at that time; as she is merely found floating face-down in the sea. Since then, she had to re-learn how to walk and now goes everywhere with a futon tied around her body. Hilarity ensues as Makoto gets caught up in her lunacy. Is she just a nutter, or are her claims of alien invasion true?
Considering how on form Shinbou has been recently with Madoka, I’m, as always, highly anticipating what he can do here. This has a flavour more resembling his earlier works like Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei and maybe Tsukoyomi Moon Phase. He’s busy this season, though, since theres also the second season of Maria+Holic going on.
Anticipation Rating: 9/10 out self proclaimed alien abductee’s approve
A remake of a comedy horror anime from the early 70’s; though the author is more famous for his super robot shows like Mazinger Z and Getter Robo. It follows a trio of spirit hunters that do the now usual duty of putting escaped spirits back into hell. The main character is the fiery, perverse Enma-kun, and Enma is joined by the tsuntsun Yuki-Onna, Yukikohime, and a Kappa called Kapael.
The whole spirit collection story is fairly run of the mill these days (like the modern retelling in ‘The World God Only Knows’, which is also on its second season this spring), and I can’t say I’ve seen the original, as it was from nearly a decade before my conception, LOL, but even so, it’ll be interesting to see an old classic being resusitated and pitched against the new. They’re going with an interesting modern yet somehow retro look with the animation which looks quite promising.
Anticipation Rating: Back when I was a boy, 80% meant 80%, lad!
A hotspring slice of life show, apparently. A girl called Ohana Matsumae is the protagonist. She’s tired of city life, and moves to the country to live at her gran’s hotspring resort. She becomes a waitress there and makes friends with four other girls, Yuina, Minko, Tomoe and Nako; and embarks on journey of self discovery.
Considering its PA Works coming back from hiatus after Angel Beats, I’m already interested, although for me I much preferred their earlier works, like ‘True Tears’, which has rarely been matched in romance anime since; and of course, Canaan. Though there’s little material to go on, there is promise at least. And hey, if nothing else, having a hot spring as the setting means there is never need to find an excuse for fanservice, eh?
Anticipation Rating: 8 parts boiling water, 2 parts herbal infusion.
Hen Zemi (aka. Abnormal Physiology Lecture)
Stick a bunch of people with unique and disturbing fetishes in the same room as a ‘normal’ girl called Nanako Matsutaka, who is only there due to being interested in a guy who also enrolled for the course. Add a sensei who doesn’t hesitate making her write reports about crazy s**t, pretend the whole thing occurs at a semi-respectable university, top with a out of place cutsey character design, and you have the mixture that is Hen Zemi.
Comedy for those with iron stomachs and adamantine sensiblities. Actually involves discussion of: masochism, underwear theft, consumption of urine, rape fantasies, streaking, and of course, 2D preferences. I guess this is the hardcore version of Genshiken. So yeah. I may peek over the back of my chair and try to watch it. Who knows?
Anticipation Rating: 62% chance of cognitive dissonance
Hidan No Aria (aka. Crimson Bullet Aria)
Aka. Duel Wielding Pistol-Jutsu Loli’s. A Romantic Action-Comedy. The focus is a school for training combat-detectives in a Tokyo that faces an increasing number of heinious crimes. Kinji Tooyama is a newbie cop enrolled in the investigation department, when he gets targeted by a terrorist bombing. He is narrowly saved by the glamourous twintailed Aria H. Kanzaki; the top “butei” in the assault division who dual wields Colt 9mm handguns; and the anime follows his subsequent assignments and the minefield of associates he has to deal with in the forces themselves.
Lighthearted action comedy is always good to wind down to after a long day at work, and this is based on a popular light novel, which is always a good start. What’s most interesting is that the male lead is genre savvy; and apparently goes out of his way to avoid associating with dangerous loli’s. Good man! Of course, genre savvy doesn’t save you from inevitable plot, but at least its a promising start. Could devolve into a harem comedy though… nevertheless, I’m quite interested.
Anticipation Rating: (gun to head) Didn’t you know, it’s just Nine Millimetres to heaven, bitch!? <BANG!>
Hoshizora e Kakeru Hashi (aka. A bridge to the starry skies)
A harem comedy. Kazuma moves away from the city with his weak-constitution brother Ayumu, in hopes this will improve young Ayumu’s health. Of course, Kazuma gets lost on the way and stumbles across a beautiful girl called Ui, whom is handily attending the same school he plans to and he pushes her over in a misunderstanding and… (le sigh)
Well, I don’t need to spell out anything else with this kind of anime; where its usually fanservice over plot. Of course, the original game was by the same company that made Akane-iro Somaru Saka. Although the series of that was a trainwreck, it was at least a well orchestrated trainwreck and one of those brainless anime’s thats occassionally worth it for a giggle. Because of these roots, I’m not dismissing it out of hand, but don’t hold any high hopes for it either.
Anticipation Rating: Why cop a feel twice when you can get away with it ten times?!
Perversion of History anime. Yoshino Hide is a middle school girl who gets pulled into an alternate dimension’s sengoku period japan; which is full of people bizarrely lacking in Y chromsomes (how do they breed? Touhou-class mitosis?) and she gets embroiled in Oda Nobunaga’s quest to grab some awesome armour and unify japan. Okay.
Lets make famous historical figures into voluptous girls because that hasn’t been done before! Tono to Isshou, Samurai Girls and Sengoku Basara really already have the perversion of history covered, so one must wonder what this can bring to the table besides more fanservice. And a voluptous redhead Oda Nobunaga (wut?). At least Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Date Masamune are loli’s. But the fact that makes me happy is perhaps the most disturbing thing of all. Somebody shoot me now.
Anticipation Rating: Three out of ten sengoku period warlords are rolling in their graves right now.
A sports drama business anime? Minami Kawashima’s best friend Yuuki Miyata is suddenly hospitalised and so Minami promises Yuuki that she’ll take over the position of manager of the boy’s baseball team. Only, see she’s a bit dense, and unaware of what a manager of a baseball team actually does; and goes to research what managers do, only to find a copy of famous economist Peter Drucker’s ‘Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices’. And she takes it as her gospel; when of course its about big business CEO’s practices, and nothing to do with the clothes washing and maintainence a baseball manager should be doing!
Based on the bestselling novel in all of Japan last year (2010); its a heartwarming tale of how unorthodox applied in the right measure is just the shakeup a failing team needs to smash them into Koshien. It must be decent if that many people approve, I guess, and it sounds like goofy fun: as hey, all the best comedies and dramas come from misinterpretations. Considering I also really liked Princess Nine and am occassionally partial to some sports anime, I’m certainly very curious about this one.
Anticipation Rating: 90% track record of home runs on the final stretch
The second 4-koma this season (the other being A-Channel). This is one thats a less degree of slice of life and a higher percentage of crack, as it involves a robot high school girl and her nametag-less inventor, a talking cat, and a trio of highschool girls with eccentric personalities. I suppose we wouldn’t want it any other way, right?
Generally, higher crack content in the authors diet leads to a more amusing show, assuming you can deal with the derp fallout; but I don’t know. In all likelihood, I won’t pick up more than one 4-koma show out of the two; so I guess these are relying on the quality of gags they can throw at me in the first couple of episodes.
Anticipation Rating: 6.5 cases of hallucinogenic chiyodad rockets in raspberry heaven.
Oretachi ni Tsubasa wa nai
Takashi has a unspeakable secret. To leave his dull school-life, he plays MMO’s. However, he is saved from mediocrity by his awkward younger sister Kobato and negligent girlfriend Asuka. Meanwhile, Syusuke is a poor freeloader that passes his days working part-time until one day, he has a disastrous first encounter with a girl called Hiyoko, and the next time they meet, Syusuke leans she is a fellow employee at his part-time job. Hayato sees himself as “hard-boiled”. Back-breaking jobs shunned by others are nothing to him. He avoids normal human contact but, during the nights, gets together with delinquents and denizens of the night. One such night, he meets the cheerful and oblivious Naru.
Multiple protagonist romance? Apparently with 3 seperate guys chasing 4 seperate love interests; this might well put it above and beyond the usual fare that is based on dating games and may even let it compete with True Tears. Of course, it wouldn’t surprise me if it turns out that they’re all the same guy with a multiple personality disorder or something. I’m a little cynical though, since anime’s based on navel’s dating games don’t exactly have great heritage, though they occassionally break from their roots, like Shuffle did; and if the perspective actually escapes the possibility for harem, its certainly worthy of some time. Being a sap for romance, I’ll possibly watch it regardless.
Anticipation Rating: “How to be a player with four girls in ten easy steps!”
The second shounen anime of the season. It covers a school club, the Suketto-dan, who help people with their day to day problems. Led by a guy who likes goggles that do nothing, Yuusuke Fujisaki and also consisting of an intellectual guy called Kazuyoshi Usui and a pampered girl called Hime Onizuka; they’re none the less looked down on by others for their obsession with doing pointless little jobs.
This sounds remarkably episodic, which is main thing that marks it as shounen, as its very likely to able to continue for a long, long time; with fillers and all. Though the potential allusion to the SOS-Dan is there in the club name, I very much doubt it has any true Haruhi links either. So, as a result, I think its the least likely of the three shounen offerings that I’m likely to choose.
Anticipation Rating: Three for all and all for three?
Sports anime, but not as we know it. Five girls are trained by tennis champion You Mishimagi with hopes of reaching the nationals. They consist of ecchi Asuka, fiery Kotone, bottomless stomach Chitose, mysterious Kurusu, and English exchange student Elizabeth.
Short description indeed. I’d like to think this could be another Bamboo Blade; but Soft Tennis is not really as excting as Kendo, the characters are very cookie cutter, and the previews worryingly seem to focus on the fanservice, making me think this is actually an ecchi harem comedy disguising itself as a sports anime (like, uh, Infinite Stratos does with a mecha anime). Can’t say I’m paticularly excited about it.
Anticipation Rating: Faults are 20% more exciting to watch than regular tennis play (snicker…)
Steins;Gate is your crack-tastic contemporary sci-fi for the season. Self-Proclaimed mad scientist Rintarou and his hacker friend Hashida collaborate to create a microwave oven that can send SMS text messages into the past (WHAT?) and starts to use this appliance to prevent things like murders from ever occuring by causing dramatic shifts in the timeline due to his meddling micro. As he is able to observe shifts in the timeline and retain memories of before and after, this gets him the attention of time traveller called John Titor, and a nuclear research organisation called SERN. Plot ensues.
Complete with un-necessary semi-colons, a butchery of the laws of physics (oh god the poor catgirls!), and a high likelihood of mindfuck, the makers of Chaos;Head (who else!) want to take you along for their unique brand of weirdness. I never actually got into the Chaos;Head anime, and instead played the game much later upon finding the fan translation. It was certainly… unique, and the concept for this is no different. I guess arguments can be made that the microwave text messages are just a different part of the electromagnetic spectrum, but to the past? Well… anyway; I’m reasonably interested in what this has to offer.
Anticipation Rating: 81.7 GHz / 4.36 mm
Culinery Shonen anime. (NO, Really…) This follows the titular super-strong gourmet hunter Toriko and his timid chef partner Komatsu. There’s an organisation in this world that ranks wild beasts and basically acts as a mercenary guild for people looking for gourmet food, paying hunters for their catches which get sold in a huge bazaar called the World Kitchen.
I guess the person who wrote this saw the elements of Dragon Ball where Goku hunts mythical beasts for food, played a bit of Monster Hunter, then watched the Iron Chef and thought “Why not merge all that! THIS is a GREAT idea!”.
It is certainly… interesting. Inhospitable wilderness and a stupidly muscular guy beating up dragons with his bare hands? Framed by a narrative to create a perfect menu and prevent an evil organisation from monopolising the food market? Yeah, work that out. Still, it might serve as some amusement, especially if Exorcist fails to deliver the goods (LOL).
Anticipation Rating: 5 star chef beaten up by surprise 10 star chef
And… thats about it. Jeez. I think I need a cold shower now, since I’ve been typing and researching for 5 hours straight. Nevertheless, I hope this report, as always, is an informative window in your anime selections for the next up and coming season. Stay tuned.