Winter 2012 Preview: The Good, The Bad and the Mundane
December 30, 2011 8 Comments
The Autumn 2011 season has finally finished, with a few shows continuing into next season, the majority have concluded and of were largely enjoyable. Soon the winter 2012 season will start with high school romance, space pirates, devils in mini skirts, giant robots, random nonsense and 4-kome gag shows. I will not be watching everything, but there are certainly shows that have piqued my interest, although I am not writing about them in any particular order.
Ano Natsu de Matteru:
This is the latest show from the original team who brought us Please Teacher and Please Twins. Please Teacher (Onegai Sensei) is one of my favorite anime of all time, being both wonderfully animated and telling a very sweet and quite heartfelt story without doing anything overly dramatic. Ano Natsu de Matteru’ premise is simplistic and is quite similar to the first series. It is about adolescence and romance in a Japanese rural village, following the daily lives of two girls Ichika Takatsuki and Remon Yamano and a boy called Kaito Kirishima. It looks to be a classic love triangle and I hope that we get to see another wonderful romance from this team.
Amagami SS is easily one of my favorite harem/romance series, and one of my favorites from 2010. The original series took a rather unique and nice approach to the classic harem genre by having specific arcs for each heroine rather than push for a full harem, the only other series that I have seen use this approach is Yosuga no Sora. The main protagonist ends up with each heroine (save for Rihoko for some reason) at the end of their respective arcs of course. The purpose of this sequel is to provide a direct sequel to each separate arc, showing us what happened after the confession. The format will be 2 episodes per heroine with another 2 at the end for Juichis sister or another character. The director is different this time but he has apparently promised to maintain the same elements from the original that made it enjoyable to watch.
The token creepy horror series of the season, one that is based on a manga of the same name and has the potential of being quite an interesting series. The story itself is quite a unique one and has the potential of being both very creepy and actually very interesting. Apparently 26 years before the story starts, in a third-year classroom of a middle school there was a girl called Misaki who was not only an honors student, but also good at sports, charming and popular with her classmates. She suddenly dies, and her classmates decided to carry on as if she was still alive until graduation. Then, in the spring of 1998, a boy named Kouichi Sakakibara transfers to that same classroom; he loves horror novels but gradually becomes suspicious of the fearful atmosphere in the classroom. In particular there is a beautiful yet aloof girl called Misaki Mei, she wears and eye patch and is always alone drawing pictures. I’ve read the translated chapters of the manga that I could find and the story is very interesting, especially when I began to suspect that Misaki Mei is in fact the girl who apparently died 26 years before, this alone opens up all sorts of strange possibilities in the story. I’m not sure what to make of this series yet, but it does look a potentially very interesting series, although my one problem, after watching the preview is the artwork. The manga has the characters looking for grown up and quite rough in places, the anime by comparison seems to have gone with a cuter ‘moe’ look that makes the show look more like ef than a full on horror story.
High School DxD:
My generic fanservice show for the season, and yet it looks like there is more to this than meets the eye. It is based on a light novel series that is very much in the ero-comedy genre and doesn’t worry about you knowing it. It is a fantasy story following second-year high school student Hyoudou Issei, someone who is known for his pervetedness and aspires to create his own personal harem at Kamaou Academy. He someonhow manages to get a girlfriend only to end up getting murdered by her on his first date, not the best of starts for our hero. But, when he wakes up the next day he is back at home and sharing his bed with the school idol Rias Gremory, who explains to him that she is in fact a demon and has resurrected him as her demon servant – a relationship that he seems to accept quite readily. Iseei joins her Occult Research Club where he is introduced to more female demons who happen to attend his school – Himejima Akeno, Asia Argento, and Toujou Koneko – and of course soon learns that he has got himself caught up in a struggle between the demons and fallen angels.
The fanservice clearly takes priority in this series, something that is quite obvious if you watch the preview, however there is actually a potentially quite interesting plot. Despite his questionable qualities and objectives Issei happens to have an incredibly important latent power – the Crimson Dragon emperor’s Gauntlet – that happens to be the main reason that he was killed in the first place, Rias of course notices this which is the main reason for her resurrecting him. The premise is an interesting one with a central demon/harem theme much like Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou, especially since the fallen angles seem to be portrayed as evil, while the demons are potentially the force for good. It is a harem series, with a lot of fanservice, and while the story itself looks interesting, we shall see where it goes from here.
Mouretsu Pirates or to give it its English title much to my chagrin – Bodacious Sky Pirates – is the first proper Space Opera that I have seen since Tytania. The story is set in a distant galaxy called Umi no Akeboshi, and follows high school student Katou Marika – a member of the space yacht club and a part-time waitress at a café – who is suddenly approached by two crew members from the space pirate ship Bentenmaru. She learns that the father she thought was dead had in fact only recently passed away, and more importantly that he was the captain of their ship. Apparently in this universe, according to galactic decree, only direct descendents can inherit captaincy of a spaceship, so of course they ask Marika to become their new captain in order to continue their piratical ways.
Mouretsu appears to continue the space opera tradition of a large cast of characters, set piece space battles with lots of lazers, evil arch-enemies and some galactic conspiracy with treasure, at least that’s what it looks like. The series is certainly more on the ‘moe’ side of animation, with lots of girls being quite cute, despite also being pirates and carrying around enough weaponry and a gun big enough to make your average marine blush in their little boots. I’m not entirely sure what to expect from this series, but I hope it keeps to space opera tradition and entertains me, because I love space opera’s.
Recorder to Randoseru:
Another 4-koma gag anime adaption has appeared for next season in the shape of Recorder to Randoseru, this time with the bizarre setup of 11 year-old Miyagawa Atsushi and his 17 year-old sister Mitagawa Atsumi. These two siblings look absolutely nothing like there age with Atsushi being 180cm tall and looking like an adult, while his older sister Atsumi is only 137cm tall and looks more childish than Popura from Working. This is clearly going to lead to many comic situations and essentially a comedy of errors, with misunderstandings and various problems to do with age, height and maturity. It’s been a while since ive watched a really good 4-koma anime adaption, not since Seitokai Yakuindomo actually, so I hope this show delivers something truly funny and enjoyable to watch.
Papa no Iu Koto wo Kikinasai:
This is a romantic comedy adapted from the manga by the same author as Mayoi Neko Overrun and tells the story of Seqawa Yuuta and the family that he suddenly acquires. One day he receives the terrible news that his older sister, who raised him since their parents died has disappeared along with her husband when the flight they were on vanishes. Their three daughters, 14-year-old Takanashi Sora, 10-years-old Miu, and 3-year-old Hina – all from previous marriages and different mothers – are about to be divided due to the results of family arguments and simple selfishness, when Yuuta decides to take them all in against the families wishes. Yuuta is clearly diligently trying to take care of them, especially since his older sister always cared for him, but quickly runs into ‘interesting situations’ due to having three girls and him in a small apartment, especially when he isn’t good with girls or women in general.
There is of course fanservice from having three girls and one guy in a small room, such as walking into the bathroom, toilet, and wardrobe malfunctions. However the manga had a really strong family theme, with Yuuta desperately trying to bring up these three girls in a proper fashion in place of his lost sister. What’s interesting about the manga is that the story is depicted from an older university student perspective with the supporting cast being Yuuta’s friends from the ‘Street Observation Club’. There is a romantic element to the story with Sora being a bit of a Tsundere who clearly has a massive crush on Yuuta but seems incapable of showing it, there is also the devilish Miu who flaunts her looks, and of course Hina, the amazingly well behaved 3-year-old ho is quite simply cute. Not to mention Yutta’s sempai from his club, the well-endowed Sako. I’m curious to see how this show works out actually since the premise is quite an interesting one, and while it appears to have quite a lot of fanservice, there is also a fairly serious element about family relationships and the struggles of Yuuta to raise these girls himself.
Inu x Boku SS:
Another strange series, this time about a girl called Shirakiin Ririchiyo who is from a wealthy and powerful family but wants to try and live by herself to make an identity for herself away from her families wealth and prestige. She has the startling ability to act incredibly haughty to others and regretting it later, so her parents only allow her to move into a high-class mansion, ‘Maison de Ayakashi’ that assigns a personal Secret Service agent to each tenant. This mansion is full of strange and downright weird people including her personal bodyguard, the insistent and incredibly emotional Miketsukami Soushi who pledges his loyalty to her. Apparently everyone in this mansion are half-blood descendants of demons, and the mansion is specifically designed to protect them from full-blood demons who want to see them all dead.
I’ve read a bit of the manga that this series is based on and it was quite interesting. I’m curious to see how the demon element of the show fits into the general comedy and romance elements, it will be interesting to see how it all fits together and what sort of show we get at the end result.
A Sengoku-era anime based on a manga of the same name that tells the story of warlord Sanada Yukimura and his quest to put together a group of the 10 strongest warriors in Japan to fight against the other warlords of the era and in particular Tokugawa. The story in the manga and I assume the anime also follows this focuses in part of the relationship between a masterless Iga ninja named Kirigkura Saizou and Izumo shrine maiden Isanami. Apparently Isanami has some amazing special power that could potentially destroy the delicate balance of the times. I quite liked the manga and the interactions between all the unique ninja and warriors intrigued me, especially the central potential romance between Saizou and Isanami. Not sure what to make of this series yet, but it has potential, we just have to see what the end product is.
Zero no Tsukaima F:
The final installment of Zero no Tsukaima is here, and we are likely to see more flat chested jokes along with a lot more explosions from Zero Louise and her familiar Saito on their quest to destroy evil and potentially have sex if thy aren’t interrupted by everyone else who seems to be after Saito’s body. The usual characters seem to be back with the big-breasted maid Siesta, Henriette, Kirche, Charlotte and of course the half-elf Tifania. I quite enjoyed the last three series, especially the last which really seemed to pick up the story and especially the relationship between Saito and Lousie. Not sure what will happen here, but I hope it at least finishes the series off properly and not some ham-fisted harem ending.
I’ve missed out quite a few series from this post, partly because I am not entirely decided on them yet. I think I shall be watching both Senhime Zesshou Symphogear and Rinne no Lagrange since the concepts seem quite interesting and appear to be following a more organic concept of mechas and big robots, a bit like Rahxephon. I’m not sure about Aquarion EVOL, it looks interesting but we shall see if I continue it. I’ve also quite deliberately left out both Nisemonogatari and Black Rock Shooter, since they have been massively hyped and while I’m likely to watch them I’m not all that fussed actually. I quite enjoyed Bakemonogatari since it had an interestingly quirky and stylistic animation style along with a curious plot, and as long as the sequel Nisemonogatari continues along those lines ill be quite happy. With regards to Black Rock Shooter, I’m not to bothered either way, I enjoyed the original OVA but I’m all that fussed about this series either. Gokuiyo is another that I have looked at and will likely watch, although im not entirely sure about the series and haven’t really looked into it. There are a lot of series this season that I fancy watching, how many of them I continue to watch is another matter. I’ll also be trying episodic blogging this season as well, most likely blogging both Mouretsu Pirates and Ano Natsu de Matteru, both series intrigue me and I hope they are both good and enjoyable to watch.