Spring 2013 Season Preview

Arata Attack-on-Titan Gargantia Aura
RGD-Red-Data-Girl Yamato_2199 Valvrave Steins

Spring is usually the strongest anime season of the year.  So how does this one stack up?


It really isn’t a good idea for me to compare this coming season to Spring 2012, which looked like the best anime season in years going in – and lived up the the hype.  But I can’t escape the obvious conclusion that this one doesn’t look to be nearly as good as that one did.

There are some positive trends, to be sure.  If there’s anything that sticks out for me it’s that this season marks a real renaissance for science fiction.  We have mecha series from the likes of Production I.G. and the dean of giant robot anime, Sunrise (two from them in fact) and the TV premiere of the already released adaptation of Matsumoto Leiji’s Space Battleship Yamato 2199.  But perhaps the one I’m most looking forward to is Wit Studio’s (read: Production I.G.) adaptation of Isayama Hajime’s highly-regarded manga Attack on Titan.

That said, though, there are some other signs that aren’t nearly so encouraging.  The continued course towards LNs taking over from manga as the dominant source for anime adaptations for one, though as usual more of the interesting choices this season are manga-based. The continuing infection of the anime industry by the idol industry for another.  The departure of NoitaminA from the schedule a third.  There’s also a relative scarcity of top directors on the board, considering how many series are premièring.

Looking at the schedule as a whole, I see that it’s going to generate quite a long preview post, because there are a large number of shows that look interesting enough to make it onto the radar.  What I don’t see that I did last Spring (or Autumn) is a big list of series that obviously have the potential to be classics.  With this many shows there’s always the potential for surprises, but the apart from the welcome increase in sci-fi the schedule seems pretty heavy with formulaic ecchi comedies and by-the-book LN tie-ins.  That happens every season in today’s marketplace, but Spring is often the season that determines how the year as a whole will measure up.

There are a couple of sequels I’m going to tune in for, including the second season of Haiyore! and especially the continuation of Oreimo (which was a series that could be great and could be awful, but ended up being quite worthwhile).  We also have a few strong shows carrying over from Winter – Chihayafuru, Uchuu Kyoudai and Hunter X Hunter especially so.  But the absence of NoitaminA shows is a major setback – they’ll be sorely missed, though my Thursdays will be a little less hectic as a result. 

As always, please vote for your most anticipated series in the sidebar poll!

With that, to the previews:

DateALive
Date A Live – AIC Plus
Director: Motonaga Keitarou
Writer: Shirane Hideki
Schedule: Saturday 24:00, Tokyo MX – Premières 3/30/13
Episodes: 12

Preview:
MAL:

First Look: A special web preview is due 3/16.  This looks fairly interesting for a LN adaptation, with a sci-fi angle and some excellent visuals in the previews.  Motonaga-sensei is coming off some excellent work with Jormungand.  The plot looks pretty formulaic harem from a distance, but the cast and staff are enough to merit a look. 

RGD-Red-Data-Girl
Red Data Girl – P.A. Works
Director:
Shinohara Toshiya
Writer: Yokote Michiko
Schedule: Wednesday, 25:00, Tokyo MX  Premières 4/03/13
Episodes: 12

Preview:
MAL:

First Look: This one has a couple of major check-marks in its favor.  First, it’s based on an award-winning novel, and novels have proved a fruitful source for superb anime with some regularity.  Second, it’s P.A. Works, and that’s a studio who pretty much never fails to at least hold my interest, while always providing lovely visuals.  As a bonus the plot is based on Shinto, as the heroine is a 15 year-old girl who’s lived her entire life in the Kumano Shrines.  The story moves to Tokyo where she journeys with her childhood friend, and their relationship changes after a terrifying incident.  Shinohara and Yokote are long-time industry veterans with a relatively good track record. 

Karneval
Karneval – Manglobe                     
Director: Suganuma Eiji
Writer: Machida Toukou
Schedule:  Wednesday, 26:48, ABC – Premières 4/3/13
Episodes: TBA

MAL:                                         
Preview:

First Look: I have some serious issues with the casting choices Manglobe has made here, but I’ll give this adaptation a chance as the manga seems to be quite well-regarded.  We don’t see a lot of Josei manga adapted into anime, and those we do tend to be above-average.  Not a lot to go on in Suganuma-san’s mixed record as a director and the premise – two young teens living the rough life who end up mixed up with criminal organizations and secret government agencies – comes off as rather silly at first glance.  Still, Manglobe does tend to do interesting (if commercially unsuccessful) work more often than not.

Danchi
Danchi Tomo’o – Shogakukan
Director: Watanabe Ayumu
Writer: Yamada Takashi
Schedule: Saturday, 09:30 – Premières 4/6/13
Episodes: TBA
MAL:
Preview:                                      

First Look: This one is by all appearances a kids series (though it appears in a seinen magazine) and is based on a popular manga, with 21 volumes to date.  The animation looks extremely low-rent and it may not even find a subber, but the chief director is Watanabe Ayumu, who had the best 2012 around with Space Brothers and Nazo no Kanojo X.  The excellent Yamada-san also handled the adaptation of Ginga e Kickoff, so the staff looks terrific on all fronts.  This one could be the GeK of 2013 – a series largely ignored by the West that rides clever source material and top-notch staff to success.  A possible sleeper for sure, though until I know it has subs (or a simulcast, as unlikely as that seems) I can’t say for sure I’ll be able to blog it.

Devil Survivor
Devil Survivor 2: The Animation – Bridge
Director: Kishi Seiji
Writer: Uezu Makoto
Schedule: TBA, MBX
Episodes: TBA

Preview:
MAL:

First Look: The team of Kishi and Uezu is back with this sci-fi RPG adaptation, working this time with Bridge (Mitsudomoe).  The story centers around a group of students who receive emails foretelling deaths, and then enter into a demon-summoning pact after Japan is invaded by…  something.    I’m a big fan of this writer/director team, but they seem to follow the same formula as some Hollywood directors – alternate between a strictly commercial project to pay the bills, and an art project they really want to do (that would be Aura, which I discuss below).  Very often the difference in commitment level is obvious, but with someone like Spielberg you could always rely on the commercial project being slick and well-made – whereas I found the most recent Persona series to be poorly made right down to the rather ugly visuals.  This one is the biggest mystery of the season for me, with a lot of boom or bust potential based on Kishi and Uezu’s involvement.  I don’t find the art especially attractive or the previews gripping, but these guys are just too talented not to give this show a long look.

Majestic Prince
Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Prince – Dogakobo
Director: Motonaga Keitarou
Writer: Yoshida Reiko
Schedule: Thursday 22:45, Tokyo MX – Premières 4/04/13
Episodes: 24

Preview:
MAL:

First Look: Motonaga-sensei is busy this season, this time paired with veteran writer Yoshida Reiko, whose track record is very good indeed.  I don’t know much about the manga by Getbackers artist Ayamine Rando, but the plot has one of the more appealingly retro sci-fi hooks among the large crop this Spring – genetically engineered “princes” attend a special school while learning to protect humanity with giant robots.  It doesn’t get much more classic than that – we’ll see if this one can inject some life into the familiar formula.  A good start is the casting of relative unknown Aiba Hiroki as the lead.

Oreimo
Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai 2 – A-1 Pictures
Director: Hiroyuki Kanbe
Writer: Kurata Hideyuki
Schedule: Saturday 24:00, Tokyo MX – Premières4/6/13
Episodes: TBA

MAL:
Preview:

First Look: No show embodies the rise of LN adaptations in anime more than this hugely popular comedy, yet it remains arguably the best of the lot.  It’s not so much that Oreimo is free of the clichés that haunt the format, but that it executes them better – and with a good deal of introspection and self-deprecating wit.  That said, the best part about the first season was Hanazawa Kana’s bravura performance as the utterly irresistible Kuroneko.  This is one of the least surprising sequels ever, and there are no changes in the top echelons of the staff and cast, so with the multimedia franchise still thriving there’s really no reason to expect anything much different from this second season that we got in the first.  Given that Oreimo sneaked into the tail-end of my Top 10 list in a fairly weak 2010, that’s a good thing.

Attack-on-Titan
Shinjeki no Kyojin – Wit
Director: Araki Tetsuro
Writer: Kobayashi Yasuko
Schedule: Saturday, 25:56, MBX – Premières 4/6/13
Episodes: TBA
Preview:
MAL:

First Look: If I’m to point to one series this Spring that has the stamp of greatness on it, Attack on Titan might be the one.  Based on a Tezuka-nominated manga, it’s the story of a dystopian future where humanity has been wiped out by a race of giants, with the few survivors barricaded inside a city with walls big enough to keep the titans out.  As if that weren’t bad enough, a super-giant appears that’s big enough to breach the walls.  Director Araki is certainly a big name, but I would call his track record mixed – nevertheless, he’s veteran enough that he should be able to stay out of the way if his material is good enough.  The cast doesn’t thrill me – Kaji Yuuki as the lead and hardly a name among them that isn’t among the usual suspects – but again, if the source material is as good as its reputation they should be smart enough to let it speak for itself.

Valvrave
Valvrave the Liberator – Sunrise
Director: Matsuo Kou
Writer: Okouchi Ichiro
Schedule: Thursday 25:35, MBS – Premières 4/11/13
Episodes: TBA
Preview:
MAL:

First Look: In case you haven’t gotten the drift by now, this season is a renaissance for mecha and sci-fi.  As such, it’s only fitting that Sunrise has an offering on the table (and a shame BONES doesn’t).  This one is an original series from Okouchi Ichiro, the man behind the Code Geass empire, and director Matsuo (Kurenai, Natsuyuki Rendezvous, Rozen Maiden) has one of the better resumes of the season.  The premise (isolated nation caught between two galactic superpowers in the far future, teen hero forced to climb into the cockpit to defend his home) is pretty boilerplate Sunrise stuff, but I really like the art and animation on display in the previews – and it can’t hurt to have Ohsaka Ryouta and Tomatsu Haruka on board as the leads.  There’s a lot of quality and experience attached to this project, and more original anime is always a positive thing.  I don’t necessarily see greatness here, but this has the makings of an entertaining, mainstream hit.

Gargantia
Suisei no Gargantia – Production I.G.
Director: Murata Kazuya
Writer: Urobuchi Gen
Schedule: Sunday, Time TBA, Tokyo MX – Premières 4/7/13
Episodes: TBA
MAL:
Preview:

First Look: Yes, yet another sci-fi offering – this time from industry giants Production I.G. and Gen Urobuchi.  I.G. isn’t as great as they once were and Gen isn’t as great as his reputation, but he’s almost always at least very good, and thought-provoking to boot.  I like the fact that Gen is flexible enough to tackle different genres, and his comments seem to suggest that Gargantia might be less dark and despairing than we’re used to from The Butcher.  It’s yet another tale of a dystopian future and a young pilot dealing with a threat to his people – I won’t blame you a bit if you have a hard time keeping all these plots straight this season – but it should be interesting to see what Gen does with it.  Also of note: we have a (stop the presses) actual teenager playing a teenaged male lead in relative newcomer Ishikawa Kaito, though the female cast is full of stalwarts. 

Namauchiugawa
Namiuchigiwa no Muromi-san – Tatsunoko
Director: Yoshihara Tetsuya
Writer: Fudeyaso Kazuyuki
Schedule: Saturday, 25:15, Tokyo MX – Premières 4/6/13
Episodes: 12
Preview:
MAL:

First Look: I admit I’m taking a bit of a flyer on this manga adaptation, but hey – it’s got fishing and it’s a mermaid comedy, and my track record along those lines is pretty good.  The preview suggests something very madcap and out-of-control, and I quite like the very old-school character designs and art.  Yoshihara is a first-time director and this is the mangaka’s only work, so no clues there.  Tamura Yukari plays the titular mermaid and she’s usually good for a laugh, and we have the great Nakahara Mai in a supporting role. Interesting trivia: the music is by composer Tezuka Osamu (no relation).  Let’s call it a potential sleeper and hope for the best. 

Haiyore

Haiyore! Nyaruko-san! W – Xebec
Director: Nagasawa Tsuyoshi
Writer: Kimura Noboru
Schedule: Sunday, 25:05, TV Tokyo – Premières 4/7/13
Episodes: 12
Preview:
MAL:

First Look: Another entirely unsurprising sequel.  Staff and cast is unchanged so expect more of the same – for me, I hope that’s more like what we saw in the first half of S1 than the second.  I don’t mind comedies going into serious mode, but I really don’t think it suited Haiyore!, which was more successful as a straight-up parody.  The first season had some flat-out hilarious moments, but as a whole it was right on the edge of my blogging threshold.  We’ll see about the second – it depends on how many of the much more unpredictable series make the cut, I expect.

Yamato_2199
Uchuu Senkan Yamato 2199 – AIC/Xebec
Director: Enomoto Akihiro/Izubuchi Yutaka
Writer: Izubuchi Yutaka
Schedule: Sunday, 17:00, MBS – Premières 4/07/13
Episodes: 26
Preview:
MAL:

First Look: Space Battleship Yamato has the distinction of being the very first anime I ever saw – or that I remember seeing, anyway.  It was called Star Blazers, dubbed very badly in English, aired at about 6:30 AM on WGN in Chicago and thrilled my sister and myself to bits.  I’ve seen several episodes of this remake (which have been out in theatrical and OVA form for awhile) and it’s excellent.  Many feel that this is the legendary Matsumoto Leiji’s finest work, and I’m not sure I disagree – in many ways it sets the high bar for a military space epic.  If you don’t know this story you owe it to yourself to watch this, and if you do I can’t imagine you won’t – so really, any anime fan should hang their heads in shame if they aren’t tuning in.  I don’t consider this a new series given how much of it has already been shown, but I’ll certainly be blogging it.

Yahari
Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Come wa Machigatteiru – Brains Base
Director: Yoshimura Ai
Writer: Suga Shoutarou                 
Schedule: Thursday, 25:28, TBS – Premières 4/04/13
Episodes: TBA
Preview:
MAL:

First Look: With a long and pretentious title like that, this could only be a LN adaptation.  To be frank, this looks pretty dumb and formulaic to me, and the only reason it’s in this preview is because it’s Brains Base.  We have yet another tale of a sullen male lead who can’t be bothered with society getting mixed up with the prettiest girl in school…  Yada yada – you get the point.  This is a new director and overall looks the B Team from Brains Base, but this is one studio whose shows always get a hearing from me.  And at least it has Nakahara Mai.

Photo Kano
Photo Kano – Madhouse               
Director/Writer: Yokoyama Akitoshi             
Schedule: Thursday, 25:58, TBS – Premières 4/4/13
Episodes: 12

Preview:
MAL:

First Look: This dating sim adaptatio is from Enterbrain, who also brought us Amagami SS.  That show had it’s ups and downs over three cours, and I don’t know this one at all, but it’s from Madhouse and it’s nice to see longtime veteran Yokoyama finally get a chance to helm a major project.  The conceit here is a high-school boy (Shimazaki Nobunaga) who gets a camera and starts photographing the girls in his school, which leads to (apparently) 9 heroines – which I assume means a two-cour omnibus format (edit: confirmed for 12 episodes, which likely means no omnibus format).  The heroines are mostly big names – Nakahara Mai, Endo Aya, Saito Chiwa, Itou Kanae and many more – and I would expect this to be a solid if unspectacular (and uneven) series in the mold of Amagami.

Aku no Hana
Aku no Hana – Zexcs
Director: Nagahama Hiroshi
Writer: Itami Aki                              
Schedule: TBA
Episodes: TBA

MAL:

First Look: This is a tough one.  To be honest, I find the manga pretty disgusting in many ways.  It’s like a slightly less hard-core but even more depraved version of SundomeAku no Hana is a series which takes a dim view of the human race and whose bread and butter is depicting the humiliation and degradation of its male lead.  Yet it’s undeniably provocative and at times, brilliant.  It’s really a show I feel I can’t not watch the first few episodes of (especially as Nagahama-san directed the sublime Mushishi) yet one I can’t imagine that I’ll possibly enjoy, based on how the manga made me react.  It’s definitely not going to be boring, and it’s not a cookie-cutter generic anime – and as such, I suppose the fact that it’s being produced at all is a positive thing.

Bunri
Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge – Studio Gokumi
Director: Yamaguchi Yuji
Writer: Uahata Tatsuhiko  
Schedule: Wednesday, 24:30, Tokyo MX – Premières 4/03/13
Episodes: TBA
Preview:
MAL:

First Look: This looks agreeably odd.  Adapted from a manga, it’s the story of a boy who loves to cut girls hair, and the girl whose hair is “cursed to forever uncuttable” (I wish I could make stuff like that up, but it’s real).  This leads to something called the “murder game”, and while I can’t say I can really make heads or tails out of all that, it’s interesting for it’s sheer oddity.  We have a very experienced writer and director and an art style that’s quite eye-catching in a gothic sort of way.  Maybe a mild sleeper vibe with this one.

Arata
Arata Kangatari – Satelight            
Director: Yasuda Kenji
Writer: Sekijima Mayori                  
Schedule: Monday, 26:05, TV Tokyo – Premières 4/08/13
Episodes: TBA

Preview:
MAL:

First Look: Finally, we have an adaptation of a manga I know.  Watase Yuu is an interesting writer and a tremendous artist – and Arata Kangatari is a very involving story.  It’s a fantastical take on the body-switching theme, with the two leads boys from alternate worlds – one ours, the other a mythical realm of Shinto-tinged Gods and monsters – who share the same face and the name “Arata”.  The story gets pretty dark, especially on the modern side, where the issue of bullying is addressed in some of the harshest and most realistic terms you’ll ever see.  This isn’t a truly great manga, but a genuinely good story with beautiful art, so the pieces are in place for what should be a very solid anime.  I consider Yasuda-sensei (Shugo Chara and the sublime Ikoku Meiro no Croisee – my top series of 2011 – among others) to be Satelight’s top director, so the series is in good hands – but I sincerely hope this gets two cours, because there’s way too much story to do justice to in one.  With the manga ongoing, though, I suspect we’re fated for one cour and an anime-original ending.
  

Will Definitely Blog: Red Data Girl, Uchuu Senkan Yamato 2199, Oreimo 2, Attack on Titan, Suisei no Gargantia, Arata Kangatari.  At least for starters – only 2199, Oreimo and Arata are truly locks.  This is a season where I could easily see anywhere from 4-12 new shows ending up making the cut – maybe the biggest range of uncertainty going into any season I’ve blogged. 

Aura Osaka Ryo

OVA/Movie: Very slim pickings on the OVA front by Spring standards:

Anime Mirai: Young Animator Training Project – 3/30/2013: The quality of these releases has been spotty over the years, with Oji-san no Lamp being my personal favorite.  This year looks more interesting than average, with all three features showing potential.  We have Arve Rezzle (Zexcs) finally seeing the light of day, Ryu (Gonzo) and Little Witch Academia (Trigger) all showing off interesting previews.

Boku no Imouto wa Osaka Okan (OVA) – 4/19/2013: The most delightful anime short of the Winter gets an OVA.

Theatrical:


Hansaku Iroha: Home Sweet Home (P.A. Works) – 03/09/2013: 2011’s greatest boom or bust anime has a theatrical release, but given how often the TV series pissed me off I’ll wait for the Blu-ray rather than fork over 1800 yen. 
Trailer:

Aura: Maryuuinkouga Saigo no Tatakai (AIC/A.S.T.A.) – 4/13/2013: If you’re a fan of the likes of Chuunibyou, here’s the novel series that came first and probably inspired it.  I considered Chuunibyou a great idea with decent execution, and with Tanaka Romeo (Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita) as the creator and the Kishi Seiji/Uezu Makoto team clearly passionate about this project, I have high hopes that Aura could deliver on the premise in a big way.
Trailer:

Steins;Gate: Fuka Ryouiki no Déjà vu (White Fox) – 04/20/2013: Steins;Gate hits the big screen, and details are scarce about just what we’re going to get.  There’s some feeling that it might tie in with the S;G sequel game, but as far as I know that isn’t confirmed.
Trailer:

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72 comments

  1. K

    "I have some serious issues with the casting choices Manglobe "

    The casting choices are the same as the Drama CDs and the manga-ka liked those choices and they kept them for the anime.

    Anyways as someone who read Karneval, it's fun but never reaches greatness and at 13 episodes I am not even sure where they will stop the anime to do it any justice (the manga had a great stopping point but I think it needed to be 2 cours to get there). Oh well unlike you the seiyuu are the main reason I am looking forward to it.

    I hope Yamato will be streamed somewhere.

  2. Someone would have to be crazy not to stream Yamato, but who knows.

  3. G

    I hope they get away from VN/games for anime. This season's Amnesia is horrible. I kept watching it hoping it would get better and now that its almost over I'm too stubborn to quit watching it until the end. Last season it was Ixion Saga that was really bad (not sure of that ones source material, just that the series sucked ass).

    Space Battleship Yamato already has the 1st 14 episodes out and subbed and its fantastic. I'm just confused why it starts in April but we have already been seeing the show off and on all winter?

  4. B

    Ixion Saga is AMAZING wtf.

  5. E

    Dunno about that Becket. I stopped watching when the Princess and her bodyguards reached the capital. It has really lost it's quality as comedy anime by then, because I don't remember smiled once.

  6. K

    Actually some of the funniest episodes of Ixion Saga happened after you stopped. That being said there are too many mediocre episodes overall but every once and awhile Ixion Saga hits it out if the park.

    However I can't understand how anyone can compare Ixion Saga to the worst programs. It might not be a masterpiece but it is goofy fun and it knows exactly what it is.

  7. l

    "I'm just confused why it starts in April but we have already been seeing the show off and on all winter?"

    So far, Yamato has been a theatrical movie and disk (DVD/Blu-ray) release only. The subs you've seen are ripped from the disks. Starting in April, Yamato will be shown on weekly television. That's why it's listed as a new television show.

  8. l

    Seriously, what kind of stupid word is "Valvrave" anyway? Who the hell thought that up?

    Nothing strikes me here. Will probably wait to see what Enzo blogs. In two minds about Shingeki no Kyoujin, since I'm already on the manga.

    Won't be touching another Urobochi Germ written show again. He's nowhere near as good as people say. His characters are often just plot devices, designed to convey his shallow "messages" to "society". A philosofapper, basically.

    Lastly, is it just me or does Japan have way too many award winning light novels? It's like they have an awards show every month or something.

  9. E

    Expect more masturbation sounds coming from the writer's room.

  10. i

    Shinkeji no Kyojin looked liked a SAO or GC type show just from the poster but that trailer. It'll go well with Game of Thrones 3rd Season.

    I always think of Boku wa as a meatier version or Oreimo so I expect it to last only the mandatory 3 episode rule, particularly if the brother (can't be bothered to remember his name) turns into a complete siscon.

    Valvrave the Liberator looks more like Star Driver than Code Geass for me but the eyes they show in trailer are full of CG anger rather than SD fabulous ness.

    Suisei no Gargantia looks to me the best of the sci-fi bunch. At first I thought it was Darker than Black 3 but realized that's not possible. But the animation, I thought Makoto Shinkai was directing a TV anime or something and with another original story from Gen Urobuchi it stands out a lot more than its peers. It'll be good and may be almost great(almost because of questionable character developments as usual)

    Haiyore! Nyaruko-san! Wwill be great. Nuff said.

    Photo Kano is something to look forward to just because Madhouse is involved, whose track recently has been brilliant. Plus I liked… some of Amagami and hopefully more of Photo Kano.

    Yahiri is probably the title I most looking forward to because I think it will define the direction Brain Base will go in the future. We saw how they can finally make a show awful with Amnesia and entirely aimed at XX and Yahiri for XY. I hope like so many BB adaptations its better than it looks on paper.

    Arata Kangatari is the pick of the season for me. I think it is the only series that feels truly fresh and more importantly comes from a great great manga. Definite unless Satellite ruin it (I don't like anything they make and haven't completed a single show they ever made, but there's always firsts)

    For me

    RDG
    Karneval
    Devil Survivor
    Namiuchigiwa no Muromi-san
    Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge
    Aku no Hana

    are all sort of interesting but shows that you just sort of watch without too much care. Like a filler arc.

  11. I definitely don't see Attack on Titan as a brain-dead popcorn series, not with the rep the manga has. But we'll see. For me, I always liked Oreimo better than Haganai, though there are obvious kinships there (even a crossover). It has more heft and a sharper wit, I think.

    I have very high hopes for Arata, as I really like the manga and Yasuda-san. But if it's one cour, I smell problems. Though Satelight did finish at least one show – Symphogear. They even renewed it.

  12. i

    Sorry I didn't add that I thought the trailer looked epic. Overall I think it might not be so bad. The giants looked great.

    Also do you not like JC staff's offerings this season? Spring is never their strength but I am still looking forward to Railgun's 2md season and I hope hentai Ouji is a sleeper hit. I'm always a bit biased towards them because stuff like Honey and CLover, Nodame, SnS and ZnT were among the first animes I watched.

  13. JC Staff is a studio I have no biases for or against, apart from thinking they're better than most give them credit for. I just look at their offerings and decide one by one.

    I'm not a Railgun fan. It has more of the things that annoy me about Index, and less of the things I like. As for Hentai Ouji I'll definitely watch the premiere, but to be honest it strikes me as a completely predictable dumb LN comedy with above-average character designs. I'd certainly be happy to be proved wrong.

  14. H

    I am the opposite with Railgun vs. Index (although I'm only 7 episodes into Railgun). Index I found completely annoying, and think that everyone found the titular character so annoying that they ran her out of the show about halfway through (I didn't watch S2, and I'm not going to). Railgun, though, I really enjoy the slice-of-life aspects and shorter stories (which again, might change later, but it's off to a good start).

  15. B

    Has there ever been a show where Kaji Yuuki was the lead that didn't turn out to be total shit? Call one out if you've got one. I consider Aladdin the lead in Magi and that's the only show I can think of with Kaji Yuuki in a major role that isn't terrible. If he's ever been in a show as the lead that didn't suck I'd love to hear it but from where I'm sitting this looks like the first nail in the coffin for Attack on Titan, I'm already leery of it without even seeing a preview.

    This season honestly looks pretty sparse to me. I like sci-fi but am not a huge fan of mecha sch-fi, the only one I can think of off the top of my head that I loved was RahXephon and, let's face it, the mecha were pretty incidental in that story. I am pleased about the second season of Nyarlko as season 1 was pretty fabulous so at least there's that but still… man, just not a lot for me to get excited about here. A lot of multi-cour shows that I love are ending and not getting replaced with anything that looks particularly interesting to me so I can't help but predict that spring is going to feel somewhat disappointing even if some of these shows surprise me.

    I'm surprised that Ikoku Meiro no Croisee was your top show of 2011. I liked that show an awful lot but I didn't think it was best-of-the-year good (especially retrospectively now that I've seen Steins;Gate). Still it was a cute show so I'm glad someone other than me liked it.

  16. Just have 2 seconds to reply, but SSY comes to mind..

  17. Z

    You just contradicted yourself in the first paragraph.

  18. B

    How do you figure that, chief? I said I've never seen a show with him as the LEAD that was any good, and then I said that I don't consider his character in Magi to be the lead since it's pretty clearly Aladdin. He's not the lead in that show. Magi is pretty good and SSY is obviously excellent but he's not the LEAD in either of those shows, he's a major character but not the lead. I'm being a little harsh on the guy because I just don't think he's a good VA at all but in truth he's never managed to carry a role in my experience.

    Via Wikipedia, here's a list of shows I've seen that have him in the primary leading role:

    C3
    Guilty Crown
    No. 6
    Accel World
    High School DxD

    Of these 5, two were trainwrecks (GC and AW), 2 were mediocre at best (C3 and No.6) and in retrospect I guess HSDxD was okay for what it was, one of the better examples of the genre (not saying a lot).

    He is in some great shows. There's no denying that. But in most of those shows he's a supporting character and in the ones where he's a major player they manage to be good because they are simply phenomenal enough to support a slightly weaker VA. I don't know, others are free to disagree with me but I see him as the VA version of Russell Crowe, I just can't bring myself to like the guy or his acting ability but there's just no denying that he's starred in some wicked good movies.

  19. It't too bad no one told A-1 that Aladdin was the lead – they seem to have thought he was an extra.

  20. Z

    Weak direction and screenplay have a far greater weight on the final product than the contributions of any seiyuu or actor.

  21. k

    RDG looks so. Frickin'. Good. I've read a bit of the first novel and it didn't disappoint, plus the visuals are great. It's kind of shoujo but with the whiny heroine and all the tropes we're tired of toned down. It's depressing that it isn't getting more hype.

    Other than that, it'll be only sequels and carry-ons for me, unfortunately. More OreImo makes me happy (I must be the only person in Earth that prefers Kirino over Kuroneko, butt still damn awesome), and Chihayafuru makes my day whenever it airs. Couldn't care less about Arata Kangatari because I can't bring myself to read anything by Watase Yuu.

  22. k

    Oh, how could I forget Hataraku Maou-sama? Give it a chance, the LNs won Dengeki's silver prize (like Spice & Wolf for example) and are absolutely hilarious. Not too much fanservice, too.

  23. Why so tough on Watase Yuu? Her art at least is outstanding.

  24. G

    Her stories are really nothing special, they swing from mediocre to downright bad. But I agree, her art has an old school charm. And well, there are the bishies lol

  25. k

    As the person above said, her stories fail to impress me, and art alone isn't enough to carry them. Since no anime will do justice to the original art, that doesn't leave a lot of reasons to watch it.

  26. S

    For me, nothing really stands out in the new shows. I still have some shows that are rolling over.

    I guess I will have to watch the first 3 episodes of shows with an interesting premise. It is the same way I found Bakuman so maybe I'll find my new gem.

  27. G

    Well, it looks better than the winter lineup, which is possibly the weakest season I've seen in a while. It's a three way split between sci-fi, school comedies and sequels. I'm mostly leaning towards the sci-fi series, for obvious reasons – they are the only shows this season that could go somewhere.
    As for BONES, they aren't the most prolific studio, actually..that's an understatement, BONES has one of the lowest output rate among the stalwart studios. I do think Space Dandy will be scheduled for the summer since they've been working on it for quite a while now, at least by Watanabe's account. Alternatively, it could also be that new version of a "familiar" series they announced a while back. Who knows…..but with the Bebop team behind the Space Dandy project, I'm REALLY looking forward to it.

  28. R

    Okay, I consider myself an anime fan, and I don't want to hang my head in shame…lol…Uchuu Senkan Yamato 2199 is a must-watch next season for me.

    Looking at the list, I have to say that it's not as exciting as Spring or Fall 2012 but for sure way better than Winter 2013 — at least there are shows that look interesting.

    Two shows jump out from the list: Red Data Girl and Attack on Titan. I like that they are both based on award-winning and non-LN materials. Arata sounds interesting, so this will be my fourth.

    I will consider Suisei no Gargantia given that Urobuchi Gen is pairing with Production I.G. again, but I have hesitation — Gen's take on his characters is usually plot-holed, and I am not quite impressed by the couple recent episodes of PP…

    I am trying to pick something that I normally wouldn't pick, so I will give Namiuchigiwa no Muromi-san a try if the comedy is good, and the characters are interesting. Alternatively, I may give Danchi Tomo'o a try because of director Watanabe Ayumu…hopefully, it will get subbed.

    Okay, time to vote. Wait, I have picked more than 5…time to do some ranking.

  29. Well, if this were a Winter or Summer schedule I'd feel great. But for Spring, apart from a welcome revival of the sci-fi sector, it feels kind of meh on the whole.

  30. R

    I agree…this is not an impressive season at all. It's great that we have Chihayafuru, Uchuu Kyoudai and Hunter X Hunter running.

  31. f

    In your preview of OreImo, you said the first season came out in 2011. You might want to correct that. ^^"

  32. Right you are. The memory isn't what it was.

  33. s

    Red Data girl is looking like the best series for me this spring season; it's just got that sense of beauty and subtlety (at least from the previews) that i love in my shows; that's a must for me in shows that end up becoming my favorites such as moribito, which was also based on a novel, and ghost hound.

  34. m

    Well this is going to be a big season for me there are a lot of show that piqued my interest plus the sequels
    – OreImo 2
    – Railgun 2
    – Utapri 2
    – RDG
    – Karneval
    – Devil Survivor 2
    – Shingeki no Kyoji
    – Arata Kangatari
    – Hataraku Maou-saa
    – Aku no Hana

  35. s

    I am definetly looking forward to railgun S; assuming that the director will do a good job, the material that has been covered in the manga so far will make for a far more interesting and coherent season of railgun than the first season, notably the sister's arc. I personally would like to see a high-budgeted remastered fight between Toma and accelerator (the first fight in Index I was kinda disappointing)

    To me, although railgun was full of fillers that bogged the show down quite a bit, when the show was good, it was good, arguaby much better than the Index series. I dont know if its because railgun just focuses on the science side of things but i find its story direction much more focused and concrete than index. I dont know if that has to do with the fact that both shows have different directors though (although i think that helps because i actualy found the way railgun was handled much better than Index; index's direction feels clumsy at times). But yea cant wait for railgun S; its going to go into some pretty dark territories this season.

  36. e

    Hmm… I think I'l decide based on what you end up blogging, once more XD.
    I'm already watching the Yamato remake and enjoying it quite a lot (they did a good job updating the chara des too but I still miss Matsumoto's peculiar lankiness – and the spectacular eyelashes! – . Female characters still retain some of those traits in this remake at least ), I'm quite looking forward to read your posts about it.
    The only other series lookin both interesting AND up my alley is Red Data Girl so far frankly. I've heard good things about the Attack Of The Giants in my Italian forum as well but given the themes execution will be key… I'll decide only when I see it.
    The seinen series that might not even get subbed: pity if it'll be the case, as pseudo-kiddie seinen can be pretty good :> .
    I'd welcome some more josei animation ( I'm dead in the target demographic too :,( ) but the Karnival promo pic looks horribly reverse harem-esque. Those kind of series have never done well with me ^_^" .
    Watase Yuu… I haven't read this specific title of hers but for me all of her stories have always been a mixed bag. Strangely enough, my fav story by her is a oneshot with a Japanese 'nose' (as in, a fragrance expert) boy as protagonist. In terms of visuals/art her best work by far so far imho is Sakura Gari, but in terms of content SG is as dark – and disturbing… and a tad heavy-handed X,D – as dark yaoi can get. The beginning and end were well done – katharsis ftw – but in the middle it was hell reading it. She can do dark. I just hope she doesn't go overboard with it in Arata and/or we're spared from the rape&related abuse galore.
    Aku no hana… ahah, I don't know. Sundome left me with very mixed feelings, but mostly unpleasant ones.
    Mildly curious about the next Urobuchi work, the other mecha series and Photo Kano but unless the reviews are stellar I'll give them a miss.

  37. K

    Karneval is 100% not a reverse harem. There is a mixture of male and female characters (with more male but there are prominent female characters too) but really no romance. It's more action based then anything. If it wasn't for the character designs you can almost mistake it for a shounen.

    My main complaint about the series is the manga-ka introduces way too many characters and they lack development. The main 4 are good but after awhile you are like enough.

  38. S

    I am not surprised you didn't include "Hentai ouji to warawanai neko". The entire premise of that… thing made me facepalm so hard my face ended up all on the wall behind me.

    Wait, how am I alive writing this then?

  39. See above comment, Simone – it just doesn't seem appealing to me, though I like the character designs. I'll certainly watch the first ep or two and hope to he surprised.

  40. T

    You should check out a couple chapters from the manga , its actually pretty enjoyable. Im looking foward to what jc staff can do it.

  41. R

    Aku no Hana – as you said, a series that you can't NOT watch for the first few episodes. The first episode alone should shock everyone and then possible awe them.

  42. m

    so glad you thought highly of titans. it's really awesome, and i do believe it will live up to the hype 😀
    wouldn't mind watching anything that's just not harem and horrible LN drag

  43. H

    I'll probably try everything here and more, since that's what I tend to do. I really try to not make judgments about shows that are coming out until after I watch them, so I just go in cold, or with a minor idea about what they are. And then I end up watching 23 series…

  44. l

    As always with me, my series selections are limited to what's simulcast, so I can't say for sure what I plan to watch just yet. But here's my list for what I hope to watch. The stars indicate my most wanted.

    Date A Live
    Red Data Girl
    * Karneval
    Devil Survivor 2: The Animation
    * Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Prince
    Shinjeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan)
    Valvrave the Liberator
    Suisei no Gargantia
    * Uchuu Senkan Yamato 2199 (Space Battleship Yamato)
    Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge
    Arata Kangatari

    Among the starred titles, Yamato is absolute tops. Starblazers wasn't my first anime. But it was the first animated series (of any origin) that proved to me animation could do what I knew it could do — namely carry a genuine story with characters who grew as the series progressed. My no fansub policy has been sorely put to the test knowing I could be watching the reboot right now.

    Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Prince is my next most want to see. The trailer tickled my fancy like no other trailer this season has. I know some complain about the "derpy" character designs, but I think they fit the tone perfectly. They work for me.

    Karneval, my 3rd most wanted, has a likeable manga, but I worry about the anime's ability to come even close with its short episode length. A common complaint about manga adaptations, I know.

  45. H

    Yamato 2199 is gorgeous. Absolutely gorgeous to watch. Although I'd have to give the 'better CG' award to Girls und Panzer because they actually had to put theirs on the ground, the space scenes in Yamato are just breathtakingly good.

  46. s

    I'm most looking forward to Red Data Girl; it's going to have beautiful animation, the characters designs are by Kishida Mel, and the most recent novel adaptation is going excellently. OreImo 2 is a given since I enjoyed season 1 so thoroughly. I'm going to give Photo Kano a try even though I think it'll be stupid just because I like Madhouse. Unlike most people, I've never been gung-ho about Urobochi. I think the premises for his stories are pretentious and overdone, which is why I won't watch Psycho-Pass. But I will give him the benefit of the doubt because Madoka was pretty cool. I'm at episode 7 of Railgun right now, and it's fun. No matter what my opinion is by the end, I'll still tune in to Railgun S because I hear it's heading into some great source material. I've never heard of Yamato before. I don't know if I should tune in this late in the game.

    Attack on Titan, Date A Live, Devil Survivor 2, Flowers of Evil, Hentai Ouji, Karneval, and Valvrave. And of course, I'm still watching Chihayafuru 2. There's a great line-up, and the only thing that would make me happier right now is a date for Little Busters: Refrain.

  47. Q

    Just curious.

    Guardian Enzo, are you an Indonesian?

    I saw you used Level Comic's manga cover for Danchi Tomo'o, which is one of Indonesian's manga publishers.

  48. No, just an image I found that was the right dimensions!

  49. k

    You– you left out UtaPri 2000% and Azazel-san 2! How could you! ^^;;

    No, seriously, apart from Valvralve (already smells like delicious cheese), RDG (looks quite intriguing) and Hataraku Maou-sama (only trying it for Oosaka), I look forward to those two the most. UtaPri is silly, cheesy, unhealthy fast food anime, but it's great at being what it is, and Yondemasu yo Azazel-san somehow manages to be the only one among all those vile, tasteless, offensive-in-every-possible-way comedies that I not only enjoy but can't get enough of. It probably helps that the cast and staff obviously have tons of fun with each episode, and the seiyuu are nothing short of awesome, too. (Onosaka Masaya was born to play Azazel.)

  50. t

    Looks like Danchi Tomo'o will be airing in Ginga e kickoff's timeslot,that already seems quite sadly symbolic in a way.

    Count me in as well for Namiuchigiwa no Muromi-san: old school designs, old school studio ( Tatsunoko are way past their glory days), new school director,I find that to be an intriguing mix.

    Yoshihara is 24 years old and it is his first TV show (he did direct the Arve Rezzle OVA as part of anime mirai) He's only been in the industry for 5 years but has managed to make a name for himself as an animator in a very short time, though being a director is a whole other thing but I figure if producers are trusting him at such a young age there must be a reason.
    I do really like the completely wacky PV as well.

    As for one show not on your list: Hataraku Maou-sama! , just because of white fox and the fact we get College students working at a fastfood joint rather than a highschool setting.Might not seem like much but when it comes to LN I'll take anything I can get.

  51. Hataraku was probably the last cut from the preview, and I'll certainly check out the premiere at least.

    It'll be a shame if Danchi Tomo'o isn't subbed – especially with Watanabe directing, it has serious sleeper potential, That's a show I might test myself with by watching raw.

  52. k

    I've read nearly every Watase Yuu-Manga, but I've never heard of her drawing lolicon/shotacon doujinshi. I would be really suprised if that is true. do you have a source for this?

    most anticipated spring-anime: shingeki no kyoujin. the manga is absolutely terrifying and awesome.

  53. l

    Just watched the RDG Ep1 "pre-air", and it wasn't really that good. I'll give it the 3 ep rule, but as of right now, I've got no idea what the fuss is about.

  54. w

    It speaks of "NEEDS DEVELOPMENT" for me, and I think we'll see if it's really good. Right now, I feel like it's some parody for me…

    Is that the singer from Jinrui's ED in the RDG ED??? o.O

  55. l

    Gargantia and Attack on Titan.

    Have no time to watch more. I really don't know how you do it, Enzo. You must be a genius at time management.

  56. Or the world's biggest idiot at it…

  57. G

    I have to agree with Ieokiko here, I don't know how you do it, anime watching + blogging, and you still manage to have a life. I can barely finish my backlog series, never mind airing ones. >.<

  58. e

    How does he manage, indeed? I've come to the firm belief Enzo is a Time Lord and that's also the reason why his real name is a secret :p.

  59. S

    Thanks for the speedy season preview Enzo. A season that looks amazing for any mecha-loving soul, you betcha I'm pumped.
    Will check out the following: Aku no Hana, Arata Kangatari, Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge, Date A Live, Devil Survivor 2 The Animation, Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Prince, Haiyore! Nyaruko-san! W, Hataraku Maou-sama!, Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Bride, Kakumeiki Valvrave, Karneval, Oreimo., RDG Red Data Girl, Shingeki no Kyojin, Suisei no Gargantia, Toaru Kagaku no Railgun S, Uchuu Senkan Yamato 2199, Yondemasu yo Azazel-san 2

  60. T

    For me, I'm looking forward to the following:

    Attack on Titan: Bought a manga volume, liked it and since I don't have any more volumes yet, I may as well watch the anime.

    Railgun S: I'll be quick; don't normally care about railgun, liking index more but given what we're going to cover this season I'm keeping my eye out for this one.

    Yamamoto 2199: I'll take any oprotunity to see one of these "classic" anime series and so if this is just as good as its counterpart with better animation, I'm in!

    Orimeo: I was mixed with season one, but I get the feeling if I rewatch it I may like it more. I more or less feel obligated to continue to season 2

    My HS life was wrong as I expected(long titled LN adapt.): Even on my own blog I forgot about this one… I'm not really expecting much, but I'm willing to give it the benifit of the doubt to at least be entertaining enough. Hopefully better than Haganai at the very least.

  61. Z

    I'm really looking forward to seeing how Devil Survivor turns out; having played the game the best comparison I can make for the story is a genre mash-up of Persona, Evangelion and Magnitude 8.0. It'll be really interesting to see which aspect of the show Kishi will choose to play up. Judging from the trailers, Bridge also looks to be doing a better job at animating than AIC.

  62. I just hope he doesn't mail it in with this one as he seemed to with Persona. That was an embarrassment for a director of his ability.

  63. A

    My most anticipated shows are
    Shingeki no Kyojin
    Suisei no Gargantia
    Oreimo 2
    Aku no Hana

    "I.G isn't as great as they once were." Perhaps not but I still think they are one of the best in the industry. Their animation is usually always great and they have so much range. The don't rehash shows like most other studios. So every year you can expect 3-4 completely different shows from them. By the time this years over we will have Psycho-Pass, Robotics;Notes Attack on Titan(Yes I consider this work their work as well since Wit is still their port studio that consists of animators that they hired and worked in their section 6 group for years, Gargantia and GitS:Arise.

    Not trying to sound like a dick but you mind telling me another studio putting out some quality titles like I.G right now? Because nothing really comes to mind.

  64. Madhouse, for one. Brains Base has the best batting average, though not the greatest output. BONES.

    I respect I.G. a great deal, don't get me wrong. I just don't think their track record in terms of content is as stellar as it once was.

  65. K

    Are you going to go watch AURA in the theater? If you are consider me very jealous!

    Either way, your expectation for the movie is probably set already, but I still want to advise to you to keep the anticipation level lowER just so you can be 'pleasantly surprised'. Then again, GAGAGA bunko's stuff is slightly more … different than your average LNs for better or worse (A Certain Pilot series and Sasami-san comes to mind …), maybe the bar should be set higher.

    Hopefully Majestic Prince wouldn't be the only series I end up following. Hirai-face = guarantee win, that and the trailer's pretty hilarious.

    As always thanks for the preview.

  66. I'll likely go see it, yeah, though I may end up waiting until 5/1 so I can see it on "Movie Day" for 1000¥.

  67. .

    How does the airtime of an anime series reflect its Japan target audience and demographic?

    Like what is the difference between the audience demographic who watch anime airing between 11pm-2am and beyond(aka Karneval and Devil Survivor 2), and the audience who watches the 9.30am, 5pm and 7pm anime(aka Danchi Tomoo,Uchuu Senkan Yamato, and Mushibugyou).

    What about viewers who watch the 8pm to 10pm anime(like Suisei no Gargantia, Sparrows Hotel, Aku no hana)? What group would they fall into?

    Any enlightnenment would me much appreciated

  68. It's probably not much different than you think. Late-night (and early-morning) anime are directed mostly at otaku and fujoshi, or at least adults generally. The morning and dinnertime slots tend to be either specifically directed at kids, or else ones considered to have a wider family appeal (like 2199 or Uchuu Kyoudai). As for the 8-10 PM ones those are probably the rarest and hardest to pin down in terms of demographics.

  69. .

    Thank you so much!

    I always thought all Japanese anime viewers were classified according to some sort of social caste thing, ie. mainstream anime(Bleach, 2199, Doraemon) for kids, everything else for otaku.

    I've spoken with some regular Japanese acquintances and they only talk about anime in terms of:
    1)What they watched as kids (aka Doraemon, Pokemon)
    2)Anything by Hayao Miyazaki-may include newcomers like Mamoru Hosoda

    Most regular Japanese don't seem to recognise any other anime beyond those I mentioned,(except for Fullmetal Alchemist).

    What is your knowledge about this? Do most mainstream Japanese consider anything other than those 2 categories unsuitable and degenerate for normal people?

    PS. Are you currently based in Tokyo at the moment?

  70. Yes, I'm in Tokyo. And I certainly agree that manga is far more "accepted" in the mainstream than anime, though I think in the West we tend to dramatically overstate just how much anime is ghettoized by the general Japanese populace. People who watch a lot of anime are regarded by most Japanese as being geeks, I think, but the breed of otaku that's viewed with real disdain by most Japanese is recognized by most people in the general public as being a very small minority. It isn't a question of anime being something shameful or unsuitable – it's simply a matter of most people not being fans and therefore not knowing (or caring) much about it beyond the likes of Miyazaki, Hosoda and a few stalwart TV franchises.

  71. a

    I predict Yahari will come out on top.

  72. e

    Date a Live was a nice romance anime. I can't wait for the 2nd season to come out

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