Winter 2014 Season Preview

Dandy Gin no Saji Konkon Toaru
Chuunibyou Hoozuki Hunter Mushishi

The Winter 2014 season promises some very good second cours of Fall 2013 shows – and thank goodness for that.


Winter isn’t normally one of the highlights of the anime year – it and summer are pretty much a crapshoot.  You get fewer series to begin with, which cuts down the odds of getting many good ones. Winter 2013 was, well – let’s just say thin.  I only finished one series that wasn’t a sequel or a remake. Spring was fair, but Summer was the standout of 2013 – for the first time since I’ve been following anime, it may have been the best season of the year.  And that’s a good thing because Fall – normally along with Spring the seasons we rely on to make a year – has likewise only been so-so.  Summer overperforming effectively saved 2013 from being a down year and turned it into something close to an average one.

I noticed in going through the chart for the coming Winter 2014 season that more than ever, I was looking at series that seemed borderline and ending up adding them to the preview.  The reason is simple – if I hadn’t, it would have been the shortest preview I’ve ever done.  The pattern repeats over and over – nearly all the shows on this list either have one or two selling points that got them there, or a few major red flags that weren’t enough to displace them.  I don’t see a tremendous amount of upside here, either in terms of quality at the top or quantity in the upper-middle – rather, a lot of series that look pretty mediocre on paper.  I’ve seen worse – I don’t think we’re more overloaded than usual with cookie-cutter LN adaptations, for example – but this is the least interesting-looking batch of manga adaptation choices I’ve seen on one schedule.  The saving grace is that we have a fair number of original series, which tend to produce a higher grade of anime than any other segment – but even there, on paper at least that normally august group doesn’t spark a whole lot of excitement for me.

To be honest, there are only two series on the schedule that I’m genuinely excited about, and one of them – Gin no Saji – is the second of a split cour.  The other is Space Dandy, which in theory could be plagued by the same issues that have turned Kill la Kill into a disappointment but somehow doesn’t inspire the same trepidation in me (in Watanabe we trust).  It’s one of two series seeing BONES return to the schedule at last, and by far the more interesting going in.  In terms of theme nothing (sci-fi, sports, romance) really jumps off the page unless you count two Nobunaga reimaginings in one season – it’s a pretty standard variety pack of today’s anime landscape that doesn’t lean too heavily in any one direction or appear to have a lot of cutting edge to it.  In terms of staff Watanabe Shinichirou and Mochizuki Tomomi (yes, Pupa is finally getting an air date) are the only names from the truly elite class of directors, though “1-A” guys like Mizushima Tsutomu are represented here and there.

The sequel group looks – as it almost always does – an uninspiring bunch for the most part.  As for sleepers, I have a couple in mind as I always do…

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

With that, to the previews:

Tonari
Tonari no Seki-kun – Shin-Ei
Director: Mutoh Yuuji
Writer: TBA
Schedule: Sunday 26:05, TV Tokyo – Premières 1/05/14
Episodes:TBA

Preview:
MAL:

First Look: Normally I get upset when an adaptation I’m looking forward to is revealed to be a short series, but 10 minutes seems about the max that Tonari no Seki-kun could pull off.  The manga is a series of vignettes about the absurd stunts a silent boy named Seki-kun pulls off at his desk, much to the chagrin of his neighbor Yokoi.  It’s often hilarious but offers nothing in terms of conventional plot or character development, so a short run-time seems like a wise choice.  I don’t know how this is going to work as an anime but I do find the manga charming as hell, so I’m pretty stoked to find out.  On a side note Mutoh-sensei directed the underrated but highly deviant Haunted Junction, one of the very first anime I ever watched.

Pupipou
Pupipou! – AIC Plus+
Director:
Suzuki Kaoru
Writer: TBA
Schedule: Friday, 25:53, TV Tokyo – Premières 12/20/13
Episodes: TBA

MAL:

First Look: My main source of interest with this odd-looking little series is that it’s based on a manga by Oshikiri Rensuke, author of the excellent Hi Score Girl.  Frankly I wish that’s the manga that had gotten the adaption – though I suspect that will happen eventually – but I like Oshirkiri’s unmistakable art style and quirky humor.  This is a sort of comic horror about a little girl who can see evil spirits, and the pink monster named Pupipou she brings home one day.  The manga isn’t as good as Hi Score Girl but it has it’s moments, so we’ll see where first-time director Suzuki will take it.

Toaru
Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta – TMS                    
Director: Suzuki Toshimasa
Writer: Yoshida Reiko, Inotsume Shinichi
Schedule:  Monday, 22:00, Tokyo MX – Premières 1/06/14
Episodes: TBA

MAL:                        
Preview:

First Look: This is a prequel to the 2011 Madhouse film, The Princess and the Pilot. I enjoyed that film quite a lot – it was criminally underappreciated in fact – and while there’s almost no crossover in staff or cast and even the studio has changed, early indications are that this one could have some of the same charm.  This series chronicles the adventures of an orphaned prince searching for “the end of the heavens”.   I’ve always been a sucker for aviation-themed anime, and light-novelist Inumura Koroku showed a certain skill with character drama in the movie’s story.  Strong cast too, with Aoi Yuuki as the female lead and Hanae Natsuki and Ishikawa Kaitou as the two main males.

Mikakunin
Mikakunin de Shinkoukei – Dogakobo
Director: Fujiwara Yoshiyuki
Writer: Shimo Fukihiko
Schedule: Thursday, 21:30, ATX – Premières 1/09/14
Episodes:TBA

MAL:
Preview:                                      

First Look: This is one of those shows that I’d check out in a good season, but probably wouldn’t have made the preview.  About the biggest draws are that it’s a manga (4-Koma) and not a LN, and that writer Fukihiko Shimo has worked on some rather good series.  The story seems generic as hell – a girl finds out on her 16h birthday that the guy who just moved into her house (with his sister) is her fiancee.  Pretty much straight-up flyer territory here.

Mahou
Mahou Sensou – Madhouse
Director: Masuhara Mitsuyuki
Writer: Konuta Takeshi
Schedule: Thursday, 25:28, TBS – Premieres 1/09/14
Episodes: TBA

Preview:
MAL:

First Look: Another flyer, an adaptation from the same light-novelist as Karas.  Magical girl enters and disrupts the life of ordinary high-school boy?  Stop me if you’ve heard this before…  But it’s Madhouse, the preview art looks nice, and it sports a very veteran director and writer – both of whom worked on one of my all-time favorite series, Pita Ten (though the manga was even better).  I’m not expecting a whole lot but there’s enough here to give it a chance.

Nisekoi
Nisekoi – Shaft
Director: Shinbou Akiyuki
Writer: TBA
Schedule: TBA, Tokyo MX- Premieres 1/2014
Episodes: TBA

Preview:
MAL:

First Look: Nisekoi is the latest WSJ manga to hit the small sceen.  It’s a middling seller by their standard and not one of the better series in the magazine, IMHO, but this story of the teenaged son and daughter of rival Yakuza gangs nevertheless has a certain charm to it.  There’s a morbid curiosity in seeing a WSJ series in Shinbou’s hands, though it seems like a very odd fit indeed in this case.  Most of SHAFT’s work has been a miss for me over the last few years, but at least when they fail they usually do so spectacularly. 

Dandy
Space Dandy – BONES
Director: Watanabe Shinichirou
Writer: Satou Dai
Schedule: Sunday, 23:00, Tokyo MX – Premieres 1/05/2014
Episodes:TBA

MAL:
Preview:

First Look: Without any question, this is the most anticipated series of the season for me.  Watanabe, Satou Dai, BONES, sci-fi – where does one even begin?  From the uber-funky OP I was hooked, and when the news came down that Space Dandy would actually be premiering on U.S. television (Cartoon Network) I was even more intrigued.  BONES is one of the last holdouts in the industry against the current micro-marketing strategy, and I always root hard for any of their shows even if I’m not personally a fan.  But I’m really hoping to be a fan here.

The downside here seems obvious – Kill la Kill.  We have a big-name director reuniting with the writer he paired with in his most famous work, talk of raunchy comedy, and previews full of fanservice.  I put Watanabe on another tier than Imaishi, though – there are very few others I’d put on it, in fact – and I just don’t think he’s capable of directing a series without at least a modicum of wit and cleverness.  The animation and art looks fabulously old-school, but with a modern fluidity.  The plot is incredibly old-school too – a pompadour-sporting dude named Dandy traveling through space with a defective robot and a talking cat, looking for aliens and chicks (and presumably alien chicks).  If this doesn’t turn out to be special it’s going to be a huge disappointment – especially given how thin the rest of the schedule looks.

Hoozuki
Hoozuki no Retetsu – Wit
Director: Kaburaki Hiro
Writer: Gotou Midori
Schedule: Thursday, 25:35, MBS – Premieres 1/09/2014
Episodes:TBA

Preview:
MAL:

First Look: Production I.G.’s offshoot Wit brings us an adaptation of a manga about the chief aide to the God-King of Hell as he wrestles with the vagaries of administration in the underworld.  I’ve heard pretty good things about the manga, and the director here is a strong one – he did a fantastic job with Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun for Brains Base.  We’ve seen this “Daily Lives of Arch-Demons” routine played to the hilt the last few seasons, but this is one I get some sleeper vibes from – the art is distinctive and arresting, and there seems to be a good deal of intelligence in the source material.  I’ll cast my lot with seinen series and take my chances most of the time, and this one looks like it has a chance to be one of the better shows of the season.

Witch Crft
Witch Craft Works – J.C. Staff
Director/Writer: Mizushima Tsutomu
Schedule: Sunday, 25:30, Tokyo MX – Premieres 1/05/2014
Episodes:TBA

Preview:
MAL:

First Look: Mizushima Tsutomu is one of the heavyweights in the industry, and while his track record has some peaks and valleys he’s generally a reliable hand at the tiller.  Yes, it’s another magical girl disrupts the normal life of a high-school boy premise, but I’m assuming something drew Mizushima-sensei to this material so I’ll give it a chance.  This time the girl is a school idol who reveals herself as the designated protector of said main character after she’s forced to save him when the school building collapses.  Seems generic, but Mizushima punches the ticket for at least a few episodes.

Seifuku
Sekai Seifuku: Bouryaku no Zvezda – A-1 Pictures
Director/Writer: Okamura Tensai
Schedule: TBA, Tokyo MX – Premieres 1/2014
Episodes:TBA

MAL:
Preview:

First Look: Yet another flyer based on a director, this time Okamura Tensai (Darker Than Black, Ao no Exorcist, Wolf’s Rain).  It’s just that sort of season.  All we really have is “secret society bent on world domination led by a little girl”, which isn’t much to go on, but curiosity alone gets this one into the game.  Aoi Yuki is singing the OP so it seems a good bet she’s voicing the female lead, but not even the cast has been announced yet.

Konkon
Inari, KonKon Koi Iroha – Production IMS
Director: Takahashi Tooru
Writer: Machida Touko
Schedule: Wednesday, 25:00, Tokyo MX – Premières 1/15/14
Episodes: 10

MAL:
Preview:

First Look: This one definitely goes in the sleeper file.  The story surrounds a middle-school girl named Fushimi Inari (heh) who saves a fox spirit and as a reward, asks to be turned into the girl her tsuntsun crush has a crush on.  After the resulting snafu she ends up being able to shapeshift at will.  There’s a lot going for this one – interesting premise, Kyoto setting, attractive art, and of course you can’t go wrong with fox spirits.  There’s nothing special in the staff or cast list and this is the first time IMS has taken the lead role as a studio, so this might be a series with a pretty tight budget.

No-rin
Nourin – Silver Link
Director: Shin Oonuma
Writer: Yokote Michiko
Schedule: Sunday, 25:00, Tokyo MX – Premieres 1/05/14
Episodes: TBA

Preview:
MAL:

First Look: Not to be a broken record, but here’s yet another borderline show getting the benefit of the doubt.  It’s a LN adaptation about an agricultural high school in Hokkaido (no, not that one – I’ll give the benefit of the doubt to all concerned and say coincidence), and a main character who’s an idol otaku whose favorite idol happens to enroll and sit next to him.  Of course we also have the requisite class full of oddballs who fulfill the trope requirements.  The red flags are all over this one, but Shin is certainly talented and produced good stuff when he’s on his game, and he’s coming off by far his best work ever in Watamote.

Hamatora
Hamatora – NAZ
Director: Kishi Seiji/Kimura Hiroshi
Writer: Kitajima Yukinori
Schedule: TBA, TV Tokyo – Premieres 1/2014
Episodes: TBA

Preview:
MAL:

First Look: Hamatora is a bit of a mystery project.  NAZ is a new studio as far as I know, and it’s an original series by the writer of Ace Attorney with character designs by Blood Lad’s Kodama Yuuki.  It also features the gloriously inconsistent Kishi Seiji, for the first time in the “Chief Director” role and the first time in ages without his normal writing partner Uezu Makoto.  Plot-wise it sounds halfway-intriguing: “Minimum Holders” are a tiny group of humans who’ve developed superpowers, and the main characters are two cut-rate detectives and a cop who investigate the murder of a bunch of them.  Maybe a bit of a Durarara vibe, which wouldn’t be a bad thing.

Chuunibyou
Chuunibyou Season 2 – Kyoto Animation
Director: Ishihara Tatsuya
Writer: Hanada Jukki                

Schedule: Wednesday, 24:30, Tokyo MX – Premières 1/08/14
Episodes: TBA

Preview:
MAL:

First Look: No changes at the top for Chuunibyou, returning for a second season of printing money for KyoAni and filling the 7th floor at Toranoana.  This show grew on me to the point where by the time it finished, it was probably my second-favorite (a very distant second) KyoAni series in the post-Kanon era.  But I see no urgent need for a sequel – I thought the first made the point it was trying to make and ended pretty darn well, so I’m more than a little dubious about whether the second can bring anything meaningful to the table.


D-Frag
D-Frag – Brains Base             
Director: Sugawara Seiki        
Writer: Uezu Makto
Schedule: Monday, 26:05, TV Tokyo – Premieres 1/06/14
Episodes: TBA

Preview:
MAL:

First Look: This time the studio is the factor that buys me into a series that otherwise seems pretty dubious.  Brains Base hasn’t had their best year but they still have a lot of credibility with me, and the manga this series is based on seems to be relatively well-liked.  No, we don’t really need another series about a high-school boy joining a club full of crazy girls who make his life hell, and I doubt anyone could find much original to say in writing one – though in mangaka Haruno Tomoya’s defense that was marginally less true in 2008, when he started the manga.  But it certainly isn’t beyond the realm of possibility that D-Frag might work as a comedy well enough to be a pleasant diversion, and this season that amounts to a ringing endorsement.

Norigami
Noragami – BONES              
Director: Tamura Kotarou          
Writer: Akao Deko
Schedule: Sunday, 23:30, Tokyo MX – Premieres 1/05/14
Episodes: TBA

Preview:
MAL:

First Look: It’s great to have BONES back with two series this season, though this is definitely the B-lister going in.  This manga adaptation premiered at Anime Festival Asia and seems to have been pretty well received – it’s the story of a God so minor he doesn’t have a single worshiper, and the human girl he ends up saving.  The cast is pretty much of the usual suspects variety and you could hardly ask for a greater contrast between BONES’ two directors this season in terms of stature, but it’s still BONES so I’ll go in with an open mind and reasonably high expectations.

Gin no Saji
Gin no Saji Season 2 – A-1 Pictures
Director: Deai Kotomi
Writer: Kishimoto Taku                             

Schedule: Thursday, 24:45, Fuji TV – Premieres 1/09/14
Episodes: 11

MAL:

First Look: The second cour of Silver Spoon joins NoitaminA in January, and it’ll be the first time the block has aired two shows I’ve been following in quite a while.  Arakawa-sensei’s manga continues to be a sales colossus, and the first season delivered the smart, funny and emotionally penetrating effort most everyone expected – it was pure class.  The only change is that the veteran Ito Tomohiko has stepped down as director (he’s still acting as sound director) in favor of Deai Kotomi, who worked as an episode director during the first season.  I would rather not have seen any change as good as that first season was, but while Deai has no series directorial experience, the resume is almost astonishingly high-quality in terms of the shows she’s worked on.  Along with Space Dandy this is my top pick for the season, and comes with considerably less uncertainty.

Pupa
Pupa – Studio DEEN
Director: Mochizuki Tomomi
Writer: TBA                             

Schedule: Thursday, 27:00, TBS – Premieres 1/09/14
Episodes:TBA

MAL:
Preview:
Preview 3:

First Look: I previewed this last season, of course, but it was delayed for unspecified (but perhaps not difficult to guess at ) reasons.  The good news is that it has a TV airing instead of the originally reported Niconico, and will apparently though not officially be full-length (not that the 5-minute rumor ever seemed solid).  The bad news is the more I look at the source material, the more doubts I have – it’s not so much a matter of it being scary, but really sick.  We’re not just talking incest or cannibalism here – it’s both, and really graphic incest and cannibalism.  This may be the first time Mochizuki’s legendary prowess as a sound director might not be such a good thing.  I have to trust that a titan like Mochizuki-sensei wouldn’t choose this material unless he felt he could do something special with it, but it would be fair to say I have serious doubts about whether this is going to be my cup of human flesh tea.

  
Will Definitely Blog: Space Dandy, Gin no Saji II, Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta, Pupa (to start).  Shortest list I’ve ever had going into the season.  There are enough candidates in the rest of the pack that I’m sure a couple will exceed my expectations and I’ll blog at least a few of them.

Sleeper Candidates: Pupipou!, Hoozuki no Retetsu, Hamatora, Inori KonKon Koi Iroha

Natsume Shingeki Busters

OVA/Movie: As so often happens (the reverse is also true) when we have a weak-looking TV schedule, the OVA crop looks strong. Winter tends to be a big OVA season in any event.  It’s a busy calendar with some big headliners at the top:

Shingeki no Kyoujin: Iise no Techou (OAD) – 12/09/2014: The first of what are sure to be an endless parade of Attack on Titan follow-ups, focusing on the events depicted in an old journal found by Levi and Erwin on one of their missions outside the walls.

Blood Lad (OVA) – 12/10/2013: Blood Lad was one of the real underrated gems of 2013, and is we’re surely never going to get a second season this OVA is likely the last we’ll see of it on-screen.  All we know is it’s an “unaired episode” packaged with the 10th manga volume.

Yozakura Quartet: Yoza-Quar! (OVA) – 12/18/13: There are no less than four Yozakura OVAs appearing this season, three of them part of this mini-series.  As if the service in the TV series isn’t blatant enough, this one promises the characters in a “slightly risque” setting.

Neppu Kairiku Bushi Road (TV Special) – 12/31/13: One of the longest and windiest roads in anime development history finally comes to an end as Bushiroad finds the airwaves at last on New Year’s Eve, now in the hands of Kinema Citrus.  I’ve lost count of how many previews this project has shown up in, but unless the special gives birth to a TV series I suppose this will be the last one.

Natsume Yuujinchou: LaLa Special (OAD) – 12/2014: More Natsume Yuujinchou is always a reason to celebrate.  This is the first of two projects this Winter, a special original episode being sent to subscribers of LaLa Magazine.  Based on the promo art you can expect Natori and Matoba at least to show up.

Mushishi Tokubestsu-hen: Hihamukage (TV Special) – 1/04/14: When the teasers about a new Mushishi project first appeared I allowed myself to hope it might be a completion of the original manga adaptation, so initially I was a bit disappointed when “Hihamukage” was announced.  Still, new Mushishi after almost eight years is a glorious thing – this was one of the very best manga and anime of the 2000’s.  This will be an adaptation of a two-chapter special Urushibara Yuki is writing.  Director Nagahama Hiroshi is back, thankfully giving us all a reason to forget about his last effort.

Kamisama no Inai Nichiyoubi (OAD) – 1/22/14: Kaminai was certainly a flawed series, but there was something unique and special about it. No idea what to expect from this “13th episode” but I’ll certainly be checking it out.

Little Busters! EX (OAD) – 1/29/14: The start of the 8-episode adaptation of “Ecstasy”, which was an adult version of the VN with new heroines.  I suspect we’ll all be in need of a mood-lightener after the series finale, but I view this as a place holder until we get a “Kud Wafter” adaptation.

Natsume Yuujinchou: Itsuka Yuki no Hi ni (OVA) – 2/05/14: This seems likely to be the more substantial of the two original NY projects this season, though we don’t know any details on the plot yet.  I’m hoping for another appearance by Kogitsune myself.

Yozakura Quartet ~Tsuki ni Naku~ (OVA) – 2/07/14: The first volume of this OVA actually appeared in October.  We have a TV series that just skipped over the events of the last OVA series, and a new OVA series that’s depicting events that take place after the TV series is going to end.  Very confusing way Tatsunoko has chosen to lay out this story – beware of spoilers for ~Hana no Uta~ if you watch the first ~Tsuki ni Naku~ OVA.

Theatrical:

Hunter X Hunter: The Last Mission – 12/27/2013: Another big-screen appearance for the legendary Hunter X Hunter, this one seemingly focused on the Chairman selection (and containing elements from the post-Chimera Ant portion of the manga).  Togashi doesn’t seem to be involved in the scenario this time, though the writer is Kishima Nobukai, one of the writers of the 1999 TV series adaptation (everyone can decide for themselves if that’s a good thing or not).  Director Kawagachi Keichirou has done good work, but seems to be about as good as the material he has to work with – so the script will tell the tale here.

I liked “Phantom Rouge” better than most of the fans seemed to, and my expectations for “Last Mission” are reasonably high.  I don’t think it will be on a par with Togashi’s best stuff but that’s an impossibly high bar to begin with.  As long as Togashi is on hiatus projects like this are critical to keep the momentum of the franchise going so I hope it does reasonably well.
Trailer:

Majocco Shimai no Yoyo to Nene – 12/28/2013: I get sleeper vibes from this one.  Seems like a real departure for ufotable, a straight-up children’s film about two magician sisters from an alternate universe who end up in our world.
Trailer:

Tiger & Bunny: The Rising – 2/08/2014: The second T & B film, set after the events of the TV series. 
Trailer:

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81 comments

  1. t

    this winter looks promising.
    mostly winter and summer are not the highlight of the year like fall or spring.
    mostly it's 1cour animes, because we have plenty of 2cour continuing from fall/spring.
    but this time I am really looking forward the winter.

    first of course is silver spoon. A-1 did great job in S1, and for me, they never finish the job, now it's time to return!
    although I am still mad of the last ep in silver spoon because they changed a bit too much of the events' order of the next arc. but I believe they'll do everything right with s2.
    I hope they won't mess with the finale…

    second of all, BONES are going back. I am happy about it of course, as long as I won't see some shitty stuff like star driver (didn't like it..somehow)

    we also have chuunibyou returning to s2. I trust KyoAni with chuuni. so far it's best of their work of all their LNs (free, KNK), mostly thanks to characters and performance.
    I am waiting to see my beloved characters back on screen.
    there is the movie too which I wanna see ;_;

    Nisekoi – great manga. for shaft doing WSJ?? surprising indeed. even though it's not pure shonen.
    I wonder how long it gonna be. I am really looking forward to it.

    Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta – it's not a prequeal/sequeal to madhouse film.
    it's that they share the same world or something. one of them is a spin-off. but for sure, you can watch regardless of the film.

    others are looking good too: Wizard Barristers, wake up girls, Noragami, Witch Craft Works, Pupa, Inari Konkon (enjoying the manga at the moment) and so.

    blood lad OVA – already out (look in Nyaa). funny as always. it actually can be called ep "11" because it's directly conitnuing the TV series, and it's still faithful to the manga (:

    of course I'll be waiting for the other OVAs.
    and movies…well until they'll be released in BD we have time…

  2. t

    BTW
    "Shinfeki"??it's a typo or did I miss some joke here? :S

  3. N

    Yeah I agree, thankfully a handful of Fall 2013 anime are 2 cours, Nagi no Asukura, Golden Time, Kill La Kill, Strike The Blood, Tokyo Raven, Samurai Flamenco and Log Horizon

    From the ~30 shows aring next season I am only interested in 6, which is my lowest number so far.
    They are: Chunnibyou Season 2, Nisekoi, Buddy Complex, Mahou Sensou, Noragami, Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta.

    Seems my carry over anime outnumber my new pick ups, hopefully Spring '14 is better.

  4. e

    Most anticipating: Gin No Saji and Space Dandy (even if I ended up admiring CB rather than getting emtionally attached to its story and characters. Loved the music and art to bits though).
    Among the movies and OVAs Mushishi (YAY!) , Natsume, HxH, Tiger & Bunny. I thought the Kaguya Hime movie by Takahashi and the second Tezuka's Buddha movie were scheduled for this winter too though…

    Might be interesting: the Noragami, Hoozuki and Inari series.
    You ended up sampling some of Pupa eventually then? The source material was my main reason of do no want since they first announced it, I'm afraid I'm too chicken to follow that peculiar mix unfolding on screen ^_^". *insert bad brave adult-male-chicken-term-related blogger pun/compliment here *

  5. I don't actually think CB is Watanabe's best work myself, though I think it's more due to the story than the direction. That just goes to show how good his best work really is.

    Movies and OVAs could be the savior of this season. I covered Kaguya Hime in the Fall Preview post, and I didn't actually think the first Buddha movie was all that spectacular so I didn't mention the sequel.

  6. e

    P.S.: oh dear… Kawamori is involved in one of the Nobunaga series. Dat synopsis. Have I just found my 'entertaining&glorious or so bad it's good' WTF (vs Pupa's brand of WTF) candidate of the season perchance?
    I must admit I'm hoping someone at RC ends up blogging it. I'm leaning towards trainwreck-y mess but still I'm curious like a metal monkey.

  7. e

    @GE: yep, overall I'm more pumped about the movies than the series.
    Thanks for the reminder on KH. I spotted it recently among the winter titles in psgels's preview post hence my confusion.

    I have to watch the first Buddha movie still honestly, but while I am at it might as well go for a back-to-back viewing when the second is available :p.

  8. Z

    That actually makes Pupa sound more intriguing. In an industry and season with little edge, here it is.

  9. M

    An anime not for wussies, sign me up!

  10. e

    So manRy you two :p . My comfortable *anime* threshold is Jojo (I like my gore fabulous if any X,D ) and the upcoming Parasyte.
    Right now I'm gonna exorcise one of my early childhood memories&terror at last by watching the first two Alien movies before darkness falls. The things I do for you, Sigourney :,)

  11. Z

    Well sure it's not iyashikei slice of life, but the feel good crowd is already well catered to. Also I like to see competent directors take on challenging material.

  12. R

    "Also I like to see competent directors take on challenging material."

    That's also my reason to find out how Mochizuki-sensei handles an incest material.

  13. M

    Pupa: now 3 mins per episode? Rubbish… orz

  14. H

    Think you need to switch "returns into November" into "January" for Silver Spoon, although you do lose the alliteration that way. And I'm interested to see that not only are they switching directors but it's the tv debut for a female director, we had two female directs make tv debuts this last season so I'm thrilled to see yet another one getting a chance!

  15. Thanks, I fixed that. Deai is a very interesting talent – fabulous resume in terms of what she's worked on. There's much buzz that Ito was pulled off GnS to work on an upcoming SAO sequel (pinch me)…

  16. H

    I think I heard that to, at this point given that they're really really hyping up that holiday special I don't think you're going to be waking up anytime soon….

  17. O

    My biggest dilemma is whether I will watch Space Dandy in English or Japanese. Watanabe has mentioned that he preferred the English dub of Bebop, and seeing as dandy is premiering on Adult swim, well…. I'm torn.

  18. Suwabe Junichi Man, Suwabe Junichi!

  19. e

    whoa *eargasm*

  20. i

    My most sensitive anime spot is the ears. I think I'll be all breathless and tired after Space Dandy.

  21. R

    Definitely go with the sub…and Suwabe Junichi.

  22. M

    I voted only for Wake Up, Girls! and Hamatora on the sidebar poll because the other 3 anime that I personally looking forward to are Z/X Ignition, Future Card Buddyfight and Youkai Watch. Accquired taste, I know.

  23. i

    Yeah this is shit.

    Definites:
    Gin no Saji 2
    Space Dandy
    Tonari no Seki kun
    Seitokai Yakuindomo 2

    Check:
    Buddy Complex
    Chuunibyou 2 (expect moe overload and droppings within 2 episodes)
    D-frag (cuz of brain base)
    Hamatora
    Hoozuki no Reitetsu
    Inari Konkon koi iroha (what does konkon mean? Never come across the word)
    Mahou sensou (gilgamesh look a like and Madhouse)
    Nisekoi (dropped the manga long ago but maybe Shaft can make a boring panderer funny)
    Nobunaga the fool (why not?)
    Nobunagun (why not?)
    Noragami (cuz of Bones)
    Saki 2 (I like the first Saki, not the side story one)
    Strange+ (only one shoujo, clearly the Fujoshi have already spent too much on Free)
    Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta (loved the movie but with so much change caution is needed)

    Rather than a crappy season, it's a season full of unknowns. In seasons past you could tell a show was a miss just by looking at the names, preview and poster. This one there are a lot that I can't pin down. Mahou Sensou by Madhouse, D-frag by Brain Base and a few others are shows I would usually not consider but because of names I must give benefit of doubt.

    Disagree completely though that Space Dandy will be anything like Kill la Kill. Kill la Kill had a girl on the poster, Space Dandy has a 'dandy' guy. Kill la Kill had boobs in the poster, Space Dandy has a weasel? Kill la Kill is not by Gainax, Space Dandy is by Bones. I never liked Gainax, I love Bones. For the above reasons it is clear that Space Dandy will flop and thus be a great show. I'm thinking Cowboy Bebop meets Lupin meets Lupin: Mine Fujiko.

  24. C

    Watched the preview of Noragami at AFA and it was pretty interesting. MC's personality reminds me of Staz.

  25. S

    I've got a good feeling about Noragami, too. Hopefully the poll will convince Enzo to blog at least one episode

  26. It's BONES, I didn't need to be convinced. That was one of the few series I had legit hopes for going into the season, and the positive response from AFA is a good sign.

  27. M

    Winter's the season I usually watch shows I skipped in a better season because I wasn't sure whether I'll like them and I was already satisfied with what I had.It's good season for catching up anyway.I know for sure that I'll be picking up Samurai Flamenco.

  28. R

    This list looks way more hopeful than Winter 2013 — I couldn't even finish one series — and it may even beat Spring 2013 in my opinion. I'm like you — Space Dandy, Pupa, Gin no Saji II and Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta are locked in for me. I'm also curious about Hoozuki no Retetsu, and as for the others, I will just wait and see.

    With the carry-overs and long-running series — Samurai Flamenco, Golden Girl, Ace of Diamond, Kingdom, KnB, Nagi no Asukara, Yowamushi Pedal, Uchuu Kyoudai, HxH — I will have a full plate next season. That's exciting.

    The OVA/Movie lineup looks good, too. Natsume and Mushishi immediately jump out to me, and, of course, HxH and T&B are something that I will certainly look forward to. The only thing with OVA/Movie is that it takes a long time for the sub to come out, and I'm still waiting for the ones that were announced in previous seasons — in particular, the two movies from Studio Ghibli. I guess I will just have to keep waiting and waiting…and more waiting…

  29. J

    Witch Craft Works = a bunch of witches disrupt the life of a seemingly normal high-school boy.

  30. k

    Inari Konkon /is/ good, but it's really, really saccharine. Not bad saccharine, though, and it's interesting in the sense that it's a shoujo plot with shoujo characters in a seinen magazine, so we don't get some of the shoujo tropes and cliches that so often make viewers cringe. I'm in love with the art style of the manga, and the balance between the god-related parts and Inari's human life is good.

    On another note, I don't doubt spinoffs and OVAs will follow, but the Shingeki OVA is based on a bonus manga chapter that wouldn't make much sense to have been included in the series, so it isn't just plain milking for cash.

  31. L

    This ^

    The anime team decided to skip it during the original run, since it was so far removed from the story at the time. It's definitely canon and plays a huge role later, so I wouldn't say it's one of the endless derivatives we're sure to get.

  32. You just upped the ante for me with inari KonKon, which was already pretty high on my list.

    All I said was "The first in what are sure to be a parade of follow-ups". How is that wrong?

  33. k

    I'm sorry if my comment made it seem like I was accusing you; all I wanted to say was that it's not some random anime original, which you couldn't have known as you're an anime-only viewer.

    I don't think we'll get a lot of OVAs in the main series actually, because there's just not enough material for that, and SnK is not the kind of story that makes it easy to include extras detached from the main plot. As Luxorcism said, the OVA will play a huge role in the second season, so it'll be a sort of bridge for the anime folk which I think was a nice move. That said, one or many of the manga spinoffs being animated is a very real possibility.

    As for Inari, I must warn you it does get trope-y at times, but without all the self-centered teenage girl angst. And a lot of Kyoto-ben. Too bad one cour isn't a lot of time for it to tell its story…

  34. E

    To be frank, this Winter looks to me like the usual Winter: bleak. Very bleak.

    I'm interested in Space Dandy just because it looks really damn good, but BONES is a studio that has disappointed me way too many times now, and I don't think even Watanabe can dispel my fears.

    Zvezda might be a mystery, but the staff is really good, and it even has Type-Moon's blessing with Hoshizora Meteo as Series Comp. If anything, this could be a good way of measuring just how good could the overly-delayed Girl's Work be (if it ever gets released…)

    Hamatora might be good, but it doesn't give me any good vibes. (Kitajima Yukinori isn't the writer of Ace Attorney by the way, his company (Synthese) has only collaborated in the Layton crossover game.) Kishi Seiji doesn't strike me as my cup of tea when it comes to directors, but the absence of Uezu might be a good sign (Uezu is also not my cup of tea either).

    Besides that, the only things in this season that interest me are the Tiger and Bunny sequel film and Yoyo & Nene. But those are theatrical, which means I won't be watching them this season. Whoops…

  35. m

    What happened to Salior Moon? Was it pushed back again?

  36. There's nothing definitive that I've been able to track down – some people are saying it's going to be a movie or special, not a series. When there's something definite I'll preview it.

  37. Z

    Takeuchi Naoko is notoriously difficult to deal with.

  38. e

    She likes money and has a family and ill husbando to feed&support swimming-in-cash-wise, they'll find a way to churn out something :p.
    I mean, it's not like Ikeda Ryoko(-sensei-sama) and that mystical seemingly Marie Antoinette-centric BeruBara anime movie… *sobs*

  39. Z

    The SM merchandise was all primed and ready to go.

  40. G

    Thank god Bones is back to the scene…because as you said…the winter lineup is abysmal. I think Noragami is quite charming, basing it on the Manga chapters I've read anyways. It's going to be a one-cour show, so I'm curious what Bones will do to wrap it up. Whatever it is, I know it looks visually delicious (the second PV..omg)

    And of course, Space Dandy. The core-staff working on it is simply too glorious to produce shoddy works. Like geeze, we have Goro Taniguchi, Ichiro Okouchi (the Code Geass masterminds), Hiroshi Hamasaki (Steins;Gate, Texhnolyze), and even Katsuhiro Otomo (Akira) on board. And the interesting thing is…..Space Dandy is pure comedy, way off the mark of what these talents are usually known for.

    Pupa…I think I might get a nightmare from the PV..god.. =/…I hope gore isn't the only thing it's got to offer.

  41. Z

    Bones will save anime.

  42. x

    Wow, didn't know you were a Pita Ten fan!! Always love how openminded you are.

  43. Well thanks, though I'm not sure how loving Pita Ten makes me open-minded! I just happen to think it's a really smart and extremely moving series, especially in manga form.

  44. q

    Hey Enzo, I would like you to read this article with Dai Sato, if you haven't already. When you mentioned overwhelming fanservice in the preview, I strongly believe it is a product of what is discussed in this article. That is, it's a statement on the industry rather than directed at viewer appeal. Here it is: http://www.otaku2.com/?p=679

  45. Thanks, that was an interesting read. I think it's worth reiterating that the interview was three years before Space Dandy was being made so it's dangerous to take it as some kind of key to decode what sort of series it's going to be, but as a general assessment of the problems in the industry I think he's pretty much on-point.

    The issue, as always, what to do about it. "Guys like me can't get work" pretty much sums it up – and I think when guys like Nakashima Kazuki do get work, they feel like they have to write a show like Kill la Kill instead of TTGL or Oh! Edo Rocket. I'm sure there's a part of him that believes if he wrote a show like that today no one would produce it and if they did, no one would buy it.

    BONES – which has a long history with Satou Dai – is truly one of the last holdouts against the new reality that's creatively suffocating anime. In truth, it hasn't been working commercially for them. It'll be very interesting to see what Space Dandy – a product of a studio, writer and director that all represent the old way of anime – brings to the table. How much compromise will there be? And how will it be received – not in America – which is a small part of the financial equation – but in Japan, which will make or break it?

  46. q

    Yes, I am somewhat decoding it, but the blatant, in your face fanservice in the previews shown would comedically reflect Watanabe and Sato's values as players in the anime industry. BONES has never really looked to do that type of fanservice, so why would they compromise and change out of the blue? It could be a sign of the times, but I'm almost certain that they aren't going to change their ways now. I see Space Dandy as a series that will be overall very funny to the average viewer, but it will also have underlying comedy that criticizes the industry as a whole.

    I hope the show does succeed, these are my favorite people writing screenplay and music, producing and directing a series together. Less than one month to go…

  47. G

    This all reminds me of the interview with Bone's president Masahiko Minami (I believe Enzo made a post about it) and I think it's a true statement to what Bones' vision has been and will likely always be. I mean if the president of a studio has his mind set on big ideas, cultivating creativity, and holding out against the current industry trends, you know the studio is in good shape.

    I think Space Dandy will be a show that laughs at itself and the industry as a whole, and the fanservice is part of the joke. Bones does allow itself to slip into fanservice every now and then, but it's a healthy dose and never offensive.

    I find Bones to be an old school in every sense, not just the content of their works, but also the techniques they use – when most studios have turned to CG for their mechanical designs, Bones continues to indulge in hand-drawn animation.

    On a sort of relevant note, have you read the interview for Captain Earth? It's Bones' upcoming mecha show. I'm surprised ANN didn't post a translation. http://flamingo-chan.tumblr.com/post/60772961635/captain-earth-interview-igarashi-x-enokido

  48. I think BONES is in good shape in terms of integrity and ambition. It's commercially I'm worried about.

    I will certainly check on Captain Earth, but it's mostly the Star Driver team and that's possibly my least favorite BONES series in years. They're also doing the Soul Eater spinoff, but that's kind of meh too – the spinoff manga is basically a generic attempt to ride the flavor of the week. It's a shame they can't just continue with the original story, but financial considerations are no doubt a huge factor here.

  49. G

    Ha…commercially..><..I think it's safe to say neither Space Dandy nor Noragami will generate huge sales given the current market.

    Well, Star Driver isn't the team's only work, their track record in general is quite impressive. I think Star Driver is mostly an experimental thing that allowed them a lot of freedom to screw around. According to the interview, Captain Earth is going to be a more conventional mecha show focusing on characters and world-building, so I'm pretty hyped.
    Yeah…not too excited about SE NOT…=/…was hoping for a reboot (at least of the second half of the show). Then there is Hitsugi no Chaika, which I think will probably be the weakest of their offerings this year. It just looks kind of sketchy so many levels.

  50. I think it's possible Space Dandy will attract some of the same audience that's going to make Kill la Kill a decent hit. I certainly haven't given it up for dead commercially.

  51. x

    Wow! Pupa will be aired on TBS! But do you have any info if it will be aired on TBS's affiliates? Anyways, at least it will be aired. I have already read its manga in Japanese and I loved it so far.

  52. V

    I've been following LiA for quite awhile and have never seen MAL discussed, but you link to it here, so i assume you respect the site.

    Is there any chance you'd be willing to put together a MAL of your own? I enjoyed viewing the list of your fellow Random Curiosity writers and would similarly enjoy viewing yours.

  53. Well, I've always linked to MAL in the preview posts, and it's fine as a resource. The forums are chotto… And I've never liked the interface for creating lists, which is why I use AnimePlanet for mine.

    http://www.anime-planet.com/users/GuardianEnzo/anime

  54. V

    Ah, very cool.

  55. p

    Apparently Hummingbird.me is the new shiz now, combining blog like features like wordpress and eblogger with MAL like database features but with a more contemporary look.

    Unfortunately, I cbf migrating and updating my anime lists so I guess I'm stuck with MAL due to being lazy.

  56. t

    in the matter of pupa..I am not so sure, previous rumors or not, but it seems it might end as 5 minutes anyway.
    I didn't see any official source claims here or there…

  57. y

    They haven't announced the running time. However, Ep. 1-8 will be shown at the preview screening on December 21, so it's obviously not a full-length format.

    http://www.pupa-anime.com/news/archives/tvpupa_3.html

    I wouldn't read too much into Mochizuki's involvement simply because it's now customary to sign certain staff onto more than one assignment at a time. Studios get their money's worth (same fixed pay for a particular work term, but more output) this way.

  58. b

    Little correction on the LB:EX OVA. It's 8 episodes, not 6. LB Refrain has 7 BD volumes which will contain an episode each except for the last one which will have two, hence 8 episodes.

    And no plans on watching Buddy Complex? It is Sunrise after all plus a lot of strong seiyuus in its lineup.

  59. Noted, 8 eps.

    TBH Buddy Complex was announced so late it didn't make any of the season charts, and wasn't in my early drafts – and then I forgot about it. It would have been borderline anyway, as it looks incredibly generic, but if I'd remembered I might have previewed it given how weak the schedule looks.

  60. j

    Does anybody know which series will Hiroyuki Sawano be composing for? (if there are any at all obviously)

  61. R

    what? Kill la Kill has been amazing, definitely deserve the hype (I guess over-the-top action is not your cup of tea) :p
    Anyway, looking forward the next season.
    >Haven't finished CowBop, but I like it so far. That and also the hype, so I have high expectation on Space Dandy
    >Noragami. I quite liked the author's previous work (Alive), though they only did the art. Curious to see their first attempt as full author
    >Gin no Saji is a must by default
    >Looks like Nobunaga the Fool will be a fun train wreck
    >Award-nominated Hoozuki no Reitetsu is definitely a sleeper
    >A Jump adaptation by Shaft (with Shinbo to boot)? Count me in! (mid-level expectation though)
    >Tonari no Seki-kun. (it's just 10 minutes, so why not? beside, the manga is funny as hell)
    >For Pupa, I just want to have faith on Mochizuki. Really enjoyed Rozen Maiden last season despite never touch its previous incarnation
    >Lastly, Seitokai Yakuindomo is my guilty pleasure :p

    8 series (not counting Seki-kun) + 13 ongoing

  62. J

    Wow for me Summer 2013 was the absolute worst season I've seen in years. Had pretty much nothing to watch and decided to finally dive into Breaking Bad. Guess different strokes for different folks but yeah that was a tough tough season for me. Just glad that Fall has picked it up where my interests are concerned and Winter looks to be promising too with Space Dandy and the like. Also kind of hopeful for Buddy Complex, Gin no Saji Season 2 (The first season being one of the few Summer shows I could stomache), Noragami, Mahou Sensou, Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta and that Wit Studio show that looks visually creative going by the trailer.

  63. J

    Can't wait to compare and contrast with RandomC, but I'm getting sort of relieved that the list of shows I want to watch is dwindling from my first couple of looks at the upcoming season. I'd rather not have my list of shows I want to follow top 14, and upon the first couple of looks, I was at 16. I'm getting Summer 2013 vibes here. A lot of them.

  64. M

    Kind of an empty season, but whatever. Mushishi! Yay!

    For sure I'll watch Gin no Saji 2 and Space Dandy. But that was kind of obvious. Also Tonari no Seki-kun because it's short and well, Seki's antics in animation. And Inari, KonKon Koi Iroha too. I like the manga, so as long as they don't screw it up somehow, I'll be watching. It's good for my heart, haha.

    The rest are pretty much uncertainties, but I'll for sure try Noragami, Hamatora and Hoozuki no Retetsu. And maybe even Nisekoi, because I'm still kind of bitter about the fact that Double Arts got axed and I need to be angry about Nisekoi to vent my frustrations.

    As for OVAs… More Mushishi AND Natsume Yuujinchou?? Yes please.

  65. B

    Saki 2 + Chuunibyou 2 are must-watches, everything else isn't really looking good…
    I can't forget about Pupa of course, Pupa is also airing this season but likely not as a normal series. :3

  66. M

    I've never seen Mushishi, but I enjoyed the shit out of Nagahama Hiroshi's other great series Detroit Metal City and Aku no Hana. Since it's Studio Artland, I'm not expecting a whole lot on the visual side of things, more so on the content.

  67. M

    A good taste of DMC. NSFW I guess – not that anyone should be visiting this blog at work anyway!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VjdT_ZMqflE

  68. a

    Studio Artland's Mushishi back in 2005 or 2006 was one of the most critically acclaimed tv shows not just for the content and direction, animation was widely lauded as well. It was animated in 1s apparently, which is crazy if you think about it for a 20-plus episodes show.

  69. y

    Artland's reputation went downhill bad after they were sold to Marvelous Entertainment. Their output picked up, but they were now in the business of animating Hitman Reborn and producing cheap, low quality shows for Marvelous.

    After Hitman Reborn ended, they became independent again. Or rather, there are two Artlands currently in existence. One is a shell company (Artland, Inc.) owned by Marvelous AQL. The other is the studio proper (Animation Studio Artland, Inc.), under a new legal entity.

  70. p

    Artland was a respectable studio in the past, though I don't know if they have anything worthy as of late.

    Legend of the galatic heroes, mushishi and bokura ga ita were all fantastic series.

  71. M

    Yeah, my initial comment was alluding to the late "Il Teatrino" Artland. I appreciate the insight on the studio though – and I'm somewhat more intrigued about this Mushishi OAV.

    Glad you brought up Legend of the Galactic Heroes. It's a close to perfect anime, yet barely gets a nod around here.

  72. S

    I honestly can't care about any new anime until JOJO drops in March or whenever.

  73. D

    Thanks for preview, but these dates
    Shingeki no Kyoujin: Iise no Techou (OAD) – 12/09/2014 and
    Natsume Yuujinchou: LaLa Special (OAD) – 12/2014:
    are correct?

  74. Well, SnK is out. I took the dates from the most recent unofficial anime charts, which are usually fairly accurate.

  75. C

    Enzo-chi!
    You could have at least use the MV of Mikakunin for the PV
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TSbSzrLffew
    Watch in HD

  76. C

    And replace the remove To aru #koiuta PV with this one
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qmI3TnFHKPo
    😀

  77. Z

    Well the Space Dandy preview was less than stellar.

  78. s

    But it was only half an ep…..

  79. Z

    Indeed. However what was presented didn't inspire confidence.

    That's twice the amount of Pupa will receive each week.

  80. s

    but in pupa's case, the narrative is being built around the 5 mins constraint (well im guessing that's the plan) so each ep will have to make its mark within those 5 mins while presenting a continuous narrative flow.

    From what ive seen of Space Dandy, Im confident that watanabe is indeed going to deliver on this zany space adventure while making the scenarios and characters relevant. From what ive seen, I actually liked it; watanabe's ability to create good atmosphere within his settings, and make situations play out so organically is ever so present and to me that's a good sign of things to come. Juinichi Sawabe is giving a solid performance as dandy and from the clips ive heard in the eng dub, Ian Sinclair is doing a terrific job as well. I curious to see more and im glad i just got a ten min preview to wet my appetite. Ah, and its good to see Yutaka Nakamura again as a key animator.

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