2011 Spring Hootenanny and Anime Preview

March 26th, 2011

Spring? Ha. It’s still 40 degrees and raining here.

It feels so weird posting this before almost any shows I’m watching have ended… and knowing that many of them won’t be ending until after this season is underway.

I like how people were spazzing out about how many new shows there were this season… by including 10 minute long shows, mostly made in Flash (Tohno,  Health/PE for 30 Year Olds, Fireball, Yuruani) and the battery of kids shows that nobody has any real intention of watching. There is also some chaos with broadcasts still. Many websites announced airdates, but broadcasters have not yet confirmed them on their own schedules because of all the recent going-ons. If it’s not linked, then it means that no station has confirmed its airing yet as of the last time I checked and it may be subject to change. The others too for that matter, as Aria’s initial broadcast was just updated as being delayed a week this morning, leaving another station as the primary broadcaster. I also haven’t included OVAs, because I tend to cover those at more or less random. Next week is DVD release week too, so expect a glut of random things.

And as always, the usual disclaimer applies. My thoughts are little more than my own cynical opinions based on the fact that 95% of all shows are going to be bad, and even that’s being generous. Remember though that even bad shows can be enjoyable, and in the blogging case, can even make them fun to write about. I personally value execution above all else and that’s impossible to judge from a little blurb and two minutes of promotional material… if you’re even lucky enough to have that. Also, I like to mock anybody who watches shows because of the voice actors involved. VA work has never made an otherwise bad show good or an otherwise good show bad. Stop being such tools, damn it.

As usual, I’ve collected all 58 promos and commercials that I could dig up that have anything to do with the shows themselves, as opposed to the VAs playing dress up or the director wandering around with a camera. There’s actually fewer than normal (proportionally). I assume that studios have had more important things to deal with in the past couple weeks than marketing.

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X-Men
http://www.animax.co.jp/marvelanime/x-men/
Studio: Madhouse
Genre: Action
Staff/Cast Information: ANN Entry
Premieres April 1st

Summary: 
When Armor, a Japanese mutant, goes missing, Professor X sends his team of super heroes to Japan. There, they encounter the U-Men, a cult who believes that the world is unclean and that they must steal the body parts of mutants to raise themselves to supremacy. 

Personal Thoughts:
Given how atrocious Iron Man and Wolverine have been, do I even need to say anything? Sure, I’ve heard people say that Wolverine isn’t as bad as they thought it’d be, but that’s a far cry from being good. And you know what would make it even better? Putting a former Gonzo director in charge of it. Well, it does air on April 1st. Maybe the whole thing is just one giant very sad joke. Seeya back here next season for the same comments about Blade! And hopefully the last we ever have to speak of Madhouse and Marvel’s doomed venture.

Preseason Swing Rating: 
   
This monstrosity has no business existing.

Dog Days
http://www.dogdays.tv/
Studio: Seven Arcs
Genre: Adventure
Staff/Cast Information: ANN Entry
Premiers April 2nd

Summary: 
War erupts between the kingdoms of Garrett and Biscotti. Desperate to save her kingdom, Princess Millhiore summons a champion from another world, Izumi Shinku of Japan, an energetic action loving kid. Now it’s up to him to save the Biscotti people from the invading forces of Garrett.

Personal Thoughts: 
God, Seven Arcs. If you wanted to make more Inukami or Nanoha, just do it. Don’t make both at the same time. This is a completely original story, not that Seven Arcs has ever really cared much for closely adapting source material anyway, but with next to no promo material released online (the first episode was screened in stores today to mostly very glowing reviews though), there’s not much to talk about but the staff… which is almost boringly Seven Arcs being Seven Arcs. Like all their action shows, I imagine that it’ll be fairly light hearted, every third episode will be extremely well animated with really dodgy art in between, the pacing will be god awful, and at some point, a giant phallus will have a central role into the plot. I am counting RH as Nanoha’s giant phallus. I foresee no arguments with this assertion.

Preseason Swing Rating: 
    
The STRONGEST Combination!

Tiger & Bunny
http://www.tigerandbunny.net/
Studio: Sunrise
Genre: Action
Staff/Cast Information: ANN Entry
Premiers April 2nd

Summary: 
In Sternbild, companies advertise by sponsoring super heroes called Next on TV who go around doing good deeds. One of the best of these super heroes is teamed up with a cocky young newcomer who is more concerned with looking good than doing good.

Personal Thoughts: 
Another original series… with a completely newbie core staff, unless you count directing the Karas OVA… six years ago. Aaaand to make matters worse, it would appear that 100% of the action in this show is clumsy CG with faces occasionally pasted on top of it. In short, yuck. Maybe it’ll be amusing for the homoerotic undertones that invariably accompany every single thing that Sunrise makes, but I’m expecting little more than that. Although, I will admit that I found Viz’s official subtitles on the promo amusing. Great work, guys.

Preseason Swing Rating: 
   
Least probable pairing since the Anglo-Sino alliance for the seizure of Japan.

Everyday Life
http://www.shinonome-lab.com/
Studio: Kyoto Animation
Genre: Commercialism
Staff/Cast Information: ANN Entry
Premiers April 2nd

Summary: 
The ‘wacky’ antics of school girls going about their daily lives as well as a professor with her talking cat and robot attendant.

Personal Thoughts: 
The episode 0 OVA for this aired already. I was not impressed. Queue up another prepackaged show from KyoAni, this time with even less effort spent on making it than usual. Comedy relies on presentation, and from the OVA, KyoAni made it clear that they don’t give a crap about how they present this. They did bring in a new head writer, although looking over his past works is like taking a tour through the gardens of failure with only a couple things to be hopeful about.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

RAWKET LAWNCHAIR!

Toriko
http://www.toei-anim.co.jp/tv/toriko/
Studio: Toei Animation
Genre: Adventure
Staff/Cast Information: ANN Entry
Premieres April 2nd (Late night)

Summary: 
The most delicious cooking ingredients exist in the most dangerous places. Toriko is one of the top hunters of these ingredients, ready and willing to defeat any monster in his dream to create the ultimate meal.

Personal Thoughts: 
Oh boy! Jump! You know how I love Jump shows! And it’s Sunday morning? Even better! Let me take a swing at guessing how things are going to go. Toriko does something, a useless sidekick screams in disbelief, repeat 15 more times over the episode, someone has a huge power level cooking level, children rush off to buy the comic, and Toei rolls around in a pile of cash.

Preseason Swing Rating: 
 
How about just frying food instead? That’s delicious yo.

Hana-Saku Iroha
http://www.hanasakuiroha.jp/
Studio: PA Works
Genre: Drama 
Staff/Cast Information: ANN Entry
Premiers April 3rd

Summary: 
Ohana is forced to move to her grandmother’s old-style hot spring inn where she meets all sorts of people. She decides to make the most of it and works hard to transform the inn to a much better place.

Personal Thoughts: 
This is the Canaan staff again, down to a T. And because that’s what Canaan did really well, drama. And if that doesn’t depress you enough, let me remind you that this writer is the genius behind GOSICK and Fractale. At least PA Works makes pretty shows. Almost always terribly written… and with a truly godawful writer at the lead here…… but pretty. Unlike Angel Beats or Canaan though, I don’t see this having anything else to fall back on when that bites them in the face.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Ohta su marvalic plesodoro!

Showa Story
http://www.showa-movie.jp/
Studio: Wao World
Genre: Talking Heads
Staff/Cast Information: ANN Entry
Premiers April 3rd (sort of) / May 1st

Summary: 
The story of the everyday lives of a family in the Showa years (1926-1989).

Personal Thoughts: 
I debated even mentioning this because its first four episodes already aired as a movie and/or series of specials at the end of January. No new episodes will air until May 1st. The first five minutes of the first episode was four boys sitting in a circle rambling about nothing. A toy in a magazine they read I think. Flipping through the rest of the episode, it seemed like I had already seen the high point so decided it wasn’t even worth making a post about. It’s not particularly well made and has all the excitement and interest of a weekend at Aunt Ida’s potato farm. Not the one with the potato guns. The one where you shovel manure into the potato patch all day.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Fooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

Under The Innocent Sky
http://www.mmv.co.jp/special/oretsuba/
Studio: Nomad
Genre: Romance
Staff/Cast Information: ANN Entry
Premiers April 3rd

Summary: 
This is an ordinary winter story of different people laughing, playing, and falling in love.

Personal Thoughts: 
This is another one of those ensemble romance stories split between multiple couples. It’s based on a rather well-regarded game, but then again, this is Nomad, who hasn’t really made anything particularly strong since Rozen Maiden… with Campanella’s director and Abnormal Phys’s writer. If this were a comedy, I might be a little more hopeful. As heavy drama and romance though, not so much, especially when it’s split so that each set of characters gets about four episodes. Also, Moogy tells me that this is doomed and I did technically lose my right of attorney to him in a game of Baccarat on Scaramanga’s island.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Hey kid, I got some stuff that’ll make you fly.

Silver Soul
http://www.tv-tokyo.co.jp/anime/gintama/
Studio: Sunrise
Genre: Comedy
Staff/Cast Information: ANN Entry
Premiers April 4th (Very early morning)

Summary: 
Continuation of the sci-fi comedy where aliens have conquered the world. A trio of misfits in this world take on whatever odd jobs come their way.

Personal Thoughts: 
At 200 episodes into this, I’m pretty sure that even without the fact that Jump and I are anathema to each other, I would not be qualified to say much. I did watch the first few episodes of this a long long long time ago, but like Keroro, my patience with long running comedies quickly runs dry. I’ll give it a spin though. I hear it likes making fun of Jump almost as much as I do. Of course it is Jump itself too. It’s not like any of those actually have a plot or cohesion.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Magister mundi sum!

Sengoku Maidens ~Pink Paradox~
http://sengokuotome.com/
Studio: TMS Entertainment
Genre: Adventure
Staff/Cast Information: ANN Entry
Premiers April 4th

Summary: 
Hideyoshi is summoned back in time to Japan’s warring era where every warlord is now a woman. This strange world’s Nobunaga needs his help collecting the Crimson Armor so that she can conquer the world.

Personal Thoughts: 
As Koihime is to Ro3K, Dynasty Warriors, and Ikkitousen, this is to the Japanese warring era, Samurai Warriors, and Samurai Girls. The main thing that concerns me here is the writer. It is the person who did a great job with GA Art Class, but has cocked up every single show she’s worked on that had a plot. Buuuut, I’m not even sure that’s relevant in an ‘adaptation’ of a set of pachinko characters. TMS is a bit of a wild card too. I’m really not sure what to expect, but it can’t be any worse than the other recent pachinko game adaptations… can it? Maybe I should hope it will be.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Do not pursue Lu… uh… Honda Tadakatsu?

Ultimate Survivor Kaiji – Illegal Chapter
http://www.ntv.co.jp/kaiji_hakairoku/
Studio: Madhouse
Genre: Thriller
Staff/Cast Information: ANN Entry
Premiers April 5th

Summary: 
The continuing adventures of Kaiji, a genius gambler whose genius only comes out when he’s backed into a corner.

Personal Thoughts: 
I made it most of the way through the first iteration of this by becoming increasingly belligerant. I don’t think that’ll work again. My main problem besides the poor production that accompanies all of these Madhouse shows is the pacing. I have watched movies that consumed less time than Kaiji spent walking over balance beams, decrying how evil man before immediately forgetting what happened five minutes ago because this time will be different. Add in some Rio level ‘gambling’ that lasts episodes on end instead of one drugged up three minute sequence and I think it’s probably best if I just stay out of this one entirely.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Talk to the hand, cause Big R ain’t listening.

STEINS;GATE
http://steinsgate.tv/
Studio: WHITE FOX
Genre: Thriller
Information Links: ANN Entry
Premiers April 5th

Summary: 
A group of kids hacks their microwave so that they can send messages to the past. As the timeline starts to become more muddied, they have to stay ahead of the organization after them and keep their time microwave out of the wrong hands.

Personal Thoughts: 
A time microwave? Seriously? I can barely get mine to defrost chicken breasts. White Fox didn’t exactly impress me with Katanagatari’s production either. This is Everyday Life’s writer too… amongst all the other failures I alluded to. I don’t have confidence in leveraging that into a convoluted story centered around a time microwave. The promo was rather underwhelming as well. Hopefully they’re bringing a lot more than they showed there.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Please do not microwave the hamsters.

Sket Dance
http://sketdance.jp/
Studio: Tatsunoko
Genre: Comedy
Staff/Cast Information: ANN Entry
Premiers April 7th (Very early morning)

Summary: 
Yusuke and his friends are part of the Sket Club, dedicated to taking on odd jobs and helping other students in whatever way they can.

Personal Thoughts: 
YAWN. JUMP. Need I say more? Well, I probably do since this is Tatsunoko who doesn’t do many Jump adaptations and they’ve been doing a really good job on OVAs lately. That’s very different from adapting a prime time Jump show though, but still enough to give me a little hope for this. The staff is also comprised of a lot of former Synergy SP people from back when they made shows worth watching. Still, being Jump, and primetime at that, is a tough obstacle to overcome.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Actually has nothing to do with dancing.

Tea For Universe, Tea For Life
http://www9.nhk.or.jp/anime/heuge/
Studio: Bee Train
Genre: Drama
Staff/Cast Information: ANN Entry
Premiers April 7th

Summary: 
Sasuke is a samurai under Nobunaga, but he’s more interested in learning to master the art of tea brewing than becoming a mighty warlord.

Personal Thoughts: 
Let’s all say it together. Bee Train. Bee Train writer. Bee Train director. Bee Train disaster. They can’t even decide if they want to spell it Hyouge or Heuge. I prefer the subtitle anyway. Not that it sounds even remotely interesting to begin with even before Bee Train got their filthy mitts on it. What is with Japan and all these protagonists in action settings that want to sit in the corner and pick their noses? Let’s do it the other way around. Have some tea maker discover that he’s actually a badass and wants to go cut some berks up.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

This show would be greatly improved if all the characters were eggs

Pretty Sunshine Brawlers ZEXAL 4D
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commercialism
Studio: Adam Smith
Genre: Selling Toys
Staff/Cast Information: ANN Entry
Premieres April 7th

Summary: 
One day, a regular girl finds a magical pet that transforms her into a singing top, and now she must collect all the cards to battle against the alien invaders who have come to Earth to steal the world’s rhythm.

Personal Thoughts: 
Actually, I think that might have been the plot for Space Channel 5. Anyway, nearly half a dozen new kid shows about the latest/greatest cell phone straps, tops, collectable card games, etc. At least Japan seems to have never developed the US’s eternal fascinationwith toys that shoot ooze. I can’t imagine what kind of horrific show they would make with that premise.

Preseason Swing Rating: 
     
The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

A-Channel
http://www.a-ch.jp/
Studio: Studio Gokumi
Genre: Comedy
Staff/Cast Information: ANN Entry
Premiers April 7th

Summary: 
A story of the everyday lives of a group of friends at a prestigious high school.

Personal Thoughts: 
Oh boy. Another four panel comic about girls doing nothing. And you know what would make a dull and generic premise like this even better? If the show was made by Gonzo. Oh, hey! It’s all former Gonzo staff members! Score! Okay, so it’s not the core Gonzo disaster staff, but these guys have produced well more than their fair share of disasters and in particular, there isn’t a single successful comedy among them. New studios tend to be ambitious out of the gate and then wane quickly, so we’ll see if they can keep up the weirdness in the promos or if they’re going to flop.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Is the horse dead yet?

A Delusional Woman and a Young Man
http://www.starchild.co.jp/special/denpa/
Studio: Shaft
Genre: Comedy
Staff/Cast Information: ANN Entry
Premiers April 7th

Summary: 
Makoto is forced to live with his aunt and cousin, Erio, who after disappearing for six months, reappeared, claiming to be an alien.

Personal Thoughts: 
Arakawa was a financial bust, so let’s make it again with the exact same director and ramp up the fanservice about 8 levels. You sure that’s a good idea, Shaft? Oh wait, they tossed in a newbie writer. That’s bound to make things… uh… make things……… Shaft, what the hell are you doing? I can’t wait to see them zoom in on Makoto’s eyes, followed by zooming in on Makoto’s eyes, followed by zooming in on Makoto’s eyes, followed by zooming in on Erio’s giant ass, which is a metaphor for Makoto’s eye.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

STOP DOING THIS, SHAFT.

Dororon Enma-kun Meeramera
http://www.starchild.co.jp/special/dororon-enmakun/
Studio: Brain’s Base
Genre: Comedy
Staff/Cast Information: ANN Entry
Premiers April 7th

Summary: 
Remake of a 70s series based on a trio of demon hunters from Hell who hunt down escaped demons.

Personal Thoughts: 
Brains Base… making a fanservice comedy? Who are they and what have they done with… I’m sorry, I couldn’t stop myself from making a joke as old as this franchise if I tried. I do appreciate the Lupin specials year in and year out, but I’m really hoping that they actually update this for the common era a lot more than the promo seems to indicate. At the moment, it looks very much like a throwback that’s going to try to sell itself on mostly nostalgia.  

Preseason Swing Rating: 

3.5 BA Baraci.

Maria Holic Alive
http://www.mariaholic.com/
Studio: Shaft
Genre: ‘Comedy’
Staff/Cast Information: ANN Entry
Premiers April 7th

Summary: 
Sequel series. The continuing adventures of a lesbian looking for romance at an all girl’s school forced to room with a sadistic male crossdresser and his snarky maid.

Personal Thoughts: 
Tis the season for Shaft to recycle things I guess. Same staff, same everything. I found the original series dull aside from the OP and barely made it to episode 3. So, uh, I guess if you enjoyed the first season, then here’s more! I highly doubt that I’ll give this more than a cursory look to check out Shaft’s always interesting OP and ED and maybe quote some 80s power rock ballad in lieu of a real post. Then again, word on the grapevine (which feels far less nerdy than saying Twitter) is that production was already far behind schedule before the tsunami. Silly Shaft. Why is your management so horrible?

Preseason Swing Rating: 

This is not the show you are looking for.

Softenni
http://www.softenni.com/
Studio: Xebec
Genre: Comedy
Staff/Cast Information: ANN Entry
Premiers April 7th

Summary: 
The story of a high school soft tennis club training to take the national championship.

Personal Thoughts: 
I wasn’t even aware that ‘soft tennis’ existed as a sport, and the sole difference seems to be that they use softer balls. Please titter about the Japanese and their need for soft balls now. I can’t imagine tennis will actually play any part of it other than an excuse to get them all into short breezy skirts anyway. As much crap as I like to give Xebec, they’ve actually be doing a pretty good job making even their trashy fanservice shows watchable for the last couple years, Rio notwithstanding, and this looks to be little different. It’s a little different staff from usual though, so maybe not. They have one of Shaft’s old folks in charge of directing this though, which is a little confusing, but from the promo it looks like the same kind of fanservice comedy as all of Xebec’s other ones, for better or worse.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

I don’t remember tennis having this many panty shots.

You’ve Been Summoned, Azazel
http://kc.kodansha.co.jp/azazel/
Studio: Production IG
Genre: Comedy
Staff/Cast Information: ANN Entry
Premiers April 8th

Summary: 
Akutabe is a detective that summons demons to help him solve cases. However, he only summons a small part of the demons, so they’re weak and almost powerless, letting him use them as almost slave labor to get his work done for him.

Personal Thoughts: 
There was a 10 minute OVA of this early last year that I didn’t find interesting enough to post about. Most of the staff here comes straight from Production IG’s xxxHOLiC adaptations… so… you know… not exactly a group I would endorse for their comedic abilities or production. The high point of the OVA was when they turned the woman into a half-cow with giant…. udders. I use the phrase ‘high point’ very liberally. Plus, the OVA was rather poorly made too, so factor in an expected drop in quality above and beyond that and… Besides, the Kampfer demon things are far more unsettling, and prone to breaking out in German odes at random. These… things… can barely compare.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

I prefer my paganism with fox ears.

Abnormal Physiology Seminar
http://kc.kodansha.co.jp/hensemi/
Studio: Xebec
Genre: Comedy
Staff/Cast Information: ANN Entry
Premiers April 8th

Summary: 
Nanako joins a research group full of people with perverse sexual behaviors and is forced to continually write and report on various fetishes and abnormal behaviors.

Personal Thoughts: 
This is one of those cases where I really think that a good deal of censorship can only help things. And I barely batted an eye at Juuden’s urine flowing like the Nile. I found the first episode of the OVA rather repugnant, mostly because about 50% of it was showing people masturbating and another 25% talking about how they masturbate. The remaining portion was shots of Nanako looking aghast when people ate pizza that other characters had just jacked off onto. So… yeah. Since the promo includes yet more masturbation, I’m not holding my breath.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Is it safe to come out yet?

The World’s Best First Love
http://sekai-ichi.jp/
Studio: Deen
Genre: Delicious Boys
Staff/Cast Information: ANN Entry
Premiers April 8th

Summary: 
Ritsu takes a new job as editor, intent on proving himself capable. However, his new job is editing girl’s comics and his boss is a guy that he already dated and broke up with before in the past.

Personal Thoughts: 
And here’s Deen spitting out yet another one of these. Same staff as they use for all their bishie on bishie romance stories too. If you’ve (not) seen one, you’ve (not) seen them all. The only thing left is to make some jokes about who the prettiest bishie of the bunch is. Besides, I find these things far more amusing when I just get to joke about latent undertones ala anything made by Sunrise or Clamp. It’s no fun when they’re being utterly shameless about it.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Four true pretty boys.

Put It All In The Ring 1 — World Tournament
http://www.toei-anim.co.jp/sp/rin-kake1_wcs/
Studio: Toei Animation
Genre: Sports
Staff/Cast Information: ANN Entry
Premieres April 10th

Summary: 
Sequel series. The continuing boxing adventure of Ryuuji and his friends. They’ve made it to the world tournament where they face even tougher opponents from… wait for it… around the world.

Personal Thoughts: 
Apparently they’re going to be spitting out a season of this a year for awhile. I safely ignored it last spring, so I might as well ignore it again and make it into a tradition along with the yearly Seiha cow tipping party. They never show the epilogue to these boxing shows either, where everybody has become mildly retarded from taking repeated blows to the head. I love a happy ending.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Another show that’d be improved by making the characters more egg-like.

Astalotte’s Toy!
http://www.rotte-omocha.com/
Studio: Diomedea
Genre: Comedy
Staff/Cast Information: ANN Entry
Premiers April 10th

Summary: 
Astalotte is the queen of succubi and needs semen to survive, but she hates men. She tries to get out of making her boy harem by declaring that the first member has to be a human, since she believes the connection to the human world is broken. However, her assistant returns with a young man and his daughter who take pity on Lotte and agree to help her overcome her issues.

Personal Thoughts: 
And if you’re wondering what Arakawa’s writer is doing instead of Shaft’s alien girl show, look no further. Newbie director too, and Diomedea has been nothing if not wildly inconsistent between the production of each of their shows, so… WHO KNOWS. I can’t say that the promo makes it look very exciting though, and certainly nowhere near the energy level of Diomedea’s last show (Squid Girl). I’m just hoping that they completely drop the angle of a ten year old needing to consume semen within the first two minutes of the show and never ever bring it up ever again.

Preseason Swing Rating: 
    
I just got a ring toss when I was ten.

A Bridge to the Starry Sky
http://www.mmv.co.jp/special/hoshikaka/
Studio: Dogakobo
Genre: Dogakobo
Staff/Cast Information: ANN Entry
Premiers April 10th (Late night)

Summary: 
Kazuma is forced to move to the countryside because of his brother’s health. Once he arrives there, he accidentally has an embarrassing encounter with a girl, immediately complicating his new school life.

Personal Thoughts: 
Aaaah, Dogakobo, you and your antics. The VN this is based on is the spiritual successor to AkaneIro. Beyond that sin, this has a newbie director and Dogakobo’s Koihime writer. Fun! Well, maybe it’ll turn out so bad or so lesbian that it’ll be amusing. Those are really the only two directions that I see this going, and I give equal probability for both. Still, it does air in its own little timeslot with absolutely no competition. Maybe I’ll break out the cheap vodka and make it a party night. On Sundays… yeaaah.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

T-minus three episodes before they’re all deepthroating festival food.

The World God Only Knows
http://kaminomi.jp/
Studio: Manglobe
Genre: Bad Music
Staff/Cast Information: ANN Entry
Premiers April 11th

Summary: 
Sequel series. Keima continues to be forced to heal the hearts of troubled girls to capture the demons inside of them.

Personal Thoughts: 
The first season was extremely underwhelming and by all appearances, they’re going to be slowing down the pacing even more for this one. That’s about the exact opposite of what I would have wanted to hear. Now they can fit in at least four insert songs into each arc. It has actual competition this time on its day (Sengoku, Aria, and arguably Qwaser) so it better bring it’s A game if it wants my attention. Maybe Manglobe did learn from their mistakes and shot their musical director. I did barely survive to the end of the first season, but time has not improved my disposition towards this show at all.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Because as everybody knows, the best VNs are all on the PFP.

Aria the Scarlet Ammo
http://www.tbs.co.jp/anime/aria/
Studio: JC Staff
Genre: Action, Comedy
Staff/Cast Information: ANN Entry
Premiers April 11th

Summary: 
In order to deal with the rising crime rate, a high school for training armed detectives has been established. Kinji is enrolled there, but decides to transfer out. However, he’s attacked soon after and is dragged back into it by the detective school’s top student, Aria.

Personal Thoughts: 
This looks like a completely by-the-books JC Staff action/comedy… old JC Staff, not the JC Staff of Index and ZnT. It even has with their Slayers/Shana director. I do like him quite a bit (he’s doing Freezing right now, which for all its sins, its action direction isn’t one of them), but his shows for the past few years have had some fairly major writing issues… and the writing here is is being handled by one of JC Staff’s weaker folks. I’m still tentatively hopeful. JC Staff shows tend to usually at least be watchable and comedy is where they’ve traditionally done their best work. Adding firearms can’t hurt either.

Preseason Swing Rating: 
   
Student council approved.

Qwaser of Stigmata
http://www.qwaser.jp/
Studio: Hoods Entertainment
Genre: Action
Staff/Cast Information: ANN Entry
Premiers April 11th

Summary: 
Sequel series. The continuing adventure of a super powered young man fueled by breast milk and all the women he suckles off of. This time, Sasha has to infiltrate a new all-girl’s school in search of a magical widget.

Personal Thoughts: 
The thing that impressed me the most about the first season was its censorship. Of course, I lost interest by the second episode and I’m not really eager to catch up. The breast feeding schtick doesn’t even bother me compared to the brain dead cast and a protagonist with a personality of dried mildew. All the breasts in the world can’t make up for that.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Sasha’s got a billion problems, but…

C
http://www.noitamina-control.jp/
Studio: Tatsunoko
Genre: Thriller
Staff/Cast Information: ANN Entry
Premieres April 14th

Summary: 
When Japan was on the bring of financial disaster, a corporation stepped in and saved it, but life has not improved for the common man. Kimimaro studies economics to try to save his family from the financial turmoil, and one day, is offered unlimited money and entrance into the parallel ‘Financial World.’ In return, Kimimaro must give up his future.

Personal Thoughts: 
On one hand, it is Tatsunoko, which as I said, has been doing well lately. It’s another original show with a fairly unusual staff. This director is very experimental (Trapeze, Mononoke), but the writer comes from Brains Base (DRRR and Baccano). On the other, it’s noitaminA, which I never get along with. The setting is too bizarre for me to even get a good read on whether he’s going to be fighting evil in this financial parallel world, solving mysteries, or collecting the 8 magical Dragon Yen to grant a wish. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Give up your dreams.

We Still Don’t Know the Name of the Flower We Saw That Day
http://www.anohana.jp/
Studio: A-1 Pictures
Genre: Long Titles
Staff/Cast Information: ANN Entry
Premiers April 14th

Summary: 
Six friends all went their separate ways when they reached high school. One of them wants to rekindle their old friendships and bring them all back together again.

Personal Thoughts: 
The other noitaminA show. Aaaaaaand being written by GOSICK’s writer as well. Because I really trust her to write an original story. And it’s directed by the genius behind Railgun. With A-1 in charge of production. Be still my beating heart. The promos look nice, but A-1’s promos always look at least three or four times better than their shows end up actually being… pluuuuus, I seem to remember them touting how they were going to make awesome new shows last year with all of them being complete wrecks. Hiding yet another one in noitaminA doesn’t fool me, A-1.

Preseason Swing Rating: 
   
Have you tried looking the flower up on the internet? Could help.

Deadman Wonderland
http://dwl.jp/
Studio: Manglobe
Genre: Action
Staff/Cast Information: ANN Entry
Premiers April 16th

Summary: 
Ganta is wrongly convicted of massacring his classmates and is sent to a gladiator-like prison where he has to fight using his newly gained special powers in order to obtain the antidote that he needs to live. Meanwhile, the real murderer is in this prison with him.

Personal Thoughts: 
Manglobe has dicked up a lot of adaptations lately. In fact, they’ve dicked up just about everything they’ve made other than SamCham. This director hasn’t done anything before this, and the writer is… well… let’s just say that they do a lot of porn. A lot of porn. And Sengoku Basara. Which was not exactly known for its stellar writing either. Maybe Manglobe will remember that the action show should have action, but given their past record, I wouldn’t be hopeful.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Only 35% as Goth as it thinks it is.

Blue Exorcist
http://www.ao-ex.com/
Studio: A-1 Pictures
Genre: Action
Staff/Cast Information: ANN Entry
Premiers April 17th (Very early morning)

Summary: 
Humans and demons are supposed to live in different worlds, but some demons still transgress. Exorcists hunt these demons. When Rin discovers that he’s the son of Satan and a human woman and is meant to be the vessel that Satan will use to invade the human world, he decides to become an exorcist and fight back.

Personal Thoughts: 
This is taking over Star Driver’s coveted time slot, so A-1’s been clearly sinking a lot of budget into it. Or at least it appears so. Like I said before, A-1’s promos always look far far better than their shows actually end up being. Heck, remember how good and action packed the trailers for TogaInu looked? Ha. What a joke that ended up being. The staff is fairly unimpressive, as is, again, the fact that it’s A-1, who has become the new Gonzo in recent years. I predict an impressive first couple episodes followed by a speedy decline in writing and production, then a completely nonsensical ending. And that’s me being optimistic.

Preseason Swing Rating: 
    
What about Kali? Where’s the love for Kali?

What If a Female Manager of a High School Baseball Team Read Drucker’s "Management"?
http://www3.nhk.or.jp/anime/moshidora/
Studio: Production IG
Genre: Sports
Staff/Cast Information: ANN Entry
Premiers April 25th

Summary: 
Minami is the manager of her school’s baseball team, and despite how bad they are, she wants to take them to the nationals. To that end, she begins using Drucker’s Management principles to guide them.

Personal Thoughts: 
Worst title ever. Don’t let the contractions fool you. That is seriously what the show is named. This was originally scheduled to be broadcast over two weeks, one episode a day, but was pushed back a month and to a normal schedule due to tsunami, and after a few more scheduling hiccups is back on the original schedule. This is Production IG’s F-team (Wellber, Library Wars, Erin, etc), so that’s already depressing. Plus, the episode 0 preview was… as exciting as Drucker, let’s say. Beyond that, it’s a show about baseball… and Drucker’s management techniques. Because if there’s nothing more interesting than Project Management 101, it’s Project Management 101 plus baseball. Nice to know that all people need to do to be better at sports is to read a book on decades old management techniques. 

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Learning is fun and not boring at all!

Final Thoughts:

The season’s looking pretty decent with a couple action shows with solid casts and I’m sure at least one of the comedies will manage to pull it together. That’s more promising than many seasons. Still, there are a rather lot of original shows with people who do not have particularly good track records at writing. Odds are at least a couple of them will turn out either bad enough to be amusing or maybe even good, but I’m not holding my breath. There’s also quite a bit of maudlin drama too, which gives me hives, but at least the premieres are all spread out enough to not drive me crazy with one week of thirty new shows airing. You have to relish the little victories. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Posted in Season Preview | 34 Comments »

34 Shouts From the Peanut Gallery

  • Chen says:

    Ah, leave it to Aroduc to make every new season look mundane.

    PS. Blog Hen Zemi plzkthxbai

    Aroduc says:

    Somebody has to be there to balance out the cries of EPICEST AMAZING SHOW OF THE YEAR that erupt a month before the season begins.

    Travis says:

    Thankless work, but someone’s got to do it. C looked really interesting until you informed me that it was another noitaminA. I don’t know what my deal is, but even though their stuff is… NoitaminA, there’s something that catches my attention. C looks interesting, at least potentially.

    Way more interesting than Spicy Wolf – Drucker edition. Hot damn, the snake oil mastermind even manages to get his own show from beyond the grave… I hated that guy so much in school, but figured that he was pretty much dead and gone. Swell.

    On the other hand, things could be worse. Ah, wait – one more gripe. It is a lordly 21F/-6 celsius out here. 春ですよ.

  • AfroSquirrel says:

    You know what I’d like to see? SHAFT making a series about itself.

    parappa-iranai says:

    luwlz, at least madoka magica was good

  • Hexmage says:

    So let me get this straight. This season we’ve got

    1) A show about a club that studies masturbation habits.
    2) A show about a loli succubi who needs semen to live.
    3) A show about a guy whose powers depend on breast milk.

    What the fucking fuck.

    Anise_Punter says:

    Failing to mention that the loli succubus is voiced by the Dread Banshee Kugyu, somehow making it more horrific than it already was, costs you a point I’m afraid.

    A lot of stuff looks good, nothing looks great though.

    keifun says:

    For some reason I imagine Japan doesn’t see that as “pushing the envelope” enough. I was gonna come up with a plot that WOULD “push the envelope” but my mind’s not that messed up yet.

    Aroduc says:

    The rabid lesbian wannabe molester rooming with one half of transgendered siblings and a slightly exhibitionist maid barely even registers in comparison.

    Aaaaaand, one of the shows I didn’t include because it’s only 12 minutes long is about little fairies that teach 30 year old virgins how to have sex.

    Anonymous says:

    One word:

    Japan

  • backspace says:

    … but that’s not a horse.

  • firecow says:

    Aroduc, you forgot about Appleseed 13 you know.

    P.S. A-1 is the new Gonzo everyone, let’s all expect bad things to happen when they get bankrupt just like Gonzo did by putting many shows a season without taking a break.

    Aroduc says:

    No I didn’t. It’s not a broadcast show AND it’s not even scheduled to be released until mid-June.

  • Ubu Roi says:

    I may just sleep through spring.

    /starts rummaging through the unwatched pile../

    “oh my, yes, I forgot about that show.”

  • Keith 'Azure Grimoire' Kurogane says:

    Looking forward to watch Steins;Gate…
    I just wish it wont degenerate badly like Chaos;Head

  • Moogy says:

    Personally, I’m looking forward to Dog Days. Seven Arcs can do some neat stuff when they feel like it, let’s just hope they feel like it this time!

  • Kaisos says:

    A preview filled with the expected negativity, but at the end…

    “The season’s looking pretty good”

    Really? Aroduc, you confuse me to no end.

    Aroduc says:

    Hey. There’s at least two shows that look promising, plus I’m sure at least one of the main comedies will hold up its end. Or maybe it’s just the effect of every show this season going to absolute crap in the second half.

  • Longhaul says:

    “I’m just hoping that they completely drop the angle of a ten year old needing to consume semen within the first two minutes of the show”

    It never really comes up, it should be pointed out that the MC (who is a 22year old dad of a 10year old) isnt interested in the loli’s.

  • Dynellen says:

    Astalotte’s Toy, you asked them to drop the whole consuming male essence angle, I’m happy to say the manga basically immediately forgets the whole thing and just turns into decent comedy.

    In addition to that I’ll probably watch a-channel (the few manga chapters I read were decent)
    maria-holic (liked the start of first season, later on it got extremely repetitive with everything ending with blood gushing from nose, hope it’ll be better this time around)
    Aria the Scarlet Ammo, the manga started out great but then there’s basically nothing happening but only few chapters have been scanlated so I’m hoping the pace will pick up.

    Seems to be comedy focused season for me, though I do hope some action shows will be worth watching. Toriko for example is not that bad as a manga but usually jump anime adaptations are mind numbingly boring and dragged out. Reading through ~14 pages of manga is so much better than watching the whole thing being stretched out to 20 minute episode.

  • Anonymous says:

    “but then again, this is Nomad, who hasn’t really made anything particularly strong since Rozen Maiden”

    Pshaw, we all know Kampfer was their top tier work.

  • DmonHiro says:

    “I’m just hoping that they completely drop the angle of a ten year old needing to consume semen within the first two minutes of the show and never ever bring it up ever again.”

    Funny you should say that, because in the manga, they DO. It hasn’t been mentioned since chapter 1 or 2.

  • Jonathan says:

    Many a time you mention history of studios’ successes or failures, which is quite interesting to me not having watched many of the failures you note. But one thing is for sure, some “comedies” turn into horror flicks the likes of which would give Caligula nightmares. Then some of these serious dramas might go something along the line of George Carlin having a child with Bill Cosby, frightening.

    On the other hand, 10 fingers.

  • Mesousa says:

    Dogakobo has it’s own genre now. Fro all the wrong reasons.

    Seriously, get out of the eroge-game route, guys, at least adapt a manga, geez.

  • The Dude says:

    Kaiji and C are the only shows I’m actually looking forward to this time around. I hope there’s at least one show that looks better than it sounds.

  • shadow says:

    and more lolis………..

  • marcus says:

    Good preview as always, and accurate. It’s funny when i was looking at the other blogs previews some of them are godawfully wrong. (toei doing emma etc.)

    The season looks good and all. but only looks good. A-1 and their shows. JC staff being the ol’ jc staff. tatsunoko’s alive again. QWASER. XEBEC being XEBEC and etc.

    why do companies make their titles longer then shortening it? it’s an awful idea yet effective. the a-1 show anohana has a short and cute title. NO. it’s the short of Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Boku-tachi wa Mada Shiranai.

    WTF? Don’t make even mention the baseball one. the longer title da better. NO. Seriously i expected better…

  • Hinano says:

    The remaining portion was shots of Nanako looking aghast when people ate pizza that other characters had just jacked off onto.

    God damnit, and I thought this show might be interesting from the title & the promo pic. So much for that ( ´_ゝ`)

  • anon111 says:

    >The first season was extremely underwhelming

    So glad that I take Aroduc’s opinion with a grain of salt.

    If I listened to him and anon every season, I’d watch basically nothing. Nothing good, anyways.

  • TOP2NE1 says:

    Toriko; the word manservice comes to mind.

  • ~xxx says:

    Few of them are watchable… the rest are rather stuffs I didn’t enjoy.

  • chad001 says:

    Trust me when I say; Steins;Gate might be one of your best bets. Of course, I;m not sure if that means it is good, or that it isn’t as pansy as the rest of them, but it does say SOMETHING.

    Also, good job with the commercialism and amazon.co.jp joke. I didn’t get the amazon part for a bit though, thought it was a glitch, then looked at commercialism, and BANG! Hilarity Ensues.

    Unfortunately, it also took me 5 minutes to figure out the Photoshop + Wording joke… Fail (for me). I WAS wondering why the name wasn’t right for Yugioh, but now it makes sense…

  • karasu says:

    what the effing dick is Adam Smith? I have never heard of that animation company before.

  • The Phantom says:

    The ones that seem interesting are: Steins gate, A Bridge to the Starry Sky, The World God Only Knows,C , Deadman Wonderland and Blue Exorcist.

    The rest is crap and we have plenty this season, even the ones I mentioned dont look that interesting (except The world god only knows and maybe steins gate), definitely this season does not look that good.