Winter 2016 Anime Series Preview

I am so behind on my posts. Still need to work on around 10 shows that’s not including series from the Summer and Fall season.  For one of my New Years resolutions I’m making it a priority to cover this new season on a regular basis. At least I’m going to try to.  Without further ado here is the list of series.


Active Raid: Kidou Kyoushuushitsu Dai Hakkei

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  • ANIMATION STUDIO: Production IMS
  • CHIEF DIRECTOR: Goro Taniguchi
  • DIRECTOR: Noriaki Akitaya
  • ORIGINAL CREATOR: Original Work
  • SERIES COMPOSITION: Naruhisa Arakawa
  • CHARACTER DESIGNER: Asako Nishida
  • ORIGINAL CHARACTER DESIGNER: Shun Saeki
  • MUSIC: Kotaro Nakagawa

PLOT: An original anime set in a part of Tokyo that has descended into a quagmire, the story follows Unit 8 of the 5th Special Public Security Section’s 3rd Mobile Assault Division — popularly called “The Eighth” — who don powered armor “Willware” exoskeletons to counter the rise in crime.


The chief director is the same director of Code Geass. I’m glad to see we’ve got the Bakuman director helming this project under Taniguchi.  Hopefully there will be a mix of creative influence here.  Having the Spice & Wolf may help with the pacing of this series.  However, knowing it’s the same script writer of Upotte!! has me very worried that this is going to be just another mecha series filled with fan service.  Premise sounds interesting though especially the quagmire as the backdrop.  I just hope they’ve done their research for this show.

LIKELY TO BLOG: 65%


 

Ajin

Ajin

  • ANIMATION STUDIO: POLYGON PICTURES
  • CHIEF DIRECTOR: Hiroyuki Seshita
  • DIRECTOR: Hiroaki Ando
  • ORIGINAL CREATOR: Gamon Sakurai
  • SERIES COMPOSITION: Hiroshi Seko
  • CHARACTER DESIGNER: Yuki Moriyama
  • MUSIC: Yuugo Kanno

PLOT: 17 years ago, immortals first appeared on the battlefields of Africa. Later, rare, unknown new immortal lifeforms began appearing among humans, and they became known as “Ajin” (demi-humans). Just before summer vacation, a Japanese high school student is instantly killed in a traffic accident on his way home from school. However, he is revived, and a price is placed on his head. Thus begins a boy’s life on the run from all of humankind.


Coming back from the film the entire staff returns for the television adaptation.  POLYGON PICTURES uses a 3D technique that not very many companies use.  Their known for this and it really works, it’s very different from most anime that air alongside it. It’s also the team that did the Sidonia no Kishi series and film. I’m looking forward to this since it’s a horror series and music composer Yuugo Kanno did a nice job with the first season of Psycho-Pass’ soundtrack. What has me really sold is the script writer one of my favorites from 2015.  Hiroshi Seko.  Amazing writer that took on the best episode of Kill la Kill, episode 5.  Plus a few episodes of Zankyou no Terror.  I haven’t read the manga but I’ve heard nothing but stellar things about it. I’m looking forward to this one.

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Akagami no Shirayukihime Season 2

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  • ANIMATION STUDIO: BONES
  • DIRECTOR: Masahiro Ando
  • ORIGINAL CREATOR: Sorata Akizuki
  • SERIES COMPOSITION: Deko Akao
  • CHARACTER DESIGNER: Kumiko Takahashi
  • MUSIC: Michiru Oshima

PLOT: A follow up to the first season’s story. Shirayuki was born with extremely rare and beautiful red hair. When the Prince of her home country asks her to become his concubine, she decides to run away from her home. While making her escape through a forest, Shirayuki has an encounter with a boy named Zen, the Prince of a neighboring country. Shirayuki decides to join Zen in his country, in the pursuit of a better life, respect, and romance.


 

I absolutely loved the first season.  I’m still working on reviewing it. Michiru Oshima is one of my favorite composers of 2015. Her compositions are absolutely compelling and for a classic tale like this one it’s not doubt she can’t deliver another top notch score to this second season!

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Assassination Classroom Season 2

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  • ANIMATION STUDIO: LERCHE
  • DIRECTOR: Seiji Kishi
  • ORIGINAL CREATOR: Yusei Matsui
  • SERIES COMPOSITION: Makoto Uezu
  • CHARACTER DESIGNER: Kazuaki Morita
  • MUSIC: Naoki Sato

PLOT: Class 3E is about to begin their second semester. And while some things have changed, the class assignment is still the same: kill their teacher before the end of the year. Easier said than done since Koro Sensei’s made it clear he won’t go down without a fight.


Boring story.  I tried to watch this series when it initially aired last spring and it was just awful.  Which is a surprise because I’ve enjoyed Seiji Kasha’s works before.

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Ao no Kanata no Four Rhythm

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  • ANIMATION STUDIO: GONZO
  • DIRECTOR: Fumitoshi Oizaki
  • ORIGINAL CREATOR: 
    • Nacho Kio
    • Ryoichi Watanabe
    • Ryusuke Mutsu
  • SERIES COMPOSITION: Reiko Yoshida
  • ORIGINAL CHARACTER DESIGNER: 
    • Itsuka Yuki
    • Suzumori
  • MUSIC: Elements Garden

PLOT: In a world where flying is as simple as riding a bicycle, there is a popular sport called “Flying Circus” (dogfight race). The protagonist who once hoped for a future in this sport suffered a setback due to an overwhelming defeat, and withdrew from the sport for this and some other reason. However, he met the transfer student Asuka Kurashina, and in teaching her to fly the skies, the old passion returned. He takes part in the Flying Circus again.


Another eroge visual novel turned anime series.  Judging by the trailers the animation doesn’t look too bad.  It’s got a strange 3D look on the character designs that almost looks as if they did finishing touches with CG animation. The worrisome part about this is the original PC visual novel was written by Fruit of Grisaia‘s Nacho Kio and Kururu‘s Ryoichi Watanabe.  Both are known for doing extreme ecchi scenes and having an animated work in their hands just oozes sexually suggestive scenes everywhere.  I don’t really know much about the score production other than that its done by Fruit of Grisaia’s team–heavy on the synthesizer stringed melodies.  The story sounds generic too.  Curious about the setting though.

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Boku Dake ga Inai Machi [ERASED]

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  • ANIMATION STUDIO: A-1 Pictures
  • DIRECTOR: Tomohiko Ito
  • ORIGINAL CREATOR: Kei Sanbe
  • SERIES COMPOSITION: Taku Kishimoto
  • CHARACTER DESIGNER: Keigo Sasaki
  • MUSIC: Yuki Kaijura

PLOT: Follows Satoru, a struggling manga artist who has an ability that forces him back in time to prevent deaths. When his mother is killed he’s sent back in time to solve the mystery, but ends up back in elementary school, just before the disappearance of his classmate Kayo.


Asian Kung Fu Generation is performing the opening song! Yes!! What’s even cooler is that they’re redoing a song from 2004, Re:Re.  Nice way to tie in the show’s themes of time travel! I could not have asked for a better team to handle this anime adaptation! I’ve been reading the manga and it’s absolutely wonderful! Gin no Saji‘s Tomohiko Ito will do a nice job getting the slow pacing down. Taku Kishimoto will nail down the characterization wonderfully!  The voice cast has me ever more intrigued. They went with authenticity by having lead character Satoru Fujinuma [29 years old] be voiced by popular J-Drama actor Shinnosuke Mitsushima! Plus, the voice of Satoru Fujinuma [10 years old] will be voiced by J-Drama actress Tao Tsuchiya from popular film series Rurouni Kenshin! This will be the first time these two will be lending their talents to an animated work! If I remember correctly, Michiko e Hatchin has been the only other series to have it’s two starring roles be cast by big name Japanese actresses! This is going to be very good! The music already sounds dark and carries a heavy presence to the series themes of death and supernatural time traveling. Yuki Kaijura will do wonders for this anime! Great addition to the Noitamina lineup!

LIKELY TO BLOG: 110% [I felt going above 100 was appropriate for this series]


 

Bubuki Buranki

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  • ANIMATION STUDIO: SANZIGEN
  • DIRECTOR: Daizen Komatsuda
  • ORIGINAL WORK
  • SERIES COMPOSITION: 
    • Jirou Ishii
    • Yukinori Kitajima
  • CHARACTER DESIGNER: Yuusuke Kozaki
  • MUSIC: Maseru Yokoyama

PLOT: Returning to Japan after having been away for 10 years, Azuma Kazuki finds himself attacked and captured by armed strangers. What saved him was his childhood friend, the girl Kogane Asabuki, and the Bubuki that had become her right hand.


Commemorating the studio’s 10th anniversary. Really?  Let’s hope they don’t mess this up like they did with Arslan Senki‘s animation.  I think what strikes a positive in my book for seeing the first few episodes is Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso‘s composer Masaru Yokohama doing the music for this series.  Arakawa Under the Bridge soundtrack was amazing too. Great to see this guy being used for more stuff! What worries me a bit is that Hamatora was a mess of series and we’ve got the creator of that working on the scripts to this.  The animation is strikingly different than a lot of series I saw last year.  It’s like a cross between God Eater‘s cell-shaded style with designs straight out of Black Rock Shooter not sure if I’m glad about this. 3D animation always has the habit of being too shaky.  Sometimes it works like with Sidonia no Kishi but that’s because that series had a strong narrative to tell.  That being said, Bubuki Buranki is by the illustrator of Speed Grapher.  Character designs in that show were fantastic for its time.

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Dagashi Kashi

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  • ANIMATION STUDIO: Feel
  • DIRECTOR: Shigehito Takayanagi
  • ORIGINAL CREATOR: Kotoyama
  • SERIES COMPOSITION: 
    • Shigehito Takayanagi
    • Yasuko Kamo
  • CHARACTER DESIGNER: Kanetoshi Kamimoto
  • MUSIC: 
    • Pony Canyon [producer]
    • Satoshi Motoyama [sound director]

PLOT: Kokonotsu “Coconuts” Shikada dreams of becoming a famous manga artist. The only problem—he’s terrible. His real talent is selling the complex and delicious snacks in his father’s “dagashi” shop. He never thought much about the family business until the trendy, eccentric Hotaru showed up. As a lover of “dagashi,” she can’t let his talent go to waste and decides she won’t stop ‘til she’s sold him on sweets.


I’m sold on the plot alone because it’s strange.  The focus on sweets should give anyone that’s a fan of Shokugeki no Soma a try for this series.  I checked out a bit of the manga and while it’s decent at best it does carry a lot of anime tropes that are often overused.  A comedy series with no substantial dramatic plot.  Just a strong emphasis on gag jokes with female Hotaru teasing Shikada left and right.  In manga format it’s ok because there is a pacing to it that balances between that and the side girl character that’s in love with Shikada.  Hopefully this show won’t be heavy on the fan service.  Given by this studio’s track record it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest that it would be anything more than just that.

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Dimension W

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  • ANIMATION STUDIO: 
    • Studio 3Hz
    • Orange
    • Funimation [part of the production committee]
  • DIRECTOR: Kanta Kamei
  • ORIGINAL CREATOR: Yuji Iwahara
  • SERIES COMPOSITION: Shotaro Suga
  • CHARACTER DESIGNER: Tokuyuki Matsutake
  • MUSIC: Shiina Go

PLOT: Humanity harnessed a new inexhaustible energy from inventions called “Coils” in 2051. In 2072, a skilled recovery specialist named Kyōma Mabuchi encounters a mysterious, beautiful woman right in the middle of a certain job. It is a fateful encounter that opens the door to the new dimension “W.”


The animation looks very stylish for a series that is extremely action-packed and is sci-fi heavy.  I’m glad to see the Dark Than Black and Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex writer working on this.  He’s got a knack for science fiction and as beautiful as the characters look I’m sure this one is going to be pretty good.  My big issue with this is Kanta Kamei.  He did a nice job on Saekano earlier this year and Usagi Drop from 2011 was a great Noitamina series but when it comes to action series he overlooks the importance of characterization and how to get that on the screen.  I’ve got faith that Shotaro Suga will point him in the right direction, not to mention Funimation providing some backbone will definitely make the first few episodes come together quite nicely.  It’ll be interesting to see how the English dub will be handled considering they’ve got their hands in this show even way before it airs.

Looking forward to this one. What’s also great is where the original source material came from–Yuji Iwahara, the creator of King of Thorn!  He also designed the characters to Darker than Black!  When I saw this trailer I immediately got Darker than Black vibes from it.

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Divine Gate

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  • ANIMATION STUDIO: Studio Pierrot
  • DIRECTOR: Noriyuki Abe
  • ORIGINAL CREATOR: based on GungHo’s iOS and Android app
  • SERIES COMPOSITION: Natsuko Takahashi
  • CHARACTER DESIGNER: Ichiro Uno
  • MUSIC: Takumi Ozawa

PLOT: No one knows when, where, or how “the gate” was created; furthermore, no one can see, touch, or access it. However, when “the gate” is opened, realms of mortals, fairies, and daemons collide, destroying world orders. While leaders of three realms try to restore orders, some talented and capable mortals begin to approach the gate, now known as “Divine Gate.” Yet no one has reached the Gate and returned, however.


You know I’m not sure why this series’ writer Natsuko Takahashi is even doing this show.  It’s just a rehash of Gate from 2015.  The animation doesn’t even look that good even for Pierrot’s standards.  Takahashi could do so much better. I mean look he wrote the script for the animated version of Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo the series that single handedly had one of the best episodes I’ve ever seen in an anime!  Dare I even mention Tokyo Magnitude 8.0, fantastic character study! What’s even weirder is that the studio is using former Madhouse employee Ichiro Uno to design the characters, the same animator that worked on the amazing Metropolis film by Osamu Tezuka!  The anime industry is really grasping at straws these past few season aren’t they?  Gone are the days of 13 series per season.

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Durarara!!x2 Ketsu

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  • ANIMATION STUDIO: Studio Shuka
  • DIRECTOR: Takahiro Omori
  • ORIGINAL CREATOR: Ryogo Narita
  • SERIES COMPOSITION: Noboru Takagi
  • CHARACTER DESIGNER: Takahiro Kishida
  • ORIGINAL CHARACTER DESIGNER: Suzuhito Yasuda
  • MUSIC: Makoto Yoshimori

PLOT: Ikebukuro is engulfed in a spiral of confusion. A group of individuals, each carrying the weight of their own past, gathers at Shinra’s apartment, while in the city the Dollars, Yellow Scarves, and Saika contend for power. However, the situation takes a turn that no one could expect when Celty’s head is revealed to the public, as this tale approaches its conclusion.


I’m really glad to see that nothing has changed between x2 Shou x2 Ten and now this part.  The staff and seiyuu remain the same and I was quite impressed with Studio Shuka’s animation on these previous seasons.  Not as detailed with designs but they do have a different style that’s still very engaging.  I’m sure I will be following this one once I do a full season review of x2 Ten rather than episode-by-episode in order to catch up.

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Fairy Tail Zero

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  • ANIMATION STUDIO: 
    • A-1 Pictures
    • Bridge
  • DIRECTOR: TBA
  • ORIGINAL CREATOR: Hiro Mashima
  • SERIES COMPOSITION: TBA
  • CHARACTER DESIGNER: TBA
  • MUSIC: Yasuharu Takanashi

PLOT: Many years ago, Mavis Vermilion was a servant on Sirius Island, mistreated by a guild master and his daughter, Zera. But Mavis stayed positive, because her mother once told her that fairies never visit people who cry about their problems. When the guild came under attack, Mavis pulled Zera from the wreckage into the forest. Seven years went by, and the powerful wizards Warrod Sequen, Precht, and Yuri Dreyer arrived on the island, seeking a powerful jade gemstone. This journey would change the course of magical history.


Not much is really known about the anime adaptation of this other than the music is done by the same composer of the ongoing Fairy Tail series. I’ll be honest, I never actually seen Fairy Tail past episode 75.  I stopped because it was getting too repetitive.  I feel this won’t be any different than the mainstream series.

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Ganbare! Lulu Lolo [3rd Season]

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  • ANIMATION STUDIO: Fanworks
  • DIRECTOR: Yuji Umoto
  • ORIGINAL CREATOR: 
    • Hiroyuki Aihara (story)
    • Nami Adachi (art)
  • SERIES COMPOSITION: 
    • Hiroyuki Aihara
    • Masako Imai
  • CHARACTER DESIGNER: TBA
  • MUSIC: Yasuharu Takanashi

PLOT: The anime centers around the daily life of two twin bear sisters: the orange-colored Lulu and the yellow-colored Lolo. The two take on new jobs and, despite the occasional failure and tears, give their best efforts.


I’ve actually never heard of this.  It’s apparently on its third season and is a children’s series. I have absolutely no interest in this show whatsoever. It’s based on the best-selling Kuma no Gekko picture books that inspired the other two tv anime and feature length film.  If they had Kunihiko Ikuhara direct this I would definitely watch this!

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Gate: Jietai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakeri 2

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  • ANIMATION STUDIO: A-1 Pictures
  • DIRECTOR: Takahiko Kyogoku
  • ORIGINAL CREATOR: Takumi Yanai
  • SERIES COMPOSITION: Tatsuhiko Urahata
  • CHARACTER DESIGNER: Jun Nakai
  • ORIGINAL CHARACTER DESIGNER: Daisuke Izuka
  • MUSIC: Yoshiaki Fujisawa

PLOT: A gate appears in Tokyo’s Ginza district sometime in the 21st century. From the gate pours out monsters, knights from middle-age Europe, and other fantasy-like beings, and they kill many of the citizens of Tokyo. This event is known as the Ginza Incident. The government sends a small group of soldiers from the Japanese Self-Defense Forces to the alternate world beyond the gate. Led by otaku soldier Yōji, they find that the villages in the world are being attacked by a dragon. An elf girl who is a survivor from the dragon’s rampage joins the group in their travels across the dangerous new world.


A-1 Pictures is doing a ton of stuff this season. Four series including one of my top picks, Boku Machi.  Plus they’re working on shonen ai film DoukyuuseiGlass no Hana to Kowasu Sekai and Persona 3 The Movie 4: Winter of Rebirth. That’s a lot of budget to use and animators.  Hopefully this season won’t run them dry for awhile. The staff returns for the second half of Gate. Yay. [You may insert sarcasm here]

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Hai to Gensou no Grimgar

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  • ANIMATION STUDIO: A-1 Pictures
  • DIRECTOR: Ryosuke Nakamura
  • ORIGINAL CREATOR: Ao Jumonji
  • SERIES COMPOSITION: Ryosuke Nakamura
  • CHARACTER DESIGNER: Mieko Hosoi
  • ORIGINAL CHARACTER DESIGNER: Eiri Shirai
  • MUSIC: TBA

PLOT: When Haruhito awakens, he’s in the dark. He doesn’t know where he is, why is he here, and where he came from. Around him there are several men and women who have the same circumstances. Haruhito and his companions find themselves in a “game-like world” called Grimgar and must form a party, cooperate, and learn new skills to survive the harsh environment together.


Oh my goodness. This sounds promising.  For one it’s another A-1 Pictures production.  The director of the amazing and horrifying Moryou no Hako!  It’s really good he’s writing adapting this too because he sure knows how to tell a story without too much fluff. However, this is coming from a light novel so we don’t know how far this anime could get too.  Hopefully it won’t end up like what I’ve been hearing Rokka turned out to be. Still need to finish that series.  Also peaking my interest for this one is Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju character designer Mieko Hosoi.  Since its A-1 Pictures and Mieko they both know how to illustrate and get the animation to really move well.

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Haruchika: Haruta to Chika wa Seishun Suru

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  • ANIMATION STUDIO: P.A. Works
  • DIRECTOR: Masakazu Hashimoto
  • ORIGINAL CREATOR: Sei Hatsuno
  • SERIES COMPOSITION: Reiko Yoshida
  • CHARACTER DESIGNER: Asako Nishida
  • ORIGINAL CHARACTER DESIGNER: Namaniku ATK of Nitro+
  • MUSIC: Shiroh Hamaguchi

PLOT: Haruta and Chika are members of their high school wind instrument club that is on the verge of being shut down. The two are childhood friends, and they spend their days practicing hard while also trying to recruit new members. When a certain incident happens within their school, they work together to solve it.


When I heard this was receiving an anime adaptation I was ecstatic.  Sei Hatsuno is a very talented suspense writer.  I don’t know know decided it was a good idea to make this a P.A. Works series but I want to slap them. A tame music composer that’s worked on a lot of shonen and slice of life series.  This doesn’t work at all! The story is about the only thing that has my interest.  If anything they should have had MAPPA animate this with Nobuteru Yuki in charge of designing the characters.  The cover art just screams lots of potential from this guy.  It’s too bad Haruchika is receiving a very different style.  As much as I enjoy this story I will at least check out the first episode and make more judgments then.

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Koukaku no Pandora

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  • ANIMATION STUDIO: Studio Gokumi
  • DIRECTOR: Muneori Nawa
  • ORIGINAL CREATOR: 
    • Kyushu Rikudou
    • Masamune Shirow
  • SERIES COMPOSITION: Tatsuya Takahashi
  • CHARACTER DESIGNER: Takuya Tani
  • MUSIC: TECHNOBOYS PULCRAFT GREEN-FUND

PLOT: In an age when large-scale natural disasters frequently happen all over the world, when cyborgs and autonomous robots are beginning to appear on the market in technologically advanced nations, and major world powers compete for technology and resources, the divide between rich and poor grows and the future for the poor looks bleak. In this transitional stage, everyone wanders around in a self-indulgent daze and the way out isn’t clear… This is the story of how two cybernetically enhanced girls meet.


I love Masamune Shirow’s works and this has a very interesting sci-fi story. I’m too sure about this one. Character designs look decent and it has Shirow’s complex story written all over this.  Cyberpunk setting, artwork looks excellent and the soundtrack sounds promising. TECHNOBOYS landed a very good ending song for Sakurako this past season.  From the trailer the music reminds me of Conisch.  I’m just not sold on the plot but I’ll at least give it a try.  Masamune Shirow’s been given the chance to departfrom his usual gritty technique in storytelling and artistic talent with Pandora.  I’m curious how this will turn out because it also has the creator of wacky, hyper-tension comedy series Excel Saga.

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Luck & Logic

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  • ANIMATION STUDIO: Dogakobo
  • DIRECTOR: 
    • Koichi Chigara
    • Takashi Naoya
  • ORIGINAL CREATOR: 
    • Kyushu Rikudou
    • Masamune Shirow
  • SERIES COMPOSITION: Yuuya Takahashi
  • CHARACTER DESIGNER: 
    • Rei Aoi
    • Katsuhiro Kumagai
    • Kenji Andou (monster design)
    • Makoto Kobayashi (mechanical design)
  • MUSIC: Tatsuya Katou

PLOT: In L.C. 922, people faced a sudden crisis. In Tetra Heaven, the land of legend, a hundred years of war had come to a close. The gods who lost the war searched for a new place to live, and found it in Septpia, the human world, which they proceeded to attack. The Logicalists attached to ALCA, a special police agency whose duty it was to protect cities from assaults by foreigners (angels), were compelled to act in defense of cities, whether they wished to or not. Depending on their ability, Logicalists could initiate trance with goddesses from the other world, and stand a fighting chance on the battlefield. A civilian named Yoshichika Tsurugi, who lacked “Logic” and lived happily with his family, was caught up in an attack, and took shelter along with many people. He meets a beautiful goddess named Athena. In her hands, she had the “Logic” that Yoshichika lacked. Now both Yoshichika and Athena head to their destiny.


Another anime being produced alongside a card game based off of it. There seems to be a ton of these lately.  Bandai Visual, Bushiroad, Lantis, Nitro+ and Yui Iodo.  So many companies are under committee for this series!  Animation is very bright and has an extreme sense of “computer drawn style” to it.  I like the illustrations for the card game however for anime format it doesn’t look as good.  Story doesn’t even sound good–it’s fall under “boy meets girl” trope.  I’ll at least check out the first episode because Studio Dogakobo is a mixed bag.  GJ-bu was horribly animated while Natsuyuki Rendezvous was one of the most gorgeous series of 2012! I’m not going to build up high expectations for this one.

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Mahou Tsukai Precure!

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  • ANIMATION STUDIO: Toei Animation
  • DIRECTOR: Masato Mitsuka
  • ORIGINAL WORK
  • SERIES COMPOSITION: Isao Murayama
  • CHARACTER DESIGNER: Emiko Miyamoto
  • MUSIC: Tatsuya Katou

PLOT: Mirai Asahina, a 13-year-old girl who’s going into her second year of middle school, witnesses a mysterious object fall in to the park. Excitedly, she brings her stuffed bear Mofurun with her to see what it was. When she gets there she sees a girl named Riko flying on a broom. Mirai has a lot of questions, and Riko explains that she’s searching for something. The two of them are wearing similar pendants. Then Batti, an ally of the dark magic user Dokurokushi, appears before them and demands the “Link Stone Emerald.” Batti creates a monster called a “Yokobaru” and drives them into a corner. Mirai, Riko, and Mofurun join hands and speak the magic words “Cure-Up Rapapa,” their pendants glow, and they become the legendary Precure.


Toei Animation on another Precure! project.  Judging by the other series in Precure! I’m not counting on anything large with this one.  Isao Murayama works on mainly children’s series so it’s nice to know the production is being handled by staff that’s worked on Precure! before.  This is a series that sells extremely well and why mess with a good thing. Unless you get Masaaki Yuasa to make his own Precure! concept. That’s something I’d for sure watch!

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Musaigen no Phantom World

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  • ANIMATION STUDIO: Kyoto Animation
  • DIRECTOR: Tatsuya Ishihara
  • ORIGINAL CREATOR: Soichiro Hatano
  • SERIES COMPOSITION: Fumihiko Shimo
  • CHARACTER DESIGNER: Kazumi Ikeda
  • ORIGINAL CHARACTER DESIGNER: Shirabi
  • MUSIC: EFFY

PLOT: In the near future, in a world born of human imagination, what humans would call ghosts or monsters appear, and they come to be called “phantoms.” Haruhiko Ichijō, is a first year at Hosea Academy along with his upperclassman Mai Kawakami, who fights phantoms with the ability “Spirit of Five Elements,” Reina Izumi, who has the ability “Phantom Eater,” and Koito Minase, who fights phantoms in solitude. They experience the ups and downs of high school life before a certain incident leads them to the truth of this world.


Kyoto Animation’s big work of the season.  Based on a light novel series with loads of fan service.  This looks like a cross between two of Kyoto’s earlier works Kyoukai no Kanata and Amagami Brilliant Park.  It’s weird.  Supernatural elements without slice of life mixed in between?  Chuunibyou was also based on a light novel series and I feel that this series will follow suit only using the source material as a recommendation instead of faithfully adapting it.  Looks like the entire team that gave us Kyoto’s works of the last 5 to 10 years are working on this.  I will say this.  The animation is stunning and these animators know how to pencil out characters that really know how to flow; however outside of that there’s not much.  Everything about this series is all in-house down to the art director and background animation studios.  This must be cheaper for them rather than outsourcing to another animation studio’s pool of illustrators.

LIKELY TO BLOG: 20%


 

 

 

Norn9: Norn + Nonet

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  • ANIMATION STUDIO: Kinema Citrus
  • DIRECTOR: Takao Abo
  • ORIGINAL CREATOR: based on Otomate’s Norn9 PSP otome video game
  • SERIES COMPOSITION: Natsuko Takahashi
  • CHARACTER DESIGNER: Yukari Takeuchi
  • ORIGINAL CHARACTER DESIGNER: Teita
  • MUSIC: 

PLOT: The era where great powers of the world have all ventured overseas. Revolution and liberalism spread all over the world. Right when souls and earth are ill, a glowing sphere appeared in the sky, and removed the borders of the world. Three girls and nine young men depart together with a flying ship.


CG looks awful.  Stereotypical bishonen series with an overuse of filtering between blurry bright backgrounds and the animation on the characters looks very loose.  The protagonist is like she’s straight out of the otome series Amnesia.  Another horribly written anime and video game. She’s ashamed that she has abilities just like the guys in this series.  Something seriously needs to be done to change the pattern of these adaptations from otome games.  These are targeted towards a female audience but perhaps there should be more depth to the story instead of too much flair.  Here’s an idea try doing something like STAR DRIVER or Captain Earth and give some dynamic characters and add in a story with heart.

LIKELY TO BLOG: 0%


 

Nurse Witch Komugi-chan R

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  • ANIMATION STUDIO: Tatsunoko Productions
  • DIRECTOR: Keiichiro Kawaguchi
  • ORIGINAL CREATOR: based off Tatsuo Yoshida’s original series Nurse Witch Komugi
  • SERIES COMPOSITION: Momoko Murakami
  • CHARACTER DESIGNER: Takao Sano
  • ORIGINAL CHARACTER DESIGNER: Akio Watanabe
  • MUSIC: Kousuke Yamashita

PLOT: Komugi Yoshida is a somewhat clumsy second-year middle-school student whose strong point is her spiritedness. She performs as an idol like Kokona Saionji (her classmate and close friend) and Tsukasa Kisaragi (an idol who dresses in male clothing). However, unlike Kokona whose popularity is skyrocketing and Tsukasa with her charisma in male attire, Komugi’s only gigs are low-end ones like those at the local shopping district. Still, Komugi has her “dream” as she lives her dual lives as a idol and a middle school girl. One day, a mysterious injured creature named Usa-P appears before Komugi and asks if she wants to be a Legendary Girl who can use magical powers. She reluctantly becomes Magical Nurse and fights waves of masked figures. Meanwhile, a Magical Maid and a Magical Sister also show up.


A tried and true Mahou Shojo series.  I was hoping for another Gakkou Gurashi or Madoka but since this is a spin-off from the original Komugi-chan series then I know that’s not going to happen.  One of the best Mahou Shojo series I’ve ever seen was Mahou Shoujotai.  Amazing work and if anyone ever gets a chance to seeing it I highly recommend it!

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Phantasy Star Online 2: The Animation

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  • ANIMATION STUDIO: Telecom Animation Film
  • DIRECTOR: Keiichiro Kawaguchi
  • ORIGINAL CREATOR: based off SEGA’s hit video game series
  • SERIES COMPOSITION: Mitsutaka Hirota
  • CHARACTER DESIGNER: Minoko Takasu
  • MUSIC: TBA

PLOT: Itsuki Tachibana is a student of Seiga Academy, a co-ed boarding high school with excellent reputation, located in a suburb outside the city center. On a day of second semester, he was summoned by Rina Izumi, the most esteemed and praised chairperson, to the student council room, without knowing what awaits him.


Wow. This looks terrible.  Animation is flat and very little motion to the characters. CG is some of the worst I have ever seen!  The weirdest thing about this is that the director is working on this and mahou shoujo series Nurse Witch Komugi R. I wonder which series will turn out stronger?  Kawaguchi has mostly worked on slice of life series and a lot of them including Psychic Squad and Sket Dance were absolutely horrid.  Not much to expect from this one.

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Prince of Stride: Alternative

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  • ANIMATION STUDIO: MADHOUSE
  • DIRECTOR: Atsuko Ishizuka
  • ORIGINAL CREATOR: 
    • Shuji Sogabe (conceptual design)
    • Tomoyuki Uchikoga (graphic design)
  • SERIES COMPOSITION: Taku Kishimoto
  • CHARACTER DESIGNER: Kokunen Ou
  • ORIGINAL CHARACTER DESIGNER: Kanako Nono
  • MUSIC: TBA

PLOT: “Stride,” is an extreme sport that involves six people on one team who run relay races through towns. Hōnan Academy and other schools compete to win eastern Japan’s top Stride competition, “End of Summer.” However, Hōnan’s team has shut down. First-year high school students Takeru Fujiwara and Nana Sakurai attempt to restart the club, but they must recruit six members for the team. They ask Riku Yagami to join, but he turns them down by saying that Stride is the one thing he doesn’t want to do.


This is the biggest surprise this season.  MADHOUSE adapting an otome game!? What? If there is any show similar to this series narrative it would have to be Air Gear.  That’s the kind of vibe I get with this. A slice-of-life director that worked on a handful of episodes of NANA and Aoi Bungaku is helming this? Again…what?  I already know this series story is going to hold a lot of promise.  Same series writer as Gin no SajiUsagi Drop and this season’s fantastic Boku Machi!  Otome style mixed with FreeRunning sport with a solid director and series writing not to mention from the trailer the animation looks stunning! I will give this one a try!

LIKELY TO BLOG: 85%


 

Reikenzan: Hoshikuzu-tachi no Utage

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  • ANIMATION STUDIO: Studio DEEN
  • DIRECTOR: Iku Suzuki
  • ORIGINAL CREATOR: Guo Wang Bi Xia
  • SERIES COMPOSITION: TBA
  • CHARACTER DESIGNER: Makoto Iino
  • MUSIC: 
    • Kazuya Tanaka (sound director)
    • Half HP Studio (sound production)
    • Roy Kawasaki (soundtrack composer)

PLOT: A comet falling will bring about a great calamity, and in order to choose a child fated by the falling comet, the family of the “Reiken” clan with a long storied history is once again resuming its entrance examination process to find disciples. The protagonist Lu Wang, who possesses a special soul that is only available once in a thousand years, decides to take the exam, and he starts down the path toward becoming an exceptional sage.


My favorite sound director. Kazuya Tanaka handled the sound work on Mushishi and Aku no Hana (Flowers of Evil).  I wish that another studio was in charge of production, Studio DEEN hasn’t had the greatest track record lately.  I’ll give this one a try since its based on a Chinese online novel.  Details are scarce on how this show is going to look. I’m really curious.  If there’s anything Japan should animate from China it’s the manwha March Story.  Freaking amazing work.

LIKELY TO BLOG: 85%


 

Rilu Rilu Fairilu: Yousei no Door

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  • ANIMATION STUDIO: Studio DEEN
  • DIRECTOR: Sakura Gojo
  • ORIGINAL WORK: Developed by Sega Toys and SANRIO
  • SERIES COMPOSITION: Aya Matsui
  • CHARACTER DESIGNER: Jinshichi Yamaguchi
  • MUSIC: TBA

PLOT: “Fairilu” are fairies of flowers, insects, mermaids, or other entities that are born from “Farilu Seeds.” All Fairilu are born with their own key, and they must search to find and open the door that fits only their key. Once the Fairilu pass through the doors, they mature. The doors are also related to the human world.


Another Studio DEEN project this season and another children’s series for that matter.  Directorial debut for Sakura Gojo and coming from the Marmalade Boy script writer I’m not excited about this one.

LIKELY TO BLOG: 30%


 

Saijaku Muhai no Bahamut

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  • ANIMATION STUDIO: Lerche
  • DIRECTOR: Masaomi Ando
  • ORIGINAL CREATOR: Senri Akatsuki
  • SERIES COMPOSITION: Yuuko Kakihara
  • CHARACTER DESIGNER: Keiko Kurosawa
  • ORIGINAL CHARACTER DESIGNER: Ayumu Kasuga
  • MUSIC: Akito Matsuda

PLOT: Lux is a former prince of an empire named Arcadia that was overthrown via a rebellion five years earlier. Lux accidentally trespasses in a female dormitory’s bathing area, sees the kingdom’s new princess Lisesharte naked, and incurs her wrath. Lisesharte then challenges Lux to a Drag-Ride duel. Drag-Rides are ancient armored mechanical weapons that have been excavated from ruins all around the world. Lux used to be called the strongest Drag-Knight, but now he’s known as the “undefeated weakest” Drag-Knight because he will absolutely not attack in battle. After his duel with Lisesharte, Lux ends up attending the female-only academy that trains royals to be Drag-Knights.


I’m a fan of Yuuko Kakihara. Hopefully the show will carry the grace and balance that Chihayafuru‘s second season had. The director of Gakkou Gurashi will be able to provide a solid direction to the cast in this show, hopefully. As much as I hated Glasslip it had a decent musical score.  Akito Matsuda’s work on Sound! Euphonium is probably his best work to date.  I’ll give this one a look at.

LIKELY TO BLOG: 50%


 

Schwarzesmarken

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  • ANIMATION STUDIO: LIDENFILMS
  • DIRECTOR: Tetsuya Watanabe
  • ORIGINAL CREATOR: Hirohiko Yoshida
  • SERIES COMPOSITION: Tatsuto Higuchi
  • CHARACTER DESIGNER: Shuichi Hara
  • ORIGINAL CHARACTER DESIGNER: Carnelian
  • MUSIC: Elements Garden

PLOT: Germany was divided into East and West after WWII, where citizens of either treated the other side as enemies. In the midst of Cold War, however, the Earth was invaded by an alien life form landed on Kashgar, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, known as “Beta.” Now, ten years after the first contact, East Germany, formally German Democratic Republic, has become the front line.


The spin-off to Muv-Luv and another hentai visual novel series.  This doesn’t have much promise.  I wasn’t a fan of Muv Luv. The weirdest part about this is the director went from doing Zone of the Enders and directing episodes of incredible series like MONSTER and Neon Genesis Evangelion to tons of ecchi series, White AlbumTestament of Sister New Devil. What happened to him?  It doesn’t help that Cross Ange‘s writing is adapting the series.

LIKELY TO BLOG: 0%


 

Shoujo-tachi wa Konya wo Mezasu

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  • ANIMATION STUDIO: Project No. 9
  • DIRECTOR: Takuya Sato
  • ORIGINAL CREATOR: Takahiro
  • SERIES COMPOSITION: Yuniko Ayana
  • CHARACTER DESIGNER: Takayuki Noguchi
  • ORIGINAL CHARACTER DESIGNER: Matsuryu
  • MUSIC: TBA

PLOT: Buntarō is a student who wants to be something, but doesn’t know what. One day his female classmate Sayuki announces she is working on a bishōjo (pretty girl) game. Sayuki scouted him because he wrote a good script for drama club, but Buntarō doesn’t know anything about bishōjo games.


Steins;Gate director is about the only redeeming quality here.  Everything else Sato has worked on was horrible.  Once again we’ve got anime series based on a visual novel.  From the preview the music sounds terrible and is it just me or is Project No. 9 trying to copy Saekano?  The premise even down to the camera angles look reminiscent of that anime.  Designs aren’t even that good.

LIKELY TO BLOG: 0%


 

Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu

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  • ANIMATION STUDIO: Studio DEEN
  • DIRECTOR: Mamoru Hatakeyama
  • ORIGINAL CREATOR: Haruko Kumota
  • SERIES COMPOSITION: Jun Kumagai
  • CHARACTER DESIGNER: Mieko Hosoi
  • MUSIC: Kana Shibue

PLOT: The year was 1970s. Fascinated by the performance of rakugo master Yakumo the 8th at a philanthropic show in a prison, delinquent Kyōji visited Yakumo immediately after serving his term, begging Yakumo to take him in as an apprentice. To his surprise, master Yakumo agreed without much hesitation, yet things progressed not quite as Kyōji expected.


Yes!!! Finally a josei series and a historical one at that! The OAD’s were amazing and probably the best acting of 2015 out of any animated work from Japan!  The setting is unique and follows an intriguing genre–rakugo!  Quite the unconventional choice on Studio DEEN’s part but this is what made that studio so fantastic in the first place!  There’s nothing generic about this anime at all!  A character drama driven by Japanese customs!  The entire staff from the OAD’s return to adapt the manga into TV format.  If this is anything like those it’s going to be one of the best if not the greatest series to air this season! The soundtrack from the OAD’s were incredible.  Featuring a collection of smooth jazz songs!

LIKELY TO BLOG: 100%


 

There we have it. The list of everything airing this season.

 

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