Spring 2014 Season Preview (Part 1)

Ah, spring is in the air and it’s time to once again take a look at all the upcoming new anime. This is one of my favorite times of year: when the dour drudgery of a typically mediocre winter season gives way to the eternal hope of the far superior spring season to come. But will the spring season actually live up to its billing? Well that’s what we’re here for as we preview all of the (relevant) anime coming to you next season. Without further ado, let’s begin.

Bokura wa Minna Kawaisou

By Kelloggs

kawaisou tall

Source: Manga

Studio: Brains Base (Penguindrum, D-Frag, SNAFU)

Notable Staff: Miyahara Rurui (Original Creator: Love Lab)

Genres: Comedy, Romance, Slice of Life

MAL

Bokura wa Minna Kawaisou is the story of Usa, a normal high school student (stop me if you’ve heard this before) who moves into a new apartment complex. Usa was looking forward to living alone (who isn’t?) and is dismayed to find out that his new accommodations include a roommate. He’s further dismayed when he finds out that his roommate is a pedophile and the apartment complex is infested with other perverts of various forms. The one saving grace is that his classmate Ritsu, a girl he falls in love with at first sight, is also living at Kawaisou. Unfortunately she seems to be more interested in beating Usa up each time he happens to stray into the women’s side of the building than being in any kind of romantic relationship with him. Thus starts yet another generic school life comedy.

When I first saw the premise for this is reminded me a lot of the premise of Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo. If you’ve read more than a handful of posts here you’re probably aware that this comparison isn’t a flattering one. I will say that Kawaisou seems to have no intention of trying to take itself at all seriously which was a large part of where Sakurasou fell apart. If this show can stick to the comedy it might actually be passable rather than a disaster like Sakurasou. This is being animated by Brains Base which at some time in the past may have been a mark of quality but at this point it’s more a sign that a show will look reasonably nice but be otherwise unremarkable. Still, most of Brains Base’s recent offerings (D-Frag, Oregairu, Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun) have had their backers so this does have the potential to be good to the right audience. The original manga is written by the author of Love Lab, another agreeable but ultimately forgettable anime although Kawaisou has the advantage of not being a 4koma. The director, Miya Shigeyuki directed Blood Lad, another unremarkable show that some people seemed to like. All of this points to Bokura wa Minna Kawaisou being nice enough to not be the worst thing airing this spring but there’s nothing out there to indicate that this will be anything more than that.

Anticipation Level: 4/10

Baby Steps

By ParticularlyPeeved

Baby Steps

Source: Manga

Studio: Pierrot (Bleach, Doraemon)

Notable Staff: None

Genres: Romance, Sports

MAL

“Maruo Eiitirou (E-Chan), a first year honor student, one day decides he’s unhappy with the way things are and lacks exercise. He finds a flyer for the Tennis Club and decides to check it out. He’s instantly captivated by it. With no prior experience and poor physical conditioning, join E-Chan as he embarks on a tennis journey using his smarts, dedication, and work ethic. He uses his inherent studious nature to develop an extremely strategic approach to tennis, taking notes on the habits and tendencies of his opponents thus allowing him to predict their shots before they make them.”

This seems to be the tried and tested sports anime. The main character is going to work his way up in the tennis team. His technique according to the synopsis reminds me of the unrealistic “data tennis” used by Sadaharu Inui in the Prince of Tennis, but that show is on another level of surrealism anyway. For what it’s worth, Inui seemed to have the most grounded “talent” for tennis, so if that’s the worst this show has; it might be a decent watch if it could be completed in its 25 episodes. However with the manga ongoing since 2007, this is probably going to fall into the never-ending sort. The studio has done Bleach and Doraemon, so they have experience with shounen that goes on and on. But I think if you are a sports anime fan, this is a good choice to try out next season. A quick glance at the first chapter of the manga shows a promising lack of any crazy and unbelievable techniques, but I can’t vouch for their complete absence.

Anticipation Level: 6/10

Fuun Ishin Dai Shogun

By Boundless

Fuun_Ishin_Dai_Shogun_poster

Source:  Anime Original

Studio:  J.C. Staff

Notable Staff: Dai Sato (Screenplay for Ergo Proxy, Script for Eureka Seven, Script for episodes of Cowboy Bebop)

Genres: Ecchi, Shounen, Historical, Mecha

MAL

In the late Edo period, Japan had experienced an unprecedented crisis due to the appearance of foreign ships called Kurofune (Black Ships). But a giant robot called Onigami, which has existed since ancient time, repelled the Kurofune ships and the exclusion of the foreigners was accomplished. The story begins in Japan where Meiji restoration in 1868 didn’t happen. The protagonist, Keiichirou Tokugawa, gets bored of living in his home town and decides to explore the world. However, he has a condition where he breaks out into hives if he touches a woman, so he is still a virgin.

“I can be the greatest man in the world, because I am a virgin!!” I think the MAL tags and the plot synopsis basically speak for themselves for what to expect from this show. Pseudo-historical set in the Edo period with plenty of giant robots, ninjas, and boobs. There is no preview video out so I can’t comment on the animation quality. They have an actually good script writer, but I doubt even he can save this sinking ship of a premise. J.C. Staff has been known to make some good hits, and some misses: this pretty clearly looks like a miss.

Anticipation Level: 1/10

Soul Eater Not!

By PumpkinMochi

Soul Eater Not

Source: Manga

Studio: BONES

Notable Staff: None

Genres: Action, Comedy, Supernatural, Yuri?

MAL

This spinoff of Soul Eater focuses on Tsugumi Harudori, a new student at Death Weapon Meister Academy. She hopes to master transforming into a weapon and finding a meister to wield her so that she can become a hero. She ends up befriending two other students at the academy, and they all end up in the Normally Overcome Target, or N.O.T, class for freshman.

When I found that that there was going to be another Soul Eater anime, I was looking forward to it. The original series was a pretty decent shonen, but the anime-original ending wasn’t that great. I was hoping that Studio Bones might do a reboot a la Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, but this new project is an adaptation of a spinoff manga featuring new characters. I read a few chapters, and it was pretty unimpressive. It was as if someone saw the original Soul Eater and felt that what it needed was less action and more bland high school stuff. The cameos of characters from the main series might just be there to remind people that this is still the same world as Soul Eater.

The director/script writer didn’t work on the original show, which is a bit of a concern. Even though I’ll still give this a few episodes, my expectations aren’t very high.

Anticipation Level: 4/10

Date A Live II

By SerendipitouslySane

date a live 2 tall

Source: Light Novel

Studio: AIC Plus+ (Date A Live, Asobi ni Iku yo!)

Notable Staff: Motonaga Keitarou (Director: Katanagatari)

Genres: Comedy, Mecha, Romance, School, Sci-Fi, Shounen

MAL

As we know, the only way to stop aliens who can destroy entire cities in seconds with spacetime quakes is to date them. The crew of Date A Live is back for another round in Date A Live II: Date Harder (name subject to change). I wouldn’t have the audacity of calling the first season of this franchise good, but it certainly was entertaining and fairly well-made. Yet I am cautious of this new season after being burnt by the second season of Infinite Stratos, another battle-action harem show that ran very well on good animation and parodying its own genre, whose second season skimped out on the battle scenes and took away a good portion its predecessor’s appeal. The fact that the currently available preview is mostly still frames doesn’t help either. However, we can take solace in the fact that AIC Plus+ is large enough that it likely will not run out of budget, unlike 8-bit.

There are three new characters featured for the new season, who have the deep and intriguing character traits of being horny twins and a popular idol. Well, that’s as much convincing as I need to watch this show anyways.

“Please get off me, I’m trying to watch Date A Live II.”

“Please get off me, I’m trying to watch Date A Live II.”

Anticipation Level: 6/10

Love Live! School Idol Project 2nd Season

By Kelloggs

love live 2 tall

Source: Original

Studio: Sunrise (Love Live, a bunch of mecha stuff that’s largely irrelevant here)

Notable Staff: None

Genres: Music, Slice of Life

MAL

Everybody’s favorite school idols (or my favorite school idols anyway) are back for another go round in Love Live! School Idol Project Season Two. For the uninitiated Love Live is the story of Kousaka Honoka, a second year high school student who is dismayed to hear that her school is being shut down. School closings just seem to be all the rage these days. However, idols, like school closings, are also all the rage, particularly school idols. Therefore, Honoka hatches a plan to save her school by forming a school idol group that will bring attention and new applicants to the school. The second season will pick up where the first season left off. (I presume)

Love Live is one of those shows that I’ve grown more attached to in retrospect than I initially was as I watched it. It missed my end of year top ten for 2013 but not by much and was a surprisingly good anime given it was spawned from a multimedia project involving mostly songs and music videos and not much in the way of existing story. (There was a manga but it’s unclear how much of that went into the anime.) Still, for something that started as a way to sell more copies of Dengeki G’s Magazine Love Live was quite good. The whole thing had a friendly, nostalgic feel that was reminiscent of what I loved so much about K-ON although not as much so. I may be biased because of my affinity for idols and J-Pop but if you’re willing to cross the bridge into idol anime land you can probably do worse than Love Live. The characters are endearing and their personalities do play nicely off each other and are surprisingly well fleshed out for a project like this. The music was catchy too which helps a lot.

You probably don’t strictly need to watch the first season to understand the second since the plot of the first season won’t really matter outside of establishing the personalities and relationships of the members of the idol group. But really, it’s only 13 episodes so why not give it a shot. Love Live managed to surprise me and maybe it can surprise you as well.

Anticipation Level: 8/10

Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei

By Boundless

Mahouka_Kouko_no_Rettousei_poster

Source:  Light Novel

Studio:  Madhouse Studios

Notable Staff: Manabu Ono (Director of Saki and Saki Zenkoku-hen)

Genres: Magic, Romance, Sci-fi

MAL

In this world, magic (known as Magical Engineering) exists and is understood to be organized into known systems similar to science. The prestigious First High School, a magical training academy, divides its incoming students into two groups: The Blooms (upper track) and The Weeds (lower track). There is a fierce hierarchy throughout the school between the divisions. Tatsuya Shiba, a strong student in magical theory, is placed in the lower track due to his low practical ability to perform magic. His younger sister, Miyuki Shiba, is very adept at practical magic and is placed in the upper track. The difference in their status within the school places a great strain on their sibling friendship.

Mahouka Kouko no Rettousei is magical high-school anime with a distinctive futuristic aesthetic. The focus, at least for the first arc of the LN, seems to be intra-high school politics between the different skill divisions within the school. I like the sci-fi setting and visual aesthetic, but I felt like some of the details were amiss. There is one part early one where other students at the school are impressed that Tatsuya knows how to use a keyboard, since almost everyone talks to their computer I guess, that I found a bit odd. It is being animated by Madhouse and directed by Manabu Ono, who directed both seasons of Saki, so I am pretty confident they can handle the magical aspects with some visual flair.

Even though the magical high school premise is fairly standard these days the original LN is very highly rated due to how well it was executed. My only reservation is the relationship between the siblings seems to have mild incestuous undertones. I don’t feel like it will be significant enough to overshadow the compelling setting, unlike some of the shit going on this season, but I could do without it. Anyway pretty excited to see what all the fuss is about so I am looking forward to this one.

Anticipation Level: 7/10

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders

By PumpkinMochi

JoJo

Source: Manga

Studio: David Production

Notable Staff: Tsuda Naokatsu (Director: Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure 2012)

Genres: Action, Supernatural

MAL

Jotaro Kujo is a delinquent who believes that he is being possessed by a malevolent spirit. In reality, this spirit is called a Stand, and if controlled, can grant their users superhuman powers. When his mother’s life is threatened, Jotaro and his friends must travel to Egypt and face an old nemesis of his family, the evil vampire DIOOOOOOOO!!!

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is a long-running manga series that started in 1987. It is famous for its distinct look and over-the-top action. It is one of the more well-known series in Japan, having sold more than 80 million copies there and being referenced in countless other manga and anime.

Stardust Crusaders is one of the more popular arcs in the manga, and it was previously adapted into a series of OVAs that came out in the early 2000s. It is the third arc in the manga, and the previous ones were covered in the 2012 JoJo anime, which captured the tone of the manga perfectly. The director and scriptwriter from that series are working on this adaptation as well. Because of that, this one of my more anticipated shows of the season, and I would highly recommend it to fans of action and shonen.

Anticipation Level: 7/10

Abarenbou Kishi!! Matsutarou

By ParticularlyPeeved

abarenbou

Source: Manga

Studio: Toei Animation (Sailor Moon, Digimon, Dragon Ball Z)

Notable Staff: None

Genres: Sports

MAL

Synopsis: “Matsutarou Sakaguchi is a giant roughneck man with strength far beyond ordinary people. He never uttered words like ‘work hard,’ ‘strive,’ and ‘dream’ like the typical shounen manga protagonist. However, he is stronger than anyone and peerless in sumo wrestling. His greatest weakness is his own carefree personality. He grows into a full-fledged sumo wrestler.”

This show is apparently replacing the long running Saint Seiya Omega. With a studio known for Digimon and Dragon Ball Z, I know for a fact that I personally am not going to be watching this show. The show itself is an alternate adaptation of the manga Notari Matsutarou. As expected the manga is completed and rather old (1973-1998). From the synopsis there’s really not much I can add to this preview. I suppose if you like watching big men fight each other (and probably yell out obvious things while doing so) you can give this a watch. I’m steering clear of it. I guess older animation style (provided it is used) might warrant some interest.

Anticipation Level: 2/10

Mekakucity Actors

By SerendipitouslySane

mekaku tall

Source: Song

Studio: SHAFT (Bakemonogatari, Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica)

Notable Staff: Akiyuki Shinbou (Director: Bakemonogatari, Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica)

Genres: Comedy, Romance, Sci-Fi, Supernatural

MAL

Mekakucity Actors is based off a series of Vocaloid songs known as the Kagerou Project. The main character is a NEET (you might see a pattern in this season’s preview) who joins a group of teenagers with eye powers after being held hostage when he went to the department store, which reaffirms the age-old wisdom that nothing good ever happens outside and I should never leave the comfort of my room.

A novel premise.

A novel premise.

I’m sure an anime made from a Hatsune Miku song will never disappoint, as there is absolutely no difficulty in adapting songs into a proper story. Sarcasm aside, I am well excited for Mekakucity Actors, if only because it is directed by SHAFT’s Akiyuki Shinbou.

Miku being a main character doesn’t hurt either.

Miku being a main character doesn’t hurt either.

Anticipation Level: 7/10

Continued in part 2

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This entry was posted in Season Previews, Spring 2014 and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Spring 2014 Season Preview (Part 1)

  1. Pingback: Spring 2014 Season Preview (Part 3) | Pedantic Perspective

  2. Demonstrable says:

    The Monogatari series and Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica are both in my top 10 so it’s pretty much guaranteed I will be watching Mekakucity Actors even though the source is odd.

    Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei is the only other one of these that jumps out at me but I might check out Love Live! School Idol Project 2nd Season and the 1st season.

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