Winter 2015 Season Preview

It’s the holiday season which means time for buying gifts and spending time with friends and family, but it also means it’s time for yet another season preview. As usual, winter is a relatively light season with only 24 shows that we’re previewing as opposed to the usually 35+. If you ask me the quality seems pretty light on quality as well. Fortunately some great shows like Shirobako and Parasyte will  be continuing into next season. As usual the shows will be ranked in approximate ascending order of our anticipation levels. Like last season, we have also indicated which shows each of us plans to watch or might give a few episodes to. Without further ado, on with the preview.

Aldnoah.Zero 2

By Kelloggs

Aldnoah Zero 2SourceOriginal

StudioA-1 Pictures

Notable Staff: Same as Season 1

Genres: Action, Mecha

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Aldnoah.Zero is back for a second season for better or for worse. The first season finished with a bang, but based on the promotional materials that have been floating around it looks like almost all of that will get taken back early on in the second season. If you’ve seen the first season you probably already know whether you’re going to watch the second. If you haven’t and are curious, don’t get too excited when you see Urobuchi Gen’s name on the staff list. He created the scenario and wrote the first three episodes but it appears his involvement stops there and the second season will be done completely without him. Given the response I’ve seen to the second season of Psycho Pass, another original Gen creation that he didn’t work on the second season of, I don’t have particularly high hopes for this. Best case scenario this is an entertaining train wreck. If you temper your expectations going in and just hope to be entertained this sequel might have some potential. I probably won’t be watching but I can’t blame anybody who decides to watch it out of morbid curiosity.

Anticipation Level: 2/10

Plan to Watch: Boundless

Might Watch: ParticularlyPeeved, PumpkinMochi, SerendipitouslySane

Isuca

By PumpkinMochi

IsucaSourceManga

StudioArms (Queen’s Blade series, Wizard Barristers)

Notable Staff: None

Genres: Action, Ecchi, Fantasy

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Shinichirou Asano is a typical high school student whose parents left Japan to work in Europe. His high school life is pretty uneventful, until he learns that his parents won’t send him any more money. As a result, he has to find a part-time job to survive. With the recommendation of his sexy teacher, he is able to find work as a housekeeper for one of his fellow students, Sakuya. It turns out that her family is responsible for exorcising unwanted magical creatures, and on his first day of work, Shinichirou accidentally releases one of these creatures. The two of them must now work to recapture it as well as dealing with other supernatural monsters.

The manga for this series was pretty bland, and the other thing that held my attention was how many tropes I could spot. The main character has no personality and his best friend is the goofy perverted character. The main girl, Sakuya Shimazu, is a standard tsundere ojou. It was also established that the main character lives alone, which I’m sure means that at least one girl will move into his place for no reason at some point.

The studio working on this is Arms, and they’re best known for making fanservice-y shows. Their most prominent work appears to be Queen’s Blade, with other titles being Ikkitousen, Hyakka Ryoran Samurai Girls, Sekai de Ichiban Tsuyoku Naritai, etc. You get the idea. Isuca does have its fair share of fanservice, which I suspect will get played up in the anime adaptation. Unless that sounds like what you are looking for, I would recommend passing on this.

Anticipation Level: 3/10

Plan to Watch: None

Might Watch: Boundless, ParticularlyPeeved, PumpkinMochi, SerendipitouslySane

Sengoku Musou

By ParticularlyPeeved

Sengoku MusouSourceVideo Game

StudioTezuka Productions

Notable Staff: None

Genres: Action, Historical, Samurai

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“Toyotomi Hideyoshi is on the verge of unifying the realm, and all that remains is the Odawara Castle protected by the “Lion of Sagami” Ujiyasu Houjou. Hideyoshi’s personally trained generals — Ishida Mitsunari, Katou Kiyomasa, and Fukushima Masanori — as well as Ootani Yoshitsugu, Shima Sakon, and Naoe Kanetsugu are all on the frontline of the battle. Amidst the battle formation are the two young warriors of the Sanada household: older brother Nobuyuki and younger brother Yukimura. As the stalemate begins to break down, Sanada Yukimura rides on a lone horse into the fray. His brother follows him right after.”

Here we have a hack n’ slash video game adaptation. After the neglectful preview I provided for last season’s game adaptation Shingeki no Bahamut Genesis, I decided to put a little bit more effort (just a teeny tiny bit) into researching this one. The game itself sounds like just about any fighting game. The story takes place during the “Warring States” period of Japanese history, and basically everyone is fighting each other. In the game, the player must defeat all the enemies and the enemy commander to win. I would assume the anime will attempt to build some sort of story around this. I’m not a fan of Japanese historical anime (why do I pick these shows to preview again?), and I’ve been mentally scarred by Fuun Ishin Dai Shogun, so I *might* watch the first episode, but it’s just as likely I’m never going to look at or speak of this show ever again. Who should consider watching this show? I’d say there may potentially be decent historical drama involved, and if that’s your thing, you should consider it. Or if you are a fan of the game, or samurai fighting in general. The anime is being produced by Tezuka Productions and TYO Animations, and well at least TYO Animations has done some decent shows like Tamayura. I don’t have much to say about Tezuka Productions at all, so no real optimism from the studios involved with this show. The story itself will focus on Toyotomi and Tokugawa’s battles.

Anticipation Level: 3/10

Plan to Watch: None

Might Watch: None

Shinmai Maou no Keiyakusha

By Boundless

Shinmai Maou no TestamentSourceLight Novel

StudioProduction IMS

Notable Staff: Takao Yoshioka (Series Composition: Highschool DxD and Daimidaler)

Genres: Action, Ecchi, Fantasy, Romance

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Shinmai Maou no Keiyakusha is one of the whopping four ecchi harems this season. Mio and Maria Naruse move in with Basara Toujou as his new step-sisters. However, Mio is actually the daughter of the demon lord and the current holder of his power. She and her father are part of a non-radical faction of demons that wish for peace and coexistence with the human world. Basara is secretly a member of a human tribe of legendary heroes and he decides to make a contract with Mio to protect her from the radical demons who want to steal her power and use it for the ill of humanity.

I honestly thought the set up of opposing factions of demons and humans was more substantive than most shows of this genre and made for an interesting read. However it quickly devolved into some standard harem beats as Basara found himself living alone with two girls which I expect to dominate most of the screen time (as the PV seems to indicate). Just the first few chapters involved plenty of unlocked bathroom doors, Imouto fetishes, and aphrodisiac curses that can only be removed once the subject is “satisfied” that I think you can see where this show is going.

Though this is not necessary a bad thing, no shame in enjoying an ecchi harem if the mood strikes you. The source material is nothing if not provocative which I think is a significant point in its favor. The worst thing for this kind of show is to be is bland and boring. Takao Yoshioka (series composer for Highschool DxD and Daimidaler) will be writing the script and this project feels right up his alley. Unfortunately Keiyakusha is being made by Production IMS, the studio that most recently brought us the second season of Date a Live and Ore Twintails ni Narimasu. Both of which were marred but significant drops in animation quality and this makes me very concerned for the show’s visuals.

Anticipation Level: 3/10

Plan to Watch: None

Might Watch: PumpkinMochi

Ansatsu Kyoushitsu

By SerendipitouslySane

ass classSource: Manga

Studio: Lerche (Machine Doll wa Kizutsukanai, Persona 4: the Animation, Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita)

Notable Staff: Kishi Seiji (Director: Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru, Persona 4: the Animation, Angel Beats!)

Genres: Action, Comedy, Shounen, Terrible puns

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Remember last time we put a bunch of assassins in a classroom and called it an anime? Well, for better or worse, this is not like that. Ansatsu Kyoushitsu, or more comprehensibly known as Assassin Classroom, is a tale about a middle school class of students whose mission is to assassinate their teacher, who is kind, loves boobs, and is an alien tentacle monster capable of travelling at Mach 20 that destroyed the moon; in short, your typical Japanese teacher. They are faced with the added subplot of being class “E for the End”, the room of ragtag failures in an elite school, whose sole purpose is to act as a punishment for the better classes. For those who have watched it, think BakaTest mixed with Mahou Sensei Negima, plus tentacle monsters, but not in the Fakku kind of way.

The original material is an up and coming Shounen Jump manga, which I have been following since day one. It has a few flaws, the first and foremost being its failure to establish its plethora of characters in the early chapters, and its tendency to be morally preachy (especially when it comes to dealing with the elite school). Both of these have been somewhat amended as the series matures, but without a good adapter at the helm, we will see the brunt of the series shortcomings. Apart from that, the show has some typical shounen turn-offs, such as friendship and happiness and nobody dying, which is rather detrimental in a show called Assassin Classroom.

Speaking of the adapter, the anime is handled by studio Lerche, a new studio of little history, most of which are mediocre, such as Machine Doll, but with the notable exception of Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita. The direct, Kishi Seiji, is about as reliable as this very writer, producing both hits (YuYuYu, Angel Beats!) and flops (Persona 4). Additionally, a prequel OVA featuring one of the best arcs in the manga was shown in November which boasted shamefully terrible animation. All of which means, while I’d personally follow this show out of a sense of misguided brand loyalty, all evidence points to Ansatsu Kyoushitsu being a mediocre adaptation.

Anticipation Level: 3/10

Plan to Watch: None

Might Watch: Boundless, PumpkinMochi, SerendipitouslySane

Absolute Duo

By ParticularlyPeeved

absolute duoSourceLight Novel

Studio8bit

Notable Staff: None

Genres: Action, Ecchi, Harem, Romance, School

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“After losing a loved one, Tooru Kokonoe enrolls at Kouryou Academy so as to gain a “Blaze,” a weapon that is his soul manifestation, for the sake of revenge. He was expecting a weapon… What he got was a shield… How is he to seek revenge with something that isn’t even a weapon?!”

Here’s a show that is tagged as an ecchi romance harem, in other words a show that must be watched by me. That doesn’t mean it’s a show to look forward to, far from it, but it is a show worthy of being part of the season of “Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance” inspired anime. There isn’t much to say, people who watch haremshit for entertainment should, and will, watch this show. Others will not. Pretty straightforward.

Anticipation Level: 4.5/10

Plan to Watch: None

Might Watch: ParticularlyPeeved, PumpkinMochi, SerendipitouslySane

Seiken Tsukai no World Break

By ParticularlyPeeved

seiken tsukai no world breakSourceLight Novel

StudioDiomedia (Akuma no Riddle)

Notable Staff: None

Genres: Action, Fantasy, Romance, Supernatural

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“Written by Akamitsu Awamura, the series takes place in a private high school involving the concept of “saviors.” They are known as people who possess awakened memories of their past lives. The story tells of a young boy named Moroha Haimura who comes to this private school. At the school, there are two types of people: Saviors, who fight enemies with weapons and techniques gleaned from the Puraana powers from their own bodies, and Kuroma, who wipe out enemies with magic to manipulate the Maana powers that surpass physics. Moroha Haimura is the first person with past lives of both Shirogane and Kuroma.”

I’ll be completely honest here, the only reason I chose to preview this show is because the title is really close to “Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance”. This anime, as many would suspect, is based off a light novel. Diomedia, of Akuma no Riddle fame, is producing the show, and decided to show off minimal animation in the PV. This show might not be as shameless as Blade Dance was, or it just might be, after all this may just be the season of Blade Dance. The show is aimed at the same audience that watches any of the light novel crap that is churned out every season, and hence it’s very likely I’m going to be watching the hell out of this show. I don’t really know how seriously this show is going to take itself, but following the usual pattern and expectations of an LN adaptation, I’d say it’s unlikely. Uchida Maaya (Futaba from Ao Haru Ride, Takanashi Rikka from Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai), Ishikawa Kaito (Tsumugu from Nagi no Asukara, Tobio from Haikyuu!!), Ayana Taketatsu (Azusa from K-ON, Kirino from OreImo), and Ogura Yui (Kokona from Yama no Susume) are the main voice actors involved, maybe this is promising? But wait, the director Inagaki Takayuki also directed Noucome. If you don’t know what sort of show Noucome was, consider yourself lucky. Go into this show expecting a light novel adaptation, that’s the best advice I can give. Basically love triangles, gravity defying physics, mediocre animation, and perhaps some not-so-important storyline to attempt to fool you into believing this is different from all the others. That’s not to say this might not be fun, the sort of thing you’d watch without needing to think. That’s how I’d approach it anyway.

Anticipation Level: 5/10

Plan to Watch: None

Might Watch: ParticularlyPeeved

Saenae Heroine no Sodatekata

By ParticularlyPeeved

saenai heroine no sodatekataSourceDoujinshi

StudioA-1 Pictures

Notable Staff:  Kamei Kanta (Director: Usagi Drop)

Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance, School

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“The life of Tomoyo Aki, a highschool otaku working part time to support his BD hoarding. With remarkable luck, he bumps head-first into, Megumi Kato, the most beautiful girl he has ever seen. Naturally, the meeting twists his life into a complicated torrent of relationships. Eriri Spencer Sawamura, his half-foreigner childhood friend who’s always valued her relationship with MC. Kasumigaoka Utaha, a cold, composed renowned literary genius who shoves everyone aside from our protagonist. What is this? An eroge introduction?The tale of a small not quite doujin circle, but not quite indie studio’s journey through the tough territory of comiket and beyond.”

Based off a doujinshi, this noitaminA production follows the life of an otaku, Aki Tomoya, in a visual novel making club in school. On meeting one of his classmates, Katou Megumi, he is inspired to make her the heroine of his game, which is being made with his friends Kasumigaoka Utaha (the writer) and childhood friend (how can there not be one?) Sawamura Eriri Spencer. The one thing that stands out the most as the biggest red flag about this show is the lack of other male characters. Either this should have had no male characters at all, or at least some sort of balance. As it stands, I’m having a hard time seeing this as anything other than “just another harem show”, albeit with better animation given that it is being produced by A-1 Pictures. I want to expect more from this show though, but I’m not really seeing much to go on. The animation in the PV was good, A-1 is generally good anyway, and there is no dearth of characters (predominantly female and otaku), so it’s pretty clear this is aimed towards the male otaku. The director, Kamei Kanta, directed Usagi Drop though, that’s promising. I’d suggest not skipping this show, but overall, go in with reservations. Perhaps it’ll be good, but as of this moment, I can’t honestly say I’m looking forward to it all that much.

Anticipation Level: 5/10

Plan to Watch: SerendipitouslySane

Might Watch: Boundless, Kelloggs, ParticularlyPeeved

Juuou Mujin no Fafnir

By PumpkinMochi

juuou mujin no fafnirSourceLight novel

StudioDiomedea (Akuma no Riddle, Noucome)

Notable Staff: Keizo Kusakawa (director, Ro-Kyu-Bu, Kancolle)

Genres: Fantasy, Harem

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The sudden appearance of dragons in our world has caused it to change drastically. Some humans are born with the power of the dragons. Up until now, these “D” have all been female. When it is revealed that a male “D”, Yuu Mononobe, exists, he is forced to attend a special school for those with these powers. All the girls there are interested in the “D”, since Yuu is one-of-a-kind. While at this school, Yuu accidentally ends up seeing the naked body of one of the students and he also met his long-lost sister Mitsuki. It is also revealed that Yuu is supposed to be the strongest assassin in the world.

When reading the description of this show, it reminded me a lot of Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance. Both are about a guy with some power previously thought to be only possessed by women, and is forced to attend a school to learn more about this power. In addition, both guys start off the series accidentally peeping on a girl, which is such an important detail that it had to be included in the official synopsis. Blade Dance was one of those dumb shows that was fun to watch with a group, so I am hoping that this series can be used for my “Pedantic Perspective Watches” post next season.

The animation studio and director for this series are also working on Kancolle next season, which is some cause for concern. Kancolle is the more popular franchise, and I feel like they would devote more effort toward working on that over Fafnir. Keeping that in mind, I personally plan to watch the first episode of this to see if it is the entertaining kind of dumb, but if you have less patience for generic light novel adaptations, I would recommend skipping this.

Anticipation Level: 5/10

Plan to Watch: PumpkinMochi

Might Watch: Boundless, Kelloggs, ParticularlyPeeved, SerendipitouslySane

Death Parade

By SerendipitouslySane

death paradeSource: Sequel to Death Billiards (2012 Young Animator Training Project OVA)

Studio: Madhouse (Death Note, Hunter x Hunter (2011))

Notable Staff: Tachikawa Yuzuru (Director: Death Billiards)

Genres: Game, Psychological

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Death Parade evolved from the success of Death Billiards, a submission to the 2012 Young Animator Training Project, a program design to cultivate budding creators in the industry. The original featured a bar in Purgatory known as the Queen Dekim, where two recently deceased are brought in to play a game of billiards, through which the circumstances of their deaths are slowly unravelled and their motivations for living examined. The bartender then plays the role of Japanese Anubis and judges them accordingly. The winter 2015 version expands this universe into (apparently) various other bar games like darts.

With the original creator and original studio Madhouse on the staff, it is likely Death Parade can deliver on the excellent animation and story quality of the OVA. However, the show seems to be rather formulaic: every episode, two characters come in, tell a bit of story, scream, yell and fight a little, then leave as better people or better corpses. A good writer can come up with fairly interesting scenarios, but it becomes difficult to develop characters and story arcs if you keep throwing them away. Being a fan of character attachment and development, Death Parade could turn out to be a good show, but unless it breaks the mould and expands the premise further, it would always be an unexciting show to me. It remains to be seen whether they would do that or not.

Anticipation Level: 5/10

Plan to Watch: Boundless, PumpkinMochi

Might Watch: Kelloggs

Yoru no Yatterman

By Boundless

yoru no yattermanSourceAnime Original

StudioTatsunoko Productions (Gatchaman Crowds, Time Bokan: Yatterman)

Notable Staff: None

Genres: Adventure

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Yoru no Yatterman is a prequel to Time Bokan Series: Yatterman, a popular and long-running series back in the 1970s that didn’t get much exposure outside Japan, and is meant to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the original TV series. The original Yatterman series was an adventure show about heroes and thieves, offering family fun without any graphic violence, sexual themes or blood. I can’t really say if the new incarnation will be similar or have a darker tone. The story will follow Doronko, Boyacky, and Tonzura , a family of thieves, as well as the birth of Gan-chan and Ai-chan into the Yatterman clan who are the protagonists of the original series.

The most relevant comtempory comparison for Yoru no Yatterman is Gatchaman Crowds, which was also a modern retelling of the classic 1970s anime Gatchaman (both of which were also made by Tatsunoko). Gatchaman Crowds built on the world of Gatchaman but at the same time subverted many of the themes and ideas the original show offered. It consisted of an entirely new cast from the original, with some references to its predecessor. I haven’t seen it personally, but the opinions I’ve heard on about the show have been overwhelmingly positive. So it stands to reason that this maybe Tatsunoko’s new MO, and that Yoru no Yatterman will be very similar in construction to Gatchaman Crowds. There isn’t that much information to go on right now for this show, but I plan to check it out at least for curiosity. However, if any of you are fans of the original series or are fans of Gatchaman Crowds I highly recommend checking this one out.

Anticipation Level: 5/10

Plan to Watch: None

Might Watch: Boundless

The Rolling Girls

By ParticularlyPeeved

rolling girlsSourceOriginal Animation

StudioWit Studio (Shingeki no Kyojin)

Notable Staff: None

Genres: Slice of Life(?)

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“Ten years after the Great Tokyo War, each prefecture in Japan has split up into independent nations. Each nation is ruled by a prophet called “Mosa” and an army called “Mob” as they start to compete to take over other countries. Four “Mob” girls from the Saitama clan, Nozomi, Yukina, Ai, and Chiaya, are ordered by their “Mosa” to travel around Japan riding their motorcycles to mediate multiple battles between nations and clans as they emerge.”

The Rolling Girls is an original anime by Wit Studio (probably best known for their work on the adaptation of Shingeki no Kyojin). There is also a 4-koma manga adaptation that has begun in November 2014, but there is not much information to go on from that source. However there are a couple of PVs, with the second one providing some insight on what to expect. It looks a lot like the storyline is going to be based on conflicts between gangs taking place in the “normal” days between “normal” girls after a major battle has left Japan with all it’s prefectures declaring independence. The animation quality is decent, though sliding into childish territory, especially during the battles. I surmise this is to drive home the point that these “battles” are possibly not something to be taken too seriously? From what I could gather from the story synopsis on the show’s website, there are people with powers known as “MOSA” who are in control or are “leaders” in some way and there is a group of four motorcycle riding girls who are looking for a “stone of moonlight”, and are known as “MOBU”. I think they travel between the independent prefectures, all of which seem to be influenced greatly by theme park colors or something of that sort, and the show appears to revolve around these girls’ travels. Yet in PV #1, there were hints of a more “daily life” side to the show (maybe?), when one of the main characters shows her average report card with “normal” written on it to a parent or guardian. I was personally less enthusiastic from what I saw in the second PV, mostly because I enjoy pure slice of life shows. I don’t know quite how to place this show, but if you are considering it, I’d say go in assuming a healthy dose of silliness and cosplay type superheroic battles with potential slice of life elements.

Anticipation Level: 5.5/10

Plan to Watch: SerendipitouslySane

Might Watch: Kelloggs, ParticularlyPeeved, PumpkinMochi

Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei-bu Love!

By Kelloggs

binan koukou chikyuu bouei-bu loveSourceOriginal

StudioDiomedea

Notable Staff: Takamatsu Shinji (Director: Daily Lives of High School Boys, Gintama) Yokote Michiko (Series Composition: Genshiken, Ika Musume)

Genres: Comedy

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Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei-bu Love tells the story of 5 ordinary boys who are members of their school’s “Earth Defense Club” (Chikyuu Bouei-bu) which is really more of a “do-nothing club”. Their mundane lives are interrupted when a talking pink wombat appears and commands them to fight against the “conquest club” for the “battle lovers” throne. To do this club members must transform into magical boys.

The show’s title literally translates as “Handsome High School Earth Defense Club Love!” which should give you an idea of how serious the show is going to be. The preview video should cement that impression in your head. This show is full-on parody from start to finish. With that in mind, this actually looks pretty entertaining. I’ve had some fun with “reverse” harems in the past and I see no reason that magical boys can’t be equally fun. The staff looks to be the right people for the job as well. Director Tatkamatsu Shinji directed the immensely popular parody show Gintama as well as Daily Lives of High School Boys. While Daily Lives missed me as often as it hit, the good gags in that show are exactly the kind of thing I could see this show pulling off. Series composer Yokote Michiko has experience with some solid comedies in Genshiken and Ika Musume. There’s always the risk of the novelty of Binan Koukou wearing off before the show ends and the visuals in the preview don’t exactly blow you away. Still, the show is probably worth checking out as it has the potential to be hilarious.

Anticipation Level: 6/10

Plan to Watch: PumpkinMochi

Might Watch: Kelloggs

Shōnen Hollywood – Holly Stage for 50

By Boundless

shounen hollywoodSourceOriginal

StudioZexcs

Notable Staff: Ikuyo Hashiguchi (Series Composition and Original Creator of the first season)

Genres: Music, Shoujo, Slice of Life

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This is the second season of Shōnen Hollywood and is a very different show that it might appear at first glance. In broad strokes, Shōnen Hollywood is about a group aspiring male idols trying to become the latest incarnation of the famed, but currently dispersed, male idol group Shōnen Hollywood. However this show doesn’t get swept up in the “Magic of Idols” that many other Idol genre shows do. Instead it offers a grounded look at the harsh and embarrassing realities of the Idol Industry. It closely examines each cast members reasons for pursuing an Idol career and deals with each of their personal issues related to their work. Also, despite how much the premise would seem to imply it, there is no yaoi in Shōnen Hollywood.

I should note that I have only seen two episodes of the first season myself. Most of my knowledge of the quality aspects of the show is limited to second-hand, but reputable, reviews and other sources. It seems the general consensus is that the writing and production are solid. Studio Zexcs will again be animating it with all of the key production people returning. Specifically Ikuyo Hashiguchi, the original creator and main writer for the first season, will return as series composer.

Overall, I have every reason to expect this season to live up to the quality of the first season. If you haven’t seen it and anything I mentioned above sounds interesting I recommend you check it out. Just reading about it for this preview has convinced me to add it to my monstrous backlog pile. While I most likely will not have time to catch up on it before the start of the season I hope that some of you will.

If you want to read more from someone who actually watched the show you should check out the episodic reviews for the first season posted on Anime News Network (contains significant plot spoilers so reader beware).

Anticipation Level: 6/10

Plan to Watch: None

Might Watch: None

Tantei Kageki Milky Holmes TD

By PumpkinMochi

milky holmes touchdownSourceMixed media project

StudioJ.C. Staff

Notable Staff: Hiroshi Nishikiori (director, Futari wa Milky Holmes)

Genres: Comedy, Idols, Mystery

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This is the fourth season in the Milky Holmes series, and this one has decided to follow the recent trend of anime with a random idol character (No-Rin, Kore wa Zombie Desu ka, Date A Live, etc.). A crime wave has broken out in Yokohoma District, with many idols having their songs stolen. No, the songs aren’t being pirated, they’re actually physically being stolen somehow. When super idol Marine Amagi’s hit song, “Kiseki no Uta” is the latest theft, the brightest detectives are called upon to solve the case. Unfortunately, Kokoro and her team must be busy with something else, because the Milky Holmes team is responsible for getting to the bottom of this mystery.

The first two seasons of Milky Holmes were really good slapstick comedies, while the third season (Futari wa Milky Holmes)… wasn’t. It tried – and failed – at being more serious and trying to have drama, which shouldn’t happen in a series that had featured a villian with extendable nipples and a tendency to spontaneously strip. While this series does have the same director as Futari wa Milky Holmes, the PV suggests that they have learned their lesson and decided to emphasize the comedy again. Because of that, I plan to give this a chance to see if it can match the silliness of the first two seasons.

Anticipation Level: 6/10

Plan to Watch: PumpkinMochi

Might Watch: Kelloggs

Kantai Collection: KanColle

By Kelloggs

kancolleSourceBrowser Game

StudioDiomedea

Notable Staff: Kusakawa Keizo (Director: Akuma no Riddle, Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha As) Hanada Jukki (Series Composition: Love Live, No Game No Life, Steins;Gate)

Genres: Military, Slice of Life

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I already previewed this show for our summer preview back when we thought that it would air in that season but it was ultimately pushed back to this winter. For those of you who don’t care to go back and read that synopsis, Kantai Collection is a phenomenally popular browser game where players collect and train cute girls named after WWII Japanese (and German) naval vessels. The game has exploded in popularity and both pixiv and comiket have become dominated by fan art and doujins of the kanmusume or “ship girls”. Now it’s getting a highly anticipated anime adaptation about… well, we aren’t exactly sure what it’s about yet. The game has very little in the way of plot so it isn’t clear what sort of story the anime will tell. This is especially true because the admiral who serves as the player character in the browser game is completely absent from the anime.

It’s tempting to dismiss Kantai Collection as an anime that will just be a bunch of cute ship girls vamping for the camera with nothing to offer for people who aren’t fans of the game. I also understand if you’re turned off by the idea of taking weapons of war that killed many allied soldiers in World War II and turning them into moe girls. That said, I wouldn’t be so quick to write the show off. I’m not saying that KanColle will rise to the same level as Girls und Panzer, but the preview video sure had a lot of the same feel to it. At the very least, Girlfriend (Beta) has shown us that taking a game with a huge cast of girls and removing the male player character can yield some very nice results. If that’s the floor for KanColle I’ll happily take it.

Anticipation Level: 7/10

Plan to Watch: Kelloggs, PumpkinMochi, SerendipitouslySane

Might Watch: Boundless, ParticularlyPeeved

Koufuku Graffiti

By SerendipitouslySane

koufuku graffitiSource: Manga

Studio: SHAFT (Hidamari Sketch, Monogatari Series, Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica)

Notable Staff: Akiyuki Shinbo (A lot of head tilts)

Genres: Comedy, Food, Yuri Lesbians

MAL

 

 

Koufuku Graffiti is yet another adaptation from the manga magazine Manga Time Kirara, following the footsteps of Gochuumon wa Usagi desu ka?, Kiniro Mosaic, and Sakura Trick. If you have seen any of those before, you’d know that the magazine is a cesspool of mildly severely lesbianic moe girls doing things of no import with a hint eroticism, otherwise known as Kelloggs’ favourite brand of crack. Graffiti stays true to its heritage with middle school students delighting (some say erotically) over beautifully drawn food in a yon-koma format.

This adaptation is notable for being picked up by SHAFT (and of course, its eternal helmsman Akiyuki Shinbo, in all his fast moving text and head tilting glory), which is a lot more notable a studio than Kirara’s other offerings. While mostly known for his esoteric (read: awesomely weird) stuff such as Monogatari and Madoka, he does have significant experience with slice-of-life yon-komas with the Hidamari Sketch series. Additionally, seeing that one of the main draws of the show would be its fantastically illustrated food, and that Shinbo has a penchant for top notch animation, I have confidence that this show is in good hands.

Now, of course, the cute-girls-doing-cute-things genre is a divisive subject, in that some people rejoice in its comforting, fluffy brilliance, while others shun from it because they prefer to be condescending, joyless, tasteless peasants. We here at Pedantic Perspective insist on offering a Fair & BalancedTM coverage and recognise that this show may not be for everybody. Fortunately, this is America and people are free to be wrong.

Anticipation Level: 7/10

Plan to Watch: Kelloggs, ParticularlyPeeved, SerendipitouslySane

Might Watch: Boundless

Durarara!!x2 Shou

By PumpkinMochi

durararaSourceLight novel

StudioStudio Shuka

Notable Staff: Takahiro Omori (Director: Durarara), Noboru Takagi (Series Composition: Durarara)

Genres: Action, Supernatural, Mystery

MAL

 

 

Durarara!! is a light novel series about the adventures of the eccentric denizens of Ikebukuro, a district of Tokyo, and it also has mystery and supernatural elements. The most notable thing about the series is its large cast of characters, including a motorcycle-riding dullahan, a high school boy who has his own army of anonymous Internet users, and a character that is basically the Hulk if you replaced his green skin and purple shorts with blond hair and a bartender’s outfit. The franchise itself is very popular, and it has spawned manga adaptations, video games, and a earlier anime adaptation that aired back in 2010. This is intended to be a continuation from that, and additional seasons are planned for July 2015 and January 2016.

I thought that the first season was fun for the most part and I really liked the ensemble nature of the show. One complaint that I did have about the show is that some arcs were weaker than others, especially the final one. Because of that, I’m glad to see that more of Durarara is being animated. Key staff members from the first reason are returning to work on this, which can only be a good thing. The animation studio has changed from Brain’s Base to Shuka. I am usually wary of new studios, but this one was formed by a producer over at Brain’s Base supposedly just to make more Durarara anime, and I feel that the staff is motivated enough to do well on this show. The fact that they have already planned for additional seasons can be regarded as proof of that. If you were a fan of the source material or the first anime series, I would strongly recommend this.

Anticipation Level: 7/10

Plan to Watch: PumpkinMochi, SerendipitouslySane

Might Watch: None

The iDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls

By SerendipitouslySane

cinderella girlsSource: Mobile game

Studio: A-1 Pictures (The iDOLM@STER)

Notable Staff: Takao Noriko (Series Production Director: The iDOLM@STER)

Genres: Slice-of-Life, Music, Idols

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Not to be outdone by the tremendous success of the other “that idol show”, Love Live!, iDOLM@STER returns with a spinoff based off its mobile game incarnation, Cinderella Girls. The original iM@S is notable for being a healthy mix of moe characters, great music and some genuinely engaging stories as the cast struggles towards fame and stardom, all of which was beautifully choreographed by A-1 Pictures. Unfortunately, the original director, Nishigori Atsushi doesn’t seem to be on the staff list for Cinderella Girls, but his codirector, Takao Noriko, is. Hopefully we can see more of the formula that we loved from the original series, with a whole new cast of talent.

With little else worthy of mention that isn’t covered by an iDOLM@STER marathon, which all of you should be doing if you haven’t watched it yet, all I have left to say is that Shibuya Rin will be best girl, with a possible backup candidate in Kanzaki Ranko, and everyone who disagrees has no taste in anime girls. Which, all things considered, is probably a good thing.

Anticipation Level: 7/10

Plan to Watch: Kelloggs, SerendipitouslySane

Might Watch: Boundless, PumpkinMochi

Yuri Kuma Arashi

By Kelloggs

lesbian bear stormSourceOriginal

StudioSilver Link

Notable Staff: Ikuhara Kunihiko (Director: Revolutionary Girl Utena, Mawaru Penguindrum)

Genres: Yuri, Bears

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Yuri Kuma Arashi (or my preferred version of the title “Lesbian Bear Storm”) is a difficult anime to describe. The show… well, I’ll let director Ikuhara Kunihiko describe it:

Q: “What is a ‘Yuri Kuma Arashi’?”

A: “You know what yuri is–not the flower. Kuma is the literal animal (bears). Yuri meets bears, which causes a storm (arashi). You may be thinking that yuri goes with yuri and bears with bears – that they can’t possibly mix, but this is going to be something you’ve never seen anything like before. (Source)

You might have thought I was joking with my English reading of the title, but nope, that’s literally what the show is about. Lesbian bear storms. It’s hard to say more since, aside from the cryptic musings of Ikuhara and the delightful synopsis on the MAL page, we don’t actually know much regarding what the show is actually about.

The biggest selling point for YuriKuma is the involvement of Ikuhara. He’s well known for his previous productions, Revolutionary Girl Utena and Mawaru Penguindrum. He’s bringing most of the staff from Penguindrum back for this even though the actual studio has changed from Brains Base to Silver Link. I have to admit though that I haven’t seen Utena and Mawaru Penguindrum left me mostly cold. I personally feel like that show got too wrapped up in its own symbolism and delighted in being cryptic for the sake of being cryptic. Still, nobody can deny the fact that any Ikuhara production is going to be unique and if anything YuriKuma is even more out there than his previous work. I’ll probably check it out for the yuri, but even if you aren’t into yuri the show’s worth a look just because of how different it is from everything else out there. In a light season like this, that’s about the best you can do.

Anticipation Level: 7/10

Plan to Watch: Boundless, Kelloggs, PumpkinMochi, SerendipitouslySane

Might Watch: ParticularlyPeeved

Junketsu no Maria

By Boundless

junketsu no mariaSourceManga

StudioProduction I.G

Notable Staff: Goro Taniguchi (Director: Code Geass), Kurata Hideyuki (Script: Samurai Flamenco and Tokyo ESP)

Genres: Comedy, Ecchi, Fantasy, Historical, Magic

MAL

 

Maria is a young witch living in France during the 100 Years War. She hates war and often uses her powers to diffuse battles by summoning giants to terrify the soldiers or by sending her succubus to seduce the commanders. Her efforts draw the attention of Archangel Michael and the forces of heaven, who decree that if she loses her virginity she will also lose her magic powers.

This premise sounds quite questionable I know, but hear me out. The manga was much more interesting than I initially expected. I felt like it couldn’t decide whether it wanted to be an adult comedy or a treatise on Christian theology. The banter between Maria and her Succubus and Incubus as they joked about her virginity ranged from legitimately funny to incredibly awkward. However, when it turned down the comedy setting it was asking some really interesting questions about Christian philosophy. Specifically how divine intervention must be pragmatic and balance the good of world against the good of the individual. These issues are presented very even handedly, especially for an ecchi manga.

Director Goro Taniguchi is notable for also directing Code Geass although I do not expect that experience will have much impact on a show this different in style and tone. Production I.G will be producing it and their PV looks pretty nice, showing some scenes from the first couple chapters. I particularly liked the sense of freedom I felt from Maria flying around on her broom. However, I am a bit concerned about Kurata Hideyuki participating as the script writer. I believe that the Maria’s source material is a very solid foundation, but I said the same thing about the Tokyo ESP manga and he completely changed the tone of everything in the anime adaptation (for the worse I might add). Overall though I think there is much more going for Maria than against it and will certainly be watching in the coming season.

Anticipation Level: 8/10

Plan to Watch: Boundless, PumpkinMochi

Might Watch: ParticularlyPeeved, SerendipitouslySane

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders 2

By PumpkinMochi

jojoSourceManga

StudioDavid Production

Notable Staff: Tsuda Naokatsu (Dicrector:, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure 2012, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders pt. 1)

Genres: Action, Supernatural

MAL

 

Picking up right where the last season left off, Jotaro Kujo and his compatriots have finally made it to Egypt against all odds, where their nemesis DIOOOOOOOOO is hiding out. His strongest acolytes are protecting him though, and our heroes must get past these dangerous foes before they can take on Dio.

I felt that the first season of Stardust Crusaders (whose key staff is the same as this upcoming season) started to drag near the end, and I just wanted them to get to Egypt already. I had watched the much older anime adaptation of this arc before, and I did enjoy the fights and villains a lot more after they got to Egypt. Given that this has a better budget and adheres more closely to the manga’s tone and style, this is one of the winter season shows that I am especially looking forward to.

Anticipation Level: 8/10

Plan to Watch: Boundless, PumpkinMochi

Might Watch: None

Tokyo Ghoul √A

By Boundless

tokyo ghoulSourceManga

StudioStudio Pierrot

Notable Staff: Shuhei Morita (Director: “Possessions” and the first season of Tokyo Ghoul)

Genres: Mystery, Horror, Supernatural, Psychological

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Tokyo Ghoul √A is the second season of Tokyo Ghoul, also by Studio Pierrot, which aired during summer. More than likely you’ve already heard of it and have a pretty good idea if you will or will not like this season. In case you haven’t, Tokyo Ghoul is dark and brutal story about creatures called ghouls that can take human form but can only subsist on human flesh and blood. Ken Kaneki is a young man who is transformed into a ghoul and must learn about their world to come to terms with his new identity and play a role in the coming conflict between ghouls and humans. This season will begin right after the spectacular climax at the end of the first. I highly recommend anyone interested to check out the first season as it was one of my favorites from the summer season.

Shuhei Morita as director and the rest of the Studio Pierrot production staff are returning for this project, meaning we can expect the same quality of direction and visual flare. There has been talk that Sui Ishida (the original manga author) will be working on this season directly. This makes me very excited because while the first season was really, they reordered many events in the adaptation and it end up being kind of a mess. Also it seems Ishida will be making his own story for this season that won’t follow the manga exactly. Which I think is a good thing! It’s likely we will get a conclusive end to the show at the end of this two cour season. In any case, I expect Tokyo Ghoul √A to be at least as good as or improve upon the first season. If you’ve already seen it or plan to catch up I recommend checking this one out.

Anticipation Level: 9/10

Plan to Watch: Boundless, ParticularlyPeeved, PumpkinMochi, SerendipitouslySane

Might Watch: None

Tsukimonogatari

By SerendipitouslySane

tsukimonogatariSource: Light Novel

Studio: SHAFT (Monogatari Series)

Notable Staff: “NEW” ClariS (Ending theme song) (IT WILL NEVER BE THE SAAAAME ;_;)

Genres: Supernatural, Romance, Comedy, Head tilts

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The eternal Monogatari series returns for another four episodes this New Year, covering Arararagi’s (sorry, I stutteted) desperate procrastination and escapism as the college entrance exams loomed, a story we are all probably familiar or will be familiar with. The places it in the Monogatari timeline after the end of Otorimonogatari (the penultimate arc of Second Season) and possibly during the events of Koimonogatari, also known as Hitagi End, or the Battle of the Best Girls. The format is reminiscent of that of Nekomonogatari (Kuro), in that it is a quasi-movie that aired over four time slots during New Year’s break, a time where the regularly scheduled broadcasts in Japan are interrupted by game shows, and special features. The Monogatari series is the highest grossing franchise in the late-night anime industry that this blog is so enthralled by, for good reason, and another chapter in this story is always welcome in my books.

The ending song will apparently be the anime debut of Shinsei ClariS, a reformed version of the popular pop duet featuring two faceless high school girls. As all good music snobs know, the old ClariS will always be better.

Anticipation Level: 9/10

Plan to Watch: Boundless, SerendipitouslySane

Might Watch: None

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This entry was posted in Season Previews, Winter 2015 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Winter 2015 Season Preview

  1. Dene323 says:

    Saenae Heroine no Sodatekata is written by the author of White Album 2, so I’m sold even if it’s another harem show. If the main heroine resembles Setsuna in anyway I would be more than happy 🙂

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