Thursday, December 19, 2013

Anime Season Preview

As someone who doesn't always have tons of time to dedicate to watching anime, I usually welcome the Winter and Summer Seasons as they tend to be a little less overwhelming in terms of the sheer number and quality of series airing out there. Don't get me wrong, I love the wealth of riches Spring and Fall offer, but it's nice to have some downtime during the off-season to catch up on older shows I haven't had the chance to watch yet. The upcoming Winter season is already stacking up nicely- there are definitely a handful of of potential hits, and reading through some of the descriptions of these shows, quite a few stood out and caught my interest, so I'll be checking out the first few episodes of several to see how things shape up. With a handful of series continuing into their 2nd cour from the Fall, plus with a few I still haven't started, it's looking like I'll have my hands full.

Please note the following is not an exhaustive list of what is airing this January, but a look at some series that grabbed my attention. I generally watch the first 2-3 episodes of all the shows to get a feel for what will end up being my top tier, but here's a look at what I'm looking forward to and eagerly anticipating in January, 2014:

CHUUNINBYOU DEMO KOI GA SHITAI II (Kyoto Animation) Chuuninbyou Season 1 didn't necessarily rock my world so I'm a bit halfway on a second season. I enjoyed it enough however that if I end up needing some filler, I might give S2 a go. Priority: Low

HOOZUKI NO REITETSU (Wit) had a tremendous year in 2013 with Attack on Titan turning into a massive worldwide hit, and this dark comedy seems to be an interesting change of pace. The animation looks unique and quirky, and the plot about a demon trying to solve some of the problems in hell seems intriguing and possibly funny too. If the talent on staff is put to use, I can easily see this being better than Hataraku Maou-sama! . Priority: High

INARI, KONKON, KOI IROHA (Production IMS) I'm also a sucker for Kyoto as a setting, so before I even read the description about a shape-shifting girl and fox spirits, the promo shot with the girl sitting under the orange torii, was almost just enough for me to mark this down on my watch list. A terrible criteria to pre-judge a series mind you, but so far it has rarely let me down. Priority: Medium

MAGICAL WAREFARE (Madhouse) Looking over the list of staff for this one, their experience seems mediocre, but I haven't really been let down by Madhouse this year. Diamond no Ace is far from perfect, but still enjoyable, and Hunter x Hunter continues to be one of my favorites. Is it fair to give a studio a fair shake based on Chihayafuru alone? Probably not, but when it comes down to it, I like their style so I'm guessing this will probably be a safe bet. Priority: Medium

NORAGAMI (Bones) My heart sank in the fall when I saw there was no new Bones series airing, but here it is wintertime, and they are back with not one, but two new series that look pretty damn solid (Space Dandys being the second). The premise for Noragami sounds interesting, and the trailer looked decent enough (although this one certainly looks to be the series receiving the lesser animation budget of the two this winter). If it's done right and and getting a full 2-cour, I think it could be something special. Priority: Medium

NOURIN (Silver Link) My first instinct on a light novel adaption about an agricultural high school was a pass, after all, we already have a second season of Silver Spoon on the list. That was until I noticed the director Shin Oonumaa guy who rocked it pretty hard this year with Watamote, one of my favorite series of 2013. I'm keeping my expectations in check, but this one is certainly worth a look in my opinion. Priority: Medium

PUPA (Studio Deen) I was planning on watching this in the fall, but it got pushed back until January, oh welll. Based on what I've heard from friends and other bloggers, I'm a little scared for this one, but if Aku no Hana taught me anything, I do enjoy a series that can push me out of my comfort zone. Good horror anime seem to be few and far between this year, so will be keeping a careful eye on this one and will decide after a few episodes. Priority: High

NOBUNAGA THE FOOL (Satellite) Really not sure what to make of this one. It seems like it could be something potentially awesome (see Moretsou Pirates), but something tells me it could also be a complete mess (see Kakumeiki Valvrave). Will give it a shot but not holding my breath on this one. Priority: Medium

NISEKOI (Shaft) Here's one I'm even more torn on. I find Shaft to be really hit or miss, but I have fond memories of Arakawa Under the Bridge and really got into Monogatari Series which is just finishing up this month. Shinbou Akiyuki is a director that I enjoy a lot so I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt here and give Nisekoi a few episodes to prove itself. Priority: Low

SAKURA TRICK (Studio Deen) A yuri romance (yawn) so I don't see there being a ton of substance here. Still, I usually squeeze in at least one show like this per season so if the first episode catches me, I might watch this one for some laughs. Priority: Low

SEKAI SEIFUKU: BOURYAKU NO ZVEZDA (A-1) Tensai Okamura directed Darker than Black and Ao no Exorcist, two shows I enjoyed very much. It's about a secret society led by a young girl and it definitely looks like a quirky cast of characters are also along for the ride. I generally give anything by A-1 a fair chance so penciling this one in for January. Priority: Medium

SILVER SPOON SEASON 2 (A-1) Heck yeah, after a break over the fall, it's great to have this one back! It will also be a nice compliment to Samurai Flamenco in the noitamina slot on Thursday nights. Season 1 was one of my favorite anime of 2013 so a second season is a definite watch for me. Priority: High/Established

SPACE DANDY (Bones) Well hello again Bones and welcome back Shinichiro Watanabe. If I had to put all my eggs in one basket for a series this winter, Space Sandy would be it. The promo art looks incredibly old school and I'm guessing there will be plenty of comedy and action. Space Dandy is probably on most people's 'most anticipated' anime of the upcoming season and I'm no exception. Can't wait to check this out and I sincerely hope it lives up to the hype. Priority: High

TOARU HIKUUSHI E NO KOIUTA (LOVE SONG OF A CERTAIN PILOT) (TMS) Really like the idea of a new series with fighter-pilots, a revolution, and orphaned prince. Maybe I just like the Miyazaki ring that has to it as well. I couldn't find a trailer, but the promo art looks pretty solid and I can't help getting a bit of a Last Exile vibe from this one too. Priority: High

WITCH CRAFT WORKS (JC Staff ) A school magic series by the director of Another, Blood C, Girls und Panzer. I'm a little burnt out on this genre but will definitely give it a few episodes to see how things unfold. Priority: Low

And there you have it, Winter 2014. I'm sure one or two more series will come to my attention in the coming weeks, but at least that's a good look at what is out there, and hopefully next season I'll have better sense than blogging Galileo Donna and Kyoukai no Kanata ;)
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