Blind and mostly-blind speculation eats poo, right? I haven’t seen a season preview in six months. I’d be doubting that they were still around if I didn’t remember that the blogosphere generally thinks they’re a good idea for some reason.
I always open my season previews by badmouthing season previews, then doing one anyway. I’ve been doing them for exactly five years now, starting with Fall 2007, back when I didn’t know SHIT, and my post was as worthless as the next asshole’s.
Now it’s different. Not to sound (too) pretentious, but I think I bring a little more to the table with my season previews. Not because I have magical clairvoyance and can predict if a show is good or not, but because I can bust open the speculation doors with staff analysis and raise the stakes on hype to drive you mad, wondering if the show will live up to the reputation of its creators, or flop hard.
That’s the thing with predictions. They’re never more than the tiniest bit certain. Every creator has their shitty shows (sometimes shitty decades). No matter how much of a dream team you get working with an A+ studio, you never know when they’re gonna crank out a no-try cash-in. Who could possibly have thought that after Samurai Champloo, Ergo Proxy, Michiko e Hatchin, and even The World God Only Knows, Manglobe was going to crank out fucking Deadman Wonderland and Mashiro-iro Symphony, while working on a Hayate movie? No one. No one at all.
All I can do is tell you what the staff has done before, and evoke a picture of the possibilities. I can build a hype wave that can mercilessly crash on your expectations, like Ao no Exorcist or Yozakura Quartet of Gunslinger Girl S2, or I can understate the potential of a show that turns out to be fucking awesome.
Whatever happens… this is my preview.
The best way to read this preview is to read every entry. You may not think you give a shit about the show based on what you read in Scamp’s chart and someone else’s shitty season preview, but that’s why you’re here—to give you more information.
Ixion Saga DT – I’ve got high hopes for this one. If nothing else, it should be a competently put-together fantasy show that I’m expecting to be light-hearted and comical.
The core staff listed on ANN are of interest because they all worked on Gintama, which is the best show ever made. Director Takamatsu Shinji spent the early part of his career directing kiddy mecha shows (Brave Police J-Decker, After War Gundam X), but has spent the better part of the past decade doing comedies (School Rumble, Gintama, The Daily Lives of High School Boys).
What’s most interesting about Takamatsu Shinji’s involvement is that, as far as I can tell, everything he’s ever worked on has been Sunrise productions. If I’m right, this will be the first time he’s been away from Sunrise, with Ixion Saga being a Brains Base show. (He’s also directing Gyrozetter with A-1, which I won’t be covering in this post.)
Brains Base, like any studio, can mean anything. They’re like Bones in that the better part of their catalog is awesome, unique shows with high-quality animation (Kure-nai, Mawaru Penguindrum, Baccano!, Durarara!!, Natsume Yuujinchou, I could go on), but they’ve also got not-so-good stuff like Kamisama Dolls. Lately, they’ve been doing Sengoku Collection, which I owe it to myself to watch, because I’ve heard it’s pretty great and off-the-wall. Unlike with that show, I don’t want to miss the bus on a potential great this time around.
Magi – You wanna talk about how charts are unreliable as shit for estimating anything about a show, and how the slightest bit of research can flip everything on it’s head? Here’s how to do it. (Not knocking charts btw, just people who write previews based on them.)
The chart has a picture of a sad-looking girl in a bunch of chains, and says that it’s by A-1 Pictures. This gives the immediate impression of a melodramatic sad-girl moe anime. The description only tells that it’s by the creator of Sumomomomo Momomo (which I read one volume of, and it was all over the place, mostly terrible), and that it is a retelling of One Thousand and One Nights.
Now, if you’ve seen the chart image, contrast it with the first image of the manga. The one on the cover of Shounen Sunday, with the main character, Aladdin, looking like a cross between Yoh from Shaman King and Gon from Hunter X Hunter or something.
This is a complete different fucking image! Now I’m thinking it’s another of A-1 Pictures’ adaptations of a long-running shounen series, like their handling of Ao no Exorcist, or maybe even the hundreds-of-episodes-running Fairy Tail. After all, the manga has 121 god damn chapters!
And who’s the director? Masunari Koji, who created and directed Kamichu! and the Read or Die franchise, as well as directed Welcome to the Space Show. Considering that these are all top-damn-notch anime (the latter of which was made with A-1 Pictures). and considering that this guy only seems to emerge every so many years to do what look like passion projects, I really wanna know what’s the deal here!
A-1 Pictures tends to be all over the place. They fluctuate during their series in a way resembling Satelight, where it’ll be absurdly high-quality in some episodes, which makes even the slightest wonkiness in other episodes really stand out. There’s no denying that the studio has done and continues to do some stellar work, such as the currently-running Sword Art Online and the significantly less-pretty but still good Space Bros.
Robotics;Note - Here we have a wild card disguised as a sure thing. It’s the third in a line of grammatically incorrect Nitro+ game adaptations, and its predecessors are radically different beasts. Chaos;Head was widely panned as a shitty show, and was handled by Madhouse, who could sometimes be counted on for five amazing anime airing at once, and sometimes produced complete bullshit for no reason.
Then there’s Steins;Gate, one of the most popular anime of 2011, and one of my favorite of all time. This adaptation was handled by White Fox with one of anime’s most under-recognized directors Hamasaki Hiroshi (Texhnolyze, Shigurui). It featured amazing dialog and endearing characters, which made it the favorite anime of many fans.
What can we expect from Robotics;Note? Fuck if I know! This one’s being done by Production I.G., which, as little as four years ago, would probably have indicated that it was going to be The Shit. However, with the exception of Usagi Drop, most of what I.G. has made is either sequels to popular shows I don’t care about (Sengoku Basara (second season wasn’t well-liked), Kimi ni Todoke), or total shitpiles (Blood-C, Bungaku Shoujo).
In all seriousness, Production I.G. haven’t gotten as shitty as I make them out to have gotten (probably), and the best news is that series writer Hanada Jukki also wrote for Steins;Gate, and specifically wrote the scripts for most of my favorite episodes. I think it’s safe to keep my hopes up for this show.
Hidamari Sketch x Honeycomb – Holy fucking balls, I can’t believe there’s another season of Hidamari Sketch coming out, and I still haven’t watched more than one episode of Hoshimittsu. Actually I can, because each of the first two seasons took me over a year to complete. I’m sure I’ll watch Honeycomb SOME DAY.
Hayate the Combat Butler: Can’t Take My Eyes Off You – Unlike Hidamari Sketch, this is an adaptation you don’t have to play seventy-episode catch-up on, because it’s a reboot of the franchise, apparently. Oh, it’s by Manglobe.
I’m going to assume that Manglobe’s Hayate movie did pretty well in theaters to justify them rebooting the whole series a la Shaft and Nagima?! I can only imagine how the movie fits into the reboot timeline, and what kind of quality we can expect here. The source material is solid, and Manglobe has proven that they can do a great adaptation of a long-running manga in the form of The World God Only Knows. However, I don’t think they’ve ever produced more than twenty-six episode of a show before, and lately they tend to stick to one cour, so I don’t know about length.
The director’s other work was Cat Plan- I mean, Asobi ni Iku yo!, which I think we all agree was a damn fine comedy extravaganza, and a great choice for Hayate.
Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun – Another thing about Brains Base is that lately, they tend to work on multiple shows, which makes me wonder if they’ve split into several studios or something. Ordinarily, I don’t put much stock in writers, since they usually write for all kinds of shit in their careers, but Takagi Noburo is a bit of an exception. Most of his work is excellent, or at least interesting, so if the trend holds here, it may be worth a look.
The show is apparently a rom-com, which I’m entirely not into. Lead heroine is Tomatsu Haruka being a bitch, which is also something I’m entirely not into, but a lot of people must be, since she gets so many damn roles.
Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Suru! – Being a Kyoto Animation production, of course I’m expecting all the bells and whistles and consistently awesome animation. The premise is a double-edged sword. Chuunibyou is something I find hilarious and interesting, but will it be overdone if it takes show form? The wording of the preview sounds like it could be really great, but we’ll just have to wait and see.
Seitokai no Ichizon 2 – I enjoyed the first season, even if it was a largely forgettable, low-budget Studio DEEN production. The thought of having more of it pleases me, especially if the characters continue to move in the direction they were going in the first show. However, with the show completely changing hands to be done by AIC and a whole new staff, I have no idea what to expect. AIC are barely a step up from DEEN most of the time, so hopefully it’s at least as good as the first show.
Zetsuen no Tempest – Considering this is a studio BONES show with two bishounen on the artwork, I’m putting my money on this being BL. If it’s anything like No. 6, I’ll be making a pass on it, and I won’t be fooled by a stunning opening episode that quickly devolves into a shitpile series. Director Ando Masahiro has worked with Bones in the past to direct Sword of the Stranger, which was awesome, and directed Canaan and Hanasaku Iroha with P.A. Works, which were excellent (though I don’t care for the latter), so right now, I still consider his presence on a show to be more or less a good sign.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure – Holy shit, a true Jojo adaptation?! The potential here is immense, having one of the best source materials to have gone twenty years without proper adaptation. David Production have been all over the place, but they seem like a brilliant choice if you look at Level E, which featured some of the most masculine designs that I’ve seen in recent anime, drawn with polish and glamour, which perfectly befits the style of Jojo. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for this one.
Girls und Panzer – Folks, here we have the ultimate wild card. Everyone involved in the show has done work all over the board with all levels of quality. There’s no source material, and the premise could lead to just about anything. The title alone makes it worth a look. If it turns out to be great, this will be the season’s biggest surprise.
And that concludes my Fall preview. If I didn’t cover something, I either had too little information, or just didn’t give a shit.