Random Curiosity

Winter 2012 Preview! »« Summer 2011 Preview!

Fall 2011 Preview!

guilty crown genesis horizon gundam age lastexile fam tamayura
p4a haganai fate zero shakugan3 ika musume2

Another year of anime is drawing to a close, but not before the long-awaited fall season. While the number of shows pales in comparison to the 43 offered in spring, the quality of the 25 new titles is a lot higher. There are numerous sequels and spiritual successors: The third and final season of Shakugan no Shana, studio GONZO’s big return with a new Last Exile eight years later, the prequel to Type-Moon’s Fate/stay night, and more of our favorite squid girl, Ika Musume. In addition, we have plenty of original series, including a new Gundam and two noitaminA shows by BONES and Production I.G. Equally impressive is the fact that many of which are slated for two-cour. Anime fans everywhere should be excited. I know I am.

Note: I purposely left out Digimon Xros Wars: Toki wo Kakeru Shounen Hunter-tachi and Cross Fight B-Daman from this preview because they’re targeted towards younger audiences. If you’re interested in either, feel free to check out their official sites.

 

As a quick reminder, each entry is divided into two paragraphs:

  • A brief introduction to the series and its premise, often with the starring cast of characters.
  • My impressions, expanding on the plot and highlighting specific aspects that interest me.

The overall impressions at the very end categorize the shows in a way that should help you decide what to watch.

 

Disclaimer: Regular readers of the site probably already know that my tastes are fairly diverse, but a quick look at MyAnimeList should give everyone else an idea of my sixteen or so years of history with anime. With that in mind, please be aware that I’ll often watch mediocre and even controversial series for the sake of variety, or simply so that I can make an informed judgment at the end. However, I would only recommend such shows if you’ve seen something similar, enjoyed it to a certain degree, and know what you’re getting yourself into. I still have my usual genres, so it’s usually not too difficult for me to decide what to watch based on premise, art style, production, and cast (a big one for me) after going through some source and/or promotional material. For the purpose of this preview, I’ll try to identify what appeals to me about each series, in hopes that it will help you determine if it coincides with your own tastes.

By no means does this list reflect every single anime series that is going to be aired, though it’s meant to be as comprehensive as possible. Shows that stray far from the anime norm or are deemed oriented towards younger children are omitted, so check out MOON PHASE for an entire listing, syoboi’s calendar for specific air times, and Fansub Wiki’s page for who’s tentatively subbing what.

 


TV Series


 

Technical Note: The list is ordered by the date and time that the shows premiere. The links in the schedule will take you to a series’ corresponding entry and the “Top” links on the right will bring you back. You can also use the back/forward buttons in your browser to jump between links you’ve clicked. All times are given in a 24-hour, relative-day format where times are extended to show which day they belong to. For instance, Friday morning at 1:30AM would become Thursday at 25:30 to show that the episode aired late Thursday night.

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
HUNTER x HUNTER
10:55 NTV (10/2)
Tamayura ~hitotose~
09:00 AT-X (10/3)
Chihayafuru
24:59 NTV (10/4)
Busou Shinki Moon Angel
–:– PSN (9/22)
Sekai-ichi Hatsukoi 2
25:05 TVS (10/7)
Bakuman. 2
17:30 NHK (10/1)
Mobile Suit Gundam AGE
17:00 MBS/TBS (10/9)
Kimi to Boku.
25:30 TX (10/3)
Maken-Ki!
25:05 TVS (10/4)
UN-GO
24:45 CX (10/13)
Shakugan no Shana III (Final)
25:30 MX (10/7)
C³ -C Cube-
23:30 AT-X (10/1)
Phi Brain: Kami no Puzzle
17:30 NHK (10/2)
Shinryaku!? Ika Musume
26:00 TX (9/26)
Mashiro-iro Symphony
26:00 TVA (10/4)
Guilty Crown
25:15 CX (10/13)
Last Exile -Ginyoku no Fam-
26:00 CBC (10/7)
WORKING’!!
23:30 MX (10/1)
Mirai Nikki
23:00 Niconico (10/9)
Persona 4 the ANIMATION
25:30 MBS (10/6)
Fate/Zero
24:00 MX (10/1)
Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai
25:55 TBS (10/6)
Maji de Watashi ni Koi Shinasai!!
25:00 tvk (10/1)
Ben-To
26:20 TVA (10/8)
Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon
26:58 MBS (10/1)

* Jump to OVA/Movies.

moonangel
Busou Shinki Moon Angel | 武装神姫 Moon Angel Top
http://www.konami.jp/products/bs_psp_mk2/
Animation: KINEMA CITRUS x TNK Premiere: September 22, 2011
Genre: Action Airtime (GMT+9): N/A
Episodes: Station: PlayStation Store (PSN)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

Konami’s Busou Shinki “Multi Moveable System” (MMS) action figure line is being adapted into an anime that will be available on the PlayStation Store. The franchise already has two PSP games based on it, the second of which comes out this month (Busou Shinki Battle Masters Mk.2). In the “Armament Goddess Moon Angel” anime, the figurines are still figurines except some are fully self-aware. The story itself revolves around a young boy named Tsubasa (Inoue Marina), who yearns of becoming a Shinki Master one day. On his way home, he comes across a damaged Shinki in the trees, Arnval Mk.2 (Asumi Kana), who fled from her pursuer Strarf Mk.2 (Chihara Minori) for unknown reasons. He takes Arnval in and fixes her, only to get caught up in a huge conspiracy involving Shinki.

The actual Busou Shinki figurines come with a code that grants owners access to the free massively multiplayer online (MMO) game where they can “raise” their Shinki and battle against other Shinki owners. There are numerous Shinki out there, all voiced by prominent female seiyuu. In the anime, these battles appear to take place in Tsubasa’s world, providing something very similar to other “mecha musume” shows like Strike Witches and Infinite Stratos, albeit on a much smaller scale. Given the short 5-min episode duration, I’m not too sure what to expect from this PSN anime. It looks to be primarily for fans of the figurines. I do like the high-speed aerial battles seen in the first episode that was pre-aired online (see PVs below), so I may check back for more of those. It’s not really much of a commitment when the episodes are so short.

Odds I’ll Watch This: Decent Odds I’ll Blog This: Poor
Show Busou Shinki Moon Angel Promotional Videos ▼

ika musume2
Shinryaku!? Ika Musume | 侵略!? イカ娘 Top
http://www.ika-musume.com/
Animation: Diomedea Premiere: September 26, 2011
Genre: Comedy Airtime (GMT+9): Mondays at 26:00
Episodes: 12 Station: TV Tokyo (TX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

Our favorite squid girls returns for another season — this time with a lot more doubt about an invasion right in the title. This sequel probably needs little introduction, but in case you weren’t reading RandomC last year (shame on you), it’s a comedy about a squid girl, aptly named “Ika Musume” (Kanemoto Hisako), who comes to surface with grandiose plans of conquering mankind for polluting the ocean, only to wind up working at a beach hut run by the Aizawa sisters, Eiko (Fujimura Ayumi) and Chizuru (Tanaka Rie). A lot of the actual humor comes from the fact that Ika Musume is completely harmless and ends up being the victim of her own naivety more often than not. Together with the support cast of Nagatsuki Sanae (Itou Kanae), lifeguard Arashiyama Gorou (Nakamura Yuuichi), and American extraterrestrial researcher Cindy Campbell (Nabatame Hitomi), there’s never a dull day at the beach.

I was pretty excited about the first season last fall, and while many people didn’t share the same enthusiasm initially, that quickly changed when they got a healthy dose of Ika Musume. Structured as a few mini skits per episode, Diomedea’s adaptation really got viewers buzzing with their dialogueless shorts on “Mini Ika Musume” — so much that bonus episodes about her were created for the BD/DVD release. It was a statement to how the series can combine slapstick humor with a sentimental touch, which worked really well with all the cuteness seen in Ika Musume’s character. All the key staff members from season one are back, with director Mizushima Tsutomu now overseeing the entire project while Yamamoto Yasutaka actually directs it. I don’t expect too much to change, seeing as season one more or less adapted pages right out of the manga, so we can probably expect more of the same comedic and heartfelt moments. When the formula worked as well as it did last fall, that’s hardly a bad thing.

Odds I’ll Watch This: Guaranteed Odds I’ll Blog This: Good
Show Shinryaku!? Ika Musume Promotional Videos ▼

bakuman2
Bakuman. 2nd Series | バクマン。 第2シリーズ Top
http://www9.nhk.or.jp/anime/bakuman/
Animation: J.C. Staff Premiere: October 1, 2011
Genre: Drama Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays at 17:30
Episodes: 25 Station: NHK
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

The shounen manga about manga is back with a second season, picking up where things last left off with Mashiro Moritaka (Abe Atsushi) and Takagi Akito’s (Hino Satoshi) dreams of getting their work serialized in Weekly Shounen Jump. Motivated by his promise with his middle school crush/aspiring seiyuu Azuki Miho (Hayami Saori) and the mangaka path left behind by his late uncle, Moritaka continues his struggles in the manga industry as an artist for the unorthodox stories that Akito writes. The first season entailed their entrance into the manga industry and the struggles with other young mangaka, and concluded with the first big step of their careers — the serialization of their Detective Trap series. The fairy tale-like story doesn’t end there though, as more challenges arise in the pursuit of their dreams.

Despite the manga’s popularity, I never got past the first couple of episodes last fall, so there’s little reason for me to get into Bakuman now. I was somewhat intrigued by the setup where Miho agreed to marry Moritaka if they both succeed, but when it turned out to be just a plot device that’s rarely revisited, my interest waned. Still, I can see the series’ appeal to younger viewers, as it encourages them to pursue their dreams. It also provides a unique inside-look into the cutthroat manga industry and touches upon a romance element between Akito and Miho’s best friend, Miyoshi Kaya (Yahagi Sayuri). The only problem is, it has a very strong shounen vibe to it (being serialized in the real WSJ and all) that my older jaded self doesn’t really care for. Those who watched and enjoyed the first season will probably be able to tell you about all of Bakuman’s good points though. Takaii did cover the first season, so if anyone’s going to cover this sequel, it would be him.

Odds I’ll Watch This: Poor Odds I’ll Blog This: Poor
Show Bakuman 2 Promotional Videos ▼

c3
C³ -C Cube- | C³-シーキューブ-Top
http://www.starchild.co.jp/special/c3/
Animation: SILVER LINK. Premiere: October 1, 2011
Genre: Comedy, Fantasy, Romance Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays at 23:30
Episodes: 12 Station: AT-X
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

At first glance, the anime for Minase Hazuki’s fantasy novel/manga looks like BakaTest, thanks to the same studio, director, and character designer. The premise for (Cube x Cursed x Curious) is similarly outlandish too, with the existence of “cursed tools” known as “Worse” that make Yachi Haruaki’s (Kaji Yuuki) everyday school life anything but normal. His overseas father has a knack for finding these items, which contain huge amounts of negative emotions that can manifest into a human consciousness. If allowed to amass more negative feelings, the Worse can become a demon and curse its owner and everyone around him. One day, Haruaki receives a one-meter black cube — a torture device found in an old castle basement — that has already awakened as a blue-haired girl named Fear Kubrick (Tamura Yukari). She asks him to help lift her curse and starts living with Haruaki and Muramasa Konoha (Chihara Minori), another Worse whose curse has already been lifted. Other characters and organizations familiar with the cursed tools get involved, including Haruaki’s class president Ueno Kirika (Kitamura Eri).

The idea of cursed items had me thinking this would be a darker series, but the ability to change between their original forms and beautiful young girls quickly dismissed that idea. The story starts off with a naked Fear stealing senbei since she lacks common sense (see promo video #2), so it looks to be more of a romantic comedy with a supernatural twist. Granted, there’s an action element to go with “fallen” Worses and organizations that have different stances toward the cursed tools. Haruaki gets drawn into the scuffles — sometimes wielding Konoha in her previously cursed katana form — providing an interesting blend of school life and fantasy. I’m anticipating something similar to Kore wa Zombie Desu ka as far as the dark-fantasy aspect goes, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing considering how surprisingly enjoyable it was. I get the feeling that will be better than it seems, but I’m still not expecting too much from it.

Odds I’ll Watch This: Good Odds I’ll Blog This: Decent
Show C3 Promotional Videos ▼

working2
WORKING’!! Top
http://www.wagnaria.com/
Animation: A-1 Pictures Premiere: October 1, 2011
Genre: Comedy Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays at 23:30
Episodes: 13 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

In a season with a good amount of sequels, we also see the continuation of the family restaurant comedy, Working. The premise is a simple one, centering around high school student and self-proclaimed lover of all things small and helpless, Takanashi Souta (Fukuyama Jun). He agrees to work at Wagnaria because of how adorable his petite senior Taneshima Popura (Asumi Kana) is. Soon after getting hired, Souta realizes how unusual his coworkers are, from his carefree manager Kyouko (Watanabe Kimiko), androphobic coworker Mahiru (Fujita Saki), and katana-carrying floor chief Yachiyo (Kitamura Eri), to the kitchen staff members, Hiroomi (Kamiya Hiroshi) and Jun (Ono Daisuke). Things get even more hectic when the freeloading Yamada Aoi (Hirohashi Ryou) shows up, making a day at the restaurant anything but routine.

As with most comedies, most of the humor comes from the interactions between the characters, such as Souta’s attempts to help Mahiru overcome her fear of men without getting killed in the process. The pre-airing left me with a feeling of nostalgia, given the year and a half that’s passed since the first season, and provided plenty of the lighthearted moments that I’ve come to know the series for. We have a new director and screenwriter helming the sequel, but so far there hasn’t really been any questionable change in direction. With the premise already established and A-1 Pictures still behind the production, I don’t anticipate things will deviate too much either. If the first episode was any indication, the source material will be the deciding factor anyway, so if you’re looking for a clean comedy, then look no further than Working. I know I’ll be checking in on the family restaurant regularly.

Odds I’ll Watch This: Guaranteed Odds I’ll Blog This: Good
Show WORKING!! Promotional Videos ▼

fate zero
Fate/Zero Top
http://www.fate-zero.jp/
Animation: ufotable Premiere: October 1, 2011
Genre: Action, Fantasy Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays at 24:00
Episodes: 13 (season 2 in 2012) Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

A light novel prequel to Type-Moon’s Fate/stay night was written by Urobuchi Gen (Madoka Magica) after the anime finished airing, and now it’s getting a full two-cour anime of its own produced by ufotable. Taking place ten years before, Fate/Zero unveils the truth behind the Fourth Holy Grail War, where Emiya Shirou’s foster father Kiritsugu (Koyama Rikiya) battles against six other Masters and their summoned Servants in an attempt to claim the legendary relic that can grant any wish. The chalice has gone unclaimed in the last three wars in Fuyuki City and Kiritsugu is fully intent on claiming it now, summoning the same Saber (Kawasumi Ayako) from the seven classes of deceased warriors. Another Master, Kotomine Kirei (Nakata Jouji), summons Assassin but lacks a sense purpose in partaking in the war. That all changes when he meets the coldhearted and unrelenting Kiritsugu and perceives him as a sworn enemy.

The prequel centers on Kiritsugu and Kirei, the latter of whom still has a prominent role in Fate/stay night. What I find so intriguing about this part of the story is how it warps my image of certain characters, particularly Shirou’s father from whom he inherited the “Hero of Justice” mentality, and changes my understanding of various things that happen in the fifth war. This includes Tousaka Rin’s father Tokiomi (Hayami Shou), the Master of the Archer-class Gilgamesh (Seki Tomokazu). The only other familiar face among the Servants is Gilgamesh, but even that should be enlightening since this is the first time Saber fought against him. Compared to the fifth war, this one comes off a lot darker and cutthroat with its willing participants, so I’m already looking forward to that change in mood. I can’t wait to hear the soundtrack either, since Kajiura Yuki is composing the music. I’m already getting some good Kara no Kyoukai-like vibes just thinking about ufotable x Kajiura Yuki. After the watching the Unlimited Blade Works movie last year, I’m ready for some more of Type-Moon’s Fate.

Odds I’ll Watch This: Guaranteed Odds I’ll Blog This: Good
Show Fate/Zero Promotional Videos ▼

majikoi
Maji de Watashi ni Koi Shinasai!! | 真剣で私に恋しなさい!! Top
http://www.anime-majikoi.com/
Animation: Lerche Premiere: October 1, 2011
Genre: Comedy, Romance Airtime (GMT+9):
Episodes: 12 Station: TV Kanagawa (tvk)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

Minato Soft, creators of Kimi ga Aruji de Shitsuji ga Ore de, are getting another one of their adult visual novels adapted. Released for PC in 2009, “Love Me Seriously!” is set in high school like most eroge are, except all the female members in a tight-knit group of friends are descendents of warriors and know how to fight. The story follows second-year Naoe Yamato (Kamiya Hiroshi), who’s hung out with three guys and three girls since he was kid. Their group of seven is referred to as the “Kazama family” after its leader and Yamato’s best friend, Kazama Shouichi (Konishi Katsuyuki). Along with Kawakami Momoyo (Asakawa Yuu), Kawakami Kazuko (Tomonaga Akane), Shiina Miyako (Hyousei), Morooka Takuya (Suzumura Kenichi), and Shimazu Gakuto (Kusao Takeshi), not much has changed in the group. However, things start to when they’re joined by two female transfer students, Mayuzumi Yukie (Gotou Yuuko) and Christiane Friedrich (Itou Shizuka), and the guys have to do their best not to lose out to the warrior-bred girls.

If this is anything like Kimiaru, I’m not expecting much outside a romantic comedy with a warrior-type spin. It was a decent series but falls in line with most of the formulaic aspects of the genre. Not a bad thing by any means, but nothing to write home about either. In Majikoi, it looks like they intend to milk the fighting aspect to help differentiate it a bit, which could work if the promo video is any indication. The script is being handled by Takayama Katsuhiko as well, who’s no stranger to this kind of show with Bakatest, Asoiku, and Soremachi under his belt. He also has experience outside this genre, which includes ef – a tale, Ga-Rei -Zero- and this season’s Mirai Nikki. The entire cast from the eroge returns for the anime too, without the aliases they use for their adult line of work. The only thing to keep in mind is that the fan-service will be pretty high (i.e. probably nudity on AT-X), seeing as the show’s been turned down by a broadcast station in Nagoya. I’m tempted to check it out just to see some of studio Lerche’s work, but it won’t be very high on my priority list with all the better offerings this season.

Odds I’ll Watch This: Decent Odds I’ll Blog This: Poor
Show Maji de Watashi ni Koi Shinasai!! Promotional Videos ▼

genesis horizon
Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon | 境界線上のホライゾン Top
http://genesis-horizon.net/
Animation: Sunrise Premiere: October 1, 2011
Genre: Action, Fantasy Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays at 26:58
Episodes: 13 (season 2 in 2012) Station: MBS
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

Sunrise is teaming up with Dengeki Bunko to produce a light novel-based anime that’s been said to be “impossible” to adapt. Known as “Horizon on the Middle of Nowhere”, Kawakami Minoru’s school battle fantasy has a deep-rooted and fairly convoluted premise. In the distant future, mankind has to suddenly abandon “Tenjou” (lit. heavens) and return to the Earth, where the only inhabitable place left is “Shinshuu” (Japan). To cope with the lack of space, they create an alternate dimension to live in called “Jusou Sekai”. To find a means back to Tenjou, they attempt to relive the Earth’s history as transcribed in the “Testament”; however, a war later breaks out in Shinshuu and destabilizes the alternate dimension, causing it to come crashing into the real world. The various countries come pouring out, fighting over the limited space of “Kyokutou”. In present day, the Testament suddenly stopped transcribing the Earth’s history at 1648 A.D., causing the countries to fight over their own interpretations on what happens next. Some believe it’s the end of the world; others try to carve a new future.

The parallels to our history add a nice twist, as the last recorded information in the Testament is the end of the Thirty Years’ War. Most of the world’s confusion comes from mention of Westpalia, not knowing that the peace treaty was signed there. Kyokutou is in the middle of a medieval war, but the story’s stage is Musashi, the eight-ship independent nation in the skies where students of Ariadust Academy try to settle the cross-national dispute on their own. We follow the carefree yet charismatic Musashi sub-ruler/student council president Aoi Toori (Fukuyama Jun) and fellow sub-ruler/automaton Horizon Ariadust (Chihara Minori). The huge cast is brimming with big names, such as Sawashiro Miyuki, Koyasu Takehito, Ono Daisuke, Inoue Marina, Saitou Chiwa, Koshimizu Ami, and Yuuki Aoi. Despite the fairly grave premise, the promo material suggests otherwise, so I’m looking forward to seeing what’s in store with this massive undertaking. The amount of terminology is daunting, but judging from the intro videos, Sunrise has put a lot of effort into making this project succeed. A second season is already scheduled.

Odds I’ll Watch This: Guaranteed Odds I’ll Blog This: Good
Show Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon Promotional Videos ▼

hunterhunter
HUNTER x HUNTER Top
http://www.ntv.co.jp/hunterhunter/
Animation: Madhouse Premiere: October 2, 2011
Genre: Action, Adventure Airtime (GMT+9): Sundays at 10:55
Episodes: 45+ (TBD) Station: Nippon TV (NTV)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

YuYu Hakusho creator Togashi Yoshihiro’s other renowned manga sees a remake ten years later, this time with a new studio, staff, and cast. To produce this Weekly Shounen Jump series, Madhouse is working with director Koujina Hiroshi, whose previous works together include Rainbow, Majin Tanten Nougami Neuro, and Kiba. In Hunter x Hunter, we follow the adventures of a young boy named Gon Freecss (Han Megumi) who aspires to become a Hunter after learning that his presumed-to-be-dead father Ging is still alive and one of the best in the world. He sets out on a journey in search of his father where he meets and befriends other aspiring hunters, Killua Zoldyc (Ise Mariya), Leorio (Fujiwara Keiji), and Kurapika (Sawashiro Miyuki) during their Hunter Exam. Very few people can pass this grueling exam to be officially recognized as an elite individual who specializes in finding treasures, exotic creatures, and other rare items, but together they face that challenge and many others, including Hisoka (Namikawa Daisuke), another aspiring Hunter.

Hunter x Hunter has been running in WSJ for longer than Naruto and Bleach and nearly as long as One Piece, but hasn’t seen the same kind of never-ending adaptation despite the good reception of the 62-episode TV series and 30-episode OVA produced by Nippon Animation. The original work has also been praised for being a shounen series that sets itself apart from other WSJ titles with its plot and characters. There’s less emphasis on battles and more on the developments. All of that sounds good to me, but I never got into the manga or the anime, so I’m a bit indifferent about this remake now. I do like the cast that’s been brought in to replace the original one, even though existing fans probably wanted to hear the same voices they’re accustomed to. Personally, I’m not looking for an anime of this kind to get into, but it’s worth taking a peek if you are. It’s friendly to any newcomers since it starts from the very beginning.

Odds I’ll Watch This: Poor Odds I’ll Blog This: Poor
Show HUNTER x HUNTER Promotional Videos ▼

phibrain
Phi Brain: Kami no Puzzle | ファイ・ブレイン 神のパズル Top
http://www9.nhk.or.jp/anime/phibrain/
Animation: Sunrise Premiere: October 2, 2011
Genre: Adventure, Mystery Airtime (GMT+9): Sundays at 17:30
Episodes: 25 Station: NHK
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

Sunrise is on a bit of a tear this season with three offerings, the second of which is an original series about a high school student named Daimon Kaito (Asanuma Shintarou), who together with his childhood friend Itou Nonoha (Shimizu Kaori), stumbles upon a supposedly unsolvable maze beneath his school. It turns out to be a “Philosopher Puzzle” created by a mysterious organization known as “POG”, who makes would-be challengers stake their lives to try and solve it. Kaito manages to do so and obtains the Orpheus Bracelet hidden in the maze, earning him the “Phi Brain” recognition — the first step towards solving the “Puzzle of God”. Together with others Phi Brains, Sakanoue Gammon (Fukuyama Jun), Cubic G (Miyata Kouki), and Anna Graham (Yukino Satsuki), they wage a puzzle battle against POG to uncover the truth about the organization and the Puzzle of God.

The premise and promo videos remind me a lot of the psychological thriller Cube, where different people from all walks of life are put into a deadly puzzle game to test how smart they are. Sunrise appears to be going for the same riveting approach with this series, which is slated for two cour like most of their original works usually are. I’m not completely sold on the visuals and am somewhat deterred by the arrogance seen in Kaito, but still feel that this will turn out a lot better than it seems. It’s reminiscent of Kaiji with the gambling replaced by puzzles, so I’m anticipating the same kind of nail-biting, thought-provoking entertainment. The series is airing on NHK after all, a broadcast station that generally only features anime that have an educational element to them. I’m not sure what to make of Satou Junichi as director though, since he’s better known for his work in slice-of-life series such as ARIA, Tamayura, and the recent Ikoku Meiro no Croisée. Regardless, Sunrise’s original anime are always worth keeping an eye on.

Odds I’ll Watch This: Good Odds I’ll Blog This: Decent
Show Phi Brain: Kami no Puzzle Promotional Videos ▼

tamayura
Tamayura ~hitotose~ | たまゆら~hitotose~ Top
http://www.tamayura.info/
Animation: Hal Film Maker Premiere: October 3, 2011
Genre: Slice-of-Life Airtime (GMT+9): Mondays at 09:00
Episodes: 12 Station: AT-X
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

Slice-of-life fans rejoice, the four-part OVA by the ARIA staff is back with a TV series. For those who haven’t seen last year’s OVA, Tamayura revolves around first-year high school student Sawatari Fuu (Taketatsu Ayana), a.k.a. “Potte”, and her everyday life in her hometown of Takehara, Hiroshima that she recently moved back to after five years. With the help of her childhood friend Hanawa Kaoru (Asumi Kana), she’s able to befriend Okazaki Norie (Iguchi Yuka) and Sakurada Maon (Gibu Yuuko). Together with her new friends, Fuu rediscovers her hometown through the finder of a Rollei 35S camera left behind by her late father.

As with most shows of this genre, the premise is relatively simple. The characters don’t face any serious challenges and there isn’t much of an overarching story. Instead, the focus is on giving us glimpses of the small things in life that we ought to appreciate more. ARIA had the uncanny ability to give the viewer a more positive outlook on life and the staff behind its anime has created something very similar with Tamayura. With Fuu, there’s often a sentimental aspect attached as well, especially when she tries to find out where her father took his photographs. She’s also very timid and innocent just like Mizunashi Akari, providing a refreshing view on just about everything. There isn’t anything particular about the OVA episodes that stood out to me, but in a day and age full of shows about violence, I consider a cute and heartwarming series like this a godsend to balance them out. This type of show is far too uneventful for most viewers and isn’t very interesting to blog, but it is pleasing to watch. It’s like anime for the soul.

Odds I’ll Watch This: Good Odds I’ll Blog This: Decent
kimiboku
Kimi to Boku. | 君と僕。 Top
http://www.kimiboku.tv/
Animation: J.C. Staff Premiere: October 3, 2011
Genre: Slice-of-Life Airtime (GMT+9):
Episodes: 13 (season 2 in 2012) Station: TV Tokyo (TX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

Now here’s something you don’t see every day — a clean slice-of-life comedy with five teenage boys and no BL/shounen-ai undertones. “You and I” follows the everyday lives of four childhood friends — twin brothers Asaba Yuuta (Uchiyama Kouki) and Yuuki (Kimura Ryouhei), honor student Tsukahara Kaname (Ono Yuuki), and effeminate Matsuoka Shun (Toyonaga Toshiyuki) — and their half-German transfer student Tachibana Chizuru (Irino Miyu). It covers their time in high school where they’re soon joined by Shun’s petite admirer Satou Masaki (Satou Miyuki), and features flashbacks showing how their friendship’s developed since kindergarten. J.C. Staff and Sora no Woto director Kanbe Mamoru has been tasked to bring female mangaka Hotta Kiichi’s adolescent comedy to life with two 13-episode seasons, the first of which starts this fall.

The early parts of the manga reminded me of Sasameki Koto, both in terms of style and the laid-back humor. Flip the genders of the five girls and one guy and take out the underlying yuri element and we have the basis for Kimi to Boku. The similarities end there though, as the type of humor is more in line with Ouran High School Host Club where the characters will poke fun at one another like only guys can. As with most slice-of-life comedies, the interactions between the distinct character personalities drive most of the humor. Yuuta is the good-looking outspoken leader who keeps the group together, Yuuki is the cool nonchalant mirror of him, Kaname is the straight-edged brains, Shun is the token girlish pretty boy, and Chizuru is the energetic newcomer. The end result is fairly enjoyable for both female and male audiences alike, especially those who want a down-to-earth school comedy that doesn’t revolve around romance. I wasn’t planning to watch this adaptation, but now I’m considering following it when I have time.

Odds I’ll Watch This: Good Odds I’ll Blog This: Good
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chihayafuru
Chihayafuru | ちはやふる Top
http://www.ntv.co.jp/chihayafuru/
Animation: Madhouse Premiere: October 4, 2011
Genre: Drama Airtime (GMT+9): Tuesdays at 24:59
Episodes: 25 Station: Nippon TV (NTV)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

After some plagiarism trouble that put her career on hiatus, Suetsugu Yuki returned with an original concept for her award-winning josei manga. Sixth-grade Ayase Chihaya’s (Seto Asami) only dream is to see her one-year-older sister become a top model. She’s a tomboy with no aspirations of her own, until the bullied transfer student, Wataya Arata (Yoshimasa Hosoya), tells her of his dream to become the best karuta player in Japan. In one game against him, Chihaya is astounded by the concentration and speed the traditional card game can be played with and becomes fascinated with it when Arata notices her potential. Chihaya’s elitist friend Mashima Taichi (Miyano Mamoru) soon joins them and they form an unexpectedly profound friendship. Unfortunately, Chihaya’s newfound happiness is short-lived, as they go their separate ways following graduation. She continues playing alone believing that she’ll see Arata again. Four years later, she’s reunited with Taichi in high school. They find out Arata quit karuta after returning to his hometown, so they create a karuta club in hopes that he’ll play with them again.

I didn’t know what to make of this series at first, but after reading a bit of the manga, it’s gone from a show that I wasn’t even considering to one that I’m really looking forward to. In a game of listening, memorization, and reaction time, it’s interesting to see Chihaya excel at it because of her remarkable hearing ability. The most captivating aspect are the characters themselves, who are able to overcome their personal problems and insecurities through the game. Chihaya’s the forgotten child in the family because of her sister’s modeling success, whereas Taichi is under constant pressure from his mother to be the best at everything. Then there are the questions surrounding Arata, who suddenly quits karuta despite being a national champion in grade school. Amidst all that, there are even signs of romantic interests developing around a very beautiful Chihaya. In some ways, the style is reminiscent of Kimi ni Todoke. It’s good to know Madhouse has 25 episodes to work with, because I see this as the sleeper of the season.

Odds I’ll Watch This: Guaranteed Odds I’ll Blog This: Good
maken ki
Maken-Ki! | マケン姫っ!Top
http://maken-ki.com/
Animation: AIC Classic Premiere: October 4, 2011
Genre: Action, Comedy, Romance Airtime (GMT+9): Tuesdays at 25:05
Episodes: 12 Station: TV Saitama (TVS)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

It was only a matter of time before we saw another fan-service-filled school-battle anime. In Maken-Ki’s take on the idea, Ooyama Takeru (Maeno Tomoaki) enrolls at Tenpi High, an all-girls school that recently turned co-ed. His dreams of a garden of beautiful girls are quickly shattered when he realizes the students there learn how to control special powers called “Elements” using magical weapons known as “Maken” and engage in regular duels with one another. Takeru is no exception to this form of education, but he’s stuck without a Maken for a while because none are suitable for him. He winds up living in a dorm with his childhood friend, Amaya Haruko (Shitaya Noriko), his self-proclaimed fiancee, Kushiya Inaho (Nomizu Iori), and a mysterious girl who considers him an enemy, Himegami Kodama (Yahagi Sayuri). On Haruko’s recommendation, Takeru ends up joining the “Maken-Ki” club that works with the student council to resolve problems around the school.

The premise has a lot of parallels with FREEZING; replace the Volt Weapons with Maken and the dimensional invaders with a perverted harem lead and we have Maken-Ki. I found the manga provides a similar form of entertainment, except the focus is more on school life than fighting. Takeru’s backstory about his mother leads to some decent character growth (e.g. his “Blood Pointer” ability) and the story picks up when the mercenary unit Venus transfers to Tenpi, claiming that someone is trying to revive the eight-headed dragon, “Yamata no Orochi”. All the while, a lighthearted air is maintained with all romantic comedy-type developments. The fan-service in the manga was relatively tasteful with no nudity and only the odd panty shot during battles, so my main concern is the added emphasis on it seen in the promo video. In all likelihood, this will quickly degenerate into an anime that was produced solely to milk that aspect. The goofier character designs suggest as much, so I’m not expecting much in the way of depth.

Odds I’ll Watch This: Decent Odds I’ll Blog This: Poor
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mashiro
Mashiro-iro Symphony | ましろ色シンフォニー Top
http://www.mashiro.tv/
Animation: Manglobe Premiere: October 4, 2011
Genre: Comedy, Romance, School-Life Airtime (GMT+9): Tuesdays at 26:00
Episodes: 12 Station: TV Aichi (TVA)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

In Palette’s 2009 adult visual novel, we have yet another story where a male lead is surrounded by beautiful girls because a school recently turned co-ed. Uryuu Shingo’s (Mizushima Takahiro) Kagamidai Academy is in the process of merging with the neighboring town’s prestigious all-girls school Yuihime Academy (a.k.a. Yuijo) due to financial difficulties in the area. In preparation for the merger, he and his younger stepsister Sakuno (Gotou Mai) are chosen to take part in a testing phase where they attend classes at Yuijo. There, Shingo finds himself in a test class with the principal’s daughter and model student, Sena Airi (Ono Ryouko), who’s opposed to the merger and uses her influence to make it difficult for guys to get accustomed to the school. However, self-styled maid Ange Nanatsu Sewell (Ichimura Oma) and third-year Amaha Miu (Rikimaru Noriko) help Shingo fit in. He later stumbles upon Airi’s secret and causes her to open up to him and the others, thus beginning Shingo’s new school life at Yuijo where romance is in the air.

There isn’t much to be expect from the premise itself, except maybe Airi’s thrifty lifestyle that goes against her image and the addition of male-hater Inui Sana (Yoshida Mayumi), so the potential lies in the characters themselves and the relationships that develop. Unless an omnibus format is employed, I can’t see there being any profound developments either. Even with Airi as the main love candidate, the romance will likely beat around the bush until the last couple of episodes. Realistically, all I can hope for is something that’s built up better than Hoshikaka and closer to Fortune Arterial. There are always subtle aspects I enjoy in VN adaptations, but the end result is almost always mediocre at best. I am however cautiously optimistic about the direction Manglobe takes Mashirio-iro Symphony. The closest thing they’ve produced is Kami nomi, so I’m curious to see if the studio can make all the difference in the world.

Odds I’ll Watch This: Decent Odds I’ll Blog This: Poor
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p4a
Persona 4 the ANIMATION | ペルソナ4 the ANIMATION Top
http://www.p4a.jp/
Animation: AIC ASTA Premiere: October 6, 2011
Genre: Action, Mystery Airtime (GMT+9): Thursdays at 25:30
Episodes: 25 Station: MBS
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

Three years after the spin-off adaptation of Atlus’ Persona 3 PlayStation 2 role-playing game, Persona -trinity soul-, we have a more faithful one on the latest iteration, produced by AIC ASTA and directed by Angel Beats/Kami-sama Dolls’ Kishi Seiji. The protagonist — now officially named Narukami Yuu (Namikawa Daisuke) — moves to the rural town of Inaba and stays with his police detective uncle Doujima Ryoutarou and six-year-old cousin Nanako. Shortly after his arrival, a series of murders take place where bodies are found hanging from television antennas, and a rumor begins to spread about a “Mayonaka TV” program where you can see your other self in the reflection of a television set on rainy days. Looking into the rumor, Yuu and his new friends, Hanamura Yousuke (Morikubo Shoutarou), Satonaka Chie (Horie Yui), Amagi Yukiko (Koshimizu Ami), get pulled into an alternate TV world where monsters known as Shadows roam about. They’re forced to confront their Shadow Selves and awaken their “Personas”, summoned beings that they use to investigate the murders and their connection to this other world.

The game’s other cast members are present, namely Tatsumi Kanji (Seki Tomokazu), Kujikawa Rise (Kugimiya Rie), Shirogane Naoto (Paku Romi), and the mysterious bear-like creature, Kuma (Yamaguchi Kappei). I was introduced to the very first Persona game back in 1997, but never actually got into the franchise itself. Still, I’m familiar with the common elements in the games and actually enjoyed watching Trinity Soul, making it hard to ignore a faithful adaptation of a title with a 90% Metacritic score. I may not be looking forward to it as much as fans of the game, but the high school setting with mysterious deaths, creepy rumors, and Personas piques my interest all the same. The cast, character designs, and promo videos look awesome, plus the series has been confirmed to be two-cour, which should be ample time to adapt the story in full. It may be hard to believe, but this is a video game adaptation that shows a lot of promise.

Odds I’ll Watch This: Guaranteed Odds I’ll Blog This: Good
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haganai
Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai | 僕は友達が少ない Top
http://www.tbs.co.jp/anime/haganai/
Animation: AIC Build Premiere: October 6, 2011
Genre: Comedy, School-Life Airtime (GMT+9): Thursdays at 25:55
Episodes: 12 Station: TBS
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

Loners making friends with loners — that’s the idea behind Hirasaka Yomi’s light novel “I Don’t Have Many Friends” (a.k.a. “Haganai”), which spawned two manga and now an anime. It starts with transfer student Hasegawa Kodaka (Kimura Ryouhei), who’s treated like an outcast because of his delinquent-like appearance. One day, he stumbles upon his ill-tempered classmate Mikazuki Yozora (Inoue Marina) happily talking to her imaginary friend. Realizing Kodaka’s just as much of a loner, Yozora creates the “Rinjin-bu” (i.e. Neighbor Club) to make real friends and forces him to join. Before long, they’re joined by other outcasts at St. Chronica Academy: An arrogant school idol, Kashiwazaki Sena (Itou Kanae), an effeminate junior hoping to become a “real man”, Kusunoki Yukimura (Yamamoto Nozomi), and a BL-obssessed genius, Shiguma Rika (Fukuen Misato). Yozora later recruits their ten-year-old genius teacher/nun Takayama Maria (Iguchi Yuka) to be their club advisor, and somehow Kodaka’s middle school sister Kobato (Hanazawa Kana) winds up as a member too. Thus begins Kodaka’s comical school life with his new friends.

On the surface, the setup is quirky and the original illustrations by Buriki remind me too much of Denpa Onno to Seishun Otoko. A closer look at Yozora’s selfish ways and her knack for getting everyone caught in her pace reveals the highlight of the series though — Yozora bumping heads with Sena to the point that they want to kill each other. Their terrible personalities are so similar that they get along sometimes, which is funny because they’re completely oblivious to it. Most of the humor comes from exemplifying their horrible social skills in club activities that mimic what “real” friends do together (e.g. playing video games). Casting Marina and Kanae for the lead roles is a bit unexpected, since they’re not as much of a shoo-in as Yuka for the loli-nun role, but I’m looking forward to hearing those two flip out and act all smug. The all-star female cast and production by AIC Build are the biggest appeals of this adaptation, so I can already see this being one of the more “clever” comedic offerings this season. Definitely worth checking out.

Odds I’ll Watch This: Guaranteed Odds I’ll Blog This: Good
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sekai ichi2
Sekai-ichi Hatsukoi 2 | 世界一初恋2 Top
http://sekai-ichi.jp/
Animation: Studio DEEN Premiere: October 7, 2011
Genre: Drama, Romance, Yaoi Airtime (GMT+9): Fridays at TBD
Episodes: 1-cour Station: TV Saitama (TVS)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

If there was any doubt about there being an audience for forbidden love between guys, a second season of Junjou Romantica creator’s “World’s Greatest Love” after only a one-cour break should suggest otherwise. Targeted toward female audiences, Sekai-ichi Hatsukoi entails the publishing company endeavors of 25-year-old Onodera Ritsu (Kondou Takashi), who’s reunited with his high school boyfriend, 27-year-old chief editor Takano Masamune (Konishi Katsuyuki), when he leaves his father’s company to prove that he can make it as an editor on his own. He ends up working for Masamune in Marukawa Shoten’s Emerald department specialing in shoujo manga, and the forbidden feelings from high school begin to resurface. Ritsu is thrown into further confusion by Yokozawa Takafumi (Kenyuu Horiuchi) from the finance department, whom Masamune had a physical relationship with in university.

I didn’t watch a single episode of the first season and I have no intention of watching any of the second one, but I did bite the bullet and delve into the manga to get a first-hand impression of exactly what the series entails. As I mentioned back in the Spring 2011 Preview, it’s a genre I had no business looking into. There were some comedic aspects in and around the Emerald department that felt as commonplace as any other romantic comedy, but the primary focus is always on Ritsu’s relationship with Masamune. Quite frankly, I don’t see the appeal in this semi-serious depiction of a same-sex relationship, even if it were on the lesbian side of things. I can enjoy the yuri version if it’s used in the gag sense like Yuruyuri or only lightly touched upon like Aoi Hana or Sasameki Koto, but that’s the extent I care to see even when they’re all girls. In any case, those with fujoshi interests need not look any further — the second season is here.

Odds I’ll Watch This: Poor Odds I’ll Blog This: Poor
Show Sekai-ichi Hatsukoi 2 Promotional Videos ▼

shakugan3
Shakugan no Shana III (Final) | 灼眼のシャナIII (Final) Top
http://www.shakugan.com/
Animation: J.C. Staff Premiere: October 7, 2011
Genre: Action, Fantasy Airtime (GMT+9): Fridays at 25:30
Episodes: 24 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

The fantasy/romance series that I’ve come to know J.C. Staff for is back with a third and final season. The 24-volume light novel completed its nine-year run this month and the anime is following suit. A lot has happened since Sakai Yuuji (Hino Satoshi) first met the “Flame Haze” Shana (Kugimiya Rie) and learned that he’s merely a Torch, a figment of his former living self. He still possesses a treasure known as the “Reiji Maigo”, which renews his “Power of Existence” every night. Along with the Lord of the Crimson Realm, Alastor (Ebara Masashi), and fellow Flame Hazes, Wilhemina Carmel (Itou Shizuka) and Margery Daw (Nabatame Hitomi), Yuuji and Shana continue their fight against Bal Masqué, a group of Crimson Denizens who aren’t concerned about the balance in the human world and use the Power of Existence for their own purposes. Led by Sydonay (Miyake Kenta), Hecate (Noto Mamiko), and Bel Peol (Oohara Sayaka), they attempt to carry out a “Grand Order” plan that requires Yuuji’s Reiji Maigo, in which the God of Creation and their founder, Sairei no Hebi, has been reborn.

I’ll be quick to admit I have very mixed feelings about Shakugan no Shana. While I can appreciate the impressive visuals and profound plot, the latter is often too needlessly convoluted just like To Aru Majutsu no Index. When the anime is spread over six-plus years, it’s even harder to put all the developments into a proper perspective. For that reason, it’s not a show that I particularly want to cover. Regardless, I fully intend to watch it to get some closure on the 50+ episodes that I’ve seen already. There are a lot of loose ends to tie up, including those surrounding the love triangle between Yuuji, Shana, and Kazumi (Kawasumi Ayako), so it’s now or never for just about everything. Knowing that all the subplots will wrap up in some way is probably the most reassuring part of this third series. Don’t get me wrong; Shakugan no Shana will likely go down as a pretty epic trilogy. It’s just really taxing on someone like me who will try to pick up on every little detail if I choose to cover it.

Odds I’ll Watch This: Guaranteed Odds I’ll Blog This: Good
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lastexile fam
Last Exile -Ginyoku no Fam- | ラストエグザイル-銀翼のファム- Top
http://www.lastexile-fam.com/
Animation: GONZO Premiere: October 7, 2011
Genre: Action, Adventure, Retro-Future Airtime (GMT+9): Fridays at 26:00
Episodes: 2-cour Station: CBC
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

After Nyanpire last season, GONZO is back from the dead with their first notable production in the past three years. It’s been eight years since they produced their original retro-futuristic series Last Exile and now they’re back with its successor, subtitled “Fam, The Silver Wing”. The main characters in this new story are a young girl named Fam Fan Fan (Toyosaki Aki) and her navigator Giselle Collette (Yuuki Aoi), members of a group of sky pirates. The setting is a place known as Grand Lake, where the Ades Commonwealth is subjugating the world with its overwhelming military strength for unknown reasons. Opposing them and on the brink of annihilation is the Kingdom of Turan, whose princesses Millia il Velch Cutrettola Turan (Kayano Ai) and Liliana il Grazioso Merlo Turan (Sawashiro Miyuki) one day catch sight of a small vanship named “Vespa” weaving through the enemy fleet and avoiding gunfire. Piloting it is none other than Fam, who has set her eyes on their ship and wants to steal it. Before long, they get caught up in the war and the gaze of Ades’ supreme commander, Luscinia Hafez (Okitsu Kazuyuki).

It remains to be seen whether this is intended to be a direct sequel to the 2003 anime, but some familiar faces and names are among the cast — Alister Agrew (Kuwatani Natsuko), Tatiana Wisla (Kitamura Eri), and Dio Eraclea (Noda Junko). There’s also mention of a mysterious power called “Exile”, which I presume will be different this time around. I still haven’t gotten through all of the first anime but I do have renewed interest in doing so with Ginyoku no Fam just around the corner. Even without finishing it, the promo material and the sound of Aki and Aoi using new voices in the lead roles have me pretty set on getting right into this latest iteration. The key staff members — director/screenwriter, composer, character designer — are all back too, which gives some hope that GONZO might make a comeback as the studio it once was. I’ll watch this for a throwback to GONZO’s better days alone, but I do love the retro-futuristic world and high-speed aerial battles that come with it.

Odds I’ll Watch This: Guaranteed Odds I’ll Blog This: Good
Show Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam Promotional Videos ▼

ben to
Ben-To | ベン・トー Top
http://ben-to.net/
Animation: david production Premiere: October 8, 2011
Genre: Comedy Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays at 26:20
Episodes: 12 Station: TV Aichi (TVA)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

The supermarket battle for half-price lunch boxes is on in this light novel adaptation. Touted as a youthful serious/gag action series for commoners, Ben-To depicts a rambunctious story revolving around high school student Satou You (Shimono Hiro), who goes to a supermarket one day to buy a half-price bento box, only to get knocked out and have it taken from him. When he wakes up, he finds that the only things left are a dried-plum onigiri, which he happens to bump into his classmate Oshiroi Hana (Yuuki Aoi) over. Unbeknownst to You, he’s stepped into a warzone where high school and university students from a nearby dorm battle like wolves over cheap food. He later finds out about this from Yarizui Sen (Ise Mariya), a.k.a. “The Frozen Witch”, who invites You and Hana into her “Half Price Association” that competes for lunches. Other characters join the mix, including You’s university cousin Shaga Ayame (Katou Emiri), a.k.a. “Beauty of the Lake”, her friend Inoue Asebi (Taketatsu Ayana), his class president Shiraume Ume (Kayano Ai), the former HPA president Kaneshirou Yuu (Miyano Mamoru).

How an idea like this even comes up is beyond me but there’s no doubting its originality. Ben-To takes an everyday thing like buying marked-down food and turns it into a free-for-all bloodsport. The mere thought of that is outrageous and I really didn’t think it would interest me, but the promo videos do look kind of cool with the over-the-top depiction. I presume the comedic aspect isn’t too shabby either, since I can’t see the fighting being the selling point when it’s based on a light novel. There’s no disputing the cast though, as David Production brought together one hell of a group for a comedy. Hiro is perfect for these type of slapstick roles and I’m already liking what I hear from Mariya and Emiri as the heroines. The production quality is also better than I imagined, so as long as the material entertains, I can see myself getting into this show.

Odds I’ll Watch This: Good Odds I’ll Blog This: Decent
Show Ben-To Promotional Videos ▼

gundam age
Mobile Suit Gundam AGE | 機動戦士ガンダムAGE Top
http://www.gundam-age.net/
Animation: Sunrise Premiere: October 9, 2011
Genre: Action, Mecha Airtime (GMT+9): Sundays at 17:00
Episodes: 4-cour (?) Station: MBS, TBS
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

Sunrise is back with an all-new Gundam series, taking place in a new Advanced Generation (A.G.) timeline. For the first time ever, the story will cover a “One Hundred Year War” that spans three generations of characters. It begins in A.G. 101, where mankind has immigrated to space for hundreds of years now and are in a state of peace. An overwhelming Unknown Enemy (UE) suddenly appears, destroying the space colony Angel and marking the start of the war — later known as “The Day the Angel Fell”. In A.G. 108, seven-year-old Flit Asuno’s colony Ovan is attacked by the UE. His mother is killed and entrusts him with an AGE Device containing blueprints for a savior — an ancient mobile suit known as “Gundam”. He spends the next seven years studying engineering on the colony Nora and manages to complete the Gundam with other engineers. In it is the AGE System, allowing it to evolve with the pilot over time based on battle data collected. Not too long after, UE comes to attack Nora and Flit boards the Gundam to fend them off, something that mankind hasn’t been able to do in the past fourteen years.

First off, I actually like the modern-retro look of this series, since it takes me back to the franchise’s roots. What’s most impressive is the scope of the series, starting with Flit and his childhood friend Emily Amonde, and continuing on with his son Asem and grandson Kio (seen in the promo art). The AGE System is an adaptive system that is registered with Flit, but the AGE Device holds the key to allowing his descendents to use it as well. Since it evolves, it’s highly likely that the Gundam the series starts with will be the same one Kio inherits and uses in A.G. 201 (barring any upgrades). The scale of the story is comparable to the entire U.C. timeline but contained within a single series — one that’s been suggested will run for a full year (i.e. four-cour). The mere thought of that is enough to get a longtime Gundam fan like myself excited, even when the promo videos only show the first major arc where Flit joins the crew of the Earth Federation battleship, Diva. Much like Gundam 00, I also like the idea of mankind uniting against a common alien threat. This is easily one of my most anticipated shows.

Odds I’ll Watch This: Guaranteed Odds I’ll Blog This: Guaranteed
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mirai nikki
Mirai Nikki | 未来日記 Top
http://www.future-diary.tv/
Animation: Asread Premiere: October 9, 2011
Genre: Fantasy, Suspense Airtime (GMT+9): Sundays at 23:00
Episodes: 26 Station: Niconico Douga
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

Panic survival meets future premonitions in Esuno Sakai’s “Future Diary”, which completed its 5-year 12-volume manga run last December. Asread, a studio that’s been fairly quiet, is bringing us what will likely be a faithful adaptation over the next six months. The survival game begins when Amano Yukiteru (Togashi Misuzu), a lonesome self-proclaimed bystander who writes down everything he sees in his cellphone’s diary, learns that his imaginary friend Deus Ex Machina (Wakamoto Norio) is actually the God of Time & Space. Deus grants Yuki’s cellphone the ability to reveal future events and he is overjoyed about it; however, that changes when he finds out he’s going to be killed by a serial killer. His classmate and stalker Gasai Yuno (Murata Tomasa) ends up saving him, after which Yuki learns that Deus is playing a sick game to determine his successor, where he, Yuno, and ten others must use their future diaries to kill one another. The key to doing so is finding out the other participants’ identities. Having been credited for the first kill, Yuki becomes the target of the ten others and finds himself relying on Yuno to survive.

This is probably one of the most anticipated new shows and kind of crept up out of nowhere with its relatively late addition to the lineup. The use of cellphones in a game is similar to Eden of the East, except there’s a much more sinister feel to Mirai Nikki’s take on it. There’s no concept of time travel, but the participants can change the future depending on their actions — often in the form of split-second decisions. Furthermore, the diaries only record a limited scope of information, such as how Yuki’s only shows stuff that happens around him but not to him, whereas Yuno’s only gives her 10-min updates on Yuki, befitting of the stalker she is. Together, their diaries are able to complement the other’s weaknesses; however, there’s added suspense over whether Yuki can really trust Yuno. She appears sweet and innocent on the outside, but is crazy enough to both kill and die for Yuki. Her diary also poses the ultimate threat to Yuki, since it always knows what he’s doing. I’ve purposely refrained from reading too much of the concluded manga so that I can be surprised at every turn. I like what I saw in the short OVA released last year, so I have every reason to believe this is one of the season’s must-watch shows.

Odds I’ll Watch This: Guaranteed Odds I’ll Blog This: Good
Show Mirai Nikki Promotional Videos ▼

un go
UN-GO Top
http://www.un-go.com/
Animation: BONES Premiere: October 13, 2011
Genre: Mystery Airtime (GMT+9): Thursdays at 24:45
Episodes: 11 Station: Fuji TV (CX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

The noitaminA time slot has two original series lines up, the first of which is inspired by 20th century novelist/essayist Sakuguchi Ango’s detective story, “Meiji Kaika Ango Torimonochou”. BONES is working with Gundam 00 director Mizushima Seiji and Fullmetal Alchemist screenwriter Aikawa Shou to bring us this venturous project, which is set in a post-World War II era where detectives no longer have a place due to an intelligence agency run by the “Media King” Kaishou Rinroku (Miki Shinichirou). However, there’s an underside to how Rinroku is able to solve a lot of cases and “The Last Great Detective” Yuuki Shinjuurou (Katsuji Ryou) intends to bring it to light. Shinjuurou distanced himself from society so people who don’t know who he is refer to him as “The Defeated Detective”. Those who do and are aware of his deductive abilities acknowledge him with respect though. He’s accompanied by a beautiful yet mischievous boy named Inga (Toyosaki Aki) and together they solve cases despite society’s negative view on them.

It’s a little hard to tell where this modern take on Sakuguchi’s novel is headed, but I’m leaning toward diving into it blindly considering the studio and staff involved. I’m always up for a detective series and it sounds like there’s some bad blood in the rivalry between Shinjuurou and Rinroku. The latter’s daughter Rie (Yamamoto Nozomi) compounds society’s negative view on Shinjuurou, and there’s also public prosecutor Koyama Izumi (Honda Takako) and chief prosecutor Hayami Seigen (Irino Miyu) to take into account. The setup seems geared towards a conspiracy involving Rinroku and potentially some underhanded dealings that led to his success. There are also questions surrounding Inga and why he’s so attached to Shinjuurou. An episode 0 featuring their backstory will be released in theaters, but hopefully some of that will come into the series too. Either way, UN-GO warrants some looking into.

Odds I’ll Watch This: Good Odds I’ll Blog This: Decent
Show UN-GO Promotional Videos ▼

guilty crown
Guilty Crown | ギルティクラウン Top
http://www.guilty-crown.jp/
Animation: Production I.G Premiere: October 13, 2011
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi Airtime (GMT+9): Thursdays at 25:15
Episodes: 22 Station: Fuji TV (CX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

It’s not often we get a noitaminA series that’s two-cour, let alone an original one by Production I.G featuring the director of Death Note and the screenwriter of CODE GEASS/Macross Frontier. Guilty Crown’s story begins in 2029, when Japan turns into an anarchy following the outbreak of the “Apocalypse Virus”. An ultranational armed organization known as GHQ intervenes and subjugates the country, stripping it of its seat in the Commonwealth and leaving its people with only the perception of peace. Ten years later in 2039, high school student Ouma Shuu (Kaji Yuuki) tries to spend his days peacefully by distancing himself from society, but that all changes when he runs into an Internet songstress whom he admires, Yuzuriha Inori (Kayano Ai). Inori is a member of the “Undertakers”, an underground resistance group trying to liberate Japan, and part of a sub-17-year-old group led by Tsutsugami Gai (Nakamura Yuiichi). Shuu gets drawn into their fight because he possesses the “Power of Kings” in his right hand, which allows him to extract weapons from the “Void” within a person’s body.

An original Production I.G anime in the noitaminA time block isn’t a hard sell, especially when there’s a beautiful soft-spoken songstress in a revealing dress begging the main character to “use her”, so I was already on board even before I knew what Guilty Crown is about. Granted, it’s even better knowing there’s a military element with robots, theme songs by Supercell, and character designs by Redjuice. There’s so much to be excited about from a production standpoint, including the support cast of characters voiced by Hanazawa Kana, Taketatsu Ayana, Koyasu Takehito, Kotobuki Minako, Endou Aya, and Sakaguchi Daisuke. The promo videos look amazing and I love the fantasy element that Shuu’s power brings to the fight to liberate Japan. The Macross-like songstress part is just icing on the cake with Yuiichi voicing Gai. I love blogging original anime and Guilty Crown looks to be the original anime of the season.

Odds I’ll Watch This: Guaranteed Odds I’ll Blog This: Guaranteed
Show Guilty Crown Promotional Videos ▼


OVA / Movie


 

Technical Note: OVAs are sorted by the date they are released. For series that have multiple episodes coming out over the course of the season, please refer to the Notes column for additional dates. More information on each OVA can be found on their respective websites, including promotional videos in some cases. Movie premiere dates are not included since they don’t mean a whole lot to viewers outside of Japan. DVD/BD movie releases are however. This list is likely incomplete and will be updated as more titles surface. If you notice anything missing, please feel free to point it out in the comments or e-mail me directly.

Release Date Title Notes
10/05 The Prince of Tennis: Best Match | テニスの王子様 ベストマッチ
http://www.tv-tokyo.co.jp/anime/tenipri-best/
Airing on TV Tokyo at 25:50.
10/07 Kaibutsu Oujo OAD 3 | 怪物王女 OAD第3弾
http://kc.kodansha.co.jp/kaibutsu/
10/08 Deadman Wonderland OVA | デッドマン・ワンダーランド OVA
http://www.kadokawa.co.jp/shop/sp/shop_sp_167.html
Unaired episode bundled with manga vol. 11.
10/19 Rio -RainbowGate- OVA
http://riorainbowgate.com/goods/dvd.html
Bundled with BD/DVD vol. 7.
10/21 VitaminX Addiction Act.3
http://www.d3p.co.jp/vitamin_x_addiction/
Final Act.
10/28 Carnival Phantasm 2nd Season | カーニバル・ファンタズム 2nd Season
http://www.typemoon.com/products/cp/
12/32: 3rd Season.
10/28 Hakuouki Sekkaroku OVA Series: Toudou Chapter
薄桜鬼 碧血録 OVAシリーズ 藤堂編
http://www.geneonuniversal.jp/rondorobe/anime/hakuoki/
10/29 Hidamari Sketch SP
http://www.tbs.co.jp/anime/hidamari/
Airing on BS-TBS at 25:30.
11/05: Episode 2.
10/29 Queen’s Blade OAD | クイーンズブレイド OAD
http://queensblade.net/index.php/qb_ova
Bundled with the Premium Visual Book 1.
11/09 Yozakura Quartet ~Hoshi no Umi~ Ep. 3 | 夜桜四重奏 ~ホシノウミ~ 第3弾
http://kc.kodansha.co.jp/yozakura/
11/12 Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn Ep. 4 | 機動戦士ガンダムUC 第4話
http://www.gundam-unicorn.net/
11/17 Seitokai Yakuindomo OAD | 生徒会役員共OAD
http://kc.kodansha.co.jp/seitokai/
Bundled with manga vol. 6.
11/23 Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kira: file.03 | ひぐらしのなく頃に煌 file.03
http://www.oyashirosama.com/web/kira/
11/23 Tales of Symphonia THE ANIMATION Sekai Tougou-hen Vol.1
テイルズ オブ シンフォニア THE ANIMATION 世界統合編 Vol.1
http://ova-tos.com/
11/25 Eiyuu Densetsu Sora no Kiseki THE ANIMATION Vol.1
英雄伝説 空の軌跡 THE ANIMATION Vol.1
http://www.sora-anime.com/
11/25 Hakuouki Sekkaroku OVA Series: Hijikata Chapter
薄桜鬼 碧血録 OVAシリーズ 土方編
http://www.geneonuniversal.jp/rondorobe/anime/hakuoki/
Final episode.
11/25 Hoshi wo Ou Kodomo | 星を追う子ども
http://www.hoshi-o-kodomo.jp/
BD/DVD movie release of Shinkai Makoto’s latest film.
11/25 IS Infinite Stratos Encore: Koi ni Kogareru Rokujuusou
IS<インフィニット・ストラトス>アンコール 「恋に焦がれる六重奏」
http://www.tbs.co.jp/anime/is/
11/25 Saiyuuki Gaiden Vol. 3: Houga Chapter | 最遊記外伝 第参巻 萌芽の章
http://saiyuki-gaiden.com/
11/30 kiss x sis OAD Ep. 6
http://kc.kodansha.co.jp/kiss_sis/
11/– Kono Otoko, Uchuujin to Tatakaemasu. | この男子、宇宙人と戦えます。
http://www.konodan.com/
12/10 Itsuka Tenma no Kuro Usagi ODA | いつか天魔の黒ウサギ ODA
http://www.itsu-ten.jp/
Bundled with LN vol. 9.
12/21 Hidan no Aria OVA | 緋弾のアリア OVA
http://www.tbs.co.jp/anime/aria/
Unaired episode incl. with BD/DVD vol. 7.
12/21 Toradora! Bentou no Gokui | とらドラ! 弁当の極意
http://www.starchild.co.jp/special/toradora_bd/
OVA episode incl. with BD box set.
12/– R-15 OAD (10) | R-15 (10)
http://www.kadokawa.co.jp/shop/sp/shop_sp_177.html
Bundled with LN vol. 10.
Fall 2011 Holy Knight
http://www.cammot.jp/
s.CRY.ed Alteration | スクライド オルタレイション
http://www.s-cry-ed.net/


Overall Impressions


 

Suffice to say, it’s a great season to be an anime fan — hectic as hell to be an anime blogger. Even if I quickly rule out the romantic comedies and the pure comedies — many of which are good — I still have too many shows up for consideration. For now, I’m only committing to Guilty Crown and Gundam AGE. Others that I’m heavily leaning toward are Fate/Zero and Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon. That doesn’t mean shows like Mirai Nikki, Last Exile -Ginyoku no Fam- will go uncovered though, as some of the other writers have already expressed interest in them.

If there’s a show you really want to see covered at RandomC, please let me know in the comments and I’ll take it into consideration. As usual, I plan to watch a lot more shows than I have time to cover, so I’m somewhat flexible on what I cover. It just has to be on my shortlist below, broken down into days. (Good or higher blogging odds; underline means guaranteed.)

As for the categorized series breakdown, see below. Note: The lists are in alphabetical order.

 

High expectation shows give me reason to believe they have the makings of a very good series that should appeal to the widest audience in their given genres. If you consider yourself a “casual” fan who only gets your toes wet every season by watching the “best” shows (i.e. popular ones that generate the most buzz), then these are the ones I feel you should keep an eye out for. I’m also expecting good things from these shows, so if they fall short, disappointment is understandable.

Moderate expectation shows don’t provide any immediate indication that they’ll be amazing in retrospect. This is often the case with shows that fall into one of anime’s overused plot devices, which most people, particularly self-proclaimed critics, will perceive as mediocre at best. However, from my experience, these shows still provide a great deal of entertainment and may turn out a lot better than they appear. They’re good for “regular” fans who are aware of all these tropes and don’t mind seeing them used in different settings. I like sifting through these since romantic comedies are among them. Personal tastes come heavily into play, so your mileage will vary.

Low expectation shows don’t seem to be striving for much and choose to focus on more frivolous aspects such as senseless humor and fan-service. That doesn’t mean they’re the bottom of the barrel and shouldn’t get any consideration, but simply that you need to keep in mind what kind of show it is. Generally only “avid” fans will be interested in seeing what these have to offer, because they’re already watching all the better shows.

Niche shows break away from the norm by being slower-paced, extremely dark/grotesque, or even controversial. In most cases, these shows are oriented towards older audiences or those who feel that anime has become far too repetitive and want something different. Shows of this category tend to be highly underappreciated but can turn out to be hidden gems for that very reason. Includes works oriented toward female audiences.

Established shows are generally long-running manga/anime series, geared towards younger viewers who are already fans of them. A commonality is that they all air early morning on weekends or well before midnight on weekdays so that “normal” people can actually watch them. They aren’t very dependent on expectations but a love for never-ending shows and a willingness to get into all the material that’s out if they’re completely new to you. Shounen series fall into this category, hence why I treat them differently.

Last but definitely not least are the series that I’m not sure what to make heads or tails of yet. Expectation-wise, they fall somewhere between moderate to high due to that unknown factor and are potential surprise hits of the season. If their premises sound interesting to you, I’d say they’re worth checking out.

September 20, 2011 at 6:55 pm
412 comments »
  • September 24, 2011 at 6:10 amarknoir

    Anime world ratio of bug eyed girls to ineffective boys to adults: 8:1:1

    It can warp the minds of little boys

  • September 24, 2011 at 7:34 amayasawada

    Delirious line-up this year. It’s going to be painful figuring out what to keep up with when time is short!

    Myself, I’m definitely going for Fate/Zero, Last Exile and Guilty Crown and will give Persona, Gundam AGE and Kyoukou a go. Am intrigued by at least 5 others on top of that though. As always, will be following Random C closely to see what emerges as the sleeper hits!

  • September 24, 2011 at 8:07 amSailor Enlil

    I am definitely so looking forward to Maji de Watashi ni Koi Shinasai after sampling the Visual Novel. It’s got just about everything for everyone. I’d almost like to think of it as Love Hina with all-out martial arts (and speaking of which, the tall girl with black hair, who’s named Momoyo by the way, will be voiced by Yuu “Motoko Aoyama” Asakawa).

  • September 24, 2011 at 8:44 amSr. Kong

    Here’s my small lineup:

    Tamayura ~hitotose~
    Chihayafuru Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai
    Last Exile -Ginyoku no Fam-
    Ben-To
    Un-Go

    I’m suspicious of Last Exile since it’s being done by Gonzo. I still remember Druaga, so I might drop LE. I don’t know anything about Ben-To. I’m only watching it for the gags, since I like gag anime a LOT.

    • September 27, 2011 at 3:29 pmHrmmm

      I quite liked Duraga. Admittedly it wasn’t ground breaking or anything amazing but it was a fun ride.

  • September 24, 2011 at 10:18 ammayara1

    ohhh too much action in this season!!!
    Even “noitamina” slots are reserved for action anime >.> kinda disappointing!!
    For me i’m going to watch:
    - Kimi to boku
    - Working

  • September 24, 2011 at 11:00 amNikku

    WOW. Looking at the PVs, there will be a lot of good anime this season. Plus, theres a lot of good animation for my eyes which pleases me :D

    My for sures are: Guilty Crown(whos not watching it?), Mirai Nikki(LOVED THE MANGA), and Last Exile.

    My maybes are: Fate/Zero (havent seen fate/stay night yet),Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon(them boobs are giving me doubts),Tamayura(could be cute),Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai(maybe…),UN-GO(looks good, i just hope i dont just leave it there mid season like dantalian)

    I’ll watch P4 after i beat the game. Along with Shana 3, after i finish everything else…

  • September 24, 2011 at 1:11 pmKyon12

    This season it seems that is the better one at this point let us see if we are not to be disapointed……………….persona 4 man i Love the game is great

  • September 24, 2011 at 4:06 pmDrew

    I’m floored that Divine has never watched the Last Exile. I think his anime bloggin’ card may have to be revoked.

    • September 24, 2011 at 4:27 pmDivine

      Not never watched, just never finished. I tried on two separate occasions to get through it but always lost interest.

      I don’t mind revoking my blogging card though. Anyone care to take up the mantle? :)

      • September 24, 2011 at 5:40 pmchaos

        REVOKED!

        JK…I try to watch it once and lost interest after 7 minutes. Not every anime is for everybody, some just plain have no interest in it. It was boring to me.

        I am sure it was nominated for something, but just becuase it can win awards doesn’t mean it is a good anime. I mean, look at the anime, OVA, and anime movie of the year list. Nausicaa, Ponyo, Spirited Away, Steamboy, Metropolis, Monster Inc, …etc. These were anime of the year and film of the year, but I think they are boring and stupid I don’t even bother watching them. I think those judges were high when I choose these title.

        The only category that I mostly agreed with is the anime of the year. Code Geass, Death Note, Inuyasha, Macross, Gundam Seed, these title deserve the title “anime of the year”. They were exceptionally good.

      • September 25, 2011 at 12:01 amChaos BOOTLICKER

        meow

      • September 26, 2011 at 4:26 amA

        How is Spirited Away stupid? >.<

      • October 2, 2011 at 1:56 pmdxb_blackwolf

        Spirited Away was stupid :(

        I recommend you giving it another shot. It’s definitely not my favorite anime but I just can’t see anyone not enjoying it.

  • September 24, 2011 at 5:06 pmAnonymous

    Quite frankly, I don’t see the appeal in this semi-serious depiction of a same-sex relationship, even if it were on the lesbian side of things. I can enjoy the yuri version if it’s used in the gag sense like Yuruyuri or only lightly touched upon like Aoi Hana or Sasameki Koto, but that’s the extent I care to see even when they’re all girls.

    Homophobe, huh? Disappointing.

    • September 24, 2011 at 11:02 pmDivine

      There’s a very big difference between being afraid of something and not caring to see it. Just so you know.

    • September 25, 2011 at 3:07 amHrmmm

      I swear… When I first read that in the preview I thought “Divine is trying his best to sound as neutral as possible. Why else would he compare it to yuri…” And yet… here we have people misunderstanding. =P

      BL Divine… (Bad Luck and not Boys Love btw. I wouldn’t want people misunderstanding me here.)

  • September 24, 2011 at 5:16 pmcemo

    If there was any doubt about there being an audience for forbidden love between guys…

    I don’t know, Divine, your writing style makes you seem really repressed. Like, anyone can see it. And you just happen to cover the Ouran High School drama, which is full of shirtless young men and subtle forays into the fabulous world of BL. A lot of Japanese girls like that, and so do American gay men. Which one are you?

    • September 24, 2011 at 11:03 pmDivine

      Neither. And I don’t watch Ouran for the male fan-service, which you should get from my posts if you read them.

    • September 25, 2011 at 3:16 amHrmmm

      You seem a bit (sexually) confused here cemo …

      You see: If you’re really sure of your self and sexuality there should be nothing wrong with enjoying any form of entertainment regardless of its sexual depictions.

    • September 25, 2011 at 12:29 pmcemo

      How prudish are you, Divine? I make a comment about your repressed desire for shirtless boys and now all of my comments are awaiting moderation. I’ve been reading the blog since 2008, but I think I’ll stop now.

    • September 25, 2011 at 12:31 pmcemo

      I’m truly sorry for jumping the gun. Clearly, since my comment from a minute ago went through, not all of the comments are awaiting moderation. But I’m not sorry for calling you a prude.

    • September 25, 2011 at 12:39 pmZaku Fan

      Hey cemo, do you like scat and watersports? No? Then you’re a prude. You like seeing a scat omelette? No? Then you’re a prude. You like guro? No then you’re a prude.

      i think the point is obvious now

    • September 25, 2011 at 4:39 pmDivine

      You’re tripping the spam filter with your choice of words. I am however going to remove any further comments regarding this since this has nothing to do with anime anymore and you’re just going for personal attacks. You’re trolling whether you realize it or not.

  • September 24, 2011 at 5:26 pmchaos

    Look like Guilty Crown is the anime of winter…

    With the name of famous anime like Death Note and Code Geass in association, it is no wonder it is the most anticipated anime of the upcoming season.

    Fate/Zero is trailing right behind it…

    I picked Guilty Crown, Fate/Zero, Persona 4, Mirai Nikki…nice to know I picked the 4 of the top 5 anime already. My fifth choice is Horizon of Nowhere as a gamble. Who knows it might come true as the “Better than Expectation” award. That is why it is a gamble… :D

    • September 25, 2011 at 10:21 pmcybersteel

      Good choices but how about Shana 3?
      BTW what happened to your stockbroker job?

      • September 28, 2011 at 7:02 pmchaos

        I never watched Shana 1 or 2, so I won’t know…

        The new Guilty Crown side banner looked awesome btw!

        Currently, body building to be a meathead. Desire goal is 180 lbs. Up 5 lbs already in 3 weeks. :D As for the stockbroker job, it takes 8 and half months to get my series 7 license and training, so I will be making annoying phone calls to get people out of the shower when you least want me to just to be yelled at and be a corporate lap-dog for close to a year. Then it is 5 years to $1M, that is the goal anyway. If you ever need a good stockbroker/financial advisor, let me know. :D

  • September 24, 2011 at 6:10 pmRockmanshii

    “While the number of shows pales in comparison to the 43 offered in spring, the quality of the 25 new titles is a lot higher.”

    Maybe someone said so in the comments already (haven’t read them all), but this downright shocked me when I read this sentence. Of course, you can get a rough estimate from the information, the original material if there’s one, the staff (The FULL staff, not only the director, but that’s another story)etc and that’s all this preview is about, but they stay estimates, first impressions. I believe, you cannot know the quality of a show until it aired and you’ve seen it for yourself UNTIL THE ENDING. Even the upcoming Fate/Zero, surely looks totally awesome but, maybe it will suck! The possibility is never 0% , or can you see in the future? NO!

    It’s just like how you don’t know whether a game is good or not until you’ve played it yourself, like how you won’t get my point and think I’m crazy unless you read this until the end, like how you don’t really know a person unless you’ve spent a really long time with her.

    Anyway, I believe that no matter the background or the staff or whatever , you cannot judge something unless you’ve seen it yourself; I believe so firmly in this, that I can’t stress it enough. It amaze me so much when someone say “this show is shit” (or in turn, “BEST SHOW OF THE SEASON”) after seeing one or two episodes. Are they wizards? Of course I’m not saying first impressions (or recommendations if the show aired already) are always wrong, but they’re still first impressions. (As for recommendations, everyone got different tastes)

    I do not dare talk about a show in detail unless I’ve watched it until the end. What detail would you have to talk about anyway if you didn’t see it all? How would you know whether a weight is heavier than another one if you never weighted one of them? Isn’t that simple logic? Isn’t an opinion based only on the start, almost worthless? Or would you write a review for an RPG after playing only through the first five hours?(A lot of pseudo game journalists really do that actually but again that’s another story). I’m talking about the proverb “don’t judge a book by it’s cover.”

    I really like you Divine so I thought I’d tell you these thoughts of mine.
    I believe you knew this already and just didn’t gave it much attention when you typed this sentence I quoted, but I thought I’d take the opportunity to talk about it in detail.

    Just in case it’s not obvious, I’m not saying Season Previews are wrong, I’m not trying to destroy their concept, I’m not even talking about previews, I’m just saying people should shut their mouth if they don’t know what they’re talking about. (This isn’t directed at anyone.)

    I guess I like anime as much as people to feel angry, or should I say, sad, when someone talks about one without watching it until the end. Of course I also know there could be a show you hated so much, you’ll say it’s shit even though you didn’t watch it till the end because you couldn’t(What everyone likes to call “dropping a show” these days). In that case just say: “this show is shit, in my opinion, which is based from what I’ve seen of it”. There is a big difference whether you put in “in my opinion, which is based from what I’ve seen of it” or not. Don’t say “this show is shit” . Saying it would just prove that you are a moron, IN MY OPINION.

    Anime is wonderful, most of them got an ending, meaning you can watch it until the end and make a judgment. Isn’t this awesome? You have the possibility to see for yourself and analyze every single aspect of it. You can’t do this with a person. Thus, you can’t judge him. So don’t waste this right you have and enjoy it!
    I hope you got my point.

    Another way to put my point is “you never know what tomorrow will be made of”

    • September 24, 2011 at 11:09 pmDivine

      All I can do is compare my impression of the spring season when I researched and wrote that preview to my impression when I researched and wrote this one. That’s what led me to believe that the quality of shows is higher. Another measure is that there are more big name titles with established followings, which is arguably a valid indicator.

      Yes, I could’ve used more modality and rephrased it as “appears to be higher”, but this is just nitpicking IMO.

    • September 25, 2011 at 12:00 amamado

      the only one that is almost definitely great IMO is the fate/zero. being done by the one who made madoka magica(which is what I consider the best this year) and done by the creators of the KnK movies.

    • September 25, 2011 at 1:32 amBilly D

      Sure, the old adage goes: Do Not Believe It Until You See It.

      Though, without all the time in this world, we can only make our best guess and pick up two or 3 series to go… random quick brain-twister: Does “Un-Go” mean “Do Not Go”?

    • September 25, 2011 at 1:47 amZaku Fan

      Sorry if i have gone though over half the series and dropped it, the pacing issue is pretty much ridiculous enough it will never be so good that the torture/boredom of going through the first half is validated because pacing is exactly one of the main components in gauging whether an anime is good or not.

      You might have a valid point if the series is dropped after 2 episodes (Madoka, A-Channel) but even then it depends on the reason. For example Hen-Zemi. I could only make it past episode 1. If you tell me it becomes great after episode 7, good for you. I’m definitely not holding a puke bucket next to me for 6 more episodes so i can get to the “great episode”.

      That said, its obvious that the entire post is written from the perspective of Divine and represents his view. Due to this, stuff like “IMO”, “seems to me” and such are already understood in the context and do not need to be added.

      • September 25, 2011 at 3:00 amHrmmm

        “You might have a valid point if the series is dropped after 2 episodes (Madoka, A-Channel)”

        =O!!!!!!!!! I was not really into madoka until the end of episode 3 xD and from there it took off. But fair enough… I gave up on A-channel halfway through episode 1… Didn’t like the characters or character design

        Anyway back to what I was saying… Try to watch that third episode =D it’s pretty satisfying. unless… you read all the summaries and don’t give a damn anymore….

      • September 25, 2011 at 3:51 amZaku Fan

        Already did. I was referring to Rockmanshii’s point of people dropping anime before its last episode. I know there are a number of people who dropped Madoka and A Channel after 2 episodes and for those people, then Rockmanshii’s point of their critisim being not valid is true but at the same time i understand why series like those 2 would be dropped so early (cliche and negativity respectively).

        If however, i’ve watched it for 6 to 7 episodes of a 1 cour and it still as bad, then it *is* bad even if the ending is “wow”.

        Btw, you can try A-Channel from eps 5 onwards as it starts going K-ON’s sunshine and rainbows atmosphere. Ep 1 almost killed the series.

      • September 26, 2011 at 2:58 pmRockmanshii

        @Divine: Yeah I agree with you, about the sequel and big titles thing, I guess being a sequel with same staff etc is definitely a big factor. Didn’t gave it much thought, but really that’s what I meant about not talking about the preview itself, sorry if it sounded like if I was criticizing you in particular the whole comment(reread it now and It really does sounds like that actually so sorry… )I wrote this for myself, without the intention to post it in the comments at first.

        It’s one of the thing I like the most about you in fact, not being biased about shows and blogging about controversial or niche ones. And I also agree about your last sentence, it’s just nitpicking, really I’m sorry again, I should just posted this without quoting you. It just that it’s this sentence that made me think about it.
        I feel really guilty about making you upset now. Sorry again I mean it.

        @Billy D & Zaku Fan : Yeah there’s the problem about time too, I’m a bit exaggerating about till the ending thing, but at least you can check how a show turns out on blogs like here. And the whole “in my opinion” thing and my comment in general wasn’t directed at Divine, sorry again for the confusion. Of course it would be weird to put “imo” everytime while you’re writing on your own blog, I know that don’t worry.

      • September 26, 2011 at 3:50 pmDivine

        @Rockmanshii: No worries. Don’t fret about it because I didn’t take any offense to it. I just thought it was weird how the wording was a concern. It’s not nearly as bad as some other people who’ll twist my words at every opportunity, especially in these season previews when we get a lot of people stopping by the site who aren’t regular readers.

  • September 24, 2011 at 8:34 pmRyan

    Persona 4 Animation and Guilty Crown for me! I literally am dying from the wait to see how these two shows will turn out.

    I will most likely watch Bakuman 2 since I love the manga. Chihayafuru and Mirai Nikki look like they could be interested, so I’ll see what the reaction is.

    Never really enjoyed Last Exile and Fate/stay Night so I’ll be passing up their sequels. I don’t really understand the appeal…

    Gundam AGE looks like it could be interested, but man, 4-cour? That’s really long

    • September 25, 2011 at 7:29 pmTimelessness

      At first reading this I was excited that it was a 4 core; I can’t wait for a new long running gundam series. The description sounded like it would make a decent story. But I saw the preview and I was very disappointed in the childish look it had to it, the characters…and just the animation in general…it defiantly doesn’t appease me. I normally don’t judge too much from previews but this one defiantly turned me away. I’ll still try to give it a chance.

      Taking a shot in the dark out of all of these series I hopefully I’ll like Guilty Crown…based on whos making it, and the concepts involved…seems like a decent anime to come to me.

  • September 25, 2011 at 1:03 amBilly D

    OMFG! HxH?!

    WTF? Hunter X Hunter?

    LOL After years of stalling

    Well, this season looks pretty dull. Reruns (sequels) of moe-moe. It’s getting old.

    I’ll look forward to “境界線上のホライゾン.” It looks like the only “original” series coming to the end of 2011.

    HxH is not going to be as good as it used to be. I promise. The comic turned out to be stupid. And after, what? five years of abandoning the project, the original mangaist was simply out of touch when he came back and threw in random scenes of ants and practice bazooka punch from our protagonist.

    Thumb down.

    • September 25, 2011 at 1:45 amDivine

      I don’t see how there’s any weight to your claim when you only singled out a few shows to make your point. “Reruns (sequels) of moe-moe. It’s getting old.” is a pretty big sweeping statement when you’re probably only referring to Ika Musume and WORKING.

      • September 26, 2011 at 1:04 amBilly D

        I just want to remind you, Divine, that you and staff here had done a great job sharing joy with fans all over the world.

        I don’t need to clarify anything. But since you insist… It’s simply my generalization that a bunch of anime out there this coming season (not all, most) are throwing together stuffs overused from time to time. Say the IG production, it’s not like nothing interesting will come out if they mash together a good chunk of Ghost in the Shell and Macross. But does the preview looks interesting to me? No.

        There are cheesy stuffs like the Yao-Nekogami and even the recent Devil May Cry. I watched them. May I predict that Guilty Crown will end up another entertaining but hardly mind-blazing show like YNG or DMC? Wait, isn’t Detroit Metal City a great show or what? I’m misleading you here, heh.

        I love my opinions. You should try it sometime.
        >:-D

      • September 26, 2011 at 1:09 amBilly D

        By the way, HxH is not even proving my point. I was simply bringing it up. The original anime series look superior… My cheesy version of comparing the 62 ep. of Hxh would be “The Mushishi x Natsume in a ‘Hotblood’ Shonen-disguise.” I hope younger viewers go back and watch those Classics. There’s a reason why they can’t wait to reproduce it. LOL

      • September 26, 2011 at 1:37 amZaku Fan

        “Reruns (sequels) of moe-moe”
        “Ghost in the Shell and Macross”

        Yeah those are really moe, especially how the VFs look eh? Azunyan’s got nothing on the SDF-1 too

        You’re now in the 3rd phase of an anime fan where its “Oh, these newbies dun know nu’thing. ‘Em classics are the best and I’ve seen ‘em all”

        Some people get stuck in this phase pretty much forever (especially the low self esteem ones). Hopefully you work it out that there’s a 4th phase. Good luck!

      • September 26, 2011 at 5:14 amUrayuki

        Genuinely interested Zaku Fan. What are the other phases? That is, if you’re not just being witty and there really is a classification system out there. I have seen a lot of these 3rd phases hanging around the internetz though.

      • September 27, 2011 at 11:21 pmBilly D

        I get it that you don’t respect “3rd phase” fan opinions. Whatever. Anime has been good to me, and I’ve been sticking to my educated opinions, and I stick to the subject: Anime. And if you don’t like my comment, read someone else’s. You don’t sound more respectable by running full of foul-mouth over another fan, yeah?

    • September 27, 2011 at 11:18 pmBilly D

      I think by now, Zaku, since you smart-assed your way here like I did, you can identify what is “moe-moe” and what is not. I watched all anime, make no mistake. I have my opinion, and it’s not a mistake, either.

      • September 28, 2011 at 2:02 amcrimsonmoon

        Looks like someone’s not getting off his high horse anytime soon…

  • September 25, 2011 at 1:49 amjames

    I was suprised to see poor / poor for bakuman from the person that writes about idolm@ster…

    If anything, the jaded are more likely to scrutinize idolm@ster

    • September 25, 2011 at 3:53 amDivine

      If you 1.) read my positive impressions on Bakuman last fall, 2.) read my mediocre impressions on IDOLM@STER in summer, and 3.) read my initial IDOLM@STER posts, you’ll see why that’s changed.

      Maybe “jaded” wasn’t the best word.

      • September 25, 2011 at 10:17 amjames

        haha yeah I think so too. we all have different tastes so it’s cool :D

  • September 25, 2011 at 1:29 pmIchigomaru

    Question: Can Mobile Suit Gundam AGE be better than Gundam Unicorn?

    • September 29, 2011 at 3:26 amMrRei

      That would depend on your target audience.. If you target the general audience you’ll only get mixed results with you’re question.

  • September 25, 2011 at 1:56 pmPokpok

    + 100000000000000 for Mirai nikki and Guity crown + Shana III and Fate/zero every fun anime is waiting for this season Yan/Tsu/Blood alert

    • September 25, 2011 at 9:55 pmMc-Taz

      Definitely! Shana III is something I’ve waited so long for, and I’m very excited for it. Along with Mirai Nikki just seeming like it will be an awesome show, I can’t wait to see what happens this season. (And next season too! — They both stretch through winter… so amazing.) :D

  • September 25, 2011 at 4:44 pmesc

    I’d love to see Divine blog Mirai Nikki

  • September 25, 2011 at 6:41 pmQwerty1

    What is up with Wednesdays? Is it the official no anime day or something?

    • September 25, 2011 at 10:29 pmcybersteel

      It’s just there’s no new anime. At that slot there’s Hyouge Mono, Naruto Shippuuden, Pocket Monsters: Best Wishes! and Sket Dance from previous seasons.

  • September 26, 2011 at 8:15 amjreding

    Divine, I would be most happy if RC covered Tamayura! You write that this type of show is not very interesting to blog. I think it’s at least worth a try: I found the production values quite decent and as you write the OVA was a good balance to other shows. Ofc not much can be expected in terms of action (or plot at all) but this to some extent was also true for Usagi Drop or Ikoku Meiro which both nevertheless had lots of interesting aspects to discuss. Tamayura imo might be a worthy successor to these shows!

  • September 26, 2011 at 8:43 amTrinity

    ooo, some of these looks really exciting! :D

    but, one question, and yes, I feel dumb now. What does 1-cour mean? that there’s just one episode? I don’t get it..

    • September 26, 2011 at 10:21 amElo

      1-cour means one season, meaning about 11-13 episodes.

    • September 27, 2011 at 5:38 amShirt

      I was a little lost on that one too. After seeing RC get slapped with what looks like Final Fantasy madness, and all the hype Divine has for Guilty Crown, I guess the 2-cour thing is all the rave.

  • September 26, 2011 at 10:22 amElo

    Guilty Crown, Persona 4, Fate/Zero, Bakuman 2, Mirai Nikki, Horizon, and Gundam AGE are definitely on my list. Maybe I’ll check out Kimi to Boku and Chihayafuru if I have the time.

  • September 26, 2011 at 10:47 aminkka

    My top list
    1.Gundam Age 2.Guilty crown 3.Fate/zero 4.Shakugan no shana III 5.Mirai nikki

    This is absolutely not the best fall season for me.With only 5 animes that i prefer to watch(Maybe+Bakuman if I had time).But with this 5 series.I feel certain that it’ll delivered something amazing for sure.Can’t wait to watch all of these!!

  • September 26, 2011 at 1:47 pmUnknownVoice

    So basically only fate/zero is worth attention…oh gods, how tired I am of anime seasons with almost nothing to watch

    • September 26, 2011 at 3:36 pmKivos

      Keep on trolling.

    • September 26, 2011 at 6:44 pmricz

      So basically you don’t need to watch anime

      Anime are created for all not for only you

  • September 26, 2011 at 4:40 pmXavier

    this season, we gonna have a lot of animes to watch

  • September 27, 2011 at 5:26 amShirt

    I think I’m gonna cry from all the nostalgia. Thanks Divine for the hard work.

  • September 27, 2011 at 5:31 amShirt

    The main character in Pea Brain looks like KOOGY! XDDD

  • September 27, 2011 at 11:01 amYukiru

    Thanks for the post!
    Guilty Crown looks great! I hope RC will blog Persona 4 :)
    I feel like this is the most exciting season for anime for a long time! I’m reminded of how Thursday nights used to always have the most exciting shows..

  • September 27, 2011 at 12:39 pmAK-47

    Everything is about fighting and high school -_- did all the smart people die or?

    • September 27, 2011 at 11:33 pmBilly D

      LOL

  • September 27, 2011 at 2:15 pmokitakarin

    PRETTY PLEASE, cover Hunter x Hunter in RandomC!!! I really like your reviews and the pics you take and was REALLY looking forward to seeing them D: But I LOVE this series and know that there are LOTS of fans out there :( so please, I beg you would you cover this series as well? :)

    P.S: I’m happy that you are covering Mirai Nikki!!! It’s one of my favourite mangas and I was expecting the anime a whole lot!!!

    • September 27, 2011 at 11:33 pmBilly D

      Agreed. Cover more!

    • September 28, 2011 at 10:31 amMrRei

      I wouldn’t be happy blogging about something I’ve watched years ago… It’s a remake like DBZ Kai. Nothing new (unless they move forward to the Chimera Arc).. :(

      • September 28, 2011 at 8:41 pmokitakarin

        Really? I think it might actually be interesting. In fact I must say that, in Japan, this is one of the most expected series of the year so I wouldn’t dismiss it. I’m quite sad that many fans don’t give the series a chance…FMA Shintetsu turned out to be even better than the first one, for instance. I’m sure that the new seiyuus’ll do an awesome job and am quite positive about the results of this new Hunter x Hunter anime :)

      • September 29, 2011 at 3:07 amMrRei

        To watch, yes it could be interesting… But try writing about it in a catchy way. That’s hard. Not much to say but compare it to the first one. If it can’t get the writer excited, then the whole article can’t be that exciting ether. Besides the first FMA didn’t fully follow the manga and had a different take on the story. Unless the new HxH would divert itself from the manga early on (or the chimera arc like I mentioned), I wouldn’t touch it just yet. Don’t get me wrong, I like HxH (probably watched whole thing over 5 times by now). But it’s just too predictable to say you can blog it. :[

  • September 27, 2011 at 2:16 pmokitakarin

    oops I meant “and” not “but” hehe ^^U

    anyway I can’t wait for these series to come out :D I’ll watch Guilty Crown too >D

  • September 28, 2011 at 12:32 amewok40k

    after all, my schedule for the fall season:

    sun mirai nikki
    mon ika musume 2
    tue chihayafuru
    wed —————
    thu guilty crown
    fri shakugan no shana 3
    sat fate/zero

  • September 28, 2011 at 10:36 amSnuckerpooks

    Found a Bakuman S2 commercial, and preview for the first episode(s). This was posted on the Bakuman homepage (http://www9.nhk.or.jp/anime/bakuman/)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJmETf6E2AQ

    • September 28, 2011 at 1:36 pmDivine

      Thanks. I’ve added it to the preview.

  • September 29, 2011 at 10:33 amlcdsound

    Divine, awesome job on the fall preview and i do like that new sidebar title.

    I really do hope that this new gundam approach is the right direction for the gundam series, at least initially it won’t have teenage angst.

    Though my pick to win it all will be guilty crown. ’nuff said.

  • September 30, 2011 at 3:20 pmSnuckerpooks

    New CM for persona 4, just started airing yesterday.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qbn6G3tVZhE

    Haven’t found it on the P4A website though. I know its starting in a week or so but maybe people still troll this thread.

    • September 30, 2011 at 3:23 pmSnuckerpooks

      Acutally, theres like 3 new CM’s but this one is the best

  • September 30, 2011 at 3:48 pmDisemvoweled troll: After the Snow

    “…whrs Yn’s nly gvs hr 10-mn pdts n Yk bng th stlkr sh s. Tgthr, thr drs r bl t cmplmnt th thr’s wknsss…”

    Qstn: hv y vr tkn n nglsh clss n yr lf? Hr’s hw t shld lk:

    “…whrs Yn’s, bng th stlkr sh s, nly gvs hr 10-mn pdts n Yk. Tgthr, thr drs r bl t cmplmnt th thr’s wknsss…”

    Lrn sm grmmr, fr fck’s sk.

    • September 30, 2011 at 5:00 pmErru

      Mind = blown

  • October 3, 2011 at 9:28 amNate

    Sorry as a gundam fan I staying away from Gundam AGE. It looks so kiddyfide

  • October 5, 2011 at 4:58 amricz

    Guilty Crown PV 3 is now available

    more action!!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-xIwrAo1lo0

    http://www.guilty-crown.jp/

  • October 5, 2011 at 1:36 pmAK-47

    Chihayafuru is the only watchable anime atm, i have some hopes for: Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai,Last Exile -Ginyoku no Fam-,Mirai Nikki and Guilty Crown.

  • October 5, 2011 at 2:09 pminnerchihiro

    @Divine
    ANN recently reported a CM for Mirai Nikki.

  • October 6, 2011 at 1:40 pmNathalie

    Jesus… who came up with these retarded messed up times? Anyone knows that 2:00 is 2 in the morning, no need for these outbound measures… Japanese people sleep super late or something?

    • October 6, 2011 at 2:39 pmDivine

      Those who watch anime “in real time” do.

  • October 8, 2011 at 4:58 amnarutokyuurasen

    Guilty Crown. I watched the first episode of Shakugan no Shana Final last night, and Fate/Zero. at the top for me is GUILTY CROWN !!!!

  • October 8, 2011 at 6:11 pmKelfistan

    Friday is going to be epic

  • October 15, 2011 at 5:07 amRonin09

    Been a while since I’ve looked forward to a new season of anime.

  • October 15, 2011 at 5:34 amkuya

    just saw the 1st episode of Last Exile on ANIMAX, & I was impressed by it. The animation, opening & ending song & sequence, & the story. looks to be a top top anime.

    • October 15, 2011 at 5:37 amkuya

      …plus the opening was another from School Food Punishment (collaboration with Sakamoto Maaya), title ‘Buddy’. Impressive.

  • October 27, 2011 at 3:00 amWigZeroZXT

  • November 7, 2011 at 3:50 pmAK-47

    Chihayafuru,Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai and Mirai Nikki dont suck to much. Everything else is camel poo on a stick -_-

    • November 7, 2011 at 4:13 pmDivine

      That’s not a very convincing conclusion and is no better than if I just said that a lot of commenters are “camel poo on a stick”.

  • November 16, 2011 at 1:44 amricz

    @Divine I know it’s a bit late but can I get a link or can I know what source
    did you get that kyoukai will be having a season on 2012?

    • November 16, 2011 at 2:39 amDivine

      See here.

      • November 16, 2011 at 2:49 amricz

        Thanks

  • December 22, 2011 at 12:03 pmGimpyhair

    How much I hope someone will blog this in spring http://eurekaao-prj.net/ Didn’t see that coming

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