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Fall 2012 Preview!

shinsekaiyoriv2 tonarikaibutsu jormungand2v3 chuunibyouv3 seitokainoichizon2
hayatenogotoku littlebusters magi psychopassv2 roboticsnotes

Finally, the long-awaited fall season! Along with spring, fall tends to be one of the busier seasons, with everything from the debut of highly anticipated blockbusters to the continuation of venerable old series. And this year is no different! Hotly anticipated adaptations include the award-winning sci-fi light novel Shin Sekai Yori, the 5pb. sci-fi visual novel ROBOTICS;NOTES, and the Key romantic drama Little Busters! The sequel front has some heavy-hitters as well, among them the return of spring’s amoral action-adventure Jormungand, a brand new season of the comedy and harem classic Hayate no Gotoku, and the third season of the mangaka drama Bakuman. There are even a few original series to round things out, most notably Urobuchi Gen’s PSYCHO-PASS. Fall is busy indeed–and like last spring, you’re fortunate enough to have not one, not two, but FIVE writers to help guide you through the shows you’ll want to be watching this season. Lucky for you, eh? So without further ado (that’s a lie; there’ll be a lot more ado before we’re done), let’s get on with it and talk about the 32 series we’ve previewed for you this season. Get excited!

 

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.
  • The writer’s impressions, expanding on the plot and highlighting specific points of interest.

In addition, this season we’ve added a little something extra to make it even easier for you to decide what to watch. We call this the Expectation Level, which is a rough signifier of how excited we are about every show. For more on this, including our definition of each level, check out the overall impressions section at the very bottom. We’ve also included a list of all shows organized by expectation level, just because we’re super helpful like that.

 

Disclaimer: past season previews were done by a single writer, so while regular readers were probably familiar with the shows that Divine liked to watch, this collaborative approach features many different writers whose tastes you might not yet know very well. That said, we hope this will translate into a more diverse set of perspectives while still maintaining the high-quality and objective impressions of seasons past. Similar to what Divine did in the past, we will also try to identify what appeals to us in each series, in hopes it will help you determine if it coincides with your tastes.

This season, we painstakingly selected five writers (i.e. everyone drew straws, and we lost) whose tastes and anime watching experience we felt would translate into the best previews possible. Those writers are: BakaMochi, Moomba, Zephyr, verdant, and yours truly, Stilts!

By no means does this list reflect every single anime series that is going to air, 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 a complete listing, syoboi’s calendar for specific air times, and Fansub Wiki’s page for a tentative look on who’s subbing what.

 

By the way, I’d like to take a quick moment to thank all the other writers who helped put this thing together. It took nine of us working together to do what Divine did alone, but then again none of us had to spend a month solid working on it, and then take four days off from work to finish it off in the home stretch. So, you know, that was pretty cool. Aside from the preview writers that I already mentioned, here’s what everyone did to help out:

  • Zanibas, BakaMochi, Cherrie, Moomba, Stereoman, and Zephyr gathered all the links and researched the shows.
  • Moomba collected and encoded all of the PVs.
  • Zephyr translated the OVA / Movie list.
  • Stereoman found and cleaned all the images.
  • Zanibas, unlisted, and I inserted all the links and formatted the post so it would actually work.
  • Last but most certainly least, verdant and I went through and proofread, edited, and double-checked everything.

Thanks for your hard work, everybody! It’s because of you that my friends and family actually got to see me this past month. Needless to say, they’re pissed, but I’m grateful at least!


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
Magi
17:00 MBS/TBS (10/7)
Aikatsu!
19:30 TX (10/8)
Initial D Fifth Stage
04:00 Animax (11/6)
Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai
24:30 MX (10/3)
Gintama (2012)
18:00 MX (10/4)
Kyousogiga
Internet (8/31)
Bakuman. 3
17:30 NHK-E (10/6)
Hiiro no Kakera S2
22:00 MX (9/30)
Sakurasou no Pet no Kanojo
24:30 MX (10/8)
Jormungand 2: Perfect Order
24:30 MX (10/9)
Medaka Box 2
25:20 MBS/TBS (10/10)
BTOOOM!
23:00 MX (10/4)
Onii-chan Dakedo Ai Sae Areba Kankei Nai yo ne
23:00 AT-X (10/5)
Aoi Sekai no Chuushin de
22:00 MX (10/20)
Ixion Saga DT
25:05 TX (10/7)
Girls und Panzer
25:00 MX (10/8)
Hayate no Gotoku! Can’t Take My Eyes Off You
26:05 TX (10/3)
PSYCHO-PASS
24:30 CX (10/11)
Shin Sekai Yori
24:30 EX (9/28)
Little Busters!
22:30 MX (10/6)
Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun
25:35 TX (10/1)
ROBOTICS;NOTES
25:15 CX (10/11)
JoJo’s Bizzare Adventure The Animation
24:30 MX (10/5)
Seitokai no Ichizon S2
23:30 Niconico (10/13)
Kamisama Hajimemashita
26:05 TX (10/1)
Hidamari Sketch x Honeycomb
25:25 TBS/BS-TBS (10/4)
To Love-Ru – Trouble: Darkness
25:00 MX (10/5)
Sukitte Ii na yo
25:00 MX (10/6)
Busou Shinki
25:55 TBS (10/4)
CODE:BREAKER
26:58 MX (10/6)
Zetsuen no Tempest: The Civilization Blaster
26:00 MBS (10/4)
K
26:25 MBS/TBS (10/4)

* Jump to OVA/Movies.

kyousogigav2
Kyousogiga | 京騒戯画 Top
http://www.kyousogiga.com/
Animation: Toei Animation Premiere: August 31, 2012
Genre: Supernatural Airtime (GMT+9):
Episodes: 5 Station: Internet
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

Preview by

The continuation of the hyperactive and frequently downright crazy ONA Kyousogiga comes to us once again from Toei Animation as a series of ten minute Original Net Animations to be released online at various portals over the last few months of 2012. In the ‘Mirror Capital’ Kyoto, ruled over by a monk (Suzumura Kenichi), a demon (Kitamura Eri) and a priest (Nakahara Shigeru), Koto (Kugimiya Rie) continues her search for the rabbit that will allow her to return home to her mentor, Inari (Ishida Akira). Along with the two spirits A (Hidaka Noriko) and Un (Shiraishi Ryoko), she wreaks havoc throughout the city causing extensive frustration for Shouko (Saito Chiwa).

There’s a certain type of brilliance which can only be found while plumbing the depths of insanity. FLCL continues to stand strong as a testament to this. Kyousogiga may not have quite the same extent of magnificence as FLCL, but it certainly comes close. The biggest difference is that the former seems to focus far more on the pure entertainment value of its absurdity without putting too much stock in its plot, whereas FLCL meshes the two together beautifully. There’s something quite satisfying about watching Koto send a car soaring across the Kyoto skyline with a single swing of her enormous hammer. Truth be told, the biggest downer here is that the only available streams are all low definition which doesn’t really do justice to the spectacular animation of the series. Regardless, with its colourful art-style, unique denizens and entertaining action sequences, our return to Mirror Kyoto should be an eventful and thoroughly enjoyable journey!

Watching This: Asobi, Moomba, Stilts, Zanibas, Zephyr Expectation Level: Niche
shinsekaiyoriv2
Shin Sekai Yori | 新世界よりTop
http://www.tv-asahi.co.jp/shinsekaiyori/
Animation: A-1 Pictures Premiere: September 28, 2012
Genre: Sci-Fi, Supernatural Airtime (GMT+9): Fridays at 24:30
Episodes: 25 Station: TV Asahi (EX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

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In the distant future, the world is on the brink of collapse, and people now live in small secluded towns. They are led by psychics possessing the cursed power of “Juryoku,” which allows them to materialize objects from their imaginations. One day, a girl named Saki (Taneda Risa) and four of her friends (Hanazawa Kana, Toudou Mai, Tojo Kanako, Kudou Haruka) stumble upon an archive on the outskirts of town. Within, they find records of the past and the truth behind their world: individuals with Juryoku powers arose in the 21st century, resulting in a world war between psychics and non-psychics. With their victory, those with the Juryoku became the rulers of the world, and began a reign of terror. When the rest of the town finds out the kids have discovered this forbidden knowledge, they seal their powers and exile them. The five decide to band together, going on an adventure to protect their friends and to save their dying world.

To say I have high hopes of this series would be an understatement. As a co-winner of the Nihon SF Taishō Award in 2008, a distinction previously given to Evangelion, there’s no doubting the quality of the source material. The winner of the award is recognized as the best sci-fi work in all mediums, ranging from films to manga, anime to novels. As for the animation studio, we have A-1 Pictures (Anohana, Ao no Exorcist, Sword Art Online, Tsuritama) at the helm. With some arguably questionable decisions during recent adaptations of Ao no Exorcist and SAO and Ishihama Masashi taking on his first director role, I’ll admit that this isn’t the ideal matchup. But the strength of A-1’s resume speaks for itself and they tend to put more resources into adaptations of more recognizable works, so it’s more likely to be a good adaptation instead of a bad one. At the very least, their animation team is consistent, and should benefit from the director’s previous experience regarding this aspect. Overall, with a distinguished source material and a studio with a strong resume behind the adaptation, you have to admit that Shin Sekai Yori has all the potential ingredients for greatness.

Watching This: Asobi, BakaMochi, Guardian Enzo, Moomba, Stereoman, Stilts, verdant, Zanibas, Zephyr Expectation Level: High
Show Shin Sekai Yori Promotional Videos ▼

hiirokake
Hiiro no Kakera S2 | 緋色の欠片 第二章 Top
http://www.hiironokakera.tv/
Animation: Studio DEEN Premiere: September 30, 2012
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Supernatural Airtime (GMT+9): Sundays at 22:00
Episodes: 1-cour Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

Preview by

Picking up where it left off in spring 2012, the anime adaptation of Hiiro no Kakera returns for its second season. Centering around Kasuga Tamaki (Miyaki Marie) as the “Tamayori Princess” – a guardian against evil spiritual forces – and Onizaki Takuma (Sugita Tomokazu), Atori Mahiro (Okano Kousuke), Komura Yuuichi (Namikawa Daisuke), Inukai Shinji (Shimowada Hiroki), and Oumi Suguru (Hirakawa Daisuke) as her five guardians, Hiiro no Kakera chronicles their struggles to preserve the spiritual balance of the world while they each face difficulties they must overcome.

The first season of the show was a pleasant surprise, as they delved quite a bit into some of the “darker” issues such as identity and the role of destiny in shaping a person’s life. Hiiro no Kakera also showcased some of the most engaging character interactions to date, where a lot of the conflicts faced by each character were expertly weaved into the dialogue. Its one main weakness was – and probably will be – plot, but if the second season can manage to bring out the same things that made the first season worthwhile to watch, I see no reason why it shouldn’t continue to be a gem among the other otome game adaptations.

Watching This: BakaMochi, Stereoman Expectation Level: Niche
Show Hiiro no Kakera S2 Promotional Videos ▼

kamisamahajimemashita
Kamisama Hajimemashita | 神様はじめました Top
http://www.mikagesha.com/
Animation: TMS Entertainment Premiere: October 1, 2012
Genre: Comedy, Fantasy, Supernatural Airtime (GMT+9): Mondays at 26:05
Episodes: 13 Station: TV Tokyo (TX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

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There’s nothing easy when humans fall in love with supernatural beings, but then again, nothing has been easy in Momozono Nanami’s life. An adaptation of Suzuki Julietta’s shoujo manga, this series follows Nanami (Suzuko Mimori), a poor and lonely homeless teenage girl who has recently been evicted after her gambling father disappears to evade paying his debts. Down on her luck, she happens to save a strange man by the name of Mikage (Ishida Akira) from a dog, and as a reward, she is gifted his house – which actually turns out to be an old shrine with many strings attached. One consequence of being the shrine’s new “owner” comes with many responsibilities: Nanami’s the new local deity, having been made a god of sorts after Mikage transfers his position to her in addition to the shrine. The other consequence of owning the shrine comes in the form a handsome male fox familiar named Tomoe (Tachibana Shinnosuke). Will the myriad of responsibilities and dangers that accompany being a god render any hope of a forbidden love a footnote? Or will love conquer all like it usually does?

At first glance, the characters do sound somewhat similar to the ones found in Inu x Boku SS, but a few pages into Kamisama Hajimemashita tells a different story. The romance in comparison doesn’t feel like it’s the main focus as the familiar isn’t head over heels (or is it paws?) over the girl from the outset and the heroine has to balance her school duties with her shrine duties, leaving less time for love to develop. To keep things fresh, there’s also a well-written plot involving nefarious forces trying to take over the shrine and land, keeping the duo busy. In the end though, opposites do attract, and their attraction makes for a dynamic that is compelling, likeable, and entertaining. TMS Entertainment and director Daichi Akitarou (Fruits Basket) helm a series that has the makings of a light-hearted and fun show with enough comedy and supernatural elements to keep it from being too much like your run-of-the-mill shoujo romances.

Watching This: Cherrie, Guardian Enzo, Moomba, Stereoman, Zanibas Expectation Level: Niche
Show Kamisama Hajimemashita Promotional Videos ▼

tonarikaibutsu
Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun | となりの怪物くん Top
http://www.tk-anime.info/
Animation: Brains Base Premiere: October 1, 2012
Genre: Comedy, Romance, School Airtime (GMT+9): Mondays at 25:35
Episodes: 13 Station: TB Tokyo (TVT)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

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Time for Brains Base’s entry into fall’s competition for shoujo romance adaptations! The source material is Robico’s manga of the same name, serialized in the magazine Dessert alongside Sukitte. Mizutani Shizuku (Tomatsu Haruka) is a girl whose life revolves around grades, and grades only. When she is forced by the teacher to deliver notes to the perpetually absent Yoshida Haru (Suzuki Tatsuhisa), the boy sitting next to her in class, she mistakenly gives him the impression they are friends. After witnessing how kind-heartedly naive and lonely Haru really is, Shizuku begins to feel the stirrings of spring in her previously wintry life.

Err… aside from that terribad Engrish in the PV, again, Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun’s mundane synopsis really does not do it justice. While Haru is just precious, Shizuku really steps it up as the heroine, and although her interactions with Haru really hit all the right spots, it’s her gradual shift in focus from academics to other, “more important” things in life that really clinched this series for me in terms of my “most anticipated” series in the fall. With a great blend of sweet romance and amicable characters, Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun is shaping up to be yet another brightening entry to the romance genre. Here’s hoping it won’t fall into the will-they-won’t-they trap like so many other shoujo series tend to.

Watching This: BakaMochi, Cherrie, Guardian Enzo, Moomba, Stereoman, Stilts, verdant, Zanibas, Zephyr Expectation Level: Moderate
Show Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun Promotional Videos ▼

jormungand2v3
Jormungand 2: Perfect Order | ヨルムンガンド PERFECT ORDER Top
http://www.jormungand.tv/
Animation: White Fox Premiere: October 9, 2012
Genre: Action, Adventure Airtime (GMT+9): Tuesdays at 24:30
Episodes: 12 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

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The second season of Jormungand, Perfect Order continues the story of the unpredictable Koko Hekmatyar, an arms dealer who aims to attain world peace. With her are a group of bodyguards composed of mostly ex-military such as Lehm (Ishizuka Unsho) and Sofia Valmet (Ohara Sayaka), as well as the newest addition: child soldier Jonathan Mar (Tamura Mutsumi). The first season saw the team traversing the world as Koko sold her wares, leaving a trail of bodies as they fought off other arms-dealers and assassins, maneuvered through complex political obstacles, and faced off with their respective inner demons. The second season sees the arrival of new threats to Koko’s goal, as the C.I.A. lurks as one of many new enemies. Unbeknownst to her however, is the threat that lies within her own team…

Looking back, Jormungand had a little of everything: a great cast of characters, ridiculous action scenes, loads of comedic moments seamlessly mixed in with the killing, great insight into arms-dealing, and complex layers of political intrigue and philosophical ideologies regarding guns in general. Combined with the fact the series made it so you could easily just enjoy what aspect you liked and disregard the aspects you didn’t care much for, the original series was easily one of the more enjoyable shows of the year. There were qualms with some unrealistic portions of the series, but the fact remains that those were intentional, rather than due to a lack of oversight on the part of the creator. Ultimately, with everything remaining the same in terms of the staff (Motonaga Keitarou as director), cast, and studio, you can’t help but expect more of the same complex, dark, and exciting ride that the first season offered (and then some). As a result, I can’t help but recommend this series to everyone, provided you watched the first season however. Chances are you’ll end up singing the “her name is Koko, she is loco, I said oh no!” jingle too.

Watching This: BakaMochi, Moomba, Stereoman, Stilts, Zanibas, Zephyr Expectation Level: High
chuunibyouv3
Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai! | 中二病でも恋がしたい! Top
http://www.anime-chu-2.com/
Animation: Kyoto Animation Premiere: October 3, 2012
Genre: Comedy, Romance, School Airtime (GMT+9): Wednesdays at 24:30
Episodes: 12 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

Preview by

Instead of helming the animated adaptation of Key’s visual novel Little Busters! as many people had anticipated (and hoped for), Kyoto Animation has brought their talents to work on the adaptation of Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai!, a light novel which won an honorable mention in their 2010 awards competition. The title of the show refers to the slang term “chuunibyou” that was coined by Japanese comedian Ijuuin Hikaru and it describes the “middle school 2nd year syndrome” that afflicts adolescents who either believe they know better than everyone and look down on them accordingly, or they believe they possess special powers. Now entering high school, Togashi Yuuta (Fukuyama Jun) has left his chuunibyou past and is enjoying life to its fullest like any other normal teenager. He’s even begun dating Takanashi Rikka (Uchida Maaya), who although still afflicted by the syndrome, wants to try and move past it. Antics and shenanigans follow as the pair clash while working on their relationship, and if that wasn’t enough, her special powers come into play as the couple encounter and battle other chuunibyou sufferers as the fate of the world possibly hangs in the balance.

With a veteran staff including director Ishihara Tatsuya (Air, Clannad, Kanon), this show looks like it will try to add to KyoAni’s stable of well-regarded romances. The material looks light and consistently entertaining with a good deal of comedy thrown in – probably more in the style of Nichijou than Clannad or Kanon – yet the inclusion of special powers and battles gives a nice twist that will surely bring plenty of drama and fireworks as well. However what will truly set this show apart and what I’m looking forward to the most is seeing KyoAni bring its talented brush to the action scenes. If the trailers are any indication, we could be in for quite the visual treat. If you’re looking to fill the KyoAni shaped hole left after Hyouka has ended or simply want to enjoy a well animated show with fun characters, this could be just the missing piece you’ve been looking for.

Watching This: Asobi, Cherrie, Guardian Enzo, Stilts, verdant, Zanibas, Zephyr Expectation Level: Moderate
Show Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai! Promotional Videos ▼

hayatenogotoku
Hayate the Combat Butler! Can’t Take My Eyes Off You Top
ハヤテのごとく!CAN’T TAKE MY EYES OFF YOU
http://www.hayate-project.com/
Animation: Manglobe Premiere: October 3, 2012
Genre: Comedy, Parody, Harem Airtime (GMT+9): Wednesdays at 26:05
Episodes: 12 Station: TV Tokyo (TX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

Preview by

Hayate no Gotoku is back once again, returning for a third season…sort of. This series follows Ayasaki Hayate (Shiraishi Ryoko), a hard-working and insanely unlucky young man who is working to pay back the 150 million yen debt his dead-beat parents left him. Originally this was owed to some “very nice people” who had designs on Hayate’s organs, but fortunately Hayate got involved with the super rich otaku ojou-sama Sanzenin Nagi (Kugimiya Rie), who paid off his debt in exchange for Hayate working for her as a butler until he paid her back. Crazy antics and harem-like misunderstandings ensue as the effeminate butler meets various girls, including hyper competent maid Maria (Tanaka Rie), cool student council president Katsura Hinagiku (Itou Shizuka), the kind-hearted normal girl Nishizawa Ayumu (Takahashi Mikako), and popular dance idol/doujinshi creator Suirenji Ruka (Yamazaki Haruka).

First of all, let’s be clear – this is not a direct sequel to the first two anime seasons. Those were straight manga adaptations, whereas this will consist of new material. But have no fear – this won’t be the work of some random script writer, but rather the original manga-ka Hata Kenjiro himself! Apparently it’s going to be full of ideas he couldn’t fit into the manga, and I couldn’t be happier. Anime original material gets a bad rap, but with the original creator on board you can be sure that this will be a faithful – and funny! – addition to the series. Continuity-wise, I’m not sure where this season will fall; I would assume that it’ll be easy for anime viewers to understand and enjoy, but the emphasis on Suirenji Ruka in the PV makes me slightly unsure. Manglobe is returning to animate after last summer’s movie, and seeing as they did a fine job there I’m sure they will do so again. Bottom line: if you’ve enjoyed Hayate no Gotoku in any form, watch this. For everyone else, this might be the perfect place to jump in and see if you’ll like the series. Fair warning, though: you might end up marathoning the whole thing before long. But that’s a good thing!

Watching This: Stilts, unlisted, Zanibas Expectation Level: Moderate
Show Hayate the Combat Butler! Cant Take My Eyes Off You Promotional Videos ▼

btooom
BTOOOM! Top
http://www.btooom.com/
Animation: Madhouse Premiere: October 4, 2012
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi Airtime (GMT+9): Thursdays at 23:00
Episodes: 12 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

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In this Madhouse adaption of Inoue Junya’s seinen manga BTOOOM!, Sakamoto Ryouta (Kanata Hongou), one of the top players in the eponymous worldwide online game ‘BTOOOM!’ (who also happens to be a NEET living with his mother), awakens on a tropical island with no recollections of how he came to be there. Sighting another person, he calls out to them seeking help, only to have a bomb thrown at him in response. Catching on quickly, he comes to the realisation that he’s trapped in a real-life version of his favourite game. It’s kill or be killed as he faces off against a host of other combatants including Himiko (Mimori Suzuko), Kira Kousuke (Sawashiro Miyuki), Oda Nobutaka (Nakamura Yuuichi) and Taira Kiyoshi (Ookawa Tooru).

From what I gathered after reading the first few chapters of the manga, BTOOOM! appears to be another interesting take on the Battle Royale situation, albeit with the focus on explosives. Of course, with explosions comes the potential for a lot of gore and intense scenes and my inquiries into the subject suggest that this anime may not be for the faint of heart. Rape and mutilation (along with a fair bit of fanservice) are amongst some of the themes that arise during the course of the series, and with Madhouse’s previous success in Highschool of the Dead, this is not a combination they’re unused to handling. The colourful cast is definitely a big draw for me – the PV alone suggests the participants will come from all sorts of backgrounds so we should be getting a wide range of personalities… and perhaps we may see some hints of a romance blooming on the battlefield too!

Watching This: Asobi, BakaMochi, Cherrie, Guardian Enzo, Moomba, Stereoman, Stilts, unlisted, verdant, Zanibas, Zephyr Expectation Level: Moderate
Show BTOOOM! Promotional Videos ▼

busoushinki
Busou Shinki | 武装神姫 Top
http://www.tbs.co.jp/anime/busou/
Animation: 8bit Premiere: October 4, 2012
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi Airtime (GMT+9): Thursdays at 25:55
Episodes: 13 Station: TBS
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

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Based on the action figure line by Konami Digital Entertainment, 8bit’s Busou Shinki is a slice-of-life battle story set in a relatively peaceful future where robots are a part of everyday life and society. The ‘Shinki’ are action-figure sized moe-mecha partners with advanced intelligence and emotions, designed to serve their human masters in whatever capacity is possible. Each Shinki can be armed with a variety of weapons and armours in order to fight each other, giving them the name ‘Busou Shinki.’ Our story focuses on Masato (Mizushima Takahiro), a high school student recently returned from living abroad and his three Shinki: the Arnval model, Ann (Asumi Kana); the Altines model, Aines (Mizuhashi Kaori); and the Altlene model, Rane (Nakajima Megumi). The dynamic is changed by the arrival of a fourth Shinki – the combative Straaf, Hina (Chihara Minori).

Perhaps the optimism I feel about this series comes in part from the fact I never actually watched Busou Shinki Moon Angel – everything I’ve heard about it ranges from bad to interesting but forgettable, mostly the latter. Of course, Moon Angel was animated and directed by a completely different studio, so hope for a much better series remains. In fact, given that 8bit and director Yasuhito Kikuchi were behind Infinite Stratos, I find myself actually looking forward to seeing how it will turn out. Many parallels have been drawn between IS and Busou Shinki in the past, and with the similarity in mecha design (both feature girls with weapon and armour attachments), this seems like it could be the right choice in studios for an entertaining anime. From the PVs, we could well be in for an entertaining slice-of-life battle anime combining mecha and moe with some comedic elements! Maybe even some harem… but I’m not sure whether a harem of 15cm tall gynoids is particularly viable…

Watching This: Moomba, Stilts Expectation Level: Low
Show Busou Shinki Promotional Videos ▼

gintama
Gintama (2012) | 銀魂 (2012) Top
http://www.sunrise-inc.co.jp/gintama/
Animation: Sunrise Premiere: October 4, 2012
Genre: Comedy Airtime (GMT+9): Thursdays at 18:00
Episodes: Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

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After a six month hiatus, the popular sci-fi/history shounen series featuring aliens and samurais graces television screens once again. Although it’s not a completely new season as many fans had hoped for, the same main cast and staff do return for a mix of new episodes and Yorinuki Gintama-san (literally “The Very Best of Gintama”) ones. For those interested in getting caught up, the story takes place in a fictional alternate reality, where aliens known as Amanto had conquered Earth during the Edo period and Japan has remained in a feudal state. Sakata Gintoki (Sugita Tomokazu) is a samurai who makes his living doing odd jobs, and is joined by teenager named Shimura Shinpachi (Sakaguchi Daisuke) and a powerful alien girl named Kagura (Kugimiya Rie). They get pretty desperate at times and take on whatever crappy jobs they can to pay the rent, yet also wind up with ones that task them to save the world.

I never got into this long-running comedic series when it first aired and haven’t been inclined to do so afterward since I’m apprehensive about shounen adaptations. I did get a sense of the humor from the handful of episodes that I did watch though, which includes poking fun at various other shounen series and the characters’ showing awareness that they’re an anime. The show’s take on the Shinsengumi was amusing as well, simply because I’m familiar from slightly more faithful depictions. However, that doesn’t mean I’m unaware of the series’ popularity. There isn’t much that needs to be said about that, as those who have been waiting for this continuation will already be watching, whereas those who haven’t don’t have any business jumping right into this latest installment.

Watching This: No one yet Expectation Level: Established
hidamarisketch
Hidamari Sketch x Honeycomb | ひだまりスケッチ×ハニカム Top
http://www.tbs.co.jp/anime/hidamari/
Animation: SHAFT Premiere: October 4, 2012
Genre: Comedy, Slice of Life Airtime (GMT+9): Thursdays at 25:25
Episodes: 1-cour Station: TBS/BS-TBS
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

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SHAFT and Shinbou Akiyuki (Nisemonogatari, Madoka Magica, Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei) are back with another incarnation of Hidamari Sketch – its fourth season, to be precise. Based on a 4-koma manga about the daily lives of four girls living in Hidamari Apartments while attending the prestigious Yamabuki Art High School, the show’s return to airwaves should please the fans of the franchise. With Asumi Kana, Mizuhashi Kaori, Shintani Ryoko, Gotou Yuuko, Omigawa Chiaki, and Harada Hitomi reprising their roles as Yuno, Miyako, Sae, Hiro, Nazuna, and Nori respectively, Hidamari Sketch x Honeycomb is showing all the charm that led to the birth of its numerous OVAs and previous seasons.

The PV showcases more of the colorful palette audiences have come to expect from SHAFT, while the story and characters show the same light-hearted atmosphere and whimsical vibe that permeates most slice of life series. I’m not sure if continuity will be an issue for viewers wanting to jump into this fourth season, but fans of the slice of life genre could do a lot worse than giving this series a try.

Watching This: No one yet Expectation Level: Established
Show Hidamari Sketch x Honeycomb Promotional Videos ▼

k
KTop
http://k-project.jpn.com/
Animation: GoHands Premiere: October 4, 2012
Genre: Action, Supernatural Airtime (GMT+9): Thursdays at 26:25
Episodes: 13 Station: MBS/TBS
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

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An original work from studio GoHands with Naikaishi Go as the producer and Suzuki Shingo as director. With little to no information about its premise available to the general public aside from video snippets released on the official site over a 100-day period, the plot of K represents one of the biggest mysteries of the season. The manga adaptation, K: The Memory of Red, which seems more like a spin-off rather than a straight-up reiteration of the anime material, also tells very little in what this show might be about. One thing is for sure though: this thing is a beast in terms of star power and eye candy potential.

With what could only be described as an entirely A-list cast – with the likes of industry heavyweights Sakurai Takahiro, Nakamura Yuuichi, Ono Daisuke, Horie Yui, Sawashiro Miyuki, and Sugita Tomokazu in one show – and gorgeous animation, the trailers give off vibes of an intensely immersive world reminiscent of Durarara!!. Whether all these ingredients come together to create Inception or The Expendables is up in the air, but if nothing, K is set to provide the visually and auditorily orgasmic experience of the season. And in the case it fails, well… at least The Expendables was good for some turn-your-brain-off-and-just-enjoy-it sort of entertainment. And yes, I even watched the sequel. And enjoyed it.

Watching This: Asobi, BakaMochi, Cherrie, Guardian Enzo, Moomba, Stereoman, Stilts, verdant, Zanibas, Zephyr Expectation Level: Moderate
Show K Promotional Videos ▼

zetsuennotempest
Zetsuen no Tempest | 絶園のテンペストTop
http://www.zetsuen.net/
Animation: Bones Premiere: October 4, 2012
Genre: Action, Fantasy, Mystery, Psychological Airtime (GMT+9): Thursdays at 26:00
Episodes: Station: MBS
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

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Nearly a year after his family was mysteriously killed, teenager Fuwa Mahiro (Toyonaga Toshiyuki) stumbles upon a doll inscribed with the words: “If you believe in magic and you have a wish to be granted, pierce this doll with a single nail.” He pierces the doll, resulting in a link with Kusaribe Hakaze (Sawashiro Miyuki), a sorcerer marooned on an island by fellow clan member Kusaribe Samon (Koyama Rikiya). In exchange for her assistance in finding his family’s killer via magic, Mahiro agrees to help stop Samon’s plan to revive the Tree of Zetsuen, which could allow the clan to obtain offensive magic capabilities, but could also lead to the world’s destruction. In the present, Yoshino Takigawa (Uchiyama Kouki) finds himself questioned about Fuwa’s disappearance by a mysterious woman—at gunpoint. Armed with new powers bestowed upon him by the sorcerer, Fuwa saves Yoshino and tells him about the iron sickness: a curse caused by the revival of the Zetsuen and turns living things into metal. Linked by bonds of the past and unknowingly guided by a higher power, Yoshino joins Fuwa in his quest.

Having gone through the first volume, it seems to me that the mystery label is either a misnomer or an aspect that doesn’t truly show itself until much later in the story. Because of this aspect, beginnings of Zetsuen ultimately give off the impression that it’s a straightforward fantasy series, which may not be to everyone’s liking. At the very least though, the art from Saizaki Ren gives the series a distinctive look that complements the dark atmosphere and Studio Bones will more than likely set a high bar in regards to animation quality. Also, there’s admittedly room to develop the unique aspects it has—including a heroine who has to resort to a wooden doll to communicate and two intelligent male protagonists—but it should be noted that there are only six volumes of source material to work with at this time. All in all, Zetsuen no Tempest comes together as a series with the potential to succeed. The fantasy aspects are enough for fans of the genre and both the art and animation shouldn’t be too shabby either.

Watching This: BakaMochi, Cherrie, Moomba, Stereoman, Stilts, unlisted, Zanibas, Zephyr Expectation Level: Moderate
Show Zetsuen no Tempest Promotional Videos ▼

jojo
JoJo’s Bizzare Adventure the Animation | ジョジョの奇妙な冒険 Top
http://jojo-animation.com/
Animation: David Production Premiere: October 5, 2012
Genre: Action, Adventure, Supernatural Airtime (GMT+9): Fridays at 24:30
Episodes: 26 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

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Shueisha’s second longest running manga series, Araki Hirohiko’s JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure will finally be getting its first TV anime this fall to coincide with its 25th anniversary and an upcoming PS3 fighting game. This series is a bit unique in that it follows the adventures of the Joestar bloodline, a family whose members have battled all manner of bizarre enemies over several generations. This adaptation starts at the beginning of the manga and covers the adventures of the very first Joestar to fight, Jonathan (Okitsu Kazuyuki), who as a boy growing up in a wealthy family during 1880s Britain, enjoyed a fairly normal upbringing until his father adopts Dio Brando (Koyasu Takehito) to repay an old debt. Far from being thankful, Dio has designs on taking over the Joestar estate and fortune and tries to drive Jonathan mad so that Dio can be named as the sole heir instead. When his plans fail, he instead uses an ancient Aztec stone mask to turn him into a vampire and then tries to murder Jonathan. The show follows Jonathan as he duels Dio time and time again throughout London and the surrounding countryside with their ever increasing powers.

The source material is noticeably more mature in tone than what we’d consider to be shounen today. The characters are fewer in number and tend to be tailored towards more typical archetypes, while the fights are gritty and visceral yet still over-the-top enough to not allow you to forget that it’s a shounen title at heart and shouldn’t be taken too seriously. The drama can be heavy-handed and overwrought at times, but you can’t help becoming consumed by the stories that unfold between the classic dichotomy of a singular hero and a singular villain. There’s still a lot of charm found in its pages that make me long for the shounen of yesteryear, and hopefully Jojo’s Bizarre Adventures will usher this popular and well-regarded manga into the 21st century with an updated art style courtesy of David Production and the guidance of director Tsuda Naokatsu (Inu x Boku SS).

Watching This: Guardian Enzo, verdant, Zephyr Expectation Level: Established
Show JoJo’s Bizzare Adventure the Animation Promotional Videos ▼

oniichan
Onii-chan Dakedo Ai Sae Areba Kankei Nai yo ne Top
お兄ちゃんだけど愛さえあれば関係ないよねっ
http://www.oniai.com/
Animation: SILVER LINK. Premiere: October 5, 2012
Genre: Comedy, Romance, Harem Airtime (GMT+9): Fridays at 23:00
Episodes: 12 Station: AT-X
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

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After six years apart due to various circumstances, Himenokouji Akito (Ohsaka Ryota) is finally able to live with his twin sister Akiko (Kido Ibuki) once again. In the intervening years Akiko has become a fine young lady, a beautiful and well-mannered girl that any older brother would be proud to call his sister – save for the fact that she’s a total bro-con. Unfortunately for her, everyone else says that there’s no chance of a relationship between her and Akito happening, including the hard to read Nasuhara Anastasia (Chihara Minori), the super-horny Nikaidou Arashi (Kitamura Eri), Akito’s best friend Sawatari Ginbee Haruomi (Shimoda Asami), and of course, Akito himself. Akiko clearly has her work cut out for her.

Imouto-love romantic comedy light novels are nothing new. From the popular Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai to last season’s Kono Naka ni Hitori, Imouto ga Iru!, there are plenty to choose from, so the obvious question is: what makes OreAi special? Well, while Kirino was a tsundere and Shougo’s imouto was hidden, Akiko is utterly shameless. There is no question here – Akiko loves her onii-chan, and she’ll proudly proclaim this to anyone who will listen! That, combined with the other female characters’ hold-nothing-back personalities results in a harem show with a lot of comedic potential. This one should be easy to decide whether to watch it or not: if you like romcoms, harems, imoutos, shameless comedies, the occasional fanservice, or seeing a horny high school girl get shut down by a male lead who actually has a really good reason to reject her advances – which is nearly without precedent! – then give this show a shot. If, however, you demand a strong plot in your anime, it doesn’t look like you’ll find it here, so you may want to steer clear. I for one will be tuning in, but really…was there any doubt?

Watching This: Moomba, Stilts, Zanibas Expectation Level: Low
Show Onii-chan Dakedo Ai Sae Areba Kankei Nai yo ne Promotional Videos ▼

toloveru
To Love-Ru – Trouble: Darkness | ToLOVEる-とらぶる-ダークネス Top
http://www.j-toloveru.com/
Animation: XEBEC Premiere: October 5, 2012
Genre: Comedy, Ecchi, Romance, School, Harem Airtime (GMT+9): Fridays at 25:00
Episodes: 12 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

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The To Love-Ru series follows Yuuki Rito (Watanabe Akeno) and the bevy of gorgeous girls who are in love with him. After Lala Satalin Deviluke (Tomatsu Haruka), princess of the Galaxy ruling Deviluke family, appears naked in Rito’s bath and falls in love with him, he found it difficult to confess to his true love, the gentle Sairenji Haruna (Yahagi Sayuri). But that was only the beginning of Rito’s love troubles. Now the female protagonist roles have been passed to Lala’s little sister Momo Belia Deviluke (Toyosaki Aki) and the blonde-haired assassin Konjiki no Yami (Fukuen Misato). While Momo puts her make-Rito-a-harem plan into action, Yami does battle with an unknown entity pushing her to finally assassinate Rito. Then there’s Momo’s twin sister Nana Astar Deviluke (Itou Kanae) and her interactions with her brand new friend Kurosaki Mea (Igushi Yuka)…

At its root To Love-Ru has always been an ecchi harem series, yet previous seasons sometimes sidelined the harem aspect in favor of the Lala-Rito-Haruna love triangle, or just focused on the ecchi antics at the expense of all else. The feeling I got from the Darkness manga is that the creators said “You know what? Screw it. Harem time, 1,000%! And dial up the nudity too!!” So lets be clear about what this is: this is a harem show so ecchi it borders on hentai. Borders hard. Don’t believe me? A Darkness OVA has already been released, so if you’re thinking of watching this series then check that out. I have to wonder how much of that they’ll be able to show in a TV broadcast though. Other thoughts: while Momo focuses on the Harem Plan, there’s definitely some plot on Yami’s side which was actually fairly interesting. Animation is done by Xebec, and while it’s not Xebec style, it’s definitely Xebec quality, i.e. middle of the road at best. Other than that, if you enjoy harem antics with plenty of the nibbly bits showing, this show is definitely for you!

Watching This: Guardian Enzo, Stilts Expectation Level: Low
Show To Love-Ru – Trouble: Darkness Promotional Videos ▼

bakuman3
Bakuman 3 | バクマン。3Top
http://www9.nhk.or.jp/anime/bakuman/3rd
Animation: J.C. Staff Premiere: October 6, 2012
Genre: Drama, Romance, School Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays at 17:30
Episodes: 25 Station: NHK-E
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

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J.C. Staff’s adapation of Ohba Tsugumi’s manga about manga returns, continuing the story of mangaka pair “Ashirogi Muto” and their attempt at becoming the best in Japan. Abe Atsushi reprises his role as Mashiro Moritaka, an artist motivated by his late uncle and a promise with childhood crush Azuki Miho (Hayami Saori) to get married should they succeed in their goals. Hino Satoshi also returns as Takagi Akito: scriptwriter, top student, and the other half of Ashirogi Muto. The first season saw the pair achieving their first big success via the serialization of their series, Detective Trap. The second showed us the difficulties in maintaining the serialization’s success, the harsh reality of the industry, and Detective Trap’s eventual failure. This season, Ashirogi Muto resume chasing their dreams in some of the final chapters of the Bakuman saga, armed with their new serialization: Perfect Crime Party.

Looking back at the past two iterations of Bakuman, “solid” would be the best word to describe them. They weren’t masterpieces by any sense of the word, but did enough well to distinguish them from your average shows. However, given the premise and genre, except slower pacing and the lack of consistent “wow” moments. Whether you give the series enough time to build up will go a long way toward determining whether or not you’ll enjoy the experience. Should you be undeterred though, what Bakuman will offer is a story full of emotional ups and downs, as well as great insight into life as a mangaka and how the manga industry works. The story aspect might not be impressive in its own right, but forms a fairly distinctive combination worth watching when combined with the manga aspects. As such, Bakuman 3 earns the distinction of being one of the safer picks this season in terms of being a series you won’t regret watching. If you’re a first time viewer though, make sure you start this journey with the original, rather than here.

Watching This: Cherrie, Guardian Enzo, Zephyr Expectation Level: Established
codebreaker
CODE:BREAKER | コード:ブレイカー Top
http://www.code-breaker.jp/
Animation: Kinema Citrus Premiere: October 6, 2012
Genre: Action, School, Shounen, Supernatural Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays at 26:58
Episodes: 13 Station: MBS/Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

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From producer Kinema Citrus (.hack//Quantum, Tokyo Magnitude 8.0), comes the adaptation of Kamijyo Akimine’s shounen manga CODE:BREAKER. The story revolves around Sakurakouji Sakura (Hikasa Youko), a high school student who witnesses people being burned to ashes by blue flames. The next day in class, there is a new transfer student, a boy her age whom she recognizes from the scene of the massacre. Despite the fact no evidence of the crime remained the day after, Sakurakouji pursues the transfer student in an attempt to find answers. He reveals himself as Oogami Rei (Okamoto Nobuhiko), a CODE:BREAKER and “one whom law codes cannot judge”. Using his powers, he hands down judgment to those that slip through the system, criminals who have avoided rightful punishment for their crimes. Convinced that his definition of justice is flawed however, Sakurakouji embarks on a mission to stop him.

After reading the first few chapters, I’ll admit that was slightly intrigued. Not only does the series starts off with a fiery opening (literally a human barbeque), it gives us an interesting heroine to boot, full of strong beliefs and the ability to hold her own as a martial artist. There’s a resemblance to popular shows Ao no Exorcist and Death Note as well, and with the director of Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood onboard too, it normally wouldn’t be hard to label this series as potentially awesome. However, there is some concern regarding Sakurakouji’s proper development as an atypical heroine and whether or not there will be pacing issues with a series that already has 19 volumes of source material. Concerns aside though, there’s more than enough to make CODE:BREAKER worth watching. Do note that the series is an action-oriented shounen however, so one’s preference regarding this genre may be the ultimate determinant in whether or not one enjoys this series.

Watching This: Cherrie, Moomba, Stereoman, Stilts, unlisted, Zanibas, Zephyr Expectation Level: Moderate
Show CODE:BREAKER Promotional Videos ▼

littlebusters
Little Busters! | リトルバスターズ! Top
http://www.litbus-anime.com/
Animation: J.C.Staff Premiere: October 6, 2012
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance, School Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays at 22:30
Episodes: 26 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

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It’s here – the long-awaited adaptation of Key’s beloved visual novel, Little Busters! When Naoe Riki (Horie Yui) was young both of his parents died, leaving him alone and depressed. Fortunately, he was saved by a group of three boys and a girl his age, who befriended him and played with him in his time of need. Now those friends and Riki – known together as the Little Busters – are in high school, and still goofing off and enjoying life. The story begins when leader Natsume Kyousuke (Midorikawa Hikaru) decides that the Little Busters are going to play a baseball game. But to do that they need more people, so Kyousuke sends Riki and Kyousuke’s little sister Natsume Rin (Tamiyasu Tomoe) out to find more members – preferably girls, so that shy Rin won’t be the only one. They end up finding five girls willing to join, all of which start getting close to Riki.

A lot has been made of this Key adaptation being done by J.C. Staff, rather than by KyoAni as we have become accustomed to. I for one am not terribly worried. Production-wise, I think J.C. Staff knows the stakes, and from the looks of the PV they’re spending the money necessary to make this anime look good. Likewise, some are worried because they decided to put the relatively inexperienced director Yamakawa Yoshiki in charge for this important project. Yet Yamakawa-san isn’t completely wet behind the ears – he served as director for Hatsukoi Limited, which was a very good adaptation across the board. Look, this is an easy recommendation to make: Key stories are always superb, and are full of love, drama, deep themes, serious plotlines, touching emotions, and tons of cute girls. Add onto that the fact that Little Busters! is easily the funniest Key story I’ve ever read – the original five Little Busters are hilariously crazy on their own, and it only gets better when more characters enter the fray – makes this without a doubt one of the must-watch shows of the fall season. Ignore the cynics and watch this show – I bet that when the emotions start flowing and the drama gets under way, you won’t regret having tuned in.

Watching This: Asobi, Cherrie, Guardian Enzo, Stereoman, Stilts, verdant, Zanibas, Zephyr Expectation Level: High
Show Little Busters! Promotional Videos ▼

sukitte
Sukitte Ii na yo | 好きっていいなよ。 Top
http://www.starchild.co.jp/special/sukinayo/
Animation: ZEXCS Premiere: October 6, 2012
Genre: Romance, School Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays at 25:00
Episodes: 13 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

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Based on the manga by Hazuki Kanae (whose works include mature shoujo fare), the adaptation of Sukitte Ii na yo by ZEXCS brings social recluse Tachibana Mei (Kayano Ai), who had neither friends nor boyfriends for the sixteen years of her life until one day, she accidentally roundhouse kicks the most popular boy in school, Kurosawa Yamato (Sakurai Takahiro), in retaliation for a prank. From then on, she suddenly finds herself surrounded by friends and feelings she never knew she could experience.

I’m personally a little wary of shoujo titles in general, and I approached Sukitte with the same caution, since the plot seemed very run-of-the-mill. But sometimes, it’s the delivery of the material that counts – the first couple chapters of the manga presents a frank look at the lives and feelings of its characters, approaching some of the “heavier” issues of adolescence (e.g. sex, bullying) with a bluntness that gave it maturity and a refreshing edge to set it apart from typical shoujo fare. Along with some pitch-perfect casting for Yamato, this adaptation by ZECXS is definitely something to look forward to for those wanting to sink their teeth into some meaty romance.

Watching This: BakaMochi, Cherrie, Guardian Enzo, Stereoman, Stilts, verdant, Zanibas, Zephyr Expectation Level: Moderate
ixionsaga
Ixion Saga DT | イクシオン サーガ DT Top
http://ixion-saga-anime.jp/
Animation: Brains Base Premiere: October 7, 2012
Genre: Action, Fantasy Airtime (GMT+9): Sundays at 25:05
Episodes: Station: TV Tokyo (TX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

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Directed by Takamatsu Shinji (most notable for directing various comedies, including Gintama) and animated by Brains Base, Ixion Saga DT brings us a series based on Capcom’s new Online RPG Ixion Saga, complemented by an impressive voice cast. Through certain circumstances, protagonist Hokaze Kon (Eguchi Takuya) finds himself in a parallel world by the name of Mira. In this world a mysterious energy called Alma dwells within all things. After saving Princess Ecarlate (Mikami Shiori) and her entourage from assailants attempting to stop the political marriage that will prevent the looming war, he soon finds himself caught in the middle of a struggle over Alma, all the while seeking hints on how to return to his own world. Other notable seiyuu include Kamiya Hiroshi, Kaji Yuki, Hosoya Yoshimasa and Sugita Tomokazu.

Anime based on video game settings seem to be in vogue at the moment. There’s always a slight worry that an anime of this type is being made purely to promote the product in question, but AKB0048 already managed to prove that this is not inherently bad. After all, if it’s enjoyable to watch and is well made, what does it matter why it was made? It’s hard enough to find great fantasy anime these days (although things have been looking up these past few seasons) so Ixion Saga DT should stand out on that count at the very least. The premise and PV don’t seem to suggest that the anime will be breaking any new ground, but that should not deter from the series’ capacity to entertain. With such a great cast of A-list seiyuu, Brains Base handling the animation, Elements Garden (Senki Zesshou Symphogear, Mouretsu Pirates) writing the music, and a solid chance for some great humour amidst the fantasy setting, I know I’ll definitely be watching.

Watching This: BakaMochi, Guardian Enzo, Moomba, Zanibas Expectation Level: Low
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magi
Magi | マギ Top
http://www.project-magi.com/
Animation: A-1 Pictures Premiere: October 7, 2012
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy Airtime (GMT+9): Sundays at 17:00
Episodes: Station: MBS/TBS
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

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Based loosely on the Arabian Nights, Magi ups the ante by introducing the concept of fate and “Magi” into its universe. Adapted from Ohtaka Shinobu’s manga featuring a young boy named Aladdin and the djinn trapped in his flute named Ugo, the story unfolds as the two meet various key characters from the Arabian Nights such as Ali Baba and Sinbad, all in an attempt to fulfill Aladdin’s role as a Magi by choosing rightful kings who will keep the world’s precarious balance in check.

Some of the elements of Magi seem to be tailored for children/older teens, but a perusal through the manga does reveal flashes of some of the darker issues (e.g. slavery, greed) in its early chapters. I also particularly liked the rich universe Magi creates to immerse its readers, and the previews indicate a rich, colorful palette and some nice animation to bring that to life. The setting is certainly refreshing, and everything in general has a very expansive feel reminiscent of high-fantasy series like Narnia or The Lord of the Rings. While I can’t guarantee its success, if A-1 Pictures can do it right, Magi can become an epic adventure story filled with heart and fun.

Watching This: Asobi, BakaMochi, Cherrie, Guardian Enzo, Moomba, Stereoman, Stilts, verdant, Zanibas, Zephyr Expectation Level: Moderate
Show Magi Promotional Videos ▼

aikatsu
Aikatsu! | アイカツ! Top
http://www.aikatsu.net/
Animation: Sunrise Premiere: October 8, 2012
Genre: Music Airtime (GMT+9): Mondays at 19:30
Episodes: Station: TV Tokyo (TX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

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Based on a card game about producing idols.

With a relatively unknown cast (only Ohashi Ayaka and Kotobuki Minako have had “mainstream” roles) and first-time director Kimura Ryuichi at the helm, Sunrise’s entry into the fall 2012 season is shrouded in mystery. It’s too early to write this show off though, as the seiyuu have had some solid roles, and while this is his first time as a director, Kimura Ryuichi has worked on some decent shows. With series like IDOLM@STER, Amagami SS, and Natsuiro Kiseki under his belt, he has experience enough to take the seemingly frothy, cotton-candy-happy Aikatsu! to some dramatic heights.

Watching This: No one yet Expectation Level: Low
girlspanzer
Girls und Panzer | ガールズ&パンツァー Top
http://girls-und-panzer.jp/
Animation: Actas Premiere: October 8, 2012
Genre: School, Military Airtime (GMT+9): Mondays at 25:00
Episodes: 12 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

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Anime truism number 1026: a series featuring cute girls and military hardware will always find a respectable audience. Following in the footsteps of shows like Strike Witches and Upotte!!, studio ACTAS is the latest to appeal to this crowd with an original series featuring teams of high school girls who battle one another using real world tanks. In the Girls und Panzer universe, the traditional martial art for girls is actually the art of battle tank operation, called sensha-dou (literally tank driving). Nishizumi Miho (Fuchigami Mai) is a transfer student at Ourai Girls’ Academy who struggles with making friends and hates operating tanks, but she is forced to join the school’s tank sensha-dou team by the student council president. There she befriends the boy crazy Takebe Saori (Kayano Ai), gentle and composed Isuzu Hana (Ozaki Mami), tank obsessed Akiyama Yukari (Nakagami Ikumi), and gloomy Reizei Mako (Iguchi Yuka) as they team up to compete against other high schools and eventually in the national championship.

In many shows, cute girls usually do cute things, but sometimes it’s more interesting and appealing when they don’t do typically cute things – like say, operate heavily armored mechanized marvels of modern warfare. Director Mizushima Tsutomu (Ika Musume, Another, xxxHOLiC) promises no panty flashing and intends to provide plenty of tank-service instead. Judging from the early chapters of the manga, there is a good deal of characters rattling off tank specifications, little details and nuances of tank operation, and actual tank combat tactics along with your usual high school girl slice-of-life stories. With CGI by Graphinca (Strike Witches), the battle scenes should be well animated too. If you’re craving for your weekly course of cute girls along with a side dish of good old fashioned fight scenes that can even teach you a thing or two, Girls und Panzer may have the perfect recipe for your consumption.

Watching This: Moomba, Stilts, Zephyr Expectation Level: Low
Show Girls und Panzer Promotional Videos ▼

sakurasoupet
Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo | さくら荘のペットな彼女 Top
http://sakurasou.tv/
Animation: J.C. Staff Premiere: October 8, 2012
Genre: Comedy, Romance, School Airtime (GMT+9): Mondays at 24:30
Episodes: 24 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

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One day Kanada Sorata (Matsuoka Yoshitsugu) picked up an abandoned cat and decided to raise it…only to be immediately kicked out of his no-pets-allowed dorm. That’s how he ended up living at Sakurasou, his school’s dorm for problem children. Now he’s surrounded by crazy people, including genki anime creator Kamiigusa Misaki (Takamori Natsumi), useless 29-years-old-and-15-months teacher Sengoku Chihiro (Toyoguchi Megumi), and bespectacled playboy Mitaka Jin (Sakurai Takahiro). But his life becomes even more hectic with the arrival of one Shiina Mashiro (Kayano Ai), an internationally renowned art prodigy and quiet beauty…who just so happens to be completely useless at anything save for drawing. Such as cleaning, or dressing herself, or washing her face, or not sleeping naked underneath her desk. Now Sorata is stuck taking care of Mashiro like he’s the master and she’s his pet.

If you’re familiar with the romcom genre, you’ve seen this premise before – a normal guy gets paired up with a cute but eccentric girl, and hilarity (and romance) ensues. That’s not a bad thing by any means, it’s just that nothing struck me as especially unique about this show going in. That said, as I looked into the source material…well, that opinion mostly held true! I did laugh at the Sakurasou resident’s antics, especially those of super-genki Misaki, whose interactions with Sorata just made me smile. If I’m worried about anything, it’s that most of the jokes appear to be at Sorata’s expense, and it can get tiresome to see the only responsible character take a bunch of abuse. Still, the art is good (think upgraded Toradora), the seiyuu cast is solid, and this is the kind of series that J.C. Staff has traditionally done well. If you’re into romcoms, this is an easy choice. For everyone else, consider giving it an episode or three. It might not set the world on fire, but you may just may find yourself having a good time.

Watching This: Cherrie, Guardian Enzo, Stilts, Zanibas Expectation Level: Low
Show Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo Promotional Videos ▼

medakabox2
Medaka Box Abnormal | めだかボックス アブノーマル Top
http://medakabox.jp/
Animation: GAINAX Premiere: October 10, 2012
Genre: Action, School, Comedy Airtime (GMT+9): Wednesdays at 25:20
Episodes: 12 Station: MBS/TBS
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

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GAINAX returns to bring us the second season of Nisio Isin’s school-comedy-turned-meta-shounen-battle manga Medaka Box with its borderline Mary Sue protagonist. Slated to cover the ‘Flask Plan’ arc, it will directly continue on from the first season, which served primarily to establish the student council and introduce us to the bare bones of the central cast. As was teased at the end of the previous season, Kurokami Medaka (Toyosaki Aki) and the other members of Sandbox Academy’s student council, Hitoyoshi Zenkichi (Ono Yuuki), Akune Kouki (Namikawa Daisuke) and Kikaijima Mogana (Kayano Ai) face off against a slew of new foes as they seek to find out exactly what the Flask Plan is and halt its progress.

When I covered the first season here on RandomC, I had yet to read any of the manga. Not long after it ended, I felt an irresistible drive to read through all the available chapters and found it to be a very entertaining work. As much as there is frequent concern over GAINAX adaptions, they were extremely faithful with the first season – covering it almost word for word in most cases. There were definitely many parts of the first season which I found to be enjoyable, despite frequently suffering from overly static backgrounds and poor quality control. This new arc is when Nisio Isin’s characteristic writing style begins to shine through a little bit more and where it truly transitions to being a full on battle manga. While this season probably won’t reach the parts of the manga most anticipated for adaptation by fans, it will still cover what is certainly one of the arcs I would most like to see in animated form. The only concern is how well GAINAX will fare in that department given the evident budget constraints seen throughout the first season.

Watching This: Moomba, Stilts Expectation Level: Moderate
Show Medaka Box Abnormal Promotional Videos ▼

psychopassv2
PSYCHO-PASS | サイコパス Top
http://psycho-pass.com/
Animation: Production I.G. Premiere: October 11, 2012
Genre: Action, Drama, Sci-Fi Airtime (GMT+9): Thursdays at 24:30
Episodes: 22 Station: Fuji TV (CX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

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From Production I.G comes the newest addition to Fuji TV’s lauded noitaminA programming block: PSYCHO-PASS. Set in the future, this is a story where one’s state of mind and personality can be measured and quantified instantly. The information is then compared to a standard known as “PSYCHO-PASS,” which is then used to ascertain an individual’s state of being. With the coming of this new era also comes the need for new breed of law enforcement. Shinya Kougami (Seki Tomokazu) is that new breed. And at his side is his trusty Dominator pistol: the “muzzle that dispenses justice”. Urobuchi Gen takes the helm for screenplay, with Kateyo Hitman Reborn’s Amano Akira on character designs. They’re joined by a cast filled with esteemed female seiyuu, including Hanazawa Kana, Itou Shizuka, Sawashiro Miyuki.

It took a while to confirm, but now that we know Urobochi Gen’s officially involved, PSYCHO-PASS immediately becomes one of the season’s must-watch shows. The brain behind Fate/Zero and Madoka Magica, Urobochi has shown a propensity for not only delivering quality series, but doing so while defying all sorts of predictions and expectations. The catch though, is the amount of brutality that’s used to achieve that effect. The two aforementioned series definitely aren’t for the squeamish, and with guns and justice involved, I wouldn’t expect PSYCHO-PASS to break that trend either… or so you’d think. You just never know with Urobochi, which is not only part of the beauty behind his works, but a major reason I’m just hesitant to say anything else regarding PSYCHO-PASS. What I do know though, is that Urobochi’s armed with an all-star cast and the distinctive art style of Amano Akira this time around, and having done more with less, there aren’t enough ways to say “you need to watch this series”.

Watching This: Asobi, BakaMochi, Guardian Enzo, Moomba, Stereoman, Stilts, unlisted, verdant, Zanibas, Zephyr Expectation Level: High
Show PSYCHO-PASS Promotional Videos ▼

roboticsnotes
ROBOTICS;NOTES Top
http://www.roboticsnotes.tv/
Animation: Production I.G Premiere: October 11, 2012
Genre: Sci-Fi Airtime (GMT+9): Thursdays at 25:15
Episodes: 22 Station: Fuji TV (CX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

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Production I.G brings us an anime adaptation of the third installment in 5pb.’s acclaimed Science Adventure series, set to air in the noitaminA slot this fall. Taking place in 2019, Divergence Ratio 1.048596, the focus this time is on augmented reality and Chuuoutanegashima High School’s Robot Research Club as they attempt to build a giant fighting robot. Our protagonist is Yashio Kaito (Kimura Ryohei), a lover of fighting games and the only other member of the robotics club besides its chairman, Senomiya Akiho (Nanjo Yoshino). Together they strive to build a giant robot and save the club’s status. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Science Adventure without a conspiracy of some sort, which stems from the discovery of the mysterious A.R. Annotation that becomes the basis for the Kimishima Report.

It’s hard not to have high expectations for the anime adaption of the successor to ChäoS;HEAd and Steins;Gate. While the ChäoS;HEAd anime failed to capture the glory of the VN, WHITE FOX did an admirable job of adapting Steins;Gate, resulting in it being one of my favourite series of 2011. Though the ROBOTICS;NOTES VN was nowhere near as well received in Japan as its predecessors, I don’t see this as much of an issue – it will depend on how well the material fares as an anime. I have to admit, given Production I.G’s questionable reputation in recent times it comes as a surprise that they’re replacing WHITE FOX for ROBOTICS;NOTES, but at the very least we can expect some spectacular animation! In addition, the trailers for the VN seem to suggest much more crossover with the two previous series than we’ve seen in the Science Adventures released to date which can only be a good thing in my view!

Watching This: Asobi, BakaMochi, Cherrie, Guardian Enzo, Moomba, Stereoman, Stilts, Zanibas, Zephyr Expectation Level: High
Show ROBOTICS;NOTES Promotional Videos ▼

seitokainoichizon2
Seitokai no Ichizon – Hekiyoh Gakuen Seitokai Gijiroku Top
生徒会の一存 碧陽学園生徒会議事録
http://seitokai-no-ichizon.com/
Animation: AIC Premiere: October 13, 2012
Genre: Comedy, School, Harem Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays at 23:30
Episodes: Station: Nico Nico
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Wikipedia

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Seitokai no Ichizon follows the antics of Sugisaki Ken (Kondo Takashi), vice president and lone male member of a student council otherwise populated by beautiful girls. Other members include Sakurano Kurimu (Honda Mariko), the pint-sized president who is childish in both body and mind; Akaba Chizuru (Mina), the busty secretary with a sadistic side who loves to cuddle with Kurimu; Minatsu Shiina (Togashi Misuzu), the athletic tomboy vice president who is a tsundere with very little dere; and Shiina Mafuyu (Nomizu Iori), the fujoushi treasurer and Shiina’s younger sister who is a gamer, a BL fanfic writer, and deathly afraid of men. Silly conversations and hilarity ensue as they spend their days together in the student council room.

The first season of Seitokai no Ichizon was one of those shows I was surprised I enjoyed so much. It’s what’s called a “one-room comedy,” meaning that nearly the entire story takes place inside the student council room, and that always seemed limiting to me. Yet the very first skit of the first episode was totally hilarious, and by the time I was a few episodes in, the characters had me hooked. Ken is one of those harem leads who actually deserves any love he gets – he truly cares about the girls, which leads to some heart-warming moments throughout the story. But he doesn’t get much love, and a lot of the comedy is at his expense – also deservedly so! The chemistry between the characters is also nice, as they all have unique personalities that collide in interesting ways. If I had any qualms about this series, it’s that it’s a pure comedy – when the jokes fall flat, an episode can end up being pretty boring. Still, I enjoyed the first season, and with the change from Studio DEEN to AIC – a swap I will make any day, given their past work (Sora no Otoshimono, Nyan Koi!, Amagami SS) – I’m hopeful that if Season 1 was good, Season 2 will be even better!

Watching This: Guardian Enzo, Stilts, Zanibas Expectation Level: Moderate
Show Seitokai no Ichizon – Hekiyoh Gakuen Seitokai Gijiroku Promotional Videos ▼

aoisekai
Aoi Sekai no Chuushin de | 蒼い世界の中心で Top
http://aoisekai.net/anime.html
Animation: 5th Avenue Premiere: October 20, 2012
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Parody Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays at 22:00
Episodes: 3 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

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In Aoi Sekai no Chuushin de, little-known animation studio 5th Avenue brings us an adaptation of the web manga drawn by doujin circle Crimson (perhaps best known for their extensive catalogue of hentai doujin) and written by Anastasia Shestakova. Like many other recent series, Aoi Sekai no Chuushin de has strong connections to video games, the twist being that unlike shows focusing on game worlds, Aoi Sekai instead features parodies of many well known and much loved classic video game systems and characters. For some time, the kingdom of Segua has been on the losing side in the war with the Ninterdo Empire, an empire which already controls the majority of the continent thanks to their ability-possessing troops. But one day things begin to change as Gear (Okamoto Nobuhiko), a youth posessing exceptional speed and the nickname ‘Sonic,’ sets out for revenge against the Empire following the death of Til (Uchiyama Kouki) at their hands. Many properties of Sega and Nintendo (including The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Bros. and Sonic the Hedgehog) feature throughout the storyline.

Console/Manufacturer wars as a plot element is not an entirely original concept (e.g. Hyperdimension Neptunia), but it’s still something that hasn’t been done particularly frequently. It interests me that the director (Yanagisawa Tetsuya) has worked as the director for High School DxD and Sora no Otoshimono – both rather ecchi series – when the original manga for Aoi Sekai is drawn by a group known for their h-doujin. The first three chapters of the manga (which you can read online) did nothing to give the idea that there might be ecchi involved, but some of the character designs suggest otherwise. A few of the other parodied characters I noticed included Kirby (who appears female in this iteration!), Mario (the ruler of Ninterdo), two versions of Link, an androgynous Pikachu, and Samus Aran. Many of us lived through and are familiar with how this ‘war’ turned out… the big question is whether or not this parody will have the same outcome!

Watching This: BakaMochi, Moomba, Stereoman, Stilts, Zanibas Expectation Level: Moderate
initiald
Initial D Fifth Stage | 頭文字D Fifth Stage Top
http://www.perfectchoice-pr.com/initial-d/
Animation: Premiere: November 6, 2012
Genre: Cars, Racing Airtime (GMT+9): Tuesdays at 4:00
Episodes: Station: Animax
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

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Buckle up for the restart of the storied street/drift racing franchise because 6 years after the last installment, Initial D is at the starting line once again with its fifth season. Shigeno Shuichi has kept the manga running this entire time so there’s plenty of races left in the tank for Fujiwara Takumi and his legendary tofu delivery vehicle/drift machine, a Toyota Sprinter Trueno GT-APEX (AE86). He’ll be joined by his former rival Takahashi Keisuke in his Mazda RX-7 (FD3S) as they team up and try to conquer touge (mountain pass) races all over Japan and hopefully gain the skills to move on from the streets and onto the track.

Not much is known about the series’ cast or staff at the moment, but if past seasons are any indication, gearheads like me should have plenty to rejoice about. Initial D is known for its intoxicating, high-octane blend of CGI street racing that is based on just enough real-world tactics and technical information to feel plausible (I would know – I tried it!) but still fantastic enough to invoke excitement. An addictive Eurodance soundtrack provides an energetic accompaniment to the throaty roar of engines and screeching of rubber across tarmac, while the drama between racing personalities and their teams keeps the interest level topped up when the gas pedals aren’t glued to the floor. With BBC’s Top Gear on break until January 2013, I’m glad to have an old friend of a show to keep the boy racer inside me company until then.

Watching This: verdant, Zephyr Expectation Level: Established

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 one of us directly (Stilts, verdant, Divine).

Release Date Title Notes
09/13 Accel World OVA | アクセル・ワールド OVA
http://accel-world.net/
Bundled with PSP/PS3 game.
09/20 Sakura Taisen: Kanadegumi | サクラ大戦奏組
http://sakura-taisen.com/kanade/
09/20 High School DxD OVA | ハイスクールD×D OVA
http://www.kadokawa.co.jp/shop/sp/shop_sp_193.html
Bundled with LN vol. 13
09/20 Eureka Seven: AO OVA | エウレカセブンAO OVA
http://eurekaao-prj.net/
Bundled with PS3 game.
09/26 Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai Add-on Disk | 僕は友達が少ない あどおんでぃすく
http://www.tbs.co.jp/anime/haganai/
Series Compilation.
09/26 Hagure Yuusha no Estetica Special | はぐれ勇者の鬼畜美学 (エステティカ) Special
http://kichiku.tv/
Bundled with BD Vol. 1.
09/26 Inu x Boku SS | 妖狐×僕SS
http://www.inuboku.tv/
Bundled with BD/DVD Vol. 7.
09/26 Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu: Finale | 乃木坂春香の秘密 ふぃな~れ♪
http://www.nogizaka-haruka.com/
Episode 2 of 4, 10/31: Vol.3, 11/28: Vol. 4.
09/26 Otome wa Boku ni Koishiteru: Futari no Elder
処女はお姉さまに恋してる ~2人のエルダー~
http://www.caramel-box.com/products/otoboku2/
10/24: Vol. 2
10/03 Amagami SS+ plus Special | アマガミSS+ plus
http://www.tbs.co.jp/anime/amagami/
10/05 Minami-ke OAD | みなみけ OAD
http://kc.kodansha.co.jp/content/top.php/1000000240
Bundled with manga Vol. 10.
10/18 Kami Nomi zo Shiru Sekai Tenri-hen | 神のみぞ知るセカイ 天理篇
http://kaminomi.jp/index.html
Bundled with manga Vol. 19.
10/19 Ippatsu Hicchuu! Devander OVA | 一発必中!! デバンダー OVA
http://www.tatsunoko.co.jp/devander/
10/19 Usogui OAD | 嘘喰い OAD
http://vomic.shueisha.co.jp/usogui/
Bundled with LE manga vol. 1.
10/20 Fuse Teppou Musume no Torimonochou | 伏 鉄砲娘の捕物帳
http://fuse-anime.com/
10/20 Kore wa Zombie Desu ka? OF THE DEAD OVA | これはゾンビですか? OF THE DEAD
http://kadokawa-anime.jp/zombie/
11th episode. Bundled with LE manga Vol. 6.
10/24 Tales of Symphonia the Animation: Sekai Tougou-hen OVA
テイルズ オブ シンフォニア THE ANIMATION 世界統合編 OVA
http://ova-tos.com/
Episode 3 of 3.
10/24 Upotte!! OVA | うぽって!! OVA
http://www.upotte.jp/
Bundled with LE manga Vol. 4.
10/25 The IDOLM@STER: Shiny Festa OVA | アイドルマスター シャイニーフェスタ OVA
http://www.bandainamcogames.co.jp/cs/list/idolmaster/festa/
Bundled with PSP game.
10/26 Momo he no Tegami | ももへの手紙
http://momo-letter.jp/
10/26 Strike Witches The Movie | 劇場版 ストライクウィッチーズ
http://s-witch.cute.or.jp/movie/
11/09 Sankarea OVA | さんかれあ OVA
http://www.tbs.co.jp/anime/sankarea/
Episode 2 of 2, bundled with LE manga Vol. 7.
11/16 FAIRY TAIL OVA | フェアリーテイル OVA
http://kc.kodansha.co.jp/fairytail/limited35/
Episode 4 of 4, bundled with manga Vol. 35.
11/28 Tasogare Otome x Amnesia OVA | 黄昏乙女×アムネジア OVA
http://www.amnesia-tv.com/
Bundled with BD/DVD Vol. 6.
November Code Geass Gaiden: Boukoku no Akito OVA | コードギアス GAIDEN 亡国のアキトOVA
http://geass.jp/akito/
Episode 2 of 4.
Fall 2012 Arve Rezzle: Kikaijikake no Yoseitachi OVA | アルヴ・レズル -機械仕掛けの妖精たちOVA
http://kobolog.typepad.jp/box/2012/07/post-5230.html

Overall Impressions


 

Normally this is the place that Divine would give his overall impressions of the season, but seeing as I am only one of multiple people who worked on this preview, it wouldn’t feel right. I will only say this – I feel like there is a lot to enjoy about this season, if you’re willing to pick up a few shows and give them a shot. Even shows whose premises don’t ooze with creativity can be fun to watch, so if something looks like it might be up your alley, give it a shot, alright? You just might find yourself pleasantly surprised!

Now, onto the list. Below is a collection of all the shows debuting this season by excitement level, along with the defition of what each level means to us. We arrived at these levels by convening a shadowy council of the five writers who wrote previews (BakaMochi, Moomba, Zephyr, verdant, and myself) + any other writers who were around at the moment (Stereoman, in this case) and going down the list, shouting out our opinions as we went. As usual, we have tried to be as objective as possible, but we’re only human (except for verdant, who is a vampire robot. Don’t ask), so don’t take these as unassailable truths. Note: The lists are sorted in alphabetical order.

 

High expectation shows give us 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 we feel you should keep an eye out for. We’re 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, in many of our experiences, 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. 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 we treat them differently.

September 15, 2012 at 11:26 pm
250 comments »
  • September 17, 2012 at 3:23 amShuA

    Gonna be an awesome season
    Highly anticipating Little Busters, Magi, Psycho Pass and Shin Sekai Yori
    There are so many shows to look forward to
    My hard disk :”(

    • September 17, 2012 at 3:43 amHagiri

      I’ll be having the same problem w/ my HD~

    • September 17, 2012 at 4:54 amShuA

      I think it’s a good time to buy a 3TB HDD, don’t you think so ;)

  • September 17, 2012 at 3:40 amHagiri

    Another Season full of wonderful things!!!

  • September 17, 2012 at 4:43 amRadler

    oh man… i SERIOUSLY need to buy a 3TB HDD to supplement my poor 1TB HDD. so many animes to download

  • September 17, 2012 at 5:51 amSaturo

    ..Girls und Panzer? Seriously?
    Why using German? Not that I mind but, why?

  • September 17, 2012 at 6:39 amLulu

    >Little Busters
    >full of love, FORCED drama, DEEP themes, serious plotlines, touching emotions, and tons of cute girls.
    Like all the Key’s works.

    Nice season. Thanks for the preview guys.

    • September 29, 2012 at 10:46 pmdxb_blackwolf

      JC Staff is doing little busters so I think it will have significant differences than the key-based animes which are done by kyoto animation.

  • September 17, 2012 at 7:04 amRyougaZell

    So far my only certain watches are:

    Robotics;Notes
    Seitokai no Ichizon Second Season

    I’m on the fence (and will need to check 1st episode) of:

    K
    Shin Sekai Yori
    JoJo

  • September 17, 2012 at 8:09 amZammael

    Will watch the following:

    Psycho Pass
    Jormungand 2
    K project
    Kyousogiga

    When is Evangelion 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo gonna be released in theaters?

  • September 17, 2012 at 9:07 amAshen

    There are so many series I’m psyched about, I find myself having to bookmark this list just to remind me which ones to watch for! Eeeexcellent.

    In no particular order:
    Show Spoiler ▼

    Cripes. I just realized it would’ve been easier to list what titles I’m not planning to see lol. Ah well, better to have too much quality than not enough, right?

  • September 17, 2012 at 9:34 amunknown2

    EXCITED! So much anime shows that I think I will actually watch! Including the ones that will continue to run….

    Just wondering, Uchuu kyodai and Kuroko no Basuke will go one will they? How about SOA?

  • September 17, 2012 at 9:40 amduck

    Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita was the only decent anime last season and I have a feeling that Shin Sekai Yori is going to be this seasons only watchable anime, lets hope that this season doesnt suck so much as usual.

    • September 18, 2012 at 10:33 pmkondee

      Though I agree with you to some extent that Summer 2012 was lackluster save for Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita and maybe SAO (enjoyable so far though not to the extent people led me to believe), I don’t know why you would have a feeling that this season would suck except for Shin Sekai Yori. It has a lot going for it. This has got to be the most hype season for anime yet.
      The ones I’m looking forward to:

      Intense bloody survival manga Btooom! produced by Madhouse.
      One of Key’s flagship VN Little Busters! being animated.
      A classic and influential violent shounen title Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure finally getting a much deserved anime after 25 years, no longer making it the longest running manga series without an anime.
      Robotic’s Note which is from the same series as Steins;Gate which had a great adaptation and is one of the best anime I have seen and my personal favorite.
      Urobuchi Gen’s Psycho-Pass (the guy behind Fate/Zero and Madoka Magica so you can pretty much guarantee a quality dark anime with tragic unpredictable turns)

      I can honestly say I cannot wait for Fall.

  • September 17, 2012 at 10:16 amD-LaN

    This season sounds good. Too bad my college has started and I have yet to clear Jormungand S1 and several existing show is not up to date…. I think I might need to trim my list down eventually.

    -Confirmed (ATM)-
    Psycho-Pass: GEN. UROBUCHI. I’m in.

    Do we need to start betting on survivor(s)??

    Robotics;Notes: “;” series. I’m in.

    Don screw this up, IG. I just hope Nao would be more….. sane this time around. And I really hope the MC, Main Heroine and Glasses Guy is more tolerable than the manga ver….. I hope.

    LB!: Its Key, its a highly acclaimed VN, croos-tan the local VN guy says its quite good. I’m in.

    JC, don screw this up plz

    Jormungand S2: The 1st season and Koko Loco. I’m in.

    Shin Sekai yori: Sounds promising. I’m in.

    Listen to G. Enzo advice, they says. This might be a sleeper hit. (Is it the right term??)

    BTOOM!: Sounds like a good action show with BR elements. I’m in.

    -On a fence-

    K
    Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai! (Okabe is fun enough to watch but now we have a group of them!? AW YEAH)
    Magi
    JoJo
    Zetsuen no Tempest
    C:B

    *phew* wow tht one hell of a list….. And there stuff tht I wanted to tk a peek too… I better get a time table and be strict with it.

    • September 20, 2012 at 4:24 am†Croos†

      Yes, D-LAN! Shin seikai is nice. IF you know WHAT I mean. >:D

      • September 20, 2012 at 9:39 amD-LaN

        Nope. You lost me….

      • September 21, 2012 at 5:22 amThe Moondoggie

        is it ecchi? :)

  • September 17, 2012 at 10:30 amTorami

    There are quite a lot of shows I want to watch…need more time!! :) seems like this fall season has more serious/darker content than spring. not necessarily bad though, can’t wait!

  • September 17, 2012 at 1:14 pmRyner

    Kitaaaa! Seitokai no Ichizon season 2 is finally here! And Mahiru-sensei was just trolling us in the first season, thank you! Easily the most anticipated show for me this season!

  • September 17, 2012 at 2:04 pmjustin

    OMG, GINTAMA IS BACK !!!!!!1 WOOOOOOOOOOOTTTTTT!!!!

    BTW -Jormungand 2
    -Hayate the Combat Butler
    -Bakuman 3
    -To Love-Ru
    -medaka box
    -Seitokai no Ichizon

    so many awesome series is back !! oh yeah !!!! so happy!!

  • September 17, 2012 at 3:49 pmZzz…

    Wow…

    Fall season is just going to be dead for me.

    There’s maybe 3 shows I may want to follow. A big maybe.

    Oh well…

  • September 17, 2012 at 6:56 pmaaa

    If there’s one show I’m following this season, it’s Project K! I’ve been dyingly awaiting its release since I chanced upon it’s trailer about half a year ago….

    Hope it’s not an asteroid of disappointment like Guilty Crown

  • September 17, 2012 at 6:58 pmasdfasdf

    Project K is all I care about

  • September 17, 2012 at 8:32 pmv3000

    Psycho-Pass — might be the only one I’ll pick up this season; if it involves guns and Gen, it means Urobuchi is closer to the Equilibrium fic he wrote down back in the day.

  • September 18, 2012 at 12:29 amAnonymous

    Only one thing to say really, SO MUCH ANIME SO LITTLE TIME

  • September 18, 2012 at 12:38 amBlacksun88

    Initial D fifth stage! I have been highly anticipated for its arrival since its announcement on 86 day (6 August). One of the classic anime of all time which deserved more attention

  • September 18, 2012 at 4:13 amSamanta Palos

    Koko is loco.

  • September 18, 2012 at 7:53 am†Croos†

    (._. ) I swear this not being me lately.
    My list:
    -K
    -Chuunibyo
    -Little Busters!

    • September 20, 2012 at 8:28 amLulu

      >Having Kyousuke as your avatar.
      >Listing LB at the end.
      You just went full Saito. Over~

  • September 18, 2012 at 8:36 amJunglepenguin

    I was on my way home from work today when it hit me like a brick: There’s no Hyouka and Jinrui this weekend.

    Fall season had better deliver.

    • September 21, 2012 at 6:35 amAni_BEE

      Well we still get a little bit of Jinrui as the first of 6 OVA’s as released. I swear if the fairies when so naive/shattered brained I think they wanted to rule the world over humans. lol

  • September 18, 2012 at 9:44 amAki-Chan

    Before reading this preview , I’d already decided on watching Hiiro no Kakera’s S2 and Shin Sekai Yori. Now , I’m not going to have enough time to watch all the ones that look interesting(which is actually quite a few) so I limited myself to 4 only. With 2 already certain , I am considering watching K (the mystery behidn what the plot is is very interesting) and the fourth one I will watch is…I’m not sure yet
    =P.

  • September 18, 2012 at 9:55 amPuyo

    One hell of a season :D :D
    My must-watch List:
    - PSYCHO-PASS
    - Robotics;Notes
    - Shin Sekai Yori
    - [K] Project
    - Jormungand 2
    - Little Busters
    - Zetsuen no Tempest
    - Btooom!

    Other great ones:
    - Sukitte Ii na yo
    - Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun

    Dont know yet ^^
    - JoJo
    - Medaka Box 2
    - To Love-Ru:Darkness

  • September 18, 2012 at 11:04 amMi-Mi-Mikuru

    doesn’t Litchi de Hikari Club start this season, too?

    • September 18, 2012 at 1:12 pmAlexandre Ribeiro

      No, Litchi de Hikari Club starts this season, but such anime just gonna have 2-5 minutes per episode, so it wasn’t commented/posted here. I’m very anxious waiting for LdeHC! =)

      • September 19, 2012 at 7:41 amMi-Mi-Mikuru

        I didn’t know that it’s just a short. thanks for the info.

    • September 18, 2012 at 1:16 pmAlexandre Ribeiro

      Litchi de Hikari Club starts at October 1st on Tokyo MXTV.

  • September 18, 2012 at 1:59 pmSerapita

    Magi and Robotics;Notes are my only must-watch in this season. But I’m sure I will pick up at least another 7-8 series when the season actually starts.

    On a side note, does someone know if Sword Art Online will have ‘proper’ 2-cour format (back to back running) or ‘Fate/Zero’ 2-cour format? I’ve heard from somewhere that they will do a Fate/Zero.

  • September 18, 2012 at 11:14 pmhwighting

    It must be me but all of the new shows dont look very promising. Only one that stands out is Initial D!!! Damn I’ve been waiting years for the series to continue.

  • September 18, 2012 at 11:28 pmAllen Walker

    Man Robotics;Notes really reminded me of Stardriver in the latter half of that trailer. All the sparkles and that 1 second of weird mecha action really showed the resemblance

    • September 21, 2012 at 5:37 amThe Moondoggie

      I kinda lol’ed when the robots were shown to be tiny after that pose he did. XD

  • September 18, 2012 at 11:55 pmFiShar

    Awesome!
    My watch list is pretty much the same as Stilts’s.

    • September 28, 2012 at 10:06 amStilts

      And I’m watching damn near everything. M! FiShar is an M because he’s watching everything! :D

  • September 19, 2012 at 12:22 amtrogdor

    will probs watch Chunibyo

    And maybe Little Busters, hoping that it’ll be one of the Hits of JC Staff and not one of their misses.

  • September 19, 2012 at 3:11 amAizen

    Why is Suou in To Love Ru?

  • September 19, 2012 at 3:53 amAnonymous

    Why is it that I see ‘Stilts’ on every show that has cute girls? Just wondering… heh

    • September 28, 2012 at 10:07 amStilts

      Classified :X

  • September 19, 2012 at 9:41 amLoL

    JoJo

    Full of win. Can’t wait to see Dio in action.

  • September 19, 2012 at 12:07 pmSalbazier

    Pyscho pass’ premise remind of something I read in Bakuman once…

  • September 19, 2012 at 12:58 pmNatasha

    kyaaa

    Sukitte li na yo AND tonari no kaibutsu kun!!!!
    *bliss

  • September 19, 2012 at 6:16 pmAnoBlades

    Hey I’m new Here this’ll be my first season giving this a shot. My friend naske recommended here so hopefully I’ll be a full time visitor. So far I’m digging K, psycho-pass, magi, code breaker, aoi sekai no chuushin de and zetsuen no tempest.

    • September 19, 2012 at 6:28 pmNaske

      glad to see you giving seasonal anime a try hope you enjoy XD

  • September 20, 2012 at 12:29 am†Croos†

  • September 20, 2012 at 3:01 amCrimson_Pirate

    Just out of curiosity, why did you put kamisama Hajimemashita in the “Niche” category while you put Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun and Sukitte ii na yo in the “Moderate” category? Reading your definition of “Niche”, I thought it was because Kamisama Hajimemashita is aimed at a female audience since it’s shoujo, but so are the other two that I mentioned in the “Moderate” category.
    In any case, I have never been more excited about a new season than this time. I see so many shows with potential that I look forward to watching!

    • September 25, 2012 at 11:45 pmBNV

      You know that gritted my nerves too. Kamisama while shoujo is far more original and compelling, and it stands out from other shoujo manga, which is why it got an anime in the first place. Is the plot original? ha, heck no but the characters and that author’s storytelling in Kamisama are truly amazing. I will add that anime to my watch list.
      I have a s**t load of anime I’m watching this season, and I’m too lazy to write my list. :P

      • September 26, 2012 at 4:13 amCrimson_Pirate

        Use myanimelist.net! It’s convenient for keeping track of the animes you are watching and the ones you’ve watched. ;)

  • September 20, 2012 at 7:06 amAltritter

    JoJo PV for anyone that cares: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LncqRnznspk

    I think it’s coming along REALLY well. I’m quite impressed by the animation on display here which is good since everyone’s biggest fear was that the animation may not be great. Combine that with how good the character designs look animated with the voice acting and I think we may have a great adaptation on our hands.

  • September 20, 2012 at 7:54 amRockmanshii

    Thanks girls and guys for the preview.

  • September 20, 2012 at 8:10 amJellayrei

    New Seitokai, yay =]

  • September 20, 2012 at 8:43 amLulu

    Will watch:
    *LB
    *RoboNoto: 5pb. I´m in.
    *K: Nice animation, hope it´s more than an eye-candy.
    *SnI S2
    *Jormungand PO
    *Magi: Heard awesome things about the manga and the animation looks cool.
    *Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai!: Just because KyoAni. Hope LB outsells this.
    *Kyousogiga

    If I have time (3-episode-rule)
    *PSYCHO-PASS
    *Shin Sekai Yori
    *Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo
    *Btooom!
    *Hayate: Don´t like new designs, but I´ll give a try.
    *TLR Darkness: FOR THE PLOT !!

    Everything else … Maybe next season maybe not …

  • September 20, 2012 at 9:10 pmRicardo

    Damn, i’ve been waiting years for initial d 5th stage!

  • September 21, 2012 at 7:12 amNovice

    wow~ this season is filled by some great anime…
    I’ll watch Hayate No Gotoku, Bakuman, Little Busters! and many more

  • September 21, 2012 at 11:12 pmEclipse

    Really looking forward to these anime:
    -Little Busters!
    -Seitokai No Ichizon S2
    -To Love-Ru Darkness
    -Shin Sekai Yori
    -Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai!
    -Pyscho-Pass
    -Robotics;Notes
    So many to watch ^^

  • September 22, 2012 at 2:10 pmv1cious

    No one’s in interested Civilization Blaster? It’s directed by Masahiro Ando for god’s sake.

    • September 22, 2012 at 3:45 pmDa5id

      How do you even BLAST a CIVILIZATION?

      in b4 smallpox

      • September 23, 2012 at 9:52 amkingofconquerors

        i admit the name sounds both irrational and surprisingly cool at the same time….though it kinda rang true to the plot a little bit (i dunno if u’ve read the manga or not so i can’t elaborate)

    • September 26, 2012 at 8:57 pmGlassShadow

      I am!! lol…Well, my biggest reason is Bones. It’s so very rare for them pick up shonen adaptions. As far as I can recall, this will be their third one after FMA and Soul Eater, and the studio hasn’t really produced anything too disappointing. The plot sounds a little risky to me, ambitious but risky, and with Mari Okada on script, I’m even less sure how it will turn out. I liked some of her works in the past, and hated others. But again, it’s Bones…if nothing else, the action sequences will be something to behold.

  • September 22, 2012 at 8:56 pmEduardo

    Well, i guess my thursdays are filled up…

  • September 22, 2012 at 10:46 pmricz

    Jormungand <3

    Might try robotics;note (I hate busy sched)

  • September 23, 2012 at 9:14 amVaan

    Ugh. So many animes to watch!

    My 500GB is WAAAAAYYYY too small! :(

    • September 23, 2012 at 9:41 amD-LaN

      Why don’t u use anime sites for some of the animes?? Or just:

      1)Write the name of animes you want in several piece of paper
      2)Put them in a jar
      3)???
      4)Problem solved!

      But hey, this mean Fall 2012 a good anime season huh?

    • September 25, 2012 at 7:00 amThe Moondoggie

      Convert to smaller resolution. Smaller resolution = smaller size. I watch my anime pocket size so I can save space and bring it every where.

  • September 23, 2012 at 12:17 pmflavor

    I hope the non committal sex between the young cast of Shin Sekai Yori does not turn anyone off.

  • September 23, 2012 at 5:21 pmJinshi

    This upcoming season looks pretty good. I’ll see many series I like that.

  • September 24, 2012 at 2:28 pmselma

    marathoning gintama is worth more than half the shows u r blogging here and it’s definately muuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuch funnier than all the shows u’v been choosing as best comedies

  • September 26, 2012 at 8:48 pmGlassShadow

    Wow, thursday is totally packed..o__O…Has it always been that intense? Anyways, I haven’t been this excited for a season in a long long time. Spring this year was awesome, but ultimately lacked the diversity the upcoming fall season is boasting. I usually stick with 3 – 4 shows on average, however I have a feeling I’m going to be a lot busier this time around, which is frustrating considering how packed my schedule already is. So many things to check out……so little time.

  • September 30, 2012 at 6:57 pmJason

    Definitely looking forward to Little Busters based on what I have heard of it. Might check out BTOOM!, Setokai no Ichizon (I liked the first season so I will have to see reviews of this one to decide), and Aikatsu!

  • October 1, 2012 at 3:57 pmMr. Shiki

    Will there be a poll for most anticipated anime this season?

  • October 2, 2012 at 9:31 amBoozerX

    Where is my sport anime?
    Damn.

  • October 3, 2012 at 8:27 ammac65

    Did Jormungand 2 slip a week or am I crazy
    in that I thought I saw Oct 2 there earlier…?

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