It feels like 2011 went by in the blink of an eye, as I haven’t even had a chance to look back on my favorites of the year. Before I do so, let’s first take a look at what’s just around the corner in the new year. Winter is generally not one of the busier seasons, but there are actually 23 offerings in 2012, which is pretty close to the 27 this past fall. Of the new titles, some of them stood out immediately — the sequel to my favorite romance of 2010 Amagami SS, the horror series Another, the sequel to Sousei no Aquarion, the TV version of Black Rock Shooter, the sequel to Bakemonogatari, and the fourth and final season of Zero no Tsukaima — but as is often the case when I put together a season preview, I discovered many are a lot more interesting than they originally appeared. Best of all, there is a wide variety of shows from various different genres, so there’s a good chance there will be something for everyone. Care to find out which ones I’m talking about? Then do read on.

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 


TV Series


 

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

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Smile Precure!
08:30 EX (2/5)
Natsume Yuujin-chou Shi
25:30 TX (1/2)
Papa no Iu Koto wo Kikinasai!
25:30 MX (1/10)
New Prince of Tennis
25:50 TX (1/4)
Tantei Opera Milky Holmes 2nd Act
23:00 MX (1/5)
High School DxD
11:00 AT-X (1/6)
Area no Kishi
06:00 EX (1/7)
Rinne no Lagrange
22:00 MX (1/8)
Ano Natsu de Matteru
25:30 TVA (1/9)
Thermae Romae
24:45 CX (1/12)
Senki Zesshou Symphogear
23:00 MX (1/6)
Zero no Tsukaima F
08:30 AT-X (1/7)
Aquarion EVOL
25:35 TX (1/8)
Another
25:35 KNB (1/9)
Black Rock Shooter
24:45 CX (2/2)
Nisemonogatari
24:00 MX (1/7)
Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou
26:00 TX (1/9)
Recorder to Randoseru
25:00 TVS (1/5)
Mouretsu Pirates
24:30 tvk (1/7)
Kill Me Baby
25:25 TBS (1/5)
BRAVE10
26:00 MX (1/7)
Amagami SS+ plus
25:55 TBS (1/5)
Inu x Boku SS
26:00 MBS (1/12)

* Jump to OVA/Movies.

Natsume Yuujin-chou Shi | 夏目友人帳 肆 Top
http://www.nasinc.co.jp/jp/natsume-anime/
Animation: Brain’s Base Premiere: January 1, 2012
Genre: Drama, Fantasy Airtime (GMT+9): Mondays at 25:30
Episodes: 13 (?) Station: TV Tokyo (TX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

Natsume Takashi (Kamiya Hiroshi) and his spirit companion Nyanko-sensei (Inoue Kazuhiko) make a return for a fourth season, only three months after the completion of the third one. In his ongoing effort to return the names written in his grandmother Reiko’s (Kobayashi Sanae) “Book of Friends”, Natsume runs into spirits who share the same loneliness as him and others who are out for vengeance. All the while, he discovers more about himself, spirits, and the human world. The third season placed more emphasis on the present and the Natsume interacting with people more, suggesting that this fourth season will continue moving forward in that direction.

I still haven’t got into this series despite my intention to do so when the third season premiered, but it’s one of the rare cases where I don’t have any problems recommending it to those who are looking for a touching story with a supernatural “youkai” twist. From what I have seen, Natsume Yuujin-chou is a more mainstream version of the heavily underappreciated Mokke, which I enjoyed for its heartwarming and sometimes creepy take on a girl who can see spirits and her younger sister who often gets possessed by them. The similarities alone make me want to watch Natsume, but it never hurts when I continue to hear good things about this series from those who are watching. The fact that Brain’s Base is back with a fourth season is a testament to that, so if you’re looking for something different this season, consider catching up with this series.

Odds I’ll Watch This: Decent Odds I’ll Blog This: Poor
Show Natsume Yuujin-chou Shi Promotional Videos ▼

New Prince of Tennis | 新テニスの王子様 Top
http://www.tv-tokyo.co.jp/anime/shin-tenipri/
Animation: Production I.G MSC Premiere: January 4, 2012
Genre: Sports Airtime (GMT+9): Wednesday at 25:50
Episodes: 1-cour Station: TV Tokyo (TX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

Sports anime fan or not, a shounen series that should need no introduction is Konomi Takeshi’s Tennis no Ouji-sama, better known as The Prince of Tennis. The original 42-volume manga was serialized in Weekly Shounen Jump for close to 9 years and was adapted into a 178-episode anime that made its way State-side. The manga’s ongoing sequel began its serialization in 2009, and now with 5 volumes to date, is getting its own adaptation. The story picks up a few months after middle-school tennis prodigy Echizen Ryouma (Minagawa Junko) and his fellow team members from Seishun Academy competed in the nationals. Their sights are now on making the U-17 Junior National Team, where Ryouma and co. are reunited with the other schools’ players at a training camp. Of the 50 young hopefuls, half are sent home after a quick round of matches, but along with Ryouma, they fight their way back into consideration.

If Slam Dunk is considered the gold-standard for basketball shounen series, Major for baseball, and Hajime no Ippo for boxing, then Prince of Tennis would be it for tennis. Ryouma, team captain Tezuka Kunimitsu (Okiayu Ryoutarou), vice-captain Oishi Shuuichirou (Kondou Takayuki), and the rest of his teammates take the sport to shounen extremes with their trick shots, which while unrealistic, gives the series its unique spin. In this continuation, they have to contend with some high school players as well — Tokugawa Kazuya (Ono Daisuke), Irie Kanata (Aiba Hiroki), and Oni Juujirou (Endou Daichi). I never got into the manga or anime so I won’t be watching this now, but the bits of the manga that I skimmed did make it seem like something I would’ve enjoyed. Unfortunately, it’s too daunting to catch up, so as with most long-running shounen series, this adaptation is likely geared toward existing fans.

Odds I’ll Watch This: Poor Odds I’ll Blog This: Poor
Show New Prince of Tennis Promotional Videos ▼

Tantei Opera Milky Holmes 2nd Act | 探偵オペラ ミルキィホームズ 第2幕 Top
http://milky-holmes.com/
Animation: J.C. Staff Premiere: January 5, 2012
Genre: Fantasy, Magical Girl Airtime (GMT+9): Thursdays at 23:00
Episodes: 12 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

Fifteen months later, Bushiroad’s cute female detective trading card game is getting an anime sequel. The story follows the “Milky Holmes” quartet — Sheryl (Mimori Suzuko), Nero (Tokui Sora), Elly (Sasaki Mikoi), and Cordelia (Kitta Izumi) — in the age of great detectives, where they use special abilities granted to them by their “Toys” to try and capture members of the “Phantom Empire” who use their own Toys to commit crimes. In their ongoing pursuit of their leader Arsene (Akesaka Satomi), they’re joined by their rivals from the Yokohama Police Anti-Phantom Thief Team “Genius 4” — Kokoro (Nanjou Yoshino), Tsugiko (Sawashiro Miyuki), Hirano (Shintani Ryouko), and Saku (Tamura Yukari) — but still unaware that the Phantom Empire is undercover at Holmes Detective Academy and monitoring them closely.

Well color me surprised to see a sequel to this magical girl anime, which is more focused on the lighthearted side of things than actual detective work. I wasn’t sure what to make of the first season, other than the fact that the promo material made it seem like a much more legitimate series than I thought. Back then, the story revolved primarily around the loss of Milky Holmes’ Toys and their struggle to reclaim their powers. From what I’ve seen, there’s varying opinions about the show, but most people seem to agree that it’s a fun series to watch if you don’t come in expecting too much. The only real complaint I’ve seen is the removal of the male protagonist from the PlayStation Portable game, Kobayashi Opera, and with him a certain degree of seriousness to the plot. On the production side of things, J.C. Staff is back with the same key staff members, so if you like what you saw in season one, then you can probably expect more from season two.

Odds I’ll Watch This: Poor Odds I’ll Blog This: Poor
Recorder to Randoseru | リコーダーとランドセル Top
http://www.takeshobo.co.jp/sp/tv_rikoran/
Animation: Seven Premiere: January 5, 2012
Genre: Comedy Airtime (GMT+9): Thursdays at 25:00
Episodes: Station: TV Saitama (TVS)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

Seven, the relatively unknown studio that brought us Morita-san wa Mukuchi, is back with another four-cell gag manga adaptation — this time involving a bizarre setup with 11-year-old Miyagawa Atsushi (Okiayu Ryoutarou) and his 17-year-old sister Atsumi (Kugimiya Rie), two siblings who don’t look anything like their age. In Recorder & Randoseru, Atsushi is 180cm tall and looks like an adult, whereas Atsumi is 137cm and looks like a child. This leads to the obvious misunderstandings of their ages and who’s the older sibling, which is played up in a comedic light since their maturity is reflective of their ages and not their appearance. Atsumi is the responsible older sister and takes care of her “little” brother.

I’ll be quick to admit that the only reason why I’m even considering checking out such a ludicrous setup is because “Rikoran” doesn’t shy away from the fact that it’s a gag manga. The producers went all out with the mismatched ages and appearances of the Miyagawa siblings, casting Ryoutarou and Rie in the lead roles. I already get the feeling that Ryoutarou’s going to use one of his deeper voices and Rie one of her loli ones just to add to the absurdity. I can’t speak for the source material itself since I haven’t come across it, so I’ll be checking out at least the first episode to see if the humor strikes a chord with me. It’s worth noting that Atsumi’s classmate Sayo is played by Hirano Aya, who hasn’t been in many roles after a rather unfortunate falling-out with her rabid fans.

Odds I’ll Watch This: Decent Odds I’ll Blog This: Decent
Show Recorder to Randoseru Promotional Videos ▼

Kill Me Baby | キルミーベイベー Top
http://killmebaby.tv/
Animation: J.C. Staff Premiere: January 5, 2012
Genre: Comedy Airtime (GMT+9): Thursdays at 25:25
Episodes: Station: TBS
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

J.C. Staff is taking on four projects this season, the second of which is an adaptation of a four-cell manga that follows your typical schoolgirl, Oribe Yasuna (Akasaki Chinatsu), and her not-so-typical professional assassin friend, Sonya (Tamura Mutsumi). Sonya’s natural assassin instincts make it hard for her to fit in — and for good reason, as Yasuna often ends up the receiving end of them with her outgoing personality. They’re soon joined by the extremely laid-back Goshiki Agiri (Takabe Ai), a modern day ninja who’s a member of Sonya’s organization, turning this everyday school manga into a silly slapstick affair. Helming this production is director Yamakawa Yoshiki and screenwriter Kunisawa Mariko, who worked together previously on another J.C. Staff adaptation, Hatsukoi Limited.

I’m already labeling this series as having the most obnoxious opening theme of the season, which has a music video featuring Chinatsu and Mutsumi to add to the ear-bleeding effect too. While the ending theme is a lot better, the promo videos with the OP really put me off on a series that I actually had a better impression of after skimming a bit of the manga. From what I read, the humor was pretty hit and miss, but as with most slapstick gags, I did get some amusement out of it. Now with these PVs, I kind of dread making the plunge, especially when the only notable seiyuu, Kugimiya Rie, is playing a “discarded character” that never makes a formal appearance in the manga. The nameless character is a running gag herself and is slated to make an appearance in the anime. Still, that’s not something I would bank on to drastically change my impression of this show, so I may not even check out the first episode.

Odds I’ll Watch This: Poor Odds I’ll Blog This: Poor
Show Kill Me Baby Promotional Videos ▼

Amagami SS+ plus | アマガミSS+ plus Top
http://www.tbs.co.jp/anime/amagami/
Animation: AIC Premiere: January 5, 2012
Genre: Drama, Romance Airtime (GMT+9): Thursdays at 25:55
Episodes: 1-cour (?) Station: TBS
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

My favorite romance of 2010 is back for another season — this time featuring two episodes per heroine that pick up where their respective arcs left off. Sola, Utawarerumono, and Tears to Tiara director, Kobayashi Tomoki, is taking over for this sequel and plans to take it in an anime-original direction. Maeno Tomoaki reprises the lead role as Tachibana Junichi, who’s overcome his difficulties with relationships and managed to win the hearts of seven classmates: The school idol Morishima Haruka (Itou Shizuka), his middle-school friend Tanamachi Kaoru (Satou Rina), his timid junior Nakata Sae (Konno Hiromi), the cool swimmer Nanasaki Ai (Yukana), his childhood friend Sakurai Rihoko (Shintani Ryouko), his class president Ayatsuji Tsukasa (Nazuka Kaori), and even his stalker Kamizaki Risa (Kadowaki Mai).

It probably goes without saying that I was happy to hear that my favorite romance of 2010 is getting a sequel, even if it’s likely only a one-cour season with two episodes per heroine and an extra one for Risa or Junichi’s sister, Miya (Asumi Kana). The ominbus format that allows for “multiple routes” is being used again, which works surprisingly well for these romantic sim adaptations. I became a fan of this approach after seeing it used in the first season and in Yosuga no Sora, as it allows the main protagonist to explore a relationship with each girl, highlighting her character nuances and saving the series as a whole from degenerating into a harem. As such, I’m looking forward to seeing how Junichi’s relationship with each of the girls continue on in this anime-original sequel, especially since some arcs featured a time skip where we already saw how things ended up in the future. Rihoko is in desperate need of a “proper” ending too, so hopefully that will be addressed. Things have been shuffled around with Tsukasa kicking things off this time, and if the order of the character PVs is any indication, Haruka will be last.

Odds I’ll Watch This: Guaranteed Odds I’ll Blog This: Guaranteed
Show Amagami SS+ plus Promotional Videos ▼

High School DxD | ハイスクールD×D Top
http://www.haremking.tv/
Animation: TNK Premiere: January 6, 2012
Genre: Comedy, Fantasy, Romance Airtime (GMT+9): Fridays at 11:00
Episodes: 12 Station: AT-X
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

A light novel series that doesn’t shy away from its “ero-comedy” genre in its premise and official anime website URL is High School DxD. It’s a fantasy story starring second-year high school student Hyoudou Issei (Kaji Yuuki), who’s known for his pervertedness and aspirations to build a personal harem at Kuou Academy. He manages to get a girlfriend, only to wind up getting murdered by her on their first date. However, he wakes up in bed next to the school idol, Rias Gremory (Hikasa Youko), who explains to him that she’s actually a demon and has resurrected him as her demon servant — a relationship that he’s not the least bit opposed to. Issei joins her Occult Research Club where he’s introduced to more demons at his school — Himejima Akeno (Itou Shizuka), Toujou Koneko (Taketatsu Ayana), and Kiba Yuuto (Nojima Kenji) — and soon learns that he’s caught up in a struggle between demons and fallen angels.

The fan-service clearly takes precedence in a series like this, but there’s actually a lot more plot than your typical harem series. Despite Issei’s objectionable priorities, he possesses a latent power — the Crimson Dragon Emperor’s Gauntlet — hence why he was killed. Rias notices this and decides to resurrect him in the battle against fallen angels. Where things go from there I’m not sure, but the demon/harem premise did remind me of another light novel adaptation, Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou. I’m admittedly intrigued by the prospect of seeing something similar, even though it’s far from anything I would recommend to most viewers. My only concern is that High School DxD may suffer from the same problem of trying to cram too much material into every episode and turning out incredibly sloppy. Screenwriter Yoshioka Takao who worked on Daimaou is doing the composition here, so it’s actually a well-warranted concern. Hopefully he doesn’t repeat the same mistake, as I like what I see from the promo videos and the cast.

Odds I’ll Watch This: Good Odds I’ll Blog This: Good
Show High School DxD Promotional Videos ▼

Senki Zesshou Symphogear | 戦姫絶唱シンフォギア Top
http://www.symphogear.com/
Animation: Encourage Films Premiere: January 6, 2012
Genre: Sci-Fi, Fantasy Airtime (GMT+9): Fridays at 23:00
Episodes: 13 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

Composer Agematsu Noriyasu of Elements Garden — the sound production group that wrote many songs for anime, games, and Mizuki Nana’s hit singles — has teamed up with game designer Kaneko Akifumi to create an original series where music is the main focus. The end result is a sci-fi fantasy series set in the not-so-distant future, where mankind’s been at the mercy of a threat called “Noise”, which decomposes a victim into carbon upon contact. The United Nations has acknowledged the threat, but there are no known countermeasures. Unbeknownst to the world, the Kazanari Organization in Japan has developed a “Symphogear System” that’s proven to be effective. However, its existence is top secret because of the post-WWII Japan-US Security Treaty. Also a secret is how chart-topping vocal unit “Zwei Wing”, Kazanari Tsubasa (Mizuki Nana) and Amou Kanade (Takayama Minami), are the ones using it. They end up meeting two new students at Lydian Music Academy, Tachibana Hibiki (Yuuki Aoi) and Kohinata Miku (Iguchi Yuka), and inadvertently get them involved in the fight against Noise.

An original series centered around music with Mizuki Nana in the lead role? I’ll definitely be checking it out, especially since the sci-fi genre pretty much ensures it won’t be another WHITE ALBUM. Encourage Films is a relatively new studio that hasn’t worked on many productions, so I would imagine that they’re going to make the most of this opportunity. I really like what I see from the promo material, plus the fact that this is an original series, but I’m unfortunately at a loss on what to make of it. The producers have been purposely vague about what the “Noise” even is and how the “Symphogear System” counteracts it. In all likelihood, it’ll be a battle of sound waves with Zwei Wing singing, but they are wearing battle outfits and carrying weapons, so there’s obviously more to it than that. Whatever the case, I’m more than willing to dive head first into this title when it’s only 13 episodes long.

* Note: The show’s title is often misread as “Senhime” when it’s actually “Senki”.

Odds I’ll Watch This: Guaranteed Odds I’ll Blog This: Good
Show Senki Zesshou Symphogear Promotional Videos ▼

Area no Kishi | エリアの騎士 Top
http://www.tv-asahi.co.jp/knight/
Animation: Shin-Ei Animation Premiere: January 7, 2012
Genre: Drama, Sports Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays at 06:00
Episodes: Station: TV Asahi (EX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

The popular dramatic soccer manga that’s sold over 5.5 million copies is finally getting adapted into an anime. “The Knight in the Area” has 27 volumes released to date and depicts a riveting story about Aizawa Kakeru (Sanpei Yuuko), his talented older brother Suguru (Fukuyama Jun), and his childhood friend Mishima Nana (Itou Shizuka). Their story starts in middle school, where Kakeru loses confidence as a striker and resigns to being the team manager and secretly practicing at night. However, his brother Suguru — captain of the team and a gifted midfielder on Japan’s U-15 team — believes Kakeru has untapped potential and dreams of sending him the last pass for a game-winning goal on the World Cup stage. Their fates forever change when they get caught up in a car accident. Show Spoiler ▼

The above happens relatively early in the manga and serves as the story’s foundation for high school and beyond, but I decided to make the details an optional read for those who want to be surprised. What I will say is that it single-handedly ignited my interest — and likely for all its fans — so I’m already anticipating this to be the most drama-filled offering of the season. I’m not the least bit opposed to sports anime anymore, especially not soccer ones since I absolutely loved GIANT KILLING. Shin-Ei Animation isn’t a studio we see a lot of from, but they’ve been around for a long time and produced the extremely popular kid series, Doraemon and Crayon Shin-chan. Regardless, the source material will likely speak for itself in this adaptation, as Kakeru continues to grow as a soccer player with the support of Nana, who’s a talented soccer herself with the nickname “Little Witch”. I wouldn’t consider Area no Kishi a sleeper because it’s practically guaranteed to be good, so don’t miss out and take notice now if you haven’t already.

Odds I’ll Watch This: Guaranteed Odds I’ll Blog This: Good
Show Area no Kishi Promotional Videos ▼

Zero no Tsukaima F | ゼロの使い魔F Top
http://www.zero-tsukaima.com/
Animation: J.C. Staff Premiere: January 7, 2012
Genre: Fantasy Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays at 08:30
Episodes: 12 Station: AT-X
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

The adaptation of Yamaguchi Noboru’s fantasy-comedy series is back for a fourth and final season that’s intended to coincide with the conclusion of the light novel. Louise de La Valliere (Kugimiya Rie), a long-time banner girl at Random Curiosity and one of the few mages who can cast Void Magic, along with her Japanese boy “familiar” Hiragi Saito (Hino Satoshi), wielder of the legendary Gandalfr ability that allows him to masterfully use any weapon, continue to defend their nation of Tristain against the invading Albion, which has been overtaken by a rebel group known as Reconquista. In the third season, Princesses no Rondo, things left off with the duo rescuing their friend Tabitha (Inokuchi Yuka) from her power-hungry uncle Joseph (Kosugi Jurota), the king of Gallia, and the mysterious beauty that accompanies him, Sheffield (Katsuki Masako). Queen Henrietta (Kawasumi Ayako) now asks Louise and half-elf Tifania (Noto Mamiko) to head to Romalia to serve as priestesses for the third-year anniversary of the Pope’s inauguration, unaware that a new evil is brooding there.

While the Zero no Tsukaima adaptations have turned away some novel readers for focusing more on the frivolous aspects, my unfamiliarity with the source material proved to be a blessing in disguise as I didn’t have any major qualms with the first three seasons. In fact, I really like how the story picked up in the third season, both for Saito x Louise and the overarching plot. For those who did have qualms, it may comfort you to know that Yamaguchi is actually serving as the screenwriter for this final season, which more or less guarantees that the story’s going to end the way he intended it to. The original season’s Iwasaki Yoshiaki will be back in the director seat too. For me, the main reason for watching is to get some closure on the adaptations that have spanned six years now, much like another another Satoshi x Rie series ending this winter.

Odds I’ll Watch This: Guaranteed Odds I’ll Blog This: Good
Show Zero no Tsukaima F Promotional Videos ▼

Nisemonogatari | 偽物語 Top
http://www.nisemonogatari-anime.com/
Animation: SHAFT Premiere: January 7, 2012
Genre: Fantasy Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays at 24:00
Episodes: 13 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

Kizumonogatari, the prequel to Nisio Isin’s bizarre high school fantasy Bakemonogatari, is scheduled to be adapted into a movie in 2012, but the series’ sequel, Nisemonogatari, comes to us first on television airwaves. The story revolves around Araragi Koyomi (Kamiya Hiroshi), who helps resolve “anomaly cases” of five girls — Senjougahara Hitagi (Saitou Chiwa), Hachikuji Mayoi (Katou Emiri), Kanbaru Suruga (Sawashiro Miyuki), Sengoku Nadeko (Hanazawa Kana), and Hanekawa Tsubasa (Horie Yui) — who were cursed by a crab, snail, monkey, snake, and cat respectively. After the culture festival, Koyomi’s focus shifts to his two sisters, Karen (Kitamura Eri) and Tsukihi (Iguchi Yuka), who are renowned as the “Fire Sisters of Tsuganoki 2nd Middle School”. He also runs into Kaiki Deishuu (Miki Shinichirou), the man responsible for conning Hitagi’s family out of their money and causing the divorce of her parents.

If you’ve read my final impressions on Bakemonogatari, then you’re probably aware that I’m not a huge fan of SHAFT director Shinbou Akiyuki’s stylistic touches. I’m also not completely sold on Nisio Isin’s writing, as I don’t really find his heavy dialogue all that interesting, compared to say Urobuchi Gen’s. Rather than adding something meaningful to the plot or characterization, his script is filled with wordplay that I don’t always find all that clever. However, in spite of these nitpicks, I still feel that Bakemonogatari was a very good series due to its unusual premise and unique storytelling. It was nowhere near my favorite series of 2009 like it was for readers, but it far exceeded my expectations. I fully intend to watch Nisemonogatari, which as the title suggests is all about frauds. Exactly how much of that applies to Karen and Tsukihi’s curses I don’t know, but I plan to find out.

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

Mouretsu Pirates | モーレツ宇宙海賊 Top
http://www.starchild.co.jp/special/mo-retsu/
Animation: Satelight Premiere: January 7, 2012
Genre: Space Opera Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays at 24:30
Episodes: 26 Station: TV Kanagawa (tvk)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

When it comes to anime in space, Satelight is usually the studio to deliver. This time, they’re adapting Sasamoto Yuuichi’s light novel, Miniskirt Uchuu Kaizoku, under the title “Bodacious Space Pirates”. The setting is a distant galaxy called “Umi no Akeboshi”, where high school student Katou Marika (Komatsu Mikako) — a member of the space yacht club and a part-timer at a cafe — is suddenly approached by two crew members from the space pirate ship, Bentenmaru. She learns that the father she thought was dead had only passed away recently, and that he was the captain of their ship. In accordance to a galactic decree, only direct descendants can inherit captaincy of a spaceship, so they ask Marika to become their new captain in order to continue their activities as space pirates. Thus begins Marika’s adventures as the captain of a band of space pirates.

Space operas aren’t as common in recent years as I would like, so this series caught my attention right away with its galactic premise alone. The last one I watched was TYTANIA back in 2008. While Mouretsu is a very different series, it still features a large cast of characters in typical space opera-fashion, which co-stars Hanazawa Kana as the mysterious transfer student Kurihara Chiaki. There is a plethora of notable seiyuu too, such as Omigawa Chiaki, Tomatsu Haruka, Kanemoto Hisako, Itou Shizuka, and Horie Yui. In addition to the cast, I find myself taking interest in Satelight’s adaptations more and more lately, and this one in particular reminds me of their work in KIDDY GiRL-AND. That wasn’t a great series but still enjoyable in its own way, so I’m curious to see where their new 26-episode series is headed. With light novels, it’s generally hard to tell.

Odds I’ll Watch This: Guaranteed Odds I’ll Blog This: Good
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BRAVE10 Top
http://www.brave10.com/
Animation: Studio Sakimakura Premiere: January 7, 2012
Genre: Action, Fantasy, History Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays at 26:00
Episodes: 12 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

Another Sengoku-based anime is headed our way, but this one features “flash ninja action” with a highly-skilled masterless Iga ninja named Kirigakura Saizou (Ono Daisuke) in the lead role. He winds up saving an Izumo shrine maiden, Isanami (Satou Rina), from Tokugawa Ieyasu’s men after they burned her shrine to the ground, and reluctantly accompanies her to the province of Shinshuu to seek aid from one of the few lords who still oppose Tokugawa, Sanada Yukimura (Morikawa Toshiyuki). After noticing Isanami possesses a hidden power that Ieyasu was likely after, Yukimura decides to take both her and Saizou in. His true goal is to gather ten of the most powerful warriors, the Sanada Brave Ten, and turn the tides of the war. At his side already are a handful of such warriors, including a rival ninja from the Koga clan, Sarutobi Sasuke (Kakihara Tetsuya), Yukimura’s loyal page, Unno Rokurou (Kamiya Hiroshi), and Saizou’s busty childhood friend, Anastasia (Asakawa Yuu), who will attempt to rewrite history.

Mangaka Shimotsuki Kairi is no stranger to the Sengoku period, as her previous works include the over-the-top action-filled Sengoku Basara Ranse Ranbu. Prior to that, she worked on various BL-related titles, which probably explains the bishounen character designs. The series is portrayed with Tokugawa Ieyasu as the main antagonist, so other famous names such as Date Masamune (Koyasu Takehito) and Hattori Hanzou (Sakurai Takahiro) make appearances as well. Judging from the manga, there’s a good blend of lighthearted and serious moments, and the action itself is reminiscent of Basara due to all the characters’ unique abilities. I was originally indifferent about watching this despite my interest in the Sengoku period, but that’s changed after reading a bit of the manga and seeing the promo material. We we see a lot from TMS Entertainment’s Studio Sakimakura subdivision either, so this could very well be the sleeper of the season.

Odds I’ll Watch This: Good Odds I’ll Blog This: Good
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Rinne no Lagrange | 輪廻のラグランジェ Top
http://lag-rin.com/
Animation: XEBEC Premiere: January 8, 2012
Genre: Sci-Fi, Fantasy Airtime (GMT+9): Sundays at 22:00
Episodes: 12 (season 2 in summer) Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

I don’t know what it is with car manufacturers and anime, but Nissan seems to be taking a page out of Subaru’s book by designing the mechs for Production I.G’s new original series that their subsidiary XEBEC will be animating. Set in the ocean-side city of Kamogawa, the story follows Kyouno Madoka (Ishihara Kaori), a cheerful and energetic girl who’s the sole member of Kamojo High’s “Jersey Club”. She tries to help anyone in need, but gets an unusual request from a mysterious girl named Lan (Seto Asami), who asks her to pilot a “Vox” robot and defend the world against alien invaders. While confused at first, Madoka decides to help because she wants to protect the beaches of Kamogawa, and she’s soon joined by Muginami (Kayano Ai), an alien girl who has infiltrated Earth for a different reason. Lan enlists both their help because she’s been dispatched to Earth on a mission, but was afraid of battling herself. As the three of them fight together, they discover why the enemy’s targeting their Voxes and what the “Rinne” is.

When mechs are involved, you can be sure that I’ll be interested. Madoka, Lan, and Muginami each pilot their own transformable Vox — Aura, Lympha, and Ignis — which have wind, water, and fire affinities respectively. What really sold me on the show was the comedic portrayal of the characters in the promo videos though. The high school aspect should be fairly prevalent, as Lan and Muginami end up joining Madoka’s Jersey Club. The only real cause for concern is how Production I.G doesn’t exactly have the best track record with original series lately (e.g. BLOOD-C, Guilty Crown), but I’m somewhat optimistic because screenwriter Suga Shoutarou’s worked on episodes of Darker than BLACK, Fullmetal Alchemist, and Ghost in the Shell: SAC. The series is also slated for 24 episodes with a three-month break in between, suggesting that the producers want to get the “Lagrange Project” done right.

Odds I’ll Watch This: Guaranteed Odds I’ll Blog This: Good
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Aquarion EVOL | アクエリオンEVOL Top
http://aqevol.com/
Animation: Satelight x 8-Bit Premiere: January 8, 2012
Genre: Sci-Fi, Fantasy Airtime (GMT+9): Sundays at 25:35
Episodes: Station: TV Tokyo (TX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

Seven years later, Kawamori Shouji, creator of several Macross series and Escaflowne, is back with Satelight to produce a sequel to his other notable work, Sousei no Aquarion. It’s a homage to super robot shows that features orgasmic-like “gattai” combinations, and depicts mankind’s struggle against “Shadow Angels” who want to harvest their life forces. The story is firmly rooted to the Shadow Angel Apollonius, who fell in love with a human warrior named Celiane and helped mankind fight for its freedom with a robot known as Aquarion. In the original series, an organization called DEAVA excavates three “Vector” fighter planes that comprise Aquarion and finds people with special powers known as “Elements” to pilot them against the return of the angels. Now, 12,000 years later, “Abductors” from another dimension are threatening mankind again, and the Neo DEAVA Academy — a school where male/female student “unions” are prohibited — enlists Amata (Kaji Yuuki), Mikono (Kayano Ai), and Zessica (Hanazawa Kana) to pilot “Aquaria” against the new threat. The legend of Aquarion is reborn, as everyone is believed to be reincarnations of Apolonius, Celiane, and the other humans/angels from the original war.

It may surprise readers to learn that a mecha fan such as myself hasn’t watched the original Aquarion, but that’s only because it aired during my anime “dark years”. I still haven’t gotten around to it (too busy blogging), but I’m planning to watch the condensed OVA version first in preparation for EVOL. It’s not essential to do so though, so I’m pretty set on watching one of Kawamori Shouji’s original works either way. We have quite a cast, with Yuuki, Ai, Kana in the lead roles supported by lots of big-name seiyuu, plus Macross legend Kanno Youko composing the music and Okada Mari writing the story. We also have AKINO with bless4 back to perform the new opening theme, which is crucial in my mind because Sousei no Aquarion’s theme song is very popular in the anime sphere and has been performed at many concerts. Should be good.

Odds I’ll Watch This: Guaranteed Odds I’ll Blog This: Good
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Ano Natsu de Matteru | あの夏で待ってる Top
http://www.ichika-ichika.com/
Animation: J.C. Staff Premiere: January 9, 2012
Genre: Comedy, Romance Airtime (GMT+9): Mondays at 25:30
Episodes: 12 Station: TV Aichi (TVA)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

Onegai Teacher/Twins screenwriter Kuroda Yousuke and producer Ogura Mitsutoshi have conjured up a new adolescent romantic comedy — one that they decided from the very beginning would have characters designed by Uon Taraku as its foundation. Their goal is to create a series that encapsulates the very essence of the genre, so that older fans will get a real sense of nostalgia from watching it. They’ve brought Anohana director Nagai Tatsuyuki on board to realize their vision, which is set in a small town in Nagano prefecture with very scenic and peaceful summers. A teenage boy named Kirishima Kaito (Shimazaki Nobunaga) is stirred by his desire to do something in his small town and discusses with his friends about making a movie. Shortly after, a “special” girl with glasses named Takatsuki Ichika (Tomatsu Haruka) moves to his town, marking the start of an eventful summer.

Among Kaito’s friends — Tanigawa Kanna (Ishihara Kaori), Ishigaki Tetsurou (Ogihara Hideki), Kitahara Mio (Asumi Kana), Yamano Remon (Tamura Yukari), and the unusual animal Rinon (Hidaka Rina) — the twin-tails Remon has been identified as another main heroine. What interests me the most though is how there’s already a sense of nostalgia with both Kuroda and Uon working together again. It’s been nearly eight years since they worked on the two Onegai series — romantic comedies that I have fond memories of — so I’m looking forward to the prospect of seeing a throwback to those days. I’m not sure where things are headed, but I’m usually willing to find out with these unassuming premises. I’ve Sound is composing the music, and while their vocalists KOTOKO and Kawada Mami aren’t performing the OP/ED themes like in Onegai, the former did write the lyrics for the OP. The ED will be performed by former supercell vocalist Yanagi Nagi.

Odds I’ll Watch This: Guaranteed Odds I’ll Blog This: Good
Show Ano Natsu de Matteru Promotional Videos ▼

Another Top
http://www.another-anime.jp/
Animation: P.A. Works Premiere: January 9, 2012
Genre: Horror, Thriller Airtime (GMT+9): Mondays at 25:35
Episodes: 12 Station: Kita Nihon Broadcasting (KNB)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

Ayatsuji Yukito, husband of Ghost Hunt and Shiki author Ono Fuyumi, is getting his own horror/mystery novel adapted — both as an anime and a live-action movie. His tale is set in spring of 1998, when Sakakibara Kouichi (Abe Atsushi) moves to his late mother’s hometown and transfers to Yomiyama North Middle School. He joins class 3-3 and is reunited with Misaki Mei (Takamori Natsumi), a girl with an eyepatch whom he ran into at the local hospital, but gets an ominous feeling from the rest of the class as if it were harboring a secret. His classmates, Kazami (Ichiki Mitsuhiro), Yukari (Nonaka Ai), Teshigawara (Maeno Tomoaki), and Izumi (Yonezawa Madoka), are quick to ask him if he believes in the supernatural; however, when Kouichi learns of an urban legend from Mei about how a smart, athletic, and well-liked student named “Misaki” in class 3-3 suddenly died 26 years ago and everyone pretended that she was still alive, he’s met with unsettling reactions when he brings it up. Questions about Mei are met the same way and he’s told to stop hanging out with someone who doesn’t exist. Before long, one of Kouichi’s classmates dies at school and Mei warns him that “it’s” started.

As the only horror show this season, Another easily stands out from the rest. It deserves to as well, as the early parts of the manga I read already gave me some nice creepy vibes. The immediate impression I got is that Mei is the Misaki that died 26 years ago and that everyone in the school is hiding an unspeakable truth, similar to the feeling in Ookami Kakushi. It was pretty hard to stop reading once that suspicion sunk in, so I can already see this adaptation turning out to be a good psychological thriller. The only thing I would question is the decision to have Suzumiya Haruhi/Shakugan no Shana character designer Itou Noizi design the ones here. The manga illustrated by Kiyohara Hiro has more mature-looking character designs which added to the creepiness — particularly the dolls — so I would’ve preferred that style instead. That’s not saying P.A. Works can’t make do just as well with these “cuter” ones, considering Higurashi had no problems.

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

Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou | 男子高校生の日常 Top
http://www.danshinichijyo.net/
Animation: Sunrise Premiere: January 9, 2012
Genre: Comedy, Slice-of-Life Airtime (GMT+9): Mondays at 26:00
Episodes: 12 (?) Station: TV Tokyo (TX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

In a somewhat uncharacteristic move, Sunrise is collaborating with publisher Square Enix to adapt a high school gag comedy. No mechs, no intergalactic wars — just the “Daily Lives of High School Boys.” Unlike Kimi to Boku, a cleaner slice-of-life series with an all-male cast, this series showcases the more degenerative side of teenage boys. It stars a trio of idiots from the all-boys school Sanada North — Tadakuni (Irino Miyu), Hidenori (Sugita Tomokazu), and Yoshitake (Suzumura Kenichi) — who don’t hesitate to actualize their inner stupidity when it comes to girls, RPG scenarios, or even trying on female underwear. Others get caught up in their idiotic hijinks, such as Tadakuni’s younger sister (Takagaki Ayahi), a literature girl from a neighboring all-girls school (Hikasa Youko), and the student council president from another school (Yuuki Aoi).

A lot of humor results from the fact that the guys have a rational thought process, but still allow themselves to get caught up in the flow of things. More often than not, it’s almost as if they’re trolling one another, leading to a lot of deadpan moments. The anime shows promise judging from the pre-airing mini episodes, which is likely attributed to director Takamatsu Shinji, whose previous comedic works include Gintama and School Rumble. I was a bit put off by the character designs at first, but the material is too damn funny for me to even care. It never hurts when you have Sugita Tomokazu among the cast, one of the funniest seiyuu both in his roles and in person. Hidenori’s inner monologues are reminiscent of Kyon in Suzumiya Haruhi too (see pre-airing ep1 below). The recently married Suzumura Kenichi can be a riot as well, so it’s funny to see Yoshitake and Hidenori gang up on Tadakuni. Sunrise and comedy. Who would’ve thunk it?

Odds I’ll Watch This: Guaranteed Odds I’ll Blog This: Good
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Papa no Iu Koto wo Kikinasai! | パパのいうことを聞きなさい! Top
http://www.starchild.co.jp/special/papakiki/
Animation: feel. Premiere: January 10, 2012
Genre: Comedy, Romance Airtime (GMT+9): Tuesdays at 25:30
Episodes: 26 (possibly aired as 13 eps) Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

Studio feel, known for risqué works such as kiss x sis and Yosuga no Sora, is adapting a romantic comedy by the same author of Mayoi Neko Overrun that’s a little rambunctious but with good family intentions. One day, university freshman Segawa Yuuta (Hatano Wataru) receives terrible news about his older sister and her husband going missing on their air flight. Their three daughters, 14-year-old Takanashi Sora (Uesaka Sumire), 10-year-old Miu (Kitamura Eri), and 3-year-old Hina (Igarashi Hiromi) — all from different mothers from previous marriages — are about to be divided up as a result, so Yuuta offers to take custody of them all. The three girls are actually quite fond of their young uncle, so they quickly accept despite their other relatives’ objections, thus beginning their lives with Yuuta in his tiny six-tatami apartment. Yuuta’s pretty diligent about taking care of them, since his older sister raised him alone after their parents passed away, but runs into a lot of “interesting scenarios” since he isn’t very good with girls.

Naturally, there’s some “accidental” fan-service involved when it’s three girls and a guy in a small room, but what really surprised me in the manga is the family part of the premise since Yuuta has to make a lot of sacrifices to take care of Sora, Miu, and Hina. I also like how the story is depicted from an older university perspective, as the support cast consists of Yuuta’s friends from his “Street Observation Club” — Nimura Kouichi (Ono Daisuke), Oda Raika (Horie Yui), and Sako Shuntarou (Majima Junji). I was originally planning to just ignore this series, but the manga proved to be a surprisingly heartfelt at times, distinguishing it from other romantic comedies. Sora is a bit of a tsundere and likes Yuuta a lot more than she cares to admit, Miu is a little devilish and flaunts her looks, and Hina is a ridiculously well-behaved 3-year-old. Sounds unassuming enough, but I went from not watching to definitely watching after skimming the manga.

Odds I’ll Watch This: Guaranteed Odds I’ll Blog This: Good
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Thermae Romae | テルマエ・ロマエ Top
http://thermae-anime.jp/
Animation: DLE Premiere: January 12, 2012
Genre: Comedy Airtime (GMT+9): Thursdays at 24:45
Episodes: 3 Station: Fuji TV (CX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

A short three-episode Flash-based adaptation of Yamazaki Mari’s comedic manga, which is about a Roman architect named Lucius who finds himself in 20th century Japan after getting sucked away at a thermae (public bath). It will be airing in the noitaminA time slot for three weeks before Black Rock Shooter takes over.

* Included for completion’s sake.

Odds I’ll Watch This: Poor Odds I’ll Blog This: Poor
Show Thermae Romae Promotional Videos ▼

Inu x Boku SS | 妖狐×僕SS Top
http://www.inuboku.tv/
Animation: david production Premiere: January 12, 2012
Genre: Comedy, Fantasy, Romance Airtime (GMT+9): Thursdays at 26:00
Episodes: Station: MBS
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

David Production is adapting a romantic comedy with a bit of a demon twist this season, centering around Shirakiin Ririchiyo (Hidaka Rina), a girl from a wealthy family who wants to distance herself from her family name and make an identity for herself. She has a knack for acting needlessly haughty to others and regretting it later, so her parents only allow her to move into a high-class mansion, “Maison de Ayakashi”, that assigns a personal Secret Service agent to each tenant. There, she meets the highly insistent and very emotional Miketsukami Soushi (Nakamura Yuuichi), who pledges his loyalty to her and begs her to let him protect her, even if it’s as her dog. Apparently Ririchiyo saved him once in the past, and now he feels forever indebted to her. Thus begins their days at Ayakashi with the other tenants and their SS, who like Ririchiyo and Soushi, are actually all half-blooded descendents of demons. The true purpose of the mansion’s world-class security is to protect them from full-blooded demons who want to see them dead.

In a lot of ways, Ririchiyo reminds me of Alice in Kamimemo, especially her interactions with the other tenants, Sorinozuka Renshou (Hosoya Yoshimasa), Shoukiin Kagerou (Sugita Tomokazu), Watanuki Banri (Eguchi Takuya), and their respective SS, Yukinokouji Nobara (Hikasa Youko), Roromiya Karuta (Hanazawa Kana), Natsume Zange (Miyano Mamoru). All the characters have very unique personalities and are quite a handful, particularly Shoukiin who’s a sadistic pervert and Ririchiyo’s fiancé. The similarities end there though, as each of the tenants can transform into their demon forms, which don’t necessarily resemble anything human. How that affects the story later on I don’t know, as the early parts of the manga mainly focused on the romantic comedy aspect. “Inuboku” is categorized as such after all, so it’s possible the anime will focus on just that. With David Production behind the animation, I plan to check at least a few episodes out.

Odds I’ll Watch This: Decent Odds I’ll Blog This: Decent
Show Inu x Boku SS Promotional Videos ▼

Black★Rock Shooter | ブラック★ロックシューター Top
http://www.noitamina-brs.jp/
Animation: Ordet x SANZIGEN Premiere: February 2, 2012
Genre: Fantasy Airtime (GMT+9): Thursdays at 24:45
Episodes: 8 Station: Fuji TV (CX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

After releasing the OVA in summer 2010, Yamamoto Yutaka’s Studio Ordet is back with an eight-episode TV series based on supercell illustrator Huke’s original character, Black Rock Shooter. This time, it’s in collaboration with Studio SANZIGEN and features a story written by Okada Mari. Things are expected to pick up where the OVA left off, after middle-schooler Kuroi Mato (Hanazawa Kana) took on the “BRS” persona in an alternate world to rescue her friend Takanashi Yomi (Sawashiro Miyuki) from an evil persona known as “Deadmaster”. Yomi became jealous of Mato’s new classmate and basketball club manager Yuu (Asumi Kana), allowing Deadmaster to possess her, but now the jealousy within Yuu is starting to give way to an evil persona of her own — “Strength”.

One might assume that this is only for hardcore BRS fans, but I’m not one of them and still enjoyed the OVA a fair bit. It was neat how they overlaid the BRS story on top of a high school one, not only from an alter ego standpoint, but also screenplay-wise as well. It was like flipping between two completely unrelated shows, which worked well as a single OVA, but leaves me wondering what approach the television series will take. Story-wise, I assume the feelings of jealousy will continue to manifest into evil personas in the other world, seeing as a couple of new characters, Izuriha Kagari (Kitamura Eri) and Kohata Arata (Numakura Manami), were revealed together with “Chariot” and “Black Gold Saw”, the latter of whom was seen briefly in the OVA. The resemblance makes it obvious that it’s them, so I’m more curious to see how the high school side of things develop. I’m not expecting too much with only eight episodes, but I am looking forward to the battles devoid of dialogue that are bound to happen.

Odds I’ll Watch This: Guaranteed Odds I’ll Blog This: Good
Show Black Rock Shooter Promotional Videos ▼

Smile Precure! | スマイルプリキュア! Top
http://www.toei-anim.co.jp/tv/smile_precure/
Animation: Toei Animation Premiere: February 5, 2012
Genre: Fantasy, Magical Girl Airtime (GMT+9): Sundays at 08:30
Episodes: 4-cour (?) Station: TV Asahi (EX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

The ninth “Pretty Cure” series which coincides with the franchise’s annual refresh. The Queen of Märchenland is sealed away by the invading Emperor Pierrot. To revive her, a fairy named Candy travels to Earth and enlists the help of a girl named Hoshizora Miyuki to help gather the fragments of the “Cure Decor”, the symbol of happiness.

* Included for completion’s sake.

Odds I’ll Watch This: Poor Odds I’ll Blog This: Poor

OVA / Movie


 

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

Release Date Title Notes
01/25 Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko OVA | 電波女と青春男 OVA
http://www.starchild.co.jp/special/denpa/
Unaired 13th episode incl. in BD/DVD vol. 7.
01/25 Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kira: file.04 | ひぐらしのなく頃に煌 file.04
http://www.oyashirosama.com/web/kira/
01/27 Morita-san wa Mukuchi Vol. 5 Special Chapter | 森田さんは無口 第5巻 特装版
http://www.takeshobo.co.jp/sp/moritasan/
01/27 Usagi Drop Ep. 8.5 | うさぎドロップ 第8.5話
http://www.usagi-drop.tv/
Short episode bundled with BD/DVD vol. 4.
01/28 Queen’s Blade OAD2 | クイーンズブレイド OAD2
http://queensblade.net/index.php/qb_ova
Bundled with the Premium Visual Book 2.
02/08 Fullmetal Alchemist: Milos no Seinaru Hoshi | 鋼の錬金術師 嘆きの丘の聖なる星
http://www.hagaren-movie.net/
BD/DVD movie release.
02/15 Gyo | ギョ
http://www.animebunko.com/gyo/index.html
Produced by ufotable.
02/15 Heart no Koku no Alice ~Wonderful Wonder World~
劇場版ハートの国のアリス ~Wonderful Wonder World~
http://quinrose.com/game/alice_h_m/top.html
DVD movie release.
02/15 Minori Scramble! | みのりスクランブル!
http://www.ufotable.com/special/minori/
Produced by ufotable.
02/15 Yuri Seijin Naoko-san | 百合星人ナオコサン
http://moeoh.dengeki.com/archives/2386
Produced by ufotable.
02/22 Hotarubi no Mori e | 蛍火の杜へ
http://www.hotarubi.info/
BD/DVD movie release.
02/22 Steins;Gate Special | シュタインズ ゲート SPECIAL
http://steinsgate.tv/
Bundled with BD/DVD vol. 9.
02/22 To Heart 2: Dungeon Travelers Vol.1 | ToHeart2 ダンジョントラベラーズ Vol.1
http://aquaplus.jp/th2dtv/
02/24 Eiyuu Densetsu Sora no Kiseki THE ANIMATION Vol.2
英雄伝説 空の軌跡 THE ANIMATION Vol.2
http://www.sora-anime.com/
02/24 s.CRY.ed Alteration TAO | スクライド オルタレイション TAO
http://www.s-cry-ed.net/
BD/DVD release.
02/24 Sora no Otoshimono Movie: Tokeijikake no Angeloid
劇場版そらのおとしもの 時計じかけの哀女神
http://kadokawa-anime.jp/soraoto/2011/06/kakko.html
BD/DVD movie release.
02/29 Hayate no Gotoku! Movie: HEAVEN IS A PLACE ON EARTH +99
劇場版ハヤテのごとく!HEAVEN IS A PLACE ON EARTH +99
http://www.hayate-project.com/
Extended BD/DVD movie release.
02/– Special Edition FAIRY TAIL Vol. 31 | 特装版 FAIRY TAIL 31巻
http://kc.kodansha.co.jp/fairytail/
Bundled with manga vol. 31.
03/01 Maken-Ki! 8th DVD Limited Edition | マケン姫っ!8 DVD 付限定版
http://maken-ki.com/
Unaired compilation episode.
03/16 Kimi no Iru Machi Vol. 17 Limited Edition | 君のいる町 17巻限定版
http://kc.kodansha.co.jp/kimino/
03/21 To Heart 2: Dungeon Travelers Vol.2 | ToHeart2 ダンジョントラベラーズ Vol.2
http://aquaplus.jp/th2dtv/
03/23 The Prince of Tennis Movie: Eikoku-shiki Teikyuu-jou Kessen
劇場版 テニスの王子様 英国式庭球城決戦
http://tenipuri-movie.com/
DVD movie release.


Overall Impressions


 

Suffice to say, this is a rather diverse winter season to start the new year. If we look at the different type of shows we have, there’s youkai fantasy, sci-fi fantasy, medieval fantasy, sports, magical girl, slice-of-life, gag comedy, romance comedy, romance drama, mecha, space opera, samurai/ninja action, horror, and even Black Rock Shooter. That’s practically every genre out there — all crammed into a single season. If there isn’t even a single show this season that interests you, you might want to rethink watching anime altogether.

In addition to the shows that caught my eye right away for one reason or another — Amagami SS+ plus, Another, Aquarion EVOL, Black Rock Shooter, Nisemonogatari, and Zero no Tsukaima F — the ones I have a newfound interest in are: Ano Natsu de Matteru, Area no Kishi, BRAVE10, Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou, High School DxD, Mouretsu Pirates, Papa no Iu Koto wo Kikinasai!, Rinne no Lagrange, and Senki Zesshou Symphogear.

Of those, the show that I’m holding in high regard is Area no Kishi. The manga is written by renowned storywriter, novelist, screenwriter Agi Tadashi and popular for a reason, so I suggest checking it out even if a sports anime isn’t something you’d normally watch. If you’re still on the fence about it, please do read that extra spoiler tidbit I added in its entry. It happens at the very beginning of the manga — chapter 6 of volume 2 — and is what sold me on the series so it may do the same for you. You have nothing to lose if you don’t plan to watch anyway.

The other big title in my eyes is Another. The manga exhibited an eery, unsettling, and gripping feeling right from the get-go. I had a hard time putting it down and only managed to do so because I didn’t want to spoil the anime for myself. On the romantic comedy side, I’m keeping an eye on Ano Natsu de Matteru in hopes that it provides a sense of nostalgia by reminding me of the Onegai series and various older shows of this genre. I plan to do the same with BRAVE10, which is full of samurai/ninja actions yet doesn’t come off anything like your typical shounen series since it’s written by female mangaka Shimotsuki Kairi.

In terms of comedy, Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou is my pick of the season. I was originally put off by the character designs and wasn’t even sure if I was going to check out the first episode, but those pre-airing mini episodes have me sold. Papa no Iu Koto wo Kikinasai would be my other pick for its sentimental take on a fan-service-filled comedy. It also stars a university student — something I’d like to see more often since the high school’s been done to death — and features a support cast of his friends.

As for why High School DxD caught my interest, it’s because it has potential to be much better than it seems. Most people will probably write it off because of the fan-service, even though it’s based on a light novel. Personally, I like what I see in the promo material, which reminds me of Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou. Daimaou was actually a decent series, but hard to follow because it crammed too much material into twelve episodes. If High School DxD can sidestep that problem, then it’ll be a very erotic yet story-filled offering this season.

The relative unknowns are the two original sci-fi series: Rinne no Lagrange and Senki Zesshou Symphogear. I’m cautiously optimistic about Lagrange because Production I.G doesn’t have the best track record with original series as of late, but I do like what I’ve seen in the promo videos. With Symphogear, there’s less cause for concern but very little to go on at the same time. Mouretsu Pirates, while not an original series, is also a bit of an unknown to me since it’s based on a light novel. I like space operas, so I’m hoping that the 26 episodes that it’s slated for will be a step up from Satelight’s other galactic series, KIDDY GiRL-AND.

This leaves the obligatory must-watch sequels/continuations, Amagami SS+ plus, Aquarion EVOL, Black Rock Shooter, Nisemonogatari, and Zero no Tsukaima F, to round things out.

 

As usual, I plan to watch a lot more shows than I have time to write about, so I’m flexible on what I cover. For this season, I decided not to commit to blogging many right away, since a lot of the shows I’m considering air on the same day. Below is my shortlist, broken down into days. (Good blogging odds; underline means guaranteed.) My plan is to watch the first episodes and go from there.

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

254 Comments

    1. Ditto. You did us proud Divine.

      As far as this season of new anime goes only Amagami has my complete interest so far. I’m hoping the blog posts here make me hard for some of the other series.

      Gekokujou
      1. Err.. no, I think he’s still wide awake and kicking after 20+ hrs of staying up. We (in IRC) did tell him to sleep and rest but he never does.. It’s like telling him to sleep just has the opposite effect.. >_>

        MrRei
  1. Great work as usual Divine:D Looks like a pretty stellar lineup especially after considering it’s winter, which is typically a weaker season, though I’m sure there’ll be people saying all the new anime suck(as usual/:)

    Will be watching the first episode of everything, then deciding from there. Definitely gonna stick with Nisemonogatari, Another and Ano Natsu all the way through though.

    Smuglord
  2. thanks for the preview! too bad gokujyo and holy knight dont seem like they’d be start airing soon

    there are quite a lot of shows that seem interesting,
    i also hope rihoko gets her happy end in her own arc

    Mirakurun
  3. Was waiting for the preview!! 😀 Thanks for uploading this, Divine!!!

    Anyway, when I saw “Odds I’ll Blog This: Poor” for Natsume Yuujinchou Shi, my spirits fell. 🙁
    Guardian Enzo – sama!!! Are you gonna be blogging for its fourth season or is this being put down??? ><

    CID
    1. I am supporting this idea at 100%. I laughed so hard (like Miura in Bakuman) i bited my tounge and almost fall of my chair. xD Of course japanese knowledge is necessary because it’s raw but definiatelly worth every second. Can’t wait for the actual show!

      yomax
    1. She went on a TV show and talked about love life and all her ex-boyfriends. Hardcore otaku who like to believe that their seiyuu are “untouched” got very upset. They destroyed all their merchandise of her and sent her death threats. It’s pretty dumb.

      Bad PR is bad PR though. She actually lost her role as Shinobu in Nisemonogatari. Sakamoto Maaya’s been cast to replace her.

      1. Shinobu should talk more because it was pretty fun reading her lines in Kizumonogatari. I know she is just a shell of herself now but she it wouldn’t hurt to give her at least a few lines.

        Mash
    2. That’s a mild way to put it – following the show, a japanese magazine published a couple pictures allegedly showing Aya naked in bed with a member of her band. Not surprisingly, her agency wasn’t pleased, and she had to finally quit it and find another one.

      Hardcore seiyuu fans are indeed quite dumb.

      Steelman
      1. not only one band member, she reportedly slept with ALL her band members save the bass player. moral of the story: 1. go to japan 2. learn an instrument (not bass guitar) 3. ???? 4. profit!!!

        guess that shirt with the kinky engrish she wore at the suzumiya haruhi concert wasn’t for show.

        RickyMack
      1. It’s because…

        1. they think that the show you like sucks; or
        2. your post has no substance; or
        3. they’re just trolling; or
        4. they think your post is wrong/your mistaken/or you are antagonizing the other shows as terrible; or
        5. they’re kids(13~16yrs old maybe). What do you expect?

        @Divine: Told ya this is a bad idea…

        At any rate, if you’re mature, please don’t use the buttons lightly. Unless you really hate the post(the post, not the person), refrain from using it.

        And yeah, Nisemonogatari has got to be the hit this season. I liked Bakemonogatari so this is really a treat.

        The Moondoggie
      2. New age, new page. The old otakudom, both of the east and the west, is dead. They really don’t care if you’re male or female anymore.

        Me? I’m not into the pretentious stuff: I watch what I want and defend what I like. I rarely use the thumbs-up/down button unless I totally disagree with the post. The post, not the person. I dunno why they thumbs down yours since I cannot find anything wrong on it. Just ignore the red colors. XD

        The Moondoggie
  4. As always, I’m gonna start watching 90% of list just to drop 75% of it after the first 3 episodes. LOL.

    I’m looking forward Natsume e Aquarion! \o/

    Natsume is always great e Aquarion is a freakin’ classic.

    André
  5. Looks like a good season for a mecha fan like me. I loved Aquarion so Aquarion EVOL is a must. Lagrange looks promising. Add to that Gundam AGE will hit its 2nd generation soon and the remastering of Gundam SEED airing, that means I’ve got FOUR mecha shows to watch this season. Makes me all tingly inside

    As for non mecha shows, Amagami and Nisemonogatari are a must since I enjoyed the previous seasons. Other things that caught my eye are Mouretsu Piartes(Can’t go wrong with Space Pirates), Symphogear(Nana Mizuki!!!!) and Black Rock Shooter (I like its bizarre artsyle). I might also pickup DxD for my fill on shameless harem hijinks.

    Finally there’s Zero no Tsukaima which honestly I don’t want to watch but feel obligated to finish. Its 3rd season pissed me off, largely because of how bad it was compared to the last two seasons. Still, I’m hoping this season will be an improvement.

    fragb85
  6. Nisemonogatari, AmagamiSS+, Daily Lives of High School Boys, and that Papa show. Should I be happy or sad that Sora (Haruhi-look-a-like) isn’t played by AyaH? It’d have been a funny troll, but it might’ve worked too. Oh and probably Space Pirates for Chiaki O! Woo Thank you divine for sacrificing sleep to finish this post up. <3

    Kyzel
  7. Amagami SS+ was truly surprising but very very welcome news. I only ever watched action anime, like Bleach. Then one day I found randomc.net, browsed the Best of 2010 and gave Amagami SS a watch. Now I’ve become a romance anime junkie ^_^

    The Big Kahuna Master
  8. Really you don’t like Milky Holmes? Was one of the best comedy anime, i welcome this second season with open arms. You should watch the first season before you tag it as poor. Also the character design seems childish like Precure but is not as content.
    Imo, watch the first season before the winter season start, you have a week, then come back. 🙂

    Reika
  9. thx for the list divine. been waiting for it.

    nise- and amagami is definitely a must watch for me. inuboku and BRS would be on the watch list and another… just to scare myself silly.

    in other words… despite having less goodies in winter, it still keeps me warm

    and what happened to kizumonogatari? wasnt it scheduled for jan????

    c2710
  10. I’m impressed by this season,too impressed to cast out words with this keyboard
    AmagamiSS+, Nisemonogatari,BRS,and Another – Four awesome Anime series coming for me.
    I’m happy’ too happy
    But like you mentioned I’m one of the readers of the light novel of Zero so I’m thinking of not watching the last installment.
    But I recommend Zero no Tsukaima series to everyone – With F.
    Now I don’t know why I wrote so………………..

    Pash HebiTaka
  11. Agh. Yet another 15+ odd series I’m going to end up watching. The past season was quite good as a whole; let’s hope this trend continues for this new season.

    Great stuff Divine, keep up the great work as always.

    Shinmarizu
  12. preliminary schedule… subject to change ofc.
    sun Rinne no Lagrange – while I am not great fan of mecha, this one can be good without a male protagonist to mess things up…
    mon Another – if you like mystery/horror like me this is the show for you, and I hope it will be on a par with Shiki
    tue – only show is about raising lolis, I will pass
    wed – only show is a tennins show, not my fave sport anyway
    thu Amagami SS+ plus – YAY! more Amagami goodness in proven omnibus format
    sat Mouretsu Pirates – pirates are always good in my book, and space pirates are even better since Ryoko first appeared in Tenchi Muyo, I have a good feeling about this 🙂

    ewok40k
  13. Thanks a lot for the previews, there’s a few shows I’ll check out for sure.

    BTW Divine, don’t overdo it, ok ? These last months, you’ve been keeping this site nearly all by yourself (from my perspective). Just remember to keep it cool as a hobby and not as a chore, ok ?

    JiCi
  14. Thank you! I was waiting for this too 🙂

    Looking at the general schedule we’ll be having a pretty crowded thursday :o.

    I’ll probably watch 16 out of 23 series, specially all those that involve Hanazawa Kana (she seems to have got a lot of roles this season o-o) I’m really happy with this season ^0^

    Miharu~
  15. So you are okaí with Xebec’s adaptation. I watched (and i will) all their works, so i’m more than okay with them, but you, as i remember after to love-ru you become “mr. low expectations” for them. Just think about the fact, the Xebec is the part of Production I.G. and if they make an anime they will hire some Xebec animator and illustrator too many times (and they appear in other production too randomly…).
    That Milky thing has a golden season if you watch it as a comedy. I don’t think they are real magical girls, but you can choose that genre if you try it hard. Kamaboko pretty weak as a sidekick (but funny as Italian boyfriend xD) and they don’t have real transformation to special wizard suit or what, just winter and summer uniform.
    I bet, Kugyu is too pricey for the main cast for Kill me(h) baby. They are poor in fiscally too, at least it will be short as i know.

    FFF
  16. Rinne no Lagrange:

    The only real cause for concern is how Production I.G doesn’t exactly have the best track record with
    original series lately (e.g. BLOOD-C, Guilty Crown)

    What! Some blogger needs a hug! Guilty Crown isn’t done yet and you’re holding last rites already! For shame!

    I wonder if this’ll be an Infinite Stratos-like series. Looks interesting, but I agree the current I.G. material
    makes me wonder…

    Other look-forwards to:

    Natsume Yuujin-chou Shi
    Recorder to Randoseru
    Another
    Papa no Iu Koto wo Kikinasai!
    Ano Natsu de Matteru

    Thank you Divine!

    mac65
    1. they’re going to have to pull a miracle for that show to get off the turd list. i’m watching it cause i want to see if it’ll pull up somehow, but for the first half of the series it has definitely not been good. even if it does get better they’re definitely going to lose points with how poorly executed the first half of the series has been.

      RickyMack
  17. I was ok with the finale to Zero no Tsukaima: Knight of the Twin Moon, until I read the light novel. Then I realized the finale could have been 5 times more epic and emotional had they not made a separate season and completely cut out Saito’s meeting with Tiffania.

    Suppa Tenko
  18. From the beginning there are only One show that really caught my eyes and excitement the moment I’ve read the news of it airing this Winter…

    Nisemonogatari (Guaranteed) – really a huge of fan of Bakemonogatari, in fact I’ve re-watched it multiple times, so yeah I’m all to this…also I think they are not hiding the fact that they have short hairs except probably Hatchikuji Mayoi as seen in the PVs 🙂

    As for the other prospects:

    Black Rock Shooter (Guaranteed)Hatsune Miku maybe is my favorite VOCALOID but not really the song Black Rock Shooter, but nonetheless I’ve watched the short OVA last year and kinda like, so a must watch.

    Another (Guaranteed) – it’s been quite sometime since shows like Ghost Hunt, Higurashi, and lesser extend Shiki that really upped the horror-mystery ante, so I have my huge expectation on this show. My question is…is this the next Ghost Hunt? Higurashi? or Shiki? I’m very much willing to find out.

    Other hopefuls…

    Natsume Yuujin-chou Shi (Good) – OK, so I’ve watched all the first three series of this franchise, to me it’s as if it will take forever before Natsume finally finished giving back all the names of the Youkai’s his grandmother took when she was alive. I think it wouldn’t hurt to watch another season, I just hope that this time around even a little romance to the series wouldn’t hurt that much (so please let there be…hoping).

    Prince of Tennis (Decent) – I’ve watched up to 160 of the 178 episode series but somehow cannot finish the remaining 18, also I watched a few episodes of the OVAs…still unable to complete it. So the probability of watching this is low, but might check the first few episodes.

    Tantei Opera Milky Holmes 2nd Act (Decent) – after watching Madoka Magica last winter 2011 season, I say I’m more open to watching girly shows with frilly clothes and magic wands again (Uta Kata and Hougako no Pleiades), so I might try this to see if I’ll enjoy this.

    Recorder to Randoseru (Decent) – the same studio that animated Morita-san? I might watch this for the comedy.

    Kill Me Baby (Decent) – typical schoolgirl and not so typical assassin and JC Staff? Hmm…might check this out.

    Amagami SS+ plus (Decent) – I’m only 2/3s of the first arc when I decided to put the first Amagami SS on hold, I might check this show but most likely after I’ve completed the first season (if ever).

    High School DxD (Decent) – if this is similar to Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou, then I expect heavy censorship. I might check this out but most likely will just wait for the uncensored version like when the BDs of Ichiban and Queen’s Blade (which I found really good) was released.

    Senki Zesshou Symphogear (Decent) – not sure what to say after reading the preview, but an original anime in my opinion is always worth checking out (specially if Divine put it in his guaranteed list)

    Area no Kishi (Decent) – not really a fan of sports anime, but the word “drama” in the genre surely caught my attention.

    Zero no Tsukaima F (Poor) – I finished the first season but failed to finished the second, I might probably watch this only after I’ve completed the previous installments.

    Mouretsu Pirates (Decent) – Space opera? I don’t know exactly what that entails, but the premise alone is interesting so I might check this.

    BRAVE10 (Poor) – didn’t watched Sengoku so my chances of watching this is low.

    Rinne no Lagrange (Decent) – Hmm…mecha anime is always welcome as long as it has an interesting premise.

    Aquarion EVOL (Decent) – The premise is interesting but to much mecha in a season if I watch this together with Rinne, might check this out also.

    Ano Natsu de Matteru (Good) – romantic comedy is always a must in my books, also the fact that the creators of Onegai teacher and JC Staff is producing this, that alone increases my anticipation for this series.

    Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou (Poor) – I’m not a big fan of male centered comedy series.

    Papa no Iu Koto wo Kikinasai! (Good) – like the premise and character designs, definitely worth checking out.

    Inu x Boku SS (Decent) – interesting premise plus the comedy and romance tag surely made this series caught my attention, in addition the art is quite nice so I might check this out.

    Smile Precure! (Poor) – I haven’t watched or is interested to watched any of its previous installments, so the chances of me watching this is poor.

  19. “If you’ve read my final impressions on Bakemonogatari, then you’re probably aware that I’m not a huge fan of SHAFT director Shinbou Akiyuki’s stylistic touches. I’m also not completely sold on Nisio Isin’s writing, as I don’t really find his heavy dialogue all that interesting, compared to say Urobuchi Gen’s. Rather than adding something meaningful to the plot or characterization, his script is filled with wordplay that I don’t always find all that clever.”

    I doubt Nisemonogatari will change your mind that much. NishioIsshin wrote Nisemonogatari to be even more wordplay-based than Bakemonogatari, to the extent that he makes it a running joke in the book that it could never be animated. What more, his wordplay can’t really be translated and most of it is in the narrative instead of dialogue so animation is gonna be a hassle.

    Jukehead
  20. To be frank, I’m not too terribly interested in the offerings for 2012 (hell, I may just be spoiled from 2011). While Nisemonogatari, Another, and surprise, Black Rock Shooter stand out to me, many of the series airing seem like they’ll float around the average range. Some actually pretty interesting, but I’m not sure how they’ll turn out in the end. Still though, I’ll give em a chance.

    Click
    1. It’s a reboot of the original story that takes place 12,000 years later. New cast and everything, so it’s not essential to have watched the original Aquarion. You’ll probably appreciate EVOL more if you did though, because the characters are presumed to be reincarnations of Apollonius, Celiane, and the other humans/angels from the original war, just like in the original series.

  21. Shows I’m definitely going to watch:
    Zero no Tsukaima F
    Nisemonogatari
    Black★Rock Shooter

    Shows I’m probably going to watch:
    Aquarion EVOL
    Another (Is that song in the PVs sung by Ali Project? It really reminds me of Shigofumi…)
    Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou (Holy crap, Sugita Tomokazu’s character seems awesome)

    Shows I’m going to check out:
    High School DxD
    Senki Zesshou Symphogear
    Rinne no Lagrange
    Ano Natsu de Matteru

    HenDarou
  22. Definite:
    – Another – The one that interests me the most this season.
    – Aquarion – While I wasn’t in love with the first series, it was good enough that I’ll check this out.
    – Area no Kishi – Been meaning to read the manga for a while, but I’ll just watch the anime instead.

    Interested, but not sure if I’ll watch:
    – Rinne no Lagrange
    – Symphogear

    Not planning to watch, but if I hear good things, I might pick it up:
    – Ano Natsu de Matteru
    – Black Rock Shooter
    – Brave 10
    – Inu x Boku SS
    – Mouretsu Pirates

    boznia
  23. I think my main focus will be Rinne no Lagrange. I know it’s Production I.G… blah blah, but it’s still an original series.

    I’ll probably try the following, as well

    Area no Kishi (only because Divine said so :P)
    Mouretsu Pirates (girls with guns. I like!)
    Another (gives me an -ef- vibe, but I’ll give it a shot)
    Black Rock Shooter (very cautiously, since I don’t really know this franchise)

    suff
  24. Just wanted to report a typo on OVA section. Sora no Otoshimono Move should probably be movie.
    That just caught my attention because I’m really looking forward to seeing it at long last 😀

    Kirbyfan
  25. quiet season.

    Only one I look very forward to is High School DxD

    Not because is fan service and harem but because I actually read the novel before this and had me laugh a few good times, if they don’t cram everything together and take their time, it will be a great series.

    The rest of the anime this season are so and so, nothing really caught my eye and say I must watch this.

    an11
  26. Wow! Another God-tier anime season preview, its really informative and I really enjoy reading it. This is really one of the things that makes RC an awesome site. Keep it up, good sir. …. Thank you so much for this.
    And as for the anime this coming season, I’m really looking forward to seeing “Another”. And there are also a lot of comedies, which I really like. Plus the return of the girls of Amagami and the very hard to watch Bakemonogatari. This will be a fun season.

    Jhacks
  27. There isn’t really a lot I’d say I’m excited for this season…
    Guaranteed
    Another
    New Prince of Tennis
    Nisemonogatari
    Recorder to Randoseru

    Will Try Out
    Ano Natsu de Matteru
    Black Rock Shooter
    Brave10

    Thank you for your hard work once again, Divine! 🙂
    Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou
    Inu x Boku SS
    Kill Me Baby
    Papa no Iu Koto wo Kikinasai

    staticology
  28. Some of them have caught my interest, like Another, since it’s so confusing (I read a bit of the manga).
    ANYWAYS!!!!
    What I wanted to say; the I’ve Sound link isn’t actually the I’ve Sound link. Please check it out.

    Sissy
  29. all i have to say is this season Winter 2012 is going to be AMAZING. so many shows that i will def watch and try to keep my schedule and calendar checked 🙂 cause i will be trying to watch every episode that comes out that week for each anime 🙂

    MM
  30. Thanks for this Divine, there are one or two more shows that i’ll probably give a watch now.

    Will watch:
    High School DxD
    Area no Kishi
    Another

    Probably watch:
    Recorder to Randoseru
    Senki Zesshou Symphogear
    Ano Natsu de Matteru
    Papa no lu Koto wo Kikinasai!

    Will wait till blogged:
    Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou
    Black Rock Shooter

    Bluerise
  31. Guaranteed Watch
    Black Rock Shooter
    Mouretsu Pirates
    Area no Kishi

    First 3 episode dependant
    Ano Natsu
    Smile Precure!
    High School DXD

    The rest will depend on what others have to say about them but these six have caught my eye. Thanks for all the hard work.

    Jason
  32. Thanks for the very comprehensive season preview. There are a good number of sci-fi and fantasy animes to choose from this winter and I’m definitely excited.
    Will probably be checking out the first few episodes of Rinne no Lagrange, Aquarion EVOL, Another, Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou, Papa no Iu Koto wo Kikinasai!, Black Rock Shooter, Amagami SS+ plus, Senki Zesshou Symphogear, Area no Kishi, Nisemonogatari and Mouretsu Pirates.

    Seishun Otoko
  33. FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF excited for 2012.

    I have my eyes on “Nisemonogatari” and “Another” (though I’m surprised Kizumonogatari isn’t coming out first). I don’t mind P.A. Works, their animation is some of the best out there and so far their works have had pretty solid execution (Angel Beats was good, I personally loved Canaan to bits despite many not exactly getting the whole point of the show).

    In other news………….awww no love for Shaft’s stylistic direction? XD

    I honestly thought it contributed to the plot in a clever way (such as the “Kami” being worded as “Kani” interchangeably for the Crab in the Hitagi Crab arc), as well as how the different oddities’ actions/contributions are actually tied up to the human element of the story, making it much more easy to relate to than one would normally think.

    While I know not everyone was a fan of it, I can’t help but point out that what I loved about Bakemonogatari was its conciseness, it’s believably solid development of the characters, and Shaft’s dedication in maintaining the quality of delivering a stylish presentation despite their budget dying by the end of the series. ^_^

    ronri
  34. I think I’ll just go for the mecha, B*RS, Amagami, Inu x Boku SS, Papa no Iu Koto,
    Mouretsu Pirates, Nisemonogatari, Recorder to Randoseru, Zero no Tsukaima and Another as I’ll still be busy with Guilty Crown and Last Exile.

    … I need a bigger Hard Drive D:

    The Moondoggie
  35. I don’t think you should dismiss Thermae Romae just yet. It might turn out to be refreshing and deviate from the usual standards, just like Hyouge Mono. Yeah, I know nobody is watching Hyouge Mono, but the stuff is pure gold, trust me!

    … Ok, enough ranting, psgels will probably be the only blogger to write about this anyway. So not even being in the noitaminA slot saves it =/

    Gavrilo
    1. Is TR good? I mean the preview picture has a blushing naked guy, which gives off an aura of homosexuality. Now I don’t mean to offend but I’m not really fond of bromance, yaoi, or the subject of homosexuality for that matter.

      The Moondoggie
      1. It’s about bath culture so it’s just normal that there’s a naked person on the cover, don’t think too much about it.

        I actually read Thermae Romae thanks to a friend of mine and it’s pretty funny, it’s well done both on the historical side and comedy, you can tell the author did some research (and you do when you see photos of ruins of Ancient Rome’s bathhouses at the end of each chapter).
        There’s also a live action film in the works with Abe Hiroshi as the main character, my favorite japanese actor (and the only one I know the name of lol) so I’m really looking forward to the movie. I heard about the anime adaptation but from what I’m reading here, it’s a shame that it’s just a flash 3 eps thing because a more conventional adaptation would have been great to make it more famous.

        Funny enough just like you Gavrilo I also watch Hyouge Mono but it’s probably the slowest subbed series ever I’ve watched. I also check Psgels posts about it and it seems even the raws for latest eps (36,37) are hard to find, it really needs more love…

        It’s nice that you compared Thermae Romae to Hyouge Mono because now that I think about it, not only they both have great historical settings but both stories have pretty much the same type of humor: the characters’ reaction to the situations they’re confronted to and notably their facial expressions are just hilarious. I can understand a little bit that old men drinking tea and old men bathing doesn’t appeal to everyone but it’s a real shame that it’s dismissed only because of that.

        Rockmanshii
  36. Wow I thought I was the only person that really isn’t a fan of NisiOisin’s rambly dialogue. It’s one of the main reasons I’m still stuck on episode 04 of Bakemonogatari and not really looking forward to Nisemonogatari to anywhere near the degree others are.

    As a result this whole season is a bit of an enigma to me as the one show others seem to be absolutely sure of is a total non-entity for me and even the sci-fi offerings which are usually my bread and butter when it comes to anime all seem to be blends with either school-life or idol culture themes that really don’t do a whole lot for me. It’s really all going to come down to how well shows like Aquarion, Miniskirt Pirates, Rinne no Lagrange and Symphogear manage the balance between sci-fi and interesting characters and plotlines and the other themes they’ve got going on.

    If I had to note one theme going into this season it seems to be singing and yet more female dominated casts. Never been a huge fan of either since I’m really not big on collecting PVC’s or insert singles, which is what these elements seem to be here for so yeah…really not sure what to expect this season.

    Kaioshin Sama
  37. Only guaranteed watch for me is Natsume Yuujinchou. Aside from that, probably Kill Me Baby (Divine doesn’t like it so it HAS to be good, right?). Maybe Nisemonogatari, though unlike many people I don’t think BakeStory was all that. Inu x Boku SS seems okay, though I might just check out the manga first to see if I want to watch the anime.

    Not interested in harems or girls in skimpy latex piloting robots. After that monstrosity called Guilty Groan, I’m not even gooing to bother looking out for Production I.G shows like I did in the past (unless they make another GITS-SOC or something in that vein).

    Is there some sort of creativity drain going on in Japan right now or what?

    Litho
    1. Most likely its like ever anime now has to have panty shots, at least one beach episodes, and sci-fi anime at least need a girl or 2 in tight fitting latex outfits. And don’t get me started about how most have to have a 90% female cast and main character.

      Zero
  38. Zero no Tsukaima is all i got to say. But what is up with Mouretsu Pirates? I mean why are 80% of the animes that have come out in the last 5 years have an almost all girl cast. Would it kill these guys to have an even gender ratio in these animes. Its seems like everyone is trying to jump on the moe train or whats left of it. I wouldn’t be surprised if anime becomes labeled for being shows with no male cast at all in the future. Seriously im a huge space opera fan and i hate to see it get treated like this. Just look at Last Exile Silver Wings, awesome first season then crappy second season with a mostly female cast that almost NEVER gets serious about there situation. Eventually the story just becomes about how their doing and their feelings instead of actually concentrating on the main story itself about 70% of the time.

    Zero
    1. Right, what’s up with those purely moe animes with no sense at all? Why can’t they make something GAR for a change? Something like TTGL?

      And I don’t look forward anymore to any shows by Production I.G ever since they ruined Guilty Crown. They really are no match against Gainax.

      The Story You Don't Know
      1. We have Fate/Zero this/last fall season already as GAR shows among all the moe-ness, and who said that almost/most male cast shows(except the mediocre/crap reverse harem shows which i’m not too fond of/dislike it also despite being female)is not selling, just look at how popular f/z is in japan despite that almost all of the main charas being adult male,with the exception of saber&iri, plus it didn’t even rely on galore fanserv just like many animes out there. And the second half of F/Z in April is definetely >>>>>>>>> 1st half of F/Z(though the 1st half is already awesome enough for me)^-^
        I wish I.G make another Gits SAC 3rd stage or whatever than GC, but i’ll just see how it goes in the second half anyway.

        hikari
    2. Maybe we had exhausted the ideas around having an all male crew? Dragonball, TTGL, Hitman Reborn.

      Fact is the generic idea of “shounen heroes who jumps at the call of duty and successfully saves the world from any evil every single time without a hitch coutesy of their phlebotinum” is just meh.

      IMO:

      We need conflict, we need more female cast, we need more problems that will show our heroes that they’re still human after all, prone to mistakes and failures and death. They’re not always awesome and they sometimes get into problems that will hurt like hell(which is preferably, something along the lines of “chained with the Eternal Chain of Conviction, in the Dungeon of Suffering, surrounded by hordes of monsters, undead and evil humans, under the Mountain of Doom, guarded by an Orochi and an army of snake-men, a Hydra and her offspring, a Titan and his minions, a Leviathan and it’s spawns, and a Giant and his brethren, in the land of Mordor, surrounded by more hordes of evilness and a river of fire with the width of 3 football fields).

      The Moondoggie
    3. Sorry, I got carried away…

      But really, an all male crew doesn’t sell in Japan anymore. Much more so in Tokyo. Even shounen mags and similarly themed LN’s has a considerable amount of women in them that has their own stories. They have to have a number of plot worthy women(1~infinity).

      Take for example To Aru Majutsu no Index. Unlike Dragonball whose hero just bash through everything by fighting and going Super Saiyan, the hero is a reluctant hero whose right hand is a key item to both the world of Science and the world of Magic. He gets thrown into the mix when a nun that looks like a cross between a cat and a teacup(and holds 100000+ magic books in her loli head) gets to “hang-out” outside his balcony.

      The Moondoggie
      1. Well what do you expect from harem anime. Harems are cool and i’ve been a fan of them for years. But unlike harem anime that at least has a male in the spotlight im talking about the anime’s where males are so scare that they don’t even exist. When about 90% to 99% of the cast is female and the only male character is just one of those random background characters that you don’t even know the name of. Were not talking about DBZ the time of DBZ is passed and a new age is a upon us. When they started making almost the whole cast female they just screwed up the story right there. When you throw that many girls in one anime it turns out like Queens Blade or all the other ultra ecchi anime out there with an almost all girl cast. They become huge fanservice shows without any actual story and most of the time just focus on panty shots and sexual innuendo. Its no fun watching girls just playing around the same way its no fun just watching only guys fighting that’s why its good to have a balance. Watch Eureka 7 and you’ll know what im talking about, this anime is AMAZING! Not only does it have a good gender ratio but the interaction between the two genders is where the magic happens and the story begins.

        Zero
      2. I did watch E7… twice. XD!

        You want equal male/female ratio right?…

        When they started making almost the whole cast female they just screwed up the story right there. When you throw that many girls in one anime it turns out like Queens Blade or all the other ultra ecchi anime out there with an almost all girl cast. They become huge fanservice shows without any actual story and most of the time just focus on panty shots and sexual innuendo.

        But not all “70%+ are females”(Let’s call it “Pink Bishoujo Ghetto”) shows are full of fanservice: Nanoha is an example, and so is Milky Holmes and Precure. Mai Otome and Mai Hime is total drama + action. Hmm…

        It’s just that, this season, Majikoi and Maken-ki, sucks as animes. They’re not even blogworthy. No plot, ugly art, it’s obviously rushed and low budget. Queen’s blade is just an author’s fetish show like Seikon No Qwaser.

        The Moondoggie
      3. Sure there may be a few exceptions to the rule but lets face it, all action and no chemistry is boring. Milky Homes is even worse because its just another one of those horrible moe blobs i was talking about. If you want a detective show that doesn’t just try to look pretty then try gosick or Un-Go. At least they have a real plot instead of just trying their hardest to draw people into the show with cute characters only to bore you half to death while they handle the mystery of a missing cat. Drama is ok but drama with a all female cast is just plain stupid. The only drama you’ll see there is just superficial stuff that views aren’t gonna give a crap about. Nanoha and Precure are just moe blobs that are based on the old genre of magical girl. And let me just tell you that no one has given a crap about magical girl anime in the last 5 years unless you count that recent one that i forget the name of. Magical girls anime mainly draw their viewers from little children and weird perverts who only concentrate on the ecchi transformation scenes with loli’s.

        Zero
      4. Well, I agree on Zero’s last statement. All those shows he mentioned are pure rubbish (sorry for the fans of those shows, but that’s how I see them. Just my opinion, you have yours as well). I’d honestly re-watch animes I’ve finished rather than watch those shows. We’re not saying that shows with mostly female casts are really bad, it’s just that most of those shows have shitty plot and characters.

        Of course there are still shows that has majority of the casts girls. One great example is Steins;Gate. It has mostly female casts but it delivered with its story. My point is, an all/mostly female cast is okay; as long as the plot is. Of course, we don’t watch anime just for fan service, do we?

        The Story You Don't Know
      5. Steins;Gate from what I gather, isn’t really that entertaining, so it’s not a good example of a 70%+ female cast show being great. Complicated is good and all but makes a story dull if it’s all too serious. When I watch anime, I want to be entertained and intrigued.

        For example, I stopped watching Un-Go. Why? Because, for all the complicated stuff, the question asked in episode one already hit me as stupid: Why didn’t she just asked if she’s the culprit? And before they even get to the point I already know who is the culprit: it’s so obvious that the wife did it.

        Zero: Nanoha (and Precure) are just moe blobs that are based on the old genre of magical girl.

        Maybe I should send this to the fans at Tvtropes and Animesuki and see what happens? XD

        On Precure and Milky Holmes, I have no qualms on some of your claims though, they’re part of my list of guilty pleasures. Nanoha however, is different.

        Nanoha is a great series because it has good character development for all its cast, male or female as well as plot. The bad thing is the series is in installments: Mothership Titles, then the Sound Stages CDs, then the recent mangas, Vivid and Force. It’s really not much of a magical girl series anymore past season 2 because they added military Sci-Fi elements into it because…

        Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

        It’s actually just recently that shows like Maken-ki appears to blemish the Pink Bishoujo Ghetto trope/ Harem trope. You don’t even see the same level of corniness in Freezing, Hyakka Ryouran or even Xenoglossia as you see in Maken-ki. Why, it even makes Ichiban Ushiro no Dai Maō looks great(the anime I mean, the LN is already great)

        Or maybe most of you guys are disappointed with Fam the Silver Wing? The show is great and does have character development. Though it has some faults like Fam should be the one asking sorry to Giselle.

        So in the end I take the opposite of your stand: “MOST shows that has 70% of the cast are females has a great story. There are just exceptions to it.” It’s just recently that things have mostly taken for the worst.

        The Moondoggie
      6. Well thats your opinion, but i must say that only about 50% of female only cast anime are good since most are just hit and miss. I’ve never watched or read any of the previous Nanoha anime or manga since they look like loli moe garbage to me but i have started reading Nanoha Lyrical since they finally put a boy as the main character instead of having all males in the background like all previous seasons. Its not half bad but thats only because the sole male character is balancing the ecchi out so far. O and Last Exile Silver Wing is the biggest disappointment that i’ve had all season. I can’t imagine how many fans of the previous Last Exile were cursing this sequel after the first episode all those months ago. It went from epic meaningful story to girls in vanships. -_-

        Zero
      7. I’m glad you liked the new series (Force) where tons of people hated it. Most of the fans of the former series hates it because they:

        1. added a guy, where it should have been a welcome change.
        2. The existence of Anti-magic.
        3. The existence of mass weapons(non-energy ranged weapons).

        tl;rd, they hate Force for the same reason you hated Fam. XD

        But let’s face it: Which other “moeblob magical girl” spin-off anime of an eroge has four (+1 spin-off) seasons and two movies, became a studio’s main money maker, and is featured in Megami magazine every month, sky-rocketed Yukari Tamura(Fear in C3) to fame, while creating memes along the way???

        The Moondoggie
      8. With all due respect, I’ll say that: Not because you find a show not entertaining doesn’t mean that it’s not interesting. That’s just a single person’s opinion. And I’m not sure either where you found all those people who says that Steins;Gate isn’t good. If you google for reviews, majority of the results shows that Steins;Gate is well received by its viewers despite its flaws(slow start) and deep story so I’m not so sure where you gathered those data.

        And for the latest Last Exile, I dropped watching it as well since they took a turn to moe by making the major characters girls. No, I’m not a sexist. Last Exile is about war and its effects, the first series did great on depicting it. Now this new “Last Exile” is nowhere near there. This second series IS now about girls in vanships for God’s sake =_=

        The Story You Don't Know
      9. magical girls are aimed more at kids and is a genre that should not be taken seriously. its the typical “monster of the week” the girls fight, some conflict between the girls, everyone becomes friends yada yada except for the poor monsters.

        madoka magica stands out since its out of the norm and is more “mature” than the others.

        amado
  39. So AnoHana’s director is working on Ano Natsu de Matteru? I’ll definitely watch it given that Yanagi Nagi’s singing the ED too! BTW Supercell insists that Yanagi Nagi was “never” really a member of Supercell, instead they insist that she’s only been a guest singer BUT they treat her as an original member and she’s the reason why they became famous aside from Ryo. I don’t know why they came up with that or why don’t they just tell that she’s an original member since they treat her that way. Did they have complications or something? Eitherway Ryo said that they’re not “replacing” Nagi, instead they just added new singers in Koeda and Chelly since they are a doujin group. I’m expecting more from Chelly though but Yanagi Nagi all the way!

    The Story You Don't Know
  40. Highschool DxD is showing at 11am on Friday morning and Zero no Tsukaima F is at 8.30am on Sat morning? That’s kind of interesting. Considering the target audience, I would have expected late-night timeslots, as usual.

    Dusk
  41. wow, I have to say, most of the anime this season really intrigues me 😛
    I am definitely checking Area no Kishi and Nisemonogatari, the former being one of my favorite soccer mangas 😀

    Other hopefuls is the school boy comedy, since it’s by the director of School Rumble. Also, maybe Recorder and Pirates are on my check it out list. I also still need to watch the first season of Amagami, seeing as how great many people see it as, now is probably the best time with the new season.

    Also, big thank you Divine, your season previews really helps me sort out what shows pique my interest.

    Chocolate20
  42. Thanks Divine. I’m definitely looking forward to this season and your posts are always the best impressions I’ve found of upcoming anime. Looking forward to the New Year with more RandomC!

    Cain
  43. I did a double take when I realised Senjougahara Hitagi cut her hair in the promo video.

    Aside from Nisemonogatari, nothing is really jumping out at me here. I suppose that makes it easy for this season to exceed my expectations. Hoping to be surprised. 🙂

    Fling
  44. thankyou divine!

    ayatsuji-san is a wonderful person with nothing to hide.
    ayatsuji-san is a wonderful person with nothing to hide.
    ayatsuji-san is a wonderful person with nothing to hide.

    NexusM78
  45. Hmm…I still bump after F/Z ended(on break)& going to resume back in april’12 which is still a long way. I guess there’s few titles that looks interesting this winter(like Another, Nisemonogatari(i like Bake but not a huge fans of it), Black Rock Shooter, Ano Natsu, Aquarion EVOL, Rinne, InuxBoku SS, Area no Kishi, etc), but aside from Natsume-Shi&Thermae Romae which I definetely going to watch, the others just hasn’t click me yet. Well, I’ll probably check each series 1st ep, if there’s something that surprise me then it’s good,considering i didn’t have any expectations beforehand.

    hikari
  46. I love this in depth look, there is nothing else out there like it. BRS,Another,Aquarion. Those are my babies but those aside this season looks like…. Well, a masterpiece! I’m excited.

    Relic
  47. I’ve been waiting for this ever since I saw the Winter Preview line-up photo! I love the comments you make. Wow, this is season is looking really good. Can’t wait to watch some new anime. Thanks! 🙂

    zani
  48. I hope Area no Kishi’s anime adaption can live up to its manga version. The story is really good and most of characters are extremely likable. I only have one question though, how many episodes – I wouldn’t mind a 24 episodes and the story progress to Show Spoiler ▼

    And thanks for the preview, really appreciate it! 🙂

    Serapita
    1. Amagami SS+ plus
      Senki Zesshou Symphogear
      Nisemonogatari
      Another
      Papa no Iu Koto wo Kikinasai!
      Black★Rock Shooter

      these are at least confirmed. more or less could be added in my list.

      amado
  49. Thank you Divine! I’m soo looking forward to daily lives of highscool boys even though i only half understood the PVs i still laughed heaps and its been ages since i saw a comedy that did that.

    This blog is seriously turning me into an otaku…Cheers RC <3

    SlushiZ
  50. Inu x Boku SS: when I first saw the image I though: “Whoa is this an Oreimo spinoff? Oh wait it’s something else entirely.” Well it does have Hanazawa Kana in it. I’ll be watching that. Black★Rock Shooter I saw the OVA and hadn’t really ever heard of Black★Rock Shooter before so I was coming at it pretty fresh and I liked it though I found it really confusing at first. I’ll be watching. Papa no Iu Koto wo Kikinasai!looks different and I’m always a sucker for a touching story. Though I’m not one for Horror I think I’ll give “Another” a peek. Senki Zesshou Symphogear seems to apply to my liking of stories with unique concepts so I’ll check it out. Zero no Tsukaima is a series I’ve enjoyed so I’ll surely watch this to finish the saga and hopefully we’ll get a resolution to the romance.

    Roguespirit
  51. For some reason or another, i feel like murdering the one who’s in charge of Production IG. This season’s lineup are pretty nice, I’ll try to watch as many first episode as possible before deciding what I want.

    You know what Divine? You kinda remind me of that teacher in Denpa Kyoushi.

  52. looks like there are quite a few shows with promise for next season.

    on a sidenote, is there some cosmic decree stating that hanazawa kana needs to be in about 75% of all shows in every season? good lord it’s like she just lives in the recording studio.

    a42
      1. i know right? it’s just been shocking/worrying how many roles she’s had in last 3 or so seasons. really afraid it will catch up to her at some point. hope that doesn’t happen though.

        a42
  53. Amagami Forever!!!

    Anyone watched Maji de Watashi? I did it and it surpassed my expectations as I thought it was just another trash harem to enjoy quietly. I will give some time to High School DxD, it could be another little jewel like Maji.

    Thanks for the post.

    Lectro Volpi
    1. *raises hand* and I believe Divine himself said how that series is great. too bad majikoi wasnt blogged here but I understand. the guy has got to be one of the most awesome and unique harem protags since keima.

      amado
  54. Thanks Divine for your awesome post as always! Although this season is a little bit disappointing… Looks like I’ll only be watching Another, Inu x Boku SS, Brave 10 and BRS this season.

    InoriDisward
  55. Amagami SS was one of the most mixed bag I’ve ever watched. Seemed typical harem guy who could be made to fall for any girl. Nanasaki was pretty good and Morishima was okay once you got past her weird fetishes, but Sae was the most atrocious voice I have ever heard and I didn’t really see any appeal in Rihoko. Then again there were no real romances in 2010 besides that and Yosuga no Sora which was only interesting because of the wtf factor.

    I think that Natsume could entertain a lot more viewers. Reminds me of how newer watchers to anime often miss out on good series because they don’t get much attention like Major and Maria-sama ga Miteru. One issue might be the preconceived notion of sports, shoujo-ai, niche? series not being of interest to them.

    Shin
  56. This season is still interesting, although it’s hard to beat last season with SnS, F/Z, Last Exile (yeah, still watching it), and Mashiro iro (whatever people say, the main character is not as wussy as other romantic comedies)

    But, I’ll be watching Natsume, Amagami, DxD, ZnT, Nisemonogatari, and Ano Natsu (as Anohana was a nice watch)
    Will be checking out Symphogear, Pirates, BRAVE10, Black Rock Shooter too
    (Maybe papa no iu koto and inu x boku ss to compare it with the manga)

    Thank you for all your work randomc staff! I don’t comment much but I always enjoy reading your reviews 🙂

    acolyte
  57. I love the way you introduce Louise in Zero no Tsukaima.

    “Louise de La Valliere (Kugimiya Rie), a long-time banner girl at Random Curiosity and one of the few mages who can…”

    Looking forward to some of these shows.

    JayDrink
  58. Thanks for another excellent preview! I always look forward to reading these and seeing what you have on the docket for the upcoming season.

    As for myself – it looks like I’ll be going with the ‘AAA’ combo: AmagamiSS+, Another, Ano Natsu de Matteru. Mouretsu Pirates and Symphogear definitely sound intriguing after reading your post. Natsume Yuujin-4 has the green light for my sleepy-time anime, and I’ll probably try High School DxD for a guilty pleasure in 2012. Shaping up to be a pretty nice season after all!

    Sudachi
  59. After finish (actually i only watch a bit on the last episode) watching Mashiro Iro Symphony, I think I’m regret watching that show. To be honest, I think i still like and will watch Amagami SS+ since the story are much interesting.

    The show that i will watch/decide
    Black Rock Shooter (Will watch)
    Amagami SS+ (Definitely watch)
    Inu x Boku SS (Have to watch ep1 first then decide)
    High School DxD (I think I will watch)
    Nisemonogatari – Saturday (Definitely watch)
    Mouretsu Pirates – Saturday (Have to watch ep1 first then decide)

    Animesetsuna
  60. Thanks for preview as always! Honestly, I felt my interest meter fell for this season. There is nothing that jumps out at me to the point of “OOOOooo, gotta watch this.” Though, I will watch the finale of Zero no Tsukaima and Nisemonogatari, I wonder if I will be skimming through it. I guess we will see.

    Bakanekokun
  61. Area no Kishi sounds like Touch, so I will not touch it.

    Will be watching:

    Zero no Tsukaima
    Another
    Amagami SS+

    Maybe:
    Aquarion (seen the 1st one and maybe want to see what they come up with)
    BRS (did not get the first one: Friendship leads to evil; plot was wacky)
    Rinne (I like mechas but there hasn’t been a good one like TTGL or Eureka 7 in years; Gundam is established already)
    Mouretsu Pirates: Havent seen a good space opera since Wings of Honenneamaise or Crest of the Stars

    MaimeDaifuku
    1. Mecha is pretty much the only genre I like enough to risk recommending stuff to people, there’s been at least one mecha show per year that I think is interesting enough since 2007, here’s the ones I can think of:

      The Break Blade movies and Shin Mazinger, both are great.
      Mazinkaiser SKL, 3 thirty minutes OVA packed with action.
      Then there’s Infinite Stratos if you don’t mind CGs and a harem. I don’t really like it but maybe you will.
      Super Robot Wars OGs The Inspector if you’re not too lazy to at least watch the first season or play the game.
      And the last one would be Rideback I guess, from two or three years ago with a really nice plot and orginal mecha designs (bikes X mechas). Too bad no one scanalates the manga as the show was lacking story wise since it’s only twelve eps.

      New stuff aside, you should really watch Tekkaman Blade and the TV series of Patlabor, I saw you watched the movies on your MAL.

      Rockmanshii
  62. Zero No tsukaima will be a mess. A one cour season to cover 10+ novel volumes which makes one Novel volume per episode. This is utterly retarded. My expectations are very low for the series.

    Darknemo2000
  63. Just Highschool DxD for me at the moment.

    At least I know what to expect. 🙂

    Anyone know if Gokujyo. still plans to air this winter?

    I think recently the cast was announced but still not timeslot or studio info.

    FrameFreeze100
  64. Thanks for the preview and all the juicy info, especially about Area no Kishi, I don’t think I would’ve heard about it/spotted it if not for this preview, I haven’t read the spoiler but I’m still really hyped as I don’t like soccer much IRL but love it in anime, mainly because I watched Captain Tsubasa when I was a kid. It made me into a sports anime fan in general. I’ll try my best to watch this one weekly so we’ll get to discuss stuff in the comments. I just hope I won’t be disappointed now. As for the others shows I’m interested in:

    Nisemonogatari
    Mouretsu Pirates
    Lagrange
    Danshi kokosei no nichijooow(thanks Croos)
    Aquarion 2

    I’ll probably watch some others too, and also gotta catch up on some other shows from previous seasons+older shows…

    Rockmanshii
  65. I’m looking forward to Amagami SS :), since the first one left a great impression. Hope this one does the same

    And great job Divine, always love reading your seasonal previews, even during the holiday. Love your writing, keep it up!

    XiShi
  66. Just one qtn.
    Do I hv to watch bakemonogatari and zero no tsukaima to understand the current season?

    Now there an anime tht last only 8 ep….. (Why you BRS!?) How much story can they cram in 8 ep…. (and they better start givivg ans about their world…

    D-LaN
  67. Looking forward to Danshi Koukousei the most. The pre-airing episode is excellent for me because it reminds me about my high school life of fooling around with male friends a lot(although my high school life wasn’t that extreme I guess lol). Having Sugita as the main as one of the main lead seiyuu helps a lot too since he’s currently my favorite male seiyuu(followed closely by Fukuyama Jun) after hearing his bururaji radio shows.

    Looking forward to his interaction with Yuuki Aoi too(those who follow bururaji will understand why I’m looking forward to it a lot lol)

    kuroishinigami
  68. Wow Divine, you really have never watched original Aquarion? Mecha and Yoko Kanno fan that’s never watched Aquarion? That’s like Hitchcock fan that have never watched Psycho :p

    masso
  69. Okay, real post now:

    Hmmm…no guaranteed watches here besides possibly Rinne no Lagrange.

    Shows I’ll give a One Episode Test Run:

    Kill Me Baby
    Amagami+
    High School DxD
    Senki Zesshou Symphogear
    Mouretsu Pirates
    Aquarion EVOL (hated the original, way too sappy)
    Ano Natsu de Matteru
    Another Top
    Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou
    Inu x Boku SS
    Black★Rock Shooter (OVA was good, but not great)

    And if none of those work, I’ll just stick to my Fall shows.

    Da5id
  70. Thanks for this awesome overview.

    But not many interesting series for me. Which is actually good, because I have a lot of series I still need to watch.
    The ones I like from this list are Brave, Aquarion and Another.

    venik
  71. Thanks Divine you did a amazing job on the preview as always.
    I really looker foward to Another, Nisemonogatari, High School DxD, BRS, Rinne no Lagrage and Ano Natsu de Matteru.

    SoraNoKaze
  72. Thank you Divine for your preview, it’s great!
    It also helped me to decide which shows to watch. This season seems interesting.
    Definetly going to check out Another, Nisemonogatari and Ano Natsu de Matteru. Natsume Shi is a must watch for me too for its nice atmosphere.

    Ana
  73. will watch:

    Another (love the manga)
    High Scholl DxD
    Amagami SS+
    Aquarion EVOL
    Area no Kishi
    Brave 10
    Papa No Iu koto
    Zero No Tsukaima F
    Ano Natsu de Matteru

    will try 2episodes and decide:

    Nisemonogatari
    Black Rock Shooter
    Mouretsu Pirates
    Inu X Boku

    Jep0ng
  74. i don’t see what’s wrong with moe shows myself personally I love moe and I’m a girl (don’t lump me in with creepy otaku because that I am not). moe shows have been coming out for years we as fans just never took notice of them. Also to me it doesn’t matter what genre or art style an anime has as long it does what it’s suppose to do for the auidence.

  75. Thank so much for the information. As to be expected, the winter season is a lot more weaker than fall season but there lots of shows to look foward to. This is my tentative Anime Must Watch List for this season:

    1)Zero no Tsukaima F: after years of watching Saito and Loiuse I can´t miss the oportunity to see some conclusion to thier story. The fact the creator of the light novels, Yamaguchi just ads more spice to the mix.

    2)Nisemonogatari: I´m a big fan of light novels adaptation and this one is in my list favorites, more necause of the incredibly unique characters more than anything else.

    3)Amagami SS+ Plus: the first season was one of the best romance animes I´ve seen in a while, it never got boring or repetitive with any of the girls. I hope the second season lives up to my expectations as well as everyone elses.

    4)Papa no Iu Koto wo Kikinasai!: I love romantic comedies, even when I enjoyed Mayoi Neko Overrun I know is not close to the best but after reading a few chapters of the manga adaptation I completely fell for the interesting family dynamic.

    5)Ano Natsu de Matteru: as I said above I love any kind of romance in anime and the onegai series left a deep mark in my taste as an otaku. That being said if this delivers what they promise and renew the romantic gender of old would be great, if not it´d still be a fun ride, I´m sure of it.

    6)Another: I´m a complete chiken when it come to horror but I´m enjoy being scared half to death by good work of terror. Not much sense, that´s how some humans are. Ghost Hunt is my undefeated champion of horror anime and from what I get from the manga adaptation will make a good competition for the throne. By the way, I agree with you Divine, the character of Itou Noizi would nott have been my first choice for the show, but then again I´m a Shana and Haruhi fan so I don´t really mind.

    7)High School DxD: let´s be fair, this looks a lot like Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou, a series who had some potential form the original material but failed to deliver good coherent story. That being said It´s bad t judge anything by it´s apearace so I´m willing to have some hopes for this considering I really like The volume of the light novel.

    8)Black Rock Shoter: I really liked the ova but I don´t know what to expect from this anime adaptation, never the less I have high expectations for this one.

    And this is it, only seven atracts my atention this time quiet a few less than the previous season but is to be expected. I hope some will give a nice surprise and turn out to be more of what I have expected.

    haseo0408
    1. I download all my anime from nyaatorrents, I prefer having soft copies. Personally despise streaming so can’t really help you there. There are some people watch it live through programs like Keyhole. If the series are simulcasted they might watch anime on sites like NicoNico, Funimation or Crunchyroll.

      Someone
  76. This season does not have many anime that I could have high expectations on…

    Setting my sight on Symphogear and Lagrange and hope they will be the black horse of the season. For others, I did read some of the novels/manga where they are adapted from, so the output expectations were not really high in term of expectations…

    Some impressions:
    Area no Kishi- Haven’t actually watched any real sports anime since Slam Dunk. But the story of the manga is great so it might be nice.

    Highschool DxD- The story is fairly weak, very high chance it will be focusing more on fan service rather than story, so probably not watching…

    Black Rock Shooter- Not to badmouth this, but it seems like it will be following the OVA’s story which made me lose the interest in watching it… The OVA is really bad to me and until now I still dont get why it is said to be nice, actually I rather they just adapt from the game rather than reuse the schoolgirl friendship-jealousy drama again…

    echo
  77. in Smile! precure’s defense, do any of you think a taditional magical girl series can stil be good or do magical girl shows noeadays have to live up to Madoka and Nanoha standards in order to be enjoyable?

  78. Watching 2 ep of Rinne no Lagrange. Somehow I not found any male protagonist. And I think main heroine are not attractive enough she just like a man too much. I really don’t want the serie to become Y. It will feel like IS without Ichika and Chifuyu-ne as Main hero somehow.

    Journey
  79. Any news on the next preview???

    There should have been one a week or two already, and I’m getting kinda antsy trying to figure out if there is anything I want to watch.

    Ncyphe

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