Spring 2012 TV Anime Thoughts : I AM EXCITE

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I’m that person on twitter who can’t shut up about the spring season. My excitement and hype for this season reminds me a lot of how I felt for last year’s spring, a season that urged me to start an anime blog.

Spring 2011 had personal favorites like [C], Anohana, Steins;Gate, Tiger & Bunny and signified the return of shounen powerhouse Gintama. It also boasted of a good number of shows that the general public seemed to adore. We had titles like Nichijou, Hanasaku Iroha, Ao no Exorcist, Yondemasyo Azazel-san and Hyouge Mono as well.

This year looks promising thanks to the variety of shows and genres present. I find that when there’s a somewhat even distribution of genres in a season, there’s a larger possibility of finding more shows to enjoy. I didn’t write this entry to come up with reasons as to why a season should be better than others though, so let’s move on and actually talk about the shows we have ready for next season!

Ozuma

Based on “an illusive scenario” by the legendary Leiji Matsumoto (Space Battleship Yamato, Galaxy Express 999, Captain Harlock), Ozuma is a TV anime comprised of six episodes and will be airing on the satellite channel WOWOW. The anime is set in the future, where the Earth is now A DESERRRRRTTT. If you’re one of the few people doubting the potential in this series, head over to the Ozuma website to see glimpses of artboards and the mechanical design featured in Ozuma. Leiji Matsumoto is a creative visionary, and that fact alone easily places Ozuma at the top of my priority list.

Saint Seiya Omega

Yoshihiko Umakoshi’s style is a curious mix of elegance and high energy, his thick lines yet elaborate character designs echo that mild juxtaposition. Updating the Saint Seiya franchise for the modern audience is an ambitious undertaking, and with that I have my doubts of whether there’s a possibility Toei could deliver something fresh from the premise of an 80’s anime. That said, I’m glad that a number of anime producers are looking back to the past, it feels like we’re entering a phase where creators are rediscovering and reinventing things from the past an. This might be a crucial step for the anime industry as a whole.

Uchuu Kyoudai

Uchuu Kyoudai is about bros going to space, hence, Space Bros. It focuses on the struggle of  two brothers who shared a passion and love for space. I’ve been hearing things about how Uchuu Kyoudai is bound to miss the otaku audience with its lack of pandering. There’s going to be two adaptations of Uchuu Kyoudai coming out this year. First is the animated adaptation slated for 48+ epsiodes and the other is the live action film starring Oguri Shun and Masaki Okada. Under normal circumstances, I’d consider adapting Uchuu Kyodai a risk. Tokyohive states that this might be due to the return of unmanned spacecraft Hayabusa whose mission was the first attempt to return an asteroid sample to Earth (2010). With the recent news that the Obayashi Corporation intends to build and complete a space elevator by 2050, it’s not hard to believe that Uchuu Kyoudai might not be such a bad idea after all. Potential commercial success aside, Uchuu Kyoudai strikes me as a very charming story. We’ve all had dreams of going to space and I think this series could very well capture that. The plot fits the usual jdrama mold, but due to budget concerns, I see why they had to animate it instead. It’s an anime I’m certain a group of non-otaku will watch.

If you still have doubts just look at that pug, he’s going to space!

Naruto SD: Rock Lee no Seishun Full Power Ninden

Ahhh, Naruto. Anyone can go ahead and say they think it’s shit. But it takes real balls to admit that once upon a time, you liked NA-REW-TOU. Rock Lee is one of the best characters in the franchise and as much as I think Naruto deserves the hate it gets, I’m still going to watch this because of Rock Lee’s beautiful eyebrows.

Ginga e Kickoff!

Looks like a poor man’s Inazuma Eleven. NHK’s anime picks tend to be wild cards, but Ginga e Kickoff looks like it’s targeted towards a young audience. And while there’s a possibility grown ups can enjoy it too, I’ve never enjoyed football anime which makes it harder for me to be optimistic about this. I might have to see the first episode to from a better opinion on this.

Arashi no Yoru ni. Himitsu no Tomodachi.

Aww. The premise reminds me a bit of Disney’s The Fox and the Hound. I get the feeling this could be just as sad or even sadder.

Sengoku Collection

Brains Base has gotten a lot of attention thanks to works like Baccano!, Spice and Wolf, Natsume Yuujinchou, Durarara!!, Princess Jellyfish and the recently concluded Mawaru Penguindrum. This is a studio that has churned out some good titles in the last five years. If it wasn’t for that shitty Kamisama Dolls and my waning interest in the Sengoku period I wouldn’t be so hard on this. But I am. The fact that it’s based on social networking service game makes it even harder. Still checking it out because Brains Base is animating it.

Kuroko no Basuke

There has been a lack of good, memorable sports manga in Shounen Jump. The last one I can recall from the top of my head is Eyeshield 21, which ended in 2009. Kuroko no Basuke started serialization around 2008, and I’m pleasantly surprised that its survived for more than three years! I say this because ranking in Shounen Jump for new titles is as brutal as Bakuman makes it out to be and even more so for sports manga. I may not follow Kuroko no Basuke anymore but the manga has always had its own kind of charm. The characters are quirky and are different from the usual set of shounen archetypes. Kuroko himself is not a prodigy in the traditional sense of being the strongest or fastest, he acts as a ‘shadow’ on court. He’s the sixth phantom member of the “Generation of Miracles”, a middle school team that rose above all competitors. Now in highschool, Kuroko finds a new ‘light’ in Taiga and together with the Seirin basketball team they aim to bring down those from the Generation of Miracles. The motivation itself is just great. Kuroko is basically out there to bring down his former teammates. I’m really, really excited for this.

Upotte!

You want an anime featuring anthropomorphic representations of  assault rifles you say? It’s not good if they aren’t high school girls, man. We all you’d hold your assault rifle tenderly as you would her. Stay classy Xebec.

Kikansha Thomas (THAT’S THOMAS THE MOTHERFUCKING TANK ENGINE TO YOU NON-WEEABOO)

Thomas the Tank Engine brings back some great childhood memories and highlights important life lessons. To see it in glorious uguu will be a treat. Yes, I’m hyped for this for what possibly may be the wrong reasons but who cares? It’s going to be great to watch it again after so many years.

Eureka Seven Ao

Eureka Seven Ao is a ‘sequel’ of Eureka Seven, a mecha series by Bones which I have never watched. Suffice to say, the aesthetic is appealing but the story line is reminiscent of every PROTECT YE HOMELAND, LOVE YE MOTHER NATURE story ever which in itself isn’t a bad thing, but it’s not necessarily revolutionary either. That aside, the series does pique my interest also, SLOTH ALERT.

Fate/Zero S2

Tohsaka got NTR’d and Saber, Rider and Lancer are going to fight Chulthu. I fairly enjoyed the first cour, so I’m looking forward to the second cour where I expect people to die.Gyo was terrible, but ufotable can always redeem itself.

Hyou-ka

I don’t get what the deal is with Kyo-Ani. As far as I’m concerned, they know how to animate and they’re pretty good at it. So we’ve got this highschool literature club solving mysteries because as any anime will tell you, police detectives are incompetent. As much as I loved Un-Go, the best part about that series was the social commentary on post war and modern Japan…not the actual complexity of the mysteries themselves. Hyou-ka’s main hook is the use of a collection of written works (done by previous club members) to solve a mystery from 33 years ago. This sort of thing could work but if the mystery itself is strong enough to carry the series, something that hasn’t happened to many mystery shows as of late. Except Un-Go, because Un-Go is awesome.

Accel World

At first I was pretty excited about this. It features an unusual protagonist, but that novelty wore off pretty quick. Yes, he physically looks different from the usual teen hero but as usual he’s the underdog who suddenly finds himself protecting the prettiest girl in school. Looks great, but it doesn’t showcase as much potential.

Zetman

I read the manga. Zetman is what I’d like to call Devilman 2012. If you like Go Nagai, Zetman might be your thing. Zetman has a lot of crazy, excessive and stylized violence. This is the sort of series where the plot matters, but not as much as the characters and the fights. Yes, being the sensitive whiny blogger that I am, I do admit at times it does border on exploitative. But that’s the point of these titles, I wouldn’t think about it too much.

Tasogare Otome x Amnesia

Horror in anime can only work if the production is fully committed to creating horror. Whenever a title decides that it needs an audience outside the usual horror loving niche, we get watered down, yawn fests like Another (The creative deaths aren’t that creative at all) or comedy gold shows like Ghost Stories. I’m sure there’s decent horror anime out there (there’s a decent anime of any genre if you ask me) but I’m not certain if Tasogare Otome x Amnesia is going to be one of those shows. The manga reminds of the Hell Teacher Nuber format where the main character discovers all sorts of ghostly apparitions haunting their school. I don’t like fanservice in Japanese ghost stories. It feels blatant and forced, something the Tasogare Otome x Amnesia manga is guilty of.

Hiiro no Kakera

There’s nothing wrong with anime targeted towards girls and women. There’s nothing wrong with fujoshi anime either! But there’s always going to be something wrong with bad anime. Hiiro no Kakera’s premise is uninspired, the promotional artwork is bland and everything screams ‘EVERY OTHER REVERSE HAREM SHOW EVER’. Studio Deen, I know you love money but come on.

Tsuritama

As you all know, I’m hyped up for Tsuritama mostly because of Kenji Nakamura.

I’m a BIG fan. He knows how to to make aesthetically pleasing shows without relying on cheap gimmicks. His methods are surprisingly simple, and his love for colorful circles has become a sort of trademark style. The trailer alone displays his great use of color and  talent in putting together a cohesive style. Tsuritama has basically told us the plot but refuses to reveal anything that would give us a concrete idea of what the show is about. The story is about four highschool boys, Yuki (a boy with no friends), Haru (an alien), Natsuki (a local) and Akira (a mysterious Indian) and their fishing adventures…adventures that would lead them to save the world! I did a little research and I have to say, these implications have made more sense ever since I looked up Enoshima island. I don’t want to talk about it yet because it might ruin the surprise.

Shining Hearts ~Shiawase no Pan~

Any anime willing to call itself “Shining Hearts ~Shiawase no Pan~” (Shining Hearts ~Bread of Happiness~) is worthy of respect.

Sankarea

What is up with guys falling in love with dead girls? I think this is an alarming trend. I think we should stop for a moment and ponder on this question. Maybe anime and manga is heading towards a trend where dead girls are better than living girls! AHHHHHH!!!! Joking aside, Sankarea is like every other romance manga out there except the main girl is a zombie. I’d give it points for creativity but the scenarios aren’t that great at all. The guy’s writing and drawing your typical ecchi romance manga, but he has to keep in mind that Rea is a zombie. You have to be really high for that kind of shit.

Natsuiro Kiseki

“PLEASE BUY OUR CDS!” The anime.

Jormungand

Man face lady aside, this looks and sounds great. White Fox is a relatively new studio, so far they only have three anime shows behind them. The most notable of these three is undoubtedly Steins;Gate. Jormungand is a promising action/drama title without the slightest hint of moe. Moe isn’t the cancer killing the industry but it sure as hell doesn’t make my anime that enjoyable either.

Haiyoke! Nyaruko-san

These kind of shows need a main hook. That’s why they decided to do intensive research and discovered that Japanese otaku have always fantasized of living with kawaii uguu tsundere Chulthu.

Sakamichi no Apollon

I already wrote 700+ words on Sakamichi no Apollon.

Nazo no Kanojo X

Another odd premise centered on drool. As much as I’d like to ask what the fuck was this guy doing tasting someone’s drool (WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO HYGIENE?), this is one of the most creative premises I’ve read this season. The artstyle is reminiscent of easily 90’s anime as well. I’m willing to give this a try, we’ve all got to try something different every once in a while. I said this on twitter and I’ll say it again, this show and Uchuu Kyoudai are sharing the same director. It’d be interesting to see one man, do two completely different shows in one season.

Shirokuma Cafe

A polar bear runs a cafe where the patrons are grizzly bears, penguins and an assortment of creatures. I…I need to see this.

Medaka Box

Nisio Isin is well known for his Monogatari  series, I’m not a huge fan of his and I expected Medaka Box to get cancelled before Enigma and Oumadoki Dobutsuen. Every time this manga fell near the bottom, I was certain it was going to end sooner or later. Medaka Box is like a cockroach. To me, the only saving grace is Kumagawa.

Train Hero

A CGI production about trains with the character designs done by Pat Lee. I’ve never been so sure of skipping a show.

AKB0048

OH, I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE THIS AND HOW AWKWARD IT IS.

Un-Go Ingaron

We’ll finally get to know how Shinjuro and Inga met. Un-Go is one of my favorite shows from last year, and this is an integral piece of the puzzle.

Final thoughts:

Naturally, every anime viewer has their own tastes, so I’m curious to hear what you guys are looking forward to!

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19 Comments

  1. Hoping that Tsuritama is going to be great. Redeem yourself, Kenji Nakamura! I know you can do it!

    Have no idea whether or not Nazo no Kanojo X is going to be any good, but the source material is pretty great so hopefully it’ll turn out okay. I think the author labelled his work “a giant robot manga in which girls are the giant robot” which is about as accurate a representation of male sexual awakening that I can think of.

    Also, Urabe was pulling scissors out of hammerspace two years before Senjougahara. The birth of a trope?

    • Poor Kenji. I swear Noboru Takagi and the rest of the staff should share some of the blame it comes to [C].

      I think the author labelled his work “a giant robot manga in which girls are the giant robot”
      I find that accurate myself.

      She must’ve been the first girl to pull out a pair of scissors from hammerspace. I’ve only read a chapter of the manga and worried how dangerous it would’ve been it keep one on her person. Thank goodness for anime physics!

      • Oh yeah one more thing: if the new Saint Seiya is anywhere near as insane as Shaenon Garrity made it sound in Overlooked Manga Festival, I think we’re in for a treat:

        http://shaenon.livejournal.com/23962.html#cutid1

        “I can see all of your punches clearly! I can even count them! 85 per second! Not enough to help you against a true knight!”

        • …I can’t wait for this show to grace my eyeballs. Every page…every panel…I hope the new Saint Seiya is just as insane. ROYAL DEMON ROSES!

  2. Lots to look forward in the Spring season! Which is great because Winter was pretty poor for me (I mainly just followed the few ongoing shows I picked up in Autumn, and my guilty pleasure Aquarion).

    The big ones for me are Uchuukyoudai and Sakamichi no Apollon – I really hope they don’t disappoint. One of my favourite anime series ever is Planetes so I’m already hyped for another quality space-based seinen series. And I’m looking forward to the return of Fate/Zero (Rider!). I also plan to watch at least a few episodes of Tsuritama, Zetman, Eureka7, Jormungand and Hyouka.

    I’m a bit puzzled by the Arashi no Yoru ni series because I loved the movie (Totally recommend it if you haven’t seen it! It’s so cute.) but it seemed fairly complete so I don’t know what they plan to make a whole series of. Are they just rehashing it?

    Might check Kuroko no Basuke. Basketball series always struggle in Jump because they inevitably get compared to the mighty Slam Dunk, but this one seems to be continuing so it must have something going for it.

    • Not very pleased with this season, but I think the number of potentially fantastic shows next season could make up for it. I’m ridiculously hyped for both Space Bros and Sakamichi no Apollon, April can’t come soon enough! Fate/Zero on the other hand, I’m a little scared thinking people will die. I’ve gotten way too attached to Rider and Waver.

      There’s a movie? I think I might have to check out now that you’re recommending it…

      I hope you like Kuroko no Basuke, I don’t follow the manga anymore but yes, it’s definitely a manga that tries to avoid being compared with Slam Dunk. It’s quite quirky.

  3. “THAT’S THOMAS THE MOTHERFUCKING TANK ENGINE”

    I have a legitimate question about this. I love Thomas the Tank Engine and I want to know if this is just Japanese Thomas the Tank Engine or Thomas the Tank Engine: The Anime. Because either way. Best thing ever.

    • …I’m not sure which one it is. But I think we may have to wait until it actually airs. THOOOMMMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAS.

  4. What I’m gonna check out: (no particular order~)

    Ozuma
    Saint Seiya Omega
    Uchuu Kyoudai
    Kuroko no Basuke
    Tsuritama
    Hiiro no Kakera
    Sakamichi no Apollon

    ^.^

    • Ohh…we’ve got similar tastes! Didn’t enough Hiiro no Kakera much but I’m still looking forward to the rest!

  5. I still like Naruto… >.>

    I agree, this upcoming season looks like it’s gonna be brilliant! I had such a difficult time choosing which shows to watch after writing out my own season preview, (I just don’t have the time to watch everything!) but, I eventually managed to settle on:

    Hyouka
    Tsuritama
    Eureka 7 Ao
    Jormungand
    Nazo no Kanojo
    Sakamichi no Appolon

    Despite all the hype over Appolon and Tsuritama, I’m actually looking forward to Nazo no Kanojo the most- I gave the first chapter of the manga a little read and it’s actually really good, very quirky! It’ll be nice to see a show focus on a couple that operates a little out of the norm and I’m really looking forward to covering it as it airs on my blog…

    • I still like Naruto… >.>
      It’s okay man. It’s okay. *pats*

      Nazo no Kanojo should be interesting. I read a chapter of the manga, I’m not sure I like it or not though. I guess seeing anime should help me decide. It’s such an odd premise, but I feel like it’s possible to execute it properly…unlike Sankarea anyway.

  6. ok, i think there was some other stuff in there that looked interesting, but all i can think about right now is FATE?ZERO PART II!!! i dont know how im going to last another month of waiting. i am listening to the ost right now and its superb. ugh can’t wait for that, looking forward to seeing you blog it XD

    • I’m looking forward to the continuation. I have a feeling they’re saving the best for last. Speaking of the OST, its damn amazing. I was listening to it on repeat yesterday…

  7. Obvious highlights: UN-GO movie, Fate/Zero S2, Mysterious Girlfriend X (the manga is great and I will post about it someday).

    Tsuritama has a “mysterious Indian,” you say? I guess I’m obligated to watch and see how they’ll fuck it up. It really says something when the most likeable Indian character in anime is Namaste-chan. Uchuu Kyoudai having 48+ episodes in this day and age also intrigues me. Jormungand might also be a dark horse – Stein’s Gate was fantastic. I already know that Upotte! will be the token stupid fucking show I derive enjoyment out of this coming season. Unless it sucks.

    You have good taste.

    • You have good taste.

      Oh my. This is always a compliment in my book.

      Judging from the character profiles and names, Akira is probably half-Indian or possibly even a self-proclaimed Indian like how Haru is a self-proclaimed alien. Sounds interesting.

      Uchuu Kyoudai
      Definitely unusual for a seinen series to get this many episodes, last series I’ve seen with more than 26 is Monster.

      I already know that Upotte! will be the token stupid fucking show I derive enjoyment out of this coming season. Unless it sucks.
      The manga art is terrible. The fact that the anime looks like it has better art could make it much more tolerable! Can’t wait.

  8. My favorite Josei animes are exactly the same as yours, so you can guess how excited I am for Sakamichi no Appolon.

    An quick list of my highly anticipated animes:

    Uchuu Kyoudai – I’m more excited for this than Sakamichi tbh(the manga is better imo).

    Sakamichi no Appolon – You said enough. Just pointing out though: I’m an fan of Yoko Kanno. I loved almost every show she did the music for. Specially Cowboy Bebop and Sousei no Aquarion/Aquarion EVOL.

    Accel World – These types of animes are always silly fun for me, but the virtual reality is gonna be specially fun. The manga is great, you should give it a try. And guess what? The main guy childhood friend HAS A BOYFRIEND<tottaly revolutionary!

    Kuroko no Basket – The manga is awesome and even though I have a feeling the adaptation isn't going to be as good as the original, I am still going to love seeing all the matches with the extremely crazy basketball moves the Generation of Miracles does.

    Oh also: Confirmed for awesome taste there. It felt like I was reading my own opinions.

    • I agree that I find the Uchuu Kyoudai manga better than Sakamichi no Apollon, mainly because the manga stays in the path of space travelling whereas Sakamichi no Apollon gives a lot of attention to the coming of age story. Not that it’s a big problem but I wish there was more of the actual jazz music than the love polygon.

      OH MY THE CHILDHOOD FRIEND HAS A BOYFRIEND? OH NO, HOW MANY OTAKUS WILL DROP THIS?!

      So excited to see the Kuroko no Basket matches animated!

      Oh also: Confirmed for awesome taste there. It felt like I was reading my own opinions.
      Aww thanks. It’s always great to come across people with similar tastes!

  9. ““PLEASE BUY OUR CDS!” The anime.”

    LOL That’s kind of my reaction too, but I’d say give it an episode. It has a killer staff working on it!

    BTW, I don’t think I agree with the drool being creative…just pretty trippy O.o I can also tell you it worries me that a director is doing two shows. The same guy who’s doing Space Pirates is doing Lagrange. I only have one show where I don’t feel any pain watching it. So I wonder if Space Bros or Mysterious Girlfriend X will feel some pain…

    Anyways, I am looking forward specifically to Zetman and Tasogare, as they’ll be the first manga adaptations to anime I’ll be watching in recent memory, though I worry about Zetman’s length (13) and Shin Oonuma directing Tasogare. The second trailer’s cool though. Otherwise, I have Apollon, Tsuritama, and Space Bros high on my list.

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