Autumn 2012 Anime Season Preview

No, you can’t claim “It gets better, I swear!”, the world ends in December.

And, no, as a matter of fact, I won’t ever stop expressing displeasure when we go a new season with no sign of new Jigoku Shoujo. Five years from now I will still complain about it, or I would if we haven’t been lit on fire by the cosmic Jigoku Shoujo. That, or I will have, in a fit of angst and rage, written a fourth season myself, and exactly two people will have read it.

A new season is upon us, and, once again, I have waited until the last possible moment to do my preview, thus ensuring that I do not have to actually put any effort into it! Ha! Everyone else has given you all the gruesome details about the new shows; why repeat them? It’d just be tedious for me and boring for you – surely you would skip over those matters and just read the bits where I say something new, i.e. just my own two cents about this show that I haven’t seen yet and of which I know only the tiniest of information. Thrilling.

By the way, on a different note, it looks like Knight in the Area has been canceled. I say “looks like” because there are no English language resources I’ve been able to find that specify if this is the case; at best, they merely give enough details that it seems the most likely option (i.e. the fact that it suddenly is noted to be ending this week, that the DVDs in Japan have only been available for rental but not for sale, etc.). However, that very, very few anime are ever canceled makes me wonder if this is, indeed, the case – the last one I can remember being canceled was Tenpou Ibun Ayakashi Ayashi, and that was back in, hmm, 2007 or so. It is entirely possible that a show since then has been canceled, and I just happened to not notice, but I keep a pretty good eye on these things, so I’m admittedly doubtful. After all, I never watched so much as a lone episode of Knight in the Area, but I still noticed its cancellation.

Speaking of Knight in the Area, it may qualify as a good watch for the lovers of the absurd. I had just supposed it a lukewarm soccer show, and apparently it was actually a lukewarm soccer show wherein the lead’s soccer star older brother dies and then the lead suddenly gains his awesome soccer powers and starts acting like him and this causes romance problems, maybe, because he is being possessed by his dead brother. Obviously.

Oh, that’s right. The Autumn 2012 Season Preview. I’m supposed to be doing that.

First up, shows I plan to watch and which I expect either to be satisfied by or to just walk away feeling “meh” about:

  • Shin Sekai Yori
  • Kamisama Kiss
  • Zetsuen no Tempest
  • JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: The Animation
  • Little Busters!
  • Kono Danshi, Ningyo Hiroimashita
  • Asura

Shin Sekai Yori actually sounds worryingly like Fractale, but without the pretty pseudo-Ghibli look to it. A-1 is a pretty hit or miss studio… and, actually, I’d say it is miss more than hit, as the only show I recall enjoying wholly of their was Senkou no Night Raid (Night Raid 1931). However, the trailer did look pretty decent, and indicated that we’ll at least not be stuck watching these characters only as teenagers or only as chillens, which is good, since I dislike teenagers and most anime children are obnoxious. Also heartening is the news that the original novel itself is a novel-novel, not a light novel-novel. For those of you wondering what the difference, really, is, consider the difference there’d be if they were adapting, say, Fifty Shades of Grey versus Jane Smiley’s A Thousand Acres (which, by the way, is by no means a denigration of readers who enjoyed Fifty Shades of Grey, although I can’t quite share your enthusiasm on that front). Basically, light novels have a lot less material to work with, ultimately, and the material skews more “shallow” as they are meant to be light, easy reads, which itself means there is less to work with.

Cue angry comments from pissed-off NisiOisiN fans.

Sigh, anyway. Get used to calling SSY as From the New World, as it already appears to be the established English-language title.

Kamisama Kiss should be poison to me, honestly, considering that I loathed Fruits Basket, and this has a pretty similar premise and the same director. Maybe it’s my early anime days calling to me, as the director also worked on Miracle Girls, Haunted Junction, and Tenchi Muyo TV (Tenchi Universe) back in the day, all staples of my diet at that time (spoiler alert: Miracle Girls is pretty fucking lame). Or maybe it’s that even I yearn for a simplistic, cutesy shoujo romance once in a blue, blue moon, and Kamisama Kiss is definitely the least harmful looking of the bunch and has the added benefit of a general consensus of “silly but cute” from manga readers.

Hmm, Zetsuen no Tempest alleges a connection to The Tempest, and its female lead looks a mix between Miranda, Ariel, and even perhaps Sycorax, which is interesting idea. Whether that actually plays out at all is a bit doubtful, though, and her standard tsundere pout/scowl in promo art makes me leery. Ditto for the weird blush-spots on both she and the other female character shown in promo art. Those are really fucking weird blush spots – they’re weird and tucked up under their eyes and to the extreme sides of the face. Weeeeeirdddd.

Is there a law that says much of anime must contain “The Animation” as part of the title, to distinguish from, I don’t know, the non-animated portions of its canon? It just makes me think of the naming convention that many American anime licensors used to use, wherein movie iterations of properties became “Anime Property: The Movie”. But Cobra does this, too, and I tend to consider JoJo as on the Cobra spectrum of anime, so perhaps it’s that. I don’t know. But I wish more of Cobra was available legally.

Of the Key games out there, I think Little Busters! is the strongest, but anyone who was annoyed with Clannad’s magical orbs is probably going to be irritated with it. I don’t consider J.C. Staff to be insta-poison, although this seems the most popular stance on the studio these days, but I do find its track record with more harem-y fare of concern given that Little Busters! is, strictly speaking, a harem game. I also think it’s got the most potential for being screwed up with a bad adaption, given the plot. Oh well. I find myself less annoyed with the prospect of it being a poor adaptation than I did a few months back for whatever reason. Watch out, folks; the anime apathy is setting in.

Kono Danshi, Ningyo Hiroimashita is by the same woman who did This Boy Can Fight Aliens, that anime that Sentai released with no fanfare sometime this year to the puzzlement of many. Aliens had its limitations, but it was enjoyable enough, and there was enough there that I feel like creator Soubi Yamamoto is worth keeping an eye on. Also, there was a homoerotic edge, and this one smells like that edge is stronger.

The poster for Asura shows a midget dressed in rags wielding a scythe against a fiery background. I know nothing else about it, but that alone makes me want to watch it, because, well, there’s fire, a scythe, and a midget.

And, now, the anime which… well. Difficult to categorize them neatly. They are ones which could be pleasantly enjoyable, or could make me spit nails. They are anime which there are barely any details about. They are anime that don’t fit into the prior category because there really isn’t much middle ground likely for them. Etcetera.

  • Haitai Nanafa
  • The Monster Next Door
  • Aikatsu!
  • Seitokai no Ichizon 2
  • Aoi Sekai no Chuushin de
  • Fuse Teppou Musume no Torimonochou
  • Gothicmade: Hana no Utame
  • Psycho-Pass

I had Haitai Nanafa on my watch list, but then something made me drop it off. I forget what it was, but I’ve got a nagging feeling there was a pedo-angle involved. Maybe, however, I have mistaken it for something else. It could be just a cute tale about girls and spirits, or it could be a creepy tale about girls and spirits, but not the sort of creepy I enjoy.

The Monster Next Door looks bad. Actually, I think I’m only watching it to see if they retain the panel wherein would-be love interest threatens to rape the protagonist. The exclusion of it may indicate that perhaps the notion that this is an appropriate thing to include in a shoujo romance – said by the male lead, no less! – isn’t as far-spread as its inclusion in the manga would appear to indicate. But, really, why was it included in the manga in the first place? It wasn’t necessary; male lead could’ve threatened to, I don’t know, claim that she liked something or someone embarrassing, it wouldn’t change the scene. But, no, let’s include a scene wherein the love interest threatens to rape the protagonist in a story aimed at the ten to fifteen set! That is a fabulous idea and is certainly a thing to be presented as not horribly problematic and awful to pre- and young adolescents!

An alternate take on this is that this is something that the readers are supposed to identify with, that this is something that isn’t uncommon as an occurrence in Japanese junior and senior high schools, which is even more nauseating. Really, any way you spin it, it’s nauseating, and indicates that this sort of behavior isn’t viewed as inherently shitty. Girls, if he threatens to rape you, he must be the one! You just have to reform him first, mmmkay? That’s what estrogen is for!

You know, I hated Fruits Basket, I really did, but at least the jerk with a heart of gold there is a legitimately decent human being who is just struggling with abandonment issues. He might be prickly, but he isn’t around threatening the heroine with physical harm. And Vampire Knight is ultra-shitty in some respects for its romance (i.e. the princely guy in it is a total control freak), but, hell, the lead is not threatened by the love interests – in fact, part of what indicates how odious the villain of the piece is is his creepy interest in the female lead, which coincides with him threatening her.

Fuck you, The Monster Next Door.

Moving along, I will watch Aikatsu! because I hate myself. There really is no other reason. You used to be able to say, “But Sunrise!” when hashing over really dull-seeming premises, but then we had Sacred Seven and that show about the troll-tastic magic rock, so I don’t think that works anymore. The character designs are kind of off, and it’s based on an idol arcade game that sounds like an Idolmaster rip-off (Xenoglossia was way better!). Actually… on second thought, considering Idolm@ster Xenoglossia, who knows, maybe Sunrise will pull a fast one on us… but, hey, I thought they would with the magic troll rock show, and that shit never happened, so, no, I just hate myself and want to suffer.

The first Seitokai no Ichizon adaptation was fairly amusing, and managed to handle becoming more serious in a way that was wholly shocking since, well, it shouldn’t’ve been able to handle it at all. A big boost for this was that the showrunners pretty much chucked the light novels out the window and did their own thing. I don’t think lightning can strike twice, but I’ll give it a try in case I am wrong.

Aoi Sekai no Chuushin de might not even be airing this autumn, it was TBA last time I checked, although with Knight in the Area farting off into the abyss, this could land in its timeslot. Either I was smile a little bit while watching, reminiscing about my childhood, or it will shit all over it and I’ll want to punch someone in the face. Is it worth that risk? Sure. I haven’t really felt terribly warm fuzzy about Zelda in years, anyway, so it couldn’t be that bad.

Fuse (please, let’s just call it Fuse) involves reincarnation, but it also involves half-dog spirits, so, well, I’m getting traumatic flashbacks to Inu-Yasha here. But I also am getting some flashbacks to Mirage of Blaze. But, wait, here are flashbacks about Uraboku (terrifyingly, for a moment all I could think of was ‘Otoboku’)… shit. The possibilities are endlessly horrifying. Oh dear. But I do enjoy tales of reincarnated folks from old Japan beat the crap out of each other in modern day Japan, so I’ll give it a go.

Gothicmade has more against it than for it, but it comes down to how they handle the female lead’s inheritance of the memories of all Songstresses who’ve come before her. The rest of the tale sounds pretty generic; a poor man’s Crest of the Stars at best. But, hey, it could all be execution, execution, execution.

Psycho-Pass is another anime I’ll either love or hate. It all comes down to how the anime presents the idea of people’s personalities as being measurable – is it just a good thing, no matter what? Or does it present a sticky set of ethical quandaries? In an ideal universe, the folks who worked on UN-GO would be doing this show. A quick check reveals no involvement whatsoever of those folks (but, then, why would there be? different studios, after all). Ah well. The director’s thin directing history includes Tokyo Marble Chocolate, curiously, which I recall as being a bit of a downer. Gen Urobuchi will be handling the scripts, which doesn’t really thrill me much, considering Fate/Zero just irritated me by the end of it and Madoka Magica’s practically pornographic angst and suffering was a total turn-off… also, bwahahahaha Blassreiter. Does anyone even remember that crap?! But, hey, on the other hand, Akira Ishida voices someone in it! Woo, let’s tune in!

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There is a lot of anime this season. I’m a bit disappointed, though, because there is literally nothing I’m looking forward to. Yeah, yeah, I’m going to check out a bunch of shows, but I don’t feel that anticipation I usually get with shiny new seasons. That Kamisama Kiss is my most-anticipated (using “anticipated” very loosely here) show sort of sums it up. What gives? I hope I’m wrong, and there’s something here in the mix that grabs hold of me. Both shows that have this year (Aquarion EVOL and Hyouka) weren’t shows I watched initially, so I’m open to that possibility. Come on, anime, light my fire.

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1 Response to Autumn 2012 Anime Season Preview

  1. My hopefully-this-will-be-good list:
    Shin Sekai Yori
    Kamisama Kiss
    Little Busters
    Sukitte Ii Na Yo (It really doesn’t look very good, but it doesn’t seem actively horrible like The Monster Next Door, so I’ll give it a shot in the hopes of being pleasantly surprised.)

    I enjoyed Jormungand, so I’m in for its second season. I like Hidamari Sketch, but I’m tired of the franchise by now.

    And high five for not liking Fruits Basket. It has some interesting ideas and characters, but I can’t stand Tohru.

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