Another season is upon us (this week!), so it’s time to look at what I’m going to watch, and what I’m expecting. Quite interesting to look at my expectations for Winter 2014 and how they panned out (poor Mahou Sensou and Nobunaga the Fool…). Most of the information about the shows can be had from RandomCuriosity’s page, the helpful Neregate Chart, and what I’ve happened to see on various sites, such as The Cart Driver.
As always, organized by days of the week, because I might pick a show on an empty day or cut shows I enjoy on days already overfilled with other shows. Order is by expectation within that day. Originally I’ve listed every show I had some interest in, but that ended with 30 shows. After cutting some out, still had 22. Even if I don’t write anything about the shows, and even if I drop half by the time we’re 3 weeks in (which I never succeed at doing), that’s too much. There are quite a few shounen popcorn and RomComs shows this season, and most will likely be interchangeable, so need to pick 1-2 of each type, or wait for a few weeks in and hear which ones are better.
Descriptions will be short, more on why I find them interesting. “Didn’t make it in” could also be seen as shows I might pick up after dropping others based on buzz.
Break Blade – A drama about vying realms, with the monarchs having studied together as youth. Love and treachery, gallantry. A setting with fantasy mechs. I think this sounds very interesting. A version of 6 films adapting the same source material exists and had been on my plan to watch list for a while. Hadn’t watched it yet, so will try these.
Interest Rating: 2/3. Quite intrigued, and if it turns out badly, can turn to the films.
Write-ups: Could happen. Intrigue and drama, after all.
Gokukoku no Brynhildr / Brynhildr in the Darkness – Made by the people behind Elfen Lied, both the manga author and the anime team, and that’s what most people decide whether to watch the show by. I thought Elfen Lied was “fine”, somewhere just ahead of mediocre. I didn’t hate it, and the premise seems interesting to me – a girl is supposed to be dead and comes back, played for drama and mystery. Yes, in the end premise is only the hook, and it’s all about execution, but it is what it is.
Interest Rating: 1.5/3. Very cautious. But Sunday is still quite enough to permit it.
Didn’t Make it In:
Kanojo ga Flag wo Oraretara – A bog-standard RomCom weighed down by the protagonist seeing when he triggers “flags”, as if he’s in Visual Novels. After the travesty that was NouCome, and with there being more than enough RomComs this season, this is definitely a pass.
Overall Sunday Thoughts: Two shows which seem to be somewhere between drama and popcorn. I hope for the best.
M3: Sono Kuroki Hagane – Mari Okada is a talented drama writer. She’s the one behind shows such as Hanasaku Iroha, the recent Nagi no Asukara, Anohana, Gosick, and others. Her writing sometimes leaves me cold or feels a bit forced, but even when it doesn’t work for me, it’s still solid writing. I hadn’t watched Fractale which she was also behind, but hey, mecha, science fiction, written by a drama author. I think that’s enough to make the show interesting.
The only thing giving me pause is how it’s about 8 boys and girls working together. While Neon Genesis Evangelion and most such shows are made great by character interaction, I hope to avoid melodrama.
Interest Rating: 2.5/3. Note, this is an interest rating, not how much I expect to like it. I appreciate Mari Okada’s stuff, but sometimes it strikes out for me, and this show certainly feels experimental.
Write-ups: Maaaybe. More likely to keep it to post-episode.
Didn’t Make it In:
Mangaka-san to Assistant-san to / The Manga Artist and His Assistants – RomComs are my thing, right? But this seems to be a gag-comedy based one with a harem. I might still give it a couple of episodes, or use the time in more productive ways.
Overall Monday Thoughts: A show that is highly interesting, but could end up anywhere from “ok” to “amazing”, coupled with a run of the mill harem RomCom standby. Monday is where calm is reasserted again.
Black Bullet – This is actually very interesting to me. Actual socio-political sci-fi, with covert elements. More mature? Light Novel based, wanted to read the first novel but it’s not fully translated. The “gritty and dark” material at the same time makes me hopeful and has me very wary, because of all the things trying way too hard to be “mature”. Well, I actually like a lot of that stuff, I just hope it’s not another “Mahou Sensou”, for which I had great hopes and completely tanked last season.
Interest Rating: 1.5/3. Cautiously hopeful.
Write-ups: This show actually has a good shot of having enough ideas worthy of mention. We’ll see!
Overall Tuesday Thoughts: One show! And it might end up really bad, like Mahou Sensou. But I hope not.
No Game, No Life – Light novel adaptation, of two shut-in siblings who love playing games, transported into a magic world where they have to play games in order to win some political war. True to recent LN fashion, the sister wants to have sex with her brother, obviously. Well, I dunno why, but something tells me this show will be fun. I don’t expect too much, just fun games, fun misdirection, etc. It’s also done by Madhouse and the preview makes it look visually pleasing.
Interest Level: 1.5/3. Give me solid popcorn please.
Didn’t Make it In:
Hitsugi no Chaika / Chaika the Coffin Princess – Manga adaptation. Written by the author of Outbreak Company which started out surprisingly strong and quickly became mediocre drivel. More sibling-incest-wannabe-sister. Seems like it might be a respectable shounen, and animated by Bones. Will ask around after it’s done.
Fuuun Ishin Dai☆Shogun – Japan has mechs, so the western invasion and the Meiji Restoration never happened. This show actually has competent people behind it. Some of them are also behind the recent Nobunaga the Fool… and that’s all one needs to say. It sounds interesting, so I might give it a try, or wait a couple of weeks.
Overall Wednesday Thoughts: Nothing here seems like it’d be amazing, though Dai Shogun just might be. Everything here can turn out to be mediocre drivel, but pleasing on the ways. It just might be that this day will end up with nothing. More time for other stuff, and to prepare for the weekend onslaught!
Selector Infected WIXOSS – Another show by Mari Okada. This is based on CCGs, of all things. A show about girls who use special magic cards to fight in an alternate dimension to have their wishes granted. It looks extremely dark. It’s as if someone combined the Fate series (especially the recent Kaleid?) with Madoka Magica, and Poke’Mon, of all things. This could be a show aiming to be ultra-dark, or a blatant money-grab, but it’s one of the most interesting shows of the season.
Interest Level: 3/3. Could turn out to be unadulterated crap, or just feel like it’s trying too hard to be the next Madoka. But I always hope for the best.
Write-ups: Could actually happen, very interesting ideas, and might deal with interesting topics. Will have to see.
Ping Pong the Animation – This show is directed by Yuasa Masaaki, the person who directed Kaiba, Kemonozume, Mind Game, The Tatami Galaxy, and of course, Crayon Shin-chan. It’s based on an older manga series which received a live-film adaptation over a decade ago. That it’s adapted now means people really want to do it, and these people deliver good things. I’m going to watch it and hope for the best.
Interest Level: 2/3. This one is buoyed by the people behind it. It’s up to it to deliver. I’m not excited, as much as very curious.
Write-ups: Perhaps post-episode. This director, if I try to do mid-episode notes, I’ll blow up. Post-episode could work and keep me sane.
Didn’t Make it In:
Blade and Soul – Video game based shounen. Art looks alright, but got too many such shows already.
Bokura wa Minna Kawaisou, Ryuugajou Nanana no Maizoukin (Nanana’s Secret Treasure), and Atelier Escha and Logy – All seem to be standard slice of life/RomCom shows. I like these shows, but they can be had after the season ends and are usually quite interchangeable with one another. If you need more such shows, pick one of these up.
Akuma no Riddle – It seemed interesting to me, but after reading some more about it, it seems like it might end up being really bad. So I’m holding off.
Overall Thursday Thoughts: Finally, a calm Thursday. The two shows here are very promising, and there are plenty of shows which might get picked up, and I’ll likely pick one of them up at some point. Thursday truly has something for everyone.
Mushishi Zoku Shou (2nd Season) – Mushishi is a show I gave 8/10 to, but that’s a score that’s a combination of “skill” and “fun”. Mushishi is episodic. Mushishi is magical. Mushishi is one of the best anime series there are, and a second season 8-9 years after the first is an unexpected treats. If you’ve never watched Mushishi, then you should. It’s episodic, and one episode a day is the best way to watch it. You should watch it.
Interest Rating: 3/3. Anime of the year/season? Just might be.
Write-ups: One of the best shows to have write-ups for, but that’d interfere with my enjoyment for it. Post-episode notes are likely.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders – I’ve watched JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure’s first season quite recently. The second arc was a lot more enjoyable than the first, and people say the third arc, which is Stardust Crusaders is even better. Over-the-top and self-aware B-movie style action and humor. This show is just fun. I like fun. Do you hate fun? If not, then why aren’t you giving it a try? :P For the record, I though, “Eh, ok” up to episode 10 of JoJo’s first season, but when it goes off, it really does.
Interest Rating: 2.5/3. Locked in.
Knights of Sidonia / Sidonia no Kishi – Actual science-fiction? The Solar System is gone, and we have genetically engineered transhumans fighting alien invaders. Transhumanism, what is humanity, what it means to find a home… this might be a real sci-fi show, or even if it’s a seemingly better action show in space, I’m still quite interested.
Interest Rating: 2/3.
Write-ups: Good chance for post-episode.
Overall Friday Thoughts: Only three shows, but two of them are returning shows of promising to uber-promising material. Even with only two shows, a large part of my enjoyment of this season is supposed to come from this day, with these two shows releasing 30 minutes apart of one another, in Japan.
Fairy Tail 2014 – In case you don’t know, Fairy Tail’s 2009’s run is the long-running shounen show I consider to be the “best” (no, I haven’t watched Hunter x Hunter yet :P). They’re coming back. I expect more emotional stuff, which I know is coming because I’ve read one arc ahead. The new character designs are closer to the manga but I like them less. I’m slightly worried about the new music composer though – seems they went for same atmosphere, but honestly? Fairy Tail’s music was a large part of my enjoyment of the show. I’m eagerly awaiting my brain-rotting shounen feels for months to come here.
Interest Rating: 3/3. This is locked in.
Nisekoi (Continuing from Winter 2014) – This show is the quintessential Harem RomCom. Nothing is surprising. Nothing is unique. And yet, I find myself laughing at times, and with a goofy smile plastered all over my face most episodes. That’s all there is to it.
Current Rating: B. Perfectly serviceable, nothing special, but exactly something that pushes my pleasure buttons, when it comes to RomComs.
Write-ups: Looking to stop all note-taking for it, it doesn’t really deserve it, and Saturday is looking to be super busy.
Captain Earth – A mecha show that isn’t crazy out there, nor the ultra-standard Sunrise stuff? Animated by Bones, who usually delivery very pleasing to the eye shows? I’m game. That’s about as much as I know, and need to know. This is the team that was behind Star Driver, so considering my preference to marathoning shows, might just watch that. That premise really reminds me of Eureka 7, also by Bones, and a show I really enjoyed. Eureka 7 is one of the shows at the top of my “I want to marathon it again” list. Maybe I should just put this off, watch Star Driver and rewatch Eureka-7 first? Heh.
Interest Rating: 1.5/3. Maybe I should just watch Star Driver, or watch it as well? Heh.
Write-ups: Maybe post episode notes?
Isshukan Friends / One Week Friends – I like non-pandering and worthwhile drama / Slice-of-Life hybrids. This show seems it’d be it. Highschool, two friends, a boy and a girl. The girl loses her memories every single week, so the boy has to reacquaint himself with her. The 4-koma origins keeps me slightly worried, but I hope for the best.
Interest Rating: 1.5/3.
Write-ups: Probably not.
Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei / The Irregular at Magic Academy – I’ve just finished the 11th out of 12 novels published in this series thus far. 11 novels for the first year. Who knows, this might turn out to be a 30 book deal… Anyway, this is the show with the most hype of the season, this season’s hope of being the Sword Art Online and Shingeki no Kyojin stand-in. Too cool for school protagonist, cool action, good graphics by Madhouse. I was not too impressed with the novels. A write-up should go up this week. But, a lot of my issues with the books could actually be helped by an anime adaptation removing the bad writing-style. So there’s hope for good action here.
Interest Rating: 1.5/3. I come to popcorn shounen shows hoping for good action, some emotions, and hope for good animation. This show will have all of them. So what if the story isn’t the best? I’m going to set my sights on “popcorn fun, with some nice ideas and good acting+” rather than “Deep show”.
Write-ups: Post Episode notes are almost a certainty. I might also do a proper write-up on this and that aspect once it’s covered.
Mekaku City Actors – First, watch the above video. The original is done in a super-annoying vocaloid song, so I saved you from the pain. If you want links to more videos, check here. Ok, so vocaloid-based, short stories, which are actually interesting vignettes. There’s also a manga and various other forms in which the story is being told, and each has a different set of stories. How will this turn out? I have no idea. But it’s intriguing. Watch the above video all the way through, the ending was inspired.
Hype Rating: 1/3. I am very wary about this one.
Write-ups: No idea how it’d turn out.
Didn’t Make it In:
Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii / Even So, The World is Beautiful – Shoujo romance. I actually don’t have anything against them, but this seems kind of wonky. I’d rather wait a bit first and hear what people say about it.
Overall Saturday Thoughts:
Saturday is insane. Good thing it’s Saturday. We have a lot of action, some Romance, some drama, a good amount of sci-fi, and even an experimental show by Shaft (Mekaku City Actors). What more could we ask for? Ah, yes, that it’d be spread across the whole week.
Overall Season Thoughts:
I plan to only pick 2-4 shows to write episodic notes on, the rest of the time will be spent on watching more shows, catching up on my backlog, playing video games, etc. I will likely have a weekly post where I share my thoughts on some of the shows, a paragraph or so per show, at least for some of them. Which shows will get the write-ups? I wonder.
16 shows in my starting line-up. I decided to cut down by interest ratings once I saw I picked 29 shows that interested me this season, and that was simply unfeasible. 16 starting shows is the lowest I’ve had in the last several seasons. Huzzah! With my newfound resolve to write less or next to nothing about most shows, perhaps I’d even be able to keep watching 16 shows a week without blowing up, though if I lose around 4 I wouldn’t cry too hard about it.
Four shows are returning or continuing shows, which is a good percentage. Fairy Tail might stick around with us for quite some time, and a fair amount of these shows are 2-cour as well, so we might have to do something when Summer arrives.
This season actually looks very impressive. Popcorn shows are usually plentiful, but they usually look like ass. Even if the ones here end up having shitty storylines, at least the animation is solid, and I know there’ll be a couple I enjoy. I didn’t pick much RomCom stuff, but I have a bit of it on Saturday, and there are enough such shows in my backlog as well.
Last season I noticed the lack of RomComs, and the season before that the preponderance of popcorn action shows. This season? We have a fair amount of well-animated action shows, a fair amount of bog-standard Harem RomComs (are there any other kind?), but what really stands out to me is the drama and grimdark. We have a lot more shows trying to infuse a sense of drama or gritty into the shows. It can backfire, because these things aren’t easy to do well, but when done well, they usually result in some of the better shows. Let’s hope for the best. Well, we’ve got Mushishi, so this season is gonna be alright :D