There’s a week until the Fall 2015 season begins in earnest, so it’s time to look towards the new season, and put behind us a season where I didn’t watch what I was most excited for (will do my best to catch up soon), and found some of the shows I wasn’t excited for to be quite good. Expect a season overview in a week or two.
As always, in these posts I cover shows I plan to follow, or have thoughts on why I will not follow them, or considered following and decided not to. As always, I try to strike a balance between giving you enough information on the show, and telling you why I think it is or isn’t worth watching. Shows ordered by day, and by expectation within the day, as that affects pick status. The “Almost In” category returns, describing shows that I’d pick up in prior seasons, but decided to put aside in order to make more time for backlog, after growing unhappy with how many of the shows I pick up ending up “not worth the time”, let alone “good”.
Much space is given to the people involved with a show, as premises are easy, but execution is hard, and it’s people who are in charge of that.
Most of the information about the shows can be had from the helpful Neregate Chart, and what I’ve happened to see on various sites, such as The Cart Driver. Check them out if you want more information, or information on shows I didn’t cover (such as follow-ups to shows I don’t watch).
Concrete Revolutio: A Superhuman Fantasy / Concrete Revolutio: Choujin Gensou – All the fantastical creatures of stories, mythologies, and comics come to life, and it’s the Supernatural Bureau’s job to take care of them. The very colourful preview put me in mind of the old X-Men cartoon which is fitting, but also of the French 1997 cartoon Enigma which I was fond of in the past. On the Japanese front, it made me think of Gatchaman Crowds and Tiger and Bunny on one hand, and Hamatora the Animation on the other. It’s definitely stylish, and it’s a sort of setting that lends itself to all sorts of colourful and fun shenanigans that could also house some incisive social critique, as many of the shows I namedropped have done (and often done both).
So, without much to go on on the plot, we’ll have to turn to the people involved, with Mizushima Seiji as the director, he of Fullmetal Alchemist (not Brotherhood), Mobile Suit Gundam 00, and Un-Go fame, but also the more divisive recent Expelled from Paradise, and Aikawa Shou behind the creation and script, who worked with Mizushima on Un-Go and Fullmetal Alchemist, as well as the well-regarded Genocyber and Juuni Kokki (12 Kingdoms), but also about the not well regarded Chaos Dragon of this past season, and the sometimes uneven and convoluted RahXephon. So, good people are working on it, and this is a show that can go places in terms of who’s in charge. If all else fails, it promises to be visually interesting, at the very least.
Interest Rating: 2.5/3. An interesting and open-ended premise, good people working on it, BONES in charge of animation. This is probably the show I’m the most looking forward to next season, for a combination of fun and engaging.
Airing Date: October 4th. Preview.
Write-ups: If there’s one show that seems like it’d lend itself to write-ups by me next season, this is likely to be the one.
One Punch Man – One Punch Man is a shounen action-comedy manga, adapted by Madhouse, who seem to be mostly adapting manga and doing fine by them (Hunter x Hunter, Hajime no Ippo, Death Note, Chihayafuru, and many others). I like shounen action series, which I endearingly dubbed “Shounonsense”, and this one seems like it will deliver, about a superhero so strong that he can beat any villain with the eponymous one punch. Seems this show might lend itself more towards comedy, which is more hit and miss for me, but shounen action comedy often works for me as well (as it does with the currently airing Ushio to Tora).
This is director Natsume Shingo’s directorial debut of a full-length series, and Suzuki Tomohiro’s debut at doing a series composition or script for an entire show, so we’re going to hope they pull it off and rely on the strength of the original material, which is certainly well spoken of.
Interest Rating: 2/3. This one relies on my love for fun and the hype train it has going for it. I’m a tad wary due to the inexperience of the people involved, but hopefully Studio Madhouse will give them the support they need.
Airing Date: October 4th. Setup Preview, Action Preview.
Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans / Kidou Senshi Gundam: Tekketsu no Orphans – Gundam basically invented the “Sunrise Mecha” school of show, though most Sunrise mecha shows seem to ascribe to the same vein, with two “sides” that are morally grey, protagonists who fight one another even as they mirror and come to admire one another, and pondering the tragedies of war. This show in particular seems like it’d delve into these issues even more, with Mari Okada in charge of the script.
Mari Okada had always been rather hit or miss for me, with especially her 2013-2014 crop being often phoned in and extremely tired, but she can manage it as well. Director Nagai Tatsuyuki has been in charge of such varied shows as Ano Natsu de Materu, Idolm@ster Xenoglossia, Toradora, and both seasons of A Certain Scientific Railgun. His presence fills me with confidence.
Interest Rating: 1.5/3. Though I like this sort of show, I’ve wearied of it. Mari Okada is always a gamble, so I’ll gamble here once more.
Airing Date: October 4th. Preview. The preview shows very varied and different character designs, as if two different people were in charge of them and not just one.
Comet Lucifer – This is your general original creation where a boy meets a girl, and together they pilot a mecha to find out their fantasy/sci-fi setting’s secrets (see Eureka 7). I like some such shows, but many don’t pan out well, and something about this show’s presentation makes me think of children shows, such as Element Hunters. The show has a “Non-preview” that showed us some lovely colours and the very nice character design of the female lead, and nothing else.
Show has two directors, the inexperienced Nakayama Atsushi who directed Absolute Duo, and Kikuchi Yasuhito, who did OVAs and hentai back in the day. Nomura Yuuicihi who’s in charge of the script also seems relatively inexperienced.
Interest Rating: 1/3. I’d likely give this an episode or two. I often like shows of this sort, but it’s a busy day, and there’s little to inspire confidence here.
Airing Date: Ocober 4th. Preview.
Overall Sunday Thoughts: Over the past few seasons, Saturday had been cannibalizing on Thursday’s priority, and to a lesser extent, Sunday has been doing the same. Four shows that are of interest on Sunday, in a season I find relatively uninteresting? Yes, almost every show here is “on probation”, and rides on the realm of promise, but hey, anime original shows! And promise! I’ll take it. Action, action and comedy, action and sorrow. Action, and some thought. I’ll take it. A good day, if you’re fine with action in your anime.
Overall Monday Thoughts: Monday had always been the most quiet of days, but damn, nothing to even comment on? That’s uncommon. Tuesday is usually not as bad, but nothing here either! Guess it’s time to focus on my studies, and backlog!
A Corpse is Buried Under Sakurako’s Feet / Sakurako-san no Ashimoto ni wa Shitai ga Umatteiru – A Light Novel adaptation, but of the sort that is closer to an actual novel, and not the sort aimed at young teenage boys, apparently. A mystery series, where one of the people involved is not even a teenager, or at least is no longer in high school. This seems the more quiet combination of Hyouka and something of the sort of CSI, or something one would expect of a BBC mini-series. I liked Hyouka, and this show is promising.
On the staff front, the director and assistant director are both relatively inexperienced, and the person in charge of series composition, Ikami Takayo, did so for Mawaru Penguindrum and Yuri Kuma Arashi, which promises some expertise on that front. A lot of Hyouka’s success came from KyoAni’s masterful control of atmosphere and small gestures, which is unlikely to be as present here, but there’s enough for me to be intrigued and have high hopes.
Interest Rating: 2.5/3. I like everything the show promises to be, now comes the million dollar question that’s always there, execution. My expectations for the show are closer to 1.5/3, cause it’s not always easy to pull off a more atmospheric show, but here’s to hoping.
Airing Date: October 7th. Preview. Aside from Hyouka, the preview also made me think a tad of Steins;Gate, another good show, but the reasons are superficial thus far.
Didn’t Make It In:
Harem Extravaganza – No, this is not the name of a show, but Wednesday seems to be catering to everyone who wants a hetero harem. We have “Shomin Sample” / “Sample of a Common Man” (directed by Fate/Kaleid Prisma Illya’s director) and “AntiMagic Academy 35th Test Platoon” / “Taimadou Gakuen 35 Shiken Shoutai” for the male protagonist with a female harem, and “Diabolik Lovers 2nd season” and “Dance with Devils” for the female protagonist with a male harem, and an extra side-dish of rapey overtones (I wish I were kidding). None of these shows really has anything to note about them in particular over any others, except Diabolik Lovers is one of the creepier shows out there and I’m slightly surprised at it getting a second season, and Dance with Devils is directed by Yoshimura Ai, who directed Ao Haru Ride (Blue Spring Ride) and OreGairu’s first season, so maybe it won’t be as bad for anyone who wants some devil-demon reverse harem romance. But eh, not for me.
Overall Wednesday Thoughts: A show I have high hopes for, but filled with some trepidation over the staff’s inexperience, and a whole lot of sex, for other people. That’s Wednesday.
Subete ga F ni Naru: The Perfect Insider – Another mystery show this season! An adaptation of a proper novel series, mystery thrillers tend to produce some of the most highly regarded anime shows (Death Note, Monster, Steins;Gate, etc.), but the only thing giving me pause here is that I much rather marathon those. Director Kanbe Mamoru worked on Sora No Woto (Sound of the Sky), Elfen Lied, and Kimi to Boku, so he might not be the first name to come to mind, but he has some experience with atmosphere, while Toshiya Ono is handling script and series composition, which he also did for Gatchaman Crowds (and Insight) and Tsuritama.
Interest Rating: 2/3. While my interest is exceedingly high for this show, I may not watch it as it airs, simply because this sort of story is one I rather marathon. Based on a novel series, handled by experienced staff? The material is there for high hopes.
Airing Date: October 8th. Preview.
Lupin III (2015) – This appeared back in my Spring 2015 preview, half a year ago, seems it’s finally here, so I’ll just copy-paste what I had to say back then: My only experience with the Lupin the Third franchise is with The Castle of Cagliostro, which I thought was “okay”. I don’t even know if this series will have multiple arcs and each being a “case”, a case per episode, or one long adventure. I don’t know what to expect, but hey, I may as well dive into what Lupin has to offer with a currently airing show.
Interest Rating: 1.5/3. I don’t know what to expect, but I’m curious.
Airing Date: October 1st.
Young Black Jack – Black Jack is a manga by Osamu Tezuka, the mangaka responsible for Astro Boy. This is a prequel covering his earlier exploits, directed by Kase Mitsuko, who directed some Gundam and Ristorante Paradiso, and the script is handled by Takahashi Ryosuke, who handled the 1980s anime of Astro Boy, GaoGaiGar, and a bunch of other things from before I knew how to spell my own name. It could be interesting, but I have no involvement with the franchise and I’m just gonna pass, though it does cause me to perk an ear in interest.
Airing Date: October 1st. Preview.
Didn’t Make It In:
Lance N’ Masques – A fantasy action series that looks bad, with an annoyingly voiced female main character and nothing to distinguish it. Director Ishiguro Kyohei worked on Your Lie in April, and Series Composer Hideaki Koyasu worked mostly on slice of life, ecchi, and comedy shows, usually only on specific episodes, such as Love Live, GJ-Bu, Sabagebu, etc. Here’s the very underwhelming preview.
Overall Thursday Thoughts: Three shows that verge at least somewhat on “mystery” or “thriller” as genres and who don’t look like they’d be terrible. It’s a heavier and more serious Thursday than I’m used to, and so it’s good I’m only picking two of these shows up, as I can see how more than that would weigh heavily on me, and would be better served across several days.
Ushio to Tora / Ushio and Tora – This show delivered. A lot of fun. Episodic, then when the “story” was introduced I knew it’d be an episodic journey, and it’s shaping to be that right now. Fun character, funny faces and physical gags, emotional and pretty dark stories encountered, emotional moments between Ushio and Tora. This is an 80s or 90s shounen action show, and it’s not feeling at all ashamed of it. I’m loving it. There’s no unique content here, but it’s the sort of pure fun and cool and slightly emotional mixture that is my favourite.
Current Rating: 7.5/10. This show is “nothing special”, but sometimes this nothing special is well-handled enough to merit special attention.
Episodes Watched: 10/39. I’m a bit behind, but considering how behind I’ve been in general this season, this speaks well of the show.
Heavy Object – For those who don’t know, I’m a pretty big lover of Sword Art Online. After Sword Art Online, some online friends recommended to me two Light Novel series based on my liking that, the first was Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere, which I liked, and the second was Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei (The Irregular at Magic High School), of which I couldn’t stop saying bad things, at least about the anime adaptation. So, I’m weary. This is an adaptation of a super popular action sci-fi Light Novel series. I hope it’d be good, but I’m ready for it to not be good, and even be dreadful. Either way, over the past couple of years I’ve grown tired of Light Novel adaptations, and also realized I’m really not a fan of watching them weekly.
Of note is that Heavy Object is written by Kamachi Kazuma, who’s the author of A Certain Magical Index and A Certain Scientific Railgun, and directed by Watanabe Takashi, who directed such prestigious shows as Freezing, Ikkitousen, and Senran Kagura… he also directed Slayers and Shakugan no Shana, so hopes aren’t too high on that front, alas.
Interest Rating: 1.75/3. I have reservations, and I’ve grown more and more weary of these shows as years pass by, but hope springs eternal. The director though.
Airing Date: October 2nd. Preview.
Garo: Crimson Moon / Garo: Guren no Tsuki (Garo “2nd season”) – I was too busy for Garo when its first coming aired, and this is an alternate universe/timeline or whatever. Demons, action, insanity. Here’s what I had to say about what sort of medium is being adapted here when the first season aired – Garo is a live action tokusatsu franchise, meaning lots of special effects, power-rangers style stuff, and usually bad acting.
Director Wakabayashi Atsushi hasn’t done much of note, and Yoshioka Takao who’s in charge of script has done DearS, Elfen Lied, Ikkitousen, Queen’s Blade, Zero no Tsukaima, and Working!, which is not the best track record. The other person in charge of the script, Minakami Seishi, has done shows such as Kamisama no Memochou, No. 6, Paprika (movie), and Railgun, which is a much better track record, but overall I’m not sure how to feel about it.
Interest Rating: 1.5/3. I may not follow it again because I’d be busy, but this is handled by people who show they know what they’re doing (studio wise, being Studio MAPPA), and I like fantasy action, so I’ll try to do better this time around.
Airing Date: October 9th. Preview.
Kagewani (Short)– A horror short, by the people who brought us Yami Shibai (Ghost Stories). There’s not much to say, and if it’d be bad, then not much time will be lost checking it out. I’m undecided about shorts for horror, as it relies on atmosphere, but I think it’d be better than stretching it as anime episodes usually have to do.
Interest Rating: 1/3.
Airing Date: October 2nd.
Noragami Aragoto (Noragami 2nd season) – I watched most of Noragami’s first season. My issue with it is that they spent far too long on an introductory story, rather than actually showing us the characters in action, or doing things, or interacting. It felt as if the show was dragging its feet and that by the end of the first show we’d know our characters well enough, rather than only spend 3-5 episodes on it. Well, the second season is here and perhaps it’d give us exactly that. I’ll hang about and see what people say of it, even though I was fond of the main two characters, portrayed by Maaya Uchida and Kamiya Hiroshi.
You can check my (mostly) mini-notes for season 1’s first 7 episodes here.
Airing Date: October 2nd.
Overall Friday Thoughts: Friday is very much a shounen with a side-dish of horror/demons. There’s nothing here that I feel is going to blow my mind or be a very taxing watch, but hey, Friday night, time for some popcorn! Heavy Object will likely be one of the more popular shows of the season, so long it doesn’t crash and burn as some LN adaptations did in the past couple of years in spite of popular source material, and Garo, well, we’ll see how that goes.
Kowabon (Short) – Another short scripted by Kumamoto Hiromu, who’s also scripting this season’s Kagewani and worked on Yami Shibai (Ghost Stories). Rotoscoped horror shorts. If it’d be bad, then not much time will be lost.
Interest Rating: 1/3.
Airing Date: October 3rd.
Didn’t Make It In:
Owarimonogotari – The latest in the Monogatari series. I’m not caught up, and I prefer to wait for the Blu-Ray releases of this series anyway, but 12 episodes! Not “just” an OVA. Here’s to hoping SHAFT pulls it off for all the dedicated fans.
Harem Extravaganza Part 2 – Anime knows you can’t have all of your ecchi harems only in one day of the week, so they’re here for you, half a week away, to give you some more ecchi (non-)goodness, from “Gakusen Toshi Asterisk” / “The Asterisk War: The Academy City on the Water“, which is directed by Ono Manabu, who directed A-Channel, Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere, Saki, and of course, Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei, and his loyal assistant director Kenji Setou, to “A Tale of the Worst One” (“A Chivalry of the Failed Knight”) / “Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry” by Onuma Shin, the other director of Fate/Kaleid Prisma Illya (both of them are directing ecchi this season), who also directed the various “ef” shows, Watamote, and Kokoro Connect, and finally, because you can’t have such shows without girl-on-girl action (Anime pls.) we have “Valkyrie Drive: Mermaid“, where two girls kiss, and one becomes a weapon for the other to wield, by Kaneko Hiraku who has the distinction of directing the 2nd season of Maken-Ki, Seikon no Quaser, and being Queen’s Blade’s Cattleya’s character designer.
I actually thought Asterisk was interesting enough, concept wise, but as most such shows have shown us, they actually diminish the story, action, and directing in order to attract more spotlight to the fanservice sections. I’m alright with fanservice that rides along the rest of the content, but these shows usually make a trade-off that gives more focus to these aspects to the detriment of the rest of the show, and my time is too precious for that.
Overall Saturday Thoughts: When I made my rough pre-cut list, I thought Saturday would be pretty full, but as I looked into the shows, each and every one but the short turned out to be an ecchi show (and Utawarerumono is a continuation/alternate retelling? The original is on my plan to watch list, so we’ll see), and I ended with nothing. It’s surprising, as over the past few seasons, Saturday held the most shows I’m interested in, to the point where it disrupted my anime watching – if I have 3-4 shows that interest me in a single day, I might end up watching none, as opposed to cases where each day only has 1-2 shows I care for. Saturday being so empty is thus not a good thing, but it seems things might be shifting around. I honestly don’t see much of interest on Saturday, unless you enjoy those harem ecchi shows, in which case you’re in luck.
Overall Season Thoughts:
8 new shows, 1 continuation, 2 shorts. I’ve not had a show where I picked up so few shows to start with in a long time. Even my “Not picked up” or “Almost in” sections are relatively barren. This season has very few non-short comedies, very few non-continuation slice of life shows, and nothing that seems like a non-ecchi or skeevy romance. This season is all about action, mystery thrillers, and horror/demons. The slant towards action is common, but the relative lack of comedy, not as much. Well, I find this season to have nothing but Ushio and Tora which I know I’ll like, and a few shows (4, to be exact) I have high hopes for, but almost every single show has something with regards to the staff that gives me pause. Well, you know how it is – premises are easy, it’s all about execution, and it’s always nice to be surprised by what you didn’t see coming.
If worse comes to worst, I’ll just dig into my prodigious backlog, I want to finish all my half/almost-finished shows by the time this year ends, so a relatively empty season might be just what the doctor ordered. Maybe I’ll even catch up on the Monogatari series, which is also getting a new entry this season.
I do wish the days were a bit better balanced though, 4 shows in a single day are a good recipe for me falling behind on all 4.
Which shows are you excited for? Anything you think will be terrible but can’t avoid checking out? Anything you’d like to see me cover in particular?