The new season is coming up fast. The first new show, Ayakashi, has already begun, and the season gets fully under way exactly two weeks from today. As with most winter seasons, there are not a huge number of new shows. The Spring and Fall 2007 seasons had almost 40 new shows each. This winter season has around 20. I don't see anything potentially classic here, but you never know.
I myself am looking forward to the new show from the director of Simoun, Nishimura Junji. True Tears looks like a standard harem romance, but his presence, along with that of writer Okada Mari, who wrote many episodes of Simoun, gives me hope for something a bit special.
Spice and Wolf (Ookami to Koshinryou) is based on an award-winning novel about a young travelling merchant and a wolf-goddess, who are played in the anime by Fukuyama Jun and Koshimizu Ami. The wolf-goddess's character is entrancing: playful and bold. I keep wanting Ami to get better roles, and I think this might be a big one for her.
Even though it is too long for my taste (52 episodes) Porfy no Nagai Tabi could be interesting, made as it is by Mochizuki Tomomi, who did both Zettai Shounen and YKK. Rosario+Vampire has an amazing cast, headed by Mizuki Nana, and an intriguing vampire+school life plot. And the "second helping" of the enjoyable Minami-ke will be interesting, since it is made by a completely new staff (but with the same cast). H2O～Footprints in the Sand～ is another harem romance, but it has Koshimizu Ami in it and was written by Hanada Jukki, who wrote sola. A new season of ARIA, a new season of Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, a new season of Gunslinger Girl.
The list below is in the order the new shows will air. English titles link to a show's Anime News Network encyclopedia page, which has more staff/cast info. Japanese titles link to official sites. Clicking "forum" will take you to the AnimeSuki forum for each show, where people post even more info about the show. Times are in Japanese TV-listing style: 26:30 Monday means 2:30 am Tuesday (midnight is 24:00, plus 2:30 makes 26:30).
The list includes only series. I'll cover OVAs separately, time permitting. A couple of big OVAs are actually coming this Friday, 21 December, with the first episode of a four-ep Kimi Ga Nozomu Eien OVA and the first episode of Amuri in Star Ocean, starring Makino Yui, Noto Mamiko, Saitou Momoko, Kaneda Tomoko, and Aizawa Michiru (Furoe in Simoun).
Ayakashi. アヤカシ. "Adapted from an adult superhuman battle action visual novel. Ayakashi is a parasitic force that gives superpowers to its host, taking in return the host's entire life force. Kusaka Yuu is a student that lost his will to live after the death of a dear childhood friend, until the day a mysterious girl appears. Hunted by Ayakashi and their hosts, the power within Yuu awakens and a never-ending battle begins." (ANN) Director and writer Takada Jun and Kouno Takemitsu did the totally different show Lamune. Stars Mizuki Nana, Kishio Daisuke, Matsuki Miyu, Sugita Tomokazu, Yukino Satsuki, et al. Preview broadcast of eps 1-2 on 8 Dec 07. Starts 11:00 wed dec12. forum.
Sisters of Wellber 2. ウエルベールの物語 第二部. Three episodes of the first series was all I could take. I think it was the talking tank that got me. The cast is great: Takahashi Mikako, Takeuchi Junko (Naruto), Sendai Eri, Namikawa Daisuke, Sugita Tomokazu. And the basic set-up is good: a princess flees arrest for murder, under the protection of a female thief. Time to take another look? Director Hamana Takayuki did Prince of Tennis. Production I.G., TransArts. Starts 26:30 tue jan01. forum.
Rosario to Vampire. ロザリオとバンパイア. One of the more anticipated shows of the season, with an outstanding cast: Mizuki Nana, Chiba Saeko, Kugimiya Rie, Inoue Kikuko, Fukuen Misato, Kishio Daisuke, Seki Tomokazu, Koyasu Takehito. "Tsukune Aono (Kishio Daisuke) is not a good student. The only school he can get into turns out to be a school attended by youkai ("monsters"), disguised as humans. Fearing for his life, he attempts to escape. But he meets Moka Akashiya (Mizuki Nana), a beautiful girl who just happens to be a vampire. He decides to stay at the academy, hiding his human nature from students and teachers. But Tsukune discovers that when the rosary around Moka's neck is removed, her true vampire nature emerges." (Anime News Network)
Director Inagaki Takayuki directed Sunabouzu, Marginal Prince, and Koharu Biyori. Lead writer Yamaguchi Hiroshi did Argento Soma, Comic Party, Sunabouzu, and ToHeart2. Could become just a moe monster-of-the-week anime, but has promise. Gonzo. 13eps. Starts 23:30 thu jan03. forum
H2O ～Footprints in the Sand～. H2O ～FOOTPRINTS IN THE SAND～. Koshimizu Ami in yet another harem romance. Adapted from an ero-game. People say the game is slow and makes poor use of some good ideas. But the anime adaptation is written by Hanada Jukki (Rozen Maiden, sola). Perhaps he can make better use of the material. Starts 25:20 thu jan03. trailer. forum.
Kimi ga Aruji de Shitsuji ga Ore de. 君が主で執事が俺で. Although it's being broadcast at 6:30 Friday evenings, this appears to be a full-on harem show with tsunderes. It has a fantastic cast: Seki Tomokazu, Itou Shizuka, Tanaka Rie, Gotou Yuuko, Hiyama Nobuyuki. "...in the game, the player’s character is a butler who must serve a demanding wealthy heiress. The Kuonji family is a very old and very rich one with three daughters (Itou and Gotou play two of them), each of whom has her own staff. It’s a Kuonji family tradition for the staff to swear absolute loyalty to their masters, so when teenage runaway Ren Uesugi (Seki Tomokazu) and his sister Mihato (hitomi) are desperate for the money, they agree to make the pledge." (jcdranzer, AnimeSuki) A.C.G.T. Starts 18:30 fri jan04. forum
Hatenkou Yuugi. 破天荒遊戯. Kobayashi Sanae, Sakurai Takahiro, and Miki Shinichirou are an excellent main cast. A young girl named Rahzel is booted out of her house one day by her father with the instructions to 'see the world.' And so her journey begins. However, she won’t be doing it alone. She befriends a stoic young man named Alzeido seeking revenge for his father's murder. Alzeido and Rahzel are like oil and water, but they feel strangely drawn to one another. This could be either the result of an underlying attraction — or their shared powers with magic... (Baka-updates) The outstanding Kobayashi Sanae (Maya in Glass Mask) means I have to watch at least one episode. Miki Shinichirou and Sakurai Takahiro are more reasons to watch. Studio Deen. Starts 26:30 fri jan04. forum.
Zenryoku Usagi. 全力ウサギ. "Full-power Bunnies." Saturday-morning anime featuring construction-worker rabbits. When an official site doesn’t give the names of the staff, I worry about quality. TMS Entertainment. Starts 08:30 sat jan05.
MAJOR 4th season. MAJOR 4th season. The fourth season of the perennially popular baseball anime. Director Kasai Kenichi has branched off from here to do Honey & Clover 2 and KimiKiss ~pure rouge~. Starts 18:00 sat jan05. forum.
PERSONA -trinity soul-. PERSONA -trinity soul-. Set in another futuristic city ten years after the events of Persona 3, the anime revolves around the undead known as "reverse," who disguise themselves as humans. It will be a supernatural story like the Persona series and will involve 3 brothers. Not my thing, but the preview has a quality look about it. Director Matsumoto Jun is new, but lead writer Muto Yasutuki wrote many episodes of Chevalier D'Eon. Cast includes Okamoto Nobuhiko (Yorito in sola), Koyasu Takehito, Sawashiro Miyuki, Asumi Kana, and Nakahara Mai. A-1 Pictures (Ookiku Furikabutte). Starts 22:30 sat jan05. forum.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei season 2. 俗・さよなら絶望先生. After the comparatively poor ratings for Negima, director Shinbou Akiyuki only got 13 episodes for Zetsubou Sensei. But the success of the first season got him a second season. A unique show with a terrific cast. Kamiya Hiroshi is great as the sensei, and he is surrounded with fine performances: Nonaka Ai, Sawashiro Miyuki, Matsuki Miyu, Gotou Yuuko, Shintani Ryouko, Sanada Asami, etc., etc. 13eps. Starts 24:30 sat jan05. forum
true tears. true tears. Looks on the surface like a standard harem anime, but the preview has a very nice feel. A cast starring Nazuka Kaori, Iguchi Yuka, and Takagaki Ayahi is promising. Add Nishimura Junji, the director of Simoun, and Okada Mari, who wrote many episodes of that show, and you've got my attention for sure. P.A.Works. 13eps. Starts 25:00 sat jan05. forum.
Shigofumi. シゴフミ. "A story about a miracle, involving Fumika, a quiet but hard working girl who wears a uniform that of a mail carrier, and her talkative staff and partner Mayama. The Shigofumi is a posthumous letter, the last resort of relaying a deceased person's last message to his/her loved ones: family, friends, and significant other." (Dengeki Bunko newsletter, via eggplant on AnimeSuki.) Directed by Satou Tatsuo (Stellvia) and starring Ueda Kana and Matsuoka Yuki. JCStaff. 12eps. Starts 25:35 sat jan05. forum.
Porfy no Nagai Tabi. ポルフィの長い旅. A Sunday prime-time family show slated for 52 episodes. Stars Kaida Yuki, Fujimura Ayumi (Ayano in Kaze no Stigma), Inoue Kazuhiko (Gorou in Moonlight Mile), and Shimamoto Sumi (Kyoko in Maison Ikkoku, Kanata in Lucky Star). The story revolves around a Greek boy who loses touch with his sister after an earthquake and travels around Europe looking for her. Directed by Mochizuki Tomomi, who did the excellent Zettai Shounen and YKK. Nippon Animation. 52eps. Starts 19:30 sun jan06.
Minami-ke O-kawari. みなみけ～おかわり（仮）. Another helping of Minami-ke, but from a different set of cooks: the same cast for ingredients, but a different studio and staff to prepare the meal, including the director of Shuffle!, Hosoda Naoto. Satou Rina, Inoue Marina, and Chihara Minori have all been good in the first helping, so I'm looking forward to seeing this new version. Reminds me of Futakoi and Futakoi Alternative. asread. Starts 25:30 sun jan06.
Aria The Origination. Aria The Origination. Third season of the show that defines "slice of life." No details yet available, but I expect to hear the same great cast, including Hazuki Erino, Ohara Sayaka, Hirohashi Ryou, Saitou Chiwa, Kawakami Tomoko, Minagawa Junko, Mizuhashi Kaori, and Watanabe Akeno. Hal Filmmaker. Starts 26:00 mon jan07. forum.
Gunslinger Girl -Il Teatrino-. GUNSLINGER GIRL -IL TEATRINO-. When the Social Welfare Agency investigates the disappearance of an operative, their inquiry leads them right into the lair of their rival, the Five Republics. The assassin Triela infiltrates the hostile organization, but her search is cut short when she finds herself staring down the barrel of a gun... (ANN) Many changes in the voice cast from the first series. The new series features Mizuno Risa, Shiono Anri, Enomoto Atsuko, Hanazawa Kana, Koyasu Takehito, Kishio Daisuke, and Shiraishi Minoru. And it has a new director: Mano Rei, the woman who directed Ghost Hunt. Artland. Starts 27:00 mon jan07. forum.
Spice and Wolf (Ookami to Koshinryou). 狼と香辛料. From a prize-winning novel set in a fictional version of medieval Europe. The main character is a 25-year-old traveling merchant, Lawrence. He meets Horo, a pretty but unpredictable centuries-old wolf and harvest-goddess. She has left the village she's supposed to watch over because she believes the people there have forsaken her. She wants to go north, back to her homeland, and also to travel and see the world, which she knows has changed since she came to the village. (with info from Tangowr, AnimeSuki) Stars Koshimizu Ami, Fukuyama Jun, Kaori Nazuka, Nakahara Mai. I think this role could be a great one for the talented Koshimizu Ami. Unfortunately, the staff makes me worry: director Takahashi Takeo and lead writer Arakawa Naruhisa made the ecchi comedy Cosmoplitan Prayers together. IMAGIN. Starts 25:30 tue jan08. forum.
Noramimi. のらみみ. Seinen comedy. Cast includes Katou Nanae, who played Princess Tutu, as well as rising star Kitamura Eri, and Shiraishi Minoru in what appears to be a minor role. TMS Entertainment. Starts 25:45 wed jan09. forum
Hakaba Kitarou. 墓場鬼太郎. "Graveyard Kitarou." Spin-off from Gegege no Kitarou. Director Chioka Kimitoshi did a good job with Kamisama Kazoku. Toei. Starts 24:45 thu jan10.
Yatterman 2008. ヤッターマン 新シリーズ. Revives a successful 1970s kids/family franchise. Starring Yoshino Hiroyuki (Zed in Kiba), Itou Shizuka, Takahashi Chiaki, Yamadera Kouichi. Directed by original directior Sasagawa Hiroshi, written by Takahashi Natsuko, who did Blue Drop, Moyashimon, and Gakuen Heaven. Tatsunoko. 70eps. Starts 19:00 mon jan14.
Yes! Precure 5 Go Go! Yes！プリキュア5 GoGo! The new Precure 5 series will be directed by the director of the previous Precure 5 series. Cast details are not yet available, but I expect to hear the wonderful Sanpei Yuuko back as Cure Dream, along with Ise mariya, Maeda Ai, Nagano Ai, and Takeuchi Junko. Starts 08:30 sun feb02.
Mnemosyne. Mnemosyne -ムネモシュネの娘たち-. This won't start until sometime in February, but it should be worth waiting for. "In this sexy, hardboiled science fiction action anime, Tanaka Rie voices Yamanobe Sayara, head of Aoyama Pharmaceutical Company's Sayama Laboratory. The haughty, quite sadistic Sayara conducts illegal experiments at the laboratory." (Siegel Clyne, AnimeSuki) Add Noto Mamiko, Kugimiya Rie, and Ohara Sayaka and we may really have something here. If we can take it. The preview video includes nudity and violence. Director Ueda Shigeru did Elemental Gelade and episodes of FMA and Lain.
There will also be a couple of very short shows notable mainly for their stars. Tanaka Rie will star as on-chan, Hokkaido TV's popular mascot character, in a weekly six-minute show called on-chan onちゃん. Also in the show will be Konno Hiromi, who was Akira on Lucky Channel, and Kaneda Tomoko. Fridays at 19:54, starting fri 18jan.
And Hirano Aya will star in Moegaku 5 もえがく★5, a daily 15-minute show that has both a live-action and an animated part. She will be the host of the live-action part and will voice a charcter in the anime. The show teaches languages, one language for each day of the week (English, Korean, Spanish, Chinese and French, Monday through Friday). The animation is by the director and the writer of Tokimeki Memorial, Takamoto Nobuhiro and Watanabe Akira. Starts 17:00 mon jan14.
EDIT: Check out j1m0ne's excellent season preview, which has group photos of the cast members of a number of shows.