Since everyone likes different kinds of shows, I'll just go through the week, starting with Monday, talking about each show, and you can draw your own conclusions. Titles link to more information. Titles of the shows I myself am most anticipating are violet. Click pictures to enlarge.
This is the season of "Ohagi": rising seiyuu star Yahagi Sayuri is in four new anime this season. Having proven herself in Karin, Otogijushi Akazukin, and Kyoushirou to Towa no Sora, she will now be in Gigantic Formula, sola, Hayate, and Over Drive, all at the same time.
I'm also eager to hear more of comparative newcomer Fujimura Ayumi, who played Karada in Asatte no Houkou and is in two of the new shows: Kaze no Stigma, in which she stars, and Touka Gettan. And the incredible voice of Sasaki Nozomi (Nana-chan in Bokura ga Ita), who was discovered last year during a seiyuu workshop in Kobe, returns in a supporting role in Lucky Star, which stars Hirano Aya.
El Cazador. A girl named Elis is suspected of murder and on the run from the Hunters. A woman bounty hunter offers her help in escaping and in finding out the truth about her past. Nice cast, including Shimizu Ai, Itou Shizuka, Hisakawa Aya and rising male star Miyano Mamoru (Light in Death Note, Tamaki in Ouran High School Host Club). Music by Kajiura Yuki. Directed by Mashimo Koichi, who directed both Noir and the .hack shows. Hopefully this will be more like Noir and less like .hack. (Thanks, nae.) Bee Train animation. (mon 25:30, starts apr02)
Touka Gettan. This is the anime that most intrigues me this season. A fantasy romance from Studio Deen, written by the writer of YKK and Yami to Boushi to Hon no Tabibito and director of Zettai Shounen (Mochizuki Tomomi), and directed by the director of Yamibou and Strawberry Eggs (Yamaguchi Yuji). Animated by Nishida Asako of Simoun, F/SN and Yamibou. And with the sound director of those three shows, veteran seiyuu Tsujitani Kouji, there to work with the cast.
Stars two new seiyuu, but also has Yukana (Dominura in Simoun, CC in Code Geass, Lottie in Soukou no Strain), Kitamura Eri (Saya in Blood+, Tatiana in Chevalier), Kobayashi Yu (Setsuna in Negima), Fujimura Ayumi (Karada in Asatte no Houkou), and Nojima Kenji in the cast. Like Yamibou, it is an adaptation of an adult PC game by Carnelian. And like Yamibou, it will likely have some yuri elements. (mon 25:30 apr02)
Idolmaster Xenoglossia. One of the most anticipated shows of the season, a mixture of mecha and moe. After the moon is destroyed, only moe young maidens qualify to pilot the mecha that protect Earth from its fragments. The mecha-fication of an idol game (!?). Great cast includes Horie Yui and Tamura Yukari, as well as Koshimizu Ami, Nakahara Mai, Noto Mamiko, Yukana and Takahashi Mikako. Director Nagai Tatsuyuki did Honey & Clover 2. Lead writer Hanada Jukki did Rozen Maiden and Kashimashi. Animation by Sunrise. (mon 26:30 apr02)
Kiss Dum - Engage Planet. AD 2031. Grotesque beings attack humanity, which is defended only by brave young pilots. Will we survive? What is the secret of the "Book of Death" discovered by a scientist? Classic mecha SF plot. Director Nagaoka Yasuchika (Crest of Stars) was said on a staff blog to be way behind schedule, and then to have left the project. Then he returned as "chief director," with Sato Eiichi (Slayers Next) as "director." Hard to say what's going on, or whether the upset will be good for the show or bad. Mizuki Nana and Ono Daisuke in the cast give it a chance. Satelight. (tue 25:00 apr03)
CLAYMORE. Kuwashima Houko and Paku Romi. Wow. From a tough, atmospheric manga set in a world where humans coexist with demons called Yoma. Yoma feed on humans, hiding themselves in human society until they strike. Warriors called Claymores protect humans, infusing themselves with demon flesh and blood to become powerful half-human hybrids, with silver demon-seeing eyes. Beautiful Claymore warrior Claire struggles to retain her humanity. Animation by Madhouse. (tue 25:26 apr03)
Over Drive. Sports anime based on a manga about cycling. Directed by the director of Busou Renkin, written by the writer of Kaikan Phrase. With two newish stars and a fine supporting cast of Nojima Kenji, Taniyama Kishou, Nazuka Kaori, Yahagi Sayuri, and Okiayu Ryotarou. A potential sleeper. Animation by Xebec. (tue 25:30 apr04)
Shining Tears. Animation of a fantasy role-playing game with character designs by Tony Taka. Great cast includes Mizuki Nana, Kuwashima Houko, Kawasumi Ayako, Horie Yui, Okiayu Ryoutarou and Houshi Souichirou. Studio Deen. I'll watch an episode or two for the sake of the cast and see what's going on. (tue 26:10 apr03)
Kono Aozora ni Yakusoku wo. This appears to be the second harem-show-on-an-island of the new season, along with Nagasarete Airandou. The island's largest employer is pulling up stakes and the school dorm is almost empty, just our hero and some girls. Then suddenly a transfer student appears: one of the girls arrives back in her room to find a beautiful girl in her underwear resting on the bed. From a popular ero-game, with the PS2 version coming out in May. The hero is apparently a much more interesting character than the average harem lead.
The director, Yabuki Tsutomu, did Keitai Shoujo and Happy Seven. Lead writer Nishizono Satoru does the same job on Happiness and Naruto Shippuden. Animation director Hanai Hirokazu animated the good-looking Kamisama Kazoku. The cast is an interesting mixture, with Koorogi Satomi (Himawari in Crayon Shin-chan), Orikasa Ai, Shinji Kawada (Mine in Nodame), and Nazuka Kaori (in a minor role), among others. The fact that Artland is involved also gives me hope. (tue 26:15 apr03)
Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS. A new series of the very successful magical girl show which I for some reason find unwatchable. Set ten years after the end of the last series, with the entire crew now working in the Time-Space Adminstration Bureau. What a great cast: Tamura Yukari, Mizuki Nana, Ueda Kana, Saitou Chiwa, Nakahara Mai, Inoue Marina, Takahashi Mikako, Shimizu Kaori, Yukana. OP by Mizuki Nana, ED by Tamura Yukari. Animation by Seven Arcs (Inukami). (tue 26:30 apr03)
Sisters of Wellber. Promising adventure drama. Victim of a forced engagement to the prince of an enemy country, princess Rita stabs her fiance and flees toward a neutral country. Tina the thief becomes her protector. Director and writer did Prince of Tennis (Hamana Takayuki and Maekawa Jun). Animation by Trans Arts (Prince of Tennis), with support from Production I.G. The wonderful Takahashi Mikako as the princess, and Takeuchi Junko (Naruto) as the protectress. Namikawa Daisuke and Sugita Tomokazu also in the cast. (tue 26:00 apr03)
Saint Beast: Kouin Jojishi Tenshi Tan. Female director Shimazaki Nanako directs a cast of popular male seiyuus in a new series of this shounen-ai fantasy: Yoshino Hiroyuki (Yuuji in Tona-Gura), Miyata Kouki (Isami in Noein), Sakurai Takahiro (Suzaku in Code Geass), Fukuyama Jun (Lelouch), Sugita Tomokazu (Kyon in Haruhi), Midorikawa Hikaru (Seiran in Saiunkoku), Ishida Akira (Athrun Zala in GSD), Morikawa Toshiyuki (Ernst in the Angelique shows). Animation by Tokyo Kids. (tue 26:58 apr03)
Shinkyoku Soukai Polyphonica. Human beings rely on the miracles of fairies, while fairies that have materialized in this world survive on the music played by humans. A great young musician in a romance with a powerful female spirit.
Top sound director Aketagawa Jin did Ichigo Mashimaro, Honey & Clover, etc., and can get great performances from his seiyuu. Excellent cast includes Kawasumi Ayako, Mizuki Nana, and Satou Rina. Kamiya Hiroshi (Takemoto in H&C) returns to a leading role after his serious motorcycle accident. This is the first full production project for the animation producer, Ginga-ya, which assisted on Shinigami no Ballad and Zettai Shounen. OP by eufonius. (tue 28:15 apr03)
Hitohira. The staff that did PetoPeto-san animates another cute manga. A new girl in school sometimes gets so nervous she can’t speak, yet she is recruited into the drama club. The promo video made this look sweet and emotional, like PetoPeto-san. Director Nishimori Akira, writer Sasano Megumi, and animation producer Motohashi Hideyuki all worked on that show. The cast includes Kawasumi Ayako, Narita Ken (Lin in Ghost Hunt), Kishio Daisuke (Yunoki in Corda D'Oro), Hikami Kyoko (Rabi~en~Rose in Di Gi Charat) and Yukino Satsuki (Ai in Planetes). This one gets a head start on the other shows, opening on 28 March. Animation by Xebec M. (wed 11:00 mar28)
Nagasarete Airantou. A boy is shipwrecked on a desert island inhabited only by beautiful girls desperate for a man. Need I say more? This could set a new standard in harem comedy. Great cast includes Horie Yui, Takahashi Mikako, Chiba Saeko, Itou Shizuka, and Shiraishi Ryouko. Intriguing writers involved in Emma, Fruits Basket, NANA, etc. New director. Animation by Feel (Otome wa Boku ni Koi Shiteru). (wed 25:20 apr04)
Romeo x Juliet. The trailer shows great-looking animation and backgrounds, with a fantasy setting that may ring some changes on Shakespeare's plot. Mizusawa Fumie, who plays Juliet, gets her big break after a great performance as Wapourif in Simoun. Hisakawa Aya, Kawasumi Ayako, Matsuki Kiyu, Okiayu Ryoutarou, Hirohashi Ryou, Ohara Sayaka.
New director Oisaki Fumitoshi works with an adaptation of Shakespeare by top scriptwriter Yoshida Reiko (Saiunkoku, Marimite). Sound director Sato Junichi was director of Kaleidostar, ARIA, and Princess Tutu. A must-see. Gonzo. (wed 25:45 apr04)
Kotetsujin Jeeg. Classic hard-core giant robot action. Takes place 50 years after the original Jeeg, with a new cast. The previously defeated "Haniwa" evil robots re-emerge, and Kotetsushin Jeeg is manned to fight again. Ono Daisuke, Ueda Kana,
Darker than Black- Kuro no Keiyakusha. Action thriller set in Tokyo involving spies with supernatural powers and violent supernatural bad guys. Bones production. Yoko Kanno music. Creator/director Okamura Tensai (Wolf's Rain). Cast of experienced pros, with Ikeda Masaru (Ren in NANA) and Fukuen Misato (Liz in Red Garden), and Mizuki Nana in a supporting role. OP by abingdon boys school. Definitely worth a look. (thu 25:25 apr05)
Ookiku Furikabutte. The director of Genshiken and XXXHolic, Mizushima Tsutomu, animates a manga about kids playing baseball. Written by Kuroda Yousuke, who wrote Gokujo Seitokai and Infinite Ryvius. Animation by Yoshida Takahiko (Honey & Clover, Welcome to the NHK). The magazine (Afternoon) that serializes the comic also did Gankutsuou, Yume Tsukai, Genshiken, YKK, and AMG. Could be a sleeper. Animation by A-1 (Aniplex). (thu 25:25 apr12)
Kaze no Stigma. Could be good. Based on a fantasy novel by Yamato Takahiro. Ono Daisuke (Yukito in Air) is a member of the fire-controlling clan who is banished for his inability to control fire. He returns to
Great-looking cast: Fujimura Ayumi (Karada in Asatte), Itou Shizuka (Shouko), Morinaga Rika (Mamiina in Simoun), Makino Yui (best new seiyuu nominee as Misaki in NHK), Inokuchi Yuka (Anju in Karin). Director Sakata Junichi did Comic Party Revolution and storyboards for many shows, including CCS and FMP. Writer Sekijima Mayori did Tsukuyomi and Angel Sanctuary. Gonzo. (thu 25:30 apr05)
Princess Resurrection. Schoolboy Hiro dies in a car accident, but is resurrected by the princess of darkness, who feeds him her precious blood, which is an elixir of immortality. The director last did Strawberry Panic. Animation director/character designer Kuroda Kazuya did Vandread and Chrono Crusade. Kawasumi Ayako, Noto Mamiko, Shimizu Ai, Morinaga Rika, Oura Fuyuka. From a manga. Animation by Madhouse. (thu 25:55 apr12)
Koutetsu Sangokushi. This may be the first anime I watch for its male cast: Miyano Mamoru (Light in Death Note), Koyasu Takehito (Sakujun in Saiunkoku) and Suwabe Junichirou (Ren in Karin). Add Nabatame Hitomi and there you go. Set in an alternate version of Three Kingdoms China, with a magic jade added. Written by Takahashi Natsuko (Gakuen Heaven, involved in Gankutsuou). Character design by Tsukamoto Chiyomi (Chevalier). Animation by Picture Magic (Kagihime, Lamune, and the notoriously poorly animated Soul Link). (thu 26:15 apr05)
Kishin Taisen Gigantic Formula. Gotoh Keiji (Uta~Kata, Kiddy Grade) goes mecha. About a dozen famous mecha designers have contributed mecha, including Kawamori Shoji and Izubuchi Yutaka. And Yahagi Sayuri gets another prominent role, beside Satou Rina (Negi in Negima). Definitely worth a look. (thu 26:28 apr05)
Keitai Shoujo. An unusual little romance show based on a cellphone game, with an amazing cast. Five four-minute episodes will be streamed online for PC and cellphone. Yahoo! is asking the public to choose which direction the plot should go. Koshimizu Ami, Ishida Akira, Ueda Kana, Nazuka Kaori, Takahashi Mikako, Satou Rina, Suzuki Chihiro. The director and animator did Happy Seven, but the animator also did the Gargoyle of the Yoshinagas. Starts in mid-March. Studio Hibari. (fri 12:00 mar17)
Kamichama Karin. Very, very cute. Orphaned 12-year-old girl whose dead mother's pink ring gives her god-like powers. She gradually finds other people who have similar rings that give them their own god-like powers. Directed by Anno Takashi (YKK, Maison Ikkoku), written by Kakihara Yuuko (Otogijushi Akazukin) from popular manga by Koge Donbo (Di Gi Charat, Pita Ten). Add Nakahara Mai and Sawashiro Miyuki and we may really have something. Satelight animation. OP by Ali Project. (fri 17:30 apr06)
Emily of New Moon. From the novels by Lucy Maud Montgomery, author of Anne of Green Gables. Also involves a girl sent to the country to live with relatives, but Emily is apparently a harder case than Anne. Emily is played by Kawakami Tomoko, who was Utena, Misuzu in Air, Soi Fong in Bleach, etc. NHK Saturday morning can make good things happen, so I'll take a look. Animation by TMS. (sat 07:25 apr07)
Seirei no Moribito. From a novel by Uehashi Nahoko, set in a fantasy land reminiscent of old Korea. A prince is chosen to bear a fairy's egg. His father wants to kill him, but his mother hires a woman guard. Star Adachi Naoto is 13. VAs are a mix of unknowns and older pros. VA Tsujitani Kouji (who played the Irresponsible Captain Tylor) was sound director of Simoun. Director Kamiyama Kenji did GITS:SAC. Animation by Production I.G. (GITS:SAC, Chevalier, etc.) Great-looking backgrounds. A typical NHK cast of old pros. This has possibilities, with echoes of Saiunkoku and Changeum, and something more. (sat 08:06 apr07)
Saiunkoku Monogatari new series. Second season of a great fantasy adventure/romance, set in an analogue of old China. Kuwashima Houko is amazing as Shuurei, the brilliant, kind, moral - and human - girl who becomes an official. Yoshida Reiko's adaptation of a successful series of novels. I watched the first 39 episodes, and I'm ready for more. I hope for the return of Shuurei's one weakness: Sa Sakujun. Animation by Madhouse. (sat apr07)
Blue Dragon. Takes over Otogijushi Akazukin's Saturday morning 9 am time-slot on TV Tokyo. Director Matsushita Yukihiro did Marimite. Writer Yamatoya Akatsuki did Gintama and helped with Simoun. Namikawa Daisuke, Hazuki Erino, and Paku Romi in the cast. Worth a look. Maybe it will be a kids' show for adults, as Akazukin was. Studio Pierrot. (sat 09:00 apr07)
Lovely Complex. Highly popular shoujo manga about a tall girl and a short boy who are a bickering comic pair, but may become a romantic couple. Unknown seiyuus and kid-oriented director (One Piece, Sailor Moon S) give me pause, but one of the writers was lead on Hana yori Dango, and worked on Marmalade Boy, Gokinjo Monogatari and Ashita no Nadja. I will be there for at least the first couple of eps. Toei. (sat 17:30 apr07)
To Terra... Light-years from Earth, where everyone's life is controlled by the great master computer, if you are a telepath, you are doomed. Telepaths have been hiding for centuries, and Terra (Earth) may be their last sanctuary. Saiga Mitsuki, Sugita Tomokazu, Koyasu Takehito (yes!), Kobayashi Sanae, Inoue Marina and Namikawa Daisuke make an outstanding cast. Let's see what director Yamasaki Osamu (Gallery Fake 13-on) can do with them and a classic SF plot. The art on the home page looks good, and some of the writers were involved in shows like Ergo Proxy, Eureka 7, and Noein, so there is promise here. Remake of an older film. Animation by Minamimachi Bugyousho (Gallery Fake, episodes of Mushishi). (sat 18:00 apr07)
Emma - A Victorian Romance, Second Act. Second season of the excellent period romance. Animation studio has changed from Studio Pierrot to Asia-Do, but the staff remains largely the same. Touma Yumi (Mel in Angelique, Urd in Ah My Goddess) continues as Emma, and there are other great voices, too: Kobayashi Sanae (Maya in Glass Mask), Ohara Sayaka, Mizuhashi Kaori, Inoue Kikuko, Ueda Yuuji (Morita in H&C). Directed by Kobayashi Tsuneo (Twelve Kingdoms). Music by Ryo Kunihiko (Twelve Kingdoms, Saiunkoku). (sat 25:30 apr07)
Skull Man. Mass murders and catastrophes all over Japan are committed by a masked/caped psychic madman, called the Skull Man, and his shape-shifting sidekick. The calamities are investigated by a detective agency and the son of a yakuza. Directed by the director of Vandread, Mori Takeshi, written by the auteur of Rahxephon, Izubuchi Yutaka. Not my style, but could be good for those who like this sort of thing. Preview episode 21 Apr. Bones. (sat late night apr28)
Tengen Toppa Gurren-Lagann. Mecha comedy with great animation and a nice cast (Asumi Kana, Ueda Kana, Inoue Marina, Konishi Kaysuyuki, Taniyama Kishou, Itou Shizuka, Satou Rina). But a kiddyish shounen look that doesn’t appeal to me personally. Set in the future, in an underground world where a boy is suddenly confronted by a mecha and a girl from the upper world no-one was sure existed. Shows Sundays at 8:30 am. Gainax. (sun 08:30 apr01)
Gegege no Kitaro. A cast of veterans, including Takayama Minami (Detective Conan), revive a classic kids' show. Animation by Toei. (sun 09:00 apr01)
Hayate the Combat Butler. From a popular comedy manga. Hayate Ayasaki's parents sell him to the yakuza to pay off their debts. Escaping, he finds a rich girl called Nagi wandering in a park at night. He decides to kidnap her for ransom, but she thinks he's confessing love. She pays off Hayate's debt in return for him being her butler until he earns the money back -- which will take decades. She's a very dere tsundere, and he becomes her "combat butler." The trailer makes this look like a good-hearted show.
Great cast includes Shiraishi Ryouko (as Hayate), Kugimiya Rie (as Nagi), Tanaka Rie (as the maid), Itou Shizuka, Matsuki Miyu, Ueda Kana, Nabatame Hitomi, Takahashi Mikako and my current favorite, Ohagi (Yahagi Sayuri). New director Kawaguchi Keiichirou is demonstrating his talent with Getsumen to Heiki Miina. OP by KOTOKO. Animation: Synergy SP (Kirarin Revolution). (sun 10:00 apr01)
Lucky Star. Cuteness so thick you could spread it on toast. SaiMoe here we come. From a smart 4-koma comic strip that has a bit of Hidamari Sketch and a bit of Ichigo Mashimaro. Kyoto Animation's first venture into this kind of show. Director Yamamoto Hiroshi was series director of Suzumiya Haruhi. Lead writer Machida Doko wrote Muteki Kanban Musume.
This is Hirano Aya's only new spring show. The all-star drama CD cast was replaced by Aya (Suzumiya Haruhi), Chihara Minori (Yuki) and a lot of unknowns. For me, this is a must-see: because of KyoAni and Aya, because the manga is funny, and also for the incredible voice of Sasaki Nozomi (Nana-chan in Bokura ga Ita). (sun 24:00 apr08)
Heroic Age. Mecha SF adventure. Humanity, the "Iron Race," is the last of the sentient races to enter space. Aeons later, it is threatened with extinction by the Silver Race. In order to save her people, the queen sets out toward a far-off galaxy, following the prophecies. She meets a boy called Eiji.... Good cast includes Yazaki Hiroshi, Kugimiya Rie, Tamura Yukari, Arai Satomi and Kondou Takashi. Writer Ubukata Tow (Fafner, Chevalier d'Eon, Mardock Scramble) is a larger-than-life character who can create real SF. Animation director Hirai Hisashi did the designs for Gundam Seed, Fafner and Infinite Ryvius. We can hope. I will give this one a chance, especially since it has conscious references to the ancient Greek heroic age. Animation by Xebec. (sun 25:30 apr01)
Bokurano. One of the most anticipated shows of the season, from an extremely popular manga. During summer vacation, a group of 15 children discover a mysterious man living in a seashore cave. The man says he is a game developer creating a video game in which 15 giant robots defend Earth from alien invaders. He asks the kids to test the game for him. They soon begin to find the game horribly real, especially after one of them dies following their first victory. And they have no idea how to leave the "game." Mecha adviser: Suzuki Tsutomu (Zone of the Enders). Gonzo. OP by Ishikawa Chiaki, who did the great OP for Simoun. (sun 25:30 apr08)
sola. An original story by the writer of Kanon, adapted by the screenwriter for Rozen Maiden, directed by the director of Utawarerumono, with original character designs by the designer of Da Capo adapted by the designer for ARIA, and starring an amazing cast including Nakahara Mai, Noto Mamiko, Koshimizu Ami, Fujiwara Keiji, Kaneda Tomoko, and Yahagi Sayuri. Genki classmate whose imouto is in hospital, onee-san figure, mysterious girl in a church, goth loli: they're all there. Let's see what the staff and cast can do with them. Animation by Nomad. (sun 25:30 apr08)
Seto no Hanayome. Mermaid saves boy's life and must marry him because he has seen her true form. But her father, the underwater mob boss, is not pleased and tries to do away with him, while he and his parents try to keep it a secret that his bride is a mermaid. From a popular manga. Great chance for Momoi Halko to show her talent as the "Bride of the Inland Sea." From the director of Magikano, with good-looking animation from Gonzo. The writer did Utawarerumono, which is good, but also Amenaideyo and Lovedol, which is bad. (sun 26:00 apr02)
And there are some good shows continuing: Nodame Cantabile, Les Miserables, Death Note, Rocket Girls, and the recently started Moonlight Mile.
Information for this post came from Moon Phase, AniDB.net, Anime News Network, Japanese Wikipedia, anime official sites, the AnimeSuki forums, and Shoboi Calendar. Anime titles link to their pages in the Anime News Network encyclopedia.