Thursday, December 10, 2009

Winter 2010 New Anime -- full previews w/cast, staff, trailer, story, pics, mangas

katanagatari This is the first season to make me really believe the cries of woe that have been coming from the anime industry for years. My list has only 19 new shows coming out in the first three months of next year. That compares with 36 shows in the same period this year.

But there are some promising and/or eagerly awaited shows among them:
  • Baka to Test to Shokanjuu is a school comedy based on a top-rated light novel, and it is directed by Oonuma Shin, who directed the two ef shows for Shaft. Because of him, this is at the top of my list.
  • Dhurara is by the staff that made the underrated Baccano, and is based on a novel by the same author as that show.
  • Dance in the Vampire Bund is Shinbou Akiyuki's next big thing after Bakemonogatari. It is based on a popular manga in which the loli-looking queen of the vampires pays off Japan's national debt in return for an urban island off Tokyo where her people can live.
  • So Ra No Wo To is by the director of Elfen Lied and the writer of Macross Frontier, but appears to be more like ARIA in a Strike Witches setting, and with K-On character design.
  • Nodame Cantabile: Finale ends that great series under the direction of Kon Chiaki, who directed Higurashi and the somewhat disappointing Nodame Paris. But it is written by the well-known playwright and novelist who wrote Gurren-Lagann.
  • Katanagatari is the second of NisiOisiN's novels to be animated, after Bakemonogatari, and is therefore highly anticipated -- but it is done by the same staff that made School Days and Amenaideyo, so I personally have low expectations. Except for the wonderful art and character design you see above.
  • Ookami Kakushi is a new seinen horror thriller from a game by Ryuukishi07, who created Higurashi.
  • And starting in March, fans will have a new Gundam OVA series, Gundam Unicorn, with an interesting new/old look and written and directed by the men who made Chevalier D'Eon.
And there are other shows that will appeal to various audiences. The following alphabetical list links to fuller descriptions of each show. The full descriptions are in order of first broadcast. For the first time this year I have included links to online scanlations of mangas. Also included are links to video previews of most shows, along with detailed staff and cast info, a story synopsis, and an image.

// Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu     // Chuu Bra!!     //Cobra the Animation     // Dance In The Vampire Bund     // Dhurarara!!     // Hanamaru Youchien     // Haruka Naru Toki no Naka de 3: Owari Naki Unmei     // Heartcatch Precure     // Hidamari Sketch X Hoshimittsu     // Kaitou Reinya     // Katanagatari     // Ladies versus Butlers!     // Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn     // Nodame Cantabile: Finale     // Omamori Himari     // Ookami Kakushi     // Seikon no Qwaser     // Sex Pistols     // So Ra No Wo To

-- dates and times may change, and will be updated in my anime calendar, which should come out around the end of the year
-- information from official sites, MoonPhase, AniDB, Anime News Network, Japanese Wikipedia, Who Subs What, et al.
-- English titles link to an anime's Anime News Network page, Japanese titles to its official site

Cobra The Animation

macho mammaries space adventure
Continued revival of an old series. This new TV series follows two OVAs.

Cobra is very known space pirate, but decides to change his face and to clear all his memories. He becomes a common guy, with a common job, and a very boring life, but suddenly he starts remembering his true identity and new adventures begin. (ANN)

This new series features a great supporting cast, including such luminaries as Sakamoto Maaya, Ohtsuka Akio, and Yamaguchi Kappei.

seiyuus: Uchida Naoya, Sakakibara Yoshiko, Honda Takako, Inoue Marina, Minagawa Junko, Ohtsuka Akio, Orikasa Fumiko, Sakamoto Maaya, Shiraishi Ryoko.
director: Shimizu Keizo (Sanada)
writer: Koide Kazumi (Cobra OVA production producer).
animation: Magic Bus. chara-des: Shimizu Keizo (Emily of New Moon, Legend of Basara), Yamamoto Keiko, Masui Ippei. animation supervisor: Yamamoto Keiko (first full show), Kobayashi Yukari (One Piece, Naruto Shippuuden). art: Kouno Jiro (Hi no Tori, Genji).
music: Ike Yoshihiro (Kamichu, Flag, Telepathy Girl Ran).
sat 02 jan 23:30 Yamaguchi Kappei

Haruka Naru Toki no Naka de 3: Owari Naki Unmei
(jp: 遙かなる時空の中で3 終わりなき運命)

reverse harem historical adventure fantasy
Another OVA based on the popular reverse-harem girls' adventure game set about a thousand years ago in Japan. Our heroine is a modern girl thrown back in time and involved in fighting leading up to the great civil war battle of Dan no Ura. But the situation is complicated by the presence of a friend from the present on the other side of the battle.

Stars Kawakami Tomoko (Utena, Misuzu in AIR, Amber in Darker than Black, etc.), with a harem including Miki Shinichirou, Seki Tomokazu, etc.

TV special airs 26 Dec.

seiyuus: Kawakami Tomoko, Miki Shinichirou, Seki Tomokazu, Takahashi Naozumi, Miyata Kouki, Nakahara Shigeru, Inoue Kazuhiko, Hoshi Souichirou, Ishida Akira, Kuwashima Houko.
director: Kimiya Shigeru (Hand Maid May OVA); chief dir Tsunaki Aki (Harukanaru)
writer: Takamura Kouji (new).
animation: Yumeta (NeoAngelique, Miracle Train). chara-des: Tsunaki Aki (Harukanaru, Miracle Train); orig Mizuno Touko (manga). art: Shibata Chikako (Rozen Maiden, Honey Clover, NeoAngelique).
music: Hirano Yoshihisa (Beyblade, Death Note, Bantorra).
sun 03 jan 25:00 (DVD 24mar)

Chuu Bra!!
(jp: ちゅーぶら!!)

seinen ecchi pantsu
Educational show (lol) about a junior high school girl who has strong principles regarding underwear. In order to educate other students, she starts the "Underwear Club" at her school.

Good cast stars Chihara Minori (Yuki in Haruhi), Yahagi Sayuri (Izumi in Hayate), Kotobuki Minako and Hikasa Youko (Tsumugi and Mio in K-On). The stars sing the OP and ED.

Strange staff group for a show of this kind: the director of Gakuen Heaven and the writer of Saiunkoku and RomeoxJuliet.

seiyuus: Chihara Minori, Kotobuki Minako (Tsumugi/K-On), Yahagi Sayuri, Hikasa Youko (Mio/K-On).
director: Hiiro Yukina (Gakuen Heaven, Shikabane eps)
writer: Yoshida Reiko (Marimite, K-On). Nakata Yumi (manga).
animation: ZEXCS. chara-des: Yatsu Miyako (Idaten Jump).
OPED seiyuus.
manga. subs: Hatsuyuki?. trailer.
mon 04 jan 23:30

So Ra No Wo To
(jp: ソ・ラ・ノ・ヲ・ト)

moe slice-of-life
Set in a "near distant"future in a land that, after years of war, has settled into decline. Kanata Kumika is a 15-year-old girl who fulfills her dream of enlisting in the army and joins a unit of five girls who protect a fortress that looms over a little village. The girls play music that reverberates across the skies over towns without people and seas without fish. Setting reportedly modelled on the Spanish city of Cuenca and the nearby Alarcón Fortress. (anidb)

First in the "Anime no Chikara" series, produced by Aniplex and aired on TV Tokyo, supposedly to televise inventive new series.

Director Kanbe Mamoru did Elfen Lied and Denpateki na Kanojo. Writer Yoshino Hiroyuki did Mai-Hime and -Otome, Macross Frontier and Denpateki na Kanojo, as well as this season's Dance in the Vampire Bund.

Stars model/actress Aikawa Juri (also known as Kanemoto Hisako). Young Yuuki Aoi gets a second winter show (along with Vampire Bund). Kitamura Eri, Kobayashi Yuu, and Endou Aya also appear.

Original character design by Mel Kishida has been simplified to look like K-On, and the situation is reminiscent of Strike Witches, but I don’t think this is like either of those. This has a chance to be quite good: it may be more ARIA than K-On. OP and ED written by Kajiura Yuki, and performed by Kalafina (OP) and Tomatsu Haruka.

seiyuus: Aikawa Juri (aka Kanemoto Hisako, actress/model), Kobayashi Yuu, Kitamura Eri, Yuuki Aoi, Endou Aya, Fukuen Misato, Ishizuka Unshou, Yasokawa Mayuno.
director: Kanbe Mamoru (Elfen Lied, I"s Pure, Denpateki na Kanojo)
writer: Yoshino Hiroyuki (Mai-HiME, Mai-Otome, Macross F, Denpateki na Kanojo). Paradores (orig).
animation: A-1 Pictures (Kannagi, Birdy Decode, Fairy Tail). chara-des: Akai Toshifumi; Mel Kishida. art: Kai Masatoshi; Aoki Tomoyuki.
music: Ooshima Michiru (Xamdo, FMA1). OP Kalafina, ED Tomatsu Haruka (both written by Kajiura Yuki).
trailer. subs: pwq, Yuurisan-Subs & m.3.3.w, Chihiro, Hatsuyuki.
mon 04 jan 25:30

Seikon no Qwaser
(jp: 聖痕のクェイサー)

ecchi shounen action adventure
At St. Mihailov Academy, a Japanese Eastern Orthodox school, two students encounter many hardships until they find a mysterious silver-haired boy. The boy is a "quasar," a powerful being who derives power from sucking women's breast milk. Thus begins a shounen action adventure story involving lots of oppai fanservice and bloody violence.

Stars the capable voice of Sanpei Yuuko (Nakiami in Xam'd, Renton in Eureka Seven, Hajime in Natsu no Arashi). Also features two of the K-On girls: Toyosaki Aki and Hikasa Youko, as well as two more seiyuu/singers: Hirano Aya and Chihara Minori. And two top seiyuu actresses: Kawasumi Ayako and Takagaki Ayahi. The creepy voice of Chiba Susumu (Scythe in Phantom) and the deep bell of Ookawa Tooru round out a stellar cast.

Writer Uezu Makoto (School Days) is one of my least favorites, however. Director Hiraku Kaneko is doing her first show.

seiyuus: Sanpei Yuuko, Fujimura Ayumi, Toyosaki Aki, Chihara Minori, Hirano Aya, Hikasa Youko (Mio/K-On), Kawasumi Ayako, Takagaki Ayahi, Chiba Susumu (Scythe/Phantom), Ookawa Tooru.
director: Kaneko Hiraku
writer: Uezu Makoto. Yoshino Hiroyuki (manga story).
animation: Taki (Godannar, Sonic the Hedgehog movie). chara-des: Uno Makoto; Satou Kenetsu (manga art). animation supervisor: Iijima Hiroya, Sugimoto isao.
OP Faylan, ED seiyuus.
trailer. manga. subs: Yuurisan-Subs.
mon 04 jan 25:30

Ladies versus Butlers!
(jp: れでぃ×ばと!)

seinen maids romantic comedy
The director of Kanokon and the writer of Strike Witches and Nogizaka Haruka team up for ecchi shenanigans in a high school that trains butlers and maids.

Outstanding cast includes Kawasumi Ayako, Nakahara Mai, Koshimizu Ami, Kugimiya Rie, Gotou Mai, and 15-year-old Hidaka Rina (Last Order in Index).

First episode preview 29 Dec.

seiyuus: Okitsu Kazuyuki (Izmal/Hanasakeru), Kawasumi Ayako, Nakahara Mai, Koshimizu Ami, Kugimiya Rie, Gotou Mai, Hidaka Rina (age15, Last Order/Index, Anne/Konnichiwa), Itou Mariya, Sakuma Kumi.
director: Ootsuki Atsushi (Kanokon)
writer: Tamai Tsuyoshi (Strike Witches, Nogizaka Haruka).
animation: Xebec (Kanokon, Phantom, The Third). chara-des: Takami Akio (Busou Renkin, Kanokon); Munyuu (manga).
tue 05 jan OP seiyuus, ED Nakahara Mai

Omamori Himari
(jp: おまもりひまり)

catgirl romantic comedy
Our hero is an orphan living alone, cared for by his childhood friend next door. All he has from any relative is a mamori (good luck charm) left him by his grandparents, but that loses its potency on his 16th birthday. But on that day, a mysterious cat-girl samurai shows up to protect him. Unfortunately, he is allergic to cats.

From a popular bishoujo manga. There are complaints from fans about the character design, which is by the person who did charades for Akane Maniax and directed animation for Ranma 1/2. The director and writer seem an odd couple: one directed Strait Jacket, the other wrote Otoboku.

Stars the outstanding Koshimizu Ami and Hirakawa Daisuke, with Nomizu Iori (Nymph in Sora no Otoshimono) and Shindou Kei (Kuro in Kodomo no Jikan).

seiyuus: Koshimizu Ami, Hirakawa Daisuke, Nomizu Iori (Nymph/SoraOto), Shindou Kei (Kuro/KnJ), Okame Asuka (Meishen/Regios), Neya Michiko.
director: Ushiro Shinji (Strait Jacket)
writer: Hasegawa Katsumi (Final Approach, Otoboku, DC2SS), Matra Milan (manga).
animation: ZEXCS. chara-des: Isono Satoshi (Ranma anidir, Akane Maniax).
OP Sakamoto Aya & Kawada Ruka.
trailer. manga. subs: ExSSubs, Mochi Fansubs.
wed 06 jan 25:30

Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu
(jp: バカとテストと召喚獣)

shounen comedy school romance fantasy
Based on the top-rated novel of the year and directed by Oonuma Shin, who directed the excellent ef animes. Not only that, but the writer wrote the ef animes, Hanbun no Tsuki ga Noboru Sora, and Natsu no Arashi.

This one is definitely on my list.

The novel is said to be hilarious. It is set in a school that strictly stratifies students, and the comforts of their classrooms, by test scores. The lowest ranked class uses every means to battle the higher ranked classes. Our hero has the lowest marks in the school. The heroine is a smart girl who missed exams due to illness and was ruthlessly relegated to the bottom class.

Talented cast includes Shimono Hiro (Jin in Kannagi), Harada Hitomi (Tomoe in Sasameki Koto), Mizuhashi Kaori (Ogiue in Genshiken), Katou Emiri, Miyata Kouki (Arthur in Emma), Nanjou Yoshino (Koko in DC2, and the new singer in fripSide), and Taketatsu Ayana (Azusa in K-On).

seiyuus: Shimono Hiro (Hiro/ef, Jin/Kannagi), Harada Hitomi (Tomoe/Sasameki Koto), Mizuhashi Kaori (Ogiue/Genshiken, Miyako/Hidamari), Suzuki Tatsuhisa (Tezuka/Library War, Sugata/SoraOto), Katou Emiri, Miyata Kouki (Arthur/Emma), Taketatsu Ayana (Azusa/K-On, Vanilla/Yumeiro Patissiere, Ako/kissxsis), Terashima Takuma (Teppei/Princess Lover), Nanjou Yoshino (Koko/DC2, Maria/Canaan, fripSide singer).
director: Oonuma Shin (ef)
writer: Takayama Katsuhiko (Hantsuki, ef, Natsu no Arashi). Inoue Kenji (novels).
animation: Silver Link (Tayutama). chara-des: Oshima Miwa (Love Love, Saiunkoku, Koihime Musou); Haga Yui (orig). animation supervisor: Oshima Miwa (Love Love, Koihime Musou). art: Azuma Kohji (Mushiuta, Natsu no Arashi).
OP Aso Natsuki, ED milktub.
trailer. manga. subs: Mochi Fansubs, KazenoKoe-Fansubs & Keishou-Subs.
wed 06 jan 26:20

Dance In The Vampire Bund
(jp: ダンスインザヴァンパイアバンド)

vampire action violence fanservice
Mina Tepes, Queen of the Vampires, pays off Japan's national debt in return for an urban island off Tokyo where her people can live. Akira, a werewolf teen, comes to her service, having been raised from birth to be her bodyguard. In the manga, Mina usually appears to be a loli, but sometimes appears as a beautiful -- and often naked -- young adult woman. As Mina and Akira get to know each other, they must defend themselves and the island from attacks from within and outside.

Shinbou Akiyuki gets another title he can really sink his teeth into. Young Yuuki Aoi (age 17, Murasaki in Kurenai) takes the lead, supported by Nakamura Yuuichi (Alto in MacrossF) and Saitou Chiwa -- who was Shinbou's first vampire, in Tsukuyomi Moon Phase.

Adapted by the writer who did Mai-HiME, MacrossF, and Denpateki na Kanojo.

This should be good.

seiyuus: Yuuki Aoi, Nakamura Yuuichi, Saitou Chiwa, Kaida Yuuko, Itou Shizuka.
director: Shinbou Akiyuki; series dir Sonoda Masahiro (eps/boards NHK, Gendai Mahou)
writer: Yoshino Hiroyuki (Mai-HiME, MacrossF, Denpateki). Tamaki Nozomu (orig).
animation: Shaft. chara-des: Konno Naoyuki (Kikaider, 009-1). animation supervisor: Konno Naoyuki (009-1, Shina Dark promo). art: Azuma Kohji (Mushiuta, Natsu no Arashi).
music: Dobashi Akio (Wellber, Yozakura). OP Nakano Aiko, ED hibiku.
trailer. manga. subs: Kesenai Subtitles?, Yuurisan-Subs, gg, Hatsuyuki.
thu 07 jan 09:00

(jp: デュラララ!!)

seinen comedy drama
From light novels by the author of Baccano. Produced by many of the same people who made Baccano, including director Omori Takahiro and writer Takagi Noboru (who also did Koi Kaze).

Set in Ikebukuro, Tokyo, with an amazing ensemble cast including Miyano Mamoru, Hanazawa Kana, Kamiya Hiroshi, Ono Daisuke, Fukuyama Jun, Nakamura Yuuichi, Kaji Yuuki, Takagaki Ayahi, Kobayashi Sanae and Toyonaga Toshiyuki (Ayumu in Zettai Shounen) playing roles such as street thugs, high school students, a female radio host, an underworld doctor, a young information vendor, and a headless Irish fairy.

This show has my full attention.

seiyuus: Toyonaga Toshiyuki (Ayumu/Zettai Shounen), Miyano Mamoru, Hanazawa Kana, Kamiya Hiroshi, Ono Daisuke, Fukuyama Jun, Nakamura Yuuichi, Kaji Yuuki, Takagaki Ayahi, Kobayashi Sanae.
director: Omori Takahiro (Baccano, Natsume Yuujinchou)
writer: Takagi Noboru (Koi Kaze, Baccano); Narita Ryohgo (novels).
animation: Brains Base. chara-des: Kishida Takahiro (Koi Kaze, Noein, Baccano);orig Yasuda Suzuhito (Kamisama Kazoku, Yozakura Quartet). animation supervisor: Takada Akira (new, keyanim GITS:SAC, Samurai Champloo). art: Itou Akira (Elfen Lied, Baccano, Denpateki Kanojo).
music: Yoshimori Makoto (Koi Kaze, Baccano, Natsume Yuujinchou).
trailer. manga. subs: Moetaku-Fansubs?, gg.
thu 07 jan 25:25

Hidamari Sketch X Hoshimittsu
(jp: ひだまりスケッチ×☆☆☆(ほしみっつ))

moe slice-of-life comedy
A new series of yet another of Shinbou Akiyuki's successful franchises. Two new girls are introduced: Nori and Nazuna. Nori in particular seems to be arousing some excitement on 2channel.

seiyuus: Asumi Kana, Mizuhashi Kaori, Gotou Yuuko, Shintani Ryouko, Matsuki Miyu, Kugimiya Rie, Sawashiro Miyuki, Chou, Fukuen Misato.
director: Shinbou Akiyuki
writer: Hasegawa Nahoko (Hidamari1); Yoguchi Natsue (eps of Hidamari). Aoki Ume (mangaka).
animation: Shaft. chara-des: Itou Yoshiaki (Hidamari, Gakuen Alice). animation supervisor: Itou Yoshiaki (Hidamari, Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei).
music: Kikuya Tomoki (Potemayo, Kyouran Kazoku). OP seiyuus, ED marble.
manga. subs: Yuurisan-Subs?.
thu 07 jan 25:29

Ookami Kakushi
(jp: おおかみかくし)

seinen horror thriller
Sixteen-year-old Kuzumi Hiroshi moves to a town in the mountains. A river divides the town into new and old districts. Class rep Kushinada Nemura gives him a word of advice: “Stay away from the old streets." Set in 1983 -- and centuries before.

Based on a PSP mystery adventure game from a concept by Ryuukishi07, who wrote the Higurashi game, and with designs by Peach-Pit.

Director Takamoto Nobuhiro did Rakugo Tennyo and Tokimeki Memorial. Lead writer Machida Touko did Muteki Kanban Musume and Lucky Star. She is working from Ryuukishi07's original work this time, though.

OP written by Kajiura Yuki and performed by Fiction Junction, ED by Ozawa Takumi performed by Nanri Yuka.

seiyuus: Kobayashi Yuu, Fujita Saki, Katou Emiri, Ise Mariya, Gotou Yuuko, Fuchigami Mai.
director: Takamoto Nobuhiro (Rakugo Tennyo Oyui, Tokimeki Memorial, 07-Ghost)
writer: Machida Touko (Muteki Kanban Musume, Lucky Star, Tears to Tiara). Ryuukishi07 (orig., Higurashi creator), Konami.
animation: AIC. chara-des: Watanabe Atsuko (Valkyria, Charger Girl, GA); orig Peach Pit. animation supervisor: Watanabe Atsuko (Valkyria, Charger Girl).
OP Fiction Junction, ED Nanri Yuka.
subs: Formula, Hatsuyuki.
thu 07 jan 25:29

Kaitou Reinya
(jp: 怪盗レーニャ)

kids adventure comedy
Morning Musume memberTanaka Reina stars, and was the inspiration for this show and for the comic strip on which it is based. Reinya is a convenience store's kanban musume ("signboard girl") by day, and a whimsical thief by night.

The story follows her adventures, chased by bumbling cops: a handsome detective and a cool inspector. Joining Reinya on her escapades is her trusty mouse assistant, Chuutarou.

seiyuus: Tanaka Reina (Kirara/Onegai My Melody, MoMusu), Youki Sou, Noto Arisa (Hello! Project), Misawa Sachika, Wakabayashi Naomi.
director: Iwami Hideaki (key animator Top wo Nerae, Eva); Something Yoshimatsu (chief dir)
writer: Kanemaki Kenichi (Ai yori Aoshi, PaniPoni Dash, Natsume Yuujinchou, 11eyes). Up-Front Style (draft).
animation: Stingray. chara-des: Mr. A (draft).
sat 09 jan 24:50

Hanamaru Youchien
(jp: はなまる幼稚園)

seinen slice-of-life
Slice-of-life comedy featuring kids and teachers in a kindergarten. Nothing ecchi, just cute with a bit of serious.

I'm not sure what the director of Gundam00 and FMA1 is doing here. The contrast is intriguing.

I'll watch anything starring Takagaki Ayahi (Noe in true tears, Sumi-chan in Sasameki Koto). Also stars Shindou Kei (Kuro in Kodomo no Jikan), and MAKO (Yurie in Kamichu!).

seiyuus: Shindou Kei (Kuro/Kodomo no Jikan), Takagaki Ayahi (Sumi-chan/Sasameki), MAKO (Yurie/Kamichu), Hino Satoshi, Hirota Shimu, Ise Mariya, Mizuhara Kaoru, Honna Youko, Saitou Chiwa, Konishi Katsuyuki.
director: Mizushima Seiji (Gundam00, FMA1)
writer: Oguro Yuichirou (Zoku/Goku Sayonara Zetsubou). Yuto (manga).
animation: Gainax. chara-des: Otsuka Mai (Shakugan no Shana). art: Matsumoto Hiroki.
trailer. manga. subs: pwq.
sun 10 jan 25:30

Nodame Cantabile: Finale
(jp: のだめカンタービレ フィナーレ)

shoujo/josei music romance
The conclusion of the popular anime, the first season of which had the highest late-night anime ratings of the past ten years.

Kon Chiaki, who directed the second series, returns. But there is a new writer: playwright and novelist Nakashima Kazuki, who wrote Gurren-Lagann. Those of us who were a bit disappointed by Nodame Paris can possibly derive some hope from that.

seiyuus: Kawasumi Ayako, Seki Tomokazu.
director: Kon Chiaki (Higurashi, Nodame Paris, Hanasakeru Shounen)
writer: Nakashima Kazuki (playwright, novelist). Ninomiya Tomoko (manga).
animation: JC Staff. chara-des: Shimamura Shuuichi.
OP Sakai Yuu.
manga. subs: Frostii, BSS?.
thu 14 jan 24:45

(jp: 刀語)

samurai adventure comedy
The second NisiOisiN novel to be animated, following Bakemonogatari. But that was done by one of the best staff groups around: Shinbou and Shaft. This is done by what I consider one of the worst: the director and writer who did Amenaideyo and School Days.

The story involves a young man who is the master of a "swordless" sword technique. He and his sister live alone on an island. He is sent on a quest to gather the twelve best swords made by a great swordsmith.

The previews are gorgeous. A screening of the first episode got high praise for the animation -- which is directed by someone new to the staff group -- but there were rumblings of discontent from fans over lines that were changed from the novel.

Lead seiyuu Hosoyo Yoshimasa did a fine job as Juuzawa Juu in Denpateki na Kanojo, and he is backed up by some top names: Tamura Yukari, Nakahara Mai, Ookawa Tooru.

Twelve one-hour episodes broadcast monthly. First ep 25 Jan, second 8 Feb, third 8 Mar. I am apprehensive, but ready to be amazed.

seiyuus: Hosoyo Yoshimasa (Juuzawa Juu in Denpateki), Tamura Yukari, Nakahara Mai, Ookawa Tooru.
director: Motonaga Keitarou (Yumeria, Amenaideyo, School Days, Akasaka)
writer: Makoto Uezu (Yumeria, Amenaideyo, School Days, Akasaka). Nishio Ishin (orig; Bakemonogatari).
animation: White Fox. chara-des: Kawada Tsuyoshi (Best Student Council), Take (orig). animation supervisor: Kawada Tsuyoshi (HoneyClover2). art: Kudou Tadashi (Mizuiro 2003).
music: Iwasaki Taku (Getbackers, Gurren-Lagann).
trailer. subs: Moetaku-Fansubs? Gg?.
OVA. 12x1hr eps.
mon 25 jan

Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn
(jp: 機動戦士ガンダムUC)

shounen mecha adventure
The new Gundam OVA adopts the new fashion of six one-hour episodes. Theatrical and Playstation previews of episode one will be released on 20 feb.

Interesting new/old-style look. Appropriate music. Promising new cast. Expectations run high among Gundam fans.

Director Furuhashi Kazuhiro did Real Drive, Chevalier D'Eon and Rurouni Kenshin. Writer Muto Yasuyuki did Persona, Basara, and Chevalier D'Eon.

Uchiyama Kouki was Soul Eater. Fujimura Ayumi is Niche in Letter Bee and Cecily in Blacksmith. Kaida Yuuko was Mari in Tokyo Magnitude 8. Shimono Hiro was Jin in Kannagi.

seiyuus: Uchiyama Kouki (Soul Eater), Fujimura Ayumi (Cecily/Blacksmith), Shimono Hiro (Jin/Kannagi), Namikawa Daisuke (Kazehaya/Kimi ni Todoke, Benawi/Utawarerumono, Rock/Black Lagoon), Toyoguchi Megumi, Kaida Yuuko, Ikeda Shuuichi, Kakihara Tetsuya, Tezuka Hideaki.
director: Furuhashi Kazuhiro (Real Drive, Chevalier D'Eon, Rurouni Kenshin)
writer: Muto Yasuyuki (Persona, Basara, Chevalier D'Eon). Fukui Harutoshi.
animation: Sunrise. chara-des: Takahashi Kumiko (Tokyo Babylon, CCS, Ouran). art: Ikeda Shigemi (Planetes, Gantz, various Gundams). mecha: Ishigaki Gunya, Katoki Hajime.
music: Sawano Hiroyuki (Yoakena, Gigantic Formula, Sengoku Basara).
OVA. 6x50mineps.
12 mar

Sex Pistols
(jp: Sex Pistols)

yaoi sci-fi romance
Adaptation of a yaoi manga series. In the 2003 sci-fi manga, a teenage boy discovers he is one of a select group of humans who evolved from animals other than apes -- animals such as leopards and bears. Cat ears, romance, and physical relationships ensue.

Staff list not yet published. Ep2 25jun. Preview and manga both NSFW.

seiyuus: Hatano Wataru (Yuuto/Nogizaka Haruka), Sugita Tomokazu (Kyon/Haruhi), Shimono Hiro (Hiro/ef), Kawahara Yoshihisa (Yasu/NANA), Nojima Hirofumi (Shuga/Moribito, Scarecrowman), Yusa Kouji (Vincent Law/Ergo Proxy).
trailer. manga.
OVA. 1/2eps.
26 mar

Heartcatch Precure
  (jp: ハートキャッチプリキュア!)

magical girl fantasy
The seventh Precure series. No staff or cast information yet available.

animation: Toei.
sundays 08:30am begins in February


Anonymous said...

Wow, that is a pretty short list. There is some interesting stuff going on though. Japan is just issuing a bailout and are trying to get consumers to spend more, so, we'll see if the econ. improves a bit more then.

Sorrow-kun said...

I'd feel a lot more comfortable about NC:Finale if Kasai had the reins instead of Kon. There's more interesting stuff here than there is in the current season, so that's good. I'm surprised Shaftbo don't have Katanagatari considering how much success they had with Bakemonogatari. I would have thought they'd want it pretty bad. You're right to be apprehensive about the people in charge of it, but at the very least I like the format idea they have (one hour eps, airing monthly). Figure 17 did something similar a number of years ago, and was reasonably effective with it.

Rei said...

Winter is always weakest, but wow very short. Haven't seen so short in a long time. Definitely be easier on my net now. I can watch o so much more :D Probably be watching almost everything minus the yaoi. Not too sure on the kindergarten thing either. But hey, who knows. TTGL animation turns kindergarten, lol. And Chu-Bra... probs a no. I'll probably be sucked in to watch it coz of friends like kissxsis ugh... -.-"

animekritik said...

Interesting about Baka to Test being by the ef director. Might be good.
Thanks for the info!

hashi said...

@Sorrow-kun -- If I were NisiOisiN or his publisher, I'd have wanted to give it to Shinbo, too -- but I guess this was all decided before he did so well with Bakemonogatari. And I just remembered: Shaft has lost some important staff members, too, apparently, so perhaps they didn't feel able to meet this schedule. I understand that meeting schedules isn't Shinbo's thing, anyway, lol.

@Rei -- I'll watch an episode of everything and see how things go from there. However, I sometimes find myself abandoning a show after one episode, then realizing later it was better than I thought.

Serakah said...

Shinbo isn't doing Katanagatari?! /facepalm. The premise looks cool so I hope the show isn't ruined.

I hope the short anime list doesn't continue on down the road, it's definitely worrying. Thanks for the extra manga link. Good stuff as always.

aime said...

hmm... the last item i checked i think it was Ozawa Takumi who suppose to do all teh stuff for Nanris song in Ookami Kakushi... did that got changed o.O ... i kinda doubt it since i think Kajura would compose the song the ending credit would change to FictionJunction YUUKA.

Thanks for the guide though :D

hashi said...

@aime -- I just rechecked the Presepe page I got the info from, and you're right. I must have skimmed it too quickly. Thanks for that. Changed. Here's the page, which has some pics and comments.

mei said...

"So Ra No Wo To is by the director of Elfen Lied and the writer of Macross Frontier, but appears to be more like ARIA in a Strike Witches setting, and with K-On character design."

that sounds schizophrenic (bloody & ecchi to drama-mecha to absolute serenity to, er ditzy school girls in a band) :P

☆君だけの アンサー★ said...

wah again can see latest anime leh~~~
only this few anime oo ??

chatslazo said...

Thanks again for the best damn preview west of Japan. I just hope the Katanagatari situation isn't heralding a downward spiral at Shaft. I've really come to depend on them for quality innovation.

tj han said...

Yup your previews are wtill the best, thanks!

is this the whole bunch of them? I guess they are really scaling back now that people have no money? Dhurarararara appears to be my most anticipated I think. I still see a couple of crappy moe shows aimed at hardcore otaku, but maybe the suits are starting to realise that it is possible to make profitable anime that are liked by otaku yet are also good? Bakemonogatari being a key example.

Mac (Kyuusai) said...

As always, your previews are invaluable.

I'm going to remain optimistic about Katanagatari. I dropped School Days pretty quickly, but in the short time I was watching it, I was impressed with almost every element of its production except its putrid source material.

So, the staffing doesn't bother me a bit from the outset. However, reports of changed lines do. Sometimes source material has to be adapted to fit a different medium, and sometimes fans complain about pointless things. However, lines that are changed without reason are often a sign of lack of respect for the source material. Only time will tell.

hashi said...

One of the disadvantages of getting this post out early is that a few new shows will be announced. I see that the new Cobra series will be coming out in January. And that the next Hetalia has been announced for March. I'll add these as they come up, and will also add them to my anime schedule.

I may or may not add a few shows I did not include because of lack of (my) interest: such as a new Gag Manga Biyori.

Westlo said...

Katanagatari is nothing really like Bakemonogatari and seems much more action based than Bake ever was. Considering how SHAFT struggled with animation in Bake it's probably for the best they never got Kata. And SHAFT can't even keep on schedule for the last 3 Tsubasa Cat episodes... I can't really see them doing 12 OVAs over a year in addition to everything else they do lol.

Also I feel it's unfair to go

Shinbo + SHAFT did Bake = good
guys who did Amenaideyo and School Days = probably bad.

When it comes to adaptions the source material is the key, Shinbo himself was bitching in an interview that he couldn't take much credit for Bake since he followed the source...

Now Bakemonogatari is generally regarded as being way better than Katanagatari... so if Katana doesn't live up to hype thanks to Bakemonogatari it's not just the people who worked on it.

White Fox guys doing Bake and Shinbo & SHAFT doing Katana would end in the same result.. Bake is better.

The only thing Nisio has done that is considered better than Bake is his Zaregoto series, which is regarded as his best work.

hashi said...

@Westlo -- Thanks for all that info and those smart opinions. I have a prejudice against the new staff because I haven't liked anything they've done, but I will try to be open-minded and will watch with the expectation of being entertained. I do love the look, as far as we can see it so far.

I like Shinbou, but I have never liked anything of his as much as I liked Bakenonogatari. His own humor -- if that's what his other shows give us -- is not as much to my taste as Nisio's, it appears. I felt he overdid his opinion in that interview, however. Bakemonogatari was still "Shaftbo" in style, and I liked that aspect of it, too.

By the way, I have added a couple of shows to my list (Cobra and Precure) and will continue to add more if I discover more I want to include. I always leave out a few kids' shows, so the year/year comparison remains valid.

bakahyl said...

This is the first time that I haven't seen Tomatsu Haruka being casted in a serie (doing an ed song doesn't count)

hashi said...

@bakahyl -- Good point. She will at least be continuing in Cross Game and Bantorra, both of which go until April.

Yi said...

Dance in the Vampire Bund is the only anime this season that I'm particularly interested in. I tend to be really bad at picking out what's good and what's bad though, so what I end up liking will definitely end up changing as the season continues.

raito-kun said...

Very nice preview. Overall not much to look forward to, Durarara!! seems to be the only real highlight.

I wouldn't expect too much from Baka to Test to Shokanjuu (even if Shinbou's protégé Oonuma is directing it), it will be not much more than the usual cookie-cutter stuff, studio and staff are anything but promising.

Nakayoo said...

That is a pretty short list and another thing, I noticed there are no yuri or shoujo-ai among the titles. That is sad, then I'll have nothing to write about in the beginning of this year. But i will ofcourse watch some of them!

EveNing said...


Don't you have something better to do than to pose as "Nakayo" and steal her own blog?!?!

For shame!!!


BTW Hashime! Thanks for posting this! I always look forward to your anime preview posts! It's a great reference I always come back to.

FaS said...

I JUSSSTTTTT got done doing the whole thing on winter v2 and it's not thaaat short, but definitely shorter than the usual. I am really looking forward to Chu-Bra!! Vampire Bund since the manga was great, and of course DRRR!! Some of the others seem interesting, but for the most part, I want to catch Chu-Bra!! since I've been waiting for it for SOOOOO damn long.

Kudo Shinichi said...

Wow, quite a list of anime this year.
I like Gundam after 00, but I'm not so favour about this UC as it looks 80/90's based on the poster.
Hello, I'm just created a blog about anime. Hope we can exchange some opinion and comment(but keep up yours, too much anime)lol.

Lavender said...

You have the most detailed and perfect anime preview list. I like it a lot.

Anonymous said...

Winter is always weakest, but wow very short. Haven't seen so short in a long time. Definitely be easier on my net now. I can watch o so much more :D Probably be watching almost everything minus the yaoi. Not too sure on the kindergarten thing either. But hey, who knows. TTGL animation turns kindergarten, lol. And Chu-Bra... probs a no. I'll probably be sucked in to watch it coz of friends like kissxsis ugh... -.-"

Fairy Tail

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