Tuesday, December 25, 2012

January 2013 Anime Previews: staff, cast, story, pic, trailer, manga, etc.

Last season was one of the best I can recall. So perhaps it's fair that this season doesn't look very promising.

The show I'm most looking forward to is Sasami-san@Ganbaranai, a new offering from Shinbou and Shaft about a female hikikomori who only sees the outside world through a camera attached to her brother.

I'm also intrigued by Kotoura-san, which is about a high-school girl who happens to be able to read minds: stars Kanemoto Hisako, Fukushima Jun, and Hanazawa Kana.

And I'm looking forward to Koshimizu Ami and Fukuyama Jun teaming up again to lead an anime made by the director and writer of Spice & Wolf and also involving economics: Maoyuu Maou Yuusha.

Other shows of interest:
  • Ai Mai Mi -- 4-panel comic with an ero edge, starring Uchida Maaya, Kayano Ai, Ootsubo Yuka and Uchida Aya.
  • Amnesia -- Our heroine wakes up and realizes she does not know where or who she is. A boy who calls himself a "fairy" guides her on a journey of discovery through her past life.
  • D.C.III: Da Capo III -- The fifth series of a classic harem anime, made by a new studio with a new cast.
  • Hakkenden: Touhou Hakken Ibun -- shoujo supernatural mystery with a nice cast including Okamoto Nobuhiko and Takagaki Ayahi, and made by a new director who directed episodes of Penguin Drum.
  • Love Live! -- Idol anime that is part of a large project that has already produced a series of music videos for which fan feedback determined costumes and the precedence of the stars.
  • Mangirl! -- That's "manga girl," not "man-girl." Cute but inexperienced manga editors try to make their new magazine the best in the world.
  • Minami-ke Tadaima -- A new season of the popular comedy that I may like more now that a new studio and director is producing it.
  • Ore no Kanojo to Osananajimi ga Shuraba Sugiru -- Maybe it's just the title of this harem comedy that entices me: "My girlfriend and my childhood friend in too much of a battlefield."
  • Senran Kagura -- The director of Shakugan no Shana and Ichiban Ushiro no Dai Maou brings us a super-ecchi comedy featuring names like Harada Hitomi, Iguchi Yuka, and Kobayashi Yuu.
  • Senyuu -- These are just five-minute episodes, but they mark the return of ex-KyoAni director Yamamoto Yutaka to anime comedy.
  • Tamako Market -- KyoAni unleashes a new moe comedy by the director and writer of K-On.
  • Vivid Red Operation -- The director of Strike Witches creates another show featuring moe girls fighting alien invaders.
Click on title or scroll down for full preview of each show:

Ai Mai Mi     ● AKB0048 next stage     ● Amnesia     ● Bakumatsu Gijinden Roman     ● Beast Saga     ● Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai Next     ● Chihayafuru 2     ● Cuticle Tantei Inaba     ● D.C.III: Da Capo III     ● Ganbare! Lulu Lolo -- Tiny Twin Bears     ● GJ-bu     ● Gudaguda Fairies 2     ● Hakkenden: Touhou Hakken Ibun     ● Hetalia: The Beautiful World     ● Ishida to Asakura     ● Jigoku Youchien     ● Kotoura-san     ● Love Live!     ● Mangirl!     ● Maoyuu Maou Yuusha     ● Minami-ke Tadaima     ● Mondai-ji-tachi ga Isekai kara Kuru Sou Desu yo?     ● Ore no Kanojo to Osananajimi ga Shuraba Sugiru     ● Sasami-san@Ganbaranai     ● Senran Kagura     ● Senyuu     ● Tamako Market     ● The Unlimited - Hyoubu Kyousuke     ● Vivid Red Operation     ● Yama no Susume     

-- dates and times may change, and will be updated in my anime calendar, which should come out in two weeks' time. 
-- information from official sites, MoonPhaseAniDBAnime News NetworkJapanese Wikipediaet al.
-- English titles link to the Anime News Network encyclopedia; Japanese titles link to official sites. "forum" links to AnimeSuki forum.
-- click images to enlarge. 

Winter 2013 Shows in Chronological Order:

Yama no Susume
  (jp: ヤマノススメ)   jpWiki

moe girls friendship
A girl who loves mountains and a girl who fears heights decide to climb a mountain together to see sunrise from the peak, as they did when they were young. A series of five-minute shorts directed by the veteran director who did Aquarion Evol. Nice group of voices: Iguchi Yuka, Asumi Kana, Hikasa Youko, Ogura Yui.

director: Yamamoto Yuusuke   writer: Shiro (orig).
seiyuus: Iguchi Yuka, Asumi Kana, Hikasa Youko, Ogura Yui.
animation: 8bit.
forum. wed 02 jan 25:30

  (jp: まんがーる!)   jpWiki

moe comedy with manga editors
Four cute but inexperienced manga editors struggle to launch what they hope will be Japan's #1 manga magazine. The original manga began in the first edition of the manga magazine Comic Earth.

Director Nakanishi Nobuaki did Koihime Musou and Kasimasi Girl Meets Girl. Writer Yoshida Reiko did K-On.

The four main characters are played by comparative newcomers, but they are supported by some big young names: Kayano Ai, Taketatsu Ayana, Kitamura Eri, and Yuuki Aoi. Kayanon and Ao-chan may keep me around even if the show isn't as interesting as I hope it will be. Miyamoto Kanako, who plays the lead girl, Hana, has been a TV and film actress and has a number of CDs and an album, but has turned to seiyuu work in recent years.

director: Nakanishi Nobuaki   writer: Yoshida Reiko. Tamaoka Kagari (manga).
seiyuus: Miyamoto Kanako, Komagata Yuri, Otaka Moemi, Ohashi Ayaka, Kayano Ai, Taketatsu Ayana, Kitamura Eri, Yuuki Aoi.
animation: Douga Koubo. ED seiyuus.
manga. forum. wed 02 jan 25:35

Ai Mai Mi
  (jp: あいまいみー)   jpWiki

4-panel comic with school club and alien invaders
Four girls in a high-school manga club draw manga (maybe) and fight other clubs and alien invaders. From a four-panel comic. Typical dry, crazy 4-koma humour, with an ero edge.

 Good young cast includes Uchida Maaya and Kayano Ai, along with Ootsubo Yuka and Uchida Aya. This is director Imazaki Itsuki's first full show, but he is a long-time storyboarder and episode director, having done episodes of Haibane Renmei, Lovege Chu, Vampire Knight, etc. He is also the character designer and scriptwriter here.

The animation company is Seven, which did Recorder and Randsell and Morita-san Mukuchi. Narration by charmingly harsh otaku comic Tenshin Mukai (Mukai Seitarou).

director: Imazaki Itsuki   writer: Imazaki Itsuki. Choboraunyopomi (orig).
seiyuus: Ootsubo Yuuka, Uchida Aya, Uchida Maaya, Kayano Ai, Tenshin Mukai (narration).
animation: Seven. OP seiyuus.
trailer. manga. forum. thu 03 jan 23:00

Cuticle Tantei Inaba
  (jp: キューティクル探偵因幡)   jpWiki

shounen fantasy action comedy
Red-haired detective Inaba has wolf genes and can identify a criminal from a single hair. He works with his assistants -- one of them a cute trap. But he is less than thrilled at having to work with the police again.

This is the first directorial job for Mitsunaka Susumu, a multi-talented key animator who has also done scripts, storyboards, and episode direction. Lead writer Nakamura Makoto did Seitokai Yakuindomo (good) and Telepathy Girl Ran (not so good). The fine voices of Ookawa Tooru, Suwabe Junichi, and Hikasa Youko head the cast.

director: Mitsunaka Susumu   writer: Nakamura Makoto. Mochi (orig).
seiyuus: Ookawa Tooru, Suwabe Junichi, Hikasa Youko, Kosugi Juurouta, Irino Miyu, Morikawa Toshiyuki, Shimoda Asami.
animation: Zexcs.
trailer. manga. forum. fri 04 jan 23:30

Maoyuu Maou Yuusha
  (jp: まおゆう魔王勇者)   jpWiki

demons, fighting, economics
The best cast of the season: Koshimizu Ami, Fukuyama Jun, Saitou Chiwa, Tomatsu Haruka, Touyama Nao, Sawashiro Miyuki, Kamkya Hiroshi…need I say more?

The director and writer of Spice and Wolf bring us another show with strong underpinnings of economics. Humans and demons are continuously at war. The Humans' greatest hero invades the Demon King's castle determined to kill him. But the King is actually a Queen, and she proposes an alliance with the Hero. She explains how a sudden end to the war could lead to chaos as humans turn from fighting demons to fighting each other. The Hero joins forces with the Queen and together they execute a plan to bring prosperity and lasting peace to both Humans and Demons.

It's a show based in economics, like Spice and Wolf, and starring the same great duo: Koshimizu Ami and Fukuyama Jun.

director: Takahashi Takeo   writer: Arakawa Naruhisa. Touno Mamare (orig).
seiyuus: Koshimizu Ami, Fukuyama Jun, Saitou Chiwa, Tomatsu Haruka, Touyama Nao, Sawashiro Miyuki, Kamiya Hiroshi, Fukuen Misato, Hirakawa Daisuke, Kaji Yuuki, Itou Shizuka, Terashima Takuya.
animation: Arms. OP Yohko, ED Arai Akino.
trailer. manga. forum. fri 04 jan 25:00

D.C.III: Da Capo III
  (jp: D.C.III ~ダ・カーポIII~)   jpWiki

supernatural harem romantic comedy
The fifth series (not counting two specials and a movie) of this classic harem show. The series is something you either love or hate, but I'm a fan. How my affection for the franchise will stand up to a complete change in cast and staff, however, I can’t be sure.

Interest in the English-speaking world is low, and in Japan the 2channel thread was only recently created and has only a few posts. Director Ishikura Kenichi is doing his first show, but has previously done a lot of work as an episode director for Shaft (ef, Hidamari, Natsu no Arashi), and was assistant director on Showa Monogatari and MariaHolic Alive. No production company is named. It seems that staff has been assembled and/or subcontracted specifically for this show. I do look forward to hearing Ono Yuuki, Nitta Emi, and Miyazaki Ui in lead roles.

director: Ishikura Kenichi   writer: Ishikura Kenichi. Circus.
seiyuus: Ono Yuuki, Nitta Emi, Miyazaki Ui, Sasaki Mikoi, Ousaki Chiho, Kaiho Erika, hitomi.
animation: OP seiyuus.
trailer. forum. sat 05 jan 22:00

Ore no Kanojo to Osananajimi ga Shuraba Sugiru
  (jp: 俺の彼女と幼なじみが修羅場すぎる)   jpWiki

harem comedy
Top student Eita is determined to get into medical school and refuses to have anything to do with romance. But then the school beauty confesses to him and his childhood friend steps in to make his life a battlefield of love.

Interesting cast features Akasaki Chinatsu, Ousaka Ryouta, Tamura Yukari, Kanemoto Hisako and Kayano Ai. Director Kamei Kanta did Usagi Drop. Writer Urahata Tatsuhiko did Saki and Horizon. Promising all-out harem comedy.

director: Kamei Kanta   writer: Urahata Tatsuhiko. Yuuji Yuuji.
seiyuus: Akasaki Chinatsu, Ousaka Ryouta, Tamura Yukari, Kanemoto Hisako, Kayano Ai.
animation: A-1 Pictures. OP seiyuus, ED Tamura Yukari.
trailer. manga. forum. sat 05 jan 24:00

AKB0048 next stage
  (jp: AKB0048 next stage)   jpWiki

idol music science fiction drama
Kawamori Shouji (Macross) and writer Okada Mari (AnoHana, true tears, etc.) bring us the second season of an anime inspired by the tremendously popular idol group AKB48. Under Kawamori, Hiraike Yoshimasa (AmagamiSS, Solty Rei, Sketchbook) is doing the directing.

In the 21st century, a world war erupts and devastates the Earth, forcing humanity AKB48 group that was so popular just before the Earth was destroyed. In their new world, almost fifty years after leaving Earth, singing and dancing are strictly forbidden. But they dare to put on their own guerrilla performances.

Special auditions were held to choose AKB48 seiyuus for the cast, which was filled out, however, with a bevy of top names. Just as with the real AKB48, the backstories and relationships among the girls are as important as the performances themselves.

director: Hiraike Yoshimasa (Amagami SS, Sketchbook, Solty Rei), chiefdir: Kawamori Shouji (Macross Frontier, Basquash)   writer: Okada Mari (true tears, AnoHana). Kawamori Shouji (concept).
seiyuus: Nakaya Sayaka, Satou Amina, Hata Sawako, Satou Sumire, Sawashiro Miyuki, Ishida Haruka, Yagami Kyuumi, Noto Mamiko, Watanabe Mayu, Iwata Karen, Tamura Yukari, Mita Mao, Nakahara Mai, Kawasumi Ayako, Kakazu Yumi, Ono Daisuke, Shiraishi Ryouko, Ueda Kana, Tamura Yukari, Nakahara Mai, Horie Yui, Kanda Akemi.
animation: Satelight.
trailer. manga. forum. sat 05 jan 25:00

Minami-ke Tadaima
  (jp: みなみけ ただいま)   jpWiki

A fourth series of this popular comedy franchise is upon us. Satou Rina, Inoue Marina, Chihara Minori, Mizuki Nana, Ono Daisuke, Kitamura Eri…. How come I've never really liked these shows?

In any case, the humour just never did it for me. But I'll try again, especially since yet another studio (feel) tries its hand at the franchise, and top comedy director Kawaguchi Keiiichirou (Hayate, Yutori-chan, OniAi) takes over as director. Lead writer Kouno Takamitsu moves up from having been an episode writer on the very first series.

director: Kawaguchi Keiichirou   writer: Kouno Takamitsu. Sakuraba Coharu (manga).
seiyuus: Satou Rina, Inoue Marina, Chihara Minori, Mizuki Nana, Morinaga Rika, Kakihara Tetsuya, Ono Daisuke, Kitamura Eri, Oohara Momoko, Gotou Saori.
animation: feel. OPED seiyuus.
trailer. manga. forum. sat 05 jan 25:00

Hakkenden: Touhou Hakken Ibun
  (jp: 八犬伝 -東方八犬異聞-)   jpWiki

shoujo supernatural mystery
A marvellous cast takes on a supernatural mystery involving a magical sword and survivors of a plague. Lead seiyuus include Kakihara Tetsuya, Okamoto Nobuhiko, Hino Satoshi and Takagaki Ayahi, with names like Miki Shinichirou and Kamiya Hiroshi in the supporting cast.

New director Yamazaki Mitsue has done storyboards and directed episodes for Penguin Drum and Natsuyuki Rendezvous. He is working under chief director Yamasaki Osami (Hakuouki, Itazura no Kiss, Toward the Terra). This looks like the good Studio DEEN.

director: Yamazaki Mitsue; Yamasaki Osamu (chiefdir)   writer: Yamazaki Mitsue, Yamasaki Osamu. Abe Miyuki (manga).
seiyuus: KakiharaTetsuya, Hino Satoshi, Takagaki Ayahi, Okamoto Nobuhiko, Maeno Tomoaki, Terashima Takuya, Miyake Junichi, Miki Shinichirou, Kamiya Hiroshi, Namikawa Daisuke.
animation: Studio Deen. OP Faylan, ED Kakihara Tetsuya.
trailer. manga. forum. sat 05 jan 26:58

Senran Kagura
  (jp: 閃乱カグラ)   jpWiki

ecchi action comedy
Super-ecchi comedy set in a school for female ninjas. Directed by the director of Shakugan no Shana and Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou. Adapted by the writer of Elfen Lied and Sekirei.

Excellent cast includes the underrated Harada Hitomi, who plays Nori in Hidamari Sketch and Himeji in Baka to Test.

director: Watanabe Takashi   writer: Yoshioka Takao. Takaki Kenichirou (orig, planning).
seiyuus: Harada Hitomi, Iguchi Yuka, Imai Asami, Kobayashi Yuu, Mizuhashi Kaori, Toyoguchi Megumi, Shiraishi Ryouko, Kitamura Eri, Gotou Saori, Kayano Ai.
animation: Artland. OP Sasaki Sayaka, ED seiyuus.
trailer. manga. forum. sun 06 jan 20:30

Love Live!
  (jp: ラブライブ!)   jpWiki

idol comedy/drama
A Tokyo high school faces closure, so nine of its female students decide to become idols to boost attendance and protect their school. This is the anime series of an idol project that has already produced several animated music videos. Fan votes influenced the idols' wardrobe, and even which idols would get center stage. Dengeki G's magazine, Lantis music, and Sunrise have worked together on the project.

The anime is created by Sunrise's Studio 8, which did both Horizon and Accel World. New director Kyougoku Takahiko is an increasingly busy storyboarder and episode director. Top hand Hanada Jukki does the writing.

The cast includes singing seiyuu such as Nanjou Yoshino, Mimori Suzuko, and Uchida Aya, along with what appear to be quite new seiyuu and a couple of idols. The videos and the trailer all suggest this should be a well-produced show, transcending its cliches.

director: Kyougoku Takahiko   writer: Hanada Jukki.
seiyuus: Nitta Emi, Nanjou Yoshino, Uchida Aya, Mimori Suzuko, Iida Riho, Pile, Kusuda Aina, Kubo Yurika, Tokui Sora.
animation: Sunrise.
trailer. forum. sun 06 jan 22:00

Ishida to Asakura
  (jp: 石田とあさくら)   jpWiki

surreal gag comedy with hints of BL
The surreal comedy centers around the friendship of two high-school boys, one of whom wants to become a teacher in a girls' school, while the other wants to start a florist shop with the first.

Director Pippuya has directed nothing but the OVA Kachou no Koi. Writer Yamashita Kenichi wrote numerous episodes of Yumeiro Patissiere and of Ginga e no Kickoff.

Stars two lesser-known seiyuus: Morishima Shuuta was Opera in Milky Holmes. Nakamoto Nobuhisa was Takeshi in Weiss Survive.

director: Pippuya   writer: Yamashita Kenichi. Masao (manga).
seiyuus: Morishima Shuuta, Nakamoto Nobuhisa, Sakurai Tooru, Nakano Saima.
animation: Hotline.
manga. forum. sun 06 jan 22:27

  (jp: AMNESIA)   jpWiki

amnesia romance from an otome game
I love the set-up: heroine regains consciousness in an unfamiliar cafe, with no memories of the past. Where is this place? What am I doing here? Who am I?

A boy appears before her. His name is Orion. He calls himself a fairy. Under Orion's direction, she searches for clues about herself. She eventually meets people who know her: a childhood friend, a senior, a lover.

Director Oohashi Yoshimitsu did Witchblade and Sacred Seven. Writer Machida Touko did Lucky Star and Idolm@ster. Based on an otome game (game for girls) from Otomate.

I love the situation, the character design, and the cast (Nazuka Kaori, Kakihara Tetsuya, Taniyama Kishou, Ishida Akira and others). I'll give this myth a chance.

director: Oohashi Yoshimitsu (Witchblade, Sacred Seven)   writer: Machida Touko (Lucky Star, Idolm@ster). Idea factory (Otomate).
seiyuus: Nazuka Kaori, Kakihara Tetsuya, Taniyama Kishou, Ishida Akira, Hino Satoshi, Miyata Kouki, Igarashi Hiromi.
animation: Brains Base. OP Yanagi Nagi, ED Ray.
trailer. forum. mon 07 jan 23:30

The Unlimited - Hyoubu Kyousuke
  (jp: THE UNLIMITED -兵部京介-)   jpWiki

paranormal powers fighting
A spin-off from Zettai Karen Children, but by a new studio, with a new director (doing his first full show), new characters, and more guys than girls. The writer did Ristorante Paradiso and Sket Dance, as well as the script for the ZKC OVA.

I didn’t have much use for ZKC, but I will definitely give this new show a look., if only to hear Suwabe Junichirou and Touyama Nao.

director: Igarashi Shishou   writer: Inotsume Shinichi. Shiina Takashi (manga).
seiyuus: Yusa Kouji, Suwabe Junichirou, Touyama Nao, Ochiai Hiroshi, Oohara Sayaka, Hatano Wataru, Taniyama Kishou.
animation: Manglobe.
trailer. forum. mon 07 jan 25:35

Bakumatsu Gijinden Roman
  (jp: 幕末義人伝 浪漫)   jpWiki

comedy-drama from a pachinko game
Roman is a phantom thief who steals from the rich the things they have stolen from the poor. Set at the end of the Edo period, in the mid-19th century.

Original character design by Monkey Punch, who does Lupin III. Directed by the director of Knight in the Area.

Starring Nakai Kazuya, Kitamura Ei, Suzumura Kenichi and Uchida Maaya (Rikka in Chuunibyou).

director: Oogura Hirofumi (Knight in the Area)   writer: Higuchi Tatsuto. Takao (novel) 高尾, Monkey Punch (orig).
seiyuus: Nakai Kazuya, Kitamura Eri, Suzumura Kenichi, Uchida Maaya, Suzuki Chihiro, Sudou Saori.
animation: TMS Entertainment. OP Yukino, ED Hige.
trailer. forum. mon 07 jan 26:05

Jigoku Youchien
  (jp: 地獄ようちえん)   jpWiki

flash-animation comedy with little demons
Kiichi has the unfortunate habit of drawing demons and misfortune to himself and those around him. He loves Sakura-chan, but it's his fault that she comes to bear a huge debt. For her sake, he agrees to work at a kindergarten for little devils who are plotting to overthrow humanity.

Flash animation shorts, streamed once a month, every third Tuesday. Twelve episodes.

seiyuus: Ono Yuuki, Asumi Kana, Ookubo Rumi, Honda Mariko, Ishida Haruka (AKB48), Inoue Shinichirou (KDS53).
animation: Kasuga Soft. OP seiyuus.
mon 08 jan 23:00

  (jp: 戦勇)   jpWiki

shounen comedy
Having declared not so long ago that he was through with anime, Yamakan and his Ordet studio return with a series of five-minute shorts based on Robinson Haruhara's manga.

A gigantic hole opens up in the world, and demons issue forth. The king thinks this signals the return of the demon king, who was sealed away by a hero a millenium ago. The king decrees that the descendants of the hero must take on the threat, and 75 people show up. Hero No. 45 (Aruba) and a sadistic palace warrior (Ross) team up for the fight.

The one female in the main cast, Kayano Ai, is surrounded with great voices: Nakata Jouji, Suzumura Kenichi, Nakamura Yuuichi, Shimono Hiro. Yamakan and comedy? I'm in.

director: Yamamoto Yutaka   writer: Yokote Michiko.
seiyuus: Shimono Hiro, Nakamura Yuuichi, Suzumura Kenichi, Nakata Jouji, Kayano Ai.
animation: Ordet. OP/ED JAM Project.
trailer. forum. tue 08 jan 25:35

Tamako Market
  (jp: たまこまーけっと)   jpWiki

"healing" moe slice of life comedy
The director, writer, and character designer of K-On bring us a new moe comedy set in a shopping district. As someone who dropped K-On after half a season, I'm not as thrilled as many people are, but I'll certainly be there to see how this goes.

Once again, KyoAni gives us a cast of relative unknowns…who may become better known because of this show. But the main cast is supported by several experienced hands, including Fujiwara Keiji, Yukino Satsuki, and Ono Daisuke.

director: Yamada Naoko   writer: Yoshida Reiko.
seiyuus: Suzaki Aya, Kaneko Yuki, Nagatsuma Juri, Yamazaki Takumi, Hidaka Rina, Tamaru Atsushi, Yamashia Yurie, Fujiwara Keiji, Nishimura Tomomichi, Tachiki Fumihiko, Yukino Satsuki, Ono Daisuke, Tsujitani Kouji, Narita Ken, Hikasa Youko.
animation: Kyoto Animation.
trailer. forum. wed 09 jan 24:30

  (jp: GJ部)   jpWiki

school comedy
Within the old school building of a certain high school, is the clubroom of the GJ (Good Job) Club, into which Kyouya finds himself conscripted. The other members are: Mao, the short and egotistical president; Megumi, Mao's sister, who is as generous as an angel; Shion, a genius lacking in common sense; and Kirara, who is perpetually hungry. (anidb)

Uchida Maaya, fresh from her triumph as Rikka in Chuunibyou, leads the cast. Mimori Suzuko is also here, as is Shimono Hiro. First-time director Fujiwara Yoshiyuki did storyboards for Ao no Exorcist and SAO. From a novel.

director: Fujiwara Yoshiyuki   writer: Koyasu Hideaki. Araki Shin (novel).
seiyuus: Uchida Maaya, Miyamoto Yume, Arakawa Chika, Shimono Hiro, Mimori Suzuko.
animation: Douga Koubou.
trailer. wed 09 jan 25:29

Gudaguda Fairies 2
  (jp: gdgd妖精s 2)   jpWiki

comedy with moe fairies
A second season of bizarre humour from a group of three little fairies played by Mimori Suzuko, Mizuhara Kaoru, and Akesaka Satomi.

Entirely 3DCG, but with good art design. Character designer Sugahara Souta takes over as director for this second series of 15-minute episodes.

director: Sugahara Souta   writer: Osabe, Kazuyuki, Yamamoto, Taizō.
seiyuus: Mimori Suzuko, Mizuhara Kaoru, Akesaka Satomi.
trailer. wed 09 jan 25:40

  (jp: ささみさん@がんばらない)   jpWiki

comedy with romance and hikikomori
Shinbou returns, with an unusual romantic comedy about a hikikomori who is unmotivated about even changing clothes or eating. Her elder brother slavishly takes care of her, and she views the outside world only via a Brother Surveillance Tool on her computer.

 In the outside world, the three weird but beautiful Yagami sisters -- including a big-breasted nine-year-old and an eroge-loving 31-year-old loli -- are involved with Brother in what is apparently not a romantic comedy. Adapted from a novel.

Lead writer is Takayama Katsuhiko, who did Hantsuki, both ef shows, Machi ga Mawatteiru, and Dusk Maiden Amnesia. As an abject Shinbou fan, I will be all over this one, especially with Chiwa and HanaKana in the cast.

director: Shinbou Akiyuki   writer: Takayama Katsuhiko (Hantsuki, ef shows, Machi ga Mawatteiru, Dusk Maiden). Akira (novel).
seiyuus: Ootsuka Houchuu, Asumi Kana, Hanazawa Kana, Nonaka Ai, Saitou Chiwa.
animation: Shaft. OP ZAQ.
trailer. forum. thu 10 jan 25:25

Vivid Red Operation
  (jp: ビビッドレッド・オペレーション)   jpWiki

girls fighting aliens
In a future world, Earth's energy problems have recently been solved by new technology and the world enjoys peace and plenty. Suddenly, an unknown invader appears, targeting Earth's technology. But our young heroines step up to defend the planet. "Friendship is the key to defending the Earth."

Directed and written by the director of Strike Witches, with the help of writer Yoshino Hiroyuki (Mai-hime, Magi, etc.).

Rising star Sakura Ayane leads the cast, supported by more young stars: Ootsubo Yuka, Uchida Aya, Uchida Maaya, et al.

If this resembles Strike Witches, it will be very popular and I will not watch more than a couple of episodes. But it is one of the most anticipated shows of the season.

director: Takamura Kazuhiro   writer: Yoshino Hiroyuki, Takamura Kazuhiro.
seiyuus: Sakura Ayane, Murakawa Rie, Ootsubo Yuka, Uchida Aya, Uchida Maaya, Terasoma Masaki, Oogame Asuka.
animation: A-1 Pictures. OP earthmind.
trailer. forum. thu 10 jan 25:30

Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai Next
  (jp: 僕は友達が少ないNEXT)   jpWiki

harem comedy
Second season for the popular and entertaining harem comedy. The official site promises a new character (a little nun) and great changes in the relationship among the club members. The first season was fairly enjoyable, and the cast alone -- Kimura Ryouhei, Itou Kanae, Inoue Marina, Hanazawa Kana, Iguchi Yuka, et al. -- are enough to make this worth a look.

The director did Love, Election and Chocolate, but not the first series of Haganai (the nickname for this show). The writer did Strawberry Panic, Saki, and Horizon.

director: Kitahata Tooru   writer: Urahata Tatsuhiko. Hirasaka Yomi.
seiyuus: Kimura Ryouhei, Itou Kanae, Inoue Marina, Hanazawa Kana, Yamamoto Nozomi, Fukuen Misato, Iguchi Yuka.
animation: AIC Build.
trailer. manga. forum. thu 10 jan 25:55

  (jp: 琴浦さん)   jpWiki

four-panel comic
From a funny online four-panel comic. Kotoura Haruka is a pretty girl, but a slow student who loves sweets. However, she can read people's minds.

She transfers into a new high school, where she joins the ESP club. She drags the male main character in after her, despite the fact that the way he proved to himself she really could read minds was by imagining her in bed with him.

 Kanemoto Hisako, Fukushima Jun, and Hanazawa Kana head the cast. The director and writer worked together on Minami-ke, Mitsudomoe, and Yuruyuri. Promising show.

director: Oota Masahiko   writer: Takashi Aoshima. Enokizu (online manga).
seiyuus: Kanemoto Hisako, Fukushima Jun, Hanazawa Kana, Kubo Yurika, Shimono Hiro.
animation: AIC Classic.
trailer. manga. forum. thu 10 jan 26:00

Mondai-ji-tachi ga Isekai kara Kuru Sou Desu yo?
  (jp: 問題児たちが異世界から来るそうですよ?)   jpWiki

ecchi comedy drama with violence
"So these problem children come from another world?" The moment bored teen Izayoi opens a letter he receives, he is transported to an alternate world. There, he meets two other "problem children" who have been transported there — a taciturn girl with a cat, and a girl who is beautiful and haughty. A bunny girl named Black Rabbit has summoned them to help overthrow the devil.

Directed by Yamamoto Yasutaka (Squid Girl 2) under chief director Kusakawa Keizou (Sekirei, Dog Days). From a popular novel. Writer Kimura Noboru did AmagamiSS+ and Haiyore Nyaruko-san.

A less distinguished cast includes Nakajima Megumi and Nomizu Iori, along with Asanuma Shintarou, Arai Satomi, and Mikami Shiori. The haughty beauty is played by newcomer Emi Sarah Bridcut -- who appears to be half Caucasian -- a seiyuu whose only previous credits are for dubbing (including Law and Order episodes) and a TV announcer's voice in Ebiten.

director: Yamamoto Yasutaka, Kusakawa Keizou (chiefdir)   writer: Kimura Noboru. Tatsunoko Taro (novel).
seiyuus: Nakajima Megumi, Emi Sarah Bridcut, Nomizu Iori, Asanuma Shintarou, Arai Satomi, Igarashi Hiromi, Mikami Shiori.
animation: Diomedea. OP Nomizu Iori, ED Sadohara Kaori.
trailer. forum. fri 11 jan 25:30

Chihayafuru 2
  (jp: ちはやふる 2)   jpWiki

josei comedy/drama with sports and some romance
Second season for the well-made comedy/drama featuring talented young seiyuu Seto Asami as an irrepressible player of karuta, the competitive card game based on classical Japanese poetry.

director: Asaka Morio   writer: Katou Ayako, Kakihara Yuuko; Suetsugu Yuki (manga).
seiyuus: Seto Asami, Hosoya Yoshimasa, Miyano Mamoru, Nara Tooru, Kayano Ai, Yonaga Tsubasa, Terasaki Yuka, Takagaki Ayahi, Han Megumi.
animation: Madhouse.
trailer. manga. forum. fri 11 jan 25:53

Beast Saga
  (jp: ビーストサーガ)   jpWiki

young-shounen battles
On a distant planet called Beast, three beast tribes -- the Sea Tribe, the Land Tribe, and the Sky Tribe -- do battle. Each of the tribes protects an infinite elemental power source called Godlot.

Director Ono Katsumi did Yu-Gi-Oh 5D's and the very different Hataraki Man. Lead writer Tsuchiya Michihiro did Kaikan Phrase and Nijuumensou no Musume.

director: Ono Katsumi   writer: Tsuchiya Michihiro. Takara Tomy.

animation: Synergy SP.
sun 13 jan 08:44

Ganbare! Lulu Lolo -- Tiny Twin Bears
  (jp: がんばれ! ルルロロ)   jpWiki

Little twin girl bears try their paws at various kinds of work: cleaning, looking after babies, etc. Based on a popular picture-book, "The Bears' School."

The book's writer is lead writer on this show, with the help of Okada Mari. Director Kodama Tetsurou did a movie based on the book.

director: Kodama Tetsurou   writer: Aihara Hiroyuki, Okada Mari.
seiyuus: Shimizu Shion, Chikasada Tsukino, Hidaka Noriko, Suzuki Takuma, Kojima Ichika, Tsuda Shoko, Tsuji Shinpachi.
animation: Fanworks.
thu 17 jan 07:40

Hetalia: The Beautiful World
  (jp: ヘタリア The Beautiful World)   jpWiki

boys-love comedy
Watanabe Hiroshi takes over from Bob Shirohata to direct this fifth series of the surprise hit featuring bishounen representing various nations. Watanabe directed Ueki's Law, Shining TearsxWind, Cooking Idol Ai Mai Mine, etc. New writer Fudeyasu Kazuyuki wrote Milky Holmes and Kamen no Maid Guy. The strong cast continues.

director: Watanabe Hiroshi   writer: Fudeyasu Kazuyuki. Himaruya Hidekazu (orig).
seiyuus: Takahashi Hiroki, Yasumoto Hiroki, Namikawa Daisuke, Konishi Katsuyuki, Kaida Yuki, Onosaka Masaya, Sugiyama Noriaki, Takato Yasuhiro.
animation: Studio Deen. OP Namikawa Daisuke.
trailer. manga. forum. fri 25 jan


RaccoonGoon said...

Thanks for the preview. This season does seem rather weak, but in my experience, that's what winter season always is. It always has one or two standout shows (Madoka in 2011 being the biggest outlier that comes to mind), but for the most part, it's just a necessary segue to spring.

I too am looking forward to Sasami-san most, but nonetheless thinks for the heads up on Kotoura-san, which I seemed to have overlooked until now, despite usually following shows with significant HanaKana roles.

Anonymous said...

Nice review. Indeed Sasami-san is what I'm expecting the most. The character designs and the soothing color palette are beautiful.

HIghway said...

I haven't really looked at which shows I'm going to watch (much like I haven't ever looked at shows much before they start airing). But a few of them do look interesting, and I'll probably get up to near the same number of shows I watched the last two seasons (19 and 17, respectively).

Also, 5 of what I consider the strongest shows from Fall are continuing through spring: Sakurasou, Psycho-Pass, Shin Sekai Yori, Zetsuen no Tempest, and Robotics;Notes (as well as Little Busters!, but that one's a lot further down my list).

hashi said...

@Highway -- Those five continuing shows are near the top of my list, too. And Little Busters, while I'm watching it, hasn't been as interesting.

@RaccoonGoon -- Yes, winter and summer are usually weaker than spring and fall. But this winter seems a bit weaker than most, to me. However, I am often surprised by some show I expect to be nothing but turns out to be really something. So I have hope.

Khrno said...

"Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai Next
The official site promises a new character (a little nun)"

Hashi you say that a "little nun" is promised as a new character, but that's a character from S1, Takayama Maria voiced by Iguchi Yuka, so you might have mistaken about that.

Also, thanks for another great preview, love coming to your blog before the beginning of a new season and checking out the new series.

Kunagisa said...

Wow, how many shows is Kayanon in this season (; ゚д゚)? Besides the ones you're already interested in, I would recommend following GJ-bu as well (also didn't realize you go to Bilibili).

If you haven't finish Kyou no Asuka show from this season, you should try to catch up (they're on bili^2). Short and you can finish all the current stuff in less than an hour. Very funny series that ... nobody I know is watching.

Either way, go watch the special bangumi for Oreshura (http://himado.in/123620). Gotta say Ruroo and the VAs are the ones that drew me to the series.

Happy holidays and have a great new year!!

hashi said...

@Khrno -- Yeah, the little nun. Sorry about this season's preview. I had to do it in a rush. Missed out how many short shows there are, too I thought the enjoyable Ai Mai Mi was going to be full-length).

@Kunagisa -- Thanks for the tip about Kyou no Asuka Show. I'm just watching the first ep of OreShura and I think I'm caught already.

Highway said...

I've watched a few shows so far, and of those I've seen, Maoyuu Maou Yuusha is my favorite. OreShura is good and fun enough, but it's not something I'm thinking it great yet, mostly because I don't care for the desaturated colors and I'm not sure I like Chiwa (and I also have to admit that I'm not the biggest fan of Tamura Yukari's singing in general).

The shows I've really been looking forward to haven't aired yet, so I'll probably have a lot more to watch (Tamako, VividRed, Sasami-san, Haganai, Koutura-san).

Valin said...

Good call on Kotoura-san. I wasn't really expecting anything out of it but I really enjoyed the first episode.