The Winter 2011 Anime Season Preview is Back

After much consternation and soul searching about whether another preview post is even worth the effort, the season preview is back. I realized the season preview is not about the info itself, it’s not even about my opinions. For me, it’s about getting the chance to think about how to design the post – deciding what info to include, what to opine on, and then trying to figure out how to make it look better, easier to read and be more useful to people than the last version. Hopefully this latest version is a step forward from all the previous versions.

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I’m going to try to be optimistic about this season, even though it looks like it’ll suck more than last season. But I say that every season, and usually enough shows surprise me each season to keep me from becoming a total malcontent.

Beelzebub

beelzebub
Studio: Pierrot
Director: Norihiro Takamoto
Composition: Yokotani Masahiro

The story follows the “strongest juvenile delinquent”, Oga Tatsumi, a first year in “Ishiyama High” the school for delinquents. One day while sleeping next to a river he sees a man floating down it, he pulls him to shore and the man splits in half revealing a baby boy. This boy is the son of the demon king and he has been chosen as the one to raise it with the baby’s demon maid Hilda.

Best case scenario, it’s Great Father Onizuka. Worst case scenario, it’s Naruto… without the action? I just hope it’s not neverending, that’s the part I hate most about shows like Bleach and Naruto. I need closure. I need a finish line.

Level E

level-e
Studio: Pierrot
Director: Toshiyuki Katou
Composition: Hanada Jukki

Tsutsui Yukitaka was a freshman who had just entered a high school, and he was hoped to be a good baseball player. When he moved to a new apartment, there was a man in the room. He said he was an alien and lost his memory. Actually, he was the first prince of Planet Dogra, and he was the man who had the best brain and the worst nature.

If Fabio the alien were a neko-girl, alien-girl or long-lost not really imouto, the premise for Level E would be similar to about 1/2 of the ecchi harems out there. If Pierrot wasn’t producing it, I would’ve guessed it would’ve been the start of the new alien yaoi harem genre. But seriously, this is supposedly a pretty funny manga, so it might be worth giving a chance.

Dragon Crisis

dragon-crisis
Studio: DEEN
Director: Hideki Tachibana
Composition: Kurata Hideyuki

A normal high school boy Kisaragi Ryuji’s peaceful life is turned into an adventure by the return of his second cousin Eriko. Ryuji and Eriko seize a relic box from a black broker. In the box, they find a red dragon girl Rose. In order to protect Rose from the black organization, Ryuji decides to fight using his power as a relic handler.

I think this will be good. Or watchable at least. Definitely watchable. Noob director, but it also features the writer for Kannagi, Oreimo, and TWGOK. That’s either good or bad, depending on your POV, but all three have been entertaining… unless that little blonde loli squeaks out the Kugiyma standard “URUCHAI! URUCHAI! URUCHAI!” in which case – INSTANT DROP.

Fractale

fractale
Studio: A-1 Pictures
Director: Yutaka Yamamoto
Composition: Okada Mari

The story takes place on an island, where a “Fractale System” is beginning to collapse. One day, Clain finds an injured girl called Phryne under a cliff. She disappears leaving a pendant. Clain sets out for a journey with the girl-shaped avatar Nessa to look for Phryne and discovers the secret of the Fractale System.

I thought A-1 had a bright future ahead of them when they were putting out shows like Kannagi and… and… hmm… maybe Kuroshitsuji? and maybe Valkyria Chronicles? Ok, I jumped on the bus too quickly, but I’ve come to realize that they can’t do original shit at all. So now they’re back doing an adaptation on NoitaminA, which should be good, right? I am skeptical. What makes A-1 think that Fractale is worth NoitaiminA but not their failed Anime no Chikara project? But NoitaminA has so consistently produced entertaining shows, that I have to give it the benefit of the doubt.

Gosick

gosick
Studio: Bones
Director: Hitoshi Nanba
Composition: Okada Mari

Kazuya Kujo’s brainy friend Victorique uses her unrivaled logic to solve mysteries even the town’s famous detective can’t. Ironically, it is Victorique’s inquisitive nature that leads the duo to board a ship that matches the Queen Berry’s description to a tee, a ship that might just hold the key to solving a sinister mystery…

Bones is blowing my buzz dooood. Lost in the Brotherhood afterglow is that Heroman was retarded and the star-studded Star Driver was a complete suck-fest. Gosick (what?) should be better just by the fact that it doesn’t have to entertain that kiraboshi *wink wink* galactic pretty boy bullshit. Make it dark and make it moody Bones, because I said so!

Haiyoru! Nyaruani: Remember My Love(craft-sensei)

haiyoru-nyaruani
Studio: DLE

The story centers around Nyarlko, a formless Cthulhu deity who can take on the shape of anyone it wishes, but particularly the shape of a seemingly ordinary silver-haired girl. Mahiro Yasaka is a normal high school student who is chased by aliens one night, until “Nyarlko” saves him.

Honestly, there’s no good reason that I included this show in the preview post other than I wanted an even number of shows to balance out the HTML tables. (Woot! Back to tables! *barf*). Still, Lovecraft is in these days, even though nobody I’ve ever come across in real life or on the Internet has actually read anything by him. Everybody just wants to love Cthulu because he’s got a soft spot for moe tanuki-cosplay.

Hourou Musuko

hourou-musuko
Studio: AIC
Director: Ei Aoki
Composition: Okada Mari

The story depicts a young boy named Shuuichi Nitori who wants to be a girl, and his friend Yoshino Takatsuki, a girl who wants to be a boy. The series deals with issues such as transsexuality, gender identity, and the beginning of puberty.

Okada Mari is very busy this season, writing for Gosick and both NoitaminA shows. What’s her track record? Toradora, Kuroshitsuji and Canaan. Which is to say, high profile, but somewhat of a mixed bag. What’s more interesting is that AIC is the study that’s taking on what’s a pretty heavy topic. It’s sort of like handing the reigns of a foreign, arthouse romance film to Penthouse and telling them to “keep it classy”. Let’s see how AIC can sexy time this up.

Infinite Stratos

infinite-stratos
Studio: 8bit
Director: Kikuchi Yasuhito
Composition: Shimo Fumihiko

Japan engineered an armed powered exoskeleton “Infinite Stratos” (IS) that became the mainstream of weapons. Since only women can operate IS, women dominate the society over men. Orimura Ichika is a 15 year old boy and accidentally touches an IS placed in the IS pilot training school. He is found to be the only man who can operate IS and forced to enter the training school. Ichika’s busy school life surrounded by girls has begun.

So 8bit’s a new studio, I guess, but they did handle the Macross Frontier movie. Combined with the Macross Frontier’s director, and the writer for Full Metal Panic, Fumoffu, as well as Clannad and Air, makes me want to believe that IS could be a sneaky hit, even though the description seems straight out of harem by the numbers.

Onii-chan no Koto Nanka Zenzen Suki Janain Dakara ne!!

onii-chan
Studio: Zexcs
Director: Keitaro Motonaga

Nao’s brother complex is so strong, it’s almost at the point of incest. She’s determined to make her brother see her as a woman. So determined, that she goes as far as going into his room to throw away all his non-incest related porn. But as she’s looking for his porno stash, she finds a photo album… and she’s not in any of his childhood pictures. What is going on?

So, based on the description, I guess onii-chan had a pile of incest-related porn that survived the trashing? I’ll be honest, one of the main reasons that I started watching Oreimo was because AIC makes good lucking, fun, fanservice shows. Zexcs on the other hand makes ugly looking, boring fanservice shows like Chuu Bra. Only way I watch this is if Scamp blogs it.

Rio: Rainbow Gate

rainbow-gate
Studio: Xebec
Director: Takao Kato
Composition: Sekijima Mayori

Within the resort is a casino. One of its dealers is the beautiful Rio Rollins, following in the footsteps of her famous mother. To achieve her goal, she is working to gather together the legendary Gate card-set. For the person who gathers all 13 Gates is bestowed the title Most Valuable Casino Dealer.

Pachinko parlors are the loudest, most obnoxious things you can imagine. It’s like a slot machine parlor in Vegas – if it was trapped inside a tiny echo chamber. You’re more likely to damage your hearing visiting pachinko parlors than you are being a roadie for Muse. I can only imagine what an anime based on a pachinko parlor game would be like.

Starry Sky

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Studio: DEEN
Director: Nobuhiro Takamoto
Composition: Nakamura Makoto

In Starry Sky, the 12 constellations of the Zodiac are personified into handsome young men. The heroine, Tsukiko, enrolled to a school that was recently changed from all-boys school to co-ed and is the only one female who enrolled to the school.

The rule is… if a show starts off as an ONA, it’s going to suck. See: Haruhi-chan and Hetalia. Still… we get so many of these harem shows featuring guys, it’s probably only fair that girls get one for them… even though if they mess with a guy they get pregnant, which sort of ruins the chance for more romance. I’m waiting for the reverse harem in which the omnibus device is the day-after pill.

Wolverine

wolverine
Studio: Madhouse
Director: Hiroshi Aoyama
Composition: Kaji Kengo

While in New York, Logan, better known to others as Wolverine, fell in love with a Japanese woman named Mariko. When she suddenly disappears, Logan comes to Japan in search of her.

I hate Wolverine. I hated him before he went to Japan. I hated him before he went to Hollywood. I hated him in the cartoons and comics growing up. Wolverine is a fanservice character who only exists to whet the strange wet dreams Wolverine fans have for him. So he’s got a mysterious past. Big whoop. So he’s got an adamantium body. Big deal, that makes him the poor man’s Superman. So he has retractable claws. Ho hum, I liked it better when it was bone. But mostly I hate Wolverine because whole episodes and issues would focus on him and ignore the cooler characters like Gambit. Fuck you Wolverine, you ruin everything for everyone. Like Sunako and Muroi.

Yumekui Merry

yumekui-merry
Studio: JC Staff
Director: Shegeyasu Yamauchi
Composition: Shirane Hideki

Ten years ago Fujiwara noticed he had a power to see multicolored auras surrounding the person’s body. Ever since then he’s been having a weird dream about a war with cats. Then one day a mysterious girl falls on top of him…

If you asked me which studio I figured would be producing this, I would’ve guessed JC Staff. Because it’s the kind of mediocre, light-fantasy story they’ve been pumping out ever since they’ve tried navigating a new Rie Kugimiya Tsundere-less world.

Kore wa Zombie desuka?

zombie
Studio: DEEN
Director: Takaomi Kanasaki
Composition: Uezu Makoto

Aikawa Ayumu is a normal high school boy. One day he is killed by a serial killer and revived as a zombie. He starts to serve Eu as her guard but he happens to deprive the mahou shoujo Haruna of her magic power. Haruna orders Ayumu to fight against the anti-mahou shoujo system “Megalo” in her place.

Zombies + Harem. It was bound to happen eventually. That is, if you didn’t count Highschool of the Dead as a harem. Which may be a valid opinion since unlike every other harem, the main guy did deflower a girl in the show.

Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magika

madoka
Studio: SHAFT
Director: Shinbou
Composition: Urobuchi Gen

Having a loving family, close friends, experiencing times of joy and times of sadness. These are the things that make up an ordinary life. Kaname Madoka is a normal 2nd year middle-schoolgirl who lives such an ordinary life. Until, that is, a strange encounter occurs. She does not know if this encounter is coincidence, or the vagaries of fate, but two things are certain… This is the moment when her destiny changes…

I don’t care how many CMs SHAFT peppers me with. I don’t even care that my opinion on shoujo has changed a little for the better. I refuse to give the mahou shoujo genre a chance!

Freezing

freezing
Studio: Media Factory
Director: Takashi Watanabe
Composition: Akahoshi Masanao

Set in a slightly futuristic world where Earth has been invaded and is at war with aliens from another dimension called the Nova, the story follows the adventures of a Japanese boy named Kazuya Aoi who enrolls for training at a special school for genetically modified girls called Pandoras, and their male partners, called Limiters, who use a special power called “freezing” to limit their opponent’s mobility.

How does one write for a pure ecchi anime? Do they sit around having brainstorming meetings about “new and innovative” ways for a guy to fall and land on a girl’s crotch? Or what new devilry they can conjure up for the cloth disintegration? I imagine it’s sort of like being a mad scientist.

Kimi no Todoke 2

kimi-no-todoke-2

Ugh, Kimi no Todoke. I hate you Ring girl. You are all unfunny and unattractive.

Mitsudomoe 2

mitsudomoe-2

Unlike toilet humor counterpart Seitokai Yakuindomo, I thought Mitsudomoe was really funny at first. And then it started using the same jokes over and over again and lost a lot of steam in the second half of the season. But maybe their 8-episode length is signs of judicious thinking.