Autumn 2008 preview: clearing out the mediocrity to make room for…more mediocrity?
I must admit that around half of the series I’m watching at the moment are rather forgettable- if I’d know in advance how poor they would be, I would never have even started them in the first place. Of course, once you make headway into a series, it becomes very difficult to drop it, but in a few weeks’ time I should be released from the chaff in time to sample the best (and most likely the worst) of the autumn season.
Lucky Star OVA
Ah, I can hear the fanboys stirring over this one- as you know, personally I wasn’t too impressed by Lucky Star (Hidamari Sketch was far superior in presenting an amusing tale of everyday life), but I may watch this for completion.
Hakushaku to Yousei
Also known as “Count and Fairy”, this is actually the tale of a 19th century count and fairy knight and doctor on a quest for a legendary sword. Despite the generic premise, I’m torn between expecting this to be a solid historical fantasy in the vein of Chevalier and fearing that it will actually be the next Allison to Lillia.
Akane-Iro ni Somaru Saka
Another eroge adaptation with nice character designs, this time about a new transfer student who happens to be the arranged husband of the girl he manages to piss off by kissing her (apparently to save her from danger, however that works). I can’t help thinking of Full Metal Panic, and to be honest, unless this can make itself into the next True Tears, it may as well be left alone.
Shikabane Hime: Aka
We’ve had Murder Princess, Sister Princess and so forth, but now the Corpse Princess has joined in the fun. Our undead heroine must hunt down 108 corpses if she wishes to go to heaven, seemingly a recipe for a near endless series. With Gainax at the helm, there’s bound to be some degree of hype, but even if you subscribe to the Eva and Gurren-Lagann fanclubs, please remember that they did bring us Koni Mini and Mahoromatic as well.
A kind-hearted guy with the looks of a delinquent becomes the personal servant of the ultimate tsundere and the two become allies in an attempt to share their respective crushes. I can’t help thinking of Midori no Hibi with a splash of Nogizaka Haruka, and if, like those series, this is only 12-13 episodes, I might indulge- but I don’t have the time or inclination to tackle anything longer.
Rosario to Vampire Capu2
As always, a second season I only mention for completeness, since I didn’t watch the first season and have no intention of doing so.
A series about four schoolgirls and the people they interact with, this series isn’t handled by SHAFT, but it sounds so much like Hidamari Sketch meets Pani Poni Dash that it really should be. This kind of series is usually good fun, so I may take a punt on this one.
Clannad After Story
The hyped KyoAni series of the season, the long awaited After Story begins with Tomoya X Nagisa getting together, and depending on which game path it follows, can either be miserable or utterly depressing. Still, as it’s focusing on the Clannad relationship that I like the best, I’m willing to follow it through (although I have a good idea of what could happen thanks to some of Hinano’s game spoilers).
Tales of the Abyss
Let’s not bother with the plot (something about a destined hero) and focus on just one thing here- this is an RPG adaptation, and I think I may have finally learned my lesson about their generally poor quality. With that in mind, and with Sunrise’s involvement not inspiring much in the way of confidence, I’m going to leave this well alone.
Hokuto no Ken Raoh Gaiden Ten no Haoh
You might have thought that Hokuto no Ken had had its day, but from out of nowhere this spin-off manga about Kenshiro’s brother Raoh has appeared. Bringing this sort of ultra-retro series into the 21st century probably isn’t the best of ideas, and even if I felt tempted to watch this any time soon, I’d leave it until I’d watched the rest of the earlier series.
The butler genre gets a new entry in the form of “Dark Butler”, the tale of a perfect servant and his twelve year old master. I’m not sure what to make of this, as it could either be amusing or entirely dull- perhaps it’s best to watch it based on the blogworld’s reaction to the first couple of episodes (go forth, my fellow bloggers, and sacrifice yourselves for my sake!).
My sole experience of this franchise comes from watching and reviewing the OVA “Casshan: Robot Hunter”, which I will always remember for having a DVD menu that loaded with the epic battlecry “I am- Casshan!” As a remake of a 70s series about a robot hunter fighting an evil empire of artificial lifeforms, surely even Studio Madhouse can’t elevate this beyond the level of retro cheese.
After acquiring some artwork from the original material, I became rather interested in watching this for shallow reasons, but in true Terry Pratchett fashion, my Second Thoughts told me that looking forward to it on such a flimsy basis could only be a recipe for disaster. The fact that the eponymous quartet consist of one normal boy and three girls with superpowers also has those alarm bells ringing- isn’t this just the dull Telepathy Shoujo Ran all over again? And yet, even with all that in mind, I feel that I must at least try it.
The tale of a sacred tree that turns into a girl and a guardian deity who wants to be an idol, this sounds like another light entertainment shrine maiden series in the vein of Shrine of the Morning Mist. I’m keeping my expectations grounded, but I’ll certainly give it a try.
Kurogane no Linebarrels
A typical shounen story about an underachiever who finds a giant robot and then has his life changed, this sounds like the kind of thing I can easily live without.
Tentai Senshi Sunred
At first glance, I would have passed over this as an out of place sentai series, but apparently it’s actually a spoof of all those retro Japanese clichés, and with that in mind, it could be quite amusing. Then again, I can spoof things quite happily on my own.
Jigoku Shoujo: Mitsuganae
Will the hellish trip through the excruciatingly dull world of Jigoku Shoujo ever end? One season was too much for me, but somehow they came up with a second, and now a third is on its way. Good luck to anyone still following this.
Mobile Suit Gundam 00 2nd Season
Gundam 00 continues after a time skip of some four years, but since I gave up on the first season after three episodes, I’ll need to catch up if I ever want to be ready for this- and right now I don’t have the time or inclination for that.
How many times can a high school student meet a mysterious alien who claims to be his destined bride? Apparently, there’s still room for more, with Sanpeita meeting a mecha musume fiancée in her own mobile suit. It may be light entertainment and amusing, but it sounds like the sort of thing that should be watched after it has aired rather than be worried about catching it every week.
To Aru Majutsu no Index
Another light novel adaptation, this one takes place in a world where supherhuman powers and magic are just par for the course. Our protagonists are a boy with a hand that can negate magic and a nun with forbidden magical texts in her head- think Chrono Crusade meets Getbackers, Johnny Mnemonic, Rental Magica, Polyphonica and god only knows what else. In other words, whilst it may look appealing, I’m also concerned that it will be a generic, cookie-cutter experience.
Apparently the original Noramimi was very underrated, but until I have the opportunity to watch it, I won’t be indulging in this second season.
An RPG adaptation with childish character designs- strike this one off the list immediately.
Thanks to the success of one Harry Potter, magical academies will probably never go out of fashion, with this series showcasing yet another one. Our hero manages to summon up a girl who has the power to destroy an entire country- now only her loyalty to him can avert disaster. I can’t help thinking of Zero no Tsukaima added to Hibiki’s Magic, and to be honest I’m not terribly interested.
A boy, a girl and a ‘Ga-Rei’ team together to destroy evil spirits in something that looks and sounds pretty generic. I may watch it, but it depends on the rest of my viewing schedule.
Although I haven’t read it myself, this is one those manga series that is so all-pervasive that you expect it to have had an anime adaptation already. The series focuses on a girl who follows her singer boyfriend to Tokyo, only to discover that he thinks of her as little more than a convenient housekeeper. In an attempt at revenge, she decides to become more famous than him, but without the ability to love, she doesn’t quite have that ‘x-factor’ needed to succeed. This sounds like it could be a painful example of generic shoujo, but there’s always the chance that it might actually be worthy.
Kyou no Go no Ni
Although fifth graders indulging in sexual innuendo always sounded rather disturbing to me, I now have the OVA in my possession, and so I can sample that before the series begins to see if it’s my thing. Should it prove to be amusing, then I’ll take a chance on the TV series.
Vampire Knight Guilty
The bishies return for a second season of shallow shoujo antics; if you liked the first season you’ll no doubt go in for more of the same.
ef – a tale of melodies
Whilst my fellow bloggers may have waxed lyrical on the perceived complexity of ef’s first season, I put it on hold after three episodes and still haven’t felt like getting back to it. If the backburner has a backburner, then that’s where this one is going.
Mouryou no Hako
Apparently this series starts with a private investigator looking into a case involving dismembered schoolgirls- to be honest, from that alone, it sounds like it could be the next Kara no Kyoukai movie. I’m not sure whether the series will be about that one case or whether it has more tricks up its sleeve; either way, if it can pull off a decent horror story, it might be worth looking into, but if not, it’ll just be another Ryoko’s Case File.
I’m not sure how a minor Disney character got his own anime series, but here it is, although as I wasn’t a particular fan of the original movie and imagine this will be rather childish, it’s not going on my to-watch list.
On first glance, an anime about baseball and gambling doesn’t sound terribly appealing, but you factor in the obvious MANLINESS and the fact that the same team who worked on Akagi and Kaiji will be handling this, it suddenly sounds like it might have a chance of being oddly compulsive. With that in mind, I must at least sample this- or get someone else to sample it for me.
A space opera from the brains behind Legend of the Galactic Heroes, Tytania promises to be a complex epic that should please everyone who loved both the aforementioned and the ever popular Seikai series. This time around, count me in from the start!
A visual novel adaptation starring a boy who cannot tell reality from delusion yet believes he is being pursued by a murderer, this sounds a lot like this season’s answer to Higurashi. I must admit I’m tempted, but I’m also wary.
Nodame Cantabile: Paris-Hen
Nodame Cantabile may not be one of my favourites, but I did generally enjoy the manga and the first season of the anime, and so even though I’ve read the material that will be turned into this season, it’s been long enough that I can enjoy it again in animated form. A decent silver level series.
A story of love and obsession that spans the generations, Kurozuka sounds somewhat reminiscent of Otogi Zoshi, although it’s hard to tell just where it’s going to fall in the quality spectrum. At only 12 episodes in length, however, it’s tempting to give it a try.
Junjou Romantica 2
Another second season of a series I haven’t seen- first season viewers only need apply.
Michiko to Hatchin
Move over all other anime partnerships, Michiko and Hatchin are here- a sexy diva and a little kid on the run from her foster parents. Exactly where their story will take them is a matter for debate, but I assume it will be some sort of Sisters of Wellber type affair. At any rate, I can live without seeing this one.
Goku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei
Zetsubou shita! The fact that this is only a two episode OVA has left me in despair! Still, I’ll take what I can of Sensei’s bleak antics, and hopefully they will be as hilarious as ever.
A typical detective odd couple take to the streets as drug busters, up against a new super-addictive substance that has taken hold of the life of a popular actor. I’m not sure what to make of this one- it certainly sounds like something more suited to primetime TV, but can it work in animated form?
Zettai Shougeki: Platonic Heart
An OVA about eleven women chosen to search for a jewel that can grant any wish, this sounds highly generic. AniDB has also tagged it as ‘paper clothes’, which suggests that this will be Ikki Tousen’s spiritual successor.