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Now Is the Winter of Our Discontent and Season Preview

December 30th, 2015

It snowed for about 30 minutes this weekend before it turned to torrential rain.

Standard disclaimers. I plan to give everything below but perhaps the sequels at least the ol' college try. Lord knows that 30 Rock, Brooklyn 99, and iZombie had some of the worst promos imaginable, and Japan's approach to marketing seems primarily to be to plaster things on walls at shopping centers. Oh for a ratings driven market place, he said as Netflix, Amazon Video, etc are gaining ground and the same thing is already well underway in the west. Alas.

There's not much of the more auteur-driven stuff this season though, so rambling about the staff probably goes nowhere, and with Comiket still around the corner, I imagine most are saving their promotional stuff for then, leaving just an especially terrible mass of cliched premises to go around for the next season at the moment. OVAs, shows under 15 minutes long, and the occasional terrible children's show for selling tops aren't included as usual. There are a couple fully CGI shows, but they can also eat a butt. Okay, one of them looks pretty actiony, and I'm not going to dismiss it completely out of hand, but Japan's collectively still struggling to reach Reboot's level of CGI 'action.' Same goes for PreCure, or as it's known now, Glitter Force, which doesn't reboot itself until February, or Fairy Tail, which ends and then recommenses the following week as Fairy Tail Z. And "Akuma Buster," previously known as "Star vs the Forces of Evil," to show that the awful title translations go both ways.

Onward ho.

Tuesday

Prince of Stride – Alternative
http://pos-a.jp/
Studio: Madhouse
Genre: Drama
Staff/Cast Information
Premieres January 5th

Premise:
Teenagers run competitive parkour, but they need to put together a team first. And then they can make it to regionals!

Initial Thoughts:
This is yet another one of those mass-media all out assaults. In the Vita version, you play a girl who's the "Relationer" of a team of all boys, and of course, the main two are rivals, one with light, unkempt hair who's fun loving, while the other has dark hair and is poorly animated when he walks no fun allowed. There's also a short boy who could easily pass for a girl who's constantly hugging stuffed animals, and the spikey haired 'wild' one. I guess the point is that they've just taken the standard man-harem (marem?) and instead of serving tea, being boy idols, or being gods/demons, they're running around. Exciting. Staff's involved's pretty unnotable too, and the few sort of avergish things they were involved with sure as hell weren't because of their input on the directing/writing side.

Preseason Swing Rating:

Brought to you by giving up.

Wednesday

Phantom World
http://phantom-world.com/
Studio: Kyoto Animation
Genre: Action
Staff/Cast Information
Premieres January 6th

Premise: 
People start being born with brain damage that makes them see phantoms. Teenagers with vaginas and super powers fight them. One of them might have a penis too, but the entire rest of him is a vagina.

Initial Thoughts:
Kyoto Animation adapting some very nearly brand new light novel about angsty magical teenagers? I'd say this is certainly up their wheelhouse lately, but all of them have been fairly woeful. Looking up reviews on this one makes it seem particularly woeful, as it apparently takes the "throw spaghetti at the wall" approach to story and characters, and it's apparently a parade of teenagers who pop up, explain their personal traumatic pasts, are resolved with a pat on the back, and then disappear back into the void. Granted, at an extremely high level, that's really what you're supposed to be doing with episodic shows, but I've lost faith that Japan can handle that since for whatever insane reason, they seem to think that the traumatic past is the cool part, especially KyoAni, not the super powers and/or dressing up in a clock motif and getting really anal about time. Bad example. Promos are underwhelming, somewhat older school KyoAni staff (Kanon, Clannad, Fourteen Sick for director), although granted, this writer wasn't involved in any of their recent LN adaptations, but was responsible for Infinite Stratos and Aria AA, so she's certainly not blameless either.

Preseason Swing Rating:
 
Why has not one of these shows about hunting monsters killed Totoro?

Haruta and Chika in the Spring of Youth
http://haruchika-anime.jp/
Studio: PA Works
Genre: Drama
Staff/Cast Information
Premieres January 6th

Premise:
Teenagers in a band, but it's in danger of shutting down unless they try really, really hard! Also, they solve mysteries to save the school festival!

Initial Thoughts:
I'm not kidding about the school festival. Apparently, the mystery is "someone threatened to poison school food and ruin the festival," but it's serious because someone also stole something poisonous from the school's chemistry cupboard. You know, as opposed to finding something poisonous literally anywhere else. It's Yet Another Goddamned PA Works Club About Teenagers Being Mundane Sacks of Boring at any rate, and I have… not had good experiences with them, even the ones that supposedly have super powers. The lead writer here is the queen of go-nowhere boring sludge (Bakuman, K-On, Dandelion, etc), and the director's only two series are TariTari and Soul Eater Not, so they're a match made in pure tedium. But hair will probably be well animated.

Preseason Swing Rating:

And then they solve the mystery of the urinal deuce.

God’s Blessing On This Wonderful World
http://konosuba.com/
Studio: Deen
Genre: Comedy
Staff/Cast Information
Premieres January 13th

Premise:
A shut-in otaku with an encyclopedic knowledge of anime, manga, and games is transported to magical world where he wants to sit around on his ass doing nothing, but is supposed to be slaying the evil overlord. And wouldn't you know it, but he keeps tripping and groping women.

Initial Thoughts:
This is another one of those web-novels that got rewritten and had a bunch of things in it neutered and changed when it became a light novel, and has now spawned itself as an anime things. The contents of the promo show exactly what kind of show to expect. Action or animation, no. Upskirt shots of asses in the shortest of skirts, boobs flopping around in a world of no bras, girls mounting the obvious self-insert, and overly drawn lips bobbing as sweat pours off them, yes. That said, this is Deen's KoreZombie team. The director's usually decent enough and can be quite clever every now and then (Tokyo Ravens, Macademy), and the extremely prolific head writer adapting it seems to only completely vomit all over himself when trying to take things seriously (Akame, Yuuki Yuuna). Deen can surprise sometimes with what they put effort into, but this really doesn't seem like it's going to be one of them.

Preseason Swing Rating:
  
Two dancing green trolls.

Thursday

Norn9
http://norn9-nonet.com/
Studio: Kinema Citrus
Genre: Drama
Staff/Cast Information
Premieres January 7th

Premise:
In the future, everyone builds old-fashioned cities on gigantic airships. But it's actually about three girls who each have harems of three boys.

Initial Thoughts:
Based on an Idea Factory VN where the above is the entire gimmick. You pick from Peppy Spice, Cool Spice, or Grumpy Spice, and then each of them chooses from Hair In His Eyes Spice, Shirt Not Tucked In Spice, or Fidgeting With His Wrist Spice. I think the airships are a metaphor for the hot air… or maybe just an attempt to explain all the wind that's always blowing in these kinds of shows. The really impressive thing is that this was a PSP game released mid 2013. Director's been around, but never in charge of anything before. Writer has done a mountain of these kinds of girly 'romance' things, all of them already forgotten to the annals of time. Kinema Citrus is a low end studio as well, supported by the promotional stuff being nothing but scenery porn, CGI trains/gears, and people looking off into the distance while standing in the wind.

Preseason Swing Rating:

Something something rule of threes.

Active Raid
http://activeraid.net/
Studio: Production IMS
Genre: Action
Staff/Cast Information
Premieres January 7th

Premise:
An enthusiastic young woman takes charge of a ragtag group of lazy cops who fight crime in power armor.

Initial Thoughts:
An original series that's already been announced as being split cour, so look forward to a 3 month break. Anyway, I might be a little more on board if the promos showed any actual crime fighting, and not just the cast looking at the camera sternly/constipatedly, or flipping their hair to show their sexiness. Apparently the ugly-ass sentai CGI power suits and crime fighting are not interesting enough to advertise. Who cares about that stuff, right? Here's a pretty boy with a scar, wearing a scarf, taking off his glasses, and a busty girl with a permanent aroused blush. IMS is generally pretty low end as far as studios go, although it's Geass/Virgin Maria's director, so that's… interesting if nothing else, but the head writer is hideous and has mostly been adapting boring light novels into even more boring shows (Twintail, Jinsei, Papakiki, Maoyuu, etc). I expect it'll probably do something eyecatching early among 18 other minutes of tedium, then settle down into their wheelhouses of nothingness, preaching, and boredom. 

Preseason Swing Rating:
 
The most dangerous villain of all is still Gun-Haver.

Girls Aim for the Wilderness
http://shokomeza.com/
Studio: Project No. 9
Genre: Comedy
Staff/Cast Information
Premieres January 7th

Premise:
Useless layabout gets recruited by a pack of zany roving teenage girls to help them make a visual novel despite him knowing nothing about them.

Initial Thoughts:
Oh boy, this song and dance, again. It's also part of a media blitz, although a somewhat smaller one, with the game not coming out until March. That has a somewhat more interesting pedigree, albeit still very mixed. Once upon a time, this director did Seizon and Electric Spiderwomen. They've done nothing but disappoint me ever since with being boring and half-assing it on things severely lacking in budgets (Steins;Gate, Say I Love You, Wixoss). The writer's only real things, period, are Kinmoza and Locodol. It's not a staff I have confidence in, even outside of the brain dead premise that's been done to death. Project 9's only show to date is Momokyun Sword, also not exactly a great pedigree. But the way that one of the females… looks at the camera and dresses like a maid in the preview sure does excite me for… a girl looking at the camera and dressing like a maid. You can't find that in just any show, after all.

Preseason Swing Rating:

Hello fellow otaku. How about those virtual novels and animations shows?

ERASED
http://bokumachi-anime.com/
Studio: A-1 Pictures
Genre: Drama
Staff/Cast Information
Premieres January 7th

Premise:
Random dude can turn back time, but only just far enough to prevent 'bad things' because once we introduce magic time travel, we don't need to bother having anything make sense. He uses it to save his mom, but accidentally ends up as a kid in the middle of an old serial killer case and bounces back and forth between those times as he changes the past.

Initial Thoughts:
Obligatory wanky noitaminA show of the season, as if there was any doubt with the promos being nothing but scenery, people turning around to face the camera, and people standing in the wind. It's not setting my loins ablaze with the promise of an intriguing mystery or compelling character drama. The compelling director of SAO and Silver Spoon too. I've all but given up on Japan actually having any idea how to do mysteries in anime outside of occasionally Detective Conan, which is really weird when you think about it. Especially since this one seems to be going all in on a single 'mystery' stretched out for three months, and Japan doesn't have the knack, shall we say, of filling the time with Broadchurchesque dramatic blibbering around.

Preseason Swing Rating:

Phenomenal cosmic powers, itty bitty brain.

Assassination Classroom
http://www.ansatsu-anime.com/
Studio: Lerche
Genre: Comedy
Staff/Cast Information
Premieres January 7th

Premise:
Continuation from last January. Alien superweapon takes over class and dares them to kill him or he'll destroy the planet.

Initial Thoughts:
I only made it about 1.5 episodes into the first season, so there's very little chance I'm picking this up 20+ episodes in, but stranger things have happened. It's the same staff and studio though, so I'd imagine it's more of the same, which is a whole buttload of angst, exposition, and angsty exposition. That's on top of every 'normal' person being a secret super human genius in the class full of supposed losers. Occasionally, they found time to try to put a joke in, but most were the traditional Japanese suddenly screaming the bleeding obvious, which is to humor as jump scares are to horror. It could be weird enough to nearly make me chuckle on occasion, but it also couldn't seem to proudly point and announce every time it was either, and nothing ruins a joke faster than constantly pointing out how clever you think you're being, over, and over, and over again.

Preseason Swing Rating:

Behold how wacky yet serious I appear.

Phantasy Star Online 2
http://phantasystar.sega.jp/psportal/pso15anniversary/animation/
Studio: Telecom Animation
Genre: Action
Staff/Cast Information
Premieres January 7th

Premise:
Teenagers playing an MMORPG based on an MMORPG based on an RPG.

Initial Thoughts:
I was initially confused by this, since I thought that was 15 years old, but apparently that was Phantasy Star Online 1 Episode 2, which is apparently completely different from Phantasy Star Online 2. Anyway, you might think that this is about just adventures taking place in the PSO2 world, but no, it takes the .hack approach to MMO wankery and is about people who play that awesome new hit game PSO2 and how great it is. At least the promos show a little action. Mostly talking heads, heads on ugly CGI, and ugly CGI clumsily bumping into more CGI, but it recognizes that the action show probably needs to show something. That's where my 'enthusiasm' ends. Poor director (Dragon Collection, terrible later seasons of Minami-ke), and worse writer (Prince of Tennis's recent season and X-Men). At least the heads on the CGI bodies already look ridiculously awkward. I'm guessing it gets all the way to episode 2 before people start posting caps of the heads accidentally drifting off their CGI bodies like Infinite Stratos used to do.

Preseason Swing Rating:
  
Nerf rappy dps pls

Dagashikashi
http://www.tbs.co.jp/anime/dagashi/
Studio: feel
Genre: Comedy
Staff/Cast Information
Premieres January 7th

Premise:
Guy wants to write manga. Kooky girl wants him to take over his father's candy store so they'll join her father's company. Hijinks ensue.

Initial Thoughts:
The title's a pun that's a mix between "candy candy" and "but but" depending on where you choose to put the nonexistent space between Japanese words. I've chosen to punt on 2nd down without trying there. There are such jokes as "YOU KNOW TOO MUCH ABOUT SOMETHING I EXPECTED YOU TO NOT!", "YOU WROTE A STORY THAT TURNS OUT HOW YOU WANT THINGS TO!", and "THAT WAS A CLICHE THING TO SAY!" It's not so much telling jokes as simply explaining what jokes it could have told if it had remembered to put any in. Once upon a time, this director knew actual parody (Galaxy Angel), but in recent years, has only done schlock like TWGOK, Kanamemo, and Tokyo ESP. Writer's practically a nobody. The closest thing the promos have to a joke are speedlines, but at least they have shaking hips and girls blushing, so you can see feel's contributions to the winning comedic formula too.

Preseason Swing Rating:

It's only a matter of time before Japan makes a show about people way too into soda.

Friday

Divine Gate
http://www.marv.jp/special/divinegate/
Studio: Pierrot
Genre: Action
Staff/Cast Information
Premieres January 8th

Premise:
A gate opened, merging the worlds of humans, faries, demons, dragons, vocaloid, anime, etc. Teenagers with magical powers are chucked in the gate's general direction, and whoever finds it gets to remake the world(s).

Initial Thoughts:
This comes from a cellphone game in a very similar vein to Puzzles and Dragons, but I feel bad rolling my eyes too much at them ever since Rage of Bahamut. Still the staff doesn't inspire. Director of Bleach, Arslan, and the most recent season of Black Butler, same writer as Norn9, ie all those empty girly marem shows. The promo does show style though, almost seems like they're trying to emulate Kishi's approach to visuals but without… Kishi, and Pierrot has shown recently that they found some animation talent in the couch cushions. If not for the awful, awful writer, I might hope for at least some style and action, at least better than, say, K spat out. There's not a lot of promo to actually go on though, so maybe they just spent all the effort there instead of the show itself.

Preseason Swing Rating:

Epic weapons availble for $1.99 each.

Pandora in the Crimson Shell
http://k-pandora.com/
Studio: Gokumi
Genre: Lesbians
Staff/Cast Information
Premieres January 8th

Premise:
Little cyborg lesbians dressed like fetish bait discover they have hidden powers, above and beyond being cyborgs, and use their friendship power to fight terrorists.

Initial Thoughts:
This has an odd pedigree. The original concept is by Masamune Shirow (GitS), but actually turned into a manga by the creator of Excel Saga, who can't seem to make up his mind whether it's fetish porn or comedy 'action', and now it's fallen into Gokumi's lap. Well, I guess they did Yuuki Yuuna, which might pass for action, and certainly has the lesbian angle covered. Terrible, terrible director with things like Otoboku and Kiss x Sis being the most notable things on his resume, and Cinderella Girls's writer. The promos so far include only about 2 seconds of content from the show, but seem to have focused completely on the cute fetish lesbians blushing and hugging side of things, because there are so, so few shows in that sphere to date.

Preseason Swing Rating:
 
The breathless panting of a pack of small dogs.

Sacred Sword Mountain – Stardust Banquet
http://reikenzan.net/
Studio: Deen
Genre: Comedy
Staff/Cast Information
Premieres January 8th

Premise:
An evil comet is bringing calamity, in addition to being a comet, and the only one who can stop it is a boy with a magical soul, but first he needs to take a test to prove his magicalness.

Initial Thoughts:
Another odd pedigree. This comes from a Chinese web novel turned web manga turned anime that will be broadcast in both China and Japan this season. Its site is also hilarious zero budget and there's no promotional stuff period… at least in Japanese. I didn't really go searching on the China web. The entire description for the main character is "protagonist, genius, unsurpassed in IQ and insolence." 2 of the 5 characters have no description whatsoever. It also proclaims to be "brimming with jokes." I think the site was the first one. The last show this director did that wasn't aimed at 10 year olds was DearS, so there's that on top of Deen typically phoning it in, although if there's anything they tend to actually put effort into, it's comedies. Who the hell knows though? I have my doubts they'll even remember to finish the show's website before it airs.

Preseason Swing Rating:
     
Weeeee cooommmmmeee foooorrrr yooouuuu, Deeennnn…

Gate
http://www.gate-anime.com/
Studio: A-1 Pictures
Genre: Adventure
Staff/Cast Information
Premieres January 8th

Premise:
Continuation from the summer. Itami is an ex-special forces otaku. Rory is a horny immortal demi-goddess. Tuka is an immortal elf. Together, they satisfy teenage nationalistic power fantasies by traveling through a gate that opened in Japan to fantasyland.

Initial Thoughts:
I was completely bored by the first episode of the first season and remember very little from that, although I'm pretty sure I tried to watch another episode. I remember a buttload of standing around, looking at things, and talking about how they were looking at things and describing them. The 'action' was also simultaneously barely animated and ridiculously cartoonish while it was trying to be gritty and bloody. If you want to be taken seriously, I don't think the orcs should be curling up into Sonic the Hedgehog balls and pinballing around, and that is what they chose was worth highlighting with the little animation they had. Same staff, so I'd expect more of the same. The really sad part is that even with an entire season to pull from for promotional material, almost all of what they've been putting up to advertise the new season is talking heads. 

Preseason Swing Rating:

One annoyed farting mushroom.

Lover's Suicide Comedy in the Showa Period
http://rakugo-shinju-anime.jp/
Studio: Deen
Genre: Drama
Staff/Cast Information
Premieres January 8th

Premise:
During the Showa period (~1950sish, we'll call it), an ex-prisoner falls in love with rakugo and is taken in by an expert rakugo teller to learn the trade, except he never intended to teach him and wants to take what he knows to his grave.

Initial Thoughts:
If you remember Joshiraku, that's what rakugo is. This is a drama about it though, not (attempts at) comedy. This did have a brief 2 episode OVA adaptation in 2015. It has the same staff as that, not that they're anything to care about. Director did that godawful recent season of Rozen Maiden, although Sankarea was at least temporarily visually interesting. The writer… Hamatora. Ew. For all I know, the first month of episodes will be the OVA chopped up and/or repurposed anyway. I should probably check into that. All the promos show is heads and sometimes heads emoting. It's rare that a Japanese drama actually has enough going on for me to give a damn, especially as neutered and afraid to actually touch on actual adult concepts, relationships, etc when generic teenage existential angst seems to be a bottomless well that they all can't stop dipping into.

Preseason Swing Rating:

And what's the deal with all the octopus food?

Saturday

Luck and Logic
http://luckandlogic-animation.com/
Studio: Dogakobo
Genre: Action
Staff/Cast Information
Premieres January 9th

Premise:
Magic girls are forced to the human world, followed by the invaders who drove them out. Certain humans with magic powers can fuse with those magic girls to transform and fight as magic people against the magic invaders magically.

Initial Thoughts:
Made to help pitch one of Japan's endless supply of trading card games. Staff have very little to their name, but Dogakobo has been pretty woeful with their attempts at action shows (Aria AA, Mikagura). The promos do show some action, but it looks really heavily CGI assisted with that uncomfortable uncanny valley movement that it always has. Maybe it was just bad clips, but I kind of doubt it since when Dogakobo puts effort into animating, they tend to go in the opposite direction in attempts to make people yell about sakuga and wet themselves. It's clearly more concerned with the fanservice anyway. The cast is about 98% females, entirely clad in form-hugging catsuits, and rub themselves against the protagonist in at least one promo. One of them also wears a gaudy opera mask. Well, it certainly screams anime if nothing else.

Preseason Swing Rating:
 
To my side, my noble Einherjar.

DRRRRRRRRRR
http://www.durarara.com/
Studio: Shuka
Genre: Drama
Staff/Cast Information
Premieres January 9th

Premise:
Continuation from summer of the continuation from last winter which was a sequel to a show from 2010. Random guys and a dullahan sit around and watch TV. Sometimes, they talk about things.

Initial Thoughts:
The fourth and final part, thank god. The 'structure' this is supposedly based on defines the fourth part as coming after the crux of the story and where everything is wrapped up. So yes, this is supposed to be three months of wrapping up. For a series that has spent about 50 episodes on a fat load of sitting around and watching TVs once the budget ran out, which it did about 4 episodes into the 2010 version. I think it's a little late to be joining the story now, and if you've stuck it out for the 50+ episodes so far, you might as well see this plodding monstrosity to its non-end.

Preseason Swing Rating:

By the power of Zod I cast thee out.

Nurse Witch Komugi R
http://www.ntv.co.jp/komugir/
Studio: Tatsunoko Production
Genre: Obliviousness
Staff/Cast Information
Premieres January 9th

Premise:
Komugi is a struggling pop idol and a magical girl. There are also other magical girls. They fight magical viruses. Maybe one of them brings them. It's unclear.

Initial Thoughts:
The thing about the original Komugi, which I'm rather fond of, is that it comes from the era where they loved to parody magical girls as insane/selfish dickweeds, and was spawned from Soul Taker, which was one of Shinbo's formulative auteur piles of utter insanity in the visual direction wrapped around the most bland and cliche Dragonball story imaginable. It was manic, funny, and the exact opposite of the trend in recent years of everyone being apple-faced innocent cherubs doing their best. The idols were all greedy backstabbing asses, one of the monsters of the episode was 2chan brought to life, and the episode about making an anime mocked every single person involved in the production before devolving into a pro wrestling parody where the mascot creatures turned into the same kind of nightmare fuel that you get when you superimpose Pikachu's skin over Ganon's model. They even once skipped fanservice to make a joke about how un-tentacle rapable Komugi was. So I feel a little annoyed that this spinoff appears to have seen "existing property" and "idols" and then set out to become that which the original series used to wholeheartedly tear into. It's not like the OVA series was perfect, but I already know that this series is going to break my heart by being the most generic, vapid, unambitious, safe sack of crap as Japan keeps constantly churning out, especially since that's what the staff here always does. Please, Tatsunoko, surprise me. Oh wait, they're already announcing how awesome the idol concert sequences will be because they're using CGI for them. Now there's nowhere to go but up.

Preseason Swing Rating:
 
Rainbows on fire! Puppies that shoot lasers! Outdated internet references!

Sunday

Dimension W
http://dimension-w.net/
Studio: Orange
Genre: Action
Staff/Cast Information
Premieres January 10th

Premise:
In the future, humanity has created coils that draw ridiculous amounts of energy from another dimension. A ragtag group of people/cyborgs/whatevers hunt down people who are illegally using these coils for nefarious purposes.

Initial Thoughts:
While the promos don't blow me away, they do show promise in both animation/action and the characters, although there was a bit more closeups of skintight tits and ass cleavage than was probably good for it. Even weirder because this director has yet to do anything that has shown even the slightest spark of life thus far (Saekano, Oreshura, etc). Writer doing the adapting is a little more on point (Darker than Black, Lagrange, Snafu), but still not great. From the little I've glanced at it though, it seems to have some real issues with cliches and apparently a mess of an angsty past for the protagonist that has even Japanese readers complaining. I can't imagine the effort that must take. Well, Orange's only show thus far was Black Bullet, and of its sins, poor animation usually wasn't one of them, and I live in the eternal hope that someday, Japan will learn how to actually adapt, or at the very least, take the premise and do their own cooler stuff with it, as has been the increasingly popular trend with western comic stuff lately. Hope and disappointment springs eternal.

Preseason Swing Rating:

But is the world ready for super fridges?

Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash
http://grimgar.com/
Studio: A-1 Pictures
Genre: Adventure
Staff/Cast Information
Premieres January 10th

Premise:
A bunch of teenagers wake up in fantasyland with no idea how they got there, so instead of all splitting up for no reason, they decide to work together.

Initial Thoughts:
It's weird how they try to use that as a selling point, but I'm guessing they were thinking that unless they sprinkled it with a bunch of MMORPG terms, people might not get what they were going for. At least it's not yet another one of those, although from everything I'm seeing, it proceeds at the speed of glacier. It's based on a light novel too, and if that's already got awful pacing, I can only imagine how much worse the adaptation will end up given Japan's standard practices to stretch everything the hell out. Director hasn't done much, especially not in the last half decade. He's handling the adapting as well. The promos do show action and whatnot, showing an understanding that the interesting part isn't going to be pictures of landscapes that are slightly more sparkly or have a slightly bigger tree, but A-1's usually pretty good at marketing, and has been phoning it in on their action series pretty badly for the last couple years. 

Preseason Swing Rating:

Tonberry attack goes from episode 1 to 47.

Schwarzesmarken
http://schwarzesmarken-anime.jp/
Studio: Liden
Genre: Action
Staff/Cast Information
Premieres January 10th

Premise:
Spinoff/Prequel of Muv Luv Alternative's universe (same as Total Eclipse). Toothy aliens invade the planet. People get in mechs to shoot and punch at them.

Initial Thoughts:
The light novel spiritual successor to Total Eclipse, if you remember that disaster from a couple years back, adapted to a visual novel, adapted to an anime, because we gotta sell this crap in every possible format. Liden is a bottom of the barrel studio (Terraformars, Arslan), and the blocky CGI things stomping around with PS2 graphics certainly show that off. Director's been around a long time, but the last show he was in charge of was Strain. At least that's mecha something. The writer's last and only full project was Cross Ange. Well, if that's not a winning team, I don't know what is. I see no signs it will be better than its big brother, Total Eclipse, and that was mostly a nonsensical disaster.

Preseason Swing Rating:

Those are clearly herbivore teeth.

Monday

Undefeated Bahamut Chronicle
http://saijaku.jp/
Studio: Lerche
Genre: Action
Staff/Cast Information
Premieres January 11th

Premise:
At magical school for magical girls who wear magical CGI weapon-suits while training to be the magical strongest, a magical boy sees a magical princess naked, and has to fight a magical duel. He's known as the magically weakest, even though he's actually the magically strongest, and a bunch of magical women rub their magical tits on magical him.

Initial Thoughts:
Something needed to fill in the slot this season abandoned by Cavalry and Asterisk. I would've liked to see more action in the promos, but they weren't packed with the T&A that this kind of thing invariably fills themselves with either. It's possible the balloon breasted bimbos who are permanently flushed with arousal are them just being 'subtle' though and not wanting to shoot their load too early. Lerche is a crapshoot in production, but is usually averagish, and staff's a mixed bag too; some experience with this kind of thing that occasionally showed some skill on both the writing and directing side, but mostly averagish things that went immediately forgotten. I came out of looking up stuff on this like I ate a saltine cracker. Everything points to it coming off the same manufacturing line as all the rest of its ilk, right down to the protagonist's initial duel being interrupted to save the girl, groping her in the process. Breaking new ground, this ain't.

Preseason Swing Rating:

Extra horny, for her pleasure.

Snow White With the Red Hair
http://clarines-kingdom.com/
Studio: Bones
Genre: Drama
Staff/Cast Information
Premieres January 11th

Premise:
Continuation from summer. The world's most chaste and innocent couple look at plants together after she ran away from a rapist. And she has red hair.

Initial Thoughts:
I got bored with the first season very, very quickly as it spent a ridiculous amount of time having characters stare at each other or things while announcing what feelings they had. The characters were boringly perfect Jesus and Jesusette and had as much chemisty as a glass of water and a rock. I'm not a chemist. Point is, their relationship was insubstantial from the very start and apparently continued in that way for another three months, with the grand culmination being a kiss and then being flustered for a while over whether or not she has feelings. Japan, you really need to be introduced to the world of dating. Do you even know how much you're missing when things like relationships, breakups, sex, periods, dicks, girlfriends, boyfriends, pregnancy, wives, mother in laws, etc etc etc etc are completely off the table to you? For relationship development, drama and humor? Get with the 20th century, and then we can discuss getting you to the 21st. 

Preseason Swing Rating:

OMG! What if they hold hands this season!?

The Four Rhythms Beyond the Blue
http://aokana-anime.com/
Studio: Gonzo
Genre: Drama
Staff/Cast Information
Premieres January 11th

Premise:
Magic shoes let people fly, and there's some sport about flying, but the guy had to stop sporting. Then he meets a girl who wants him to teach her to sport, and he starts to regain his love of sporting.

Initial Thoughts:
Oh hey, a porn game adaptation. They seem so rare these days compared to the deluge of light novels and cell phone things. This is for shilling the Vita port. The game itself seems pretty well regarded, although it also seems to go all in on the "teenagers in a school club being teenagers doing their very bestest and beings friends" thing that comprises approximately 40% of anime these days. Maybe its roots will mean it'll actually commit to a romance like approximately 10% of these things do after waffling through each girl in turn, and have an actual ending, the two things that occasionally set VN adaptations apart from LN ones. The promos are mostly shots of scenery and girls smiling for the camera, so whatever the flying sport thing is certainly doesn't seem to be the focus. Director of most recently Etotama and next to nothing else of real note, and that same awful boring writer as Haruchika. 

Preseason Swing Rating:
           
Now if the sport was like skeet shooting…

Concluding Thoughts:

It's not exactly looking like a strong season. Maybe if you're into romances, especially girly marem romances since there are a couple more of those than usual, but even those are looking a bit grim. There's always Utawarerumono 2 that hasn't ended yet! That has nowhere to go but up as well after an entire season of garbage. At least shows are relatively spread out across the week. That's… something, I suppose. All the more time to work on finish translating a game that I don't have any great fondness for. Yaaaay… Season kicks off on the fifth. I'll be back at work then, so back to business as usual.

I'll try to writeup something on Izumo 4 to fill the days until the next season, and maybe something else, but I'd rather concentrate on finishing BB2's script before I need to go back to work. Speaking of which, go help find bugs.

Posted in Season Preview | 17 Comments »

17 Shouts From the Peanut Gallery

  • DmonHiro says:

    CGI for… Komugi… dance scenes….

    F*&@#(&!*^#&*!^*&(&*^! GODDAMN IT JAPAN!!!!!!

    [Reply]

  • Opulent Rag says:

    When I saw Komugi I did a spit-take (figuratively anyway, I’m still spending money on this rig), an actually good parody show back from when that fucking meant something, not constantly screaming references, making nudge-and-wink 4th wall jokes at the audience for desperate humor. (sigh) I look forward to them fucking it all up and completely missing the point.

    Everything else… it just makes me wish western animation studios would get off their fucking asses and make FUCKING SOMETHING other than try-hard comedy shows. I mean for fucksakes it sadder than a motherfucker that some fucking kids shows are fathoms better than the normal dross that comes out on adult swim or comedy central.

    [Reply]

  • Paulo27 says:

    Orange is a CGI studio, Dimension W is by Studio 3Hz and Black Bullet is by Kinema Citrus.
    Orange is also “doing” a bunch of other shows this season, like Undefeated Bahamut Chronicle, Active Raid and Norn9.

    I miss some wittiness in the preview tho. :c

    Season honestly seems pretty solid but after Fall I think just about any will seem like that, this year is the exact opposite of the last, with its amazing Fall and extra shitty Winter.

    Mostly excited for Grimgal since I read the source, the source is pretty slow paced but there’s really not much stretching to do unless they somehow decide having MC counting coins for an entire episode like he does in the novels… I don’t see the director pulling that though, especially with how different the MC already his from his novel counterpart, they’ll probably do something else with it.

    Tatsunoko Production is a really weird studio too, they are just so damn random, I like them a lot for that, I’m not watching this one tho.

    [Reply]

  • Sanjuro says:

    “Little cyborg lesbians dressed like fetish bait.” Brilliant.

    It’s such a shame about Komugi though.

    [Reply]

  • Jroa999 says:

    Well, Active Raid’s second promotional video and the commercial did begin to show off some actual combat scenes with the power suits. Only the first video, which was more of an initial teaser, seemed to be reluctant about presenting that. They’re apparently advertising it as police action with some comedic elements, almost like Tiger & Bunny or something along those lines.

    I don’t know if you’ll ever be a big fan of 3DCG, but I think Studio Orange has been doing some nice work both in general and with respect to this specific production. The power suit designs could be prettier, admittedly, yet I like how they actually move. I think they’ll make the actual fights fairly entertaining even when IMS will only do a mediocre job on the 2D animation.

    I would say Naruhisa Arakawa isn’t that bad when he isn’t writing anime adaptations for already terrible light novels and/or manga, so I don’t blame him for not being able to polish a turd into gold. He did some great work adapting Spice and Wolf but, more importantly in this case, the man has worked on several Sentai series and Kamen Rider shows, including Kamen Rider Kuuga which was pretty well-received back in the day. So he might be decent enough for an original production that’s not already destined to be LN trash.

    I am also looking forward to the show since they’re not going crazy with the fanservice levels. I can take some blush and maybe a typical beach episode, for instance, but hopefully the cast will be wearing proper uniforms and/or power suits most of the time.

    [Reply]

    Paulo27 says:

    I patiently await for Rails Wars 2.

    [Reply]

    Jroa999 says:

    I’d laugh at your joke, but I think that’s unlikely to be accurate. Rail Wars was doomed to remain light novel trash and its main character was completely bland. On the contrary, the male lead in Active Raid actually looks like he will have a personality and already seems a little older too.

    Rail Wars also focused a lot more on showing tits and ass in its promotional materials plus never had any good action, 3D or otherwise, with a plot that went absolutely nowhere in 12 episodes. I doubt any of that will apply here.

    [Reply]

  • jingoi says:

    watch:DRRR when dubbed
    try: Erased
    for ecchi: everything with cute girls

    [Reply]

  • Chipp says:

    >and the extremely prolific head writer adapting it seems to only completely vomit all over himself when trying to take things seriously (Akame, Yuuki Yuuna)
    Or when he’s working with his best buddy Kishit.

    [Reply]

  • Dynellen says:

    Been a while since there’s been a season where absolutely nothing interest me but here it is. Yay for free time?

    [Reply]

  • Moondrag says:

    You know, is there any Otome game where a female character (Hell, even if that character is a rival) is a secret romance option? Seeing all these harem/marem shows is starting to make me hope that there is someone who doesn’t aim for the dumb boring same things. (Like ALL those Light Novels>Animes. Really, why are those so damn popular?)

    At least PSO2 has a ch-*reads premise* OH COME ON.

    [Reply]

  • anise_punter says:

    No excitement for pretty much anything coming around this time, and I’ll watch most non-overly-trashy crap they throw out there. There’s like four moeshit series in spring, they couldn’t push one of them up to January?

    [Reply]

  • algorithm says:

    This season looks absolutely worthless. Even more so than usual. Once again, thank you for wasting your time so we don’t have to waste ours.

    [Reply]

  • OverMaster says:

    “is that it comes from the era where they loved to parody magical girls as insane/selfish dickweeds”

    Star vs. The Forces of Evil keeps the good fight.

    [Reply]

  • LUNI_TUNZ says:

    Well, let’s not forget we have that Milky Holmes movie to look forward to.

    [Reply]

  • v1cious says:

    You forgot Ajin.I know it’s on Netflix, but it’s still a series, and it looks awesome.

    [Reply]

    Paulo27 says:

    He doesn’t preview CGI stuff, and no, it looks awful.

    [Reply]

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