Fall 2013 Musings

I realize I’m outstandingly bad at completing seasonal thoughts on time, but as per usual it can’t be helped. Several shows have already aired (some extremely disappointing and others a dainty surprise), but they will not affect this write-up, which was written having seen nothing from the season. These are the shows I’ll be watching and my thoughts and predictions for how they’ll turn out. Ranked by my expectations.

12. Golden Time

Studio: JC Staff

[HorribleSubs] Golden Time - 01 [720p].mkv_00:08:17_10-04-13

When you see JC Staff, a slice of life light novel, and cheap, factory-produced artwork all brilliantly placed together, you only ask for two more ingredients: an awkwardly immemorable ultimately unofficial abbreviated long title, and… Rie Kugimiya. Now, granted, the holy Five have never emerged simultaneously to form the greatest conceivable invention in JC Staff history, but three of five is still 60% of an Exodia. Jokes aside, the lone distinctive appeal of Golden Time is its university setting—more importantly, a grad school one over tertiary education like that from Hachimitsu to Clover. Unfortunately, everything else about the work—ranging from its plain framework (story and characters) to its plain animation—means that this twist will likely not keep rational consumers™ intrigued for the span of two (yes, JC Staff is putting their money on two) cours. Admittedly, I guess Golden Time, and all similar riffraff by JC Staff, aren’t even intended for the rational consumer™.

Predicted Score: Awful (3/10)

11. Pupa

Studio: Studio DEEN

pupa pv

The lone fact that Studio DEEN has not once produced a good TV series since it was founded 38 years ago should already imply something. Only Higuarshi no Naku Koro Ni (the first season; the rest are utter drivel) comes close, but it shares too many flaws in its cast to give justice to the groundhog day murder mystery. Pupa by itself has very very dark content, and it’s this fact that will often drive reception of the work to either lambast all its shock value or siren sing it with praise. Although I haven’t taken a gander at the manga source, I’m already not a fan of the commonplace character designs and the awkwardly incestuous premise. Apparently the older brother is “nice and friendly but after being infected with pupa, another side emerges.” Oh god, this sounds hilarious. I can see the potential in unintentional shock humor already. Can Tomomi Mochizuki save Pupa? Guess we can only wait to see.

Predicted Score: Awful (3/10)

10. Nagi no Asukara

Studio: PA Works

[HorribleSubs] Nagi no Asukara - 01 [720p].mkv_00:01:41_10-04-13

It’s the legendary duo PA Works x Mari Okada at it again, this time with a marine flavor. This takes into form by means of the blue washed artwork, the general ocean-life setting, and a Sea Dweller premise. PA Works x Mari Okada have worked together enough times to predict the rough content and style of any new titles: luscious scenery, shouting emotions, and in terms of content, roughly sketched characters. While this is sourced from an original manga, that’s never stopped Mari Okada before. In fact, she almost exclusively sticks to adaptations, with Black★Rock Shooter being the one of the few works that relied solely on her creative prowess to conjure up feels. And we all know how that one turned out, right?

Predicted Score: Bad (4/10)

9. Coppelion

Studio: GoHands

[HorribleSubs] Coppelion - 01 [720p].mkv_00:05:20_10-04-13

Now Coppelion looks interesting. The premise—a collapsed world dealing with nuclear fallout and sojourning across chaos—doesn’t achieve utter farcity at the level we normally expect from anime. Moreover, the PVs have teased us with beautiful scenery and outstanding realism in the dilapidated architecture. The fat black borders on characters feels a little campy, but they work decently with the grit that Coppelion attempts. However, this brings into question the rest of the curious elements of the work. Tackling the perspective of three high school girls, all of which magically lack radiation sickness, is such an otaku thing to do. This could still be rendered well but the very intentional direction to cater to otaku in such a manner means a whole lot else will go wrong. Moreover, it’s GoHands, a rather inconsequential studio whose only memorable work is the single letter, impossible to Google, K. Also recall that K also shares the appeal of Coppelion (unique premise and setting), but hilariously made its own catastrophe of an anime.

Predicted Score: Bad (4/10)

8. Outbreak Company

Studio: Feel

[Anime-Koi] Outbreak Company - 01 [h264-720p][72AD8D78].mkv_00:03:52_10-05-13

Feel is a small studio that hasn’t produced many of its own works and has instead supported larger ones on the side. On their own procured projects, they have a track record for bad ecchi and harems (although it’s hard to speak of ecchi/harems without acknowledging they’re bad anyways). This includes things like Kiss x Sis, Dakara Boku wa, H ga Dekinai., and Da Capo. Honestly, the primary reason I plan to watch this is because they also did Minami-ke Tadaima back in the Winter season, and I loved it. I’m curious how Feel fares when they’re not being intentionally stupid. Also, Outbreak Company‘s premise as a fourth-walling light novel with a moe expert protagonist could turn out to be a fun surprise like Hataraku Maou-sama, or still stupid but fun like Hentai Ouji. It’s a little up in the air, but I do hope this series is at least enjoyable.

Predicted Score: Bad (4/10)

7. Yozakura Quartet: Hana no Uta

Studio: Tatsunoko Production

yozakura_quartet

As a reboot of a terrible manga adaptation, there are some general high hopes for this next try. Hopefully Tatsunoko Production will realize all the atrocities that Nomad had done, but aside from that, there’s very little going for the series already. A co-existing society with humans and demons, and a Fantastic Four group of teenagers with their own exciting power! I love how MyAnimeList adds the exclamation mark; it’s just that exicting!

Predicted Score: Bad (4/10)

6. Galilei Donna

Studio: A-1 Pictures

galilei_donna

This is that other noitaminA show, one gadgeted with Charlie’s Angels, spy missions, and all that jazz. There’s not much to glean from previews aside from the general structure of the show, and the director Yasuomi Umetsu hasn’t lead any major project. The artwork is on the upper echelon given A-1 Pictures’ ability to produce better technical aspects when they actually want to, and the whole “against some mysterious organization” plot device could easily go south. I’ll make the conservative judgment here.

Predicted Score: Okay (5/10)

5. Kill la Kill

Studio: Studio Trigger

[Commie] Kill la Kill - 01 [07B80133].mkv_00:05:30_10-04-13

Easily the most hyped at least within the English community, I’m quite shocked to see just how much Studio Trigger has garnered a cult following, despite not having created anything beyond small works. This is riding off the legacy of Gainax, as well as of course the coattail of Hiroyuki Imaishi’s track record. Most are expectant of just the same with Imaishi’s experimentally dumb “but fun” titles, including things like Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, FLCL, Panty & Stocking, and Dead Leaves. Now I must say that I abhor TTGL‘s bastardized morals and terrible characters, and if it’s anything as superficial as that, I’ll love to bash on Kill la Kill. However, so long as it it’s more in tune with the flippant and non-thematic oddities in P&S, the work won’t fall into the traps of angsty hell. Please don’t let the “father’s death” and possibly serious premise become obnoxious like Shingeki no Kyojin, but who knows?

Predicted Score: Okay (5/10)

4. Diamond no Ace

Studio: Madhouse, Production IG

diamond_no_ace

As a joint collaboration between Madhouse and Production IG, sports fans may be content with this season, having the new Diamond no Ace as well as Kuroko no Basket‘s season two and Hajime no Ippo‘s season three to rave over. I’ve yet to see a good sports anime, but I’ve also yet to see Cross Game, Hajime no Ippo, and Major. This is my shortcoming in terms of weeaboo knowledge, so I aim to stick with this show to at least get a better sense of how sports—particularly baseball—anime are like. I hope it doesn’t pull shounen theatrics with named power moves, ridiculous training episodes, and/or the ability to accomplish all one’s goals by sheer effort. However, with both Madhouse and Production IG backing such a project, I am at least a little enthusiastic.

Predicted Score: Okay (5/10)

3. Kyoukai no Kanata

Studio: Kyoto Animation

[UTW]_Kyoukai_no_Kanata_-_01_[h264-720p][EA7904DE].mkv_00:01:32_10-04-13

Yes, I’ve heard the first episode is atrocious. Oh well, I was a little more expectant of Kyoanigatari having placed it so highly here, and it’d be cheating to change my ranking now. KyoAni generally doesn’t do anything too poorly save for the chance encounter with cloying melodrama, and its more subtle humor is adored by most anime fans. Plus, they’ve worked on high school slices of life to death so much that they more or less know the ins and outs of the niched genre. Kyoukai no Kanata takes a more fantastical twist, and honestly, the premise is rather stupid. However, it’s at least very very interesting to see KyoAni essentially pull off their own intepretation of Monogatari-esque content. Also note that KyoAni were the ones themselves who published the light novel (yes, they publish things now after their feud with Kadokawa), so this is purely a KyoAni-adopted creation—original right from their ghostwriters! Alright, that last comment was a low blow. Not all light novels are mass-produced~~

Predicted Score: Okay (5/10)

2. Kyousougiga

Studio: Toei Animation

[Commie] Kyousougiga - 00 [CB3CE90C].mkv_00:06:03_10-05-13

Kyousougiga is one of those offbeat shows that instinctively calls for the “lol so random” catchphrase. The prior OVAs substantiated none of its plot, and hurricaned through its character introductions as if we were placed at the climax of the story. However, Kyousougiga also features some of the most spendid visuals in anime, with lovely colors, creative hand-drawn artwork, and fluid animation. As a sample teaser, the OVAs were absolutely fantastic, tying in a very intriguing plot dealing with the literary absurdities within Izumi Todo’s own instantiation of Alice in Wonderland. This time Toei Animation has the screentime length of a whole cour to bring in those visuals and mesh it with a cohesive storyline. The potential here is innumerable, and I can’t wait to see how well this turns out.

Predicted Score: Good (6/10)

1. Samurai Flamenco

Studio: Manglobe

samurai_flamenco

As an original comedy and drama action series directed by the esteemed Takahiro Omori, it’s difficult not to be excited. Omori galvanized some of the best works in anime, and his consistently high caliber in conjunction with fascinating material—”super hero without super powers” premise, henshins, a contrasting duo, and excellent artwork—mean relatively high expectations. While there is little known about the details of the series, this stands as the potential best of the season. Apparently 2ch also agrees with me.

Predicted Score: Good (6/10)

Overall

This is a pretty typical season as far as the range of quality fares. The lineup isn’t as great as last Summer’s, but several of those shows in the Summer practically tanked after several episodes (I’m particularly looking at you Gatchaman). The top five here—Kill la Kill, Diamond no Ace, Kyoukai no Kanata, Kyousougiga, and Samurai Flamenco—are what I’m most anxious for, but I don’t hold them up to as high regard as, say, Summer’s top five. Well, now that this write-up is over, let me catch up with all those first episodes! As with the beginning of any new season, reviving that freshness keeps one from quitting from following anime altogether.

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7 comments

  1. Going by your rating scale, I’d give Kyoukai no Kanata a 4 and Coppelion a 3. They’re all I’ve seen from this season, though, since I don’t really have that much time to keep up with much anime at the moment :’)

    Hope some things this season meet/exceed your expectations!

    On a side note, a melodramatic JC Staff romcom anime with an overly long name AND with a Rie Kugimiya loli sounds like the worst anime ever… and also the best anime ever, for the exact same reasons. Would actually watch that shit, if only out of morbid curiosity.

    1. Just watched those two! You’re spot on with KnK, which I would bump down to a 4 at the moment. Kyoukai no Kanata’s a little disappointing, but I was expecting an utter atrocity, so it did help that my expectations were low. Some of the show’s comedy is enjoyable at least. The prologue for instance is pretty in tune with Monogatari with a half-dry narration and intentionally obtuse dialogue. There is also some really fascinating choreography; I never knew I could be so excited seeing a girl cut a bucket in half and then trip over some cleaning supplies. However, the drolling dialogue with a drolling character setup gets a little old, and the slow pace didn’t set out to achieve anything. Oh well, it was still fun!

      Coppelion’s a weird one, and I’m not sure how to feel at the moment. The emptiness in the work is pretty heavy on the atmosphere, and the last scene really caught my attention with how they animated the wolf (as well as that plot twist). But there’s just sooooo much… meandering.

      Yeah, I’ve been having trouble managing time for weeaboo activities too. I really don’t want to spend too much time evaluating bad things, and so I plan on dropping at least half. No way could I stick with something like Golden Time for two seasons (lol). JC Staff, Rie Kugimiya, and Mari Okada should do collab together. That’s like an otaku gold mine waiting to happen.

      1. JC Staff, Rie Kugimiya, and Mari Okada should do collab together. That’s like an otaku gold mine waiting to happen.

        Doesn’t this anime already exist and isn’t it called Toradora? Or was it so bad that you had to block it from your memory (lol)

      2. Oh my god you’re right. How could I forget? I actually liked Toradora too (well the first half).

  2. drgonzo7 · · Reply

    Wait…where did you watch Pupa? I couldn’t find it anywhere. :|

    1. These are all previews. I’m actually not sure when Pupa will air. also, there’s been rumors running around that it may only be an ONA that’s five minutes per episode (!).

      1. drgonzo7 · ·

        Oh, that might be better. I already have too many shows to follow to begin with.

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