My season ‘preview’ of sorts is not so much about simply copying the synopsis and other trivial data, but about my expectations on the upcoming titles, I’ll leave out all series which are mass-produced low-quality anime in my eyes. And sadly that applies to many titles of the fall line-up, though there are also some promising anime by the usual suspects like Bones and Production I.G. around. But overall it seems to be one of the weakest fall seasons for years, a lot of cheap sequels and a lack of original projects show the uncertain condition of the current Japanese animation industry.
♦ Kuchu Buranko
It’s the ‘noitaminA’ series of the season and further by the same team who were responsible for Mononoke, namely director Kenji Nakamura and character designer/animation director Takashi Hashimoto working with studio Toei. If you’ll find anywhere creativity this season then it’s certainly in Kuchu Buranko, I expect refreshing and inventive visuals in the same vein as Mononoke. But not only the presentation will be great as the synopsis reads very interesting, too. The original material is Hideo Okuda’s Naoki award-winning-novel, it’s great to see acclaimed and more serious literature turned into anime besides the usual superficial light-novel stuff.
♦ Darker than Black: Twins of the Shooting Star
One of the few original projects of the upcoming season and sequel to the first DtB by talented director Tensai Okamura. It’s very rare these days that the original creator and the director of a TV series are one person, but that can lead to very interesting results as there are lower restrictions to the creative process. The animation is produced by Bones (respectively the team of season 1), so I’ve no doubts that the quality will exceed most other series.
♦ To Aru Kagaku no Railgun
I didn’t watch “To Aru Majutsu no Index” as it’s a typical light-novel adaption in every aspect and far from being anything special with the usual poor directing and trite script, but there’s one thing that makes me confindent that this spin-off will be more than a typical unimaginative bishoujo series. To be exact, it’s the participation of Tatsuyuki Nagai (Toradora!, Idolm@ster Xenoglossia, Honey & Clover 2) who happens to be one of my favorite directors for this kind of material. His sharp approach on directing and his emphasis on character animation to make the characters lively through multifaceted animation makes the comedy so much funnier and the drama much more engaging than in the usual bishoujo/moe stuff, especially the episodes he directs himself have a wonderful sense for gags and interesting character acting. I only hope that the material proves to be worthy of this skilled director…
♦ Seiken no Blacksmith
Don’t know why manglobe chose to do an adaption of a generic light-novel instead of doing another interesting original project, but that has probably economic reasons as it’s easier to get a project with successful source material funded. Studio manglobe projects are always highly interesting since staff from all over the industry comes together. The PV shows decent animation quality, though as usual ups and downs are to be expected, depending on where the episode is produced and who is the episode/animation director. Director Masamitsu Hidaka has a decent record of works to some extent, but the generic source material sorf of limits the potential.
Another Madhouse Clamp manga adaption supervised by Mori Asaka (Card Captor Sakura, Chobits, NANA, etc.) and directed by Mitsuyuki Masuhara. Latter has still to prove his skills, but the rest of the project staff is certainly promising with character designer Hiromi Kato of “Clamp in Wonderland 2” fame and the experienced scriptwriters Nanase Ohkawa (Clamp member) and Michiko Yokote. The animation quality will probably be not too high as manga adaptions are usually of secondary importance to them, but middling Madhouse quality is still better than most of the other stuff out there.
♦ Kimi ni Todoke
Manga adaption by Production I.G. It’s the first job as series director for Hiro Kaburaki who did some decent work on “Welcome to the NHK” and “Le Chevalier d’Eon”, but nothing too outstanding. Apparently it’s not a high priority anime for I.G. in the vein of their original projects, though the quality of their works never disappoints anyway.
♦ Anyamal Tantei Kirumins
Despite having a weird premise, this one could be a surprise. It’s an original project by Shoji Kawamori (Macross, Basquash!, etc.) and directed by talented director Soichi Masuo (Scrapped Princess), produced by Satelight, Hal Fim Maker and JM Animation. They seem to go with the current trend of ‘uber moe’ little girls in cute costumes, but the execution could be pretty good due to the promising project staff. Director Soichi Masuo is someone who did a lot of interesting work in the past, and Hideaki Anno even invited him to do storyboarding for “Evangelion 2.0”.
♦ Fairy Tail
Fairy Tail has certainly a lot of potential, not only due to the nice source material, but because of Shinji Ishihara who really knows how to direct action stuff. Recently he did a lot of outstanding work on “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood”, particularly on the fight scenes which have a great sense of perspective and staging. Recently both Satelight and A-1 Pictures delivered pretty mediocre works (especially animation-wise), so I hope they make good for that with Fairy Tail.
♦ Tatakau Shisho: The Book of Bantorra
The trailer is pretty promising with lots of nice animation / backgounds and clearly shows Toshiya Shinohara‘s (Kuroshitsuji, Gunparade Orchestra) directing style. The studio david productions is pretty young and consists mainly of ex-Gonzo people. Quality-wise I don’t expect that the quality of the trailer will be uphold over the entire series as their former works are rather weak in terms of animation, although the synopsis sounds more interesting than in most other upcoming anime and I have faith in Shinohara’s skills as director.
♦ Jungle Taitei: Yuuki ga Mirai wo Kaeru
Adaption of Osamu Tezuka’s classic “Kimba the White lion” with some very interesting staff members like Goro Taniguchi (Code Geass, Planetes) and screenwriter Osamu Suzuki.
♦ White Album 2
I haven’t come around to finish season 1 yet, but the episodes I’ve seen were decent and much better than any other anime by Seven Arcs. The presence of Kou Yoshinari (character designer) and his animation is one of the reasons for this, so I hope we’ll see more of his work in season 2.
The rest of the upcoming series are of little interest to me since they are either cheaply produced and/or the 100th incarnation of the same garbage.