It certainly has been quite a while since I last posted on this blog, as one can tell. Unfortunately, a multitude of things came up in the real world that have caused me to fall behind in several anime and have prevented me from updating Faulty Reviews. However, now that things have settled down, I have had the time to catch up again with the winter anime and prepare a preview for the upcoming spring season. I’ll be posting “what I missed” bits for the various winter series I had been reviewing during the next couple of days. Until then, these are the shows that I am looking forward to this coming spring.
Isshuukan Friends – One Week Friends – 一週間フレンズ。
Studio: Brains Base | Genre: Romance | Premiere: 4/6
Premise: Kaori Fujimiya is always alone because all of her happy memories, including time spent with her friends, disappear every Monday. Deciding that he wants to be friends with her anyway, Yuuki Hase tries to get close to Kaori each week, wishing that she would one day call him “a friend.”
Studio Brains Base and romance is a good combination, and out of the three Brains Base series coming out this season – Isshuukan Friends, Bokura wa Minna Kawaisou, and the otome game adaptation Kamigami no Asobi – Isshuukan Friends looks by far to be the most promising. Yeah, the premise sounds like the Hollywood film 50 First Dates, but having a week of relationship development instead of a day should allow for a better story, and Isshuukan Friends seems to be the sort of character story that actually focuses on just that – relationship development – as opposed to pure comedy or fanservice. I also find myself liking the art style, which is a bit reminiscent of this season’s Sakura Trick.
Fansubbing Groups: Kaylith Subs
Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei – The Irregular at Magic High School – 魔法科高校の劣等生
Studio: Madhouse | Genre: Science Fantasy | Premiere: 4/5
Premise: Magic is a product of neither legends nor fairy tales, but instead has become a technology of reality since a time unknown to people. Supernatural power became a technology systematized through magic, while magic became a technical skill. A “Supernatural Power User” became a “Magic Technician.” Magic Technicians (in short, Magicians) are nurtured through Magic High Schools and Universities.
Based on a popular series of light novels, Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei is probably one of the most anticipated anime of the upcoming season. In fact, I’ve actually read the first two volumes of the series, thanks to the translators of Baka-Tsuki. While Mahouka Koukou isn’t exactly groundbreaking, I found the LNs to be enjoyable, very adept at world-building, and pretty good at handling both comedy and action. If you are a fan of the A Certain Magical Index/A Certain Scientific Railgun series, as I am, you’ll probably enjoy Mahouka Koukou. Plus, the VA cast looks to be excellent, with names such as Hanazawa Kana, Nakamura Yuuichi, and Hayami Saori.
Ping Pong The Animation – ピンポン THE ANIMATION
Studio: Tatsunoko Productions | Genre: Sport | Premiere: 4/10
Premise: Makoto Tsukimoto (nicknamed Smile) is a quiet high-schooler who’s been friends with the loud and energetic Yukata Hoshino (nicknamed Peco) since childhood. They’re both in the local table tennis club and both have a natural talent for it, although Smile’s personality always enables him from winning against Peco. The club teacher, however, notices Smile’s talent and tries to make him gain some sportive tenacity.
Ping Pong The Animation is a sport anime, and I can’t say that I am the biggest fan of the genre. However, the director behind Ping Pong, Yuasa Masaaki, is the same man behind The Tatami Galaxy. Animator Choi Eun-Young also worked on The Tatami Galaxy, and the distinct style of the two can be seen in Ping Pong’s PVs. I have been burned by noitaminA before (I’m looking at you, Galilei Donna and a certain Samurai Flamenco), and I don’t know what to expect from the series in terms of plot, but I can’t imagine Ping Pong being a disappointment.
Fansubbing Groups: Commie Enterprises
Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii – The World is Still Beautiful – それでも世界は美しい
Studio: Studio Pierrot | Genre: Romance, Fantasy | Premiere: 4/5
Premise: Nike, the fourth princess of the Rain Dukedom and one who holds the power to call forth the rain, travels to the Sun Kingdom to marry Sun King Livius for her country, despite her own reluctance. She soon discovers that the King, who conquered the world in only three years after his ascendance to the throne, is still a child! Furthermore, for trivial reasons, he has demanded that Nike call forth the rain…
Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukishii is one of those nice, quiet shoujo manga that somehow ends up getting an anime adaptation. Not that I’m complaining – these sorts of adaptations often end up as some of the best romcom anime, even if they rarely attract that much attention. I’ve been enjoying the manga, so I have no reason to believe that I won’t enjoy the anime.
Fansubbing Groups: Anime-Koi
Mekaku City Actors – メカクシティアクターズ
Studio: SHAFT | Genre: Supernatural | Premiere: 4/12
Premise: Shintaro Kisaragi, a HikiNEET who shut himself inside his room for 2 years, had been living his life normally until he met a cyber girl named Ene, who appeared in his computer screen when someone anonymously sent him a mysterious e-mail one year ago. One day, Ene messes with Shintaro’s PC which causes him to go outside for the first time in two years.
Like Ping Pong, Mekaku City Actors is a series that I’m interested in mainly due to the people behind the show, rather than the premise of the show itself. In this case, by “people” I am referring to SHAFT. Not everything SHAFT makes is gold, but they certainly don’t produce stereotypical works, so it will be interesting to see how this series, which was inspired by a series of Vocaloid songs, goes. The fact that it has Hanazawa Kana certainly doesn’t hurt either.
Fansubbing Groups: Mekameka Subs
Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo Returns – Kindaichi Case Files R – 金田一少年の事件簿R
Studio: Toei Animation | Genre: Mystery, Drama | Premiere: 4/5
Premise: Kindaichi Hajime may look dumb, but he is one of the smartest you will ever see. He encounters mysteries after mysteries with his good friend, Miyuki, and he swears to solve them in the name of his grandfather, who was a great detective.
With Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo Returns, I will be breaking one of my general rules of television – that rule being “always watch a series in order.” Returns is the sequel – not a reboot – to a series that ran for 148 episodes in the late 90s. However, I’ve heard that the series is pretty episodic, and I imagine that Toei figures that a lot of new viewers may want to check out Returns, so I’m not too worried about not having seen the original. Why do I want to see this in the first place? Simple – realistic mystery stories aren’t common in anime (Detective Conan aside) – so Returns should make for a good wildcard series.
Fansubbing Groups: N/A
Mushishi Zoku Shou – 蟲師 続章
Studio: Artland | Genre: Supernatural, Mystery | Premiere: 4/4
Premise: Second season of Mushishi.
Thank you MAL for that great premise. Anyways, this is the second season of Mushishi. I’ve only seen episode one of the first season of Mushishi, so I can’t really say much about it, other than that episode one alone was enough to get me hyped for Zoku Shou. Yeah, it’s good. I’ll certainly try to finish season one by April fourth.
Fansubbing Groups: N/A
I’m probably going to pick around 4 or so of these shows to do episode reviews of. I might have bit off a bit more than I could chew during the winter season, where I was trying to review 7 shows per week. Isshuukan Friends looks like a good series to write about, and I know for sure that I’ll be covering Mahouka Koukou. Kindaichi Case Files R might actually be a really fun series to blog about, because if the mystery arcs are stretched out over a few episodes, one can try to guess the culprit before each arc reaches its conclusion.
I may add more later during the season, but I am actually planning on actually getting to righting reviews of past anime, something that I’ve been consistently putting off.