Fall 2010 Anime Season Preview

(Originally published on Livejournal on 10/14/10)

Anime Fall 2010 Preview

Better late than never, it’s time for a quick look “ahead” at the various shows scheduled for the Fall 2010 Season (roughly speaking, that encompasses the final three months of the year). I’m not going to do an exhaustive summary of each new show, and I’m not going to describe the plots and storylines, either. There are other websites that go into much further detail — and if you’re into anime chances are you’ve already been there, read all the descriptions, and viewed the previews. Instead, these are just a few of my thoughts and a little bit of snark about what I expect to encounter during my hikikimori-like existence in the next few months.

First off, Chartfag produces a quick reference chart each quarter to quickly condense the entire season into a single page. Here’s the Fall 2010 Chart, click on the image for the full-sized view:

For detailed information, here are a few excellent resources:

Random Curiosity’s Exhaustive Fall 2010 Preview: http://randomc.net/2010/09/20/fall-2010-preview/
Star-Crossed Anime Fall 2010 Preview: http://psgels.blogsome.com/2010/08/14/autumn-season-preview-2/
Star-Crossed Anime Movie and OVA Preview: http://psgels.blogsome.com/2010/08/15/autumn-season-preview-movie-and-ova-edition/
T.H.A.T. Anime Fall Preview: http://www.thatanimeblog.com/index.php/2010/08/t-h-a-t-fall-2010-anime-preview/


For the past six months, I have committed to watching the first episode of every single new anime show that is subtitled (professionally or by a fansub group) — so far that has added up to several dozen shows. I give a brief summary of what the show is about, offer up a few screen captures, and then offer my opinions on the show. Finally, I give the show a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” grade. Thumbs-up, and I’m committed to watching and reviewing the next episode; thumbs-down, and it ends up in the trash heap. My goal is to keep it fairly short and sweet — keep the review brief, keep the comments simple, the whole idea is that it’s supposed to be a review you can easily finish in about a minute.

So…let’s take a look at some of the shows I’ll be reviewing in the next couple of months. Starting first with the ones I consider most likely to get a “thumbs up” and pass the first round, and then working down the list:

Iron Man – Oh, the expectations! With the two blockbuster live-action movies fresh in everyone’s minds, it is very tempting to compare the anime with the quality of the movies (let alone the comic itself), and there’s no way the anime is going to measure up against a Hollywood megabuster with a nine-figure budget. I’ll do my best to consider the show based on its own merits, though I’m not sure that’s possible. That, and I expect my inherent distaste for superheroes will color my judgment.

Bakuman – A reluctant budding teenage manga artist ‘accidentally’ engaged to the girl who he has a crush on, provided he becomes successful artist. Out of all the school comedies this season, this one may actually not suck.

Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt – Definitely the most WTF-inducing show of the season. Powerpuff Girls meets Dead Leaves meets Puffy AmiYumi meets Gurren Lagann? Either this show is going to rock, HARD, or it’s going to suck, equally as hard.

Psychic Detective Yakumo – This is one of the shows that has the most “buzz” among the fans — and while that does not mean it is necessarily good, it usually means it is at least worth checking out. Story looks intriguing, if a bit cliche.

Star Driver Kagayaki no Takuto – An unholy cross between Gundam and My Hime? I have mixed feelings about this one. On one hand, at its heart Star Driver is a giant robot show, so that’s a big negative. On the other hand, this is another show with tons of buzz and is greatly anticipated by the fan community. Plus, it’s by BONES, and the preview looks pretty damn good.

Shinryaku Ika Musume – Ha! This looks like a blast! A cute ‘squid girl’ arrives on the beach to conquer mankind, but finds out it may be harder than she thinks, hilarity ensues. Undeniably cute, the preview video is as awesome as I had hoped. I have a suspicion this could be a real sleeper hit. I’m all over this.

The World God Only Knows – What happens when the “King of 2-D” is forced to apply his mad skillz on the World of 3-D? Methinks all those smooth moves used in the gal-games might not have the same effect in reality. Potentially funny, we’ll see how it plays out.

Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru – This one looks like fun. A struggling cafe decides to become a maid cafe, and its mismatched melange of employees results in hilarious hijinks. I dunno, for some reason I like the art style, the preview is engaging, I gotta feeling about this one. And the old lady in the maid outfit…she haunts me…

Now, moving on to some shows that I think *might* be worth watching, but I’m less optimistic:

Kuragehime – A hardcore female otaku moves into an apartment exclusively made up of hardcore female otaku, when one of the residents invites her over and…lookout, IT’S A TRAP! Could be really funny, but more often than not misfit humor falls flat.
Otome Youkai Zakuro – Alternate history where half-demons team up with the Japanese military. Preview looks quite pretty, but this one’s a head-scratcher.
Redline (movie) – I’m not a fan of racing shows of any sort, but this looks eye-bleedingly awesome.
Koisento (OVA) – Far-future where boy is running around historic district filled with deer, meets up with girl on the run.
Tamayura (OVA) – Light-hearted slice-of-life – could be touching, could be boring.
My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute – Older brother discovers his little sister is secretly addicted to erotic anime and manga. Fantastically cute, looks pretty funny, but potentially disturbing on many levels.
Koe de Oshigoto – The story of a girl who becomes a voice actress of adult anime. Another possibly-funny, possibly-disturbing show.
Yozakura Quartet: Hoshi no Umi – Superhero teenage team protects city, apparently a sequel although I’ve never heard of the show before.

As with every season, there’s a boatload of sequels to consider as well. There are three sub-categories of sequels. First off, there are the shows that I had seen before, and found enjoyable — so chances are I’ll be reviewing these positively as well. There are four shows that fall into this category:

Letter Bee Reverse – I gave the original series a “B+” grade, and I’m looking forward to picking up where the cliffhanger left off. The series was starting to devolve into filler and side-stories, but now it looks like it’s time to tackle the main plot (finally). The world mythology is quite inventive and main characters fun to watch, I’m fairly sure I’ll be watching this one all the way through.

To Aru Majutsu no Index 2 – I only graded the original series an anemic “C”, but I gave the ‘sequel’ (Railgun) a solid “B”. The original Index had some serious problems: The main character (Touma) is inherently dislikable, the other main character (Index) is (so far) useless; Long stretches of exposition instead action (you don’t have to explain everything before you do it!); Completely abandoning the original storyline with meaningless side story after another. On the other hand, as the series progressed and Mikoto gained a greater role, the show became more interesting. Railgun is a fun and complex character, and her circle of friends are infinitely more interesting than Touma’s coterie. I suspect my enjoyment of this show will be directly related to the amount of Railgun it contains. Oh, and there’s also a stand-alone Railgun OVA this season as well.

Arakawa Under the Bridge x Bridge – First season garnered a respectable “B+”, now we’re back for another round of madness. All well and good, except that the first season had a certain sense of closure, and this type of humor is best served in small servings rather than an extended course. Can they really keep it fresh and interesting?

Yondemasuyo, Azazel-san – The first short OVA got a surprise thumbs-up from me, so I expect more of the same silliness from the second OVA. It’s fookin’ hilarious.

The second sub-category of sequels involves shows that I have watched before, but have viewed negatively. The question is, how do I handle these? Do I really want to watch the new show, will it really change my opinion at all? After going back and forth, I decided to handle these on a case-by-case basis: I’ll decide whether to review these shows on my own subjective standards:

Hakuouki: Hekketsuroku – I gave this show a mild thumbs-down, but I did seriously consider it for a “second chance”. I may give it another try.
Pokemon: Best Wishes – Aren’t the kids that were weaned on the original Pokemon in college by now? Will this show ever end?
Hetalia: Axis Powers Season 4 – Are you kidding me? Season FOUR? One of the crappiest, un-funniest shows of the past few years, season FOUR?

The third sub-category of sequels involves shows that I have *not* watched before — sometimes they are sequel series, sometimes they are just OVAs or specials. I use these as an opportunity to sample the series to see if I want to go back and check out the original:

Sore no Otoshimono: Forte – People seem to like it, but it looks like nothing more than endless harem fan-service to me.
Motto To Love-ru – People seem to like it, but it looks like nothing more than endless harem fan-service to me. Whoa…deja vu….
Yumeiro Patisserie SP Professional – Cutesy baking show. Bleah.
Da Capo PSP and Seikon no Qwaser: Joou no Shouzou and Hidamari Sketch: Hoshimittsu Special and Heartcatch Precure: Hana no to de Fashion Show – all OVAs for existing shows I know very little about.

So, what’s left? Quite a bit, actually. There might be one or two good shows in the lot, but it’s pretty thin gruel.

– First, there is the Giant Robot and Mecha Crap, which immediately gets one strike against it for even existing. This includes: Super Robot Taisen OG: The Inspector and Mazinkaiser SKL and MS Gundam 00: The Movie and Armored Trooper Votoms: Case Irvine.

– Second, there is the Boys Love and Yaoi Crap, mercifully only one obvious candidate this time around: Togainu no Chi. These shows (along with anything that is explicit pornography of any sort) gets an immediate three strikes against, and is not even reviewed.

– Third, there is the Kiddie Crap. Just because a show is aimed at the ankle-biter set does not automatically mean it’s awful, but it’s a good indicator. This includes the aforementioned Pokemon as well as Rita et Machin and Karl to Fushigi na Tou and Rawr! You Look Delicious! and Tantei Opera Milky Holmes and Battle Spirits Brave and .Hack//Quantum and Air Gear: Break the Sky and Metal Fight Beyblade VS Taiyo Shakunetsu and R+100F.

What’s left after all that? The Just Plain Crap:

Yosuga no Sora – based on adult dating sim? You know that can’t be good.
Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girls – Alternate reality with scantily-clad samurai girls running around battling each other with swords. Popular among the one-fisted otaku out there, but not me.
Fortune Arterial: Red Promise – I say we nuke this show from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.
MM! – Sounds just like Seitakoi Yakuindojo, so no.
Love Live OVA – Oh boy…a gaggle of idol singers. Hooray….
Mayo Elle Otokonoto – I pretty much stopped reading at “cross-dressing student”.
Onigamiden – Some sort of historical drama with a plot so confusing my head hurts.

– This leaves the final category of The Unknown – shows that I don’t know enough about to make an educated decision, but by the fact that so little info is available that’s often not a positive sign. This includes: Nougyou Musume and Mardock Scramble and Umi Kara no Shisha and Kowarekake no Orgel.

So there you have it — the Fall 2010 Anime Season in a nutshell. I’ve already downloaded the first dozen shows, get ready for the reviews right around the corner! Move forward, not backward, upward not forward, and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom!

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