Short Preview of Spring Season 2012
It’s this time of the year again where slowly every anime-blogger will think about writing previews for the Spring-Season. And like with every season some people will look at the new animes and ask: “Isn’t this season worse than the past ones?” And I’ll say: “No, it could be worse.” Because looking at Eureka Seven Ao I had a terrible nightmare. Or you could say it was more like an idea for all the money-hungry animation-studios out there: How about making anime-original sequels to popular finished manga-series? Let’s drag out all these classics and make generic sequels! Instead of releasing remastered versions of series like Nadia, why not make a generic sequel called Nadia 2 with a bland plot and flimsy connections to the original? Or Fullmetal Alchemist, manga’s finished as well as the anime-adaptation of it… but that shouldn’t stop BONES from making a generic anime-original sequel, should it? Or Naruto and Bleach, at some point the authors might actually stop writing this stupid shounen-mainstream-crap… BUT that shouldn’t stop any studio from making anime-original sequels regardless, right? I know, there are some issues with licensing and stuff but that’s nothing a top-notch lawyer can’t trick his way around, isn’t it? So, you heard it here first: Anime-original sequels to popular finished franchises – that’s the future!
Anyway, what this post is really about: I wrote some short previews for all the series that are either sequels of series I have seen or are manga-adaptations where I read the beginning at least (except in the case of Tsuritama and Hyou-ka, well, exceptions prove the rule basically…). That means I can speak at least with some confidence as to how these shows will turn out.
I will replace that chart with Animucharts’ one when it comes out (actually it comes out this upcoming weekend so it will be replaced rather soon, I guess).
Queen’s Blade: Rebellion
This series isn’t about fanservice, it simply is fanservice. Queen’s Blade doesn’t even bother to hide the fact that it wants to be “Raunchiness – The Series: We tried to be decent but we failed” and now there’s a sequel I should probably call “Raunchiness 2: We tried again… and also failed again”. If you like the first series… something’s wrong with you. But the thing about raunchiness is that it sells so I guess that’s the start of a franchise that potentially can get a lot of sequels.
Nazo no Kanojo X
Let’s talk about the manga first: At first it was this typical high-school-romance-story with a weird twist. It got made into a series after a decent one-shot. Some volumes later the series has turned into a fanservice-of-the-week-series. That’s what it currently is: A blatant way to deliver fanservice. Now since the manga is still ongoing the anime is bound to have anime-original content and considering the guys who are behind the anime I’m not really optimistic whether anyone will by pleased by the series.
Kore wa Zombie desu ka? Jigoku-Hen
The first series had a nice way of parodying certain elements of anime-series. The problem was only that it ended up taking itself far too seriously when it wanted to be dramatic and the humour seldom went beyond repeating the obvious parodies. It was a flawed series, not bad but definitely overpowered by what kept it from being a good series. So I’m not really looking forward to this sequel.
So Zetman is a manga-series which started for real in 2002 and is still ongoing. That doesn’t strike me as the kind of thing I would want to adapt into a 2-cour-series. I can just picture the Zetman-fanboys starting their comments with “But in the manga…” because the adaptation rushes through the plot to get through it all in two seasons. I’ve read the first chapter where the main-chara is still a child and I think this can be a good series. It isn’t very subtle with the characterizations but the style is good and the story has enough own ideas to not be “another one of those” although it’s nothing what I would call “original” or anything.
Hyou-ka: You can’t escape
This is supposed to be a mystery-series about adults being bad people again who did shit in their past while the virtuous teenager of the present are heroes in every way. This can be interesting but there are some things which aren’t that inspiring: The protagonist is in a club, is the ordinary straight-guy-type and the club/plot is led by a wacky girl which is far too energetic and inquisitive for her own good. That doesn’t sound very original and it also sounds like the set-up for slice-of-life-jokes in 4-koma-style that get thrown into the mix. Especially since Yasuhiro Takemoto (Lucky Star, Fumoffu) is the director of this thing. So the humour may not be the strong point but what really concerns me how interesting it can make itself because there’s much about this series that seems rather dull while the promise of quality is linked to a lot of maybes and ifs.
Fate/Zero Second Season
Well, the first season was really good but if I would’ve to choose between re-reading the LNs and re-watching the first series, I would choose the LNs. The adaptation isn’t very creative by being so faithful to the source-material that there’s bound to be problems you get when you can’t do the exact same thing as the novel. Fate/Zero’s story-flow relies heavily on long-winded explanations – which you don’t want to hear in the anime but without it much of the cleverness of the plot gets lost.
This is your typical high-school-romance-story with shounen-elements. I’ve read the manga and it’s heavy with stereotypes and fanservice. There are some redeeming qualities about it like the way it treats the state of being a zombie and how the story paces itself but aside from that there isn’t really anything good to be said about this.
Noitamina doesn’t really mean we get to see top-notch out-of-the-ordinary-stories. So reading this premise this can be a weird interesting story but this largely depends on its style. With this kind of story it doesn’t matter so much what it says but more how it says it. So it can be interesting… or not. Anyway, it seems definitely more promising than Black Rock Shooter and looking at Guilty Crown it’s probably better than that, too.
Kimi to Boku 2
You’d think that boys doing cute stuff would be much different than K-ON! but no, it can be just as boring and dull as that series. It had its moments of cleverness when it comes to plot-structure but beyond that it just ended up being boring and not really memorable. I don’t really know whether I will bother watching a second season of this, especially since it will definitely be more of the same.
Kuroko no Basket
So there’s this basketball-team of five players, teenagers, who are all basketball-players of superman-level (that’s why they’re called “the generation of miracles”). But then they get older and each one of them goes to a different high-school. The story is about none of them. It’s about the shadowy sixth player. So first of all it’s that kind of shounen-series where talent breaks the laws of physics which means it’s okay when things get rather strange… The main-character for example is that shadowy sixth player who surprisingly turns out to be a midget with an invisibility-spell and he’s accompanied by an energetic loud-mouthed obvious basketball-genius (but who isn’t part of “the generation of miracles”). The big dude is okay, I guess, but the way everyone gasps in surprise at how miraculously invisible the midget is was getting on my nerves when I read the first chapter of the manga. There are twelve people playing basketball in two teams playing against each other and this series wants to make you believe that you can somehow forget this midget is there. Thankfully the series offers us a scientific explanation for this phenomenon more suited for a X-Files-episode than a sports-series:
“You’re weird. Even though you should reek of weakness… You don’t smell like anything at all. Your strength is odorlessness.”
Exactly! This midget doesn’t reek of sweat or other nasty stuff! That makes him completely invisible in a basketball-game! Well, anyway, the premise of the series is that the big dude and the invisible midget want to take down each of the five members of the generation of miracles. Why? Because that’s what real men do. “Five people who call themselves ‘the generation of miracles’? Screw them! We’re better than them!” is what the logic of the story tells us. Definitely more a shounen-series than a pure sports-series, I would say. It leans more towards Prince of Tennis than Ookiku Furikabutte.
Eureka Seven Ao
In my review of Eureka Seven: A Pocket Full Of Rainbows I said at the beginning: “Eureka Seven is a popular Shounen Series and when I say ‘popular’ I mean ‘Someone somewhere will probably think about how to make more money out of this’. This movie is someone somewhere trying to make more money out of Eureka Seven.” Eureka Seven Ao? Same principle. Eureka Seven doesn’t need a sequel so I have no idea what to expect from this series. Reading the beginning of the manga you get to see the usual routine of boy with ditzy girlfriend coming into contact with his destined role as the pilot of the all-so-important best mecha since sliced bread. There are some allusions to the original but the start had really nothing to make it stand out. So back to Eureka Seven and to describe how that series was: It was better-than-average shounen-action with melodrama that got a bit too angsty at times. I definitely got better with having more than 20 episodes but I wouldn’t say it’s a masterpiece of long-term-storytelling, it had its weak moments. All in all it was a good series so one can hope that the sequel either tries to cover new ground or tries to recapture some of what made the original great. It can go both ways… it can also turn out to be a miserable failure of course since the start of the sequel is rather bland.
Sakamichi no Apollon
That’s probably the most hyped series of the season. Jazz-music, style and a good staff behind the anime are reasonable points as to why someone should be excited about this anime. I’ve read the manga and it’s good. It’s this slice-of-life-drama where teenagers deal with their shitload of issues in a melodramatic way while strengthening their bonds of friendship. It really seemed like a series that wanted to be tragic and sappy but the manga already has a good style of handling characterization and pacing so I’m hopeful that this will be an interesting series to watch.