Well, hasn’t the summer been great so far? Hot weather nearly every day and the sun has been an extended visitor. What a great excuse to stay indoors and watch anime!
The summer season titles brought a lot of familiar genres back – moe girls in school clubs! moe supernatural girls! – and a lot of BL and reverse harem shows for the ladies. There were returns of popular franchises – Monogatari, Symphogear, High School DXD – but there quite a few titles that defied cynical expectations and went on to be good, and a few new ideas. Who saw Love Lab being quite so well-written and the subversive lolicon Kamisama no Inai Nichiyoubi being daring enough to explore the idea of people dying from multiple angles when it wasn’t trying to kill itself with overdoing the fan-service and moe? The one title that really stood out was WataMote, a blackly comic deconstruction of the school genre with a main protagonist who borders on being mentally disturbed and yet still manages to make us empathise with her.
The season isn’t quite over yet but the forthcoming autumn one is shaping up to be even more diverse so here’s a list of some of the titles due to hit Japanese television screens.
Satoshi (Ash to us in the west) and Pikachu are on a mission to be the very best like no one ever was… in the Kalos League, so they travel to Miare City (Lumiose City) which is at the centre of the Kalos region. The two will discover new Pokemon and new friends. Presumably Satoshi will catch them all… Pokemon that is. Catching humans is illegal unless he’s the police.
Sequel to Pokemon: Best Wishes! TV anime and is linked to the forthcoming game.
Staff: Shigeyuki Miya (Director), Satoshi Tajiri (Original Creator), Takeshi Konuta (Series Composition), Kenji Fujisaki (Character Designer)
Voice Actors: Rica Matsumoto (Satoshi), Ikue Ohtani (Pikachu)
Studio: Oriental Light and Magic
Galilei Donna – Storia di tre sorelle a caccia di un mistero
Trailer for both Galilei Donna and Samurai Flamenco
There are three hot girls on international wanted lists and they are the Ferrari sisters but they are better known as ‘Three Moons’. What makes them interesting is that they are descendants of the astronomer Galileo! Why that makes them interesting, we don’t quite know yet…
Yasuomi Umetsu – writer and director on Mezzo Forte and Kite – knows how to mix good-looking ladies (already, I’m starting to send like a lecherous person) with cool action and the trailer for this is stylish despite the still images. Character designs come from Shingo Adachi who worked on the designs for the characters in Sword Art Online and Wagnaria!! which are not particularly good anime but have well-designed characters at the very least.
Staff: Yasuomi Umetsu (Director/Original Creator), Takeshi Konuta (Series Composition), Shingo Adachi (Character Designer)
Voice Actors: Rina Hidaka (Hozuki Ferrari), Iori Nomizu (Kazuki Ferrari), Chiwa Saito (Hazuki Ferrari), Emi Sarah Bridcut (Anna), Ryohei Kimura (Roberto)
Studio: A-1 Pictures
This is an original title and the taglines read “To those ‘adults’ who don’t want to become adults…” and “Hero will never give up, never hide, never be defeated, never accept evil.”
A super sentai series which looks to be a bit daft. The director for this show is Takahiro Omoi (Baccano!) and series composition is filled by Hideyuki Kurata (The World Only God Knows). Character designer is Yoshimitsu Yamashita (Mushibugyou) and art director is Hiroshi Kato (Evangelion).
Staff: Takahiro Omori (Director), Yuuki Kodama (Original Creator), Hideyuki Kurata (Series Composition), Yoshimitsu Yamashita (Character Designer), Hiroshi Kato (Art Director)
Voice Actors: Ryota Ohsaka (Masayoshi Hazama), Iori Nomizu (Hidenori Goto), Chiwa Saito (Mari Maya), Emi Sarah Bridcut (Moe Morita), Ryohei Kimura (Mizuki Misawa)
Studio: A-1 Pictures
Magi: The Kingdom of Magic Second Season
Aladdin is a boy who was trapped in a room for most of his life but eventually escaped to explore the world with his best friend Ugo who is a flute with a djinn inside it. Aladdin discovers that he is a Magi (magician) who chooses Kings who will follow a righteous path, battling to keep the world on that righteous path. In this series he will be in Magnostadt.
Magi gets a second season! The anime is based on Shinobu Ohtaka’s manga which adapts stories from the classic Arabian Nights. It is directed by Koji Masunari, the chap who directed the first season of Magi and the director of the Read or Die OAV. Series composition comes from Hiroyuki Yoshino who was in charge of the scripts for Magi as well as Code Geass and Guilty Crown… Make of that what you will.
Kaori Ishihara (Madoka Kyono in Lagrange – The Flower of Rin-ne) and Toshiyuki Morikawa (Griffith in Berserk and Alex Row in Last Exile) return as Aladdin and his loyal flute Ugo.
Staff: Koji Masunari (Director), Shinobu Ohtaka (Original Creator), Hiroyuki Yoshino (Series Composition), Toshifumi Akai (Character Designer), Ayu Kawamoto (Art Director)
Voice Actors: Kaori Ishihara (Aladdin), Haruka Tomatsu (Morgiana), Yuuki Kaji (Alibaba Saluja), Daisuke Ono (Sinbad), Toshiyuki Morikawa (Ugo)
Studio: A-1 Pictures
We’ve all heard of Meganekko (girls who wear glasses) and they have been long-fetishised by the anime world but now with the increasing attention that female sector is getting we get Meganebu!, a show about five “ikemegane” (handsome eye-glasses-wearing) high school boys in a glasses club. This is based on a number of drama CDs from 2011 and 2012. While gender equality is great and females getting shows for them is cool, this sounds as pointless as all those moe shows full of girls acting cute in clubs. Well, the scales should be balanced.
Staff: Soubi Yamamoto (Director), Deco Akao (Series Composition), Kenji Fujisaki (Character Designer)
Voice Actors: Shinnosuke Tachibana (Akira Soma), Takahiro Mizushima (Mitsuki Kamatani), Takashi Kondou (Takuma Hachimine), Masakazu Morita (Yukiya Minabe), Daisuke Namikawa (Akito Kimata), Go Inoue (Tetsu Suzuki)
Studio: Studio DEEN
Gundam Build Fighters
It is some time in the future and a sport based around Gundam model kits has finally been invented. These competitions are called GunPla Battles and see people build their Gundams and head into battle with them. Sei Iori is a first-year mddle-school student and the son of a model shop owner. He is skilled at building models but inexperienced in battling, which is where a mysterious boy with battle skills named Reiji comes in. Together they will become GunPla Battle word champions through Sei’s customised GunPla, the Build Strike Gundam.
Waaaaiiiiit a second… This sounds a lot like Robotics;Notes. School kids building robots and finding great pilots to pilot them in battles. There are probably older titles with this story so I’ll quit complaining. Waaaaiiiiit a second… director Kenji Nagasaki worked on Robotics;Notes… okay, that was as a storyboard artist. He has worked on other, better anime like Monster and… uh… No. 6 as director and Yousuke Kuroda (series composition) has worked on Btooom!, Excel Saga and Jormungand. He was also involved in High School of the Dead so Seiyuu include Mikako Komatsu (Marika Kato in Bodacious Space Pirates) and Takuya Sato (Toshiki Kai in Cardfight!! Vanguard).
Staff: Kenji Nagasaki (Director), Hajime Yatate, Yoshiyuki Tomino (Original Creator), Yousuke Kuroda (Series Composition), Kenichi Ohnuki (Character Designer)
Voice Actors: Mikako Komatsu (Sei Iori), Sachi Kokuryu (Reiji), Yuichi Nakamura (Ricardo Fellini), Kotono Mitsuishi (Rinko Iori), Takuya Sato (Tatsuya Yuki), Yui Ishikawa (China Kosaka)
Kakumeiki Valvrave Second Season
At a time when 70% of the human race lives in space due to the development of space cities, Haruto is a high school student who lives in the small nation of Jior which is right in between two major powers: Atlantic Ring United States and the Dorssia Military Pact Federation. When Dorssia invades Jior, he encounters the mysterious humanoid weapon Valvrave!
Valvrave is supposed to be good. It comes from the director of Red Garden and Natsuyuki Rendezvous, Matsuo Kou, and the writer for RahXephon, the Berserk movies and Code Geass, Ichiro Okouchi.
Staff: Kou Matsuo (Director), Ichiro Okouchi (Series Composition), Katsura Hoshino (Original Character Design), Tatsuya Suzuki (Character Design)
Voice Actors: Ryota Ohsaka (Haruto Tokishima), Asami Seto (Shoko Sashinami), Haruka Tomatsu (Saki Rukino), Daisuke Namikawa (Satomi Renbokoji), Yuuki Ono (Kyuma Inazuka), Yui Horie (Rion Nanami), Misato Fukuen (Marie Nobi), Ryohei Kimura (L-elf)
Kill la Kill
On a school campus where matters are settled by force, student council president Satsuki Kiryuui is in charge… Until a transfer student named Ryuko Matoi shows up wielding a scissor-sword… let the violence begin!
Trigger, the studio behind Little Witch Academia and Inferno Cop, are here with their first TV anime and it’s set in the original location of a school. This has to be a deconstructionist action title and I’m writing this with a straight face because it is directed by Hiroyuki Imaishi (Gurren Lagann, Dead Leaves). Kazuki Nakashima (Nodame Cantabile: Final, Gurren Lagann) is writing the scripts and Sushio, animator for the new Evangelion movies, is chief animation director and character designer. Voicing the two fierce fighting schoolgirls are Ami Koshimizu (Holo in Spice and Wolf) as Ryuuko and Ryoka Yuzuki (Minagi Tohno in Air) as Satsuki. If nothing else, it will look and sound awesome.
Staff: Hiroyuki Imaishi (Director), Kazuki Nakashima (Series Composition/Scripts), Sushio (Character Designer/Chief Animation Director), Shigeto Koyama (Art Director)
Voice Actors: Ami Hoshimizu (Ryuuko Matoi), Ryoka Yuzuki (Satsuki Kiruuin)
Yozakura Quartet ~Hana no Uta~
A quartet of teenage heroes protect the city of Sakurashin from supernatural threats. The group consist of Hime, a super-strong girl, Ao, a mind reader, Kotoha, a conjurer, and an ordinary boy named Akina.
This season’s Gatchman Crowds? Only with more fun and fights and less social intellectual world building? Possibly. Yozakura Quartet ~Hana no Uta~ is based on Suzuhito Yasuda’s supernatural action comedy manga and follows a three part OVA from 2010-11. It comes from Tatsunoko Production (Gatchaman Crowds) and is directed by Ryo-timo, director of the original OVAs and episode director for Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt. Ryo-timo is also bringing his skills to the role of character designer. Scripts and series composition come from Manabu Ishikawa, another staff member from the OVAs and writer for Mononoke and Generator Gawl.
The super-powered teens are portrayed by the following actors: Hime is voiced by Misato Fukuen (Momoe Okonogi in Dusk Maiden of Amnesia), Akina is voiced by Yuuki Kaji (Eren Jaeger in Attack on Titan), Ao is voiced by Saki Fujita (Rin Eba in Kimi no Iru Machi) and Kotoha is voiced by Miyuki Sawashiro (Canaan in CANAAN).
Staff: Ryo-timo (Director/Character Designer/Chief Animation Director), Manabu Ishikawa (Series Composition/Scripts), Rie Oda (Art Director)
Voice Actors: Misato Fukuen (Hime Yarizakura), Miyuki Sawashiro (Kotoha Isone), Yuuki Kaji (Akina Hiizumi), Saki Fujita (Ao Nanami), Ai Mayatoshi (Rin Azuma), Haruka Tomatsu (Toka Kishi), Daisuke Ono (Kyosuke Kishi),
Studio: Tatsunoko Production
Wanna be the Strongest in the World (Sekai de Ichiban Tsuyoku Naritai!)
Sakura Hagiwara and Erena Miyazawa are both members of an idol group known as Sweet but when Erena is injured in an attack by a female pro-wrestler named Rio Kazama during the recording of a TV programme, the microphones get dropped so Sakura can dropkick Rio. Seething from the indignity of the situation and being bullied by muscle-bound babes, Sakura enters the female pro-wrestling world!
This could be the greatest anime mankind has ever known. A post-modern parody of modern Japanese pop culture which uses the hyper-stylised chaos of joshi wrestling and the J-pop awesomeness provided by idols to create a ridiculously absurd ecchi anime treat full of busty girls in skin-tight costumes performing sexy poses and screaming in agony all the while as they inflict pain through placing people in suggestive wrestling positions. Or it could be garbage. The PV does not inspire confidence that this is going to be more than ecchi nonsense and the staff echo this feeling. The animation is handled by ARMS (Ikki Tousen) and character designs comes from Rin-Sin (Queen’s Blade). The director is Rion Kujo (Ikki Tousen: Shuugaku Toshi Keppu-Roku).
Staff: Rion Kujo (Director), ESE (Original Creator), Kazuho Hyodo (Series Composition/Scripts), Rin-Sin (Art Director/ Character Designer)
Voice Actors: Ayana Taketatsu (Sakura Hagiwara), Kana Asumi (Erena Miyazawa), Eri Kitamura (Makoto K), Chiaki Takahashi (Jackal Tojo)
Sakamichi Onoda is a high school student who is such an otaku he cycles around 60 miles over steep slopes to get to Tokyo’s Akihabara district. Through this experience he starts competitive cycling.
Onoda is voiced by relative new vocal actor Daiki Yamashita (Toya in Log Horizon) and he is supported by Kousuke Toriumi (Valeria Calvados in Dog Days’) and Jun Fukushima (Jin in Aquarion Evol). The anime is directed by Osamu Nabeshima (D.Gray-man) with the writing on the series overseen by Reiko Yoshida (Tamako Market). Character designs come from Takahiko Yoshida (Welcome to the NHK).
Staff: Osamu Nabeshima (Director), Wataru Watanabe (Original Creator), Reiko Yoshida (Series Composition), Shunichiro Yoshihara (Art Director), Takahiko Yoshida (Character Designer)
Voice Actors: Daiki Yamashita (Sakamichi Onoda), Jun Fukushima (Shokichi Naruko), Kousuke Toriumi (Shunshuke Imaizumi), Megumi Han (Aya Tachibana)
Studio: TMS Entertainment
Takahiro Mizuno studies at an academy where jousting is the chief sport. Takahiro is an advisor to the riders taking part in it and goes through training each day until the annual competition takes place. All is tedious until his childhood friend Mio Kisaki enrols in the competition even though she has never ridden on a horse before. Takahiro immediately takes on the task of being Mio’s coach.
Walkure Romanze is based on Walkure Romanze: Shoujo Kishi Monogatari, a 2011 PC game from Ricotta studio who created the Princess Lover! game. The anime is directed by Yusuke Yamamoto and series composition is by Kazuyuki Fudeyasu. Takahiro Mizuno is voiced by Seiichirou Yamashita and Mio Kisaki is voiced by Ai Shimizu.
Staff: Yusuke Yamamoto (Director), Ricotta (Original Creator), Kazuyuki Fudeyasu (Series Composition), Kenichirou Katsura (Character Designer)
Voice Actors: Seiichirou Yamashita (Takahiro Mizuno), Hiroko Taguchi (Lisa Eosutore), Ai Shimizu (Mio Kisaki), Kei Mizusawa (Celia Cumani Aintree), Eriko Nakamura (Noelle Marres Ascot)
BlazBlue: Alter Memory
Before the events of the game, humanity was on the verge of extinction from a creature called the “Black Beast.” The world was saved by six heroes who wielded magic. They helped humanity create “Ars Magus”, a fusion of magic and science, to defeat the Black Beast. This event would be later known as the First War of Magic.
After the war, the Novus Orbis Librarium (the Library or NOL for short) was created to govern the world with the use of Ars Magus. A great deal of dissent was caused by the Library, partly due to Ars Magus’ use in nearly every facet of society, and the widening socioeconomic gap between those who could and couldn’t use Ars Magus. This dissent would eventually form years later into the Second War of Magic or also known as the Ikaruga Civil War, when the city of Ikaruga openly rebelled against the NOL. Upon winning the war, the NOL imposed a harsher rule on the world, punishing any rebellion against the NOL with death.
In December A.D. 2199, several years after the Second War of Magic, a branch of the NOL was utterly destroyed by an SS-class rebel named “Ragna the Bloodedge”, in an attempt to destroy the Librarium. The NOL, hoping to stop him, immediately announced the largest bounty ever, available to anyone who could capture him. Interestingly, Ragna possesses a powerful form of Ars Magus known as the “Azure Grimoire.” This led the NOL, as well as the other fighters, to hunt Ragna not just for his bounty, but also his Azure Grimoire.
Arc System Works’ popular 2D fighting game franchise will enter the stage and rock this season. It is going under the name BlazBlue: Alter Memory and it is being produced by Hoods Entertainment. Scripts comes from Tatsuya Takahashi (High School of the Dead), and Deko Akao (Mysterious Girlfriend X, Asura Cryin’) who is also in charge of series composition. Direction is orchestrated by Hideki Tachibana, director of episodes for A Certain Magical Index and A Certain Scientific Railgun.
The videogame seiyuu return with Kanako Kondou (Jun Takahashi in Sengoku Collection) voicing Noel Vermillion, Chiwa Saito (Lavie Head in Last Exile) voicing Taokaka, and Kana Ueda (Haruko Maeda in Bunny Drop) voicing Rachel Alucard.
Staff: Hideki Tachibana (Director), Deko Akao (Series Composition), Deko Akao, Tatsuya Takahashi (Scripts), Tomoyuki Shitaya (Character Designer/Chief Animation Director)
Voice Actors: Kanako Kondou (Noel Vermillion), Tetsuya Kakihara (Jin Kisaragi), Kana Ueda (Rachel Alucard), Chiaki Takahashi (Litchi Faye-Ling), Chiwa Saito (Taokaka)
Studio: Hoods Entertainment, teamKG
Kuroko no Basuke Second Season
Taiga Kagami is a member of Seirin High School where he plays on the school’s basketball team with Tetsuya Kuroko’s support. Kuroko was the unsung member of an elite basketball team known as Generation of Miracles. Kuroko wants Taiga to become Japan’s greatest basketball player.
Staff: Shunsuke Tada (Director), Noboru Takagi (Script), Tadatoshi Fujimaki (Original Creator), Granrodeo (Theme Song)
Voice Actors: Yuuki Ono, Kensho Ono, Chiwa Saito
Studio: Production I.G.
Nagi no Asukara
Manaka Mukaido is a middle school girl who is indecisive and cries a lot. Fortunately she has a caring friend in Hikari Sakishima.
This doesn’t sound good. Clearly slice-of-life but the hook is a girl who cries a lot? Look at the staff and it could work. The director is Toshiya Shinohara who was in charge of Black Butler but the scipts come from Mari Okada (Hanasaku Iroha) who is the slice-of-life maestro. The staff have got the perfect vocal cast to work with especially with Kana Hanazawa taking the lead. I mean, every time I hear her emotional voice as Shiemi in Blue Exorcist or Mayuri in Steins;Gate, I want to hug her. Don’t cry Manaka! Picking options in life can be tough but you can do it! Gambatte!
Staff: Toshiya Shinohara (Director), Mari Okada (Series Composition), Yuriko Ishii (Character Designer/Chief Animation Director), Kazuki Higashiji (Art Director)
Voice Actors: Kana Hanazawa (Manaka Mukaido), Natsuki Hanae (Hikari Sakishima), Aya Endo (Honami Sakurai), Saori Hayami (Miyuki Shiba)
Studio: P.A. Works
It is a slightly futuristic world where Earth is in a bitter war with brutal alien invaders from the dimension Nova. Desperate and on the verge of destruction, Earth’s governments turn to genetically enhanced adolescents. Girls are known as Pandoras. They work together with male partners called Limiters, who use a special power called “freezing” to limit their opponent’s mobility. In a reality where war is the norm, we will follow the adventures of a Japanese boy named Kazuya Aoi who enrols at a school that prepares these young warriors.
Freezing gets a sequel and it retains the same staff and cast as the original. Director is Takashi Watanabe (Freezing, Slayers) and Masanao Akahoshi returns to oversee series composition. Mitsuhiro Ichiki (Takeyama in Angel Beats) also returns as the lead character Kazuya.
Staff: Takashi Watanabe (Director), Masanao Akahoshi (Series Composition/Scripts), Mayumi Watanabe (Character Designer/Chief Animation Director)
Voice Actors: Mitsuhiro Ichiki (Kazuya Aoi), Kana Hanazawa (Rana Linchen), Mamiko Noto (Satellizer el Bridget), Izumi Kitta (Gina Papulton), Rie Kugimiya (Cathy Lockharte), Yuko Kaida (Elizabeth Mably)
Infinite Stratos 2
Infinite Stratos (IS) is a weaponised exoskeleton system which is the main tool of war. Only women are able to operate IS systems with few exceptions. One of those exceptions is Ichika Orimura, an orphan who was raised by his older sister, a famous IS pilot. Thanks to his IS compatibility, Ichika can enrol in a school that turns out IS pilots. Hilarity ensues.
The tech at the heart of the show is ridiculous. A weapons system that only one gender can pilot? How silly. But when you think of the harem element, the fan-service involved and all of the products that can be sold to otaku it comes off as a bit of genius. Pick your favourite character body-pillow! To be honest I have never seen the show, so maybe the mono-gender piloting system is explained and I’m just being too cynical. The staff and cast from the first series is returning.
Staff: Susumu Tosaka (Series Director), Izuru Yumizuru (Original Creator), Kumi Horii (Character Designer), Shunichiro Yoshihara (Art Director)
Voice Actors: Kouki Uchiyama (Ichika Orimura), Yoko Hikasa (Houki Shinonono), Chiwa Saito (Tatenashi Sarashiki), Kana Hanazawa (Charles Dunois), Marina Inoue (Laura Bodewig), Asami Shimoda (Lin Yin Fang)
With a light novelist father and an erotic game artist mother, Shinichi Kano is what you could call a “thoroughbred class” otaku and has a vast knowledge and insight into moe. This makes him perfect for the role of “moe” evangelist to the Holy Eldant Empire which the Japanese government has assigned to him.
The Holy Eldant Empire is a parallel fantasy world where dragons soar the skies and elves roam the ground but it is also a place where different factions fight for power and the risk of war is ever present. Shinichi forms a deep friendship with half-elf maid girl Myuseru and the beautiful young empress Petoraru and worries that his presence can be interpreted as an invasion.
With that title I was hoping this show was going to have something about a biological special ops squad who deal with bio-terrorists. No. It’s just more moe. Maybe it is something better because that story synopsis holds some intrigue with its ability to look askew at moe and its potentially complex world. Some post-modern meta comedy. The director is Kei Oikawa, a journeyman director who has worked on all sorts of titles like Joshiraku and OniAi. Series composition is where the real interest lies since it comes from Ichiro Sakaki who has made interesting sci-fi like Blue Seed, epic slice of Chinese history Kingdom and Keynsian theory mixed with ecchi in Maoyu. The moe girls are voiced by Mai Fuchigami (Miho in Girls und Panzer), Suzuko Mimori (Sherlock Shellingford in Tantei Opera Milky Holmes), and Maaya Uchida (Rei Kuroki in Vividred Operation).
Staff: Kei Oikawa (Director), Naruhisa Arakawa (Series Composition), Ichiro Sakaki (Original Creator), Takashi Mamezuka (Character Designer), Yuki Ikenoue (Art Director),
Voice Actors: Suzuko Mimori (Myuseru Foaran), Mai Fuchigami (Petoraru Anne Endanto III), Maaya Uchida (Minori Koganuma), Sumire Uesaka (Elbia Hanaiman),
Kikou Shoujo wa Kizutsukunai
Raishin Akabane travels from Japan with his female automaton Yaya to study at the highest institution for “Machinart” (the craft of making automatons) at the Walpurgis Royal Academy in England where he will take place in a battle tournament to determine the top puppeteer.
The unbreakable machine doll is from Reiji Kaito’s light novel series and it features the cast of the drama CD with Hiro Shimono (Keima Katsuragi in The World God Only Knows) voicing Raishin and Hitomi Harada (Manaka Hiba in Amagami SS) voicing Yaya. The trailer looks pretty bloody good even if the subject matter is familiar. Directing the anime is Kinji Yoshimoto (Plastic Little) and the scripts come from Yuuko Kakihara (Persona 4 The Animation).
Staff: Kinji Yoshimoto (Director), Yuuko Kakihara (Series Composition), Reiji Kaito (Original Creator), Atsuko Watanabe (Character Designer),
Voice Actors: Hiro Shimono (Raishin Akabane), Hitomi Harada (Yaya), Jouji Nakata (Sigmund), Ai Kayano (Iori), Kana Asumi (Frey), Yui Ogura (Komurasaki), Megumi Takamoto (Charlotte Blue)
The fantasy MMORPG Elder Tale is a hugely popular slice of entertainment but when 30,000 Japanese gamers find themselves trapped in the fantasy world it becomes a very real slice of reality complete what with all of the dangers, mobs and grinding. Shiroe is one of the gamers trying to survive alongside his friend Naotsugu, a beautiful assassin named Akatsuki and Nyanta, a mysterious player who looks like a cat.
With a concept that sounds like the much derided Sword Art Online and character designs reminiscent of Etrian Odyssey it looks like more of the familiar. It is an anime adaptation of Mamare (Maoyu) Touno’s work and it is directed by Shinji Ishihara who has dealt with other fantasy battle anime with Fairy Tail and Tokyo Majin Gakuen. With 26 episodes, could this deliver where Sword Art Online failed?
The voice actors are lead by Takuma Terashima (Alma Tandoji in Sacred Seven), Emiri Kato (Mayoi Hachikuji in Bakemonogatari), and Tomoaki Maeno (Atsushi in Library War).
Staff: Shinji Ishihara (Director), Toshizo Nemoto (Series Composition), Mamare Touno (Original Creator), Mayumi Watanabe (Character Designer/Chief Animation Director),
Voice Actors: Takuma Terashima (Shiroe), Tomoaki Maeno (Naotsugu), Emiri Kato (Akatsuki), Jouji Nakata (Nyanta), Minami Takahashi (Asuka), Nao Tamura (Minori)
It is the year 2036 and a nuclear accident has seen Tokyo suffer radioactive contamination. As a result the city is put under a blockade. Three high school girls have been sent to the city. These girls have been selected for this deadly mission because they are the results of genetic engineering which has made them impervious to radioactivity. They are a special forces unit codenamed “Coppelion,” in the 3rd Division of Japan’s Ground Self-Defence Force and they know how to use guns!
In a season packed with a diverse range of titles, this gets my attention thanks to the detailed concept art and a great trailer. It’s based on a manga by Tomonori Inoue and was due to be adapted sooner but for the Tohoku Earthquake and Tusnami which hit Japan on March 11th, 2011. Seeing all of the problems with Fukushima Daichi, the production committee decided to shelve it out of good taste. The nuclear problems haven’t gone away but the manga is more topical than ever with the ongoing crisis at the plant.
There are no details of the staff list at the time of writing but it will be updated when that info comes to light. The Japanese vocal cast has been announced with industry vets Maaya Sakamoto, Haruka Tomatsu, Yui Horie and Kana Hanazawa filling the lead roles.
Staff: Tomonori Inoue (Original Creator), N/A (Director), N/A (Series Composition), N/A (Scripts), N/A (Character Designer), N/A (Chief Animation Director),
Voice Actors: Haruka Tomatsu (Ibara Naruse), Kana Hanazawa (Aoi Fukasaku), Satomi Akesaka (Taeko Nomura), Yui Horie (Kanon Ozu), Rikiya Koyama (Onihei Mishima), Maaya Sakamoto (Shion Ozu)
White Album 2
Haruki Kitahara is a college junior in a light music club with Setsuna Ogiso and Kazusa Touma.
This is the anime adaptation of AQUAPLUS’ White Album visual novel game and it features the same vocal cast and some of the same staff that worked on the original visual novel. Takahiro Mizushima (Ryu Sasakura in the awesome Bartender) voices man protagonist Haruki Kitahara, Madoka Yonezawa (Mayura in Red Data Girl) is Setsuna and Hitomi Nabatame (Saori Bajiina in Oreimo) returns as Kazusa. Fumiaki Maruto was the chap who wrote the scenario for the game and is now in charge of series composition and scripts but there’s a new name in the director’s role and that’s Masaomi Ando, an episode director for a diverse array of shows like Gintama, Fairy Tail, and Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse.
Staff: Masaomi Ando (Director), Fumiaki Maruto (Series Composition/Scripts), Satoru Fujimoto (Character Designer),
Voice Actors: Takahiro Mizushima (Haruki Kitahara), Madoka Yonezawa (Setsuna Ogiso), Hitomi Nabatame (Kazusa Touma),
Banri Tada is a college student who lost all of his memories before his high school graduation. In his life are the other students at college including Nana Hayashida, Chinami Oka, Nijigen-kun, Nana-senpai, Kouko Kaga – who is a girl who hides regrets – and Kouko’s significant other Mitsuo Yanagisawa.
Chiaki Kon is one of the few high-profile female directors in anime with work on Junjo Romantica, Umineko: When They Cry and Blue Dragon to her name. She is handling this romance title based on a light novel from Yuyuko Takemiya. Screenplays are overseen by Fumihiko Shimo who has worked on a variety of major titles like Air and Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu. Plus Jin Aketagawa was the character designer for Revolutionary Girl Utena.
Staff: Chiaki Kon (Director), Fumihiko Shimo (Series Composition), Yuyuko Takemiya (Original Creator), Jin Aketagawa (Character Designer),
Voice Actors: Makoto Furukawa (Banri Tada), Ai Kayano (Nana Hayashida), Yui Horie (Kouko Kaga), Mitsuo Yanagisawa (Kaito Ishikawa), Ibuki Kido (Chinami Oka), Takahiro Hikami (Nijigen-kun), Satomi Satou (Nana Sempai)
Studio: Genco/J.C. STAFF
Strike the Blood
Kojou Akatsuki may look like a normal boy but he is the world’s most powerful vampire, once considered a thing of legend, and so a girl named Yukina Hirameki has been given the task of watching over him and if necessary, hunting him down.
While the premise isn’t totally original it does come from Gakuto Mikumo, the creator of Asura Crying which was pretty popular. The chief director Takao Sano is getting his first big role after being in charge of key animation in a lot of series like Occult Academy, Haibane Renmei and Night Raid 1931 (how’s that for totally varied!). The director is Hideyo Yamamoto who has more experience since he worked on Le Chevalier D’Eon, Scrapped Princess, and Darker than Black, three great supernatural action series. Yoshimasa Hosoya (Reiner Braun in Attack on Titan) and Risa Taneda (Saki Watanabe in From the New World) lead the vocal cast.
Staff: Takao Sano (Chief Director), Hideyo Yamamoto (Director), Hiroyuki Yoshino (Series Composition), Keiichi Sano (Character Designer), Gakuto Mikumo (Original Creator)
Voice Actors: Yoshimasa Hosoya (Kojo Akatsuki), Risa Taneda (Yukino Himeragi), Asami Seto (Asagi Aiba), Ryota Ohsaka (Motoki Yaze), Rina Hidaka (Nagisa Akatsuki), Hisako Kanemoto (Natsuki Minamia)
Studio: Silver Link/Connect/IKIF+
Ace of Diamond (Daiya no A)
Eijun Sawamura is a pitcher in a baseball team at an elite high school. Also on the team is Kazuya Miyuki, a brilliant catcher, and together they aim to succeed in Japan’s Koushien championships.
Production I.G and Madhouse are teaming up??? Holy cow, this is going to be an epic! About baseball? Listen, baseball is big in Japan and this could be ace. There are no trailers out yet so it’s hard to gauge but the manga looks like your average sports one – earnest kids who aim to be the best. The director is Mitsuyuki Masuhara who has not directed any sports manga but he has directed episodes of Polar Bear’s Café. Anybody who can claim to be part of the process of making an anime about a café run by a polar bear a hit has to be worth watching.
Staff: Mitsuyuki Masuhara (Director), Takeshi Konuta (Series Composition), Yuji Terajima (Original Creator),
Voice Actors: Ryota Ohsaka (Eijun Sawamura), Takahiro Sakurai (Kazuya Miyuki), Nobunaga Shimazaki (Satoru Furuya), Natsuki Hanae (Haruichi Kominato),
Studio: Madhouse / Production I.G.
A Love Song to a Certain Airship Pilot (Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta)
Karueru was once a prince but a revolution saw him lose what would have been his kingdom. He now embarks on a one-way voyage to discover the ends of the heavens where he encounters the levitating island of Isura and meets a girl who became the symbol of the revolution and another girl on a journey of her own.
Koroku Inumura’s five-volume light novel gets the anime treatment and information is thin on the ground but we do have a video for the books.
It is the prequel to The Princess and the Pilot and it is directed by Toshimasa Suzuki who can shoot aerial combat as evidenced by his work on Lagrange: The Flower of Rin-ne and Soukyuu no Fafner. The concept is interesting so the writers will have to be top draw and they are with Shinichi Inotsume (Gosick, the underrated Zettai Karen Children) and the formidable Reiko Yoshida (Aria the Natural, Bakuman, Gadguard).
Staff: Toshimasa Suzuki (Director), Shinichi Inotsume (Series Composition), Koroku Inumura (Original Creator), Reiko Yoshida, Shinichi Inotsume (Scripts), Hiroki Harada (Character Designer)
Voice Actors: Aoi Yuuki (Claire Cruz/Nina Viento), Kaito Ishikawa (Ignacio Axis), Natsuki Hanae (Kalel Albus/Carl La Il), Ayana Taketatsu (Ariel Albus),
Studio: TMS Entertainment
Ore no Nounai Sentakushi ga, Gakuen Love Come o Zenryoku de Jama Shiteiru
Kanade Amakusa is a boy with the curse of the mental power of “absolute multiple-choice” – which means that a multiple-choice quiz will suddenly appear in his mind and his choice becomes his reality. For example, he might have to choose between going nude from the waist up or the waist down while he is at school. Problematic, no? What would you choose? How about this one… He’s still at school but has to choose between 1) a beautiful girl falling before him or 2) him falling from the rooftop in female clothes. I don’t know about you but he chooses option 1, and a blonde girl named Chocolat falls before him.
With a title this long you can bet the anime is based on a light novel and with a concept this cheesy you can bet there’s going to be plenty of fan-service. Can the staff salvage this? Director Takayuki Inagaki helped director Desert Punk. Okay, so there’s a chance this will be funny. He also helped direct Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse… Toshiyuki Toyonaga is a decent voice actor (Mikado in Durarara!!) and he’ll be the multiple-choice boy, while blonde girl Chocolat is voiced by Kaori Sadohara who is relatively new but can be heard in Upotte!! as SG550.
Staff: Takayuki Inagaki (Director), Takeru Kasukabe (Original Creator), Yukiwo (Original Character Designer), Yukio Abe (Art Director),
Voice Actors: Toshiyuki Toyonaga (Kanade Amakusa), Kaori Sadohara (Chocolat), Yui Kondou (Furano Yukihira), Ayumi Tsuji (Ouka Yuuouji),
Non Non Biyori
When fifth-grade schoolgirl Hotaru Ichijou transfers from Tokyo to a school in the countryside where the pace of life is considerably slower, she finds that there is a lot of adjusting to do. There are only four other students at the school, the nearest bookstore is twenty minutes away by bicycle and the nearest video rental store is ten stations away! Fortunately her fellow schoolmates Renge, Natsumi, Komari and her older brother Suguru, are cool in their own ways.
This is a slice-of-life comedy that takes place in the countryside and with a lot of female talent on the writing like Reiko Yoshida and Yuka Yamada (Mushishi) joining Fumihiko Shimo (Clannad). The director is Shinya Kawamo who was involved in Kokoro Connect. The main character is voiced by Rie Murakawa (Aoi Futaba in Vividred Operation).
Staff: Shinya Kawamo (Director), Reiko Yoshida (Series Composition/Scripts), Fumihiko Shimo, Yuka Yamada (Scripts),
Voice Actors: Rie Murakawa (Hotaru Ichijou), Ayane Sakura (Natsumi Koshigaya), Kana Asumi (Komari Koshigaya), Kotori Koiwai (Renge Miauchi),
Neppuu Kairiku Bushi Road
So far all we know is that this is a mecha anime.
This project was meant to be released a few years ago as a tie-in for a trading card game named Five Qross but never made it to the screen. Now it is coming and it is directed by Masauki Sakoi (Needless, Princess Resurrection).
Staff: Masayuki Sakoi (Director), Norimitsu Kaihou (Series Composition), Sunao Yoshida (Original Creator), Mai Toda (Character Designer)
Voice Actors: N/A
Studio: Kinema Citrus
Yui Komori is a positive-thinking girl who nevertheless is troubled by seeing spirits and experiencing poltergeist phenomena. In her second year of high school, she transfers to another school – a night school for entertainers and celebrities – due to her father’s work. There are rumours that there are vampires among the student body. Those rumours are true as it turns out because those vampires are the sadistic Sakamaki brothers and Yui ends up living with them.
Sexy supernatural shenanigans at a night school with bishie vampires? It’s like a cross between Uta no Prince-sama and Blue Exorcist… even though Blue Exorcist didn’t have vampires… Actually, this could be that awful TV series Vampire High… Bear with me. This is the directorial debut of Shinobu Tagashira who is more experienced as a character designer (Hunter X Hunter) and series composition is by Seiko Nagatsu (Alison & Lillia).
Staff: Shinobu Tagashira (Director), Seiko Nagatsu (Series Composition), Yuuko Yahiro (Character Designer),
Voice Actors: Rie Suegara (Yui Komori), Daisuke Hirakawa (Raito Sakamaki), Hikaru Midorikawa (Ayato Sakamaki), Katsuyuki Konishi (Reiji Sakamaki), Kousuke Toriumi (Shuu Sakamaki), Takashi Kondo (Subaru Sakamaki), Yuuki Kaji (Kanato Sakamaki)
Phi Brain: Kami no Puzzle 3
Kaito Daimon is a teenager who loves to solve puzzles. Things get better when he acquires an item called the Armband of Orpheus that allows him to fully utilize the power of his brain. It comes with a dangerous side-effect which leaves him drained of energy. He gets into Root Academy as an honour student and there he confronts a secret organisation named POG who create deadly Sage Puzzles to protect invaluable treasures and challenge the select few individuals capable of facing them.
Staff: Hirotaka Endo (Director), Hajime Yatate (Original Creator), Mayori Sekijima (Series Composition)
Voice Actors: Shintaro Asanuma (Kaito Daimon), Chiwa Saito (Maze/young Kaito Daimon), Jun Fukuyama (Gammon Sakanoue), Akira Ishida (Souji Jikukawa), Kouki Miyata (Cubic G), Satsuki Yukino (Ana Gram),
Little Busters! Refrain
The original story followed Riki Nanoe who lost his parents when he was a child. He found himself facing a depressing situation but a group of children calling themselves Little Busters came to play with him and lifted his spirits. They are now in the second year of high school, still fighting, living, and enjoying life, school, and baseball together. The Refrain is the final scenario and is only unlocked after completing the six heroine scenarios from the start of the game. This route brings everything to a definitive conclusion and reveals all answers.
The popular Little Busters! video game got a successful anime (and lots of manga/light novels) and this is the sequel. Yoshiki Yamakawa (Kill Me Baby!) is the director and he will be working from scripts provided by Michiru Shimada (Shugo Chara!). Haruko Iizuka (Inu X Boku Secret Service) is adapting the original character designs. Voice actors involved with the anime adaptation include Yui Horie (Masako Natsume in Mawaru Penguindrum ) who takes the lead role, Hikaru Midorikawa (Fate/Zero) who takes the role of Kyousuke Natsume, leader of the Little Busters!, and Tomoe Tamiyasu who voices Rin Natsume, younger sister of Kyousuke. Other seiyuu involved include Sora Tokui (Misaki in Chitose Get You!!), Natsumi Yanase (Chihiro in ef: a Tale of Memories), and Shiho Kawaragi (Flandere in Princess Resurrection). J.C. Staff are producing the anime.
Staff: Yoshiki Yamakawa (Director), Key (Original Creator), Michiru Shimada (Series Composition)
Voice Actors: Yui Horie (Riki Naoe), Tomoe Tamiasu (Rin Natsume), Hikaru Midorikawa (Kyosuke Natsume), Keiko Suzuki (Haruka Saigusa)
Studio: J.C. Staff
Makoto Saeki lives in an old Shinto harvest shrine with her father who is the head priest. After her mother passed away, Makoto was granted the ability to see an agent of the gods named Gintaro, a kitsune (fox spirit). With his help the two aid people around the community.
Natsume’s Book of Friends? With a girl and a wolf? The trailer reveals the anime is kind of cute and definitely fantastical. It is directed by Shin Misawa who directed the old school anime 801 T.T.S. Airbats OVA and some episodes of Cat Girl Nuku Nuku (we are going back in time here!!!) and Hiroshi Yamaguchi, writer on Desert Punk and New Dominion Tank Police and Orguss 2, brings his considerable experience to the role of series composition. Also bringing their considerable experience are the lead voice actors: Hisako Kanemoto (Asuna in Children Who Chase Lost Voices) is the seiyuu of Makoto and Shinichiro Miki (Larva in Vampire Princess Miyuu) voices Gintaro.
Staff: Shin Misawa (Director), Hiroshi Yamaguchi (Series Composition), Sayori Ochiai (Original Creator), Mayuko Matsumoto, Naomi Ide (Character Designer), Masatoshi Muto (Art Director)
Voice Actors: Hisako Kanemoto (Makoto Saeki), Shinichiro Miki (Gintaro), Ami Koshimizu (Hiwako Funabashi), Toshihiko Seki (Tatsuo Saeki),
The original story took place in an alternate version of Kyoto where humans and spirits co-exist and a young girl named Koto from our world finds herself wandering into that world where she met a mysterious monk, was chased by tech-obsessed girls and uncovered a mysterious plot in a brash and bizarre one-shot tale that has spawned this new series.
Kyousougiga was originally a one-shot episode released online in 2011 but it was later expanded upon with five more online episodes which garnered over a million views. The new series will run for 13 episodes (two summary episodes and a special) and will be directed by Rie Matsumoto featuring character designs from Yuki Hayashi.
Koto is voiced by Rie Kugimiya (Happy in Fairy Tale) and she has support from Aya Hisakawa (Yoriko Yasaka in Haiyore! Nyaruko-san), Chiwa Saito (Aika in Aria the Natural) and Kenichi Suzumura (Atori in Noein). The latest instalment of Kyousogiga will see them joined by Akira Ishida (Judeau in Berserk).
Staff: Rie Matsumoto (Director), Izumi Todo, Rie Matsumoto (Series Composition), Izumi Todo (Original Creator), Yuki Hayashi (Character Designer),
Voice Actors: Rie Kugimiya (Koto), Akira Ishida (Inari), Aya Hisakawa (Koto), Eiji Takemoto (Fushimi),
Studio: Toei Animation
Utsutsu and his little sister Yume Hasegawa are close so when Yume sees a mysterious red butterfly and her body undergoes a strange metamorphosis into a creature that eats humans, Utsutsu struggles to find a way to restore his sister.
Billed as a “life-and-death sibling” story, it is based on Sayaka Mogi’s rather gory manga. The human character designs for the animation are a little different but the creature design is suitably unnerving. Tomomi Michizuki is the director and he has helmed such anime as House of Five Leaves and Kimagure Orange Road. The only voice actress announced has been Ibuki Kido (Kasumi Shinomiya in GJ Club) who voices the monster girl Yume.
Staff: Tomomi Mochizuki (Director), Sayaka Mogi (Original Creator),
Voice Actors: Ibuki Kido (Yume Hasegawa)
Studio: Studio DEEN
Harutora belongs to the Tsuchimikado family who are onmyoudou occult practitioners but he lacks the ability to see spirit energy so he’s just a normal boy… until his childhood female friend Natsume shows up in his life. Why does this cause a change? She is heir to the head of the Onmyouji family and Harutora finds that his powers may be awakened.
A supernatural school series… Red Data Girl, Nura Rise of the Yokai Clan… the list is endless but it looks like it could be fun. The director is Takaomi Kanasaki (Is This a Zombie?) and the scripts are written by Hideyuki Kurata (The World God Only Knows). Kato Ishikawa (Ledo in Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet, Manatsu in Red Data Girl) takes the lead as Harutora and he is given great support by the more experienced Kana Hanazawa (Kobato Hanato in Kobato) as Natsume.
Staff: Takaomi Kanasaki (Director), Hideyuki Kurata (Series Composition), Kouhei Azano (Original Creator), Atsuko Watanabe (Character Designer)
Voice Actors: Kaito Ishikawa (Harutora Tsuchimikado), Kana Hanazawa (Natsume Tsuchimikado), Aki Toyosaki (Kon), Ayane Sakura (Suzuka Dairenji), Eri Kitamura (Kyoko Kurahashi), Ryohei Kimura (Toji Ato), Hisako Kanemoto (Hokuto)
Beyond the Boundary (Kyoukai no Kanata)
Akihito Kanbara may look like a normal high school sophomore student but he is half youmu and invulnerable to wounds because he can heal quickly. He meets Mirai Kuriyama who is a freshman at the same school when it appears she is about to jump from the school rooftop but he saves her. Mirai has the ability to manipulate blood which is unique even in the spirit world. After their encounter they become the focal point of disturbing events.
Kyoto Animation may be known for its slice-of-life and school anime but despite the setting, this is something slightly different. They are bringing their considerable animation expertise to an adaptation of Nagomu Torii’s original light novel and the trailer looks awesome. The director is Taichi Ishidate (Hyouka) and series composition comes from Jukki Hanada (Steins;Gate). Kenn (Phinks in Hunter x Hunter) voices Akihito and Risa Taneda voices Mirai.
Staff: Taichi Ishidate (Director), Jukki Hanada (Series Composition), Nagomu Torii (Original Creator), Miku Kadowaki (Character Designer), Mikko Watanabe (Art Director)
Voice Actors: Kenn (Akihito Kanbara), Minori Chihara (Mitsuki Nase), Risa Taneda (Mirai Kuriyama), Tatsuhisa Suzuki (Hirofumi Nase), Ayako Kawasumi (Izumi Nase), Akano Watanabe (Shizuku Ninomiya), Yuri Yamaoka (Ai Shindo), Naomi Shindoh (Ayako Shindo), Moe Toyota (Sakura Iha)
Studio: Kyoto Animation
Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio – Ars Nova –
In the first half of the 21st century humanity has lost much of its developed land due to global warming. It is at this precise moment that a “Fleet of Fog” loaded with super weapons strikes in a deadly naval attack around the world. Without the ability to withstand the fleet, humanity is defeated and stripped of the ability to travel the seas. Seventeen years after the disaster, Gunzou Chihaya and his friends somehow commandeer a “Fleet of Fog” submarine and rename it I-401. Together with Iona (I-401’s “mental model” or physical incarnation in humanoid form), they take on the “Fleet of Fog.”
Okay, guys. Good news. We got to the end of this feature without seeing Seiji Kishi’s name on an anime adaptation of a video game that will probably be bori… GODDAMMIT, he’s here on this one! Oh wait, this isn’t a video game? It’s based on a manga… but Kishi is reunited with Makoto Uezu who helped him create the rather dull Devil Survivor 2 The Animation. Okay, I’m being melodramatic. They both have great titles on their CVs and the trailer looks action-packed. This could go either way because their best work depends upon the strength of what they are adapting. Humanity Has Declined was a great anime mostly because the source novels were funny but Devil Survivor was a game with too much for them to turn into an effective story. Kazuyuki Okitsu (Hisamitsu Noto in Toradora!) and Mai Fuchigami (Miho in Girls und Panzer) take the lead roles.
Staff: Seiji Kishi (Director), Makoto Uezu (Series Composition), Ark Performance (Original Creator),
Voice Actors: Kazuyuki Okitsu (Gunzo Chihaya), Mai Fuchigami (Iona), Manami Numakura (Takao), Yumi Uchiyama (Kirishima), Hibiku Yaamura (Haruna),