Anime UK News Winter 2015 Anime Season Preview Part 2

Welcome to Part Two of the 2014-2015 winter anime season.

The winter 2014/15 anime season is about to launch at the end of December which means around twenty-nine new shows are set to air. A quick glance at the line-up does not indicate the emergence of any particularly new trends. Instead, we get a mixed-bag of shounen, shoujo, seinen and lot of sequels and anime-based existing properties. When taken as a whole the upcoming season feels almost sedate but there are more than a few gems to be found amidst the many light novel adaptations and sequels.

Before we say goodbye to 2014, please allow me to take time to mention a few titles that made the year good in terms of actual animation. There were plenty of surprise hits like the wonderfully misanthropic and morbid Hoozuki no Reitetsu and the thrilling cycling title Yowamushi Pedal which came out of popular manga and became popular anime. Critical and artistic highs were reached with the much welcomed return of an old favourite, Mushi-shi, and the award-winning Giovanni’s Island demonstrated Production I.G. are still one of the top animation houses in the world. The innovative and adventurous Space Dandy and Ping-Pong: The Animation proved that style and substance can go together when you give creative animators and directors free rein, MAPPA Studio are providing high quality and exciting work adapting video game Shingeki no Bahamut: Genesis for the small screen  and after a year in the wilderness (not to mention sterling work on Hunter x Hunter), Studio Madhouse has returned to the top of the table with the currently airing Parasyte: The Maxim, a smart and faithful adaptation of a great horror manga.

Enough about the past and the present, what about this upcoming season?

Thanks to one of Neregate’s guides, Anime News Network and My Anime List, I have been able to compile a lot of titles that will launch. Following on from the first part, this is the second part of what will air on Japanese television from December:


Psycho-Pass The Movie

Synopsis (Straight from Anime News Network and complete with spoilers for season 1 and, arguably, season 2). You might want to avoid the cast list because it names a few returning characters from the first and second season.

[Warning: The story summary below contain spoilers for Psycho-Pass season 1. Highlight text to read the story.]

Year 2112, newcomer Inspector Akane Tsunemori and Enforcer Shinya Kōgami run into a man that was the former mastermind of past incidents. This man was the object of Kōgami’s revenge for his partner. This man, Shogo Makishima, shook the very foundations of the system that supports peace and questioned the existence of justice. Before long, Kōgami executed his own justice on Makishima and secluded himself from the world…..

Year 2116-The Japanese government’s begins to export the “Sibyl System” unmanned drone robots to troubled countries, and the system spreads throughout the world. A state in the midst of a civil war, SEAUn (the South East Asia Union, pronounced “shian”), brings in the “Sibyl System” as an experiment. Under the new system, the coastal town of Shambala Float achieves temporary peace and safety. But then SEAUn sends terrorist to Japan. They slip through the “Sibyl System” and then attack from within. The shadow of a certain man falls on this incident. In charge of the police, Tsunemori travels to Shambala Float to investigate. The truth of justice on this new ground will become clear.

As of the developments of episode eight of the second season, things are getting very gruesome and over the top and the plot twists keep piling up as the movie approaches. It’s a good thing that the cast and staff are all making a return for the film but whether the final product will be satisfying is another matter because some fans feel that the second season isn’t a patch on the first.

Staff: Katsyuki Motohiro (Chief Director), Naoyoshi Shiotani (Director), Gen Urobuchi, Makoto Fukami (Screenplay), Kyoki Asano, Naoyuki Onda, Kouji Aoki (Character Designer), Akira Amano (Original Character Designer), Yuugo Kanno (Music)

Voice Actors: Kana Hanazawa (Akane Tsunemori), Tomokazu Seki (Shinya Kogami), Kazuhiro Yamaji (Jouji Saiga), Shizuka Itou (Yayoi Kunizuka), Ayane Sakura (Mika Shimotsuki), Kenji Nojima (Nobuchika Ginoza)

Studio: Production I.G.

Airing Date: January, 2015

The Rolling Girls


Ten years after the “Tokyo Great Decisive Battle,” Japan has fallen apart and all prefectures are independent countries. We follow the adventures of a group of ordinary girls on motorcyles.

The Rolling Girls is the first original television anime from Wit Studio, the gang formed to make Attack on Titan and then followed that smash hit with a surprise hit in Hoozuki no Reitetsu. It is hard to tell the tone for this piece. The trailer has similar vibes to the anime OAV One Off which was another anime about girls and their bikes in a contemporary setting. The synopsis talks about a decisive battle and the splitting up of Japan. What is going on? It is too early to tell if this is little more than a standard slice-of-life but the animation looks good and the story has potential to go to interesting places.

Directing this is Kotomi Deai who has been involved with anime like Silver Spoon, House of Five Leaves and Kids on the Slope, a variety of titles which are high quality in character driven narratives and comedy. Yasuyuki Muto, the writer, has crafted the screenplays and orchestrated the series composition for a diverse bunch of action shows like Le Chevalier D’Eon, Deadman Wonderland, and Basilisk. The slice-of-life feel is enhanced by tanu’s original character designs. That is tanu, the artist behind Tari Tari. This is a hard one to peg.

Staff: Kotomi Deai (Director), Yasuyuki Muto (Screenplay), Katsuhiko Kitada (Character Designer), tanu (Original Character Designer)

Voice Actors: Ari Ozawa (Nozomi Moritomo), Rina Hidaka (Yukina Kosaka), Risa Taneda (Ai Hibiki), Yumiri Hanamori (Chiaya Misono)

Studio: Wit Studio

Airing Date: January, 2015


Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata (How to Train an Ordinary Girl to be a Heroine)


Tomoya Aki is a high schooler, an otaku who works part-time to buy anime. He meets a girl and is so inspired by her beauty that he makes a doujin video game with her as the lead character. The problem is that he has no artistic ability and so he asks for help from Eriri Spencer Sawamura, a member of the school art club, and Utaha Kasumigaoka, an honour student and great writer so they can produce a game for Comic Market. While making the game, he discovers that the girl who inspired him is a classmate named Megumi who is ignored by others and so he gets to know Megumi better.  

You would be forgiven for looking at the titles and thinking that this one is based on a light novel. It isn’t. It’s based on a visual novel. One written by Fumiaki Maruto, writer on the TV anime White Album 2! Whether that is good or bad is for you to decide. It’s directed by Kanta Kamei (Bunny Drop, Nanana’s Buried Treasure) and Fumiaki Murato is writing the scripts for the anime at A-1 Pictures.

Staff: Kanta Kamei (Director), Fumiaki Maruto (Screenplay/Original Creator), Tomoaki Katase (Character Designer), Misak Kurehito (Original Character Design), Hajime Hyakkou (Music)

Voice Actors: Yoshitsugu Matsuoka (Tomoya Aki), Kiyon Yasuno (Megumi Kato), Ai Kayano (Utaha Kasumigaoka), Saori Onishi (Eriri Spencer Sawamura)

Studio: A-1 Pictures

Airing Date: January, 2015


Seiken Tsukai no World Break


The story takes place in a private high school where “saviours,” pupils with awakened memories from past lives, are taught to harness arcane magic and deadly weapons. Some of these pupils are Shirogane who fight enemies with weapons taken from the Puraana powers from their own bodies while others are Kuroma who wipe out enemies, with magic to manipulate the Maana powers that surpass physics. A boy named Moroha Haimura enrolls in this school. He is the first person in history with past lives of both Shirogane and Kuroma.

This is based on Akamitsu Awamura and refeia’s light novel series which was first published in 2012 and judging by the synopsis alone it seems like stock light novel fodder. The staff-members who are adapting this novel are very familiar from other adaptations of fantasy anime. Takayuki Inagaki is directing the anime and Hiroshi Yamaguchi (Gingitsune) is orchestrating series composition. Masakazu Ishikawa (Campione!, Kodomo no Jikan) is adapting refeia’s original character designs for the screen and they will be animated by Diomedea (My Mental Choices are Completely Interfering with my School Romantic Comedy).

Staff: Takayuki Inagaki (Director), Hiroshi Yamaguchi (Series Composition), Shigemi Ikeda (Art Director), Masakazu Ishikawa (Character Designer), Akamitsu Awamura (Original Story), refeia (Original Character Design)

Voice Actors: Aoi Yuuki (Shizuno Urushibara), Ayana Taketatsu (Satsuki Ranjou), Kaito Ishikawa (Moroha Haimura), Yui Ogura (Maya Shimon), Maaya Uchida (Haruka Momochi), Reina Ueda (Elena Alshavina)

Studio: Diomedea

Airing Date: December 31st, 2014


Sengoku Musou (Samurai Warriors)

Synopsis (straight from ANN)

Toyotomi Hideyoshi is on the verge of unifying the realm, and all that remains is the Odawara Castle protected by the “Lion of Sagami” Ujiyasu Hōjō. Hideyoshi’s personally trained generals — Ishida Mitsunari, Katō Kiyomasa, and Fukushima Masanori — as well as Ōtani Yoshitsugu, Shima Sakon, and Naoe Kanetsugu are all on the frontline of the battle. Amidst the battle formation are the two young warriors of the Sanada household: older brother Nobuyuki and younger brother Yukimura. As the stalemate begins to break down, Sanada Yukimura rides on a lone horse into the fray. His brother follows right after him.

The popular Sengoku Musou from KOEI Tecmo Games gets an anime adaptation with Koujin Ochi (Case Closed, Sengoku Musou SP: Sanada no Shou) directing and Yuka Yamada (Black Butler, Mushi-shi) writing about the fate of the Sanada brothers.

Staff: Koujin Ochi (Director), Yuka Yamada (Series Composition), Aki Tsunaki (Character Design)

Voice Actors: Daisuke Ono (Noboyuki Sanada), Takeshi Kusao (Yukimura Sanada), Akio Ohtsuka (Tadakatsu Honda), Eiji Takemoto (Mitsunari Ishida), Jouji Nakata (Tokugawa Ieyasu), Yuko Nagashima (Kunoichi), Makiko Ohmoto (Ina-hime)

Studio: Tezuka Productions, TYO Animations,

Airing Date: January, 2015


Shinmai Maou no Testament (The Testament of Sister New Devil)


Basara Toujou is a first year high school student living with an eccentric father. Things take a turn for the bizarre when his father suddenly announces that he is getting remarried and two beautiful step-sisters named Mio and Maria Naruse arrive at the house and turn out to be a novice devil and succubus… Basara almost ends up forming a dangerous servant and master contract with them, but due to an error, the contract becomes reversed, and Basara becomes the master instead. He now has to deal with erotic situations and battles to save Mio who is bring targeted by other monsters and heroes. Can Basara prove to be a powerful master and will Mio survive?

Apart from the great pun in the title, based on the story, art, and PV this anime is nothing but familiar concepts and tropes and it remains to be seen if anything will differentiate it from the myriad other supernatural harem light novel adaptations. What is certain is that there is plenty of material because Makoto Tetsuto Uesu’s light novel series began in 2012 and is up to its sixth volume as of August this year. The staff are the types of names you might see in similar shows. Hisashi Saito (Haganai, Fantasista Doll) is the director and the scripts are written by Takao Yoshioka (High School DxD). Yoshihiro Watanabe (Heaven’s Lost Property) is designing the characters. All of this is taking place under the auspices of Production IMS (Date A Live II). It might be safe to say that we know what to expect.

Staff: Hisashi Saito (Director), Noboru Takagi (Screenplay), Ryouka Kinoshita (Art Director), Yoshihiro Watanabe (Character Designer), Makoto Tetsuto Uesu (Original Creator), Nekosuke Okuma (Original Character Designer)

Voice Actors: Yuuichi Nakamura (Basara Toujou), Iori Nomizu (Kurumi Nonaka), Sarah Emi Bridcutt (Yuki Nonaka), Ayaka Asai (Mio Naruse), Yuu Asakawa (Chitose Hasegawa), Tomokazu Sugita (Yahiro Takigawa), Keiji Fujiwara (Jin Toujou)

Studio: Production IMS

Airing Date: January, 2015


Shounen Hollywood: Holly Stage for 50


There is a theatre in Harajuku called Hollywood Tokyo and this is where the idol group “Shounen Hollywood” diligently work and study so they can become Japan’s best idols! Witness the second season of their epic story!

Shounen Hollywood gets a second season of the anime arm of what is meant to be a multimedia franchise launched by Ikuyo Hashiguchi’s novel. While the CDs et al. may not penetrate to the West, the anime is making its way over thanks to Funimation (although the UK seems to have missed it). Toshimasa Kuroyanagi (Say “I love you”) is directing back in the director’s chair and Ikuyo Hashiguchi is back writing the series. Character designs come from Kei Tsuchiya (Aruvu Rezuru – Mechanised Fairies).

Staff: Toshimasa Kuroyanagi (Director), Ikuyo Hashiguchi (Series Composition/Original Creator), Kei Tsuchiya (Character Design), Tetsuji Hayashi (Music)

Voice Actors: Tetsuya Kakihara (Ikuma Amaki), Ryota Ohsaka (Kakeru Kazami), Shouta Aoi (Daiki Tomii), Daiki Yamashita (Kira Saeki), Kensho Ono (Shun Maiyama)

Studio: Zexcs

Airing Date: January, 2015


Soukyuu no Fafner – Dead Aggressor: Exodus


Soukyuu no Fafner is the sequel to the film Fafner: Heaven and Earth and is set in the year 2151, two and a half years after the events in that story. This is the 10th-anniversary project which will reunite the main staff from the first Fafner TV anime for a series that clocks in at twenty-six episodes. The chief director is Takashi Noto a key figure in the Fafner franchise hving produced the last series. The director is Nobuyoshi Habara, another vet of the Fafner franchise. Writing duties are taken up by Tow Ubukata writer for Mardock Scramble and the other Fafner anime and the man orchestrating the second season of Psycho-Pass as it leads up to the movie. Tsuneyoshi Saito (Dennou Coil) is makng the music here. Solid names with sci-fi titles in their filmographies for a belated entry in a sci-fi franchise!

Staff: Takashi Noto (Chief Director), Nobuyoshi Habara (Director), Tow Ubukata (Series Composition/Screenplay), Toshihiro Kohama (Art Director), Hisahi Hirai (Character Designer), Tsuneyoshi Saito (Music)

Voice Actors: Marika Matsumoto (Maya Toumi), Kohei Kiyasu (Soushi Minashiro), Aki Unone (Keith Water), Azumi Asakura (Saki Masaoka), Saori Seto (Mai Douma), Satomi Arai (Sakura Kaname), Megumi Han (Aishuwaria Fein), Yui Ishikawa (Mimika Mikagami)

Studio: Xebec zwei

Airing Date: January, 2015


Tales of Zestiria: Doushi no Yoake (Tales of Zestiria: Dawn of the Fon Master)

The upcoming Bandai Namco PS3 game Tales of Zestiria gets an anime adaptation courtesy of ufotable and it is a special that will air at the end of the year on Tokyo MX. The guys doing the animating are ufotable, the studio that animated the cutscenes for Tales of Symphonia and Tales of Xillia as well as the upcoming Tales of Zestiria.

Staff: N/A  

Voice Actors: Ai Kayano (Alisha), Ryohei Kimura (Sorey), Ryota Ohsaka (Mikleo),

Studio: ufotable

Airing Date: December 30th, 2014


Tantei Kageki Milky Holmes TD (Detective Opera Milky Holmes TD)


In a future world where people use ‘Toys’ to gain superhuman abilities like ESP, Toy-related crimes are on the rise. Fortunately a group of cheerful magical girls solve crimes with the aid of their male guardian as part of the Milky Holmes detective agency.

The magical detectives are back for another season and hopefully they bring more fun and games to go with the action and chaos. The director is Hiroshi Nishikori and he has worked on funny franchises like Azumanga Daioh and Gad Guard. Writing has been split up between Hideki Shirane (Kill Me Baby), Go Zappa (Myself; Yourself), Shogo Yasukawa (Strike the Blood), and Takayo Ikami who should win awards for work done on Mawaru Penguindrum and Watamote. This has potential to be goofy fun.

Staff: Hiroshi Nishikiori (Director), Hideki Shirane, Go Zappa, Shogo Yasukawa, Takayo Ikami (Screenplay), Mariko Fujita (Character Designer)

Voice Actors: Suzuko Mimori (Sherlock Shellingford), Aimi Terakawa (Kazumi Tokiwa), Mikoi Sasaki (Hercule Barton), Izumi Kitta (Cordelia Glauca), Ayasa Ito (Alice Myojingawa)

Studio: J.C. Staff / Nomad

Airing Date: January, 2015


Tokyo Ghoul 2nd Season (Tokyo Ghoul √A)


In an alternative reality Tokyo is haunted by “ghouls” who devour humans. The government has taken steps to contain these creatures but the people still live in fear of these mysterious creatures who can blend in with normal society. When a college student named Kaneki encounters a girl named Rize, his life takes a very, very deadly turn and he finds himself turning into a ghoul.

The second season of Tokyo Ghoul ended on a dark and violent note where it appeared that Ken Kaneki, having desperately tried to maintain his humanity after joining the world of ghouls, seemed to fail. It was a cliff-hanger ending, especially considering the massive battle that was raging around him. With plenty of Sui Ishida’s original manga left to adapt, Oscar winning director Suhei Morita (Short Peace and Freedom) and writer Chuuji Mikasano are returning.

Staff: Shuhei Morita (Director), Sui Ishida (Original Creator), Chuuji Mikasano (Series Composition), Kazuhiro Miwa (Character Designer)  

Voice Actors: Natsuki Hanae (Ken Kaneki), Kana Hanazawa (Rize Kamishiro), Sora Amamiya (Touka Kirishima), Mamoru Miyano (Shuu Tsukiyama)

Studio: Studio Pierrot

Airing Date: January, 2015


Tsukimonogatari (Possession Story)

In this TV special we get four episodes which tell the first story in the “Final Season” of NisiOisin’s Monogatari series. These will air on New Year’s Eve. There have been seven other TV anime all adapted by director Akiyuki Shinbo and animated by SHAFT. Other familiar names include writer Fuyashi Tou and director Tomoyuki Itamura who has worked on things other than the Monogatari franchise like And Yet the Town Moves and Arakawa Under the Bridge. For those not in the know about the Monogatari franchise, MVM are releasing the DVDs so now might be a good time to catch up.  

Staff: Akiyuki Shinbo (Chief Director), Tomoyuki Itamura (Director), NisiOisin (Original Creator), Akiyuki Shinbo, Fuyashi Tou (Series Composition), Akio Watanabe (Character Designer) 

Voice Actors: Hiroshi Kamiya (Koyomi Araragi), Saori Hayami (Yotsugi Ononoki)

Studio: SHAFT

Airing Date: December 31st, 2014


Yoru no Yatterman


In a remote land, there was a girl who gazed beyond the ocean. The land was Yatterman Kingdom. It is said that it is a heavenly land controlled by the Yattermen, the allies of justice. In order to save her sick mother, the girl attempted to land in Yatterman Kingdom to ask for help. However, she was turned away, and her mother passed away without anyone to give her charity. Doronbo: one of the bands of great thieves. There was a beautiful girl named Doronjo working under a boss named Dokurobeh. Her lackies were two men named Boyacky and Tonzura. The Doronbo fight with Yattermen, and within the fray, the team is banished to a remote land.

This is the story of a new generation of Doronbos: Doronjo, Boyacky, and Tonzura, as well as the story of the birth of Gan-chan and Ai-chan as Yattermen.

This is a super-sentai show that has been confirmed as a single cour anime that Tatsunoko are producing to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Time Bokan franchise. The original Yatterman premered in 1977 and since then there have been three animated films, a live-action film and another television series which ran for sixty episodes in 2008.

Staff: N/A

Voice Actors: Eri Kitamura (Doronjo), Hiroaki Hirata (Boyacky), Kenta Miyake (Tonzura), Hori (Dokurobeh)

Studio: Tatsunoko Production

Airing Date: December 31st, 2014


Yuri Kuma Arashi


Kureha is “transparent”, a high school girl who is plain and is barely noticed by others, who has strange dreams about a bear and a transparent storm. In this dream, a mysterious classmate named Ginko Yurishiro appears in the form of a bear…

Billed as an intellectual fantasy this is an original idea and it comes from the director of Revolutionary Princess Utena and Mawaru Penguindrum, Kunihiko Ikuhara. This could be the show that provokes anime critics and fans to start shouting how it will be revolutionary/divisive/saves the season because it’s by Kunihiko Ikuhara.

Savour that name. One more time.

Kunihiko Ikuhara.

Kunihiko and his cohorts really do shoot for the stars with their anime which are heavy on visual symbolism, metareferences to literary/music/movies, real life issues and it is all brought together in complicated and profound sound and visual design that is deceptively pretty and sparkly, so much so, you can print any scene onto a card and hand them out at Christmas to family and friends and if they spend a while looking at it, they realise some profound existential truth. Those anime fans who have watched Mawarau Penguindrum and Utena can confirm this.

I’d take a series with his involvement over most of the anime made over the course of the year, especially when he’s teamed up with writer Takayo Ikami and art director Chieko Nakamura who both worked on Mawaru Penguindrum. It is animated by Silver Link who did a fantastic job on the heart-breaking tragi-comedy Watamote.

Staff: Kunihiko Ikuhara (Director), Kunihiko Ikuhara, Takayo Ikami (Series Composition), Chieko Nakamura (Art Director), Etsuko Kishida (Character Designer), Akiko Morishima (Original Character Designer), Yukari Hashimoto (Music)

Voice Actors: Nozomi Yamane (Kureha Tsubaki), Miho Arakawa (Ginko Yurishiro), Yoshiko Ikuta (Ruru Yurigazaki), Yui Ogura (Sumika Izumino), Mitsuki Saiga (Life Cool), Junichi Suwabe(Life Sexy), Kautomi Yamamoto (Life Beauty)

Studio: Silver Link

Airing Date: January 05th, 2015


Apart from a lot more OAVs and other series which probably won’t get picked up by Crunchyroll, that’s about it. Thanks for reading and I hope you find something to enjoy in the winter season.


I'm a long-time anime and Japanese film and culture fan who has lived in the country and is studying Japanese in an effort to become fluent. I write about films, anime, and work on various things.

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