Fall 2015 Anime Preview – Cooldown?

1 Oct , 2015,
Panther
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Time flies, and yet another of the four seasons is upon us. Fall has been, for me at least, traditionally much of a season in between two slow ones. Spring has always been the strongest anime season, while summer and winter seem to have the least number of shows I watch in any given season throughout a year. Autumn falls somewhere in between both, but as the years move on, it seems, too, to fall behind like its namesake.

This can be attributed in part to the anime industry in general. There has been a trend towards only airing sequels of established shows that have guaranteed sales from its merchandise and what-not, or towards airing new shows that work on an established formula of sales. Thus, there have been fewer and fewer original series out in comparison, and the last few seasons have seen sequels dominating the number of shows that air. It is a general indication of the way the anime industry is moving, but hey, who are we to complain? Money drives the world, and an anime series is not exactly cheap to make.

I read an article somewhere that an anime series hardly even makes enough to break even with its Blu-ray and DVD sales, and I would link this article if I could but I have forgotten where it was exactly. It is not difficult to guess that it is most likely true either – sales of anime series on DVD/Blu-ray would probably be much better before the age of the Internet and peer-to-peer sharing of anime (illegal of course). While recent sites and improvements have been made to accommodate the change in the way anime is being distributed (see Daisuki), widespread piracy of anime series is still ongoing, and will continue for the foreseeable future. I digress; provision of solutions or lamenting the state of affairs will likely change nothing for the foreseeable future.

However, the fact that sequels dominate the upcoming fall season of anime remains. There are proportionately fewer original series coming out, whether they have been adapted from light novels or manga series, or entirely original by themselves. Thus, for fans of series that have been established and are getting a new season this fall, congratulations – you have something to look forward to.

I will take a slightly different approach from now on with preview posts of anime seasons. There is little to be had in bothering to regurgitate much of what the blogs I base my previews off have already said, nor is there any point in me having “honorable mentions” when I have never touched the series that are mentioned. Instead, I will concentrate fully on the sequels and series I do expect to watch, or give a shot for. The format will remain the same however – sequels will come first and new series will come after.

Once again, a huge thanks to the authors of Random Curiosity for a complete listing of the fall season in their preview post, and hashihime’s preview post for providing another perspective. The image at the top is a recently submitted illustration of Sonoda Umi from Love Live! done by talented pixiv artist Ao Beni.

*****

Sequels

Noragami AragotoNoragami ARAGOTO
Starts: 3rd October JST

When I first started watching the original Noragami, there was quite a bit of hype surrounding the series, but it turned out to be less than what I expected. The art is still pretty nice, but the animation quality seemed to be reminiscent of almost another studio instead of BONES. Nevertheless, the story was decent enough to keep me going through the first season. The plot follows Yato, a god without a shrine who dreams of making it big in the deity world. He bumps into Hiyori, who starts seeing him and other spirits and inevitably falls in love with Yato despite herself. Together with his newfound blade, Yukine, Yato brings his dark past around with him even as he frolics in the city trying to take on odd jobs in order to make enough money for a shrine.

The second season will focus on another god, the beautiful Bishamon (second from the left in the above picture) and her past with Yato. I was pretty interested in Bishamon the first time round, but she did not get much screen time, so it is good to see that she will be getting her story and history with Yato adapted. The main cast members are really solid, so there really is no need to talk about them.

K Return of KingsK: RETURN OF KINGS
Starts: 3rd October JST

K was a bit of an anomaly and probably remains so for many, but it is still among the most beautiful series in terms of animation and art style I have seen. An original series with a TV anime season and a movie under its belt, the story will continue after the movie in this sequel.

7 Kings, each with a color, rule modern Japan, sharing what can only be called supernatural powers with their own Clansmen. These powers all derive from the color of the King – for example, the Red King gives the power of fire to Red followers. A King has been put under blame for killing someone from the Red Clan, and the ensuing situation drags almost all the Kings into the picture. Out of all these, the previous Colorless King’s follower, Kuro, and a cat that is aptly named Neko who can transform into a beautiful girl, find themselves entangled in the mess with the suspect of the murder, Isana Yashiro. But is he the murderer and the Colorless King as suspected, or is there more to the story?

The cast is even more solid and powerful than Noragami’s. The bishounen-type males and their large number probably draw a lot of ladies to the series, but even for those who balk at the bishies, the story itself is not the mess that it seems to be…or at least, not that much of it. The show loves to use stunning visuals and its art style to draw the viewer in, and I, for one, love Neko as a character dearly.

This season will continue with the interference of the Green King, who was first shown in the movie and who had no prior role in the first season. I highly recommend checking the first season out for the solving of the murder, and then the movie for its gorgeous bridging in both plot and animation quality if you are interested in this series.

 OwarimonogatariOwarimonogatari
Starts: 5th October JST

It seems like the sequels I watch this season are from either really established shows or studios. The -monogatari series is one that fits both bills, and it returns with a smash as the “Endstory” component of nisiOisin’s highly popular and powerful novel series comes back to the TV screen. This time round, the focus is on the mysteriously dark antagonist Oshino Ougi, and I have been told Oshino Shinobu, the vampire living within Araragi Koyomi, is also a primary character.

Little needs to be said about this series – since the TV inception of Bakemonogatari in 2009, the -monogatari series remains a hot favorite and powerful story-telling tool through the use of dialogue and SHAFT-esque visuals to bring to the viewer a true blend of supernatural story-telling ability. This current season is a sequel to Tsukimonogatari, and of the sequels in this season, I look forward to this one the most.

Yuruyuri San Hai!

Yuruyuri San Hai!
Starts: 6th October JST

One of the “cute-girls-doing-cute-things” anime series that have somehow exploded in popularity lately, Yuruyuri returns for a third season. By now, I am pretty burnt out by this series because its jokes and the way things are done with the Yuruyuri gang is a little dry for me, but it is still otherwise watchable for the yuri vibes between several of the characters, and the jokes that can come out of them, such as Ikeda Chitose, who always has a nosebleed imagining all the yuri thingies that could be going on between her friends. I will still be going with the third season, but this one goes low on the radar for me by now.

Gochuumon wa Usagi desu ka??Gochuumon wa Usagi desu ka??
Is the order a rabbit??
Starts: 10th October JST

Unlike the one before it, Gochiusa (as it is officially abbreviated) is a lot cuter than Yuruyuri, and revolves around an air-headed Hoto Cocoa (see what they did there) moving in to join a barista one year younger than her, called Kafu Chino (yes you see what they did there), and their daily lives with three of their friends, and more. As a theme, I actually found Gochiusa more amusing and heartwarming than the more acclaimed Kin’iro Mosaic (Golden Mosaic), but both series have their charms.

I received the news that Gochiusa received a new season pretty well, and I expect to be soothed yet again by the five main girls of Gochiusa and their beverage-driven days. If you liked the first season, or just like cute girls doing cute things in general, or have a slight taste for cute girls doing cute things with coffee, this one would be for you. Catching the first season is a plus to know how the girls got to know each other, and be introduced to the cast as well. Taneda Risa voices the twintail character in both Kinmosa and Gochiusa, by the way, but both are rather far apart in personality, and a certain part of the female anatomy…

*****

New Shows

Heavy ObjectHeavy Object
Starts: 3rd October JST

Huge 50-meter, 200,000-ton mechs battling it out? Sign me up. The preview on RandomC has compared the possibility of its backdrop to Last Exile, which I did watch, and the very premise of huge mechs battling it out has me hooked. If there is to be a grim truth to be revealed behind the wars they fight as well, all the better for plot development. Further, I am a self-proclaimed science fiction fan, and if there is a lot of depth added to the show from the light novels to complement the viewer’s knowledge about the show, I can bet you this will be one show I would finish for the season at least.

There is no reason to believe yet that it will be more than one cour though, so we will have to see if it manages to get to two cours, which is often just enough to hook a viewer and be able to get into the story and the world behind it in some depth. With regards to the studio however, I am not too keen on J.C. Staff being the ones behind it, so as much as I want to jump into this with naive enthusiasm, it would be wiser to approach it with some form of cautious optimism.

The known cast is small, but Ishikawa Kaito has somewhat proven himself in recent works, and while I kind of dislike Hanae Natsuki‘s almost monotone voice, I do think that, if given the right character, he can be very good at it (think Outbreak Company‘s Kanou Shinichi). With the rest of the cast unknown at this point in time aside from the female lead character, this could go either way with respect to the voices that breathe life into the characters.

Rakudai Kishi no CavalryRakudai Kishi no Cavalry
Chivalry of a Failed Knight
Starts: 3rd October JST

I am not keen anymore on what the harem genre has to offer. The recent Monster Musume was a breath of fresh air but it still had a lot of anime tropes in it, though it was pretty enjoyable for me. Still, Rakudai seems to have a bit of spin to it from what the preview authors had to say, and it does seem like it might also be slightly different from the norm.

Magic meets modern world in this show, and there are ranks in the training academy from A to F. Our protagonist is, almost inevitably, one of the F-ranked students. He walks in on the A-ranked Stella changing, who has become his new roommate, and a duel to decide who will rule the other starts the premise for the show. Understandably, those are some cliches, but let us hope the story indeed goes the way the original material seems to have gone with less of the nonsense and fanservice and more of the actual “plot”, if there is any.

Osaka Ryota voices the main character, and he is known for being a main character for several anime series I have watched for the past few years, most notably Tanikaze Nagate of Knights of Sidonia. Ishigami Shizuka is much less known and one of the newer seiyuu, her notable recent work being Kajou Ayame in Shimoneta (which I did watch in the end) last season. I liked her work and thought it was decent in Shimoneta, so it will be interesting to see the combination of these two working together.

The support cast is pretty strong too with new and old names – Kobayashi Yuu, Asanuma Shintarou, Hosoya Yoshimasa and Iguchi Yuka are four strong names I instantly recognize, while relatively newer ones like M.A.O., Han Megumi and Touyama Nao round out the cast. Then again, as with most harem shows, you can have very strong voices, but the direction and the strength of the series itself can still be really weak. Silver Link and Nexus are doing this series together, and I have little experience with both, so I can only say that this show is, at most, going to be a side show to the main ones this season.

KowabonKowabon
Starts: 4th October JST

The tagline “There are cameras everywhere in the world. Those ‘eyes” have seen the world you do not know.” hardly helps in creating any form of preview for this show. Very little is known about it, but it is inferred to be a horror show, perhaps along the line of a panopticon concept. I am not for horror shows much, because I actually do believe in the supernatural somewhat. Still, there is something about this show that I think I should be checking out.

Rotoscoping is heavily used in this show, so if you are not a fan of such techniques, you would be advised to skip it. I am fine with such techniques if they are used properly and deliberately in an attempt to create the atmosphere that the viewer should experience. Hopefully, Kowabon will be able to carry that out.

Comet LuciferComet Lucifer
Starts: 4th October JST

One of the few original shows actually coming out this season, Comet Lucifer is done by 8bit, which has some successful shows under their belt, for me at least. Still, an original series can go anywhere, and it appears Comet Lucifer will be made up of both sci-fi and fantasy elements, itself being a mecha show. I was hoping it would be something else with no robots involved, but oh well. Seeing as it is an original with both the elements I enjoy in stories, I am definitely giving this one a whirl to see how it will go for at least three episodes. It might yet turn out to be a sleeper of the season.

The cast is, as is usual for such new shows, made up of relatively new or even outright new seiyuu. I only recognize Minase Inori, who voices Kafu Chino in Gochiusa. This show seems to have potential, but then again, many shows do, so I will definitely be watching this without any further idea of what I am going into.

Concrete Revolutio: Choujin GensouConcrete Revolutio: Choujin Gensou
Starts: 4th October JST

Another original series, but this one coming out of a studio I actually trust, Concrete Revolutio will be brought to us by BONES. Set in an alternate 1960’s Japan where fantasy and other elements have been mixed together to become the ordinary (think Kekkai Sensen aka. Blood Blockade Battlefront), superhumans have been recruited by the government in an attempt to restore order to the chaos. This will likely be a mix of several shows and stereotypes, with its use of a very colorful scheme instead of something more mundane. This will definitely be interesting, to say the least.

Ishikawa Kaito leads the cast alongside Toyosaki Aki and Uesaka Sumire, the last of whom can be very much appreciated in the recently ended Overlord, where she voiced Shalltear Bloodfallen. Veteran Ookawa Toru will also pitch in. So far, so good.

One Punch ManOne Punch Man
Starts: 5th October JST

Arguably the series with the most hype this season, One Punch Man follows the tale of a superhero who has trained so hard that he now beats any enemy in a single punch. Of course, this leads to boredom and frustration because he is so strong. The premise seems simple enough, but there must be more, a lot more, for people to be so attracted to this series. I will definitely be watching it to see what all the hype is about, and it might not just run for a single cour either, meaning it would have a lot of time for development if so. Madhouse is also producing it, and the studio has produced some fine anime series in recent years. This will definitely be one of the defining anime series of the season, even if it flops, and if it does fail, then that in itself would be a huge surprise.

Ishikawa Kaito returns as the lead character, and the support cast looks really solid, so it has a whole bunch of things going for it already. Even if you have no time for any series this season, at least give One Punch Man a chance. It might just surprise you.

Ore ga Ojou-sama Gakkou ni "Shomin Sample" Toshite Gets Sareta KenOre ga Ojou-sama Gakkou ni “Shomin Sample” Toshite Gets * Sareta Ken
I’ve been kidnapped to be a “Commoner Sample” in a School of High-class Ladies (closest approximation)
Starts: 7th October JST

Keeping in line with light novels that have ridiculously long names, I have yet to find out what is the abbreviation for this one (the Japanese usually have a four-syllable abbreviation for shows with such long titles). Going with “Shomin Sample” for now, the plot follows a commoner male who is kidnapped to be a “commoner sample” for a school of ladies that are entirely protected from the outside world. As graduates have been unable to cope with the real world, the “sample” is supposed to be a taste of what the real world is like. The problem is, they think he has a muscle fetish and is gay, and the moment he shows he is not, they will likely castrate him! How will our protagonist keep his hands off the wonderful harem he has just been thrown into?

Pretty cliche, but the premise is really funny with a nice solution to forcing our protagonist to keep off the girls. I will definitely be watching this one both for the harem and the humor. Silver Link is doing it, and the studio is decent enough that I doubt they will have problems handling a harem show like this.

Serizawa Yuu, an up-and-coming seiyuu, will voice the supposed female protagonist, while Oonishi Saori‘s (La Folia in Strike The Blood and recently Doppel in Monster Musume) and Hara Yumi‘s (Log Horizon‘s Marielle and recently Albedo in Overlord) wonderful voices will be in the harem cast. Those two latter names alone more than make up for the remainder of the cast for me.

Sakurako-san no Ashimoto ni wa Shitai ga UmatteiruSakurako-san no Ashimoto ni wa Shitai ga Umatteiru
A Corpse is Buried under Sakurako’s Feet
Starts: 8th October JST

A long title too, but at least, this one can be abbreviated to just Sakurako-san as per the official Twitter hashtag. As can be guessed from the title, the plot follows Kujou Sakurako, a beautiful lady in her 20’s who can view bones for clues that no one else can find. She is followed by her high school boyfriend (no comment) Tatewaki Shoutarou, and both go around solving mysteries using her love for “beautiful bones”.

I am reminded immediately of The Mysterious Cases of Yakushiji Ryouko, but this one seems to follow a more deathly spin and lay off the supernatural. The premise itself is already quite the hook for me, and veteran Itou Shizuka will voice Sakurako-san herself. Hopefully, the studio doing this, TROYCA, will be able to show us a series well worth deserving of watching in the mystery genre.

Subete ga F ni naruSubete ga F ni Naru: THE PERFECT INSIDER
Starts: 9th October JST

Just the block it is airing in alone is good enough to get me hyped for this series. The Perfect Insider will be in the noitaminA block, which has very few shows that I have considered actually average, with almost all of its shows so far for me that I watched at least scoring an above average in my book. The plot follows two people, Saikawa Research Lab member Saikawa Souhei, and the daughter of his mentor that he met by chance on his vacation, Nishinosono Moe, as they stumble upon a corpse, leading them to a serial murder investigation.

The original story is from an award-winning novel by the man behind The Sky Crawlers, and it being a mystery show in itself, airing in the noitaminA block, there is little wonder why I am so eagerly anticipating this one as the possible best of the fall season for me. Tanezaki Atsumi will voice Nishinosono Moe, and her nearest similar role would have been Terror in Resonance‘s Mishima Lisa. The support cast includes veterans Kaida Yuko, Hikasa Youko, Horie Yui and someone whom I respect a lot but seldom hear in anime series nowadays, Kuwashima Houko. This will almost certainly be good.

*****

And there is my preview for the season, for the shows I am watching. Surprisingly, I am watching more than I thought I would be. Hopefully, there will be something in here for some of you to catch for this fall season, even among the large number of sequels of other shows and the ones I listed here.

I do post regularly on my Tumblr and Twitter with regards to currently airing shows, among other things. If you want to follow me, please do, but note that both accounts have NSFW stuff and language attached to them, so be forewarned.