Panther’s Autumn 2014 Anime Season Preview

28 Sep , 2014,
Panther
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Princess Lenessia

One of the characters returning this season I am really looking forward to – Princess Lenessia from Log Horizon.

The autumn anime season is upon us. In fact, as of this post, there have been at least one anime series that has aired, perhaps two. Once again, I must take time out to look at the anime series that I will be following this season. That, of course, does not mean they are the same ones that you would be watching, or even be interested in. I lay no claim to anything objective – all of this is merely my opinion and you should keep that in mind as we go on.

That being said, I must be growing old or at least becoming a lot more selective in my anime viewing. I had thought, as I did last season, that I would take on more than what I would end up actually watching. In fact, last season, I dropped something like 4-5 shows, some in the middle of the season at that. I am more cautious this season, but at the same time, the shows that I am watching are mainly the second seasons of shows that have an established reputation, and thus I am also excited for these series.

I will mention each show I am watching in order of their first episodes’ air dates, and then have a brief note below that on the shows that I think others might be interested in for some reason or other. I take my previews from the excellent work over at Random Curiosity as well as Hashihime, and you would be well advised to go through their preview posts if you wish to find out more, including the season’s schedule.

*****

Terra Formars

A swarm of cockroaches, only two meters tall, and five million times as terrifying.

Terra Formars

This show has already begun airing, and I have only watched the first OVA episode, which seems to be airing concurrently with the anime series. Terra Formars is about a rather weird plan to send a special moss, and of all things, cockroaches to Mars in order to terraform it, so as to make it fit for human living. They were first sent in the 22nd century, and 500 years later, a mission sent to check the progress sees its entire group wiped out. The OVA picks up at the BUGS 2 incident, the second such ship to reach there and fight against the new monstrosities, later renamed Terra Formars.

Now I will be the first to admit I have a big fear of cockroaches, thank my mother for that. But even so, I wanted to pick up this show as I knew it would be instantly compared to Attack on Titan (Shingeki no Kyojin). The cockroaches are not that scary compared to their real-life counterparts in animation – they have a human form, and are insanely strong, with weird faces and even teeth. They retain their antennae and big eyes, along with their dark skin color, the only ways you can tell they were originally cockroaches. I have no idea how evolution could even work that way, but maybe a human conspiracy is at work – the synopsis mentions multinational agencies planning petty schemes behind the scenes. That could have been it, but still, 500 years of evolution and they become humanoid?

Plot devices aside, the show will likely feature a lot of gore, but if the first episode’s complaints that I have seen on Twitter were anything to go by, the censorship was hideous. You can expect that the show would be ruined by this, though the OVA was fine. I would say you should catch this show just because of the Attack on Titan comparison…if you are not too squeamish about the whole thing with the bugs that is.

Log Horizon

Best MMO anime be back, yo.

Log Horizon

Finally, the wait is over. Log Horizon is back! The anime about a lot of trapped players, but with way more teamwork, mechanics, and better explanations than a certain other MMO-based anime series will continue where it left off, as Shiro and his guild leave Akihabara in search of new knowledge about the workings of the world they are trapped in.

Log Horizon’s established reputation speaks for itself – unlike that other anime series, there is a whole lot of teamwork in this, which is how MMOs should be like. Further, there is also a lot of hypothesizing as well as thinking, with many critical elements brought into play, interwoven with the new reality that our adventurers find themselves in. It is exactly how a MMO-based anime should be like. Slated for yet another 25 episodes, the only downside to this season is that the studio changed hands from Satelight to Studio DEEN. We will see if that actually brings down the anime’s quality some, but the material behind the anime is already solid enough that I would suppose it will likely not happen.

Cross Ange

Sunrise with mecha…AND dragons. Wait, what?

Cross Ange: Tenshi to Ryuu no Rondo

Sunrise, the studio, is almost synonymous by now with the genre of mecha anime, and this new original series coming from them is no different. However, dragons are added into the mix, so we will see where that goes. I am not that fond of Sunrise’s mecha anime nowadays, so I will likely step in expecting little for this. The cast is solid though, as can be expected of something from Sunrise, and the show is thus definitely worth picking up for a 3-episode test just for the seiyuu alone.

Some strong names such as Neya Michiko, Kuwashima Houko, Hayashibara Megumi, Toyoguchi Megumi, Yukana and Horie Yui are acting alongside relatively and objectively newer talent such as Koshimizu Ami, Touyama Nao, Uesaka Sumire. The main female is voiced by Mizuki Nana, so there is quite the catch here.

Story-wise, it is nothing new. Humanity has discovered Mana, a form of energy that has eliminated all wars, poverty, and made life generally comfortable for everyone. Ange is a princess born into such a world, but has a problem – she cannot use Mana. She is exiled and meets a group of other Normas who ride mecha to defend the world from invaders coming from another dimension – dragons. So yes, there you have it, very generic indeed. Still Sunrise has a knack for at least pulling things off decently, so I will likely try and stay with this one for as long as I can.

The Seven Deadly Sins

I did not imagine the 7 Deadly Sins to not all be female at first. Oh no.

Nanatsu no Taizai (The Seven Deadly Sins)

Welp. I will admit that when I first heard the name of this anime series, I was thinking of that figure line dealing with the seven sins in female form. I am sorry. I did finally get around to reading about it, and my interest has at least been perked by the story. The Seven Deadly Sins were supposedly the most powerful of the knights protecting a kingdom in a world where humans and non-humans have not been separated. They apparently betrayed the kingdom and were sent into exile by the other knights. According to whichever synopsis you want to believe, they were framed because they did try to do just that, or were unjustly so. In any case, the knights currently protecting the kingdom have gone rampant and rule it tyrannically, and it is now up to Queen Elizabeth to gather the 7 Deadly Sins once again to clear their name, and help her take back the kingdom.

I would say that the quirks of each sin will likely show up in the characters soon enough, and I hope this will make for some funny but deadly fighters. I doubt the show will be anything spectacular, really, but the premise is good enough that I believe people should pick this up just for the possibility of having a good side show to the main ones this season. With regards to the cast, very little is known. Amamiya Sora is getting rather famous nowadays, and she will be Queen Elizabeth. Kuno Misaki, the current famous loli voice, will be her aide or something, and they are joined by Kaji Yuuki, whose voice I personally dislike. Miyano Mamoru, Fukuyama Jun and Yuuki Aoi round out the known cast for now.

I hope it will be a little like Akame ga KILL! – part funny, part combat. No gore is likely in this one though. I also cannot see it as anything beyond a side show, really, so pick this up at your own peril.

Shingeki no Bahamut: Genesis

Attack on Bahamut. Oh wait-

Shingeki no Bahamut Genesis

Yes, it has the exact same title form as Attack on Titan, but while it may be indeed an attack on Bahamut, this series has nothing to do with the show. Rather, it has to do with that hugely popular pay-to-win mobage, Rage of Bahamut. I am no fan of the game, and game-to-anime adaptations usually fail big-time, but since the preview seems to be pretty good despite its promotional content, I will be giving this a shot.

The story seems to be similar to the game’s but I am not sure. 2,000 years ago, Bahamut threatened to destroy the land, and his immense power was kept in check through the combined power of the gods, humans, and demons. The key that sealed him away was split into two, one part kept by the gods, and one by the demons. Now, a human woman has stolen the gods’ half of the key. Disaster is in the making.

Very little is known about the cast and the direction this anime series will take, so I will refrain from mentioning even names, though I would say that there are some new blood in this show with regards to the seiyuu, so do not expect anything fantastic. Still, the show is worth a shot for a 3-episode test, just to see if they can at least pull off something decent.

Hitsugi no Chaika: Avenging Battle

Chaika, back! Ready, battle!

Hitsugi no Chaika: Avenging Battle

Ready for more of the cute, broken speech of Chaika Trabant? She is back with her two sidekicks in tow, Akari and Tohru. Though, really, Tohru is like the main character of this series and Chaika and Akari are his sidekicks. Whichever way you prefer it, I found the series’ first season to be endearingly cute but not overwhelmingly so. Neither did it have a lot going for it either in the good or bad ways, but it was above average to me. I look forward to more of Chaika’s broken speech, Akari’s yandere siscon tendencies, and the intrigue that lies at the heart of Chaika’s existence, at the very least.

Kiseijuu

wtf is that omg

Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu

Yes, just WTF is that. Originating from a manga that first appeared in 1989, it is only getting an animation now. Kiseijuu tells the tale of worm-like parasites that have invaded Earth, wriggling through their noses or ears into the brain and taking over the human hosts. One such parasite, Migi, fails and burrows into Izumi Shinichi’s arm instead, and now the two live as separate entities in the same body. Things get complicated when both humans and parasites try to take out Izumi and Migi, and they must work together to ensure their own survival.

This will likely be something different from the norm, and have some psychological chill and thrill to it. I expect that this might actually be one of the better shows this season for me, despite the somewhat gross and perhaps creepy premise. Hirano Aya, someone I really dislike, will voice Migi, making it her main role in an anime series in a very long time, after her outburst against “anime”. Tanaka Atsuko and Sawashiro Miyuki will also be in this, but we will see exactly if the cast can fit into the anime’s story, which really seems to be what will drive this show.

Psycho-Pass 2

This is probably wallpaper-worthy.

Psycho-Pass 2

Urobuchi Gen’s series that was wildly popular last year makes a return this year. Psycho-Pass 2 will continue the tale of Tsunemori Akane as she continues to fight against the weird system of the world of Psycho-Pass. A world in which criminals are apprehended on the basis of their psycho-pass, a level indicating the likelihood of them committing a crime and becoming a sinner, even before they have done anything. There are some who are unable to be judged by this season, and Akane must forge ahead in this second season to find out how to set things right.

I am hyped for this season. Psycho-Pass was one of my favorite series from 2013. You can be sure that I will be catching this one, and for those who have not yet caught the first season, I urge you to do so. It is heavy with gore and killing and psychological thought, so it might not be for everyone. If you want a dark series, this might not be as dark as it can get, but it sure is one you can latch onto and keep watching.

Sanzoku no Musume Ronja

Ghibli doing an anime TV series? It’s more likely than you think.

Sanzoku no Musume Ronja (Ronja Rövardotter)

This is based off a popular children’s novel that I never heard of with the same name, and the studio is Ghibli…Ghibli? Ghibli doing an anime series!?

In any case, unfortunately Polygon is animating the show. They were the ones who animated Knights of Sidonia, so you can expect a lot of CG, which might break the experience. Still, Ghibli and Miyazaki are overlooking the project, so I expect that this will be at least something worthwhile to watch, along the lines of what Kemono no Souja Erin was in 2009. Like most of Ghibli’s works, the voice cast is made up of either actors, actresses or new seiyuu, so there is nothing I would recognize there.

Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru

Proclaim in the title Yuuki Yuuna is a heroine, why don’t you.

Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru

So um, a group of middle school girls also act as heroines in a Hero Club to fight against the Vertex. Fantasy school action…with slice-of-life humor and every day problems. Sign me up for a test. I am in for the cute like Yuruyuri, Kin’iro Mosaic and Gochuumon wa Usagi desu ka?, though the fantasy part certainly lures me in too. Unfortunately, out of all the series I already listed, this one looks to be the very first I will likely drop if things get bad real fast. Still, it might turn out good, so we will see.

I only know Mimori Suzuko and Uchiyama Yumi in the voice cast, but both have established names for themselves in recent months and years so for two of the girls at least, the ability is ensured. Voice talent is not everything in a show like this but it helps. Hopefully, it will turn out better than Rokujouma no Shinryakusha!? did.

*****

Honorable Mentions

Denki-gai no Honya-san – Lots of people seem to be excited about this one, a slice-of-life comedy about working in a bookstore. I cannot find myself to be hyped about it, but it might be up your alley.

Danna ga Nani wo Itteiru ka Wakaranai Ken – Five-minute shorts about a normal wife trying to get through to her otaku NEET husband. The title literally says, “I can’t understand what my husband is saying!” It could prove funny.

Amagi Brilliant Park – A KyoAni production. Perhaps KyoAni fans would be interested.

Gundam Reconguista in G – Gundam.

Magic Kaito 1412 – A character in the Detective Conan series actually had his own original series and it is getting animated. This might be for fans of the character, I suppose.

Madan no Ou to Vanadis – The setting is in medieval Europe but I expect this to play out more like Blade & Soul anime did. In other words, not really worth my time. Others might be interested though.

Ushinawareta no Mirai wo Motomete – À la recherche du temps perdu‘s anime adaptation of sorts. It was apparently a long and influential French novel. I suppose this will be one of the more popular or anticipated series of the season.

Fate/Stay Unlimited Blade Works – And so as I pray, Unlimited Blade Works.

World Trigger – It will include shounen fights, and a generic story. It seems to have an enjoyable storyline, but I will wait for episodic reviews before bothering with this show at all. You might be interested, however.

Yowamushi Pedal: Grande Road – The second season of Yowamushi Pedal. It had quite the strong following, and I bet fans of the first season will be more than keen to continue this.

Inou Battle wa Nichijou-kei no Naka de – School kids get superpowers…but nothing happens. Nothing ever needs their superpowers. A slice-of-life fantasy comedy about having nothing to do.

Gundam Build Fighters Try – While I am no fan of the Gundam series, I have heard many good things about GBF, so this second season will likely be one of the top shows of the season at least in popularity, if not in quality.

Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso – “April is your lie” or “Your lie in April”. A series about a piano prodigy who lost all interest in music till someone helps him get it back. Slice-of-life that might be a hit for fans of the genre.

Ore, Twintails ni Narimasu! – “I will become Twintails!” YEAH WHAT. This show is totally off the rocker because it does not even begin to disguise itself with any plot. Watch this for the ridiculous, really.

Girlfriend (Kari) – Girlfriend (Beta). Based off the popular mobage, where you can choose from over 100 digital girlfriends in the game. Not sure how they will pull it off in an anime.

Mushishi Zoku Shou 2nd Season – I never watched the series, but I know it has a lot of praise for it. This is a continuation and I expect many fans to be watching it, perhaps even new folks who have caught up with the series.

Interestingly enough, Sidonia S2 is not listed in this season’s preview, so I guess it got delayed. Oh well. There you have my expected shows for the fall season. Let us hope the season will continue to bring us the awesomeness that some of these series’ first seasons have done.