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Anime/Manga ► Summer 2012 Anime Lineup



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Nyangoro

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another three months, another season of anime

i somehow managed to pull myself away from dragon's dogma and l.a. noire to do this

weeeeeeeeeeeeeee~

Spoiler Spoiler Show

definitely a less interesting season than the current one

significantly less interesting, actually

still, there are some shows that caught my eye in one way or another

Chouyaku Hyakunin Isshu: Uta Koi (i admit it, the only reason i'm interested is because i've watched Chihayafuru)

Natsuyuki Rendezvous (mostly because it's noitamina, not gonna lie)

Sword Art Online (sounds like a cross between druaga and .hack, not to mention the fact that it's got kajiura on music and a-1 pictures at the helm)

Tari Tari (yes, it's about a light music club; but come on, it's p.a.works!)

Rinne no Lagrange 2nd Season (only natural)

Jinrui was Suitai Shimashita (umm... you're just gonna have to watch the trailer for this one)

Arve Rezzle: Kikai Jikake no Yousei-tachi (the premise peaks my interest, but this is also the series least likely to actually air this season, so...)

a couple others have my attention, but they also have a fair bit working against them as well, so whatever

will get to work on compiling trailers and my impressions on the first episode of kingdom (which pre-aired recently)

feeling very apathetic at the moment tho
 

Space Cowboy

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I'm impressed you managed to find at least one series out of that man.

What a horrible season we've got coming up, especially after how fantastic this one has been.

I'll probably only give Natsuyuki Rendezvous for the same reasons you've put really, noitamina are often the highlight of each season for me so hopefully they can keep me tuned in this time too.

That's it really. Nothing else immediately strikes out that I would like or should watch it.

Think this season will be one where I either rewatch series that I haven't had time to, or watching series I haven't had time for.
 

Nyangoro

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Think this season will be one where I either rewatch series that I haven't had time to, or watching series I haven't had time for.
I was thinking the same thing. Lord knows I've got plenty of stuff on my backlog, lol

Anyway, trailers. Just gonna put them in links because it's more convenient (for me).

Kingdom
ahahahaha that cgi ahahahaha

Pokemon: Best Wishes Season 2
this show is still airing?!

Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse
you know, i might have been inclined to give this show the benefit of the doubt if it weren't for all the t&a and angst

Chouyaku Hyakunin Isshu: Uta Koi
not much of a trailer but that is some fine music

Yuru Yuri ♪♪
i'm pretty sure this can only be for the fans so i'm just gonna leave it alone

Natsuyuki Rendezvous
first time i saw this trailer i thought to myself, "is that a girl or is this actually yaoi?"

Moyashimon Returns
this might not be that bad, but i didn't see the first season, so whatever

Sword Art Online
idk, i think it looks alright

Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate
this looks like a show that even generic anime are ashamed to be similar to

Dakara Boku wa, H ga Dekinai
for all the users with a modest understanding of japanese, yes, that is the actual title

Dog Days'
i've heard the first season got better towards the end; i don't see it

Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere II
seriously, does anyone have any clue what's going on in this show?

Oda Nobuna no Yabou
even with madhouse co-producing this show, i feel pretty confident when i say that this anime has no chance

Tari Tari
holy crap there are multiple guys in this series, i am confused

Kono Naka ni Hitori, Imouto ga Iru!
sometimes i wish i couldn't understand the inane drivel in these trailers

Campione!
dammit i want to look forward to this show, there's some nice animation in here; but at the end of the day, all i see is fantasy harem

Kokoro Connect
even with the prospect that all these characters will try to kill themselves, i still find it difficult to maintain interest

Hagure Yuusha no Estetica
people think i understand anime, but honestly, i really don't

Rinne no Lagrange Second Season
what can i say? i like this series and i like this trailer

Joshiraku
your guess is as good as mine

Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita
how much flack would i take if i said that i was looking forward to this anime the most?
 

Oracle Spockanort

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Looks like another summer where I don't watch any of the new series airing. Just gonna chill with my backlog and maybe catch Chouyaku Hyakunin Isshu: Uta Koi and Natsuyuki Rendezvous after they are done to see if they were good or not. Sword Art Online has gorgeous music, but I wil probably download the OST and not even watch the show.
 

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Sword Art Online is probably the only series really I'll be checking out till the end. Reason why is because I read the first volume off baka-tsuki and fell in love with it so much that I decided I'd rather see it in its finest when it gets an adaption. Sure, the premise isn't that original but it pulls it off fantastically if you ask me. Good thing I'll have more time to catch up on other shows I've been waiting to get to anyway.
 
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Some of those trailers made me ashamed to be a fan of anime...

Though Nyangoro, I might actually watch Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita, just to see what the bonk is going on, so you shouldn't feel SO bad.
 

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I really wanna see Sword Art Online. I was already interested, but the fact that the composer of Puella Magi Madoka Magica is involved makes me seriously want to watch it, if only for the fact that I'm still in love with Puella Magi Madoka Magica.
 

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Probably gonna get around to the first episode of Kingdom later today.
and two days later...



Introduction: So we've got our pre-air for the season; and wouldn't you know it, it's double-length. The actual show is a shounen piece of historical fiction (emphasis on the fiction, I would imagine) known as Kingdom. Of course, neither shounen manga nor historical fiction are exactly uncommon over in the land of the rising sun (although it's usually their own history, not China's). More interesting is that the studio, Pierrot, seems intent on using this project to try out their CGI. I guess we'll see how well that goes.

Premise: We've got two friends, both war orphans and servants to some non-specific individual, sparring with each other every day in the hopes of becoming war heroes and escaping their lives of servitude. One day, a nobleman comes and whisks one of the two away to become a political officer, leaving the other behind. A month goes by, and the friend returns, covered in blood and dying. The one swears vengeance on those who caused his death, so he heads out on his quest amidst a rebellion that pits two princes against each other.

This episode was... chaotic, to say the least. It was twice as long as usual, and yet the pacing was still enough to snap your neck. We see these two sword fighting, this old man chats them up, he takes one of them away, the one dies, the other runs off for vengeance, defeats a group of bandits, then meets his friend's doppelganger. They just plow through these plot devices one after the other and give us no time to actually comprehend why the hell we should care about what's going on. The only point I can give is that it does manage to explain the old noble's peculiar interest in them (well, one of them) by the end.

This is only made worse by the terrible delivery of these elements. I would call them cliché, but that's being generous. The episode takes every opportunity to dump information on us in as bland and routine ways as they can imagine. Then, you've got the fact that these characters don't stop talking. We don't need a verbal expression of every single thought or emotion that goes through these guys' heads. I'm aware that this is carried out in a very shounen way, but that's no excuse for telling without showing.

Speaking of the dialog, did no one proofread this stuff? Now, I admit that this is partly due to the melodramatic acting, but the script isn't doing it any favors. To put it in perspective, when I'm watching characters say their lines, I should not think that the character has a serious mental condition (unless, you know, that's the point). I mean, damn. If you want me to feel sorry for these characters, your first step should be to get me to stop laughing at them.

Characters: I like a grand total of one of these characters; and even the one, just a bit. The villain is the only person that I could honestly enjoy watching. Sure, he's a generic villain out for revenge, but at least his motive is tied to the times, and the authority he manages to command makes him out to be a decent threat. Plus, the melodrama actually works for this character. Melodramatic is a suit that fits him very well.

The two main characters in this episode are Xin and Piao, the two friends. Xin is an unlikeable anger management case study who literally shouts all but maybe two of his lines. Piao is the calm and collected one. He's not unlikeable, but he isn't likeable either. The guy is just sort of there, relying on his status as an important character to carry him through. None of the other characters are even worth mentioning, and these two are only worth mentioning because we follow them through the episode.

Artwork: This anime is visually confused. It's backgrounds range from gorgeous to stock to abstract wallpapers worthy of an entry-level photoshop class, and everything else dances between CGI and 2D animation. Unfortunately, it seems to like CGI more. The character designs are uninspired, made all the worse by the simplistic CGI models. I'm sure that they were simply trying to make them match, but it just lead to both versions of the characters looking generic. Though, to its credit, there are a few times when it's hard to know for certain if what you are looking at is 2D or 3D.

Animation: I really only have one basic rule for CGI implementation: If you use a CGI model for something once, use it for the entire production. Of course, there are exceptions (if you want to do close up/interior shots of CGI machines, feel free to use immaculately detailed 2D artwork), and minimalism seems to be the best standard; but as a general rule, this should be fairly obvious.

Why? Because when you animate something in 2D, and then switch to animating it in 3D (and vice versa), it's noticeable. At the very least, I would expect most studios to be smart enough not to switch between camera angles during the same damn scene (an expectation soundly defeated by Pierrot). It's a shame too; because with 2D animation, it might have looked decent. The times that we do see it, there are some nice details and good emotion in the characters' faces. It wasn't perfect, but it was certainly better than the jittery CGI movements.

Music: The opening theme is generic rock, but it's catchy generic rock. The ending attempts to be the same, but the sub par singing hinders that achievement (even if it did have the best animation of the whole episode). The soundtrack behind it wasn't all that bad. It's nothing ambitious, to be sure, but the orchestral, fantasy score fits the series and provides something nice to distract you from the hilarious aesthetic efforts.

Overall: A poor opening episode on almost all counts. The visuals are a mess, the characters have no character, and the plot can't even tell itself in an engaging way. It has alright music, and that's it. This is more likely to serve as an example against CGI than for it. While I'm already biased towards 2D animation, I'm sure that most will agree that, at the very least, 3D animation needs to be handled better than it is here.

EDIT: Just a little correction.

Kingdom's first episode was apparently not a pre-air, but the proper debut of the show.
 
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Nyangoro

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Spoiler Spoiler Show


the main difference with this chart is that the shows have their air dates listed (and are in that order as well)

another thing of note, all of the shows appear to premiere in the first nine days of the new season (barring about 3 stragglers)
 

Nyangoro

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Introduction: Time to start the season proper, and it begins with... this: A JC Staff production adapted from an otome game. Alright, sure, why not? I mean, if Hakuoki can get way too many sequels, then adaptations of the genre must sell relatively well. Honestly, the only thing I know about this is that the video game's character art is kuroshitsuji-level stylin', so let's just get to the show already.

Premise: So we've got this organization called the Arcana Famiglia, a vigilante group complete with mafia framework. Also, there are, like, a bunch of hot guys who are a part of the family and have superpowers, and these superpowers are contracts with tarot cards. Then the boss is all, “Well, I think I'll retire, you superpowered guys can fight it out to see who takes my place. Oh, and whoever wins gets to marry my daughter.” The daughter says, “I want to choose my own destiny!” To which he basically responds, “The only people who don't have to obey me are the ones that can actually defeat me in combat.” And that was about it.

Um, it was kind of dumb. The way the characters were introduced was pretty bland and unnecessary. Not to mention the fact that the whole “tarot card powers” thing was unabashedly dumped on us (even though it was clear that everyone should have already known beforehand). Plus, the narrative just seems like standard romance/tournament (that's a weird combination though, I'll give them that much). I mean, I guess it wasn't “bad,” but it was sleep-inducing.

Characters: Buy a dart board. Print out various character archetypes. Staple them to the dart board. Pick up a dart. Throw said dart at the dartboard. Whatever archetype it lands on, odds are there's a character in this show that fits it. If any of you can find a character that isn't some cardboard cutout, please tell me; because I sure as hell couldn't find one.

Artwork: The character design is a teeny, tiny step above mediocre, but only because the shading is a little cool. Other than that, I just find myself yawning every time another of this gang wanders on stage for the first time. The backgrounds fair about as well, and both won't have you discussing them at length with anyone in the foreseeable future. The art's at it's best during the ending sequence, and that's because they use artwork from the game (or at least had the artist draw the stills).

Animation: It's so lazy that during the occasions where it looks decent, I fear they blew their entire budget on it already. The choreography has potential, but even the best choreography can't save you from sloppy frames and a lack of fluidity. The opening credits had alright animation, but I would expect at least that much from it to begin with.

Music: The opening's some poprock number trying its hardest to avoid any originality. Pretty successfully too, I might add. The ending is, well, a terrible character song. Because lord knows that if Jun Fukuyama has a role in an anime, then he gets to sing a song. I wasn't expecting a lot from the score, but I was hoping for something with a little Italian flare. Instead, we get something that was obviously composed by someone who was hard-up for cash.

Overall: While I should probably save this for other shows, I'm going to use this cop-out now. As I only know so many ways to call something unmemorable, here's a link to a thesaurus for the word “dull.”
Dull Synonyms, Dull Antonyms | Thesaurus.com
 
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Nyangoro

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Introduction: So the second show that I get to watch this season also happens to be the one I was looking forward to the most. And why? Because it's just so goddamn odd. The studio behind this is AIC A.S.T.A., who've put out shows, in my opinion, of... questionable quality (Heaven's Lost Property, Persona 4: The Animation). The source is a light novel, and it's premise and surreal promotional footage pulled me in enough to overlook the studio in charge.

Premise: In the future, humankind has suffered a huge drop in birthrates and are heading down the path to extinction. They live off what meager supplies they can manage, in a way more reminiscent of the past than the future. Replacing humans as the most abundant species are a group of diminutive, ebullient, technologically advanced candy lovers known as fairies. The anime takes place through the eyes of a woman who has become an arbiter between the two species, and the things she learns as a result of that title.

This show is like an exercise in contrast. We've got this relatively upbeat town, and yet it's wrapped in this story of human survival. The main character looks all sweet, but her inner thoughts reveal a conniving and manipulative personality. The fairies are as many different kinds of adorable as you can come up with, and yet they build completely automated structures which show a dark sense of humor. Two of those are more prominent in the second half of the episode, which is where the dual nature of the series really shines through. I'm being fed clashing information, and you know what? I'm fascinated. This bubbly, twisted little comedy/mystery has captured my attention.

Characters: Interesting thing, our main character doesn't have a name. At least, not one that I'm aware of. Those who know her either address her as “you” or by her title. She's just this person who we follow the inner monologue of as the episode progresses. And as I said, she gives off a happy charm, but has plenty to offer beneath the surface, including a very notable amount of cynicism. The townspeople (especially the lead's fans) can be a bit annoying, but it furthers the distinct tones gloriously. I was more surprised by the fact that I liked these fairies. By all accounts, they should be incredibly irritating. However, the way they behave and interact reminds me a lot of the Tachikoma units from Ghost in the Shell.

Artwork: The imagery looks a lot like a watercolor painting mixed in with pastel colors, creating an aesthetic that looks like a cross between Usagi Drop and Tsuritama. As far as vividness goes, however, it is much closer to the latter. Everything pops, and the softer shades look very bright due to careful arrangement. I have no doubt that this will be the most colorful show of the season. Oh, and I should mention that the character designs really work for me, mostly thanks to the aforementioned visual style.

Animation: This anime's animation doesn't start to pick up until the second half, when they go to the FairyCo factory. That being said, there's a lot of fluidity otherwise to imply a strong animation staff is working on this production. The ending theme also deserves mention for having gorgeous visuals throughout, and one that the rest of this season's offerings may find difficult to top. How much you get from the latter statement is up to you.

Music: The opening sequence is performed by nano.RIPE, and I still like them for the same reason as always: Their songs are very catchy. I don't know who sings the ending, but it sounds like an indie artist to me, and the woman's high vocals actually sound pretty good. The score is very similar to those used in JRPGs, complete with town, laid-back, and even battle tracks. Now, by the same token, it also doesn't stand out either. The only time I remember the soundtrack is when it was used to emphasize he mystery of the setting.

Overall: Just as I suspected, this is a very bizarre anime, and I love it for that very reason. While the deadpan humor from our main character got some chuckles from me, it's the mystery and conflicted portrayal that made me love this episode. Still, this is one show that I can confidently say is not for everyone. However, if what I've said has got you curious, I definitely encourage you to check it out.
 

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Introduction: There aren't a lot of studios that can get me interested in a high school slice-of-life anime and also be reasonably expected to produce one. P.A. Works happens to be just such a studio. While they've only put out a few titles so far, there have been more hits (Angel Beats!, Another, Hanasaku Iroha) than misses (True Tears, Canaan), and even the misses have their merits. Their penchant for city landscapes alone is enough to get my attention, even if the summary of the show would normally have people turn their heads away.

Premise: On that note, this episode proved it's slice-of-life nature by giving us glimpses into the individual character arcs that are sure to be covered over the length of the show. However, one arc stands at the forefront and will be used to tie everything together: The new choir club. Konatsu, the clearly sugar-indulgent one, is frustrated that she is unable to sing in the school choir after an embarrassing performance last year. So what does she do? She creates her own choir club (the Japanese seem to be very lenient on club creation), and needs to gather members to make it official.

Hmm, what to say about this episode. Well, it sticks to its genre, that's for sure. Actually, it does that really, really well. A true slice-of-life story can't just have one rope to pull the plot with, there's not enough substance for that. You need multiple “plots,” each based on what's going on with the characters involved (hence, the name of the genre). This episode pulled that off by giving us an introduction to three others: A Japanese teen trying to re-acclimate to home country after a dozen years spent overseas, a badminton player whose club all but finished, and a girl who no longer has it in her to sing. That's a lot to work with; and given the studio's track record, I trust it will be actualized.

Characters: I like two of the characters so far. The first is Konatsu, the catalyst for the group's gathering. She's loud and more “anime” than the rest of the cast, but she's sincere and doesn't distract from everyone else as I feared when I first saw her. The second is Wien, the one who recently returned to Japan. I loved seeing him trying to follow Japanese customs, only to make them much more formal than necessary. Plus, seeing him write his letter to those back in Austria was a bit touching (but that was because he was likeable from the start). I don't hate the other characters, but they haven't done much outside of introductions in this initial episode.

Artwork: P.A. Works is known for their backgrounds and the details therein. They create strong, realistic designs that make fantastic use of lighting. That's why every wide-angle shot is absolutely stunning. The overall style is almost identical to that of Hanasaku Iroha, with the exception being that it's set directly in a typical Japanese town, not in a hotel. This includes the characters, which essentially means that they're pretty to look at, but that's about it.

Animation: A stronger demonstration than we saw in the premiere for Another (which makes sense, given that there were no dolls to labor over), and falls into the same tier as a lot of other well-animated series in the genre: Not especially dynamic (since there's rarely no need for it to be), but a lot of attention to in-between work and realism. In other words, it's what I've come to expect from the studio.

Music: But music plays a pretty big role in this series, so how does that go? The light rock opening theme doesn't reach for new heights, but it sounds fine for something a bit on the safe side. The ending, I believe, is sung by the series' new choir club. From that perspective, it's a strong inclusion, even if the song itself is just an above-average pop number. As for the soundtrack, it's a mixed bag. There are a couple standout pieces at the beginning, but it's got its fair share of filler as well. The composer for this also worked on Hanasaku Iroha, so the laid-back tunes and simple approach to classical instruments is to be expected.

Overall: Despite the attached name instilling a bit of interest, I was still hesitant about this high school anime. Thankfully, it presented its characters in a likeable fashion, with enough differences between them to sustain the narrative in the long run. However, even if it's poised to handle its genre superbly well, it's unlikely to win any new converts. That being the case, I can only recommend this to those who already like the slice-of-life genre.
 

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Introduction: As it turns out, Muv-Luv is kind of popular. It started off as a visual novel in 2003, and published the sequel: Muv-Luv Alternative in 2006. A collection of three manga titles were written over the years, adapting the stories from the two games. A series of novels were also released, adapting the same content. Then, Enterbrain published the novel Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse, a sequel to Alternative. This novel has also been adapted to manga format, along with this very anime, produced by Satelight. What that means is, this anime is an adaptation of a sequel to another sequel. Not a very reassuring fact, to say the least.

Premise: Aliens invade the world, conquering one territory after another. Therefore, it's only natural that the Japanese government train high school girls to be soldiers. From there we get some character rivalries and training montages and war updates without context and unknown character traged– are you starting to see why this sort of adaptation doesn't really do much for people who've never been introduced to the franchise before?

That's ultimately why I have problems with this episode. I have no idea what's going on outside on outside of a quick summary of the state of the world. I feel like I just read the first chapter of a book, yet gleaned nothing more than what could be found in the back cover's synopsis. At the same time, it was as though I stepped right into the middle of the book. That, mixed in with fragmented story telling, made it exceedingly difficult to actually get engaged in what was going on.

Characters: It's impossible to care about any of these characters. I don't know anything about them. The two people who I assume are leads (yes, we're given so little to go on that I can only assume this) are from two distinguished families, but that's it as far as details go. Other than that, all the characters are little more than just faces. This is really bad for a series about war, as it makes every tragic occurrence meaningless.

Artwork: The bodysuits look cool, and I'm not just saying that because I'm a heterosexual male. They actually do look pretty boss. Everything else, however, barely reaches the level of average. The character designs are the same as you see everywhere else, and the generic style certainly doesn't lend any creativity. The backgrounds are just... there. Honestly, I can't say anything about these backgrounds. They're nothing. You'll barely even notice them. And the mecha units look like fodder, completely monotone and boring. A bit disappointing for the studio that just wrapped up Mouretsu Pirates.

Animation: Um, sub-par. Yep, I'm gonna go with sub-par on this one. Sure, when the robots were fighting, it looks pretty alright. The explosions were nice, and the mechs movements were solid. Unfortunately, that seems to have been all they were concerned with for this project. Everything else is stiff, with minimal care taken to make the movements flow. Perhaps when giant robot action becomes a larger part of the anime, we'll see the animation rise as a result. Now if only the rest of it gave us incentive to wait that long.

Music: There was no opening sequence, but there were ending credits that I believe played the opening theme. I'm not an expert on techno or trance, but it sounded like a hardcore version of one of those two, which isn't all that common in anime. Hell, I'm pretty sure I detected a little chiptune in there as well. When the score goes into wartime tracks, the big drum beats and brass instruments are passable. However, outside of that, it's about as phoned-in as you can get.

Overall: I'm not going to say that the franchise is bad or anything, because I don't know. But, what I will say is that the anime is obviously intended for those that do. Very little is done to provide the viewer with a solid entry point, and the characters are so hollow that you probably won't even be looking for one. As I find it unlikely that there are a lot of Muv-Luv fans on this site, I think this series can be safely avoided.
 
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