I am kind of absurdly hyped for this upcoming season. My favorite studios, my favorite writers… basically the only way to improve it would be if Gen Urobuchi personally gave me a new show and a puppy. This lineup is stupid. I guess I’ll run it down in order of personal hype intensity?
Kyoukai no Kanata
I’ve been waiting for this announcement every since Hyouka ended. Last year, KyoAni proved they could use their masterful animation for good, and churned out three straight seasons of beautiful visuals and careful storytelling. I figured this meant they were finally done with slice of life and about to unleash some goddamn masterpiece… which made this year’s output feel like some kind of elaborate troll. But now it looks like we’re back on track, with Kyoukai no Kanata making no secret of its narrative focus, and the source material once again being one of their strange in-house light novels they’re so fond of scrapping for parts and rebuilding harder, faster, stronger. I’ve been waiting too long for this.
Kill la Kill
This one’s spot is pretty much interchangeable with Kyoukai no Kanata, because holy fuck it’s Trigger. Have you guys seen the sketches? Do you guys remember Gainax? Well I fuckin’ do, and shit like this and this is reminding me of a joy I’d forgotten forgetting. And they’ve even said they’ve shifted to a strong character focus, because apparently my daydreams have a direct line to the International Department of Saving Anime I guess. I have never been more excited for any upcoming anime than I am for these two.
I’m keeping my expectations in check for this one, because while I am certainly very excited to see the next series by the writer of Toradora, there are a lot of potential saboteurs that stand between a great original work and a great adaptation, and I’ve heard people expressing reservations about the light novels anyway. That said, holy crap it’s the Toradora writer. She can actually write characters, and actually write dialogue, and actually write conflict, and in the world of anime romance that’s essentially the same as being a wizard. My stupid-hype for the top two is letting me be a bit more realistic about this one, but I am still very excited.
Continuing in my hilariously naive “anime production companies are the people who stand between good writers and good anime” bias, it’s the next series by the writer of Maoyuu Maou Yuusha, which in my opinion was the only Winter 2012 show worth talking about. But man, was it ever worth talking about! “Ambitious” is definitely the word for it – a rambling love letter to the ambition of the human spirit and the hope for a just society told through the accelerated course of history itself. Quite a show! That said, its character relationships were one of its weakest links, and this looks like a more character-focused show about parties in MMOs. I’m not excited about writers playing to their weaknesses, and I’m not excited about videogames as platforms for conflict, but I am excited about ambitious writers getting work, so I’m still excited for this.
BlazBlue: Alter Memory
Speaking of videogames. Getting a little more speculative here, but I think this could be good for one of the two reasons I think anything could be good – the game actually had solid writing. Not solid dramatic writing, but it wasn’t really trying to do that – solid comedy, which is even more rare. The game featured a bunch of awesome one-liners and great rapport between a huge cast of endearing idiots. If this show is Serious Business All The Time, it will probably be routine and tedious. But if they capture the spirit of fun that the games reveled in, it could be really great.
And here’s one I’m anticipating for the other reason I think things can be good – I have faith in the staff. This show’s synopsis isn’t particularly lucid, but the important thing is it’s an original by Brain’s Base’s top director, the guy behind Baccano and Durarara. Anime-originals are inherently kind of exciting, since they get to play to the strengths of the medium so fully, and anime-originals with distinctive and highly-acclaimed directors behind them are always something to look out for.
Valvrave the Liberator Part Two
The first half continuously answered the question “well, it can’t get any stupider/crazier than that, right?” by banging its head into a wall while laughing maniacally. I have high hopes for part two!
Nagi no Asukara
I’m not a particularly big Mari Okada fan, but considering this is an anime-original written by her and produced by PA Works, this is at least promising to be the most Mari Okada Mari Okada show around. I generally at least enjoy her shows, and though I think she has a tendency to recycle and abuse conflicts and erupt into frustrating melodrama, I also think she can write some really light, satisfying conversations when she wants to, and again, anime-originals are always worth keeping an eye on. So I’m giving this a chance.
And the rest!
I’ll probably be checking out the first episode or two of a few other shows that various people have mentioned, namely Yozakura Quartet, pupa, and Kyousogiga. But either way, it’ll be pretty hard for this season to disappoint – I’m admittedly looking forward to my top two far more than anything else, but in my defense, jesus christ you guys KyoAni dark fantasy and Studio Trigger. Holy shit.