Fall 2010 Anime Preview and Watch List

With the Summer season all but over and the Fall season starting within a week, now is a good time to start getting excited about the new anime shows that will take the baton from the Summer shows and attempt to win the hearts and minds of anime fans around the world.

If the Fall series succeed will only be answered in the course of the next few months but that doesn’t stop some, including myself, from trying their hand at prognosticating the results now. My gut tells me that this season will be a strong one, maybe even on par with this past Spring season (which was probably the best season for the last couple of years), and I want to get my somewhat educated guesses written down to see how I did later as well as push the adventurous souls out there to try an anime they probably wouldn’t otherwise.

Therefore, below are my picks for the Fall 2010 season, sorted by how good I think the show will turn out and broken into 4 broad tiers. Platinum Tier shows are those anime that I believe have a virtually 100% guarantee of being good. Sometimes I’m wrong like with last fall’s Natsu no Arashi 2 and when that happens it’s always very disappointing. The next level is the Gold Tier. This level contains those shows that I think have a very good chance of being, at a minimum, “good” shows. Anime at this level usually miss out on being Platinum Tier because I don’t know enough about the source material or the studio animating it has been known for doing variable work or some other small thing that makes me less then fully certain. Silver tier shows still have a lot going for them but bigger potential problems start showing up. The problem might be in the source material, animation studio, or director and it’s a big enough one that I think the show could go either way. Bronze tier shows have something that makes me think it possibly could be a decent show but I’m not holding much hope. Sometimes there’s a surprisingly good show from this group, last fall I had Armed Librarians – The Book of Bantorra, Sasameki Koto, Sora no Otoshimono on this level and all three turned out great but that same season saw Kampfer and Miracle Train also start at this level but finish very poorly.

If you want a second opinion about the upcoming shows try out the previews by Ani no Miyako, Simplicity, The Deathseeker, That Anime Blog and Rabbit Poets and if you want the most complete coverage of all the new Fall anime, including OVAs go to hashihime’s most excellent preview.

The final item of business before moving to the Fall preview/watch list is the anime that are continuing into the Fall season that I’ve been watching and plan on watching in the upcoming season. The first is Katanagatari; it’s been awhile coming but we’re now down to the last three episodes and I’m excited to see how it ends. Next is Shiki. I love the atmosphere of this show and the animation quality but, so far, it’s been more build-up then anything else, though this season will finish the series so the plot should be getting good shortly. Amagami SS continues with three more stand-alone story arcs covering three different female characters. This show has been strangely watchable and I’m kind of looking forward to see what new weird scenes they can cram into this show. I was so sure that Densetsu no Yuusha no Densetsu (The Legend of the Legendary Heroes) was a comedy that I was really disappointed to find that it’s actually a straight-up medieval fantasy series. I’m not really a fantasy person but it’s been able to keep me mildly interested in the story with the vocal work being the thing I enjoy most from it.

Platinum Tier


Arakawa Under the Bridge x Bridge

Director: Akiyuki Shinbou
Studio: SHAFT – Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, Maria+holic, Hidamari Sketch, Bakemonogatari

The second season of the anime that was my favorite of the spring season definitely deserves to place in the platinum tier. Arakawa Under the Bridge 2 gets top spot because it’s quirky mix of comedy and reflection on the important things in life was a perfect match for Shaft/Shinbou’s talents and I’m ecstatic over the chance to revisit the characters and setting. If making a person wish he could live under a bridge with Nino isn’t a good enough marker for a great show, I don’t what is.

Sora no Otoshimono: Forte


Director: Hisashi Saitou
Studio: AIC A.S.T.A. – Bamboo Blade, Tentai Senshi Sunred, Sora no Otoshimono

The anime that completely surprised me by being both a fan-service show and an intelligent, inventive, fun show is getting a sequel and I’m positively giddy. If it can hold up to the first season, it’ll be one of the top shows of the season; if it can somehow surpass the first season, it’ll be one of the top shows of the year and probably “break” more then a few anime fans. It’s secret (which I wish more shows would pick up on) is that it works on many different levels. Heck, even the plot about the “heavenly” creatures that create the all-powerful angel servants pulls one in, if only because we want to see the main character defeat those the decadent and depraved “higher” beings.

Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt

Director: Hiroyuki Imaishi
Studio: Gainax – Gurren Lagann, Hanamaru Kindergarten, Evangelion

I think this show is just going to be a really fun and awesome anime. This puts me, sadly, in a very small group of people. Which I don’t quite get, it’s Gainax and it’s the part of Gainax behind Gurren Lagann and, if the trailer is to be believed, it’s going to be high-energy and full of fighting with plenty of humor involved. Actually, I know why; I noticed in the past that if an anime falls outside of what’s considered “anime style” it’s instantly regarded with suspension. Happened with Sarai-ya Goyou, Yojouhan Shinwa Taikei, Kaiba, etc. and it’s happening here which I find funny because there’s always so much complaining about how anime is always the same.

Gold Tier


Kuragehime

Director: Takahiro Oomori
Studio: Brains Base – Kamichu, Baccano, Durarara, Spice &Wolf 2, Natsume Yuujin-Chou

One of anime’s most consistently great studios is back this season with the latest show to be featured in the Noitamina anime block. The story for this one follows a young woman who’s an aspiring illustrator and lives in a female-only apartment complex. She gets a beautiful, fashionable woman to be her roommate and discovers her roommate isn’t quite what she appears to be. I have a very good idea what that means – “isn’t quite what she appears to be” – and, thanks to anime, I can’t wait to see if a trap is involved. I hope so and I hope there’s at least a little slice-of-life feel woven in somewhere. Brains Base does one of the best jobs with that relaxed, introspective, slice-of-life feel that I miss it when I go a season or two without it.

Sorademo Machi wa Mawatteiru

Director: Akiyuki Shinbou
Studio: SHAFT – Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, Maria+holic, Hidamari Sketch, Bakemonogatari

The second Shaft series this season features the story of a clumsy young woman that loves mysteries and works at a highly unsuccessful maid café. The set-up sounds like a good fit for Shaft/Shinbou and the trailer really gave off good vibes. I’m also excited to see Chiaki Omigawa (Maka from Soul Eater, Jun from Natsu no Arashi) voicing the main character. The sole reason I left this out of the top tier is because this is the second series that the perpetually under-funded and undermanned Shaft is working on and in the past it’s been difficult for Shaft to do 2 series at once. (Though, maybe, the success of Bakemonogatari has increased the coffers at Shaft which will translate to more help in finishing their work on time.)

Bakuman

Director: Kenichi Kasai
Studio: J.C. Staff – Hatsukoi Limited, Toradora, Potemayo, Shana, Index, Railgun

One of the most talked about upcoming anime, Bakuman follows the story of two high school friends that decide to try to make it as manga artists with one of the main character’s love life and familial pride hanging in the balance. I was going to leave this in the silver tier except I caught that Kenichi Kasai (Honey and Clover S1, Aoi Hana) is going to help direct this.  That’s a pretty strong guarantee for the quality of Bakuman and enough to bump it up a level.

Shinrei Tantei Yakumo

aka: Psychic Detective Yakumo

Director: Tomoyuki Kurokawa
Studio: Bee Train – Phantom, Blade of the Immortal, El Cazador de la Bruja

I don’t have a lot of experience with Bee Train but something about this anime makes me think it’ll turn out very good. It could be the premise of a supernatural detective with the ability to see ghosts that’s doing it or maybe it’s because Daisuke Ono is voicing the main character (and apparently doing the opening song) or both or neither. Whatever it is, let’s hope that Bee Train won’t completely flub in the final 30 seconds of the show like they did with Phantom.

Silver Tier


Iron Man


Director: Yuuzou Satou
Studio: Madhouse – Death Note, Kaiba, Kurozuka, Rideback, Kobato, Rainbow, Tatami Galaxy

The trailer for this looks completely awesome and would normally make me really excited to watch it but I’ve noticed these cross-oceanic projects between the USA and Japan never seem to really work. Look at Heroman, for example. There is the potential for a decent show and, at the minimum, Marvel should have given Madhouse enough money to make the animation look very good. We’ll see very shortly.

Star Driver: Kagayaki no Takuto


Director: Takuya Igarashi
Studio: Bones – Soul Eater, Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood, X’amd, Heroman

Taking over for Sengoku Basara 2 in the Sunday early primetime spot is an original work by Bones named Star Driver. The placement ensures that it’ll look really pretty but I’m not a big mecha fan and Bones seems to have a problem with how it ends it’s shows. One would think that since they don’t have to adapt something for Star Driver how it ends wouldn’t be a problem but X’amd showed it’s still a problem that the viewers have to worry about.

Toaru Majutsu no Index 2


Director: Hiroshi Nishikiori
Studio: J.C. Staff – Hatsukoi Limited, Toradora, Potemayo, Shana, Railgun

I really wish this was Railgun 2 instead of Index 2. The first season of Index was a pain to complete and I almost didn’t include this at all because I seriously doubted I could stand more Touma and the child teacher and Index. What saved this is the trailer showed both Uiharu and Saten from Railgun as well as the white-haired good bad guy (which was the best story arc) from the first season. It’s probably getting my hopes up but maybe this time it’ll be a better show.

Bronze Tier


Kami Nomi zo Shiru Sekai

aka: The World Only God Knows

Director: Shigehito Takayanagi
Studio:
Manglobe – Michiko to Hatchin, Samurai Champloo, Seiken no Blacksmith

This is a rare anime where I’ve read some of the manga before watching the anime. It didn’t blow me away but in the right hands, it could a decent show and sadly, I just don’t think Manglobe is the right hands. I’ve liked their high quality anime, Samurai Champloo and Michiko to Hatchin, but when they went slumming with Seiken no Blacksmith it flat-out stunk and TWOGK falls a bit outside of “high quality”. AIC was probably a better fit to squeeze the best possible anime from the source material. I guess it could have been worse, Xebec or Feel or Studio Deen could be the animators.

Otome Youkai Zakuro

Director: Chiaki Kon
Studio: J.C. Staff – Hatsukoi Limited, Toradora, Potemayo, Shana, Index, Railgun

The story for this one really interested me. Namely, Otome Youkai Zakuro is set in an alternative 19th century Japan where humans and youkai (spirits or monsters) co-exist easily. The humans move to change the calendar to match that of the Western world and upset the youkai. To calm nerves, a goodwill mission is implemented featuring both humans and youkai and we end up with a historical, romantic comedy as a result. I’d’ve ranked this higher but I read that the manga writer for Otome Youkai Zakuro is primarily a BL written and that’s a genre I really don’t like. If the anime has BL elements or not is something that only the watching the anime can answer but for now, I’m keeping my anticipation low for this one.

Ore no Imouto ga Kannani Kawaii Wake ga Nai

aka: My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute

Director: Kawaguchi Keiichirou
Studio: AIC – Onamori Himari, Mayoi Neko Overrun, Sasameki Koto, Amagami SS

The story for this one – a H.S. age boy has a younger sister who’s an otaku for little sister ero-games which somehow creates much hilarity  – actively turns me off but I find myself liking the character designs enough that I’m willing to give this show a couple episode chance. I’m probably going to hate it and then pretend I never watched it but there is always the slim chance it’s actually good.

Hakuouki Hekketsuroku

Director: Osamu Yamasaki
Studio: Studio Deen – Hetalia, Higurashi, Seitokai no Ichizon, Giant Killing

The final show that I plan on catching is a sequel to the spring anime – Hakuouki: Shinsengumi Kitan. It wasn’t a great show by any stretch of the word but I liked the setting (1860’s Japan and the Shinsengumi) and the voice acting. I mention it here for completeness sakes because there are very few out there that are even in the position to give this season a chance. Not that I can really find fault in anybody, Hakuouki: Shinsengumi Kitan was done by Studio Deen and there was so many other good shows to watch.

There’s my list. If I missed something that you think I’d like then, by all means, post a comment to suggest it. I still remember having Cross Game suggested to me in a comment on this blog and discovering one of my favorite shows of the year. I’d’ve never picked it up since it was technically a sport anime, a genre I don’t normally like.

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6 thoughts on “Fall 2010 Anime Preview and Watch List”

  1. @Janette: Them you have a valid issue and one that I can understand. My sister’s not much for fan-service or sex comedy and I’m already guessing that she’ll not want to see this unless the other parts are really, really good.

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  2. Personally i’m more into manga then anime but there’s this awesome, enphasise AWESOME anime called Katekyo hitman reborn. the only problem with it is that the first 20 episodes are pretty lame cause its trying to show you the background to the storyline and then striaght after that you get to see Tsunayoshi destroy his enemy’s with Primo’s vongola glove!!?!

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  3. Actually, the first episode was really good, I thought. With people talking about bathroom humor and such, I was initially worried, but it was handled in a way that it wasn’t gross and still amusing.

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  4. i like the part when Tsuna was called a hentai, lol, that was a good bit but Vongola Primo is just amazing.

    Favourite character, 25 year old lambo!!?!

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  5. It is truly amazing, when I think of it. The Japanese create characters that joke around that you are a “hentai” perhaps because the term is not exact. It only has the connotation of “rapist” or “child molestor”.

    Trying to use those terms to call someone, even your best friend, that as a joke, probably would not work precisely because those are VERY specific terms with no alternative connotations or neutral interpretations.

    Breaking down hentai, though, would just be a reference to a certain sort of pornography that uses it as a brand name. Literally speaking, hen means strange. Someone that involves themselves in the strange/weird/occult.

    Yet when you think about it, the Japanese are the ones far more concerned with outward respect, face, and honor than Westerners are. The fact that they can make jokes about such terms as hentai in tv shows, mainstream broadcasted even, is particularly interesting due to that.

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