Preview: The 2012 Spring Anime Season

Alright, so this week I’ll be covering the spring anime season. Not everything, just what I’m watching. Though that’s more than I expected, it seems. Anyway, not everything I’m watching has aired yet, so I won’t offer too much on those shows, but I’ve watched the first episode on everything I wanted to watch that’s out, so I’ll mention what I think about those. Well, without further ado, let’s go~

I can't stress this enough... Watch the new Lupin the Third series!

Okay, the first show I’ll be covering is Shiba Inuko-san. The premise here is that there’s a girl in school that’s actually a dog… But no one except for one girl can see that. The premise is a bit ridiculous, so it’s obviously a comedy series. Unfortunately (no one ever tells me these things!) it’s one of those dratted 5 minute-per-episode jobs. Well, five is a bit generous. The first episode is something on the order of two minutes. More than that, it’s not particularly good. I mean, there’s a cute little gimmick, and it’ll be interesting (for a while at least) to see how they adapt that into different jokes, but for now the first episode didn’t give the best impression. Still, I do so hate to drop shows, so I’ll probably be watching this to completion.

Now for a real show… Kind of. It’s real in that it’s actually a full episode (24-ish minutes). The series is Acchi Kocchi. It’s your generic slice of life/humor type show with a tiny bit of romance thrown in. Just a bunch of kids who go to school. I will say that the main character, Miniwa Tsumiki, is absolutely adorable. Besides that, unfortunately, there’s not really any substance to this. Not in the sense that there isn’t much happening.. That’s obvious, that’s what I signed up for. However, the humor isn’t that great (well, there was the one little Justin v. Daigo parody they did which was funny) and there isn’t much by slice of life moments yet. Still, it’s just the first episode, so there’s room for improvement… Let’s just say I’m not expecting too much outta this one. But I will enjoy being proven wrong.

Really the only thing going for Acchi Kocchi... But she is pretty damn adorable

I hadn’t planned to watch Jormungand, but I was bored this morning and saw that I had it sitting on my computer and ended up watching it. Surprisingly, it was really quite good. Gives off kind of a Black Lagoon feel, what with irreverence towards violence on the part of the main characters and the clearly illegal/underhanded deals going on. It’s a fun romp through what could possibly be many countries. From what I hear the manga is already over and it was pretty solid (I might read it myself later) so there’s something to look forward to. The basic premise here is that there’s this woman, Koko Hekmatyar, and she’s a global arms dealer… That’s pretty much it. Being in the business she’s in, there are obviously dangerous situations and the like (as evidenced by the first episode, even), but she and her team seem to get through most situations just fine. As the show starts, we’re introduced to this boy named Jonah, whose family was  violently gunned down and as a result he hates guns. Of course, somehow he becomes a child soldier and is then recruited by Koko to be her bodyguard. Not quiiite sure how that happened, but hopefully it’ll be elaborated on. Still, it looks as if it’ll be a fun series and I’m happy I picked it up mostly on a whim (well, actually, I think pluffei may have told me to watch it, though that happens a lot). Looking forward to see what comes out of this.

If there's anything bad I can say about this show, it's that her face terrifies me. Something about it is just really, really, off. That's Koko, by the way.

Lupin III. Subtitle, The Woman they call Mine Fujiko. If there’s any show I can impress on everyone that reads this to watch, it’d be this. The first episode was just ridiculously brilliantly done, every single aspect of it. But let’s back up a little bit. So, if you’re not familiar with Lupin the third, it’s a pretty popular franchise detailing the exploits of this thief named Lupin the Third (grandson of fictional thief Arsène Lupin). This new anime series is more of a prequel and deals with Lupin’s career prior to meeting his crew (the gunman Jigen and samurai Goemon). Instead, the first episode of this series explains how Lupin meets his femme fatale counterpart, Fujiko Mine in a ridiculously well-done and exciting episode in which they both head after the same treasure. I can’t stress enough how awesome this is, and how much you guys should watch it. Everything from the music to animation to art and beyond is gloriously done and definitely one of the best anime in recent memory. Well, from the first episode, anyway.

Nazo no Kanojo X, or Mysterious Girlfriend X, is kind of a bizarre show. I’ve read the manga (though I haven’t kept up with it in a while) a year or two ago, so I kind of know the way the plot will unfold. Even still, seeing it animated is kind of odd to me… Well, it doesn’t seem like the type of show that would make money upon being animated. It’s not bad, just a little different. And it definitely shows from the first episode. So this is a cute little romance story about love at first sight. Unfortunately, the main character, Tsubaki Akira, for whatever reason tastes Urabe Mikoto’s drool, and due to some crazy love bond, gets addicted to the drool. In fact, the first episode is about him suffering withdrawal symptoms from not eating the drool. I know, it’s pretty bizarre. Honestly, it’s not my favorite show. I think it’s produced well and it’s quirky enough to get some peoples’ attention, but I can’t get over the whole drool eating thing. It seems really… disgusting to me, personally. I don’t know why. One thing I do like is that the art style seems… Older. The manga itself isn’t that old, but the art style of the manga and anime (I’m glad they kept it for the anime) reminds me of shows from the 80s and 90s a bit more, which is kind of new and different. So if you’re looking for something weird… Look no farther.

Yeah he's just about to eat the drool.... Really disgusting to me, but I'm sure someone has a fetish for this.

Moving on to Kuroko no Basket. Again, I hadn’t planned on watching this, but pluffei recommended this one too and I watched it. I’m not big on sports anime, just like I’m not too big on sports. Honestly, I’d rather play them than watch someone else play them… But anyway, this show’s better than I thought it’d be. So far it doesn’t fall under some of the same cliches that a lot of other sports anime to. The main character’s special sports power is… being unnoticeable. That’s it. It’s actually kind of funny, and I thought it’d only play into the show’s humor, but it’s actually also totally serious in terms of actually playing basketball. Because no one notices him, he makes for an incredible passer (though he can’t shoot to save his life). Apparently he’s from this excellent middle school team, and is now playing high school basketball… I’ll admit, this isn’t really something I know too much about, but the premise seems kind of interesting and different, so I’ll keep watching it. Also, the humor potential is there, though hopefully if it does keep to its gimmick, it’ll find new and interesting ways to keep it funny.

Somehow nobody ever notices him (unless he wants them to) but he has BLUE HAIR. I mean, how do you miss that

Now for Upotte!!. I’m watching it, and it’s probably the only show I’m dangerously close to dropping. The only reason I haven’t yet is I’m kind of a gun nut. But anyway, this show’s about a bunch of girls who go to this school. Of course, that’s like a bunch of anime. Anyway, the twist here is that all the girls are anthropomorphized guns or something, each from a different country of origin. Anyway, that’s about it. A new teacher comes to the school and meets all these students, and several gun handling jokes ensue (these jokes being likened to sex for the girls, depending on how they’re “handled”). Honestly, besides the gun information, I don’t like anything about this show. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone, it’s just not good. I don’t even think any of the girls are cute (all of their character designs seem really… weird. Like weirdly fat or something). So that’s that.

The next show I have is Polar Bear Cafe. It’s about a cafe run by a polar bear. That’s pretty much it. It’s a kid’s show. Like for little kids. That being said, it was surprisingly enjoyable when I watched it. Something about the idea of a polar bear running a cafe just seemed so funny to me. The main character is actually this panda that is ultra lazy, and gets hired to work in the cafe. So I guess it’ll be about the polar bear and panda bear’s exploits as they work together in this cafe. Honestly, I know it sounds really stupid and childish, but, well, don’t knock it until you try it. I think it sounds stupid, and I’ve watched it, but it’s surprisingly enjoyable and funny. I might be finding the wrong things funny, but I think the setting itself is just too ridiculous and pretty funny because of that.

For some reason everything about this shot (from the OP) is hilarious. Please tell me you see it too

Medaka Box is one of the more popular series this season, in that there was a bit of hype going into the season. I used to read it, though I dropped it because I didn’t like the direction it took. Anyway, it’s hard to describe this show from its first episode, since it makes such an enormous genre shift fairly quickly. The starting premise is that there’s a new school president, and she (Medaka) creates this box for people to ask her to solve their problems. Hence Medaka Box. Anyway, that’s how it starts, though it quickly leaves that premise and instead becomes a fairly standard battle manga. Kind of a distinct genre shift. People like it because of some of the themes taken on later in the series, and in how unorthodox some of the later events are in terms of shounen battle manga. Anyway, all I’m gonna say for now is if you don’t like the first episode and how it’s handled… it’s gonna change pretty dramatically fairly soon, so bear with it, I suppose.

Kimi to Boku is probably a show I’ll review once it’s done… It’s the second season of a show that debuted last fall. It’s a slice of life show about a bunch of guys. Don’t confuse this with Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou, which is more comedy-based. This is more slice of life and a lot more laid-back and slow-paced. Anyway, I know this show isn’t for everyone. I’d be surprised if I could get anyone to watch it from my review, but I really like the show. I think it’s really well-done slice of life (probably the best since Aria or Sketchbook, in my opinion). I will say that the first few episodes of the first season were an absolute bore until Chizuru was introduced. He really breathed a lot of life into the series as an exciting character, but the show has really rebounded since then. There’s a combination of some good humor, a little romance, and some really compelling slice of life moments that keep me watching week after week. Over all, I think this is a really excellent show, but it’s obviously a really narrow category… I wouldn’t recommend it to just anyone, I mean.

Another series getting a second season after a hiatus… Fate/Zero. I reviewed it here and I think it was my only perfect score review so far… The first episode of the new season (I don’t even know if I should call it that since it’s pretty much a direct continuation) proves that the same quality is there. Honestly, there’s not much more to say that wasn’t said in my first review. If you liked what you saw in the first thirteen episodes, you won’t be disappointed (in fact, I think you’ll enjoy it more) as you move on to the rest of the series.

Tasogare OtomexAmnesia is another manga series I read that has just become an anime. I really like the manga and I think the transition to anime was quite well-done. It’s about a paranormal research club in a school with a lot of paranormal activity. The main character can see ghosts, and becomes involved with this ghost named Yuuko. Past that, it just details their antics throughout the school and the various paranormal circumstances that arise. What I like most about this series is the delicate balancing act pulled off between the combination of humor, romance, and these really dark themes that are constantly present in the series. Particularly concerning Yuuko’s past. I think it offers a really interesting reason to continue watching (kind of a mystery aspect) and keeps the show fresh. I will say that the first episode was a decent production, though I find myself disagreeing with how it was presented. It starts kind of a decent ways into the manga, skipping all these key points and throwing in characters who haven’t been properly introduced. While this is fine for someone like me who has read the manga, I feel like a new watcher might be thrown off or given the wrong impression about the series. I know the show will cover these points in the future, but I think it was a poor decision to start kind of halfway through.

Yuuko is pretty adorable here, but she has a pretty incredible capacity to be dark... I think it's something you'll have to see to believe, though I like the dichotomy between the two halves of her

Okay, the last show I’ll cover in-depth for now is Zetman. Two episodes are out, and I’m not totally sure what’s going on yet… In fact, I’m not quite sure I can explain the show in a sentence or two, but I’ll try. Essentially, the main character seems to be the product of a biological experiment to create some sort of.. Super being? I’m not quite sure on that point, but it seems for the time being he’s fighting some monsters or something. Honestly, the show’s deeper than that and I can’t do it very much justice with such a lackluster description, but unless I spend a good couple of paragraphs detailing the first two episodes, I don’t think I could get my point across. Still, in a general sense it’s an interesting show with a fairly interesting premise, so far. It looks as if it’ll be more of an action series, though there hasn’t been too much so far. All in all, while it’s not exactly my favorite kind of series, it’s interesting enough in its own right and I’ll look forward to what else is coming out of Zetman.

For this last paragraph I’ll detail some of the shows I plan to watch, but either haven’t aired or I haven’t gotten around to watching yet. First there’s Natsuiro Kiseki, which has aired and which I’ve tried to watch, but I keep falling asleep halfway through. That’s not to say it’s bad, I often fall asleep during anime. Still, it doesn’t look too amazing so far (it’s about a group of girls who want to be voice actresses or something… I think) so I don’t really have my hopes up. I do love to be proven wrong about these things though. Moving on… Queen’s Blade Rebellion is another show that’s aired that I haven’t watched. Honestly, I’m not really all that interested in watching it. I haven’t seen the first two seasons, and while I was interested for a time, I don’t really care to watch it for now. Maybe someday, I suppose, but for now this is sitting on the backburner. There are several shows that haven’t aired yet that I’m pretty interested in watching, though if you want a description of them I’d turn to pluffei’s own preview of the spring season . So for now I’ll just list them, since I know nothing beyond what’s on the chart and probably what pluffei has said. The shows are Tsuritama, Eureka Seven Ao (sequel to Eureka 7, which I reviewed here), Shining Hearts ~Shiawase no Pan~, Sakamichi no Apollon, and Hyouka. Yeah, there’s a lot left. I’m surprised I’m watching this much this season, since I didn’t think I would. Anyway, as the season ends I plan to do a season review, so look out for that when the time comes.

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Kaushik

I write about anime and stuff. Giant robots are pretty cool, too.

Kaushik

I write about anime and stuff. Giant robots are pretty cool, too.

One Comment:

  1. Oh wow – I saw the Polar Bear Cafe annnnnd the inu-school-girl anime as gifs on tumblr floating awhile back; good to know their actual titles! :3
    ALSO Lupin the Third? NEW SERIES? It sounds pretty good from your little summary! Cannot wait for more coverage!

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