Autumn 2010: A Small Preview

So Summer is well and truly over. It’s started to get colder again and the nights are getting longer, but who cares about that when we’ve got a fairly nice season of anime coming up? After many believed that the Summer line-up wasn’t as good as it could have been (which is par for the course for the Summer season, generally), there’s a lot of onus on the new shows that will be gracing our screens over the next few months.

I’m not going to do a full preview, mostly because it’s been covered by other blogs and websites very well. Andy over at the UK Anime Network did a very nice summary of the season, and Chartfag (not forgetting Scamp at the Cart Driver) continues to be a nice aggregator of knowledge on what is actually airing. What I want to do is narrow the focus on a few select titles of note, as well as titles I am personally interested in.

Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt

Quite possibly the most “in your face” title this season, especially with those of us who can understand English, Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt is the latest project from Gainax, the jiggle-meisters themselves. The story revolves around Panty (the blonde one) and Stocking (the Goth lolita one), as they battle ghosts on Earth.

The trailer (which is highly NSFW) rushes at breakneck speed through some of the action, leaving the viewer with little doubt that PanSto won’t be a conventional anime. The art style, in a departure for Gainax, is a very western affair, evoking many comparisons to Genndy Tartakovsky’s hit Cartoon Network show Powerpuff Girls, what with its thick, simple lines and saturated colours. The trailer also shows hints of Dead Leaves, which makes sense given the two share a director.

From what I’ve seen of the source material, this is going to be pretty raunchy. Especially if it turns out to be true that the production team were promised not to be censored by the TV networks. Certainly one to watch for those who like extreme innovation and/or smutty anime. Can’t wait.

Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt will be streaming on Crunchyroll from 1st October.

Bakuman

Bakuman is an anime adaptation of a manga written by Tsugumi Ohba and penned by Takeshi Obata (creators of the seminal Death Note). To give you an indication of the demographic, this was also serialised in Weekly Shonen Jump. The manga follows the story of two friends aiming to become mangaka, with one promising to marry his crush if they both achieve their dreams. There’s a short promotional video available.

Mangaka need a strong grasp on what their characters want to do and what they aspire to be. It therefore isn’t a surprise that many characters in manga want to be mangaka themselves (see: Doujin Work). Why research another profession when you can kill two birds with one stone, eh? Throw a girl into the mix, and you’ve got yourself a potential love triangle. It almost writes itself. (They wish.)

Bakuman is being animated by J.C. Staff, which isn’t a terribly great thing these days. I hope this ends up as a good anime, but I’m honestly not expecting much from this one.

Arakawa Under The Bridge × Bridge

This is a continuation of SHAFT’s Spring 2010 comedy Arakawa Under The Bridge, in which elite businessman Kou Ichinomiya (AKA “Recruit”) ends up living on the banks of the River Arakawa, alongside a strange and quirky bunch of characters.

The first series managed to be humorous on a consistent basis, as well as transition to more serious, heartfelt parts quite easily. Some of the humour in the show is very Japanese – it could be hard for someone who isn’t used to Japanese humour to enjoy this in the intended way. For example, Ric tends to play the straight man for most of the gags, which deviate outside these norms only occasionally.

Despite this, the first season was certainly a worthwhile watch, and as such the second season should hopefully be more of the same. The last episode of the first season introduced some interesting new characters, so lets also hope for some better constructed humour and more SHAFT-iness. Because you can never have too much of either. The preview doesn’t have much in the way of new material, but is very cool nonetheless.

My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute

The impossibly titled Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai is a series of light novels adapted to anime by production studio AIC. Look, everyone, it’s a plain, ordinary high schooler. Don’t see that very often. This one is called Kyosuke. Oh, and look at that, he has a little sister. And, le gasp, she has a huge secret! It turns out she likes adult games! My, my, now that Kyosuke knows this, there’s going to be some serious hijinks up in here!

Facetiousness aside, OreImo is one of those shows that will have a light smattering of fanservice with comedy thrown in from the situation the siblings have found themselves in, aimed mostly at otaku like Kirino herself, ironically. I’ll put £100 on her being a classic tsundere. It’s obvious, right?

While it’s unclear if the story and the comedy value it holds will stand up over a TV series, shows like this can shine based on other things, and I’m certainly not going to write it off before watching one or two episodes. It’s possible this will mature into a good show, but there’s a lot that could go wrong in the meantime. Get a tiny taste of the show by watching the trailer.

Detective Opera Milky Holmes

Milky Holmes is a new multimedia project, encompassing both the anime and a PSP game too. The anime follows our four heroines, dolled up in their incredibly moe colour-coded outfits, complete with tartan deerstalkers, as they tackle mysteries of phantom thieves.

From watching the available trailer, it’s immediately obvious there’s nothing here that makes the series stand out a lot from the rest. The voice cast is relatively unknown, the opening song sounds as generic as fifty other peppy J-pop records and the plot doesn’t really inspire confidence in the show.

However, the character designs are very cute (those hats…) and there’s every possibility the show could turn its bad points around. I am actively looking forward to this one – it’ll be a cute-fest if nothing else.

The voice cast of Detective Opera Milky Holmes are meeting UK fans at the Hyper Japan event in London on 1st-3rd October.

Others

The World God Only Knows – Animated by Manglobe, this is an adaptation of a popular manga about a boy who hates girls but has great skill in “capturing” them in games and such. (Yes, those games.) Considering the popularity of the manga, the adaptation should have some weight behind it, not to mention the capable hands of Manglobe. The World God Only Knows will be streaming on Crunchyroll from October.

A Certain Magical Index II – Index, Touma and the other memorable characters from the Raildex franchise return for a continuation of the first series. Index had some great moments despite the lukewarm reaction it got, and I hope to see some genuine plot progression this time around (unlike Railgun).

Squid Girl – This looks like another comedy. In this instance, squid girl wants to invade all of mankind because of their constant pollution of the sea, but ends up working at a beach house to pay for repairs she caused. It sounds like it could be a nice slice-of-life healing-type show extolling the virtues of being kind to the sea. Squid Girl will be streaming on Crunchyroll from this Autumn.

Thankfully, this is a very strong season for anime, so there are a few titles I have decided not to include here. Go have a look at the full list, and start preparing your Autumn of anime!

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