Only 15 Shows?!Pretty Cure series, for example, because there don't seem to be a lot of fans of it here (am I wrong?) --but yes, there are relatively few shows coming out this season. Now, winter is usually the smallest season, where spring tends to be the biggest (followed by fall and then summer), but 15 is small even for that. It's less than half the number of shows that came out this fall, and considerably less than last year's ~20. (This is subtracting shows aimed only at young kids that are of little to no interest to our readers; including them there were probably about 18 shows this season, and about 23-25 last year's winter.)
Is it something to freak out about? Probably not. We know that the anime market has definitely been contracting somewhat, but given how many shows came out in fall, I don't think we have to worry that they're going to "stop doing anime" or anything along those lines just yet. We'll have to wait and see if there's a declining trend across all the seasons before I really start to worry-- but it's important to be aware of the trend.
How 'Bout Them GenresHarukanaru Toki no Naka de, which is based on a shoujo visual novel, and Ookami Kakushi, which is based on a horror visual novel for the PSP.
That's not to say that harem and moe-girl series aren't still popular, though. Baka to Test, Ladies vs Butlers, Chu-Bra, and Hidamari Sketch are all in that bishoujo (pretty girl) vein, and Seikon no Qwaser will definitely have some fanservice, although probably a bit less light-hearted.
Unsurprisingly, there aren't many outright shoujo series, although it feels like past seasons had seen a rise in them, like Corda d'Oro's second season and Hanasakeru Seishonen from spring '09, Aoi Hana and Hetalia second season from summer '09, and Kimi ni Todoke, Miracle Train, Sasameki Koto, and Winter Sonata from spring '09.
But no, this winter sees only sequels aimed directly at women: Nodame Cantabile's Finale and the new season of Harukanaru Toki no Naka de. On the other hand, there don't seem to be quite as many shows that look outright like something that would push female fans away, either, so maybe that helps even it out?
Simulcasts, Plz?Well, it'll probably be closer to the actual air dates of shows before we hear whether they'll get a simulcast or not. Last season Crunchyroll announced most of their simulcast shows the same week that their first episode aired, so I'm afraid you're just going to have to stay tuned here as announcements start to come in.
I hope FUNimation and VIZ, who have also dipped their toes in the simulcasting waters, start getting in waist-deep as well...but let's face it; none of these series is a Fullmetal Alchemist, InuYasha, or Naruto in terms of pre-established popularity and recognition, so while I could picture FUNimation picking up one or two of the more-anticipated shows (maybe So Ra No Wo To?), I'm not really expecting it. I suspect VIZ is even less likely to jump on one of these shows, since they seem inclined to keep their anime resources devoted more to those big-name titles.
Which, barring the sudden establishment of a new site who garners licenses, leaves pretty much everything up for the pickings for Crunchyroll. However, they seem to mostly get titles from TV Tokyo. If we just pretend that's where they'll get everything, that leaves:
- Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu
- Hanamaru Kindergarten
- So Ra No Wo To
Take comfort though: not ALL of Crunchyroll's simulcasts are shows that air on TV Tokyo (Hanasakeru Seishounen aired on the NHK-BS2, and Asura Cryin' aired on AT-X). I'm hoping that they're able to maintain their status of simulcasting at least 50% of the anime currently airing in Japan.
- As far as I can tell, the last time anime studio Shaft did a TV anime without Akiyuki Shinbo as director was in 2008 with Ef-Melo. Granted, Shaft isn't a high-volume-output studio, but that's still pretty surprising. (Shinbo didn't direct the 2008 and 2009 Negima! OVAs, however.) Given that they're not super high-volume, it's also interesting that Shaft is doing two TV anime at once (Hidamari Sketch and Dance in the Vampire Bund), both helmed by Shinbo of course.
- Ayahi Takanaga The busiest seiyuu this season-- not including who's in stuff that's still airing from last season --is Ayahi Takagaki, who will be playing Erika Karisawa in Durarara, Hiiragi in Hanamaru Kindergarten, and Ayana Minase in Seikon no Qwaser. In a small season like this, that means she's literally in 20% of this season's shows (3/15=0.2).
- This season there are four continuations-- Hidamari Sketch, HaruToki 3, Nodame, and Weiss Survive R. Of those, three of them are threequels, meaning that Weiss Survive R is the only actual "sequel" per se. For the record, that leaves Winter 2010 at over a quarter continuations. (For comparison: winter '09 was nearly 35%, spring '09 had 13%, summer '09 had 15%, and fall '09 about 20%-- 2009's overall average was about 20.75%.)
Whew. Did you guys notice anything else interesting about this season that I missed? Let us know in the comments!