Summer 2010 Update:Check out our newest seasonal guide, New Anime: Summer 2010 Seasonal Guide!
Season Previews:- Winter 2009 Anime
- Spring 2009 Anime
- Summer 2009 Anime
- Fall 2009 Anime
- Winter 2010 Anime
- Spring 2010 Anime
Winter 2010 Season Anime Preview
A pretty quiet season-- another post with my analysis will come later too, but for now, let's just talk about the series! These are the 15 new January 2010 anime.
- Title: Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu
- JP Title: バカとテストと召喚獣
- Studio: SILVER LINK.
- Director: Shin Oonuma
- Based On: Kenji Inoue's light novels of the same name
- Airs: TV Tokyo, Thursdays at 2:20am, starting January 7th
- Website: http://www.bakatest.com/
Akihisa Yoshii is an idiot. A complete and utter moron. He enters a very unique high school: the school splits everyone into classes based on their grades, from the “A” class of geniuses to the “F” class of morons like Akihisa-- and unlucky folks like Mizuki Himeji, who was sick on her test day and couldn't take her exam, sticking her in the F class. But there's another unique aspect to the school: students can actually battle their way through to the perks and priviledges of the “A” class!
- Hiro Shimono ( Kannagi's Jin Mikuriya) will be voicing Akihisa along with Hitomi Hirada ( Sasameki Koto's Tomoe) as Mizuki.
- Director Shin Oonuma cut his teeth on another harem series: ef-memo and ef-melo, as well as the Spring and Summer Negima! OVAs.
- If you're not familiar with the studio SILVER LINK, don't worry, they're pretty new: this is their second production as the primary studio-- the first was this summer's Tayutama; prior to that they had only assisted on other productions (including Bakemonogatari, Nijuu Mensou no Musume, and our own currently-running Skip Beat!).
- Title: Chu-Bra
- JP Title: ちゅーぶら !!
- Studio: ZEXCS
- Director: Yukina Hiiro
- Based On: Manga of the same name
- Airs: AT-X, Mondays at 11:30pm, starting January 4th
- Website: http://www.starchild.co.jp/special/chuubra/
A young girl named Nayu Hayama loves undergarments. Bras in particular, but panties too. And what do you do when you really love something in Japan? You start a club at your school for it!
- Our bespectacled heroine will be voiced by the lovely Minori Chihara, also known as The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya's Yuki Nagato, Minamike's precocious Chiaki, and Tenjho Tenge's Aya Natsume.
- Joining Chihara are Minako Kotobuki ( K-On!'s Tsumugi) as Yako Jinguuji and Sayuri Yahagi ( Hayate the Combat Butler's Izumi, Shugo Chara!'s Rima) as Haruka Shiraishi.
- The series will be directed by Yukina Hiiro, whose past TV credit is Gakuen Heaven-- so she(?) is familiar with fanservice, but of a rather different sort. (Gakuen Heaven is a yaoi anime.)
- Title: Dance in the Vampire Bund
- JP Title: ダンス イン ザ ヴァンパイアバンド
- Studio: Shaft
- Director: Akiyuki Shinbo
- Based On: Manga of the same name
- Airs: Chiba TV, TBA January
- Website: http://www.vampirebund.com/
If you were disappointed that Hanamaru Kindergarten wasn't really a loli anime per se, you may be more interested in Dance in the Vampire Bund, whose main character, Mina Tepes, is a centuries-old loli. She's a vampire, you see, so she doesn't age-- and she tends to be a little show-offy about her body to boot. Oh, right, but you might want to know the story: she's a princess of vampires who has bought out Japan's national debt in exchange for rights to a chunk of land where she wants to build a vampire haven, but not all of the vampires are on her side about it.
- Aoi Yuuki, Kure-Nai's Murasaki and Noel Kannagi in this season's So-Ra-No-Wo-To, will be playing Mina.
- At risk of being repetitive-- I go over this again later for Hidamari Sketch --director Akiyuki Shinbo is a director who's been getting a lot of attention, particularly since his popular series Sayonara Zetsubou-sensei and Maria+Holic.
- Title: Durarara!!
- JP Title: デュラララ !!
- Studio: Brains Base
- Director: Takahiro Oomori
- Based On: Ryougo Narita's light novels of the same name
- Airs: MBS, Fridays at 1:25am, starting January 8th
- Website: http://www.durarara.com/
Mikado Ryuugamine is bored with life, until he transfers to a school in Ikebukuro, Tokyo. Craving an exciting city life, Mikado is excited...and on his first day there, he stumbles upon an urban legend: a headless rider on a black motorcycle. This is just the beginning of the supernatural difficulties Ikebukuro is about to suffer.
- The original author of Durarara!!, Ryougo Narita, may already be familiar to some of you as the author of the Baccano! light novel series.
- Mikado will be voiced by Toshiyuki Toyonaga, who played Tayura Minamoto in Kanokon, and has also performed as Kachirou Katou in the Prince of Tennis live stage musicals. (He was also in the movie Battle Royale II as Shota Hikasa, by the by.)
- I'm really looking forward to the soundtrack for this show-- Makoto Yoshimori, who did the music for Baccano! and Natsume Yuujinchou, is composing for Durarara!! as well.
- Title: Hanamaru Kindergarten
- JP Title: はなまる幼稚園
- Studio: Gainax
- Director: Seiji Mizushima
- Based On: Yuto's manga of the same name
- Airs: TV Tokyo, Mondays at 1:30am, starting January 11th
- Website: http://www.starchild.co.jp/special/hanamaru/
And you thought Kodomo no Jikan was pedo? Try Hanamaru Kindergarten: Anzu is a kindergartener with a massive crush on her teacher Tsuchida! Seriously though, I expect that this is more “kawaii” than the very ecchi KoJika. But the setups are otherwise remarkably similar. Tsuchida clearly prefers Yamamoto, a young woman who handles the class next door, and Anzu has two gal pals to help her out: shy Koume and eccentric Hiiragi. The art looks adorable, so I'm kinda excited for this, actually. Provided that it really isn't ecchi.
- I know it may sound like a weird title for a Gainax anime, but they have actually done quite a few of these comedies that aren't based on their own original ideas-- He Is My Master and Mahoro-Matic both come to mind.
- And they're bringing out the big guns: Fullmetal Alchemist and Gundam 00 director Seiji Mizushima will helm this comedy.
- Hey, here's something else Hanamaru Youchien has in common with Kodomo no Jikan: seiyuu Kei Shindou, who plays Anzu here and who played Kuro Kagami in KnJ. She also played Wang Liu Mei in Gundam 00.
- Title: Harukanaru Toki no Naka de 3: Owarinaki Unmei
- JP Title: 遙かなる時空の中で 3 終わりなき運命
- Studio: Yumeta Company
- Director: Shigeru Kimiya
- Based On: The visual novel of the same name
- Airs: AT-X, Mondays at 1am, starting January 4th
- Website: http://www.gamecity.ne.jp/media/mix/haruka/destiny/
The third in an ongoing series about a high school girl named Nozomi and her two friends who get sucked into a fantasy version of Japan's Heian era, where Nozomi learns she has special powers to save the fantasy world from self-destruction due to warring clans.
- This series has had more than one director overall, but Aki Tsunaki is the chief director for this piece; he also directed the HaruToki 3: Kurenai no Tsuki special, the Hachiyou Shou OVA and TV series, and the Maihitoyo movie as well.
- Also directing is a newcomer to the franchise, Shigeru Kimiya, who helmed the Hand Maid Mai OVA, the Grappler Baki Maximum Tournament TV series, and episodes of Comic Party, the El Hazard OVA, Master Keaton, and others.
- Tomoko Kawakami, better known as ARIA's Athena, Bleach's Soi Fong, and Revolutionary Girl Utena herself, is not only continuing to voice Nozomi; she also voiced Akane, the lead for the original Harukanaru Toki no Naka de, and Karin, the lead for HaruToki 2.
- Title: Hidamari Sketch ×☆☆☆
- JP Title: ひだまりスケッチ ×☆☆☆
- Studio: Shaft
- Director: Akiyuki Shinbo
- Based On: Ume Aoki's manga of the same name
- Airs: TBS, Fridays at 1:29am, starting January 8th
- Website: http://www.tbs.co.jp/anime/hidamari/
The continued adventures of a handful of girls who live in the same apartment building and attend the same art high school.
- It should come to no one's surprise that director Akiyuki Shinbo, whose works with Shaft (particularly Sayonara Zetsubou-sensei) are becoming outright legend, is back for this season of Hidamari Sketch.
- There are no shake-ups in the cast, so you'll continue to enjoy Yuko Goto, Ryoko Shintani, Kaori Mizuhashi, and Kana Asumi as Hiro, Sae, Miyako, and Yuno respectively.
- In fact, the only change to the cast and crew I see so far is the addition of one Natsue Yugichi, who scripted the original Hidamari Sketch (as well as He Is My Master and S.A.) to the role of series composition, along with Nahoko Hasegawa, who played the same role in past iterations of Hidamari Sketch.
- Title: Katanagatari
- JP Title: 刀語
- Studio: WHITE FOX
- Director: Keitarou Motonaga
- Based On: Novels of the same name
- Airs: MBS, TBA January
- Expected Length: 12 episodes
- Website: http://www.katanagatari.com/
A samurai epic revolving around Yasuri Shichika, the seventh leader of a martial arts school on a small island. One day a female samurai, Togame, gives him a quest: to find twelve legendary swords created by a famous swordsmith, and Yasuri departs, leaving his friends and family behind. All the sword focus should explain the title, which is a play on words: katana (sword) and monogatari (story).
- Talk about a pedigreed title: this one is based on NisiOisiN's epic 12-volume light novel series.
- Director Keitaro Motonaga has a long history, including Akaneiro ni Somaru Saka, Princess Princess, the Rayearth OVA, and more recently-- the infamous shounen romance School Days.
- There is absolutely zero word on voice actors for the series, which makes me wonder if there actually are anyway...in any case, that will remain a surprise for now.
- Title: Ladies vs Butlers!
- JP Title: れでぃ × ばと！
- Studio: XEBEC
- Director: Atsushi Ootsuki
- Based On: Tsukasa Kouzuki's light novels of the same name
- Airs: AT-X, Tuesdays starting January 5, time TBA
- Website: http://www.ladies-vs-butlers.com/
Akiharu Hino may have a face like a delinquent, but that doesn't mean he doesn't want some occasional elegance-- which may be why he puts himself into a school for wealthy young women. See, the school has just started a department for training servants, and the students there become the maids and butlers for the wealthy young students of the main department. But going to a weird school doesn't save Akiharu from the usual school drama-- it's just, well, weirder.
- Relative newcomer Kazuyuki Okitsu, who voiced Ciel's father in Kuroshitsuji and Hisamitsu Noto in Toradora!, is voicing Akihiru. Joining him is Ayako Kawasumi ( Genshiken's Ohno, Nodame Cantabile 's Noda) as Tomomi Saikyou, one of the aforementioned wealthy young ladies.
- Director Atsushi Ootsuki is quite familiar with the shounen romance genre, having helmed Kanokon in the past.
- Title: Nodame Cantabile Finale
- JP Title: のだめカンタービレ フィナーレ
- Studio: J.C.STAFF
- Director: Chiaki Kon
- Based On: Manga of the same name
- Airs: Fuji TV, Fridays at 12:45am, date TBA.
- Website: http://www.nodame-anime.com/
In the first season, Chiaki and Nodame met at their school in Japan. In the second season, Parihen, they traveled to France together to continue their studies. In the finale, I'm willing to bet the drama will really hit its peak, as Chiaki continues to become a strong conductor and Nodame advances her own understanding of the piano. But more importantly, how will they deal with each other?
- Like Hidamari Sketch, there's no news on any shake-ups in staff or cast, so Chiaki Kon (who directed all of the Higurashi series as well as Junjou Romantica) will helm. Nodame will be voiced by Ayako Kawasumi (Azumanga Daioh's Osaka, Fate/Stay Night's Saber), and Chiaki will still be played by Tomokazu Seki (Cardcaptor Sakura's Touya Kinomoto, Full Metal Panic!'s Sousuke).
- Title: Omamori Himari
- JP Title: おまもりひまり
- Studio: ZEXCS
- Director: Shinji Ushiro
- Based On: Milan Matra's manga of the same name
- Airs: UHF, TBA January
- Website: http://anime.webnt.jp/omahima/
You've heard this story before: a 16-year-old boy, Yuuto Amakawa, is protected by a beautiful girl, a spirit named Himari. In this particular case, Himari is a catgirl with a sword who protects Yuuto because his family has been holding back demons for generations. The family is charmed for protection, but the charm wears off, and Himari appears to take its place.
- Ami Koshimizu, who voices Himari, has plenty of experience playing divine beings with four-legged ancestors: she also played Holo in Spice and Wolf.
- Yuuto will be played by Daisuke Hirakawa, who also played Naoki Irie in the shoujo rom-com Itazura na Kiss and Makoto Ito in School Days.
- Director Shinji Ushiro doesn't have a long list of credits, but it's interesting: he directed the 2007 OVA Strait Jacket.
The above is a trailer for the Ookami Kakushi PSP game, not the TV anime, for which a trailer is not currently available.
- Title: Ookami Kakushi
- JP Title: おおかみかくし
- Studio: AIC
- Director: Norihiro Takamoto
- Based On: PSP game
- Airs: TBS, TBA January
- Website: http://www.tbs.co.jp/anime/okami/
There still aren't a ton of details out about this anime, but the official site still claims it's going ahead with a January airing, so here's hoping! Ookami Kakushi is based on a PSP game which revolves around a 16-year-old boy who moves to a new town in the mountains. The town is divided into new and old streets, and our hero, Hiroshi Kuzumi, is warned to stay away from the old streets. Kuzumi will uncover a mystery beyond anything he could have imagined.
- Sound a bit Higurashi-like? That's no surprise, since the story was written by Ryukishi07, the man behind the Higurashi franchise.
- Joining Ryukishi07 is another big pen name: Peach-Pit, the mangaka duo behind Shugo Chara, Rozen Maiden, and other popular series. Visually, I am definitely looking forward to this one.
- Title: Seikon no Qwaser
- JP Title: 聖痕のクェイサー
- Studio: Taki Corporation
- Director: Hiraku Kaneko
- Based On: Hiroyuki Yoshino and Kenetsu Satou's manga of the same name
- Airs: TBA
- Expected Length: 24 episodes
- Website: http://www.qwaser.jp/
If you've been following the site closely, you've probably already heard our highly amused descriptions of Seikon no Qwaser's story, but for those who've missed it, here we go again. Set at a very special Eastern Orthodox school (not really the Eastern Orthodox Catholic church, though clearly some aesthetics come from said church, as far as I can tell), the church is at war with unique beings called Qwaser, who draw their power from Soma-- breast milk from hot babes who derive extreme pleasure from being suckled. So think really dark, violent fantasy with tons of fanservice.
- This unique series will be director Hiraku Kaneko's debut; he's directed openings, key animation, and episodes for series like Best Student Council, Gantz, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, and...Panty Flash Teacher. Yes, this should be interesting.
- Ayumi Fujimura, Kaze no Stigma's Ayano and Naruto's Shion, will play student Mifuyu, a student at the school, while Yuko Sanpei (Eureka Seven's Renton, Yes! PreCure 5's Cure Dream) will play Sasha, a Qwaser.
- Quite a few young ladies will be in the series, and all of them voiced by big names. Just a handful of them: Aya Hirano (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya's Haruhi) as Katja, Minori Chihara (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya's Yuki) as Teresa, and Ai Shimizu (D.Gray-Man's Road Kamelot) as Lizzie.
- Title: So Ra No Wo To
- JP Title: ソ・ラ・ノ・ヲ・ト
- Studio: A-1 Pictures
- Director: Mamoru Kanbe
- Based On:
- Expected Length: 13 episodes
- Airs: TV Tokyo, Tuesdays at 1:30am, starting January 5th
- Website: http://www.sorawoto.com/
Taking place in a fictional European city brought to severe decline due to a long war, five girls play brass instruments together in an attempt to enjoy their lives in troubled times. A common tagline to most descriptions involves the girls' music traveling through the skies past towns with no people and oceans with no fish.
- This multi-media project, whose title is best translated as Sounds of the Skies, already has a manga adaptation running in Dengeki Daioh and drawn by Shinbayagi (better known for his hentai manga). Also of note: this is under TV Tokyo and Aniplex's new Anime no Chikara line, which they're trying to brand as “spirited” works.
- The five girls chosen to play the leads are generally said to be top-notch: newcomer Juri Aikawa voices Kanata Sorami. Joining her are Aoi Yuuki (Kure-nai's Murasaki) as Noel Kannagi, Aya Endou (Macross Frontier's Sheryl Nome) as Felicia Heideman, Eri Kitamura (Kodomo no Jikan's Rin Kokonoe) as Kureha Suminoya, and Yuu Kobayashi (Negima!?'s Setsuna) as Rio Kazumiya.
- Title: Weiß Survive R
- JP Title: ヴァイス・サヴァイヴR
- Studio: Studio Hibari
- Director: Kenji Setou
- Based On: Sequel to Weiß Survive, based on Weiß Schwarz card game and manga
- Airs: TBS, Saturdays at 1:25am starting 12/05
- Website: http://ws-tcg.com/anime/
Like its predecessor, this anime is probably primarily an animated instruction manual for the Weiβ Schwarz card game, but it may prove pretty amusing to anime fans anyway by virtue of the fact that the card game features a lot of characters and attacks from various other anime, including Zero no Tsukaima an Fate/Stay Night. I will say that the character designs look cute; Takuya Fujima was in charge of the character creation for this little piece of marketing.
- As mentioned above, Takuya Fujima, the artist behind manga like Negima!? neo, Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid, and other popular manga, designed the characters you see here when she created the original manga.
- When the new season was first announced, word also came out that a new character would be joining the cast, also designed by Fujima.
- Details haven't been released on the director and voice actors, but it seems likely to overlap with the first season, which was directed by Iku Suzuki (who also helmed the Issho ni Training exercise OVA, as well as Moonlight Mile and others). The stars of season one were relative newcomers Izumi Kitta as Michi and Nobuhisa Nakamoto as Takeshi.
A rather quiet season this time around, but still definitely a few titles I'm excited about. How about you?