Fall 2011 ~ predictions, picks, and honorable mentions
September 12, 2011
As at least some of you know. I don’t bother preparing a comprehensive preview of the upcoming anime season, because several other sites do such a wonderful job, that there is no point in competing. Star Crossed Anime is always worth checking out for his valuable insights. Of particular note this season is Sekijitsu, who have a great looking comprehensive review that includes air dates. Metanorn’s season review has been published, and as usual, they have a ton of information as well. So, with these great comprehensive reviews, why do I bother to write something up? To provide you with my Picks and Predictions. Basically I predict the greatest anime of the upcoming season, pick a couple of other really promising ones, and mention a couple of titles that deserve an honorable mention.
- Φ Brain (AKA Puzzle of God)
- Last Exile: Ginkyou no Fam
- Tamayura ~ Hitotose ~
Honorable Mentions: Bakuman 2, Guilty Crown, Mirai Nikki
My prediction this season is that Chihayafuru will be great, but I’ll be one of the few people who actually watch it. “What’s so great about a sports anime”, you ask? Well. Have you ever seen an anime where the sport involves people competitively completing thousand-year-old poems? I didn’t think so. :satisfied smirk: This series is about people playing Karuta, a game in which opponents try to finish a famous five-lined poem by snatching cards that bear the final two lines from the floor. When I was in college I read the Hyakunin Isshu, the book of 100 tanka poems that form the basis of the game. Here is an example of the poems:
See how the wind of autumn drives
The clouds to left and right,
While in between the moon leaks out,
Dispersing with her light
The darkness of the night.
For a sense of what real Karuta game play is like take a look at this video of game play at a national championship:
The manga this was based on has won several awards. Unfortunately the preview video doesn’t show footage from the show, all of the illustrations are from the manga. The official website shows the character designs have undergone drastic changes.
Φ Brain (AKA Puzzle of God, Kami no Puzzle)
This series wins the award for having the most variant names of the season Φ Brain (pronounced Phi Brain), is a shounen series, where the battles are matches prepared by the secret organization known as POG (Puzzle of God). The idea is amusing enough for me to have it on my radar. While the first preview video wasn’t particularly interesting, the second PV is out, and I like the music, and what they show of the puzzles:
Last Exile: Ginkyou no Fam
This is a new story set in the Last Exile world. I did see and enjoy Last Exile, which is a story set in a Steam Punk, alternate world (that is a world that visually resembles our past in ways, but the technology, though visually resembling that of the 19th century, is also curiously futuristic. What I expect here is a visually satisfying adventure yarn, like its predecessor.
Tamayura ~ Hitotose ~
This is actually the second show directed by Junichi Sato this season (the first, Φ Brain, also made my list). My first impression of the 4-episode OVA is here. This is a story about a person developing her love for photography, making friends, and living in Takehara, a seaside town near Hiroshima. This is a classic Slice of Life show, made by a master in the genre (the director of Aria, and Ikoku Meiro no Croisée), which is to say it pays a lot of attention to the environment in which the characters live. This includes physical artifacts, such as Fu’s camera (seen above), and detailed depictions of locations in and around Takehara. Although some will say it is too slow for them, I love shows about Art, and Junichi Sato really knows how to do this kind of show right.
The last show I am really looking forward to is the representative entry in the Mystery genre. For some reason this seems to be the toughest genre to execute well in anime. We only see one per season, and they don’t typically succeed. This one will be appearing in the Noitamina time-slot, so I’ll have my fingers crossed. Setting aside the genre expectations, Un-go has an interesting preview video, with a weird mix of realism and highly stylized character designs.
Bakuman 2 – I blogged the first season, but was disappointed. In the end, I decided that I will check out the second season, but I’m hoping that substantial improvements will be made. As with Tamayura, the appeal comes in part from the subject of people pursuing their passion to be artists. Unfortunately the first season wasted my time with a really boring love story instead.
Guilty Crown – This is the second Noitamina series for the Fall season. The preview video is full of generic looking characters and situations, but the artwork and animation look quite good.
Mirai Nikki – It is impossible to avoid the hype on this one. Sapphire Pyro says, “IT’S FREAKIN’ CRAZY AND FANTASTIC!!!!” So I’ve gotta check it out at least.
Well, whatever you are watching, I hope you have a great Fall season!