Fall 2011 ~ predictions, picks, and honorable mentions

September 12, 2011

The Fall season is about to begin, so let's preview!

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.

  • Chihayafuru
  • Φ Brain (AKA Puzzle of God)
  • Last Exile: Ginkyou no Fam
  • Tamayura ~ Hitotose ~
  • Un-go

Honorable Mentions: Bakuman 2, Guilty Crown, Mirai Nikki


Chihayafuru ~ sports poetry anime

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 ~

Fu's camera is a bit of an antique.

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.

Honorable Mentions

Bakuman 2I 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!

13 Responses to “Fall 2011 ~ predictions, picks, and honorable mentions”

  1. I understand why Chihayafuru seems so promising and interesting but… ugh, perhaps shoujo that lack insane people really bore me.

    Tamayura had an OVA? O_O Hmm… checking it out then~

    I haven’t seen that PV of Phi Brain… made me more excited for the series *_* (I agree to the music, sounds awesome *_*)

    On Bakuman, I fear that the anime might’ve added unecessary stuff in the love stories o_O… that would suck.

    Mirai Nikki’s also a mystery series, so I think there are chances of you liking it…. as long as you try your best to tolerate the main character. A lot of people had a hard time appreciating him, ahaha. (Some managed to stay because they love the crazy heroine, which I doubt is to your liking, haha)

    I AM SO EXCITED FOR UN-GO!!!!!!!!!! *_*

    • Joojoobees Says:

      I saw that you didn’t like Chihayafuru, but I’m still very interested in seeing how it turns out.
      The Tamayura OVA was only 4 episodes long, and I think they are re-adapting it in a longer format for the series.
      Well, I’ll certainly check Mirai Nikki out, and see how it goes.
      Un-go! I like the art a lot, hopefully the story will back that up.

  2. Vivi Says:

    Whoa, thanks for the second Phi Brain trailer, I haven’t seen it yet! The puzzles look pretty serious too, I hope they’re a sort of Saw-death trap vibe to them too, just for kicks haha

    And there was a Tamayura OVA? I definitely need to check it out @_@

    Anyway, thanks for the link! Bass is the master of visuals :3

    • Joojoobees Says:

      Yeah your preview post looks great, and is very informative — great combination!

      Re: Tamayura. Yup. That’s how I know that Tamayura means the little flares in the photographs. It has a nice OP by Maaya Sakamoto as well.

  3. Raph Says:

    Like you, I’m really looking forward to Chihayafuru – when it was announced, I checked out the manga because I couldn’t wait. There isn’t much scanlated so far (with most of the chapters I’ve read being about the three main characters in elementary school) but the beginning of the story seems very solid. Very much anticipating the anime and reading your thoughts on it, should you blog about it. 🙂

    • Joojoobees Says:

      I certainly intend to blog it.

      I’m glad to hear you thought the story was solid. I generally don’t look at the source material, so there is an element of luck (good or bad) in my predictions, but I did see that the manga won a number of awards. I’m really looking forward to October!

  4. […] Abandoned Factory Anime Review: Fall 2011~ Predictions, Picks, and Honorable Mentions […]

  5. Justin Says:

    Totally setting yourself up for failure if you’re watching Bakuman 2 and you was disappointed with the first one. Then again, I guess the focus will actually be on the manga part of it.

    This, BTW, coming from someone who is reading the manga, watched one episode of the first season, liked it, then proceeded not to watch it again^^ Yeah, I got busy!

    • Joojoobees Says:

      There were parts of season 1 that I liked, but, yeah, I was disappointed. I hope they spend more time on the artwork for one. Except for the uncle’s studio the environments were all ridiculously sparse and unconvincing. I also thought the main romance was boring, and that they spent too much time on that.

      I am worried that season 2 will be a waste, but I like the fact that they got to them being pros, so my hope is they will spend more time on that aspect now.

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  7. […] is about a girl, Chihaya, a passion for the game Karuta, and two boys named Arata and Taichi. I wrote a bit about Karuta in the Fall 2011 season preview post, so I won’t discuss it in detail here. The first episode did a great job of introducing […]

  8. Mushyrulez Says:

    I guess I’m somewhat late, but not as late as last season because this time, only one episode two has aired at the time of my posting (Ika Musume 2 2).

    Perhaps ‘predict’ is a bit of a strong word – it has a sense of certainty when you say it, as if you /know/ it’s going to work just from the preview. ‘Hope’ isn’t the right word, either, and ‘think’ is too vague… hmm, this whole word-choosing business could be a great mental game in its own right.

    (I haven’t seen any episodes of anything from the new season yet.)

    I feel like you’re betting on Chihayafuru simply because its premise is on a non-Western game? If an anime was made about an International Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament, would it be interesting (actually, it might)? What about a Go-Fish tournament?

    I still whether how they’re going to structure the puzzles for Phi Brain – an evil society that threatens to do all sorts of nasty things to people, unless they solve their puzzles? Sounds more like a shallow ‘adventure’ educational game made in the 90s.

    Finally, Un-Go – what is the main point of a mystery series? What makes one successful? Is it the overarching plot? The mysteries themselves? The character design? Just some food for thought before the show begins, if you ever want to think about something while thinking about something while watching a show.

    (Perhaps, to continue the alliteration, you could present your predictions of awesome shows, your picks of great ones, and present several good ones.)

    • Joojoobees Says:

      Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament: Kaiji season 1!

      “Prediction”: I summon the answers from the oracle within.

      Chihayafuru: It is hard to say exactly what led me to this title (other than the wellspring of knowledge inside of me). I like the Karuta angle, especially because the game is pretty weird, it’s kind of like a combination of Slap Jack and Concentration with some poetry thrown in. I also was impressed that the manga had received a number of awards. Having seen one episode, I’m ready to proclaim that my prediction was correct! XD

      Un-go: This one is weird, because part of it is something about the last detective, and the novel was set in the Meiji period, but the anime was reset in the near future. All of that is pretty strange, so I’m intrigued by this title. I’ve been watching several TV mysteries lately (British and American), so I do have some thoughts about what makes a mystery great, but this isn’t the place or time to go in to it.

      Phi Brain: This does seem to be an adventure show. It is “light” in the sense that it is aimed at younger viewers and doesn’t take itself too seriously, but it seems to be well made.

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