Spring 2012 Picks and Predictions
March 4, 2012
It is my custom to look ahead to the upcoming season, pick out a few interesting shows and predict one that will be really great. As usual, I warn you that this is not a comprehensive preview of the season. Most of those haven’t come out yet, but I have run across two:
- Star Crossed Anime Blog – this is a comprehensive and methodical assessment of the upcoming season.
- The Cart Driver – this is a highly subjective and very opinionated assessment of the upcoming season.
Between the two of these you can get a good sense of what anime has in store for us in the coming months. If you want to skip straight to the good stuff, read on!
I have picked the following Spring 2012 Season anime:
- Accel World
- Uchuu Kyoudai
- Sakamichi no Apollon
This is more than I would normally include in my Picks and Predictions post, and I think that is a good sign: that there are a lot of intriguing series coming our way in the near future!
AKB0048 is about a fictional future version of the real AKB48 idol group. In the future humanity has been devastated by something, and the group gets back together to lead humanity towards a brighter future. “In an era when entertainment is outlawed, there is an idol group that offers underground guerilla concerts despite the danger.” Since there is still very little information available, and no promo video, and since I see this series as basically the Banana Splits in a post-apocalyptic setting, please enjoy a video of the Banana Splits, instead.
In all honesty, I don’t expect this to be much more than eye-candy. The story of a bullied school boy who uses a game to pilot mechas to save a princess and her virtual world. The unusual thing here is that the main character is fat. From what I can tell by looking at the official website, they already have a PSP tie-in game. The preview video (below) looks great, though, so I’m looking forward to seeing how good the actual show looks. I don’t expect the story to be anything special, but would enjoy being pleasantly surprised.
This show is pretty interesting because it avoids the school age hero trope. Here we have two brothers (one with an afro) who made a promise to go to space together, but one of them actually pulls it off, and the other one, despite thinking of himself as the superior brother, falls behind. Eventually the second brother decides he should try his best to become an astronaut as well. The setting sounds intriguing but I am a bit fearful that they will milk it for laughs, which could cheapen its potential. The preview doesn’t give much of an idea where the anime will go stylistically, but here it is.
And here we have our entry in the Mystery category. Hyouka is a story about a high school Classical Literature club members that solve mysteries. Unfortunately there is very little information available. The animation is being done by Kyoto Animation, who have a site with some character designs, but no preview as yet.
Update (3/16): The trailer for Hyouka has been released. It doesn’t look very serious (seems to play up the school life aspects), but it does include some eye-popping animation, as we would expect from KyoAni.
And Now For My Prediction …
Sakamichi no Apollon
My prediction for best show starting Spring 2012 is Sakamichi no Apollon. This is the one series I am guaranteed to blog out of the picks I have presented here. It is a story about high school students living on the island of Kyushu (Southern Japan) in 1966. The viewpoint character, is an outsider, and a classically trained pianist who moves to Nagasaki where he falls in with a delinquent who introduces him to the wonders of Jazz music.
Why am I so convinced this show is going to be compelling? First, I really like the concept behind it. We don’t often get historical stories that are set in the near past, and I like the idea of a story about people putting together a Jazz band. Second, this show is being put together by a dream team. The director is Shinichiro Watanabe, who directed two wonderful series: Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo. The music is being composed by the incredible Yoko Kanno. The animation production will be handled by MAPPA who are an offshoot of Madhouse. Hey this show is going to be great! Check out the preview, below.