Fall Season, 2007

Well, Steven just posted a link to someone who was crazy enough to run down all 42 new animés for this fall. It looks like things might be picking up from what’s been a lackluster spring and summer. Nothing’s really captured my imagination since Code Geass.

Lucky Star was a disappointment; cute, but I like a plot, not just slice-of-life. Although everyone’s ranting about Gurren Lagen over at Jason’s place, I just couldn’t take any more bombastic, over-the-top silly screaming mecha attacks, and finally grossed out around ep. 5, when the hamster ripped his own ass off and fed it to Simon and Kamina.

Romeo x Juliet wasn’t bad, but I finally gave up on the teen idiocy combined with Zorro-like stunts. In the end, I just couldn’t buy a girl who breaks into (and out of!) a secure prison to rescue a friend, yet faints when told that she’s that last heir of the old ruling house. Wuss. Crusader for justice one minute, weepy teen the next. Romeo was equally unbelievable as the heir apparent. The kind of father he had, the old man would have bumped him off long since and replaced him with someone a bit… oh, more able to recognize girls in disguise. Get glasses, boy. Or develop a sense of smell as good as your pegasus’.

A more positive (yet despairing!) note has been the bizarre Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei –assuming it doesn’t squander its early promise. Now that someone else has picked up fansubbing it, I will find out for certain. Ep. 6 was quite sub-par.

As for the promise of the new season, well, I’m not going to waste time repeating Hashihime’s rundown here, but after looking through it, I’ve picked out the ones I’m likely to follow next month. Or not follow, as the case may be. One of the things I realized as I reviewed this list, is that there’s one or two grim, negative shows in it. Not Gantz-level, nothing that’s a real downer, but the list has a much heavier component of dramas than my recent viewing habits would lead one to expect.

Now, I’m not nuts about grim shows, but “negative energy” shows don’t automatically turn me off. If it’s negative for the sake of being negative, that’s one thing, and I don’t like it. (Got my fill of dystopic futures from 1970′s era science fiction. Go to hell, Ben Bova.) But “grim and gritty” can often mean good drama, with high-stakes conflict. In fact, I don’t happen to find the-whole-universe-is-at-stake stories to be particularly believable if they’re not grim and gritty. The cost paid by characters to stave off the end of the world (if they can) may be tragic, it may be farcical, but it’s not good comedy, and I doubt it’s moé. (Well, ok, unless Haruhi Suzumiya is involved. The exception that proves the rule.) And good comedy is harder to do than good drama. For good drama you need sympathetic characters, credible enemies, and adequate storytelling. Comedy is more difficult, and too many times, writers don’t seem to be able to do it without dipping into the well of “old and worn out gags.” For instance, my heuristic for any comedy movie: painful crotch shot to a guy. If it’s in the preview, the writers just didn’t have anything funny, so they recycled all the same old crap. Let the twenty-somethings go watch it; they haven’t seen it 47 times, like I have.

Ahem. I digress. Again.

Shana II and Clannad. These two are givens.

Shana, because I ended up giving the original series a positive score. I’m worried that the angst and teen stupidity may overwhelm it again, as it did during some phases of the first series, but I’m more than willing to give it a shot. It’s capable of being a very grim series, or a very annoying series. We’ll see.

Clannad, because I’m still willing to check a show out strictly because KyoAni is doing it. As Lucky Star proved, that doesn’t mean anything besides a nice OP, but the character design looks very “Kanon-ish” and the story sounds fairly, well, strange and grim.

Moving along to the probable (singular):

Dragonnaut: The Resonance has, on the surface, a silly concept. Flying armored dragons, in spaaaaaaaaaaaace! But it’s got a lot of Kyo-Ani veterans, including Tomokazu Sugita, and Gonzo is doing the animation, so it’s going to have some “wow!” scenes, for sure.

After that, it’s a bit more speculative. A few series look like they might be worth it; I’ll give them a couple of episodes to catch my attention. (Of course, this all assumes someone subs them, as I don’t speak Eleven.)

Rental Magica is a novel & manga-to-animé adaptation. I’ve had good luck with series that have novels as their source material lately, Zero notwithstanding. This one looks like it’s going to have one hell of a cast, but I’m seriously concerned about the director: Mamoru-kun ni Megami no Shukufuko wo is not a positive reference in my book. To be fair, I don’t think my issues were with the directing; more the writing and character design, so I’ll give this one a shot. It’s got potential to go a lot of places in a lot of styles, given that it’s about an agency (run by a boy) that rents magicians out.

Night Wizard is an RPG adaptation, which usually isn’t a good sign. Still, it sounds intriguing enough to look it over, and I like what I’ve seen of the character designs.

Highly speculative: Maybe only one episode… maybe. Couple of ecchi shows here

Prisim Ark, which apparently has a very good reputation for visuals. Whether or not the show lives up to that, I like the premise because it doesn’t involve a loser kid in jr. high or high-school. More flying dragons, in an alternate medieval world. “Got Lizard?” Eh, my mind is going to some seriously Freudian places from the preponderance of dragons & girls in animé this year. (Ok, two series don’t make a preponderance. So what? They’re bleeping dragons!)

Goshusho-sama Ninomiya-kun needs a much better name, and looks like it will be stupid ecchi fluff. The description oozes “bad” all over my monitor: “The hero is forced by his sexy elder sister to live with a beautiful girl, Mayu, in order to cure her fear of boys: sleep together, bathe together, etc. Then the beautiful tsuntsun student council president enters the household…as a maid.” How much of a hero can he be, if his older sister has to FORCE him to co-habitate with a beautiful girl? “Nebbish without a clue” does not a protagonist make. If the late broadcast time means extreme fanservice, it might be another Amaenaideyo, which had some delicious girls and excellent fanservice, but poor animation, and poorer writing.

Majin Tante is probably not going to interest me, but something about the warped concept keeps tickling my interest. I may wait and see what others say first.

Ghost Hound is being hyped based on the pedigree of its writers. Although I strongly prefer good writing over bad, I worry when I see that as the “big draw” for a series, because it usually means (in Hollywood, at least) that it blows chunks. Hey, even Mozart had off-days. On the other hand, its also got an off-beat concept at its core.

Monty-Python’s-Knights-of-the-Round-Table series (“Run away! Run away!): All the kids shows. Because, well, I’m not a kid. (Duh.) All shows that sound like their they’re (grr) targeted at kids, in order to make them into nice mush-brained liberal Democrats. (Mokke, I’m looking at you.) Anything labeled seinen or slice-of-life. Miname-ke looks to be a dual offender, and then gets the kiss of death: staff/studio pedigree is scarred by Crescent Love.

Now if KyoAni would just confirm that they’re doing Melancholy 2, then I could be excited about the Winter (or spring?) season for sure.

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2 Responses to Fall Season, 2007

  1. Andrew F. says:

    Ah, the obligatory new season preview post. I’m not as down on the spring and summer shows as you are, but I’m still looking forward to October. Especially Clannad. I, um, ‘obtained’ a copy of the game back in April and finished less than a week of game time before it became impossible to continue due to my pathetic Japanese skills, but what I could understand was enough to whet my appetite for the anime.

    Somehow it seems like there are a lot of anime adapted from bishoujo games starting. Aside from Clannad, there’s ef ~a tale of memories~, Da Capo II, Kimikiss, Prism Ark, and something called “Myself ; Yourself”. Not that I really mind (heh).

    With respect to Ninomiya-kun, the broadcast timeslot doesn’t mean a whole lot. Except for kids’ shows, just about all anime is broadcast after midnight, and even then it can be censored for broadcast and/or toned down from the manga. Perhaps you’ve read about the controversy surrounding the last episode of School Days?

  2. Ubu Roi says:

    Ah, no I hadn’t. Guess I need to catch up on animé. :-)

    It’s not so much a new season preview post (since I did no original research) as it is me chewing over what to watch this season. Sigh, I need to up my blogging quota. This isn’t even a well written article, aside from typos. I should have split it into 3 posts.

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