Winter 2011/2012 Pre-Season Impressions

Damn Rinne no Lagrange had an early release before I could complete this, but heck; let's get this over with.

Despite the comparatively low number of series produced this season, quite a number of series caught my eye; and while I don't really have the time to give a first impression on all of those titles, I might end up following many of them, depending on the reviews from fellow bloggers.

Recorder to Randoseru

Studio: Seven (All they did was Morita-san wa Mukuchi... and Beyblade)
Notable Crew: Kugimiya Rie as the chibi

Summary: A gag comedy where the siblings totally does not look their age.

On first sight, you gotta admit that it concept sounds pretty dumb. But as long as the anime does not take itself seriously, it might still be worthwhile entertainment. I'll wait for other people's judgment to see if I would catch this.
Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou 

Studio: Sunrise
Notable Crew: Hikasa Youko, Takagaki Ayahi, Yuuki Aoi

Summary: A slice-of-life comedy with male protagonists.

This smells a lot like Kimi to Boku from not too long ago, but fortunately this isn't a complete sausage fest, which makes it a lot more appealing in comparison. I'm more surprised that Sunrise is animating this, which seemed to be something totally out of their niché, but T&B proved that they take good risks. 1 episode test.

Studio: P.A. Works
Notable Crew: Err...

Summary: Main lead can see a ghost?

There seems to be a lot of talk about this anime, but horror/thriller doesn't interest me. Considering how much I like P.A. Works I might give it a try, but I'm unlikely to follow this unless it has a intriguing story.
Rinne no Lagrange

Studio: Xebec
Notable Crew: Kayano Ai

Summary: Female pilots a mech to fight aliens.

I hated Xebec with a passion, but I know that they had some good titles under their belt. Director Toshimasa Suzuki did Heroic Age, so at least there's some familiarity with mecha series (not sure what "Chief Director" Tatsuo Sato's job is). Being an original production, there's too little to be said about the story at this point (unless you've already watched the preair, you might have a faint idea), but the promo video shows a lot of promise.
Inu X Boku SS

Studio: David Production (Ben-To)
Notable Crew: Hidaka Rina, Hikasa Youko, Hanazawa Kana

Summary: Female's bodyguard turns out to be a fox spirit.

David production's Ben-To didn't really win me over, but it's a nice surprise to know how well this new studio can do. I was initially very skeptical of this anime, but after reading the manga, which was really good, I started to look forward it. It isn't exactly your usual tsundere romcom; the story actually had a variety of interesting characters, and the lead characters are pretty unusual as well. Hidaka Rina's age is pretty close to her character too. She's 18 and her character's 15. Definitely watching this.

Studio: Shaft

It is sequel to Bakemonogatari, which is widely considered the best anime of 2009. That's enough reason for you to watch it.
Mouretsu Pirates

Studio: Satelight
Notable Crew: Hanazawa Kana, Horie Yui, Omigawa Chiaki, Itou Shizuka, Tomatsu Haruka

Summary: Female lead inherits a pirate spaceship.

Damn, just by looking at the seiyuu line-up, I'm ready to sign up. The premises isn't particularly imaginative, but the animation quality sure looks impressive, at least from the promo anyway. All I'm concern with is the director Tatsuo Sato, who hasn't direct anything for quite a while now.
Ano Natsu de Matteru

Studio: J.C. Staff
Notable Crew: Tomatsu Haruka, Tamura Yukari, Yousuke Kuroda

Summary: ?

People seems to be talking about this a lot, but I've never been a fan of the Onegai series, so I could hardly get interested. Since this is an original production as well, practically nothing is reveal yet... all that can be deduced from the promotional videos ain't particularly interesting. If the animation feels awfully familiar to you, you're probably right; the director of Anohana also helms the production of this one. Too little is known about this anime to give a good idea of how well it'll do, so I'll give this a 3-episode test.
Brave 10

Studio: TMS Entertainment
Notable Crew: Ono Daisuke, Satou Rina, Asakawa Yuu

Summary: Yet another Sengoku period anime.

I usually skip stuff like these instantly, because the re-enactment of history has been done so many times and there leaves little room for imagination. But unlike many others, this isn't a game adaptation, doesn't cast all the characters as girls or in the different period. Having Ono Daisuke and Satou Rina in the seiyuu line-up definitely caught my eye as well. I've never watched anything from TMS Entertainment though, so this ought to be interesting. Giving it a 1 episode test.
Senki Zesshou Symphogear

Studio: Encourage Films
Notable Crew: Mizuki Nana, Takayama Minami,

Summary: Girls fight unidentified enemies with songs.

First of all, I've never heard of Encourage Films. A quick look at their history tells me that this is the first anime that they're in charge of, other than a ONA, which makes things a little bit uncomfortable... Still, we have Nana Mizuki taking a singing role in an anime, and that itself shows a lot of promise. I'm not too sure about Takayama Minami though. She a veteran mostly known for Detective Conan, but I've never heard her myself. Her bio shows that she's a singer, but she's almost 50... would she fit into her teenage singer image?
Amagami SS+ Plus

Studio: AIC
Notable Crew: Itou Shizuka, Yukana, Shintani Ryoko, Satou Rina, Asumi Kana

Summary: 2 episodes per heroine to carry on the different routes in the first season.

I liked the concept enough to buy the manga, but the story direction of the first season of the anime seems to left a bad taste in my mouth. Of all the heroines, I thought only Kaoru had a proper story and ending; the very limited amount of episodes per heroine makes it hard to explore the character's relationship properly. Q.E.D I don't think the omnibus format works as well as it did in Yosuga no Sora. I also didn't really understand the point of continuing past the story in the first season; what can two episodes per heroine do?
Papa no Iukoto wo Kikinasai!

Studio: Feel
Notable Crew: Kitamura Eri, Horie Yui

Summary: Three half-sisters go live with their 19 year old uncle.

I was afraid they would step into the forbidden territory with this one, but I liked how they highlighted the family bonding theme above the slightly ecchi scenario. Being produced by Feel, there's no doubt that there would be a good amount of fan-service involved here. This feels to be a lot like Kure-nai which I'm very fond of, and with all the cute girls involved, I had to give this a try. Special note: They're casting a 19 year old for the 3 year old girl (which is very reasonable in seiyuu terms) and Horie Yui's singing the ED theme.
High School DxD

Studio: TNK (all they make is shit)
Notable Crew: Hikasa Youko

Summary: Male lead died and went to harem heaven.

I'm always on a lookout for a good harem anime, but this one might not even warrant a try. As much as I like Hikasa Youko, she really had a penchant for crappy anime, and this one feel strongly like one of her awful choices. Seriously, go check out the TNK list and you might get a good idea of what this show would be like.
Black ★ Rock Shooter

Studio: Ordet & SANZIGEN (unless I'm mistaken, this is both studio's first project)
Notable Crew: Hanazawa Kana, Sawashiro Miyuki, Mari Okada

Summary: BRS is a concept character without a real story, so they can take this anywhere, really.

Having Hanakana and Sawashiro Miyuki on the lead roles is a huge boost, and with Mari Okada writing the script, BRS seems a pretty safe bet. Then again, the OVA fails to amaze anyone, and while that production is more about exploring the character concepts, I have doubts about how well BRS can translate into a story. Still, I used to be quite a BRS fan, and I'm sure to watch this anyway.
Kill Me Baby

Studio: J.C. Staff
Notable Crew: None

Summary: An incredibly dumb Boke and an incredibly violent Tsukkomi. Both as little girls.

I love the manga, so I was ecstatic when I heard they were going to animate this, but the preview and opening theme was seriously disappointing. I can only hope that this isn't the final version of the OP, although the song is bad enough already. Furthermore, they starred a couple of relatively unknown seiyuus for the leads, and with the number of anime J.C. Staff is doing this season, it feels like Kill Me Baby is done with whatever excess manpower they had left. At least, the OP seems to tell me that they don't give a shit. The director is also a newbie. Damn.


Would definitely watch - Inu X Boku SS, Nisemonogatari, Mouretsu Pirates, Papa no Iu Koto o Kikinasai!, Black ★ Rock Shooter, Kill Me Baby

1/3 Episodes test - Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou, Another, Rinne no Lagrange, Ano Natsu de Matteru, Brave 10, Senki Zesshou Symphogear

Reserve judgement - Recorder to Randoseru, High School DxD

Other shows I don't care about - Shin Tennis no Ouji-sama (sports), Area no Kishi (sports), Tantei Opera Milky Holmes 2 (haven't watch prequel), Natsume Yuujin-chou 4 (haven't watch prequel), Zero no Tsukaima 4 (haven't watch season 3), Aquarion Evol (haven't watch prequel... kinda)