This first column is a Fall Season Preview, so it's organized a bit differently.
Here's the deal:
- New Series, in which I go over the new shows coming out and which ones look the best.
- Sequels, in which I go over sequels (duh), second seasons, and anything else that is a continuation of a previous series.
New SeriesMobile Suit Gundam 00 (October 6)
Trailer 1 (YouTube)
Trailer 2 (YouTube, low quality)
The next big installment in the ever-growing Gundam series, Mobile Suit Gundam 00 (pronounced "double-oh," like James Bond) looks promising. From what we can see in the trailers, gone is the teen drama of Gundam Seed, and we can see much more military action a la Gundam Wing. The story follows 4 young Gundam pilots working for the "Celestial Being," a mysterious group that seeks to end the current world war and create peace...with the help of giant robots. (generic, huh?) The animation and action scenes are really nice-looking, so fans of more action-oriented Gundam shows such as Wing or G should definitely be watching this. And of course, 00 is guaranteed commercial and popular success by simple virtue of the fact that it's a Gundam. Rating: 3/5
Jyushin Enbu -Hero Tales- (October 7)
One look at this should allow some of you to realize why this is on the list. Jyushin Enbu, better known as Hero Tales, is a new anime series based on a manga by none other than Hiromu Arakawa, creator of Fullmetal Alchemist. This alone should make it a hit among Arakawa fans, but it looks to be a fairly action-packed show as well. The trailers promise us some heart-pounding fantasy/martial arts action, but I still have my doubts. With a generic-looking plot and visual style, this is looking like Arakawa's very own Buso Renkin. (Nobuhiro Watsuki, creator of the hugely popular Rurouni Kenshin, created the fairly unpopular, generic action manga Buso Renkin directly after finishing Kenshin) Keep an eye out for this though, as it could be a big hit in the action category. Rating: 4/5
Mokke (October 7)
Moving away from high-energy action shows like Gundam and Hero Tales, Mokke is a heartwarming story of two sisters, the older of which can see ghosts, and the younger of which is perpetually haunted by them. The story looks calm and philosophical, much like the fairytale-esque Mushi-shi. The animation is fairly plain, though the character designs and backgrounds are pleasant and peaceful looking. Definitely check this light drama out, as it provides something very different for many anime fans. Rating: 3/5
GHOST HOUND (October 18)
Trailer 1 (YouTube)
Trailer 2 (YouTube)
Easily the most interesting show this season, GHOST HOUND is Production I.G's extremely ambitious horror project. Directed by Serial Experiments Lain's Nakamura Ryutaro and written by Ghost in the Shell's Masamune Shirow, this series' dark tone and high-quality animation just could make it a hit this fall. According to the trailer's translation, the story is about a group of boys who travel through different worlds. The trailer shows lots of psychological drama, burnt houses, and emotionless teenage girls, so this should be right up the alley of any fans of Lain, Boogiepop, or similar horror shows. Rating: 5/5
Strait Jacket (November 30)
Well, I have no real idea what this actually is. From what I can tell, it is a futuristic action/drama OAV, and there's a guy with a robo-suit. (presumably a "Strait Jacket") According to cheap onine translations, there's something with magic and technology developing together, and a sort of police war against a "demon family" or something. The animation is top-notch, (courtesy of animation company Feel) and the only trailer I could find looked exctremely professional. Watch out for this, since it could turn out to be a really awesome action show. Rating: 3/5
SequelsGenshiken 2 (October 12)
Promo Video (YouTube)
Genshiken, the light comedy series about a college anime club, has gone through a lot of different forms in recent years. It started off as a manga, was animated into a 12-episode anime, was reanimated into a 3-part OAV extending the series, and even had its invented anime, Kujibiki Unbalance, turned into its own inpependent animation. This October, though, Genshiken 2, the official second season to the original anime, premeirs on Japanese television. The plot promises to be just as wacky and hilarious as the anime and OAV, and since there's a lot of manga that was never animated, you can count on lots of material to base the series off of. Sadly, this sequel's character designs seem to be of the same cheapened and inconsistent quality as the OAV. Even so, fans of the original series should catch up on the OAV (viewable at CrunchyRoll) if need be, and make sure to check out the newest iteration of their favorite anime club. Rating: 4/5
Shakugan no Shana II (Sometime in October)
The action-packed sequel to the original Shakugan no Shana, SnS II (pronounced "Second") looks to follow up its predecessor with more high-powered demon-fighting action. While Shana has been criticized by many for being too cliched and similar to series like Bleach, it has enjoyed a small cult following for the past year or so. Fans of the series should look forward to more of Noizi Itou's lively character designs, as well as some very pretty looking animation. Rating: 3/5