The Anime Pulse #4: A Personal Preview of the 2014 Winter Anime Season

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Hello everyone and welcome to another edition of The Anime Pulse! This anime season is going to be wrapping up soon and we will begin the cycle once again of replacing old shows with new ones. There are a lot of sequels coming out this season along with some new programs that have caught my eye. Unfortunately, I don’t watch EVERYTHING that comes out, but I do try to watch as many shows that are suited to my interests. This column is going to highlight the 2014 Winter Anime Season with the shows that I will be watching.

First off… before I get into any of the shows I will personally be watching, here is a quick list of all of the sequels of shows that are coming out:

Aldnoah.Zero 2
Dog Days”
Durarara!!x2 Shou
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders 2
Kamisama Hajimemashita
Kuroko no Basket 3
Tantei Opera Milky Holmes TD
The iDOLM@STER: Cinderalla Girls
Tokyo Ghoul sqrtA (Yeah, that’s the square root of A)

Out of all of those sequels, I’m going to be watching Durarara!!x2 Shou and Tokyo Ghoul sqrtA. I didn’t see Aldnoah.Zero‘s first season, although it was recommended to me. Perhaps when the series wraps up, I will creatively acquire it from a certain popular electronic network and marathon it on a day off from work. I haven’t watched any of the other shows as none of them really looked all that appealing to me, but each person’s opinion is different, hence why I am calling this a personal preview moreso than a full-blown preview of the upcoming season.

Between DRRR and Tokyo Ghoul, I’m most excited for DRRR. The original Durarara!! was kind of like Pulp Fiction only with that anime twist. There are so many different stories being told and how they all intertwined was just a thing of beauty. Durarara!! originally aired from January to July in 2010, spanning two seasons. It’s been four years, going on five for this sequel to be produced, but the thing is… I was satisfied with the way that Durarara!! ended. In fact, the way it ended, you would have never guessed that there would have even been a sequel so the fact that we are getting one and that they’re introducing new characters, has me a bit intrigued.

Tokyo Ghoul I’m interested in, but I’m very hesitant only because of the poor adaptation it was given in season one. Studio Pierrot, the one behind Naruto, will be spearheading the sequel again and while the artwork is vastly superior to what we are accustomed to seeing in Naruto, the adaptation left a lot out… such as some key moments in the manga that would have helped pace the story along better or even helped explain some things that kind of left you wondering. Not to mention they shuffled some of the story arcs around in the anime by having the Gourmet arc come before the Doves arc. I’m hoping they treat season two with a little more respect that they did with season one. I’m also worried about censorship since the anime was riddled with fading shadows, inverted colors and the like to hide the blood and gore. It wasn’t until the pricy Blu-Ray releases where we got to see Tokyo Ghoul in its true gory glory.

As for the new shows that I will be watching, I have selected Absolute.Duo and Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata. I know what you’re thinking… with the multitude of new shows coming out, I only picked two?

Yes…

Yes I did.

Absolute.Duo is described as the following (thanks to www.animenewsnetwork.com for the synopsis)

Synopsis
The story begins with Blaze — a weapon that is the manifestation of a human’s soul. Tooru Kokonoe happens to be qualified for this, but for some reason his Blaze is not a weapon, but a shield. Moreover, he enrolled in a school that teaches combat skills, and thanks to the school’s Duo partner system, he ends up living with a beautiful silver-haired girl.

We’ve seen this kind of thing before where weapons are living beings and they come across a master… battles ensue and a big evil is brought to justice. It’s a typical formula in a lot of battle animes, but what makes this one different is the fact that Blaze is a shield… a protector. It took one of the more common scenarios and turned it upside down on its head, just by changing one simple mechanic in the tried and true formula. Because as such, it really piqued my interest and I marked this one down as something to watch this season.

Absolute.Duo is set to start airing on December 28, 2014 and is being produced by 8bit who have done other shows such as Aquarion Evol, Macross Frontier, and IS: Infinite Stratos, just to name a few of their more popular works. There isn’t an opening theme listed, but what is interesting, is that there are already three ending themes listed. We might be seeing this go the way of Highschool of the Dead where every episode has a different ending theme. I actually hope not, but I guess time will tell. There is also no duration listed so I couldn’t tell you if this is a three month series, 6 month series or longer. As it gets closer to release, I’m sure all will be revealed.

As for Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata, this show is described as the following (thanks to www.myanimelist.net for the synopsis)

Synopsis
The life of Tomoyo Aki, a highschool otaku working part time to support his BD hoarding. With remarkable luck, he bumps head-first into, Megumi Kato, the most beautiful girl he has ever seen. Naturally, the meeting twists his life into a complicated torrent of relationships. Eriri Spencer Sawamura, his half-foreigner childhood friend who’s always valued her relationship with MC. Kasumigaoka Utaha, a cold, composed renowned literary genius who shoves everyone aside from our protagonist. What is this? An eroge introduction?

The tale of a small not quite doujin circle, but not quite indie studio’s journey through the tough territory of comiket and beyond.

So right away.. what this reminds me of is either Genshiken or Comic Party. From the way it looks, it seems like a slice of life anime aimed towards otakus.. or a select group of nerds into anime, manga, and the such. Many might be tempted to throw Bakuman into the mix, but I wouldn’t since that was about becoming a manga creator as a career versus this which seems to be along the lines of embracing the nature of creating fan fiction and selling it for profit at local anime and manga conventions. This show is set to start airing on January 9, 2015 and does not have a set duration.

I really don’t know what to expect in terms of quality with this show as I am unfamiliar with the source material, but that has been my custom for the longest of times. I’m the kind of person who will watch an anime first and then read the manga second. There are a few exceptions to this as I have read Naruto, Fullmetal Alchemist, Bleach, and Hajime no Ippo before watching the shows, but most of the time, I prefer to see a show animated and THEN read the source material. The reason being is that I see WAY too much bickering about studio adaptations (I know that’s kind of a hypocritical point on my end seeing how I said something about Tokyo Ghoul) and I want to try and enjoy a show for what it is and if the show gets me excited enough, I will go and read the manga to see what was different or what the story is like after the anime has ended… kind of like what I did with Attack on Titan.

While those two aforementioned shows are pretty much a lock for me next season, there are a couple that got me to turn my head, but I’m really on the fence about.

The first is Death Parade from Madhouse Studios. This one seems to be your typical battle royal anime. The synopsis reads:

“Welcome to Queen Dekim” What greets two unsuspecting guests is a strange bar, Queen Dekim, and the white-haired bartender, Dekim. “From here you two shall begin a battle where your lives hang in the balance,” he says to introduce the Death Game. Before long the guests’ true natures become apparent. As a matter of course, at the game’s end Dekim is revealed to be the “arbiter.” Dekim’s judgement on the two guests is…

So this seems like another Mirai Nikki, Fate/stay night (or Fate/Zero), Enigma, Danganronpa, etc. etc. etc. with one little twist. From the description, there’s only two people involved in this little game where as the others had a multitude of people among their respective cast of characters. This makes me think this is going be like a Spy vs Spy style anime where it’s just to two of them competing for their lives and to be judged by Dekim. Just like I said about Absolute.Duo, it takes a typical scenario and flips it on it’s head by changing one mechanic to the formula. I might talk myself into watching this one just to see if it’s about a battle of wits or if it’s just senseless acts of “can-you-top-this.”

Another reason why I might try this is because it’s Madhouse. They’ve done Death Note, Casshern Sins, Tenjou Tenge, Final Fantasy VII Last Order, RAINBOW, Hajime no Ippo, Hellsing, Hunter x Hunter, Ichigo 100%, Trigun, X/1999, Kiba, Kamisama no Inai Nichiyobi, as well as all of the Marvel anime adaptations… and that’s just scratching the surface of their highly impressive and lengthy resume.

Then, once a season, there’s one of those shows that comes along that makes you go “WHAT THE ACTUAL **** JAPAN!?” There is one show this season that does that called Junketsu no Maria from Production I.G. The description starts out sounding pretty epic and then, well… I’ll just let you read it for yourselves:

The story follows Maria, the most powerful witch who lives during the Hundred Years’ War in France. She despises war, so she obstructs battles with her strong magical powers. Her meddling with her succubus Artemis and incubus Priapos has caught the attention of the heavens, and so the Archangel Michael issues an edict. When Maria loses her virginity, she will also lose her magical powers. A beautiful angel named Ezekiel is supposed to watch Maria and make sure the witch does not use magic in front of people, but Maria continues to use magic anyways.

I don’t really know if I should watch this show, but I’m always down for something that just sounds so bad that it ends up being quite good. Plus, it’s Production I.G. so I know the animation and visuals will get a pretty good budget to support the show. While I’m typiing this, my mind was settled upon Death Parade. but I’m not so sure about Junketsu no Maria. Then again, I did watch Mysterious Girlfriend X and ended up loving that show so who knows?

Ah, what the heck… I’ll toss it into the pile. If worse comes to worse… I can always drop it.

So without turning this into a billion page column, I’m going to end the preview portion of it here and wrap this up on a quick little note.

I am currently watching World Trigger, Fate/stay night Unlimited Blade Works, Akame ga Kill, and Sword Art Online II. When those shows end, I will be doing some proper reviews and have them join the ranks of my Toradora, Naruto, Steins;Gate, and Bokura wa Minna Kawaisou reviews on the site.

If you would like to see all of the other shows that are debuting, which shows are continuing, as well as any movies or OVA specials that will be surfacing over the next three months, then I urge you to click on the following link and bookmark it so that you can see what’s coming up each and every season!

http://anichart.net/winter

As always, if you wish, you can follow me on social media, if you feel so inclined, by going to Twitter and clicking follow @Pulse!n. Likewise, you can send me feedback, good or bad, questions, or anything of the sort to JoshPiedra@theouterhaven.net and I will include it in an upcoming column!

Until next time…

Ja ne!

About The Author

Josh Piedra

Josh (or J.J. as some have come to call him), is a long-time geek culture enthusiast with a deep passion for anime, manga and Japanese culture. Josh also has a Bachelor of Arts in Game Design and is a creative writer who has created original content for over 20 years! He is also the author of the original English light novel Final Hope.