Winter 2015 – Season Preview

mushishi_zoku_shou-03-winter-snow-mountains-ice-fog-clouds-cold-serene-beautiful-scenery-landscapeA new year always marks a new anime season, and very soon, we’ll be enjoying a new collection of anime during the Winter 2015 anime season. Although the season is lighter than any since Summer 2013, it does feature a number of quality anime and promising shows that should provide excitement and satisfaction for the next three months. But what exactly are these anime that I am looking forward to? And which shows have I already decided against? It’s time to preview the Winter 2015 anime season and find out what’s in store for the first quarter of 2015!

The Winter 2015 anime season is dominated by the return of a number of esteemed anime franchises, including a few original offshoots of respected anime (Death Parade, The IDOLM@STER: Cinderlla Girls and Yoru no Yatterman) that will be mentioned along with the new anime. Returning this winter will be: Aldnoah.Zero 2, Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon Crystal S2, Dog Days” (S3), Durarara!!x2 Shou, Go! Princess PreCure, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders – Egypt Arc (S2), Kamisama Kiss S2, Kuroko no Basuke 3, Shounen Hollywood –Holly Stage for 50–, Soukyuu no Fafner – Dead Aggressor: Exodus, Tantei Opera Milky Holmes TD, and Tokyo Ghoul √A. Since I’ve only watched a handful of these anime, I won’t be able to comment on every anime here. It wouldn’t be fair for me to form opinions or make statements about a sequel that I have not watched before and have no intention of watching this season. Instead, this section will focus on the anime franchises that I have experience with, and that I have an opinion on.

 

The order of anime listed below is neither chronological nor alphabetic but ranked in order of my personal anticipation and how likely I believe I will watch that anime this season. Every anime is evaluated and placed into one of five tiers ordered: Will watch, Likely watch, Maybe watch, Doubtful but it gets a shot, and No dice. Within each tier, the anime are listed alphabetically. Dates are not included because who knows when and where these shows will be subbed and available to watch.

 

Below are my plans for the sequels of the Winter 2015 anime season:

 

Aldnoah.Zero 2

Opinion: While I enjoyed the first season of Aldnoah.Zero, the anime was not without its flaws. Inaho’s character was particularly troublesome given his that his characters had a monotonous personality, and that his character was never really challenged or changed throughout the series. What I’m hoping for with a sequel of Aldnoah.Zero is some improvement on Inaho and for the ending to S1 to have some significant weight on S2… not just making a dramatic ending for the sake of having a dramatic ending and then ignoring it or retconing it when S2 starts up. Otherwise, Aldnoah.Zero is a solid anime, especially with the contrast between real robots (Earth) and super robots (Mars) in a single anime. With impressive art, fascinating mecha, and a bizarre story, I’ll be keeping up with the second half of Aldnoah.Zero.

Plans for this show: Will watch

 

Dog Days” (S3)

Opinion: Dog Days S1 was a lighthearted, inoffensive anime about a boy going to a land where everyone has animal ears and played with them. It wasn’t the best anime, but it was charming and cute. Dog Days S2 introduced more characters and kept that same carefree feel, but made the anime really ecchi with more frequently nudity and panties in almost every episode. It also lacked a plot and felt more like a random ecchi slice-of-life anime instead of a story about how a young boy became a hero in a fantasy world. It was okay, not as good as S1, but S2 had some fun episodes that made it all worthwhile. Dog Days S3 remains to be seen, but I’m expecting the series to swing back toward the seriousness that dominated in S1 rather than the fanservice in S2. I still expect clothing to be torn and girls to be embarrassed in their panties, but not on the same level as S2 which seemed to be all that happened. The series is mindless and fun, and so long as it continues to provide this basic level of entertainment, I’ll continue to watch this anime.

Plans for this show: Will watch

 

Durarara!!x2 Shou

Opinion: I have waited years for a sequel to Durarara!!, and now we finally have it. I’m not expecting much in the way of a story with this season since I’m not sure what direction the anime will go in, but that’s the least of my concerns right now. What makes Durarara!! one of my favorite anime of all-time is how well developed and interconnected the cast of characters were. The whole series felt organic in that each character had their own changing personality and they interacted with the environment around them. The setting was really something special too, with how deep and diverse the city was… way more than most anime which are just a series of hot-spots, a school and a home or two. Really, what makes Durarara!! so remarkable is the unparalleled level of detail and effort in the series, and that’s what I’m hoping to see again with this sequel 5 years later. I will definitely be watching this anime in 2015.

Plans for this show: Will watch

 

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders – Egypt Arc (S2)

Opinion: While the first half of Part III was a mild disappointment compared to Parts I and II, I feel as though S2 of Part III will return the anime to its formor greatness. The repetitive and prolonged patterns of S1 of Part III, with every episode being a Tarot-card named villain-of-the-week, grew weary with each passing episode despite some of the Stands being very creative and interesting. The first half of Part III was hit-or-miss with most of its episodes, and though it hit more times than it missed, it didn’t have that flamboyance and fabulousness that Parts I and II possessed. That and the lack of Dio’s presence hurt the series too, since having a villain that wouldn’t die that week would add some more spice to each fight. Still, those issues should be mostly gone with the Egypt Arc, and we should be returning to more of what made Parts I and II great. And though I did say that S1 of Part III was a disappointment compared to Parts I and II, it was one of the best anime of 2014, and I’ll certainly be continuing this anime for a long, long time.

Plans for this show: Will watch

 

Kamisama Kiss S2

Opinion: Kamisama Kiss was one of my favorite anime of 2012, so I am thrilled to see it return in 2015. This delightful shoujo romantic comedy was a silly anime that featured outstanding chemistry between its characters, especially its leads in Nanami and Tomoe. Based on the PV alone, it seems as though the anime will venture more into Tomoe’s violent backstory, but I’m still expecting more of that hilarious comedy that helped me fall in love with the original season. And is it just me or are these pseudo-religious anime about girls meeting various Japanese deities really popular now or what? Besides Kamisama Kiss, there’s also Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha, Noragami, Gingitsune, and Gugure! Kokkuri-san. I’m not sure if there’s a reason for a boon in this highly specific field of anime, but I’m happy to see Kamisama Kiss return since I didn’t expect this anime to get a sequel. I hope this anime makes the most of it with this second season.

Plans for this show: Will watch

 

Soukyuu no Fafner – Dead Aggressor: Exodus

Opinion: The Soukyuu no Fafner franchise started in 2004 with a 26-episode TV series with an OVA in 2005. Five years later, a movie followed (and according to my limited research, you need to watch the TV anime and OVA first before watching the movie). Now, in 2014, we’re receiving another TV anime that is a sequel to the movie. And while it is advised to watch the entire series in order, I’m going to give this anime a chance based on the PV and that I am assuming the series will be intended for newcomers given the 10 year difference between the original Sokyuu no Fafner and this Sokyuu no Fafner. If the anime is too dense and requires previous knowledge from the prior shows, then I’ll drop it, but I am going in with the intention of learning along with everyone else watching in 2014. Of course, the anime needs to be good too, and the PV is promising, but that remains to be seen. I’ll give the anime a chance despite not knowing anything about this franchise until recently.

Plans for this show: Doubtful but it gets a shot

 

Tokyo Ghoul √A

Opinion: The first season of Tokyo Ghoul started off well, but steadily declined and eventually became a chore to watch. The anime felt it needed to be edgy with its level of violence and gore, the main selling points of the series, and the characters and story suffered as a result. Tokyo Ghoul was also very shounen in its ideals and its fights, which is fine if it has a legitimate story or moral to it, but Tokyo Ghoul drifted away from those ideas in order to have characters fight for seemingly no reason at all. It really wasn’t very good, and if I don’t have to watch any more I won’t. I am done with Tokyo Ghoul for now.

Plans for this show: No dice

 

 

The following two sections of the preview contains a list of all the new, original anime that will debut during the Winter 2015 anime season, with the first section on the anime I am planning on screening and the latter section the anime I have already rejected. Winter 2015 is actually one of the lightest seasons in recent memory, with only 35 TV anime (including sequels, continuations, spin-offs, shorts, etc.) compared to last year which had 39 in the Winter, 56 in the Spring, 45 in the Summer and 44 in the Autumn (all numbers are approximations). Take out the 12 sequels in the section above and ignore the 5 shorts, and we really only have 18 new regular TV anime to review here. So considering that I’m only interested in 8 of the shows this season… that really isn’t bad considering that we’re looking at almost 50% of the new, original anime this season. So if it seems like Winter 2015 will be light, that’s because it is light, especially after the super heavy seasons of 2014. The other issue with Winter 2015 might be the lack of quality with the new anime, but it doesn’t seem terrible. Maybe top-heavy with Death Parade and Yuri Kuma Arashi taking center-stage, but it should be decent at the very least. For now, here are the shows I’m planning on watching this season based on my initial research this season:

 

Death Parade

Opinion: Death Billiards is my favorite Anime Mirai Project… yes, even more than Little Witch Academia. When I first saw that Death Billiards was being turned into a TV anime as Death Parade, I immediately felt a sense of gratification and happiness for the wonderful people that run the Anime Mirai Projects, also known as the Young Animator Training Project where the Japanese government funds bright and creative minds as part of Japan’s Agency for Cultural Affairs. Death Parade shows the fruits of their labor and their idea coming to life; they were able to find an independent OVA that has now grown into a TV anime. However, while the OVA is an absolute favorite, I do have some questions about how this will fare as a TV anime. I am curious how this will last for multiple episodes, but nevertheless, I am excited to find out. And for those curious, I think you can get away without watching Death Billiards, but why would you rob yourself the chance to watch one of the greatest independent anime projects in recent memory?

Plans for this show: Likely watch

 

Junketsu no Maria (Maria the Virgin Witch)

Opinion: Junketsu no Maria has the most memorable PV of the season for me given its unique track. Watch every other PV here and you won’t find another like this. Couple that with some eye-catching art and animation, a charismatic lead female (how many anime this season have female leads anyway?), and an intriguing story about a lonely witch, and this seems to be one of the most promising anime of the season. It’s one of the few anime that I am genuinely excited for this season, so I intend to watch this when it comes out.

Plans for this show: Likely watch

 

Yuri Kuma Arashi

Opinion: Kunihiko Ikuhara, creator and director of Shoujo Kakumei Utena (Revolutionary Girl Utena) and Mawaru Penguindrum, is the brilliant mind behind Yuri Kuma Arashi. Like his previous work, Yuri Kuma Arashi has a distinct and gorgeous art style with a flair for the dramatic and dreamlike. And while all three of his anime are sexualized, this one seems to feature it in a fanservicey way, at least based on the character models that were published recently. Each girl had their panties clearly on display, leading me to wonder if this anime will be both yuri and ecchi. The first chapter of the manga seemed to confirm these suspicions (yuri and pantyshots), so that might be a turn-off for some. Still, Ikuhara has done some marvelous things in his career with his previous anime, so there’s probably some reason for this ecchi eye-candy, and I do have high hopes for how the characters, setting and story develop throughout. This looks to be one of the more encouraging anime of the season, and I am excited for when it comes out.

Plans for this show: Likely watch

 

The Rolling Girls

Opinion: Rolling Girls looks both energetic and bizarre, a combination that might work well in its favor given its vibrant and detailed art style. The anime takes place in a fragmented Japan, with each prefecture now its own country and with their own leaders and mobs. What makes this setting appealing is that there’s bound to be more diversification in each location, and there’s bound to be a wider environment for the characters to interact in, rather than just Tokyo, Kyoto or some seaside or mountain village somewhere. The cast of characters looks decent at this point, but each has their own potential to grow as the anime does which is what I’m looking for in this anime. It seems to be a slice-of-life and comedy in an eccentric setting, so it should be fun to follow these girls around even in the absence of a detailed plot. Also worth noting is the personality of the series, which seems to embrace its fun and crazy self, and this matches well with its pastel, cheery art style. It looks like a solid and ridiculous anime for Winter 2015.

Plans for this show: Maybe watch

 

Ansatsu Kyoushitsu (Assassination Classroom)

Opinion: Assassination Classroom is an anime about a class of students tasked with the responsibility of killing their alien yellow octopus teacher to save the world from certain and absolute destruction. It’s a wacky setting, that’s for sure, and I think that’s why it appeals to me. But beyond this fact, and that it’s an action comedy, I don’t see much in the anime that interests me. There is an OVA of this anime that premiered in 2013 that was alright, neither tipping it to keeping it or not, but I do wonder how the series will stay fresh after so many episodes. For example, the OVA was fun and worthwhile, but I’m not sure I would want to watch something similar for 12 episodes. For now, I am planning on giving the anime a chance, but I need to see where this anime goes before deciding whether I want to keep it or not (and whether the OVA was a reliable indicator for how this anime will perform).

Plans for this show: Doubtful but it gets a shot

 

Kantai Collection –KanColle–

Opinion: I’ve never played Kantai Collection and know very little about the franchise, so I am curious of the franchise and this anime. I’ve enjoyed these girly military anime in the past, like Girls und Panzer and Strike Witches, so I don’t see why I shouldn’t give this anime a chance. Still, there’s nothing that says this anime will be enjoyable or meaningful to me, especially if it’s intended for fans of the franchise instead of newcomers. I am hopeful the anime will cater toward me and my interests, and hopefully those align with the hardcore gamers who have supported this franchise up to this point. The art and animation are surprisingly great, much better than I expected. The setting looks to be a little plain with its standard military academy and fighting aliens, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad either. I still need to wait and see all the characters and what the story is like before I make a decision, but I’m willing to give Kantai Collection a chance this season.

Plans for this show: Doubtful but it gets a shot

 

Koufuku Graffiti

Opinion: Koufuku Graffiti is about friendship and food. This anime appears to be a lighthearted comedy with a trio of female characters cooking gorgeous food that’ll surely make me ravenous every time I watch this anime. However, the question right now is how many times will I watch this? The characters and the plot don’t seem to be the highlights of this series at this point with the food being the hot-topic with this show. And with such a limited amount of information on the series, I’m not sure which direction it’ll go, whether it will be serious and focus on the girls or be entertaining with lots of mindless comedy, or if it’ll be educational and teach its viewers how to cook these delicious dishes. However, the secret ingredient with this anime might be that it’s made by SHAFT, who seems to please me more often than not. I’m interested in this anime, but I need to know more before I can make a decision… and an episode or two should be sufficient for determining what I want to do with this series.

Plans for this show: Doubtful but it gets a shot

 

Miritari!

Opinion: Miritari! is a short (5 minutes per episode) comedy anime with a strong military/war theme going on. The chibi art style does well to contrast this and give it a childish, comedy feel, but that doesn’t always mean it’ll be entertaining. Still, with 5 minutes per episode, it’s not much of an investment of my time, so even if the anime is subpar, it still might be worthwhile if it makes me laugh every so often. The panties in the PV might mean this has ecchi jokes and otaku humor, but hopefully the writing is fresh, original and funny to make this short anime worthwhile.

Plans for this show: Doubtful but it gets a shot

 

The IDOLM@STER: Cinderella Girls

Opinion: While I did enjoy the original IDOLM@STER anime, I’m not a big fan of idol anime, so the subject of this anime doesn’t really appeal to me very much. Still, it’s not like I won’t be able to enjoy this anime, and given the success of the original, I feel as though I should give this anime a chance, too. The series looks to have better art and animation than the original, which hopefully translates into more performances. I’m guessing the story will be similar to the original IDOLM@STER anime too, with the girls starting out as nothing and growing their way into fame and popularity, so something like that would be fine. I am a bit worried about the characters though, especially with how deep their personalities are and how well they work together. One positive with the original anime is that it was based off a few games already and the girls had established personalities and chemistry with each other. I don’t know if the same can be said about the Cinderella Girls, but it’s worth an episode or two to find out.

Plans for this show: Doubtful but it gets a shot

 

 

The first two sections confirm the lists of anime that I am planning on watching based on my knowledge and understanding of the franchises. All that remains in this season preview are the anime that I have already decided against. The reason why these anime are slotted here is because they either appear to already be flawed, boring, or simply outside my demographic. While these anime may in fact be watchable to some, they do not appear watchable for me. I doubt I’ll examine these anime any more than the PV linked in their sections. However, there’s always a chance for me to pick one or two up every season, so not all hope is lost for these shows if you see one of your favorites down here. However, for most of them, there’s already zero chance I’ll even think about them after writing my opinions for each.

 

Absolute Duo

Opinion: The anime looks plain and boring, and I don’t have high hopes for an ecchi light novel about a boy at a fantasy school gaining a super weapon to fight evil a magical girl and a harem and whatnot.

Plans for this show: No dice

 

Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei Bu Love!

Opinion: I lasted about 11 seconds into the PV.

Plans for this show: No dice

 

Doamaiger D

Opinion: There have been quite a few of these comedies that parody 70s anime, and I think these are intended for fans who are familiar with these original franchises. I don’t think this anime is for me.

Plans for this show: No dice

 

Isuca

iscua_anime_promoOpinion: Something about exterminating creatures, but also being an ecchi rom-com at a school. And almost everything that ARMS makes is super ecchi too, so let’s just say no right now.

Plans for this show: No dice

 

Juuou Mujin no Fafnir

juuou_mujin_no_fafnir_promoOpinion: Another light novel with a fantasy school and lots of girls and whatever people like these days. Whatever it is, it’s not for me.

Plans for this show: No dice

 

Minna Atsumare! Falcom Gakuen SC

Opinion: I’m not really familiar with the franchises being parodied, so I’m just gonna say no.

Plans for this show: No dice

 

Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata

Opinion: Some otaku that meets the most beautiful girl ever and she falls in love with him and then there are other girls and can I stop now?

Plans for this show: No dice

 

Seiken Tsukai no World Break

Opinion: Another fantasy school light novel adaptation… that’s three now on this list.

Plans for this show: No dice

 

Shinmai Maou no Testament

Opinion: Okay, make that four fantasy school light novel adaptations… at least this one has fanservice to make it more appealing. Still… it looks as generic and dull as all the others in this genre.

Plans for this show: No dice

 

Sengoku Musou

Opinion: I used to really look forward to anime that take place in feudal Japan, but I have no interest in watching Sengoku Musou. It actually looks pretty decent, but I don’t think I can force myself to watch it, unless quite a few of the anime above this bomb.

Plans for this show: No dice

 

Yoru no Yatterman

Opinion: It’s the 40th anniversary of Yatterman, a franchise that I am unfamiliar with, so I don’t find myself excited with this new series. I’ll pass for now.

Plans for this show: No dice

 

With that said, there is nothing left to preview for the Winter 2015 anime season. All that remains is waiting for each anime to air to provide judgment on whether we should keep these shows or not. I’ll be providing my reviews and opinions for most of these anime in my **First Impressions posts** once these shows debut. Until that time, I hope everyone enjoys the end to Autumn 2014 and get ready for another sensational season of anime when the calendar turns to 2015.

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  1. #1 by Detetiv on December 22, 2014 - 2:52 PM

    All I can think of the Yuri bears is Attack on titans meets Yuri & instead of titans it’s bears

    • #2 by avvesione on December 24, 2014 - 4:29 AM

      I wouldn’t mind if Yuri Kuma Arashi is like that, yuri with bears attacking cute girls. However, I am expecting it to be something more similar to Penguindrum, in which it starts out simple but continues to grow into something more complex and abstract with every episode. I’d be happy with either outcome though.

      • #3 by Detetiv on December 25, 2014 - 3:39 AM

        True, I mean we see the endless spiral staircase again in a preview clip that was from Utena in this new anime.

  2. #4 by Guang Min Lye on December 23, 2014 - 11:07 PM

    Junketsu no Maria (Maria the Virgin Witch) =

    I read the manga; This is a story of a powerful witch trying to stop injustice & senseless wars in a time where people burn woman at the stake for being knowledgeable on plants & what not.

    So yeah, fun & action most of the time & then occasion tragedies.

    Ansatsu Kyoushitsu (Assassination Classroom) =

    Well, the manga is GTA with the whole we have to kill our teachs to save our world on the side, fun enough.

    Kantai Collection –KanColle–

    Huh, from the teaser alone this seem to be the more “safe” adaptation of the game. Because canonly, those girl are battle ship units that some WILL die when they go against the alien fleets.

    Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei Bu Love!

    HAHAHAHAHAHA!! Well, sex equality right here. It almost hurts for me to see the trailer all the way. Is this how girls felt when they saw anime that are totally boner bait?

    • #5 by avvesione on December 24, 2014 - 4:34 AM

      Glad to hear about your positive impressions of Junketsu no Maria. It’s one of the few anime that I’m looking forward to this season, so I am glad to hear that you enjoyed the manga.

      Assassination Classroom’s OVA didn’t really enthuse me that much, but I am hopeful that the TV anime, which has a different cast, crew and budget, will prove to be entertaining. I’m not sure how well I’ll like the teacher-alien guy, but I see Jun Fukuyama is voicing him, so that’s a good sign already.

      Yeah, the KanColle PV was a bit of a surprise to me since I was expecting it to be more like a war setting than a school setting. Then again, it could be a lot like Strike Witches, where there’s a story or context at the base and then a fight at the end of each ep. I’m really curious to see what they do with the anime since there are so many directions it could go in.

      You watched the whole PV for that reverse harem anime? I feel sorry for you.

  3. #6 by miharusshi on December 26, 2014 - 5:08 AM

    The wait for Durarara!! sequel was really long I can’t believe it’d be 5 years (half decade wow) since the prequel aired. It’s amazing how Studio Shuka seems to have kept the original designs and retained the overall feel of the background art… except that Izaya looks somewhat different (it’s his eyes). But that’s just a minor detail, so it doesn’t really bother me.

    I’m really excited for Rolling Girls. It somehow reminds me of Kill la Kill, though that’s not why I’m excited for the series. I like the overall feel of the art, especially the details given on the different settings. And the simple, but still pretty, character designs make them welcoming for some sakuga scenes, which we will be expecting just from seeing the PV. I’m also interested in how Wit Studio is handling this. They’re relatively new, so I look forward to anything that they try to do with their anime. :) I’ll probably look forward to their future works.

    All these good things I’m hearing about Junketsu no Maria makes me look forward to it as well. Actually, it’s also because of the music in the PV.

    • #7 by avvesione on December 28, 2014 - 6:42 PM

      The reason why Studio Shuka is able to keep the same design and whatnot is because the people who made DRRR!! S1 broke off from Brains Base, founded this studio and are making DRRR!! S2. In fact, they’re so dedicated to it, they only anime they’re doing this year (until the end of Winter 2016) is DRRR!!x2 Shou (broken up into Winter, Summer, Winter).

      Rolling Girls looks great, really impressed with the visuals. It does remind me a bit of KILL la KILL, but it reminds me of Kyousogiga more. As for Studio Wit being new, keep in mind that they were a part of Production IG in the past, so they have some experience with high quality anime beyond Titan.

      And yes, the music in Maria’s PV is the best this season. It’s one of the anime I’m looking forward to the most.

  4. #8 by brex on December 26, 2014 - 5:11 AM

    It was confirmed that KanColle is 70% slice of life / 30% action.

    • #9 by avvesione on December 28, 2014 - 6:43 PM

      That sounds all right for me. I’m starting to like slice of life anime more and more each year, so I wouldn’t mind seeing a healthy blend of the two, so long as they don’t mix like oil and water.

  5. #10 by Lem Enrile on January 4, 2015 - 8:45 AM

    Looks like I don’t have any anime series to watch in Winter 2015, except Tokyo Ghoul. I’m not really a fan of slice-of-life anime series.

    • #11 by avvesione on January 12, 2015 - 12:31 AM

      Not sure exactly what your taste is, but I’m sure there are a few shows out there this season that would be worthwhile to watch.

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