Japanator's Fall 2012 Anime Preview Guide, Part 1!


Autumn's latest and soon-to-be greatest!

It is time.

As the sun pulls further away from the Earth and the leaves prepare to drop, we prepare for another season's worth of Japanese cartoons. 

That might not sound like much, but hey, this feature isn't called "Japanator's Yearly Autumn Meditations Guide". We're still working on that. 

In the meantime, we've got shows to catalog, anticipation to stoke, and recaps to assign! Let's get to it! Read on to find out what we're looking forward to in the coming weeks, and who'll be looking at what, then tell us in the comments about what you plan to watch!


Director: Kazuya Nomura (Sengoku BASARA: The Last Party)

Studio: Production I.G. (Guilty Crown)

Opens On: October 11, 2012

One of the more hotly anticipated titles this fall, as well as being one of the revered Noitamina time block's offerings, Robotics;Notes comes to you from the makers of Steins;Gate, one of spring's smartest shows, and a personal favorite of mine.

That said, it's by a different director, different studio, and the work itself is substantially different in premise, with the basic concept of "What if kids built their own giant robot", basically. Plus, Chaos;Head, another 5pb adaptation, wasn't the best thing ever.

I'll be checking the show out this season. My expectations may be tempered, but my enthusiasm is not dampened. Schoolkids SHOULD make their own giant robots!


Psycho Pass

Director: Katsuyuki Motohiro

Studio: Production I.G. (Ghost in the Shell: Standalone Complex)

Opens On: October 11, 2012 

Here's this season's super-duper DO WANT show, and it has been nearly from the minute folks found out it was being written by Gen "Madoka Man" Urobuchi. Psycho Pass sounds kind of like a cop show, with a bunch of handsome agent-types stopping crime in a world where mind-reading is instantaneous and commonplace. 

That's not quite Fate/Zero in its detail or Madoka in its deconstruction, but Butch is a trustworthy producer of quality material, and Production I.G. is a trustworthy producer of good-looking action. Hiroko will be taking a look at this, and telling us whether that trust is betrayed.


Chunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai!

Director: Tatsuya Ishihara (The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya)

Studio: Kyoto Animation (Hyouka)

Opens On: October 3, 2012

Practically everything Kyoto Animation makes these days is a shoe-in for "hotly anticipated" (except maybe My Ordinary Life, which was a wondrous fastball out of left field), and I Want To Love Her Despite Her Middle-School Delusions! (is the title) is here this fall.

Just as the title pretty much describes the premise, the plot involves the infamous "Chunibyou" ("Middle-School Syndrome"), whose exact definition is under debate, but commonly understood as kids (or adults) still stuck in the immaturity, playing out fantasies rather than acting their age like responsible members of society. Think "Okarin", "Star Wars Kid", "Travis Bickle", and every time you've ever struck a cool pose in front of a mirror.

"Chunibyou" (shortened by some to "Chuu2") is also a buzzword for anime that cater to a similar tack. I have to say, though, doesn't that hold for a significant part of all pop fiction? You could level the Chuu2 label at practically everything from Accel World to Harry Potter to Drizzt Do'Urden to comic books to The Matrix to Taxi Driver to the New Testament (!). A bit of a boondoggle criticism, methinks. Hell, I'm 27, and still I do some Jim Lee stances in the dark on occasion, so maybe I'm just taking it personally.

My Chuu2 aside, we've entrusted Elliot to insert himself into the story, as an intrepid schoolteacher watching cartoons and writing about them on the internet...like a boss. We also demanded pictures of him posing all cool an' shit while he recaps, but that's optional (DO IT, ELLIOT).



Director: Susumu Kudo (Mardock Scramble)

Studio: GoHands (Mardock Scramble)

Opening On: October 4, 2012

As far as we've seen much of the excitement around K has centered not on its story or premise (which we don't know much about beyond a superficial resemblance to the likes of Durarara!!) or its studio (though Mardock Scramble's been pretty cool), but mainly around its bitchin' animation and its plethora of expensive voice talent. Check it:

Tomokazu Sugita (Kyon), Daisuke Namikawa (Persona 4 Protagonist), Daisuke Ono (Sebastian), Jun Fukuyama (Lelouch), Kenjiro Tsuda (Fire Emblem), Mamoru Miyano (Setsuna F. Seiei), Mikako Komatsu (Marika Kato), Miyuki "Miyukichi" Sawashiro (Celty), and of course Yui "Hocchan" Horie (Chie). And more!

The siren voices of all these seiyuu were so powerful that two of our editors heeded the call: Pedro called dibs on the first look at K, but Salvador fought him so hard that he won the privilege of the regular recap. It was his Rider Kick that ultimately won the day.


Zetsuen no Tempest

Director: Masahiro Ando (Hanasaku Iroha)

Studio: BONES (No. 6)

Opening On: October 4, 2012

Studio BONES' fall entry is a fantasy manga adaptation, and is being directed by the man behind Hanasaku Iroha, and scripted by the writer behind Hanasaku Iroha, as well as Ano Hana and Black Rock Shooter, Mari Okada.

That in mind, despite its dystopian setting full of fantasy, world-saving, and murdered parents, you can expect emotions. Lots and lots of emotions. Emotions all over the place, like colors on Skittles. Not that that's a bad thing, mind you. No. 6 could probably have used some emotions, from what little I saw of it.

Either way, we'll be checking in with Pedro to see if his emotions can be stirred by the coming tempest. Ideally, the main emotion won't be RRRRAAAAGE!


Director: Kotono Watanabe 

Studio: Madhouse (Redline)

Opening On: October 4, 2012

I love the name of this anime. BTOOOM!. That's like naming a western show KABOOM!, or a Japanese show DOKAAAAAAAN! or a [insert nationality here] show [INSERT ONOMATOPOEIA FOR EXPLOSION HERE!!!!].

You know what else is cool? BTOOOM! is the name of a videogame (note the precipitous increase in videogame meta-presence in recent anime). That's a kickass name, like the actually-existing name WARFACE. WARFAAAACE!!!!. Anyway, some NEET can play the game pretty well, which apparently qualifies him to be trapped in some real-life survival challenge, the challenge being that the whole world ends and transforms into an exact copy of the game he's good at. Kind of like that Hollywood movie Gamer, but the whole world.

In real life putting a NEET in a life-or-death survival situation would likely end quickly and gruesomely, but hey, he's good at videogames. If you believe the media, he'll succeed, as well as slaughter all his opponents in a murderous rampage.

When Brad picked this one up, he noted that he figured there were breasts in it, which he's into. So there's that.


Little Busters!

Director: Yoshiki Yamakawa (Kill Me Baby)

Studio: J.C. Staff (ToraDora!)

Opening On: October 6, 2012

The Jun Maeda Special of this season, people have been waiting forever to see this get done. They got pissed, though, when they found out it was being passed to J.C. Staff while KyoAni went on to make animes about delusional kids. The exact reasons why they passed on a guaranteed money-and-tears machine like a Jun Maeda joint, after doing Clannad, Kanon and Air, but they probably didn't need the cash. Plus, they're a small outfit, and maybe they didn't feel like doing a Jun Maeda joint.

Either way, Little Busters! is incoming, and Chris will tell us all about it. Will tears be shed? Will girls with problems die in snow/leaves/sunlight/rain? Only time (and recaps) will show.


Busou Shinki

Director: Yasuhito Kikuchi (El Hazard Alternative)

Studio: 8-Bit (Infinite Stratos)

Opening On: October 4, 2012

I honestly don't know why I'm so attracted to every mecha musume and moe moe machine show I see, so compelled to call dibs on them no matter how awful they might seem (though they can surprise in the endgame). Is it my attraction to footless androids and aliens with crazy legs? Is it a tacit admission of a love for style (chicks in/as machines) over substance (the machines themselves)? Am I just entranced by the work of Plamoo? Am I a deviant mechasexual? Or is it a secret desire to see women empowered by technology, which is frankly more excitiing than progressive legislation, and shifting cultural attitudes (so politics!)?

Beats me, but rest assured, I've got this one.

You may recall an earlier anime of Busou Shinki, a line of mecha musume figurines that this new show (as the old one) is obviously designed to sell. That was the PSN-only Busou Shinki Moon Princess, a series of 5-minute shorts that skewed a little too young to be comfortable. I'm an adult mechaphile, so my fetishes are my own, but no self-respecting pre-teen boy would be into a hobby that involves collecting cute girl dolls, no matter how technologically augmented. Think of the cooties!

This new one casts the lead in high school, which seems a proper age group to be into that sort of thing. 


JoJo's Bizarre Adventure

Director: Kenichi Suda (Gundam Evolve)

Studio: David Production (Inu x Boku SS)

Opens On: October 5, 2012



To-Love-Ru Darkness

Director: Atsushi Ohtsuki (Ladies vs. Butlers!)

Studio: Xebec (Rio Rainbow Gate!)

October 5, 2012

To be perfectly honest, none of us watched To Love-Ru. It's not that we don't watch sleazy harem shows (ask Brad!), but it just didn't happen, and with that in mind, it's likely not to happen this season, either. 

Then again, I'm told that the manga this is based on gets strangely grim, much more grim than its comparatively sunny predecessor. If any of us ever catch up on the original (slim chance of that), we may just give it a look.


Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun

Director: Hiro Kaburaki

Studio: Brains Base (Baccano!!)

Opens On: October 1, 2012

The Beast Beside You sells itself as a romantic comedy with "a fresh new angle", and Brad has taken up that challenge. Then again, the actual pitch sounds, to be frank, quite stale. A cold-fish honor student girl has little concern but for grades and career (think Humanity Has Declined's Protagonist during episode 11) encounters a troublemaking boy who's actually a nice guy with a bad rep. Romance and comedy ensue.

Then again, the trailer above expresses none of that staleness, barring ten seconds' worth of normality. Before that, it's fighting with chicken-swords and syringes and the wild west and kisses in samurai clothing.

Maybe it will be fresh after all, if it prefers the first minute-thirty to the last-ten. 

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Josh Tolentino
Josh TolentinoManaging Editor   gamer profile

Josh is Japanator's Managing Editor, and contributes to Destructoid as well, as the network's premier apologist for both Harem Anime and Star Trek: Voyager For high school reasons, he's called "u... more + disclosures


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