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The Winter 2011 Anime Preview Guide


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Saturn



Joined: 08 Aug 2002
Posts: 513
PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 3:32 am Reply with quote
gerbilx wrote:
I think that the preview guides need some new writers. Preferably less bored and jaded ones. For the most part, they feel way too out of touch with the average fan, and with little exception, and there's not nearly enough variation between different writer's opinions. ~o~


There's some pretty big gaps for certain shows--which is a good sign, isn't it, when a show can polarize reviewers?
What it boils down to is that some shows are just bad, and some aren't, and when you've watched a LOT of series (which the reviewers have, or they wouldn't be doing this), it becomes easier to pick out the good ones from the bad ones. Also, if you watch a lot of anime (or scifi shows, or romance movies) it gets easier and easier to spot common tropes and use that information to predict where a show is going. Which is why shows that defy quick identification (that is, the ones that aren't predictable) get high marks.
Just, most shows ARE predictable by merit of, you know, tropes being tropes. So they don't deserve high marks, unless there's something else special about them.
I think for the most part the reviewers do a great job of being honest about their opinions and are rarely either too kind or too harsh. If a show is garbage but has pretty character designs, they seem to say it...


Anyway, what would the alternative be? Brand-new anime fans who have never see a magical girlfriend show and think the idea is fresh and new?
Now I sound pretty jaded...

Anyway thanks to this guide I checked out Level E and Puella Magi Madoka Magica, both of which I wouldn't have otherwise, and both of which I really enjoyed so... keep up the good work, reviewers!
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MorwenLaicoriel



Joined: 26 Feb 2006
Posts: 1610
Location: Colorado
PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 3:56 am Reply with quote
gerbilx wrote:
I think that the preview guides need some new writers. Preferably less bored and jaded ones. For the most part, they feel way too out of touch with the average fan, and with little exception, and there's not nearly enough variation between different writer's opinions. ~o~


Gotta agree with Saturn--they're giving their honest opinion, right? What good would it do you if they were positive about everything? I think pretty much every reviewer has at least one show they really, really liked (even Zac!), so it's not like they're being super-negative. Just selective. If they were going to tell you to watch everything, well...I mean, you could just go to Crunchyroll and try out everything.
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Daemonblue



Joined: 05 Jul 2006
Posts: 701
PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 4:33 am Reply with quote
I have to agree with Theron on how they started Wandering Son, the anime adaptation starts off on volume 5 of the manga, cutting out the first two (albeit fast) years of the story. That with some of the voices caused a fairly large disconnect for me with the anime.
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Penguin_Factory



Joined: 28 Oct 2007
Posts: 732
Location: Ireland
PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 7:09 am Reply with quote
It sounds like they skipped a lot in Wandering Son, which is kind of dissapointing. I recall liking the early parts of the story more than the later ones.

Fractale sounds..... alright? I like the premise and the style, but Zac's summation of the show as a magical girlfriend story has me worried. I'll give it a shot anyway.

EDIT: Watched a bit of Fractale raw (the "E" at the end of that name annoys the hell out for me some reason) since I can't access the subtitled episode on Funimation's site. I am getting very strong Xam'd: Lost Memories vibes off this, particularly the girl on the Nausicaa hoverboard thing.

The sci-fi concepts presented are interesting, especially the bit with the main character being raised by robots (or whatever they are), although I'm not sure I get how that works- are the robots being remote-controlled by real humans or are they fully autonomous?

The world presented here is also cool. One thing that always bugs me in sci-fi stories is when the entire planet is a shiny technological wonderland with no signs of any preceding history or earlier eras. Fractale avoids that by having a very advanced world that still retains old-fashioned architecture, just like you'd get in real life.

It's a shame that the actual characters seem like your bog standard anime stereotypes. It's like they went to all this trouble to make a detailed setting that doesn't look anything like your typical anime world and then realised they only had a few days to make some characters, so they populated with cookie-cutter tropes.
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zensunni



Joined: 05 Mar 2010
Posts: 1265
PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 1:15 pm Reply with quote
I have to admit that I fell right about where Zak was with "Fractale". It was enjoyable and seems to have plenty to offer, in the future. However, the first episode was pretty standard "Magical Girlfriend" fare. The mechanics of the world were interesting, but sketchy and not fleshed out, and the actual plot of the story as a whole was only hinted at in this episode. But, for a "meet the protagonist" episode, it was fine. I still have high hopes for it and the art and music are great! (With one exception, the "bad guys" were not animated well, complete with annoying, unrealistic looking bodies and hand-waving when flustered. I would have liked less broad comedy in that animation and more realistic looking characters/action. There is enough that is supposed to be unrealistic, it would have been nice to have the human characters not go there too.)

As for Wandering Son, I haven't read the manga, didn't mind them starting in middle school, and didn't have too much trouble following the story and figuring out who's who in it. I was unclear on who the adult talking with the girl was (Yuki, I think?), so I looked that up. Other than that, I found it a strong story with a lot of emotion. I look forward to this as much as Gosick, as they, along with Fractale, are my bets to challenge for "best of season". I did have a lot of trouble remembering which was the boy and which was the girl as I watched the flashback scenes, but that just shows how well rendered their transgender-ness was. (I don't think that is really a word...)
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vashfanatic



Joined: 16 Jun 2005
Posts: 3452
Location: Back stateside
PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 1:27 pm Reply with quote
Swissman wrote:
No, that`s not nitpicky. If a show`s *art* or *design* rubs you the wrong way, then, for the sake of clarity, call it art and/or design in the first place and not "animation" or "animation style" which is used for the way how motion is created.

The distinction was not nitpicky, complaining about my use of it when it was clear what I meant was. I had just prefaced it with a discussion of the shiny quality of the animated art, it was not unclear what I meant, hence there is not "for the sake of clarity" involved. I know it's the bugaboo of a number of film/animation/art specialists that people don't differentiate between animation vs art style, but given that it was clear in context I had simply made a simple vocabulary mistake as I was typing, it was very nitpicky to call me out on it. I know the difference, I don't need to be lectured because I made a glorified typo. Rolling Eyes

Anyway, I still need to watch Fractale, believe it or not. I was honestly not enthused by it from previews since it did look like standard "magical girlfriend" fare, but given whose in charge of writing it, I think I will at least give it the first episode. Opinions of the show seem to be mixed thus far (admittedly we've only had 3 reviews...).
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jsieczka



Joined: 19 Jul 2008
Posts: 150
Location: Rochester, NY
PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 3:07 pm Reply with quote
I watched all of the first episodes of the winter season and as a whole the season is better then expected. Here are my very brief thoughts:
Cardfight!! Vanguard, Onii-chan no Koto Nanka Zenzen Suki Janain Dakara ne!!, Freezing, IS: Infinite Stratos, and Rio: Rainbow Gate were plain out garbage.

Dragon Crisis! doesn't really have much wrong with it, it just doesn't have anything going for it. I only watched it a few days ago and I honestly have no clue what it is about any more.

Beelzebub, Kore wa Zombie Desuka? and Magical Girl Madoka Magika are all good shows if you are into their genres, I am simply not.

Fractale was the show I was most looking forward to and was the most disappointed by, not to say that it was bad. The animation and art were great but it was kinda lacking a bit in depth that one expects from a noitaminA show. That said well the first episode was lacking I do see some good potential for the show and am looking forward to seeing more.

Level E has a nice blend of comedy to start the show off with and by the end it is hitting its Sci-fi stride. What is left to be seen is if the show is a Sci-Fi comedy of if it is a Sci-Fi show with comedic elements to it, I am thinking and wanting it to be the second.

Hourou Musuko takes a very laid back character driven approach to covering trans gender issues, a more realistic approach possibly. In general the pacing is slow but that is to be expected with this style of story telling, and will not be for everyone. If this show does poorly coupled with the bombing of Sweet Blue Flowers I doubt Shimura-San will see much of her work animated which would be a shame.

Gosick was not the show that I would have thought would be my favorite at the end of week one. Victorique de Blois appearance would usually turn me off but the general tone is very different then most Loli/moe shows. The main male Kujou Kazuya actually has a spine and is more then just a generic push over and looks to be a character that will actually develop more. The first episodes mystery was a joke and i do hope that they do get more Mystrious as the show goes on, I do love a good mystery.
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Chrno2



Joined: 28 May 2004
Posts: 6148
Location: USA
PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 3:17 pm Reply with quote
Well, I gotta get over to Crunchyroll. Definitely looking forward to 'Wandering Son'.

Also looking forward to reading the manga when it's finally released. Of course why the hell couldn't the 'Sweet Blue Flowers' manga get released as well. Confused

I was kind of curious about seeing 'Freezing' but I'm a little skeptical. Not because of what ANN says, it's because of what I read somewhere else.
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CloverKuroba



Joined: 02 Nov 2006
Posts: 506
PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 3:27 pm Reply with quote
vashfanatic wrote:
CloverKuroba wrote:
You didn't like the animation style? Or did you just not like the visual style choice/color pallette? I realize I'm being nitpicky here (sorry!), but that's because I thought the animation was really quite nice here. There were a lot of interesting, subtle touches (like when Shuu's wig became lopsided at the interesection).

Yeah, that's nitpicky. Are we really going to split those hairs when it was clear what I meant? Yes, the "animation" was nice, everything moved fluidly, etc. But the art as it was interpreted in the anime vs as it was in the manga -- the animated version of the manga art -- I am not crazy about. The fluorescent glow on every character was aggravating. I've compared it before to saran wrap, and that evaluation still stands. All the other nice subtle touches are from the manga, and the animators' don't get credit for them save that they did not cut them.

...Yeah, but...it wasn't all that clear to me? Merely thought it was interesting comment (not to mention it was like, "hey Ozu avatar!")and wanted you to clarify, because I was excited to talk about the art in this show.
When you say "animation style," then that's a bit vague actually, because animation is pretty separate from art style. And I would give a lot of credit to the animators. They really convey these characters with distinct body language, the framing of certain scenes was excellent, etc. I was very impressed. I wasn't trying to dismiss the validity of your opinions; in fact the "saran wrap" glow is something I tend to have problems with in anime, to be honest. No need to be grouchy about it. :/ And I most certainly was not trying to lecture you,"call you out", etc. Sorry if I came off that way.
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jtiskool305



Joined: 29 Mar 2008
Posts: 219
PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 4:21 pm Reply with quote
Why is everyone that watched the first episode of Freezing so bummed out about the ending?? I thought most people that will watch this will give the manga at least a look before seeing it cause it seems everyone read the manga of Hourou Musuko before checking that out. Well if you did read the first chapter then you shouldn't have been surprised about the ending.. I didn't expect anything less though. On the other hand, I did expect better animation.. I'll give it a few more episodes until I get tired of the gore and rape..
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Ojamajo LimePie



Joined: 09 Nov 2007
Posts: 706
PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 5:12 pm Reply with quote
Is the Preview Guide going to stay open to catch the last couple shows? Houkago no Pleiades and Suite PreCure don't start until early February.
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Zac
ANN Executive Editor


Joined: 05 Jan 2002
Posts: 7856
Location: Anime News Network Technodrome
PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 5:22 pm Reply with quote
Ojamajo LimePie wrote:
Is the Preview Guide going to stay open to catch the last couple shows? Houkago no Pleiades and Suite PreCure don't start until early February.


Nope, we're done as of tomorrow. Gotta cut it off at some point.
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Seca



Joined: 04 Aug 2003
Posts: 149
Location: WA
PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 6:21 pm Reply with quote
jtiskool305 wrote:
Why is everyone that watched the first episode of Freezing so bummed out about the ending?? I thought most people that will watch this will give the manga at least a look before seeing it cause it seems everyone read the manga of Hourou Musuko before checking that out.


But that's hardly true. I haven't checked out the manga for any of the shows, in fact the only series I've read the manga for is for Beelzebub and I've been reading that since last year.

I'm not sure about others but when I hear about a new show I don't normally go hunting for a manga counterpart. Sometimes I won't even know it's based off a manga series until after watching the first episode and I catch fan comments that bring that up.

So to me it would not be surprising for people to come into an anime series without being familiar with the original source material. I mean there are people that watch the Harry Potter movies without ever reading the original books and may never plan to do so. So I think the idea that people will make sure they're familiar with the source material before they check out an adaption is off.
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Past



Joined: 14 Feb 2006
Posts: 3235
Location: China (Searching for Jusenkyo)
PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 7:27 pm Reply with quote
Wanted to provide a little correction in Carlos' review of Hourou Musuko. The scene where Shuichi's sister walks in on him is not the first time she discovers his crossdressing. From what I gather from later volumes of the manga, almost everyone in the show who also knew him in elementary school knows he crossdresses. At this point in the story where the anime starts, he's already past the "coming out" stage, he just finds lots of obstacles to actually living as a girl, and that's really a big portion of what this show is about.

Note: what I've said is not spoilerish, it's more giving a little background info from the first 4 volumes of the manga (even though I haven't read any of those volumes).
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Ojamajo LimePie



Joined: 09 Nov 2007
Posts: 706
PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 8:11 pm Reply with quote
Zac wrote:
Ojamajo LimePie wrote:
Is the Preview Guide going to stay open to catch the last couple shows? Houkago no Pleiades and Suite PreCure don't start until early February.


Nope, we're done as of tomorrow. Gotta cut it off at some point.


PreCure always gets overlooked by everyone. Anime cry
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