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Autumn 2013 anime preview
I'm writing this with a cat on my lap but there's still a chill in the air - a sure-fire signal that autumn is on its way. The chill, that is, not the cat. As the nights draw in, it's a perfect time to sit inside with a steaming hot beverage and watch some brand new anime, and as always Japan has duly delivered by filing their autumn season with a ludicrous number of new shows and sequels to tempt you.
With so much going on, how is an anime fan supposed to figure out what to watch? That's where we come in, so prepare yourself for another mammoth new season preview as we talk about what's coming our way over the next few months.
Sports anime may not sell in the west, but they still tend to do pretty well for themselves in their homeland and baseball series in particular have a long history of relative success. With that in mind comes Ace of Diamond, a Madhouse and Production I.G. co-production based on a long-running manga about a pitcher and catcher who vow to reach the Koushien championships through hard work alone.
Should I watch it? If you're a fan of baseball, or simply the inherent drama and emotion that comes from sports-based series, then this might be worth a look particularly given the studios involved - then again, it hardly boasts an innovative plot and unless you're into baseball in a big way there's probably not much going on here to hook you in.
Collectible card game Aikatsu has spun out in a number of ways, including video games and - of course - an anime. That anime series returns (or rather, effectively continues) this autumn, with Sunrise at the helm as it supplements this story of a trio of idols with the threat of a rival school who could threaten their success.
Should I watch it? This is the first of many autumn sequels, and like most of those sequels this will only really be of interest if you've been keeping up with the series up to this point... unless you're really in need of lots of CG dancing girls to while away the evenings.
On-going military sci-fi manga Arpeggio of Blue Steel is an on-going manga series that has recently been picked up in the west by Seven Seas Entertainment - and not a moment too soon it seems, with this anime adaptation arriving for the autumn courtesy of Sanzigen, the production studio responsible for 009 Re: Cyborg.
Specialising in anime-style 3D CG, this series naturally uses those same techniques to deliver the story of a world covered by water due to global warming, and the battle to keep these waters safe from advanced enemy craft of unknown origin.
Should I watch it? Judging by its trailer, the series feels a little reminiscent of Strike Witches (only with far more skirts) and looks like it could be suitably action-packed, and from a technical perspective it'll be interesting to see how the series holds up compared to 009 Re: Cyborg and Sanzigen's CG work on Black Rock Shooter as a couple of notable examples. Given that tie-in to the western release of its original manga, this might be worth a look if its visuals and concept appeal to you.
Pretty much every time we've spoken to the top bods at Arc System Works, someone has asked us to probe them about whether the BlazBlue fighting game series will ever get an anime adaptation - as of October, we can stop asking that question as Alter Memory arrives courtesy of Hoods Entertainment. The series focuses upon Ragna the Bloodedge as a man intent upon destroying the systems controlling the world - cue a motley crew of fighters arriving to thwart his plan and collect the bounty put upon his head.
Should I watch it? It's tough to make a good anime series based upon a fighting game (or a video game full stop, to be honest). Will BlazBlue be one of those rare successes? I wouldn't hold my breath, but only time will tell, and if any game has sufficient story-telling within it to translate into an animated form then BlazBlue is probably the best positioned to do so.
Coppelion is an on-going manga series that was due to receive an anime adaptation a couple of years ago, but was postponed for reasons that should be clear when I tell you that it's story is about a trio of girls who are impervious to radiation, and are thus sent into Tokyo in the wake of a massive nuclear accident. GoHands handle the adaptation of this science-fiction series that sees these super-powered girls hunting for survivors within the dangerous confines of Tokyo.
Should I watch it? GoHands have worked on some interesting stuff in recent years, and this looks promising as another offering to add to that list; an action-packed series that might well have some interesting things to say in Japan's current climate when it isn't depicting the kicking of asses.
Whenever a show starts airing a couple of weeks or so before its cohorts there's always a suspicion that means that it's rubbish - will this be the case with Diabolik Lovers? Either way, this visual novel adaptation based on a supernatural romance game for the PSP sees a heroine with a history of supernatural experiences moving to a new school, and ends up living with six brothers in a place known as "the haunted house".
Should I watch it? If you hadn't figured it from the fact that this show has a female protagonist and six brothers that she has to live with, this is an otome game adaptation with everything that label suggests - if you want to see a bunch of dishy guys flirting with a girl, this Zexcs-produced series is the place to be.