The new anime season starts in October, and while there are fewer new shows than last year's fall season, there is still plenty to look forward to in this year's crop!
In part one of this by-no-means extensive preview, SideReel brings you a selection of notable new shows that stand a very good chance at being available in English in the near future, and there's a wide variety available for fans of every genre - just in the six series we mention here, we have a CLAMP series about a girl who collects heartache, a fighting/fan service vehicle that could be the next Ikki Tousen, and an adaptation of perhaps the greatest soap opera in Asian television history. Read on to see what this season has to offer in the way of new anime.
Starts: 10/1 on TBS Japan
Kampfer (German for "fighter") is the latest in a long tradition of gender-bending high school combat comedies - though by "long tradition" we really mean Ranma 1/2. The story starts when Natsuru Senou, an average high school guy, wakes up to find himself in the body of a beautiful girl. A talking stuffed animal informs him that he has been chosen as a Kampfer, a girl who exists only to fight (the stuffed animal neglects to mention why he has to turn into a girl in order to fight, though it really is just an excuse to sneak more busty girls into the show). Hijinks ensue when he finds more Kampfers at his school who are itching for a brawl, and a series of misunderstandings causes his best friend to fall in love with Natsuru's feminine side!
Kampfer follows the formula for a martial arts brawl-slash-high school romantic comedy pretty closely, but it's being backed by all of the star power and promotion that the Starchild label can muster. It has an all-star cast, production values that promise to be through the roof, and a collection of great musical artists attached to it. Add it all up, and this should be a pretty enjoyable series, as long as you can turn your brain off and enjoy the cheesecake-heavy ride.
Starts: 10/17 on DATV
Winter Sonata is an anime adaptation of a massively popular Korean show with the same name, which was made in 2002 and almost single-handedly created an international craze for Korean-made dramas. The complex plot starts with Kang Joon-sang, a cold and introverted young man, and Jung Yu-jin, an innocent girl, as they meet and fall in love in high school. After Joon-sang is killed in a car accident, Yu-jin is forced to move on with her life. Ten years later she meets Lee Min-hyung, who looks so much like her lost love Joon-sung that she postpones her wedding plans and tries to find out just who Min-hyung is.
This anime has huge shoes to fill, as the original work it is based on was a masterpiece of melodrama that is still popular today. Winter Sonata needs to preserve everything that made the original great - a deep storyline that deftly weaves a tale of romantic intrigue into an often-gorgeous tableau and a memorable cast of villains and heroes who always evoked passionate emotions. Interestingly, most of the original cast has returned to voice their characters, which is a good start to recapturing the magic that made Winter Sonata an international sensation!
Starts: 10/6 on NHK-BS2
Kobato is the latest work by manga superstar studio CLAMP (Card Captor Sakura, Chobits) to be adapted into an anime. The story touches on the magical girl genre, as a naive young girl named Kobato Hanato and her talking dog Ioryogi try and collect the heartache and suffering of the world into a magic bottle she carries. As she cures people of their sorrow and pain, the bottle fills up little by little, and once the bottle is full, Kobato will be granted a wish. To keep moving toward her goal, she starts working at a kindergarten, and becomes involved in the personal lives of all the people who work there.
With the usual palette of gorgeous CLAMP character designs and excellent animation from Madhouse (Rosen Maiden, Hellsing Ultimate), Kobato comes with some pretty strong hype for male and female audiences alike. For those looking for a lighter drama than the extremely melodramatic and tragic Winter Sonata, Kobato will probably be easier on your stress level.
Watch the official trailer for an early look at the show, which promises to be lighthearted without being fluffy and meaningless.
Starts: 10/1 on TBS Japan
Nyankoi! is a high school romantic comedy aimed squarely at cat lovers. Our hero, Junpei Kousaka, is a normal high school student who hates cats and is allergic to them to boot. One day, the ailurophobic Junpei finds out that he has angered the local cat god with his actions, and in order to appease the god, he has to fulfill the wishes of a hundred cats or he'll turn into a cat himself! His newfound ability to understand cats will help him on his quest, but he still has to get over his hatred of cats before it's too late - and hopefully, he can win the heart of his classmate, Kaede Mizuno, in the process.
Based on a manga by Sato Fujiwara, Nyankoi promises to deliver plenty of high school romance hijinks with a bit of a fantasy twist, as Junpei's desperate quest to make cats happy gets misinterpreted by the many cat-loving girls around him.
Check out the trailer website for a look at the show in motion.
Starts: 10/2 on Animax
Based on a series of light novels by Ishio Yamagata, Tatakau Shisho - The Book of Bantorra is set in a world where the souls of the dead are turned into books and stored in a library. A young man named Koria Tonisu becomes caught up in the war over control of these books when he is brainwashed by a mysterious organization and sent to kill the world's most powerful librarian. Things get a bit more complicated when he falls in love with his target, in spite of the bomb in his chest that is supposed to kill him if he fails.
The series has the same kind of gothic European atmosphere and mystical action that infused Fullmetal Alchemist, and fans of FMA may find the Book of Bantorra to be worth a look - if nothing else, it oozes style and flair, and that counts for a lot.
There isn't much more information available yet, so just watch the trailers (warning: Japanese) to see what we're talking about.
Starts: 10/4 on ATX
Decades after a terrible war over demonic pacts ravages the land, a young knight named Cecily Cambell is in search for a blacksmith who can repair her family sword. She finds him one day when a young man named Luke Ainsworth saves her life. Attracted by the power of his sword, and the possibility that he can fix her heirloom, she finds out that he has made a pact with a demon of his own.
As a relatively normal fantasy epic, The Sacred Blacksmith shows a lot of potential - it has a large body of work to draw its stories from, with 8 novels published by Isao Miura and a season light on competition in the epic fantasy department.
That's it for this installment of the fall anime preview. Are you looking forward to any of these shows, or are you going to skip out on them in favor of shows like InuYasha: The Final Act?
Coming up in part 2: sequels and spinoffs to popular shows!