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Happy New Year, Seki-Readers! With the lack of sempais in Sekijitsu at the moment, we’re planning to skip a Winter First Impressions for the year. This was rather disappointing, as I always looked forward to these collaborations and especially this season, with a lot of great anime to discuss. I couldn’t hold it off anymore and I knew I just had to talk about some of these shows, so I’ve taken up the initiative to create thoughts on some of the series that caught my eye for the upcoming season. Unfortunately, this may not cover some of your favorite shows, like Chihayafuru, but I think it’s got enough to talk about. Without further ado, let’s go ahead!

AKB0048 Next Stage

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I never really had much of an expectation for the first season of AKB0048, as it reminded me of shows from my elementary school life, like Pretty Cure and Ojamajo Doremi. The bubbly art style didn’t make it much better. I guess I just wanted to brace myself and enjoy having mindless fluff pass through my brain. In the end, I quite liked it. Of course, there were instances where I wanted to scream at the characters for being so naive and weak, but that’s really what a shoujo series like this is for. In the end, I was actually looking forward to watching the second season in 2013, and here it is. The first season left a lot of plot holes and such to be tied, and I hope that Next Stage will do a good job with doing so. Plus, I (embarrassingly) admittedly got hooked on some of the songs and started singing along with the characters at some point. It would be great if we could focus on the idol cast, rather than the trainee cast, more this season. Surely, they weren’t all perfect and beautiful from the start, were they?

Expectations: If the show keeps it up consistently, mirroring the first season, then I’ll be happy with it. Anything else might destroy the lovable, cheesy, chick-flickness of it all.

Amnesia

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My, my, my – the animation, the art, and the characters are all pretty. In terms of Umizi-rating, that’s not bad at all. The only thing I’m skeptical about was how misleading the season preview chart, not to mention the summary and basically all the promo art, was. I definitely did not expect this to be an otome game, and you know how those things work. Uta no Prince-Sama didn’t turn out so badly, but Arcana Famiglia was a total flop after a strong first episode. Since I’m already writing this, I might as well continue to talk about this show. One upside is that you’ve got supercell‘s Nagi singing the opening song, which is always a welcome treat. Plus, the only thing that matters for me in anime that are based off of otome games are that one, the female character isn’t the annoying type that makes me want to hate her, and two, the guys have to be remotely attractive. I mean, if this goes down the same road as most otome shows, we can just start pairing guys together, right?

Expectations: Besides that fact that the animation’s not too shabby, it seems like one of those shows you can watch with little commitment. I’ll watch this show with little expectations and see what happens.

Hetalia: The Beautiful World

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Do I really need to explain this further? This is Hetalia, guys! If I ever get a moment to fangirl about what may be the most mundane, overrated, shounen-ai-implied series of all series, here it is! I can’t really bring myself to explain why I love Hetalia the way I do, but I guess once you get attached to something, even when you take your attention off of it for a while, not matter how bad it turns out to be, you can’t help but love it. I really enjoyed the first four seasons of Hetalia, in all its randomness and failed attempts to teach you history. I found the weird rainbow-floweriness of the art style to be hilarious, though as Himaruya Hidekaz, the original mangaka, had his style change into something more beautiful and less gag-oriented, I wished the anime did too. Lo and behold, Hetalia decided to have a staff switch for season 5, so it’s literally like taking Himaruya’s art style and animating it! Look at how pretty all the characters have gotten now! I’m sure all the fangirls are raging with happiness.

Expectations: No words can describe the amount of excitement I have for this series. I just really hope that a lot of minor characters from the webcomic can make it on the series, just so they can get the same gorgeous studio art-makeover that the main eight have.

Maoyuu Maou Yuusha

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Having Fukuyama Jun as our male protagonist increases the rating of this show in my eyes by tenfold. Besides that, I’m not quite sure what to say about this. The art style, for one, completely twists my mind; I look at it from one angle and I see Sword Art Online, another angle gives me K-On! Alright, even if it’s a SAO repeat, it can’t be that bad, right? The plot seems rather substantial. Then, I looked up the studio – Arms. I haven’t heard much about the studio, so I look up what series they’ve produced, since I would be able to link the art style to my memory. It ends up being that Arms is the studio for Elfin Lied, Ikkitousen, and a bunch of other hentai-related videos. I definitely did not expect that, then again, from the manga scans that I’ve seen, I should have known better. Not even Fukuyama Jun can save this now.

Expectations: Clearly, I misjudged this show. If it’s going to end up as an ecchi-fest, all hopes for this series goes down the drain.

Nekomonogatari (Kuro)

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By now, you know that my love for the Monogatari series is endless. It’s somehow eccentrically beautiful, and though I think nothing can rival the original Bakemonogatari, I love the way this show ended up unraveling. Though Mayoi and Nadeko are two that I don’t really care much about, Senjougahara and Suruga are welcomed faces – it’s too bad that they won’t be showing up in Nekomonogatari, as this is supposed to be set before Bakemonogatari. Of course, it’s always a good opportunity to be learning about what happened in that five-second flash of gory events in the beginning of Bakemonogatari‘s first episode, but honestly, I never did like Tsubasa and Araragi is kind of dull without a Senjougahara or even a Suruga to foil him. I am looking forward to more Shinobu, of course, because nothing is better than a vampire that can transcend ages. Kizumonogatari, the other OVA, will also be coming out, so I’ll be looking out for that too. If SHAFT is going to adapt all of Nisio Isin’s novels, then I am definitely relieved for Senjougahara’s return.

Expectations: It’s Studio SHAFT, what can you expect? As long as you have the crazy camera angles, head tilts, and everything from the first two seasons, then this will be a smooth ride. Of course, as this is pre-Senjougahara and I’m not too fond of Tsubasa, I’m not sure if I’m looking forward to it too much, but anything the Monogatari series will give, I will take.

Savanna Game

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From first glance, this is like a love child of half the anime series from 2012. You’ve got the main character/heroine sidekick group, not to mention the art style and the RPG theme, of Sword Art Online – I’m sure we all had high expectations for an RPG-oriented show like SAO, so hopefully, Savanna Game won’t end up as badly as it has. The blood and the object of killing reminds me of BTOOOM! (the female protagonist too, in a sense) which was something I tried to stay away from for the entire season. With a male protagonist like Kirito and a female heroine like Himiko, I have high hopes for the other male sidekick to make things refreshing. Then again, the concept and traveling and battling in a time-space continuum sounds much more interesting that it’s supposed to,  yet the main point of the plot sounds like Hunger Games/Battle Royale material. Is it bad that I really, really want this to become, in analogous terms, the next biggest surprise since Madoka Magica?

Expectations: From the looks of the manga samples, it doesn’t seem to be as bad as its similar predecessors. I’ll definitely be looking out for this, and I really, really, hope this is going to be good.

So that concludes Umizi’s thoughts on shows she could possible cover for Winter 2013! I think one of the biggest lessons I need to learn is not to judge a book by the cover – yes, pretty things are pretty, but they’re not necessarily substantial. Plus, a lot of great shows that I’ve stumbled upon didn’t have the best animation; even so, I have high expectations for the shows that I’ve found hope in, and for the others, well…I just hope they get along just fine. So the big question is, what show am I going to cover for Winter 2013? With Amnesia and Maoyuu Maou Yuusha out of the game, and Hetalia and Nekomonogatari being shows I can’t exactly cover because of length, I’m left with Savanna Game and AKB0048 Next Stage. Though I love AKB0048, the way that the series plays it safe makes each episode pretty uniform and dull to talk about – so I’ll go with Savanna Game. Hopefully, I’ll be able to cover the Monogatari OVA’s when they come out too – please look forward to more of my reviews in the New Year! Thanks for reading!