My picks for the 2012 Summer Anime season.
Alright! New season, (mostly) new shows, and new release times. All’s looking good for a season that seemed really unexciting not more than a few weeks ago. I’ve come up with my picks for the Summer, and I’m pretty excited about all of them!
On the gaming side of things, I’ve finally picked up Hyperdimension Neptunia MK.II in all its controversial glory. I’ve seen a lot of the gameplay in action, though, and the combat seems infinitely more refined than the original. What I really hope for, though, is a better soundtrack. Hyperdimension I was really lacking in that department, and it made the battles feel really drab.
Otakon’s coming up, so I’m trying to figure out what (if anything) I should be trying to see or pick up as far as swag goes. Wallscrolls are a given, and maybe I’ll be able to find a few manga volumes that are a bit more … difficult to obtain these days via retail. Speaking of manga, I’ve picked up quite a bit of new reading material: Spice and Wolf vol. 6, Intrigues of Haruhi Suzumiya, the first two volumes of the Sailor V manga and the first volume of Is This a Zombie? Given that I know absolutely nothing about Zombie other than its massive popularity as an anime series, I’m a bit tentative on the whole ecchi thing, since it’s still categorized as mahou shoujo. Loli ecchi is not my cup of tea (go ahead, take a jab at me for saying this only moments after talking about Hyperdimension Neptunia), but since the book is actually shrinkwrapped on retail shelves … no quick flipthroughs for me. I place my faith in the collective uproaring fandom of the internet for this series to actually have interesting content, but I have the itchy feeling I’m just stepping on a landmine, here.
Onto this Summer’s picks!
I’m going to be honest, the only reason I was even remotely interested in the series is because I managed to check out some of the preview illustrations, and the art looked right out of K-On! While they don’t share the same developmental pedigree, the common link between the two is one of my personal favorites, Toyosaki Aki, who voices one of the main characters, Nagase Iori. From what I’ve seen, the character is a departure from Toyosaki’s more innocent roles — Iori is cute as a button but also has a sultry, mischievous side that works really well with Toyosaki’s quiet voice. The series hook itself is pretty interesting; a group of friends randomly swap minds with each other, leading to some pretty interesting encounters and on the fly adapting.
Sword Art Online:
From what I know, this is ‘the’ show of the season. It’s got a significant amount of hype behind it, probably at the Guilty Gear level, so I’m interested in seeing just what will happen. It seems a bit like .hack in that there are players trapped within an online game (that has turned, for all practical purposes, real) and they’re trying to get out. Tomatsu Haruka makes a big return as the seiyuu of the female lead; hopefully she’ll be able to make as big of a splash as she did with Misao from Asura Cryin’.
The veteran series continuing from the Spring season. The fighting-game-inspired Accel World was starting to lose my interest as I found the last story arc a bit drab and uninteresting. The new arc, however, is looking pretty solid, and if the new OP implies anything, there’s going to be a boatload of new characters to introduce to the series. Whether or not this means that another season is coming, we’ll have to see.
The surprise hit of the season for me. If there’s something I have a soft spot for in series, it’s music. I endured both White Album and Corda in hopes of getting an inspiring music-related series. The same goes for K-On! but … well, most everyone knows that K-On!’s theme is “fun things are fun,” so I didn’t get much music there either. Tari Tari looks a lot more music-centric while still focusing on that slice of life goodness that I want. And as far as I know, it’s not a visual novel adaption, so I should be safe from wild arc changes that cater to character shippers. What sealed the deal for me was a few minutes into the first episode, when the choir club was rehearsing a song — which just so happened to be the OP for True Tears, one of my favorite dramas. Since the two series share the same production teams (Lantis/P.A. Works), I had to dive right in. Also, keeping an eye on Seto Asami, the seiyuu of one of Tari Tari’s mains, who voiced Chihaya in Chihayafuru this past winter.