Winter Anime Season 2015: Returning Shows

Excited about all the brothers and sisters making their debut this season? (See the New Shows season preview here if you need a quick refresher.) Well, it gets better. Joining them are some siblings who have come back after a short time away, so be sure to say hello. (Just be sure to view their earlier appearances before doing so.)

Tsukimonogatari

Tsukihi and Karen kneeling on Koyomi Araragi's bed

The latest entry in the Monogatari series continues the odd life of Koyomi Araragi. As he prepares to take the college entrance exam (and leave his sisters, Karen and Tsukihi, behind), he undergoes an unexpected change that forces him to rexamine how he’s been dealing with his encounters with Oddities–a change that signals both an ending, or perhaps a new beginning?

By the time you read this, the four episodes that make up this story arc will have already aired, so go watch them. If, by chance, you’re new to the series, you might understand what’s going on in the arc and even get some laughs from the first half, but expect to be lost with some of the larger story elements. Don’t worry, though. Being amused and confused is normal, I said with a posed look.

ALDNOAH.ZERO

Aldnoah Zero title

The war between the Martians (humans who live on Mars) and the people of Earth continues. What will be the legacy of Martian princess who sought peace between the two planets? What is Aldnoah? Will we ever get tired of epic space wars fought with giant mechanical suits? Let the answers come, though the heavens fall.

There isn’t a single person who saw that cliffhanger who didn’t want to see the next episode IMMEDIATELY. Thankfully, the wait is over. Similar series have sometimes stumbled a bit in their second seasons (Code Geass comes to mind), but they still finish strong. I can only hope for the best here, and I can’t wait.

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Kyoukai no Kanata: Spirit World Warrior Siblings

Hiroomi and Mitsuki Nase facing forward

Hiroomi Nase and his younger sister Mitsuki are members of a powerful family of specialists that fight hostile supernatural beings.
From the anime series Kyoukai no Kanata

Winter Anime Season 2015: New Shows

“Winter is coming” is the motto of a certain fictional medieval family, and it has, inevitably, arrived. Fortunately, it also brings with it an abundance of brothers and sisters to watch, so here’s a list of three brand new series I’ll be giving a warm welcome to. (I will cover returning series in a post in the near-future.)

Juuou Mujin no Fafnir

Yuu and Mitsuki facing one another as Iris looks on

Unlimited Fafnir begins twenty five years ago when massive life forms called Dragons suddenly appear across the world, wrecking havoc, and from then on, girls possessing their power start being born. In the present, for some reason, Yuu Mononobe is the only male in the world with the Dragons’ power and is sent to a special academy for those who have it. There, he meets fellow users and even reunites with his long-separated sister, Mitsuki, who also has the ability, and together, they learn more about and fight against the Dragon threat.

First of all, yes, the Only Guy Among Girls premise will likely remind many anime viewers of the similar Infinite Stratos series, except with Dragons as the enemy instead of other humans, but that’s fine. Even if the template is the same (right down to the use of Unlimited in the title instead of Infinite), they can still tell an interesting tale. Right? Right?

Seiken Tsukai no World Break

Moroha and Satsuki facing one another

World Break: Aria of Curse for a Holy Swordsman features another school that teaches students who have special abilities. In this case, both male and female students possess reawakened memories and skills from their past lives that were either weapon techniques or magic powers, but never both. It is here that Moroha Haimura meets a girl named Satsuki Ranjo, and it turns out that they were brother and sister in a previous existence. Not only that, Moroha finds out that he is the first person to have memories of both weapon- and magic-users, abilities that he will use to protect his sister and classmates, no matter the cost.

The world can always use more magical siblings, which is good. And the show certainly presents a … novel way of getting around the whole related-by-blood business, so there’s that. (Un)fortunately, there’s another love interest with similarly close ties to the protagonist, so it should be fun to see how it all plays out.

Shinmai Maou no Testament

Basara and his step-sisters

In contrast to the other two series, Basara Tojo already knows who he is in the action/eros series The Testament of Sister New Devil, but his life changes when he gets two new step-sisters after his father announces his plans to get remarried. Moreover, these are not just any girls; they’re literally demons, and even darker forces are after them.

The premise makes it sound like it’s a going to be a comedy series, but it’s not. I mean, there will be funny bits in there, but there will be plenty of fighting going on, too. It should be an interesting ride.

Witch Craft Works: After School

Honoka and Kasumi Takamiya shopping at a grocery store, walking home, and hanging out

Honoka Takamiya and his sister Kasumi don’t mind running errands and hanging out at home together.
From the anime series Witch Craft Works

Anime Release: Witch Craft Works OVA

Witch Craft Works title

Need some more witch activity in your life? You’re in luck because the OVA for Witch Craft Works has been released.

It’s been a year since the 12-episode drama/comedy series based on the manga came out, so here’s a bit of info for the unfamiliar.

Honoka Takamiya is your average high school student who has the (mis)fortune of sitting next to Ayaka Kagari, the most elegant and popular girl in school, and no matter what he does (or doesn’t do since they never talk), he cannot escape the wrath of those who idolize her. One day, when a falling building puts his life in danger, she saves him and reveals herself as a powerful witch dedicated to protecting him. It turns out he’s popular, too, but only among a faction of witches who want him for the hidden power within his body. Therefore, to better fulfill her duty, she vows to stay close to him, no matter how much trouble it causes.

Kasumi's friend asks her where babies come from

The OVA itself is a light-hearted side story that doesn’t focus on Honoka or Ayaka but rather on Honoka’s little sister, Kasumi, and how her life has been affected by all the mayhem going on. It’s not easy for her, but she’s not going down without a fight, even if she has to bring out an army of stuffed animals (or one giant one). It’s mostly played for laughs, so it’s all in good fun.

Here’s hoping a second season is announced sometime because this witchcraft definitely works.

Note for Series Newcomers: There are one or two relatively minor spoilers in the OVA, but if that doesn’t bother you, check it out to see if you might be interested in watching the show.

Dexter: Duo in the Dark

Debra and Dexter Morgan

Dexter Morgan: Blood spatter analyst for the police by day and serial killer by night.
Debra Morgan: Law enforcement officer unaware of her older brother’s murderous activities.
From the Showtime series Dexter

Image from Showtime

Anime Review: Ane Log OVA

Ane Log anime title

Much ado about nothing. Making a mountain out of a molehill. Blowing something completely out of proportion. Choose whichever idiom you want about taking a normal situation and making it appear much worse than it really is, and you have the basic formula for the comedy series Ane Log (Sister’s Log). And now, the manga by Kenji Taguchi has been turned into a twenty-five minute OVA (Original Video Animation).

Moyako realizing the fact that she and her brother have the same lunch

The premise is pretty straight-forward. When Moyako Konoe and her younger brother Akira were children, he innocently said he wanted to marry her. Now that they’re in high school, Moyako is completely convinced that Akira is a pervert who has fallen in love with her, and this huge misunderstanding has caused her to constantly create wild delusions about their normal daily interactions.

The OVA, adapted from the first several chapters of the manga, covers a typical day in Moyako’s life, from making breakfast at home and talking to her friend at school to walking home and finally taking a bath. But, as mentioned, no situation is too mundane for Moyako. Viewers will often hear the Jingle Of Realization and then watch with amazement as her imagination goes running off yet again into fantasyland.

Moyako's overactive imagination has turned her and her brother into a romantic couple

Since the joke format is always the same, the series’ challenge is to keep it fresh, which not only involves looking for new situations to exploit but also to create delusions that are still related in some way. Sometimes, it works; sometimes, it doesn’t, and the milk-pouring scene is one that certainly requires a stretch of the imagination. You can tell she’s working extra hard to make some sort of connection to the perverse, but fortunately, the rest of her attempts are smoother (in their own weird way).

Is the OVA worth watching? Yes. You’ll be hard-pressed not to crack a smile at Moyako’s mental gymnastics. Seriously, this girl should do Improv at a comedy club.