Thursday, October 11, 2012

:anime: HardDoor's Seasonal Anime Preview 2012-13 Special:: noitaminA (Autumn, Winter)

Back once again is HardDoor's coverage of noitaminA's offerings for the season--but this one is a bit different than previous installments. For one, information on both series has been rather slow and vague until recently (Robotics;Notes had some since its PS3 game counterpart was announced, but it wasn't terribly clear what it was all about, whereas PSYCHO-PASS wasn't detailed until the last month or so). Two, with the latter taking up two cours and the former, thus far, looking like the standard 11 eps., no other series has been announced yet to fill Winter's of slot 11 eps.. And three, Production I.G is handling both series, returning to the block after the ill-fated GUILTY CROWN.

There tends to always be an unintentional theme each season, but instead of the "all-star staff/casts" of the past two, this one feels more like a case of "If that anime was popular for x reason, why not this one for x reason?!" It remains to be seen if that mindset will pay off (spoiler: most often than not, no), but fortunately, both series have been acquired by FUNimation for streaming, set for, well, today, so let's get on with the preview!

©Robotics;Notes Partner


Debut: October 11, 2012
Director: Kazuyu Nomura
Studio: Production I.G
Links: Official Site (Anime), Official Site (Game), noitaminA English SiteOfficial English SiteANN Entry, MAL Entry
Video: FUNimation, Hulu
Picture Source: As is from Official Site (Anime) (top image)

Synopsis: Members of an endangered high school robotics club attempt to create their own giant robot for a robot contest in order to save it.

Personal Take: The third in a game franchise series by makers 5pb. and Nitroplus, Robotics;Notes likewise recieved an anime adaptation (ChäoS;HEAd by Madhouse in 2008, the highly-lauded Steins;Gate by WHITE FOX in 2011). Its inclusion in noitaminA likely hems from the block's continued effort at appealing to a wider base while still retaining its high standard of quality, no doubt propelled by S;G's huge success (and a character from that series appears here, too!). However, though, I can't really find myself getting too excited about either of this season's shows. R;N's underwhelming promos do nothing for me, nor it's premise. I'll still check it out, but it's not exactly high on my "Must Watch" list…

©PSYCHO-PASS Production Committee


Debut: October 11, 2012
Director: Naoyoshi Shinotani (Series: Katsuyuki Motohiro)
Studio: Production I.G
Links: Official Site, Official English Site, noitaminA English SiteANN Entry, MAL Entry
Video: FUNimation, Hulu
Picture Source: Slightly modified (de-transparent) from Official Site ("Story" section)

Synopsis: In the future, law enforcement--and judgement--are dispensed on the spot by teams of "Enforcers" and "Inspectors". Through the use of weapons called "Dominators", one can discover a person's "Psycho-Pass" to determine their mindset and psyche, revealing their likelihood for criminal behavior.

Personal Take: Kept under wraps for a lengthy period, the original anime PSYCHO-PASS appears to be the more significant of the two titles airing on noitaminA. Besides the surprise contribution of REBORN's Akira Amano with character designs, there is the involvement of Madoka Magica scribe Gen Urobuchi, who was tapped to handle the series story and co-script work, an ED by supercell-related group EGOIST, a live-action directer at the series' helm, not to mention the many heavy-hitting sponsors behind it. Including a potent and genuinely-interesting premise and a mature feel, and P-P should feel like a big-time event, but again, there's something about it that doesn't grab me.

The conceptual visuals look very nice and appealing, but that hasn't really transferred to the actual animation designs and footage, which drift too far from Amano's good work. Urobuchi is the main selling point after Madoka's runaway success and has done some pretty good mature works in the past, most recently the novel which was the basis for the hit Fate/Zero, but even that has not been enough of an incentive to get me excited about this one (not that I'm expecting the second coming of Madoka, or anything). The staff behind it wants to buck anime trends (don't mention the word "moe" to them…) and seem gun-ho about P-P ("very masculine mindset" and trouble including hooks for female viewers? Uh oh…), so the ball is in their court to pull it off. I mean, it shouldn't be that hard to top GUILTY CROWN

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