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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Looking Ahead:

The fall anime premieres were a blast.  Finding three great shows from out of the rubble of terrible trash is always fun, like an Easter Egg hunt except in autumn instead of spring.  But what can we look forward to next?

The obvious answer is the Winter anime season.  It's just been announced today that Saki's next season will be starting this January.  I assume it will be twelve episodes or so and cover all the content available currently in the Saki manga -- from the start of the nationals until the end of the semifinal match.  By the time the anime has aired the manga will be wrapping up that portion, so it's excellent timing.  My only worry is if the anime tries to over leap the manga and make its own filler ending by including the finals that haven't happened yet in the manga.  That section is best left for a fourth season at some later date.  After all, even after the team tournament, there's no reason for Saki to end because there's also the individual tournament afterwards.  In that case, a fourth season that starts at the finals and then moves on to the individual tournament would have all the content you could ever ask for.

Joining Saki will be the long anticipated new Sailor Moon.  In addition, on New Year's Eve, Sword Art Online is getting a movie-like release, which will undoubtedly announce a second season for television.  The script for this movie-like episode was written by Reki Kawahara so this is not filler but a genuine extension of the best series in modern anime history.

Once the third movie for Madoka Magica comes out, I would be surprised if a sequel wasn't announced as well.  The author always said they had wanted to spend more time on the series, and it's one of the best selling anime of all time, so it's kind of foolish to just abandon the property so long as there's anything left to be squeezed from it.

Today it was announced 'for sure' that JoJo's season 3 is in production.  A couple days ago it was Strike Witches that went from a nebulous 'to be continued' to a 'season 3 incoming' status.  Other highly anticipated series include the Fate/Stay remake, Fate/Prism Ilya 2wei, Little Busters EX, Hanamonogatari, Kizumonogatari, and Sora no Otoshimono 3.

Putting aside series with known track records, the anime announcement of Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei is huge news.  This is the second highest selling light novel in Japan, behind only SAO.  It's bound to be similarly good.  In addition, the anime adaptions of Grisaia and Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai are also sure to be hits, because these are extremely popular and acclaimed visual novels.

In spring of 2014, the Love Live anime resumes, which is cause enough for celebration.  There have also been announcements for more Broken Blade, Prince of Tennis, Higurashi, Girls und Panzer, Evangelion, Code Geass, Lyrical Nanoha, Kenichi, GITS, To Love ru, and Idolm@ster.  These might just be movies, oavs, and spinoffs, but it all adds up.  An episode here, an episode there, and suddenly you've got a whole new season of the franchise you love.

Also, Doki Doki Precure is rounding the corner and approaching a suitable end, which means it's just about time to find out what the next season of Pretty Cure is going to be.  The best anime of all time is going to yet again be the flagship of 2014, just like it has been ever since it began in 2004.  Just today the New Stage 2 Precure movie became available in blu-ray, and it was again a tear jerking masterpiece.  The nostalgia factor of getting to see Cure Blossom and Cure Marine in action again alone would have made this movie great, but the movie-quality art and animation of the original Pretty Cure team that came out in an age before HD and widescreen was also amazing.  Poor Cure Happy getting encased in crystal while still smiling and speaking compassionately to her attacker was the most moving moment imaginable.  Soon the new Doki Doki Precure movie will come out, and the march of perfection will just continue on trampling everything else underfoot as a joke in comparison.

Other continuing series will include One Piece, Naruto, and Hunter x Hunter.  Perhaps most importantly, by 2014 we are sure to see the release of Buu Kai, the last remaining piece for a perfect rendition of the most famous and beloved anime series of all time.  It's even possible Fairy Tail will be returning.  It's also likely that the Naruto and Bleach mangas will come to satisfying conclusions some time in 2014.  There is nothing more satisfying than reaching the ending of an epic length story, and to think that we'll get two of them at once in 2014 is intensely gratifying.

In 2014 all the remaining good shows that aren't in blu-ray yet will become available in blu-ray, including the all important Mononoke Hime.  The PS4 will come out, and will get great games like FF XV (which we've been waiting a decade for) and DW8 + XL (with five great new characters, a new storyline, and improved graphics).  Tales of Xillia 2 will become available in North America for the first time, as will FF X/X-2 remastered.  The X-2 remaster will allow the outside world for the first time to get the expansion pack content Japan got a decade ago, including three new classes (dress spheres).

It's also likely we'll be getting a new Tales game in 2014, in addition to the Symphonia + Symphonia 2 HD remaster.

Most of the spots in the 2014 World Cup have already been assigned, but in the coming month of November all the remaining playoffs will be played out and the teams will be finalized.  Meanwhile the winter Olympics are also rapidly approaching.  I'm happy for Russia that they'll get to participate in both events, plus the 2018 World Cup automatically as the host country.  Russia hasn't had much positive to talk about for a long time, so maybe this will buttress their spirits.

The college football season is as thrilling as ever, and like usual is shaping up to be a contest between the SEC and 'everybody else.'  With 8 of the top 25 ranked teams coming from the SEC and the previous 7 national championships, it's an open question if anyone can compete on the same playing field as this power conference.

There's also the possibility that in the near future the last few episodes of Yes Pretty Cure 5 Go Go, Ojamajo Doremi Dokaan, and Daa! Daa! Daa! will be translated, completing these three ancient classics which for the first time will be made available to the western world.  Plus the Fate/Ataraxia visual novel's translation is nearly complete, Da Capo III R is getting a western release, and Da Capo III P2 is coming out in Japan.  Perhaps the most highly anticipated visual novel release, Key's Angel Beats, should be coming in the first half of 2014.

Looking back at 2013, we were blessed with many great moments, like Railgun S, Monogatari Second Season, Fate/Prism Ilya, Oreimo season 2, Haganai season 2, Love Live, Hunter x Hunter's chimera ant arc, Little Busters, and Kiniro Mosaic.  Tales of Xillia and Dynasty Warriors 8.  Doki Doki Precure.  The fan translation of If My Heart Had Wings.  The fan translation of Rewrite.  The fan translation of Tomoyo After Story.  The PS4.  But even with all the accomplishments this year managed to obtain, 2014 is destined to be better.  After all, even though we know so little about what will be coming next year, there's already this much to look forward to.

Compared to everything to be thankful for things like the debt limit everyone's getting in a tizzy about are simply trifling.  The economy will always make do somehow or other, and technology is inexorably on an upwards course.  (Just ask Intel).  Rather than worrying about nonsense, everyone would do better to be anticipating the happy days to come.  2014 in particular is a time of festivals and worldwide cooperative celebrations.  Even if one desires to normally be gloomy and thorny, that can at least wait until 2015 when nothing's going on.  2014 is a time for smiles, and a chance to focus on the present, which just so happens to be the best time period in human history.

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