Just as predicted, the next season of Sword Art Online was announced today. The details are currently scanty, but here's what we know so far --
The same voice cast and studio are reprising their roles, which is always good, plus Miyuki Sawashiro, a very talented seiyuu, is playing Shinon.
So far, the only arc being previewed is Phantom Bullet. Gust Gale is of course a great story, but what I really wanted to see animated was Mother's Rosario, the heart and soul of what makes this series so great. Without Mother's Rosario, I'm unwilling to raise my SAO ranking any higher than it currently stands. After Gust Gale maybe they'll start advertising the subsequent stories, so who knows, my hopes are still high for this eventuality.
Thank God. It sure took them long enough to announce this season. And now it's finally coming, some time in 2014, so we won't have to wait much longer.
In other news, Haganai NEXT is finally available in blu-ray, thanks to the wonderful people over at Coalgirls.
In other news, Da Capo III is the most beautiful anime ever drawn. When viewed in blu-ray form, it just boggles the mind. Not only are all the characters ridiculously attractive on screen, but the environment even surpasses them. The sakura trees and blossoms always floating in the wind, the beautiful beaches, the overlooks that gaze out into the sea, it truly is a magical island. Da Capo III makes sense as a prologue. It uses the first nine episodes to just introduce everyone, going through the cast one by one with all the side characters given one episode for themselves. This makes a lot of intuitive sense. Then it uses flashbacks to explain how Da Capo III fits into the previous seasons, which is also intuitive. The only problem is the story ending with Sakura disappearing without ever explaining her adventure in the London Magic academy with Cattelya. You know there's actually quite a lot of meat to the story in there, and it's very sad to see it left unused. It would be like Little Busters without Refrain.
But look at it this way. The role of the visual novel is to tell the story properly and fully. The role of an anime is to be as beautiful as possible. If we just wanted story content, we could just read the visual novel. The value added of anime is precisely all the extra art we get when something is animated. As such, the Da Capo III anime added all the value it possibly could to the visual novel, while leaving nothing out because there's still the visual novel for everything else. This would be the perfect combination if D.C. III were translated into English. It hasn't been yet, but there should be a release eventually by Manga Gamer. When that time comes, the choice to make this anime fixated solely on visuals rather than plot progression will look ingenious.
If you're looking for the hidden treasure of 2013, it's most definitely Da Capo III. I already think anime style drawings are superior to classical art, so when I say D.C. III has the best anime art, I'm just plain saying it has the best art ever. Even if this were the only series that had come out this year, it still would have made 2013 memorable. As just one of 56 good series that came out this year, 2013 is most decidedly the best year in anime history.