Spring 2013 Anime Preview

Every three months, like clockwork, Japanese TV remakes itself. A bunch of shows end, a bunch more start, and many continuing series bring out new opening and closing sequences.

Most anime series run for only three or six months. Throw in that there’s no such thing as rerun season, and that’s a lot of space that needs to be filled. This is how the anime industry produces such incredible variety.

Of course, this also means that every three months is a chance to reflect that Sturgeon’s Law truly applies to all art forms. But in the spirit of optimism, here’s a quick rundown of the more notable new sf anime shows coming our way in the next couple weeks.

(Note: Not all of these shows have official English names yet; parenthesized names are your correspondent’s translations of the ones that don’t.)

Arata: The Legend


The premise: In an alternate world where the gods are real, the only available heir to take up a hereditary priestesshood is, awkwardly, a boy. To make things worse, when he flees an assassination attempt at his investiture, he somehow winds up trading places with a boy from our world.

The buzz: This is based on a manga by Yuu Watase, who was also responsible for the much-beloved Fushigi Yūgi: The Mysterious Play, so her name alone has a lot of people planning to check it out.

Premiere: April 8

Attack on Titan


The premise: In a future where humans live in fortified cities and fear the attacks of giants, a boy wants to join the scouts who are the only people who venture outside the walls.

The buzz: Based on a highly-rated manga, original setting, should do well.

Premiere: April 6

Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge (The Severing Crime Edge)


The premise: She’s cursed with uncuttable hair. He has a pair of magical scissors which actually can cut her hair. Together, they fight crime! the people who are out to kill her. And there will be romance.

The buzz: It’s hard to see past the gimmick and tell whether or not it’s going to be just another paint-by-numbers supernatural romance.

Premiere: April 3

Devil Survivor 2: The Animation


The premise: Thirteen high school students sign contracts with the Devil to protect the world against some kind of invasion.

The buzz: Not only is it a video game adaptation, it’s an adaptation of a video game sequel, so… really, if it’s any good, that’ll be a pleasant surprise.

Premiere: April 4

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet


The premise: A young soldier who has grown up knowing nothing but war against an alien race falls through a time warp and finds himself on the legendary planet Earth, where humans live in giant floating cities. Now he has to adjust to a life at peace.

The buzz: Through the roof. The author is Gen Urobuchi, late of Madoka Magica, which is currently a top contender for best anime series of the decade. Plus the art looks great and it isn’t an adaptation, sequel, or copy of anything. If this is anything less than excellent, many people will be bitterly disappointed.

Premiere: April 7

Ginga Kikōtai Majestic Prince (Galactic Robo-Squad Majestic Prince)


The premise: Genetically engineered teenagers operate giant robotic weapons to defend humanity.

The buzz: “Special teenagers are the only ones who can pilot mecha” is one of the oldest plots in anime. Even the definitive deconstruction which almost killed the idea for good happened almost 20 years ago. (Yes, Evangelion fans, you are old now.) It’s really hard to work up excitement about yet another iteration of it.

Premiere: April 4

Hataraku Maō-sama! (The Demon King Who Works!)


The premise: A demon king has been defeated by a hero, so he drifts into our world where he is forced to find a job to support himself.

The buzz: Meh.

Premiere: April 4



The premise: A secret organization fights super-criminals with technology and superpowers, and then puts on shows to entertain the populace.

The buzz: Despite the silly-sounding premise and frilly artwork, word from fans of the manga is that it’s actually dark sf. The main worry is that since the manga is still in progress, the show may have to diverge from it significantly in order to have a proper ending.

Premiere: April 3

Red Data Girl


The premise: A girl who has lived her entire life at a famous shrine is suddenly directed by her guardian to start attending high school. Coincidentally, something terrible happens on her first day of school and she learns about an old family secret.

The buzz: Based on an award-winning novel (an actual full-length novel, not a “light novel”), so it ought to be good…

Premiere: April 3

Space Battleship Yamato 2199


The premise: A reboot of the show known in the West as Star Blazers.

The buzz: Surprisingly little, but once it starts airing you can expect all the usual arguments that a remake stirs up.

Premiere: April 7

Valvrave the Liberator


The premise: When a small nation is invaded by its superpower neighbor, a teenage boy winds up operating a mysterious humanoid weapon.

The buzz: Every Gundam fan in the world is already convinced that this is a Gundam ripoff.

Premiere: April 11

Zettai Bōei Leviathan (Leviathan, the Absolute Defense)


The premise: Based on a mobile RPG, it’s set in a fantasy world where a fairy and three dragon girls fight evil.

The buzz: Nonexistent.

Premiere: April 6

Personally, I’m most excited about Gargantia, and have high hopes for Arata, Karneval, and Attack on Titan. But I’m going to be checking out the first episodes of all of these in the next couple weeks, so stay tuned!

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  1. A lot of these series seem pretty darn exciting. Especially Gargantia and Attack On Titan. It's helpful to know about these series beforehand as I'm usually 6 to 12 months behind on modern anime. Also I partially agree of your trend of early reservations or excitement of a series depending on the original medium the of the story, especially when it comes to anime, but there are always lots of exceptions to the rule. Thanks for the heads up!

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