Anime Season Preview: Fall 2013

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Vacations are over. School is starting. Jobs are resuming. This can only mean one thing….. The fall anime season is now near us! Join Cole, Lucille, Letitia, Thea, Anthony, Alex, and Tristan as they take a look at every anime airing in the beautiful autumn months.

And here we are, the FALL 2013 ANIME PREVIEW GUIDE!! “throws confetti”…… Anywho, the preview is set up in a very simplistic way. For each anime, there is a short paragraph indicating our impression about the anime’s potential (based on an anime’s synopsis, director, studio, PVs etc), which is then followed by “The Bottom Line,” which is a quick, one sentence summary of what we think of the anime based on everything we have seen so far. Each anime preview will be concluded with links to their information page (via MAL) and links to their PVs. With all that being said, I hope everyone enjoys Population GO’s Fall 2013 Anime Preview!

Oh, and click HERE or HERE for a link to the Fall 2013 Anime Chart!!

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Tokyo Ravens - Studio: 8bit - Director: Takaomi Kanasaki

Letitia: Okay, I’m mixed about this one. I think it could be good and at the same time I wouldn’t be surprised if it wasn’t. The storyline is as follows: our main hero, Tsuchimikado Harutora is from a prestigious Onmyoji family, meaning his family specifies in magic and divination. But here’s the twist, Harutora can’t see spirit energy, so he leads a normal life as a high school student…until Tsuchimikado Natsume, childhood friend and heir to the head of the family, makes a sudden reappearance.

This really makes me think of Ga Rei Zero and then I get really happy and my hope for this anime to be successful grows! If this anime can bring on the occult awesomeness and character development that Ga Rei Zero did, then I would be a Happy Panda. After watching the PV, I’m not going to lie, the characters look typical – the best friend, the childhood friend, the schoolgirl who has a crush on the main, and the maybe crazy girl who likes lollipops. But, that means nothing. I really want to give this anime a chance.

The Bottom Line: Yes, this has the potential to be really good! I am definitely giving it a chance!

Links: InfoPVPic

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Walkure Romanze – Studio: 8bit – Director: Yuusuke Yamamoto

Lucille: Now, this show I actually have some hope for. Judging by the PV, I’m guessing that this is a harem series but with a definite “Main Girl,” and if done right, that always has potential for some fun comedy. But what intrigues me is the whole setting of a jousting academy. That could easily just be a gimmick to make it stand out from other generic harem stories, but the fact that it’s about the protagonist coaching his childhood friend to become a better jouster gives me the impression that it just might have a good deal of sports drama behind it, and as I mentioned above, I’m always hopeful at the prospect of a show featuring some sort of women’s sports. Of course this will also obviously have a bunch of moe clumsiness at first (the PV is littered with fanservicey images of the heroine amateurishly training), but still I like the whole idea of a male lead helping his friend to better herself at something.

One obvious problem that must be stated though is the use of breast-armor, which although common in anime, is very impractical in reality. The curve of the armor molded around the breasts would direct the force of a weapon inward, which is quite the opposite of what you would want in any sort of battle. Thus, the actual jousting in the show is going to require some suspension of disbelief to take seriously.

The Bottom Line: A harem anime about jousting? Count me in!

Links: InfoPVPV2Pic

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IS: Infinite Stratos 2 – Studio: 8bit – Director: Kikuchi Yasuhito

Thea: As the reviewer of the series’ first season, I never expected it to have a sequel, so it was quite a surprise when it appeared in the Fall 2013 line-up considering I think the last episode of the first series was a good way to close the series.

I do not know what to expect from the second season besides the obvious harem and the repetitive comedy elements. While the director and studio are the same, I am wary of the direction that they are heading as they are focusing on the harem genre as opposed to the action genre. I’m iffy about the new character designs because it became more cutesy due to the change in character designer. I wouldn’t be surprised if the change in character design was meant to imply the true direction.

The Bottom Line: It’s a series that fans would watch, but the direction is quite predictable considering the number of girls in the series.

Links: InfoPVPV2Pic

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Galilei Donna – Studio: A-1 Pictures – Director: Yasuomi Umetsu

Cole: Yay, noitaminA is back with more original programming! Out of the two series that will be airing in the Fall season, this is the one I am most excited for. The story follows “three moons,” who are technically the descendants of the Italian astronomer Galileo, and they are all on international wanted lists. While the animation here looks quite good (although the PVs are mostly just still pictures), courtesy of A-1 pictures, the big “shocker” here, for most people at least, is the director. Yasuomi Umetsu is known for directing the infamous anime Kite and Kite Liberator, which are, to put it mildly, a LOT different than what we are seeing here. Most people seem to focus on how dark and gritty it is (and of course, the hentai scenes), but in reality, it was directed quite well and had a cohesive storyline. I actually really liked it (NOT THE DIRECTOR’S CUT). I am not worried about him in the slightest.

The Bottom Line: This looks like a nice, soft-hearted show that has an interesting premise and a more than capable director. What else could one ask for?

Links: InfoPVPV2Pic

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Magi: The Kingdom of Magic – Studio: A-1 Pictures – Director: Koji Masunari

Alex: The tale of Alibaba and Aladdin continues in this second season of the hit manga adaptation. Following the first season which aired earlier in 2013, Magi: The Kingdom of Magic will pick up where the previous arc left off, with Alibaba and Aladdin on the threshold of a brand new adventure. The anime is rumored to rejoin the manga storyline with this second season, much to the joy of manga fans and newcomers alike. Set in a place called Magnostadt, our heroes will be facing new challenges and enemies in what looks like a very promising continuation of this epic retelling of 1001 Arabian Nights.
Honestly, I’m not sure what to expect from this second season. There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of information out there, since people either already know what is going to happen or are trying to avoid knowing what’s going to happen. The first season left something to be desired, and I am really hoping that The Kingdom of Magic will cleanse the palette of that very flat finale. On the other hand, those who have read the source material are wondering how the anime will recover from such a drastic departure from the canon story, so everyone seems to have a reason to watch come October. I can say that from what little spoiler free promotional material there is out there, it looks like Magi will be taking a much more serious turn, with plenty of darker magic and conflict. There’s really too little info out there to make a good judgement call, but suffice it to say that Magi has piqued my interest

The Bottom Line: There’s not a whole lot of buzz around this second season, but for fans of the first season will want to check this one out.

 Links: InfoPVPic

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Freezing Vibration – Studio: A.C.G.T. – Director: TBA

Thea: Freezing is quite an oxymoron in terms of the general plot. For those unfamiliar with Freezing, it is set in a world wherein aliens invade Earth. Genetically modified women are trained to fight the aliens while the men act as back-up. The women fighting could be seen as an empowerment for girls, but Freezing is known for its ecchi genre, so it becomes fan service in the end.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the ecchi elements were brought up. It really doesn’t help that when I think of Freezing, I think of girls slowly being stripped of clothes because of the damage that they were taking. However, I remember the first season ending with a radical twist of events that could make the second season more interesting.

The Bottom Line: It’s ecchi overload, but the plot twist from the first season could prove to be a game changer for this series. Follow with caution.

Links: InfoPV, Pic

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Super Seisyun Brothers – Studio: AIC Plus+ – Director: Masahiro Takata

Cole: Out of all the 5-minute short anime that are airing this season, this one looks like it could be the “best.” Yeah, using the word “best” when describing these short anime is always kind of weird, because no matter what show it is, they are usually only average (at best). There just isn’t enough time to sufficiently develop characters and a plot in the short run time, and the show usually suffers tremendously because of this. In Super Seisyun Brothers, we follow two sets of siblings, both having an older sister and younger brother, and follow them through their trials and tribulations. Again, it could be sweet, but, the 5-minute run time really holds it back from having a first look potential of anything more than “okay.”

The Bottom Line: If you are looking to add a 5-minute anime to your queue this season, this one just might fit the bill.

Links: Info, PVPic

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Wanna Be The Strongest In The World! (Sekai de Ichiban Tsuyoku Naritai!) – Studio: Arms – Director: TBA

Lucille: Something I’ve longed for is a sports anime about women, preferably a martial art where some hot-blooded bishoujos beat each other up, and it’s because of that that I am always hopeful whenever I see an anime involving women’s sports. Wanna be the Strongest in the World! is probably not the hardcore sports drama I’m imagining, however. This, quite simply, seems like it could either be a great fanservice-comedy, or a terrible fanservice-comedy. Some actual sports drama and quality wrestling would probably be too much to hope for from this, but there’s still a lot of potential for the wrestling to be used for some nice physical comedy and, ahem, arousing situations. But like virtually any fanservice series, it also has the possibility of just being terrible and generic.

The Bottom Line: This could either be a really great fanservice-comedy, or a really terrible fanservice-comedy.

Links: InfoPVPic

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Yuusha ni Narenakatta – Studio: asread – Director: Kinji Yoshimoto

Letitia: Another anime with a crazy title – I never noticed this theme before. Yuusha ni Narenakatta Ore wa Shibushibu Shuushoku wo Ketsui Shimashita and that translates to I, Who Didn’t Become a Hero, Reluctantly Decided to Find a Job. After watching The Devil is A Part-Timer, I’m starting to think no one has faith in heroes or devils anymore – or at least they are comfortable with demoting them to menial labor. I honestly think this anime will be funny but, from what I can tell from the pictures, will have a big handful of fan service. We have our “hero” Raul, who actually didn’t become a proper hero because the Demon Lord was defeated before he took his final exams. So Raul works at a magic shop, where he comes across the Demon Lord’s Heir, Phino, who is currently looking for a part-time job.

I like the premise so far. It sets itself up from some nice comedic scenes. Ever since I watched The Devil is a Part-Timer, I’ve been trying to keep my mind open to these types of anime. Here’s to hoping it’s worth the watch!

The Bottom Line: I think this could be a fun, light comedy! I definitely recommend that everyone checks this out!

Links: Info, PV, Pic

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Noucome – Studio: Diomedea – Director: Takayuki Inagaki

Letitia: What is up with the title of this anime? Ore no Nounai Sentakushi ga Gakuen Love Come o Zenryoku de Jama Shiteiru or, in English, My Mental Multiple-Choice Power Is Completely Ruining My School Romantic Comedy. Okay, I’m not looking forward to this. Kanade Amakusa is “cursed” with a symptom where he has to pick from a selection of multiple choices that appear before him, and whatever he chooses becomes a reality. I thought this would be a little bit more exciting, like he would have to pick from some extreme fantasy choices, but this seems more of a simple school-centered anime. Kanade simply picks from choices that range from embarrassing to just plain lucky. And his choices will affect his potential relationships with three typical anime girls. From what I have read and seen, nothing new stands out. The only cool thing is Kanade’s symptom and the hope that it will provide some good entertainment. Will I watch this anime? Probably not. Once I have the choice, I won’t find time for it. I usually avoid anime where girls fall from the sky – way too convenient.

The Bottom Line: Uhhhhhhh…no. You might want to skip this one. But, because I’m nice, if I find time, I’ll watch the first episode.

Links: InfoPVPic

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Gingitsune – Studio: Diomedea – Director: Misawa Shin

Cole: Okay, this one just looks cute. Gingitsune follows the adventures of Saeki Makoto and the fox spirit, Gintaro, as they develop their relationship and help out the people of their community. Yes, yes, that does not sound very unique or groundbreaking, but to me, that doesn’t really matter. The PVs look charming and it seems like this would take the Fall season’s “relaxing show” slot. This season we have Silver Spoon and I think Gingitsune would fill its shoes quite well. The only troubling thing here is the studio, Diomedea, which has, well, done basically crap (with the only exception being the Squid Girl series, and even that is debatable!). However, I still think Gingitsune will do what it is supposed to do, and even a below average studio couldn’t ruin its chances of doing that.

The Bottom Line: While it won’t be revolutionary or action packed, Gingitsune looks to be a charming and enjoyable addition to the Fall lineup.

Links: InfoPVPV2Pic

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Outbreak Company – Studio: Feel – Director: Kei Oikawa

Lucille: Those of you who are relatively new to anime may look at the premise of Outbreak Company and think that it’s brimming with potential parody for otaku culture. You may think it’ll have plenty of clever references to other works and satirical look on the various aspects of what otaku take pride in. You say to yourself “It’s based off of a light? Well Haruhi was also based off of a light novel so I’m sure this will be good!” Well, my good madams and sirs, here is what you shall soon realize: the vast majority of LN’s are utter wish-fulfillment garbage, and Outbreak Company will most likely be of no exception. A premise brimming with potential for biting satire you say? Preposterous! It may even present itself as some sort of parody or pastiche not meant to be taken seriously, but do not let that fool you; a main character going to a fantasy world and establishing a harem for himself is all for the sole purpose of give the audience a huge wad of wish-fulfillment and convince them to buy the BDs of the show. Welcome to the dark, cynical world of anime fandom.

(And yes, I am indeed using a strawman argument for this preview.)

The Bottom Line: This will most likely be light novel trash.

Links: Info, PV, Pic

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Coppelion – Studio: GoHands – Director: TBA

Letitia: Well this anime is reminiscent of almost realistic events. A nuclear power plant meltdown in Tokyo leaves the city deserted. But when a distress signal is received, Self-Defense Forces dispatch three girls to investigate. And these girls are anything but normal – they can fight AND they have strange powers AND they are immune to the radiation. Based off the manga with the same name, it was originally announced in October 2012 that it would be in development. But production was postponed due to the March 2011 tsunami, due to obvious reasons. But time has passed and the anime is ready for the Fall Season!

I found myself really enjoying the PV because of the contrast between the music and the actual scenes presented. The music is beautiful and the animation is stellar (look at those backgrounds!!!).  But I couldn’t surmise much more about the plot. All I know is that there will be some epic fight scenes, crazy girls, and mechanical enemies. What makes me most excited for this anime is the director, Suzuki Shingo, because of his work with Baccano! and R.O.D. I’m hoping this anime will be a little bit “quirky” like the ones mentioned.

The Bottom Line: Oh yeah! This looks like it is going to be good and hopefully it has a mysterious storyline and is full of dire stuations. I’m going to watch it!

Links: InfoPVPV2Pic

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BlazBlue: Alter Memory – Studio: Hoods Entertainment – Director: Hideki Tachibana

Cole: Daaaang, I really want this to be a good adaptation of the games. I am a huge fan of the BlazBlue series and I have played all of the games, so it makes sense for me to want to see a great anime adaptation of the series! However, there is always the issue of adapting a video game to an anime…. To put it nicely, it doesn’t always work. This season’s Danganronpa is fun, but lacking any sort of substance whatsoever, and last season’s Devil Survivor 2 was just lazy and boring….. So you see my dilemma. The characters in this franchise are so unique and so well loved already that it would be a disservice to completely botch this adaptation.

Alas, we also have the issue of BlazBlue‘s plot….. It is a little messy. Maybe this adaptation will be able to streamline plot events and create a nice pacing, because if it follows how the games reveal their plot threads, there will be trouble brewing. Too many things happen at too many different times for it to make sense, so a nice, concise plot would really be beneficial to the series as a whole. Oh, and I guess that, based on the PV, I am a little disappointed with the animation here. The games and their openings have crisp, colourful, and fluid animation, while the PV’s just sort of seemed…. flat. Hopefully, that was just because of the quality of the PV itself and was not an indication of the actual animation that will be present in the anime (although looking at Hoods Entertainment’s track record does not instill a lot of confidence….)

The Bottom Line: I am crossing my fingers hard for this one, because I know that if it is done right, it would be awesome! If not, well, I guess I can bury it with all of the other failed video game adaptations.

Links: InfoPVPic

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Golden Time – Studio: J.C. Staff – Director: Chiaki Kon

Anthony: I have a love-hate relationship with J.C. Staff, but its romantic-comedy releases have been pretty good. But as I read the synopsis for Golden Time, I have a hard time convincing myself that this will reach the same successes as the likes of The Pet Girl of Sakuraso, Honey and Clover and (gulp) Toradora! Plus this whole childhood friends promising to marry each other is getting old.
I guess if I was looking for the pros in all this, the characters aren’t high school students and Yui Horie is your lead girl.
The Bottom Line: The comparisons to Toradora! could be either good or bad, but I’m going to trust J.C. Staff to deliver a solid romantic-comedy series again.

Links: InfoPVPic

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Little Busters! Refrain – Studio: J.C. Staff – Director: Yoshiki Yamakawa

Alex: The second half of what has been an emotional run, Little Busters! ~Refrain~ promises to bring anime audiences the continuation and resolution of the popular Key novel. From the studio that brought us hits like Air and Clannad, Little Busters! ~Refrain~ promises to fill in the holes purposely left empty by the first season. Fans of the story will get to see this anime get another chance to bring out the full potential of the game, while the rest of us will be finally getting an ending that might live up to the hype. The Little Busters will be coming back in full force to take care of the unfinished business in this second installment of of this modern day epic.

In case you weren’t around to read my reviews of Little Busters! a year ago, let me bring you up to speed: I hated this anime. It was a torture rivaled only by the likes of Mirai Nikki and for that 26 week span, I kind of hated my life. So I hope you will forgive my incredible bias against this franchise. However, there is a lot in this second season that might be good even for grumps like myself. ~Refrain~ might actually give me reason to second guess my opinion, though honestly, that does not seem very likely. Every week I put up another review, I would consistently get reminded to give this show the benefit of the doubt, with lines like “it’ll be explained later” or something similar. Even if I hate this show on principle, I can see the appeal even if it doesn’t appeal to me. I really cannot see anyone enjoying this one unless they liked the visual novel or the first season or both, but I strongly doubt this one is for me.

The Bottom Line: Only for the very tolerant or very invested. Count me out.

Links: InfoPVPic

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Neppuu Kairiku Bushi Road – Studio: Kinema Citrus – Director: Masayuki Sakoi

Cole: Soooooooooo, this is an anime….. Apparently this is a mixed, multi-media mecha project, that has been in the works for 10 years….. And that’s it! Nothing else is known about this anime! There have been no news articles about whether this has been delayed again or if it is still airing. I guess I won’t hold my breath!

The Bottom Line: ?????????????

Links: Info, PV, Pic

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Kyoukai no Kanata – Studio: Kyoto Animation – Director: Taichi Ishidate

Lucille: Have you ever watched a Kyoto Animation anime and thought to yourself, “Golly, wouldn’t it just be swell if KyoAni would use their stellar visuals to make an action anime?” Have you ever thought that it’d be nice if they just did something a bit darker than their past shows of slice of life moe and melodrama-bait? Well the wait is finally over as we now have Beyond the Boundary, a dark fantasy action anime from KyoAni!

This is easily one of the series I’m most excited for this season, but there’s one thing which concerns me a little: it’s been a while since KyoAni has actually done any good drama. Yes, all of their latest four series have partially been dramas, but with the exception of Hyouka, it’s all been terrible. Chu2Koi’s glorification of chuunibyouism just came off as escapist; Tamako Market’s plot concerning Tamako possibly getting married was weird, and don’t even get me started on Free!. Perhaps this is just a few flukes, but as I said it just leaves me a little concerned.

Then again, one of their last series which was all-around serious and dramatic was Clannad: After Story, and the director for Beyond the Boundary also directed a handful of episodes for that show. So I’ll put my faith in that at least.

The Bottom Line: It’s essentially the KyoAni anime we’ve all been waiting for, but hopefully their last three shows aren’t any indicator of its quality.

Links: InfoPVPV2PV3Pic

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Unbreakable Machine-Doll – Studio: Lerche – Director: Kinji Yoshimoto

Thea: After reading four chapters of the manga, Unbreakable Machine Doll has potential in terms of concept, albeit it is one that is slowly becoming overused. I like how it connects magic to science amidst the fact that the story employs a battle to the death in an academy concept. There’s obviously a mystery behind the protagonist, which would be fun to see animated — though his doll says otherwise.

My likely issue with Unbreakable Machine Doll is that it’ll be animated by studio Lerche whose only work in terms of full-length series is Danganronpa. In fairness, I found Danganronpa quite decent so maybe Lerche isn’t that bad for a studio — then again, it also handled Carnival Phantasm. As for the director and series composition, they’ve both have their hits and misses.

The Bottom Line: It could be interesting, but it’ll all boil down to execution in the end. The team and studio behind Unbreakable Machine Doll have their hits and misses, so who knows what will happen.

Links: InfoPVPic

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Hajime no Ippo: Rising – Studio: Madhouse – Director: Jun Shishido

Lucille: Despite being arguably the most highly-regarded sports manga and anime of the past two decades, relatively few Westerners seem to have given Hajime no Ippo a try. This is probably because the length of the series is a bit daunting, with just the first two seasons of the anime being comprised of 100 episodes and a couple feature-length OVAs, and the source material being over 1000 chapters — making it one of the longest running mangas ever made. As of this writing, I myself have only seen the first 35 episodes, but most of you probably haven’t watched the series anyways, so instead of actually previewing Hajime no Ippo: Rising I’m just going to try and convince you all to give the series a try in general.

As I said, Hajime no Ippo is one of the most highly-regarded sports animes, and for good reasonThe fights throughout the series bring out all the hot-blooded action and tactical aspects of boxing which make it the greatest sport known to humanity (with the usual anime stylizations, of course). The protagonist Ippo is admittedly a bit bland, being yet another shy nice-guy protagonist, but it’s still the quintessential underdog sports anime. The rest of the cast is likable enough and fitting for the comedic aspects of the show, but probably the best part of the show is how it goes out of its way to give a substantial amount of backstory to each of Ippo’s opponents; painting each of them as merely opponents with their own motivations for boxing rather than evil caricatures. Each of their backstories are well-written enough to make you sympathize with them and root for them, which makes the fights all the more captivating since you actually care about both the fighters instead of just Ippo. For a series of its length, the pacing is wonderful too, as none of the fights or training arcs drag on too long, and enough time is given to really make each episode substantial.

The Bottom Line: Those who have watched New Challenger seem to agree that its a good enough series on its own, and if that’s true then Rising probably won’t be any different. So you don’t even necessarily have to watch the whole series to just dive into this third season. So come on, give Hajime no Ippo a try. It needs more love.

Links: Info, PV, Pic

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Samurai Flamenco – Studio: Manglobe – Director: Takahiro Omori

TristanSamurai Flamenco is the go-to hero show of the season. How much of it will be crime fighting? That question has yet to be answered. However, on visuals alone, it looks like it may have quite a bit. Or perhaps the anime may be one of those meta anime type ordeals where the characters in universe want to be heroes so badly that they are taking part in realizing that dream and are able to make their own hero type live action show within this anime — a series within a series. That may be difficult to wrap one’s head around, but it is almost similar to the premise shared by Tiger & Bunny, but this time fun and games instead of serious business. The cast is varied and the visuals pretty fresh. With the character designer of Uta no Prince Sama and Aquarion Evol characters behind it (lead character looks like an Ittoki Otoya or even an Amata look alike), I instantly fell in love at first sight. The coloring too and suit design also was something to sell others on.

The Bottom Line: Samurai Flamenco is worth one’s time as it has an interesting premise, great character designs, and looks to be one of the more fun types of shows this season. I think it’s safe to say that it will be a guaranteed winner for its two season run.

Links: InfoPVPV2Pic

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Teekyuu 3 – Studio: Mappa – Director: Shin Itagaki

Cole: Did I not just talk about this….. thing last preview? “sigh” Okay, well, this is a show about a tennis club and they talk really fast and they move really fast and the are always hyper and loud and annoying and just keep talking and talking and talking and talking because it is only 2-minutes long….. and it sucks.

The Bottom Line: Again, do yourself a favour and skip this. Your brain will thank you later.

Links: Info, PV, Pic

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Pokemon XY – Studio: OLM – Director: TBA

Anthony: Well, here’s to another new Pokémon series in full force. Ash is still ten years old and travels with Pikachu into the new Kalos region. The concept remains the same, as Ash promises to be the greatest Pokémon master there ever was. Well, after nearly two decades in, we’re waiting. (At least win the league championship, dude!)
Unless if you’re into the new Pokémon, this is just another saga to an eternally running series. Much of the series will be fillers and focus on the new Pokémon Ash has never seen. As with the previous installments, Pokémon XY will span for a number of seasons starting this fall.
The Bottom Line: Great for young Pokémon fans but nothing’s really changed. Hurts to say but you can outright skip it and just play the games when they launch.

Links: InfoPVPic

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Nagi no Asukara – Studio: PA Works – Director: Toshiya Shinohara

Cole: So, if you have been following my reviews since I started writing for PopGO, you know that I have always picked a PA Works title to review (even though I have only been reviewing for two seasons), and I don’t think this upcoming season will be any different. While my affinity for PA Works has bitten me before (*coughRedDataGirlcough*), the studio has pleased me more than it has hurt me (with anime like The Eccentric FamilyAnother, and Hanasaku Iroha). As always with a PA Works anime, the animation here looks gorgeous and the character designs are wonderful. For all that we know right now, the plot involves a girl who likes to cry a lot and her friend….. Yeah, pretty meh. Plus, the director here did…… RDG Red Data Girl, which was a bonafide mess. Yeah, I don’t think I will be holding my breath for this one.

The Bottom Line: While I usually do put my faith in a studio that normally produces good anime, like PA Works does, I can’t ignore the lame sounding plot and the director’s previous work. I’m nervous for Nagi no Asukara, but I hope PA Works will be able to keep it out of the trenches.

Links: InfoPVPic

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Kuroko no Basket 2 – Studio: Production I.G. – Director: TBA

Thea: Kuroko no Basuke 2 is the sequel to the initial season. Kuroko no Basuke has a large fan base with goodies being mass produced. I admit, I’m also part of this fan base. Kuroko no Basuke is unrealistic in terms of the basketball moves and plays, so for those who are stickers to the rules and mechanics, then best avoid Kuroko no Basuke. I could compare Kuroko no Basuke to Inazuma Eleven in terms of how crazy it can get in the plays, but the difference are the bishounen — the largest reason behind the fan base.

I am sure though that the series will be following the manga, which becomes more explosive. If I follow this assumption, the anime adaption of the series would reach its awesomeness in this season. However, I am a bit worried if they’ll cut it off or if they’ll make their own ending because the finals game hasn’t started in the manga.

The Bottom Line: A must-watch for fans who’ve only watched the anime. For others who weren’t convinced in the first season, this one might do a better job.

 Links: InfoPVPic

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Ace of Diamond – Studio: Production: I.G./Madhouse – Director: Masuhara Mitsuyuki

Anthony: I admit, I don’t watch many sports anime — if any at all with intent. Reason why this series kind of stands out is because Production I.G is attached to it and a lot of pretty darn good male voice talents for your hearing pleasure. If you don’t know about baseball in Japan, the Koshien championships is a huge, huge deal for high school baseball prospects. As a huge baseball buff, I figured this needed a bit more hype but when the selling point is about hard work and determination, I get Shonen Jump vibes. I don’t mean to hate but that can be a bit cheesy. (Believe it!)
The Bottom Line: Unless if you’re into baseball, you might have a hard time following it. This could be totally swing or miss in spite of a few high profiled names.

Links: Info, PVPic

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Arpeggio of Blue Steel: Ars Nova – Studio: Sanzigen – Director: Seiji Kishi

Lucille: Ars Nova is about a race of sentient battleships which take over Earth’s seas and force humans to stay on land, the battleships also being able to take the forms of cute moe girls. Now, laugh all you want at how this is yet another addition to the whole genre of cute moe girls doing war-related things, but I’m not going to lie that sounds like a pretty rad premise. Who wouldn’t want to see cute moe girls essentially piloting a warship and battling each other? And besides, “cute moe girls doing war-related things” is the best genre of anime. Period.

The big problem I forsee here, however, is that this is being directed by none other than Seiji Kishi. He’s the guy who has brought us just about every terrible game-to-anime adaption of the past few years, including Persona 4, Devil Survivor 2, and Danganronpa, and in general, his anime tend to only be successful due to the excellence of the source material rather than his own directorial abilities. (In other words, he’s a bad director.) So that’s reason enough to make me hugely skeptical over how good this will actually be.

Of special note is that Ars Nova is going to be a CGI anime. The vast majority of Japanese attempts at CGI animation have been rather unsuccessful, but in recent years, studios have finally been getting the hang of it. Judging by the PV for Ars Nova, the CGI is quite nice looking and fluid, and it seems like anime studios are finally at the point where they can produce quality CGI with just a television budget. Regardless of the actual plot, it’ll be interesting to see how the CGI is used here.

The Bottom Line: An anime about sentient battleships? That sounds awesome! — oh god no, please not another Seiji Kishi anime.

Links: InfoPVPV2PV3PV4PV5Pic

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Log Horizon – Studio: Statelight – Director: Shinji Ishihira

Cole: “sigh” Well, if this isn’t a tried and true premise, I don’t really know what could be considered one. This is yet another anime that has its characters stuck in an MMO and spend most of the series trying to find their way out. Yeah, yeah, it is just like SAO. I think the biggest difference I see here between Log Horizon and SAO is the genre; while SAO was (trying to be) a full fledged fantasy-drama, Log Horizon seems to be a little bit more like a fantasy-comedy. Based on what I have seen in the PVs, the show is not trying to take itself as seriously as SAO did, and that could be either a good thing or a bad thing.

Something that really worries me here is the author of the original light novels, Mamare Touno. He is responsible for writing…… Maoyu, which was quite bad. However, the director of this series is Shinji Ishihira, who directed Fairy Tail, which is a series that I quite enjoy! Yes, it is an easy-watching anime, but if Log Horizon could match the charm of Fairy Tail, it could be quite good! Then again, with this premise, I really doubt it.

The Bottom Line: To be completely honest, I am pretty much tired of this particular “idea.” For me, this one is an automatic skip.

Links: InfoPV, PV2Pic

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White Album 2 – Studio: Statelight – Director: Masaomi Ando

Anthony: I’ve seen White Album. Both seasons. If WA2 is anything similar to the first series, then I can anticipate a lot of drama involving a dude and a cast of ladies. And if it follows the same formula, hearts will be broken, excuses will be made, and people will be betrayed. I mean, I get it, it happens in real life. I guess for that, White Album 2 will do exactly that to portray relationship difficulties with the concept of music somewhere in the mix.
The Bottom Line: I don’t have high hopes for it, but it might satisfy your romantic needs if you’re looking for one.

Links: InfoPVPic

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Non Non Biyori – Studio: Silver Link – Director: Shinya Kawamo

Cole: CUTE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL GIRLS! KAWAIII! Yeah, so we are following their adventures in elementary school, so that should be fun! Actually, I do enjoy that these girls are in elementary school and not in high school. That’s a little different. Shinya Kawamo directed a .hack series and Kokoro Connect, so his track record doesn’t really make me think that he will be able to add anything new to the moe genre.

The Bottom Line: Do I really have to say it? If you want a show about cute girls doing cute things, this is for you. Everyone else, NEXT!

Links: InfoPVPV2Pic

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Strike the Blood – Studio: Silver Link – Director: Hideyo Yamamoto

Thea: Hideyo Yamamoto has worked on series such as Ghost in the Shell, Darker than Black, and Tsubasa Chronicles as a storyboard maker or as an episode director. Strike the Blood is his debut as a full series director and coming from such a background, he should have a lot of insights on how to execute the series.

The content bothers me as it is cliche beyond reason. There’s a female character who is subjected to pervert scenarios and a male character who has massive power, but doesn’t want it. It’s a dull plot and things only get worse with Silver Link handling the production whose notable work is the comedy, Baka to Test, and even that got bland over time. To add the cherry to the bland cake, the series composition is done by Hiroyuki Yoshino who has worked on Accel World, Dance in the Vampire Bund, and Guilty Crown in the same position — and we all know how those turned out.

The Bottom Line: This series will be saved if Hideyo Yamamoto manages to take control of the series composition considering the background he has. If not, then expect blandness everywhere with the hints of “action.”

Links: InfoPVPic

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Pupa – Studio: Studio DEEN – Director: Tomomi Mochizuki

Cole:YESSSSSS. For those who know me, you know that I enjoy anything that is remotely in the horror genre, and that is exactly what Pupa is. I LOVE HORROR ANIME. I don’t read a lot of manga, as I have to read novels upon novels for school (english major problems), but for what I have heard, Pupa‘s manga is, uh, a little infamous for its content. Apparently, it is full of violence, gore, and, umm….. incest. Yeah, that is usually a deal breaker for me, but I get the feeling that it won’t be played for laughs/it won’t be fetishized. While only one piece of artwork has been released so far (above), I feel like this will also be a visually inventive series. While Studio Deen has had a spotty reputation in the past, they are finally stepping up to the plate when it comes to animation (check out certain parts of Sankarea and the currently airing Rozen Maiden series), so I am not really worried about them as much as I may have a couple of seasons ago! The director here, while not new to the scene, will be directing his first “high-profile” series, but I have heard that his more niche directorial credits are not only good, but moody and atmospheric! Hey, that would probably fit well!

The Bottom Line: This is definitely my most anticipated anime of the season and for good reason too. There needs to be more GOOD horror anime series’ and I think that is exactly what Pupa is going to be. I can’t wait to turn off the lights and enjoy this one!

Links: Info, PVPic

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Meganebu! – Studio: Studio DEEN – Director: Soubi Yamamoto

Letitia: Okay, so I’m excited for this series only because of one thing – I love male anime characters who wear glasses. And when I first heard about Meganebu, an anime that CENTERS on five attractive males wearing glasses, I couldn’t hide my excitement. It was like a dream come true. I already know I’m going to watch the first episode, but I’m hesitant to judge whether or not it’ll keep my attention. There isn’t much going for Meganebu except for the premise (the attractive males wearing glasses!), but I think it has a chance of being somewhat amusing. The promotional video that gives an introduction of Akira, the leader of this glasses wearing club, seems to hint at this. Here’s to hoping for some fun scenes and a couple of “nose-bleeds” (from watching them adjust their glasses). Yep, this anime is for the people who, like me, share the “ikemegane” fetish.

The Bottom Line: An anime that should be watched by people who really like this sort of thing. Me? I’m at least going to watch the first episode.

Links: InfoPVPV2PV3Pic

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Gaist Crusher – Studio: Studio Pierrot – Director: Nobuhiro Takamoto

Cole: This is a kids anime that is meant to sell toys. It makes me sad that Studio Pierrot, the studio responsible for GREAT anime in the ’70s and ’80s, now makes this. I don’t like it :(

The Bottom Line: Unless you have a child who wants to watch some children’s programming, I would skip this.

Links: Info, PV, Pic

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Valvrave the Liberator: Season 2 – Studio: Sunrise – Director: Kou Matsuo

Anthony: This is a continuation that gratuitously finished with a bang, one that promises many more over-dramatized moments and space opera biting. Because I covered the first season, I’ve seen it develop from the beginning and I honestly can say that it left with much more to be desired. However, I am hopeful that the second season can redeem itself. There’s much more at stake and Haruto seems to have stopped whining.
The Bottom Line: Even if you’ve watched the first season, it’s not a must watch. I’d still be a bit wary despite Sunrise’s reputable production within this genre.

Links: InfoPVPV2Pic

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Gundam Build Fighters – Studio: Sunrise – Director: Kenji Nagasaki

Cole: Let me say this right now. I am probably not the right person to write about Gundam Build Fighters. I have not seen any Gundam anime and I can’t say that I am a mecha fan. Apparently, this anime follows a boy, Sei Iori, who likes to fight with model Gundams! I assume that somehow they will come to life and he will pilot them and it will be awesome!

Sunrise is a studio that has done monumental anime in the past, so I do not even need to say anything about them. Kenji Nagasaki, on the other hand, has only one directorial credit to his name: No. 6. Take that as you will.

The Bottom Line: Gundam fans will be lining up to watch this! For everyone else, this may be a good starting point for those who are interested in jumping into the Gundam franchise.

Links: InfoPVPV2Pic

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Aikatsu! 2 – Studio: Sunrise – Director: Ryuichi Kimura

Cole: Uggghhhhhahaaaahhhhhgggrrrrrrr. Another kids anime??? Aikatsu! 2 follows picks up where the original series ended, with the girls of Starlight Academy still pursuing their dreams of becoming famous idols. Apparently a new, rival idol school opens close to them. Drama ensues. Wow, Sunrise, two kids anime in one season, eh? I don’t think I can add anything else to this preview. I haven’t seen the first one, nor do I want to. It looks bland and ordinary.

The Bottom Line: Watch this if you liked the first one. Other than that, little girls would love this.

Links: Info, PV, Pic

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Phi Brain: Kami no Puzzle 3rd Season – Studio: Sunrise – Director: Hirotaka Endou

Tristan: Well if you have followed us here at Population GO before, then you probably already know how exciting Phi Brain: Puzzle of God Seasons 1 and 2 were. If not, then I can only say that it is one of the best experiences in animated puzzle drama ever imagined in anime. Season 3 will be even better as this time it promises to give us that, which we have always wanted, a dream team consisting of Daimon Kaito, Rook Banjo Crossfield, and FreeCell, challenging another puzzle crazed foe in the pursuit of the Puzzle of God. Sunrise has had many months to think of numerous puzzles and games to please and delight us through the development of good and varied experiences of flashy lights, jazzy upbeat modern music, and new characters, so hopes are quite high that this season will be as good as the previous ones. This is easily one of the sequels this season to get most interested in.

The Bottom Line: Phi Brain 3 is worth checking out if one has watched the previous seasons, and if it’s anything like season 2, then one could just as easily jump into this one to try the franchise out. If you’re looking for a story of pure friendship, sweet visuals, hot music, and just plain fun, then this is the show for you.

Links: Info, PVPic

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Saikyou Ginga Ultimate Zero: Battle Spirits – Studio: Sunrise – Director: Masaki Watanabe

Cole: ANOTHER KIDS ANIME? MMMMMGGGGGGHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAHHHHH. You can tell from the picture above what kind of anime this is.

Oh Sunrise. You money grubbing hoes.

The Bottom Line: No.

Links: Info, PV, Pic

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Yozakura Quartet: Hana no Uta – Studio: Tatsunoko Production – Director: Ryo-timo

Cole: Well, based on the PVs, this looks like it has the potential to actually be decent! I know next to nothing about the manga or the original anime series/OVAs, but it has been announced that this anime will not be a sequel to the previous series, but a new series altogether, so for those who want to jump right in, there is nothing that could possibly stop you! The studio and the rest of the production team are the exact same as the previous iterations, so if you were concerned about a big change, you needn’t worry. In reference to those other iterations, well, they were pretty much accepted to be….. okay. Hopefully, the creators have learned something in the past five years and will be able to raise the new Yozakura Quartet series to new heights.

The Bottom Line: It has potential and the PVs look good, so, hey, this COULD be a good one…. COULD being the operative word.

Links: InfoPVPV2Pic

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Tesagure! Bukatsu-Mono – Studio: TBA – Director: Koutarou Ishidate

Cole: Again, this is another anime that not much is known about, and what we do know about it is not especially compelling. It is a CG anime based on a group of girls and their extracurricular activities. I am not a huge fan of CG (hence why I watch anime more than mainstream, Hollywood animated movies), but if the anime in question was something that interested me, I would definitely give this a chance….. But this is about a group of girls doing club activities. How revolutionary.

The Bottom Line: A bland anime concept done for the millionth time, but this time in CG….. And I doubt that will add anything to the experience anyway.

Links: Info, PV, Pic

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Miss Monochrome – Studio: Linden Films – Director: Yoshiaki Iwasaki

Cole: Even though I may not be the biggest fan of the short 5-minute anime, at least I will admit that this one looks infinitely more entertaining than the awful Teekyuu 3. This one is about Miss Monochrome, a Hatsune Miku rip-off, and her goal to turn the entire world into a landscape of monochrome. One can assume that there will be music everywhere and it probably won’t be all that good, but hey, the premise does sound sort of cute.

The Bottom Line: This definitely seems like it could have potential for a short anime……. But that really isn’t saying all that much.

Links: Info, PV, Pic

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Seiyuu Sentai Voicetorm 7 – Studio: TBA – Director: TBA

Cole: Well…… this just sounds awful. Apparently, this adaptation of a manga follows a bunch of singing superhero’s who want to make peace on earth for all the otakus. God. To make matters worse, this is going to be a motion comic. You know how people try and make American comic books “come alive,” well, they are going to try that with a manga now! I have absolutely no idea how that is going to work, and in all honesty, I won’t be sticking around to find out.

The Bottom Line: What else do you say to something about this. I admire their ambition, but this source material looks horrid, and a manga “motion comic” style? No thanks.

Links: Info, PV, Pic

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Kyousougiga – Studio:  Toei Animation – Director: Rie Matsumoto

LucilleKyousogiga was originally a 20-minute ONA released in 2011, with a sequel ONA series released in 2012. It’s a fun and colorful series with some great art, action, and a wonderfully zany setting. It felt like I was watching an episode of FLCL, which is really something. The only problem is that it particularly felt like watching the final episode of FLCL without having watched the previous five episodes beforehand. Not much exposition was given about the setting and the plot, and it was as if a lot of past events and information was being left out; resulting in a rather jumbled mess. The sequel ONA didn’t help much since that seemed more like a series of side-stories to a yet still untold main story.

The Bottom Line: If this ends up being just like the ONAs, but with a plot that actually makes sense, this truly has potential to be a fantastic anime.

Links: Info, PV, PV2Pic

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Yowamushi Pedal – Studio: Toho Company – Director: Osamu Nabeshima

Lucille: So in Yowamushi Pedal, a dweeby otaku kid decides to join his new school’s anime club to find others who are similarly obsessed with anime girls as he is, but is disappointed to find that the club was disbanded. Since he often had to ride his bike to Akihabara in order to spend all his parent’s money and splurge on his unhealthy obsession with expanding his ever growing collection of figurines and dakimakura, the dweeb decides that his school’s cycling club is his next best bet, thus ascending from a dweeby otaku kid to a hot-blooded sports drama protagonist.

You can tell I don’t actually have much to say about this series when half of this preview is just me trying to describe the premise in a funny way, but apart from Hajime no Ippo: Rising, this is actually the sports anime of the season which seems the most promising. The staff behind it isn’t all that impressive or anything (in fact, the last thing the director worked on was the awful Zetman adaptation ;). I’m just excited about the prospect of an anime about cycling because it sounds interesting.

The Bottom Line: An anime about cycling? Sounds interesting.

Links: InfoPV, PV2Pic

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Kill La Kill – Studio: Trigger – Director: Hiroyuki Imashi

Cole: Is it too presumptuous to call Kill la Kill everyone’s most anticipated anime for Fall 2013? People are talking about it everywhere! While I am looking forward to it, I am not going to lie, the plot does not seem all that interesting to me. Two schoolgirls use swords to fight each other and then a new person comes into their lives to “upheave” everything. Eh, no, not super creative. The main draw, for me at least, is that the spotlight will be on the studio, Trigger, as they tackle their first TV series. They have had success, particularly with the enormously popular Little Witch Academia (it was popular enough to generate a sequel through crowd-funding), so I don’t think Kill la Kill will be anything short of a commercial success…. But how good will it really be? Well, it will no doubt be flashy, action packed, and it will look great, but as I stated before, the story will be the deciding factor for me. No longer will the studio be playing with a OVA-length story. For what it is worth, I really do want this to succeed, and it will definitely be on my “to-watch list”.

The Bottom Line: An ambitious first TV project for Trigger, Kill la Kill will most likely be the biggest anime of the season. With a unique art style and some fantastic action scenes guaranteed, all I can do is hope that it’s execution will live up to its premise.

Links: InfoPVPV2PV3Pic

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Diabolik Lovers – Studio: Zexcs – Director: Tagashira Shinobu

Letitia: One girl, six men, who will she choose? I don’t know because all I can think about is how much this reminds me of Vampire Knight. Komori Yui sees spirits; one day she transfers to a new “night” school for entertainers and celebrities (maybe vampires?) where she ends up rooming with six sadistic brothers (oh yeah, totally vampires). What craziness will ensue? Sexual tension and lots of it because this anime is an adaption of an otome game – one girl, many guys. Nothing really new here and yet, I’ll probably watch it, or at least the first few episodes. It really just depends on the female lead, Komori Yui. If her personality comes off strong and interesting, I’ll watch it. If she comes off wishy-washy and too much like a blank slate, I won’t be able to continue. And don’t even get me started on what the plot could be like…I’m hoping the different male characters will have some unique backstories. But the PV doesn’t reveal much, except for the characters’ looks, and one character’s catchphrase. This is really for the fans of this game, so if you don’t have any interest in the game or any otome games I would highly recommend skipping this. Sorry to the fans!  I know I would be way more positive and excited if I had played the games, but I haven’t and I’m not. Although, I am tempted to give the game a shot. Anyway, I’ll watch one episode, but I’m not expecting myself to feel enthralled.

The Bottom Line: I consider it really for the fans of the game, or fans of pretty boys. So I can’t recommend it to people as a must see.

Links: InfoPVPic

Cole Millions

Cole Millions

Former Anime Reviewer (04-2013 – 06-2014)

A blabbering yet analytical writer, Cole tends to write about anime and movies that seem outside the norm….. or pander to his specific preferences. While he started as a weekly anime reviewer, Cole now writes season previews, various segments, and reviews of older anime and whole series’.

Cole Millions

Watching #TheBachelorette with 6 girlfriends. Now the breakup. Shit just got awkward…… – 53 mins ago