The new season of Anime is upon us, for part 1 here are short previews of Working!!, Persona 4, Shinryaku! Ika Musume, and Boku wa Tomodachi Ga Sukunai. They represent a wide variety of anime that appeals to many different markets. The source material is varied in all of them, some of them starting off as manga, other anime starting off as novels or video games. Of the anime series in here, many of them where originally written or planned by female artists.
Studio: A-1 Pictures
Directed by: Ootsuki Atsushi
Source Material : Manga (by Karino Takatsu)
Working is based off of a four panel strip published created by Karino Takatsu, published in SquareEnix's Young Gangan. It follows the adventures of Sota Takanashi in the family restaurant named Wagnaria. In his workplace is a collection of eclectic coworkers that spice up his regular days. Poplar is a high school girl who is really short, she looks like an elementary school girl and her coworkers poke fun of her short stature. Inami is terrified of men and will punch them should they get close. Sato is the intimidating chef of the kitchen who is quiet and strong. I could go on all day about the cast since the show has a rather large cast. What makes working such a great show is the cast dynamic between the characters. They all have unique personalities and the differences between them makes the dynamic between them lots of fun to watch. The anime is not for everyone, it doesn't have a deep storyline and life-changing plot twists. Working is the second season to an anime that runs fairly slow and focuses on having fun in your workplace and daily life, if you need more excitement than that look elsewhere, if you want an interesting anime with great characters Working!! may be what you are looking for.
Studio: Anime International Company
Director: Seiji Kishi
Source Material: Video Game (Persona 4 - Atlus)
Based off the hit PlayStation 2 game Persona 4, the game follows a tradition of video game to anime transitions. As a fan of the original Persona 4 video game, one of the big questions in my mind is whether the anime will follow the anime or go off into its own source material. Tales of the Abyss is an example of an anime that was fairly faithful to the original game, Valkyria Chronicles on the other hand is an example of an anime that veers off wildly into its own direction. Persona 4 thankfully follows the video game fairly well. The opening song is still the amazing opening song from Persona 4, and most of the major musical pieces in the game is incorporated into the anime beautifully. Persona 4 has gorgeous character designs, in fact I would say that P4 has some of my favorite character designs in a video game. One of the big questions is whether the gorgeous character designs would be replicated in the Persona 4 anime, and I can say that it does a great job. The anime of Persona 4 does a great job representing the game so far, here is hoping it continues that awesome quality. Persona is a franchise aimed for mature audiences since it has dark themes and storytelling, so I don't recommend younger kids watching it, but for those of you who can watch it, Persona 4 may be a great ride.
Shinryaku! Ika Musume
Director: Tsutomu Mizushima
Source Material: Manga (by Anbe Masahiro)
The second season of everyone's favorite squid girl invader debuts this fall season. When originally announced most people predicted that the show would be pedobait with no redeeming qualities, they were proven wrong by the show's charming sense of humor, great cast of characters, and interesting insights into our daily lives. Shinryaku! Ika Musume is about Squid Girl's misadventures in invading the earth to punish people for abusing the sea. She learned quickly in season 1 that even invading one family is difficult, so she lives with them and tries to learn from them. Squid Girl is endearing because of her unique perspective on humanity and her terrible failures in trying to subject humanity to her will. Just like the previous slice of life manga comedy Working, Shinryaku! Ika Musume is very easy to get into without knowledge of the previous season since there is no heavy plot development. The only learning curve a first time viewer has is learning the various relationships and personalities that each character has. Due to it's charming sense of humor aimed at all markets, Shinryaku! Ika Musume is highly recommended for all audiences.
Boku wa Tomodachi Ga Sukunai
Studio: Anime International Company
Director: Hisashi Sato
Original Source: Light Novel (written by: Yomi Hirasaka)
Boku wa Tomodachi Ga Sukunai (translated to I Don't Have many Friends) is a story about Hasegawa Kodaka who has transferred to a Catholic Academy. People think he is a delinquent because of his blonde hair (which is really due to his British mother's genetics) and his fierce eyes. One day he spots Yozora talking to her imaginary friend. Once realizing that they both really don't have any friends, they start up a club called the "Neighbor's Club" to make friends and to get better at socializing. As soon as the club is started, the arrogant Sena joins the club. Due to her well-endowed figure and her beautiful face, she has many male admirers but has no female friends. To me the premise is interesting, especially since it is made to appeal to a market that can have strongly antisocial tendencies. It doesn't take a genius for me to figure out that this can potentially turn into a harem anime, which I hope is not the case. The character designs are very similar to an anime series from last season's Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko, but that is largely due to the studio doing it more than anything else. It has an interesting premise and the character development has the potential to be good. I hesitate to recommend it for the time being, it will take me a couple of episodes to determine if this is worth buying in the future or not.