The Autumn 2012 Post of Extreme Show Prejudgement…

Posted by DiGiKerot in Free Talk at September 17, 2012 on 7:42 pm

…Is what I’d be calling this post, but scanning through the lists elsewhere, there seems to be little that I’d be able to generate much commentary for. Which I guess makes the show prejudgement extreme indeed, in a sense. I mean, the always dependable Hidamari Sketch and the always likely to be pretty KyoAni production aside, I guess the two mostly hotly anticipated shows of the season would be two new Noitamina shows Psycho-Pass and Robotics;Notes.

Psycho-Pass is particularly interesting simply because of the staff they’ve pulled to work on it. Perhaps understandably after Madoka Magica and the well-received TV adaptation of Fate/Zero, Gen Urobuchi is kind of the easy one to pick-up and highlight, though Psycho-Pass isn’t likely to be another Madoka Magica in any real sense. Whilst Madoka played within the domains of what is perhaps the favourite genre of hardcore otaku, Psycho-Pass is very much the opposite.

The more curious part of the production staff is the chief director, Katsuyuki Motohiro. Motohiro isn’t exactly an anime guy as such – he’s an actual person TV and movie director. I’m told that (by which I mean I’m largely piggybacking on other peoples research here) he’s generally known for works which display a strong group dynamic, which I guess makes sense given what we know about the setting to Psycho-Pass.

The only Motohiro work I’ve actually seen previously was the 2000 movie Space Travelers. It’s the story of three friends who, for various reasons, decide to rob a bank, which inevitably goes wrong and lands them in something of an awkward hostage situation. Being kind of likeable and inept, however, the kind-of-hostages start sympathising with their captors and end up helping them.

This is all set in contemporary times, mind you. The “Space Travelers” title comes from the fact that one of the friends collects trading cards from an old SF anime which shares it’s moniker with the movie (fictional at the time, though they did make a reputedly terrible OAV at a later day), and the various people taking part in the robbery (and the hostages) end up assuming the guises of the various characters from the show they either feel they are most like, or most aspire to be like.

As an ensemble movie, it’s an interesting dynamic – it’s not as high-falutin as a deconstruction of the likes of Oceans Eleven or anything as clever as that, but it does show a certain intrinsic understanding of how these things work to be able to pull a movie with such a curious concept off. It’s a pretty fun flick, and I recommend giving it a watch should you get the chance.

Getting back to what is relevant to Psycho-Pass, though, Motohiro also directed the well-regarded Bayside Shakedown series of police/detective procedural movies, which are undoubtedly a little more relevant to the content of Psycho-Pass. The scriptwriters other than Urobuchi are also pulled from outside of anime circles. Production IG and FujiTV certainly look to be aiming for the kind of unusual audience that Noitamina was supposed to have been established to reach, and it looks like they’re certainly going all out on it, but I do somewhat worry about the show failing to find an audience in it’s home country. Hopefully the names attached will be enough to bring it wider attention, but if nothing else, it should be something that’ll do well outside Japan should the personalities involved not make it difficult to secure a foreign release at a reasonable cost.

Still, all the effort that looks to be directed towards Psycho-Pass does leave me a little worried about Robotics;Notes. Putting aside the fact that the original work doesn’t seem as well regarded as it’s forbearer Steins;Gate (which is really the expectation setter here), I do have to wonder who is going to be left to actually do the work on Robotics;Notes. I’m sure I’m getting worried over nothing, though, and it’ll be a perfectly fine show, more intelligent than most but retaining at least a smidgen of otaku flavouring. I’m just not going to set my expectations too high going into it.

Otherwise, aside from mentioning the rice-bowl mouths in Magi (as those who haven’t noticed them already need to be plagued by the mental image too), there’s nothing else I have to add, really. This isn’t to say that there’s nothing else I’m interested in watching – I’m pretty keen to jump on Jojo, and I’m at least somewhat interested in Tempest and Little Busters. I’m curious to see what they do with Hayate as well, though I stopped reading the manga quite some time back, if I’m entirely honest about it. If there’s anything I should be getting more excited about, please let me know.

In terms of movies, there’s not really much sense in getting excited about things I’m not going to be able to see for a while. All things going well, however, I should be seeing Tiger and Bunny this weekend, and I’m excited to be seeing Nerawareta Gakuen at Scotland Loves Anime next month. I’ll write about those once I’ve seen them, however.

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