Gatchaman Crowds 01 – This show is for the birds…

The FABULOUS, multi-coloured, alien-fighting birds!

Back when I was but a little OA Jr I used to watch early morning cartoons religiously and among those treasured shows of my childhood was a lot of what I didn’t recognize then but know very well now as anime; Gatchaman, or G-Force as I knew it, was one such anime. Coming from that background I was quite pleased to hear that a new Gatchaman series (Gatchaman Crowds) was coming out; I readied my body for the warm and awesome rush of nostalgia that I was certain would wash over me….then I saw the artwork for it and I realized that Crowds is Gatchaman in name alone and that nothing I knew about it had any grounds. All bets were off, which honestly wasn’t such a bad thing.


Spunky 1970’s teenagers they are NOT

Rather than playing the nostalgia card by keeping the old designs of the chracters characters a la Casshern SINS or doing a faithful reproduction of the old work with updated animation a la JoJo’s Bizzare Adventure (2012) Gatchaman Crowds invites the viewer to take a look at a word where people fight battles in secret against otherworldly beings that look like 3D versions of the designs from the ending song of  Tatami Galaxy in suits that would make Barnaby Brooks Jr jealous. On the topic of Tiger and Bunny, the character Sugane reminds me a bit of Sky High crossed with Origami Cyclone; not too strange when you consider that Kenji Andou from T&B is on the design staff.

This episode doesn’t have much by way of content but there are a few attempts to set a couple thematic elements in motion, the first of which being the prevalence and I suppose dependence on Social Networking and mobile technology; there is a scene on the train in the beginning where a girl with a stomach ache finds herself flustered and immediately turns to her phone’s Siri-like interface for advice, also during that scene a young man sitting on the train in front of a pregnant woman is too absorbed in his phone to realize her need to rest her feet, this prompts our resident tryhard dogoodnik hero Sugane to step in and demand that he relinquish his seat. This scene establishes two very important things about  the setting and Sugane: 1) People’s lives have become so consumed by technology that they have neglected things such as common sense and basic human decency which leads to 2) Sugane’s righteous attitude is rare and at odds with a society that is as selfish and “connected” as this. That may just be a superficial analysis but it happened to stand out for me, the only other thing that did was the fact that the members of Gatchaman use Notepads for transformation and communication instead of fancy, high-tech watches or PDAs (again probably a means of expressing a need for humanity to return to much simpler, more intimate times); what really interested me concerning these special notes though was the fact that they seem to be comprised of the user’s very SOUL! Forgoing the obvious Madoka reference here (what with a strange alien creature appearing before a young girl and granting her power seemingly free of charge and giving her a trinket that contains her very life essence) I hope that that particular quality of the note comes into question at least once in the shows run because it would be pretty dark and awesome if handled correctly. Quite frankly, I think it’s more likely that this show will be taking the route of more flash and less substance; I feel like the story may have to suffer and the characters to lack believability in order to create a spectacle but it’s only the first episode so I’ll have to wait and see.

[Commie] Gatchaman Crowds - 01 [2F85EBA6].mkv_snapshot_11.23_[2013.07.13_01.45.23]

Oh yeah, I’m sure a LOT of serious work get’s done in this office -_-

The rest of the episode was just a showcase of the rest of the cast as well as a tour of the slightly MIB-like headquarters that the team operates from. There’s another flashy fight scene in the end involving Sugane and the newest member Hajime (who has what I find to be the most annoying speech pattern this entire season) and in this scene we are introduced to the BEST ANIME TRANSFORMATION SEQUENCE OF THE YEAR.

With a bumping soundtrack reminiscent of Redline and cool visuals to boot, I think Gatchaman Crowds has the potential to at least be one of the best looking shows this season.

Namaste, Nerds!


Genshiken Nidaime 01: Then and Now, There and Here

This will be my first full official episodic cover of an anime series in over 2 years and I think no series is more appropriate and more deserving than this one right here. For a very long time Genshiken has been a series that is very close to my heart, those who know me very well will testify to the fact that this show occupy’s the very top spot in y heart for favourite series right alongside Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann (and that’s saying something). I started reading the Genshiken manga back in High School and at once I felt a strong connection with the character of Sasahara; I saw a great deal of my younger self in him, all of the desire to find a place to express feelings that I wasn’t entirely sure would be accepted or tolerated by others and yet unwilling all the same to truly let myself go even if I did find such a place. The story of the initial part of Genshiken is the story of Sasahara’s growth and in it’s own way it was the story of mine as well. Though I never found a rag-tag group of quirky otaku misfits like he did, I learned to accept the truth and beauty of being who I was at all times no matter the circumstances through the adventures of their special little club. Much like with TTGL, Genshiken shaped the course of my life in ways great and small and is very much a part of who I am today.

That however, was then and this is now. Nowadays, though I still follow the Manga and everything Kio Shimoku has put out since then, I have a lot more on my plate and life calls for a slowing down of the heavy investment of time and energy into the things we once thought were so important to us so that we can take care of the responsibilities of “adult” life. I have grown up since the first time I started following this series and amazingly, thankfully, so have the members of the Genshiken as well.


A quick note here: these posts will probably be very brief and light on analysis simply because I’ve already seen all this material in the manga and I’ll probably cover it on my manga blog some time in the near future.

Genshiken Nidaime starts off almost exactly like the first anime series with a recruitment drive for new members and incumbent president Ogiue has a stern but brief discussion with current members and Kuchiki about the negative effects that their shenanigans have on the clubs ability to gather new members. This scene is particularly nice as it clearly and simply gives the audience a glimpse into the personalities of these characters. The entire episode caries this kind of pacing throughout and much like the manga, it opts to weave this kind of character exposition directly into the narrative, allowing the audience to come to their own conclusions about the characters and their motivations in a natural way by simply observing them in their (un)natural habitat.



There isn’t too much to be said about the episode; it’s a standard introduction episode that manages to feel like your average first episode of a new series with a somewhat rapid-but not frantic-pace of character intro and story progression. In fact, with the exception of explicit references made by a few of the characters themselves, the nods at the previous series are relatively subtle and amount to no ore than a wink to long-time fans; this I feel is a great way to prevent alienation of newcomers to the show while still giving the old diehards like myself something to enjoy (e.g. Madarame blushing when Kasukabe walks in ^_~). It’s this feeling of welcoming the new and the old with open arms-much like a real club should operate-that makes Genshiken so special.

This epsode introduces the audience to a host of new characters and they are as remarkably different as they are astoundingly similar. Yoshitake: A high energy girl who’s full of wild, passionate (read:obnoxious) enthusiasm for her hobbies, also a raging Three Kingdoms otaku. Yajima: a dour, even tempered and serious girl with aspirations to become a mangaka who also possesses a mild self esteem complex due to her appearance. Sue: a returning character from the first series who has been elevated to major character status. She is an American exchange student with a voracious and uniquely American love of anime and manga (a la Patricia Martin from Lucky Star) who communicates almost entirely by quoting lines from anime and manga verbatim. Then there’s Hato: a two-for one special in the form of a boy who cross dresses as a girl because of an inclination to do so naturally but also, more importantly, in order to enjoy his guilty pleasure without fear of ridicule. What links all of these characters together you ask? Why their raging love of BL and Yaoi of course! This fact places president Ogiue in a precarious situation as she must now try to preserve the spirit of the original Genshiken while embracing the rather risque tastes of it’s new (and old) members. The Genshiken is changing and at the center of it all is Ogiue trying to reconcile the old club of her memories with the new budding “fujoshi circle”; a trying task for the president and one that is both interesting and entertaining to watch.

[Anime-Koi] Genshiken Nidaime - 01 [h264-720p][B0366508].mkv_snapshot_10.45_[2013.07.11_23.46.09]

Time to play “Spot the Trap”

Seeing Genshiken animated once again really gives me hope for the future and if the scenes from the manga are faithfully reproduced I expect it will garner a whole new wave of followers and recognition (if not for the story, at least for Sue’s crazy American otaku shenanigans). The club keeps growing long after the founders have moved on and, in a sense, I guess you never really do “move on” huh?

Namaste Nerds.

Osoi! Fall/Winter 2011 Season Preview/Review

By the time I get this post out The fall Season would have already started no doubt -_-….but we soldier on! Thanks to the guys at Random Curiosity for doing all the hard work. Here are my thoughts on the upcoming /currently airing season.

Ben-To | ベン・トー

The girl on the left looks like she must get a whole lot of "nutrients" from her bento!

Website PV1 PV2
Animation: david production Premiere: October 8, 2011
Genre: Comedy Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays at 26:20
Episodes: 12 (1-cour) Station: TV Aichi (TVA)
Information: AniDBANN EncyclopediaMyAnimeListsyoboiWikipedia

The supermarket battle for half-price lunch boxes is on in this light novel adaptation. Touted as a youthful serious/gag action series for commoners, Ben-To depicts a rambunctious story revolving around high school student Satou You (Shimono Hiro), who goes to a supermarket one day to buy a half-price bento box, only to get knocked out and have it taken from him. When he wakes up, he finds that the only things left are a dried-plum onigiri, which he happens to bump into his classmate Oshiroi Hana (Yuuki Aoi) over. Unbeknownst to You, he’s stepped into a warzone where high school and university students from a nearby dorm battle like wolves over cheap food. He later finds out about this from Yarizui Sen (Ise Mariya), a.k.a. “The Frozen Witch”, who invites You and Hana into her “Half Price Association” that competes for lunches. Other characters join the mix, including You’s university cousin Shaga Ayame (Katou Emiri), a.k.a. “Beauty of the Lake”, her friend Inoue Asebi (Taketatsu Ayana), his class president Shiraume Ume (Kayano Ai), the former HPA president Kaneshirou Yuu (Miyano Mamoru).

My Thoughts: I learned a long time ago when I first saw Yakitate!! Japan that there is absolutely NOTHING that cannot be turned into an anime/manga series. That there is an anime about the battle for cheap food doesn’t surprise me in the slightest ^_^. I say bring it on! It’ll be interesting to see where the creators draw the line between slapstick comedy, fanservice and any actual facts-if such a thing can exist in this instance-about the true nature of the grocery/convenience store bento industry and how it affects starving college and high school students (heck that’s not so alien a topic to me anyway, isn’t that right Cup Noodle-san?).

Mobile Suit Gundam AGE | 機動戦士ガンダムAGE

Now with more Shota!

Website: PV
Animation: Sunrise Premiere: October 9, 2011
Genre: Action, Mecha Airtime (GMT+9): Sundays at 17:00
Episodes: 4-cour (?) Station: MBS, TBS
Information Links: AniDBANN EncyclopediaMyAnimeListsyoboiWikipedia

Sunrise is back with an all-new Gundam series, taking place in a new Advanced Generation (A.G.) timeline. For the first time ever, the story will cover a “One Hundred Year War” that spans three generations of characters. It begins in A.G. 101, where mankind has immigrated to space for hundreds of years now and are in a state of peace. An overwhelming Unknown Enemy (UE) suddenly appears, destroying the space colony Angel and marking the start of the war — later known as “The Day the Angel Fell”. In A.G. 108, seven-year-old Flit Asuno’s colony Ovan is attacked by the UE. His mother is killed and entrusts him with an AGE Device containing blueprints for a savior — an ancient mobile suit known as “Gundam”. He spends the next seven years studying engineering on the colony Nora and manages to complete the Gundam with other engineers. In it is the AGE System, allowing it to evolve with the pilot over time based on battle data collected. Not too long after, UE comes to attack Nora and Flit boards the Gundam to fend them off, something that mankind hasn’t been able to do in the past fourteen years.

My Thoughts: Now, most of the anime community has known about this for a while and the general consensus was-at least by the purists-that the designs looked too “kiddy” or simplistic. Now while I have to agree that the protagonsit  doesn’t look a thing like the brooding, grizzled hero a la Setsuna F. Seiei or Hiiro Yui that we’ve come to expect I see something far more interesting in this incarnation of gundam that I think most have overlooked. I am talking of course about the scope. This series is promising to cover an ENTIRE 3 generations of heroes as well as a “Hundred Year War” in its entirety all in ONE series! No branching storylines separated by a huge unaccounted-for gap spread across different series. Just one Universe, one timeline, one war. This Gundam series is offering us the opportunity to grow with the protagonists and their families; to see change and development in the closest approximation to real-time that an anime can produce. I’m not saying I don’t expect a time skip, don’t get me wrong, but I imagine with 4 cours throughout which to spread the story the audience should be expecting to develop a familiarity with the series that hasn’t been achieved since the original Universal Century. People are gonna hate on it for it’s art style regardless, but I guess those are also the kind of people who would hate on Yojouhan Shinwa Taikei  and for that reason alone their opinion doesn’t matter ^_^. Personally I can’t wait for the inevitable Char analog and hopefully even another Lockon ^_^. I’ll definitely be following this.

Mirai Nikki | 未来日記

That, my friends, is the face of TRUE LOVE!

Website: PV1:
Animation: Asread Premiere: October 9, 2011
Genre: Fantasy, Suspense Airtime (GMT+9): Sundays at 23:00
Episodes: 26 Station: Niconico Douga
Information Links: AniDBANN EncyclopediaMyAnimeListsyoboiWikipedia

Panic survival meets future premonitions in Esuno Sakai’s “Future Diary”, which completed its 5-year 12-volume manga run last December. Asread, a studio that’s been fairly quiet, is bringing us what will likely be a faithful adaptation over the next six months. The survival game begins when Amano Yukiteru (Togashi Misuzu), a lonesome self-proclaimed bystander who writes down everything he sees in his cellphone’s diary, learns that his imaginary friend Deus Ex Machina (Wakamoto Norio) is actually the God of Time & Space. Deus grants Yuki’s cellphone the ability to reveal future events and he is overjoyed about it; however, that changes when he finds out he’s going to be killed by a serial killer. His classmate and stalker Gasai Yuno (Murata Tomasa) ends up saving him, after which Yuki learns that Deus is playing a sick game to determine his successor, where he, Yuno, and ten others must use their future diaries to kill one another. The key to doing so is finding out the other participants’ identities. Having been credited for the first kill, Yuki becomes the target of the ten others and finds himself relying on Yuno to survive.

My Thoughts: Quite frankly, I’m of the opinion that all that needs to be said about this series is NORIO WAKAMOTO IS THE VOICE OF GOD!  But if that isn’t enough to convince you to watch this fine program then you’re an entitled little prick who needs to learn his place you have discerning taste. Allow me to add to this show’s credit the fact that the source material is one of the finest told tales of cat-and-mouse in recent manga  history and has a cast of very well fleshed out characters (both main and supporting). It also features, by far, one of the greatest Yandere/Yangire characters of all time since Kaede (Shuffle!) and Kotonoha Katsura (School Days), I am, of course, talking about Gasai Yuno. Whose utter insanity and maniac-like devotion to the male protagonist makes my man-parts quiver in equal parts arousal and terror. Oh and if the Director (Naoto Hosoda who also did Shuffle!) can stay true to the source material and capture Yuno’s true, horrifying essence then this series is sure to make a big splash in the upcoming season. I will most certainly be watching this…..NORIO WAKAMOTO BITCHES!!!


Mmmm Dystopyian-y ^_^

Website: PV1 PV2 
Animation: BONES Premiere: October 13, 2011
Genre: Mystery Airtime (GMT+9): Thursdays at 24:45
Episodes: 11 Station: Fuji TV (CX)
Information Links: AniDBANN EncyclopediaMyAnimeListsyoboiWikipedia

The noitaminA time slot has two original series lines up, the first of which is inspired by 20th century novelist/essayist Sakuguchi Ango’s detective story, “Meiji Kaika Ango Torimonochou”. BONES is working with Gundam 00 director Mizushima Seiji andFullmetal Alchemist screenwriter Aikawa Shou to bring us this venturous project, which is set in a post-World War II era where detectives no longer have a place due to an intelligence agency run by the “Media King” Kaishou Rinroku (Miki Shinichirou). However, there’s an underside to how Rinroku is able to solve a lot of cases and “The Last Great Detective” Yuuki Shinjuurou (Katsuji Ryou) intends to bring it to light. Shinjuurou distanced himself from society so people who don’t know who he is refer to him as “The Defeated Detective”. Those who do and are aware of his deductive abilities acknowledge him with respect though. He’s accompanied by a beautiful yet mischievous boy named Inga (Toyosaki Aki) and together they solve cases despite society’s negative view on them.

My Thoughts: Un-Go, it’s that awkward moment where you walk into a gay bar and you really wish you didn’t decide to go with your friends in the first place, you wish you could take it back, you wish you could…UN-GO to that place! HA HA! But seriously, here’s your detective series for this season. No cute loli protagonist this time around though; oh well you know what they say Shou ga nai ^_^;;. I honestly know little-to-nothing about the source material, but I do know this however, this is a noitaminA series. It’s a well known fact that series on Fuji-TV’s “noitaminA” block are known for their remarkable quality, excellent storytelling and interesting plots. Many noitaminA shows are among my absolute fave anime and as a result their shows automatically earn a “guaranteed” watch from yours truly. But every experience is different for every person and as a result I can’t just outright tell you that watching a noitaminA show automatically makes you a better human being and that you’ll have a deeper understanding of the complexities of life just by watching one or even that you will finally be able to see in 4D like the rest of us noitaminA fans….but I can gently recommend a series that has been granted the privilege of sharing a spot with other great series such as Honey and Clover, Paradise Kiss, Eden of the East, Yojouhan Shinwa Taikei, Tokyo Magnitude 8.0, Shiki, Kuragehime, [C], Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai and Usagi Drop just to name a few. You see the pedigree, you’ve read the synopsis. The choice is yours. Me, I’m diving headfirst into this one for sure.

Guilty Crown | ギルティクラウン

I don't see a crown anywhere in this picture...maybe these two stole it! GUILTY!

Website: PV1 PV2
Animation: Production I.G Premiere: October 13, 2011
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi Airtime (GMT+9): Thursdays at 25:15
Episodes: 2-cour Station: Fuji TV (CX)
Information Links: AniDBANN EncyclopediaMyAnimeListsyoboiWikipedia

It’s not often we get a noitaminA series that’s two-cour, let alone an original one by Production I.G featuring the director of Death Note and the screenwriter of CODE GEASS/Macross FrontierGuilty Crown’s story begins in 2029, when Japan turns into an anarchy following the outbreak of the “Apocalypse Virus”. An ultranational armed organization known as GHQ intervenes and subjugates the country, stripping it of its seat in the Commonwealth and leaving its people with only the perception of peace. Ten years later in 2039, high school student Ouma Shuu (Kaji Yuuki) tries to spend his days peacefully by distancing himself from society, but that all changes when he runs into an Internet songstress whom he admires, Yuzuriha Inori (Kayano Ai). Inori is a member of the “Undertakers”, an underground resistance group trying to liberate Japan, and part of a sub-17-year-old group led by Tsutsugami Gai (Nakamura Yuiichi). Shuu gets drawn into their fight because he possesses the “Power of Kings” in his right hand, which allows him to extract weapons from the “Void” within a person’s body.

My Thoughts: Well from the trailers and the description I can say that even if this weren’t a noitaminA show I’d still be quite excited about it!  Sounds like a blast and looks FAN-TUCKING-FASTIC. As for why else you should watch it, see the UN-GO preview for my only slightly biased explanation of noitaminA quality. This is probably at the top of my list of most anticipated…right after Last Exile and Mirai Nikki ^_^.

Last Exile -Ginyoku no Fam- | ラストエグザイル-銀翼のファム

So Claus and Lavie got replaced with a possible Yuri couple....I will accept this

Website: PV1 PV2
Animation: GONZO Premiere: October 7, 2011
Genre: Action, Adventure, Retro-Future Airtime (GMT+9): Fridays at 26:00
Episodes: Station: CBC
Information Links: AniDBANN EncyclopediaMyAnimeListsyoboiWikipedia

After Nyanpire last season, GONZO is back from the dead with their first notable production in the past three years. It’s been eight years since they produced their original retro-futuristic series Last Exile and now they’re back with its successor, subtitled “Fam, The Silver Wing”. The main characters in this new story are a young girl named Fam Fan Fan (Toyosaki Aki) and her navigator Giselle Collette (Yuuki Aoi), members of a group of sky pirates. The setting is an airspace known as the Grand Lake, where the Adess Commonwealth is subjugating the world with its overwhelming military strength for unknown reasons. Opposing them and on the brink of annihilation is the Kingdom of Turan, whose princesses Miria (Kayano Ai) and Liliana il Velch Cutrettola Turan (Sawashiro Miyuki) one day catch sight of a small vanship named “Vespa” weaving through the enemy fleet and avoiding gunfire. Piloting it is none other than Fam, who has set her eyes on an Adess warship and wants to steal it. Before long, they get caught up in the war and the gaze of Adess’ supreme commander, Luscinia Hafez (Okitsu Kazuyuki). It remains to be seen whether this is intended to be a direct sequel to the 2003 anime, but some familiar faces and names are among the cast — Alister Agrew (Kuwatani Natsuko), Tatiana Wisla (Kitamura Eri), and Dio Eraclea (Noda Junko). There’s also mention of a mysterious power called “Exile”.

My Thoughts: I first saw Last Exile Back on what  used to be TechTV’s (now G4) late night program called Anime Unleashed. I instantly fell in love with the beautiful and expansive world that the characters lived in as well as their cool quasi-steampunk technology and the atmospheric and haunting soundtrack and even the chess references in the episode naming. The show was part high-flying, swashbuckling action, part political drama, part love story and part coming-of-age story. In many ways I felt like the the series was almost too big for itself. Like it was meant to be told as a series of books, or an ongoing meta series and not just 26 episodes. I got a vibe from it that made me liken it to series such as Crest/Banner of the Stars or even something like Nausicaa. All in all, it was a solid series with a satisfying ending. Though, I highly doubt that Ginyoku no Fam is a direct sequel considering how Last Exile ended the presence of familiar names makes me hope to see them attached to familiar faces. I look forward to a new story and that same light airy feeling I got from it when I was a teenager.

Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai | 僕は友達が少ない

Loli nuns are SOOO last season

Animation: AIC Build Premiere: October 6, 2011
Genre: Comedy, School-Life Airtime (GMT+9): Thursdays at 25:55
Episodes: Station: TBS
Information Links: AniDBANN EncyclopediaMyAnimeListsyoboiWikipedia

Loners making friends with loners — that’s the idea behind Hirasaka Yomi’s light novel “I Don’t Have Many Friends” (a.k.a. “Haganai”), which spawned two manga and now an anime. It starts with transfer student Hasegawa Kodaka (Kimura Ryouhei), who’s treated like an outcast because of his delinquent-like appearance. One day, he stumbles upon his ill-tempered classmate Mikazuki Yozora (Inoue Marina) happily talking to her imaginary friend. Realizing Kodaka’s just as much of a loner, Yozora creates the “Rinjin-bu” (i.e. Neighbor Club) to make real friends and forces him to join. Before long, they’re joined by other outcasts at St. Chronica Academy: An arrogant school idol, Kashiwazaki Sena (Itou Kanae), an effeminate junior hoping to become a “real man”, Kusunoki Yukimura (Yamamoto Nozomi), and a BL-obssessed genius, Shiguma Rika (Fukuen Misato). Yozora later recruits their ten-year-old genius teacher/nun Takayama Maria (Iguchi Yuka) to be their club advisor, and somehow Kodaka’s middle school sister Kobato (Hanazawa Kana) winds up as a member too. Thus begins Kodaka’s comical school life with his new friends.

My Thoughts: One of my friends and fellow ani-bloggers Pierrot recently put me onto this manga and I took to it in a lukewarm manner at first, but now that it’s being animated I find myself in tat strange position of debating whether or not to continue the manga or just follow the anime. Well, whatever happens in the coming days I do know this. The manga has a knack for pandering to the esoteric tastes of the otaku market and offers little else by way of originality with the exception of the premise. Now, this is not an admonition, really it’s more of a warning as my only caveat for this show is that underlying knowledge that the anime has the potential to lose sight of the plot a couple episodes in and turn into yet ANOTHER hopeless harem. Though, sometimes even hopeless harems can retain their relevance and still have their charm points (I’m looking at you Negima). So, I think I’ll watch this show for the lulz and the panchira and maybe somewhere along the lines I’ll stay for the character interactions and solid plot…wishful thinking I know but if man doesn’t have his dreams then he doesn’t have anything right? ^_^;;.

Persona 4 the ANIMATION | ペルソナ4 the ANIMATION

So many "rumors" surrounding this anime.....^_^

Animation: AIC ASTA Premiere: October 6, 2011
Genre: Action, Mystery Airtime (GMT+9): Thursdays at 25:30
Episodes: 25 Station: MBS
Information Links: AniDBANN EncyclopediaMyAnimeListsyoboiWikipedia

Three years after the spin-off adaptation of Atlus’ Persona 3 PlayStation 2 role-playing game, Persona -trinity soul-, we have a more faithful one on the latest iteration, produced by AIC ASTA and directed by Angel Beats/Kami-sama Dolls’ Kishi Seiji. The protagonist — now officially named Narukami Yuu (Namikawa Daisuke) — moves to the rural town of Inaba and stays with his police detective uncle Doujima Ryoutarou and six-year-old cousin Nanako. Shortly after his arrival, a series of murders take place where bodies are found hanging from television antennas, and a rumor begins to spread about a “Mayonaka TV” program where you can see your other self in the reflection of a television set on rainy days. Looking into the rumor, Yuu and his new friends, Hanamura Yousuke (Morikubo Shoutarou), Satonaka Chie (Horie Yui), Amagi Yukiko (Koshimizu Ami), get pulled into an alternate TV world where monsters known as Shadows roam about. They’re forced to confront their Shadow Selves and awaken their “Personas”, summoned beings that they use to investigate the murders and their connection to this other world. The game’s other cast members are present as well, namely Tatsumi Kanji (Seki Tomokazu), Kujikawa Rise (Kugimiya Rie), Shirogane Naoto (Paku Romi’s), and the mysterious bear-like creature, Kuma (Yamaguchi Kappei).

My Thoughts: Speaking as someone who never played the game….well heck I’m gonna give my opinion anyway! I’m almost certain that the P4 fanboys will get mad at this show for some missed detail or pointless minutiae or maybe even a gross misrepresentation of all of the characters and the story and the setting like making it take place in a dystopian city ruled by poorly imagined anthropomorphised versions of the game’s enemies with an complete lack of focus on the core elements of the story and gaping plot holes and corny set pieces all set to the rhythm of a “modern” theme designed to pander to the tastes of a generation that can’t even remember that the game existed let alone appreciate it! *pants*….I hate you Mario Bros. The Movie. I hate you so much…

Mashiro-iro Symphony | ましろ色シンフォニー

Maid outfit optional

Animation: Manglobe Premiere: October 4, 2011
Genre: Comedy, Romance, School-Life Airtime (GMT+9): Tuesdays at 26:00
Episodes: 1-cour Station: TV Aichi (TVA)
Information Links: AniDBANN EncyclopediaMyAnimeListsyoboiWikipedia

In Palette’s 2009 adult visual novel, we have yet another story where a male lead is surrounded by beautiful girls because a school recently turned co-ed. Uryuu Shingo’s (Mizushima Takahiro) Kagamidai Academy is in the process of merging with the neighboring town’s prestigious all-girls school Yuihime Academy (a.k.a. Yuijo) due to financial difficulties in the area. In preparation for the merger, he and his younger stepsister Sakuno (Gotou Mai) are chosen to take part in a testing phase where they attend classes at Yuijo. There, Shingo finds himself in a test class with the principal’s daughter and model student, Sena Airi (Ono Ryouko), who’s opposed to the merger and uses her influence to make it difficult for guys to get accustomed to the school. However, self-styled maid Ange Nanatsu Sewell (Ichimura Oma) and third-year Amaha Miu (Rikimaru Noriko) help Shingo fit in. He later stumbles upon Airi’s secret and causes her to open up to him and the others, thus beginning Shingo’s new school life at Yuijo where romance is in the air.

My Thoughts: So, the studio that brought us an anime about a person addicted to visual novels is now doing a show BASED on a visual novel, hmm, I’m sure Keima Katsuragi would watch it but then again he’s “already seen the ending” so why bother? Indeed why should I bother? Why watch another show where a hapless, oblivious, herbivorous male lead finds himself surround by attractive, willing girls? Honestly, not even for the maid outfits would I waste my time……okay, maybe for the maid outfits BUT NOTHING ELSE!

Maken-Ki! | マケン姫っ!

No Satelizer? No Rana? No Attia? No thanks!

Website: PV
Animation: AIC Classic Premiere: October 4, 2011
Genre: Action, Comedy, Romance, School-Life Airtime (GMT+9): Tuesdays at 25:05
Episodes: 1-cour Station: TV Saitama (TVS)
Information Links: AniDBANN EncyclopediaMyAnimeListsyoboiWikipedia

It was only a matter of time before we saw another fan-service-filled school-battle anime. In Maken-Ki’s take on the idea, Ooyama Takeru (Maeno Tomoaki) enrolls at Tenbi High, an all-girls school that recently turned co-ed. His dreams of a garden of beautiful girls are quickly shattered when he realizes the students there learn how to control special powers called “Elements” using magical weapons known as “Maken” and engage in regular duels with one another. Takeru is no exception to this form of education, but he’s stuck without a Maken for a while because none are suitable for him. He winds up living in a dorm with his childhood friend, Amaya Haruko (Shitaya Noriko), his self-proclaimed fiancee, Kushiya Inaho (Nomizu Iori), and a mysterious girl who considers him an enemy, Himegami Kodama (Yahagi Sayuri). On Haruko’s recommendation, Takeru ends up joining the “Maken-Ki” club that works with the student council to resolve problems around the school.

My Thoughts: “But I already SAW Freezing and it was WAAAYYYY BETTER!” is what I will say when my friends ask me why I’m hating on this show so much -_-. Still, for all the bouncing boobs and gratuitous panty shots and super-powered fighting I suppose it’s as good an offering as any for a school rom-com -_-. Plus I’m not gonna lie and say that I don’t get happy watching the PV, a boner’s a boner and even Freezing will get stale after the hundredth watching. Watching. Fapping.

Chihayafuru | ちはやふる

*checks "Karuta anime" off list* Running out of obscure topics guys...

Animation: MADHOUSE Premiere: October 4, 2011
Genre: Drama Airtime (GMT+9): Tuesdays at 24:59
Episodes: 25 Station: Nippon TV (NTV)
Information Links: AniDBANN EncyclopediaMyAnimeListsyoboiWikipedia

After some plagiarism trouble that put her career on hiatus, Suetsugu Yuki returned with an original concept for her award-winning josei manga. Sixth-grade Ayase Chihaya’s (Seto Asami) only dream is to see her one-year-older sister become a top model. She’s a tomboy with no aspirations of her own, until the bullied transfer student, Wataya Arata (Yoshimasa Hosoya), tells her of his dream to become the best Karuta player in Japan. In one game against him, Chihaya is astounded by the concentration and speed the traditional card game can be played with and becomes fascinated with it when Arata notices her potential. Chihaya’s elitist friend Mashima Taichi (Miyano Mamoru) soon joins them and they form an unexpectedly profound friendship. Unfortunately, Chihaya’s newfound happiness is short-lived, as they go their separate ways following graduation. She continues playing alone believing that she’ll see Arata again. Four years later, she’s reunited with Taichi in high school. They find out Arata quit karuta after returning to his hometown, so they create a karuta club in hopes that he’ll play with them again.

My Thoughts: Like last year’s Saki and my personal favourite in in the genre of non-sports game focused anime Hikaru no Go, Chihayafuru looks to be a great way to introduce the uninformed viewer on the wonders of yet another traditional Japanese game. There’s obvious merit in shows like this of course, but to be truly memorable there needs to be a catch. In Hikaru no Go it was a somewhat effeminate wandering spirit inhabiting the body of a young boy guiding him towards the deeper meanings behind life and how it related to the classic game of Go. In this, I’m guessing the catch is sappy school romance and cheesy romantic comedy. How long before we get the inevitable Hanafuda anime eh Japan? Summer Wars can’t be the only one with an epic Koi-Koi sequence; FUND IT!

Kimi to Boku. | 君と僕。

Looks like Aoi Hana with dudes...

Animation: J.C. Staff Premiere: October 3, 2011
Genre: Slice-of-Life Airtime (GMT+9):
Episodes: 13 (season 2 in 2012) Station: TV Tokyo (TX)
Information Links: AniDBANN EncyclopediaMyAnimeListsyoboiWikipedia

Now here’s something you don’t see every day — a clean slice-of-life comedy with five teenage boys and no BL/shounen-ai undertones. “You and I” follows the everyday lives of four childhood friends — twin brothers Asaba Yuuta (Uchiyama Kouki) and Yuuki (Kimura Ryouhei), honor student Tsukahara Kaname (Ono Yuuki), and effeminate Matsuoka Shun (Toyonaga Toshiyuki) — and their half-German transfer student Tachibana Chizuru (Irino Miyu). It covers their time in high school where they’re soon joined by Shun’s petite admirer Satou Masaki (Satou Miyuki), and features flashbacks showing how their friendship’s developed since kindergarten. J.C. Staff and Sora no Woto director Kanbe Mamoru has been tasked to bring female mangaka Hotta Kiichi’s adolescent comedy to life with two 13-episode seasons, the first of which starts this fall.

My Thoughts: I know what you’re thinking, ‘ZOMG obvious Yaoi fangirl bait’ but hold your hatred people, i’ve read the manga and it’s not trash. It’s simply light-hearted comedy with an all male lead cast. The Shonen-Ai is almost non-existent, in fact, it exists solely in the minds of the fujoshi readers. I won’t feel uncomfortable watching this show with my male friends in the way I did trying to get them to watch Sekaichi Hatsukoi or Togainu no Chi. Here’s hoping the series captures the lightheartedness and the comedy of the source material.

Tamayura ~hitotose~ | たまゆら~hitotose~

"Healing" anime of the season

Animation: Hal Film Maker Premiere: October 3, 2011
Genre: Slice-of-Life Airtime (GMT+9): Mondays at 09:00
Episodes: 1-cour Station: AT-X
Information Links: AniDBANN EncyclopediaMyAnimeListsyoboiWikipedia

Slice-of-life fans rejoice, the four-part OVA by the ARIA staff is back with a TV series. For those who haven’t seen last year’s OVA, Tamayura revolves around first-year high school student Sawatari Fuu (Taketatsu Ayana), a.k.a. “Potte”, and her everyday life in her hometown of Takehara, Hiroshima that she recently moved back to after five years. With the help of her childhood friend Hanawa Kaoru (Asumi Kana), she’s able to befriend Okazaki Norie (Iguchi Yuka) and Sakurada Maon (Gibu Yuuko). Together with her new friends, Fuu rediscovers her hometown through the finder of a Rollei 35S camera left behind by her late father.

My Thoughts: I saw the first Tamayura series back when it came out and thought little of it. I’m gonna have to re-watch it since literally nothing comes to my mind when I try to think about it. Hmmm, speaking as someone who has actually done classic/analog photography I can say that the photographer really becomes very much enamored of his/her craft because of the very personal and technical nature of the work. I think a story LIKE this has the potential to be a very touching, thought provoking tale…I just don’t think that this may be that story. But hey, who knows right? We’ll just have to see what develops….^_~.

Phi Brain: Kami no Puzzle | ファイ・ブレイン 神のパズル

I wonder how long it takes these guys to solve a Rubik's Cube...

Website: PV
Animation: Sunrise Premiere: October 2, 2011
Genre: Adventure, Mystery Airtime (GMT+9): Sundays at 17:30
Episodes: 25 Station: NHK
Information Links: AniDBANN EncyclopediaMyAnimeListsyoboiWikipedia

Sunrise is on a bit of a tear this season with three offerings, the second of which is an original series about a high school student named Daimon Kaito (Asanuma Shintarou), who together with his childhood friend Itou Nonoha (Shimizu Kaori), stumbles upon a supposedly unsolvable maze beneath his school. It turns out to be a “Philosopher Puzzle” created by a mysterious organization known as “POG”, who makes would-be challengers stake their lives to try and solve it. Kaito manages to do so and obtains the Orpheus Bracelet hidden in the maze, earning him the “Phi Brain” recognition — the first step towards solving the “Puzzle of God”. Together with others Phi Brains, Sakanoue Gyamon (Fukuyama Jun), Cubic G (Miyata Kouki), and Anna Graham (Yukino Satsuki), they wage a puzzle battle against POG to uncover the truth about the organization and the Puzzle of God.

My Thoughts: Allow me to put some things in perspective for you dear reader, My favorite Nintendo DS games of all time are the titles in the Professor Layton series and 999. I freaking LOVE puzzles, so when I learned of the premise of this show, my interest was already peaked. Coming off of the fantastic Tiger and Bunny, I feel like Sunrise is really coming into it’s own as “the company that does something OTHER than Gundam”. Phi Brain may be sleeper hit this season and if not this season definitely next season during the second half. I’ll be keeping my eye on this one for sure.


Oh they "GON" crazy up in here!

Animation: MADHOUSE Premiere: October 2, 2011
Genre: Action, Adventure Airtime (GMT+9): Sundays at 10:55
Episodes: 45+ (TBD) Station: Nippon TV (NTV)
Information Links: AniDBANN EncyclopediaMyAnimeListsyoboiWikipedia

YuYu Hakusho creator Togashi Yoshihiro’s other renowned manga sees a remake ten years later, this time with a new studio, staff, and cast. To produce this Weekly Shounen Jump series, Madhouse is working with director Koujina Hiroshi, whose previous works together include RainbowMajin Tanten Nougami Neuro, and Kiba. In Hunter x Hunter, we follow the adventures of a young boy named Gon Freecss (Han Megumi) who aspires to become a Hunter after learning that his presumed-to-be-dead father Ging is still alive and one of the best in the world. He sets out on a journey in search of his father where he meets and befriends other aspiring hunters, Killua Zoldyc (Ise Mariya), Leorio (Fujiwara Keiji), and Kurapika (Sawashiro Miyuki) during their Hunter Exam. Very few people can pass this grueling exam to be officially recognized as an elite individual who specializes in finding treasures, exotic creatures, and other rare items, but together they face that challenge and many others, including Hisoka (Namikawa Daisuke), another aspiring Hunter.

My Thoughts: I never managed to finish HUNTERxHUNTER the first time around but now that it’s getting the “Brotherhood” treatment I feel encouraged to take it on again. I recommend it to other’s wishing to take part in a piece of Shonen Jump history. I wonder though, if the story might seem a little childish or antiquated in this day an age…I’ll be watching this with my Nostalgia Shades off.

Busou Shinki Moon Angel | 武装神姫 Moon Angel

Custom Robo meets Mecha Moe

Animation: KINEMA CITRUS x TNK Premiere: September 22, 2011
Genre: Action Airtime (GMT+9): N/A
Episodes: Station: PlayStation Store (PSN)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

Konami’s Busou Shinki “Multi Moveable System” (MMS) action figure line is being adapted into an anime that will be available on the PlayStation Store. The franchise already has two PSP games based on it, the second of which comes out this month (Busou Shinki Battle Masters Mk.2). In the “Armament Goddess Moon Angel” anime, the figurines are still figurines except some are fully self-aware. The story itself revolves around a young boy named Tsubasa (Inoue Marina), who yearns of becoming a Shinki Master one day. On his way home, he comes across a damaged Shinki in the trees, Arnval Mk.2 (Asumi Kana), who fled from her pursuer Strarf Mk.2 (Chihara Minori) for unknown reasons. He takes Arnval in and fixes her, only to get caught up in a huge conspiracy involving Shinki.

My Thoughts: Why would I even mention this? Because Minori Chihara is voicing a character in it. That is LITERALLY THE ONLY REASON. I have no thoughts or opinions on this promotional mini-series at all. Nothing beyond senseless fanboyisms about one of my favourite female seiyuu. Umm, I guess it’s kinda like Angelic Layer…except angelic layer is 10,000 times deeper and more interesting than this (CLAMP bias). Hmm, umm, yeah moving on.

C³ -C Cube- | C³-シーキューブ-

So it's CC from Code Geass x C?

Website: Video: PV PV
Animation: SILVER LINK. Premiere: October 1, 2011
Genre: Comedy, Fantasy, Romance Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays at 23:30
Episodes: 1-cour Station: AT-X
Information Links: AniDBANN EncyclopediaMyAnimeListsyoboiWikipedia

At first glance, the anime for Minase Hazuki’s fantasy novel/manga looks like BakaTest, thanks to the same studio, director, and character designer. The premise for  (Cube x Cursed x Curious) is similarly outlandish too, with the existence of “cursed tools” known as “Worse” that make Yachi Haruaki’s (Kaji Yuuki) everyday school life anything but normal. His overseas father has a knack for finding these items, which contain huge amounts of negative emotions that can manifest into a human consciousness. If allowed to amass more negative feelings, the Worse can become a demon and curse its owner and everyone around him. One day, Haruaki receives a one-meter black cube — a torture device found in an old castle basement — that has already awakened as a blue-haired girl named Fear Kubrick (Tamura Yukari). She asks him to help lift her curse and starts living with Haruaki and Muramasa Konoha (Chihara Minori), another Worse whose curse has already been lifted. Other characters and organizations familiar with the cursed tools get involved, including Haruaki’s class president Ueno Kirika (Kitamura Eri).

My Thoughts: Let’s get this out of the way quickly. ERI KITAMURA AND MINORI CHIHARA ARE VOICING CHARACTERS IN THIS SHOW AND THAT ALONE IS REASON ENOUGH FOR ME TO WATCH THE SERIES. Ahem, It’s airing on ATX so I expect no shortage of sexiness and violence. I get a sort of 11-Eyes meets Dragon Crisis meets Kore wa Zombie Desu-ka feel from this show, which is both good and bad really. Because all three of those series had interesting, though somewhat generic characters, well-directed though somewhat confusing action sequences and decent, but unsatisfying endings. I hope this turns out to be different, but if what I’ve seen in the PVs is anything to go by my hopes may be dashed before I hit episode 3.

Maji de Watashi ni Koi Shinasai!! | 真剣で私に恋しなさい!!

Points to the those of you who can identify their character types just by looking at this picture!

Website: Videos: PV
Animation: Lerche Premiere: October 1, 2011
Genre: Comedy, Romance Airtime (GMT+9):
Episodes: Station: TV Kanagawa (tvk)
Information Links: AniDBANN EncyclopediaMyAnimeListsyoboiWikipedia

Minato Soft, creators of Kimi ga Aruji de Shitsuji ga Ore de, are getting another one of their adult visual novels adapted. Released for PC in 2009, “Love Me Seriously!” is set in high school like most eroge are, except all the female members in a tight-knit group of friends are descendents of warriors and know how to fight. The story follows second-year Naoe Yamato (Kamiya Hiroshi), who’s hung out with three guys and three girls since he was kid. Their group of seven is referred to as the “Kazama family” after its leader and Yamato’s best friend, Kazama Shouichi (Konishi Katsuyuki). Along with Kawakami Momoyo (Asakawa Yuu), Kawakami Kazuko (Tomonaga Akane), Shiina Miyako (Hyousei), Morooka Takuya (Suzumura Kenichi), and Shimazu Gakuto (Kusao Takeshi), not much has changed in the group. However, things start to when they’re joined by two female transfer students, Mayuzumi Yukie (Gotou Yuuko) and Christiane Friedrich (Itou Shizuka), and the guys have to do their best not to lose out to the warrior-bred girls.

My Thoughts: Ah, Gotouza-sama is voicing a character in this series huh? How interesting, will it be an ironic case like with Mikuru Asahina or will she be playing to her supposed “actual” character of a total badass? Well that alone isn’t enough to get me to watch, but the man handling the script (Katsuhiko Takayama) also worked on the PHENOMENAL ef-a tale, Ga-Rei Zero and even this season’s Mirai Nikki. Of course the difference between those series and an eroge adaptaion like Majikoi is like night and day (with the exception of ef I guess, but that was done by SHAFT so it’s not your standard eroge adaptation by ANY MEANS). Still I’m willing to believe that enough talent behind a project like this could point it in the direction of something more than just another sexy all-girls beat-em’-up a la Ikki Tousen. That PV doesn’t convince me though -_-.

Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon | 境界線上のホライゾン

Dat grin.....

Website: PV
Animation: Sunrise Premiere: October 1, 2011
Genre: Action, Fantasy Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays at 26:58
Episodes: 13 (season 2 in 2012) Station: MBS
Information Links: AniDBANN EncyclopediaMyAnimeListsyoboiWikipedia

Sunrise is teaming up with Dengeki Bunko to produce a light novel-based anime that’s been said to be “impossible” to adapt. Known as “Horizon on the Middle of Nowhere”, Kawakami Minoru’s school battle fantasy has a deep-rooted and fairly convoluted premise. In the distant future, mankind has to suddenly abandon “Tenjou” (lit. heavens) and return to the Earth, where the only inhabitable place left is “Shinshuu” (Japan). To cope with the lack of space, they create an alternate dimension to live in called “Jusou Sekai”. To find a means back to Tenjou, they attempt to relive the Earth’s history as transcribed in the “Testament”; however, a war later breaks out in Shinshuu and destabilizes the alternate dimension, causing it to come crashing into the real world. The various countries come pouring out, fighting over the limited space in what is now known as “Kyokutou”. In present day, the Testament suddenly stopped transcribing the Earth’s history at 1648 A.D., causing the countries to fight over their own interpretations on what happens next. Some believe it’s the end of the world; others try to carve a new future. The parallels to our history add a nice twist, as the last recorded information in the Testiment is the end of the Thirty Years’ War. Most of the world’s confusion comes from mention of Westpalia, not knowing that the peace treaty was signed there. Kyokutou is in the middle of a medieval war, but the story’s stage is Musashi, the eight-ship independent nation in the skies where students of Ariadust Academy try to settle the cross-national dispute on their own. We follow the carefree yet charismatic Musashi sub-ruler/student council president Aoi Toori (Fukuyama Jun) and fellow sub-ruler/automaton Horizon Ariadust (Chihara Minori). The huge cast is brimming with big names, such as Sawashiro MiyukiKoyasu TakehitoOno DaisukeInoue MarinaSaitou ChiwaKoshimizu Ami, andYuuki Aoi.

My Thoughts: I swear to Haruhi i’m going to have a Chihara overload this season. Voicing the eponymous Horizon charcter in her full Yuki Nagato register Minori-sama has come to serenade for another 26 episodes of awesome. Though Ican’t take the ominous premise of this show too seriously (especially after seeing the trailers) I can at least say that it seems to have a much larger, more talented cast than any of the other shows this season in addition to having some of the highest production values this fall. So It looks great, sounds great and has a great stretch of time over which to spread a potentially great story. Though the convoluted backstory and absurdly large character roster coupled with what REALLY looks like an utter lack of truly serious content makes me think that this series will have a lot of fans for the wrong reasons. I predict a very polarizing show here… Now I try to keep my mecha series watching to a minimum of one per season and I especially avoid mecha that involves a quirky cast of teenagers engaged in what seems like non-wartime combat (I’m looking at YOU Infinite stratos and I STILL hate you), but I’ll be damned if Ono Daisuke’s sexy, sexy voice isn’t drawing me in. Ah, MAGGARE! So here’s hoping that Horizon isn;t just a parade of quirky characters swinging around over-sized weapons or casting Nanoha-esque spells all for the sake of finding some unknown “McGuffin artifact” or defeating some generic “big bad”. Because if so, that would be an ENORMOUS waste of such a large and talented cast.

Shakugan no Shana III (Final) | 灼眼のシャナIII (Final)

What? This is the end!? USRUSAI URUSAI URUSAI!

Website: PV
Animation: J.C. Staff Premiere: October 7, 2011
Genre: Action, Fantasy Airtime (GMT+9): Fridays at 25:30
Episodes: 24 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDBANN EncyclopediaMyAnimeListsyoboiWikipedia

The fantasy/romance series that I’ve come to know J.C. Staff for is back with a third and final season. The 24-volume light novel completed its nine-year run this month and the anime is following suit. A lot has happened since Sakai Yuuji (Hino Satoshi) first met the “Flame Haze” Shana (Kugimiya Rie) and learned that he’s merely a Torch, a figment of his former living self. He still possesses a treasure known as the “Reiji Maigo”, which renews his “Power of Existence” every night. Along with the Lord of the Crimson Realm, Alastor (Ebara Masashi), and fellow Flame Hazes, Wilhemina Carmel (Itou Shizuka) and Margery Daw (Nabatame Hitomi), Yuuji and Shana continue their fight against Bal Masqué, a group of Crimson Denizens who aren’t concerned about the balance in the human world and use the Power of Existence for their own purposes. Led by Sydonay (Miyake Kenta), Hecate (Noto Mamiko), and Bel Peol (Oohara Sayaka), they attempt to carry out a “Grand Order” plan that requires Yuuji’s Reiji Maigo, in which the God of Creation and their founder, Sairei no Hebi, has been reborn.

My Thoughts: So Kugimiya-sama finally returns to the role that essentially made her famous and no I am not referring to Alphonse Elric, I am talking of course about the flame haze herself. The master of the “triple urusai” and the the most well recognized utterances of “baka” since Asuka Langley. With Shana FINALLY being put to rest it begs the question: will all of the other countless JC Staff “Shana clones” be wiped out as well? Quite frankly, I doubt it. And I’m okay with that. Because I’ve got that Kugi-fever too I’m afraid ^_^. It’ll be nice to see her reprise her role as Shana again, sort of like seeing Rocky get back into the ring for ‘one last fight’; only instead of an Italian stallion with a deep, gravelly baritone he’s a tiny Japanese woman with a clear, high-pitched voice and a tendency to refer to people as “idiots”. I believe it goes without saying that this anime, more than any of the other sequels this season requires prior knowledge of the last two series. I’ll definitely be watching this final installment.


Website: PV PV2
Animation: ufotable Premiere: October 1, 2011
Genre: Action, Fantasy Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays at 24:00
Episodes: 25 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDBANN EncyclopediaMyAnimeListsyoboiWikipedia

A light novel prequel to Type Moon’s Fate/stay night that was written by Urobuchi Gen (Madoka Magica) after the anime finished airing, and now it’s getting a full two-cour anime of its own produced by ufotable. Taking place ten years before, Fate/Zero unveils the truth behind the Fourth Holy Grail War, where Emiya Shirou’s foster father Kiritsugu (Koyama Rikiya) battles against six other Masters and their summoned Servants in an attempt to claim the legendary relic that can grant any wish. The chalice has gone unclaimed in the last three wars in Fuyuki City and Kiritsugu is fully intent on claiming it now, summoning the same Saber (Kawasumi Ayako) from the seven classes of deceased warriors. Another Master, Kotomine Kirei (Nakata Jouji), summons Assassin but lacks a sense purpose in partaking in the war. That all changes when he meets the cold-hearted and unrelenting Kiritsugu and perceives him as a sworn enemy.

My Thoughts: My faith in Gen Urobochi as a writer is solid enough to ensure that I can safely recommend this to FSK fans and non-fans alike. My caveat to those who have not seen the previous series and movies or played the games is if you watch this. You may end up spoiling the previous work for yourself. Though insofar as this is a prequel so naturally events depicted in this anime will only serve to remove some aspects of the mystery that formed the foundation of the original. I have no doubt that this will deliver the same high quality action and eye-candy that the first provided. Definite must-watch for those who love the original and those who want to know just WHY people make such a big deal about that girl in the armored dress or that guy in the cool red coat.



Website: PV PV2
Animation: A-1 Pictures Premiere: October 1, 2011
Genre: Comedy Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays at 23:30
Episodes: Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDBANN EncyclopediaMyAnimeListsyoboiWikipedia

In a season with a good amount of sequels, we also see the continuation of the family restaurant comedy, Working. The premise is a simple one, centering around high school student and self-proclaimed lover of all things small and helpless, Takanashi Souta (Fukuyama Jun). He agrees to work at Wagnaria because of how adorable his petite senior Taneshima Popura (Asumi Kana) is. Soon after getting hired, Souta realizes how unusual his coworkers are, from his carefree manager Kyouko (Watanabe Kimiko), androphobic coworker Mahiru (Fujita Saki), and katana-carrying floor chief Yachiyo (Kitamura Eri), to the kitchen staff members, Hiroomi (Kamiya Hiroshi) and Jun (Ono Daisuke). Things get even more hectic when the freeloading Yamada Aoi (Hirohashi Ryou) shows up, making a day at the restaurant anything but routine.

My Thoughts: To those of you wondering if it is necessary to have seen the first series; nah not really. However, if you like what you see then I recommend looking back in order to get another serving of sweet Taneshima goodness. Funny show, pleasant characters. Decent watch. Me personally, while I like that this show got some sequel love I’m still a little miffed about there being no sign of a Kannagi season two yet! >:-/ Oh well, I guess the guys at A-1 will just have to keep..WORKING on it *slaps knee* HA!

Bakuman. 2nd Series | バクマン。 第2シリーズ

My hope still burns!

Animation: J.C. Staff Premiere: October 1, 2011
Genre: Drama Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays at 17:30
Episodes: 25 Station: NHK
Information Links: AniDBANN EncyclopediaMyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

The shounen manga about manga is back with a second season, picking up where things last left off with Mashiro Moritaka (Abe Atsushi) and Takagi Akito’s (Hino Satoshi) dreams of getting their work serialized in Weekly Shounen Jump. Motivated by his promise with his middle school crush/aspiring seiyuu Azuki Miho (Hayami Saori) and the mangaka path left behind by his late uncle, Moritaka continues his struggles in the manga industry as an artist for the unorthodox stories that Akito writes. The first season entailed their entrance into the manga industry and the struggles with other young mangaka, and concluded with the first big step of their careers — the serialization of their Detective Trapseries. The fairy tale-like story doesn’t end there though, as more challenges arise in the pursuit of their dreams.

My Thoughts: Never watched it? You should. Perhaps you could even give the manga a try? Be warned though, this story by esteemed Death Note creators Takeshi Obata and Tsugumi Ohba may leave you enjoying and appreciating the hardships of the life of a mangaka or or it may simply leave you wondering as to why there is a distinct lack of Misa-Misa. Your call. As for this anime, it’s either your cup of tea or it isn’t and I like it’s flavor just fine.

Shinryaku!? Ika Musume | 侵略!? イカ娘

Cthulhu moe returns!

Animation: Diomedea Premiere: September 26, 2011
Genre: Comedy Airtime (GMT+9): Mondays at 26:00
Episodes: 12 Station: TV Tokyo (TX)
Information Links: AniDBANN EncyclopediaMyAnimeListsyoboiWikipedia

Our favorite squid girls returns for another season — this time with a lot more doubt about an invasion right in the title. This sequel probably needs little introduction, but in case you weren’t reading RandomC last year (shame on you), it’s a comedy about a squid girl aptly named “Ika Musume” (Kanemoto Hisako) who comes to surface with grandiose plans of conquering mankind for polluting the ocean, only to wind up working at a beach hut run by the Aizawa sisters, Eiko (Fujimura Ayumi) and Chizuru (Tanaka Rie). A lot of the actual humor comes from the fact that Ika Musume is completely harmless and ends up being the victim of her own naivety more often than not. Together with the support cast of Nagatsuki Sanae (Itou Kanae), lifeguard Arashiyama Gorou (Nakamura Yuuichi), and American extraterrestrial researcher Cyndi (Nabatame Hitomi), there’s never a dull day at the beach.

My Thoughts: This was one of the funnier/cuter shows of last season and it’s a pleasure to see Ika-san back with what looks like even more questionable determination to invade the land of the air-breathers. Is it a good anime? Hmmmm…

Sekai-ichi Hatsukoi 2 | 世界一初恋2

"Ritsu! get your ass in my bedroom!.....I mean office!"

Animation: Studio DEEN Premiere: October 7, 2011
Genre: Drama, Romance, Yaoi Airtime (GMT+9): Fridays at TBD
Episodes: 1-cour Station: TV Saitama (TVS)
Information Links: AniDBANN EncyclopediaMyAnimeListsyoboiWikipedia

If there was any doubt about there being an audience for forbidden love between guys, a second season of Junjou Romantica creator’s “World’s Greatest Love” after only a one-cour break should suggest otherwise. Targeted toward female audiences, Sekai-ichi Hatsukoi entails the publishing company endeavors of 25-year-old Onodera Ritsu (Kondou Takashi), who’s reunited with his high school boyfriend, 27-year-old chief editor Takano Masamune (Konishi Katsuyuki), when he leaves his father’s company to prove that he can make it as an editor on his own. He ends up working for Masamune in Marukawa Shoten’s Emerald department specialing in shoujo manga, and the forbidden feelings from high school begin to resurface. Ritsu is thrown into further confusion by Yokozawa Takafumi (Kenyuu Horiuchi) from the finance department, whom Masamune had a physical relationship with in university.

My Thoughts: I always place the Yaoi last on the list don’t I? I’m not discriminating I swear! I guess it’s just natural for these things to end up *puts on shades* on the bottom…..YEAHHHHHHHHH!!!
LOL, seriously though I actually watched the first season with a clear and open mind expecting to get an intimate look inside the intricasies of the editorial process of manga production…. Instead a got a lot of shots of dudes invading each others personal space -_-. If the show could have focused just a little bit less on Ritsu and Masamune’s budding and unnecessarily complex relationship and a little bit more on manga publishing I probably would have liked it more. I probably would have stayed on for a second season. But I wont. If you’re fancy is tickled by homo-eroticism however then I suppose you could take a crack at it, it’s a lot more caring and subtle than Togainu no Chi believe me….

Tennis no Ouji-sama: Best Match (New Prince of Tennis)

Join the adventures of Goro Shigeno...oops that's ANOTHER never-ending popular sports anime

Starts: Thursday, October 6 at 1:50 a.m. JST on TV Tokyo
Studio: MSC
Genre: Action/Sports

Several months after the final tournament in the original The Prince of Tennis, Ryoma and his team mates are among a mere 50 students invited to participate in a special camp for tennis elites, the Japanese High School Representatives Selection Camp, to train. At the camp they will undoubtedly have to deal with new enemies, friends, challenges, and adventures.

My Thoughts: Oh, a sports anime…If it ain’t boxing, I ain’t watching man. However if you’re a fan of Ryoma and his Uchiha clan style of tennis. Get excited for more of the same! Mada mada da ne….

Phew! that’s it for now. Looks like it’ll be an interesting season huh? Until next time
Aspire towards Nirvana, Anime watchers!

First Thoughts on Final Impressions: Tiger and Bunny

Doin' it wrong.

It’s a real pleasure to see Sunrise putting out a series that’s not mecha. It’s an even bigger pleasure to see them put out a series that’s not disappointing. But when you combine the two? Now that’s just a treasure of heroic proportions and that’s precisely what Tiger and Bunny is, heroic.

Stylin'.....but still wrong -_-.

Now don’t get me wrong here, T&B is far from being labelled an instant classic but it has a certain quality that a lot of the other so-called classics- and if you ask me a lot of anime that has come out in the last couple of years-lack and that is heart. From the very first episode the viewer is assaulted with a seemingly relentless barrage of camp and flash and cheap visual gags but once you’ve gotten your toes wet you begin to feel the inkling of an incline below the water’s surface that suggests the water may be a little bit more than just shin deep. Even if it may only turn out to be waist deep ^_^;.

Wrong...on so many levels.

This brings me back to the issue of “heart”, the driving force in this series is, without a doubt, the characters. They all feel very organic and expressive and what’s more they act like main characters in their own right (from Karina’s insistent Tsundereness to Keith’s theatrical antics and even Ivan’s brooding over his supposed “uselessness”). They all have healthy egos with believable, interesting motivations and fun pesonalities that mesh quite well with each other. It goes without saying that they make a better team than the troubled children of EVA or the one-man-band that is the Z-fighters or even the master-servant team ofthe SOS brigade but I digress. The characters give the show a lighthearted and natural feel that makes it pulsate and resonate with both the casual viewer as well as the serious anime aficionado. Heart, they’ve got it.

Wook at the widdle cwimefighters XD

I think a series that is unafraid of laughing at itself and that recognizes the silliness of its premise deserves respect. You can see that in how the Heroes treat the business of crimefighting like any other job by going out to buy groceries or hitting the bar when the day is over [reminds me of a special mini comic I read in the back of Niel Gaiman’s special Batman epilogue story “Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader” where Batman and the Joker are sitting in the green room waiting for their chance to ‘come onstage’ in the panels of the comic. They discuss such mundane topics as the job market or how each other’s families are doing (can you imagine the Batman or the Joker as a middle-aged working man with a wife and two kids?  *shudder*)]. T&B plays this up well without undermining the actual importance of the work they do in maintaining the city’s peace (Kotetsu takes his superheroing ESPECIALLY seriously).
Which brings me to the titular characters themselves Kotetsu “Wild Tiger” Kaburagi and Barnaby “Bunny-chan” Brooks Jr. are the anime reincarnations of Starsky and Hutch. Their special brand of teamwork occupies a comfy niche between Batman and Robin and the Odd Couple and it’s the reason I kept coming back week after week.

"We're from the National Superheroing Observational Board; Division 6."

Kotetsu is a strong contender for most likeable anime protagonist of all time and is probably a definite frontrunner for most likeable anime character of the year. In his role as the well-meaning idiot hero he doesn’t cross the line that so many of his predecessors have so egregiously run over in the past (I’m looking at you pre-timeskip Naruto, Luffy, and Black Star). I would like to say that it’s because he’s an adult with a child to take care of and so on, but then what would be Goku’s excuse? No, good characterization is what’s at work here and that’s that. Plus, the dude’s fecking hilarious!
Not so funny however is his physically perfect partner Bunny. Now, as far as characters of this archetype go I have to say he’s a lot less overbearing than most of your Ishida Uryuu’s and your Sasuke Uchiha’s and way more expressive than your Joe the Condors or Ogami Rei’s. The thing is, while Bunny is indeed the classic “reluctant partner” his progression is more gradual and believable than others because it’s consitent (from the moment he receives his nickname from Kotetsu his atitude towards his partner begins to improve). Barnaby plays an excellent Tsukkomi to Kotetsu’s Boke and he’s no slouch in the combat department either. Oh, and let’s not forget his most important role as yaoi fangirl bait (let me put it like this: it is easier to find non homoerotic fan art of the show’s one ACTUALLY gay character than it is for these two -_-).

And this is among the STRAIGHTER stuff I've seen -_-;;;.

Both Tiger and Bunny play off of each other’s strengths and weaknesses quite well and near the end of the series this dynamic comes into play in a very big and satisfying manner. Without spoiling much of the series’ finale I can definitely say that the teamwork exhibited by not only T&B but the whole cast of heroes is quite thrilling to say the least. In fact the final five episodes played out with the kind of visual and theatrical and even storyline quality that I’ve come to expect from other excellent Sunrise series and while the ending won’t leave you feeling like your brain got assraped *coughcough*CodeGeass*cough* it will still make you appreciate the diligent work of the writing and animation staff and even the staff of HeroTV for taking you along on such a fun-filled adventure. Tiger and Bunny gets a B from this humble reviewer (B+ if you’re a huge fan of pretty visuals and cool CG, B- if you like a little more SuperSeriousness with your Superheroes).

Sunrise's answer to the Justice League.

Til next time, Let’s Believe Heroes! And as always
Aspire toward Nirvana, Anime watchers.

Halftime Break: Tiger and Bunny

I remember when I first saw the PV for this series and found out about its premise. A series about corporate sponsored superheroes who fight crime on live TV and compete for ratings all while wearing costumes emblazoned with various logos? My mind instantly shifted to the 90’s film Mystery Men starring Ben Stiller and Greg Kinnear. In the film Kinnear’s character played an obnoxious, self-promoting, celebrity Superhero with more logos on his costume than a Nascar stock car.

Check it out it's Booster Gold!

Fast forward more than a decade later and here we find ourselves with quirky cast of Tiger and Bunny. I was skeptical when first coming into this show because I figured they’d take one of two routes: 1) An endless barrage of “monster of the week” clashes wherein the heroes solve conflicts through mindless slapstick antics all the while shamelessly plugging their respective companies. 2) A brilliant deconstruction of the pervasive nature of advertising and crass consumerism in modern society and how the true villain is our own human desire for material objects. Tiger and Bunny is neither of these things but that’s okay it just means there’s a greater opportunity to surprise the viewer.

Iron Tiger

His superpower is SPONSORSHIP!

As of this moment, only 13 of the slated 25 episodes have been aired and the character introductions as well as the first major arc/villain has been taken care of. The cast of heroes consists of a tomboyish electricity using Kung Fu master (Dragon Kid), a flamboyant fire manipulating drag queen (Fire Emblem), a sexy teenage idol/ice power user who is, I kid you not, sponsored by PEPSI (Blue Rose [not to be confused with the Saubure national treasure]), a big strong guy with a costume straight out of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann (Rock Bison), a clever ninja-like shapeshifter who sounds like he got ripped straight from the Sengoku period (Origami Cyclone), a theatrical, self-indulgent, good-looking airbender (Sky High) and of course our titular heroes: Kotetsu “Wild Tiger” Kaburagi and Barnaby “Bunny” Brooks Jr. both of whom have your average super strength/super speed upgraded Captain America powers. Now, this show is indeed a shounen anime but it differs in quite a few key points. for starters, there is a distinct lack of overpowered super teenagers, there are no ‘mascot’ type characters, there is no definite love interest for the protagonists to be completely oblivious to-Kotetsu himself is a widower with a 9 year old daughter to support-and most importantly, there is no school setting within which to place the characters and subject them to the comic indignities suffered by so many other anime characters.
I’ve once heard this anime be described as “A show for old men that kids should watch”. Now while the issues of some of the characters may indeed speak more to the older, in or post college generation. I wouldn’t go so far to say that this show can be directed at those kinds of people. For one, while the exposition of the heroes and their personal issues are indeed a bit more mature than your usual shounen fare, they don’t flesh the characters out enough to truly satisfy the older, inquisitive mind. This, of course, means that it also won’t bore or deter the younger viewer or those particular anime fans who just want to see “tough guys doing cool shit”.  Personally speaking, from what I’ve seen in these first 13 episodes, there is enough here in T&B to keep the casual viewer interested and give the more serious viewer something to sit back and enjoy while they give their mind a break from this week’s episode of Steins;Gate or C.

So here’s hoping that Sunrise pulls out all the stops for the second half and gives us some of that Gundam-level wtf-ery that they’ve had years to perfect.

Advertising WORKS!

Aspire towards Nirvana, anime Watchers

First Thoughts on Final Impressions: Ano Hana [Minor Spoilers]

Anime is in the Ending.

It’s something I’ve always believed in and I stand firmly by this declaration whenever I consider how any piece of fiction-not just anime-has impacted me. While The journey is indeed more important that the destination, how that journey culminates ultimately brings value to it; indeed the destination is the only way to know if one has traveled in the right direction.

Which brings me to the subject of this entry, a little story by the name of Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Boku-tachi wa Mada Shiranai or “Ano Hana” for those of us who don’t get off to obnoxiously long Japanese animation titles. Ano Hana is one of those titles that can be compared to a strange little pixie that creeps up on you while you’re trapped in the mire of your own seasonal idleness and offers to take you on a relaxing afternoon walk through the park. You soon realize however that this is no ordinary stroll, and you become swept up in the not so mundane problems of the fair folk; put simply, you become a spectator in a paranormal affair and that’s exactly what happens when you watch this series.

Watch it with a childhood friend

[Minor Spoilers here; Plot Synopsis]

Our protagonist Jinta Yadomi (nicknamed Jin-tan) is a sullen, jaded NEET who’s well on his way to becoming a certifiable candidate for Misaki Nakahara’s hikikomori therapy were it not one for one troublesome “Summer beast” that, quite literally, falls into his lap one lazy afternoon. It is the phantom of his childhood friend Honma Meiko (nicknamed Menma) and she has appeared to him-and only to him it seems-in order for him to grant some sort of wish that, surprise surprise, she can’t seem to remember. And so begins our little soap opera that will reunite Jinta with his now VERY estranged group of childhood friends who, for reasons both varied and yet still somehow similar, are each tied to Menma’s unfortunate passing and the fallout from the day of her demise has far-reaching consequences that become more and more apparent with each passing episode.

[/End Spoilers]

It is Ano Hana’s mastery of pacing that really makes this series shine as each episode opens slowly and then carefully unravels, picking up speed as it approaches the end only to stop at precisely the right moment, not necessarily to create patience-testing cliffhangers but rather a delicate moment of suspense. I guess it can be compared to a ball of yarn rolling down a gradually steepening incline only to settle into to a gentle undulation at the base, rocking and swaying back and forth in its hold before it makes yet another descent. The cast is populated by a diverse group of youngsters each with clearly identifiable character traits. We have The Ditz (Anal Anaru), The Jester (Poppo), The Cool/Smart Girl (Tsuruko), The Jerk-Ass Smart Boy (Yukiatsu) and of course our Fearless Leader (Jintan), (please note that these are all character nicknames and the reason I use them over their actual names is due to the fact this show makes use of them to represent an interesting shift in the group dynamics whenever they are utilized). Ano Hana’s roots as a light novel seem to show most clearly in the way that the characters are slowly fleshed out. Each time we see them, more of their motivations and desires are hinted at and the audience comes to realize that there may be just a bit more bubbling right under the surface of each character’s carefully constructed facade. This exposition however is not perfect , as certain characters seem to get a lot more attention than others and their internal conflicts feel a bit forced at times. Guilt is a major theme of this show, as well as unrequited love. Both go pretty much hand in hand and are the principle sources of the excellent drama the series provides.

This may happen to you

Drama however, can quickly become bitter when taken in large doses and must be broken up and spaced out well enough to allow the palate to recover; Ano Hana does this well for the most part  but there were times when I could literally count down the seconds to the next dramatic plot twist simply because things seemed too pleasant at the moment. Another thing Ano Hana sometimes drops the ball on is the way in which the plot rigidly defines the progression of the series. There is one moment in particular where I wondered ‘well why the hell didn’t she do that in the FIRST place?’ or ‘how come it took them this long to notice that?’; this doesn’t happen very often but when it does it leaves me scratching my head as to why the plot seemed so intent on drawing out these revelations.

In a world that's constantly asking us to grow up, isn't it nice to just be a kid again, even for a little while?

In finality, I guess the one thing that truly makes this show as good as it is, is its sense of catharsis. There is a real cleansing of the emotions that takes place within the characters and it is a real and powerful lesson to any of us who’ve ever had to deal with grief or loss. The power of letting go and moving on is one of the greatest forces moving through the world of Ano Hana and it has a real world significance that is certainly not lost in translation. Now, while most of this goes on in the final two episodes it is clear from the very first episode that moving forward with one’s life is the show’s central lesson and this lesson is cemented firmly in the viewer’s psyche by the time the final credits have rolled. On the whole, this show is a fine piece worth showing to anime fans and non-fans alike. If I were to give it a grade I guess it deserves an A for those of us who enjoy a good story with steady pacing, a B+ if you’re the type of person who demands an airtight story where the characters do not depend on the plot to accelerate their development and an A+ if you REALLY enjoy a good cry and more than your fair share of  emotional roller coasters.

I'll just leave this right here for you guys...

Aspire towards Nirvana, anime watchers.

Mitsudomoe S2 01 – Fat Lolis and Super Sentai FTW

I’m not going to give a play by play of this episode for two reasons:

1) It’s a gag episode for a gag anime so that means the plot is TWICE as inconsequential.

2) It was so FREAKING FUNNY that I wouldn’t dare spoil the hilarity for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet.

So here’s a little preamble for you before the inevitable picture flood: It’s a super-sentai parody involving a plan to destroy Japan by eliminating all of the country’s children. The so-called “Gachi Rangers” are deployed. Hilarity then ensues for 23 solid minutes. Here are your pics.

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