Category Archives: anime

Current anime season roundup

I’m watching a lot of shows this season. Let’s see if I can remember them all for this post.

Returning
Valvrave the Liberator: Picking up where it left off in summer, Valvrave continues the story of the space colonist high school students who think they can be a real government and outwit the other governments made up of real politicians. I’m finding that I hate it less than last season, because the increasing levels of WTFery seem to have plateaued. I mean, once you have space vampires and space nazis, an evil space illuminati isn’t that much of a stretch. Also, there’s more L-elf, who is actually competent and knows what he’s doing, and he’s in charge. They also appear to be pandering to fangirls with L-elf and Haruto. Watch it on Crunchyroll.

New
Gingitsune: Gintaro is a fox spirit in a shrine. Makoto is the priestess (in training) at the shrine. She can see Gin and other holy spirits. Her father invites the son of his teacher’s fellow student to live with them, and when Satoru arrives, a young fox spirit is with him. I think this show is a lot of fun, mainly because I want a sarcastic fox spirit with a giant floofy tail of my very own. Makoto has traits that remind me of Tohru from Fruits Basket (relentlessly cheerful; helpful, if clumsy). Watch it on Crunchyroll.

Gundam Build Fighters: Bandai & Sunrise made a show about building plastic model kits (plamo or gunpla), because they knew fanboys would eat that shit up and also buy their plastic model kits. The trick is that they handwaved a magic game system where people put their models and fight other people’s models, and the fighter’s strength is based on how good the model work is. I’m not making this up, I swear. This show is targeted at avid Gundam fans, and it includes mecha from all the series. I’ll be happy if I can buy a GP-02 model kit because of this show, though I’m reminded of the large stack of gunpla I need to build…

Kill La Kill: Ryuko Matoi arrives at Honnouji Academy to find out who killed her father and stole the other half of his magic scissors. Honnouji is under the control of Satsuki Kiryuin, who is working to take over all of Japan and turn it into a weird fascist system. School council members get special uniforms that grant them superhuman abilities. Ryuko finds a special uniform under the ruins of her family home. It is very strange, and every episode has homages to old anime. It treads a fine line between self-awareness of the trope of female armor that isn’t really armor and fanservice pandering. (I think it falls slightly on the self-aware side.) Watch it on Crunchyroll.

Samurai Flamenco: Model and sentai-show fan Masayoshi Hazama decides to put on a costume and become a vigilante. He meets police officer Hidenori Goto, who tries to convince him to give it up and let the pros handle it. Hazama doesn’t listen. He befriends an idol singer who is also a sentai-show fan, and she teams up with him. It’s very silly. Watch it on Crunchyroll. Continue reading

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Anime you should watch: Gankutsuou

Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo, written by Natsuko Takahashi and Tomohiro Yamashita, directed by Mahiro Maeda/GONZO, 2004This retelling of The Count of Monte Cristo is set in the year 5053, in France. The art is very stylized, and GONZO was expe… Continue reading

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Anime season recap: summer 2013

The season has ended, and three shows I was watching concluded.Attack on Titan: Recommended, with the caveat that it’s brutal and bleak and bloody and giants eat (or squish) everyone you love. The animation quality is absurdly high. Not all of the plot… Continue reading

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Anime you should watch: Kids on the Slope

Kids on the Slope, manga by Yuki Kodama, anime by Shinichirou Watanabe/Fuji TV, music by Yoko KannoHigh school freshman Kaoru Nishimi moves to a small town in Kyushu to live with relatives. He meets notorious bad boy Sentarou Kawabuchi and their classm… Continue reading

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Anime you should watch: Giant Robo

Giant Robo, Yasuhiro Imagawa/Studio Mu based on manga by Mitsuteru YokoyamaProfessor Shizuma invented a power source that eliminated the need for fossil fuels or nuclear power. Unfortunately, when he and his colleague Franken von Vogler were researchin… Continue reading

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Anime you should watch: Ouran High School Host Club

Ouran High School Host Club manga by Bisco Hatori, anime directed by Takuya Igarashi/BonesHaruhi Fujioka attends prestigious Ouran High School on a scholarship. On the first day of school, Haruhi stumbles upon the host club, a room where six attractive… Continue reading

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Anime you should watch: Macross

Super Dimensional Fortress Macross et seq. Noburo Ishiguro, Shoji Kawamori, Ichiro Itano/Studio Nue/Tatsunoko ProductionsPeople of a certain age may remember a show called Robotech that played on TV in the afternoons after school. Robotech was based (v… Continue reading

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Anime you should watch: Voices of a Distant Star

Voices of a Distant Star, written, animated, and directed by Makoto Shinkai, 2002.Back in 2002, digital animation was slowly increasing in popularity in Japan. CG backgrounds or CG battleships and hand-drawn people were becoming more common and startin… Continue reading

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Anime you should watch: Here is Greenwood

Here is Greenwood, manga by Yukie Nasu (1987-91), OVA series directed by Tomomi Michizuki/Studio Pierrot, Asia-Do (1991-93)

Kazuya Hasukawa arrives at Ryokuto Academy late, and the only room left is in Greenwood dorm with Shun Kisaragi, a very feminine-looking young man*. The heads of the dorm are Shinobu Tezuka, who has a rich family and a strange sister, and Mitsuru Ikeda.

Kazuya has to deal with the very eccentric people living in his dorm, like the motorcycle fanatic and Shinobu and Mitsuru (they’re best friends and roommates; they count as a unit). His older brother married the girl Kazuya had a crush on when he was younger, and now the brother is the school doctor. Kazuya moved out of his home and into the dorm to get away from his brother and the girl he crushed on for years.

The six OVAs revolve around Kazuya and the guys in the dorm. One episode is about an inter-dorm competition for prize money, wherein the guys of Greenwood make a movie called “Here is Devilwood,” a very tropey fantasy thing starring Shinobu as the evil wizard. The last two are about Kazuya meeting a girl his own age and falling for her and their budding romance.

*It’s been a while since I watched this. The way Shun is introduced to Kazuya (he pretends to be a girl living in the boys’ dorm For Reasons to haze the newbie) is problematic. Shun is not intended to portray a trans* person (he is decidedly a man). This may turn some people off. Decide for yourselves.

Getting a copy in the US is [currently] easy. Copies are available on Amazon for very reasonable prices, new and used. This may change in the future. Media Blasters’ license expired, and Central Park Media relicensed (and redubbed) it. I’m not sure what the current license status is, because CPM went bankrupt in 2009. Continue reading

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Anime summer 2013

It’s a new anime season, so there are new shows! Here’s what I’m watching, and also what I tried and gave up on.

Tried and abandoned

I give you the links, so you can watch an episode or two and decide for yourselves.

Gatchaman Crowds This reboot of the classic 70s series “Science Ninja Team Gatchaman” didn’t do it for me. At all. The main character is an archetype that I want to stake in the heart, set on fire, and shoot its ashes to the sun for good measure. She’s irritating as hell. She has a notebook fetish. She goes around loudly announcing that she’s in Gatchaman. She’s Haruhi fucking Suzumiya, whom I also wanted to stab in the throat. Ain’t got time for that.

Devils and Realist So, a few years ago there was this show that was pretty popular called “Black Butler,” where the heir to a family enters into a contract with this demon who’s been working as his family’s butler for a long time. D&R is in that vein, except where as Ciel accepted Sebastian’s service, the lead of D&R is a realist, who believes only in science. Which could lead to a lot of humor, except it doesn’t. Complicating things, William is the reincarnation of (that) Solomon and the elector of Hell, and Dantalion is a nephilim who wants to rule while Lucifer is sleeping. It is a ridiculous, confusing amalgamation of Old Testament lore. (Also, Solomon had yellow-blond hair and blue eyes. Not particularly likely…)

Uchouten Kazoku Yasaburo is a tanuki living in Kyoto. He just wants to have fun, but his father was powerful in tanuki society, so there are high expectations on him and his brothers. Cute concept, but it really didn’t do anything for me. (Tanuki are also known as raccoon dogs, and in Japanese lore, they’re shapeshifters and tricksters.)

Still watching

Attack on Titan Continuing on from last season.

Free! a/k/a “the bishounen swimming anime.” This offering from KyoAni, purveyors of such fine moe-blob (ware: TV Tropes link) animation as K-On! and Clannad, is about four young men on a swim team. They all have feminine names. They used to swim together in middle school, then the red-haired one went to Australia to go to a school for swimming. The other three (the genki blond, the cheerful brunet, and the weird black-haired one) stayed together. The genki blond decides they should restart their high school’s swim club to make the black-haired one happy. (He really likes swimming. He wears swim trunks under his clothes, and in a running gag, whenever he sees water, he strips and jumps in.)

The red-haired one’s sister, who has a masculine name, offers to be their manager. She frequently comments on the boys’ deltoids, traps, and assorted upper body musculature. It isn’t particularly deep, but it’s fun.

Genshiken Nidaime This is the second TV season (not counting the OVAs) about a college anime club. It’s like the first season, except there are mostly new people. I’m vaguely uncomfortable with the way two of the characters treat the male crossdresser (a new character, who is a straight man but likes reading BL and wearing women’s clothes), but they’re actually fairly realistic from what I’ve heard. (One wants her to just stop crossdressing and be a boy; the other treats her like a girl except when she wants to look up her skirt.) But I really don’t expect careful explorations of gender issues from anime.

All the characters are fucked up in some way or other, in ways which will be familiar to anyone who has ever attended a college (or high school) anime club. Continue reading

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