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Edition 20: Summer 2011 Anime Releases

» Articles, Features, The Watcher (Previews) | posted by Wai Yung (Wayne) Chim on 07/6/2011 [Discuss]

When I first saw this title, I thought to myself, “Really?” Blade ended with me with the Wesley Snipes’ movies. Now that an anime is created, I wondered how good this can be. To my surprise, Blade the anime shows great promise. The action is superb with the animation by MADHOUSE. The story is based in Japan and if you do not know who Eric Brooks is, he is half vampire half human. What caused this condition? His mother was attacked by a vampire with four fangs while she was carrying Eric. As Eric Brooks grew up, he realized his powers and became a vampire hunter named Blade, vowing revenge on the four fanged vampire who killed his mother. From the first episode, you can tell this was not going to be an average anime about vampires. This was serious. The fighting scenes and the anime styled animation worked very well… and Maaya Sakamoto as Makoto was nice. I am definitely recommending people to check this out when they get a chance to.

Double-J (no website, yet, maybe):
I absolutely do not want to be harsh, because I know creating an anime takes a lot of work and effort. But I… I just wasted four minutes of my life on Double-J. In the four minutes, I wondered why I was putting myself through something like this. What was the meaning of this show? Exactly, what was going on? Double-J, from what I have seen is about two girls who join a club that focuses on preserving traditional crafts. It is supposed to be a comedy, but it was not very funny. The cel looking characters in the foreground and real life backgrounds make the show look cheap. This anime reminds me of Honto ni Atta! Reibai Sensei. Were the people behind this show lazy or just did not care? I am having a very difficult time looking for the official page for Double-J, and that is not a good sign at all.

Sacred Seven:
Sacred Seven
There is always that one title that many fans get hyped for, and Sacred Seven is that title this Summer. This piece boasts great animation by Sunrise, nicely designed characters, creative mechas and battle suits along with some nifty fight scenes. Although I am not feeling the wavy scarf, it looks too much like Strider Hyru. I do like the special ops maids though, they are always fun. From what I have seen thus far, there were not much story filler about Alma Nidoshi’s past, the show touched on it, and moved on instead of lingering around wasting an episode’s runtime. Maybe his history will be told later, but it was good that they did not force it on the viewers and just let us focus on the anime and what it will be about. Ruri Alba had a recognizable voice if you are a fan of Ranka Lee from Macross Frontier. Yep, Megumi Nakajima contributes to Ruri’s voice, which is a great plus. Overall, Sacred Seven has impressed me with the short amount of time that I have spent on it. I will be looking forward to more from this show!

Natsume Yuujin-chou San:
Natsume Yuujin-chou San
I read a synopsis from another writer about what kind of show Natsume Yuujin-chou was going to be about and I got interested in it, because the show pertains to spirits and demons. And what I am about to say is about this third sequel only. I have not seen the first or second series. What I saw was a wuss of a character who is scared of these spirits and demons that his grandmother would duel with. Instead of acting like his grandmother, Reiko Natsume, who challenged these spirits and made them agree to write their name in the “Book of Friends,” if they lost the duel, Takashi Natsume frees these spirits upon request. What is the entertainment in that? So to sum it up in a simplified form. Guy inherits a book with spirits’ names in them and he is not fond of spirits so when a spirit comes and asks to get their name back, he does some chanting and BAM the name is returned and they go on their ways. That is a pretty boring story to me.

Kaitou Tenshi Twin Angel - Kyun Kyun Twinkle Paradise:
Kaitou Tenshi Twin Angel - Kyun Kyun Twinkle Paradise
I knew what I was getting myself into when I was getting ready to check this title out, but I was not prepared for a Sailor Moon Tuxedo Mask wannabe named Misty Night. I just had to laugh when I saw that. Twin Angel is about two high school girls who study during the day and fight villains during the night. And that is the gist of it. While the picture I provided does not show any hint of kiddiness, but from what I have seen, Twin Angel tries hard to steer away from the childish factor by having Aoi Kannazuki run and show her bouncing jugs only to have her sidekick Kurumi Hazuki kill it with her immature personality. Also, there will be some fan service throughout. Just the first episode already featured the neko ears and tails on the two heroines. Kaitou Tenshi Twin Angel – Kyun Kyun Twinkle Paradise is certainly appealing to a select crowd and is not for everyone. You can be confident that I will not be revisiting this piece any time in the near future.

Nyanpire the Animation:
The story goes like this. This homeless black cat was dying. And as its luck was running out, a vampire comes along and gives the cat some of his blood so that it can “live” and become immortal. Hence the name, Nyanpire! Now I will take this show at face value. Nyanpire is nothing more than an entertainment piece for children. My five year old niece will enjoy it. The show runs about four minutes and change if you count the credits and in the show, all you see is Nyanpire trying to be cute. More time was probably spent with the end credits than the show itself. Save yourself the trouble of watching this, unless you are into titles, such as, Hello Kitty’s Animation Theater. I guess I expected too much out of GONZO.

Morita-san wa Mukuchi:
Morita-san wa Mukuchi
What is with these five minutes or less anime? Morita-san wa Mukuchi runs three minutes and in that time nothing productive comes out of it. The show feels like it wants to be Nichijou, but fails miserably as there is no substance. Is it trying to be funny? This anime follows a character by the name of Morita Mayu and that is it. When it comes to these short anime flicks, character introductions are reduced to a name shown on the screen only. I mean, other than the fact that she probably listens to her mother’s teachings; nothing else can be deducted from the equation. I am quite disappointed.

Ikoku Meiro no Croisée:
Ikoku Meiro no Croisée
Here we have another one of those a slice of life anime based in France. The twist is that the time period is not modern and the main character, Yune is Japanese. She is brought to France to work at a blacksmith shop known as the Galerie du Roy, by Claude’s grandfather. Nothing much has been exposed as to why Yune is doing what she is doing. This piece has a slow and mellow feel to it. I caught myself falling asleep on several occasions. Maybe it was the lack of Redbull or the show was just not very interesting. I have to give it credit though. Ikoku Meiro no Croisée has a nice atmosphere to it. The artwork was superb and there are bits of humor that derives from the fact that Yune is a traditional Japanese girl and her behaviors are not in line with the people in France. I am sure there will be fans out there that enjoy this piece, but if you are looking for the action packed anime, move on.

I have pretty much grown up with Blood the anime. When something is good, there will always be different variations of the show. Blood has always impressed with each release. Now we have a Production I.G and CLAMP production, I knew I was in for a nice ride. Blood-C starts out with the klutz, Saya Kisaragi. Her character behavior is a complete opposite of what I expect Saya to be. Throughout the runtime there is a feeling of something is going to happen, but when? That suspense ultimately ends up with Saya’s father telling her it is time to take care of some business. He hands her the sacred sword and she goes out looking for the evil being. Blood-C did not do much as far as character introductions are concerned. Maybe down the line, but at the moment, Saya is the focus, as she should be. Anyways, the sword fighting and bloodiness of the fight scene was very impressive. At the end, you wonder who really is this Saya Kisaragi, and I was left wanting to know more. If you want to see bloody fight scenes with a great plot, you have to check out Blood-C.

Itsuka Tenma no Kuro Usagi:
Itsuka Tenma no Kuro Usagi
I was intrigued by this anime when I read about it during Spring time. Now that I finally have a chance to see what Itsuka Tenma no Kuro Usagi is about… I am split on liking and disliking it at the same time. The characters seem very typical at the beginning. A kid named Taito Kurogane played with a girl named Himea Saito and in an attempt to keep Taito for herself. Himea bites Taito and instead of sucking his blood, she injects him with a poison that binds him to her and keeps him immortal. At that time, he wakes up from this dream and continues on his school day wondering what he just dreamed about.

I am certain; you have probably come across this kind of introduction on several occasions in other anime, where the main character wakes up from a dream and starts to wonder what the heck he just dreamed about. As he proceeded home, he tries to save a girl from an oncoming truck and gets run over by the truck in the process. He should have died right? His head was severed from his mangled body, yet he was still conscious. After his body healed itself and reconnected his head, he began to have flashes of Himea and finally remembers her. At the episode’s end, something crazy happens and leaves you on a cliff hanger! Of course, I know what happened in the episode cannot be the end of Himea… as there would not be a story then. Anyways, this anime should provide some drama and I will stay tuned to it to see how it develops.

Mawaru Penguindrum:
Mawaru Penguindrum
Mawaru Penguindrum has one of the most insightful introductions that I have ever witnessed in an anime. Fate. If everyone is predestined to do something and be someone, then what is the point of a future? As fate has already determined what you are. It is truly, some deep stuff. And then you wonder why the show introduced itself like that and immediately you discover why. Himari Takakura is a sick girl; she was not going to live much longer according to her doctor. Her brothers Shoma and Kanba Takakura, are very close to their sister and have a difficult time accepting the fact that their little sister is going to die soon. So in an attempt to make her happy in what could be her last days, they brought her to the aquarium, just like their parents did years ago.

It was a happy moment and they were having fun… until Himari walks off by herself and as Shoma and Kanba scramble to look for her, she has already fainted on the ground and she finally dies in the hospital. At the sides of their dead sister, something amazing happens. She pops up from the bed and yells out along with talking a bunch of gibberish to Shoma and Kanba’s ears. When her penguin hat falls off, she returns to the perfectly normal Himari, meaning she was no longer sick. I was happy by that fact and what comes after was comical. They receive a frozen package and inside contained three frozen penguins that only they can see. Mawaru Penguindrum shows potential. I liked what I saw, and the damn penguins are just too cute! I want my personal penguin helper too.

Uta no Prince-sama:
Uta no Prince-sama
Uta no Prince-sama is not for everyone. It is a harem anime, but a male one. Right off the bat, the anime shows that the music will play an important part of the show as the group Starish begins with a singing performance. The protagonist of Uta no Prince-sama is a girl named Haruka Nanani and as she goes through her days at Saotome Academy, a school for performing arts, she begins to meet with these male counterparts. I liked the music of Uta no Prince-sama somewhat. The animation looked good and the character designs are nice. While I personally will not watch this show, due to my time constraints, this anime will appeal to the fans who are into the shoujo genre.

No. 6:
No. 6
Honestly, I do not know where I should go with this. From what I saw, No. 6 the anime is about a kid named Shion. He is what people will call a prodigy. Since the age of two, Shion received all sorts of academic awards. Now it is his twelfth birthday and after celebrating it with his friend Safu, he returns home and is entranced in the typhoon that was about to hit No. 6 the city. After screaming out to the typhoon, Nezumi, someone who had escaped prison holds Shion up. And in a not so usual way, Shion offers to help Nezumi instead of fearing that his life was at danger. The first episode was purely character introductions and nothing too deep. If No. 6 the anime was a person who introduced himself to me, I would forget this person in a week. That is how much of a not so lasting impression this has made on me.

Usagi Drop:
Usagi Drop
As I watched Usagi Drop, I just kept having the thought of “unappealing” in my mind. As a Production I.G anime, I expected better animation. What Usagi Drop looked like was water coloring on a sketch pad for certain parts of the show. And even in the other parts, the animation was basic and simplistic. Some people might actually prefer that type of animation, but I am not one of them. The story follows Daikichi Kawachi a thirty year old single male who is on his way to attend his grandfather’s funeral. At the funeral, his family discovers that his grandfather had an illegitimate child. This quiet teenager, Rin Kaga, who nobody at the funeral wants any part of is suddenly in the care of Daikichi. How will this affect his life? Usagi Drop could be a case where the story of the show covers up the slack of the animation. As the story played out, I was a bit intrigued at the situation and how Daikichi will respond to having someone in his care. If you are into anime like Aishiteruze Baby, this could be a show for you.

Baka to Test to Shokanju Ni:
Baka to Test to Shokanju Ni
Baka to Test to Shokanju is back with a second season. I was a fan of the first season as the humor was great. Now what will the second season bring? Right from the start, a beach episode? Now that is what I am talking about! The way Baka Test meshes comedy with fan service is awesome. And it does not disappoint in this installment. Fans of the show should definitely check this out. If you were not a fan, you should start being one now!

R-15 starts out like a scene from a school related eroge. Now that it has completely made you go what the heck is this? Taketo Akutagawa wakes up from his dream. You see, Taketo is not an ordinary student. He is enrolled in Hirameki Gakuen, a high school that only accepts those who have unique talents. Taketo’s talent is writing pornography novels. When he sees or hears any interesting situation, his mind wanders and puts the situation in a complete pornographic scene. So those of you who are ecchi humor fans will have a sure field day watching R-15. Now one issue I have with R-15 is that aside from the fan service and all, the story development and the character interactions were boring. It felt like it was talk, talk, talk, then, hey look, fan service time. I do not foresee any changes in that formula as the character of Taketo requires that kind of flow to the show.

Rou Kyuu Bu!:
Rou Kyuu Bu!
Rou Kyuu Bu is not an anime that is for me. Any of you lolicon fans out there might enjoy this, but I did not like it at all. This anime is about an elementary school’s female basketball team. They are training and trying to win a tournament. The problem is their coach is away. In comes Subaru Hasegawa, a high school student, who had his basketball dreams put on hold, due to a scandalous situation that his team captain had with an elementary school girl. His sister suggested that Subaru should coach her school’s female basketball team. Now comes all the fun eh? The first day he walks into the gym, a row of maids greet him. After that event, the show does put an effort into the basketball story. Tomoka Minato is the obvious star of the team and she takes basketball seriously. But other than that, I am certain there will be some lolicon moments, and that in itself is enough to turn me off from Rou Kyuu Bu. If you like these shows go for it.

Nurarihyon no Mago Sennen Makyou AKA Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan - Demon Capital:
Nuraihyon no Mago Sennen Makyou - Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan: Demon Capital
I have not seen the first season of Nura so I do not know how that turned out. Judging from what I have seen from season two, this anime is pretty good. I liked the yokai (demon) aspect. Nura was raised as a human and unlike other yokai he does not want the humans to fear the yokai. Nura’s perspective is skewed because he lives with the good yokai. When he was named the third heir to the yokai clan that was when he saw the evilness that some yokai possessed. Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan: Demon Capital has some nice animation, action and interesting character designs. I would certainly continue to watch how this season develops! Viz Media is simulcasting this show, so definitely head over there to watch it!

Manyuu Hikenchou:
Manyuu Hikenchou
Manyuu Hikenchou is a ridiculous concept at work. In a world of ninja and samurai, big breasts rule the world. All the flat chests suffer in poverty. Right off the start the viewer is put into a very sick situation. The slicing off of a woman’s breasts. This was called the breasts hunt and I guess the procedure is to keep the public at bay. Anyways, Chifusa Manyuu is the protagonist of the story and she is passed down the Manyuu secret scroll and technique. When she uses her technique, she “slices” off her opponent’s breasts and in the process, her own breasts will grow accordingly to the breasts of her opponent that she had just reduced. I am not going to sugar coat this. This anime is nothing more than for fans who like big anime boobs. I honestly throughout the whole show was saying to myself how stupid the whole idea was. I do not like the concept of breasts hunting and yes, I believe Manyuu Hikenchou is nothing more than a show about boobs. If you are that much of a pervert with a secret fetish for this kind of thing (slicing off boobs), go for it, otherwise, I will never go near this anime.

Mayo Chiki!:
Mayo Chiki!
Sakamachi Kinjirou is born with a rough condition. His nose bleeds when he is touched by girls. His condition is so bad that he is given a bad rap at school for it; they think he is a pervert. Now what occurs at the introduction of the anime feels like a waste of time; having Kinjirou’s sister go through a list of wrestling moves on Kinjirou. The whole show is most likely going to be about Kinjirou, Kanade Suzutsuki and Konoe Subaru the butler of Kanade. There is probably going to be some more characters sprinkled in, but the gist of the story I believe will be about Kinjirou keeping the secret that Konoe is a female and Kanade doing all sorts of scheming things to make sure it happens. I thought Mayo Chiki was entertaining. It felt very fun. The character voices and dialogue interactions were great. The ecchi humor was not overly excessive to the point of disgust. I will be sure to keep this one on my watch list.

Dantalian no Shoka:
Dantalian no Shoka
You can tell this is a GAINAX title from the moment the show’s title is displayed. I went into this show not knowing what to expect. I did not know the story, did not know who produced it, did not know anything. Anyways, from the introduction I was given the knowledge that the anime will be about books, magical books. From that point, Demonbane came right into my mind. I hoped it was not a replica of an existing anime. My worries did not last long as GAINAX has always produced anime with intriguing stories, Dantalian no Shoka is not an exception.

Hugh Anthony Disward’s grandfather was a book collector. He has many rare collections in his library of books. One day, mysteriously, Hugh’s grandfather was killed during a burglary at his house. Hugh was surprised to find out that in his grandfather’s will, he was the person to inherit all his grandfather’s estate. The story really jumps start when Hugh meets with Dalian at his grandfather’s mansion and my summary will stop there. Dantalian no Shoka has a great story and nice animation as expected from GAINAX. The fight scenes with the use of the magical books stored in Dalian could be better. I am not really feeling the whole, “I will read this book and the monsters will die,” idea. Hopefully it will be different later on. Overall, I liked this anime and I am sure it will turn out well.

Kamisama Dolls:
Kamisama Dolls
This anime is one of those where characters control a familiar and they will use it to fight. There seems to be a lot of history that needs to be told to the viewer as we have no idea what happened in the past that caused Kyohei Kuga to quit being a seki and whether Aki Kuga was always a violence driven crazy guy. Now that Kyohei has left his duties as a seki, he tries to live a normal life as a college student in Tokyo. It was all going well, until he witnesses a corpse in an elevator. When he was about to get back to his apartment, he is stopped by his sister Utao Kuga and she informs him that Aki has escaped his imprisonment after he learned that Kyohei had left the village and Aki is responsible for the corpse in the elevator.

I thought this show has potential to be good, but I just cannot stand the singing of the Kamisama dolls. When they are summoned, they sing some kind of lullaby and when you are trying to focus on the show, the singing distracts you to the point of telling it to shut up already. Aside from that flaw, Kamisama Dolls should be entertaining. There will be a lot of action and a story that should be interesting.

Nekogami Yaoyorozu:
Nekogami Yaoyorozu
If I can just use one word to sum this anime up, that word will be… boring. But since I cannot just be that irresponsible and say something is bad, because I say it is simply bad. I will explain why I feel the way I feel. First off, Nekogami Yaoyorozu is about a mischievous cat god who is punished by her mother by taking away her divine powers and sent down to live an ordinary life with the mortals. The show from what I have seen is about the misadventures of Mayu and friends. That is all there is to it. The comedy is not very funny, the characters are dull and the plot is non-existent. I cannot recommend this, if you are a fan of this show, please explain it to me. Thanks in advance.

Yuruyuri is a show about middle school girls, when Akari Akaza began her first year as a middle school student, she immediately joins the Amusement club where her two childhood friends were. The club was held in the tea club’s room so I was thrown off a bit from seeing this. Anyways, when Akari asked what the purpose of the amusement club was… there was none. Her friends, Yui Funami and Kyoko Toshino just used the club time to relax and hang around doing nothing. When Chinatsu Yoshikawa comes through the doors of the tea club’s room expecting to join the tea club, she is greeted by the amusement club and Kyoko pretty much forces her to join the amusement club because Chinatsu looked like the character she had been drawing in her doujinshi work. Chinatsu joins, but her goal is to revive the tea club as she is in this no goals club. Yuruyuri feels like a show about nothing in particular, and because there is no definite plot, the interest factor is low. At the midpoint of the episode I just wanted it to end already so I can move on. The show has bust written all over it.

Kamisama no Memo-chou:
Kamisama no Memo-chou
Here is your dose of mystery and detective anime. Kamisama no Memo Chou is a show about NEETs. But not just any simple NEETs; these NEETs help solve mysteries that are occurring in town. And in the episode that I have watched, they solved the disappearance of a high school girl. Kami Memo starts off slow. It does not get into the thick of things until midpoint of the story. Narumi Fujishima does a full circle before coming back and meeting with the NEET group again. I thought this anime was filled up with a lot of boring dialogue and tries hard to do things the unconventional “NEET” way. So we end up with a show that feels all dramatic when the mystery unwinds, but the drama has already been watered down, because it has been dragged on for a length of time. Kamisama no Memo-chou is mediocre and it is adequate to satisfy only the less than average NEET.

A show about idols, something that I do not care about… what better way to change my idea of idols than to watch an anime that depicts the struggles and the various types of idols; all thirteen of them. 765 Production is in the process of bringing up thirteen idols and that responsibility will fall on the new producer. I tried my hardest to give a dang about this anime, but in the end I cannot watch a show about aspiring idols. The iDOLM@STER is an adaptation of the Xbox 360 game The iDOLM@STER 2. From what I have seen, I do not feel anything extraordinary about this piece. I mean, each of them probably represents a different personality that might fall on the viewers and the viewers in turn will focus on that particular idol to see how she turns out. Other than that, I do not believe there will be a strong following for The iDOLM@STER, and I cannot recommend it, because it was just not very interesting to me.

Appleseed XIII:
Appleseed XIII
This title was a title that I was looking forward to viewing. And I am not sure whether something changed about it, or my mindset changed from the last Appleseed that I have watched. While the Appleseed animation is great for the action scenes, scenic views and mecha technologies, the way the characters look feel so… fake. What I mean by that is that their mouth and body movements feel even more unnatural than if the piece was a regular anime. The story follows Deunan Knotts and her partner Brialeos as they fight to protect the city of Olympus from the Argonauts. But it cannot be that simple. An anime series adapted from the manga by Shirow Masamune has a deeper meaning than what is on the cover. The viewer has to pay attention to every detail and put the pieces together in order to understand the plot. I am interested in how this adaptation will turn out, but at the same time, I did not like this show that much to fully recommend it.

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