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Edition 23: Spring 2012: Anime Releases

» Articles, Features, The Watcher (Previews) | posted by Wai Yung (Wayne) Chim on 04/10/2012 [Discuss]

Zetman:
Zetman
Jin Kanzaki is not your average boy. From what you see in the show, he was a test tube baby who was “kidnapped” from the lab that was experimenting on him. From that point forward he has been raised as a humble young boy. Jin often plays with his friends, Kouga and Konoha Amagi. Their relationship is one that raises some eyebrows. You see, Jin lives with his grandfather on the banks of a river (Arakawa Under The Bridge style), while Kouga and Konoha Amagi are the children of the Amagi Corporation.

While their living conditions are complete opposites, their sense of justice is on par with each other. The kids formed a small team that went around helping people in the name of justice. During one of these seeking justice missions, Jin witnesses a woman about to be raped and killed by a group of men. Jin kicks their asses all over the place and left. The woman that he saved is Akemi Kawakami, who later plays a role in Jin’s life.

Right off the bat, this anime does not hide the fact that it is dark. Throughout the show I was expecting anyone who was on screen had a fair shot at getting killed, it was a matter of when. When you have these crazed monster beings known as Players roaming around the streets, no one is really safe. Who are these Players? Players are monsters created by the Amagi Corporation. They were created as a sporting event for the wealthy and powerful to view. These Players later developed their own sense of self and broke loose into the world. And in an effort to clean up their mess, the Amagi Corporation created ZET, a being that will hunt and destroy those escaped Players.

I am definitely looking forward to watching more of this show. It has the action and a story that is good thus far. I want to see how Jin develops with his powers and how the anime will play out. All signs are pointing in a good direction. You can watch the show on VizAnime.com. They are simulcasting the show on the same day as the Japanese broadcasts.


Saint Seiya Omega:
Saint Seiya Omega
Saint Seiya, the anime that has deeply affected my childhood days. It was an awesome experience to watch this show every night. And as a kid I would go and reenact my own version of the Pegasus meteor fist. You see, Saint Seiya ended long ago for me and I felt it was good where it was left off. Upon seeing the Saint Seiya Omega title, I had my doubts. I questioned the seriousness of the show. In my opinion, some anime are better off left alone, rather than brought back. This is the case here.

I want to preface what I am about to say by saying that I did not have any rose colored glasses of nostalgia for this piece. I am looking at Omega by itself. Honestly from what I saw, I am disappointed. The show starts off rushed, you see Saori, also known as, Athena playing with a baby who is later revealed as Kouga, who will become the future Pegasus saint. An evil being known as Mars reveals himself and Gold Saint Seiya fends him off. After that event you are fast forward many years later when Kouga is going through the training to become a saint, much like Seiya did back in the day. Kouga is trained by Shaina and his motivation is just not the same. In a world of peace, he did not see the point of being a saint. That of course, takes a quick turn as several scenes later, Mars comes back and is after Saori again. In the state of panic, Kouga finds it in his cosmos to unleash his version of the Pegasus meteor fist.

I tried very hard to like this show. But I cannot and here are the reasons why. The pace of this show is fast. It moves from one scene to the next with little to no transition. It felt like the producers just wanted to get the episode over with rather than easing viewers back into the whole Saint Seiya franchise. I understand that Omega is meant to be different from the original and because it is based in the future, the technology has changed… but why would you mess with the armor? The new look armor looks like actual cloth. What made Saint Seiya awesome were the different types of armor and the way they looked. Now it looks like these skin tight suits instead of actual armor.

I really do not want to sound like I am bashing this show because of my feelings towards the original, but one more thing I noticed about Omega was how stereotypical of an anime it was. It looked like a new show, but they went old school with how it played out. The dialogue felt so, Gekiganger-ish, it was pretty amusing. If you are like me who feel that Saint Seiya ended years ago, do not ruin the view of the franchise by watching this. Unless you are dying to see more from the Saint Seiya universe, I would not go near this show again.


Ozma:
Ozma
The last desert themed anime I saw was Desert Punk and let me just say I did not finish the show after watching a few episodes of it. Ozma follows our protagonist, Sam Coyne. As he rode through the lands searching for Ozma (the sand whale) he witnesses a chase that is happening. Sam rides in and helps the person being chased and it was revealed that this person is actually a girl named Maya.

When you take a closer look of Ozma, you can tell that this anime is a Leiji Matsumoto work, the person behind Galaxy Express 999. The character designs look the same and it was a disappointment in this day in age. When I saw GONZO in the introduction credits, I was expecting some very nice animation, but when you have two different contrasts between 70s-80s styled anime and new age it just looks weird. It might be a blessing in disguise that Ozma is a short show, six episodes. I do not have much to say about Ozma as it really did not leave much of a lasting impression.


Kuroko’s Basketball:
Kuroko's Basketball
Teikou middle school had an amazing basketball team. They were so good that they were coined the “Generation of Miracles.” And now that they have graduated to high school, each of the starting five of Teikou moved onto different schools. But little do people realize, there is a sixth member of the “Generation of Miracles” and that member is Tetsuya Kuroko. Kuroko’s Basketball starts off with a relatively new school (Seirin high school), recruiting for new members at the clubs recruitment event. I am not going to bore you with the details of the events that happened, all you have to know is that at the end of the day, the basketball club of Seirin gained two extraordinary players, Kuroko and Kagami. Kagami played most of his basketball in America, so automatically he believes the basketball in Japan is not on par.

The show drills certain ideas into your head. Okay I get it that Kuroko has little to no presence; you do not have to constantly focus on it like its “Oh my god!” “Where’s Carl?” kind of deal. Kuroko does not look like a strong player, but his skills are not scoring. His strongest skill is his ability to pass. He is the Steve Nash of the team. From the first scrimmage you are able to see his ability to change the game, just by using the pass. For the first few scenes, I was impressed a bit, but when I looked long and hard, will a basketball anime really be based off of passing? There is only so much one can do with passing animations. Look, Kuroko’s Basketball is no Slam Dunk. I have my doubts about this show and do not feel it is all that great. I will look forward for it to prove me wrong though.


Fate Zero Season 2:
Fate Zero Season 2
After leaving season one off of that cliff hanger, Fate Zero finally comes back in season two to continue this great show. I was not a fan in the beginning, but it has grown on me over the episodes. Here is what I thought of Fate/Zero last fall.


Kimi to Boku Season 2:
Kimi to Boku Season 2
Was this show that good to have a season two? The slice of life anime of guys in their school days. Previewing season two is kind of pointless for Kimi to Boku, here is my view of it for season one.


Accel World:
Accel World
Haruyuki Arita is your typical bully target. He is short and chubby with a low self-esteem. Based in the year 2040, neuro-technology has advanced so much that everyone uses a device over their neck called the neuro-link. The neuro-link allows users to access information on demand and allows the user to experience a virtual environment. If you have ever seen the Google glasses project, think of that, but even more advanced. Haru hates himself for being weak, and his only escape is to log into the school’s virtual network and attain the highest scores in the game. With his high scores, he catches the attention of the school’s student council vice president, Kuroyukihime (Black Snow Princess). After some commotion, the vice president introduces a game called Brain Burst to Haru.

In Brain Burst, the world feels like it is in a stand still. But in actuality, it only appears that way for the users, because their senses are being accelerated in the real world. At the end of Kuro-hime and Haru’s meeting, she warns him to turn off his neuro-link from the global net when he is out of school, but of course things happen and he eventually forgets about it. At the end of the first episode, Haru is thrust into the accelerated world as Silver Crow and will have to fight in order to stay in the game!

From what I have seen so far, Accel World looks good. The virtual game world and neuro-link are cool concepts. I am sure similar things have been used in other anime, but the characters and the way the story is told is interesting. The protagonist is not your usual male lead. I am kind of stumped in thinking of another short and chubby main character in an anime… not an easy task. If you liked shows like C: Control, this series is something you should check out. Like Zetman, VizAnime.com is streaming Accel World on the same day as it debuts in Japan.


Medaka Box:
Medaka Box
Medaka Box is another one of those anime that focuses on the student council. Medaka Kurokami is a first year. She was elected as the student council president and her message to the students that earned her a 98% overall vote is that she will listen and fix any suggestions that are put into her suggestions box, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Medaka is the prototypical female protagonist; smart, large breasts (yes, the anime makes sure you notice), strong willed and a personality that affects others positively. And what would an anime like this be if she did not have a childhood friend who is also secretly in love with her? That is where Zenkichi Hitoyoshi comes in. He acts like Medaka is a bother and is always dragging him along, but deep down, he enjoys her company.

This is an average show at best. I was expecting something better, but was left with disappointment. What could be Medaka Box’s attractive points? It is not funny, Medaka’s personality could get irritating as the piece moves forward, Zenkichi’s secret crush on Medaka can get annoying, and will this show really just be about Medaka running around the school acting on the suggestions of her box? If it is, I do not see how this anime will make any mark this Spring.


Sengoku Collection:
Sengoku Collection
Another anime dedicated to the generals of the Warring States period. The last time I saw an anime that relates to Sengoku Collection is Sengoku Otome… and that was a complete failure. Seriously, why do these anime even exist? It would be better off if new and original characters were created, rather than designing a character and then slapping on a historical name on the character. Really, it gets old, and unoriginal and honestly, stupid.

Anyways, as expected, there is nothing special with Sengoku Collection. Each episode is dedicated to a general and their interaction in the present world. Oda Nobunaga is the first batter up and as I was watching this show, I was embarrassed at how bad it was. Nobunaga dives off a building and gets transported to present time and she spears a poor guy in the gut while he was minding his own business on his moped. After that encounter, she follows him around, and the audience is supposed to be entertained by her reactions to the new world. Supposed. By the end, I was elated. Not because the show was any good, but because I do not have to deal with it anymore.


Kore wa Zombie Desuka? Of the Dead:
Kore wa Zombie Desuka? Of the Dead
If you have seen the first season of Kore wa Zombie Desuka?, you can expect much of the same in the second season, but with the addition of new characters. From what I saw, things are wilder in this season, but I expect it to get serious towards the midpoint onto the end.

If you have never watched Kore wa Zombie Desuka?, our main character Ayumu Aikawa was killed, but later resurrected by a powerful necromancer named Eucliwood Hellscythe. She is a silent character, because any words that she utters can hold serious consequences. A whole mix of different characters come in as the show features a vampire ninja, a maho-shoujo (magical girl) and more.

One thing I have always disliked about this anime is that Ayumu dons the maho-shoujo garb. UGH! On a serious note, unless you are a fan of this series, or have absolutely nothing else to do… I would not watch this. Kore wa Zombie Desuka? Of the Dead is subpar at best.


Sankarea:
Sankarea
Chihiro Furuya is a zombie freak. He loves zombies so much that he would rather be with a zombie girl, rather than a living one. When his cat, Babu, dies after an accident, he was grief stricken and decided to try and revive Babu. Using an old manuscript that he had, he did various experiments at an abandoned building. That is where he meets Sanka Rea.

Rea is a girl from a strict family. She would scream out her frustrations of her life at the well of this building. Scenes later, Chihiro meets Rea and he tells her what he is trying to do with Babu. Fascinated by the idea, Rea decides to assist Chihiro with his work. By the first episode’s end, you find out what Sanka Rea has become and it is up to the next episodes to explain why she end up the way she did.

Sankarea sounds like it would be a fun ride, and I am looking forward to see how Chihiro deals with Rea after she becomes a zombie. I liked the character design and interactions of this show. It certainly gave the show a personality. Studio DEEN did a nice job in bringing Mitsuru Hattori’s manga to life… no pun intended.


Acchi Kocchi:
Acchi Kocchi
If you have ever seen Nichijou, Acchi Kocchi feels pretty much like it. It is a comedy that is based on the lives of Io Otohashi and her crush Tsumiki Miniwa. Io and Tsumiki are close friends and everyone in their circle knows how Io feels about him, yet Tsumiki does not realize that fact. So the base of the plot is the interactions between Io and Tsumiki along with their friends sprinkled in. Acchi Kocchi is a light hearted romantic comedy; if you like this genre, definitely check it out.


Space Brothers:
Space Brothers
Space Brothers is about the lives of Mutta and Hibito Nanba. As kids they would venture into the woods and explore. One night, while they were exploring, they witnessed a UFO hovering and then blazed to the moon. It was at that point where both of them promised each other that they would become astronauts when they grow up.

Years later, Hibito has realized his dream, while Mutta was just fired from his job in the auto industry. It was not like Mutta was not successful at his work, but obviously, that job was not what he really wanted to do. After living the unemployed free loading life at his parents’ home, he begins looking for other opportunities. It is at that point, where he realizes that all he wanted to do in his life was to become an astronaut himself.

Chasing dreams and the cold hard reality, that is what made Space Brothers unique. As I was watching this anime, I thought about what my dreams were and what I really wanted to do. There are people out there in the world that is in the same boat as Mutta. Working for a living, rather than working for their dreams. Not many people get to do what they love as an occupation and in Space Brothers we get to see how Mutta will struggle to become an astronaut.

I was certainly hooked by this show right from the get-go. Maybe it was because of Mutta’s weird hairdo or because of the Zidane maneuver. Whatever it was, I was truly entertained. The story is great; it brings up an issue that people are experiencing today. The comedy is to the point and does not go overboard. By the episode’s end you get a feel of what will happen down the line and want to see what happens next.


Jormungand:
Jormungand
Jormungand is an adaptation of the manga by Keitaro Takahashi. The manga is available in the States, published by Viz Media and the anime has been licensed by FUNimation. A second season of the anime has already been announced and that is scheduled to be released on October 2012.

The gist of the story is this. Koko Hekmatyar is an arms dealer. She sells weapons to other countries and uses various tactics to ensure that her plans all go through. Jonah is a child who lost his parents as a result of a weapons dealer. It is the reason why he has a dislike towards arms dealers and weapons in general. The pairing of Koko and Jonah is a strange one, as they are both opposites of each other. Jonah does not talk much; his personality has been altered by his early life experiences. Koko on the other hand is cheery and does not always act like things are serious.

As Koko is recruiting Jonah, it is revealed that Koko believes that she is achieving world peace with her actions and Jonah will help her along the way. I thought Jormungard was entertaining. The plot moves fairly quickly, yet I did not feel like I was lost at any point in time. The action was constant and the character interactions felt natural. This is definitely a good shooter anime to kill some time with.


Queen’s Blade Rebellion:
Queen's Blade Rebellion
Queen’s Blade has been around for a while, and there is not much that changes from series to series. There are a bunch of fine looking girls, and they fight. During the battle they lose pieces of clothing and armor to reveal certain body parts that male viewers like. It is really as simple as that. Fine, I will dig in deeper. Queen’s Blade Rebellion is set after the first Queen’s Blade series. Claudette, the winner of the last Queen’s Blade tournament has become a tyrannical ruler. That is when Annelotte Kreutz, an exiled princess knight gathers up her own army to free the people from Claudette’s rule.

I have to admit, I like Queen’s Blade for its character design, not for the periodic boobs that might be on the screen. Can anyone take the fighting seriously when it is always about stripping down the combatants? I really cannot. If you like anime that feature sexy girls fighting with armor and weapons, that get naked as the fight goes on, Queen’s Blade Rebellion is for you. For the rest of you who do not care, you might want to chill out with something else.


Nazo no Kanojo X:
Nazo no Kanojo X
The concept of Nazo no Kanojo X has to be one of the worse anime concepts that I have ever seen over the years that I have been watching anime. Akira Tsubaki is a virgin, he dreams about who will be his first sex partner and it just so happens that the next day, a transfer student transfers to his class; that student is Mikoto Urabe. Mikoto is weird. Her hair covers her eyes, she sleeps during lunch, she laughs out loud in class and she is just anti-social in every way.

One day after school, Akira heads back to the classroom to retrieve something and sees that Mikoto is still sleeping. After he woke her up and she left the room, he notices that Mikoto left a small puddle of drool on her desk. Being as desperate for a girl as he was, he gathers up the drool with his finger and puts it in his mouth!!!!! That has to be one of the most disgusting things I have witnessed… ever. After a few weeks pass, Akira gets sick and it is shown that his sickness is really just a withdrawal effect from tasting Mikoto’s saliva. By the end of the episode, they become a couple.

Guys and gals, do I really have to express how awful this show was? The characters are not interesting, the story is dull and overall, this show is just painfully bad. Can I get a refund on the time that I spent watching this show? Please?


Upotte!!:
Upotte!!
Upotte!! reminded me of Himawari; an anime that features a school that features a teacher who transfers to the school to teach a class of girls who are weapons. No, literally. The girls are weapons. They are anthropomorphized guns. The main protagonist of the show is FNC, also known as Funko. The anime will be about the awkward situations these guns get into and how ecchi the terms that are used for guns can be when it is acted out by these school girls.

Upotte!! is a simple anime with some aspects of ecchi humor. There really is not much story to dive into, you just have to watch it and accept it for what it is. There is no deeper meaning to the plot. Comparing Upotte to Nazo no Kanojo X, this is several times better.


Tasogare Otome x Amnesia / Dusk Maiden of Amnesia:
Tasogare Otome x Amnesia
Private Seikyo Academy has a horrifying legend. 60 years ago, a female student was left to die in the old abandoned school building. It is said that her spirit lives on, haunting the school grounds after her death… Tasogare Otome x Amnesia’s whole back story sure sounds a bit scary, but in actuality, this show is quite amusing. Teiichi Niiya is a normal school boy, one day he gets lost in school and ventures into the abandoned school building. Getting even more lost as he is finding the exit, he comes into contact with Yuuko Kanoe, the female student who died 60 years ago in that very building. After some interaction, Teiichi realizes that Yuuko has no bad intentions; she just aimlessly wanders the school halls, as she has no recollection of how she died.

Tasogare Otome x Amnesia has ecchi humor in the right amount. It is not overly excessive and I enjoyed that aspect of this show. It is fun to see Teiichi get teased by Yuuko intentionally or unintentionally. Who knows what kind of awkward situations the characters will get themselves into as they try to find the cause of Yuuko’s death? But one thing is for sure, this anime is definitely one of the brighter shining releases this Spring. I enjoyed it tremendously. Also, Sentai-Filmworks has licensed this anime for those who want to own discs rather than watching from Crunchyroll.


Haiyore! Nyaruko-san:
Haiyore! Nyaruko-san
An anime that pulls out some inspiration from H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos, Haiyore! Nyaruko-san is a show that features aliens, weird girls and some foul fighting styles. Haiyore! Nyaruko-san started out bland. It was kind of boring. Then as the show played out, I was having a very good time watching it. Nyaruko is the deity of chaos known as Nyarlathotep, she was sent to Earth to protect Mahiro Yasaka from alien attacks. Often, Nyaruko would use cheap fighting tactics to defeat aliens. Guys will cringe a little seeing how she fights.

In this early stage of the anime, all that is known is that Nyaruko is protecting Mahiro and begins to fall in love with him or at first sight, according to her. Obviously, other characters will be brought in and spice things up even more. Haiyore! Nyaruko-san is a comedy and it has lived up to its genre thus far. It has been a while since I had a good laugh with an anime and I cannot wait to see what comes next!


Hiiro no Kakera:
Hiiro no Kakera
This one is for the shojo crowd. Hiiro no Kakera is about a girl named Tamaki Kasuga. She moves to her grandmother’s home after Tamaki’s parents are relocated on business. Little did Tamaki know, the actual reason for her move was to be her grandmother’s successor and become the Tamayori Princess and reseal the weakened seal on Onikirimaru. In come five pretty boys to become her body guard and assist her as she works towards the goal. This looks like a solid title with mysticism involved. Shojo fans have something to celebrate this Spring anime season.


Sakamichi no Apollon / Kids on the Slope:
Sakamichi no Apollon
Sakamichi no Apollon or Kids on the Slope is an anime show that is influenced by jazz, but you really cannot tell until the moment Sentaro Kawabuchi starts drumming off with tree branches on his way to class. What would an anime about music be if the best of the best were not brought together to collaborate on it? Here is where director Shinichiro Watanabe and composer Yoko Kanno come in. Their most notable works together include Cowboy Bebop and Macross Plus. Both titles had amazing music to accommodate the greatness of the shows. And with Kids on the Slope it is looking pretty good.

The story follows Kaoru Nishimi, a student who has transferred from school to school throughout his whole life. This time around he finds himself living with his relatives in Kyushu. From what I have seen of his relatives, they are not very nice people, and view Kaoru as extra baggage. By chance Kaoru meets Sentaro a delinquent type character of the show. Sentaro is brash, but one person that can keep him in line is Ritsuko Mukae, his childhood friend. Ritsuko’s family owns a record shop and after some dialogue, Kaoru visits her shop to purchase some classical music. A few scenes later, Kaoru ends up buying a jazz piece instead, and falls in love with the drum beats that Sentaro performed at the basement of the shop.

I would really like to see where this anime takes me. The element of jazz music along with school life and various life issues that may arise makes this piece quite interesting. This really is an intriguing anime, one you should keep an eye out for.

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