The Spring Preview is 95% done, but I’m about to fall over because of a cold and have a meeting in the morning, so it won’t be until tomorrow that I finish it. It has taken me a lot longer than usual because there are a lot more series than usual (30 at current count, not including kiddie shows), and I’ve probably spent 20-25 hours researching everything. Unfortunately, writing it and getting myself ready for the new season (plus all the normal school work and work work I have to do) means that I won’t have time to blog the new KimiNozo DVD, the Darker than BLACK DVD episode, or the School Days Kokoro-chan DVD. Regardless, I guarantee that the Spring Preview will be posted tomorrow, and here’s a sample to tide you over until then.
Maestro and I have been doing some maintenance on the site in recent days, and it briefly broke the paged comments functionality on the blog posts by incorrectly redirecting some comment page links back to front page. I’ve gotten several emails about this, and I’m fairly certain that we’ve found the problem (caching conflicting with permalink structure) and have fixed it. If you’re still seeing comment page links that redirect incorrectly to the front page, let me know in the comments here or via email.
In anime news, according to an announcement at Wonder Festival 2008 [Winter] today, Macross F’s airdate has been set: it’s going to be taking over Shakugan no Shana II’s Thursday 25:25 timeslot on MBS starting April 3rd, 2008. So that means Macross is going to be on Thursdays and GEASS will be on Sundays, though those are only two of the 35+ series premiering in the Spring. :)
More likely than not, you’ve probably never heard of this group before. RADWIMPS is a rock band consisting of four musicians who are apparently all fans of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. They got their unusual name when they combined the English words of rad and wimp – their official website even defines this as “excellent weakling” and “superlative coward”. In any case, they’ve been steadily growing in popularity, and this past week, they had their first Number 1 single on the Oricon charts, beating out even the release of Koda Kumi‘s latest single. And it’s for good reason too because Order Made is a great song. The lyrics (translation here) are about love and putting together the different parts of a person, and unlike some PVs, this one actually tells the lyrics like a story. Put together, I found it to be beautiful, and the part about tears even reminded me of the series true tears. I liked it so much that I’ve been scrambling to find more of RADWIMPS’ music, and Order Made has been on repeat on my playlist for several days now. Even if you don’t like J-Rock songs, I’d recommend at least listening to this one.
Happy New Years! Now that I’ve gotten a chance to sit down and reflect, I realized 2007 really went by quickly. It seems like just yesterday I was writing about Shuffle Memories and Manabi Straight.
I’m hearing a lot of disappointment over the anime offerings for this upcoming winter season, and I somewhat share that sentiment since there’s only a few shows that I really care to see (Wolf and Spices, maybe Gunslinger Girl S2). With that in mind, I looked ahead further at the Spring 2008 and found it a lot easier to get excited about with the likes of Macross Frontier, the hilarious Kamen no Maid Guy, and the next CODE GEASS. There’s also a series called Special A (S.A for short), starring the talented Fukuyama Jun (Lelouch of GEASS) and Gotou Yuuko (Mikuru of Suzumiya Haruhi). The story of S.A – about a girl who has a middle-class upbringing who attends a rich school – is one that I find similar to Ouran in many ways, including how much it makes me laugh and how fun the manga is to read, so I’m really looking forward to seeing the anime adaptation. If you get a chance, I’d recommend checking out the manga.
Oh and speaking of CODE GEASS, there was news out a few days ago that it is not in fact taking over Gundam 00′s Saturday 6PM timeslot (as was widely expected) but is instead taking a new Sunday 5PM one come April of this year. I find that rather worrisome in terms of the direction the series will take with its more mature themes because it’s roughly in that same timeframe that more kid-friendly shows like Kirarin Revolution, Ultraman Mebius, and Chibi Maruko-chan air. That’s not to say that they’re going to dumb down the show or completely cleanse it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there were major thematic differences – and I doubt things like Viletta or Kallen’s nipple slips, or Nina’s masturbation scene would make the final cut.
With the end of 2007 almost upon us, here’s a look back at some of the best series this year had to offer. Also included at the end are the final results to the Reader’s Choice Poll.
Disclaimer: These are purely my personal opinion based on the shows that I saw in the past year. You could argue that I’m ignoring some of the less popular but equally good shows like Seirei no Moribito or BACCANO!, but I unfortunately don’t have the time to watch everything and can only talk about what I’ve seen. For a show to even qualify for consideration, it had to have met the requirements outlined in the Reader’s Choice Poll. That means that series like CLANNAD, Shakugan no Shana II, and Gundam 00 are not up for awards this year – they’ll be saved for 2008. There is also a big spoiler in here for those of you who haven’t seen School Days and still plan to do so, but hopefully that’s not too many people.
It’s time for the Second Annual Reader’s Choice Poll! There are a lot of good choices this year, and I’m still in the process of choosing my own favorites (having a hard time deciding between GEASS and Gurren Lagann, among others), but below, you can vote for your Favorite Anime of 2007 from a list of every single series that’s ended this past year.
If you voted in the first annual poll last year, you might remember that I had a somewhat complex set of criteria for shows that were included on the list. This year, I’ve decided to simply include every anime series (no OVAs or movies) that ended in 2007, with the only exceptions being the handful that ended last January. The general idea is that you can’t judge a series properly until it’s completely over. That means fans of Clannad or any of the other currently airing shows that are two seasons long will have to wait until next year’s poll (and that’s also why Kanon is on the list).
All together, there are 135 choices, plus “Other” in case there’s a relatively obscure anime series you really enjoyed that’s not on the list (or even something that I just neglected to add). Choose your favorite and the winner will get included in next week’s post!
This poll will close Wednesday, December 26th, 2007 at 11:59 PM.
There was a short commercial aired earlier this week for the new Honey and Clover live action drama. Pictured above from left to right are Hagu (played by Narumi Riko), Takemoto (played by Ikuta Toma), and Morita (played by Narimiya Hiroki). You can find the rest of the cast on DramaWiki, and the official site is here. Hagu’s actress looks a lot taller than I would have pictured her (she’s 163cm tall according to her wiki page), but I guess it’s hard to find an actress to fit the exact profile. Everyone else looks about right though. The series is set to begin January 8th on Fuji TV, and I’m more than interested enough to check it out and see if they can capture the same feel as the manga or the anime. Even if it doesn’t turn out to be that good, after watching the Negima Drama, I think I can stomach any type of adaptation now. Download the commercial.
I’m not a huge Weekly Jump reader, so I don’t know if this happens for other series too, but I found it odd that To LOVE-Ru‘s tankobons have nudity in them while the magazine version does not (compare this and nsfwthis). I always thought that Weekly Jump series were targeted towards a younger audience, and this makes me wonder what they’d do if the manga were ever licensed in the US.
I’ve started work on the preview for the next season. There are a relatively smaller number of shows (around 20) compared to the fall, so hopefully it won’t take too long to finish. I’ll also be putting up a poll around the middle of this next week asking for your opinion of the best show of 2008.
For those of you wondering about an update on Jaalin’s whereabouts: I still haven’t heard from him. I’m getting rather worried, but unfortunately I can’t do anything except wait and hope nothing bad happened.
If you’ve watched Shana at all, you’re probably aware that she loves to eat melonpan. Well there was a song released last month called 「メロンパンのうた」 (Melonpan no Uta – The Melonpan Song) by a nine-year-old singer/songwriter girl named Yuppi. It’s an incredibly cute song with some simple lyrics that have been stuck in my head since I heard it (“there is anko in anpan, there is no melon in melonpan, there is curry in curry bread, there is no melon in melonpan”) and the video above is the PV for the song that debuted on Music On! TV’s Top 100 Countdown at #55 a couple of days ago. At least one person has already suggested that this should be Shana’s OP for next season. :D
There are some miscellaneous things this week that I think don’t warrant a full post, but are worth a mention.
Hirano Aya’s latest single NEOPHILIA, the second of her three releases on consecutive months, was actually pretty good. At least, it was pretty good in comparison to last month’s LOVE★GUN which I thought was absolutely horrendous (both the PV and the song). NEOPHILIA showcased her vocal talents a lot better, though the PV with the mannequin was a bit too creepy for my tastes. According to the official Lantis website, each single has a separate theme – the first one being CRASH!, the second being COOL & elegance, and the third being HAPPY!. With that in mind, I’m not exactly looking forward to the third single, but it might be worth a listen. It’s titled MonStAR and is due out December 5th, 2007.
Although I’m not actively watching or blogging Genshiken 2, I saw some screenshots of this week’s episode and had to take a look. They expanded on Ogiue’s fantasy from volume six of the manga into this whole boys’ love story that turned out to be way more homoerotic than anything I’ve ever seen on television, yet I couldn’t stop laughing because of how seriously it was portrayed in both theme and animation style. It’s definitely worth a watch if you have the time.
I’ve gotten literally dozens of emails this past week about blogging D.Gray-man again because it’s finally gotten back on track with the manga story, so this is something that needs to be addressed: I have no current plans to pick DGM back up, regardless of how good it currently is or isn’t. Never mind the fact that doing so would require me to drop Myself; Yourself or BLUE DROP, but after having sat through those anime original episodes, I’m just not willing to go back to it again unless it’s damn impressive. The recent episodes 55, 56, and 57 were good, but still not quite good enough for me to reconsider, especially in light of the current weekly schedule. It’s possible I’ll think about it again next season, however that’s still unlikely unless Winter 2008 has some really weak shows. For now, I’ll just stick with reading the manga.
It was officially announced yesterday that the second Vocaloid2 package (the first being the insanely popular Hatsune Miku) will be Kagamine Rin. She’ll be voiced by Shimoda Asami, who’s probably most famous for being the voice of Ami and Mami in THE IDOLM@STER game. In terms of singing, Hatsune Miku is listed as being good for Idol and dance songs, but Kagamine Rin will apparently be good at rock, pop, and even some enka. She’ll also sing at a higher tempo – 85 to 175BPM – compared to Hatsune Miku’s 70 to 150BPM. It should be interesting to listen to, and it’s a surefire bet that this’ll be a huge hit too.
mewmew has decided to drop Taiho Shichauzo Full Throttle, citing that it’s not interesting as he had originally thought it’d be, and he hopes this’ll give him more time to concentrate on Ghost Hound and Moyashimon.
Oh, and I almost forgot. I’m really looking forward to the first episode of the Tsubasa Tokyo Revelations OVA coming out next week. I’ve got my fingers crossed for Production I.G to do as good a job with it as they did with the Tsubasa movie.
Here are the August rankings – the summer shows are cranking along at full speed, and the carryovers from spring are coming through for the final stretch. Speaking of which, hasn’t the previous week been SPECTACULAR for anime? There’s been some amazing episodes across the board – it’s great to see that everything’s really kicking into gear to finish strong. As I noted last month, there was a good chance that we could have a new show at the top spot – well, that much was right, but it wasn’t the one I was expecting!
And the new king of the rankings has been crowned – School Days has gone from pretty good to being possibly the best shounen romance anime ever. Every second oozes perfection, from the gripping suspense to the overbearing guilt, from the precise fanservice to the impeccably timed insert songs. SD is the zenith in the evolving formula of shounen romance, and has set a new standard which all subsequent shows will be compared to.
GL went from being crazy good fun to being a real show that also happens to be crazy good fun. With the introduction and flawless execution of the new plot twists, not to mention a little side trip with Yoko, we’ve been thrust headfirst into a new conflict that’s every bit as intense as the first, but on a much larger scale. And what other show is this freakin’ cool? Too bad it’s almost over – can he rescue Nia in such a short time?
So how about that ending, eh? While people may have different views on how the last scene was handled, I think we can all agree that the final two eps lived up to the lofty expectations; but at the same time, didn’t really exceed them. Still, it was a fitting end to (the first season of) a crazy series, and its constant twists and OMG moments never let up. The stage has been set for the second season – how long will they make us wait?
I’m not a fan of censorship. That being said, I understand the guidelines of why it is necessary. It could be due to timeslot, target audience, content or even controversy. Why am I saying this now? It is because of the debut of Dokuro-chan 2. On the 2nd half of the episode, censorship covered a scene lasting approximately 33 seconds.
Time for the July rankings – the new summer shows have been given a couple episodes to prove themselves, and for now, here’s how they stand. Needless to say, the new season isn’t looking too strong, but there are several shows that could surprise – although I doubt they are going to displace any of the top 5. How about combining some shows, like having Kotonoha finally pop a vein, and chopping down Pink Supervisor with a string of baka baka baka USODA!
No surprises here – even after an incredible “final battle” with Lord Genome, the peaceful, time jump episode turns out to be adrenaline filled, except this time a little more of my adrenaline went to a different place after seeing grown up Darry. The new dynamics are intriguing and seem more real and developed; the characters look great and the new impending conflict is believable – something even Death Note couldn’t really pull off.
Seirei no Moribito
Get used to seeing this here, as it’s coming out of the filler episodes and back into the story. Balsa’s continued struggle to uphold her values against her warrior’s heart is not only fascinating but also inspiring. Seirei also excels in providing a constant viewpoint from a “wise” authority, whether it be the shaman, the blacksmith, or the traveling teacher – one who can really bring the depths of the characters to the surface.
You can nitpick at the Haruhi exploitation all you want, but in the end, Lucky Star continues to deliver week after week with its own unique brand of humor. One could even make the argument that the clever execution of the more elaborate references is what pushed the show to the next level. Not to mention Shiraishi’s performances, and now Akira’s “live performance” are gems in themselves.
After taking a week off from writing, I realized how hard it is to rank composers for the next category. In fact, I believe it is the hardest of them all. My analysis on these musicians requires lots of research and evaluation. Nonetheless, I managed to get it done. During this process, I did find something interesting…