Anime Reel – Anime & Manga TV News

Archive for April 2010

I wonder how many light novels are left without anime adaptations?

Image from AkibaBlog.

All of you little sister fans got a treat today, when the light novel series Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai (“There’s no way my little sister is this cute”) announced that an anime adaptation is in the works. The novels, written by Fushimi Tsukasa, follow a boy named Kousaka Kyousuke and his little sister Kirino. Kyousuke’s a regular high school boy, while his little sister juggles life as a successful teen model, popular honors student, and closeted otaku. What makes her shameful secret even worse is that she’s into moe games and anime about little sisters, which is the source of more than a little awkwardness once he finds out. It’s mildly similar to the Nogizaka Haruka series, but with a regular dude and his little sister instead of an uninteresting little nerd and Ms. Perfect.

The whole thing looks like it could be fun little subculture comedy, free of the pedantry of Genshiken and free of Nogizaka Haruka, one of my least favorite characters in the past decade. I’ll have to read the novels to be sure, but this looks like exactly the kind of series I like: a level-headed main character who isn’t a wishy-washy dweeb encounters a strange new world and slowly starts getting sucked into it.

Only the producer and some Aniplex involvement have been announced so far, but a more comprehensive staff announcement will be made next week, when the sixth novel is released.

Judgment desu no!

I won't say it myself, but I'll let Kuroko do it for me.

It’s always been my policy to give a series 4 full episodes before making a real value judgment on it – it’s a habit left over from my days of reviewing pre-FUNimation DVDs, where 4 episodes a disc was the norm. So, with 4 weeks of the spring anime season in the books now, it’s time to take a look at where I stand with current anime. Which shows am I still watching, and which shows have I dropped like a bad habit? Find out after the jump.

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G T O! G T O!

He's back!

Last weekend, I stopped by the local Kinokuniya book store and noticed the new GTO manga by Fujisawa Tooru: GTO Shonan 14 Days. I remember hearing about its existence last year, but this was the first time I’d seen it in collected form. I snatched it up immediately, because I was a huge fan of the first Great Teacher Onizuka manga a decade ago.

Great Teacher Onizuka holds a special place in my heart for many reasons. It was the first book I ever read in Japanese, it was the first Japanese drama I ever watched, and it broke the mold for every other school drama in existence. The stories lost some steam after 14 volumes, but Onizuka’s force of personality kept the whole thing together with his wonderful mix of crude humor, slapstick, and shockingly empathic moments hidden under the rough exterior.

In the years since GTO ended, Fujisawa Tooru hasn’t quite been able to recapture that magic. Does a return to his signature character mean that he’s trying to cash in on previous successes, or is it actually worth reading? Thoughts after the jump.

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The Code Geass front page image, this is for the holiday event and not the new project.

Warning: new Code Geass may not contain any of these characters.

Welp, it’s official – there’s a new Code Geass anime project coming. The DVD version of the Lelouch birthday special is out, and it confirms a new anime to be set in the Geass world’s version of Europe. Details are sparse until the weekend, when we’re expecting an initial staff announcement, but for now, we know that the story will follow a small military unit sent on a suicide mission.

Who will show up? Who’s writing this thing? And when do we get it? Hopefully we’ll find out more this weekend with more announcements!

The logo for Digimon Xros WarsThis July, Japanese TV is resurrecting the Digimon franchise, a long-running kid’s show that features young children who can summon ever-evolving monsters to fight evil in the Digital World. Digimon Xros Wars is the first Digimon series since 2007, and in spite of myself, I really want to see every minute of this once it’s out.

Digimon found a lot of success overseas and was fairly popular over in the States back in 1999, but it tended to get overshadowed by the Pokemon juggernaut. The series sucked me in a lot more than the media giant, though. Digimon was surprisingly mature and and complex for its target audience. The characters were explored in more depth than your average Pokemon, and the plotlines tended to be much more serious and enthralling than the average lighthearted adventure. Plus, the original Digimon Adventure theme was badass. So listen to the awesome “Butter-Fly” and don’t judge me for wanting to watch Digimon in my adult life!

FUNimation starts airing the second half of the noitaminA block tomorrow, and as you can see from the subtitled trailer above, Tatami Galaxy is a huge departure from your average kids’ action fantasy or cute-girl-moe anime. The visuals are freakish and fascinating, the story looks deliciously twisted, and all in all, it looks like it’ll be a whole lot of fun.

Tatami Galaxy starts when a college dropout meets a man claiming to be a god of marriage at a ramen stand. Instead of the late-night snack he was looking for, he instead gets a flashback to his college days, when he and his friend went around destroying other people’s romances. The show looks like it’ll be a dark pleasure, and I’ll be tuning in tomorrow on FUNimation’s video site. Between Tatami Galaxy and The House of Five Leaves, this Spring season may not be a complete loss after all…

Anime no Chikara, bringing quality(?) since 2009.

Occult Academy is streaming two more commercials on its official website. In an unwelcome change from the cryptic first commercial, these not only have no solid information about the upcoming series, but they also make no sense and contain no animation whatsoever – so I they have to have some kind of meaning I’m just not getting. I mean, they point out the setting of the series, but they do it with live actors doing incredibly mundane activities.

What’s the point of this? Thoughts?

You know, Rick Hunter really isn't a bad name. Certainly easier to say than Hikaru Ichijou for a 6-year-old.

Happy trails.

Sad news hit the anime community last night. Streamline Pictures co-founder Carl Macek passed away on Saturday following a heart attack. He was best known as the producer of Robotech, and was also a script writer for the English adaptations of such anime as My Neighbor Totoro, The Castle of Cagliostro, Naruto, and Bleach. He was 58 years old.

Carl Macek was a controversial figure in the anime fan community for decades, known both as a skillful storyteller who managed to weave three disparate anime (Macross, Southern Cross, and Mospeada) into a fairly cohesive whole and a hack who butchered Captain Harlock and Queen Milennia into an incoherent mess. Regardless of where you stand on the matter, the fact is that he was responsible for two generations of kids learning to love anime, and for that, he will be missed.

I had the pleasure of meeting Carl at AOD 2010 a couple of months ago, and he was a gracious guest with the soul of a storyteller. I was very impressed by his knowledge and his willingness to share it, and all of us on staff looked forward to hearing more tales from behind the scenes of all the anime we loved as kids. We’ll never hear them now, and we’re all sadder for it.

Rest well, old man.

(edit: Carl Macek was born in 1951, making him 58 years old at time of death and not 51.)

Twinkle, twinkle, little drill, soon a robot you will kill.I’ve spent a lot of today trying to figure out the right angle to Aniplex of America’s decision to take the wonderfully over-the-top Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann movies to market themselves. On one hand, it’s good that fans will be able to get their hands on the movie after a whole lot of silence on the part of anime companies about the compilations. On the other hand, their release plan is pretty weak: Bandai’s online store and a couple of conventions are as far as they are going, which doesn’t even match the reach of Gundam Unicorn‘s Amazon-only release.

I’ve decided that I’m just going to hold my nose at the scattershot business plan and just get the movies because they’re fun. If you think like me, you’ll be glad to know that the wait isn’t very long. Both DVDs are going to be released in July, you can pre-order them now, in both an economy $25 version and a deluxe $40 special edition.

But really – does anyone think that this kind of limited business model has any kind of future? This kind of news drives anime further and further into a tiny, tiny niche.

Yes, all of it. Today, FUNimation announced that the potential spring season savior Sarai-ya Goyou (AKA House of the Five Leaves) and lesser-known Tatami Galaxy will both be simulcast under its banner. The deal as announced covers future series that live in the noitaminA block as well, so this is a pretty big win for FUNimation. The noitaminA block has become a bastion of great anime in the past few years, with such hits as Nodame Cantabile, Moyashimon, and Honey and Clover.

It’s going to be great to get House of the Five Leaves out to a bigger audience, so I am all for this announcement!