Anime Reel – Anime & Manga TV News

Spring Anime First Looks, Part 3

Posted on: April 20, 2011

Third week of April. The final batch of new spring anime shows have aired, and so here is the final batch of first looks.

SKET (Support, Kindness, Encouragement, Troubleshoot) Brigade. No actual dancing.

SKET Dance (streaming at Crunchyroll) is a pretty entertaining show about a group of high school students who are… well, basically they’re handymen. They take on jobs that no one else wants to do. I guess you could call it sort of a detective-themed show, with a case or two per week. This was actually from the first week, but got buried. It airs in prime time for kids (6 PM JST on Thursdays), so no naughty stuff and not much violence.

A guy, four girls, and a bunch of guns. What could go wrong?

Hidan no Aria (English title, Aria the Scarlet Ammo) is a fast-paced action love comedy based on a light novel by Akamatsu Chuugaku. In fact, the pacing and comedy remind me a bit of last season’s Infinite Stratos. (It’s not exactly a coincidence that Akamatsu and IS author Yumizuru Izuru know each other, and were recently interviewed together on the official IS and Aria web pages.) The difference? The main male lead is not a doofus… at least, not all the time. I had a lot of fun with the first episode, and I’ll be keeping an eye on this.

Six friends, growing up together, then growing apart.

Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi ha Mada Shiranai (a title so long that everyone calls it “Anohana”) is an original anime project by director Nagai Tatsuyuki (Toradora, Railgun), scriptwriter Okada Mari (Rosenmaiden), and character designer Tanaka Masayoshi (Toradora, Highschool of the Dead). It starts off a bit slowly, but then as more of the backstory gets revealed we start to understand why things are the way they are. There’s potential here, if you have the patience to follow it through.

Erio, shes weirder than she looks.

Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko is based on a light novel by Iruma Hitoma. The main character, Makoto, just wants to have the regular kind of youth (“seishun”) that you see in manga and anime – hanging out with friends, going out with girls, stuff like that. He even keeps track of it with his “seishun points”. He thinks things will get better when his parents are going overseas and he moves in with his aunt in a big city (which looks suspiciously like Nagoya, where I lived for 3 years). However, things never quite go as planned, and his cousin Erio is the main reason why: she’s weird. Very weird. One of the Japanese terms for this is “denpa” (literally, radio waves), which refers to the thought that some people are receiving signals that no one else can hear. It’s an interesting concept, but the first episode is a bit on the slow side with a lot of exposition and not much else. I do want to see where it’s going and how the other characters fit in, so I’ll keep watching it for the time being.

Rin and Yukio, twins. Really.

Ao no Exorcist (streaming at Crunchyroll as “Blue Exorcist“) starts off as the story of Okamura Rin, a hard-luck 15-year old boy who lives at a church. He hates school, he can’t seem to hold a job, and his younger twin brother seems to be better at everything. The priest who took him in as a child knows something that he doesn’t though. Based on a shounen manga by Katou Kazue, it’s a supernatural violent action thriller-type show (it airs at 5PM on Sundays, though, so violent but not gory).

Its not just a jail.

Deadman Wonderland (streaming at Crunchyroll) is set in a dystopian near-future. Ganta, the main character, is framed for a brutal mass murder and sent to jail with a death sentence. Not just any jail – Deadman Wonderland, which doubles as an amusement park. There he meets the mysterious Shiro, who seems to know him. Based on a shounen manga by Kataoka Jinsei and Kondou Kazuma (who also collaborated on the Eureka Seven manga), it’s shaping up to be a violent adventure with a lot of secrets to be unraveled.

Kimimaro and Mashu from C: CONTROL

Finally, [C] The Money of Soul and Possibility Control (streaming at Funimation as “[C] CONTROL“) is an original anime project from rookie director Nakamura Kenji and scriptwriter Takagi Noboru (Baccano). The theme is money in the future, but there is a bit of a “Summer Wars” vibe going on. The virtual world is called “Kinyuugai” (“Financial District”) instead of Oz, but the visuals are similarly surreal and fantastic. The main character, Kimimaro, is in need of some money (who doesn’t?) to get him through college, and through a series of events gets invited into the Financial District world. The first episode just gives a brief taste of what’s going on, and leaves you with a whole host of questions.

So, that’s the new spring 2011 lineup. There’s pretty much something for everyone there, I think. Have you decided what you’re going to watch and what you’re going to skip?

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