Anime Reel – Anime & Manga TV News

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Ota, what is best in life?

Shinonono. Just rolls off the tongue, doesn't it?

With Comic Market 78 coming this weekend, there is a helluva lot of fall anime being put on display in anticipation of the year’s biggest otaku event. First in line: Infinite Stratos, the girls-in-powered-suits sci-fi action/romcom from Eight Bit. A new 90-second trailer has been posted on the official site, and fans are already hailing the adaptation of Yumizuru Izuru’s light novels as the “next Sakura Taisen.”

It’s hard to argue with the enthusiasm. From the brief bits in the trailer, it looks great on both the mecha and cute girl sides of the equation. If this is the average quality we can expect from this series, it’s going to be a must-watch for me. I was a huge fan of Sakura Taisen back in its heyday, and with its “Only one boy can pilot these powered suits” premise, it hearkens back to the wonderful cheese that Sakura Taisen fans loved so much.

Plus, the cast they’ve assembled is pretty top-notch. The tsundere samurai miko is played by Hikasa Youko (Mio from K-On!), the British twin-drill is played by Yukana (Teletha Testarossa in Full Metal Panic!), the Chinese childhood friend is played by Shimoda Asami (Chihaya of iDOLM@STER), the French girl is Hanazawa Kana (Nadeko of Bakemonogatari), and the one-eyed German military girl is voiced by Inoue Marina (Yoko of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann). The main character isn’t very well-known, but then again, in a production like this, who cares about the guy?

I seem to have mixed up the caption and the alt tag. Oops!

Girls who are part robot confuse my boy parts.

The latest light novel to anime conversion is Infinite Stratos, a relatively new and unknown series by rising author Yumizuru Izuru. The science fiction series has sold 400,000 total copies over five books so far, which is a modest success but nothing to write home about – for comparison, the To Aru Majutsu no Index novels have sold 7.7 million over 20 books.

Infinite Stratos is about a world where a new type of powered suit can only be operated by women. This newtechnology, known as the Infinite Stratos (IS), leads to a revolution in society, changing the world into a matriarchy. But, since there are Rules about these things, a boy named Orimura Ichika accidentally activates an IS system and becomes instantly famous. “The only boy in the world who can use an IS” is immediately drafted into an elite IS pilot academy where, because there are Rules about these things, he runs into a lot of his childhood friends amidst the gaggle of cute girls who are all fascinated or threatened by his presence.

All of this is pretty much an excuse to have a high school romcom/robots hybrid, with a Strike Witches-style twist where the girls are hybridized with the mecha. There also seems to be a shortage of pants, judging from the book covers, but I am strangely okay with that.

The most interesting thing announced so far about this anime is that it’s going to have Kikuchi Yasuhito (Macross Frontier) at the helm, while Eight Bit (Macross Frontier: Itsuwari no Utahime) will handle the animation. I have a lot of faith in those two names, and that upped my assessment of this announcement from “another light novel to throw into the pile” to “This could explode in popularity like K-On!” Time will tell.

Expect a whole lot of this.

Expect a whole lot of this.

Anime Expo keeps filling up with events I want to hit up, and the latest announcement from the anime convention adds another to that list. The show will host Black Lagoon creator Hiroe Rei as a guest of honor, and he’ll be bringing the first episode of the new Roberta’s Blood Trail OVA series with him. We’ll be able to get a sneak peek at the third series in the action series on July 1st, over two weeks before the official DVD and Blu-Ray release.

I may have said earlier that I wasn’t looking forward to this OVA because I didn’t like the manga’s story arc, but I am a huge sucker for exclusive premieres and hope I am not on duty when this screening takes place. Make it happen, AX!

They're pretty, they're toony, they're all a little loony!

With the end of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood looming at the end of this season, Capcom has stepped up to make sure that the void is filled come summer. Sengoku Basara 2, the sequel to the fangirl favorite starring prettied-up versions of famous samurai, is all set to take over the popular Saturday 5 PM time slot from FMA (and, before that, Code Geass) once its run finishes.

If you’ve never xperienced the over-the-top glory that is Sengoku Basara, you can pretty much just look around for random screenshots and see how crazy it is. You have Date Masamune riding a horse that has cruiser handlebars and oudoing One Piece‘s Zoro by wielding six swords like some kind of medieval Wolverine. You have an androgynous Uesugi Kenshin, a bearlike Oda Nobunaga, and it just gets weirder and more over-the-top every episode.

It’s definitely not for everybody (as mentioned above, its prettified character designs and often unambiguous relationships make it a favorite of fangirls), but between the ridiculous action and the blatantly cheesy overacting, it’s often worth checking out to see if it’s stupid enough to be fun.


Weird? Yes. Funny? Also yes.

The freakish tableau you see above is a diorama created by store employees at Gamers in Akihabara. I’ve always loved the crazy little displays they put up to advertise upcoming products or just mess with people (one of my all-time favorites is repurposing School Days‘ infamous “There’s no one inside” for a reminder about bathroom etiquette), and the little spread they have up to advertise the upcoming Fist of the North Star/Dynasty Warriors hybrid, Hokuto Musou, is brilliant.

The full pictures of the “Southern Cross Maid Cafe” are up on Akiba Blog, though you should be warned that many of the ads over there are unsafe for work. Also, those of you with weak stomachs may not like seeing Heart-sama and Raoh trying to act cutesy.

Subtext: I'm ooooooooooooooooolllllllllddddddd

Did I really watch this show twenty years ago?

With anime companies on both sides of the Pacific constantly trying to latch onto the Next Big Thing before its shelf life expires, it’s nice to know that older favorites aren’t being neglected. Nozomi Entertainment, the anime arm of online retailer Right Stuf, announced its licensing of 1985 anime classic Dirty Pair for a DVD release.

The beloved ’80s sci-fi comedy anime features Kei and Yuri, who are troubleshooters and private investigators. The two ladies work under the codename Lovely Angels, but they’re better known as the infamous Dirty Pair, because their jobs tend to end with massive, indiscriminate destruction. They always get the job done, but they also tend to cause way more problems than the client bargained for.

My capsule description of this show doesn’t really do it justice – it’s like saying Touch is about a high school kid playing baseball, or that Cowboy Bebop is about gangsters. My memories of the show are pretty fuzzy after two decades, but I remember having a riotously good time watching copies of a friend’s laserdiscs back in the day. This anime was one of the gold standards of the ’80s, and I’m thrilled that Nozomi has DVDs ready for pre-order!

"Everyone keeps saying bakunyuu, bakunyuu, what does that mean?"

In case you’d forgotten that there is a fourth season of the boobs-‘n’-brawls series Ikki Tousen coming up, the official site has been updated with a new trailer for Ikki Tousen Xtreme Xecutor. It shows a lot of predictably risque footage, with panty shots and fight scenes in equal measure, and it also lets you listen to the uptempo new opening song, “Stargazer.”

Honestly, at this point you should already know whether or not you’re going to watch the new Ikki Tousen. It’s stuck to its profitable formula for four seasons now, with girls who punch each other so hard that their clothes explode. If that’s your thing, no worries – you’ll be watching this new season and probably pumping more money into the coffers for a fifth season. If you’re not interested, well, there’s plenty of other anime out there for you to watch this season!

This is a manga about punching. If you don't want punching, go somewhere else.With Trigun experiencing a revival with the upcoming movie, I was originally going to talk about Trigun Maximum in this space. Then, I realized that Trigun is over a decade old and many of you have already read it. On top of that, my copy of Yasuhiro Nightow’s latest manga, Kekkai Sensen (roughly, “Blood World Battlefront”) came in the mail, and I spent some time checking out his new work.

It’s an interesting little modern fantasy manga, but I don’t know how much of my interest comes from the fact that Nightow is behind it and how much of it comes out of the actual quality of the art and story. After all, Nightow himself said that the manga exists because he wanted to make “a manga where people shout out the names of their attacks,” and there’ no more generic manga type than the fighting fantasy.

More after the jump!

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Now this is the Trigun I remember...While it may be small news to some people that FUNimation picked up the license for a 12-year-old anime that has already seen at least three home video releases, there’s more here than meets the eye. I’m actually quite excited about FUNimation’s Trigun rescue announcement from this weekend’s KatsuCon.

Remember, the Trigun movie is coming this year, and FUNimation’s licensing likely foreshadows a domestic movie release. If it doesn’t, I’ll be highly disappointed, but FUNimation hasn’t disappointed me for such things before. Late 2010 is probably too optimistic, so let’s keep our eyes out for an early 2011 American release!

The logo gets things right.

My gosh! Who was expecting this?

Dragon Ball Kai, meet your American cousin, Dragon Ball Z Kai. FUNimation finally let the cat out of the bag today, posting the above logo with the title “The Answer is Yes.” There isn’t much to say beyond that – FUNimation hit it big with the original Dragon Ball Z, so it’s only natural that they acquire and release the recently edited/censored  remake of the mega-hit sci-fi action series..

The problem is that FUNimation has already started releasing a repackaged and remastered version of DBZ here in the states, so it remains to be seen if people will want to buy Dragon Ball yet another time. However, DBZ has strong numbers and FUNimation’s usually a pretty shrewd dealer, so with any luck and a patient timeline, they’ll be more than fine. It’s just that the timing is a little strange for this announcement, since it’ll be a few more months before the Dragon Boxes finish their run and avoid bumping into the new Kai series.