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I admit it, I want to read this book now.

FUNimation is always good for a truckload of announcements at an anime convention, and they didn’t disappoint at this year’s Otakon. At its panel in Baltimore, they announced a handful of series that should please all segments of the fan population.

For the ladies, they have Hetalia World Series, the third season of the uber-popular “Let’s take countries and turn them into cute boys” fantasy. This makes it almost a shoo-in that they’ll have the newly-announced 4th season of Hetalia, which starts in September.

For the guys, they have Strike Witches 2 and Shukufuku no Campanella. Strike Witches 2 is a fan favorite due to its cute girls and distinct shortage of pants, appealing to that fetishized portion of the population that can’t decide which is sexier, military hardware or young anime girls. Shukufuku no Campanella is much more honest about its origins as an adult game, being 100% about anime girls being sexy with very little in the way of plot to get in the way.

The fourth title announced, Ookami-san to Shichinin no Nakama-tachi, has been the subject of a lot of discussion recently, most of it involving the overly chatty narrator and whether or not she gets in the way of the show itself (she kind of does, but that’s okay because the show itself is spotty in quality at best). And the fifth title, a rescue license from Geneon, wasn’t actually announced at the panel. Instead, it started streaming today on FUNimation’s video site, like a pink-haired ninja with giant boobs, surrounded by other ninjas with similarly big boobs and a propensity for fan service.

In movie news, Eva 2.0 and Summer Wars were both picked up for DVD release, with the Hetalia movie coming along for the ride. Evangelion and Summer Wars were both big hits, while Hetalia is pretty much a license to print money at this point.

There are plenty more announcements to come at Otakon, and even FUNimation isn’t done – so stay tuned to see what’s still to come down the anime pipeline!

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.

Squeeeeee?

That’s right, ladies, two, two, TWO Black Butler news pieces in one day! FUNimation’s latest FUNicon just ended with a trailer for the first Kuroshitsuji, meaning that FUNimation has acquired the rights to the fangirltastic butler series, which starred Sakamoto Maaya and Ono Daisuke as a young boy and his demonic butler.

More info to come as it’s announced.

Any second now, he'll push up his glasses and legions of girls will faint.For those of you who are veritably squealing in anticipation of more boy-butler action this summer, Kuroshitsuji II now has a streaming trailer that reintroduces you to the world of Black Butler. The trailer runs 3:37 and shows off a whole lot of the two main characters: young nobleman Alois Trancy and his (presumably demonic) butler, Claude Faustus. The general feel of the trailer is about what you’d expect from the sequel to Kuroshitsuji, with a mixture of dramatic angst and light horror starring hot young boys.

Kuroshitsuji II starts in July, but with the spring anime season starting up this week, it might get lost in the shuffle a bit. Personally, I’m keeping this on my radar in spite of my Y chromosome because Mizuki Nana plays the young Alois – houkoholic tells me that she plays a mean boy role, so I’ll at least give it a chance.

Little pop idol's gonna have to get himself some muscles...

Image from AnimeNation

ANN has posted some very happy news that comes with some big reservations – classic Japanese hero Yabuki Joe (think Rocky, but Ashita no Joe came 8 years before) is coming to the big screen, with mega-hot singer/actor Yamashita Tomohisa (AKA Yamapi) playing the title role. While I am all for having the Japanese Rocky on the big screen, and I think it has the potential to be a great movie, I have to sigh and shake my head at the casting.

Ashita no Joe‘s Yabuki Joe is the archetypal working-class hero, made of gristle and grime and sweat, while Yamapi embodies modern mass-produced entertainment: he grew up in the Johnny’s stable, grew up as a dancer, led a boy band, and spends much of his time in front of cameras or performing in arenas packed with squealing lady fans. It shouldn’t rattle me that they chose him to play the lead because he’ll put butts in the seats, but… well, read more about the essence of Yabuki Joe after the jump to get to the heart of why I hate this.

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That's not gay at all.Over the weekend, Xebec and the Fafner Project released the first promotional image for the upcoming sequel to Soukyuu no Fafner, along with a few staff announcements. Character designer Hirai Hisashi (Gundam SEED, Fafner) is set to return, as well as script writer Ubukata Tow, with animation from XEBEC and musical accompaniment by angela.

This announcement brings back all of the original elements of Fafner, from the art and animation to the writing and music. The promotional image promises the same kind of borderline boys love relationship that defined the original series as well, so it looks like this anime will be a true, full-on sequel.

Appointment television, even with the ratings slipping.

Mizuki Nana may be the only anime seiyuu on the 60th Kouhaku program this week, but there are plenty of mainstream performers on the program who’ve lent their songs to anime programs and video games. I mean, Final Fantasy X-2 skyrocketed Koda Kumi’s career, and fans of her skimpy outfits and catchy dance tunes are thankful for it. This is a quick look at some of the Kouhaku performers and some of the songs you may not know about that ended up on anime soundtracks.

Note: the “you may not know about” excludes all of those Bleach and Naruto Shippuden themes that are floating around by popular acts.

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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.

This weekend, I spent my time testing out new combos in Baldr Sky Dive2 and watching football. The anime world, however, was busy trying to make up for a relatively light anime slate in this winter season by announcing 2010 anime in bunches.

This weekend brought us a bunch of announcements:

– A new Code Geass multimedia project, crossing anime, manga, music, and more.
Yojou-han Shinwa Taikei, an adaptation of a college-life novel by Morimi Tomihiko.
Giant Killing, a soccer manga getting an anime adaptation in time for the World Cup.
Yondemasu, Azazel-san, a story about a magical detective and the demons he enlists to solve mysteries.
Shinrei Tantei Yakumo, another supernatural detective story, with ghosts instead of demons.
Starry Sky, yet another “turn inanimate objects into impossibly pretty boys” project a la Hetalia and Miracle Train.
Moyashimon, the live action drama (yes, really).

Most of these won’t come around until Summer 2010 at least, with a few of these projects designated for Fall 2010, so barely any details are out about these projects. The Code Geass announcement is a bit more immediate and contains more details than the rest of these, so I’ll cover it later today.

Needs more chainsaws.

Image from VKL

ANN has dredged up the cast announcement for the live action drama based on Wallflower, and as expected, it’s full of popular young celebrities pulled straight from the Johnny’s Entertainment stable of boy bands.

Heading the list is Kamenashi Kazuya of from the hit factory KAT-TUN, who isn’t just another pretty face – he’s won acclaim for his acting in several roles, from his supporting role in Gokusen 2 to his star turn in Nobuta wo Produce. Two of his Johnny’s comrades will join him in supporting roles as two of the housemates: Uchi Hiroki and Tegoshi Yuuya of NEWS, whose acting skills are a bit more of an unknown than Kamenashi’s. The last member of the male cast is Miyao Shuntarou, a famous ballet dancer and model. Omasa Aya, a relatively new face in the world of Japanese drama, will take the title role of Sunako.

So, there you have it – one pop superstar who’s done some acting, three pretty faces, and the girl. Everything’s in place, and now it’s time to wait for the show to actually air. There’s a little bit of hope if Kamenashi and Omasa can carry the show, but otherwise I don’t really have much hope for the rest of the cast.

Needs more chainsaws.

Image from VKL

The popular manga Yamato Nadeshiko Shichihenge (released in English under the much more pronounceable title The Wallflower) already got the animated treatment back in 2006, but now the series is on track for a live action drama adaptation. The upcoming TV series was announced by the manga anthology that publishes the series, Bessatsu Friend, and provided a January 2010 date for the premiere.

I’m cautiously optimistic about this one, for reasons I’ll discuss after the jump.

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