Anime Editorials

Cherry picking in autumn 2010

batesziIt’s autumn again, and with it comes dozens of new anime series to get excited about. From these, we’ve picked a few that we’re particularly interested in. Marvel at our impeccable taste and insightful opinions!
CelesteI was thinking you’d come up with something better than that for the introduction. Evidently my expectations were too high.


batesziThat is what happens when we write the introduction after the rest of the post.

Star Driver

Celeste One has to wonder if BONES is aiming to become the next Sunrise. Star Driver, like their latest major offerings, is a mecha anime. Visually, it’s a marked change from Eureka Seven, Xam’d and its ilk, but I’ve watched everything BONES has put out in recent years with very little complaint, and thus see no reason to stop doing so.
batesziIs Star Driver going to be the first true magical boy anime? It may well be if its trailer is anything to go by (bishounen transformation sequences and all!) As previously mentioned by Celeste, this really looks like BONES channelling the spirit of Sunrise’s recent mecha anime (specifically, the flamboyance of Code Geass.) I’d long been hoping that this would be more akin to the hot-blooded Gurren Lagann, but given both the director (Takuya Igarashi) and chief writer (Yoji Enokido) worked together on (the ever-so-pink) Ouran High School Host Club, it’s probably fair to say it won’t be anything like Gurren Lagann at all. Alas, it’s still BONES, so I’ll be watching it!


Celeste Frankly, the combination of this airing in the noitaminA timeslot, as well as it being aimed at the josei demographic were more than enough to convince me to pick this up. The premise itself sounds fairly interesting: an apartment full of misfit girls, one of whom meets a man in drag. I assume madness ensues thereafter. Unfortunately, the character designs in the anime seem to be a bit of a departure from the manga, utilizing a brighter color scheme, but I doubt this will detract much from my (eminent?) enjoyment of the show.

Iron Man

I am very excited about Marvel’s collaboration with Madhouse to make four different anime, X-Men, Wolverine, Blade and Iron Man.  Marvel has plenty of stories from their large comic book library which it can use. Further, Marvel has an incentive to produce high quality anime adaptations that do not damage the brand.  Iron Man’s trailer looks sleek and well put together. I also liked the plot which addresses the controversial topic of nuclear power.  Iron Man’s alter ego Tony Stark wants to use nuclear power to create an arc reactor that will provide limitless clean energy to Japan.  The only concern I have about this anime is Marvel’s decision to make Iron Man more Japanese by creating a Japanese villain (who looks like a weird space pirate) and a female sidekick (who looks like a clone of Trixie from Speed Racer).
bateszi The really cool trailer was directed by anime maestro Takeshi Koike (Redline) but apparently he’s not actually working on the series itself (what a shame!) The actual director will be Yuzo Sato of Kaiji and One Outs fame. Anyway, make sure you check out the trailer, it’s really good.


Celeste Though just an OVA, this is on my list for one very good reason: Junichi Sato. Creator and director of Princess Tutu (also Aria, for the rest of you) as well as a slew of other good series, I almost don’t care what it’s about. Though the animation style seems a little typical (brightly colored, simple linework) I have so much faith in Sato’s ability to tell a story that I’m not too worried about anything  in regards to this. I’d rather not read too much about it, and wait for the surprise.

Toaru Majutsu no Index II

Now in its second season, Toaru Majutsu no Index really needs to hit its stride or I’m going to drop it. The first season of the sci-fi/comedy set the stage by introducing the audience to Tōma Kamijō, a high school student in Academy City. The city is filled with espers, people with psychic or supernatural powers. The espers maintain a shaky peace with magic users, people who create abilities that imitate the abilities of the espers. Tōma has neither magical nor esper powers, but his right hand has the ability to nullify both. One day Tōma came home and found a young girl in a nun’s outfit unconscious in his apartment. The girl was named Index and her subconscious mind held the contents of 103,000 books of forbidden magic. Tōma spent most of the first season protecting Index from magic users and espers who wanted access to those books.
The first season successfully established Tōma’s world and made reference to powerful magic and esper users that were directing events from the background. But, instead of discovering the identity of these masterminds, Tomu spent most of the time fighting off a new villain each episode. To stay interesting, the second season needs to reveal more about the people pulling the strings. If the show continues with the villain of the week format and fails to reveal some of the mysteries it created in season one, I’ll probably lose interest.

Psychic Detective Yakumo

bateszi I don’t know much about Psychic Detective Yakumo, but going on first impressions alone, it looks quite interesting. This new anime series is the latest in a long line of Psychic Detective Yakumo mystery novels, manga and (live-action) TV drama since 2004, so it’s already well-known in Japan. The somewhat discouraging news is that it’s being animated by (the rather infamous) Bee Train, but I really enjoyed Phantom ~Requiem for the Phantom~, so may be there’s still something interesting here anyway? I’ll take any series that’s even slightly dark and moody at this point, and with it being about a guy with heterochromia who hunts ghosts for a living, it’s safe to say I’m sold (for the first episode at least!)

My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute (Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai)

The plot of this series is simple and it borders on disgusting.  The main character Kyousuke is a 17 year old high school student who lives with his emotionally distant 14 year old younger sister.  The two have little in common and barely even talk to each other.  This all changes when Kyousuke discovers that his sister is an otaku who is secretly interested in moe anime. Even more disturbingly, he finds out that she has been playing video games which include brother and sister incestuous relationships.  I think this show will succeed or fail based on the first episode.  If it caters too much towards fan service and depictions of moe and lolicon video games it will get disgusting very quickly.  On the other hand the plot is certainly unique.  If the show simply talks about moe and lolicon and doesn’t turn into moe itself it could be quite good.
bateszi Merely the name of that show is enough to set me running away from it, forever.

Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt

bateszi Oh man, oh man, oh man, where the hell do I start with Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt? How about that it’s an original anime series by Gainax? Not enough? Okay, it’s also being directed by Hiroyuki Imaishi. Don’t know him? The last thing he directed was Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. Seen that? No? Well, the soundtrack is being composed by Taku Takahashi (one of the guys behind Japan’s hip-hop group M-flo.) So, let’s face it, guys, with a line-up like that and given just how cool this looks, you have to watch it, right?! Apparently it’s going to be crazy, violent and sex-fuelled (comparisons to Imaishi‘s Dead Leaves abound) so don’t expect anything particularly deep or meaningful. It’s guaranteed to be crass and offensive. Many have already complained that it doesn’t look enough like “real” anime. Quite frankly, I can’t wait.
Celeste Rewatching the trailer, I have to say the aesthetic isn’t bad but it doesn’t quite hit the right notes with me, much to my own surprise. Regardless, it’s an interesting one, and I’m always up for visual experimentation – no way to expand your tastes but to try things that are outside of them! I’m probably going to watch this on principle alone: DJ Taku Takahashi plus Gainax plus Imaishi cannot go wrong. And by “on principle alone”, I mean I’m a big enough M-flo fan that I’ll be watching this just to listen to the soundtrack.

21 replies on “Cherry picking in autumn 2010”

There are many BONES work I enjoy but I was never a big a fan compared to many others, and Star Driver looks bit too shiny for my taste (minus Code Geass’s entertainment value) so I’ll just skip this one.
I don’t know anything about Kuragehime but I guess anything in noitaminA deserves at least a look, although I’m really waiting for noitaminA’s Fractal.
Short ova is always good and Princess Tutu was awesome so will try Tamayura.
Beetrain llorz…I hate to jump on the bandwagon but they’re really absolutely terrible studio and I suffer everytime I try their show (noir, hack, blade of immortal).
I really enjoyed railgun but didn’t hear very good things about index. Don’t know which creative staff is taking on the sequel to index, but I’m willing to try if only to see more Kuroko.
Never liked Marvel much, but hope they do well with Iron Man anyway.
Pany&Stocking fuck yea!
Surprised to see no one here giving Bakuman a go.

Oh snap totally forgot about Arakawa season 2!
In which case, it’s on my to-watch list for more Kou x Nino cuteness 😀
I’ve read a bit of the Bakuman manga, and personally didn’t like it (though Obata’s art, as always is gorgeous) – thus it’s a no go for the anime for me.

Yeah, for some reason I’m just not that excited by Bakuman. I was thinking about including it in my picks, but nothing I’ve seen of it so far has really caught my eye, inc. the first chapter of the manga. I’m not convinced the Death Note guys are able to write decent female characters.
That said, it’s going to be directed Ken’ichi Kasai (Honey & Clover, Nodame Cantabile) so I’ll probably watch the first episode and realize the error in my ways, so I just really need to see a trailer or something.

As for me, I’m gonna watch ’em all, even the disgusting ones, at least once.
I’m not as thrilled about how Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt looks as a lot of people are. It’s kinda generic, really. I see art styles like that in American commercials. But it IS Gainax.
I’m very interested in Iron Man because Warren Ellis is helping with it. I’m not expecting something subversive and out there like Transmetropolitan, Ellis is only supplying outlines for the Madhouse people to embellish, but I’m hoping he can add an edge.
As for Index, well the first season was deeply flawed in the way you described, but also flawed Railgun made up for it with some nice character development. I’m looking forward to it.
Finally, I wonder if we need another season of Arakawa. I think one is enough.

I definitely wouldn’t say Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt looks generic, Peter. It looks like being the most original (literally and metaphorically) anime of the season.

I’m shockingly disorganised as far as viewing schedules are concerned…I’ve no set plans apart from whatever’s in the NoitaminA slot and the second season of Arakawa (mainly for the absurd comedy but also because there’s something Anno-esque about Shinbo’s direction).
I can kinda see where they’re going with Panty & Stocking With Garterbelt, but I can also imagine myself revelling in the originality and frenetic energy for an episode or two then finding it all gives me a headache. The same type of aesthetic and approach worked for Gurren Lagann but I didn’t like Dead Leaves at all – it was a load of cool-looking but pointless visual noise.
I’m with Paul on My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute: unless it’s a clever satirical piece that systematically annihilates the bits of the fandom I hate, I won’t touch it. Psychic Detective Yakumo could actually be decent though. It wasn’t Noir that bored me about Bee Train; it was taking Noir’s concept and recycling it! Iron Man could be excellent too – it’s the sort of comic book action-fest that can translate to animation well.
Apart from that, all that’s caught my eye is Tamayura…Aria was lovely in every sense. Sadly the one 2010 show I was looking forward to, namely Despera, still isn’t on the schedules.

I’m willing to give Sister 1 episode. There have been some good shows with content I wasn’t totally comfortable with (like Welcome to the NHK). I am not too optimistic though…

I’m a little vary about Star Driver, but Enokido Youji (who is, to me, forever The Grey Eminence Behind Utena… his influence on Utena is seriously underestimated) has yet to disappoint me, and Ouran Host Club the anime was pure genius that surpassed the manga, so the odds are good that this is going to be at least nice.
Kuragehime and Psychic Detective also look interesting, I just hope that they had a nice budget and good writing and direction. Bee Train worries me, but let’s hope for the best.
I don’t care about Marvel and superhero comics so no Iron Man for me, and as for Tayumura… well, Princess Tutu was very good but such things don’t depend on the director only. *gets shot*
Finally, as for Panty & Stocking, I’m among those who just scratch their head. It probably helps that I’m not a fan of Gainax and I agree with Martin on Dead Leaves, which just left me feeling “so what?” I don’t know, the art style is not what I’d call original, and the concept of “sweet-looking girls doing nasty/naughty things, yay for sex and violence” just kind of leaves me cold.

The more I think about Star Driver, the more I’m anticipating it. And good point, the Ouran High School Host Club anime far outweighs its manga counterpart (though the manga has the benefit of Tamaki and Haruhi actually hooking up ;))
Princess Tutu was Sato’s original creation, IIRC; so its success has quite a bit to do with him I’d think :). Watching the first episode of the Tamayura OVA.. well, it’s pretty much moe fluff, but the atmosphere is certainly there. Considering as its branding itself as an iyashi-kei (atmospheric-type) anime, one would hope as much, I’d assume. We’ll see where it goes; I still hold hope for this. If it flops, then maybe I’ll finally get around to watching Aria.
As for Panty & Stocking, I’m beginning to think it’ll be almost in the Samurai Champloo/FLCL vein of things, where the presence of a strong musical artist (Nujabes, The Pillows, and DJ Taku for P&S) might actually tie the thing together in such a way that the “yay for sex and violence” isn’t nearly so bad Duly, one will note the aforementioned two anime are pretty heavy on the sex and violence themselves, and while in many a lesser show this detracts from it being a ‘quality’ anime, this in combination with a great OST can be a recipe (heaven forbid) for success.

Ah, I accidentally deleted a sentence about how I’m less than enthusiastic about Aria. (Which is why I included “*gets shot*” :D) Sure, that was based on a manga, but I found it cute but ultimately boring. Then again, I probably have a strange taste as far as iyashi kei goes, the last show that gave me the “iyashi” feel was Natsume yuujinchou.
Anyway, I didn’t know Princess Tutu was Satou’s original creation, but well, look at Utena: that was Ikuhara’s original creation, but looking at the differences between the manga and the anime, and other anime written by Enokido, I’m pretty certain that most iconic things about Utena the anime came from him and not Ikuhara.
As for Panty & Stocking, maybe you’re right… but in any case it’s just not my cup of tea. (I wasn’t really into FLCL either, but then as I said, I’m not a Gainax fan to begin with.)

Yeah, but Ikuhara had zero involvement in the Utena manga, that was all Chiho Saito; though it was the child of the Be-papas collective of which both Ikuhara and Saito were members. Moreover, Saito was essentially involved in the Utena project simply for character designs and adapted it as a manga on her own, as I recall. In terms of the anime plot/theme all came from Ikuhara.
I do however confess that I know little of Enokido, so I’ll look into him in the future 🙂

Hm, as far as I know the Utena manga came before the anime. But well, in any case, if you look at some of Enokido’s works on shows with which Ikuhara wasn’t involved with, such as FLCL, Melody of Oblivion, or even Ouran Host Club, I think it’s relatively easy to pinpoint his style.
Of course I’m not trying to belittle Ikuhara’s accomplishments, it’s just that Enokido is so often overlooked. It’s like with movies, when a movie is good people always praise the director, and forget about the script writer who “only” wrote the whole thing. ^^;;

I believe there are three shows for me this season. Foremost of them all, Index II. The world of Index and Railgun is one of the most interesting fantasy worlds out there, with decently logical science and magic. Touma is a rare kind of shounen hero, capable of being cool without being powerful, inventive without being unusually intelligent, and idealistic without taking stubbornness to extremes. I admit Railgun is probably better than Index as an adaptation, and I do like Misaka far more than Index (who’s a bit annoying at times), but for me, the all-female main cast just couldn’t make up for the rarity of Touma’s appearances in Railgun. For me, Index, as a series, is more interesting than Railgun.
As for the “monster of the week” pattern… well, technically there wasn’t one in the first place. The first season adapted the first 6 light novels: an admittedly rushed pace, but they still dedicated more than one episode for each arc (barring the ones adapted from short stories). Railgun took a bit slower pace, parhaps because they were adapting from a manga, or because they learned from the first season. If it’s the latter case, we have hope that the second season will also be slower paced. In any case, I’m pretty sure that the main villains will continue to be revealed slowly. Do not make the mistake of thinking that the episodic nature of the series means that the events and villains of the first season play no part in the building of the final conflict: one of the strengths of the series is in keeping a light episodic nature and still managing to build up a grand scheme in the background. So, in my opinion, it’ll be good if the “grand scheme” will continue to build slowly, so that the main villains will be little more than introduced in the second season. After all, in the novels, I believe they won’t step into the light until the 16th novel.
Then there’s Kami no Mizo Shiru Sekai – The World God Only Knows. I can’t believe that you neglected to mention it. Trust me, it’s something to look forward to, if well adapted. I read the manga, and despite its light and episodic nature, it’s one of the most psychologically interesting stories I’ve had the pleasure to read. A “god” of dating sim games is forced by demons of hell to help with some escaped evil spirits – by romancing girls possessed by them. I’d never have thought that I’d like a story where a guy makes one girl after another fall for him, only to erase their memories and move on tho the next one. But, in doing so, he actually manages to give each of them something that fills the “holes” in their hearts where the spirits hide, something that stays with them even after their memories are erased. There’s not only intelligence in this story, there’s also some deep wisdom, and there’s nothing I value more than wisdom.
Thirdly, there’s Fortune Arterial. Based on an eroge by August, one that’s not been translated. I’ve played/read this visual novel, and the brilliance of the writing shone through the horrible machine translations. The main girl of Fortune Arterial is one of the only two fictional characters I’ve ever had a crush on in my 23 years of life. Expect a brilliant romance with fairly deep characters and actually some story as well.
Apart from these three, there are a few others that I might be interested in. Yakumo should be alright, I’ve read a couple of chapters from the latest manga adaptations, and it seemed pretty interesting – plus I like detective stuff in general. Sora no Otoshimono S2… I’ve yet to watch the first season, but I love the manga, so eventully I’ll surely get to it. Yosuga no Sora, another one adapted from an eroge, one I’m not familiar with. The summary simply gave me a spark of interest, I’ll probably check out the first episode and make my decision then.

Maybe it just felt like villian of the week to me. I do agree that the world created in Index is very compelling. I just think we haven’t seen the full potential of the setting.

Storytellers who can actually utilize the full potential of their best ideas are surprisingly rare. Retelling someone else’s story and getting equal or better results isn’t easy either. There are 21 Index novels so far, later they’ll introduce other places besides the Academy City: the scope of the story is far more epic than you’d think after the first anime season. Give them some time and the benefit of doubt, I think it’ll get better yet.

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