Summer season preview: the good, the wet and the moe

Bokura ga Ita – Artland – Love-Romance, School Life
Artland were behind Mushishi. Mushishi is a masterpiece. If Artland can maintain these standards within the “slice of life” genre, we may just have a show to equal the melancholy, inspiring brilliance of Honey & Clover and the heart wrenching drama of Fruits Basket.
Kemono Zume – Madhouse Production – Fantasy, Love-Romance
The production art is so vivid, grotesque and weird. Madhouse specializes in creating sophisticated and compelling anime for adults (Black Lagoon, Monster and Paranoia Agent). Kemono Zume should be great.
Project Blue Earth SOS – Studio A.C.G.T.- Adventure, Science Fiction
The artwork is colourful, but the real reason Project Blue Earth SOS made the elite category is because it’s directed by the great Tensai Okamura. Mr. Okamura was the main creative driving force (director, screenplay, and storyboard) behind the tragic apocalyptic drama Wolf’s Rain and was also heavily involved in Cowboy Bebop, Neon Genesis Evangelion and RahXephon. The guy is basically a genius and if on form, Project Blue Earth SOS should be another classic anime series to add to his CV.

FLAG – Sunrise – Mecha
The artwork looks mature and sophisticated, the story sounds compelling but it’s Sunrise so I’m hesitant to really get behind FLAG, lest it turns out to be another merchandise driven mecha show that has everything but that most vital of ingredients, a soul of a story teller.
Honey & Clover II – J.C.STAFF – Drama, Love-Romance
I loved Honey & Clover; it really was one of the shining lights of last year and all this despite being yet another cutesy high-school drama. Now we have another 12 episodes to enjoy, but I was bothered by J.C.STAFF switching the director and now paranoid of a total shift in tone, I’m probably worried about nothing though; Honey & Clover II is surely the most anticipated new series this year and I hope it pulls through.
Le Chevalier D`Eon – Production I.G – Fantasy, Historical Settings
Looks dark and dramatic, but Production I.G. let me down with Blood+ and now I’m not sure what to think. Apparently about a cross dressing French revolutionary, so possibly one for the yuri fans too.

Coyote Ragtime Show – ufotable \ Kusanagi – Sci-Fi, Action
Oh, dear. Ripping a page from GunXSword’s book of generic Western appeal, this looks plastic and commercial. The animation is strikingly fluid and obviously expensive, but ultimately the trailer is clearly trying to pander to Western anime fans. Maids with guns though, for those of you who are “into” that.

Taiyo no Mokushiroku / A Spirit of the Sun – Drama
Japan has been cut to shreds by a series of devastating earthquakes and volcanoes and amidst the tragedy a young boy’s boundless optimism inspires those around him. Sounds cool, sounds though-provoking and the promo art looks wonderfully gritty and influential. “Above the clouds and ash, the sun still shines and the sky is still blue.”

NHK ni Youkoso! – Gonzo – Comedy, Novel
Like Genshiken, this is an anime series about anime fans. However, unlike Genshiken, it has a “moe” poster girl and appears to lack the ugly yet compelling insight into fandom that Genshiken so excelled in. It’s bound to inspire moe fans, but I’m not one, so I’m sceptical. Expect a religion to be formed around this series almost over-night, while many others scratch their heads wondering why.

Mardock Scramble – Gonzo
Since Last Exile, Range Murata has become quite possibly the hottest character designer in Japan. Mardock Scramble again sees him teamed up with Gonzo and provided the Gonzo behind Gankutsuou and the aforementioned van-ship epic turn up, this could well be another amazing series. Mardock Scramble looks like the finest realization of Murata’s stylish art yet.