All these animation fans talking about Disney and Looney Tunes, shut up for a second and let me tell you where the true future of animation lies. It’s Japan where you have to start casting your eyes towards. Astro Boy, Speed Racer, Princess Knight. All of these were made in Japan. I’ve decided a good way to draw some interest is to preview the Japanese animation TV shows coming out next season.
Shin Obake no Q-Taro
Air Date: 1 Sep
Synopsis: Qtarō, also known as Q-chan or Oba-Q, is a mischief-maker who likes to fly around scaring people and stealing food, though he is deathly afraid of dogs.
Little kids show. Not the first time this has aired on TV either. There was a black and white version of this a few years back and they’ve decided it was popular enough to deserve a remake into colour. Not a whole lot to say about it beyond that though.
Air Date: 25 Sep
Studio: Tokyo Movie Shinsha
Synopsis: It is about the misadventures of a dim-witted boy (Bakabon) and his insane father, the latter of whom eventually becomes the central character.
Based off a manga and, thankfully, looks to be not quite as childish as Q-chan. That said, it still looks rather childish. I had my eye on Japanese animation because people said they were slightly more adult-orientated than the Disney stuff, but we’re not really seeing that so far. Neither is the animation nerd inside me welling up in excitement at any of the cast. Heck, I don’t recognise a single name on here. But I am a newbie so…
Air Date: 3 Oct
Studio: Tezuka Productions
Synopsis: After nine year-old Melmo loses her mother in a car accident, she is left to care for her two younger brothers, a task far beyond her age or means. However, in the midst of her grieving, Melmo is visited by the ghost of her deceased mother who gives her a bottle of miraculous candy, capable of transforming her into either an adult (blue candy) or an infant (red candy). A combination of the two can reduce her to a fetus and then change her into any animal she imagines. Drawing on a seemingly inexhaustible supply, Melmo uses her candies to solve the various problems thrown her way, aided by her younger brother Toto and her cantankerous mentor, Dr Nosehairs.
Aha, this is more like it. Something by the creator of Astro Boy and Princess Knight, Tezuka himself. Based off a manga about a magical girl. I have been hearing some strange things about this though. It’s still, essentially, a kids manga, but Tezuka apparently meant it as a introduction for kids to sex-education. Even better, the anime is planning on changing a few things. In the manga, when Melmo changes from 9 years old to 19 years old, she chooses the uniform of her choice. However the anime is apparently going to forgo that, instead having Melmo simply keep the same clothes on that either rip or tighten, leaving little to the imagination. The screens I saw showed Melmo’s panties when she transformed, which is a bit…heh heh, I wonder if flashing panties midway through a transformation will catch on?
Air Date: 4 Oct
Synopsis: Ecchan appears to be a normal little girl, but appearances can be deceptive. She is descended from the great ninja Sasuke Sarutobi, and possesses ninja skills of her own. Ecchan is also capable of all sorts of extraordinary feats: she can communicate with animals, possesses hypnotic and telepathic abilities, and is stronger and more intelligent than normal girls of her age. But despite all this, Ecchan is still only a young girl, and like any young girl makes mistakes. But with the help of her friends Miko, Taihei and her dog Buku, everything always turns out right.
Another magical girl anime. Well, ninja girl to be precise. But it’s still based off an manga and still appears to be aimed at kids. Not that we should expect anything otherwise by this stage. Toei certainly seem to be interested in changing around from the manga. They even changed the name from Okashina Okashina Ano Ko to the one it has now. I don’t approve of changing stuff from a manga, unless that thing your adding happens to be shots of underwear.
Air Date: 6 Oct
Synopsis: Something about baseball
A baseball anime and, even better, something that doesn’t look like it was aimed at kids! Finally, it exists. Quite looking forward to watching this one actually. This isn’t the directors only work either, so it isn’t a bunch of newbies. Oddly though, it’s being funded by a chemical company. Errr, will the baseball group all proceed to take special pills that makes them excellent baseball players? Hurrah for steroids
Kunimatsu-sama No Otoridai
Air Date: 6 Oct
Synopsis: God only knows
Yeah, sometimes Japan can be awfully tight-lipped about what’s coming out. I know nothing whatsoever about this. Just the small picture. Oh, and that the director Masami Hata also worked on Princess Knight. Which should be a good sign of its quality, if I could find out what the damn thing is even about.
Shin Skyers 5
Air Date: 7 Oct
Studio: Tele-Cartoon Japan
Synopsis: I dunno
A sequel to Skyers 5. Why they decided to make a sequel seems strange. Like, why didn’t they simply finish the story in the first airing? They only made the first series 12 episodes long. Like, who does that intentionally? Surely everyone will have lost interest or forgotten what happened in the intervening years. Still, it looks kinda cool. Plus it has a gun in the picture. I consider that a good thing. Just gotta somehow find the reels for the first season. Might have to do some illegal activity to get my hands on that. I should go over to Japan on a boat and steal the original reels, like a pirate!
Gegege no Kitarō
Air Date: 7 Oct
Synopsis: Kitarou, a ghost, spends his afterlife helping humans in need of his skills. He thwarts the plans of evil spirits who live to torment humanity.
Another sequel. This time to a show that actually had a decent airing run the first time around, with 65 episodes long. It was made back in the days on monochrome, so I guess it deserved a remake. Plus, it was incredibly popular, as was the manga. So I’m quite looking forward to watching this colour version myself.
Air Date: 24 Oct
Studio: Tokyo Movie
Synopsis:Arsene Lupin III is the grandson of the master thief Arsene Lupin. With his cohorts Daisuke Jigen and Goemon Ishikawa XIII and his love interest Fujiko Mine, he pulls off the greatest heists of all time while always escaping the grasp of Inspector Koichi Zenigata.
The title might have you think this is another sequel, but it aint. This is the sole Lupin series in anime. The III part is part of the story, because the titular character is the grandson of Arsene Lupin, the character from some french dudes series of novels. The author of this version calls himself Monkey Punch, so I’ve already warmed to the guy and this creation of his. Yeah, really looking forward to this.
Genshi Shonen Ryuu
Air Date: 30 Oct
Synopsis:Set in primitive times, a baby with white skin is born into the world. As his skin color is different from the rest of the children around him, the baby is immediately disliked and alienated from the others. Deserted and left on his own, the baby is eventually picked up by an ape called Kitty and raised as her child. The baby, Ryuu, grows up to be a good man but at this moment, his mother is attacked and killed by Tirano. In order to defeat Tirano and also find his real mother, Ryuu decides to set off on his own journey. In the midst of his travels, he meets the siblings Ran and Don. With his new-found companions, Ryuu begins his battle against hardships and obstacles.
How dare ‘dem black people treat our white lead character so harshly! Do they not know he is superior to them? *cough* err, joking aside, I’m not sure if this is meant to be a commentary on racial divides or simply plain old racism. Japan isn’t the most xeno-friendly country. I have dream that one day the black jungle kids and white jungle kids will swing through the forests together. I have a dream, ladies and gentlemen….too soon?
I deliberately picked such an early year because there’s so few anime out. Makes my work easier. Well, shorter anyway, but certainly not easier. Especially considering how difficult it is to get any information on some of these anime. What did rather shock me was how many of these series existed on youtube. I would have linked to the videos there, but that would have been creating just a little bit of a time paradox. Even VHS and Betamax tapes didn’t exist in 1971.