Oh Japan. You and your crazy, perverted and awesome cartoons. Where would we be without them. Where would we be without you making even more of them. Which is what they’re doing. And here they are, the new Japanimation coming up in the summer of 1988!
Project A-ko 3: Cinderella Rhapsody
Air Date: 20 Jun
Studio: Studio Fantasia
Synopsis: In the middle of another break from school, A-Ko dreams of finding the perfect boyfriend. Because of this, she and C-Ko get into an argument that leads to C-Ko running away and nearly getting hit by a motorcyclist named Kei. While working part-time at a fast-food restaurant to raise money for a party dress, A-Ko meets Kei and immediately falls in love with him. B-Ko happens to like him as well; however, both A-Ko and B-Ko are unaware that C-Ko is the apple of Kei’s eyes.
The third Project A-ko movie, in case that number 3 in the title hadn’t given that fact away. I’m not sure if this movie has anywhere near the budget the first one had, but this being just an OVA release instead of a theatrical screening I somehow doubt that. Which is a shame because the one thing Project A-ko will always have in its favour is how much effort was put into the animation.
Hello! Lady Lin
Air Date: 12 May
Synopsis: Lynn is starting a new life in her new home, living separately from her family. Her sister Sarah is living at her grandfather’s place at Warbawn Castle, while her father works aimlessly to earn money to take back the Marble Mansion. She is studying at Saint Patrick Academy, an all-girls school famous for horseback riding. Making friends, as well as rivals along the way to aim the prestigious honor, the Lady Crest. Along with her noble steed Andrews, will they overcome obstacles that come in their way to reach their goal?
I could have sworn this was going to be a World Masterpiece Theatre piece. I guess not, although everything about it screams WMT. Happy family set in Victorian England about a child overcoming obstacles to become great friends and so on and so forth. This is actually a sequel to another show that just ended called, rather imaginatively, Lady Lady!! exclamation marks and all. What’s with putting exclamation marks in titles? That’s never a good sign.
Mahjong Hisho Den Naki no Ryu
Air Date: 25 May
Synopsis: Follow Ryu as he plays in the mahjong world with gangsters, crooks, and all sorts of people.
A man plays mahjong incredibly dramatically! Pah, mahjong is only for old fogies, they should make a mahjong anime featuring cute girls playing it. Then I’d totally watch it
Shibuya Honky Tonk
Air Date: 25 May
Synopsis: Set in 1945, this is the story of teenager Naoya Abe, who comes from a good family but is fixated by the seeming glamour of organized crime. He manages to talk his way into working for the Todogumi, the clan that controls Tokyo’s fashionable Shibuya area, but it’s a lot tougher and less glamorous than he hoped. When his girlfriend is threatened and he kills a rival clan member, he decides to escape to London. Volume two sees him working in London as an assistant to photographer Aoki, but he manages to get himself involved in the theft of military secrets. When his criminal past comes to light, he’s sent back to Japan to face the music, but he survives and rises through the ranks of the Todogumi. Based on the semiautobiographical novel by Joji Abe, who also appears in a live-action section.
I’ll admit, I was sold on the name. Honky Tonk? How awesome is that! Otherwise this is one of those OVA’s full of sex and violence and sex and drugs and sex and gangland warfare and sex and boobs and sex and more sex. Sounds pretty awesome to me, it’s these super sexual violent OVA’s that got many people into anime in the first place. Of course, all these OVA’s will have boobs in them anyway, seeing as that law is still in place in Japan that require every OVA released to have at least one bare breast shot.
Dominion Tank Police
Air Date: 27 May
Studio: Agent 21
Synopsis: Leona Ozaki joins Newport City’s infamous Tank Police division. With aid of Al and her newly built mini-tank, Bonaparte, she wages war on Buaku and his cohorts, the Puma Sisters.
Masamune Shirow is an upcoming talented mangaka and this is only his third piece, after some erotic sounding title called Black Magic and two volumes of something else called Appleseed. Now to me, they just look like a bunch more post-apocalyptic cyberpunk fluff that gets released a lot nowadays, but Dominion Tank Police does look pretty cool. It has catgirls and tanks! Yeah sorry, don’t have much more interesting to say than that, but the staff sure look talented. Worth keeping an eye on this one. Also worth keeping an eye on Shirow too to see whatever cyberpunk fluff he pumps out next.
Air Date: May sometime
Very little info on this one I’m afraid, even though animtion studio supreme Toei is working on this. I can tell you this though. The full name of this anime is Touyama Sakura Uchuu Chou – Yatsu no Na wa Gold, which translates as Cherry Blossom Space Commander – His Name is Gold. Dude, he’s a cherry blossom space commander. That has to be the lamest type of space commander ever. Nope, don’t want your awesome names like Avenger or Enterprise. I want to be called Cherry Blossom. Yeah, people will cower in fear at that name, yeah.
God Mars: The Untold Legend at 17
Air Date: 5th May
Synopsis: Marg was deprived his little brother, Mars, by Zure, and lost his parents. Therefore, he was living alone on the planet, Gishin. He became a member of guerrilla to riot against the dictator Zure, and he fell in love with Ruru, the daughter of the leader, Ura. However, the organization was destroyed. He was trapped by Zure, and he was brainwashed to become a soldier. Then, his long cherished wish that he would meet his brother again was realized… as a duel with him.
No brothers, don’t fight each other! *err-hum* anyway, this is a spin-off OVA from God Mars TV series that aired waaay back in 1981. It’s by the guy who created Tetsujin 28, the first mecha anime ever, and this follows in the super robot vein. Beyond that though, I’m afraid I know very little about God Mars. But eh, if you’re a mecha fan you should probably know your Tetsujin 28 inside out, and that includes knowing what else the creator made.
Zillion: Burning Night
Air Date: 21st May
Studio: Production IG
Synopsis: In 2387, Earth’s most successful off-world colony is under siege by a savage race of warrior-cyborgs called “the Noza Empire”. The Noza are seemingly invincible and the Marisian Defense Forces are severely outclassed. All hope seems lost when a trio of guns of immense power are found by the colonists and dubbed the “Zillion Weapon System” after the ancient civilization that created them and the substance “Zillium” that powers them. These guns are the only thing strong enough to destroy the Noza and are given to a team of three young colonists called “the White Naughts” whose members include J.J., Champ and Apple. They have been specially trained to use these weapons and are the last hope for survival for the Colonists.
Spin off OVA again, this time to the incredibly silly but surprisingly popular Zillion TV series. Now you guys probably never heard of Production IG before, which is understandable because they never existed before Zillion. Production IG is the name of a bunch of Tatsunoko Production staff who worked together on Zillion and, in an attempt to keep the band together, formed Production IG. They might fizzle out and die, they might go on to greater things. Being the pessimist I am, I expect the former. Fizzle out, just like I expect that mangaka Masamune Shirow to do.
Air Date: 21st May
Studio: Ashi Productions
Synopsis: Kung-fu adventure of a teenage who will complete the art of kung-fu a temple which is Dairin Temple. This teenager’s name is Chinmi and companion with a funny monkey, which usually called Go Ku, to across the wide of kung-fu’s world.
I could have sworn this was a Tezuka piece, but apparently not. The artwork looks very similar and it definitely has the feel of an ‘inspired by Tezuka’ production. Shame, because absolutely nothing else stands out about this. Staff are a bunch of nobodies.
Super Deformed Double Feature
Air Date: 7th Jun
Synopsis: Two seperate comedy shorts on one tape: Ten Little Gall Force and Scramble Wars. Ten Little Gall Force is a mock documentary of the making of Gall Force, using chibi/superdeformed versions of the characters. Scramble Wars has the (chibi) cast of Gall Force, Bubblegum Crisis, and Genesis Survivor Gaiarth competing in a no-holds-barred race to the finish for the Genom cup.
Goddam super deformed characters, they’re the cancer that is killing the anime industry. But this is just some fluff for Bubblegum Crisis fans, of which there are many, Gall Force fans, of which there are very few, and Genesis Survivor Gaiarth fans, which I’ve never bloody heard of but actually looks kinda cool. Hmmm, might just ignore this stupid chibi fest and check that out instead.
Bikkuriman: Moen Zone no Himitsu
Air Date: 9th Jun
Synopsis: Based off waffle collector cards
Bikkuriman is sort of a phenomenon in Japan. All it is is a bunch of collectable stickers they sold with waffled and peanut packs, yet people went wild trying to collect the things. So they made an anime out of it. And the anime spawned this movie. Yup, not making that up. Collectable stickers? What will they think of next?
Dragon Ball Movie 3: Mystical Adventure
Air Date: 9th Jun
Synopsis: A retelling of the meeting of Goku, Tenshinhan, and Chiaotzu. Also of the 23rd Tenkaichi Budokai.
Dragonball, Toriyama’s latest hit after Dr.Slump, has proven to be successful enough for Toei to make a movie that consists of nothing more than a rehash of an already animated arc with lots of reused frames. Yay~!
Air Date: 16th Jun
Studio: Tokyo Movie Shinsha
Synopsis: In the year 2019, thirty-one years have passed since the outbreak of World War III. In Neo-Tokyo, all authority is waging a never-ending struggle against the underground that virtually rules the shattered city. A top-secret child with amazing powers of the minds breaks free from custody and accidentally gets a motorcycle gang involved in the project. The incident triggers psychic powers within one of the members, Tetsuo, and he is taken by the army and experimented on.
A movie based off a manga by a young fella called Katsuhiro Otomo, who in turn is also directing the movie. He’s far from being a prolific expert or anything, but he did a short for Neo Tokyo a year or so ago and I really liked it. Don’t see how he could do a full theatrical production though. Besides, even more super Neo-Tokyo post-apocalyptic stuff? Aren’t Japan tired of making this sort of stuff yet?
The Girl with the White Flag
Air Date: 21th Jun
Studio: Magic Bus
Synopsis: Something historical
I wish I could tell you more about this. I really do, but I simply can’t find any info. Which is a shame because this looks genuinely good. Something to do with wartime by the looks of things, and the director worked on Urusei Yatsura movie and Rose of Versailles, so he’s a talented bloke. Hope I can get my hands on this somehow.
Vampire Princess Miyu
Air Date: 21th Jun
Synopsis: Spiritualist Himiko Se finds herself involved with the supernatural when she comes face to face with a young vampire girl known only as Miyu whose purpose is to banish a race of demons known only as Shinma to the dark.
Based off a horror manga with a distinct lack of post-apocalyptic cyberpunk cities. Woah Japan, calm down there. A serious OVA that isn’t set in the future? What’s wrong with you guys? Do you need to lie down a bit from all this originality?
Saint Seiya: The Legend of the Crimson Boy
Air Date: 21th Jun
Synopsis: Sun God Apollo the brother of Athena is here to take Athena back to heaven and taking over the sanctuary. He revived the deceased gold saints and use them and a few god saints as bodyguards. But Athena did not obey him, Apollo had no choice but send her to hell. On the otherhand, the bronze saints are on their way to save Athena.
Saint Seiya returns! You know, Saint Seiya. That series that pretends it’s a shounen anime but is really just an excuse to have a bunch of pretty boys in skin tight costume make homoerotic advances on each other. Good for all you Saint Seiya fangirls, but I’ve been noticing a rather lack of original TV series this season. Plus, this movie is only 70 minutes long, not much of a movie really.
Charge Ahead!! Men’s School
Air Date: 21th Jun
Synopsis: Otokojuku, a private school for juvenile delinquents that were previously expelled from normal schools. At this school, Japanese chivalry is taught through the feudal and military fundamentals. Similar to an action film, the classes are overwhelmed by violence. Only those who survive it become true men.
Anyone else bored of these now? Movie sequels to TV series that are never really worth watching? Who the hell cares about this series anyway? At least I understand Dragonball and Saint Seiya getting movies, but Charge Ahead!! Men’s School? WTF is that? Bleargh, come one Japan. Starting to lose faith in your cartoon creating abilities. Where are the giant robots?
Aim for the Ace! 2
Air Date: 25th Jun
Synopsis: On her first day at Nishi High School, 15-year-old Hiromi Oka is inspired by top player Reika “Ochoufujin” Ryuuzaki to take up tennis. Shortly after joining the school’s tennis club, she encounters Jin Munakata, the club’s new coach. Munakata puts everyone under rigorous training that even puts Ochoufujin to shame. Despite the hardships, Hiromi’s determination prompts the coach to select her as part of the club’s main players. Because of this, Hiromi must endure the peer pressure from her seniors to become an ace tennis player.
For any Aim for the Ace fans out there, this is actually the third season. Shin Aim for the Ace is the second season. Yup, it’s stupid that they called this season 2 but hey, it’s more girls running around in extremely short tennis skirts so why complain. Osamu Dezaki is back, the founder of Madhouse, and this is the series he founded the studio on, so it’s his baby. Any excuse he can get for coming back to this show, he’ll probably take.
(as an aside, and at risk of breaking the time barrier, I’d like to say RIP Osamu Dezaki. The only thing I’ve seen by him is one of his Lupin III movies, but he was the founder of my favourite animation studio, Madhouse, who in turn went on to create many of my all time favourites. The man is a legend)
Air Date: 25th Jun
Synopsis: Gunbuster is the story of Noriko Takaya, a young girl who is trying to walk in the footsteps of her famous father, Admiral Yuzo Takaya. It chronicles Noriko’s trials and tribulations as she struggles to become a pilot of the massive robot Gunbuster. With the help of Coach Ota and her friends Kazumi and Jung, Noriko conquers her fears and learns one of the most important lessons in life: Believing in one’s self.
Hey, speaking of Aim for the Ace, here’s an anime that plans to combine that series with Top Gun. And giant robots. Yeah, sounds pretty damn awesome, if also pretty bizarre. I have no idea who this director is, some fella called Hideki Anno. But hey, I hope Gaianx suceeds with this. They’re a cool studio run by real otaku and their last production, The Wings of Honneamise, was critically acclaimed but didn’t really hit it off with the general public, so I hope this new kid on the block can do something with this.
Man, Akira and Dominion Tank Police in the same season? What an awesome lineup, although shame Gunbuster had to come along later and ruin it. Yes, Gunbuster is rubbish and don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.
Anyway, my biased views aside, one interesting part about doing these retro season previews is you can see the precursors to what would later become a classic. For example, this season we see both the start of Production IG with Zillion and the first anime adaptations of some young mangaka’s cyberpunk stories, Mr. Masamune Shirow. The two would later go on to collaborate and create…come on, you should know this…Ghost in the Shell!
Better yet, though, is Bikkuriman. It started the trading card game thing that became all the rage in Japan, spawning card games from stuff like Dragonball and Pokemon. Until Japan decided why don’t they just make the TV show out of a card game, hence from which Yu-Gi-Oh was born. Then some English bloke decided to shorten the episodes with comedic effect and created Yu Gi Oh: The Abridged Series. Then some Irish guy saw these videos on youtube and decided he wanted to watch more of these Asian cartoons. He liked what he saw, so he decided to write about said cartoons. And, well, hi thar~