With fansubs being released digitally the new way to watch anime, now more than ever we can watch what the Japanese are also watching within the same week it airs. No more do we have to wait for years before the western companies license the thing and no longer do we have to rely on VHS rips sent in the post. It’s a good time to be an anime fan!
Ruroni Kenshin: Reflection
Air Date: 3 Dec
Synopsis: Kaoru goes to the harbor every day to see if Kenshin has returned. After a while, she starts looking back at her life with Kenshin and all the things that have happened.
After what many consider to be the greatest anime production of all time with the Trust and Betrayal OVA, Deen return to the Ruroni Kenshin franchise for what I’m pretty sure is the last time. It’s going to be nigh impossible to beat Trust and Betrayal, and I know many Kenshin fans aren’t happy that the anime ended so suddenly. Maybe they’ll return to it one day? I’m afraid I don’t know. So for now, we’ll have to do this with final instalment of the franchise. Enjoy it while you can.
Air Date: 12 Dec
Synopsis: When the level of Labor accidents begin to escalate around Tokyo Bay, police detectives Kusumi and Hata are assigned to investigate. What they discover leads to a series of government cover-ups, conspiracy concerning a new biological weapon entitled WXIII-Wasted Thirteen and a tragic, personal connection to Hata. The only hope to stop this threat is to cooperate with the military and lead WXIII into a showdown with the Labors of Special Vehicle Division 2.
Anime sure loves to leave themselves with high bars to beat. This time Madhouse have the honour of trying to top Production IG’s second Patlabor Movie, which has been quite critically acclaimed (which reminds me, I really should get to watching that movie. I’ve only seen the first one myself). Not that Madhouse have skimped on the staff or anything. The director was also the director for Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket and for an episode or two on Bubblegum crisis. I think this may also be the last in the Patlabor franchise, but at least Madhouse look to be sending it off with a bang.
Air Date: 12 Dec
Studio: Group TAC
Synopsis: An 11-year old boy named Zen bands together with his younger sister, Karen, and a young boy who has a large appetite, Pitan, to battle an evil empire by using their “Foodons”; strange monsters that are created from various foods.
Okay anime, mind telling what went through your mind when you thought up this idea? Fighting food? Really? The director has basically only worked on incredibly stupid kids shows. Yeah, just ignore this one.
Kai Doh Maru
Air Date: 19 Dec
Studio: Production IG
Synopsis: Kai Doh Maru is the story of Kintoki, a girl, who was disguised as a boy at an early age to protect her against the enemies of her house. While disguised as a boy Kintoki’s cousin, Princess Ouni falls in love with her, not realizing that Kintoki is actually a girl. Kintoki fled from her cousin’s love and becomes hunted by her scheming uncle – until she is rescued by a noble samurai warrior, Lord Raiko. Kintoki spends the next few years under Lord Raiko’s protection, learning how to use a sword. Kintoki eventually joins with Lord Raiko and his subordinates and becomes a warrior entrusted with protecting the city from bandits.
Now this looks pretty darn cool. Production IG and their original movie concepts. From what I’ve heard it’s going to be fairly graphic in it’s depiction of violence and sex and all sorts of other nasty things. Director is a total newbie but I suppose it’s a good thing that IG are willing to give him a shot. They must have faith in him if they’re giving him all this money to make an original. Definitely worth keeping your eyes on this one.
Fushigi Yugi Eikoden
Air Date: 21 Dec
Synopsis: Taka and Miaka are now happily married and only six months before their new family would be born, but an obessed girl named Mayo would do anything to make Taka hers. She enters the world of the Four Gods, determined to win Taka’s heart and be the new priestess.
Hah, would ya look at that! I was convinced we had finally seen the end of Fushigi Yugi and it’s manic fangirls but noooo! One of them just so happened to write a fanfic and, out of nowhere, that fanfic has become an anime. Now that I think of it though, maybe this was the best way to breathe life into Fushigi Yugi. Get some outside talent in to write the story, taking from the pool of talented writers in the land of fanfiction and adapt their stories. This could very well work. It will be interesting to see the outcome anyway.
Inuyasha the Movie:
Affections Touching Across Time
Air Date: 22 Dec
Synopsis: Inuyasha has mastered the ultimate attack of the Tetsusaiga and continues his battle for the Shikon Jewel shards with Kagome, Shippo, Sango, and Miroku. Unfortunately, a freak occurance with a jewel shard has brought to life an incarnation of a demonic enemy sealed by Inuyashas’ father. Inuyasha must surpass his father and destroy this demon or every soul in Japan will be consumed.Speaking of fangirls, now we have an Imuyasha movie!
Has the anime ended yet? I was under the impression that thing was never going to end. So much for Rumiko Takashi and her endless stream of jokey romcoms, she had to go and make deadly serious Inuyasha next. I’m not up to date with what’s going on in Inuyasha at the moment so I can’t really comment on this movie. But I swear, if I get one person pinging me on IRC asking if sexy-ass Sesshomaru is in the movie -_-
Sakura Wars: The Movie
Air Date: 22 Dec
Studio: Production IG
Synopsis: Since a new branch of division to New York has been created, Ohgami has now been assigned to the Paris Division. Now the Flower Division must be able to survive on their own, with the help of their new American-cultured leader.
It may look like all we’re getting so far is a load of extra movies to long-running franchises at the moment. However that’s because I’m still running through what’s coming out in December. New TV series normally don’t start until January, while movies and OVA’s come out any which way date of the year. So for now, we’ll have to do with even more Sakura Wars. I would say more, but my interest in the fabulous~ Sakura Wars isn’t that high at all.
Air Date: 22 Dec
Studio: HAL Film Maker
Synopsis: Lina and Gourry travel to a seaside town named Acassi, where octopus tentacle is a delicacy. However, the octopus meat carries a curse that dooms the eater to only speak Takogo (octopus language). Amelia, Zelgadiss, and Xelloss all show up, and the main four characters (Lina, Gourry, Ameria, Zelgadiss) get cursed. The octopi enlist the power of a mazoku to get rid of the humans once and for all. The white sorceress Ruma must learn the cure to the curse from her long-lost master in order to save the town
FRANCHISES!!! Oh come on, there’s something kinda amusing about seeing even more Slayers after all the other anime I’ve covered so far. How many Slayers has there been so far? The original Slayers, then there’s Slayers Next. Then Slayers Try. Hmm, I get the feeling I’m missing one. Wait, there were other movies as well! Slayers Return, Slayers Great and Slayers Gorgeous. Then some OVA’s, Slayers Special, followed by Slayers Excellent. I’m pretty certain this is the last in the franchise. However I probably jinxed it and there’ll be even more Slayers sometime in the future. Any Slayers fans out there? Anyone seen every single one? I’d be highly surprised if anyone has.
Azumanga Daioh –
The Very Short Movie
Air Date: 25 Dec
Studio: JC Staff
Synopsis: In this short movie featuring familiar characters from Azumanga Daioh, Osaka is yet again having a strange dream of Chiyo-Chan’s pigtails being posessed. As Chiyo-Chan’s pigtails bounce out of the window, who knows if young Chiyo will ever be happy again.
Really JC Staff? An anime based off a 4-koma? Yeah, that’s not going to work. In an attempt to get some enthusiasm for their upcoming anime adaptation about a bunch of girls doing absolutely nothing, JC Staff decided to make a very small movie of Azumanga Daoih. You know, when I was looking for more franchises, this isn’t what I was looking for. Who on earth would want to watch a bunch of girls doing not very much?
Mahou Yuugi 3D
Air Date: 29 Dec
Synopsis: Padudu is a 12-year-old apprentice witch, chosen to represent her town in the coliseum. Donning her magical fish costume, which keeps her warm and fed, she sets off on her journey. But on the way she’s swept away by a river to Dance Valley. Mayor Koffy captures her and throws her into the dungeon, hoping to eliminate the competition for Dance Valley’s own coliseum candidate. Luckily for Padudu, this dungeon holds the mysterious witch Nonononn. They join together in a magical fight for survival.
Nicking this description off this website called Anime News Network (never heard of the site, but it looks pretty useful)
This is full 3D animation made by AIC. The characters were created by Animation Master (49800 yen). And those externals were modified to a 2D cel look by toon rendering. The backgrounds were created by LightWave 3D and synthesized by After Effects.
So yeah, looks like more of an exercise in animation than creation of a quality story or anything. For animation buffs only. Unless you want to see a 12 year old magician in a fish costume. Which I kinda want to see myself.
Secret of Cerulean Sand
Air Date: 5 Jan
Studio: Telecom Animation Film
Synopsis: Jane’s mother dies when she is born, and her father, a rich English aristocrat, soon remarries to a woman with a son, William, who despises his new father and brother. George and Jane grow up with a dream to make a flying machine. George believes the distant Asian sands hold a secret: a mysterious cerulean sand which can make machines fly. He goes on an expedition to find it, and soon is reported executed for treason. William disappears too. After she recieves an unsigned letter holding a handful of pale-blue sand which floats in the air, Jane is sure her brother is alive and leaves to the East to find him and prove him innocent. There are many mysteries to unravel in store for Jane and her new friends on her journey. But perhaps a mystery should forever remain a mystery…
This Anime News Network site is pretty handy eh. Here’s their words on this upcoming anime.
Based on two classic Jules Vernes novels, “Facing the Flag” (Face au drapeau) and “City in the Sahara” (L’Étonnante aventure de la mission Barsac), Secret of Cerulean Sand is a Japanese / Korean co-production and will be broadcast simultaneously in both countries.
I’m afraid I don’t know if there’s been many, if any, Japanese/Korean co-productions. But imagine if this works. It could lead to a whole new world of animation open to us. Even if this does sound like a World Masterpiece Theatre piece, which nobody in the west seems to care about. I’m guessing the subbers will ignore this one.
Panyo Panyo Di Gi Charat
Air Date: 6 Jan
Synopsis: Deijiko is the princess of the planet of Di Gi Charat. After reading a book, she is influenced to want to help everyone be happy. She leaves the castle and pretends to be a normal girl. She tries to make everyone happy by taking various jobs around the town and thereby making all sorts of new friends and inevitably, enemies.
The cute. It’s overwhelming. Look at it. Look at the chibi characters, the pretty bells, the vivid colours. The opening song is called “Happy! Smile! Hello!”. My head hurts just looking at it. Sorry, but I just can’t stand cute for the sake of cute. Kids show that will have creepy otaku all over it.
Mirage of Blaze
Air Date: 7 Jan
Synopsis: Takaya Ohgi is just a typical high school guy who wants nothing more than to protect his best friend and live a normal life. Enter Nobutsuna Naoe, an older man who informs Takaya that he is in fact the reincarnation of Lord Kagetora. Naoe, himself a possessor, awakens Takaya’s abilities to exorcise evil spirits and fight the Fuedal Underworld. While most possessors remember their former lives before being reincarnated, Takaya does not. Naoe is thankful for this, considering his passionate and abusive past with his Lord Kagetora. As Takaya improves his abilities , he also begins to remember what Naoe did because of his love for him. Meanwhile the dark forces of the Hojo and Fuma clans begin their attack as the Fuedal Underworld descends upon the living world.
Long synopsis that makes little sense, beyond the ‘generic male lead’. Normally I associate this with crappy fanservice anime (although after Love Hina, harem leads tend to be losers rather than normal high school boys) but this one looks more bishie filled. Madhouse can do cool anime, even if the director hasn’t really worked on much. Could be a sleeper hit, keep a tentative eye on it.
Air Date: 10 Jan
Synopsis: Kusanagi Kei, a high-school student living with his aunt and uncle, has an encounter with a female alien. This alien is revealed to be a new teacher at his school. Later, he is forced to marry this alien to preserve her secrets. From there, various romantically-inclined problems crop up repeatedly.
Daume are a hard studio to pin down, but they generally pop up doing some sort of fanservice anime. The terrible Hanaukyo Maid-tai being the most recent one they’ve made. So I can’t say I have too high hopes for Onegai Teacher, even if I have heard some good things about the manga, and even if that teacher looks oh so damn hot…
Air Date: 10 Jan
Studio: Nippon Animedia
Synopsis: The Bladebreakers have to join forces once again because a mysterious group under the lead of Oozuma has defeated them, but the real enemy is not Oozuma. The real threath is formed by a group of people who use cyber-bitbeasts to capture the original ones from the Bladebreakershe Bladebreakers have to join forces once again because a mysterious group under the lead of Oozuma has defeated them, but the real enemy is not Oozuma. The real threath is formed by a group of people who use cyber-bitbeasts to capture the original ones from the Bladebreakers
Why? Why did we need a second season of these blasted spinning tops? Oh yeah, because those blasted spinning tops sell like hot cakes. Have you ever played Beyblades? It’s kinda fun, even if they just tap of each other for a bit until one of them gives up. My next door neighbour has a humongous pile of them and I like building random beyblades. The only thing that seems to matter was how heavy they are. The heavier they are, the longer they last. Simple really. But yeah, we don’t need another TV show of it.
Full Metal Panic!
Air Date: 8 Jan
Synopsis: Sousuke Sagara, a seventeen year old military specialist working for the secret organization MITHRIL, has been assigned to protect the latest “Whispered” candidate Kaname Chidori. To complete this task Sousuke will have to deal with enemies from his past as well as the occasional panty thief. Unfortunately for Sousuke, the toughest part of his mission isn’t only protecting Miss Chidori but also getting used to living an average High School students life, no easy task for someone raised on the battlefield.
Based off a light novel eh? Don’t see that very often. Plot sounds all rather hodge podge, it’s difficult to make sense off. Plus lines like ‘occasional panty thief’ rather put me off. Character designs look kinda generic too. It could be fun, but I doubt it will make much of a splash. Gonzo may be a studio on the up, but I can’t see them making much of such a generic sounding premise.
Air Date: 9 Jan
Synopsis: Kid Muscle (or Mantaro for short) is a bumbling, gross, and wimpy sort-of person. Unfortunately, he has been summoned to protect the earth from the evil dMp, a band of cheating wrestlers from outer space. Luckily he’s not undertaking this task alone. Kid Muscle must join the Muscle League, a group of wrestlers from outer space who are training themselves so they can defend the earth, and stop the dMp by acheiving “Ultimate Muscle”, a hidden power that makes Mantaro an almost unbeatable opponent.
Based off a strangely popular and legendary bad manga. You can kinda see why it has the legendary bad reputation from the character design alone. What the hell is that anyway? A shark fin on his head? Some people have 6 packs, but this guy has the devils 6 pack aka: a 666 pack. See what I did there? Eh? OK, I’ll stop now…
Seven of Seven
Air Date: 10 Jan
Synopsis: Nana Suzuki winds up being split into seven copies of herself. Besides the original Nana, there’s also a smart Nana, a happy Nana, an angry Nana, a sensitive Nana, a sad Nana, and a slow Nana.
The name is a pun. The girls name is Nana. She splits herself into 7 parts. Seven in Japanese is Nana. So it’s Nana of Nana. Seven pieces of the character Nana. Seven of Seven. Geddit? Man, those Japanese guys eh~? They have us rolling around in laughter at those puns. I wonder if they’ll call the character ‘Seven’ in the dub? There’s no way they could just go call her Nana. That would ruin the main selling point of this series!
Aquarian Age –
Sign for Evolution
Air Date: 11 Jan
Synopsis: Five supernatural factions have been fighting against each other for who knows how many centuries, with the beginning of Aquarian Age always in mind. Kyouta, soon begins to see visions of mystical girls fighting, except they do exist. Soon he and his girlfriend Yoriko become involved and the battle for Earth and Aquarian Age lies in their hands.
I’ve got to say I like the look of this a lot. The director is a talented bloke, having worked on everything from Trigun to Infinite Ryvius to Now and Then, Here and There to Galaxy Angel…well, OK the less said about Galaxy Angel the better, but the rest are all critically acclaimed stuff. Madhouse are a good studio. It has a high concept and I’m pretty sure it’s an original project. This is the show to keep your eyes on this season.
Hunter X Hunter OAV
Air Date: 17 Jan
Studio: Nippon Animation
Synopsis: Gon and Killua help Kurapica search for the Spider Gang in order to seek revenge for horrors commited in the past.
I haven’t watched Hunter X Hunter so I can’t really tell you much about this. It’s probably some stupid side episodes anyway. Or maybe it will follow in the path of that Kenshin OVA? Nah, I seriously doubt that.
Air Date: 22 Jan
Synopsis: In a world where time passes at a crawl and the blood of your neighbor runs blue, 17 year old high school student Ayato Kamina goes about his daily life within Tokyo Jupiter oblivious to the world around him, having been educated with the fact that the all civilization but Tokyo has been destroyed. But all that changes when the mysterious civilization “MU” invades his home, raining destruction down from the sky in the form of strange monsters called Dolems. The events that occur next will lead Ayato to the mysterious woman named Reika Mishima, to the truth of their existence, the discovery of what and who he is, and to the powerful angelic robot RahXephon.
Hellooooo Evangelion ripoff! Angelic robot RahXephon eh? Looks like Bones are trying to recreate their own Evangelion with this one. They won’t manage it, no series ever does, but it still can produce some crazy series. Come to think of it, who are Bones anyway? They did the Cowboy Bebop movie, so I suppose that’s as good as you can get for a new studio. The crew working on it seems to be a bunch of mecha nuts though so I’d expect more mecha terminology than mindfuckery in RahXephon. Still well worth a shot though, especially if you thought Evangelion was too confusing.
Love Hina Again
Air Date: 26 Jan
Synopsis: Keitaro needs some time to evaluate himself and his goals, so he goes onto a trip with Seta to attempt the life of an archaeologist. However, not all is safe at the Hinata Inn while he is gone. A woman claiming to be Keitaros sister comes and claims right to being the manager of the inn. Life gets complicated when Keitaro returns, and attempts to deal with his sister of yesteryear.
WHATEVER OK I AM A MASSIVE SAP FOR THIS SHOW!!! Not that I have much confidence in this final OVA. The sister was a stupid character in the manga anyway and it’s kind of a shame they’re ending this great series on that note. Ah well, I’ll always have the memories of downloading that series from those Hawain fansubbers~
Air Date: 30 Jan
Synopsis: Changing schools is something Yuuchi is accustomed to, due to his parent’s profession, and with their recent venture to Africa, he is returning to his aunt’s home after 7 years. The time that has passed since his last visit has faded his memories of the people he knew, and the ties that bonded them to him, including his cousin Nayuki. Slowly those people, coincidently all being girls, find their way back to him. However, time has passed and things have happened in their own lives that sets the tone for the series. Secrets that are coming to surface, and memories that are returning to not only Yuuichi, but to those surrounding him.
Fuck you To Heart. Look what you’ve started. Another shitty Visual novel adaptation. Heck, at least the girls in To Heart are hot. The ones in Kanon have their mouth on an equal level to their eyes. It makes them all look so incredibly stupid. Hopefully this trend dies soon enough and this will be the last we see of the likes of Kanon. It’s not like there’s any studios out there that are able at adapting the visual novel format correctly.
Voices of a Distant Star
Air Date: 2 Feb
Synopsis: A female mecha pilot tries to keep in touch with her boyfriend on earth while she is in space using cell phone text messages. The farther away they get from each other, the harder it is for the text messages to get to each other.
Wasn’t sure if I should put this in or not. It’s just some dude on his Apple Macintosh animating by himself. Heck, the only two voices in it are supposed to be just himself and his wife. But hey, it’s made in Japan and its a cartoon, so why not stick it in here. There’s mecha in it, so why not? Could be some good dumb if poorly animated fun
Air Date: 2 Feb
Studio: E.G. Films
Synopsis: In the far distant future, hideous monsters roam the Earth, threatening the lives of all people. Genma, the evil ruler of the Mah tribe, has become obsessed with fathering an Heir. Convinced that a child born of a Hito woman will have amazing powers, he sets his sights on a young Hito woman. In exchange for her village’s safety, Non agree to bear Genma’s child. She gives birth to twins and names them Loof and Jin. Jin is left for Non to raise among the Hito, as Loof is taken to Genma, and raised to be the prince of the Mah tribe. Although Loof and Jin live in two separate worlds, their fates soon become intertwined as Loof is banished from Mah tribe once he appears to possess more human than wizard physical characteristics.
This is meant to be a spinoff to Harmagedon, which I only know about as one of the legendary bad anime, along with the ever classic Garzeys Wing. That really can’t be a good starting point. Maybe they’re going to deliberately aim for the existing audience and make this as incredibly bad as possible. That’s the only solution I can see
Galaxy Angel Z
Air Date: 2 Feb
Synopsis: The continuation of the adventures of the Angel Brigade, Milfeulle Sakuraba, Ranpha Franboise, Mint Blancmanche, Forte Stollen, Vanilla H and the artificial inteligent plush doll Nomad, lead by Colonel Volcott O’Huey, in the search of the Lost Technology, but always under unexplained, crazy and comic situations.
Damnit Madhouse, we didn’t need another fucking Galaxy Angel. One was bad enough. Please don’t try to make this into another Slayers franchise. It won’t work. People won’t buy it…I hope…please don’t buy this guys
You can really see this was the year where things started to change to the modern era of anime. Bones make their first big original production. Old franchises like Slayers, Patlabor and Kenshin finish. Makoto Shinkai steps on the scene. Kanon marking the early days of the VN adaptation. Azumanga Daoih starting the 4-koma trend. Love Hina Again being the poster child for how to make crap harems. Full Metal Panic begins the foray into Light Novel adaptations. Even if you look at the comparisons between this year and 2001, you can really see that 2002 was where it all began. All previous Retro Season Previews had anime that were pretty standard products of their era. This one marks a transitional phase. For better or for worse.