Posts Tagged ‘white fox’
Katanagatari Set 1
Taking place in the Edo era of Japan, a young man and his sister are the last survivors of the Kyoto Ryu martial arts family on an island their family was exiled to after the previous revolution. One day, a woman named Togame arrives looking for the head of Kyoto Ryu, currently seventh generation Shichika. Working for the shogunate as a master strategist, Togame needs Shichika to be her sword as she searches for twelve legendary swords made by the legendary sword maker Shikizaki Kiki to bring ultimate power to the government.
Good and the Bad
I admit it, I’ve been having a torrid love affair. The name of my affections vary but the source is always that which adapts the works of NisiOisin. It started innocently enough with Bakemonogatari but then I met Katanagatari and knew that my heart would be forever stolen by these series. In my defense however, it’s only because this one in particular is so good.
For the entire length of this set, Katanagatari is going to challenge the audience in many different ways. First of all, this is an action series that chooses to go a slightly different route with as an action series. Yes, there is action in every episode but they aren’t always the defining moment of the episode. If you’re looking for an action series that is going to deliver this non stop, you’re in for a world of disappointment.
What truly defines this series is the artwork and writing which make this series stand far away from all of its predecessors of the genre. For the look of this series, studio White Fox went with liberal use of colors and the character designs from Tsuyoshi Kawada are cartoony and lack any real definition. The look of the series is admittedly something to get used to but it’s also thanks to these unique fixtures that this series looks nothing like any other series in recent history that I can think of.
Then there’s the writing and storytelling. The endless writing. The writing that will go on… and on… and on sometimes. As a twelve episode series told in hour long chunks, Katanagatari keeps itself moving forward by being a dialogue and banter based series. The good news is that this banter and storytelling is constantly doing something interesting to keep the viewers attention and this is where the series earned it’s highest marks with me.
Katanagatari is plain fearless when it comes to playing with the audience and constantly taking them on journeys or detours that they were not expecting to take. Most of the time, the audience is allowed to go along and enjoy things as they come. Some times, things are made a little easier with episodes flat out spoiling what is coming next or breaking the fourth wall for a short joke.
Still other times, the series goes with a bait and switch approach. In one episode, the next episode preview features an epic battle as Shichika does battle for one of the twelve swords… and that ends up being the most you ever see of the battle as the next episodes features none of it. In yet another instance, a certain character will be introduced with one personality, only to be revealed to be almost yandere and delivering the line “My apologies. I must commit torture now.” These are just a few examples of the many ways Katanagatari keeps the audience guessing and wanting to see more with a sense of humor.
Like the animation, the background music composed by Taku Iwasaki is interesting in its many different styles and genres being brought together. For quieter scenes involving lots of dialogue, there are more traditional sounds including strong, full string themes. But then there are times when things are the complete opposite and you’re hearing a soft hip hop beat for a lecture from Togame or one of the battle scenes. The unique mix worked well for this series and felt particularly well in place during the funnier or more flirtatious moments featuring the lead couple.
As with all NIS America sets, it’s hard to complain about the packaging or extras. Along with the oversized box there is the collector’s book included with this set which is a wealth of artwork and information including episode and character guides as well as liner notes (which would’ve been easier to read had they been alphabetized).
This is going to stand out as one of the better releases of the year. The quality of the series is high and the packaging is just an appropriate bonus. This is a different type of action series and it’s better because of it. Stylish and fun, this is worth going onto your shelves.
Studio: White Fox
Premiere Date: 4/5
Available via Crunchyroll
First Impression: Alright, I know I just watched something.
Okarin is a self professed mad scientist ready to change the world his inventions along with his assistants Mayuri and Daru. While visiting the lecture of another professor, Okarin is pulled aside by a girl who claims to have cornered by him with something important to say just a few minutes earlier. Naturally Okarin has no idea what she’s talking about and suspects that it’s the secret Organization that he is convinced is out to foil his every move.
Then the world changes. The girl that he saw stabbed in a hallway is now alive, the lecture he attended is canceled due to a mysterious satellite crashing into the building and a text he sent went into the past.
Good and the Bad
In the first episode, Steins;Gate really tries to be a lot of different things. In the first half, the series wants to be a simultaneously hilarious and creepy. In the lead character, the audience gets a man who is obsessed with his inventions and convinced that there is a conspiracy out to get him. Everything he says, no matter who he is speaking to, is based around these two simple premises which lead him into a serious amount of mad rants.
In the second half, the mood changes as Okarin starts to realize that things are different. Now suddenly Steins;Gate wants to be compelling and creepy. The memories people have of the past are different from his and the text he sent alerting Daru that a girl had died were sent to a completely different time.
The problem is that no matter which half of the episode is playing, and in spite of moderate amounts of success late in the episode, it always feels like the episode is supposed to be funny or supposed to be serious. Instead of feeling natural, the mood of the episode always feels forced instead.
Allowing the characters to almost completely carry the story, Steins;Gate has little in the way of exposition here beyond introductions. If you were looking for a clear explanation of what is going on, you’re going to be in a world of mental pain as things very slowly unravel in front of you. That is unless you consider the initial outbursts from Okarin as exposition in which case you’re probably onto something before the rest of us. Once again though, they may seem funny but really they are just a random guy shouting conspiracy theories to someone that he barely knows. As I mentioned, once things begin to calm down a little in the second half there are moderate amounts of success to be had. There really is a compelling story here, it’s just that it’s currently so jumbled up that it’s hard to tell what it is.
One thing that I did like about this episode is that there is very little music. In fact, it’s almost an entire 8 minutes before the first music can be heard. Only catering to mood, Steins;Gate is happy to let its characters completely fill things in by themselves and I gather that this is going to be a running trend throughout. While the mad rantings of Okarin fill more than enough of the foreground, there are also quiet moments when the lack of music really captures the moment such as when the mad scientist looks up and finds himself in an empty city.
While the early comedy felt entirely too forced, Steins;Gate manages to find lots of early traction once it gets into the second half. Curiosity is mostly what’s driving me forward at this point but with so many shows appearing this season, anything that makes the audience move forward is a good thing. This is a series with a lot of initial promise and I’m already curious to know if it will be able to live up to its potential.
I am back with another trailer roundup! You may have noticed that I took last week off. With the new season starting in only a few days, I knew it was going to be my only chance for awhile so I took it. I did discover that I need to back down my update schedule so look for some changes in 2010. For now though I’m back and the winter trailers have started to flow!
In the first draft of this article, this is the point where I started talking about Dance in the Vampire Bund because a new promotional video has been uploaded to the official website (click ﾑｰﾋﾞｰ in the top navigation bar). Before you get too excited about seeing the new video, it’s only fair to warn you that MediaFactory has blocked the video from being seen in the US (via YouTube at least). If you can see the trailer from your country, leave a comment below and let the rest of us know what we’re missing out on!
Moving onto trailers that everyone can see, a new three minute trailer has been posted to the official Katanagatari website. Premiering on January 25th, the 12 episode series will air one hour of animation a month until the end of the year. If you saw Bakemonogatari last summer, you’re already familiar with the creator of this one as well. Based on another novel series from NisiOisin, the series will be told in 12 one hour episodes which will air once a month until the end of the year. I’m still really excited to see this one but am still really unsure about the animation created by White Fox (Tears to Tiara).
Tears to Tiara
Studio: White Fox
Premiere Date: 4/5/09
‘Tears to Tiara’ takes us all the way to Albion in episode three staying with the game for at least one more episode.
With Rhiannon safely back in the village and the empire in hot pursuit, the Gael tribe has decided to flee their homeland for the island of Albion. The empire doesn’t intend to let them disappear so easily however and steals their ships. This requires Arwan to launch a mission to get them back and come face to face with his primary enemy, an imperial soldier named Gaius.
Tears to Tiara
Studio: White Fox
Premiere Date: 4/5/09
It’s not always pretty but White Fox manages to dish up something largely entertaining.
In a fantasy medieval setting, a dark priest working for the holy empire visits the Gael tribe and kidnaps the chief’s daughter and oracle priestess to sacrifice her to a newly resurrected dark god Arawn. Things don’t go exactly as planned however when her brother Arthur storms in to rescue him and the priestess Riannon decides to make the dark god into her husband and further chief of her tribe.
|Title||Studio||Premiere Date||Genre||Summary||Preview||Reasons to Care about this Series||Episode Reviews|
|Isekai no Seikishi Monogatari||AIC||3/20||Sci-Fi||Taking place in the world of Geminar, Tenchi’s half brother, Kenji Masaki, is called in to help an alien race fight off invaders who wish to destroy them.||~ The latest in the Tenchi Muyo franchise, this spinoff was originally slated to be a TV series before being changed into an OVA early in the year.|
|Kiniro no Corda ~Second Passing~||Aniplex||3/26||Music/Comedy||Still playing her magical violin, Hino continues to study music at her school while dealing with her peers.||~ Returning for a second season, the music harem series has pretty much the same cast and crew from the first season but a new director.|
|Lupin the Third vs. Detective Conan||3/27||Special||The ultimate showdown between the world’s most famous thief and detective will take place. In a battle of wits, the detective stuck in a child’s body will attempt to stop the elusive Lupin from succeeding in his latest caper.||~ While some fans are already convinced that the ending is going to an inconclusive stalemate, this battle between Conan and Lupin should make for some highly entertaining television.|
|Chii’s Sweet Home Season Two||Madhouse||3/30||Childrens||Still living with the family who has taken Chii in, the second season of this cute slice of life comedy will continue to follow the kitten through it’s daily life and desires to return home to its mother.||~ The first season of this cute slice of life series has since been announced to be streaming on Crunchyroll in the very near future. This might mean that fans will have easier access to this season when it premieres making this a perfect time to get into it.|
|Cooking Idol ai Mai! Main!||Studio DEEN/NAS||3/30||Childrens||Main loves to cook and each week she and her seiyuu will attempt to make something good that kids can make at home.||~ A fun way to learn some easy Japanese dishes?|
|Marie & Gali||Toei||3/31||Childrens||A gothic lolita (Marie) and Gali will teach children about science one five minute episode at a time.||~ A not quite so boring way to learn about physics and science but not a series that I will be following very closely.|
|Mainichi kaasan||GALLOP||4/1||Slice of Life Comedy||Originally a gag strip in a newspaper, this slice of life comedy tells the semi-autobiographical trials of a person trying to raise two kids.||~ Another series recently announced as picked up by Crunchyroll for streams.
~ If the artwork in the anime is similar to the artwork in the actual comic strip, this is going to be a not very pretty series to look at.
|Charady no Joke na Mainichi||Thefool Inc.||4/1||Comedy||A 26 year old American female graduate of Kyoto University will tell a new dirty joke from around the world every day for 365 days.||~ A unique project, this seems like it’d be hard to keep up with but fun to watch none the less.
~ If the early artwork from the website is any indication, these jokes are not going to be the clean share around the office type of jokes.
|Sengoku Basara||Production I.G.||4/1||Action||As far as I have been made aware, the story for the anime series will follow closely to the second release in the game series of the same name though it may just be adapting the franchise in general.||Preview||~ The seiyuu cast for this series is going to be the same as it was in the game. This is good news for fans as it means performances from amazing seiyuu such as Mamiko Noto.|
|Queen’s Blade||ARMS||4/2||Action||In a country where the new queen is the winner of a deadly tournament, a group of girls begin preparing for the newest fight of their lives.||Preview||~ Lots of action and lots of fan service make this series potentially a huge hit or a colossal miss.
~ The high fan service levels might turn off some viewers but some of the cast members should bring just as many back: Aya Hirano, Mamiko Noto, Hitomi Nabetame, Yuko Goto (just to name a few)
|Asura Cryin‘||Seven Arcs||4/2||Action||Based on the light novels of the same name, this drama series follows a high school boy who is haunted by the ghost of his dead childhood friend. Soon his house is filled with various occult warriors and he is pulled into a fight he didn’t know was coming.||Preview||~ I had a completely different impression of this series until recently. Artwork has changed that into something I’m curious in.
~ Miyu Irino will be providing the voice for the lead role.
|Basquash!||Satelight||4/2||Sports/Mech||A new sport is sweeping the planet, Basquash; basketball with giant mechs.||Preview||~ Basquash is going to be a unique standout this season for its attempt at meshing basketball, giant mechs and hip hop culture. It will be interesting to see how close they come to succeeding.
~ Notables among the cast include Aya Endo and Yu Kobayashi
|Pandora Hearts||Xebec||4/2||Action||At his coming of age ceremony, the heir to a duke is cast into a dark prison where his only chance at escaping lies in a girl named Alice.||Preview||~ One of the more eagerly awaited titles of the spring, Pandora Hearts will be carrying a fairly large fanbase into its premiere.
~ Though only one trailer has been released, the early animatin from Xebec looks absolutely fabulous. This is going to be one pretty series to look at!
|K-ON!||Kyoto Animation||4/2||Music Comedy||Four girls attempt to save their school’s music club by forming a band… despite the fact that none of them have the faintest idea how to play any instruments.||Preview||~ Once again, only one promotional video has been made available for fans but early looks at the character designs leave little to be disapointed with initially.
~ Brought to us from the same studio that did Haruhi Suzumiya and Lucky Star, Kyoto Animation is still on a major hot streak.
|Phantom ~ Requium of the Phantom~||Bee Train||4/2||Action||After witnessing a murder commited by the mafia’s top assassin, Phantom, his mind is erased and he is turned into her new assistant Zwei.||Preview||~ Despite some pretty action animation in the trailer, this is another series that has ‘hit or miss’ written all over it.
~ Originally an OVA, this is the first time that this title is getting a full TV release.
~ This will be the second series starring Miyu Irino this season.
|Higepiyo||Cinema Citrus||4/3||Slice of Life||The daily life of a baby rooster with a bitchin mustache on the farm.||~ The only cast member to be revealed so far is Romi Paku as the title chick.
~ Cinema Citrus is still very new to the animation scene but they will be around quite a bit this season as they also handled the animation for the theatrical release of ‘Eureka Seven: Pocket Full of Rainbows’
|Hayate no Gotoku!||J.C. Staff||4/3||Comedy||The harem comedy returns for a second season with Hayate continuing to serve faithfully as a butler/bodyguard.||~ Picking up where the 52 episode first season and subsequent OVA left off, season two returns with most of the same cast and crew that fans loved originally but a new director.|
|Slap Up Party – Arad Senki -||GK Entertainment/Gonzo||4/3||Adventure||~ Based on the MMORPG based out of Korea, Gonzo will be sharing the animation production duties with Korea based GK Entertainment who have never been a full production member before.
~ This is just one of five series that Rie Tanaka will be playing either a role in this season.
Gokyjiyou! Mecha Mote Linchou
|4/4||Shoujo Comedy||Adapted from the manga of the same name, this series follows a high school student council president who is always trying to cool and popular. Unfortunately she is also always having to deal with three boys (including one she has a crush on) who always cause problems.||~ Out of the five main cast members announced so far, the only one who has more than a few credits is Atsuko Enomoto.|
Shin Mazinger Shougeki! Z-Hen
|Bee Media||4/4||Mech||The staff behind this series took great pains with this series. Mostly in making sure that everyone realized that this won’t be a remake of the 70′s mech series but a brand new chapter in the franchise.||~ The original series followed a boy who receives the strongest mech in the world after discovering his only relative killed. With how long its been since fans have seen a new chapter for this title, it will be interesting to see how it is updated for the times.|
|Shenjou no Valkyria -Gallian Chronicles-||A-1 Pictures||4/4||Action||Based off the PS3 of the same name, the story for the game takes place in 1930′s Europe right as two great powers are launching into the second great European War. In the middle of this war are Welkin who really just wants to be a science teacher and Alicia who wants to be a baker.||Preview||~ One can only hope that most of the video game voice cast returns to reprise their roles for the TV series. In the original game fans got to listen to Marina Inoue (Alicia), Mamiko Noto (Princess Cordelia) and Jun Fukuyama (Maximilian)|
Shinkyoku Soukai Polyphonica Crimson S
|Diomedea||4/4||Fantasy||A sequel to the 2006 original series, the latest chapter of the franchise will focus mostly on the stories told within the light novel adaptations which means a new dantist is entering with his own sprite.||~ The new series will have a new animation producer in Diomedea replacing Ginga-ya.
~ Familar names grace the cast however as the five primary characters will all be reprised by their season one seiyuu.
|Metal Fight Beyblade||4/5||Action Tournament||The latest chapter in the long running franchise; Ginga will once again face off against a long string of opponents.||~ Really if you’re not a long time fan of Beyblade or in the proper age range for the series I fail to see how this one is going to magically convert you.|
|Dragonball Kai||Toei||4/5||Action||What was originally thought to possibly be a new chapter in the series is revealed to be something much better: Finally fans can watch Dragonball Z without waiting five minutes for a single attack sequence to end!||~ Admittedly one of the things I always hated about the Dragonball franchise were the long waits but this may be the chance a lot of fans have been waiting for to find out what the big deal is about this series.|
|Jewel Pets||Sanrio?||4/5||Fantasy||Adapted from the impossibly cute toys in Japan, I haven’t been able to pin down an actual story for this series but I’m guessing that saying ‘cute animals doing cute things while being impossibly cute’ will sum things up appropriately.||~ Again, it’s a series aimed at children with very cute animals. What exactly are you looking for here?|
|Cross Game||Synergy SP||4/5||Sports||Based off the manga, the story in this series is about a fifth grader named Koh whose family owns a sporting goods store. Always a genius hitter, he stops playing baseball after a tragedy. Four years later he starts again and everyone waits to see if he can find the talent he once had. While romancing four sisters of course.||~ Besides this series, Synergy SP might be better known to fans for the work they did on another baseball series; Major.|
|Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood||BONES||4/5||Adventure||So far all I really know about this second season is that Ed and Al will be followed through another adventure filled with action. Though this time it promises to be a bit more like the manga.||~ With a mostly new voice cast, what has me most curious about this new release is how well the fans will take to them.|
|Konnichi wa Anne (Before Green Gabels)||Nippon Animation||4/5||Historical||In this 39 (!) episode series, the staff will tell a prequel version of the classic novel ‘Anne of Green Gabels’||~ Even if you’re not familar with the classic book series, this may be a nice way to watch anime that has a little more depth behind it.|
|Hanasakuru Seishounen||Studio Pierrot||4/5||Romance||A half Japanese/half American heiress moves to the United States to attend high school for the first time. While overseas though she will be forced to choose between a lovely harem of suitors that her father puts before her. Let the bishie love commence.||Preview||~ With little to go off of other than early character designs and some a PV from Tokyo Anime Fair I have to believe that there’s enough room here to be pleasantly surprised. Though that means that it shouldn’t shock you if it’s bad.|
|Guin Saga||Satelight||4/5||Fantasy Action||A village is protected by a mysterious warrior in a leopard mask. With no memories from his time as human, the warrior protects those from harm until a new mysterious force arrives and he must destroy it.||~ Based on the hugely popular fantasy novel series, ’Guin Saga’ has its work cut out for it right away. With a trailer already released that looks great, this is going to be one worth checking out.
~ Leading the cast are two notable veterans Mai Nakahara (Rinda) and Kenyuu Horiuchi (Guin)
|Shangri-La||Gonzo||4/5||Sci-fi||Based on the novel, Tokyo has been turned into a tropical city by global warming. To reduce temps in the city, the government has begun working to make Tokyo into the world’s largest forest city. Not everyone can live in the city however and some groups don’t want to see it happen at all.||~ This is one of two series animated by Gonzo this season as a result of their cutbacks in late 2008.
~ Also a series that will be streamed by Crunchyroll.
~ Notables from the cast and crew include: Mikako Takahashi (Kuniko), Yuko Iguchi (Karin) and Jun Fukuyama (Shion).
|Tayutama -Kiss on my Deity-||Silver Link||4/5||Harem Romance||Based on an eroge, the story is about a boy whose father runs the local shrine. After discovering a relic related to the deity who protected the area, the boy starts high school meeting a girl who has something to do with the relic and the deity Tayutama.||~ I admit it, early animation for this series makes me think that it’s going to be fun to watch|
|Natsu no Arashi||SHAFT||4/5||Sci-fi Romance||Based on the manga of the same name, this story centers on a boy who meets an older high school girl named Arashi during summer vacation. After learning her secret however, Hajime and Arashi share an unforgettable summer together.||~ Created by the same author who brought us ’School Rumble‘ the comedy in this series seems to aim towards a similar vein.|
|Tears to Tiara||White Fox||4/5||Fantasy Romance/Action||The second anime this season to be based off an eroge, in this series a dark wizard ressurects a dark god named Arwan though Arwan has other ideas and decides to make a new life for himself with the girl who was to be his sacrifice and her tribe. Meanwhile the empire decides to strike back at the dark god.||~ Part of a complete repackaging, the anime is a precursor to both a new game release and manga series. Plus it is being simulcast through Asia which tells you how much of a push is being put behind this series.
~ The character artwork has me very worried though the voice cast is filled with talent: Yuko Goto (Riannon), Kaori Nazuka (Llyr), Mai Nakahara (Morgan), Ami Koshimizu (Limwris) and the list goes on…
|Saki||Gonzo||4/5||Mahjong||A girl named Saki is pulled into the world of mahjong via a friend.||~ Mahjong? Despite a great cast list, unless this series really takes the time to explain the game I doubt many viewers overseas are going to pick up on this series.|
|07-Ghost||Studio DEEN||4/6||Military Comedy||In a class of 500, only 20 will be chosen to be one of the executive assistants, a top class of soldier. Teito has acheived that after rising from the ranks of a slave but a turn of events makes him a convict on the run. Sheltered by the church, he finds out the truth on why he’s being targeted and how far his roots go.||~ Maki Fujii has also been the character designer for ‘Kannazuki no Miko, ’Strawberry Eggs’, ‘UFO Ultramaiden’ just to name a few. The characters in this series are going to be distinct.|
|Sugar Bunnies Fleur||Sanrio||4/7||Childrens||Another childrens anime based on the popular toy line. Don’t expect any drastic changes for the third season.|
|Souten Kouro||Madhouse||4/7||Historical Adventure||Telling the familar story of the Three Kingdoms, this series will go in a slighty different direction casting Cao Cao has a more likable hero character rather than the villain.||~ If you’re familar with the history behind the Three Kingdoms or with any of the novels, manga, etc that have told this story this might be a fun opportunity to get a new perspective.|
|Ristorante Paradiso||David Production||4/8||Cooking Drama||In this story, a young girl moves to Rome and becomes the new kitchen apprentice in a restaurant filled with kindly (?) older men.||~ Besides, Code Geass R2, David Production is still a very inexperienced studio making this a series to keep an eye on (the studio might not be around next season after all)|
|Eden of the East||Production I.G.||4/9||Drama||While visiting the US, a woman is attacked by thugs but saved by a naked man carrying only a gun, a phone that says he has billions in a bank account and no memories of who he is.||~ This is likely the series with the biggest amount of buzz behind it at the moment.
~ A film version will be released sometime after the TV version finishes its run. Not sure if the film will be just retelling the TV version or serve as an epilogue but I think that shows some confidence in this series drawing power.
|Hatsukoi Gentei||J.C. Staff||4/11||Slice of Life Comedy||What happens in the everyday life of a junior high school girl named Ayami and her seven friends.||~ By my count, Aki Toyosaki will be three series this season with this being the third. You can also hear her in Asura Cryin and K-ON this season|
|Fight Ippatsu! Juuden-chan||Studio Hibari||5 2009||Sci-Fi Comedy||The best description I can find for this series involves an office lady visiting this world from a parallel dimension in order to ’power up dejected people’||~ This series promises to be at least slightly ecchi so ‘power up dejected people’ could mean any number of things.
~ Further worth noting that this series is based off a manga that came from the same creators of Kiss x Sis.
|ROBO CROSSER||Telecom Animation Film||4, 2009||Sci-Fi Racing||A 12 year old boy obtains a mono wheeled mech and attempts to use it to win races.||~ This series is being put together by the Jetix brand (under the Disney umbrella) while being animated by Telecom. It has been in production since 2004 so it better be good.|
|RAINBOW Nisha Rokubou no Shichinin||Spring 2009||Drama||Set in the 1950′s, the story follows six youths in a reform school and their mentor as they go through the school and eventually leave to make their way in the world.||~ Based off a critically acclaimed manga series.
~ Little is known regarding who is animating the series or even a premiere date beyond sometime this spring.