The slightly Illogical Autumn 2012 season preview
September 16, 2012 2 Comments
So it appears to be that time when many anime bloggers start to look forward to the new season, to see what looks interesting, or to simply rip into anime as a whole with an immense sense of superiority. I tend not to look too far ahead when it comes to anime, and for the most part concentrate on the current season rather than look at anime that have yet to air. Also, I never watch previews, they tell you very little about the series, providing a few sound bites and a look at the animation style without really giving any indication as to what the anime will really be about. As such my previews don’t contain them and I don’t even bother with them, instead I see what other information is available and generally make up my mind based on the plot overview and artwork. Having had a look at the line-up for next season it does look to be potentially very interesting. As with all anime seasons there is a plethora of anime on show, ranging from the classic romance/shoujo series, through the light novel adaptations to the (usually) over-hyped anime that never quite turn out to be as good as everyone suggests they should be. Overall the season has quite a varied lineup, with may different genres included, something that is always nice to see in an anime season. There are some potentially very nice romance series which will obviously go down well with me as a fan of a good romance, along with numerous sequels to some more recent, along with slightly older series.
This list is in no particular order, and barring a couple of series that I honestly dont like the look of I will at least have a look at everything listed, whether I finish the anime is another matter entirely.
Kamisama Hajimemashita (Kamisama Kiss):
The first romance/shoujo anime of the season, and being a shoujo anime will likely automatically turn a significant number of people away. It is an adaptation of the Kamisama Hajimemashita manga and follows the trails and tribulations of Momozono Nanami, who because of her father running away from his gambling depts. Finds herself out of home and out of pocket. After saving a strange man called Mikage from some dogs he gives her his house in thanks, a house that turns out to be a local shrine. After some strange run-ins with a kitsune spirit named Tomoe it is revealed that Mikage was the local earth god, and that by bequeathing his house to Nanami she has become the local deity and Tomoe must serve her.
The setting of a girl randomly losing her place to stay and then bumping into handsome, but slightly terse strangers is a shoujo staple, and has arguably been used to the point of self-destruction. However, having read the manga there are a few things that made Kamisama Hajimemashita enjoyable, even though it does fall into a few of the common shoujo traps. Tomoe as a character is great, he is sarcastic, snarky and generally foul tempered and foul-mouthed. His constant attempts to use and abuse Nanami, going so far as to try and kill her so that he can be free and enjoy the decadence of the spirit realm were entertaining to read. Furthermore, the banter between Tomoe and Nanami, a fairly down-to-earth girl who quickly learns that she can easily control Tomoe like a dog is often incredibly funny. The series is based around the relationship that Tomoe and Nanami develop, along with the constant problems of being the local deity and all that it entails. Obviously the Shoujo tag will put a significant number of people off, for good reason since shoujo manga and anime have often fallen into the trap of overly-angsty melodrama along with relatively weak female characters. For the most part Kamisama Hajimemashita has managed to avoid this in the manga, and while there are clear elements of shoujo, the series is also reminiscent of Inu-Yasha with a strong supernatural element to the story. Overall it is a series that I will certainly watch, partly because I am curious to see how it ahs been adapted into an anime.
Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun:
The second shoujo anime adapted from a manga, although this time the series doesn’t involve any supernatural elements and is primarily focussed on high school. Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun is a romantic comedy that revolves around Mizutani Shizuku, a girl with a goal of earning 10 million yen a year (roughly £80,000 or $128,000), and so focuses exclusively on her studies. A boy named Yoshida is supposed to sit in the seat next to her, but has apparently hasn’t attended school since the start of the year. Shizuku is tasked with taking lesson notes to Yoshida, and through a series of bizarre, and hilarious circumstances ends with Yoshida believing that they are both friends.
Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun is actually quite an entertaining manga, avoiding the pitfalls of drama and melodrama that so many shoujo and high school romance fall in to. Shizuku is a very strong, serious and independent girl, almost excessively so in fact, focussing entirely on achieving her 10 million yen a year goal to the point of alienating herself from class and society in general. On the other hand Yoshida is completely off the wall, and largely because he looks like a delinquent (or at least like the kind of delinquents you get in manga and anime) people assume that he is some sort of insane fighter with a thirst for blood. What is great about Yoshida is that he is none of these things and is instead a very shy, innocent and naïve boy who appears to be one of the most socially awkward people I have seen in a manga in some time. The wonderful thing about Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun, very much like Kamisama Hajimemashita is the interactions between the two main characters, and how they slowly begin to change over the series. Like the preview picture might suggest there is also an element of master and pet in Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun, with Shizuku as the overly serious master and Yoshida as the wild and almost uncontrollable pet. It may be a shoujo anime, but overall the manga has been enjoyable to read, and I am curious to see how these characters work in an anime.
Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!
Oh look, an anime by Kyoto Animation, popularly known as KyoAni, which is sure to get all the fans of that studio salivating and possible sticking the ceiling in their excitement. While I have never really been able to get so involved with the work of a single studio – except perhaps Studio Ghibli – KyoAni have consistently produced some wonderful series with exceptional animation quality, and many of them being brilliant stories as well. The most recent KyoAni series has been Hyouka, an anime that many seem to dislike because it lacks certain big mysteries and according to some simply panders to those who like moe, whereas others have enjoyed it immensely.
The story of Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai looks to be potentially fascinating, since it focuses on ‘Chuunibyou’ or ‘8th grade sickness’, a disorder where the patient believes that they have superpowers and pretends to save the world. This idea in itself is fascinating, as if you are transported back to your childhood where you pretended to be a superhero, or a solider. The story follows Togashi Yuuta who suffered from Chuunbiyou in middle school, but through excessive studying was eventually cured. However, he meets and is locked into a contract with Takanashi Rikka who still sufferes from Chuunbiyou, thus turning his life upside down. The concept itself is fascinating, with the suggestion that the fantasy world becomes real for Yuuta and Rikka, whereas for others their existences are normal and dull. The character designs look great and it being a KyoAni anime the animation quality is likely to be very beautiful as well. However, it is a light novel adaptation, and while I am perfectly happy with many of these anime, there are a few, often adapted from fairly complex stories that can come across as pretentious and perhaps boring. Obviously this series will be hyped because KyoAni is making it, but I will remain cautious at first, although the concept and the character designs certainly make me want to watch it.
Magi is another manga adaptation, although this time it is a shounen rather than shoujo manga. The original story is retelling of One Thousand and One Nights, a collection of West and South Asian stories and folk tales compiled in Arabic during the Islamic Golden Age. There are numerous stories in this collection, although a very few have become well known, partly due to the influence of Hollywood and Disney. Stories such as Aladdin’s Wonderful Lamp, Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, along with The Seven Voyages of Sinbad the Sailor are possibly the most well known, with film and animation adaptations. One Thousand and One Nights is framed by a main story concerning a Persian king and his new bride. The king is shocked to discover that his brother’s wife is unfaithful; he also finds out that his wife has also been unfaithful and has her executed, but in his bitterness and grief decides that all women are the same. The king, Shahryar, begins to marry a succession of virgins only to execute each one the next morning before they have had a chance to dishonour him.
Eventually the vizier whose duty it is to provide them cannot find any more virgins for Shahryar to marry. Scheherazade, the vizier’s daughter offers herself as the next bride in the hope that she can stop the senseless slaughter of women. On the night of their marriage, Scheherazade begins to tell the king a tale, but does not end it, leaving the story in the middle, which forces the king to postpone her execution. The next night as soon as she has finished the tale, Scheherazade begins a new one, and the king, eager to hear the conclusion once again postpones her execution. And so it continues for One Thousand and One Nights, giving the collection its name and also acting as a means with which all these stories are told. Now, the manga, what little of it I have read, does not have this story telling device and instead focuses on the adventures of Aladdin and his companion Alibaba:
In a strange faraway land lies a mysterious labyrinth called the Dungeon, Aladdin and Alibab adventure into it in order to uncover its secrets and treasure along with finding out about who Aladdin truly is. From what I have read the manga appears to follow some traditional shounen routes with Aladdin accumulating powers and companions as the series progresses.
Now, while the characters look interesting and some of the settings are fascinating, the manga never truly grabbed me. Also, due to my interest in One Thousand and One Nights, I couldn’t help but notice the startling lack of proper links to this collection of stories, save for obvious names and events. As such I may watch it, but I also tend to avoid these sorts of shounen series since they rarely interest me, furthermore, without Scheherazade and Shahryar I cant help but see this as a weak interpretation and retelling of such classic literature and poetry. Also, by omitting the story telling device of Scheherazade and Shahryar this adaptation seems to miss the point of the original collection entirely. I do recognise that it is only a loose retelling of the stories, or more accurately, the original author has use One Thousand and One Nights for inspiration, but the story and characters just did not grab me or really interest me.
Btooom is a series with a very silly name, and it is adapted from a manga with an equally silly name (Btooom), as well as being a series that misses the point altogether. Btooom wants to be Battle Royale, or how it wants to be Battle Royale; you can see this clearly in the plot and basic description of what is happening. There is only one problem, one major problem in fact, it has missed the point entirely and instead of being a fascinating series with political overtones and ideas about the social and cultural state of Japan, is merely a story about people trying to kill each other on an uninhabited island. The story revolves around Sakamoto Ryouta, an unemployed 22-year old who lives with his mother and stepfather. He is fairly normal in real life, but online he is one of the top players of an online combat game called Btooom. One day he wakes up on a beach with no recollection of what happened, no idea where he is or how he got there. While wandering around Ryouta sees someone else and calls out to them, but instead of answering his call they throw a bomb at him. Ryouta quickly realises that he is stuck in a real-life version of Btooom and must fight in order to survive, along with figuring out why he is there in the first place.
While Btooom may involve a computer game the premise is essentially the same as Battle Royale, with numerous ‘players’ pit against each other in a fight to the death for the entertainment of various rich people. Ryouta and Himiko, a girl who has also been transported to the island work together and eventually work out that people they knew voted for them to be taken to this island. In a sense they are being made examples of in a similar way to Battle Royale, and while the setting may be that of a real life version of an online game, it is clear to see where the original author got their inspiration. However, they and Btooom misses the point entirely, Battle Royale as a novel and a film is a commentary on the state of Japanese society and culture. The programme in Battle Royale is a means with which to terrorise the population and force people to obey, thus making insurgency and even proper debate impossible. It was looking at how modern day Japan is a state where people do not talk back or question those in authority, with various powers and policies used to shame those who did. Society and its culture have in effect been produced to enforce conformity at all costs with those who are outside viewed as dangerous and a threat to the maintenance of the state as a whole.
None of this is in Btooom, so instead on an insightful story that is still relevant today, we have a series that has the hyper violence and destruction without the message. There are some interesting little bits here and there, such as the attitude that many have to those who play computer games, along with the idea that those on the island were voted for and effectively abandoned by those who they trusted. There is also a fascinating, and also quite disturbing story arc involving the terrible past of Himiko, along with looking at how much humans can change when they think that the only option is to kill. However, overall Btooom is a stale and directionless story that was clearly influenced by Battle Royale but missed its brilliance and ingenuity. I may give it a chance to see what its like, but in general it is very far down my list. It is Battle Royale Lite – which is never a good thing.
This series looks to be potentially interesting, set in the near future and involving robots, futuristic technology and a conspiracy involving the whole world. In 2019 a device known as the PokeCom (So close, yet so far) package in some sort of phone software has spread across the world, bringing the idea of augmented reality closer to existing. The story focuses on Chuuoutanegashima High School’s Robot Research Club and particularly Kaito Yashio. The club is in danger of disbanding, but despite this, Kaito, one of the clubs two remaining members obsessed with robot fighting games, and shows no interest in the club itself, despite the current situation. The reckless and apparently utterly useless club president Akiho Senomiya aims to complete a giant robot so that the club does not lose its status. However, one day Kaito discovers an Augmented Reality annotation that apparently becomes something called the ‘Kimishima Report. Apparently this report talks about someone called Kou Kimishima and their conspiracy involving the world. This looks to be a potentially interesting series, involving ideas of science fiction, political conspiracy and the crazy goings on of a robotics club. But, the description itself is actually rather bad and does really give any real indication as to what is going on in the series. However, having said that, there is at least enough in Robotics;Notes to interest me, and I will at least watch the first few episodes to see what the series is like and what direction it takes.
Hidamari Sketch x Honeycomb:
Oh look, another Hidamari Sketch series by Shaft. Well, I’m not the biggest fan of Shaft, and think that as a studio they are far too highly thought of, although they have made some good series, I can never quite see them as being as brilliant as many suggest they are. Although this may of course be largely down to the sort of anime that they create and the type of stories that they adapt, hard to tell. I did enjoy the other Hidamari Sketch series though, and am always willing to give a comedy/slice-of-life anime a chance.
Hayate no Gotoku! I Can’t Take My Eyes Off You:
Another Hayate no Gotoku series produced by Manglobe, the animation studio with the manliest of globes! I very much enjoyed the previous Hayate no Gotoku series, with the crazy antics of Nagi and her inability to admit to her own feelings for Hayate. Apparently this third season will not be following the manga and is instead an independent story written by the original manga’s author Kenjiro Hata, which could make it a very interesting series to watch. I expect more crazy antics from Nagi, along with more embarrassing situations for Hayate and his ever-growing harem of beautiful and crazy girls/women, much to Nagis chagrin.
Little Busters was the series that sparked a significant amount on controversy – at least amongst Key fans – when it was announced that instead of KyoAni, the studio that usually produces Key adaptations it would instead be J.C.Staff. The outcry when this became apparent was immense and ridiculous, with many people all over the web suggesting that the series was already ruined before it had even been made or aired. To many J.C.Staff is a studio that never produces any good anime, and while many of their recent series have not been masterpieces, this studio has nevertheless produced some very good anime. The story of Little Busters revolves around the main protagonist Naoe Riki, a high school student who lost both of his parents when he was much younger, thus leaving him hopeless and depressed (something that appears to afflict many of Key’s male protagonists). A group of four children calling themselves the Little Busters took him out to play during his time of need, thus saving him from his depression. Now Riki and his friends are in their second year of high school they still go out and play, along with getting on with their daily lives.
I am not a big fan of Key and have never played any of their games, although some of my very favourite anime are adapted from Key games (Kanon, Clannad After Story). Key have a habit of producing wonderful, but also incredibly sad stories that pull you to and fro until the eventual, heart-rending, but also wonderful conclusion. And this being a Key adaptation I am expecting some sort of emotional turmoil and potentially a pretty depressing arc. As such I am expecting something similar with Little Busters, although having not played the game, and thus having no knowledge of the story I do not know what to expect. Having said that I am also glad that I do not know what to expect from the series, which leaves it open to either be incredibly entertaining or perhaps boring. I have no real problem with the people behind the series either, and while KyoAni may have added a certain amount of Gravitas to this particular Key adaptation, I think J.C.Staff could do a very good job on it as well.
It is an anime called ‘K’, that is all. Seriously, I could barely find any information on this series, so I have absolutely no idea what to expect, but as usual I will watch it and make up my own mind after a couple of episodes.
Onii-chan Dakebo Ai Sae Areba Kankeinai yo ne!:
Another light novel adaptation involving a sister and brother, this time produced by Silver Link, a studio that I am becoming increasingly fond of after the brilliant Tasogare Otome x Amnesia. Apparently Onii-chan Dakebo Ai Sae Areba Kankeinai yo ne follows Himenokouji Akito, who after 6 years separation has been reunited with his twin sister Akiko, who has apparently become quite the bro-con. This story is a harem and it isn’t only Akiko who is after Akito, with Nikaidou Arashi, the student council president at his new school, vice president Nasuhara Anastasia and Sawatari Ginbei Haroumi all moving in with Akito and Akiko. It appears that every season now has to have a token ‘Imouto’ anime along with the normal collection of fanservice anime and the reverse harem, Onii-chan Dakebo Ai Sae Areba Kankeinai yo ne clearly fits the bill there. Considering the kind of series it is I am hardly expecting a masterpiece, but I have always enjoyed harem anime in one form or another, and despite their obvious flaws they continue to provide good, mindless entertainment. Furthermore, having read a chapter of the manga adaptation, Onii-chan Dakebo Ai Sae Areba Kankeinai yo ne seems to be more of a slapstick comedy rather than a high school drama.
To Love-Ru: Darkness:
To Love-Ru was a pretty entertaining and ridiculous series following the trials and tribulations of Yuuki Rito and his ever-expanding harem of alien women. As a series it was pretty funny to watch, with the insanity that Lala changing Rito’s life forever. Darkness is based on the manga To Love-Ru: Darkness, a direct sequel to the original To Love-Ru manga, taking a slightly darker route, while also focussing more on Momo as the central character rather than Lala. In this story Momo is attempting to create a harem for Rito, while also showing him that as the next king of Deviluke he no longer has to worry about only marrying a single person and can make all the women around him happy. I expect more ecchi antics and craziness from the Deviluke royal family. If you don’t like ecchi or harem anime, this series will obvious be one to avoid, and there is nothing wrong with that, but I at least enjoy it as more mindless entertainment.
Another Bakuman anime, never really got into the previous series and I am unlikely to watch this one either. I once tried to read the manga but didn’t find it particularly engaging, although the premise and characters looked potentially interesting. I am sure many people will be watching it, but I wont be one of them.
Medaka Box Abnormal:
My word, we have here another season of the stupendously terrible Medaka Box, following on from the incredibly dull and pointless first sequel, which is adapted from an equally boring manga. I have been told before that the manga gets better later on, and having read all the translated chapters of Medaka Box to date I can safely say that this is not the case, if anything it stays boring. The major flaw with Medaka Box is that it is not funny or even particularly entertaining, which is pretty bad when you consider that it is supposed to be a parody. The original manga was produced to parody the shounen genre, with various abilities and other shounenesque elements that are supposed to demonstrate the ludicrously of many of these series. But, it doesn’t work, there is no real comedy and the characters barely develop, and worse still, the main character Medaka is too perfect. Her perfection means that there can be no real progression throughout the series, and while in recent chapters she has changed, it took far too long for such a small change to even occur. Ultimately the main problem I have with both the manga and the first series is that it has become what it is supposed to be parodying. Medaka Box continues to exist largely because Nisioisin writes it, thus demonstrating that many people are willing to watch any amount of tosh if it has been written by someone who appears to have a godlike status amongst those who watch anime, although I can never really understand why. Suffice to say I shall not be watching this series, I have better things to do with my time than wasting it on this trite.
Jormungand PERFECT ORDER:
Jormungand was and still is brilliantly flawed, as a series it has clearly been heavily influenced by Black Lagoon and overly relies on the craziness of Koko. The characters were given very little development, with the focus squarely on Koko and her growing relationship with Jonah. However, regardless of its flaws and little problems, the series remained entertaining and enjoyable to watch. The numerous short arcs were all packed full of excellent action, and fascinating, if two-dimensional characters that gave it a brilliantly hectic appeal. It will be interesting to see what happens in this second season, especially after the first season ended with a cliff-hanger that suggested something big was happening.
Her Name is Koko, and she is Loco. I said OH NO……. Food for thought.
Shin Sekai Yori:
This looks to be a potentially fascinating series, mixing elements of utopia, but also set in a dystopian future full of mysteries, lies, and terrible secrets that pertain to the current state of the world. In general I very much enjoy these sorts of stories assuming they are told in the right way, otherwise they can quickly become very dull and often overly melodramatic. The story of Shin Sekai Yori takes place in Japan a millennium from now. The five protagonists, Saki, Satoru, Maria, Mamoru, and Shun have been born and raised in a tranquil town that gives the impression of utopia. Those with the ‘cursed power’ or the ‘gods power’ of telekinesis now rule the world they live in. However, after something curious happens Saki and the others quickly come to realise the true nature of their world. Because of this incident they learn of humanities bloody history and all of the horrors that lead to the current state of the world. In order to protect their friends and a world on the brink of collapse, these five friends throw themselves into life-threatening and likely life-changing adventure. Such stories can be incredibly entertaining and interesting to watch, regardless of the obvious similarities that many of them share. The idea of a utopia built within a dystopian society, one that is built upon secrets, lies and deceit is fascinating, and has of course been done before. Sky Blue and Ergo Proxy share certain similarities with Shin Sekai Yori, at least on face value, although I will have to watch it to really make up my mind. Overall the premise interests me enough to give this series a shot, I hope it is a good series and doesn’t fall into the trap that No.6 did.
Seitokai no Ichizon:
A second series of Seitokai no Ichizon you say? Excellent, let the madness commence, or perhaps in this case, continue.
Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo:
Another light novel adaptation, this time involving a dorm full of pretty intense but entertaining people, and having read some of the manga adaptation it does look to be potentially quite good. In general light novel adaptations can be an awful lot of flak, and yes, there are numerous problems with them, not least being their short length at 12/13 episodes. However, I tend to enjoy a lot of them, and while I can’t read light novels at all, the anime usually keep me entertained. Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo follows Kanada Sorata, a second year high school art student who was recently kicked out of the school’s dorm because he was found keeping a cat in his room. Apparently the school rules forbid the keeping of pets, but because Sorata is generally a kind person he couldn’t leave the stray cat alone and took it home with him. He then moves into the boarding house ‘Sakurasou’, which has become infamous for its eccentric, and often down right weird inhabitants. While living in Sakurasou, Sorata is asked to take care of one of his classmates, Shiina Mashiro. Apparently she is a brilliant, world-class painter, but is also incredibly clumsy and lacks any semblance of common sense. This story has the makings or a potentially entertaining romantic comedy, with Sorata as the only ‘normal’ inhabitant of Sakurasou, whereas everyone else is off the wall. I will certainly watch this, if only to see what it is like, and while I am not expecting a masterpiece I do hope that it at least entertains me enough to continue watching it through to the end.
Girls und Panzer:
Zer ist girls, und zer ist ein Panzer!
So apparently in the world of Girls und Panzer the ability to use or in this case ‘manipulate’ tanks is one of the traditional martial arts, especially amongst girls. Apparently the story follows Miho, a girl who doesn’t like Sensha-do (Tank manipulation, tank martial arts, etc) and decides to move to Oarai Girls High School. Unfortunately for her, the chairperson of the student council orders Miho to participate in the national Sensha-do championships. I was sold on the name actually, I don’t really care that the entire series sounds ridiculous; it has girls driving around in tanks, and possibly doing some sort of tricks and other curious things. Girls und Panzer is clearly going to be one of the greats for this season on that fact alone.
Hiiro no Kakera Dai Ni Shou:
I have a bit of a soft spot for reverse harem, especially if the central female character is strong willed and dependable. Hiiro no Kakera fit this rather well, with Tamaki as the strong willed female lead who was struggling to learn about the powers that she was born with, while also apparently defending the world from certain annihilation. Unfortunately the first season was let down by fairly dull and one-dimensional male characters that spent the middle five episodes blaming all of their failures of Tamaki’s inability to call upon her immense power. The melodrama and teen-angst displayed by them generally spoiled what looked to be a rather well produced series. On the other hand, it was absolutely beautiful to watch, with a wonderful use of colours and backgrounds that I was quite happy to pause the series simply to sit and look at them. Overall, it was not a brilliant series, but there was enough to make me finish it and want to watch this second helping. On the other hand, reverse harem have a fairly select audience, and it is clear that a lot of people will not even touch it, which is a shame, but also understandable.
Psycho-Pass is a potentially intriguing series; having looked at some of the artwork it is giving me a cyber-punk vibe, which automatically means I have to watch it. Cyber-punk is one of the great anime aesthetics, and is sadly underused in recent years – it also remains one of my favourite settings, my first anime being Bubblegum Crisis 2040 may be the reason for this of course. The series takes place in the near future, when it is possible to instantaneously measure and quantify a person’s state of mind and personality. This information appears to be recorded and processed, with the term ‘Psycho-Pass’ used to describe the standard way of measuring an individual’s being. The story focuses on Shinya Kougami, an enforcement officer who is tasked with managing crime in this world. This setting gives off similar vibes to Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (Bladerunner), at least in terms of the kind of world that these people live in, along with a similar attitude towards the general population that can be found in Judge Dredd and even Ghost in the Shell. I do have my concerns though, the writer is Urobuchi Gen, and in general I found his writing in Fat/Zero to be convoluted and quite dull (this may be a single case of course since I generally found Fate/Zero as a series to be dull), although that wont stop me from watching Psycho-Pass to see what it is like. Also, while Cyber-Punk style series can be great they also have a habit of becoming quite convoluted and sometimes pretentious in their approach. But, overall, the series looks to be potentially very good, and regardless of my reservations about what the script may entail, there is enough there to make me want to watch the series.
Code:Breaker is another anime adapted from a relatively long-running manga that appears to involve many of the elements of shounen manga that Medaka Box professes to parody. It is a series about those with mysterious powers and there struggle with others power users from mysterious organisations of something known as ‘Pandora’s Box’. The manga does have its moments, and I actually quite like the central relationship between Rei, a Code:Breaker with the ability to use and manipulate flame and Sakura, a supposedly normal high school girl who sets about trying to melt Rei’s icy heart. The manga, while enjoyable is also rather plodding and convoluted, with numerous pages and even whole chapters taken up with exposition. The whole relationship between the Code:Breaker’s, the Re:Codes and Sakura is fascinating, but ultimately spoiled by the sometimes seemingly endless exposition. I may give this series a shot though, largely to see how the manga works as an anime.
The third and final Shoujo anime of the season, this time following a more traditional high school romance route, involving a very popular boy and a shy, but obviously beautiful girl. This time the story focuses on Mei Tachibana, a 16-year-old high school girl who has never had a boyfriend or even friends. One day she accidentally injures the most popular boy in school (a fairly classic and arguably overused plot device in shoujo, but it works) Yamato Kurosawa, but, instead of getting angry at her, Yamato instead takes a liking to Mei and one-sidedly claims that they are good friends. And of course as such stories go, Yamato protects Mei from a stalker and even openly kisses her as some sort of reward. I do enjoy my shoujo manga from time to time, although it does get on my nerves so I don’t read all that much. The major problem with many shoujo is the overly melodramatic stories the immense amount of angst. I had a look at Sukitte Iinayo, and it does have some melodrama and angst, as you might expect, however, the characters are sufficiently engaging to make me keep reading. Mei, while very shy and withdrawn is a relatively strong character who doesn’t quite fall head over hells for Yamato, and while she does love him maintains a certain distance and independence. I will give this series a shot, although since it has the most classic type of shoujo story there is the possibility that there will be a lot more melodrama than the other two shoujo anime.
Zetsuen no Tempest:
Another Shounen/Fantasy anime adapted from a manga, this time dealing with revenge and the end of the world. The story revolves around Mahiro Fuwa, a teenager whose family was mysteriously murdered one year before and his friend Yoshino Takigawa. Mahiro has been contacted by Hakase Kusaride, the leader of the Kusaride Clan (A clan of sorcerers), who was stranded on a deserted island by her followers, and agrees to help her in exchange for help finding thyose responsible for his family’s deaths. Yoshino joins Mahiro on his quest to stand against the Kusaribe clan who intends to awake the ‘Tree of Zetsuen’ whose power can destroy the world. As such the story seems to be a classic fantasy involving an ancient clan and their current leader whose thirst for power threatens the entire world. Having read a few chapters on the manga, Zetsuen no Tempest has an interesting art style and is fairly gritty, with both characters losing someone close to them. There is also a political sub-plot with the early introduction of government agents, and freelance bounty hunters. The entire story then seems to have two distinct elements, with one of the main characters spending much of her time on the deserted island. It is quite heavy on the early exposition, with a lot of slightly complicated or at least confusing elements involving spirits, magic and the tree of life. While this did spoil it a little for me, the story remains engaging so I will probably have a look at the anime to see what it is like.