Sunday, September 24, 2006

Fall 2006 Anime Calendar w/Cast and Staff Highlights

Here's a graphic calendar of the fall anime season. I find the format useful for keeping track of what days shows are broadcast in Japan, and therefore what days we can expect to see raws around.

This season, the calendar includes more staff and cast names, and more links to info about them in the Anime News Network encyclopedia. I got carried away. But the links are useful for easily checking who has done what before.

fall 2006 calendar link
Random Curiosity has a good overall outline of the new shows. I'm not sure which shows I'll be watching. I'll give almost all of them one episode. But just based on staff and cast, here are some observations:

Lovedol~Lovely Idol~ has a very interesting cast, including Nakahara Mai, Gotou Yuuko, Chihara Minori (Yuki in Suzumiya Haruhi), and Sakai Kanako (Aka in REC). But it has the same director and scriptwriter as Amenaideyo, so I'm worried.... It's a show about pretty girls working to become idols, from Navel.

Death Note was written by the man who wrote FMA and Tenjo Tenghe, so it has possibilities. And it has Hirano Aya (Suzumiya Haruhi) and Kudou Haruka (Hagu in H&C, Haruka in Noein). Psychological/supernatural thriller.

Nazuka Kaori stars in Ghost Hunt. After Yun in Simoun, I am realizing just how talented she is. Kugimiya Rie and JC Staff are also attractions. Kaorin is a schoolgirl who joins a group investigating supernatural mysteries.

Perfect Girl Evolution (Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge) is directed by Nabeshin (Watanabe Shin'ichi, who did Excel Saga and Puni Puni Poemi), so I just don't know what to expect. But I'll be watching. I think he's brilliant. Sugita Tomokazu (Kyon) and Nakahara Mai don't hurt, either. Some bishounen are given the task of turning an antisocial wallflower into a charming young lady.

Black Lagoon~Second Barrage~ may not be my kind of anime, but the addition of Kuwashima Houko and Kaneda Tomoko to the cast, which already included Toyoguchi Megumi and Namikawa Daisuke (Koyuki in Beck), adds to this show's attraction. Adventure.

Red Garden is directed by Matsuo Kou, who did Rozen Maiden, and the screenplay is by Yamashita Tomohiro, who did the script of Gankutsuou. That's a good start, and the addition of Sawashiro Miyuki, Shintani Ryouko, Tanaka Rie and Gotou Saori (who in my opinion was outstanding in the otherwise forgettable Rakugo Tennyo Oyui) make this something to look at. Mystery/horror set in New York.

I found the first Negima quite lacking, except for the cast, but the staff making Negima!? is extremely intriguing. The director is Shinbou Akiyuki, who did PaniPoni Dash and Tsukuyomi Moon Phase. He can be relied on to bring a fresh approach and some visual invention. And with Kanda Akemi, Satou Rina, Nonaka Ai, Kadowaki Mai, Noto Mamiko, Horie Yui and Inokuchi Yuka, there will be a lot to listen to. School comedy with magic.

Soukou no Strain has Kawasumi Ayako, and I'll always look at anything she is in. But it also has Nonaka Ai's sweet voice, as well as Kondo Takashi (Train from Black Cat), Matsuki Miyu (another sweet voice, Anguras in Simoun), Jouji Nakata and Rie Tanaka. And the weird but wonderful voice of Mugihito (Kouhei's grandfather in Tsukuyomi Moon Phase, and the alien commander in PaniPoni Dash). Mecha SF (plus moe?).

I'll be looking at Yoake Mae yori Ruriiro na Crescent Love mainly for the sake of its star, Nabatame Hitomi. But I'm intrigued by the fact that its first-time director is someone who did episodes of Ichigo Mashimaro and Mai-HiME. The fact that the scriptwriter did Karin and He is My Master make me wonder how well the manga adaptation will be handled, but we'll see. Game conversion about a moon princess who comes to live with a guy on Earth.

As an instant fan of young, unglamorous Yahagi Sayuri, I will definitely watch anything she's in, and that includes Busou Renkin, even though I am less than turned-on by the genre. Fukuyama Jun, Yuzuki Ryoka (Misagi in Air), Hirano Aya and Nabatame are also reasons to watch. Weapons alchemy and monsters.

Takahashi Mikako may well be my favorite seiyuu right now, for her work as Ayu in H&C and Rika in Hantsuki -- and she has now had some very strong scenes in Simoun, as well. So I will definitely look at Mamoru-kun ni Megami Shukufuku wo! Ono Daisuke (Yukito in Air), Noto Mamiko, Shimizu Ai and Inokuchi Yuka (Anju in Karin) are further attractions. The director of Canvas2 worries me, but at least he didn't do series composition on that eventual train wreck, which was generally a good show. Series composition is by Okada Mari, who wrote many episodes of Simoun, some of Rozen Maiden, and wrote the screenplay for Aria the Natural. Magic and romance.

I like the premise of Hataraki Man -- travails of an OL (working woman) -- and I look forward to some chemistry between Tanaka Rie and Ueda Yuuji (Morita in Honey & Clover).

Kanon, of course, goes without saying. The director of Air and SHnY? The scriptwriter of FMP? Horie Yui, Tamura Yukari, Sugita Tomokazu, Seki Tomokazu, Kawakami Tomoko and Kawasumi Ayako? Kyoto Animation? Twelve days to go....

Code Geass - Lelouch of the Rebellion also may not be my kind of show, but the staff and cast might make it one. The director did PlanetES and Infinite Ryvius. The screenwriter did the script of PlanetES and Turn A Gundam. And the character design is by Clamp. To that, add a cast that never stops: Fukuyama Jun, Sakurai Takahiro, Yukana (who was great in two roles in Simoun), Koshimizu Ami, Orikasa Fumiko, Nakata Jouji, Nazuka Kaori, Chiba Saeko, Ohara Sayaka and Arai Satomi (Kozue in Mahoraba). Mecha/SF adventure.

Gin-iro no Olynssis is from Artland, and after Bokura ga Ita and Mushishi, I'll look at anything they show me. The scriptwriter, Nishizono Satoru, did script and series composition for Welcome to the NHK, as well as the scripts for Jigoku Shoujo and Keroro Gunso. The screenplay is by Takeda Yuichiro, who did the same for Banner of Stars and Infinite Ryvius. Add Nazuka Kaori, Hisakawa Aya and Akemi Kanda, and I'm all ears, as well as eyes. Mecha/SF romance.

If you want to hear what Hino Satoshi sounds like when he's not paired with Kugimiya Rie (as he was in Shana and Zero), try Happiness. The story has a hook: the hero's little sister turns into an adult and his ex-girlfriend into a child. The director, Sakurabi Katsushi, directed Tsukihime. And there is Artland animation. Game-conversion harem romance.

Sumomomo Momomo has two attractions: Hirano Aya in a supporting role, and Nakanishi Nobuaki, the director of Kashimashi. Martial arts plus moe romantic comedy.

Gift~Eternal Rainbow~ does not have a famous staff or appear to have an original plot, but it does have Shimizu Ai and Koshimizu Ami, which may be enough, if they are at their best. I thought Amisuke was brilliant as Tenko in Kamisama Kazoku, and very strong in the completely opposite role of Paraietta in Simoun. And from Zettai Shounen to Okusama wa Mahou Shoujo to Strawberry Panic, I think Shimizu Ai has grown a lot in the past year. Moe magic romance.

Having enjoyed Genshiken, I will certainly give Kujibiki Unbalance a long look. The fact that it stars Nonaka Ai is a further attraction, and the presence of Koshimizu Ami seals the deal. Amisuke has also grown this year, it seems to me. Yukana, who was so good as Eri and Dominura in Simoun, is also someone I'm now looking for. And the director of Dokuro-chan and xxxHolic, who also did some episodes of Genshiken?

The only well-known seiyuu I can see in Katekyoshi Hitman Reborn! is Tanaka Rie, playing a minor role. But the fact that the director and character designer both did work on Mushishi, and the director worked on Zettai Shounen and Bokura ga Ita as well, makes this show a bit intriguing. Comedy.

Ayakashi Atashi is a big show, occupying the 6pm Saturday timeslot, and has the cast and staff to match. The main attraction for me is the presence of Niino Michi (Aaeru in Simoun) in her second-ever anime role. But Fujiwara Keiji (Shuuji in Honey & Clover) also stars, and Orikasa Fumiko is there in a supporting role, as is Ueda Yuuji (Morita in Honey & Clover). And the director previously did Azumanga Daioh, Angelic Layer and Melody of Oblivion; the series creator is Aikawa Shou (FMA, Twelve Kingdoms, possibly Simoun, under a pseudonym); and the animation is by Bones. Adventure, monsters, magic, Edo.

Jigoku Shoujo Futamori is interesting for the look and for Noto Mamiko, but I really found the first series dragged, so I don't expect to spend much time with the new one.

Otome wa Boku ni Koi Shiteru is another gender-bender, with a boy dressing as a girl and attending a girls' school. Or maybe it will just be ecchi. I'm not sure. But I am sure that the cast merits a long look: Horie Yui, Matsuki Miyu (Anguras in Simoun), Kanda Akemi (Hatsuki in Tonagura, Asuna in Negima), Asano Masumi, Gotou Yuuko, Nogawa Sakura.