Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Spring Anime Schedule and First Looks

I've put together a calendar-style schedule for this spring's anime viewing, giving TV days/times in Japan, along with staff and cast highlights.

The calendar shows currently broadcast shows, including those that are not new, but began in past seasons. Titles are color-coded by season, with this spring's new anime in green. It leaves out only some kids' shows and hentai OVAs. It does cover mainstream OVAs released in April.

Data is from the Japanese sites MoonPhase, Shoboi Calendar, and Wikipedia, and from Anime News Network and anidb.info. Unfortunately, I don't have time this season to link the cast/staff name to more into about them, but you can find more info by clicking on the show's "+info" link, which takes you to its page on Anime News Network. For another excellent calendar, of a different style, check out Mahou Showtime.

With almost 40 new shows starting in April, it's a chore wading through them all. But I have already seen several good ones.

The first show of the season, Hitohira (Wednesdays) pleased me a lot. It is a sensitive comedy-drama about a girl who sometimes gets so nervous she can't speak, but is dragooned into joining a drama club. I see a mixture of Maria-sama ga Miteru and Glass Mask with some hints of the gentle sensitivity of PetoPeto-san, whose staff is doing this show. Kawasumi Ayako as a sympathetic senior is brilliant.

Touka Gettan (Mondays) is a mysterious romantic drama that has some of the most beautiful animation and backgrounds I have ever seen, with a heady lushness that suits the overheated (and so far impenetrable) tale. In episode one, we have already seen romantic love, maternal love, sex, violence, death, madness, gender confusion, magical transformations, a chance meeting, and a lot of cherry blossoms.

The voice acting is good, with two relative newcomers in the lead roles, but Itou Miki (Sachiko in Maria-sama ga Miteru) in the pivotal role of the mother of one of the romantic leads. Fujimura Ayumi (Karada in Asatte no Houkou) is also in the cast. The OP, sung by Kitamura Eri and the two leads, Ise Mariya and Hayami Saori, is good, and the ED, sung by Hayami Saori is outstanding, as is the music throughout the show. Animation by Nishida Asako (Simoun, Fate/Stay Night, Yami to Boushi to Hon no Tabibito) and Studio Deen. The main staff, in fact, is entirely the same as worked on Yamibou.

Seirei no Moribito (Saturday mornings) has some of the most detailed and beautiful backgrounds I have ever seen, almost at the quality of a full-length feature, and excellent animation. The story is good, too, set in a fantasy mixture of Heian Japan with China, Korea and Tibet, and telling of a woman bodyguard who is charged with protecting a young boy who is threatened by assassins probably sent by his father the king. The bodyguard is played brilliantly by actress and film-dubber Andou Mabuki.

Heroic Age (Sundays). I would not have expected it, but this science fiction epic really rocked my socks. In the far future, humanity, the last great race to enter space, is in conflict with older races. The technology is so advanced as to seem like magic, and the human relations have a bit of the exotic about them, too.

The center of attention on a human ship is a vague young princess who has the ability to project herself into space and to sense what is present there. She finds a ruined planet inhabited by a lone human boy living in a crashed ship. It turns out that he has been integrated with a tremendously powerful mecha-creature of another race. Even a non-mecha fan like me enjoyed the battles against insectoid invaders from another of the races. Seventeen-year-old actress Ishikawa Yui is fascinating as the princess, and Tamura Yukari, Kugimiya Rie, Arai Satomi, and Takashi Kondou are also in the cast.


WRex said...

It looks like you did a lot of work on it, but I keep getting "server not found" message as I try to access the calendar... T_T

hashihime said...

Thanks for letting me know. But all seems well for me. I wonder if there was a temporary problem, or if there was a transPacific problem of some kind. I've done these for the past several seasons, hopefully improving them as I go on. I find them very useful myself, in my ignorance, so I just do a bit of extra work to make them usable by others.