Saturday, March 21, 2009

48 Spring Anime -- full previews: story, trailer, cast, staff, pic

higashi no edenThese may be difficult times in the anime industry, but you couldn't tell it from the number of anime being produced. Forty-eight titles come out this spring -- series and OVAs -- about the same number as last spring.

But quantity doesn't necessarily imply quality. Nothing here seems like an instant classic. But every season has its surprises, and there may be something wonderful lurking in the list.

Some shows that seem promising to me:
  • Eden of the East (Higashi no Eden) -- politico-romantic thriller. Honey & Clover character designs against photo-realistic backgrounds. By Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex director Kamiyama Kenji. Starring up-and-coming 17-year-old Hayami Saori in her biggest role yet.
  • Shangri-la -- Science fiction written by Ohnogi Hiroshi (Noein) and starring Takahashi Mikako, with character design by noted moe illustrator Murata Range.
  • ristorante paradisoRistorante Paradiso -- Seinen/josei slice of life about an Italian girl who goes to work in her estranged mother's restaurant, which is staffed entirely by mature gentlemen in glasses.
  • K-On -- New moe comedy from Kyoto Animation, directed by new female director, Yamada Hisako.
  • Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom -- Mashimo Kouichi and Bee Train bring us a violent mystery starring Takagaki Ayahi (Noe in True Tears), Irino Miyu, and Sawashiro Miyuki.
  • two promising reverse harem shows: Hanasakeru Seishounen, starring Endou Aya; and a new two-episode OVA series of Kin-iro no Corda.
  • ecchi comedies kissxsis (DVD OVA of previously streamed episode); Koihime Musou (new OVA); and Queen's Blade, which is also a fantasy fighting show, and which features Hirano Aya in her second ecchi role, after Sumomo mo Momo mo.
  • moe comedies Saki (with Koshimizu Ami and Ueda Kana); and Fight Ippatsu! Juuden-chan!! (with Fukuhara Kaori, who was Tsukasa in Lucky Star)
  • slice-of-life comedy OVA Yurumates
  • entertaining mystery/romance Denpateki na Kanojo (DVD OVA of previously streamed episode)
  • k-onSouten Kouro, a historical adventure starring Miyano Mamoru as the great ancient Chinese general Cao Cao, and written by the writer of One Outs.
  • and the most widely anticipated show of the season: the new series of Fullmetal Alchemist, written by the writer of Noein, and directed by the director of Kurau Phantom Memory.
So here are the animes. First an index in alphabetical order (click to go to full info on each show). Then the sections on each show, in the order the shows will be released.

|07-Ghost       |Asura Cryin'       |Basquash!       |Before Green Gables (Konnichiwa Anne)       |Chi's Sweet Home - A Home Like Ours       |Cobra The Animation: Time Drive       |Cross Game       |Denpateki na Kanojo       |Dogs, Bullets and Carnage       |Dragon Ball Kai       |Eden of the East (Higashi no Eden)       |Fight Ippatsu! Juuden-chan!!       |Fullmetal Alchemist 2       |Gokujou!! Mecha Mote Iinchou       |Guin Saga       |Hanasakeru Seishounen       |Hatsukoi Limited       |Hayate no Gotoku!!       |Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Rei       |Isekai no Seikishi Monogatari       |Jewelpet       |Kin-iro no Corda - second passo       |kissxsis       |Koihime†Musou       |K-On!       |Mainichi Kaasan       |Marie & Gali       |Metal Fight Beyblade       |Natsu no Arashi!       |Pandora Hearts       |Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom       |Queen's Blade       |Ristorante Paradiso       |Saki       |Sengoku Basara       |Shangri-La       |Shin Mazinger Shougeki Z-Hen       |Shinkyoku Soukai Polyphonica Crimson S       |Slap-up Party -Arad Senki-       |Souten Kouro       |Tayutama: Kiss on my Deity       |Tears to Tiara       |To Heart 2 ad Plus       |To Love-Ru OVA       |Tsubasa - Spring Lightning       |Valkyria Chronicles       |xxxHOLIC - Spring Dream       |Yurumates

Notes:
-- info from official sites, Anime News Network, AnimeSuki forums, Anidb, 2channel, Japanese Wikipedia, etc.
-- some info re episode numbers may be unreliable.
-- subs info from the Who Subs What wiki, which shows which groups have expressed interest in each show. There is always some winnowing-out when the season starts.
-- I will post a weekly broadcast calendar when the season is about to start, including broadcast schedule changes that will probably occur.
-- English titles link to Anime News Network encyclopedia; Japanese titles link to official sites.
-- click images to enlarge.



Isekai no Seikishi Monogatari
(jp: 異世界の聖機師物語)

fantasy adventure
From the mediaevalesque fantasy world of Tenchi Muyo. Director Yoshikawa Koji did a good job with the comedy Goshuushousama Ninomiyakun. Writer Shirane Hideki did a poor one with the ecchi comedy Girl's High. Character designer Watanabe Hajime did School Rumble. Tada Akifumi composed the outstanding music for Touka Gettan.

And they are working with a cast of competent lesser-known seiyuus featuring Shimono Hiro, Gotou Mai, Saitou Momoko, Kuwatani Natsuko, Sonozaki Mie, et al.

seiyuus: Nakagawa Rie, Satou Takaya, Kuwatani Natsuko, Tsunematsu Ayumi, Yasumoto Hiroki, Yonezawa Madoka, Shimono Hiro, Saitou Momoko, Sonozaki Mie, Gotou Mai.
director: Yoshikawa Koji (DN Angel, Goshuushousama Ninomiyakun)
writer: Shirane Hideki (Bottle Fairy, Girl's High).
animation: AIC/BeStack. chara-des: Watanabe Hajime (School Rumbles). animation supervisor: Watanabe Hajime (School Rumble 3).
music: Tada Akifumi (Tenchi Muyou, Touka Gettan, Skip Beat).
trailer. subs: Sora.
13eps.
fri 20 mar 04:00


Kin-iro no Corda - second passo
(jp: 金色のコルダ ~second passo~)

shoujo reverse harem
A new short series of the enjoyable reverse harem show set in a classical music high school, complete with talented bishounen. Fine cast includes Takagi Reiko, Taniyama Kishou, and Zero and Kaname — I mean Miyano Mamoru and Kishio Daisuke.

Director Ochi Koujin did a good job of the first series, and writer Yoshida Reiko, while she has stumbled with shows like RomeoxJuliet and Jyu Oh Sei, showed that she well understands this kind of story.

seiyuus: Takagi Reiko, Taniyama Kishou, Itou Kentarou, Fukuyama Jun, Morita Masakazu, Kishio Daisuke, Miyano Mamoru, Hino Satoshi, Mizuhashi Kaori.
director: Ochi Koujin (first series, Pokemon movies)
writer: Yoshida Reiko (Marimite). Koei (game), Kure Yuki (manga).
animation: Yumeta.
trailer. subs: SMS.
OVA. 1/2eps.
thu 26 mar 24:00


Chi's Sweet Home - A Home Like Ours
(jp: チーズスイートホーム)

family humor
Lead writer Konparu Tomoko did both NANA and Nodame Cantabile. But this isn’t them: it's a five-minute family show about a cat. Daily mon-fri. And so popular the first time around that it has a new season. Listen for Kiuchi Hidenobu (Ren in Nana).

seiyuus: Koorogi Satomi, Kiuchi Hidenobu, Hidaka Noriko, Kozakura Etsuko.
director: Masahara Mitsuyuki (Shigurui asst dir)
writer: Konparu Tomoko (NANA, Nodame Cantabile).
animation: Madhouse.
subs: Yoroshiku.
mon 30 mar 06:40


Marie & Gali
(jp: マリー&ガリー)

unclassifiable
Visually interesting five-minute "science" anime broadcast within an NHK Education show called Suiensaa. The main show talks about things people want to change (e.g., getting over an aversion to roller coasters), and features performances by AKB48. Staff info not yet available.

I'm not sure why the official English isn't Marie (or even Mary) and Gary.

animation: Toei.
tue 31 mar 19:25


Koihime†Musou
(jp: 恋姫†無双)

ecchi historical comedy
Get ready for an OVA of this ecchi/moe retelling of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Written by Go Zappa (Chokotto Sister, Myself;Yourself). Directed by Nakanishi Nobuaki (Kashimasi, Sumomo mo Momo mo)

The seiyuu are neither young nor well-known, but are experienced pro game seiyuu. This worked for ef, and it works here.

The special edition of the DVD includes several extras, including a "Rinrin's chest" mousepad. Rinrin is the main loli character.

This is probably just a one-episode OVA, but I can’t find definitive information.

seiyuus: Kurokawa Nami, Nishizawa Hiroka, Narumi Erika, Kobayashi Maki, Motoi Emi, Maeda Yuki.
director: Nakanishi Nobuaki (Kasimasi, Sumomomomomo)
writer: Go Zappa (Chokotto Sister, Myself;Yourself).
animation: Dogakobou (Myself;Yourself). chara-des: Oshima Miwa (Cosmopolitan Prayers, Love Love). animation supervisor: Oshima Miwa.
trailer.
OVA.
wed 01 apr


Mainichi Kaasan
(jp: 毎日かあさん)

family humor
Family anime based on a newspaper cartoon strip about a mother's household misadventures. The title translates to something like "Everyday Mom."

Competent director, and one of the best anime writers: Takahashi Natsuko (Gakuen Heaven, Blue Drop, Tales of Agriculture).

The award-winning strip has been running for seven years, and the collected volumes have sold over a million copies. The humor is based partly on incidents in the mangaka's own life as a mother.

seiyuus: Mori Kumiko, Taguchi Hiromasa, Okamoto Rei.
director: Hongo Mitsuru (Outlaw Star, Deltora Quest, Reideen)
writer: Takahashi Natsuko (Gakuen Heaven, Blue Drop, Tales of Agriculture).
animation: Gallop. chara-des: Mizutani Kenta (Animal Yokocho).
sound director: Matsuoka Yuki (Eyeshield, Moetan).
wed 01 apr 19:00


Sengoku Basara
(jp: 戦国BASARA)

historical fighting adventure
In the age of the Warring States, Japan was fragmented into semi-independent provinces, governed by feudal lords who confronted each other in an endless struggle for power.

In this never-ending conflict, one man finally seemed to be just one step from establishing total control over the country. He was the lord of Owari, the Sixth Heavenly Devil King. His name was Oda Nobunaga.

But now, a young general clad in blue makes his unexpected appearance in this confused scenario, heading a huge army of cavalrymen from the Northern provinces. He is known as Date Masamune, the One-Eyed Dragon. And he is coming for Oda Nobunaga's head, and for ultimate supremacy! (anidb)

The preview looks a bit homogenized, but this is Production IG, so the look is sharp. Director Kawasaki Itsurou has done Canvas2 and Koukaku no Regios, but nothing like this. Writer Muso Yasuyuki did Chevalier D'Eon.

seiyuus: Nakai Kazuya, Houshi Souichirou, Wakamoto Norio, Morikawa Toshiyuki, Koyasu Takehito, Paku Romi, Kuwatani Natsuko, Kaida Yuuko, Ohkawa Tohru, Tsujitani Kouji.
director: Kawasaki Itsurou (Canvas2, Regios)
writer: Muto Yasuyuki (Persona Trinity Soul, Chevalier D'Eon chief writer).
animation: Production IG. chara-des: Ookubo Tooru. animation supervisor: Ookubo Tooru (animator).
sound director: Iwanami Yoshikazu (Marimite, Baccano, etc.). music: Sawano Hiroyuki (Gigantic Formula, Zombie Loan). OP Abingdon Boys School, ED Dustz.
trailer. subs: Shinsen, Yuurisan?.
13eps.
wed 01 apr 25:34


Queen's Blade
(jp: クイーンズブレイド 流浪の戦士)

ecchi comedy fantasy adventure
In four years comes the competition that decides the next queen. The strongest warrior will continue to rule the country, according to tradition. The contestants need only be older than 12 years. The rules for the tournament are simple: murder is allowed. Any weapon can be chosen. The event is broadcast through a crystal sphere by the court's magic teacher for the whole population to see and enjoy. Based by a gamebook by Hobby Japan. (anidb)

Director Yoshimoto Kinji is a refugee from the dark side. His previous works include Night Shift Nurses, Plastic Little, and G-spot Express…as well as Genshiken 2, which was his step onto the non-hentai stage.

Since he is also the writer, I have no idea how this show will go. Except that pre-release illustrations show lots of flesh.

Huge cast of fine seiyuus, including Hirano Aya's only role of the season. Kugimiya Rie plays a well-endowed character called Melona. Kawasumi Ayako, Noto Mamiko, Gotou Yuuko...a fine band of female warriors.

seiyuus: Kawasumi Ayako, Tanaka Atsuko, Hirano Aya, Noto Mamiko, Kugimiya Rie, Gotou Yuuko, Itou Kanae, Takahashi Mikako, Kitamura Eri, Mizuhashi Kaori.
director: Yoshimoto Kinji (hentai, Genshiken 2)
writer: Yoshimoto Kinji.
animation: ARMS. chara-des: Rin Shin.
sound director: Aketagawa Jin. OP Oohashi Rie, ED Kawasumi Ayako, Noto Mamiko, Hirano Aya.
trailer. subs: Saikyo, Chihiro.
12eps.
thu 02 apr 08;00


Asura Cryin'
(jp: アスラクライン)

science fiction romantic comedy
From a light novel series about a high school boy haunted by the ghost of a childhood girlfriend. He lives in the second iteration of a world that has been destroyed once before. And there is a teleport device that allows people to reach a parallel world.

Irino Miyu stars, with Tomatsu Haruka, Nonaka Ai and Tanaka Rie. And there are some good names in the supporting cast: Yahagi Sayuri, Toyosaki Aki, Kitamura Eri, Takagi Reiko.

This is from the company that did Nanoha and Inukami, and is directed by the man who directed StrikerS, Sekirei, and Inukami.

seiyuus: Irino Miyu, Tomatsu Haruka, Nonaka Ai, Tanaka Rie, Morikubo Shoutarou, Takagi Reiko, Toyosaki Aki, Majima Junji, Kitamura Eri, Yahagi Sayuri.
director: Kusakawa Keizou (StrikerS, Inukami, Sekirei)
writer: Koide Katsuhiko (Kaikan Phrase, Over Drive).
animation: Seven Arcs. chara-des: Komori Atsushi (Inukami, Bleach).
OPED angela.
subs: Saikyo?.
13eps.
thu 02 apr 09:30


Basquash!
(jp: バスカッシュ!)

science fiction sports mecha
On the planet Earthdash, its inhabitants gaze on its moon and the technologically advanced lunar city of Mooneyes with awe. Dan JD, a boy living in Rollingtown on Earthdash’s surface, gets caught up in Bigfoot Basketball — a fast-paced sport played with giant Bigfoot robots.

This is produced by Kawamori Shoji, the director of Macross, and the trailer shows some very nice 3DCG and character design is by a team including Yoshimatsu Takahiro (Oh Edo Rocket) and mangaka/illustrator Suezen. The CG involves a European team including Thomas Romain (Oban Star Racers).

This show also features one of Hayami Saori's three roles this spring, along with Eden of the East and 07-Ghost. Hayamin has just graduated from high school and is starting college. She, Nakajima Megumi, and Tomatsu Haruka make up a kind of young seiyuu super-group, Eclipse, that does the OP.

In-depth article in French.

seiyuus: Shimono Hiro, Itou Shizuka, Nakamura Yuuichi, Asano Masumi, Hanazawa Kana, Kugimiya Rie, Hayami Saori, Nakajima Megumi, Tomatsu Haruka, Endou Aya.
director: Itagaki Shin (Black Cat, Devil May Cry)
writer: Satou Tatsuo (Stellvia, Shigofumi).
animation: Satelight. chara-des: Yoshimatsu Takahiro; Suezen; Kazuhiro Soeta.
music: Yoshikawa Kei (Akahori Gedou Hour Rabuge). OP Eclipse (Nakajima Megumi, Hayami Saori, Tomatsu Haruka)
trailer. subs: Umai.
13eps.
thu 02 apr 25:25


K-On!
(jp: けいおん!)

moe comedy
From the seinen manga series K-ON! (pronounced “kei on”). Four high school girls try to sustain their school's popular music club despite being unable to read music or play instruments. (anidb)

KyoAni rolls out a new, female, director, Yamada Hisako, and gives her well-known writer Yoshida Reiko (Marimite, Saiunkoku) to work with. Can Yoshida Reiko do comedy? We'll find out. Character design by the designer of Lucky Star.

The star is young seiyuu Toyosaki Aki (Amuro in Umisho, Yoshino in Minami-ke), along with some even less-knowns. Toyosaki-san is represented by Sony's Music Ray'n, along with Tomatsu Haruka and Takagaki Ayahi,

seiyuus: Toyosaki Aki (Amuri/Umisho, Najimi/Akikan, Su/Shugo Chara), Hikasa Youko (Minamo/Sketchbook), Satou Satomi, Kotobuki Minako (17 yo), Sanada Asami (Di Gi Charat).
director: Yamada Hisako (new, KyoAni animator, ep director)
writer: Yoshida Reiko.
animation: KyoAni. chara-des: Horiguchi Yukiko (Lucky Star).
OP Toyosaki Aki, Hisaka Yoko, Satou Satomi, Kotobuki Minako, ED same feat. Hisaka.
subs: Chihiro, Frostii, CoalGuys, SS/Eclipse?.
13eps.
thu 02 apr 25:59


Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom
(jp: Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom)

mystery adventure
A spate of mafia assassinations occurs in America, the work of the mysterious organization named Inferno. "Phantom" is their top assassin. However, a lone tourist (Irino Miyu) witnesses Phantom's latest act of murder. He unwittingly exposes the top assassin's true identity, a young girl named Ein (Takagaki Ayahi).

Witnesses are usually killed, but the man is captured and taken to be brainwashed into "Zwei", Inferno's newest assassin, with no memory of who he is. From this point on, Zwei is drawn into a world of conspiracy, deceit and violence. From a game written by orobuchi Gen for Nitroplus. (ann)

Mashimo Kouichi and Bee Train attract some people and repel others. Sawashiro Miyuki and Takagaki Ayahi are an irresistible pull for me, even if this is not my genre of show. With Kokia and Ali Project doing the OP and ED, you can see that the producers have high hopes for this show.

seiyuus: Takagaki Ayahi, Irino Miyu, Sawashiro Miyuki, Hisakawa Aya, Houshi Souichirou.
director: Mashimo Kouichi (.Hack//, Madlax)
writer: Kuroda Yousuke (Madlax, Honey & Clover 2, Gundam00).
animation: Bee Train.
sound director: Tsuruoka Yota. OP Kokia, ED Ali Project.
trailer. subs: Chibi/Formukla, Jade, Kesenai?.
13eps.
thu 02 apr 26:15


To Love-Ru OVA
(jp: OVA To LOVEる)

moe romantic comedy
Moderately successful ecchi comedy gets an OVA, released with v13 of the manga.

A glamorous interstellar princess suddenly shows up naked in a teenage boy's room and decides he is to be her husband. Directed by the director of Busou Renkin and Rockman.EXE. Written by the lead writer for Blue Dragon, Busou Renkin, and Simoun.

Outstanding cast features Tomatsu Haruka, Watanabe Akeno, and Yahagi Sayuri, as well as Koyasu Takehito. Tomatsu and Yahagi combine for the OP and ED.

oHagi is also involved in the ED for the new Hayate. I guess she has been working on her singing, as well as her voice-acting. A slowly rising star. Five roles this season.

seiyuus: Watanabe Akeno, Tomatsu Haruka, Yahagi Sayuri, Arai Satomi, Koyasu Takehito, Hanazawa Kana, Kawasumi Ayako, Nazuka Kaori, Oura Fuyuka, Yoshino Hiroyuki.
director: Kato Takao (Busou Renkin, Rockman.EXE)
writer: Yamatoya Akatsuki (Blue Dragon, Busou Renkin, Simoun).
animation: Xebec.
sound director: Mima Masafumi. OPED Tomatsu Haruka, Yahagi Sayuri.
OVA.
fri 03 apr 25:55


Hayate no Gotoku!!
(jp: ハヤテのごとく!!)

comedy
A new season of the wildly popular Sunday comedy featuring Kugimiya Rie as the tsundere heiress Nagi, Shiraishi Ryouko as her dragooned butler Hayate, and Tanaka Rie as her commanding maid. With hilarious turns by a supporting cast that includes Ueda Kana, Matsuki Miyu, Inoue Marina, Nabatame Hitomi, Asano Masumi, Takahashi Mikako, et al.

New studio, director, and writer give promise of something a bit different this time around. Since I lost interest in the original show, I am happy to see something new.

The new show has the same name as the first, except for one extra exclamation mark.

seiyuus: Kugimiya Rie, Shiraishi Ryouko, Tanaka Rie, Ueda Kana, Matsuki Miyu, Inoue Marina, Nabatame Hitomi, Asano Masumi, Takahashi Mikako, Yahagi Sayuri.
director: Iwasaki Yoshiaki (Sky Girls, Love Hina)
writer: Kuroda Yousuke (Madlax, Gundam00).
animation: JC Staff.
sound director: Watanabe Jun. music: Nakagawa Koutarou. OP Elisa, ED Itou Shizuka, Nakao Eri, Yahagi Sayuri, Asano Masumi.
subs: Chihiro, SS/Eclipse, Kyou no Subs?, CoalGuys?.
13eps.
fri 03 apr 25:23


Pandora Hearts
(jp: パンドラハーツ)

fantasy adventure
Oz Bezarius, heir to one of the ducal houses, has just turned fifteen. His life is rich and carefree, darkened only by the absence of his father. At his coming-of-age ceremony, however, everything changes. For no reason that he can discern, he's cast into the prison known as the "Abyss."

He is saved by a "chain" known as Alice, the bloodstained black rabbit. Why was he cast into Abyss, how does Alice factor into it all, and what does the organization known as "Pandora" want with him...? (anidb)

Solid cast, solid staff, and Kajiura Yuki's music. Not my genre, but could be good.

seiyuus: Minagawa Junko, Kawasumi Ayako, Toriumi Kousuke, Hanazawa Kana, Ishida Akira, Fukuyama Jun, Hirohashi Ryou, Sakamoro Azuma.
director: Kato Takao (Over Drive, To LoveRu)
writer: Sekijima Mayori (Tsukuyomi Moonphase, Skip Beat).
animation: chara-des: Kobayashi Chizuru, Yamaoka Shinichi.
music: Kajiura Yuki. OP Fiction Junction, ED savage genius.
trailer. subs: Enigma, Aasa, Corona, Yuurisan?.
fri 03 apr 25:29


Slap-up Party -Arad Senki-
(jp: スラップアップパーティー -アラド戦記-)

fantasy adventure
Fantasy adventure involving a boy whom a spell makes unacceptable to his people and who is driven out, beginning a heroic journey during which he meets new friends. Stars Kondo Takashi and Nogawa Sakura. Derived from a Korean MMORPG called Dungeon Fighter.

The staff is largely unknown, except for the writer of Onegai My Melody, of all things. Gonzo has scaled back drastically, but this show is one that is still on: 26 episodes of it.

seiyuus: Kondo Takashi, Nogawa Sakura, Suzumura Kenichi, Tsuji Ayumi, Kuroda Takaya, Okiayu Ryoutarou, Tanaka Rie, Watanabe Akeno.
director: Ikezoe Takahiro (animator, ep director)
writer: Yamanobe Kazuki (Onegai My Melody).
animation: Gonzo. chara-des: Tomokatsu Nagasaku (animator, anidirector).
sound director: Tomohiro Yoshida (RomeoxJuliet). music: Nakatsuka Takeshi (Sexy Voice and Robo).
trailer. subs: Gonzo?.
26eps.
fri 03 apr 26:45


Gokujou!! Mecha Mote Iinchou
(jp: 極上!!めちゃモテ委員長)

young shoujo comedy
Based on shoujo comedy manga series Gokujo!! Mecha Mote Iincho (The Best!! Extremely Cool Student Council President). The series, which has been serialized since January 2006, tells the story of Mimi Kitagami, a high school girl who aims to be her school’s best student council president ever, despite having a crush on one of the school’s three most troublesome boys. (anidb)

Teen singing idol Ogawa Mana of Canary Club gets her first leading role in this promising Saturday morning girls' show. Veteran director Kousaka Harume did episodes of Sailor Moon and did a great job with Emily of New Moon. Writer Takahashi Natsuko did Blue Drop and Tales of Agriculture.

Ogawa works for the same agency as Hirano Aya (Spacecraft), but is being groomed for a wider appeal, having already done a film and three dramas. This could do for her what Shugo Chara did for Itou Kanae.

seiyuus: Ogawa Mana, Enomoto Atsuko, Suzuki Kyousuke, Takanohashi Tsubasa, Yonezawa Madoka.
director: Kousaka Harume (Saint Beast, Emily of New Moon, Sailor Moon eps)
writer: Takahashi Natsuko (Blue Drop, Tales of Agriculture).
animation: Synergy SP, Shogakukan.
13eps.
sat 04 apr 09:00


Shin Mazinger Shougeki Z-Hen
(jp: 真マジンガー 衝撃!Z編)

mecha
The original Mazinger, in the 1970s, was apparently the first show to have a piloted giant robot, so may have invented the mecha genre. The current show's staff says this is not a remake, but a new show. Mecha fans are eager.

The director-writer is Imagawa Yasuhiro, who did Bartender, so there is bound to be some depth and subtlety in the presentation. The character design is fairly standard kid shounen, by the character designer of Gintama.

seiyuus: Fujimura Ayumi, Akabane Kenji, Suzuki Yasuaki, Honda Youko.
director: Imagawa Yasuhiro (Bartender, Hatenkou Yuugi)
writer: Imagawa Yasuhiro.
animation: Bee Media, Code. chara-des: Takeuchi Shinji (Gintama).
music: Miyagawa Akira (Emily of New Moon). OP Lazy, Tamio Okuda, Kazuyoshi Saito, and JAM Project.
subs: Shinsen.
26eps.
sat 04 apr 23:20


Shinkyoku Soukai Polyphonica Crimson S
(jp: 神曲奏界ポリフォニカ クリムゾンS)

romantic fantasy magic case-of-the-week
This second series of Polyphonica is done by an entirely new studio and staff, but with the same excellent cast.

I found the first series boring. But the set-up was good, and the new staff could make the new series completely different from the original, despite using the same cast.

The new director is doing his first job, so it's hard to say about him. But writer Kanemaki Kenichi is an old hand, and did shows such as Negima?!, Pani Poni Dash, Jigoku Shoujo, and Natsume Yuujinchou, so he has breadth and depth.

I found Tomatsu Haruka harsh and unexpressive in the couple of episodes of the first series I could stand, but now she is a much better seiyuu, and I look forward to hearing what she does with the role of music magician Corticarte this time. As well as with the ED. OP by eufonius.

seiyuus: Kamiya Hiroshi, Tomatsu Haruka, Kawasumi Ayako, Konishi Katsuyuki, Mizuki Nana, Satou Rina.
director: Suzuki Toshimasa (eps of Fafner, Tsukuyomi Moonphase, etc.)
writer: Kanemaki Kenichi (Ai yori Aoshi, PaniPoni, Negima, Jigoku Shoujo, Natsume Yuujinchou).
animation: Diomedea (former Studio Barcelona). chara-des: Ohara Mitsuru (Peach Girl, Hantsuki).
sound director: Aketagawa Jin. OP eufonius, ED Tomatsu Haruka.
12eps.
sat 04 apr 25:30


Valkyria Chronicles
(jp: 戦場のヴァルキュリア -Gallian Chronicles-)

historical fantasy adventure
An anime adaptation of the Japanese tactical role-playing game developed by Sega for the PlayStation 3.

In the 1930's, Europa is split by the Empire and the Federation, the two dominant military powers that divide the continent. The two powers struggle for ultimate supremacy, inevitably starting the E.W.II (Second European War) involving all of Europa.

Gallia, a small independent nation situated between the two super powers now faces attacks from the Imperial Army due to its supplies of Ragnite. The Gallian Army is overmatched by the Imperial forces and must retreat quickly. But just when the nation is about to surrender its capital city, one squad leader's unusual strategy defeats the Imperial Army. (anidb)

The director is new, but writer Yokote Michiko could give the show some depth, having previously done Princess Tutu and Genshiken. Another top role for Inoue Mmarina, and Kuwashima Houko gets her one role of the new season.

seiyuus: Chiba Susumu, Inoue Marina, Sakurai Takahiro, Kuwashima Houko, Minagawa Junko, Nomura Kenji, Tanaka Atsuko, Fukuyama Jun, Ohara Sayaka.
director: Yamamoto Yasutaka (storyboards, ep dir Xxxholic Kei)
writer: Yokote Michiko (Princess Tutu, Genshiken, Xxxholic Kei).
animation: A-1. chara-des: Watanabe Atsuko (key anim).
sound director: Nagasaki Yukio (Natsu no Sora, Itazura na Kiss). music: Sakimoto Hitoshi (RomeoxJuliet). OP Himeka, ED pe'zmoku.
trailer. subs: Aero, Ayako, Conclave, gg?.
26eps.
sat 04 apr 25:35


Metal Fight Beyblade
(jp: メタルファイト ベイブレード)

shounen fantasy adventure
Ginga is a determined beyblader. This is the story of his growth as he fights opponents from the evil Facehunters, and as he makes new friends and parts from old ones.

Katou Emiri gets a Sunday morning show, after the conclusion of her Saturday morning show, Telepathy Girl Ran. Onward and upward for the second of the three Lucky Star alumnae to get a Seiyuu Award.

Director Sugishima Kunihisa should know what he is doing, having directed Yu-Gi-Oh. Writer Hasegawa Kutsumi did Macademi Wasshoi! Third series for this franchise, which debuted in 2001.

seiyuus: Hino Satoshi, Katou Emiri, Koyasu Takehito, Shindou Kei, Miyake Kenta, Kanada Aki.
director: Sugishima Kunihisa (Yu-Gi-Oh!, Speed Grapher, Nabari no O)
writer: Hasegawa Katsumi (Blue Gender, Final Approach, DCSS, Macademi Wasshoi!).
animation: chara-des: Nagamori Yoshihiro (Kirarin Revolution, NJM no Musume anidir).
music: Neil Perfitt. OP Yu + Ki.
subs: ZeroPositive?.
sun 05 apr 08:30


Dragon Ball Kai
(jp: ドラゴンボール改)

family adventure
Clean-up, reformatting to wide screen, and revoicing (by most of the original cast) of the original Dragon Ball Z animation.

Toei Animation.
subs: SD Project, DBZ Renaissance, Aasa.
sun 05 apr 09:00


Jewelpet
(jp: ジュエルペット)

young shoujo
From the makers of Onegai My Melody comes a new series based around a Sanrio plush toy. Director Sasaki Nanako is new. Writer Maekawa Jun, however, did Prince of Tennis, Sisters of Wellber, and Fresh Precure.

director: Sasaki Nanako
writer: Maekawa Jun (Prince of Tennis, Sisters of Wellber, Fresh Precure).
animation: Studio Comet. chara-des: Miyakawa Tomoko (Onegai My Melody).
52eps.
sun 05 apr 09:30


Cross Game
(jp: クロスゲーム)

shounen romance sports
From a manga now in its 15th volume. Hikaru is the son in a family that runs a sporting goods store. He is an excellent pitcher, and close friends with one of the daughters in the family that owns the nearby batting centre. Tragedy. Friendship. Potential romance. And a long trail toward the national high-school baseball tournament.

Although director Sekita Osamu really made a hash-up of Ichigo 100%, writer Tsuchiya Michihiro is a name to conjure with, having done Major, KimiKiss, and Nijuumensou no Musume.

The cast has some outstanding names in it, including Tomatsu Haruka, Toyoguchi Megumi, and Shitaya Noriko. I'm happy to see Ayaka doing the ED.

seiyuus: Irino Miyu, Tomatsu Haruka, Kanda Akemi, Toyoguchi Megumi, Shitaya Noriko, Sakurai Takahiro.
director: Sekita Osamu (Ichigo 100%, Juushin Enbu)
writer: Tsuchiya Michihiro (Kaikan Phrase, Major, KimiKiss, Chiko).
animation: Synergy SP. chara-des: Kondou Yuuji (animator: Sailor Moon, One Piece, Xxxholic).
OP Kobukuro, ED Ayaka.
sun 05 apr 10:00


Fullmetal Alchemist 2
(jp: 鋼の錬金術師)

science fiction fantasy
Highly anticipated sequel to the original classic fantasy. Thirteen fansub groups have expressed interest in subbing this show.

Entirely new staff includes the director of Kurau Phantom Memory and the writer of Noein. But much of the cast remains the same, including Paku Romi and Kugimiya Rie in the lead roles. New cast members include such luminaries as Nazuka Kaori, Inoue Kikuko, and Yoshino Hiroyuki.

seiyuus: Paku Romi, Kugimiya Rie, Miki Shinichirou, Takamoto Megumi, Fujiwara Keiji, Inoue Kikuko, Orikasa Fumiko, Nazuka Kaori, Yoshino Hiroyuki, Yamadera Kouichi.
director: Irie Yasuhiro (Kurau)
writer: Ohnogi Hiroshi (Aquarion, Noein, Birdy Decode).
animation: Bones. chara-des: Kanno Hiroki (eps of FMA, Eureka Seven, Soul Eater).
sound director: Mima Masafumi. music: Senju Akira (Red Garden). ED Sid.
trailer. subs: ACG, Darksoul, Destiny/Yuurisan/Yibis, Elricest, Aasa, gSS, AniYoshi, Kyou no Subs/Tomodachi, etc..
13?eps.
sun 05 apr 17:00


Before Green Gables (Konnichiwa Anne)
(jp: こんにちは アン)

family classic
The 26th World Masterpiece Theatre presentation goes back to the Japanese obsession with early 20th century Canadian heroine Anne Shirley of Green gables. This time, it's to tell the story of Anne before she got to Green Gables.

Writer Shimada Michiru did a great job with both Emily of New Moon and Shugo Chara. But director Yatabe Katsuyoshi's credits seem limited to Dinosaur King and a lot of hentai (!) We'll see how this goes. I donlt know any of the seiuu except Kobayashi Yumiko, who has another comparatively minor role.

seiyuus: Hidaka Rina (Kohane/XXXholic, Last Order/Index), Tamura Seiko, Satou Setsuji, Wakusawa Rika, Kobayashi Yumiko (Puni Puni Poemi).
director: Yatabe Katsuyoshi (Dinosaur King, hentai)
writer: Shimada Michiru (Emily of New Moon, Shugo Chara).
animation: Nippon Animation. chara-des: Nishimura Takayo (5cm/sec).
Inoue Azumi.
39eps.
sun 05 apr 19:30


Hanasakeru Seishounen
(jp: 花咲ける青少年)

shoujo romantic adventure reverse harem
A half-Japanese heiress is transplanted from her ordinary high school days in Japan to a life in America filled with intrigue involving international oil and wealth distribution.

Manga from the late 1980s-early 1990s. Natsumi Itsuki is the creator of manga series including Jyu Oh Sei, Yakumo Tatsu (Eight Clouds Rising), and OZ, which have previously been adapted into anime. (anidb)

Shoujo romantic adventure from Kon Chiaki (Higurashi, Nodame Paris). Following her success as the new Angelique, Endou Aya (Sheryl in Macross Frontier) gets another role at the center of a reverse harem, surrounded by a bevy of bishounen "blooming like flowers": Morikawa Toshiyuki, Ono Daisuke, Namikawa Daisuke, Fukuyama Jun.

seiyuus: Endou Aya, Morikawa Toshiyuki, Ono Daisuke, Namikawa Daisuke, Fukuwama Jun.
director: Kon Chiaki (Higurashi, Nodame Paris)
writer: Ikeda Mamiko (Himawari, Emma2, Regios). Itsuki Natsumi (creator).
animation: Studio Pierrot. chara-des: Kusumoto Yuko (12 Kingdoms, Emma).
sound director: Takakuwa Hajime (Major, Blue Dragon, Spice & Wolf).
13eps.
sun 05 apr 23:00


Guin Saga
(jp: グイン・サーガ)

fantasy adventure
Somewhere in the Middle Country roams Guin, a mysterious warrior revered by the people. Apparently with the head of a leopard, he has lost all the memories he held except his combat instincts and the word "Aurra". When the people of the Middle Country are attacked by demonic creatures, it is up to Guin to save them. (ann)

Veteran Horiuchi Kenyuu (Bishop in Coyote Ragtime) is Guin, and Nakahara Mai and Yonaga Tsubasa are the brother and sister through whom the story is told. The newly ubiquitous Yahagi Sayuri shows up in another minor role (three new roles this season), as does the long ubiquitous Fujiwara Keiji.

Kanon does the ED.

seiyuus: Horiuchi Kenyuu, Nakahara Mai, Yonaga Tsubasa, Asanuma Shintarou, Uchida Yuya, Yahagi Sayuri, Watanabe Akeno, Abe Atsushi, Fujiwara Keiji, Ishii Makoto.
director: Wakabayashi Atsushi (new, Naruto storyboards and animation)
writer: Yonemura Shouji (Glass Fleet, Stitch).
animation: Satelight. chara-des: Murata Toshiharu (Burn-up Scramble). animation supervisor: Murata Toshiharu (Solty Rei, Pumpkin Scissors).
sound director: Aketagawa Susumu (Shugo Chara, Tytania). music: Uematsu Nobuo (FFVII, Blue Dragon). OP Uematsu Nobuo, ED Kanon.
trailer. subs: Enigma, Gattai.
13eps.
sun 05 apr 23:29


Shangri-La
(jp: シャングリ・ラ)

science fiction
In the middle of the 21st century, global warming has turned Tokyo into a tropical city. To reduce the temperature, the city is being reborn as the world's largest forest city. However, not many residents can actually live there. Moreover, anti-government guerillas are attempting to stop the forestation. (ann)

Director Bessho Makoto has an interesting background, having done the AMG movie, and done storyboards for a wide range of shows, including Petite Princess Yucie, Death Note, and Seirei no Moribito. But writer Ohnogi Hiroshi (Noein) may be the most intriguing part of this project. Or the character designer, famous moe illustrator Murata Range.

Actually, for me female lead Takahashi Mikako may be the most interesting thing about the show. I have loved her voice since Ayu in Honey & Clover. I keep waiting for her to get a role as good as that one was and to reach the stardom I think she deserves. Also in the cast is Iguchi Yuka (Index in To Aru Majutsu no Index).

seiyuus: Takahashi Mikako, Ariga Yui, Iguchi Yuka, Ishii Makoto, Horiuchi Kenyuu, Ishizuka Rie, Igarashi Rei, Kaneda Tomoko, Hirakawa Daisuke, Sakurai Takahiro.
director: Bessho Makoto (AMG movie, storyboards for Petite Princess Yucie, Death Note, Seirei no Moribito, etc.)
writer: Ohnogi Hiroshi (Aquarion, Noein, FMA2).
animation: Gonzo. chara-des: Murata Range (http://www.pseweb.com/), Ishii Kumi. animation supervisor: Ban Yukiko (Gintama).
sound director: Tsuruoka Yota. music: Kuroishi Hitomi (Last Exile). OP May'n.
subs: Jade, Corona, Gonzo?.
12eps.
sun 05 apr 24:00


Natsu no Arashi!
(jp: 夏のあらし!)

shounen mystery romantic adventure
Thirteen-year-old Yasaka is a boy staying at his grandfather's house during his summer vacation. One day he enters a store and meets Arashi, a beautiful sixteen-year old girl who is working there. After trying to protect her from a man who claims to have been hired by her family to take her back by force, Yasaka runs away with her and she now stays at his grandpa's place with him.

His new friend is far from an ordinary girl, as she possesses mysterious powers. The plot thickens when he finds a sixty-year-old picture of Arashi and another girl named Kaja, and to the surprise of all Kaja suddenly appears, and just like Arashi, her appearance hasn't changed at all since then. (anidb)

Shinbo's spring offering. With Oonuma Shin (ef) directing the first epsiode, the big guns are together. Writer Takayama Katsuhiko should preserve the story's mysterious edge, since he wrote both ef shows and Hanbun no Tsuki.

Sanpei Yuuko goes back to playing middle-school boys, as the lead. With the suddenly highly popular Shiraishi Ryouko switching to a female role as Arashi and Nazuka Kaori as her German friend Kaja.

seiyuus: Shiraishi Ryouko, Sanpei Yuuko, Nazuka Kaori, Omigawa Chiaki, Nabatame Hitomi, Yasumoto Hiroki, Nonaka Ai, Horie Yui.
director: Shinbou Akiyuki
writer: Takayama Katsuhiko (ef, Hanbun no Tsuki). Kobayashi Jin (creator)(School Rumble).
animation: Shaft. chara-des: Ota Kazuhiro (PaniPoni, Negima).
OP Omokage Lucky Hole, Nazuka Kaori, Shiraishi Ryouko, ED Shiraishi Ryouko.
subs: Saikyo? Kyou no Subs?.
13eps.
sun 05 apr 25:30


Tears to Tiara
(jp: ティアーズ・トゥ・ティアラ)

fantasy adventure
Based on the strategy role-playing eroge from Leaf and Aquaplus. After a Demon King named Arawn who was sealed away for 1,000 years is released by girl named Rhiannon (Gotou Yuuko). She and he start to travel together and she becomes emotionally attached to him. (anidb)

Great cast. The director of Utawarerumono (also a Leaf game) and sola. And written by Douko Machida, the writer of Lucky Star and Allison and Lillia. Could be good.

seiyuus: Ogawa Tohru, Gotou Yuuko, Ishii Makoto, Nakahara Mai, Tanaka Rie, Koshimizu Ami, Shimizu Ai, Nazuka Kaori, Ueda Kana, Sawashiro Miyuki.
director: Kobayashi Tomoki (Utawarerumono, sola)
writer: Doko Machida (Lucky Star, Allison & Lillia).
animation: OLM (Pokemon , ToHeart), White Fox. chara-des: Nakata Masahiko (Utawarerumono).
sound director: Aketagawa Susumu (Shugo Chara, Tytania). music: Hattori Takayuki (Densha Otoko). OP Suara, ED Yuki Aira.
trailer. subs: Insomnia, Saikyo?.
26eps.
sun 05 apr 25:35


Saki
(jp: 咲-Saki-)

moe comedy
Moe comedy set in a school Mah Jong club. Ueda Kana and Koshimizu Ami are already broadcasting the radio show.

Aside from the great cast, it’s hard to know where this one is going. Director Ono did the unlamented Dragonauts. Writer Urahata did Monster on the one hand, and Strawberry Panic on the other.

I'll be here for episode one because of Koshimizu Ami, at least.

seiyuus: Ueda Kana, Koshimizu Ami, Kugimiya Rie, Itou Shizuka, Shiraishi Ryouko, Fukuyama Jun.
director: Ono Manabu (Dragonaut)
writer: Urahata Tatsuhiko (Monster, Strawberry Panic).
animation: Gonzo. chara-des: Sasaki Masakatsu. animation supervisor: Sasaki Masakatsu.
sound director: Tsuruoka Yota (SHnY, Rozen Maiden, Lucky Star). OP Hashimoto Miyuki.
trailer. subs: #mahjong, Gonzo?.
13eps.
sun 05 apr 26:00


07-Ghost
(jp: 07-Ghost)

future gothic fantasy adventure
Set in a futuristic gothic fantasy world. Orphaned slaveboy Teito Klein becomes the top military academy student. However, an unexpected turn of events leaves him being pursued by the forces of the Barsburg Empire.

Now an escaping convict, Teito is sheltered by the church under its law of sanctuary. There, he discovers many mysteries surrounding himself, the church, and the Empire itself. He may be connected to a dethroned king and the mystical stone of god, Fortunately the church is under the mythical 7 Ghost protection. But who are the Ghosts? (anidb)

Director Takamoto Nobuhiro did the competent but forgettable Tokimeki Memorial and Sasami Mahou Shoujo Club. Writer Takahashi Natsuko was behind the more unusual Blue Drop and Tales of Agriculture. A roll-call of highly competent seiyuus, including Saiga Mitsuki, Suwabe Junichirou, Saitou Chiwa, Hayami Shou, Kishio Daisuke, and Kawasumi Ayako. And 2channel says Hayami Saori is in it, too.

I like the spare, sharp-edged character design of Fujii Maki (Kannazuki no Miko, Hakushaku to Yousei).

seiyuus: Saiga Mitsuki, Namikawa Daisuke, Suwabe Junichirou, Chiba Susumu, Miyata Kouki, Hayami Shou, Kishio Daisuke, Chiwa Saitou, Irino Miyu, Kawasumi Ayako, Hayami Saori.
director: Takamoto Nobuhiro (Toikimeki Memorial, Sasami Mahou Shoujo)
writer: Takahashi Natsuko (Blue Drop, Tales of Agriculture).
animation: Studio Deen. chara-des: Fujii Maki (Hakushaku to Yousei, Kannazuki no Miko).
sound director: Takakuwa Hajie (Spice Wolf, Blue Dragon). music: Nakagawa Kotaro (Hayate, Planetes, Code Geass). OP Suzuki Yuki, ED Noria.
trailer. subs: Atelier-Thryst, Yuurisan, zefringo, Aasa, Conclave?.
mon 06 apr 25:40


Tayutama: Kiss on my Deity
(jp: タユタマ -Kiss on my Deity-)

harem comedy
Adaptation of the adult visual novel game Tayutama -kiss on my deity-, from Japanese developer Lump of Sugar. The erotic harem game revolves around schoolboy Yuri Mito, who discovers a mysterious religious relic shortly before equally mysterious girls (who are actually the area’s forgotten gods) begin turning up. (anidb)

Hino Satoshi gets more goddesses to deal with, as he had to deal with Shana.

I have almost no expectations for this show, since it was done by the team that did School Days and Akasaka, and is likely to be as jerry-built as those two shows.

seiyuus: Hino Satoshi, Rikimaru Noriko, Shimada Mami, Mizuhashi Kaori, Itou Shizuka, Okiayu Ryoutarou, Wakamoto Norio, Kishio Daisuke.
director: Motonaga Keitarou (School Days)
writer: Makoto Uezu (School Days).
animation: Silver Link (help on Chiko, ef, Itazura). chara-des: Ogawara Haruo (Goshuushousama Ninomiyakun). animation supervisor: Megumi Noda (Lamune).
sound director: Ebina Yasunori (Fruits Basket, Ghost Hunt). OP Kicco, ED Miyazaki Ui.
trailer. subs: Ayako, Yuurisan?.
sun 06 apr 24:30


Souten Kouro
(jp: 蒼天航路)

historical adventure
Adaptation of award-winning historical manga Souten Kouro, the story of the great Chinese Three Kingdoms warlord Cao Cao, the greatest warlord of his day. History gives him an evil reputation, but if he had been able to win the whole country, he would have been seen as the great savior of China.

The manga, by King Gonta and Li Hagin, appeared in Kodansha’s Morning magazine from 1994 to 2005 and won the Kodansha Manga Prize in 1998.

Stars Miyano Mamoru. Writer Takayashiki Hideo did One Outs. Director Tominaga Tsuneo did Wangan Midnight. This has a chance to be the best recent adaptation of the Chinese classic novel the Romance of the Three Kingdoms.

seiyuus: Miyano Mamoru.
director: Tominaga Tsuneo (Initial D, Wangan Midnight)
writer: Takayashiki Hideo (One Outs, Rideback).
animation: Madhouse. animation supervisor: Kano Akira, Yoshida Daisuke (Kiba, Noein 3D).
music: Murai Shusei (Mouryou no Hako, Allison & Lillia).
tue 07 apr 24:59


Ristorante Paradiso
(jp: リストランテ・パラディーゾ)

seinen/josei slice of life
“RisPara,” as the manga is abbreviated by its many Japanese fans, will be the second anime series broadcast in the Fuji TV network’s late night “NOISE” time slot, following the end of the current Michiko to Hatchin television series.

21 year-old Nicoletta leaves her grandparents’ home in the countryside to work in Rome at a restaurant owned by her estranged mother’s lover. But something sets the popular and elegant Casetta Dell’orso apart from its rivals: the entire restaurant is staffed by older gentlemen wearing glasses (as per her mother’s preference). Thrown into this adult world, Nicoletta must try to find personal and professional stability - things that become increasingly difficult to achieve as she falls under the spell of Casetta Dell’orso. (celestialkitsune).

Orikasa Fumiko is a great start for the cast. Director Kase Mitsuko directed her in Saikano, of all things. This show, aimed at somewhat older male and female fans, may be one of the season's sleepers. Writer Inotsume Shinichi did Hayate. Character designer Takeda Itsuko did Blue Drop.

seiyuus: Orikasa Fumiko, Nomura Kenji, Terada Haruhi.
director: Kase Mitsuko (Saikano)
writer: Inotsume Shinichi (Hayate).
animation: David (Code Geass). chara-des: Takeda Itsuko (Blue Drop).
OP orange pekoe, ED Komine Lisa.
trailer. subs: Frostii, gg?.
11eps.
wed 08 apr 26:08


Eden of the East (Higashi no Eden)
(jp: 東のエデン)

mystery romance
On November 22, 2010, ten missiles strike Japan. However, this unprecedented terrorist act, later to be called as "Careless Monday," does not result in any apparent victims, and is soon forgotten by almost everyone. Then, 3 months later....

Morimi Saki is a young woman currently in the United States of America on her graduation trip. But just when she is in front of the White House, Washington DC, she gets into trouble, and only the unexpected intervention of one of her fellow countrymen saves her.

However, this man, who introduces himself as Takizawa Akira, is a complete mystery. He appears to have lost his memory. And he is stark naked, except for the gun he holds in one hand, and the mobile phone he's holding with the other hand. A phone that is charged with 8,200,000,000 yen in digital cash. (anidb)

That intriguing plot summary aside, the staff gets my attention: not only is this by Production IG, but the director is Kamiyama Kenji, who did Ghost in the Shell and Seirei no Moribito, and the character design is by Umino Chika, the mangaka of Honey & Clover. If this has any of the human subtlety of H&C, I'm in. The OP, believe it or not, is by Oasis: Falling Down, a track that came out last year.

The preview is beautiful, with Umino Chika characters (versions of Morita and Hagu) against photorealistic backgrounds, and a very nice mood.

Add the fact that the cast includes young singer/seiyuu Hayami Saori in her first real starring role and I am right there for this one. The director shows great confidence in 17-year-old Hayamin, exposing her as the star alongside two co-stars who are stage and TV actors as well as seiyuus.

seiyuus: Kimura Ryouhei (seiyuu/actor), Hayami Saori, Miyauchi Atsushi (actor/seiyuu), Tamagawa Sakiko.
director: Kamiyama Kenji (GITS:SAC, Seirei no Moribito)
writer: Kamiyama Kenji.
animation: Production IG. chara-des: Umino Chika (orig).
music: Kawai Kenji (SKY Crawlers, GITS, Gundam00). OP Oasis, ED school food punishment.
trailer. subs: Jade, Frostii.
11eps.
thu 09 apr 24:45


Hatsukoi Limited
(jp: 初恋限定)

shounen romantic slice of life
High-school slice of life featuring the romantic attachments of a large cast. Will the anime raise the popular shounen romance manga to the level of KimiKiss, or let it fall like Ichigo 100% (by the same mangaka)? New director did a Hells Angels movie. The writer did Disgaea....

Attractive young cast featuring Ise Mariya (Touka in Touka Gettan), Toyosaki Aki (Amuro in Umisho) and Fujimura Ayumi (Ayane in Kaze no Stigma), as well as Gotou Saori, Itou Shizuka, Shiraishi Ryouko, Sakurai Takahiro, and Hino Satoshi.

OP is done with spirit by the highly professional Sphere, the group put together by Sony, featuring their young seiyuus Takagaki Ayahi, Tomatsu Haruka, and Toyosaki Aki.

seiyuus: Ise Mariya, Toyosaki Aki, Fujimura Ayumi, Itou Shizuka, Gotou Saori, Tanaka Rie, Shiraishi Ryouko, Sakurai Takahiro, Okamoto Nobuhiko, Hino Satoshi.
director: Yamakawa Yoshiki (new, Hells Angels movie, animator)
writer: Kunisawa Mariko (Disgaea). Kawashita Mizuki (mangaka, Ichigo 100%).
animation: JC Staff. chara-des: Shitaya Tomoyuki (Night Wizard).
sound director: Aketagawa Jin (Ichigo Mashimaro, Honey & Clover). OP sphere (Takagaki Ayahi, Tomatsu Haruka, Toyosaki Aki, Kotobuki Minako), ED marble.
trailer. subs: AniYoshi.
12eps.
sat 11 apr 24:00


Tsubasa - Spring Lightning
(jp: ツバサ 春雷記)

shoujo fantasy
New Tsubasa OVA from Clamp and Production IG. Tada Shunsuke (Prince of Tennis) directs. Music by Kajiura Yuuki. Written by Clamp's main anime writer, Ohkawa Nanase.

Stars Irino Miyu, Makino Yui, Namikawa Daisuke, and Kikuchi Mika.

seiyuus: Irino Miyu, Makino Yui, Namikawa Daisuke, Kikuchi Mika.
director: Tada Shunsuke (Prince of Tennis)
writer: Ohkawa Nanase.
animation: Production IG. chara-des: Kikuchi Youko.
music: Kajiura Yuki. OP Sakamoto Maaya, ED Fiction Junction Yuuka.
trailer.
OVA. 2/2eps.
tue 17 apr


To Heart 2 ad Plus
(jp: ToHeart2 adplus)

moe romantic comedy
Another OVA in the perennially just popular enough ToHeart franchise. If nothing else, it gives Ochiai Yurika some work. And I must admit I enjoy these shows, lame as they may seem.

New director Sakata Junichi is a long time storyboarder (NANA, Inukami) who directed Kaze no Stigma.

seiyuus: Sakurai Harumi, Yamakawa Kotomi, Hagiwara Emiko, Ochiai Yurika, Itou Shizuka, Honda Chieko, Natsuki Rio, Ono Ryouko, Kogure Ema, Fukuyama Jun.
director: Sakata Junichi (Kaze no Stigma, storyboards forNana, Inukami, etc.)
writer:
animation: Aquaplus. animation supervisor: Yanagisawa Masahide (ToHeart2, Bottle Fairy).
OVA. 1/2eps.
24 apr


Cobra The Animation: Time Drive
(jp: COBRA THE ANIMATION コブラ タイム・ドライブ)

fighting
Revival of an old series featuring macho, muscle, and mammaries. This is the second OVA series. The preview is for last year's first series. There is also a full TV series planned.

seiyuus: Nozawa Machi, Sakakibara Yoshiko.
director: Maeshima Kenichi (Patalliro Saiyuki)
writer: Suenaga Mitsuyo (Patalliro Saiyuki).
animation: chara-des: Shimizu Keizo (Emily of New Moon, Legend of Basara).
sound director: Miyoshi Keiichirou (Saikano, Ray). music: Ike Yoshihiro (Kamichu, Flag, Telepathy Girl Ran).
trailer.
OVA. 1/2eps.
fri 24 apr


Yurumates
(jp: ゆるめいつ)

slice of life comedy
Slice of life comedy based on a comic strip manga about an 18 year old female high school graduate who moves into an apartment building that is home to numerous aimless “ronin" (high school graduates unable to get accepted into college).

The look is reminiscent of Hidamari Sketch. Perhaps it’s just wishful thinking, but I have a good feeling about this one.

Momoi Halko stars and sings the OP. Also features Kuwatani Natsuko and Matsuki Miyu.

seiyuus: Momoi Halko, Kuwatani Natsuko, Matsuki Miyu, Hino Satoshi.
director: Yamanashi Chihiro (月見里智弘 pron?)
writer: saxyun (comic).
animation: indeprox.
OP Momoi Halko.
trailer.
OVA. 1/1eps.
fri 24 apr


Fight Ippatsu! Juuden-chan!!
(jp: ファイト一発!充電ちゃん!!)

moe comedy
Fukuhara Kaori, who played Tsukasa in Lucky Star, gets her first starring role. Will Kaorin become the last of the four stars of LS to get an award at the Seiyuu Awards?

She is supported by two of my favorite young seiyuus, Takagaki Ayahi and Yahagi Sayuri. Miyazaki Ui, Kawasumi Ayako, and Shimizu Ai are involved, too.

The story, from a popular ecchi manga by KissxSis illustrator Ditama Bow, involves an office worker from another dimension who comes to earth to charge up dejected people.

Kimura Shinichirou (Karin, Mahoraba) knows how to direct heartwarming moe.

seiyuus: Fukuhara Kaori, Takagaki Ayahi, Yahagi Sayuri, Miyazaki Ui, Shimizu Ai, Kawasumi Ayako, Takahashi Hiroki.
director: Kimura Shinichirou (Mahoraba, Karin, PiPoPa)
writer: Yamada Yasutomo (Tsuyokiss, Potemayo, PiPoPa). Ditama Bow (creator, KissxSis).
animation: Studio Hibari. chara-des: Watanabe Atsuko (animator).
may


Denpateki na Kanojo
(jp: 電波的な彼女)

romance, mystery, gore
Issued with the third volume of the Kure-nai manga, which is from a novel by the same author.

I loved the streamed version of episode one and look forward to seeing the DVD version. Hirohashi Ryou does a great job with her character, the somewhat robotic but actually just weird girl who suddenly shows up and swears allegiance as the protagonist's knight-errant.

Director Kanbe Mamoru did Elfen Lied and I"s Pure. Writer Yoshino Hiroyuki did My-HiME and Macross Frontier.

seiyuus: Hirohashi Ryou, Hosoya Yoshimasa, Kobayashi Yu, Satou Akemi, Yoshizumi Kozue.
director: Kanbe Mamoru (Elfen Lied, I"s Pure)
writer: Yoshino Hiroyuki (My-HiME, Macross Frontier).
animation: Brains Base. chara-des: Tanaka Chiyuki (animator), Yamamoto Yamato (orig).
trailer.
OVA. 1/2eps.
01 may


xxxHOLIC - Spring Dream
(jp: xxxHOLiC 春夢記)

shoujo fantasy
More xxxHOLIC for lovers of the first series and the first OVA. Ohara Sayaka and Fukuyama Jun are a great start for the cast. CLAMP and Production IG. Director Mizushima Tsutomu also did Kujibiki Unbalance, Ookiku Furikabutte, and Dai Mahou Touge.

Issued with a special edition of volume 14 of the manga.

seiyuus: Ohara Sayaka, Fukuyama Jun, Nakai Kazuya, Itou Shizuka, Kikuchi Mika.
director: Mizushima Tsutomu (Kujibiki, Ookiku, Dai Mahou Touge)
writer: Ohkawa Nanase (CCS).
animation: Production IG. chara-des: Kise Kazuchika (GITS movies, Evangelion 1.0).
subs: http://kc.kodansha.co.jp/tsubaholi/holic/special.html#MOV.
OVA. 2/2eps.
fri 15 may


Dogs, Bullets and Carnage
(jp: Dogs, Bullets and Carnage)

science fiction mystery
Sometime in the future, somewhere in Europe, a city has many levels of underground, even secret dangerous levels that have answers to the past. Mihai is a retired assassin who has returned home to settle a vendetta and start a new life as a restaurant owner. Haine was genetically experimented on as a child, which led to him possesing dog like attributes. Badou is the clumsy chain smoking partner who becomes deranged when denied cigarettes. Naoto was orphaned as a child and has amnesia; she was trained to wield the sword. Their pasts are somehow connected to the secret underground and the organization that controls it. (ann)

The director has no track record, and the writer did Kurogane no Linebarrels. But the trailer has potential. And the cast is professional: Ishida Akira, Itou Shizuka, Ohara Sayaka, Shiraishi Ryouko, et al.

seiyuus: Ishida Akira, Itou Shizuka, Ohara Sayaka, Shiraishi Ryouko.
director: Abe Tatsuya (animator)
writer: Yoshimura Kiyoko (Linebarrels).
animation: chara-des: Kanbe Hiroyuki (mecha designer, animator).
trailer.
tue 19 may


kissxsis
(jp: kiss×sis)

ecchi comedy
The DVD comes with volume 4 of the extremely ecchi manga, about a high-school boy whose two older sisters are constantly trying to get into his pants. The streamed vesion has already been out, and the show, while not that well made, is as hilarious and over the top as the manga.

seiyuus: Takeuchi Ken, Taketatsu Ayana, Tatsumi Yuiko.
director: Nawa Munenori
writer: Ditama Bow (Mahoromatic, mangaka).
animation: feel. chara-des: Shitaya Tomoyuki (Night Wizard). animation supervisor: Shitaya Tomoyuki.
sound director: Kikuta Hiromi.
trailer.
OVA. 1/1eps.
fri 22 may


Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Rei
(jp: ひぐらしのなく頃に礼)

mystery, supernatural, gore
Ep3 of the five-episode Higurashi OVA series. Ep4 will come in June. If you haven’t seen any of the Higurashi shows, be sure to give this one a try: mystery, the supernatural, bloody violence, and moe all rolled up into one attractive package. Not my cup of tea, but a fine drink nevertheless.

seiyuus: Houshi Souichirou, Nakahara Mai, Yukino Satsuki, Kanai Mika, Tamura Yukari, Horie Yui.
director: Kawase Toshifumi
writer: Kawase Toshifumi. Seventh Expansion (creator).
animation: Studio Deen. chara-des: Kuroda Kazuya.
OP: Eiko Shimamiya, ED: anNina.
trailer.
OVA. 3/5eps.
late may