Saturday, September 19, 2009

Takagaki Ayahi's New Gundam00 Songs Written by KOKIA

Takagaki Ayahi 高垣彩陽, who plays Feldt Grace in Gundam00, will sing two new character songs written by KOKIA. The CD will be released 21 October.

The songs are called "祈り†" (inori 'prayer') and "Justice".

Ayahi is just completing a great run as Ein in Requiem for the Phantom. This fall, she will star as Sumika in Sasameki Koto, and will play an important role in Sora no Otoshimono, both starting in October.

KOKIA is the well-known Japanese singer-songwriter who wrote and performed the outstanding OP1 and ED2 of Phantom. To me, her voice and material have aspects of celtic, country, and show-tunes: Loreena McKennit, Shania Twain, and Celine Dion.

Takagaki Ayahi's first big role was Noe in true tears. She has a trained singing voice, having graduated from a Tokyo music college last year in vocal music. I thought her character songs as Ein from Phantom were excellent, and she does a nice job as a back-up singer on the Koukaku no Regios ED. However, I did find some of her earlier stuff a bit stiff.
-- end of post --

Hayami Saori's Confession Scene in Love Plus

Hayami SaoriLove Plus ラブプラス is a virally popular dating game from Konami for the Nintendo DS. It was released earlier this month, and sold 48,000 copies in the first six days. By that time, there were over 40,000 posts about it on 2channel.

The game involves three girls. The player chooses a girl, becomes friends with her, and if he makes the right choices from the scripts he is presented with, she eventually confesses to him and they become boyfriend and girlfriend.

Then they spend time together -- even in real time -- talking, going on dates, etc. She can even use his name, if it is one of hundreds of common Japanese names. The game is like an interactive gal-game Tamagochi.

Hayami Saori plays Takabe Manaka, a soft-spoken member of the high-school tennis team. The other seiyuus -- Tange Sakura (Sakura in Cardcaptor Sakura) and Minaguchi Yuuko (Sailor Saturn) -- are top veteran seiyuus, and were chosen first. Then there was an audition of several dozen younger seiyuus, from among whom Hayamin was selected.

The producer says that her voice and skill just stood out from the start, that she gave him exactly the voice and acting that he asked for.

In any case, scenes of game-play are now appearing on YouTube. Here we have a ten-minute scene in which Manaka confesses to the game player and becomes his girlfriend. They end up making a date for the following Sunday:

In my opinion, Hayamin is now the seiyuu with the most beautiful voice in anime. She's a decent actress, too, but it is the sweet timbre of her voice that sets her apart.

It was no accident that in her first role, that of Momoka in Touka Gettan (2007), Hayamin did her best work in the episode that was written by Mamiko Noto -- who is now the second most beautiful voice in anime. Noto Kawaii wrote lines that she herself could say well, and they flowed off Hayamin's tongue, too.

The game is so addictive that people are missing school, work and sleep to play it, spending less time with their living friends, and keeping up with their "girlfriend" even in class. One poster on 2channel talked about kissing the screen.

Commentators have suggested that some otaku are finally experiencing things that they never came close to in real life. I don't look down on that. Life is not easy, and we all get through it however we can. If an artificial girlfriend helps, that's great. Android girlfriends may not be that far in the future.

The confession scene takes place at the tennis courts, which is also where Manaka and the game player first met. Here is that first scene:

This is not an ero-game, but a dating simulation game. The player can touch his girl in various ways, but the game has been described as for "vegetarians" rather than "carnivores."

The one complaint I have read, in both Japanese and English, is that there is not enough material and you run out of new things to say and do in a couple of weeks. There are over 4000 possible events, and many more lines of script, but if you are spending all day every day with someone, that can be insufficient.

But the game's popularity is still high. The main thread on 2channel is at over 117,000 posts. There is another thread (over 4000 posts) called "Love Plus refugees."

current 2channel thread
2channel gal-game board
Konami Love Plus site
interview with producer and director
early article on reaction to the game

Friday, September 18, 2009

Fall 2009 Anime Schedule

This season seems to be starting a bit early, with a number of OVAs and one series (Queen's Blade 2) coming out in September. So here is the weekly calendar for your viewing and dancing pleasure.

Day and time of the first weekly broadcast are given, as well as highlights of staff and cast. For full previews of all shows, see this post.

Click here or on the image to go to the full calendar:


The big days, as usual, are Sunday and Thursday.

Sunday: Yumeiro Patissiere, Battle Spirits, Sora no Otoshimono, Natsu no Arashi 2, Miracle Train. And a number of Sunday shows are continuing: Cross Game, Hanasakeru Shounen, Konnichiwa Anne, Jewelpet, FMA2, Dragonball Kai, and probably Beyblade.

Thursday: Queen's Blade, Asura Cryin' 2, Kiddy Girl- And, Kuchuu Buranko, Darker than Black, Kampfer, Nyan Koi. With Naruto, Pokemon, and Needless continuing.

And there are a large number of OVAs this season, most of which come out on a Friday.

There is another good schedule, in a different format, at Mahou Showtime.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Hirano Aya-only TV eps 5-6 -- the body of a 45-year-old?

Hirano Aya-only TV is getting deeper and deeper into reality-TV territory. The last two episodes have exposed Aya's athletic deficiencies and medical problems. (click photos to enlarge)

In episode five, the 21-year-old Aya took a standardized series of sports tests -- running, jumping, sit-ups, etc. -- that showed she met the athletic standard of a normal...50-year-old.

In episode six, she underwent a series of tests at an anti-aging centre, and we discovered that she often runs a slight temperature and that her temperature also frequently drops to 35°C (95°F), that her blood pressure is quite low, and that she should gain some weight. Aya also feels she catches cold easily.

The centre's director said her results were what could be expected from a forty-year-old. Maybe we now have our suspicions confirmed as to why she collapsed back in the fall of 2006: her determination is greater than her physical strength.

Most interesting was the daily schedule she showed the medical personnel at the anti-aging centre:

7am -- get up
8am -- breakfast
9am -- leave for work
10am - 2pm -- work
2pm -- lunch
3pm-10pm -- work
10pm -- dinner
11pm-2am -- "homework" (read scripts, watch videos to critique her own performance, etc.)
2am-7am -- sleep

The anti-aging centre's director told her she had to do something about her "irregular" schedule. She should have her meals earlier, both lunch and dinner, and should be sleeping between 11pm and 1am, which is an important time for hormones to be produced in the body. I can vouch for her having a late schedule: some of her blog posts have been time-stamped at 4am.

Just like many other Japanese workers, Aya seems to work too much and sleep too little.

The anti-aging tests were the "premium" series offered by the anti-aging centre, and Aya was shocked to learn that they cost ¥147,000 (about $1470). The centre used a lot of sophisticated medical technology, so the cost seems within reason. No doubt it caters to a wealthy clientele.

First, here are some pics from episode five, her day of athletic testing. One of the people helping with the testing was a 21-year-old member of the gold-medal-winning Japanese women's softball team. I saw their medal-winning match: Aya was right to be impressed.

Aya said from the start that she knew she was not very strong or athletic. She has said before that she even sat out gym classes sometimes, even though she did do all her dance practicing for work.

That's the softball star in the background:

Here are her results:

1. vertical jump -- 33cm (6cm below average for a 21-year-old woman)
2. back-and-forth jump -- 45times (above average)
3. sit-ups -- 19 (above average)
4. back bend from a prone position -- 52cm (above average)
5. bend forward from a seated position -- 42cm (3.5cm blow avg)
6. 20m shuttle run -- 18 times (17 times below avg)
7. handball toss -- 10m (4.3m below avg)
8. standing long-jump -- 1m34cm (32cm below avg)
9. grip strength -- 25kg (3kg below normal)
10. 50m dash -- 9.8sec (0.7sec below normal)

It seems to me that the first few items for which she met or exceeded the average all test things things that are useful in dancing: flexibility, agility, and core strength.

Now we go to episode six, the anti-aging centre. She let the camera see the measurement of her height (158.4cm = 5' 2.4"), but told the camera to leave when it came to weight and "three-sizes." She herself was embarrassed that her weight was above her "ideal weight," but the centre's director later told her she should gain some weight for health. Just as one might expect, an entertainer is happier to be abnormally thin than to be a healthy weight.

With her arm in a blood-pressure machine. She tested out at an excellent 111/58, but she laughed that sometimes her blood pressure is so low it's as if she's dead:

Having blood drawn -- several ampoules of it -- didn't bother her at all. She was a bit proud that other people couldn't take it. The technician said that more men than women had trouble with the sight of their own blood:

This is a test, not a nap:

Getting gel put on for an ultrasound of her neck, which showed that the arteries in her neck were healthy and open:

But her blood cells were a little too clumpy, and the technician said she should drink more liquids. Aya said the clumps of blood cells looked like caterpillars:

Ready for another test:

Hearing the good and bad news from the director: her arteries and bone density are good, but overall she has the constitution of someone in her forties.

Episode six of the monthly hour-long program aired first on 17 September. From glimpses of paperwork in the medical centre, you can see that the testing apparently took place on 17 August. So the show, on FujiTV, seems to have been recorded about a month before it was shown.

You can find streamed versions of episodes one through five by searching "平野綾だけTV" on Google video.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

57 Fall Anime -- story, staff, cast, trailer, pic

There are more new shows this fall than in any season over the past few years. But I'm not sure the quality -- or at least the appeal to my taste -- will be that high. I don't see any shows I expect to be as good as the great shows of this past summer season, such as Aoi Hana and Bakemonogatari. But I'm ready to be surprised. (click pics to enlarge)

We'll certainly have a lot of shows to choose from. But a growing number are OVA episodes or pre-released OPs being used to sell a manga volume, or advertise a future series. I'm not sure what the overall trend is in total production or total profit.

I'll give complete details of pretty well all the new shows: staff, cast, dates, times, pics, sub groups, and links to more info in English and Japanese, as well as to the shows' AnimeSuki forums, which have more info and discussion. But first, here are some shows I am looking forward to:

Sasameki Koto is a yuri school drama. The manga isn't as subtle and deep as Aoi Hana, but the show stars one of my favorite seiyuus: Takagaki Ayahi.

Sora no Otoshimono is a shounen fantasy about a guy who gets a buxom, all-powerful angel as his servant. Ecchi comedy is not everyone's cup of tea, but this stars Hayami Saori, the most beautiful voice in anime, as well as Takagaki Ayahi, and is directed by the director of Bamboo Blade and Kigurumikku.

Kimi ni Todoke was voted the top shoujo manga of 2008. I enjoy the manga, and I'm eager to see what Production I.G. can do with it. It stars Noto Mamiko -- the second-most beautiful voice in anime.

Winter Sonata may have been the most successful Asian romantic TV drama ever. Now we get a chance to see a Korean animated version, voiced by the original actors.

White Album now resumes, giving us the second half of the slowly evolving story of an aspiring idol's romantic and professional life. With Mizuki Nana and Hirano Aya.

Miracle Train is the most bizarre show of the season: a comedy in which stations on a Tokyo subway line are personified as bishounen. What makes this so attractive is the fact that it will be directed by Kasai Kenichi, who did a masterful job with Aoi Hana.

Darker than Black 2 continues the hard-boiled sci-fi mystery/adventure whose first season I enjoyed. Directed by Okamura Tensai (Wolf's Rain), and starring Kiuchi Hidenobu (Ren in NANA).

Koishigure is not so much an anime as an actress reading romance stories over illustrations, but the format and the quality of the stories get my attention.

Aoi Bungaku gives us another interesting format: six classic modern Japanese novels animated in three episodes each, with top character designers and artists involved.

Tegami Bachi is a charming little fantasy about a young boy (played by Sawashiro Miyuki) who is a letter-carrier in a mediaevalesque fantasy world.

To is a two-episode OVA based on stories from a famous space-fiction manga and directed by the man who produced Appleseed and directed Vexille.

Kuuchuu Buranko is the new offering from the makers of Mononoke, and is based on an award-winning novel about visits of neurotics to their even more neurotic therapist.

Denpateki na Kanojo hasn't received much attention, but I loved the first ep of this two-episode OVA starring Hirohashi Ryou, about a weird girl, the boy she adores, and a series of murders.

I am also looking forward to the one-episode OVA Aki-Sora, although I hesitate to admit to enjoying the almost-hentai manga, which gets closer to incest than even kissxsis.

Yamakan's second music video of the season, Black Rock Shooter pilot edition, is also on my list. His Tonari no 801-chan is growing on me.

I'm also looking forward to the big, serious China-Japan co-production of a 52-episode version of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms.

This may not be my season, but it may well be a season for shounen fans. We have the extremely popular shounen comedy adventure manga Fairy Tail being animated, with Hirano Aya in a leading role, along with Kugimiya Rie and Kakihara Tetsuya (Simon in Gurren-Lagann).

And Inuyasha gets a new season, with all the original cast returning.

The fighting fantasy ero-game 11eyes is also being animated, starring Ono Daisuke and Gotou Mai, directed by the director of Someday's Dreamers 1 and Zegapain, and written by the writer of Hell Girl.

Tatakau Shisho - The Book of Bantorra is another shounen fantasy, based around fighting librarians who guard books that are people's souls. A fabulous cast stars Paku Romi and includes Sawashiro Miyuki, Tomatsu Haruka, Ishida Akira, Hirohashi Ryou and others.

The moe fantasy Index also gets a spin-off, in To Aru Kagaku no Railgun.

Clamp returns with the anime Kobato, about a girl who must collect in a bottle the suffering from people's hearts, and who must not fall in love with a particular boy.

And last but hopefully not least is the yaoi science fiction fantasy Ai no Kusabi, directed by the director of Pumpkin Scissors, and written by the woman who wrote the original novel.

Anyway, here is an alphabetical list of all 57 shows, linked to a full preview of each one:

||11eyes       ||Ai no Kusabi       ||AIKa ZERO       ||Aki-Sora       ||Anyamaru Tantei Kiruminzuu       ||Aoi Bungaku       ||Asura Cryin' 2       ||Battle Spirits: Shounen Gekiha Dan       ||Black Rock Shooter pilot edition       ||Cheburashka Arere?       ||Darker than Black: Ryuusei no Gemini       ||Denpateki na Kanojo       ||Fairy Tail       ||Gokyoudai Monogatari       ||Hidamari Sketch x 365       ||Inuyasha: The Final Act       ||Isekai no Seikishi Monogatari       ||Kaidan Restaurant       ||Kämpfer       ||Kanokon ~Manatsu no Daishanikusai~       ||Kemono to Chat       ||Kiddy Girl-And       ||Kimi ni Todoke       ||kissxsis       ||Kobato       ||Koishigure       ||Kuuchuu Buranko       ||Mahoromatic: Tadaima Okaeri       ||Mahou Sensei Negima! "Another World"       ||Miracle Train: Ooedo-sen e Youkoso       ||Natsu no Arashi 2       ||Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu: Purezza       ||Nyan Koi       ||Queen's Blade: Gyokuza no Tsugumono       ||Romance of the Three Kingdoms       ||Sasameki Koto       ||Seiken no Blacksmith       ||Seitokai no Ichizon       ||Shakugan no Shana S       ||Shin Koihime†Musō: Otome Ryōran Sangokushi Engi       ||Shoujo Fight       ||Shugo Chara Party!       ||Sora no Otoshimono       ||Tatakau Shisho - The Book of Bantorra       ||Tegami Bachi       ||Tennis no Ouji-sama OVA Another Story: Kako to Mirai no Message       ||Tentai Senshi Sunred 2       ||To       ||To Aru Kagaku no Railgun       ||To Love-Ru OVA       ||Today in Class 5-2 -- Takarabako       ||ToHeart2 adplus       ||Tonari no 801-chan R       ||Utsurun Desu       ||White Album part 2       ||Winter Sonata       ||Yumeiro Pâtissière       ||Zan Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei - Bangaichi       

  • English and Japanese titles link to more info in their respective languages
  • "forum" links to a show's AnimeSuki forum
  • where no real trailer is available, "trailer" links to a streamed episode of a previous series of the same show
  • subs info from the Who Subs What wiki
  • staff, cast, and other info from MoonPhase, official sites, AniDB, and Anime News Network
  • episode numbers uncertain; "2/4eps" means "second of four episodes"
  • times and dates may change, and will be updated in the seasonal anime calendar I will post later this month
  • animes listed below in order of date of first release: broadcast, rental, or sale
  • thanks to relentlessflame and to skyphoenixofthewaterforest for giving me some corrections and updates in their comments. others please feel free.

Tonari no 801-chan R
(jp: となりの801ちゃんR)

The fourth volume of Kojima Ajiko's Tonari no 801-chan manga shipped in Japan on September 10 with a "Tonari no 801-chan R" anime short on DVD. The manga follows the personal life of a fujoshi (female boys-love otaku) and her otaku boyfriend. Yutaka Yamamoto (Kannagi) directed the production of the 90-second "opening anime" at Aniplex's A-1 Pictures studio (Kannagi, Ookiku Furikabutte). Info from via ann (Anime News Network).

An excellent OP. Not overwhelmingly exciting, but it has grown on me, and seems like something whose appeal will not fade. A good teaser for the anime that is hopefully on the way: the characters look interesting. Excellent animation gives the figures a physical presence.

director: Yamamoto Yutaka
animation: A1xOrdet. chara-des: Haruna. animation supervisor: Kadowaki Satoshi.
music: Nishimura Masatoshi; Slowcurve. theme: Bagyou no Fujoshi.
streamed here or here. forum. OP OVA. 1/1eps.
thu 10 sep

Battle Spirits: Shounen Gekiha Dan
(jp: バトルスピリッツ 少年激覇ダン)

shounen fighting fantasy
Second kids' shounen series based on the trading card game. Great cast, good director, competent lead writer.

seiyuus: Sakurai Takahiro, Honda Youko (Ichika/UtaKata, Mana/sola), Oura Fuyuka (Mizuki/Shikabane, Naruki/Regios), Yukino Satsuki, Kawasumi Ayako, Okamoto Nobuhiko (Yorito/sola, Layfon/Regios), Horanai Ai (Lua/YuGiOh 5Ds), Ono Daisuke.
director: Nishimori Akira (PetoPeto-san, Hitohira, Zombie Loan)
writer: Tomioka Atsuhiro (Nishi no Yoko Majou, Pumpkin Scissors, Zombie Loan, Inazuma 11).
animation: Sunrise. chara-des: Yumoto Yoshinori (Growlanser 4, Strait Jacket, some Shounen Toppa).
OP Jam Project, ED Oikawa Mitsuhiro.
trailer. 13?eps.
sun 13 sep 07:00

(jp: 恋時雨~吉高由里子と6つの恋~)

josei love stories
An illustrated anthology of short stories read aloud by 21-year-old actress Yoshitaka Yuriko. Based on six love stories and their accompanying illustrations from the Koishigure short story series in Media Factory's Da Vinci magazine. A popular music group is contributing a love song to each story. (ann)

Music: Mochida Kaori, Koto Ringo, Oohashi Trio, Maekawa Hiroki, Takasugi Satomi, moumoon.

Artists: Kishino Makiko, Suwa Sayaka, Nishi Shuhu, Hiramatsu Kei, sioux, MARYCO.

This appears to be less anime than reading to pictures, but I'm still eager to see it.

seiyuus: Yoshitaka Yuriko (actress; Vanessa in ep13 of Michiko & Hatchin).
director: Kamebuchi Hiroshi (? 亀渕裕 )
wed 16 sep 26:08

Mahou Sensei Negima "Another World"
(jp: 魔法先生ネギま!~もうひとつの世界~)

comedy with magic and moe
Yet another Shinbou Negima OVA series begins. The OVAs have been following the manga more closely than the TV series did -- perhaps because the mangaka, Akamatsu Ken, is writing the screenplays. relentlessflame informs me that after four OVAs, the story will conclude with a movie.

seiyuus: Satou Rina, Kanda Akemi, Horie Yui, Inokuchi Yuka, Inoue Marina, Ishige Sawa, Kobayashi Yu, Noto Mamiko, Saitou Chiwa, etc..
director: Shinbou Akiyuki
writer: Akamatsu Ken.
animation: Shaft. chara-des: Jitsuhara Noboru. animation supervisor: Jitsuhara Noboru.
OP Satou Rina, Kanda Akemi, Nonaka Ai, Noto Mamiko, Kobayashi Yu. ED Satou Rina, Inoue Marina.
trailer. forum.
OVA. 1/4eps. sold with v27 of manga; ep2 comes w/v28 on 17nov.
tue 17 sep

Utsurun Desu
(jp: 伝染るんです)

bizarre comedy
An anime adaptation of Sensha Yoshida's Utsurun Desu "nonsensical" gag comedy comic-strip manga. The manga uses a stable of off-the-wall characters to tell jokes that defy logic. (anidb)

Director Mankyuu is a young filmmaker (just turned 29) who made his name with short flash animations and now has this OVA series.

I haven't seen the first episode, and have no idea what to expect. A guest seiyuu (comedian Takayama Takenori) says that the lines he was asked to say were all just onomatopoeic sounds that he shouted out. (ann)

seiyuus: Chafurin (Inspector Megure in Detective Conan), Mamiko Noto, Seki Tomokazu, Nakahara Mai, Wakamoto Norio.
director: Mankyuu
writer: Yoshida Sensha (orig).
OVA. 2/3eps. ep3 23oct.
fri 18 sep

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

fantasy adventure
Episode 7 of the continuing fantasy adventure based on the mediaevalesque fantasy world of Tenchi Muyo.

seiyuus: Nakagawa Rie, Satou Takaya, Kuwatani Natsuko, Tsunematsu Ayumi, Yasumoto Hiroki, Yonezawa Madoka, Shimono Hiro, Saitou Momoko, Sonozaki Mie.
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.
OVA. 7/13eps.
fri 18 sep 04:00 (ep7 preview broadcast)

Queen's Blade: Gyokuza no Tsugumono
(jp: クイーンズブレイド 玉座を継ぐ者)

ecchi fantasy adventure
What can you say about this terrible but very popular show about large breasts? Oh, yes, there is fantasy and fighting in there, too. And a great cast.

One thing you can say is that it is popular enough to get a second season immediately on the heels of the first. note: In fact, apparently the full 24-episode series was planned form the start, but just split into two seasons.

seiyuus: Kawasumi Ayako, Noto Mamiko, Hirano Aya, Tanaka Atsuko, Mizuhashi Kaori, Kaida Yuuko, Nabatame Hitomi, Kugimiya Rie, Gotou Yuuko, Itou Kanae.
director: Yoshimoto Kinji (Plastic Little, Genshiken2, QB1)
writer: Yoshioka Takao (Elfen Lied, ZnT, QB1).
animation: chara-des: Rin Shin (WordsWorth, Ikkitousen DD, QB1). animation supervisor: Rin Shin, Noguchi Takayuki (Kamichama Karin, QB1).
sound director: Aketagawa Jun. OP ENA. ED Kugimiya Rie, Gotou Yuuko, Itou Kanae.
trailer. forum.
subs: SFW, PZ. 12?eps.
thu 24 sep 08:00

Tennis no Ouji-sama OVA Another Story: Kako to Mirai no Message
(jp: テニスの王子様 OVA ANOTHER STORY ~過去と未来のメッセージ)

sports bishounen
The Prince of Tennis Another Story OVA continues.

seiyuus: Minagawa Junko, Okiayu Ryoutarou, Kondou Nakayuki, Tsuda Kenjirou, Kaida Yuuki, Takahashi Hiroki.
director: Tada Shunsuke
writer: Hirota Mitsutaka; Sakai Fumiyo (? 坂井史世). Konomi Takeshi (mangaka).
animation: chara-des: Ishii Akiharu. animation supervisor: Irie Kenji; Ishii Akiharu.
OVA. 3-4 of 6eps.
fri 25 sep

Black Rock Shooter pilot edition

music video
Ninety-second music video in advance of next spring's full series based on huke's revisioning of a Hatsune Miku-like character with guns. Stills here.

With Tonari no 801-chan, this is the second animated music video that Yamamoto Yutaka and his staff will put out this fall. Perhaps Yamakan has created a new form, based on his OP and ED triumphs for Haruhi, Lucky Star, and Kannagi.

But this one is not directed by Yamakan himself, who passes the job to Yoshioka Shinobu and retains the title of "supervising editor," as Shinbou sometimes does. Music by suddenly famous amateur ryo, who wrote the Bakemonogatari ED sung by supercell.

director: Yoshioka Shinobu
writer: huke (orig).
animation: Ordet. chara-des: Matsui Yuusuke.
music: ryo.
forum. OP OVA. 1/1eps.
wed 30 sep

Asura Cryin' 2
(jp: アスラクライン)

shounen mecha supernatural
From a light novel series involving mecha, romance, and supernatural science. The first season was a decent show that never quite captured me. Perhaps I'll give the second batch of 13 episodes another chance.

Irino Miyu stars, with Tomatsu Haruka, Nonaka Ai, and Tanaka Rie. And there are some good names in the supporting cast: Yahagi Sayuri, Morikubo Showtarou, and the K-On combination of Satou Satomi, Toyosaki Aki, and Hikasa Youko.

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, Satou Satomi, Yahagi Sayuri, Toyosaki Aki, Hikasa Youko.
director: Kusakawa Keizou (StrikerS, Inukami, Sekirei)
writer: Akao Deko (script work on Natsu no Arashi and Zettai Seigi Love Pheromone). Mikumo Gakuto (orig).
animation: Seven Arcs. chara-des: Komori Atsushi (Inukami, Bleach).
sound director: Aketagawa Jin. music: Tajiri Mitsutaka. OPED angela.
subs: AllOfThem, Chihiro, AnimeYoshi?. mecha: Oda Hiroyasu
13?eps. trailer. forum.
thu 01 oct 09:30

(jp: けんぷファー)

fighting comedy romance
One day, a normal high school boy wakes up to find himself transformed into a girl. A stuffed tiger comes to life and tells him to fight as a female psychic fighter "Kämpfer". Having no idea about what's going on, Natsuru is involved in the battles against other female Kämpfer. Kämpfer fight each other with guns, swords, and magic. From a series of light novels.

Excellent cast includes Inoue Marina, Horie Yui, Nazuka Kaori, Tamura Yukari, Mizuki Nana, and Mamiko Noto, with the reappearance of Nakajima Megumi (Ranka in Macross F) as a seiyuu, as well as a singer.

The staff is a bit more questionable, featuring the director of Chocotto Sister. But he also did Kyouran Kazoku, so there is hope for some decent comedy. The lead writer did Kamen no Maid Guy, and Hajime no Ippo New Challenger, so he has breadth. The original writer also did both Maburaho and Umi Monogatari.

seiyuus: Inoue Marina, Horie Yui, Nazuka Kaori, Asumi Kana, Nakajima Megumi, Nomura Michiko, Tamura Yukari, Mizuki Nana, Noto Mamiko.
director: Kuroda Yasuhiro (Chocotto Sister, Kyouran Kazoku, Yoku Wakaru Gendai Mahou)
writer: Fudeyasu Kazuyuki (Kamen no Maid Guy, Hajime no Ippo New Challenger). Tsukiji Toshihiko (creator of Maburaho, Umi Monogatari).
animation: Nomad (Rozen Maiden, Yozakura Quartet). chara-des: Senmu (orig), Fujita Mariko (Galaxy Angel, Rosario+Vampire).
OP Kuribayashi Megumi, ED Inoue Marina/Nakajima Megumi.
subs: Koharubi, SFW. forum. 12?eps.
thu 01 oct 25:29

Nyan Koi
(jp: にゃんこい!)

shounen comedy, romance
Kousaka Junpei is a second-year high school student who both despises and is allergic to cats. His high school crush, however, is Mizuno Kaede, a girl who adores cats. After a minor accident, he finds he can understand what cats are saying, but if he does not grant 100 wishes from cats, he will turn into a cat himself.

Director Kawaguchi Keiichirou (Hayate 1, Zettai Karen, Getsumen) stands a good chance of being able to make something funny out of this set-up. Lead writer Inotsume Shinichi did both Hayate and Ristorante Paradiso.

Looks like a normal high-school romantic comedy, but staff and cast make me think there could be something good here.

seiyuus: Asanuma Shintarou, Iguchi Yuka, Shiraishi Ryouko, Kobayashi Yuu, Tanaka Atsuko, Fukuyama Jun, Satou Rina, Tomatsu Haruka.
director: Kawaguchi Keiichirou (Hayate, Zettai Karen, Getsumen)
writer: Inotsume Shinichi (Hayate, Ristorante Paradiso). Fujiwara Sato (mangaka).
animation: AIC. chara-des: Morita Kazuaki (Seto no Hanayome, Sunred). animation supervisor: Yamane Masahiro, Sako Yukie.
sound director: Iida Satoki (Seto no Hanayome, Sunred, Ayakashi). music: Miwa Manabu, Ookawa Shigenobu (Tayutama). OP Sakakibara Yui, ED Imai Asami.
trailer. forum. subs: AnimeHimitsu?, Yuurisan.
thu 01 oct 25:59

(jp: 11eyes)

fantasy adventure ero-game adaptation
Kakeru lost his sister to suicide and has been living a dull life since then. One day, he is transported into the bizarre world "Red Night" along with his female friend Yuka. In order to survive and escape from Red Night, he and his companions fight against Dark Spirits and Black Nights. (ann)

Adaptation of a popular ero-game. Director Shimoda Masami did Someday's Dreamers 1 and Zegapain, as well as the less successful Polyphonica1. Top writer Kanemaki Kenichi did Ai yori Aoshi, PaniPoni Dash, and Jigoku Shoujo.

Ono Daisuke and Gotou Mai star. Supporting seiyuus Asakawa Yuu and Morikubo Showtaro were married in 2007 and divorced this year.

This kind of anime isn't really my thing. But this particular staff could make something of it.

seiyuus: Ono Daisuke (Yukito/Air, Itsuki/Haruhi, Hosaka/Minamike, Jack Bez./Pandora Hearts), Gotou Mai (Mizuki/ef, Mika/Nogizaka Haruka, Mai/Yoakena), Asakawa Yuu (Motoko/Love Hina, Sakaki/AzuDai, Karen Clavius/Yoakena), Rikimaru Noriko (Nori/Rozen Maiden, Komaki/ToHeart2, Mashiro/Tayutama), Ichimura Oma (Ibuki/Happiness), Morikubo Showtaro (Nara/Naruto), Hagiwara Emiko (Mayu/Elfen Lied, Ilfa/ToHeart2), Mizuhashi Kaori (Taeko/Ai yori Aoshi, Yuuno Scrya/Nanoha, Ai/ARIA, Ogiue/Genshiken), Takahashi Chiaki (Mitsuki/KgNE, Takako/Otoboku).
director: Shimoda Masami (Someday's Dreamers, Zegapain, Polyphonica1)
writer: Kanemaki Kenichi (Ai yori Aoshi, PaniPoni Dash, Jigoku Shoujo, Sayonara Zetsubou, Natsume Yuujinchou).
animation: DogaKobo (Ryoko's Case File, Myself;Yourself, Koihime Musou). chara-des: Hara Shoji (Sasami Magical Girl). animation supervisor: Hara Shoji (Sasami, Akasaka).
OP Ayane, ED Asriel.
trailer. forum. subs: SFW.
thu 01 oct 26:00

(jp: TO(トゥー))

space adventure
After producing the first computer-animated Appleseed film and directing Vexille, director Sori Fumihiko is now adapting two stories from Yukinobu Hoshino's 2001 Nights (2001 Ya Monotogari) manga. "Symbiotic Planet" and "Elliptical Orbit" are part of a centuries-long narrative about mankind's voyages into space.

The two animated stories will be released simultaneously on DVDs which the distributor (Avex) will begin renting in Japanese video stores on October 2. No other release plans have been officially announced yet.

Paku Romi, Fukuyama Jun, Ohtsuka Akio, Hirano Aya. Space fiction and a great cast? I'm there.

seiyuus: Ohtsuka Akio, Paku Romi, Fukuyama Jun, Hirano Aya.
director: Sori Fumihiko (Appleseed, Vexille)
writer: Hoshino Yukinobu (mangaka).
CG: Miyazaki Hirokazu.
sound design: Kasamatsu Kouji (Hellsing, Appleseed).
music: Takahashi Tetsuya (Appleseed).
trailer. OVA. 1-2 of 2eps.
fri 02 oct

Tatakau Shisho - The Book of Bantorra
(jp: 戦う司書 The Book of Bantorra)

shounen fantasy
In the story of the light novels, all the dead people of the world have been turned into "books" stored in the Bantorra library. A boy named Koria has had his memories erased and his chest embedded with a bomb. He is sent to kill Hamyuttsu Meseta, the world's most powerful armed librarian. However, he falls in love at first sight with this beautiful woman, who is in charge of the "books," and he becomes enveloped in the great war over the library. (ann)

Top cast inludes Paku Romi, Ogawa Toru, Sawashiro Miyuki, Tomatsu Haruka and more big stars. Top writer Okada Mari did true tears, Vampire Knight, and Toradora. But director Shinohara Toshiya did Gunparade Orchestra and Kuroshitsuji, neither of which did much for me. We'll see how this goes. From Studio David Production, animators of Code Geass R2.

Not my genre, but could be good.

seiyuus: Paku Romi, Ogawa Toru, Sawashiro Miyuki, Tomatsu Haruka, Nakamura Yuuichi, Ishida Akira, Hirohashi Ryou, Miyake Kenta, Irino Miyu, Kawasumi Ayako.
director: Shinohara Toshiya (Gunparade Orchestra, Kuroshitsuji)
writer: Okada Mari (true tears, Vampire Knight, Toradora, Canaan, Kodomo no Jikan). Yamagata Ishio (novels).
animation: David Production (Code Geass R2). chara-des: Yamada Masaki (Appleseed, Magical Kanan).
sound director: Motoyama Satoshi (Haibane Renmei, Bartender, Skip Beat). music: Hirano Yoshihisa (Beyblade, Strawberry Panic, Death Note, Real Drive). OP Ali Project, ED Annabel.
trailer. forum. subs: AnimeHimitsu?, Enigma Collective. 13?eps.
fri 02 oct 22:00

To Aru Kagaku no Railgun
(jp: とある科学の超電磁砲(レールガン))

seinen superpower comedy
Sidestory from To Aru Majutsu no Index. The story is set in Academy City, where 80% of the 230,000 citizens are students, and deals with the adventures of level-five psychic Misaka Mikoto.

The director of Toradora and the writer of Asatte no Houkou bring us the animation of this popular seinen superpower comedy novel. Same studio as Index -- JC Staff -- but the director and writer are new. The novels were both written by Kamachi Kazuma.

Interesting cast, with Toyosaki Aki back as the moe voice of the day. She and the wonderful Arai Satomi back up Abe Atsushi, Satou Rina, and Itou Kanae.

seiyuus: Abe Atsushi, Satou Rina, Itou Kanae, Arai Satomi, Toyosaki Aki.
director: Nagai Tatsuyuki (Honey Clover 2, Toradora, Idolmaster X)
writer: Minakami Seishi (Asatte no Houkou, Birdy2, Shigurui). Kamachi Kazuma (creator).
animation: JC Staff. chara-des: Hajimura Kiyotaka, Tanaka Yuichi (Last Exile).
sound director: Aketagawa Jin (Ichigo Mashimaro, Aoi Hana, Toradora). music: Iuchi Maiko (Index). OP fripSide, ED Elisa.
trailer. forum. subs: Eclipse?. 12?eps.
fri 02 oct 25:30

White Album part 2
(jp: ホワイトアルバム)

The second half of the series that aired last winter. We were left with a very inconclusive conclusion. What are Rina and Eiji's real intentions? Will Yuki and Touya really get together?

From a game by Aquaplus. The first series developed slowly and unevenly, but had some strong aspects.

seiyuus: Hirano Aya, Mizuki Nana, Maeno Tomoaki, Takamoto Megumi, Masu Nozomi, Paku Romi, Tomatsu Haruka, Sakaguchi Daisuke (Keel/Tideline Blue, Sunohara/Clannad), Hayami Shou (Maximilian Jenius/Macross7, Julious/Angelique).
director: Yoshimura Akira (new, dir. eps of Planetes, Samurai Champloo, Gundam00, etc.)
writer: Satou Hiroaki (dir. Yoshimune).
animation: Seven Arcs. chara-des: Yoshinari Kou, Kawata Hisashi.
sound director: Shioya Yoku. music: Elements Garden. OP: Mizuki Nana, ED: Suara.
trailer. forum. subs: Eclipse?. eps. 14-26.
fri 02 oct 25:30

Seitokai no Ichizon
(jp: 生徒会の一存)

A private high school has a student council chosen entirely by popular vote. Ken Sugisaki is the only male on the otherwise all-girl council. Only council members are allowed to enter the "sacred sanctuary" of the council's meeting room. The Council President records the minutes of the meetings, which consist of daily conversations about the students. (adb)

A cast largely made up of new or unknown seiyuus is directed by Satou Takuya, who directed Ichigo Mashimaro (a good thing) and Mission-E (not so good). The writer is Hanada Jukki, who did Rozen Maiden and sola. From a series of light novels.

seiyuus: Honda Mariko, Saitou Yuka (Lucifer/Umineko), Togashi Misuzu, Horinaka Yuki, Kondo Takashi (Train/Black Cat, Ralph/Strain, Ariabart/Tytania).
director: Sato Takuya (Ichigo Mashimaro, Mission-E)
writer: Hanada Jukki (Rozen Maiden, sola, Sorakake Girl). Aoi Sekina (creator).
animation: Studio Deen. chara-des: Horii Kumi, Inugami Kira (orig).
sound director: Iwanami Yoshikazu.
forum. subs: Nuke.
fri 02 oct 25:58

Inuyasha: The Final Act
(jp: 犬夜叉 完結編)

adventure, comedy, romance
This series will cover the story in volumes 36 to 56 of the manga. The first series lasted from 2001-2004, with over 160 episodes. Then there have been specials and movies, the last of which was in 2004. But the show continues to be popular in re-run, and there is plenty of excitement at seeing the old cast and staff return.

Aoki Yasunao directs, as he has since about halfway through the first series. And what a cast: Yamaguchi Kappei, Yukino Satsuki, Kuwashima Houko, Yajima Akiko, Yukana, Cho, Noto Mamiko, et al.

seiyuus: Yamaguchi Kappei, Yukino Satsuki, Kuwashima Houko, Tsujitani Kouji, Watanabe Kumiko, Yajima Akiko, Yukana, Cho, Noto Mamiko, Morikawa Toshiyuki.
director: Aoki Yasunao (Inuyasha 45+, Yakitate Japan)
writer: Sumisawa Katsuyuki (Ryu Knight, Gundam Wing, Naruto, Yakitate Japan). Takahashi Rumiko (mangaka).
animation: Sunrise. chara-des: Hishinuma Yoshihito. animation supervisor: Hishinuma Yoshihito.
sound director: Tsuruoka Yota. music: Wada Kaoru (D. Gray Man, Gilgamesh, Inuyasha, Princess Tutu).
forum. 26?eps.
sat 03 oct

Seiken no Blacksmith
(jp: 聖剣の刀鍛冶(ブラックスミス))

shounen fantasy adventure
After a great war, the devils' power was sealed. Later, a young noblewoman knight, Cecily Campbell, is looking for a blacksmith who can repair the sword she inherited from her father. She comes upon a young blacksmith who despatches a gang of hoodlums with one sweep of his own mysterious sword. And their adventure begins. Based on a boys' light novel series by Isao Miura.

Good cast: Fujimura Ayumi (Ayano in Kaze no Stigma), Okamoto Nobuhiko (Layfon in Regios), Toyoguchi Megumi, Toyosaki Aki (Yui in K-On). I'm not so sure about the director (Pokemon, Linebarrels) and the writer (Shuffle, Kanokon). Animation by Manglobe (Ergo Proxy, Michiko to Hatchin).

Shounen fans are highly optimistic about this one, but the staff makes me pessimistic. To say nothing of the fact that this isn’t a genre I love. Worth a look, however.

seiyuus: Fujimura Ayumi (Ayano/Kaze no Stigma, Kyouka/Kyouran Kazoku), Okamoto Nobuhiko (Yorito/sola, Layfon/Regios), Toyoguchi Megumi (Revy/Black Lagoon, Klan/MacrossF), Toyosaki Aki (Yui/K-On).
director: Hidaka Masamitsu (Pokemon, Linebarrels)
writer: Suzuki Masashi (Shuffle, Kanokon, Minami-ke Okawari). Miura Isao (novels).
animation: Manglobe (Ergo Proxy, Michiko to Hatchin production). chara-des: Runa (orig), Nakai Jun (Tokyo Majin).
sound director: Yano Satoshi (recording engineer RahXephon, Blood+, Shangri-la). music: Terashima Tamiya (Glass Mask, Jyuushin Enbu). OP Gotou Mayumi, ED Toyosaki Aki..
trailer. subs: Saikyo, Nuke, Kesenai?,Koharubi. forum. 12?eps.
sat 03 oct 09:30

Shugo Chara Party!
(jp: しゅごキャラパーティー!)

The third Shugo Chara series will be part anime and part live-action. The show will contain three elements: the continued anime, known as Shugo Chara DokkiDoki; some anime shorts known as Shugo Chara Pucchi Puchi; and some live-action.

The live-action will be interesting, as will the fact that the OP will be sung by the Shugo Chara Egg teen idol group, whose final member is being chosen by open audition.

seiyuus: Itou Kanae, Katou Nanae, Toyosaki Aki, Takagi Reiko, Miyake Kaya, Nakamura Yuuichi, Sawashiro Miyuki, Mizuki Nana, Chiba Saeko.
director: Yasuda Kenji
writer: Ohnogi Hiroshi. Peach-Pit (orig).
animation: Satellite. chara-des: Sai Fumihide.
OP Shugo Chara Egg!
subs: Crunchyroll?.
sat 03 oct 09:30

Tegami Bachi
(jp: テガミバチ)

heartwarming fantasy drama
Little-known special from late last year gets an anime series. Outstanding cast stars Sawashiro Miyuki, Fujimura Ayumi, Fukuyama Jun, Konishi Katsuyuki, Koshimizu Ami.

New director, a writer who did work on Death Note and I"s Pure, animation by Kanbe Mamoru (director of Elfen Lied, I"s Pure, Denpateki na Kanojo) for Studio Pierrot. From a manga.

Last year's special can be seen here. I liked the special and am looking forward to this. Music by Kunihiko Ryou (Twelve Kingdoms, Saiunkoku, Emma)

seiyuus: Sawashiro Miyuki, Fujimura Ayumi, Fukuyama Jun, Konishi Katsuyuki, Koshimizu Ami, Nagasawa Naomi, Nakai Kazuya, Kishio Daisuke, Suganuma Hisayoshi, Mizuki Nana.
director: Iwanaga Akira (new, work on I's Pure, Bleach, Gunslinger Girl)
writer: Oishi Testsuya (work on Death Note, I's Pure). Asada Hiroyuki (mangaka).
animation: Studio Pierrot. chara-des: Shiba Minako (D. Gray Man, Kuroshitsuji, Phantom). animation supervisor: Kanbe Mamoru (dir. Elfen Lied, I's Pure, Denpateki Kanojo).
music: Kunihiko Ryou (Twelve Kingdoms, Saiunkoku, Emma). OP Suga Shikao, ED Himeka.
trailer. forum. subs: Last Impressions, Mochi, Kesenai. 13+eps.
sat 03 oct 22:55

Tentai Senshi Sunred 2
(jp: 天体戦士サンレッド)

seinen comedy
Tentai Senshi Sunred is a powerful, battle tested hero of many years. He has sold his super bike, which is seen in the opening credits. Now he smokes a lot, is effectively unemployed, and lives by the grace of his girlfriend, Kayoko Uchida. His arch enemies in the Evil Florsheim Army are still trying to take over the world. Under the direction of their local leader, Vamp, they help members of the community, run a cooking show, assist Kayoko Uchida whenever possible, and try to attack the ever powerful Sunred. A light parody of the Japanese hero general. (ann)

Directed by new director Matsumoto Takehiko, under the supervision of original director Kishi Seji (dir. Seto no Hanayome). I've never watched this show, but it has some strong followers, and the comedy may work for you. I'll give it a go myself.

seiyuus: Takagi Shun, Nabei Makiko, Louis LIII Yamada.
director: Matsumoto Takehiko (new). chfdir: Kishi Seiji (dir. Galaxy Angelune, Seto no Hanayome)
writer: Uezu Makoto (Utawarerumono, Seto no Hanayome, School Days, Akasaka).
animation: AIC A.S.T.A.. chara-des: Morita Kazuaki (Seto no Hanayome, Sunred).
music: Kakijima Shinji (Sunred). OP manzo.
trailer. forum. subs: ANBU. 13+eps.
sat 03 oct 23:30

Yumeiro Pâtissière
(jp: 夢色パティシエール)

family shoujo cooking
Early Sunday morning show about a girl who wants to be the best pâtissière possible. Young Yuuki Aoi (Murasaki in Kure-nai) gets her second starring role of the fall.

Director Suzuki Ko has been around a long time, but has only directed one show previously: a 1997 OVA called Princess Rouge. Writer Yamada Takashi, however, did Onegai My Melody and Marie & Gali.

seiyuus: Yuuki Aoi, Okamoto Nobuhiko, Taketatsu Ayana, Hamazoe Shinya, Yonaga Tsubasa.
director: Suzuki Kou
writer: Yamada Takashi (Onegai My Melody, Marie & Gali). Matsumoto Natsumi.
animation: Pierrot. chara-des: Akiyama Yukiko.
sound director: Tanaka Kazuya.
forum. 13?eps.
sun 04 oct 07:00

Sora no Otoshimono
(jp: そらのおとしもの)

comic ecchi sci-fi romantic fantasy
Tomoki loves his peaceful life in a country town, but a strange girl often enters his dreams, asking for his help. One night, a buxom angel suddenly falls on him from the sky. She turns out to be an "entertainment purpose angeloid" -- and his peaceful life is done. I've read some of the manga, and it is ecchi comic fantasy, but with some interesting sci-fi ideas, too, and a bit of romance.

Director Saitou Hisashi did Bamboo Blade and the little-known but hilarious Kigurumikku.

Great cast features Hayami Saori, Takagaki Ayahi, and Hoshi Souichirou. Hayamin's popularity is growing quickly with her performance in the virally popular new DS dating game Love Plus.

Takagaki Ayahi's career seems to be catching up with her talent. She co-stars in this show and stars in Sasameki Koto. Her range of voice and acting keeps growing.

This show sounds a lot like Sekirei on the surface, but the manga doesn’t feel at all the same.

seiyuus: Hoshi Souichirou (Kei/Onegai Teacher, Kaoru/Ai yori Aoshi, Kira/GundamSD), Hayami Saori, Nomizu Iori, Takagaki Ayahi, Mina, Suzuki Tatsuhisa (Tezuka/Library War).
director: Saitou Hisashi (Bamboo Blade, Kigurumikku v3)
writer: Kakihara Yuuko (Kamichama Karin, Stitch!). Minazuki Suu (manga).
animation: AIC A.S.T.A.. chara-des: Watanabe Yoshihiro (Yoakena).
OP Yoshida Hitomi.
trailer. forum. subs: Nekomimi, Hitode/Genjo, Mochi. 12?eps.
sun 04 oct 24:00

Kanokon ~Manatsu no Daishanikusai~
(jp: かのこん ~真夏の大謝肉祭~)

ecchi comedy, romance, supernatural
Summertime. More nudity and over-the-top ecchiness. Director Ootsuki Atsushi hit gold with Kanokon as his first directing job, and now gets this new two-episode OVA series. Maybe not the most artistic anime ever, but championship-caliber fanservice.

seiyuus: Kawasumi Ayako, Noto Mamiko, Takeuchi Miyu (Nozomu, Aldra/Queen's Blade), Miyazaki Ui (Kirino/Gift, Suzuho/Macademi), Saitou Chiwa, Seto Saori (many bit parts since 2005), Toyonaga Toshiyuki (Ayumu/Zettai Shounen, Kaname/Umisho).
director: Ootsuki Atsushi (Kanokon was his debut)
writer: Suzuki Masashi (Shuffle, Gift, Minamike Okawari). Nishino Katsumi (manga).
animation: Xebec (Fafner, Major, Pandora Hearts, To LoveRu). chara-des: Koin (orig), Takami Akio (Shaman King, Busou Renkin, Kanokon). animation supervisor: Takami Akio (Shaman King, Busou Renkin).
sound director: Nakajima Toshihiko (Kemonozume, Rideback). music: Itou Tsuyoshi. OP Sakakibara Yui, ED Miyazaki Ui.
trailer. forum. subs: Ayako?. OVA. 1/2eps. TV preview showing 4oct, 11oct; DVD 25nov, 22dec.
sun 04 oct 25:00

Natsu no Arashi 2
(jp: 夏のあらし!春夏冬中)

romantic comedy with time travel
Another quality show from Shinbou Akiyuki, but one whose recent first season never quite reeled me in.

Sanpei Yuuko does an excellent job as a shounen. Nazuka Kaori is as ethereal as ever as a German girl.

Writer Takayama Katsuhiko adapted both ef shows.

Worth a look.

seiyuus: Shiraishi Ryouko, Sanpei Yuuko, Omigawa Chiaki, Nazuka Kaori, Nabatami Hitomi, Horie Yui, Nonaka Ai, Sugita Tomokazu, Yasumoto Hiroki.
director: Shinbou Akiyuki
writer: Takayama Katsuhiko (both efs, Hantsuki). Kobayashi Jin (mangaka).
animation: Shaft. chara-des: Ota Kazuhiro (Negima, PaniPoni).
OP Yakushimaru Etsuko.
trailer. forum. subs: SFW, Crunchyroll?. 13eps.
sun 04 oct 25:30

Miracle Train: Ooedo-sen e Youkoso
(jp: ミラクル☆トレイン~大江戸線へようこそ~)

bishounen comedy
Anime adaptation of the Miracle Train multimedia franchise, which portrays stops on Tokyo’s Chuo commuter train line as handsome young men.

Now, that sounds just weird, except for all the bishounen. But wait a minute: who's the director? Kasai Kenichi, the director of Nodame Cantabile, Honey & Clover, KimiKiss and Aoi Hana? Are you kidding?

After the stunningly simple and subtle direction of Aoi Hana, I can’t wait to see what Kasai can do with this odd setup, clearly made possible by the success of Hetalia Axis Powers.

seiyuus: Kenn, Sugita Tomokazu, Okiayu Ryoutarou, Ono Daisuke, Kaji Yuuki, Morita Masakazu.
director: Kasai Kenichi (Aoi Hana, KimiKiss, Nodame Cantabile, Honey & Clover)
writer: Kato Yoichi (script work TM8, Shangri-la).
animation: Yumeta (NeoAngelique, Corda D'Oro, Harukanaru). chara-des: Kai Tomohisa, Tsunaki Aki. animation supervisor: Tsunaki Aki (Harukanaru, Yu-Gi-Oh).
sound director: Watanabe Jun (Pumpkin Scissors, KimiAru, Hayate).
trailer. forum. 12+eps.
sun 04 oct 26:00

Shin Koihime†Musō: Otome Ryōran Sangokushi Engi
(jp: 真・恋姫†無双 ~乙女繚乱☆三国志演義~)

ecchi-yuri historical fantasy
Surprisingly successful yuri parody of Three Kingdoms gets another series. Director Nakanishi Nobuaki did the hilarious Kashimashi and Sumomomomomo. Writer Go Zappa did the rather poor Chocotto Sister and Myself;Yourself. Together they produced a first season that was entertaining for most of its run and which had some hilarious moments, as well as lots of ecchi-yuri ones.

The seiyuu are largely game seiyuu, the same ones who voiced the original ero-game.

seiyuus: Gotou Mai (Mai/Yoakena, Mizuki/ef), Kurokawa Nami (Raika/Demonbane, Tamaki/DCSS), Nishizawa Hiroka (Asa/Sora no Iro), Narumi Erika (Kagami/Lamune), Motoi Emi (Naoko/CCS), Kobayashi Maki, Amamiya Yuu (Chiharu/KimiAru).
director: Nakanishi Nobuaki (Kashimashi, Sumomomo Momomo, Koihime Musou)
writer: Go Zappa (Chocotto Sister, Myself;Yourself; Koihime Musou). BaseSon (original game).
animation: DogaKobo. chara-des: Hiratsuka Tomoya (Myself;Yourself), Oshima Miwa (Hit wo Nerae, Love Love, Koihime Musou). animation supervisor: Hiratsuka Tomoya (Myself;Yourself), Oshima Miwa (Love Love; Koihime Musou).
trailer. forum. subs: Ayako?, AnimeOne/Menclave? 12?eps.
mon 05 oct 11:30. ep1 preview broadcast oct1.

Anyamaru Tantei Kiruminzuu
(jp: あにゃまる探偵 キルミンずぅ)

magical girl comedy
In this "heartwarming comedy," three cute sisters come across a mysterious cosmetics compact in an attic. With it, the girls go from cosplay to a magical transformation into real animals. And start solving mysteries.

Stars young Yuuki Aoi, who was Murasaki in Kurenai. Project developed by Kawamori Shoji, the creator of Macross. Directed by Masui Soichi, director of Scrapped Princess. As childish as it appears to be, this show may have something going for it.

seiyuus: Yuuki Aoi (Murasaki/Kurenai), Satou Satomi (Ritsu/K-On), Anzai Chika, Tamura Mutsumi (Toppa/Battle Spirits Shounen Toppa), Ikebe Kumiko, Tange Sakura (Sakura/CCS), Nojima Kenji (Haruhiko/Touka Gettan, Masaki/Eve no Jikan), Neya Michiko (Honey/Cutie Honey, Melissa Mao/FMP, Riza Hawkeye/FMA1).
director: Masui Soichi (Scrapped Princess, storyboards for Soul Eater, Edo Rocket, Melody Oblivion)
writer: Kawamori Shoji (creator; dir. Macrosses, Aquarion, created Basquash). Matsuda Eriko (Itazura na Kiss eps), Yuuki Yousuke.
animation: Hal, Satelight, JM. chara-des: Aizawa Sumie (dir. eps of Kemeko).
sound director: Gotou Masahiro. 13?eps.
mon 05 oct 17:30

Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu: Purezza
(jp: 乃木坂春香の秘密 ぴゅあれっつぁ♪)

moe comedy
In the first series, our protagonist discovered that school princess Nogizaka Haruka was actually a secret otaku. He kept her secret and they became boy friend and girl friend. Based on a series of light novels.

Good cast stars Noto Mamiko. The first series was funny, moe, and slightly ecchi. I spent a lot of time defending it on AnimeSuki. But it didn’t really have enough to it to last a full season, so I'm not sure it has much to give us in a second season.

Director Nawa Munenori did Otome wa Boku ni Koi wo Shiteru. The writer who adapted the novels for anime (Tsuyoshi Tamai) did the same for Inukami.

seiyuus: Noto Mamiko, Hatano Wataru (Shuuichi/Monochrome), Gotou Mai, Satou Rina, Shimizu Kaori, Ueda Kana, Matsuki Miyu, Nabatame Hitomi, Kugimiya Rie.
director: Nawa Munenori (DCSS, Otoboku)
writer: Tsuyoshi Tamai (Inukami).
animation: Diomedea (formerly Studio Barcelona). chara-des: Ishino Satoshi (Puni Puni Poemi); Shaa (orig).
OP Milan Himemiya and Chocolate Rockers. ED N's.
trailer. forum. subs: m33w, Aquastar? 12?eps.
mon 05 oct 26:14

(jp: こばと)

young shoujo (shounen?) romantic adventure
Clamp arrives again, in full regalia, with writing by Ohkawa Nanase and Yokote Michiko. The director of Chi's Sweet Home gets a chance with human characters.

Kobato is a sweet and perky girl, but extremely naïve about the world. She has a mission to fill a mysterious bottle with the suffering from people's hearts so her wish to go a certain place can be granted. However, she must not fall in love with a particular boy she works with and whose heart she must heal….

Hanazawa Kana sounds perfect for the lead. Sakamoto Maaya does the OP and Nakajima Megumi the ED.

seiyuus: Hanazawa Kana, Inada Tetsu (Kurogane/Tsubasa), Maeno Tomoaki, Orikasa Fumiko, Kuwashima Houko, Nakajima Megumi, Miki Shinichirou, Saitou Chiwa.
director: Masuhara Mitsuyuki (Chi's Sweet Home/New Address)
writer: Ohkawa Nanase (CCS, Xxxholic). Yokote Michiko (Princess Tutu, Genshiken, Valkyria Chr.).
animation: Madhouse. chara-des: Kato Hiromi (Needless, dir. Beck). animation supervisor: Tazaki Satoshi (Rideback).
sound director: Mima Masafumi, Nakajima Toshihiko. music: Hama Takeshi. OP Sakamoto Maaya, ED Nakajima Megumi.
forum. subs: ACG/The14th, gg?, Generation NeXt, Yuurisan. 24eps.
tue 06 oct 20:00

Kimi ni Todoke
(jp: 君に届け)

shoujo romance
Kuronuma Sawako’s one wish in life is to make friends. That’s a difficult proposition when everyone who meets her cowers in terror at her dark expression and strange manner. The class nicknames her Sadako (as in The Ring). She admires her classmate Kazehaya-kun, a popular, easygoing and "100% refreshing" guy who is nice to everyone, even her. (ann)

Voted best shoujo manga of 2008. Director Kaburaki Hiro gets his first full anime, after having done episodes of NHK. Writer Kanparu Tomoko has a longer resume: she wrote Nodame Cantabile and Genji Sennenki, among many other shows.

Noto Mamiko and Namikawa Daisuke play the leads, and are surrounded with a stunning supporting cast including Sanpei Yuuko, Sawashiro Miyuki, Nakamura Yuuichi, and Hirano Aya.

I love the manga, and I’ll be right there for the start of this show.

seiyuus: Noto Mamiko, Namikawa Daisuke (Rock/Black Lagoon), Sanpei Yuuko (Nakiami/Xam'd), Sawashiro Miyuki, Nakamura Yuuichi (Tomoya/Clannad), Hirano Aya.
director: Kaburaki Hiro (Welcome to NHK storyboards and epdir)
writer: Kanparu Tomoko (Nodame Cantabile, Genji Sennenki). Shiina Karuho (mangaka).
animation: Production IG. chara-des: Shibata Yuka (key animator).
sound director: Yamada Tomoaki (Death Note, Real Drive).
forum. subs: Frostii?, Formula? 12?eps.
tue 06 oct 24:59

Today in Class 5-2 -- Takarabako
(jp: 今日の5の2 宝箱(仮))

ecchi heartwarming grade-school comedy
The ecchi grade-school comedy gets another OVA. Only occasionally funny, for me, and sometimes a bit too loli-ecchi even for my liberal taste.

seiyuus: Kobayashi Yu (Setsuna/Negima, Mriya/MariaHolic), Shimoda Asami (Ameri/Tayutama), Asumi Kana (Yuno/Hidamari, Marin/Umi Monogatari), Akesaka Satomi (Miho/Suzuka, Nanonano/Galaxy Angelune), Honda Youko (Itsuka/Uta-kata), Takagaki Ayahi (Noe/true tears), Mako (Yurie/Kamichu), Yamato Megumi.
director: Nagasawa Tsuyoshi (new)
writer: Kouno Takamitsu (Lamune, Ayakashi). Sakuraba Koharu (mangaka).
animation: Xebec. chara-des: Chikaoka Nao (Minami-ke).
sound director: Kameyama Toshiki (Nanoha, Red Garden, MariaHolic). music: Haneoka Kai (Negima, Himawari).
trailer. forum. OVA. sold with a special collection of the manga.
sun 06 oct 25:30

ToHeart2 adplus
(jp: ToHeart2 adplus)

moe romantic comedy
The second and final episode of another OVA in the perennially just-popular-enough ToHeart franchise. If nothing else, these shows give Ochiai Yurika some work.

And I must admit that they can be enjoyable, lame as they may seem. Of course, their main function is to provide a firm foundation for continuing streams of ancillary goods.

Director Sakata Junichi is a long-time storyboarder (NANA, Inukami) who directed Kaze no Stigma. This is his first ToHeart show. (Moonphase and jp.Wikipedia say the director is Katou Yasuhisa. My info is from the official site.)

seiyuus: Sakurai Hiromi, Yamakawa Kotomi, Hagiwara Emiko, Ochiai Yurika, Itou Shizuka, Honda Chieko, Natsuki Rio, Ono Ryouko, Kogure Ema.
director: Sakata Junichi (Kaze no Stigma, storyboards for Nana, Inukami, etc.).
writer: Kobayashi Naruo, Kouno Takamitsu, Sakurajima Eki (? 桜島液).
animation: Aquaplus/Chaos Project. chara-des: Yanagisawa Masahide, Katsura Keiichirou, Katou Yasuhisa; Mitsumi Miri, Kawata Hisami.. animation supervisor: Yanagisawa Masahide (ToHeart2, Bottle Fairy).
trailer. forum. OVA. 2/2eps.
wed 07 oct

Cheburashka Arere?
(jp: チェブラーシカ あれれ?)

Based on the Russian "national character" Cheburashka. From Eduard Uspensky's story about a mysterious creature who gets accidentally transported to Russia in a box of oranges.

The second production -- after Princess Lover -- for new studio GoHands.

Star Oohashi Nozomi is only ten years old. She made her debut at the age of three starring in a drama. At eight, she sang the title theme to Ghibli's Ponyo.

Director Kudou Susumu did the underrated ecchi comedy KimiAru. Writer Shimada Michiru did Shugo Chara and Konnichiwa Anne. Good staff gives this show possibilities.

seiyuus: Oohashi Nozomi (ten years old), Tsuchida Hiroshi (Yamazaki/Honey & Clover), Chou (Mine's father/Nodame Cantabile).
director: Kudou Susumu (Koisuru Tenshi Angelique, KimiAru)
writer: Shimada Michiru (Shugo Chara, Konnichiwa Anne). supervising editor: Nakamura Makoto (lead writer Noramimi, Princess Lover).
animation: GoHands (Princess Lover). chara-des: Kishida Takahiro (Lain, Koi Kaze, Baccano).
subs: II-Subs? 26x3mineps.
wed 07 oct 07:30

Sasameki Koto
(jp: ささめきこと)

yuri school romance
Sumika is in love with her friend Ushio, but Ushio only shows interest in cutesy girls, and Sumika is a tall karate star who helps run her family's dojo. She is forced to watch from the sidelines as Ushio falls for girl after girl, none of them her. So far.

Takagaki Ayahi as Sumika is a big draw for me. Takamoto Megumi, Katou Emiri, Saitou Chiwa, and 16-year-old Shimizu Ayaka are also in the cast.

Director Suganuma Eiji did a good job with Kodomo no Jikan, and writer Kurata Hideyuki wrote ROD the TV and Kannagi.

The manga is not at the level of Aoi Hana, but is still funny and touching.

seiyuus: Takagaki Ayahi (Noe/true tears, Ein/Phantom), Takamoto Megumi (Chao Rinshen/Negima, Misaki/White Album), Katou Emiri (Kagami/Lucky Star, Mayoi/Bakemonogatari), Shimizu Ayaka (age 16?), Harada Hitomi, Saitou Chiwa, Makiguchi Mayuki.
director: Suganuma Eiji (Kodomo no Jikan)
writer: Kurata Hideyuki (ROD the TV, Kannagi). Ikeda Takashi (mangaka).
animation: AIC. chara-des: Inomata Masami.
sound director: Iwanami Yoshikazu (Marimite, Kanamemo). OPED Kiyoura Natsumi.
forum. subs: Chihiro. 12?eps.
wed 07 oct 26:20

Darker than Black: Ryuusei no Gemini
(jp: DARKER THAN BLACK -流星の双子(ジェミニ)-)

mystery violence science fiction
Second season of Okamura Tensai's dark sci-fi adventure. I enjoyed the first series, and now Hanazawa Kana and Kuwashima Houko join the cast.

Hei and Yin are now on the run after betraying the Syndicate in the previous season. After leaving Japan, Hei encounters Suou Pavlichenko (Hanazawa), a 13-year-old Eurasian girl embroiled in the war and politics of various factions vying for power.

Meanwhile, Hell's Gate remains standing in Tokyo, after Hei's efforts to stop the Saturn Ring anti-Gate particle weapon from activating. Although Contractors are safe from the danger of having their existences erased, this does not prevent new and old Contractors from abusing their powers.

As Misaki Kirihara and her team in the Public Security Bureau deal with increasing numbers of Contractor cases, she also has to keep at bay the Syndicate, which has major positions in the Japanese police and intelligence bureaus around the world. (ann)

seiyuus: Kiuchi Hidenobu (Ren/NANA), Hanazawa Kana, Kuwashima Houko, Hori Katsunosuke, Matsukaze Masaya, Miyake Kenta, Saiga Mitsuki, Mizuki Nana (not mentioned on official site).
director: Okamura Tensai (Wolf's Rain)
writer: Yoshino Hiroyuki (My-Hime, Macross F), Okada Mari (true tears, Canaan). also Onishi Shinsuke (The Third), Suga Shoutarou (scripts GITS:SAC, Eureka 7, etc.).
animation: Bones. chara-des: Iwahara Yuji, Komori Takahiro (Angelic Layer, Scrapped Princess). animation supervisor: Komori Takahiro (also RahXephon, Wolf's Rain).
sound director: Wakabayashi Kazuhiro (Escaflowne, Princess Mononoke, Eureka 7). music: Ishii Yasunori.
trailer. forum. subs: Koharubi, Yoroshi?, Anime-Devils?, FTV?, BSS? 12?eps.
thu 08 oct 25:25

Gokyoudai Monogatari
(jp: ご姉弟物語)

From the award-winning comic manga (Baka Kyoudai "Idiot Siblings") about twins who are like the mascots of a shopping street in lower Tokyo.

Great starring cast of Matsuoka Yuki and Kobayashi Yumiko as the twins, with Ohara Sayaka as the woman who looks after them in the absence of their parents.

One season of about 13 weeks. Staff not yet announced. The setup and especially the cast make this intriguing.

seiyuus: Matsuoka Yuki, Kobayashi Yumiko, Ohara Sayaka.
writer: Adachi Tetsu (mangaka of Baka Kyoudai).
one season of about 13 episodes.
sat 10 oct 11:20

Aoi Bungaku
(jp: 青い文学)

Anime adaptations of six literary masterpieces, including Soseki Natsume's Kokoro (character design by mangaka Obata Takeshi of Death Note), Dazai Osamu's No Longer Human (charades by Obata), Akutagawa Ryunosuke's Hell Screen (charades by Bleach creator Kubo Taito), and Dazai's Run, Melos! (charades by Prince of Tennis mangaka Konomi Takeshi).

Good writing is a great foundation. I will definitely be there to see how they can adapt these classic novels to 1-4 episodes each. Each story will have a different director, writer of the adaptation, and cast. Some of the names involved are Nakamura Ryousuke, the director of Mouryou no Hako;
Asaka Morio, the director of Card Captor Sakura and NANA; Araki Tetsurou, the director of Death Note; Miya Shigeyuki, the director of Buzzer Beater; and seiyuu Romi Paku, Aya Hisakawa, Mamiko Noto, and Atsuko Tanaka.
Romi Paku, Aya Hisakawa, Mamiko Noto, Atsuko Tanaka, et al.
sat 10 oct 25:20

Fairy Tail
(jp: フェアリーテイル)

shounen comic adventure
Story follows a teenaged girl named Lucy Heartfilia who aims to join the world's most notorious mage guild, Fairy Tail. During a daring rescue, Lucy encounters Natsu "Salamander" Dragneel, a quirky Fairy Tail member and practitioner of the ancient Dragon Slayer magic. Lucy is eventually welcomed into the Fairy Tail guild as she, Natsu, and other members go on various quests. (ann)

Long-running manga could become a long-running anime. Hirano Aya scores her sixth role of the fall, three of them starring. Kugimiya Rie, Kakihara Tetsuya, Nakamura Yuuichi, Ohara Sayaka -- what's not to like? We'll see what the director of Tokyo Majin can do with this shounen comic classic.

seiyuus: Kakihara Tetsuya (Simon/Gurren Lagann), Hirano Aya (Haruhi), Kugimiya Rie (Shana), Nakamura Yuuichi (Alto/MacrossF), Ohara Sayaka (Alicia/ARIA).
director: Ishihira Shinji (Tokyo Majin)
writer: Sogo Masashi (Gantz, Bleach, Snow Queen). Mashima Hiro (mangaka).
animation: A-1/Satelight. chara-des: Yamamoto Aoi 山本碧 (key animator).
forum. subs: Kubu, Kyuubi, Generation NeXt, I Eat Anime, Koharubi, SFW. 13++?eps.
mon 12 oct 19:30

Kaidan Restaurant
(jp: 怪談レストラン)

kids supernatural
"School horror" show based on a series of kids' books that has sold seven million copies since 1996.

Magic, monsters, and versions of stories of the supernatural from Japan and around the world.

series dir: Ikeda Youko (eps. of One Piece, Yu-Gi-Oh)
writer: Yonemura Shoji (Guin Saga, Stitch, Glass Fleet). chief editor: Matsutani Myoko.
animation: Toei. "drawing" by: Takai Yoshikazu and Katou Kumiko.
tue 13 oct 19:30

Kiddy Girl-And
(jp: キディーガーランド)

space adventure w/moe
Gotou Keiji is back, with his wife Kadonosono Megumi doing the character design, and Kimura Hidefumi doing the writing, as they did for Kiddy Grade, Uta-Kata, and Gigantic Formula.

The story is set in Star Century year 0379, two centuries after the original Kiddy Grade anime and about five centuries from now. The spirited Ascoeur and serious Q-feuille work for the galactic government known as GTO. The two girls are training to become secret agents. (ann)

New seiyuus Uchida Aya and Gouda Aya are backed up by Mizuhashi Kaori, Kiddy Grade seiyuus Hirano Aya and Nagata Ryouko, and names like Fukuyama Jun, Yukana, and Matsuoka Yuki.

Animation producer Kaneko Fumio did Sketchbook. OP by Chihara Minori.

The stories may or may not end up working for me (Uta-kata came closest, for me), but I will always watch the first couple of eps of any Gotoh Keiji show.

seiyuus: Uchida Aya (Chikara/Munto2), Gouda Aya, Mizuhashi Kaori (Ogiue/Genshiken), Takizawa Itsuki, Nagata Ryouko (Éclair), Hirano Aya (Lumiere), Yukana, Matsuoka Yuki, Fukuyama Jun.
director: Gotoh Keiji
writer: Kimura Hidefumi, gimik (orig).
animation: Satelight. chara-des: Kadonosono Megumi. animation supervisor: Kaneko Fumio (Sketchbook).
sound director: Satou Junichi (dir. ARIA). OP Chihara Minori. forum. 24eps?
thu 15 oct 24:40

Kuuchuu Buranko
(jp: 空中ブランコ)

uncategorizable josei/seinen?
The team that did Mononoke returns with an anime adaptation of Hideo Okuda’s award-winning 2004 novel. The 17th Noitamina presentation.

Features the eccentric psychiatrist Irabu Ichirou and his various patients: the disturbed trapeze artist, the obsessive-compulsive neurologist, the professional baseball player who is incapacitated by nervousness. Their neuroses are matched only by their bewilderment at the therapist's eccentricities.

One of the most anticipated shows of the season, for good reason.

seiyuus: Paku Romi, Mitsuya Yuji (von Kummel/LoGH), Morikawa Toshiyuki, Sakurai Takahiro, Miki Shinichirou.
director: Nakamura Kenji (Ayakashi, Mononoke)
writer: Ishikawa Manabu (Mononoke screenplay). Okuda Hideo (orig).
animation: Toei. chara-des: Hashimoto Toshifumi. animation supervisor: Hashimoto Toshifumi (Mononoke, Karas).
sound director: Nagasaki Yukio (Itazura na Kiss, Dragon Ball Kai). music: Mori Hideharu (Yawara, Ranma).
forum. 11eps.
thu 15oct 24:45

Winter Sonata
(jp: 冬のソナタ)

shoujo/josei romance
The huge drama hit gets an anime series. Largely Korean production, with some Japanese input. Most of the original Korean actors do the voices.

Get out your handkerchiefs. I know I'll be getting out mine. One of the shows I most look forward to this fall.

seiyuus: Bae Yong-joon, Choi Ji-woo.
director: Yoon Suk-ho
writer: Kim Hyon-wan (sp?).
animation: G&G Entertainment×JM Animation. chara-des: draft by Nakayama Daisuke (studio realthing, ex-Studio 4 degrees C).
sound director: Yu He-jyun (sp?).
trailer. forum. subs: Koharubi, Saikyo, Live-Evil. 26eps.
sat 17 oct 12:00

Hidamari Sketch x 365
(jp: ひだまりスケッチ×365)

slice-of-life comedy
There's a new series coming (to be called Hidamari Sketch x ☆☆☆), but first, here is a two-episode OVA of another of Shinbou's many successful franchises.

seiyuus: Asumi Kana, Mizuhashi Kaori, Gotou Yuuko, Shintani Ryouko, Matsuki Miyu, Kugimiya Rie, Sawashiro Miyuki, Chou, Fukuen Misato.
director: Shinbou Akiyuki.
writer: Hasegawa Nahoko (Hidamari1). Aoki Ume (mangaka).
animation: Shaft. chara-des: Itou Yoshiaki (Hidamari, Gakuen Alice). animation supervisor: Itou Yoshiaki (Hidamari, Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei).
sound director: Kameyama Toshiuki (MoonPhase, Red Garden, Nanoha Strikers). music: Kikuya Tomoki (Potemayo, Kyouran Kazoku). OP seiyuu, ED marble.
trailer. forum. subs: SoonSubs?, WinD?. OVA. 1/2eps. part 1 oct17, part 2 oct24
sat 17 oct 24:30

Mahoromatic: Tadaima Okaeri
(jp: まほろまてぃっく ただいま◇おかえり)

ecchi comedy sci-fi romance
After a six-year hiatus, here is a two-episode OVA of the automatic maiden, one of Kawasumi Ayako's signature roles.

The staff of the OVAs (but not the original series) returns, with the exception of an interesting new writer: Urahata Tatsuhiko, who wrote Monster, Strawberry Panic, and Saki.

Mangaka Ditama Bow also did kissxsis.

seiyuus: Kawasumi Ayako, Shimizu Ai, Takimoto Fujiko, Kikuchi Yumi, Mizuno Manabi, Sanada Asami, Ogihara Hideki, Kisaichi Atsushi, Koyasu Takehito.
director: Saeki Shouji (FLCL, Ugly Beautiful World, He is My Master)
writer: Urahata Tatsuhiko (Monster, Strawberry Panic, Saki).
animation: Gainax. chara-des: Ditama Bow (manga), Takamura Kazuhiko (Mahoromatic, Ugly Beautiful, dir. Strike Witches). animation supervisor: Takamura Kazuhiko (Mahoromatic, Ugly Beautiful, dir. Strike Witches).
sound director: Iwanami Yoshikazu (Marimite, Kanamemo, etc.). music: Masuda Toshio (Naruto, Mushi-shi, Ai yori Aoshi). OP Kawasumi Ayako, ED seiyuus.
forum. OVA. 2eps.
sat 17 oct 25:00 ep2 oct24

Kemono to Chat
(jp: けものとチャット)

family comic
Adaptation of Takayuki Mizushina's Kemono to Chat ("Chatting with Creatures") comic-strip manga.

The story centers on high-school freshman Kenomoto Chacha, a girl who can understand the language of cats and speak with them.

Brilliant cast stars Sakamoto Maaya, Ueda Kana, and Yahagi Sayuri. This is the director's first anime, but he is apparently well known for 3DCG design.

seiyuus: Sakamoto Maaya, Ueda Kana, Yahagi Sayuri.
director: Umoto Yuuji
writer: Mizushina Takayuki (creator).
animation: Usagi.Ou (founded in April 2008).
OVA. 1/1eps.
23 oct

Shakugan no Shana S
(jp: 灼眼のシャナS)

shounen supernatural adventure w/moe
This four-episode OVA will be followed by what is supposed to be one final Shana series. One of the great shounen franchises of the past few years, but I have never liked it much, myself.

seiyuus: Kugimiya Rie, Hino Satoshi.
director: Watanabe Takashi (Shana)
writer: Kobayashi Yasuko (Claymore, Casshern Sins, Shana). Takahashi Yashichirou (novel).
animation: JC Staff. chara-des: Itou Noizi (orig; Shana, Haruhi, Nanatsuiro Drops), Otsuka Mai (Shana).
sound director: Aketagawa Jin (Genshiken, Ichigo mashimaro, Nodame Cantabile). music: Otani Kou (Haibane Renmei, Pumpkin Scissors, Shana). OPED Kawada Mami.
trailer. forum. OVA. 1/4eps.
23 oct

Shoujo Fight
(jp: 少女ファイト)

sports, seinen
"The story follows Neri Ooishi, a high school girl who is a talented volleyball player. She once was the captain of an elementary school team that went all the way to the national tournament. However, she spent three years as an alternate at a junior high school renowned for its volleyball program. Now she is in high school with new teammates, and she gets a chance to prove herself again. " (ann)

Cast not yet announced, but it is supposed to be the same amazing group that did the drama CD: Mizuki Nana, Noto Mamiko, Watanabe Akeno, Kobayashi Yuu, Yukana, Ohara Sayaka, Yuzuki Ryouka, Kuwashima Houko, Nakamura Yuuichi, Suzumura Kenichi, Namikawa Daisuke, Fukuyama Jun, et al.

writer: Nihonbashi Youko (manga and anime).
animation: Production IG. OP BLiSTAR.
OVA. 1/1eps. sold with v6 of manga.
fri 23 oct

Romance of the Three Kingdoms
(jp: 三國演義)

historical adventure
China-Japan co-production is already being shown on Chinese TV. I've seen the first two episodes in Chinese, and it is a big, serious production, following the original novel fairly closely.

The other end of the scale from Koihime Musou, and shows Liu Bei in a completely different way from Souten Kouro. Seems like the real thing, even though the approach is a bit old-fashioned.

animation: Beijing Glorious Animation x Future Planet.
trailer. subs: Huzzah?, FTV?. 52eps.

To Love-Ru OVA
(jp: OVA ToLOVEる)

ecchi science fiction comedy
Moderately successful ecchi comedy gets yet another OVA. It appears that they will keep releasing them, one per manga volume, for at least two more volumes.

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.

seiyuus: Watanabe Akeno, Tomatsu Haruka, Yahagi Sayuri, Arai Satomi, Koyasu Takehito, Hanazawa Kana, Kawasumi Ayako, Nazuka Kaori, Oura Fuyuka.
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.
trailer. forum.
OVA. 4/6 eps. comes with v16 of manga. OVA5 w/v17 in feb.
wed 04 nov 25:55

Zan Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei - Bangaichi
(jp: 懺・さよなら絶望先生)

Another successful season begets another OVA series for what is now one of the most successful franchises of recent years. The world's most negative man teaches a class of fairly odd high-school girls. Hilarious, for those who like the style of humor.

After his brush with death in a motorcycle accident near the end of recording Honey & Clover, Kamiya Hiroshi has come back to be one of the top male seiyuus of all, having won the award as best leading man of 2008 for this role and that of Natsume in Natsume Yuujinchou.

seiyuus: Kamiya Hiroshi, Nonaka Ai, Inoue Marina, Tanii Asuka, Sanada Asami, Kobayashi Yuu, Sawashiro Miyuki, Gotou Yuuko, Shintani Ryouko.
director: Shinbou Akiyuki
writer: Tou Fuyashi (Zoku Sayonara). Kumeta Kouji (orig).
animation: Shaft. chara-des: Morioka Hideyuki. animation supervisor: Morioka Hideyuki (REC, D.Gray-man, Sayonara, MariaHolic).
trailer. forum. OVA. 1/2eps. comes with v19 of manga.
tue 17 nov

(jp: kiss×sis)

ecchi comedy with incest
DVD comes with volume 5 of the extremely ecchi manga, about a high-school boy whose two (non-blood-related) sisters are constantly trying to get into his pants. Episode one, while not that well made, was as hilariously over the top as the manga. Borderline hentai.

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; Masuda Kuniaki (Kanamemo).
sound director: Kikuta Hiromi.
trailer. forum. OVA. 3/?eps.
fri 20 nov

(jp: AIKa ZERO)

ecchi comedy
Second episode of "the return of the legendary low-angle, sexy action anime in an all-new OVA series." In this story, set in a future world (mostly submerged under water), the 19-year-old Aika Sumeragi is going to college while training as an agent. (ann)

This show is all legs, boobs and guns, with a bit of plot to hold it all together. But with wonderful voices: Koshimizu Ami, Noto Mamiko, Gotou Yuuko, and Takahashi Mikako, in particular.

Lead writer Kanemaki Kenichi was lead writer on Natsume Yuujinchou, Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, Jigoku Shoujo, Ai yori Aoshi, etc.

Star Koshimzu Ami gets a chance to sing both the OP and the ED.

seiyuus: Koshimizu Ami, Noto Mamiko, Fukuen Misato, Gotou Yuuko, Takahashi Mikako, Shimoda Asami, Ohtsuka Akio.
director: Yamauchi Noriyasu (new, charades/animator)
writer: Kanemaki Kenichi (Natsume Yuujinchou, Sayonara Zetsubou).
animation: Studio Fantasia. chara-des: Yamauchi Noriyasu (Stratos 4, Najica Blitz Tactics). animation supervisor: Yamauchi Noriyasu.
OPED Koshimizu Ami. trailer. forum. OVA 2/3eps. ep3 22 dec.
tue 27 oct

Denpateki na Kanojo
(jp: 電波的な彼女)

mystery violence romance
I loved episode one. Hirohashi Ryou gave one of the best performances of 2009 as the weird girl who suddenly shows up and swears allegiance to the protagonist, just as a series of horrific murders is taking place.

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

One of several OVAs this fall that are being sold with special editions of manga volumes. Sold with v4 of the Kure-nai manga (from a novel by the same author).

seiyuus: Hirohashi Ryou, Hosoya Yoshimasa, Kobayashi Yu, Ueda Kana, Yoshizumi Kozue, Kitamura Eri, Nakahara Mai, Koshimizu Ami, Saiga Mitsuki.
director: Kanbe Mamoru (Elfen Lied, I"s Pure)
writer: Yoshino Hiroyuki (My-HiME, Macross Frontier). Katayama Kentarou (novel).
animation: Brains Base. chara-des: Tanaka Chiyuki (animator), Yamamoto Yamato (orig).
sound director: Shimizu Katsunori (Elfen Lied, Kite Liberator).
trailer. forum. OVA. 2/?eps.
fri 04 dec

(jp: あきそら)

ecchi comedy romance with cross-dressing and incest
Sora has an older sister Aki and a younger twin sister Nami, They have grown up saying "I love you" to each other. But now that they are older, do they still mean it in the same way? Incest happens.

The manga is, uh, stimulating, with relationships and ecchiness to the point of hentai. We'll see how the anime works out. If sex sells, this could be a big success.

Kawaragi Shiho (Sekai in School Days) is a good start on the cast, with Kinoshita Sayaka (Kaname in Strawberry Panic). Backing them up are Ueda Kana, of all people, and Okajima Tae. Director Takahashi Takeo did the first season of Spice & Wolf. Writer Hanada Jukki (Rozen Maiden, sola) adapts Itosugi Masahiro's manga. NOTE: I had the cast entirely wrong, for some reason. Not sure what happened. It is correct now.

The one-episode OVA comes with a special edition of v3 of the manga.

seiyuus: Kitamura Eri (Ami/Toradora), Imai Asami (Solva/Needless, minor roles back to 2001).
director: Takahashi Takeo (Spice & Wolf, Sora no iro Mizu no Iro)
writer: Itosugi Masahiro (orig). Hanada Jukki (Rozen Maiden, sola).
chara-des: Kuroda Kazuya (Vandread, Spice&Wolf, Higurashi Rei).
OVA. 1/?eps.
18 dec

Ai no Kusabi
(jp: 間の楔)

yaoi erotica romance
Intriguing 13-episode OVA remake of the 1990s yaoi sci-fi OVA, from a famous series of yaoi novels. "Heavy story, action, and a twisted relationship," to quote a poster on AnimeSuki. Even if you don’t normally like yaoi, it sounds as if this is a show to check out. The novelist is writing the anime, too.

On planet Amoi, a great computerized city is ruled by supercomputer Jupiter. The populace is almost entirely male and status is based on hair color: silvers and blondes are the elite, and black-hairs are the dregs of society, often known as "mongrels".

Blondes keep young boys as "pets" for a few years, especially for performing sexual acts for the Blondes' voyeuristic pleasure. Blondes aren't suppose to keep pets for long or interact sexually with them, but one blonde named Iason Mink has kept a pet named Rikki for years and is rumored to sleep with him.

Iason refuses to let go of Rikki, even with Jupiter's disapproval. Rikki fights with his emotions and society's problems, unable to decide what to do about his old friend/lover Guy and their gang. Iason is obsessed with keeping Rikki, and Rikki doesn't know what to do: fight against him or surrender to him. (ann)

Director Akiyama Katsuhito did Pumpkin Scissors and Inazuma Eleven. Original novelist Yoshihara Reiko does the anime adaptation. Conceptual art by one of the designers of Appleseed and Blue Drop.

No date yet, just "fall 2009."

seiyuus: Itou Kentarou, Ohkawa Tooru, Miki Shinichirou, Toriumi Kousuke (Raven/Pandora).
director: Akiyama Katsuhito (Pumpkin Scissors, Inazuma 11)
writer: Yoshihara Rieko (orig. novelist and lead writer).
animation: AIC. chara-des: Onda Naoyuki (LoGH, Ergo Proxy). conceptual art: Takeuchi Atsushi (IG - Appleseed, Blue Drop).
sound director: Abe Nobuyuki (new).
trailer. forum. OVA. 1/13 eps.