Friday, March 16, 2012

A Season of Optimism: full previews of spring shows

Big buzz. Everyone seems to have high expectations for the upcoming spring season. Including me. There are promising shows in almost every genre. I'm not sure I see any masterpieces, but time will tell.

Kawamori Shouji (Macross) is working with writer Okada Mari (true tears, AnoHana) to bring us a science fiction anime based on the impossibly popular idol group AKB48: AKB0048.
The director of Full Metal Alchemist and Oh! Edo Rocket presents popular seiyuu/singers Sphere in a new slice-of-life vehicle of their own: Natsuiro Kiseki.

Tasogare Otome x Amnesia
There is a new show from Kyoto Animation, the school mystery Hyouka.

Oonuma Shin is animating a popular manga, Tasogare Otome x Amnesia

There is a new show from Sunrise made by the writer and director who did Mai-HiME: Accel World.

Even the arbiters of polite taste can be happy:

Old hero Matsumoto Leiji (Space Battleship Yamato, Galaxy Railways 999) returns with a new offering: Ozuma
Noitamina is presenting two highly attractive and respectable shows -- Sakamichi no Apollon, a hymn to friendship and jazz by the director of Cowboy Bebop, Watanabe Shinichiro; and Tsuritama, from the director of Mononoke and Kuchuu Buranko, Nakamura Kenji.

And there is a year-long space fiction drama that will follow two brothers: Uchuu Kyoudai.

But lovers of the ecchi moe despised by higher minds will not be disappointed, either, with a sequel to the yuri-tinged Saki, as well as shows like Sengoku Collection, from Gotou Keiji; and Upotte!, in which scantily-clad schoolgirls turn out to be assault rifles in disguise. There is a new season of Kore wa Zombie desu ka? And another season of Queen's Blade, for our sins.

Several popular manga are being animated: Medaka Box, Sankarea, Mysterious Girlfriend X.

Old favorite Eureka 7 is getting a sequel. 

Lupin III TV series is coming. 

There will be dark anomie and explosions of blood and gore in shows like Jormungand and Zetman.

There is dry comedy in Haiyore Nyaruko-san, Acchi Kocchi and Yurumates.

There is one reverse harem, Hiiro no Kakera, which has already started well. There is a promising young-shoujo show about a cynical apprentice witch, starring Paku Romi and Orikasa Fumiko: Kuromajo-san ga Tooru.

And there are two shounen sports anime: Kuroko no Basket and Ginga e Kickoff.

In any case, this season I have arranged 38 series into three groups: 1. shows I am particularly looking forward to; 2. shows I'm quite looking forward to; and 3. others.

Read on, or just click on the alphabetical list below to go to individual shows, for which I give full cast and staff info; a picture; an outline of the story; and links to trailers and manga, to more info in English and Japanese, and to AnimeSuki discussion groups.

Seiyuu Audio: I guess Yuuki Aoi CAN Sing

The new music video made me think she might be pretty limited, but here is a cut from a The World God Only Knows character song album that shows Ao-chan actually can sing, at least better than many seiyuus:

The many, many scrolling comments are almost all quite enthusiastic, ranging from "cute" to "unexpectedly skillful." The lyrics are in Japanese at the bottom of the image. To turn off comments, click the balloon with three dots at the bottom right of the window. As usual with NicoNico embedded videos, it takes a while for the video to start after you click "play."

This song is called "Platinum," and is sung by Ao-chan as her character in the anime, Aoyama Mio. The album came out in December and can be purchased from CDJapan, among other places.

I can't say how much technical wizardry was required to keep her voice so close to being in tune.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Yuuki Aoi's CD -- Comments from Composers DECO*27 and bermei.inazawa

In my post about Yuuki Aoi's new CD, I mentioned interviews with the composers of the songs on it, DECO*27 and bermei.inazawa. Here is a translation of the interviews.

Comments by bermei.inazawa

Did you know of Yuuki Aoi before? What was your impetus for working with her?

bermei.inazawa -- I first became interested in her when I watched the anime Gosick. I saw her name in the credits for that show. Then I saw her as star of Madoka Magika. Only now have I found out how surprisingly young she is.

What is her appeal?

bermei.inazawa -- Even though she has a “cute” voice, I think it is in her low register that she really shows her acting ability. She is very good at expressing the subtleties of a character. And this connects directly with the precision of her psychological expression when she sings. I am attracted by her potential as a singer.

Please tell us anything striking that happened when you were making the song.

bermei.inazawa -- Really, just meeting Yuuki-san. “Looks like a child, but has the mind of an adult”... that expression was made for Yuuki Aoi! She’s an amusing person who gives a very honest feel.

Yuuki Aoi CD Music Video Clip

Yuuki Aoi's first music CD will be coming out on March 28. Her label, Flying Dog, has released a clip from the music video.

Be prepared. This is pretty weird. A week or so ago, Ao-chan said she would be doing some different things this year, and she hoped her fans would accept them.

I'll just say that I was shocked at first, but began to absolutely love the clip after the fourth or fifth view. We're not in Kansas any more, Toto.

Commenters compare the backgrounds to the work of Inukare, creator of the witch worlds in Madoka Magica. The song is by game composer bermei.inazawa.