Spring 2004 Anime

It’s new TV season time in Japan, which means the start of a few new anime series (anime series usually last 1 season, which amounts to 13 episodes – successful shows sometime go on for 2 seasons). Here are a few I’ve had a chance to watch (if I find some other interesting shows, I’ll add them in a new post).

MONSTER – Based on the amazing manga by Urusawa Naoki (reminds me that I need to write a post on him, as I believe he’s been producing the best manga out there for the past few years with MONSTER, and especially 20TH CENTURY BOYS), it follows the story of a Japanese doctor working in Germany who by saving the life of a boy, ruins his career, and gets involved in the world of serial killings years later that seem to be related to that boy he saved… This is based on a absolutely terrific manga, so I can’t see how the anime series could do any wrong. The only sad thing is that it replaces GOKUSEN (same timeslot), which I was so loving.

yokoku_03HI NO TORI – This is a new series on NHK based on the classic Osamu Tezuka manga (done in the sixties I think), and usually translated in English as PHOENIX. From what I’ve read about this, it takes place over different generations (or even ages), and the thread that links all the stories is the appearance of a phoenix. I’ve just seen one episode, and it was the 3rd one, so I’m still not clear on everything, but it looks promising. Click around on the official site and you’ll find a streaming promo.

BAKURETSU TENSHI – I know next to nothing about this series, and checked it out based on some cool mecha battles I saw. File under giant robot show, but what nice-looking robots (and vehicles in general), all cell-shaded CG. The characters are a bit too cutesy, but I’m willing to watch another 1 or 2 episodes, at least for the action. There’s isn’t much of a storyline yet, and the first episode ends in a cliffhanger. From what I could see, there’s an all-girl fighting force (don’t know what they’re fighting for, maybe just mercenaries), and they hire a young boy to be their cook. He gets kidnapped, big giant robot action ensues. I think the show’s tagline says it all: Girls x Gun x Gonzo (Gonzo is the name of the production company).

Not a new show, but I’ve always wanted to mention SAKIGAKE CROMARTIE HIGH SCHOOL. It has to be the funkiest thing I’ve ever seen. I mean, oh boys, how to describe it… It sort of makes fun of all the traditional manga/anime stereotypes, and does it in an absurd way. Dialogue is delivered as if everything was a matter of life and death (remember that the thing takes place in a high school). The school doctor ponders for a few minutes over the use of his stethoscope (why is he using it, what does it all mean), only to rejoice when he gets to treat a gorilla. 2 robots roam the hallways. Oh, and Freddy Mercury is a student there. And the thing comes at you in 10-15 minute shots.

And while on the subject of anime, the stunning cell-shaded CG adaption of the APPLESEED manga is out in theatres this weekend, and the good news is that it will be playing at the Roppongi Hills Virgin Cinemas with English subtitles. As for the soundtrack, it’s mostly done by Boom Boom Satellites, and you can read about the process of making it in this METROPOLIS article.