Queen Millennia

This is an old Leiji Matsumoto series from the 80s that I somehow had never heard of, despite the fact that in the US it had been released alongside the 70s Captain Harlock series, which is one of my favorite series of all time (albeit I watched it in its French incarnation, as Albator). I’ve only watched the first episode, but was immediately sucked into the mysterious storyline that starts with the discovery of a 10th planet that is on a collision course with Earth. I’ve purposely not done any more digging about the series, as I don’t want to get spoiled, but it does indeed appear to tie into the rest of Matsumoto’s stuff. Yet another series to add to my current watchlist.

Mob Psycho 100

This show is batshit insane. It aired this past summer in Japan, but I just came across it now. I watched the first episode the other day, and I do plan on watching the rest. The basic premise is that the main character (“Mob”) has psychic powers, and is being used by another character (who runs an exorcism agency) to get rid of ghosts/spirits for his clients. But the genius of the show is in the wacky and psychedelic animation style used, that goes all over the place, and is borderline schizophrenic. It remains to be seen if the rest of the series sustains the level of insanity throughout, but I do hope so.

Izetta: The Last Witch

This is a series that just started this month, but that I hadn’t included in my list of shows I wanted to watch. I’ve seen the first 2 episodes that have aired so far, and although I’m not absolutely sold on it yet, I do quite like it. It’s set in an alternate WW2-like history (bordering on fantasy) where a German-like country invades other countries. For the most part, it comes off as a military series — with art direction that makes me think of the original Valkyrie Chronicles game — but then we’re introduced to the titular character, who reveals her magical powers (a witch, basically, but who rides guns instead of brooms). I do want to watch more of this.

Dimension W

This is a series that aired in Japan at the start of the year, and I just happened to come across. I’ve watched the first 3 episodes, and absolutely love it. It’s a sci-fi story that takes place in a near-future where energy is supplied to the world thanks to the discovery of an energy-rich 4th dimension (“Dimension W”). We follow a “collector” whose job is to retrieve illegal energy sources. The animation is super slick and stylish, and I’m really enjoying the characters. I wouldn’t go so far as comparing it to shows like Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo, but I’m sorta getting a vibe that reminds me of those shows (which are among my favorite series). Really happy I found this.

Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans

As I mentioned in my fall 2016 post, the second season of this Gundam series started this month, and that got me wanting to check out the series from the start. I’ve gotten into Gundam this year in a big way, but have been sticking so far with shows that take place in the Universal Century timeline — I’m currently more than halfway watching Zeta Gundam, that aired in the mid-80s — but I’ve been in the mood to watch something Gundam that is more modern (sometimes there’s just so much 80s-style animation that you can take in) and despite this being one of the non-UC series, I’d heard good things about it and so figured I’d give it a shot. The first season runs 25 episodes, and I watched the first 4 over the weekend, and really enjoyed what I saw. So far, it’s the darkest Gundam series I’ve watched, as it deals with child soldiers and the horrors of war (although the horrors of war is a running theme in Gundam), with a main character (the pilot of the main Gundam suit) who is a child who show an absolute and scary level of desensitivity to violence. I’m very much looking forward to watching the rest of this series.

Occultic Nine

One of the series I mentioned wanting to watch in my fall 2016 anime post was Occultic Nine —  it finally launched and I got to watch the first episode. What I wrote then pretty much stands. The one aspect of the show that really turns me off is the inclusion of a character with ridiculously large breasts, that just makes it embarrassing to watch (even though she’s played for laughs). It’s a shame, because there’s a lot to like here. The animation is incredibly slick, and the overall art direction reminds of what we’ve seen with the Persona 5 game. And the setup for the show is quite interesting, following a guy who runs a blog about paranormal activities, making a living from the ads, and how he’s trying to get more traffic to his site by finding more interesting mysteries to cover. I’m going to watch the next episode at least, and see if it manages to not dwell too much on that assistant character and her breasts.

All Your Anime Are Belong to Us

The next few posts are going to be about anime series I’ve been watching over the past few days. Some of them are new series for this fall season that just started — and that I mentioned in this post, which I’ll update to add links to my thoughts on the shows I was interested in checking out — but others I just kinda fell upon or started watching for other reasons. I find myself often getting in and out of anime — I’ll go months without watching any, and then suddenly I’m in the mood to consume massive quantities of it. As you’ll be able to tell from all the posts, I’m currently in the latter mood.

Ani-Kuri 15

I just watched a fantastic collection of animated shorts called Ani-Kuri 15. Produced for NHK back in 2007-2008, it’s comprised of 15 1-minute shorts each directed by some of the top names in the animation field, including Kon Satoshi (pictured), Mamoru Oshii, and Makoto Shinkai (in fact, it’s while searching for works by Shinkai that I came across this project). Just a fantastic collection, and incredibly imaginative.

Voices of a Distant Star

The last of Makoto Shinkai’s works I’ve watched so far is this 25-minute OVA, which tells an interesting story of two young lovers separated by a war in the galaxy, and how the light years of distance between them affects the way they can communicate. You can tell it’s an earlier work, as it doesn’t feel as comfortably edited as the other works I watched, but already you can see the telltale signs of color and hyper-real world building. I did find the character designs to be weak, and the scenes with mechs have unfortunately not aged very well, as they were done in CG (in 2002). Still very much worth watching though.

Dareka no Manazashi

After watching Makoto Shinkai’s 5 Centimeters Per Second film, I followed it up with this 6-minute short. Like with 5 Centimeters, it incorporates a hyper-real world, beautiful scenery and colors, all in a fun little near-future tale of a woman dealing with growing up and the relationship she maintains with her father. I recommend watching this as well.