A number of short series just finished not too long ago including Senkou no Nightraid, Arakawa Under the Bridge and Working!! Really enjoyed the last two for their comedy and slightly less cliché cast of characters thanks to their odd traits.
But time for the new season so lets have a look at ten of the shows running in Japan just now.
Legend of the Legendary Heroes
When war breaks out between Roland and Estaboole once again, a training school of students are sent to the battlefield first. Tragedy breaks out and the only surviving two friends, Ryner Lute who is cursed with the Alpha Stigma and Sion Astal of royal heritage aims to bring peace to the country by working together. They believe finding the relics of the legendary hero who once defeated the demons is the key.
Typical fantasy show and it's as silly as the name sounds. Cliché characters, settings and cringed at the sound effects. It's fairly much your average Anime show with the tsundere heroine Ferris with a very shallow storyline. The second episode just doesn't seem to quite set up the strong bond between Shion, Ryner and his classmates that well to make Ryner agree to be part of such a great ambition. Action scenes are boring (or should I say lack of?) and most of the jokes coming from Ryner and Ferris get repetitive.
Edit - There's actually more to this show than meets the eye. Watch this if you like intricate plots.
Based off a PS2 dating sim, it looks very much like your typical "gal game" show set in high school with a big female cast. A different story is told for each female character but with the same male protagonist, Shunichi Tachibana. For the first story, it's been two years since the Shunichi last tried to date a girl and when she didn't show up that Christmas, his confidence is dented but now he's ready to try and move on. Even though his initial confession to the popular girl he has a crush on Haruka Morishima isn't a success, he is determined he won't be alone this Christmas and keeps on trying.
I quite liked the mood of this show at first but Morishima seems to be created as the "ideal" girl for the male viewers with her open playful and extremely extroverted nature. There isn't much to her character or any other for that matter.
On another note, first episode reminds me I'm going to have to try those self-heating hand warmer gadgets this winter. No harm trying them when it gets as cold as -5C over here in Scotland during the day ^^;
Satoshi Yabe arrives as a new teacher for an elementary school thinking he would be dealing with cute kids but to his horror, he finds they aren't that well misbehaved. The class is dominated by the Marui triplets - Futaba has super strength and is obsessed with breasts, Hitoba is quiet with a scary side and carries a book filled with adult images as her "weapon" and Mitsuba has a superior complex. Together they create plenty of problems in the otherwise peaceful class.
Watching the opening alone already made me want to drop it. Ugly artwork, nasty music. It's like three Crayon Shin-chans put together and it has no shame with all the kids dragging out the crude adult humour. Half the first episode was about elementary children shouting talking about a hamster named "Chikubi (Nipple)" and you can imagine the kind of jokes that follows like touching it gently. Then we had the school nurse coming up with all sorts of uses for "wee wee" samples... ^^;
I lost interest in Crayon Shin-chan long ago.
Shukufuku no Campanella
Another show based on a recent PC adult visual novel game (with a PSP port coming soon), Elru is the energy source of everything in the fantasy world of Eltaria. "Automatas" are created to help the citizens and one such highly advanced Automata is a robot girl named "Minute" who awakens one night when she is charged by the annual shooting stars of Elru. Lester becomes her "papa" and he is of course popular with lots of girls around him fighting for his attention. Together, they try to keep the peace by ridding the world of Elru energy that have gone rogue and turned into monsters.
Looks too cheery and fan servicy for my tastes. You can't go through a single episode without bust, panty shots and everyone just looks so unusually happy. There's so many smile and pose shots of each girl that it might as well be an Anime gravure video instead.
"Shukufuku" indeed... For guys anyway.
Takatoshi Tsuda goes to a new school which was an all girls school until last year. While there were rumours all the other new male students were applying for that very reason, Takatoshi applied because it was close to his house. First trip commuting there in the morning he was already stuck in a train filled with female students. When he becomes late thanks to all the questioning from the three member student council with odd personalities, he is elected to be the vice president and joins in their activities to better organise the school.
Looks like one for Moe harem fans with such a big female cast and adult humour or at least for the guys. Shino Amakusa the Student Council President very much associates everything with sex. During preparation for an interview, she gets an idol photo shoot video to learn how to pose for the camera but that said, they direct the scenarios in quite a hilarious way without going too overboard with blatant fan service.
I did like the part when the guys had to put their hands up in air on train to avoid being accused of sexual harassment though, lol. The sad thing is, this really is the advice given out to male passengers in Japan (according to Danny Choo) because of high school girls trying to take advantage of the situation and scam the innocent into money ^^;
And damn, that ending song "Aoi Haru [Youthful Spring]" by angela is catchy even though it has some silly Anime lyrics. The fansubbers who managed to decipher the lines that sped up must have some listening skill! Either that, or they did a search and found some Japanese sites with their listening attempts...
Gakuen Mokushiroku - Highschool of the Dead (H.O.T.D.)
学園黙示録 Highschool of the Dead
One morning Takashi Komuro is skiving class troubled over why his childhood friend Rei Miyamoto was going out with his best friend even though he was the one she likes. He spots a man walking strangely into the school gates. When the school staff confront him, they are bitten and realising something wrong, Takashi runs off inside to find his friends urging to grab something as a weapon and to escape. The whole town is suddenly filled with zombies just like the movies and they know they have to aim for their head and survive.
Feels like Left 4 Dead the PC game mixed with blatant fan service... Whenever you're supposed to see gruesome scenes of the dead eating away flesh or some action scene, the camera is focusing on underwear or cleavage shots. But ignoring the fan service, I like the direction and pacing. Short quick dialogue, slowdown for a bit of character development and fast paced action scenes. Animation's done well as expected from Madhouse who also did produced Death Note.
Lots of gore, zombies eating flesh of course and blood everywhere but the gore isn't as bad as the old "Manga" movies that used to come on early morning in the UK.
On a side note, the voice actress for Rei also did the voice for the female protagonist in Persona 3 Portable.
Seikimatsu Occult Academy
Maya Kumashiro's fascination with occults turned to hatred when her father became obsessed with the subject and began neglecting his family. Together with her mother, she leaves him and many years later towards the end of the 20th century Maya returns to "Waldstein Academy", nicknamed Occult Academy that her father set up after he passes away and inherits it. Many strange things occur at the academy including the appearance of man named Fumiaki Uchida who claims to be from the future 2012 when aliens invade the Earth and believes somewhere in the academy lies the key to saving it while one of the vice principals is conspiring something. When she learns why her father was so obsessed with his research, she changes her mind about destroying the academy for the time being and decides to find the key first before her father's murderers do.
I like this show because it has a nice entertaining balance of comedy and action. First episode there's the secretary with dangling mucus from her nose, Maya sitting there impatiently listening to his father's last words and then it turns out to be a chant to awaken an Egyptian demon. I thought it was going to be a completely serious show at first the way it started!
Think I might end up reading up about a few occult stories to see if the ones used are true like Nostradamus.
Ookamisan and The Seven Companions
The Otogi Student Association accepts requests for help from anyone and in return they ask the favour to be returned at a time of their choosing. Ryoko Ookami (Wolf) is their ace with nimble movement, boxing skills and a pair of gloves in the shape of cats.Ringo Akai dressed like Little Red Riding Hood is her assistant recording and gathering information. One day Ryoshi Morino confesses his love for Ookami, a timid guy afraid of people looking at him. He ends up taking the role of being Ookami's "human shield" but whenever his beloved is in trouble his "hunter" alter-ego kicks in.
Yet another show with a tsundere female protagonist. Shows with these kind of characters always seem to prove a hit with the Otakusphere especially when they have unique features such as Senjogahara from Bakemonogatari with the stationary in her skirt (well, maybe she was more of a yandere). In this case, Ryoko has those cat-shaped electrical boxing gloves which should make Ryoko a good cosplay option.
Anyway, seems funny enough even though the characters are very much on the cliché setup but the fairy tale parodies (hence the name "otogi") kind of make up for it. One is Little Red Riding Hood obviously but then there's also one of Cinderella and The Hare and The Turtoise so far. I'm kind of curious what favours they will ask back in return and it will probably turn out to be one big wrap up at the end of the series but until then, I don't think the jobs they'll be going on will keep my interest going.
Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan
Youkai has been pursued out of the human world in the past but leading them to fight back was the Nurarihyon clan. Rikuo Nura is to be the third leader of his clan but he isn't willing to take the lead and simply wants to live an everyday life with his human disguise. However, the Youkai blood of Nurarihyon awakening at night means he may not have a choice while the other Youkai clans are fighting for rule.
I like Youkai since watching Gegege no Kitaro but this show feels a little too much on the cutesy side for me. Just look at the chibi ending! Not too keen with the common transformation either. The art and scenarios kind of reminds me of Negima and DN Angel but it was fun watching Nura try to hide all the Youkais from the other clan in the first episode.
I think the big name Seiyuus like Jun Fukuyama (Code Geass), Hirano Aya (Suzumiya Haruhi) and Horie Yui (Love Hina) is enough to attract the more seasoned Anime viewers.
In the rural village of Sotoba, strange unexplained deaths are occurring although one of them are believed to have been caused by a stray dog. However, Megumi Shimizu is the latest victim - a girl who has been getting tired of the village, complaining about how there were no trendy people to hang around with or places where her tastes in fashion would be admired. One day, new residents move into the old mansion above the hill and believing they will be people like her, she goes there but gets a odd feeling from the building. In the end she dies. The local doctor Toshio Ozaki and buddhist thinks it maybe the an epidemic at work. Meanwhile, Yuki Natsuno a recent resident can sense some odd presence around the village.
Some nice clean artwork from this horror novel-to-manga-to-anime show and I think this show has a better atmosphere than Highschool of the Dead. I'm not that much into horror, though. Some of the character designs such as the way their eyes are drawn are odd and all those crazy hairstyles are kind of off-putting. Story itself has yet to get me interested after two episodes because they don't leave the viewer guessing much it seems but somehow, I feel like I still want to know what happens to all the people.
The weird puns in the episode titles are pretty interesting such as "Ichi (遺血, Inherited Blood)" which sounds exactly like the number "one" in Japanese. Kind of like the way numbers are written in formal Kanji.
Apparently Fuyumi Ono was also responsible for Twelve Kingdoms which is supposedly another light novel to Anime adaptation.
And my picks for this season's summer Anime would be Seitokai Yakuindomo, Highschool of the Dead, Occult Academy and Shiki although I will watch the others too if I have the time.