First off I’d just like to say a huge thank you to everyone that read my list of ten anime films you should see before you die – the response has been phenomenal – not just the number of people that read it, but also those that took the time out to get involved in the following discussion at Reddit, Stumbleupon, Twitter as well as here on TMB. Some people loved my selections, some people thought I was well off the mark, but it was clear that there was no way I was going to be able to avoid putting together another list, this time of TV series and OVAs.
The Spring 2009 anime season marches on, and as always time is my enemy. Trying to keep up with the shows I am interested in is hard enough, let alone taking time out to sample the season’s other offerings. But sample I have, and here I present my findings on the first episodes of four shows that, while I may not follow them, you may want to check out.
With the anime industry facing recession and accused of creative stagnation, a common recent tactic has been to take two well established genres and weld them together, often with questionable results. Satellite Studios‘ Basquash! pulls the same move, merging sports drama and mecha action to depict a futuristic world where basketball is played with giant robots.
It’s the same old story: too much anime, not enough time. The new spring season kicks off in Japan this week, and here I am still trying to catch up with last season’s offerings. Well at least I can save myself – and maybe you – some time; this month’s first episodes round up features two shows I might watch more of and two I’ll shortly be dragging to the trash can. Still, that’s not to say you might not enjoy them.
Michiko to Hatchin is yet another anime series with expectations to live up to. Producing studio Manglobe has formed a fierce reputation for itself in the six short years since it’s conception, already delivering stylish, innovative shows such as Samurai Champloo and Ergo Proxy, both of which had also benefited from Sayo Yamamoto‘s impressive storyboarding skills. M&H marks her directorial debut, but she’s also got some impressive staff to back her up. Most notable is character designer Hiroshi Shimizu, who has an insane CV that includes The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Jin-Roh – The Wolf Brigade, Ghost in The Shell: Stand Alone Complex and Metropolis. Oh, and don’t forget his stint at Ghibli as a key animator, which saw him working on classics such as Princess Mononoke, Pom Poko and Porco Rosso among others. And did I mention that minor deity Champloo and Cowboy Bebop creator Shinichirō Watanabe acted as music producer for the series?
I’m not usually someone that indulges too much in nostalgia, especially for the 1980s. But I cannot deny the mounting excitement I’ve been feeling over the last couple of months, knowing that the original Star Fleet/X-Bomber Ｘボンバ TV series was to be finally given an official DVD launch in the UK. One of the reasons I usually avoid nostalgia is the almost inevitable feelings of disappointment that are associated with it – anyone that’s gone back and played a retro video game from around that time only to realise that their rose-tinted spectacles are broken will understand exactly what I mean. The question is does Star Fleet suffer the same fate nearly 30 years later?
As you can probably imagine, I constantly have a lot of anime waiting to be watched. Some of it is brand new recently broadcast shows, others entire series from years ago that I’m still trying to catch up with. However, cursed as I am with a job and a life, decisions have to be made as to which shows I follow and review, and which I just reject straight away. Usually watching one or two episodes is enough to tell, but occasionally shows come along that although they don’t earn my full attention, I can see they may still have something to offer to viewers. So, in the first of a regular series, I present a round up of first episodes you might want to check out.
There was a point, just a few minutes into the second half of the first episode of RideBack, when I finally decided that it was the first show I’d seen worth following this year. As the main protagonist races her fusion of motorcycle and mecha through her college campus, her skirt bellows in the wind and we hear a passer-by shout “I saw her panties!”. But we, the audience, see nothing. It’s a brief moment, but one that speaks volumes about the series’ intentions.