Hein (fub) wrote,

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New anime

Another batch of new anime, starting off with BECK. It's about Koyuki, a high-school student who is average in pretty much everything. He saves a dog that looks like it's been made by stitching parts of different dogs together (a Frankensteinian dog, so to speak) from a couple of kids, and he meets the owner of the dog, an American guy living in Japan. The next day, the school idol (who was in his calligraphy class, but with whom he hasn't spoken in three years) invites him to come bowling with a group of her friends. Of course he agrees, and they meet up in a scuffle with a couple of Americans (who, strangely enough, have thick Japanese accents...). The owner of the dog, some sort of rockstar, saves him and his friends. It turns out that he is somehow involved with a really popular rockband, and he invites Koyuki and his friends over to meet the band.
The designs are pretty nice, and the music is very rock-oriented (which is no big surprise when the anime deals with a rock band). I'm interested in the story, but I'm not sure it'll be the greatest anime of the season.
I'm wondering whether Americans recognise themselves in the portrayal of the Americans in BECK: loud, agressive, acting as if they own the world. Certainly some of the bad traits of Americans who are outside of the USA. When we were in Japan, we noticed that people were a lot more friendly when we told them we weren't from the US.

Next was Yakitate! Japan. When watching this series, it's important to realise that 'bread' is 'pan' in Japanese -- or else you'll miss all of the horrible puns.
Every country has its own style of bread, a constant source of pride of the inhabitants of that country. Take, for instance, German bread, or French bread -- known all around the world. But there is no such bread for Japan -- and the only possible name for such a Japanese bread would be... Ja-pan! Get it? Get it!?
Enter Kazuma, a young man who wants to create the Ja-pan. He is gifted with the 'Solar Hands': warm hands that make the yeast ferment while he is kneading the dough. He leaves his provincial town to continue his studies in Tokyo, in a bakery called 'Pantasia' (Get it? Get it!?). However, there are 35 candidates, and there is only one position to fill! During a set of tests, the staff of Pantasia will determine who gets to work in the mecca of Japanese bread!
So, this one is promising to turn into a sports/tournament anime, about... baking bread. Another example of the fact that the Japanese make an anime about just about any subject. The wordplay is rather lame, but the bizarre nature of the anime lends it an atmosphere of funny wackiness. Designs are pretty nice too, and, believe it or not, characterisations are pretty good as well. We'll be watching this one -- and you'll be able to pick up something about making bread in the process!

Then there was Bleach. Main character is Ichigo, a 15-year old boy who is remarkably good in martial arts. He can see the spirits of the dead, and one evening he encounters a Shinigami (a 'Death God') who battles 'Hollow spirits'. Hollow spirits are bad monsters who seek nourishment from the souls of the dead and living alike. It seems Ichigo has a particularly tasty soul, the Hollow are flocking to him like ants to a picknick. The only way to protect himself and his family is for him to become a shinigami as well. Of course, he gets a totally big-ass sword and astonishes friend and foe alike with both his fighting and spirit power.
I know the manga is quite popular, but I haven't read anything about it until now. It's promising to become a 'monster of the week'-anime, which would be too bad. The designs are pretty nice -- note the transitions between the real world and the 'spirit world'! The action is pretty hectic, within the first five minutes, we get two fight scenes... If you like fighting anime, this one's for you. I'm not convinced I want to see it, but klik wants me to collect it, so...

We've also see Grenadier, subtitled 'the smiling markswoman'. The series is set in an era of civil wars, when guns were just being introduced in Japan. We meet a young ronin, Yaijiro, who is on a mission to rescue a lord from a castle that's occupied by a gang of gun-wielding hoodlums. Wave after wave of attacking samurai are repelled, and when Yaijiro covers his comrade's retreat, he is wounded by a bullet. His attackers pursue him to kill him, but he receives help from Rushuna, a markswoman, in rather... unexpected way. Of course, she gets mixed up in the fight. She turns out to be a crack shot, but her ultimate goal is to make peace without having to fight...
Most anime have at least one episode set in a hot spring, often pretty heavy on the fan-service. This series introduces the main character through an onsen-scene... She's also quite busty, and she hides her spare bullets in... interesting places. This series is heavy on the fanservice, in rather not-so-subtle ways. Rushuna is cute and, in some ways, naieve. It could turn out to be interesting story.

And there's Uta~Kata. Ichika is a high-school student in Kamakura. During the last day of school before the summer vacation, she has to clean a mysterious mirror in the old school building. Lots of ghost-stories abound about this mirror, and when Ichika sees a mysterious girl in the mirror, she is seriously spooked. It turns out that this girl, Maika, has taken her cellphone (with a talisman that Ichika got from one of her bishounen-twin tutors) inside the mirror. She comes out of the mirror to return the cellphone to Ichika, in return for a favor. Ichika is introduced to the world of spirits, in typical magical-girl style, and some mysterious woman who stands on top of buildings says something about 'the trials of the season'...
First off, Ichika looks and sounds suspiciously like a slightly older version of Saga from Tiny Snow Fairy Sugar. And then the Sun Fairy came along, and it all started to make sense. The talisman has 12 'stones', and Maika has to write 12 'reports' about fairies -- so I guess we get a fairy-of-the-week experience. I'm curious as to how this is going to develop, what with Ichika's parents and this mysterious woman apparently in on the act...

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