January 27th, 2006


New anime

The new season in Japan is steaming along quite nicely -- time to catch up with what's new!

First up, Idaten Jump. Sho is a young boy whose world consists of mountainbikes. His dad was, apparently, a hot-shot MTB rider who won lots of tournaments and who built Sho his bike. With two of his friends, Sho built an MTB race track, but their spot is being contested by another group of (older, of course) MTB riders.
Just when Sho is racing one of their riders for the right to use the track, they are absorbed by some sort of black cloud and end up in the Idaten World. Imagine the world of Mad Max -- with mountainbikes. Once you're inside the Idaten World, you can't get out -- unless you beat ten racers and acquire their shield mark! Of course, Sho gets into his first race right off the bat -- and of course he wins!
Definately a kids' series, and not that interesting.

Hantsuki (or, 'Looking up at the half-full moon') is about a boy, Yuuichi, who is in hospital for his hepatitis (A, presumably). He likes to sneak off at night to visit his friends, much to the dismay of the head nurse. She encourages him to talk to a new patient, Rika, a girl his age. She has a heart problem, just like her father. He died shortly after getting a transplant -- and Rika is preparing herself for the same surgery. She tells Yuuichi about how her father took her up a mountain, which turns out to be the mountain that overlooks the city. So one night, Yuuichi manages to smuggle Rika out of the hospital, and together they climb the mountain.
The story could turn out to be quite interesting, though the humor fell a bit flat. Designs are pretty nice, though.

Magikano focusses on Haruo and his three sisters. His sisters are all capable of magic, but they keep this a secret from Haruo because he is not capable of such feats. One day, a transfer student enters his class. It's Ayumi, who is secretly a witch -- a cursed one. She needs Haruo's magical powers to break her curse, which of course won't be so easy -- especially not with the three protective sisters hovering over their brother! Ayumi starts to work as a maid in Haruo's household, and she is determined to use any trick necessary to get what she wants!
Lots of comic hijinks and pantyshots, so if comic harem anime is your thing, this certainly fits the bill.

Jigoku Shojo managed to fly in under our radar, but we picked up on it in time. The Jigoku Shojo is a last resort for the desperate. She will take revenge in your stead, and drag the offender off to Hell -- but there is a price. The avenged gets a mark, and when they die, their souls will reside in Hell as well. The first episode shows how a girl is relentlessly bullied by one of her classmates, and at the end of her wits she calls for the Jigoku Shojo to avenge her.
It seems to be a bit like Narutaru, except instead of little monsters it's a cute girl and her grotesque servants who do the avenging.

Fate/Stay Night is about a secret war for the Holy Grail. Seven magicians summon seven servants, and the one who defeats the others, wins the Holy Grail which will grant his wishes. Shiro is a magician, but he's not very good. All he can do is detect the internal structure of appliances, which enabled him to find the fault in anything that's been broken. The first episode follows him around, while hinting at the greater things to come -- obviously, Shiro will become involved in the wizards' war, but we don't know yet in what way.
Pretty interesting series with quite decent artwork.

Kagihime Monogatari Eikyu Alice Rondo is about the 'Searchers for Alice': people who are searching for the mythical third Alice book by Alternight L Tachyon. By winning a battle against a fellow Searcher, they can extract the stories from their hearts -- presumably the third book will be complete when they have defeated all their opponents. Aruto likes the Alice books very much, and one night he stumbles upon a fight between two Alice Searchers. One of them (the winner) turns out to be his classmate Arisu, and they become friends -- much to the dismay of his younger sister Kiraha.
The series feels a bit like Princess Tutu, except with bigger boobs and rabbit ears (though that may not be a bad thing, depending on your view).

Ayakashi is a collection of classic Japanese horror stories. Most of the time, such stories don't end very well -- deceit and murder turn spurned women into ghosts and demons who curse those who did them wrong. There's not much to be said about the contents of the first episode, except that the designs are a bit rough around the edges.

Kashimashi tells the story of Hazumu, who is in love with Yasuna -- but she turned him down. He tries to get rid of his sadness by climbing the mountain where he first met her, but he is hit by a crashing spaceship! The aliens restore him, but they turn him into a girl!
S/He is found by her/is friends (one of whom has a crush on him) and Yasuna. Now the truth comes out: Yasuna is more of the type to like girls, and with Hazumu in the form of a girl...
Amusing yuri hijinks, which doesn't even look half bad.

Wings of Reanis a fantasy mecha show. A group of insurgents shoot a bomb onto the American airforce base, and during their flight a group of mysterious flying battleships surface from the sea! It turns out that the ships are from two battling factions. A American-Japanese boy, Aesop, finds himself aboard the battleship of princess Lyx, who wears the boots with the Wings of Rean. Her battleship is powered by giant beetles... Chaos ensues as the US airforce figures out how to deal with this.
Pretty cool designs, great animation and a story that could develop into a kick-ass fantasy-adventure.

Akagi is a sports anime about Mahjongg. The titular character, Akagi, is a brat of thirteen who is on the run from the police. He stumbles upon a game between the Yakuza and one of their debtors who si (literally) playing for his life. Akagi subtly manipulates them all (the police, the Yakuza and the debtor) to further his own ends.
No action at all, but somehow oddly exciting. And the designs are definately ugly, but if you're interested in Mahjongg, then this one's for you.

Reideen is a series that's ten years old, but only now is being subbed. A force of interstellar demons is after the God Reideen. Earth's only hope is a group of young people who receive a feather from God Reideen and then turn into armoured defenders. Of course, our hero is one of these chosen, and he saves an idol singer from a grisly fate when a demon thinks the jewel she wears at a concert is one of the jewels the demons need to awake God Reideen.
It's hard to believe that this series was made in the same year and by the same studio that made Escaflowne!