First off was Smash Hit. It's the story about a young TV producer 'with the body of a young girl', who suddenly has been given the task to produce a hero series with a set of young women in skimpy outfits, called Cosprayers. She has lots of trouble managing this project -- and we get to see her panties a lot during the various antics.
Slapstick and ecchi-ness, a combination that is sure to make me immediately delete that series. Though I have to admit it's a clever ploy to show the series that is the result of the later series first (did that make sense? Never mind, I'm pretty sure most of you won't be interested in either series).
Next was Yumeria. What to say... Tomokazu is a run-of-the-mill 16-year old underachiever with some interesting dreams. Things start to get weird when he wakes up and finds the girl from his dream next to him in bed!
When he goes to school, it turns out that Mizuki, the smartest girl in his class has a thing for him (though I fail to understand why). That night, Tomokazu has pretty much the same dream, but now Mizuki is in his dream as well! When he touches either of the girls, they 'charge up' with his life energy so that they can defeat these mysterious floating... things that keep attacking them. Of course, this all needs skimpy outfits and revealing transformation sequences too.
Again, slapstick and ecchi-ness. I was done with the series after one episode, but klik still has her doubts whether it's a worthwhile series or not...
We also watched Negotiator Yugo. Beppu Yugo is a professional negotiator, and in the first episode, he is hired by the daughter of a Japanese industrialist who has been kidnapped by rebels in Pakistan. Previous attempts to get her father free have gone wrong, because of the involvement of the Pakistani military, who are more concerned with squashing the rebels than the safety of the hostage. Yugo makes his preparations and departs to Pakistan...
The visual style is like that of Boogiepop Phantom, which is appealing. And Yugo displays a deep knowledge of geo-political and religious issues, which adds to the depth of the story-line. The recent events in Afghanistan and Iraq makes it even more interesting: it is not entirely impossible that a scenario like that of this anime series will play itself out in the near future. Definately one to watch!
We also saw Hi no Tori, an adaptation of a manga by Osamu Tetzuka, complete with his signature character designs.
"Hi no Tori" means "Bird of Fire", a Phoenix. The story is set in a stone age, and tells of the people of the land of Fire, who live on the slopes of a giant volcano. When the volcano erupts, the Phoenix arises from the magma. It's pretty hard to tell the whole story, but the people of the Land of Fire get slaughtered by a tribe from overseas, who come looking for the Phoenix. One of them had been sent in advance as a spy of sorts, and he marries one of the women of the tribe after saving her from blood poisoning. He doesn't know his leaders have plans for the people of that land, and he is appalled by the ensuing slaughter. He manages to save his wife, but she doesn't want anything to do with him.
And that's where the first episode ends. It's beautifully animated, and the setting is interesting and unusual. It also has a nice mythical ring to it. I'll keep collecting this series.
When I looked up some information about Hinotori, I stumbled upon some pages about the MSX2-game of the same name. I've must have played that game from beginning to end no less than three times. I managed to find a ROM-file of it, downloaded an MSX-emulator, and sure enough: on the title page, it says: "(C) Tetzuka Productions".
I played a bit, and yes: the phoenix looks the same as in the animation, the main character looks like he is of the tribe of the land of fire, etc. That sure brings back memories -- and I hope that I will 'get' the story after seeing the animation series. The phoenix gives advice in the game, but since that is only in Japanese, I can't make heads or tails of it.
I also found a page with cheat codes, and it amuses me that some of them were Japanese sentences that I now perfectly understand, and that make sense with respect to their function. For instance, "kokowadoko" ("Where is here") gives you a map of the current level, "dokodemomap" ("map everywhere") gives you six maps and "enddemomitaina" ("I want to see the end demo") gives you, you guessed it, the end demo. I must have used some of those codes in the past, without realising they where Japanese sentences: it was just something you typed in...