Despite whatever Eddard Stark might try to tell you, spring is coming: and with it sunny days, birds, flowers, and a brand new anime season which will give you a solid excuse to avoid going outside your room among all those lousy things I mentioned above. Here’s the complete chart for this season; follow me to get a sneark peek (a sneak peek, with an appropriately snarky attitude) at the highlights of the season – for good or bad.
The one that I anticipate the most – Shingeki no Kyojin
There’s little to argue for me here. I’ve heard excellent opinions about this manga, from people whose judgement I highly value. I’ve even heard it called “the new Fullmetal Alchemist” for its complex and well woven plot, and well, that’s something. From what I read elsewhere, the entire story begins with the mother of the protagonist being eaten alive by one of the titular Titans, so I’d say this is not going to be your ordinary, vanilla shonen, and it’s definitely not for the weak of heart. In fact, skinless giants trumping and eating people? Thanks, Japan, that’s a nightmare I hadn’t thought of yet. If nothing else, however, this trailer should be enough to convince you.
I will watch for sure, and probably blog.
The one that captured my attention – Aku no Hana
An anime that from its very title – Aku no Hana, The Flowers of Evil – cites French Decadent poet Charles Baudelaire tends to stand out on its own. The Flowers of Evil is the most famous poetry collection from Baudelaire, and it’s the book that the protagonist of this anime loves to read. In an attempt to get a feeling of what the mood of this story was, I checked out the first chapter of the manga. The first thing I thought was that the stark, somber yet detailed style reminded me of Death Note. The second one was that I found striking how this manga confronted the protagonist’s sexual pulsions – which drive him to stealing the sweaty clothes of the girl he has a crush on, causing him consequent feelings of guilt – were dealt with in an honest, realistic and uncompromising way. I like it, this manga seems not afraid of dirtying its hands. I will most likely follow the anime – too bad the manga is not complete yet.
The one that made me facepalm the hardest – Hentai ouji to warawanai neko
Speaking of realistic, honest treatment of adolescence and sexuality. This anime’s premise is so mind-numbingly idiotic it makes you want to smash your head against a wall until either breaks. So, we have a guy who’s got pervert thoughts – that is, is a perfectly normal male teenager – but is not “acknowledged as a pervert” – what does that even mean? Has being called a pervert now become a reason of pride? Are there world rankings of pervertedness? Is there a league? A championship? Questions. On the other hand, we have a girl who’s unable to restrain herself from “declaring immediately her true intentions” – hint: they probably are of a sexual nature. They meet at a wish-granting shrine. In real life, such a plot would solve itself in ten minutes or so and would be a messy and possibly somewhat unsatisfying affair. In anime, it’s going to take one or two cours of antics and it will probably be even messier and much less satisfying, but at least it won’t involve any risk of teen pregnancy.
The one I will keep an eye (or both) on – Suisei no Gargantia
The plot of Suisei no Gargantia has something original to it – in that it starts with a very typical sci-fi scenario, with mankind fighting aliens and whatnot, but then from its very premise takes the action elsewhere, on a now flooded and peaceful Earth. This alone wouldn’t have been enough to wake up my interest if not for other two details, though: it’s an original anime story, no adaptation from manga, light or visual novel, and that’s usually something that piques my interest, and the writer is Gen effin’ Urobuchi. The man who very nearly made me cry and despair and whatever about the adventures of five little girls with fancy dresses in Puella Magi Madoka Magica deserves all of my attention – I’ve heard excellent things about Fate/Zero, another one of his recent works, as well, even though I haven’t watched it not being into the Fate Stay/Night franchise. The art style also looks colorful and interesting, to say the least. If this is going to turn into a weird post-apocalyptic slice of life, an action series, or another heart crushing something like PMMM was, I can’t tell. But I’ll be sure to give it the attention it deserves.
The one which came from the PAST – Uchuu Senkan Yamato 2199
Currently, the two anime whose episodes I anticipate the most every week are HunterXHunter and Jojo’s Bizzarre Adventure. Apparently, remakes of very old, and more or less forgotten, anime series have become a thing. And why not? There is excellent material in the past, waiting to be discovered and brought back to light, even better if with improved looks. It also works if one wants to break from some of the most tedious clichés of modern anime – angsty heroes, villains with heartbreaking backstories, romantic side plots – even though those very clichés were actually born as a reaction and a deconstruction exactly of those old anime. Well, history works in circles after all. And so I have great hopes for this remake of Battleship Yamato 2199. I don’t know the original series, but the same was true for Jojo, and oh boy was that a pleasant surprise! A sci-fi epic about a travelling battleship looking for the final weapon that will save humanity before it is destroyed – rigorously with a one year deadline – may sound a simplistic premise, but sometimes simple works wonderfully.
The one which made me go LOL WUT? – Dansai bunri no crime edge
The story revolves around Kiri Haimura, a boy who loves to cut girls’ hair.
…ok. Stranger things have happened.
He happens to meet Iwai Mushanokoujii, a girl with long, beatiful hair who is known as the “Queen of hair”. Her hair has been cursed to be forever uncuttable…
…but Kiri happens to have “Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge” – scissors that have the mystical ability to cut her cursed hair.
*slowly walks away
The underdog – Kick-Heart
A production crowdfunded with the respectable amount of 200,000 $ with Kickstarter, this colorful and stylized anime is about the unusual love story between a nun and a pro-wrestler who fight on the ring, with a twist – they are into bondage, so a submission move suddenly takes on a whole different meaning. It’s a completely batshit crazy premise, but the art style and what I’ve seen from the small trailer posted on Kickstarter makes me think it’s going to be used well. I like it and I’d like to see this story of fan support crowned with a deserved success. So I’ll root for it. Go Kick-heart.
The guilty nostalgia pleasure – Dragonball Z: Kami to kami
There’s a preparatory sketch of Super Saiyan 3 Vegeta flying around.
SUPER. SAIYAN. 3. VEGETA.
*throws a fit
*falls to the floor