Ayaka's Random New Anime Roundup
I watch lots of anime so you don't necessarily have to. I'm trying a new format this time - capsule reviews of no less than eleven new series: Basilisk, Bokusatsu Tenshi Dokuro-chan, Izumo Takeki Tsurugi no Senki, Futakoi Alternative, Law of Ueki, Loveless, Mar, Onmyou Taisenki, Otogi-Jushi Akazukin, Speed Grapher, and Tsubasa Chronicle.
Basilisk ~Kouga Ninpou Chou~
Basic Plot:There is conflict in the Tokugawa clan over which son will be the heir to the shogunate. Two rival ninja clans are assigned to the cause of each son; they will ten ninja from each clan will fight each other to the death. Whichever clan survives, the candidate they represent will become the heir.
Notes: Gonzo appears to be very busy lately. This series is vaguely historically based, but also kinda not really exactly anywhere near anything historical. Gonzo seems to be trying to make their mark towards the mature end of anime, with a lot of pretty graphic violence. This show is also trying to be high drama in a traditional Japanese sense; whether or not it can manage to do that, I can't tell yet. It may very well be trying a bit too hard.
Bokusatsu Tenshi Dokuro-chan
Basic Plot: Time-traveling angel Dokuro-chan comes to live with middle-school boy Sakura. It's a perfect "cute girl living with boy" love story . . . except that Dokuro-chan has a tendency to beat him to death with her spiked bat . . . (he gets better.)
Notes: "Beat-to-Death Angel" Dokuro-chan is . . . well, it's either one of the most twisted things I've ever seen, one of the funniest, or both. It plays at being a basic "loser guy living with cute magical girl" series and then smacks your expectations in the face with a spiked baseball bat. Ingenious, spaztacular, and brutally funny. You'll be cursing the OAV release schedule.
Izumo Takeki Tsurugi no Senki
Basic Plot: Two best friends/rival kendo practitioners get into a fight, and thanks to a slightly mysterious sword, they and several classmates get sucked into a strange world where their school is reduced to overgrown ruins and giant bugs roam. There they become embroiled in a strange conflict.
Notes: Kind of like a cross between Fushigi Yuugi and X/1999. It's mildly interesting, but it's pretty generic and frankly, it has nothing special to recommend it unless you're quite bored. It seems like at this point, after who knows how many "chosen person taken to another universe" series there have been, you'd really have to try SOMETHING new to even get on the air. Apparently not.
Basic Plot: An "alternative" version of the series Futakoi. The Futaba Detective Agency isn't particularly successful and Rentarou seems very unlucky, but he does have some good fortune in the form of twin teenage assistants Sara and Souju (just about as different as night and day).
Notes: Fantastic action sequences, even if they're a bit strange (so what WOULD happen if a schoolgirl tried to fire a rocket launcher?). Calling the pace frenetic would be a drastic understatement. You won't know what the hell is going on but you'll probably think it's funny anyway. "Can you explain the situation?" ". . . want to have a croquette?" "Yeah." Maybe I was just bored, and it's hard to tell where it's going (if anywhere) but I was pretty entertained. The humor reminds me a bit of NieA_7, only on some serious speed.
The Law of Ueki -
Basic Plot: A mysterious stranger endows junior high student Ueki Kosuke with an unusual ability - the ability to turn garbage into trees. From this, he enters tournament between other kids with strange skills - the prize is to become a "god", but the stakes are high as well.
Notes: Okay so I only watched it because I was wondering how you could use the skill of "turning trash into trees" in a battle. It's a basic "battle shounen" format, almost identical in style to Shaman King, but they get major weirdness points for the fighting styles - probably enough to warrant watching a few episodes to see where it goes.
Avex Mode site; TV-Tokyo site
Basic Plot: Based on the manga of the same name. One day young Aoyagi Ritsuka meets a strange man who claims to have been sent by Ritsuka's dead brother. With the words "I love you", Soubi brings Ritsuka into a strange world of fighting with words and leads Ritsuka closer to the truth of his brother's death at the hands of a mysterious organization.
Notes: If you are not familiar with the manga, be warned that this is a shounen-ai series. Faithful rendition of the storyline and artwork. I found the pacing more natural and the battle scenes more enjoyable in animated form. I'm not a shounen-ai fan especially but this show is well done. Soundtrack by Yuki Kajiura (of .hack and Noir).
Mar (Marchen Awakens Romance)
Basic Plot: Kosi Ginta has dreamed all his life of another world, one of magic where he's not a loser. One day, a door suddenly opens in his classroom and invites him to come to just that world, where people fight with strange weapons called ARMs. Based on the manga (by the author of Flame of Recca).
Notes: I'd more likely compare it to Groove Adventure RAVE, on the basis of the intense pacing and comedic bent. Talking weapons are always good stuff. The show is fun but maybe nothing groundbreaking. Still worth a look.
Basic Plot: Riku Tachibana has always been seen as a little strange; raised by his grandfather, he unconsciously does the hand gestures he's been taught as "training" even in class. When he makes a new friend who is curious about his life, Riku suddenly learns some surprising things about himself . . .
Notes: I may have a higher tolerance for standard "tournament" shounen ("I must fight to get stronger!") than your average girl, but Onmyou Taisenki is just plain boring. I guess there is always a new generation of little boys buying stupid Bandai toys where they use cards to battle with monsters to support an endless string of anime based off them; but this one has nothing to offer the rest of the population, unless you're such a big furry fan that that alone will make you watch. (Unlike a few such series.)
Basic Plot: Far in the past, God feared his creation man and split his power across two worlds - one of magic users, and one of science users. Kind-hearted Suzukaze Souta was told stories of the world of magic by his mother, but he never believed they were true; until one day a strange girl and her talking wolf show up in his house.
Notes: Nothing special but the character designs are cute. Nicely done animation from Madhouse. Good if you're just looking for something to watch, but not if you're hoping for something different. It's a fun, nicely done little show but not exactly groundbreaking. This is an OAV.
Basic Plot: Photo journalist Saiga used to live on and photograph the edge; now he's stuck taking shots of politicians. The bubble economy is over and the divide between the rich and the poor is a vast gulf. In this world, money can satisfy any desire. Saiga is sent on assignment to find out about a rumored secret club patronized by a select few of the rich and famous. He gets into much more than he expected when he finds it, though.
Notes: As a Gonzo fangirl, I was intrigued by this series. Be aware that this is a series with MATURE content; a lot of graphic sexual content and graphic violence. This show COULD prove to be absolutely brilliant if it's able to develop the plot well; or it might just dissolve into shock value and incoherent plot machinations. Too hard to call from the first few episodes. It's definitely different.
Tsubasa Chronicle (Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle)
Basic Plot: Based on the manga by CLAMP, featuring an alternate-world view of some of their characters from multiple series. In this world, Sakura is the princess of a desert kingdom and Syaoran a budding archaeologist exploring the ruins of a mysterious civilization. The childhood friends meet with misfortune when Sakura wanders into the ruins and somehow activates them - the fragments of her memory fly off to many dimensions and Syaoran must find them if he wants to save her life.
Notes: Yes, this is one of those "everyone will be watching" series. First episode follows the manga exactly and essentially shot for shot; so if you've read it, this is basically about getting to hear the characters speak. Personally, I'm not in it for the recycled CLAMP characters; I don't like seeing Sakura (independent girl) reduced to a princess in distress, and the random characters from other series popping up just kind of annoy me. But even if you're not a CLAMP fan or very picky about which series you read, you should enjoy the characters which are new to Tsubasa. At the very least you have some nicely done animation and amazing BGMs by Yuki Kajiura to look forward to. Give it at least a few episodes.
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