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As I haven’t followed anime news in general for a few months and haven’t had time to do much research I’m coming in to this season a bit blind. There already seems to be a large number of shows announced, so here’s some previews of the first few I’ve checked out.

Bakuman (Continuation)

Directly based on the manga by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata (creators of Death Note), Bakuman follows two middle school seniors, Mashiro, an illustrator, and, Takagi, a writer, attempting to become professional manga artists in modern day Tokyo. Mashiro is also in love with a girl from their class, Azuki, an aspiring voice actress, and they agree not to pursue a romantic relationship or even communicate in person until they’ve both achieved their dreams, Mashiro to write a manga successful enough to be turned into an anime and Azuki to voice its main character. The series follows Mashiro and Tagaki’s progress as manga artists starting out in the industry as well as the effect of and on their personal lives.

I only got to see a small number of shows last season and only regularly watched 2 of them. Despite some aspects of the story proving quite annoying and the animation for the show being likely the worst I’ve seen for some time, this was my favourite. Not that much exciting happens episode to episode and this has led to some criticism of the series, but I find learning about the manga industry quite interesting (although I have no idea how accurate it is). Also, although the romance and slice-of-life elements of it are naïve and quite dull, perhaps because it feels more realistic then the numerous harem and fantasy shows, I find it oddly compelling. Ultimately I’d like to see where this goes and it’s at least made me want to read the manga.

I watched the first half of this series from [gg] fansubs though they’ve dropped it now, so I’ve switched to Tomodachi and their releasing it as a joint project with Anime-Destiny, so it’s [TMD A-Destiny].

Interest: none low mediocre some yay

ANN: http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=11197

AniDB: http://anidb.net/perl-bin/animedb.pl?show=anime&aid=7251

Next: Rio – Rainbow Gate! and A Certain Magical Index II

Rio – Rainbow Gate!

Developed as a story based on a series of Japanese pachinko games, Rio – Rainbow Gate! is about Rio a dealer celebrated as the ‘goddess of luck’ at a famous casino, The Howard Resort. Apparently the plot for the series involves Rio collecting some magical cards.

The high pitched voice of the small girl main character became annoying from the moment she spoke, but the next thing that struck me about this show was the surprising high visual quality of it. It’s highly detailed and lighting in particular is well handled. The blend of traditional animation and CGI is impressively subtle too. I also liked the retro-futuristic casino setting and sombre lounge style jazz score, it’s mundane but it fits the atmosphere well. This is sort of an unusual magical girl anime about gambling that was kind of entertaining. I was expecting a show about nothing in particular serving as a front to parade scantily clad unrealistically proportioned gals around, and while I’m still worried it’s going nowhere and will just be camp and silly and there’s definitely a perverted element, it seems there’s more to it.

This show is licensed and released on Crunchyroll.

Interest: none low mediocre some yay

ANN: http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=11813

AniDB: http://anidb.net/perl-bin/animedb.pl?show=anime&aid=7931

A Certain Magical Index II [Toaru Majutsu no Index II] (Continuation)

A Certain Magical Index II is the second season of a series that also spawned a spin-off, A Certain Scientific Railgun, both of which are directly based on manga of the same title. It follows the continuing adventures of Touma and friends, residents of a city almost entirely populated by students, most of whom possess various special psychic (scientific) abilities. Touma is thought not to have any powers, though secretly he is able to break others abilities and (religious) magic spells with his right hand. He has come to act as a sort of bodyguard to Index, a young girl who has absorbed a large number of powerful religious texts and is continuously attacked by magicians attempting to harness her power.

This was the other show I watched during the fall (autumn). I watched both series 1 and the spin-off when they aired too. There are a couple of things I like about the franchise, the setting, Academy City is a high-tech city of educational institutions that’s well rendered and serves as an interesting location for the action, and the overall concept, science vs. magic/religion. Unfortunately it lacks the intelligence and depth to follow up on this in any meaningful way and in the end it always disappoints. The dialogue is poor, the characters unlikeable and it’s all horrible predictable. Despite this though I continue to watch it and have come to call this issue ‘A Certain Masochistic Impulse’.

I followed eclipse fansubs for season one and Mazui for the spin-off and season 2. Season 2 is a joint project with Unlimited Translation Works, so it’s [UTW-Mazui].

Interest: none low mediocre some yay

ANN: http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=11602

AniDB: http://anidb.net/perl-bin/animedb.pl?show=anime&aid=7599

I’ll try and cover a few more shows after they’re released and follow up with more on information on ones I don’t drop.

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