Arrrrrrrgh! It’s almost the end of winter (not that you’d know by the weather) and we haven’t had our Winter Anime Update yet! What’s going on and who’s responsible for this?! Oh … it’s me.
Okay. Moving right along … welcome to our winter anime update – TADA!
Reviewing the titles we seem to have a bit of a themed update this time round, quite by accident, so see what you think it might be …
“When the loner Hachiman Hikigaya is coerced into joining the ‘Services Club’ run by the smart, attractive, and stuck up Yukino Yukinoshita, it’s a recipe for disaster! But we haven’t yet added the third caustic ingredient! Bright and cheery Yui Yuigahama, who needs the Service Club’s help to bake cookies. It could be a recipe for romance. It could just as easily end in a nuclear meltdown! Get ready for romantic comedy gone totally wrong.”
“A confession gone awry has resulted with Chiyo Sakura as the newest assistant to Umetaro Nozaki. Known in the publishing world under the alias Yumeno Sakiko, Nozaki is the creator of the ever-popular shoujo manga, Let’s Have a Romance! Despite his renowned skills as a manga artist, Nozaki is completely clueless in the art of real life romance.”
There are millions of school-rom-com anime series out there but what might make this one stand out is it’s good blend of oddball characters, a completely clueless lead, a well handled unrequited love story (ernest without getting soppy or emotionally overwrought) and a good dose of humour – plus some in-jokes about the manga making process, to boot.
“Once we meet somebody, we can no longer be alone. Kousei Arima was a genius pianist until his mother’s sudden death took away his ability to play. Ever since then, each day was dull for Kousei. One day, he meets one violinist by the name of Kaori Miyazono. This care-free, independent, and sometimes short-tempered girl had an eccentric playing style that immediately fascinated Kousei. His once monotonous life was about to change forever.”
“Tomoya Okazaki is depressed at the prospect of school. His days are spent considering the path which lies ahead of him, the shadow of his vacant alcoholic father constantly looming over his daily void. He meets a group of strange girls at his school, each with unique social problems, and begins to gain perspective on the deep loneliness he feels. When the drama club is established, paranormal turmoil unfolds and hearts are broken…”
If you’re a sucker for the aforementioned soppy and emotionally overwrought drama, this is the title for you – you sentimental fool! Just keep those tissues handy.
“Tamako knows just about everything there is to know about mochi, the traditional Japanese dessert treats. When she’s not attending her first year of high school, she even invents new flavors and varieties for Tama-ya, her family’s mochi shop. School and growing up, on the other hand, are things that she’s still trying to find the right recipe for. But with the help of her best friends Kanna and Midori, Tamako’s determined to make the best of things.”
Only caught the first episode of this one and all I could think was … What. The. – !
“Fruits Basket is a cute Ranma-esque anime about a young girl, Toru Honda, who is suddenly orphaned when her mother is killed in a car accident. Not wanting to burden anyone, she buys a tent and begins to live in a forest. She is determined to finish school and make ends meet, in order to fulfil her Mothers last wish. Unbeknownst to Toru, the forest she lives in, turns out to be the backyard of the Sohma family … they have a family secret … ”
This golden oldie is something of a cult classic now. The animation is really looking its age but the blend of slapstick and deadpan humour is still a winner and still gets a laugh.
“Binan is a city somewhere in Japan. The “Earth Defense Club” at Binan High School was a club that did absolutely nothing. One day, the club members are soaking in a hot bath together when all of a sudden a mysterious pink wombat appears out of thin air! The wombat asks the members to lend it their help to protect the Earth.”
I don’t know where to begin. It’s soo deliberately tongue-in-cheek, over-the-top that you may find it’s too much to handle!
Okay, now we’re getting off topic (as far as any theme tenuously linking these titles goes) but here’s another new series to check out:
“Every day an epic struggle rages in grocery stores across Japan – the battle for half-priced bento boxes! Once the discount stickers go on, ravenous brawlers start throwing punches in a knockdown, drag-out war over who get to take home the cheap eats. When a young, broke high school student names Sato joins the Half-Priced Food Lovers Club, he proves to be a rising talent in the world of insane food fights. But does he have what it takes to become the king of clearance cuisine?”
Another over-the-top parody series that combines take home bargin meals with no holds barred public brawling – battle royale style. Insane fun!
“Akira Takizawa wakes up naked outside the White House with no memories. He’s got a gun in one hand and a cell phone in the other, and he doesn’t know if he’s a good guy or the worst. He doesn’t remember that the phone gives him instant access to ten billion yen and a woman who can make his most outlandish requests a reality. He doesn’t recall his connection to the ongoing missile attacks terrorising the Japanese people, or the part he played in the sudden disappearance of 20,000 shut-ins. He doesn’t remember he’s supposed to save Japan and will be murdered if he fails. Whatever it is he’s tangled up in, Takizawa’s definitely in deep — and that’s not even scratching the surface”.
A well recieved but somewhat underrated and under-watched series from studio Production I.G. and written and directed by Kenji Kamiyama (also responsible for the Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex series titles). Worth a watch.