The summer anime season is upon us, and as you read this the first of summer’s newest series are already airing in Japan with more to follow. Below is a few short capsules based on all the info J Geeks could dig up about the newest shows this season. It’s always interesting to see which anime shows are airing in Japan, and there’s a certain feeling associated with following a show before its domestic popularity and seeing it become big. While most of the shows below will likely not reach an audience outside of Japan, some will, and it will be interesting to see which ones do.
The following are the new shows airing in June, based on a report from Moon Phase diary. Included also are websites, promo video links if they could be found, and a commentary on each shows level of excitement and its likelihood of a stateside release. (Please note the last item is mostly speculation, which time could totally prove wrong.) July and August will follow.
Without further ado, here goes:
TBS, 6/05/09, 25:25, Fri.
Somewhat in the vein of shows like Cardcaptor Sakura and Yugioh, comes an anime based on the trading card game called Weiss Survive. The show, a series of animated shorts, are designed to run with the Card Gakuen card game tutorial show, with each segment to run about 2:30 min. In the show, eight high school idols have card battles with each other. The animated shorts are based on a manga by Takuya Fujima, which follows Takeshi and Michi as they attempt to battle their way out of the card world, which they’ve become lost in.
Level of excitement: Hmmm. If card battle franchises are your thing, this might interest you.
Chances of statewide release: It’s doubtful that Card Gakuen would have the same appeal in the U.S. as shows like Yugioh did, as it seems aimed at an older set, particularly those who are familiar with the game it’s based on.
Kawa no Hikari (River’s Light)
NHK, 6/20/09, Sat., 19:30
Based on a series of environmentally themed novels, Kawa no Hikari, or River’s light, is an animated adaptation about a family of rats who lose their home to human destruction and are forced to search for a new one, deciding to follow a river upstream in search of a more peaceful abode. The series is part of a broader movement from NHK, called Chikyuu Eco 2009 (Earth Eco 2009) “Save the Future,” designed to bring environmental issues to the forefront of Japanese society.
Level of excitement: Sounds interesting, though possibly a little heavy-handed.
Chances of stateside release: Not likely. The show seems aimed at Japanese society specifically, and educational shows almost never released here.
Umi no Monogatari – Anata ga ite kureta koto (Sea Story – What You Can Do)
CBC, 6/24/09, 25:29, Wed.
In the U.S., the idea of an animated series of based on a gambling machine franchise would sound like the most ridiculous thing imaginable, but this is essentially what this is. Based on the “most popular pachinko franchise in Japan,” a series of magical maiden fantasy pachinko games, Umi no Monogatari is something of a Little Mermaid story: Two sisters live under the sea (though yearning to see the surface), until they one day discover a ring sinking to the surface. Determined to return to return the ring, the two embark on a journey to the surface to find its owner and fulfill their dream of seeing the dry world, while inadvertently awakening a higher power.
Level of excitement: The animation looks gorgeous from the little bit that I saw, and though the theme sounds familiar (why do all these characters want to leave the sea anyway?), it seems to have promise.
Stateside release: Despite being based on pachinko machines, which most Americans know nothing about, the themes are familiar to Western audiences, and the large domestic release planned for Miyaki’s similarly themed Ponyo should help to generate excitement. In other words, probably.
Website: Here! (http://www.sea-story.tv/)
Promo video: Here!
Fight Ippatsu! Juden-chan
ATX, 6/25/09, Thurs., 20:00
Based on a manga by Mahromatic artist Bow Ditama, Fight Ippatsu: Juden-chan stars an unusual office worker who comes from an alternate universe to charge up people who’ve become dejected and lost. The manga has been running in Monthly Comic Gum since 2006. Ditama’s previous works have also spawned adaptations: Mahromatic has had two anime series and a special, and Kiss x sis shipped an animated DVD bundled with one of it’s manga releases. The series looks to have a high level of ecchi content, and the promo video for the show spent about half of its two minutes detailing the main character changing from her office attire into her charging uniform.
Level of excitement: Ecchi can be cute or annoying, and it’s hard to tell which this will be — though if the PV is any indication, it looks overloaded with naughty stuff.
Stateside release: On TV, hell’s no. DVD is a strong possibility, right next to Aika and Najica. Expect this one to be fan-subbed fast.
Promo video: Here!
Ukkari Penelope (Penelope, Head in the Clouds)
NHK, 6/29/09, Mon., 07:40
Based on a series of children’s books by Ann Gutman and Georg Hallensleben, this series revolves around a 3-year-old blue koala and her friends. Penelope has been adapted before, in 2006, and the animation style is very storybook. The show has an interesting looks, with pastel-like visuals, fans of Babar will see something similar style.
Level of excitement: Something for the kiddies.
Stateside release: Maybe in the kid’s section.