Well, as promised earlier, here is the July Anime Preview. So many shows were being released in July, we decided to release it in two parts. Look for the next part in the coming weeks. (Link to the June edition at the bottom.)
Some of the shows coming in July might be the next big thing — others won’t make much of a splash here. Of course, it’s always important to remember that these shows are created for the Japanese audience — some of them simply won’t appeal to an international audience, nor should they.
As always, other than the factual information, excitement and stateside release possibility is mostly speculation, and should be taken as such.
Without further ado, here goes:
Umineko no Naku Koro ni (When They Cry – Seagulls)
Chiba TV, 07/01, Wed, 25:30
Produced by Studio Deen and directed by Chiaku Kon, Umineko is based on a series of visual novels and the subsequent manga that succeeded them. The story takes us back in time a little bit, to 1986, when a group of people are secluded on an island for two days, with a series of murders taking place. In the games, it’s up to the protagonist to figure out what’s going on, and the series will likely follow the same storyline. It’s unclear which of the game’s (or manga’s) storylines the series will follow, but all have the similar theme of island murders in the 80s.
Level of Excitement: For fans of the games, this is probably a no-brainer; but even for the rest of us, the idea is intriguing. This one seems like it will cater to fans of more mature, subtle anime series.
Stateside release: Pretty good.
Aoi Hana (Sweet Blue Flowers)
Fuji TV, 07/01, Wed., 26:08
Based on a yuri manga by Takako Shimura, tells the tale of two very close friends, Fumi and Akira, who meet as Freshman again after Fumi moved away ten years prior. The story deals with the two trying to reconnect while dealing with the trials and tribulations of high school life. The visuals of the manga have a light, pastel palette, and likely the anime series, animated by J.C. Staff, will likely have a similar style. The manga is currently serialize in Manga Erotics F.
Excitement: If you’re a sucker for slice of life anime, this will probably be right up your alley.
Stateside release: With the popularity of shows like Air and Kannon, there’s a chance for a small release.
Tokyo MX TV, 07/02, Thurs., 25:30
Many fans will had at the seemingly contradictory phrase, “bishoujo (pretty girl) violence,” without needing any more prompting toward excitement, but here goes anyway: The story focuses on a group of humans who develop superhuman powers after living illegally in forbidden toxic and radioactive areas in Japan after World War III. Unfortunately for them, they are feared and hated by the rest of society, and have been labeled needless (X-Men, anyone?) The manga has been ongoing since 2004 in Ultra Jump, and an anime series seems like a given.
Excitement: This just sounds too cool to pass up — if you like action and bishoujo, you should be salivating by now.
Stateside release: Highly likely.
Taisho Yakyu Musume (Taisho Baseball Girls)
TBS, 07/02, Thurs., 25:59
Adding one more series to the canon of baseball anime, Taisho Yakyu Musume differs from the crowd for two reasons: One, it features female leads, and second it takes place in the past. Two girls in 1925 decide to start a baseball team in Japan, despite the fact that there are hardly any teams to start with. Oh, and they have no idea where to find nine players, the equipment, or even have any idea what the rules are. Based on a pair of novels by Atsushi Kagurazaka, the series will combine the two into one story.
Excitement: If you’ve felt a void since Princess Nine, or just like baseball or historical anime.
Stateside release: Hard to say, though sports anime generally doesn’t do well in the U.S. Major still has yet to make a splash in the U.S. market.
Tokyo MX TV, 07/03, Fri., 23:00
You could call it a Moe of the Week anime, though at its heart, Bakemonogatari is a clever and starical series. The story centers on Koyomi Araragi, a student who returned to being human after having been a vampire. When a student famous for never talking to anyone falls into his lap and is as light as air, Koyomi introduces her to the man who helped him become human again. Koyomi helps a new girl every week in this light novel adaptation.
Excitement: It’s hard to tell much of anything from the trailer, but it seems to have a lot of Kanon-like Moe potential.
Stateside release: The rise in popularity in light novel adaptations like Spice and Wolf make this more likely.
NHK, 07/04, Sat., 18:00
Falling into the category of what-if sci-fi scenarios, Element Hunters imagines a more internal peril for the Earth — What if the a major ocean catastrophe caused the all the oxygen in a 3-mile radius above the Earth’s surface to disappear — and a multitude of elements along with it? Fast forward 60 years beyond this event, with 1/10 of the human population gone, and Earth’s last hope coming in the form of a team of element hunters determined to find a way to restore Earth. The result is something like Captain Planet with better animation and more at stake — not to mention (hopefully) less cheesiness.
Excitement: Despite the depressing premise, the series looks upbeat, and has the potential for fun.
Stateside: It’d be a tough marketing sell in the states, but never say never.
TV Tokyo MX, 07/04, Sat., 22:30
Based on a Wii game that won the rare perfect score from gaming zine Famitsu, Canaan tells the story of how the lives of a detective, a young man, a virus researcher, a freelance writer, and a cat-type mascot character all became intertwined in a series of bizarre events with international implications. Shots from the trailer hint at a rooftop romping epic.
Excitement: Shots of the rooftop looked too cool to pass up. This may be one of the hits of the year.
Stateside: Despite most Americans likely being unfamiliar with the source material, this looks too cool to not hit our shores.
Zan Sayonara, Zetsubou Sensei
TV Kantou (Kanagawa), 07/04, Sat., 24:30
In the realm of recycled plots and anime clichés, every so often a series stands out as truly out there. Sayonara, Zetsubou Sensei is definitely one of these, as it juxtaposes the zany impossible optimism of Kafuka Fuura with the deep hole of despair and pessimism known as Nozomu Itoshiki. The show, which began with Fuura coming upon Nozuma attempting to hang himself from a sakura tree, is now in its third series continuing some serious themes of life and death, and finding a reason to keep living.
Excitement: Despite being popular enough in Japan to come back for a third series, it hasn’t generated much buzz in the American scene.
Stateside: If the first two series haven’t come here, this one won’t either. Plus, considering the topic of the show, it’s unlikely any American company will touch it.
Kansai TV, 07/05, Sun., 8:55
Before you allow yourself to entertain the notions of moe girls in pseudo cat costumes, the reader should be warned that this is actually about cats. Based on a manga of the same name, Nekokuru is about a lady who is dedicated to sake and her many cats. Apparently the blog for the manga is very popular, claiming to be the most popular blog in Japan.
Excitement: Um… What?
Missed June’s Preview? Find it: Here!