First impressions: Panty and Stocking

19 11 2010

Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt

Studio: Gainax

Episodes: 26

You just don’t see characters using the bathroom in anime.

There are quite a few things in Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt that go beyond the ordinary realm of the anime canon.

Let’s start with our heroines, Panty and Stocking, charged with keeping the city of Detron safe. Named for their weapons, the two fight evil by stripping their undergarments, which turn into a gun and a sword, respectively.

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Early Impressions: Kiddy Girl-and

30 10 2009

JG Kiddy Girl-andWhen it comes right down to it, anime and food have a lot in common. Sometimes one wants to sit down to a wonderful gourmet meal with all the trimmings, or a fine sushi dinner, or the finest Indian curry you can find.

Other times you want something quick, cheap and easy. Kiddy Girl-and falls into this latter category. There isn’t exactly depth of character or intricate plotting — the series is more about fast-paced action and borderline ecchi antics.

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Early Impressions: Sora no Otoshimono

24 10 2009
JG Sora no Otoshimono cover

Sora no Otoshimono

It might be easy to write off Sora no Otoshimono as a cheap piece of juvenile fantasy. After all, the plot centers on an ordinary high school student who rescues an angel, who just happens to have a magical collar around her neck that, when imprinted, gives sole posession of its chain to said ordinary boy. In other words, the show seems to be based on a fetish of having a beautiful woman willingly chained to an adolescent boy, with the promise of fulfilling any wish he desires.

So it might be a surprise when the boy (Tomoki) asks first for money, then to be invisible so that he can spy on all the attractive girls at his school, read dirty magazines, and eat a gourmet meal in his room. Seems most American teenage boys would have thought much worse things to do in such a situation. Tomoki, who tells us early on that he desires normalcy and peace above all else, seems to go against this premise, until one of his wishes backfires.

JG Sora no Otoshimono

Any wish I want? Hmmm....

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First impressions: Tegami Bachi

14 10 2009

JG Tegami BachiWhen I first saw the the opening pages of the manga Tegami Bachi, I was entranced by the dark blue images that graced the first few pages. Something about the color scheme and visual conception just jumped out from the get-go. Upon discovering that the whole series was set in a world of perpetual night, It immediately found its spot on my reading list (though, admittedly, it hasn’t reached the top yet, and remains to be read).

So it was that I approached the anime version, thinking it to have infinite promise: A story reminiscent of the Pony Express, featuring messengers (letter bees) charged with delivering messages in a world of perpetual night.

Which only added to the disappointment of the first episode.

JG Tegami Bachi 2Oh sure, everything seems fine at first — a somewhat interesting main character, with an interesting job, meeting a mysterious boy who happens to be his next delivery. We seem set up for a fun show.

But at some point, one particular thing occurs to the veteran anime viewer: We’ve seen this before. A somwhat dull main character, it turns out, with a dog sidekick, paired with an annoying shonen constantly crying about his mom and obnoxiously yelling about everything he doesn’t understand (seen in Rurouni Kenshin, Naruto, etc;). Oh and our main character has a special reason for working at his job — his wheelchair bound, moe sister! (Code Geass, anyone?). And let’s not forget the monsters that jump out to attack our letter bee, for which he has a special gun that our kid sidekick can fire. (Do I even need to cite the numerous examples of this?)

Yes, Tegami Bachi is rife with cliches, and relies on a very formulaic set-up to get the story moving. A very artistic opening seen in the manga was replaced by a pretty standard Shonen plot and feel.

Is that a bad thing? Not in-and-of itself. But there needs to be a spark of originality somewhere, something that makes a series interesting — and that spark hasn’t shown itself in the first episode. And in a show that seems ripe with creative potential, it seems something should have (or at least better) surface to set itself apart from the pack — because this fall’s loaded with too many big name series to afford being lost in the heap.

Early Impressions: Queen’s Blade 2

3 10 2009

JG Queen's Blade 2-2If you’re reading this post, then there’s probably a good chance you already know what you’re getting into. Queen’s Blade: Gyokuza no Tsugumono is a lot like the first anime series; for better or for worse.

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Early impressions: Taishou Yakyuu Musume

30 09 2009

JG Taisho YakyuIf combining moe characters, historical fiction and the great American pastime of baseball sounds like an impossible task, then one hasn’t seen Taishou Yakyuu Musume.

Based on a series of light novels, the series centers on a group of girls who, in Japan’s Taishou era (circa 1925) want to start a girl’s baseball team in an era when women are scolded for even running and the general sentiment is that they should be training to be housewives instead of going to school.

Though always considered an American sport, many fans often forget that baseball has an important spot in Japanese history, with games dating back at least as far as the events of Yakyuu Musume are concerned.

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July Anime Preview — Part II

3 07 2009

Well, here it is! The last installment of the summer anime previews. They been both laborious and a pleasure to write, bringing both insights into what’s coming up in anime (and what’s destined for the clearance bin) and writing this has been an education for this anime viewer. 

This installment includes the new Spice and Wolf, maybe the most anticipated of the series listed, along with some clunkers and plenty of “could be cool, could be lame” stuff. For this installment, I’ve removed the excitement level and likelihood of stateside release, the former because many of the series I really wasn’t sure, and the latter because it occurred to me that it’s sort of a moot issue these days. Series become popular in the anime insider crowd long before they, if ever, see actual release in the U.S. The fact that there are was so much English information about these shows available (saving me the trouble/pitfalls of translating Japanese sites) is a testament to that. 

So, without further ado, please enjoy the last of the summer anime previews:

JG Princess LoverPrincess Lover

Chiba TV, 07/05, Sun. 24:30

Admittedly, the plot here sounds similar to To Love Ru: A parentless boy who is supposed to be successor to a powerful father figure gets involved with a large-chested, pink-haired bubbly princess. Sound familiar? Comparisons at this point aren’t entirely fair, of course, and the source material for this anime series comes from an adult adventure game, and the tone of the show seems to be light-hearted hentai comedy.

Website: Here!

Trailer: Here!

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July Anime Preview, part I

25 06 2009

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:


JG UminekoUmineko 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.

Website: Here! 

Trailer: Here!  


JG Aoi Hana Read the rest of this entry »

Tatami Toons: Anime Summer Preview – June

11 06 2009

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:

JG Card GakuenCard Gakuen

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.

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Early Impressions: Sora Kakeru Shoujo (The Girl Who Leapt Through Space)

28 05 2009

JG Sora 1Most anime fans are likely familiar with Sunrise, the company who brought us the oft-revered Gundam Wing, as well as each subsequent series like Gundam Seed and the currently popular Gundam 00. Fans searching for slick-looking space battles between shiny, fast mobile suits know that Sunrise is the ticket.

Not largely known outside of Japan, though popular among the anime insider crowd (those who follow the trends in Japan, admittedly an arduous and never-ending task), is a lesser-known title in the Sunrise lineup, Sora Kakeru Shoujo — literally translated as sky-soaring girl, though generally translated as The Girl Who Leapt Through Space.

Sora Kakeru Shoujo is the brainchild of the creative minds at Sunrise, and to sum up the show very briefly: It’s Gundam with girls. Lots of them. In fact, the vast majority of the cast in this show, whether it’s the space patrol, the security guards, or of course the main characters, they’re all females. Otaku who couldn’t get enough of the female characters in Gundam will get an eyeful in Sora Kakeru.

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