Sunday, May 25, 2008

Anime — Spring Season '08

The winter season this year was a wash; mostly moe-moe harem shows. Of the ones I looked at, Shigofumi and Spice and Wolf lost my interest after a couple of episodes each, while Hakaba Kitarou has suffered from erratic subbing, and is still not complete.

What a contrast spring season has been! Now past the half-way point, time for a state of play report.

First, a little filler show, two and a half minutes, four mornings a week, Chi's Sweet Home is a slice of life about a lost kitten and the family who take her in. Acutely observed, this is a hit with anyone who's ever shared their space with a kitten.

The more conventional shows, top tier. From top left, clockwise:

Real Drive, the new Shirow/Production IG series, a return to metaphysical cyberspace in the 2050s. With only 4 episodes subbed, it's not clear where the plot is going; but the character designs -- as evinced by the gynoid in the picture -- are a change from the too typical anorexic stick figures, giving the show the nickname of Healthy Drive in some quarters.

Kaiba, from the same director as Kemonozume, a tale of a world where a human identity fits on a hot-swappable plug the size of a fingertip, and memories have become commodities to trade. The protagonist wakes without memory, just a locket with a photograph of a girl, and is trying to recover what he has lost. Again, subbing is slow.

Nijuu-mensou no musume, The daughter of Twenty-faces or Chiko, Heiress of the Phantom Thief depending on whether the group has taken the Japanese title, the literal translation, or what turns out to the the official Anglicization. Twenty-faces is a Robin-Hood type pulp thief drawn from existing Japanese interwar pulp fiction, but re-located into what looks more like a 1950s timeframe here; and the eponymous Chiko is a girl he rescued during one of his exploits. Six episodes in, and the plot is kicking in “Just as planned!”…

Allison & Lilia, based on an earlier series of light novels by the author of Kino's Journey, is possibly the slightest of this group. An alternate world, 1930s airplanes, and Adventure! with a sort of Tin-tin-esque vibe to it.

The watchable tosh, same order

Wagaya no Oinari-sama. In order to protect the youngest scion of the Miduchi family from spectral forces, a fox spirit released from decades of bondage, and the magically adept young Sentinel of the clan are assigned to guard him. Only they know nothing of modern life, the Sentinel is a classic anime disaster area in the kitchen, and the older brother is forced to try and police this mess. Cheesy but fun.

Golgo 13 is the classic Japanese hit man. He shoots, he scores (especially with the ladies) -- while remaining stone faced throughout.

Zettai Karen Children is pretty much standard kids cartoon fare about three psychically talented girls being used as superheroes by a government agency -- were it not for the fact the red-head acts like she has the mind of a dirty old man. At which point it is clearly aimed at teenagers of all ages.

Himitsu : ~Top Secret~ -- solving murders by reading the brains of the victims, a team led by a troubled bishonen have to deal with the ethical impacts of knowing all these inner secrets. Gay undertones abound, though the main character seems to be more interested in his own sister... Lol, Japan! Also, most likely to be dropped.

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