Friday, April 25, 2008

Spring 2008 Anime Hot List!

I gotta say, I'm pretty pleased with the series of anime this season. Rather than the usual booby-pantsu-ecchi-harem series targeted at the male audience, the anime production staff finally remembered that there are female viewers amongst the anime culture. A few shoujo-based anime were thrown into the spring 2008 mix, and to my surprise and (would I say) pleasure, two shounen-ai shows were being animated too. One of them being Junjou Romantica and is probably not recommended for kids. (Heck, did I just type that?!)

Anyway, I'll categorise the Spring series according to their genres, for viewer convenience. First up, the ladies' favourite:

Bishounen Goodness

Junjou Romantica
Misaki is suddenly having some unexpected and odd problems. What started as a need for some college entrance exam tutoring has somehow led him to being romanced by a suave older man who also happens to be his big brother’s best friend. Confused by all of his brand new emotions, Misaki struggles to deal with his suddenly very odd life. And if that wasn’t enough, his suitor, Usami, has plenty of issues of his own. A man-child who decorates his room in giant teddy bears and toys, Usami is a famous novelist who also writes steamy boys’ love novels on the side. When Misaki cracks open one of these books and reads sentences like “Misaki licks every inch of Usami’s hot body”…well, let’s just say that all hell breaks loose. (I know, Good Riddance!)
It's pretty ironic, considering that the title literally translates to "Pure Romance", when the storyline and graphics aren't the least innocent. Well, I haven't gave this a go yet, but according to reviews, it could get really explicit. So ladies, do prepare for nosebleed deterrence before you sit infront of your TV.

Monochrome Factor
Nothing too hot for kids to handle, since this story revolves mainly around the Action genre. That's not to say it doesn't have any itty-bitty scenes with the main characters, it does handle a few scenes with light kisses (for no apparent reason) here and there too. I mean, hello?! A bit more character development will be appreciated before the episode closes with a guy smooching with another of his own gender. Kinda reminds me of Yami no Matsuei a.k.a. Descendants of Darkness when they will somehow insert a few skin-showy and feely-touchy scenes in the middle of an intense, heated fight just for the sake of fan service. God, how I hated that. This brings me back to a Japanese saying about Yaoi series, "YAma nashi, Ochi nashi, Imi nashi." - which roughly translates to, "No plot, no climax, no meaning."

Kyou Kara Maou! Season 3
How I love this series! You can just imagine my joy when I heard that the production staff is animating the 3rd season and is ready for release by this Spring. I squealed, twirled, jumped for the moment's worth. Aside from Full Metal Panic!, KKM is another one of my favourite anime series that I find most enjoyable andd humourous. Now that I think about it, I seem to like anime with laughable elements a bit (just a bit) more than anime of the romance genre. Of course, nothing could be better if it's a combination of the said both. But in this case, KKM is a combination of laugh-out-loud funnies and bishounen goodness. And as a bonus, it has got the prince of the most dreamiest voice, Sakurai Takahiro (But of course, he had to sound silly in KKM because Yuri. Is. Silly. He got flushed down the toilet, remember? Cute-oh-Yuri.) in it! Kyaa!!!

Reverse-harems, Shoujo

Neo Angelique Abyss
I can't say I am a fan of its previous series, but looking at the number of eye-candies they have, I braced myself for the disappoinment and gave this a try. Judging just from the first 2 episodes I've watched, they have a bit more of plot development as compared to its previous series. The previous series was so bad and their storyline so insignificant that I can't remember what their plot were about. It's unusual for me to forget about an anime storyline once I've seen it and this just goes to show how uninteresting the previous series were. Trust me, I have quite a good amount of confidence in my memory when it comes to anime. At the very least, this season's Angelique still managed to hold on to my interest at episode 2. That should be some improvement.

Itazura na Kiss
It was love at first sight for Aihara Kotoko as top student Irie Naoki delivers his speech on the first day of high school. When Kotoko finally plucks up enough courage to confess, she got rejected and thus, vows to give him up. Alas, by a strange twist of fate, Kotoko's house collapsed and she had to move in to live with her father's friend, who happens to be Naoki's dad. Much laughter ensues when scatterbrained Kotoko makes her countless advances (supported by Naoki's wacky mum) on cold and aloof Naoki who hates girls and is a genius at practically everything from studies to sports. It's a mystery how girls never tire of the same kind of storyline which got recycled over and over again. It's a mystery that goes deeper than the stars of the universe. It's such a mystery because I could never figure out the reason why even if I am a girl myself. See? Point made.

Special A
Adapted from a manga, S.A. is a story about how an average girl in an avergare family with an average income tries to enrol in an ultra-elite school just for the sake of beating her childhood rival at anything he does. All this, and with a couple more of hotties, weirdos, and a pinch of romance thrown in. This whole "poor girl in rich elite school" just reminds me Ouran and Hana yori Dango. Did i mention about how the same plot just got recycled over and over again? And how girls never tire from it? And how I can never figure out why I still find myself enjoying the same cliched storyline?

Vampire Knight
Again adapted from a manga, Vampire Knight is Hino Matusri's (She's the author and one of my favourite mangakas.) first work to be turned into an anime. Cross Academy is attended by two groups of students: the Day Class and the Night Class and the two need to be kept separate because the former is made up of humans while the latter is made up of vampires. As Guardians of the school, Yuki Cross and Zero Kiryu have a mission they must never fail at - to protect the Day Class from the Academy's dark secret. I'm a fan of paranormal stories since... ever since I could remember. Initially, it was first faires, unicorns, elves and then werewolves, shapeshifters and vampires now. Tall, "Dark" and Handsome, anyone?

Comedy, Humour

Kyouran Kazoku Nikki
If there’s one really wacky series this season, this should be it. In KKN, an incarnation of destruction was defeated by humanity, but it had left a curse before dying: its child would awaken in 1000 years and destroy the world. Approximately 1000 years later, mankind is able to use DNA testing to figure out a group of people who could be that child, but they still can’t pinpoint exactly who. What they decide to do is to put all these people together in one family with the hope that the person who is the real child would develop love for their family and would no longer want to destroy the world. The wacky part comes in when you consider some of the characters in this family: a cat-eared loli (who’s the mother figure no less), a lion, a biological weapon, and a jellyfish. That’s got dysfunctional written all over it, so I think this has the potential to be hilarious. There's possibly some romance thrown in too! Reminds me of: Suzumiya Haruhi.

Action, Adventure, Fantasy

xxxHOLiC: Kei
xxxHOLiC continues the supernatural story of the high school boy Watanuki and the dimensional witch Yuuko, and like the first series, it’ll probably be without any Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle crossover references. Anyhow, I still look forward to watching the episodes of Watanuki and his paranormal encounters, and of course his relationship with the vestal spirit (Zashiki-Warashi).

Based on a manga too, Amatsuki is about a boy who is visiting a high-tech museum of Edo during the Bakumatsu when he gets attacked by a monster and is sent to the actual time period. By coincidence, he meets a classmate who had also been sent there but had arrived two years earlier, and the story follows their adventures. Instead of the usual shoujo anime that involves girl jumping back to the past (think: Inuyasha, Fushigi Yuugi), there's finally one anime that doesn't conform to the norm. Storyline attracts me~ I'm so watching this.

Code Geass R2
Given the popularity of this show, Code Geass's sequel really needs no introduction. Hmm... But if you really need one, mechas, wars, nations at conflict, a desire for revenge and a mysterious power... probably sums it all. The first season ended with a bad aftertaste. I wanted Suzaku and Lelouch to reconcile with each other and looking at the way things are now, I have a feeling that is never gonna happen. One of them have to fall. Hmm... Kinda diminishes my motivation for this show.

Wagaya no Oinari-sama
It's a story about a Tenko (a kitsune that’s lived at least 1000 years) who has been alive for so long that it doesn’t remember whether it’s male or female, so it can be either gender when it changes into its human form (its male form is voiced by Nakamura Yuuichi and female by Yukana). It’s an interesting concept (Ranma-esque even), but it remains to be seen if the actual story, which involves the Tenko being unsealed and called on to protect a young boy who’s being targeted by evil spirits, is any good since I haven’t started on its first episode yet. In fact, I haven't started watching the first episode for the moset of the series.

Nabari no Ou
Nabari no Ou is a story about Rokujou Miharu, who has a very indifferent attitude and becomes involved in the world of ninjas thanks to the fact that he carries a legendary power inside of him. Because of this, his power is sought after by many clans and a war to possess his power thus started. To survive, Miharu must enter the hidden world of Nabari, and become the king.

Soul Eater
Soul Eater is a fun series about a group of Shinigami students who are after 99 human souls and 1 witch soul so that they can change their partner weapons into Death Scythes. I was a little surprised when it was announced that BONES would be animating this because the manga has a very distinct style that can be a bit crude at times, so I had a hard time imagining this being done by almost the exact same team that did Ouran (in fact, both Sakamoto Maaya and Miyano Mamoru are voicing characters here too). There's two versions of Soul Eater. One of them is the normal, edited version which airs on Mondays while other is "Late Show" version which airs on Thursday nights.

Toshokan Sensou
Toshokan Sensou translates to Library Wars. I know the title sounds ridiculous but name aside, the plot has depth. In the year 2019, laws have been passed down to control the media. Now some thirty years later, the government still monitors and controls information, suppressing anything they find undesirable, but opposing this is an armed library group, and the story is about one particular girl who follows "her prince" who saved her and her book in the library one day into the library forces. Hehe, I know. Stange storyline, right? But I have feeling I would love this.

There, Spring 2008 list finally done. Let me stretch myself for a bit.