Posted by : musa fernando nawaly
The 2009 Winter Preview!
JP Title: アキカン！
Studio: Brains Base
Airs: Saturdays at Midnight on BS11 starting January 3rd
High school student Daichi Kakeru tries to throw away an empty Melon Soda can, only to have it come back to him-- in the form of a cute girl. And not just any cute girl, but a cute girl who requires carbon dioxide in order to live, which Daichi kindly offers...in the form of a kiss. More of these empty can girls continue to appear as Daichi's life falls into chaos.
- Jun Fukuyama, one of Japan's rising stars of seiyuu (as well as Code Geass's Lelouch and Spice and Wolf's Craft Lawrence), is voicing Daichi.
- The series is being helmed by Yuuji Himaki; it's his first time out as head director on a TV series (although that he directed one of the Anpanman films and the movie Lupin III: Dead or Alive).
- The title translates to “empty can,” which is obviously appropriate.
Title: Asu no Yoichi!
JP Title: 明日のよいち！
Airs: Fridays at 1:30am on TBS starting January 9th
A country bumpkin swordsman completes his training with is father and moves to the city to learn more. But it turns out that his housemates are four beautiful sisters who all seem to be under the impression that he's a complete pervert. Funny how that happens...
- If you're looking for fanservice, director Rion Kujo is almost certain to bring it on; his past directorial outings were both hentai titles (Love Doll and A Heat For All Seasons). That doesn't mean he's not used to more mainstream titles, though; he worked on the opening animations for the first season of Code Geass and storyboarded Naruto.
- The cast list for the girls is pretty awesome: Rina Satou (Negima's titular wizard) plays the lead, eldest sister Ibuki; Haruka Tomatsu (Kannagi's Nagi) plays the youngest sister Ayame; Kana Hanazawa (Potemayo's Potemayo) and Yukari Tamura (Please Teacher's Ichigo, Nanoha's Nanoha) round out the foursome as Kagome and Chihaya, respectively.
- There's another familiar name from Potemayo: music composer Tomoki Kikuya. If, like me, you found Potemayo's music as charming as its story, you might consider at least listening to the series' soundtrack.
Title: Birdy the Mighty Decode:02
JP Title: 鉄腕バーディー DECODE：02
Studio: A-1 Pictures
Airs: Sundays at 2:10am on SanTV January 11th
The continued adventures of a boy whose spirit is living in the cyborg body of an interplanetary cop in this sci-fi comedy. Tsutomu attempts to help Birdy with her investigations, while trying to find a way to get his own body (since she accidentally killed his) and keeping his parents from finding out about his unusual situation.
- Looks like no cast change in this sequel: Miyu Irino (Tsubasa's Syaoran, Gundam 00's Saji Crossroad) as Tsutomu and Saeko Chiba (Code Geass's resident psycho Nina, Shugo Chara's Nadeshiko/Nagihiko).
- Also back again: director Kazuki Akane, music composer Yuugo Kanno, animation director Ryousuke Sawa, and pretty much the entire staff.
Title: Chrome-Shelled Regios
JP Title: 鋼殻のレギオス
Airs: Sundays at 1am on TV Kanagawa starting January 11th
In a fantasy-laden future where pollution has contaminated creatures that have taken over most of the world, humans live in isolated cities that can actually be moved as necessary. In this world, our hero Reifon attends a martial arts academy, so that they can save the world.
- In an interesting move, Itsuro Kawasaki-- best known for directing the yaoi OVA Bronze: Zetsuai and 2003's lukewarm L/R Licensed by Royalty
Title: Fresh! PreCure
Genre: Magical Girl
Airs: TBD February
The next season of the super-popular magical girl series Pretty Cure is set to begin in February sometime (that's TBD, and therefore could change). Very little is known about the new series, but when it was announced, so was an anime movie that is supposed to bridge the gap between the various PreCure series...so Fresh may feature a new gaggle of girls or something along those lines, as the next step in the franchise?
Title: Genji Monogatari Senenki
Studio: TMS / Tezuka Productions
Genre: Historical Drama
Airs: Fridays at 12:45am on Fuji TV starting January 16th
The Tale of Genji is one of the oldest novels in the world (some say it was the world's first novel, although it's a point of debate). The story revolves around Hikaru Genji, the son of an emperor who falls in love with one of his emperor's concubines (who happens to look a great deal like Genji's mother). Eventually unsatisfied by his affair, he moves on to other women, and eventually comes to the conclusion that he must raise a girl to be his ideal wife.
- Not only was The Tale of Genji one of the world's first novels, it was also written by a woman: Lady Murasaki Shikibu.
- It'll be interesting to see how the anime adaptation will deal with the naming issue: in Heian-era Japan it was considered rude to use a person's name, so no one in the original novel has an actual name. They are all referred to by titles, colors of clothing. Genji's name comes from the word for “shining” and another reading of the name of a real-life Japanese clan.
- Seiyuu Takahiro Sakurai, also known as Code Geass's Suzaku, is voicing Genji. Aya Endo, Macross F's Sheryl Nome and Lucky Star's Miyuki, is voicing Murasaki, the girl Genji raises from childhood and later marries.
Title: Hajime no Ippo New Challenger
JP Title: はじめの一歩 New Challenger
Airs: Thursdays at 1:30am on NTV starting January 7th
Hajime no Ippo is a long-running and very popular boxing manga which revolves around Makunouchi Ippo, who decides to take up boxing after a lifetime of being bullied. Not much has been announced about the show's story, but I'm going to lay even money out that it involves a new challenger.
- This is actually the third Hajime no Ippo TV series; the first ran in 2000, and the second in 2003 under the name Hajime no Ippo Champion Road.
- All three series have had different director's; New Challenger's is Jun Shishido, who also directed Saiunkoku Monogatari's two seasons and Okusama wa Joushi Kousei (“My Wife is a High School Girl;” it's not a hentai).
- The director may change, but the star hasn't: Kohei Kiyasu (Prince of Tennis's Kaoru Kaidou) will voice Ippo.
Title: Hetalia Axis Powers
JP Title: ヘタリア Axis Powers
Airs: Sundays at 2am on Kids Station starting January 26th
Hetalia anthropomorphizes every nation as a cute high school boy and pitting them all against one another in the oldest battlefield on the planet: high school. Stereotypes abound, of course: America loves hamburgers, Japan is a total nerd, and China has pandas.
- The anime is based on the popular web comic of the same name by Hidekaz Himaruya (that's not a typo).
- The main character, Italy, is being voiced by Daisuke Namikawa (Gundam 00's Michael Trinity, Tsubasa's Fai).
- Director Bob Shirohata is pretty familiar with doing boys love-ish anime: he wore many hats on Gravitation (including series director); he also directed the slice-of-life drama Diamond Daydreams.
Title: Kemono no Souja Erin
JP Title: 獣の奏者エリン
Studio: Production I.G / TransArts
Airs: Saturdays at 6:25pm on NHK starting January 10th
This fantasy revolves around the titular Erin, who is able to control animals by playing the harp. It's based on the manga by writer Nahoko Uehashi (author of the Seirei no Moribito novels) and illustrated by Itoe Takemoto.
- We've got an anime newbie playing the lead: Nanase Hoshii, who has never performed in an anime before. That said, she's done plenty of other work: she's a singer, actress, and gravure idol, including the recent popular drama LIFE.
- Director Takayuki Hamana is reasonably seasoned, on the other hand: he directed Toshokan Sensou and Prince of Tennis.
- Sukimi Switch, who performed an ending theme for Tokyo Marble Chocolate, will be performing the OP for Erin; it's called “Shizuku.”
Title: Kupuu!! Mamegoma!
JP Title: クプ～!!まめゴマ!
Studio: TMS Entertainment
Airs: Saturdays at 8:30am on TV Kanagawa starting January 10th
Japan is eternally searching for the cutest little creature they can possible come up with, and the latest attempt is Mamegoma, a “bean seal.” I have no idea what that means but he is an adorable little bugger! Anyway, he lives with the Mamekawa family and has various adventures in this kids' show. Exciting, huh?
- Precious few details have been announced here. I mean, the target audience here isn't exactly “hardcore otaku,” after all, and kids don't really worry about this stuff as much...
Title: Kurokami the Animation
JP Title: 黒神 The Animation
Airs: Fridays at 2:40am on TV Asahi January 9th
A high school boy named Keita (who is a programmer in the original manga) accidentally stumbles into a battle between a race of magic-users called Mototsumitama (or Tera Guardians in the English version) and finds himself protecting one such, a girl named Kuro. Kuro is the last of her tribe, along with her brother, who slaughtered the rest of their tribe. She's come to earth to stop him, and Keita finds himself right in the middle of it all.
- This anime adaptation of a Japanese-language manga by Korean creators Dall-Young Lim (story) and Sung-Woo Park (artist) is truly international: it will also be aired in the US simultaneously (or near-simultaneously), dubbed, courtesy of Bandai Entertainment and producer Toshifumi Yoshida, who is going to be very, very busy.
- Director Tsuneo Kobayashi will definitely be playing up the romance in the series judging from his history-- he directed both seasons of Emma: A Victorian Romance, as well as The Twelve Kingdoms, Glass no Kamen and Super GALS.
- Daisuke Namikawa, who's already playing Italy in Hetalia, will be on double-duty voicing Keita. Joining him is Noriko Shitaya (Fate Stay/Night's Sakura, Kamichama Karin's Himeka) as Kuro.
Title: MAJOR Fifth Season
Studio: NHK Enterprise
Airs: Saturdays at 6pm on the NHK January 10th
Another popular sports series, this time about a baseball player. The interesting thing about this show is that it follows its lead, Goro Shinego (nee Honda), from kindergarten all the way through to his time as a professional. In season 4, Honda moved to America and joined the minor leagues. Will season 5 have the majors in store?
- Although the first three seasons were directed by Kenichi Kasai, the fourth season was helmed by Riki Fukushima. For the moment it looks like Fukushima will continue...for now.
- None of the cast list is new, of course, but it's worth knowing: Showtaro Morikubo (Naruto's Shikamaru) voices Goro,
Title: Maria Holic
JP Title: まりあ†ほりっく
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Airs: Mondays at 12:30am on Chiba T January 5th.
So, imagine you're a girl, and you're terrified of boys. You enroll yourself at an all-girls school hoping ot find love, and when it finally seems like you have...she turns out to be a he. Ohshi--! This trapalicious tale is the basis of Maria Holic.
- Asami Sanada, Di Gi Charat's Dejiko and Rozen Maiden's Jun Sakurada, is voicing the main character, Kanako Miyamae. Marina Inoue (Yoko, etc) joins her as Matsurika Shinouji.
- Director Akiyuki Shinbo (of Zetsubou-sensei fame) is helming this one, so it should be funny and at least a little bit weird.
Title: Maria-sama ga Miteru 4th Season
JP Title: マリア様がみてる 4thシーズン
Studio: Studio Deen
Genre: Romance / Drama
Airs: Saturdays at 10:30am on AT-X January 3rd
Four more years! I mean, four more seasons! Yes, kids, if you love your yuri sweet and high school aged, odds are good you already love Maria-sama ga Miteru (also known as Maria Watches Over Us), and odds are even better you'll like the fourth season of adventures featuring the girls of Lillian Girls School.
- There aren't a lot of staff details out yet, but we do know that director Yukihiro Matsushita and character designer Akira Matsushima are both back for the fourth season. There don't appear to have been any cast changes, either.
- It may or may not be worth noting that the original creator of MariMite, Oyuki Konno, is being credited as a supervisor this season-- which was not the case with previous seasons, as far as I can tell.
Title: Minamike Okaeri
JP Title: みなみけ おかえり
Airs: Mondays at 1:30am on TV Tokyo January 5th
Three orphaned sisters-- the mature, steady eldest Haruka, hyperactive trouble-maker Kana, and precocious Chiaki –live together in an apartment. Together with their colorful cast of friends, which includes a pint-sized cross-dresser, a flamboyant idiot, another pint-sized cross-dresser, and a teddy bear, they have a variety of silly slice-of-life adventures. Third season go!
- “Okaeri” means “welcome back.” The second season was called Minamike Okawari (“second helping”). I can only assume a fourth season would be titled Okaeshi (a return favor-- or revenge).
- The first season of the anime was done by Doumu, but the second by asread-- and this third one, too.
- The returning cast is all back: Marina Inoue (Gurren Lagann's Yoko, Skip Beat's Kyouko) as Kana, Minori Chihara (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya's Yuki, Dragonaut's Toa), and Rina Satou (Negima's Negi, MariMite's Tsutako) as Haruka.
Title: Ride Back
JP Title: RIDE BACK-ライドバック-
Airs: Sundays at 12am on Chiba TV January 11th
Set in a turbulent 2020, when the UN has been dismantled and the Japanese government is constantly under siege by student protesters, a college studentl named Rin has two unique items: one, an impressive dancing ability. The other is an “iron horse”-- a small mech. Together, they'll change the world.
- Ride Back is the directorial debut of Atsushi Takahashi, who has worked on series such as Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi, Paranoia Agent, and even the Studio Ghibli film Spirited Away (as assistant director).
- Nana Mizuki (Darker than Black's Kirihara, Nanoha's Fate Testarossa, Rosario to Vampire's Moka) will voice Rin.
- MELL, the musician behind the stellar Black Lagoon OP theme “Red Fraction,” will beperforming the OP for Ride Back.
Title: Shikabane Hime Kuro
JP Title: 屍姫 玄
Airs: Sundays at 10:30am on AT-X January 4th
The sequel to Shikabane Hime Aka (aka=red, kuro=black), which featured Makina Hoshimura as a girl who comes back to life after being murdered. Well, in as much as you can call slaughtering 108 other undeads a “life.” Expect lots of action and a remarkable amount of fanservice for something so gruesome-- though it's not on the level of, say, Hellsing Ultimate.
- No shake-ups in the crew of the new season: Masahiko Murata (GR -Giant Robo-, Jinki: Extend) continues to direct, and studios Gainax and Feel are both back on board.
- That's about it-- the companies are keeping mum on voice actors (though it's probably safe to assume that the cast list isn't changing), theme songs, and all the usual stuff I'd look for. It's worth noting that FUNimation has licensed the first season and has already released it on YouTube, Joost, Hulu, etc. No word on whether they'll snatch up this season too.
Title: Slayers EVOLUTION-R
JP Title: スレイヤーズEVOLUTION-R
Studio: J.C. Staff
Airs: Mondays at 9:30am on AT-X January 12th
The second half of the season that started with Slayers REVOLUTION, Slayers Evolution-R also follows an original storyline not presented in the novel series that inspired the first seasons of the show. I assume it will follow the story of the prince-turned-pokemon Pokota and Lina as they attempt to save Pokota's kingdom.
- J.C. Staff did both Revolution and Evolution-R, although they didn't do the original three seasons-- that was E.G. Films.
- The usual crowd (Megumi Hayashibara as Lina, Yasunori Matsumoto as Gourry, etc) are back, and Hayashibara is also singing the OP/ED themes again-- they're “Front Breaking” and “Sunadokei.”
- No one will ever be able to pry director Takashi Watanabe from the helm of Slayers.
Title: Sora wo Kakeru Shoujo
JP Title: 宇宙をかける少女
Airs: Tuesdays at 1:30am on TV Tokyo January 6th
This sci-fi moe series takes place in that ever-popular future where humanity has colonized space. A girl named Akiha stumbles upon a conspiracy involving an intelligent computer system. Along with several friends-- Honoka, the robot Imo-chan, and cop Itsuki –she decides to take on the evil A.I. known as Leopard.
- No, the show is not related to the popular novel and film Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo (The Girl Who Leapt Through Time). This is Sora wo Kakeru Shoujo, which means The Girl Who Leapt Through the Sky (or in this case, Space).
- Director Masakazu Obara knows how to put cute girls in a sci-fi element: he directed all of the My-HiME series.
- The three girls are being voiced by Mako (Akiha), Aya Endo (Itsuki), and Yui Makino (Honoka), and they're also joining ALI Project in performing the show's themes. (ALI Project is doing the OP, the girls are doing the ED.)
Title: Tower of Druaga ~Sword of Uruk~
JP Title: ドルアーガの塔 ～the Sword of URUK～
Airs: Fridays at 1:30am on Teletama January 9th
A continuation of the sometimes-comedy sometimes-drama fantasy series inspired by a (relatively) ancient video game. It's not clear what kind of adventures our intrepid heroes will find themselves in, although the images currently around make it seem more on the serious side.
- Man, why can't American media be this consistent? As with most of the sequels on this list, no cast or crew changes of note.
- Fumiko Orikasa, who plays the female lead Kaya, will perform the ED theme this time around.
- Meanwhile, the OP will be performed by Yu Nakamura.
Title: Viper's Creed
Studio: AIC / Digital Frontier
Airs: Tuesdays at 10pm on BS11 January 6th
We're familiar with the idea of private military companies like Blackwater, which is helping out the US armies in Iraq (...well, we hope they're helping). Viper's Creed tells the story of one such company and the difficulties they have interacting with the “real” army.
- This series has some serious pedigree. The writer is Ai Outa, best known for Turn A Gundam and InuYasha and the director is Appleseed's Shinji Aramaki.
- The top-billed leads are Megumi Toyoguchi (Fullmetal Alchemist's Winry) as Sakurako and Takaya Kuroda (Wolf Rain's Darcia) as Saiki. Jun Fukuyama (Code Geass's Lelouch) also appears as Haruki.
Title: WHITE ALBUM
Studio: Seven Arcs
Genre: Shounen Romance
Airs: Sundays at 2am on TV Kanagawa January 4th
White Album is another eroge-to-anime adaptation, but it does have one relatively unique twist: the player's character is a guy who already has a girlfriend, rather than a single lothario seeking one. The player must take him through the game and decide whether to stay with her or hook up with a new love.
- The characters are college students! Not “we swear these people are above 18” college students like you see in most hentai manga in the US, but actually college students in the original Japanese version. If that isn't notable, I don't know what is.
- Director Akira Yoshimura's only past directorial credit is the mech OVA Kanzen Shouri Daiteioh, but he has also directed episodes of Ergo Proxy and Gundam 00. If that doesn't sound like enough to back up a moe show, well, he also worked on Idolm@ster Xenoglossia.
Tittle: Queen's Blade
Alternative title: クイーンズブレイド (Japanese)
Plot Summary: In 4 years time the competition that will decide who the next Queen shall be will start. The strongest warrior will continue to rule the country according to tradition and expand it. The contestants need only be older than 12 years. They need not be human, intelligent or even of that country. The rules for the tournament are simple: murder is allowed. Any weapon can be chosen. The winner is decided when one of the participants flees or can't move anymore. Such event is broadcasted trough a crystal sphere by the court's magic teacher to all population to see and enjoy.
Title: Zoku Natsume Yuujinchou
JP Title: 続 夏目友人帳
Studio: Brains Base
Airs: Mondays at 1am on TV Tokyo January 6th
The last title on our list, and the final sequel to boot! (Not that I'm not used to that after three seasons of Zero no Tsukaima.) Zoku Natsume Yuujinchou follows the continued tales of a beleaguered boy who inherits his grandmother's book of demons that she captured against their will. Now he has to make up for her cruelty.
- Director Takahiro Omori returns for season two, as does presumably the cast.
- The series is based on Yuki Midorikawa's manga of the same name, which was nominated for the first ever Manga Taisho awards.