So Summer is well and truly over. It’s started to get colder again and the nights are getting longer, but who cares about that when we’ve got a fairly nice season of anime coming up? After many believed that the Summer line-up wasn’t as good as it could have been (which is par for the course for the Summer season, generally), there’s a lot of onus on the new shows that will be gracing our screens over the next few months.
I’m not going to do a full preview, mostly because it’s been covered by other blogs and websites very well. Andy over at the UK Anime Network did a very nice summary of the season, and Chartfag (not forgetting Scamp at the Cart Driver) continues to be a nice aggregator of knowledge on what is actually airing. What I want to do is narrow the focus on a few select titles of note, as well as titles I am personally interested in.
Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt
Quite possibly the most “in your face” title this season, especially with those of us who can understand English, Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt is the latest project from Gainax, the jiggle-meisters themselves. The story revolves around Panty (the blonde one) and Stocking (the Goth lolita one), as they battle ghosts on Earth.
The trailer (which is highly NSFW) rushes at breakneck speed through some of the action, leaving the viewer with little doubt that PanSto won’t be a conventional anime. The art style, in a departure for Gainax, is a very western affair, evoking many comparisons to Genndy Tartakovsky’s hit Cartoon Network show Powerpuff Girls, what with its thick, simple lines and saturated colours. The trailer also shows hints of Dead Leaves, which makes sense given the two share a director.
From what I’ve seen of the source material, this is going to be pretty raunchy. Especially if it turns out to be true that the production team were promised not to be censored by the TV networks. Certainly one to watch for those who like extreme innovation and/or smutty anime. Can’t wait.
Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt will be streaming on Crunchyroll from 1st October.
We’re well into the Summer season now, so much so that Autumn is just over the horizon. But Autumn 2009 isn’t really looking all that appetising to me right now, so let’s cross that bridge when we come to it. Or not cross it at all, as the case may be.
The next few posts will really just be a sum-up of what I’ve been watching recently, but not regularly blogging about.
I’ll admit that I have a bit of a soft spot for SHAFT. They make some of my favourite anime (Hidamari Sketch and Pani Poni Dash! to name but two), and I think that their particular style of presentation is more striking than that of other studios. It doesn’t necessarily mean their animation is better, but I like the mood that their fast-paced meta-slideshows create. Now, the studio’s applied their style to Nisioisin’s Bakemonogatari. And God almighty have they cranked up the quality.
Bakemonogatari (roughly translating to Ghostory, keeping the portmanteau basically intact) is a supernatural story, which centres around Koyomi Araragi and his encounters with girls who seem to be afflicted with strange problems. Being the upstanding man that he is, Araragi gets involved somehow or another.
Looks like enough people bought the DVDs then. This is the continuation of the shenanigans of the most negative teacher in the world and his class of stereotyped characters, all vying for his attention. Yay! So Long, Mr. Despair is back!
If you’ve never heard of this before, it would be unwise to leap right in now. Otherwise you’ll be like the “new customers” that the show lampooned last year. The first series is called Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei (look for a.f.k.’s fansub in the usual places), the second series is Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei (fansubs incredibly patchy – go with a.f.k., then Uu, then anon, then volans) and the third series is a collection of OADs called Goku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei (looks for gg’s fansub). While the manga has been licensed and is currently being released, the TV series hasn’t been touched. Funimation have been linked to it, but they haven’t announced anything yet.
Anyway, on to the new series. It didn’t have the strongest of starts, in my opinion. SZS always has amazing openings (though it’s a running joke that SHAFT never have it done in time for the first few episodes). This one isn’t immediately obvious. The first openings of the previous series both have an immediate catch in their oft repeated lines (“Bure!” and “Rumba!” in the always awesome tracks by Kenji Ohtsuka), but Ringo Mogire Beam! doesn’t immediately stand out in comparison to its two predecessors. But as with songs of any substance at all, it took a week or two for it to settle in.
I started (and finished) the first series of this anime quite a while ago. Last year, in fact. It was one of the shows that my university anime club introduced me to, and I am so thankful to them for that. I recently marathoned the whole first series again, and I’m so glad I did.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, also known as So Long, Mr. Despair to those who followed a.f.k.’s fansubs, is adapted from the manga with the same name, as it happens. The story was created by Koji Kumeta, who we get to see a lot of throughout the series, given that his head appears a smattering of times throughout each episode. It’s this kind of behaviour that makes SZS stand out for me as a great example of anime.