November 14, 2006
by: Kara Dennison
Quick looks at six new shows coming out of Japan ... and whether you should bother or not.
The new TV season has kicked off in Japan ... complete with new anime. From what I understand, we're getting upwards of 70 coming out over the course of this year. To save myself from going entirely insane, I've picked the first episodes of six of the freshest and newest for your consideration. Enjoy -- or beware, as the case may be.
I'm going to admit up front that I have purposely not been a party to the great cultural phenomenon that is Death Note. All I've known of it 'til now has come from girls dressing as characters from it and making out during the cosplay, someone carrying around their own Death Note and asking people to write in it, and more girls dressing up as characters from it and making out during the cosplay. Now I get to connect a plot: all-around-perfect-boy Light gets his hands on a notebook belonging to a shinigami (death god) ... with some crazy time-based rules, anyone whose name is written in the Death Note will die shortly after. After a very brief period of stunned horror at his new-found power, Light decides to 'cleanse the world of evil' until he's the last creep left on Earth.
Like: The psychological aspects of the plot -- I don't know why I'm reminded of Boogiepop, but I am.
Dislike: The fact that Light has this perpetual look about him like he's looking for something to have gay sex with.
Defining Moment of Episode 1: Light's declaration of himself as a one-man master race. We see how well that worked for Tendou in Kamen Rider Kabuto.
Will I Watch More?: Absolutely. But I'm not sure this alone inspires me to dig into the full crazy fandom that's preceded the anime.
Ken Akamatsu woke up one morning and said to himself, 'You know, I never wanted to make Negima. I wanted to make Utena.' This is your good-ol' alternate retelling series, with (it looks like) a lot more focus on Evangeline and her grudge against the Thousand Master. The animation is a lot prettier, a few things have changed here and there (a lot more is established from the get-go, like the presence of Chamo and Nodoka's thing for Negi), and the whole thing has gained a little more of a surreal feel. It really does, in ambience, feel a lot like the Utena movie ... whether it's for better or for worse remains to be seen.
Like: The more detailed art style, the redesign of Mahora Academy.
Dislike: The fact that it's moving away from Akamatsu's style and more towards a ripoff of Be-PaPas.
Defining Moment of Episode 1: The opening sequence and animation. You know right away that this isn't the Negima you were expecting.
Will I Watch More?: I'm a Negima fan, so I almost feel obligated to ... as well as somewhat curious. If the next two episodes continue to feel 'off,' though, I may give it a miss.
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