What happens when KyoAni tries their hand at the Mystery genre? We're about to find out.

Hyouka is a new series for the Spring 2012 season. In a season that is already loaded with very promising works, it is almost difficult to believe a work that is this anticipated is just beginning. Hyouka is being produced by the [in]famous Kyoto Animation studio. KyoAni is famous for their abundant talent in creating gorgeous animation, but they have tended to focus on moe shows, and thus their brand is polarizing. Hyouka is supposed to have elements of Mystery, but do KyoAni have what it takes to deliver a real Mystery? Are they destined to turn Hyouka into a moe-infused school life show?

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Dusk Maiden of Amnesia.

Tasogare Otome x Amnesia (Dusk Maiden of Amnesia) seems to be a Supernatural Harem School-life Romantic Comedy with a touch of Mystery for good measure. The male lead’s harem is the school’s detective club, and the club’s president, Yuuko, is his “magical girlfriend” (in this case a ghost). I don’t do too well with these types of shows, so I watch an episode to know what I am avoiding then insta-drop it. There were three things that surprised me about Dusk Maiden of Amnesia, though:

  1. The OP (used in this first episode as an ED) was actually pretty good (something you can confirm for yourself, below the fold),
  2. This first episode made use of the non-linear storytelling technique, which I thought was interesting and amusing, and
  3. The art direction was occasionally quite bold.

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"His drums just wouldn't stop thundering in my head."

The Spring 2012 season finally feels real now that we’ve got the premiere of the Noitamina shows. Of course the show to which I have most been looking forward is Sakamichi no Apollon (Kids on the Slope). With Shinichiro Watanabe directing, Yoko Kanno providing the soundtrack, and MAPPA doing the animation, we have the A Team on production. The setting is unusual, in that it is set in the recent past (1966). It shouldn’t be a surprise that the first episode already delivers.

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Kuroyukihime-sama and Haruyuki.

This is a first impression post of Accel World, based upon the first two episodes.  Just as I stated in my season preview, this show turned out to be glorious eye candy. I love the colors and the character designs, and the whole show has a great sense of clean graphic composition. There was also some good use of odd (and active) camera angles to help create emotional effect.

For those who don’t know this is a love story between a pig who wants to “go faster” and a butterfly. Well, it’s more complicated than that. But seriously, this show is worth checking out just to see how good it looks. It also has a Science Fiction story about virtual death matches and stuff.

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The lure of space causes two brothers to make a fateful promise.

Uchuu Kyoudai (Space Brothers AKA SpaceBros) episode 1 does a great job introducing us to its near future (2025) setting, and to the two brothers whose story we are all eager to see. Though this show is ostensibly Science Fiction, at this point it is really a story of human pathos. Our principal viewpoint character, Mutta, is one of the two brothers who finds himself falling behind, while his younger brother, Hibito, pursues his dreams.

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For those who don’t recall, Gokujyo AKA Gokurakuin Joshikouryou Monogatari (Tales from the Gokuraku Girl’s dorm) was supposed to be a Winter 2012 anime that had the HILARIOUS premise of a girl going to school, where hilarity ensued. Little was known about the show, as season previews were published, except that it was going to be a smaller part of a non-anime show from the “48 Project” complex of entertainment groups, specifically “SKE48’s World Domination Girls“.

Character from an anime that people don't really care about, who nonetheless is trying much too hard to draw attention to herself.

I can’t recall a single season preview from around the Aniblogiverse that pointed out Gokujyo as a potential watch, so I can’t say there was a lot of anticipation, but probably more than a few people took notice on January 16, when the first episode FAILed to air. The second episode was later broadcast, and we have Psgels intrepid reportage: “The entire episode was about someone getting hiccups and trying to get rid of it. Yes, these guys put some thought into this storyline! There were some weird ideas along the way, but they were more disturbing than funny.” And so nobody was probably particularly paying attention when … an announcement was posted online that the third episode will not air as scheduled during Monday’s episode of “SKE48’s World Domination Girls“.

This time, instead of an apology during the broadcast, which seemed to irritate the mangaka, prior notice was provided with the explanation that the “stupidity” of the content didn’t justify its broadcast. The reaction has largely been charges that this is a publicity stunt. After all, there has been a lot of really stupid anime produced recently.

I personally don’t think this was a secret plan to drive web traffic or disc sales. I think this was a big screw up on someone’s part. This isn’t a random anime that can be compared against shows like Manyuu Hiken-chou. This show was supposed to be a comedic short that aired in between segments of real 15 year old girls (from SKE48) doing impressions and singing. Somebody made a decision to select this particular manga as the source, and funded production. They did this without thinking through the consequences of pairing real 15 year old girls, with an animated story about perverted things happening in a high school dormitory. Ultimately those responsible for the integrity of the SKE48 brand (and convincing the parents of prospective members SKE48, or any ***48 band, that their daughter would be safe) realized that they couldn’t mix the two.

Gokujyo manga cover. Whose responsibility was it to check the source material before green-lighting production?

Just so I’m clear, I am not against graphic depiction of the human body in states of undress; I did my undergraduate thesis in Art History, and took several studio art classes that included working from a live nude model. I have personally created paintings of naked people, and I personally believe that the human body is one of the most beautiful subjects for artistic representation that can be found. I also think that one of the worst things about fan service is that it is now a formula that lazy anime producers use instead of creating worthwhile content. However, Japanese anime industry obsession with underage girls has led to a precarious justification: “these aren’t real girls”. That justification vanishes when you slip the same material between performances by the likes of Jurina Matsui. Remember the TPO, Time, Place, Occasion!

What do you folks think? Was this an incompetent production blunder that has only served to damage everyone involved? Or is the last minute censoring really a calculated act intended to drive up sales of streams or discs?

Ririchiyo Shirakiin (me of the title) and Soushi Miketsukami (the dog).

This article is a three episode taste test of Inu X Boku (The Dog and Me), a Winter 2012 anime series. I had been interested in this series since Sapphire Pyro wrote about the manga series. On the other hand I was a little unsure because a series about a tiny tsundere who treats the main male character as a dog just doesn’t seem as fresh as it once did. I am happy to say that, based upon the first three episodes, This series has a couple of very positive things going for it. First, Ririchiyo, the main character, isn’t “just” a tsundere. She is quite compelling and believable as a human being. Second, it is the kind of love story that has gravitas. I’ll describe the show in more detail, including both of these points, in the article below the jump.

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