So, the Spring Anime season is in full swing, so it's about time I did a review of a few of the new animes that came out. I originally was going to do it on all of the new animes, but there were around 40 in total, with some of those 40 getting canceled or delayed. So, I will be doing a review of 13 of the animes that I've seen so far. Now, since only one or two episodes of each have come out, this will be more of a first-impression kind of review. Let's get underway, shall we?
Next is Haiyore Nyaruko-san, (Nyaruko-san: Another Crawling Chaos). This is more of a shounen anime than Shirokuma Cafe. The main theme of the anime centers around H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulu Mythos. The main characters are the gods from the Mythos, though don't appear exactly as they're described. This anime is heavy on comedy and fanservice, with bits of action here and there to keep the audience interested. Mainly, the story is about how the Earth is being targeted by a race of human-trafficking aliens, and the gods in the Cthulu Mythos are actually aliens that are assigned to protect the Earth, for the sole reason that the Earth is home to the universe's best “entertainment”. “Entertainment” is referring to manga, anime, and other such products. Yeah, this is a very convoluted plot, but it's a comedy. What do you expect? If you can't handle fanservice, this is not the anime for you.
Jormungand is a gun-wielding anime centered around a group of highly trained arms dealers. Kind of like an A-Team of criminals. They get along like a family, but are still weapons smugglers and thieves. The world this anime is based in is a world where all forms of government have failed, and big businesses have taken over as the world powers. The group of arms dealers seem to be a kind of renegade group, but still take orders from a higher power. Not much to go off of for this anime, though. It appears to be one of those animes that will need time to draw you in and develop a true plot. I'm rather indifferent to this one, myself, but it certainly has potential.
Sankarea is another anime that you may want to steer clear of. To put it in a sentence:
The main character is attracted to zombies.
Yeah, zombies. This isn't even that much of a comedy; at least, not as much as Kore wa Zombie Desuka? is. Plenty of creepy things here as well, so I don't recommend it. Things may change as the story develops, but for the first two episodes at least, things are very, VERY weird. There isn't anything explicit yet, (at least, not with a zombie), but yeah. Don't watch it. I beg you.
Acchi Kocchi, (Here and There), is another slice of life comedy anime that came out this season. It, unlike Shirokuma Cafe, is a more realistic world and centers around a group of friends in high school, and their daily antics. It heavily reminds me of another anime I used to watch, Lucky Star. The comedy and animation styles are very similar, as is the sense of humor. I would recommend it for those that enjoy a light laugh; it won't make you double over in laughter, but some of the jokes are very well delivered. For those of you not familiar to anime, I will warn you now: some jokes will not translate from Japanese to English; many jokes are puns based on how words sound. Still, this is a cute anime to watch, and I know I'll be watching it for its full run.
Hiiro no Kakera, (Scarlet Fragment), is a story about a high school girl who goes to live with her grandmother, and is told that she is a descendant of a priestess and must take over her grandmother's role as guardian of a scroll with the power to destroy the world. So there's that. She is introduced to a group of three boys, also high schoolers around her age, who are part of a bloodline that has devoted itself to protecting people of her bloodline. I sense a reverse harem coming. Anyway, there are little fantasy creatures that only people of their bloodlines can see, agitated gods and ghosts, and magic. I'm not too sure how this will turn out. It kind of reminds me of Natsume Yuujinchou, but any anime that has a casual approach to mystic beings reminds me of that. “Casual” meaning that they don't turn into monsters the size of skyscrapers and can only be slain by a group of adventurers armed with the power of destiny etc, etc, etc. It has potential, and I'll keep watching it, but I'm still on the fence about it.
Sengoku Collection is a new anime that has an interesting approach to episodes. The main plot is that a group of individuals from a parallel world have been transported to our world for some reason that I hope will be further discussed in later episodes. The only way for anyone to get home is to gather the “secret treasures” found in the hearts of the individuals that arrived. Only one of them can go home, however. The rest would have to stay in this new world. The approach I talked about earlier is that each episode is from the point of view of a different character. Each encounters their own challenge, and overcomes it. At least, this is the pattern I could assume based on the two episodes I watched and the preview of the third. Like many others, this anime has some potential. It feels like it will give different life advice in each episode, so that's a positive aspect. In terms of action, I don't think there will be any. At least, not in any significant amount. Perhaps a battle for the treasures will occur later, but for now, it's all speculation. I give it a light recommendation. Nothing exceptional, but still nice to watch.
One of the first animes I watched was Shirokuma Cafe. (Roughly translated, Polar Bear Cafe.) This anime is set in a world much like our own, aside from the fact that animals walk and talk like regular human beings and are a part of regular society. The main characters are Panda, a teenage male panda who is a big fan of eating and sleeping; Polar Bear, the owner of Polar Bear Cafe; Penguin, one of Polar Bear's regular customers; and Sasako, Polar Bear Cafe's part-time worker waitress. The anime itself is a very laid-back, slice of life comedy, and the art for the animal characters is surprisingly good. Instead of doing chibi animation, each animal is done with the same amount of detail as the human characters. If you're looking for the beat-em-up battle type shounen anime, this is not for you. If you want to see a polar bear run a cafe, a penguin get drunk and propose to a panda, or a sloth try to go to the supermarket to get some drinks, then return to find that everyone had left already, this is an anime for you.
Zetman is a bloody, violent, sci-fi anime. The stage is set in a futuristic world, where a race of mindless aliens, known as Players, are kept as slaves and used in a kind of gladiatorial battle for the enjoyment of the rich humans that bet on the fights. The main character is a kid who was born with a halo-shaped mark on his hand, and who is friends with a rich boy and girl. Together, they patrol the streets, helping to stop crime. Of course, I did say this is a bloody anime, so things take a turn for the worse rather quickly. Not to spoil anything, but lots of people around the main character die, and he discovers he has an abnormal power that allows him to kill escaped Players. Lots of violence, bloodshed, and I have yet to see a truly happy moment, so if that's what you want, enjoy!
Kore wa Zombie Desuka? Of the Dead, (Is This A Zombie? Of the Dead), is a sequel of the anime Kore wa Zombie Desuka?. Not sure how I should explain this one, actually... I wouldn't recommend it if you're just getting into anime, because it will most likely have you running for the hills. It deals with the day-to-day life of Ayumu, a boy who was resurrected by the necromancer Eucliwood Hellscythe, and is now a zombie. He now lives together with Eu, (her nickname); along with Haruna, a masou shoujo, (magical girl); and Seraphim, a vampire ninja. Most of the time, the anime makes fun of Ayumu by having the characters around him insult him for one reason or another. There will probably be some kind of plot (I hope) once it has a few more episodes, but if you can't handle suggestive things, I recommend you stay far away from this. Though a comedy at heart, the amount of creepy things that happen would probably hurt many of your minds. What has been seen can not be unseen.
But enough about horribly creepy anime. Now that I got those warnings out of the way, I can move on to something good! Accel World is a sci-fi, action anime taking place at a high school in a futuristic Japan. Everyone has a kind of collar around their necks that acts as a kind of computer that interacts directly with their brain. The main character Haruyuki Arita, (Haru to his friends), is a freshman in high school and is bullied because of being overweight, as well as his generally timid personality. This continues until he meets Kuroyukihime, an upperclassmen, who introduces Haru to the program Brain Burst. Without getting into too much detail, it allows the users to accelerate their minds. In order to keep this ability, though, the users of Brain Burst have to compete in a type of fighting video game, with the prize being taking points from your opponent that let you use Brain Burst more often. I had the pleasure of reading the manga before it was adapted into an anime, and I must say, that the anime has done a great job of getting the same story across. There is a lot of self-discovery and acceptance in this anime, as well as some pretty well animated fight scenes, so I'd recommend it.
Tasogare Otome x Amnesia, (Dusk Maiden of Amnesia), is an interesting anime in that, I'm not quite sure how to classify it. It has bits of mystery, comedy, and ecchi. (Ecchi, for those who don't know, means perverted. Expect fanservice). Once again, I will have to watch a few more episodes before I can truly grasp what this anime will be like, but at the very least, the first episode did a great job of dragging me in. The basic plot of the story is that there is a ghost of a girl haunting the high school, and only a few people can see her. She has no idea how she died, and wants to find out. The truly appealing part of the episode was that the first 8 minutes were shown without being able to see Kanoe Yuuko, the ghost girl. Then, the same scenes were repeated while being able to see Kanoe. This made for some humorous interaction between her and the other characters, especially Okonogi Momoe, who can't see ghosts. I look forward to finding out the story behind Kanoe's death, and I recommend that you watch it as well.
Phi Brain Season 2 is one of the other sequels to come out this season. It is a heavily puzzle-based anime. Every episode has a puzzle of some kind, (most often deadly in some way), and the intricacies of the puzzles are astounding. The characters are interesting in their own ways as well. The main male character, Kaito Daimon, is given the title of Einstein, and is one of the people who has the ability to achieve the status of “Phi Brain”, the level of intelligence that rivals that of God. Personally, it does seem kind of silly that people would keep trying to kill using puzzles, but hey, there are plenty of animes that deal with kids using cards to save the world. Who am I to judge? At least this is more interesting. The new season starts up with the introduction of a new group of individuals who want to kill Kaito with puzzles for one reason or another. I'm going to watch it because I liked the original series, and I want to find more puzzles to challenge my friends with. Minus the life-threatening part, of course.
Finally, my personal favorite of the Spring Season, Medaka Box. I've been reading the manga for quite a while now, and am a huge fan of the mangaka's works in general. Nisio Isin is a widely popular author in Japan, and I can see why. Back to Medaka Box, the first episodes show it to be basically a comedy, action, school life anime. Oh, and there are high levels of fanservice and ecchi, so be warned. It's nothing like Sora no Otoshimono, or Highschool of the Dead, but there's still a lot. I find it difficult to explain the anime sufficiently, since I know what's going to happen in future episodes. Let me say this: The anime itself is satirical, and it changes genre throughout the story. There will be a lot of good classic shounen scenes in the future. These first few episodes are basically just to introduce the characters and give a general idea of what will happen. I deeply look forward to the anime getting to a specific point in the story, because when it does, it's going to get significantly more exciting. I'm willing to overlook the disproportionate amount of fanservice in these opening episodes if it means it gets a large enough fanbase to keep telling the story. I can't recommend this highly enough, but I am extremely biased. Steer clear if you can't handle fanservice, but if you can handle it, watch away.
(Some creepier than others, of course.)