*rubs hands together* Lots of great anime goodness ahead, so put on a party hat and let's jump right in!
noitaminA Celebrates The Big 1-0!!
2015 marks the 10th anniversary of Fuji TV's lauded noitaminA block, and on Mar. 21st, the producers announced the slate of new works not just for summer, but for the whole year leading into it. Along with the previously-announced spring titles and the PSYCHO-PASS sequel, the list includes a mix of returning favorites, big names and studios, and big surprises…:
Nanana's Buried Treasure (A-1 Pictures (AnoHana), Bunny/Usagi Drop director Kanta Kamei)
Ping Pong (Tatsunoko Pro. ([C] - CONTROL), Tatami Galaxy director Masaaki Yuasa)
Zankyou no Terror (Kids on the Slope/Sakamichi no Apollon's MAPPA (studio), director Shinichiro Watanabe, composer Yoko Kanno)
PSYCHO-PASS (special rebroadcast, pairing the 22-eps. of the series into eleven, hour-length eps. with new footage)
Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso (A-1 Pictures (Silver Spoon)) [two cours]
PSYCHO-PASS 2 (Production I.G (PSYCHO-PASS, Eden of the East, Library War))
Saenai Heroine no Sodate-kata
Project Itoh film project
It is quite the potent list, with the successful PSYCHO-PASS being its centerpiece. There is also the welcomed presence of master directors Yuasa (teaming with experiment-loving Tatsunoko) and Watanabe (with frequent cohort Kanno), who is tackling terrorism in another excursion into territory he has yet explored. There is also recent favorite go-to A-1 tackling two beautiful-looking series in the spring and fall, K-ON! composer Hajime Hyakkoku handling the music for Saenai (whose light novels' character designs were done by Kurehito Misaki (*drools*)), and a new noitaminA opening done by famed up-and-comer (and future noitaminA showrunner?) Hiroyasu Ishida (Tete), who has been twice featured for Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick of the Month. In addition, there is the less-common sight of films on the slate, with P-P and a film project based on the late Japanese sci-fi author Project Itoh's works (and yes, that was actually his name and not the projects). And surprisingly, no anime from noitaminA's favorite son, Kenji Nakamura, was announced--yet. Expect more details and perspectives in the seasonal noitaminA previews to come here at HardDoor…
Gundam Marks Its 35th Anniversary!! (Already?)
The Gundam franchise itself will be celebrating its 35th anniversary this year not only with the conclusion of its 30th anniversary work, Mobile Suit Gundam UC (Unicorn), but also with the start of its commemorating piece, Gundam: Reconguista in G, a TV series directed by none other than its creator, Yoshiyuki Tomino, featuring character designs by Kenichi Yoshida (Eureka Seven, Overman King Gainer). Also in the mix is the first part of an adaptation of Yoshikazu Yasuhiko's Gundam The Origin manga, a four-episode one centering around Char and Sayla's tumultuous childhood prior to the One Year War, and a 1000-piece art exhibit centering around the franchise.
Some have tried to scream about "BONES" and "Eureka Seven" after watching the trailer for G-Reco, but it's amusing given Yoshida's previous involvement with Tomino in OKG and Turn A Gundam (both pre-dating E7) and that E7's design style was in line with his own trademark style (as seen on his website, which includes his artwork for the Shangri-La novel (under the second heading here)).
All that aside, I liked what I saw of the trailer, the character designs (no surprise), and of that funky Gundam design. I'm also pumped for the Origin project, which will be covering ground I have longed to see animated, but I sincerely hope that Yas will be stepping back into the director's chair for it. He has a scant few credits there, but he is great at it and consider him as one of my favorites, regardless. (Psst…hey, Sunrise, how 'bout putting Giant Gorg on DAISUKI…)
New Macross TV Series in the Works
At the end of Macross Frontier's rebroadcast, an announcement was made regarding a new Macross television series in the making, though no specific date was given for its debut. Frontier was great, though I hope this one provides a bridge between that and the whereabouts of SDF Macross' M.I.A. main characters.
--Takeshi Koike to Direct Lupin the Third: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine spinoff film, Daisuke Jigen's Gravestone: He did the character designs for the TV series (NSFW), so it is great to see him now take a crack at the franchise himself.
--Aniplex USA to Stream Mushishi: The Next Chapter, Nanana's Buried Treasure, and Mekaku City Actors: I imagine these, along with the mentioned irregular at magic high school, will show up on Crunchyroll and in beautiful HD, perhaps the only proper way to fully enjoy shows like Mushishi, Nanana, and a Shinbo/SHAFT joint, short of a Blu-ray release. Now, I wonder what they'll do with Mushishi if they dub it, as FUNimation released and dubbed the first TV series. I imagine it's still possible to get Travis Willingham, since he mostly works in the L.A. market now.
Heh, like with the AnoHana movie, I see Aniplex USA is making sure they don't let other properties from other big Aniplex titles they didn't have prior to their founding or passed on before get in the hands of their previous distributors (although, they only have handled the former's theatrical distribution, thus far)…
--Crunchyroll Streams Champion Joe 2!(?): The great news: Ashita no Joe/Tomorrow's Joe/Champion Joe's finally being streamed! The not-really-good news: It's the sequel, not the first series, for some reason. Don't get me wrong, it, too, is a highly-regarded classic in its own right, it's just perplexing that that's streaming and not the first one, which is where it picks up from. Only the first three eps. of that title was fansubbed, but they were awesome and the animation looked very crisp and clean for its age. Boxing aficionados will definitely want to check this title out (or at least, keep an eye out for the first one if you don't like watching sequels first), even if anime or older animation may not be your thing.
--New Expelled from Paradise Trailer Streamed: From Gen Urobuchi (Madoka Magica creator, Fate/Zero author), director Seiji Mizushima (Fullmetal Alchemist, Gundam 00), and Toei Animation, who has been diversifying their anime portfolio and experimenting with new styles in the last few years. (It also features character designs by Masatsugu Saitou, better known for his decidedly-less mainstream work under the name "saitom" (NSFW)…)
Not quite sure about the apparently all-CG production (thought I saw a quick shot of 2D in the first trailer, but likely not), as one of the industry's leaders in the field, SANZIGEN, did just decently with Arpeggio of Blue Steel's visuals. A co-production with Graphinica, EfP looks roughly on par with Arpeggio, but with a higher budget. Japan's CG animation is nowhere close to the U.S.' or its own 2D's caliber, but it is growing and refining itself steadily with each passing work.
For you animation buffs, the movie's YouTube channel has a couple of production videos featuring work-in-progress clips of the trailer footage and pencil work.
--Black Lagoon x KILL la KILL?: Not quite, but in honor of Black Lagoon's recent debut on Toonami and KILL la KILL's recent conclusion, here's an article from Crunchyroll picking up on the former's mangaka, Rei Hiroe, drawing a congratulatory KlK picture. I can only imagine what the effects of Revy or any of the other crazy women of BL wearing a Kamui would be like… *shivers*
UPDATE [04/02/14]: Upon another perusing of noitaminA's timeline page, it just occurred to me that Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso appears under the 01-2015 heading as well, meaning it is a two-cour series stretching between autumn and winter. This has been noted accordingly…