Wednesday, December 31, 2014

:anime: Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick of the Month:: Tales of Gen

Given yesterday's semi-review of ALDNOAH.ZERO's first half, the debut of its second half in a few days, Expelled from Paradise pulling over $1M in just 13 Japanese theaters, and the PSYCHO-PASS movie coming out next Friday, I figured now would be a good time for anyone new to his work to get better acquainted with some of the previous work in his repertoire. And by "his," I mean Gen Urobuchi, the hottest and most in-demand name in the anime industry today.

First rising to notoriety with his writing work at game company Nitroplus (most notably on Saya no Uta), he rapidly rose to super-stardom after penning Puella Magi Madoka Magica in 2011. He's been having a very busy, but very successful, time since then, including this past year, and does not seem to be letting up anytime soon. While you await for his next slate of work, or are looking for something to marathon through New Year's Eve/Day and this holiday weekend, you can take a look at some of his anime contributions, nearly all of it online and streaming for free!

[ANN Entry] [MAL Entry]
[] [Crunchyroll] [Hulu]

—Urobuchi's work is known for its dark, occasionally gruesome, themes, and twisting of initial impressions and genres. BlASSREITER certainly encapsulated those aspects and it was his second work on an anime and his first original animated one. It was also anime fans' first large-scale exposure to him, not only with it being a TV series, but also a landmark title in the history of streaming anime. Along with fellow GONZO title, The Tower of DRUAGA -The Aegis of URUK-, BlASSREITER was one of the very first anime to be simulcasted globally—something that is now expected of new shows these days.

Phantom ~Requiem for the Phantom~ (2009)
[ANN Entry] [MAL Entry]
[] [Hulu]

BlASSREITER may have been Urobuchi's second anime work, but his first was an OVA adaptation of a Nitroplus visual novel of his in 2004's Phantom - The Animation. That story would see a second, more expanded take in 2009, spearheaded by Noir's Koichi Mashimo and Bee Train. Urobuchi penned three of the 26 episodes.

Puella Magi Madoka Magica (2011)
[ANN Entry] [MAL Entry]
[Crunchyroll] [Hulu] [Aniplex Channel]

—At this point, Gen Urobuchi was more well-known (or infamous, take your pick…) among visual novel and Nitroplus fans than anime ones, but that drastically changed once SHAFT's Akiyuki Shinbo approached him about doing a magical girl series, of all things. The result, however, was the biggest and most well-received anime in years in Puella Magi Madoka Magica. Its reception and record-breaking sales quickly made Urobuchi—who wrote all twelve episodes—into the most watched man in an industry he was not even a part of (yet).

Fate/Zero (2011)
[ANN Entry] [MAL Entry]
[Crunchyroll] [Hulu] [Aniplex Channel]

Fate/Zero, adapted from Urobuchi's prequel novel of TYPE-MOON's very popular Fate series, likely did not need anymore of a push based on its franchise or the involvement of animation studio ufotable, but it certainly reaped handsomely from Madoka Magica's success earlier in the year, generating even more anticipation and viewers (and sales) than it likely would have without it (though Urobuchi only provided supervision over the series' scripts).

[ANN Entry] [MAL Entry]
[] [Hulu]

Madoka Magica worked its magic again when live-action director Katsuyuki Motohiro (Night Head, Antique Bakery), looking to try his hand in animation again after a brief dabble years earlier, contacted Urobuchi following all of the praise of PMMM from friends and after taking it and his novel works in for himself. The result of the ensuing collaboration was one of the biggest hits on noitaminA in PSYCHO-PASS, animated at Production I.G., which Urobuchi would share writing credits with mangaka Makoto Fukami (Chotto Kawaii Iron Maiden).

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet (2013)
[ANN Entry] [MAL Entry]
[Crunchyroll] [Hulu] [Neon Alley]

—In another collaboration, Gen Urobuchi would join forces with friend Kazuya Murata (Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos director) to create Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet (also at Production I.G). Distinguishing the series from other Urobuchi anime titles is that is perhaps the least dark or bleak of them, and despite its sci-fi background, is more akin to slice-of-life. Many titles attached to his name seem to invoke impressive production efforts, and Gargantia certainly has that going for it…

[ANN Entry] [MAL Entry]
[Crunchyroll] [Hulu] [DAISUKI] [Aniplex Channel]

—Just as Madoka Magica increased the good fortunes of Fate/Zero, Fate/Zero increased the good fortunes of director Ei Aoki, whose job on that series and the earlier Hourou Musoko/Wandering Son led to him being able to found his own studio, TROYCA. For its inaugural title, a joint production with HM/WS' A-1 Pictures, he sought out Urobuchi, who he befriended while adapating his F/Z novel. Thus, the mecha anime ALDNOAH.ZERO was born (which was dicussed in yesterday's Ani-Journal), which is set to resume on January 10th, 2015.

Some call him "Gen the Butcher" or "Urobutcher", others—well, me—call him "Gurobuchi", and while the monikers are dipped both in truth and playful (?) exaggeration, Gen Urobuchi has shown that he is a talented writer with thought-provoking things to say and insight, which go beyond the subject matters or morose events in his tales. He also is more versatile than many tend to give him credit for, and hopefully you will be able to find something to enjoy in his various series above.

Have a great New Year's (and viewings, too)!!


No comments:

Post a Comment