Sunday, October 15

Piping-hot New Anime

Thanks to the internet, I've been able to dispense almost entirely with visiting local anime shops, plus I can sample piping-hot new titles even before the wide world decides they're hits or misses. Two new titles have so far crossed my path and gotten me interested.

Nginiig! Anime-style.

Ghost Hunt is a perfect title for the coming Halloween season. A Japanese high school student named Mai, whose hobby is to swap ghost stories with her two gal pals, meets a mysterious young man named Shibuya during one of their spook sessions. Later, Mai encounters him again when she passes by a supposedly cursed old school building. Because of an accident she has a hand in causing, Mai ends up working as Shibuya's assistant. It turns out that Shibuya is the manager of a quite famous psychic research institute, and he's investigating the building for supernatural phenomenon. Mai also finds out that the handsome Shibuya is a bit of an arse... but a smart arse, at least.
Soon though, more supernaturally-inclined specialists turn up- a sexy miko (priestess) and an unusually liberal monk, a 19-year old exorcist from Australia (ever wanted to find out what an Aussie sounds like in Japan?), a spirit channeler and one of Mai's schoolmates who claims to be able to see spirits. All have gathered in the cursed school building, yet none seem to believe in each others' abilities. Is the building really haunted? Who's real and who's fake among the charaters? Well, I'll just have to keep watching this title to find out.

Ghost Hunt has nice animation and clean character designs, some funny writing and some cool atmosphere... and pretty cool opening music which kinda reminds me of the old Hardy Boys theme (Darn I'm old...). The different characters are interesting and anime seems to do scary stuff quite well. Looks like I'll be going a-hunting a lot in the weeks ahead.

The latest from GONZO.

Pumpkin Scissors is a very odd name for an anime... and an even odder name for a military unit. But here they both are. Set in a European-like world where an Empire and several rival nations have just come out from a devastating war, this new series from GONZO Animation is all about a special unit of the military, The Pumpkin Scissors, that has been assigned to give relief to victims of the war. Relief in this case means protection from renegade elements of the military that are now operating as bandits throughout the land.

The "Pumpkin Scissors" special platoon is led in the field by the headstrong but fearless Alice Martin, a young lieutenant fresh from the academy. During their first mission, Alice encounters a tall, scarred soldier named Roland. When some bandits with a tank show up, the Pumpkin Scissors team up with the scruffy soldier to save the people of an oppressed village. Roland soon shows that he's not an ordinary soldier- he's an elite Anti-tank Trooper, a fearsome one-man killing machine that deals death with his big-arse gun by the spooky light of his blue night lantern.

The first episode of Pumpkin Scissors had me impressed with some nice character designs and animation, plus some cool, bloody action. I still can't figure out WHY the special corps is named as it is... I guess I'll find out in the next episodes.

Violent mecha action.

Innocent Venus is apparently a 12-episode mini-series, but the quality is obvious even from the first installment. Set in an earth devastated by a series of hurricanes, Innocent Venus sees Japan being the one last superpower after 5 billion people are lost in the deluge. Japan's population becomes segregated into the rich 'Logos' and the poor 'Revenues'. The Logos are kept in power by their army, which is armed with powerful mecha.
One day, a mysterious young girl named Sana is being pursued by the Logos military, accompanied only by two young men- the friendly Jin, and the taciturn Jo- both former members of the Logos' elite special forces, the Phantom corps. Who is Sana, and why is she so important to the rebels and the Logos?
This title promises some hard-hitting action, and the violence gets pretty bloody. The setting is intriguing, and the animation quite excellent. Once again, we'll probably find out about the title's meaning once more episodes show up.

Ask for these anime at your favorite anime shops- these just may be future hits in the making.

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