Monday, December 30, 2013

Ramblings on Fun Home: The Book and Musical

Alison Bechdel's Fun Home (2006) is pretty great. Fun Home is an autobiographical memoir that has been adapted as an off-Broadway musical. It isn't every day that an excellent musical starring a lesbian is adapted from a graphic novel I found riveting, so I'm reviewing it together with the graphic novel here.

The graphic novel follows Alison's memories of her childhood and college years, focusing on her relationship with her dad. After Alison came out as gay in college, her mom told her that her dad is gay, though closeted. As someone who gave up an international career he liked to take over his family's funeral home business (dubbed the "fun home" by Alison and her brothers) in his small hometown and tried to pass as a straight man, Alison's father resented his life. He took it out on his family- mostly by being both cold and temperamental- and secretly pursued men (and, grossly, some high school boys).

Alison's family lived in a large, old house that her dad obsessively re-modeled to look like a Victorian mansion- a symptom of his general obsession with maintaining facades.

Alison filters her story through a heavily literary lens. She illustrates her and her parents' relationships with allusions to the works and lives of writers like James Joyce, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Henry James, Colette, and Shakespeare, as well as some Greek mythology. The musical cuts back on the literary references save a few, not counting Alison and her dad's general love of books, so it may be more your speed if you didn't care for how much the book relied on references to illustrate its points.

Alison's coming out in college is fueled by a combination of her reading lots of books with lesbian content (which I relate to as someone who devoured lesbian media in the process of figuring myself out, like a gajillion other queer women) and her getting together with her first girlfriend Joan. The graphic novel emphasizes the media-consuming component of her coming out more, while the musical emphasizes the first girlfriend component, giving Alison's relationship with Joan more of a romantic, meet cute feeling also.

The musical also preserves little Alison's early butchiness, contrasting it with her dad's effeminate tendencies in a non-caricaturish way. Little Alison even gets a musical number about her feelings about an older butch she sees at a diner.

One of my favorite musical numbers is "Changing My Major to Joan", about how over the moon Alison feels after sleeping with Joan for the first time. Another favorite musical number is the fake commercial Alison and her brothers make for the funeral home, because it's adorable and very seventies, befitting when Alison grew up. All of the songs are good, but the one that stuck with me the most is the number little Alison sings about what she wishes her life was like, with the people in her life participating as happier versions of themselves.

The art in the graphic novel is second-to-none in its expressiveness, and the musical's actors (including the three actresses who play Alison as a kid, college student, and older adult looking back, respectively) similarly do a fantastic job bringing the people in the book to life. The musical also does a great job preserving the settings of the book, right down to the cockatiel painting in Alison's father's library.

Both the Fun Home book and Fun Home musical hurt when they're supposed to (Alison's father's probable suicide is present in both versions) and are funny and sweet when they're supposed to be, and I highly recommend both. They won't necessarily be equally your cup of tea, but they're both worth trying if you get the chance. I really liked Alison's observations in the book of people and her life and how your views of your parents can change as you get older, and enjoyed the musical's interpretations of them. I tore through the book and would gladly watch the musical again.

The Fun Home musical has been successful enough to get three extensions on its run, so you can see it at New York City's Public Theater at 425 Lafayette Street through January 12. Tickets can be bought here.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Manga Review: Aoi Hana volume 8

I haven't followed any series' run as long as I've followed Aoi Hana's and I never tired of it, so reviewing this final volume feels a little bittersweet. Some may remember that I hyperventilated on Twitter after I read the news that it would wrap up soon, because I wanted to follow Fumi longer and the situation between her and Akira was very unresolved at the time. I wanted to believe in Shimura Takako's writing, but feared the story might not resolve satisfactorily. I am happy with how this series ended, though.

All of the non-Fumi and Akira couples we know happily remain together. Akira's brother Shinobu and Mogii are still dating, Kyouko and Kou get married, and Orie and Hinako, already married (if not legally), get one of the best, most wonderful scenes in this book, continuing the uptick in yuri manga promoting marriage equality in recent years. Also, I will never complain about seeing a couple I like in wedding dresses.

Earlier in the book, Hinako deals with a student who spreads rumors about Hinako's sexual orientation after Hinako gently rejects her. Thankfully, the rumors ultimately don't do any harm to Hinako's career- perhaps because the rumor-monger is from the student newspaper, which has a bit of a trashy tabloid reputation.

We see Sugimoto again when Akira and Kyouko go on their senior class trip to London. Sugimoto has better realized how shitty her behavior was when she dated and broke up with Fumi, causing her to apologize to Akira. Akira uneasily wonders if her dating Fumi is similar to what Sugimoto did. I don't think so because she is more honest with Fumi than Sugimoto was and has Fumi's interests in mind.

Akira and Fumi's doubts culminate in their breaking up, which I kind of expected when I read volume 7 (reviewed here), although I wasn't sure whether it would last or be a catalyst for figuring things out (especially on Akira's side) and realizing they are both in love and getting together for good.

Since I said I would be happy with Fumi winding up with another girl given enough development of their relationship or her winding up with Akira and I am happy with this volume, it's pointless for me to try to be vague about how things end for Fumi and Akira. ^^;

My sweetie commented that she is glad Fumi and Akira broke up before getting back together because it was good for them to figure themselves out more (again, especially Akira) before trying to build a lasting relationship, and I agree. (Btw if you're looking for a story with a similar theme- two people who get together after it didn't work out because one of them needed to do some growing, you might like Torino Shino's Ohana Holoholo.)

We end this series with Fumi and Akira as young adults, happy together, looking forward to seeing where things go. Two pages in this book (a.k.a. the rose petal pages) indicate that their relationship will turn out to be lasting love.

I would gladly follow more of Fumi's life, but I am happy with where this final volume leaves her.

Story: A
Art: A
Overall: A

This volume doesn't contain any bonus stories, but there is an afterword in which Shimura Takako continues her penchant for interacting with her characters with an amusing take on Fumi and Akira. My copy, which I picked up at Kinokuniya, also came with the cute Aoi Hana x Hourou Musuko crossover you see below. I assume the final volume of Hourou Musuko has the other half.

BGM: "Sakura Nagashi" - Utada Hikaru

Monday, November 18, 2013

Manga Review: A Centaur's Life volume 1

Murayama Kei's A Centaur's Life is the newest thing with yuri content from Seven Seas. It is running in the seinen magazine Comic Ryu and has three tankoubon out in Japan.

This series is a slice-of-life about a shy, polite girl named Himeno and her best friends Nozomi and Kyoko. What makes this series different from your usual high school slice-of-life is that the characters live in a world in which everyone is some kind of fantasy creature.

Himeno is a centaur, Kyoko is pretty much a satyr ("goatfolk" here), Nozomi is a "draconid" (a human-dragon hybrid), and there are angelfolk (like the student council president Manami), catfolk, mermaids (which haven't appeared in this volume), and the completely non-humanoid-looking "Arctic people" ("snake people" being the offensive term for them), who have only appeared in media (a magazine and an old movie) so far.

This volume covers Himeno responding to a boy asking her out, a school play in which Himeno plays the princess to Nozomi's prince, a school marathon in which Kyoko has trouble keeping up, Himeno getting a temporary part-time job as a model because her mom's magazine editor friend needs a centaur, and a chapter focusing on Himeno's family, especially her mom. Then there's an afterword in which Himeno, Nozomi, and Kyoko chat with Murayama Kei (drawn as a goat) about this series' development, and a history of the fictional town the characters live in.

I want to kill the first chapter of this series with fire. It resolves a body issue of Himeno's in an über-servicey way. It made me half-joke to a friend that I wondered if this series' author knows what vaginas look like outside porn. The virginity fetishizing doesn't help.

Take away the first chapter, and it's a decent series- a typical slice-of-life, just with the world we know adapted to fantasy creatures inhabiting it. The worldbuilding is well thought out, and I had fun discussing it with the friend who read my copy of this volume. For example, centaurs used to be samurai in Japan, but were enslaved for riding elsewhere, so it's legally considered a hate crime to ride them everywhere including Japan. Cue discussion of whether this world has actual horses since they have cows, but maybe the animals whose fantasy-influenced characteristics the humanoid characters have don't exist here. And "How do the cold-blooded Antarcticans survive in Antarctica?" Mundane details (like clothes, shoes, and how certain house designs might be less convenient for centaurs; I'm curious about what mermaids do) are covered also, and there's an amusing Obama reference.

Apparently there's a lesbian couple in Himeno's class- I'm not sure if they appear in volume 2 or volume 3, though. In this volume, the yuri is Himeno kissing Nozomi because a classmate altered her script for the play. Nozomi is flustered, but seems like she kind of liked it. After Himeno saves Nozomi from a stage injury, Nozomi kisses Himeno on the cheek in a "My hero!" kind of way. I liked that the girls in their class were like "Kyaa!" over Himeno kissing Nozomi.

As expected, the translation is good and honorifics left intact. The first page is a glossy color page featuring Himeno,  Nozomi and Kyouko walking next to a café on one side and the full cover image (their walking to school with some classmates) on the other side. The back has a preview of another Seven Seas series, Monster Musume (Seven Seas has been especially interested in "monster girl" titles lately), which looks like every awful magical girlfriend series, just with a snake girl.

Story: F for chapter 1, C+ for the rest. More noteworthy for its setting than its story or characters, which are pleasant but not standout for me.
Art: B
Overall: C

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Anime and Manga With Monsters and Spookiness and Yuri

The title speaks for itself! I decided to review some titles that are spooky and/or feature monsters while having yuri, because I like horror and non-horror things that play off horror elements, and Halloween.

Devilman Lady (26 episodes):
Devilman Lady, released on Region 1 DVD as The Devil Lady, is very loosely adapted from a really awful manga series I never finished the first volume of by Go Nagai. I'm saying that as someone who enjoyed Nagai's Cutey Honey manga (reviewed here), which was fun-bad.

Anyway, the Devilman Lady anime is about Fudo Jun, a quiet fashion model who learns that the next step in human evolution is for some people to mutate into demon-like creatures called Devilbeasts. Jun is one of the few Devilbeasts who is able to retain human consciousness and return to a normal state. Under the eye of a government agent named Asuka, Jun transforms into a Devilbeast when needed to kill Devilbeasts that are too far gone, while trying to retain her own humanity. The biggest plus for this series is Jun, who is a great lead and grows a lot over the course of the story. The yuri comes in with Jun falling in love with another model named Kazumi, who loves her back, Asuka's not entirely benign interest in Jun, and a couple Devilbeast-of-the-week characters who are dysfunctionally interested in Jun. The romance between Jun and Kazumi is sweet, SPOILER but not immune to their being in a horror story. Jun survives, but Kazumi doesn't. END SPOILER 

Needless to say, this series fits this post. Some of its horror elements are campy, but a good amount are genuinely creepy, its ending has the bombast one would expect from a Nagai series (Jun faces off with another Devilbeast who wants to become God), and it's a really good series overall. This series fares better than most monster-of-the-week shows in terms of quality consistency, largely because it advances its plot and Jun's character development throughout. Also, I love its highly cinematic opening theme.

This series' DVDs are out of print, but the individual volumes are still easy to find at not-horrible to really cheap prices on Amazon.

Vampire Princess Miyu TV series episode 19, from R1 DVD volume 6 (26 episodes total):
Vampire Princess Miyu, in its manga and anime incarnations, is about a vampire named Miyu who vanquishes other demons, called Shinma, who stray into the human world. The Miyu OVA focuses on Miyu's relationship with a psychic who tracks her as she wanders Japan hunting Shinma. But in the Miyu TV series, as in the manga, Miyu lives in one place, attending a junior high school. Physically, she's fourteen. The story mostly follows a Shinma-of-the-week format, and there are several recurring characters besides Miyu- Miyu's school friends, a Western Shinma named Larva who acts as Miyu's right hand man, and a snow woman named Reiha who doesn't think Miyu is fit to hunt Shinma and has no compunction about killing innocent people in the process of hunting them.

In episode 19, Miyu's classmates bring her to an exhibition showcasing dolls by Kasumi, a famous dollmaker. The focus shifts to Kasumi, who hires a maid named Yuki.

Kasumi is in love with one of her dolls, and starts getting touchy about Yuki being around that doll. Yuki becomes obsessed with the doll also. Their obsession is caused by the doll being a Shinma. Needless to say Miyu vanquishes him, and Yuki and Kasumi happily wind up a couple, with Yuki now making dolls. And Miyu, being Miyu, is like, "Feh, humans and their weak emotions like love."

Yuki and Kasumi get a remarkably happy ending for this series. lol More typically, Miyu's Shinma-vanquishing results in the people she saves not being much or any better off than they would be if left to the Shinma. In several episodes, Miyu puts someone she saved into an eternal sleep while drinking their blood, causing them to dream of the life they want rather than mourn who or what they lost. (In one case, Miyu decides against the eternal sleep to let someone she saved grieve normally, though.) Some of the people she helps die or are unable to reverse the effects of their encounters with Shinma.

Like Devilman Lady, Miyu is a 90's series that looks good for its time. Not as good-looking as the Miyu OVA, but that's to be expected given their formats and when they were made. (I say when they were made because noticeable differences between TV and OVA art and animation quality aren't really a thing anymore.) Unlike the Miyu OVA, the Miyu TV series has some campiness, mostly thanks to some of the Shinma character designs. The Shinma-of-the-week episodes vary in quality, but that's to be expected also, and it's an entertaining series with a good amount of creepiness overall. If you like Hell Girl's storytelling format and old Japanese horror influences, you'll probably like Miyu as its forebear.

I am also a fan of Miyu's opening theme, which is very classic Japanese horror and recaps the gist of this series for any viewers trying it beyond episode 1.

The Miyu OVA and TV series are both out of print, but can easily be found at good prices on Amazon.

Ariyoshi Kyouko's "Bruges" one-shot in her Bruges collection:
"Bruges" is one of my favorite one-shots- technically a prequel to Ariyoshi Kyouko, the creator's of Swan's, excellent classic six volume yuri series Applause. "Bruges" shows us how Applause's leads, Shara and Shunack, started to have feelings for each other at their school's annual spring break get together, where they participated in a murder mystery game meant to solve the death of a real student named Sheryl that happened fifteen years prior.

This story manages to be effectively romantic, creepy, and sad (they do find out what happened to Sheryl, whose spirit plays a role)- in short, it juggles its very different goals well. I like the old school shoujo-ness of it, also. I originally reviewed Bruges here.

Bruges and Applause are both unlicensed and will probably get licensed when hell freezes over. You can buy them in the form of their Japanese releases, though. To search for Applause's volumes, which are easiest to find in their four volume re-print- say on Amazon JP, Honto, or YesAsia- you'll want to search for アプローズ―喝采. For the Bruges collection, you should search for ブルージュ―アプローズ

Franken Fran chapter 22, tankoubon 3, by Katsuhisa Kigitsu (8 volumes total):
Franken Fran is the only not-horrible thing to have run in Champion Red, the magazine best known for Seikon no Qwaser. Its covers make it look like hentai, but it is a horror series. Franken Fran is what would happen if Dr. Frankenstein's monster were a teenaged girl named Fran- a doctor herself who earnestly tries to help people with their medical problems in present day Japan. Emphasis on "tries" because she competently does what people ask her to do, but the results embody the phrase "be careful what you wish for." I never finished this series. Franken Fran's author's effective use of black comedy and creative uses of this series' formula kept it entertaining for a few volumes, but the repetition of that formula eventually wore on me and I dropped it.

I think Franken Fran is worth trying if you're a manga fan who likes horror and doesn't mind gore. For the purposes of this list, chapter 22 of this series features a yuri twist on one of Fran's medical cases. It isn't really happy- or worth reading for the yuri- but its outcome is more earnest and less bleakly ironic than usual for this series.

This series is unlicensed. You can buy its Japanese release by searching フランケン・ふらん

Natsuneko's "Nightmare Syndrome" one-shot, which was published in the March 2008 issue of Comic Yuri Hime:
Less horror than action, about a young woman named Elysia who has spent months in the castle of a vampire named Vega, trying to avenge her father's death. Elysia is mad at herself for being attracted to Vega, who never makes any move to harm her and provides her with meals and access to whatever she needs in the castle. Vega loves Elysia herself. Elysia learns from a vampire hunter that her father wasn't the innocent victim she thought he was and saves Vega, allowing them to be together.

Natsuneko, the author of one of my favorite Yuri Hime collections, Butterfly 69 (reviewed here), sadly stopped drawing manga (no idea why) before producing a second full tankoubon's worth of stories, so the only way to own this is to track down the issue of Yuri Hime that published it, pictured above. It's fun, though, and worth reading for a light, stylishly drawn vampire story.

If you decide to track down this issue of Yuri Hime, search コミック百合姫 2008年 03月号 on Amazon JP, where you can find it used on the Marketplace. You might also find this issue as part of a bundle of Yuri Hime issues by searching コミック百合姫 on Yahoo Japan Auctions. Either way, if you live outside Japan, you'll need a proxy. Rinkya is one I have used satisfactorily.

Tokimeki Mononoke Jogakuen by Nangoku Banana (2 volumes):
A weird and sweet comedy that ran in Yuri Hime, about a high school girl named Arare who accidentally winds up in the youkai world and passes as a youkai at an all-girls' school there. Naturally she falls in love with a youkai, Kiri- one of the two students who learns she's a human almost immediately. Because of a dumb plot point, Arare and Kiri don't think they can be together, but things turn out happily. This series is packed with all manner of Japanese monsters and gags based on their characteristics, so it definitely belongs on this list. My reviews of this series' individual volumes can be found here and here.

This series is unlicensed, so the only way to buy it is by getting the original Japanese release. To find this series, you should search for ときめき☆もののけ女学園

Tanaka Minoru's "Vampire Girl" one-shot, which was published in the May 2011 issue of Comic Yuri Hime:
"Vampire Girl" is unusual nowadays because it portrays vampires more as monsters than love interests or sex objects, which I like. They still get some humanity, but don't lose their edge of real danger and animalism. "Vampire Girl" is about Manami, a high school girl who loves reading about spooky things like vampires. A beautiful woman named Shishido-sensei becomes a substitute teacher for Manami's class. Manami becomes enthralled with Shishido-sensei, who teases her about her fascination with vampires, joking about being one herself. I don't want to spoil the ending for this story, but it remains more horror than romance, while still being bittersweet. Recommended if you want a vampire yuri story that is unsettling.

Tanaka Minoru is currently serializing Rock It Girl!!, which I've bought the first tankoubon of, and has released another Yuri Hime collection, Mette Sarete Kya, which I don't have. This one-shot wasn't published in Mette Sarete Kya, but I expect it to appear in a tankoubon at some point since Tanaka is still with Yuri Hime. If you want to track down this issue of Yuri Hime, search コミック百合姫 2011年 05月号 on Amazon JP, where you can find it used and "collectible" on the Marketplace. And of course, you can find it as part of a Yuri Hime bundle on Yahoo Japan Auctions.

And, that's it!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Manga Review: Zenryaku, Yuri no Sono Yori volumes 1 and 2

Suga Atsushi's Zenryaku, Yuri no Sono Yori is one of the series that ran in the now defunct Tsubomi yuri magazine and wrapped up online. I like this series, but not as much as a lot of people do. It's cute, but I never found myself excitedly talking about it with someone, which I think is a pretty good yardstick for how much of a favorite something I'm reading is. This is a cute series. It just didn't particularly light my fire even though I can see why other people like it more.

Our protagonist is named Yuri. Because one of her grandparents is white, Yuri has blonde hair like her mom but otherwise looks Japanese. Other kids bullied her for it when she was little, so between dealing with that and standing up for another bullied girl named Shinobu, she developed a hard-edged persona that people find intimidating. Now in high school, her only friend is Shinobu. After school everyday, Yuri and Shinobu create BL manga. Shinobu writes it and Yuri draws it.

Yuri's love interest is Misono, a rich girl who is top student at their school and admired by everyone. Talented though she is, Misono knows most of that admiration is driven by how wealthy and powerful her family is. Although she is perfectly polite and helpful to her classmates, she's pretty snarky. That side comes out when she finds the notebook of Shinobu's writing Yuri accidentally left in her desk after leaving school one day.

After Misono helps Yuri get out of trouble with a teacher, Yuri begrudgingly allows Misono to read the notebook. The story in the notebook is about a rich young man and his butler, and they are similar enough, respectively, to Misono and Yuri, that Misono assumes Yuri wrote it as a gender-flipped version of her fantasies. She thus tries to tease Yuri by reading the story aloud.

By the end of Yuri and Misono's portion of volume 1, Misono makes it clear that she doesn't just like teasing Yuri for the sake of teasing- they're friends, with a whiff of something more. Their portion of volume 1 is pretty much set-up.

I say their portion because a chunk of volume 1 is taken up by a side story focusing on an unrelated couple- Yuki, a quiet girl with no friends who thinks the love letter she received from another girl is just a prank, since she has gotten a lot of prank love letters from asshole classmates, and Akane, the chipper, outgoing girl who sent the love letter.

I liked the extra focusing on Shinobu, in which we find out that she was once in love with Yuri but is over it and now has a girlfriend named Azusa who she is happy with.

Volume 2 is when the meat of Yuri and Misono's story happens. Misono helps her classmates see that they misjudged Yuri, and Yuri starts making other friends. Doing so, she realizes that her classmates find Misono intimidating because of her family, and wonder if she, with her middle class background, is good enough to be close to Misono.

Yuri's insecurity causes Misono to feel she's losing Yuri as the only person who doesn't care about her status, and she cuts her off. Yuri figures things out and makes it clear to Misono that she doesn't care. They end the portion of volume 2 that was serialized online both obviously having feelings for each other and closer to coupledom than they were before, but not quite there. Shinobu, who serves as the Greek chorus for this story, starts writing a yuri manga based on Yuri and Misono.

As a bonus, we see Shinobu help Azusa study and plan a post-exam trip with her.

Suga made great use of the remaining volume 2 extras by including how Yuri and Misono pretty much got together, Yuri and Shinobu introducing their girlfriends to each other (this was the funniest of the extras and my second favorite), and my favorite extra, a look at Misono as a college student and Yuri as a professional manga artist working from home, before Misono comes home to Yuri. You will be shocked to know that the extras are my favorite part of this volume.

Yuki and Akane's story is cute but forgettable. Based on what we see of them in volume 1 alone, I would say the same about Yuri and Misono's story, but it developed some meat and became good in volume 2. A lot of people have noted that, unusually for yuri couples, Yuri and Misono both have short hair. (And similar hairstyles to boot.) Given her discovery of Yuri's secret, Misono could have easily become a gender-flipped version of the rich asshole male love interest common in shoujo and BL (like I guess the rich character in Shinobu's manga), but she wasn't. She and Yuri are both likeable and complement each other well, although Misono is my favorite for her zippy comebacks, I think.

Story: Starts pleasant but forgettable, becomes good.
Art: Does what it's supposed to, but really not this series' strong suit. C
Overall: C+ for volume 1, a solid B for volume 2, plus a sparkly star for that last extra.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Anime Review: Senki Zesshou Symphogear G

a.k.a. Season 2 of Symphogear, the first season of which I reviewed after it aired in winter 2012.

I have described season 2 of Symphogear as feeling like an extended Symphogear: The Movie. Art and animation-wise, it looks more polished and... well, animated than the first season, and its story still isn't good, but it sure is plottier.

It even kicks off in a very action movie way, with Hibiki and Chris saving a scientist (Dr. Ver, who you'll read about below) in a high speed train chase. This season builds off the results of the previous season's conflict.

While the first season's villain, Finé, failed to destroy the moon, she shot a hole in it. Being hit like that knocked the moon off course enough that it is going to collide with the Earth at some point. The governments of the world say that the moon will take centuries to reach that point, but it's more like ten years.

This season's villains are: a pop idol named Maria who is a Symphogear user and possibly the vessel for Finé's reincarnation; two younger Symphogear users named Kirika and Shirabe who look up to Maria and were once considered possible vessels for Finé's soul; Dr. Natassja, an engineer who knows how the Symphogear armor works, spending most of her time worrying about Maria, Kirika and Shirabe and coughing up blood; and our only real villain, Dr. Ver, a biochemist whose research focuses on Symphogear users. Dr. Ver manipulates Dr. Natassja, Maria, Kirika, and Shirabe to achieve his goal of destroying most of the world so he can rule what is left more easily.

While this season is better than season 1, Dr. Ver is a worse villain than Finé. I could buy Finé earning the trust of the people she worked with before betraying them, but I didn't have it in me to feel for Maria when Dr. Ver betrayed her... because it was obvious well before that you can't trust his stated intentions. And he's just generally more annoying than Finé.

The returning cast makes up for it, though. The main reason to watch this is to watch Hibiki, Tsubasa, Chris, and Miku do cool things to propel an intentionally ludicrous story forward. I appreciate that Miku gets to do something important and cool each season without any super-abilities.

This season, though, Miku also does stuff as a Symphogear-user. The relic Hibiki uses to transform is spreading through her body, meaning she can't transform without hastening it. Miku finds out that Hibiki will likely die because of it, and becomes a Symphogear-user, courtesy of Dr. Ver (who obviously doesn't have her best interests in mind), in the hopes of better being able to save Hibiki.

Also, Miku's fighting song is basically a love song about Hibiki. (The song starts at 0:43.) Here is a translation of the lyrics. I rate Miku's seiyuu, Iguchi Yuka's, singing ability above Hibiki and Chris's.

Maria's seiyuu, Hikasa Youko (a.k.a. Attack on Titan's Mikasa and K-ON!'s Mio) has a good singing voice, but aside from her duet with Tsubasa, her songs didn't leave much of an impression on me. Mizuki Nana still has the prettiest singing voice in the entire show, but she's Mizuki Nana.

Also, Kirika and Shirabe fight after Kirika switches sides, resulting in a really lesbian battle duet song. I don't have a clip I'm happy with (partly because I couldn't find a clip without the servicey henshin at the beginning, partly because it's harder to like the song itself when Shirabe's butt crack keeps flashing through her battle outfit- which is maybe a weird thing to specifically complain about given the rest of the service in this show, but as awkward as, say, fighting in a very cleavagey sentai suit like Chris's would be, I'd take it over the butt crack outfit- and I didn't care about these two as much as Hibiki and Miku anyway), but they do duel and scream that they love each other a bunch of times.

Now past her mourning over Kanade (although she still has some flashbacks about her), Tsubasa is mostly the cool sempai this season. Even though I liked seeing Tsubasa get past closing everyone off because of her grief, I was happy to see her get a love interest who is not dead this season. I was surprised it was Chris, but actually kind of wound up shipping them, and even Hibiki saw it.

Arguably the most surprising thing about this season was Genjuuro singing during the obligatory training scene. (Please do watch this season's training scene, actually. It's pretty great.) He gets to punch a flying boulder, and apparently Tsubasa's manager can run on water.

This season's final conflict itself was dumb, as expected, but it had Hibiki being no less active without her super-abilities (which, spoiler, she does get back), the aforementioned Tsubasa x Chris, Miku throwing a magic sword into a tear in space, and Hibiki reminding me of Ultimate Madoka with her speech in space about not being alone. And it's followed by a nice final scene for our four leads.

Story: This is trashy crap, but it is crap that I enjoyed and would watch a third season of.
Art: B
Overall: B-

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Fall 2013 Anime Season

I'm back from the dead! Stuff has happened this past summer, like moving and new job hunting, but the real reason for my hiatus here (given that I have continued blogging during other wonky periods) is that I am selfish and just got burnt out. I feel up to doing it again, so if you want to read my thoughts on nerdy crap I like, I hope you enjoy it. (Especially my favorite nerd, who encouraged me to write again.)

As always, most of what's airing this season is bad, but there are some good-looking choices. I opted not to include seiyuu lists this time (although I note seiyuu a few times- I just don't feel like giving an exhaustive list of noteworthy seiyuu for the tenth horrible harem show of the season), but otherwise it's the same as previous season posts.

Saikyou Ginga Ultimate Zero Battle Spirits (Strongest Galaxy Ultimate Zero Battle Spirits):
The children's card game show no one cares about of the season.

Oshiri Kajiri Mushi (Butt-Biting Bug) season 2:
A children's show about an anthropomorphic butt-biting bug and his friends.

A series of five minute shorts about a "spacey" idol named Miss Monochrome who strives to be a top-seller but is "tossed around by others." She hates color also, hence her name. Miss Monochrome's seiyuu Horie Yui (Hourou Musuko's Anna, Aoi Hana's Kyouko) is not only singing the theme song, she created the original character designs. Inoue Kikuko (Aa, Megami-sama's Belldandy), who has been a big seiyuu name since the 90's, is voicing a character only named "Kikuko." 

There aren't any trailers, but you can see Miss Monochrome's origin here, as a hologram performing at one of Horie Yui's concerts a la the Vocaloid characters.

So... an in-joke of a series aimed at Horie Yui fans, with Inoue as a nod to some of the old school seiyuu fans, I guess. Since its episodes are only five minutes each, I'll probably try one, but don't expect to follow it.

Naruto SD: Rock Lee no Seishun Full-Power Ninden Mou Iccho (Naruto Spin-Off: Rock Lee And His Ninja Pals Once Again):
A second season of Naruto spin-off comedy shorts focusing on Rock Lee. I never got into Naruto, so there's no draw for me.

An adaptation of a manga that ran in Weekly Young Magazine and Monthly Young Magazine (home to Akira, Ghost in the Shell, Xxxholic, and... uh, Kiss x Sis), in which a nuclear accident has rendered Tokyo uninhabitable. Twenty years after the accident, Tokyo is still blockaded. The government receives a distress signal sent from within Tokyo and sends three girls it has genetically engineered to be immune from the effects of radiation- and have other super-abilities, going from the promo- into Tokyo to find whoever sent the distress signal. This anime was green-lit in 2010, but put on hold because of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

I like the premise and know the three leads could be good characters and know that anime in general is heavily skewed towards having high school-aged protagonists, but the high school-aged lead aspect feels especially shoe-horned into this premise. Annoyingly so when they're girls going on a military mission in mini-skirts, with the glasses one wearing a super-clingy sweater over a tiny waist and big boobs, jutting her hip in a way meant to accentuate that. I get that the story might be good, but still annoyed by that. On the utterly objective positive side, two of my favorite seiyuu, Noto Mamiko (Marimite's Shimako) and Sakamoto Maaya (Canaan's Alphard) have roles as side characters.

PVs here and here.

Within Kyoto, there's a "mirror capital" in which humans and youkai live together peacefully and everyone's immortal. The mirror capital is protected by three siblings, Kurama, Yase, and Myoue, who are waiting for their parents, Myoue Jonin and Koto, to return. A fourteen year-old girl named Koto (her name spelled differently than the other Koto's) and her younger brothers A and Un, wind up in the mirror capital while searching for their mother. They want to find a rabbit that should enable them to return home, and Koto has some kind of connection to the mirror capital. A Kyousogiga ONA came out in 2010-2011.

Never saw the ONA, but I'm looking forward to this. I like the art style, the premise is different, and the trailer (streaming here) makes it look like fun. Toei is animating it and Todo Izumi, the folks who've been collectively in charge of writing Precure under a pseudonym, are writing this, so this looks like it will be more family-aimed than your usual fare. Old school seiyuu fans can look forward to Hisakawa Aya (Sailor Moon's Ami, Utena's Miki, Heartcatch Precure's Yuri) as non-protagonist Koto, and fans of newer favorites can look forward to Kugimya Rie (Marimite's Touko, a million other tsundere girls) as Koto, Kitamura Eri (Madoka Magica's Sayaka) as Yase, Ishida Akira (Mai-Hime's Nagi, a million other smarmy evil dudes) as a character named Inari, and Saito Chiwa (Madoka Magica's Homura) as a character named Doctor Shouko.

Gaist Crusher:
Another show made to sell a game to kids, about some boys who transform into super-powered armor to fight metallic creatures that attack people.

Kyoukai no Kanata:
Kyoto Animation's first heavily fantasy series since their TV adaptation of their Munto OVA, hopefully Kyoukai no Kanata will be better than that series. Kyoukai no Kanata is an adaptation of a two volume light novel series about a high school girl named Mirai who has the ability to manipulate blood into solid objects. Mirai's ability makes her feel isolated, so she tries to commit suicide. A half-demon boy named Akihito stops her. Going by the trailers (here and here), demon-fighting is involved.

The first volume of Kyoukai no Kanata won an Honorable Mention in the second Kyoto Animation Award fiction contest in 2011, which no one won. Kyoto Animation published both volumes of Kyoukai no Kanata, so it was basically made to be a Kyoto Animation show.

The premise doesn't wow me, but I'll give this a shot. Their Munto adaptation from several years ago notwithstanding, Kyoto Animation normally does at least solid work, and it's nice to see them put their lush animation towards something more ambitious than their usual. Also, Kawasumi Ayako (Kannazuki no Miko's Chikane, Fate/Zero's Saber) and Shindou Naomi (Mai-Hime/Mai-Otome's Shizuru; haven't seen her in much since the Mai franchise) have roles.


Nagi no Asukara:
In Nagi no Asukara's world, all people used to live in the sea with help from clothing given to them by the sea god. (Guess they never took off their clothes? Or is there a time limit to put them back on before you start drowning? I'm just asking the important questions.) Some people gave up their sea god clothing to live on land, and from then on, the land humans and sea humans lived separately and forgot each other. A land-dwelling boy named Tsumugu befriends four girls who live in a village in the sea.

I like the folktale-ishness of the premise, but the show itself looks haremy, so I'll pass.

PVs streaming here.

Infinite Stratos season 2:
The second season of a shitty sci-fi harem show, about a world in which only women are capable of using a highly advanced form of fighting technology but our bland everyman lead finds he can use it and enrolls in the academy for girls training to use that technology.

PV streaming here.

Kill la Kill:
Kill La Kill's protagonist Ryuuko uses a weapon shaped like half a pair of scissors, and the woman who killed her father has the other half. She hears that Satsuki, the student council president of Honnouji Academy, knows the killer's identity, so she enrolls in Honnouji. The elite students chosen by Satsuki wear a super-powered uniform that allows them to rule the other students under her command. Ryuuko confronts Satsuki, shaking up the school.

Kill La Kill is the most-anticipated show of the season because it's reuniting the team that worked on Gurren Lagann. I loved Gurren Lagann's style but what I watched of it didn't do much for me story-wise. I'm not sure what I dislike more about Ryuuko's super-powered uniform- its servicey-ness after transforming, or the fact that it's alive and stands a good chance of being one of those pervy comic relief characters, like the talking bird I hated in Tamako Market. Still hoping this will be fun, though. The two leads seem cool, and again, the style.

Extra-long subbed PV streaming here. All unsubbed PVs here.

Outbreak Company:
A light novel adaptation about a teenaged otaku named Shinichi, whose father is a light novelist and mother is an eroge creator. He is a NEET whose only interest is moe. As a result, the government asks him to act as a "moe evangelist" to the Holy Eldant Empire, a parallel world with dragons and elves and magic. Shinichi needs to prevent war from breaking out there, and befriends a half-elf maid girl and  a tsundere Empress named Petoraru and a couple other women who seem fond of pushing their boobs up with their arms.


PV here.

Golden Time:
On the plus side for this series, its protagonist is in college. Yay, older than usual protagonists! The plot sounds awful, though.

Banri fell off a bridge shortly before his high school graduation, causing him to lose all his memories before then. After attending his college's orientation, another student there, Kouko, whacks him with a bouquet of roses then hands them to him because they had promised to marry each other as children. He took the entrance exam for that college to get away from her, but she took it also to follow him there. Ah, love.

PV here.

Aikatsu! season 2:
An adaptation of a card game aimed at girls, about a school where students train to become idols. A girl named Ichigo enrolls with her best friend Aoi after being inspired by her idol Mizuki.

I was cynical about this show before its first season aired because of its card game origins, but I've heard it starts out decent and becomes good. I'm glad it got a second season, in that case.


Freezing Vibration:
Noto Mamiko's voice is wasted on this series. Freezing Vibration is the sequel to Freezing, which is about a boy who enrolls in a school for genetically modified girls called Pandoras who use their abilities to fight aliens, and the boys they partner with, called Limiters, who use a power called "freezing" to limit the aliens' mobility.

I knew this would be shitty, but tried an episode of the first season anyway and it was.

PVs found here.

Strike the Blood:
Another light novel adaptation. A high school boy named Koujo turns out to be the world's most powerful vampire, so a girl named Yukina is assigned to watch over him and kill him if need be.

So-so premise, awful-looking trailer.

Trailer here.

Yuusha ni Narenakatta Ore wa Shibushibu Shuushoku o Ketsui Shimashita:
Raul failed the entrance exams to become a hero, so he got a job at the Magic Shop Leon electronics store. A new girl starts working there, the daughter of the demon king who defeated him and caused him to fail his exam.

For a magical mundane story involving a hero and a demon king that is fun, I would point you to last spring's Hataraku Maou-sama!/The Devil is a Part-Timer! The trailer for this series is pretty much "boobsboobsboobsboobs wiggling butt boobsboobsboobsboobs", so I'm not very hopeful about this one.

PV here.


Kuroko no Basuke (Kuroko's Basketball) season 2:
The second season of a show about a boy named Kuroko Tetsuya who was part of an amazing middle school basketball team. On meeting a boy named Taiga in high school, Kuroko decides to help him become Japan's #1 basketball player.

I have never watched this series, but good for it getting a season two. I'm glad for this series' continued success because of the death threats its creator and several Kuroko doujinshi events have gotten this past year, causing the events to be cancelled. (More about it here.)

PV available here.

Log Horizon:
Another series about an online RPG that traps its players. Its protagonist is a grad student named Shiroe who isn't good at interacting with people. After he finds that he and other players can't leave an online RPG called Elder Tales, he forms a guild called Log Horizon to survive in the world of the game.

Online RPGs don't interest me, so I'll pass. (For anyone who cares, I have watched a few episodes of Sword Art Online, just to see what the fuss is about. I thought it was alright.)

PV here.

White Album season 2:
The second season of a visual novel adaptation, about a college student dating an idol, and another idol he becomes interested in who likes him back. Not sure why all three of them wear school uniforms if at least one of them is supposed to be in college.

I tried the first season, but all I remember of what I watched is that I liked its opening theme song by Mizuki Nana.

PV streaming here.

Little Busters! Refrain:
I never got to trying the first season of Little Busters! even though I liked Air, Kanon (2006), Clannad, and Clannad ~After Story~. Little Busters! is an adaptation of a visual novel by the same folks who created the Air, Kanon, and Clannad visual novels- but not adapted by the same folks who adapted Air, Kanon (2006), and Clannad to TV. I've heard that it's just an okay adaptation.

Its protagonist Riki was orphaned as a child, but a group of kids calling themselves the Little Busters befriended him, helping him recover. The story takes place in their second year of high school.

PV streaming here.

Hajime no Ippo: Rising:
The third season of an adaptation of a series that has been running in Weekly Shounen Magazine since 1989, about a high schooler named Ippo who is inspired to become a boxer after a boxer named Takamura saves him from being beaten up. Ippo aims to become the boxing World Champion.

I haven't tried anything in the Hajime no Ippo franchise and am not particularly interested in it, but good for the fans getting this third season.

@crazycomposawig chimed in with some good commentary on Hajime no Ippo on Twitter, in which he notes the good and "eugh" aspects of it:
Aside from some "ugh, bromosociality" Ippo is fairly notable for dealing with the complex ~feels of being in a violent sport and aside from 1 fight (a MASSIVE authorial recant of previous anti-American blegh) this season is The Campiest Fights. Just FYI ^^; The main reason I have trouble recommending Ippo (and Eyeshield21) is that one fight prominently stereotypes black athletes...& while the aftermath is used to good effect (cultural stereo.s are debunked), the whole BLACK MUSCLES ARE DIFFERENT bit...

Tesagure! Bukatsu-mono:
A show about high school students and their extracurricular activities, the only noteworthy thing about Tesagure! seems to be that it's using MikuMiku Dance software.



Sekai de Ichiban Tsuyoku Naritai!:
Sakura and Erena make up the idol duo Sweet. A pro-wrestler named Rio injures Erena while Erena is shooting a TV program, so Sakura gives Rio a drop-kick and decides to become a pro-wrestler to avenge Erena. Cheesecakey wrestling ensues.

It's too easy to snark about this one.

PV streaming here.

Makoto is the heiress of a shrine dedicated to Inari. Inari's divine messenger Gintarou appears to Makoto at the shrine, but no other humans can see him. Gintarou can see into the future and locate lost objects, but he's lazy and kind of a crank. He befriends Makoto and sticks around, and they help those who ask them for help, human and not.

So... Kamisama Kiss minus the romance. This look like it could be enjoyable. I tend to check out whimsical-look-at-the-supernatural shows involving Japanese deities and monsters, so I will check this out.

PVs here and here.

Yozakura Quartet ~Hana no Uta~:
The second season of Yozakura Quartet, which I haven't tried. Humans and youkai co-exist peacefully in the town of Sakurashin, which contains a gateway linking the human world to the youkai world. The leads are four teenagers- two humans, one youkai, one who's been half-youkai since she was possessed when she was little- who protect the town and gateway from supernatural threats.

Like I said, never tried the first season. Not really interested in it either.

PVs streaming here and here.

A Weekly Shounen Magazine series about a high school baseball player named Eijun. Inspired by playing a game with an elite pitcher from another school, Eijun transfers to the pitcher's school to join his team and become its ace.

Nothing I'm hearing or seeing of this series makes it stand out from any of the other "I am inspired by this person who is great at this sport I am not great at to become the best person at this sport through guts!" series, so, won't try this  I hear that it's a really well-executed example of its subgenre.

PV available here.

Walkure Romanze:
Sadly, despite the Utena-ish uniforms and snuggling in the promo art, this one doesn't look promising for yuri. It's an adaptation of a harem visual novel about a boy named Takahiro who trains to be a knight's assistant at an academy for aspiring knights. He originally wanted to become a knight, but an injury forced him to give that up. The knight-in-training he assists is the pink-haired girl in the promo art.

In my vision of this series, there is no Takahiro and we get a Strawberry Panic!-esque love polygon among competent ladies in French military-style uniforms. One can dream.

PVs here and here.

Akira loves his glasses, so he starts a glasses club and makes some of his male classmates join.

Trailing on Free!'s coattails, Meganebu! is this season's fujoshi-aimed boys-form-a-school-club series. I followed Free! (will write about it and the other shows I stuck with from the summer season in another post), but will pass on this one.

PVs found here.

Magi: The Kingdom of Magic:
The second season of a series loosely based on One Thousand and One Nights, featuring Ali Baba and Aladdin as leads.

Magi has admittedly been on my to try list for a while. I didn't expect to like its first season because the only female character in its promo art was bound in chains and wearing skimpy clothing, but someone told me that the show itself doesn't treat her badly and the story is good, so I'll give it a shot at some point.

PV streaming here.

Phi Brain: Kami no Puzzle season 3:
Sixteen year-old Kaito loves solving puzzles. A mysterious organization called POG challenges Kaito to solve potentially deadly puzzles all over the world, and he does so to fulfill a promise he made as a child. He aims to eventually solve the ultimate puzzle, the Divine Puzzle.

I never tried the first season, but apparently this show is as silly as it sounds. Going from the first PV linked below, a couple of the guys in the show (the two blondes) have a thing for Kaito. But just in an occasional gag way, it seems.

PVs streaming here and here.

Teekyuu season 3:
The third season of a slice-of-life about a girls' tennis club.

Never tried the first season, still not really interested.


Yowamushi Pedal:
An adaptation of a Weekly Shounen Champion series. Sakamichi is a wimp who loves anime and wants to join his high school's anime club. Two of his classmates are famous cyclists, inspiring him to join the cycling club, which Utena's Saionji evidently belongs to also. Sakamichi trains and discovers his own talent for cycling.

Even before looking it up, you can tell this is a shounen manga adaptation. I like cycling, but am not that interested in watching a show about it. I enjoyed Nasu: Summer in Andalusia, though.

PVs streaming here.

Machine-Doll wa Kizutsukanai:
A light novel adaptation set in the early 20th century. At England's Walpurgis Academy of Machine Arts, students learn how to combine magic and technology for military applications. Raishin, a new student from Japan, arrives with Yaya, his living machine doll powered by magic and made for hand-to-hand combat. He competes to win the Academy's tournament for students who fight with machine dolls.

Doesn't interest me.

PVs found here.

Non Non Biyori:
An adaptation of a manga running in Comic Alive, home to Sasameki Koto and Himawari-san. Non Non Biyori is about a combined middle school and elementary school in the country. A girl from Tokyo named Hotaru transfers in and becomes good friends with the three other girls at that school. One of the girls has an older brother in his third year of middle school there also. There aren't any other students there. The focus is slice-of-life as the seasons change in the country.

This doesn't look bad. I'm not really interested in it, but it doesn't have any service and could be an alright choice if you're looking for something slice-of-life to watch this season. (I know, what a ringing endorsement.)

PVs here and here.

Arpeggio of Blue Steel:
By 2039, global warming has fully happened. Some mysterious warships called the Fleet of Mist appear and start attacking humans. Humanity seems like it's going to lose, but a humanoid life form exits a submarine belonging to the Fleet of Mist and offers to help humanity.

Doesn't seem bad, but doesn't look all that interesting either.

PVs found here.

Gundam Build Fighters:
Basically Angelic Layer with Gundams. In the near future, GunPla Battles, competitions pitting Gundam plastic models against each other in fights, are popular. Sei, a middle school boy, is great at making Gundam plastic models but has no GunPla Battle experience. He meets a boy named Reiji, who has a lot of GunPla Battle experience. They decide to strive together to make it to the GunPla world championships.

Not of interest to me. I've actually never really gotten into a Gundam series, although I've tried several.

PV streaming here.


BlazBlue Alter Memory:
An adaptation of a fighting game franchise set in the year 2199. Ragna the Bloodedge has a bounty on his head for wanting to destroy the system governing the world. He's sighted the 13th Hierarchical City of Kagutsuchi, so fighters who want that bounty head to Kagutsuchi.


PV here.

Tokyo Ravens:
Another light novel adaptation. Harutora comes from a family of onmyouji, but lives as a normal high school student because he doesn't have an special abilities. Harutora's estranged sister Natsume, who is set to become the head of their clan, reunites with Harutora to demand that he fulfill his childhood promise of becoming her familiar. Japan was once ravaged by a war between onmyouji called the Great Disaster, and the onmyouji are set to go to war again.

Boy, the PV looks dumb. And maybe otaku shows are making me paranoid, but I'm getting some eau de incest from its leads.

Update: ANN said Natsume is Harutora's sister, but apparently she's his cousin. Thanks to Helen for pointing that out!


Ore no Noonai Sentakushi ga, Gakuen Love Come o Zenryoku de Jama Shiteiru:
Winning the "promo art that makes me want to gouge my eyes out" award, an adaptation of a light novel series about a boy who is cursed with his life basically being a visual novel. Frequently, two possible actions will pop up in his mind, and he has to choose one or the other. This is how he winds up making a choice that causes a busty blonde girl to fall in front of him. She doesn't have any memories but claims she is meant to solve his "curse." The cast also includes a tsundere "cool beauty" who worries about how small her boobs are and an ojousama.


PV streaming here.


Galilei Donna: Storia di tre sorelle a caccia di un mistero:
A Noitamina show. In 2061, Earth is in an ice age. Three descendants of Galileo, Hozuki, Hazaki, and Kanzaki, live in Tuscany. A mysterious organization puts out an international arrest warrant for the "Galileo Donna", the three of them, so they put aside their differences to avoid being caught and find out more about the organization and why it wants them arrested.

I'm looking forward to this. Its premise sounds good and adventurey and reminds me of R.O.D. the TV, its PVs reinforce that impression, and its three leads aren't getting the service treatment.

PVs streaming here.

Samurai Flamenco:
Best title of the season. The other Noitamina show, about a guy named Masayoshi who wants to become a superhero. Thanks to an invention of his grandfather's, he debuts as a superhero calling himself Samurai Flamenco. Hidenori, a police officer who isn't as passionate about justice, learns Samurai Flamenco's secret identity. Hidenori keeps getting into trouble because of Masayoshi.

Promo videos here, here, and here.

Samurai Flamenco's director, Omori Takahiro, helmed Baccano!, Durarara!, Natsume Yuujinchou, Kuragehime, and a few other strong shows, and the person in charge of its series composition is Kurata Hideyuki (Battle Athletes, Battle Athletes Victory, Read or Die, R.O.D. the TV), and the premise sounds fun, so I'm looking forward to seeing what this is like.

Valvrave season 2:
I only watched an episode of season 1. It was dumb, very amusingly so after the ending credits, but I didn't watch more. Apparently the first season was such a hot mess, it included Russian space Nazis. (And, trigger warning, a character gets raped late in the first season and the show treats it like it's no big deal.) I can see people sticking with it because it's such a horrible show, but I've been content with just hearing about it from the people hate-watching it.

Valvrave is about... I'm not sure what.

Trailer here.


Pokemon XY:
The anime accompanying the release of the Pokemon X and Y games being released worldwide on October 12, apparently set in a country based on France.

I never got into Pokemon as a kid, so the franchise doesn't hold any nostalgic value for me, like it would hold for a lot of the adult folks I imagine buying the new games and maybe checking out the show.

Unannounced October date

An adaptation of a horror series running in Comic Earth Star, the same magazine running the boob wrestling series. Pupa's leads, Utsutsu and his little sister Yume, don't have anyone except each other. One day Yume sees a red butterfly and changes into a creature that eats humans. Utsutsu tries to find a way to change her back, and lets her eat some of his flesh for the time being.

Trailer streaming here.

I like horror, but I'm not keen on this premise. Guess I'll give it a shot to give an opinion, t hough.

Update: Ahh, Bushi Road below just got confirmed as a winter release, so never mind. ^^; Thanks to Helen for catching that!

Neppu Kairiku Bushi Road:
Oh wow, this series was originally green-lit in 2003, as part of a mixed media project that studio Gainax, the Takara toy company, and multi-media company (focusing on anime, manga, and video games) Broccoli were to collaborate on. People working on this project kept dropping out of it until the entire thing was scrapped. Now it's being revived by studio Kinema Citrus, software company Nitroplus, and home video distributor Bandai Visual. The original story creator is the guy who wrote Trinity Blood, which didn't do much for me.

As for the actual story- its leads are Ame, a princess miko from the country of Ise (where the Ise Grand Shrine is), Suou, a "cursed human weapon", and Shin, the leader of the country of Toorai. There will be mech monsters also.


And, that's it!