This should be excellent news for Mushishi fans. Following the Sunday airing of a TV special for the series called Mushishi Tokubetsu-hen: Hihamukage, an announcement was made that a second season has been green-lit for production called Mushishi: The Next Chapter and will air in April 2014.
Most of the production staff from Artland for the original 2005 TV anime will return to be involved in making the series and Ginko's original seiyuu, Yuto Nakano, will be reprising his role in this second TV season.
For those not in the know of the series, Mushishi was based on a 10-volume manga series made by Yuki Urushibara for the Afternoon seinen magazine from 1999 to 2008. The series focused around the exploits of Ginko, a young man who wanders the land to aid others affected by supernatural beings called mushi. The first season TV anime and a live-action movie directed by Katsuhiro Otomo are both currently licensed by Funimation and available in both streaming (anime only) and physical media formats, while all volumes of the manga series were released by Del Ray Manga.
Kodomo no Jikan is a 12-episode ecchi/ romantic comedy anime that was animated by Studio Barcelona and aired on Japanese TV from October 12 to December 28 of 2007. The series was based on the 13 volume seinen manga series created by Kaworu Watashiya and published in Comic High magazine from May 22, 2005 to April 22, 2013.
The series is quite controversial and infamous among many anime and manga fans for its lolicon content, which affected the series to varying degrees. North American manga distributor Seven Seas Entertainment originally planned to release Kodomo no Jikan in the United States in 2007 under the name Nymphet. But due to concerns about the title's appropriateness to American audiences, Seven Seas was forced to cancel plans for releasing the manga series stateside.
Kodomo no Jikan's reputation also affected its TV anime broadcast run in Japan. Two TV stations that were originally going to air the series, TV Saitama and Mie TV, removed it from their broadcast schedule. TV Saitama would later make a press release announcing that they decided to cancel their plans of broadcasting the series due to concerns that the series could be associated with a then-recently arrested child pornographer named Takayuki Hosoda, who was revealed to have been the vice principal of an elementary school before his arrest. Broadcasters that aired the series aired edited versions of the episodes that had varying levels of censorship applied to them. Japanese DVD releases of the series would show the episodes completely unedited.
Daisuke Aoki is a 23 year old young man who recently gained his first teaching job as a grade school instructor at Futasubashi Elementary School. He is placed in charge of the mischievous students of Class 3-1 where he encounters Rin Kokonoe, a nine-year old precocious and troublemaking girl that develops a crush on Aoki and desires to be his girlfriend. Aoki finds his teaching career complicated by Rin's romantic efforts, the antics of Rin and her friends and dealing with the complicated relationships involving his students and the adults within their lives.
While I do feel some of the infamy to Kodomo no Jikan feels a bit overblown, this is still a turkey of a series that relies very heavily on tasteless humor involving its quite young female cast and having wasted potential on an element to its story.
Seemingly catering to the lowest of the otaku fanbase, Kodomo no Jikan milks ecchi humor off the questionable behavior of Rin and her friends. Occasions of Aoki walking in on fourth grade girls undressing, Rin making sexual advances on the guy, panty shots with Rin and pals, an episode that has some creepy humor involving Mimi's surprisingly well-developed bust size and innuendo gags that involve double entendres and teasing about Aoki's virginity are the norm for much of the series.
For the most part, many of the characters fulfill the same tiresome character types you can expect out of modern high school rom-coms such as Aoki being the idealistic doormat to the antics of Rin and pals, Kuro being the sharp-tongued ojou, Mimi the busty and shy glasses girl and Rin being part tsundere and part sexually aggressive student in her advances toward Aoki.
However the show has a story element that makes you question “what if” when a later episode reveals the pasts of Rin and her guardian Reiji, that is the best quality element of the series and a rather tragic back story. The developments of this story element are focused on again in the final two episodes of the series, though build up to a somewhat inconclusive ending due to the anime's limited remaining episode count and having caught up to the manga source material. The mentioned backstory with Rin and Reiji had me thinking Kodomo no Jikan could have worked better if it committed more to serious drama involving dilemmas faced by Aoki's class instead of mostly littering the series with the exploitative and tasteless behavior coming from Rin and her friends towards Aoki.
Hyperdimension Neptunia was a 12-episode fantasy/ comedy TV anime that aired from July 12 to September 27 of this year. The series is an adaptation of a video game RPG series developed by Idea Factory and Compile Heart, with the anime adaptation being created by David Production. Funimation currently has North American streaming rights to the series.
In the virtual world known as Gamindustri, the four goddesses of each country agree to a “friendship treaty” that bans each country from using military force to gather Share Energy, an energy source that grants a goddess influence and power over any territory in Gameindustri where their populace strongly believe in them. While the goddesses learn to get along with one another, they have to face enemy threats attempting to exploit Share Energy for their personal gain over the world of Gameindustri.
Neptunia is yet another case of an anime series shamelessly being used as promotional material for its video game source material. It also panders fairly heavily to the otaku crowd with its milking of the moe craze for its female cast and nods to the video game industry coming from characters, country names and elements to some of the worlds that the characters visit.
All the characters seen throughout this series milk differing character archetypes that they don't really grow out of and have little depth to show for it, many of said characters milking differing character types that have become popular from the moe craze. Much of the female cast serve to pander to its audience with their character quirks, idiosyncrasies, revealing or fetish-themed outfits (these especially prevalent with the transformed states of the goddesses) and usually getting into suggestive predicaments during comedic or serious moments.
The series also panders to video game fans as character names, countries and elements to the worlds that are visited by the characters are nods to past and present elements of the video game industry. For instance, Neptunia and Neptune are references to Sega's canned attempt to create a Genesis/ 32X combo video game system called the Neptune, and Nepgear being a nod to Sega's handheld game system from the 1990s called the Game Gear.
The series attempts to mix comedy and adventure in its focus on the goddesses focusing on the group either bonding in crazy predicaments involving whatever video game nods that are referenced or dealing with any random enemy threat either causing trouble for anyone among their group or attempting to whore up Share Energy for their personal gain. Both elements to the title's storytelling are hard to care for because of Neptunia's shallow characterization and a number of the villains in the series being hard to take seriously as threats because of their comical behavior or incompetent actions. Even in the instances where the group have to deal with a serious threat, Neptunia quite often milks plot devices that are either too convenient or milk the tiresome “power of friendship” cliche to thrash the enemy they confront.
Itsudatte, My Santa! was a two-episode romantic comedy OVA series animated by TNK and released to video on December 7, 2005 in Japan. The series is based on the 1998 manga series created by Love Hina and Negima creator Ken Akamatsu. The series was licensed and released twice in America by Funimation. Funi's release was notable in that when first released in December 2007, Funi later ordered a recall of the series when they accidentally made a printing error with My Santa's TV rating being TV-PG. They released the series the following November, this time with a TV-MA rating for its packaging. Both releases of the series are now out of print.
A young man named Santa is known to hate Christmas because of being born on Christmas Eve and was never known to celebrate festive occasions as a child because of neglect from his parents. A cute girl named Mai appears before him on the streets on Christmas Eve night, claiming to be the real Santa Claus and wishing to make Santa happy for the holidays.
My Santa is a rarity for an anime in that it is themed around the Christmas holiday. However, the holiday theme doesn't save this short OVA series in being a cliched, poorly written and rushed mess.
The characters of the series are walking paper-thin archetypes that have little in the way of personality and depth, with any back story they have also lacking focus as they are only backdrops to set up the show's romantic antics with Santa and Mai. Even the romance to this is uninspired as the series rushes through developments in the relationship between Santa and Mai, lacking any kind of buildup or believability to have you think their love is anything besides superficial.
The comedy to the series is also uninspired, having the bad habit of rushing through gag after gag that lack much reason to even happen and the moments falling flat in getting a reaction out of yours truly due to feeling forced in their delivery. Plus if you are an Akamatsu fan, this series does have fan service and some ecchi content that pop up on occasion with innuendo gags and some nude shots of female characters. However due to the bad comedic delivery and subpar visuals of this series, the occasional sexual humor fails to deliver and the female characters aren't as appealing on the eyes compared to Akamatsu's work on the designs of his cute and attractive gals for Love Hina and Negima.
If you've been keeping tabs on the blurbs from my profile, you'll see that I will be bringing back Ani-Crap Review next weekend. For those new to my contribution to Vice, this is a section where I post my thoughts on the worst offerings that anime has to offer which can consist of anything like ecchi titles, ultra-violent 80s/ 90s anime, horrible adaptations of video games and even some trash from notable figures of anime whom you may be familiar with. In most instances, I determine the next title I cover through a poll where I leave it up to members of this forum to determine what I will rip apart for my next review with a listing of ten titles featuring five recent duds and five older duds.
This will be my last run that I plan to do with Ani-Crap Review as I am starting to get to the point where I'm probably gonna settle down on my regular load of anime offerings. I'm hoping to push up to 50 reviews, but I'm not gonna make any guarantees depending on how long I can push things with my viewing. But at the very least, I have a few things I plan to definitely cover before I have my swan song from Ani-Crap all together. Here are the definite plans I have to cover for my upcoming run of Ani-Crap:
That's all I have to present, for now. I'll be seeing folks next weekend in my return of Ani-Crap Review.