Hope can be the cruelest thing of all.
Is Spring of 2015 the season when anime finally emerges from the long, dark tea-time of the soul that’s enshrouded it over the last couple of years? There’s reason to believe it’s possible, but to me, this is a season that has “trap” written all over it – and not in the anime-specific sense, either.
On paper, it can’t be denied that this season offers more possibility than Winter – though Spring seasons almost always do. There are a lot more shows, period, and a lot more that are interesting enough to at least be included in this preview (20, a respectable number). The works of a number of prominent mangaka are being adapted, we have a few original series, and the number of light-novel adaptations as a percentage of the total appears (at a guess) to be down slightly. Coming off the worst two-season stretch in the modern anime era, it’s easy to look at that and be almost giddy with anticipation.
Still, I’m worried.
There are always stages in the way I approach a season. There’s a general sense I get as I watch the announcements of series roll out, but the serious consideration starts only when I begin preparing for the preview post in earnest – and my impression of what’s to come usually changes quite a bit when that happens. My thinking as I began prep work this time was that there was a ton of stuff on the schedule that bore real possibility, but looking at the upcoming shows as a collective group, I don’t actually find it all that impressive. There seem to be a lot of series with qualifiers – big names but lesser works (Rinne), major scheduling worries (Arslan Senki), a general paucity of really elite directors and screenwriters. Rather than a lot of can’t miss series with the potential for greatness, I see a lot of shows that figure to be merely pretty good, or that look like a crapshoot altogether.
Still – at least there is a lot of possibility here, in sheer numbers if nothing else. There’s a smattering of shoujo, a bit of sports, a couple of sci-fi originals (sci-fi seems to disproportionately dominate original series these days), the return of one of anime’s most legendary properties and a few sequels of note (one in particular is of interest to me, that of course being Baby Steps 2). We also have another of Weekly Shounen Jump’s hottest properties making the transition to the screen in Shokugeki no Souma, and while I consider the manga good rather than great, it should prove to be one of the most talked-about series of the season.
Interestingly enough, going in perhaps the most talked about series in English-language forums is a kid’s show – normally a genre completely ignored by this fanbase. But when you’re talking about Digimon, you’re talking about a show most of these fans loved when they were in its target demographic. I always preferred Digimon to Pokemon myself, though I’m a casual fan at best, and the franchise has a pretty august history (Hosoda Mamoru cut his teeth working on it). It’s going to be fascinating to see how these older fans react to the new edition.
It’s going to be a busy first few weeks of the season as the wheat is sorted from the chaff – and with a schedule this big, there’s sure to be a lot of chaff (here’s hoping for lots of wheat, too). As always, please vote for your most anticipated series in the sidebar poll!
With that, to the previews:
Shokugeki no Souma – J.C. Staff
Director: Yonetani Yoshitomo
Writer: Yasukawa Shougo
Schedule: Friday 26:40, MBS – Premières 4/03/15
First Look: After Ansatsu Kyoushitsu took its bow this season, WSJ launches its other top next-gen title in Shokugeki no Souma (incidentally, I believe the next WSJ phenom is going to be Boku no Hero Academia). It’s a big hit already, and though not quite as big a seller as AssClass, seems a better demographic fit with the disc-buying audience. As with Ansatsu I like this series more than love it, though on the whole it’s edgier and probably a little more intriguing. Mangaka Tsukuda Yuuto has a very distinctive art style, and while not everyone loves J.C. Staff I think we dodged a bullet here with this series not being given to SHAFT (who superficially seem like a good fit but in truth would almost certainly have wrecked it).
Story-wise, the clever conceit is basically a shounen battle manga being adapted to a cuthroat cooking school. But truthfully, I think that’s a veneer – I’ve always seen the ecchi, fetishization and dark humor as the central pillars of Shokugeki no Souma. J.C. Staff trends towards faithful if uninspired adaptations and Yonetani-sensei is a highly-experienced director with a modest resume, so I wouldn’t expect any big changes from the manga here. I think the mandate is to appeal to the folks who buy the manga first, and whatever strays are swept up along the way so much the better.
Denpa Kyoushi – A-1 Pictures
Director: Satou Masato
Writer: Maekawa Atsushi
Schedule: Saturday, 14:30, NTV – Premières 4/04/2015
First Look: I’ll caveat this by saying I haven’t read any of Azuma Takeshi’s very popular manga, but my first reaction in reading the synopsis is that this sounds an awful lot like Great Teacher Onizuka. It appears that some feel that’s intentional – that this series is intended as something between a homage and a subversion of that legendary title – but whatever the case, it can certainly be said that Denpa Kyoushi is pretty well-regarded by the reading public. The hero is a physics genius turned NEET who’s tricked into becoming a teacher as a way to try and get him out of the house, and turns out to be pretty good at it. I’m fairly uncertain as to what to expect here, and the fact that the mangaka has written nothing else and the fact that the director and writer have mostly worked on children’s anime doesn’t help – though it should be noted that Maekawa handled series composition for the first 58 episodes of Hunter X Hunter 2011. I have some genuine hope that Denpa Kyoushi could be pretty good – we’ll see.
Owari no Seraph – Wit
Director: Tokudo Daisuke
Writer: Seiko Hiroshi
Schedule: Saturday, 22:00, Tokyo MX – Premières 4/04/15
Episodes: 2 Split Cour (Spring/Fall 2015)
First Look: With so many shows to choose from, I had the luxury of not having to reach for series to include just to fill out the Season Preview (as I did for Winter). Honestly though, this one just barely made the cut – there are serious red flags here, not least of which that it’s a
LN adaptation (correction – it was a manga first, though written by a light novelist so I don’t know if it matters that much) and by the writer of Itsuka Tenma no Kuro Usagi (a series which I genuinely, wholeheartedly despise). I don’t know why it’s even here, to be honest, except that I’m mildly intrigued by the premise – a post-vampire apocalypse world in which only children have survived, only to be enslaved – and that Wit has already established that they’re fairly likely to do good work. It’s a heave and a hope at best, this one.
Plastic Memories – Dogakobo
Director: Fujiwara Yoshiyuki
Writer: Hayashi Naotaka
Schedule: Saturday, 24:30, Tokyo MX, BSS – Premières 4/04/15
First Look: An original sci-fi series from Dogakobo, this one brings a very familiar-sounding premise. Androids have become hugely popular, but the most human-like of them go seriously haywire past the “best before” date (details unknown), so the company that makes them has to have a special service to retrieve them. There are nuggets of everything from Eve no Jikan to Hybrid Child to A.I. and beyond, but it’s the sort of chestnut that anime seems pretty good at executing and the previews have looked good. Also a hopeful sign is that Hayashi is a scenario writer for 5pb./MAGES, and has worked on stuff like Steins;Gate and Robotics;Notes.
Kyoukai no Rinne – Brain’s Base
Director: Sugawara Seiki
Writer: Yokote Michiko
Schedule: Saturday, 17:30, NHK-E – Premieres 4/04/2015
First Look: If you’re talking about big names in manga, they don’t get much bigger than Takahashi Rumiko, author of the likes of Inuyasha, Ranma 1/2 and Maison Ikoku. Kyoukai no Rinne, however, is widely considered (including by me) to be second-tier Rumiko. It’s the story of a high-school girl who disappeared as a child and ever since her return has been able to see ghosts (and of course, of the ghosts). Viewers familiar with Takahashi’s work will find a lot that’s familiar in Rinne, in ways both good and bad.
The other element that must be noted here is that this series is being produced at Brain’s Base, trying to make their first halting steps toward recovery after the studio was split apart by the departure of most of their key personnel. We’ll see how they do here – Sugawara has an undistinguished record as a director but has worked at Brain’s Base before, and of course Yokote is one of the busiest writers in the business. If there’s much about Rinne that surprises, that will be the most surprising thing of all.
Arslan Senki – Liden Films, Sanzigen
Director: Abe Noriyuki
Writer: Uezu Makoto
Schedule: Sunday, 17:00, TBS – Premieres 4/05/2015
First Look: See above. Another huge name in manga, Arakawa Hiromu, is the artist behind the manga which provides the source material for this adaptation. But the original story, of course, is a series of fantasy novels by the legendary Tanaka Yoshiki (Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu). And that’s already sparked a good deal of carping by fans of the original books, who were already none-too happy that Arakawa-sensei was adapting them in less then word-for-word fashion (for the record, Tanaka-sensei himself has never given any indication whatsoever that he agrees with them). This is epic fantasy in the classic tradition – coming-of-age, sorcery, betrayal, gore and a great sense of scope.
There are certainly some questions here, starting with how long Arslan Senki is going to run, and it’s perfectly valid to take issue with Arakawa’s choices in adapting the novels to manga, or her art style. The presence of Sanzigen as co-producer guarantees a heavy dose of CGI as well. But I’m not a purist for the original novels, I happen to like Arakawa’s character designs and backgrounds, and Abe is an experienced and gifted director with a long resume of work on terrific series (and movies), so I’m looking forward to Arslan Senki with a great deal of enthusiasm. Given its Sunday dinner timeslot and the well-known names behind it, I rather expect Arslan Senki to be decently budgeted and run for long enough to catch up to the manga, or close to it.
Hibike! Euphonium – Kyoto Animation
Director: Ishihara Tatsuya
Writer: Hanada Jukki
Schedule: Tuesday, 24:30, Tokyo MX – Premieres 4/07/2015
First Look: I’ve yet to dismiss a Kyoto Animation series without at least previewing it, but that’s getting harder and harder as the studio becomes more and more comfortable in the prison they’ve built for themselves. Whatever source material they choose doesn’t seem to matter much any more – even if it isn’t some unknown LN property they own outright, once it goes through the homogenizer it’s going to look more or less like all the others. This one comes from a novel of sorts, but it looks pretty much like a cute girls playing music in a band series from here. Ishihara certainly isn’t the worst of KyoAni’s in-house directors and Hanada of course is one of the busiest hired hands in the game, and you know the animation and art will be lush and vibrant. But the postage rate looks pretty high with this one, so my expectations are very modest even by recent KyoAni standards.
Punchline – MAPPA
Director: Umeura Yutaka
Writer: Uchikoshi Koutarou
Schedule: Thursday, 24:55, Fuji TV – Premieres 4/09/2015
First Look: “If he sees pantsu, the world will end”? NoitaminA continues its ever-faster journey towards irrelevance. We’ve had our share of bad shows on the block over the years, but never have we’ve seen such clear signs that they’ve basically given up. We’ve got another ecchi series with lots of pantsu here, even in the previews, and while it’s an original series it could hardly scream “light novel” any more loudly. The story, if it matters, is nominally about a high-school boy whose soul has been separated from his body. It is by MAPPA, Uemura shows genuine talent with Dantalian no Shoka, and it’s NoitaminA. But I’m not expecting much. The truth is that NoitaminA as we know it has been dead for a long time – it’s just that now the body is really starting to stink.
The icing on the cake, by the way, is that this is the only NoitaminA series this season.
Sidonia no Kishi: Daikyuu Wakusei Seneki – Polygon
Director: Seshita Hiroyuki
Writer: Sadayuki Marai
Schedule: Friday, 26:10, Fuji TV – Premieres 4/10/2015
First Look: The 100% CGI Sidonia no Kishi is back with its second cour, and though the director has changed (Seshita was A.D. on the first cour) I wouldn’t expect much else to. Nihei Tsutomu is great with world-building and old-school intellectual hard science fiction, and not so great with characters. Likewise Polygon is pretty good with backdrops and big set pieces, and bloody awful with close-up animation. Those are serious flaws, but Sidonia certainly brings more good than bad to the table – and there just isn’t much of this kind of sci-fi produced in anime these days. I think a hunger for more explains, in part, why this series overperformed expectations to become a very solid seller on disc. I wish (as I often said about Kingdom) that Sidonia no Kishi had received a big budget, traditionally animated treatment – it might have gone down as a classic despite the awkwardness of the dialogue and character drama.
Eikoku Ikke, Nihon wa Taberu – Fanworks/NHK
Schedule: Sunday, Time TBA, NHK – Premieres 4/12/2015
Episodes: 1 Cour
First Look: Obviously I enjoy the oddball series, and this one is about as outside-the-box as anime gets these days. It’s adapted from a memoir by British writer Michael Booth, who traveled Japan for 100 days with his wife and two sons, sampling Japanese food. There’s no way to know what to expect here – I don’t even know how long the episodes are going to be, though I suspect they won’t be full-length. I’m also resigned to the fact that this one is unlikely to be streamed or subbed. But I sure see the potential for something interesting here, and I hope someone somewhere does decide to translate these episodes.
Kekkai Sensen – Bones
Director: Matsumoto Rie
Writer: Furuya Kazunao
Schedule: Saturday, 26:58, MBS – Premières 4/04/2015
First Look: Let’s see… Science-fiction from Bones, set in a post-apocalyptic New York called “Jerusalem’s Lot” – a “bubble” where human survivors are trapped with crazy aliens, and a band of superheroes goes around saving them. Directed by Matsumoto Rie, who powered onto the scene by directing Kyousougiga brilliantly, with art design by the great Kimura Shinji and character designs from Bones legend Kawamoto Toshihiro. My God, what’s not to like?
There’s really only one thing that has me worried, and it’s this: an awful lot of folks who’ve read the manga (known as Blood Blockade Battlefront in the U.S., where it’s licensed) don’t seem to like it all that much. Mind you that opinion is not universally held, but I’ve heard enough negative reviews to at least make me cautious because, while I’ve no doubt that a great staff is huge in anime, if they try to be faithful they’re largely hostage to the quality of the source material. There’s too much to like here not to be curious and hopeful, but I’m trying not to get ahead of myself until I see the actual product.
Mikagura Gakuen Kumikyoku – Dogakobo
Director: Iwasaki Tarou
Writer: Yokotani Masahiro
Schedule: Saturday, 26:35, TV Aichi – Premières 4/06/2015
First Look: High-school culture club battle anime, based on a LN series itself based on Vocaloid songs? Kay… Well, it’s a flyer, what the hell. I’m pretty sure this will be awful but there’s something in the art that sort of appeals to me, so I’m giving it a shot. I accept no responsibility – proceed at your own risk.
Gunslinger Stratos – A-1 Pictures
Director: Ezaki Shinpei
Writer: Kaihou Norimitsu
Schedule: Saturday, 23:30, Tokyo MX – Premières 4/04/2015
First Look: Let’s see… This one is based on a game, where a Japan 100 years into the future has been split into a lawless badlands and a totalitarian dictatorship. Urobuchi Gen’s name is attached to this, but it seems as if it’s going to be an Aldnoah.Zero type of involvement where he contributes the original scenario,, while the rest of the series is written by others. I certainly don’t see anything in the staff list to get excited about, but it’s sci-fi and Gen is pretty reliable for coming up with an interesting premise.
Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works 2 – ufotable
Director: Miura Takahiro
Schedule: Saturday, 24:00, Tokyo MX – Premières 4/04/2015
First Look: We have a good notion of what to expect here, since UBW – like Fate/Zero – is a split cour. My feelings about the ups and downs of the first season are pretty much on the record, and whether I choose to blog the second will depend in equal measure on two things – how good the rest of the schedule turns out to be, and which of its competing identities UBW chooses to focus on in the second cour. All things being equal I want to blog it if I can – this is clearly a popular series, ufotable’s production is immaculate and at its best, this can be a very powerful story.
Dungeon ni Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darou ka – J.C. Staff
Director: Yamakawa Yoshiki
Writer: Shirane Hideki
Schedule: Friday, 25:05, Tokyo MX – Premières 4/03/2015
First Look: Let’s see… Another LN with a ridiculously long title and dumb premise – and it ends up in the preview, too. Am I getting weak? This could never be anything more than a shot in the dark, but Yamakawa did a nice job with Little Busters!, and this series does generally seem to be regarded as a notch or two above the usual light novel standard. Adventures in a dungeon with a “Lolita God”? Yeah, I really must be crazy here…
Baby Steps Season 2 – Pierrot
Director: Murata Masahiko
Writer: Chiba Katsuhiko
Schedule: Sunday, 17:30, NHK-E – Premières 4/05/2015
First Look: Let’s see… It’s funny I never made the connection, but Chiba Katsuhiko is the screenwriter for Baby Steps, and the series is set in Chiba…
At this point I hope I don’t have to introduce anyone to Baby Steps, because I’ve been shilling for it since the first days of this site. The announcement of a second season was a delightful surprise, and while it still won’t be nearly enough to cover the manga material that’s already published, it’s a hell of a lot better than nothing – it’s going to take us into some really interesting parts of the story (well – the whole story is really interesting), such as Ei-chan’s trip to the “Not the Nick Bollettieri” Tennis Academy in Florida.
Baby Steps has few of the elements that have made some sports series a new generation of commercial successes in anime – it’s simply a fantastically written story about a fascinating sport and a truly great protagonist and supporting cast. Pierrot is in what passes for their most typical mode here – a very, very faithful adaptation with a meager budget and inconsistent production values. I would love for Baby Steps to get a treatment like Haikyuu, or to be as popular as the likes of that series or Yowamushi Pedal – but I know that will never happen. This simply isn’t that sort of series – it’s always substance over style and takes no short-cuts to indulge the audience. I’m fine with Pierrot’s adaptation, because this manga is so superlative that it doesn’t need a lot of buff and polish. Just tell the story like Katsuki-sensei tells it and the audience – even if it’s small – will get it.
Ore Monogatari!! – Madhouse
Director: Asaka Morio
Writer: Takahashi Natsuko
Schedule: Wednesday, 25:29, Nippon TV – Premières 4/08/2015
First Look: Shoujo has become an oasis of good storytelling in the desert of modern anime. It’s not as though there isn’t plenty of bad shoujo out there, but by percentage, what makes it to anime is certainly better than what we see in most other demographics. And Ore Monogatari!! has an enormous amount going for it. It’s two cours, and it comes from Madhouse, who’ve delivered some of the best anime of the last few years. The director is Asaka Morio, who nailed it with Chihayafuru. It also shares a character designer with that series, Hamada Kunihiko. In short, My Love Story!! is loaded.
Perhaps more important than any of that, though, is that Ore Monogatari!! is based on a really wonderful manga – sensitive and funny and fearless. And if that weren’t enough, it’s a mold-breaker in that it’s a shoujo romance built around a male protagonist. That would be Gouda Takeo, a sweet kid who happens to be a virtual giant, and is thus ignored (or worse) by girls – who flock to his bishounen best friend Makoto. The drama centers around Rinko Yamato (played by Han Megumi, by the way), the girl Takeo saves from a pervert on the train. It’s a great setup and a very human, powerful and funny story. If there’s a yellow flag here it’s that the manga is still ongoing, but if I were to pick one non-sequel this season that I’m most excited about, this would be the one.
Lupin III 2015 –TMS/Telecom Animation Film
Director: Tomonaga Kazuhide/Yano Yuuichirou
Writer: Takahashi Yuuya
Schedule: TBA – Premières 4/2015
First Look: When it comes to legendary figures in anime, they don’t get much more famous than Lupin III. And this series takes the radical step of actually making a new Lupin series where Lupin is the main character. Rehabilitating a legendary franchise from the damage done to it by Okada Mari is never easy, but the sense here is that this update is going to steer pretty close to the traditional Lupin vibe, and while I’m only a casual fan I think that’s very much for the best. This is actually the first new TV anime with Lupin as the star since 1985, and it will debut in Italy before Japan – a cool move reflecting the setting for this story. It’s also destined to be known as “Blue Jacket Lupin” – as he seems to wear a different-color coat every time he stars in a TV series.
Ninja Slayer From Animtion – Trigger
Director: Amemiya Akira
Writer: Satou Yuu
Schedule: Thursday, 23:00, MBS – Premières 4/16/2015
First Look: Frankly, I’ve been pretty disappointed in everything Trigger has done so far. It seems like pretty lowest common denominator stuff to me, packing none of the wit and soul of the vintage Gainax material it parrots, and often suffers from atrocious production values. But Gainax isn’t Gainax anymore, really, and for those of us who loved them there aren’t a lot of options. Ninja Slayer is at least a sort of interesting idea, based off a LN series which parodies American misinterpretations of ninja stories (complete with broken Japanese). It’s not like the staff here is anything special (though Amemiya did direct one of the TTGL “Parallel Works” shorts), so my expectations are modest.
Houkago no Pleiades – Gainax
Director: Saeki Shouji
Schedule: Wednesday, 26:44, ABC – Premières 4/08/2015
First Look: And from Trigger, to Gainax. Yes, they still exist – they’ve opened a small studio in Tohoku, in fact, which is admirable I suppose. But it’s hard to muster much optimism that anything the studio does these days is going to be relevant. Yes, Saeki Shouji did direct one of the greatest anime of all-time, FLCL – but he also directed the thoroughly mediocre Pleiades ONA. It seems unlikely Gainax would even have been able to muster the wherewithal to get this series made if it weren’t a commercial for a car company, but that’s what the greatest studio in TV animation history has come to – making cute girls being cute shows as advertisements. Yet, it’s Gainax, and it’s Saeki – I can’t not give it a chance. The bonds are simply too primal. But it would be a wild exaggeration to say I’m hopeful about the result.
Digimon Adventures tri – Toei
Director: Motonaga Keitarou
Schedule: TBA – Premières 4/2015
First Look: I confess to a certain amount of surprise at just how big a deal the Digimon 15th Anniversary project is turning out to be. The website crashes every time a new update is posted, and fans who normally disdain kids anime viciously attack each other over imagined shipping combinations. I think this is a case of the right series at the right time – the kids who were part of the target demographic when the Digimon franchise was at its peak are now the prime target demographic for late-night anime – and they have strong memories.
I don’t think any of us knows exactly just how “updated” the tone in this version is going to be, but the fact that the original cast has been aged up to high schoolers is a surefire sign it will be be substantially so – as is the staffing. We also got character designs from Uki Atsuya of Cencoroll and Tsuritama (character designs only) fame, which some of the traditionalists hate but I love. Among Digimon fanatics (which I am not) the second season of Digimon Adventures is apparently pretty reviled, but it does appear that “Tri” is going to treat it as canon. I did like Digimon, and I’m more than curious to see what this new version does with it – I’m just not living and dying with every detail.
Will Definitely Blog: Arslan Senki, Baby Steps Season 2, Ore Monogatari!!. Not a lot, but there are an unusually large number of “probables” this season and it’s a lock that a bunch of them will make the cut. But the lack of sure things ties into the perception I mentioned earlier, that this season may be a bit of a trap.
Sleeper Candidates: Plastic Memories, Eikoku Ikke, Nihon wa Taberu.
OVA/Movie: Matching the TV side, there’s a busy OVA calendar this spring. But the rise of streaming and the commensurate decline in true subbing groups has meant fewer and fewer OVA are subbed, and those that are usually are only after a long wait. It’s certainly frustrating.
Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu (OAD) – 3/06/2015: It’s always nice to see an OVA that isn’t a commercial for a TV anime, but an original idea that probably couldn’t be funded for a series. This story (a manga adaptation) of a paroled prisoner who becomes a rakugo storyteller certainly qualifies, and it’s already been released. But will we ever see it with subtitles?
Kumi to Tulip (OVA) – 3/22/2015: An Anime Mirai release from Tezuka about a little girl in a world dominated by robots who meets an old man at the park, painting artificial flowers. This one looks quirky, and it’s directed by Tezuka Osamu’s son, Makoto.
Aki no Kanade (OVA) – 3/22/2015: Another Anime Mirai feature, this one from J.C. Staff. Simply, I’m nuts about taiko – playing, listening, watching – and we’ve never had a taiko anime as far as I know. This one is about a girl who dreamed of playing professionally, gave it up, then returned 15 years later to coach a taiko group for a matsuri. Count me in.
Happy ComeCome (OVA) – 3/22/2015: And finally, Anime Mirai brings us this one from Synergy SP about a lonely boy who orders a maid from a robotics company, only to find that he’s gotten one of their “mother” models (get your minds out of the gutter). I see sleeper potential here.
Gugure! Kokkuri-san (OAD) – 3/25/2015: We have three more shorts from this delightful Fall series coming this season. But again, will anyone sub them? Stay tuned. I’m surprised by how much I miss this show, and I haven’t given up hope for a second season.
Shingeki no Kyoujin Gaiden: Kuinaki Sentaku (OAD) – 4/09/15: Levi’s origin story gets its second chapter. The first part was probably among the best of the Shingeki OVAs so far.
Hoozuki no Reitetsu (OVA) – 5/22/2015: Where the heck is our S2? And for that matter, the first OVA still hasn’t been subbed – and this was the runaway top seller of the Winter 2014 season. It’s not easy being a fan of quality anime.
Suisei no Gargantia ~Meguro Kouro, Haruka~ (OVA) – 5/27/15: See above. The first part was a pretty decent stand-alone episode, but I find myself pretty much over Gargantia at this point – I think the story has run its course.
Theatrical: Slim pickings here to say the least, though we do have one genuine gem to look forward to. Theatrical anime has sadly followed the OVA route in devolving from being a medium dominated by original animation to one used mostly as a commercial for TV series.
Saruseberi: Miss Hokusai – 5/09/2015: I’m of the opinion that Hara Keichi is the unknown genius of anime. Summer Days With Coo was marvelous, but Colorful was flat-out one of the best theatrical animated films ever, in any language. Now Hara-sensei has teamed up with Production I.G. to tell the story of O-Ei, the daughter of renowned Ukiyo-e artist Hokusai Katsuhika. It’s based on a manga by Sugiura Hinako.
Hara has been away from anime for a while, having directed the well-received live-action film Hajimari no Michi in 2013. It’s great to have him back, though I suspect Sarusuberi will do minimal business at the box office. Hara seems to be appreciated abroad (especially in France) more than at home, and I won’t be surprised to see this film follow in Colorful’s footsteps and do very well on the festival circuit.