Summer has been filled with the historically heartwarming Ikoku Meiro no Croisée (which I covered in an earlier post) and the mystically suspenseful Dantalian no Shoka (which I will cover when we come closer to its completion). These two shows have a fair amount of history, a topic which dominated this season’s anime that can be related to real world circumstances. While history can be interesting, it can get boring after some time.
The autumn anime season, on the other hand, promises to be an interesting one for this blog as we seek to explore real world themes in three new series. This time around, we will also have something other than history to discuss, including literature and sociology.
First up is a noitaminA series from the animation studio Bones, who previously brought us hit noitaminA shows such as Jyu-Oh-Sei (spring 2006), Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 (summer 2009), and more recently No. 6 (summer 2011). Shows aired on Fuji Television’s noitaminA (Animation spelled backwards) programming block are targeted beyond the standard male demographic of anime viewers. UN-GO promises to satisfy its viewers with a breath of mystery in a futuristic setting. This is not merely a work of science fiction, however, as UN-GO seeks to adapt the work of novelist Ango Sakaguchi, specifically the short story “Meiji Kaika Ango Torimonochou” (明治開化安吾捕物帖). Sakaguchi’s work follows the Meiji period (1868–1912) detective Yuuki Shuunjirou, whose name is also used for UN-GO’s lead character. The anime series title is an alternate romanization for “Ango” in the title of Sakaguchi’s work. Unfortunately, we are not able to read the full story freely because it is still in copyright, but Japanese readers can read the author’s introduction as provided by the Aozora Bunko digital library project.
Similar anime: House of Five Leaves (spring 2010)
Guilty Crown is the fulfillment of Fuji Television’s promise that it would bring back two-cours anime in the future. It will be the first noitaminA anime to span two programming seasons since the horror anime Shiki (summer and autumn 2010). Producing this series is Production I.G, another heavyweight studio which previously brought us Library Wars (spring 2008), Eden of the East (spring 2009), and more recently Usagi Drop (summer 2011) on noitaminA. Told in a post-apocalyptic setting, the series begins in 2039 Tokyo which was recovering from the effects of a mysterious virus. Like many stories discussing life in the near future, discussions of utopian societies emerge when the government seeks to control the lives of its citizens. While the sound and visuals of Guilty Crown already appear promising, this will also be a series to watch for its discourse on utopia as well as individualism.
Similar anime: Shangri-La (spring and summer 2009)
Last Exile: Fam, the Silver Wing
(ラストエグザイル～銀翼のファム～, Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam)
Animation studio Gonzo returns from the brink of bankruptcy with an adaptation of its own highly acclaimed 2003 series Last Exile. Designated as its 20th anniversary project, Last Exile: Fam, the Silver Wing seeks to recreate the success of its predecessor with stunning 3D visuals and musical direction. Gonzo was a major player in the introduction of steampunk and military themes in anime. While the universe of Last Exile appear almost entirely fictional, Gonzo employs production designer Makoto Kobayashi, who is known for his extremely detailed design work, and character designer Range Murata, known for his unique futuristic outfit designs. The result is a painstakingly crafted universe which delves deeper than the eye can see. Character names are often drawn from true historical figures. Militarism and the right of self-determination will be the primary subjects of interest in this series as it explores how a small kingdom and a band of sky pirates make their stand against a militaristic nation.
Similar anime: Last Exile (spring and summer 2003)