it's been a couple of years since I've bothered doing any substantial commentary on the business side of anime conventions, but since Anime Expo was especially fruitful for license announcements this year, I thought I'd take a little bit of time and write a nice, positive article about all the anime I am looking forward to buying.
Be sure to share your thoughts on what new anime you're looking forward to!
The big news from Right Stuf was that they've established a new home video label called "Lucky Penny" for budget-friendly releases. While I'm a bit disappointed that the series released under this label won't be receiving the deluxe Nozomi Entertainment treatment (nice art boxes, cool supplementary material), I am happy that this may allow even more diversity in the type of anime which is translated and released in English. Two of the first three announced releases on this label were complete surprises, as well as series that I've watched and loved in the past:
Ristorante Paradiso - Nicoletta moves to Rome to confront her absent mother, and ends up falling in love with an older man who works as a waiter at her mother's restaurant. Read my review of the manga here. I really enjoy the animated version of this story, because it ties together the original manga with the three volume follow-up seamlessly, and I love all the character story arcs. There's also the added bonus of depictions of delicious food
Aoi Hana: Sweet Blue Flowers - Fumi Manjoume begins high school and reconnects with a childhood friend, Akira (who she calls A-chan). Gradually she comes to understand that she has feelings for other girls, including A-chan. This story is based on a manga by the author of Wandering Son, and similarly deals with the coming-of-age of a homosexual young person. It deals very lightly in some yuri tropes (the characters go to all-girls high schools), but the emotions are all very earnest. I'm glad to see that this will be getting a physical release, and I hope that perhaps Wandering Son may be next.
I have my differences with Funimation, but they pulled through with a couple of spectacular announcements this time around. Of note was their upcoming Roku app, which will hopefully allow me to have better luck watching their simulcasts (since their webpage has been finicky for me, despite me paying to subscribe to their service). They also came through with a couple of surprising anime acquisitions that made me really happy.
Blood-C - Saya is a young shrine maiden whose cute and clumsy demeanor falls away at night when she defends her town from demonic beings. I still maintain that this series has very obvious feminist overtones and is actually much better than a lot of the reviews would have you believe, but in any case I'm certainly excited to own it (though I'm still undecided about whether I'll be able to watch the uncensored violence). The added bonus is that Funimation's acquisition also includes the upcoming film which concludes the story. I'm really excited to see it after watching the promos that have been coming out lately.
Michiko to Hatchin - Michiko Malandro is an escaped con who rescues an abused orphan from her foster home. The two tear around South America in search of a mysterious man who has connections to both of them. This is one of those "I can't believe it wasn't already licensed" shows. The storytelling style has a lot of similarities to Cowboy Bebop and the music is incredible. The show is primarily focused around a group of adults who are clinging to and trying to relive a past that no longer exists. It alternates between being slightly wacky and downright dark. Oh, and I love how interesting and complicated the character relationships are, especially between Michiko and her friend/rival Atsuko.
I don't know how many of these announcements were made as part of the actual Anime Expo convention, but Sentai announced several acquisitions over the weekend and some came across as surprising to me. I was joking with a friend that I bet the staff of Sentai sits in a room and throws darts at giant print-outs of seasonal anime charts to decide what they're going to license. I'm beginning to think that the amount of series they're picking up isn't sustainable, through I don't have a clear picture of their finances, so it's hard to say. Ahem, anyway, here are some that I'm personally looking forward to.
Space Brothers - This should be familiar to anyone reading this site (if not, read my impressions here). The more of this series I watch, the more it charms me. As much as I enjoy complex dramas about complicated emotions, I still have room for feel-good shows like this, and I look forward to it every week.
Someday's Dreamers 2 - Much like the original Someday's Dreamers, this is the story of a young mage travelling to Tokyo to get trained and certified in her profession. Unlike the original, this has director Osamu Kobayashi's special touch, which means that it has a certain urban realism to it and paints an intimate portrait of the Tokyo neighborhood in which it's set (especially when it comes to the musical aspects). There's an element of tragic love that sets this series apart from its predecessor which may not sit well with everyone, but I really enjoyed it.
Natsuyuki Rendezvous - This is one of the few Summer anime series I'm really looking forward to. I question the wisdom of licensing something right out of the gate like Sentai has done here (there aren't even any streaming numbers yet to help illustrate the type of demand this show might have).
Detroit Metal City - Well, we all have our guilty pleasures and this is admittedly one of mine. This story of a wimpy kid who likes pop music posing as a death metal superstar delves into some dark places, and its overuse of the word "rape" would normally turn me off right away, but I just can't help but laugh at how terribly wrong the whole thing is. Also, there is mention of a "penis-shaped hair cut" at one point, and just the thought makes me giggle.
So that's my round-up. What new announcements are you looking forward to?