Spring. It’s a great time for anime lovers. Spring’s always laden with fresh, new picks, and this year’s no exception.
With a veritable buffet out there, fans will be hard pressed to choose what to follow. But for those with a discerning palate (and by discerning I mean those who don’t care for run-of-the-mill moe and death-by-cuteness), here are my recommendations.
1. Stein’s Gate
Time travel, mystery and murder. What’s not to love about this latest offering from the peeps that brought us the head-trip that was Chaos;Head?
Stein’s Gate is an awesome, existential adventure combining the very best in Wellsian pulp with the unique storytelling style that only 5pb.and Nitroplus can provide.
Set in the summer of 2010, this series follows Rintaro Okabe, a self-styled mad scientist, in his quest to unravel a conspiracy involving an Illuminati-esque scientific organization, a murder, falling satellites from outer space, and other such oddities which, he realizes, are intrinsically linked by a common thread.
It’s got some really kooky characters, and if the visuals are anything to go by, this one’s a keeper.
An obvious must watch for any sci-fi or conspiracy theory fan.
2. Tiger & Bunny
Nevermind the ridiculous title. Tiger & Bunny is set to turn the superhero genre on it’s head.
Set in futuristic Stern City (Star City much?), this parody paints a delightful mockery of the protagonists’ costumed capers by framing it in the context of a popularity contest.
Nothing beats reality TV, especially if it’s Hero TV Live, and in Stern city, the only way for a superhero to pay the bills (especially with the amount of collateral damage they cause) is to rent themselves out as walking billboards as they prance and zoom around, all televised and stuff as they fight crime and nasty super villains. There’s even a point system for rankings, making it all glitzy and showy and fun.
Enter Kotetsu, a.k.a. Wild Tiger, a superhero who’s well past his prime. He’s got very real issues, being a single parent and all, and when his agent decides to fold, he’s co-opted into joining a mega-corporation that provides him with a brand new suit (it’s not spandex) and a partner (the dashing Barnaby), making them the first ever, marketable dynamic duo on Hero TV.
What ensues is a comic romp that’s both a critique of capitalism, commercialism and the whole superhero business, but also something fun. It’s a show that knows when not to take itself seriously, and the jokes are *gasp* intelligent.
Then again, Sunrise often doesn’t disappoint.
Scream if you’re lucky enough to get X-men in your region. This series, the third in Marvel’s collaboration with Madhouse Studio, sounds really promising (as compared to the Wolverine anime, which wasn’t quite as sharp or polished).
Set a whole year after the death of Phoenix, X-men reassembles the core of the original Blue Team (and Storm) as they travel from New York City to Japan to hunt for the people responsible for the disappearance of budding mutant Hisako (Armor).
It’s a good pick alone for the stylistics, and if you’re an X-men fan, you’ll probably want to take a good, long look at how the characters are re-imagined and characterized. I’m already digging the new outfits and Emma Frost (White Queen) already.
4. Ao no Exorcist
I’ve always been big on supernatural anime, but Ao no Exorcist is the only one that vaguely piqued my interest. I don’t care much for the art style (it’s a typical shounen urban fantasy romp), but there’s something to be said about the spawn of the devil going up against mean ol’dad with friends in tow.
It’s a whole lot like Supernatural (one brother’s a demon half-breed, the other’s a straight out hunter), so I’m a little ambivalent about this, but hey, slim pickings on the supernatural front right?
5. Deadman Wonderland
Another shounen title, but at least this one’s got some verve.
Deadman Wonderland’s set in a Japan ravaged by an earthquake (ooh, touchy), and the protagonist, Ganta, is an average student whose life is turned upside down when he gets framed for a mysterious massacre, and is sent to a maximum security prison with a carnival like atmosphere (the Deadman Wonderland that defines the series title), and is forced to fight for his survival.
Naturally, he discovers that he’s got mysterious powers that allow him to manipulate his blood, and things come to a head as he struggles against all odds to escape from the prison’s deadly grip and to exact his revenge.
So which of the above titles are you gunning for? Drop me a note. I’d love to find out! XD