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Seasonal Surprises! and New Anime!

There haven't been that many shows I've been able to keep up with this recent season, and as such I've sort of fallen out of the loop on some of the good stuff, and what is the total garbage of the industry, as we all know there are equal amounts being produced everyday.

So over the past couple of weeks, I've sat down and combed over some of the most recent anime series that have really shone above some of the others, and have been a great viewing experience, and some that I think would be great recommendations for the fans.

Kamisama Dolls
One such anime that has stuck out to me has been the recent series Kamisama Dolls, not to be confused with all the recent kame named anime shows that are springing up left and right this season.

Kamisama Dolls is a show about a boy named Kyohei, that after leaving his village and and moving to Tokyo—and the events that had happened there—is on a date and discovers a bloody corpse in an elevator. When his sister Utao arrives with her kakashi, an ancient wooden god, and informs him that his friend Aki and his kakashi are the ones responsible for the death.

It's a series involving the supernatural and mysterious, and seems to be a somewhat under the radar anime that is being jostled in and around the other "Kami" named anime that are abounding.

Yuru Yuri
Another interesting anime this past season has been the comedy series Yuru Yuri. It's the story of a group of middle school girls that form the "Amusement" club, out of the remains of the former disbanded "Tea Ceremony" club, and spend the better part of their time looking for ways to be amused.

The main characters are funny, witty and there's more than enough comedy to keep one interested and coming back for more. Not to mention that it has very cute soft styled animation that seems to set out a tranquil vibe. Though the show sports of a lot of innuendo, and even some major yuri themes, it's still a pretty good watch.

Shinryaku!? Ika Musume
Shinryaku!? Ika Musume has hit the small screen again, and her "fish-out-of-water" antics are just as adoring and funny as ever. Her desire to conquer humanity is an unending drive, and it causes her more than her share of humorous adventures, and mishaps. In addition, Ika-chan has an amazing ability to adapt to most of her environment, and the "English" speaking episode is quite possibly the highlight of the season, so far.

There has been an English DVD of the First Season released, and though the series sports major puns and gags that are easily translatable in the Japanese, they fail majorly in both the dub, and the sub work for the releases. It's a major disappointment, that makes Ika-chan seem more annoying than cute and adorable, and everything that comes remotely close to having an "ika" sound in the original dialogue has been substituted for "Squid" and "Squiddy" style inserts. It's so terrible that it has me beside myself with anxiety and frustration at the assumptions of the industry, and were I to fork over the cash for it, would be something I would watch "RAW" and read the more accurate English script from a transposed fan-sub.

It has to be the gravest mishandling of a show's English release in America for the past five years.

Another great show that I've taken a keen interest in, is Working'!!, the follow-up season of a very enjoyable and satisfying anime produced by A-1 Pictures, and is chocked full of humor, random happenings, and all centered on the staff of Wagnaria, a Japanese family restaurant. I had some mixed feelings about the way the last season ended, and when I heard that there was to be a second season, I was a little relieved; hoping that there would be some more opportunity for some character relationship closure.

One thing the show isn't lacking, is characters... and while it can get a little repetitive seeing them every episode in the same setting, it is a rather refreshing anime, that takes us out of the norm of robots, and warfare, and civil disobedience in the face of an oppressive possible future.

One really refreshing anime that I never thought of myself as being a fan of, has been the new Gundam series by Sunrise. Oh, now I know what you're thinking... Giant robots, intergalactic warfare, humanity of the brink of annihilation, and you are right on all accounts. But what if there were a series that managed to combine more modern anime themes into the series, and then twist them on their ear?

Gundam AGE
Mobile Suit Gundam AGE is exactly the sort of anime that takes the average cliche elements of the Gundam franchise, and adds a little bit of difference to it. Not only does the series begin with our heroes as children, but has been reported to span three generations, which means that we will eventually watch humanity's struggle against the UE—the malevolent alien mecha entity—through the eyes of three different heroes.

The first episode is pretty standard fare; it sets up the scenario and establishes the that whole, plight of mankind thing, before diving into the school days of what would seem to have a more slice-of-life feel to it. In fact, if I didn't know any better, I swear that this was a slice-of-life, with Gundams! Very cool and interesting stuff. I look forward to more episodes, and I hope that if you are a hard-core anti-gundam fan, then you will give this one a shot.