Welcome to the AUKN staffers Summer 2014 picks where the writers from the site choose the anime that they will be watching when everybody else is out enjoying the sun. The Summer 2014 anime guide is out and the selection has been made.
First up is…
There are two anime from Shinichiro Watanabe in the summer season and Space Dandy is the first. Billed as a comedy, it turned out to be a very smart mix of different sci-fi concepts with the Marx Brothers and proved to be very funny.
This is the second half of the 26 episode Space Dandy anime which began in January. The first 13 episodes started off slowly but by the end I was in love with the hijinks that Dandy, QT and Meow got involved with and I found my new favourite anime. Critics complained about the lack of a wider narrative but I didn’t have a problem with it.
The anime has taken a break and it is expected that the second half will explain why Dandy can die in one episode and come back perfectly fine in the next.
Zankyou no Terror
Shinichiro Watanabe is making anime again! Two of his shows airing side by side! Space Dandy and now this show. He tends to make sci-fi or fantasy but this looks very different, a contemporary psychological drama with a twisted story of school boy terrorists at its centre. It remains to be seen if he can pull this off but he has the staff to do it with Mappa, the guys who worked on Kids on the Slope, his last series. He is also working with familiar collaborators like Kazuto Nakazawa, character designer on Samurai Champloo, and Yoko Kanno, Watanabe’s go-to composer.
I always go for a dark show because I like horror. Tokyo Ghoul looks like the show for me.
I have read a little of Sui Ishida’s manga and I reckon no other title this season will be as out and out vicious and violent and mysterious as this looks like it will be. The trailer has it all! Beautiful women, grotesque character designs, S&M giants wielding axes, blood and butterflies streaking across the screen as seductive electronic music plays. This looks unique even when most of the shows in the new season of anime is made up of a diverse bunch of titles.
The thing that makes this look interesting, aside from the horror, blood and guts, is the director, Shuhei Morita. He is not that well-known. He has worked on OAVs like Freedom and his work in the omnibus film, Possessions, was nominated for an Oscar, but this will be his first TV series.
Looks like a slice-of-life fish out of water comedy in the vein of Yotsuba&!. The central protagonist is not a high school girl, but a guy who practices calligraphy and finds himself exiled to a remote island after punching another guy in the face. It screams unique set-up after years of seeing anime about cute girls in pointless clubs doing pointless things.
It’s based on a manga by Satsuki Yoshino and I have read that it is entertaining and directed by Masaki Tachibana who handled Tokyo Magnitude 8.0. It is also getting its music composed by Kenji Kawai, an anime veteran everybody should know from his work on Patlabor.
The first series of Psycho-Pass gets re-edited and stuffed into 11 one hour episodes. We’re watching this as we get prepped for the next series. The manga. The movie. Etc.
Zankyou no Terror
Shinichirō Watanabe and Yoko Kanno once again team up, along with Studio MAPPA to create this original project, which looks to be quite the dark one compared to Space Dandy.
Nothing much has been said on this one plot-wise, all we can currently go on is the trailer, which seems to involve a terrorism attack and some really haunting music.
With a strong team behind this series, this is easily my most anticipated show for next season and I hope it becomes one of my favourites.
Space ☆ Dandy Season 2
Speaking of Space Dandy, it’s back for another season with more Dandy, QT and Meow adventures.
The first season felt surprisingly episodic but it allowed different animators to work on separate episodes, which made Space Dandy feel fresh every week for the most part, it was a solid first season overall.
I’m expecting Season 2 to be the same, although some kind of plot resolution during the last episodes seems likely, still I look forward to more stuff from this sequel.
Much like Zankyou no Terror, this is also an original anime that lacks a synopsis but it’s looking to be another interesting mecha show.
The director is Ei Aoki and the creator is Gen Urobuchi, both worked on the critically acclaimed Fate/Zero series, so I feel this is enough to get me excited for it!
My only worry is if this turns out to be a disappointment much like the last show Gen Urobuchi worked on and that was Gargantia but the trailer looks promising enough.
Tokyo Ghoul got my interest mostly due to the well animated trailer and the creepy vibe I got from it and considering anime hardly gets horror right, I hope this does that well.
One of the cool things that makes it on the list is the director Shuhei Morita who directed a short from the Short Peace collection called Possessions which ended up getting an Oscar nomination.
Add that it will be animated by studio Pierrot and you have a pretty exciting and promising project here.
Persona 4 The Golden Animation
My wild pick for this season is something that should be in my definite watch list, since I love Persona 4 a ton but this is coming out only three years after Persona 4: The Animation series, it feels too recent, and there is a lack of excitement for this.
If you haven’t played Persona 4, Golden was a Vita port of the PS2 game that added a new character and new social events, which added a dozen hours to the core game but we still don’t know if this series is an overall remake or just focusing on the new golden content, we will soon find out anyway.
Still if you haven’t heard or played Persona 4 and this ends up being a re-make then I recommend you at least check it out.
There seems to be a general consensus among the AUKN team about certain hot anime titles about to be launched this summer. I can’t help but be excited about anything that brings Shinichiro Watanabe and Yoko Kanno together again, so…
Terror of Resonance is top of my list. Space Dandy #2 is also up there, as I loved almost every moment of the psychedelic and off-the-wall First Season.
I’m also excited – but also more than a little apprehensive in case it’s not as wonderful as I’d like it to be – about:
Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal
The days when the only anime available on UK TV seemed to be Sailor Moon are long past, but will the new version eclipse our nostalgic memories of the original (horribly re-edited but still much loved) series?
What shoujo/BL fan could fail to be looking forward to the much-touted:
Based on the popular ongoing BL manga by Taishi Zaou and Eiki Eiki (singer Shogo is apparently based on – and played by – her younger brother DAIGO), this promises light-hearted entertainment of the fluff-but-fun variety.
Which brings me to another hotly awaited title:
Free! – Eternal Summer
Free! was one of the unexpected successes last year and, even though denigrated by some as mere doujinshi-fodder, it was stylishly put together, the swimming sequences were beautifully animated, there was a convincing sport-themed plot, and the characters endeared themselves to their audience. Bring it on again, Iwatobi Swim Club!
Another shoujo fan-favourite returns for a third series with one of the more successful arcs from the Yana Toboso’s manga:
Black Butler – Book of Circus
Black Butler, with its striking gothic designs, its love affair with a (very) alternate Victorian England, and the extremely questionable pact between young Master Ciel and his demonic butler Sebastian Michaelis, is back. This is sure to be devilishly sinister fun.