This post is written by Guest Editor Sadiq Maiwada aka @sads07 on Twitter and Youtube. He is a Japanese Anime conneisseur and enthusiast.
We’re a few months into 2014 but I’ll always look back fondly at 2013 as the year I dared myself to expand my exposure to anime and manga. Before then the only titles I bothered with were the gateway battle shonens that got me into the medium. Ask anyone even vaguely familiar with anime and manga and they’ll have heard of Naruto, Bleach, One Piece and Fairy Tail but the medium is not limited to these. By daring myself out of that comfort zone, I have come across some of the most spectacular storylines, characters and worlds any imagination could conjure. I could draw up a list of my past favorites but instead I want to have a look at the future titles that are likely to occupy my thoughts in the coming month. Because for those who don’t know, the Spring Season is just upon us.
Last year’s Spring Season lineup brought to us “Shingeki No Kyojin” (Attack on Titan), a spectacular tale of humanity’s desperate last stand against the man-eating Titans. It was a great story that had so much heart and emotion; with amazing characters that actually grew and developed, some epic action scenes and a narrative that if you paid attention to question humanity’s basest nature even in a real world context. To this day I recommend this to anyone and everyone, even if they are not into anime. But I got into the show because of the buzz it generated, so I suspected it would be good. This year I’m picking up shows based of whatever synopsis was provided, which is a big risk since my picks could end up being terrible, hopefully not. Check out the full list and synopsis on Anichart.net, but for now here are the seven that caught my attention.
In the year 2021, mankind was defeated by Gastrea, a parasitical virus, and is forced to live within a wall made of Baranuim monoliths, a metal that is able to subdue Gastrea. Soon, the “Cursed Children”, children born infected with the Gastrea virus who are able to control them which gives them superhuman abilities, was discovered. Due to the Gastrea virus’ intervention, the Cursed Children could only be female. Civil Securities are formed to specialize fighting against Gastrea, operating with the pair of an Initiator, who are cursed children, and a Promoter, serving to lead the cursed children. Ten years after the war, Rentarō Satomi, a high school student who is also a Promoter in his childhood friend Kisara Tendō’s Tendō Civil Security, along with his Initator Enju Aihara, receives a secret mission to prevent the Tokyo Area’s destruction.
This is the one that jumped out at me from my first glance of the chart. The reason might have to do with how similar it seems to Attack on Titan. Black Bullet is based on a Japanese light novel series written by Shiden Kanzaki and illustrated by Saki Ukai. It has a manga series which began serialization on August 27, 2012. The impression I’m getting from this series is an emphasis on high octane action and a showcase of superhuman abilities.
Matsutarou Sakaguchi is a giant roughneck man with strength far beyond ordinary people. He never uttered words like “work hard,” “strive,” and “dream” like the typical shounen manga protagonist. However, he is stronger than anyone and peerless in sumo wrestling. His greatest weakness is his own carefree personality. He grows into a full-fledged sumo wrestler.
I have never been a fan of the sports genre, but I decided to pick one this season and give it a try. A show about Sumo wrestling seems to me more interesting than one about say Volley ball, but to each his own. I am willing to give this one a try if just to see how it’ll shape my opinion of the genre. This anime is based on a manga series written and illustrated by Tetsuya Chiba, who is famous for his sports stories. It is to be produced by Toei Animation, the studio behind the “One Piece” anime. Their animation quality tends to fluctuate but let’s see if they’ll maintain some consistency on this one.
In the continent of Cruzon, an impending war between the Kingdom of Krisna and the nation of Athens is brimming. The people of this land are able to use quartz for whatever purpose they desire. Yet one person, Rygart Arrow, is not. He is an “un-sorcerer,” a person unable to use quartz. But this characteristic will enable him to pilot an ancient Golem, one strong enough to put up a fight against the invading army of Athens.
This series is actually a recompiled version of the six Break Blade movies which were previously released between 2010 and 2011. Still there is some incentive for those who have already watched the movie, because the series will include never before released scenes. The anime based on a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Yunosuke Yoshinaga and will be produced by of Production I.G and XEBEC.
The story centers around Sora and Shiro, a brother and sister whose reputations as brilliant NEET (Not in Education, Employment, or Training) hikikomori (shut-in) gamers have spawned urban legends all over the Internet. These two gamers even consider the real world as just another “crappy game.” One day, they are summoned by a boy named “God” to an alternate world. There, God has prohibited war and declared this to be a world where “everything is decided by games” – even national borders. Humanity has been driven back into one remaining city by the other races. Will Sora and Shiro, the good-for-nothing brother and sister, become the “Saviors of Humanity” on this alternate world?
At first glance this gave me the same vibe as “Sword Art Online”, which I enjoyed greatly. There seems to be a move to celebrate the shut in gamers and make them look cooler. Still they make for interesting subject matter. This is based on a light novel series written and illustrated by Yū Kamiya. A manga adaptation with art by Mashiro Hiiragi started serialization in Media Factory’s seinen manga magazine Monthly Comic Alive on January 27, 2013. It’s set to air with 12 episodes.
Nike, the fourth princess of the Rain Dukedom and one who holds the power to call forth the rain, travels to the Sun Kingdom to marry Sun King Livius for her country, despite her own reluctance. She soon discovers that the King, who conquered the world in only three years after his ascendance to the throne, is still a child!! Furthermore, for trivial reasons, he has demanded that Nike call forth the rain…!?
Of all my choices off this spring release chart, this is the furthest outside my comfort zone. I’m being very daring with this choice. This is based on a shōjo manga, which mostly caters to women, written and illustrated by Dai Shiina. My first thought at the synopsis was “Princess marries spoilt brat”. I’m expecting this to be a situational drama embroiled in a romantic/comedy setting. Produced by Studio Peirrot, the people behind the Naruto and Bleach series, I’m expecting this to be visually appealing.
In the late Edo period, Japan had experienced an unprecedented crisis by Kurofune (Black Ships), the ships from foreign countries. But a giant robot called Onigami, which has existed since ancient time, dispelled the Kurofune ships and the exclusion of foreigners was accomplished. The story begins in Japan where Meiji restoration in 1868 didn’t happen. The tagline says, “I can be the greatest man in the world, because I am a virgin!!”
This is an original mecha anime series which will be directed by Takashi Watanabe, whose notable works include Freezing, Slayers and New Fist of the North Star and animated by J.C.Staff and ACGT. The story takes place in an alternate Japan where Meiji restoration didn’t happen. The synopsis presents an oxymoronic situation. How is it possible for giant mechanical robots to exist in Japan’s Edo period? The Edo period, mind you, which I have been very fascinated with due to tales of samurai warriors of the era. Needless to say I’m very curious about what they will do with this one.
A thousand-year peace is coming to an end. The fledgling Wind Empire strives to overthrow the fading Stratus Empire and unite the four continents in a new era of equality–albeit an equality enforced by military might. Amid this mortal trouble and strife come the ancient Darksiders, with the nefarious Jin Seoyeon as the harbinger of their return… and with the people fighting among themselves, there may be no one to oppose their evil plans and save the world.
This series is based on a Korean fantasy martial-arts massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) developed by NCsoft (Team Bloodlust). I’ll admit it was the source material more than anything that sparked my interest in this one. I have always been a big fan of RPGs, I love how the amount of immersion in the story is up to me and I have some influence in the outcome. I’m curious how the studio will handle tell this story.
So these are my picks for the 2014 Anime Spring Season. There is a very good chance I overlooked a phenomenal title which hopefully I’ll catch on and pick it up but for now these seven stood out for me. I invite you to browse the charts at Anichart.net and tell me which piqued your interest.
Here’s a video for you to check out as well.