Funimation set to roll out 7 new series
If there was a slump in the U.S. anime industry, you wouldn't know it from the recent activity over at Funimation. The publisher's been on an anime licensing spree, announcing seven new series that it will release next year.
When it comes to anime, I get a little impatient. So I've rated each series on a four-star system based on how excited I am about it; one star means I probably could live without it, four stars means I wish it would have come out yesterday so I could already be watching it.
"Save Me! Lollipop": A girl accidentally swallows a gem that two wizards-in-training need to graduate; hijinks ensue as the boys defend the gem - and her by extension - from other would-be graduates. Del Rey released this series in manga form under the title "Mamotte! Lollipop"; I read the first volume and thought it was a pleasant diversion, but little more than that. I'd expect the anime version to do the same as well.
"Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple": Kenichi, the school wimp, gets brought to a mysterious dojo and must learn how to stand up for himself and become the mightiest disciple of all ... that is, if his six trainers don't beat him into submission first. The action-comedy was a staple on the Oahu Anime Explorer screening list for several months, so there must be something good about it.
"Gunslinger Girl ~Il Teatrino~": More adventures of a group of otherwise normal young girls who have been brainwashed into being ruthless assassins? Yes, I'll have some of that, please. Especially now that ADV's release of the manga series has slipped back into "maddeningly inconsistent" status.
"Strain: Strategic Armed Infantry": A girl who aspires to one day join her brother in voyaging among the stars has her dreams dashed when enemy forces destroy everything she holds dear ... and those forces are led by her brother. It seems like standard sci-fi, sibling-versus-sibling fare, and I'm not sure if there is anything that could redeem it.
"Shigurui: Death Frenzy": Two disfigured swordsmen - one with only one arm, the other blind - are destined to battle each other in a clandestine tournament for control of their master's school. It will be bloody, that's for sure ... but compelling? We shall see.
"Romeo x Juliet": It's Shakespearean tragedy as viewed by anime studio Gonzo, which means that this probably won't be anything like the version you read in English literature classes back in the day. There are, however, Montagues and Capulets, elements of a doomed love ... and winged horses with dragon tails. I'm probably just as curious as you are to see how this all works out.
"D.Gray Man": The story, set in an alternate version of late-19th century England, revolves around a cursed teenage boy who has the power to battle ancient demons. It'll either be good, or it'll be burdened with angst and gothic moping ... although since this series is apparently quite popular among those who read the manga version from Viz, I'm willing to give it the benefit of the doubt. 1/2
Cel Shaded, a look at the world of Japanese anime and manga, appears every Monday. Reach Jason S. Yadao