Media | Anime Releases | October 2, 2007: Heya kids, it's a fairly busy week for anime, with some surprisingly good entries to look forward to. Prepared with the help of The Digital Bits and cover art courtesy of Amazon.

Roundup by Mightyblue | Posted September 30, 2007

Pick of the week

Zegapain Vol. 1 | School Rumble Vol. 2
I'm calling out two top choices this week, each of which is practically the diametric opposite of the other. Zegapain’s a mecha anime by Sunrise with a disturbing (or rather, quite welcome) lack of whiny pretty boys, yet it still manages to offer up a deep existential element. You should actually watch it more for its philosophical side than for the the blowing-crap-up side. Meanwhile, School Rumble is a sincerely funny high school gag comedy that falls more on the lighthearted end of the spectrum than, say, Cromartie High School. Since it doesn’t degenerate into endless pop culture and Gundam references like most other gag comedies, non-otaku should be able to get into it pretty easily.

The Other Stuff

.Hack//Roots Vol. 4
And Bandai brings us yet another .Hack anime -- this time with a better balance between melodrama and action and a merciful lack of cutesy half-pint versions of the original game characters. It’s also the prologue to the G.U. games, as I’ve been given to understand, and is more for fans of the series than anything. That makes it rental fodder, unless you’re a fan.

Welcome to the N.H.K Vol. 1: The 1st Conspiracy
See Parish’s reviews of the first few manga volumes for details on this quirky and really sort of depressing series. I couldn’t quite get into N.H.K., which is really the only reason it isn’t a weekly pick. Well, besides the awful DVD cover art. Hit it, if it seems your type. (I mean the DVD, you perverts.)

When They Cry, Vol. 3
A.K.A. Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, for those more moon-language oriented. It’s a sort of horror/suspense show based off a set of visual novels -- and for once, not the porn kind. Repetition is the name of the game here, with each arc in the story starting back at the beginning, building a web of events that are alternately contradictory or complementary. A great deal of the fun of this show is trying to figure out exactly what the hell is going on. The show does feature a number graphic and gory scenes, so it’s not for the faint of heart or the kiddie crowd. There was no accompanying cover art for this volume, so I ganked a previous volume’s art. Recommended!

Rescue Me: Mave Chan
No, this doesn’t have anything to do with schizophrenic firefighters. You’ll wish it did, though. "Pandering" is the name of the game here, along with milking Bandai's extensive catalog of releases for money. Considering this ostensibly takes place during an anime convention in Japan, you can expect a ludicrous amount of product placement and fanservice in the form of cosplay, or even outright cameos. Perhaps not surprisingly, it’s a complete pile of schlock -- even for a one-shot OAV. We get these instead of award-winning animated movies? Skip it hard, people.

Peach Girl: Super Pop Love Hurricane; Vol. 5
I, I don’t even have the heart to make fun of this. It’s like the fish was already swimming around the barrel holding a gun to its own head. Peach Girl is, in every way, your stereotypical Japanese high school romance series. You have your unusual-looking (yet utterly innocent) protagonist, the “normal”-looking bitch, and a small army of shallow pretty boys who vie for their hands. I hear that American TV has these things called “soap operas,” and that you can watch them for free? In that case, skip this one.

Anime Boxsets and Other Things of a Swaggy Nature

No high-defintion anime this week, and not much on the boxset front, either. We’ve got two regular box sets: Yugo: Complete Collection, and Tenjho Tenge: Complete Collection. Add to that one swag release (Zegapain Vol. 1) and that's all she wrote. Yugo is the only solid recommendation here, and as always the swag editions are utterly unnecessary.

The Other "Other" Stuff

  • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex – The Laughing Man (hit)
    * Air Gear: A Battle of Kings, Vol. 5 (skip)
    * Zatch Bell! Volume 12 (skip)
    * Fruits Basket – Vol. 3 – A Puddle of Memories (skip) [reprint]
    * Fruits Basket – Vol. 4 – Clearing Sky (skip) [reprint]
    * Blue Gender Movie: The Warrior (rental) [reprint]
    * Clockwork Fighters: Hiwou’s War, Vol. 2 (skip)
    * Mar Vol. 3 (skip)

Some big news for anime fans this week: American publisher Geneon -- formerly Pioneer -- has pretty much gone under. As such, they’ve halted production on all their anime series and have stopped taking orders online at their website. What exactly that means is still up in the air, but all of the series that Geneon has been working on will likely face delays, if not outright cancellation. Discuss it on the Forums!