AQUAPLUS has announced a range of new games this week, but perhaps most importantly they've announced a sequel to Utawarerumono, provisionally entitled Utawarerumono 2. It will be set in the same universe as the original but nothing has been said about the characters yet. The one promotional image that has been released (right) appears to show a new character. I would personally like to see some of the existing characters worked into the plot and it will be interesting to see what the story writers come up with.
I am a huge fan of the original game and anime so i'm extremely excited to hear that they are continuing the franchise. Disappointingly, the game has only been announced for the PlayStation3 (so far) hence a fan translation is unlikely. It looks like i'll have to hold out for an anime adaptation, or significantly increase the rate at which I learn Japanese!
Not much information is available regarding Utawarerumono 2 at the moment but i'm certainly going to be following any updates with great interest. What information there is about the release can be found here.
Of the Winter 2011 season, Fractale is the show i'm looking forward to the most. It is set in the future where a system known as the Fractale System has been implemented to make life easier for everyone. Indeed, there are no wars now and people are able to relax. However, one day our protagonist Clain comes across a girl (Phryne) who is being perused by unknown attackers. He hides her and is given a pendant from her before she disappears. Later on, he is able to unlock the pendant and another girl appears. Clain sets out with the girl to find Phryne and discover the secrets of the Fractale System.
As I mentioned in my Winter 2011 preview, this is perhaps not the most riveting description of an anime i've written but I am intrigued by the sense of mystery behind the Fractale System, how was it established, what does it do and why is it about to collapse?
The opening song is ハリネズミ (Harinezumi, Hedgehog) and is sung by 吾妻仁美 (Azuma Hitomi). I've not come across this singer before but the vocals and backing track fit the SciFi theming of the anime well. The opening animation consists of various fractals, unsurprising considering the title of the anime but I think that something more visually appealing and interesting could have been done.
We're a couple weeks into the Winter 2011 season. At first, it looks like a pretty uninteresting season, full of rehashes and purely fanservice shows. However, there are a few hidden gems.
A chart showing all the shows is available here.
The fractale system, which has governed the world for many years, is on the brink of collapse. A young boy, Clain, comes across a girl who is being persued by unknown attackers. He manages to hide her from them and she leaves behind a pendant before disappearing.
While you might not find yourself enthused by that short description, it's been a pretty good first episode. It is running on the noitaminA slot on Fuji TV, a slot which has the aim of expanding anime beyond it's typical young male demographic. Shows that have typically been in this slot in the past have had excellent plots and minimal fanservice so i'm expecting Fractale to be pretty good and aim to write about it.
A powerful exoskeleton has been developed allowing humans to have much higher physical capabilities than normal. However, only females are able to pilot it for unknown reasons. This all changes when a boy called Ichika is found to be able to pilot the IS exoskeleton and is thus entered into a school for developing pilot ability. Naturally, it's an all-girls school. So far, this appears to be a cross between Gundam and Strike Witches and pretty average overall - nothing has really stood out for me.
The autumn 2010 season finished a short while ago, so it's time for a summary of what I thought. However, of the two series that I watched, i've only kept up with one. I've not been able to watch A Certain Magical Index II past Episode 1 due to time constraints. Hopefully i'll be able to catch up when i've got time.
A Certain Magical Index II
See above, however from what i've heard it's on about the same level as the first season, which is to say 'average'.
My Little Sister Can't be This Cute (Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai)
I wasn't too sure what i'd get out of this at first, aside from a light comedy. As it's an anime about "otaku culture" and dating sims in particular it would have been very easy for the authors to make it pander exclusively to hardcore fans of such things. However, the plot line was surprisingly good and I certainly enjoyed it. The animation was above average and unusually every ending song was different, a lot of work has gone into making this and it certainly seems to have paid off. A lot of references to other series where made, especially Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha - to the point where they used Nanoha's voice actor to voice some of the parody scenes!
Overall impression: Good
After 6 months of waiting, the Angel Beats special episode is finally here. This episode was not shown on TV and was included with the last BluRay/DVD volume.
It appears to be set slightly before the midway point of the main series as [spoiler]they still refer to Kanade as Tenshi and she's still not on their side[/spoiler]. In this episode, Yuri enacts "Operation High-Tension Syndrome". Unlike the other operations, Otonashi doesn't imagine something crazy, rather he's completely taken aback, as are the others. The purpose of this operation is for the SSS members to act crazy all day - running everywhere, shouting and generally doing abnormal things. By doing this, Tenshi will wonder why they're not disappearing as they will appear to be enjoying themselves.
A lot of the members take this operation to heart and begin doing all sorts of crazy things. Some of them are extremely silly whereas others are highly amusing. I personally couldn't stop laughing at the floor cleaning competition, complete with racing car sounds as they ran around the building cleaning with floor cloths.
We eventually get a final showdown between [spoiler]Shiina and Tenshi[/spoiler] after [spoiler]Shiina massacres everyone for taking her puppy plushie[/spoiler]. After backing down from the fight, [spoiler]Tenshi[/spoiler] mentions that she needs to make a 'report'. Yuri instantly springs into action to follow her. After opening a heavy door, she walks into blinding light. Thinking that she has reached God, Class SSS chase wildly in after her, only to find out that it's a hydroponic garden where [spoiler]Tenshi[/spoiler] grows 'cute' turnips. Understandably, Yuri becomes really annoyed and takes out her anger on the other Class SSS members - no food for a week!
Overall, I did enjoy this special episode. It was good to see all of the characters again and there where moments that made me laugh quite a bit. It was however, not what I was expecting. I was expecting and dearly wanted to see an episode set after Episode 13 where perhaps [spoiler]they all meet up again[/spoiler]. That said, I think it would be difficult to make a full episode out of just that. There is another short special included entitled 'Another Epilogue' which is meant as an alternative to the Episode 13 epilogue, which does go some way to offset my want for a full post-Episode 13 episode.