ANIME: Summer ’11 Releases

Jonesin’ for fresh anime? Well, get your fix of new and upcoming animated releases courtesy of the land of the rising sun.

Words: Darrion Beckles

Ah, anime… My biggest guilty pleasure beyond Taco Bell quesadillas, 2D role playing games, Jack Daniels and domineering women. How I long for those unnecessary screams, the endless parades of “important today irrelevant tomorrow” side characters and the long, three-episode pauses between battles that allow combatants to narrate their own flashbacks, or recount important training and/or milestones from seasons past.

Oh anime, how I love thee, although as of late, the stuff I’ve been watching especially on Funimation, Kumby and Adult Swim is just starting to feel stale and repetitive, and in some cases, just plain stupid. Sorry Sasuke, Monkey D. Luffy, Saya; I need you, I love you, I really do. But what I really need is more variety; something new in my life, ya dig? And to those of you reading this, stick around if you want something new to click on in your Kumby account because summer anime is on its way, baby!

Those awaiting sequels to The Tower of Druaga, Samurai Champloo, Cowboy Bebop, a visual of Goku (Dragon Ball Z) going super saiyin 7 or to see Kenichi (Kenichi: History’s Strongest Disciple) join the UFC, quit holding your breath. If those happen, great. But don’t miss out on the future waiting on the past to return (advice given to me by mother when my ex said she “needed a break”). There’s anime life beyond Naruto, One Piece and Fullmetal Alchemist. Geez. So here are a few new Japanimations that dropped recently or are set to be released in the near future.

Marvel comics recently hired Japanese anime studio Madhouse Inc. to give three of their titles a Manga makeover.  Blade, X-Men and Iron Man animes are set to drop this summer. I scoped the 30-second trailer for Blade on YouTube and there’s no way this could fail if they follow the original formula of swords, techno music and one-liners. Add an army of bloodsuckers that look and sound like ecstacy addicts from NYC’s West Village circa ’99 and they should be fine. Oh and it’s nice to see a Black lead character in an anime (Bless you, Obama. Change is here). 

I saw the openings for Iron Man and X-Men, too. They both look very sexy. Remix the mech/tech abilities of Iron Man and the psionic/mutant powers of the X-men universe with some over-the-top anime action, and you have one full hour of #WIN with a side of “I’m closing my 3DS and shutting off my IPHONE!”

Thunder…. Thunder???… Thundercats???? Noooooooo! Another remake?  Did they pass a congressional law banning originality in Hollywood? They’re remaking [Teenage Mutant] Ninja Turtles, they’ve already remade/rehashed/rebooted Transformers and GI Joe. Why this, why now? Why do these Hollywood hacks keep raiding my childhood?! 

Then I saw the trailer. Wait a minute… this could work. The trailer provides a backstory that I don’t remember seeing in the original. Though the country of origin is the US, the studio behind the animatrix provided the art. So we get to see Lion-O, Panthro and Cheetara kick arse in some new adventures. I’m with it as long as they keep the Mumm-Ra scream. But I figure they’re also preparing us for that live action film they’ve been yacking about for years. Maybe they want to familiarize the youngins with it before scripting a live feature? *Sigh*…Sword of Omens, give me sight beyond sight.

Now for some “pure” anime….

Bunny Drop is an anime about a 30-year old single dude who raises a kid on his own. Yeah, I know… if you grew up in the ’80s you’ve heard this plot many times before. A guy/girl who is selfish, busy, career-driven, stupid or simply just don’t have the time to be raising a kid… end up raising a kid. And the kid enriches their lives in some unrealistic way. Yawwwwwwn. Look, I’m an action junkie. So to be fair, I’ll admit the art looks awesome in the trailer. For that reason alone I’ll give it a chance. And you should too.

Blood C is the sequel to Blood +.  Two words…”I’m there”.  If you don’t get why I’m in so easily, watch their predecessor Blood the Last Vampire and get back to me.

Last but not least is Sacred Seven. I watched the trailer/opening to this several times and I still have no idea what the premise of this movie is. Animes are notorious for having openings that are cryptic, that many times have nothing to do with the series. But several things peak my curiosity about this. First, the name Sacred Seven. Many things I love have the number seven in the title: Seventh Saga (super Nintendo), Seven (Brad Pitt), Samurai Seven (anime remake Seven Samurai). The futuristic armor and the hoverboard got me hype as well. The art looks slick and the action seemed sick enough to give it a one-episode go.

So that’s it folks, my suggestions for new and near future anime viewing material for the summer. Hopefully one of these will titillate your inner geek, or at least help you add a new character to your anime COSPLAY list.

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