Spring 2018 has arrived and with it, a lot of anime to look out for. We’ve got the return of My Hero Academia with 25 new episodes, a new sports anime featuring Horse Girls (?), and reboots of The Legend of the Galactic Heroes and GeGeGe no Kitaro of all things. What a weird season. Weird in a good way! Here’s my quick rundown of the shows I’ve checked out so far.
Cutie Honey Universe
As part of the 50th Anniversary celebration of manga legend Go Nagai (which includes Devilman Crybaby and Mazinger Z: INFINITY), we’ve got a brand new TV series chronicling the adventures Honey Kisaragi in the first anime adaptation of Cutie Honey in 14 years.
For those not aware, the premise of Cutie Honey varies depending on the iteration but it always revolves around a young android girl named Honey Kisaragi. She has the ability to transform into a variety of disguises including the titular “warrior of love,” Cutey Honey. She and her allies join the fight against the evil Panther Claw and their leader, Sister Jill.
The series is being directed by Akitoshi Yokoyama, a guy that’s done 1,001 things in anime over the last 20+ years but rarely works as a lead director. The series features numerous prolific and popular voice actresses including Maaya Sakamoto, Yui Hori, Rie Kugimiya, and Kana Hanazawa. Production is being handled by Production Reed, a studio that mainly works on 2nd key and in-between animation. The series does seem to lack a significant production pedigree, unlike GAINAX’s 2004 Cutie Honey, but hey we’ll see how it goes.
The first episode features a lot of scenes pulled right out of Nagai’s original manga but is certainly not a strict adaptation. This is probably for the best since Nagai’s original manga was only about 2 volumes long and has a lot of scenes that…. haven’t aged well. Cutie Honey as a franchise has always been known for it’s propensity for sexual voyeurism, though mostly played for laughs and less for titillation. Mostly. There are a few scenes from the manga that made it into the anime that personally, I could have done without. Some border the line of reinforcing stereotypes and others put characters in problematic situations for “laughs” (ie. Natsuko’s “discipline” scene).
Cutie Honey is always at it’s best when it’s wild, whacky fun and I hope the series leans more on that than anything else going forward. If you want to check it out, it’s available for simulcasting on HIDIVE!
Honestly, most of my excitement over Golden Kamuy getting it’s anime debut comes via Tobias (whose review you can check out here, and here for the manga). He and I typically share tastes so I figured Golden Kamuy would be worth checking out.
Spoilers: it is!
Golden Kamuy takes place in the early 1900s, following a soldier in the Russo-Japanese War name Saichi Sugimoto who is some-how immortal. After arriving in Hokkaido, Japan, Saichi learns of a treasure trove of stolen Ainu gold and the mysterious “map” that leads to it (the Ainu being the native people of Hokkaido). He then meets an Ainu girl named Asirpa and the two of them form a bond over looking for the stolen treasure.
I can say that the pacing and engagement level of the first episode was perfect for me. There was a fair amount of exposition in the early half of the episode that caused me to glaze over a bit, but all of the information you hear about comes up again in practice shortly after it’s delivery. There’s some solid, albeit surprisingly gruesome, action scenes and the budding chemistry between Asirpa and Saichi is something I’m looking forward to.
If there were any complaints from me, it would be in the visuals, but even then I’m not as hard on it as most people seem. The characters do look flat and the CGI bear stands out (though not that bad), but I’m excited to experience this story and I think that will help lift my spirits through the somewhat shoddy animation.
The series is streaming on Crunchyroll and if you want a more in depth review of the first episode, I point you to Tobias’ review here.
Space Battleship Tiramisu
This was a pure, blind watch. The title sounded silly so I had to check it out.
Based on the manga by Satoshi Miyakawa, the series takes place in space and follows the daily life of mecha pilot Subaru Ichinose who enjoys eating in his cockpit and monologuing about it AT LENGTH in his head.
The episodes are only a few minutes long and gave me some honest laughs, especially from the first gag when he drops his pork katsu in zero gravity and can’t stop the crumbs from literally flying all over the place. And the part where he has to take his clothes off in the cockpit because r e a s o n s. Just watch it.
The production values are quite high considering it is a comedy series (and a GONZO anime), with visuals to rival a mid-level production space series. Comedy anime, at least for me, is highly inconsistent with it’s ability to make me laugh so I’ll definitely check out a bit more of this series but whether I go through all of it remains to be seen.
The series is streaming weekly on Crunchyroll!
Lupin the Third Part V
The world’s greatest thief is back again and thank goodness we didn’t have to wait 30 years!
Lupin the Third Part V seems to be the next continuation of 2015’s Lupin Part IV only this time, the Lupin gang is in France and they’re stealing off the dark web. Brand new territory for Lupin, that’s for sure.
If you saw Part IV, or haven’t watched Lupin in decades, or have never seen any Lupin in your life, you can easily jump in right here. One thing the Lupin franchise has consistently done over the years is kept up with modern times, trends, and societal changes while still retaining it’s core fun and sense of adventure. This new series feels just like the same old Lupin but still very fresh and modern.
There’s not much more I need to say about Lupin Part V that wouldn’t be the same as talking about Lupin in general, but if you want to jump right in, go for it! Although Part IV exists so maybe check that one out first.
Now streaming on Crunchyroll.