NewTypeZone's "The Hype"

This is going to be the place where I will be reviewing the newest Animation that is releasing in Japan. Slowly entree's will be added to Orion's review page, that is if the series is worth finishing.  For now I'll be adding some of my older reviews of newer shows that have been released in the past couple years.

10-01-08 / 03-15-09

This Weeks "The Hype" brings to you another great series that started this fall. It is called Casshern Sins. The wiki will give some good background info on this series and here is the official site(Japanese). So who is Casshern? Basically he is Human looking robot and a subordinate of Braiking Boss, the Leader of the Robot army that became conscience and enslaved the human race. Casshern was given the Assignment to Kill "Luna" a mysterious figure who is said to be the source of all life on earth. Casshern's completion of his mission which ended with Luna's death started a chain reaction which doomed all humanity and robots to what is called the "Ruin". Basically Luna also known as "The sun which is named the moon" and the "Source of Life", somehow kept the earths environment habitable. After her demise the toxicity of the earth made it nearly imposible for Humans and Robots to survive. Humans die due to lack of clean water and food, and the robots begin to decay at an accelerated level which requires them to change their parts frequently. The problem is that society has broken down and new parts are no longer being created. So robots wander the earth in search of old parts even cannibalizing each other to survive.

There are a few exceptions and Casshern is among those. He does not grow old or require new parts. He is self regenerating and seemingly cannot be destroyed.



While Casshern looks very much like a human he is unbelievably strong and takes on the job of Grim Reaper if you will. He is viewed as Luna's opposite. While she is life, Casshern is death. It is also a roomer known to all Robots that if they eat Casshern they will live forever and this in turn creates a cycle in which every robot that encounters Casshern is also destroyed by him. After killing Luna, Casshern looses all his memories at some point hundreds of years in the future and is doomed to room the earth searching for answers. While there are many robots that take non human form it is the Human looking robots which hold most of the intrigue and also brunt all of the scorn from other wandering robots. However, Casshern is not alone, there are still a few humans left and there are some other robots like him that do not seem to be so easily affected by the "Ruin". One of those other Robots is....

Lyuze follows Casshern around waiting for the right time to destroy him. Her sister was in charge of protecting "Luna" and was injured by Casshern and eventually was the first robot to die of the mysterious disease know as the "Ruin". Lyuze made it her vow to avenge her sister. Another Character main character and a love interest or so it seems is.....
Sophita is a somewhat vicious character that only gets excited when fighting. The harder the opponent the more sexually excited she becomes, or at least that is how it seems, It could also be very possible that robots even ones as similar looking to humans as these do not even fathom what love and sexual desire is. Never the less there is typical sexual chemistry between her and Casshern. Two Characters that also seem to hold some significance to the story arc are.....
A little robot girl that embodies innocence and purity. She also becomes one of the major characters and the theme for hope. Her almost magical transformation into a beautiful girl towards the end of the series is breath taking, and her fondness for life and flowers really becomes haunting. Her original care taker is....

Ohji is a robot mechanic who symbolizes hope for the robots he protects and maintenance's including little Ringo which almost seems like his granddaughter. Finally there is one last majorly important character as of the fifth episode excluding the mystery robot that looks like Casshern at the end. It is.....
Friender represents Cassherns restraint. He is the protector of Life and shields those who might be wrongly destroyed by casshern when he goes into full battle mode.

In these moments Casshern is no longer human is completely a robot of destruction. The characteristics of his battle mode are the glowing cyan eyes and his face mask. Once he is in this mode any and all life around him are in danger. As a whole I must say that Casshern has proven so far to be an amazing work of animation. It's characteristic Japanese end of the world scenario is told better then I've seen in a while. Both the Animation and the Story is mesmerizing. The music score adds to the dark mood perfectly, and yet sets the stage for a inspirational outcome. Each episode has offered a unique view into the search for the meaning of life and death. At the end of each episode I can't help but find myself anticipating it's next installment. Casshern's superb storytelling and apocalyptic art design are both interesting and gloomy. The setting reminds me of Ergo Proxy a lot, and the tempo has a similar feel, but of course the true roots of both those apocalyptic themes lie with the dead in Hiroshima and Nagasaki who where the true victims of what could be the fate of all mankind. While Casshern is supposed to be a take on an older anime by the name of Neo-Hunter Casshern, and borrows the basic character arc, it seems to have changed the original premise of that story which includes Casshern originally being human and then changing himself into a cyborg so that he can battle the robots which had begun a revolution against humanity.  However, it is still possible that this story arc is still intact because throughout the first five episodes his robot stature is continually questioned. It is still quite possible that he is in fact a cyborg. This would also explain why he has not been affected by the "Ruin". Of course later we find out that none of these hypothesis are true. There is also an animated and live action movie by name of Casshern and Casshan: Robot Hunter, both of which tell the Neo-Hunter Casshern story. I guess you could look at Casshern Sins being more of interpretive prequel to Neo-Hunter, than an exact replica.

Art:/Animation: B
Music: B
Character Design: B
Voice Acting: B
Overall enjoyment:  A+

10-05-2008 to 03-29-2009
This weeks "The Hype" spotlight comes with an already established fan base here at Newtypezone in the MyRomance group. It is Skip Beat! and this link is to it's official website(Japanese). For and English link the most information that I've found is at wiki of course but it is mostly about the Manga which has published about 19 episodes in Japan as of June 08 according to Viz's site 16 are for purchase here in the states as of today 11/01/08.

What is so special about yet another romance story that involves a girl from the country that has come to Tokyo following a boy that she thinks she loves? To mention one that did the same, "NANA" sets the bar high for other animes that attempt to copy this archetype, but I feel as of the third episode of "Skip Beat" it has been able to successfully carve out it's own feel and style. While NANA at it's core is a sort of yuri ambiguous love story, "Skip Beat" is has more of Bishounen feel to it with it's pretty boys that our main character Kyoko Mogami finds herself in love and at odds with. Speaking of Characters let meat them.

Kyoko Mogami
Kyoko goes through some major changes in the first series. She transforms from this innocent and naive girl into a revenge hungry women, willing to do anything to get even with Shō Fuwa or Shōtarō, the boy that she followed to Tokyo when he asked here if she'd come with him. At the time she was a gifted young chef in training at Shō 's parents restaurant. Shō had no intention on taking over his families restaurant he had dreams of becoming a star in Tokyo and to achieve this he selfishly dragged Kyoko along under false pretenses, mostly that is.
Shō Fuwa
However, during the first episode Kyoko discovers Shō Fuwa's false pretenses by overhearing a conversation. While she was working three jobs to pay the rent in an expensive apartment and take care of Shō, he was busy making a name for himself and forgetting about her sacrifices. However, that is the beauty of this series, it quickly becomes apparent that Kyoko has no intention of being the sad victim. She is the epitome of a woman's scorn.

Kyoko's fierce awakening after Shō's betrayal sets the stage for some really funny artwork and developments. Here angry and thirst for revenge is so intense that it's aura incites fear in everyone that stands in it's way.
When her original dream, which is the psychological dispensation of so many women, about her prince and her royal wedding collapsed so did a piece of her humanity and ability to love. It was here that I felt that this series really had something to offer. Here is a before and after of Kyoko to express just how determined she became to exact her revenge.

With her new image Kyoko set's out prepared to do battle against the injustice of being denied her fairytale.
However it is the loss of that fairytale and her ability to love that she must find again. Skip beat! is a fun and well animated new romance/comedy to come of Japan this fall. I'm looking forward to following this series till the end.
The character design and the music also add to help make this series unique and interesting. If you like drama with a lot of comedy then I think you will love skip beat. "Hyped" on 11/01/08
 After Thought
Even though I was really enjoying this series, I made the decision not finish it because I was almost sure that this would be a title that would probably get released in the region 1 market. After waiting for quite a while this has yet to develop even though this is an obvious choice with it's solid character development and interesting story. If you still want to watch it you can still find it streaming on Crunchyroll. This is a series I need to get back to and finish.

10-15-2008 to 03-18-2009
"The Hype" for this week is "Michiko To Hatchin" And here is the Offical Japanse site. I like to start off this week by stating from the information given thus far, to my best guess I believe this New Anime is supposed to take place in Brazil. At least that is where one of the main charters Michiko escapes from a female prison. Whether the second half of this story about the young Hana could be up for debate, but I don't know why they'd switch countries. I noticed that "Casey Brienza" a reviewer for ANN stated that this Anime uses a cross between Japanese and Spanish. This really confuses me because they speak mostly Portuguese in Brazil. She also goes on to state that she felt it looked like it was in Mexico. Not a typeO. However the Fansubbers seem to believe that this series takes place in Brazil too.

I must say that the Jazzy music that Casey talks about does sound as if it had some Brazilian influence too and on this poster for this series it says Michiko E Hatchin which is Portuguese not Spanish, although it could be both. Finally, Carlos Santano's another reviewer from ANN confirms my belief that this story does in fact take place in South America which would point to the fansubbers and my ear for music being correct in placing this series in Brazil. What does it matter? Well in my opinion it matters a lot because the feel of this Anime is uniquely Brazilian which is different than Latino as so many other people would like to clump them in together. Moving Along, I must say that this series has a good reason for being this weeks "Hype" pic.

This Cinderella/Prisoner 701 Scorpion mix is yet another amazing production to come out of Japan this fall. Sayo Yamamoto debut as a head director is full of promise. Yamamoto is no stranger to smash hits as he has directed episodes of Samurai Champloo, Eureka Seven and Ergo Proxy. Shinichiro Watanabe himself the director of "Cowboy Bebop" is lending a hand for his friend by producing the Music, (which is great so far) and Seiki Tamura the art director of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya and the Background art director of the Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Princess Mononoke and The Grave of the Fireflies helps make this production definitely something that needs to be "Hyped".


MichiKo Marandoro

This Hot and Sexy dangerous babe is not to be taken lightly. In the beginning of this series she escapes from a prison and manages to get away. Handy with a gun she makes short work of the Helicopter chasing her. Not wasting anytime she Robs a bank the next day. This character will prove to be very dynamic if she stays true to her archetype. While she is a tough woman her rescueing of her child shows possibly a softer side. If you could turn Clint Eastwood into a Sexy Braxilian lady then you'd have Michiko.

Hana Morenos or Marandoro

Hana is more then likely going to be the star of this tale about an Abused adopted child....

Meet here really violent and beautiful criminal mother. I must say the extent of the abuse by her adopted family is very graphic and sad and it complements the life of here mother who was also a prisoner. The culprits of Hana's torment are Pedro her Stepfather.

An Evil priest if you will.

Then there is his wife Joanna.
Whom is the evil stepmother from Cinderella almost to a tee.

And then there are here two step siblings Maria and Gabriel, too of the most deviant and horrible children I've seen. Everyone in this family seems to be a masochist. Not sure if there is a double meaning her about religious people especially Catholics but there definitely could be a tie in.
Now that you've met the characters of this first episode and heard a little about it, I'd like to point out that the end of this first episode is really the beginning of a journey that we the viewers are going to have to wait to find out what happens. I personally am going to stick around to watch this one. It is easily one of the most artistically unique and culturally fun animes of this season. I say this hype feature is worth four out of five stars for potential and respect of it's creators.

I just cant resist here is another pic of Michiko, how can you not love an anime with a woman this cool.

After Thoughts
Ultimately this was the best series of 2008 Fall Line-up.  It's fresh and fun musical composition along with it's intense emotional ups and downs added a level of humanity to this art form that is rarely achieved.  It successfully captured the feel of  City of God but was able to move beyond that movie sense of patriarchal mania. In fact this animated series was extremely feminist and at moments I was taken back with it's beautiful moral and message of family, poverty and the need to be loved. 

Story: A+
Art / Animation: A
Music: A+
Character Design: A+
Voice Acting: A

10-07-08/ 12-23-08

From the director of "Death Note" comes this weeks Hype Spotlight "Kurozuka". This anime's opener was full of interesting developments and great artistic ability. As I am not the man of Manga, I will be explaining this episode through the eyes of a first timer. What can I tell you? I can tell you that the art work is amazing and that there are tons of samurai zombies and evil demons. While watching the first episode I couldn't help but notice just how much this title reminded me of Ninja Scroll. Why? It a lot to do with the style of drawing and the flow and pacing of this series. It doesn't hurt that it has a lot of sword play either. Here is the story line of the firs episode in a nut shell.

Minamoto Yoshitsune (Kuro) is the main Character. The opening of this work starts off in the ruins of major modern city but then quickly jumps into Kuro running for his life through a forest in what seems to be a much earlier time period. Behind him are a group of evil zombie Ninja Assassins that were sent by his eldest brother who just ascended to the throne of Kamakura . He makes short work of them with help of Benkai his servent and they both venture towards what looks like a house off in the distance.

Here is one of the Zombie Assassins mentioned.

It is at the house that they venture off to the the main plot of this new Anime is revealed. A beautiful women named Kuromitsu offers them shelter as long as they don't look into the back room. Kuro is instantly enchanted by her beauty.

Unfortunately Kuromitsu holds a dark secret. She is actually a vampire and can not die. It is here that this dark and bloody love story truly begins. The ending of this work makes it pretty apparent that we can expect this series to venture into the future soon enough into what looks like a post apocalyptic world. I'm am eager to find out what happens next in this promising work. Highlander meets Ninja Scroll with a twist of Brahm Stokers Dracula. Sounds very interesting. As a added bonus this episodes offers tons of fight sequences with plenty of blood. It also offers a lot of evil imagery.

I can't help but give this fun and bloody horror/samurai/cyberpunk/romance hybrid five stars for being just the type of Anime that I like. It looks like it has a lot to develop and work with, which means it will be real hard to get board with this one.

While this series was very interesting at first it did begin to suffer in the middle. It basically began to loose focus and perspective and began to become a bit boring. However, whatever flaws the middle had where dispelled at the end when the confusion of the jumping time sequences began to come together.  One of the pluses for me with this series was the soundtrack, which was as eclectic and schizophrenic as the series.

Story: B
Art / Animation:B+
Character Design: B
Voice Acting: B
Music: A
Overall: B

10-01-08 /12-31-08
Yes ladies and gentlemen October is here once again and with it another entirely new line up of Anime programming is coming and has come out in Japan. The Fall line up includes Hyakko, whose first episode I must say was hilarious and full of potential.Official cite

The Characters.....

Lead Character (Nonomura Ayumi) The innocent, absent minded sweat character.

(Iizuka Tatsuki) The beautiful Snob!!!

(Kageyama Torako) The Crazy blond with killer Karate skills and a rebellious attitude.

And finally (Saotome Suzume)Who is super strong and a little scary/mysterious.

In it's first episode these four girls meet up while lost looking for there class in there new High School. (They are Freshmen) However apparently this High School is so big and confusing that these four are having major difficulties finding there way around. During their search, amongst finding each other they also happen to get into a few hilarious hi jinks.

If this show stays true to this opening episode then the artwork, the voice acting and story line all seem very funny and interesting. I'm just gonna have to add another series to my list of must watch. (10/04/08)

Update:  Basically this is one of the series that didn't make my initial cut in the 2008 Fall Line-Up. 06/21/10.

Aired:Oct 2, 2008 to Mar 26, 2009

Well since the New Fall line up has just begun in Japan. This weeks "The Hype" will feature another title that I feel is worthy. Plus, I noticed that Animenewsnetwork hadn't gotten to it yet, because it was subbed whilst they slept. Lucky for NewTypeZone members I'm a vampire and decided to beat them too it. I guess this makes this NewTypesZones first exclusive feature in "The Hype". It is based and named after a 2006 shōnen manga magazine Monthly GFantasy, also later picked up by Square Enix called "Kuroshitsuji". At first glance I almost immediately thought "Clamp" but soon realized that this was not even close. While dark with sophisticated humor this Anime stays truer to the actual horror genre, which was not surprising considering it's director was Toshiya Shinohara, who is no stranger to the genre with three Inyuasha movies under his belt and the first episode of Samurai Deeper Kyo, which was my favorite episode in the series because if it's disturbingly frighting and interesting portrayal of death and destruction delivered by evil paranormal powers. This First Scene in Kuroshitsuji reminded of just that. A floating shounen boy draped in a red robe making a deal with demon.

The Demon Just happens to take the form of a crow at first and the deal is struck. The young Master....

Ciel Phantomhive

Makes deal with the with a Demon Named Sebastian Michaelis who is to become his Butler and Bodyguard. Ironically this demonic portrayal is often very dark but his features are incredibly bischounen. One could say that there is a bit of Yaoi fan service.

But for at least this first episode this fan service is accented with a very disturbingly evil undercurrent of sadistic events and twisted dialogue. However among the deeply demented bishounen darkness, there are some other surprisingly normal characters that act as comic relief.

Going from left to right there is Bard the household cook who really can't cook at all, Meirin is the clumsy maid, and Finian the Gardner who Sebastian thinks is a moron because he keeps killing the all the plants he touches.

Lastly in this episode there is character named Tanaka who is the House Steward but really plays the most insignificant role in this series.

Update:  I was really enjoying this series up episode 10 and then stalled. I do plan on finishing this one when it comes out in Region 1. Stick around and you will notice that I preview a lot of series and wait to finish them when they are released in my region. It's basically a way to keep me interested and continually supporting the industry.

To Aru Majutsu no Index
Aired: Oct 4, 2008 to Mar 19, 2009
Recently Licensed in R1 Dvd region by FUNimation
Imagine a world that is filled with scientifically enhanced human beings that posses superhuman abilities placed in a new future setting. However that isn't all, this series also throws magic into the scheme of things. After watching most of the New series that have just come out in Japan I can't help but feel that this series grabs me as being the most imaginative and interesting story yet. The action sequences are interesting and if you haven't read the manga then probably very confusing. I know I was asking myself through the beginning, What the hell is going on? But it was this confusion and erratic pace coupled with upbeat techno beats that made this Anime something that just stands out from the rest. Why? Lets start with the Characters.
Tōma Kamijō
So far in this first episode Toma seems like a somewhat lovable character that is forever down on his luck. In the beginning when he is being chased by some thugs he tries to help out a girl that was seemingly being picked on, Only to come to realize this girl is far from helpless and in reality Toma was attempting to save those bullies from being hurt by.... Mikoto Misaka a Level 5 esper or Psychokinetic energy user. Her ability is electricity and she is one of the main protagonists and co-heroin in this series.
Not long after we realize the full extent of Mikoto Misaka's esper powers do we realize that Tomo has a very special power of his own. While he looks helpless and is officially thought to be a level Zero the weakest level of esper, his special power is "Imagine Killer or Breaker". He can dispel or negate all magic, psychic or divine powers. However this also means that his ability also makes him have terrible luck.
Finally the last character introduced to us in this episode is "Index"
Index suddenly appears draped over the side of Tomo's balcony one morning. A few funny moment ensue with there introduction and we find out that she is called Index because she is storing the Index-Librorum-Prohibitorum which is 103.000 magical texts. Needless to say, this Anime has a lot going on and from this first episode I don't see how it could get boring. I'm glad to say that this Anime is worth all the hype. I give it four and half stars out of five because it is fresh, original enough and the characters seem very interesting. This one has left me drooling for more. Official Cite.
This was one of the series that I did end up finishing.  
Story: B
Art: B+
Character Design: C
Music: B
Overall: B-


In this weeks "The Hype", Ga Rei Zero will be under the Spotlight. Ga Rei Zero is, you guessed it, a prequel to Ga Rei the manga created by Segawa Hajime. So if there is anyone that is confused, no worries the story arc will eventually end up where the manga begins. At least that is what we are supposed to believe. I can't say that I wasn't a little confused myself after the first few episodes even though I haven't read the manga the Wiki does a pretty good job of summing it up. Consider yourself to have been warned, if you start reading the manga or the wiki article expect to spoil the anime. Or not, it could just fill in some missing gaps you've been wondering about. Now here is were things start to get confusing. This new series starts in reverse. What do I mean? I mean that the sequence of events, not the episodes, are told backwards. A few basic settings to Anime are that the spirit world is very real. Lets introduce some of the characters. I'm going to start with with.....

Kagura Tsuchimiya: She is the Heroine of this story and wields a powerful spiritual sword which contains a powerful spirit named Byakuei Shiro, which is a huge white dragon.

Gagaku Tsuchimiya:

The Byakuei Shiro is seen here with Kagura's father Gagaku who originally posses Byakuei. Kagura's first sword is an exorcist sword named Michael 12, which will later pass to "Kensuke" her love interest and the supposed lead character. However either I'm blind or stupid or this character hasn't yet appeared in Ga Rei Zero. I'm thinking he has either yet to emerge or the animated version has decided to leave him out. I've even checked the Official site for characters and his name is not yet mentioned. Since this story is evolving backwards, I can only think that he will be revealed later in the series. This is one of the many aspects which make this series interesting. We begin to meet the main characters as it continues instead of the first episode.

Yomi Isayama: This character become one of the chief antagonists to this story thus far. She was Kagura's friend and treated Kagura as her sister and sometimes a little more. She is eventually drawn to the dark side, if you will, by the power of an evil "sesshouseki"( stones that posses great spiritual powers). Yomi carries a powerful sword with a very strong spiritual beast named Ranguren/Nue.

Noriyuki Izuna: This character is a major player. He posses "Kudagetsune", which are spirit foxes. He is very powerful and perverted at times. Yomi was betrothed to him by her father in order to form a strong bond between the Izuna and Isayama families. Needless to say they fight a lot and Noriyuki is always trying to grope Kagura which often has painful consequences.

Kazuki Sakuraba: This Character is the comic relief. His fighting capabilities include the use of two hidden machine guns in which he also uses for melee attacks.

This series has many supporting characters including an implied homosexual tough guy named Kouji Iwahata(Top Left) (Ayame Jinguuji or Iris)(Top Right) is the chief of the Ministry of Environments Supernatural Disaster Countermeasures Division (SDCD) (A major governmental organization in which most of the key players in this story are). There is another organization that is run by the Ministry of Defense called the Supernatural Disaster Prevention Agency (SDPA). This governmental organization sustains heavy casualties in the first episode and loses most of the characters that are introduced in the first episode, which include their two main characters Toora and Natsuki(bottom).

As a whole the feel of this anime starts of very confusing and does not pretend to explain. If you are reading the Manga then you are well aware or a least you are guessing where this Anime might go. However as I have already mentioned there are inconsistencies that are slowly being developed with each new episode. For now though each episode has been interesting and even tragic.

Art: A-
Music: B
Story: C+
Voice Acting: B
Overall: B

Yasuhiro Yoshiura
For this weeks "The Hype" I'd like to switch it up a little and spotlight a Director instead of series that "Shocked the Japanese animation world" with the release of a twenty three minute OVA in 2006 called "Pale Cocoon". This story was so powerful and thought provoking that it made Yasuhiro Yoshiura instantly the new animation creator in Japan to look out for. It's shock was not unlike the reaction to "Voices of a Distant Star" created by Makoto Shinkai. It's dark and sterile post apocalyptic view of the future for mankind was both mind opening and terrifyingly beautiful. Not since the live action movies such as "Blade Runner" or the "Matrix" have I been confronted with such an interesting perspective and image of our possible future. I'm not even going to spoil the story line for you because every facet is important to the effectiveness of the plot line. But here are few still shots so you can get the idea.

Yasuhiro Yoshiura's next work's are actually still airing, but not in the type of series that you would expect. He has been creating a Online Net Anime (ONA) Called Eve no Jikan (Time of Eve). These new productions seem to be based on an idea that he developed from his first animation project in 2002 that went by the name of "Mizu no Kotoba" (Aquatic Language), which involves a cafe medley of human characters, each with small parts that combine into a single conversation that revolves around the idea of the robotic technology eventually being able to mimic human behavior. Yoshiura takes this idea and run's with it in Eve no Jikan offering a possible future where humans and cybernetic androids live side by side. As of 11/19/08 only two fifteen minute episodes are available from Crunchyroll who has a deal with the Production company releasing his work (Studio Rikka and Directions, Inc.). As of Yet ANN has not released any new info on when it's third episode "KOJI & RINA" will be released however this is straight from the official Time of Eve website, which is an amazing piece of flash programming in itself. Episode three will be premiering on Yahoo Japan on December 1st and the english version on Crunchyroll shortly after, the remaining three episodes of the 6 part series will be released later. Some cool info on this Project is that the first episode of Time of Eve was the second most viewed anime video on Yahoo Japan and the second episode which released in October 08 placed fourth.

Here are the two main characters Rikuo and Sammy his android maid.

This is the picture of the waitress that is in the "Time of Eve" cafe, her name is "Nagi". It is unclear whether she is an android or not, but by the rules of the cafe which state all people and androids are to be treated the same here origins are in question.

Here is another pic of the cafe but this time with Nagi and Akiko.

The last Character that I'm going to mention is Rikuo's sister Naoko with Rikuo and Sammy in the Background.

As far as new directors go, I think that Yasuhiro Yoshiura is one to add to list of animators that there is something to hype about. I'm glad I discovered his work and am proud to be sharing all this information with all of you. I hope you enjoy his work as much as I have.

So Far I must say that Pale Cocoon has been my favorite of his work earning him overall an "A" in all of my categories. Art, Story, Voice Acting, and Music. As for his first work "Mizu no Kotoba", it was really very short but ultimately very interesting. Still I'd give that work and Overall score of a "B" because it was still a little rough on the edges. "Eve no Jikan" has the makings to be an amazing series following in the footsteps of Spielberg's live action movie A.I., I think that this series could be a masterpiece. So far I give this piece and "A" overall. 11/19/08

So for the first new hype of the New Year, the best series or rather first episode of the Winter line-up that I've seen that really surprised me was RideBack. This series is based off Tetsurō Kasahara manga that has been published in the Ikki monthly magazine starting in March 2004. It's last publication was it's nine volume in december 2008. So it can't be said that this manga has had too much success, but enough to keep it going and get it's own animated version produced by Madhouse. Madhouse went with a rising new star Atsushi Takahashi to direct this new series. It must be noted though that Takahashi worked as the assistant director of Spirited Away and Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi which means that he has had some very good tutelage. So it is no wonder that his first solo director debut's first episode turned out amazing. Honestly this was one of the series this winter that I wasn't really expecting much from but am glad to be disappointed. It's artistic take to life, seen through it's main Ballerina character was very surprising. I was not expecting such a dynamic and beautifully interesting leading lady, who already has me eating from her hand.

Rin Ogata

As for the plot of this story it runs through the setting fairly quickly at the very beginning. Basically the major war occurs around 2025.

A resistance group going by the name of GGP took over the world using superior technology including ridebacks it appears. Ok, ya I'm thinking there should be some more elaboration, since this series does seem to be headed toward political conflict. The society that flowed the aftermath of the war was a what the translation describes as world order. I'm thinking it means that a single government ruled all nations after this seemingly super world war. A "New World Order" if you will. Within this back drop of violence our main character Rin is the daughter of famous Ballerina and follows in here foot steps. As one might expect this is never easy and can cloud ones own identity. It is the same for Rin and I'm getting the feeling that show is going to have to deal a lot with a girl searching for herself. It definitely turns into a college drama that happens to involve these motorbike Mechs. While the story and plot of this series are anything but amazing, the CGI and animation of this production are stunning.

Another aspect of this series that has turned out to be fantastic is the music design. It blends contemporary and classical music in order to create mood effectively. But most of all the character design of Rin is probably the most intriguing aspect of this new series. It is quite apparent that Takahashi has learned a thing or two from being around Miyazaki. This series deserves to be hyped and I hope it continues on build of this amazing first episode.

Art: A+
Music: A
Character Design: A
Story: C
Voice Acting: B-
Overall: B+