Tokyo Anime Fair 2009 Blowout
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Mar 21st 2009

SATELIGHT

New Shows On Display:

Basquash! (airs 04-02) – A comedy-sci-fi-mecha-tournament mashup series about rival teams of robots who play street basketball.

Impressions:

Satelight's booth was big and impressive – they had a huge portion of it dedicated to Basquash!, which looks remarkably silly, but apparently that's intentional. The robots all wear giant Nike sneakers, for cripes' sake. They had a special stage where some voice idols showed up in costume to sing the song's opening theme, a display of sneakers and a scaled-down version of what looked like the hero robot. They also had a nifty 3D Basquash! presentation, which worked exactly like the 3D theaters you see in America now; although the CG animation in the series looked like it had a relatively low framerate, the 3D version of it looked pretty great. In spite of the deceptive kid-friendly look of the series, Satelite's company representative told us the show was intended for an older audience, perhaps in their 20's.

Also on display was Shugo Chara!, which had a bunch of cardboard cutouts of the cast and a section dedicated to a handful of artists rendering the characters in marker. Guin Saga was also featured (Satelight handled the animation production, with Aniplex managing the rest).


PRODUCTION I.G

New Shows On Display:

Basara (airs 04-01) – Historical action fantasy based on the popular PC game Sengoku Basara.

Eden of the East (airs 04-09) – An action thriller set in the near future; Japan is attacked by mysterious terrorists, and one girl visiting Washington DC is embroiled in an international plot.

Impressions:

Production I.G's booth was relatively small and had only a handful of brand new shows to promote (which isn't too different from most of the other major studios this year). On hand was Basara, which is clearly a big project for the studio; it's a fantasy action series based on a PC game set in feudal times. I.G had on hand a replica of samurai armor and a guy in full-on samurai regalia demonstrating in front of the booth. The trailer looked promising, albeit perhaps a bit too much like other shows in this genre.

Also mentioned was Eden of the East, a very promising new show that's set in an alternate future; it was described as a “cyber action” series, but looked like an intriguing and complicated thriller-drama. No trailer was on hand at IG's booth, but footage could be seen over at Fuji TV's location, the network that will be broadcasting the series next month.


GONZO

New Shows On Display:

Saki (airs 04-05) – A high school mahjongg club packed with bishojo endures the school year.

Shangri-La (airs 04-05) – Range Murata provides the character designs for this series about global warming turning Tokyo into the world's largest tropical metropolis, which sparks all sorts of chaos.

Impressions:

Gonzo's booth was suitably loud and flashy; they were promoting their upcoming Mah-jongg series Saki pretty heavily, with a number of pieces of promotional art and four linked Mah-jongg arcade cabinets set up in the back. Only a single poster was hung for their other new show, Shangri-La, which will be streamed on Crunchyroll and other sites a' la The Tower of Druaga (for which they had a full set of replica armor on hand).

Also in their merchandise cases were a handful of prototype Afro Samurai: Resurrection statues and action figures, as well as a ton of merchandise featuring the myriad female characters from Gonzo's other series.


TOEI ANIMATION

New Shows On Display:

Dragon Ball Kai (04-05) – A re-edited, remastered-for-HD version of Dragon Ball Z, now with 40 percent less filler and no more 15-episode fights.

Precure All-Stars – The latest iteration in the Pretty Cure magical girl series, this version promises to include the casts of all of the previous Precure series.

Impressions:

Toei's booth was huge indeed, with a big performance space (used during the business days as a place to parade costumed mascots around), a big merchandise section, a Dragon BallOne Piece department, and a segment exclusively for Precure All-Stars.

The Dragon BallOne Piece section was designed to promote the weekly hour that the two shows will inhabit, with Dragon Ball Kai airing a half-hour before One Piece. Included in the display was a small kiddie-sized version of the Going Merry, with seating for 4 small children, and a lighted Dragon Ball “power up” photo op where kids could have their pictures taken as though they were going Super Saiyan.

The Pretty Cure section was appropriately pink, with a ton of stuffed mascot dolls inhabiting a small garden and a large, elaborate foamboard display of the series' extensive cast, along with footage from the opening theme, which naturally featured the show's three newest magical girls in a choreographed dance routine. Oddly, the "dance" footage was all cel-shaded 3D animation, intercut with the traditional 2D animation. The result was a little awkward.

Next to all that was a display for Toei's “Nintea” figures, stylized representations of anime characters similar to Hasbro's “Mighty Muggs” line, with familiar faces from series like Kinnikuman, Dragon Ball, Gegege no Kitarō and Lupin III.


SHOPRO

New Shows On Display:

Crossgame (airs 04-05) – A sports romance-drama based on the popular long-running manga series.

Gokujo!! Mecha Mote Iinchou (airs 04-05) – A new series for girls that follows the lifestyle of a teenage girl, Mimi Kitagami, who wants to be the coolest student class president ever; the show focuses closely on modern fashion.

Impressions:

Sho-Pro's booth was largely dominated by the giant inflatable Pikachu that hovered overhead, and a mountain of character goods from both Pokémon and Doraemon lined the walls inside. A handful of items from the animated Clone Wars series (which is new to Japan) could be found, as well as a ton of merchandise from Sho-Pro's various shojo series.

The latest show they had to offer was Crossgame, a baseball romance drama, but no footage of the show was anywhere to be found. Mecha Mote Iinshou, a shojo series the Sho-Pro representative told us was aimed ‘squarely at teenage girls’, follows an energetic high school girl dealing with fashion and boys (and a hamster, according to the show's promotional images) and all the things high school girls deal with. Also represented was the second season of Hayate the Combat Butler, which is currently still airing on TV, and Penguin no Mondai, also in its second year, a gag anime about the trials of a penguin that has found a large crossover audience, originally aimed at young boys but now enjoys popularity among all age groups.


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