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Ima, kore ga hoshiin da! - Superstitious Voodoo - A look back

I am a superstitious person. So, a week and a half ago when I sat down to begin this column, I had a strange feeling that things wouldn't go right. What's the big deal? Well, for those keeping track, this marks the 13th regular article for this column. Just as I sat down the first time, my phone rings with unpleasant news from my brother. Well, now it's a week later and I can finally finish up this column. To help speed things up, and help me get back into the swing of things, I've decided to take a look back at some of the titles I've covered in the first 3 months of this column.

In my inaugural column, I took a look at Sadamitsu, .hack//SIGN and Chobits. Of these 3, 2 have been announced as acquired for North American distribution. Sadamitsu, weighing in at only 10 episodes, has not been announced as acquired yet. Bandai announced the acquisition of .hack//SIGN at E3 while Pioneer showed off a trailer for Chobits at Anime Expo. Both shows are still airing in Japan, and with their popularity could see release in North America before the end of the year or early 2003. Chobits has quickly become a favorite of mine, with me even going out of my way to pick up the manga. .hack//SIGN is an intriguing series, but feels like its dragging out a plot that could have been told in only a few episodes. The story has me intrigued, so I will continue to watch until the end.

With my initial column, I attempted to play fortuneteller by giving my thoughts on who would acquire each series, and well, I'm still trying to decide if that is a useful feature of my column.

.hack//SIGN , I was totally off. Had I remembered that Bandai Japan is heavily involved with promotion of .hack//SIGN and its various merchandise, I would have had Bandai America as first choice. (In my next column, I did switch to Bandai as most likely to bring the series over.) As for Chobits, a slight misunderstanding of the Kodansha/Nelvana deal, lead me to say Nelvana had first choice. Of course, I did mention that Pioneer would be an ideal distributor, since it falls in line with a lot of the series they've released before. That one, I was half-right. As for Sadamitsu, I still feel it would be an ideal title for Bandai or ADV, but if I had to choose one, I'll go with ADV.

My next column touched on Tenchi Muyo GXP. Surprisingly there have been no announcements about this series coming to North America. The expectation is of course that Pioneer will be bringing over this series, because of their involvement in the rest of the Tenchi franchise as well as their previous relations with AIC. As this series has moved forward, a lot of things have become apparent. First, there was a bit of worry that GXP would be toned down a bit because it was felt that it was being built for North American broadcast. Tenchi fans take note as this series has proved to be even more outrageous than previous series. Fan Service galore as Yamada Seina and the women around him jump from one adventure to the next. Lots of teasing of guest appearances from the original Tenchi cast have kept many fans on their toes. Episode 17 will be the Mecca for many, as the entire OVA cast finally shows up. Although set around a rather tired plot line, GXP manages to keep me rolling as things just keep getting weirder and weirder.

I'll stick with my guns and say Pioneer is sure to have this one, but as for it airing on TV, well, there's going to be a lot of editing for afternoon television. Even toned down a bit, it will still be better for it to air on Adult Swim.

At Anime Expo, there were a couple of shows getting a bit of a push, but amazingly, no one seems to be biting. Actually, Onegai Teacher and Galaxy Angel seemed to be getting pushes from various Japanese industry people going back to Akon. Onegai Teacher, a 12 episode series, was hyped at Anime Expo thanks to the presence of its animation director, Hiroaki Gōda. It has enough of a following in Japan that an OVA episode is being created. I didn't make a guess at the time, so I will now. This would be an ideal title for Pioneer, again going to their previous experience with quirky love stories.

Galaxy Angel, having been through series 1 and series 2, saw a bit of action at Anime Expo, but again no announcement of acquisition. Its popularity in Japan is leading to the creation of a series 3. I'll stick with ADV picking this one up, with Pioneer as a backup.

One series I actually devoted an entire column to was Tokyo Underground. This series is visually stunning; with strong character designs and a flashy animation style taking cues from many motion pictures. The animation and scene setups all help create a strong dramatic tone for the whole series. Unfortunately, the story and actual characterizations of the cast are so derivative that the show is often painful to watch. When I first took a look at this series, I really couldn't decide how I felt about the show. Well, about halfway through the series now, I can honestly say, I can do without it. I was hoping for a major twist in the plotline, or some other subtle nuance to make me like this show, but I haven't seen it. At this point, I've stopped watching it, and probably won't buy this one when it comes to North America. Its visual style and fighting action are sure to make it attractive to North American distributors, so I fully expect it to get here eventually.

The last series I want to look back at is One Piece. Just in time for San Diego Comic Con, information leaked out about the upcoming preview issue of Shonen Jump that Viz will be giving away. With the manga running running as a regular feature of the magazine, One Piece will build on its existing fan base. With that, expect interest to rise in the Anime. The art style for One Piece is very different from stereotypical anime, with the action scenes rivaling those of Dragon Ball Z for length. The series is a long one at 100+ episodes, so it's a big commitment from any company that takes it on. For fans, this actually may present a problem as one company may pick up the first season of the series to test the waters. The rest of the episodes may wait in limbo while that company decides if they are worth picking up. With Dragon Ball Z coming to an end, and Dragon Ball GT not being that long of a series, FUNimation may be looking for another long action series to work on. And I honestly don't see Viz latching on to the Anime in addition to the manga. Viz has one long series they are putting a lot of hopes on, in Inu-yasha, so they probably aren't looking for another huge commitment series to push.

Of the 20+ series I've looked at in the last 3 months, nearly half have been licensed for distribution in North America. Strangely enough, the ones I thought were sure things have yet to be licensed. I guess I'll be investing in a new magic 8-ball for future columns! Well, next week, its back to things as usual. After my earth friendly column, I thought I would delve more into recent forays into the magical girl genre. So get your wands ready, and your magical transformation set! Until next time!

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