It’s the little things in life….

So I can’t help but get a little excited over the news of a new Dragon Ball Z special being show at this year’s Jump Festa in Japan…..at least the 13 year-old boy in me is drooling over it. It’s Weekly Jump’s 40th anniversary this year, and in celebration of the event most of the biggest manga series Shueisha is publishing right now are getting some sort of special animated feature this winter. This 30-minute or so episode takes place after the Majin Buu story in the manga and will feature some new characters (Vegeta’s little brother?!) and I think is written by Akira Toriyama himself (the original author of the manga).

 

In other news….I got around to watching the first two episodes of Shikabane Hime….and it is exactly how  I thought it would be. It is certainly not a series which breaks any new ground, but really, it doesn’t need to. The first two episodes are stand-alone stories which also give hints at an over-arching storyline with some mysterious villains. The ‘corpse princess’s origin isn’t revealed (far too early in the story for that) but the cast of characters is involving enough and the show is good at setting up a very creepy mood. I’m a coward when it comes to most horror movies, so few scenes actually managed to make me jump…though that isn’t saying much. The fights (the most important aspect of the series) are well done and Makina (the main character) fulfills the role of an emotionally-tortured, brutal but tender, fan service-y undead protagonist perfectly. And oh…the schoolgirl outfit.

 

Michiko and Hatchin. After watching the first episode….I gotta say that it might be the best show of the year. The direction is fantastic and the animation is gorgeous. The soundtrack is great as well, due in no small part because of Shinichiro Watanabe serving as music producer. Although Michiko doesn’t get much screentime, Hatchin gets quite a bit of development in the first episode. The majority of the episode focuses on Hatchin’s life at the orphanage where her parents left her. Her family at the orphanage are completely brutal to her and all she wants is some sort of escape from this life. An escape is exactly what she gets when Michiko crashes the party (literally) at the end of the episode. One thing which makes this series amazing is the facial expressions; they are carefully animated and depict levels of emotion which are mostly unseen in anime. Most importantly, they reflect the mood of the show — laid-back and very much capable of laughing at itself. This is great stuff.

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