Halo Legends

Halo Legends is a collection of seven short anime films set in the Halo science-fiction universe. Financed by Halo franchise overseer 343 Industries, the stories were created by six Japanese production houses: Bones, Casio Entertainment, Production I.G., Studio 4°C, and Toei Animation. Shinji Aramaki, creator and director of Appleseed and Appleseed Ex Machina, serves as the project’s creative director. Warner Bros. released Legends on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on February 16, 2010.

The idea for an anime compilation existed for years before there was momentum for the project. 343 creative director Frank O’Connor produced story outlines or finished scripts that the production houses animated in a variety of styles.

To oversee development of the entire Halo franchise, Microsoft created an internal division, 343 Industries, to manage the Halo brand. Frank O’Connor, 343’s creative director, said that such a move was vital: “If you look at how George Lucas held on to Star Wars, not just to make money from action figures but to control the direction the universe went in, you can see why we think it’s pretty vital.”

Halo Legends

Halo Legends had origins in the 2006 Marvel Comics tie-in, The Halo Graphic Novel; O’Connor said that the idea of an anime compilation existed for years before there was momentum for the project. Wanting to tell smaller stories in a different format than video games and novels and in different art styles, O’Connor said that anime was a natural fit. An additional consideration was that 343 Industries felt that the Japanese style of narrative fit the stories well. Most of the animation studios Microsoft approached were available for the project. Most studios were “afraid” of creating their own stories, even if they were familiar with the series, so O’Connor sent them possible story treatments. Microsoft was deeply involved in making sure story details were correct and writing the scripts for the stories—O’Connor estimated that 50% of the dialogue in the final products were verbatim from the original scripts. While all the stories save one are considered canon, O’Connor noted that some discrepancies were the cause of artistic interpretation.

The animation studios were given wide latitude in their presentation. “We realized very early on [that Halo] could take interpretation,” said O’Connor, saying that the look-and-feel of the universe persisted even through differing artistic styles. In developing their stories and styles, the anime studios were supplied with access to Halo ’s story bible and art assets.

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Highschool of the Dead

Highschool of the Dead is a Japanese manga series written by Daisuke Satō and illustrated by Shōji Satō. The story follows a group of high school students caught in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. The series has been serialized in Fujimi Shobo’s Monthly Dragon Age since September 2006 and as of March 2013, the series is on hiatus. The first tankōbon volume was released by Kadokawa Shoten on March 1, 2007, with a total of seven volumes available in Japan as of April 25, 2011. The series received an English-language release by Yen Press, with the first volume being released on January 25, 2011.

One of the few male characters, Takashi

A 12-episode anime adaptation, produced by Madhouse and covering the first four volumes, aired in Japan from July 5, 2010 to September 20, 2010.Madhouse also produced an original video animation, which was released in 2011. Sentai Filmworks released an English dub of the OVA and the anime series on DVD and Blu-ray in North America.

Highschool of the Dead is set in present day Japan, beginning as the world is struck by a deadly pandemic that turns humans into zombies, euphemistically referred to by the main characters as “Them”.

The story follows a group of high school students (and the school’s nurse) as they deal with a worldwide catastrophic event known as the “Outbreak”. As the cast tries to survive the zombie apocalypse, they must also face the additional threats of societal collapse, in the form of dangerous fellow survivors, and the possible decay of their own moral codes. Starting from the high school, the students escape into town where they must deal with a corrupt teacher and his students. They check their homes for survivors, and pick up a little girl and a dog. Later, they hold up at a mall, travel through a police station, and eventually make their way to an elementary school that is supposedly a safe zone.

 

Andy Hanley of the UK Anime Network summaries the first manga volume as: “Nothing ground-breaking here, but a volume of mindless fun that brings all of the gory entertainment of a zombie apocalypse to the printed page.” Chris Lanxon of Wired UK praises its production quality despite having no single original element.

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Space Dandy

One of the newest anime on the black is the Space Dandy, a 2014 Japanese anime series produced by Bones. The anime has been licensed by Funimation in North America, Madman Entertainment in Australia and by Anime Limited in the United Kingdom. The series premiered in the United States before Japan on January 4, 2014 at 11:30pm on Adult Swim’s Toonami block. The series began airing in Japan on Tokyo MX at 11:00pm on January 5, 2014, followed by TV Osaka, TV Aichi, BS Fuji and AT-X. The series is also simulcasted in South East Asia at the same time as Japan on Animax Asia. A manga adaptation is currently running in Square Enix’s Young Gangan magazine since December 20, 2013. The 13 episodes of the first season aired from January to March 2014, and the second half of the season premiered on July 5, 2014.

Space Dandy

The space opera series follows the misadventures of Dandy, an alien hunter who is “a dandy guy in space,” in search of undiscovered or rare aliens with his robot assistant QT and a cat-like alien named Meow. Though he and his crew act with the best intentions, despite being normally dim-witted and next to useless, Dandy is unaware that he is being pursued by Dr. Gel of the Gogol Empire.

Throughout the series, with the final episode explaining the reason of its loose continuity, some episodes take place in an alternative universe where the main protagonists and antagonists end up dying, getting turned to zombies, or getting trapped in different periods of time or dimension. There are also Easter eggs, in the form of references to older science fiction, music, and anime.

 

The anime is directed by Shingo Natsume, with Shinichiro Watanabe serving as general director, and produced by Bones. The anime began airing on Adult Swim’s Toonami programming block in North America on January 4, 2014, one day before its Japanese premiere on Tokyo MX on January 5. The anime has been licensed by Funimation in North America, Madman Entertainment in Australia, and by Anime Limited in the United Kingdom. The series’ opening theme is “Viva Namida”  performed by Yasuyuki Okamura and the ending theme is “X-Jigen e Yōkoso” performed by Etsuko Yakushimaru.

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Gundam Build Fighters Try

Gundam Build Fighters Try is a 2014 Japanese science fiction anime television series based on Sunrise’s long-running Gundam franchise, and a sequel to the 2013 series Gundam Build Fighters. Like its predecessor, and in contrast to other Gundam series, Gundam Build Fighters Try features a tournament-based story-line where Gunpla models are built, customized, and battled.

The cast and mech of the Try Fighters

Seven years after the events of Gundam Build Fighters, the rules of Gunpla have been renewed, and the sport becomes even more popular. However, one academy is left behind in this change, and that was Seiho Academy, which Sei Iori once attended. The only member of the Gunpla Battle Club remaining is Fumina Hoshino, who befriends Sekai Kamiki, a boy who has been training with his master in martial arts and the young Gunpla builder Yuuma Kousaka, and together, they attempt to secure a place in the world championship as the “Try Fighters” .

Shortly after the Arista that produces Plavsky particles is destroyed in the final episode of the previous season, Plavsky Particle System Engineering (PPSE) is acquired by Yajima Trading while American scientist and Gunpla fighter Nils Nielsen and his girlfriend Caroline Yajima rediscover Plavsky particles aboard the International Space Station. With new Plavsky particles produced, the sport of Gunpla Battle continues worldwide.

In Gundam Build Fighters Try, the one-on-one battle format is replaced by battles between teams of three Gunpla fighters and is divided into two categories: one for players under 19 years old and one for older players.

 

The series is directed by Shinya Watada and written by Yousuke Kuroda, who wrote the first series. Character designs were done by both Kenichi Ohnuki and Suzuhito Yasuda. The series was officially unveiled by Bandai on May 15, 2014, and began airing on TV Tokyo in Japan while streaming on YouTube in limited areas internationally on October 8, 2014. A novel spinoff is currently running in Hobby Japan starting in December 2014.

 

Image by gundam.wikia.com

Kantai Collection

Another new series that has been stirring up new fans is Kantai Collection, also known as KanColle for short. It is a 2015 Japanese television anime series created by Diomedéa, based on the game of the same name by Kadokawa Games. The series was announced in September 2013, and began airing on January 7, 2015, on Tokyo MX and KBS, and later on other TV stations.

The series features Fubuki as the main character, with the storyline based on her point of view. In a world where humanity faces the threat of the abyssal fleet which has taken over the seas, special human girls who don weaponized outfits and possess the spirit of historical naval vessels known as kanmusu are the only ones capable of countering them. The kanmusu live together at a naval base, where they spend their everyday lives as they train for battle.

 

Kantai Collection Sixth destroyer Corps

The series is directed by Keizō Kusakawa, with the script written by Jukki Hanada. The anime series is planned to feature the voice cast from the original game.Crunchyroll streams the series in North America, Central and South America, most of Europe (excluding German-speaking territories), South Africa, the Middle East and North Africa, while Madman Entertainment will be responsible for localisation in Australia and New Zealand. The show’s premiere screening event took place at Shinjuku Piccadilly on December 27, 2014. The opening theme song is “Miiro” performed by Akino from bless4, whilst the ending theme is “Fubuki” by Yukana Nishizawa.

Fubuki arrives at the naval base, where she meets other girls that she will eventually fight alongside. Despite lacking adequate combat training, she is recommended into the Third Torpedo Squadron by the admiral, and quickly finds herself sortied into battle. Upon being rescued by Akagi in a dangerous situation, Fubuki strives to do her best in order to train, with the hopes of eventually being able to fight alongside Akagi.

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Fafner in the Azure

Gundam fans looking for more awesome mech designs should watch Fafner in the Azure. It is a 26-episode anime series produced by Xebec. The story focuses on a group of children who pilot the titular Fafners in an escalating war against giant aliens called Festum. The anime is subtitled Dead Aggressor. A television special subtitled RIGHT OF LEFT aired on December 29, 2005, and a feature film subtitled HEAVEN AND EARTH had a theatrical release in Japan on December 25, 2010.

Character designs look eerily like Gundam SEED

The character designs were created by Hisashi Hirai, who is also known for his work on Infinite Ryvius, s-CRY-ed,Gundam SEED, and Gundam SEED Destiny. Tow Ubukata, creator of works like Le Chevalier D’Eon and Mardock Scramble, provided scripting for the latter half of the series. The mecha designer was Naohiro Washio.

At the beginning of the story, much of the world has been destroyed by the Festum and the remote Japanese island of Tatsumiyajima has only remained unscathed by virtue of an advanced cloaking shield. The island’s young people continue with their daily lives unaware of these events, but after many years of peace a lone Festum discovers Tatsumiyajima and attacks. The adults activate Tatsumiyajima’s hidden defense systems and attempt to repel the attacker but to no avail. Many of them are killed by the Festum in a process of assimilation. In desperation, they order the deployment of a Mecha called the Fafner Mark Elf, but its pilot is killed en route to the hangar. Left with no further options, they send a young boy named Kazuki Makabe as the replacement pilot assisted by Soushi Minashiro from within the Siegfried System.

The Festum is destroyed, but with Tasumiyajima’s whereabouts exposed, the adults choose to relocate the island. Production is accelerated on additional Fafner units and more children are recruited to pilot them. It is also revealed that the cloaking was not meant to conceal Tatsumiyajima from only the Festum, but from the rest of humanity who would seek to use its technology in the greater war against them.

Image by www.gopixpic.com

 

Psycho-Pass

One of the newest hot series to come to anime is Psycho-Pass. It is a Japanese anime television series that was produced by Production I.G, directed by Naoyoshi Shiotani and written by Gen Urobuchi. The series was aired on Fuji TV’s Noitamina programming block between October 2012 and March 2013. The story takes place in an authoritarian future dystopia, where omnipresent public sensors continuously scan the Psycho-Pass of every citizen in range. The sensors measure mental state, personality, and the probability that the citizen will commit crimes, alerting authorities when someone exceeds accepted norms. To enforce order, the officers of the Public Safety Bureau carry hand weapons called Dominators. The story follows Akane Tsunemori, Shinya Kogami, and other members of Unit One of the Public Safety Bureau’s Criminal Investigation Division, and the crimes they investigate using Dominators.

One of the trending animes of 2014

Psycho-Pass originated from Production I.G.’s interest in making a successor to Mamoru Oshii’s achievements. The series was inspired by several live-action films. Chief director Katsuyuki Motohiro aimed to explore psychological themes in society’s youth using dystopian storylines. Several rules were used to focus on making the dystopia that the characters live in.

The series was licensed by Funimation in North America. A second season began airing in October 2014, with an animated film released in January 2015. A manga adaptation has been in serialization in Shueisha’s Jump Squaremagazine and several novels, including an adaptation and prequels to the original story, have been published.

Psycho-Pass was inspired by several Western films, most notably L.A. Confidential. Director Naoyoshi Shiotani cited several other influences, includingMinority Report, Gattaca, Brazil and Blade Runner; the latter shared several similarities with the anime series. Before the making of the series, Urobuchi insisted on using a Philip K. Dick-inspired, dystopian narrative. The psychological themes were based on the time Shiotani watched Lupin III during his childhood because he thought about adding “today’s youth trauma” to the series. The rivalry between the main characters was based on the several dramas the staff liked. Other voice actors have been credited in the making of the series because of the ways they added traits to the characters.

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Tokyo Ghoul

One of the hottest and newest anime today, Tokyo Ghoul started as a manga series created by Sui Ishida. It was serialized in Shueisha’s seinen manga magazine Weekly Young Jumpfrom September 2011 to September 2014. As of August 2014, the manga series has been compiled in fourteen tankōbon volumes. The sequel titled Tokyo Ghoul:re started serialization in the same magazine in October 2014 and a prequel titled Tokyo Ghoul: JACK can be found online on Jump Live. The Tokyo Ghoul series received a 12-episode anime television series adaptation by studio Pierrot. The anime first aired on Tokyo MX and ran from July to September 2014 while a second season is in production. The licensing of the anime series for streaming and home video distribution in North America is owned by Funimation.

Tokyo Ghoul

The world of the series is set in Japan where humans are preyed on by ghouls, creatures that appear human but only consume human flesh. The plot of Tokyo Ghoul revolves around Ken Kaneki, a college student who encounters a woman named Rize Kamishiro in a coffee shop called Anteiku. The two of them share a common interest in books and this had lead to a date. While walking Rize home, Kaneki is suddenly attacked by her who turns out to be a ghoul. As she is about to finish him off, Rize is crushed by falling steel beams. Kanuki is rished to the hospital where the doctor transplanted Rize’s organs into Ken in order to save him. This has caused him to be half-human-half ghoul and forced him to live as such. This meant interacting with the apparently organized ghoul society and its conflicting factions.

The prequel series, Tokyo Ghoul: JACK revolves around Kishou Arima and Taishi Fura who are characters from the main series. They became acquainted when they had decided to join forces to investigate the death of Taishi Fura’s friend by the hands of a ghoul. The investigation eventually leads to Taishi following the path of Arima by joining the CCG or Commission of Counter Ghoul which is the federal agency in charge of dealing with grisy crimes related to ghouls.

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