Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water

Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water is a Japanese animated television series inspired by the works of Jules Verne, particularly Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and the exploits of Captain Nemo. The series was created by NHK, Toho and Korad, from a concept of Hayao Miyazaki, and directed by Hideaki Anno of Gainax.

Nadia

The series centers around Nadia, a young girl of unknown origins, and Jean, a young French inventor with a big heart. Early in the story, the two protagonists are chased by Grandis Granva, Sanson, and Hanson, a group of jewel thieves who pursue Nadia for the blue jeweled pendant she possesses. After being rescued by Captain Nemo and his submarine, the Nautilus, the jewel thieves and the young protagonists join forces and participate in the struggle against the Neo-Atlantean forces, who seek to dominate the world.

In the process, Nadia and Jean save the world from violent domination by the Neo-Atlantean forces led by Gargoyle, explore worldly mysteries and the powers of the blue pendant, uncover Nadia’s hidden family ties, and ultimately discover the secret origins of Nadia.

In its original Japanese broadcast, it aired from 1990 to 1991 and ran for 39 episodes, and was distributed by ADV Films in the United States. ADV’s Anime Network has broadcast the series in the United States. Following the 2009 closure of ADV, Sentai Filmworks has re-licensed the anime series, and it was re-released on Blu-ray and DVD in March 2014.

This show’s origins date to the mid-1970s when Hayao Miyazaki was hired by Toho to develop a television series. One of these concepts was “Around the World in 80 days by Sea”, (adapted from Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea), in which two orphan children pursued by villains team up with Captain Nemo and the Nautilus. It was never produced, but Toho retained the rights for the story outline, while the animator reused elements from his original concept in later projects like Future Boy Conan and Castle in the Sky.

The series won a number of awards in the Animage Anime Grand Prix of 1991 including “Best Work”. The opening theme Blue Water was voted as best song, Jean, Sanson and Nemo were respectively voted as fourth, fifth and thirteenth best male character.

Image by mcmurtriewifaubion.blogspot.com

Skip Beat!

Skip Beat! is a Japanese shōjo manga by Yoshiki Nakamura. In Japan, the manga was first published in Hakusensha’s shōjo manga magazine Hana to Yume in February 2002, while in the United States, it began publishing under Viz Media’s Shojo Beat label in 2006. As of September 2014, 35 volumes and one fan book have been released in Japan, and as of December 2013, 32 volumes have been released in the United States. In 2002, a drama CD adaptation was made and released by Marine Entertainment, and covers the first volume (chapters one to five) of the manga.

Skip Beat!

The anime adaptation was directed by Kiyoko Sayama and animated by Hal Film Maker, it began airing in Japan on October 5, 2008 and ended on March 29, 2009. The first opening theme is “Dream Star” by the generous. The first ending theme is “Namida” by 2BACKKA.The second opening theme is “Renaissance” by the generous, and the second ending theme is “Eien” by Yūsaku Kiyama. Anime streaming website Crunchyroll also officially streams the anime online with English subtitles due to an agreement with TV Tokyo. The average rating of this anime according to Crunchyroll is a 4.8 out of 5 showing that it is relatively popular among those who watch it.

Skip Beat! follows the story of Kyoko Mogami, a sixteen year-old girl who loves her childhood friend, Shotaro Fuwa, but is betrayed by him. Having spent a large part of her childhood at Shotaro’s parents’ inn, she learned a great deal about hostelry and other such jobs. Shotaro, not wishing to take over his parents’ business, asks Kyoko to run away with him to Tokyo, leaving high school and her life in Kyoto Prefecture behind to help him pursue a career in music. Upon arrival in Tokyo, Kyoko lives an unreasonably frugal life and works multiple jobs to support Sho, as he is called by his fans, spending nothing on herself and doing whatever she can for Sho, who eventually becomes ranked seventh of the top twenty most popular male celebrities of Japan.

Free!

 

Sports have been a recurring theme in anime but until now, there has been none that features competitive swimming. This is changed by Free!, a Japanese anime television series directed by Hiroko Utsumi and produced by Kyoto Animation and Animation Do. The anime is based on the light novel written by Kōji Ōji, High Speed!, which received an honorable mention in the second Kyoto Animation Award contest in 2011 and was later published in July 2013. The first season, titled Free! – Iwatobi Swim Club for international distribution, aired in Japan between July and September 2013, and the second season, titled Free! – Eternal Summer, aired between July and September 2014.

Free!

The 12-episode anime television series, produced by Kyoto Animation and Animation Do, is directed by Hiroko Utsumi, written by Masahiro Yokotani, features character designs by Futoshi Nishiya and music by Tatsuya Katō. The series aired in Japan between July 4 and September 26, 2013 on Tokyo MX, and was also streamed on the Japanese video-sharing website Niconico and simulcast by Crunchyroll, who also possesses the home video rights to the series. The series was released on six BD and DVD compilation volumes between September 11, 2013 and February 5, 2014, with certain volumes containing short bonus episodes.

Free! starts with four boys—Haruka, Makoto, Nagisa and Rin—before they graduate from elementary school. They all participated in a swimming tournament and won, though they parted ways. Years later, Haruka and Makoto reunite with Nagisa when Nagisa enrolls into high school a year after Haruka and Makoto. Not long after, Rin, who was thought to be in Australia, turns up and challenges Haruka to a race and wins. Afterward, Nagisa suggests creating a swimming club and using the run-down outdoor pool. Haruka, Makoto, and Nagisa, and later on, Rei, create the Iwatobi High School Swimming Club and work together to make the club a success. Rin’s victory over Haruka means nothing to him as he realizes that Haruka had stopped swimming competitively and wasn’t in top shape. He claims that he cannot get over the fact until Haruka competes against him for real. The members of the revived Iwatobi Swim Club later enter a swimming competition against Rin.

Image by wikipedia

Angel Beats!

 

For anime fans who are into cute character design and engaging plot, Angel Beats! Is a series to look out for. It is a 13-episode Japanese anime television series produced byP.A. Works and Aniplex and directed by Seiji Kishi. The story was originally conceived by Jun Maeda, who also wrote the screenplay and composed the music with the group Anant-Garde Eyes, with original character design by Na-Ga; both Maeda and Na-Ga are from the visual novel brand Key, who produced such titles as Kanon, Air, and Clannad. The anime aired in Japan between April 2 and June 25, 2010. An original video animation (OVA) episode was released in December 2010, and a second OVA will be released in June 2015. The story takes place in the afterlife and focuses on Otonashi, a boy who lost his memories of his life after dying. He is enrolled into the afterlife school and meets a girl named Yuri who invites him to join the Afterlife Battlefront, an organization she leads which fights against the student council president Angel, a girl with supernatural powers.

Angel Beats!

Key worked in collaboration with ASCII Media Works’ Dengeki G’s Magazine to produce the project into a media franchise. Three manga series are serialized in Dengeki G’s Magazine and Dengeki G’s Comic: two illustrated by Haruka Komowata, and one drawn by Yuriko Asami. A series of illustrated short stories written by Maeda and illustrated by GotoP were also serialized in Dengeki G’s Magazine between the November 2009 and May 2010 issues. Two Internet radio shows were produced to promote Angel Beats!. The first volume in a six-part episodicvisual novel adaptation produced by Key will be released for Windows on May 29, 2015.

Angel Beats! received generally positive reviews by critics. The integration of various individual elements together, such as musical performances, humor and action, was commended in one review but panned in another, saying that the story was overloaded with too many elements. P.A Works was praised for the animation of the action sequences and attention to detail with the weapons used. A major flaw noted by critics, however, is that the anime is too short, which leaves many of the characters with untold back-stories. The anime was selected as a recommended work by the awards jury of the 14th Japan Media Arts Festival in 2010.

 

Image by wikipedia

Cooking Master Boy

There are anime series about war, martial arts, animals, and about anything that you can think of and it would not be surprising that there would be one about cooking. Chūka Ichiban! is a manga created by Etsushi Ogawa. In 1997, it was adapted into an anime series directed by Masami Anno of the same name. The story is centered on a boy whose aim is to become the best chef he could be. In 1995, Kodansha published the manga. From 1995 to 1997, it was serialized in Weekly Shōnen Magazine. In some other countries, the anime adaptation was also called Cooking Master Boy.

Anime never looked so delicious!

The story takes place in 19th century China during the Qing Dynasty, where the Emperor was weakened and the country was close to chaos. It is also during a fictitious era called “The Era of the Cooking Wars”. It was an era in which top chefs with different cooking styles tried their best to improve their skills and to become the best chef in China. It is a country where insulting a high-grade chef or fooling around with cooking could land a person in a jail, and impersonating a top-chef is as good as usurpation of authority. Chefs compete with each other in order to gain respect and even power, but also with the risks of losing everything.

After the death of Mao’s mother, Pai, who was called the ‘Fairy of Cuisine’, Mao becomes a Super Chef in order to take the title as Master Chef of his mother’s restaurant. However, before he takes his mother’s place as Master Chef, he continues to travel China in order to learn more of the many ways of cooking, in the hopes of becoming a legendary chef, just like his mother. During his journey, he meets great friends and fierce rivals who wish to challenge him in the field of cooking.

Image by animetnt.com

Mazinger Z

Most people above 30 years old would probably know who Mazinger Z is and this is indicative as to how big this robot is to anime. Called Tranzor Z in the United States, it started as a Japanese super robot manga series that was created by Go Nagai. The center of the series, Mazinger Z, is a gigantic super robot that was built using a fictitional metal called Super-Alloy Z. This special metal was forged from a completely new element called Japanium which was mined from a reservoir in the sediment of Mt. Fuji. The colossal mecha was constructed by Professor Juzo Kabuto as a secret weapon against the forces of evil which were the Mechanical Beasts of Dr. Hell.

The iconic Mazinger Z!

The anime adaptation first appeared on Fuji TV and aired from December 1972 to September 1974. Coinciding with the running of the anime series was the second manga series. Illustrated by Gosaku Ota, this second manga series started and ended at around the same time as the anime show.  Mazinger Z went on to give birth to more sequels and spinoff series which include UFO Robot Grendizer and Mazinkaiser. The series gained intense popularity in Mexico during the eighties where it was dubbed into Spanish directly from the Japanese version which led to the use of Japanese names.

Aside from being a legendary anime series, Mazinger Z was instrumental in the emergence of the mecha anime boom in the seventies. The series is credited for the introduction of several of the accepted standard characteristics of super robot anime genres: the first series to have mecha robots being controlled by a pilot inside the cockpit, the robotic wonder that is the world’s only hope, forgotten ancient civilizations, megalomaniac mad scientists, useless henchmen, lovable supporting characters, the scientist father or grandfather who dies a hero, and oddly dressed, peculiar or physically deformed villains. Aside from all these, Mazinger Z was also the first one to feature a female robot, Aphrodite A, which was piloted by female lead Sayaka Yumi. It was also the first series to have a comic-relief robot built from spare parts and garbage named Boss Borot which was always damaged whenever it appears.

Image by anime.mx

The Prince of Tennis

For those looking for anime based on sports, a series worth checking would be The Prince Of Tennis. Initially created in manga form, the series revolves around a tennis prodigy. Created by Takeshi Konomi, the series’ title is usually shortened to TeniPuri , a portmanteau of the two segments in the Japanese diction of the words “Tennis Prince”. The manga series was initially published in Japan in Shueisha’s Weekly Shōnen Jump in July 1999, and it was concluded on March 3, 2008. The entire series spanned 379 chapters that were serialized, composing of 42 volumes. By the publication of volume 40, the manga series has sold more than 40 million copies in Japan alone.

Ryoma and the team

Ryoma and the team

The setting of the series is mostly in in Tokyo, and the plot focuses on Ryoma Echizen, a tennis prodigy who is a student at Seishun Academy. Also called Seigaku for short, the private school is known for having a great tennis club and skilled players. Ryoma, upon starting in the school, swiftly beats several upperclassmen which secured his spot as one a regular in the team. While pursuing their ultimate goal of winning the National Middle School Tennis Championship, the players of the team develop new friendships and master progressively difficult techniques. Ryoma also starts in the development of his very own unique style of tennis which leads him to recognize what the sport really is for him.

The anime adaptation was directed by Takayuki Hamana, animated by Trans Arts. The series was co-produced by Nihon Ad Systems & TV Tokyo. The Prince of Tennis premiered all over Japan on the anime satellite television network Animax and the terrestrial TV Tokyonetwork on October 10, 2001. It concluded on March 30, 2005, composing of a total of 178 episodes and a theatrical movie. This was then followed by two more OVA’s.

When it came to critical reception, the reviewers had both positive and negative criticism. In spite of the reviews, the series became popular in Japan. TV Asahi, a television network in Japan, conducted a survey for the entire country regarding the one hundred most popular animated television series. The results showed that The Prince of Tennis anime was the 277th most popular.

princeoftennis.wikia.com

Clannad

The usual formula for anime-based games would be: the anime comes first then the game about the anime. This is opposite for Clannad, a Japanese visual novel that was developed by Key. Released for Windows PCs on April 28, 2004 the game came with a rating that was suited for all ages, a huge contrast to Key’s two previous releases that were considered adult games. Clannad was then adapted to the PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita consoles, and will also be available on Steam. The plot revolves around the life of Tomoya Okazaki, a high school misfit who encounters a lot of people in his last year at school which includes five girls that each has their own individual problems that he helps to resolve.

 

On March 15, 2007, Japanese television station BS-i had announced the existence of a Clannad anime series through a brief 30-second teaser trailer featured at the conclusion of the last episode of the second Kanon anime series. Clannad anime series was produced by Kyoto Animation and the director was Tatsuya Ishihara, who also worked on other adaptations of Key’s visual novels Air, and Kanon. The anime aired from October 4, 2007 till 27, 2008, spanning 23 aired episodes from the intended 24. The series’ broadcast schedule was first announced on August 11, 2007 during the TBS festival Anime Festa.

Clannad: After story

Clannad: After story

Clannad was then released in a set of eight DVD compilations which was launched between December 19, 2007 and July 16, 2008 by Pony Canyon. Among the 24 episodes, 23 were only shown on television with the first 22 being regular episodes, followed by an additional extra episode. The final episode was released in the form of an original video animation or OVA on the eighth DVD on July 16, 2008. The OVA is set in an alternate universe from the anime series and in here, Tomoya and Tomoyo are dating, a scenario that was taken from the game. This OVA episode was previewed on May 31, 2008 for an audience of four-hundred people picked via a mail-in postcard campaign. The series was then manifested again in a new format via a Blu-ray Disc box set that was released on April 30, 2010.

Image by omisyth.wordpress.com