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JPTV Autumn 2007 Season

Belated? Why yes. Considering the season’s already started.

But despite that and the fact that I’m still trying to catch up on Summer’s shows, let’s get this on anyways. Here’s what I’m looking forward to watching from Japanese airwaves this season.

There’s a surprising amount of continuations and sequels this season, but thankfully only one of those pops up on my list. Also surprisingly… the mystery trend in my drama-watching is still around, but no food?

Deru Toko Demasho!: Horikita Maki takes on the role of Kamei Shizuka, a high schooler who gets a part-time job as an assistant to the lawyer Nonaka Hiromu (Tanihara Shosuke).

So right now, the Phoenix Wright buzz in America is still going strong. Not to really be bragging, but I played the game when it was still just Gyakuten Saiban for the GBA. (Also, I can’t wait to see people’s reactions when they find out that the opposing prosecutor for the third game is supposed to be, well, done with.) It is a pretty amazing series, and both its mystery and comedic aspects help.

Anyways, this show is billed as a law comedy. So despite the triple-dosage of Tanihara Shosuke (who also appears in Mop Girl and Shabake) and my “ehh” feelings towards Horikita Maki (who is a good actress, but tends to play characters that annoy me no matter how much I like the drama), this is a drama I definitely want to watch.

Hataraki Man: The story revolves around Matsukata Hiroko, an editor of a weekly magazine. Hiroko is so focused on her work that she has no time for romance, and others refer to her by the nickname “hataraki man” (“working man”).

To be honest, I had an interest in the anime when it aired, but never got around to watching it. I do like the premise, though, and there are three names that explain why I especially want to watch this – Yokoyama Yuu (who absolutely amused me in Yamada Taro Monogatari), Sawamura Ikki (who delighted my sister and I in Gachi Baka!), and Kichise Michiko (who was almost illegally hot in LIAR GAME). And I suppose you can take it a step further and add Ibu Masato (who I’m pretty sure was Chikumagawa in Remote – my sister and I always love the poor bumbling police detectives, be it game (such as Phoenix Wright) or drama) to the list, but basically – Kimi watches dramas for the supporting casts. Kanno Miho and I? Nothing doing.

Iryu (Team Medical Dragon) 2: In Iryu 2, Asada Ryutaro wages a new battle against the realities of Japan’s medical care system. The government has drafted legislation to tackle the recent inflation of medical fees; hospitals have entered an era in which they will go bankrupt if they aren’t independently run. At the same time, hospital mergers and takeovers are also taking place. Additionally, the obstetrics and pediatrics departments are being closed in succession, and there are inadequate doctors in the region – issues that are closely related to these hospital management problems. Now, hospitals, like the average corporation, face collapse if they are not profitable.

Long before the drama aired and proved that Japan could have medical dramas too – Kimi read the manga and absolutely loved it. (It helped that soon after she got Trauma Center for the DS.) I always seem to be up on these manga-become-show trends – the people around me don’t get into them until after they become shows though I promote them in their manga format long before.

Anyways, despite the fact that I have yet to work in the first series into my watching schedule, I would rather like to see this. Also – Ikeda Tetsuhiro (after comedic relief in Himitsu no Hanazono, it’ll be interesting to see him play a serious character), Sasaki Kuranosuke/Kitamura Kazuki in the same drama (they were a fun combination in Bambino!, and are both great actors separately), and Koike Teppei (of WaT fame) as a medical nerd. What’s not to like?

Mop Girl: Kitagawa Keiko plays the part of the slow but hardworking Momoko, a low-ranking employee at a funeral services company who carries a mop as part of her job. However, Momoko happens to possess a strange ability. Whenever she comes across the corpse of someone who has left strong feelings behind, she travels back in time to save that person from his or her fate.

This one’s gotten an abundance of comparison to Tru Calling, and rightfully deserved (though this is apparently based off a manga). But who cares? Kitagawa Keiko in her own drama and… okay, I got nothing. But I’ve been reading the episode summaries for Tru Calling and I’m rather interested, so I think it’s safe to say the same applies here.

Negima! Magister Negi Magi: Negi Springfield is a thirteen year old wizard from Wales who dreams of becoming a Magister Magi, special wizards who use their powers to help normal people. After graduating from the Magic Academy, he is given a duty as a cover in the real world, and training, before he actually becomes a Magister Magi – to become an English teacher at Mahora Academy in Japan, to a Middle School class of 31 girls, each very special in her own way. The series details his time and adventures in Japan as he gains acceptance and respect from his students, helps them in their problems, and faces magical threats from inside and outside Mahora Academy.

I am a sucker for punishment. The live-action Sailormoon series (with all due respect to now-rising star Kitagawa Keiko) was crack, the live-action Jigoku Shoujo was a travesty, this can only go downhill. I’m going to snowball down with it. Of course, the thing both of the aforementioned anime-turned-live-action had in common that this one doesn’t was Sugimoto Aya, but that may be even worse for this series – for one thing, it’s practically guaranteed that almost none of the participating cast can act. For another, our little boy teacher is being played Kashiwa Yukina – who, while having acted a bit before, is most decidedly female. And looks a lot more adorable when she’s not playing geeky boy from Wales.

…why am I watching this again? Because I’m a sucker for punishment. I just need to keep telling myself that and everything will be alright. I hope.

Yukan Club: The story is a comedy revolving around six wealthy and popular high school students who solve mysteries and in their free time, amuse themselves lavishly. Akanishi Jin plays Miroku Shochikubai, the son of the police commissioner.“Oh no, Kimi. I thought we learned our lesson after Bambino! and Yamada Taro Monogatari?” Why yes, we did.* And why yes, KAT-TUN (which both Akanishi Jin and Taguchi Junnosuke belong to) is a Johnny’s group I greatly dislike and cannot find the appeal to. And why yes, I was watching Sushi Oji!, which has a KAT-TUN member as a main character (but who still does not overshadow the greatness that is Domoto Koichi). All the same, since the theme song for Sushi Oji! was done by KinKi Kids and not KAT-TUN, I think I might get through this one. Also because I am just a sucker for mysteries with pretty people. And Kaga Takeshi. Allez cuisine!

*On second thought, perhaps no, we didn’t; because I am currently watching Tantei Gakuen Q with the sister and while my favorite recurring actor in the series is undeniably Yamamoto Taro, followed by Kaname Jun and Suzuki Kazuma, Yamada Ryosuke is somewhere up there. And he is Johnny’s. Somebody save me. I’ll be whimpering in the corner.

Aoi Hitomi to Nuage: Fukada Kyoko plays Ichinose Erika, a clinical psychologist who is recruited by the National Police Agency in an attempt to stay one step ahead of a bomb terrorist.

Why is Fukada Kyoko in a lot of things I watch lately? That said, I gotta be honest. This is a special, not a series. And I’ve yet to watch Yama Onna Kabe Onna, but I definitely plan on getting around to it. But, uh, are clinical psychologists supposed to dress to kill?

Kodoku no Utagoe: Uchiyama Rina plays a female detective seeking a serial killer committing a string of bizarre murders. At the same time, she has to confront her own traumatic past.

Hey, another special! On top of that, I only know and am interested in it because of Yamamoto Taro. The man’s good looking, played my favorite character in Battle Royale (Kawada Shogo), and the imagine my elation when I discovered he was Tantei Gakuen Q. So I found out he was doing this and decided to watch this. The end. (It should be noted that fellow Battle Royale alum Shibasaki Kou also has a mystery drama this season, but it doesn’t interest me whatsoever. Despite the presence of Kitamura Kazuki and Maya Miki in it.)

Shabake: Tegoshi Yuya plays a young man with weak health who has the power to see ghosts. Since the age of five, he has become friends with them, and works with them to solve mysterious incidents.

Another mystery/suspense special, but with a supernatural kick. Also because I like reading manga with this same theme, and the awesomeness that is Maya Miki also appears. Sorry, I can’t think of any other comments. Um… it’ll be interesting to see Tegoshi Yuya act again? (I know, I know. Not a very good NEWS fan, am I?)

Post-Otakon, I can’t especially say I’ve realized my “inner otaku”. While I didn’t feel out of place there, understanding a good many shows and games focused on in the con and identifying perhaps way too many characters cosplayed – my fandom focus has obviously long since shifted.

So imagine my surprise when I found 6 new anime series on my list for this season, and only two of them based off manga I’d read. There are 7 anime summaries following up – but you’ll see why the seventh is there… right now.

Genshiken 2: This is the story of college student Sasahara Kanji and his fellow members of the college club he joins, The Society for the Study of Modern Visual Culture (aka Genshiken). Genshiken is accepted as participents in the upcoming ComiFes, and Sasahara must adjust to his new role as club president. Meanwhile, Ogiue continues to struggle to fit in to her new surroundings.

To completely contradict everything I just said about not being an anime geek – the first anime series on my list this season is about otaku. And not the watered-down American version of the word, oh no, these are people who do dedicate their lives to the thing. It’s a series that I’ve liked since the first episode for the first series aired, and I’ve even gone to hunting down the comic volumes for my fix. What can I say? I like comedy and people-watching and this provides both without the stalker feeling. It’s both a very entertaining and enlightening look into the crowd Japan likes to shun (unless they’re named Nakagawa Shoko).

Jyuushin Enbu -HERO TALES-: Running through the carnage, Taitō founds his comrades being single-handedly defeated by someone. Putting his everything on the line he tries to avenge his comrades, only to find he is no match for his opponent. As he continues his fruitless effort to overcome the strength of his opponent, stumbles over a sword. Not knowing, only the gifted are capable of unsheathing that sword, which is said to be the sword of “Absolute Ruler”, Taitō, with his enemy’s suprise, draws out the sword and suddenly get demonic strength and suddenly finds himself in equal grounds with his opponents brute strength.

Okay, so the main draw of this series, for me, is that the original manga was worked on by Arakawa Hiromu – also known as the creator of Full Metal Alchemist – not that I’ve read it. I’ve always liked the character designs based off her artwork, but because this series also supposedly dabbles in Chinese wuxia and folklore, I’m interested to see what they make of it.

Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro: The series is about a demon, Nōgami Neuro, who feeds on mysteries, and has come to the human world after eating all the mysteries in his. But as a demon, he cannot act overtly. The first thing he does is force a high school girl to become a detective, while Neuro acts as her assistant.

A combination of mystery and the supernatural. The manga rather interested me, as some of the murder tricks used are different from what you normally see. (It’s gotten to the point where I can figure out the mystery in a drama because the tricks are way too familiar.) While the character designs are more than a bit rough and not especially compelling, it’s a lot prettier than the original manga artwork, especially the humans. The voice cast is also pretty top-notch, and the music seems like it’ll be fine. Maybe my greatest concern for this series is that they’ll slack off on the animation.

Rental Magica: Due to his father’s disappearance, Itsuki Iba has to take over the family business: a magician dispatch service. Their family basically employs countless magicians and other supernatural beings in order to send them out to help those who need magical assistance. As a leader, Itsuki now has to be tough, commanding, and reliable, but he’s a coward. In order to run a successful business, he has to connect with his employees, which is more difficult than it seems due to his personality. But not only does he have to deal with his own employees, he also has to deal with those who threaten the family business.

I… really can’t tell you why this interests me. At first glance, it seems like it’ll be a harem anime, even. Bumbling well-meaning boy stumbles upon opportunity that gives him easy access to lots of pretty girls. But I downloaded the first two episodes to cap that shot up there, and so far I rather like it. No obvious fanservice as far as I could see, the action scenes were decently done, and the cast are all pretty experienced. And as a former seiyuu fanatic, it was rather interesting hearing Takahashi Mikako voicing a tsundere role that wasn’t excessively cute – which, as a general rule, seems to be her roles in the anime that I’ve watched. (Yeah, I started watching this one already. Though I haven’t even watched Baccano! yet.)

Shinreiagari / Ghost Hound: The series is set in the town of Suiten, located in a desolate region in the island of Kyūshū, and follows three boys who have each had traumatic encounters in their childhood and learn to transfer their souls into a parallel world known as the “Unseen World”. The Unseen World is however undergoing a change, with its ghosts starting to appearing into the real world, which is therefore also being subject to changes.

Normally I hate scary stuff. It doesn’t even have to be intentionally scary, as long as there’s a way to interpret it as scary (not terrifying, not horrible, just scary), then that’s how it will appear to me. That’s why I only barely managed to get through the Grudge 2 scenario where Uno Misako has a part, that’s why I watched every bit of the Da Vinci Code except for the scene where Silas whips himself. It’s also why I held a pillow to cower behind while watching Red Garden and Jigoku Shoujo – the anime, not the horribly CG-ed live-action. I blame an over-active imagination.

This still interests me greatly, despite the heavy potential to leave me quaking in my blankets. And just watch, I will. As I watch this with its lovely art and awesome vocal cast and hopefully-high-quality animation, of course.

Shion no Ou: As a child, Ishiwatari Shion’s parents were murdered in their own home. Shion escaped unharmed, yet the trauma caused her to lose her voice. The only evidence police found was a shougi board and one piece “the King”. Neighbours and close friends of the family, Yasuoka Shinji and Sachiko, adopted Shion and taught Shion how to play shougi. As the years passed, she became known as a genius and quite a famous player. Now, as her fame rises, her past resurfaces and she discovers that being a professional shogi player may just lead to finding her parents’ killer.

Translation of the above – there was an anime/manga about Go, why can’t we make one about Shogi? We’ll just give it a girls-focus twist and a mysterious backstory to make more people interested. I did like the manga – and I’m not particularly fond of the sharper character designs used in the anime, as the manga is made to look especially soft. But I am interested in seeing how the story goes, especially as I never actually got beyond the first volume.

Suteki Tantei Labyrinth: In a forgotten town known as the old capital of Tokyo, strange and mysterious crimes are progressively occurring. These supernatural occurances are beyond comprehension and bring fear and terror to the people. Only one person is not intimidated by the evil underlying these occurrances and is willing to challenge them: Hyuga Mayuki, a young boy detective who holds a special insight power that allows him to uncover the real truth behind these occurrances.

Mystery. Don’t you know my tastes by now? Actually, that’s the sole reason I want to watch this – the character designs and the general feel of the show’s site seem too fluffy and cheerful, but we shall see when I watch the actual show. On a somewhat-related note – Ueda Kana seems to be voicing in a lot of the stuff I’m watching this season.

So that’s… 1…2…3…4… 13 shows I want to watch this season, not including the three drama specials.

Wait. Hold up. 13!? That’s a lot of computer space. And time.

Someone want to loan me their existential-manipulation powers?


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