Mysterious Girlfriend X

The high school genre is one I have professed indifference to in the past but I started Mysterious Girlfriend X because it was one of the few titles from the winter 2012 crop that interested me. I was attracted by its short length, character design and art. At only 13 episodes and easily available on Crunchyroll, I figured I would spend a short sojourn with a weird tale peopled with characters that reminded me of anime from the 90’s.

The anime is based on Riichi Ueshiba’s manga and follows Akira Tsubaki who is your relatively normal high school kid (normal in anime terms).

Akira in Mysterious Girlfriend X

He has a burgeoning interest in girls. He manages to keep things contained until he meets a strange transfer student named Mikoto Urabe. She is genuinely strange since she likes to sleep during class breaks and carries scissors hidden in her underwear.

Late one afternoon, Akira catches Mikoto asleep after class. He tries to wake her up and catches sight of her drool on the desk in the afternoon sun… and he tastes her drool… and he becomes addicted to it… and he develops something of a psychic connection with her… and this leads to Akira going out with her and discovering more about her. And this is how the strange story begins…

With a main female protagonist who keeps scissors in her panties and a main male protagonist who is a complete wimp with a fetish for girl’s drool I was hardly expecting psychological realism but with its strange drool-based premise it seemed like it could echo something like J.G. Ballard’s Rushing to Paradise where a twisted tale of psycho-sexual mind-games could make an interesting story full of power-plays between characters with weird psychologies and not just another fan-service show. Alas no. I was being foolish thinking such a thing…

Mikoto in Mysterious Girlfriend X

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Spring 2012 Anime Preview Makes Me Feel Old

A few weeks ago I completed work on the Spring preview on Anime UK News. There are something like 33 shows getting a premiere in April and most of them consist of bishōnen, ecchi, moe and other elements that I dislike. Looking over the list I felt alienated.

I can’t tell if the high presence of such elements is a cynical marketing ploy to guarantee sales of DVDs, body pillows and other assorted merchandise to an otaku audience or a sign of creative bankruptcy but I felt alienated. I grew up watching Vampire Princess Miyu, Patlabor, Ninja Scroll and Dominion Tank Police – a diverse range of shows that catered for a large audience and provided great stories and characters to boot. I know I’m not the primary audience for anime but I do like to support the industry by buying titles an so I would like to see more shows aimed at a more intelligent and discerning audience who don’t want to see bouncing breasts and crotch-shots or moe girl assault rifles. I guess what I’m saying is I’d like more seinen shows like Monster, Master Keaton, Paranoia Agent and Berserk (I got on the bandwagon rather late with this one!). At the end of this post there will be a collecton of AMV’s using old school anime which will reveal a tiny fragment of what I grew up watching in the 90’s. Ugh, I feel so old.

It’s not all doom and gloom because there are some genuinely interesting shows which I’ll probably watch for at least one episode. Here are my picks of the shows that don’t look so bad! How underwhelming.

Accel World

Accel World Anime Image

I’m willing to give this one a shot base on the trailer alone. The subject matter doesn’t really blow me away but it comes from studio Sunrise and I’m open to anything they make.

Synopsis:

The story of Accel World takes place in 2046 and follows bullied middle school student Haruyuki who encounters Kuroyukihime, the prettiest girl in school. She hands him a mysterious piece of software which turns Haruyuki from the weakest of the school caste to the strongest, a “Burst Linker,” a knight defending a princess.

Staff: Masakazu Obara (Director), Hiroyuki Yoshino (Series Composition), KOTOKO (Theme Song), May’n (Theme Song)

Voice Actors: Sachika Misawa, Yuki Kaji, Aki Toyosaki, Shintaro Asanuma

Studio: Sunrise

Dusk Maiden of Amnesia

Dusk Maiden of Amnesia Anime

I’m currently in love with Another and the prospecct of more atmospheric supernatural stories is too good to be missed.

Synopsis:

The story takes place in Seikyou Academy, an old school which has been undergone numerous renovations over the years and has become labyrinthine. It is also the site of strange events and well-known ghost stories including a mystery surrounding how a girl named Yuuko died due to a mysterious occurrence. One day, while lost in the school, a freshman named Niiya Teiichi stumbles into Yuuko. He has the ability to see her in spirit form and he listens to her story about how she became a ghost and lost all of her memories and vows that he together they seek the cause of her death with the help of a mystery solving club set up by Niiya.

Staff: Shin Ōnuma (Director), Katsuhiko Takayama (Series Composition), Yukiko Ban (Character Design, Chief Aniation Director), Konomi Suzuki (Theme Song)

Voice Actors: Yumi Hara, Eri Kitamura, Tsubasa Yonaga, Misato Fukuen

Studio: Silver Link

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