Cocoa and Anime Part III: The Grand Finale, Shigofumi through Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei!


And here we are, already at the end of our little jaunt through January and February's anime offerings. As you read this, I am probably driving through blizzards and ice (…well, okay, snow flurries) to get back home to Portland. So you guys double up on the cocoa and blankets for me, eh?

This last chunk features Shigofumi through one of my most anticipated series, Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei. Parts one and two can be viewed here and here, and I have also posted a little printable cheat sheet over at a geek by any other name. I hope you enjoyed the preview, and that you enjoy whatever you decide to watch!


Title:Shigofumi ~Stories of Last Letter~ (シゴフミ~Stories of Last Letter~)
Studio: J.C. Staff
Genre: Fantasy
Airs: Chiba TV, Saturdays at 1:35am starting January 5th.

Summary: Fumika is a magical mail carrier with an assistant named Mayama. Fumika delivers "shigofumi," a special type of letter that sends a final message from a deceased person to a living one. In what sounds rather similar to Shinigami no Ballad in format, Shigofumi will tell tales of Fumika's adventures delivering letters.

• This anime, like so many others before it, is based on a series of light novels written by Ryo Amamiya and illustrated by Poko.

• Fumika will be played by Kana Ueda, who (since I compared it to Shinigami no Ballad) played Yutaka in episode 2 of the series. Ueda is better known, however, as Maria-sama ga Miteru's Yumi, Fate/stay Night's Rin, and Kashimashi's Hazumu.

• If you liked the goth pop OP themes for Rozen Maiden, their creator-- ALI Project --will be performing the OP theme for Shigofumi, titled "Kotodama."


Title:Sisters of Wellber Second Season (ウエルベールの物語 第二幕)
Studio: Production I.G
Genre: Adventure
Airs: Tokyo MX TV, Tuesdays at 2:30am starting January 1st.
Website: http://www.avexmovie.jp/lineup/wellber

Summary: The adventures of the deposed Princess Rita and her hired companion, the former thief Tina, continue in this second season of Sisters of Wellber. They are joined, as before, by the talking tank Cyrano de Bergerac (whose name is often turned into such travesties as "Bulgerock" by certain fansub groups) and the pixie Sherry.

• The new season will feature the same opening as the first season: "Theme of Wellber" by Akio Dobashi. There will be a new ED sequence by E.O.D., who performed the first season's ED as well.

• The voice cast is all back, of course, including Junko Takeuchi (Naruto's, uh, Naruto) as Tina, Mikako Takahashi as Rita, and (dun-da-dun!) Tomokazu Sugita (best known as The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya's Kyon) as Rita's brother Rodin.


Title:true tears
Studio: P.A. Works
Genre: Romance
Airs: TV Kanagawa, Saturdays at 1am starting January 5th

Summary: Oh, good-- I was just thinking that there simply weren't enough visual novel adaptations this season! Shinichirou is the son of a sake brewer and he wants to create picture books. One day he draws a picture of a beautiful angel who appears distinctly in his mind. The next day, who should he find sitting in a tree and humming but, of course, a girl who looks exactly like his angel.

• The true tears anime is based on the (non-ero) romance sim of the same name as a collaboration between Circus (creators of the Da Capo games) and Broccoli Japan. The game was originally for PC, but a Playstation 2 port is coming out in Japan in 2008. A manga adaptation has been running since December 2005 (a little before the game was originally released, even).

• Relative newcomer Makoto Ishii will voice Shinichirou; Ishii's previous credits include Kazuki in Fafner, Namida-kun in Pururun!, and a bunch of bit parts.

• Director Junji Nishimura, on the other hand, has tons of experience: he assistant-directed Urusei Yatsura, helmed Ranma½, and more recently directed both Kyo Kara Maoh! and the subsequent OVA.
Title:Yatterman New Series (ヤッターマン 新シリーズ)
Studio: Tatsunoko
Genre: Mecha
Airs: TV Tokyo Kei, Mondays at 7pm starting January 14th.

Summary: If you missed the original 1977 Yatterman anime-- as I did, seeing as I was negative 7 years old at the time --here's your chance to catch a remake. The new season will follow the same plot: Gan is the son of a famous toy designer who, thanks to being a genius, manages to complete his father's invention, the "Yatter-Wan." Along with his girlfriend Ai and his robot sidekick "Omocchama," he fights the scantily-clad Doronjo and her team of flunkies as they attempt to acquire a mysterious gem called the "Skull Stone" for their boss, Skullduggerstein. (I'm not making this up.)

• The new show will be pretty faithful to the old one, I suspect, since it will be directed by Hiroshi Sasagawa-- who directed the original as well!

• The voice cast, however, must change. Hiroyuki Yoshino (Blood+'s Kai, Vandread's Hibiki) will voice Gan, while Shizuka Itou (Gurren Lagann's Boota, Hayate's Hinagiku) will play Ai. One of the original cast remains, however: Noriko Ohara (best known as Doreamon's young male lead Nobita) will continue to play Doronjo.
Title: Yes! PreCure 5 GoGo! (Yes!プリキュア5 GoGo!)
Studio: Toei
Genre: Magical Girl
Airs: TV Asahi, Sundays at 8:30am starting February 3rd.

Summary: I think instead of Yes!, they should start titling these Yet Another PreCure. Once again the series features magical girls, strange talking animals, other worlds, unlikely scenarios, and a perfectly matched set of heroines: Cures Aqua, Mint, Rouge, Lemonade, and Dream…wait, what? One of these things is not like the others…

• All of the usual cast is in place, including Junko Takeuchi (Naruto's titular ninja) as Rin Natsuki / Cure Rouge.

• Toshiaki Komura continues directing the PreCure 5 series-- he directed the first TV series, although not the theatrical film. He also directed previous previous non-5 PreCure series like Splash Star and episodes of the original Futari Wa Pretty Cure series.
Title: Zenryoku Usagi (全力ウサギ)
Studio: Dream Entertainment
Genre: Kids
Airs: TV Kanagawa, Saturdays at 8:30am starting January 5th.

Summary: The banner on the Zenryoku Usagi website announcing that the manga series is being adapted into an anime says "Ohhhhhhh yeahhhh!!," which may give you a bit of a feel for the rabbits who populate the Zenryoku world. "Zenryoku" means something along the lines of "give it all you've got," and the kids' show features a population of rabbits who are also construction workers. The rabbits' motto is "Zenryoku+Daiichi!" which would be "give it all you've got and be the best!"

Zenryoku Usagi is going to be feature short episodes airing alongside the Chibi Ani Gekijou ("Little Anime Theater") on Saturday mornings.

• Hidenari Ugaki will narrate the show. You probably don't know him, but if you do, it might be because he played Donatello in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Superman Legend OVA. Yeah, exactly.
Title:Zoku * Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei (俗・さよなら絶望先生)
Studio: Shaft
Genre: Comedy
Airs: TV Kanagawa, Saturdays at 12:30am starting January 5th.

Summary: Ahhh, here's one I'm looking forward to quite a lot! Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei features teacher Nozomu Itoshiki. The four kanji of his name can be combined into two kanji to create the word "zetsubou," which means despair, and Itoshiki takes this literally, constantly declaring himself to be in despair over various trivialities. He often tries to hang himself, only to be prevented by accident (leading him to demand what the accident-causers, often his students, would have done if he'd died). Everyone in the series has a name that combines to offer up their characteristics, and the show is thick with cultural references both pop and traditional, making it a bit rough to pick up on the first run through. But the random (and relatively dark) humor of the series made its first season the biggest hit of the summer in '07.

• As mentioned, the first series aired in the summer of 2007. The second season was announced towards the end of its run, so for the sequel to air so quickly-- a mere single season between them --is pretty noteworthy.

• The "Zoku" in the name is an indicator of slang or vulgarity, so you can probably expect the same level of crass humor along with the more subtle and/or obscure gags.

• Okay, this isn't necessarily about the new series, but if you ever wondered about the guy whose face is plastered all over clocks and other random spots in the first season of Zetsubou? It's Kouji Kumeta, the original creator of the Zetsubou manga.

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