10 Must License Fall 2009 Anime Series - Mania.com

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10 Must License Fall 2009 Anime Series

Top Picks for Fall Anime Series

By Chris Beveridge     January 05, 2010

10 Must License Anime
© Mania/Bob Trate


The fall 2009 anime season in Japan is quickly coming to a close and many series are finishing up where they are for the half season shows and moving right along for anything longer. Every season has a lot of shows that come out but fewer and fewer are obviously getting licensed, at least for home video distribution and potential dubbing, since many shows do end up on various legal streaming services. We took to our readers and asked what shows they thought from this season merited getting licensed for distribution in the US and this is what they came up with.

10. Kimi ni Todoke

Based on the shoujo manga by Karuho Shiina, the story follows high school student Sawako Kuronuma as she lives on the outside of the social circle of her school because of her appearance. Due to her looking similar to Sadako from the Ring franchise, she's never had it easy fitting in as she got older. Everything changes though when the boy she likes more than anything, Kazehaya, starts talking with her and her entire situation is suddenly different. The series ranked high as one that Japanese fans wanted an anime adaptation of as the manga won the Best Shoujo Manga award in the 32nd Annual Kodansha Manga Awards.
Join in the discussion about this series HERE.

9. Kobato

While CLAMP may not be the hottest thing around like they were before, they're still bringing out things that gain a sizable following and Kobato is no exception. Kobato is the name of the lead character of the show, but like other shows of a similar nature, there's little known about her for the most part. Her mission in life is to help heal the hearts of others and she spends her time doing so along with companions and friends she meets along the way. With animation by Madhouse, the CLAMP style itself and the usage of crossovers with other CLAMP properties that use the idea started in Tsubasa about everyone having different selves in other worlds, adds a whole lot of appeal for CLAMP fans in general.
Join in the discussion about this series HERE.

8. Kiddy Girl-and

The original Kiddy Grade series was one of the earliest forays outside of the Dragon Ball franchise for FUNimation so there's likely some residual love there, especially as they do keep releasing the series in new packaging configurations. With this new sequel series taking place 25 years after the events of the first, it's a bit chancier as it introduces us to the characters of Ascoeur and Q-feuille who basically take on a similar role but with the girls as trainees. Name recognition alone makes this a likely candidate but it's one with some solid production values that's helmed by Keiji Gotoh who was quite the darling back at the turn of the century.
Join in the discussion about this series HERE.

7. To Aru Majutsu no Railgun

This series is one that's fairly unique on the list as it's actually a side story from the main series which aired in late 2008 and into 2009, and this one will be running for a bit as it's 24 episodes long. The main character in it is Mikoto Misaka, a Level 5 espers in Academy City, a place where there is both advanced science but also magic. This series focuses on Mikoto as she and others delve into the mystery of something that can increase an espers powers to new levels but has quite a dangerous side effect to it. Both series have been produced by J.C. Staff, which has had a rather good consistent run of series in the last few years, and the shows origins in the light novels gives it a different flow than other shows since the structure is different than a manga adaptation.
Join in the discussion about this series HERE.

6. Fairy Tail

Hiro Mashima just can't catch a break, but Fairy Tail might be his chance. After strong success with Rave Master, which floundered horribly in its anime release in the US because of TOKYOPOP's attempted release, Fairy Tail is his new series that started in manga form in 2006 and already has seventeen volumes of material. The manga adaptation got a strong push from Del Rey when they acquired it and it's one that they've put some good effort into. The anime series has all the elements of a standard shonen serial as it focuses on a young sorceress that's trying to join the Fairy Tail Guild but ends up with numerous adventures along the way with a plucky group of friends. The series has strong production values with both A-1 Pictures and Satelight behind it and it continues to gain more fans along the way.
Join in the discussion about this series HERE.

5. Sasameki Koto

Into every life a little yuri must fall and this series takes care of that element nicely. This AIC produced series is based on the manga by Takashi Ikeda which revolves around Sumika Murasame. Sumika is hiding her love of girls and in particular that of her best friend at her co-ed school, Ushio Kazama. Fortunately and unfortunately for Sumika, Ushio's into girls but Sumika is completely not her type. So much so as Ushio is only into the moe type girls and Sumika is your all around athletic type. Same gender romances aren't uncommon and yuri tends to show up once or twice a season but this one has a little extra charm to it as it plays with all the characters that are involved. The series is directed by Eiji Suganuma, who gained a bit of fame when he held the role of director for the controversial Kodomo no Jikan series and that has brought this series to people’s attention.
Join in the discussion about this series HERE.

4. Darker than Black: Ryuusei no Gemini

If there's any series on this list that's as close to a guarantee as possible, it's Darker than Black: Ryuusei no Gemini. This is the only second season of a show on the list and the first season has seen release from FUNimation already. That season ended on a game changer where the lead characters are in a very different situation now and the world of the Contractors isn't quite as perilous as it once was, which in a way has freed them up some as well. With Hei on the run and the series starting off taking place in Russia, it loses some of the familiarity of the setting around the Gate in Tokyo that still stands, but its presence is continually felt.
Join in the discussion about this series HERE.

3. Tegami Bachi (Letter Bee)

The only Jump anime series to make the list, Letter Bee has seen its manga released in the US from Viz Media under its original title of Tegami Bachi. The series focuses on a 12-year-old named Lag Seeing who lives in the land of AmberGround. This world is quite intriguing when it comes to the visuals as it's a land of eternal night that gets its illumination from an artificial sun. Lag is a delivery boy who operates with his bodyguard, a girl named Niche. Lag's main goal in life at this point however is to find his mother who was kidnapped some time prior and spirited away to the capital city. Lag has a unique ability with the gun that he uses for protection, which is definitely needed against the giant armored insects that roam the countryside. Jump related properties always have some potential crossover appeal and this one has a slightly darker setting that gives it a little more of an edge that could appeal upwards with the audience ages, even with a young lead.
Join in the discussion about this series HERE.

2. The Sacred Blacksmith

Light novels as source material continues to grow and The Sacred Blacksmith is another entry on our list from those origins. The anime series has a good pedigree behind it though with production studio manglobe doing the animation, the folks who were behind Samurai Champloo and Ergo Proxy. The series has a somewhat straightforward approach as we're introduced to a young woman named Cecily, a daughter of a knight who wants to become one herself even though she's not exactly up to snuff. What helps her out along the way is the arrival of a man named Luke, the son of a sword maker, who has some mysterious mission of his own but can't not help a young woman in need. Like many light novels, the pacing and structure is different from other shows and that gives this much better sense of storytelling, even when working with familiar themes under the solid guiding hand of manglobe.
Join in the discussion about this series HERE.

1. Aoi Bungaku

 If there is one show on this list that is unlike any of the others, it's definitely Aoi Bungaku. The 12 episode series is made up of several different classic Japanese literary works and each story has a different director to it as well as different writers, character designers and storyboard artists. This gives the show a very short form style of storytelling that lets it be creative and work in a small space to tell a story that's very familiar to many Japanese. Aoi Bungaku also has Madhouse behind it, which gives it a lot of name recognition with high quality animation that's easier to maintain when dealing with the shorter form stories and some very creative character designers. You run the risk of not liking a particular story when you deal in this form, but you also have the chance of finding something that you may not have otherwise and falling for it. Two of the stories in this series, originally by Osamu Dazai, are being reworked for a theatrical film already with new footage being massaged into it to bridge it all together as well.
Join in the discussion about this series HERE.

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Showing items 1 - 10 of 17
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okonomiyaki4000 1/5/2010 5:16:51 AM

 How about this: Don't license anything ever. Fansubs are better, faster, and free. 

Chris Beveridge 1/5/2010 6:32:35 AM

Too bad they're also illegal, illegal and illegal.

Funkatron 1/5/2010 7:31:13 AM

Also fansubs in no way shape or form support the creators.  If you like a show, support the people who make it/license it/adapt it

wrrlykam 1/5/2010 7:50:52 AM

There is no reason why producers can't do more than one sub on a series/film. A literal transliterantion and a 'normal' one.

wrrlykam 1/5/2010 7:55:28 AM

There is nothing wrong with fansubs, they can be produced (not too easy) without being illegal.

They become illegal when they are coded into the video and the video file is released onto disk or internet sites without having the legal right to do so.


Hectotane 1/5/2010 8:12:08 AM

Here's an idea, Chris:

Japan's anime industry should stop being a collective pansy and make more anime for the Western audience.  (And then maybe you wouldn't have to explain to folks how illegal, illegal, and illegal they are.)

I have boxsets of Trinity Blood, Black Cat, Glass Fleet, D.Gray-Man, Grenadier, Ghost Hunt, Black Blood Bros., SHAFT's Negima, and Last Exile to back my theory up.

Tashiro 1/5/2010 8:27:35 AM

 I'd love to see more anime come into the West.  I just want my anime unbutchered, thank you very much.  Give me the full series, unedited, subtitled, and call it a day.

Hectotane 1/5/2010 8:49:49 AM

Unfortunately...  There's a problem with this, Mr. Tashiro:

They tend to be FLOPS.

Shiroi Hane 1/5/2010 9:25:54 AM

 KIDDY GiRL-AND is set 50 years after the original series (there was a short prologue that takes place in the middle, the series proper takes place 25 years after that)

Funkatron 1/5/2010 11:31:07 AM

@Tashiro and much of the anime that makes it to the US is unbutchered.  We just need more of it and with the way the economy is, its becoming pretty tough.


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