While others spent Independence Day weekend grilling dogs and cooing at fireworks, throngs of otaku once again convened in LA for Anime Expo. There was an impressive parade of cosplay, and plenty of thrifty deals on scrolls; but most exciting part was the slew of announcements for anime and manga. New shows. Classic comebacks. Animated rockers. Puppet swordsmen. Here are just a few annoucements that got our noses bleeding…
Thunderbolt Fantasy Strikes CrunchyRoll
Gen Urobuchi, the mastermind behind Psycho-Pass and Madoka Magica, extends his signature vision to another style of animation. Think puppetry is just the stuff of Sesame Street, Robot Chicken or Team America (or Thunderbirds, if your memory is that long? Take another look at the trailer for this Wuxia swashbuckler above. Taiwan’s Pili will be handling the puppetry, and if you can’t wait until CrunchyRoll finally locks a day and date for this show’s streaming, you’d do well to check out Legend of the Sacred Stone, a full-length martial arts feature they also pulled the strings on.
The Pillows makes music again for FLCL 2
FLCL‘s music is a crucial ingredient of its magic. Without the right tunes, this madcap romance wouldn’t ever have left such a lasting impression in all our hearts. The show’s 2x follow-ups would be woefully incomplete without the alt rock melancholia of the Pillows, and that’s why their involvement is a major deal. Oh, and whilst praising that band’s contributions, nobody should understate the importance of character designs. We’re extra glad to know Yoshiyuki Sadamoto’s coming back, too, to make sure the style’s cut of the same cloth. FLCL 2‘s set to both look and sound like a proper follow-up.
The New Sword Art Online Movie’s Trailer
That’s the thing about MMOs: they tend to keep expanding their boundaries. In the latest iteration of Sword Art Online, the titular game gets even realer, flipping the script by bringing digital fantasy into the flesh/blood realm. Think of it as a more visceral expansion pack. Ordinal Scale comes to theaters next spring, and otaku Angelenos’ experience with the series will actually get far more concrete, and at an even earlier date. We’ll all be listening for legendary anime composer Yuki Kajiura’s SAO-themed concert at Hollywood’s Dolby Theater next January.
VIZ unleashes Dragon Ball Super’s manga
A year later, and the newest adventures of Goku and his pals still aren’t available for streaming in America. What gives? Maybe the crew’s stockpiling episodes for an inevitable, and glorious, return to Toonami. In the mean time, the mangaka Toyotarō has been adapting the story to comics form, much as he did for Resurrection F last year. And while an official, licensed release of the anime is still far off, VIZ has just announced their import of this manga. The first two chapters are available digitally, right now, while print editions are coming next Spring. Could that be enough “Cha-La Head Cha-La,” for now?
One Punch Man comes to Toonami
Crossover blockbusters are ever so rare in anime. Otaku might get a new one each year, if we’re lucky. Attack on Titan was the last, but while its creators take their good, sweet time plotting what Eren Yeager’s next big steps, the mysterious ONE has leapt up to the plate with an unlikely-yet-still-so-fitting successor. One Punch Man chronicles the existential ennui of a superhero so powerful, he can defeat any opponent with a single blow. Its offbeat humor has tickled the sub purist community, and now that it’s coming to national TV with a slick dub this summer, it’ll be exciting to witness whatever impact it makes upon a bigger, broader audience.
There were a bunch of other announcements at AX this year. Did any of them make you squee more fiercely than these? Share ’em in the talkback. We’d like to know if we missed anything.
Image Credits: The Pillows, VIZ Media
Featured Image Credit: VIZ Media