As another year has come to a close, it’s always fun to look back on some shows that stood out. Some just got underway and others are set for a release this year! I’ve chosen five that made an impression on me personally. And, hey, you might find one you’re interested in too!
Last Exile -Fam, the Silver Wing-
It may only be a streaming show currently, and an incomplete one at that, but this show was a very highly anticipated arrival in both the US and Japan. The original Last Exile was released many moons ago and until recently, no one was aware Gonzo was even making a sequel. Thankfully for fans of the first, steampunk themed show, FUNimation teamed up with Gonzo last year to stream episodes of Fam right alongside the Japanese airing. Although the exact political setting is still ambiguous, the show’s high quality visuals and mysterious characters have already gained it some fans that look forward to its wrap up sometime this year.
This show was streamed by FUNimation early on in 2011 and gained quite a bit of hype thanks to its nerdy opening theme, complete with references to Star Wars and Mary Poppins! Centered around a group of otakus (eccentric fans of just about anything, from trains to samurai classics), Princess Jellyfish pairs some refreshingly realistic characters with some comical situations and makes for a very cute show. It may not have highly detailed battleships, like Last Exile’s sequel, but its lighthearted approach to the age old question of outside vs inside has made it quite memorable indeed. Only time will tell if its DVD release this year will continue its early fan rising.
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
Although it was released in 2010, last year continued to see the release of the DVDs as well as episodes being posted for viewing via FUNimation’s streaming channels. FMA: Brotherhood had a very strong run. And little wonder as this series took its story directly from the original manga, something the original FMA series deviated from, much to the disappointment of fans. With the release of the fifth, and last, part of the series on DVD, Brotherhood’s reign is coming to a close. Sort of. This year will see the theatrical release of the Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood movie and its DVD release as well. Then it will end. Although fans everywhere can continue to hope…
It may have been a short run of only three episodes, but Quantum was definitely a nice surprise in the anime community last year. Usually, .hack titles are picked up by Bandai Entertainment, a company that focuses more on merchandise, such as figurines, than its anime titles. I’m still not sure why they decided to pass up on Quantum (although its small size may have something to do with it), but it was a nice deal for .hack fans since FUNimation released a streamed subtitled version of it for free viewing last year. Although its quick paced action was vastly different from previous .hack animations, Quantum held its own last year and many fans are eagerly awaiting its DVD release this year.
It may have been running in Japan far before its US debut, but Fairy Tail’s fabase couldn’t be happier with the effort FUNimation has put into the show. Starting its stream in 2011, Fairy Tail ignited discussion on the US company’s website and many other anime sites. FUNimation caught on to the excitement soon after and began to hype up the coming DVD releases slated for this year, posting contests, trailers, clips and interviews with the English cast. Centered around a group of wizards in a guild brightly titled “Fairy Tail”, the show’s comical air and lovable characters have earned it a solid spot in anime fan circles. It may be just now entering the larger arena of the US market, but it’s such an easy show to get into, having enough comedy for lighter fans and enough action for fighting fans, that it’s hard to see it not taking off. So while you await the DVD release, check out some of their episodes at FUNimation or chew on this hilarious infomercial, courtesy of Natsu’s English voice actor, Todd Haberkorn.