BASQUASH! BY SHOJI KAWAMORI, JAPAN 2009
The new series created by Shoji Kawamori, the acclaimed author of Macross, has been developed with the support of French screenplayer Thomas Romain and is a genre-fusing anime, a quaint sports/robot hybrid: in a future world, street urchins play the latest basket craze wearing exoskeletons called Big Foot and made up of parts from scrapped cars. The original plot has led Nike to be involved in an odd brand exchange, all characters’ footwear being Nike branded.
CHOCOLATE UNDERGROUND BY TAKAYUKI HAMANA, JAPAN 2009
Originally created for the web and later on landed on cinema shores as well, Chocolate Underground is an original rendition of Alex Shearer’s novel Bootleg made by Production I.G, world renowned for its cyberpunk anime: in a despotic country, ruled by a paramilitary and health fanatic tyrannic government, chocolate has been banned and is now illegal. Gourmets and people with a sweet tooth end up by organizing a peaceful underground resistance, fomenting a culinary rebellion with strong political contents.
FLYING TRAPEZE (KÛCHÛ BURANKO) BY KENJI NAKAMURA, JAPAN 2009
Toei Animation, a major studio with a Japanese soul and renowned for its series One Piece, carries on an original experimentation into the psychedelic opportunities of animated drawing through Kenji Nakamura’s new work. With Flying Trapeze (Welcome to Irabu’s Office), the talented director of Ayakashi – Bakeneko carries out a personal psychoanalytic interpretation of dreams: bizarre and twisted psychiatrist Irabu, the surreal leading character of the series, is ready to enter both his patients’ and the audiences’ minds.
HERO 108 BY PONGO KUO AND JOHN FOUNTAIN, USA-TAIWAN 2009
Co-produced by Asia and the USA, Hero 108 is marked by the unique design which has made Cartoon Network famous all over the world, a perfect combination of linearity and irony: in a world where animals have prevailed over humans, a group of funny super-heroes called First Squad try and restore some kind of peaceful coexistence, now jeopardized by evil emperor HighRoller.
MARIE & GALI BY YUKIO KAIZAWA, JAPAN 2009
Kid series broadcast by NHK, Japan Broadcasting Corporation, Marie & Gali disrupts the educational genre boring rules with a fantasy setting and pressing screwball rhythm, thanks to Yukio Kaizawa’s masterly direction, which he had already refined working on One Piece and Gegege no Kitaro. Young and lazy Marie finds herself confronted with the most breath-taking scientific discoveries when she meets history’s great scientists, in particular, Galileo Galilei, in his superdeformed version.
MAZINGER EDITION Z: THE IMPACT! (SHIN MAZINGER SHÔGEKI! Z-HEN) BY YASUHIRO IMAGAWA, JAPAN 2009
The comeback of one of anime classics, Go Nagai’s everlasting Mazinga Z in the brand new series Mazinger Edition Z: The Impact! Yasuhiro Imagawa, director and writer of Giant Robo and G Gundam, refurbishes the robot myth, however, holding fast to the complexity of the original story, thanks, among other things, to both Shinji Takeuchi’s (Gintama) winning character design and Tsuyoshi Nonaka’s (Masked Rider) mecha design.
MEAT OR DIE (YANS! GANS!) BY TAI MURAYAMA, JAPAN 2009
Tai Murayama, producer and director, who created for MTV Japan the animated comic series featuring anthropomorphic rabbit Usavich, develops a CG new series, Meat or Die, with Bonus.co.jp, staking everything on short zany sketches: two bumbling dinosaurs, endlessly looking for food, Yans e Gans, are doomed to devastating flops in the best Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner tradition.