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Cocoa and Anime Part II: Mnemosyne through Rosario to Vampire

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Welcome back to part two of the 2008 winter anime season preview! I am (still) your guest host gia, of a geek by any other name, and if you missed the first batch-- ARIA through Minamike ~okawari~, you can still see it right here. Part three is now here!

This chunk features the sci-fi horror Mnemosyne through the much-anticipated supernatural comedy Rosario to Vampire. Ikou!


Title: Mnemosyne -Mnemosyne no Musumetachi- (Mnemosyne -ムネモシュネの娘たち-)
Studio: XEBEC
Genre: Horror
Airs: ATX, Sundays at midnight, starting February 3rd.
Website: http://www.rin-asougi.com

Summary: If you want something a bit on the dark and heavy side this winter, Mnemosyne was made for you. The series will feature a sexy female scientist named Sayara Yamanobe who heads a pharmaceutical laboratory. At the lab, the haughty Sayara conducts hideous and illegal experiments. The heroine, however, is Rin Asougi, the owner of Asougi Consulting who is investigating Sayara. Judging from the trailers that have been released, this will not be a show to share with your kid siblings.

Notable:
• Are you a fan of the Ries? Rie Tanaka and Rie Kugimiya-- who work together as maid Maria and mistress Nagi in Combat Butler Hayate --reunite as Sayara and Mimi, an assistant of Rin's, respectively. Rin herself is being played by Mamiko Noto, who is Negima!?'s Nodoka, School Rumble's Yakumo, and X's Kotori.

• Director Shigeru Ueda's past directorial credits aren't great-- UFO Ultramaiden Valkyrie and Tales of Eternia are all he's helmed in the past. However, he has directed episodes of well-received shows like Nodame Cantabile, Seirei no Moribito, and Serial Experiments Lain as well.

• For those who haven't studied Greek mythology, Mnemosyne is a deity who personifies memory. Mnemosyne slept with the king of the gods, Zeus, for nine consecutive nights and gave birth to nine musumetachi (that's "daughters," by the way). Those nine daughters were the famous muses of Greek mythology. 

Title: Moegaku*5 (もえがく★5)
Studio: AIC Spirits
Genre: Magical Girl/Edutainment
Airs: BS Fuji, weekdays at 5pm starting January 14th.
Website: http://tv.moegaku.jp

Summary: Okay, this isn't a standard anime show-- each episode is only 15 minutes long, the show airs every weekday, it will feature live-action players as well as anime, and the whole point is to teach different languages. Monday is English, Tuesday is Korean, Wednesday is Spanish, Thursday is Chinese, and Friday is French. I dunno about you, but I'm particularly looking forward to Mondays and Wednesdays with a certain amount of malicious glee. As for the animation-- it looks an awful lot like Moetan, except serious instead of a perverted parody.

Notable:
• Well, we've already heard what Haruhi's Yuki (Minori Chihara) and Mikuru (Yuko Gotoh) are up to this season-- what about Haruhi herself, Aya Hirano? Well, in Moegaku*5 she plays Megami-sama (literally Goddess-sama), who gives Moe her powers. She is also one of the live-action cast assisting with the language learning.

• Director Nobuhiro Takamoto will also be directing Hatenkou Yugi this season.  

Title: Noramimi (のらみみ)
Studio: Toei
Genre: Comedy
Airs: CBC, Wednesdays at 1:45am starting January 9th.
Website: http://noramimi-anime.jp/start.html

Summary: In a world where being a family mascot is an actual job, Noramimi is a mascot who can't seem to find a family to be with. Due to his lack of popularity, he does his apprenticeship as the mascot of a Mascot Agency, where he helps other mascots find their homes. But will he ever find his own? This all-ages anime will attempt to answer that question in a manner that is undoubtedly both "heart-warming" and "funny."

Notable:
• Noramimi will be voice by Nanae Katou, probably best known for playing the lead in Princess Tutu but who also voiced the extremely annoying-to-listen-to cat Shii-chan in Kamichama Karin.  

Title: onchan (onちゃん)
Studio: Egg
Genre: Kids
Airs: Hokkaido TV, Fridays at 10pm on January 18th.
Website: http://www.htb.co.jp/onanime

Summary: This is another mascot anime, and this time the mascot is a little blob with arms and legs and eyes shaped like the letters "o" and "n" (hence onchan). Onchan is the mascot for the Hokkaido TV Broadcasting company (HTB), and she (…?) will no doubt have assorted cute adventures.

Notable:
• Okay, I doubt many of you will be all that interested in this show, but it IS worth noting that Rie Tanaka-- yes, the same one voicing the badass sexy villainess in Mnemosyne --will be voicing Onchan. Of course, Tanaka has voiced plenty of cute characters, too, like Chobits' Chii, for example.

• This is actually the second Onchan anime; the first one aired in 2003 and featured Tomoe Shinohara (best known for singing Kodocha's theme "Ultra Relax") as the title character.  

Title: Ookami to Koushinryou (狼と香辛料)
Studio: IMAGIN
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Airs: Chiba TV, Tuesdays at 1:30am starting January 8th.
Website: http://www.spicy-wolf.com

Summary: Craft Lawrence sounds more like the name of a furniture store at the mall, but in Ookami to Koushinryou (Wolf and Spice), he's the main character. A peddler who wants to earn enough money to open up his own shop, he meanders around buying and selling. One day he stops in a town and finds-- and I quote Wikipedia here --"a 250-year-old pagan wolf-deity girl named Holo" in his wagon. She is apparently the town's Goddess of the Harvest, but wants to leave and go back to her own hometown, and maybe do a little adventuring while she's at it. Hijinks, of course, ensue.

Notable:
• This anime is based on a series of light novels written by Isuna Hasekura and illustrated by Juu Ayakura. A manga adaptation started in September of 2007 and a dating sim for DS is due out in summer '08.

• As I mentioned previously, Ami Koshimizu will be busy busy busy this season. Gunslinger Girl's Claes, H2O's Takuma, and now Ookami's Holo? You'll be hearing a lot out of her.

• The show is actually a bit of a Geass reunion: Koshimizu played Kallen, and Craft will be played by Jun Fukuyama-- also known as Lelouch. And that's not all: Kaori Nazuka, who voiced Lelouch's handicapable sister Nunnally, will play a character who is unique to the anime named Chloe. And, okay, it's not Geass related, but Clannad's Nagisa (Mai Nakahara) will voice a fellow traveler named Nora.  

Title: Persona -trinity soul-
Studio: A-1 Pictures
Genre: Action
Airs: Tokyo MX TV, Saturdays at 10:30pm starting January 5th.
Website: http://www.persona-ts.net

Summary: Set in a bleak future ten years after a tragedy known as the "Apathy Syndrome" occurred, high schooler Shin and his little brother Jun meet their elder brother Ryou, the chief of police, for the first time in ten years. Their meeting coincides with a series of mysterious occurrences: a submarine's crew suddenly disappears; an inside-out corpse is discovered, and others. Ryou must figure out what's going on, and how Shin may be involved.

Notable:
Persona -trinity soul- is, of course, an anime sequel to the video game Persona 3.

• Jun Matsumoto makes his debut as primary director with this series; he has directed an episode and the second ED sequence for Blood+ and assisted in animation direction on Digimon: The Movie.

• Remember how I mentioned Mai Nakahara above for Ookami? Well, she's in this too-- as a character named Kanaru Morimoto, a classmate of Shin's.  

Title: Porphy no Nagai Tabi (ポルフィの長い旅)
Studio: Nippon Animation
Genre: Kids
Airs: BS Fuji, Sundays at 7:30pm starting January 6th.
Website: http://www.nippon-animation.co.jp/porfy

Summary: Based on a book by Paul-Jacques Bonzon, the series follows a young Greek boy named Porphyras and his sister Mina, who are orphans, as they travel across Europe rather than get stuck in some foster home. The title translates to "Porfy no Nagai Tabi."

Notable:
• Some of you may note that Nippon Animation is behind this series: as usual, the company is adapting western literature into Japanese anime for kids. Other recent adaptations include Les Miserables and Emily of the New Moon, and no, they did NOT do Romeo x Juliet.

• Porphy will be voiced by Yuki Kaida, who is probably best known for playing Prince of Tennis' Shusuke. Ayumi Fujimura, who was Ayano in Kaze no Stigma and Shion in the Naruto: Shippuuden movie, will play Mina.

• Director Tomomi Mochizuki reunites with composer Moka, who performed the same duties in the anime Shinigami no Ballad.  

Title: Rosario to Vampire (ロザリオとバンパイア)
Studio: Gonzo
Genre: Romantic Comedy/Harem
Airs: Tokyo MX TV, Thursdays at 11:30pm starting January 3rd.
Website: http://www.rosa-vam.com

Summary: Tsukune Aono is a slacker who gets bad grades, and therefore fails to get into any of his top-choice high schools. So when he is accepted into the extraordinary Youkai Academy, he jumps at the chance to enroll. When he arrives, he learns exactly why the school is so extraordinary: it's a school for monsters. In order to save his life he has to pretend to be a monster himself-- with the help of a beautiful vampire named Moka.

Notable:
• Based on the manga by Akihisa Ikeda, the series features some very attractive art-- and plenty of fanservice, too.

• Famous seiyuu Nana Mizuki-- Fullmetal Alchemist's Wrath, Darker than Black's Detective Kirihara, Naruto's Hinata, Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha's Fate Testarossa; the list goes on and on --will play Moka.

• Tsukune's seiyuu Daisuke Kishio is also pretty well-pedigreed with roles like Da Capo's Suginami and Happy Lesson's Chitose behind him. He'll also be taking his turn as a vampire later on: he's been tapped to play the young vampire lord Kaname Kuran in the upcoming Vampire Knight adaptation.  


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