The Anime Primer

Capsule Descriptions of Anime: A

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Abenobashi Mahou Shoutengai   AD Police Files   Adventures of the Mini-Goddesses   Ah! My Goddess (Movie)   Ah! My Goddess (TV)   Ai Yori Aoshi   Aishiteruze Beibe   Akira   All Purpose Cultural Cat-Girl Nuku-Nuku   Angel Links   Angelic Layer   Aria   Armitage III   Arslan Senki   Astro Boy   Aura Battler Dunbine   Azumanga Daioh

Abenobashi Mahou Shoutengai (a.k.a. Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi)

11-year-old friends Satoshi "Sasshi" Imamiya and Ayumi Asahina are bemoaning the fact that their Osaka neighbourhood is now decaying, and wondering about the animal statues on top of some of the shops. When Arumi's grandfather accidentally knocks down the pelican statue on top of his restaurant, things get trippy for the two kids, and they end up in various re-settings of their neighbourhood, based on a different theme in each show (i.e. sword and sorcery, China, outer space), where parodies of examples of the genres follow, frequently at blur speed. Add dashes of juvenile humour here and there (including a young woman appropriately named Mune-Mune, who supplies the fan service), plus the odd touching moment, blend, and serve. A collaboration between Gainax and scriptwriter Akahori Satoru (Saber Marionette J, Sorceror Hunters and Mon Colle Knights, among many others).

Available from ADV.

R1 official website

[Entry by David Watson]

AD Police Files

This series chronicles the (mis-)adventures of AD Police rookie Leon and his colleagues as they defend the near-future cyberpunk city of MegaTokyo (and sometimes themselves) from boomers - humanish androids. There are three episodes, each with a different plot line, but each asking the same question - what happens when the line between man and machine blurs? Forewarned, this series is extremely dark, violent, gory and sexual. Therefore I do not recommend it for anyone under 17 years old unless they are very mature. Well drawn and animated, and certainly engaging to watch. If you liked Bladerunner, you might like this series. Three episodes. Subbed. From AnimEigo in North America and Madman in Australia.

[Entry by Ben Cantrick]

[NOTE: There is a recent remake titled AD Police, that has been released by ADV Films in North America. The FAQ maintainer has not yet seen the remake, and nobody else has yet written a capsule description of the show.   - Rob Kelk]

DMOZ Open Directory Project

Adventures of the Mini-Goddesses
Adventues of the Minigoddess: the Goddesses and Gan-chan

Loosely based on a series of four-panel comic strips that themselves were loosely based on Kosuke Fujishima's Ah Megamisama story, this is a series of short (five- to seven-minute) episodes featuring cute versions of Urd and Skuld as they have adventures with Gan-chan, a rat that lives in the temple. Belldandy sometimes gets in on the fun, too (although not as often, because her original seiyuu was unavailable when the earliest episodes were made). While some of the episodes have educational content, most are simply excuses to tell silly stories from the four-panel comic strip (such as the "Let's Make a Band" storyline), or parodying popular Japanese culture (such as the "Gan-chan becomes Godzilla" stories).

There's little if any serious meaning to this series, but it's ideal for the times when you're too tired or rushed to watch something that takes itself too seriously.

Geneon has released this series on DVD in North America.

See also Oh My Goddess!, Ah! My Goddess (Movie), and Ah! My Goddess (TV).

[Entry by Rob Kelk]

Ah! My Goddess (Movie)
Ah My Goddess: the Goddesses in combat uniform

Set later in the Ah Megamisama storyline than the Oh My Goddess! OAV series, this movie tells the story of Belldandy's mentor Celestin and his attempt to go against the will of Kami-sama for the sake of love. One of the side-effects of Celestin's actions causes Belldandy to lose her memory, so the goddesses and Keiichi have two problems to solve at the same time.

This is quite possibly the best animated Ah Megami-sama story yet. All of the characters are shown as they are in Kosuke Fujishima's manga, as opposed to the caricatures of Belldandy and Keiichi in the OAV series, and the plotline is reminiscent of Fujishima's best work. (The only real problem some people have with the movie is that Mara once again doesn't make an appearance, but, given the subject matter, there's really no logical way for her to have been in the story.)

This movie is available in North America on DVD from Geneon, and in Australia from Madman.

See also Ah! My Goddess (TV), Oh My Goddess!, and Adventures of the Mini-Goddesses.

[Entry by Rob Kelk]

DMOZ Open Directory Project

Ah! My Goddess (TV)

Meet Keiichi Morisato, nice guy, human doormat, and unluckiest guy you'll ever meet. One night, after a strange call, and a girl popping out of a mirror, his life changes forever. The girl, Belldandy, turns out to be a First Class Goddess, and explains that he's been given a wish, any wish. He could have money, power, whatever his heart desires. After talking with her, he says the first thing that pops into his mind, that he wished he had a girl like Belldandy to stay by his side forever... and that's when life stopped being ordinary for Keiichi. He gets kicked out of the male-only dorm, and must find a place to stay, get a job, and try to teach Belldandy how to act normally while still going to college. Note: No previous knowledge of the OAVs, movie, or manga required to enjoy...

Released by Anime Works in North America.

See also Oh My Goddess!, Ah! My Goddess (Movie), and Adventures of the Mini-Goddesses.

[Entry by Bill Martin]

Ah Megamisama

See Oh My Goddess!, Ah! My Goddess (Movie), Ah! My Goddess (TV), and Adventures of the Mini-Goddesses

Ai Yori Aoshi

A young college student sees a beautiful Japanese girl dressed in a kimono and sandals lost in a train station. From this unlikely coincidence, childhood sweethearts Kaoru and Aoi are re-united.

Kaoru was the heir of the Hanabishi family. Aoi is heiress to the Sakuraba family. Kaoru ran away from the Hanabishis and Aoi was simply told "the engagement is off". Aoi would not accept that her her first true love would end like this, so she rushed off to Tokyo to find him. The story gets more complicated when Aoi's mother sets them up in an old house to hide their romance. Miyabi, Aoi's guardian, hides their secret by running the house as a boarding house, accidentally attracting a harem of young girls all vying for Kaoru's attention.

This anime has two stories going on: a classic Japanese romance from the age of the samurai and a Love Hina'esque harem story. But at its heart, Ai Yori Aoshi is a very strong character anime; all the characters are interesting with depth. Tina Foster, an American who grew up in Japan, acts the extrovert to hide her loneliness of feeling like a stranger in both cultures. Mayu is rich and intelligent, but her parents treat her more as a prized piece of furniture than their child; the only love in her life came from an act of kindness by Kaoru. These complex stories enmesh and develop over time. The characters are explored even further in the second series, Ai Yori Aoshi - Enishi.

It's a really good series for those who like romantic stories with a strong ensemble cast.

Age: 14+ Warnings: Frequent fan service, suggested nudity and mature situations. Available in North America from Geneon.

[Entry by Travers Naran]

Aim for the Top!

see Gunbuster

Aishiteruze Beibe (a.k.a. Love You Baby)
Aishiteruze Beibe: Yuzuyu and Kippei

Kippei is a lackadaisical high-schooler, popular with the girls but not ready for commitment. One day he arrives home to find his young cousin, five-year-old Yuzuyu-chan there. Her mother has abandoned her and the family decide Kippei should be the one to look after her. Thus begins a story of responsibility and maturity on Kippei's part and a chance for stability and happiness for Yuzuyu-chan.

Like fungus, this anime grows on you. Yuzuyu behaves like a real five-year-old, scared by her mother's disappearance, comforted by Kippei-onii-chan, making friends at the kindergarten. There is a little drama; Kippei becomes the focus of a stalker and Yuzuyu gets caught up in the action, but mostly this is Kippei learning that actions have consequences and Yuzuyu learning that she is still loved and her mother's disappearance was not her fault.

Tsuzurahara Miyu, Yuzuyu's seiyuu, makes her sound like a real five-year-old. The animation quality is not very high but carries the story adequately. The OP and ED songs are catchy and addictive, matching the upbeat mood of the series.

This series is still unlicensed. The manga is being translated by Viz.

[Entry by Robert Sneddon]

Akira: Kaori and Tetsuo

An adaptation of a longer manga work, the story (as far as the anime is concerned) surrounds a gang, in particular the leader, Kaneda, and his friend, Tetsuo, and a secret government/military project to tap the psychic abilities of children. Tetsuo encounters a "child" from these experiments and soon after starts to exhibit some abilities of his own following his abduction by the military. Kaneda is caught up in the events that follow as first he tries to find his friend and find out what has happened to him, then has to battle with Tetsuo as his new found powers start to run out of control. Who is Akira? A question that runs through the whole convoluted plot but, to find out, Tetsuo risks himself, his friends and the whole city.

The production was masterminded by Katsuhiro Otomo, and has been touted as one of the best productions of its type, having won awards around the world. However people that are fans of the manga series should be aware of the compacted nature of the production. There is also one attempted rape scene.

Originally released in the US by Streamline Pictures, later licenced to Geneon (aka Pioneer). In Australia this is available from Madman, in the UK it is available from Manga Video.

[Entry by Chika]

DMOZ Open Directory Project

All Purpose Cultural Cat-Girl Nuku-Nuku
Bannou Buka Nekomusume: Ryuunosuke and Nuku Nuku

The Mishima Heavy Industries corporation wants its prototype android back, to use as a war machine. Lady Akiko, head of Mishima, wants to take her son Ryuunosuke from her ex-husband - preferably by force. Ryuunosuke, on the run with his brilliant and eccentric father, just wants the friendly kitten he finds on Christmas Eve. When it all comes together, the result is "Nuku Nuku" Natsume - the brain of a cat, the appearance of a lovely schoolgirl, and the raw power of a war machine, living with Ryuunosuke and 'Papa-san' as Ryuunosuke's sister and the family's protector.

The original six OAV series is nicely animated, delightful action-comedy. The TV series that followed kept most of the same characters but changed the situations heavily, and is reported to have suffered from a Monster-of-the-Week plot. The later OAV series, Nuku Nuku Dash, not only changed the situations but changed Nuku Nuku's character design and her personality from bubbly and upbeat to teary, and is generally considered disappointing by fans.

Available from ADV.

[Entry by Antaeus Feldspar]

DMOZ Open Directory Project

Angel Links
Angel Links: Meifon

The second show in Sunrise's Toward Stars universe, but nowhere near as wide in scope as its sister series Outlaw Star, Angel Links tells the story of Li Meifon, a teenager who is named heir to a large interplanetary corporation on the condition that she operate a pirate-hunting service for free. This seems simple enough on the surface, but why does Meifon already have a grave marker?

This is science-fantasy space opera, but not quite in the same vein as its sister show - the scope is much smaller than what's shown in Outlaw Star. It's also half the length of the previous series, mainly because the writers didn't have to explain everything to the audience.

Angel Links is available as a four-DVD box set from Bandai in North America.

[Entry by Rob Kelk]

DMOZ Open Directory Project

Angelic Layer
Angelic Layer: Misaki and her angel Hikaru

Mizaki Suzuhara is moving to Tokyo. Upon arriving at the train station, she gets lost (it's her first time in Tokyo) and wanders outside, where she witnesses a battle that wows her on a gigantic screen. It turns out that the battle was part of Angelic Layer, a game that's very popular. She gets drawn into the game and goes on a wild adventure. This series has something for everyone, from the comedic wiggly-squiggly Icchan, to more heart-felt moments, and even intense battles. So go out now, and see the series that one of the voice actresses calls "Dragon Ball Z for Girls!" Available from ADV films.

R1 official website

[Entry by Bill Martin]

Aozora Shoujotai

see 801 T.T.S. Airbats


In Neo-Venezia, despite a backdrop of science fiction technology, life has returned to simpler times. Akari Mizunashi is living in Neo-Venezia (a recreation of the city of Venice) on the planet Aria (a terraformed Mars). She is employed by Aria Company as a "Single" or trainee Undine, the name given to gondoliers in Neo-Venezia. Together with her friends and fellow would-be Undines Aika and Alice, Akari spends her days learning to become a full-fledged Undine and experiencing the joys of life, love, and friendship among the canals of her adopted home.

Aria is a laid-back, slice-of-life story that shows the "Magic of everyday life" through Akari's eyes. Cooked from the same recipie as Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou, Aria's episodic pace and lovely background music can best be described as relaxed. Warm and fuzzy feelings are the order of the day for Aria.

Aria spans three seasons - Aria the Animation (13 episodes), Aria the Natural (26 episodes), an OVA and the final Aria the Origination (13 episodes). It is based on the two manga series Aqua and Aria by Amano Kozue. The first season has been licenced by RightStuf.

[Entry by Abraham Evangelista and Robert Sneddon]


see Earth Girl Arjuna

Armitage III
Armitage III: Naomi Armitage

In the future, mankind has terraformed and settled Mars. We've also developed a line of human-like androids with designations of "first," "second" and "third". Ross Sylabus, a police detective from Earth with an antipathy for androids, has transferred to Mars. What he finds there is a political conspiracy that covers two planets and involves his colleague, the child-like female detective Armitage. Well drawn and animated, with moments of both levity and action. Some violence. Four episodes, or one movie which is the episodes edited together with some omissions. Subbed and dubbed both available. From Geneon, and Madman in Australia.

[Entry by Ben Cantrick]

[There is also a sequel movie Armitage III - Dual-Matrix, which contains spoilers for the original Armitage III story.  - Rob Kelk]

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Arslan Senki (a.k.a. The Heroic Legend of Arslan)
Arslan Senki: Arslan

5 part OAV running approximately 4 hours total. Slow paced historical fiction. The kingdom of Pars is overrun by a neighboring kingdom, with inside help. The king is imprisoned and it's up to the young prince and his loyal retainers to win the kingdom back. The story is more sword and political intrigue than it is sword and sorcery, not much fighting, no comedy, full of shoujo-esque character designs, and is unfinished, the remainder of the story is available in novel or manga form. Original novels by the same author as Legend of Galactic Heroes. DVD box set includes all OAVs. By U.S. Manga Corps.

[Entry by MimiE]

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Ash Wings Alliance

see Haibane Renmei

Astro Boy (originally Tetsuwan Atomu/Mighty Atom)

The first real Japanese anime TV series aired in 1963, Astro Boy was made by the anime "God" Osamu Tezuka. It is a story of a little robot boy, who ages and becomes mature through the series. It was the first anime which featured familiar things such as continuous story and plot for the entire series, character development, and so on. And remember, it was the first TV anime series!

(This description refers to the original series, not the later remake.)

Licenced by The Right Stuf International in North America, and by Madman in Australia.

[Entry by Andrew V. Tupkalo]

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Aura Battler Dunbine

Motorcycle racer Show Zama is pulled into an alternate world where he is drafted as an Aura Battler. An Aura Battler is a person from Upper Earth (our world) that has the aura power to control the insect-like mechs this world uses to fight its wars. While the natives can also drive these things they cannot do so with the proficiency of Upper Earthers. Show finds himself involved in a war of conquest led by Drake Luft and soon decides he's on the wrong side. It's quite an epic from the man who gave the world Gundam.

Licenced by ADV Films.

[Entry by Kyle Thomas Pope]

DMOZ Open Directory Project

Azumanga Daioh
Azumanga Daioh: the students

Popular 26 episode comedy series which follows the fortunes of seven girls, two teachers, and one dog through the three years of senior high school. Much of the story centres on Chiyo-chan, a ten year old genius who has been put in their class and whose combination of cuteness and superior academic ability inspires ambivalent feelings amongst her considerably older classmates. Each character is sharply defined and a lot of the humour arises from our anticipation of their inevitable behaviour, from the narcoleptic Osaka who lives in a dream to the manic Tomo whose hijinks go a little too far. The animation is minimal and at times repetitive, but the images are beautifully drawn with a refreshing look and equally good background music.

Available from ADV.

Note: the Azumanga Daioh "Movie" (included on the sixth ADV DVD, not included in the box set) is actually just a five minute widescreen short which reworks a few scenes from the series.

R1 official website

[Entry by Shez]

DMOZ Open Directory Project

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Any images on this page are copyright their respective creators or licencees, and are used under Fair Use (review) provisions of the Copyright Act. All reviews on this page are copyright their respective authors, and are used with permission. The compilation copyright for this page is held by Rob Kelk.

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