The Anime Primer

Capsule Descriptions of Anime: F

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Fake   Fancy Lala   Figure 17   Fire Tripper   FLCL   Fruits Basket   Full Metal Alchemist   Full Metal Panic   Full Moon o Sagashite   Fushigi Yuugi


A very gay detective story with young man and woman in care of the officers in an alternate version of NYC.

The senior detective, who is in love with the younger who is Japanese-American, sets up a vacation for both in England. He bribes the young man to stay behind so that he and the object of his affection can enjoy a truly romantic weekend.

Too bad the hotel they have chosen is the scene of a mystery which has attracted the attention of a senior officer of the NY State Police. A woman vanishes and then the kids show up to prevent seduction.

Well the vacation is already spoiled when a flaming fellow officer insists on following them to the site and they get a harsh suprise on their return to the station house.

Very amusing!

One 60 minute OAV, from Anime Works

[Entry by bobbie sellers]

[Parental Advisory: Fake does touch on male/male romantic relationships, but it's clean. There isn't even any nudity in it past the occasional male chest.  - David Watson]

Fam and Ihrie

see Ruin Explorers

Fancy Lala

Fancy Lala is the story of a girl and her magic sketch book. I think that cleared all of the DBZ heads out. For the rest of you, no, there are no magical princesses fighting evil by moonlight, nor are there any convoluted love polygons. What we have here is a simple show about how a young girl, Shinohara Miho (all names in Japanese name order) obtains the power to grow just a bit older from some 'funny dinosaurs' (Pigu and Mogu, her wise helpers ... yea right, they spend more time arguing and eating all the food than helping) and her not so meteoric rise to stardom. Her alter ego's name is Lala, for short (Fancy Lala in full). She's got powers that every little girl would want: growing older, drawing all the cool clothes you could ever want with a magic pen (just say Dabu Dabu and the clothes become real!) and meeting all your favorite stars (in Miho's case it's the fabulous male idol, Aikawa Hiroya).

However, this show's best aspect is its unusual realness. Lala's rise to stardom is no instant success. It's a lot of hard work full of bright lights, pushy stars, and time spent away from friends. Her time as Miho isn't all sugar sweetness wrapped in a candy cane either. Miho's a rather real little girl, genki or not, and she gets frustrated and tired. An interesting point is the depth of character is actually accentuated by Miho having two forms. Seeing how characters react to each form shows their characters in more detail than otherwise would be possible. That's it, except for maybe that mysterious guy... (Fushigi-san, called 'Mystery Man' in the commercial version). Maybe he has something to do with Miho's spectacular transformation? This 26 episode series was on Japanese TV in 1998, and now is released in the US by Bandai Entertainment. An extra note: it's a homage to Creamy Mami, a 1983 magical girl show along the same lines (both done by Studio Pierrot).

[Entry by Hana no Kaitou]

DMOZ Open Directory Project

Figure 17
Figure 17: Hikaru and Tsubasa

Some young anime girls get wands or pens that let them transform into powerful fighters. Tsubasa got a twin sister.

This anime takes place in rural Hokkaido, a quiet place just right for slow character development, quiet childhood life, and the occasional fight against an alien menace that could destroy the planet. And shy, out-of-her-element Tsubasa is caught in the middle of it all when her father moves there and an alien spacecraft crashes. After getting that "twin sister" (actually an alien AI), who names herself Hikaru, Tsubasa spends most of her screen time learning how to open up to her new classmates, and about close friendship. However, there's still the alien menace to be dealt with, and it seems that only Hikaru and Tsubasa, working together as "Figure 17", are up to the challenge.

Figure 17 will seem familiar to old-school anime fans; the show was originally presented as one 50-minute episode every month, so the pacing is very much like the original OAV anime series of the 1980s. (However, the anime was first released to cable television, not to video.) The production values are state of the art for the turn of the millennium, though. The show also doesn't pigeonhole into convenient genres; it's roughly equally a "coming of age" story and an "intense battle" story.

[Parental Advisory: There is some violence, and people do die. Please preview the show before letting pre-teens watch it.]

13 episodes, available in North America on six DVDs from Anime Works.

[Entry by Rob Kelk]

Fire Tripper

One of the more serious of the Rumik World stories by Rumiko Takahashi. A young woman gets sent back in time to feudal Japan, but how? And what happened to the young boy that was with her? Was available from USMC.

[Entry by Rob Kelk]


What makes a boy a man: older women, baseball and rock and roll. FLCL is a hilarious, surreal comedy from GAINAX (Neon Genesis Evangelion, Kare Kano).

Naota is a 12-year old boy in a boring town that has the steam-iron shaped Medical Mechanica factory as its most distinguishing feature. He lives in the shadow of his older brother, a local baseball star who went to America, and his life is going nowhere. He spends most of his time hanging around with his brother's ex-girlfriend, Mamimi, and being manipulated by Ninamori, the class president.

Then she comes to town, Haruko Harurura. Riding an Italian Vespa scooter and carrying a wicked electric guitar she starts like a chainsaw, she enters Naota's life and turns it and the town upside down. Just what is it she wants with Medical Machinica and why do robots keep bursting from Naota's head!?

Visually, it is as if Chuck Jones decided to make anime. It's wild, frenetic and full of hilarious sight gags, but it's also a coming of age story. It will remind you of your awkward "tween" years as you discovered the opposite sex, feeling cynical about adults and the question, "Where do you want to go with your life?"

Available in North America from Synch-Point.

[Entry by Travers Naran]

Fruits Basket

This is a shoujo story about an orphaned girl who is taken in by a wealthy clan that has been cursed to transform into animals from the Chinese zodiac. While there are the usual tropes of growing up in the face of loss and dealing with being an outsider, Fruits Basket treats it with a wry sense of humour, an excellent cast of characters and genuine warmth. But despite the overall cheeriness of the series, there are darker undercurrents to the story and some powerful moments when the characters utterly break down in the face of something they can't deal with.

Licenced in North America by FUNimation.

[Entry by Michael Lo]

Full Metal Alchemist

In a world where Alchemy developed as a science, Ed and Al Elric, sons of a powerful but shadowy and vanished alchemist, set off on a quest to find the secret for creating the Philosopher's Stone in order to attempt to right a terrible mistake that they made. But this is a dangerous land in turmoil, with rebellious factions, military government and mysterious puppet masters all conspiring to unknown ends. FMA is a grand fantasy adventure-drama of, on one hand hubris and Faustian bargains, and on the other hand love and loyalty. Great characters, intricate and intelligent plotting, humor interspersed with drama, a classic sound track and a powerful conclusion make this one of my all time favourite anime.

Licenced in North America by FUNimation.

[Entry by Dave Baranyi]

Full Metal Panic
Full Metal Panic: While Kaname watches, Sosuke has his sidearm confiscated

Popular high school girl Chidori Kaname, unbeknownst to her, is one of a group of people called the Whispered. The Whispered are people who have buried in their memories knowledge of Black Technology, military technology so advanced and powerful that the nations of the world will go to any extreme to get their hands on it. To protect Kaname from falling into the wrong hands a covert anti-terrorist organization called Mithril assigns a bodyguard to watch over and protect Kaname without her knowledge. Unfortunately the person they select for the job is Sagara Sousuke, a teenager who has spent his entire life on battlefields and military camps. Consequently he has no concept of how to cope with ordinary civilian life. Needless to say Sousuke's reactions to even the merest perception of a threat are extreme. As a result he proceeds to turn Kaname's life completely upside down while defending her against some of the nastiest terrorists ever to appear in anime. This has the apparent effect of having Kaname start to fall in love with him. Anyway Sousuke's military skills are unparalleled and he is expert in this world's preferred combat mech, the Arm Slave.

Licenced by ADV Films; trailer available at ADV's Trailers page.

[Entry by Kyle Thomas Pope]

DMOZ Open Directory Project

R1 official websites: First series; Sequel series

Full Moon o Sagashite

Mitsuki Koyama is a twelve year old girl suffering from throat cancer. Her parents have died and she lives with her strict grandmother. She loves singing but is under doctor's orders not to do so lest she further damage her throat. Moreover, her grandmother despises music of all types.

Takuto and Meroko, two shinigami (or spirits of death), are surprised when Mitsuki can see them. They are more comical than bright. The intelligent Mitsuki tricks them into revealing that they are paying an advance visit and that she will die within a year.

Upon hearing this news, Mitsuki resolves to live her year to the fullest. She sneaks away to an audition. The shinigami at first stop her but Takuto is moved by her sad circumstances and changes her into a sixteen year old girl with a healthy throat. We spend the next year wondering if Mitsuki's tragic fate can be changed. Meanwhile, Mitsuki alternates between her real twelve-year-old self and a popular sixteen-year-old singer who performs under the name Full Moon. Her given name in Japanese means full moon and she is fascinated by everything to do with the moon. This fascination with the moon gives the anime its title which means "Searching for the Full Moon."

Mitsuki's dual life is not easy. The shinigami are sometimes a help and sometimes a hindrance. She develops conflicting romantic attachments. Her grandmother's strict edicts and dislike of music complicate matters, as does Mitsuki's doctor. Somehow, she continues her musical career.

Most of the songs are performed by the Japanese band "Changin' My Life". Additionally, the band's lead singer, myco, is Mitsuki's Japanese seiyuu (voice actress). The songs in the English dubbed version remain in Japanese with English subtitles.

The anime is based on a manga series by Arina Tanemura who also wrote Kamikaze Kaitou Jannu. Although the premise is the same in both the anime and the manga, there are substantial differences between the two.

The 52 episode anime series is being released in the US by Viz Media, who have released the seven-volume manga series in its entirety.

[Entry by Phil Yff]

Fushigi no Umi no Nadia

see Nadia

Fushigi Yuugi (a.k.a. Mysterious Play)

One of the most emotional anime of all time, truly heartwrenching, though it does delve into sap a little by the end. The anime focuses on a young girl, Miaka, who gets pulled into an ancient Chinese text and becomes a part of the story - a priestess, in fact, of one of the book world's four gods, Suzaku. When she tries to get out, her best friend Yui is taken in her place! Miaka goes back in after her, but things have happened since Miaka returned to the real world ... With her guardians, the Suzaku Shichiseishi, and her love Tamahome, Miaka must go through many trials in order to regain both peace for her warring kingdom, and her best friend as well. (Geneon)

[Entry by KireiSarah]

DMOZ Open Directory Project

Fuujin Monogatari

see Windy Tales

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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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