Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma Original creator: Shun Saeki (art), Yuto Tsukuda (story)
Directed by: Yoshitomo Yonetari
Character Design by: Tomoyuki Shitaya
Produced by: J.C. Staff, Showgate
Voice cast: Minami Takahashi, Risa Taneda, Yoshitsugu Matsuoka, Takahiro Sakurai
Air dates: Fridays at 2:25 p.m. CDT on Crunchyroll
Food and sex. People have an endless fascination all over the world with both, and why not? They’re inextricably linked with our most basic drives, survival and procreation. The late Japanese director Juzo Itami poked fun at both in his landmark comedy, Tampopo, and who, of course, hasn’t seen 9 Â½ Weeks? Now think of those themes in a fighting high school anime setting, and you’re ready for Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma. Actually, I may be overstating the case a little on the sex aspect of the show, but I got your attention, didn’t I?
No Game, No Life Directed by Atsuko Ishizuka
Based on the Light Novel Series by Yuu Kamiya
Produced by Madhouse, Media Factory
Voice cast: Ai Kayano, Yoshitsugu Matsuoka, Mamiko Noto, Mugihito, Naomi Shindo, Rie Kugimiya, Risa Taneda, Yoko Hikasa, Yuka Iguchi, Yukari Tamura.
Air dates: Streaming Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. CDT on Crunchyroll
Slacker. Ne’er-do-well. Non-conformist. Hippie. Hermit. Otaku. NEET. Hikikomori. Societies all around the world have come up with a wide range of names to describe people who have decided, for whatever reason, to drop out of the mainstream of society. Usually, there’s a lot of social stigma attached to the label, and the people who have to endure these labels seldom feel welcome in their respective cultures. Sometimes, the desire to get away from everyone and everything can be a very powerful thing. And that’s partly the motivation for a pair of gamer siblings in No Game, No Life, a series directed by Atsuko Ishizuka that is now streaming Wednesday mornings on Crunchyroll.
No Game, No Life tells the story of a brother-and-sister duo of gamers who have devoted so much of their lives to gaming together that they have become an urban legend, known only as [ ] (literally “kuhaku,” or “blank space”) with a reputation of never having lost a single game out of thousands of sessions across 280 or more different games. The pair is actually siblings Sora, 18, and his 11-year-old sister, Shiro, who are both NEETS (short for Not in Education, Employment, or Training) and are also Hikikomoris, or shut-ins.
The Comic Artist and His Assistants
Directed by Takeshi Furuta
Produced by Zexcs, Showgate
Voice cast: Yoshitsugu Matsuoka, Saori Hayami, Arisa Noto, Yuka Iguchi
Air dates: Streaming Mondays at 12:05 p.m. CDT on Crunchyroll
Ah, the venerable harem anime. How many ways can you write about one lucky guy and the bevy of beautiful women who eventually come to either his rescue or ruin? I’ve been seeing one version or another of this genre played out since Rumiko Takahashi‘s Lum: Urusei Yatsura and the original Tenchi: Muyou and El Hazard OVA series.
But I digress with this mini history lesson: The point I’m making is that the harem anime is a genre with long legs, usually deliberately portrayed in one revealing manner or another. How then does an old-school otaku like me address new titles in this genre without a jaded eye? It’s not easy, but I’ll try.