There is a Spectre Hanging Over Summer 2009 Anime Season


There are no robot anime. Reading the show descriptions, I can’t determine if there are even any robots at all in these shows. This won’t do!

There’s talk of the decline of the Anime industry. Artefact writes,

There seems little doubt that the production of anime has cooled off of late: in 2000, 124 anime titles were broadcast on Japanese TV,  but in 2006 this had risen precipitously to 306; in 2008 it declined to 288. The latest season sees 30 shows airing, whereas the same season in 2006 saw 60.

From Sankaku Complex (Artefact 2009/05/05)

He goes on to quote an industry insider, who mentions factors to blame:

One anime producer has no doubts about where to lay the blame; he places it squarely at the feet of the increasingly unadventurous studios themselves, who have been endlessly churning out moe and mecha anime:

“The reason this stuff isn’t selling is because people have cottoned on to the fact they’re just rehashing the same moe and mecha anime over and over. With less disposable income and the diffusion of HD, youngsters have become very careful about what they buy; as only the best products can weather this, there’s nothing for it but to make more of them.”

I’m not here do discuss this supposed decline of the anime industry. I’m taking off from this supposed insider’s take that studios have been rehashing the same moe and mecha anime. However, looking at the roster of shows, his thesis is only partly correct. While there is an abundance of shows that do have moe elements, where’s the mecha? Where’s Sunrise? 

Hmpf. At least Shin Mazinger Z Hen will spill over to the upcoming season. The Macross Frontier movie is supposedly on in August, but it’ll take some time before there’ll be DVD fansubs of that one. Well, I still have quite the substantial backlog to manage (a whole lot of Gundam). But nonetheless, I’d appreciate any news of mecha anime showing in the upcoming season.

battloid vs. regult

What’s the big deal about mecha anime and why am I such a nut for it? Well, the first anime I ever watched included three of them: Choudenji Machine Voltes V, Tossho Daimos, and Mazinger Z (age 3-4) The next wave of shows I watched included UFO Grendaizer and Mechander Robo (age 4), and in the third wave (when I was about age 7) I fell in love with SDF Macross. So yeah, violent robot cartoons were a big part of my early childhood at the dawn of the 1980s.

I’m all for innovation in anime, but that doesn’t mean innovation won’t/can’t/shouldn’t happen within the mecah genre. I don’t know how innovation should look like, but I’m very happy with the work done in Shin Mazinger Z Hen, where the presentation is highly theatrical and dramatic. In terms of real robot shows, I want to see more treatments similar to that in FLAG, where real ‘feels’ even more real. But even if these things are too much to ask for to happen every season, please give me one good mecha show.  

Those of you in the know, is there anything in these upcoming shows you think I’m going to enjoy in a big way?

Further Reading

What the hell is Voltes V? [->]

A superior articulation on why mecha anime is awesome (The Animanachronism 200/06/23).

I’m not sure I understand it, but here’s an alternative view of mecha anime as genre (Omo 2008/06/23).

About ghostlightning

I entered the anime blogging sphere as a lurker around Spring 2008. We Remember Love is my first anime blog. Click here if this is your first time to visit WRL.
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63 Responses to There is a Spectre Hanging Over Summer 2009 Anime Season

  1. omo says:

    Want to just add Cencoroll. Modern mecha redux!

    Thanks for the ping, made me reread what I wrong and it is always good to get back to the basics. Also, please ask questions if you have any.

    • ghostlightning says:

      I posted a comment on your post. After re-reading it I’m beginning to think you took an angle that depicts the relationship of the viewer and the mecha anime as ‘evangelized’ and ‘gospel’ with the robots being the god-like idols.

      I can’t find much information on Cencoroll, but will it come out this summer? If it’s a film it won’t be some time until there are subs I can watch, just like the upcoming Macross Frontier movie. But thanks for the heads up.

      • omo says:

        It’s a film/OAV most likely.

        Well, “gospel” is a term that Christianity hijacked but it means “good news” at root. It’s almost a religious message, too, at times in anime. Or at least philosophical. There are a lot of examples in all of Gundam, let alone non-Gundam, that has these kinds of messages going on.

        • ghostlightning says:

          I agree, and this is something I’m interested to explore in the future unless you beat me to it ^_^

  2. RP says:

    Judging by the lack of studios – Sunrise, like you mentioned, Gonzo, Gainax, Production IG, KyoAni etc. I have to believe that the above list has to be incomplete. Not that they all have releases every season, but all of them MIA during the summer? That’s hard to believe. Or maybe I’m just unwilling to open my eyes and face reality? I knew they said the recession would hurt, but man…

  3. Baka-Raptor says:

    Don’t like it? Make your own robot show. With these.

    • ghostlightning says:

      Only if you agree to dub the plucky sidekick kid pilot. You’ve the perfect voice for it. (Don’t worry, when a gang tries to gay rape him he’ll reveal himself to be a hawt lesbian badass reverse-trap robot and smoke the raepist)

  4. G says:

    Lady from Cobra is a cyborg and pilots a space ship that can turn in to a snake. Close enough?

  5. Fuck mecha, the summer season looks to be the best season since 07. I’ve been fed up with all the shows that are good but not amazing lately. This new season is gunna be fucking AWESOME.

  6. mangadazed says:

    Well for what it is worth, getting the next “Evangelion” movie in June as well.

    “Red Line” *might* be a mecha, only image I have seen is on anidb and hard to tell from the cockpit(looks enclosed but stick doesn’t scream mecha).

    I would be surprised to see anything from Sunrise this season since we are getting the Unicorn anime/ova/movie in winter and OO movie sometime in 2010 and “Sora o Kakeru Shoujo” is still airing (I think).

    As RP stated, we should get at least a few more series announcements soon, so keep those fingers crossed.

    • ghostlightning says:

      /fingers crossed

      Movies take time to get fansubbed so it doesn’t address the dearth of the ‘new’ shows to watch during the season. That said, I’m very much excited for the next Eva. For what it’s worth you’ve cheered me up so thanks!

  7. animekritik says:

    Summer season looks like a wasteland. The only show that captures my attention is CANAAN, and that’s just because I’m a bible otaku. In this connection, may I point out that the misspelling of Mecha as Mecah sounds like a prophet’s name: Mecah crying out in the wilderness, where have all the mecha shows gone? Repent etc..

    • ghostlightning says:

      LOL. Bible-otaku eh. I suppose I was one when I was younger, though I’m more of a retired Roman Catholiphile.

      Mecha sounds more like Mecca, probably the most important spiritual center in the world considering the declining influence of the Vatican.

  8. Ryan A says:

    Hmm, well Summer and Winter are notorious for being the lesser seasons, but we should expect some strong series right? I mean, 2008 had Xam’d, but it’s arguable that the release should be counted as a Summer broadcast (P3N isn’t very accessible with out a PS3).

    Also, with regard to the industry, anime may have some indicators that it’s ebbing, but on the other hand manga seems to be booming (at least from glancing the growing accessibility of in-browser reading). Naturally, one would hope flourishing manga find studio homes for adaptation.

    As for mech, I do find it odd that any season would lack it, but I can’t really recall what previous Summers/Winters held for mech.

    I don’t mind the apparent fluff this Summer is showing, but if something awesome arises I’d be more than enthused. ^^

    • ghostlightning says:

      I think that earthquake show by BONES is very interesting, but my point is that I want my robots. Nothing so profound in this post than ghostlightning is butthurt over lack of mecha shows this summer.

  9. Ian K says:

    Well, at least we’ve got Terminator 4 and Transformers 2 coming out this summer. Not quite the same, of course, but it’s something.

    • ghostlightning says:

      Yes, THIS. I was very much into Transformers when the movie came out, sending me into a headlong collection spree of Starscream toys.

  10. sadakups says:

    Where’s my mecha? This season is teh sux. And trolls will probably have a rest, since we don’t have a Sunrise title. [/sarcasm]

    Seriously though, just looking at that list, yes, it is majorly composed of high school girls and it equals moe. Go do the math.

    I’m only looking at Umineko no Naku Koro ni, and probably the fourth Zetsubou anime.

    • ghostlightning says:

      Yeah man, anime isn’t just mecha but I want my fix. I want robot design eye-candy. I want guns blazing and robots coming apart; slowly and violently in tension-filled battles.

  11. Uh. Mazinger at 3-4 years old? lol O_o

    • ghostlightning says:

      Yep, on a black and white TV set, that had this huge built-in cabinet and had a dial to change the channels with. When I’m by myself they make sure it’s locked (the cabinet had sliding panels). I saw quite a bit of TV, but it was heavily regulated.

  12. gaguri says:

    Spice and Wolf wasn’t amazing, but I enjoyed it (Horo is so rabu rabu~) so I ‘might’ follow that. It also helps that Brains Base is going to be animating it (probably the only studio that can compete with Madhouse in terms of consistent quality). And as much as I love Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei…let’s just hope Shinbo can keep his mojo up, there were signs of him drying up in the last season.

    The most exciting projects in this season for me are Cencoroll (it’s summer show right?) and Bakemonogatari. With Bakemonogatari, I’m hoping for Shinbo to show more of his Cossette side than Zetsubou side.

    And then there is Winter Sonata…probably obligatory for me. The original K-drama was…well, I guess it was success in terms of its influence and popularity.

    • ghostlightning says:

      I really need to find out more about Cencoroll.

      I had actually seen the Tagalog dub of Winter Sonata the K-drama. My mom really loved it. I thought it wasn’t bad myself. ^_^

  13. vendredi says:

    Cencoroll looks very interesting – there are trailer vids up on youtube if you are not already aware, but the vibe strikes me as more FLCL rather than an outright mecha sort of show.

    Another movie, not exactly Japanese, mecha, and it might not even get released in summer, is First Squad, funded by Molot Entertainment. It’s a movie about a platoon of Soviet teenage paranormals in the Red Army on the Eastern Front during WWII fighting a German SS battalion that is attempting to raise a legion of undead Teutonic knights. If the story isn’t enough to raise an eyebrow, it’s also being animated by Studio 4c.

    • I’ve never connected with FLCL despite numerous tries, but I checked out Cencoroll and it’s a mad hoot. I’ve left comments on your post re FIRST SQUAD!.


    • animekritik says:

      my keyboard almost short circuited from all of my drooling: undead Teutonic Knights vs Soviet teenage paranormals!! ZOMG to the max!

  14. schneider says:

    I actually welcome this season because it’ll give me much more time to watch the old old shows in my backlog.

    That said, Cencoroll looks awesome, but I thought it was some kind of Crunchyroll wannabe at first.

  15. Umineko and Zan Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei ensure your cries of pain fall upon deaf ears here. The rest? Who cares, I’ll be busy rewatching every scene with Beato in it. I have no time for a good season!

    And surely, as you say, you can catch up with your backlog. You should be thankful for such a good opportunity to watch Panda-Z: The Robonimation.

  16. I’ve read people who know more about it than me saying that summer is, in general, the anime industry’s slow period (autumn being the opposite). I’d guess mecha shows are likely to need half-decent budgets, at least if the action’s going to look at all interesting, too. I don’t know if that has anything to do with it; I’m too busy right now to compare previous summers.

    Anyway, my attitude is essentially schneider’s: I concentrate on old stuff every season, so a dry summer won’t inconvenience me much. Even leaving aside new old stuff, I still have to rewatch most of Turn-A.

    • Hmmm, I do wish someone would do a comparative analysis of anime offerings per season per year: noting production budgets/values, notability, ratings, etc. While I’m with you and schneider re attacking my backlog (I’m doing that every season anyway, I finish more ‘old’ shows than I complete currently airing ones), I do want at least one new robotic treat every season, even just to remind me that there are creators who constantly think about this stuff.

  17. hayase says:

    No mecha? No problem. *goes off to finish the mecha anime backlog*

  18. TheBigN says:

    This coming season looks like it will be a pretty entertaining one, which is great.

  19. Flash Sword Irene says:

    The upcoming summer season definitely does not look to be a good one since most of the shows look terrible. It would be a feat to manage to become worse then the current season since this is as low as it gets. The only animes I genuinely look forward to are:

    Baton (Background and Premise)
    Miyamoto Musashi – Souken ni Haseru Yume

    Sadly, that is about all there is for the stretch of the entire season barring an appearance of the Macross Frontier movie. (If that even happens since there does not seem to be a definitive release date on it.)

    As much as I like mecha anime myself, even I believe the genre should take a breather if only to allow for Gundam Unicorn to shine when it finally airs…whenever. The Gundam SEED movie should probably see release before then and would (hopefully) prove to be better then the tv series. (Which I highly doubt.)

    Other then that, all I would have are overlapping shows with a lengthy amount of episodes to cover. At least a show like KMS Erin does not suck while proving to be well worth the time.

    • ghostlightning says:

      As much as I like mecha anime myself, even I believe the genre should take a breather if only to allow for Gundam Unicorn to shine when it finally airs…whenever. The Gundam SEED movie should probably see release before then and would (hopefully) prove to be better then the tv series. (Which I highly doubt.)

      I’m not following you on this. I think I’m always going to want a robot show to either watch, love, whine about, or ignore.

      As I’ve told The Animanachronism above, I do want at least one new robotic treat every season, even just to remind me that there are creators who constantly think about this stuff.

    • You say this about pretty much every season though. We’ve haven’t even hit the trailers or seen all of what’s coming up this season so I just don’t get the constant overwhelming pessimism. Question, are you sure you have the right hobby? You seem to always be going on about how bad this or that show or season is or is going to be wherever I see you posting….almost to the point of self-punishment. It’s like I’m reading bizarro ghostlightning or something.

  20. usagijen says:

    with less mecha animes comes the great chance to expand your horizons and refine your Anime Taste! To infinity and beyond!

    • ghostlightning says:

      Okay, I get the refining taste thing lol. I’d like to think I’m pretty refined, as I watch a variety of shows. But get this: I’m not demanding a Macross a Gundam, or even a Mazinger every season, just one new robotic treat every season, even just to remind me that there are creators who constantly think about this stuff.

    • That goes for any anime genre really.

  21. drmchsr0 says:

    …And who actually goes to Sankaku Complex for NEWS?

    Dude, Artefact’s the fucking Sun of the Internet (The Sun is a most popular tabloid in Britain.).

    Yes, Sankaku Complex is an INTERNET TABLOID. INTERNET TABLOID mean anything to you?

    The enxt person who keeps saying the anime industry shot itself in the foot, I’ll point out that Japan literally shoots itself in the foot ALL THE TIME. (Shooting themselves in the foot being an euphemism for the Japanese herd mentality for copying a successful formula).

  22. Sakura says:

    Guess I’ll be using summer to catch up on shows I’ve already fallen behind on so far this season XD

    I’m mainly keeping up with FMA Brotherhood and Eden of the East.

    • While I never got into FMA, I’ve tried watching Eden of the East. I think I’ll put in on hold for marathoning later on. You gotta at least try Shin Mazinger Z Hen!

  23. DonKangolJones says:

    *Sigh*…. Seeing this lineup just makes me realize how GOOD mecha fans have had it the past few years. Code Geass, Gundam 00, Macross Frontier, I suppose Casshern is mecha as well. Not to mention shows that I thought were just excellent like Toradora! and Clannad. Even for a summer season it really does feel weak.

    I read that Sankaku Complex article as well. And I’m a bit upset that someone would say that they are just rehashing mecha anime. I don’t consider any of those shows I just mentioned as boring, carbon copy rehashes of anything else. I thought Code Geass was very unique for a mecha show (almost so as to NOT be mecha show), 00 for much of its run was quite unique and refreshing for a Gundam show and a nice departure from what the SEED series had become. And despite my 7, I really enjoyed Frontier and eagerly await some kind of sequel, in addition to the movie.

    I suppose since my anime watching friends have been eagerly anticipating Spice & Wolf II and I’ve just fallen in love with Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei (currently watching 2nd season, those are the ones I most anticipate. Besides that I suppose Taishou Yakyuu Musume, Umi Monogatari and Winter Sonata may hold some promise. I don’t know what the hell to make of Canaan. Oh & whenever Bones does something I pay attention, at least. FMA2 should be well into the manga original material by the summer, so I can always fall back on that.

    Oh Toradora, how I miss you.

    • *Sigh* you’re right. We’re spoiled. You could’ve mentioned TTGL too.

      I don’t consider any of those shows I just mentioned as boring, carbon copy rehashes of anything else. I thought Code Geass was very unique for a mecha show (almost so as to NOT be mecha show), 00 for much of its run was quite unique and refreshing for a Gundam show and a nice departure from what the SEED series had become. And despite my 7, I really enjoyed Frontier and eagerly await some kind of sequel, in addition to the movie.

      Yes, very much so. Also, a 7 for me means good. I actually wonder at how so many people consider 7 as mediocre especially since MAL says it means good.

      • DonKangolJones says:

        Yeah, some ppl take 7’s as insults to their fav shows. Anything above a 6, to me, means your show did pretty well. I forgot that TTGL isn’t very old either. Thinking that I almost never watched that show scares me.

        Ok, back on subject. No Sunrise, apparently no mecha, I was looking forward to Applesee: Genesis, but that’s in limbo so no cyberpunk or G.I.T.S. type of fun. It’s like the anime industry looked right at me & said, “F^CK YOU! Moe is the new mecha, giant robots & beam spamming out! Cute, clumsy girls & moe spamming in!” I’ll probably be like you and catch up on my Gundam. Gundam X, you’re next!

        • I’m with you. LOL moe spammu = beam spammu. I have so much Gundam to catch up to. I’m not that averse to moe, it’s just not the core of my tastes. I really just watch the ‘mainstream’ shows that only happen to have moe elements, plus the very popular KyoAni moe vehicles such as the currently airing K-ON!.

    • mangadazed says:

      There is merit to the rehash argument, considering not many mecha series are released.

      Gundam 00 (much like Seed which was just an updated version of the One Year War with more toys, don’t get me wrong I liked Seed but still) just reused elements of previous Gundam / other mecha. You can not tell me that Setsuna was not a clone of Sagara from Full Metal Panic. Then most of the plot were elements that they took from Gundam Wing and Zeta.

      Viper’s Creed, Tytania, Sora o Kakeru Shoujo, and even Macross F were not terribly original. But the idea is to make something entertaining not something unique every time. It is very hard to come up with unique ideas, much of any creative industry is improving upon old shows and ideas, but lets not kid ourselves here.

      Remark: Macross F was awesome, the rest of the shows I mentioned, not so much.

      • The perceived lack of originality stems from a planned outcome of introducing the next generation of fans to the franchise. Therefore, the best elements of the exemplary shows are referenced.

        And… it worked, in my case. After dropping so many Gundam shows after less than 10 episodes (I must have tried watching almost 10 shows) Gundam 00 got me hooked and I wouldn’t be this much of an advocate of Gundam without it. I hadn’t seen SEED and have no plans of watching it.

        This is even more of the case with Macross Frontier.

        You see, I don’t mind accusations of lack of originality when clearly the objective isn’t to be groundbreaking, but rather to ‘remember love.’

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  25. Omisyth says:

    Screw mecha LOL.

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