Ace o Nerae!

Ace o Nerae! (エースをねらえ! Ēsu o nerae!?, lit. Aim for the Ace!) is a shōjo manga by Sumika Yamamoto begun in 1972 and serialized in Margaret. Hugely successful, it was adapted into a TV anime series in 1973, and more recently a live-action drama series in 2004. The anime series was made by Tokyo Movie Shinsha with the Madhouse animation studio (its first major production), and was originally aired on the Mainichi Broadcasting System. There was also a movie which consisted of several compiled episodes. Another TV anime and two OAVs would soon follow in the 1970s and 1980s. The original TV anime has been distributed in Europe, with the titles Jenny la tennista or “Jenny, the Tennis Player” (Italian), Jeu, Set et Match, or “Game, Set and Match” (French), and Raqueta de oro or “Golden Racket” (Spanish).

Synopsis

The story is about Hiromi Oka, a high school girl who struggles to become good at tennis. Hiromi starts playing tennis in her high school, because she is fascinated by an older girl, Reika Ryūzaki, who is the best player in the team and is nicknamed “Ochōfujin” (お蝶夫人?), which means “Madame Butterfly“, because of her grace on the tennis court. The team gets a new coach, Jin Munakata, who sees potential in her and trains her to become a great tennis player. Hiromi struggles to overcome her mental weakness.

Later on, she falls in love with another tennis player, Takayuki Tōdō, but Coach Munakata tells her not to get too involved, and that it is better to forget him in order to become a better player. Hiromi suffers over this, and many times she loses her confidence in her playing abilities, but with the support of her coach and her many friends she overcomes her anxiety. By training herself to become a better player, Hiromi grows into a mentally stronger person. Hiromi’s enthusiasm and love for tennis, and the support from people around her, helps her to become one of the best players in the world.

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Absolute Boy

Absolute Boy (絶対少年 Zettai Shōnen?) is a 26-episode Japanese anime series produced by Ajia-do Animation Works and Bandai Visual, which premiered from May 21, 2005 to November 19, 2005, and was broadcast by the anime television network, Animax, across its respective networks worldwide, including Japan, East Asia, Southeast Asia, and other regions.

Plot

The series focuses on two major characters, in two different plot arcs, who find themselves caught up in a series of mysteries involving so-called “material fairies” and “material evils”. While they are dealing with these paranormal entities, life continues around them as their friends deal with the ups and downs of life.

The plot centers around two major arcs in the storyline, the first involving Ayumu Aizawa, who is visiting his father in the small town of Tana during the summer; the second concerning Kisa Tanigawa in Yokohama, a year and a half after the events of the first arc.

Summer Arc

The first twelve episodes of the series focus on the day-to-day life of Ayumu Aizawa as he visits his father, a veterinarian, at a small town in the countryside. Ayumu has spent his visit thus far aimlessly biking across the valley, but a chance meeting with a girl named Miku sends him searching for a long-lost friend of his, Wakkun. Upon finding Wakkun, he discovers that the boy has not aged since he and Ayumu played as children. Wakkun is also wearing clothes very similar to the raincoat and galoshes that Ayumu wore habitually as a child. Wakkun introduces Ayumu to his two friends, Dosshiru (Doss) and Shisshin (Sense), mysterious flying objects that alternate between a mechanical form and a sphere of yellow light.

These lights seem to be invisible to most of the people in town, but appear in reflections in people and animals’ eyes. A local reporter, Akira Sukawara, shows up, attracted by reports of kappa and other mysterious events. She follows the animals, notably a cat one of the local boys saw fighting a kappa, to the yellow lights, and grills a reluctant Ayumu for information. Unable to remember the summer he spent in Tana as a child, Ayumu, with the help of Miku and several other people from Tana, tries to understand what happened when he was a child, and the mysterious connection between him, Wakkun, Dosshiru, and Shisshin.

Winter Arc

One and a half years later, Kisa Tanigawa, a depressed high school student, routinely skips class. One evening, wandering aimlessly around the city, she stumbles upon another mysterious mechanical object. Naming it “Bun-chan” or “Ping” in the English dub, after the sound it makes, she takes it home and treats it as a pet. When she tries building a fish out of old scraps of metal, the top fin of the fish does not stay, so Bun-chan (Ping) helps glue it on. Meanwhile, Sukawara reappears, now trying to prove the existence of the mysterious objects that appeared at the Cat Dance in Tana a year and half ago, which she terms “material fairies”, and hears about Bun-chan. Upon witnessing a meeting between Kisa and Ayumu, she calls Bun-chan not a material fairy, but a “material evil”, as its outward appearance does not resemble those of the material fairies spotted in Tana. The material fairies and the material evils, however, seem to be at war with each other. When the three meet, Dosshiru, Shisshin and Bun-chan. Dosshiru and Shisshin start chasing Bun-chan and soon destroy it, leaving Kisa very upset that Bun-chan is gone. After a while the connection of Kisa’s fish’s metal fin starts glowing. One night the fish turns into a sprite form of Bun-chan. Kisa then decides to name it Po-chan.

The city’s population becomes increasingly aware of the situation, as pictures of the material evils, spheres of blue light, circulate among cell-phone users, accompanied by rumors that they bring good luck. Murals appear urging people to think and trust themselves. Eventually, a giant spiral, resembling the metal construction of the material evils, appears in the sky, and the police evacuate a section of the city. Some of the same phenomena are present as in Tana, such as the failure of electronic devices.

A.D. Police: To Protect and Serve

A.D. Police: To Protect and Serve (アドバンスドポリス Adobansudo Porisu?) is a Japanese animated television series set in the Bubblegum Crisis universe.

The 12-episode series revolves around the AD Police, a special attack squad dedicated to stopping rogue boomers. Boomers are humanoid robots that do menial human tasks, such as cleaning, cashiering, and construction. However, some boomers go berserk, and when they do it’s up to the AD Police to stop them.

A.D. Police: To Protect and Serve is available in North America in a 2-disc special edition DVD from ADV Films. The original series is on DVD from Animeigo.

AD Police Files

AD Police Files is a three-part original video animation produced by Artmic and AIC. The story is set five years before the events of Bubblegum Crisis. The series showcases three early cases of the AD Police and features the origin of Leon McNichol.

File Title Release date
1 “The Phantom Woman”
“Maboroshi no Onna” (幻の女)
199005-25
2 “The Ripper”
“Za Rippaa” (ザ・リッパー)
199008-24
3 “The Man Who Bites His Tongue”
“Shita o Kamu Otoko” (舌を噛む男)
199011-22

801 T.T.S. Airbats

801 T.T.S. Airbats (青空少女隊 Aozora Shōjotai?) is a manga by Shimizu Toshimitsu which was later adapted into a seven episode anime series, produced by Studio Fantasia and Victor Entertainment. The series was released in Japan as a series of OAV episodes between 1994 and 1996, and was licensed for English language distribution by ADV Films.

The plot focuses on the activities of technician Takuya Isurugi, who is transferred to the unit at the beginning of the series. Isurugi is a shy otaku who initially makes a bad impression with the four pilots of the unit, all of whom are female.

The plot quickly turns into that of a harem anime when two of the pilots, Miyuki Haneda and Arisa Mitaka, fall in love with the surprised Isurugi. This inflames their already-existing rivalry, which causes trouble for their co-operation in the air. With the JASDF already considering disbanding their unit, Isurugi must persuade the girls to work together to improve their performance and save the team.

8 Man

8 Man (8マン?) or Eightman (エイトマン Eitoman?) is a fictional manga and anime superhero created in 1963 by writer Kazumasa Hirai and artist Jiro Kuwata. He is considered Japan‘s earliest cyborg superhero, predating even Kamen Rider (the same year, Shotaro Ishinomori created Cyborg 009), and was supposedly the inspiration for RoboCop.

The manga was published in Weekly Shōnen Magazine and ran from 1963 to 1966. The anime series, produced by Eiken with the TCJ Animation Center, was broadcast on Tokyo Broadcasting System, and ran from November 17, 1963 to December 31, 1964, with a total of 56 episodes (plus the “farewell” special episode, “Goodbye, Eightman”).

The story

Murdered by criminals, Detective Yokota’s body is retrieved by Professor Tani and taken to his laboratory. There, Tani performs an experiment that has failed seven times in the past; Yokoda is the latest subject to have his life force transferred into an android body. For the first time, the experiment is successful. Yokoda is reborn as the armor-skinned android 8 Man, able to dash at impossible speeds, as well as shape-shift into other people. He shifts himself into Yokoda, this time christening himself as “Hachiro Azuma”. He keeps this identity a secret, known only to Tani, and his police boss Chief Otsuka. Even his girlfriend Sachiko and friend Ichiro don’t know he’s an android. As 8-Man, Hachiro fights assorted crime (even bringing his murderers to justice) to uphold justice and save the innocent.

3000 Leagues in Search of Mother

3000 Leagues in Search of Mother (母をたずねて三千里 Haha o Tazunete Sanzenri?) is an anime series directed by Isao Takahata and aired in 1976. It is loosely based on a small part of the novel Heart (Cuore) by Edmondo De Amicis, i.e. the monthly tale (racconto mensile) From the Apennines to the Andes (Dagli Appennini alle Ande), widely expanded into a 52-episode epic.

The series was broadcast on the World Masterpiece Theater, an animation staple that showcased each year an animated version of a different classical book or story, and was originally titled “From the Apennines to the Andes”. Nippon Animation, producers of the World Masterpiece Theater, would adapt Cuore into a second TV anime series in 1981, although this second series was not part of the WMT.

A summarization movie was released in the 1980s using edited footage from the TV run. Nippon Animation also re-animated 3000 Leagues as a feature-length film in 1999, with a theme song performed by Scottish pop superstar Sheena Easton (“Catch a Dream”).

The series was dubbed into several languages and became an instant success in some countries, such as Portugal, Brazil, Spain, Venezuela, the Arab world and Israel. In Hebrew, the series is called HaLev, meaning The Heart (the name of the novel which the series is based on). In some European and in Latin American countries the series is simply known as Marco, in Arabic the series was a huge sucsess , it was called ” Wada’an Marco “,”وداعاً ماركو”,” Goodbye Marco”.

Plot

The plot of the series focuses on Marco, a young shota who lives with his family in the harbor city of Genoa, Italy during a depression period in 1881. Marco’s father, Pietro Rossi, is a doctor that dedicates his time to treating poor patients, and therefore the family has financial difficulties. His beloved mother, Anna Rossi, goes to Argentina to work as a domestic to earn money for Marco. When the letters from his mother stop coming after an indication that she is sick, Marco fears the worst for his mother’s fate, and since his father is too busy working in his clinic and his older brother Tonio was sent off to train as a locomotive driver in Milano, he is the only one free enough to go search for her.

Marco takes with him his older brother’s pet monkey, Amedeo and together they sneak aboard the Andrea Dora, a ship bound for Brazil. In Brazil Marco boards an immigrant ship and finally arrives in Buenos Aires, where he meets a puppeteer called Peppino and his family, whom he knew from Genoa. They accompany him to Bahía Blanca in order to try and locate his mother.

In Bahía Blanca he discovers his uncle stole the letters which his mother had sent him. He returns to Buenos Aires, and sails off on a ship to Rosario, there he tries to figure out how to get on a train to Córdoba. Marco’s Italian friends collect enough money and buy him a train ticket. Marco arrives in Córdoba, and successfully manages to locate the agricultural engineer Mister Mequinez. He tells Marco that his mother works for his brother in Tucumán, and gives him enough money for a train ticket. But Marco ends up giving the money to a Doctor to save the life of a poor girl he meets. Marco sneaks on the train but he gets caught and tossed off the train in the middle of nowhere. A group of travelling gipsies rescue him and give him an old donkey.

After a few days the donkey dies and Marco continues to walk to Tucumán by foot. He eventually arrives to his destination hungry and tired and finds his mother. His mother is very sick and needs an operation but she is too weak. As soon as she sees Marco she strengthens and she manage to pass to surgery successfully. At the end of the series Marco and his mother return to Genoa where the family is reunited.

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