One of the most successful ideas in the history of anime has been the creation of stories about idols, which got started back in the 80s with Macross and Megazone 23 and hasn’t ever looked back. The newest idol anime on the scene is Idolmaster Cinderella Girls, featuring characters from a ridiculously popular mobile game whose primary goal was separating Japanese idol otakus from their money. As the story unfolds, we’re introduced to the up-and-coming idols of 346 Production, starting with “genki smiling girl” Shimamura Uzuki and the stoic and elegant Shibuya Rin, followed by a fire-hose of other girls, each possessing some unique trait (extreme shyness, mysterious goth-loli fashion, even a lazy NEET who hates to work) that fans might find charming. I’m certainly enjoying the show so far, both because I was a fan of the original Idolmaster anime and (as with last year’s Fate/stay night remake and the currently-running Kantai Collection), the studios are lavishing so much money on the project, it becomes an otaku event in and of itself.
Anime is an interesting platform for creating stylized stories that couldn’t exist in the real world, and one tool animators use to subtly manipulate our perceptions of the characters we’re watching is hair styles and colors. Black or brown can be considered the “basic” anime hair colors, usually used for “normal Japanese” characters, and male main characters often have dark hair and normal Japanese-style features, the better for fans to identify with them. Blue hair on females is often used to create an air of purity or mystery or communion with nature, while white or grey hair are usually an indicator of some secret, including hidden super powers. Red haired characters like Asuka from Evangelion are fiery demons who are quick to anger and capable of amazing feats of physical prowess. Hair styles also play a role in how we perceive characters, and you can always tell right off the bat if a character is going to be an older, more worldly oneesan type because she’s wearing her hair in that kind of style, while a rebellious spitfire of a girl will usually have short hair, and ojosama rich girls will signal that with their hair styles, too.
We’ve got great news: Kana Okaeri (“Welcome Home, Kana”), the total remake of the classic visual novel Kana ~ Little Sister, has gone “golden master” and will be shipping in a few weeks. This is without a doubt one of the best examples of how powerful the visual novel genre can be, written by the creator of Yume Miru Kusuri, so you know it’s good. It’s the touching story of a boy named Taka whose younger sister has been sick all her life, forcing him to do his best to protect her. He’d do anything to save Kana…even… This total remake includes a much improved translation, a totally new game engine, new higher res game art (all 100% uncensored), animated H-scenes and full voice. Preorder it now!