The most anticipated new anime series of the past twelve months is set to debut on Japanese television on January 9th. Chikyu Bouei Kazoku (literally 'Earth Defense Family') is supervised by Macross creator Shoji Kawamori and directed by Satoshi Kimura, who directed the Tenchi Muyo OVAs as well as the second Tenchi movie. While it is always difficult to predict what will be a hit in Japan, to say nothing of the US, the buzz from Japan indicates that Earth Defense Family is the most eagerly awaited anime TV series since Neon Genesis Evangelion.
Like Evangelion, Earth Defense Family is a science fiction saga in which the earth must fight off ferocious alien invaders, though in this case, rather than a band of teenagers, it is an ordinary family that receives an anonymous message telling them that they have to protect the earth. As in Evangelion, it appears that characterization will be a major part of this space opera, for this 'chosen' family, definitely has 'issues' -- most notably dealing with a wayward son. Given Shoji Kawamori's familiarity with advanced mecha designs, EDF should also provide the genre's requisite robotic conflicts.Interestingly, director Satoshi Kimura is eschewing computer-aided animation in favor of traditional painted cels -- and the fact that the initial episode of EDF includes almost 10,000 painted cels means that the animation should be of the highest quality.