A raft of new anime titles, including the highly anticipated Earth Defense Family, are debuting on Japanese TV this January. Supervised by Macross creator Shoji Kawamori and directed by Tenchi Muyo vet, Satoshi Kimura, Earth Defense Family is the kind of science fiction adventure story (ordinary family versus ruthless alien invaders) that has resulted in spectacular anime such as Neon Genesis Evangelion.
Sadamitsu the Destroyer is another new science fiction anime in which the eponymous hero takes on space criminals and pirates. Zoids in the New Century is yet another futuristic epic in which the fantastic mechanical warriors adapt to peaceful times by engaging in sports rather than their more typical battle to the death.
Sport is also the subject of Grappler Touga who has to wrest the title of 'world's strongest man' away from his own father. Of all the genres of anime, sports is the one, which finds the least favor here in the US.
One anime genre, which has been doing well on mainstream American TV, involves kids befriending virtual characters (Digimon, Pokemon). Bakuten Shoot-Beiblade, which also debuts in January, is definitely in this category. In this case boys playing with a spinning top discover that virtual characters are living in the top. Friendship and adventures ensue. Stay tuned to see how these titles perform on Japanese TV.