It’s now two weeks before the spring 2016 anime season begins, which means it’s time to look towards the new season, and put behind us a season with a few great shows, and little else to recommend beyond them. Will this spring season finally save us from the drought of the last 3 seasons? It seems as if it might actually be the case!
As always, in these posts I cover shows I plan to follow, or have thoughts on why I will not follow them, or considered following and decided not to. As always, I try to strike a balance between giving you enough information on the show, and telling you why I think it is or isn’t worth watching. Shows ordered by day, and by expectation within the day, as that affects pick status. The “Almost In” category describes shows that I’d pick up in prior seasons, but decided to put aside in order to make more time for backlog, after growing unhappy with how many of the shows I pick up ending up “not worth the time”, let alone “good”.
Much space is given to the people involved with a show, as premises are easy, but execution is hard, and it’s people who are in charge of that. You’re likelier to end up with good shows that way. Link in anime title is to the show’s page on MAL, in case you want to check out the premise and details yourselves.
Most of the information about the shows can be had from the helpful Neregate Chart, and what I’ve happened to see on various sites, such as The Cart Driver. Check them out if you want more information, or information on shows I didn’t cover (such as follow-ups to shows I don’t watch).
Concrete Revolutio: Choujin Gensou – The Last Song / Concrete Revolutio: A Superhuman Fantasy 2nd Season – Concrete Revolutio’s first cour was good enough to end as my 6th best show of 2015. With a nuanced approach to “multiple justices,” of trying to do the right thing while accepting that the other side believes they’re doing the same thing, the show also takes a close look at how shaping the way people perceive justice might be more important than being “just” to begin with. The first cour intertwined a continuing and developing character drama with episodic vignettes.
I was wondering for a moment, “Where will they go from now?” as we “found out” what led Jirou to leave, but since the show has never been a mystery and we’ve known all along, the answer is clear – they will tell us more of the struggle, while exploring moral and social questions. They’ll also have Urobuchi Gen writing an episode or two, for those to whom it makes a big difference. But since it’ll exist within the larger narrative, I don’t find it particularly important.
I do recommend picking this show up if you hadn’t before. If you’re having trouble with the time-skips, check my episodic write-ups, which aside from a thematic discussion of each episode also provide an up to date timeline.
Hype Rating: 2.5/3. A second cour of a show I liked? I’m on board. This show rarely “excites” me, but I expect to enjoy it and find a lot that is worthwhile there, with a few touching moments and moments of highlight animation tossed in.
Airing Date: April 3rd.
Boku no Hero Academia / My Hero Academia – The season’s big shounen manga adaptation. Directed by Nagasaki Kenji, who directed Gundam Build Fighters, Classroom Crisis, and No. 6. Series Composition and script by Kuroda Yousuke, who did composition for Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom, Infinite Ryvius, Saint Seiya, Big Swing, Madlax, Gundam Build Fighters, Hayate no Gotokue, Honey and Clover, Hellsing Ultimate, Gungrave, and scripts for many more.
While the director hasn’t done a lot, Gundam Build Fighters was good in exactly the same way that I hope this show will be good – it was fun and light. And that Series Composer? That’s a lot of good stuff. Combined with all the good things I hear about the manga, it sounds as if we’ve got one of my favourite and incresingly more rare products on our hands – a fun, no-nonsense shounonsense battler, minus all the LN crap.
Interest Rating: 1.5/3. Shounen battler! I love those! They’re rarely anything special, but I love ’em anyway.
Airing Date: April 3rd. Preview.
Kuma Miko: Girl Meets Bear – I liked Barakamon, Gingitsune, Inari, Kon Kon, Koi Iroha, and Kotoura-san. I have a warm spot for slice of life-dramas that cross over with warm slice of life comedy. There’s just enough slice of life to make it all feel comfortable, with just enough drama to keep me invested, and some good comedy now and then to have me chuckle. Kuma Miko seems like that sort of show. It can easily lean too much on the slice of life comedy aspect for my liking, but I’m gonnna give it a try for my “comfy watch” of the season. I mean, a girl who past must pass her guardian bear spirit’s tests in order to go to a highschool in the big city, how does it not scream “COMFINESS!” to you?
This is director Matsuda Kiyoshi’s debut as a series director, as he’s only done episode direction thus far (Working!!, Shugo Chara! Rozen Maiden, Ixion Saga, Natsume Yuujinchou), so it seems he might know something about slice of life comedies, so it’d likely veer more in that direction. Series Composition this time is split between Iketani Masao and Sugiura Pierre, for the former this is essentially a debut, but the latter worked on Barakamon and two not well-received shows. Welp. But Barakamon! Hope!
Honestly, this show’s preview is what’s convincing me to watch it more than anything else.
Interest Rating: 1.25/3. I expect an unimpressive show that I enjoy. The staff is pretty green, but that means one can’t really make too solid of a prediction on how it’ll turn out, not necessarily that it’ll turn out badly.
Airing Date: April 3rd. Preview (note, this link got borked and led to the more boring review instead. So try to check the silly and fun preview instead!).
Re:Zero Kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu / Re: Life in a different world from zero -A light novel series about a male protagonist who is taken to a fantasy setting where he meets a female character who helps him along? I wonder where we’ve heard that one before. Regardless, there’s a twist here, where the two is soon attacked and killed, where the protagonist finds out he has a power that lets him go back in time, but only when he’s killed. And so, he vows to protect the woman who’s helped him. It’s actually a nice concept, and judging from the fact the 7-novels (and counting) series has already been licensed, and has also spawned three manga adaptations, there might be something here.
Director Watanabe Masaharu has only ever worked on Wakaba Girl, a short, so this is his full-series directorial debut. Series Composer Tokoyani Masahiro has worked on Beelzebub, Free!, Hataraku Maou-Sama!, Maria Holic, Mikagura Gakuen, and Shimoneta, so is more at home with slice of life comedy. Not a combination to instill the utmost of confidences, but it seems interesting enough.
Interest Rating: 1/3. One of the “I’m going to check this because the premise is just interesting enough” shows.
Airing Date: April 3rd. Preview, skipped to where actual content begins.
Macross Delta (Macross Δ) – I’ve read something that is very helpful to keep in mind when it comes to the Macross series – it’s a show. Yes, of course it’s a show, but what I mean is, we’re not seeing “real in-world actions,” but we’re watching an in-fiction show that depicts the events within the show. So when you see all the characters break into dance and song, think of it as a musical. Anyway, this show’s premise is “8 years after the events of Macross Frontier,” but as I haven’t watched that one yet, it doesn’t mean much to me. There is a preview episode out that I hadn’t had the chance to check out yet. So let’s go over what we do know, aside from the show involving song-fights and idols and mecha.
Kawamori Shoji is listed as director, but who knows whether it’s for actual work on the show, or for being the man who created the Macross franchise, and also Aquarion Evol and AKB0048. He sure likes his mecha song battles, eh? Kenji Yasuda will likely be the hands-on director, who directed Arata: the Legend, Ikoku Meiro no Croisee, and Shugo Chara!, all of which are fine enough, I guess, but none are all that relevant for this show in particular. Unless he’ll tackle the slice of life bits while Kawamori tackles the action sequences, but who knows.
Series Composer Nemoto Toshizou worked on Dog and Scissors, Log Horizon, and the Towa no Quon movie series. Also not the most promising track record here (I liked Log Horizon, but it had some serious series composition issues).
Interest Rating: 1.25/3. I want to watch Macross stuff, and it’s quite possible I’ll end up watching this anyway, but I’d rather await testimonials, and this type of show may not be my thing. Anyway, I’d rather watch Macross Frontier first, even if this is a stand-alone.
Airing Date: April 3rd. Catchy Preview.
Didn’t Make It In:
Kidou Senshi Gundam Unicorn RE:0096 / Mobile Suit Gundam: Unicorn RE– Like Ghost in the Shell: Arise last year, this is the same content as the Gundam Unicorn OVA, but re-edited for the television. Unless I hear different, assume that it’s better to watch in the original format.
Tonkatsu DJ Agetarou – There’s not a lot of information about this show that makes me hopeful, certainly not the art-style, and I wonder if it’s not going to be a short, but this show about a boy who’s determined to become both a great soba chef as well as a DJ is directed by Daichi Akitarou who directed Fruits Basket, Bokura ga Ita, Now and Then, Here and There, Kamisama Hajimemashita, Carried by the Wind: Tsukikage Ran, and Kodomo no Omocha. So I’m definitely curious how it will turn out, and keep an ear out to those who always check the crazy super-Japanese anime and weird shorts.
Sansha Sanyou – “3 girls with clashing personalities are friends, the 4-koma!” Not my sort of thing. Directorial debut, but composed by Koyasu Hideaki who composed Akikan!, GJ-bu, Lance N’ Masques, and did scripts for Yuru Yuri, Sabagebu, Love Live, and Minami-ke. So if you like that sort of 4-koma slice of life comedy, you might like it.
Pan de Peace! – Four girls, some of which really love bread, the 4-koma!” Directed by someone who’s mostly done adaptations for card games, and composed by the person who did Series Composition for Nurse Witch Komugi-chan R, so very low expectations, even within this genre.
Overall Sunday Thoughts: Wow, Sunday sure is stacked. If I hadn’t had all these shows on my plate already, including the fact I’ll actually do a weekly write-up for Concrete Revolutio, then I’d have also picked up Macross Delta. But something had to give. Regardless, this day has something for almost everyone, from weird probably shorts, to a bunch of mecha, more or less serious, to slice of life comedies, to slice of life non-comedies, to shounen battlers. Mecha lovers and slice of life moe-comedy lovers in particular should love Sundays, though everything being packed in it might mean people have to make choices. For me, in particular, a mix of heady, shounonsense, and warm fuzzy feelings makes for a weird combination, but it’s weird in a good way.
21/3/2016 Update: Re:Zero has received a date, and it’s airing on Sunday. This increases the chances that I won’t watch it, because like Macross, it’ll end up as the “fastest loser”, but I left it as “Will watch” because I want to give it a try. Much will depend on when it airs, time-wise. Sundays sure are stacked this season.
Bakuon!! – An all girls’ school, a random activity (motorcycles, this time around), around which a bunch of girls gather. These shows can run the gamut from funny, to empty, to drama-filled. Apparently here the focus really is on the motorcycles. Anyway, these shows can end up empty, good but not my thing, or as touching dramas (Shirobako was classified in a similar manner), but though the decision somewhat pains me, I’ve decided to not pick it up just yet, and rely on others’ word of mouth.
The show is directed by Nishimura Junji, who in time before time directed a bunch of Urusei Yatsura stuff and a 73-episode run of Ranma 1/2. In more recent history he directed Simoun and Samurai Deeper Kyo. In actual recent times he’s directed True Tears, Fuujin Monogatari, Dog Days (seasons 2-3), and Glasslip. Somewhat promising, but uneven, and mostly non-recent. Series Composer Sunayama Kurasumi only composed Z/X Ignition, and did a script for a bunch of single episodes
Interest Rating: 1/3. This sort of show has places it can go, but between an uneven and most recently not very good director, and a green Series Composer, I’d rather wait.
Airing Date: April 4th. Preview.
Hundred – This is this season’s “a school where teenagers learn to fight by using technology/magic, where our male protagonist has some special power, girls fall over him, and he’s challenged by the school’s strongest fighter on his first day,” in case you haven’t had enough, or aren’t going to watch Asterisk War’s second cour. What makes me sad is that this show seems like it could’ve been better, as there’s actually an external enemy, some demonic invasion of some sort, and the characters are training to defeat that. The preview was even relatively promising, until at the last two seconds we’ve had a cliched “fall on the boob” moment. The characters’ previews often have them naked, blushing, and shouting.
Director Kobayashi Tomoki is mostly associated with Visual Novel adaptations, and worked on Utawarerumono (first season), Tears to Tiara, Sola, Amagami SS 2nd season, the Steins;Gate OVA, and Akame ga Kill!, mostly competent if non-excellent stuff. On the other hand, Series Composer Shirane Hideki is a dead ringer for this sort of show – Date A Live, DanMachi, Queen’s Blade: Rebellion, Tenchi Muyo! War on Grimgar, Teacher’s Time, and of course, Master of Martial Hearts.
Interest Rating: 1/3. As this whole piece is about, premise is easy, execution is hard, but it still feels as if this premise could’ve been channeled to a better place. If you like the sort of ecchi LN fighter school show, this is the show for you this season.
Airing Date: April 4th. Preview.
Seisen Cerberus: Ryuukoku no Fatalités -I mostly liked Nobunugun, especially early on, when the main character and Nobunaga went crazy. Then it got alternatively boring and creepy and I bailed out. It’s unsurprising, if you look at director Kondou Nobuhiro’s past works, which aside from kids’ shorts mostly contain hentai OVAs. You can definitely feel his touch in the show’s preview, which is somewhere between horror and porn, or a horror porn movie. Overall though, even though lead Matsuoka Yoshitsugu is definitely giving it his all in the preview, the show just feels bad.
Series Composer Oonogi Hiroshi has worked on Area 88, Code Geass, Akito the Exile, Earth Maiden Arjuna, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, the 2008 remake of Fist of the North Star, Mnemosyne, Noein, Birdy the Mighty Decode and more. So this show’s story might actually be worth it, even if it’s a game-based story about a boy who sets out to avenge his dead parents on the dragon that’s killed them. I’m going to not watch it, and wait for others to test it. The show’s origins and director means this is a pass, as well as the visuals.
Interest Rating: 0.5/3. I’d have checked it out if I had endless time, just for the Series Composer and Matsuoka’s performance in the preview. Then probably bailed out after a single episode.
Airing Date: April 4th. Preview.
Didn’t Make It In:
12-Sai. Chiccha na Mune no Tokimeki / Age 12 – A story about a normal 12 year old girl’s life and the issues she faces, such as first love, seeing adults in love, physiological changes, etc. I’m not a 12 year old girl, nor am I especially interested in them, but this could turn out to be decent, and might be worth a look later on. This is the director’s debut, and the series composer only worked on a 51-episodes series of shorts. So, not a lot to go by.
Sailor Moon Crystal 3rd Season / Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon Crystal: Death Busters-hen – Sailor Moon Crystal wasn’t very well received, to put it mildly. A not small part of it came down to how shoddy the whole production felt, coupled with horror stories by impossible schedules afforded to the animators and outsourcing galore. A director switch can’t necessarily solve all of these, but it seems Toei is taking it seriously, and have placed Chiaki Kon at the helm of the show’s latest season. Chiaki Kon is the accomplished director who was in charge of Higurashi, Umineko, Nodame Cantabile’s 3rd season and movie, Zakuro, Junjo Romantica, but also Golden Time and Makai Oouji. While not my favourite director, she’s a capable director. So if you braved through the first 2 cours, or have watched the original, it might be worth giving this new season a try.
Overall Monday Thoughts: Though I haven’t picked anything up this Monday, at least to start with, I still think that relative to how weak Mondays usually are, this one is pretty good overall. Bakuon!! is definitely a show I’m going to keep an ear to reports about, and it might even end up one of the better shows this season, and Hundred could end up as one of the better shows of its ilk, which isn’t saying much, but it’s saying something. But after the onslaught of Thursdays to Sundays, I can use a day to chill, and Monday is that day. It does seem a day to reward “dumb action,” as much of this season does, as a whole.
Joker Game – Last season’s Rakugo Shinju (well, this season, since Winter didn’t end yet) is an example of something very rare in anime – a drama revolving around adult characters, and if that’s not quite rare enough, it’s a period drama. Joker Game might not be a period drama, but rather a period mystery-thriller, but that’s rare enough, and more than that, it’s based on a series of novels (not light novels). While some such shows are light novels in anything but name and not always good (Perfect Insider, HaruChika), it’s still something that makes me sit up and take notice. I mean, the first novel (out of three) even won the Mystery Writers of Japan award in 2009, and has received a live action adaptation last year.
The story about pre-World War 2 era Japan will revolve about spies, betrayal, and all that good jazz. Nomura Kazuya had worked on Robotics;Notes, the Sengoku Basara movies and 2nd season, and Ghost in the Shell 2015. He’s mostly dealt with movies, so it’d be interesting to see how he handles this. Series Composer Kishimoto Taku has been in charge of this season’s Boku dake ga Inai Machi (ERASED), Usagi Drop, Haikyuu, and Gin no Saji (Silver Spoon). I tend to like his work.
Interest Rating: 2.5/3. Period thriller-mystery based on novels? Aside from Japanese mystery novel adaptations not doing so hot for me lately, the only thing I’m wary of is that these type of stories lend themselves better to a marathon-watching than to being watched weekly, especially with a director who’s mostly dealt with movies up to now.
Airing Date: April 5th. Preview.
Overall Tuesday Thoughts: This season’s Rakugo Shinju isn’t a very popular show, which is a shame as it’s the best anime series currently airing. It’s so good that even though my write-ups for it net very few reads, I can’t help but write about it. As such, I’m glad that Joker Tuesday is the only show of note to air on Tuesdays, because I suspect I might end up writing about it as well, and having time to do so is nice. This show might end up better marathoned, but it won’t surprise me if this show ends up both very good, and very popular, as it actually puts me in mind of Baccano! as well.
Bungou Stray Dogs – This is a top end Studio BONES production. Aside from the shiny visuals, you can tell by the fact that in charge of adapting this seinen manga (I have the first two volumes in the house, but haven’t read them, I tend to dislike watching adaptations of material I’ve already read) they’ve placed director Igarashi Takuya (Sailor Moon: Sailor Stars, Ouran Koukou Host Club, Soul Eater, Star DriverCaptain Earth, and Magical DoReMi) and his usual accomplice, Enokido Yoji (Sailor Moon SuperS, Star Driver, FLCL, Ouran Koukou Host Club, Redline, Utena, Diebuster, and Captain Earth). Though the pair’s last joint effort, Captain Earth, wasn’t that good, it is the hope that placing them in charge of an adaptation will keep the show from going too far off the beaten path.
The story seems pretty bog standards, a boy is kicked out of an orphanage, joins a team of superpowered people, and together they do stuff, in a show with a large cast (that makes me think of Durarara!!). The show has already been announced to be a split-cour, with the second half airing in the fall season.
Interest Rating: 1.5/3. The pair’s last work left a sour taste in my mouth, but this feels like this season’s Kekkai Sensen (Blood Blockade Battlefront), a top-quality production for an action manga, where the sky is the limit, but it might end up being pretty, well, standard, aside from its colourful delivery. And let’s hope its finale doesn’t go off of the deep end as Kekkai Sensen’s did, cause if there’s a pair who’s likely to go for their original content, it’s this one).
Airing Date: April 6th. Preview.
Sousei no Onmyouji / Twin Star Exorcists – A boy born into an exorcist family who decides he doesn’t want to be an exorcist, until a new exorcist comes around and sparks his competitive spirit. And they’re destined to marry and give birth to the greatest exorcist of all. Seems like a fun enough shounonsense, but this season has better ones. And it sounds a lot like Ushio to Tora, which is also airing this season, but that has the benefit of having ended.
This show is directed by Taguchi Tomohisa, the director behind the Persona 3 movies, and Persona 4 Golden. Series Composer Arakawa Naruhisa has been in charge of a lot of stuff (Active Raid, I Can’t Play H, Kingdom, Martian Successor Nadesico, Maouyu, Spice and Wolf, Outbreak Company, Yosuga no Sora, Ore Twintails), some of it good, some of it not so good. The mangaka also wrote Binbougami-ga! So I expect the writing to be fun, but the direction? Who knows.
Interest Rating: X/Y. Nothing wrong here, just that I’ve got more promising stuff this season to watch, and Ushio to Tora is filling the same niche.
Airing Date: April 6th. Preview (that shows nothing).
Didn’t Make It In:
Neko Neko Nihonshi – A day-time short (probably) with cats instead of historical figures. For those of you who like the weird shorts.
Super Lovers – Small boy has been raised in the wild. Gets adopted. His step-brother decides he wants to “civilize” his new baby brother. And there’s a lot of creepy pedophilic yaoi overtones to the whole show, and the manga goes in that direction after the boy grows up, but you can certainly feel it at points in the preview as well. So, big brother and his bunch of (all-male) cohorts, and the small boy. Well, at least it’s not worse than a lot of the “Younger Sister” shows we’ve been getting over the past few years.
Director Ishihara Shinji directed Fairy Tail and Log Horizon, and it’s the debut for assistant director Watanabe Odahiro. Series composer Nakamura Yoshiko worked on Wooser, Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun, and a bunch of scripts. Maybe the comedy in the show will be well-written and directed? The comedic timing in both Fairy Tail and Log Horizon was pretty good. But I’m not going to try it out myself.
Overall Wednesday Thoughts: Wednesday is when the anime week begins, and it starts with only a couple of shows that are worthy of mention, but both seem like “fun” will be their focus. It might very well end up that Twin Star Exorcists will be the better show, but it’d likely be because while Igarashi and Enokido are very daring, they sometimes don’t know when to hold back. Still, it seems like a fun way to lead into the week’s loaded second half.
Koutetsujou no Kabaneri / Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress – I’ve seen this show jokingly referred to as “Attack on the Iron Fortress,” and considering it’s made by Wit Studio, directed by Araki Tetsurou with Tanaka Hiroyuki as assistant director, and Sawano Hiroyuki is in charge of music composition, it’s not hard to see why. In case some of these names don’t mean much to you, Araki is also the director behind Death Note, Guilty Crown, and Highschool of the Dead, while Tanaka assisted him on Shingeki no Kyojin and Guilty Crown, and directed Claymore, and Hellsing Ultimate episodes 5-7 on his own. Sawano Hiroyuki also did the music for Aldnoah.Zero, Guilty Crown, and Kill la Kill, all of which had some great music.
Series Composition is handled by Okuchi Ichiro, who worked on Brave Story, Code Geass, Guilty Crown, and Valvrave, which all paint a very specific style. He’s also worked on Azumanga Daioh and PlanetES, though, as well as scripts on Kuroshitsuji, Shigofumi, and Turn A Gundam. Script is handled by Seko Hiroshi, who worked on Ajin, Owari no Seraph, and a bunch of Attack on Titan and Zankyou no Terror (Terror in Resonance) episodes.
So, the million dollar question, what do I think of it? I actually thought Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan) was a darn good 16 episode series, which unfortunately was stretched to fit 25 episodes. Araki’s style is very loud, there’s no other word for it, but much of it seems to come down to trying and mask padded pacing. As an anime original, it will hopefully not suffer through the same issue. Also, as an anime original, it might not be as popular as a manga-based series, but it also means we’ll be spared the people who aggressively and maliciously spoiled Attack on Titan as it aired.
Interest Rating: 2/3. There’s a bunch of talented people working on this show. They’re mostly talented at creating shlocky shows, which miss the mark as often as they hit it for me, but some of my favourite shows fall into this genre.
Airing Date: April 7th. Preview.
Kuromukuro – How to tell this is a P.A. Works show (and in fact, their 15 year anniversary production): The show is about a mysterious artifact uncovered in Japan which is researched by a bunch of scientists, and a samurai who awakens into the modern era. Well, almost, it’s about the scientists’ kids, all of whom are in high school, and the samurai x mecha adventures they end up on. Sort of. It’s as if the studio had all these cool ideas, of science and mecha for the future, and an old artifact and a slumbering samurai for the past, but it couldn’t help itself, and ended being about a bunch of highschool kids’ relationships.
Director Okamura Tensai worked on Blue Exorcist, Darker than Black, Memories episode 2 (Stink Bomb), Sekai Seifuku: Bouryaku no Zvezda, and Wolf’s Rain. These are good shows. Series Composer Higaki Ryou worked on Another, and a bunch of Seirei no Moribito and Uchouten Kazoku episodes, not as inspiring. But, there’s enough going on with the premise, and the director is good enough, that I’m more than willing to give it a whirl. Also, even though my cynicism seems strong here, I’m actually fine with dramas featuring highschool kids, provided they’re good. It’s just that I’m not sure this premise actually needed them, y’know?
Interest Rating: 1.5/3. I’m not enamored with the premise, but plenty of good shows sprang from similar premises, and this director is really good. I mean, speaking of crazy premises, how about Sekai Seifuku, which he made work well enough to earn the 5th spot in 2014’s list of top shows?
Airing Date: April 7th. Preview, which seems like Classroom Crisis 2nd season.
Unhappy♪ – This show should’ve been titled “Unlucky Go Happy,” probably, as it’s about a bunch of unlucky 7th graders who are gathered in one class, and just try to lead a happy life. Director Oonuma Shin, who worked on the similar-premise adaptation of Baka to Test, Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya, where the slice of life comedy sections were the highlight of the show behind the fights, and also worked on Negima?! as co-director, Nourin, Rokujouma no Shinryakusha?!, Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry, and Watamote, which was really funny when it was funny. Series Composer Tanaka Jin isn’t as accomplished, having worked on Go! Princess Precure, and as Assistant Series Composer on Tokyo Ghoul.
Interest Rating: 1.5/3. I rarely watch anime comedies because I find most terribly unfunny, but this director has given me several shows I either found funny (Baka to Test), or found the comedy segments in to work for me (Fate/Kaleid and Watamote), so I’m actually a bit excited for this one.
Airing Date: April 7th. Preview, which barely shows anything.
Sakamoto desu ga? / Haven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto – I honestly have no idea how they’ll make this show work. And even if it works for other people, it’ll likely fail for me in anime, but perhaps work in manga format. What’s this show about? About a boy who is so cool that when everyone tries to set him up to fail, it only makes him come off as even cooler. How is this not a short? Here are the first 5 pages of the manga, alongside a single page from later on. I laughed, so while I worry, and am very likely to only watch the first episode, I’m certainly going to watch that one. It doesn’t hurt that this show is directed by Takamatsu Shinji, who directed Daily Lives of High School Boys, Gintama, Ixion Saga DT, and School Rumble. An old hand at anime comedies.
Interest Rating: 1.25/3. My actual hopes for the show are lower, and it’s almost certainly going to revolve around physical gags, and “Ain’t he so cool?” but I want to see this work. At worst, I might pick up the manga.
Airing Date: April 7th. Preview, which can be seen replicating some of the manga sequences.
Netoge no Yome wa Onnanoko ja Nai to Omotta? / And you thought there is never a girl online? – A boy proposes to a female character in an online video-game, only to find out that it’s played by a guy. This traumatizes him, and a couple of years later, he’s proposed to by a female player in game, so what is he to do? This seems like a pretty silly concept, but it’s a real question teenagers (and older people too), have to deal with. With the question of trust, assumptions, and identity online. This show is based on an ecchi comedy light novel, so it’ll likely not deal with them in the manner it deserves, and I’d like to take this moment to recommend USER, released by DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint back in 2001.
Anyway, this show’s premise still seems interesting and fun enough for me to watch (I quite like some trashy cute fun LN adaptations, such as HenNeko, for instance), but Director Yanagi Shinsuke worked on Momo Kyun Sword, Ro-Kyu-Bu 2nd season, and Zettai Junpaku: Mahou Shoujo (6 minute hentai OVA). So mostly ecchi trash (not all ecchi is trash, but the ones he worked on are). Series Composer Takahashi Tatsuya worked on Koukaku no Pandora, The iDOLM@STER: Cinderella Girls, BlazBlue anime script, and the Idolmaster movie script. Not a pair to instill confidence, alas.
Interest Rating: 1/3. Light-ecchi, light-romance, light-comedy. I might marathon it when I’m bored and want to watch junk food, but junk food is what it is.
Airing Date: April 7th. Preview.
Didn’t Make It In:
Shounen Maid / Boy Maid – A boy in Junior High loses his parents, so his uncle (I think) takes him in, but the catch? He has to work as a maid, while wearing a female maid’s outfit. Hilarious. The preview actually didn’t seem terrible. Director Yamamoto Yuusuke worked on Aquarion Evol, B Gata H Kei, Welcome to the NHK, Yama no Susume, and Walkure Romanze, with the exception of the last one, that’s not too bad, and Series Composer Nakamura Yoshiko worked on Wooser, Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun, Major S2, and single episodes, mostly scripts. This season’s Super Lovers as well. So the show might end up alright. But that premise doesn’t give me any real desire to check it out, and even the shows the Composer did do well, are mostly ones I didn’t care for.
Overall Thursday Thoughts: Comedy, comedy, comedy, and weird action slice of life things? The big show on Thursday, the one likely to appeal to non-anime fans and likely to be one of the top two most popular shows of the week definitely will dominate Thursday discussions, but while I sure do love me some grand action series, my focus is still on the hope I always harbour in my heart, against all past experiences, of finding more anime comedy that I enjoy and which makes me laugh out loud. To find two such series in an entire year, let alone a single day? Amazing. Kuromukuro and Netoge no Yome can both end up flat, or can both end up as fun and worthwhile shows. Thursday is the day of hope.
Ushio to Tora 2nd Season / Ushio and Tora 2nd Season – This little unassuming shounonsense ended up as my 5th top show of 2015. Based on a manga from the early to mid 90s, it ended up as a breath of fresh air, focusing on the genuine chemistry between the two self-professed hater leads, and on the emotional journey the various characters go through in the show. Oh, it’s had moments of terror and action, but it’s all about delivering an emotional punch, and enjoying the characters as they interact. The girls all fall for Ushio, but they’re capable characters on their own, and Tora has not only his own personalities, but also interests as a separate entity from Ushio. Funny and tearful, silly and noble. I like this show, and am eagerly awaiting to see how the fight against Hakumen no Mono progresses and concludes.
Hype Rating: 2.5/3. A great example of “execution over premise,” because this show’s premise is the quintessential shounonsense, except it cuts away most of the nonsense for a very big heart.
Airing Date: April 1st.
Mayoiga – This is one of the most interesting productions of the seasons, with the highest possible highs, but also the possibility of imploding into mediocrity or even worse. Director Mizushima Tsutomu has been in charge of a lot of high profile shows, such as last year’s top show, Shirobako, as well as Prison School, Genshiken Nidaime, Girls und Panzer, Another, Blood-C, xxxHolic and a few more. He sometimes makes shows I don’t care for, but it’s usually not for reasons involving his directing, and even if it is, it’s because he accomplished going in a direction I don’t care for.
But here’s where it starts getting thorny, Series Composition is done by Mari Okada (AnoHana, Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans, M3, Nagi no Asukara, Fractale, Gosick, ToraDora, WIXOSS, and many more). Okada has a tendency of getting lost when she tries to fill 24 episode series with 16 episodes’ worth of content, or when her plots have more than 5-6 characters in them. Well, Mayoiga has 30 characters, each with their own reasons to want to erase their pasts. The show has actually sent out designs for 11 of these shows, meaning they’re likely to not be entirely minor. This is exactly the sort of show that Okada goes “Full Okada” in, and not in the good way.
Furthermore, the show has reached out to crowd funding to fund its last legs of production. They asked for $30k, while common numbers for the production of an anime episode run around $100-300k, so perhaps it was a publicity stunt, but one must remember Mizushima’s show, Girls und Panzer, had to delay its last two episodes by 4 months. And while it might work for a slice of life sports show, it’d be a death blow to a mystery and/or heavy drama show. So, gotta hope for the best, but prepare for the worst, with this one.
Interest Rating: 2.5/3. That’s my interest rating, my “tempered hope rating” would be closer to 1.25/3. Please give us the good Okada. Please don’t have the production implode!
Airing Date: April 1st. Preview.
Big Order – I liked Mirai Nikki (Future Diary) quite a bit. It was a lot of fun. It was crazy and over the top, but it was fun. This is an adaptation of a manga by the same mangaka who’s given us Mirai Nikki, Esuno Sakae. He’s rejoined by Series Composer and anime script author Takayama Katsuhiko, who was one in charge of Mirai Nikki’s adaptation; He’s also been in charge of Aldnoah.Zero, ef, Ga-Rei Zero, Baka to Test, and Sasami-san@ganbaranai, so he’s clearly better with adaptation than penning his own work, and is right at home with, well, over the top craziness.
This is the full-series directorial debut for director Kamanaka Nobuharu, so hopefully he’ll be able to bring to fruition this latest show about a bunch of people who can shape reality through the power of their destructive wishes.
Interest Rating: 1.5/3. I should probably rewatch Mirai Nikki, and it’s quite possible this show will be dumb in bad ways, but what I’m hoping for is a fun schlocky run, though it might be better marathoned. It’s a thin dividing line between “Dumb and bad” and “dumb and good”. A new director? Well, here’s hoping.
Airing Date: April 15th.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable / JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken: Diamond wa Kudakenai – Fans of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure say that Diamond is Unbreakable (part 4), alongside part 7 are the best. Then again, same fans, though many of them would deny it now, kept saying the next arc in part 3 (Stardust Crusaders) would be better, and they kept saying it of the next one, after their last promise didn’t bear out. Of JoJo’s 3 parts, only part 2 was one I enjoyed whole-heartedly. If anything, it feels the show’s success is coming back to haunt it, as part 3 was way too faithfully adapted. Not only were no “Monster of the Week” sequences skipped, they also were not cut short within. It wasn’t good.
So, I will give this newest season a whirl, but JoJo, while it can be good, can also be uninspired and repetitive, which is the worst thing an over-the-top show can be. Here’s to hoping the show makers learn that a 100% faithful adaptation usually does not make for a good show. And fans, don’t say “It’ll get better,” because even if it’s true for the manga, it might not for the adaptation, and is annoying.
Premise-wise, this arc’s scale and stakes seem much smaller than those up to now, basically “JoJo in a normal super-powered high-school setting,” but it’s still JoJo, so we’ll have to see.
Interest Rating: 1.25/3. JoJo’s recent escapades have burned me, and the people adapting the show need to prove again they know how to adapt the material right. Which is to say, they need to be willing to trim the fat.
Airing Date: April 1st. Preview.
Kagewani: Shou / Kagewani 2nd Season – Anime horror shows are rare. Good ones, even rarer. Kagewani isn’t a good show, and its storytelling became ever more nonsensical as it went along, but this short managed to capture atmosphere, and especially the use of music, quite well. At 7 minutes a week, minus ED, I can make the time for it. For a short, it’s been quite surprising in what this manages to accomplish.
Hype Rating: 0.5/3. The best thing I can say about this show is that it’s not terrible. I usually don’t pick such shows up for a second meal, but I’m going for it this time, cause it’s short, and different.
Airing Date: April 1st.
Magi: Sinbad no Bouken / Magi: Adventure of Sinbad – I like shounonsense. I’ve heard good things about Magi. Well, this is a prequel that takes place 30 years prior, so you can just jump right in, and I’m tempted. Director Miyao Yoshikazu was in charge of Special A and the Inazuma Eleven movies, so it’s a near-debut for him as a series director. Series Composer Kishimoto Taku is in charge of spring season’s Joker Game, and did Series Composition for Usagi Drop, Boku dake ga Inai Machi (ERASED), and Gin no Saji (Silver Spoon) – not someone with much experience with shounen battle-adventure series. Well, since these shows are better watched after they finish airing anyway, I’ll just wait and hear what people say.
Interest Rating: 1/3. I might end up watching this anyway, especially after it finishes its run. Maybe alongside Magi itself. But long running shounens are just more palatable to me in big chunks, so I’m not jumping at watching it weekly. Expectations also tempered by staff inexperience, in general, or with this genre in particular.
Airing Date: April 15th. Commercial.
Didn’t Make It In:
Uchuu Patrol Luluco / Space Patrol Luluco – Inferno Cop’s director, Amemiya Akira returns with a show whose preview definitely reminds us of Inferno Cop now and then. What is this 7 minute short about? A super normal girl, who just happens to live in a space station filled with aliens. Of note is that the show will be Series Composer debut for Imaishi Hiroyuki, who’s also co-directing it. He’s better known as the director behind Dead Leaves, Kill la Kill, Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt, and Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. But this short doesn’t attract me, especially not after how little I cared for Inferno Cop.
Overall Friday Thoughts: If I had to choose three words to describe Friday’s shows, it’d be “over the top.” If I had to try again with two, it’d be “tempered expectations.” JoJo has burnt me before. Big Order is going to walk the fine line between dumb and fun shlocky action, to just dumb shlocky action. Mayoiga has an awesome Director, an uneven Series Composer, and some worries about its production. Friday’s shows have a chance to be some of my favourites of the season, and Mayoiga also has a good chance of being one of the best, but Friday’s shows also have the highest chance of falling flat and thus being the biggest disappointments. At least I have Ushio and Tora, a good and solid no-nonsense shounonsense.
Flying Witch – This show is here for the same reasons Kuma Miko is in on Sunday, but in short, I really enjoy these warm and comfy shows that rather than lean entirely on “moe slice of life” (also known as “cute girls being cute”, because as opposed to “cute girls doing cute things,” these shows are about them not doing much of anything), also have its fair share of drama, and heartache, and comforting. Shows like Gingitsune. Or shows that also mix in a good amount of solid comedy, such as Barakamon. This show seems like it’d be a pleasant enough show, and I’m watching it, because we can’t have enough fuzzy smiles in our lives. I mean, it sounds like “Kiki’s Delivery Service, the series,” about a 15 year old girl who’s a witch who goes to live with her cousins. And Kiki’s was good.
The show is directed by Sakurabi Katsushi who was in charge of Uragiri wa Boku no Namae wo Shitteiru (Betrayal Lnows my name), Asatte no Houko (Living for the Day After Tomorrow), Gunparade March, and Tsukihime, which might not be the best, or most recent track record, but their latest show, Kamisama no Memochou (Heaven’s Memo Pad), was quite decent. Series Composer Mieno Hitomi on the other hand, worked on Arakawa Under the Bridge, Etotama, Astarotte’s Toy, Asura Cryin’ 2, Mysterious Girlfriend X, Noragami, and most importantly, Akagami no Shirayuki-hime (Snow White with the Red Hair), which gives me exactly the sort of confidence this show will be what I’m looking for.
Interest Rating: 1.25/3. Not expecting a lot, more drama and less comedy than Kuma Miko. Mostly expecting it to warm the cold cockles of my heart.
Airing Date: April 9th. Preview.
Kiznaiver – Studio Trigger’s latest anime-original sci-fi story has quite an interesting premise: A system developed for encouraging world peace, where people share their lives with one another, so when one takes a wound, it gets split and shared with the other users of the system. Of course, this being an anime, the story will focus on a bunch of teenagers who differ from one another, and love one another, and hate one another. And who did they put in charge of this story of convoluted relationships and hurt feelings with 8 main characters? Why, the best Series Composer for the job, Mari Okada (WIXOSS, Nagi no Asukara, ToraDora, Gosick, M3, AnoHana’s script, and many more). Except, Mari Okada is very good about teenage angst and high drama, and not very good at subtlety, and tends to get lost in her own relationship maps, so the deeper and more interesting sci-fi premise isn’t likely to be allowed to breathe much, and the show runs at a very real risk of imploding under its characters’ weight. But, Okada at her best gives us shows that make me tear up, so here’s to hoping.
This is also director Kobayashi Hiroshi debut as a full series director. Yes, he’s done the Kill Bill short anime segment, two of Kill la Kill’s better episodes (5 and 18), and was the assistant director of Shingeki no Bahamut: Genesis, but this is his true series directorial debut.
Interest Rating: 2/3. Expectation Rating: 1/3. This reminds me of Plastic Memories, the sci-fi setting can be a great place to explore all sort of questions in an interesting and subtle manner, that ends up about human nature. But Mari Okada isn’t very good at subtlety.
Airing Date: April 9th. Preview, a very Okada preview, if I’ve ever seen one.
Endride – Premise-wise, this anime original series feels as if you crossed a light novel adaptation with Visions of Escaflowne, and even Roger Zelazny’s Amber series. A boy from our world touches a crystal and is taken to a fantasy setting, where he meets a prince set out to take his revenge on the current king. It seems standard enough, but while it lacks things to make me shy away, it also lacks anything to make me think it’d be particularly good. I mean, director Gotou Keiji worked on Uta Kata, the Assassination Classroom OVAs, Kitty Grade, and the Sengoku Basara series. That’s all one big “meh” as far as resumes go.
Series Composer Machida Touko worked on Hamatora the Animation’s script, DRAMAtical Murder, Show by Rock!, Hitsugi no Chaika, Wake Up, Girls!, and The iDOLM@STER. Even the well-regarded of these shows usually aren’t known for their capable series composition.
Interest Rating: 1/3. 24 anime original means that I might end up giving it a try anyway. It’s certainly tempting. But it just seems so generic, and the people in charge don’t inspire me either.
Airing Date: April 2nd. Preview.
Hai-Furi – Like Kiznaiver (and Nagi no Asukara, which is even more relevant), this is an example of anime taking an interesting setting, in this case, one where the sea levels rise and some countries end submerged, and some coastal cities become independent islands, and turns its attention on a bunch of girls living their daily lives in high school. Here, they train to become ambassadors to the sea, and general maritime experts. It could end up as a convincing drama, but these shows usually don’t.
Director Nobuta Yuu directed 2014’s very badly received Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai (A Good Librarian Like a Good Shepherd), and a bunch of single episodes, but it’s otherwise a near-debut. Series Composer and script-writer Yoshida Reiko is much more accomplished, having worked on HaruChika, Bakuman, D.Gray-man, Majestic Prince, K-On!, Maria-sama ga Miteru, Non Non Biyori, Tamako Market, and more. So, the show might actually go somewhere with its story, but can’t really expect much on a general level, and on the delivery front.
Interest Rating: 1/3. Interesting setting premise, some chance of a good story. Not much to actually hope for though.
Airing Date: April 9th. Preview.
Didn’t Make It In:
Gyakuten Saiban: Sono “Shinjitsu”, Igi Ari! / Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – As far as I can tell, this is not a short. This is one of those cases where I have to wonder, “Why not?” even though shorts are usually pretty bad. Then again, look at this show’s 30-second preview, and it looks really uninspired and low-level. You can say it looks as good as the original game does, but how happy would you be if your average manga adaptation had as much animation as its source material, or a light novel adaptation? Anyway, video game, visual novel, of this sort? The only thing I’m reminded of is Danganronpa, and that was a mess. This one is just a pass on so many fronts.
If you still plan to watch it, then this is directed by Watanabe Ayumu who worked on Mysterious Girlfriend X, Kanojo ga Flag wo Oraretara (When Her Flag Breaks), the very well-regarded Uchuu Kyoudai (Space Brothers), and a bunch of Doraemon movies. Series Composer Tomioka Atsuhiro’s recent work is comprised entirely ofcrappy adaptations of card games. Sad, for someone who worked on Pumpkin Scissors, Prince of Tennis, and Samurai 7 prior.
Tanaka-kun wa Itsumo Kedaruge / Tanaka Kun is Always Listless – A boy is always tired, falls asleep in class, on the toilet, etc. And he has a friend. This is the show’s premise. It’s not based on a 4-koma manga, and it’s not a short. I’m not sure how they’ll make this work for a full season of full-length episodes. It sometimes reminds me of Isshuukan Friends. (One Week Friends), but without the heart and drama that gave that show its engine. It does have Non Non Biyori’s director, who also worked on Kokoro Connect, so I guess there’s some hope for those who like this sort of thing.
Overall Saturday Thoughts: The day for the shows with the weird premises. Ace Attorney anime? A show about a boy who keeps falling asleep? And then we have two sci-fi premises that seem like they’d focus on slice of life/drama and more or less do nothing with their premises, aside from using it to hammer us over the head with their themes. But it’s an interesting day, with a good mixture of comedies, slice of life, action, and drama. It’s possible that as I drop shows from other days I’ll end up watching even more Saturday shows, or end up watching no shows on Saturday as they all ride a thin line between “genres I adore” and “genres I’m tired of.” But there’s definitely something worth trying here in every day. Good directors, bad directors, this day has it all.
Sword Gai – A dark and bloody story about a boy who gets a magical cursed sword reforged into an arm and goes off to fight monsters. This is from the studio whose only notable anime is Dog and Scissors, and this show doesn’t list key visuals, preview, director, series composer, or any voice actors. I don’t see this show actually airing this season. And if it somehow does, I don’t expect much in light of these facts.
Overall Season Thoughts:
I’m actually picking up 17 shows this season, with 6 more that I’m very close to having picked up and might check out anyway. 2 of these shows are returning, and 1 of which is a short. Frankly, for where I’m currently at life, anything over 12 shows is a bit too much, so I’m going to be pretty merciless with cutting shows early, or at least putting them on hold to marathon them after the season ends. But still, compare it to the last 3 seasons’ worth: 11 in summer 2015 (most of which ended being underwhelming), 13 in fall 2015, and 14 in winter 2016, this is a lot of shows. This is a really strong season.
Well, it’s strong in that there are plenty of shows that I expect to reasonably enjoy, and that end up as memorable, even if it has less shows for which I have high hopes to be amazing than other seasons, this is because quite often series this season marry an uninteresting or weird premise with a great director (Kuromukuro), or a great director with a bad or inexperienced series composer (Kuromukuro again), or that the Mizushima show has Mari Okada as a composer on a show of the sort she often bungles. So this season has a lot of hopes, but “tempered expectations” is how I feel about it. There’s a lot to enjoy, but not a lot I’d put money on being legitimately great. But I do hope to be proven wrong.
Speaking of inexperienced directors and series composers, this season has so many debuts, or near-debuts. Here’s the list of shows where at least one of the two is very new: 12-Sai, Bakuon!!, Big Order, Hai-Furi, Kiznaiver, Kumo Mika, Kuromukuro, Magi: Sinbad no Bouken, Neko Neko Nihonshi, Pan de Peace!, Re:Zero, Sansha Sanyou, Uchuu Patrol Luluco, Unhappy, Wagamama High Spec, and the delayed Shingeki no Bahamut: Manaria Friends. That’s 16 out of 60 series. That’s over a quarter. It doesn’t mean these shows will be worse, but that it’s hard to know what to expect.
But, it also means we can find a great new director here.
Also, this is the longest post on this blog to date, and I’d like to take the opportunity to remind people about the donate button on the sidebar, aimed at recuperating the costs involved in running this blog over the past 7 years. If you like the content I’ve been providing, consider making a donation, it’d be appreciated, but don’t feel bad if you can’t, or don’t wish to, that’s also alright!
Which shows are you excited for? Anything you think will be terrible but can’t avoid checking out? Anything you’d like to see me cover in particular?