Winter 2021 Anime Preview(-ish)

As I’m sure you can already tell, due to several strenuous issues I’ve been dealing with I’m obscenely late with this season’s write-up rather than just mild to moderately late as I have been for the last several, and it’s now already closer to the end of the season than it is to the start, but as with those I thought it was still worth posting this in its mostly intact form that I’ve been working with ever since December, as personally I have not watched much of these shows yet anyway, and it might still be worthwhile for posterity’s sake.

Heading into the new year, we have a fresh new season of anime to run through, and this one appears to be quite massive. Not only is this Winter season substantially larger in terms of sheer volume than last Winter, with ~47 new full-length shows premiering versus ~34 then, it also has more new shows than any season last year. Seemingly many of the delayed series from 2020 all decided to plop themselves down into this one, which might account for the discrepancy. It may be a good thing as well, because the start of the year for other mediums (particularly movies, video games, and live action TV) is looking a bit dry so far with the effects of Covid still making themselves apparent, so anime might need to pick up some of the entertainment slack, at least for me.

Part of the upswing in titles this season is the deluge of sequels, which accounts for around half of the shows I’m potentially most interested in. There are so many that I altered the format for this preview yet again, which is becoming fairly habitual. This time I put sequels into three separate tiers, which aren’t based necessarily on greatest anticipation, but rather on how much I’m caught up on prior seasons. Tier 1 shows are those I’m already fully caught up on (at least for their main TV shows). Tier 2 shows are those I’ve watched some of and enjoyed, but have not seen everything. Tier 3 shows are those I either haven’t watched at all or have only seen like one episode that I don’t remember well, but I’m still interested in trying. But even though sequels make up an an unusually significant portion of what’s airing, they are far from the only thing this season, as there are still a number of newcomers with potential, which I’ve broken into two blocks as well — these are more of my standard “most anticipated” and “the rest” lists that you can find mixed in below with the sequel groups. As usual, I like to highlight non-sequels that don’t have the benefit of overt familiarity first if possible, so the top list there goes first.

Most Anticipated New Shows

Ura Sekai Picnic

Director: Takuya Satou
Writer: Takuya Satou
Studio: LIDENFILMS, Felix Film
Episodes: 12
PV

As I said in my previous Fall preview, having a new overt yuri anime airing will almost always be hard to beat in terms of my personal interests. It’s not insurmountable since I appreciate a wide variety of things, and especially shows from directors and other staff whose work I’ve liked in the past could often potentially eclipse it. But it just so happens that in this case, Ura Sekai Picnic has both going for it, since the director (and writer) handled the very good Kase-san and Fragtime yuri OVAs. Another thing that I didn’t mention was that shows that have a potentially compelling on-going narrative (particularly sci-fi/fantasy, like this one) alongside the lesbians aspect often makes for an even more enticing work for me to get invested in, and I have heard fairly good things about the source material.

Vlad Love

Director: Junji Nishimura, Mamoru Oshii
Writer: Mamoru Oshii, Kei Yamamura
Studio: Drive
Episodes: 12
PV

In contrast to previous seasons where we’d be lucky to get one girls love centered anime every few seasons or so, this time we actually have two to look forward to. Interestingly, legendary director Oshii returns to sort of helm alongside some other guy (nah, it’s actually fairly prolific director as well whose done things like Simoun and Windy Tales) in what looks to be a colorful zany romcom with a retro anime throwback artstyle and tone.

Soukou Musume Senki

Director: Keitarou Motonaga
Writer: Yasuyuki Mutou
Studio: studio A-CAT
Episodes: 12
PV

As I said in my Fall preview, these kinds of shows with girls valiantly fighting the nefarious nebulous monstrosities tend to rank highly on my interest lists whenever they appear. This season seems to have isekais pouring out of every orifice, so of course in this case it actually looks like girls transported to an alternaworld where they must do battle. While the director does have a rather lengthy yet mixed track record, he was in charge of Katanagatari and several other shows of interest. While it doesn’t look as advertantly gay as last season’s Assault Lily on the surface, as previously indicated these types of shows can often provide not-necessarily-that-subtle subtext at least, so we’ll see.

Kumo desu ga, Nani ka?

Director: Shin Itagaki
Writer: Yuuichirou Momose, Okina Baba
Studio: Millepensee, exsa
Episodes: 24
PV

We’ve had a lot of overpowered isekai protags of late, but not quite as many on the opposite end of the spectrum. This one though seemingly has us following the plucky underdog tale of a girl turned into a spider en route to her new reality, who must somehow fight to survive amidst deadly creatures with only her wits and the bare minimum of strength and tools at her disposal. While I haven’t seen much by this team other than the berserk comedy shorts of Teekyuu, and some of the CG use could be distracting, it looks like a possibly refreshing take on a fairly over-crowded genre that supposedly has some worthwhile source material behind it.

Back Arrow

Director: Gorou Taniguchi
Writer: Kazuki Nakashima
Studio: Studio VOLN
Episodes: 24
PV

While the PVs and promo images available don’t really seem to show this off much for some reason, this is actually supposed to be a large-scale fantasy mecha outing of some variety. Taniguchi is of course most well-known for the epic mecha anime Code Geass (which I haven’t seen) along with some older well-regarded shows I also haven’t seen, but I mostly just remember him from Junketsu no Maria, and liking one thing from a director is often enough to make me want to investigate any of their other work.

Tenchi Souzou Design-bu

Director: Souichi Masui
Writer: Michiko Yokote
Studio: Asahi Production
Episodes: 12
PV

Another new comedy I’m looking forward to is one with a relatively unique premise in the anime sphere at least, which focuses on people in heaven creating the various creatures on Earth or something. I’ve heard some relatively compelling stuff about the source, and it’s being handled by the person behind a couple things I’ve liked such as Chaika and Scrapped Princess.

Wonder Egg Priority

Director: Shin Wakabayashi
Writer: Shinji Nojima
Studio: CloverWorks
Episodes: 12
PV

If you’ve been following these previews for long enough you know that I’m highly susceptible to girls chillaxing or pro-wrestling or whatever else girls tend to do in their spare time type shows, which seems like the very Engrishly named Wonder Egg Priority will be in the vein of. However, in this case it also seems to possibly have more to its story, with an outline that sounds a bit like something out of an Ikuhara work. This appears to be the first major directorial work for the person in charge, and the writer doesn’t seem to have done much either, so since it’s an original work it’s mostly a blank slate in that regards from my perspective, but it does have nice designs and a fairly enigmatic PV.

Tenkuu Shinpan

Director: Masahiro Takata
Writer: Touko Machida
Studio: Zero-G
Episodes: 12
PV

This season brings with it not only quite a few shows with girls as leads, but a fair variety of genres with them as well. In this case, we seem to have an action thriller bloody death games type show with our main two fighting for survival in the unusual setting of on top of skyscrapers for some reason. The director has only done a few shorts I’m not familiar with as far as I can tell, I’m equally in the dark on most of the studio’s output, and even with the writer I’ve seen a smattering of her works, so I’m mostly basing my interest on concept, which is very much up my alley.

Gekidol

Director: Shigeru Ueda
Writer: Keiichirou Oochi
Studio: Hoods Entertainment
Episodes: 12
PV

Gekidol is another one I’m having to base on mostly on surface level conceptual knowledge, since with this I haven’t seen any of the director or studio’s work if memory serves, and the writer has mostly done adaptations, whereas this is an original work. However, putting a sci-fi spin on idols, along with its intriguing association with the Alice in Deadly School zombie spin-off thing, definitely elevates my interest above the usual idol fare.

SK∞

Director: Hiroko Utsumi
Writer: Ichirou Ookouchi
Studio: BONES
Episodes: 12
PV

While I’m definitely not really into skateboarding or skateboarding culture, and so it might be a bit surprising for me to put this one up so high, it should be said that anime does have a tendency to make things we wouldn’t necessarily normally find appealing into shows we’re somehow really invested in. I don’t care about volleyball for instance, but I do like Haikyuu!!. These shows frequently do with this with things like the enthusiasm the characters show for the thing in question and exciting animation and music. These are the types of things the PV for this appears to show off, and both BONES and Utsumi are fairly known for their impressive looking works.

Youjo Shachou

Director: Kazuya Iwata
Writer: Satoshi Sugisawa
Studio: project No.9
Episodes: 13
PV

Another funny looking comedy comes in the form of this pint-sized CEO workplace romp with adorable designs that has the same issues as other shows with staff and source I’m not familiar with but with an energetically hilarious PV already working in its favor.

Sequels I’m Caught Up On

Yakusoku no Neverland 2

Director: Mamoru Kanbe
Writer: Toshiya Oono, Kaiu Shirai
Studio: CloverWorks
Episodes: 11
PV

As you may or may not remember, I had the first season of The Promised Neverland at the top of my list the season it came out, and it certainly turned out to be one of my favorites of that season and year. For those unfamiliar, this is a tense and constantly engaging show about intelligent kids overcoming near impossible circumstances and harrowing losses. And they’re not out of the woods yet, literally speaking, as it’s still up in the air how exactly these kids are going to be able to continue on in this world that’s still brimming with mysteries.

Yuru Camp△ SEASON 2

Director: Yoshiaki Kyougoku
Writer: Jin Tanaka
Studio: C-Station
Episodes: 13
PV

Likewise, even though I hadn’t started this blog back when Yuru Camp originally came out, it’s first season was one of my favorites of its release year, as it was a spectacularly relaxing, cozy, and warmly funny comedy about girls enjoying their time camping.

Non Non Biyori: Nonstop

Director: Shinya Kawatsura
Writer: Reiko Yoshida
Studio: SILVER LINK.
Episodes: 12
PV

But Yurucamp isn’t the only sequel to a very enjoyable slice of comfy show this season. I’m not sure who in animeland that rubber stamps new releases decided it was time for follow-ups to two of the most noteworthy of these kinds of shows ever made in the same season, but here we are. This one covers the lives of girls of varying ages chilling at an extremely tiny school in the countryside, and while it’s not as aesthetically refined as some others in its genre like Yurucamp, it makes up for it I think with a more prominent comedic focus.

Dr. STONE: STONE WARS

Director: Shinya Iino
Writer: Yuuichiro Kido
Studio: TMS Entertainment
Episodes: 11
PV

As with the previous three sequels I’ve covered, the new season of Dr. Stone benefits from the fact that it carries over the same staff the previous season. Along with something like The Promised Neverland, I appreciate that this is a shounen that focuses on its characters’ intelligence and battle of wits type scenarios rather than just power level battles for a nice change of pace.

Shingeki no Kyojin: The Final Season

Director: Yuuichirou Hayashi
Writer: Hiroshi Seko
Studio: MAPPA
Episodes: 16
PV

If there’s one show that’s by far the most hyped of the new season, it’s unsurprisingly this one. Coming off a third season that completely upended everything we knew about this world, where exactly they’re going with this is kind of a mystery to anyone not versed in the manga, but seems to be taking the conflict set up at the end of last season to a much wider scale. Although the series is exchanging studios for the first time, MAPPA does seem like a capable choice based on some of their recent works. Personally, I’m down about some of the spoilers I read a while back, and so I’m somewhat dreading what’s to come as much as I’m interested in seeing how the series will unfold, but I’ve come this far so I’ll probably end up seeing it through to the end.

Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu 2nd Season Part 2

Director: Masaharu Watanabe
Writer: Masahiro Yokotani
Studio: White Fox
Episodes: ??
PV

The latest season of Re:Zero comes as yet another sequel this season that has kept it’s major staff and studio unchanged from prior ones, which is good news since the sharp direction and animation from those past seasons has been one of the show’s highlights. But while I’ve kept up with the show and will very likely watch this as well, in terms of story although still relatively entertaining I felt the second season was a bit too wordy and plodding and felt like it opened up seven different new plot threads without really addressing any of them, so I think this part 2 has a lot to prove to make up for that.

Nanatsu no Taizai: Fundo no Shinpan

Director: Susumu Nishizawa
Writer: Rintarou Ikeda
Studio: Studio DEEN, Marvy Jack
Episodes: ??
PV

The previous season to Natatsu no Taizai I feel had the opposite problem of Re:Zero. While the storyline actually became probably the most engaging and emotionally resonant the show has ever been, the animation was passed off to a new studio who did a very average job. While it’s not remotely horrible the way some would have you believe and I would probably call it “serviceable,” there are some choice moments and it did lessen the impact of especially some of the big action scenes, which became more apparent in the latter half as it escalated into a colossal battle between the remaining opposing forces. Since usually I’m more into story and characters than production values though, I enjoyed the season and am still eager to find out what happens in the new one, since the former one ended right in the middle of that major battle.

Sequels I’m Behind On

Show By Rock!! Stars!!

Director: Takahiro Ikezoe, Daigo Yamagishi
Writer: Touko Machida
Studio: Kinema Citrus
Episodes: ??
PV

So with this season of Show by Rock, I’m actually not 100% sure I can say that I’m not caught up with previous seasons, because I did in fact watch the first two seasons of the main show, but I didn’t watch all of the spin-off Show by Rock Mashumairesh. While normally I would say spin-offs don’t really count, this new season is an oddity since it’s apparently a combination of the main series and Mashumairesh, with characters from both seemingly getting equal screen time as they rock out in their Precure meets girls rock bands with SD mascot chara shenanigans. Since that’s the case, and because I’d probably like to watch the rest of the spin-off anyway, I’m bumping Stars down to not-entirely-caught-up on a technicality.

BEASTARS 2

Director: Shinichi Matsumi
Writer: Nanami Higuchi
Studio: Orange
Episodes: ??
PV

From the few episodes I watched of the first Beastars, it had a lot going for it with very competent and naturalistic directing and atmosphere, and impressive CG work by the stalwarts at studio Orange. Personally, the show’s school drama nuances didn’t necessarily seem like my cup of tea even with its off-kilter bestial dynamics and proud hastening of the furrypocalypse, so I don’t know if I’ll actually come back to it and this second season, but what I remember of its inherent qualities make it seem as though I could potentially be more enamored by it than I was if I do end up returning.

Uma Musume: Pretty Derby Season 2

Director: Kei Oikawa
Writer: Cygames
Studio: Studio KAI
Episodes: 13
PV

On the other hand, a show I very much want to get back into that I also only watched a couple episodes of is this one. I admit that at first I was quite weary of what this show would bring on a conceptual level, as you would think this would be a creepy fetish show based on the premise, but it’s actually surprisingly wholesome, with not much in the way of fanservice from the little I watched, and a very lively and capable sports pedigree that looks like a lot of fun.

World Witches Hasshin Shimasu!

Director: Fumio Itou
Writer: ??
Studio: Acca effe, Giga Production
Episodes: 12
PV

In terms of shows that I’m significantly far behind on, the Strike Witches franchise is certainly high on the list by volume at least, since I’ve only really seen the first season if I recall and there are like 5 sequel seasons/spin-offs I haven’t, which makes this short spin-off unlikely to be viewed anytime soon and is a serious blow to the allied pantsless forces everywhere.

Yatogame-chan Kansatsu Nikki 3 Satsume

Director: Hisayoshi Hirasawa
Writer: WORDS in STEREO
Studio: Saetta, Creators in Pack
Episodes: ??
PV

While I haven’t seen more than a handful of episodes of these fairly amusing 3 min comedy shorts, the fact that them being so short means I could basically knock out all the seasons in an hour or two leads me to believe I might possibly do that at some point.

The Rest (New Shows)

EX-ARM


Director: Yoshikatsu Kimura
Writer: Tommy Morton
Studio: Visual Flight
Episodes: 12
PV

I’m not entirely sure what to make of the PV I watched of this latest sci-fi anime. Conceptually it sounds very much like something I’d be into, but it mostly sports a bunch of fast-paced robot/mecha fight scenes with CG that’s like early PS3 level graphics, if that. I guess it could have some propulsive action pieces in the vein of something like RWBY, but personally the biggest draw for me is that it has an opening and ending by two excellent goofy punk bands.

Horimiya


Director: Masashi Ishihama
Writer: Takao Yoshioka
Studio: CloverWorks
Episodes: 13
PV

This on the other hand seems like something I would not necessarily be into, but it’s manga’s reputation in the community seems quite high and it does feature direction by the person behind Shinsekai Yori. I do occasionally tolerate more hetero-focused romcoms depending on the circumstances so it’s certainly worth a shot.

Skate-Leading☆Stars

Director: Gorou Taniguchi, Toshinori Fukushima
Writer: Noboru Kimura
Studio: J.C. Staff
Episodes: 12
PV

I originally left this off this list completely, but I put it back on when I realized that Gorou Taniguchi, who I mentioned earlier, is also co-helming this ice skating boys sports production. As opposed to the skateboarding boys sports show, this one does look decidedly less immediately remarkable and fluid, and possibly more by-the-numbers as sports stories go, but as I’ve said before I do usually try to give people who’ve done things I’ve liked in the past more leeway, and J.C. Staff has often done well at making entertaining material even with less than stellar animation.

Tatoeba Last Dungeon Mae no Mura no Shounen ga Joban no Machi de Kurasu Youna Monogatari

Director: migmi
Writer: Hitomi Mieno
Studio: LIDENFILMS
Episodes: 12
PV

This season definitely has fairly sizeable selection of comedies. While this is the director’s first work, the writer has scripted a few enjoyable shows I’ve seen, and the PV does look rambunctiously off-the-wall-enough to be worth a spin.

Hortensia Saga

Director: Yasuto Nishikata
Writer: Rintarou Ikeda
Studio: LIDENFILMS
Episodes: ??
PV

I can’t really claim that anything about this makes it look like much more than a blandish medieval JRPG fantasy type show, but I do think the PV at least makes it appear like it could possibly be a competent, well-executed take on the formula.

Mushoku Tensei: Isekai Ittara Honki Dasu

Director: Manabu Okamoto
Writer: Manabu Okamoto
Studio: Studio Bind
Episodes: 11
PV

Another one that seems to fit well on the generic-o scale, in this case for your standard fare fantasy isekai, but looks even more highly polished would be Mushoku Tensei. I’ve heard a few questionable things about the source material, but I have to admit that from a production standpoint the PV makes it look like it may be one of the best animated shows this season.

Maiko-san Chi no Makanai-san

Director: Youhei Suzuki
Writer: Susumu Yamakawa
Studio: J.C.Staff
Episodes: ??
PV

As for new shorts, the only one the caught my eye upfront other than Youjou Shachou was this one about geisha, or in this case about girls wanting to become maiko, or apprentice geisha. Oddly enough I can’t recall too many anime about geisha or such, so it may make this that much more interesting.

Sequels to Shows I Haven’t Really Watched

Log Horizon: Entaku Houkai

Director: Shinji Ishihira
Writer: Toshizou Nemoto
Studio: Studio DEEN
Episodes: 12
PV

I’ve said before that I do have a propensity for liking VRMMO-type anime, and I’ve heard a lot of people recommend this series even though I’ve personally never really got around to trying it. Apparently this show seems to focus less on high stakes permanent death situations or fun adventuring and more on world building and political maneuvering or something inside its trapped-in-an-MMO bubble. This is already the third season so I’d have a lot to catch up on, but it does have a pleasant almost welcoming aesthetic if I ever do decide to jump in.

World Trigger 2

Director: Morio Hatano
Writer: Hiroyuki Yoshino
Studio: Toei Animation
Episodes: 13
PV

Back when the first season of World Trigger came out, I distinctly remember being motivated to check it out as it seemed like one of the bigger shounen action titles to come out at the time, but perhaps due to a less than stellar reaction to it and possibly some other reasons I’m not recalling, I never really did. I still think the sci-fi setting premise and designs, despite not being especially unique, holds a certain appeal to me, and so I may well eventually find the time to go back to it.

Hataraku Saibou!!

Director: Hirofumi Ogura
Writer: Yuuko Kakihara, Yuuko Kakihara
Studio: David Production
Episodes: ??
PV

To join the comedy ranks this season, we have a sequel to Cells at Work, a show about anthropomorphic immune cells fighting diseases and such in the human body from the studio behind JoJo. While I actually believe I watched the first episode of the original season back around when it aired, I don’t remember it well enough to claim to have started it. I do feel like I thought at the time it was skewing towards a younger audience, though that may have just been a momentary impression, and I’m still intrigued enough by the premise to possibly give this another try.

Hataraku Saibou BLACK

Director: Hideyo Yamamoto
Writer: Hayashi Mori
Studio: LIDENFILMS
Episodes: 13
PV

While Hataraku Saibou appears mostly comedy focused and lighthearted, this spin-off takes a more sinister route as it focuses on immune cells inside what seems to be an extremely unhealthy person possibly fighting a losing battle. Whether this means more of a black comedy direction or more of a serious action/horror(/tragic?) direction I’m not entirely sure, but it seems like another distinct take on an already relatively uncommon idea.

Tensei Shitara Slime Datta Ken 2nd Season

Director: Atsushi Nakayama
Writer: Kazuyuki Fudeyasu
Studio: 8-bit
Episodes: ??
PV

While the other shows in this final category of not-watched sequels are mostly ones I’m not necessarily in too big a hurry to try to get into at the moment with everything else this season already has on offer, one that I might be a bit more likely to get invested in sooner rather than later is this one, because even though when the first season came out it didn’t look like I would care for it at all, but I’ve since actually heard some fairly decent things about it that sound more like I might, like some pretty engaging storytelling and world-building in this slime-centered isekai, supposedly, and on second look from the promo materials at least the animation and character designs do seem pretty striking and crisp.

WIXOSS DIVA (A) LIVE

Director: Masato Matsune
Writer: Gou Tamai
Studio: J.C. Staff
Episodes: ??
PV

Lastly, I’ve never remotely gone near anything WIXOSS related but this latest incarnation has magical girl idols doing magical girl idol things presumably or something, so it could certainly catch my time based on that fact alone.


So there you have it, a pretty monumental looking season when you look at it from a distance, that I only wish I had gotten around to covering closer towards the beginning. With any luck this year, hopefully I’ll be able to find more time to actually watch some of these and any other stragglers I may have missed.

Fall 2020 Anime Preview

Another season is now upon us, and with this final one for 2020 comes a sizeable mix of new anime to peruse. This year has been a trying one on a global scale to put it lightly, and in the anime realm that has meant numerous delays, adjustments, canceled events, and other issues that have put a lot developments (as with many other human pursuits around the world) on hold. With that said, this season marks a bit of a turnaround, with a much broader collection of new shows than last season. As with Spring season, I’m getting this “preview” out extremely late as it’s now been already well underway, but I did actually write up much of it before it had started, so I’ve again chosen to leave it mostly intact to reflect what I been anticipating up to that point.

Maybe the thing that strikes me most about this season is just how few shows out of the bunch airing I feel look very poor or uninteresting enough for me to leave off this preview. Although not many of the the new and returning things look to be exactly bursting with creativity and originality, there’s a lot of reasonably solid looking productions in familiar genres and styles. Fortunately for me, a lot of those styles on display here are ones I’m personally very fond of, so I’m very much eager to find out how well they can fulfill whatever it is I’m searching for in them.

(As an aside, I’m aware that the final season of Attack on Titan is scheduled to air in December, which is kind of in-between seasons, but I’m choosing to count it as a Winter season show since it starts about 20 days from the start of that season as opposed to over two months after the start of this one.)

Most Anticipated

Adachi to Shimamura

Director: Satoshi Kuwahara
Writer: Keiichirou Oochi
Studio: Tezuka Productions
Episodes: 12
PV

When it comes to my most anticipated series, future anime producers should take note: having an actual yuri manga adaptation definitely helps, especially in a season in which I’m not that familiar with much of the work from the directors/writers for a lot of the shows. In fact, this is probably the first overtly advertised-as-yuri romance anime since Bloom Into You, which also would’ve made it to the top of my list the season it aired if I had been making these then. From what I’ve heard of the source material, I’m not expecting much in the way of major dramatic revelations, but rather steady character growth and introspective insight. Considering the horrific stresses we’ve had this year, having that amidst a cute, laid-back, budding lesbian romance may possibly be all the I need to make into the new year.

Assault Lily: BOUQUET

Director: Shouji Saeki
Writer: ??
Studio: Shaft
Episodes: ??
PV

Luckily though, that’s not all I have for this season that’s yuri relevant. Far from it, in fact, since this season seems to have heaps of shows with potential in that area. This one appears to be Shaft’s attempt at making a girls battling show in the vein of your Symphogear or Strike Witches or such, and it has all the trappings of this style — threatening blobulous alien invaders to slice n dice, ridiculously overpowered weaponry, convoluted reasons for why young high school girls are the only ones we can challenge to vanquish them, etc. Personally, even if it doesn’t seem especially original, I’m very fond of many shows I’ve seen that utilize these tropes, and if the PV is anything to go by, the animation seems up to the task. And as far as yuri goes, heavy subtext at least is another common occurrence among these series, and this one literally has the word built into the title, so I’d say the chances are pretty high.

Jujutsu Kaisen

Director: Seong-Hu Park
Writer: Hiroshi Seko
Studio: MAPPA
Episodes: 24
PV

This season’s big shounen adaptation shares a lot in common with last season’s big shounen adaptation, namely, the same director and studio. Unlike that one however, which appeared to have a fairly barebones plotline amidst it’s fun DBZ style martial arts power moves, this one looks to possibly have a bit more to it’s storytelling. If there’s anything to glean from GoH though it’s that Jujutsu Kaisen should have some very spectacular fighting animation at least.

Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear

Director: Yuu Nobuta, Hisashi Ishii
Writer: Takashi Aoshima
Studio: EMT Squared
Episodes: 12
PV

I’ve written before that I’m very into the concept of VRMMO anime, and watching Bofuri earlier this year has has made me eager to try something similar, which triple Kuma seems very much to oblige. Director Yuu Nobuta also looks to be doing some heavy lifting this season, as he’s in charge of two of my most anticipated shows, so I’ll have to hope he’s up to the challenge. While I may not have seen much work by these directors or this studio, the writer at least has handled several similar-ish shows I’ve liked, and considering how lively and fun the PV looks, the odds are probably in quadruple Kuma’s favor.

Akudama Drive

Director: Tomohisa Taguchi
Writer: Norimitsu Kaihou
Studio: Studio Pierrot
Episodes: 12
PV

So this one looks like a fairly interesting action sci-fi cyperbunk type story that’s most notable for being crafted by the creator of the Danganronpa games (which I haven’t played, but have been tempted to as I’ve tended to hear only positive things about them). While I haven’t seen much of the work by this director, the PV animation and general feel does look quite capable upfront.

Majo no Tabitabi

Director: Toshiyuki Kubooka
Writer: Kazuyuki Fudeyasu
Studio: C2C
Episodes: 12
PV

Speaking of shows with seemingly capable art direction, Majo no Tabitabi’s adventurous, nostalgic painterly fairytale storybook aesthetic does quite a bit for me at least from the trailer. Wanting to become a witch certainly seems like a story beat we’ve seen 100s of times in anime, but as it seems like a running theme so far, it’s very much the kind of thing I’ve nearly always been down for. And I’ve heard some hearsay about the source that it gives off some latent gay vibes, with no male love interests in sight thus far.

Noblesse

Director: Yasutaka Yamamoto, Shunsuke Tada
Writer: Sayaka Harada
Studio: Production I.G
Episodes: ??
PV

This season definitely isn’t hurting for action shows it appears. Noblesse comes to us as the latest popular manwha adaptation, as we’ve now had a major one for the last three seasons. The animation does look pretty outstanding, which isn’t too surprising coming from a venerable studio like Production I.G. Although I haven’t seen anything directed by Shunsuke Tada, Yasutaka Yamamoto did direct my under the radar enjoyable fave Mondaiji-tachi.

Maesetsu!

Director: Yuu Nobuta
Writer: Touko Machida
Studio: Studio Gokumi, AXsiZ
Episodes: 12
PV

The other cute show being directed this season by Yuu Nobuta comes from Studio Gokumi, whose work I’ve pretty consistently enjoyed over the years, even when I haven’t necessarily watched the whole series (like their show from last Winter). This one however I’m hoping might be on the level of some of their best cute comedies, like Kiniro Mosaic and Tonari no Kyuuketsuki-san, at least conceptually. Though it doesn’t seem to have the same staff as either of those two shows, I’ll have to hold out to see if it’s antics can be similarly amusing.

Maou-jou de Oyasumi

Director: Mitsue Yamazaki
Writer: Yoshiko Nakamura
Studio: Doga Kobo
Episodes: 12
PV

In my original draft I didn’t have this one on my most anticipated list, mostly because the first PV just had the MC dozing off and little else, and I honestly wondered how this concept could sustain a full length show. But upon further reflection it does seem like it has plenty of potential as a cute comedy to slot in with my other choices. To start with, it does have the director of the hilarious Nozaki-kun and animation by stalwarts of adorably crafted material at Doga Kobo, and it’s surprising how much mileage anime was able to get out of a concept like listless Tanaka-kun to name another funny -kun based show, and lastly I’ve heard of some praise for the source material, so I wouldn’t put it past this to be drowsily entertaining somehow.

Ochikobore Fruit Tart

Director: Keiichirou Kawaguchi
Writer: Keiichirou Kawaguchi
Studio: feel.
Episodes: ??
PV

Another humorous cuteness romp to potentially add to the pile this season comes as the latest Manga Time Kirara adaptation, so there’s a fair likelihood that it turns out to be girls gushing over each otheringly gay, at least underlyingly, which the PV seems to corroborate. So it’s another one to potentially add to that pile this season as well.

Senyoku no Sigrdrifa

Director: Hirotaka Tokuda
Writer: Tappei Nagatsuki
Studio: A-1 Pictures
Episodes: 12
PV

This show is honestly my biggest wild card for the season, as it’s a first time director doing an original work that on premise-level makes almost no sense to me whatsoever (girls piloting WWI type airplanes fighting gods or something?). The biggest reasons I have it up here is the story is apparently being done by the creator of the Re:zero light novels and because the PV makes it look pretty exciting and interesting. A-1 can also do some pretty standout work sometimes. The potential for shipping material probably isn’t going to hurt either.

Hanyou no Yashahime

Director: Teruo Sato
Writer: Katsuyuki Sumisawa
Studio: Sunrise
Episodes: ??
PV

If you told me 10 years ago there was going to be a sequel to Inuyasha in 2020 starring three badass girls that were all daughters of the other characters I’d be like ,”What?” Yet here we are. I personally can’t claim to be enormous fan of the original series since I haven’t seen all of it and was only able to watch episodes occasionally as it was airing on US TV, but I always felt like it was a fun time whenever an episode did come on.

Iwa Kakeru! Sport Climbing Girls

Director: Tetsuro Amino
Writer: Touko Machida
Studio: BLADE
Episodes: 12
PV

I’ve been a bit whelmed a few times recently by girls sports shows I was rooting for, so that may be partly why this one isn’t higher up. There’s also the issue that this series appears to be sourced from a somewhat ecchi manga. On the other hand, the PV at least doesn’t seem to show off much in the way of fanservice (and if I haven’t conveyed my opinion on fanservice before, it’s that I don’t personally mind it, occasionally I even enjoy it, but I do think it can be annoying sometimes and potentially an indicator of more underlying regressiveness or a shallow marketing move to hide a lack of more interesting entertainment or artistic value, but not always), but we’ll have to see how that’s reflected in the show itself, and as I’ve said before this is still very much up my alley and one I’ll be gladly willing to check out.

Most Anticipated Sequels

Haikyuu!! TO THE TOP 2

Director: Masako Satou
Writer: Taku Kishimoto
Studio: Production I.G
Episodes: 12
PV

There’s not much for me to say about the latest season of Haikyuu that I hadn’t already said in my part 1 preview from Winter for this split cour outing, since I still haven’t gotten around to catching up with it, other than that it still looks to be holding up with its very high production level volleyball action.

Golden Kamuy 3

Director: Hitoshi Nanba
Writer: Noboru Takagi
Studio: Geno Studio
Episodes: 12
PV

While there are quite a few sequels this season (before we hit the motherlode of sequels that is Winter 2021), unfortunately for me another running theme with the ones for Fall is they are all ones I’m significantly behind on. Golden Kamuy is no exception, but that isn’t for lack of wanting to see more. I’ve only gotten around to the first few episodes of season 1 in fact, but it did seem like an intriguing mystery treasure hunt type show sprawling out amidst the harsh wilderness while exhibiting a very oddball sense of humor.

Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu ka? BLOOM

Director: Hiroyuki Hashimoto
Writer: Kazuyuki Fudeyasu
Studio: Encourage Films
Episodes: 12
PV

If you’ve been following my lists up til now, you may not be surprised to find I tend to enjoy cute girls doing stuff shows. And Gochuumon may be one of the fluffiest of fluff cute girls nonchalantly performing actions series there is. While probably not one of my favorites, I did find the episodes I watched of the first season to be pretty enjoyable and amusing, enough that I’d like to revisit it at some point and presumably this next season.

Strike Witches: Dai-501 Tougou Sentou Koukuudan ROAD to BERLIN

Director: Kazuhiro Takamura
Writer: Tatsuhiko Urahata
Studio: David Production
Episodes: 12
PV

Lastly for sequels, the saga of girls fighting the good fight for pantless girls everywhere continues.

The Rest

Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (2020)

Director: Keiichirou Kawaguchi
Writer: Naoki Hayashi
Studio: Passione
Episodes: 24
PV

This remake of a popular older horror anime/visual novel looks to be an intriguing one to check out, especially as we near Halloween and I scavenge for new horror-related media to ring in the season.

Hypnosis Mic: Division Rap Battle – Rhyme Anima

Director: Katsumi Ono
Writer: Shin Yoshida
Studio: A-1 Pictures
Episodes: 13
PV

While shows with relatively novel ideas are fairly few this season, there are a couple like Hypnosis Mic that do come across as more unique. The concept of waging war with rap battles certainly sounds like it could make for an interesting time. Another very good thing this show has going for it is direction by the person in charge of several seasons of Symphogear, so that might make for some intense craziness. On the other hand, I’m not entirely sure the premise and designs are that appealing to me, but it’s still one I’ll keep my eye on for sure.

D4DJ First Mix

Director: Seiji Mizushima
Writer: Gou Zappa
Studio: SANZIGEN
Episodes: ??
PV

Another semi-unusual looking anime is seemingly probably one of the few DJ-ing shows out there. While not quite as prominently atypical as the preceding show (since it’s unclear how much different it will be from your standard idol fare) and the full 3DCG on display may turn off some, the series director has done some works I’ve liked in the past, and I do often like shows that are based around music, so that also works in it’s favor.

Love Live! Nijigasaki Gakuen School Idol Doukoukai

Director: Tomoyuki Kawamura
Writer: Jin Tanaka
Studio: Sunrise
Episodes: 13
PV

Now in our music based anime innovation trajectory, we’ve basically slid down to “looks like almost every other billion girls idol show.” However, this one happens to be the latest sequel to the much loved Love Live! franchise, which I haven’t tried out yet for myself to see. One thing I’m aware of is that there may supposedly be some prominent subtext between some girls, which certainly makes me want to try it for the shipping at least, if I ever actually get around to it.

100-man no Inochi no Ue ni Ore wa Tatteiru


Director: Kumiko Habara
Writer: Takao Yoshioka
Studio: Maho Film
Episodes: ??
PV

There don’t seem to be quite as many isekai’s this season as there have been recently, which I’m wondering if it’s a trend away from the genre or just a fluke. The only one to really catch my eye in any way (besides multiple Kuma near the top) this Fall is 100-man long light novel title, which wasn’t even on my first draft of this list, but made it’s way on here after I overheard a couple people sticking up for the source, and because I wanted to give first time director Kumiko Habara, who appears from the name at least to be one of the few women directing this season, a shot.

Kamisama ni Natta hi

Director: Yoshiyuki Asai
Writer: Jun Maeda
Studio: P.A. Works
Episodes: 12
PV

Another show that hadn’t been on my first draft was this latest Yoshiyuki Asai x Jun Maeda x P.A. Works outing. The biggest reason I had originally left it off was that I watched an episode of this combo’s previous effort, Charlotte, and I found that to be astonishingly average. My rationale for putting this back on however was simply that I watched the PV(s) for it and thought it looked quite a bit more entertaining than I was expecting, so we’ll see.

Taisou Zamurai

Director: Hisatoshi Shimizu
Writer: Shigeru Murakoshi
Studio: MAPPA
Episodes: ??
PV

If I had to point a show that I thought would have the highest chance of commendable artistic merit this season that doesn’t really personally interest me much, it would probably be this one. To be fair to this show, I personally probably wouldn’t go out of my way to watch something with this premise even if it were a multi-award winning film with universal acclaim. With that said, that doesn’t necessarily mean that I won’t watch it or even that I won’t like it, as there are many things I thought I wouldn’t be into that I later slapped myself upside the head over for being so ignorant. I do like the character designs, and it’s certainly not unoriginal for a sports anime.

Magatsu Wahrheit: ZUERST

Director: Naoto Hosoda
Writer: Yuuichirou Momose, Naoto Hosoda
Studio: Yokohama Animation Lab
Episodes: ??
PV

Another show that surprised me primarily with how solid the PV looks and not really for much else is this new dramatic magic battles fantasy action show that seems to take itself pretty seriously and appears to have some competent animation behind it.

Ikebukuro West Gate Park

Director: Tomoaki Koshida
Writer: Fumihiko Shimo
Studio: Doga Kobo
Episodes: ??
PV

Some shows make their way onto my lists just because I don’t know enough about them to find something to negate them for. This one I think is probably about gloomy random people at a subway station walking enigmatically towards the camera, and straight into your heart.

Munou na Nana

Director: Shinji Ishihira
Writer: Fumihiko Shimo
Studio: Bridge
Episodes: 13
PV

Though I don’t know much about this one either besides the source material being about characters with superpowers and having some intriguing plot progression, my curiosity is piqued by what I have heard. Although the premise, character designs, and general production quality don’t seem especially impressive or interesting at first glance, I like the idea of having some surprises in store, and from what I’ve heard this show could have that very much covered.

Dragon Quest: Dai no Daibouken

Director: Kazuya Karasawa
Writer: Katsuhiko Chiba
Studio: Toei Animation
Episodes: ??
PV

The new Dragon Quest anime on the other hand seems to have the opposite situation: the show appears to have some pretty high level animation, but it seems unlikely the fantasy storyline will be especially in-depth or surprising. Of course there’s nothing wrong with enjoying the familiar, assuming that’s what this is like; the DQ games themselves are the basic progenitors of RPG familiarity and comfort food for a lot of people.

Yuukoku no Moriarty

Director: Kazuya Nomura
Writer: Taku Kishimoto
Studio: Production I.G
Episodes: 12
PV

There have been countless Sherlock Holmes adaptations over the years, but not so many focusing on the primary antagonist of the franchise, like this one does. With Production I.G, who as said before often does respectable work, handling the animation, it seems likely to be one that will be fairly impressive from a production standpoint, and I’m personally often into mystery and detectiving type shows. On the other hand, because this focuses on a protagonist that isn’t a detective but rather a criminal mastermind, I’m concerned for my own interest that it might come down more on the crime drama side, which I’m not usually as into.

Seizei Ganbare! Mahou Shoujo Kurumi 3

Director: Keisuke Matsumoto
Writer: ??
Studio: Pie in the Sky
Episodes: ??
PV

In the realm of pint-sized anime, there are apparently two previous seasons to this mahou shoujo parody short that I didn’t know existed, and don’t seem to be available to watch anywhere (legally at least).

Inu to Neko Docchi mo Katteru to Mainichi Tanoshii

Director: Seiji Kishi
Writer: Seiji Kishi
Studio: Team Till Dawn
Episodes: ??
PV

Another short this season appears to depict the classic rivalry of felines vs canines, which in this case seems from the promo media to be more of an ornery cat tearing into a blithely oblivious pupper.

Guraburu!

Director: Kenshirou Morii
Writer: Kikuhitomoji
Studio: W-Toon Studio, DMM.futureworks
Episodes: ??
PV

From what I’ve read and seen of the Granblue anime, it comes across as a pretty by-the-numbers fantasy RPG anime. This short based on it though appears to trend more towards fantasy parody, which may be a bit more suitable to my interests.

Rail Romanesque

Director: Hisayoshi Hirasawa
Writer: Koichi Motomura
Studio: Saetta
Episodes: 12
PV

Lastly for shorts, this is another one I have hardly any idea what it’s about, except that it concerns trains, and the girls that train them.

Belated Mention:

Aggressive Retsuko 3

Director: Rareko
Writer: Rareko
Studio: Fanworks
Episodes: 10
PV

Placing this here as part of a “preview” seems a little bit cheating, as I’ve actually already watched all of this latest season about a red panda office worker belting out death metal amidst various life ordeals that I’ve been following since the original shorts. It’s a bit unsurprising since with Netflix they can pretty much toss out a new season of their shows at any time without warning, so I had no idea a season 3 was even happening until a couple weeks beforehand. Anyhow, the show continues to be very entertaining and relatable, and I liked this season quite a bit more than season 2 with its romance centric plot and transition to “dating a rich guy for a short time” thing at the end, as this time Retsuko instead deals with things like video game addiction, substantial debts, not-Youtube channel creation, Internet stalkers, band hardships, and working a second side-job, all while raging about it via microphone while trying to be mostly polite in real life.


And with that, another season is splayed out before us. This one in particular appears to have quite a bit of variety on offer, which can hopefully help weather the rest of the year and propel us into the new one.

Summer 2020 Anime Preview

So looking over the titles laid out on the seasonal chart, this upcoming summer is looking like probably the least interesting and smallest season of anime in quite some time, and in terms of the former for my tastes, possibly ever. That much isn’t that surprising considering the circumstances, with numerous delays and postponements due to a certain ongoing disastrous humanity-wide event you may have heard about. Similar things can likely be said about other major media releases, with for instance major video games and movie release schedules looking pretty barren for the next few months, outside of some standouts. Perhaps it could then be a good time to take a step back and sample from some of the vast array of art history we as a species have achieved thus far; though who am I kidding–half of us will probably just twiddle away at mobile gacha games or something.

One thing that may alleviate some of the drought for some is that there are in fact a few shows that have been delayed that will be returning for broadcast starting around now. I won’t be going through them with commentary again since I’ve already talked about them, but I will list those I’ve had on my previews before that are restarting below.

Toaru Kagaku no Railgun T (starting from episode 16)
Appare-Ranman (starting from episode 4)
Houkago Teibou Nisshi (starting from episode 4)
Digimon Adventure: (starting from episode 4)
Fugou Keiji – Balance:UNLIMITED (starting from episode 3)
Healin’ Good♡Precure (starting from episode 13)

What’s been announced so far for fall also looks more interesting already than this season, so we do also have that to look forward to. Nevertheless, there are a few new summer shows I’m being enticed by, even if there’s not much I would say that fits my tastes very well.

Nihon Chinbotsu 2020

Director: Masaaki Yuasa
Writer: Toshio Yoshitaka 
Studio: Science SARU
Episodes: 10
PV

First off is somehow yet another Masaaki Yuasa directed show, just two seasons removed from the last one. With the breakneck pace he’s been putting out highly accomplished and creatively engaging works lately, it’s not surprising that it seems he may be taking a step back for a while. But this time at least he and Science SARU are dropping an entire series at once on Netflix, with a noticeably diverse cast and a disaster scenario that sounds a bit like Tokyo Magnitude 8.0. Considering I put Yuasa’s last show as my top choice for Winter, you might think this spot was a shoe-in for whenever he directs anything, but that isn’t really the case. As I’ve said before, most of the time my ordering is based not only on the caliber of work I think a thing might represent but also on my personal tastes, and some of his other outings for instance would probably not have made it based on the latter, and this one also probably wouldn’t have in a larger, more appealing-to-me season. However, I’m thankful for seeing it at the last minute at least because otherwise I would’ve had to put up Re:Zero 2 (sequel to a show I haven’t even finished) or God of High School or something. Disaster movie type things may not be my go-to type of media, but Japan Sinks certainly looks as though it will be a well-crafted tale, and even though I might be rolling the dice a bit for someone’s who’s directed things like Devilman Crybaby and Kaiba, but I’m also hoping that it’ll maybe develop into a somewhat uplifting survival story in these trying times.

Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu 2nd Season

Director: Masaharu Watanabe
Writer: Masahiro Yokotani
Studio: White Fox
Episodes: ???
PV

As I said above, I’ve never actually finished the first season of Re:Zero, so it might be sign of just how dry this summer is or maybe a testament to how intriguing I found the setup of what I did watch or some combo of both, that it still made it this high. While I haven’t found the show entirely brazenly original in its Groundhog Day meets fantasy isekai storytelling, it certainly stands out from your standard-fare isekai light novel adaptations in large part due to its upbeat, likable non-generic characters, the interplay between that and the gut-wrenching horrors sometimes inflicted upon them, an unusually sharp art-style for this type of work, fairly capable animation, and the way it teases out its mysteries in ways that make it consistently intriguing to watch.

Sword Art Online: Alicization – War of Underworld 2nd Season

Director: ???
Writer: ???
Studio: A-1 Pictures
Episodes: 11
PV

Continuing on in the theme of sequels to shows I haven’t finished but theoretically might like to someday, there’s not a lot for me to say on the latest season of SAO that I hadn’t already said in my write-up about the previous season that I haven’t watched yet, but I will say that the show does have some pretty fantastic looking poster artwork.

No Guns Life Season 2

Director: ???
Writer: ???
Studio: Madhouse
Episodes: 12
PV

No Guns Life season 1 continues to be that show with the guy with a gun for a head in cyberpunk-land I imagine well beyond the first episode that I watched, which I thought was pretty good. Considering as I stated in my season 1 preview that having a gun for head can make a show all on its own, and the second season obviously continues this tradition, it would be a travesty to exclude it from consideration now.

The God of High School

Director: Seong-Hu Park
Writer: Kiyoko Yoshimura
Studio: MAPPA
Episodes: ???
PV

When it comes to genres of things I’m into, martial arts is one of those I definitely am and definitely feel we don’t often get enough of. On the other hand what I’m not always into that much are possibly cardboard cutout spiky haired shounen MCs and seemingly rote barebones plotlines. I mean, the premise seems to be basically “win the competition and you’ll be granted any wish” which comes off as nearly identical to the plot outline of Tower of God, another manwha based battle shounen adaptation, from just last season. Still, I do like battle shounen, and details matter, and so perhaps there’s more to it than it lets on. And even if not, if the PV’s anything to go by, this might be one case where the show could be worth it for the impressive looking animated fight scenes alone.

Deca-Dence

Director: Yuzuru Tachikawa
Writer: Hiroshi Seko
Studio: Nut
Episodes: ???
PV

In terms of other shows in genres I’m usually very down for, high concept sci-fi tends to score well on my personal scale, and that’s what we seem to be getting in the oddly named Deca-Dence. But as with the last one, I’m also a bit weary of the fact that it already conceptually resembles a large swath of similar themed sci-fi anime. There’s nothing wrong with taking an oft-used premise and giving it new life in some way of course, or recombining ideas to make at least an amalgamation of something halfway novel. That’s what this show seems to be going for, and luckily it also comes from a director who has done fairly commendable work on shows like Death Parade and Mob Psycho.

Great Pretender

Director: Hiro Kaburagi
Writer: Ryouta Kosawa
Studio: Wit Studio
Episodes: 23
PV

On the other end of the spectrum, there’s shows like this one that do almost nothing for me on paper, but in terms of execution looks to have some charismatic animation stylings and smooth music choices, and admittedly it does offer a relatively unique premise with which I wouldn’t mind seeing how it plays out.

Lapis Re:LiGHTs

Director: Hiroyuki Hata
Writer: Hajime Asano
Studio: Studio Mausu
Episodes: ???
PV

Rounding out the scattered few full length shows I’m interested in this season is another new idol show, this one with reportedly over 57,000 new idol girls to idol over, which will probably mean by proxy that it’s the closest we might get to anything yuri-adjacent this season (in addition to possibly the couple of shorts below). Apparently there’s also some magic school related shenanigans included, which could theoretically liven this up a bit depending on how it’s implemented.

Umayon

Director: Seiya Miyajima
Writer: ???
Studio: W-Toon Studio, DMM.futureworks
Episodes: ???
PV

So the main series this short is based off of, Uma Musume, which if you couldn’t guess from it’s English translation “Horse Girls”, is about a cast of horse-racing girls, or rather, horse girls who race for sport. I’ve only seen the first episode, and despite what you might think from the concept, and disregarding the moral issues with real life horse racing, it actually came off as fairly innocuous? Maybe even low-key empowering and exciting? Yeah, anime is weird (and that can be partly why I’m into it). I definitely would’ve liked to watch more, since it at least seems to fill the vacuum a smidge of the lack of competently made girls sports shows. Anyway, this chibi short will likely have not much of that, since it’s probably just the cast goofing off like most of these, but it could certainly be an amusing way to pass a few minutes now and then.

Chou Futsuu Toshi Kashiwa Densetsu R

Director: Shinya Murai
Writer: Shinya Murai
Studio: ???
Episodes: 10
PV

Last and probably least in terms of production values is another short very clearly based on a true story and real life events and locations. I’m honestly hoping that this has the kind of berserk absurdity that has characterized some similar looking shorts in the past, but really I have almost no idea what to expect out of it at all.

Belated Mention:

Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045

Director: Kenji Kamiyama, Shinji Aramaki
Writer: ???
Studio: Production I.G, Sola Digital Arts
Episodes: 12
PV

I realized a bit late last season that I completely forgot to mention this new Ghost in the Shell sequel to the Stand Alone Complex series, as it kind of landed a bit abruptly on Netflix at the end of April. I haven’t watched any of it yet, and I will say I’m not sold at all on the new composer (pretty damn hard to follow up on a soundtrack by Yoko Kanno of all people) or the fully 3DCG transition. The original Ghost in the Shell movie is widely considered a seminal work of 2D animation (not to mention of cyberpunk fiction in general). The second movie isn’t quite as highly acclaimed, and does have some 3DCG, but still contains some lavishly animated 2D work. The SAC TV series also uses 3D for various things sometimes, but was also mostly a 2D affair highly regarded for its notable production values for a TV show for its time. So I don’t think it was good idea to suddenly go full 3D without any warning at the very least unless they were intent on making it look very impressive, or at least very good, like as good as some of the efforts by studios like Orange. But it doesn’t, at least from the trailer. While on a technical level it may not be entirely unimpressive, the way it looks, even if not nearly as bad as some claim, is just plastic-y and off-putting. However, there’s more to anime than just animation. I’ve enjoyed pretty much all of the Ghost in the Shell stuff I’ve seen, but some of SAC strained my tolerance with its police procedural type leanings (I’m not often really fond of procedural TV in general, besides comedies). So I’m kind of liking the idea that 2045 seems to be based on a shorter length with one continuous story arc. In addition, they at least were able to get Kamiyama to direct again, and I’ve been pretty enamored with most of the shows he’s been behind (although Aramaki is co-directing, so that accounts for the blatant CG I guess). In other words, I’m still invested in checking this series out, and with the lack of many alternatives this season it might very well be a good opportunity.


So that’s the entirety of what I’m possibly looking at watching this season, although as usual, I’ll keep an eye out for any stragglers dangling out there that I might’ve missed.

Spring 2020 Anime Preview

So due to extenuating circumstances, which include just starting a new full time job recently that won’t likely be shutting down anytime soon ironically at a time when many are being laid off or working from home, I’m actually having a lot less free time currently, and so this preview comes quite obviously very late and as the Spring season has already been well underway. Although I actually drafted much of this write-up a month or more ago, I decided that being this far behind by now I wouldn’t update it much to reflect any impressions of already airing shows, but would rather keep it as I had wanted to do it originally. We’ve also unfortunately seen a lot of series this season being postponed even after they’ve already started due to the pandemic, and except in one case I won’t specifically point out those that have already been pushed back, but I will link to this list that details the ones that have been affected so far.

As far as the array of airing shows this season themselves, one thing that immediately jumps out is the significant number of sequels (although this was even more so before a couple of them were delayed). Of course, for TV shows “sequel” is in many cases merely a continuing season, which is somewhat different from an actual sequel, but it’s still pretty notable in an industry that has in the past tended to be much less “sequel”/additional season prone than for instance, Western TV. On the other hand, even though many of the choices for this season don’t seem to be quite as much my style as the lot from Winter, there are still a fair number of creative looking newcomers we might be able to watch assuming we haven’t all bitten the dust from viral infections by the time they’ve actually aired.

Most Anticipated

BNA

Director: Yoh Yoshinari
Writer: Kazuki Nakashima
Studio: Trigger
Episodes: ???
PV

So my topmost pick (after another I was looking forward to most got delayed) goes to the latest work by Trigger from the director of Little Witch Academia, which I loved quite a bit. Interestingly enough, back before the season even started they released a “preview” with six full episodes in Japan to seemingly positive impressions, but elsewhere it’s been gobbled by the Netflix beast and won’t be regurgitated until who knows when (another win for piracy, I guess). Anyhow, it looks to be another in the recent spate of furry loving stories about playing sports during Blade Runner or something, but unlike the rest this one appears to have some outstandingly fluid and imaginative animation not unlike the director’s previous work, and a sleek artstyle and nifty soundtrack, which you can nearly always seem to count on from original Trigger and former Gainax works.

Tamayomi

Director: Toshinori Fukishima
Writer: Touko Machida
Studio: Studio A-CAT
Episodes: ???
PV

It’s been quite a while again since we’ve had a proper girls sports show, let alone a girls baseball anime (which the last one was maybe, 10 years ago?) so once again I’m quite excited at the prospect. Last time I think it was for Hanabedo!, which after watching some I was a bit mixed over it’s odd character and directorial choices, but which at least had the spirit of the idea right. This time, the show seems to have a veteran director of a popular baseball series, so I’m hoping that that in addition to being a Manga Time Kirara work (which usually have a minimum of yuri subtext in a season that seems pretty barren on that front) will make it worthwhile.

Kami no Tou

Director: Takashi Sano
Writer: Erika Yoshida
Studio: Telecom Animation Film
Episodes: ???
PV

This one is a bit of strange choice for me being this high up, since I don’t find the premise particularly interesting and it also seems like it has a blander than plain toast male MC. However, in a season in which several of my other top interests are original works I don’t necessarily have much to go on for, my biggest reason for putting it up here are the high ratings for the source, the fact that I’ve heard someone compared it to One Piece in terms of world-building and progression, and the fantastic sounding orchestral soundtrack.

Hamefura (aka My Next Life as a Villainess aka Otome Game no Hametsu Flag shika Nai Akuyaku Reijou ni Tensei shiteshimatta…)

Director: Keisuke Inoue
Writer: Megumi Shimizu
Studio: Silver Link.
Episodes: ???
PV

After we’ve been getting a boatload of extremely longwinded-ly named isekai for a while, it’s peculiar to note that the only two I’m really seeing (outside of one that looks OK, and another that looks pretty awful) this season both have female protagonists in fairly unique circumstances and storylines. This one in fact is a villain-as-protagonist shoujo comedy, but the “villain” is an isekai lead dumped into the role in a visual novel type dating game where she can’t possibly win. It’s a silly premise to be sure, but it certainly sounds like it could be a very funny one.

Gleipnir

Director: Kazuhiro Yoneda
Writer: Shinichi Inotsume
Studio: Pine Jam
Episodes: ???
PV

There’s a lot of anime revolving around turning into monsters to do battle, but how about doing so with some kind of semi-erotic body-melding teamwork? That’s what this show seems to be about, and it seems like an intriguing twist on a timeworn subject. I’ve also heard some positive impressions of the manga by people with similar interests as me, and it’s being directed by the person behind Akatsuki no Yona and Hoozuki no Reitetsu (both of which I liked, from what I watched of them) and little else thus far so I’m hoping he can go three for three as far as shows that capture my attention.

Nami yo Kiitekure

Director: Tatsuma Minamikawa
Writer: Shouji Yonemura
Studio: Sunrise
Episodes: ???
PV

On the other hand we have a show with a fairly original premise about a woman caught up in the world of radio hosting facilitated by her harsh tongue, raging energy and emotional turmoil, and ability to fend off grizzly bears with martial arts. Although this is a first-time director, production-wise the show looks exceptional from the PV, which probably shouldn’t be surprising since this is Sunrise, who seem to take some time off every few years from pouring gobs of money (for anime at least) into animating Gundam and other highly produced mecha shows to randomly toss out some offbeat series like this.

Listeners

Director: Hiroaki Andou
Writer: Dai Satou
Studio: MAPPA
Episodes: 12
PV

Anime originals like the next two tend to be hard for me to predict unless I’m very familiar with the creative team’s work. This is the main reason Listeners has a bit of an advantage over Appare-Ranman!. Although I’m not familiar with the works of Listener’s director, the writer has done scripting for quite a few classic shows, and that gives me more of an inclination that a big sci-fi story-driven work like this will be able to pull together.

Appare-Ranman!

Director: Masakazu Hashimoto
Writer: Masakazu Hashimoto
Studio: P.A. Works
Episodes: ???
PV

As for the other original show, as I said I have very little to go on besides the fact that it seems to have a pretty unusual premise, a spritely animated and fun-looking PV, and some clear diversity in it’s casting that makes it stand out considerably.

Houkago Teibou Nisshi

Director: Takaharu Ookuma
Writer: Fumihiko Shimo
Studio: Doga Kobo
Episodes: ???
PV

Cute girls performing acts of mundanity shows are not in especially strong supply this season (with the only other one being sorta Tamayomi only if you stretch the definition a bit), but this one at least is the latest effort by Doga Kobo, who’ve done solid work in the genre in the past.

Honzuki no Gekokujou 2

Director: Mitsuru Hongo
Writer: Mariko Kunisawa
Studio: Ajia-Do
Episodes: 12
PV

There were plenty of shows with spectacular action heavy stories last year, but few like this one where plucky resourcefulness and knowledge took center stage over physical skill. This sequel seems to be further expanding on its low fantasy in a charming fairytale isekai setting by introducing further elements of magic and world building intrigue and maintaining some low-key critiques of nobility, class, and the church-o-sphere, while still focusing on Myne’s singular obsessive nerdy quest for her desired books in a place seemingly antithetical to that goal.

Jashin-chan Dropkick’

Director: ???
Writer: ???
Studio: Nomad
Episodes: ???
PV

As opposed to the more universal appeal of the former show, Jashin’s hyperviolent comedy antics might be more of an acquired taste, but I found what I’ve watched of the first season to be very funny and stupidly entertaining, with a lovable cast of monster-y misfits that seems to have expanded considerably by this point.

Fruits Basket: 2nd Season

Director: ???
Writer: ???
Studio: TMS Entertainment
Episodes: ???
PV

Speaking of shows with large casts, the second season of the Fruits Baskets remake also seems to be airing (with all the delays who can say definitely for sure with anything), and it seems to be coming with different staff this time. Assuming it (or anything) does air on schedule, I’d hopefully like to keep up with this season that has new story I’m unfamiliar with.

Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai?: Tensai-tachi no Renai Zunousen

Director: Mamoru Hatakeyama
Writer: Yasuhiro Nakanishi
Studio: A-1 Pictures
Episodes: ???
PV

Although I’ve only watched one episode of the first season, I did find it to be fun and very well-produced, but I prioritized other things (specifically, things that were not very het will-they-won’t-they romcoms) at the time. Theoretically I’d probably enjoy watching it if I got around to it which is why I placed the second season here.

Sword Art Online: Alicization – War of Underworld Part 2

Director: ???
Writer: ???
Studio: A-1 Pictures
Episodes: ???
PV

I’ve already talked about my opinions on SAO in my preview that had the first part of the this sequel, and I haven’t watched anymore of the series since then, so I won’t say much more about it except that the preview image of this season looks cool as fuck.

(Note: since writing this, the new SAO season has been 100% delayed to summer.)

Digimon Adventure:

Director: Masato Mitsuka
Writer: Atsuhiro Tomioka
Studio: Toei Animation
Episodes: ???
PV

Digimon is one of those series I can only have fond memories towards because it’s one of the earliest anime (after Toonami and such) I watched on TV. I’ve long felt that Digimon was to Pokemon kind of like what Animorphs was to Harry Potter; a similar concept in a more sci-fi setting, greater depth in world-building and character development, and a more considerable feeling of not only insidious danger but also enticing adventure. Which isn’t to say I don’t like Pokemon, despite some of Nintendo’s issues, and let’s face it, this is a show about morphing neopets and their dorky human pals battling comical villain neopets with the power of friendship and such, not exactly a profound treatise on human existence. But I’d still say it’s one of most well-realized examples of cartoony kids shows of yesteryear I’ve seen to have an actual continuous engaging storyline rather than mostly episodic content, and hopefully this remake will retain many of its charms.

The Rest

Princess Connect! Re:Dive

Director: Takaomi Kanasaki
Writer: Takaomi Kanasaki
Studio: CygamesPictures
Episodes: ???
PV

So this is another game adaptation and those have historically not done exceedingly well. But one caveat to that is that mobile adaptations like this one, particularly one by Cygames, can tend to have boatloads of money behind them. So the shows tend to look very nice, and this one doesn’t appear to be an exception. Another thing the show has going for it is direction by the person behind a couple of funny and expressively animated shows like Konosuba, although unlike in that in a twist the lone male character in this show appears (though I’m not 100% sure?) to not be the main character, which would be a welcome change for shows of this ilk.

Arte

Director: Takayuki Hamana
Writer: Reiko Yoshida
Studio: Seven Arcs
Episodes: ???
PV

Although shows that lean on the history drama variety are not usually my forte, it becomes possibly a bit more compelling with a bright, determined, artistic protagonist in a seemingly visually well-composed series trying to make it in a world in which men are consistently snubbing and scoffing at her efforts. It also has a veteran writer of many notable works, and Seven Arcs has usually been pretty consistent with their solid if not necessarily spectacular animation.

Kakushigoto

Director: Yuuta Murano
Writer: Takashi Aoshima
Studio: Ajia-Do
Episodes: ???
PV

Kakushigoto comes as the latest manga adaptation by Kouji Kumeta, whose works have made for several fairly unique anime. While this one on the other hand looks to have a more commonplace premise (anime about older guys and their daughter/girl they’re caring after seem to be pretty well-trodden ground at this point), this one does put a bit of spin on it, and shows off a nice visual style that has pretty much typified most of these disparate adaptations even though they’ve been done by different staff.

Shironeko Project: Zero Chronicle

Director: Masato Jinbo
Writer: Masato Jinbo
Studio: Project No. 9
Episodes: ???
PV

I’m mostly putting this one on here because unlike the recent truckload of isekai that have been shaping the anime landscape of late, Shironeko actually seems to be a straight up fantasy work for a change that seems like it might have OK-ish animation. I’m also just really impressed that this protagonist has arms that are extremely attached to his body using only the latest in arm-attaching technological advancements.

Shin Sakura Taisen the Animation

Director: Manabu Ono
Writer: Manabu Ono
Studio: SANZIGEN
Episodes: ???
PV

So personally I’ve never watched any of the original or video games that this sequel is based off of, but I’ve heard from some people that it was a pretty decent mecha action show, and seemingly has girls slicing shit up with katanas along with mechs so it can’t be all bad. That CG might have other plans, though.

Shachou, Battle no Jikan Desu!

Director: Hironori Ikeshita
Writer: Kenta Ihara
Studio: C2C
Episodes: ???
PV

In terms of actual alternate world anime noodling, this one upfront looks like it could be a reasonably colorful, upbeat, and fine noodler, and I don’t have much more to say about it than that.

Fugou Keiji: Balance:Unlimited

Director: Tomohiko Itou
Writer: Taku Kishimoto
Studio: CloverWorks
Episodes: ???
PV

As far as relatively normal-looking detective shows go, this one seems to have some competent production qualities behind it that make it stand out a bit, and is further unusual in that it appears to be based on an actual novel rather than frequently cliche-prone light novels as is far more customary for modern anime.

Yesterday wo Utatte

Director: Yoshiyuki Fujiwara
Writer: Yoshiyuki Fujiwara
Studio: Doga Kobo
Episodes: 12
PV

As I’ve said before, I’m not really into these kinds of het romance dramas. But this is another case where the seemingly uncommonly capable production might possibly give me a reason to at least check it out.

Gal to Kyouryuu

Director: Jun Aoki
Writer: Jun Aoki
Studio: Kamikaze Douga, Space Neko Company
Episodes: ???
PV

Seemingly, it’s Pop Team Epic but instead with a “dinosaur” that looks like an elongated smurf. No further commentary seems necessary.

Mewkledreamy

Director: Hiroaki Sakurai
Writer: Hiroko Kanesugi
Studio: J.C.Staff
Episodes: ???
PV

This seems to be another in the long line of sickly sweet kids shows for girls that look basically pretty OK and I’d definitely like to check out at some point but will likely inevitably be out-prioritized by other things.

Kiratto Pri☆Chan Season 3

Director: Hiroshi Ikehata
Writer: Kazuhou Hyoudou
Studio: Tatsunoko Production
Episodes: ???
PV

Speaking of which, PriChan is already on the third season of such a show, and there’s no telling how many of these seasons of sparkly effervescent aspiring idol girls will rack up before I actually get around to trying any of them, but hell if I won’t keep placing them in the vicinity of my viewing radius until I possibly do.


So that’s what this current season is looking like for me as far as what I would ideally like to at least sample. Still, with several of these already being cut and possible further delays looming on the horizon, it’s hard to say what we’ll actually be able to watch, and with work and other issues slicing at my schedule, how much available time I’ll have to watch them. But I’ll be looking forward to finding out what these or any others that might turn up will eventually have to offer.

Winter 2020 Anime Preview

So well, I originally attempted to get this out a bit early, but it turns out there was a lot to talk about, as this season has quite a few choices to mull over with many that look very compelling, and I’d say it doesn’t have even more than a handful that look dreadful or extremely boring to me. Of course, your criteria for inclusion in an abominable or an exciting list may vary. For instance, diehard fans of shounen and shounen battling might be getting a bit shortchanged this Winter. My likes definitely include those but can just as easily be carried by many other kinds of stories, and while it may or may not necessarily have the potential highs of Summer ’19, in terms of sheer volume this may turn out to be the season with the largest number of shows I’m significantly interested in quite a while.

Oftentimes I use the month of January or so as a time to catch up on things I’ve put off or haven’t finished over the year, but this season might be trying hard to prevent anyone’s who’s looking forward to as much as I am from doing that. It doesn’t help that this past year has had an abundance of riches when it comes to anime I’ve liked and still haven’t gotten around to finishing or even starting in some cases (for instance, a show I haven’t even watched one episode of that’s almost guaranteed to be in a hypothetical top of the year list).

In addition to the full-length outings, it also helps that somehow there’s like seven or so shorts that have been announced that are either sequels/spinoffs/mini versions of things I already like or ones that I in some way find possibly appealing. Since there’s all that brewing, I should probably get to talking about it.

Most Anticipated

Eizouken ni wa Te wo Dasu na!

Director: Masaaaki Yuasa
Writer: ???
Studio: Science SARU
Episodes: ???
PV

This season marks the third in a row in which my most anticipated show is actually a sequel. Luckily though, this time it’s tied with the latest spectacularly creative looking offering from renowned director Masaaki Yuasa, whose works I don’t think it’s a stretch to say have included some of the most powerfully inventive stories and unusual art ever animated (and the stuff of his I’ve missed out on still lingers for me to go back to someday). Due maybe to the frequently off-kilter production styles and perhaps even the more melancholic and tragic nature of some of Yuasa’s works, they’ve never really caught on as something mainstream. And his latest effort, as an anime about making anime, might not be the kind of thing to garner more popularity than the rest. But with it’s zany cast of odd misfits, expressively optimistic tone, and burning passion for animation, it does look like it may possibly be his most upbeat and accessible production so far, and I’m very excited about what imaginative possibilities it may realize.

Magia Record: Mahou Shoujo Madoka☆Magica Gaiden

Director: Gekidan Inu Curry
Writer: Gekidan Inu Curry
Studio: Shaft
Episodes: ???
PV

The original Madoka has fallen a bit out of favor in recent years with some fans I think because they feel it’s responsible for magical girl shows turning more into dark pits of suffering and angst (i.e. the Evangelion effect). However, most of these attempts haven’t been able to capture the magic of their predecessor (with a couple exceptions), and you can’t really blame an innovative series for poor imitations. Madoka wasn’t the first series to introduce darkness to the genre, but it was probably the first to really fully enmesh itself in such grim concepts. Despite that, it was able to tell an engrossing story of girls fighting to overcome the deathly prospects of adolescence, and it did so with some vivid, gorgeous imagery and an evocative soundtrack.

It’s definitely one of my favorite series of the past decade, so it’s unsurprising that this latest entry in the series is one of my most anticipated of the season. Rather than a direct continuation, this one has an entirely new cast, but shares the same setting and world, and if the PV is any indication, seems to convey much of the same expressive animation and style as the original. This seems to be courtesy of the male/female directing duo Gekidan Inu Curry, who haven’t directed anything yet but did seemingly work extensively on the original series and movies.

Haikyuu!!: To the Top

Director: Masako Satou
Writer: Taku Kishimoto
Studio: Production I.G
Episodes: ???
PV

When it comes to sports series, there’s no doubt that my favorite overall that I’ve seen is Chihayafuru. However, when it comes to the actual sports aspect of the show itself, I don’t think anything has topped Haikyuu so far (except for maybe secret best sports show Scorching Ping Pong Girls). I’m going to be 100% honest that I haven’t actually gotten around to watching season 3 of Haikyuu yet (it came out at a time I was distracted by many things) but I should be able to rectify that sometime soon, and as far as I know it carries on (and will likely continue to do so into this season) the same heights of surprisingly fluid volleyball action, tense and unpredictable matches, teamwork/rivalry/good boys being good (mostly) and all the rest that comes with such a joyfully crafted sports series.

Bofuri (Itai no wa Iya nano de Bougyoryoku ni Kyokufuri Shitai to Omoimasu.)

Director: Shin Oonuma
Writer: Fumihiko Shimo
Studio: Silver Link.
Episodes: ???
PV

A really interesting aspect to this new season is that we’re getting not just one or even two or three, but four intriguing looking VR game anime all at once. I’ve said before that unlike regular isekai’s which are very hit or miss for me, I do seem to find VR related shows to be inherently appealing, which could just be the gamer in me enjoying the crossover allure. Anyhow, my most anticipated of these is also the only girl-centric one of the batch, which in this case looks like a comedy-focused series that may or may not be a direct parody of Shield Hero, which would mean we might have a version of that that doesn’t encompass your usual rote LN dreck. Regardless, it’s being helmed by a fairly veteran director of funny shows, some of which I’ve been fond of like Watamote and Pani Poni Dash.

ID:Invaded

Director: Ei Aoki
Writer: Outarou Maijou
Studio: NAZ
Episodes: ???
PV

Another one of the VRMMO choices we have is the latest work by another fairly prominent in anime circles director whose works I’ve liked in the past, including things like Fate/Zero, Wandering Son, and Re:Creators (some people have ill regards of his work on Aldnoah Zero, but I’ll probably always have positive feelings towards that show because A) I haven’t seen it and don’t plan to, and B) it has amazing opening and ending songs). This one seems to be of the dramatic murder mystery variety, and from looking at the promotional artwork has a main character who gets sliced into pieces in the first episode, which is always a good starting point.

Infinite Dendrogram

Director: Tomoki Kobayashi
Writer: Yuuichirou Momose
Studio: NAZ
Episodes: ???
PV

The third VRMMO entry in my top-most anticipated list is the very cool-soundingly named Infinite Dendrogram. Oddly enough, both this and the previous VRMMO are being animated by NAZ, a studio who has apparently existed for many years but somehow I didn’t know about at all, and I’m not really familiar with any of this director’s work either. While that could be slightly worrying, I’ve heard some fairly good things about the novels this show is based on, and at the very minimum if someone asks you what you’re watching this season you can slyly say, “Yeah, I’m into Infinite Dendrogram,” and people will probably think you’re watching someone solve 47th dimensional rubik’s cubes with a spoon.

Toaru Kagaku no Railgun T

Director: Tatsuyuki Nagai
Writer: Shogo Yasukawa
Studio: J.C.Staff
Episodes: ???
PV

Another sequel I’m very down for is the third season of this very fun and upbeat girls science fantasy action/detective show, which is itself a spin-off of the noticeably not as good Index (mostly due to the protagonist of that being the bog standard boring light novel variety, and also my irritation with him creeping into this show occasionally). And even if Mikoto never comes around to Kuroko’s adolescent pining, Saten/Uiharu are still extremely shippable and are probably the closest thing to a couple the show has.

Dorohedoro

Director: Yuuichirou Hayashi
Writer: Hiroshi Seko
Studio: MAPPA
Episodes: ???
PV

Dorohedoro appears to be MAPPA’s latest in their trend of fascinating attempts to animate highly regarded manga (which included last year’s Dororo which I haven’t finished but like quite a bit and Blade of the Immortal) that seem as though they wouldn’t have necessarily gotten adaptations otherwise. As another reminder of the ever descending 3DCGpocalypse, this time they decided interestingly enough to eschew traditional 2D in favor of that route, which I wouldn’t claim is remotely the best suited for this kind of artwork, but in this case from what I can see from the PV at least I actually really like the way it looks.

Koisuru Asteroid

Director: Daisuki Hiramaki
Writer: Yuka Yamada
Studio: Doga Kobo
Episodes: ???
PV

I’m glad to once again have a cute girls Doga Kobo shows to look forward to. For a while they’ve been adapting some highly questionable content to put it mildly (disclaimer that your liking of such 2D shows isn’t inherently morally wrong since the people in them are not real and victimless crimes don’t exist, but I’d very much prefer the efforts put towards more stuff like this). And as a Manga Time Kirara work usually does, this will likely have some heavy yuri subtext at least, and hopefully if the title is any indication, even more than that.

Oshi ga Budoukan Ittekuretara Shinu

Director: Yuusuke Yamamoto
Writer: Deko Akao
Studio: 8bit
Episodes: ???
PV

Speaking of shows that could have gay written all over them but might be relegated to subtext, in this show which has a bit more interesting premise than your standard idol stuff, the protagonist is very much in suki with her favorite idol and the show seems to be (although I’m not 100% sure) entirely about the MC’s obsessive attempts to support her as she navigates her idol career. It’s an idea I think is rife with comedic potential, and for that it has the director of humorous gems like Keroro Gunsou and Yama no Susume.

Pet

Director: Takahiro Oomori
Writer: Sadayuki Murai
Studio: Geno Studio
Episodes: ???
PV

This season definitely looks to be gracing us with a few standout directors helming interesting works. This one comes from the person behind a number of notable series, like Natsume Yuujinchou, Kuragehime, Baccano!, Samurai Flamenco, and Gakuen Alice (well, at least the latter is my ye old goofy fave). Although admittedly it has a really dumb title, this show seems very much to be more on the dramatic serious side, with a fairly provocative premise about people who are tethered together through dangerous mental powers that are able to control memories, or somesuch.

Somali and the Forest Spirit (Somali to Mori no Kamisama)

Director: Kenji Yasuda
Writer: Mariko Mochizuki
Studio: Satelight
Episodes: ???
PV

Lots of shows can be cute, and at least some can be impressively artistic, but it takes quite a bit of panache to do both at once. Somali though seems like it may walk that line exceedingly well potentially. Although the animation doesn’t look astonishingly fluid, it does have the director of the fairly adorable Ikoku Meiro no Croisee so it may have that side easily covered, and the lavish looking backgrounds, interesting character designs, and atmospheric fairytale tone may account for the rest.

Show By Rock!! Mashumairesh!!

Director: Seung-Hui Son
Writer: Daisuke Tazawa
Studio: Kinema Citrus
Episodes: ???
PV

Show By Rock!! has exactly the kind of premise that’s right up my alley (it’s basically a quasi-magical girl show in which the magic is actually rock music), which is in no small part why I’ve enjoyed both seasons. This one actually seems to be a spin-off that might be downplaying the magic fighting element if the trailer is any indication and is swapping out directors and studios, but Kinema Citrus is usually no slouch in the animation department and it does look to have the same kind of buoyant energy and jovial rock tunes that typified the main show.

Heya Camp△

Director: Masato Jinbo
Writer: ???
Studio: C-Station
Episodes: ???
PV

Hey(a), it’s Yuru Camp in tiny chunk format to keep us sated until the eventual season 2, reminding those of us in the freezing temps region of the world again that camping in the winter is a thing that actually happens in some places.

Isekai Quartet 2nd Season

Director: Minoru Ashina
Writer: Minoru Ashina
Studio: Studio PuYUKAI
Episodes: ???
PV

I’ve only watched a bit of this ensemble isekai spoof gathering some of the most well-known and notorious characters from these light novel adaptations, but it seemed like a very funny and cute take on the isekai cinematic universe that I definitely would like to continue.

Natsunagu!

Director: Yasayuki Honda
Writer: Domeshi
Studio: ???
Episodes: ???
PV

In the case of this short, it’s one of those that I know almost nothing about and there isn’t even a PV, but it’s on here mostly because I like what it seems to be about and the one image released of it has a nice aesthetic.

Hulaing Babies Petit

Director: Yoshinori Asao
Writer: Ikoma
Studio: Gaina
Episodes: ???
PV

Hulaing Babies is a show that completely flew under the radar of almost everyone, but it was pretty amusing with an interesting art style. I’m not really sure why exactly the already chibi and short form original needed an even more super-deformed look and even shorter runtime, but I’ll be sure to look forward to Hulaing Babies Petit Mini Tadpole Tykes in the future.

Kyouryuu Shoujo Gauko

Director: Akira Shigino
Writer: Kimiko Ueno
Studio: Ascension
Episodes: 20
PV

It’s pretty hard to go wrong with a girl who turns into a dinosaur. I’m quite sure this is written in unbreakable stone law somewhere.

The Rest

Nekopara

Director: Yasutaka Yamamoto
Writer: Gou Zappa
Studio: Felix Film
Episodes: ???
PV

As opposed to specifically anime focused on made-up VR worlds, direct video game anime adaptations can have the tendency to be either abysmal or very workman-like. Nekopara seems like it could very well fall under the latter category, but it does look pretty adorable and just going off PVs alone seems like it might possibly be the closest to an openly gay show we might get this season as opposed to the more subtext-heavy or one-sided ones, except for maybe Bang Dream (of which I can’t say since I haven’t seen it).

22/7

Director: Takao Abo
Writer: Reiji Miyajima
Studio: A-1 Pictures
Episodes: ???
PV

This one looks a bit like your more standard fare idol show possibly, and the director hasn’t done much I’ve cared about, but A-1 Pictures usually has very solid productions on the animation front, and I do dig the cute designs, but with not much else to go on since this is an original work, it’s being filed under the vague hopes category rather than high-ish likelihood of enjoyment.

Runway de Waratte

Director: Nobuyoshi Nagayama
Writer: Touko Machida
Studio: Ezola
Episodes: ???
PV

The next three shows are part of what makes clear what a potentially good season this looks to be at least in an ideal production setting wise, because in my first mental draft of this list all three were also in the top section, and I only moved them out of it due to some minor doubts, personal taste, or moral qualms. Runway de Warette may have one of the most interesting premises of the season, as it looks to be a quasi-competitive shounen in which the competition is actually aspiring fashion design and runway modeling. I’ve also heard good things about the manga, and it seems like a very endearing concept. My doubts about it mostly stem from the production, since Ezola is another studio I’ve never heard of, and the director has done only one short that I liked (Sounan Desu Ka?) and the animation on that definitely wasn’t it’s strong suit.

Jibaku Shounen Hanako-kun

Director: Masaomi Andou
Writer: Yasuhiro Nakanishi
Studio: Lerche
Episodes: 12
PV

This season definitely also has quite a few shows by directors who have multiple works I’ve liked in the past, such as this with the person behind Gakkou Gurashi and Kanata no Astra (I’ve also watched the first episode of Scum’s Wish, which I definitely liked but never got around to continuing). The PV also looks really creatively interesting stylistically, and as is usually the case I’m almost always in for comedies if they properly humor me up. My concerns with this are that I don’t see this type of story necessarily sustaining my interest unless there’s more to it or if it’s outright hilarious, either of which could be the eventual case.

Kuutei Dragons

Director: Tadahiro Yoshihara
Writer: Makoto Uezu
Studio: Polygon Pictures
Episodes: ???
PV

When I first saw the promos for this I thought it looked very cool. And although Polygon Pictures I think is a ways behind studios like Orange and Sanzigen (and probably MAPPA’s 3D efforts if Dorohedoro turns out), they’re still one of the studios that are at the forefront of 3D efforts in the industry (though their most notable work for me might be hard to classify as anime, which is Tron: Uprising). However, unfortunately the material appears to have some very uncomfortable analogues to the whaling industry, which if true has a very high degree of likelihood of preventing me from watching this. Nevertheless, I’ll likely check out an episode at the very least to see the progression of Polygon’s CG work.

Murenase! Seton Gakuen

Director: Hiroshi Ikehata
Writer: Shigeru Murakoshi
Studio: Studio Gokumi
Episodes: ???
PV

If there’s one studio whom I would throw an award to for most consistently cute character designs, it’s likely Gokumi, and they seem to be giving that tradition a fairly reasonable effort here. Since we’re getting several shows summoning the 3DCGpocalypse this Winter, I’d probably be remiss for not mentioning the shows hastening the Furrypocalypse as well. While Show by Rock, Nekopara, and Uchi Tama have nothing on full furry mode Beastars, this show does seem slightly higher on the furry scale than the former three at least.

Darwin’s Game

Director: Yoshinobu Tokumoto
Writer: Shuu Miyama
Studio: Nexus
Episodes: ???
PV

So the last in the lineup of VR setups (although I’m questioning a bit if it’s not more of an AR than VR game) doesn’t appear to be wanting in terms of animation caliber from the PV at least. This isn’t too surprising coming from Nexus, who haven’t done much so far but did produce the pretty lavishly well-animated mech scenes from the underrated Granbelm from last year, but the director hasn’t been behind much I’ve seen, and it does seem the least interesting to me of this seasons many VR-ish stories. Neverthless, I am seeing a couple kickass women in the trailer, which might just be a compelling reason to give it a try.

Rebirth

Director: Shinobu Yoshioka
Writer: ???
Studio: LIDENFILMS
Episodes: ???
PV

This short is yet another series there’s little to go on, but I’m of the impression it’s about girls playing cards while skydiving in circle formation.

Yatogame-chan Kansatsu Nikki 2

Director: Hisayoshi Hirasawa
Writer: WORDS in STEREO
Studio: Creators in Pack, Saetta
Episodes: ???
PV

I modestly enjoyed the first episode of the first season of this silly short comedy, and would presume I would modestly enjoy the rest including this second season.

Oda Cinnamon Nobunaga

Director: Hidetoshi Takahashi
Writer: Maruo Kyouzuka
Studio: Studio Signpost
Episodes: ???
PV

I think we can all agree that at the very minimum, this is by far the best idea for a Nobunaga related thing to ever exist thus far. Don’t you just want to see these puppers conquer all of Japan? D’aww, just look at them scheming menacingly.

Uchi Tama?! Uchi no Tama Shirimasen ka?

Director: Kiyoshi Matsuda
Writer: Kimiko Ueno
Studio: MAPPA, Lapin Track
Episodes: ???
PV

The most I have to say about this is that I heard somewhere that Lapin Track was setup to produce BL related works and it looks not bad, or about as not bad as a low-key furry possibly BL slice of life comedy would look to me knowing nothing about it, and it has the director of Kakegurui XX, which besides stopping in the middle of a cool story arc was a great continuation.

BanG Dream! 3rd Season

Director: ???
Writer: ???
Studio: SANZIGEN
Episodes: 10
PV

Bang Dream! continues to be one of my guilty not pleasures (meaning I’m definitely guilty towards myself for not watching a thing I would probably enjoy). Interestingly, I’ve actually liked a whole bunch of real all-girl bands who have their origin in this franchise, which is all the more reason I should really get around to watching it someday.

Healin’ Good♡Precure

Director: ???
Writer: ???
Studio: Toei Animation
Episodes: Probably ~50
PV

Each winter also brings with it a brand new season of Precure for me to lament not getting into possibly, and at this rate, by my calculations, in the year 2060 there will be 57 seasons of Precure. Lord help anyone who tries to start a rewatch then.


So that’s what this season is looking like for me, which is quite a bit. I should point again that this list isn’t meant to be an “I think all these shows will be good” list, but a preview listing as many shows as I think might have potential for me and simply removing the ones that I think do not, while vaguely ordering the ones that do. But there’s always the chance that even other things could catch my interest, and so I’ll be checking impressions of additional shows as usual to see what else the season may bring.

Fall 2019 Anime Preview

So as I’m getting this up a bit late like last season, I have to comment that I’m kind of feeling in line with what a few others have expressed that it seems like this might be a weaker season, even if it does have some high profile sequels. On the other hand, unlike every other season this year that had a smaller number of shows, this one has about the same quantity as Fall 18, so there is actually a fairly wide variety of choices. It’s just that for me most of them come across upfront as being more of the vaguely-interesting rather than salivating-over variety. In fact, in terms of non-sequels I’m probably already looking slightly more forward to Winter 2020, which also has about as many high level sequels announced I’m interested in as this season.

With that said, it seems since I couldn’t really think of a new show that could fit into the highest spot, I’m already breaking my previously stated rule about not putting sequels at the top of the list. But since this list is already being put out well into season premieres starting, I might as well get right to the shows.

Sequels to Shows I’m Mostly Up-to-date On

Chihayafuru 3

Director: Morio Asaka
Writer: Naoya Takayama
Studio: Madhouse
Episodes: 24
PV

Definitely my most anticipated series, this is the long-awaited 3rd season of this acclaimed sports adaptation of a venerable josei manga directed by one of my favorite anime directors. Although “sport” might seem to be stretching it a bit as Chihayafuru revolves around the peculiar Japanese card game karuta, it’s a actually a fairly physical activity, and the show has all the hallmarks of classic sports media: exciting matches, strong bonds formed in teamwork and rivalries, striving to overcome physical limitations and roadblocks, etc. It also has a full cast of truly endearing characters and is not uncommonly funny and heartwarming. It’s a joy to watch and there are probably few TV shows that exist that are as much so.

Psycho-Pass 3

Director: Naoyoshi Shiotani
Writer: Makoto Fukami
Studio: Production I.G
Episodes: 8
PV

Another threequel I’m anticipating is the latest season of sci-fi cyberpunk action series Psycho-Pass. If I’m being honest this franchise’s handling of sci-fi concepts isn’t remotely the smartest example of this kind of genre, but it’s to me an entertaining kind of dumb that has mostly to do with my love of that genre, it’s reasonably competent production, characters I mostly don’t dislike, and the general lack of this kind of work in anime of recent years and most media.

Many will probably say that the second season was worse than the first one. Personally, I preferred season 2 for a few reasons. Both seasons make some ridiculous decisions regrading their sci-fi world-building as far as I’m concerned, but season 1 spends an exorbitant amount of time being pompously devoted to those concepts. Season 2 kind of lets itself go off the rails a bit more and is thus less concerned with focusing on boring things like people grandiosely circling and hurling vaguely-related philosophy quotes at each other. Additionally, Akane got a lot more time to actually be a protagonist instead of the first’s hyper-fixation with how omg cool Kougami was all the time.

As for the new season, on the downside I’m kind of perplexed as to why they’re seemingly focusing on two new male characters rather than continuing with Akane as the lead, especially since she’s still in the show. On the plus side, this series has an unambiguous adult lesbian couple who are (spoilers) still alive and still in this season, although to what extent remains to be seen.

My Hero Academia 4

Director: Kenji Nagasaki
Writer: Yukie Sugawara
Studio: Bones
Episodes: ???
PV

The newest season of MHA is also upon us, and it looks to be just as much vibrantly energetic shounen fun as previous seasons with similar staff and the same studio that’s animated the story so far. When watching the previous season I have to admit I’ve been starting to zone out a bit on the whole thing simply because I don’t really see much in the way of a destination for that story; from the start it’s been a pretty simple tale of heroes and villains but while yes there are still plenty of villains, the most powerful one that seemingly exists has already been defeated and captured, and I don’t feel it’s developed much of an otherwise overarching story besides the basic kids continuing through school to be heroes premise suggests. That’s not a big deal though since even if I would prefer it head in that direction, as I said it’s still a good time as is.

New Series I’m Most Interested In

Beastars

Director: Shinichi Matsumi
Writer: Nanami Higuchi
Studio: Orange
Episodes: ???
PV

Out of the new series airing this season, probably the one with highest overall pedigree when combining studio and source material hearsay would probably be Beastars. Orange is fast becoming one of most noteworthy studios when it comes to 3DCG especially with their much loved adaptation of Land of the Lustrous, and, in addition to hearing good things about it, I noticed also the manga of this seems to have won the same notable Manga Taishou award as Chihayafuru.

No Guns Life

Director: Naoyuki Itou
Writer: Yukie Sugawara
Studio: Madhouse
Episodes: ???
PV

One of the things I’ve always maintained over the years, over and over again ever since I was very little and has since become one of my firm convictions in life, is that you can’t go wrong with an anime with a person with a gun for a head. But besides that, the PV seems to have some very punching-a-train style swagger, and the director was in charge of the pretty fun, somewhat overlooked One Piece movie 3D2Y.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is maxresdefault-3.jpg

Watashi, Nouryoku wa Heikinchi de tte Itta yo ne!

Director: Masahiko Oota
Writer: Takashi Aoshima
Studio: Project No. 9
Episodes: ???
PV

I toyed with the idea of putting this show at the very top of my list, because I do personally like cute girls + things shows (especially very funny ones) and have no qualms about holding them up as personal entertainment faves, and besides Chihayafuru this show has probably the director this season with the most shows I’ve enjoyed in the past. He’s responsible for a bunch of hilarious ones including Sabagebu!, Yuru Yuri, Umaru-chan, and Minami-ke. In addition the premise reminds me a bit of Endro!, another cute girls fantasy comedy from this year I enjoyed. Probably the reason I left it lower was because Project No. 9 isn’t really on the same animation level usually as Doga Kobo whom Oota has usually been working with and that might bring it down somewhat.

Rifle Is Beautiful

Director: Masanori Takahashi
Writer: Tatsuya Takahashi
Studio: Studio 3Hz
Episodes: ???
PV

Although I know almost nothing about this cute girls-with-guns series, it weirdly doesn’t have a PV still or any streaming announcement, and this seems to be the director’s first TV series so it’s pretty hard to judge, the main reason I’m putting it up here is because all of Studio 3Hz last three TV series have been very well-animated, very good from what I’ve watched, and very overtly gay. In fact their Black Fox movie airing this season is my secret most anticipated fall anime (and this reminds me that some time I should try to do a post about movies perhaps), so I’m very curious as to how this will turn out.

Keishichou Tokumubu Tokushu Kyouakuhan Taisakushitsu Dainanaka: Tokunana

Director: Harume Kosaka, Takayuki Kuriyama
Writer: Tatsuya Takahashi
Studio: Lantis, Ai Addiction
Episodes: ???
PV

My most anticipated list has been looking a little slim this season, so consider this my wild card choice, as it’s an original anime I know very little about with directors and studios whose work I haven’t seen or who haven’t done much. Nevertheless, I like the stylish shading of the characters in the PV, the premise reminds me a bit of Kekkai Sensen and Bem, the title would wipe the floor at a tongue twister contest, and there is a tech-savvy girl in the show named Ninja who is almost definitely Not a Ninja, which supersedes all other points.

Ascendance of a Bookworm (Honzuki no Gekokujou)

Director: Mitsuru Hongou
Writer: Mariko Kunisawa
Studio: Ajia-Do
Episodes: 14
PV

Although I’ve been pretty lax in recent years with my love for reading and books, and I doubt I was ever nearly as avid a reader as this show’s protagonist, it is another thing I’ve enjoyed fondly in my times navigating the realms of fictional worlds, and I think anyone who is obsessed with a thing they love (maybe even to the point of a disorder) can relate to the anxieties of suddenly being deprived of that thing. This is an isekai, another in a lengthy line-up this season, where the book-loving protagonist gets clobbered by books and transported to world without books, and, although the animation doesn’t look overly exceptional, I’ve heard some good things about this story being a cute and interesting setup.

Sequels to Shows I’m Behind On

The Seven Deadly Sins: Wrath of the Gods (Nanatsu no Taizai: Kamigami no Gekirin)

Director: Susumu Nishizawa
Writer: Rintarou Ikeda
Studio: Studio Deen
Episodes: ???
PV

So this list is here for sequels to shows I’ve enjoyed something of in the past, but haven’t gotten around to continuing with. In the case of Seven Deadly Sins, I watched the first season and never went further. It’s now on its third, and as with even sequels that I’m basically caught up to like Psycho-Pass and MHA, I haven’t watched the relevant movie(s) or OVAs either (note to self).

The show itself is the kind of adventurous colorful action shounen that reminds me of things like One Piece and Hunter x Hunter, and that’s one of the kinds of thing I’m extremely susceptible to liking. While not quite on the level of those two, the story is a fairly interesting mix of battling and medieval fantasy with pretty capable animation. With that said, there’s a major caveat in that the main character is very grabby with women’s bodies (mostly the main girl). Besides that and having the additional requisite amount of fanservice, women in the show are still written decently, however, so for me it’s nowhere near the nadir of misogynist shounen bs (of shows I’ve watched to any significant extent) that happened in what I saw of Jojo: Stardust Crusaders. But if this kind of harassment/assault played for laughs is a dealbreaker for you, you should probably steer clear.

Sword Art Online: Alicization – War of Underworld

Director: Manabu Ono
Writer: ???
Studio: A-1 Pictures
Episodes: 24
PV

In the case of the infamous and very popular Sword Art Online, I watched the first 13 episodes of the first season (basically the first arc), and then stopped in part due to a metric ton of people saying how horrendously awful it was from then on, etc. Personally I enjoyed what I watched though; it was definitely in the realm of dumb but entertaining, and it was nicely produced at times. Furthermore, I’ve always liked the “trapped in a game” type story ever since and mostly started by .hack.

High Score Girl II

Director: Yoshiki Yamakawa
Writer: Tatsuhiko Urahata
Studio: J.C.Staff
Episodes: 9
PV

From here on these last few sequels are ones I’ve only managed to watch one episode of so far, and I’ve already talked about all of them before, so I’m not going to say much for each other than to reiterate that I did enjoy that episode enough that I wouldn’t mind watching more of any of them given I had the time. High Score Girl seems mostly what I expected as it trades in it’s characters anxieties and burgeoning friendships over video games in sweet, endearing ways.

Radiant 2

Director: Dasei Fukuoka, Seiji Kishi
Writer: Makoto Uezu
Studio: Lerche
Episodes: 21
PV

Radiant in the first episode didn’t seem to have as robust a production as I’d hoped, but it still seemed to have enough competent shounen action vibes that might’ve been worth sticking with.

Fairy Gone 2

Director: ???
Writer: ???
Studio: P.A. Works
Episodes: 12
PV

According to some people who watched this series further it might turn out not to be so great, but I personally found the story that I entirely assume is about the main heroine winning back her dark brooding, possibly villainous girlfriend to be enticing enough to continue if a bit ridiculous in terms of the military Fairies that people use that are totally not-Stands.

Other New Series

Null Peta

Director: Hirofumi Ogura
Writer: Hato
Studio: Shin-Ei Animation
Episodes: ???
PV

It seems like it could be the cutest series airing this season, but it also seems like it has the potential to be the creepiest series airing this season. I’m probably going with the former but the latter is the only reason it’s not in my most interested list.

Stars Align (Hoshiai no Sora)

Director: Kazuki Akane
Writer: Kazuki Akane
Studio: 8bit
Episodes: 12
PV

Tennis is one of my favorite sports, so naturally I’d be into the idea of tennis anime. However, oddly enough although I’ve tried some like Baby Steps and Softenni, I didn’t make it very far, which might have something to do with lack of distinctive direction. Luckily Hoshiai no Sora probably has that covered, as it’s being helmed by a high-profile director with a number of prominent works (although of those I’ve personally only seen Birdy the Mighty: Decode season 1 and some of season 2, which I need to finish someday), but this might fall onto the quieter sports drama or slice-of-life side which, while I’m not opposed to at all, might not be as gripping as I’d usually find ideal for a sports show.

Ahiru no Sora

Director: Keizou Kusakawa, Shingo Tamaki
Writer: Gou Zappa
Studio: Diomedea
Episodes: ???
PV

Speaking of sports, there’s another one that seems like it has a reasonably competent production behind it, basketball anime is not exactly extremely common, I like the music in the PV, but also it doesn’t look upfront to have anything particularly standout about it either.

Kandagawa Jet Girls

Director: Hiraku Kaneko
Writer: Gou Zappa
Studio: TNK
Episodes: ???
PV

Probably the show with most overt lesbian subtext (possibly text?) comes from this other new sports show about partnering jet-ski battles I guess. The animation doesn’t really look stellar, and I’m concerned a bit that this will be played for fanservice over anything else or not really developed, but being low on girls sports shows makes an easy case for giving it a try.

Azur Lane

Director: Motoki Tanaka
Writer: Jin Haganeya
Studio: Bibury Animation Studios
Episodes: ???
PV

I feel like I’ve heard a few potentially concerning things regarding the game this is based off of that have to do with either nationalist tendencies or its young looking characters (or both) (first episode edit: looks like it’s the latter), but I undeniably find the animation in the PV to be pretty solid, and considering the anthropomorphia and cute girls battling genre this is in, there’s an exceedingly high chance that many gay ships will sail.

Babylon

Director: Kiyotaka Suzuki
Writer: ???
Studio: Revoroot
Episodes: ???
PV

Although there is a Sherlock anime this Fall, personally I think Babylon looks a lot more intriguing, as the trailer seems to develop a lot more tension than the lackadaisical PV for Sherlock.

Houkago Saikoro Club

Director: Kenichi Imaizumi
Writer: Atsushi Maekawa
Studio: LIDENFILMS
Episodes: ???
PV

Although the PV doesn’t look particularly comical or expressive, I do really like board games so this show would be right up my alley if it turns out to be noteworthy.

Blade of the Immortal (Mugen no Juunin: Immortal)

Director: Hiroshi Hamasaki
Writer: Makoto Fukami
Studio: LIDENFILMS
Episodes: ???
PV

I feel like this is one of those high profile shows I should probably be more excited about, and it does have a very cool graphically violent PV and seemingly a capable team behind it, but I guess it might be because this type of setting isn’t my style usually and also because the profile for the main female character describes her as “mediocre with swordsmanship” but also “better than most women of her time” makes it sound pretty snoozeworthy at first glance besides its notable source material acclaim.

Fate/Grand Order: Babylonia

Director: Toshifumi Akai
Writer: ???
Studio: CloverWorks
Episodes: 21
PV

The only Fate thing I’ve seen was the entirety of Fate/Zero, which had some gorgeously high-caliber designs and production behind it, and the story was pretty OK, in its everyone-fights-to-the-death-over-a-magic-cup-ness. If Attack on Titan is the anime world’s The Walking Dead, Fate seems like the closest anime analogue to Game of Thrones, for better or worse. I’ve heard mixed things about other Fate entries, but one thing they seem to all carry is that same impressive animation, which might be worth watching for that alone.

Aikatsu on Parade!

Director: Shishou Igarashi
Writer: Yuuko Kakihara
Studio: Bandai Namco Pictures
Episodes: ???
PV

One of these days I will watch some Aikatsu and thrive in the glory of these button cute designs and innocuous but truly strong girlish positivity.


It’s interesting to note that there are not too many short anime of note this season. Probably the most interesting would be Tenka Hyakken, Taeko no Nichijou, and Bananya second season, but I don’t know enough about any of these to make any guesses. (I’ve come to find out while writing this however that Null Peta is apparently a short, so there is that, and I also just learned that there is a Mini Yuri series of shorts based on Yuru Yuri that didn’t seem to be on any of the season charts.)

I also feel like I should mention two international anime that just came out on Netflix recently, Cannon Busters and Seis Manos, which are available in batch form. I haven’t gotten to watching either yet, but they seem like the kind of shows that add greatly to the continuing diversification of anime and its global reach. And speaking of diverse anime on Netflix, the first season of Carole & Tuesday was also made available recently, and the second half will be up in December.

Lastly, since I’m usually up for most kinds of comedies and this season seems to have quite a few, even though they didn’t jump out at me at first glance, shows like Kemono Michi, Cautious Hero, and Chuubyou Gekihatsu Boy that have received some praise would probably be worth a try and so you could theoretically throw them onto the pile of maybes that is already quite voluminous, along with anything else that might be hidden in the recesses.

Summer 2019 Anime Preview

Summer is officially here, and with it, as with any season, comes a whole slate of new anime. I’ve personally been surprising myself by getting around to watching more anime in 2019 than I have in the last couple years (even though I still haven’t been able to make more blog posts about them), which is a bit strange since every season so far has seen a drop in quantity from years prior. This one is no exception , but just because the numbers aren’t as high doesn’t mean there isn’t still plenty to watch.

First though, I thought I’d take a bit of time to talk about the ordering I come up with for these. My list-making habits have differing priorities depending on the subject, but in this case my intention isn’t really to say “these are the shows that will clearly be the best!!!” because I don’t know for sure how well anything that hasn’t even physically materialized on this mortal plane will eventually turn out. Instead it’s basically a combination of three notable criteria (simplified a bit for the sake of brevity): 1) Is this a kind of show I usually like? I’m personally pretty open when it comes genres and types of entertainment, but not so much that I don’t have usual favorites and go-tos. 2) From what I know about it (staff, studio, PV, etc) does this seem like it will be a relatively competent work in terms of storytelling, production values, etc? As an example, I do love it when an anime has crazy animation highlights and such, but in many cases I’d rather watch a kind of thing I’m very into with modest but still reasonable qualities than something I don’t care for with amazing animation. 3) Does this show seem to have a certain sense of uniqueness or remarkability to it at least in some small way? I don’t really demand that the things I enjoy be highly original, but if they do happen to be or have some rarer qualities, I will often float them higher up, and it can sometimes be the case that seeming very cliche will get them ejected.

With all that being said, there are definitely exceptions to these. Some shows can even be worth watching for their production values alone, or for some other narrow aspect on its own, although for me it’s pretty rare if it’s not my personal jam. Most of the following very much are however exactly my kinds of things, and this summer should prove to be an enjoyable one if these (and possibly any others) turn out well.

Granbelm

Director: Masaharu Watanabe
Writer: Jukki Hanada
Studio: Nexus
Episodes: ???
PV

It’s always difficult to tell how a show will eventually end up, but even more so when the staff and studio haven’t worked on a whole lot as is the case with my top pick for the season. The director has done a couple things of note; he helmed the cult favorite Re:zero (which I haven’t seen) and the adorable Wakaba*Girl, and the studio also did the latter, but other than that and the writer’s competent body of mostly adaptation work there’s little for me to go off of. Nevertheless, I’m really liking this sparkly enigmatic PV that seems to convey an original action mecha anime with two girls as leads and very solid animation and aesthetics. This is exactly the type of stuff that I cling to without almost any kind of hesitation. No matter how bad things get in the world, one thing you can seemingly count on every year is likely-gay anime girls being there to save the day/school/world/universe.

Astra Lost in Space (Kanata no Astra)

Director: Masaomi Andou
Writer: Norimitsu Kaihou
Studio: Lerche
Episodes: ???
PV

Since I personally haven’t been very recent on a lot of manga, with Astra I’m basically going off the reputation of its source material, which I’ve heard a few good things about, including that it supposedly has non-binary characters. But even aside from what I’ve heard from others, it looks like an intriguing survival sci-fi work in the vein of things like Mujin Wakusei Survive, Infinite Ryvius, or 7Seeds (see below). Lerche does seem to have a spotty track record in my opinion, but Masaomi Andou directed the endearing school zombie horror comedy Gakkou Gurashi which I really liked, and also Scum’s Wish (another I’ve heard is very good) and the tiny people floof show Hakumei to Mikochi (which I’ve had on my lists to watch at points but haven’t).

Senki Zesshou Symphogear XV

Director: Katsumi Ono
Writer: Akifumi Kaneko
Studio: Satelight
Episodes: 11-13 (most likely)
PV

So yes, we’re already on the 15th season of Symphogear, and for good reason. You’d be hard-pressed to find a show that was more pure unabashed over-the-top fun season after season. Are you looking to fill your life with more absurd plot twists and cliffhangers than you can juggle at once, some of the most intense shounen tropes soldered onto some of the most captivating magical girl tropes, cryptic arcane technology no one understands but can use almost perfectly, awesome upbeat music built into to its core being, and did I mention these girls are lesbians? Yes, all of them (OK, so it’s just very overt subtext, but still). I’d be lying if I said that Symphogear wasn’t the show I’m looking forward to the most, but one other semi-rule I forgot to mention is that I usually try not to put sequels on top of these kinds of lists.

Aggretsuko 2

Director: Rareko
Writer: Rareko
Studio: Fanworks
Episodes: 10
PV

Speaking of sequels to shows I really like, this Netflix original follow-up to the hilarious, extremely relatable workplace comedy first season about a red panda who likes death metal way more than she likes her job is actually already out in full. Rife with the kinds of common struggles faced by lowly employees, especially women, in the workforce, Aggressive Retsuko represents the kind of show that can appeal to pretty much anyone frustrated with their life and working conditions. You could technically say that it aired last season but due to Netflix irregularity I didn’t know its airdate, and it was only a couple weeks ago, so I’ve snuck it into summer season so that I could promote it some more.

Dumbbell Nan Kilo Moteru?

Director: Mitsue Yamazaki
Writer: Fumihiko Shimo
Studio: Doga Kobo
Episodes: ???
PV

One of the most summer-like activities I can think of is working out, so it’s very fitting that we finally have a fitness centered anime this season. This one seems to be a bit of a risque comedy about weightlifting from Doga Kobo, a studio that has made some very funny shows including Nozaki-kun which the director of this also directed, and as long as it shows these gals getting buff in some way I’m very down for this concept. At minimum it will likely satiate those who are thirsty for girls who are thirsty for biceps.

Fire Force (Enen no Shouboutai)

Director: Yuki Yase
Writer: Gakuto Haishima
Studio: David Production
Episodes: ???  
PV

From the PV this definitely looks at least upfront like the show with the most stellar animation from this season. I guess the story seems to revolve around fighting people who have spontaneously combusted into fires, so they found a way to make a battle shounen about astonishingly agile firefighters in incredibly cumbersome looking outfits defeating people who have just been burned alive. Fire Force!

Machikado Mazoku

Director: Hiroaki Sakurai
Writer: Keiichirou Ohchi
Studio: J.C.Staff
Episodes: ???
PV

Many magical girls shows nowadays have become dark and bitter affairs, and while this one isn’t going to really counteract that trend since it appears to be more of a slice-of-life cute girls comedy mixed with a magical girl premise, it may very well be the kind that can at least lighten the mood. The director has also done some very funny comedies like Saiki Kusuo no Ψ-nan, Chromartie High School, and Kodomo no Omocha (although the latter two I’ve seen only a small number of episodes of).

Araburu Kisetsu no Otome-domo yo.

Director: Takurou Tsukada, Masahiro Andou
Writer: Mari Okada
Studio: Lay-duce
Episodes: ???
PV

This one looks like it could be a well-produced sex dramedy revolving around teen adolescence that comes from (in)famous scriptwriter Mari Okada. Fans of her dramatic works will be pleased to know it’s an adaptation of her own manga. It looks very shoujo-esque so I’m a bit surprised it’s technically classified as shounen, although I couldn’t say why. Personally I’m just hoping that it doesn’t turn into a quasi-harem show with the lone male character hiding in the background and that these girls aren’t all 100% heterosexual lusting after that same guy.

Bem

Director: Yoshinori Odaka
Writer: Atsuhiro Tomioka
Studio: Production I.G., LandQ studios
Episodes: ???
PV

I have to say this show’s style really reminds me of Kekkai Sensen/Blood Blockade Battlefront, which is a good thing since I liked that show quite a bit. In fact it actually appears to be a remake of an ancient 1960s anime just with very updated stylish visuals. I’ve heard some people talk of this series before in that it supposedly has an interesting sense of atmospheric exploration of Japanese folklore or some such combined with its yokai fighting. Although the director hasn’t done much, Production I.G. can definitely put in impressive work animation-wise that might really be suited to this kind of premise even if they aren’t necessarily the same as they used to be.

Vinland Saga

Director: Shuuhei Yabuta
Writer: Kenta Ihara, Hiroshi Seko
Studio: Wit Studio
Episodes: 24
PV

If I had to choose one show I thought would probably be the most popular anime this season, and maybe this entire year, I’d likely choose Vinland Saga. Not only does it come from Wit Studio who’ve been animating the ultra popular Attack on Titan, but it’s also an adaptation of a very highly acclaimed manga I’ve heard many good things about from others and unlike a lot of anime is a story starring adults in a mature action setting. It might turn out to be a bit too much manime for me personally to put it higher on the list, but that doesn’t mean I won’t look forward to checking it out.

Joshikousei no Mudazukai

Director: Hijiri Sanpei
Writer: Masahiro Yokotani
Studio: Passione
Episodes: 12
PV

I’m not exactly sure sometimes what compels me to find certain shows more interesting than others, but this seems to be another in a long line of silly high school girls doing things comedies I often find very entertaining. Mudazukai revolves around the simple concept of a girl who gives her classmates random nicknames based on their personality. It sounds cute and funny to me, but I also hope the teacher won’t a creep or even a prominent character.

Dr. Stone

Director: Shinya Iino
Writer: Yuichiro Kido
Studio: TMS Entertainment
Episodes: ???
PV

Yet another genre I usually like to check out are spirited adventurous battle shounen like this latest Shonen Jump adaptation seems to be. Rumored to be subtitled Dr. Stone: What Exactly is a Hairstyle, Anyway?, this show follows a protagonist who unturns people into stone and battles those who would prevent that presumably with the help of scrappy passionate friends and a truckload of mythically advanced hair gel.

7Seeds

Director: Yukio Takahashi
Writer: Touko Machida
Studio: Gonzo
Episodes: 12
PV

I was definitely really looking forward to 7Seeds when it was announced. And then I heard that it was being animated Gonzo, a zombie studio who hadn’t really worked on anything major in like ~10 years. I have no clue why Netflix decided that was the best choice for a major critically acclaimed sci-fi adaptation, but it really looks like they should’ve chosen differently as this already released season has some clearly sub-par visuals and possibly some other issues. It’s more frustrating because this is a rare kind of work — a serious acclaimed sci-fi story created by a woman for girls. If it seemed to be handled better this would be near the top of my list. Nevertheless, due to the points in its favor, I’ll likely still end up checking it out since I can deal with a show’s weaknesses if I’m taken by other aspects like the storytelling.

Shorts

Sounan desu ka?

Director: Nobuyoshi Nagayama
Writer: Touko Machida
Studio: Ezόla
Episodes: ???
PV

So there are also a couple shorts this season that interest me. Sounan desu ka? seems to be a bit of an interesting and simple cute girls comedy about a group that’s trying to survive while stranded on a desert island. The most interesting thing is that there’s a kiss between two of the girls in the actual PV. I’m most concerned that this will be the kind of thing that’s just played for laughs in the usual anime way, or that now that a few impressions have come in, that the fanservice might overpower the humor.

Hakata Mentai! Pirikarako-chan

Director: Taketomo Ishikawa
Writer: Shingo Irie
Studio: G-angle
Episodes: ???
PV

Lastly, there’s also the very adorable looking Pirikarako-chan about a small/large food fairy that helps other food fairies with their odd problems. I can’t tell if what she’s holding onto is a giant sword or a building of some kind, but she will probably use all her efforts to do so with gusto and strawberries.


So these are the shows I’m most interested in trying, but there are several others this season that didn’t look half bad that just didn’t jump out at me at first glance but would be a good chance to discover some hidden gems potentially. I’ll probably leave my interest in those up to the impressions of others this season, as I might be a bit stretched for time, and I’ll look forward to seeing which shows become the ones I’ll love the most.

Spring 2019 Anime Preview

Well, I never did get around to typing up my first episode impressions for Winter, and here I am already again doing another rundown of the already upon us Spring season. So it looks like at this point I’m just going to write anime season previews until I either get around to talking about something else or I grow old and die.

While Winter was a bit slimmer a season than we’ve had recently, Spring 2019 seems to be even more oddly diminutive compared with previous Spring seasons. With Chihayafuru season 3 and 7Seeds delayed, I have even fewer anime to discuss. Nevertheless, there are still a few shows of note to check out, so here’s my list of those I’m at this point in time most willing to watch or sample.

(Edit: I found out Carole & Tuesday will be a Netflix release, meaning unfortunately a legal simulcast might be imprisoned for months. While it probably won’t affect itinerant lowlife pirates like me more than as a really annoying and unnecessary inconvenience, I feel bad for those who only choose legit options and could have to wait, especially after I put it at the top of my list, so just a heads up.)

Carole & Tuesday

Director: Shinichiro Watanabe, Hori Motonobu
Writer: Aya Watanabe
Studio: Bones
Episodes: 24
PV

Although this season may be short on material, one upside is that we have two of the most well-known and beloved anime directors that exist basically directing original shows, and those two happen to be at the top my list. I’m personally usually more of an Ikuhara stan, as my relationship with Watanabe’s works has been a bit more scattered, but conceptually speaking Carole & Tuesday is by far the most appealing show to me this season, an original science fiction story that even manages to be two-cour in this era of mostly one-cour original works focusing on the friendship (perhaps more?) between two girls striving to make a name for themselves as musicians amidst an AI driven culture. It looks beautiful and unique and inclusive and I hope it turns out really well.

Sarazanmai

Director: Kunihiko Ikuhara, Nobuyuki Takeuchi
Writer: Kunihiko Ikuhara
Studio: MAPPA, Lapin Track
Episodes: 11
PV

But the Ikuhara directed show also looks very interesting. Perhaps no other director in anime is as synonymous with as many provocative and strange and often divisive characters and story beats and themes, many of them exceedingly queer, while still managing to weave insightful social commentary into the mix. From when it was announced Sarazanmai has often been touted as “Ikuhara does BL,” which most have taken to mean that it will likely enmesh itself in the same kind of twisting of tropes in that genre as Yuri Kuma Arashi did for yuri and Utena did for shoujo/josei. Personally I’ve never been nearly as much into BL as yuri or shoujo, but I am definitely attracted to very cute gay stories, and this one does in fact look oddly cuter than most other of his shows, at least on the surface level. It probably wouldn’t be Ikuhara though without some darker undercurrent, and I’m excited to see what mind-bending symbolism we’ll be treated to.

Kimetsu no Yaiba

Director: Haruo Sotozaki
Writer: ???
Studio: ufotable
Episodes: ???
PV

So I haven’t gotten around to watching more than one episode of The Promised Neverland yet, but already there’s another major shounen that looks very enticing airing already. Although this one I don’t know quite as much about, I’ve heard many good things from shounen fans, and the trailer for this one looks very competently animated. And that makes sense, since ufotable has often made pretty high production value stuff, including their monumental masterpiece 75 years in the making, Girls’ Work.

Hitoribocchi no Marumaru Seikatsu

Director: Takafumi Anzai
Writer: Jukki Hanada
Studio: C2C
Episodes: ???
PV

Admittedly, when I’m eyeing Hitoribocchi no Marumaru Seikatsu it does look to me a bit like a more sanitized and much moe-er version of Watamote, but I can’t really help being fully behind these kinds of stories focusing on social anxiety even when it’s really unlikely to focus on any kind of incisive commentary or brutally honest portrayals. I like cute shows anyway, but even a simpler version of something I like and care about is often more appealing than a very glossy or deeply profound version of something I’m not that interested in. This show at least, looks adorable and earnest in its efforts, which is pretty much what I’m down for.

Fairy Gone

Director: Kenichi Suzuki
Writer: Ao Jyumonji
Studio: P.A. Works
Episodes: ???
PV

Usually every season I find at least one new show that fits the kind of action-spectacle type role that I put high up on my list to theoretically have something to watch that I don’t have to think too hard about but might still leave me invested in the fight scenes or whatnot without hopefully vaporizing too many brain cells. This season Fairy Gone is the closest I’d say to coming up with that, a darkish macabre gothic military thing seemingly focused on grim tragic deaths and putting badass women in the spotlight with any luck.

Fruits Basket (2019)

Director: Yoshihide Ubata
Writer: Taku Kishimoto
Studio: TMS Entertainment
Episodes: ???
PV

Fruits Basket is a show I fondly remember for being one of the earliest anime I watched that wasn’t on Cartoon Network or Saturday morning kids blocks or the like sliced up and scrubbed of blemishes and anything deemed inappropriate (although I’m not sure if this was before or after adult swim started airing uncut or at least less cut shows). Not that Fruits Basket is something wildly obscene; this is a funny and sweet shoujo story mostly about abuse and odd relationships and family dynamics. I don’t think I was ever able to watch all the episodes of the earlier show, so the fact that this appears to be a remake of the whole thing is very convenient for those like me and whoever’s memory doesn’t go back that well to almost 20 years ago. In terms of production and staff, this update might be a mixed bag, as we don’t have the comedy stylings anymore of Akitarou Daichi as director, but I’m still hopeful as the artwork does look quite a bit more lovely.

One Punch Man season 2

Director: Chikara Sakurai
Writer: Tomohiro Suzuki
Studio: J.C. Staff
Episodes: ???
PV

As I said in my preview of Mob Psycho last season, that and OPM are very competent shows to watch for those into action comedies, and they are also atypical of their base genres for their handling of tropes concerning people with unusual powers. One downside with this new season of One Punch though is that unlike Mob Psycho, OPM wasn’t able to keep its original staff or studio, which is honestly extremely surprising considering the very high and even mainstream popularity this series has seen. We’ll just have to hope that J.C. Staff and co. can carry the production where Madhouse left off.

Attack on Titan season 3 part 2

Director: Tetsurou Araki, Masashi Koizuka
Writer: Yasuko Kobayashi
Studio: Wit Studio
Episodes: 10
PV

Speaking of shows that have ungodly high popularity, Attack on Titan is also back with season 37 part 5 dash 3 comma 6 v.2. Even though I’d like to, I can’t claim to be a very good fan of Attack on Titan. It’s one of the few manga I actually got invested in its early stages on for whatever reasons, maybe because of my love of post-apocalypse settings, and I feel like it’s sort of anime’s counterpart to The Walking Dead (the TV show) in terms of being pretty dumb but oddly engaging and constantly nipping at your attention with abrupt cliffhangers, but I haven’t kept up with the manga, and I haven’t watched the show since the first season, for a very specific reason. Nevertheless, I feel if it weren’t for that I could go back to it at any time and probably be swept up in the most nightmarish Spiderverse that probably exists.

Joshikausei

Director: Tokihiro Sasaki
Writer: ???
Studio: Seven
Episodes: 24
PV

So this season amongst other things actually seems to be a bit lacking in cute girls doing things (not to mention comedies in general) aside from maybe this one and Hitoribocchi above and maybe one other short. Even still, Joshikausei doesn’t appear to be exceedingly moe, but more of the clearcut comedy variety of something like Asobi Asobase. While I’m not sure it will be as hilarious as that show since I know very little about it or the staff and it does seem to be a short series also, it does look reasonably funny upfront and for comedy that’s most of what would really matter.

Hachigatsu no Cinderella Nine

Director: Susumu Kudou
Writer: Jin Tanaka
Studio: TMS Entertainment
Episodes: ???
PV

If there’s one type of show you can be sure I’m interested in, it’s girls sports shows, which we always have way too little of. Only a couple things keep Cinderella Nine, which is probably named after the old classic that I should still watch someday Princess Nine, from being up higher. Namely, that it’s derived from a moe-ish dating simulator game, and the other is the chance that the manager who is the player in the game (and can be a guy or a girl) is a guy in the anime and sucks and brings it down a bunch. The promotional material for the show so far though looks very focused on the sport, thankfully.

Mix

Director: Odahiro Watanabe
Writer: Tatsuto Higuchi
Studio: OLM
Episodes: ???
PV

In contrast to Cinderella Nine which I’m really interested in for the sports aspect, Mix is also a baseball anime I’m mostly curious about due to it being from the creator of Touch, which is another old classic that I kept hearing about around when I first got into anime that stood out with really high ratings and seemed to mostly be known for its character drama and tragic circumstances and such rather than exciting sports games. I’m not really sure if it’s my kind of thing, but it’s the kind of show I feel is at least worth a sample.

Yatogame-chan Kansatsu Nikki

Director: Hisayoshi Hirasawa
Writer: ???
Studio: Creators in Pack, Saetta
Episodes: ???
PV

This is the other quasi-cute girls short airing this season, but I’m not sure it counts due to their being a boy who seems to hang around them a lot? Either way, I’m just sort of reaching at this point for any shows in this genre since it’s very slim pickings.

Strike Witches: 501 Butai Hasshin Shimasu!

Director: ???
Writer: ???
Studio: ???
Episodes: ???
PV

This is the story. The story about a group of girls whose severe allergies to pants did not deter them from saving us all from alien invaders using high-grade military weapons and magic powers. Most modern women would agree that pants contribute to productive society and combat readiness (especially w/ pockets in them), but this cadre of witches set out to prove that their handicap would not be their undoing. Fighto, you pantsless lesbian cadets, even on your days off.

Gundam: The Origin – Zenya Akai Suisei

Director: Takashi Imanishi, Yoshikazu Yasuhiko
Writer: Katsuyuki Sumisawa
Studio: Sunrise
Episodes: 13
PV

Although this remake of the original Gundam already came out as an OVA series, I suppose I should mention this recombination for TV because even though I’ve never gotten into any UC stuff like this (the original Gundam storylines basically), I have liked Gundam outings in the past. So it’s not impossible I would watch. I just hope its themes aren’t archaic.

Aikatsu Friends!: Kagayaki no Jewel

Director: ???
Writer: ???
Studio: Bandai Namco Pictures
Episodes: Probably ~50
PV

Aikatsu as a series shares a similar place with Precure in my mind; a very popular (in Japan) upbeat colorful shoujo franchise with probably more episodes than One Piece at this point that I’ve heard from many is very fun, although it’s more focused on idols than magical girls. But unlike Precure, I’ve never watched any of Aikatsu, and I’m not sure that starting with this season wouldn’t leave me scratching my head in terms of story continuity. So I might just start at the beginning if I were going to. But it’s here to remind us that well-produced anime for girls are still made even if they’re very little known in the West.


And that’s pretty much what I’m most hopeful for right now. A couple others that are worth briefly mentioning though: Senryuu Shoujo looks like it could be another cute short, but I just don’t have much else to say about it. Blah blah blah YU-NO supposedly is a pretty well-known and liked sci-fi VN that might surprise but personally the PV looks like awfully generic light novel shenanigans and not much else. I guess there’s a new Sherlock anime of some variety but I can’t tell if it’s even actually airing? Kono Oto Tomare! could be a competent and respectable music drama maybe, but I’m doubtful it’s up my alley. Bungou Stray Dogs is a show many swear by and it’s going on it’s 3rd season much to their delight, but I honestly didn’t care for the small amount I watched of it. Nevertheless, I’ll look forward to hearing opinions on these and anything else in this smaller Spring that still has a fair amount to try.

Winter 2019 Anime Preview

For my first post, I thought I’d do what I’d already been doing for many years in much fewer words: organizing the shows I’m most interested in and thoughts on the rest from the upcoming anime season into a handy list. It’s an interesting season to start out on since this one seems to have fewer total shows than we’ve seen in quite a while, and so my list, especially at the top/most highly anticipated, seems a bit skimpy compared to the previous few seasons. That makes sense though since this past year has had a pretty incredible assortment of new anime, even though so far I personally haven’t had as much time to watch as many as I would’ve liked. I didn’t make any tiers this time like I normally do, but these can basically be thought of as being, in general (though not exactly), from most to least anticipated.


SJ_logo_no_balloon_noCatch_4C-2011_HQ.eps

The Promised Neverland

Studio: CloverWorks | Episodes: 12| PV

Since an early age, I haven’t really been able to escape my love for shounen anime. One Piece, despite its production issues, is one of my favorite series ever, and shows no signs of ending any time soon. Hunter x Hunter always has some really cool ideas that it throws around between its manga’s extreme hiatuses. Naruto is basically the Harry Potter of anime; absurdly popular, almost everyone who actually tries it likes it to some extent, and most can agree it sort of went off the rails a bit later on. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is pretty much exactly what the title suggests, to the delight of many (although Stardust Crusaders is a low point the series has thankfully seemingly never returned to). My Hero Academia has a pretty simplistic view of morality (which is probably just a mirroring of the same kind of superhero tropes it takes after), but has a charming cast and a great deal of enthusiasm. Although it wasn’t my favorite show growing up (sorry Z with your endless multi-episode moaning power-ups) since that title belongs to Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball was one of my earliest fun experiences with anime. In contrast to these, I don’t think there’s ever been a shounen with a female lead that has ever really become a major hit. (Maybe Soul Eater? I honestly don’t know how popular that was.) The Promised Neverland though feels like it could maybe become that kind of show, possibly. I’ve honestly been looking forward to an anime for it for years, nearly since it started. I still don’t read much manga, amidst all my other activities, but I’ve heard many good things. For whatever reason, many of the small number of shounen that actually have a girl as the lead character seem to be on the darker/more macabre side (like Blood+ or Claymore) and this one doesn’t seem to be an exception. While I was spoiled on it’s main plot twist a long time ago, that only really made me more intrigued to check it out. With a diverse cast, an excellent reputation, and what seems to be a solid-looking staff behind it, The Promised Neverland seems poised to be one of the stand out shows of the season if not the entire year, and I’m very excited to see how it plays out.

Shingeki-no-Bahamut-Manaria-Friends-560x320

Manaria Friends

Studio: CygamesPictures | Episodes: 10 | PV

This is another one I’ve been anticipating for a while, ever since I saw the very zippy game trailer this is based off of. While it doesn’t necessarily look like they’ll be so much in the way of epic summoning/transformation battles like in the trailer, considering this is apparently only going to be a short anime, it does look exceedingly gay in a season that unlike the past couple unfortunately looks (at first glance) to be pretty lacking in that area.

c2fdf6df541725c1a6436926c67a16081544016752_full

Kemurikusa

Studio: Yaoyorozu | Episodes: 12 | PV

The 3DCG anime apocalypse must surely be upon us, since two of my top-most likely to watch shows are fully CG. And in this case, not even really highly produced CG? Yep, it’s sort of the spiritual successor to Kemono Friends from the creator of that show after being unceremoniously bumped off the actual sequel. I don’t really know much about it other than that and that it has a sci-fi setting of some type and an OP from one of my loved artists.

tPGza1yNkjfoS8XS5O1Gs8ZI7ea

Kouya no Kotobuki Hikoutai

Studio: WAO World, GEMBA | Episodes: ??? | PV

The other 3DCG show up here also seems to be kind of a spiritual successor, this time to Girls und Panzer, but with old time-y flying machines instead of old time-y tanking machines. This comes to us from the same director, the very capable Tsutomu Mizushima. There’s also another girls flying planes show airing this season, but let’s face it, that one looks terrible. (Watch it be actually amazing just to spite me.)

Endro-1

Endro~!

Studio: Gokumi| Episodes: ??? | PV

Although it looks like a standard cute girls manga adaptation a bit on its face, the oddly named Endro~! actually appears to be an original fantasy anime, though it still seems like it may be mostly slice-of-life/comedy focused. Studio Gokumi seems to excel at these kinds of shows, and I really like their cute character design and animation style. This is notably one of the few shows this season actually directed by a woman, who goes simply by Kaori and helmed the very funny Yuyushiki along with the recent How to Keep a Mummy (Miira no Kaikata).

Kakegurui-Header-001-20170802

Kakegurui××

Studio: MAPPA | Episodes: ??? | PV

I usually put all sequels/continuations of shows that I liked on my lists, but probably my most anticipated is the one full of sinful fetishes and intense gambling addiction that pits a mostly insane gambler fetishist against an equally insane cutthroatly capitalistic school of lurid gamblers and their powerful student council.

maxresdefault (1)

Mob Psycho 100 II

Studio: Bones | Episodes: ??? | PV

Both One Punch Man and Mob Psycho are two shows that I’d consider the type that are probably worth watching for their high production values alone, at least for those who like action comedies.

17102308252523

Pastel Memories

Studio: Project No.9 | Episodes: 12 | PV

So getting back to brand new shows: this one seems to be about otaku girls and their love of RPGs/video games/maybe anime also? I do like these overly designed JRPG style characters and it looks like it could be a cute rollicking adventure or comedy or examination of otaku culture, but I don’t really know enough about it to say for sure.

egaonodaika_1017_fixw_640_hq

Egao no Daika

Studio: Tatsunoko Production | Episodes: ??? | PV

This seems to be an original mecha anime with two girls as the main characters (I think?) in an overcrowdedly male genre, which makes it very interesting to me just on that alone. The PV and the title also make me think it could be very melancholic and thoughtful amidst its war themes and giant robot battles.

Maho-Shojo-Tokushusen-Asuka

Mahou Shoujo Tokushusen Asuka

Studio: LIDENFILMS | Episodes: ??? | PV

Although Asuka definitely looks like it could be one of those in the vain of dark, gritty magical girl shows taking after Madoka that have popped up quite a bit but have often been excessively cruel, edgy for the sake of it, or just dreary and lifeless, this one just seems like it could be one of those that’s a bit more competent in doing its own thing and less sensationalistically hellbent on its grimdark credentials, I’m hoping.

hulu

Hulaing Babies

Studio: Gaina | Episodes: ??? | PV (N/A)

Does this show actually exist? It looks very cute if so but there’s very little to go on it. (Edit: it does.) I also had no idea which of the various promotional artworks of it were actually accurate depictions of what the show would look like, since it has several that are very different. It does seem to be a short anime about cute girls doing hula, but that’s most of what I know.

Universo_Nintendo_Dororo_Hyakkimaru

Dororo

Studio: MAPPA, Tezuka Productions| Episodes: ??? | PV

So this appears to be this season’s classic ancient manga getting a full adaptation after all these years type show, like with Karakuri Circus or Banana Fish. In this case it’s MAPPA doing one of Osamu Tezuka’s well-known works. I can definitely see how the premise might lead to some eery body horror and with this studio some slick action.

a52a9f1cf1d69342d042432fd419b2aa0a428182_hq

Saint Seiya: Saintia Shou

Studio: Gonzo | Episodes: ??? | PV

Rather than a sequel, this one is actually one of those shounen spin-offs where they decide to let their female characters do cool stuff in the lead for a change. I’ve never seen anything related to Saint Seya (although I’ve heard Omega was worth checking out) it seems to be kind of interesting in the sense that it has a sort of shoujo-like aesthetic with lots of wispy bishounen. But this one of course has a mostly girl cast so it comes across a bit like a nostalgic girl power shoujo work in the vain of something like Magic Knight Rayearth. I actually already watched the first episode and while the animation could definitely use some work (thanks Gonzo), it does have really great music and it feels like it could develop a well-worn but spirited story.

Boogiepop

Boogiepop wa Warawanai (2019)

Studio: Madhouse | Episodes: ??? | PV

I haven’t ever seen the original Boogiepop, so this is another one of the sequels I’m mostly looking at due to reputation alone.

BanG-Dream

BanG Dream! 2nd Season

Studio: CygamesPictures | Episodes: ??? | PV

I honestly only ever watched one episode of the original Bang Dream, but I do remember enjoying it and wanting to continue. It definitely should be on my list of priorities since it combines three of my favorite things: girls, rock music, and girls with guitars playing rock music.

Circlet-min-990x509

Circlet Princess

Studio: Silver Link. | Episodes: 12 | PV

While the PV for this raised a couple flags for me, I can’t help be possibly enticed by a girls sports show with a silly sci-fi background premise.

Kaguya-sama.wa.Kokurasetai.full.2367631

Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai

Studio:  A-1 Pictures| Episodes: ??? | PV

Although this one is an adaptation of an apparently highly rated manga, I’m not sure if I’ll end up trying this or just avoiding it like with other various het romcoms that I probably would have found funny like Wotakoi or Tada-kun if I actually had watched them.

18030810143464

Revisions

Studio: Shirogumi | Episodes: ??? | PV

Is it just me or does this show look almost exactly like God Eater, except with mecha? Anyway, it’s another in the long line of shows where high schoolers defend the city/world from invading monsters/aliens, but I do like some shows directed by Goro Taniguchi, so who knows.

 

087bbf3ec6ef0590ccc056468d9601c11543451903_full

Star Twinkle Precure

Studio: Toei Animation | Episodes: ~52, presumably| PV (N/A)

I’ve very rarely been able to keep up with new Precure seasons. I think I’ve in fact only finished maybe three or four full series. And that’s because I’m honestly very horrendously awful at keeping up with most highly episodic TV shows, let alone ones that are ~50 episodes. But every time I watch anything Precure related I enjoy it a ton, so it’s not surprising that the latest one finds its way onto my lists.

maxresdefault (3)

Bermuda Triangle: Colorful Pastrale

Studio: Seven Arcs Pictures | Episodes: ??? | PV

This one looks like it could be another cute show that (in case you couldn’t tell) centers around mermaids doing mermaid things. Actually mermaid idols, if i’m reading the synopsis right. The animation honestly looks a bit skimpy from the PV, but it does have an OP by the all-girl Bang Dream band Pastel*Palettes.

qtzl37f5nxf01

Virtual-san wa Miteiru

Studio: Lide | Episodes: 12 | PV

I know almost nothing about this except that it’s about YouTube like personalities, so I’m basically just going to assume this is Kizuna Ai times seven and be done with it.

Ueno-san-wa-Bukiyou-e1544616211488

Ueno-san wa Bukiyou

Studio: Lesprit | Episodes: ??? | PV

I’m mostly maybe in for trying this for the dorky embarrassed girl making various contraptions, but it makes me sad this isn’t a gay version of Entrapta: The Romcom.

kemono-friends-season-2

Kemono Friends 2

Studio: Tomason | Episodes: 10 | PV

I realize that we’re all supposed to be boycotting this due to the circumstances, but I do have a rule about including sequels/continuations to things that I like on my lists. There’s a non-zero chance I may end up watching it anyway depending on how it turns out.

 

So that’s about it for the shows I’m looking at in the next few months. As usual, I’m pretty much open to most types of things so if I hear of anything else I wouldn’t be opposed to trying it. There are a couple others that I’d like to comment on at least. Fukigen na Mononokean is a show I’ve seen some praise for from people whose tastes align pretty well with mine and its sequel airs this season, although it doesn’t seem like my kind of show upfront. On the other hand, Shield Hero is one I’ve heard many rotten and bad things about, but its being handled by the very competent animation studio Kinema Citrus so its bound to have some solid craftsmanship behind it and will inevitably be one of those very popular light novel action shows I almost never watch. Lastly, Dimension High School looks like it could be the biggest WTF-anime!? show this season, but the premise just doesn’t do much for me. Nevertheless, Winter looks to be oddly shaped but certainly not barren new season, and hopefully some of these will bring some much needed joy to the new year.

Start

Hey there. I don’t do blogging. Now I do? Seems suspicious, but let’s roll with it. One thing I should definitely mention is that I literally actually hate my writing so I apologize in advance for subjecting you to it without warning.