Alright fine, I’ll put one of these out. Just don’t expect too much.
So I was really reluctant to post one of these season previews ever again for a couple of reasons. First, I’ve always been terrible at predicting what’s going to be a hit in the anime community, and I think my predictions have gotten worse over time. Second, I don’t watch anime weekly anymore beyond one or two series because I much prefer binge-watching these days (or in the case of Hero Academia, I prefer the dub). Third, the Netflix stuff sort of screws with the overall release schedule, although I have since dismissed that being a problem due to how the majority of their output has pretty much sucked. Fourth, I got really discouraged when I looked at the Spring listing and found out that it was littered with sequels/spin-offs/reboots and such. Anime is becoming more like Hollywood with each passing year.
But I need something to release this week and health issues combined with family issues combined with work issues (yeah I have a lot of issues in reality at the moment) have limited my free time and creativity, so we’re just going with something that’s standard for a lot of people who talk about anime. And just like my more popular colleagues, I’m not going to be talking about every anime on the Spring charts even though there’s a possibility I’ll watch some that I glance over. Really, unless it belongs to a genre I don’t care about like that Mahou Shoujo Site series (another ironic moe/magical girl show? Really?) or that magical girl series about the girl who turns into a guy or that magical boy sequel…okay the point is that if it gets big and the premise doesn’t completely disinterest me, I’ll watch it. But it’s incredibly hard to predict for sure what’s going to be a hit and there’s no point in me including an anime on here only to give it a throwaway pre-opinion, so I’m only going to be talking about anime that I can say something about on first glance here.
Series are ordered based on the popularity rankings on Anichart, which means it starts with Steins;Gate 0 (of course it does) and ends with Future Card Buddyfight X: All-Star Fight (which I’m not actually going to talk about). No movies, original Netflix shows, and whatnot because who really cares? I know that Fireworks thing is coming out on Japanese blu-ray in April, but I’ll only consider giving that attention when it actually gets subbed. Well then, let’s get started.
Steins;Gate 0 (White Fox)
The dark untold story of Steins;Gate that leads with the eccentric mad scientist Okabe, struggling to recover from a failed attempt at rescuing Kurisu. He decides to give up and abandons his lively scientist alter ego, in pursuit to forget the past. When all seems to be normal, he is seemingly pulled back into the past by meeting an acquaintance of Kurisu, who tells him that they have begun testing a device that stores the memory of a human and creates a simulation of them with their characteristics and personalities. Okabe begins testing and finds out that the simulation of Kurisu has brought back anguish and some new unexpected tragedies.
Steins;Gate’s legacy as what’s probably the biggest one-hit wonder to ever grace the anime fandom has gotten really warped over the years, hasn’t it? We’ve got an upcoming game called Steins;Gate Elite that’s basically the original game with the anime cutscenes, and that pretty much tells you all you need to know regarding how its popularity just won’t die so we can remember it fondly like we do Gurren Lagann. Anyways, I have played the original 0 game, but while the gameplay obviously wasn’t to my liking, I can’t recall much about my opinion of the actual story. Without spoiling anything, it had an ending that confused my Steins;Gate-loving friends in reality, and you’ll be seeing a lot of Okabe in black with this entry. Other than that though, there wasn’t anything about the plot that wasn’t out of line with what you’d expect from Steins;Gate if I recall.
Personally, I’m torn whether I’ll follow this weekly or wait to marathon it. As some of you guys know, visual novel writing generally takes a long-ass time to get good (not helping that the show is going to be 23 episodes long, so it’s pretty much guaranteed that there’ll be a lot of build-up), and I’m already suffering from the original writer’s contributions to Darling in the Franxx (eleven episodes and no story. What the fucking hell, A-1?). It’s easier to get through that sort of crap pacing if I’m watching it all at once. I know a lot of anime fans don’t mind that sort of thing if the reaction of Land of the Lustrous is anything to go by. Unfortunately, I do mind when there’s no story carrying the characters. I really do.
My Hero Academia S3 (Bones)
No summary, because if you don’t know what Hero Academia is by now…
Truthfully, I’m only including this here because I’m obviously watching it and excluding it from the previews would feel wrong. Because do I need to say anything about this series at this point?
Tokyo Ghoul: Re (Studio Pierrot)
Two years have passed since the CCG’s raid on Anteiku. Although the atmosphere in Tokyo has changed drastically due to the increased influence of the CCG, ghouls continue to pose a problem as they have begun taking caution, especially the terrorist organization Aogiri Tree, who acknowledge the CCG’s growing threat to their existence. The creation of a special team, known as the Quinx Squad, may provide the CCG with the push they need to exterminate Tokyo’s unwanted residents. As humans who have undergone surgery in order to make use of the special abilities of ghouls, they participate in operations to eradicate the dangerous creatures. The leader of this group, Haise Sasaki, is a half-ghoul, half-human who has been trained by famed special class investigator, Kishou Arima. However, there’s more to this young man than meets the eye, as unknown memories claw at his mind, slowly reminding him of the person he used to be.
I don’t know too much about this sequel series to Tokyo Ghoul, but from what I heard, it’s more seinen than the original manga, which is generally a positive thing when you’re an older anime fan like I am. Since I don’t read manga, I can’t summon up any expectations for this or any other acclaimed manga from here on out. Go watch The Anime Man or something if you want those sorts of opinions. Anyways, Tokyo Ghoul as an anime had its problems, but you can do worse in terms of horror action and the such. The staff is a little different from what I can see, but it’s the same studio as the previous adaptations and the PV looks okay (song is horrible though). Who knows? This might be the Tokyo Ghoul show that manga fans won’t complain about.
FLCL Progressive (Production I.G.)
Many years have passed since Naota and Haruhara Haruko shared their adventure together. Meanwhile, the war between the two entities known as Medical Mechanica and Fraternity rages across the galaxy. Enter Hidomi, a young teenaged girl who believes there is nothing amazing to expect from her average life, until one day when a new teacher named Haruko arrives at her school. Soon enough, Medical Mechanica is attacking her town and Hidomi discovers a secret within her that could save everyone, a secret that only Haruko can unlock.
But why did Haruko return to Earth? What happened to her Rickenbacker 4001 she left with Naota? And where did the human-type robot ‘Canti’ go?
You know, the big problem with classic anime like FLCL is that we all know that you can’t just make that sort of stuff again, even if you had gotten all the old people back. That’s why I’m always negative towards these sorts of reboots, even though Kari Wahlgren’s Haruko voice is still awesome to listen to after all these years. On the other hand, from what I can tell, this new FLCL looks more akin to the right sort of reboot like the new Yamato rather than the wrong sort like Kino’s Journey. It’s a different team doing this, but said team has proven themselves in the past, and the trailer looks visually interesting – which is very necessary for an anime like FLCL. So yeah, I’m on board. Let’s do this Adult Swim.
Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online (Studio 3Hz)
The story follows Karen Kohiruimaki, a 183-centimeter-tall (6-foot-tall) college student who’s insecure about her height, and is bad at dealing with people in the real world. She enters the world of Gun Gale Online with her avatar, Ren, who is less than 150 centimeters (5 feet) tall and wears all pink. She meets a beautiful, brown-skinned female player who goes by Pitohui. They hit it off, but one day Pitohui pressures her to participate in “Squad Jam,” a team battle royale variation of the Bullet of Bullets tournament.
We all knew Sword Art Online was going to come back, and in addition to the third season coming this Fall (at least I think it’s this Fall), we’ve got this spin-off centered on a tall girl who’s really short in the game world. You know, I haven’t been even a little impressed with any of these MMO anime from Overlord to Log Horizon to Recovery of an MMO Junkie to even Summer Wars. I very much doubt that upcoming Ready Player One movie is going to be very impressive as well. They never really do anything interesting with virtual identity, always going for the bare minimum and never saying anything that a normal person wouldn’t already know. And judging by the trailer, GGO looks like just another throwaway action show, which makes me think it’s only popular because it’s based on one of the biggest recent anime franchises in the last few years.
Food Wars S3.5 (JC Staff)
Oh c’mon, you know what this show is too.
I might catch up on Season 3. Now that I’m watching anime in chunks, maybe I can deal with Food Wars’ “style as substance” storytelling better. Otherwise, do I really need to say anything about Food Wars at this point? You’re either watching it or you’re not, and I can tell you right now that a lot of my friends are.
Highschool DxD Hero (Passione)
Not even bothering to explain this one either.
Ecchi comedies aren’t my genre so I can’t explain the appeal of Highschool DxD like its massive fanbase does. What I can say is that the production team is different and while it is impressive that the series is still pleasing the fans after this long, Passione isn’t exactly a studio you look to for visual appeal, which I’ve been informed is very important in determining what separates a good ecchi anime from a bad one (the preview also makes the visuals look more washed-out compared to what I recall seeing of this series). You guys remember that Rail Wars anime from a while back? Yeah, the ecchi visuals could get unintentionally hilarious at times, but I don’t think you’d want to see that sort of style with Highschool DxD. But I guess we’ll see whether this new team succeeds at reminding Highschool DxD fans why they like this or they basically fuck it up Overlord II-style.
Persona 5 The Animation (A-1 Pictures)
Ren Amamiya is about to enter his second year after transferring to Shujin Academy in Tokyo.
Following a particular incident, his Persona awakens, and together with his friends they form the “Phantom Thieves of Hearts” to reform hearts of corrupt adults by stealing the source of their distorted desires.
Meanwhile, bizarre and inexplicable crimes have been popping up one after another…
Living an ordinary high school life in Tokyo during the day, the group maneuvers the metropolitan city as Phantom Thieves after hours.
Let the curtain rise for this grand, picaresque story!
Well, it’s finally here. The anime adaptation of my favorite video game in the last few years. I’m not sure if I’ll watch this weekly or wait till it’s done before binging but I will be watching this. And I will have a loooonnnnggggg hate rant towards A-1 Pictures if they fuck this up like they fuck up everything else they touch. Remember what they did with Persona 4 Golden? Blegh.
Legend of the Galactic Heroes: The New Thesis – Encounter (Production I.G.)
In humanity’s distant future, two interstellar states—the monarchic Galactic Empire and the democratic Free Planets Alliance—are embroiled in a never-ending war. The story focuses on the exploits of rivals Reinhard von Müsel and Yang Wen Li as they rise to power and fame in the Galactic Empire and the Free Planets Alliance.
Will this new Legend of the Galactic Heroes adaptation turn out successful? Who knows? Not me. Do I care? Not really. I will say that I do appreciate the ambition to release this thing as a short series before following it up with movies, but Production I.G. isn’t exactly the most trustworthy animation studio out there. Their Ghost in the Shell Arise reboot was lame, I haven’t forgotten how bad those Eden of the East movies were, and I’m just so sick of these sorts of reboots in general. It doesn’t look to be on the same level as their FLCL revival either. In addition to the “light novel” genre I see on the charts and how much I hate that term applied to any anime, you’ll notice that the PVs for this reboot have a large number of dislikes on them. I’m not quite sure why since the comments are disabled on them, but something tells me the CG animation is to blame.
It’s Difficult to Love an Otaku (A-1 Pictures)
The story centers on the awkward romantic comedy between Narumi, a female office worker who hides her fujoshi lifestyle, and Hirotaka, a handsome and capable company man who is secretly a game otaku.
Another freaking A-1 Pictures noitamina show. A lot of people seem to really like the manga for this, but I can already tell from the preview that it’s just going to be another balls-less mass-marketed comedy with nothing unusual about it other than how it caters to otaku. You cannot possibly tell me that dating a nerd is all that hard, especially in this modern age. At every anime convention I’ve ever been to, there are couples everywhere, and even I’ve had some personal one-off adventures with geeky girls at cons in the past. And even if there is something interesting to be said about dating an otaku, I don’t trust A-1 to execute that. They have fucked up so many interesting premises in the past, and until they release one show that’s even remotely worth watching, I’m not trusting them at all.
Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory (Xebec)
New Full Metal Panic. Yayyyyy…eh.
Full Metal Panic was a very average mecha franchise from the early 00s that had one standout adaptation in Fumoffu but was otherwise just known for combining robots with school antics, which is a very weak thing to praise, especially when the imagination put into the military antics was light novel-ish as hell. The one really good thing about it was the animation when it got passed from Gonzo to KyoAni, but now we’re stripped of that due to Xebec taking charge (although the PV looks fine from what I can see). Personally I’m all for said change because if the mediocrity of Amagi Brilliant Park was anything to go by, nothing good can come from KyoAni trying to revive the past, and Xebec hasn’t had anything standout in a while, so give them this.
Do I think this is going to be good though? Hell no. At best, it’ll probably be as entertaining as the Gonzo adaptation or The Second Raid (in other words, eh). At worst, it’ll be as entertaining as…every other time a light novel franchise is revived when you get down to it.
Golden Kamuy (Geno Studio)
In the early twentieth century, Russo-Japanese War veteran Saichi “Immortal” Sugimoto scratches out a meager existence during the postwar gold rush in the wilderness of Hokkaido. When he stumbles across a map to a fortune in hidden Ainu gold, he sets off on a treacherous quest to find it. But Sugimoto is not the only interested party, and everyone who knows about the gold will kill to possess it! Faced with the harsh conditions of the northern wilderness, ruthless criminals and rogue Japanese soldiers, Sugimoto will need all his skills and luck—and the help of an Ainu girl named Asirpa—to survive.
This is apparently a really well-received manga that was nominated for the manga section of the Crunchyroll Anime Awards this year. I obviously have never read it, but I definitely do not trust Geno Studio with it since they’re still new and their first anime series, Kokkoku, was plagued with production issues amongst other problems. But who knows? Maybe this will be their break? You never know for sure.
The Caligula Effect is set in a virtual reality program known as “Mobius”, created so people can escape pain in their lives and live in an idyllic high school setting, forced to live out their 3 years Indefinitely. The main protagonist is one of a group who realize that they are in a virtual world, and form the “Go-Home Club”, a group dedicated to escaping from Mobius and its god-like overseer program, a vocal program called “μ”. They oppose the “Ostinato Musicians”, a group who supports μ and sees the Go-Home Club as traitors.
I’ve only played a few minutes of the original game and then stopped for whatever reason, so I can’t really tell you much about the plot besides what the summary says. I will say I’m surprised this game was popular enough to get an anime adaptation given how poorly received it was by the critics. There’s even an updated re-release coming out for the PS4 that promises to fix the load times in addition to having a lot of new content. But anyways, as for whether or not I think the anime itself is going to be good, I’m leaning towards no. The characters from what I remember were pretty bland, video game adaptations are not much better in anime form than they are in movie form, and Satelight is not a very trustworthy production studio. What exactly have they done that was good lately? I can’t recall one thing.
Piano no Mori (Fukushima Gainax)
A tranquil tale about two boys from very different upbringings. On one hand you have Kai, born as the son of a prostitute, who’s been playing the abandoned piano in the forest near his home ever since he was young. And on the other you have Shuuhei, practically breast-fed by the piano as the son of a family of prestigious pianists. Yet it is their common bond with the piano that eventually intertwines their paths in life.
Now here’s the Oscar-bait music anime of the season and…it looks fine at first glance? Summary is nice and the visuals are…well they’re kind of meh to me, but they could be worse. I remember hearing about the original manga some time ago and apparently there’s a Madhouse movie adaptation of it as well, but I don’t quite know how well-received either of them are, although I think I recall the manga showing up in the top charts of some manga-ranking sites. Either way, this is a big wait and see that I’m only really interested in for the music. When done correctly, stories about music can be quite powerful in terms of thoughts and feelings. When done poorly, you get Haruchika. Remember that anime? Of course you don’t.
Hisone to Maso-tan (Bones)
Straightforward and innocent Hisone Amakasu is a Self-Defense Force rookie stationed at the Air Self-Defense Force’s Gifu Base. She was struggling with the fact that she sometimes hurts people unintentionally by her innocent words and decided to join the Air Self-Defence Force, hoping to maintain a certain distance from people. This decision led her to a fateful encounter which profoundly changed her life. It was the “OTF” dragon hidden in the base and it chose Hisone as his pilot. When it soared into the sky with Hisone, her fate as a dragon pilot was decided. It is said that dragons have a key to the future of the world…
This one was pretty low on the pre-popularity charts, so I only took a brief glance at it because it was an original Bones show and I found out that despite the goofy presentation, it’s a wartime drama from the Kiznaiver team. Yeah, it’s the same director and writer, which is kind of bizarre given the artwork, but then again Kiznaiver looked pretty cartoonish as well, didn’t it? Like most people, I didn’t like Kiznaiver, but the visuals were good and I’m all for giving things a chance if it looks interesting regardless of staff (hell I’m still watching A-1 shows aren’t I?). And the idea of female soldiers trying to interact with dragons holds some appeal. Not a lot, but if this show gets big, I’ll probably check it out.
And that’s all the upcoming Spring anime I’m going to give attention to. I’ve taken a look at some discussion threads so I know there’s a bunch of fans of the Devil’s Line manga looking forward to the adaptation, but given how I don’t know anything about either the manga or the studio producing it, I didn’t bother giving it its own entry. There’s a lot of sequels/reboots I didn’t cover like Fist of the Blue Sky and that Ashita no Joe thing, and that’s mostly due to not being familiar enough with the franchises to say anything besides “more manly men hitting each other”. I could give attention to the new Cutey Honey and Lupin, but it’d be more along the lines of “oh they’re still going? Don’t care.”, and who wants to read that? Finally, I’d normally give some attention to PA Works’ anime given how they’re one of those studios whose anime you tend to watch because their name is attached to it, but that Uma Musume Pretty Derby thing looks awful, and in a very forgettable way. It’s not very anticipated either, so no point.
Feel free to comment below on what you’re excited for, as well as to clarify why people don’t seem to like the Legend of the Galactic Heroes PVs and such. And don’t worry about me being immediately dismissive of your favorites, as I’ll probably binge-watch it if it gets huge, and the only shows I’m open to doing weekly are Steins;Gate 0 and Persona 5. Like I said, I’m not very happy that the sequels and such are dominating this season (and seem to be filling up the rest of the year as well), but I guess it doesn’t matter too much as long as they’re good. Hope you guys enjoy the Spring and I’ll join you guys’ fun later.