Welcome to The Cart Driver Dot Com’s World Famous Anime Season Preview, Spring 2015 edition. This makes 26 season previews over the course of almost 8 years for me and tracking trends in anime over that time has been fun. I remember thinking a year or two ago that it seemed like the tide was changing just a little and the hot naked bishie anime were starting to creep up on the cute moe girls anime. Was anime starting become more gender neutral? Turns out that was just a brief blip and we’re in full on Anime for Boys territory now. The amount of shounen manga adaptations this season is staggering. But wait, shounen manga have realised girls like to read them and have started frequently including hot naked dudes whose nipples are covered by cherry blossoms and dicks covered by pink aprons. So maybe we’re still making progress.
The Heroic Legend of Arslan
If you recognise the name Heroic Legend of Arslan, it’s probably because you are old and smell funky. Arslan is based off a novel series by the author of Legend of the Galactic Heroes that has had two manga adaptations in its time. The first was back in the 90’s which in turn got an OVA anime series made, which is probably where you funky smelling old people have heard it from since it was popular back in the VHS fansub trading days. It was known for gorgeous artwork and generic high fantasy story. Then some 20+ years later the author still hadn’t finished those novels so they decided to do another manga adaptation, this time with Full Metal Alchemist author Hiromu Arakawa doing the manga. I have a personal issue with Arakawa doing Arslan because she’s such a great storyteller that I want her doing her own material, not adapting someone else’s work. It’s not like her art is so amazing either that you want her drawing amazing worlds.
At least that’s what I thought until I actually gave her version of the manga a shot and it was really excellent. It’s well told and paced with good characterisation like all Arakawa’s previous works. Plus I feel bad for dissing her artwork earlier because it’s great in Arslan. So while I still have an issue with her not doing her own work, if this is what we’re getting then it’s still pretty good. I wish I had the same confidence that the anime would be good. It’s certainly getting the best placement on a primetime TV slot in Japan, but my issue lies primarily with the animation studio. It’s being done by Liden Films whose only previous TV anime have been a bunch of shorts and that awful Terra Formars adaptation that took something which really should have been a hit and made it sink faster than a brick in a swimming pool. We’ll have to see, since the trailers haven’t shown off any animation yet, but I’m approaching with caution.
Ninja Slayer From Animation
This thing is amazing but it takes a bit of explanation to get why. Ninja Slayer was originally a story posted in a series of tweets by two Japanese dudes who claimed to be translating the works of “Bradley Bond and Philip Ninj@ Morzez”, two American weeaboos. There are, of course, no actual American weeaboo authors, rather a Japanese parody of what they think American anime fans from the 90’s thought anime was. It’s a Japanese take on the American take on Japanese anime from 2 decades ago. It took until I saw the trailer that it all really clicked for me. Those awful colours, bizarre shading and weird poses! It’s like Chinese whispers where the original phrase becomes so warped after multiple transitions that it barely resembles the original product. And this is all done on purpose!
You don’t get it? How can you not, this is amazing! It’s by Trigger, the ex Gurren Lagann staff who did Kill la Kill, now that they’ve stopped animating that shitty everyday battles light novel from last year. It’s the director of Inferno Cop doing something that could possibly be even more stupid and yet more lavishly so. They’ve got music by the Boom Boom Satellites, who did the absolutely fantastic Xam’d OP and Gundam Unicorn ED. What, you think it looks dumb? Well yes, of course it looks dumb and will probably be ‘bad’. But it will be amazingly bad in that very special intentional way that could be truly magical. They even went as far as to shoot the trailer in 4:3 to mimic 90’s anime. That’s some dedication to this stupid idea of theirs that I truly respect.
You may have heard of Noitamina, the late night anime timeslot in Japan that used to air a combination of ambitious anime original science fiction and josei manga adaptations. The dream lasted for about 6 years but then died around about the time they aired Black Rock Shooter and Guilty Crown at the same time. Now they mostly do otaku pandering light light novel bullshit. I’ve been trying to keep track of other timeslots and producers to see what other trends there are, which is really difficult because the English resources for that sort of material is basically non-existent. The late night Nihon TV timeslot is the next best thing I’ve found. Monster, Death Note, Ouran, Chihayafuru, Kimi ni Todoke, One Outs, Kaiji, and I’m 90% certain Parasyte is currently airing there. Actually late night Nihon TV appears to be a good thing to keep an eye on anyway given some of the other stuff on there recently have been Barakamon and Death Parade. As far as I can tell, the next show taking over that slot is Ore Monogatari, a critically acclaimed multi-award winning shoujo manga adaptation. Meanwhile in Noitamina they’re airing the second half of a shitty light novel adaptation and an original anime about a teenage boy who gets super powers from looking at panties. Yeah.
Long introduction about a ruddy timeslot out of the way that might actually be completely wrong, what can I tell you about Ore Monogatari? It’s a fairly generic shoujo highschool romance manga except with this big ugly dude as its central lead character, which is why I was sceptical going in despite it winning tons of awards. Whoop de doo, you stuck in a big guy, it’s still the same goddamn story…is what I thought I would say, but turns out I was completely charmed by the whole thing. The main guy has this Harima Kenji from School Rumble way of being endearingly stupid yet genuine in his actions and while the artwork is kinda bad, it’s used effectively to add to the humour. Let me emphasise here though how shocking this is. I don’t like shoujo high school romance manga at all. I don’t like Fruits Basket, Chihayafuru, Kimi ni Todoke, pretty much every highly rated shoujo romance manga adaptation you can name I don’t like. So me liking Ore Monogatari is a real shock. The anime is being done by the same Madhouse team who did Chihayafuru and the director also did Cardcaptor Sakura so it’s a team that knows what they’re doing.
Remember that Noitamina anime I shit talked about the guy looking at panties? This is it. And now let me infuriate you by explaining why I think this anime has a lot of promise and you should give it a shot because I’m just like that. It’s by Mappa, the new studio founded by the bunch of ex-Madhouse people who have been putting out some quality product with Bahamut and Garo recently (and Terror in Resonance, which…at least looked good). The staff working on Punchline meanwhile are mostly ex-Gainax staff, as you can tell from the vibrant animation in the trailer. Most excitingly for some people is it’s being written by the fellow who wrote the Zero Escape games and the Ever 17 visual novel. So there’s some talent behind it and perhaps on some level I should trust that they’re going to do something with this. But…man fuck that light novel premise and that panty-tacular trailer. Maybe there’s a FLCL-esque underlying narrative about puberty under here. A man can wish that’s the case at least.
Shokugeki no Souma
Of the numerous shounen manga adaptations coming out this season, this is the one with the most weight behind it, being the latest Shounen Jump hit. It’s the food battle manga made famous by the fact it’s drawn by a porn artist who transcribes ecstasy cumming faces onto people eating delicious food. On their knees, drooling with out of focus eyes, begging for more of that juicy tender thing to fill their mouths, pleasure spreading all over their body as they leap from the clothes, Aquarion EVOL style, devouring this delicious food. It treads a delicate line of not being straight up softcore porn and from what little I’ve read I thought they managed it surprisingly well. I would be quite excited for this if not for the studio.
JC Staff. They were case zero with light novel trash adaptations. They got a hit with Shakugan no Shana and dug deep into the bowels of light novels for worse and worse titles like Aria the Scarlet Ammo. But it’s not only that. They took Bakuman, the new manga by the Death Note author, one of my favourite anime of all time, and created an absolute travesty that focused on the worst parts. They adapted Kimi to Boku, the boys doing nothing anime that nearly drove me from anime entirely until Daily Lives of Highschool Boys came along and showed me the light. Every now and then I take a peek at their latest property and remain shocked at the terrible production values on things that really should look better, from Golden Time to Little Busters. I swore off them completely over a year ago and have remained a much happier person for it. But this once, just this once, I might make an exception. I hope I don’t regret it.
If I had a sandwich for every anime that stuck the name of Gen Urabuchi on when in reality he had little to do with the final product, I would have…at least 3 sandwiches. I don’t really know how much he had to do Blassreiter and that was before Madoka anyway. Look guys, I love Madoka Magica. I rewatched it quite recently and I still think it’s an absolutely fantastic anime and will probably make my top 10 anime of all time once I redo that list. But you know what part made it great? The incredibly tight script and how deliberately paced and structured everything was. Sticking him on an anime to come up with the concept and write maybe the first episode but then buggering off to let others write the rest has not been good. Gargantia was a mess after a promising first episode and some really interesting ideas, and Aldnoah Zero has become the butt of jokes it got so bad. Also the less said about the second season of Psycho Pass the better.
Seeing this new anime Gunslinger Stratos, some video game adaptation being animated by A-1 Pictures so you at least know it will have the most generic visual design ever, slap Gen’s name on it because he wrote the original scenario irritates me. Did Gen play the game, scribble a few ideas on a beer mat while he was out drinking with the producers and now they’re turning that into an anime and people will still turn out because they can put his name on it? The actual writer is some guy who writes stories for Guilty Gear fighting games and boy if there was ever a genre of video games known for their amazing story telling it would be fighting games. Also it’s a bloody video game adaptation.
Seraph of the End
I like Wit Studio a lot. In my head the studio was formed as a sort of healing experience after they all had to work on the trainwreck that was Guilty Crown and vowed to actually try make good anime for a change. Their output is pretty limited as they’re a young studio, consisting only of Attack on Titan, Hoozuki no Reitetsu, HAL and Rolling Girls, but what I like about them is all their anime have very distinct individual styles to them. They seem to have a vision for how this show should look and sound, which is something I appreciate a lot. Sure they might not live up to their own ambition and struggle keeping the animation up to standard, but I find that gives them an endearing quality like old Gainax.
Their new anime is Seraph of the End, a shounen battle manga with vampires. Not exactly the most original of topics but hey. The staff are a bunch of relative newbies but with impressive anime in their background. Gurren Lagann, Titan, early Xam’d (different from later Xam’d in that they don’t suck). There’s a lot of cross-pollination with old Gainax and Bones guys moving to Wit Studio, Trigger and Mappa, three new but highly promising studios. It’s interesting to see just how much crossover there is with these new talents so long may it last. In the meantime, Seraph of the End will probably be pretty good if you’re into shounen action, in a Blue Exorcist sort of way. I liked what little I read of the manga, although I heard it turns more generic later on.
Oh Kyoto Animation. Going back to the well on this one I see. Last two light novel adaptations didn’t exactly do gangbusters and there’s only so long you can animate swimming boys before you get bored of that. So instead we’re back to K-ON and making an anime about the general going-ons about a high school music club. At some point everyone who disliked K-ON forgot about it so perhaps newer fans need reminding what an almighty furor surrounded K-ON when it came out. It was a symbol for many people of how moe was killing the anime industry. In retrospect it was more a niche trendsetter, spawning multiple cute girl club clones, each trying to out-boring the previous one. At least the negative trendsetters of later years like OreImo or Sword Art Online had things happen you could point to and laugh at, while with K-ON clones all you could do was smash your head repeatedly against a wall while screaming “NOTHING FUCKING HAPPENS ARGH ARGH ARGH”.
Anyway, Sound Euphonium. I have a pretty strict no KyoAni rule because KyoAni sux. It’s going to take more than some flashy jazz music in a trailer to convince me to watch something they make. Actually no, I don’t want them to make anything else for a reason I will call the Shit Sandwich Shop Principle. People ask me “urgh you’ll never be happy with anything KyoAni puts out, what do you even want them to make” to which I would say I want them to keep making this stuff. I want the Shit Sandwich Shop to keep making shit sandwiches. If the Shit Sandwich Shop suddenly advertised they were making a really amazing sounding sandwich, I would be conflicted because if I go there and eat it and it turns out to have shit instead of butter, that’s my own fault because I went to the place literally called Shit Sandwich Shop so what was I expecting. I would just be happier if they continued making Shit Sandwiches so I didn’t suffer the mental anguish and eventual disappointment if they said they would make anything else.
Blood Blockade Battlefront
‘An manga adaptation by the author of Trigun’ is probably what would top most headlines about Blood Blockade Battlefront. Which is fair enough I guess, given how big Trigun was with English speaking fandom back in the day. Like most of those anime that got popular from airing on TV in the early 2000’s though, I don’t think Trigun has aged particularly well. Especially in the animation department, even if it had bundles of style. From what I’ve read of Blood Blockade Battlefront, he certainly still has that style. It’s set in New York (or at least a western media-obsessed Japanese person’s view of New York) after it has been invaded by aliens but now live in an awkward Gintama-esque coexistence. The manga is cool but has some real issues in the writing and pacing department, with the whole story flowing really poorly. An anime adaptation could really fix those issues.
So who’s the director…Rie Matsumoto…oh right, the young director who did Kyousogiga, a show I respected a lot but really felt I should have liked it more than I did. She’s both the best and in a way the worst choice for this. Blood Blockade Battlefront has bundles of style but poor cohesion, so they gave it to the director whose main previous work has bundles of style but poor cohesion. I would really like her to succeed because she has plenty of talent and it’s encouraging to have a young female director breaking through. She certainly has some incredibly experienced people behind her on this. OK I can’t say much about the script writer since he’s only done live action stuff previously, but the art director worked on goddamn Akira doing the background art. That’s a strong background to pull from.
Kyoukai no Rinne
Outside of literal founding father type manga authors like Tezuka, it would be hard to argue that there are many or even any manga authors more influential than Rumiko Takahashi. Oda the One Piece guy could have a good argument in his favour, as would Akira Toriyama arguably much more so since One Piece probably only exists thanks to Dragonball, but this is a discussion for another day. You could probably trace every romantic comedy magical girlfriend type anime back to Urusei Yatsura. Then throw in Ranma, Maison Ikkoku and Inuyasha for even more multi-blockbuster, generation defining anime and you get an idea of her influence.
Perhaps it’s because of her money and success that she doesn’t have to pay attention to what else is happening in the world of manga. No editor is going to turn down what she passes them because she’s goddamn Rumiko Takahashi. Which is the only explanation I can think of for why nobody threw her opening chapters of Rinne back in her face saying “this is just Bleach, go back and try again”. Well it’s Bleach except without the humour, character, cool art and basically everything that made early Bleach good. It seems to sell well enough but it’s so aggressively bland that I don’t understand the appeal. The staff for the anime aren’t great either with it being done by Brains Base. Not the good Brains Base under Omori that did Baccano, DRRR and Natsume. No, the shit Brains Base that did Akikan, Amnesia and D-Frag.
The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki
Oh yeah, Haruhi Suzumiya! That’s a thing people cared about and I imagine a number of people still do, although considerably less after Endless Eight. There’s still more of those novels left to adapt but it was looking increasingly unlikely that anyone would. KyoAni broke up their relationship with the publisher Kadokawa when they realised they could make more money just doing their own stuff. Plus there was the whole deal with pathetic Japanese otaku losing their shit because Aya Hirano, the voice actress for Haruhi, admitting she liked having sex with attractive men. But in pops Satelight instead with a whole new team to adapt this dumb spinoff novel and we’re saved!
The story is that it’s set in the world from Disappearance in which there is no science fiction stuff, Haruhi is not a god and Yuki Nagato is a cute bookworm girl rather than the stoic character she was from the original. If this was a character from an established franchise I loved and they took my favourite character, completely changed their personality and repackaged it in a new story that completely stripped everything that made the original series unique, I wouldn’t touch that garbage with a 10 foot pole. But from what I’ve read on forums, people are super excited because Yuki Nagato is now cute and moe which goes to show how completely shallow some anime fans are. Then again, Haruhi Suzumiya has never been good anyway so blergh. Actually wait, since this isn’t by KyoAni anymore it will probably be the best in the franchise. Phew!
Man this was a title I never thought I’d see again. The original Pleiades was a short anime collaboration between Gainax and Subaru where the only Subaru involvement was the magical girls had brooms that made engine revving noises. The piece was boring and forgettable but apparently the team at Gainax thought it was good enough to bring back and do a full anime about. I’ve been doing the Gainax lament every time their name comes up in season previews, but none of the crew who made the Gainax anime you care about are there anymore. As I said earlier in this preview, most of them left to join studios like Trigger and to a lesser extent Mappa and Wit. The only director left appears to be the one who did the Gainax anime people hate, such as He Is My Master and This Ugly Yet Beautiful World. Who incidentally is the director for this thing.
Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches
I can get pretty dismissive about certain anime when doing season previews which can sometimes annoy people who are fans of those things (especially this season if you’re a kyoani fan, but kyoani fans more closely resemble the amorphic sludge we began our evolutionary path on rather than the homo sapiens we are today so I don’t consider them as people). I am going to also be dismissive of Yamada-kun and the 7 Witches because it’s a generic high school pseudo-harem romcom with a story that goes nowhere and an anime staff with nothing interesting to say about. But when reading it I felt a touch nostalgic. It reminded me of Pretty Face or one of the many generic light-ecchi high school shounen romcom mangas I read when I was a teenager. I started out as someone who excitedly read Love Hina and Ichigo 100%. So I won’t laugh at you for liking Yamada kun because you’re probably a teenage boy. I was there once too.
I feel like I should be more interested for Plastic Memories than I am. It is an original anime by the person who wrote the Semi;Colon visual novels, most notably Steins;Gate. It isn’t another bloody high school setting but instead young adults in new jobs set in the future focused around collecting robots that have become too human. Promising writer, interesting setting, so why isn’t this tickling my fancy? Maybe it’s that I don’t care for the studio, Dogakobo, who mostly do cute girl comedies like Engaged to the Unidentified, Love Lab and Yuru Yuri. They have done some other stuff like Nozaki-kun and Majestic Prince, but I didn’t really like any of them either. Maybe it’s the character designs and general art design which sure is drawn like every other crappy moe visual novel adaptation. I think most of all it’s the trailer appears to be going for this touching, melodramatic tone with some light comedy beforehand. It brings to mind things like Clannad, Ano Hana or Your Lie in April and I cannot stand those types of anime. I’m sure this will find and audience. It just looks like so not my kind of thing.
Before writing my season preview I like to read the first chapter or two of the manga that are set to become anime. I got 5 pages into Triage X before I alt-tabbed out, did a quick check and discovered I was totally right in thinking this came from the same author who wrote Highschool of the Dead. Same pointy chins and horribly grotesque bosoms. I watched all of HOTD back when it aired and didn’t hate it for some reason. Something about the site of a pair of bosoms apparently gyrating so quickly that bullets could fly between them just made it hard to dislike. In retrospect though, I probably only watched it because it came out in Summer 2010 and there was fuck all else to watch that season. Anyway Triage X is just as classy and has the director of Rio Rainbow Gate on it so a bonafide classic in the making is what we have here.
Mikagura School Suite
The latest in a series of anime that started as a series of Vocaloid songs with interconnected story that eventually spreads to other mediums, in this case light novels. I guess this is officially A Thing now, between Black Rock Shooter, Mekaku City Actors and this. Given how those previous two anime were about as well received as a salt bath after a series of paper cuts (I personally thought Mekaky City Actors wasn’t bad, but I was apparently the only one and I never finished it anyway so obviously I didn’t think that highly of it), I think this path to anime might be a dud. Its problem is the original medium’s concern is whether the music and accompanying music video is good, not whether the story is worth a damn. It’s much the same problem with video game adaptations. In neither medium is the story the main draw so strip them of their original main draws and suddenly you realise how poor the underlying narrative actually is. Mikagura School Suite is a completely unremarkable magical high school anime the kind of which we’ve seen a million times before. Studio and staff are unremarkable too. Watch this anime disappear off the face of the planet in no time.
Denpa Kyoushi – He is a Ultimate Teacher
Before we begin the actual previewing, let me start by saying I am guaranteed to give this anime more leeway than usual because it is about an anime blogger. Similarly I would give an anime far more of a chance if it was about a snobby Irish man who got mad about other people’s terrible tastes in chocolate, pizza and Asian cartoons. It’s yet another shounen manga adaptation, this time about an anime blogger turned teacher. It’s a GTO clone in that he goes in and shows the bullies what’s for and gets the rowdy kids on his side. Or for the younger generation, it’s like Assassination Classroom except not as bafflingly disappointing. I’m honestly struggling to say much else about this (ooh boy the animation studio is A-1 Pictures, I bet it has competent animation but terribly boring stylistically) and I can only really think about how maddening it is that Assassination Classroom managed to be as bad as it was with such an amazing premise.
Is it Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?
Yes! Thank you light novel adaptations for continuing this naming trend. I am so pleased about this. There was a time after My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute that all light novels wanted to follow that naming scheme. The idea was that people looking for light novels couldn’t be arsed picking up the books in the store and reading the back for a synopsis, so instead they had to start including the synopsis in the book title. But more recently that trend has been dying and they’ve been getting more innocuous titles like No Game No Life. That’s awful! I want trash to advertise itself properly as trash! Someone can say “oh I watched Sword Art Online” and have it not sound like the garbage it is. I want them to say “I watched The Pet Girl of Sakurasou” and people will instantly know that it’s dogshite about a guy keeping a sexy mentally disabled girl as a pet. I want my Yuji Everylead the Bland deposited in Generic Fantasy MMORPG and his gaming skills get him all the sexy ladies to be advertised as such on the box so everyone knows what it is going in. So thank you ‘Is It Wrong To Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon’. Hopefully other light novels will follow your lead.
A 4-koma adaptation about a large breasted high school girl who can see ghosts being directed by the same guy who did the Hayate sequels nobody likes and……………….sorry, dozed off there for a second. What do you want? It’s close to the end of the original anime section where I shoved all the boring anime nobody will ever remember. Of course I’m running out of things to say.
Show By Rock!!
The video game market in Japan as we know it is dying. The games you loved as a kid are raking in less and less money. Console sales are dropping like flies and Japan has never quite taken to PC gaming. Although this is only true if you consider large PC and console games and the gaming market. Mobile gaming is booming with all the talent moving over there as that’s where the money is. These games start to become really popular and with all the money they rake in, they’re looking for more and more extravagant ways to promote their material. So of course they turn to anime. In a way this is actually not a bad thing at all. Unlike big console games, they rarely have any story they’re required to follow. Bahamut was based off some card phone game and, while it ultimately didn’t completely deliver on its early promise, it showed that the more freedom creators have with the intellectual property, the better they can make the stories.
This does not mean I think Show By Rock will be any good. It’s a phone rhythm game by Sanrio, the creators of Hello Kitty, that features various cute girls with animal ears and sexy dudes with animal ears. They released information about all the voice actors before any of the staff or even the studio, which is good sign the producers have their priorities horribly misaligned. But this mobile phone games getting lavishly produced anime adaptations I say is not a bad thing. They’re much better than normal video games getting anime adaptations I can tell you that much. No matter how much you think you like Fire Emblem, any anime adaptation of them would be garbage because the stories in them are awful.
What do you even title this? Lupin III part 4? This is the first proper Lupin III TV series in 30 years, not counting that Fujitits thing that came out a few years ago since that was its own weird thing. If you’re new to anime fandom, Lupin III is an old TV series from back in the 70’s whose influence is absolutely massive with the founders of Ghibli, amongst others, cutting their teeth on the franchise. It proved so popular that it got a couple of movies and about a bajillion TV specials that air every single year. I don’t think it’s even been that big in English speaking fandom but it’s huge in Italy. I was there recently and saw a truly remarkable number of Lupin bootleg items on sale.
Its Italian popularity may go some way to explaining why this all brand new TV series is airing in Italy first and is being set in Italy and San Marino. The staff includes a huge industry veteran from back in the day who worked on Castle of Cagliostro, the best known of the Lupin franchise entrants, plus the script writer for Tiger and Bunny. It’s not low on talent. Honestly this is just so…I mean, they’re straight up saying they’re making a brand new real true Lupin III series. It’s kinda hard to know what to say about that beyond good luck. I’ll be watching certainly. I’m glad the promo art at least promises to keep Lupin’s hairy palms.
When I first saw Etotama I thought it was another bland moecrap title about the zodiac animals all turning into cute girls. Then I saw the trailer and…OK technically it still is about the zodiac animals turned into cute girls, but in reality it’s a tech demo for where CG animation is now. Around Christmas I mentioned the Studio Khara CG short featuring a mascot girl fighting a giant cat and pointed out how impressive it was that they had figured out things like weight and cartoonish movement exaggeration to get the CG looking more, if not natural, at least less stilted and awkward. This appears to be a whole anime of that. I mean, I don’t think it will be good since it’s by the director who made that anime about the semen sucking loli, but as a step towards our glorious CG anime future, it’s the next step forward. It’s a long path and anime has made many missteps, but we are definitely seeing significant progress.
Saint Seiya: Soul of Gold
It’s weird how certain anime franchises get incredibly popular in certain parts of the world. I’ve already mentioned Lupin III and Italy. Then there’s France’s love of Captain Harlock. The Spanish world cup winning football team from 2008 can basically be blamed on them all watching Captain Tsubasa as kids (no really, people like Iniesta and Torres have come out and admitted as much). Perhaps the oddest is Igano Kabamaru, a show nobody has heard out outside of Greece and Saudi Arabia where it practically defines a generation. Then there’s Latin America’s love for Saint Seiya, particularly Mexico. I’m surprised they don’t go set this in Mexico like they’re doing with Lupin and Italy, except it might be a touch harder to ground a series about mystical pretty boys in skintight bodysuits punching each other with the powers of the constellations.
I’ve trotted out the old “boy Mexico sure loves Saint Seiya” shtick before because my personal knowledge of the franchise is non-existent. I tried a few episodes of that Saint Seiya Omega anime from a few years back since it seemed like a good starting point but I never got far and it doesn’t seem like it ever lit the world on fire. This appears to be a whole new story again, but I’m honestly not sure. I don’t know if this is a thing Saint Seiya does frequently or not. But it will have pretty boys punching each other with the power of stars so hey.
Ghost in the Shell Arise: TV
Normally I wouldn’t put TV broadcasts into season previews since who cares you’ve already seen it. But I’m putting Arise in here for two reasons. One because they actually have two new episodes in this rebroadcast of the OVA, so there’s some new content in here. The second is to try rep Arise again because gosh darn I thought it was pretty great yet anime fans didn’t give it the time of day. Ghost in the Shell Arise is a much better entrant to the Ghost in the Shell franchise than that bloody Innocence movie for one. Watch Arise guys. It’s confusing for the first episode but it definitely finds its stride after that.
Unlike things like Lupin III and Saint Seiya, these are sequels to anime you have to have seen the first season of. Hence there’s not much point in previewing them since you already know if you’re going to watch them. But preview them I shall anyway!
Baby Steps 2
I remember when this came out. I think it was at the same time as Haikyuu did. Haikyuu was better, why isn’t that getting a sequel instead? Oh wait, it is? Never mind then, carry on.
Fate/stay night: Unlimited Boring Words
I watched 100 episodes of Gintama back in the day and I really liked it. I was a believer. But with every attempt to get back into it I’ve failed and I think I know what the problem is: The fucking translator notes. I know Gintama references a lot of Japanese culture that flies over the heads of what we dirty gaijin could understand, but one of those cultural barriers is not rock paper scissors. I know what Bleach is for christ sake, and Sherlock Holmes isn’t even Japanese why do you think that needs a translator’s note? It’s absolutely maddening to have a joke every minute explained to you by this translator’s across the top of the screen. And this is official translations on Crunchyroll! I don’t think I can go back. I’m sorry Gintama, it’s not you. It’s the translators.
The Labyrinth of Grisaia and The Eden of Grisaia
Inushinde’s “favourite” anime of 2014 and winner of The Cart Driver’s Symphogear Memorial Award for Best Worst Anime is back! I thought what little I saw of Grisaia was pretty bad but it sounds like it really went off the rails in a truly spectacular fashion. This sequel also plans to include the prequel to the original Visual Novel. It hasn’t been made terribly clear how they plan to adapt them both without being horribly condensed.
Hello!! Kiniro Mosaic
Cast your mind back to earlier on in this preview. Around about the part I was mocking KyoAni fans because they probably eat their own shoes. About how K-ON spawned this trend of cute girls doing nothing anime that seem to have largely died out by now bar the odd show. Well this is one of them. It took me a while to remember which one of the many cute girl anime this was the sequel to, until I saw the character designs. This is the one with the British exchange student! They’re supposed to be in their mid teens. They look like they’re about 6 years old. Where’s my cute fetuses anime damnit, you know the girls are just going to keep looking younger. You know you want to Japan.
High School DxD BorN
Highschool DxD makes me angrier than it probably should. I can’t wrap my head around people who try to say this is actually good no really. I choose to believe it was created by a 12 year old boy whipping his dick out and slapping repeatedly it on a keyboard. I could just list a bunch of the crap written in the light novel, but I’ve done that before back in the last season preview a sequel for this thing aired. You know this is why nobody will listen to you light novel fans when this is the kind of thing that gets so highly rated and touted? I mean, are you all preteen boys or something? That can be the only explanation.
Oh boy, another sequel for me to get weirdly mad at. I actually watched and blogged about half of the first season because I lost at Fantasy Anime League. The only way I could get through it was watching it without English subtitles and writing poetry. It was fun in its own weird way because the formula for Nisekoi is so endlessly repeatable that it was so easy to follow without knowing all the language. I don’t think I missed any plot points at all. Nisekoi is the most quintessential harem anime ever made. It’s harem boiled down to the repeated formula of giving each girl equal time so no side ever ‘wins’ and we ride this magical merry go round until the end of time.
Knights of Sidonia: Battle for Planet Nine
Oh look another sequel for me to get angry about rawr rawr rawr why don’t anime I like get sequels rawr rawr…wait a second, Knights of Sidonia. I remember that name. I actually liked this anime! Hurrah for me!
Uta no☆Prince-sama♪ Maji Love Revolutions
Oh look, the one pretty boy VN adaptation where the guys aren’t all completely horrible to the main girl is the big success that gets multiple seasons. You see that Diabolik Lovers and Amnesia? That’s what you need to do if you want to be successful. Not treat your audience as a bunch of idiots who want to be raped by men in fedoras…wait, Diabolik Lovers is getting a second season? Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU 2
This show ended up being an underground hit. It’s one of those anime that hasn’t fallen off anime fandom’s radar anything like most other light novel adaptations. Probably because it’s basically an anime version of Catcher in the Rye, meaning it’s about a grumpy teenager moaning about how nobody understands him.
Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha ViVid
I had originally placed this among the rest of the anime airing this season, until I did some reading up on it then plonked it straight back into sequels. At first I figured since it was set a few years later and was about the daughter of the lead two girls (the power of yuri apparently being strong enough that they can impregnate each other now but whatever) so I thought it would be its own new story, but after some reading it sounds like all Nanoha sequels are set several years in the future with all sorts of shit that I can’t follow. Nanoha is the only sequel this season where I haven’t at least tried the original. Probably because for every person who compares it to giant robot laser battles it’s usually followed up by someone, often the same person, saying omg this is great look at all the loli fanservice. Which, from reading up on this manga, appears to be one tradition they’ve been perfectly happy to keep with this new edition.
I Can’t Understand What My Husband is Saying is getting a sequel, an anime about a wife who can’t understand what her anime blogger husband is saying. I should watch it since I am an anime blogger husband and I can’t understand half the shit that comes out of my own mouth. Robot Girls Z+ proves yet again that apparently the only way to get the modern otaku to care about super robots is to turn them all into cute girls. Finally Teekyu gets a fourth season by Mappa in which a bunch of girls in a tennis club do everything in their power to perform every action under the sun that is not tennis.
Battle Spirits Burning Soul, Mysterious Joker 2, Duel Masters VS Revolution, PriPara 2, Digimon Adventure tri. For a brief period there I used to try cover the kids anime that was coming out, but it ended up being not worth it. Information was limited and they never got subbed anyway. Once they did come out in English, it was 3 or so years down the line after the toy line had completely blown up. I remember covering Yokai Watch a few years ago and knowing nothing about it. Fast forward 2015 and it’s the biggest shit in Japan, basically taking over Pokemon as what kids are watching and buying. How do you predict that? I don’t even know where to start looking to predict that. I’ve gotten pretty good at predicting what will be big/good in the late night otaku targeted TV anime department, but kids anime completely eludes me. They might as well be entirely different mediums.
Movies and OVAs
Movie release date figures are for when the home video release comes out and dirty foreign pirates can watch it. For OVA’s and specials, I don’t cover random special episodes for completed anime because there are too many and they’re normally just some fun fanservice for people who watched the original.
Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin
Release date: 28 February
I finished watching the original Mobile Suit Gundam movies this month for the first time (yes the compilation movies, and I highly recommend them over the TV series). I’m now able to pick up on a bajillion references other anime have made, about half of which I swear were from School Rumble, although they even had a reference in the opening chapter of Ore Monogatari so it’s evidently still relevant. If I was to pick one story from Mobile Suit Gundam I would like expanding on, it would have been Char’s backstory and how he developed the ambition and hatred he has, and how he and his sister grew apart.
Well, guess what Gundam the Origin is about! At least it appears to be what the anime is about. It’s supposed to be adapted from the Gundam the Origin manga, although that’s a straight retelling of the original Gundam story. Meanwhile the trailer here shows child Char so eh. It looks pretty flashy either way. The fight scenes look kinda similar to the ones in Yamato 2199, which makes sense since the director of Gundam the Origin did the CG for Yamato 2199. It’s being streamed on Daisuki of all places at a cost, so if you’re desperate to watch this first then that’s where you can get it. It’s coming out real soon first with the first of the planned 4 episodes. Let’s just hope it takes slightly less time than Gundam Unicorn did.
When Marnie Was There
Release Date: 18 March
I really want to like this movie because I feel Ghibli set this up to fail. It was their first movie released in the post-Miyazaki/Takahata era by the director who did Arrietty but the way both the people of Japan and the studio talked about it, it was like they just assumed it would fail. “Oh look, no Miyazaki, let’s just leave this thing to rot”. I loved Arrietty so much. It’s my favourite Ghibli after Porco Rosso. This new director returns to direct another beloved classic English novel and suddenly everyone stops giving a shit because Miyazaki isn’t standing in the background anymore. The statements after the movie came out from the studio were things like “idk if we’ll make movies anymore”. Maybe it’s just me, since alongside Arrietty my next favourite Ghibli would be Cat Returns, another non Miyazaki or Takahata joint. I am a weird outsider who doesn’t actually like the original two co-founders movies that much but wants to see the legacy of their studio continued with these younger directors. I appear to be the only one.
K: Missing Kings
Release Date: 22 April
Watching the trailer for this movie gave me a wave of…I wouldn’t say nostalgia since K wasn’t good, but wave of memories about when it came out. I remembered the original trailer for the TV series looking awesome, much like this movie’s trailer but both essentially told us nothing about what happens in the story. Also how that original trailer included every well animated scene in the entire anime and the rest was staid and forgettable. Ah K, how hard you were to google search with your dumb name.
And if this season is terrible
There’s always next season
I’ve run out! I’m finding it increasingly difficult to stick in a bunch of manga and video game adaptations people actually want to see without scraping the bottom of the barrel. The moment that turned that for me was when Crunchyroll posted a news story of the top 10 manga Japanese fans wanted adapted into anime. I took a peek hoping for some new material for my charts, only to find I had already used the top 8 and 3 of them I had used twice. Besides, so many of the things I put on there have been adapted into anime. Silver Spoon, Durarara sequel, Assassination Classroom, Shougeki no Soma, Mushishi 2, Parasyte, Stardust Crusaders, they all got anime adaptations. I’m sure this means all those other anime I’ve put on charts will get anime too. Pluto, Oyasumi Punpun, Bride’s Story, Yotsuba&, Real, Vinland Saga, Vagabond, Saya no Uta, Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer, One Punch Man, Franken Fran, Oresama Teacher, they will all get an anime adaptation some day.
But not Full Metal Panic final. Never Full Metal Panic final.