Wait, what date is it? Why is my twitter feed talking about anime I’ve never heard of? Oh shit, the new season has started already? I have a half-written season preview that can’t go unpublished! Damn, got to finish this thing right now. Quick, shut off Overwach for the first time in a month and hastily finish this thing.
So errr, welcome to The Cart Driver’s no longer world-famous because I stopped posting anything Anime Season Preview! Less fanfare this time because like 10 anime have already aired and if I don’t hurry this will all be outdated. No pictures, no trailers, just endless word barf with no way to turn off the faucet.
Orange’s history is kind of interesting. There was only about 1 volume published before issues with publishing cropped up and no more was written for the next few years. Essentially fan acclaim helped bring the series back into publication, because boy did people really love the one volume that was out. It’s a shoujo story about a teenage girl who gets a letter from herself in the future, warning her that one of her new friends commits suicide. Despite its acclaim I wasn’t entirely sold on the manga itself, although that might have more to do with me not liking shoujo high school romance melodrama stuff. I did really like the premise and the themes it was looking to tackle, but the general conversations and usual shoujo sparkle-space turned me off, so I’m not sure how much of this will ever be my sort of thing. But if you liked those older Madhouse shoujo-y stuff then you might be into this. Heck even I could be into this if I can see past the sparkle-space. There’s something powerful about the idea of dropping the responsibility of preventing a guy from falling into depression and taking his life onto a shy teenage girl’s lap.
Sweetness and Lightning
I was shocked by how much I ended up loving this manga. Partly this can be explained by its story basically being Bunny Drop except without the part where you really like it and go read the manga to see what happens next and then you want to wash your brain out with bleach so you forget what you read. But also because for all the cooking anime I’ve seen, none of them have actually captured for me the joy of cooking. It’s a lot of shounen power battles with food porn, but Sweetness and Lightning captures the simple joy of watching someone you care about enjoy your basic meal of a bowl of rice. As someone who does all the cooking in my household, it actually made me a little emotional, which is a touch pathetic on my part. I will scoff at Clannad and Ano Hana but show me a little girl enjoying a bowl of rice and I will turn into a blubbering idiot. The director’s main other work was One Week Friends, which certainly had its issues, but most of its issues seemed to stem from the source material. People generally liked the way it was adapted so I’m willing to give them a shot at this.
I used to put JC Staff in the same category as Mushroom Soup or Having Children, aka something other people seemed to be into but I considered them strange and wrong. But last year they seemed to improved a bunch because they made the undeniable masterpiece that was Prison School no shut up that show was a masterpiece and I shall not hear a negative word against it. So now I’m willing to give them more of a chance, providing they have an anime adaptation from an award-winning manga author and a director who directed an anime that won the coveted The Cart Driver Anime of the Year award. Taboo Tattoo is neither of those things. It’s just your typical high school boy gets sudden magical powers than hot girl falls into his lap and they go fuck some shit up. The girl’s name is Easy though, which at the very least demands I watch the first episode just so I can make a bunch of really dumb jokes like “she’s so Easy to dislike”.
Actually I should just check this director hasn’t actually directed an anime I really did like….oh nope, this is the Shakugan no Shana, Freezing and Dai Shogun guy. Looks like Bad JC Staff is back. Don’t mind me, I’ll just sit in my corner saying “think how Easy it would be to make Prison School 2”.
First Love Monster
Goddamnit Japan. I know your men apparently seem to be having serious issues connecting with women because, according to the media you put out, it’s because they all want to fuck children. That’s why all your pornography is set either in schools or on public transport featuring people in school uniform. But the ladies too? First Love Monster is about a teenage girl who sees this sexy guy who is the hottest thing since ever and he rescues her, only for it to turn out he’s actually still in elementary school. Because yay I want my sexy men to have the mental capacity of a 10-year-old. Perhaps I should be giving them the benefit of the doubt and that it could be totally innocent, but I won’t. Japan needs to earn that trust and so far it has let me down time after time.
You may have noticed the trend, particularly coming from light novels, about rebirth into a different world. This powerful idea that you’ve fucked up somehow and want another shot at it. Usually these types of shows are very pander-y because they’re a sort of wish-fulfilment. It’s why they’re set in video game worlds because that’s a world in which the people reading feel like they have achieved something and know the rules. Re: Life strips all that down to its barest level: You want to try your high school life again, right? Well here you go. It’s not pandering or throwing ladies in your lap. It’s just giving you that exact chance. The lack of elements of fantasy is what draws me to Re: Life. Perhaps later on it…oh, Crunchyroll already posted the entire series already? Welp, this preview became pointless. Moving on!
The Morose Mononokean
Ah this is one of those “sexy guy yokai” anime! I know these, they’re at least better than the “sexy 12 year old boy” anime. Kind of like that one about the Hell bureaucrat from a few years ago, Hoozuki. They’re usually perfectly serviceable fluff even if a bunch of the jokes can get lost in translation. I mostly find it funny that the staff working on this have mostly come up together at studio Arms, working on Elfen Lied, Ikkitousen and Queen’s Blade. Nothing brings a staff together more than having another meeting about making sure the character’s breast sizes remain at the correct size in each frame.
It’s Key! You know Key, the makers of those visual novels that you look back and feel embarrassed by how easily you allowed yourself to be emotionally manipulated by. Clannad, Kanon, Air, Little Busters. Although it seems like the staff they’re throwing at these really get worse every time. It used to be Kyoto Animation and all their animation prowess, but then KyoAni decided they liked animating their own shitty light novels so Little Busters went to JC Staff. Which is a significant downgrade until you see that Rewrite is at 8-Bit, the makers of Infinite Stratos and Comet Lucifer. Although I suppose both those anime were actually pretty well animated. OK fine, how about the part where it’s being directed by the guy who directed Grisaia? Yeah. I’ll admit I was never interested in the first place because Key is my nightmare, but seeing Romeo Tanaka’s name on it nearly drags me back in. Anyone who wrote Humanity has Declined deserves to be followed to see what else comes out of that crazy head of his. Apparently he just wrote one of the arcs, so if some kind person could inform me of which arc was his then I’ll probably at least try watching that arc.
Mob Psycho 100
You know what was a pretty OK anime? One Punch Man. I wouldn’t go further than that. I don’t really get the insane love that property garners from fans. But it was fine. I particularly liked what the anime brought to the table from an animation standpoint versus the manga. Well Mob Psycho 100 comes to us from the same manga author but this time instead of the super polished art style it got when it was picked up by major publishers, they left in his crappy drawings. Which is what makes the trailers for this thing look incredible because they can be so experimental with scene and character composition. It’s halfway to looking like it comes from Maasaki Yuasa. This is Bones rather than Madhouse now, the studio who brought together crazy people to make the brilliant madness of Space Dandy, so I just like seeing what they do visually. Although the staff here appear to have previously worked on a bunch of Madhouse anime, so it turns out studios attached to anime mean nothing after all. Might as well hang up my season preview hat right here.
The Noitamina anime this season. Let’s see what crazy high concept, original anime they’re bringing this time. So it’s about two kids who play baseball. They’re a pitcher and a catcher. They probably want to go to Koshien together. And yeah, that’s about it. Real original there guys. I dunno man, I read a bit of the older manga adaptation of this novel and it seemed fine. A bit self-serious but in a way I was kinda into. It’s like those older shoujo titles where nobody ever cracks a joke and everything is the most serious thing in the world, which I kinda prefer to what a lot of modern shoujo is (at least the shoujo that’s being turned into anime). It just doesn’t appear to have any hook or unique selling point whatsoever.
It’s Baccano! Apart from the whole being set in prohibition-era America involving rival gangs thing, there is a genuine through line here. So Brains Base made Baccano. The staff then went onto make Durarara. They had issues trying to get a Durarara sequel made, so eventually a new studio was formed called Shuka who made Durarara 2. Now Shuka are making 91 Days. That’s not even that many steps removed. It’s basically Baccano. Ergo anime of the year, hand back that award Rakugo, your crown is about to be taken. I am definitely not hyping up this anime too much.
I started reading the manga for this after hearing a bunch of positive stuff and was left feeling a bit nonplussed. Sure it looked reasonably nice but the story didn’t appear to have any meaning and the jokes consisted only of people going into super deformed mode and characters would say something banal then stare at the scenery as though they had just said something super meaningful and…wait a second *checks author*, this is by the author of Aria! I never did write that “why Aria is bad and it’s not because it’s boring or because nothing happens because neither of those things are true” post. I just think they’re straightforwardly poorly written with bad comedy and pish attempts at thematic depth. But I understand this is not a popular opinion so if you are one of those people who love Aria, they brought back all the staff for Amanchu. This time it’s set on earth and involves scuba diving instead of being set on Mars in fake Venice because fuck setting it in real Venice that’s boring.
It’s an anime about a college all-boys cheerleading team and I bloody love it. You may have noticed the increase in sports anime with lots of cute boys in them. It’s always been popular to a certain degree, and even Prince of Tennis exists which was made specifically for those fangirls. But it seems to have really kicked up a notch in recent years, particularly thanks to the popularity of Kuroko Plays With His Balls. It’s a trend I’m fairly happy with. OK I admittedly like very few of them, but I like a good sports anime occasionally and particularly got into Haikyuu. But what I like most of all is seeing more obscure sports like volleyball, rather than the 20th iteration of teenage boys playing baseball and trying to get to Koshien. It’s why I’m particularly looking forward to that rugby anime with the amazing buttocks next season. But what I like about Cheer Boys is they really make no pretense it’s not for girls. I was a young teenage boy once and I know I wouldn’t have touched an anime about cheerleading boys for fear of catching The Gay. Now though? I’m all over that shit. It may still not be good since it’s by Brains Base and they’ve been crap for a few years now. But hey, at least it’s not ruddy baseball again.
This basically reads as “hey you remember how great Shirobako was? Let’s adapt this manga which is basically Shirobako except with a game company. Also you know how the only real issue with Shirobako was how all the men had varying body types and looked their age but all the women looked like high school students with the same thin body? Let’s repeat that mistake except now they all look 12”. I haven’t read the manga yet because I was too busy trying to capture a meaningless piece of land next to a windmill in Greece but this DJ on roller skates kept pushing me into a pit, so maybe it really is as good as Shirobako. But the staff certainly aren’t as good. Team who worked on Plastic Memories? Hmmm….
The Disastrous Life of Saiki K.
This is one of those shounen comedy types where a guy has this one ability and eventually beats the bullies at their own game. Following on from stuff like Angel Face or Sakamoto-kun or Denpa Kyoushi. This time the dude has psychic powers. Mind-reading, moving with his mind, etc. He just hates having these powers and wishes he could just live normally, except he somehow keeps his psychic powers to make sure nobody notices he has tiny antlers and stupid glasses? Anyway, the manga was all right. It had a few good gags. The director also did Cromartie High School, which is a really good sign. I just doubt it has any staying power.
Servamp should be an inspiring story for young authors out there. Because when you read this you will find yourself wondering how did something so bland, so unoriginal, so poorly written and unfunny, with no interesting characters nor engaging plot points, get published, you will realise anything is possible. It should remove your fear from sending your work out to publishers as you think to yourself “well, Servamp got published “.
Quite a lot of sports anime this season. The issue with sports anime can be it’s hard to preview since they’re all basically the same when you get down to it. Teenagers form team and fight to be the best etc and so on. Either it has to have some kind of unique selling point (like, I dunno, focusing on adults) or feature an unusual sport to stand point. Days is about soccer, literally the most popular sport on the planet, so that’s not happening. On the other hand, it is being animated by Mappa, and I generally really like Mappa, so that will at least demand I check it out. All Haikyuu needed for me to stick with it longer than most other sports shows was really good animation, and once you finally reach the tournament arcs I’m generally fully on board by that stage.
I remember after Rage of Bahamut I was really excited for the future of anime based off phone games. Without the complex plots of regular video games, anime producers would be free to write whatever wonderful stories they like. Instead we’ve been getting cute girl crapola like Ange Vierge and now I feel stupid for trusting anime.
An original anime? How exciting! It’s about super-powered teenagers fighting monsters who all wear school uniform for some reason. The art is generic as fuck, the trailers are boring, and the whole thing looks like it exists as a vehicle for the OP and ED which feature the biggest names in anime music they’re trying to push. This is what happens when you get the authors of light novels like Date A Live and Hentai Neko to write an original story. Blergh.
Regalia: The Three Sacred Stars
The token anime original project that nobody watches this season. With the generic character designs, random mechas and plot that probably sounds more interesting on paper than it does in reality. There’s one every 6 months or so, from Argevollen, M3, Kuromukuro, Comet Lucifer and so on. The staff is very new so I wish them luck on their future endeavours, but high expectations I do not have.
This just seems really lazy. What are two things teenage girls love? Wizard of Oz except all as cute boys, and the mafia except all as cute boys. Lets smash them together in the laziest fashion ever, including the titles. I almost feel insulted.
Fudanshi Koukou Seikatsu
I was really disappointed to learn that this was only going to be a short because I was so into the premise. It’s about a straight dude who’s really into BL manga. It follows his life with his friends including a non-fujoshi girl, a gay dude and some other wacky characters. Maybe the humour simply works better? I could see that happening.
Sca-red Rider XechS
There’s yet to be an otome game adaptation I’ve liked, but I will at least give them this: They’re certainly picking more interesting premises to turn into anime nowadays. It’s not just random girl goes to idol school with tons of sexy brainless dudes. This absurdly titled anime (do you think they just misspelled Sacred?) is about the world being threatened by an alien menace called…wait for it…Nightfly O’Note. Look man, just because you plonk a random O before the surname doesn’t make him Irish, also when are we aliens? There’s an agency set up to fight the alien menace made up of sexy dudes with colour coordinated hair and this is where our heroine steps in. It sounds like I’m mocking it and partly because I am, but it’s better than bishoujo games and their relentless posh high school settings with the main guy walking in on the student council president changing. Satelight are doing the animation which at least means it should be better looking than the standard usually given for otome games, where it looks like the animators drew by clasping their pencils in between their butt cheeks.
Hybrid × Heart Magic Academy Ataraxia
A guy goes to magical high school where he has to touch boobies to get super powers. Light novels ladies and gentlemen.
This Art Club Has a Problem
Someone forget to tell feel that it’s been over 7 years since the first season of K-ON and that highschool clubs featuring a bunch of girls doing not very much aren’t the hot thing anymore. No, now you’ve got to show those girls growing up and having their dreams crushed by the reality of office jobs. Shirobako was a pretty great show guys.
Time Travel Girl
This one made a lot more sense when I realised it was airing on the educational TV timeslot in Japan. Oh right, it’s one of those time travel cartoons where you teach kids about history and science. That’s cool. Admittedly I believe this educational slot has aired some not-so-educational anime like Dennou Coil or Phi Brain, so who knows what this turns out to be. I just like that his director made his start in the industry working on hentai and hyper violent OVAs including stuff like MD Geist. Quite the career shift.
Puzzles and Dragons Cross
I saw this one coming. If they’re making anime of phone games, why not jump on the biggest phone game in Japan? I gather they’re basically trying to make a kids show out of it and compete with the likes of Pokemon. It’s not going to be like that other phone game for kids adaptation Monster Strike where they ran 5 minute episodes only on Youtube. I watched a couple of them for whatever reason. They had a weird sense of humour like they were adults who had never interacted with kids before were trying to make a kids show but just put in humour adults would find funny? It was odd. I should probably try watch more of that.
Love Live Sunshine
Speaking of phone game adaptations, since that’s basically what Love Live is nowadays. I awoke one day to discover Love Live had become a social phenomenon on the scale of Breaking Bad and I still don’t entirely understand why. They’re doing a soft reboot with a whole new cast of characters with indistinguishable faces because all their character designs are the exact same. The first episode is out and people seem to like it, but people also like eating mayonnaise so I don’t trust people anymore.
A prequel to Barakamon so I suppose it deserves a proper preview since you won’t have to have seen Barakamon to get it. That said, I don’t understand why you would make a prequel to Barakamon. The good things about Barakamon are watching an uptight young adult artist be sent to the countryside to calm his tits and discovering the joys of being constantly hounded by children who want to throw him off the pier. A prequel would have none of that. The teenage version of the main character will still be the uptight piece of crap with no character development. There’s no countryside theme of the small village or the enjoyment of watching kids do dumb stuff. It basically takes out everything good about Barakamon, unless you were really into the calligraphy part I suppose.
B-Project: Kodou Ambitious
These boys idol anime are turning into light novel adaptations about magical high school levels of completely indistinguishable from each other crap.
Tales of Zestiria the X
It’s the opening of the Simpsons with Bart writing on the board “video game adaptations are never good”.
Mahō Shōjo? Naria Girls
It’s by the makers of gdgd fairies so obviously it will be a masterpiece.
Alderan of the Sky
It’s a light novel about an irregular dude at military school who leads a platoon despite being too cool for everyone and a pervert somewhere in there too. This preview is getting long and I’ve lost patience.
It’s a cat who is a banana. Rakugo watch out, anime of the year right here.
A bunch of anime have already aired so talking about the sequels is a bit of a waste of time. I do however want to say my piece on Berserk.
Fuck CG Berserk
…ok but seriously, I’ve heard people say you should still be grateful to get the long-awaited animated sequel to Berserk that we’ve wanted for the past 19 years. But I don’t stand by that statement. If someone serves you food on a plate made of hardened cow shit, even if you are starving you’ll still be quite angry about that. Anime CG has come a long way but it still looks so off compared to regular animation and light years behind western CG due to how they try to make it look like regular anime. And Berserk CG isn’t even good by anime standards if they’re anything like those movies. Plus at the end of the day, part of me doesn’t even want more Berserk. The more I hear about what happens after the end of the Golden Age arc, the less I find myself being interested in it. It goes from this perfect Macbeth-esque rise and fall story arc to a simple adventure story full of demon rape and being on boats for years. Maybe one day I’ll read the manga, maybe when the author has finally finished it. In other words, it’s going to be another 19 years before I read it.
As for other sequels, there’s not much I’m personally interested in, or indeed anything at all which is a bit disappointing. I’m sure there are a lot of people out there who are incredibly excited about new D Grey Man who will feel very let down when they seen how many episodes this supposed sequel is set to air for. Cute High School Defense Force Love, or whatever order those words go in, was animated on a shoestring budget anyway so I suppose it’s understandable they were able to pitch their pocket change together to have a sequel made. Active Raid is currently a lock for Biggest Disappointment of 2016. Prism Illya is for those currently on FBI watchlists. Arslan is the only one I might watch some day if I ever get back to the first season. I did like parts of it but the lacklustre animation and a couple of very poor episodes in quick succession turned me off.