Random Curiosity

Summer 2015 Preview! »« Winter 2015 Preview!

Spring 2015 Preview!

I can’t believe a year has already passed since I last wrote a preview introduction. I love spring; not only because it brings us warmer weather, but it’s one of my favorite anime seasons, and it marks the anniversary for a handful of writers here at Random Curiosity. This April we welcome back a ton of sequels to everyone’s favorite series. We have newly announced sequels after last year’s successful prequels (Nisekoi:, Sidonia no Kishi: Dai-kyuu Wakusei Sen-eki), and some series with long-awaited sequels (Digimon Adventure tri., Yahari Ore no Seishun Rabukome wa Machigatteiru. Zoku). There’s also a good combination of new (Kekkai Sensen, Shokugeki no Souma) and old (Fate/stay night Unlimited Blade Works 2nd Season) adaptation favorites. And if none of that tickles your fancy, you still have completely original anime (Plastic Memories) to look forward to. Regardless of what your preferences are, I don’t doubt that you’ll find something that catches your eye this season. After a mediocre winter season, I’m so pumped for spring! Bring on all 46 shows!

 

As a quick reminder, most entries are divided into two paragraphs:

  • A brief introduction to the series and its premise, often with the starring cast of characters.
  • The writer’s impressions, expanding on the plot and highlighting specific points of interest.

This season we’ll continue using our Expectation Levels. Remember that these reflect our own subjective excitement level for each show, and do not necessarily reflect how shows will pan out. For more information, check out the Overall Impressions section at the bottom, which includes an expanded explanation of each category and a list of all shows by expectation level.

 

Disclaimer: Back in the ancient era of 2012, previews were done by a single writer, Divine. Unfortunately, none of the current writers are as crazy awesome as him, so we’ve divvied them up among our staff (Cherrie, Passerby, Samu, Stilts, Takaii, Zanibas, and Zephyr) in order to maintain the quality of this preview. We will try to point out what appeals to us in each series, in the hope that it will help you determine if it coincides with your tastes.

Disclaimer #2: Please note that this list does not reflect all the series airing this coming season. It is meant to be as comprehensive as possible, but omissions have been made for shows that stray from the anime norm or seem to be oriented toward young children. Please check out MOON PHASE for complete listings, syoboi for specific air times, and Fansub DB for a list of potential subbers for each series.

Once again, thank you to the entire RandomC staff for helping out with this preview. Also, for anyone looking for a second opinion, feel free to check out LiA’s Spring preview, completely written by Enzo himself. Finally, a special thanks to all of you for your continued support of Random Curiosity. We say this every time, but that doesn’t make it any less true. Thank you.


TV Series


Technical Note: The chart below is ordered by the date and time that the shows premiere. The links in the schedule will take you to a series’ corresponding entry and the “Top” links on the right will bring you back. You can also use the back/forward buttons in your browser to jump between links you’ve clicked. All times are given in a 24-hour, relative-day format where times are extended to show which day they belong to. For instance, Friday morning at 1:30AM would become Thursday at 25:30 to show that the episode aired late Thursday night.

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Arslan Senki
17:00 MBS (4/5)
Ace of Diamond 2nd Season
18:00 TX (4/6)
Hibike! Euphonium
24:30 MX (4/7)
Gintama゚
18:00 TXN (4/8)
Etotama
23:00 MX (4/9)
Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha ViVid
22:30 MX (4/3)
Kyoukai no RINNE
17:30 NHK (4/4)
Baby Steps 2
17:30 NHK (4/5)
Teekyuu 4
25:05 MX (4/6)
Triage X
25:05 MX (4/8)
Ninja Slayer From Animation
23:00 Niconico (4/16)
Nisekoi:
23:30 MX (4/10)
Denpa Kyoushi
17:30 ytv (4/4)
SHOW BY ROCK!!
22:00 MX (4/5)
Takamiya Nasuno Desu!
25:08 MX (4/6)
Ore Monogatari!!
25:29 ntv (4/8)
Punch Line
24:55 CX (4/9)
Dungeon ni Deai o Motomeru no wa Machigatte Iru Darouka
25:05 MX (4/3)
Owari no Seraph
22:00 MX (4/4)
Rainy Cocoa
22:27 SUN (4/5)
Mikagura Gakuen Kumikyoku
26:35 TVA (4/6)
Houkago no Pleiades
26:44 ABC (4/8)
Danna ga Nani wo Itteiru ka Wakaranai Ken 2 Sure-me
25:00 TVS (4/2)
Nagato Yuki-chan no Shoushitsu
25:40 MX (4/3)
High School DxD BorN
23:00 AT-X (4/4)
Ghost in the Shell Arise: Alternative Architecture
22:30 MX (4/5)
Urawa no Usagi-chan
25:35 TVS (4/9)
VAMPIRE HOLMES
25:55 tvk (4/3)
Gunslinger Stratos
23:30 MX (4/4)
Grisaia no Rakuen
23:00 AT-X (4/19)
Yahari Ore no Seishun Rabukome wa Machigatteiru. Zoku
25:46 TBS (4/2)
Sidonia no Kishi: Dai-kyuu Wakusei Sen-eki
25:55 TBS (4/10)
Fate/stay night Unlimited Blade Works 2nd Season
24:00 MX (4/4)
Yamada-kun to 7-nin no Majo
23:30 MX (4/12)
Re-Kan!
26:16 TBS (4/2)
Shokugeki no Souma
26:40 MBS (4/3)
Plastic Memories
24:30 MX (4/4)
Hello!! Kiniro Mosaic
24:00 AT-X (4/5)
Uta no Prince-sama: Maji Love Revolutions
25:00 MX (4/4)
Tesagure! Bukatsumono Spin-off Purupurun Sharumu to Asobou
25:55 ntv (4/4)
Kekkai Sensen
26:58 MBS (4/4)
Saint Seiya -Ougon Tamashii soul of gold-
Web (4/11)

* Jump to OVA/Movies.

Danna ga Nani wo Itteiru ka Wakaranai Ken 2 Sure-me
旦那が何を言っているかわからない件 2スレ目Top
http://www.dreamcreation.co.jp/danna/
Animation: Seven Premiere: April 2, 2015
Genre: Comedy, Slice-of-Life Airtime (GMT+9): Thursdays at 25:00
Episodes: 13 Station: Teletama (TVS)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @anime_danna or #ダンナ

Preview by Passerby

After a brief break, everyone’s favourite series of five minute shorts about a mismatched couple muddling through their daily life returns! Tsunashi Kaoru (Tamura Yukari) still has trouble giving up her booze and smokes, and her otaku husband Hajime (Suzumura Kenichi) still can’t wean himself from the internet, but they manage to get along royally. They get along so well, in fact, that they’re about to have a kid! Suitably, this new spring season is also a new chapter in their lives. And it’s also interesting that two such contrasting characters like the Tsunashis are actually creating offspring. Doesn’t it make you even slightly curious about the result?

The first run of I Can’t Understand What My Husband Is Saying was one of the best short-length anime of 2014, being an adult yet charming series, sweet enough to rot teeth without sacrificing its mature edge. Director and screenwriter Nagai Shinpei did a good job remixing the messy folio of Cool-kyou Shinja’s 4-koma into something coherent. Yes, the shorts were still mostly a series of comedy sketches, but when put together they provided a clear sense of progression and character development. All this to tackle a subject matter rare in anime: married life, like a less dramatic CLANNAD ~AFTER STORY~ delivered in five minute bites. More broadly, Danna ga Nani o Itteiru Wakaranai speaks of a shared humanity between people of all shapes, and that people are pretty funny. Hey, it’s only five minutes every week. Watch the first season and watch this one. It’s a low investment for high returns.

Watching This: Guardian Enzo, Passerby, Samu, Stilts, Takaii, Zanibas, Zephyr Expectation Level: Moderate
Yahari Ore no Seishun Rabukome wa Machigatteiru. Zoku
やはり俺の青春ラブコメはまちがっている。 続Top
http://www.tbs.co.jp/anime/oregairu/
Animation: feel. Premiere: April 2, 2015
Genre: Comedy, Romance Airtime (GMT+9): Thursdays at 25:46
Episodes: 13 Station: TBS
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @anime_oregairu or #oregairu

Preview by Takaii

Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Come wa Machibatteiru, or Oregairu, makes its triumphant return this spring. While some people may say that sequels never manage to grab the spark that made the original so good, it’s hard to think that a show this off-base wouldn’t be able to hit a homerun with its rather unique premise. I mean, who wouldn’t want to watch a show where the entire cast of characters each has some kind of serious character flaw? Self-centered, egotistical, manipulative, lazy, and a complete hatred of anything involving seishun or youth only brushes the surface of what characters like Hikigaya Hachiman (Eguchi Takuya) and Yukinoshita Yukino (Hayami Saori) bring to the table. Toss in Yuigahama Yui (Touyama Nao), who rounds out the other two by being somewhat normal, and you have the loveable trio that make up the Volunteer Service Club. A club that, in the eternal words of Yukino, exists for her to help all the lost lambs of the world.

For those of you who don’t know, I covered the first season of this show, and I enjoyed a lot of it. The characters are all a bit quirky in a strange way, but not to the point where you can’t stomach them (except for maybe Zaimokuza, but I think he’s designed to be like that). The story technically revolves around Hachiman as he struggles against his daily high school life, but Yui and Yukino both get their fair share of story time. If I had one complaint, it would have to be the studio change to Feel from Brain’s Base. Not necessarily because I have anything for or against either studio, but with how well Brain’s Base did with the first season, it would be a shame if Feel somehow managed to screw it up. That said, Feel has managed to not completely botch things, and with Oregairu having an established track record as a good show, I think we can have a little hope that things will end up being okay.

Watching This: Samu, Stilts, Takaii, Zanibas, Zephyr Expectation Level: Moderately High
Show Yahari Ore no Seishun Rabukome wa Machigatteiru. Zoku Promotional Videos ▼

Re-Kan! | レーカン!Top
http://www.tbs.co.jp/anime/re-kan/
Animation: Pierrot Plus Premiere: April 2, 2015
Genre: Comedy, Supernatural Airtime (GMT+9): Thursdays at 26:16
Episodes: 13 Station: TBS
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @re_kan_anime or #レーカン

Preview by Stilts

Based on the 4-koma manga of the same name, Re-Kan! centers around Amami Hibiki (Kido Ibuki), a polite, low key, and slightly air-headed girl who can see ghosts and supernatural phenomena. The story follows her in her daily life with both her regular friends and otherworldy beings.

This is a 4-koma slice-of-life adaptation that, of the four facets of slice-of-life, leans most on comedy and atmosphere. The comedy: good. What I read of the manga made me chuckle in a low key manner that’s in line with Hibiki’s personality. The atmosphere: light-hearted and warm. Any potential horror in the premise is dodged in favor of spirits that, while occasionally grotesque, are largely benign. As for the plot: no signs so far. Granted, we only read so much of the source material for these previews, so it could ramp up later on, but I’m not counting on it. I’m neither especially excited nor pessimistic about this series. It looks solid, competent, but not a world beater. If a low key slice-of-life comedy sounds like your thing, give this one a shot. Go in with moderate expectations and I bet it will be pleasant.

Watching This: Zephyr Expectation Level: Moderate
Show Re-Kan! Promotional Videos ▼

Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha ViVid | 魔法少女リリカルなのはViVidTop
http://nanoha-vivid.tv/
Animation: A-1 Pictures Premiere: April 3, 2015
Genre: Action, Fantasy, Military Airtime (GMT+9): Fridays at 22:30
Episodes: 12 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation

Preview by Stilts

Eight years after the StrikerS anime, the Nanoha universe is finally returning to your living room with ViVid. Takamachi Nanoha (Tamura Yukari) and Fate Testarossa (Mizuki Nana) are still around, but it’s their adopted daughter Takamachi Vivio (Mizuhashi Kaori) that’s taking center stage. Set four years after the ‘JS Incident’ of terrorist attacks in StrikerS, Vivio is now a fourth-year elementary student at St. Hilde Academy of Magic. Vivio has learned how to transform into her adult form at will, and has received her own Device—Sacred Heart—from Nanoha, in exchange for promising to never use either for mischief. That’s when a mysterious magical fighter claiming the name of an ancient Belkan ruler appears and targets Vivio.

For those new to the magical girl game, you might not realize that Madoka wasn’t the first time Shinbo revolutionized the genre. Nanoha’s wrinkle was to add military to magical girls, and turn the battles into explosion-filled sci-fi/magical slugfests that are less about the power of love, and more about nuking your enemies into friends (trope!). The Nanoha series was giving us Fate-style combat before Fate/stay night had an anime that was worth a damn, and it’s what Prisma Illya has always been trying to be. StrikerS all but killed Nanoha anime, but the ViVid manga proved its foundations were still good. If you watched the first three series, and enjoyed the first one and A’s, watch this—from what I’ve read and heard, it’s a return to form. For new viewers, this is the easiest point to jump in, since a new protagonist is taking over. I do have some concerns about the main staff, who have few credits to their names, but I’m going to watch it anyway. Nanoha is exactly the kind of fantasy-action I love, filled with badass martial arts, uplifting characters, and more explosions (trope!) than you can wave an Intelligent Device at. If you like explosive magical combat—and don’t mind lolis, though they grow up when it’s time to fight—watch this. Watch it, watch it, watch it! Now I just hope they can do an old stalwart justice.

Watching This: Stilts, Zephyr Expectation Level: Established
Show Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha ViVid Promotional Videos ▼

Dungeon ni Deai o Motomeru no wa Machigatte Iru Darouka
ダンジョンに出会いを求めるのは間違っているだろうかTop
http://danmachi.com/
Animation: J.C. Staff Premiere: April 3, 2015
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Romance Airtime (GMT+9): Fridays at 25:05
Episodes: 13 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @danmachi_anime or #danmachi

Preview by Stilts

Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? takes place in the city of Orario, commonly known as “Dungeon” for its huge underground labyrinths. Adventurers, supported by gods and goddesses, flock to Orario to seek honor, adventure, and maybe even love. Bell Cranel (Matsuoka Yoshitsugu) is a newbie adventurer who dreams of having a fateful meeting with a pretty girl. One day during an adventure, he’s attacked by a dangerous minotaur, but before it could finish him off he’s saved by a top-class adventurer named Ais Wallenstein (Oonishi Saori). He falls in love with her at first sight, and aspires to reach her level. Later, Bell finally meets a god of his own—Hestia (Minase Inori), the failed “lolita god” who doesn’t have even one follower, and who quickly falls in love with Bell.

This is a magical-fantasy-action-harem anime based on a light novel with a Matsuoka Yoshitsugu main character (déjà vu!). While recently I mean that as a slam, I’m a little excited about this one. As an author of fantasy adventurer stories myself, this is certainly in my wheelhouse, and I’ve long affection for J.C. Staff romcoms. The premise seems shallow, though, as a disconcerting number of light novel plots tend to be, with all the focus on wish fulfilment-style harem antics instead of anything of substance. I was surprised that Bell’s god, Hestia, appears to be the leading lady—and that, despite her title as the “lolita god”, she’s actually quite busty. The staff is heartening though, with people in key positions having plenty of experience both in general and with J.C.Staff productions / romcoms in particular, led by director Yamakawa Yoshiki (Hatsukoi Limited, Little Busters!). This is hitting a lot of tropes I like, but it’s not giving me reason to think it will transcend them. If you’re a magical-fantasy-action-harem fan, this one looks more encouraging than some. I just have my doubts on whether it will be able to draw in a wider fanbase.

Watching This: Cherrie, Stilts, Zanibas, Zephyr Expectation Level: Moderate
Show Dungeon ni Deai o Motomeru no wa Machigatte Iru Darouka Promotional Videos ▼

Nagato Yuki-chan no Shoushitsu | 長門有希ちゃんの消失Top
http://www.yukichan-anime.com/
Animation: Satelight Premiere: April 3, 2015
Genre: Romance, Slice-of-life Airtime (GMT+9): Fridays at 25:40
Episodes: 16 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @yukichan_anime or #有希ちゃん

Preview by Passerby

How does one explain the Suzumiya Haruhi franchise to the uninitiated? Based on a light novel by Tanigawa Nagaru, the original Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu took 2006 by storm and arguably influenced an entire generation of Japanese popular media. Its relatively simple premise—a normal high school life masquerading a world of the supernatural—belied some clever writing and an almost absurdist comic style that in anime is rarely replicated. Nagato Yuki-chan no Shoushitsu, however, is nothing at all like that, since it takes the central conceit of the Disappearance arc, in which supernatural elements never existed, and runs heavily with it. Our main lead Nagato Yuki (Chihara Minori) is but a shy young girl who is definitely not an alien cyborg interface, and she heads the Literature Club whose only other members are her close friend Asakura Ryouko (Kuwatani Natsuko) and secret crush Kyon (Sugita Tomokazu). Together they… well, they don’t do much of anything. Which is sort of the point.

The conclusion of the Disappearance story was that a more peaceful world is necessarily less interesting, and Nagato Yuki-chan no Shoushitsu is the natural extension of that. So while the parent Suzumiya Haruhi—animated by Kyoto Animation—was urban fantasy, the spinoff Nagato Yuki-chan—animated by Satelight, and with a different set of staff—is just urban. Don’t expect most of this anime to have any complex causal paradoxes or witty internal narration. In likelihood, only dedicated fans of the franchise (though they be legion) would feel compelled to follow this alternate-world slice of life fantasy. It is, in essence, fanservice, especially for fans of Nagato Yuki and her unrequited love. It’s an excuse for familiar faces to go out of character and just indulge in fluff for a while. Sure, some semblance of plot may rear its malformed head in time, but that’s secondary to Yuki starring in her very own ‘what-if’ rom-com to appease the shippers. That’s a fairly targeted audience, but even that niche may be pretty big.

Watching This: Cherrie, Passerby, Samu, Takaii, Zanibas Expectation Level: Moderate
Show Nagato Yuki-chan no Shoushitsu Promotional Videos ▼

VAMPIRE HOLMESTop
http://www.cucuri.co.jp/holmes.html
Animation: Premiere: April 3, 2015
Genre: Supernatural, Drama Airtime (GMT+9): Fridays at 25:55
Episodes: 12 Station: tvk
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @vampire_holmes

Preview by Takaii

While I don’t personally enjoy all these shows that take their source material from things that have little to no story, Vampire Holmes seems to be skirting this by combining two really popular things: vampires and One of the Greatest Detectives to live in my imagination. Being adapted from a somewhat popular mobile game, this show focuses on a character named Holmes who lives in London. Except he doesn’t want anything to do with mystery solving, and makes a living as a private detective even though he doesn’t want to be one. All of which is exasperated by his ability to always solve any case he’s been given without any rhyme or reason. So of course, it makes sense that London’s police force tasks him with the duty to search for vampires hiding through the city.

After trying to find as much information as possible about this show and rereading the things I did find, I’m still not sure I understood what I read. You have a show that’s staged in London and is pulling on a lot of popular themes that originated from there, except in this context it feels like someone had ideas on a board and threw darts to decide what they wanted to do. Maybe the smartphone game does the story justice, but seeing how the app refuses to run on my phone, I’ll never be able to find out. For those who are still interested, the show is slated to air as five minute shorts, so if you do take the plunge, it looks like you won’t have to invest too much time!

Watching This: Guardian Enzo Expectation Level: Low
Shokugeki no Souma | 食戟のソーマTop
http://www.shokugekinosoma.com/
Animation: J.C. Staff Premiere: April 3, 2015
Genre: School-life Airtime (GMT+9): Fridays at 26:40
Episodes: 24 Station: MBS
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @shokugeki_anime or #shokugeki_anime

Preview by Samu

Shokugeki no Souma follows the title character, Yukihira Souma (Matsuoka Yoshitsugu), a boy whose dream has always been to become a full-time chef in his family restaurant, and one day surpass his father in his own field. However, as Souma graduates from middle school, his father announces that he’s closing down his restaurant to cook in Europe. Fortunately, this doesn’t stop Souma. Instead, it drives him to attend Totsuki Culinary Academy, a famous high school where out of all the students, only 10% graduate. It’s a place filled with famous faces, as well as those destined for success in the culinary field. It’s a school built around its hierarchy, where battles are fought to judge who is superior, and the students are never given a moment of rest, as they are constantly put through gruelling trials in hopes of attaining their cooking dreams.

There may not be any swords or magic in Shokugeki no Souma, but make no mistake, at its core this is still a Weekly Shonen Jump battle manga. Anyone who mistakes this as a straight-up cooking anime will be in for many surprises along the way. The battles between the aspiring chefs are bursting with action and packed with details that will inspire you to try and replicate their lavish dishes. I’ve been following the manga since the beginning of its serialisation, and it’s proven itself to be one of the best weekly reads. Another major attraction to the series is its fanservice and how well it is done, and I say that as someone who dislikes the typical ‘ecchi’ shows that we get every season. But Shokugeki no Souma is smart, incorporating it through over-the-top foodgasms that never fail to be outrageous and hilarious. And the best part about it? Equal opportunity fanservice! It’s not just the girls whose clothes burst from excitement, but the guys as well. It’s refreshing, and doesn’t exclude any particular demographic from enjoying their favourite characters in provocative positions as they drool over their new favourite dessert. If you’re looking for an unorthodox battle anime, you should give this a shot. And if you’re looking for hilarious softcore porn, you could probably check this out as well.

Watching This: Cherrie, Guardian Enzo, Passerby, Samu, Stilts, Zanibas, Zephyr Expectation Level: High
Show Shokugeki no Souma Promotional Videos ▼

Kyoukai no RINNE | 境界のRINNETop
http://anime-rinne.com/
Animation: NHK Enterprises x Brain’s Base Premiere: April 4, 2015
Genre: Action, Fantasy, Comedy Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays at 17:30
Episodes: 25 Station: NHK
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @nhk_rinne or #境界のRINNE

Preview by Zanibas

Mamiya Sakura (Inoue Maria) is sick and tired of ghosts. They just won’t leave her alone since the day she started seeing them after disappearing in the woods many years ago. To date, her powers haven’t really been of much use, though it does help her bond with fellow ghost-spotter Juumonji Tsubasa (Kimura Ryouhei), a childhood friend. That changes when fellow classmate Rokudou Rinne (Ishikawa Kaito) finally starts attending class, entangling Mamiya deeper in the supernatural, where sometimes a little money is involved.

Perhaps the most recognizable name attached to Rinne’s production would be Takahashi Rumiko, original creator of works such as Inuyasha, Maison Ikkoku, and Urusei Yatsura. For her name to appear on an anime once again after many years is a big deal, considering how she’s one of the most prolific mangaka of all time. However, Kyoukai no Rinne as a story seems to have received a mixed reception in its manga form. After watching the PVs, there is reassurance to be had. Brains Base is doing an excellent job with the art, keeping it both updated for modern standards and retaining the nostalgic style that Takahashi is known for. The seiyuu are well-trained veterans as well. What really hangs in the balance is whether director Sugawara Seiki can do this justice. With limited experience in a full directorial role (D-Frag!), this high profile work will absolutely define his future career. Fans of Takahashi, be sure to check out this adaptation and cross your fingers. If the execution falls flat, at least fans will be able to enjoy the nostalgic feel that is connected to many a fan’s first anime.

Watching This: Guardian Enzo, Samu Expectation Level: Moderate
Denpa Kyoushi | 電波教師Top
http://www.ytv.co.jp/denpa/
Animation: Yomiuri TV x A-1 Pictures Premiere: April 4, 2015
Genre: Comedy, School-life Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays at 17:30
Episodes: 24 Station: Yomiuri TV (ytv) / Nippon TV (ntv)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @depna_kyoshi or #denpa

Preview by Passerby

The Japanese education system, to hear people tell of it, is a merciless taskmaster, focused on rote learning and gruelling memory tests. New teacher Kagami Junichirou (Kamiya Hiroshi) is here to revolutionise the Japanese high school. Before he was a teacher, he was just some nerd, mulling at home and blogging about anime and all that generic nerd stuff. However, before he was just some nerd, Junichirou was actually an unparalleled genius celebrated in the scientific community, but for allegedly pathological reasons, he lost all his motivation. Not wanting to see Junichirou languish at home, his sister Suzune (Matsui Rena) signs him up to work as a physics teacher. But teaching high school science is boring. Junichirou instead takes it upon himself to guide his flock to finding something worth learning themselves. His methods are unorthodox, but he gets results. A maverick like Kagami Junichirou may just be what is needed to revitalise Japan’s next generation.

Another season, another anime about some otaku at some high school. Why are so many anime set in high schools, anyway? One theory is that high school is the last chance for dreams and imagination before Japanese society stomps it out of you. Fittingly, Denpa Kyoushi, based on a manga by Azuma Takeshi, is about chasing dreams, and regaining that burning passion of youth. So while the premise may look awfully like Mahou Sensei Negima without the magic, Ultimate Teacher is not just your average high school harem comedy. It is a celebration of individualism in a highly collectivist society, a social commentary that becomes increasingly important as modern Japan seems to slide further back into its old nationalistic lines. It also doesn’t hurt that Denpa Kyoushi is good fun. Kagami-sensei teaches a lot of quirky characters with quirky problems, and this show adheres closely to its core philosophy: to be interesting.

Watching This: Cherrie, Guardian Enzo, Passerby, Stilts, Zephyr Expectation Level: Moderate
Show Denpa Kyoushi Promotional Videos ▼

Owari no Seraph | 終わりのセラフTop
http://owarino-seraph.jp/
Animation: Wit Studio Premiere: April 4, 2015
Genre: Action, Drama, Supernatural Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays at 22:00
Episodes: 12 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @owarino_seraph or #終わりのセラフ

Preview by Samu

One day, out of the blue, the world was ravaged by an unknown virus, killing every infected human over the age of 13, while the children that remained were enslaved by the vampires that emerged from the bowels of Earth. Hyakuya Yuuichirou (Irino Miyu) is one of those survivors, now living underground, treated like livestock by the vampires. Along with his friend, Hyakuya Mikaela (Ono Kensho), who he grew up with in a orphanage, he dreams of one day escaping captivity and taking vengeance on all vampires. The pair come up with a plan to get to the outside world, but their attempt ends in tragedy as only one is able to make it out safely. However, once on the surface, Yuuichirou meets with the Japanese Imperial Demon Army, who seek to ally with him in order to avenge those he has lost to the vampires.

I’ve had my eye on Owari no Seraph since it’s publication in 2012. It was an early hit, and it’s easy to see why, appealing to both male and female demographics with its dark content, yet charming character designs. I like to think of Owari no Seraph as the little brother to Ao no Exorcist; they’re both in the same style, tell similar stories, and run in the same magazine. I’ve not read too far into the source material, but I know that the dramatic beginning is followed by a timeskip, and a shift to a school setting, similar to Ao no Exorcist – and I’m sure the similarities don’t end there. Even though Tokudo Daisuke hasn’t done enough to judge his directing ability, Wit Studio have proven themselves with Shingeki no Kyojin, so my expectations are set pretty high for this one. Owari no Seraph is also going to be split-cour, with its second cour airing in Fall, so you can expect a lengthy story to be told over the course of 2015. If you’re a fan of vampires and dark fantasy, or if you’ve been left feeling empty since Ao no Exorcist’s anime ended, then this will be a worthy pick up.

Watching This: Cherrie, Samu, Stilts, Zephyr Expectation Level: Moderately High
Show Owari no Seraph Promotional Videos ▼

High School DxD BorN | ハイスクールD×D BorNTop
http://www.haremking.tv/
Animation: TNK Premiere: April 4, 2015
Genre: Comedy, Fantasy Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays at 23:00
Episodes: 12 Station: AT-X
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @hdd_anime or #haremking

Preview by Stilts

The harem king of High School DxD is back for a third season! This series stars Hyoudou Issei (Kaji Yuki), a shamelessly perverted high schooler who was killed by a girl on his very first date. Luckily he was resurrected as a demon by the beautiful and busty school idol Rias Gremory (Hikasa Youko). Now Issei is one of Rias’ “chess pieces,” along with the sadistic queen Himejima Akeno (Itou Shizuka), taciturn rook Toujou Koneko (Taketatsu Ayana), ikemen knight Kiba Yuuto (Nojima Kenji), the lacking-in-common-sense knight Xenovia (Taneda Risa), the former-nun bishop Asia Argento (Asakura Azumi), and the trap to end all traps bishop, Gasper Vladi (Sakura Ayane). But Issei’s harem extends beyond that, as does the danger, as Issei’s powers grow and ever more powerful villains butt heads with Rias’ team.

For viewers of a certain anime-watching age, High School DxD is the gold standard of the magical-fantasy-action-harem ecchi genre. Its fanservice is as unabashed as its lead character, and the girls are increasingly okay with the harem setup—they’re competing for more of Issei’s attention, not trying for the whole pie. Add a plot that doesn’t feel vestigial—it may not be fine art, but it’s always solid, and occasionally damn good—and High School DxD deserves much of the praise it receives. It’s still firmly rooted in its genre, so you’re going to need to enjoy gratuitous breast viewings to enjoy it, but it does fantasy-action-fanservice well, and it doesn’t neglect our minds, our hearts, or our funny bones, even if its main focus is somewhere else. I feel like the second season wasn’t as strong as the first, but that’s mostly because of the plot it was adapting, not the quality of the adaptation itself. With the main cast, staff, and studio returning, if you liked the last two seasons, we already know you’ll be tuning in. If you’re new to the series, you’ve got two seasons to watch before spring begins. Chop chop!

Watching This: Stilts Expectation Level: Moderate
Show High School DxD BorN Promotional Videos ▼

Gunslinger Stratos | ガンスリンガー ストラトスTop
http://www.guns-project.jp/
Animation: A-1 Pictures Premiere: April 4, 2015
Genre: Action, Drama, Sci-Fi Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays at 23:30
Episodes: 12 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @guns_project_fs or @guns_project_17

Preview by Zephyr

The year is 2115 and Japan is been split into two parallel universes: the outlaw haven known as Frontier S (Stratos), and the totalitarian 17th Far East Imperial City Management District. Caught off guard by a disease that causes humans to rot away and crumble like sand, the world is suddenly thrown into chaos, one made worse by the conflicts between both universes. As the specter of destruction looms, Tooru Kazasumi (Abe Atsushi), a student in the Management District, suddenly finds himself dragged into the conflict, setting the stage for events that could determine the fate of two universes. Based on Square Enix’s popular arcade shooter of the same name, the series revolves around an original story by Urobuchi Gen and will be produced by A-1 Pictures. At the helm will be first time director Shinpei Ezaki (episode director for Guilty Crown, Kimi ni Todoke, Shingeki no Kyojin), who will be joined by seiyuu such as Hayami Saori, Mizuki Nana, and Sawashiro Miyuki—all of whom will be reprising their original game roles.

Talk about a mixed bag. On one hand, you have an amazing cast, what should be great production values, and a story by UroGen. On the other hand, it’s a series linked to an arcade game, and you have a first time director whose previous work included being the episode director for 5 episodes of Guilty Crown. It’s hard to predict what we’ll get given this combination, and I think being cautiously optimistic is the best way to go. There’s a solid sci-fi backdrop for fans of the genre, and the Butcher’s involvement—along with comments claiming at least one person will die—likely means we’ll receive a dramatic narrative that could be worth watching. The fact that the recent Shingeki no Bahamut was so well received illustrates the potential of series based on source material from other mediums, and this is the kind of series I want to be good, even if it has a lot working against it. Overall, it’s worth a watch—even Guilty Crown had a lot of potential—if only to see how they develop things here. I just hope that you’re prepared to jump ship, because this is the kind of series that could either pleasantly surprise or go downhill quickly.

Watching This: Guardian Enzo, Zephyr Expectation Level: Moderately High
Show Gunslinger Stratos Promotional Videos ▼

Fate/stay night Unlimited Blade Works 2nd SeasonTop
http://www.fate-sn.com/
Animation: ufotable Premiere: April 4, 2015
Genre: Action, Fantasy Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays at 24:00
Episodes: 12 (Ep. 13-24) Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @fate_sn_anime or #fate_sn_anime

Preview by Zephyr

Following a one-cour break, ufotable returns with Unlimited Blade Works’ second season, which continues the events of the fifth Holy Grail War. As a direct sequel to the first, Unlimited Blade Works will resume its focus on heroine Tohsaka Rin (Ueda Kana) and fellow classmate Emiya Shirou (Sugiyama Noriaki). Having been selected as “Masters,” they wield the legendary “Heroic Spirits” Archer and Saber in the fight against other Masters, all of whom are seeking to acquire the Grail and its abilities as an omnipotent wish granting device. Brought together by circumstance, this season will reveal the bonds of fate that tie them together and bring a conclusion to one of 2014’s most popular series. Miura Takahiro will return as director for this second season, joining the rest of the series’ cast in reprising their original roles.

Need I say any more? The Fate franchise speaks for itself, and the fact that ufotable’s a slam dunk in terms of production only adds to the rightful hype the series is receiving. Caster’s successful acquisition of Saber at the end of the first season means there’s a load of climactic developments waiting for us, and there’s much to be said about the twists and turns that await those watching this series for the first time. Unlimited Blade Works is a must-watch series based on production values alone, and there aren’t many words to describe how great it is to see ufotable finally give it the adaptation it deserves. It won’t ever hit the pinnacle that Fate/Zero did years back, but it will be a memorable journey in its own right, and it sets the stage for what could be the real treat: the movie adaptation of the series’ other route in Heaven’s Feel.

Watching This: Cherrie, Guardian Enzo, Passerby, Samu, Stilts, Takaii, Zephyr Expectation Level: High
Show Fate/stay night Unlimited Blade Works 2nd Season Promotional Videos ▼

Plastic Memories | プラスティック・メモリーズTop
http://www.plastic-memories.jp/
Animation: Doga Kobo Premiere: April 4, 2015
Genre: Drama, Sci-Fi Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays at 24:30
Episodes: 13 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @pla_memo or #plamemo

Preview by Stilts

In a future not too far away, androids that look exactly like humans begin to spread across the world. The android production company SA Corp created the Giftia, a new kind of android that has the most emotions and human-like qualities out of any model ever seen. However, due to problems with the technology, the androids have a service life, and once they pass that, it gets bad. For this reason, SA Corp created a terminal service in order to retrieve Giftia that have gone past their service life. Mizugaki Tsukasa (Takumi Yasuaki) is a new employee at the terminal service. He forms a team with the Giftia girl Isla (Amamiya Sora) to retrieve androids near the end of their lives.

I’m an unabashed fan of Dogakobo, and a strong supporter of original anime, so since this is Dogakobo’s first original series, you had better believe I’m interested. But I temper my expectations, for expectations are the death of enjoyment, even if the fundamentals do look good. Heading up the project is Fujiwara Yoshiyuki, returning Dogakobo director of GJ-bu and Mikakunin de Shinkoukei, while the script writer/original creator is Hayashi Naotaka, best known as the scenario writer for CHAOS;HEAD, Steins;Gate, Robotics;Notes, and Bravely Default. Do the character designs look a little Infinite Stratos to you? That’s because they were designed by Infinite Stratos’ original artist, okiura. Plot-wise, it looks like Plastic Memories is adopting a bittersweet stance, from a premise that promises heartbreak to promo videos with mournful music over smiling faces and worrying text. This feels like a sci-fi tragedy in the making, where earnest characters will defy the inevitable, and I don’t know if they’ll get their happy endings. It’s fascinating subject material, and something we may someday have to honestly consider. Temper your expectations, for I would expect a slow build, but I’m excited nonetheless. Just remember: as Studio Gokumi’s own first original, Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru, proved last fall, all the solid fundamentals in the world won’t matter if you don’t have a good story to tell, and if you don’t make the sometimes hard choices to tell it well. Only time will tell.

Watching This: Cherrie, Guardian Enzo, Passerby, Samu, Stilts, Zephyr Expectation Level: High
Show Plastic Memories Promotional Videos ▼

Uta no Prince-sama: Maji Love Revolutions
うたの☆プリンスさまっ♪マジLOVEレボリューションズTop
http://www.utapri.com/
Animation: A-1 Pictures Premiere: April 4, 2015
Genre: Comedy, Music, Romance Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays at 25:00
Episodes: 13 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @utapri_official

Preview by Samu

After a successful debut, STARISH are now well-known idols. Aspiring composer Nanami Haruka (Sawashiro Miyuki) continues working with the members of STARISH on a professional and emotional level. Among those members are Ittoki Otoya (Terashima Takuma), a positive and energetic boy who loves nothing more than singing; Hijirikawa Masato (Suzumura Kenichi), a piano player taking over his family business; Shinomiya Natsuki (Taniyama Kishou), a viola player with a split personality; Ichinose Tokiya (Miyano Mamoru), the perfectionist brother of Haruka’s idol, Hayato; Jinguuji Ren (Suwabe Junichi), a flirtatious saxophone player; Kurusu Shou (Shimono Hiro), an energetic and cheerful boy with an underlying heart condition; and their latest addition, Aijima Cecil (Toriumi Kousuke), the self-proclaimed prince of Agnalolis. After a rivalry with opposing idol group HEAVENS, in an all-for-play competition, STARISH performed Maji Love 2000% and won over the crowd. But before HEAVENS could fulfil their promise and disband their group, STARISH convinced them otherwise, declaring that there are no losers when it comes to music.

As someone who watched the first two seasons of Uta no Prince-sama, this is a contagious series, and one impossible to dislike. Everything is over the top, the characters are cheesy, and the romance always feels like fan baiting, but somehow it all comes together nicely and delivers something quite entertaining. I’m not familiar with the games, so I’m not sure how the anime serves as an adaptation, but I’m sure fans of the franchise will be happy to see their favourite idols animated again, no matter if the story is a continuation of the material or anime original. There’s something incredibly infectious about this series, so if you’re interested in an eccentric male idol show, Uta no☆Prince-sama♪ Maji Love Revolutions might be the right one for you.

Watching This: No one yet Expectation Level: Established
Tesagure! Bukatsumono Spin-off Purupurun Sharumu to Asobou
てさぐれ!部活もの すぴんおふ プルプルんシャルムと遊ぼうTop
http://www.ntv.co.jp/tesapuru/
Animation: Premiere: April 4, 2015
Genre: School-life Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays at 25:55
Episodes: 12 Station: Nippon TV (ntv)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @tesabu or #tesabu

Preview by Zanibas

More random! More ad-libbing! More cheap CG! That’s Tesagure! Bukatsumono Spin-off Purupurun Sharumu to Asobou for you! With the main cast of Tesagure’s random club back–including Satou Hina (Akesaka Satomi), Suzuki Yua (Nishi AsukaOgino Karin), and the poor Tanaka Koharu (Ohashi Ayaka) … and more, this spinoff marks the third season of the Tesagure! series. Meta-jokes about anime are to be had, and more tropes will be switched around by a witty group of seiyuu.

To be concise, this is a 3D-CGI series whose focus is more on the ability for seiyuu to ad-lib rather than any notion of animation. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, since the ad-libbing itself can be hilarious at times. If you’ve seen series such as gdgd, then you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. Truthfully, series like these would be more suitable for radio, but end up getting a visual adaptation to fill up slots in an animation television block. Fans of the first two seasons will find the exact same material here plus some new characters, but newbies should watch season one’s first episode to see if it strikes a chord with you. If you like one ad-libbing show, you’ll most likely like them all; though with slightly different premises, they are all random, full of seiyuu having fun in casual roles.

Watching This: No one yet Expectation Level: Low
Kekkai Sensen | 血界戦線Top
http://kekkaisensen.com/
Animation: Bones Premiere: April 4, 2015
Genre: Action, Supernatural Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays at 26:58
Episodes: 12 Station: MBS
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @kekkaisensen or #kekkai_anime

Preview by Passerby

New York has been destroyed! It all happened so suddenly, with a gate to hellish parallel dimensions opening over the city and denizens of the netherworld pouring forth. In New York’s place is now the city of Jerusalem’s Lot, and a mysterious barrier quarantines it from the outside world. In this isolated ecosystem, humans and demons tenuously coexist in a society of both martial law and rampant crime. A vigilante group of superhumans calling themselves ‘Libra’ has taken it upon themselves to preserve the fragile balance of this technological and paranormal melting pot. But there are forces conspiring to tear down the barrier and unleash Jerusalem’s Lot upon the outside world. Journalist Leonardo Watch (Sakaguchi Daisuke) finds himself entangled in this mess, even as he tries to uncover the secrets of Jerusalem’s Lot for his own personal reasons. He may just end up being the key piece in the chaotic puzzle.

Kekkai Sensen (Blood Blockade Battlefront) is an adaptation of a manga by Nightow Yasuhiro, the man who brought us Trigun, and other things with guns in it. If you’re familiar with his work, then you probably already have an idea of the kind of sensibilities at work in Kekkai Sensen. Expect over-the-top action, sci-fi/period piece hybrids, and a conflicted protagonist struggling in a violent world. Staff for the anime is being lead by Matsumoto Rie, a relatively fresh but promising director, while BONES will be on hand to guarantee the level of aesthetic quality associated with their studio. Look forward to a spectacle of ridiculous fights and wanton property damage akin to BLACK LAGOON and Darker than BLACK (but less morally, er, black), and probably one of the stronger doses of action this season.

Watching This: Cherrie, Guardian Enzo, Passerby, Samu, Stilts Expectation Level: Moderately High
Show Kekkai Sensen Promotional Videos ▼

Arslan Senki | アルスラーン戦記Top
http://www.arslan.jp/
Animation: Sanzigen x LINDENFILMS Premiere: April 5, 2015
Genre: Action, Fantasy, History Airtime (GMT+9): Sundays at 17:00
Episodes: 25 Station: MBS
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @arslan_anime or #arslan

Preview by Samu

Within the thriving kingdom of Pars lies the Royal Capital of Ecbatana, a marvellous city ruled by the undefeated King Andragoras III (Sugou Takayuki). There also lies Arslan (Kobayashi Yuusuke), the 14-year-old prince of Pars who, despite his best attempts, doesn’t have what it takes to one day rule as king. When Arslan is sent into his first battle, he suffers a terrible defeat, and as war ravages on, the kingdom of Pars is burnt to the ground. After barely escaping with his life, Arslan meets with his loyal servant, Daryun (Hosoya Yoshimasa), and his other companions, including their tactician, Narsus (Namikawa Daisuke); Elam (Hanae Natsuki), his young servant bought out of slavery; Falangies (Sakamoto Maaya) a strong and defiant priestess; and Gieve (KENN), a self-identified musician and rogue-of-all-trades. Together, Arslan and his loyal followers must gather an army to defeat 300,000 soldiers and free his kingdom from the rule of the torturous Silvermask (Kaji Yuki).

I think it’s fair to say that Arakawa Hiromu is one of the most talented mangaka of our generation, with Fullmetal Alchemist and Gin no Saji among her famous titles. When she started her own adaptation of Tanaka Yoshiki’s classic novel series Arslan Senki, I knew it would get an anime one day. My expectations are pretty high for this one, even if there are some complaints from fans of the novels. There are bound to be differences from the original source material – especially since they are adapting the manga adaptation and not the novels – but I have every faith in Arakawa’s talent. Abe Noriyuki (Bleach, Great Teacher Onizuka, Kuroshitsuji: Book of Circus) is directing this one, which keeps my hopes high, even if LIDEN FILMS have yet to deliver anything of great success. Arslan Senki will certainly appeal to fans of fantasy and historical action, as well as those who miss Arakawa’s most beloved Fullmetal Alchemist.

Watching This: Guardian Enzo, Passerby, Samu, Stilts, Zephyr Expectation Level: Moderately High
Show Arslan Senki Promotional Videos ▼

Baby Steps 2 | ベイビーステップ 第2シリーズTop
http://www9.nhk.or.jp/anime/babysteps/2nd/
Animation: Studio Pierrot Premiere: April 5, 2015
Genre: Sports, School-life Airtime (GMT+9): Sundays at 17:30
Episodes: Station: NHK
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @nhk_babysteps or #anime_bs

Preview by Samu

When it comes to unique protagonists, Maruo Eiichirou (Murata Taishi), is one that stands out, especially in a sports series. After being inspired by his classmate, Takasaki Natsu (Kotobuki Minako), this out-of-shape honor student decides to join the Southern Tennis Club. From there his tennis journey begins, at a pace fitting to the title, that has Eiichirou applying his analytical mind to his training as he gradually progresses through many tournaments, be it through victory or defeat. Outside of the matches he also has to balance his studies, and decide whether this newfound hobby is something he wants as a career. By the end of the first season, his new coach decided that Eiichirou would only be able to reach his goals if he went to Florida over the winter break, in order to create some overseas opportunities.

Even if Studio Pierrot’s adaptation of the first season was lacking in flair, it was starting to become seriously impressive near the end of its run. It’s not a best-selling manga like some other sports series out right now, but Baby Steps does justice in sticking to what it’s good at: focused development on the main characters, tying logic and reason with its matches, and keeping a nice level of realism to it all; never relying on superpowers to get Eiichirou to win his games. I’m also a fan of the blossoming relationship between Eiichurou and Natsu, and I look forward to seeing where they go from here; having two people that inspire one another to do better makes this a romance head and shoulders above so many others. One issue with the first season was how lackluster the animation and art was at times, and since the staff and studio are the same, that likely won’t change much. Baby Steps deserves to look better in order to match its high quality content, so I hope Baby Steps 2 steps up in that regard.

Watching This: Guardian Enzo, Samu Expectation Level: Moderately High
SHOW BY ROCK!!Top
http://showbyrock-anime.com/
Animation: Bones Premiere: April 5, 2015
Genre: Music Airtime (GMT+9): Sundays at 22:00
Episodes: 12 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @sb69a or #sb69a

Preview by Stilts

Based on the rhythm video game developed by Geechs and Sanrio, Show By Rock!! is the first late night anime targeted at older males and adults to feature Sanrio characters. The story is set in Tokyo Midi City, a place where those who command music control everything, and where the inhabitants form bands and compete to be on top. The anime starts with Cyan (Inagawa Eri), a white gothloli catgirl who dreams of becoming a musician. One day she’s scouted by the president of a music agency, where she meets ChuChu (Uesaka Sumire), an honor student rabbit girl; Retoree (Numakura Manami), a net geek dog girl; and Moa (Sakura Ayane), an alien(?) sheep girl. Together they form a band called Plasmagica, and compete against rival bands to be the best of the best.

There’s a lot to be optimistic about here. This is a Sanrio property, and not only does Sanrio know how to create unique (if not always ground breaking) characters, they’re very careful with their brands, so you can rest assured that they’re going to shovel money into this anime to make it a success. There are five bands that have been confirmed as appearing in the anime so far, including three girl bands (the generic school girl main characters of Plasmagica, the Japanese-inspired rockers of Tsurezurenaru Ayatsuri Mugendan, and the middle school student council members of Criticrista) and two boy bands (the Visual Kei band Shingan Crimsonz and the elegant bishounens of Trichronika). That means there are plenty of characters for everybody to like, and the character designs are vivid (if a bit overwrought), proving that Sanrio is still the master of kawaii. Oh, and everybody has animal ears, for some reason (why not?). The anime will have an original storyline, which is good because taking a video game plot and translating it directly into anime is a fraught enterprise. I doubt this show will be for everyone, but if you like kawaii and/or bishie characters, and Japanese pop music as well, this is aimed squarely at you. I have no idea if BONES, helmed by director Ikezoe Taahiro, will be able to create a new smash hit, but even if it goes down in flames, I’m sure it will look good doing it.

Watching This: Cherrie Expectation Level: Moderate
Show SHOW BY ROCK!! Promotional Videos ▼

Rainy Cocoa | 雨色ココアTop
http://rainycocoa.jp/anime/
Animation: Premiere: April 5, 2015
Genre: Comedy, Slice of Life Airtime (GMT+9): Sundays at 22:27
Episodes: 12 Station: Sun TV (SUN)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @rainy_cocoa or #雨色ココア

Preview by Takaii

Ameiro Cocoa is a simple slice-of-life that focuses around the chance happenings of a handful of people meeting at a certain spot (The Rainy Color Cafe), who are all brought together through the power of a simple cup of cocoa served on a cold and rainy day. You have your typical cast of guys, consisting of the feminine one, the insanely suave ikemen, the normie, and an older fellow who’s like your rich uncle who does whatever he wants.

If that short synopsis didn’t grab your attention, don’t worry; it didn’t do much for me either. This anime is based off an e-manga that’s released through a mobile app, so I didn’t expect much to begin with. I did spend the money to read (listen?) to the first chapter, and I walked away unimpressed. The story wasn’t anything to call home about, but what really irked me was how I spent $1.99 for maybe 8 or 9 pages of manga. The one thing that impressed me was how much the creators invested into making their work accessible to people outside of Japan. Not only did you have the ability to flip between Japanese or English on the fly, but they had a full and legitimate English voice cast! That was definitely a high point among a ton of low ones. So yeah, I don’t have high hopes about this one. While the voice cast felt strong and the source material seems suited to become somewhat popular, I don’t think it’s enough to create a fun slice-of-life that’ll keep me coming back every week.

Watching This: Cherrie, Zephyr Expectation Level: Moderately Low
Show Rainy Cocoa Promotional Videos ▼

Ghost in the Shell Arise: Alternative Architecture
攻殻機動隊 ARISE ALTERNATIVE ARCHITECTURETop
http://kokaku-a.jp/tv/
Animation: Production I.G Premiere: April 5, 2015
Genre: Sci-Fi Airtime (GMT+9): Sundays at 22:30
Episodes: 10 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @kokaku_m or #攻殻新劇

Preview by Zephyr

Previously released as a series of movies from 2013-14, Ghost in the Shell ARISE returns with a six part TV broadcast. This iteration will include the original four movies, adding two more chapters to the end to set up for the recently announced Ghost in the Shell (2015) movie. The original ARISE staff and cast will carry over, with Kazuchika Kise (Key Animator for Escaflowne and Evangelion 1.0 + 2.0) as director, Ubukata Tow in charge of series composition, and Sakamoto Maaya as Kusanagi Motoko. Set in a separate universe from the other Ghost in the Shell franchises, ARISE’s story focuses on World War IV’s immediate aftermath. Amid political turmoil, calls for postwar concessions, and trials for war crimes, a series of murders and bombings hit Japan, prompting the involvement of Public Security’s Daisuke Aramaki (Juku Ikkyuu) and the military’s secret 501st Unit. As a series of seemingly unrelated threads begin to tie together, Aramaki encounters Kusanagi for the first time, setting in motion a series of events that would eventually lead to the creation of Public Security Section 9.

As a die-hard Ghost in the Shell fan, the announcement of a new 2015 movie came as a pleasant surprise. Its relationship to the ARISE franchise however, ultimately dampens some of the excitement. That’s not to say ARISE wasn’t worth watching, but it hardly held a candle to the franchise’s previous iterations. The missing orchestral hand of Kanno in particular loomed large, combining with character designs that took some getting used to and the rehash of old scenes to make ARISE a far cry from the masterpieces that were the 1995 movie and Stand Alone Complex. There’s still a lot here though, and at its core ARISE is still a Ghost in the Shell franchise. It covers the questions surrounding the meaning of being human, addresses the positives and negatives that come with the evolution of technology, provides a post-cyberpunk sci-fi backdrop that few other series have, keeps the nostalgic cast of characters (albeit in different circumstances), and ties together a generally solid plot-line. The addition of two more chapters might bring this series closer to the franchise’s other iterations, and it’s worth a look if you’re either a sci-fi or Ghost in the Shell fan, especially if you haven’t watched ARISE yet in any form.

Watching This: Passerby, Zephyr Expectation Level: Moderate
Show Ghost in the Shell Arise: Alternative Architecture Promotional Videos ▼

Hello!! Kiniro Mosaic | ハロー!!きんいろモザイクTop
http://www.kinmosa.com/
Animation: Studio Gokumi Premiere: April 5, 2015
Genre: Slice of Life, Comedy Airtime (GMT+9): Sundays at 24:00
Episodes: 12 Station: AT-X
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @kinmosa_anime or #kinmosa

Preview by Takaii

Making its return to screens all around the world, Kiniro Mosaic is a welcome addition to anyone who fancies the slice-of-life genre. Revolving around the lives of Oomiya Shinobu (Nishi Asuka), Alice Cartelet (Tanaka Manami), and their close group of friends, the story focuses on their day-to-day lives as they do what typical middle school girls do. From hitting up festivals to studying for exams, this show could be used as a dictionary definition for the genre. What makes it stick out from the crowd is the unexpected way all the characters come together to form something special. Here’s a quick tl;dr from the first season: Alice’s family hosted Shinobu in Great Britain when she was younger. While the two weren’t able to communicate with each other, it didn’t stop them from having loads of fun, and in turn inspired Alice to learn Japanese. Fast forward to the present where the situation is flipped and Shinobu is hosting Alice in Japan, and I’m sure you can see where things are headed.

If you haven’t already noticed, I absolutely love this show. It’s first season was an unexpected surprise, and I expect no less from season two. With its mix of characters that range from the extremely reserved Ayaya (Taneda Risa) to the intense and energetic Karen (Touyama Nao), there’s always something grabbing your attention, even if the story isn’t. But if there’s one thing I think this show does well, it’s how it handles Shinobu and Alice’s relationship, and how it’s able to portray the feeling of two “true” best friends. This is definitely going on my “things I will watch” list, and I hope it makes it on to yours as well! Just make sure to watch season one before diving into this one, or a lot of the little quirks that end up being the base for a majority of the story might fly past you.

Watching This: Stilts, Takaii Expectation Level: Moderate
Show Hello!! Kiniro Mosaic Promotional Videos ▼

Ace of Diamond 2nd Season | ダイヤのA 新シリーズTop
http://diaace.com/
Animation: Premiere: April 6, 2015
Genre: Sports Airtime (GMT+9): Mondays at 18:00
Episodes: Station: TV Tokyo (TX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @diaace_anime or #ダイヤのA

Preview by Samu

Ace of Diamond’s 75-episode run ends this season, but fans of this hyperactive baseball series won’t be short of content for long, as the second season begins the very next week. Ace of Diamond tells the story of Sawamura Eijun (Osaka Ryota), a spirited pitcher who moved from Nagano to attend Tokyo’s elite Seidou High School. Once there, he has to prove himself among a crowd of gifted players, showing why he should not only be included in the final team, but one day become the ace. Among those players is his confident rival for the ace position, Furuya Satoru (Shimazaki Nobunaga); the calm all-rounder, Kominato Haruichi (Hanae Natsuki); and their gifted catcher, Miyuki Kazuya (Sakurai Takahiro). After rigorous training, the team was almost able to reach their goal of getting to Koshien. They failed at the last hurdle, and the third year students have now left the team so it’s up to the remaining players to take the helm and prove they are worthy of Seidou’s famous name.

I’ve only ever seen a second season starting straight after the first a few times, and even still it’s been for shorts or long-running franchises, so when the news of Ace of Diamond: Second Season was released, I was shocked and thrilled all at once. 2014 was a fantastic year for sports anime, and while Ace of Diamond was on the lower end of the selection, it never failed to be an entertaining watch. The characters are loud, the action is impactful, and seeing the first and second years now trying (and failing) to make a mark is proving to be an interesting final arc to its first season. Sawamura has been on one hell of a journey, and for so long I believed we would never see any more of it adapted. Thankfully, I was wrong. I hope Ace of Diamond: Second Season delivers the same quality that the first season maintained, and I’m confident it will.

Watching This: No one yet Expectation Level: Moderately High
Teekyuu 4 | てーきゅう 4期Top
http://te-kyu.com/
Animation: Millepensee Premiere: April 6, 2015
Genre: Comedy, Sports Airtime (GMT+9): Mondays at 25:05
Episodes: 12 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @te_kyu

Preview by Stilts

Teekyuu is a comedy sports short about four girls in a tennis club. There’s the new club member and eternal tsukkomi, Oshimoto Yuri (Watanabe Yui); the bizarre and insanely stupid Shinjou Kanae (Mimori Suzuko); the airheaded rich girl Takamiya Nasuno (Narumi Kyoko), and the super pervert from Kansai, Bandou Marimo (Hanazawa Kana). It follows their daily antics, some of which even related to tennis. Each episode is two minutes long.

Teekyuu is a frenetic, frantic, kinetic, and utterly bizarre comedy that typifies the old adage that comedy is subjective, even more so than everything else. Personally, it’s not for me; my reaction has always been “What the hell are they smoking!?” Overdose on sugar, down a bunch of speed, chug a dozen energy drinks, and maybe you’ll begin to approach the craziness of this show. The jokes fly by so fast that sometimes I don’t realize a joke was over until we’re three jokes away, and the jerky animation, while fitting for the series’ tone, leaves me with nothing positive to grab a hold of. But that’s me, and after receiving four seasons and a spin-off—not an easy feat, even if a season of shorts isn’t a lot of animation—this show is apparently striking some funny bones. If highly energetic and zany comedies are your thing, pick up an episode and give it a shot. At two minute per episode, you have little to lose if anything at all about Teekyuu interests you.

Watching This: No one yet Expectation Level: Low
Takamiya Nasuno Desu! | 高宮なすのです!Top
http://te-kyu.com/nasuno/
Animation: Millepensee Premiere: April 6, 2015
Genre: Comedy, School-life Airtime (GMT+9): Mondays at 25:08
Episodes: 12 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation

Preview by Stilts

This spin-off of Teekyuu—which itself has a fourth season airing at the same time—centers around the daily life of Takamiya Nasuno (Narumi Kyoko), the exceedingly airheaded member of the Kameido High School tennis club and a rich girl who tries to solve all her problems with money. It will follow the antics of herself and her friends.

As a spin-off of Teekyuu which is written and drawn by the same author and artist, you can safely judge whether you’ll want to watch this on whether you enjoyed the original. Personally, Teekyuu has never been for me. Read the its preview for details, but in short: it’s zany, highly energetic, precipitated on the actions of insanely stupid characters, and the jokes fly by so fast that my eyes glaze over and the episode ends long before laughter can bubble forth. But comedy is the most subjective realm of fiction, and just because I don’t like something doesn’t mean you won’t think it’s hilarious. Takamiya Nasuno Desu! should be more of the same, so if you enjoy Teekyuu, here’s more for you. Everyone else, try Teekyuu if there’s anything here that’s striking your fancy. Otherwise this one can be safely skipped.

Watching This: No one yet Expectation Level: Low
Mikagura Gakuen Kumikyoku | ミカグラ学園組曲Top
http://mikagura-gakuen.com/
Animation: Doga Kobo Premiere: April 6, 2015
Genre: School-life, Supernatural Airtime (GMT+9): Mondays at 26:35
Episodes: 12 Station: TV Aichi (TVA)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @mikaguragakuen or #mikagura

Preview by Passerby

Ichinomiya Eruna (Kimura Juri) enrolled at Mikagura Private School for only one reason: its advertising material featured a cute girl wearing a cute uniform, and she was smitten. But Mikagura is not your typical boarding school. Academic ability seems not to be an entry prerequisite. There are only cultural clubs (i.e. no athletics), and all students are required to join one. And instead of managing these clubs with a sensible school budget, resources for specific clubs are distributed based on the tried and true method of gladiatorial combat! Unknown to the outside world, traditionally each club sends a representative to do battle with unique powers, and the results of these contests determine the treatment of the clubs. Eruna is somehow roped into participating, even though she’s only a clumsy girl with little to her credit but cheerful energy. What kind of strange school life awaits her?

The Mikagura School Suite was originally a set of Vocaloid songs that inspired a light novel series, and has since spun off into a manga, this anime, and all the usual stops on the adaptation train. That’s a very similar success story to MEKAKUCITY ACTORS (and, to a lesser extent, Black Rock Shooter), and indeed one can imagine that Mikagura Gakuen Kumikyou is riding in the wake of its forerunner. Both franchises are also similar premises, featuring high school students with peculiar personal circumstances wielding special powers. SHAFT’s production featured a rather convoluted plot, though, while Doga Kobo’s attempt looks, on first blush, more straightforward. That’s a good thing, because I suspect that one of the key reasons that MEKAKUCITY ACTORS ended up in the disappointing state it did was because it wasn’t really sure what to do with itself. Hopefully Mikagura Gakuen Kumikyou can improve on its predecessor, since music videos are still one of the more interesting adaptation sources. It’s definitely what sells this show as more than just another anime about high school kids with superpowers.

Watching This: Cherrie, Passerby, Stilts Expectation Level: Moderate
Show Mikagura Gakuen Kumikyoku Promotional Videos ▼

Hibike! Euphonium | 響け!ユーフォニアムTop
http://anime-eupho.com/
Animation: Kyoto Animation Premiere: April 7, 2015
Genre: School-Life, Music Airtime (GMT+9): Tuesdays at 24:30
Episodes: 13 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @anime_eupho or #anime_eupho

Preview by Zanibas

Four girls. One club. Brass instruments. Moe everywhere. Kyoto Animation is at it again. The story opens with Oumae Kumiko (Kurosawa Tomoyo) attempting to join the brass band club at her high school. The good thing is that her fellow classmates Katou Hazuki (Asai Ayaka) and Kawashima Sapphire (Toyota Moe) are already part of the club. The bad thing is that former classmate Kousaka Reina (Anzai Chika) is also part of the club. Ever since a certain event at a music contest in middle school involving both of them, the relationship between Kumiko and Reina has been strained. The story unfolds from there, as the euphonium-wielding Kumiko attempts to resolve her past with trumpeteer Reina, while also contributing to the significantly large brass band club.

With moe fanservice, big band music, and symphonic bonding, Kyoto Animation is going with a combination that they know their audience can’t resist. Comparisons to K-ON! are inevitable, for better or worse, but Kyoto Animation is doing what they do best, with a production team and budget that shows their commitment to the fanbase that sustained them early on. Besides having excellent staff such as director Ishihara Tatsuya (Nichijou, Haruhi) and character designer Ikeda Shoko (Haruhi), music composer Matsuda Akito is also on stage. His work on Bokura wa Minna Kawaisou and Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! have been quite good, but Hibike! will be his real breakout title if done well. Judging from the promo video, he’s off to a good start. The nostalgia from the video made me listen to Cowboy Bebop’s soundtrack, a link that I’m sure Kyoto Animation is fully aware of. With this potent combination, I highly suggest viewing the first few episodes either for the excellent character designs or the great music; there is production value oozing from this show which would be a shame to miss.

Watching This: Cherrie, Guardian Enzo, Passerby, Samu, Stilts, Zephyr Expectation Level: High
Show Hibike! Euphonium Promotional Videos ▼

Gintama゚ | 銀魂゚Top
http://www.sunrise-inc.co.jp/gintama/
Animation: Sunrise Premiere: April 8, 2015
Genre: Comedy, Action, Sci-Fi Airtime (GMT+9): Wednesdays at 18:00
Episodes: Station: TV Tokyo (TXN)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @gintama_pr or #gintama

Preview by Takaii

In Feudal Japan, life has never been that easy for a samurai. Having to deal with an outdated hierarchy system that literally takes the value out of their lives, things haven’t been much better since aliens have landed and shook things up. With everyone’s lifestyle changing, one of the biggest changes that’s occurred is the public ban on swords. And let’s be real – what good is a samurai if he’s not allowed to have his sword?! In comes Sakata Gintoki (Sugita Tomokazu), the main character who’s good with a sword but not much else. Deciding that working a typical day job isn’t his thing, he decides to become a freelancer for whatever work comes his way – so long as the pay’s good. Except the pay usually isn’t and the work always seems to be a little odd.

For all the viewers out there (like me) who haven’t watched Gintama, this might be the chance to get off your butt and start catching up, since this seems like a really funny show. Something about its humor combined with some really spot on awkward moments make for a really enjoyable watch. And for the veterans out there, one of my other friends told me to say this: “No, they’re not trolling us this time.”

Watching This: No one yet Expectation Level: Established
Triage X | トリアージXTop
http://triagex-anime.jp/
Animation: Xebec Premiere: April 8, 2015
Genre: Action Airtime (GMT+9): Wednesdays at 25:05
Episodes: 10 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @anime_eupho or #anime_eupho

Preview by Passerby

The world is corrupt! Society is decaying! There is only one solution: murder! In Triage X, the staff of the Mochizuka General Hospital are by day normal (though voluptuous) medical professionals, but by night, they kill people. First do no harm? Ha! No, these doctors and nurses have a much more proactive approach. Thus they have formed the vigilante assassins ‘Black Label’, which seeks to excise the ‘cancers’ of society, wicked individuals immune to the law. Mikami Arashi (Akabane Kenji) is the newest member of the organisation, and also a high school student, because Japanese high school students make the best assassins. His duties are many: prove himself to his partner and schoolmate Kiba Mikoto (Kondou Yui), brood on his dark backstory, and ride around on a motorbike shooting people and inflicting property damage. In the name of justice! That’s a Hollywood pitch right there.

If your first impression of Triage X is that it’s simply Akame ga Kill, but trading in some blood and gore for more tits and arse, then your first impression is correct. A second impression, though, may reveal a deeper truth—Triage X is actually riveting social commentary! No doubt a fan of both predator drones and the Mossad, mangaka Satou Shouji (he also did HIGHSCHOOL OF THE DEAD—does it show?) knows how to fix our broken plutocracies: with a cleansing programme! Extra-judicial killings with no independent oversight are simply panacea like that, and humanity inherently trusts scantily dressed nurses on motorcycles to be our moral guardians. Spread the word, everyone—we’ve found the answers, and they’re in fanservice-driven action anime. So, yeah, anime can be art, peoples. We’re going to run with that until we drop.

Watching This: No one yet Expectation Level: Moderately Low
Show Triage X Promotional Videos ▼

Ore Monogatari!! | 俺物語!!Top
http://www.anime-ore.jp/
Animation: Madhouse Premiere: April 8, 2015
Genre: Romance, Comedy Airtime (GMT+9): Wednesdays at 25:29
Episodes: 24 Station: Nippon TV (ntv)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @anime_ore or #ore_anime

Preview by Zanibas

The gentle giant, Gouda Takeo (Eguchi Takuya) is as friendly as one can be, but is extremely unlucky when it comes to love. Any girls that Gouda takes an interest in end up falling for his handsome friend, Sunakawa Makoto (Shimazaki Nobunaga). Despite their uneven looks, the two remain good friends. One day, Gouda stops a molester and saves Yamato Rinko (Han Megumi) from an unfortunate morning. Naturally, Gouda falls for Yamato. Will trends repeat themselves again, or will Gouda finally receive reciprocal love as an unlikely romantic comedy protagonist?

Having seen many a romantic comedy, the setup for this show is definitely fresh. Gouda, with his big build and large lips isn’t really mainstream appealing, but his character sure is a riot. From the promotional videos, I can’t help but laugh and feel good whenever I see Gouda act in his awkward and kind ways, not in a sense of mockery, but in a sense of, “he’s a good guy.” Such a setup opens up a lot of possibilities for the show, and with two-cours planned, I can’t wait to see the romance unravel. I trust Madhouse to fund this properly given their good run of shows, coupled with the fact that a good staff and seiyuu lineup is in the works. Eguchi, Shimazaki, and Han are all excellent veterans in their respective roles, but Eguchi stands out the most, considering how Gouda could very well be the deepest voice he’s done so far. The source material is rated fairly highly, and with Asaka Morio onboard as director, who helmed esteemed works such as Cardcaptor Sakura, Chihayafuru, and Nana, there’s more reason to be optimistic. I’m already on board as a romantic comedy fan, but others should check out the series as well if you’re looking for a mixup in the romantic comedy genre.

Watching This: Cherrie, Guardian Enzo, Passerby, Samu, Stilts, Zanibas, Zephyr Expectation Level: Moderately High
Show Ore Monogatari!! Promotional Videos ▼

Houkago no Pleiades | 放課後のプレアデスTop
http://sbr-gx.jp/
Animation: Gainax Premiere: April 8, 2015
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, School-life Airtime (GMT+9): Wednesdays at 26:44
Episodes: 12 Station: ABC
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @sbr_gx or #プレアデス

Preview by Passerby

Back in 2011, car-maker Subaru (or rather, its parent Fuji Heavy Industries) partnered with Gainax to make a magical girl anime. Why? Who knows. Science has not even begun to explain it. What we do know is that the result was Houkago no Pleiades, a set of four short original internet animations that was localised to the anglosphere as Wish Upon the Pleiades. Together they were hardly longer than a normal episode of anime so the plot was a bit moth-eaten, but this season’s full TV remake should expand to fill in those holes. The conspicuously named Subaru (Takamori Natsumi) is just your normal high school girl until one day she discovers that her friend Aoi (Ohashi Ayuru) is part of a secret club of magical girls. Their purpose: to gather ‘Engine Fragments’ so that they can send an alien back to its home in the Pleiades star cluster. Subaru eventually becomes involved in this endeavour, and also with the enigmatic Minato (Kuwashima Houko), who seems to be connected to the powerful artefacts they are collecting.

Let’s make some points clear first: ‘Subaru’ is what the Japanese call the Pleiades cluster, the staves/brooms/whatever the girls fly around on make automobile noises, and they’re out to collect pieces of an engine. Let none doubt Fuji Heavy Industries’ hand at work here. Yet, for what is ostensibly an overt marketing effort, Houkago no Pleiades is relatively benign. The original web series was, in general shapes, a legitimate magical girl anime, even to the point of being slightly generic. It earned Divine’s approval back in the day, so they must have been doing something right. Spring 2015′s full-length remake could well extend it into a substantial piece in its own right, especially if it builds on the stargazing motif and puts some more work into the hinted romance. From previews, Gainax seems to have put the corporate commission to good use to produce some rather pretty aesthetics, and director Saeki Shouji has, inter alia, the acclaimed FLCL on his resume. Anime has promoted sillier things than cars, and the corporate sponsor doesn’t necessarily preclude a show from being good.

Watching This: Cherrie, Guardian Enzo, Passerby Expectation Level: Moderately Low
Show Houkago no Pleiades Promotional Videos ▼

Etotama | えとたまTop
http://etotama.com/
Animation: Encourage Films x Shirogumi Premiere: April 9, 2015
Genre: Action, Comedy Airtime (GMT+9): Thursdays at 23:00
Episodes: 12 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @etotama_anime or #えとたま

Preview by Zanibas

The twelve members of the Chinese zodiac are an exclusive club, having not changed for much of human history. However, in the 21st century, one being hopes to become the 13th member. Meet Nyaa-tan (Murakawa Rie), a cat from astrology hoping to move up in the world, zodiac style. While mooching off the hospitality of human Amato Takeru (Shimono Hiro), Nyaa-tan fights and befriends various members of the zodiac, working her way closer to that tight-knit pantheon.

Anime CGI is notorious for getting a bad rap. Problems with framerate, the uncanny valley, quality, or clashing with 2D animation continue to be common complaints. However, Etotama may be the serious step that anime CGI needs towards acceptance. Though its 3D chibi nature may initially deter viewers, a closer looks reveals a remarkable attention to the CG component. A colorful palette accompanied by a high frame rate, makes this show distinct from its competition, bringing it closer to current standards of 3D animation in film and mainstream 3D. Whil this gives Etotama more of a kid’s show feel, the fanservice and language suggest otherwise. If you don’t mind 3D CGI and are looking for some mindless action, I suggest checking out Etotama; with the aforementioned bonuses combined with an excellent seiyuu cast including Murakawa Rie, Ozawa Ari, Chida Maaya, and Shimono Hiro, this might become the surprising dark horse of the season.

Watching This: Cherrie Expectation Level: Moderate
Show Etotama Promotional Videos ▼

Punch Line | パンチラインTop
http://www.punchline.jp/
Animation: Mappa Premiere: April 9, 2015
Genre: Comedy Airtime (GMT+9): Thursdays at 24:55
Episodes: 12 Station: Fuji TV (CX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @punchline_pj

Preview by Stilts

Premiering in the Noitamina programming block this spring is a MAPPA original series, Punchline. Little is known about the series so far, save that it follows Iridatsu Yuuta (Inoue Marina), a boy whose spirit has separated from his body. He’s joined by a colorful cast, including the bright and spacey idol Narugino Mikatan (Amamiya Sora), the sketchy gyaru spirit medium Chichibu Lovera (Tomatsu Haruka), the online game-playing NEET Hikitani Ito (Kotobuki Minako), and the genius inventor who loves her grandfather, Daihatsu Meika (Kugimiya Rie). The slogan for the anime: “Once he sees underwear, humanity is destroyed!?”

There’s not a lot of information available about this original, but I can give you some impressions, chiefly drawn from the promo videos. The animation has a Kill la Kill / THE ROLLING GIRLS feel to it, more “cartoony” and kinetic than the anime norm. There’s definitely some ecchi going on here, since all the previews features panty flashes, along with that tagline (oh my). Staff-wise, director Uemura Yutaka is light on experience, but script writer Uchikoshi Koutarou is a successful scenario writer with many visual novels and other games to his name. It’s apparently been hinted at by the staff that Komuro Tetsuya—who is the most successful music producer in Japanese history—was selected because the anime has a strong music connection, but if so, they’re burying the lead, because I didn’t see any of that in the promos. So far everything is light and color without context. If the context is good, this could be an interesting show, but I have no idea right now. If you’re a diehard fan of anything I’ve mentioned, you might want to jump in. For more casual viewers, I’d probably wait to hear the reactions to the first episode or two, to see what this anime is actually about.

Watching This: Cherrie, Stilts Expectation Level: Moderate
Show Punch Line Promotional Videos ▼

Urawa no Usagi-chan | 浦和の調ちゃんTop
http://urawa-usagi.com/
Animation: A-Real Premiere: April 9, 2015
Genre: Slice-of-life Airtime (GMT+9): Thursdays at 25:35
Episodes: 12 Station: Teletama (TVS)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @urawa_usagi or #浦和アニメ

Preview by Stilts

Urawa no Usagi-chan is an original anime designed to advertise Urawa City in Saitama, Japan. It includes eight anthropomorphic girls representing the stations in the prefecture, all of which have “Urawa” in their names. These include: Takasago Usagi (Seto Asami), Kamikizaki Tokiwa (Akesaka Satomi), Numakage Ayako (Okubo Rumi), Bessho Kojika (Kubota Miyu), Tajima Sakura (Taichi You), Saido Midori (Tojo Hisako), Ooyaba Minami (Watanabe Keiko), and Mimuro Misono (Tamura Nao).

Lie to me, Japan. This is an anime explicitly and blatantly created to advertise a city, and I can barely muster enough interest to finish this sentence. This is the wrong way to do it. If you want to advertise your city, do something like Rinne no Lagrange and pay to set an anime in your city (Kamogawa … look, I even remember!) rather than making your city the story itself. This is a moe slice-of-life anime, and who knows, it could be good. The character designs look pleasing enough, and there are some decent seiyuu for a new studio and new staff (glad to see Log Horizon’s Minori getting more work), though director Ishibashi Miysuyuki apparently has experience in other mediums. But I’ll never watch it, because they’ve flagrantly revealed their intentions, and blatant advertisements only work when they’re very short. Lie to me, anime industry. Otherwise I won’t give you the benefit of the doubt, no matter how kawaii your moe anthropomorphized train stations are.

Watching This: No one yet Expectation Level: Low
Nisekoi: | ニセコイ:Top
http://www.nisekoi.jp/
Animation: SHAFT Premiere: April 10, 2015
Genre: Comedy, Romance, School-life Airtime (GMT+9): Fridays at 23:30
Episodes: 12 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @nisekoi_k or #nisekoi

Preview by Samu

Nisekoi is back with its second season. It tells the story of a yakuza’s son, Ichijou Raku (Uchiyama Kouki), being forced into a fake relationship with a gangster’s daughter, Kirisaki Chitoge (Touyama Nao). But it’s not that simple, as Raku’s unrequited love, Onodera Kosaki (Hanazawa Kana) is brought into the mix, along with transfer student Tachibana Marika (Asumi Kana), and Chitoge’s bodyguard, Tsumugi Seishirou (Komatsu Mikako). Last season ended with the Romeo and Juliet play, but left everything open ended, as Raku and Chitoge’s fake relationship continues. But Raku still loves Kosaki; she still loves him; and Marika remains the lovestruck fool she’s always been. Nisekoi: will bring the story forward as the characters move up a year, and a fresh batch of first years arrive, including Kosaki’s little sister, Onodera Haru (Sakura Ayane), Haru’s close friend, Fuu (Koiwai Kotori), and a foreign assassin, Paula McCoy (Numakura Manami).

The first season of Nisekoi adapted the majority of the material that always had twists and plot revelations to keep the pace going. But anyone who is familiar with the manga will know that this is the point where it will shift into a girl-of-the-week storyline, especially as more characters are introduced and the harem continues to grow. There’s a fair bit of content to adapt – most of which has been branded ‘filler’ by manga fans – but it will be interesting to see how SHAFT plays their cards. Obviously there shall be plenty of head tilts and black bars, but I’m keen to see whether they instead decide to focus on the more story-driven arcs still to be adapted, as opposed to including all the one-off encounters that Ichijou has with each of the girls. Either way, fans of the characters will get their fair share of pleasure when their favourites make appearances, and that’s what will be the main selling point for Nisekoi:. We all have a favourite that we’re rooting for, and that’s part of the fun, even if the chance of any outcome being reached just yet is slim to none.

Watching This: Samu, Zephyr Expectation Level: Moderate
Sidonia no Kishi: Dai-kyuu Wakusei Sen-eki | シドニアの騎士 第九惑星戦役Top
http://www.knightsofsidonia.com/
Animation: Polygon Pictures Premiere: April 10, 2015
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi Airtime (GMT+9): Fridays at 25:55
Episodes: 12 Station: TBS
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @sidonia_anime or #sidonia_anime

Preview by Zephyr

After a one year break, Sidonia no Kishi returns with its much anticipated second season. Continuing from the events of the original, Daikyuu Wakusei Seneki (the Battle for the Ninth Planet) returns to a universe where humanity finds itself in an existential fight against aliens known as the Gauna. Having seen the solar system devastated by these mysterious creatures, humanity now resides on enormous “seed ships,” one of which—the Sidonia—is the main focus of this story. As one of humanity’s remaining survivors, pilot Tanikaze Nagate (Osaka Ryota) wields the legendary mechanized unit known as the Tsugumori, leading the fight for survival as the species’ best and last hope. Returning for this season are the entire cast and staff, with the exception of director Shizuno Koubun, who will be replaced by former assistant director Seshita Hiroyuki.

Having picked Sidonia no Kishi as best Sci-Fi of 2014, it goes without saying that I’m excited for its sequel. Combining a post-apocalyptic future with conspiracies, mysterious aliens, mecha combat, and genetic engineering makes this a series rife with genre staples, and the story comes together with an atmosphere, execution, and style reminiscent of older sci-fi classics. It’s exactly these kinds of series that I feel we could use more of, and it’s no wonder that Sidonia’s been critically acclaimed by the likes of Hideo Kojima and other industry figures. The fact that the source has been almost completely translated and officially released in English is yet another testament to the series’ reach, and although the 3D CG still needs some work, those willing to brave the occasional janky animation will find a lot to like from what will likely be one of the best sci-fi series of 2015 as well.

Watching This: Guardian Enzo, Stilts, Zephyr Expectation Level: High
Show Sidonia no Kishi: Dai-kyuu Wakusei Sen-eki Promotional Videos ▼

Saint Seiya -Ougon Tamashii soul of gold- | 聖闘士星矢 -黄金魂 soul of gold-Top
http://saintseiya-gold.com/
Animation: Premiere: April 11, 2015
Genre: Action Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays
Episodes: 13 Station: Webcast
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation

Preview by Zanibas

The Saint Seiya franchise continues with another side story adaptation, this time focusing on an original story involving certain saints that wore the powerful Gold Cloths that tower over the silver and bronze cloths. The story will focus on the the Gold Saints that died during the clash between Athena and Hades in the 20th century, painting an original story that is independent of any of the manga material thus far. Of certain saints to note there is Cancer (Tanaka Ryoichi), Pisces (Nanba Keiichi), Capricorn (Kusao Takeshi), and Gemini (Okiayu Ryoutaro), to name a few. Intrigue, assassination, and betrayal have corrupted the ranks of those with a soul of gold, but even after the 20th century, those clashes continue.

Newcomers to the Saint Seiya series should definitely not start with this adaptation, considering how much prior knowledge it assumes of the viewer going in. Having had to do some extensive research, viewers should be acquainted with the Battle of the Twelve Temples and the history leading up to the 20th century before embarking on this original plotline. For those who can make sense of the storyline though, Soul of Gold should be an interesting side-story peek into the upper echelons of Athena’s knights. Even though the show is designated as an original net animation, the production itself looks alright, judging from the PV and the first episode. Check this out if you’re looking for a closer look at the expanded universe of the Saint Seiya canon; it’s a quick investment with what looks to be an interesting plot involving some of the most cunning characters of the series.

Watching This: No one yet Expectation Level: Established
Show Saint Seiya -Ougon Tamashii soul of gold- Promotional Videos ▼

Yamada-kun to 7-nin no Majo | 山田くんと7人の魔女Top
http://www.yamajo-anime.com/
Animation: LINDENFILMS Premiere: April 12, 2015
Genre: Comedy, Mystery, Romance Airtime (GMT+9): Sunday at 23:30
Episodes: 12 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @yamajo_anime or #やまじょ

Preview by Samu

One day, Yamada Ryuu (Osaku Ryota) fell down a flight of stairs and lands on Shiraishi Urara (Hayami Saori), accidentally locking lips. After that embarrassing incident, Yamada quickly realises something has gone wrong: he’s swapped bodies with her! Yamada-kun to 7-nin no Majo is set in a school where seven student witches reside, each with magical powers that can only be activated with a kiss. In order to track down the other witches, delinquent Yamada and ace student Shiraishi, along with the outgoing Miyamura Toranosuke (Masuda Toshiki) and supernatural believer Itou Miyabi (Uchida Maaya), reform the Supernatural Studies Club. What follows is a mystery tale with so many kisses that you’ll never be able to keep track of who has locked lips with who.

After a successful live action adaptation, Yamada-kun to 7-nin no Majo finally gets an animated counterpart. I can promise anyone who is unfamiliar with the series you’re going to be in for some fun with this one. In a way, this is proving to be a great season for equal opportunity fanservice, but whereas Souma is sexually provocative, Yamada-kun deals its fanservice in kisses – and plenty there shall be. You can expect nearly every character to kiss one another at some point – it doesn’t matter if it’s a boy and a girl, two boys, or two girls, or a group of three or more. Most of the time it’s played for comedy, though there is room for some real romance to blossom between these characters. But behind all the kisses, comedy, and romance, there is also a serious mystery storyline that I fear may not be told in a one-cour adaptation; unless we get another season later on, I fear Yamada-kun to 7-nin no Majo may finish before it’s truly begun. Putting that aside, this should prove itself to be an entertaining anime with so many shipping opportunities that viewers will be left spoiled for choice.

Watching This: Samu, Stilts Expectation Level: Moderate
Show Yamada-kun to 7-nin no Majo Promotional Videos ▼

Ninja Slayer From Animation | ニンジャスレイヤー フロムアニメイシヨンTop
http://www.ninjaslayer-animation.com/
Animation: Trigger Premiere: April 16, 2015
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi Airtime (GMT+9): Thursdays at 23:00
Episodes: 26 Station: Niconico
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @NJSLYR_anime or #忍殺アニメイシヨン

Preview by Stilts

Trigger is back with an adaptation of the sci-fi novel series Ninja Slayer. This cyberpunk ninja action drama is set in the near-future city of Neo Saitama. It follows Fujikido Kenji (Morikawa Toshiyuki), a salaryman whose wife and children were killed in a ninja turf war. In a brush with his own death, Fujikido is possessed by an enigmatic ninja soul known as Naraku Ninja, who transforms Fujikido into “Ninja Slayer”, a grim reaper devoted to killing all ninjas in his own personal war of vengeance.

Trigger knows action; I don’t think it’s contentious to say that. Kill la Kill was rightly beloved for its action, and Ninja Slayer’s promo videos have a definite Kill la Kill / Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann feel to them. These ninja are colorful, giving them an almost sentai/power suit feeling, and the action is decidedly over-the-top. And bloody. Did I mention the blood? Ninja Slayer is not a story that shies away from carnage. Trigger may have been a good decision for this show, because, while the stakes are certainly dire (someone’s going to die every time, often multiple someones), the carnage is so ridiculous as to not seem serious, even when there are certainly consequences for individual characters. Over-the-top action and blood-filled carnage—if that’s your idea of a good time, check this one out. It looks interesting, just prepare yourself, because there will be blood. Lots of it.

Watching This: Guardian Enzo, Samu Expectation Level: Moderate
Show Ninja Slayer From Animation Promotional Videos ▼

Grisaia no Rakuen | グリザイアの楽園Top
http://www.grisaia-anime.com/
Animation: 8bit Premiere: April 19, 2015
Genre: Drama, Romance Airtime (GMT+9): Sunday at 23:00
Episodes: 10 Station: AT-X
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @grisaia_anime or #grisaia

Preview by Zephyr

Studio 8-Bit’s adaptation of the Grisaia trilogy comes to a conclusion with the arrival of with its final chapter in Grisaia no Rakuen. Rakuen will be a direct sequel to the series’ second chapter (Grisaia no Meikyuu), which will be a one-hour special airing one week prior. In this final iteration, Kazami Yuuji (Sakurai Takahiro) finds himself suddenly detained due to suspected ties with an international terrorist organization. Amid rumors that the organization has arrived in Japan with a weapon of mass destruction and the imminent closure of Mihama Academy, the cast find themselves caught in a complex game of politics and espionage, one with direct ties to the organization behind Yuuji’s clandestine activities. As the net closes and time begins to run out, the girls of Mihama come together in an attempt to rescue the man that changed their lives and helped them overcome their respective traumas. No longer content to let the world take everything from them and armed with the help of an individual named “Thanatos,” they begin their fight, determined not to let any organization or country get in their way. The staff and cast from Kajitsu will reprise their original roles for Rakuen.

As someone who played Grisaia no Kajitsu and enjoyed it, I found myself disappointed at 8-Bit’s adaptation of Kajitsu last fall. Key parts were left out or altered in an attempt to fit all five heroine routes within one cour, leaving an incomplete story for those that didn’t play the novel and only partially alleviating novel players’ desire for a faithful adaptation. It can’t be denied that there was a certain appeal to the series despite this, and it’s likely that the adaptation of Kajitsu played a role in Sekai Project’s wildly successful Kickstarter. With the official VN translations set to arrive in the near future though, it may be better to wait and play the VN at this point. Kajitsu’s modified ending does set up nicely for Meikyuu, but with the two final chapters being truncated to an hour long special and a likely one-cour series (the VN’s were 10-30 hours each), my hopes aren’t high for anything more than “decent” here.

Watching This: Cherrie, Samu Expectation Level: Moderate
Show Grisaia no Rakuen Promotional Videos ▼

Nar Doma | ナルどマTop
http://www.comico.jp/special/index.nhn?docno=1
Animation: Kachidoki Studio Premiere: May 2015
Genre: Comedy Airtime (GMT+9):
Episodes: Station:
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation

Preview by Cherrie

The title of this series comes from the conjunction of two Japanese words which mean narcissistic and masochistic (naru and doma). These are the two defining characteristics of our main protagonists, Hagito (narcissistic) and Kei (masochistic). Based on the first manga by Kometokaite Meter, the series currently runs on a free manga app for smartphones (along with four other titles), and has received an anime adaptation. This is a comedy story that features Hagito and his antics with Kei. There are also other characters that appear and each have their own quirks that make them unique. Asides from Hagito suffering a lolita complex, there’s an overly strong woman, a stylish stiff and a Debby-downer in their group.

The material is very short and brief on this one. This is an anime adaptation that features a lot of firsts for the cast and staff working on Narudoma. The studio is still relatively young, but it has a few shorts and names under its belt with a familiar director of theirs, Onaka Takeshi. The seiyuus for Hagito and Kei will be MAX (a video game commentator) and Miyazaki Atsushi; both new to the world of anime voice acting, with MAX performing the opening sequence as well. Without a proven track record, it’s hard to create expectations for the show, but with no expectations comes a chance for the staff to prove themselves. As for the actual plot of Narudoma, I would say that the humor is targeted more towards older audiences with some boys’ love thrown in. Don’t say I didn’t warn you when you find yourself watching some atypical anime comedy.

Watching This: No one yet Expectation Level: Low
Robot Girls Z Plus | ロボットガールズZプラスTop
http://www.robot-girlsz.com/
Animation: Toei Animation Premiere: Spring 2015
Genre: Comedy Airtime (GMT+9):
Episodes: 6 Station:
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @robot_girls_z

Preview by Zephyr

One year after Robot Girls Z, Toei returns with a new iteration of the series that re-imagined robots from various mecha series as beautiful girls. Now a series of six monthly shorts, Robot Girls Z+ will herald the return of Team Z as protagonists, with the original cast (Honda Mariko, Minase Iori, Aranami Kazusa) retaining their roles as girls based on the Mazinger franchise. Joining them will be new antagonists in the form of Team G, Team LOD, and Team Go, all of whom are based on robots from the Mazinger vs. Getter Robo films. Z+ will once again revolve around Team Z’s attempt to prevent other groups from achieving domination over Photon Power Town and the revolutionary power source it possesses. The series will not be a true sequel, as it will flesh out characters and background stories of the characters from the BD/DVD specials instead.

When it comes to comedy shorts in general, hit or miss is the name of the game. I personally didn’t find Robot Girls Z that enjoyable, but there’s a decent amount of people who did like the series, and this is one of those series where you give it an episode or two to see if it’s down your alley. The fact that there’s a dozen seiyuu in the cast gives the series a diversity you won’t see often, and there’s a certain nostalgic charm for Mazinger fans, but there isn’t much else. The fact that it’s only airing once a month only takes even more steam out of things. Robot Girls Z+ is certainly not a must-watch, especially compared to some of the other shows airing this season.

Watching This: No one yet Expectation Level: Low
Lupin Sansei | ルパン三世Top
http://lupin-new-season.jp/
Animation: Telecom Animation Film Premiere: Spring 2015
Genre: Adventure Airtime (GMT+9):
Episodes: Station:
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation

Preview by Passerby

If you’ve never heard of Lupin, that must be a crime in itself. The original Lupin III manga by Kazuhito Katou aka Monkey Punch debuted in 1967, itself inspired by Maurice Leblanc‘s novels about the gentleman thief, Arsène Lupin. The manga and its many anime adaptations stars Arsène Lupin’s grandson, himself a thief who travels the world stealing things, uncovering mysteries, and being a general rapscallion. This 2015 edition (distinguished by Lupin’s blue jacket) features Arsène Lupin III (Kurita Kanichi) and his trusty partners, the crack shot Daisuke Jigen (Kobayashi Kiyoshi) and stoic swordsman Ishikawa Goemon XIII (Namikawa Daisuke), capering around Italy, all the while chased by the indefatigable inspector, Zenigata Koichi (Yamadera Kouichi) and occasionally partnering with Lupin’s on-and-off-again love interest/rival/ally Mine Fujiko (Sawashiro Miyuki). Even though we’re in the Mediterranean this time, Lupin will no doubt be getting up to his usual mischief again.

The original Lupin III caused a stir back in its day for being rather adult for a cartoon, relatively shameless as it was about its titular protagonist’s violence and philandering. In modern times, though, it has garnered a well-respected reputation both in Japan and abroad, perhaps partially because of the involvement of eventual Ghibli directors Takahata Isao and Miyazaki Hayao. In particular, The Castle of Cagliostro, Miyazaki’s first feature film, has achieved cult status. Lupin III (2015)‘s director, Yano Yuuichirou, is no slouch either, with several significant titles under his belt. Even if you aren’t interested in Lupin III‘s pedigree, a hardboiled crime drama with a playful comedic edge may be just the kind of adventure you’re looking for this season. It’s a fun formula that has stood the test of time, and a certain level of entertainment value is guaranteed.

Watching This: Guardian Enzo, Passerby, Stilts Expectation Level: Established
Digimon Adventure tri. | デジモンアドベンチャー tri.Top
http://digimon-adventure.net/
Animation: Toei Animation Premiere: Spring 2015
Genre: Action, Adventure Airtime (GMT+9):
Episodes: Station:
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @digi_advntr15th or #digimon

Preview by Cherrie

This year marks the 15th anniversary for the Digimon franchise and to celebrate, Toei Animation is releasing a sequel to the original popular series. That’s right, it’s not a spin-off, but a sequel that brings back all the first generation characters. Digimon is an anime that I feel needs no introduction, but here’s a quick synopsis for you anyway: Digimon Adventures started off with seven children that were transported to the Digital World as “The Chosen Ones” to save the world from evil. They were each partnered up with a Digimon of their own, and through many trials and enemies, learned to work together and evolve their Digimon to reach their maximum potentials. Digimon Adventures tri. picks up six years after the original series ended and brings back the cast as teenagers. This will be another adventure series of how they (once again) fight off evil and bring peace to the Human and Digital World.

Digimon Adventures tri. is a difficult show to evaluate without getting personal and subjective. On one hand, I’m skeptical of it doing well because of how Sailor Moon Crystal (also produced by Toei) is performing, and its demonstrated that returning seiyuus are not always for the best. I’m also on the fence about the new character designs, because Uki Atsuya has a distinctive style that may or may not work in the anime’s favor. However, despite all the precautions I have, I can’t lie – Digimon is a guilty-pleasure of mine. I’m a diehard fan of the original series, and after re-watching it several years ago, it definitely holds a special place in my heart. I’m hyping the series up for myself more than I should, but I’m trying to take everything with a grain of salt. This can be a childhood dream come true…or another disappointment. But who am I kidding, Digimon Adventures tri. tops my must-watch list this season!

Watching This: Cherrie, Guardian Enzo, Samu, Zephyr Expectation Level: Established
Show Digimon Adventure tri. Promotional Videos ▼


OVA / Movie


 

Technical Note: OVAs are sorted by the date they are released. For series that have multiple episodes coming out over the course of the season, please refer to the Notes column for additional dates. More information on each OVA can be found on their respective websites, including promotional videos in some cases. Movie premiere dates are not included since they don’t mean a whole lot to viewers outside of Japan. DVD/BD movie releases are, however. This list is likely incomplete and will be updated as more titles surface. If you notice anything missing or incorrect, please feel free to point it out in the comments or e-mail Zephyr directly.

Release Date Title Notes
02/28 Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin I – Aoi Hitomi no Casval
機動戦士ガンダムTHE ORIGIN I 青い瞳のキャスバル
http://www.gundam-the-origin.net/
Episode 1 of 4.
03/06 Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu OVA | 昭和元禄落語心中 与太郎放浪篇 OVA
http://www.rakugo-shinju-anime.jp/
Bundled with LE manga Vol. 7.
03/10 Hitsugi no Chaika OVA | 棺姫のチャイカ OAD
http://chaika-anime.jp/
Bundled with LE novel Vol. 12.
03/10 High School DxD New OVA: Oppai, Tsutsumimasu! | ハイスクールD×D New OVA
http://www.haremking.tv/
Episode 13. Bundled with DX.1 light novel.
03/10 Yamada-kun to 7-nin no Majo OVA | 山田くんと7人の魔女 OVA
http://www.yamajo-anime.com/
Episode 2 of 2.
03/11 PERSONA3 THE MOVIE #2: Midsummer Knight’s Dream
劇場版ペルソナ3 #2 Midsummer Knight’s Dream
http://www.p3m.jp/
BD/DVD Release.
03/13 Dragon Ball Z: Kami to Kami | ドラゴンボールZ: 神と神
http://www.dragonball2013.com/
BD/DVD Release.
03/13 Strike Witches Operation Victory Arrow Vol. 2: Aegean Umi no Megami
Operation Victory Arrow vol.2 エーゲ海の女神 限定版
http://w-witch.jp/
BD/DVD Release. Part 2 of 3.
03/18 Free! Eternal Summer OVA
http://iwatobi-sc.com/
Bundled with BD/DVD Vol. 7.
03/18 Shingeki no Kyojin Movie 1: Guren no Yumiya
劇場版「進撃の巨人」前編~紅蓮の弓矢~
http://shingeki.tv/movie/
BD/DVD Release.
03/22 Aki no Kanade | アキの奏で
http://animemirai.jp/akino.html
Part of Anime Mirai 2015.
03/22 Happy ComeCome | ハッピーカムカム
http://animemirai.jp/happy.html
Part of Anime Mirai 2015.
03/22 Kumi to Tulip | クミとチューリップ
http://animemirai.jp/kumi.html
Part of Anime Mirai 2015.
03/22 Ongaku Shoujo | 音楽少女
http://animemirai.jp/ongakushoujo.html
Part of Anime Mirai 2015.
03/25 Sidonia no Kishi Movie | 劇場版「シドニアの騎士」
http://www.knightsofsidonia.com/news_movie.php
BD/DVD Release.
03/25 Trinity Seven OVA | トリニティセブン OAD
http://trinity-7.com/
Bundled with LE manga Vol. 11.
03/26 Senran Kagura: Estival Versus – Shoujo-tachi no Sentaku
閃乱カグラ ESTIVAL VERSUS -少女達の選択-
http://senran.tv/news/
Bundled with Senran Kagura: Estival Versus PS4/Vita game.
03/27 Yama no Susume: Kabette Kowakunai no? OVA
ヤマノススメ 壁って怖くないの? OVA
http://www.yamanosusume.com/
Episode 13. Bundled with BD/DVD Vol. 7.
March 2014 Hyakka Ryouran: Samurai After | 百花繚乱 サムライアフター
http://hyakka-ryoran.net/news/news.php
Episode 2 of 2.
04/03 Gintama (2015) OVA | 銀魂 (2015) OVA
http://www.tv-tokyo.co.jp/anime/gintama/index2.html
Bundled with LE manga Vol. 58.
04/03 Nisekoi OVA | ニセコイ OVA
http://www.nisekoi.jp/
Episode 3 of 3.
04/09 Shingeki no Kyojin Gaiden: Kuinaki Sentaku | 進撃の巨人 悔いなき選択
http://aria-blog.webn.jp/kuinaki/
Episode 2 of 2. Bundled with LE manga Vol. 16.
04/13 Grisaia no Meikyuu | グリザイアの迷宮
http://www.grisaia-anime.com/news/index00660000.html
Grisaia no Rakuen Prequel.
04/17 Magi: Sinbad no Bouken OVA | マギ シンドバッドの冒険
http://www.project-magi.com/sinbad/
Episode 4 of 4. Bundled with LE manga Vol. 6.
04/22 K MISSING KINGS
http://k-project-movie.jpn.com/
BD/DVD Release.
04/24 Ookami Shoujo to Kuro Ouji OVA | オオカミ少女と黒王子 OVA
http://www.ookamishojo-anime.jp/
Bundled with LE manga Vol. 12.
04/25 Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya 2wei! OVA
Fate/kaleid liner プリズマ☆イリヤ ツヴァイ! [2wei!] OVA
http://anime.prisma-illya.jp/
Bundled with LE manga Vol. 6.
April 2015 Kurage no Shokudou OVA | クラゲの食堂 OVA
http://bookclub.kodansha.co.jp/product?isbn=9784062838795
05/02 Cardfight!! Vanguard Movie: Neon Messiah
劇場版 カードファイト!! ヴァンガード ネオンメサイア
http://vanguard-movie.com/neonmessiah/
BD/DVD Release.
05/15 Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso OVA | 四月は君の嘘 OVA
http://www.kimiuso.jp/
Bundled with LE manga Vol. 11.
05/22 Hozuki no Reitetsu OVA | 鬼灯の冷徹 OAD
http://www.hozukino-reitetsu.com/oad/
Episode 2 of 3. Bundled with LE manga Vol. 18.
05/27 Suisei no Gargantia ~Meguru Kouro, Haruka~
翠星のガルガンティア~めぐる航路、遥か~
http://gargantia.jp/
Episode 2 of 2.
05/27 Uchuu Senkan Yamato 2199: Hoshimeguru Hakobune
宇宙戦艦ヤマト2199 星巡る方舟
http://yamato2199.net/about/story_a.html
BD/DVD Release.
05/31 Frame Arms: A Violent Struggle | フレームアーム A violent struggle
http://www.kotobukiya.co.jp/product/product-0000001595/
Bundled with Kotobukiya Frame Arms model kits.
06/02 Gekijouban Aikatsu! Idol Katsudou! | 劇場版 アイカツ! アイドルカツドウ!
http://www.aikatsu-movie.net/
BD/DVD Release.

Overall Impressions


 

I think it’s fair to say that there’s a lot to look forward to this season regardless of what your tastes are for anime. After what seems like a long winter (because winter never seems ends up here in the North), and some mixed impressions of last season, I’m pleased with what awaits us in April. Some shows that personally catch my eye are obviously Digimon Adventure tri. and Fate/stay night Unlimited Blade Works 2nd Season, but I’m also anxious to see some new adaptions like Owari no Seraph and Ore Monogatari!!. I’m a true believer that fall and spring seasons generally come with the best premieres for what the year has to offer, so I hope I’m right. I’ll be watching more than I anticipated and I hope everyone else does too!

Onto the rundown. Our rubric remains the same, with the five main expectation levels, ranging from High to Low, plus Niche and Established for special cases. Hopefully this guide will help those of you with limited time understand which shows to try first, based on our preliminary examination of the show’s staff, seiyuu, and source material.

Note: Lists are sorted in alphabetical order.

 

The Rundown:

High expectation shows give us reason to believe they have the makings of a very good series that should appeal to the widest audience in their given genres. If you consider yourself a “casual” fan who only gets your toes wet every season by watching the “best” shows (i.e. popular ones that generate the most buzz), then these are the ones we feel you should keep an eye out for. We’re also expecting good things from these shows, so if they fall short, disappointment is understandable.

Moderately High expectation shows are ones that came close to joining the High expectation crowd, but missed out due to one or two elements that gave us concern. The series underpinnings are generally strong, but there is just something that keeps us from putting all our hopes and dreams on these shows. They still have most of the makings of very strong series, so if you watch only the “best” shows but want more than what the High category provides, keep an eye out for these as well.

Moderate expectation shows, also known as “True Moderate”, don’t provide any immediate indication that they’ll be amazing in retrospect. This is often the case with shows that fall into one of anime’s overused plot devices, which most people, particularly self-proclaimed critics, will perceive as mediocre at best. However, in many of our experiences these shows still provide a great deal of entertainment and may turn out a lot better than they appear. They’re good for “regular” fans who are aware of all these tropes and don’t mind seeing them used in different settings. Personal tastes come heavily into play, so your mileage will vary.

Moderately Low expectation shows don’t seem to be aspiring to much, but it’s hard to call them bad exactly. They might focus on senseless humor or fanservice, but there’s often at least one element that elevates them above other members of their genre. Once again, personal taste comes heavily into play with these shows, because if they’re part of one of your favored genres then chances are you’ll enjoy them no matter what. Just don’t expect them to break the bank with originality.

Low expectation shows don’t seem to be striving for much and choose to focus on more frivolous aspects such as senseless humor and fanservice. That doesn’t mean they’re the bottom of the barrel and shouldn’t get any consideration, but simply that you need to keep in mind what kind of show it is. Generally only “avid” fans will be interested in seeing what these have to offer, because they’re already watching all the better shows.

Niche shows break away from the norm by being slower-paced, extremely dark/grotesque, or even controversial. In most cases these shows are oriented towards older audiences or those who feel that anime has become far too repetitive and want something different. Shows of this category tend to be highly under-appreciated, but can turn out to be hidden gems for that very reason. Includes some works oriented toward younger audiences.

  • Niche: N/A

Established shows are generally long-running manga/anime series, geared towards younger viewers who are already fans of them. A commonality is that they all air early morning on weekends or well before midnight on weekdays so that “normal” people can watch them. They aren’t very dependent on expectations, but a love for never-ending shows and a willingness to get into all the material that’s out if they’re completely new to you. Shounen series fall into this category, hence why we treat them differently.

March 27, 2015 at 12:01 am
198 comments »
  • April 5, 2015 at 7:32 amWorldwideDepp

    @High School DxD BorN

    Oppai!!!! Seems like the Show still know what made it Strong. Oppai jokes and Ecci fan-service that know his limits

    1/3 passed

  • April 5, 2015 at 8:08 amWorldwideDepp

    @Show by Rock

    Well, did you check up the CG before airing? The Symbiosis do not work. As if you doing an modeling clay Animation CG Sequence trowing into the Anime. It feels like an foreign object. And in not giving them a mouth, do not make it better

    I do hope, they fix that. These Clay alike or Plastic alike CG Style. It is heavy Uncanny Valley for me

    • April 5, 2015 at 8:11 amWorldwideDepp

      Yes, this TRON alike World, is a nice idea. But the Jumps from TRON World and Anime World, well how should i put it in words.. Feels strange Part A and Part B, clue together with force

      • April 5, 2015 at 8:13 amWorldwideDepp

        and the voice of the Instrument… Welcome Shirobako… somehow :)

    • April 5, 2015 at 8:24 amWorldwideDepp

      With Shirobako wisdom now, i think this Clay alike CG Sequence was there to add the Merchandise faction.. Oh well, lets see

  • April 8, 2015 at 1:51 pmWorldwideDepp

    @Ore Monogatari!!

    You looking for:
    Slice-of-Life + Friendship + Voice that fit to Character + Love + calmer pacing

    Then this Show is for You!.

    1/3 Pass with Honor

  • April 8, 2015 at 2:12 pmWorldwideDepp

    @Houkago no Pleiades

    Magic-Girl Anime, with pretty Pictures and Background Arts. Sorry, not my Style of Anime

    But here a Tip for your Sound Worker, do not let these “High tech Broom” swift gear, where there is no Gear at all… I mean, she stared right with full speed Motorbike as her Broom (Sound). All right, but the other Girls Flying and you hear the Sound of switching gear, where you see no Video Feedback at all.. Let at last flicker their Broom light a bit

  • April 9, 2015 at 9:53 amWorldwideDepp

    @Ghost in the Shell Arise: Alternative Architecture

    Um, well.. You knowShow Spoiler ▼

    • April 12, 2015 at 9:27 amWorldwideDepp

      Ep 02:

      Show Spoiler ▼

      2/3 Failing so far

      • April 12, 2015 at 9:38 amWorldwideDepp

        Conspiring here conspiring there conspiring everywhere. it is impossible to keep track who is who.. No this Anime is really off track in the Highclouds

        I give up. This show is hard to follow and understand for me. i begin to get headache

      • April 12, 2015 at 12:24 pmWorldwideDepp

        Okay after calming down, i try to explain why i do not follow this Show or has my problems with it

        in the past GITS Anime there was Action Fights, in real world with Cyborg support and other Mechas, Cool Cyber-war Effects and such. But here, in these 2 Episodes is is so packed with Conspirator, that my Head blow off. To much and to less action to let off some Steam

        I dunno, in how you love your GITS, but these was my favorite points of being Fanboy. But here these 2 Episode are nothing. A world filled with Ice, no Human warmth anymore the only Person that had a blink of Humanity was our MC, “Her ghost are telling to do it!” this was a first glimmer of Humanity Soul, in this entire World of Technology where Humans are worthless. Even the Massacre did not rise anything in their hearts, business as usually. War Dogs as Special Police officers, cold hearts bloody Killers well they kill just other Cyborgs. So in a basic look, this World is full of Robots that are thinking they are Humans. Do some Peoples exist with real Human brains? Or did they all Upgrade all with tech stuff and such, and lost their Soul underway? No this World are heartless, full of Steel. This World is beyond having a Humanity Future. only the Strong Robot survive

    • April 19, 2015 at 8:23 amWorldwideDepp

      Ep 03:
      Show Spoiler ▼

    • April 29, 2015 at 11:14 amWorldwideDepp

      Ep 04:

      Show Spoiler ▼

      • April 29, 2015 at 11:37 amWorldwideDepp

        But i do not like these Memories manipulating things. Are their Brains really that Easy to manipulate? Are all of these Humans in reality Cyborgs? Machines that have an Human AI?. What happen with the Human Brain?

        I hope the next Episodes has nothing more with Memories alternation in their Story. What is real? What is fake? Is this all a Dream? is this an Illusion? Then why do you spin the Story, if you in the end turn out as Fake? This conspritation things are to much overboard for my Gusto

        So this Anime here, is for Long time Hardcore Fans. More an Omake, as you know anything knew about our Major

  • April 9, 2015 at 11:12 amWorldwideDepp

    @Triage X

    Well, as if they try to copy High school DxD Girls with their Boobs um sorry, Oppai’s. But failed. Triage X Female do not have Boobs or Oppai’s, these are just Helium Balloon shaped as some kind of Boobies. Because with this things, they would fall over or break their spine. Perhaps Queens Blade came near this here

    or sorry, well for the Story. It is not a nice move if only the Male hide his Face and the Females do not care. Well they really just use the Females here for Service to trow their Anime onto the Fans

    Look only if you find High school DxD oppai’s flat as wood, or found High school of the Dead not satisfied enough. oh and of the We shoot Bad Peoples aka Yakuza Story of course…

    • April 9, 2015 at 11:22 amWorldwideDepp

      or their Director or someone in charge of the Char designs, is a US Boy.. “They are to small.Add more Flesh!!” sounded in creation progress for the Females

  • April 11, 2015 at 3:07 pmWorldwideDepp

    @Knights of Sidonia 2

    Dear Animation Studio, can you please give your Humans the ability to breath Air in the Sequence? as Example, the Old Men was talking with this Girl, while watching the Mecha get moved and the Alarm Sound ringed(the Engineer Old Men and Goddess). But why they hold their breath the entire scene? :) If you want to do accurate Animations, give them little Chest movement of breathing Air. Would ya? :)

    The 2nd Season has also an new OP Song, that i find myself better fitting for this Fighting scenery. Even if it remind me of a Military prise March Song.. Well in a case it is true.

    Show Spoiler ▼

    • April 17, 2015 at 2:40 pmWorldwideDepp

      Ep 02:

      I only say “Nice Message Chair!!” :)

      2/3 passed without problems

  • April 17, 2015 at 11:53 amWorldwideDepp

    @Punch Line

    Well, where Episode 1 was Nice and aggresiv in his own Way, and own Humor

    the Episode 2 lost it on the Way, it was nearly the opposite of Episode 1 Flow

    in Short: What are the strength of Punsh Line? Pantsy shoots? Well, if Highschool DxD would only sell themselves with the “Big Opais”, they would lost long ago to Triage X. Because Triage X has the to big even for Opai” boobies

    I hope they switch in Episode 3 the balance. We do not need an Anime to show only Shut ins. And do not the Boy was looking for something?

    Episode 1: 8/10 (Pantsy and Action)
    Episode 2: 5/10 (For what i am watching this?)

  • April 21, 2015 at 9:56 amduck69

    Nothing to watch this season we have to wait for digimon. sad story :(

  • April 21, 2015 at 9:56 amduck69

    Nothing to watch this season we have to wait for digimon. sad story :(

  • June 17, 2015 at 4:49 pmfrogger

    Looking forward to & awaiting summer season preview :)

    • June 17, 2015 at 4:58 pmfrogger

      Anyone know when it is coming out?

  • June 23, 2015 at 5:28 pmCaramelStick

    It’s the last week for the spring 2015, how come summer 2015 preview is not out yet? O.o

  • « Older Comments