Brace yourselves… winter is coming. And like tired-ass memes from creatively bankrupt bloggers, that means it’s time for another season preview. The world of sequels is still going strong, with a continuation of the wonderful medieval romance Akagami no Shirayukihime 2nd Season, the final installment of the new Durararas in Durarara!!x2 Ketsu, and a return of the ridiculous[ly awesome] octopus-flavored assassination story in Ansatsu Kyoushitsu 2nd Season. Not to be outdone, there are exciting new adaptations as well, such as the multiple award-winning josei drama Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu, the gritty sci-fi of Dimension W, and the latest cute-boys-doing-sports-things otome game adaptation in Prince of Stride Alternative. As for originals—there are a lot of originals. I don’t even know where to start as there are so many of them, but some to look out for are studio Sanzigen’s CGI action series Bubuki Buranki, the powersuit cop action of Active Raid: Kidou Kyoushuushitsu Dai Hakkei, and what might be a reprise of your favorite childhood game in Phantasy Star Online 2 The Animation. All in all, there’s a wide range to look forward to for anime fans of all types. Join us once again as we tell you which ones we think will be good—this is Random Curiosity’s Winter 2016 Preview.


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, these reflect our own subjective excitement level for each show; they 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 days of yore, i.e. 2012, previews were done by a single writer, Divine. Since none of the current writers are as crazy awesome as he, we’ve divided them up among our staff (Cherrie, Guardian Enzo, Jig, 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 sources for each series.

As always, thank you to the entire Random Curiosity staff for helping with this preview. Special thanks go to Divine and Xumbra, who encoded all the PV’s; Zephyr, who compiled the OVA/Movie list; Stilts, who organized yelled at people and edited the entire preview; Passerby, who did final checks; and Cherrie, who did just about everything else (formatting, links, pictures—the works). We couldn’t have done it without you all. As a bonus, you can find a more Enzo-flavored run-down on many of these shows at LiA’s winter preview, entirely written by the esteemed Guardian Enzo.

Finally, I’d like to thank you all for your continued support of Random Curiosity. (So I will. Thanks!) I know no one actually reads this part anymore, but we really do mean it. You’re the reason we keep doing this. You’re also what separates us from a bunch of crazy hobos shouting into a wind. You know, like Tumblr. Social media zing!

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
Rainbow Days
22:00 MX (1/10)
Undefeated Bahamut Chronicle
23:30 AT-X (1/11)
Prince of Stride Alternative
23:00 AT-X (1/5)
Musaigen no Phantom World
24:00 MX (1/6)
NORN9: Norn + Nonette
21:30 AT-X (1/7)
Divine Gate
22:30 MX (1/8)
10:30 TX (1/9)
Ooya-san wa Shishunki!
22:27 MX (1/10)
Akagami no Shirayukihime 2nd Season
24:00 MX (1/11)
25:00 MX (1/6)
Active Raid -Kidou Kyoushuushitsu Dai Hakkei-
22:00 MX (1/7)
Oshiete! Galko-chan
22:30 AT-X (1/8)
Bubuki Buranki
22:00 MX (1/9)
Dimension W
22:30 MX (1/10)
Mahou Shoujo Nante Mou Ii Desu Kara.
25:11 MX (1/11)
Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku Wo!
25:05 MX (1/13)
Shoujo-tachi wa Kouya wo Mezasu
22:30 MX (1/7)
Koukaku no Pandora
23:00 AT-X (1/8)
Luck and Logic
22:30 MX (1/9)
Hai to Gensou no Grimgar
24:30 MX (1/10)
Ao no Kanata no Four Rhythm
26:05 TX (1/11)
Haruchika ~Haruta to Chika wa Seishun Suru~
25:35 MX (1/6)
Boku dake ga Inai Machi
24:55 CX (1/7)
Sekkou Boys
23:00 MX (1/8)
Durarara!!x2 Ketsu
23:30 MX (1/9)
25:05 TX (1/10)
Oji-san to Marshmallow
25:00 TVS (1/7)
Reikenzan: Hoshikuzu-tachi no Utage
24:00 MX (1/8)
Nurse Witch Komugi-chan R
26:25 NTV (1/9)
Ansatsu Kyoushitsu 2nd Season
25:25 CX (1/7)
GATE: Jieitai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakeri 2nd Season
25:05 MX (1/8)
Phantasy Star Online 2 The Animation
25:46 TBS (1/7)
25:55 TBS (1/15)
Dagashi Kashi
26:16 TBS (1/7)
Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu
26:25 TBS (1/8)

* Jump to OVA/Movies.

Prince of Stride Alternative | プリンス・オブ・ストライド オルタナティブTop
Animation: Madhouse Premiere: January 5, 2016
Genre: Sports Airtime (GMT+9): Tuesdays at 23:00
Episodes: 12 Station: AT-X
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @posa_anime or #プリスト

Preview by Samu

In the past few years we’ve seen a massive boom in sports anime – from the borderline-fantasy Kuroko no Basuke to the adrenaline-pumping realism of Haikyuu!!, to the zaniness of the Yowamushi Pedal. Prince of Stride: Alternative looks to be the next addition in this new hit genre. The one common thread these series share is their appeal to a female demographic, as girls love a bunch of pretty boys doing strenuous physical activities – and that’s exactly what Prince of Stride is all about! It’s a story seen through the eyes of our main character, Sakurai Nana (Hanazawa Kana), a hardworking and fearless girl who has moved alone from the Hokkaido countryside to the cityscape of Tokyo. There, Nana becomes the manager of her new school’s Stride club. “Stride” is a team sport that involves players who run various relay races in towns – like a mix between marathon and parkour – and Nana is determined to form a Stride team to bring them to the “End of Summer,” a top competition hosted alongside other competing schools across Japan. With that goal in mind, she recruits the cool and stoic Stride prodigy, Fujiwara Takeru (Okamoto Nobuhiko), and the friendly and energetic Yagami Riku (Kimura Ryouhei), along with several others, in hopes of working together to bring their club to victory.

The more promotional material I read and watch, and the more Prince of Stride reminds me of Kyoto Animation’s Free! Character designs bear a striking resemblance in both titles, and the typical character archetypes are there for each respective boy. The one thing that makes this stand out is the director, Ishizuka Atsuko (Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo, No Game No Life, Hanayamata). Her aesthetic is distinctive: vibrant, colourful, and glitteringly bright. She is a director we can easily place confidence in, at least from a visual standpoint – all signs point to this looking sleek and polished, and likely to appeal to the aimed demographic. However, this is an adaptation of an otome game, and there are not many success stories from adaptations in that genre. But there’s enough here to look forward to, especially if you’re a fan of the recent selection of sports anime, or if you enjoyed Ishizuka Atsuko’s previous works.

Watching This: Guardian Enzo, Jig, Samu, Stilts, Zephyr Expectation Level: Moderately High
Show Prince of Stride Alternative Promotional Videos ▼

Musaigen no Phantom World | 無彩限のファントム・ワールドTop
Animation: Kyoto Animation Premiere: January 6, 2016
Genre: Action, Supernatural Airtime (GMT+9): Wednesdays at 24:00
Episodes: 13 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @anime_PW or #phantom

Preview by Samu

Back in 2013, the original light novel of Musaigen no Phantom World received an honourable mention in the novel category of the fourth Kyoto Animation Award. Despite not winning the grand prize, many suspected it would receive an anime adaptation down the line, similar to Free! and Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai! Fast forward three years, and we’re getting Kyoto Animation’s second attempt at an action-fantasy-supernatural series. Set in the near future where monsters and spirits are in full sight, Ichijou Haruhiko (Shimono Hiro) leads a group of cute girls with supernatural abilities as they plot against an evil organisation that is taking advantage of a ‘certain incident.’ It’s a broad premise we’ve seen time and time again from the various magical-fantasy-action-harem light novel anime adaptations, but the fact remains that this is Kyoto Animation we’re talking about, and director Ishihara Tatsuya (Suzumiya Haruhi, Nichijou, Hibike! Euphonium) claims Phantom World is one of the their most gag-heavy titles to date. Not only that, you can be sure to expect familiar character designs from chief animation director Ikeda Kazumi (Kanon, CLANNAD, Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai!), near-flawless animation, and an abundance of vibrant action sequences, as was demonstrated in the studio’s first attempt at the genre with Kyoukai no Kanata.

Even as a massive KyoAni fan, I have to admit that Phantom World isn’t getting me as hyped as I would like it to. That being said, if there’s ever a chance for a magical-fantasy-action-harem light novel anime adaptation to exceed the expectations of the genre, we may just see it here. From the promotional material that’s been released, the action and gags seem plentiful, it looks fabulous, and the character designs are… well… interesting to say the least (reverse twintails are the new in-thing, it appears). Phantom World feels like it’s going to be a hit with those who like shows such as Rakudai Kishi no Calvary, Gakusen Toshi Asterisk, Absolute Duo, and other anime of a similar vein. If you’re a fan of those sorts of shows, then Phantom World will be right up your alley; but if, like me, you’re more intrigued by the studio and the staff – as opposed to the premise itself – then you’re likely to check it out and stick around till the end no matter what. It’s KyoAni, after all!

Watching This: Cherrie, Guardian Enzo, Passerby, Samu, Zephyr Expectation Level: Moderate
Show Musaigen no Phantom World Promotional Videos ▼

Animation: Premiere: January 6, 2016
Genre: Comedy Airtime (GMT+9): Wednesdays at 25:00
Episodes: Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @SushiPoliceJP or #スシポリス

Preview by Stilts

With the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games around the corner, a worldwide sushi boom is underway. But not all sushi is created equal. In response to the epidemic of bad sushi, the Japanese government has teamed up with other world powers to establish the WFCO (World Food-culture Conservation Organization), to protect and promote authentic local cuisines. The 9th Division, aka the Sushi Police, is tasked with overseeing Japanese cuisine abroad, and they’re notorious for their aggressive conduct against anyone who serves inauthentic Japanese food. They will, and frequently do, resort to any means necessary to eliminate bad sushi, and are despised by restaurateurs. Each episode will be five minutes long.

Let’s get some details out of the way: This is a series of 3DCG shorts. I say that now to calibrate expectations, because when I first heard about this series, it sounded like all sorts of fun. And it still could be, but I wouldn’t go in expecting much of a plot. The promo videos depict a goofy, action-packed spectacle where three bespectacled anti-heroes blow up sushi restaurants for having the audacity to not be very good. This series is not trying to be, and should not be, taken seriously. The three main characters are supposed to be uncompromising but inefficient, which will supposedly make them somewhat lovable, which is great if it’s executed well. Promotional materials mention restaurants in the U.S., Russia, France, and China, which excites me—how will they portray these restaurants in other cultures? With insight or stereotypes? Though it probably doesn’t matter. This series sounds silly but fun, something that’s both goofy, creative, and endearing in premise alone. 3DCG short though it may be, I’m excited to see if it’s any good.

Watching This: Jig, Passerby, Samu, Stilts, Takaii Expectation Level: Moderate
Show SUSHI POLICE Promotional Videos ▼

Haruchika ~Haruta to Chika wa Seishun Suru~Top
Animation: P.A. Works Premiere: January 6, 2016
Genre: Mystery, School-Life Airtime (GMT+9): Wednesdays at 25:35
Episodes: 12 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @haruta_chika or #ハルチカ

Preview by Passerby

Kamijou Haruta (Saito Soma) is a sharp but reserved young man who plays the french horn. Homura Chika (Sarah Emi Bridcutt) is a lively but impulsive young girl who plays the flute. Together, they fight crime! What, they look just like normal anime high school students? Well yes; they’re childhood friends together in the school’s wind instrument club, which is on the verge of being closed due to lack of membership. So they’re mostly preoccupied with either their club or recruiting members to save it—that is, until a grotesque incident occurs at their school. The two decide to solve this mystery together. What was I telling you? Together they’re HaruChika, and they fight crime!

So, the school band is Hibike! Euphonium. The mystery on campus is Hyouka. And I think the two leads are crushing on the same older guy so, er, Cardcaptor Sakura? Musically curious magical girls? Probably not that last one, but Hibike Euphonium plus Hyouka sounds about right. While original author Hatsuno Sei is predominantly a mystery writer, from what I can tell his novel is steeped in human drama, despite my tongue-in-cheek synopsis (so perhaps some Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso in there as well). I suspect the love triangle will get worked, the music will be one big metaphor, and the mystery will provide conflict. Staff-wise, we have Hashimoto Masakazu directing and the always excellent Yoshida Reiko on series composition, and since this is an anime with a musical bent, composer Hamaguchi Shiro deserves a mention; I especially enjoyed his work on Girls und Panzer. There seems to be a lot of good parts to this show—if it’s truly Hibike Euphonium plus Hyouka, then the equation should be superb + sublime, right? If everything sums properly, we should have some quality anime on our hands.

Watching This: Cherrie, Guardian Enzo, Passerby, Samu, Stilts, Zephyr Expectation Level: Moderate
Show Haruchika ~Haruta to Chika wa Seishun Suru~ Promotional Videos ▼

NORN9: Norn + Nonette | NORN9 ノルン+ノネット Top
Animation: Kinema Citrus x Orange Premiere: January 7, 2016
Genre: Fantasy, Adventure Airtime (GMT+9): Thursdays at 21:30
Episodes: 12 Station: AT-X
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @norn9_anime or #norn9

Preview by Takaii

Based off an otome game, NORN9 has a really interesting premise that isn’t my cup of tea, but I’ll do my best here for you guys. With its story jumping everywhere, NORN9 begins with a shouta named Suzuhara Sorata (Abe Atsushi) and a girl named Koharu (Fujimura Ayumi) as they’re staring at a giant ship as it begins to descend upon them. Suddenly, two guys bust out, ask a few heated questions, and take both of them on board. Once on the ship they discover a handful of other kids who have some sort of special power, and that the ship is headed to somewhere where their powers can be used for peace instead of destruction. So, skipping past the awkward introduction and into some specifics, apparently the world has experienced World War IV and in order to “reset” things, it was decided that the world needed to be blown up and recreated. To accomplish the reset part, the higher ups decided to distribute the “powers” needed to recreate the world to psychic users until the time was right. These psychic users are NORN9’s crew and whom the story follows.

From what I gathered, a lot of people seem to enjoy the source material not necessarily for its story, but for the characters and just how unique each of them are. Based off an otome game, you can expect the general idea of routes and flags as the main girl attempts to go for the various guys throughout the ship. The draw of this one though seems to fall on the vast amount of character types scattered throughout NORN9 (hikikomori, tsundere, jerk, etc), and they’re apparently all so lovable that you can’t help but wish that everyone could get their own happy ending. In terms of production, the studio handling this one is Kinema Citrus with help from Orange (remember Black Bullet, anyone?), and there are some pretty big name seiyuu like Ono Daisuke and Sugita Tomokazu, which is always a positive. Overall, I think all the ingredients for a fun date and conquering type show are there, and with such a crazy premise, I’m probably going to at least watch the first few episodes to wrap my head around everything.

Watching This: Cherrie, Passerby, Takaii Expectation Level: Moderately Low
Show NORN9: Norn + Nonetto Promotional Videos ▼

Active Raid -Kidou Kyoushuushitsu Dai Hakkei-Top
アクティヴレイド -機動強襲室第八係-
Animation: Production IMS Premiere: January 7, 2016
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi Airtime (GMT+9): Thursdays at 22:00
Episodes: 12 (split-cour) Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @activeraid or #activeraid

Preview by Passerby

It’s the future! The world is corrupt! Tokyo has fallen to chaos! A more effective policing system is needed to push back the rampant crime plaguing the urban sprawl. Thus the invention and deployment of ‘Willware,’ suits of mechanical exoskeletons that are donned when enforcing the law becomes violent and dangerous—or when there’s less concern about collateral damage. Of particular note is the 8th unit of the 3rd Mobile Assault group of the 5th division of the Special Public Security Section (hurray, bureaucracy!), better known locally as ‘the Eighth.’ They are charged with policing a particularly unpleasant part of Tokyo, but aren’t exactly model citizens themselves. An altogether unruly, unorthodox and unmotivated bunch, the Eighth would, in a crime drama, all be the bad cop at once. Enter assistant inspector Kagari Asami (Ozawa Ari), freshly assigned to the Eighth and tasked with overseeing this failing unit. Will she be able to whip the Eighth into shape and turn it into a truly professional crime fighting force?

Before anything else, I must mention that Active Raid: Kidou Kyoushuushitsu Dai-Hakkei (Active Raid: Special Public Security 5th Division 3rd Mobile Assault Unit 8; oh how that rolls off the tongue) is being scripted and composed by Arakawa Naruhisa, who has under this belt, among other things, Kamen Rider. That’s exactly what I’m hoping for from Active Raid: over-the-top Super Sentai-flavoured action. The sci-fi powered armour means masked heroes fighting evil, right? That’s not to say that Arakawa is going to be the only influence on this series—we have Taniguchi Gorou (CODE GEASS) and Akitaya Noriaki (Bakuman.) in the chairs of chief director and director respectively, which should add some additional oomph to the staff. The only potential worry is that Active Raid has some reliance on computer graphics, mostly to animate Willware. Your personal tolerance for it will vary, though. Otherwise, Active Raid looks to be the fun original offering of the season with a possible serious edge, and like most originals is worth checking out.

Watching This: Passerby, Samu, Stilts, Zephyr Expectation Level: Moderately High
Shoujo-tachi wa Kouya wo Mezasu | 少女たちは荒野を目指すTop
Animation: Project No.9 Premiere: January 7, 2016
Genre: Drama, School-Life Airtime (GMT+9): Thursdays at 22:30
Episodes: 12 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @shokomeza or #shokomeza

Preview by Passerby

Houjou Buntarou (Yamashita Seiichirou) is your average high school student, an aimless youth unsure of his goals for the future and without a current direction in life. What he does do, on the occassions where he’s not just bumming with his mates, is write, and it is for this that he is approached by classmate Kuroda Sayuki (Chisuga Hakura), who read a script Buntarou had written for the Drama Club. Sayuki wants to create a visual novel, and wants Buntarou’s help to do it. It’s strange; Buntarou knows nothing at all about making games, but Sayuki claims that she will be able to make the project a success. Where does her confidence come from? Will it be enough, as these youths step into this great unknown?

So, an anime adaptation of a visual novel about making a visual novel. Possibly a visual novel about itself. If that sounds like Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata to you then, yeah, it did to me too. But Shoujo-tachi wa Kyouya wo Mezasu (The Girls Who Aim for the Wilderness) is of a somewhat different stock. It’s a funny cross-media thing, with the anime being based on a visual novel, but being aired prior to the release of its ‘source’. Well, the relationship between the anime and the visual novel is less important than the fact that the original author is Tanaka Romeo, who also wrote, amongst other things, the critically acclaimed Cross†Channel. From his involvement alone we can perhaps take a guess at the true nature of Shoujo-tachi wa Kouya wo Mezasu. It’ll likely be less the self-deprecating comedy of Saekano and more skewed towards drama, worming into the heads of both its characters and the audience. I’m trusting Tanaka Romeo to have written something compelling, is what I’m saying. And hey, the PV is not unpleasant to look at, and we have Steins;Gate director Sato Takuya on board, so how bad could it be? In fact, I think it could actually be pretty good.

Watching This: Cherrie, Jig, Passerby, Zephyr Expectation Level: Moderate
Show Shoujo-tachi wa Kouya wo Mezasu Promotional Videos ▼

Boku Dake ga Inai Machi | 僕だけがいない街Top
Animation: A-1 Pictures Premiere: January 7, 2016
Genre: Drama, Supernatural Airtime (GMT+9): Thursdays at 24:55
Episodes: 12 Station: Fuji TV (CX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @bokumachi_anime or #僕街

Preview by Passerby

Fujinuma Satoru (Mitsushima Shinnosuke) is a struggling manga author who receives one major criticism about his work: it lacks personality. From this perhaps one can already tell what kind of person Satoru is. He’s a stiff sort, a bit awkward about expressing himself, and not too keen with getting involved with others. But Satoru occasionally experiences a strange phenomenon; right before a tragic accident or incident, Satoru would find himself sent backwards in time, and would relive that snippet of his life until he spots what causes the tragedy and averts it. This, and Satoru’s better nature, prevents him from ignoring others in distress, but he is himself haunted by a harrowing event in his past. As a child, an adult he trusted was convicted of the kidnapping and murder of multiple children, including Satoru’s then classmate Hinazuki Kayo (Yuuki Aoi). Through this hazy memory one thought gnaws at him to this day: couldn’t he have done something about it?

So, an adaptation of a manga starring a flawed mangaka. This must be what they call writing what you know (*zing*). In seriousness, Sanbe Kei‘s Boku Dake ga Inai Machi (The Town Where Only I am Missing aka ERASED) is a quality work, and the various awards it has been nominated for will attest to that. From the synopsis you can probably tell that it’s got a mystery brewing, with a bit of a sci-fi edge in the time loop thing, but what Boku Dake ga Inai Machi excels at is its psychological angle, drilling deep into the minds of its characters (especially the protagonist) to show what makes them tick. Along the way it tackles many serious issues, like repression, child abuse, and social anxiety. It may be a bit tricky to adapt, but there seems to be a solid staff behind the anime; director Itou Tomohiko and screenwriter Kishimoto Taku have worked together before on the first season of Gin no Saji (and it was good), while composer Kajiura Yuki will be providing no doubt suitably dramatic music. A lot of good things have been lined up for this adaptation, and Boku Dake ga Inai Machi could well be one of the more promising shows this season.

Watching This: Cherrie, Guardian Enzo, Jig, Passerby, Samu, Stilts, Takaii, Zephyr Expectation Level: High
Show Boku dake ga Inai Machi Promotional Videos ▼

Oji-san to Marshmallow | おじさんとマシュマロTop
Animation: Creators in Park Premiere: January 7, 2016
Genre: Comedy Airtime (GMT+9): Thursdays at 25:00
Episodes: 12 Station: Teletama (TVS)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @anime_ojms or #おじマシュ

Preview by Zanibas

Based on the popular webcomic from Pixiv and the subsequent manga, Ojisan to Marshmallow comes as a short-form anime this winter. This comedy-romance centers around Kusaka Habahiro (Inada Tetsu)—a quite large middle aged man who loves marshmallows—as well as the office lady in love with him, Wakabayashi Iori (Kitamura Eri). There will be lots of cute romance. There will be comedic misunderstandings. There will be marshmallows. Lots of marshmallows.

Considering how wildly popular the webseries has been with its Japanese audience, Ojisan to Marshmallow stands out with proven comedy that’s sure to garner more than a few laughs. The plot itself is ridiculous enough to not get lost in the sea of sub-class shorts, forsaking cute girls and mascots in favor of a (silly) portrayal of common people. Though the production team is unremarkable and novice, with seiyuu such as Kitamura Eri and Hanazawa Kana in major roles, the acting will definitely be spot-on. I recommend this to anyone looking for a quick absurd comedy, with the undertones of a cute romance in an age group rarely explored in anime.

Watching This: Samu Expectation Level: Moderately Low
Phantasy Star Online 2 The AnimationTop
ファンタシースターオンライン2 ジ アニメーション
Animation: Telecom Animation Film Premiere: January 7, 2016
Genre: Action, Fantasy, Sc-Fi Airtime (GMT+9): Thursdays at 25:46
Episodes: 12 Station: TBS
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @ANIME_PSO2 or #アニメPSO2

Preview by Passerby

Phantasy Star was one of the older Japanese role playing game franchises and decidedly single player, but it eventually lead to the MMORPG variant Phantasy Star Online and, surprise surprise, a Phantasy Star Online 2. In 2016, Phantasy Star Online will turn 15, and to celebrate this anniversary an anime adaptation of the second game is being made. While the MMO was thin on plot, that shouldn’t be an issue because the anime is using an original story. It is the year 2027 and war was beginning our hero Tachibana Itsuki (Aoi Shouta) is a high school student boarding at something of a military academy, an institution dedicated to nurturing both scholarly and martial skills in its students. All is well, until one day student council president Izumi Rina (Suwa Ayaka) calls Itsuki to the student council room. In a normal school this would be nothing to write home about, but this is no normal school. There must be a reason why the student president, universally admired at the academy, would ask for Itsuki personally. Could this be a call to adventure?

Video game adaptations are often suspect. Despite superficial similarities, there is much in a game that simply does not translate well into anime; much of the narrative is usually communicated via mechanics. One way to bypass this is to simply strip away everything from the game except the fluff and just build something new on that, which has proven successful in the past with, for example, Shingeki no Bahamut, and that seems to be what Phantasy Star Online 2 the Animation is attempting. Phantasy Star actually had a fairly interesting world (especially for its time), a sword and sorcery setting but with a science-fiction aesthetic, something which would eventually inspire .hack. That said, the little we know of the premise sounds a tad generic, and the promotional videos perhaps betray an over-reliance on computer graphics. Your tolerance for either of those will vary. There’s no lack of action and science fiction this season, so Phantasy Star Online 2 The Animation will have to impress to stand out, but it has its roots in a venerable franchise, so it may be worth checking out just for that. With only slim information available for it right now, we won’t know for sure how it will turn out, and it could surprise.

Watching This: No one yet Expectation Level: Moderately Low
Show Phantasy Star Online 2 The Animation Promotional Videos ▼

Dagashi Kashi | だがしかしTop
Animation: feel. Premiere: January 7, 2016
Genre: Comedy Airtime (GMT+9): Thursdays at 26:16
Episodes: 12 Station: TBS
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @anime_dagashi or #だがしかし

Preview by Zanibas

Small-town boy Shikada Kokonotsu (Abe Atsushi) has a natural talent for creating sweets, something his father, sweets shop owner Shikada You (Fujiwara Keiji), recognizes in him. Although Kokonotsu is egged on by his father to take over the family business, he’s more interested in becoming a mangaka. These plans are hampered with the arrival of big-city girl Shidare Hotaru (Taketatsu Ayana), who hopes to enlist Shikada’s father into her own family’s sweets making company. The father’s catch: she first must convince Shikada to take over his own family’s business. Along with family friends Endou Saya (Numakura Manami) and Endou Tou (Suzuki Tatsuhisa), Shikada and Shidare, a world of sweets, and their creation are waiting to be explored. It is where even the most rural candy shop can produce some wonderful desserts.

Dagashi Kashi immediately stands out with its unique character designs. The dilated pupils are spread out across all characters, giving the show a distinct face that’s hard to look away from. The art has translated well from the manga thanks to studio feel’s efforts, and looks to be shaping up to be one of their better adaptations in recent times. The premise itself sounds interesting; though the concept of succeeding the rural family business is a heavily used trope in anime, exploring the realm of Japanese sweets should be a plus for audiences looking to immerse themselves in daily Japanese culture. The show itself is heavily reliant on episodic humor, using the concept of a specific candy to drive the current episode. Viewers who are looking for a light comedy focused on a specific part of Japanese culture, you’ve got your winner.

Watching This: Cherrie, Guardian Enzo, Jig, Passerby, Samu, Stilts Expectation Level: Moderate
Show Dagashi Kashi Promotional Videos ▼

Ansatsu Kyoushitsu 2nd Season | 暗殺教室 第2期Top
Animation: Lerche Premiere: January 7, 2016
Genre: Comedy, Action, School-Life Airtime (GMT+9): Thursdays at 25:25
Episodes: 25 Station: Fuji TV (CX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @ansatsu_anime or #暗殺教室

Preview by Takaii

When the world is facing utter destruction from a nearly indestructible octopus that can fly at Mach 20, what in the world are you supposed to do? Especially when elite assassins and the toughest in the military aren’t even able to lay a scratch on him? Obviously, you send in a group of troublesome third-year middle school students! Jokes aside, Assassination Classroom focuses on the students of classroom 3-E, a special class where the troublemakers and underperforming students of the school are sent in an effort to get them back on track. But in reality, this classroom is more of a final resting place to “encourage” students to quit, and serves as a warning to keep the rest of the student body motivated. However, after one fateful day where most of the moon was obliterated, classroom 3-E received a new teacher who would forever change their lives — a strangely dressed octopus aptly named Koro-sensei (Fukuyama Jun), whom they were told to assassinate or else the world will be destroyed.

To preface, it’s probably important that you watch the first season before starting this one. After an exciting two-cour season and tons of character development, you’d be missing a ton if you leapt straight into this second season. Getting back on track, boy oh boy am I excited for this second season of Assclass (my favorite acronym for this show). With Lerche returning to hold the reins and everyone of importance reprising their roles, what more could you ask for? If you were to ask me what makes this show so fun to watch, I’d highlight the interactions between Koro-sensei and all the students of class 3-E. While the overarching mission is for Koro-sensei to eventually be taken out, there’s no way you can overlook the bonds and friendship that everyone’s made together. Overcoming obstacle after obstacle, be it a trio of trained assassins or the chairman of the academy, there’s nothing they can’t overcome together (except maybe killing Koro-sensei!). I hope to see you all for the second season, since I’ve been dying to see more and it looks like our patience is about to be rewarded. That and I would watch the show simple for Nagisa-kun (Fuchigami Mai).

Watching This: Cherrie, Guardian Enzo, Samu, Stilts, Takaii, Zephyr Expectation Level: High
Show Ansatsu Kyoushitsu 2nd Season Promotional Videos ▼

Divine Gate | ディバインゲートTop
Animation: Studio Pierrot Premiere: January 8, 2016
Genre: Action, Fantasy Airtime (GMT+9): Fridays at 22:30
Episodes: 12 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @divine_anime or #ディバゲアニメ

Preview by Zanibas

From the smartphone game of the same name comes a new anime produced by Studio Pierrot. In this world, the barrier between Heaven, Hell, and Earth have been broken, allowing chaos to reign. It was only thanks to the formation of a World Council that the chaos could be contained. While they enforce the peace, the World Council has a secondary agenda—to send a human to the source of the chaos and reshape the world. To this end, they gather children possessing magical powers and send them towards the source of chaos: the Divine Gate. The one who reaches it first essentially becomes a god, but what kind of world do each of these children want to create?

In the past, it would have been easy to dismiss mobile game adaptations as immediate flops. However, with the rise of shows such as The iDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls and Shingeki no Bahamut: GENESIS, viewers everywhere must take care not to miss a gem by dismissing it as a mobile game advertisement. With a lack of plot from the game, Divine Gate has barely any information on its story, but its flexibility may be a strong point. With Studio Pierrot and director Abe Noriyuki (Bleach, Arslan Senki) onboard, as well as a cast with credentials, including Taketatsu Ayana and Itou Kanae, anything could happen with this show. Though the character designs from the released PVs look a bit iffy, overall the show looks decent in terms of its animation. I recommend a quick peek at the first episode for fantasy action fans to see if it piques your interest.

Watching This: Cherrie, Guardian Enzo, Samu Expectation Level: Moderately Low
Show Divine Gate Promotional Videos ▼

Oshiete! Galko-chan | おしえて!ギャル子ちゃんTop
Animation: feel. Premiere: January 8, 2016
Genre: Comedy, School-Life Airtime (GMT+9): Fridays at 22:30
Episodes: 12 Station: AT-X
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @galko_official or #ギャル子ちゃん

Preview by Jig

Based on a manga which was originally published on Twitter (before subsequently moving to Kadokawa’s ComicWalker website), Oshiete! Gyaruko-chan consists of a series of comedic shorts following the everyday lives of three high school friends. Gyaruko (Waki Azumi) is a slightly rude but ultimately good-hearted popular girl, Otaki (Tomita Miyu) is the quiet loner of group who nevertheless manages to be good friends with Gyaruko, and Ojyo (Takahashi Minami) is a free-speaking but airheaded girl who talks frequently with the prior two. Each girl’s name is a play-on-words that alludes to a subculture which loosely characterizess the girls. Gyaruko is a pun on “gyaru”, which refers to a kind of street fashion where young girls bleach their hair blonde, adorn their nails with gaudy decorations, and wear loads of face make-up; Otako is a reference to Otaku culture; and Ojou is an allusion to a daughter of a high-class family.

If you’re looking for deep and impactful storytelling, Oshiete! Gyaruko-chan is probably not for you. In the manga, each chapter lasts just one page, and there are no overarching plots or strong character development. This isn’t to say that it won’t be worth your time. I found each short to be quaint and subdued in humor, which proves for an amusing little read. I think it’s crucial that this tone carries over into the anime in order for it to succeed. Sure, it’s light on content and depth, but intentionally so. The series isn’t trying to be anything grand—just fun. Director Kawaguchi Keiichirou has had plenty of experience with school life comedy shows (like Minami-ke Taidama, Jinsei), so it seems to be in the right hands. It’s not hard seeing this series as a quick little watch every week, sort of like the funnies in the Sunday newspaper.

Watching This: Samu, Stilts Expectation Level: Moderately Low
Koukaku no Pandora | 紅殻のパンドラTop
Animation: Studio Gokumi x AXsiZ Premiere: January 8, 2016
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi Airtime (GMT+9): Fridays at 23:00
Episodes: 12 Station: AT-X
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @kpandora_anime or #kpandora

Preview by Zanibas

From the mind of Shirow Masamune, creator of Ghost in the Shell, comes a lighter work that continues the focus on cyborgs and their ethics. In a world where automation is dominating all aspects of life and dividing the poor and the rich even wider, Nanakorobi Nene (Fuku Sanae), a cyborg, has an exciting future waiting for her. As she travels to the island of Cenancle to live with her family, she runs into another cyborg, Clarion (Numakura Manami) and her master, Deliah Uzal (Tanaka Atsuko). Uzal then warns that if Clarion and Nene don’t work together, a terrorist threat on Cenancle will come to fruition and spell mass destruction. Thus, the two cyborgs go on a quest to defeat this menace, revealing powers within themselves they never knew they had.

Although author Shirow Masamune is legendary for the GiTS series, his works after that series haven’t been as well-received. Koukaku no Pandora looks to be no exception. Although I respect Studio Gokumi as a production company, the work done so far to show off this anime has been lackluster. The premise and the character designs simply don’t mesh together, especially considering how the recent commercials have portrayed the series more as a comedy. There could be a curveball I’m not seeing here, but judging from the tepid response to the source material, I highly doubt it. Fans of the cute-girls-in-battle niche may find interest in this series, but overall, it’s going to take a lot of convincing to capture the interest of anyone else.

Watching This: Stilts, Zephyr Expectation Level: Moderately Low
Show Koukaku no Pandora Promotional Videos ▼

Sekkou Boys | 石膏ボーイズTop
Animation: LIDENFILMS Premiere: January 8, 2016
Genre: Comedy, Music Airtime (GMT+9): Fridays at 23:00
Episodes: 12 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @sekkoboys or #いしぼ

Preview by Stilts

This original anime stars the Sekkou Boys, an idol unit made up of four gypsum statues. There’s the military saint and group leader Saint George (Sugita Tomokazu), the amorous but earnest in love god of war Mars (Ono Daisuke), the multi-talented idol with beautiful skin Hermes (Fukuyama Jun), and history’s original celebrity Medici (Tachibana Shinnosuke). The story follows their efforts to survive in the entertainment industry with their rookie female manager Ishimoto Miki (Kokido Shiho), who just graduated from college. They sing, they blush, they’re statues—they’re the Sekkou Boys!

This anime is already utterly bizarre, and I love it. Is it an incisive takedown of the idol industry, where idols are put on literal pedestals for the worship of their adoring fans? Or did someone just think it would be funny to assemble some of the industry’s greatest male seiyuu and make them voice a bunch of statues? It’s almost certainly the latter, given the comedic tone of the promo videos. This is being helmed by newbie director Takuno Seiki at LIDENFILMS, though series composition is being done by Yokote Michiko, an experienced pro. I feel like Sekkou Boys will never be as good as it seems right now, since the absurd premise makes one imagine all sorts of crazy scenarios, when it will probably just be a goofy comedy show with a limiting premise. So temper your expectations, boys and girls. Expect something crazy, but don’t expect the world. This show will live or die by the writing and the ability of its seiyuu, and one of those at least is assured. Treat it like a chance to hear Sugita Tomokazu, Ono Daisuke, and Fukuyama Jun (and that other guy) be constantly hilarious, and you’ll be setting yourself up for a good time. Hopefully.

Watching This: Guardian Enzo, Jig, Passerby, Samu, Stilts Expectation Level: Moderate
Show Sekkou Boys Promotional Videos ▼

Reikenzan: Hoshikuzu-tachi no Utage | 霊剣山 星屑たちの宴Top
Animation: Studio DEEN Premiere: January 8, 2016
Genre: Comedy, Fantasy Airtime (GMT+9): Fridays at 24:00
Episodes: 12 Station: AT-X
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @reikenzan or #霊剣山

Preview by Zanibas

Based on a popular Chinese webcomic, Reikenzan centers on a falling comet. This falling comet will bring doom to the land, unless a destined child is strong enough to stop it. Thus, the ancient Reiken clan begins its search, opening its system of entrance examinations once more to find the brightest minds. Ouriku (Yonaga Tsubasa), who possesses a special soul that is only available once in a thousand years, decides to take the exam. Helping him is his mentor Oubu (Yamaguchi Yuriko), who shares his thirst for knowledge. With Oubu’s help, Ouriku rises through the examinations, growing into the being that would eventually save them all.

A few meta-details are interesting to note about this show. The source is from a Chinese webcomic, and the large Chinese internet company Tencent has joined forces with Studio DEEN to produce this show, allowing for a simulcast both in China and in Japan, both with their respective dubs. With that kind of backing, the series is sure to have some level of quality already. The premise itself is actually quite interesting as well. Drawing influences from Chinese history, it is interesting to see how the imperial examinations and Confucian influences from Imperial China have been integrated into this anime. Fans of historically influenced anime should get a kick out of this, as well as anyone looking for a comedy-fantasy combo this season. With top funding from one of the largest companies in China, Reikenzan is shaping up to be an interesting peek into contemporary Chinese fantasy writing.

Watching This: Cherrie, Guardian Enzo, Passerby, Samu Expectation Level: Moderate
GATE: Jieitai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakeri 2nd SeasonTop
GATE 自衛隊 彼の地にて、斯く戦えり 炎龍編
Animation: A-1 Pictures Premiere: January 8, 2016
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy Airtime (GMT+9): Fridays at 25:05
Episodes: 12 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @gate_anime or #gate_anime

Preview by Samu

GATE returns this season with its second cour, after accumulating a fair amount of popularity and online debate in the summer of 2015. For those unaware, GATE is an adaptation of Yanai Takumi’s series (originally a web-novel, then novel, before finally becoming a light novel series) set in the near future when a mysterious portal opens in Tokyo, and an army of fantastical creatures pour through. Led by the proud otaku and unlikely solider, Itami Youji (Suwabe Junichi), the JSDF are tasked with invading the land beyond the portal, stepping into a fantasy war involving dragons, elves, mages, and gothloli deities. What could have been a grim outlook on colonising a foreign world managed to balance its nationalistic ideologies and questionable real-life politics with plenty of light-hearted anime tropes and clichés, resulting in an enjoyable week-by-week watch that was hard to take completely seriously. With this second cour, we’re set to return beyond ‘the Gate’ once again, and step into the wars that are about to break out.

I previously described GATE: Jieitai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri is ‘undoubtedly anime.’ I can’t imagine this sort of story existing in any other medium of storytelling, for better or worse. Better, because it wasn’t as serious and controversial as I initially thought it would be, yet worse if you’ve grown tired of those typical ‘anime’ moments: badass lolis, bathhouse scenes, and celebrating the otaku culture, all included. Also, guns and military technology. Lots of it. I’ve been informed of some controversial events that are set to take place in this second cour, but I’ll refrain judgement until it’s fully aired and we have a better idea of where the story is heading. For the time being, it’s a fun watch that’s successfully captured the interest of many anime fans, and will continue to do so for another season.

Watching This: Samu, Zephyr Expectation Level: Moderate
Show GATE: Jieitai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakeri 2nd Season Promotional Videos ▼

Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu | 昭和元禄落語心中Top
Animation: Studio DEEN Premiere: January 8, 2016
Genre: Drama, History Airtime (GMT+9): Fridays at 26:25
Episodes: 13 Station: TBS
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @rakugoshinju or #落語心中

Preview by Samu

Once in a blue moon, an obscure yet acclaimed manga will get an anime adaptation despite the likelihood of its commercial success looking grim. Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu is just that sort of title – a historical Josei manga that’s been nominated for (or won) every award going. In 2012 it came 4th place in the Manga Taisho awards, losing to the likes of Gin no Saji, Aku no Hana, and KimiUso; it was nominated for the 17th Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize, won the manga Excellence Award at the 17th Japan Media Arts Festival Awards, and took the grand prize as the Best General Manga in the 38th Kodansha Manga Awards. What makes it so special? It focuses on the journeys of several characters all interconnected through the past and present, set in Japan’s Showa era (~1960s). The introductory story focuses on Yotarou (Seki Tomokazu), which translates to “anti-hero” or “dim-witted man,” after he is released from prison and prepares to re-integrate into society, seeking an apprenticeship under Yuurakutei Yakumo (Ishida Akira), the “grim reaper” of traditional comic storytelling who has lived a lonely life full of suffering. Under his tutelage, Yotarou meets his ward, Konatsu (Kobayashi Yu), a woman whose fate is deeply connected to the gifted Yakumo, after the passing of her own famed storytelling father. Her journey coincides with Yotarou’s own, as she attempts to become a performer in her own right – facing the adversities of being a woman in a man’s profession.

Some may cringe at Studio DEEN handling such acclaimed material, but with Omata Shinichi (Sankarea, Rozen Maiden) directing, I think there’s little to worry about. He’s been in charge of the studio’s most-regarded works in the past few years, and this looks to be no different. There’s resemblances to Sakamichi no Apollon in the art style and execution, which likely comes from them both being set in similar time periods. Not only that, but the OST has a distinct jazzy sound to it, like you’d expect from Baccano!, as Shibue Kana is in charge of the music. This may not end up being the most popular anime of the season, but it’s likely to attract a dedicated following among anime fans who are seeking something different. With Shouwa Genroku’s many awards and nominations under its belt, a strong staff list, and a reputation for its subtle human portrayals, I think we’re in for a treat with this one.

Watching This: Cherrie, Guardian Enzo, Jig, Passerby, Samu Expectation Level: High
Show Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu Promotional Videos ▼

Animation: Premiere: January 9, 2016
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays at 10:30
Episodes: Station: TV Tokyo (TX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @fairytail_PR or #フェアリーテイル

Preview by Stilts

FAIRY TAIL ZERO (actually a continuation of FAIRY TAIL (2014), starting with episode 91) adapts Mashima Hiro’s prequel manga to his popular FAIRY TAIL series. It tells of the founding of Fairy Tail. It starts many years ago, when Mavis Vermilion (Noto Mamiko) was a servant on Sirius Island, and was mistreated by a guild master and his daughter, Zera (Hanazawa Kana). But Mavis stayed positive, because her mother once told her that fairies never visited people who cried about their problems. When the guild came under attack, Mavis pulled Zera from the wreckage. Seven years went by, and the powerful wizards/treasure hunters Warrod Sequen (Shirokuma Hiroshi), Precht (Kawahara Yoshihisa), and Yuri Dreyer (Konishi Katsuyuki) arrived on the island, seeking a powerful jade gemstone. This journey would change the course of magical history.

I’ve always respected the FAIRY TAIL anime for being one of the few shounen adaptations to have the foresight to stop when they catch up to the manga, rather than going into endless fillers. With the entire team is back to adapt the prequel manga, I’m happy. And I do mean the entire team, because all of the main players are back, from director Ishihira Shinji, series composer Sogo Masashi, studio A-1 Pictures, and any seiyuu whose character make an appearance. Normally with prequels I worry that they’ll be an unnecessary distraction, but with FAIRY TAIL I don’t feel that way. Granted, I’ve not read the prequel manga, since I’m behind on the main storyline again (my backlog ;_;), but I feel confident when it’s FAIRY TAIL, because it’s nothing if not consistent. Consistent, and increasingly epic. To paraphrase what I wrote last time: Filled with overflowing emotions, the characters continue fighting, never give in to despair, and always find a way to win, no matter the odds. Combined with unshakable faith in their friends, their tendency to recruit new nakama as the story progresses, and more potential couples than you can shake a very large shipping stick at, FAIRY TAIL has a lot to offer, as long as what you want is action… And I see no reason any of that has changed. Expect a more restrained, tighter story, but it should have all the hallmarks of the main series. But let’s be serious—if you’re a FAIRY TAIL anime watcher, you’re already planning to watch this. Feel free to expect a good time.

Watching This: Cherrie, Stilts Expectation Level: Established
Bubuki Buranki | ブブキ・ブランキTop
Animation: Sanzigen Premiere: January 9, 2016
Genre: Action Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays at 22:00
Episodes: Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @bbkbrnk or #ブブキ

Preview by Stilts

This original anime will be produced by studio Sanzigen, in commeration of the studio’s 10th anniversary. When Ikki Azuma (Kobayashi Yuusuke) returns to Japan after ten years, he gets assaulted by a group of armed men and is taken prisoner. His chidhood friend, Asabuki Kogane (Ozawa Ari), saves him with a weapon on her right hand known as Bubuki; a weapon with a mind of its own. Azuma, who is a Bubuki user himself, learns about the existence of Bubuki and goes on a journey alongside newfound companions, in an attempt to find and revive Oumai, a Buranki (titan) who sleeps underground.

Information is scarce about this original series. From what I saw in the promo video, the backgrounds are gorgeous, but then again, I’ve been burned by a series with beautiful backgrounds and an average premise. Yet this is being done by Sanzigen of Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio: Ars Nova fame, and their CGI is getting good, since I didn’t even realize it was CGI when I started watching the promo. Even the characters, the hardest part to get right with CGI, sometimes look so good you can mistake them for being traditionally animated. The plot doesn’t light a fire under my tail, nor does the staff, but great things have come from sketchy premises before. I advise you to check out the promo video for this one, because that will tell you whether this is something you want to check out. I think I will be, if only to see what anime’s supposed CGI future might look like.

Watching This: Guardian Enzo, Passerby, Stilts Expectation Level: Moderate
Show Bubuki Buranki Promotional Videos ▼

Luck and Logic | ラクエンロジックTop
Animation: Dogakobo Premiere: January 9, 2016
Genre: Action, Fantasy Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays at 22:30
Episodes: 12 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @luck_and_logic or #ラクロジ

Preview by Stilts

In the year L.C. 922, mankind faces an unprecedented crisis. Following the conclusion of a hundred-year war on the mythical world of Tetra Heaven, the losing Majins—who are effectively gods—have invaded the human world of Seprpia in search of a safe haven. The government is forced to fight back by employing Logicalists, special police that protect the streets from the otherworldly invaders. Logicalists are given a special power that allows them to enter a trance with goddesses from the other world. One day, Tsurugi Yoshichika (Ono Kensho), a civilian who is lacking “Logic” and lives peacefully with his family, meets the beautiful goddess Athena (Uesaka Sumire) while helping people escape from a Majin attack. She possesses the “Logic” that Yoshichika lacked, leading Yoshichika to an unexpected destiny with Athena.

This series has one of those premises that makes my eyes cross, and the characters look like they were attacked by a rabid illustrator. But overdone isn’t necessarily the same as bad. This is an original anime/trading card game project produced in cooperation with Bandai Visual and Bushiroad, which explains the overwrought character designs. My first instinct is to be skeptical of multimedia projects, but Shingeki no Bahamut: GENESIS would like to have a word with me. Doga Kobo’s animation looks as good as always, and director Chigira Kouichi has a few good series under his belt. This looks like an action show, where the characters fuse together to fight against monsters, which is mostly animated via CGI once the fighting gets going. No indication on what the plot will be, save for the word salad of descriptors above (“Logicalists” is especially obnoxious), but I can only hope that Bahamut GENESIS taught the industry that a good anime sells more trading cards than a bad one. I’m torn between my love for Doga Kobo’s animation and the strong crop of seiyuu, and a premise which needs to lose two-thirds of its technobabble. A lot will depend on how the first episode turns out.

Watching This: Jig, Passerby, Samu, Stilts Expectation Level: Moderate
Show Luck and Logic Promotional Videos ▼

Durarara!!x2 Ketsu | デュラララ!!×2 結Top
Animation: Shuka Premiere: January 9, 2016
Genre: Action, Drama, Supernatural Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays at 23:30
Episodes: 12 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @drrr_anime or #drrr_anime

Preview by Passerby

After a cour in Winter 2015 and another this past summer, the final season of Durarara!!x2 is here, this time titled Ketsu. When we last left the modern Tokyo district of Ikebukuro, the chaos brewing in its underworld was about to hit critical mass, which is saying something considering that it’s a town normally inhabited by dangerous cryptids like the headless horseman Celty Sturluson (Sawashiro Miyuki), the Incredible Hulk (Ono Daisuke), and the Japanese high school student. There’s more going on than just the usual gang warfare, intersecting vendettas and schemes to trigger Ragnarok this time. Shards of a malevolent cursed katana have been running around enslaving minds, and it obviously has a sinister agenda, but nobody knows quite what. One thing’s for sure, though: with everything going crazy and everybody already crazy, and what little status quo there was turned firmly onto its head, Durarara!!x2 is set to end with a bang.

With Durarara!!x2 Tetsu being the last of a trilogy in a way (a trilogy that is itself a sequel), I’m sure many of you already have a good idea of what kind of show it is and whether it appeals to you. It has a clear formula, one that original author Narita Ryohgo had been employing ever since Baccano!. I’ve written a bit previously about how Durarara!! was an anime based on momentum, making heavy use of drama as spectacle, and there’s no reason to think things are going to change now. Indeed, the previous x2 Ten hardly ended at all, leaving us on a cliffhanger, and I’d expect the snowball that is Durarara!! to immediately get back to rolling once it gets the camera back on itself. Since x2 Ketsu is more or less the finale, the momentum of the last arcs should be at a maximum, and the spectacle at its greatest. While previous iterations of Durarara!!x2 may have been a bit bumpy or slightly bogged down at times, there should be nothing stopping it now. We’ll likely have a clear trajectory to a grand payoff.

Watching This: Cherrie, Guardian Enzo, Passerby, Samu, Stilts, Zephyr Expectation Level: Moderately High
Nurse Witch Komugi-chan R | ナースウィッチ小麦ちゃんRTop
Animation: Tatsunoko Production Premiere: January 9, 2016
Genre: Comedy, Fantasy Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays at 26:25
Episodes: 12 Station: Nippon TV (NTV)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @komugichanR or #小麦ちゃんR

Preview by Stilts

This slapstick spin-off of the Nurse Witch Komugi-chan series features all new characters, including a new Komugi-chan. Yoshia Komugi (Tomoe Kei) is a clumsy second-year middle schooler who performs as an idol like her classmates Saionji Kokona (Yamazaki Erii) and Kisaragi Tsukasa (Koichi Makoto). But while Kokona’s popularity is skyrocketing and Tsukasa is popular in male clothing, Komugi’s only gigs are low-end ones like appearing at the local shopping district. But one day, a mysterious injured creature named Usa-P (Yoshino Hiroyuki) appears before Komugi. She treats Usa-P’s injuries, and in consideration of her kindness, Usa-P asks her to become a Legendary Girl who can use magic. Soon Magical Nurse Komugi-chan is battling the strange masked figures who suddenly appear, and a Magical Maid and Magical Sister join in, making it a three-way battle. This slapstick story will follow Komugi-chan and her rivals as they balance the roles of students, idols, and magical girls.

This is a spin-off of 2002-05’s Nurse Witch Komugi-chan Magikarte, which itself is a spin-off of 2001’s The SoulTaker: Tamashii-gari, and I’m already bewildered as to how a ten-year-old spin-off got a spin-off. Not that Nurse Witch Komugi-chan Magikarte isn’t entertaining. It had an amusing slapstick quality to it, a magical girl spin-off that doesn’t take itself seriously, and parodies the genre as much as it indulges in it. But while the original Komugi-chan was a 17-year-old cosplay idol, the new Komugi-chan is a middle schooler, which makes me wonder who exactly this anime is aimed at. Nurse, maid, sister, animal ears—oh, who am I kidding, it’s aimed at adult otaku. This looks to be a slapstick parody again, with a veteran director in Kawaguchi Keiichirou and a relatively new head script writer in Murakami Momoko on staff. I’m confused as to how this came to be, but it doesn’t look bad, and Watanabe Akio’s character designs, as animated by Tatsunoko Production, look appropriately cute. If the story is good, this could breathe new life into the prospect of more ten-year-old spin-offs getting spin-offs. How bizarre.

Watching This: Passerby, Samu Expectation Level: Moderately Low
Show Nurse Witch Komugi-chan R Promotional Videos ▼

Koyomimonogatari | 暦物語Top
Animation: SHAFT Premiere: January 9, 2016
Genre: Drama, Supernatural Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays
Episodes: 12 Station:
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @nisioisin_anime

Preview by Passerby

Owarimonogatari has only just ended somewhere in the middle, and already here is another instalment of Nisio Isin‘s long-running Monogatari Series, but not as the last volume of Owarimonogatari. Rather, it will be an adaptation of Koyomimonogatari (Calendar Story, some obvious pun), which is a series of short stories starring the usual main protagonist and half-vampire Araragi Koyomi (Kamiya Hiroshi, the obvious pun). There are twelve stories in all and they take place at multiple points throughout the continuity. The most curious thing about this adaptation, though, is the distribution method. Rather than television, one short-lengthed episode of Koyomimonogatari will be available for a limited time each week as part of a smartphone app. For those of you wondering, it’s a calendar app. Of course.

I don’t think there’s much need to introduce the Monogatari series again. If you were watching Owarimonogatari, you’ll likely want to watch Koyomominogatari as well. It’s interesting to note that although Koyomimonogatari is being adapted in the middle of Owarimonogatari, as a novel it was actually the precedent. That means that the events of Koyomimonogatari are presumed knowledge going into Owarimonogatari, which makes it a bit odd that they are only adapting it now. (That said, the extremely antecedent Kizumonogatari has only begun to trickle out, so we can only guess at SHAFT’s mysterious ways.) From what I gather, even though Koyomimonogatari was originally but a collection of short stories, there are events there that shape our understanding of some of Owarimonogatari, so this brief intermission is probably actually a fairly important one. This may all be moot for the Western audience though; at this point not much is known about both the anime and the app, and it’s entirely possible that it simply won’t be available to those outside Japan. It should become clearer whether there is an access issue as more information comes out.

Watching This: Passerby, Samu, Stilts, Zephyr Expectation Level: Moderately High
Rainbow Days | 虹色デイズTop
Animation: Production Reed Premiere: January 10, 2016
Genre: Comedy, Romance Airtime (GMT+9): Sundays at 22:00
Episodes: 24 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @rainbow_days_tv or #虹色デイズ

Preview by Zanibas

Hashiba Natsuki (Matsuoka Yoshitsugu) has a crush on Kobayakawa Anna (Tsuda Minami). A typical high school romance, except for the fact that Hashiba’s friends meddle and discuss his (and their own) personal lives any time they can. Katakura Keiichi (Shimazaki Nobunaga), Naoe Tsuyoshi (Uchiyama Kouki), and Matsunaga Tomoya (Eguchi Takuya) all love to talk romance. Slowly but surely though, each of them go beyond mere discussion and face the realities of their own potential relationship journeys. This is a story about four friends, each supporting one another as their intimate lives continue to develop and grow.

Just as the title implies, Rainbow Days reflects the multi-faceted events of each main character, where each arc focuses on one specific character’s relationship issue. Although each episode is only 15 minutes in length, the series has been greenlit for two consecutive seasons. It’s an interesting experiment that might solve many of the time constraints that affect pacing, substance, and production deadlines that afflict many a romance anime. Longer arcs mean more time to dedicate to each character and fleshing out their respective stories. We’ll see if the tradeoff pays off. As for content, the concept of several pairings in one show isn’t unheard of, but it is uncommon enough to stand out as a fresher premise in the romance genre. The seiyuu lineup and staffing look impressive, with all four of the main male seiyuu leads boasting experienced profiles. Director Amino Tetsuro has just as much experience under his belt, whose latest work includes Arslan Senki. My sole concern is that initial impressions of the animation in the PV look lackluster, perhaps because of Production Reed’s lack of full-scale animation production experience. Other than that, I believe romance fans have something to look forward to this season, at least worth a three-episode evaluation. Amino’s skills will be tested in the uncommon 15 minute format, but if successful, this could mean a new compromise between number of cours and episode length that gives added flexibility and depth that romance anime desperately need.

Watching This: Samu Expectation Level: Moderate
Show Rainbow Days Promotional Videos ▼

Ooya-san wa Shishunki! | 大家さんは思春期!Top
Animation: Seven Arc Pictures Premiere: January 10, 2016
Genre: Comedy, Slice-of-Life Airtime (GMT+9): Sundays at 22:27
Episodes: 12 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @ooyasan_anime or #ooyasan_anime

Preview by Takaii

Ooya-san wa Shisunki takes a tried and true formula and puts it to work bringing together two common characters — a young boy who’s recently moved out and his landlord who looks like a little kid (and surprisingly, is a little kid!). Except, she’s good at cooking, laundry, and all the other things you’d associate with an older lady. With a big mismatch in looks versus personality, the show aims to bring you the laughs with a splash of occasional feels as our characters live their lives.

Seeing as how I couldn’t get a hold of the manga, I took it upon myself to dive into some of the grittier details to get a handle on it. Based off the cover art alone this will probably end up being a cutesy show, which I have no qualms about since the premise is based on the landlord’s looks being a stark contrast to how well suited she is for the position. In terms of studio we have Seven Arcs handling it (they also did Trinity Seven), and they’re no stranger to taking a male protagonist and tossing him into some pretty sticky situations. Overall, I think we’ll be in for an amusing show at the very least. On a side note, researching this show kept making me think about Mahoraba and all the antics everyone went through, since it had a somewhat similar premise. Hopefully it’ll be as good!

Watching This: Jig, Stilts, Takaii Expectation Level: Moderate
Dimension W | ディメンションWTop
Animation: Orange x Studio 3Hz Premiere: January 10, 2016
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi Airtime (GMT+9): Sundays at 22:30
Episodes: 12 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @dimension_w or #dimensionw

Preview by Samu

It’s the year 2072, and the late Nikola Tesla’s dream of a ‘World System’ of electricity is starting to take shape. Batteries and cords are long forgotten after a fourth plane of existence is found. From that dimension a seemingly infinite source of energy exists, with cross-dimensional inductors known as “coils” being used to extract it. However, some coils are modified for illegal purposes, which is where our protagonist, Mabuchi Kyouma (Ono Daisuke) comes in. Kyouma is a man with a passion for the ‘vintage’ gas-powered cars of the past, lives in the slums, and hates coils; working as a recovery man, he hunts down those misusing coils for destructive purposes. While on one of his missions in the grimy underbelly of this metropolitan future, he comes across a captive girl, Yurizaki Mira (Ueda Reina), a humanoid android made by the wife of the developer of the coil technology. With the disappearance of her renowned father, Mira and Kyouma form a reluctant partnership and end up working together to recover all the illegal coils across the city.

Dimension W has an interesting history leading to this adaptation, being originally announced in Anime Expo 2015 in Los Angeles, with FUNimation as a member of the production committee. Most anime are conceived, produced, and first announced in Japan, but occasionally you get something that’s bound to appeal to a worldwide audience, and that seems to be the direction Dimension W will take. From reading over the manga, it’s clear there is a fully-realised world ready to be explored, with two unlikely but charming leads that couldn’t be any different. This marks Studio 3Hz’s second TV anime, after Sora no Method, but with Kamei Kanta (Usagi Drop, Ryuugajou Nanana no Maizoukin, Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata) directing, this could very well be their first hit. If you’re craving a sci-fi series that focuses on the ugly side of technological advancement, deals with the relationship between humans and androids, and has plenty of polished action sequences, then Dimension W will be worth checking out.

Watching This: Guardian Enzo, Jig, Passerby, Samu, Stilts, Zephyr Expectation Level: Moderately High
Show Dimension W Promotional Videos ▼

Hai to Gensou no Grimgar | 灰と幻想のグリムガルTop
Animation: A-1 Pictures Premiere: January 10, 2016
Genre: Fantasy, Adventure Airtime (GMT+9): Sundays at 24:30
Episodes: 12 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @grimgar_anime or #グリムガル

Preview by Takaii

Waking up surrounded by darkness, Haruhiro (Hosoya Yoshimasa) and a handful of others walk into a world that feels like something straight out of a video game. With everyone unable to remember more than just their name and a vast expansion of unexplored lands waiting in front of them, a guide suddenly appears and takes them to the reserve force office. Here they’re told the basics of this world — survive, form parties, and venture off to defeat the monsters that are plaguing the world. And with just that tiny bit of information, Haruhiro begins his struggle to find a party and venture off as they try to figure out just what’s going on and why they’ve been thrust into this world. If only they knew just how real things were about to get.

I have some pretty conflicted feelings about this one. Hai to Gensou no Grimgar feels like the fantasy show I’ve been waiting for that just happens to have RPG elements tossed into the mix to appeal to the gamer inside of me. Characters have to pick classes and have various means of leveling up their skills aside from actually practicing time like we do in real life. In addition to that, I love how the idea of “killing” isn’t belittled here, and the fact that there’s some real weight behind it gives the story a hint of realism that I can totally get behind. However, if I had one complaint, it’d have to be Haruhiro and his personality. This is more of a gripe than a complaint, but seeing how he’s the de facto protagonist, he’s carrying some really naggy tendencies that quickly got on my nerves. Now don’t get me wrong, I love watching a rags to riches story where the main character eventually becomes a badass, but there’s just something about Haruhiro that I can’t stand. That said, if the anime adaptation can skillfully iron those tendencies out, I think we’ll have a great character that can tell a great story on our hands. I have some pretty high expectations for this show, and with A-1 Pictures handling the production, I’m sure at worst we’ll have a really pretty show.

Watching This: Cherrie, Jig, Passerby, Samu, Stilts, Takaii, Zephyr Expectation Level: Moderately High
Show Hai to Gensou no Grimgar Promotional Videos ▼

Schwarzesmarken | シュヴァルツェスマーケンTop
Animation: LIDENFILMS x ixtl Premiere: January 10, 2016
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi Airtime (GMT+9): Sundays at 25:05
Episodes: 12 Station: TV Tokyo (TX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @schwaken_anime or #シュヴァケン

Preview by Zephyr

Led by Ixtl and LINDENFILMS, Muv-Luv returns with the adaptation of the Alternative light novel spin-off Schwarzesmarken (“Black Marks”). Set eighteen years before the previous anime adaptation in Total Eclipse, Schwarzesmarken takes place in the earlier years of the BETA alien invasion, and focuses on the East German Army’s 666th TSF Squadron of the same name. Wielding mobile mechanical weapons known as Tactical Surface Fighters (TSF), the 666th Squadron are a special-forces unit with one mission: to eliminate the BETA’s long-range Laser and Heavy Laser Class. Led by ruthless Captain Bernhard Irisdina (Yamamoto Nozomi), the squad gains both recognition and notoriety for their accomplishments, which typically require them to ignore any allied distress calls that would distract them from their task. Watanabe Tetsuya (episode director of multiple Gundam series in Turn A, Wing, and X) will serve as Schwarzesmarken’s director. He is joined by Higuchi Tatsuto (Cross Ange, Hanasaku Iroha, Toradora) on series composition.

Following in the footsteps of a successful Kickstarter that raised over a million dollars to localize the Muv-Luv trilogy, Schwarzesmarken arrives after what has been a fabulous year for fans of the series. It may not be the trilogy adaptation many were hoping for, but Schwarzesmarken was a series people did want adapted as an alternative, and the fact that it isn’t part of the Kickstarter and hasn’t been completely translated makes it an important piece of the Muv-Luv puzzle for western fans in particular. As with any adaptation though, it remains to be seen how well events will carry over from the source material, and it’s questionable whether it’ll have much appeal for those who aren’t already familiar with Muv-Luv. Watanabe Tetsuya’s lack of notable directorial experience is also a factor to be noted, as is LINDENFILM’s small (although growing) list of works. Muv-Luv fans likely already have Schwarzesmarken on their watch list, but for others, it’s ultimately a moderate expectation series with action and sci-fi elements. It’s worth keeping an eye on to get a glimpse of what the hype’s all about.

Watching This: Zephyr Expectation Level: Moderate
Show Schwarzesmarken Promotional Videos ▼

Undefeated Bahamut Chronicle | 最弱無敗の神装機竜Top
Animation: Lerche Premiere: January 11, 2016
Genre: Action, Fantasy Airtime (GMT+9): Mondays at 23:30
Episodes: 12 Station: AT-X
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @saijaku_anime or #saijaku

Preview by Zanibas

Lux Acadia (Tamura Mutsumi) bears a mark of shame as the former prince of an empire overthrown years ago. Without title or privilege, Lux roams the new kingdom as a commoner, working odd jobs such as a bar waiter to make ends meet. While chasing a thieving cat, Lux stumbled into the female baths of a nearby female dorm. The princess of the current kingdom, Lizsharte Atismata (Lynn) found herself tackled by Lux, prompting immediate retaliation. Princess Lizsharte challenges Lux to a duel using ancient dragon-like mechas called Drag-Rides. Surprisingly, Lux used to be the most talented Drag-Knight before the collapse of his kingdom. Despite this, he refused to attack the princess even once during the entire match. This prompts the kingdom to enlist Lux in an all-girls academy, intent on training him to become the strongest Drag-Knight once more. Harem hijinks ensue.

If this doesn’t sound like a variation of Infinite Stratos to you, I don’t know what would. Bahamut has poised itself as the light novel harem adaptation of the season, and knows exactly what viewers it caters to. There will be fanservice. Lots of it. However, production values are high for this show, with an experienced staff to back it up. Studio Lerche has been on-point with delivering consistent animation quality, as evidenced by recent Gakkou Gurashi! and Ansatsu Kyoushitsu. Alongside some fairly generic yet sharp character designs, Bahamut is shaping up to be a visually excellent show, specifically in storyboarding and cinematography. Director Masaomi Ando is one to watch, whose excellent cinematography direction in shows like Gakkou Gurashi! and White Album 2 have caught my eye, with visually interesting scenes and smart design choices. Though I am not excited for the plot in itself, the production values still give hope for an enjoyable show. I’ll definitely be checking out the first few episodes to see how Masaomi-san adapts this light novel to the screen.

Watching This: Zephyr Expectation Level: Moderately Low
Show Undefeated Bahamut Chronicle Promotional Videos ▼

Akagami no Shirayukihime 2nd Season | 赤髪の白雪姫 2ndシーズンTop
Animation: BONES Premiere: January 11, 2016
Genre: Fantasy, Romance Airtime (GMT+9): Mondays at 24:00
Episodes: 12 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @akagami_anime or #赤髪の白雪姫

Preview by Passerby

Once upon a time, or rather in Summer 2015, there lived a girl named Shirayuki (Hayami Saori), who was born with rare, apple-red hair. When the local prince starts desiring her hand for her unique appearance, Shirayuki flees her homeland for neighbouring Clarines, where she is aided by the second prince of that kingdom, Zen (Osaka Ryota). Over the course of twelve episodes of anime the two strike a fast friendship, grow a mutual attraction, and as of this second season, Zen has begun to properly court Shirayuki. But that fact remains that Zen is royalty, while Shirayuki is only a common herbalist at his castle; the social rift between them is great. But Zen is more than just an aloof prince, and Shirayuki is more than just a damsel in distress. If there are obstacles, they will just have to work to overcome them.

Fairy tales are a funny thing, and not just because Akagami no Shirayuki, based on a manga by Akizuki Sorata, sounds more like the story of Cinderella than Snow White. When people think of fairy tales, it’s usually one of two varieties: darker, Brothers Grimm cautionary tales or sanitised, uncomplicated bedtime stories. Akagami no Shirayuki, as a metaphorical fairy tale, draws on both traditions. Yes, the world is not all good, and struggles exist, but good prevails and struggling pays off. Yes, princes are glamorous, but they also have a country to run. Akagami no Shirayuki manages to tell a positive, feel-good story without coming off as trivial or asinine. And of course, pure romance anime are a relative rarity these days, so even with a medieval flavour it is still a treat. I think the team at Bones did a very competent job at the adaptation for the first season, suitably expanding or rearranging the manga to pleasant audiovisuals, and I don’t doubt they’ll be able to reprise a performance of similar quality. This second season can easily build on the good things of the first.

Watching This: Cherrie, Guardian Enzo, Passerby, Samu, Stilts, Zephyr Expectation Level: High
Show Akagami no Shirayukihime 2nd Season Promotional Videos ▼

Mahou Shoujo Nante Mou Ii Desu Kara. | 魔法少女なんてもういいですから。Top
Animation: PINE JAM Premiere: January 11, 2016
Genre: Comedy Airtime (GMT+9): Mondays at 25:11
Episodes: 12 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @mouii_deskara or #まほいい

Preview by Jig

Based on the manga of the same name, Mahou Shoujo Nante Mou Ii Desu kara follows young girl Yuzuka Hanami (Fujita Akane), who doesn’t have many friends and whose parents are never home. One day, a strange, winged, orb-shaped creature (Wakai Yuki) approaches her, and proclaims that she has the makings to become a magical girl, just like the ones she would watch on TV as a kid. After she hesitantly complies, he grants her the required magical uniform, which in her case, turns out to be a swimsuit.

The premise is a little strange, but the source material parodies the magical girl genre in surprisingly clever ways, poking fun at its many questionable tropes and conventions. The series will be directed by Yoneda Kazuhiro, who only previously served as showrunner for the fantasy action show Akatsuki no Yona. As far as twists on the magical girl genre go, Mahou Shoujo Nante Mou Ii Desu kara doesn’t seem like it will be anything as ambitious or grand in scheme as say Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica—this show will be far lighter and humorous. From what I’ve read of the manga, there’s little indication of what direction the plot is going. In order to be a worthwhile watch, it’s better for the series to stick to the clever genre satire that makes it enjoyable. It will be for the worse if it loses track of this and strays too far into action or drama—potentially becoming exactly that which it satirizes. Regardless, anyone who’s a fan of the magical girl genre will likely have a good laugh with what Mahou Shoujo Nante Mou Ii Desu kara has to offer.

Watching This: No one yet Expectation Level: Moderately Low
Ao no Kanata no Four Rhythm | 蒼の彼方のフォーリズムTop
Animation: Gonzo Premiere: January 11, 2016
Genre: Sci-Fi, Romance, Sports Airtime (GMT+9): Mondays at 26:05
Episodes: 12 Station: TV Tokyo (TX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @aokana_TVanime or #あおかなアニメ

Preview by Passerby

In a time that’s not quite the future, in a land that’s not quite Japan, the discovery of anti-gravitons has allowed for easy and widespread flight technology for the masses, no fairy dust required. A culture-shaping advancement like this naturally enables and inspires its own sport, hence the ‘Flying Circus,’ a sort of acrobatic air race. Hinata Masaya (Osaka Ryota) is an average high school student who once aspired to the professional circuit of the Flying Circus, but after a major defeat has withdrawn from the sport for various personal reasons. But along comes transfer student Kurashina Asuka (Fukuen Misato), who needs someone to teach her how to fly, and Masaya is the guy for the job. As he plays the coach, Masaya begins to rediscover the joy of flight. Will he be able to find his wings again?

Visual novel adaptations, as Ao no Kanata no Four Rhythm (Four Rhythm Beyond the Blue) is, are usually a bit of a mystery meat each season. They can range from insipid high school harems to haute tragédie, and all the flavours of mediocrity in between. For what it’s worth, though, Ao no Kanata no Four Rhythm was a fairly acclaimed title, and a 2014 fan favourite. For this adaptation, the recently reanimated studio Gonzo has assembled a solid staff that includes veteran writer Yoshida Reiko. And, of course, let us not discount that the premise has a bit more spice to it than the usual troubled boy meets manic pixie dream girl, with its sci-fi sports angle. Nothing captures the human imagination quite like flight, and no medium has been more in love with flight than anime ever since Castle in the Sky Laputa. If Ao no Kanata no Four Rhythm manages to capture that spirit, we’ll have a compelling show ahead of us.

Watching This: Cherrie, Guardian Enzo, Passerby, Samu, Stilts, Takaii, Zephyr Expectation Level: Moderately High
Show Ao no Kanata no Four Rhythm Promotional Videos ▼

Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku Wo! | この素晴らしい世界に祝福を!Top
Animation: Studio DEEN Premiere: January 13, 2016
Genre: Fantasy, Comedy Airtime (GMT+9): Wednesdays at 25:05
Episodes: 10 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @konosubaanime or #このすば

Preview by Takaii

After meeting an untimely demise after selflessly saving a stranger from being mowed down by a slow moving tractor, our protagonist Kazuma Satou (Fukushima Jun) ends up in a strange situation. Having died but not completely passed on, he’s stuck in-between existences, where he meets the goddess Aqua (Amamiya Sora) who proclaims she has the deal of a lifetime (sort of ironic seeing how he’s dead, right?). In exchange for dying at such a young age, he has the choice to revived in another world that vastly differs from ours. A world full of swords and magic — kind of like something straight from a video game! But with all seemingly great ideas, it comes with a catch — within that world exists the Demon King which has been causing problems, and it’s Kazuma’s job to take care of it. However, just like a video game, he also gets to bring any one thing he’d like as a bonus, since who would start a game late without something to help them out? With no restrictions in place, he quickly decides to bring the goddess herself, and the two are swept off into the new world. Except Kazuma is a hikikomori (a shut-in), and Aqua has no idea what she’s doing outside of guiding people in-between lives.

With a lot of shows jumping onto the whole RPG-style bandwagon of storytelling, it’s going to take a lot to stand out in the crowd. In Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku Wo!’s case, its redeeming point has to be its characters. Its colorful cast of characters is what brings the whole thing together. And by colorful cast, I mean how atrociously bad everyone is at what they’re trying to do. Besides Kazuma being a hikikomori and Aqua having a rather strange perspective on the world, you have other characters like Megumin (Takahashi Rie), the wizard who can only use explosion magic because she decided explosions were the best, and a tank named Raratina (Kayano Ai), who is horrible at tanking except she’s conditioned herself to take a ton of hits because she just loves getting hit. Sounds like the absolute worst combination for a party in an RPG, right? Except it’s this ragtag team that makes the source material so enjoyable. Studio DEEN is in charge of this one, and you can never have enough of that in your life. There are also some stellar seiyuu, with the likes of Kayano Ai and Horie Yui lending their vocal talents to the characters. All in all I expect this show to give us a pretty good showing, and maybe with some luck it’ll end up hitting things out of the park!

Watching This: Samu, Stilts, Takaii, Zephyr Expectation Level: Moderate
Show Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku Wo! Promotional Videos ▼

Ajin | 亜人Top
Animation: Polygon Pictures Premiere: January 15, 2016
Genre: Horror, Supernatural, Mystery Airtime (GMT+9): Fridays at 25:55
Episodes: 13 Station: TBS
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @anime_ajin or #亜人計画

Preview by Takaii

In a world just like ours exists a newly discovered creature known as Ajin. Ajins are essentially humans who have gained the uncanny ability to not die. Be it losing a limb or getting their insides torn to shreds, they’ll eventually regenerate whatever was damaged, and that includes their own life. However, the only way to figure out if you’re an Ajin or not is by dying and, well, not actually dying. The story revolves around Kei Nagai (Miyano Mamoru) and his struggles after getting fatally hit by a truck, only to stand up and realize that something was terribly wrong when he was totally okay.

I’m not sure how to feel about Ajin — and that’s probably a good thing. It has this supernatural theme that dives deep as it pushes the boundaries of what it really means to be “immortal.” It doesn’t waste any time getting you into the thick of things. From highlighting just how despicable the human race can become when its curiosity is unleashed to navigating the mental perspective of someone who can’t die and how they view those who can, the story never failed to engage me with its constantly evolving approach at telling a story. However, as entertaining as the story was, there was something about the characters that brushed me the wrong way. We learn pretty early on some dark things about our protagonist, except the way it’s presented feels like it comes out of left field. There’s also the protagonist’s friend Kaito (Hosoya Yoshimasa) who just disappears part way through, even though he’s painted as someone just as important as Kei. Even with those minor gripes, I think this adaptation could become a fun and thrilling story if they manage to capture the essence of the source material. Luckily Polygon Pictures is heading this one up and I’ve heard some great things about their other works (like Sidonia no Kishi), so let’s all cross our fingers for a successful adaptation.

Watching This: Cherrie, Jig, Guardian Enzo, Takaii, Zephyr Expectation Level: Moderately High
Show Ajin 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
12/04 One Punch Man OVA | ワンパンマン OVA
Bundled with LE manga Vol. 10.
12/16 Haikyuu!! Movie 2: Shousha to Haisha | ハイキュー!! 勝者と敗者
BD/DVD Release.
12/16 Hibike! Euphonium: Kakedasu Monaka
響け!ユーフォニアム 番外編 かけだすモナカ
Bundled w/ BD/DVD Vol. 7.
12/16 Shingeki no Kyojin Movie 2: Jiyuu no Tsubasa
BD/DVD Release.
12/16 Yowamushi Pedal Movie – Re:ROAD | 弱虫ペダル Re:ROAD
BD/DVD Release.
12/18 Kamisama Hajimemashita: Kako-hen | 神様はじめました~過去編~
Bundled w/ LE manga Vol. 23. Episode 2 of 4.
12/23 Classroom☆Crisis OVA | クラスルーム☆クライシス OVA
Bundled w/ BD/DVD Vol. 3. Episode 5.5.
12/23 Strike the Blood: Valkyria no Oukoku-hen
ストライク・ザ・ブラッド ヴァルキュリアの王国編
Episode 2 of 2.
12/24 Kuroko no Basuke: Baka ja Katenai no yo!
黒子のバスケ バカじゃ勝てないのよ!
Bundled w/ LE BD/DVD Vol. 9. Episode 75.5.
12/25 Tokyo Ghoul: Pinto | 東京喰種-トーキョーグール- 【PINTO】
01/04 To LOVE-Ru Darkness 2nd OVA | To LOVEる -とらぶる- ダークネス2nd OVA
Bundled w/ LE manga Vol. 15.
01/04 Nisekoi OVA | ニセコイ OVA
Bundled w/ LE manga Vol. 21. Episode 4 of 4.
01/05 Akagami no Shirayuki-hime: Nandemonai Takaramono, Kono Page
赤髪の白雪姫 ~なんでもない宝物、この頁~
Bundled w/ LE manga Vol. 15.
01/20 Little Witch Academia: Mahou Shikake no Parade
リトルウィッチアカデミア 魔法仕掛けのパレード
BD/DVD Release.
01/20 Persona 3 the Movie #3: Falling Down | 劇場版ペルソナ3 #3 Falling Down
BD/DVD Release. Movie 3 of 4.
01/26 Shinmai Maou no Testament BURST OVA | 新妹魔王の契約者 BURST OVA
Bundled w/ LE manga Vol. 7.
01/27 Durarara!!x2 Ten: Onoroke Chakapoko
デュラララ!!×2 転 第13.5話「お惚気チャカポコ」
Bundled w/ BD/DVD Vol. 6. Episode 13.5.
01/29 Macross 7: Ginga ga Ore wo Yonde Iru | マクロス7 -銀河がオレを呼んでいる!- BD Release.
01/29 Wake Up, Girls! Beyond the Bottom
BD/DVD Release.
02/03 Genocidal Organ | 虐殺器官
BD/DVD Release.
02/17 Glass no Hana to Kowasu Sekai | ガラスの花と壊す世界
BD/DVD Release.
02/17 Yowamushi Pedal Movie | 劇場版 弱虫ペダル
BD/DVD Release.
02/26 Date A Live Movie: Mayuri Judgment | 劇場版 デート・ア・ライブ 万由里ジャッジメント
BD/DVD Release.

Overall Impressions


Last season was rough, you guys. Though maybe that’s just the Comet Lucifer talking. Yet there were some good shows even then, and this season has quite a few with potential as well. It’s absolutely rife with originals, and while many of them are of the shady variety, that’s still plenty of opportunities to be pleasantly surprised. The season is also being anchored by some strong returning favorites (Akagami no Shirayukihime 2nd Season, Ansatsu Kyoushitsu 2nd Season, Durarara!!x2 Ketsu), and some potentially strong new adaptations. Maybe it’s just the RandomC mood rubbing off on me—I have been blogging here for four years now, after all—but I feel optimistic about this season. There’s gonna be some winners in this batch, I just know it. Believe it!

Speaking of awkward segues, onto the levels. 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. Failing that, it’ll give you something to make fun of us for when we invariably screw the pooch. Which is a terrible idiom, but a lot of fun to say.

We arrived at these levels by convening our regular (and reliably shady) “anticipation council,” which once again consisted of Passerby, Stilts, and Zephyr. While we’ve gone to great lengths to be as objective as possible, we’re all squishy, fallible, ruggedly handsome human beings, and even the most well-considered predictions can prove themselves wrong in a hurry. Take these with a grain of salt.

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.

  • Low Expectations: N/A

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.


  1. *pops in*

    I dare say, this season looks really, really promising. Winter tends to be the weakest time of the year for new anime, but this may be the best Winter season I’ve seen in a long time. Also, knowing what else is coming in later seasons, 2016 could be a good year for anime!

    *pops out*

    1. Yeah! With “Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu” and “Boku Dake ga Inai Machi” in winter season and “3-gatsu no Lion”, “Kono Sekai no Katasumi ni”, “Doukyuusei” in others. Definitely a great year! And still we have more: “Aria” and “Amanchu!”, “Kimi no Na wa.”, “Drifters”, “Mob Psycho 100” and some others.

      ლ(╥ω╥ ლ)

  2. Thank you for covering the winter preview random C team, I was waiting for this 🙂 Hoh, a surprisingly good amount of shows that sound interesting this season (just by looking at the cover pictures, i wouldn’t of thought so). These are the shows that I have my eye on at the moment:

    -Prince of Stride: not expecting too much of the story, but director of No Game no Life and Madhouse is a big plus for me. Almost everything madhouse touches is gold, no matter the genre
    -Durarara x2 Ketsu: last cour of Durarara, I expect big payoffs from all that build up we’ve had!
    -Ass Class s2: surprisingly very fun to watch in the first season, especially the last arc where the stakes were much higher.
    -Shoujo-tachi wa Kouya wo Mezasu: Looks promising as a good psychological, drama, more mature story
    -Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu: Premise seems interesting and I want to see why it’s such a hit
    -Gate season 2: I had a few gripes with the show first season (mainly how much the author puts Japan on such a high pedestal compared to other countries), but it was generally interesting, so I’ll continue it to see where it goes. Watching mostly for Rory~
    -Dagashi kashi: honestly doesn’t sound that interesting, I’m mostly going to check it out because i like the country town setting and the character designs are intriguing.
    -Ao no Kanata no Four Rhythm: Cute girls and flying? Will at least check it out.
    -Hai to Gensou no Grimgar: I love fantasy story settings with classes, and I feel like this show will fill that itch. I also quite like the artstyle.
    -Reikenzan: Hoshikuzu-tachi no Utage: It’s rare to find a chinese light novel adaptation, so I really want to see this. A lot of chinese light novels are actually really entertaining, and most have to do with martial arts. Hopefully it doesn’t turn out to be a flop.

    Also want to check out Akagami, but I’ll need to watch the first season first.

    1. You know, I’ve seen that complaint leveled against GATE before, and I just don’t get it. For one thing, probably the most common trope in anime, whatever the genre, is that Japan is where the best people at everything come from, and is the only place where anything even remotely interesting happens. There’s even a TV Tropes entry for it. I can conceive how someone from somewhere else might find that unnerving, but not only is it so ubiquitous in anime as to make complaining about it absurd (it begs the question of why the complainant even watches anime), considering anime is made in Japan, by Japanese, for a Japanese audience to relate to, it seems only natural for Japan to be the focus. No one seems to have a problem with the strong predominance of American TV shows set in New York or LA, which is where 90% of the actors, writers, and producers live.

      Or maybe it’s just that since self-hatred is such an encouraged state of mind in the US and other countries that have a strong globalist bias in sections of their politics and media, any portrayal of national pride like what is seen in GATE, particularly in a realistic (save for the “Special District” elements) militaristic setting, is seen as anathema.

      1. Quick counterpoint:

        It does annoy me sometimes when TV shows and movies are constantly set in New York or LA, and we’re expected to know quirks about those cities despite living in the rest of the damn country. I say sometimes because it’s usually not a big deal, just like it’s usually not a big deal that most anime is centered in Japan (and Tokyo in particular). But sometimes it is annoying.

        GATE appears to be that anime for a number of people. I shan’t wade into the fight as to why.

  3. Um, about that Norn9 synopsis Show Spoiler ▼

    Probably wasn’t your intention to do that, though.

    Too, there’s also three heroines, not one. :3

    1. 1. No, that wasn’t the plan. Thanks for the charity in your comment <3

      2. My goodness was it difficult to get some information about this one. My hope was to lure some people into watching it with it’s somewhat.. crazy setup.

      3. Thanks for the heads up! When I’m on an actual computer I’ll append something.

  4. Not many shows I’ll be watching this season, although I don’t mind.

    Gate – really enjoyed the first season. I’m pretty sure I should enjoy this one.

    Schwarzesmarken – “MECHA!” reason enough for me as well.

    Undefeated Bahamut Chronicle – not too sure if I will like this. But the art for the light novel was drawn by Kasuga Ayumu, the same person who did the art for Twintails. If I’m lucky, this series may be a surprise enjoyment like Twintails. But doubting it.

    Probably will pick up more or drop them. But not a lot of the shows this season caters to my niche.

    Goodwill Wright
  5. Certainly an improvement over Fall, at least 18 shows here for me worthy of checking out. Really surprised at the number of fantasy/sci-fi (and anime originals!) popping up too, you would expect more SoL/romance, but those genres seem to have been relegated to seasonal “filler” this time around.

    Accounting for the shows coming up the pipeline as well we might–just might–get a pretty damn good year of anime all things considered. Also calling it now, Kyo Ani’s latest offering will fall flat on its face 😛

  6. well, i had a lot of hope for this season. but im disapponted to see that this season is full of crap.

    i’m 31 year old. i remember few years ago animes were interesting. 70 to 95 % of new releases was good to watch and about 40% were excellent.

    now, 99.90% are dull and stupid.

    People say to not judge a book by its cover. this saying is true but how can you want to see the content when the covers is a piece of shit?

    the mangakas are repetitive and lack imagination. and this seasons do not prove me wrong. and as prove of what i’m saying, no webmaster have master expectations on any anime (ask comet lucifer) that they would had have if “Shingeki no Kyojin” or our beloved “Lelouch” were released.

    in conclusion, i’m tired with animes at the moment. they seem to appeal more to feminine like viewers and serve it on a lovey-dovey shitty like story. story, be the way, copied from a previous animes.

    The katagi
      1. I’m 42 and i say you just get used to much Animes. In the beginning you where very grateful of every Anime you could get and watch them. But now Animes is an Mass production and everyday Life (in some country), they are feed up with them. They saw all Stories, they saw all die, they saw all evil Prime Minister killing the King and rule the Country, they saw all jealous Brothers and Sisters killing the relative in Powers to take over the Company… do you get the Gist?

        Animes can not invent the Wheel a new. Today the Way to his destination, is the target

        We just get used to this kind of Animes. It is not that in my children days it was all better…

        so, Old Mans like men, should get it together. Why ruin the “new things” for the New Generation, because we saw to many stories? Let they have their experience, too.. But do no stand still in the past also.

      2. The Anchor Animes of my Past that defined the name “Anime” for me:

        Eng: “Future Boy Conan”

        a Boy that find an Girl, began to like her and want to Protect her with all his might

        Eng: “Spirits of the Past”

        a Boy that find an Girl “began to like her” (missing) and want to Protect her with all his might (he learn the “forbidden Power”)

        Eng: “LaPuta the castle in the sky”

        a boy that find an Girl, began to like her and want to Protect her with all his might (they released the ancient flowing City with their Ancient Powers)

        eng: “Record of Lodoss War”

        a Boy that find an Elf Girl, began to like her and want to Protect her with all his might. Also this Anime defines until today the appearance of “Light Elf” (small and body like an Angel) and “Dark Elf” (sexy and Oppai)

        i could get on with “a Boy loves a Girl and Protect her”

        eng: “Bubblegum Crises”

        Girls with power suits that defend corruption with “Bommer” Warrior Mechas (Also there was this Hacking into the Police Computer and defend it. Was it inspirited from Evagelion or other way around?). Also the Cat Girl sisters “Do you know the routine?” dancing is still in my memories

        This time my frist memory of an Girl leader…

        eng: “Crest of the Stars”

        an Boy that found a Girl, began to like her, and protected her with all his might (well the Girl was strong on his own. But the Boy supported her. that impressed her father) Also the first contact with “War. War is where people die!”

        eng: forgotten name

        a Boy and his group, find an old colonize Ship to escape their home planet, and then was hunted from an zerg like enemy, because the enemy saw this humans just as spare parts (the dark side of Humanity)

        As you see, until now ith was “Boy protects” or “light side always wins”, the Anime began to have their crises. Their Stories are all told, all are old or repeat stuff


        eng: “Code Geass”

        The Boy find a Girl and want to protect her with all his might. But this Boy goes over corpses from friend and foe, to reach his goals. he even sacrificed his family for this goal. The “Dark side arise”

        a fresh new Dark wind has been born, the Anime is resurrected again.

        until now, the MC has two sides. His Light and Dark side. but after “Code Geass” they focused more on the Dark Side

        eng: “Gundam: Tekketsu no Orphans”

        the Mafia/Yakuza here are your buddies, they are the ones that respect you, give you an free Upgrade Mecha, Trust and Harmen. Join the Dark Side LUKE!!!

        Right now, the animes with the Dark side themes are beginn to became also boring.

        eng: “Comet Lucifer”

        Enjoy with that what you see on the Screen. if you want to know the Story, background and reason of the main cast, then “GOOGLE IT!” oh and while you are looking, buy this and that for us, will ya?

        see, they are now about to test balloon the handy generation. They are used to “Google it!” stuff. You want more? Google it.

        But it is still to early for this “Google it!” style Animes. Why? How has still the Money? and this Generation are not used to “google it!” for things, that should be in the Product

        Oh.. i catch myself to rant to much about this.. So i use my Shortcut Axe and end it here

        Hope you had read it all, and get a Gist of the Anime Historie (of my sight of Line) until today


    1. Also 31. Spring 2014 is the last time I really recall being interested in seasonal anime to be honest. Maybe you should try looking into some OVAs and movies you might have missed. To me that’s where the interesting stuff is really happening. One I’m looking forward to being able to watch in particular is Miss Hokusai which apparently is just racking up the awards at critics venues this year.

    2. im 29 and im so glad im not the only one who’s been thinking that.
      Man..miss the times when I would be watching episodes from the likes of Trigun, Bebop, Hellsing, Gits, FMA (1st&2nd), Serei no moribito, ergo proxy, blood+ and being literally sucked into the story and production quality…sigh..
      But then again, im guessing anime production companies are running out of good light novel books or mangas to base their anime on.
      They should make an anime out of Cloth Road.

    3. the target audience of these shows is japanese man-babies with disposable income and no girlfriends. if these shows don’t appeal to you, then it’s because you’re not the target audience.

  7. You mentioned that you haven’t read much Chinese fantasy comics, You really should, They are really good storytelling wise. Mostly because they’re really consistent. Usually the writter knows what he’s going to do all the way untill then end and that lets the story develop a lot better than their Manga and Manhwa counterparts(Manhwa is terrible at this so I just stopped reading those) But for some reason the Chinese get their storytelling right

    Sidonia no Kishi(Manga) is an example of the above. It started off great, but then all of a sudden went towards the “harem hijinks” route instead of continuing the Damn story(which caused me to just drop the whole thing, I hate wasting my time) Chinese comics don’t do this(usually. . .Feng Shen JI does this [more with just a meandering story, not harem hijinks]so I had to stop), and. .. they’re in color. . .Every. Page.

    You should check them out. The more and more I read, the more and more I get convinced that they are better than Manga in all honesty.

  8. Will definitely watch :
    Musaigen no Phantom World : Not a unique premise, but since it’s a KyoAni’s anime I’m going to watch it.
    Boku Dake ga Inai Machi : Time travel and psychological. Also, Yuki Kajiura.
    Ansatsu Kyoushitsu 2nd Season : Because of Koro-sensei.
    Hai to Gensou no Grimgar : The PV picked my attention. I hope this won’t be the second SAO.

    Three-episodes rules :
    Ao no Kanata no Four Rhythm : I’ve played the visual novel. I was fun. I hope the anime won’t get messed up.

  9. Time for cherry picking again. I am thankful that this season does not feature that much otaku pandering shows (hello Fall 2015) so I am happy to follow many of this. I am not going to follow Durarara!! though as the last two cours put me to sleep.

  10. Honestly don’t see anything too interesting. I know Assassination Classroom is good, but it honestly gets difficult to get into adaptations, when you already know what’s going to happen.

  11. Boku Dake ga Inai Machi
    Dagashi Kashi
    Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu
    Dimension W

    They look interesting enough to check out but what to watch for sure this season are:
    Durarara!!x2 Ketsu

  12. No Macross Delta?

    As for the other Mecha show I was anticipating, any hints from the Japanese if Schwarzesmarken’s light novel is any good? Everything I didn’t like about Total Eclipse was there in the source material. I’m also in denial about the game ever existing. So I’d like some hints to set my expectations in check. (Really love Carnelian’s character designs, so I will watch this show)

  13. For a winter season, I’d never expect 2 CGI-main studios to be going head-to-head in the animation department. With similar PV styles to boot. This should make for a very interesting winter cour. (and then you have the TSFs’ animations…)

    My Mech-ish watch-list of winter 2016:

    Gundam: Tekketsu no Orphans – Time to raise the (character) flag(s)
    Heavy Object – (?)
    God Eater – haven’t seen them out yet
    Working!!! (movie) – (pssst, I’ve no idea why I’m putting it here)

    GATE: Jieitai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakeri 2nd Season – if only to see how it ends…

    3-episode acid test
    Active Raid -Kidou Kyoushuushitsu Dai Hakkei- Exo suits WITH Wonton destruction almost guaranteed? Sure.
    Schwarzesmarken – not caring about Muv-Luv alt. , just caring about the mechs…
    Dimension W – Wow, a show that relies on it’s initial world (and tech) setup for 90% of it’s story, this might not go so well if a flaw is found…

    on the fence
    Sekkou Boys – Sheer obsurdity ftw? Maybe
    Undefeated Bahamut Chronicle – Magic mechs?

    blog watch
    Ajin – whoa? (also, 100% CGI animation)
    Bubuki Buranki – The ‘Sidonia’ city is strong with this show (now with even more CGI animation improvements)…
    Ooya-san wa Shishunki! – keeping this here for no reason other than being cute.

    (o.o’) – (for sheer shocks only, not for following)
    Rainbow Days – Free!, is that you?

  14. Well, I’m 25. If you’re around my age you can tell why it is important to know how old someone is. In early age it is easier to believe in cheap things. It explains why many people fall to shows like “Elfen Lied” and honestly love them. I can also explain and understand why many of us watch fanservice shows (by the way, it seems that Kyoni is finally dropped into it). Some of them done with nicety. But also it is clear for me that in my 18 I would also have been in longlife love in some shows like “Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu”.
    So I believe tastes come from mentality.

    This season seems to be really good. It’s rare.

    Expect to be masterpiece or great:
    – Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu
    – Boku Dake ga Inai Machi

    Can be very well done:
    – Active Raid -Kidou Kyoushuushitsu Dai Hakkei- (reminds me of “Tiger&Bunny” which I like. Characters design is great and I like trailer on oficial site)
    – Dimension W (fanservice with green litle-dressed girl confused me a bit)
    – Prince of Stride Alternative (I didn’t watch “Free!” and this remind me of it, and “Kuroko” witch I didn’t watch yet. Also I have an interest in chosen kind of sport)
    – Sekkou Boys (it seems to be very fun thing)
    – Haruchika ~Haruta to Chika wa Seishun Suru~ (here I don’t like how characters visually look but other things are good)

    Can also be good:
    – Reikenzan: Hoshikuzu-tachi no Utage (don’t know what it is but I like character’s design on the oficial site)

    Something well:
    – Rainbow Days (as light fanservice show)
    – Dagashi Kashi (characters design is likeable)
    – Ao no Kanata no Four Rhythm (as light fanservice show)


    As for Ajin I doubt that it will be good cause first chapter of manga was false in characters and story.

  15. There’s nothing that really says WATCH ME YOU MUST this season ;v but I am waiting for Assassination Classroom and well Akagami no Shirayukihime.

    With that said, I’ll end up watching most of them and deciding 2 or 3 to watch xD

    Though necessarily, and perhaps not for a long time, the December announcement are always reminding me of Chihayafuru and never seeing that 3rd season (not that I was expecting, I know it will take a while if ever) as well as Shingeki no Kyojin (not the chibi, not the movie lol) xD well even though not yet, it still hurts!

  16. Snow white, active raid, montagari are must watch for me. Muv Luv i will watch but damn I want the original trilogy to be animated in full. They should try to fund that, atleast partially by fans. Definitely watching because I’m a fan.

    I’ll skip out on kyo ani this time I hated beyond and these fantasy novels are garbage despite them winning awards, that like being the best of the worst though. I prefer kyo ani do stuff like hyokka, even free and euphonium as they are different and more interesting and play to aky ani talents better. what a waste of studio talents.

  17. As many others, there isn’t much that draws my attention this season, but also nothing to say “this season is going to be bad”. I guess I will have to trust Random Curiosity’s and other sites’ first reviews to get a good impression of what the season has to offer 😉

    I mean, I can’t be the only one who is surprised season after season by a hidden gem or becomes disappointed after thinking a given show had potential.

  18. Hey! Hey! Can I post something too!? I CAN!? Great! Awesome! Alright, I’mma go all out now! YOOOOSSHI, IKKU ZOU~!

    (NOTE: Please click on spoilers to read more on what I wanna talk about)

    (My POFIT [Impressions/Thoughts/Feelings/Perceptions/Observations] on what I’ll watch for Winter 2016’s anime line-up)
    Show Spoiler ▼

    Nishizawa Mihashi
      1. Heheh, funny thing actually ‘cuz while I’ve got plenty of time for plenty of things, the fact that I’ll only even bother to watch less than 10 shows speaks volumes. First off, 2013 was the year where I watched the most amount of seasonal anime and that anime streak peaked in the Winter of 2014. I basically watched an astounding 14-15 animes that season for someone like me and it was crazy, especially considering my less-than-stellar internet speeds at the time. I’ve since obtained a much better internet connection so I’m much more able to handle an increase in volume but, they just had to turn the rest of 2014 and then 2015 into BLEGH years for anime. Unbelievable, absolutely unbelievable.

        And to compensate for this madness, allow me to tell you a story.

        Back in August this year -late August in fact-, I went to a local convention at the Mines Expo center in Kuala Lumpur (I live in Malaysia) and the organizers actually managed to bring in dudes from Gainax and Satelight to give presentations and stuff. I can’t recall the dude from Gainax’s name at the moment but the Satelight guy was none other than Shoji Kawamori. But what I’m gonna focus on is what the dude from Gainax told us in his presentation. Basically, studio Gainax is currently underway developing an anime that centers around underwater exploration, with the timeline taking place several years -or many, can’t remember- after a gigantic global warming catastrophe that sunk large swaths of landmass. And so the main protagonist, a female, is tasked along with her group to find sunken remains of buildings and stuff. They even showed us a video detailing a general idea of the show’s visuals and setting. Pretty neat, but what does this tell us?

        It tells us one thing, and that is ideas are bloody everywhere, but ain’t nobody utilizing the full potentialities of anything out there enough for them to create highly interesting things. You see this in so many media that it gets very frustrating. In film and literature at least, there’s quite a bit of creativity but even those media themselves are slowly being enveloped by large masses of plain, contemporary settings that almost always center around some kind of well-treaded human-centric complication without much je ne sais quoi elements to them for them to really stand out and give interesting, unique insight. By around this time, there’s gotta be more to everything, but we don’t seem to be doing much either. Oh well, it ain’t to late. We can always start now, I know I already have.

        Nishizawa Mihashi
  19. Hmmmm…a few promising shows. I do like the sound of Prince of Stride, especially the visuals and the cast and Dagashi Kashi if it does focus on sweets. I’m definitely watching AssClass, because it’s cool. I’ve scanned the Ajin manga and it’s quite engaging although I do agree with Takaii with some of the jarring things about the characters, but shows starring Mamoru Miyano are irresistible for me. Here’s to 2016, a potentially great year of anime.

  20. I’m aboard for continuations of GATE and Akagami no Shirayukihime. There are a few other things that might be worth looking at. I’ll wait and see if first impressions of any of these come across as worthwhile.

    This season is triggering one of my pet-peeves, however. There are far too many shows whose preview pictures focus on cutre girls (or only HAVE said girls in the picture), yet the description goes on to say “the protagonist is average male #83,546,713,217,913,213,579 who just happens to conveniently have a skill related to the premise of the story/get caught up in events of the story and become important because of his amazingly average averageness.” I’m sick of this. First off, in promo pictures put your protagonist in front. If the show’s about a boy, put the boy in front. If the show’s really about the girls, cut the damn boy out and make one or more of the girls the protagnists. If the girls are supposed to be the main draw, and their placement in promotional material sure makes it seem like that’s the case, then spare me the BS of having to follow some guy I don’t care about all the time just to get to them.

    Show some progressiveness, Japan, and let females be leads outside of comedies, idol-series, and magical girl shows.

    1. It annoys me as well when the promo material doesn’t reflect that the actual show is about. The only recent example that used that to its advantage would be Saekano, which had the MC in the very back of the preview picture, along with the female lead, which was clearly intention and quite smart. As for all the other examples… not so much.

      And the generic MC lead in all those shows is basically as self-insert for whoever the target demographic is. They very rarely have any character to them, and like you I’d much prefer if those shows had to exist, that one of the haremettes be the main character instead.

      1. I think it overall makes sense not to focus on the guy.
        Honestly, the male character’s design really isn’t the focus. In male or female orientated shows, guys don’t get a lot of focus when it comes to character design. The girls are usually more interesting to look at and make good cover material.

        It happens in the west too. For instance, in the Eragon books, the cover shows dragons, some of which aren’t really all that important. In the Ender’s game books, Ender himself is never on the cover. It’s the draw that’s on the cover.

        Also, calling a protagonist of these shows a self-insert is kind of insulting.
        Yes. The viewer usually relates most to the protagonist, based on gender and general demeanor, but that’s the Viewer’s decision to make.

        For instance, in that kind of mindset Kumiko from Hibike would be a self-insert, especially for girls, as well as Lawrence from Spice and Wolf.
        Lawrence especially actually.
        VERY very rarely does the narrative go away from his point of view. In fact, because of this, the whole “is Holo really going to leave me for that kid,” from season 2 has impact. Usually these protagonists have their own character and unique defining factors, that people completely ignore just for the sake of hating them. It’s unreasonable, since their characters are usually pretty good.

        Unless they don’t make any decisions for themselves like Ichika from Infinite Stratos or Link from the Legend of Zelda series, you can’t really call them self-insert characters.

      2. I never picked on Lawrence from Spice and Wolf. And your mention of Ichika kind of makes my point, because he’s one of the great examples of the type of character that is completely meaningless. He’s a boy in a girls’ school. That is his character. That is everything significant about him: every other factor in the series relating to him revolves around that point. He has no true significance beyond being the object of the girls’ repressed sexual desires. He isn’t a character. He’s a thing; a catalyst to instigate behavior in the girls; who are the actual characters.

        This sort of writing is more common than you seem to realize. In the cases where it happens, the story should be re-written so that the characters who are actually interesting; the girls who the story actually intends for us to pay the most attention to and who have actually had the most writing spent on creating them as characters; are the leads, rather than some nobody male who is completely uninteresting.

        In the cases where the male actually is important, then he should be placed front and center in the promotional imagery. If the show is about him, than the pictures should show him. Not a bunch of girls. If all (or most) of what they’re showing are girls, they tell us with that picture that the girls are what’s actually important. If that’s not supposed to be the case, then put the person who’s actually important up front where they’re supposed to be. It’s deceptive marketing to have the promos show one thing, but then the actual show come in with “but actually the protagonist is some random guy we didn’t bother to show you because he isn’t as interesting as these girls. Look at the girls, though! Aren’t they pretty? Give us money while looking at the pretty girls! (PS: the guy’s still totally the protagonist) HEY LOOK AT THE PRETTY GIRLS!”

      3. Yes, Orimura Ichika’s character in IS is boring and one-dimensional, however; I disagree that lots of anime are writing their characters this way.

        For instance, Juuou Mujin No Fafnir is another anime with a male character in an all-girls school. You’d probably hate him, but he’s definitely an interesting and developed character with a lot of time spent on designing him. His social competency is up there, and his presence amongst the girls actually changes things. Especially since the problems he helps solve, weren’t solved when it was just the girls amongst each other. This is all true and yet he isn’t prominent on the cover. This is because, the girls are still the main focus. You learn about the protagonist much slower than the girls, and their problems are confronted more often.

        Even all the harems that were dismissed by everyone THIS season, don’t fall under the “wow this protagonist is so boring” umbrella like Ah My Goddess and anime of that ilk. Taimadou’s protagonist is interesting, and socially competent( you get his arc last.) Rakudai’s protagonist is interesting. Asterisk War’s protagonist is definitely on the more bland side, however; he’s more outgoing than his demeanor suggests. Especially in his actions and the fact that he makes decisions for himself quite often.

        SaeKano which Samu mentioned also has an interesting protagonist, but it doesn’t make sense to put these characters on the front. These characters are the important driving force of the anime, but it’s the girls that get the focus in how they’re developed, and grow as characters.

        If an anime cover has no male than I can see you’re point sort of. Maybe the cover is supposed to be taken from the perspective of the lead male. The creators literally saying, the protagonist is a self-insert. If it’s all-girls on the cover and they’re barely looking into the camera while doing other stuff like walking away or something, it’ll probably be an all-girls show. Either way, it doesn’t take that much more effort to find out what the real content in the anime is.

      4. You are missing or ignoring the point. Harems are not what I am upset about. Rakudai, for example, is not a harem series, and also, coincidentally, does not fall under my complaints. Look at the promo image for Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry. Ikki gets front-billing, making it plain that it is not a show about girls with some nobody taking the protagonist-slot just because the writers can’t imagine this type of show having a female lead, but rather that he is a character, a person, who is important to the series from the beginning, and who is promoted as such accordingly along with the rest of the cast.

        If a character is a protagonist, than they should be important, and they should be portrayed as important to the series. If a character is not portrayed as important, then someone should reconsider if they genuinely deserve to be the protagonist, because the protagonist should be someone of significant importance to a series.

      5. I get it. You’re saying that the most important characters should get frontmost billing on a cover, and that’s usually the protagonist, so he/she should be the biggest character.

        I don’t really agree. In most shows, the authors try to make each character equally important. For instance, Psycho Pass’s cover has Kougami in the frontmost position but he’s not the protagonist. They’re just showing what people want to see from the show first and foremost, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. There’s lots of anime with really important protagonists that don’t get cover space, because while they’re important they’re not the crux of the show either.

        Think about the Monogatari series. Araragi rarely ever appears in a predominant way in any of them if at all.

        I don’t know, I just personally see nothing wrong with how these covers are designed.

      6. Ah, Spice and Wolf talk. I finished the LNs a while ago. Anyway, without going into much detail to avoid spoiler tags. I would say the biggest draw for me was the relationship between the two leads(Holo and Lawrence). They’re quite interesting characters. It’s a shame the anime was only a small slice of their journey together. Had they animated the entire series some people may have different opinions of the characters.

  21. Boku Dake ga Inai Machi and AssClass season two are definitely on my list- I’m REALLY excited about those two. Although I am worried that BokuMachi is just one cour…..but anyway, I’ve got pretty high expectations of those. I’m pretty interested in the premise of HaruChika, so that makes show number 3, if I ever manage to catch up to the first season I’ll watch the second season of Akagami no Shirayukihime, and Ajin looks to be worth a try. So I’m pretty much sorted 🙂 🙂 For me, this looks like a good season ^^

  22. There’s a few on that list I’ll be watching. However, one I wanted to note. Phantasy Star Online 2, it’ll probably be terrible, but I can’t help but interested in this series.

    1. That’s kinda my sentiments to it, too.
      Loved Phantasy Star IV on my MegaDrive (Genesis), back in the day, and even played PSO2 a little, so I’ll try a few episodes out of pure nostalgia, despite having little to no expectations for it being good…
      Time will tell, I suppose.

      1. Hopefully it’ll be good 🙂

        As long as it’s not so awful I can’t stand to watch it, I’ll probably finish it regardless. The last Sega anime I watched was Sega Hard Girls which was really funny, so..

  23. Looking forward a bit to Boku Dake ga Inai Machi and Dimension W. Both manga are pretty good in their own genre and I want to see what an anime adaptation can do to those.

    No spoilers impression on the manga source :
    – Boku dake ga inai machi is a good, character driven, psychological drama. Most characters are relatable and interesting and the author is able to make you care for them. The plot is good and I’ve yet to be disappointed with any advancement in the story in 5 volumes read. I don’t know how the anime will be able to wrap a story in only one course though, hopefully they won’t butcher a forceful end.
    – The Worldbuilding in Dimension W is really top notch. Iwahara (manga author) is really a big science fiction fan and it shows in his manga. The world is built logically on the one technological premise and everything revolve around that quite well ; no major hole in there if you accept the premise. Also the character design is pretty good. Iwahara is pretty competent in that area, he’s the one who did chara design for Darker than Black.
    Basically, the Manga is a more coherent Darker than Black with better worldbuilding.

  24. Oh hey, Romeo Tanaka’s got a work getting adapted? Sign me up.

    While I’m certain that it’s probably not going to be as scathingly bitter and apathetic as the wonderfully handled JinTai, I’m still interested to see where this will go. Tanaka has an astounding tenacity when it comes to character traits and behaviors that go hand in hand with each other. Nothing for the characters he writes ever seems out of left field and as a result, SURPRISES with his stories and characters tend to blindside the viewer and feel more like a perfectly landed sucker punch to the gut that causes you intense discomfort but not outright pain and anger, versus say a punch to the face that doesn’t manage to knock you out and instead leaves you with a broken jaw, a few broken/loose/destroyed teeth and weeks worth of pain reminding you of your bad experience.

    Apologies for the overly wordy and violent analogy but this is what comes to mind when I’m attempting to articulate the man’s gift for writing in the productions I’ve watched he was tied to. I’d also comment on the -other- writing element he’s infamous for, but on the off chance that Shoujo-tachi manages to implement that as well, I’ll refrain from discussing it and advise others to not do too much investigating into his concepts and instead just give the show a blind go should it turn out to be a satisfying production.

    Looking forward to the production, can’t wait to see what’s in store.

  25. They are really animating Schwarzesmarken? I hope that they end the anime at a good spot similar to Total Eclipes… coz Schwarzenmarken is an ass to its characters. TOO MUCH CHOMPING!

    Anyways, i see a lot of harem animes inbound…. Well, that’s japan for ya. I hope they are do an acceptable job like Asterisk… though i dont have any high hopes for all of them

  26. Akagami no Shirayukihime is getting a 2nd season ! Whaawhooo!! Koyomimonogatari is high in my book!!! Please please…pleassssseee, pluuueaassseeee don’t butcher Undefeated Bahamut Chronicle, I like the novel series! I couldn’t get into GATE: Jieitai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakeri, but I guess I try the 1st season before the 2nd stars!

  27. appears quite a underwhelming / disappointing season IMO

    no true ‘blockbuster AAA’ titles this season it looks like (like One Punch Man last season). instead we get looks of same-y fantasy/comedy chaff none of which particularly stands out.

    personally would watch rather one series guaranteed to be good (like OPM, only anime I watched last season), that several which may or may not (and probably won’t) be.

    P.S. what a crying shame madhouse is wasting their talent on a seemingly crappy sports anime this season. hardly worthy of their HxH and OPM legacy.

    1. Sometimes friend, creating our own story inside our heads is far more fulfilling than having to bear with others’ half-toasted ideas. I do this a lot, and it’s incredibly fulfilling, but frustrating too; especially since creating something within our heads and then attempting to realize them in the physical world is something that requires a lot of luck, and a lot of dedication. If only there were technologies that would make the actual creation process much, much easier.

      Nishizawa Mihashi
  28. The series I’m watching for sure in this season: Akagami no Shirayuki-hime (2nd season), Assassination Classroom (2nd season)and Saijaku Muhai no Bahamut. I’ll also keep an eye on Dagashi Kashi and Dimension W, though…

    Rui Craveiro
    1. Yeah anime is just drowning in that and goofy fanservice stuff lately. The shows that try to be serious dramas though kind of just make me feel like anime has lost the ability to handle that sort of thing well at all. Like seriously I can’t remember the last time I was legitimately gripped by a TV anime drama. Maybe the 1st season of Garo?

      1. Psycho-Pass?
        Space Battleship Yamato?
        Death Parade?

        Look. I don’t think you’re watching anime to complain.

        The harem shows usually take interesting turns too. Not super dark, but they’re usually extremely fun. I had a lot of fun watching Taimadou that’s for sure. That music got me smiling throughout the series.

  29. Gifting and Grimgar getting an anime………. it’s only a matter of time for “transport to other world” or “reincarnated to other world” theme based novels to be getting an anime.
    Mushoku Tensei
    Shield Bro
    Death March
    Konjiki no Wordmaster
    Sendai Yuusha

    Also that Reikenzan, does that mean Martial God Asura has a chance for an anime adoptation?

    1. You know I originally had a weird apprehension towards these types of stories, but they’re all so unique.

      The protagonist is in a fantasy like setting with sensibilities of a modern human. I have rarely been disappointed except the super edgy slavemaster shit.

      Death March especially has me. I really like that protagonist.

    2. Either Mushoku Tensei or Death March getting an anime would be the same as a miracle. A miracle I doubt anyone is willing to put money behind right now 🙁 Still can’t believe MT manga got licensed!

  30. Looks like only a few shows this next season. But, that’s okay. I need to catch up on a lot of stuff and I do have a few series continuing over into next season. As always thanks for the preview!

    Gouka Ryuu
  31. I’m pretty clutched and excited for this season for next year and I’ll be checking out at least half or not all of them but overall still pretty excited compared to some of this season and I’m enjoying Gundam Iron-Blooded orphans and Heavy Object so far and the ones that just finished were really good like OPM.

  32. I won’t really be looking into anything until the season is wrapped up really since at this point you can never really tell how a show is going to turn out anymore I find. Really though as someone that has been following anime since about the late 90’s I feel like I’m finally starting to just grow tired of and out of the scene and it’s a tossup whether I end up bothering at all. Just too much of the same sort of looking stuff that doesn’t really remind me of what I got into anymore for originally and I just don’t feel the same way about today’s supposedly top creators and industry people who mostly seem to come from and think one dimensionally in terms of an otaku background in light novel and visual novel waifu culture and what that scene would want to see exclusively.

    It feels like almost all the stuff that gets these big focuses and budgets are these IMO mediocre light novel adaptations and for whatever reason a lot of my favorite classic studios like IG, Sunrise and the like (really only Bones and Madhouse of the old school feel like they’re staying active) just seem to be sitting it out lately and these new ones like A-1, Feel, Silver Link, Dogakobo, Satelight, IMS and the like that are mass producing most of the seasonal of late just aren’t cutting it for me. Really the only newer ones to anime that have managed to earn any sort of trust with me are MAPPA and Polygon. There’s still some good OVAs, ONAs and movies out there of course which is where the IG’s and Sunrises of yore seem to be focusing their energies of late, but TV it just feels like the industry is half trying to find it’s way (again lot of new studios these past couple years) half trying to play it incredibly safe and to the hardcore otaku audience and it’s just made me lose interest in seasonal anime for now or at least when it comes to anticipating anything or wanting to watch it week to week.

    1. Fixed and fixed.

      As for FAIRY TAIL ZERO, I have a feeling it’ll be similar to World Trigger, where it will be more of an ‘arc’ than anything else, and will continue running in the same timeslot.

    2. The preview for the next episode of Fairy Tail said it was covering Fairy Tail Zero. It will air in the same timeslot, I don’t believe Zero will be a separate series. It’s being integrated into the main one.

  33. Will definitely watch:
    GATE season 2 – Looking forward to see more of Rory Mercury. (The only thing that would make this better is to have fanart of Rory being back-to-back badasses with Date A Live‘s Kurumi.)
    Schwarzesmarken – Loved the “anyone can die” scenario of Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse, though that’s partly because Attack on Titan (which originally was inspired by Muv-Luv in the first place) already desensitized me to that kind of thing. Also, more TSFs. I don’t mind seeing a bit more of the Muv-Luv ‘verse…

    I might be adding new shows to check out once the season gets rolling in earnest. But I’ll be happy if some of the anime movies I’ve been waiting for (Arpeggio of Blue Steel: Ars Nova Cadenza and the Girls und Panzer movie) get to be shown locally this season.

  34. Ty for your hard work as always Randomc!!! Fyi to Stilts, there is always someonw who reads all the disclaimers. 😉

    But really, ty so much to all the writers for every season!! I always look forward to it and appreciate the thought and care gone into researching each show~<3

  35. I’m pretty much gonna avoid any LN adaptations and anything based in highschool and students w powers….Christ there is some cookie cutter shite coming this winter. ughhhhh.

    Im gonna give the three episode treatment to:

    Macross delta (Did you guys miss that entirely????????)
    Dimension W
    Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu
    Boku Dake ga Inai Machi
    Active Raid

  36. You don’t know how glad I am to see that you have high expectations for Akagami no Shirayukihime, because if I hear ONE MORE COMMENT about how it’s a stereotypical third-rate shoujo romance after that excellent first season, I might just froth at the mouth.

    Aside from that mini rant, Winter looks pretty decent! Norn9 is touch-and-go for now, but Active Raid reminds me a tad of Toshokan Sensou and I loved TS. Also, you could probably tempt me with any anime relatable to Hyouka and Cardcaptor Sakura, so Haruchika gets my vote too.

    It bears mentioning that Mamoru Miyano and Hosoya Yoshimasa Hosoya are reunited for the nth time again… but not for a third season of Chihayafuru. (Sigh.) Thanks for the coverage!

  37. PTW
    Show Spoiler ▼

    Watching all of these,yet none of these look the slightest bit promising.

  38. I’m definitely anticipating Assassination Classroom Season 2, and I became curious about Prince of Stride and Active Raid.

    Once again, this is my go-to preview for every anime season. I only miss one thing in the headers: to know if it’s original anime or based on a manga/novel/visual_novel.

    Either way, thank you very much for the preview! 😀

  39. Yikes. I finally took a look at what’s coming up this week for winter, and “Yikes” is the only reaction I can scrounge up for this coming anime season.

    I’m sure there will be a few gems in here somewhere, but good grief, what a depressing pile of dull derivative programs on offer this season. Granted last season’s attempts at original content were mediocre at best, and train wreck head-spinning awful at worst (gg Comet Lucifer!), but this is just overwhelmingly mediocre.

    Be a 0 or be a 100, but don’t be a 50. 50 is worse than 0. And I see SO many 50s. -_-

    There are a few potential bright spots:
    Dagashi Kashi is a good manga… uh… the rakugo one might be good… uh… I never got into Durarara or Ansatsu Kyoushitsu so… uh… damn. Boku dake ga inai Machi, maybe? That’s about it. Ajin might be okay.

    Well, at least I won’t have “watching too much anime” to blame for a lack of productivity now, that’s for sure.

  40. I’ve just watched the first episodes of “Musaigen no Phantom World” and “Prince of Stride Alternative”, and I say that these series are worth rewatching (reviewing)!

    Sindbad Daykay
    1. Phantom World needs some more spice to it, y’know? It needs some of that in-your-face, no holds barred drama that you don’t take too seriously, but just sit back and enjoy it ’cause it’s damn fun to watch. Nothing against it, but its first ep came across as trying to be a bit too cute by half.

      You heard me. It needs some of that Amagi Brilliant Park magic, amirite? 🙂

      Show Spoiler ▼

      Ryan Ashfyre
  41. I’m a little late to the party but here are my top picks so far in alphabetical order.

    1-Ajin (Do i need to say anything other than check out the manga, it’s dark, visceral and interesting mix of Action and the Supernatural, resembles some aspects of Parasyte which is a plus).

    2-Bokumachi (Saw the trailers and was immediately intrigued by the premise and overall quality on display, heard a lot of praise for it as well, it seems like a psychological drama with a bit a mystery, sounds too good to miss).

    3-Dimension W (It has been announced a while ago and it’s finally coming out, i really love the characters designs and art direction here, the world itself or rather the premise seems interesting, definitely worth checking out).

    4-Phantom World (Well,the first ep is out and i guess it’s pretty clear why this one it worth watching, that mix of beautiful Kyoani art and animation mixed with pure craziness and comedy seems to be working well here, it’s a good start and i will surely keep watching for now).

    5-Grimgar (Really liked the character designs and their focus on new aspects of the people-trapped-in-MMORPG like world here, it feels there is a stronger touch of realism -or rather grittiness- than most other similar series, the scenes in the trailer where they make killing their first goblin a big deal feel interesting and intriguing, definitely one to watch).

    Then there are the 2nd seasons of Akagami and Gate, only reason to watch is that enjoyed the first seasons of both shows so it’s natural to want more.

  42. @Luck & Logic

    Part 1 of 3


    It seems like the Etotama Animation Crew did her his magic again, the CGI is very good embedded. better then the 3DCGI Body with an Hand animated Head in PSO2

    Even if i do not understand this Logical, and stuff. The action, pacing and emotions where “All Green!”

  43. @Bubuki Buranki

    The Animation team of Sidonia no Kishi here at work? Because i can sense their Vibes…

    yes, it must be.. Ronja Backgrounds and Human’s like in Sidonia no Kishi

    Yes, you improved

    Part 1 of 3


    1. Looking at the list at first glance none of the titles and descriptions of anime this season give of a vibe that you have to watch it but sadly that list is getting smaller and smaller every season. Its not like the good old days when there were several anime every season that give of a you have to watch vibe and several you get into after you watch and episode or 2 every season.

      1. Actually I am giving that anime a chance. Seems somewhat interesting after watching the first episode. But really that doesn’t remind me of the good old days of anime. Its more like the subtle animes that pass the time but unlike those the protagonist in this anime seems like a comical character making it more entertaining.

  44. @Dimension W

    Guys, this Anime is the hidden pearl you are looking for, trust me

    Gangster Vibes
    Initial D Vibes

    and more

    Hooked on the first Episode

    We have an Winner!!

    Part 1 of 3

    Hoked!!! I Approve this Anime!!

  45. @Hai to Gensou no Grimgar

    An RPG World Anime. Is this the successor of Log Horizon? or more SAO? Dunno

    Seems like this Anime (or at last Episode 1) take its time to move on. nearly at the end i was fighting not to fall asleep. a bit to Clam… You know, catching fans just with this nice Watercolors backgrounds an such is not all..

    Part 1 of 3

    passed, but more out of curiosity of this RPG alike world. The pacing could get more speed up.

  46. @Ooyasan wa Shishunki!

    a Shorty Anime we have here. But where the OP take already 1/3 of its airing time. Its a bit to short. Well…

    Part 1 of 3 passed

    but reeks of “my landlord is a loli” cliches

  47. @Undefeated Bahamut Chronicle

    First Impression (Still Watching)

    From the OP we got here an “Infinity Stratos Battle Suits” Anime, this time with an Prince in an Kingdom, so fantasy Setting

    Humor is there, alright

    More when i finish watching

    1. Part 1 of 3


      The World building is good, and the jokes and fight. if you loved the Battle Suits of Infinity Stratos, then you should give it a try. Even if they use these Sword to summon them

  48. @Mahou Shoujo Nante Mou Ii Desu Kara.

    Part 1 of 3 passed

    Until now one of the best Short Animes so far this Season. All is in the right place.

    Yes, it is good

    4 Mins shorty

  49. Okay, 1 Week passed

    i write down (in no order) the new Animes that are on my 3 Episodes Watchlist

    Musaigen no Phantom World
    Active Raid
    Ojisan to Marshmallow
    Phantasy Star 2
    Luck Logic
    Bubuki Buranki
    Dagashi Kashi
    Nurse Witch Komugi-chan R
    Dimension W (Bullseye. Hooked right from the start)
    Hai to Gensou no Grimgar
    Ooyansan wa Shishunki
    Saijaku Muhai no Bahamut
    Mahou Shoujo Nante Mou li Desukara
    Koukadu no Pandora
    Oshiete! Galko-chan
    Ao no Kanata no Four Rhythm
    Dagashi Kashi

    this are the ones, that are on my List. Lets see, how much of them drop out. But until now all passed, some deep in the Yellow colors and some in the High Green ones

    1. watching 2nd Season:

      Assassination Classroom
      Akagami no Shirayukihime

      Heavy Object
      Mobile Suit Gundam (Reached a Key point to continue with it, or drop it)

  50. @Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku Wo!

    Yawn… This is just an nearly Panstu showing fanservice… it goes on about 50% of this episode… Really, do they play this card to get the fans?


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