Now that Christmas is over, and all the kawaii bishoujo and suteki bishounen are finished with their Kurisumasu daitos, it’s time to talk about the next season of anime! This has all the makings of a terrific season, starting with a bunch of high-caliber adaptations, including Japan’s Lord of the Rings from the Record of Lodoss War guy Grancrest Senki, KyoAni’s hotly anticipated doll assistants in Violet Evergarden, the no less anticipated humanoid android drama BEATLESS, and another spin of the servant battling wheel (with a twist!) in Fate/EXTRA Last Encore. The sequels are no slouches either, which include such favorites as the bicycle speedsters of Yowamushi Pedal GLORY LINE, the shounen battlers of Nanatsu no Taizai: Imashime no Fukkatsu, the dark lich lord of Overlord II, and, wonder of wonders, after twenty years, a sequel to one of the defining magical girl series with Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card Hen. If that wasn’t enough, there are a smattering of originals as well, most notably Trigger’s newest sci-fi exploration Darling in the Franxx. There are a ton of promising series getting ready to air, so let us tell you about all of them. This is Random Curiosity’s Winter 2018 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 the Excitement Levels we introduced last season. Don’t remember why the change? Because trying to anticipate how a show is going to turn out is a mug’s game, but we can definitely tell you how excited we are! Just remember that these levels reflect our own subjective excitement level for each show, and do not necessarily reflect how each show 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 excitement level.


Disclaimer: Back in ye olde year of 2012—which is six years ago now, jeez—previews were done by a single writer, Divine. Since none of the current writers wanted to take time off work to solo this thing, we’ve divided everything up among our staff (Cherrie, Choya, Guardian Enzo, Pancakes, Passerby, Stilts, Takaii, Zaiden, 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.

I’d once again like to thank the entire Random Curiosity crew for banding together to finish this preview. We were all battling sudden work obligations, family plans, unexpected coursework, or shoddy time management (that one’s me!), so this was an even tougher preview to put together than normal, but we made it through and I’m super pleased with the result! Thanks as always to Xumbra and Divine for encoding the PVs; Zephyr for doing early prep work; Stilts (that’s me!) for editing, people wrangling, and for being a slow bad person; Passerby for proofreading and the shorts section; Pancakes and Choya for jumping in and helping Cherrie at the last minute; and of course Cherrie, who still did most of the formatting, links, pictures, and a whole bunch else during a work onslaught. Also, thanks to everyone who wrote previews I guess. You all rock! For a more Enzo-centric point of view, check out the LiA winter preview where you can find a second opinion on many of these shows.

Last but not least, thank you to you, dear friends and readers of Random Curiosity. Even after, uh, just about six years now I’ve been writing here that long jeez that’s mind-boggling, I still enjoy putting out posts and chatting with you in the comments, because it’s a lot of fun. Also, we’re all crazy masochists who enjoy unpaid part-time labor. What can I say? Being crazy isn’t required to write here, but it helps. Anywho, and like we always say, we wouldn’t be doing this if it wasn’t for you, which is trite but true. Thank you for being a part of our community, and we love you all.

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
Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card Hen
7:30 NHK (1/7)
Ryuuou no Oshigoto!
22:00 AT-X (1/8)
Sora Yori mo Tooi Basho
20:30 AT-X (1/2)
22:30 MX (1/10)
Ramen Daisuki Koizumi-san
20:00 AT-X (1/4)
Hakumei to Mikochi
21:00 AT-X (1/12)
Nanatsu no Taizai: Imashime no Fukkatsu
6:30 MBS (1/6)
Mitsuboshi Colors
22:30 AT-X (1/7)
Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san
23:00 MX (1/8)
Overlord II
22:30 AT-X (1/9)
Violet Evergarden
24:00 MX (1/10)
Märchen Mädchen
21:00 AT-X (1/11)
Toji no Miko
21:30 AT-X (1/5)
Gin no Guardian II
21:00 MX (1/13)
Gakuen Babysitters
23:00 MX (1/7)
Ashita wa Doyoubi
23:00 MX (1/8)
Saiki Kusuo no Ψ Nan 2
25:35 TX (1/16)
Yuru Camp △
23:00 AT-X (1/4)
Itou Junji: Collection
22:00 WOWOW (1/5)
Sanrio Danshi
22:00 MX (1/6)
Zoku Touken Ranbu -Hanamaru-
24:00 MX (1/7)
Basilisk ~Ouka Ninpouchou~
24:00 MX (1/8)
Death March kara Hajimaru Isekai Kyousoukyoku
23:30 AT-X (1/11)
Hakyuu Houshin Engi
22:00 MX (1/12)
23:30 AT-X (1/6)
24:30 MX (1/7)
gdgd Men’s Party
25:10 MX (1/8)
Koi wa Ameagari no You ni
24:55 CX (1/11)
Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens
22:30 AT-X (1/12)
Darling in the Franxx
23:30 MX (1/13)
Gintama. Gin no Tamashii-hen
25:35 TX (1/7)
Yowamushi Pedal GLORY LINE
26:05 TX (1/8)
Miira no Kaikata
25:58 TBS (1/11)
Grancrest Senki
24:00 MX (1/5)
Fate/EXTRA Last Encore
24:00 MX (1/27)
Dagashi Kashi 2
26:28 TBS (1/11)
25:55 MBS (1/12)
Slow Start
24:30 MX (1/6)
26:43 TBS (1/11)
Killing Bites
26:25 MBS (1/12)
Pop Team Epic
25:00 MX (1/6)
DEVILMAN crybaby
Netflix (1/5)

* Jump to OVA/Movies or Short Series List.

Sora Yori mo Tooi Basho | 宇宙よりも遠い場所Top
Animation: Madhouse Premiere: January 2, 2018
Genre: Adventure Airtime (GMT+9): Tuesdays at 20:30
Episodes: 13 Station: AT-X
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @yorimoi or #yorimoi

Preview by Stilts

A Place Further Than the Universe is the story of four high school girls—Tamaki Mari (Minase Inori), Kobuchizawa Shirase (Hanazawa Kana), Miyake Hinata (Iguchi Yuka), and Shiraishi Yuzuki (Hayami Saori)—who visit the South Pole. It’s an original anime by Madhouse, and directed by Ishizuka Atsuko (Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo, No Game No Life, Hanayamata).

I’m interested in this series. I lead with that because the premise doesn’t give us a lot to go on, but the fundamentals are intriguing. The first thing I noticed is the art style, which is beautiful in a strange, compelling way. Check out the promo videos. The next is that Madhouse is animating, with their star Ishizuka Atsuko directing, and now they have my full attention. Ishizuka-san is, for me, one of the best directors and storytellers working in anime today, able to take even something like Prince of Stride Alternative and turn it into something worthy beyond its limiting premise, to say nothing of her directing two of my favorite series of all time, and Hanayamata is no slacker either (the final episode group performance is one of my most rewatched scenes of any anime). She’s got mad skills, so hearing that it’s her hand on the tiller made me sit up and pay attention. This is a leap of faith on my part, and it would need to be on yours too, because “high school girls visit the South Pole” sounds silly, no doubt. But characters striving for a grand goal is strong fodder for a good story, and the staff is great—including Hanada Jukki on series composition, who has a long resumé, No Game No Life among it—so it’s won my attention. I make no promises, but maybe check it out. It might surprise you.

Watching This: Passerby, Stilts Excitement Level: Optimistic
Ramen Daisuki Koizumi-san | ラーメン大好き小泉さんTop
Animation: Studio Gokumi x Axsiz Premiere: January 4, 2018
Genre: Slice-of-Life, Comedy Airtime (GMT+9): Thursdays at 20:00
Episodes: 12 Station: AT-X
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @ramen_koizumi or #ramen_anime

Preview by Choya

First-year high school student Osawa Yuu (Sakura Ayane) is walking home from school and spots a packed ramen shop. Her curiosity is piqued when she notices a recent transfer student, Koizumi-san (Taketatsu Ayana), waiting in line. Wanting more than anything to befriend her, Yuu joins Koizumi inside the shop and orders whatever she’s having. To her surprise, Koizumi turns out to be a ramen connoisseur, and came that day to get her hands on a monster-sized double pork ramen. Although Yuu assumed that she was always quiet and composed, Koizumi wiped out the whole bowl quickfully and gracefully. From then on, Yuu is poised to go to any length she can to be around Koizumi, joining her as she eats her way through all of the ramen in the nation, one bowl at a time.

Taketatsu Ayana’s culinary takeover of 2018 is on! Dagashi Kashi 2’s hotly anticipated return is one thing, but Ramen Daisuki Koizumi-san is looking to satisfy the appetite of anyone who appreciates good ramen and great times. It was previously adapted into a live action drama a few years back, but now we’ll be able to see every intricate detail about ramen in this new anime, from the broth to the noodles to the toppings. Its dedication to exploring the ins and outs of the varieties and necessities of ramen make this show perfect for the foodie in everyone. But much like the perfect ramen, this anime has many more components to it than the noodles, and its cute cast of characters are just the right base needed for the recipe. Yuu’s pursuit of Koizumi’s companionship is cute and funny, as is Koizumi’s obsession with ramen. The most rewarding aspect of the series is how Koizumi’s love of ramen slowly gets her classmates hooked, and once they find a bowl that they fall head over heels with. For a cute, fun show that loves ramen as much as you do, Ramen Daisuki Koizumi-san has just the right ingredients for you.

Watching This: Choya, Zephyr Excitement Level: Average
Show Ramen Daisuki Koizumi-san Promotional Videos ▼

Yuru Camp △ | ゆるキャン△Top
Animation: C-station Premiere: January 4, 2018
Genre: Slice-of-Life, Adventure Airtime (GMT+9): Thursdays at 23:00
Episodes: 12 Station: AT-X
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @yurucamp_anime or #ゆるキャン

Preview by Choya

Described as a “slow outdoors” series, Yuru Camp focuses on friendships created through hiking. Rin (Touyama Nao) enjoys camping along lakes that provide a scenic view of Mt. Fuji. Nadeshiko (Hanamori Yumiri) loves to take cycling trips to places where she can see Mt. Fuji. When the two girls meet, their mutual interest in camping and sight-seeing kickstarts their decision to hike together as they bond over the scenery, the hiking, and the cup ramen i.e. the ultimate flavor experience. Along the way, the two meet new friends that join them as they enjoy a lush, cozy trip into the great outdoors.

From the PV and description, Yuru Camp is setting its sights on the title of winter 2018’s comfiest anime. The relaxed and easy-going atmosphere of the girls’ wilderness adventure should be a fresh breath of air. With so few anime about camping out there, Yuru Camp has the distinction of being one of the few to bring nature to your living room. What helps propel the series further is the beauty behind the scenery and the cute character designs that do justice to the anime’s main goal of providing comfort and coziness to the viewer. If you’re scavenging for a relaxing show to ease you into the new year, look further into Yuru Camp to help expand your horizons.

Watching This: Choya, Zephyr Excitement Level: Average
Show Yuru Camp △ Promotional Videos ▼

Toji no Miko | 刀使ノ巫女Top
Animation: Studio Gokumi Premiere: January 5, 2018
Genre: Action, Fantasy, School-Life Airtime (GMT+9): Fridays at 21:30
Episodes: 24 Station: AT-X
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @tojinomiko or #tojinomiko

Preview by Stilts

Evil creatures known as Aratama are known to attack people, which is why a group of miko (shrine maidens) have been exorcising them since olden times. Known as Toji—officially, Tokubetsu Saishi Kitoutai (Special Ritual Maneuver Team) in the police association—these girls are officially allowed to wield swords by the government, which has also established five training schools for the female students to attend. Their school lives are mostly normal, save for when they’re using their special skills to protect people, or when they’re training for the big Toji swordfighting competition that takes place every spring. Among the girls training for the competition, there’s one girl, Etou Kanami (Hondo Kaede), who’s more passionate than the rest. Along with her best friend Yanase Mai (Waki Azumi), who will the girls meet as they aim for Nationals?

Toji no Miko gives every impression of being an action/school life/sports-style anime, where the sport is swordfighting. Think Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry, but with a much more happy-go-lucky atmosphere, and all the important characters are girls. That’s my impression from reading the first two chapters of the companion manga—this is an original series, but a manga is being worked on at the same time, and the first two chapters came out first—though with the disreputable scoundrels at Studio Gokumi taking the lead, we might be in for a swerve (I’m looking at you, YuYuYu). But I don’t think so. This looks like an action/swordfighting anime where yes, the girls are cute, and yes, I would expect a lot of cute hijinks, but it’s not a cute-girls-doing-cute-things series, not when there’s a tournament to deal with. What role the Aratama will hold, and whether events will get death-defying later on, is something only time will tell. I know I’ll be watching, though. This looks like a fun original anime to me!

Watching This: Stilts Excitement Level: Average
Show Toji no Miko Promotional Videos ▼

Itou Junji: Collection | 伊藤潤二『コレクション』Top
Animation: Studio DEEN Premiere: January 5, 2018
Genre: Horror Airtime (GMT+9): Fridays at 22:00
Episodes: 12 Station: WOWOW
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @itojunji_anime or #伊藤潤二

Preview by Choya

The many attempts to capture the artwork and horror of Itou Junji, from Ufotable’s Gyo OVA to the handful of live-action adaptations, have been rather spotty. Tagashira Shinobu of Studio Deen, however, hopes to switch this fortune with Junji Ito: Collection. While there are manga we know right away are from Ito, a bulk of his work has been in short stories that he’s compiled in anthology books over the years. The stories that have been included in the anime haven’t been revealed entirely, but the presence of the characters Tsujii Souichi (Mitsuya Yuuji) and Oshikiri Tooru (Shimono Hiro) hint toward some of the selections that Tagashira will incorporate into the collection.

From the PV, the anime is shaping up to capture the shock and terror of the original stories, accurately depicting the art and tone of Ito’s work. Instead of creating a polished version of Ito’s frames, emphasis is placed on the grit and unsettling designs of the people and monstrosities he’s cooked up over the years. If you’re a fan of Itou Junji or are seeking out a good horror anime that’ll be sure to scare you, Itou Junji: Collection is your anime. It was made for you.

Watching This: Choya, Guardian Enzo, Zaiden, Zephyr Excitement Level: Optimistic
Show Itou Junji: Collection Promotional Videos ▼

Grancrest Senki | グランクレスト戦記Top
Animation: A-1 Pictures Premiere: January 5, 2018
Genre: Fantasy Airtime (GMT+9): Fridays at 24:00
Episodes: 24 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @grancrest_anime or #グラクレ

Preview by Pancakes

Good and evil is a tale as old as the dawn of time, but for the inhabitants of a certain continent, it’s one all too real. Besieged by demons from an alternate dimension called Chaos, the lords of the land fought back using Crests, holy seals that bestowed supernatural talents upon their bearers. While Crests were perfect for keeping the demonic hordes at bay, many lords eventually turned to using them against one another in a greedy desire for further power and prestige. For those like the young mage Siluca Meletes (Kita Akari), forced to live with the carnage the uncontrolled demons create, such abandonment of duty quickly breeds resentment. Teaming up with the vagabond knight Theo Cornaro (Kumagai Kentarou) who himself dreams of freeing his hometown from tyrannical rule, Siluca and her companion swear a single oath: together they will put a stop to their lords’ petty squabbling and bring an end to the threat of Chaos once and for all.

Fantasy anime, they’re a good dime a dozen these days, but with Grancrest Senki we have something special on our hands. Why? Two words: Lodoss-tou Senki (AKA Record of Lodoss War). Few probably remember that 1990s OVA/TV series, but it was arguably the closest Japan has come to replicating Lord of the Rings in anime, and with Grancrest Senki we have its true spiritual successor. Written by none other than Lodoss-tou Senki’s author Mizuno Ryou, Grancrest Senki is pure high fantasy with all the fixings, including an over-the-top, save-the-world story and one too many allusions to Tolkien’s Rings of Power. Normally this would be a red flag considering how unremarkable some recent fantasies have been, but Grancrest Senki has a few things going for it. Besides Mizuno Ryou’s direct involvement in series composition, Omata Shinichi of Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu fame is directing, and A-1 Pictures (while infamous) has a good track record when it comes to fantasy of late. No guarantee it won’t all crash and burn of course, but should Grancrest Senki stick close to the light novels, it’s well set to be one of this year’s best fantasy series.

Watching This: Pancakes, Passerby, Stilts Excitement Level: High
Show Grancrest Senki Promotional Videos ▼

DEVILMAN crybabyTop
Animation: Science SARU Premiere: January 5, 2018
Genre: Horror, Supernatural Airtime (GMT+9): Web
Episodes: 10 Station: Netflix
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @devilmancrybaby or #devilmancrybaby

Preview by Zaiden

Demons ruled the world before humans, and are slowly awakening from their ancient slumber. Asuka Ryou (Murase Ayumu) makes this frightening discovery, after witnessing his father’s death, during a demonic fusion ritual gone wrong. After reading the diary his father left behind, he comes to the conclusion that, “To fight a demon, one must become a demon”. There is simply no other way of matching their otherwise unparalleled strength. Ryou then has his dearest friend, Fudo Akira (Uchiyama Kouki), put on a demonic skull artefact. Ravaged by memories of extremely horrifying violence belonging to an ancient world order, he too realises the inevitable fate of mankind if the demons are allowed to awaken unopposed. Left with no other choice, the two resolve to carry out a sacrificial ceremony in order to become demons themselves.

Devilman Crybaby joins the recent boom in the anime industry, driven by hefty investments from Netflix. An adaptation of Nagai Go’s iconic manga, which was first serialised in 1972, the series was a pioneering work for its time. Nagai never actually planned out the narrative, so what you get is a highly experimental and expressive story that seemingly has a life of its own, while completely bereft of subtlety. That said, the crazy aspects are deeply anchored by moral and philosophical quandaries, which will make you seriously question human nature. Though the art style hasn’t held up through the decades, studio Science SARU have taken matters into their own hands to revamp it for a modern audience. This will be brought to us by esteemed director Yuasa Masaaki, responsible for the likes of Kaiba, The Tatami Galaxy, and Space Dandy, to name but a few. Considering Yuasa singled Oshiyama Kiyotaka (Flip Flappers) out as an upcoming talent, I’m not surprised he is also on board to help, this time as the chief character designer. All these signs can only suggest that something incredible is in the works.

Watching This: Cherrie, Choya, Guardian Enzo, Passerby, Zaiden Excitement Level: Optimistic
Show DEVILMAN crybaby Promotional Videos ▼

Nanatsu no Taizai: Imashime no Fukkatsu | 七つの大罪 戒めの復活Top
Animation: A-1 Pictures Premiere: January 6, 2018
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays at 6:30
Episodes: 24 Station: MBS
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @7_taizai or #七つの大罪

Preview by Stilts

The acclaimed medieval fantasy shounen epic Nanatsu no Taizai is back with another full season. Revival of the Commandments once again follows the titular Seven Deadly Sins, a group of legendary knights who once protected the nation of Britannia, before they betrayed their comrades and tried to overthrow the king. They were defeated by the Holy Knights, but rumors persisted that they were alive. Ten years later, after the Holy Knights staged a coup d’état themselves, deposed princess Elizabeth Liones (Amamiya Sora) went out in search of the Sins, and she found them. Ultimately gathering five of the seven, including leader Meliodas (Kaji Yuki), giant Diane (Yuuki Aoi), fairy King (Fukuyama Jun), undead Ban (Suzuki Tatsuhisa), and enigmatic Gowther (Takagi Yuuhei)—as well as a special appearance by the world’s great magician Merlin (Sakamoto Maaya)—Elizabeth and the Sins battled the Holy Knights for the fate of the kingdom. But far more dangerous enemies are stirring, as the terrifying Demon Clan, which was sealed away three thousand years ago after it waged war on the entire world, is trying to make its horrifying return.

Nanatsu no Taizai is an unabashed, full-throated, dyed-in-the-wool shounen epic. It uses the tropes, it’s not pretending to be anything else, but if you like shounen anime, this is the good stuff. The best stuff. There are so many things to enjoy here, but among them: the humor, the sense of adventure, the camaraderie, and the over-the-top world-shattering action. The protagonists themselves are superb, with Meliodas’ bouncy irreverence, Diane’s flirty kindness, Ban’s soulful dickishness, and King’s selfless clumsiness particular favorites (to me). There’s also a huge cast, with three other Sins (one of whom we haven’t met yet) + other main characters + reoccurring foes + enemies-turned-allies + supporting characters galore. It reminds me of One Piece, only not that crazy. Jeez, Suzuki Nakaba hasn’t been at this as long as Oda-sensei. The Sins are also super powerful, which is great! It’s a delight watching them blow through challenges with style and aplomb that would destroy anyone else, and it has the side effect that, when they’re presented with a real challenge, it makes the danger all the more real. This is playing with action figures and making Superman fight Goku, only with a great plot, vibrant characters, and an animation budget to get the job done. If you enjoy shounen action, or have enjoyed it in the past, watch this. It’s the cream of the crop.

Watching This: Pancakes, Passerby, Stilts, Takaii Excitement Level: High
Show Nanatsu no Taizai: Imashime no Fukkatsu Promotional Videos ▼

Sanrio Danshi | サンリオ男子Top
Animation: Studio Pierrot Premiere: January 6, 2018
Genre: School-Life, Slice-of-Life Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays at 22:00
Episodes: 12 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @sdan_anime or #sdana

Preview by Stilts

Created and produced by the mega-successful Sanrio Corporation, this anime is but a single avenue in Sanrio’s latest kawaii assault, which also includes two Sanrio Danshi manga series, a smartphone game, and a merchandise line. As for the anime itself, it follows Hasegawa Kouta (Eguchi Takuya), a high school boy who loves Sanrio’s yellow Pom Pom Purin dog. He ends up attending the same school as Mizuno Yuu (Saito Soma), a boy who likes the bunny My Melody, and who tells Kouta that there’s nothing wrong with liking Sanrio’s cute characters. Along with likeminded Sanrio aficionados Yoshino Shunsuke (Oosuka Jun), who likes Hello Kitty; Nishimiya Ryou (Kagura Hiroyuki), who’s a fan of Little Twin Stars; and Minamoto Seiichirou (Uchida Yuuma), who loves Cinnamoroll, the boys learn to accept their love of their favorite characters instead of feeling embarrassed.

This is one of those premises that could actually be kind of good, if it weren’t hampered by the knowledge that Sanrio is behind it. There’s no good reason why boys can’t like cute things, not really, but society certainly has a different opinion on the matter. Seeing five boys come to terms with who they are, and learning to unabashedly like what they like no matter what anyone else has to say is great story material, especially since watching someone do it with something relatively innocuous—cute mascot characters—could help some viewers do it for far more serious areas of their lives. But Sanrio is behind it all, so it morphs into a crass marketing exercise where the goal is to get girls to swoon over cute boys, and maybe get a few boys to buy more merch if they can be convinced that it’s socially acceptable (actually, I’m totally cool with that second goal). Any drama that happens will be filtered through that lens, so the real question for you, dear reader, is this: Is that going to bother you? (Also, does a cute-boys-liking-cute-things series sound like your jam?) If it’s going to bother you, I’d skip this one. If it’s not, though, there’s actually some value in the premise. I’ll defend crass marketing exercises that, even if by accident, give us great stories (looking at you, The Lego Movie), so while Sanrio Danshi feels more mercenary, if you need some cute boys in your life, give it a try. Or some cute mascot characters, I don’t judge.

Watching This: No one yet Excitement Level: Limited
Show Sanrio Danshi Promotional Videos ▼

Animation: Passione Premiere: January 6, 2018
Genre: Romance Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays at 23:30
Episodes: 12 Station: AT-X
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @citrus_anime or #citrus

Preview by Pancakes

For first year Aihara Yuzu (Taketastu Ayana), high school isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. While well-endowed with popularity and devilishly good looks, Yuzu’s love life is one of perpetual no-boyfriend failure. When her mom remarries and moves them both to a new town, the frustration only grows when Yuzu not only winds up in a girls-only school with nary a boy to seduce, but runs afoul of its strict student council on her very first day. Plus, if things couldn’t possibly get worse, Yuzu discovers that the student council’s president Aihara Mei (Tsuda Minami) is also her new stepsister who she must now share a house—and a bedroom—with. It’s a veritable disaster for everything Yuzu holds dear, but unfortunately for her, it’s just the start of the fun. When Mei nabs Yuzu out of the blue and firmly kisses her for no apparent reason, inexplicable feelings begin stirring within Yuzu as the sister she never wanted starts revealing far more than she ever thought possible.

Yuri. Not the most common of romance adaptations these days, but the shows we get always leave an impression, and oh boy will citrus do the same. Unlike some recent genre additions, this one is full bore “serious”, with mature themes (ex: pseudo-incest), plentiful (melo)drama, and a story which takes itself far more seriously than it should at times. Do not expect any cutesy romcom shenanigans here; citrus is more Kuzu no Honkai than Sakura Trick. While these type of romances have a penchant to fall off the rails at times, considering the venerable Takahashi Takeo of Rozen Maiden and Spice and Wolf is sitting in citrus’ director’s chair, there’s a very good chance of seeing something amazing here. Obviously we won’t know until the opening credits roll, but if citrus sticks close to the manga and properly accentuates its strengths (i.e. doesn’t rush like a madman), it has everything required to be this season’s standout romance show.

Watching This: Choya, Pancakes Excitement Level: Optimistic
Show citrus Promotional Videos ▼

Slow Start | スロウスタートTop
Animation: A-1 Pictures Premiere: January 6, 2018
Genre: Slice-of-Life, Comedy Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays at 24:30
Episodes: 12 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @slosta_anime or #スロウスタート

Preview by Takaii

Slow Start is a rather interesting slice-of-life, as it tackles a topic that we normally don’t give too much thought to: the dreaded gap year. Unlike over here in the States, where a gap year isn’t anything too serious, in Japan it can be a terrible thing that has ripple effects over your entire life. Not only are your plans for one whole year ruined, but the psychological effects of being “behind” compared to your peers can be crippling. They are both key points that Slow Start tackles as it tries to unravel the intricate nuances of a culture that many of us have only experienced through our screens.

From what little of the manga I could get a hold of, this show is in the truest sense a slice-of-life. With a majority of the time focused around the lives of our four main characters (one of whom is the one who is technically behind a year), most of the gags and development come from their interactions with one another. What the show promises is that, alongside the characters, we the audience will be able to learn and grow together as we watch them try and tackle all the negatives that are associated with having a gap year. It’s an idea that in itself can be either a good or bad thing depending on how it’s executed. Luckily, there’s been a lot of focus around the director and studio for Slow Start. In the hands of Hashimoto Hiroyuki (Gochuumon wa Usagi desu ka?), and with powerhouse studio A-1 Pictures providing the resources and animation, it feels like we shouldn’t be too worried with how they handle bringing this show to life. I think for slice-of-life fans this may be a show that you want to keep on your radar, if some of the other ones this season don’t capture your attention first.

Watching This: Takaii, Zaiden, Zephyr Excitement Level: Average
Pop Team Epic | ポプテピピックTop
Animation: Kamikaze Douga Premiere: January 6, 2018
Genre: Comedy Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays at 25:00
Episodes: 12 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @hoshiiro_anime or #ポプテピピック

Preview by Pancakes

Based on the (in)famously popular 4-koma manga, Pop Team Epic is the story of two high school girls, Popuko (Komatsu Mikako) and Pipimi (Uesaka Sumire), and their thoroughly rambunctious lives. Whether it be dealing with Popuko’s fits of righteous rage or Pipimi’s crafty one-upmanship, every situation the two girls experience invites a flurry of drunken sailor cursing, confusion, and one too many rips in the space-time continuum. Cuckoo clocks are obliterated with sledgehammers, regional dialects are abused for all they are worth, and Justin Bieber is finally escorted off the stage to where he rightfully belongs. It’s truly a tale of incomprehensible cultural references, fourth wall breaking meta-humour, and textbook comedy tropes, but with Popuko and Pipimi leading the way, somehow, someway, it will all make sense in the end.

Comedies are always quirky things, but none come close to the concentrated chaos that is Poputepipikku. This is very much a series you’ll either get right away or never at all, adore for its schizophrenic humour or wonder just what hell people love about it so much. Even the likes the Teekyuu and Plastic Neesan pale in comparison to Pop Team Epic’s insanity—this is comedy that truly revels in the surreal. While perfect as one-off slapstick material, the main concern is how well the concept will translate into anime. With no overarching plot and every skit self-contained to four panels (or less!), Poputepipikku lacks the breathing space needed to creatively flesh out its material like more story-based comedies can—its humour relies as much upon its lightning quick delivery as its overall absurdity. Anything longer than 2-5 minutes per episode will require imaginative handling to pull off which, with the relatively inexperienced Aoki Jun and Umeki Aoi directing, is far from guaranteed. I’m cautiously optimistic we will get something amazing in the end, but with the manner of the show completely up in the air, hedging those bets is a pretty good idea.

Watching This: Choya, Pancakes, Passerby Excitement Level: Average
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Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card Hen | カードキャプターさくら クリアカード編Top
Animation: Madhouse Premiere: January 7, 2018
Genre: Fantasy, Slice-of-Life Airtime (GMT+9): Sundays at 7:30
Episodes: 22 Station: NHK
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @ccsakura_info or #ccsakura

Preview by Passerby

Twenty years ago, Cardcaptor Sakura defined the magical girl genre for a generation. Now, for its anniversary, manga group CLAMP celebrates with an unexpected sequel. And so returns the titular Kinomoto Sakura (Tange Sakura) who, after a busy stint in the original series collecting and mastering magical cards, is set to hang up her magical girl career for good. It’s not a bad time to do so. She’s just started middle school, her former rival and current beau Li Syaoran (Kumai Makoto) has returned from Hong Kong, and life in general is looking up. But recently, Sakura has been having prophetic dreams again, dreams involving an enigmatic, hooded figure, in which all her collected cards turn transparent. Sure enough, one day she finds that her cards have indeed transformed into clear sheets, and nobody can say why. Thus starts a new chapter: the Clear Card Arc.

It is a testament to the popularity of a series that it gets a sequel two decades after its conclusion. Sure, we have remakes aplenty, but this a sequel, meaning it starts right where it left off and expects fans to be ready to jump back into the story after so long — and of course they are. Cardcaptor Sakura captured not just cards but hearts with its simple charm, emotional resonance, and shameless optimism. But the fact that Clear Card-hen is a sequel begs the question: did Cardcaptor Sakura need a sequel? Many is the anime that stretch themselves too thin, lose the plot, and stumble drunkenly into endings without denouement, so when a story actually ends well, we should treasure that. Cardcaptor Sakura, for the most part, felt like it did that. Thankfully, it doesn’t seem that CLAMP is reaching too far to justify this sequel. The manga seems to be taking a logical narrative direction and exploring the relationship between the two leads while developing the coming-of-age story that is the foundation of all magical girl series. As for the anime, it will be cleaving closer to the manga this time, which could be a shame since the anime’s original additions arguably improved on the source. Even if much of that is abandoned, the spirit of that adaptation should still be with us, for some alignment of the stars has wrangled most of the original staff back. Pretty much the entire voice cast reprise their old roles, Asaka Morio is still on direction, CLAMP’s Ohkawa Nanase is still on series composition, and Madhouse is still animating. That’s an impressive amount of effort devoted to getting the band back together, so even with some trepidation about sequels, I’m sure everything will be all right.

Watching This: Cherrie, Guardian Enzo, Pancakes, Passerby, Stilts, Takaii, Zephyr Excitement Level: High
Show Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card Hen Promotional Videos ▼

Mitsuboshi Colors | 三ツ星カラーズTop
Animation: SILVER LINK. Premiere: January 7, 2018
Genre: Slice-of-life, Comedy Airtime (GMT+9): Sundays at 22:30
Episodes: 12 Station: AT-X
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @3boshi_anime or #三ツ星カラーズ

Preview by Takaii

There are so many things I love about Mitsuboshi Colors that I don’t even know where to begin. Giving off that distinct Ichigo Mashimaro-type vibe, I bet it’s not hard to tell that this one is a slice-of-life. But this show is a different take on watching girls do cute things. In fact, there really aren’t all that many cute things here, and instead it’s supplemented through a fantastic use of comedy and a little dark humor. Mitsuboshi Colors revolves around three girls who spend their time defending the peace of their small town as a group known as Colors. As the title implies, you have the “three stars” of the show Yui (Takada Yuuki, Kotoha (Hioka Natsumi), and Sacchan (Kouno Marika), all of whom have their own unique personalities that play off of each other. Yui is the leader of the group who likes to dive head first into anything that happens (and is known as a crybaby), Sacchan is the mood maker who keeps things lively, and Kotoha is the wild card who loves games and can end up on some interesting topics when you least expect it. Together, our girls try to solve the problems that appear throughout their town while having a blast at the same time.

I think any slice-of-life fan will love this show. As I stated earlier, this show has a distinct Ichigo Mashimaro vibe, and I think it does wonders for the “story” at hand. Based in the real world where there are only so many things that a group of kids can accomplish, it’s a delight watching the story craft these intricate situations when it has so many realistic limitations placed on it. But things aren’t solely about our three girls, and there are a few older characters to help tie things together. While I can’t speak to how efficient the sisters Momoka (Tojo Hisako) and Nonoka (Asai Ayaka) are in that regard, I can say that the other three we meet early on—Sacchan’s mom (Nazuka Kaori), Saitou (Tamaru Atsushi) the police officer, and Kujiraoka (Genda Tessyo) the weird buff dude who sells cool things—all do an awesome job providing support for our three girls. And as if that wasn’t enough, did you catch that this is a Silver Link production? As I always say, we could always use a little more Silver Link in our lives, and what better way to do so than with an awesome slice-of-life? If you’re looking for a slice-of-life that does the genre justice with a studio that’s been around the block a few times, I would highly recommend Mitsuboshi Colors.

Watching This: Stilts, Takaii Excitement Level: High
Show Mitsuboshi Colors Promotional Videos ▼

Gakuen Babysitters | 学園ベビーシッターズTop
Animation: Brains Base Premiere: January 7, 2018
Genre: Slice-of-Life, Comedy Airtime (GMT+9): Sundays at 23:00
Episodes: 12 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @gakubaby_anime or #gakubaby

Preview by Zaiden

Kashima Ryuuichi (Nishiyama Koutarou) is left to take care of his younger brother, Kashima Kotarou (Furuki Nozomi), after a plane crash killed their parents. Left with no other relatives, the two are at a loss over how to survive. Despite having never met before, the elderly chairwoman of an elite academy offers to adopt the two brothers, since she lost her son and daughter-in-law to the very same accident. Reciting the mantra, ‘Those who don’t work, don’t eat,’ the chairwoman imposes a single condition in exchange for becoming their guardian: that Ryuuichi spends all his time outside of lessons working as a babysitter for the academy’s daycare.

Gakuen Babysitters is one of my favourite shoujo manga, so my personal expectations are rather high. It initially seems to revolve around little kids and their cute antics, which is adorable and hilarious. But high school romance and comedy are also abundant, which leads to a satisfying mix. First of all, the daycare is located within the chairwoman’s elite academy itself. One of Ryuuichi’s friends, Kamitani Hayato (Umehara Yuichiro), is a stoic figure who frequently chastises his toddler brother. Meanwhile, classmate Inomata Maria (Akesaka Satomi) is both tsundere in her affection toward young children, as well as toward Ryuuichi himself. Yet what strikes me most is seeing Ryuuichi and Kotarou stick together through thick and thin, and their brotherly bond never fails to warm my heart. If you think about it, they only have each other left, so it makes sense that they love each other unconditionally. Though Morishita Shusei is at the directorial helm, in spite of having absolutely no experience to speak of within the industry, there’s a hidden ace on the production team in Kakihara Yuuko. If given free reins on the series composition, she may be able to replicate some of the success from Sakamichi no Apollon or Tsuki ga Kirei. I know I will be sticking around to experience cuteness overload, and I hope that you do the same.

Watching This: Guardian Enzo, Zaiden Excitement Level: Average
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Zoku Touken Ranbu -Hanamaru- | 続 刀剣乱舞-花丸-Top
Animation: Doga Kobo Premiere: January 7, 2018
Genre: Slice-of-Life Airtime (GMT+9): Sundays at 24:00
Episodes: 12 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @touken_hanamaru or #touken_hanamaru

Preview by Passerby

You know about the Touken Ranbu franchise. You’ve heard about the character collection game featuring the spirits of ancient Japanese weapons, incarnated as handsome young men, summoned to do battle against a shadowy force who wish to travel back in time to alter history and only the bishounen samurai time police can stop them. Touken Ranbu: Hanamaru is… about none of that. Touken Ranbu has two lines of anime adaptation going. For the serious, save-the-world, action-packed version, you’d be wanting Katsugeki/Touken Ranbu, produced by ufotable. The Doga Kobo version, Hanamaru, forgoes the plot altogether and is instead a purely slice-of-life spin-off. So join a large cast of pretty boys who happen to be swords as they goof around, engage in comic banter, and expand on each other’s respective historical backstories.

I guess it’s good that Touken Ranbu has two parallel anime adaptations of completely contrasting styles. For a game that, in its base state, has relatively little writing in it, there is much one may want to do with an anime adaptation. You may want to express the fantasy of your game, the summoning of powerful warriors to protect the timestream from evil, in a more graphic way via the anime medium. You may want to give the myriad characters more development and build the kind of cast chemistry that is hard to come by within the game. Or maybe just give some fanservice to a loyal player base. Doing all of those at once is usually a recipe for disaster (more specifically, a recipe for Kantai Collection), so the Touken Ranbu split is probably wise. It does mean, though, that Hanamura has little to carry it save for its characters, and if you’re not already familiar with the original game, or have at least watched the first season of anime, then you may be left out of the loop. For the uninitiated who want to jump into Touken Ranbu this season, there is a recap movie that can provide a summary. For those who have already watched the first season, you should note there has been a staff change. The director’s chair is now filled by Koshida Tomoaki, while scripts will now be overseen by writing collective WriteWorks. There’s no indication, though, that Hanamaru will radically change its formula, with at most a change in focus to other members of the expansive cast, so if you enjoyed Hanamaru thus far, you’re good to go.

Watching This: No one yet Excitement Level: Average
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Kokkoku | 刻刻Top
Animation: geno studio Premiere: January 7, 2018
Genre: Mystery, Drama Airtime (GMT+9): Sundays at 24:30
Episodes: 12 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation #kokkoku_anime

Preview by Takaii

Kokkoku’s story is a little crazy, but in all the right ways. Revolving around the lives of the Yukawa family, Kokkoku pretends to be simple. Under one roof, you have this large family all trying to do their own thing. You have the retired grandpa (Yamaji Kazuhiro) who tries his best to keep things in check. There’s his NEET son (Tsujitani Kouji), who embodies the term NEET perfectly. There’s that man’s three kids, two daughters and one son, who all have their own unique set of issues—the son Yukawa Takafumi (Nojima Hirofumi) is also a NEET, Yukawa Sanae is a single mother, and the other, Yukawa Juri (Anzai Chika) is actually kind of normal. Last but not least you have Sanae’s son Makoto (Iwata Ryuuto). All of them have their lives thrown upside down when Takafumi is sent out to pick up Makoto from school, only to end up being kidnapped by a mysterious organization. With Takafumi and Makoto’s lives in danger, the kidnappers demand a five million yen ransom, and give the Yukawas only a few hours to get everything prepared. With their backs to the wall, Juri prepares to head out to the drop off location with knife in hand to take on the kidnappers. However, her plan is quickly thwarted by her grandpa when he pulls out a magic stone that’s able to stop time right in its track. With time now on their side, they head out to save their family—only to realize that there are other people out there who can also move while time is frozen.

Sounds like a wild ride, am I right? Based off what I read while researching, I can say that this show might be exactly what you’re looking for if you’ve been trying to scratch that mystery / supernatural itch. With both us and the characters lacking crucial information behind how time stopping works, there’s always a sense of urgency and tension that never seems to go away. Tack on a giant shadow monster thing that’ll indiscriminately attack anyone whose moving about while time is stopped (if they break certain rules) and you can bet that you’ll feel your pulse rise before the end of it. All and all, I think this show has the right ingredients to create a thrilling experience that’ll only get better with its transition from paper to the screen. I’ve been bitten more than once when it comes to these types of mystery / thriller shows, so I’ll just say that I’d keep this one on your radar.

Watching This: Cherrie, Choya, Pancakes, Passerby, Takaii Excitement Level: Optimistic
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Gintama. Gin no Tamashii-hen | 銀魂 銀ノ魂篇Top
Animation: Bandai Namco Pictures Premiere: January 7, 2018
Genre: Action, Comedy Airtime (GMT+9): Sundays at 25:35
Episodes: Station: TV Tokyo (TX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation

Preview by Choya

It’s a disaster! Yamcha has had it with being weaker than his friends, and wants to gain powers superior to theirs by gathering up the seven balls and summoning Shenron. Although he wished to be immortal, Shenron confused him for saying “immoral,” so his wish turned him into legendary anime director Miyawaki Chizuru. With the news that Sorachi-sensei has transitioned the beloved shonen manga, Gintama, into its final arc, Miyawaki’s chagrin could not be concealed as his desires to end Gintama once and for all can finally be actualized. As the Eighth Hokage, Uchiha Sarada, plans the village’s New Year’s Festival, she is visited by Kurosaki Ichigo, who saw visions of Gintama‘s demise in a nightmare. Not wanting to see another series fade into obscurity, he asks for the help of the Hokage and Konoha Village’s greatest NEET, Uzumaki Boruto, in ensuring that Gintama will not share the same fate his anime did. Join us on a heart-wrenching adventure into the Studio Pierrot offices as our heroes face off against the Yorozuya, who have been waiting for the day they can finally get some sleep for a change!

Alas, we’ve come to the beginning of the end as the Gintama anime is heading towards the Shirogane no Tamashii-Hen, the final arc of the manga. The build-up to the final arc has been intense as the immortal warrior Utsuro’s ultimate plan is revealed: by sparking a universal war, he can destroy both himself and the universe. Gintoki (Sugita Tomokazu) and others must team up with old allies and former enemies to not only defeat him but also Utsuro’s victims, a gathering army of vengeful Amanto who may no longer listen to reason. Because the manga isn’t over for good, we are sure to have more Gintama coming up, but it will be sad to see such an endearing series come to a close soon. It’ll be interesting to see where the series goes from here since its serious arcs are some of its strongest.

Watching This: No one yet Excitement Level: Established
Ryuuou no Oshigoto! | りゅうおうのおしごと!Top
Animation: Project No. 9 Premiere: January 8, 2018
Genre: Slice-of-Life, Comedy Airtime (GMT+9): Mondays at 22:00
Episodes: 12 Station: AT-X
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @ryuoshi_pr or #りゅうおうのおしごと

Preview by Takaii

In the world of professional shougi, one can’t just decide to become a pro player. To enter this somewhat secluded world, you must have a Master who is willing to take you on as their Apprentice. As your sponsor, they are essentially your lifeline until you too have become a bonafide pro. Along the way the apprentice learns from their master, and hopefully becomes someone who can best the one who taught them. Becoming a Master must sound like a lovely dream for those who have lived a long and fulfilling life—but not for a teenage kid. Especially not a teenager who has become the youngest person ever to claim the highest title of Ryuuou, or Dragon King. Enter Kuzuryuu Yaichi (Uchida Yuuma), the newest Ryuuou who has no intentions of becoming a Master while trying to enjoy being the number one shougi player in Japan. However, all of that changes when he comes home one day to find Hinatsuru Ai (Hidaka Rina), a young elementary school girl claiming that he promised her he’d become her Master. Yaichi ends up humoring the girl’s request on the grounds that he’ll only accept someone with talent, thinking he’ll quickly put an end to this. Unfortunately, Ai not only shows talent on the shougi board, but ends up blowing past all of Yaichi’s expectations—and then some.

Without spoiling any more, let me say that Ryuuou no Oshigoto! falls in this weird place where it’s constantly in flux between serious serious shougi talk and lighthearted slice-of-life. If you’re looking for a show that dives deep into the intricacies of shougi, the source material does that, though it remains to be seen if the nuances will make it to our screens. This is a show in a similar vein to Saki, only focused on shougi instead of mahjong, so expect epic stylized gaming moments. This show’s characters also have a good amount of depth to them, most importantly Yaichi and Ai, who have a lot more going on beneath the surface then we’re lead to believe. If you’re okay with all of those various elements coming together all in a single show, Ryuuou no Oshigoto! could be for you! I think this show has a lot of things going for it, especially if you keep your expectations in check. With a fun story, interesting characters, and a promising premise, there’s no reason why I wouldn’t give this one at least three episodes.

Watching This: Choya, Takaii Excitement Level: Average
Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san | からかい上手の高木さんTop
Animation: Shin-Ei Animation Premiere: January 8, 2018
Genre: Comedy, School-Life Airtime (GMT+9): Mondays at 23:00
Episodes: 12 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @takagi3_anime or #高木さんめ

Preview by Zaiden

Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san is an adaptation of Yamamato Souichirou’s popular ongoing manga, concerning the everyday lives of two middle school kids. Starting off with a prank over a piece of rubber, which extracts an embarrassing reaction from Nishikata (Kaji Yuuki), Takagi (Takahashi Rie) establishes a seemingly endless advantage when it comes to teasing our poor boy. No matter what schemes he concocts ahead of time, and regardless of his attempts at outwitting her, she always remains one step ahead. Coupled with her smug attitude, Nishikata is bothered to no end by the persistent humiliation Takagi dishes out. Soon it becomes his singular goal in life to exact a petty vengeance upon her, by winning against her at least once. Of course, in a fun and non-malicious way. Though the two might vehemently deny it, given their frequent and playful interactions, I’m sure they deeply care about each other!

It’s rare to see anything set in middle school, much less one where the girl always has the upper hand in her interactions with the boy. As someone familiar with the source material, I can join a large portion of the manga reading community in expressing great excitement over seeing Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san receive an anime adaptation. The comedy comes across as entirely wholesome: Nishikata getting triggered never gets old, and Takagi’s satisfied smirk can be considered a national treasure. Hints of romantic tension between our two characters may also provide even more entertainment, for those who choose to construe their interactions as being puberty in the making. I can’t wait to hear Kaji Yuuki and Takahashi Rie bring our protagonists to life, considering their extraordinary talent, as well as suitability for the roles! Additionally, Akagi Hiroaki (Hina Logi ~from Luck & Logic~) joins studio Shin-Ei to direct this work. Though he may only have one show under his belt, as the person who covered Hina Logi I can safely vouch for his skills, particularly with lighthearted comedy. I’m especially excited to see how he goes about this adaptation, since he has the skills to fully extract its potential. Akagi’s inexperience will probably be offset by veteran scriptwriter Yokote Michiko (Princess Tutu, Shirobako), who has over a hundred scripts and series compositions to her name. I look forward to a promising production that should thoroughly entertain its audience.

Watching This: Choya, Guardian Enzo, Pancakes, Stilts, Zaiden Excitement Level: Optimistic
Show Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san Promotional Videos ▼

Ashita wa Doyoubi | あしたは土曜日Top
Animation: Shin-Ei Animation Premiere: January 8, 2018
Genre: Comedy, School-Life Airtime (GMT+9): Mondays at 23:00
Episodes: Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation

Preview by Choya

Have you ever watched a show and said to yourself, “The main characters are fine, but what about their friends!?” If so, Ashita wa Doyoubi is bound to be a treat. Acting as a spin-off for this season’s Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san, this anime shifts the perspective toward the classmates of the main series’ protagonists as they go about their daily lives. The three girls who lead the side-story, Mina (Kohara Konomi), Yukari (Ichimichi Mao), and Sanae (Ogura Yui), each have different points-of-view, as one acts as a leader, one is more of a follower, and one would rather weigh their options than take sides. While Nishikata desperately tries to get a rise out of Takagi as revenge for the teasing she gives him, the trio gazes from the sidelines as they try to get the most out of their school lives.

This adaptation has been hotly anticipated by readers of Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san, especially since this winter will be a good chance for fans to see all its characters in motion. In fact, Ashita wa Doyoubi is slated to air within Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san as a merger between the main series and its spinoff. But there is also enough substance for those unfamiliar with the source material to enjoy. The art style from the PV and promotional material is already promising, it really captures the cute character designs from the manga. It’s also another directorial effort from Hina Logi’s Akagi Hiroaki, so a cute romp is all but guaranteed. Keep your eyes out for Ashita wa Doyoubi as a part of this winter’s premiere line up of slice-of-life shows.

Watching This: Choya, Guardian Enzo, Pancakes, Stilts, Zaiden Excitement Level: Optimistic
Basilisk ~Ouka Ninpouchou~ | バジリスク ~桜花忍法帖~Top
Animation: Seven Arcs Pictures Premiere: January 8, 2018
Genre: Action, Drama, Historical Airtime (GMT+9): Mondays at 24:00
Episodes: 24 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @basiliskouka or #桜花忍法帖

Preview by Zaiden

After a non-aggression treaty is lifted by Tokugawa Ieyasu in order to settle a succession dispute between his grandsons, two ninja clans reignite their fierce conflict. Utilising special eyes passed down through generations of selective breeding, the Kouga and the Iga partake in a battle royale to determine a successor. Doomed with the fate of star-crossed lovers, the clans’ respective heirs, Gennosuke and Oboro, give their lives to quell the conflict. But their sacrifice is not in vain, because they conceived two children, who are able to enjoy the subsequent era of peace. But in an age of peace ninja are considered redundant, and they have no choice but to accept a less important role in the grand scheme of things. Dissatisfied with the inferior positions forced upon them, the Kouga and Iga clans look to revitalise their fortunes. To achieve this goal, they call upon the powerful heritage passed down to Hachirou Kouga (Hatanaka Tasuku) and Hibiki Iga (Minase Inori), who possess the same eyes as their father and mother respectively.

The original series, Basilisk: Kouga Ninpouchou, was based off a manga, adapted from the series of historical fantasy novels written by Yamada Futaro. Since he died in 2001 without writing a sequel, you may be wondering how we’re here. Fear not! An author by the name of Yamada Masaki published a follow-up in 2015. Considering how it’s a more recent work that has yet to come within the Western domain, it’s hard to say whether it will live up to its predecessor. Examining the staff, Nishimura Junji is no stranger to the industry, and he has certainly dabbled in the historical fantasy genre, bringing over experience from Samurai Deeper Kyou and Nurarihyon no Mago, though it has been a while since he has directed anything of note, and I would count Glasslip and Bakuon!! against him. It has also been years since Oonishi Shinsuke did a series composition, his last time being Senkou no Night Raid back in 2010. I feel like the staff has some rust to shake off, which I hope they can do quickly and in time to assemble a worthy sequel.

Watching This: No one yet Excitement Level: Average
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gdgd Men’s PartyTop
Animation: Strawberry Meets Pictures Premiere: January 8, 2018
Genre: Comedy, Fantasy Airtime (GMT+9): Mondays at 25:10
Episodes: 12 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @gdmen2018 or #gdメン

Preview by Passerby

Another typical season, another typical alternate world anime — or is it? Gdgd Men’s Party, as a sequel of the improv comedy anime gdgd Fairies, assures you that it is not your typical anything. Join Light (Matsuoka Yoshitsugu) and Yomi (Yamamoto Kazutomi), two typical teenagers who enjoy passing the time playing video games. That is, until one day they are sucked into a video game themselves! An encounter with the AI construct Alpha (Kobayashi Yuusuke) has them summoned to a digital role-playing game world where they are tasked with rescuing one Princess Melody (Hara Natsuko) from the demon lord. And so, with varying levels of enthusiasm, Light, Yomi and Alpha set off on their epic quest to gain levels, save damsels, and mostly just to keep themselves entertained.

The original gdgd Fairies (pronounced ‘gudaguda’) was certainly a different kind of anime. The plot, vaguely speaking, was about three faeries living in a tree, but its essence was about improvisation and ad-lib comedy, with talented seiyuu inhabiting quirky characters to display their ability in off-the-cuff humour. So while gdgd Men’s Party looks superficially different — somewhat improved CGI, the male cast — the core appeal should still be the same. Original creator of gdgd Suguhara Souta returns once again to be in charge of everything from direction to design, and sketch comedy specialist Mori Ryouichi is in charge of the script, so while this iteration of gdgd seems to have a semblance of a plot, it’ll still be the comedic stylings that should draw you. On that front, have a look at the seiyuu cast and see if any of them interest you. It will be the interplay between the cast, their ability to play off each other, and their individual wit that will drive the improv humour, and if you’re already a fan of the seiyuu then you’re set. Even if you’re not, though, the format of gdgd offers a spontaneity that most comedy anime will not provide, so it’s worth checking out for uniqueness alone.

Watching This: No one yet Excitement Level: Average
Yowamushi Pedal GLORY LINE | 弱虫ペダル GLORY LINETop
Animation: TMS Entertainment Premiere: January 8, 2018
Genre: Sports Airtime (GMT+9): Mondays at 26:05
Episodes: 25 Station: TV Tokyo (TX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @yowapeda_anime or #yp_anime

Preview by Guardian Enzo

Ah, Yowamushi Pedal – the gift that keeps on giving for sports manga fans. I still remember when the first series premiered way back in 2013 and I predicted it might be a hit, even though almost nobody in the West had head of it. It’s so nice when it happens good. It’s almost five years on now, and not much has changed with Yowapeda behind the scenes – the key staff has carried over pretty much from the beginning. I did find “New Generation” to be a bit of a step down from prior seasons – the third-years (especially Makashima) were missed, and Teshima just isn’t interesting enough to carry the story as a main character, IMHO. I’m hoping we see a return to Yowapeda’s roots with “Glory Line” – which would mean a renewed focus on (especially) Onoda-kun, Naruko and Imaizumi.

We’re now on to day three of the Inter-high, which means there is a pretty good chance the narrative will return to the core cast. And if you watched “New Generation” you know that a plane carrying a crucial passenger did arrive from London just as events on the second day were winding down. So all things being equal there’s reason to believe “Glory Line” will be a return to form. The manga continues apace, so I figure we’re going to have a couple more seasons of Yowapeda down the line, too.

Watching This: Guardian Enzo Excitement Level: Established
Show Yowamushi Pedal GLORY LINE Promotional Videos ▼

Overlord II | オーバーロードIITop
Animation: Madhouse Premiere: January 9, 2018
Genre: Fantasy Airtime (GMT+9): Tuesdays at 22:30
Episodes: 13 Station: AT-X
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @over_lord_anime or #overlord_anime

Preview by Pancakes

In the year 2138 virtual reality gaming is all the rage, but the leading MMORPG game Yggdrasil, after a wild twelve year run, is ready to pass on the torch. Set to shut down exactly at midnight one day, most players understandably have already called it quits, but the elder lich Momonga (Hino Satoshi), one of Yggrasil’s strongest wizards and master of the dark guild Ainz Ooal Gown, decides to stick around until the bitter end. Staying logged in past Yggdrasil’s termination date, Momonga is surprised to discover he’s still conscious as his character and, more importantly, is unable to log out. With all normal player functions inaccessible and only the loyal NPCs of Ainz Ooal Gown present alongside him, Momonga sets out to determine what happened the only way he knows how: by conquering this newly transformed game world.

Now here’s a sequel I thought I’d never see. When Overlord first aired in summer 2015 it was a relatively soft hitter for an alternate world story, taking its time building up and never really touching on the “evil” theme permeating its whole concept. The show certainly had its moments (particularly in the last few episodes), but as with so many other light novel adaptations, Overlord always felt like promotional material cutting off just before things got good. With round two however, there’s a good chance at rectifying many of those issues as Overlord is set to start moving into its more suspenseful arcs and properly flesh out its surrounding world. With all cast and crew reprising their respective roles any serious change up is unlikely, and with Madhouse (bless their curse breaking souls) back in the studio seat good production is assured—CG lizards and all. While Overlord’s success will hinge on its later material (and whether or not it’s a two-cour run), if the adaptation remains faithful to the novels and gives the ever lovely Albedo (Hara Yumi) plenty of additional screen time, there’s no doubt for me that it will remain one hell of a fun alternate world ride.

Watching This: Pancakes, Stilts, Zephyr Excitement Level: Optimistic
Show Overload II Promotional Videos ▼

Animation: Studio Flad Premiere: January 10, 2018
Genre: Adventure, Romance Airtime (GMT+9): Wednesdays at 22:30
Episodes: 12 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @damepri_anime or #ダメプリ

Preview by Zaiden

Coming to your doorsteps is an adaptation from a hit mobile game aimed at young women – the ‘prince-raising’ simulator. In a backdrop reminiscent of the Middle Ages, three nations are undergoing a peace settlement process. The minor country of Inako sets out to appease regional tensions between the military state of Mildonia and the devout theocracy of Selenfaren. Inako sends its princess, Ani (Yahagi Sayuri), to become a signatory to the treaty processions. What will she do, when the various princes end up smitten with her?

Ladies, ladies, and ladies – you might be in for a treat! Especially those who are fans of the reverse harem aspect typically found in the otome genre. Dame x Prince looks to be an innovative twist on the conventional formula, with some geopolitics being thrown into the mix. Though I’m expecting it to be a minor detail in the background, this can still be considered a refreshing take on an otherwise typical premise. And considering its success as a mobile game with the relevant target audience, I would be surprised if the series missed its mark! Despite some rather limited experience, mostly spent as an episode director for various shows, Hoshino Makoto brings over a decent portfolio from recent entries in the Uta no Prince-Sama franchise. He also reunites with veteran animator Watanabe Ruriko, who will be in charge of the character designs. However, the crown jewel lays in the male voice acting cast. Ishikawa Kaito and Kimura Ryohei lead the star-studded lineup, having voiced many bishounens in the past decade. We’ve also got a stalwart of the current industry, Saitou Souma, as well as promising new blood in Umehara Yuichirou. If you love pretty boys and adore popular male voice actors, this series was made for you.

Watching This: No one yet Excitement Level: Limited
Show Dame x Prince ANIME CARAVAN Promotional Videos ▼

Violet Evergarden | ヴァイオレット・エヴァーガーデンTop
Animation: Kyoto Animation Premiere: January 10, 2018
Genre: Drama, Fantasy Airtime (GMT+9): Wednesdays at 24:00
Episodes: 14 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @violet_letter or #violetevergarden

Preview by Passerby

It started with a robotics researcher. His wife was a novelist, until she lost her sight and couldn’t write. Deprived of her lifelong passion, she started to waste away until her husband made for her the first ‘Auto-Memories Doll’, an artificial scribe that can understand and process human speech. These handy automata quickly caught on and gained widespread popularity, and today Auto-Memories Dolls are known throughout the land as an elite class of professional amanuenses. Violet Evergarden (Ishikawa Yui) is a particularly renowned Auto-Memories Doll, and she’s much more than a common stenographer. Wherever there is someone who needs a manuscript translated or a letter written, she’ll be there, deploying to anywhere from the remote countryside to the middle of war zones. But although Violet is an Auto-Memories Doll, whose clients are the broken, the infirm, and the voiceless, and though she is tasked with transcribing not just words but emotion, she claims to have little understanding of emotions. As Violet helps her clients write letters packed with love, she wishes to know, herself: what is this thing called ‘love’?

First, some pedigree. There is such a thing as the Kyoto Animation Awards, from which KyoAni harvests source material for anime like Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai!, Free!, and Kyoukai no Kanata. The original Violet Evergarden light novel by Akatsuki Kana won the grand prize in 2014, and is to date the only work to ever do so in the awards’ eight year history. So this thing must be bloody good, and having read a volume of the light novel I can say that, yeah, there definitely is something there. As a writer myself, perhaps it’s a bit self-indulgent of me to enjoy a story about the power of words, but it sure does make for effective drama. It should make for effective anime, too, being of a short-story format with an overarching narrative arc that fits well in an episodic anime. You certainly don’t need me to tout the adaptation, though; just have a look at the PVs. Yeah, it’s pretty, very pretty, in everything from art to animation to sound — as one should expect from KyoAni. To temper the hype, though, we should note that it’s one of KyoAni’s newer directors helming the ship, Ishidate Taichi. His only prior experience in the full director role is with Kyoukai no Kanata which was … lacking in places (though redeemed greatly by the movies). So KyoAni is capable of very pretty flops, but I refuse to believe that this will be one of those. Is Violet Evergarden not an anime poised for greatness? All it has to do is grasp it.

Watching This: Cherrie, Choya, Guardian Enzo, Pancakes, Passerby, Stilts, Takaii, Zaiden, Zephyr Excitement Level: High
Show Violet Evergarden Promotional Videos ▼

Märchen Mädchen | メルヘン・メドヘンTop
Animation: Hoods Entertainment Premiere: January 11, 2018
Genre: Action, School-Life, Fantasy Airtime (GMT+9): Thursdays at 21:00
Episodes: 12 Station: AT-X
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @maerchen_anime or #メルヘンメドヘン

Preview by Choya

Kagimura Hazuki (Kusunoki Tomori) is a lonely girl who retreats into a world of books and stories to escape from the poor relationship she has with her new family. One day, one of the library’s bookshelves sends her through a portal to a new world where girls called “mädchen” attend a magic school based on old fairy tales and folk stories. She learns that she has been selected to enroll in the magic school and represent the story of Cinderella. Along the way, she meets Tsuchimikado Shizuka (Suegara Rie), who quickly becomes her friend, and aids her in her new life at the school as a magic user.

The appeal of isekai and magical schools is at an all-time high, so a combination of the two is no surprise. There are also some neat allusions to famous literature, and the potential for using classic folk tales for magical spells sounds nothing short of awesome. One thing to note is that this based on a light novel draft from Mayoi Neko Overrun! author Matsu Tomohiro. His tragic passing in 2016 has left the work in the hands of StoryWorks, the literary group he started, to finalize and continue his work. It will be interesting to see what Hoods Entertainment is able to come up with from the two volumes that have been released so far, but Märchen Mädchen has the makings of a show to watch out for.

Watching This: Choya, Pancakes,
Excitement Level: Average
Show Märchen Mädchen Promotional Videos ▼

Death March kara Hajimaru Isekai Kyousoukyoku
Animation: SILVER LINK. x Connect Premiere: January 11, 2018
Genre: Fantasy Airtime (GMT+9): Thursdays at 23:30
Episodes: 12 Station: AT-X
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @deathma_anime or #デスマアニメ

Preview by Zaiden

Suzuki Ichirou (Horie Shun) is a programmer for computer games, who falls asleep working overtime while debugging some code in a company project for an upcoming MMO called War World. At first, when he finds himself inside a fantasy realm exactly like War World, he believes he is having a lucid dream. However, he soon realises that this is in fact not a dream, and that he has been transported to another world. Making matters even worse for our protagonist, who simply desires to live a peaceful and pain-free life, he is ridiculously overpowered, which tends to attract all sorts of unwanted troubles. For example, instantly calling down a meteorite shower, that ends up killing thousands of people. Determined to live out his new life as Satou, he goes about concealing his level and endeavours to familiarise himself with this new world. However, the resurgence of various demon lords may put a damper on his less-than-grand plans.

Once upon a time, Oonuma Shin (ef, Negima, Natsu no Arashi) plied his trade as a rookie director at Shaft. He has since left, and gone on to become a prolific figure within Silver Link. His talent for creating comedic scenarios (Baka to Test) will certainly come handy here, considering how slice-of-life segments dominate most of the narrative. Shimoyama Kento, who is in charge of series composition, also has a great track record with comedies (Busou Shoujo, Rock Lee and his Ninja Pals, Servant x Service). However, if you absolutely detest lucky characters who are overpowered to a fault, and who are a blank slate in terms of personality, you might want to turn away right now. It is no secret that we’re dealing with a Gary Stu here. But Satou typically takes on the role of strategist and stops short of personal involvement in most fights, partially mitigating this issue. But it would be a shame to pass up Death March on account of that, because it has more to offer, especially in regard to its worldbuilding. As Satou proceeds through an unknown world, we come to learn about the very things that form its foundation, such as crafting, skills, magic, trade, politics, religion, etc. Expect a comprehensive exploration of an entirely new setting, and you may find yourself pleasantly surprised by its depth, past all the tropes that have long been beaten to death by the light novel industry.

Watching This: Choya, Pancakes, Zaiden Excitement Level: Average
Show Death March kara Hajimaru Isekai Kyousoukyoku Promotional Videos ▼

Koi wa Ameagari no You ni | 恋は雨上がりのようにTop
Animation: Wit Studio Premiere: January 11, 2018
Genre: Romance Airtime (GMT+9): Thursdays at 24:55
Episodes: 12 Station: Fuji TV (CX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @koiame_anime or #恋雨

Preview by Zaiden

Tachibana Akira’s (Watabe Sayumi) dream suddenly came to an end, at the tender age of seventeen. One moment, she was racing toward the finish line. Next moment, she collapsed onto the ground, clutching her ankle as indescribable pain wracked her body. Having turned an achilles tendon, she decides to retire from her high school’s track and field club, putting an end to an otherwise successful career. Now working part time at a family restaurant, Akira tries to figure out what she should do next. Kondou Masami (Hirata Hiroaki), her 45-year-old manager, is an incredibly kind man. Despite being quite a chump, he brings hope and light to a dark chapter in her life. Akira finds herself falling in love with him, though he seems oblivious to her affections. Without an umbrella, how best will she confront her own feelings, on a cold and rainy day?

True to its literal translation, What Love is Like after the Rain often uses weather to convey mood. The onset of rain may represent a moment of distress, or an emotional climax, typically leading to an intensely cathartic moment. The series even uses classical Japanese literature in order to capture thoughts and feelings experienced by certain characters. The story sensitively approaches its main characters’ considerable age gap, and it helps that this is largely viewed through the perspective of our young female protagonist. Though Akira has difficulties expressing herself, she remains stubborn in bluntly pursuing the things that give her happiness, without caring what others might think. For me, this characteristic sets her apart from many other contemporary female characters, who are usually concerned about societal perceptions. I find it deeply refreshing, and look forward to seeing how a rookie voice actor will bring out Akira’s traits. Moving on to staff, Watanabe Ayumu ‘s limited directorial projects have been a mixed bag, ranging from outright flops like Ace Attorney to extraordinary work like Uchuu Kyoudai, so it’s difficult to say what we’ll get. But I reckon Uchuu Kyoudai better reflects the way he would tell this story, particularly how protagonists choose to address their failures and regrets. Watanabe also has the backing of Wit Studio, and considering their ongoing adaptation of Mahoutsukai no Yome, I have great faith that this partnership should be able to explore Koi wa Ameagari’s themes with great care and attention.

Watching This: Cherrie, Choya, Guardian Enzo, Passerby, Zaiden Excitement Level: High
Show Koi wa Ameagari no You ni Promotional Videos ▼

Miira no Kaikata | ミイラの飼い方Top
Animation: 8bit Premiere: January 11, 2018
Genre: Comedy, Supernatural Airtime (GMT+9): Thursdays at 25:58
Episodes: 12 Station: TBS
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @miira_kaikata or #ミイラの飼い方

Preview by Choya

Sora (Tamura Mutsumi) is your average high school student, who happens to have a thrill-seeking father in love with adventuring and archeology. When his dad brings home a miniature mummy from one of his expeditions in Egypt, Sora’s life is turned upside down. The mummy, now referred to as Mii-kun, is friendly, cries out the word “bark,” and prefers to keep what’s under its bandages a secret. Sora must now take care of Mii-kun, all while he deals with the people around him such as his sadistic best friend, a strong girl, an anxious new friend, and his personality-shifting aunt.

From the premise, character bios, and art, the heart and soul of this anime is in the hijinks. Pairing up a zany cast of characters with a tiny mummy is bound to have some wacky results, and Miira no Kaikata seems the most aware of the tongue-in-cheek idea behind its story. But many recent comedies have pulled off mixing a high-concept scenario with the nuance and subtlety to flesh out its characters, so Miira no Kaikata has a good chance of providing some heartfelt moments in between the hijinks.

Watching This: Guardian Enzo Excitement Level: Average
Show Miira no Kaikata Promotional Videos ▼

Dagashi Kashi 2 | だがしかし2Top
Animation: Tezuka Productions Premiere: January 11, 2018
Genre: Comedy, Slice-of-Life Airtime (GMT+9): Thursdays at 26:28
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 Stilts

Out in the countryside there stands a sweets shop that’s been run by the Shikada family for nine generations. Shikada Dagashi sells traditional Japanese candy, but despite his father’s some-would-say incessant pleas, Shikada Kokonotsu (Abe Atsushi) refuses to inherit the family business, as he would rather become a mangaka. These plans are thrown into disarray after daughter of a world-famous sweets company Shidare Hotaru (Taketatsu Ayana) blows into town and tries to recruit Kokonotsu’s father, Shikada You (Fujiwara Keiji), for her family’s business. Turns out You was famous (in the world of sweets). Who knew? But Kokonotsu’s father has a catch: Hotaru must first convince his son to take over Shikada Dagashi. Along with childhood friends Endou Saya (Numakura Manami) and Endou Tou (Suzuki Tatsuhisa), as well as newcomers Owari Hajime (Akasaki Chinatsu) and Beni Yutaka (Sugita Tomokazu), join us on a rollicking tour of the wild and wacky world of Japanese sweets, led by the biggest candy otaku you’ll ever meet.

Dagashi Kashi is a pure comedy whose skits are centered around Japanese sweets. That’s more fertile territory than it would be in many countries, because Japanese candy is both numerous, colorful, and deeply weird. That may be the focus, but it’s not the series’ only selling point, and #1 on that list is its characters. Hotaru is the soul of this series, and though she may be a manic pixie dream girl (trope!), her quirks are as hilarious as her enthusiasm for candy is infectious. She propels the entire story/most of the skits through force of personality alone. But the others aren’t slackers, with childhood friend Saya as an adorable (but not overdone!) tsundere, best friend Tou as a reliably silly partner-in-crime, father You as a candy geek who’s as crazy as Hotaru, and even the man himself, Kokonotsu, as a solid tsukkomi and an occasional sweets savant. The art has a certain charm to it, and is definitely unique, but it all comes down to the jokes. And the jokes are funny! This season is seeing a studio and director change, though the biggest switch up is the run-time: 15 minutes per episode, as a double feature with Takunomi. Honestly that probably won’t be an issue, most skits were only 15 minutes long last season anyway, though it means less Dagashi Kashi at a time. I’ll still be watching, and I expect all lovers of silly comedy to be doing the same.

Watching This: Choya, Guardian Enzo, Pancakes, Passerby, Stilts, Zephyr Excitement Level: Optimistic
Show Dagashi Kashi 2 Promotional Videos ▼

Takunomi. | たくのみ。Top
Animation: Production IMS Premiere: January 11, 2018
Genre: Slice-of-Life, Comedy Airtime (GMT+9): Thursdays at 26:43
Episodes: 12 Station: TBS
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @anime_takunomi or #たくのみ

Preview by Takaii

There are some shows that’ll make you go, “Oh, I’d watch that!”, and then there are shows that have you salivating by the end of their preview. Takunomi is definitely the latter. Takunomi pretends to be your typical slice-of-life, until you realize what its title actually means and what that entails for a show trying to make a space for itself in this season full of great slice-of-life. Taku for home and Nomi for drink, the story of Takunomi revolves around an all-female home, affectionately known as the Stella House, and all the antics that arise when you have a group of mature ladies having fun and partaking in copious amounts of alcohol. Yes, you read that statement correctly. This show mixes in the one thing that I never realized we needed inside of a slice-of-life—the holy liquid that can take a fun time and turn it into something infinitely better!

Jokes about drinking aside, I think Takunomi has a few strong points that’ll help it stand out from the other offerings this season. As with all slice-of-life, the characters are truly the lifeline of the show, and Takunomi’s don’t disappoint. With the age range of all the characters pushing the upper boundary of what you typically see (20, 21, 26, and 27), a whole new range of comedy emerges once you tack on the everyday struggles you experience once adulthood comes crashing down on you. Surprisingly, this leads to a somewhat more serious tone, due to the subject matter that naturally comes up when you’re downing a mug full of beer. However, if that sounds a little too close to real life for your tastes, do not fear, as it looks like there’s also a good amount of your typical slice-of-life fare. If I were to throw in a word of warning though, I would say that the only shortcoming I can see would be a lack of diverse material. Diverse in a sense that hopefully the story doesn’t get too caught up in the whole drinking thing as it also tries to tell us the story of four women trying to make it in life as they inch closer to their 30s. I’m definitely going to give this one a watch just for the alcohol, and hopefully there’ll be something hiding there to keep me coming back for more.

Watching This: Choya, Stilts, Takaii, Zephyr Excitement Level: Optimistic
Show Takunomi. Promotional Videos ▼

Hakumei to Mikochi | ハクメイとミコチTop
Animation: Lerche Premiere: January 12, 2018
Genre: Fantasy, Slice-of-Life Airtime (GMT+9): Fridays at 21:00
Episodes: 12 Station: AT-X
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @hakumikotv or #hakumiko

Preview by Passerby

In a world without humans, there are still people. People you might never notice because they are all of nine centimetres tall. People like the impulsive Hakumei (Matsuda Risae) and the homely Mikochi (Shimoji Shino). They live in a tree. Their neighbour is a beetle. They ride around on tortoises. One works for a badger, the other a weasel. In this mystical world these tiny people and talking animals have built a civilisation ensconced by nature. At times it seems like Meiji Japan. At others, a fey fantasy. But it is always a land of wonder, and for Hakumei and Mikochi, every day has its own little magic.

Hakumei to Mikochi can be considered as of the purest form of fantasy. It is first and foremost about a world different from our own. Sure, there is a cast of very likeable characters that will entertain, but they will not, for the most part, go on any epic quest or follow some rigorous narrative. The star role is definitely the world — something of a cross between Wind in the Willows and The Hobbit with a dash of Shinto mysticism to taste — with the characters’ little adventures mainly there to expose us to it. This is easy to tell from the stylistic choices of the original manga by Kashiki Takuto. While the character designs are relatively simple, the setting (backgrounds, costume, the works) are not. It’s a familiar style if you watched Made in Abyss or Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryoko, and if you enjoy the emphasis on world-building there, then Hakumei to Mikochi will appeal to you as well. That said, there will be no eldritch deathtraps in this one; Hakumei to Mikochi is primarily an episodic slice-of-life. That’s why it’s simply titled ‘Hakumei and Mikochi’; it’s a story just about two tiny people going about their everyday. It’ll also be something of a comfort anime, where the world is beautiful, its inhabitants all fundamentally good, and the food always delicious. And there is oh so much food. Food is an expression of culture, so much of the world-building comes from characters collecting, preparing, and eating food. It’s both educational and heartwarming. I’m optimistic about this one; while director Andou Masaomi‘s experience is mostly in drama, he is supported by industry veteran Yoshida Reiko on the writing, and she does pretty much everything. It’s a difficult adaptation to flunk regardless. Hakumei to Mikochi is too simple and endearing to go wrong with.

Watching This: Pancakes, Passerby Excitement Level: Optimistic
Show Hakumei to Mikochi Promotional Videos ▼

Hakyuu Houshin Engi | 覇穹 封神演義Top
Animation: C-Station Premiere: January 12, 2018
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy Airtime (GMT+9): Fridays at 22:00
Episodes: 23 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @houshinengi_tv or #hoshinengi_tv

Preview by Takaii

Based on a manga that draws inspiration from a shenmo (Chinese gods & demons) novel that was written and released during the Ming era, Hakyuu Houshin Engi is the story of a group of adventurers who travel across the lands of ancient China that are under control of the Yin dynasty. Unbeknownst to the common people, the Emperor of the Yin is under the control of a beautiful fox spirit named Dakki whose only goal is to bring ruin to the land and its people. Luckily, those adventurers we spoke about earlier only have one singular goal: to eradicate the evil that’s spread throughout the land. Doubly luckily, these adventurers are made up of superhumans or “doushi”—your not-so-typical humans who posses some not-so-typical powers. At the center of it all is Taikoubou (Ono Kensho), a sennin (or master) in training who has a big heart but can be quite mischievous at times. Alongside his comrades, these adventurers set out to save ancient China from ruin.

I feel like Hakyuu Houshin Engi will have a tough time enticing viewers to give it a shot. Besides it’s unique art style that may be hit or miss for some, I feel that the action will take a lot of honing to feel right. And by honing, I mean somehow taking all these different superhuman powers and creating a cohesive story around it. As I was flipping through some of the material, it felt like a throwback to Yu Yu Hakusho—except something wasn’t quite there. Be it the interactions between Taikoubou and other characters or the way the story is broken up and fed to us, I couldn’t help but feel it’d be a tough sell without some real work put in ahead of time to bring it up to snuff for a more modern audience. That said, because of the vast amount of material available and the mere fact that it’s grounded in a very shounen-esque world, I have hope that this could become a fun show that hits all the right boxes for an entertaining popcorn show. Unfortunately there’s very little staff information available, and studio C-Station doesn’t have all that much to draw hope from. Taking all of that into consideration, I’m not sure how much of your time you should invest into this one unless it’s premise really draws you in.

Watching This: Takaii Excitement Level: Limited
Show Hakyuu Houshin Engi Promotional Videos ▼

Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens | 博多豚骨ラーメンズTop
Animation: Satelight Premiere: January 12, 2018
Genre: Action, Thriller Airtime (GMT+9): Fridays at 22:30
Episodes: 12 Station: AT-X
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @ or #博多豚骨

Preview by Passerby

If you visit Fukuoka, the locals will proudly brag that it was they who invented tonkotsu ramen. What they will be less proud about is Fukuoka’s other specialty: murder. In the Hakata ward, an estimated 3% of its population are professional killers, even housing a branch of the infamous Murder Inc. In the city’s seedy underbelly, an entire criminal industry has been built around the business of homicide, attracting bounty hunters, traffickers, and information brokers to form a perfectly wretched hive of scum and villainy. But it’s a good place to make a living for private eye and baseball aficionado Banba Zenji (Ono Daisuke), recently hired by the police to look into the murder of a detective who was investigating the mayor’s shady connections. Meanwhile, elite assassin and full-time crossdresser Lin Xianming (Kaji Yuuki) arrives in Hakata, seeking revenge for the murder of his sister. And to muddy the waters, the criminal class of Fukuoka have been put on edge by the increasingly plausible rumours of the existence of a ‘killer of killers’ — a manslayer hunting down the other manslayers of Hakata, one by one.

Hakata Tonkotsu Ramen was originally a light novel by Kisaki Chiaki, and it’s hard to categorise because it’s about many things. There’s political intrigue. There’s baseball. And, every so often, there’s ramen. What carries it, though, is a large cast of zany characters, each with their own zany stories in this zany town, and when those stories collide, we get spectacle. The two leads have their own Holmes and Watson dynamic, but chaos and conspiracy wouldn’t be possible without strong support. The overall formula sounds very similar to Durarara!!, doesn’t it? In fact, it’s so similar that there is actually a Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens x Durarara!! collaboration novel (but still no new Baccano! anime). It’s not a bad thing; Durarara!! had its share of flaws, but it was huge fun when it was in its groove. It’s a difficult routine but quite rewarding, so it’s all a matter of execution for the adaptation. On that front, things look good. We have Yasuda Kenji (Macross Δ) on direction, Yasukawa Shogo (Shokugeki no Souma) on series composition, and Nakagawa Kotaro (CODE GEASS) composing the music, and they’re all capable hands. It’s easy to be optimistic about this one; at the very least Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens is going to be a fun action show, with plenty of room to be much more.

Watching This: Cherrie, Choya, Guardian Enzo, Passerby, Stilts, Zaiden, Zephyr Excitement Level: Optimistic
Show Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens Promotional Videos ▼

Animation: Diomedea Premiere: January 12, 2018
Genre: Action, Drama, Sci-Fi Airtime (GMT+9): Fridays at 25:55
Episodes: 24 Station: MBS
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @beatless_info or #anime_beatless

Preview by Zephyr

Set a hundred years in the future, Beatless takes place in a society where humanoid robots now operate almost everything. Known as humanoid interface elements (hIE), the introduction of the newest generation marks the beginning of beings whose artificial intelligence exceeds even that of humans. Made with materials seemingly too advanced to be crafted by human hands, the new hIE are an enigma, leading to the classification of some as “Red Boxes,” or “beings that mankind has yet to fully comprehend.” In a time where humanity is beginning to question whether coexistence with these artificial beings is possible, 17-year-old Endou Arato (Yoshinaga Takuto) finds himself face to face with Lacia (Touyama Nao), an hIE equipped with a coffin-shaped device code-named “Black Monolith.” The decision he makes starts a chain of events that could change the world. Beatless will adapt Hase Satoshi’s science fiction novel, which was nominated for Japan’s SF Taisho Award in 2012. Mizushima Seiji (Concrete Revolutio, Fullmetal Alchemist, Mobile Suit Gundam 00) will direct the series, and Yaguchi Hiroko (UN-GO) will be responsible for designing characters based on redjuice’s original designs. The series will be produced by Diomedia and will air on MBS’ new “Animeism” late-night programming block, making it also available on Amazon’s Prime Video service.

After waiting half a decade, the characters many of us have only been able to see in redjuice artbooks are finally receiving a much-anticipated adaptation of their source material. With multiple award nominations and a well-known director leading the fray, Beatless is a rare series with both a notable pedigree and staff. If my wall at home is any indication, Beatless has been a series whose distinctive designs fans have been following for years. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been easy getting my hands on the novel, but from what I’ve heard Hase Satoshi knows his way around sci-fi, and the few chapters I was able to read did a good job setting up the series’ foundations. The question is whether it’ll translate well from a textual medium, which could make the difference between this series being memorable or forgettable. Either way, for a genre that has seen more disappointment than greatness in the past few years, Beatless is a must-watch, if only to see whether it could be the series that breaks the trend.

Watching This: Choya, Guardian Enzo, Pancakes, Passerby, Stilts, Zephyr Excitement Level: High
Show Promotional Videos ▼

Killing Bites | キリングバイツTop
Animation: LIDENFLIMS Premiere: January 12, 2018
Genre: Sci-Fi, Action Airtime (GMT+9): Fridays at 26:25
Episodes: 12 Station: MBS
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @kb_anime or #kb_anime

Preview by Pancakes

From the manga of the same name, Killing Bites takes place in the near future when genetic advances have at last enabled scientists to fuse human and animal DNA together. Termed hybrids, these beastly creations are used by powerful business interests in fighting duels called Killing Bites, where everything from money, influence, and human life is put on the line for the sake of power. When the ordinary university student Nomoto Yuuya (Hatano Wataru) winds up an accidental accomplice to the kidnapping of a girl named Hitomi (Amamiya Sora), he quickly finds himself caught up in Killing Bites as Hitomi, who effortlessly slaughters her kidnappers, turns out to be a hybrid. A honey badger hybrid. Left alive and now inexplicably under the protection of a thoroughly annoyed Hitomi, Yuuya’s life will never be the same as he finds himself front and centre to the world’s new most dangerous game.

If you mix Monster Musume with Juuni Taisen, what do you get? I honestly don’t know, but Killing Bites probably comes close. Beyond immediate appearances this series is nothing particularly unique; we have the usual setup of special power characters (hybrids), their secretive, shadowy world, and one innocent (male) kid who just happens to stumble across the whole setup. It’s the conventional light novel premise, although Killing Bites goes all out by pumping up the pulp action violence and fan service. Expect blood, breasts, and plenty of both because this one does not waste any opportunity to literally shove them in your face. How well it all works will naturally come down to the pacing and amount of censorship, although with a late night time slot and LINDENFILMS animating there’s a chance any white bars of doom will be kept to a minimum. While keeping your expectations in check is always a good idea, so long as Killing Bites can play to the strength of its manga and properly capture its Rambo-esque feeling, it stands a chance of being one of this season’s true guilty pleasures.

Watching This: Choya, Pancakes Excitement Level: Average
Show Killing Bites Promotional Videos ▼

Gin no Guardian II | 銀の墓守りIITop
Animation: Haoliners Premiere: January 13, 2018
Genre: Sci-Fi, Fantasy Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays at 21:00
Episodes: 12 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @ginno_guardian or #銀の墓守り

Preview by Pancakes

Heralding from the Chinese manhua Yin Zhi Shou Mu Ren, Gin no Guardian is all about one Riku Suigen (Fukuyama Jun). Working part-time with no relatives for support, Suigen’s single redeeming feature is his ability to win at games. Any game. Naturally (and of course) only his stunning, polite, and absurdly wealthy step-sister Riku Lin (Saitou Yuka) knows of Suigen’s gaming mastery, and it is this talent which Suigen must use when Lin is inexplicably kidnapped following the death of her adopted grandfather. Investigating a unique gaming device left behind for him by Lin, Suigen quickly finds himself pulled into and trapped in a mysterious game world where he must play the role of dungeon boss. With the only way out—and the only way to Lin—lying beyond the eager masses of fellow players determined to win at his expense, Suigen must fight if he not only wants to free himself, but the only family he has left.

Chinese-made anime always get a bad rap for one reason or another, and Gin no Guardian, while fun in its own right, unfortunately did little to help break the stereotype. The first season back in spring 2017 had a surprisingly interesting SAO-esque story and good artwork, but suffered from confusing plot tangents and cookie cutter characters with little practical development. Compounded by Gin no Guardian’s short 12 minute runtime and few story-related answers given, what could have been a serious alternate world story contender was quickly forgotten. The good news is season two looks set to fill in the many irksome blanks round one left behind, although (for better or worse) with more of the same style—don’t expect those 12 minute episodes to suddenly turn into half hour affairs, for example. Provided the second season can make up for Gin no Guardian’s prior defects, the show can certainly redeem itself, but until any changes are seen in action, it’s probably best to keep any expectations in check.

Watching This: Pancakes Excitement Level: Limited
Show Gin no Guardian II Promotional Videos ▼

Darling in the Franxx | ダーリン・イン・ザ・フランキスTop
Animation: A-1 Pictures x Trigger Premiere: January 13, 2018
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays at 23:30
Episodes: 24 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @darli_fra or #ダリフラ

Preview by Stilts

Darling in the Franxx is an original anime created by studio Trigger and A-1 Pictures. It’s set in the distant future, where the land has been ruined and humanity has established the mobile fort city Plantation to survive. Pilots produced inside Plantation live in Mistilteinn, also know as the “birdcage.” They are separated from everyone else, knowing nothing of the outside world, and their entire lives revolve around the missions against mysterious giant lifeforms known as Kyouryuu, and the robots called Franxx they pilot to destroy them. To these children, piloting a Franxx is to prove their existence. Not piloting is to be useless. A boy named Code:016 “Hiro” (Uemura Yuuto) was once a prodigy, but now he’s fallen behind. That is, until one day when he meets a mysterious girl named Code:002 “Zero Two” (Tomatsu Haruka), who has two horns growing out of her head. “I’ve found you, my Darling.”

Children in skintight suits piloting giant mechs to fight mysterious creatures in a hopeless world isn’t a new premise for anime. It’s as classic as they get, and I’m reminded that studio Trigger is made up of old Evangelion-era Gainax alums. But I’m also getting an Ender’s Game vibe, with how the kids are cordoned off from society. The thing about a well-trodden premise, though, is that the writers already know it works, so they can tweak this or change that to send it off in new directions. The Franxx are shaped like women. Is there a reason for that? The pilots work in male-and-female duos. Why? There’s enough of interest here that, even though the production team isn’t letting much slip, it’s still piqued my curiosity. I also like that the mysterious girl whose arrival leads the main male character to a central role in the plot (another old trope) has this wicked smile to go along with her horns, so maybe she’ll be a forceful personality. This is a sci-fi original made in part by Trigger, so the hype is real, even if director Nishigori Atsushi has only directed THE IDOLM@STER before—which, if you’re only going to have one directing credit to your name, that’s a good one. But it’s also got Hayashi Naotaka—best known as the original scenario writer for CHAOS;HEAD, Steins;Gate, and Robotics;Notes, as well as original creator of Plastic Memories—doing series composition, which is either good or not depending on your opinion of those. Everyone’s going to check this out anyway, so all I’ll say is that my research shouldn’t disabuse you of that plan. We’ll see what it’s really about after an episode of two.

Watching This: Choya, Pancakes, Passerby, Stilts, Zaiden, Zephyr Excitement Level: High
Show Darling in the Franxx Promotional Videos ▼

Saiki Kusuo no Ψ Nan 2 | 斉木楠雄のΨ難 第2期Top
Animation: J.C. Staff x Egg Firm Premiere: January 16, 2018
Genre: Comedy, Supernatural Airtime (GMT+9): Tuesdays at 25:35
Episodes: 24 Station: TV Tokyo (TX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @saikikusuo_pr or #斉Ψ

Preview by Zaiden

Our beloved psychic returns for a second instalment. Carrying enough latent powers to destroy the world, Saiki Kusuo (Kamiya Hiroshi) is an extraordinary esper, who possesses an abundance of supernatural gifts. However, he’s simply a teenage boy who wants to live a life free of abnormalities. But even the special antennae designed to suppress his abilities have a hard time keeping up, causing his overwhelming PSI to seep out into every aspect of daily life. For someone who just wants to savour a nice and simple coffee jello, he sure has it tough. Ranging from unwelcome mind-reading to potential world-destruction, it’s pretty clear that Saiki’s problems are nothing to scoff at. Fortunately, after the events of the first season, he might have found some degree of normalcy in high school life. The weird bunch he unintentionally attracts are essentially his friends, meaning, for better or worse, he’s stuck with them for a long time to come. At least Saiki is no longer alone when dealing with the utterly bizarre occurrences in his daily life.

Saiki Kusuo no Ψ Nan 2nd Season is a continuation of one of Weekly Shounen Jump’s ongoing titles. For those of you unfamiliar with the first season, it featured an extensive run of 5-minute shorts, packed full of creative humour. Admittedly, a small portion felt lost on me, where underlying cultural differences resulted in a miss, but that didn’t stop me from laughing at least once or twice per short, and I’d say the experience was certainly worthwhile. What’s more, the humour is typically accessible, with Saiki, who often attempts to manipulate a desired outcome in his mundane life, having his fair share of comical failures among his successes. By trying to alter trivial things, he usually worsens his problems in inadvertent ways. Not much should change from the first season, with J.C. Staff remaining in charge. Additionally, Sakurai Hiroaki (Kaichou wa Maid-Sama, Sakigake!! Cromartie Koukou) will reprise his role as director. For those who loved the first season, buckle your seatbelts, and expect to reclaim your weekly dosage of raucous laughter!

Watching This: Zephyr Excitement Level: Optimistic
Fate/EXTRA Last EncoreTop
Animation: Shaft Premiere: January 27, 2018
Genre: Action, Fantasy, Sci-Fi Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays at 24:00
Episodes: Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @fateextra_le or #fateex_le

Preview by Passerby

Kishinami Hakuno (Abe Atsushi) is a normal high school student. Every day, he walks to school. He attends classes. He chats with friends. A normal routine. But for Hakuno, something seems off with both the normal and the routine. When did he start taking this route to school? Didn’t they teach this exact same class yesterday? These friends of his — when exactly did they become friends? Hakuno can’t remember. Each day is a blur. But through the haze of his everyday there is one thought that sticks at the back of his mind clearly. Something is telling him that he’s supposed to fight. That he needs to fight. And when Hakuno’s world is shattered, a voice (Tange Sakura) calls out to him from the brink of despair: ‘Are you my master?’

Fate/Extra is yet another entry in the Fate franchise, but this one is … a bit strange. For the already initiated, Fate/stay night and its myriad progeny were, for the most part, urban fantasies, revolving around a battle royale for the wish-granting Holy Grail fought between heroes from myth and legend summoned by magi. But Fate/Extra was originally a full-blown video game, not a visual novel, and for that head writer Nasu Kinoko wanted something completely different. So while you may recognise some familiar faces, and the Fate motifs are still there (including the requisite Saber-face, now in red model), the setting is far removed from previous fare. In fact, that’s reportedly why studio SHAFT was chosen for animation, to better aesthetically represent the whacky alternate universe spin-off nature of Fate/Extra. Veteran Monogatari series staff have been deployed, including tag-team directors Miyamoto Yukihiro and Shinbou Akiyuki. I think we can rest assured that the adaptation will be in good hands, but I do wonder about the content. Nasu himself will be in charge of series composition, and he’s notoriously fickle when it comes to his own canon. The original Fate/Extra was a game that featured diverging routes, and Last Encore may well collapse them all into one linear storyline (absorbing CCC, bridging to whatever the blazes Fate/Extella was supposed to be). Or it could be whatever Nasu’s whim happens to be this year. Either way, even those who have played the game may have something new in store for them. Fate, with a twist, with a twist — that’s something to watch.

Watching This: Cherrie, Choya, Pancakes, Passerby, Stilts, Takaii, Zaiden, Zephyr Excitement Level: High
Show Fate/EXTRA Last Encore Promotional Videos ▼

Short Series List

Technical Note: As of the Fall 2016 Preview onward, short one-cour series that are being broadcast with irregular duration times (under the 24 minute per episode norm) have been separated from the main preview into their own section. This is to account for the increasing number of short series and to allow for ease of viewing for those who have a preference for one type of series over another. While the list should be complete, there are short series that have been announced very close to the start of a season, in which case they may not have made it onto the list. If you notice an anything missing, incomplete, or incorrect, please feel free to point it out in the comments or e-mail Passerby directly.

Air Date Title Series Synopsis
12/31 Fate/Grand Order × Himuro no Tenchi: 7-nin no Saikyou Ijin-hen
Fate/Grand Order x 氷室の天地 ~7人の最強偉人篇~
AniDB,ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
This season we have
Two Fate/Grand Order specials.
This one’s comedic.
12/31 Fate/Grand Order: Moonlight/Lostroom
AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
The other Fate special.
A room where the lost are found
Strange Harry Potter.
01/05 Hataraku Onii-san! | 働くお兄さん!
AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Got cats, but why is
Sugita Tomokazu
Voicing Voldemort?
01/27 Nanatsu no Bitoku | 七つの美徳
AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
From sins to virtues
Or rather, a lack thereof.
Watch only for breasts.

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. BD/DVD movie releases are, however. This list is likely incomplete and will be updated as more titles surface (usually by the next season’s preview). If you notice anything missing or incorrect, please feel free to point it out in the comments or e-mail one of us directly (Stilts, Zephyr).

Release Date Title Notes
11/17 Gekijouban Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry | 劇場版フェアリーテイル -DRAGON CRY-
BD/DVD Release.
11/25 Busou Shoujo Machiavellianism OVA | 武装少女マキャヴェリズム OVA
Bundled w/ LE manga Vol. 7.
12/01 Itazura Majo to Nemuranai Machi | いたずら魔女と眠らない街
Youtube Release.
12/06 Shingeki no Kyojin: Lost Girls | 進撃の巨人 LOST GIRLS
Bundled w/ manga Vol. 24. Episode 1 of 3.
12/08 Net-juu no Susume OVA | ネト充のススメ OVA
Bundled w/ BD Box Set. Episode 11.
12/14 Lostorage conflated WIXOSS -missing link-
Bundled w/ SP-32 Selector Selection Card Set.
12/17 Yakiniku-ten Sengoku | 焼肉店センゴク
Comic Smart GAMNA! Website Stream.
12/23 Drifters OVA
Bundled w/ BD/DVD Box Set. Episode 13 and 14.
12/26 Hajimete no Gal OVA | はじめてのギャル OVA
Bundled w/ LE manga Vol. 5.
12/31 Tantei Opera Milky Holmes: Arsene Karei naru Yokubou
探偵オペラミルキィホームズ アルセーヌ 華麗なる欲望
Dec 2017 Nekopara OVA | ネコぱら OVA
Kickstarter Funded Release.
01/17 Haikyuu!!: Sainou to Sense | ハイキュー!! 才能とセンス
BD/DVD Release. Movie 3 of 3.
01/24 Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei: Hoshi wo Yobu Shoujo
劇場版 魔法科高校の劣等生 星を呼ぶ少女
BD/DVD Release.
BD/DVD Release.
01/26 Kujira no Kora wa Sajou ni Utau OVA | クジラの子らは砂上に歌う OVA
Bundled w/ BD/DVD Box 1. Episode 1 of 2.
01/31 Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya: Sekka no Chikai
劇場版 Fate/kaleid liner プリズマ☆イリヤ 雪下の誓い
BD/DVD Release.
02/23 Code Geass: Hangyaku no Lelouch I – Koudou
コードギアス 反逆のルルーシュⅠ 興道
Movie 1 of 3.
02/28 Touken Ranbu: Hanamaru – Makuai Kaisouroku | 刀剣乱舞-花丸- ~幕間回想録~
BD/DVD Release.
03/02 B: The Beginning
Netflix Original Series w/ Production I.G.
03/07 Hibike! Euphonium Movie: Todoketai Melody | 劇場版 響け!ユーフォニアム~届けたいメロディ~
BD/DVD Release.
03/09 A.I.C.O. Incarnation
Netflix Original Series w/ Studio Bones.
03/14 Kagerou Daze: In a Day’s | カゲロウデイズ-in a day’s-
BD/DVD Release.
03/16 Days: Touin Gakuen-sen! | DAYS東院学園戦!
OVA 1 of 3.
03/18 Mob Psycho 100 Reigen: Shirarezaru Kiseki no Reinouryokusha
モブサイコ100 REIGEN ~知られざる奇跡の霊能力者~
Summary Special.
03/21 ReLIFE: Kanketsu-hen | ReLIFE 完結編
Also on Amazon Prime Video JP.
03/23 Girls und Panzer das Finale | ガールズ&パンツァー 最終章
BD/DVD Release. OVA 1 of 6.
03/23 Kujira no Kora wa Sajou ni Utau OVA | クジラの子らは砂上に歌う OVA
Bundled w/ BD Vol. 1.
03/23 Sword Gai: The Animation | ソードガイThe Animation
Netflix Original Series w/ Production I.G.
03/24 SNS Police | SNSポリス
03/26 Boku no Kanojo ga Majimesugiru Sho-bitch na Ken OVA
僕の彼女がマジメ過ぎるしょびっちな件 OVA
Bundled with LE manga Vol. 6.
03/28 Shinmai Maou no Testament Departures | 新妹魔王の契約者 DEPARTURES
BD/DVD Release.
03/28 Yuru Camp△ OVA | ゆるキャン△ OVA
Bundled w/ BD/DVD Vol. 1.

Overall Impressions


This season looks killer! I don’t know about you, but I (Stilts) am totally hyped for dang near half this season. I feel like I’m always writing in this section about how summer and winter aren’t necessarily the weak seasons anymore, but this has to be one of the strongest winters in a while. (Not that I’m going to go back and check. Too lazy.) I could feast on only a few of these series and be totally happy, but there are more highly-anticipated sequels and adaptations than I can shake a very big bottle of beer at, and at least a couple originals I’m eyeing to boot. Not that any of this means it’ll turn out any good, but for this brief and shining moment in December, I’m excited. Please don’t ruin this for me, The Future. You’re such an ass like that sometimes. Be cool.

Onto the levels. We’ll continue with the Excitement Levels we introduced last season, which includes four main levels plus Established for special cases. Our goal with this change was to make it easier to use the top and bottom of the scale, and to take away the incentive to hedge our bets—after all, we’re not saying these shows will be good or bad, we’re just saying how excited we are. Exciting things can be flawed, and unambitious things can be fun! Hopefully this guide will help those of you with limited time understand which shows to try first, based on our preliminary examination of each show’s staff, seiyuu, and source material. Failing that, it’ll give you another reason to laugh when we get all hot and bothered about a show that ended up being no good.

As usual, these levels were arrived at by our regular (and reliably shady) “excitement council”—which now sounds much more exciting than it actually is—and which still consists of Passerby, Zephyr, and Stilts (that’s me!). While we’ve gone to great lengths to consider multiple viewpoints and not get swept away by their own proclivities, these aren’t predictions, and shouldn’t be taken as such. Take these with a grain of salt.

Note: Lists are sorted in alphabetical order.


The Rundown:

High excitement shows are the ones we’re truly pumped about. These are the shows we want to watch the most, and which we think have a good chance of being exemplars of their kind — or at least come close. Shows in this category might be sequels to excellent anime, adaptations of highly regarded source material, projects with stellar pedigrees, or even originals that just light up our minds. They don’t have to be perfect, but they do have to feel like something special. If you consider yourself a casual fan who only gets your toes wet every season, then these are the shows we feel you should most keep an eye on.

Optimistic shows are ones that we’re hopeful will be really good, and which we have good reasons to think they might be. The underpinnings of these are generally strong, with a lot to suggest in each of them, but with one or two elements that give us pause and keep our enthusiasm from boiling over. They still have most of the makings of very strong series, though, and many stellar anime will arise from this category. If you’ve exhausted all the High shows, or want to delve deeper into your favored genres, check out these as well.

Average excitement shows look middle-of-the-road to us. They could be good or they could be bad, but they don’t provide much immediate indication that they’ll be amazing in retrospect. This is often the case with shows that are firmly ensconced in their genres’ tropes, or which overly rely on some of anime’s overused plot devices. It can also apply to shows that seem deeply flawed, with elements that could make them amazing, but with so many potential pitfalls that we’re not getting hyped up. 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. Personal taste comes heavily into play, so your mileage will vary.

Limited excitement shows are ones that we simply aren’t all that excited about. They often don’t seem to be striving for much, and choose to focus on more frivolous aspects such as senseless humor and fanservice. Other times they’re doing the same thing we’ve seen a thousand times, with few mitigating signs that they’ll rise above their tropes. That doesn’t mean they’re the bottom of the barrel and shouldn’t get any consideration, but simply that they’re not doing a lot to suggest themselves. Keep in mind what kind of show they are, though, and you might find something you enjoy amid this cohort.

Established shows are any series that has aired for more than 40 episodes or has been previewed more than three times. This can include anything from never-ending shounen and decade-spanning dramas to that quirky comedy that keeps getting renewed for season after season. The only commonality is that they’ve aired a lot of episodes, and that they’re the kind of show that most viewers will want to catch up on all the previous content before watching the new. Spin-offs and remakes don’t automatically qualify, since they’re considered new series.


  1. All hail Ainz Ooal Gown! The upcoming season gonna be packed for me, most of the shows this season didn’t pique my interest, but seems like it’s a break before the storm in Jan 2018. XD

  2. Definitely interested
    Violet Evergarden
    Yuru Camp
    Dagashi Kashi S2
    Slow Start
    Pop Team Epic
    Mitsuboshi Colors
    Karaki Jouzu no Takagi-san (I suppose that includes Ashita wa Doyoubi by default)

    Märchen Mädchen
    Koi wa Ameagari no You ni
    Toji no Miko
    Fate/Extra Tamamo or bust
    Cardcaptor Sakura

    Give it an episode
    Sora Yori no Tooi Basho
    Junji Ito Collection
    Devilman crybaby
    Killing Bites (Solely because it reminds me of Bloody Roar)
    Ryuu no Oshigoto

  3. Excited for new Overlord, Devilman(praise be to Yuasa), Dagashi Kashi 2, Violet Evergarden, and Darling in the Franxx.

    Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san and Gakuen Babysitters look cute!
    Shaping up to be another strong season.

  4. What I’m going to watch :
    – Violet Evergarden : I’m pretty sure you’ve seen the trailers somewhere on the internet. It looks pretty gorgeous despite I haven’t checked the LN.
    – Nanatsu no Taizai season 2 : Obligatory season 2 of an already good first season.
    – Darling in the Franxx : TRIGGER but it may end up like either Gurren Lagann or Kiznaiver.
    – Yurucamp : Super comfy healing anime.

    One Pinch Man
  5. Just noticing – whatever happened to my main man “Samu”?

    Also thanks yet again RC. I still always wait for y’alls season previews to determine what shows I watch each season.

    Can’t wait for the RC year end awards too <3

    Merry Christmas & Happy New Year –


  6. Basilisk (If I don’t need to watch the previous show)
    Death March
    Last Encore
    Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens
    Hakumei to Mikochi
    Houshin Engi
    Killing Bites
    Miira no Kaikata
    Mitsubishi Colors
    Marchen Machdan
    Nanatsu S2
    Overlord S2
    Pop Team Epic
    Saiki S2
    Toji no Miko
    Violet Evergarden
    Uchuu Yoori
    Yuru Camp
    Garo Vanishing Line
    Mahoutsukai no Yome
    7 Virtues
    B the Beggining
    Devilman Crybaby
    Shinmai Maou OVA
    Yu-Gi-Oh Vrains
    Classicaloid S2
    Time Bokan S2
    Dies Irae ONAs
    Ryuuo no Oshigoto

  7. My list; One of my biggest in a while, I agree with @stilts. Expecting really big things.

    Sora Yori mo Tooi Basho
    Ramen Daisuki Koizumi-san
    Yuru Camp △
    Itou Junji: Collection
    Grancrest Senki
    DEVILMAN crybaby
    Nanatsu no Taizai: Imashime no Fukkatsu
    Slow Start
    Pop Team Epic
    Yowamushi Pedal GLORY LINE*
    Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card Hen*
    Gin no Guardian II*
    Mitsuboshi Colors
    Gakuen Babysitters
    Ryuuou no Oshigoto!
    Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san
    Ashita wa Doyoubi
    Overlord II
    Violet Evergarden
    Death March kara Hajimaru Isekai Kyousoukyoku
    Koi wa Ameagari no You ni
    Hakumei to Mikochi
    Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens
    Darling in the Franxx
    Saiki Kusuo no Ψ Nan 2
    Fate/EXTRA Last Encore

    Fate/Grand Order × Himuro no Tenchi: 7-nin no Saikyou Ijin-hen (s)
    Fate/Grand Order: Moonlight/Lostroom (s)
    Hataraku Onii-san! (s)
    Nanatsu no Bitoku (s)

  8. Wow, lots of goods anime this season, finally!
    The past seasons have been very weak, I dropped many and even the few I kept were a disappointment with some exception.
    Glad we returned to the old Excitement Level, the previous one was really confusing.

  9. See, the thing about ishidate taichi is that he’s actually talented as both an animator and a director. The Kyokai no Kanata anime series feeling lacking seemed to have come down to other factors beyond just his directorial talent alone (initially i made the mistake of assuming he didn’t have the chops to pay the bills until i looked into his portfolio of work), either being the result of the quality of the source material itself,the series planning being rushed and unorganized, or that he was making that awkward transition between episode director and full-on chief director. I also chock up Kyokai no Kanata feeling lacking due to the screen-writing itself rather than the directing (although some of it felt “un-taichi-lke”). It seems that when ishidate has more creative control, that he is able to bring out the best of his talents. Take the kyokai no kanata mirai-hen movie for example, Ishidate is credited for storyboarding and directing that whole film on his own, and that movie saw a pretty significant jump in quality as a result. I couldn’t help but wish that the entire anime series had this kind of quality to begin with; it was almost a shame looking at the directing and storyboarding prowess of the film and looking back at the series and by consequence, made me feel all the more disappointed by the initial series even more. Whatever it may be, the guy is very strong episode director, handling some of the best eps in other kyo ani works (more recently the superbly directed and storyboarded ep 9 of sound euphonium season 2). He’s got an aptitude for strong cinematography in his productions, an arresting sense of visual storytelling, and sharp directing acumen. He’s very good at accentuating the subtlety of human emotion through animation, adn with akiko takase on his side handling animation direction for violet evergarden, they are going to knock this series out of the park…..hopefully.

  10. Damn. I know there’s a ton of other anime from previous seasons that I’ve yet to catch up on (Eromanga Sensei, Imouto sae Ireba Ii, Animegataris, Shobitch), yet here I am diving into the new season with new anime once more.

    Will definitely watch:
    Dagashi Kashi season 2 – Ah, another season of sweets, sweet girls (both Hotaru and Saya), and innocent innuendo. I won’t mind the studio switch and slight art shift, as long as the ship tease, comedy, and candy trivia from the previous season remains intact.
    Itou Junji: Collection – While I’m a bit peeved that the series doesn’t include The Enigma of Amigara Fault (I understood that reference, Choya… DRR. DRR. DRR.) or Hellstar Remina, part of me hopes that this will be better than ufotable’s OVA adaptation of Gyo, which made some changes to the original manga’s story. (Also, I’m noting the irony that while ufotable was undoubtedly better than Studio DEEN when it came to adapting Fate/Zero and Fate/stay night Unlimited Blade Works, Studio DEEN might be better than ufotable when it comes to Junji Ito’s works. But we’ll see.) Not to be watched during late nights, though.

    Will try out (“three-episode rule” applies):
    Violet Evergarden – I heard a lot of good things about this show from those fortunate enough to watch the sneak peek of episode 1 over at Anime Expo (US), AnimagiC (Germany), C3 AFA Singapore, and KyoAni’s own fan appreciation event. I propose stocking up on tissues now, as the show is sure to have moments that will pull on your heartstrings.
    Sora Yori mo Tooi Basho – “High school girls visiting the South Pole” already sounds like an interesting premise. Unfortunately, I can’t help but still be reminded of Japan’s annual whale hunts (under the paper-thin guise of “research”) in the Southern Ocean and their subsequent scuffles with the Sea Shepherd conservation group (as chronicled in the reality show Whale Wars). Well, I hope the girls are just there to study and observe the harsh landscape and wildlife of the South Pole (and their ship isn’t actually a whaler).
    Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san – Looks like a middle-school version of Masamune-kun no Revenge, though hopefully a bit funnier.

    Shorts, OVAs and other miscellaneous stuff (may be carryovers from the previous season):
    Nekopara OVA – Not exactly what I had in mind when I think of “Drowning in pussy,” but the catgirls from the beloved visual novel are beautifully done and animated…down to the fancy dresses. It’s a shame it won’t be turned into a TV series (or at least have another OVA), as I’d love to watch Nekopara as a cute slice-of-life show…with catgirls. Also, I saw Noble (Lost Pause) get a shout-out in the end credits.
    Net-juu no Susume – Even though it wasn’t the date episode I was hoping for, Moriko and Yuta actually building a gaming PC together was unexpectedly romantic.
    Hajimete no Gal OVA – (*sighs*) Might as well get it over with…
    Uchuu Senkan Yamato 2202: Ai no Senshi-tachi episodes 7 to 10

    With slimmer pickings and the big releases apparently being reserved for Spring 2018 (e.g.: Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory, One Punch Man 2, High School DxD Hero, Persona 5 The Animation…just waiting on Date A Live season 3), I guess this season is enough time to catch up on those previously missed anime. (Unless there’s an anime this season with an opening song as ear-wormy and memetic as Blend-S‘s “Bon Appetit S”…)

  11. Houshin Engi remake is a suprise, i never expected that ! But yeah, it’ll have a hard time against other series like Violet Evergarden or Nanatsu no Taizai.

    Also i wouldn’t put my hopes too high on Beatless, it’s done by none other than the infamous studio Diomedea (0 hits and many flops in its 10 years history, even Deen has its share of success !).

    Also Hakumei to Mikoshi ? Like Made in Abyss ? Sold !

  12. Even though I typically watch at least 15 shows a season, it’s unusual for me to have as many shows as this in my initial “will definitely watch” list so I guess this season really must be killer:

    Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card Hen
    Darling in the Franxx
    Fate/EXTRA Last Encore
    Itou Junji: Collection
    Koi wa Ameagari no You ni
    Overlord II
    Sora Yori mo Tooi Basho
    Violet Evergarden

    Carcaptor Sakura is going to be an interesting watch because twenty years is a long time between seasons, and so the production team have a difficult task ahead of them as they try to attract new viewers who haven’t seen the original 70 episodes without alienating what remains of the original fanbase. Or I guess they could simply take the pragmatic view and say that the original fanbase have mostly either grown out of anime by now or died of old age!

    Violet Evergarden has understandably attracted a lot of interest, and a lot of summaries have been written about it. However, I’ve not found two summaries that agree on the major plot points yet, but I really like the version Passerby’s summary is describing so I hope that’s the correct one.

  13. I wonder if I have the time to watch these animes lol.

    -Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san (+Ashita wa Doyoubi )
    -Overlord II
    -Violet Evergarden
    -Death March kara Hajimaru Isekai Kyousoukyoku
    -Koi wa Ameagari no You ni
    -Sora Yori mo Tooi Basho
    -Itou Junji: Collection
    -Slow Start
    -Pop Team Epic
    -Miira no Kaikata
    -Hakumei to Mikochi
    -Märchen Mädchen

  14. As always, thank you guys for all your hard work. I posted the same on Twitter like I always do. This is a killer season. So much looks interesting and we have so many shows. My list is divided into shows I will definitely watch, show I will maybe check out, and show I will wait and let other people canary into.

    Here it is:

    -Sora Yori mo Tooi Basho (The Token this Preview made me do it)(Plus Inori Minase, HanaKana, and Saori Hayami. And then the director directed HaNaYaMaTA)
    -Itou Junji: Collection (The mangaka is masterful at waht he does so I’m hoping this is adapated well)
    -Grancrest Senki (For the RoLW connection)
    -Overlord II
    -Violet Evergarden
    -Koi wa Ameagari no You ni
    -Dagashi Kashi 2
    -Darling in the Franxx

    -Ramen Daisuki Koizumi-san
    -DEVILMAN crybaby
    -Pop Team Epic
    -Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san
    -Ashita wa Doyoubi
    -Death March kara Hajimaru Isekai Kyousoukyoku
    -Hakumei to Mikochi
    -Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens

    Wait and See:
    -Mitsuboshi Colors
    -Gakuen Babysitters
    -Ryuuou no Oshigoto!

  15. “I’m sure everything will be all right.”
    It never ends well when someone says that and we are talking about cardcaptor sakura as well…

    I am kinda worried about Overlord though, from what is available on the trailers it doesn’t seem to follow the light novels in the proper order this time and might even give some extra anime only additions. Now, while that can be done in a good manner like ufotable did with UBW, it can also screw up the show as it did with season 3 of dxd…

  16. CCS: Clear Card is dommed to fail, since the whole idea of the story is to integrate it to the colossal shuffle that was Reservoire Chronicles. Sakura didn’t needed a sequel, but this is just to try to save some face to the screwed CLAMP universe.
    It’s unfair that BEATLESS has been given to the haxx man. Seiji Mizushima’s late works has been utterly dissasters, and I fear that this will be another one. Why this hasn’t been sent to brother Tsutomu?

  17. Here are the series I’ll watch for sure:

    Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card-hen
    Darling in the FranXX
    Miira no Kaikata
    Yowamushi Pedal: Glory Line

    And the ones I’ll keep an eye on – not knowing if I’ll watch them for sure:

    Dagashi Kashi 2
    Basilisk: Ouka Ninpouchou
    Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens
    Zoku Touken Ranbu: Hanamaru

  18. Glad to see Overlord getting a new season. Will Albedo finally get some action? Loved seeing her in full plate armour.

    Also surprised that Beatless is getting an anime adaption. Really liked the short manga they made sometime ago. Didn’t expect it to get animated after all this time (admittedly, it wasn’t that long ago).

    Wasn’t too surprised with Card Captor Sakura, since they made a collaboration event with Granblue Fantasy. Got to say, I’ve forgotten most of the story already. Still remember the overall relationship between the characters though.

  19. 70% of listed anime are like cute girls doing cute things – i dont know why this type of anime fanbase is growing. I wouldnt mind anime like blend s with slight romance and comedy added do it, but with only girl cast i can only expect fanservice of moe, oh damn. “The original Violet Evergarden light novel by Akatsuki Kana won the grand prize in 2014, and is to date the only work to ever do so in the awards’ eight year history.” sorry i dont get this part, violet garden is only ‘light novel’ that won the prize? And in other years only books won? Alsp i wonder if hakata tonkonsu that full-time crossdresser can be counted as transgender, but we will see when it airs.
    Anyway, thank you for preview ♥

  20. For me it is the weakest season I ever saw.

    Looks interesting:

    Koi wa Ameagari no You ni
    B: The Beginning
    DEVILMAN crybaby

    Drifters OVA
    Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card Hen
    Gintama. Gin no Tamashii-hen
    ReLIFE: Kanketsu-hen

  21. Toji no Miko
    Itou Junji
    Grancrest Senki
    DEVILMAN crybaby
    Basilisk ~Ouka Ninpouchou~
    Overlord II
    Violet Evergarden
    Death March kara Hajimaru Isekai Kyousoukyoku
    Koi wa Ameagari no You ni
    Dagashi Kashi 2
    Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens
    Killing Bites
    Darling in the Franxx

    I guess I will need to cut some gaming time and go straight home from work to watch all of these

  22. Hey Stilts. About Extella and what’s going on, I can give you a little explanation of it if you want. I don’t know if I said this before or not, but here’s hoping you get to read this. Might help a little.

    Only read if you want to be spoiled and a bit about what happens before the game to set up the events of the game.
    Show Spoiler ▼

    I’m hoping that helps a bit Stilts.

    Dorian S.
  23. Wow…I am surprised there are some half decent anime to look forward to 2018….Looking forward for the below:
    Yuru Camp
    Itou Junji
    Grancrest Senki
    Devilman crybaby
    Nanatsu no Taizai
    Overlord (will need to watch the first seasons as surprised i missed it)
    Violet Evergarden
    Hakumei to Mikochi
    Gin no Guardian

  24. As a Hakunon fan, I’ll give Fate/EXTRA Last Encore a shot…
    Although it will most likely be the – almost every way inferior – Fate/Extella Zero rewrite.

    Remember what happened to the DEEN F/SN adaptation when they tried to combine the original 3 arcs together?
    Well, that’s Fate/Extella Zero in a nutshell.

      1. Fate/EXTRA Last Encore

        I expect lots of shitposting.

        I expect shitposting from people who are sick of seeing Fate threads so they feel the best option is to try to ruin and derail as many Fate threads as possible

        I expect shitposting from Fate fans who take issue with every single thing the anime does that doesn’t conform to what they had in their heads already.

        I expect shitposting from yurifags, shoujofags and mwsiifcfags (man who self-insert into female characters) who can’t handle the fact that male Hakuno is the canon protagonist of the series and this is why he was chosen to be the main protagonist of the anime, besides beeing a gigantic butthurt baby because female Hakuno isn’t the main protagonist of the anime.

        I expect shitposting from yurifags, waifufags and Grand Order tertiaries who can’t handle the fact that Nero is canonically paired with Male Hakuno in the franchise and therefore she will never be her waifu, nor of female Hakuno and much less the Gudas or any other characters from FGO.

        I expect shitposting from Zero secondaries and shounenfags shitting on the anime and the MC, because Hakuno isn’t a action character that knows how to fight and defend herself, but a non-action character that doesn’t knows how to fight or defend himself and needs the help from other characters for defending and saving him.

        I expect shitposting from people pretending to be Fate fans in order to annoy the first group.

        I expect shitposting from Zero secondaries and Grand Order tertiaries, both of whom have never read the original VN or played Extra.

        Lastly I expect shitposting from waifufags, either excessively praising Nero or saying she’s not as good as Sakura or Tamamo.

  25. Love all these new show but it seems that one show is missing and
    its Idolish7 I know its not a big deal but I noticed its missing
    from the list, just wanted to bring it to someones attention.

  26. This season looks crazy good! This is easily my most hyped season in a while. Frankly it could be the best season in 2018 and I wouldn’t be surprised. Just holly smokes there are a ton of shows I’m extremely hyped for.

    Most hyped
    Fate/Extra: Last Encore
    Nanatsu no Taizai: Imashime no Fukkatsu
    Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card-hen
    Grancrest Senki
    Overlord II
    Violet Evergarden

    And there are a ton that I’m just in general excited to see. Bring on the next season. I am ready!

  27. What I’m going to try:

    A place further than the Universe
    Basilisk: The Ouka Ninja Scrolls
    Fate/Extra Last Encore
    Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens
    Hakyuu Hoshin Engi
    Junji Itou “Collection”
    Koi wa Ameagari no You ni
    Kokkoku: Moment by Moment
    Record of Grancrest War
    The Seven Deadly Sins: Revival of The Commandments
    Violet Evergarden

    I’ll watch 6 and add the rest to my backlog.
    Dear anime industry stop doing so many things I like. (JK, you do you).

  28. With FATE all the information on how things work are stated by a character or read from an in-story source. This allows the narrator to be wrong, the source wrong and like in science something might have not been fully understood. This clever use of basically the Unreliable Narrator Trope is a good idea on the writers, it keeps them from being painted into a corner. I have heard but as I can’t read Japanese that Nasu has also been an Unreliable Narrator in real life, don’t know what to think on that although authors being misleading on incoming content is a normal thing. In an example the Producers of Game of Thrones over and over again stating something that fan’s in the know knew might be very misleading because the story already contained ways around it.Show Spoiler ▼

    Only when a not in story narrator or on-screen text overlay state something should one expect for it to hold. If the not in story narrator states they are someone in a story though they also might be unreliable.

  29. Honshin Engi!!!! seriously??
    They’re doing the sequence after 18 years. The manga was one of the most popular in Shounen Jump during its peak. The first anime by DEEN was also quite good

    and Death March… you forgot to mention about food lol

  30. Fate/EXTRA Last Encore

    I expect lots of shitposting.

    I expect shitposting from people who are sick of seeing Fate threads so they feel the best option is to try to ruin and derail as many Fate threads as possible

    I expect shitposting from Fate fans who take issue with every single thing the anime does that doesn’t conform to what they had in their heads already.

    I expect shitposting from Zero secondaries and shounenfags shitting on the anime and the MC, because Hakuno isn’t a action character that knows how to fight and defend herself, but a non-action character that doesn’t knows how to fight or defend himself and needs the help from other characters for defending and saving him.

    I expect shitposting from people pretending to be Fate fans in order to annoy the first group.

    I expect shitposting from yurifags, shoujofags and mwsiifcfags (man who self-insert into female characters) who can’t handle the fact that male Hakuno is the canon protagonist of the series and this is why he was chosen to be the main protagonist of the anime, besides beeing a gigantic butthurt baby because female Hakuno isn’t the main protagonist of the anime.

    I expect shitposting from yurifags, waifufags and Grand Order tertiaries who can’t handle the fact that Nero is canonically paired with Male Hakuno in the franchise and therefore she will never be her waifu, nor of female Hakuno and much less the Gudas or any other characters from FGO.

    I expect shitposting from Zero secondaries and Grand Order tertiaries, both of whom have never read the original VN or played Extra.

    Lastly I expect shitposting from waifufags, either excessively praising Nero or saying she’s not as good as Sakura or Tamamo.

    1. wow so much “expectations” you wrote down here. Why not turn it into opposite? Take the future you want into your own hands, then you do not need to wait for “expectations”

    2. Well, most people don’t know that Hakuno is well…. us, just like Ritsuka(Gudao) in Fate/Grand Order.
      It’ll be a challenging task of creating a unique personality for such a character with not so much background, unlike Shiro which had quite a backstory.

      You got one thing right, for me, this Saber is the best waifu, hohoho.
      (Isn’t revealing names a spoiler though?)

    3. @FigtMoom
      You forgot the studio war kiddies, KyoAni vs SHAFT, some falseflagging but many take it seriously

      @Lyfe @Worldwidedepp
      To be honest, what he posted aren’t forecasts or expectations, but what really has been happening in the Fate/Extra Last Encore threads from MAL, reddit and 4chan since the Anime was announced.
      Fate/Extra Last Encore threads contain at least ten times more shitposters and shitposting than Fate/Apocrypha, and look that the anime has yet to start.

  31. I will probably end up watching one or two shows due to my schedule. So I narrowed down my list to five for now.
    – Fate/Extra – won’t expect much fights, but I’ll expect head tilts every episode. I’m also happy that this was finally animated.
    – Violet Evergarden – I’ve been waiting for this since I saw the PVs. Looks pretty good.
    – Hakyuu Honshin Engi – I remembered having all the paperback manga of this. It was pretty good (for me).
    – Death March – the WN was enjoyable, but I doubt we’ll get to those fight parts, so I might watch it.
    – Card Captor Sakura – It’s been a long while since I’ve seen her, not including her counterpart in TSR.

  32. Overlord II is my number one list. I just watched first episode and it’s good as first season. You need watch first season if you new one due it straight forward without introduction and little bit rush episode. I hope we can see how Sorcery Kingdom founded by Ainz. Long life Aiz Ooal Gown!!!

  33. my winter 2018 anime to watch:
    Sora Yori mo Tooi Basho “girls on the way to antarctica”
    Grancrest Senki “new lodoss war”
    citrus “yuri”
    Overlord II “for evulz”
    Koi wa Ameagari no You ni “adult romance”

  34. I can’t find any information about the anime “Ashita no Doyoubi” anywhere outside of this winter preview. Did they cancel the anime before it started? They even removed the MAL page..

  35. Are you QUITE SURE this is a 2018 preview ? Because i could swear i’m asked for flash to see the promo videos ! Who the hell still uses flash in 2018 ?! I think i uninstalled it 3 years ago.

  36. I have very high expectations from the shows of this season, my must watch lis so far includes:

    1.-Grand Crest Senki: as a huge fan of anything fantasy related, specially The Lord of the Rings, I find this adaptation of the work of the creator of Record of the Lodoss War a dream come true.

    2.-Nanatsu no Taizai Rise of the 10 Comanments: Meliodas and the rest of the Sins are back to face their most powerful enenmies so far!.

    3.-Citrus: as a fan of the original manga I´m very exited with this adaptation, let´s just say it is a very complex relationship that those girls have.

    4.-Card Captor Sakura Clear Card Hen: an inmorttal classi is finally getting it deserves, how could I not be exited!?.

    5.-Kokkoku: original anime is a source of joy for me, and mystery anime are always welcome in my books.

    6.-Basilisk ~Ouka Ninpouchou~: time to go back to a time before Naruto, where being a ninja was not just being a weapon of mass destruction but a maste of tactics and stealth.

    7.-Overlord II: Ains Ool Gown has return to teach all those miserable mortals who is the true ruler of the world!.

    8.-Violet Evergarden: the animation alone looks fantastic so after that has been said about this show it is safe to say I´m hyped as hell!.

    9.-Dagashi Kashi: I like comedy and I like sweets, what else can I say?.

    10.-Beatless: The art style alone is enough to make me want to see this, add the fact everybody tells it´s a good si-fi story then I´m officially hyped!.

    11.-Gin no Guardian II: has a special place in my heart, first season is by no means perfect and I still have no idea what hell is happening or where the story is going but I´m eager to see more!.

    12.-Death March kara Hajimaru Isekai Kyousoukyoku: This is without adoubt the show I´m most exited about this season, I´m huge fan of the Isekai genre so I get very very eixited when a new story comes around. Doubt this series will be in the godly level of Arifureta but it will make do until April brings that adaptation.

    13.-Darling in the Franxx: so Trigger is making a new giant robot anime? Sign me up, I hoe this series is equal parts awesome and insane, after all we have veterans that created the insane franchise that is Evangelion. Buck your seat belts, this is going to be one insane ride to hell and back.

    14.-Fate/EXTRA Last Encore: once again Heroic Spirits rise from the grave to fight for one wish that will change all that is and will be. Never would have imagined Shaft will produce a Fate anime but here we are so I hope they something beautiful to the franchise, my expectations are very high considering how much I loved Fate Apocrypha from start to its beautiful ending.

  37. @Violet Evergarden

    Good Start, it feels like some “Ghibli” Anime.. some kind a bit of “From Up on Poppy Hill” with someone that want to explore the meaning of “I love you”. Also perhaps some kind of after war use for ex-Soldiers

    Colorful, heart full, Music on point.. Looks like it is “fun to watch”.. nearly the same feelings like this one with the “travel to Antarctica”

    Ep 1/3 passed without problems, with warm feelings

  38. @Hakumei to Mikochi

    If you ever wanted an sequel or an “spinoff” of Studios Ghiblis “Arrietty” then this is your Anime. It is cuter and the drawing style reminds you of watercolors, but the heart is alright.

    i fell in love right from the start, thank you for this anime

    You should have at last an look.. at best if you are looking for an oasis of calm and fluffy world

  39. @Darling in the FranXX

    Strong impression it made.. Yes. You can see here and there the handwriting of Trigger (mostly Gurren Lagann + Kill la Kill) and some other inspirations from other Animes. But yes.. First impression had “power” now i need more Episodes to see if this Power is back up with story building

    Episdoe 1/3 passed.. with “Powerful” Trigger Style handwriting.. but also soft lines

    1. Also the “white cape” of the female “normal” Pilots, looks like an Weeding cloth, right? Also in my past i only can compare this Pair to driven an “robot” only with Simoun.. but there its not quite the same.. I have an other Anime in mind “Chrons Shelter Region”.. but perhaps i spell the name false.. But lets see what this Anime still have in their pockets

      Well, did his first ex-partner survive or did she got crushed?.. if you watched it, you know what i mean

  40. @Spring 2017

    i stumbled over “ID-O” on Netflix, well you need to get used to this bright cgi textures and “mechas”.. but it looks promising.. I flows under my radar at the time it airs, but if you want some Mecha action and cgi is not your enemy. you should give it a try

    sorry to post here, but the old comment are locked

    1. Yup, the way they tell their story and visual are an new Kaze. Its an modern cgi Anime

      it would pass my 3 episodes testing.. as i said, when you get used to this bright cgi stuff and such

    2. looks like the entire episodes play into space.. so this is pure stuff for space sci-fi lovers.. But as the name indicates.. it all play around “ID-0” (ID-Zero)

      I do not know your old vibes. But i get a lot of Space sci-fi like in the “young” days of “Crest of the stars” and such..with today cgi technique

      last entry

    3. My Summary for ID-0:

      – It begins with an Bang!!… The Characters are lively
      – But soon (to soon) you found out they sold her out to save their own Skin

      – Nice Idea, to transfer your “mind and consciousness” into an Mecha, and fail save jump back into your original Body, if Mecha gets Destroyed
      – Well, this has of course the downside in the Range.. when the Body is out of Range.. you stuck

      – Nice Spaceships, nice Space Opera Fights “Crest of the Stars!” i love YOU!!! Take me!! Take me into my Wonderland!!!
      – But it is only Space we see…okay the Space Station do not count..

      – If you are in Rome, do like the Romans.. Nice Virtual Reality conference room
      – When the Crew is just some steps away… But this is also the Production team showoff what they are capable

      – Story center about someone “Dude” with the name IDo… figures, right?
      – But Story get stuck when the name “Kain” fall. And it went south when he done the “greatest Sin!”

      – You can use “Mind Trace” to direct Control Mechas (called IMecha)
      – But there is no limits.. You also can “mind Trace” into other Bodys.. (of course Clones).

      – in the End Mankind was saved
      – Did i mention the South Waterfall of the Storyline? Well, it gone deeper south with the appearance of “Addam” and his “urge” to save Humankind…

      If we can not fix it, we shoot it!!

      Also when this little Girl turns out to be an Adult.. OMG!!!….Suddenly many “Otakus” was hid deep in their Ballz

      There where some unfinished sidelines that was forgotten… What happen with this old men, that knew all things in realtime? “Someone is hacking an Satellite!”.. is is constantly hearing/watching/monitoring everything?…

      So this “Mind Trance” was inspired from “the 6day” with Arnold Schwarzenegger

      It became totally silly when they could Mind Trance into this Mineral….

      As i said the Story began to lose its power when the name “kain” fall and sunk into the deeps with “Addam” playing the “Humankind Savior” and introducing this Rajeev

      p.s. i know its “ancient”, and no one will read it. But i wanted to post my thoughts

  41. So my current Animes on my Watchlist are (in no order)

    – Darling in the Franxx
    – Hakumei to Mikochi
    – Yuru Camp
    – Sora Yori mo Tooi Basho
    – Mahoutsukai no Yome

    Animes that i continue to watch from the sidelines (in no order)

    – Toji no Miko
    – Death March kara Hajimaru Isekai Kyousoukyoku
    – Overlord 2 (I wait for some special moment)
    – Kokkoku

  42. I’m curious just now many of you actually watched Cardcaptor Sakura when it aired. You would have to be a certain age to have witnessed what a hit it was 20 years ago. Now I feel old and I’m still mad Sakuras brother is gay.

  43. Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou:

    – If you are an fan of this World Setting, then i have an recommendation Game for you. It’s FAR: Lone Sails, try it out it’s on STEAM an the “Universe” and loneliness is really an same match with this Anime


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