The weather outside is frightful, and—oh, enough with the lame lines, there’s seasonally appropriate beverages to consume and this post is overdue anyway. Winter is a time for renewal(?), which is why several venerated franchises are getting new iterations to start off 2019, including the spooky urban legend Boogiepop wa Warawanai and the Tezuka Osamu manga Dororo. Of course there are glorious sequels aplenty, including the inventive and nuanced Mob Psycho 100 II, another season of the gambling addict’s worst nightmare Kakegurui ××, and the kissing-girls-to-save-the-world antics of Date A Live III. Oh, and Kemono Friends 2, with all new staff. Among the adaptations a lot of us are looking at the isekai stylings of Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari, the love competition of Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai: Tensai-tachi no Ren’ai Zunousen, and the dramatic orphan danger of Yakusoku no Neverland. There are even a few originals to round out the crew, such as the Netflix sci-fi series Revisions, the fluffy hero slice-of-life Endro~!, and the Girls und Panzer of the air in Kouya no Kotobuki Hikoutai. There’s something for everyone, or at least I hope. This is Random Curiosity’s Winter 2019 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 a while back. You know how this works by now, right? Every new anime is a tangle of hype, and rather than pretend to objectively prognosticate, we’re going to embrace the spin and give you our visceral gut reactions instead. 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 , when yours truly was but a boy, previews were done by a single writer, Divine. But the RandomC preview is a hefty undertaking, so we’ve divided it up among our staff staff (Choya, Guardian Enzo, Pancakes, Passerby, Stilts (that’s me!), 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 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.

Let me once again take this time to thank the entire Random Curiosity staff for banding together to finish this preview. Everyone was busy with holiday jubilation, but we all still put in the time and we’re only a little horrendously late, which is mostly my fault I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m so sorry. Y’all rock, and I love bossing you around working with you every season. Special thanks go to Zephyr for doing early prep work; Stilts (that’s me!) for editing, people wrangling, and being slow; Takaii for gathering the images; Passerby for proofreading and shorts; Zaiden for doing all the formatting, links, etc; and our new tech person Pictor for helping with the encodes! Also, a super special thanks to Xumbra for his last season helping out with the preview, as well as backend stuff for RandomC. Thank you so much for the help for so long, Xumxum. We would have been lost without you. Pathetically, sadly lost. Also, thanks to everyone who wrote previews I guess. For a more Enzo-centric point of view, give a gander to the LiA winter preview for a second opinion on many of these shows.

Finally, and as always, thank you to the readers and commentators of Random Curiosity. Whether you’re an avid commenter and resident of our Discord channel, or a lurker who comes by just for the season previews (that’s how I started out as well), we thank you for giving us your time, your attention, and your trust. We wouldn’t keep doing this if we didn’t enjoy it, and we enjoy it, in large part, because of all of you. Thank you. Now, on to the shows!

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
Ueno-san wa Bukiyou
24:30 BS11 (01/06)
Dororo (2019)
19:30 MBS (01/07)
Watashi ni Tenshi ga Maioritai!
22:00 AT-X (01/08)
Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari
22:00 AT-X (01/09)
BanG Dream! 2nd Season
22:30 Abema (01/03)
Boogiepop wa Warawanai
21:00 AT-X (01/04)
Fukigen na Mononokean: Tsuzuki
21:00 AT-X (01/05)
Kouya no Kotobuki Hikoutai
22:30 Tokyo MX (01/13)
Mob Psycho 100 II
19:30 MBS (01/07)
Circlet Princess
23:00 MX (01/08)
Kemurikusa (2019)
22:15 Amazon (01/09)
Dimension High School
22:30 MX (01/10)
Egao no Daika
21:30 WOWOW (01/04)
Bermuda Triangle: Colorful Pastrale
21:30 Abema (01/12)
Piano no Mori (2019)
24:10 NHK (01/27)
Pastel Memories
24:30 MX (01/07)
3D Kanojo 2
25:59 NTV (01/08)
Doukyonin wa Hiza, Tokidoki, Atama no Ue.
23:30 AT-X (01/09)
Girly Air Force
23:00 A-TX (01/10)
Date A Live III
21:30 AT-X (01/11)
Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai: Tensai-tachi no Ren’ai Zunousen
23:30 MX (01/12)
Shingeki no Bahamut: Manaria Friends
24:30 Tokyo MX (01/20)
Kemono Friends 2
24:30 TV Tokyo (01/07)
Kakegurui ××
23:00 MX (01/08)
Meiji Tokyo Renka
23:30 AT-X (01/09)
Yakusoku no Neverland
24:55 Fuji (01/10)
B-PROJECT: Zecchou*Emotion
24:00 MX (01/11)
25:00 MX/BS11 (01/12)
23:30 Fuji (01/09)
Go-Toubun no Hanayome
25:28 TBS (01/10)
Domestic na Kanojo
25:55 MBS (01/11)
25:30 MX (01/05)
Grimms Notes: The Animation
25:58 TBS (01/10)
Mahou Shoujo Tokushusen Asuka
25:25 MBS/TBS (01/11)

* Jump to OVA/Movies or Short Series List.

BanG Dream! 2nd SeasonTop
Animation: SANZIGEN Premiere: January 3rd, 2019
Genre: Music Airtime (GMT+9): Thursdays at 22:30
Episodes: 13 Station: AbemaTV
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @bang_dream_info or #バンドリ

Preview by Takaii

Based on the super successful rhythm game on iOS and Android, BanG Dream 2nd Season is (obviously) the second season of the BanG Dream anime! For those of you who have no idea what that is, BanG Dream follows the lives of five different bands who are all trying their best to be the best damn band they can be. You have Poppin’Party, the band that the first season focused on and is the one that seems real similar to another light music band. There’s Afterglow led by Mitake Ran (Sakura Ayane) who have a slightly stronger rock feel to them. Next up is Pastel Palettes who have an aesthetic befitting of their name. Fourth is Roselia who you could call the A-Rise of the show led by the extremely tsundere Minato Yukina (Aiba Aina). And last but not least is Hello, Happy World who follow their leader Tsurumaki Kokoro’s (Itou Miku) idea of wanting to bring a smile to everyone’s faces through the power of music. Together these bands make up the world of BanG Dream and fill the time in-between performances with their antics.

For those of you who were a little disappointed with the first season strictly revolving around Poppin’Party, it looks like these two new seasons will make an effort to show us the four other bands who sorely need on-screen time. However, for anyone who hasn’t watched the first season nor have played the game, you’re in for a great time as you catch up on the twelve episodes of the original season and enjoy the amazing experience of seeing a fun and fairly well thought out story of a band that starts from nothing. If I had one reservation though, I’m actually quite nervous about what looks like the heavy use of 3D in all the promotional videos. Seeing how the first season only pulled out the 3D during performances, I’m curious how well an entirely 3D version would do. However, I am a giant fan of Ars Nova: Arpeggio of Blue Steel, and they owned using 3D for everything and made me a believer of it. For those of you looking for that light music show vibe that doesn’t dive into the idol side of things, you should definitely give this a shot. Plus did I mention that the music is super catch and fun? P.S. the game has been released worldwide fully in English. That and they have covers of popular anime songs in addition to the originals. GO PLAY.

Watching This: Takaii Excitement Level: Average
Show BanG Dream! 2nd Season Promotional Videos ▼

Boogiepop wa Warawanai | ブギーポップは笑わないTop
Animation: Madhouse Premiere: January 4th, 2019
Genre: Action, Mystery, Supernatural Airtime (GMT+9): Fridays at 21:00
Episodes: 18 Station: AT-X
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @boogiepop_anime or #boogiepop

Preview by Choya

There is an urban legend going around about a shinigami, or angel of death, named Boogiepop (Yuuki Aoi). Rumor has it that Boogiepop seeks out people who are suffering to release them from their pain. What was once an old wives’ tale from five years ago, however, becomes a reality when a string of disappearances involving female students at Shinyo Academy continues once again. Police and faculty assume the girls were runaways, but some students know full well that stranger things are lurking in the darkness of the city. As five different students try to piece together the puzzling nature behind the disappearances, they are further tangled up in the supernatural mystery unfolding before them. Will they be safe from the lingering presence of Boogiepop, or is there something even more sinister lurking in the shadows? In this enigmatic story, nobody is safe.

As one of the first light novels to emerge in 1996, Boogiepop wa Warawanai has helped put urban fantasy stories on the map. Combining a dark supernatural narrative that spans several genres with out-of-order storytelling, Boogiepop creates a highly-appealing mystery that is cryptic and compelling. It has since spawned the spin-off anime Boogiepop Phantom, which has become a staple of many Top 10 lists for must-see anime of the early 2000s, and a live-action film adaptation. Much like Kino no Tabi’s recent adaptation, there are high expectations on this new release after so many years. However, while the new Kino no Tabi was created by selecting fan-favorite arcs that didn’t provide much cohesion or enjoyment, this new adaptation of Boogiepop wa Warawanai is already looking hopeful under the direction of Natsume Shingo of One Punch Man fame, with Madhouse producing, and with the versatile Yuuki Aoi taking on the role of Boogiepop. It will be exciting to see if this adaptation is able to capture the twists and turns of the original light novels.

Watching This: Choya, Guardian Enzo, Pancakes, Passerby, Zaiden Excitement Level: High
Show Boogiepop wa Warawanai Promotional Videos ▼

Egao no Daika | エガオノダイカTop
Animation: Tatsunoko Production Premiere: January 4th, 2019
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi Airtime (GMT+9): Fridays at 21:30
Episodes: 12 Station: WOWOW
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @egaonodaika or #エガオノダイカ

Preview by Passerby

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, Princess Yuuki Soleil (Hanamori Yumiri) reigns as the sovereign of her planet kingdom. Although she is but the tender age of 12, prone to emotional outbursts and perhaps somewhat naive, cloistered as she is in the ivory towers of her royal palace, Yuuki is blessed with many competent and loyal retainers. For these retainers, their highest calling in life is protecting their princess’s smile; heavy may be the head that wears the crown, but so long as the princess can smile then it follows that so too will her realm. But one day, Yuuki meets a 17-year-old career soldier and professional mecha pilot from the neighbouring Grantiga Empire, Stella Shining (Hayami Saori). Stella always smiles. But she never laughs. And Yuuki is about to learn exactly what price for which one smile is purchased — and how many others must be sacrificed for its sake.

Whenever a prominent anime studio celebrates a notable anniversary, they often go out of their way to create an ambitious original series — mostly to prove that they’re a notable anime studio. So it is with Tatsunoko Productions, who in the midst of making a big deal of their 55th anniversary ended up making Egao no Daika (The Price of Smiles). Since these celebratory shows are largely about showing off it’s only fair that they’re often technical mecha anime. What is anime without giant fighting robots? If you take a peek at the PV below you’ll be pleased to see that Egao no Daika engages in mecha action aplenty and looks pretty good while doing it. That’s a positive sign, especially because we don’t have much to judge it on other than these preliminary visuals. The premise has been left deliberately opaque and the best we can do is educated guessing. Egao no Daika could as easily be science-fiction as it could be a space opera, and could lean as hard towards idealism as cynicism, and if it is properly ambitious it might want to juggle the nuances in the spectra. The staff may well be up to the task; director Suzuki Toshimasa has worked on mecha anime before, like the Fafner franchise and Rinne no Lagrange. His previous partnership with screenwriter Inotsume Shinichi on Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta is, if nothing else, work experience. There’s promise here, at least, and I’m overall optimistic. And if Egao no Daika ends up being just a mecha action romp, there’s nothing wrong with that either.

Watching This: Pancakes, Passerby, Stilts Excitement Level: Optimistic
Show Egao no Daika Promotional Videos ▼

Fukigen na Mononokean: Tsuzuki | 不機嫌なモノノケ庵 續Top
Animation: Pierrot Plus Premiere: January 5th, 2019
Genre: Comedy, Supernatural Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays at 21:00
Episodes: 13 Station: AT-X
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @mononokean_tv or #不機嫌なモノノケ庵

Preview by Takaii

Fukigen na Mononokean: Tsuzuki is a sequel to a sleeper that aired back in Summer 2016. Based in the real world if the supernatural existed, it’s a quirky story about a warm-hearted high school kid named Ashiya Hanae (Kaji Yuki) and his debt to the exorcist Abeno Haruitsuki (Maeno Tomoaki), which leads him into a world full of youkai and the job of helping them back to where they came from. Along the way we get to meet various clientele of the Mononokean where, in an episodic fashion, we watch Hanae and Haruitsuki try to solve the problems they’ve been handed.

If I’m being frank, I’ll admit I didn’t watch Fukigen na Mononokean during its original airing. It was a show that, for lack of better words, didn’t sound all that great when you read its premise. However, once you take a moment to watch it, you quickly realize this is a very endearing show using youkai (and the characters’ interaction with them) as a way to enhance a story of people growing. While catching up on the show I would say the concept is akin to something like Natsume Yuujinchou where youkai aren’t necessarily beings that need to be eradicated, but instead are creatures that coexist with the humans around them. Because this is the second season for Fukigen na Mononokean, you’d be doing yourself a disservice jumping into this one without catching up on the first. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed if you’re looking for something that’s an easy watch that has a good balance of humor and seriousness all wrapped in a world that’ll pull you in before you even realize what happens.

Watching This: Zephyr Excitement Level: Average
Show Fukigen na Mononokean: Tsuzuki Promotional Videos ▼

W’z | W’z《ウィズ》Top
Animation: GoHands Premiere: January 5th, 2019
Genre: Action, Music Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays at 25:30
Episodes: 13 Station: Tokyo MX
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @wz_anime or #ウィズ

Preview by Passerby

Studios Frontier Works and GoHands brings us a new original production, once again set in Osaka! There lives one Yukiya (Fukuhara Katsumi) who, judging by his boyish good looks, is somewhere in his mid-teens. He mostly spends his time loitering around the city alone and working part time as a DJ. That last part he got from his father (Fukuyama Jun), who was a sound engineer and fostered in his son an affinity for music. Like many young men his age, Yukiya yearns to make a name for himself but he’s also fundamentally a coward afraid of being hurt, so he keeps to uploading videos online anonymously. But one day while chasing extra views he stumbles across something he wasn’t supposed to: a live broadcast from a parallel world where people battle with mysterious yet strangely flashy powers. Digging deeper, Yukiya finds out that in this world he may be able to find what he has been seeking. But he knows that he’s weak and can’t do anything alone. If he had the right allies, though, perhaps he can make something extraordinary happen.

In the world of shady anime, are there any shadier than the purple GoHands original? This isn’t because they’re necessarily bad (though, Hand Shakers *laugh track*), but because they’re particularly obfuscating. It’s a phenomenon unique to anime; where other media try to market themselves by selling their premise as hard as possible, some anime go to excruciating lengths to hide what they’re actually about. Every sentence of the released premise for W’z is designed to use as many words as possible to say nothing at all, which is an art form in Japanese, a language based on ambiguity. Apparently W’z (insert your own W’z joke here) is supposed to be a show targeted at women. I don’t know what that means. I suppose there are ample helpings of pretty young men in the promotional materials, but otherwise your guess is as good as mine. Heck, I don’t even know who’s leading the production team of this show. I’ve got nothing. At least the PVs do paint a rough picture of a stylish anime with some focus on modern music, but one should always be cautious of a show that goes so far out of its way to sell itself entirely on style. I’d give this one a look if only out of morbid curiosity, but beyond that there be dragons.

Watching This: No one yet Excitement Level: Average
Show Spoiler ▼

Ueno-san wa Bukiyou | 上野さんは不器用Top
Animation: Lesprit Premiere: January 6th, 2019
Genre: Comedy, Romance, School-Life Airtime (GMT+9): Sundays at 24:30
Episodes: 12 Station: BS11
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @missueno_anime or #上野さんは

Preview by Choya

Ueno-san (Serizawa Yuu) is a genius inventor who is in her third year of junior high school. As the head of the Science Club, she finds herself in a tough spot when she secretly falls in love with one of the club’s members, Tanaka (Tanaka Aimi). Ueno-san is in love with the concept of falling in love, but she is much too shy to express herself and confess her feelings to him through face-to-face contact. After all, she’s a master inventor beyond her years, so she would be able to win him over by using one of her many inventions, right? Well, that’s where things get a little dicey. The story of Ueno-san is a tale of love, courage, failure, and laughs as Ueno-san attempts to make full use of her eccentric inventions to impress Tanaka and indirectly confess her love to her Science Club kouhai.

Right from the get-go, Ueno-san wa Bukiyou stands out with its cute and polished art style. The fun, poppy visuals of the manga are amplified to their highest degree with how fluid, vibrant, and expressive the characters are. Ueno-san is an adorable protagonist who carries the series with how flustered she gets as she tries to put her heart into her wonky inventions. With the focus on the laughs and embarrassment that come from Ueno’s attempts of woo Tanaka, it helps that the art is expressive enough to capture the lengths Ueno goes to impress him. As a romantic gag comedy, the desperation and creativity that go into her inventions are on full display with the conclusions she draws about winning Tanaka over going above and beyond to place her dignity on the line. With Ueno-san wa Bukiyou, you can expect some of the most eccentric, expressive, and inventive humor of the winter season.

Watching This: Choya, Stilts Excitement Level: Optimistic
Show Ueno-san wa Bukiyou Promotional Videos ▼

Dororo (2019) | どろろ (2019)Top
Animation: MAPPA Premiere: January 7th, 2019
Genre: Action, Adventure, History Airtime (GMT+9): Mondays at 22:00
Episodes: 24 Station: Tokyo MX
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @dororo_anime or #どろろ

Preview by Choya

Hyakkimaru (Suzuki Hiroki) is a wandering swordsman who was born without most of his body parts after his father struck a deal to dominate the battlefield in exchange for his son’s organs. The abandoned Hyakkimaru survived thanks to a country doctor who gave him prosthetics to help him carry himself. As Hyakkimaru grew up, he learned to use his sixth sense to help himself, but he eventually discovered he had been attracting the supernatural in the process. Armed with his blades and prosthetics, Hyakkimaru wanders Japan to hunt down the demons who stole his body parts and regain the parts they stole from him before he confronts his father. Along the way, he is joined by a young orphan named Dororo (Suzuki Rio), a self-proclaimed bandit thief whose father was a notorious bandit king who was struck down by the shogunate. Together, the two set out to right wrongs, help the helpless, and mercilessly cut down anyone in their way.

As a classic manga from Tezuka Osamu (author of Astro Boy, Black Jack, Buddha, and Kimba), there is a long history to the story of Dororo. The original manga ran from 1967 to 1968 with a 26 episode anime running a year after its final chapter. It has since been adapted into the video game known as Blood Will Tell in 2004 and a live-action film in 2007. Although the series is notorious for having ended on an abrupt note, a new adaptation could definitely provide some closure to Hyakkimaru’s quest for vengeance and shed light on Dororo’s upbringing as he travels with the wandering swordsman. With the recent success that MAPPA has had, Dororo looks like it will be in good hands. Recent promotional videos have also been promising with a dark and thematic tone that captures the intensity of the manga to an exceptional degree. With the combined efforts of MAPPA and Tezuka Productions, Dororo is slated to continue the trend of being another exciting, action-packed show to look out for this winter.

Watching This: Choya, Guardian Enzo, Pancakes, Passerby Excitement Level: High
Show Dororo (2019) Promotional Videos ▼

Mob Psycho 100 II | モブサイコ100 IITop
Animation: Bones Premiere: January 7th, 2019
Genre: Action, Comedy, Supernatural Airtime (GMT+9): Mondays at 23:00
Episodes: 13 Station: Tokyo MX
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @mobpsycho_anime or #モブサイコ100

Preview by Guardian Enzo

If I had a “higher than highest” expectations category, Mob Psycho 100 II would be in it. All signs point to “yes” in a big way with this one. The first season was great, manga readers say what’s coming is even better, we have the best young director (along with Matsumoto Rie) in anime at the helm, and the folks from Bones have been acting like the cat who ate the canary when they talk about this season. Production is ahead of schedule and the manga has recently ended, so there should be no issues with pacing or setting up a finale the way the author intended it. Let’s rock and roll.

Mob Psycho’s first season was #4 on my 2016 Top 10 list, and that was in the strongest year since 2012 – it would have been higher either last year or this. Mangaka ONE certainly deserves a ton of credit, because he’s crafted an insanely clever and inventive series with distinct and nuanced characters. But in Tachikawa Yuzuru, Bones found the perfect director to take ONE’s innately weird vision and make it blossom on-screen. I like One Punch Man and I like what Madhouse and Natsume Shingo did with it, but for me MP100 is both the better manga and the better anime – deeper, more profound and emotionally powerful. After seeing what he could do with the masterpiece Death Parade my first choice would always be to see Tachikawa-sensei do another original series, but if he’s going to adapt Mob Psycho is about as fine a muse as one could hope for. Especially absent Murata Yusuke’s polish as a filter for ONE’s art, this series needed a lot of tweaking to work as an anime – and as great as the manga is, the anime is even better. It’s a perfect marriage of mangaka, director and studio – and that marriage should produce what has to be considered the early favorite for 2019’s best anime.

Watching This: Guardian Enzo, Pancakes, Passerby, Stilts, Zaiden, Zephyr Excitement Level: High
Show Mob Psycho 100 II Promotional Videos ▼

Pastel Memories | ぱすてるメモリーズTop
Animation: project No.9 Premiere: January 7th, 2019
Genre: Sci-Fi, Comedy, Supernatural Airtime (GMT+9): Mondays at 24:30
Episodes: 12 Station: Tokyo MX
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @pasumemo or #ぱすメモ

Preview by Choya

In the somewhat distant future of 20XX, Akihabara and otaku culture have declined. With the general public losing memories of the glory days, many have forgotten what it means to be an otaku. As a result, Akihabara has languished and what was once the “holy land” for otaku is now a shell of its former self. However, there is one shopkeeper who manages one of the few remaining otaku shops on the Akihabara strip. Joined by a dedicated team of otaku girls, they all come together to help people regain their lost otaku memories, bringing about an otaku renaissance for Akihabara. To do this, the girls must battle viruses that infect the world of various works, allowing for otaku to regain their lost memories and restore Akihabara back to its original state as an otaku mecca.

Sentimentality with Akihabara and otaku culture go hand-in-hand with each other when it comes to video game stories. Knowing that Pastel Memories started out as a mobile game comes as no surprise considering it shares the same sentiment as the Akiba’s Trip series, which have doted on the idea of preserving and cultivating the sub-culture that makes Akihabara such a special place for otaku. Having played Akiba’s Trip 2, it’s easy to see why the characters would want to protect Akihabara’s fun and bustling otaku culture from strange vampires aiming to strip the city of its flavor. But rather than focusing on a bawdy concept, Pastel Memories comes from an earnest place as its cast puts all of their efforts into taking on viruses that threaten to delete the fond memories they have of being a part of the anime fandom. While Akihabara is a symbol of otaku culture, the show looks like it will confront the importance behind preserving the fondness that fans have for the anime that inspired them to be so enraptured by Akihabara from the very start. It will be interesting to see how the series approaches the otaku fandom, the memories that we carry with us of the anime that dragged us into the otaku sub-culture, and if there is any crossover potential with the works that the girls of Pastel Memories have to protect.

Watching This: Choya, Takaii Excitement Level: Average
Show Pastel Memories Promotional Videos ▼

Kemono Friends 2 | けものフレンズ2Top
Animation: Tomason Premiere: January 7th, 2019
Genre: Adventure, Furry (jk) Airtime (GMT+9): Mondays at 26:05
Episodes: 12 Station: TV Tokyo
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @kemono_anime or #けものフレンズ

Preview by Pancakes

In the huge, integrated, multi-biome zoo Japari Park, there’s plenty of fun to be had. Every type of animal is present, every variety of cute and fluffy featured, but when a mysterious substance called Sand Star falls on the park one day, all those animals suddenly change—into animal girls. In the aftermath of the Sand Star’s fall, two new animal girls, Serval (Ozaki Yuka) and Caracal (Koike Riko), stumble across a little child (Ishikawa Yui) who became lost during the resulting panic. Scared, lonely, and only wanting to go home, the child winds up befriending these two quirky animal companions, with all three deciding to set out and find where the kid came from. It’ll be a difficult journey traversing the likes of Japari Park, but with plenty of friends around to help lead the way it’ll be one trip without any worries.

When it comes to dark horses, arguably nothing tops Kemono Friends. This kiddie series came out of nowhere in winter 2017 to become the show to watch, a slow moving juggernaut of a show which not only topped global Twitter discussion in its final weeks, but single-handedly caused a renaissance in Japanese zoo attendance and spontaneous meme creation. It was, simply put, bottled anime magic, and when a second season was leaked after airing, many—including yours truly—was grinning from ear to ear. Well, for a while. Since all the Kadokawa drama with staff shakeups and exclusions of late—especially the removal of Tatsuki, the guy who made KF what it was—any optimism has largely dissipated, particularly given this season will, plot-wise, be more or less copy the first, barring a change in the human character. That’s right, no Bag Kaban-chan here. Not to say there won’t be any positive surprises of course (Kimura Ryuuichi is a good choice of director given his kids series work), but everyone knows how well Star War’s resurrection has gone of late. Until we see the results in action, hedging bets would be strongly encouraged, but should KF2 successfully tap into what made its first season so potent, this will be one show to keep tabs on this season.

Watching This: Pancakes Excitement Level: Average
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Watashi ni Tenshi ga Maiorita! | 私に天使が舞い降りた!Top
Animation: Doga Kobo Premiere: January 8th, 2019
Genre: Romance, Yuri, Comedy Airtime (GMT+9): Tuesdays at 22:00
Episodes: 12 Station: AT-X
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @watatentv or #wataten

Preview by Choya

Hana (Sashide Maria) is a fifth-grade student who is best friends with her classmate Hinata (Nagae Rika). When Hinata invites Hana over to her house, Hana is given a first-hand experience of what Hinata’s big sister Miyako (Ueda Reina) is like. Miyako is a clumsy college student who is shy around strangers and spends most of her time indoors, but when she meets Hana for the first time, it’s love at first sight for her. Hana is disturbed by Miyako’s personality and her tendency to make snacks for her in exchange for getting her to dress up in cosplay Miyako makes during her spare time. However, Hana’s wary skepticism is put to the test as she gradually opens up to Miyako and genuinely enjoys her snacks. Will Miyako’s infatuation ever be reciprocated? Will Hana let her guard down and start to develop feelings of her own? In this comedic yuri story, the tone is more light-hearted than what it first seems.

From how it appears, Watashi ni Tenshi ga Maiorita! looks like it would be this Winter’s UzaMaid as a show where a significantly older person is infatuated with a grade schooler. However, those thrown off by the premise will be happy to know the tone is far mellower, with more of a fluffy moe aesthetic than the bawdiness of UzaMaid. Fans of the manga are excited about the prospect of seeing the hilarious and lighthearted comedy that Maiorita! has to offer. With Doga Kobo producing the series, I’m confident they will do justice to the lighter fare that comes with the series’ draw of being both cute and humorous.

Watching This: Takaii Excitement Level: Average
Show Watashi ni Tenshi ga Maiorita! Promotional Videos ▼

Circlet Princess | サークレット・プリンセスTop
Animation: SILVER LINK. Premiere: January 8th, 2019
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi, Sports Airtime (GMT+9): Tuesdays at 23:00
Episodes: 12 Station: Tokyo MX
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @cirpri_anime or #サープリ

Preview by Stilts

Circlet Princess is the adaptation of DMM Games’ web browser RPG of the same name. It’s set in the near future, when people’s lives have been changed by virtual reality and augmented reality. A competitive sport was born from these technologies, known as Circlet Bout (CB), where competitors battle it out in a virtual arena. CB has become a popular esport, so much so that it’s used to decide the wealth of competing schools! More than just a video game, CB factors in all the data about its competitors, including physical abilities, creativity, etc. This is the story of a fledgling team of high school girls at Saint Union Academy as they pursue victory in Circlet Bout.

As someone who’s been into esports as of late, I like the idea of featuring them in an anime. Part of the allure of Dota 2 or Overwatch or Call of Duty is that there’s real skill and drama in the struggle, just like in physical sports, but we also get to watch violent, decisive battle without all the head trauma of boxing. Battle anime are awesome, and sports anime are way more awesome than many people realize, so why not disguise the latter as the former? Winning all around! The devil is in the details, though, so how do them details look? Not bad, though I could see this series going either way. Animated by Silver Link, helmed by journeyman director Tachibana Hideki, and written by game scenario writer Kio Nachi, the staff doesn’t have a ton of experience in their present roles, though they have plenty in related jobs. The animation isn’t the most crisp—it feels more 2009 than 2019—while the seiyuu cast is filled with solid talent and up-and-comers. I’m personally curious how an esports anime will go, so I’ll be checking it out, though I suspect it will only take an episode or two to find out how this show will go. It will be an interesting result either way.

Watching This: Choya, Stilts Excitement Level: Average
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3D Kanojo 2 | 3D彼女 リアルガール 第2シーズンTop
Animation: Hoods Entertainment Premiere: January 8th, 2019
Genre: Drama, School-Life Airtime (GMT+9): Tuesdays at 25:59
Episodes: 12 Station: Nippon TV
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @3Dkanojo_anime or #3D彼女

Preview by Stilts

Adapted from the manga of the same name, 3D Kanojo: Real Girl is the story of young love, told through the prism of social anxiety. In the first season we met Tsuitsui Hikari (Uenishi Teppei), a reclusive otaku who shut himself off from the real world and was satisfied with 2D girls. His cozy life was changed, however, when he was assigned pool cleaning duty with one Igarashi Iroha (Serizawa Yuu), a girl who seemed to embody all the attributes he hated in womankind—blunt, skips school, has no female friends, appears to hang out with a lot of guys—but who was in reality anything but. As much of a social outcast as him, the two end up dating, and feelings steadily grow between them. But many problems arise as well, mostly from their personal issues stymieing their communication, though occasionally their problems are helped (or hindered, or created) by their friends: meek and shy Itou Yuuto (Aoi Shouta), straightforward and honest Ishino Arisa (Tsuda Minami), flashy and shallow Takanashi Mitsuya (Terashima Takuma), and surprisingly gutsy nerd Ayado Sumie (Ueda Reina). But the central crisis remains: Iroha will change schools soon. What will Tsuitsui do?

The first season of 3D Kanojo is one I figured out by the second episode. It’s mostly a formulaic romance series, or at least it seems so in anime form, because the first season was so rushed (and the animation so below average) that few of the manga’s special qualities were allowed to shine through. It was a wonderful example of adaptation decay, which is not something I’m happy about. The trailer I saw for this season didn’t show any improvements in the animation, and with more than half of the (completed in 2016) source manga left to adapt, the second season could end up even more rushed than the first. Not encouraging. However, the reason I still plan to watch 3D Kanojo 2 is because of the characters. Seeing characters who are dense because they’re struggling with social anxiety/ignorance, as opposed to holding the idiot ball (trope!) for the plot’s convenience, is novel, and the characters remain likable even through the adaptation decay. This is one that’s hard to suggest, and to be honest, I probably wouldn’t. But if you’ve watched through to this point, might as well try a few more episodes. Maybe we’ll be in for a surprise, and maybe it’ll even be a good one.

Watching This: Pancakes, Stilts, Zaiden, Zephyr Excitement Level: Average
Show 3D Kanojo 2 Promotional Videos ▼

Kakegurui ×× | 賭ケグルイXXTop
Animation: MAPPA Premiere: January 8th, 2019
Genre: Thriller, School-Life Airtime (GMT+9): Tuesdays at 26:30
Episodes: 12 Station: MBS
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @kakegurui_anime or #賭ケグルイ

Preview by Pancakes

For the children of Japan’s rich and powerful, no ordinary school will do. Only the most prestigious of facilities will meet the needs of the country’s future leaders in business and politics, and it is this role which Hyakkaou Private Academy nobly serves. Knowledge needed for an elite life is taught, all manner of courtesy thoroughly ingrained, but in between the daily bouts of history and language the academy offers a seedier education. A gambling education. Every night Hyakkaou transforms into a raucous gambling den, with students who already have it all betting anything and everything on games of chance in pursuit of the thrill of seeing their peers crushed by their hands. But when one Jabami Yumeko (Hayami Saori) comes along, the academy’s unique arrangement is quickly thrown into chaos. Yumeko, you see, doesn’t gamble to win like the rest, she gambles for the sake of gambling, and with everything on the line at Hyakkaou Private Academy, the risk—and consequences—of this girl’s involvement couldn’t possibly be greater.

There’s no denying, after its summer 2017 airing, that Kakegurui is one series you wouldn’t expect a sequel for. The show may have featured some of the best crazy faces around, as well as several fantastic displays of intense mental shock and awe, but as an overall psychological thriller it somewhat fell short, especially after an anime original ending which wound up copping out on its main showdown. Getting a sequel from this starting point was far from anyone’s mind, yet here we are with more crazy Yumeko and friends right on the horizon. The good news is not much will be changing; with all staff, cast, and MAPPA animation carrying over Kakegurui should seamlessly pick up where it left off. Of course this doesn’t exclude the risk of writing issues ruining things (again), but if Kakegurui can successfully swing back on the manga track—particularly the anticipated Tower arc—and avoid any further anime original pitfalls, this season will be one to watch out for. Your reaction face folder demands it.

Watching This: Pancakes, Stilts, Takaii, Zephyr Excitement Level: Optimistic
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Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari | 盾の勇者の成り上がりTop
Animation: Kinema Citrus Premiere: January 9th, 2019
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy Airtime (GMT+9): Wednesdays at 22:00
Episodes: 25 Station: AT-X
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @shieldheroanime or #盾の勇者の成り上がり

Preview by Zaiden

Naofumi Iwatani (Ishikawa Kaito) is a happy-go-lucky high school student who gets transported to another world alongside three others. Having gained legendary powers, Naofumi seems destined to become an average anime protagonist. Unfortunately, his status as the ‘Legendary Shield Hero’ carries a mysteriously negative stigma, where almost no one wants to be associated with him. To make matters worse, he is incapable of equipping any weapon other than the legendary shield, meaning he struggles to beat weak monsters and gain EXP. However, one person sticks by his side despite these problems, winning his trust. But things only go from bad to worse, as Naofumi wakes one day to discover his gear missing and soldiers knocking on his door, accusing him of committing a heinous crime against his only party member – a crime he did not commit. Guilty until proven innocent, he is cast out and forced to fend for himself. Utterly betrayed and at an all-time low, he ends up purchasing a child demi-human slave named Raphtalia (Seto Asami). Consumed by hatred towards the very world he was meant to save, Naofumi sets off on a harrowing journey with Raphtalia to exact a burning vengeance against those who wronged him.

Tate no Yuusha was brought to life by a double act between writer Aneko Yusagi, and illustrator Minami Seira, and I have to say that the source material starts off very impressively. The onus will be on the production team to make the anime equally as good, if not better. Examining the staff, Takao Abo has no real directorial showings aside from the mediocre Norn9, but Kevin Penkin of Made in Abyss fame is in charge of the soundtrack. So on the balance, at least the music is going to be incredible. Additionally, for massive fans of Aobuta from last season, the voice acting pair behind Mai Sakurajima (Seto Asami) and Sakuta Azusagawa (Ishikawa Kaito) reunite to portray the two primary protagonists of Shield Hero (shoutouts to 22nd Century Multimedia Maverick for pointing this out to me!). Meaning we can have high hopes towards the chemistry between Naofumi and Raphtalia. Those hankering for another darker isekai, ala Re:Zero, might need to readjust their expectations: I’d say this one starts off darkly before mellowing as Naofumi assembles his band of adventurers. This series will focus on Naofumi’s development as a character, and the way in which he rediscovers hope through people he comes to truly care about. For the record, I love this light novel to bits. It isn’t perfect by any means, but it hits some emotional high notes that have become a rarity in this day and age. There’s a lot of lighthearted slice of life between Naofumi and his companions as well. If you’d like to see a revenge play out, when the time comes, Shield Hero will scratch that itch in a satisfactory way.

Watching This: Pancakes, Stilts, Zaiden, Zephyr Excitement Level: Optimistic
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Kemurikusa (2019) | ケムリクサ (2019)Top
Animation: Yaoyorozu Premiere: January 9th, 2019
Genre: Fantasy, Sci-Fi Airtime (GMT+9): Wednesdays at 22:15
Episodes: 12 Station: Amazon Prime Video
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @kemurikusa or #ケムリクサ

Preview by Stilts

Brought to you by the hype studio/director team behind the surprise smash hit Kemono Friends season one, Kemurikusa is an original anime that actually predates their fame-making work. The first pass at Kemurikusa was a two-part ONA series released on YouTube between 2010 and 2012, which won the 24th CG Anime Contest in 2012. This anime is a realization of their ideal. The tale follows girls who fight odd entities nicknamed mushi (bugs). Join Rin (Komatsu Mikako), Ritsu (Kiyoto Arisa), and Rina (Sumi Tomomi Jiena) as they survive in a world of red fog.

I’m sure many fans of Kemono Friends were disappointed to find out that studio Yaoyorozu and director Tatsuki would not be returning for the second season. Will Kemurikusa be able to fill that void? Tatsuki has certainly gone up in star power, if his pet project is getting greenlit for a 12-episode series. I have no idea how the actual story will progress; there’s limited information available about this iteration in particular, and we don’t know how much Tatsuki will change from the original ONAs after the years of experience he’s accumulated since. I can certainly say the animation will be a sticking point to some; it’s the same as Kemono Friends, which is to say “CGI with weird line art,” and getting on board with that is the price of admission. I find myself quite liking the character designs at least, for the animation’s striking color palette if nothing else. It’ll be interesting to see if Yaoyorozu and Tatsuki are really as good as people say, or if their reputation has been overly burnished by just how surprising the first season of Kemono Friends was. There’s only one way to find out.

Watching This: Passerby Excitement Level: Average
Doukyonin wa Hiza, Tokidoki, Atama no Ue. | 同居人はひざ, 時々, 頭のうえTop
Animation: Zero-G Premiere: January 9th, 2019
Genre: Comedy, Slice of Life Airtime (GMT+9): Wednesdays at 23:30
Episodes: 12 Station: AT-X
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @hizaue_pr or #ひざうえ

Preview by Takaii

Having recently become extremely fond of cats myself, I was caught off guard by just how cute and adorable Doukyonin wa Hiza, Tokidoki, Atama no Ue was. Revolving around the life of near-hikikomori author Mikazuki Subaru (Ono Kensho), in HizaUe we quickly learn he’s a talented writer who grew up with a troubled past — a past so full of sadness and angst that it isn’t too hard to give Subaru the benefit of the doubt when he enters hikikomori mode after something triggers him. To make matters worse he’s not great at focusing when something triggers his senses, something being basically anything. All of which leads to a character who has some definite issues that would annoy even the most understanding of people. Luckily, there’s one character in the show who’s able rein in our moody protagonist and that character would be the adorable cat named Haru (Yamazaki Haruka). A stray who’s lived a tough life until meeting Subaru, Haru unexpectedly becomes Subaru’s family when Subaru decides to take him in. Together the two learn and grow together as they try to figure out just what it is that makes life worth living.

I came into the source material not expecting much. A story about a shut-in and a cat? What can you even do with a premise like that? Luckily, I was completely wrong in my original assessment, and couldn’t be happier to experience what Doukyonin wa Hiza, Tokidoki, Atama no Ue has to offer. Besides taking my emotions on a bit of a roller coaster with how often the story slides into sad elements, I never knew I wanted to see things from Haru’s (the cat’s) perspective until I had the opportunity. Because as cute as Haru’s actions are when we’re seeing things from Subaru’s perspective, they take on a whole different meaning when we get to hear Haru’s thoughts as everything is going on. That said, it remains to be seen how this element of the source material will be integrated into the anime adaptation. Overall though, if you’re looking for a cute slice-of-life that prominently features an adorable cat who also acts as a ray of sunshine for someone who really needs some happiness in their life (and may possibly be projecting yourself onto said person), this show should definitely be on your list.

Watching This: Choya, Guardian Enzo, Zaiden Excitement Level: Optimistic
Show Doukyonin wa Hiza, Tokidoki, Atama no Ue Promotional Videos ▼

Meiji Tokyo Renka | 明治東亰恋伽Top
Animation: TMS Entertainment Premiere: January 9th, 2019
Genre: Historical, Romance, Fantasy Airtime (GMT+9): Wednesdays at 23:30
Episodes: 12 Station: Tokyo MX
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @meikoi_staff or #めいこい

Preview by Takaii

Based on a visual novel of the same name, Meiji Tokyo Renka’s premise is a simple one that leaves a lot open to the decisions of the player. In the game, which revolves around Ayazuki Mei (Morohoshi Sumire), our main heroine, we get to watch her leap (or rather time slip) back in time after meeting a proclaimed magician named Charlie (Morikawa Toshiyuki). Arriving in the Meiji era, Mei is stuck between trying to go home or trying to live her best life in a totally different time period, all while trying to handle the various attempts at romance coming from all the amazing Meiji-era guys trying to win her favor.

With very little information for the actual story, it’s tough to form a solid opinion on this one. Based on the show’s promotional videos though, we have at the very least a really nice looking show that should tickle that romance itch if you’ve got one you’ve been trying to scratch. That and like most shows that involve some type of time-leaping mechanic, it looks like there’s a bigger reason to Mei meeting a magician who was able to help her leave her own time period. A reason that looks like it involves her being unable to fit in and definitely unable to enjoy herself. All-in-all, I think this show could be a fun watch for those who are looking for what looks to be your typical romance with hints of time travel and a wee bit of idols all mixed into one glorious show. That and with the universe of Meiji Tokyo Renka spanning various media including mobile and console games, there’s been ample time for the story to flesh itself out and hopefully show us its best incarnation in anime form.

Watching This: No one yet Excitement Level: Limited
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Revisions | revisions リヴィジョンズTop
Animation: Shirogumi Premiere: January 9th, 2019
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi Airtime (GMT+9): Wednesdays at 26:30
Episodes: 12 Station: Fuji TV
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @revisions_PR or #リヴィジョンズ

Preview by Passerby

When Dojima Daisuke (Uchiyama Kouki) was little, he and four of his friends were caught up in an incident that ended up with Daisuke getting kidnapped. He was rescued by a mysterious woman (Komatsu Mikako) who claimed to be from the future. She left Daisuke with a prophecy: one day he will be visited by a terrible danger and he is the only person who can protect everyone. Now, years later, Daisuke is 17 years old and still believes the words of that stranger. His friends do not, and it has caused them to drift apart. But Daisuke may be vindicated yet, for one day a great rift opens in the middle of Shibuya and the old friends find themselves transported 300 years into the future, to a time where civilisation has been devastated by giant robotic monstrosities controlled by an unknown foe known only as ‘the Revision’. There, Daisuke and his friends are given robots of their very own that they can apparently pilot and fight against the Revision. Daisuke leaps at what he thinks is his calling: stand against an apocalyptic future in order to protect his present.

First things first: Revisions is not going to be a weekly broadcasted anime and instead we’ll be getting all its episodes dumped on us on 10 January. Yes, it’s another Netflix original! Netflix has been given us a steady stream (pun… unintended?) of original science-fiction for a while now, and Revisions is their latest offering. I’m always glad to see more science-fiction and am thankful that the Netflix dollars have allowed a resurgence in the genre — sci-fi was arguably anime’s first love and they looked fabulous together — but the problem is that past products have been less than brilliant and if you’ve been burned before it’s understandable to be apprehensive. It doesn’t help that this is a 3DCG anime, which for many hardly inspires trust. What sells the show will have to be the staff. Director Taniguchi Goro needs no introduction, but we’ve also got Fukami Makoto overseeing scripts and his experience with Psycho-Pass does buff his science-fiction credentials. There must be some ambition behind Revisions because a manga and novel have already been planned, so someone must have a high opinion of it. Ambition is a good thing; whether Revisions soars or bombs, it’s most important that it’s interesting, and a premise that reminds one of Bokurano with time travel certainly attracts my attention. Even if you don’t end up binging the entire thing on Netflix it’ll still be worth your time to give it a taste.

Watching This: Choya, Pancakes, Passerby, Stilts, Zephyr Excitement Level: Optimistic
Show Revisions Promotional Videos ▼

Dimension High School | Dimension ハイスクールTop
Animation: Polygon Pictures Premiere: January 10th, 2019
Genre: Comedy, School-Life Airtime (GMT+9): Thursdays at 22:00
Episodes: 12 Station: Tokyo MX
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @dimension_hs or #Dスク

Preview by Stilts

You see that image? The series image right by this paragraph? The animation on about half of those guys looks awfully good, doesn’t it? Almost like they’re live action actors, right? Well guess what, that’s because they are! The long-fabled, completely ridiculous fusion of live action and anime is here, and it’s exactly as silly as it seems! Dimension High School follows five high school boys who are sucked into an anime world while they’re at cram school. The story develops as they cross between the real and anime worlds.

I’ll admit, I don’t suspect this will be any good. The premise is silly, the plot is liable to be nonexistent, and the animation (when it’s used at all) is hilariously bad. But I’d also have to admit that I laughed my butt off watching the trailer, for just how silly this is. It’s not like bookending animated segments with live action ones is such a crazy idea—and before anyone mentions Who Framed Roger Rabbit, this is more like Code Lyoko with one of the worlds live action—but the sheer silliness of the presentation is charming. This is one of those shows I look at and don’t say “Only in anime!”, but rather “Only in Japan!” It’s just so pleasingly dumb. No plan survives contact with the enemy, though, and I suspect my delight at this absurdity will largely wear off under the reality of the thing. Sure, there are talking meteorites and a megalomaniacal Sphinx, but will that be enough when the novelty wears off? My gut says no, but call me crazy, because I kind of want to find out.

Watching This: Choya, Zaiden Excitement Level: Limited
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Girly Air Force | ガーリー・エアフォースTop
Animation: Satelight Premiere: January 10th, 2019
Genre: Sci-Fi Airtime (GMT+9): Thursdays at 23:00
Episodes: 12 Station: AT-X
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @GAF_anime or #ガーリー・エアフォース

Preview by Pancakes

Modern day Earth. Simple. Peaceful. At least until the Zai attacked one day. Mysterious flying creatures seemingly materializing out of thin air, the Zai quickly ravaged what military force humanity could throw at them, overwhelming everything in their path. Only the development of Daughters, a special variant of fighter jet, and their humanoid fighting mechanisms Anima helped stop the Zai advance and finally pushed back against mankind’s greatest threat. In the midst of this total war the young kid Narutani Kei (Osaka Ryota) is saved when fleeing the Zai by Gripen (Morishima Yuuka), humanity’s strongest Anima. Awestruck by Gripen’s abilities and eager for a chance to fly the skies alongside her, Kei decides he’ll also join the fight against the Zai. But as he’ll soon find out, nothing in war is ever that simple.

Let’s see: Alien invasion? Check. Collection of cute girls? Check. Oblivious harem male lead? Definitely check. Oh yeah, you know where this one is going. Girly Air Force is the latest in the collection of sci-fi harem-esque series we get each season, although unlike the usual setup—i.e. skinsuits, pseudo-science weapons, the always mandatory school/battle festival—this one takes its cue from the likes of Strike Witches and Heavy Object (Kancolle, and Upotte!!). Every girl represents a modern military jet, every character quirk relates to real plane issues—it’s a cornucopia of modern military porn for those with a love of all things aviation in a convenient harem-esque setting. As is the case with these types of shows, writing and execution will prove the sticking points, but considering Symphogear’s Ono Katsumi is directing and the series has over nine volumes worth of light novels to adapt, there’s a lot of potential to craft something silly fun. Girly Air Force may not be changing anyone’s mind regarding this type of show, but if you got a thing for cute girls doing their best against evil threats, look no further than this.

Watching This: Choya, Pancakes, Zaiden, Zephyr Excitement Level: Average
Show Girly Air Force Promotional Videos ▼

Yakusoku no Neverland | 約束のネバーランド Top
Animation: CloverWorks Premiere: January 10th, 2019
Genre: Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Thriller Airtime (GMT+9): Thursdays at 24:55
Episodes: 12 Station: Fuji TV
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @yakuneba_staff or #約ネバ

Preview by Pancakes

When it comes to orphanages, nothing beats Grace Field House. Every orphan has the best care around, every kid can pretty much do whatever they want, and every conceivable need is provided by the lovely resident caretaker “Mama” Isabelle (Kaida Yuuko). It’s a life of simplicity, and barring daily physical tests and a ban on going outside the orphanage boundaries, a life without a care in the world. One day, however, two kids, Norman (Uchida Maaya) and Emma (Morohoshi Sumire), ignore the ban, leaving the orphanage confines to return a forgotten toy to a recently adopted orphan. What they discover changes everything. Rather than orphans, the children of Grace Field House are actually livestock for demons, and the time for their harvest is quickly approaching. Discovering they only have months to live before the demons come, Norman and Emma team up with the orphanage’s oldest child Ray (Ise Mariya) to pull off an escape plan with only one objective in mind: ensuring every orphan of Grace Field House makes it out alive.

Cutesy shows with grimdark twists, they’re quickly becoming seasonal anime staples by now, and while it’s hard imagining anything topping the likes of Made in Abyss, YnN fully intends on trying. As Shounen Jump’s next big thing, Yakusoku no Neverland, just like Made in Abyss, keeps things relatively conventional: simple premise, child characters, but a story and setting quickly going right for the emotional throat. Ever thought Chicken Run was too slapstick for the subject matter? You’re in the right place here. While YnN admittedly stumbles a bit in its later arcs after working through the initial shock and awe, considering this season will more or less adapt the first (and arguably best) arc, and the tag team of Kanbe Mamoru (Elfen Lied, Sora no Woto) and Oono Toshiya (Houseki no Kuni) are heading the staff list, you can probably expect something amazing. It’s hard to say whether YnN will wind up being the list-topping success it’s aiming to be, but without a doubt it will be one show to pay serious attention to this season.

Watching This: Guardian Enzo, Pancakes, Passerby, Stilts, Zaiden, Zephyr Excitement Level: High
Show Yakusoku no Neverland Promotional Videos ▼

Go-Toubon no Hanayome | 五等分の花嫁Top
Animation: Tezuka Productions Premiere: January 10th, 2019
Genre: Comedy, Romance, School-Life Airtime (GMT+9): Thursdays at 25:28
Episodes: 12 Station: TBS
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @5Hanayome_anime or #五等分の花嫁

Preview by Choya

Uesugi Fuutarou (Matsuoka Yoshitsugu) is a high school student whose excellent grades and academic abilities are offset by the poverty he faces. His single father struggles with debt while he and his younger sister Raiha often starve throughout the day. However, an opportunity arises for Fuutarou when he comes across a private tutoring job that pays well enough for Fuutarou and his family to stay afloat. The only catch is that all five identical sisters from the wealthy Nakano family are disinterested in studying, and are on the verge of flunking out. To make matters worse, the girls are openly hostile towards Fuutarou as an unknown male student in their apartment, and attempt to have him poisoned, arrested, and kicked out. Can Fuutarou gradually convince the Nakano sisters to put their troublemaking aside to study? Can he gain their trust? Will they succeed in passing their classes? The only thing certain in this quirky romantic comedy is that every day is going to be a free-for-all for Fuutarou and the Nakano quintuplets.

Much of the appeal of Go-Toubun no Hanayome comes from the fun interactions that Fuutarou has with the Nakano sisters. As a collective hive-mind, the Nakano’s are all nearly identical, with their personalities, hairstyles, and subject matters they’re failing at as the only means of telling them apart. The anime does present them with differing hair colors, but this is for the sake of the audience being able to discern them easily. For Fuutarou, the girls all present a tough yet endearing obstacle for him as they all come at Fuutarou with their deliberately lazy ordeals to contrast his serious, no-nonsense personality. While their contrasting status of wealth does come to a head at times, the series is ultimately focused on the fun and crazy times that Fuutarou faces while he attempts to train the girls with only his intellect and snark to protect him from their lunacy. For fun, fluffy hijinks, Go-Toubun no Hanayome is shaping up to be one of this season’s best comedies.

Watching This: Choya, Stilts, Zaiden Excitement Level: Average
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Grimms Notes: The Animation | グリムノーツ The AnimationTop
Animation: Brains Base Premiere: January 10th, 2019
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy Airtime (GMT+9): Thursdays at 25:58
Episodes: 12 Station: TBS
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @grimmsnotes_ta or #グリムノーツTA

Preview by Passerby

In Grimms Notes all your favourite children’s stories and mythologies come together in one setting. In fact, the entire world and all its people are based on stories; not only is it populated by familiar names like Snow White (Yuuki Aoi), Cinderella (Ueda Reina), and Red Riding Hood (Taneda Risa), in fact all its residents are protagonists of their own stories in very literal ways. At birth, each of them are given by the gods of their world, the ‘Story Tellers’, a ‘book of fate’ in which their entire lives are already written. But malevolent gods known as ‘Chaos Tellers’ have hijacked this process, rewriting fates in horrible ways in order to reshape the world in their own twisted image. Now it is up to a band of unique individuals holding blank books of fate to fight these Chaos Tellers and set things right.

What would be an anime season be without a mobile game adaptation? So, here’s Grimms Notes, a side-scrolling action RPG published by Square Enix. It’s not available here in Australia so I can’t tell you what it’s like, but for the Americans and Continentals there’s an English version you can try out on your smartphone platform of choice. Regardless of the quality of the game, though, I can’t say I’m enthused about the anime. There just isn’t much on which to recommend it. The fairytale mash-up conceit is surprisingly common these days, and crossing it with a generic JRPG premise doesn’t add very much. Visually, the PVs we have are not particularly impressive. If there’s a saving grace, it could be the general solidness of the staff. D-Frag’s Sugawara Seiki is directing, industry veteran Yamaguchi Hiroshi is overseeing the scripts, and as is common for adaptation like these, the star-studded voice cast from the game will reprise their roles. Hopefully it’ll all come together into a pleasant fantasy adventure and something more than just an expensive advertisement for a mobile game. Though if you’re a fan of the source you might be fine with that.

Watching This: Pancakes Excitement Level: Limited
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Date A Live III | デート・ア・ライブ IIITop
Animation: J.C. Staff Premiere: January 11th, 2019
Genre: Action, Romance, Sci-Fi Airtime (GMT+9): Fridays at 21:30
Episodes: 12 Station: AT-X
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @date_a_info or #date_a_live

Preview by Stilts

After five(!!) years, the venerated(?) Date A Live series is getting a third season! It follows the exploits of Itsuka Shidou (Shimazaki Nobunaga), who was a generic and “ordinary” high-school boy until he discovered a mysterious girl after a spacequake devastated his town. That’s when his little sister, Itsuka Kotori (Taketatsu Ayana), revealed herself to be the commander of the secret anti-spirit organization Ratatoskr, and demanded that Shidou woo said mysterious girl—and other spacequake-generating spirits like her—in order to seal their powers and save the world. That first spirit was tsundere sweetie “Princess” Yatogami Tooka (Inoue Marina), followed by shy loli “Hermit” Yoshino (Nomizu Iori) and several others, all of who were kissed and had their powers sealed by Shidou—though “Nightmare” Tokisaki Kurumi (Sanada Asami), the worst spirit who has slaughtered over 10,000 people, has yet to be contained. All the spirits will be back as Shidou, with the help of Ratatoskr coworkers like Tobiichi Origami (Togashi Misuzu), seeks to seal the newly introduced seventh spirit, Natsumi (Mano Ayumi).

“Kiss the girls and save the world.” Date A Live is an old-school harem anime, where the author concocted some bizarre reason why the main character needed to be a inveterate philanderer without actually being the kind of womanizer who would toy with women’s hearts. The “assemble a harem without making the main character a creep” genre, if you will. Shidou has a unique power to seal spirits with a kiss, though he has to keep them happy or else their powers might return, because what would a harem anime be without crazy jealously-induced hijinks? As far as things go, Date A Live has always been a pretty good fantasy-action harem anime, though in the second season it began to shake at the seams from the sheer number of haremettes jostling for screen time. It’s only ever going to be as good as its girls, and they’re pretty good, though I didn’t get much from Izayoi Miku (Chihara Minori) at the end of season two personally. Undoubtedly the best character is still Kurumi, for while she’s a psychopathic mass murderer, she’s also the most compelling and multi-faceted character, even if that’s only like three facets instead of the usual one or two. Previous director Motonaga Keitarou is back, this time with a crew at J.C.Staff, so probably it will be more of what we saw before. If you haven’t been watching Date A Live, I would go back and catch the previous seasons, but for those of us who are all caught up, there’s really only one decision. It’s time for another date.

Watching This: Stilts, Zaiden, Zephyr Excitement Level: Optimistic
B-Project: Zecchou*Emotion | B-PROJECT~絶頂*エモーション~Top
Animation: A-1 Pictures Premiere: January 11th, 2019
Genre: Music, Romance Airtime (GMT+9): Fridays at 24:00
Episodes: 12 Station: Tokyo MX
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @BPRO_anime or #Bプロ

Preview by Passerby

Sumisora Tsubasa (Seta Asami) worked at a CD store. But who buys CDs any more? Do kids these days even have CD players? Exactly. So it’s time for a career change. By fluke she lands a position at media giant Gandala Music’s Artists and Repertoire (A&R) department. Basically, she’s the poor schmuck who has to liaison between the artistic interests of the musicians and the corporate interests of the record label. Right off the bat she’s put in charge of Gandala Music’s ambitious new ‘B-Project’ that consists of no less than 10 boys in three idol units: Korekuni Ryuuji (Kishio Daisuke) and Kitakado Tomohisa (Ono Daisuke) of Kitakore; Kaneshiro Goushi (Toyonaga Toshiyuki), Ashuu Yuuta (Hanae Natsuki), and Aizome Kento (Katou Kazuki) of THRIVE; and Masunaga Kazuna (Uemura Yuuto), Osari Hikaru (Morikubo Shoutaro), Nome Tatsuhiro (Okawa Genki), Sekimura Mikado (Matsuda Toshiki), and Onzai Momotaro (Kakihara Tetsuya) of MooNs. After many trials and tribulations, the boys have come to accept Tsubasa as a uniquely talented manager and have perhaps even grown rather fond of her. But new challenges await. A fourth unit, dubbed Killer King, is being added to B-Project. Now there’s a full 14 handsome young men vying for Tsubasa’s attention, in more ways than one.

Do you remember the first season of B-Project? So forgettable was its presence for me that at first I didn’t realise that Zecchou Emotion was supposed to be a sequel. This was not because B-Project proved to be an entirely bad show. Rather, B-Project suffered from a fate arguably worse than failure: mediocrity. In an industry increasingly populated by male-idol and reverse harem anime, B-Project didn’t do enough to give it an edge over competitors like UtaPri. You know the formula: a nondescript self-insert finds herself thrust into an improbable situation. A gaggle of unnaturally eligible bachelors fall for her regardless. ???. Profit. Oh, and of course there’s a tie-in mobile game. Still, the generic nature does not mean B-Project has nothing to offer. It’s a solid looking show, there’s a lot of pretty boys to go around, and the A&R angle could appeal to those with interest in the music industry. And if you enjoyed the first season of B-Project, then you’d need little convincing; most of the staff return for this second season, with the exception of the seiyuu for the female lead, who is on temporary hiatus and has been recast. Considering the nature of the genre, though, you’ll probably hardly notice.

Watching This: No one yet Excitement Level: Limited
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Domestic na Kanojo | ドメスティックな彼女Top
Animation: diomedéa Premiere: January 11th, 2019
Genre: Drama, Romance Airtime (GMT+9): Fridays at 25:55
Episodes: 12 Station: MBS
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @domekano_anime or #ドメカノ

Preview by Zaiden

Fujii Natsuo (Yashiro Taku) is an aspiring writer with a hopeless crush on his high school English teacher. Unable to express his feelings, yet torn by them to the point of despair, he attends a mixer hoping to get over her. He meets Tachibana Rui (Uchida Maaya), a moody girl who seems fed up with life. Believing she would never find true love in her lifetime, she seeks to lose her virginity without any emotional attachment. Rui chooses Natsuo because he was interesting and didn’t seem like a playboy. The two use each other for their own ends, losing their respective virginities without passion, believing they would never see each other ever again. Natsuo is left saddled with immense guilt for betraying his love towards his teacher, Hina (Hikasa Yoko). But fortunately (or rather unfortunately), the spirit of M Night Shyalaman proceeds to hijack the script. I’ll leave you to guess where this one ends up because that would be optimal for your viewing experience, so try to avoid any further spoilers about the premise.

Once, someone asked me to give an example of a chaotic evil alignment in the world of manga. Other than Seo Kouji, I was tempted to respond with Sasuga Kei, the author behind Domestic na Kanojo. Let it be known that her other work, GE: Good Ending, is also a colossal trainwreck for the ages. I’m up to date with Domestic na Kanojo, and it just continues to plough through the existing train wreckage. In short, you want to watch this if you’re a masochist or if you also enjoy seeing the world burn. Because believe me, it will. Oddly enough, although Ibata Shouta’s debut with Girlish Number makes him a highly promising director, I’m starting to think this adaptation could shine brighter with a trashy director who further compounds the situations. But conversely, Ibata-sensei could also derive the most chaos from our source material. Who knows. Some might accuse Sasuga Kei of pulling out convenient yet random plot points which just so happen to maximise drama and suffering. I can confirm they wouldn’t be wrong. But don’t let it detract from the realism and beauty inherent to the flawed world she portrays. Most of us have experienced confused or unrequited feelings of attraction over the course of our lifetime, meaning that it isn’t difficult to relate with these tormented souls and feel sympathy towards their wretched plights. Sasuga Kei’s works are so emotionally raw and angst-ridden which is precisely what makes them compelling – especially to many teenagers and young adults. If you’re still going to give this show a chance despite everything I’ve said, welcome aboard the fun train because it’s gonna be an utter blast!

Watching This: Choya, Pancakes, Takaii, Zaiden Excitement Level: Average
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Mahou Shoujo Tokushusen Asuka | 魔法少女特殊戦あすかTop
Animation: LIDENFILMS Premiere: January 11th, 2019
Genre: Military, Sci-Fi Airtime (GMT+9): Fridays at 26:25
Episodes: 12 Station: MBS/TBS
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @MGSO_asuka or #特殊戦あすか

Preview by Pancakes

In the 21st Century mankind finally discovered alien life, but not the expected kind. Instead of extraterrestrial aliens, beings called Netherbeasts crossed over from an alternate dimension, invading the Earth, overwhelming humanity’s defenses, and nearly bringing the human species to extinction. Thankfully for mankind, however, salvation was found in the Magical Five, a group of five girls imbued with incredible powers able to combat the Netherbeasts. With the help of Magical Five humanity beat back the invasion, and now several years later life has returned to normal. Well, somewhat normal. As Magical Five leader Ootori Asuka (Suzaki Aya) learns, returning to a peaceful life is hard to realize in the face of politics, power plays, and societal unrest. There are many opportunistic people in this brave new world who would kill for her power, and with the war against the Netherbeasts over, no easy way to avoid getting swept up in the chaos. As Asuka will quickly discover, retirement was never an option.

Thanks to Madoka, mahou shoujo deconstructions have become a fixture of modern anime. It’s a concept thoroughly explored now, but if there’s one thing we all know it’s that a little imagination can go a long way, and MSTA makes the most of this fact. Unlike the usual premise of starting with the girls becoming magical girls, MSTA begins long after the magical girl fun and games (read: bloodletting) has ended, asking, in a Watchmen-style way, how these broken cuties will now live in a world used to their existence. It’s an intriguing idea for a mahou shoujo series, and it’s one MSTA pulls off surprisingly well, playing to the gritty cynicism you’d expect from such a setup while retaining all the signature genre staples—i.e. transformation sequences, adorable (and deadly) mascots. While we don’t yet know how well the concept will translate into anime, considering series author Fukami Makoto is handling series composition and LINDENFILMS pretty much lives for this type of show, it seems very possible we’ll see something good. MSTA may not wind up being the next Madoka, but it will certainly meet the need for your next grimdark mahou shoujo fix.

Watching This: Pancakes, Passerby, Zaiden Excitement Level: Average
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Bermuda Triangle: Colorful Pastorale
バミューダトライアングル ~カラフル・パストラーレ~Top
Animation: Seven Arcs Premiere: January 12th, 2019
Genre: Fantasy, Music, Slice of Life Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays at 21:30
Episodes: 12 Station: AbemaTV
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @colopale or #カラパレ

Preview by Stilts

Glittering spotlights. Sparkling, cute, fluffy outfits. Singing in front of thousands of adoring fans. Under the dazzling lights on that big city stage, the mermaid idols of Bermuda Triangle swim and dance freely as they perform. But, before all that, these girls once lived a peaceful live in the village of Parrel. Caro (Shindou Amane), Sonata (Takeda Larissa Tago), Kanon (Hirakuri Moeka), Fina (Tsumugi Risa), and Serena (Toono Hikaru) couldn’t imagine the glittering future awaiting them back when they were mostly fussing over what cakes to eat for their daily snack. This is the story of their cheerful daily life in the mermaid village of Parrel, and all the lovely people who live there.

Technically an offshoot of the Cardfight!! Vanguard franchise, I don’t think there will be any cards nor fighting in Bermuda Triangle: Colorful Pastrale. This seems to be a straightforward slice-of-life idol anime, save that the girls are mermaids. Which doesn’t seem to change much, as the village in the promo video doesn’t look all that different from a village on dry land, save that everyone’s hovering. This feels like a vehicle to show off the show’s up-and-coming seiyuu, in the hopes they’ll become popular and the production committee can spin them off into a real idol unit and make the big bucks. Doesn’t mean it can’t be fun, though, and the animation actually looks better than several of the shady shows I’ve previewed this season. Plus director Nishimura Junji and script writer Yokote Michiko have some serious experience under their belts, so even if it ends up being about what it seems, hopefully it will be a good version of that very thing. Mermaids are cute, and idols are definitely cute. Let’s relax with some of them, why not!

Watching This: No one yet Excitement Level: Average
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Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai: Tensai-tachi no Ren’ai Zunousen
かぐや様は告らせたい ~天才たちの恋愛頭脳戦~Top
Animation: A-1 Pictures Premiere: January 12th, 2019
Genre: Comedy, Romance, School-Life Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays at 23:30
Episodes: 12 Station: Tokyo MX
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @anime_kaguya or #かぐや様

Preview by Zaiden

People fall in love. Most would think mutually reciprocated feelings should lead to a happy conclusion. THAT IS A LIE! There is clearly a defined relationship of power between two lovers. The one who controls and the one who is controlled. The one who obeys and the one who is obeyed. So it follows there must be a winner and a loser. Shuchiin Academy is the setting, a prestigious institution attended by the highest echelons of Japanese elite. Only the wealthiest, smartest and politically connected can attend. While he didn’t come from a wealthy or connected background, Shirogane Miyuki (Furukawa Makoto) is a genius who rose to attain the student council presidency. He consistently ranks among the top five students in all of Japan. Shinomiya Kaguya (Koga Aoi) is an ice-cold beauty who was born into an extremely wealthy family. However, she is no slouch, occupying the Vice President role and frequently placing second right behind Shirogane. Given their considerable capabilities, they are very prideful individuals always vying to outdo one another. But you see… these two might not want to admit it, but they certainly seem to possess feelings for one another. Yet… LOVE IS WAR! And whoever confesses first will lose. Devious scheming, opportunistic alliances, frivolous treachery… what levels won’t they stoop to in order to extract a confession out of the other?

Romantic comedy is Akasaka Aka’s schtick, and his art style has always been distinct and pleasant. Where his previous work, ib – Instant Bullet, failed by trying to do too much with so little, Kaguya-sama is a different beast. You expect a Weekly Jump title to get your heart pumping with excitement, and I must confess that the battle of wits between Mikyuki and Kaguya ranks highly among my most anticipated weekly fixtures. It reminds me of the funky and exaggerated stuff you get from JoJo’s Bizarre Adventures, only without clobbering any bad guys. The way they try to nefariously plot against each another leads to unpredictable outcomes, and their wicked conniving is equal measures ridiculous as well as genuinely humorous. Now, let’s have a look at the director to decide if this adaptation has any hope. Hmmm… yes… YES!! I’m liking the look of Omata Shinichi, this man clearly knew what he was doing with Sankarea and Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu. However, Grancrest Senki has proven to be a blemish on his record. If we consider it an anomaly, we should be in relatively good hands. Therefore I look forward to seeing the outcome, and I highly recommend that absolutely everyone give this show a chance!

Watching This: Choya, Guardian Enzo, Pancakes, Stilts, Zaiden, Zephyr Excitement Level: Optimistic
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Endro~! | えんどろ~!Top
Animation: Studio Gokumi Premiere: January 12th, 2019
Genre: Fantasy, Slice of Life Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays at 25:00
Episodes: 12 Station: Tokyo MX/BS11
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @endro_anime or #えんどろ

Preview by Stilts

Naral Island is a continent with swords and magic, where humans and monsters coexist. The terrible Demon King lives there. In ancient times, the first Hero defeated the Demon King. Over the many generations since, the Demon King has been resurrected, and the Hero who opposes him has likewise reappeared. In the current day, girls attend a school for adventurers in the hopes of joining the hero’s party and helping to defeat the Demon King. Endro~! follows four such girls: Yuuria “Yuusha” Shardet (Akao Hikaru), who’s an airhead with good intuition, good luck, and a habit of looting people’s houses for items; Elnowar “Seyla” Seylan (Natsukawa Shiina), a serious tsukkomi of a holy elf who’s bad at housework; Fai Fai (Ozawa Ari), a naive and energetic warrior who goes berserk and gnaws on her friends when she’s hungry; and Meiza “Mei” Endust (Minase Inori), a quiet and usually expressionless magician who becomes animated when discussing the mysterious item Caltard. Along with loli mascot teacher Mao (Kuno Misaki) and hero otaku Princess Rona Pricipa O Rabanesta (Asakura Momo), follow the girl’s quest to become part of the hero party … even as they mostly live a relaxed fantasy life, with no sign of this Demon King they’re supposed to defeat no matter how much time passes.

Endro~! gives every sign that it is indeed a relaxing slice-of-life story about girls who are training to become adventurers, but mostly just goof off. I say that because the last time Studio Gokumi released an original anime that had something to do with heroes, it turned out rather different than we expected. That could happen again, but seeing as how I’m pretty sure we’ve already met the hero and the demon king, and how they’d have to know we’d be on the look out for the twist this time, and everything I’m seeing about this one in general, I’m expecting them to play Endro~! straight. Probably. And I’ll be happy if they do, because while director Kaori has a short resume, head writer Aoshima Takashi has a ton of experience working on really good comedy anime, which is an excellent sign. Add on the solid premise, the luscious Gokumi-style animation, and a top-notch voice acting crew, and this one is set up for a good time. I’m definitely watching Endro~! I hope you’ll give it a try too.

Watching This: Stilts Excitement Level: Optimistic
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Kouya no Kotobuki Hikoutai | 荒野のコトブキ飛行隊Top
Animation: GEMBA Premiere: January 13th, 2019
Genre: Adventure, Military, Western Airtime (GMT+9): Sundays at 22:30
Episodes: 12 Station: Tokyo MX
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @kotobuki_PR or #コトブキ

Preview by Passerby

Life is hard on the untamed frontier. The wide open wilderness holds many dangers, some natural, some human. But with danger also comes opportunity, and entrepreneurs and adventurers have flocked to the frontier to make their fortunes. Adventurers like crack pilot Kirie (Suzushiro Sayumi), who joins the notorious Kotobuki Squadron, a mercenary band of female aces. This motley crew makes their living on the frontier as bodyguards, couriers, and by generally taking odd jobs solving problems in ways only their wing of Hayabusa fighter planes can. But the Kotobuki do not have air superiority. With untamed lands comes an untamed sky, and many vie for control of it. Who knew the Wild West would have so many dogfights?

Itching for more Girls und Panzer? Well, you’re in luck, because director Mizushima Tsutomu is partnering with his trusty military supervisor Ninomiya Shigeyuki to bring us another original Cute-Girls-Doing-Military-Things anime in Kouya no Kotobuki Hikoutai. Except this time it’s aeroplanes instead of tanks, so rather than Girls und Panzer it’s Girls und Flugzeug? Due warning though: obviously, the two shows will end up being significantly different. GuP was lightning in a bottle, and while attempts to replicate it have yielded perfectly decent anime in their own right (e.g. Hai-Furi), none have quite reached its level of runaway sleeper success. So while Kouya no Kotobuki Hikoutai may seem like it’s here to complete the trifecta of land, sea, and now air, it’s best to take it as its own thing. There’s the whole old Western theme, which seems interesting. It seems to only feature Japanese planes, which seems narrow. And the biggest thing, the elephant in the room, perhaps the deal breaker for some, is that’s it’s 3DCG. Hopefully we can get used to that (and in aerial sequences where the focus is on the machines, we’d probably hardly notice) because there’s promise in this show. Joining Mizushima to oversee scripts is the exemplary Yokote Michiko. The two have worked together before on Shirobako, and that one worked out rather well. If all of that skill can be transferred to Kouya no Kotobuki Hikoutai, we’ll have something great on our hands. Even if not, hey, we’ve got cute girls, we’ve got mecha. It’s hard for anime to go wrong with that.

Watching This: Choya, Pancakes, Passerby, Stilts, Zaiden Excitement Level: Optimistic
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Shingeki no Bahamut: Manaria Friends | マナリアフレンズTop
Animation: CygamesPictures Premiere: January 20th, 2019
Genre: Fantasy Airtime (GMT+9): Sundays at 24:30
Episodes: 10 Station: Tokyo MX
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @manaria_friends or #マナリア

Preview by Pancakes

Famous across the land, the Mysteria Academy of Magic is renowned for its instruction and education in all forms of magic. Every day world-class teachers instill their knowledge in talented and prodigious students to help raise the next generation of magic wielders. But Mysteria’s venerable schooling isn’t immune from the more rambunctious side of school life. When a student prank goes terribly wrong one day and tears open the door separating the world from the Dark Realm, Mysteria is thrown into chaos as all manner of monstrous abominations cross over and start wreaking havoc. In the midst of this destruction one lonesome dragon Grea (Fukuhara Ayaka) decides to make a stand. Together with her friend Anne (Hikasa Yoko), she will restore order to Mysteria and bring back the peaceful days she loves so much, one way or another.

Oh SnB, how the mighty have fallen. After the divisive results of Virgin Soul, the SnB franchise has more or less been written off the sequel block—at least enough so that long forgotten Manaria Friends here, indefinitely postponed over two years ago, was never revived until recently. What happened, what changed? We shall never know (*cough* production hell), but the important thing to note is that Manaria Friends is not actually a Virgin Soul (or SnB: Genesis) sequel. This one is a completely standalone story, adapting one of the more popular events in SnB’s source game into a largely slice-of-life show. Kaisar, Rita, FAVARO!!!? Nowhere to be found here unfortunately (sorry Favaro lovers), but Manaria Friends will at least be “truer” to its source than the SnB we’ve seen before. While this invites its own host of problems (remember Soul Eater NOT!?), with Manaria Friends rumoured to be a 15-minute short and director Okamoto Hideki having a fair share of slice-of-life experience, it’s not that unlikely this will turn out better than its recent predecessor. We won’t know until the first episode obviously, but Manaria Friends might just be the thing needed to help right the course on the SnB ship.

Watching This: Pancakes, Stilts, Zaiden, Zephyr Excitement Level: Average
Show Shingeki no Bahamut: Manaria Friends Promotional Videos ▼

Piano no Mori (2019) | ピアノの森 (2019)Top
Animation: Gaina Premiere: January 27th, 2019
Genre: Drama, Music Airtime (GMT+9): Sundays at 24:30
Episodes: 12 Station: NHK
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @piano_anime_tv or #ピアノの森

Preview by Zaiden

Having risen from humble beginnings as the son of a prostitute hailing from one of Japan’s poorest districts, the prodigious pianist Ichinose Kai (Saitou Souma) has gone from strength to strength under the tutelage of Ajino Sosuke (Suwabe Junichi) and finally makes a step onto the global stage. And what better way to kick things off then by partaking in the world’s most distinguished piano competition? The International Chopin Competition is in full procession, and the stakes are higher than ever. In addition to competing with Amamiya Shuhei (Hanae Natsuki), a cherished rival from his childhood days who also made it to this level, Kai also has to face off against some of the best pianists worldwide. Raw talent and persistent dedication have taken him far. But can his profound emotional connection with the piano spur him to carve his name into classical music history?

If you thought the story I described sounded amazing, that’s because it most certainly is. My favourite classical music manga would in fact be a toss-up between Nodame Cantabile and Piano no Mori. However, I’d heavily advise you to go and read the manga while playing the relevant piano pieces in the background on YouTube. You’d think the show would be a guaranteed success with Gainax producing it. Only no… it’s Gaina that’s producing, which is merely an off-shoot subsidiary of the much-diminished old stalwart, and one that has basically nothing to its name once you note all the subpar shows they’ve made. That is to say pretty much all of them are laughably mediocre. Now, I’m not saying the first season of Piano no Mori was bad per se. But considering how the source material is mind-blowingly incredible, the adaptation winded up third-rate relative to the potential it could have achieved with questionable animation and ridiculous pacing. At least the music wasn’t too bad, which is one of the main things about this show. But you don’t just blitz through 100 chapters in 12 episodes while making substantial cuts along the way without pissing the ever-living shit out of existing fans. It’s helped further a bad trend across the rest of the industry too, and now Tokyo Ghoul:re had to go and do the same thing *sigh*. WHY?!?!? In short, if you’ve already watched the first season and want to continue on, I won’t stop you. In my opinion though, there’s no reason for newcomers to pick up the anime when Gaina has done such a terrible job. Not to mention the manga still exists.

Watching This: Guardian Enzo, Zephyr Excitement Level: Limited

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
01/05 Mini Toji | みにとじ
AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Toji no Miko
Shrunk down into chibi form
To promote a game.
01/08 Ame-iro Cocoa: Side G | 雨色ココア sideG
AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia

The fifth season of
Your favourite(?) coffee short
But now they’re all girls.
01/10 Hulaing Babies | フライングベイビーズ
AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
In Fukushima
Seven girls train to hula.
Viva tourism.

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 Zephyr).

Release Date Title Notes
12/03 Hero Mask | ヒーローマスク
12/04 Yuragi-sou no Yuuna-san OVA | ゆらぎ荘の幽奈さん OVA
OVA 3 of 3.
12/05 Liz to Aoi Tori | リズと青い鳥 台本付初回限定版
BD/DVD Release.
12/10 Saint Seiya: Saintia Shou | 聖闘士星矢 セインティア翔
Amazon Prime Video.
12/14 Hori-san to Miyamura-kun | KANJI
OVA 4 of 4.
12/19 Strike the Blood III | ストライク・ザ・ブラッド III
Episode 1-2 of 10.
12/19 Uma Musume: Pretty Derby – BNW no Chikai
ウマ娘 プリティーダービー BNWの誓い
Bundled w/ BD Vol. 4.
12/21 Kyoukaisenjou no Horizon OVA | 境界線上のホライゾン OVA
Bundled w/ BD Box Set.
12/21 Steins;Gate 0 | シュタインズ・ゲート ゼロ OVA
Bundled w/ BD/DVD Vol. 6.
12/31 Asobi Asobase OVA | あそびあそばせ OVA
Bundled w/ manga Vol. 7.
12/31 PERSONA 5 the Animation – Dark Sun OVA
01/16 Eromanga-sensei OVA | エロマンガ先生 OVA
OVA 1 of 2. Bundled w/ LE BD.
January 2019 Ikki Tousen Western Wolves | 一騎当千 Western Wolves OVA
3 Episodes.
January 2019 IT’S MY LIFE
02/13 Boku no Hero Academia: All Might Rising – The Animation
僕のヒーローアカデミア ~オールマイト:ライジング~
Bundled w/ Movie BD/DVD “Plus Ultra” Edition.
02/13 Boku no Hero Academia the Movie: Futari no Hero | 僕のヒーローアカデミア THE MOVIE ~2人の英
BD/DVD Release.
BD/DVD Release.
02/27 Nanatsu no Taizai Movie: Tenkuu no Torawarebito
劇場版 七つの大罪 天空の囚われ人
BD/DVD Release.
02/27 Non Non Biyori Movie: Vacation | 劇場版 のんのんびより ばけーしょん
BD/DVD Release.
02/27 W’z OVA | ウィズ OVA
Bundled w/ BD/DVD Vol. 1.
03/06 Senjuushi: Kijuushi-tachi no Happy Birthday!
千銃士 貴銃士たちのハッピーバースデイ!
03/19 Golden Kamuy 2nd Season OVA | ゴールデンカムイ OVA
Bundled w/ manga Vol. 17. OVA 1 of 2.
03/20 High Score Girl: Extra Stage | ハイスコアガール EXTRA STAGE
Episodes 13-15.
03/20 Usuzumizakura: Garo | 薄墨桜 -GARO-
BD/DVD Release.
03/26 Koukyoushihen Eureka Seven Hi-Evolution 2: Anemone
ANEMONE/交響詩篇エウレカセブン ハイエボリューション
BD/DVD Release.
03/27 Haikara-san ga Tooru Movie 2: Hana no Tokyo Dai Roman
劇場版 はいからさんが通る 後編 ~花の東京大ロマン~
BD/DVD Release.
03/27 Peace Maker Kurogane Movie 2: Yuumei | PEACE MAKER 鐵~友命~
BD/DVD Release.
03/27 Strike the Blood III | ストライク・ザ・ブラッドⅢ
Episodes 3-4 of 10.
03/29 Wotaku ni Koi wa Muzukashii | ヲタクに恋は難しい OVA
Bundled w/ manga Vol. 7.

Overall Impressions


As far as expectations going into this season, I’d say this is a fairly balanced season. It does lack some of the oomph of the more traditionally hyped autumn season, but it has a good breadth of different types of series, different apparently quality levels, the whole shebang. I’ve got a few shows I’m eyeing pretty hard, and the critical consensus has coalesced around several as well. I don’t know, maybe I’ve just gotten really chill in my old age, but I’m approaching this season with a gentle equanimity; I see good things, I see weak points, let’s see how it goes, shall we? I think it’s a good way to go. Or maybe just lazy. You decide.

As for levels, we’ll continue with our now-customary Excitement Levels, which includes four main levels plus Established for special cases. Our goal with these is 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 worked up about a show that ends up falling on its face.

As usual, these levels were arrived at by our regular (and reliably shady) “Excitement Council” of Passerby, Zephyr, and yours truly, Stilts. 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 the appropriate amount of salt, and direct all hate mail at Takaii. He had nothing to do with them, but that just makes it funnier to blame it on him. Take that!

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 three or more times. This can include anything from never-ending shounen and decade-spanning dramas to that quirky comedy that keeps getting renewed 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.

  • Established: n/a


    1. Technically, if you post before you actually publish the page,
      can you claim Firstest? Just asking just in case …

      Anyway, looks like an interesting season.

      Yakusoku no Neverland looks good,
      Boogiepop wa Warawanai (makes me want to watch the 1st),
      Kemono Friends 2 (makes me want to watch the 1st),

      and of course, part two of Slime!

  1. Thank you as always for this awesome preview! I have ONE MINOR complaint, if I may..

    I noticed you changed the first Disclaimer from the classic:

    Back in ye olde year of 2012, *insert fun message, previews were done by a single writer, Divine.

    To the less fun:

    Back in the year of 2012, *insert fun message*, previews were done by a single writer, Divine.

    Please change it back! I completely disagree with the Fall 2017 preview:

    Back in ye olde year of 2012—which is a joke that’s starting to wear thin, since that was half a decade ago

    Even ten decades from now, it’ll still not have worn thin, as I’m sure our children’s children will agree. That ye olde year brings me such joy and pumps me up for the preview each season. Bring it back or I’ll do a backflip (note: I can’t do backflips so I’ll probably injure myself, do you really want that?).

    Thank you, and have a beautiful new year!
    hops into the preview

      1. Yay, thank you!

        To be fair, I don’t read it all, I skim through it to check for anything new since last season’s text.. But my eyes always land on that particular part and it pumps me up! 😀

        You take the time to write something, it’s only fair someone ends up reading it~

  2. On Meiji Tokyo Renka, there isn’t any other deeper story other than what’s mentioned in the preview. The draw is that all the guys are ikemen versions of real-life Meiji glitterati. Think Bungou Stray Dogs without the shounen fighting powers.

  3. – Manaria Friends – giving it a chance because I liked both Bahamut series (and yes, I did very much like Virgin Soul as well, though it is a good example of when not doing the expected can piss off the audience)
    – Boogiepop wa Warawanai – this looks interesting, and is something of a classic, not to mention the Mommy of LNs
    – Dororo – a classic Manga whose setting is very Japanese and the style is like in a battle shounen? Yeah, sign me up!
    – Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari – and it has started… the Revenge Isekai genre is coming to Anime form. People who thought that Isekai were repetitive will soon come to learn the horror of the Revenge Isekai! I’ll give it a chance, though the first few chapters suggest that this isn’t breaking from mold of the rest of this subgenre. But it is one of the first of this genre I think, so I probably can’t fault it for this
    – Date A Live Ⅲ – it will be good to have it back, but I echo a friend’s fears for production values. I don’t think we had any Promotional Videos, but in that last promotional image all girls had identical expressions… besides Kurumi of course, she will have none of that shit ;P
    – Yakusoku no Neverland – it will be good to see the first arc animated
    – Kaguya-sama – I really hope they don’t rush this. I really hope they don’t rush this. I really hope they don’t rush this.

      1. Yeah, I realized it as I read the Manga. Story tropes that Revenge Isekai contain are here, but it’s actually a good show.

        It does make me wonder if Shield Hero inspired those works, or if it is a better take on stories of the betrayed isekai protagonist.

      1. The description mentioned nothing of this being the second season. And since I’m only half way through the first season, I couldn’t have known there’s a possibility for a second season. So there was nothing foolish about my post. You’re just an asshole. Thanks for the reply though!

  4. Once, someone asked me to give an example of a chaotic evil alignment in the world of manga. Other than Seo Kouji, I was tempted to respond with Sasuga Kei, the author behind Domestic na Kanojo. Let it be known that her other work, GE: Good Ending, is also a colossal trainwreck for the ages. I’m up to date with Domestic na Kanojo, and it just continues to plough through the existing train wreckage. In short, you want to watch this if you’re a masochist or if you also enjoy seeing the world burn. Because believe me, it will.

    This must be the funniest introduction to a series I’ve read in a long, long time. And as someone familiar with the work of both authors, I approve.

    Looking forward to what they do with Kaguya-sama. And I’ll watch Date A Live for Kurumi alone. One of my favorite characters in anime.

  5. Not as stacked as last winter. I’m going to watch:
    – Mob Psycho 100 season 2. After a great first season, this one is an obligatory.
    – Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari. I really enjoyed Re:Zero and Isekai Slime so I must enjoy this.

    I’ve heard good things about Yakusoku no Neverland and Kaguya-sama but never read them. Maybe gonna check them later.

    One Pinch Man
  6. I just looked for Date A Live blog posts on randomc and am surprised that only the 1st episodes of each season were blogged. Anyways, time to catch up on the movie before the start of the 3rd season.
    The first episode’s humor of Mob Psycho 100 didn’t work that well for me, but considering how beloved this series it, I’ll have to give it another chance.
    Other than that, I’m very much looking forward to Shield Hero and the sequel of Kakegurui.

  7. Kouya no Kotobuki Hikoutai and Kouya no Kotobuki Hikoutai together in 1 season?


    My winter watch list can’t hold out against such air superiority!

    Feels like Strike Witches Berlin came early!

    Henrietta Brix
  8. So far, Egao no Daika, Shingeki no Bahamut, Pastel Memories has already pre-aired. This I have watched.

    Egao no Daika might have some potential.
    Shingeki no Bahamut… might as well decide on my next try.
    Might be dropping Pastel Memories on the next try.

  9. First Impression on watching this List: Feels good

    But i must point out that the “current” Anime Industry creates to many “Twin” or “Semi-Twin” Sisters.. or some of the Character design remember of other old Animes.. Well, i know they can not reinvent the Wheel a new. But at last they could try not to repeat no more recycle old “standard” characters

  10. When I saw 3D Kanojo up there my first thought was “Oh, I watched the first season of that so I guess I’ll watch the sequel!”

    Followed by “Wait… how did the first season end again?”. Followed by going into my anime drive and not finding it. Followed by doing a search to see if it got sorted somewhere else. Followed by remembering that it was such an uninspiring, bland and poorly produced series that when I ended up falling behind on it I didn’t even put it in my backlog and just deleted everything outright.

  11. Also wanted to say thank you to the RC staff.

    I’ve looked at other sites for the season previews (over the years and many
    seasons) and there’s just something about how this preview is organized
    and its formatting that makes it a very easy read.

    Hopefully, as the site evolves, this will remain the same…

  12. Most definitely gonna watch Neverland, Kaguya-sama, MSTA, Dororo, and Boogiepop.

    On a side note, we had Angolmois, which mirrored upcoming video game Ghost of Tsushima. Now we have Dororo, and maybe Miyazaki Hidetaka used that as inspiration for Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice after using Berserk for Dark Souls and Bloodborne. Is this merely a happy coincidence? 2 anime looking a lot like upcoming video games? I love it!

  13. Sequels
    BanG Dream
    Date A Live
    (Really want to add Kemono Friends here but given the drama I’ll stay put)

    Definitely interested
    Boogiepop wa Warawanai
    Watashi ni Tenshi ga Maiorita (Excited for this one, I love the manga)

    Go-Tobon no Hanayome
    Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai
    Kouya no Kotobuki Hikoutai

    Give it an episode
    Mahou Shoujo Tokushusen Asuka
    Ueno-san wa Bukiyou
    Pastel Memories
    Circlet Princess

  14. First and foremost, thank you for doing this. RandomC has been the sole reason I stuck around in my early-watching days, and these Previews are a god(s)send. Also, I’m really digging the Weekly Round-ups!

    (1.5: Any chance Mr. Stilts is considering returning to blog this season?)

    Onto my main question: I’ve recently encountered something called “Kimi no Suizou o Tabetai”. I thought it was an upcoming anime, but ya’ll haven’t covered it here, not even listed it in the ova section or shorts. Is it not new, but older, and if so, any thoughts on whether I should try to work it into my weekend?

    1. I think the biggest thing for us is that it hasn’t been officially released as a BD/DVD so many of us haven’t had a chance to purchase it/view it/get caps from it. It’s been out in cinemas all over though, yes, and it’s available as an AMZN JP only video IIRC.

    2. It’s unlikely that I’ll return to blogging this season. I’ll still probably do the odd intro (and had planned to do finales for autumn, but real life got in the way), but I probably won’t return to blogging until something like HeroAca comes back. Probably.

    1. We don’t include theatrical showings because they don’t mean too much to anyone outside of JP so we wait until the BD/DVD comes out officially for it to be added in and considered for the year.

  15. Listing Kaguya-sama as “Optimistic” compared to what you rated as “High” seems like a crass underestimation to me.

    I’ve been around in anime/manga circles for over 20 years, and Kaguya-sama is definitely within my top3 shows ever. It does everything in an extremely smart and endearing way. Where does anyone find shows which make me giggle or tear up after the 10th rereading?

    It’s a gem. Don’t miss it!

    1. Absolutely agree,one of the best romcom manga of all time,even on MAL it’s rated the highest among others in this genre,hope the anime will be at least half as good as the source

      1. Outvoted? Does that mean that the results are the arithmetical mean of multiple votes? I always thought it was the opinion of the person writing the preview for the respective show?

        Punish them, Stilts! Punish them!

      2. No one reads the actual post 🙁

        They’re always agreed upon by the (reliably shady) Excitement Council, consisting of me, Zephyr, and Passerby (who replaced Zani). Though we are reading the previews as well, so we try not to have them clash with what the writer wrote.

  16. Kemono Friends 2… I’ll have to look at it, due to how well the first series overcame its kid-show design, its low-quality 3DCG, and a budget that seemed to be basically whatever change they could find under the couch cushions to become something fascinating… but I’m not optimistic after all that’s happened.

    By the same token, I’ll have to check out Kemurikusa. I did see the original OVA, but it was untranslated so I don’t actually know what was going on.

    Bermuda Triangle and Endro both look like exactly the sort of fluff I love, so I’ll be all over those.

    Kouya no Kotobuki etc. sounds like it could be interesting.

    And while I have zero interest in prior Shingeki no Bahamut stuff, Manaria Friends is apparently a slice-of-life-ish sort of story, so I might be more willing to check it out.

      1. The only thing that really makes sense is that Sunrise has no interest in continuing the series and produced the OVA for LN viewers who they most likely assumed jumped straight to the LNs after Season 2. It’s a shame. I wonder what the odds are that another studio is looking at the strong sales for the show to date and considering taking the show from Sunrise? Probably low..

      2. Actually, it’s already out and subbed.
        Disappointingly, it’s only abt. 12 mins long, lol. At least it looks great.
        And of course it’s damn confusing as Show Spoiler ▼

        Whatever, I think I’ll rewatch the first two series and then might take a look at the LN.

        Stilts edit: Fixed.

      3. I would explain under a spoiler tag but I’m fairly sure some of the staff are fans and given that mods are obliged to check tag posts. Well I just wouldn’t do that. It all makes sense if you read the LNs that’s for sure.

    1. The OVA was released in a completed series boxset for 30k yen on Dec 21. I doubt anyone will license it either, so you’ll struggle to find subs unless there’s someone out there willing to do it. Saying that the fact almost 7000 people bought such an expensive boxset shows the series still has strong support.

  17. Mob Psycho 100 S2
    The Promised Neverland
    Shield Hero

    Basically the “main” heavy-hitters of upcoming Winter Season,they all have a combination of famous/acclaimed source(most of them I read) and some promising staff working on them,for me next season is looking good

  18. Well, now I’m interested.
    I didn’t even watch the first episode of this season’s Kishuku Gakkou no Juliet as the premise sounded too generic to me, and frankly, this as well, but considering the praise here, I’ll give it a chance.

      1. I don’t dislike the manga of Kishuku Gakkou no Juliet (never tried the anime), but Kaguya-sama is in an entirely different league.

        It is also uncommon in that its strongest chapters come later, once the characters are fully established (most Romedys live from their main pairing with strong early chapters). We’ll see how far we will get.

  19. I’ll give a bit over a dozen shows a chance with þe olde 3 episode rule, though hopefull I don’t get any that are so horrible I drop it after the first episode (like I did with “Conception” from last season).

    Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari – I’m a little hesitant due to Crunchyroll’s involvement, but I’m a sucker for revenge stories.

    Kakegurui XX – Loved the scheming and crazy characters from the first season and the manga, so I’ll definitely be checking out the sequel.

    Yakusoku no Neverland – Looks like this could be a good solid horror story.

    Domestic na Kanojo – I admit I’m in it for the trainwreck, provided that it turns out to be an entertaining one.

    Mahou Shoujo Tokushusen Asuka – Enjoyed the manga so far. Like the take on the “dark mahou shojou” trend with looking how these girls would be utilized in time.

    Girly Air Force – Might be good; might be crud. I’ll give it þe olde 3 episode rule to see if they do anything interesting with the premise or not.

    Watashi ni Tenshi ga Maiorita! – Looks like nice “turn your brain off fluff” that sounds like an cross between UzaMaid and Ichigo Mashimaro in tone.

    Ueno-san wa Bukiyou – Likely an amusing show, though it seems to be more in the vein of “turn your brain off and relax” rather than a knee-slapping laugh-fest.

    Kouya no Kotobuki Hikoutai – “Girls und Flugzeug”? I’m sold.

    Kemurikusa and Kemono Friends 2 – Not sure what to expect, but I’ll be judging each show against the other as well as both against the original Kemono Friends.

    Manaria Friends – I’ll give it þe olde 3 episode rule, particularly since it looks like the only “fantasy academy” show this season.

    Endro~! – Has the potential to be decent “turn of your mind” fluff.

    Dororo and Boogiepop – I’ll probably give these a try because of where they came from, so I’ll at least give it þe olde 3 episode rule.

  20. The series from the list that I’ll watch for sure:

    – “Dororo”
    – “Piano no Mori (2019)”
    – “Ueno-san wa Bukiyou”
    – “Yakusoku no Neverland”

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

    – “Boogiepop wa Warawanai”
    – “Fukigen na Mononokean: Tsuzuki”

  21. Rarely get hyped by anime trailers, but Mahou Shoujo Tokushusen Asuka managed to do it. I think their choice of music means they know what they’re doing. At least their view of the story is the same as mine.:P

  22. guess i should also list the series i’m looking forward to:

    *Yakusoku no Neverland – award winning series with substantial popularity, will watch to find out why.

    *Mob Psycho 100 II – one of my favourite series from 2016, sequel is hopefully bigger and better.

    *5-tobun no Hanayome – interesting premise, amusing MC and great female MC’s (yes all 5). looking forward to seeing it animated.

    *Kaguya-sama – interesting premise that seems rather unique as romcoms go… keen to see the reason for how popular it is.

    *Dororo – reminds me of Sword of the Stranger, which was a movie with amazing animation but not fully realised story, likely limited by length. hopefully with a full season story can be properly realised and characters properly developed.

    *Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari – one of the OG isekai series. MC is a bit an edgelord but improves over time. decent plot and world-building too.

  23. Thoroughly…concerned about how an expanded audience will receive a specific Sister from Promised Neverland.
    Cause I had just started reading the manga and her character design doesn’t sit well with me…so we’ll see.

  24. W’z sold me with its chill Nujabes-style soundtrack, nothing else needs to convince me further.

    I’ll also probably check out Revisions, assuming the promise of it being released stateside on the 10th is true.

  25. Happy New Year! (And a belated “Happy Birthday” to Aqours’ Dia Kurosawa.)

    “Winter is coming,” and that reminds me, so is the final season of Game of Thrones! And season 3 of The Grand Tour… And movies like Captain Marvel, Avengers: Endgame, John Wick 3: Parabellum, Godzilla: King of the Monsters… But I digress. 2019 already has lots to look forward to and anime is no exception.

    Will surely watch:
    Date A Live season 3 – October 21, 2017–the second best day I had as a long-time anime fan. Not only did the the promo trailers for Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory and High School DxD HERO premiere that day, the third season of Date A Live was also announced. But I still felt that it was “too good to be true” or could be cancelled/pushed back, so I wanted some kind of insurance, even if it’s of the spiritual kind. So upon arriving at Kansai International Airport on Tanabata back in 2018, I made a wish on a tanzaku for Date A Live season 3 to push through (also counts as a reference to the “Kurumi Star Festival” season 2 OVA). Suffice to say, it seems to have worked.

    But after seeing the promotional artwork and the first promo video on ANN, I’ve become more cautious with expectations. More so with J.C. Staff also being busy continuing Index this season, as well as working on Railgun and the KonoSuba movie. Will this be a case of “Be careful what you wish for”? (Trope) I still hope not, since I’m all amped up to see best spirit Kurumi this season–even if she’ll be taking a minor supporting role for now. (Light novel readers will know what I mean.)

    Will try out (three-episode rule):
    Egao no Daika – Hope this can fill the void for a mecha anime this season after SSSS.Gridman‘s conclusion (though I’m looking forward to watching Gundam Narrative this January). Saori Hayami joining the cast is also a plus.
    Pastel Memories – Got instantly hooked on the premise of “Akihabara in decline”, as it’s basically the story of many of Japan’s traditional shopping districts that close up shop due to dwindling customers and competition from malls. Also, as someone who has visited Akihabara IRL, seeing that place lose its otaku– and electronic-centric charm even in fiction is honestly unsettling.
    Girly Air Force – Neon-colored military machines… I could have sworn I saw an anime with a similar concept years ago… Also looks like an interesting series for cross-promotion with Ace Combat 7.
    Kouya no Kotobuki Hikoutai – If modern warplanes ain’t your thing (and a new anime entry in the Strike Witches franchise can’t arrive fast enough), this is a good alternative. (I wonder if the tea-drinking “ojou-sama” of the group goes “Ohohohoho~!” once in a while?)
    Endro~! – Time to take a breather from the grimdark fantasy of Goblin Slayer and relax a little. Also, I’m assuming Yuuria “Yuusha” Shardet is the pink-haired girl mainly because she’s reminiscent of Hikaru Akao’s previous role, Moeta Kaoruko from Comic Girls. (*Checks ANN and watches the PV, confirms it*) “Ababababababa…”

    Want to watch, but haven’t seen the first season:
    BanG Dream! season 2 – Wanted to watch this mainly for Afterglow’s Ran Mitake (a.k.a.: The unofficial mascot of a certain…”off-brand anime” site that made the news recently), but it seems I’ll have to put season 1 and this into the backlog pile once the next season arrives.

    Shorts, OVAs and carryovers:
    JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Vento Aureo“Every time I close my eyes, I wake up feeling so 「horny」 (More so with Date A Live S3 airing on the same day…)
    To Aru Majutsu no Index III – It’s probably bad that I’m less excited about the fights and more excited for the fanservice-y stuff (and best girls), so I do hope the fights do get a bit more interesting.
    Persona 5: The Animation – Dark Sun OVA – Seen the OVA, though again, might as well play the game or watch a let’s play/walkthrough on YouTube, as there’s stuff in the OVA that’s been cut out even with its nearly 52-minute length.
    Emiya-san Chi no Kyou no Gohan ep. 13 – Just watched the episode, a warm and cozy end to a warm and cozy series. (Though I thought the episode was about New Year’s dishes at first…not that I mind.)

    Additions to the backlog pile from last season:
    Release the Spyce
    Tensei Shitara Slime Datta Ken – Probably in for some major mood whiplash after finishing Goblin Slayer, though.
    Zombieland Saga – Heard good stuff about the show as a jab toward “idol” culture/anime. Also, they’re basically “moe zombies.”
    Conception – Sometimes I’m a sucker for trashy harem series, but this seems like a better choice than the trainwreck that is the ImoImo anime. (That and I’ve had enough of anime with implied or outright “brother-sister incest” tendencies.)

    Holy… I only expected to watch Date A Live S3, yet picked up a few more shows after this preview! Thanks for the hard work, RC crew. Here’s to another year of helping both old and new anime fans alike with these previews and impressions. (*raises glass*)


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