As the decade comes to a close—a statement I lead with primarily to annoy the pedants among us, who will insist that the decade actually ends on Dec 31, 2020 … Hi, Passerby! (proofreader’s note: I love you, boss)—it’s a time to reflect back on not only the year that has passed, but the entire decade. But not here! Here we focus on the marvellously shiny future, where the anime is fresh and all our problems go away. At least if those problems involve a lack of new anime. So what do we have in store? Several popular franchises are making their returns, including the hot-blooded volleyball action of Haikyuu!!: To the Top, the scientific(?) action of Toaru Kagaku no Railgun T, the silliest isekai around in Isekai Quartet 2, and the five sisters love-melee of Go-toubun no Hanayome 2nd Season. There’s even a spin-off of the there’s-nothing-but-frills-and-despair Madoka franchise in Magia Record: Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica Gaiden. There are a ton of excellent adaptations as well, including the uber-stylish anime-making adventure of Eizouken ni wa Te wo Dasu na!, a beautiful stroll through a ruined world in Somali to Mori no Kamisama, a shounen fashion anime in Runway de Waratte, and a dark horse you should pay attention to in Jibaku Shounen Hanako-kun. There are even a few originals, such as the anime world’s re-introduction to rugby in number24 and the fascinating sci-fi mystery of ID:INVADED. Let’s ring in the new year with a fresh batch of anime! This is Random Curiosity’s Winter 2020 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 cacophony 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, which dear gods we’ve been restating this sentence for almost a decade now, jeez, previews were done by a single writer, Divine. But the RandomC preview is a substantial task, so we’ve divided it up among our staff (Choya, Guardian Enzo, Iskendaris, MissSimplice, 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 take this chance once again to thank the entire Random Curiosity team for their tireless toil on this preview. Between the site relaunch and the upcoming end of year post, we’ve all been busy, but everyone did their part splendidly even so. Thank you all so much. Special thanks go to Zephyr for doing early prep work; Stilts (that’s me!) for editing, people wrangling, miscellaneous nonsense, and being slow; Takaii for gathering the images; Passerby for proofreading and senryuus; Zaiden for doing all the formatting, links, etc, plus a bunch of other stuff; Pancakes for helping with the formatting and anything else I didn’t want to do; and Pictor for doing the encodes. Also, thank you to everyone who wrote previews, including our new writer Iskendaris, who got thrown in at the last second. Thanks a bunch! For a more Enzo-centric point of view, check out the LiA winter preview for a second opinion on many of these shows.
Finally, and as always, thank you to the entire Random Curiosity community. Whether you read every posts and yammer in the Discord channel or a quiet lurker who just stops by for the season previews, thank you so much for giving us your time and attention. Let’s enjoy another season of anime together, woohoo!
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.
22:30 MX (01/05)
23:00 Prime (01/05)
24:00 MX (01/12)
Eizouken ni wa Te wo Dasu na!
24:10 NHK (01/05)
Murenase! Seton Gakuen
18:45 NHK (01/06)
21:00 ATX (01/06)
ARP Backstage Pass
23:00 MX (01/13)
Majutsushi Orphen Hagure Tabi
23:30 ATX (01/07)
A3! Season Spring & Summer
24:00 MX (01/14)
24:30 MX (01/14)
Itai no wa Iya nano de Bougyoryoku ni Kyokufuri Shitai to Omoimasu.
22:00 ATX (01/08)
22:30 MX (01/08)
24:55 Fuji (01/08)
25:05 MX (01/08)
21:00 ATX (01/09)
Show by Rock!! Mashumairesh!!
23:30 MX (01/09)
23:00 ATX (01/09)
Bang Dream! 3rd Season
23:00 MX (01/23)
23:30 BS11 (01/09)
Houseki-shou Richard-shi no Nazo Kantei
23:30 ATX (01/09)
Somali to Mori no Kamisama
24:00 Abeema (01/09)
Uchi Tama?! Uchi no Tama Shirimasenka?
24:55 Fuji (01/09)
Oshi ga Budoukan Itte Kuretara Shinu
25:28 TBS (01/09)
Jibaku Shounen Hanako-kun
25:58 TBS (01/09)
20:30 ATX (01/03)
Toaru Kagaku no Railgun T
22:00 ATX (01/10)
24:00 MX (01/03)
Rikei ga Koi ni Ochita no de Shoumei Shite Mita
24:15 Prime (01/10)
Oda Shinamon Nobunaga
25:12 Tokyo (01/10)
Haikyuu!! To the Top
25:25 MBS (01/10)
Runway de Waratte
26:25 MBS/TBS (01/10)
Boku no Tonari ni Ankoku Hakaishin ga Imasu
21:00 ATX (01/11)
23:00 MX (01/11)
23:30 ATX (01/11)
Magia Record: Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica Gaiden
24:00 MX (01/04)
25:30 Asahi (01/11)
* Jump to OVA/Movies or Short Series List.
As a young girl, Kinohata Mira (Takayanagi Tomoyo) met a boy named Ao (Yamaguchi Megumi) at a campsite on a starry night. While the two were watching the stars, the two noticed that Mira has a star with the same name as her, yet Ao does not. Mira promises to explore asteroids with Ao in the future so that she can name a star after him. Years later, Mira enrolls in Hoshizaki High School to join the Astronomy Club—only for the club to be fused with the Geological Research Society to form the Earth Science Club. She reluctantly joins the new club, but her lack of enthusiasm is quickly reversed when she finds out that one of the members is none other than Ao! Not only is she reunited with Ao, but she is shocked to learn that Ao is actually a girl! Through their mutual interest in astronomy, will sparks fly as they did years ago? We’ll find out when Kosuru Asteroid crash-lands into winter 2020.
Based on a four-panel manga, Kosuru Asteroid is a natural fit for Doga Kobo to adapt. While it doesn’t indulge in any taboo age gaps, it fits into the niche paved out by director Hiramaki Daisuke’s first title Watashi ni Tenshi ga Maiorita!. The reveal that Ao is actually a girl matches the narrative conventions of fluffy yuri-esque stories that aim to explore the developing relationship between our two main characters and the ambiguity in their feelings for one another. For the most part, the material is comfy and lighthearted, so Kosuru Asteroid will be a fun and cozy anime to follow this season if you’re looking for a cuter diversion from some of the heavier fare out there.
Sudou Kaname (Kobayashi Yuusuke) is just your ordinary teenager. Full of passions and always ready for fun with friends, Sudou is up for anything and everything, but after one of his friends recommends he try out the new mobile game “Darwin’s Game,” he quickly wishes he wasn’t so straightforward. Rather than a simple way to pass the time, Darwin’s Game proves to be anything but, as leaving the game is strictly forbidden and victory can only be found through killing other players. Real world killing. Although endowed with powers granted by the game and with some helpful encounters along the way, it will take everything Sudou has to get through Darwin’s Game, because with every player aggressively looking out for themselves, there’s no telling what the next day may bring.
Survival game story adaptations have received a deservedly bad rap of late (*cough* Ousama Game), being unable to really bridge the gap between good thriller-esque horror and logical, coherent storytelling, but Darwin’s Game may be the first in a while to actually square that seemingly impossible circle. Based on the well-received manga of the same name—yes, no actual game adaptation here)—Darwin’s Game can be thought of as a Mirai Nikki/Accel World hybrid. All the characters are stuck playing the game, the game is played in the real world (mostly), yandere sidekicks feature heavily, and by hell several people are going to die in glorious ways before it reaches the end. Not to say there aren’t some questionable elements of course (looking at your abilities there, Sudou), but with Granbelm’s Nexus studio producing and an hour-long pilot episode to look forward to, everything is up for grabs. If you are wanting a good old-fashioned grade-A popcorn thriller, don’t think twice about looking at Darwin’s Game, because you can bet this one is going do everything it can to meet those expectations.
Six years after Rebellion left us with a much discussed conclusion to the original franchise, Madoka Magica returns with a spin-off series in Magia Record. With a new protagonist in Tamaki Iroha (Asakura Momo), the story centers on a search for her lost sister Ui. Her search takes her to Kamihama City, where strange rumors have become commonplace and an abnormal amount of witches have begun to gather. As she receives a less than welcoming reception from resident magical girl Nanami Yachiyo (Amamiya Sora), the two cross paths with Kaname Madoka (Yuki Aoi), who has come to the city looking for her friend Homura. Putting aside their differences, the group begins to investigate the many rumors surrounding the city. All the while, more magical girls arrive, drawn by the influx of witches and a rumored promise: “Come to Kamihama City, where magical girls can be saved.” Gekidan Inu Curry (the animation troupe made of former Gainax animators) will return from the original series, moving into the director and series composition roles. ClariS will return to sing the ending theme for the series, as will various characters from the original franchise.
I recently got into Magia Record after the mobile game was brought over to the states in June, and I haven’t really put it down since. It takes a little bit for the story to get rolling, but true to its predecessor, there’s another round of suffering inbound and a whole new backdrop for it to happen in. The original characters make a few appearances here and there, but make no mistake, this isn’t a direct prequel or sequel in any sense of the word. One could get by with saying it’s a “what if” scenario stemming from some things going differently, and it’s important to consider this separate from its predecessor. This might come as a disappointment for those who wanted to see a different conclusion following the events of Rebellion, but thankfully, Magia Record’s story so far (at least the seven chapters we’ve received in the global version of the mobile game) stands strong on its own merits, and I have no doubt that having everything animated will only make things better. Just make sure to avoid the small cat-like thing asking you to form a contract.
Sakaido (Tsuda Kenjiro) remembers. Her name. What was it? Kaeru? She was dead. A grisly homicide. And Sakaido was supposed to be investigating it. After all, Sakaido was a detective. The greatest detective, even. Yes, that sounds right. But even the greatest detective can be stumped when there simply are no clues. If there are no clues in this world, though, Sakaido will have to try another. So he plunges head-first into ID, a digital collective-unconscious built out of human memories. It’s not really the kind of the place the sane should linger, but Sakaido is determined to plumb its depths. For the world of ID is the world of the mind, and are humans not creatures of mind over matter?
You can never tell with original anime. Perhaps it’s because there is so little original anime compared to all the adaptations we get, but those who create it seem to delight in surprising viewers with weirdness. The director we’re talking about here is Aoki Ei (Re:CREATORS, ALDNOAH.ZERO), who basically does whatever he wants these days, and he’s joined on series composition by novelist Maijo Otaru, whom you might remember from The Dragon Dentist. No matter how much they choose to reveal to us in promotional materials (for ID:INVADED? Not much), any original anime is liable to pull a third episode twist and morph into something else entirely. The best we can do is a bunch of assumptions. I mean, we just assumed that the animation production for i>ID:INVADED would be done by Troyca, because that’s Aoki’s studio. But it’s not. It’s NAZ. But perhaps we need not actually think that hard. ID:INVADED sure does look cool enough. I know I’m down for some kind of Inception murder mystery. And while we may end up being completely wrong about that in the end, in the short term it’ll be an adventure worth taking.
What if there were people out there who can dive into anyone’s minds and manipulate their memories? In Pet, this concept is a reality and holds the potential to aid in creating conspiracies, covering up mysteries, and assassinating rivals. Those who utilize this power run the risk of having their own hearts consumed if they use this power as a means of destroying a person’s mind. To counter the risk of death, chains known as “pets” are used to lock and protect each other’s hearts from being destroyed during this procedure. With Hiroki (Ueda Keisuke) as our eyes and ears in this cerebral thriller, we are given front row seats into the unconscious minds of some of the most dangerous men in the world.
Pet aims to make its premise, storyline, and art style a puzzle in itself. The enigmatic nature of the anime’s promotional material only provides further intrigue for the series as it calls attention to the show’s central concept of diving into a person’s mind. What memories can be altered? Which memories should they be altered? What are the underlying consequences of erasing a piece of one’s mind? What would the world be like if someone could pay to have someone else’s memories altered or removed? While we might not know what Pet will look like yet, high concept stories such as this have been crafted into engaging shows from Geno Studio in the past. It feels reminiscent of how entertaining it was to unpack what was happening throughout Kokkoku. So as long as it doesn’t go too far off the beaten path near the end, Pet should be a welcome addition to our fall season.
Asakura Midori (Itou Sairi) is inspired by her eclectic surroundings, and envisions the city around her as the perfect setting for the anime of her dreams. However, she is too disheartened by the daunting task of creating an anime and mastering the craft on her own to know where to start. Her best friend Kanamori Sayaka (Tamura Mutsumi) has also been unable to help fulfill Midori’s dreams as she’s frequently chasing after her next opportunity to make money and scam those around her. By pure chance, she meets Mizusaki Tsubame (Matsuoka Misato), an amateur model socialite whose wealthy movie star parents forbid her from joining any club that would feed into her secret dream of becoming an animator. With Tsubame’s animation prowess, Midori’s highly-detailed artwork, and Sayaka’s hustle, the energetic trio slowly work together to reach their common goal of making their ultimate world a reality.
It’s never been a better time to be a fan of Yuasa Masaaki’s anime. Although he’s directed some of the best anime within the past decade and a half (Tatami Galaxy, Ping Pong, Kaiba, and more), he’s garnered more mainstream exposure lately with the Netflix-exclusive release of DEVILMAN crybaby. With his credits in mind, it’s easy to see what attracted him to Eizouken ni wa Te wo Dasu na!, as the manga’s loose, simplistic art-style meshes well with the fluidity in Yuasa’s productions. And because the story of Eizouken ni wa Te wo Dasu na! explores the vivid details behind the imaginations of its main characters, the anime will provide an expressive medium to show us a visually impressive dive into the minds of the main trio. What makes this anime impressive aside from its pedigree is that the story doesn’t just tell us a simple narrative about girls trying to make their own club, but it also dives into their subconscious brainstorming to breathe life into their ideas for their perfect anime. There might be a ton of eyes on Yuasa to make an anime in the same vein as DEVILMAN crybaby, but there’s no doubt in my mind that Eizouken ni wa Te wo Dasu na! will prove to be a captivating and inspiring show about the creative process it takes to encapsulate the magic and imaginative worlds we see in anime.
Think your high school life was hard? Try Senton Academy, whose motto is ‘Survival of the Fittest!’ Full of literal predators, Senton Academy is packed with dinosaurs, bears, wolves, and bunnies, along with one or two humans, whose population is in decline. It seems like a perfect setup for a kemonomimi fan, except—plot twist—our human protagonist, Mazama Jin (Haruki Ishiya), hates animals! As the only human male in his class, Jin instantly falls in love with fellow human, Hino Hitomi (Yume Miyamoto). However. things don’t go as planned, and he finds himself becoming the one and only pack-mate of Lanka the wolf (Hina Kino).
A manga adaptation by Cygames, Murenase! Seton Gakuen is a lighthearted school comedy with a dash of romance. It looks like a harem anime with the wolf and bunny girls in the trailer, but the manga’s plot is focused more on developing friendships and Lanka’s goal of creating a multi-species pack. It’s also quite educational, with a variety of unusual animals such as the Naked Mole Rat, Wallaroo, Quagga, Honey Possum, Wooly Spider Monkey, Prairie Vole and more. Could this be the next Kemono Friends? Or will it collapse like Mayoi Neko Overrun!? We’ll find out when it airs this season!
i>Breakers is a new series premiering in January that will feature four different stories about Para-Athletes who train to become the best of the best in their respective fields. The story follows a swimmer, a wheelchair basketball player, a sprinter/high jumper, and a goalball player. They each meet Narita Ren (Miyake Kenta), a sport scientist whom I assume will help each of them with their training. There’s not much to go on without a trailer, however the artwork showcases Ren wearing high-tech shades and one of the characters having a little spherical robotic companion. The story will most likely be set in the near future and provide some emphasis on how technology, combined with hard work and dedication, allows para-athletes to compete on the same grounds as their able-bodied counterparts.
Breakers isn’t the first of its kind. In 2018, NHK released a collection of seven anime shorts called Animation X Paralympics. Each short was 5 minutes long and featured a range of sports including para-cycling, blind soccer, sprinting, and more. In light of the 2020 Olympics coming to Tokyo, Japan, this series will help bring to the foreground para-sports and its athletes.
In celebration of the series’ 25th anniversary, Sorcerous Stabber Orphen is getting a new anime adaptation this coming season. It stars Orphen (Morikubo Shoutarou), a young man who was once the most promising sorcerer of the famous Tower of Fang, and who now spends his time as a sorcerer-for-hire (of sorts) in the commercial city of Totokanta. Or at least he did, until he was approached by troublemakers Volkan (Mizuno Marie) and Dortin (Fuchigami Mai) with a money-making scheme: marriage fraud. Under the guise of wealthy merchants, they enter the uber-wealthy Everlasting household and attempt to execute on their plan. Unfortunately, their plan was bad, one of the Everlasting girls finds out about it, and then a huge monster attacks the mansion. That would be noteworthy enough for any day, but this monster is special: it’s Bloody August, the demonic dragon who also happens to be the transformed version of Orphen’s sister, Azalie (Hikasa Yoko). Between those who seek to kill the monster and Orphen, who would give anything to protect his sister, his peaceful days are over. Trying to turn Azalie back to her true form leads to many more mysteries, including the key to the secret of the world.
Majutsushi Orphen Hagure Tabi is a very 90’s kind of fantasy series. I mean, the protagonist is wearing a jacket with cut-off sleeves, fingerless gloves, and a red headband, fer chrissakes! It also has no problem hurling whatever weird fantasy trope it feels will make for a good time, such as dragons which may look like wolves, or rhinoceros, or humans. Add in the comedy relief side characters, a spunky female lead in Cleo Everlasting (Ookubo Rumi), and characters with ridiculous names such as Majic (Kobayashi Yuusuke) and Childman Powderfield (Namikawa Daisuke), and the this one is a blast from the past from the start. But that’s not necessarily bad. This is a series that has kept getting adaptations all throughout the quarter century since it began, and while “cold,” “earnest,” and “badass” anti-hero main characters aren’t in vogue in this world where the X-men aren’t wearing black leather anymore (editor’s note: I know that movie technically came out in 2000, but c’mon, it was 90’s as $&*#), that doesn’t mean those types of characters don’t work, and it doesn’t mean people don’t like them. And sure, some people will cringe at the involvement of Studio Deen, which, fair. But director Hamana Takayuki has been around for the better half of forever, and he’s worked with series composer and script writer Yoshida Reiko before, who has an even better resume than Hamana-san (which is saying something), and after looking at the two of them I’d watch almost anything they did just to see the fruits of that knowledge and experience. This is a series I opted to preview because I felt like there could be something good here, and I still think that. Not sure what, but hey. Soon we shall see if that feeling was correct, or if this series has passed its sell-by date.
As a plain-vanilla-with-no-added-sprinkles high school girl, Honjou Kaede (Hondo Kaede) is a normal as they come. With typical tastes and the usual cadre of friends, it’s a standard school girl life each and every day, but things change after Kaede’s friend Shiromine Risa (Noguchi Ruriko) invites her to play the VRMMORPG New World Online. While Kaede is not one to turn her nose up at games, she absolutely abhors pain, and thus after starting and naming her avatar Maple she dumps her points into vitality. All of her points. Now stuck with rock bottom stats and only the rare skills of Absolute Defense and Counter Skill to compensate, Kaede sets out to adventure and find the fun of being New World Online’s strongest brick wall.
Yes, those eyes aren’t deceiving thee: we have another SAO-esque alternate world on our hands. Anyone familiar with the likes of Okaasan Online, NetoYome, or Netojuu no Susume will immediately know what’s on tap here: moeblobs, cutesy slice-of-life adventuring, and plenty of lighthearted struggles into success. Or if you will, the less serious CGDCT real-world version of Shield Hero. Itai no wa Iya will be offering no major surprises (it’s exactly as it says on the tin), but for everyone still enjoying the current wave of isekai (especially the girls-only variety) there’s quite a bit to look forward to. With Silver Link pulling animation duty alongside Death March’s Oonuma Shin in the director’s chair, production won’t be a concern, and with over two years of light novels to source from, there’s plenty of material to flesh out a cour. It may not be the greatest thing since sliced bread, but Itai no wa Iya will certainly do the trick when it comes to scratching that isekai itch.
Do you like pretty boys? Do you like rugby? Are you ready to believe in a rugby team populated exclusively by attractive young men with non-broken noses and all their teeth? Then you have unique tastes, and the anime industry is here to support you. (editor’s note: I know, I know, rugby is for the posh in some cultures. But that’s not as funny, so shush!) number24 is an original series about pretty boys playing a dirty sport. It stars nine boys, including Yuzuki Natsusa (Kawanishi Kengo), a sadistic and sharp-tongued ace player who was sidelined from playing due to certain circumstances; Ueoka Ibuki (Yanagita Junichi), a former prodigy and a senior who’s looking to put rugby behind him; Tsuru Yasunari (Komatsu Shouhei), a bright-eyed left wing who doesn’t get along with Natsusa; Mashiro Yuu (Murase Ayumu), an earnest scrum-half who looks up to Natsusa; and Jingyouji Seiichirou (Suzuki Ryouta), a taciturn fullback and Natsusa’s childhood friend. Plus at least four others. Watch as they come together and fight as a team in the Kansai university rugby league.
The more time passes, the more I realize how amazing sports anime is. Not only because it’s enjoyable—aside from perhaps mecha, sports anime is probably the industry’s greatest cultural and creative strength—but because it’s often so damn good. I don’t know why other mediums haven’t capitalized on the enduring popularity of sports in the way manga and anime have. This is sports with character growth and narrative focus added, transforming the chaotic reality of competition—which sometimes coalesces into remarkable clarity, but is usually an unintuitive mess of sticky reality and your team losing in unremarkable ways—into an evocative tale of passion, struggle, and earned victory (hopefully!). Will number24 continue this tradition? Director Kimiya Shigeru has been bouncing around the industry for decades, as has series composer Nakase Rika, the latter with more success than the former. This is also only the second anime PRA has served as the lead studio for, which shouldn’t necessarily be a knock against it but is something to be cognizant of. Also, are pretty boys your thing? If so, I’d certainly give this one a peek. If Free! taught us anything it’s that pretty boys sell (though we all knew that), and for my money rugby is more interesting than swimming anyway. Plus it will be really funny when the first bishounen loses a tooth. Hah!
Did someone mention steampunk dragon hunting? This series is like pulling a rabbit out of a trick hat. I’ve never heard of the manga of the same name before, but after researching what very little is out I’m pleasantly intrigued. The story follows two heroes, veteran hunter Mika (Maeno Tomoaki) and vibrant newcomer Takita (Amamiya Sora), who are both members of the Quiz Zaza airship. Members of the Quiz Zaza are tasked with one thing, and one thing only: to hunt the fearsome legendary beasts that roam their skies, dragons. In this very steampunk 1800s inspired world, dragons are a rare but extremely sought out delicacy. Hunting them is no easy job and the risks are high, but well worth it as the spoils are many. The people of this world salvage almost every part of the dragon for medicine, food, and other goods. Based on the brief teasers, it seems to me as though the story will navigate the trials and tribulations of the whole crew while keeping a wholesome feeling between them, and perhaps even deliver action-adventure tension to rile things up.
I’m committed to watching the first few episodes of this series because of the premise, but more so because Polygon Pictures is behind the animation. Although it took some getting used to in the beginning, I thoroughly enjoyed the 3D CGI animation in both Ajin and Sinodia no Kishi, which, just like Kuutei Dragons, were licensed by Netflix. I was a little skeptical about the whole ‘butchering dragons’ thing, but after watching a few teasers and noticing they were designed to look like hideous flying monsters, I’m all for the hunt. The steampunk style and the nineteenth century technology are also enticing components of the series. I’ve racked my brain to try to recall a series that combines both steampunk and dragons, but nothing comes to mind. I can’t fathom for the life of me why the source material isn’t more popular within the community (editor’s note: Because Square Enix would sue). I imagine after Polygon Pictures and music composer Yokoyama Masaru get done with the series, it’ll make someone’s must-watch list, if not my very own.
In the year 305 of the Alcian calendar, the world is dominated by the one thing you can never escape: numbers. Every living human is branded by a number, termed a “Count,” which can be anything from your distance walked to the number of received compliments and everything in between. The only constant is when your Count drops to zero you’re sent to the Abyss—and no one has ever returned from it. In this world the young girl Hina (Honnizumi Rina) accepts a last request from her late zero Count mother to find the Red Baron, a legendary king. Hina doesn’t know why she’s been tasked with this mission, but after encountering the vagabond swordsman Licht Bach (Nakajima Yoshiki), she starts to understand. If freedom is to be found in a world dominated by Counts, someone will have to arise to finally break the cycle.
With isekai being the zeitgeist of the current age, it’s easy to forget that such a thing as simple action-fantasy exists, but Plunderer is here to helpfully remind us. At heart this one is a lot like an In Time influenced Needless: we’ve got the world encompassing, conspiracy-esque plot, over the top powers/abilities, cute girls, and plenty of comedy courtesy of our Adam Blade-emulating Licht (yes, he’s just as perverted). While the source manga is still ongoing, considering Plunderer is already confirmed for 2 cours with director Kanbe Hiroyuki of OreImo fame at the helm, alongside the well-versed Suzuki Masahi on series composition duty, some seriously entertaining shenanigans can be expected—after all, there’s already two episodes out early to confirm! Plunderer may not be breaking any originality barriers, but if you’re in the mood for some good old-fashioned fantasy adventure, look no further. You won’t leave disappointed.
As the son of a famous long line of Japanese confectioners, Minazuki Kashou (Tachibana Shinnosuke) doesn’t have it easy. Determined to make a name for himself, Kashou moves out of his parents’ house to found his own confectionery, but gets far more difficulty than he bargained for courtesy of two of his family’s catgirls Chocola (Yagi Yuki) and Vanilla (Iori Saeki). Discovered hiding among Kashou’s things, the twin nekos desperately plead for Kashou to not send them home, and after a little feline browbeating actually convince him to let them stay. Now stuck trying to run a confectionery and care for two klutzy catgirls at the same time, it will take every ounce of effort for poor Kashou to succeed, but one way or another he’ll find a way. After all, Chocola and Vanilla may just be the help he needs to realize his dream.
Oh Nekopara, you have been a long time in the making. A prolific (and infamous) visual novel series, Nekopara has at various times been rumoured/slated for an anime adaptation, receiving a wholly crowdfunded OVA in 2017 before the full anime announcement followed late last year. And as any fan can tell you, it’s about damn time. Similar to the likes of GochiUsa, Nekopara is inherently slice-of-life, focusing on the trials and tribulations of café routine—but now pairing it with the fun of both catgirls and firmly harem-esque ecchi material. Ever felt Blend S didn’t go lewd and lascivious enough? You’re in the right place here. While we don’t know what kind of quality we’ll end up with (and whether it’ll feature the VN’s more “explorative” bedroom scenes), considering the relative success of the OVA and Felix Studio retaining the production chair, it seems reasonable to bet on success. Nekopara may not ultimately live up to the significant hype it’s accumulated, but if you’ve got the neko, harem, or slice-of-life bug, this is one show you don’t want to pass up.
At the SHOW BY ROCK!! 3969 GRATEFUL ROCK FESTIVAL, fans could not have expected that an anime continuation would be announced for winter 2020. Based on the rhythm video game developed by Geechs and Sanrio, Show By Rock!! Matsumairesh is the much anticipated sequel to the original anime, which aired back in 2015. The story is still set in Tokyo Midi City, a place where those who command music control everything, and where the inhabitants form bands and compete to be on top. And while it features a completely new cast, there’s already a lot to love about these adorable characters: Howan (Tono Hikaru), Mashimahimeko (Natsuyoshi Yuuko), Delmin (Watada Misaki), and Ruhuyu (Yamane Aya). Also, while the previous characters might be missed, what’s to say they won’t make a cameo or play some sort of role in the upcoming season? After all, not all music is pure. As long as evil exists, there will be a need for these girls to overcome it through the power of their music!
Given that these girls are all cat ear idols, it’s clear that there are two target demographics here: adolescent-to-middle-aged men who love cute things, and girls who love cute things. And apart from that, those who’ve seen the original Show By Rock!! would know what to expect – musical fun combined with the power of friendship. However, there is absolutely no need to watch the original season to properly experience the new one, considering this will feature a completely different set of characters. Speaking of the original, Bones really did churn out a special niche show with fantastic visuals back in 2015. Unfortunately for some fans, they won’t be involved this time. Instead, Kinema Citrus will be in charge – which is definitely not a bad thing in my opinion when you look at the quality of shows they’ve presided over in recent times. It’ll be a rookie Korean director in charge, by the name of Son Seung-hui. However, Kojima Masayuki, who’s directed the likes of Made in Abyss, will be acting in an advisory capacity, no doubt eager to raise a directorial prospect that he considers talented. Plus these lighthearted projects aren’t all that demanding and are open to all kinds of artistic expression, so it will be interesting to see how Son will seek to prove himself.
Infinite Dendrogram follows main character Mukudori Reiji (Saitou Souma) who, unlike the rest of the world, resists the call of the sprawling virtual fantasy world of Infinite Dandrogram for three years so he can finish high school. Hats off to him, but that isn’t the route I’d take. Who needs the real world when there’s a land of shining cities, dingy dungeons, and magic spells to explore? Welcome to the game of your dreams. Released in 2043, Infinite Dendrogram is a VRMMORPG complete with dingy dungeons, overpowered foes, and bear-costumed warriors wielding chainguns.
First published as a free-to-read light novel by Sakon Kaidou in 2015, Infinite Dendrogram then became a manga before being adapted for the screen. The series follows our hero Reiji as he adventures and levels up with the help of a few loyal friends. Among them are his party members Rook (Koichi Makoto), Marie (Hikasa Yoko), and his in-game “Embryo”, Nemesis (Oono Yuuko), who takes the form of a human female. This subgenre of isekai has become awfully crowded. If you’re getting Sword Art Online and Log Horizon vibes, you’re not alone. However, Reiji is a much more earnest and amicable main than Kirito, and the NPCs have a humanity that makes this virtual fantasy world seem very real. Unlike Kirito, Reiji comes to the game late, and has to rely on determination to succeed. Directed by Kobayashi Tomoki, who also worked on Akame ga Kill! and Steins;Gate, we’re in for some fun world building and pretty sweet action sequences.
All mystery buffs know Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot. We’ve made an entire genre out of eccentric European dandies solving crimes, so of course Japan is going to have a crack at it now and again. Meet Richard Ranashinha Dvorpian (Sakurai Takahiro). Posh, British, weird name — he checks all the boxes. But Richard is not a detective of any persuasion. He’s a jeweller. When he takes his craft to Japan he catches the eye of college student Nakata Seigi (Uchida Yuuma), whose forthright personality and boundless curiosity ropes him into playing the Watson for this gentleman who has spent his entire life studying shiny rocks. But this specialisation comes in handy as Richard is called in to solve various jewel-related mysteries. For a proper jewel is no mere shiny rock, it is a work of art, and much can be said about those who make them, and those who covet them.
Take a look at the PV. Housekishou Richard-shi no Nazo Kantei (The Case Files of Jeweller Richard) doesn’t look at all like a mystery anime, does it? If anything, the novel on which it is based is more of a shoujo manga rendition of mystery, about people and feelings and complicated stuff like that. So it’s less about people being murdered in grotesque ways and more like Hyouka, where there is plenty of mystery in the everyday and the most curious things may not be dark criminal minds but just the simple whims of well-meaning people. That kind of show may seem rather plain, but when placed alongside the high-tension crime thrillers it makes for refreshing variety. Director Iwasaki Tarou last worked on Amaama to Inazuma, so if Jeweller Richard intends to lean towards episodic slice-of-life (following the short story format of the original novels) then I think it’s in good hands.
As a newly minted freshman high school student, Shiranui Makoto (Matsuoka Yoshitsugu) only has one goal in mind: becoming a magician. Thankfully supported by parents who are friends with the world-famous illusionist Hoshisato Mamoru (Hosoya Yoshimasa), Makoto journeys to Tokyo to study under his magician idol, but quickly winds up with more than the trials and tribulations of magic to worry about. Not only must Makoto contend with Mamoru’s daughter (and Shiranui’s old childhood friend) Kana (Suzuki Aina), who suddenly and inexplicably detests his existence, but he must also deal with being unceremoniously robbed before even reaching his new residence. Now stuck between a girl who hates him and a city writhing under a string of prominent robberies and burglaries, it will take everything Makoto has to focus on his dream, but no matter the hiccups he’ll find a way to make it all work in the end.
What do you get when you mix The Addams Family, Tejina Senpai, and one story too damn easy to predict? Not too sure, but Hatena Illusion certainly comes close. Ignoring the very light novel-ness of this one (it’s straightforward ecchi romcom through and through), Hatena Illusion is pretty unique in being unfinished due to the author’s Matsu Tomohiro’s (remember Papakiki?) unfortunate death in 2016. There’s enough material here for a single cour adaptation, but plenty of room exists for making an imaginative original ending, which is very likely the intent. While everyone knows where they stand when it comes to these types of shows, if you have a thing for romcom or get a kick out of Yabuki Kentarou’s character designs you’re in the right place here. Hatena Illusion may not be that particularly unique, but one need look no further for this season’s main romcom contender.
The humans are gone. Long ago, a great war between the human and non-human races ended with crushing defeat for the humans. Now, they have been hunted to the brink of extinction, collected either as curious pets or rare delicacies. This poses a problem for a golem (Ono Daisuke) when one day it discovers in its forest a human girl of no more than six or seven (Minase Inori). She called herself ‘Somali’, and called the golem ‘Father’. But the golem was a guardian of the forest, equal parts construct and nature spirit, and not any sort of father. So the golem leaves its forest and takes Somali in search of her birth parents. The journey takes them through lands unknown, full of fantastical fauna and flora and cultures beyond imagination. But it can’t last long. Golems have very precise lifespans, of exactly 1000 years. And this golem had already lived 999.
It took Miyazaki Hayao twelve years to finish his epic serial, Kaze no Tani no Nausicaä (in between his film work though it may have been). By his own account, it was a harrowing experience. The fruits of his labour are evident, though, and it’s hard to imagine Miyazaki’s incredibly detailed visual world-building contained in any less than a feature film. But Somali to Mori no Kamisama has to sort of do that in a weekly anime. The original manga by Gureishi Yako is not quite Nausicaä, but it mixes in a bit of Mahoutsukai no Yome and The Iron Giant to compensate. In any case, it’s a gorgeous piece, full of incredibly detailed designs and backgrounds, but that’s not something anime handles easily and it’s definitely going to be a challenge for director Yasuda Kenji (Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens) and his team at Satelight. Even if the art can’t hope to replicate the manga in full, the foundations of Somali to Mori no Kamisama can still hold. Beneath all the trappings is just a tale of a little girl and her robot father, which is wholesome, heart-warming goodness that anyone can enjoy.
The Tama & Friends franchise features various types of cats and dogs all being friends together. The illustrations are simple, as are the stories. This is not that. This is a spin-off of that, in which the simple illustrations of various friendly pets are replaced by anthropomorphized catboys, dogboys, and catgirls! It stars the titular Tama (Saitou Souma), as well as his friends Pochi (Ono Kensho), Tora (Shirai Yuusuke), Be (Uchida Yuuma), Momo (Hanazawa Kana), and more. They’ll have slice-of-life fun together, this time on two legs.
The Tama & Friends franchise has been chugging along since 1983, which makes it older than most of the RandomC staff and perhaps even you, dear reader. I was not aware of its existence, because I am a man of zero class or charm, and also because it’s a children’s manga/anime and I didn’t grow up in the correct part of the world to encounter it at the correct time in my life. Is it good? Seems fine. Is anthropomorphizing its characters going to improve them? Maybe. Is it going to change them into something different that old fans and the freshly curious could both safely approach? Almost certainly. Are catboys, dogboys, and catgirls good? I may be the only person who still thinks about DOG DAYS on the regular, so I’m going to go with yes. (Though that’s a hella different series.) It’s slice-of-life with cute kemonomimi people, with a staff and studio that seems well up to the task. You already know if this is your jam, and I would act on those predilections if I were you.
What a wild looking show—but I mean that in the best way possible. Let me hit you with the premise first and then dive into why I think you’ll like this show. So, Oshi ga Budoukan Ittekuretara Shinu is a pretty deep dive into the world of chika-idol AKA underground idols (aka idols who aren’t signed to a major label). Following a small group called ChamJam, the bulk of the story revolves around-20 year-old Eripiyo (Fairouz Ai), who is a ginormous fan of ChamJam’s Maina (Tachibana Hina). Supporting Maina’s endeavors for over two years, Eripiyo has dumped literally all of her cash and time into doing everything for Maina, and it looks like Maina has finally realized that there’s someone out there who’s rooting for her success. However, the life of an underground idol isn’t easy and expressing appreciation for an individual over the whole may be the hardest thing to do.
With the synopsis out of the way, let me touch on a few points that I think are really interesting. Unlike when groups try to debut here in the states, I think it’s kind of crazy how the structure in Japan allows for newcomers to actually make a name for themselves. Having seen a group perform live in Odaiba a few weeks ago, I’ve been super interested in seeing just how fans conduct themselves when it comes to these relatively unknown groups. Besides wanting to know how they manage to hear about them, I want to know just what the trigger is that turns someone from simply liking something into a completely devoted fan. All of which are things that I think Oshi ga Budoukan Ittekuretara Shinu may be able to answer. All that said, if things like that aren’t really your thing, it feels like this show is going to give us a pretty damn good underdog story both for Maina and Eripiyo. With the former trying to find success and the latter trying to properly express herself, I can’t wait to see just what happens as the shows plays out. Overall, an interesting show with a strong premise that I think will do great in animated form.
Jibaku Shounen Hanako-kun was one of the manga I hit on in my 2019 anime announcement prediction (I got Beastars too, and I thought I had Ao Ashi but that turned out to be a stage play). One of the indicators of a manga’s impact which you almost never hear about unless you’re in Japan is how bookstore staff feel about it. I noticed early on that this one always seemed to be prominently merchandised even without publisher marketing displays, even before it became a modest hit. Booksellers love Jibaku Shounen Hanako-kun, and that’s one of my favorite leading indicators for future adaptation (as well as a source for manga to pick up myself).
Not to oversell it, but I kind of knew there was something special about Aida Iro’s manga before I even started reading it. The art is special, the wit and intelligence is special, the presentation is special. The “Toilet Bound Hanako” myth is of course a common “seven school mysteries” entry, but the twist here is that Hanako is a boy. He grants wishes, which is what draws an occult-loving girl to contact him, but… that doesn’t really tell the whole story. Everything about Jibaku Shounen Hanako-kun is more than you expect it to be. It has a good staff at Lerche, and has dodged the ABKY (Anybody But Kaji Yuuki) bullet by casting Ogata Megumi (!) as Hanako-kun. I’d love to have more than one cour, but I’m thrilled this brilliant manga is coming to the screen.
Rikei ga Koi ni Ochita no de Shoumei Shite Mita.‘s premise is quite reminiscent of last winter’s Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai and might present similar romantic and comedic tropes. However, this new series has a stark difference. Whereas Kaguya-sama was set in high school, this romance story is set just a little later in graduate school. Two scientists go head-to-head and heart-to-heart to prove that love can be quantified, measured, and explained by science. And they have the perfect subjects: themselves. Himuro Ayano (Amamiya Sora) admits off-handedly one day that she loves Yukimura Shinya (Uchida Yuuma), her peer. As post-graduate students of the School of Science and Engineering at the National School of Saitama, they vow to conduct as much research as possible to define how much they love one another, essentially proving to the other whether or not their love is genuine. These two genius-type characters spend precious research time testing, exploring, and discovering various ways in which they can quantify their love.
I imagine the situations our main characters will find themselves in will make for entertaining scenarios, but unfortunately I can’t say whether or not this series is going to hit a high note this season. It definitely falls into a similar category as Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai, meaning the romance component of the series is highly dependent on the comedy and the playfulness around the topic of love. The animation is actually really soft and light, as expected of Zero-G, the studio that produced Doukyonin wa Hiza, Tokidoki, Atama no Ue., which was a definite favourite of mine. I won’t put all my eggs in one basket, but if this series is a combination of two of some of my go-to lighthearted series, it might be worth the watch.
Following in the footsteps of Railgun S is the aptly named Railgun T. Animated once again by J.C. Staff, the series continues its focus on the inner happenings of Academy City, a student-oriented state filled with the latest in scientific advancements. At the forefront of its esper development program are its Level 5’s, highlighted by electromaster Misaka Mikoto (Satou Rina), also known as the “Railgun.” The first season followed the exploits of Misaka and her friends as they investigated rumors of a Level Upper capable of granting its users additional power, while its second season showcased an alternate perspective of the Sisters Arc we became familiar with in Index. Following things up in Railgun T should be the Daihaisei Festival Arc, which will see Misaka combat a group called MEMBERS as they attempt to use a Misaka clone in a new experiment. Director Nagai Tatsuyuki will return along with the rest of the main cast.
And so the Index/Railgun rotation continues, with the latter receiving it’s much anticipated sequel six years later. Given the disappointment some felt with the pacing and adaptation of Index, Railgun’s arrival comes as a breath of fresh air for many, combining with the recent Accelerator series to bring the Science-side of things into full focus. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem like Accelerator will play much of a part this arc (at least from what I’ve read so far), but you know Railgun’s going to be a fun ride regardless given its cast of characters, and I’ll be the first to admit that there have been times where I’ve looked forward to episodes of Railgun more than I have with Index. That said, we’re in familiar territory with this series. We’ll likely to get more of the same goodness we’ve come to expect with Railgun T, and you’ll get the standard recommendation of watching the other seasons of Railgun (at minimum) if you want to get your best mileage here.
Before diving into the preview, I think it’s pertinent to ask: do you enjoy dogs? Seriously, do you enjoy the thought of watching a show that revolves around sentient dogs? How about a show that doesn’t just stop there, but also puts the spirits (life? personalities?) of some of Japan’s most influential historical figures within said dogs? If you answered yes to any of the above questions, Oda Shinamon Nobunaga may just be the show for you.
Oda Shinamon Nobunaga could be pretty accurately described as a slice-of-life from the perspective of dogs. If you didn’t catch it in the title, the story revolves around the great Oda Nobunaga who has been conveniently reincarnated in the present as an adorable shiba inu named Shinamon (Cinnamon). Obviously not content with simply being a dog, the plot tries to answer the question, “What would the great Nobunaga do if he were to live life as a dog?” That said, Nobunaga isn’t the only one from the past to get the doggy-reincarnation treatment. With the likes of other huge historical figures such as Date “Boo” Masamune the French Bulldog, Takeda “Lucky” Shingen the Pomeranian, Uesugi “Julian” Kenshin the Borzoi, Imagawa “Gilbert” Yoshimoto the Mini Dachshund, Kuroda “Charlie” Kanbee the Toy Poodle, Sanda “Marutaro” Yukimura the Corgi, and Matsunaga “Whip” Hisahide the Chihuahua, there are more than enough personalities for Nobunaga to bounce off of. If I’m being honest, I’m actually super excited to watch the first few episodes of the show. Combining some of my favorite things (Japanese history and dogs), I can easily see this show being a fantastic comedy when you think about all the unique possibilities that occur when you have a story revolving around dogs. If you’re looking for something that’ll be an easy watch with (hopefully) some laughs, you can’t go wrong taking a peek at this one.
Arriving as the first of two separate cours, Haikyuu!! returns with its fourth season. As with their previous seasons, Haikyuu!!: To the Top continues the story of Karasuno High School’s volleyball team following their sudden revival due to new arrivals Hinata Shouyou (Murase Ayumu) and Kageyama Tobio (Ishikawa Kaito). After overcoming two prefectural powerhouses in Aobajohsai and Shiratorizawa in the second and third seasons respectively, Karasuno starts off the fourth season as Miyagi Prefecture’s representative for the Nationals. With Kageyama receiving an invitation to the All-Japan Youth Training Camp and a series of new opponents waiting in the wings, To the Top will see Karasuno face their most difficult challenges yet. Mitsunaka Susumu steps down from the director role after three seasons and two movies, making way for former Haikyuu!! episode director and key animator Satou Masako. The seiyuu for the remainder of the main cast will reprise their roles.
At this point there’s not much to say. Haikyuu!!’s immense popularity speaks for itself and the accolades it receives are well deserved. With top notch animation backing up non-stop action, a memorable cast of characters, and a new high for the Karasuno team in general, the fourth season has built itself up to be yet another resounding success. The news of a split cour and a new director dampens the mood slightly, but the fact that we’re getting another Haikyuu!! veteran to take his place offsets some of the loss, and it only helps that we’re finally getting some Haikyuu!! after waiting three long years. Last I checked, there’s also a big enough gap between the anime and the source material to make sure things get adapted properly. Here’s to watching what has become one of my favorite sports series.
Fujito Chiyuki (Hanamori Yumiri) tore up the junior fashion model scene when she was younger, featuring in multiple famous magazines and being widely touted as the next big thing due to her stunning beauty. It also helps that her father owns the prominent modelling agency Mille Neige. Her life’s dream is to walk down the runway at the prestigious Paris Fashion Week. Unfortunately, life has other plans. Despite her connections and financial backing, she fails to grow any sort of height beyond 158cm throughout her puberty – a detrimental death sentence when it comes to a career in modelling. While Chiyuki perseveres, refusing to give up even when her everyone tells her it’s impossible, her hope increasingly fades as her efforts continue unrewarded and she contemplates calling it quits during her final year of high school. That is until her fateful encounter with Tsumura Ikuto (Hanae Natsuki), an unassuming classmate who possesses a real talent for designing clothes, only that his family’s poor financial circumstances prevent him from going any further in his aspirations. With Chiyuki’s connections and financial backing, and with Ikuto’s raw talent for fashion design potentially providing ways to overcome shortcomings, they bravely forge ahead into uncertainty with the bright hopes of realising their impossible dreams.
Though I’m heavily partial to high octane battle fests, I wish there were more shounen series (Runway de Waratte runs in Weekly Shounen Jump) in the style of Runway de Waratte, which I’d describe as my favourite ongoing shounen manga. It reminds me of Bakuman. – striving to become the best within a given industry, while focusing on the technical aspects, without being overly hammy like Shokugeki no Souma. But it wouldn’t be fair to make comparisons when it’s unique for the most part. Runway de Waratte is its own wonderful thing and should be recognised for that. You never really get a sense of threat in Bakuman or Shokugeki no Souma, while the challenges that Chiyuki and Ikuto face are extremely high stakes with the potential to make or break their careers in a ruthless fashion industry. And through overcoming these obstacles via sheer determination, Chiyuki and Ikuto grow closer, learning how to rise beyond their own flaws by covering for each other. Regardless of whether you’re interested in fashion or not – and as a hopeless nerd I certainly never knew fashion could be so compelling before reading this manga – I’d highly recommend Runway de Waratte, though it should be noted that Ezola is a rather new studio in addition to director Nagayama Nobuyoshi possessing limited experience. Nevertheless, if you like character driven stories where people work hard to try and realise their dreams, this is definitely a show you should be looking out for.
For some of us, it can be easy to feel like the most normal individuals in a world of nutcases. For Koyuki Seri (Fukuyama Jun), this feeling goes beyond having a couple friends who make off-kilter jokes or parents with unrealistic expectations. The normal school life that Seri had always dreamed of is shattered when he found himself acting as the straight man to his odd classmate Hanadori Kabuto (Sakurai Takahiro). Seri has his work cut out for him with Kabuto, whose delusions of grandeur lead him to envision himself in fantasy situations as a knight on a journey. He even has your standard chuuni eyepatch which, if removed, would risk releasing his darker alter-ego whom he calls Michael Offenbarung Dunkeheit. When the rest of the class finds themselves inspired by Kabuto’s antics or enable him to continue his eccentric behavior, Seri promises himself that he won’t get pushed around by Kabuto or go out of his way to make sure that Kabuto doesn’t hurt himself. It will be easier said than done for Seri to escape the dreaded role of the tsukkomi to Kabuto’s boke.
Boku no Tonari ni Ankoku Hankaishin ga Imasu stands out by the merits of its concept. There’s plenty of humor to be found in the helpless situation that Seri finds himself in as he tries his hardest not to be doomed to the fate of being the straight man who is forced to play the foil to his eccentric classmates. Kabuto also carries the distinction of being a more likeable example of the chuuni stereotype, carrying himself in a way that doesn’t automatically link him toward being a “forever alone” nerd with coke-bottle glasses or a weak disposition. In fact, his more attractive features make it so that Seri has even bigger fish to fry with the number of loony classmates that he attracts over time. The struggles that Seri face in order to maintain normalcy in a school full of crazy characters should prove to be a funny and delightful excursion when this off-the-wall comedy arrives in 2020.
Have you ever heard of AKB48? Or one of its *checks notes* five domestic and seven international sister groups? Or its official rival group? Or its rival group’s sister group? Well, the guy responsible for all that
I don’t know if you know this about me, but shifty mixed-media project previews are kind of my jam. No one can wring meaning out of three sentences and a piece of concept art like Stilts! As far as multimedia projects go, this one is easier to parse than most. The 22/7 idol group has been performing for a year and a half by now, and Akimoto-san’s playbook is well understood. He’s a master of elevating unknown talent into household names, or at least, elevating them into a marketable mid-level. With a serviceable director in Abo Takao, an experienced sound director in Fujita Akiko, and the patented A-1 Pictures shine, the only big question mark is series composer Miyajima Reiji, who’s primarily worked as a mangaka. Also, there’s little information on what the anime is going to be actually about. Though, c’mon … it’s an idol anime. Slice-of-life crossed with singing is a safe bet. If that’s your thing, this one ought to be done well enough, and you’ll finally be able to listen to 22/7 music without the region locks. What more could an idol otaku want?
Despite our differences, humans all share the distinction of being driven by our desires. It may be a desire for power or stability, but one of the more mainstream and marketable desires would have to be lust. Lust can drive a person to make a plethora of rash and bold decisions, but it can also be the root of many questions we ask ourselves about the object(s) of our affections. Subjects such as: “Which Girl is Best Girl?”, “Is This Worthwhile Fapping Material?”, and “Which Fetish is for Me?” would naturally spark if your mind gravitated directly to your lustful thoughts. In Ishuzoku Reviewers we follow a group of perverted journalists in a world of humans, elves, fairies, anthros, angels, and demons as they frequent bars, brothels, and establishments in the red light district to debate the merits of their favorite aspects of each. Their ultimate goal is to boil down which women and fetishes reign supreme, but with the large, expansive world of erotic entertainment they plan on exploring, they have more than a handful to deal with.
It might be easy to be intimidated by a series that is as forward with its sexuality as Ishuzoku Reviewers, but its baudy concept is given a pinch of charm with an adorable chibi-esque artstyle. By creating an aesthetic that focuses more on the expressiveness of its characters than sheer titillation, it does more to validate the series as having merit to it beyond being an excuse to see some fanservice. While you are guaranteed to see characters who are scantily clad and voluptuous, it is tongue-in-cheek tone is sure to add a layer of camp to its alluring content. And with Miru Tights’ director Ogawa Yuuki helming the anime, there is sure to be extra attention paid to certain features when Ishuzoku Reviewers comes sooner than you’d think, but further than you’d hope.
The monsters and apparitions of Japan, the youkai, don’t really understand humans. That’s why they need somebody to intercede on their behalf. They need Iwanaga Kotoko (Kitou Akari) who, at the age of 11, traded her right eye and left leg in return for wisdom and became the intermediary of the youkai, lending the unrefined creatures of mythology her human intellect and resolving disputes between them and humans. But now, at the delicate age of 17, Iwanaga has other things on her mind than serving as princess of the yokai. She’s in love! The lucky(?) hunk in question: Sakuragawa Kurou (Miyano Mamoru). Tall, dark, handsome — for Iwanaga, it was love at first sight. One problem: he’s already engaged. Actually, another problem: he might be some kind of hellish abomination. For some reason all youkai are absolutely terrified of him. Iwanaga has plenty of experience pacifying monsters, but perhaps her would-be boyfriend will turn out to be the most monstrous of them all.
There’s a lot of genres crammed into Kyokou Suiri (Invented Inference, localised as In/Spectre). There’s traditional mystery. There’s supernatural mystery. There’s complex romance drama. It’s all held together by the protagonist Iwanaga Kotoko, who brings to the story an irrepressible charm. She’s basically Mycroft as a shamelessly thirsty shoujo manga heroine, which is exactly as amazing as it sounds. That would normally be enough to recommend any anime, but a word of warning. Kyokou Suiri was originally a novel (by Shirodaira Kyou), which means it’s a talkie. Mystery novels, in particular, are loaded with exposition, from setting up the case to briefing the Watson to explaining the reveal, not to mention the supernatural angle in Kyokou Suiri that mandates lectures about obscure Japanese mythology. While the promotional materials indicate that the anime seems to be based on the manga version (adapted by Katase Chasiba), which is more visual, I’d still be more comfortable with an adaptation with a less orthodox style, like what was done with Monogatari. I’m not sure the anime staff will be up to that, though. Script overseer Takagi Noboru is certainly good at what he does, but director Gotoh Keiji post-Kiddy Grade is known mostly for mediocrity. But that’s just pessimism talking. The source has enough flair to stand out amongst this season’s other offerings, and fans of supernatural mystery will not want to miss out.
I don’t have any absolute can’t miss prospects for winter, after having quite a few of them in the fall. But it’s a strong Mid-table shelf, at least in terms of series that seem to have a lot of upside. Chief among that group for me is Dorohedoro, though there are enough question marks that I can’t quite bump it up to the top level. While the Dorohedroro manga is certainly much-loved, it’s 23 volumes (ending in 2018) and we’ve received no announcement on episode count – and the flood of truncated adaptations of completed manga in recent years has produced mixed results. The anime is also Netflix, with the challenges that implies, and the preview was pretty CGI-heavy. The staff looks more functional than brilliant and there are certainly yellow flags which you ignore at your own peril, but if this series gets the time to really tell the manga’s story effectively (which seems like a longshot, if we’re honest) Dorehedoro has a chance to be one of 2020’s best.
For all that, it’s still a critically-acclaimed seinen horror-fantasy and for that alone Dorohedoro is one of this season’s frontrunners for me. A gritty and dark story of a desolate slum whose residents are exploited by magic-users and the deformed (by magic) man who hunts them and searches for a means to restore his humanity, Dorohedoro is not a mass-produced model. I’m not sure I really understand the financial dynamics behind this trend of adapting already-finished manga (especially seinen) but if it brings us more shows like this one, I’m not complaining. I just wish they got the space they needed to tell the story in full.
An interesting trend we have here. Virtual bands and their live shows are a trending fad in Japan. Audiences of all ages gather to watch AR (augmented reality) Japanese idols perform their hit singles on stage. And now, this popular band ARP (Artists Republic Production) will have its very own animated series. It’s a really interesting concept. The project launched in 2016 and has now upgraded to a multi-level platform presence including Youtube, live events, and now anime.
Based on the ARP’s band members, ARP Backstage will follow the singing quartet which includes Shinji, León, and duo Daiya and Rage of Rebel Cross. The premise isn’t quite clear, however we know the story will showcase the lives of each member off stage, through high school. While the teaser shows heavily CGI animated performances by the band, the additional characters that were released are animated traditionally. It’s still to be determined whether the whole series will have the CGI look or if the style will be used to emphasize the bands’ killer dance moves on stage.
Based off of the “ikemen-raising” game that shares the same name, A3! is a show that I can only describe as idol-adjacent with some unique charm to it. As one would assume, the show revolves around our main heroine as she does her best as the new president of what’s left of what used to be a well-renowned theater company. Tasked with the job of bringing the company back to its former glory, Tachibana Izumi (Nazuka Kaori) will need to venture out and find talent that can not only perform well, but perform well together.
Every season there comes another ikemen-related game that involves some sort of entertainment. Seeing how the rush of ikemen-idol shows seem to have died down, it’s nice to see a new work that stays within the same industry but with a focus on something slightly different. In A3!’s case, there isn’t all that much known about the anime except its airing structure and the cast. That said, based on tidbits of information floating out there and the fantastic looking PV that accompanied the show’s announcement, I think this could end up being a fun watch for fans of the genre. That and for those of us who enjoy an interesting story outside of all the original song goodness, the pre-announced split-cour leads me to believe that there should be enough time to tell a good story if the writers can think of one.
Best batten down those hatches boys and girls, for isekais are colliding once again. After the likes of Overlord’s Ainz (Hino Satoshi) and crew, Konosuba’s squad of fail, Youjo Senki’s Tanya (Yuuki Aoi) and special squad, and Re:Zero’s Subaru (Kobayashi Yuusuke), Emilia (Takahashi Rie), and others find themselves transported to a brand new world courtesy of mystical red button and magical jujitsu, the fun and games of living an ordinary Japanese high school life while finding a way home are only just getting started. With a new class of isekai arrivals in the form of Shield Hero’s Naofumi (Ishikawa Kaito) and Raphtalia (Seto Asami) (among other famous series characters) set for their grand scholastic debut, it’s anyone’s guess just what shenanigans are in store for our various otherworldly casts, but one thing is for certain: in this alternate world, anything goes.
Without a doubt for me, Kadokawa’s Isekai Quartet was hands down one of spring 2019’s hidden gems. The original chibi anime short paired the right amount of isekai tomfoolery with self-deprecating tongue-in-cheek humour, throwing together a seemingly unwieldy array of popular franchise characters while managing (somehow) to keep the whole thing firmly on the rails. This show arguably exemplified the best that isekai can offer, and while Isekai Quartet wasn’t without its faults (notably the choice of featuring certain characters over others, i.e. Youjo Senki), the good news is that season two looks set to make up the difference. With the likes of Shield Hero and a few other currently unknown franchises joining the party there won’t be a lack in the show’s fantastically composed cross-series banter, and with Ashina Minoru remaining in the dual director/scriptwriter seat, little risk of any serious production or writing hiccups exists. Isekai Quartet may not be the ultimate isekai anime of the age, but if you enjoyed the cutesy crossover original this is one sequel worthy of further attention.
BanG Dream! has had such an interesting run as an anime that it’s tough to describe the feelings it elicits if you haven’t kept up with it. Relatively unknown during its first season, the anime revolved around Toyama Kasumi (Aimi) and her tenacity as she formed her group called Poppin’Party. However, for players of the game, you’ll notice that there are four (technically five now) other groups that weren’t touched on during the first season. Fast forward to season two where the animation style changed to full 3d and you had the show jumping from group to group as we got a clear look at not only their backstories but their motivations for wanting to do even better in the present. Toss in the surprise addition of newcomers RAISE A SUILEN and you had an established world full of bands just waiting for an opportunity to perform, with the only downside that there wasn’t enough time left to really dive into anything new (especially if you knew most of the backstory from playing the game).
Enter season three, completely uncharted territory. All the bands have been clearly established and the story is at the point where it could literally go anywhere. From Budokan to performing overseas, it really feels like the show could tackle just about anything with all of the groundwork fully laid. Something that I’m sure feels like a dream come true for any fans out there who have been rooting for the anime to find success. For non-fans, there’s a fun story about various all-girl bands who are just trying their best to do whatever they can do. Through two seasons we’ve seen the groundwork laid for even bigger things to happen, so if you have the time, you should definitely catch up on the previous season to truly experience whatever season three has to throw at us.
Uesugi Fuutarou ( Matsuoka Yoshitsugu) is a put-upon high school student who has been tasked with tutoring the five wealthy Nakano sisters, each of whom is doing poorly in one particular subject. But while Fuutarou tries to get the girls to pay attention to their studies, he has a new crop of problems when the sisters start to slowly grow attached to him. In the past season, Miku (Itou Miku) has grown the fondest of him, waiting for the right opportunity for her to make her move. Meanwhile, Ichika (Hanazawa Kana) is battling her conflicting feelings on whether she could remain Miku’s wingman for Fuutarou if she’s starting to fall for him. Itsuki (Minase Inori), while initially wary of Fuutarou, has started to see him as a dependable tutor for helping them stay focused on improving their grades. The openly hostile attitude that Nino (Taketatsu Ayana) shows Fuutarou is also crumbling as her dream man has a strange resemblance to Fuutarou for some odd reason. And last, but certainly not least, Yotsuba (Sakura Ayane) is Fuutarou’s earliest ally, supporting him as he tries to get more familiar with her and her sisters. As if things didn’t seem messy enough with a potential love hexagon among five siblings and one guy, the story lets it slip in the beginning that Fuutarou will eventually marry one of the sisters. Will this new season give any of the Nakano sisters the edge in winning the Fuutarou Bowl? Will there be any new context clues that will tell us who Fuutarou’s future bride will be? This second season of Go-Toubun no Hanayome aims to shed further light on these developments this winter.
Much of the appeal of Go-Toubun no Hanayome is in the speculation on which of the five sisters will be Fuutarou’s future bride. At first, the Nakano sisters are frustratingly rebellious toward Fuutarou’s efforts to get them to study, but as he becomes familiar with how they act, we start to see more of what makes them charming in their own ways. Miku is relatable in her shyness, but she also wants to take proactive measures to share her time, interests, and affection with Fuutarou. Nino has that tsundere appeal, yet is also admirable in how much she values her sisters as a family unit. Ichika carries a mature allure to her and can level with Fuutarou when he needs some thoughtful advice on how to get to know the girls. And who could forget Yotsuba, the glue that holds everyone together, who is as optimistic as she is supportive of Fuutarou’s efforts. We left off with the five sisters sharing their time with Fuutarou as he was recovering from a cold in the middle of a school trip, each having their own motives for wanting to spend time with Fuutarou during an intimate fire-side dance. But only time will tell whether this season will have developments that drastically change how we see the Nakano sisters and how they respond to Fuutarou.
Zenonzard, the anime series, is part of a larger project launched this past summer by Bandai Co. Ltd. The anime is an extension of an AI-assisted card game called Zenonzard, where players battle against each other with the help of their Artificial Intelligence assistant, called Codeman, who guides their play. The AI learns and adapts in order to provide useful information to the player. The game was launched in September 2019 alongside Episode 0 of the series which was made available by Bandai for streaming. With over a million views of the first episode on Youtube alone and over 500,000 thousand preregistered gamers for the AI card game before its launch, the buzz around both the game and series is high.
The story follows two main characters, AI Eilietta Lash (Hayami Saori) and a high school student Azuma Souta (Shimazaki Nobunaga,) who team up to go up against the best of the best. The series serves to expand the already growing Bandai franchise by elaborating on the Zenon world and its characters in support of the game. Episode 0 is a good place to begin before the show airs in January and it outlines a nice premise for what’s to come. Studio 8-bit’s animation is also quite nice and compliments the beautiful character design, especially for AI Eilietta. This could either be a hit or miss but might be worth the watch if you’re into card battles reminiscent of Yu-Gi-Oh.
|Air Date||Title||Series Synopsis|
|01/05||Yatogame-chan Kansatsu Nikki Nisatsume | 八十亀ちゃんかんさつにっき 2さつめ
AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
|More tourism shows
Still promoting Nagoya.
Spoiler: don’t go there.
|01/06||Heya Camp | へやキャン△
|So take Yuru Camp
But now it’s all omake.
Less camp but more camp.
|01/07||Natsunagu | なつなぐ!
AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Brought tragedy to many;
In grief there is art.
|11/27||Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya: Prisma☆Phantasm OVA
Fate/kaleid liner プリズマ☆イリヤ プリズマ☆ファンタズム OVA
|11/27||Made in Abyss Movie 1: Tabidachi no Yoake
|11/27||Seishun Buta Yarou wa Yumemiru Shoujo no Yume wo Minai
|YouTube Original by Gen Urobuchi.|
|12/04||Tensei Shitara Slime Datta Ken OVA | 転生したらスライムだった件 OVA
|Bundled w/ manga Vol. 14. OVA 2.|
|12/05||Code Geass: Fukkatsu no Lelouch | コードギアス 復活のルルーシュ
|12/11||Koutetsujou no Kabaneri Movie #3: Unato Kessen
|12/18||Frame Arms Girl Movie: Kyakkya Ufufu na Wonderland
|12/18||Kimi to, Nami ni Noretara | きみと、波にのれたら
|12/20||Gekijouban Trinity Seven 2: Tenkuu Toshokan to Shinku no Maou
劇場版 トリニティセブン -天空図書館〈ヘブンズライブラリー〉と真紅の魔王
|12/25||Strike Witches: 501 Butai Hasshin Shimasu! Movie
ストライクウィッチーズ 劇場版 501部隊発進しますっ!
|12/25||Uta no☆Prince-sama♪ Maji Love Kingdom Movie
劇場版 うたの☆プリンスさまっ♪ マジLOVEキングダム
|12/26||Kono Yo no Hate de Koi wo Utau Shoujo YU-NO OVA
|Bundled w/ BD Vol. 3. Episode 26.5.|
|12/30||Saiki Kusuo no Ψ-nan: Shidou-hen | 斉木楠雄のΨ難 Ψ始動編
|01/22||Haikyuu!!: Riku vs Kuu | ハイキュー!! 陸VS空
|01/28||Gundam: G no Reconguista Movie | 劇場版 ガンダム Gのレコンギスタ
|01/29||Dungeon ni Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darou ka II OVA
ダンジョンに出会いを求めるのは間違っているだろうか 2期 OVA
|01/29||Kaijuu no Kodomo | 海獣の子供
|01/29||Strike the Blood: Kieta Seisou-hen | ストライク・ザ・ブラッド 消えた聖槍篇
|Pre-Season IV OVA.|
|02/05||Promare | プロメア
|02/26||Hibike! Euphonium Movie 3: Chikai no Finale
|02/27||Girls und Panzer das Finale Part 2 | 『ガールズ＆パンツァー 最終章』第2話
|02/27||Nakanohito Genome [Jikkyouchuu]: Knots of Memories
ナカノヒトゲノム【実況中】KNOTS OF MEMORIES
|Bundled w/ manga Vol. 10.|
|02/28||Tenchi Muyou! Ryououki 5th Season | 天地無用! 魎皇鬼 第伍期
|02/28||Queen’s Blade: Unlimited | クイーンズブレイドUNLIMITED
|03/10||Honzuki no Gekokujou: Shisho ni Naru Tame ni wa Shudan wo Erandeiraremasen OVA
本好きの下剋上 ～司書になるためには手段を選んでいられません～ OVA
|BD/DVD Release. Episode 14.5.|
|03/18||One Piece Movie: Stampede | 劇場版 ONE PIECE STAMPEDE
|03/18||Violet Evergarden Gaiden: Eien to Jidou Shuki Ningyou (Side Story: Eternity and the Auto Memory Doll)
ヴァイオレット・エヴァーガーデン 外伝 -永遠と自動手記人形-
|03/19||Altered Carbon: Resleeved | オルタード・カーボン: リスリーブド
|03/23||Hoozuki no Reitetsu 2nd Season OVA | 鬼灯の冷徹 第2期 OVA
|Bundled w/ manga Vol. 30. OVA 2 of 3.|
|Hand-drawn 4K HDR anime by Production I.G. w/ Netflix.|
|03/25||Chuubyou Gekihatsu Boy OVA | 厨病激発ボーイ OVA
|Bundled w/ BD/DVD Vol. 4. Episode 12.|
|03/25||Kishibe Rohan wa Ugokanai (2019) | 岸辺露伴は動かない
|BD/DVD Release. Episode 3 of 3.|
|03/25||Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo!: Kurenai Densetsu
|03/25||Tsuujou Kougeki ga Zentai Kougeki de 2-kai Kougeki no Okaasan wa Suki desu ka? OVA
|03/26||7 Seeds 2nd Season
|03/27||ACCA 13-ku Kansatsu-ka Regards | ACCA13区監察課 Regards
|03/27||Tensei Shitara Slime Datta Ken OVA | 転生したらスライムだった件 OVA
|Bundled w/ manga Vol. 14. OVA 3 of 5|
|03/27||Gundam: G no Reconguista II: Belry Gekishin
劇場版 ガンダム Ｇのレコンギスタ Ⅱ ベルリ 撃進
|BD/DVD Release. Recompilation Film 2 of 5.|
As I look over this coming season with the total lack of dependable knowledge that fallible human foresight provides me, it feels like there’s a retreat to the center among the sorts of series that are getting greenlit. To be true there are several high-quality shows buoying the rest of the proceedings, and several that are reaching for the stars even if there are notable worries about their ability to attain their aims, but there’s an awful lot that look like they’ll be good enough but don’t otherwise seem to be pushing the envelope. Fine for what they are, but when there are too many of them, pickings can get slim. However, I’ve thought that about seasons before and been surprised, and I’m prepared to be wrong again. Here’s hoping! Which brings me to…
Excitement levels! Yes, we’ll be continuing with our now-customary Excitement Levels, which includes four main levels plus Established for special cases. Our goal 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 hot and bothered about a show that ends up falling apart.
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 our own proclivities, these aren’t predictions, and shouldn’t be taken as such. Take these with the appropriate amount of salt.
Note: Lists are sorted in alphabetical order.
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.
- High Excitement: Eizouken ni wa Te wo Dasu na!, ID:INVADED, Jibaku Shounen Hanako-kun, Somali to Mori no Kamisama
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.
- Optimistic Excitement: Darwin’s Game, Dorohedoro, Go-toubun no Hanayome 2nd Season, Housekishou Richard-shi no Nazo Kantei, Isekai Quartet 2, Kyokou Suiri, Magia Record: Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica Gaiden, Majutsushi Orphen Hagure Tabi, number24, Oshi ga Budoukan Itte Kuretara Shinu, Runway de Waratte
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.
- Average Excitement: A3! Season Spring & Summer, BanG Dream! 3rd Season, Boku no Tonari ni Ankoku Hankaishin ga Imasu., Breakers, Hatena Illusion, Infinite Dendrogram, Itai no wa Iya nano de Bougyoryoku ni Kyokufuri Shitai to Omoimasu., Koisuru Asteroid, Kuutei Dragons, Murenase! Seton Gakuen, Nekopara (2020), Oda Shinamon Nobunaga, Pet, Plunderer, Rikei ga Koi ni Ochita no de Shoumei Shite Mita, Show by Rock!! Mashumairesh!!, Uchi Tama?! Uchi no Tama Shirimasenka?, Zenonzard
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.
- Limited Excitement: 22/7, ARP Backstage Pass, Ishuzoku Reviewers
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: Haikyuu!!: To the Top, Toaru Kagaku no Railgun T
Amazing work as always!
I can’t wait for the Made in Abyss OVA. Very much looking forward to this.
@Kuutei Dragons | 空挺ドラゴンズ
– Reminds me of Last Exile + some Dreamcast Game. But Wall hunting is nit my cup of Tea
So, seems like it is dead from the start for me
Am I missing something, or is this the first season in the long while where we had no new Isekai TV shows? We have Isekai Quartet which is a parody and two VRMMORPG Anime, but no actual Isekai O_O
No, you aren’t. Despite what people say, only one is an isekai
So excited for Railgun season 3. Hopefully they will show the arc with more focus on Misaki Shoukuhou that barely seen for 3 minutes in season 2.
Other than that only Plunderer interests me this season. The manga is amazing so I expect the same when animated.
Are you guys going to make the text bolder on the site?
New formatting on mobile phones makes this a little unreadable with lots of scrolling. Or its just my phone.
Thanks guys and Happy holidays.
I’ve locked in on Haikyuu!!, TQQ, Madoka, and Rikekoi as new ones to watch. Will also check out In/Spectre to see if it’s worthy.
Thanks for your great work, guys, and happy holidays!
Toaru Kagaku no Railgun T
Gotoubun no Hanayome S2 (May be odd to watch given recent developments)
Bang Dream S3
Itai no wa Iya nano de Bougyoryoku ni Kyokufuri Shitai to Omoimasu.
Give it an episode
Murenase! Seton Gakuen
Not very much for me this time. Madoka, Darwin’s Game, Railgun… well, at least Spring will be great 🙂
New Yuasa anime? I’m in.
Good to see they’ve ditched the idea of padding each Railgun season with 50/50 canon/filler material. Railgun doesn’t need 24 episodes if half of it is filler lol.
Actually I think that the info above is wrong as I heard that it’s supposed to be 24 episodes.
Oh okay. Thankyou for informing. It seemed believable to me as it has been quite a long time since the second season.
Looks like a decent season coming up!
Can’t say that anything really catches my interest apart from new Railgun.
Which reminds me that I still have to finish that disappointing mess that was Index 3.
Hopefully, Railgun does A LOT better that that one, whether it’s animation budget or actually caring about the viewers being able to follow what the hell is going on.
Might also check out Accelerator beforehand.
Well, thanks for the early Christmas gift… Let’s hope the next decade is a better, more optimistic one than the last. (Apologies in advance to those surfing on mobile for the extra scrolling you’ll have to do–this was also the first thing I saw when I test-surfed RC on my smartphone.)
Will definitely watch:
– Toaru Kagaku no Railgun T – I’ve been a bit harsh on J.C. Staff for the last three seasons (see: Date A Live III, One-Punch Man 2, and–again–Index III). But after turning things around with Accelerator, the KonoSuba movie and recently, season 4 of Shokugeki no Souma, I’m tempted to be forgiving and give a more optimistic outlook for Railgun T.
Also, more Mikoto, Kuroko, Saten and Uiharu is good. (And I’m looking forward to see Frenda’s role in this season before meeting her grisly demise in Index III.)
– Go-Toubun no Hanayome season 2 – It’s amusing that this series and BokuBen are always separated by a season, as if they were complementing each other (read: filling the void the other leaves) once one season ends. Anyway, looking forward to see Nino redeem herself and finding out why Ichika is called a snake(?)…though I’m still rooting for Miku (never mind ship-sinking spoilers from the manga fans).
– Isekai Quartet season 2 – Shield Hero, baybee! But if a certain “Cautious Hero”, a certain animal-loving pro wrestler, a certain isekai MILF and her party, and KonoSuba‘s best lich were to appear in this season, that’d be swell, too (though there’s always the next season). Oh, and turn
Malty“Cyka” into this season’s butt-monkey as well (Yunyun deserves a break from that role).
– Nekopara (2020) – It’s happening! It’s now a TV anime! Cute neko girls doing cute things! *ahem* Excitement aside, if the animation quality is similar to that of the OVA, this should be a nice, relaxing, and relatively wholesome guilty pleasure watch. (Even if the source material is anything but wholesome.) Bonus points if it also hits right in the feels.
– Ishuzoku Reviewers – On the other side of the guilty pleasure coin, I’m still in the market for another ecchi show. And what better way to satisfy that urge than have a bunch of fantasy-world guys go to brothels full of female elves, succubi, catgirls, cow girls, various other monster girls and every other fantasy humanoid race under the sun? It helps that the premise is as straightforward as it gets.
Will try out (three-episode rule) / Last-minute pickups thanks to this preview:
– Rikei ga Koi ni Ochita no de Shoumei Shite Mita – NGL, this caught my interest after watching a snippet from Sora Amamiya’s radio show where she admitted to scoring a 4 in Math back in high school. Which is ironic considering her character in the show is supposed to be a genius. Still, “Gambare, Ten-chan!”
– Magia Record: Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica Gaiden – I certainly would love a cameo from best girl Mami Tomoe if at all possible, though I’m not holding my breath for it.
– Itai no wa Iya nano de Bougyoryoku ni Kyokufuri Shitai to Omoimasu. – Basically a lighter and softer (and genderbent) Shield Hero without an absolute hatesink character.
Movies, shorts, OVAs and carryovers:
– Seishun Buta Yarou wa Yumemiru Shoujo no Yume wo Minai – And here I thought I wouldn’t be able to catch the fan-screening of this movie last November 9 after waiting too damn long. Barely managed to get a ticket on that day, and even got a mini character board of Futaba (third choice, still a good girl) and a spoileriffic film strip of Shoko (second choice, arguably best girl of the movie). Thank you, Aniplus! *clap clap clap-clap-clap*
(P.S.: First choice – None other than Mai-san.)
– Girls und Panzer das Finale Part 2 – Well, Studio Actas sure are taking their time with each installment of Das Finale. But after hearing news that Azur Lane‘s last two episodes are delayed to March 2020 (with a rebroadcast of the first 10 episodes starting January 2020) and recalling Actas’s similar experience with the GuP TV anime, perhaps taking their time is a good thing. After all, a rushed product is bad forever. (I just hope I’m still alive to see it to the end.)
– There’s also Code Geass: Fukkatsu no Lelouch, Frame Arms Girl Movie: Kyakkya Ufufu na Wonderland, Strike Witches: 501 Butai Hasshin Shimasu! Movie (seriously?), as well as the YU-NO and Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya: Prisma☆Phantasm OVAs.
– Fate/Grand Order: Zettai Majuu Sensen Babylonia
– Shin Chuuka Ichiban(?)
The ever-increasing backlog pile:
– Choujin Koukousei-tachi wa Isekai demo Yoyuu de Ikinuku you desu!
– Watashi, Nouryoku wa Heikinchi de tte Itta yo ne!
– Kandagawa Jet Girls
Another thing I’ve noticed with the new layout: There’s no longer a back-link to previous season previews. Was that also a cause of RC’s recent downtime as well?
Anyway, have a fun Winter season, and Happy Holidays!
Next season looks neat. Not overly crowded and not completely underwhelming. Since there’s not much time watching anime for me now, I will pick a few.
– Railgun season 3: Misaka and friends are back! And as usual, fripSide will sing the opening song.
– Magia Record: Honestly, Madoka Magica is my favorite anime of the entire decade, I just want more of it.
– Rikekoi: I love romcom, expecially the one not set in high school. I’ve read the manga so I know what to expect.
Anyway, will we get the Best of Anime 2019 soon? Or maybe will there be a special decade ending poll?
mangareaders watching the 2nd season of gotoubun no hanayome in-denial just to saw my fave animated/voiced
My god, there’s SO MUCH wrong information on this post. And some that are really really basic.
“A manga adaptation by Cygames” No, it isn’t? A basic look at the own links you guys posted shows that the manga is just published by Cygames on their Cycomi app and website. The mangaka is Yamashita Bungo
“Yes, those eyes aren’t deceiving thee: we have another SAO-esque alternate world on our hands.” “It may not be the greatest thing since sliced bread, but Itai no wa Iya will certainly do the trick when it comes to scratching that isekai itch.” VRMMORPG aren’t Isekai. This very anime is just a girl playing a game like me and you.
“First published as a free-to-read light novel by Sakon Kaidou in 2015, Infinite Dendrogram then became a manga before being adapted for the screen” That’s not how it was at all. Dendrogram was a web novel published by the author on shosetsuka ni narou like many novels began in this decade before becoming novels or light novels. After a time, it was then picked by a publisher and published in light novel format officially, which then began a manga adaptation years later. I don’t know how this was so misinterpreted. And of course, dendrogram isn’t an isekai either but part of the vrmmorpg genre. Lastly, it sure is funny the comparison with SAO and Kirito when both the “unlike” all happens on Alicization arc.
“Though I’m heavily partial to high octane battle fests, I wish there were more shounen series (Runway de Waratte runs in Weekly Shounen Jump) in the style of Runway de Waratte, which I’d describe as my favourite ongoing shounen manga.” Runway de Aratte is a manga from Shonen Magazine, it’s literally on all the links you put on there. How you even got confused with Shonen Jump? Even more when it has all magazine on how the manga is in its style when you compare to other magazine titles…
“Animation: Clover Works” 22/7 (Nanabun no Nijuuni) isn’t animated by Cloverworks but by A-1 Pictures, which are two different companies for over a year at this point.
“Each character is designed by a different famous character designer (from anime such as Fate/Grand Order, Toradora!, HenNeko, Grimgar, Saekano, and Tamako Market)” The only one who work on those anime is Horiguchi who was the character designer of Tamako Market. All the others only worked as the illustrator of the original media which their anime is adapted, not in the anime, which have its own character designer that isn’t involved on 22/7
Whether one likes it or not isekai has become a go-to label for these sorts of shows. Yes, they’re not technically isekai, but there’s enough similarities that using the label can help the average reader in understanding (as the rest of the preview then builds upon). Until these stories grow popular enough to acquire their own mainstream sub-genre label, they’re going to be called isekai, among other things.
The genre of those works exists since the 90s though, and it’s called VRMMORPG genre. It’s why all of those are about playing it and have the same name of genre inside the genre itself.
Is the next Railgun U or F?
Hypothetically “F” (for “Fourth”), if going by this pattern:
S – Second
T – Third
(Though I could be wrong considering the “Four Is Death” trope. Also, would that mean the fifth season would be called “Fi“? Sixth season “Si“? Oh dear…)
I have to admit, I’m really lamenting that Polygon Pictures of all studios picked up Kuutei Dragons. I’m a big fan of the manga, actually own the physical volumes 1~6 of the manga with volume 7 coming out next May (we’re getting it published over here in Germany under the title Quin Zaza: Die letzten Drachenfänger), and… seriously, it’s really good. That being said, one really big selling point of the manga is the utterly gorgeous art (reminds me of Miyazaki’s Nausicaä manga at times), and… I dunno, I know it’d be hard to animate, but full CGI just kind of tears me apart on the inside. I’m going to give it a watch, and I’m probably going to stick with it until the end, but I feel like it’d have deserved so much better.
Other than that, I’m pretty happy that Winter looks better already than the pretty lack-luster Fall season (seriously, I only picked up one new title, and that was a sequel, for crying out loud – High Score Girl 2, for the record). I love the Dorohedoro manga to pieces, so I’m really looking forward to seeing it animated. More Haikyuu is always great, and I always appreciate some Yuasa in my viewing schedule. Plus a few shows I’m giving sleeper odds, like Pet. I’m not sure if anything can fill the gap that Vinland Saga is leaving behind, but at least in terms of quantity, things are looking up a little again.
Instead of Isekais this season is full of VRMMOs.
Also where’s Re:Zero season 1 re-run?
It’s going to be 1-hour episodes with new scenes.
As it’s a re-run (sans the new scenes) it doesn’t really make much sense for us to include it directly in the preview with a full write-up; most people here have likely seen or heard of Re:Zero for example and are simply waiting for the new season. Considering how many hour-long re-runs are popping up of late though it may be sensible for us to mention it somewhere just so it’s documented—as you allude to you never know who might be interested!
Only good thing new orphen series everything else typical pandering nonsense. Why can’t Japan do better? There are tons of good manga that could easily be adapted. But Noooooo still stick with pandering nonsense ugh! Sooo annoying
Housekishou Richard-shi no Nazo Kantei isn’t in poll.
As far as definite watches go, I’m just gonna continue along with what I started this year in Kabukicho Sherlock. You know, RC not picking it up for weekly review was a blessing in disguise, since it allowed me to enjoy the episodes and react to the twists and developments without worry that doing so might be “problematic”.
Even if it’s just a single episode, I’ll definitely check out Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! this season, and while I won’t check Plunderer out on my own, considering that FUNimation announced the English voice cast way in advance of the show’s premiere, I’m expecting a Toonami run at some point.
As always, thank you very much for this upcoming season’s preview!
Because of your write-ups, I’m inclined to try Darwin’s Game, Pet, Somali to Mori no Kamisama and Runway de Waratte (even though I have no plans on watching them, hehe)
Thanks for the preview! I’m considering picking up Eizouken ni wa Te wo Dasu na! and mali to Mori no Kamisama this season.
I hope this doesn’t ruin anybody’s enjoyment. Kuutei Dragons looks like a show inspired by whaling. From the big harpoon gun to the killing blow, everything reminds me of that.
On a lighter note, Rikei ga Koi ni Ochita no de Shoumei Shite Mita sounds like a blast. Some friends actually tried to do that for an assignment. The presentation was rather amusing. They were engineering undergraduate students though.
I had no idea Kyokou Suiri was getting an anime! I very much enjoyed what I’ve read of the manga, although I have to warn you: this series is VERY talky. Anyone remember that part of Zetzuen no Tempest where they spend three episodes on the characters standing in a forest dramatically talking? It’s stuff like that. The manga managed to keep it interesting, but how well it will translate to a weekly anime release is up in the air. Still, watch it for the awesomeness that is Kotoko, if nothing else.
Also glad to see Railgun season 3 coming out. Looking forward to it. Also also, Koisuru Asteroid, Nekopara, Show by Rock, and Itai no wa Iya.
from the poll it looks Railgun stands head and shoulders above the rest of the pack coming season…
of course anime being anime we can expect at least one dark horse per season….
a couple of series looks interesting in, but most looking forward to unearthing some hidden gems – particularly when I find one i would never even considered watching but turns out to be unexpectedly amazing. Ascendence of the Bookworm would be one from the season just gone.
on the whole, this upcoming season looks weaker than Fall 2019 IMO, but i’m ever optimistic to be proven wrong.
Thanks guys. I do want to note however that the new font can be little harder to read (on different platform i.e. monitor with different coloring (TN, VA, IPS), phone screen oled/lcd, etc) because of #666666 gray color. Either make this closer to 0, or straight up change it to #000000. For those who want quick temporary solution, right-click, “Inspect Element”, and on “Styles”, change body color to #000000.
This is the first season, I think, where I’ve been following anime news on a daily basis so long that I saw the announcement for every show and researched them in advance to decide which ones I wanted to try out. (But I didn’t keep track of which ones were airing this season rather than later ones. So this list is a surprise to me.)
Nine of them interest me, but I suspect that only 2-3 have the potential to truly hook me. And only 1 isekai this season! As always, spring is stronger.
As always, thank you guys for all the hard work. I will have to read this when I have the time. I’ve found over the last few years my routine of coming here has kind of fallen off. I wouldn’t say it was a factor, but I think it was around when Samu retired from here. I will try to rectify that in the year to come.
No isekai, but full of idols anime
Hello RandomC folks, I hope this is on-topic enough.
I just saw these posts, of what seem to be a single show, on Twitter
and lastly (NSFW) https://twitter.com/kuresome/status/1213852776465231872
and came here looking for what series of the new season they might belong to but I don’t see anything like it in this list on first sight.
The tweets have a #tokyomx hashtag in it so, despite the um… quite hentai-esque artstyle I think that this is indeed a safe for TV show. Anyone knows what they belong to?
Perhaps because of these Screenshots. They are perhaps aired under AT-X
Thanks as always, gang.
Can anyone explain me what is the relationship between Hayao Miyazaki and Somali to Mori no Kamisama? I don’t understand the mention to Nausicaä in the review.
You need to know his background in how he grown up and want to become a Manga-ka and Animator
– How would a Game or Anime feels like when it shows how i would play this kind of Games with bonds between NPCs (Companions) ? Like the old “BioWare” Games Treasure (the current one is only a hollow name)
This Anime is a good start for me, sure it has some “Hero save the Damsel in distress with OP Weapon (A level 0 defend this Monster without “Level Up’s piercing the Sky!”. Jumping some Levels). But i am okay with that. They also need to think of their own Home market
Anyway. This Anime got my curiosity. But it needs more Episode to let get me Hooked so far. But it had a Good Start (for me)
Well, well, it looks like 22/7 started out by taking a literal machete right at the idol industry through the lens of it’s very bitter and quite possibly mentally troubled protagonist (a protagonist that laces her monologues with sheer suspicion and bile at everything does not hint at a neuro-typical individual, to say the least).
Let’s see how far it’s willing to distinguish itself from the massed ranks of 2.5D Idol anime out there – it’s already started with a protagonist who is most definitely far from conducive to typical Slice of Life Plots, and I suspect it’s not going to pull its punches with the drama, which seems to be heading it shockingly early for it’s genre.
I’d say though, given it’s reception in the west and the currently low levels of discussion about it, that it’s probably dead on arrival internationally baring some major turnaround like the one Bandori saw. Taking a hatchet to the idol genre is always going to be risky because it risks alienating those who expect a comfy Slice of Life while skeptics would already write it off for what it is.
It has many issues of course – for one, the Seiyuus are, to put it generously, rather raw.
– Episode 2 feels good. I think i might hook with this setting and a bit real world even if here the Main Actor also have The Goddess of Luck on his site
@Itai no wa Iya nano de Bougyoryoku ni Kyokufuri Shitai to Omoimasu
– i good hooked on the first sight and hearing. Also a setting with the great Goddess of Drop Luck helping out here. But it is for the sake of the story and i do not mind. Better then Hacks or ex-GameMaster tools
@Eizouken ni wa Te wo Dasu na!
– reminds me of my early days of Anime, Dreams and Fanatsy. Also, with “Future Boy Conan” (the one Anime he watch on the Computer) the world of Anime began with it, too. Please stay this way. This Anime is to lite the fire on peoples hearts about anime. It feels like somehow out of the same anime House of Shirobako!
@Somali to Mori no Kamisama
– It is for me a Long Sleeper anime. But i need more episodes to see if this fits my likes
@To Aru Kagaku no Railgun T
– The aftertaste of the previous (mess) of Railgun’s world is still strong. It still need more Episodes to wash away this bitter taste of my tongue
– The Artwork looks good for me, but Story? still not passed my 3 Episodes rule
@Jibaku Shounen Hanako-kun
– I am here only for the Design of this characters. But Story? Well, it is on the bottom of my curiosity list
@Isekai Quartet 2
– a old know Anime with fun and laugh’s are back. It is on my watch list. Thank you for being back (even if the current Overlord Manga Arc and Shield Hero tipped into to much darkness for me)
That’s my Winter 2020 summary so far
p.s. Side Admin
Please look into the “Save my name…” problem. every time i need to sign it. The site do not remember my cookie, or is this problem on my side?
Exactly what I was searching for, thank
you for putting up.
Hmm it seems like your site ate my first comment (it was extremely long) so I guess I’ll just
sum it up what I submitted and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your
blog. I too am an aspiring blog blogger but I’m still new to the whole thing.
Do you have any tips and hints for inexperienced blog writers?
I’d really appreciate it.