As the spring showers wash away the last of the winter dew, we are once again greeted with a season of bountiful flora, thriving fauna, and new anime. Yes, with the Spring 2021 anime season, we’ve got some massive sequels that you won’t want to toy with. The fifth season of Boku no Hero Academia is showing up while some newer anime from the past couple of years are getting further love with the hotly anticipated sequels for Isekai Maou to Shoukan Shoujo no Dorei Majutsu, Mairimashita! Iruma-kun, Zombieland Saga, Megalo Box, Yuukoku no Moriarity, and the final season for the remade Fruits Basket. There are also a few familiar faces that are more than welcome to enter the fray as well, notably a reboot of Shaman King, the rip-roaring Godzilla S.P, and Nintendo DS darling Subarashiki Kono Sekai making its grand debut.
But that’s not all! The fresh faces we’ll get to see this Spring are some of the most anticipated anime of the year. Audiences can expect to feast their eyes on the interstellar swash-buckling of Eden’s Zero, Arctic adventure Fumetsu no Anata e, and revenge tale Tokyo Revengers. If you’re in the mood for romance, the brooding Hige wo Soru. Soshite Joshikousei wo Hirou. and slapstick Osananajimi ga Zettai ni Makenai Love Comedy offer unique twists to the genre. Need some laughs to cut the edge off of these difficult times? An adaptation of the beloved teasing manga Ijiranaide, Nagatoro-san will also arrive this season with its biting sense of humor. With more than enough anime to satiate any discerning appetite, the Spring season is bound to be a grand-slam for all palettes, and we’re here to tell you all about it! This is Random Curiosity’s Spring 2021 Preview.
As is tradition now our Excitement Levels previously introduced shall again be used. With every anime a cacophony of hype and wholly immune to objective thought (because art), we will embrace the spin and give you our visceral gut reactions to what is likely to transpire. 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 the ancient times of 2012, previews were done by a single writer, Divine. But even in these modern times the RandomC preview is a substantial task, so we’ve divided it up among our active staff (Choya (yours truly), Guardian Enzo, Pancakes, Miss Simplice, 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, seem to be oriented toward young children, or of late, shows being exclusively batch released through Netflix (refer to the OVA section for mentions on these). Likewise, any shows which have been postponed or currently lack a confirmed air date have also been excluded. 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. And if we happened to miss something major, don’t hesitate to poke us!
Above all else, however, let me take this chance to seriously thank the entire Random Curiosity team for their incredible work on this preview. With the hectic work/life balance that we have on our plates, especially with the world still taking its sweet time returning normal, it’s been a crazy ride to get everything all together and looking pretty. But the efforts we put into both our posts and the preview have been nothing short of fantastic. Also if need of some differing perspectives make sure check out the LiA spring 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 post or only a handful, whether you’re involved with and/or contribute to our Discord channel, or simply just lurk the site and stop by for the seasonal preview roundup, it’s your time, attention, and company which keep us going. With everything the world has been going through (and still is), we’re incredibly happy to have you onboard to have some fun and enjoy another season of anime together!
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. Series lacking confirmed air times are excluded until further airing info is released.
21:00 AT-X (04/04)
Dragon, Ie wo Kau.
22:00 Toyko MX (04/04)
Yuukoku no Moriarty 2nd Season
22:30 Tokyo MX (04/04)
Nomad: Megalo Box 2
23:00 Tokyo MX (04/04)
Sayonara Watashi no Cramer
23:30 Tokyo MX (04/04)
Seven Knights Revolution: Eiyuu no Keishousha
24:00 Tokyo MX (04/04)
Koi to Yobu ni wa Kimochi Warui
21:45 Amazon Prime (03/29)
Hige wo Soru. Soshite Joshikousei wo Hirou.
22:30 AT-X (04/05)
Fumetsu no Anata e
22:50 NHK-E (04/12)
Kingdom 3rd Season
24:55 NHK (04/05)
Fruits Basket: The Final
25:30 TV Tokyo (04/05)
25:59 Yomiuri TV (04/05)
26:00 TV Tokyo (04/05)
Tensura Nikki: Tensei shitara Slime Datta Ken
23:00 Tokyo MX (04/06)
Seijo no Maryoku wa Bannou Desu
23:30 AT-X (04/06)
Jouran: The Princess of Snow and Blood
25:59 Nippon TV (04/06)
Osananajimi ga Zettai ni Makenai Love Comedy
21:00 AT-X (04/14)
Kyuukyoku Shinka shita Full Dive RPG ga Genjitsu yori mo Kusoge Dattara
22:30 AT-X (04/07)
23:00 AT-X (04/07)
Cestvs: The Roman Fighter
24:55 Fuji TV (04/14)
Shaman King (2021)
17:55 TV Tokyo (04/01)
Fairy Ranmaru: Anata no Kokoro Otasuke Shimasu
23:00 AT-X (04/08)
Zombieland Saga: Revenge
23:30 Amazon Prime (04/08)
24:55 Fuji TV (04/08)
Isekai Maou to Shoukan Shoujo no Dorei Majutsu Ω
25:28 TBS (04/08)
22:00 Tokyo MX (04/02)
25:23 TV Tokyo (04/02)
Mashiro no Oto
26:25 MBS/TBS (04/02)
Subarashiki Kono Sekai The Animation
25:25 MBS・TBS (04/09)
Blue Reflection Ray
25:55 MBS/TBS (04/09)
Thunderbolt Fantasy: Touri-ken Yuuki 3
10:30 Tokyo MX (04/03)
Yakunara Mug Cup mo
12:55 Tokyo MX (04/03)
Mairimashita! Iruma-kun 2nd Season
17:35 NHK-E (04/17)
Slime Taoshite 300-nen, Shiranai Uchi ni Level Max ni Nattemashita
21:00 AT-X (04/10)
Boku no Hero Academia 5th Season
23:00 Yomiuri TV (03/27)
Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song
23:30 Tokyo MX (04/03)
24:00 Tokyo MX (04/10)
24:30 Tokyo MX (04/10)
24:55 Nippon TV (04/10)
25:00 Tokyo MX (04/10)
Battle Athletess Daiundoukai ReSTART!
25:30 TV Asahi (04/10)
26:00 ABC (04/10)
26:08 MBS (04/10)
* Jump to OVA/Movies.
Godzilla is an official citizen of Japan. As such, it is the responsibility of the Japanese government to bring Godzilla to account when it rampages out of control. Starring Kamino Mei (Miyamoto Yume) – a female researcher, and Arikawa Yun (Ishige Shouya) – a male engineer, who are tasked with subduing this fearsome kaijuu. But one has to ask. What can mere humans do against absolute forces of natures that cannot be scratched by the most advanced of human technology or weaponry?
Godzilla and his kaijuu brethren have seen a resurgence in recent years. What started with Hollywood’s homage in Pacific Rim as well as Jurassic Park World has seen a massive revitalisation in the huge monster genre. Personally, I love seeing the live action cinematic for these things. But for reasons I can’t quite put my finger on, it’s harder to feel excited for animated version. Since this is arguably one of the areas where Holywood CGI has been remarkably impressive. Studio Orange will be collaborating with Toho Studio. Given the names alone, I would have been confident in the animation quality. And the trailer alone affirms this point of view. However, it’s not just hand drawn animations we have to worry about. Takahashi Atsushi had a singular directorial stint in RideBack from 2009 – which featured fairly decent CG for its time, which would definitely be awkward and dated by modern standards. I’m curious to see whether Takahashi Atsushi’s visionary take on CGI has evolved. Because this will be the defining element that most likely makes or breaks the show.
|Godzilla: S.P Promotional Videos ▼|
In a world where 80% of the population possess Quirks, a genetic mutation bestowing superpowers upon next generation humans, it just so happens that Midoriya “Deku” Izuku (Yamashita Daiki) is among the 20% who are born without one. But that doesn’t stop our young boy from striving toward his dreams of becoming a superhero, even if he’s met with crushing difficulties that would make anyone else give up. As fate would have it, Deku ended up having a chance encounter with All Might (Miyake Kenta), the No.1 hero, with a secret behind his superpower that Deku becomes privy to. Seeing something in the boy, All-Might chooses Deku as his successor and takes him on as his personal disciple. And so Deku’s journey begins with the passing of a torch, and the inheritance of an all might-y legacy. Plus Ultra!
I made a prediction back when S3 aired that Boku no Hero Academia would win the Crunchyroll Anime Awards 2018. Well, I ended up being wrong because Made in Abyss was the overall winner – even if Boku no Hero Academia swept most of the categories. But I digress. Going into Season 5, oh boy. Where do I start? I can already see that the Hero Academia anime fan community will be divided over the upcoming reveal. Just as manga fans were. However, I can assure anyone reading this preview that mangaka Horikoshi Kouhei has definitely better fleshed out these concepts. But man, it does seem quite common for shounen writing to start falling apart at the seams when they go on for long enough. Not to mention, in the recent season, some folks may have noticed a drop in animation quality. However, Bones don’t have to split their energy and resources to produce extra Hero Academia movies. Also, Nagasaki Kenji has returned to direct things as usual. This guy’s a proven director when it comes to adapting the material so far. And this seaosn’s ending theme will be a certified banger thanks to the peggies.
|Boku no Hero Academia 5th Season Promotional Videos ▼|
Amakusa Ryou (Toyonoga Toshiyuki) is a successful businessman who’s well known for being a womaniser. That is until he meets his younger sister’s best friend – highschool girl, Arima Ichika (Kouzakai Yurie). Not to be perturbed by society’s perception towards older men soliciting minors, he brazenly chases after her affections – only to be met with disgust and profanities. However, persistence is Ryou’s middle name; because he just refuses to give up, taking her rebuffals to be her tsundere way of reciprocating his feelings, he continues to pursue her through thick and thin.
I can be quite fond of age difference romances e.g. Kotonoha no Niwa, Koi wa Ameagari no You ni. However, it can be quite difficult to toe the line in a mature and respectable fashion. If you ask me, this premise sounds somewhat masochistic and creepy. Studio Nomad were well known for making a couple of generic visual novel, harem, romcom adaptations. This doesn’t seem to be too far of a departure from their usual territory – director Nakayama Naomi herself is an industry veteran who’s presided over some excellent storyboards as well as episode direction. And Shunsuke Saitou did a brilliant job with producing Araburu Kisetsu no Otome-domo yo two years ago. While it’s hard to say what we should expect, the production quality seems fine. And if you’re a fan of romcom who isn’t bothered by a grown adult romantically pursuing someone who is classified on the older end of being a minor, you’re more than welcome to try this out.
|Koi to Yobu ni wa Kimochi Warui Promotional Videos ▼|
There’s been a nostalgic push in the last year across so many industries that it comes to no surprise Shaman King’s reboot is kicking off this year. I remember watching the original anime series when I was a tween. It hadn’t made much of an impact considering how much I loved the manga but I attribute that to it being the dubbed version. As shonens go this spring, I’ll probably spend a few episodes revisiting the characters I once loved reading about and see where it goes. What a year it’s turning out to be for us millennials.
Based on the original manga by Takei Hiroyuki, the series introduces a world where the supernatural isn’t far from grasp, a world where a handful of humans can commune with ghosts, spirits, and gods. These people, from a range of cultural backgrounds and beliefs, are called Shamans. Every 500 years during the Shaman Fight, those daring enough compete against one another for the title of Shaman King which grants its owner the power to summon the Great Spirit and receive any wish they so desire. Cue Asakura Yoh (Hikasa Yoko) goes head to head with other Shamans to claim the prize. How do they go about it? With the help of their spirit guardians. In Yoh’s case, he partners with Amidamaru, a 600 year old samurai spirit who embarks on the journey with the rest of the crew. I expect many long time fans are looking forward to the reboot that will in fact cover the 35 volumes but trust me when I say there’s something for everyone.
|Shaman King (2021) Promotional Videos ▼|
Following in the wake of SSSS.Gridman comes the next stage of Trigger’s and Tsuburaya Productions’ Denkou Choujin Gridman (or Superhuman Samurai Syber-Squad—i.e. SSSS) spiritual reboot in SSSS.Dynazenon. Like its 2018 predecessor, Dynazenon will once again return to the world of anime tokasatsu goodness, where big robot-esque heroes fight against even bigger kaijus in city spanning (and often city destroying) fights all the while an eclectic cast of characters try to figure out just what the hell is going on. It’s going to be big, it’s going to be wild, and you best be sure few spring anime will have anything like Dynazenon has on offer – I guarantee it.
If the synoptic selling of Dynazenon seems a little thin, that’s because it is; this is one anime (and Trigger at that) with precious little in the way of information. All we know about Dynazenon right now is that it’s not Gridman’s sequel: both stories take place in the same universe, but none of Gridman’s cast like Yuuta or Akane (outside of any surprise midseason appearances) are featured, Gridman himself is replaced with one Dynazenon, and the apparent antagonists bear no obvious relation to Alexis Kerib or his ilk. It doesn’t mean there won’t be tie-ins of course—just look at how “traditional” superhero tales wind up tying disparate character groups together—but for the moment it’s best thinking of Dynazenon as a totally separate story. The good news though is that one shouldn’t expect much qualitative difference; all of Gridman’s crew including director Amemiya Akira and scriptwriter Hasegawa Keiichi are returning, the excellent Sagisu Shirou remains in charge of music composition, and Trigger, while still sticking to the 3DCGI, has seemingly retained its animation A-team. I wouldn’t expect those who disliked Gridman to find much to change opinions with Dynazenon, but if you enjoyed that series and have a thing for tokusatsu definitely give this one some attention. When it comes to spring action anime, you literally won’t get bigger than this.
|SSSS.Dynazenon Promotional Videos ▼|
Our story takes place in the city of Tajimi, which is located in the southern part of Gifu Prefecture and a short distance from Nagoya. The region is famous for its historical pottery producers and ceramic art museums tailored around Mino earthenware. The abundance of Mino earthenware has made Tajimi the perfect location to try your hand at making, purchasing, and eating with local pottery. When a high school girl, Toyokawa Himeno (Tanaka Minami), moves to a shopping district in Tajimi, she is introduced to this new world of Mino earthenware. Along the way, she encounters new friends, town folk, and others who come together to help her appreciate the regional pottery that molds Tajimi’s rich history of ceramic arts.
One popular trend within the last few years has been creating anime to promote a specific city for its remarkable contributions to Japanese culture as a whole. Indeed, it can be tempting to lean into the cynical side of Yakunara Mug Cup mo being a promotional tool for the tourism industry with how the show blends animation with live-action portions. But what sets it apart is how much of the show positions itself as a school-life anime where Himeno bonds with other like-minded girls who enjoy showing her the ropes in making Mino earthenware. Hopefully, the presence of the other girls should help to keep the show grounded and ultimately help it be both an informative show about Tajimi and a fun slice-of-life about girls that just like to make pottery. Find out soon enough when Himeno chooses the mug life this season.
|Yakunara Mug Cup mo Promotional Videos ▼|
Tatsuya Yoigoshi (Uchida Yuuma) is a first-year high schooler who finds himself in a tough situation. He was the star player of his junior high school futbol team, but his soccer prowess made him come to despise sports as a whole. However, all of that changed when he received an invitation to join a club centered around Kabaddi, a contact sport that is popular in South Asian countries. Considering that the sport involves trying your hardest to tag and avoid being tagged by your opponent, Tatsuya’s unfamiliarity with Kabaddi makes him mock the notion of joining the team at first. But when he witnesses an intense practice session that looks more similar to a martial arts competition than a game of tag, Tatsuya takes interest in knowing the triumphs and defeats, the epic highs and lows of high school Kabaddi.
Kabaddi is a fascinating sport that wound up being more obscure over in the West because of how few references there are to it in other media. For instance, you might have heard of Kabbadi from Chio-chan no Tsuugakuro where the character Madoka Kushitori played the sport as a way to grope other women. But with Shakunetsu Kabaddi, we’ll be examining the sport at its purest form as a game where high school Kabbadi teams compete for recognition, glory, and the love of the game. It’s interesting how the story approaches Kabaddi much like any other mainstream sports anime and focuses on the comradery that comes from playing team sports in high school. It’ll be nice to see if Shakunetsu Kabaddi can live up to its fullest potential when it tags in this Spring.
|Shakunetsu Kabaddi Promotional Videos ▼|
Sawamura Setsu (Nobunaga Shimazaki) comes from a reputable family known for his grandfather’s legendary skills with the Shamisen, a traditional Japanese stringed instrument. When Setsu’s grandfather passed away, he dropped out of high school and moved to Tokyo where he faced an uncertain future of drifting and finding himself. He breaks out of his downward slump when his rich, successful mother resurfaces in his life to enroll him back in high school. There were many aspects of his trip he was unprepared for, such as being rescued by an aspiring actress he would continue bonding with. But Setsu could have never imagined that this twist of fate could drive him to reclaim his creative spark, encouraging him to pick up the Shamisen once again and rediscover his passion for music.
While the plot sounds like an easily digestible drama, the main hook of the series is the presence of the Shamisen. You might recognize it as one of the staple instruments for traditional Japanese music or among the wide array of stringed instruments that could rival garden-variety guitars or violins. Sonically, your mind might immediately jump to the soundtrack to many films or anime that involve Edo period pastiche, country villages, tea houses, hot springs, and/or ninjas in tracksuits. But Mashiro no Oto aims to place the Shamisen front-and-center and possibly examine the perspective that people would have on the Shamisen based on modern day interpretations of such an old instrument. We should have a better idea of how in-depth Mashiro no Oto will get in covering the Shamisen when it strums along to the beat of the Spring season.
|Mashiro no Oto Promotional Videos ▼|
Following Season 2, the ever grumpy Sho Fu Kan (Suwabe Junichi) might have saved the world from being subjected to the tyranny of Nanasatsu Tenryou – The Seven Blasphemous Deaths. But evil figures continue piling after the Sorcerous Sword Index- as Sho Fu Kan finds himself being continually pursued for the legendary scroll containing the most powerful magical swords which can make or break the world if left in the wrong hands. To make matters worse, Kasei Meikou (Hayami Shou) – the leader of a dark and evil organisation that aims to steal the Sorcerous Sword Index – is seeking to form an alliance with demons to make this goal a reality.
Did you think Urobuchi Gen would quietly go into the night after taking a step back from the anime industry? Well, you’d be wrong. He’s poured his heart and soul into this new project – Thunderbolt Fantasy, his twist and take on traditional Taiwanese puppetry opera. While it might sound silly, I can promise you it’s actually an epic and awesome premise. Not to mention that Hiroyuki Sawano himself has been in charge of the soundtrack since Day 1 and has remained invested in this project over the years even up to the present day. If fantasy JoJo with mystical swords and evil demons with equal parts intensity and humour sounds like it would interest you, definitely definitely check this series out.
|Thunderbolt Fantasy: Touri-ken Yuuki 3 Promotional Videos ▼|
Brought to you by Wit Studio and the Re:Zero duo of Umehara Eiji (the adaptation’s script writer) and Nagatsuki Tappei (the series creator) comes an all original series in Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song. The series revolves around Vivy (Tanezaki Atsumi), the world’s first autonomous humanoid artificial intelligence. With a goal of making people happy through her performances, she takes the stage daily at Nierland, an A.I. powered theme park that brings together people and the latest in scientific advancements. The sudden arrival of an A.I. called Matsumoto (Fukuyama Jun) however, changes everything. Claiming to have come from a future where humanity has been destroyed by A.I., the two end up partners with the goal of destroying other A.I. in an attempt to prevent this conflict from coming to pass. So begins a 100 year journey to create a new future. Leading the series will be Ezaki Shinpei (Hanebado!) as director and Kubo Yuusuke (episode director of Goblin Slayer and JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken Part 5: Ougon no Kaze) as assistant director.
It’s hard to see the pairing of Wit Studio and the words “anime original created by the writer of Re:Zero” and not get hyped. With great hype comes significant potential for disappointment however, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Nagatsuki Tappei does have Senyoku no Sigrdrifa in his resume and Vivy director Ezaki Shinpei has a few clunkers of his own (Gunslinger Stratos comes to mind, as does a not so well-received adaptation of Hanebado!). When you look at the action-packed PVs and the ambitious storyline, it certainly looks awesome though. One just hopes it turns out as great as it looks, as there’s a lot here and I love how high they seem to be aiming with this series. This is a must-watch just because of the names associated with its creation and production and it could end up one of the best series of the entire year, but approach Vivy with a measure of caution knowing that there haven’t been many series (especially recently) that have successfully juggled an all original Sci-Fi/A.I. storyline, action, and drama at the same time.
|Show Spoiler ▼|
The Kisaragi Corporation is only known for one thing: domination. As an underground criminal collective turned megacorp, Kisaragi has spent their time solidifying control over the world through subterfuge, blackmail, and outright conquest. Now, however, with complete world domination in their hands, their loyal fighters and soldiers are redundant and in need of a purpose. And so Kisaragi settles on further conquest. Interstellar conquest. Dispatching Combat Agent Six (Shirai Yuusuke) and android Alice (Tomita Miyu) to an Earth-like planet in the name of aggressive exploration, Kisaragi gets a little more than they bargained for when Six and Alice stumble across the so-called Demon Lord’s Army who seemingly have the same goals as Kisaragi in mind. What happens when two evil organizations hell-bent on conquest meet? No one knows, but both groups are determined to be the last ones left standing.
Oh boy do we have a fun one here. If not immediately apparent, Sentouin Hakenshimasu is the work of Konosuba’s Akatsuki Natsume, and just like his hilarious isekai satire smash hit, it’s all about the comedy and fantasy mashups here. This one is effectively Bouryaku no Zvezda on steroids meets Overlord-esque isekai, where Six and Alice are the usual real-world interlopers transported to another world with the rather unorthodox goal of conquering the place – or in other words, the base isekai premise with some intriguing spices in the mix. Much like with Konosuba or Natsume’s other series Kemono Michi, one’s enjoyment of Sentouin Hakenshimasu will come heavily down to one’s taste in humour and enjoyment (or tolerance) of all things isekai, however from the parts I’ve read this one is going to be an absolute blast with more slapstick comedy than you can shake a scantily clad female Kisaragi general at (spoiler alert). The proof will certainly be in the pudding, but I firmly recommend anyone in need of a good laugh or a bit of less serious isekai seriously consider giving Sentouin Hakenshimasu a shot this season.
|Sentouin, Hakenshimasu! Promotional Videos ▼|
There’s no way around it. For being a terrifying dragon of all things, born to a lineage of powerful and feared dragons, Letty (Horie Shun) is a complete and utter wimp. Unable to meet the expectations of his family – he ends up being exiled from the mountain he called home. Setting off to find a new place of habitancy, Letty discovers that the world at large is a scary place. Rejected by every other race – who both fear and desire to slay him – will this young, cowardly dragon ever be able to find a place that he can call home?
To be honest, this show has been on my radar. I just didn’t know its name after watching a very entertaining trailer somewhere out there on YouTube. Lo and behold, I noticed it on the listing for previews this season. The gist of Dragon, Ie wo Kau is that it’ll be an extremely light-hearted comedy filled with misunderstandings and wholesome moments. And voice actor Horie Shun does an amazing job of conveying Letty’s timid yet kind nature. Combined with the studio’s character design making him look extremely meek, I already find this young red dragon to be one of the most endearing characters going into next season. To be honest, I really dislike the director Kasugamori Haruki. He keeps directing projects that wind up being mediocre in nature – and is infamous for tweeting nasty things about Tatsuki in the wake of the Kemono Friends debacle. Also for talking himself up as if he was some hot commodity. Nevertheless, even if I have some personal qualms against one member of staff, based off what looks to be the source material’s strength, I’m more than willing to give this show a fighting chance.
|Dragon, Ie wo Kau. Promotional Videos ▼|
Some of you might know William James Moriarty from Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous novel series Sherlock Holmes. Yuukoku no Moriarty is a fictitious imagining of his younger years, coming through a dark and difficult past. As an aristocrat from a high flying noble society, Moriarty (Saitou Souma) must keep up a dignified outward appearance. Yet he possesses a twisted sense of justice which secretly yearns for the day that the upper class are overthrown – and he will do anything to ensure that these dreams come true because for him, the ends justify the means – even if those means constitute brutal torture or violent murder.
As Zephyr says in the previous preview for the first season, we’ve seen multiple unique takes on Sherlock Holmes through the decades. Yet rarely do we see people taking a gander at portraying things from Moriarty’s perspective as the antagonist. I would give Season 1 high plaudits and definitely recommend it to anyone who is a fan of mystery thrillers – especially considering how it ended on a cliff hanger leading into the next case. It’s not too late to jump on board! Additionally, since this is a split cour that extends from what aired half a year ago, the same production staff has been retained. So we can look forwards to them maintaining the same artistic approach and hopefully a similar level of passion as well as quality to the first cour which was building up an escalation in the electrifying battle of wits between Holmes and Moriarty.
|Yuukoku no Moriarty 2nd Season Promotional Videos ▼|
Megalo Box returns for a second fixture. The synopsis for the sequel provided at a panel during AnimeNYC indicates that Nomad will take place 7 years after the first season where Joe (Hosoya Yoshimasa) became champion, bringing us to a present time where he’s fallen from grace. However, this is Joe we’re talking about after all. So once he gets the motivation to start getting up and running, you can be damn sure he’ll be swinging those fists until he wins or dies.
Many fictitious sports premises feature an ex-champion who has fallen from grace. In popular media, both Daniel Larusso and his rival Jonny Lawrence have evidently peaked past their Karate Kid prime in the sequel taking place decades later – i.e. Cobra Kai. But this is a bit different. Arguably this development feels unfair, given how we witnessed Joe suffering so much as he fought his way to the top despite disadvantages as the consummate underdog. Finally overcoming the odds by climbing to the summit of his trade. Only to lose it all. Nevertheless, I feel really pumped. The old squad who made the first season are back at it again – with Moriyama You returning as director, alongside the scriptwriting duo team in Kojima Kensaku and Manabe Katsuhiko. And I trust these men can work their magic which made the first season so successful. If you’re a fan of boxing and like the idea of a social commentary twist regarding technology, I highly recommend checking out Megalo Box – which is pretty much a love song to classical boxing manga.
|Nomad: Megalo Box 2 Promotional Videos ▼|
Who doesn’t love to cheer for the underdog? Coming to Tokyo MX on April 4th, Sayonara Watashi no Cramer promises the opportunity to do just that. Anime about female sports are sparse, so this series about a women’s football team is a welcome one for the genre. The series introduces a colorful cast of characters coming together to overcome adversity. Sumire Suo and Soshizaki Midori, once rivals, now must come together in highschool to shape up their female soccer team and bring them to the next level.
Written and illustrated by Arakawa Naoshi, the manga is actually a sequel to Arakawa’s previous manga series Sayonara, Football. That one will get its own adaptation as Sayonara Watashi no Cramer First Touch, but as an anime film. It was originally slated to air on April 1st, before the sequel series, but has been pushed back to early summer 2021. Arakawa is also known for the manga Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso, which was adapted into about as many forms as humanly possible – including an anime, live action film, a stage play, a light novel, and almost a musical (before it was cancelled). He’ll also handle the series composition for Sayonara Watashi no Kuramaa, whose title is a reference to German footballer and coach Dettmar Cramer. The music will be composed by Masaru Yokoyama who is no stranger to Arakawa’s work, having composed for Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso. It’s still to be said whether this series will find similar fame to his previous work or might fall through the cracks but I’d give it a whirl if you’re a fan of wholesome stories with themes of friendship, teamwork and some healthy competition.
|Sayonara Watashi no Cramer Promotional Videos ▼|
An adaptation of Netmarble’s mobile RPG, Seven Knights Revolution takes place in a world beset by destruction. For countless years the world has staved off the so-called “forces of Destruction” via the actions of Successors, ordinary humans bestowed with heroic power passed onto them through their lineages. Such protection has successfully endured since its inception, however, the system starts to fall apart after Successor Faria (Yamamura Hibiku) saves an unknown boy named Nemo (Yamashita Daiki) from the forces of Destruction. The reason? Nemo can summon his own heroic power – and doesn’t descend from a recognized Successor lineage. As a total unknown to history, Nemo has the capability to upset the entire world order, and it’s something Faria is determined to find out the full truth behind.
There’s nothing really special to be said about Seven Knights that you probably couldn’t have already guessed from above – it’s your usual mobile game adaptation with your usual fantasy setting and your usual saving the world premise. Harsh overview maybe, but I firmly believe honesty pays when it comes to stuff like this; need look no further than King’s Raid or Hortensia Saga to know these waters well. At face value you can expect Seven Knights to follow in the same vein as similar adaptations, with promotion being the entire intent and standalone success being a potential rather than a guarantee. It doesn’t mean it cannot turn into another Shingeki no Bahamut or PriConne of course (there’s certainly enough base story to easily cook up something good), but middling crew and Lidenfilms animating two other shows in addition to Seven Knights this season doesn’t encourage any immediate jumping for joy. While I wouldn’t go so far as to write off Seven Knights right now – particularly for any fantasy or game fan – this is one show we’ll definitely need to see in action before making any predictions.
|Seven Knights Revolution: Eiyuu no Keishousha Promotional Videos ▼|
While mature and fully ensconced in the daily work grind, Tokyo office worker Yoshida (Okitsu Kazuyuki) hasn’t forgotten about love. Holding onto a crush for his boss Goutou Airi (Kanemoto Hisako) for over five years, Yoshida finally works up the courage to ask her on a date – only to have his confession of love promptly rejected. A dejected Yoshida naturally turns to booze to erase his sorrows, but on his drunken return home encounters Ogiwara Sayu (Ichinose Kana), a high school girl. Sayu, needing a place to stay, attempts to seduce Yoshida, but is quickly turned down. Nevertheless, Yoshida agrees to let her stay the night, and the next morning discovers the girl has run away from Hokkaido and has been trading sexual favours for a nightly roof over her head. Although unwilling to add to Sayu’s notch count, Yoshida decides to offer her a different sort of work. In exchange for housekeeping and laundry, Sayu can stay at Yoshida’s apartment – and maybe give Yoshida some welcome peace of mind in the process.
Buckle up boys and girls, it’s controversial romance time. While Hige wo Soru isn’t the first series to really flirt with the darker side of love (e.g. Kuzu no Honkai), it’s certainly one of the first to play up a hentai-worthy prostitution premise in a more serious manner. At face value you can consider it a form of wish fulfillment: Sayu provides a healthy dose of feels, and while not serving as a direct love interest for Yoshida, helps to push and develop his other female oriented relationships. Or in other words, what might’ve happened if Usagi Drop lacked the age difference. While this series screams a good old-fashioned grade-A feels fest, given the relative inexperience of the staff on deck and Hige wo Soru’s arguably less than impressive writing (this anime is adapting the light novels), it would be very good to keep any lofty expectations in check. Hige wo Soru certainly has all the pieces needed to be a spring heavy hitter, but we’ll have to see how it first assembles them before jumping to conclusions.
|Hige wo Soru. Soshite Joshikousei wo Hirou. Promotional Videos ▼|
Set during the Warring States period in Ancient China, the series centers around a war orphan named Xin (Morita Masakazu), who dreams of becoming a great general for the state of Qin and unifying the country. After his friend is abducted for an undisclosed purpose, he is left alone as a household slave until he meets the current king of Qin, Ying Zheng (Fukuyama Jun). In a turn of events, Xin finds out that his friend was mortally wounded because he was used as a body double for Zheng. Although he was furious at Zheng for his role in his friend’s death, his ambition pushes him to ally with Zheng to help reclaim his throne. In the process, Xin begins a new illustrious life as a Qin commander where he can work towards his dream of becoming the “Greatest General in the World”, bringing China together, and ending the long, brutal wars that plague the country. Season 3 covers the manga’s Alliance Arc where Qin-Zhao relations are put to the test when they form a shaky pact with one another to work together towards their mutual interests.
As a shounen inspired by feudal Chinese warfare, Kingdom has had its fair share of popularity as the long-running manga has inspired two previous seasons in 2012 and 2013. The six year time gap between Seasons 2 and 3 can be quite daunting and unpredictable as far is what caliber the animation and overall quality will be like. The changing times are all the more present now that the production is going to be helmed by Pierrot’s subsidiary company St. Signpost. But with the inclusion of veteran actors Morita Masakazu and Fukuyama Jun, it’s far more hopeful that it will be able to retain the same spirit that the series carried through two seasons back in the early 2010’s. Although it’ll be kicking off its third season this spring, the news of a new season serves as a good reminder of how much of a nice surprise it is to see a grand war epic show up in an anime season. It should help to give fans of Kingdom the satisfaction of seeing the story continue and give newcomers the right incentive to get started on witnessing tremendous, bloody warfare when the new season picks up where it left off.
|Kingdom 3rd Season Promotional Videos ▼|
This third season of Fruits Basket is picking up right where it left off. With two relatively large revelations at the end of the second season, fans can expect some large developments as the series wraps up. The first season did a great job at jolting old and new fans into the web of mysteries that is the Souma family and the second did an alright job at leaving us wanting more. The story will once again bring us back into the lives of Honda Tooru (Iawami Manaka), Souma Kyou (Uchida Yuuma), Souma Yuki (Shimazaki Nobunaga), and Souma Shigure (Nakamura Yuuichi). Sprinkled with additional characters from the Souma household like Akito and Kureno, their story becomes more convoluted as they navigate friendship, love, laughter, heartbreak, betrayal and the joys of being a family.
Fruits Basket returns this season with an early Funimation premiere (dubbed) for English viewers across the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. I think it would be an understatement to say that this final season of Fruits Basket has been long awaited. The original anime ended differently than intended because at the time, the manga was yet to be completed. So here we are in 2021 with Fruits Basket coming to another end and all of us wondering whether the anime will truly adapt the ending as it was originally intended. The series, while it was popular with my generation, has also reached a new one who has now been roped into the franchise. Which I assume is why this final season has come with a big marketing push with partnerships between publisher and tea houses putting forth Fruits Basket branded menus. Not only will fans have the benefit of treating themselves to a handful of emotions with this anime, but a lucky few will be able to taste the true sweetness of Fruits Basket.
|Fruits Basket: The Final Promotional Videos ▼|
From Signal.MD (an offshoot of Production I.G. focused on digital animation), comes the adaptation of the Mars Red manga, which in turn adapted a 2013 stage reading of the same title. The series focuses on the 1920’s in a world where vampires exist and have suddenly being growing in number. Tasked with investigating this rise are “Code Zero,” a secret unit consisting of soldiers that were declared dead in everyday life, but have actually survived their predicaments and have become vampires instead. Having been attacked and turned into a vampire against his will, Kurusu Shuutarou (Hatanaka Tasuku) finds himself enlisted in Code Zero. Separated from his sister Aoi (Orikasa Fumiko), who still early awaits his return, Kurusu is unable to reveal himself to her. Instead, he watches from afar as she continuously crosses his path, seemingly drawn to vampires. The series will be directed by Hatano Kouhei (the episode director of Aquarion Evol and Robotics; Notes) and Fujisaku Junichi (Blood+, Yuukoku no Moriarty) will be in charge of script and series composition.
For better or for worse, one of the first things I thought about after looking into Mars Red was how it felt like a mixture of Fairy Gone and Blood+. The former was another series in the same genre—sporting the whole black and red uniform, special organization recruiting soldiers with supernatural powers shtick, whereas the latter made its name with its vampire backdrop. The final verdict on the two series couldn’t be more different however, and I can’t tell if Mars Red will end up the disappointment that Fairy Gone was or be as well-received as Blood+ ended up being. I suppose it’s only fitting that Fujisaku Junichi, who worked on Blood+ is part of the staff though, so that’s a plus. The series doesn’t match up with the hype that Fairy Gone received before it first aired, but that could work to the series’ advantage by giving it a chance to surprise. Honestly the first few chapters of the manga didn’t do much for me, its premise isn’t particularly unique, and the animation style could serve as a turn off for some, but I’d like nothing more than to be proven wrong with this one.
|Mars Red Promotional Videos ▼|
“So, where to?” This is the first phrase you’re bound to hear if you take a long, eventful trip in the taxi of Odokawa (Hanae Natsuki). The taxi driving walrus lives a mundane life without having to worry about family or friends aside from his doctor and his old high school friend. Odokawa might be a narrow-minded oddball, but his aloof personality is put to the test whenever any of his quirky customers enter his car. With every new patron he picks up, he learns more and more about the town that surrounds him. From comedy duos and idol groups to college students and crooks, he finds himself conversing more with the eccentric guests that he has to drive around the city. However, the mundanity of his interactions is challenged when they eventually lead to a girl who’s gone missing. Suddenly, this all-too-familiar city begins to take on a life of its own that’s virtually different from everything Odokawa thought he knew about it.
Odd Taxi follows the footsteps of many animal-based slice-of-life anime by taking real life situations and interpreting them with the mindsets of your standard roster of animals you can find at the zoo. With its examination of the highs and lows that come with being a taxi driver, it uses animals as a way to exemplify many of the personalities and perspectives that each of his taxi’s guests put on display for him, whether it be kind on the surface or hostile from the get-go. While the tone might be fluffier for his ordinary guests who just need a lift from Point A to Point B, it promises to get murkier and murkier as Odokawa is roped into the criminal underworld through his indirect association with some of the more contentious guests that request a ride in his taxi. Will it shift entirely into a darker story or will it strike a balance? Find out when the Spring season hails the Odd Taxi.
|Odd Taxi Promotional Videos ▼|
Rimuru Tempest (Okasaki Mio) might be an overpowered slime who has the special skill – Great Sage – which guides him through the world he finds himself reincarnated into. And as the founder of Tempest, a rapidly advanced nation uniting many different species in peaceful coexistence, he has many duties ranging between political and military responsibilities. However, this anime is a story of our Rimuru behind the scenes, where we get to witness the more easy-going and mundane aspects of his otherwise hectic daily life.
Studio 8bit bring us the slice of life spin-off fans of Tensura might not have known that we needed. Coming off their track record being involved with Tensura’s TV cours and OVAs, I have the utmost faith that 8bit will do yet another fantastic job here. Even if they’ve enlisted a completely novice director in Haibara Yuuji. Since he will be presumably working with a team of staff that’s exceedingly familiar with bringing the world of Tensura to life. Here’s hoping they will bring us a brilliant adaptation that will serve as a fantastic filler between the split cours of Season 2.
|Tensura Nikki: Tensei shitara Slime Datta Ken Promotional Videos ▼|
Takanashi Sei (Ishikawa Yui) is an office lady who gets summoned to another world alongside another woman. She was summoned for the express purpose of bringing forth a saint – a criteria that the Royal summoners do not believe Sei meets as they haphazardly throw her by the wayside. She ends up living a commoner lifestyle, helping out at the local apothecary. However, special happenings begin to indicate that she may very well be something special – contrary to the initial assessment made by the Royal Palace. Sei downplays her powers and seeks to remain under the radar, knowing that her unassuming yet comfy life might come to an end should rumours begin making their rounds, .
A protagonist character who’s been underestimated and cast aside? This definitely feels like a trend I’ve been seeing in isekai lately. Specifically the otome variant. But also the ones that want to be more focused on laid back exploration of life and culture in another world. Can I just take this moment to mention that while I have some reservations about Diomedea as a studio, I’m generally a fan of Ibata Shouta’s directed shows – Domestic Kanojo and Girlish Number being noticeably standout when it comes to visual direction. Which comes as no surprise, considering his extensive history regarding Key Animation in multiple high profile projects. Let’s throw in the reverse harem aspect and any fujoshis or fans of otome isekai will definitely be in for a treat.
|Seijo no Maryoku wa Bannou Desu Promotional Videos ▼|
In 1931, 64th year of the Meiji era, in a Japan not quite how we know it, the Tokugawa shogunate reigns supreme. Thanks to the development of a domestic energy source known as Dragon Vein, Tokugawa Japan has successfully kept up with the rest of the world and secured a new age of prosperity and stability. Not everything is sunshine and rainbows, however; under the surface whispers of revolution run amuck, as the dissident group Kuchinawa seeks the overthrow of the shogunate in order to fully revolutionize Japan. Only the efforts of Nue, Tokugawa’s secretive enforcers, help to retain the status quo – at least until one Yukimura Sawa (Mimori Suzuko) enters the picture. Witness to her family’s slaughter at the hands of Janome, a Nue executioner, Sawa is determined to exact retribution against the man, but little does she know her quest for revenge will see more than her own life radically affected.
Anime originals are always a funny beast. Either we hit the jackpot of neat concept and excellent execution or wind up with the veritable Icarus reaching for the sun only to be quickly eradicated through the flames of overreach – and there’s little middle ground. Thankfully though Jouran appears to be the former; besides the rarely explored interwar aesthetic at play (itself twisted with the inclusion of magical energy source) Jouran looks a lot like a modernized Lady Snowblood, where geisha-infused subterfuge, gritty psychology, and bloody thriller-esque revenge are the name of the game with plenty on tap for all. While there’s a few caveats in terms of inexperienced director and scriptwriter plumbing up the works (not to mention producer Bushiroad’s hit or miss style), given that PV and the material at hand I’m definitely giving Jouran the benefit of the doubt. It could reach the stars, it might crash and burn, but Jouran is certainly one show worth a bit of attention this season.
|Jouran: The Princess of Snow and Blood Promotional Videos ▼|
Yuuki Hiro (Yamashita Daiki) could be considered many things, but interesting is not one of them. A firmly vanilla high schooler seemingly predestined to the background, Hiro’s boring life changes one day after being convinced by game store owner Kisaragi Reona (Taketatsu Ayana) to get a copy of Kiwame Quest, a full-dive MMORPG. And not just any full-dive RPG, the full-dive RPG. Created by the best developers in the business, Kiwame Quest is known for featuring innumerable flags, accurate representations of a player’s physical skill, and a pain system which ensures any in-game injury needs time to heal in real-life. It’s the ultimate RPG experience, and after getting hooked on the beginner material, Hiro makes a singular vow: come hell or high water he’ll clear Kiwame Quest, no matter the challenges involved.
Ahh another season, yet more isekai. At this point you can more or less predict what this show is going to be about, and Full Dive definitely doesn’t try hiding that fact. At face value this one follows in the vein of Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear and Bofuri: harem girls are plentiful, slice of life is the name of the game, and lots of RPG-based shenanigans will be present throughout. Although Full Dive does undeniably break the trend by playing more to SAO and .hack//Sign with the realism and pain factors (not to mention adapting a light novel series barely half a year old(!!)), don’t anticipate this one reaching to the same level; for Full Dive it’s all about the daily adventures and friends made along the way rather than rushing the main quest. Nevertheless, there’s always the potential to get a diamond in the rough, particularly when the talented Ihara Kenta of Vinland Saga fame is doing script duty. I don’t expect Full Dive to be to everyone’s taste, but if you a soft spot for isekai I encourage giving it a shot. You never know, you might wind up surprised.
|Kyuukyoku Shinka shita Full Dive RPG ga Genjitsu yori mo Kusoge Dattara Promotional Videos ▼|
Koguma is a second-year high school student who leads a rather mundane life. She doesn’t have any parents to keep her busy, nor does she have any friends to hang out with or hobbies to offer her life’s simpler pleasures. While looking for better transportation to help her go to school, Koguma comes across a pre-owned Honda Super Cub motorcycle that strikes a chord with her. Not only does her new motorcycle encourage her to embrace a more adventurous lifestyle, but her motorcycle also opens new doors for her by helping her forge and cultivate new friendships.
Many slice-of-life anime have cornered the motorcycle or moped niche as prime material for a fun, relaxing time. Yuru Camp in particular has made an art out of taking a cozy stroll on a moped. On the comedic side, Bakuon centered itself around a friend circle that were a part of a club dedicated to motorbike hobbyists. But with Super Cub, we’re getting a nicer blend of the two as Koguma’s life is changed for the better as a result of her further dedication into molding her daily routine around her motorcycle. Although it might not lean into comfort anime territory or zany comedy like the two examples, Super Cub is looking to take a more introspective look on the therapeutic feeling of driving through the country roads on a vintage motorcycle. Make sure to look out for Super Cub when it rolls into the Spring season.
|Super Cub Promotional Videos ▼|
Fairies are big this year. With the return of Winx to live action TV to, well, this. Fairy Ranmaru is an original series by Hishida Masakazu about five colleagues who work at the mysterious “F Bar.” The preview leaves you feeling as though you’ve seen it all before, transformational powers, cute side kicks, nemesis with outfits that blow you out of the park. However, I don’t think I’ve ever come across anything similar to Fairy Ranmaru. In a sense think Sailor Moon revamped. Rather than Tuxedo Mask being a mysterious, brooding character dressed in black emerging from the shadows, it would be Tuxedo Mask fighting crime in the most blinged out accessories.
Fairy Ranmaru breaks the mold and introduces male leads as fairies with wings and with flare! Each of the characters seem to have a particular specialty, perhaps an element they’re connected with. While I know the tone will be extremely different, there’s something about the series that recalls Sarazanmai, although I think they’ll be facing their foes in a more wholesome fashion. The plot mentions the fairies helping their clients find happiness again, but how they do this is still quite unclear. There seems to be way more action than necessary if it’s simply about fairy hosts fulfilling their clients’ wishes. It’s still to be said what exactly the plot is about but I expect there’s a potential for the premiere to be extremely entertaining to watch.
|Fairy Ranmaru: Anata no Kokoro Otasuke Shimasu Promotional Videos ▼|
Minamoto Sakura (Hondo Kaede) was a prospective idol who woke up 10 years after her untimely death to find that she was re-animated as a zombie. She wakes up alongside Hoshikawa Lily (Tanaka Minami), a child actress from 2011, Mizuno Ai (Taneda Risa), a famous idol from 2008, Nikaido Saki (Tano Asami), a delinquent from the late 90’s, Konno Junko (Kawase Maki), a pop star from the 80’s, Yuugiri (Kinugawa Rika), a courtesan from the 19th century, and The Legendary Yamada Tae (Mitsuishi Kotono). These seven girls were brought back to life by Kotaro Tatsumi (Miyano Mamoru), an eccentric necromancer and idol fanatic who takes it upon himself to bring them together as an idol group as the perfect dream team of idols who were struck down during their prime. Although they were able to get over their rocky start as “Franchouchou” in the first season, there are still many unsolved mysteries regarding the true identities of Yugiri and Tae as well as Tatsumi’s past before he decided to take up necromancy.
MAPPA has had its hands full lately, but before carrying some of 2020 and 2021’s hardest hitting anime, it had Zombieland Saga. It was a unique comedy that fuses your garden variety idol anime with the horror conventions that come from tales of the undead. Because the bands’ members are all zombies, it adds weight to their backstories when the girls have to contemplate their existence in today’s world and come to terms with the fact that they died when they had so much more they wanted to prove. It makes so many of the girls’ stories absolute tearjerkers with how they have to confront people they once knew in their past life and make steps to either move on or communicate with them without giving it all away that they’re zombies. Scenes such as Saki wanting to give her childhood friend a reassuring reminder that she never died for good or Lily wanting to give her father a proper send-off were heart-rending enough to rival anything your average drama anime could provide. It was a bold anime that could have a rap battle in one episode and a refreshing understanding of gender identity in another. And the great thing about Revenge is that there were enough loose threads in the first season to make exploring them even more intriguing. It’ll be exciting to see how much of Yugiri, The Legendary Yamada Tae, or Tatsumi’s past we get this time around when Zombieland Saga: Revenge rises from the grave.
|Zombieland Saga: Revenge Promotional Videos ▼|
Shoutarou Futaba (Tsuchiya Shinba) is a boy who enrolls in Ao High School because he is fascinated with men’s rhythmic gymnastics and wants to join their prestigious gymnastics team. As he gets further enmeshed in the world of rhythmic gymnastics, he is joined by Yoshiya Misato (Ishikawa Kaito), a classmate who is well-known in the school as an ace on the rhythmic gymnastic team. Together, they are joined by a team of unique seniors who all run together towards the all-encompassing goal of reaching the top.
Rhythmic gymnastics sounds like an appealing sport to see in action with a sports anime format. With such a charming cast, it’d also be a no-brainer to find the appeal of Bakuten!! considering the potential for them to build long-lasting bonds with each other. But the most fascinating detail about the anime is its background. The anime acts as part of a larger initiative to represent the Miyagi prefecture for the “Zutto Ōen Project 2011 + 10…” where anime creators come together to commemorate prefectures affected by the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami 10 years ago. Two other projects dedicated to Iwate and Fukushima are in the works, but while those are standalone films set for later in the year, Bakuten!! is the first TV anime to come out of the year-long initiative. Knowing its a part of the noitaminA block also offers perspective on just how significant it is that Bakuten!! was dedicated to the Miyagi prefecture, and even though we’ll still have plenty of Futaba’s venture into rhythmic gymnastics to look forward to this Spring, it’s also an opportunity to reflect on how far locations within the Miyagi prefecture such as Sendai and Matsushima have come.
|Bakuten!! Promotional Videos ▼|
In the world of fantasy MMORPG Cross Reverie, no one has Demon King Diablo (Mizunaka Masaaki) beat. A self-styled man of evil, Diablo possesses all the game’s rarest items and overpowered abilities to the envy of everyone – but in real life is a dismally less-than-impressive Sakamoto Takuma, a NEET gamer without an ounce of social skill. Cross Reverie is all that matters for Takuma, however his NEET dreams quickly take a turn to the surreal after being ceremoniously transferred into another world with Diablo’s appearance. Thanks to a summoning screwup of elf Shera Greenwood (Serizawa Yuu) and Pantherian Rem Galeu (Waki Azumi), Takuma is not only stuck in this world, but is also the literal master of both girls after their Enslavement Ritual of him backfires. With the situation more awkward than ever for the lowly shut-in, Takuma does the only thing he can: fall into his Diablo persona, ad-lib like mad, and try and help the two girls figure out a way to undo their major mistake.
Way back before the likes of Ishuzoku Reviewers, Shield Hero, and Kaiyari plumbed the depths of fantasy/isekai ribaldry, there was Isekai Maou. When this series’ first season premiered in 2018 it was the controversial series, featuring (for some) less than appealing content and certain scenes (*cough* Diablo magic fingers) that can raise doubts about its strict ecchi labelling. Quite funny in hindsight that this one can now be considered tame, and all the better given Isekai Maou’s overtly comedic wish fulfillment focus. Much like the first season harem hilarity and ecchi-infused situations will be the name of the game again, as Diablo continues working towards contractual nullification for his unfortunate partners in crime while upping his social skill stats. And with even more lewd and lascivious material also up for adaptation, yet more ecchi grist for the controversy mill. I wouldn’t anticipate this season being any different or significantly better than the last, but if you loved the first season or enjoy some titillation with your alternate worlds, definitely consider keeping Isekai Maou on your spring radar.
|Isekai Maou to Shoukan Shoujo no Dorei Majutsu Ω Promotional Videos ▼|
“Outta my face!! You’re blocking my view. Shut up! Stop talking. Just go the hell away!!! All the world needs is me. I’ve got my values…so you can keep yours, alright.” This is our main introduction to Sakuraba Neku (Uchiyama Kouki), a young rebellious loner with a passion for music and graffiti. One day, while he’s roaming around his stomping grounds in Shibuya, he discovers that he is trapped in a parallel world where he discovers a black pin in his hands and gains the ability to read the thoughts of those surrounding him. His confusion only intensifies when he receives an undeletable text message that states “Reach 104. You have 60 minutes. Fail, and face erasure. -The Reapers.” With a death clock placed on Neku, he is forced to regularly play the “Reapers’ Game” within the span of seven days where he must seek out people with similar powers to help each other complete tasks or be erased from existence. Is this a task that a stubborn, angsty, selfish tool like Neku can do on his own, or will he have to learn the power of teamwork to survive?
Subarashiki Kono Sekai, known in the western world as The World Ends with You, is quite a fun action game that showed up on the Nintendo DS back in 2007. It effectively captured the vibrance of contemporary Shibuya street culture and mixed in some of the punkish whimsy you can expect from a Square Enix game made during the height of Kingdom Hearts franchise’s popularity. Neku’s mopey angst might seem like a product of the times, but it’s made much more bearable with the chemistry he has from the eclectic characters he’s partnered up with such as the empathetic Shiki, the noble bruiser Bito, and the flirty Yoshiya. Together, they have to work together to survive the Reapers’ Game and become better acquainted with the denizens that populate Shibuya. It was an entertaining action RPG that makes the most of the handheld’s touch screen, but its story also had some wonderful intrigue with how Neku and his new friends were trapped in the Reapers’ Game and what motives their elusive opponents have in store. It was a pleasant surprise to see that an anime adaptation came from such an older video game, but it could be to build up interest in an upcoming sequel NEO: The World Ends with You. Nevertheless, if you’re looking into a fun, entertaining urban fantasy anime for the Spring season, then your search might just end with Subarashiki Kono Sekai.
|Subarashiki Kono Sekai The Animation Promotional Videos ▼|
A quiet inclusion to spring anime’s ranks, Blue Reflection Ray is an adaptation of the RPG of the same name. Set in modern Japan in the quintessential day-to-day of girls-only high school, BRR will follow the duo of Hanari Ruka (Chisuga Haruka) and Hirahara Hiori (Iwami Manaka) as they go through personal struggles, the challenges of life, and all the fun which comes through personal growth and discovery. Except that’s not everything they’ll have to deal with. Plenty of devastating forces exist which seek to upset the natural order of the world, and those known as Reflectors are charged with minimizing their impact – which Ruka and Hiori just happen to get caught up in. Life may be all about experiencing the ups and downs of growing up for these girls, but reality for them will be so much more.
I’ll be frank, I’m not exactly sure what to make of Blue Reflection Ray. Besides the video game origins hints of yuri-laced magical girl shenanigans, BRR happens to also be an unfaithful adaptation which won’t be adapting the game’s actual story. Yes, that’s right, all those synopses you’ve read for this from the likes of MAL and ANN are wrong. For better or worse this one appears to be an imaginative take on Blue Reflection’s setting, throwing off the confines of the game’s plot in favour of a more anime-friendly premise. Such change can definitely work well (as we all know how most game adaptations turn out), but a lot of BRR’s impact is going to come down to what and how much it retains from the game – i.e. the whole magical girl side of the equation and the game’s underlying themes. With the dearth of info right now I’d hedge any bets regarding what BRR will have on tap, but I’d consider giving it a shot if you have a like for anything yuri or magical girls. After all, like Wonder Egg Priority showed previously, black boxes can often yield the most pleasant of surprises.
|Blue Reflection Ray Promotional Videos ▼|
Was it a truck? Not this time. The cause was being worked to death. Office worker Aizawa Azusa (Yuuki Aoi) is brought before an angel who reincarnates her into a new world as an immortal witch. So what does she do with this newfound immortality? Spend 300 years killing nothing but slimes to earn some income and live an easy as well as unassuming life. However, she ends up hitting the maximum level. Suffering traumatic flashbacks to the time she died from being overworked, Azusa is desperate to remain under the radar – and tries to keep her powers under wraps. But what is she supposed to do when tales about the ‘Witch of the Plateau’ spread throughout the land? It doesn’t seem like her peaceful days will last.
Hmmm. A non-standard isekai. That sounds pretty good to me! Let’s check out some information about the production side of things. Revoroot is a new studio who made, let’s see: Babylon and FLCL Alternative. Oh dear. On top of the fact that Kimura Nobukage has never directed anything, despite possessing extensive experience in other aspects of the anime industry, I can’t say I have much hope for this series. Everything Revoroot’s produced so far has been notoriously awful or disappointing. However, I’ve never heard direct complaints about the production quality. So maybe being given concrete source material to work with as opposed to winging everything on the fly might just be what they need. If anyone’s an isekai fan who just wants some comedy and fluff without anything lofty, this might just be it.
|Slime Taoshite 300-nen, Shiranai Uchi ni Level Max ni Nattemashita Promotional Videos ▼|
From A-1 Pictures comes the adaptation of 86, the grand prize award winner of Dengeki’s Novel Prize from 2016. The series focuses on the Republic of San Magnolia, under siege by unmanned drones called the “Legion” deployed by a neighboring empire. After having their military decimated in the initial conflict, the Republic developed drones of their own, turning what was a one-sided war into one with no casualties—or at least, of no one the Republic considers “human”. Beyond the walls of the eighty-five territories of the Republic is an eighty-sixth sector, filled with people of other races and immigrants from other countries. Whereas the Republic once prided itself as a union of said people, the rapid escalation of the conflict caused them to be convenient scapegoats that were subsequently ostracized, deemed less than human, and sent out to pilot the “unmanned” drones into combat under the lead of a “handler.” Leading one of these groups of Eighty-Sixers is Shinn (Chiba Shouya), codenamed “Undertaker.” The arrival of a new handler in Major “Lena” Mirize (Hasegawa Ikumi) leads to a promise: that Shinn will survive until his designated retirement date. Ishii Toshimasa, formerly the Assistant Director of Boku dake ga Inai Machi and Mirai no Mirai takes the helm as 86’s director.
In many ways, 86’s war-time premise is a classic, using a losing conflict as a basis for countless atrocities while a privileged group stands above it all, living it up at the expense of another group. What results is a tragic tale where lives are thrown away and a slim hope arrives in the form of a sudden new pairing, which plays further into various tropes of the genre. If the novel’s first volume was any indication however, the series manages to shine despite the odds—a product of a proper execution that prioritizes showing you the world through the lens of its cast, which grow on you over time. A cornucopia of emotions result from their early deployments as you see the drastically different situations that the Eighty-Sixes face compared to their Handler who leads from safely from afar, and an early twist gets you invested in seeing what comes next. I can certainly see why the novel has received the accolades and positive reviews/ratings it has, which makes having an experienced staff backed by A-1 Pictures (they do their action right and there’s plenty of that here) and a thrilling Sawano Hiroyuki soundtrack merely the cherry on top. I’d keep an eye out for this one.
|86–EIGHTY_SIX Promotional Videos ▼|
This is the biggest and most important genuine unknown on the list for me this season. But I certainly get some sleeper vibes off Shadows House, an adaptation of doujin creator Soumatou’s manga. It’s the story of the Shadow family and the “living dolls” which serve as their faces and live out their mundane lives. Weird, yet somehow intriguing – at least for me.
One of the things that interest me about this series is that it’s not totally clear just how deeply it ventures into the horror realm. Obviously if you’ve read the manga you’d know, but to a new viewer the vibe it gives off is that it could go either way – genuinely scary, or more wistful and driven by slice-of-life elements. I’m keenly interested to find out (and I suspect it will fall somewhere in-between those poles).
The staff (and cast) here isn’t dominated by big names, though writer Oono Toshiya (Tsuritama) has a resume full of obvious highs (and a few lows). I love the visual style, and the manga seems to be quite well-regarded. Definitely the biggest wild card going into the season for me, with all the attendant bust factor involved in that, but I feel fairly optimistic about Shadows House.
|Shadows House Promotional Videos ▼|
Fans of Mashima Hiro’s work Fairy Tail must have been ecstatic at the news of his next original manga series Edens Zero receiving its own anime adaptation. With the release right around the corner, there’s talks about the anime being the next big one for Netflix viewers, as the space opera series will be premiering on the platform for international audiences. Shiki Grandbell has spent years, decades, if not centuries communicating with anything but other humans or living beings. As a resident of Grandbell, a planet inhabited by robots, he’s lived a solitary and adventureless life repairing the droids in the old amusement park. Until, that is, he meets Rebecca and Happy. When life altering events come knocking at his door, Shiki joins the pair on their spaceship to explore the realms beyond his own.
The original manga first made an appearance in Kodansha’s Weekly Shonen Magazine back in the summer of 2018, so as far as adaptations go, this was swift. Fairy Tail fans will have no difficulty recognizing the animation style as Mashima Hiro’s, but should that not be the case, returning character Happy (Kugimiya Rie) will likely do the trick. The team behind the series is a strong one with J.C. Staff as the producer, Yoshihisa Hirano (Death Note) for music, and Fairy Tail’s Ishihara Shinji as director. For those who have savoured the manga, seeing Mashima’s lighthearted adventures make it back to screens must feel like the perfect treat. And for those who are new to this world, you’re in for a series with bountiful laughs, action, and fun adventure. There’s no doubt you should be adding this to your must watch list this spring.
|Edens Zero Promotional Videos ▼|
An introverted boy who goes by Senpai (Yamashita Daiki) seeks a quiet school-life where he can paint in peace. This peace, however, is viciously bull-dozed once the fearsome yet charismatic Hayase Nagatoro (Uesaka Sumire) crosses paths with him. Senpai’s timid, masochistic aura compelled Nagatoro to mercilessly bully him as she routinely visits him to entertain herself at his expense by teasing him and playing into anything that makes him uncomfortable. As time pushes forward, Nagatoro finds herself growing fond of him, causing her to make small efforts to build up his self-esteem and softening her otherwise cruel behavior around Senpai. At the same time, Senpai starts to become resilient as her teasing forces him to acknowledge the moral strengths of his character compared to the other boys at school who don’t share his artistic, unpretentious mindset. Watch as the unlikely friendship between an abusive popular girl and a skittish boy potentially blossoms into something more.
The internet has had its fair share of popular comedy manga spring up within the last five or so years, but not many can say they’ve had the same viral success as Ijiranaide, Nagatoro-san. From smug reaction faces to the overall excitement from seeing Nagatoro gradually fall for her Senpai, Nagatoro as a whole has been unavoidable as an online presence. For this reason alone, it was exhilarating to see that it ended up finally becoming an anime after so many years of fanfare from the manga-reading corners of the internet. And for good reason as well. The bitter cruelty that Nagatoro inflicts on her Senpai near the beginning chapters is a surprising fresh breath of air in the wake of the milder Takagi-san or the grating Uzaki-san. At the same time, the infectious sweetness as Nagatoro warms up to her Senpai and begins to develop feelings for him makes the story all the more addicting and infectious. It’ll be exciting to see how it all plays out in anime form and how far they’ll go with it when Ijiranaide, Nagatoro-san toys with you this Spring.
|Ijiranaide, Nagatoro-san Promotional Videos ▼|
Enter an ordinary potato farmer Akehoshi Kanata (Morohoshi Sumire) – a transfer student who has joined a prestigious all-girls academy with the aspiration of enrolling in University Satellite – an elite sporting institution which will give her the best shot at winning the title of ‘Cosmo Beauty’. However, the path to the top certainly won’t be an easy one, and it will begin once she’s proven herself to be among the best out of all Battle Athletes – a weird and assorted bunch of athletic girls who share the common goal of becoming Cosmo Beauty.
Battle Athletes ReSTART! is actually the reboot of a franchise from the 90s. Many consider the original to be great. Whether they can make a modern version that remains true to the original spirit of the 90s manga is another question, given the tendency of studios to randomly shove in unnecessary original elements which might help the product sell more. I can’t say that Ousama Game gave me much faith Sasaki Tokihiro’s directorial vision. Or Try Knights, now that I think about it. But based on shows he’s had more notable involvement with such as Okusama ga Seitokaichou, I can clearly see that Battle Athletes falls into his zone of comfort and proficiency. Furthermore I will be curious to see if source material from the 90s stands up against the test of time. And whether this adaptation will do justice for fans of the original 90s TV serialisation.
|Battle Athletess Daiundoukai ReSTART! Promotional Videos ▼|
Mayumi Dojima (Sakamoto Maaya) is a second-year student at the prestigious Yubiwa Private Academy who is looking to find a star she once saw as a child. Although she’s spent years wondering what it could have been, her plight caught the attention of a mysterious clique known as the Pretty Boy Detective Club. The mysterious club was formed with the purpose of helping those in need under the condition that their requests are considered to be beautiful. Despite the club’s track record of creating more problems as they solve them, Mayumi is swept into a world of beauty, danger, and excitement as she joins the five boys in fulfilling aesthetically-pleasing issues across campus.
It’s always a joy to see NisioIsin’s name show up whenever a new anime adaptation of his work pops up. No matter if it turns out amazing or disappointing, he has a creative, witty flair to his stories that blends high-concept premises with a stream-of-consciousness style to his writing. With Studio Shaft and co-director Shinbou Akiyuki showing up once again to adapt a NisioIsin novel, it looks like they’ll be trying to strike the same spark that made the three a great fit for the Monogatari series. But whereas Monogatari reveled in the esoteric nature of the cast’s thought processes as they get further entwined in supernatural madness, Bishounen Tanteidan is a light-hearted romp that follows the whimsical misadventures of a detective club where its members value beauty over anything else. The art style in the PV certainly captures the expressive, picturesque beauty that the Pretty Boy Detective Club would be more than proud of. Whether the plot shares this sentiment, however, will be up in the air as Bishounen Tanteidan makes its dazzling debut.
|Bishounen Tanteidan Promotional Videos ▼|
What do you do when your ex-girlfriend that you still hold feelings for is murdered by one of the biggest gangs in the city? Enter Hanagaki Takemichi (Shin Yuuki), our tragic hero on the precipice of despair, powerless to do anything while contemplating what went wrong in life. That is until he’s suddenly whisked back through time. 12 years into the past to be exact, back in the days where his ex-girlfriend Tachibana Hinata (Waki Azumi) was still alive. Despite being a weak and gutless boy, Takemichi finds the willpower to infiltrate the ruthless Tokyo Manji Gang in order to challenge Hinata’s fate.
Time travel when done well is an extremely popular concept. Wakui Ken, the mangaka behind Tokyo Revengers beautifully blends its concepts with the gangster genre. Beyond that, this is very much an exploration of personalities – with a wide range of characters exemplifying the beauty of human nature through their strengths and flaws, as well as past events fueling internal motivations that drive them forwards to what they perceive as a better tomorrow. We have Lidenfilms working on this production. My feelings on them are rather mixed, because there’s a lot more they’ve butchered as opposed to competently adapting. But for the premise alone and the fact they’ve called in Hatsumi Kouichi (Ao no Exorcist: Kyoto Fujouou-hen, Berserk: The Golden Age, Deadman Wonderland) to direct this show – Tokyo Revengers can perhaps deliver on its potential and is certainly worth a punt.
|Tokyo Revengers Promotional Videos ▼|
It’s been a long time since Brain’s Base was attached to a series this prominent on my radar. Once upon a time they were my favorite studio (or at least close), though since the schism which resulted in the creation of Studio Shuka in 2013 they’re a shadow of their former glory. I have very high hopes for this series, though, which was originally scheduled to air in Fall 2020.
Fumetsu no Anata e is Ooima Yoshitoki’s follow-up to the blockbuster Koe no Katachi, a series which I would call a deeply flawed near-masterpiece (not surprising given she was only 21 when it began serialization). That received only a film adaptation from Kyoto Animation, which reduced the story to it’s core elements and virtually eliminated the rest. The ongoing Fumetsu gets a 20-episode run, which should allow director Murata Masahiko (Baby Steps) and writer Fujita Shinzou to more faithfully bring the manga’s story to the screen.
For me this is a stronger series than Koe no Katachi on the whole, or at least considerably more polished (both narratively and visually). The story of an immortal (It) who meets an orphaned boy in an abandoned village and their subsequent journey, Fumetsu is a melancholy and reflective piece of work. It’s not perfect but it has the same spark of raw genius that Koe no Katachi did, and I’m anxious to see how it fares at Brain’s Base. First-time seiyuu Kawashima Reiji (also debuting in Shadows House) is playing the lead.
|Fumetsu no Anata e Promotional Videos ▼|
For high schooler Maru Sueharu (Matsuoka Yoshitsugu) the labyrinth of romance couldn’t be more frustrating. Having caught the eye of his childhood friend and total sweetheart Shida Kuroha (Minase Inori), Sueharu could easily obtain the ideal teenage relationship by reciprocating her feelings if he desired. The problem, however, is one Kachi Shirokusa (Sakura Ayane). The school’s unofficial idol and award-winning author to boot, Shirokusa also happens to be Sueharu’s crush. Sueharu knows he shouldn’t stand a chance, but Shirokusa walking home with him each day gives him some sliver of hope. Until he overhears that she has a boyfriend. It’s the worst possible outcome for the most romantic of dreamers, but Sueharu finds salvation in the strangest of places. Kuroha you see isn’t ignorant to Suehara’s plight, and suggests that if romance is off the table, why not revenge? After all, Shirokusa broke his heart, and while revenge won’t help him get with her, it might just help him heal – and maybe give Kuroha the chance she’s been looking for.
There’s only two things you really need to know about Makenai Love Comedy: it’s a comedy-first romcom (yay), and Doga Kobo is producing (double yay!). Well, that and the series going full meta by messing with the “childhood friends always lose romantically” script, but given the production chops and absolutely stacked cast such things are arguably secondary. Tongue in cheek aside though, Makenai Love Comedy can be thought of along the lines of Masamune-kun no Revenge, where an initial focus on spurned loved quickly spirals into outright hilarity as the desires of everyone involved gradually morph into how they can one-up each other to secure their ideal pairings. The series plays hard into the usual romcom tropes and undeniably does not have the strongest of writing, but if the setups and jokes play out as well in anime as they do from the bits I’ve read, this one will definitely be a fun ride. Makenai Love Comedy may not be spring’s most imaginative of shows, but you need look no further than this for your seasonal romcom relief.
|Osananajimi ga Zettai ni Makenai Love Comedy Promotional Videos ▼|
Cestvs (Mineta Hiromu) was born into slavery during the era of Ancient Rome. He yearns for freedom. Some slaves are released by their master out of generosity following decades of loyal servitude. Some slaves win their freedom by achieving recognition and distinction driving chariots. Some serve in the army and are liberated after garnering achievements through surviving successive conquests. However, the only path for Cestvs is different – and it entails fighting his way to freedom as a boxer in the gladiator rings.
To be honest, I’m not sure how different Cestvs is from your usual boxing manga out there. Featuring a plucky, talented boxer and his master – who trains, promotes and organises for him. That said, his motivation of wanting to achieve personal freedom does set him apart from many other boxing protagonists I’ve seen. It also seems like Bandai Namco will be calling up Monma Kazuya who’s also directing Kingdom 3rd Season. Although his endeavours with historical action are very relevant, Cestvs will be his third stint. As such, he will be working alongside Kawase Toshifumi in the director’s seat, combining fresh skill with seasoned experience. I can’t say I’m a fan of the CGI, based on the trailers I’ve seen. But I guess it’s a huge improvement from the rotoscoping seen in Aku no Hana back in the days. Though even then, I still personally find Cestvs to be too jarring. But if these visual choices don’t bother you, Cestvs is quite literally fight after fight in a historical setting and perfect for those who are fans of hand to hand combat or mixed martial arts.
|Cestvs: The Roman Fighter Promotional Videos ▼|
Mairimashita! Iruma-kun would be on my short list of series I most regret dropping (I did pick it back up for the last few episodes). So I’m even more heartily glad to have a second bite of the apple than I would have been anyway. Simply put, it’s hard to find series that so convincingly project positivity as this one (Miira no Kaikata comes to mind). The hero is a sweetheart, and actually has good things happen to him because of it. For a series set in Hell the vibes are amazingly upbeat, full of hilariously weird but lovable characters. I don’t know where the second season will take the story but I can’t imagine any huge shifts in tone (or quality). This time I’ll be sticking around.
If you’re not familiar, Mairimashita! Iruma-kun is the story of a naive but clever 14 year-old whose parents sell his soul to a demon – and it turns out to be the best thing that ever happened to him. Iruma-kun is a great protagonist, a world-class cinnamon roll, but the supporting cast is just as good. I’d highly recommending marathoning the first season if you intend to watch the second (or just need to decide) – it’s relentlessly smile-inducing and the sort of series most folks will end up blowing through really quickly because they’re having so much fun.
|Mairimashita! Iruma-kun 2nd Season Promotional Videos ▼|
|03/02||Ooya-san to Boku | 大家さんと僕
AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList
|03/29||Aka-chan Honbuchou | 赤ちゃん本部長
AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Wikipedia
|04/10||Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru Churutto! | 結城友奈は勇者である ちゅるっと!
AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Wikipedia
|01/08||SHIROBAKO Movie | 劇場版 SHIROBAKO
|02/24||Shoujo☆Kageki Revue Starlight: Rondo Rondo Rondo
少女☆歌劇 レヴュースタァライト ロンド・ロンド・ロンド
|02/24||Umibe no Étranger | 海辺のエトランゼ
ENG: The Stranger by the Beach
|02/25||Kouya no Kotobuki Hikoutai Kanzenban
|02/25||High-Rise Invasion (Tenkuu Shinpan) | 天空侵犯
|03/04||Dokyuu Hentai HxEros OVA | ド級編隊エグゼロス OVA
|OVA 2 of 2.
Bundled w/ manga Vol 12.
|03/18||B: The Beginning: Succession
|03/24||Date A Bullet: Dead or Bullet
|03/24||Date A Bullet: Nightmare or Queen
|03/24||Hataraku Saibou!!: Saikyou no Teki, Futatabi. Karada no Naka wa “Chou” Oosawagi!
|03/26||Strike the Blood IV | ストライク・ザ・ブラッド IV
|OVA Episode 9 of 12.|
|03/29||Grisaia: Phantom Trigger The Animation – Stargazer
グリザイア：ファントムトリガー THE ANIMATION スターゲイザー
|03/31||Fate/stay night Heaven’s Feel III. Spring song
|04/01||Hetalia World★Stars | ヘタリア World★Stars
|Original Net Animation (ONA).|
|04/07||Omoi, Omoware, Furi, Furare | 思い、思われ、ふり、ふられ
ENG: Love Me, Love Me Not.
|04/08||Gokushufudo (The Way of the Househusband) | 極主夫道
|04/28||Dungeon ni Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru no Darou ka III OVA
|05/07||Jaku-Chara Tomozaki-kun OVA | 弱キャラ友崎くんOVA
|Bundled w/ BD/DVD Vol. 3.|
|05/19||Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai: Tensai-tachi no Renai Zunousen OVA
かぐや様は告らせたい ～天才たちの恋愛頭脳戦～ OVA
|05/26||Natsume Yuujinchou: Ishi Okoshi to Ayashiki Raihousha
|05/28||Tenchi Muyou! Ryououki 5th Season | 天地無用! 魎皇鬼 第伍期
OVA 6 of 6.
With the small amount of Winter 2021 anime carrying over into this Spring, this season is shaping up to be one where we pick up from where we left off on anime that have been on the backburner since the pandemic-related delays began. It would explain why this season has an abundant amount of heavy-hitting sequels that many anime fans have been clamoring for since delays pushed back releases meant for mid/late 2020. While it’s not exactly the time to go out, get into a mosh pit, and start hugging everyone you see, this season is a sign-of-the-times that the anime industry has gotten more comfortable with the idea of catching up with delays and making up for any lost time that might’ve pushed some shows further down the docket. And because of this, this season has a lot of hopeful contenders for AOTY considering how many big name shounen, exciting adaptations, and unique new anime are heading down the pipeline for the Spring. It’ll be exciting to see how many of them reach their full potential — and how well they match up to our Excitement Levels!
That’s right, we’ll be continuing with our enshrined 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 hyped up about a show that ends up failing down the stretch.
As usual, these levels were arrived at by our totally not shady “Excitement Council” of Zephyr, Guardian Enzo, and Zaiden. 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 Himalayan pink 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.
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: 86-EIGHTY_SIX, Edens Zero, Godzilla: S.P, Jouran: The Princess of Snow and Blood, Mashiro no Oto, Osananajimi ga Zettai ni Makenai Love Comedy, Shadows House, Shaman King (2021), Tensura Nikki: Tensei shitara Slime Datta Ken, Thunderbolt Fantasy: Touri-ken Yuuki 3, Tokyo Revengers, Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song, Yuukoku no Moriarty 2nd Season, Zombieland Saga: Revenge
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 possibilites 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: Blue Reflection Ray, Bishounen Tanteidan, Dragon, Ie wo Kau., Hige wo Soru. Soshite Joshikousei wo Hirou., Ijiranaide, Nagatoro-san, Isekai Maou to Shoukan Shoujo no Dorei Majutsu Ω, Koi to Yobu ni wa Kimochi Warui, Kyuukyoku Shinka shita Full Dive RPG ga Genjitsu yori mo Kusoge Dattara, Mairimashita! Iruma-kun 2nd Season, Mars Red, Odd Taxi, Sayonara Watashi no Cramer, Shakunetsu Kabaddi, Slime Taoshite 300-nen, Shiranai Uchi ni Level Max ni Nattemashita, Yakunara Mug Cup mo
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: Bakuten!!, Battle Athletess Daiundoukai ReSTART!, Cestvs: The Roman Fighter, Fairy Ranmaru: Anata no Kokoro Otasuke Shimasu, Seijo no Maryoku wa Bannou Desu, Sentouin, Hakenshimasu!, Seven Knights Revolution: Eiyuu no Keishousha, Subarashiki Kono Sekai The Animation, Super Cub
Niche shows break away from the norm by being slower-paced, extremely dark/grotesque, or even controversial. In most cases these shows are oriented towards older audiences or those who feel that anime has become far too repetitive and want something different. Shows of this category tend to be highly under-appreciated, but can turn out to be hidden gems for that very reason. Includes some works oriented toward younger audiences.
- Niche Excitement: None this season.
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.