Alas, it is winter (depending on where you live) with bone-chilling winds blowing their way through the bare, dreary trees. Like the winter trees, this anime season is certainly barer than the Fall season. But never fear- there are enough series to brighten the long, dark days and somber landscapes! Just as there are children waiting all year with bated breath to open their holiday gifts, we anime fans have been waiting eagerly for some of the big sequels airing this season – Shingeki no Kyojin, Vanitas no Karte, and JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken Part 6: Stone Ocean (if that second half drops this season of course!). There’s nothing like warming up in the frosty outdoors through some blood-pumping exercise, and for fans of baseball and Danganronpa, the extreme baseball themed series Tribe Nine by Danganronpa’s creator is likely to be of interest.

In the deep of winter, there is nothing cozier than curling up with a cup of tea and a good history book. Or you can skip the books entirely and go for an alternate (and not entirely historically verifiable) adaption of history with the tragedy of Richard the Third in Baraou no Souretsu. Sabiuki Bisco offers a fun(gal) take on post-apocalyptic survival with humanity’s last hope hinging on the battle between good and evil mushrooms. Meanwhile, Orient poses an intriguing question of what happens when the roles of good guys and bad guys become reversed in society. To get in on some magic action fighting against youkai, check out Saiyuuki Reload: Zeroin, an alternate story in the Saiyuuki Reload universe. And, probably most importantly for this time of year, remember love comes in all shapes and sizes, with a lid for every pot – which seems to be the case for the gruesomely romantic pursuit between two killers in Koroshi Ai, the costuming enthusiasts in Sono Doll wa Koi wo Suru, and cutesy BL contender Sasaki to Miyano. This is Random Curiosity’s Winter 2022 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, FJ Freeman, Gabie, Guardian Enzo, Pancakes, Princess Usagi (that’s me!), Miss Simplice, Takaii, Yaseen Hijazi, 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 for a big thank you to the Random Curiosity team for this season’s preview. Life is hectic at the best of times (especially now more than ever), and if not for the help of everyone this preview wouldn’t have been possible – so the thanks are persistent and kudos plentiful. Also remember if in need of some differing perspectives to check out the LiA Winter preview for a second opinion on many of these shows.

Finally, and as always, many thanks 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. Here’s to another fun season of anime for us to enjoy 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 being streamed and season carryovers are excluded and series lacking confirmed air times are excluded until further airing info is released.

* Jump to OVA/Movies.

Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei: Tsuioku Hen | 魔法科高校の劣等生 追憶編
The Irregular at Magic High School: Reminiscence Arc Top
Animation: 8bit Premiere: December 31st, 2021
Genre: Sci-Fi Airtime (GMT+9): Fridays at 23:57
Episodes: TBD Station: TOKYO MX
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @mahouka_anime or #mahouka

Preview by Pancakes

Editor’s Note: Based on scheduling likely to be a single 90 minute episode only. Preview is being retained until further info is released.

Returning to anime for another kick at the adaptation can, Mahouka is back for more and ready to delve into the past. Adapting Rettousei’s Reminiscence arc, Tsuioku-hen takes place three years before the first season where the main cast is young, tempers are high, and things will never be the same again, especially for one Shiba Miyuki (Hayami Saori). Visiting her family’s villa on Okinawa with her guardian Shiba Tatsuya (Nakamura Yuuichi) – a brother who she has very mixed feelings about thanks to his utter lack of emotion – Miyuki’s vacation turns into trouble when the island winds up under concerted attack by the Great Asian Union. Trapped and with no convenient escape off the island it’s up to the Shiba duo to not only figure out a way to survive until help arrives, but also learn how to finally open up and trust each other.

Sequel announcements have been exceptionally plentiful of late and arguably no more so than with Mahouka. From its first sequel back in 2020 to summer’s Yuutousei spinoff we’re now in for round three of Rettousei – or, shall we say, round zero – and yes, you can pretty much guess what it’s going to be like. Although ostensibly a prequel to the first season (and a short prequel at that), Tsuioku-hen won’t be breaking too much with its anime brethren: Magic Jesus will do what Magic Jesus does, Miyuki will continue being her onii-sama fawning self, and both the magic and world building shall remain technobabble heavy and infodump dependent. Lovers and haters certainly won’t be finding reason to change opinions on the Mahouka franchise here, however I would personally consider Tsuioku-hen a worthwhile second shot for anyone still on the fence; given it’s the ‘true’ start of Rettousei, a lot of what makes Mahouka truly tick should finally come through the woodwork. It’s anyone’s guess just how well Tsuioku-hen will stack up to the rest of the franchise catalogue, but at minimum Mahouka fans can rest easy knowing this train won’t be stopping anytime soon.

Watching This: Pancakes Excitement Level: Established
Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei: Tsuioku Hen Promotional Videos ▼

Hakozume: Kouban Joshi no Gyakushuu | ハコヅメ~交番女子の逆襲~
Police in a Pod Top
Animation: Madhouse Premiere: January 5th, 2022
Genre: Comedy, Slice-of-Life Airtime (GMT+9): Wednesdays at 23:30
Episodes: 13 Station: AT-X
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @hakozume_anime or #ハコヅメ

Preview by Miss Simplice

We’re in modern-day Tokyo where we have an inside look in none other than the Koban police box where Kawai Mai (Wakayama Shion), a stationed rookie police officer, is debating whether or not to keep her job. She starts the junior role with no knowledge of the difficulties and strain that comes with the job. People don’t like her due to the uniform she wears and the work is taking a physical toll on her. She wanted a stable job and to help people, but the process has been frustrating, to say the least, pushing her to the very edge with only the idea of resigning being the light at the end of the tunnel. Enter Fuji Seiko (Ishikawa Yui), her new training instructor who was recognized for her outstanding performance during her previous role at the Criminal Investigations Divisions. Now the head of the police station, she’s leading with integrity, smarts, and beauty which forces Kawai to rethink her resignation.

In this day and age, I think Hakozume is an interesting premise. It’s made me realize that police aren’t that popular in most regions, Japan included. Why I didn’t realize this, I don’t know. I imagine it’s even harder to take on the role of a police officer when you’re a woman. But this is a comedy! I imagine the show will navigate difficult topics like mental health, physical strain, and negative sentiment towards law enforcement with a lighthearted approach. I haven’t read the source material but I do think the adaptation will be something new to audiences worldwide. It’ll give a fresh and new perspective about how police officers experience their roles (hopefully) but what I’m hoping for most is that it entertains us in the same way Brooklyn Nine-Nine has. I do wonder how the content will sit with North American viewers though, knowing that there is continuous strain between the general public and police forces on this side of the planet. But aside from stating the obvious, I imagine there’ll be loads of comical, insightful, and emotional moments to come for those of us who pick up the series. I’m willing to give it a try. Are you?

Watching This: Choya, FJ Freeman, Guardian Enzo, Miss Simplice, Princess Usagi Excitement Level: Average
Hakozume: Kouban Joshi no Gyakushuu Promotional Videos ▼

Leadale no Daichi nite | リアデイルの大地にて
In the Land of Leadale Top
Animation: Maho Film Premiere: January 5th, 2022
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy Airtime (GMT+9): Wednesdays at 23:30
Episodes: 12 Station: TOKYO MX
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @leadale_anime or #リアデイル

Preview by FJ Freeman

My original interest lay with this in that it is an isekai, furthermore, it’s an isekai with a female protagonist at its helm. If Seijo no Maryoku wa Bannou desu proved anything is that a female protagonist, not only stirs up the formula but also makes for a far much interesting OP character.

A male character fulfills that power fantasy, while a female character might take on the role of a healer and brings us into the lore and world, making potions, helping out those that need it among many other things. And it allows us to simmer in a romance that develops slowly and truthfully. Leadale no Daichi nite seems like it might be both, fulfilling the power fantasy, while at the same stirring up the formula.

Being put on life support after a bleak accident, Keina Kagami (Yukimura Eri) can only experience freedom through a VRMMO RPG called Leadale. One sudden day, her life support systems shut’s down and Keina is deceased. After she wakes up, she finds herself in Leadale, two hundred years in the future. But not as herself, instead as the high elf Cayna.

With some lost skills, but incredible stats on her character sheet. She must forge relationships with the residents of this new world, even the ‘children’ characters she designed herself! A soft, relaxed adventure is about to unfold, featuring a girl isekai’d to a game world. We’ll see smiles and tears as she shares time with some of her quirky companions!

Watching This: Miss Simplice, Pancakes Excitement Level: Average
Leadale no Daichi nite Promotional Videos ▼

Tokyo 24-ku | 東京24区
Tokyo 24th Ward Top
Animation: Clover Works Premiere: January 5th, 2022
Genre: Action Airtime (GMT+9): Wednesdays at 24:00
Episodes: 12 Station: TOKYO MX
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @tokyo24_project or #東京24区

Preview by Miss Simplice

This original series follows three friends with very different personalities from an artificial island named Kyokutou Houreigai Tokubetsu Chiku (Far East Special District), commonly known as the 24-ku (24th Ward) in Tokyo Bay. In spite of coming from entirely different households and growing up with different values, Akagi Ran (Uchida Yuma), Kouki Suido (Ishikawa Kato), and Aoi Shuuta (Enoki Junya), spent most of their high school days together with another of their closest friends. But good times don’t always last. After a horrible fire engulfs their high school, taking away their friend’s precious life, their lives are changed forever. They grow up to have entirely different jobs, grow more and more apart to eventually have little to no contact. When events finally bring them back together as adults, their phones ring at the same time. It’s none other than the friend they lost years ago warning them of an ominous future for the 24th Ward and telling them only they have the ability to change their beloved district’s future. It’s up to each of the men to figure out just how to do it and do it in their own way.

I don’t know what to think of this series except that it looks like it’ll be a rollercoaster of a ride. The premise is interesting and there are hints at the concept of ‘crime prediction’ recalling movies like Minority Report or series like Westworld (of which the third season was horrible, might I add). The main protagonist Ran seems to lean towards being a very altruistic do-or-die type, and the other two tread the lines of one being more ‘nerdy’ and the other being more ‘brawny’. They could have called this series: ‘The Brain, the Bawn, and the Hero.’ I might sound harsh but this is the first impression I’m getting from the series. I think what I’m excited to witness more though is the emotional turmoil that each of these characters will undergo. I want to see that character growth and that maturity in each of them and see how that shapes their friendship and teamwork. There’s one thing that’s already pretty strong with the series and that is their opening theme song. It’s performed by Survive Said the Prophet (‘Paper Sky’), the music group I became obsessed with during Vinland Saga‘s debut. That said and done, there seems to be a general consensus of excitement about this series so I’ll probably be giving it a few episodes before I truly commit. What do you think?

Watching This: FJ Freeman, Guardian Enzo, Princess Usagi Excitement Level: Average
Tokyo 24-ku Promotional Videos ▼

Saiyuuki Reload Zeroin | 最遊記RELOAD ZEROINTop
Animation: Liden Films Premiere: January 6th, 2022
Genre: Fantasy, Sci-Fi Airtime (GMT+9): Thursdays at 23:00
Episodes: 12 Station: AT-X
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @saiyuki_re or #最遊記ZEROIN

Preview by Zaiden

Pretty much every Asian kid is going to have heard of Journey to the West. Westerners might have heard murmurs about the fictitious Monkey King – Sun Wukong. Or as the Japanese call him, Son Goku – inspiration for the greatest shounen title of all time – Dragonball. Saiyuki is a fictitious re-imagining of Journey to the West – putting a twist on this well known and beloved classic. For starters, it loosely follows the original story. The setting has more science and guns. All the core characters have been bishified too. You wouldn’t be able to jump straight into Saiyuki RELOAD, as its an entry which follows the original Saiyuki. If the premise sounds interesting, due to the episodic nature of the series, you would still be welcome to dip your toes in and give this anime a try!

From a cursory search, it seems that LIDENFILMS have taken the Saiyuuki franchise off Platinum Vision’s plate. There has been very little information on the staff who will be involved. But I think LIDENFILMS are fairly cookie cutter with their approach, so it is not difficult to infer what we can expect from their involvement. I do not doubt that the animation will be taking two or three steps up. But my main complaint about LIDENFILMS is that their pieces can feel sterile – which is to say lacking in soul, due to their copious usage of CGI. Considering the series is action-packed, with the original work being derived from an epic piece of literature that is full of soul, I reckon LIDENFILMS have their work cut out for them and can be relied to focus solely on execution – though any fans of Saiyuuki’s anime through the ages will be the ultimate judge of whether this adaptation is any good or not.

Watching This: No one yet Excitement Level: Average
Saiyuuki Reload Zeroin Promotional Videos ▼

Orient | オリエントTop
Animation: ACGT Premiere: January 6th, 2022
Genre: Fanasty, Adventure Airtime (GMT+9): Thursdays at 24:00
Episodes: 13 Station: TV TOKYO
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @orient_PR or #オリエント

Preview by FJ Freeman

The story starts fives years in the past, Musashi (Uchida Yuuma) and his best friend Kojirou Kanemaki (Saitou Souma), promise, that when they become adults, both of them would evolve into Samurai, they would form their own guild and go on demon-slaying quests. But things have changed, demons are now praised and revered by society at large, now the samurai are seen as immoral, are scorned and shamed.

Musashi is forced to hide his dream and blend into society, becoming a miner while in secret polishing his swordplay. Kojirou is forced to do the same, even though he’s a direct descendant of a family of a samurai, he is forced to give up on his promise to his friend. However, fate reunites them and Kojirou saves Musashi from a near-death experience, his perspective shifts, even though still conflicted Kojirou embarks on a journey with Musashi in hopes of finding and sorting out his true feelings.

Now the underdogs, the duo dives recklessly into the unknown, into the world of beast-slaying, not really knowing what life has in store for them. With galloping iron horses, the fifteen-year-old heroes, plan to restore the muddied reputation of the samurai and purge the world of demons.

With an interesting premise Orient seems to want to portray a unique and interesting story. Even though fantasy anime works best when it’s fulfilling a certain kind of itch, shows that are solely for the fantasy itself can also prove interesting at times. When taken seriously enough they can provide us with a compelling narrative, while having fun at the same time. It’s a difficult balance to strike and sometimes shows don’t hit it. Orient certainly looks promising in telling an interesting narrative, but at the same time, there’s this looming feeling that it’s not going to take itself seriously. Let’s wait it out and see what Orient has in store for us.

Watching This: Choya, FJ Freeman, Pancakes Excitement Level: Optimistic
Orient Promotional Videos ▼

Shuumatsu no Harem | 終末のハーレム
World’s End Harem Top
Animation: Axsiz, Studio Gokumi Premiere: January 7th, 2022
Genre: Romance, Sci-Fi Airtime (GMT+9): Fridays at 21:30
Episodes: 12 Station: AT-X
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @harem_official_ or #終末のハーレム

Preview by Zaiden

A Misandrist’s idea of utopia unfurls in World’s End Harem, as 99.9% of the world’s male population gets wiped out by a deadly virus known as the ‘Man Killer’. A small flashback reveals that the male protagonist – Reito Mizuhara (Taichi Ichikawa) – actually entered cyrosleep to stave off the detrimental effects of a rare disease he is suffering from in the hopes that a future treatment could eventually save his life, inadvertently avoiding the catastrophe which destroyed mankind as we know it. Superseded by womankind. Whether he likes it or not, Reito now has a mandatory role within this new world order: have as many babies with women so that the world’s population can be restored. But what if I told you this man has the composure of No.1 Buddhist Monk, because Reito ignores all temptation to remain faithful to his missing girlfriend and mystery underlines the sci-fi premise in this show as he tries to figure out what exactly happened to her during his five years of slumber.

I’m not sure if you can call waking up 5 years into the future to a completely different earth that you knew ‘isekai’. But I feel inclined to count that on a technicality so I can claim that my preview coverage was purely isekai. I would describe this series as a speculative take on a post-apocalyptic society where men are in low supply and high demand. To be honest, that’s a no from me fellow weebs. Not to mention the director, Nobuta Yuu, has not directed anything of note – which is giving me cause for concern with regards to this season’s Saihate no Paladin. But if you like fanservice. If you like harem. IF you like wish fulfilment. Then you’ve come to the right place.

Watching This: Choya, Pancakes Excitement Level: Limited
Shuumatsu no Harem Promotional Videos ▼

Slow Loop | スローループTop
Animation: Connect Premiere: January 7th, 2022
Genre: Slice-of-Life Airtime (GMT+9): Fridays at 22:00
Episodes: 12 Station: AT-X
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @slowloop_tv or #slowloop

Preview by FJ Freeman

Wholesome, slow slice of life anime has been steadily on the rise, more and more series want a piece of that countryside peace that the city rarely offers. Anime is a medium of entertainment and we use entertainment to escape from the real world. Many of us have jobs and commitments we can’t escape from, and sometimes anime is a medium we can use to fly away from our anxieties and pressures and live in a moment not our own. I hope Slow Loop the newest slice of life with your tinge of sweetness, can prove all of that and more.

Hiyori (Kusumi Rin) a young girl, whose now late father taught her the joys of fishing, heads out to the sea for some alone time, what she finds, is another girl, she never thought this would be the day of their meeting. After some time, this girl named Koharu (Hioka Natsumi) and Hiyori end up fishing and cooking together, they get to know each other in the meantime. With their brief time together Koharu finds out that the reason why Hiyori went out to sea that day was she’s hesitant towards meeting her new stepfamily – a meeting that’s also happening tonight! “This can’t be a coincidence right?!” Now, these two stepsisters live their life to the fullest and form a bond over their newly formed family!

A meeting by chance, an encounter by fate, what kind of wholesome fun will Slow Loop bring in the new year? And what kind of shenanigans will play out with this newfound family? Personally, I can’t wait to see what kind of wholesome fun Slow Loop brings to the table, and what kind of new and intriguing personalities we get to see on screen. I love stories set in the countryside and this is no exception. Let’s wait and see what Slow Loop has to offer!

Watching This: Choya, FJ Freeman, Miss Simplice Excitement Level: Optimistic
Slow Loop Promotional Videos ▼

Dolls’ Frontline | ドールズフロントラインTop
Animation: Asahi Production Premiere: January 7th, 2022
Genre: Sci-Fi, Action Airtime (GMT+9): Fridays at 25:00
Episodes: 12 Station: TOKYO MX
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @gf_animePR or #ドールズフロントライン

Preview by Zephyr

From Asahi Production (in conjunction with Warner Bros. Japan) comes the adaptation of Girls’ Frontline, a Chinese mobile game released by MICA team in 2016. Relabeled Dolls’ Frontline for the Japanese release, the series revolves around a future where catastrophes and nuclear warfare have decimated human populations and created vast, often toxic wastelands. The defense of these areas are left to private military contractors (PMCs), who utilize specialized androids called Tactical Dolls (T-Dolls) to combat enemies under the leadership of human commanders. One such PMC is Griffin & Kryuger, which has been given the task of combatting the rogue T-Dolls of a now defunct manufacturer Sangvis Ferri, following the events what was later called the Butterfly Incident. Leading the charge are the elite T-Dolls of the Anti-Rain (AR) team led by the capable, but indecisive M4A1 (Tomatsu Haruka). As one conflict leads to another however, Griffin & Kryuger begins to realize that the circumstances surrounding the Butterfly Incident aren’t what they seem and their involvement in its aftermath could be merely one step in a complex plot. Leading the adaptation are Ueda Shigeru (episode director for Shakugan no Shana and Uchuu Kyoudai) as director and Kurata Hideyuki (Goblin Slayer, Grisaia no Kajitsu, Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai II, Made in Abyss) for script and series composition.

As an avid player of the game since its global English release in 2018, there’s definitely a part of me that’s excited to see this adaptation come to life. It takes a while to get going, but there’s a substantial story here worth getting invested in—we’re talking 1 million+ characters of main story or the equivalent of Tsukihime and four times that of Steins;Gate—filled with the twist and turns one would expect of its grim dark Sci-Fi backdrop. It only helps that there’s a memorable cast of characters (or “waifus” as some would call them) and a talented cast led by Tomatsu Haruka, Tamura Yukari, and Katou Emiri should help bring the AR team to life. The gameplay doesn’t quite carry over to the anime medium however, so it’s going to be tough job balancing the elements that can and presenting it in a way that keeps the series engaging. Ueda Shigeru’s past experience being mostly of the episode director variety is concerning, but Kurata Hideyuki could balance things given his significant experience working with scripts from both light and visual novels. Dolls’ Frontline is a series I’d love to succeed, but as with any mobile game adaptation, things could go awry pretty quickly. I’d keep an eye on it, but wouldn’t be surprised if the series ends up appealing mostly to past and current players of the mobile game who just want to see their favorite T-Doll in action.

Watching This: Pancakes Excitement Level: Optimistic
Dolls` Frontline Promotional Videos ▼

Cue! | CUE!Top
Animation: Graphinica Premiere: January 7th, 2022
Genre: Music Airtime (GMT+9): Fridays at 25:55
Episodes: 12 Station: MBS/TBS
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @cue_anime or #キュー

Preview by FJ Freeman

Even though Cue is based on a mobile game, it could potentially hold out very interesting, opening a window into the behind-the-scenes of voice actors in the anime industry. My original interest in this one lay in that specific aspect. We’ll have to wait and see how it holds out, is the drama actually engaging, and are the characters compelling enough for us to care about them?

The game this anime is based on is not only a mobile game, but also a simulation game, so I fear some of that might leak into the anime, but if it’s adapted successfully and tries to follow in the steps of something like Shirobako then this one might be one to watch.

The anime is riddled with a female cast, for one I’m all up for it, Wave, Listen to Me was perfect in that regard. But there is also the possibility that it’s not given the proper treatment since mobile games tend to strike for fanservice. Not only that, it’s putting the player in the position of the producer, training these idols into up-and-coming full-fledge voice actors. If the anime takes that route, and we follow the characters through their struggle of becoming voice actors, even though they start from the bottom and are basically underdogs then this might prove interesting. Other than that, with the little information out there, Cue is still very much up in the air. This type of anime really does live or die by its pacing.

If Cue takes a realist approach and shows us how the industry really works, truly taking us behind the scenes, while still managing the plot from the mobile game, then this might be a proper hidden gem. If it takes the other route – the cheap route that is – then it’s simply but another anime promoting a mobile game. And there’s a dime a dozen of those.

Watching This: FJ Freeman Excitement Level: Niche
Cue! Promotional Videos ▼

Shikkaku Mon no Saikyou Kenja | 失格紋の最強賢者
The Strongest Sage With the Weakest Crest Top
Animation: J.C.Staff Premiere: January 8th, 2022
Genre: Fantasy Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays at 22:00
Episodes: 12 Station: TOKYO MX
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @shikkakumon_PR or #失格紋

Preview by Gabie

No, it’s not another Isekai! Shikkakumon no Saikyou Kenja is actually a reincarnation story, based on the Light Novel with the same name. In a world where your standing in society and personal development are determined by a birthmark, our main character–the world’s most powerful sage–decides to seal his soul in order to be reborn in the future, in the hopes of getting a better shot with the next birthmark. Skip a good thousand years ahead and we meet six-year old Mathias Hildesheimer (Tamaki Nina), the third son of Duke Hildersheimer, born with the sage’s most coveted mark of close combat, he is hit with a harsh reality: his mark is now seen as the worst and mankind’s knowledge of magic and swordsmanship has dropped to catastrophic degrees of deterioration. There’s got to be something shady going on.

Embark on Mathias’ journey as he’s accepted into the Second Royal Academy–thanks to his unrivaled swordsmanship–and uncover the dark secrets lurking in the shadows of this future society he’s been reborn. Will he be able to change people’s views regarding his mark? Will he be able to improve the current level of knowledge in this strange yet familiar land? And who will join him in this quest? Co-starring next to him are well known and beloved actresses who will be playing Iris (Izawa Shiori), Lepsius Arma (Shiraishi Haruka) and Aventrot Lurie (Suzushiro Sayumi). If you like a powerful MC who’s likely to get very frustrated by the current state of affairs in his world, this J.C.Staff production might be the one for you!

Watching This: FJ Freeman, Pancakes Excitement Level: Niche
Shikkaku Mon no Saikyou Kenja Promotional Videos ▼

Sono Bisque Doll wa Koi o Suru | その着せ替え人形は恋をする
My Dress-Up Darling Top
Animation: Clover Works Premiere: January 8th, 2022
Genre: Comedy, Romance Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays at 24:00
Episodes: 12 Station: TOKYO MX
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @kisekoi_anime or #着せ恋

Preview by Guardian Enzo

Sono Bisque Doll in the joint-most intriguing of this season’s non-sequel crop for me. I’ve never read the manga (to be honest I’d never even heard of it before the anime was announced) but these days any seinen adaptation is worth a look. And by reputation, Fukuda Shinichi’s manga is quite well-regarded. When it comes to manga I don’t know, that’s a factor I have to take into account.

My Dress-up Darling is the story of a shy guy who loves traditional Japanese dolls, and a not-shy girl who drags him into the cosplay world. By reports this apparently gets a bit ecchi but doesn’t descend into relentless bullying and mean-spiritedness, which was my worry when I saw the premise. The staff looks decent if unexceptional, and I’m flying blind for the most part – which only goes to show you just how weak this season looks at the top. I have reasonable expectations that this series will be pretty good, but it’s no sure thing.

Watching This: Choya, Guardian Enzo, Gabie, Pancakes, Princess Usagi, Zaiden Excitement Level: Optimistic
Sono Bisque Doll wa Koi o Suru Promotional Videos ▼

Akebi-chan no Sailor Fuku | 明日ちゃんのセーラー服
Akebi’s Sailor Uniform Top
Animation: Clover Works Premiere: January 8th, 2022
Genre: Slice-of-Life Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays at 24:30
Episodes: 12 Station: TOKYO MX
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @AKEBI_chan or #明日ちゃん

Preview by Miss Simplice

Komichi Akebi (Murakami Manatsu) is an interesting country girl. She has high expectations for her middle school life leaning into the memories her mother has shared with her about her experiences. She’s always dreamt of attending the prestigious Roubai Academy middle school for girls, where her mother went, and wear the same cute sailor uniform she wore. So when she’s accepted to the school, there’s only excitement and possibilities that spring to mind. Her mother, just as excited, fashions a brand new sailor uniform in the school colors, and off she goes to her first day at the prestigious school. But what she doesn’t realize is that her attire is a little dated, so when she arrives, all the girls are wearing blazers. She immediately stands out and sets a new challenge for herself: to make friends even while she wears her favorite uniform of all time. That’s one determined girl with a good heart!

The trailer immediately drew me into this show. The soft music combined with the sweet voice of Murakami Manatsu in a field setting told me this is bound to be a wholesome and heartwarming series. If you want to sit with a nice hot cup of whatever-it-is-you-drink, I think this might be the series for you this winter season. It’s low stress and all about pushing good vibes. Not a bad thing to push! The character design is also beautiful, losing myself in the faint color of Komichi’s eyes and the silk of her hair. I mean, how can you not immediately be drawn to this sailor uniform-wearing girl? I realize I’m coming off a little strong but tell me I’m wrong in the comments if you think otherwise – would love to hear your thoughts on this trailer! It’s no surprise I’m reacting this way as most of the time when Clover Works is involved, I’m always up for a watch. They’ve done a stellar job at adapting the visuals from the manga and I think, even if this doesn’t touch the usual adventure/action type I dive into with the studio, it’ll be a welcomed change of pace. I am a little cautious at the fan service which is featured later on in the manga coming out during the series. I imagine many fans are awaiting just that but I’m holding the director to keeping this on the low side of fan service. But if you’re into the cute girls bonding (perhaps quite closely at times), this is probably one for the season!

Watching This: FJ Freeman Excitement Level: Average
Akebi-chan no Sailor Fuku Promotional Videos ▼

Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san 3 | からかい上手の高木さん3
Teasing Master Takagi-san 3 Top
Animation: Shin-Ei Animation Premiere: January 8th, 2022
Genre: Comedy, Romance, Slice-of-Life Airtime (GMT+9): Fridays at 25:25
Episodes: 12 Station: MBS・TBS
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @takagi3_anime or #高木さんめ

Preview by Yaseen Hijazi

It’s been a long wait for fans, almost 3 years in fact, but Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san a.k.a “Skilled Teaser Takagi-san” is returning with the next adaptation in the upcoming third season for the winter season of anime! While not much is known about the plot of this installment (at least, if you’re an anime-only watcher like me), we can rest assured that the original cast of talented VAs will be back in action to bring Takagi and Nishikata to life once more. Speaking of happy returns, Shin-Ei animation will also be coming back to animate the series just like the first two seasons, so fans of Takagi-san can expect a seamless continuation straight into the next plot point of the series. As always, we can expect to see more hilarious interactions, cute and embarrassing moments, but above all else, some heart-warming wholesomeness.

For those that are new to this series, Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san follows middle-schooler Nishikata who tries day-after-day to get back at classmate Takagi for all her playful teasing under the unspoken rule of “if you blush, you lose.” While the premise may seem stupidly simple, the way this show delivers its comedy and wholesome moments are truly unique, to say the least. You’ll find yourself blushing throughout the various sketches in this series as you can’t help but feel immense pity for Nishikata’s futile attempts to even the score with Takagi, more often than not resulting in his utter defeat and inevitable embarrassment. The best part about all this is the subtle romantic elements that are cleverly threaded into each interaction, essentially teasing us as the viewers by suggesting a romantic love between the two and then crashing it to the ground with a comedic gag that becomes another one of “Takagi’s pranks.” Whether you’re new to the series or are excited for season 3 (I know I am), you’ll want to check out Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san for this season of anime!

Watching This: Choya, Guardian Enzo, Yaseen Hijazi, Zaiden Excitement Level: High
Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san 3 Promotional Videos ▼

Kaijin Kaihatsubu no Kuroitsu-san | 怪人開発部の黒井津さん
Kuroitsu-san from the Monster Development Department Top
Animation: Quad Premiere: January 8th, 2022
Genre: Comedy, Slice-of-Life Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays at 26:00
Episodes: 12 Station: ABC
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @kuroitsusan or #黒井津さん

Preview by Gabie

Kuroitsu-san in the Superhuman Research and Development Department, illustrated by Hiroaki Mizusaki, began its online serialization on the Comic Meteor website back in 2019. Now, studio Quad takes the reins of the animation to bring this series to life with loads of comedic kawaii delight. Kuroitsu-san (Maeda Kaori)is an assistant researcher in the superhuman research and development department of Agatsya and the thing about this premise is that it could really be the story about your typical salarywoman doing her very best to thrive at her corporate job – if she weren’t working for a villainous secret organization that makes a living out of battling heroes who are trying to save the world.

Follow the busy life of this little lady as she’s caught between absurd and often frustrating requests of her bosses, deals with presentations, implements new features into superhumans whilst making sure everything’s on time, within budget, getting the proper results, fitting in special requests and having absolute zero prospects of receiving a paid vacation. Well, I wouldn’t be surprised if she suddenly snapped and decided to screw this evil corporation over! I don’t know if that’s what happens though, it’d be funny if it is. Will Kuroitsu-san finally get her much deserved vacation? I sure hope so!

Watching This: FJ Freeman, Pancakes Excitement Level: Average
Kaijin Kaihatsubu no Kuroitsu-san Promotional Videos ▼

Sabiiro no Armor: Reimei | 錆色のアーマ-黎明-Top
Animation: Kigumi Premiere: January 9th, 2022
Genre: Action, Adventure Airtime (GMT+9): Sundays at 22:00
Episodes: Station: TOKYO MX
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @armors_anime or #錆色のアーマ

Preview by Gabie

2.5D Stageplays have been getting a lot of traction for the past decade while conquering the hearts of a loyal female fanbase (anyone remember the boom from the Prince of Tennis first musical adaptation back in the early 2000s?! I sure do), and while most adaptations tend to spur from anime or manga sources, that is not the case with Sabiiro no Armor –Reimei– (Rusted Armors). The so-called “Reverse 2.5D Stageplay” first debuted back in 2017 and explores the relationship between the leader of the Saikka Ikki mercenary group Magoichi, played by EXILE member Taiki Satou, and Sengoku era Warlord Oda Saburou Nobunaga, Masuda Toshiki–well known for his role as Shitty Hair Kirishima Eijirou in My Hero Academia (I’m joking, he’s played other famous characters too I assure you!).

Now, with two serializations at Comic Gene, it’s animated adaptation hits the screens with up and coming studio Kigumi and its main Stageplay cast is back to reprise their roles as seiyuu. Seeing as it’s an unconventional type of adaptation as well as the choice in CGI animation, I think this one might prove a little trickier to garner a Western audience–seeing as access to 2.5D musicals are not really that easy, unless we’re talking about big WSJ names like Haikyuu!! and as mentioned before, the ongoing success of Prince of Tennis musicals. There’s not a lot of info available about whether or not there will be any singing in the anime, but my guess is that it will instead focus on the actual narrative, so for Japanese fans of this multimedia project and actors, this could prove an indulgent treat.

Watching This: No one yet Excitement Level: Average
Sabiiro no Armor: Reimei Promotional Videos ▼

Bara Ou no Souretsu | 薔薇王の葬列
Requiem of the Rose King Top
Animation: J.C.Staff Premiere: January 9th, 2022
Genre: Drama, Historical Airtime (GMT+9): Sundays at 22:30
Episodes: 12 Station: TOKYO MX
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @baraou_anime or #薔薇王の葬列

Preview by Princess Usagi

A two-fold battle rages on in the England of old. One- the War of the Roses, a bloody feud between two powerful factions: York (involving Richard the Third (Saiga Mitsuki) and Lancaster (dominated by Henry the Sixth (Midorikawa Hikaru)) and later, Henry the Seventh). The second battle- the internal struggle of Richard the Third’s identity and acceptance by society as an heir apparent who is biologically both female and male. Richard is desperate for acceptance in the eyes of York House through bringing his dad into power of the kingdom.

Although I have not yet read the manga (which is based loosely on Shakespeare’s Richard III), from what I do know of it, I can see how it appeals to the shoujou demographics of emotional battles and exploration of gender identity. What intrigues me is turning the War of the Roses into an anime/manga and not just a political series, but one based around gender identity-not something I associate the War of the Roses or Richard the Third with. As for how the execution of this will go, I cannot say. The staff members, to my knowledge, have either worked on only a few prior shows or on such a random scattering of genres that I don’t have a good sense of whether they are a good fit for this material. I can see two areas that could either be deathtraps or selling points. The first is staging the political and physical warfare in a way that is engaging rather than stale lines ripped from the pages of a moldy textbook. The second is seriously exploring Richard the Third’s emotional turmoil and gender identity with meaning and sensitivity rather than veering off into full blown Boy’s Love territory or pure sensationalism. From the PV, I got hints of the latter- but not enough to dissuade me from the premiere. Regardless of which ways the anime goes, it looks quite interesting. Fans of history, political conflict, and emotional drama should be sure to catch this premiere!

Watching This: Choya, Guardian Enzo, Gabie, Princess Usagi Excitement Level: Optimistic
Bara Ou no Souretsu Promotional Videos ▼

Futsal Boys!!!!! | フットサルボーイズ!!!!!Top
Animation: Diomedea Premiere: January 9th, 2022
Genre: Sports Airtime (GMT+9): Sundays at 23:00
Episodes: 12 Station: TOKYO MX
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @futsal_boys or #サルボ

Preview by Guardian Enzo

Another sports original (delayed from this year), an increasingly common sight on anime schedules these days. And most of them are clearly targeting the Haikyuu!! audience – if you see exclamation points (especially multiples) you can pretty much assume that. Futsal Boys has no less than five of them, so you know it’s gonna be good, right?

Futsal (5-on-5 arena soccer, basically) has never been the subject of an anime that I know of, though it did briefly appear in Ginga e Kickoff. This is actually part of a massive game-driven multimedia project, and the anime looks CG-heavy. Mostly it looks pretty standard – a bunch of high-school kids competing in a sport, albeit a relatively unfamiliar one for anime. The gimmick here is that the cast members (all of whom are new seiyuu as far as I can see) portraying the boys from the various schools will play actual futsal matches, with the results being written into the anime. That alone is worth two exclamation points at least!!

Watching This: Guardian Enzo, Princess Usagi Excitement Level: Average
Futsal Boys!!!!! Promotional Videos ▼

Shingeki no Kyojin: The Final Season (2022) | 進撃の巨人 The Final Season (2022)
Attack on Titan: The Final Season Part 2 Top
Animation: MAPPA Premiere: January 9th, 2022
Genre: Action, Fantasy Airtime (GMT+9): Sundays at 24:05
Episodes: Single cour Station: NHK
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @anime_shingeki or #shingeki

Preview by Yaseen Hijazi

It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for, the epic conclusion to the ever-popular, ever-iconic Shingeki no Kyojin series. For many of us, this show represents our entry into the world of anime, and for others, it’s definitely the first viewing of raw, seinen anime that is intended for an adult audience. Following the events of season 4 part 1, this final season of Attack on Titan is set to be an absolute roller coaster of action, thrills, and non-stop plot twists (I’m sure the manga readers can attest to that). Perhaps most intriguing of all is the insane character arc of Eren Yeager (Yuuki Kaji) who essentially went from a young boy seeking revenge for all the right reasons to a downright mass murderer trying to change the cruel world in which they’ve been born into. To me, this is the most interesting aspect of the series now, but I’m sure fans of humanity’s strongest Levi Ackerman (Hiroshi Kamiya) are just as hyped to see their best boy back in action doing what he does best.

Returning once again to animate this final season after an awesome production of season 4, MAPPA studios is back in action and this time not so rushed for time as they were previously, so it wouldn’t be strange if some fans are expecting even better visuals than the last season. With still so much mystery to be uncovered and more reveals to come, Shingeki no Kyojin: The Final Season promises to deliver another dose of spectacular action sequences, intense dialogues, and just raw character emotions that we’ve all grown to love with the franchise. If you are new to this series, then there has never been a better time to begin your journey with Attack on Titan as you won’t be faced with the grueling task of waiting several years for the next season to drop (those who know, know). For the manga readers, that feeling of anticipating your favorite chapters and panels to finally be brought to life through color, animation, voices, and soundtracks is bound to get the blood pumping with excitement! It’s been an awesome journey so let’s all take a moment to thank Hajime Isayama for all his work in putting together this masterpiece which now draws the curtains on what will go down as one of the greatest anime series of all time.

Watching This: Guardian Enzo, Gabie, Miss Simplice, Pancakes, Princess Usagi, Yaseen Hijazi, Zaiden Excitement Level: Established
Shingeki no Kyojin: The Final Season (2022) Promotional Videos ▼

Sasaki to Miyano | 佐々木と宮野Top
Animation: Studio Deen Premiere: January 9th, 2022
Genre: Romance Airtime (GMT+9): Sundays at 24:30
Episodes: 12 Station: TOKYO MX
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @sasamiya_anime or #佐々木と宮野

Preview by FJ Freeman

Miyano (Saitou Souma) spends his days lounging around and readings Boy’s Love comics. His worries include spending his time as happy as he can and stressing over how girly his face looks. One day a chance encounter with one of his seniors, Sasaki (Shirai Yuusuke), leads to a skirmish that might just change Miyano’s life. Now intrigued by his feisty junior Miyano, disobedient delinquent Sasaki uses every opportunity he can to get closer to his kohai.

If it wasn’t already clear this is very much the newest BL anime, and that fills me with a little bit of hope. Just from the PV, I’m getting wholesome vibes, this is a high school romance in all its form. And I couldn’t be more excited about it. BL and high school settings don’t usually mix, that is because of the obvious inclusion of minors in the literary work. And well, BL usually tends to give more than what readers are expecting – i.e. it tends to divert into pure erotica. That is not bad if characters are of consensual age, but things get tricky when high school and freshmen college students are involved. However, that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. The fact Sasaki to Miyano is getting a TV anime means the producers saw potential in the former. Meaning probably this anime is going to deal with soft feelings, unsure glances, and a cute wholesome romance. At least that is my expectation.

It’s not necessarily a bad thing, this could fall in the category of Shonen-Ai, rather than BL as a whole. I expect a wholesome romance between Miyano and Sasaki, and from watching the PV, I can tell the senpai is forward with his feelings, something I will always appreciate. With BL there’s always the question of ‘does he actually like me, or is he just looking at me’. Not really knowing if the other person likes you, is at the center of LGBTQ+ relationships. Unless otherwise stated, playing the dumb card is always the best option. So an anime celebrating an open and honest relationship like this is a triumph in my book. I’m looking forward with great excitement towards Sasaki to Miyano and hopefully, it inspires those that are not yet to be seen to express themselves fully and open themselves to the world at large, without the fear of hate or violence. Shows like this are mostly targeted at women, I know, however I can rarely look away when something like this comes my way.

Watching This: Choya, FJ Freeman, Guardian Enzo, Gabie, Princess Usagi Excitement Level: Optimistic
Sasaki to Miyano Promotional Videos ▼

Genjitsu Shugi Yuusha no Oukoku Saikenki (2022) | 現実主義勇者の王国再建記 (2022)
How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom Part 2 Top
Animation: J.C.Staff Premiere: January 9th, 2022
Genre: Fantasy Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays at 25:30
Episodes: 12 Station: TOKYO MX
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @genkoku_info or #現国アニメ

Preview by Pancakes

For one Souma Kazuya (Kobayashi Yuusuke), life was an enigma. A university grad melancholy over the loss of his grandfather, Kazuya had no idea what to do with his life – until said life decided for him. Unceremoniously dumped a literal world away into the Kingdom of Elfrieden, Kazuya finds out he was summoned to help rescue the kingdom from its flagging fortunes. It’s a job Kazuya was even educated for, enough so that Elfrieden’s king abdicates in favour of Kazuya and gifts the kid his daughter’s hand in marriage to kickstart his plans. And now, after having spent a good deal of time nation building and securing his domestic position as ruler, Kazuya’s is ready to turn his attention outwards. Elfrieden after all isn’t the only country in this new world, and some are eager to find out just how far they can push its new king.

Among all potential sequel announcements, Genjitsu’s is probably the one most surprising to me. For all this series hits my right buttons, for all it delves into nitty gritty of political science and international political economy, it very much played true to your quintessential adaptation – i.e. rushing and chopping with middling budget for the apparent sole sake of source material promotion. Getting a continuation was never in the cards, but it’s quite appreciated, in part for what’s up to bat next in this story. This season is set to take advantage of all the groundwork laid previously, as Kazuya is now beset by external enemies and threats not as easily dealt with as before. There will be hardship, there will be struggle, and oh yes, there will be suspense as one isekai’d king gets first-hand experience in the world of geopolitics. While the usual caveats remain in this season being unlikely to really break boundaries or improve hard over the first (it’s a light novel series through and through), you certainly need look no further than this for your seasonal isekai needs. And hey, if you haven’t already caught the first season, there’s no better time to do so!

Watching This: Pancakes, Zaiden Excitement Level: Average
Genjitsu Shugi Yuusha no Oukoku Saikenki (2022) Promotional Videos ▼

Tribe Nine | トライブナインTop
Animation: Liden Films Premiere: January 10th, 2022
Genre: Sports Airtime (GMT+9): Mondays at 22:30
Episodes: Station: TOKYO MX
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @tribenine_tokyo or #トライブナイン

Preview by FJ Freeman

I was instantly interested in this one, the Danganronpa creator is involved, both the visuals and the story look promising, I’ll certainly be watching just for the sole fact I thought Danganronpa was really interesting, and I can’t help but wonder how this new story will play out. With its interesting mechanics, it managed to turn a murder mystery story into something we hadn’t seen before. And now a new anime by its creator is in the works. What kind of promising storytelling will we see here. I just can’t wait!

Haru Shirokane (Horie Shun) is a mentally weak-minded person, he is constantly bullied. Meanwhile, Taiga (Sawashiro Chiharu) is strong, has traveled across the sea in hopes of becoming the strongest man in the whole wide world. On one fated night, the two meet up with Shun Kamiya (Ishida Akira), the strongest XB player. Extreme Baseball is the sport. Shun is the strongest player of the Minato Tribe. When they meet each of the tribes scattered through Neo-Tokyo, they suddenly understand, they are about to face a major challenge! On the orders of the King of Neo-Tokyo, “Houtenshin”, the Chiyoda Try, who are led by the perplexing Ojiro Otori (Suwabe Junichi), who has started to take control of all the tribes in the country. And their evil clutches are about to reach the Minato Tribe, whatever will they do!? This is a story of a loved sport taken to the extreme!

I’m looking forward to seeing this extreme version of baseball play out, with stylized characters and over-the-top personalities, it looks interesting, to say the least! And one of the few anime this season I’m overly excited to see, with insane visuals and an insane plot, what else could you ask from an anime. The sportsmanship revolving around XB, looks interesting and the worldbuilding this title has created for itself seems to stand out from the rest. Let’s look forward to seeing what kind of zany and wacky adventures Tribe Nine manages to bring us!

Watching This: Choya, FJ Freeman, Princess Usagi Excitement Level: Niche
Tribe Nine Promotional Videos ▼

Princess Connect! Re:Dive Season 2 | プリンセスコネクト! Re:Dive Season 2Top
Animation: Cygames Pictures Premiere: January 10th, 2022
Genre: Fantasy Airtime (GMT+9): Mondays at 24:00
Episodes: 12 Station: TOKYO MX
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @priconne_anime or #アニメプリコネ

Preview by Pancakes

A direct sequel to the mobile fantasy game of the same name (and a hard franchise reset), Princess Connect! Re:Dive is all about one heroic protagonist Yuuki (Abe Atsushi). Having awoken with no memories of the past and his involvement with Priconne’s titular princess knights, Yuuki sets out on a new journey to restore his memories and, just maybe, find out the reason for his current state. Joined along the way by new princess knights and loyal overseers in cutesy Kokkoro (Itou Miku), firmly feline Karyl (Tachibana Rika), and the always playful (and ever gluttonous) Pecorine (Ichimichi Mao), it’s one adventure Yuuki has no idea of the destination for, but after having learned some of the past and the threats before him, it’s one whose path has just become a whole lot brighter.

While Shingeki no Bahamut currently retains the title of most successful modern game anime adaptation, Priconne arguably gives it a serious run for its money. This adaptation came completely out of left field back in 2020, not only successfully (and single handily) resurrecting a failed mobage franchise from the grave, but offering up some seriously fun and lighthearted slice-of-life fantasy to boot. And I mean fun. For all Priconne stuck with harem fantasy convention, it was remarkably imaginative, effectively shoehorning in a slapstick-focused cooking plotline with some hefty Konosuba shenanigans and topping it off with a ridiculously fun cast (Karyl is love, but Kokkoro is life) and surprisingly good animation. Getting a second season is a huge cherry on top for a serious dark horse, and considering all cast and crew (in particular Konosuba’s director Kanasaki Takaomi) are back reprising their roles, I only expect this season to continue along in the same vein. Fellow fans already know where they stand with this one, but if you like fantasy and are in need of some laughs this season definitely give this series a whirl because you are in for a very entertaining time.

Watching This: Pancakes Excitement Level: Average
Princess Connect! Re:Dive Season 2 Promotional Videos ▼

Sabikui Bisco | 錆喰いビスコ
Rust–Eater Bisco Top
Animation: Oz Premiere: January 10th, 2022
Genre: Fantasy, Supernatural Airtime (GMT+9): Mondays at 24:30
Episodes: 12 Station: TOKYO MX
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @SABIKUI_BISCO or #錆喰いビスコ

Preview by Choya

Japan has reached a post-apocalyptic state as a result of a plague-like wind blowing what are believed to be mushroom spores across the world. Bisco Akaboshi (Suzuki Ryouta) is a wanted criminal known as the “Man-Eating Mushroom” because his arrows sprout these very mushrooms wherever they land. But while the law is repulsed by Bisco’s actions, he is actually a “Mushroom Protector” who aims to reform the land with these mushrooms, ultimately using the funghi to return the land to its previous state. Even if the world has been reduced to rust, Bisco aims to find the legendary rust-devouring mushroom “Sabikui” alongside a young doctor Milo Nekoyanagi (Hanae Natsuki) and their crab companion Akutagawa as they traverse the wastelands of a post-apocalyptic Japan.

SABIKUI BISCO thrives in its stylish, surreal, off-the-wall aesthetic that captures the chaotic frenzy of a post-apocalyptic future ravaged by mushrooms, crabs, and beasts. Based on a sci-fi light novel, its crude, expressive art style is translated nicely through the animation that’s been provided in the teaser trailers. While there are a ton of anime that dabble into the bleakness of life after civilization has deteriorated, SABIKUI BISCO paints a picture of the chaos and the struggle to survive as Bisco and others fight to restore the broken land ravaged by marauders and beasts who don’t see the need for civility. As if that isn’t enough, those who want to collect the bounty on Bisco find him to be a nice target to make a pretty penny off of. With the script and series composition being helmed by Murai Sadayuki, who has a number of impressive credits to his name from the past 25 years, I have a lot of optimism for how SABIKUI BISCO will come out when it terraforms into the Winter season.

Watching This: Choya, FJ Freeman, Gabie, Pancakes, Princess Usagi Excitement Level: Average
Sabikui Bisco Promotional Videos ▼

Gensou Sangokushi: Tengen Reishinki | 幻想三國誌 -天元霊心記-Top
Animation: Geek Toys Premiere: January 10th, 2022
Genre: Sci-Fi, Supernatural Airtime (GMT+9): Mondays at 26:00
Episodes: 12 Station: BS12
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @gensou_3gokushi or #幻想三國誌

Preview by Gabie

Conquest and unification tend to be bloody affairs, but they can also birth the strongest warriors. One might say the devil lurks where pain and strength prevail, where chaos reigns. What better place for that than the Three Kingdoms period in China? Enter Mouryou King, the sovereign of evil spirits, extending his vicious ambition across the land in order to seize his opportunity to destroy the human world. In response to that threat, brave warriors join forces to form the anti-Mouryou corps, only to meet their demise. And it’s when all hope appears to be lost, that light might shine from the most unexpected places. Join the ragtag band of adventurers who have heeded the call to step in as the new 6th anti-Mouryou corps!

Based on the RPG game series developed by Taiwanese company UserJoy Technology, the game itself was inspired by Luo Guanzhong’s classic novels The Three Kingdoms, with 2 million copies sold as of it’s fifth installment. From the relatively unknown GEEK TOYS studio, the main cast features Fukuwara Makoto as Teiken, Nakahara Mai as Shunkyou, Kanemoto Hisako as Shourei and Ono Kensho as Ouki. If you’re a player or looking for some historical action with some fantasy on top, this one might be for you.

Watching This: No one yet Excitement Level: Limited
Fantasy Bishoujo Juniku Ojisan to | 異世界美少女受肉おじさんとTop
Animation: OLM Premiere: January 11th, 2022
Genre: Fantasy, Romance Airtime (GMT+9): Tuesdays at 24:00
Episodes: 12 Station: TV Tokyo
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @fabiniku or #ファ美肉おじさん

Preview by Choya

For most, being enchanted by a naked goddess from another world would feel like a dream. But for two office workers in their thirties, Tsukasa Jinguuji (Hino Satoshi) and Tachibana Hinata (Itou Kento and Ichimichi Mao), their lives in another world are flipped upside down when the mischievous Goddess of Love and Beauty (Kugimiya Rie) has other plans in mind. After ranting about Tsukasa’s overprotectiveness about who he dates, Tachibana accidentally makes a wish to transform into a beautiful girl as the two childhood friends are trapped in another world. To make matters crazier, Tsukasa lashes out at the Goddess, causing her to curse the two to defeat the demon king if they have any hopes of making it back home. There’s only one thing: we’re talking about the Goddess of Love and Beauty. That means part of the curse may just be an enchantment spell that causes Tsukasa and Tachibana to become easily smitten with one another. If they want to return to the real world and avoid falling head-over-heels in love with each other, they’ll have to move fast and slay the demon king on this madness-filled, rom-com journey in another world.

It’s a fascinating story to adapt because on the surface, it looks like a wacky isekai with gender-switching as the gimmick, but through Tachibana’s transformation, the friendship between Tachibana and Tsukasa is put to the test. What makes the manga neat is how it explores whether they are only interested in each other because of the curse or if it’s the culmination of the bubbling feelings they’ve had for one another back in the real world. While Tsukasa shows more interest in vetting the women Tachibana tries to date than actually pursuing women himself, Tachibana is conflicted about whether he always found Tsukasa attractive in the back of his mind whenever he took charge in the real world. Through the Goddess’ intervention, they are forced to re-examine their relationship to determine if they were really meant for each other this whole time or if their friendship can stay the same when they return to the real world. It’ll be unique and interesting to see the two try to make sense of their identities in a world where they look and act far different than their real-world counterparts when Fantasy Bishoujo Juniku Ojisan to takes form for the Winter season.

Watching This: Choya, Pancakes Excitement Level: Average
Fantasy Bishoujo Juniku Ojisan to Promotional Videos ▼

Tensai Ouji no Akaji Kokka Saiseijutsu | 天才王子の赤字国家再生術
The Genius Prince’s Guide to Raising a Nation Out of Debt Top
Animation: Yokohama Animation Lab Premiere: January 11th, 2022
Genre: Comedy, Fantasy Airtime (GMT+9): Tuesdays at 22:30
Episodes: 12 Station: AT-X
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @tensaiouji_PR or #天才王子

Preview by Choya

The king of Natra has fallen ill, and must rely on his son, Prince Wein Salema Arbalest (Souma Saitou), to rule in his stead. The only problem is, Prince Wein is lazy. He’d rather commit treason and be ousted than have to carry the burden of leading a nation. His original plan was to auction off the country and retire in peace, but this falls apart very quickly when his treasonous schemes backfire and ultimately benefit the kingdom of Natra. Unfortunately for him, Prince Wein wound up being a genius who accidentally comes up with crafty, effective victories that win him the love, accolades, and support from his people. If he wants to fulfill his dreams, he’ll have to come up with one plan that doesn’t end with the people of his kingdom falling even more in love with him.

It was hard not to crack a smile while I was reading the premise of Tensai Ouji no Akaji Kokka Saisei Jutsu because it sounds like a funny premise. I’m a sucker for jokes where somebody who tries hard to mess something up ends up having all their plans backfire gloriously due to some ridiculous happenstance. It’s the kind of humor you would find in Mel Brooks’ The Producers where the lead comes up with the most deplorable idea they can for their own benefit only to accidentally succeed against their best wishes. I’m curious to see how the anime makes humor of Prince Wein’s unintentional genius when it arrives this Winter.

Watching This: Choya, Pancakes Excitement Level: Optimistic
Tensai Ouji no Akaji Kokka Saiseijutsu Promotional Videos ▼

Kenja no Deshi o Nanoru Kenja | 賢者の弟子を名乗る賢者
She Professed Herself Pupil of the Wise Man Top
Animation: Studio A-CAT Premiere: January 11th, 2022
Genre: Fantasy Airtime (GMT+9): Tuesdays at 24:30
Episodes: 12 Station: TOKYO MX
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @kendeshi_anime or #賢でし

Preview by Yaseen Hijazi

Kenja no Denshi wo Nanoru Kenja, otherwise known as “She Professed Herself Pupil of the Wise Man” follows the world of VRMMORPG and a game called Arch Earth Online. Before you start to get Sword Art Online vibes, hear me out. This series by no means follows the trope of entering into the game itself, at least as far as the plot synopsis goes, and it seemingly keeps things purely between the player and his character in the game. Back to the plot, this series follows Sakamori Kagami who plays this online game and essentially becomes a “hot shot” in it. His character, Dunbalf, who is based on “an elderly bearded wizard from a certain book about a ring” (I think it’s Gandalf guys) is now somewhat of a renowned figure in the game who represents a high veteran status and an abundance of in-game accomplishments.

One day, with excess in-game currency to spare, Kagami decides to purchase a “gender-bender” appearance perk that allows him to see what his character looks like as a girl. Falling asleep at the keyboard before changing his character back, he awakes to find the game has changed quite drastically, possibly due to a long-awaited update for Arch Earth Online. At this point, it would seem the great Dunbalf is now in the form of a cute little girl who goes by the name Mira (Nichika Oomori). Keeping her true identity secret, Mira must now navigate through this new world in which 30 years have passed since the Dunbalf days, and the old veteran player needs to adjust ASAP to succeed in this new world. Proclaiming herself as “Dunbalf’s pupil,” Mira is a new character that Kagami will be playing, essentially an old wise man in a cute girl’s body (no dirty thoughts please). I’m usually not into the whole “isekai” or “gaming” style of anime plots, but this one does hold enough uniqueness to it that makes me want to give it a shot, and I’d say you should too!

Watching This: Pancakes Excitement Level: Limited
Kenja no Deshi o Nanoru Kenja Promotional Videos ▼

Koroshi Ai | 殺し愛
Love of Kill Top
Animation: Platinumvision Premiere: January 12th, 2022
Genre: Romance, Thriller Airtime (GMT+9): Wednesdays at 24:00
Episodes: 12 Station: TOKYO MX
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @LoveofKill_info or #殺し愛

Preview by Zaiden

On a scale of meme to dignified nobility, the surname Dankworth probably leans more to the ‘meme’ side of that spectrum. Nonetheless, that is indeed the family name of our heroine, Chateau Dankworth (Oonishi Saori) – heiress to a French aristocratic lineage known as the Nobel family. And to clear up any confusion, that would not be the Nobel famous for distributing annual peace prizes. Chateau finds herself being stalked by a professional Korean hitman named Son Ryang-Ha (Shimono Hiro) who seems intent on asking her on a date. But it doesn’t look like she has much of a choice in the matter, since she’s rather reliant on him to help fend off the Hong Kong triads that have been sent to assassinate her by her father’s step brother. Both Chateau and Son are forced to confront their pasts in this action-packed, romantic thriller.

Looking purely at the character design, Chateau reminds me of Violet Evergarden. And that’s something of a winning formula the last time I checked. This is mangaka Fe’s only serialised work, and it remains ongoing, having started publication back in 2015. The premise sounds quite unique and the characters seem bizarre enough. I won’t say that Platinum Vision will guarantee anything extraordinary from a production standpoint. Therefore, I have a feeling the success of the series will hinge off how cohesive plot elements can be interwoven and whether the suspense of mystery intrigue can be upheld through the course of the series. Although director Ooba Hideaki is a long-time industry veteran who can be relied upon for imparting an old school 1990s/2000s vibe to the shows that he’s in charge of directing. And I think noire would be the correct angle for bringing this serialization to an animated format.

Watching This: Choya, FJ Freeman, Miss Simplice, Pancakes, Princess Usagi Excitement Level: Average
Koroshi Ai Promotional Videos ▼

Arifureta Shokugyou de Sekai Saikyou 2nd Season | 平凡職業造就世界最強 第二季
From Commonplace to World’s Strongest 2nd Season Top
Animation: Asread Premiere: January 13th, 2022
Genre: Fantasy Airtime (GMT+9): Thursdays at 23:30
Episodes: 12 Station: AT-X
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @ARIFURETA_info or #ありふれた

Preview by Pancakes

After nearly a three year wait, Arifureta is finally back for more. Centered around the loathed and detested otaku Nagumo Hajime (Fukamachi Toshinari), it’s a story of isekai transference, hero worship, and quite spectacular falls. You see, unlike all those other alternate world protagonists, Hajime wound up on the outside looking in as his hero-designated classmates got all the cool abilities and even more impressive roles. Hated so much that said classmates even contrived to see him die in a dungeon, Hajime manages to survive their betrayal, and with it seek retribution for such sins. At least for the first while. After coming across the imprisoned vampire Yui (Kuwahara Yuuki), defeating the dungeon, and learning its (and the world’s) secret, Hajime sets out conquer the world’s other remaining dungeons in the name of returning home. Not the easiest of journeys, but thanks to the help of new party members Shea (Takahashi Minami) and Tio (Hikasa Youko) and his own new insidious power, it’s a mission Hajime will finish come hell or high water.

Even for typical isekai, Arifureta is a mixed bag. This series never had the strongest of introductions back in 2019, pairing a chopped and rushed story with some middling animation for an adaptation which arguably didn’t do justice for what is actually a half-decent isekai romp. The fact it’s taken this long to even see this sequel should speak volumes considering it was announced – you guessed it – in 2019 with nary a peep until now. Expectations should therefore be kept firmly in check, however there’s a few rays of light poking through the gloom. Besides the tentative optimism sparked by the improved animation in the PV, this season will start getting into some of Arifureta’s stronger material as Hajime continues his ascent (descent?) into veritable OP badass all the while embracing the cool harem life. Or in other words, expect over-the-top fights, cathartic schadenfreude, and plenty of isekai twists to help keep the mind busy. Of course I wouldn’t anticipate this season changing a lot of minds regarding Arifureta as a whole, but if you’re on the fence or just in need of some good old-fashioned isekai shenanigans give the first season a whirl and keep this one firmly on your winter radar.

Watching This: Pancakes Excitement Level: Average
Arifureta Shokugyou de Sekai Saikyou 2nd Season Promotional Videos ▼

Vanitas no Karte (2022) | ヴァニタスの手記 (2022)
The Case Study of Vanitas Top
Animation: Bones Premiere: January 14th, 2022
Genre: Drama Airtime (GMT+9): Fridays at 24:00
Episodes: 12 Station: TOKYO MX
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @vanitas_anime or #ヴァニタス

Preview by Princess Usagi

A trip to the bookstore is an adventure for any avid reader. To complete the quest for the sought after book, the hero/heroine must first overcome any uncertainties as to whether the said book is available, then undertake the mission to locate the tome, and finally to dodge any obstacles such as shelf-stocking “elves”, stray stools, and long lines. Noé (Ishikawa Kaito), the protagonist of Vanitas no Karte, is also on the hunt for a good read-a cursed magic book, the Book of Vanitas. The author, Vanitas, was a vampire whose once in a blue moon birth (quite literally) caused him to be ostracized by vampire society and vowed retribution against vampire-kind. Vanitas’ name and book are passed on to a human physician of vampires (Hanae Natsuki) living in Paris in the 1800’s, who crosses paths with Noé on Noé’s book-hunt. Is Noé’s interest in the Book of Vanitas purely academic or will he use the secrets within as he unravels the mysteries behind Dr. Vanitas and his namesake?

The first season was captivating with the intriguing vampire lore, backstories, and plot direction as Vanitas, Noé, and their friends pursue the mystery behind Charlatan and the vampire maladies. Of course, that was expected, coming from source material by Mochizuki Jun of Pandora Hearts fame. Although I have not read the source manga, I feel that the director, Itamura Tomoyuki (Bakemonogatari) and the rest of the staff at Bones studio did a fine job drawing you into the Vanitas universe. I hope we can continue to expect the same quality in the second cour. I would recommend checking this out for fans of the manga and/or the first cour. If you haven’t seen or read it yet, I would strongly urge fans of Pandora Hearts and of vampire stories to catch up with the 1st cour!

Watching This: Choya, Guardian Enzo, Princess Usagi Excitement Level: Optimistic
Vanitas no Karte (2022) Promotional Videos ▼

Ryman`s Club | リーマンズクラブTop
Animation: Liden Films Premiere: January 22, 2022
Genre: Sports Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays at 25:30
Episodes: Station: TV Asahi
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @rymansclub_PR or #リーマンズクラブ

Preview by Choya

Some dreams are destined to be merely dreams, but sometimes, life finds a way to make them come true in one way or another. For Mikoto Shiratori (Enoki Junya), this is the painful reality he comes to terms with ever since he was struck with the trauma of losing the inter-high badminton tournament. Following this traumatic moment, he casts away his image as a prodigy badminton player in favor of becoming a salaryman at the Sunlight Beverage company. Luckily, his own thirst for fulfillment is quenched when he befriends Tatsuru Miyazumi (Miki Shinichiro), the best performing player and salesman in the team. Although Shiratori plays badminton on the side, his friendship with Miyazumi appears to give him and a few other co-workers the motivation to get invested in setting up their very own badminton team. Will these plucky adults be able to recapture the glory they had left behind for so many years? And will they still have the potential to grow further as players when they have to keep their work/life balance stable?

Badminton sounds like an interesting topic for a sports anime, but what makes the anime unique is its leading cast. Instead of focusing on high school or middle school sports teams, Mikoto, Tatsuru, and the other members of the team are all older salarymen who aim to use badminton as a means of recapturing their youth and keeping themselves active. As we trudge through our old age, we’re all trying to get fit and keep in shape, but Mikoto’s past success as a prodigy provides a neat kernel for the story to build on. When you return to an old hobby you used to love, is there a hidden level of shame towards not devoting your entire being to it, or does it feel like revisiting an old friend? Will Tatsuru be able to spark the joy and drive that Mikoto has been missing since he quit, or will it just be a reminder for Mikoto that he should trust in his own strength instead of hone in on his one mistake? All of this and more will be revealed with the grand debut of Ryman’s Club this Winter.

Watching This: FJ Freeman, Guardian Enzo, Princess Usagi Excitement Level: Average
Ryman`s Club Promotional Videos ▼

Tabi wa ni | 旅はにTop
Animation: Clover Works Premiere: December 2021
Genre: Slice-of-Life Airtime (GMT+9): TBD
Episodes: TBD Station: TBD
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN)
Join the conversation @tabihani_PR or #旅はに

Preview by Choya

Editor’s Note: Show format currently unknown, potentially a short.

Known as the cultural capital of Japan, Kyoto is a remarkable city renowned for its centuries-old landmarks from temples and shrines to palaces and gardens. It makes sense that, for everything, there is to do and see in Kyoto, it became a prominent destination for tourism. One such traveler is Yashima Akari (Tomita Miyu), a quiet high schooler who inherited a love of travel from her older sister, who took care of her in place of often absent parents. She is joined by Kitayama Nagi (Maeda Kaori), Akari’s cheerful classmate who willingly jumps into any activity, and becomes interested in Akari due to her mysterious air. Together, they aim to have an adventure of their very own as the two explore Kyoto’s local attractions and traditional goods.

Compared to some of the islands or industrial cities that have gotten promotional anime, Kyoto having an anime of its own is a major upgrade. Rather than trying to squeeze juice from a coin to gush about unique variations items you could get anywhere or one traditional good that defines a region, there shouldn’t be any worries about running out of content for a show based on Kyoto. With all of the landmarks and attractions that are in Kyoto, you could easily make an entire series out of temples alone. But it’ll be exciting if they give us a chance to learn about some of the other regional attractions as well such as its historical museums, kimono ateliers, sake breweries, and restaurants known for their fine matcha and yudofu. I’m curious how it’ll all be pulled off when Tabi Hani arrives this Winter.

Watching This: Choya Excitement Level: Limited
Tabi wa ni Promotional Videos ▼

Shiguang Dailiren | 时光代理人
Link Click Top时光代理人
Animation: Studio LAN Premiere: 2022
Genre: Drama Airtime (GMT+9): TBD
Episodes: 11 Station: TBD
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Wikipedia (EN)

Preview by Guardian Enzo

While I never formally blogged Shiguang Dailiren, I have made my feelings about it quite clear – this donghua was one of the best shows of 2021 in any medium. A second season has already been announced for sometime in 2022, but in the meantime we’re getting a Japanese dub of the first – and with some pretty big-name seiyuu, too. This is a perfect opportunity for anyone who didn’t watch this time-travel crime drama to rectify that oversight (and for me to re-watch it). Assuming, of course, someone streams or subs the Japanese version.

The core premise here is that two young guys can effectively time travel using photographs. They use this ability in a business that’s a sort of cross between detective agency and agony aunt. What results is a fascinating drama that touches on many themes, like the urban-rural wealth divide in modern China, and the relationships between adults and their parents. The emotional range on display is impressive to say the least.

I normally find Mandarin a bit jarring for animation, as the acting style and rhythms of the language are so totally different from Japanese. If that was a factor for you this version rectifies the problem – though it must be said that the acting for Link Click in the original version was easily my favorite of any donghua. I think you’re fine watching it in either language, but either way – please watch it.

Watching This: FJ Freeman, Gabie, Guardian Enzo, Miss Simplice, Princess Usagi Excitement Level: Optimistic
Shiguang Dailiren Di Er Ji Promotional Videos ▼

Short Series List

Technical Note: As of the Winter 2016 Preview onward, short one-cour series that are being broadcast with irregular duration times (under the 24 minute per episode norm) have been separated from the main preview into their own section. This is to account for the increasing number of short series and to allow for ease of viewing for those who have a preference for one type of series over another. While the list should be complete, there are short series that have been announced very close to the start of a season, in which case they may not have made it onto the list. Unfortunately given Passerby’s current haitus, shorts do not come with the accompanying haiku previews. Real life do be like that sometimes.

Air Date Title
12/06 Kanashiki Debu Neko-chan | かなしきデブ猫ちゃん
AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Wikipedia (JP)
12/31 Sorairo Utility | 空色ユーティリティ
AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN)
01/05 Irodorimidori (2022) | イロドリミドリ (2022)
AniDB, Syoboi, Wikipedia (JP)
01/05 Teikou Penguin | テイコウペンギン
AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, Syoboi, Wikipedia (JP)
01/10 On Air Dekinai! | オンエアできない!
AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
01/?? Atasha Kawajiri Kodama Da yo: Dangerous Lifehacker no Tadareta Seikatsu | あたしゃ川尻こだまだよ ~デンジャラスライフハッカーのただれた生活~
AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Wikipedia (EN)
01/?? Yami Shibai 10 | 闇芝居 10
AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)

OVA / Movie


Technical Note: OVAs are sorted by the date they are released. For series that have multiple episodes coming out over the course of the season, please refer to the Notes column for additional dates. More information on each OVA can be found on their respective websites, including promotional videos in some cases. Movie premiere dates are not included since they don’t mean a whole lot to viewers outside of Japan. For the most up to date North American theatrical release schedule, please visit Fathom Events or Funimation Films. BD/DVD movie releases are included in this list. This list is likely incomplete and will be updated as more titles surface (usually by the next season’s preview). If you notice anything missing or incorrect, please feel free to comment below or send me a quick tweet/DM @ZephyrRC.

Release Date Title Notes
12/15 BanG Dream! Movie: Episode of Roselia – I: Yakusoku
劇場版 BanG Dream! Episode of Roselia I:約束
BD/DVD Release.
12/15 BanG Dream! Movie: Episode of Roselia – II: Song I Am.
BD/DVD Release.
12/22 Fate/Grand Order THE MOVIE Divine Realm of the Round Table: Camelot Paladin;Agateram
劇場版Fate/Grand Order -神聖円卓領域キャメロット- Paladin; Agateram
BD/DVD Release.
12/22 Shoujo☆Kageki Revue Starlight Movie
劇場版 少女☆歌劇 レヴュースタァライト
BD/DVD Release.
12/24 Gundam: G no Reconguista Movie III – The Legacy of the Universe
Gundam: G no Reconguista Movie III – Uchuu kara no Isan
劇場版 ガンダム Gのレコンギスタ Ⅲ 宇宙からの遺産
BD/DVD Release.
12/24 Girls und Panzer das Finale – Part 3
『ガールズ&パンツァー 最終章』第3話
BD/DVD Release.
12/24 Hakuouki OVA | 薄桜鬼 OVA
OVA 1 of 3.
BD/DVD Release.
01/19 Fate/Grand Order: Final Singularity – The Grand Temple of Time: Solomon
Fate/Grand Order: Shuukyoku Tokuiten – Kani Jikan Shinden Solomon
Fate/Grand Order -終局特異点 冠位時間神殿ソロモン-
BD/DVD Release.
01/19 Kobayashi-san Chi no Maidragon S: Nippon no Omotenashi
小林さんちのメイドラゴンS ニッポンのおもてなし(アテンドはドラゴンです)
Unaired Episode.
Bundled w/ BD/DVD Box Set Volume S.
01/22 Eternal 831 | Eien no 831 | 永遠の831
WOWOW 30th Anniversary Work.
01/26 Words Bubble Up Like Soda PopCider no You ni Kotoba ga Wakiagaru | サイダーのように言葉が湧き上がる
BD/DVD Release. Originally released on Netflix (2021).
01/28 Hakuouki OVA | 薄桜鬼 OVA
OVA 2 of 3.
BD/DVD Release.
01/28 Otome wa Boku ni Koishiteru: Trinkle Stars The Animation
乙女はお姉さまに恋してる 三つのきら星 The Animation
BD/DVD Release.
02/02 The House of the Lost on the CapeMisaki no Mayoiga | 岬のマヨイガ
BD/DVD Release.
02/16 My Hero Academia: World Heroes’ Mission
Boku no Hero Academia the Movie 3: World Heroes’ Mission
僕のヒーローアカデミア THE MOVIE ワールド ヒーローズ ミッション
BD/DVD Release.
03/10 BanG Dream! 5th Anniversary Animation: CiRCLE Thanks Party!
Episode 1 of 2.
03/10 Kotaro Lives Alone Kotarou wa Hitorigurashi | コタローは1人暮らし
Netflix Release.
03/10 The Ancient Magus’ Bride OVA
The Boy from the West and the Knight of the Blue Storm

Mahoutsukai no Yome: Nishi no Shounen to Seiran no Kishi
魔法使いの嫁 西の少年と青嵐の騎士
Bundled w/ LE manga Vol. 17. OVA 2 of 3.
03/16 Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Part 2 OVA
Mushoku Tensei: Isekai Ittara Honki Dasu OVA
無職転生 ~異世界行ったら本気だす~ OVA
Unaired Episode.
Bundled w/ BD Vol. 4.
03/17 BanG Dream! 5th Anniversary Animation: CiRCLE Thanks Party!
Episode 2 of 2.
03/22 The Girl From the Other Side: Siúil, a Rún OVA
Totsukuni no Shoujo OVA | とつくにの少女 OVA
Bundled w/ LE side story manga.
03/23 Arifureta Shokugyou de Sekai Saikyou 2nd Season OVA
ありふれた職業で世界最強 2nd Season OVA
Unaired Episode.
Bundled w/ BD Vol. 1.
03/23 Non Non Biyori Nonstop: Bukatsu wo Ganbatta | のんのんびより りめんばー OVA
Episode 13. Bundled w/ LE spin off manga Non Non Biyori Remember volume.
03/28 Thermae Romae Novae | テルマエ・ロマエ ノヴァエ
Netflix Release.
03/29 Princess Principal: Crown Handler Chapter 2
プリンセス・プリンシパル Crown Handler
Chapter 2 of 6.
BD/DVD Release.
03/29 Princess Principal OVA: Revealing Reviews
完全新作OVA「Revealing Reviews」
Bundled w/ Crown Handler Chapter 2 BD/DVD.
03/30 Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya – Licht Nameless Girl
Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya: Licht – Namae no Nai Shoujo
劇場版 Fate/kaleid liner プリズマ☆イリヤ
BD/DVD Release.
03/30 Ryouma! The Prince of Tennis Shinsei Movie: Tennis no Ouji-sama
リョーマ!The Prince of Tennis 新生劇場版テニスの王子様
BD/DVD Release.
03/30 Strike the Blood Final | ストライク・ザ・ブラッドFINAL
BD/DVD Release.
Episode 1 and 2 of 4.

Overall Impressions


Winters have always traditionally been a weaker season for anime and this one likely will be no exception. Outside of some major (and not so major) sequels starting up and carrying over from the falls the pickings are quite slim, though it doesn’t mean the potential for something awesome isn’t there – as we all know, the most inconspicuous of anime can often prove the most surprising! In the midst of reflecting on the good and bad times (and the good and bad anime) of the past year, I hope that everyone has a safe, relaxing holiday(s) and that this new season of anime will go a long way towards making everyone’s winter merry and bright!

While how much merriment you derive from a show is up to you, we still have our wholly subjective and never wrong gauge for tempering expectations in our time-honored Excitement Levels. If you are someone like me with a packed schedule and need to make some tough choices about how many shows you can fit into a week, the Excitement Levels can be a useful guide in which shows to keep at the top of your “hope to watch” list 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 crash landing on its face 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.


The Rundown:

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

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

Average excitement shows look middle-of-the-road to us. They could be good or they could be bad, but they don’t provide much immediate indication that they’ll be amazing in retrospect. This is often the case with shows that are firmly ensconced in their genres’ tropes, or which overly rely on some of anime’s overused plot devices. It can also apply to shows that seem deeply flawed, with elements that could make them amazing, but with so many potential 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.

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.

Niche shows break away from the norm by being slower-paced, featuring less explored material, being 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.

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.


  1. Sequels/Continuations
    Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san
    Shingeki no Kyoujin
    Princess Connect (Gonna get started on the first season now)

    Very interested
    Slow Loop
    Akebi-chan no Sailor Fuku


    Give it an episode
    Dolls’ Frontline
    Sono Bisque Dall wa Koi wo Suru

    1. Honestly, Slow Loop looks interesting to me, it might not to you, and that’s okay, the beauty of RC is that everyone has different tastes and can stomach different kinds of anime. There’s something interesting about found family in a group of misfits and I think that’s what Slow Loop is trying to go for.

      1. I personally think Slow Loops look good, but it’s unlikely that the theme’s as rudimentary as “found family in a group of misfits”. At any rate, I also hope RC skips this one: their slice-of-life anime posts have never been particularly thoughtful or meaningful to read (e.g. Super Cub and Shiroi Suna no Aquatope were both great anime, but I didn’t get that feeling from the posts here).

  2. Hm, putting Shingeki final season part 2 in the “established” category instead of “high” does a bit of a disservice to the expectations around it IMO.
    I have thankfully no idea how the manga turned out, but it wouldn’t surprise me if this turned out to be the best rated anime show of 2022. I don’t expect it to get the same treatment (read sakuga) as other popular shonen anime, but I hope that this time Mappa won’t overdo it with the use of CG like part 1.

    Pretty sure that I’ll enjoy My Dress-Up Darling

    Also looking forward to the sequels of Genjitsu (which was okayish) and Vanitas (watched season 1 in a span of 2 days, it was a very pleasant surprise).

    Speaking of Genjitsu, I wonder whether Tensai Ouji might turn out to be the “better” anime with a smart lead. Obviously different shows since the latter is more of a comedy.
    Hakozume reminds me of “You’re under arrest”, so I’ll at least check out the 1st episode.

    1. Oh boy, if you haven’t been spoiled on Shingeki yet let’s just say it’s going to be interesting lol. Expect lots of flying off the rails because it makes what came before look calm and well-reasoned.

      As for the categorization I don’t think it hurts IMO, established series are already made in terms of their expectations (both good and bad) and SnK is no exception to that. Sure it could’ve been placed in the high category, but then it removes the reason for why established exists in the first place.

      And oh yeah I’m quite curious myself seeing how Genjitsu and Tensai Ouji play off against each other. Personally I suspect Tensai to be better liked because it’s comedy focused, but Genjitsu will likely play better to its material.

      1. Sounds promising. Looking forward to your coverage.
        Maybe you should get rid of “Established”, then, dunno. Or put it in both categories. 😉 No, seriously, it’s just that I usually think of long running shonen series when I see that category.
        No matter. 🙂

  3. Sabikui Bisco is only average excitement? Did we watch the same promo videos? That looked totally out of this world. I practically pissed myself.

    It actually had me at crab companion, but then I watched the PVs and went bonkers.

    1. Remember the excitement ratings are solely due to three of us coming together to give some measure of anticipation – they are wholly subjective and shouldn’t be treated as gospel. I’m really looking forward to the show myself for example, but Enzo, Zaiden, and Zephyr may not be to the same degree!

  4. I was very excited for Vanitas’ first season, but it got frustrating and disappointing the more I watched. They established the mainline of the story and the core mystery… and then it became a slice of life for a billion episodes until the very end of the season, focusing on the characters and their love interests and past friendships and court politics… The plot barely progressed an inch.

    1. It seems that the slowed-down pace was setting the stage for the second cour. From the way the 1st cour ended, it looks like the pace will pick up again. I personally enjoyed the focus on the characters over the main story as much as the main story itself.

      Princess Usagi
    2. The 1st season of Vanitas was by animation studio Bones, this 2nd by Lidenfilms. That’s a different studio, right? What does this mean?

      The 1st season let me disappointed for several reasons. It was queerbait and the black-white contrast from the intro wasn’t really used.
      If only better series would get a sequel so quickly…

  5. I guess after KanColle and Azur Blue’s rather unflattering adaptations, the GFL fanbase has learnt to keep our anticipation low and fingers crossed. The OP which was released a few days ago does little to allay the concerns. The quality imho is comparative to the better fan-made anime from 5~10 years ago.

    At the very least the GFL anime has a clear story to follow, which removes some uncertainty from the equation.

    Random Comment
  6. Having read the manga, I can say Shuumatsu no Harem is no wish fulfilment of mine. XD
    The one person whose shoes I’d love to be in, ends up in a situation I hope never to get to. It’s also strangely easier to empathize with a Buddhist priest than Reito, and I don’t mean Genjo Sanzo by that.

    1. I was also going to comment on that wish fulfillment aspect of the Shuumatsu no Harem write-up being wrong, but then I remembered that school arc and the development of that other character.

      So, I believe there are merits to that description if the reviewer was simply looking at the key visual when writing that.

  7. – Optimistic Excitement: Dolls` Frontline.

    Oh, how i wished i could be optimistic. As a former player nothing would make me happier than having this on top 10 for this season, but as a manga reader that hope quickly dissapears.
    I don´t think it going to be bad (unless the animation goes to crap halfway), but it will just be average. Which is a shame ´cause using that old meme “Came for the waifus, stayed for the lore.”

  8. I don’t mean to be rude but I couldn’t help feel this weird sorta hypocrisy when it came to the BL anime. I’ve never heard any of these inhibitions from straight romance, harem or yuri titles?! As if animes like Citrus don’t also take place in a high-school with underage chars (dealing with a lot of non-consensual BS) but people only seem to notice when these problematic things happen to men… high school girls going through horrific attempted r*pe scenes in Sword Art Online, that’s fine, no fuss ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Tohru’s mom being groomed by her middle school teacher at her most vulnerable & becoming pregnant at the age of 16, that’s just badly timed love. But if a guy so much as has to suffer someone he doesn’t like throwing a disrespectful comment his way, DUDE THAT IS NOT OK!? Fujoshi’s are sick bro >.<

    FYI not saying, it's ok when it happens to guys but it's hypocritical to not call it out when it happens to girls, considering it's so much more rampant in other anime genres than it's BL counterpart. I could name so many main stream animes that make women go through so many toxic tropes like it's nothing… We have a 15 year old slave bride in Magus' Bride OR Haruhi getting a r*pe scare to learn gender roles in Ouran OR Misaki having to endure Usui's s*xual assault as he forces a hickey on her and then sl*t shames her for it so she won't wear what she wants to wear OR Haruhi groping Asahina in The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya … but no, that's just hilarious and/or endearing shenanigans done to women and/or by women. DO BETTER U SEXIST JERKS!!!

    Just Saying
    1. I used to think like you during my early twenties, and I had a terrible phase in my life where I shamed and beat myself up for enjoying certain kinds of work such as a student-teacher relationship, noncon, and so on and so forth. How could I? When I stood at the front of feminist movements and was the victim of sexual abuse during my childhood? Watching anime and reading manga became so hard, due to how problematic some of the content was, that I had to take a step back, because it wasn’t enjoyable for me anymore.

      Then I joined different fandoms, like the ASOIAF and Sherlock and came across this incredible essay by Anarfea: On the Subject of Noncon Fanworks: Thoughts of a Reader, Writer and Survivor. And although she speaks about fanworks and not actual published works, this applies to the same. I highly recommend that you read this essay, it helped me better articulate and express my thoughts and feelings when they were very nebulous and abstract.

      Not every work is for everyone, but I like to think fiction and fantasies are the space where people can explore not only what is deemed ‘acceptable’ and ‘healthy’, but also the darker and taboo topics of the human experience. So while I enjoy reading works that depict incest, dubious consent, noncon, rape, kidnaping, Stockholm syndrome and adults engaging in relationships with minors, this does not mean I condone these behaviors in real life–I think they should be prosecuted.

      Fiction should be a safe space for people to indulge, engage, experience, experiment, transform and even heal. I don’t think it’s healthy or productive for people to police each other on what they’re allowed to think and enjoy, and we know where that road leads… Some brains, like mine, find solace in darker works, in much shadier alleys then, like you cited, the relationship between a student and a teacher. Natsuki Takaya has achieved what very few female mangaka ever get to in their entire lifetimes and to condemn her because you cannot separate fiction from reality, is a huge disservice.

      We’re not talking about authors who have been exposed as being predators, this is a different matter altogether.

      And to quote Anarfea herself, because she said it so well:

      “The individuals who are most likely to be silenced by your efforts are the ones who want to produce and share this content in an ethical way, who are the likeliest to portray sexual trauma with sensitivity and respect, who are, in many cases, survivors themselves. The individuals who produce actually exploitative, illegal content will not be impacted at all.”

      Censorship and banishment of noncon and underage works does not impact predators at all, it only shames and hurts those who are seeking solace or trying to ethically consume what they agree should be persecuted in reality. Again, I stress: fiction is fantasy, not reality.

      Yes, Japan is a sexist country, everyone knows.

      You want to point out every problematic present in anime and manga? Be my guest, you’ll have a lot to talk about and analyze.

      You want to shame and ostracize the people who write and consume these works? Well, we’re going to have a conversation.

      A very healthy fujoshi.

      1. Gabe,

        No disrespect but I think you COMPLETELY missed my point: I didn’t say that fiction shouldn’t deal with s*xual taboos or problematic tropes nor did I say romanticizing them in age-appropriate rated stuff is good or bad (preferably I’d prefer the tropes to be used sparingly or condemned or nuanced when used) I was talking about how messed up it is that the anime communities only condemns these tropes in BL, when they are inflicted on male chars and NEVER in other genres when the same thing happens to females. The reviewers expressed his concern about anything s*xual happening between the two boys in that BL show because the boys are underaged but the same things happens in lot of school romance anime with underaged girls with guy or underaged girls with girls but no one seems to have this concern then. I also talked about problematic tropes people usually call out in BL but instead highlighted their use in mainstream anime like Ouran, SOA & Haruhi Suzumiya which are animes this site has reviewed and never once called out like for tropes which you can contrast in their BL reviews where they never fail to point them out. So MY POINT was to call out the overall attitude of the non-introspective larger anime community that jump on the bandwagon to condemn BL and it’s fans in a truly misguided moral high-ground and a total blind spot to the rest of the anime medium where the very same tropes are far more prominent!!!

        The community solely condemns BL for what they call “the staple” of the genre like romanticized harassment & abuse or coerced & underage relationships. These are overwhelmingly present in the majority of anime & manga depicting romance and especially, sex. If you do the math, you’ll find them more prevalent in magical girl & shojo than in PG to12+ BL; they also happen more in moe, eichi and josei than 13+ to R15 BL; and they are *MUCH MORE* prominent in ero(R17) to hentai than explicit BL. As a non-fan, I try to ignore it but I’m frankly sick of seeing people attacking BL fans for fetishizing oversexualized, problematic, same-sex portrayals but never hentai fans where 99% of titles have girl on girl (and sometimes intersex people?!) and consent is non-existent. if “yaoi” fans are called “rotten” for their slightly problematic genre then h*ntai fans should be referred to as “scum of the earth” considering their exceedingly problematic genre.

        So again, I am calling out the anime community’s sexist hypocrisy in this regard… not BL fans

        Just Saying
        1. @Just Saying is absolutely right!!!

          Yo reviewers, where was this concern about “consensual age” in portraying “high school and freshmen college students” engaging in s*xual scenes when you were reviewing animes like High School DXD or Kakumeiki Valvrave or Citrus or Fruits Basket or any of the multiple animes you reviewed which depict THAT VERY THING quite explicitly?!

          Jess Day
        2. Nope. I don’t think I did.

          Direct quote from you: Fujoshi’s are sick bro >.<

          Now there’s two possibilities that could’ve happened 1) you don’t actually know what fujoshi means–in that case I recommend you google that now 2) you meant exactly what you said.

          And further, after your second comment I can only emphasize and ask that you read my first comment again. Because I speak about all genres and demographics in that comment and not only BL. There’s nothing wrong if someone enjoys hentai works of noncon/rape/hate fuck. And there’s nothing wrong if someone writes them either. What vexes me is that people speak about these works as if these fictional characters are suffering, as if these things happened in real life. They didn’t, because they’re fiction.

          Another direct quote: “As a non-fan, I try to ignore it but I’m frankly sick of seeing people attacking BL fans for fetishizing oversexualized, problematic, same-sex portrayals but never hentai fans where 99% of titles have girl on girl (and sometimes intersex people?!) and consent is non-existent. if “yaoi” fans are called “rotten” for their slightly problematic genre then h*ntai fans should be referred to as “scum of the earth” considering their exceedingly problematic genre”.

          This is an implicit normative claim: “we have to attack hentai fans.”

          My issue is why are you so bent on attacking people’s tastes? What’s up with that condemnation? Of all demographics and genres. Why can’t we not attack people for enjoying their works of fictions? My answer to you is that none are condemned, neither BL fans (fujoshi) nor Hentai fans, or everyone else for that matter for consuming the fiction they want to consume.

          And frankly, statistically speaking you’re wrong, after the #metoo movement people have been a lot more vocal about problematic tropes towards women being present in works of fiction and have joined in cause to boycott said works. I know this, because like I said, I was heavily involved with feminists movements in my early twenties.

          Do you have a problem with darker tropes? It seems to me that regardless of genre and demographic, this is the real issue for you.

          And Jess Day: you do know that we’ve had an enormous number of bloggers writing reviews for this blog right? And that for each series is a different one and they all have different opinions, right? FJ (who wrote the preview for Sasaki to Miyano) for example, is a new writer, so he wasn’t even part of the crew for the anime you mention. And to those that did cover these anime, why must they be obliged to always include a thermometer of problematic tropes in their reviews? Have you ever thought that maybe, just maybe, people don’t care about it as much as you do, because these are works of fiction?

          Anime reviews are not court trials for pedophiles and sexual predators! I can recommend some youtube channels or nonfiction books if this is what you want to see.

          1. Gabe,

            I am now very certain you didn’t get my point… sure maybe I didn’t make it as clear and came off as aggressive like saying “DO BETTER YOU SEXIST JERKS!!!” but I assure you:

            1. I know what a fujoshi is – it quite literally translate to “rotten” girl as I mentioned in my previous comment and they have become the butt of the joke so much so that other animes include them as a cheap way to illicit a laugh at their expense. I hate the contempt anime fans have for them! My friend is a fudanshi and he’s bi so he doesn’t get it as rough but he can still tell you some stories … he also enjoys the ML genre (or B*ra but I don’t use that term as it’s derogatory in Japanese and most creators try to distance themselves from that label) which is in his words is like “gay male h*ntai” and is pretty much how “non-BL fans exaggeratingly describe BL to be” which he hates as well.

            2. Please read what I wrote again, I literally started my point with “I couldn’t help feel this weird sorta hypocrisy when it came to the BL anime. I’ve never heard any of these inhibitions from straight romance, harem or yuri titles?!” You quoted the one line where I referenced how anime fans react which is something I DON’T LIKE. I mockingly set out a scenario and talked about an anime fans typical reactions to them so I could point out the hypocrisy but maybe I was unclear… let me try again.

            Scenario: High school GIRLS going through horrific attempted r*pe scenes in Sword Art Online
            Anime Fan Reaction: That’s fine, no fuss ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

            Scenario: Tohru’s mom who is a GIRL being groomed by her middle school teacher at her most vulnerable & becoming pregnant at the age of 16
            Anime Fan Reaction: That’s just badly timed love. How romantic ♡

            Scenario: But a GUY so much as suffers an inappropriate comment made by someone he doesn’t like
            Anime Fan Reaction: DUDE THAT IS NOT OK!? Fujoshi’s are sick bro >.<

            You see how one reaction is very different from the other ones? How it seems that anime fans suddenly have a problem with certain situations BUT only when they happen to men?! I don’t know how to make this any clearer.

            3. I want to STRESS, I wasn’t telling people to attack h*ntai fans. I was using the h*ntai genre as a way to showcase this unjustifiable toxic fan behavior. Where people condemn the BL genre and attack their fans for problematic tropes with this complete blind spot for the same tropes happening in all the other genres which they themselves consume. I DON’T WANT PEOPLE TO ATTACK ANYONE!!! I’m just pointing out that I find it very strange when people call out BL’s “consent issues” and “fetishization” who themselves consume h*ntai; a genre where the majority of titles consists of underage school girls getting assaulted in the most innovative & cruel ways with completely random girl on girl action thrown in despite any plot or character reason. So please understand that I’m calling out the hypocrisy within this toxic fan behavior that goes out of its way to label BL fans with this derogatory terms and proceed to dismiss their whole genre. A genre which not only is less problematic but also offers girls this opportunity to be very creative without as many constraints while giving them a safe space to explore their s*xuality more openly.

            4. I have seen random curiosity guilty in quite a few instances as well. For example, a surprise ass grab is only called out in titles like Yuri on Ice but not Inuyasha or Seven deadly sins. Another examples, the stealing of a sleeping kiss is only inappropriate in titles like Sarazanmai but not Sailor Moon or Itazura Na Kiss. Yet another, an attempted r*pe scene is only unnecessary in titles like Love Stage but not Sword Art Online or Maid-Sama. If someone condemns one thing in one particular genre but not the same thing in all other genres, that is hypocrisy! Also when you realize that the only tell of whether that one thing is going to get condemned or ignored/praised is when that one thing is happening to men … is adding sexism to the hypocrisy!!!

            So I will say again, if you excuse or enjoy the romanticized abuse, oversexualization, or fetishized same-sex experiences of girls while simultaneously condemning the same for guys… you come out looking rather sexist & hypocritical.

            That is all I’m saying … nothing more 🙂

            Just Saying
    2. I can’t speak on behalf of the other reviewers on RC, but as a bi dude who has a good time with BL, I understand where you’re coming from, frustration-wise. 

      I think that society as a whole tends to be hyper-focused on how younger boys in the LGBT+ community feel about each other. While relationships between straight teens, even at its most toxic, are treated like a coming-of-age experience, relationships with gay teens call to question what they’re doing in the bedroom. 

      Being gay ends up being treated as an adults-only club, pushing gay teens into a bind where being open means being subjected to being treated like they are trying to immediately jump into sex. It’s the kind of stigma that also pushes gay teens into unsafe spaces where they get lumped in with gay adults who aren’t exactly concerned with studying for exams, preparing for the culture festival, or making it to prom. Whereas straight teens in relationships are able to go and be wherever they want to be without having to worry about scorn or skepticism about their feelings for each other. Straight teen couples aren’t exactly forced to avoid scrutiny by going on dates at bars or nightclubs.

      Societally, it makes too much sense why the first thought about a yaoi about a high school same-sex relationship is why minors are getting into a relationship, versus when a shojo focuses on an innocent girl getting with a bad boy. The benefit of the doubt given to straight teen couples to behave is rarely ever given to gay teen couples. You could have a Takagi-san clone with a guy in Takagi’s role, and the discussion will end up being about what will happen in their bedroom. That’s why it’s nice to see shows like Sasaki to Miyano where a same sex couple is treated with the same dignity as characters in Horimiya or Tsurezure Children.

      And that’s not even getting into how fans of BL ships of popular shows are treated like predators while fans of straight ships are treated with normalcy. As you were saying, the fact that yaoi, fujoshi, and fudanshi are disrespectful terms entirely labeling the genre as meaningless and its fans as “rotten” leak into how the anime fandom is quick to turn on anyone that likes LGBT+ anime/manga or “forces straight characters to be gay”.

      That being said, I tend to have a “take it or leave it” kind of approach because frankly, a majority of anime is pretty toxic. Stereotypical shojo and stereotypical BL aren’t too far off from one another since you’re often dealing with the normalization of having to submit to a toxic dominant partner. But just because they’re common tropes doesn’t mean that such broad genres like shojo or BL are worth being compared to their forefathers.

      I can only complain about it, groan, and move on to the next episode if I notice something cruddy, sexist, or homophobic/transphobic in an anime I follow. Unfortunately, some of my favorite anime this year are noticeably shitty towards transwomen and non-binary characters. I’ll point it out like I did with a few episodes of Jahy-sama or Persona 5, but I’ve also had to contend with people acting like I overreact. It’s rough being a fan of Najimi in Komi-san because they’re such a cool confident extroverted character that gets dumped on because the show wants to get its kicks making their gender identity a joke every so often.

      On my end, it’s mostly a case-by-case basis where I make my best judgment if a show is worth dogpiling on for toxicity or not. 2019 was a neat year because Sarazanmai and O Maidens in Your Savage Season had come out, and gave me the floor to talk about how, in spite of how the young characters act, they still seek out some kind of innocent relationships even with sexuality causing them to have rash, toxic ideas.

      I guess the TL;DR version of this would be that I can understand why it’s frustrating to see Sasaki to Miyano lumped in with the more stereotypical BL when romance or romcoms don’t get that level of scrutiny. At the same time, I’d be happy with holding a show accountable if it holds specific ideas/values that exist to punch down. I believe the latter point is what the preview was trying to go for, and hopefully, Sasaki to Miyano will be able to pave the way for more positive representations of coming-of-age stories for gay/bi guys. 

      It’s easy to grow weary of the kind of BL that gets anime adaptations because of how many are shojos with the women reskinned as men. But in recent years, it’s nice to see the tides turn to legitimize gay relationships beyond the reskinned shojo tropes. It’s not perfect, especially with many anime just catching up with the reductive depictions of gay couples in Hollywood productions where it’s either teased, on the DL, or ends in tragedy. But hopefully, shows like this will help to remove the assumption that all BL is horny fluff that isn’t actually geared towards gay/bi men.

      1. I totally get what you’re saying… as a l*sbian who primarily consumes yuri for romance, I also see this but much less because yuri is more digestible ‘for reasons’ and doesn’t have the undeserved reputation that BL has. Those tropes are just the staple of romance in asian media overall and not just in BL. In fact, yuri followed by BL actually exhibit them the least when you honestly compare them to their related straight romance titles by age-ratings, It’s unfortunate anime fans don’t see that tho…

        However I find the worst thing to be when male LGBT+ chars are not allowed to exist outside of the BL genre. The way everyone labeled Yuri on Ice as BL, despite its official tag being sport, was incredibly exclusionary. For example, If Ed in FMA was a girl instead of a guy (& Winry was a guy instead) and the story played out the same verbatim, no anime fans would label it shoujo instead of shounen all of a sudden. However, if Ed was queer (& Winry was his male love interest) and the story played out the same verbatim, I guarantee you anime fans would label it as BL instead of shounen and choose that to be the hill they die on. I thought titles like Yuri On Ice or Banana Fish might change things but I haven’t seen too much change I’m afraid (~_~;)

        Just Saying 2
        1. It is annoying how, as soon as there are two guys fall in love with each other, it ends up having people call into question if it’s BL or not. With Yuri On Ice and Banana Fish in particular, they end up having their main components as sports and crime drama removed from them in a flash because there’s always a huge spectacle about whether two guys kiss or not.

          Diving into fan communities for anime is pretty rough for any kind of mature discussion about LGBT identity is rough too. Doing the research on what Fantasy Bishoujo Juniku Ojisan to was frustrating because of how people are freaking out about the possibility of the main protagonists falling in love with each other if the salaryman who turned into a girl winds up together with their coworker.

          It gets even trickier with yuri because you have shows with girls affectionately bonding like Koisuru Asteroid that get the same “Is it yuri?” discussion. I think you have that similar kind of fervor where anime fans want every story to fit one bland niche, and if it happens to be geared towards LGBT+ relationships, that means it goes against everything they want from a show or genre. Once they get the yuri label thrown on them, then it also doesn’t get a fair shake from people who want to generalize about what they personally want out of a yuri show.

          I’ve been having better luck with video games where they’re a little more blunt and serious about same sex relationships even if they have to dance around it a bit. This past year, I’ve been playing 13 Sentinels and Tales of Zestiria and have had a good time with the little kernels of shipping they have with two of the male characters.

          I suppose a lot of the gratification from the small morsels you get from same sex relationships in anime ends up arriving in the form of queer-baiting. I have a hard time telling if I want to be disappointed because it’s such a half-measure to get the fans to do the work for them or satisfied because it lets me do the work to fill in the blanks and create my own interpretation.

    1. It’s the same as Bofuri and Netjuu no Susume. The premise is somewhat ambiguous, but I can confirm it follows the SAO style of isekai based around a video game world. Probably says something at this point when we’re bickering over what type of isekai it is rather than wondering if counts as an isekai in the first place XD

  9. Aside from ongoing (Ousama Ranking, Kimetsu no Yaiba) and sequals (Shingeki no Kyojin, Takagi-san, Vanitas no Karte), which are all great shows imo, the rest of the season seems very mediocre. Nonetheless going to check a couple that peaked my interest:

    Sono Bisque Doll wa Koi o Suru
    Sabukui Bisco
    Koroshi Ai

    Thanks for the preview! Looking forward to the best of 2021 post.

  10. Tensai Ouji no Akaji Kokka Saiseijutsu:

    another save Kingdom Anime, I am curious if this is going to be more Genjitsu Shugi Yuusha no Oukoku Saikenki or Maoyū: Maō Yūsha.

    Regardless it’s time to get ready for more Anime about how to improve living conditions and raise quality of life.

    …Ether I am getting too old or my tastes took a weird turn but Anime about building society, improving life for the residents of a nation, possible conquest are becoming rather appealing to me.

    There are a number of Slice-of-Life Anime that I am very interested in picking up.

    Princess Connect! Re:Dive Season 2

    I am impressed, I didn’t think this Title would get a second season. I liked S1 but I didn’t think it garner that much popularity that it would warrant a second cour.

  11. I fully expect Princess Connect to really contend for top show of the season here.

    First season was a great mix. The comedy and slapstick was really good, but it also threaded in the serious story elements. Pecorine’s whole story was powerful and honestly could argue she was the real protagonist of the season. Tastes will vary, but it is the show I’m most interested to see this winter.

  12. ‘Thermae Romae Novae’ is not included – the new, more faithful adaptation of Yamazaki Mari’s excellent historical manga. It will be released on Netflix next month (March 2022).

    This series will be a contender for one of the best series this season on the strength of the source material.

    I wanted to flag this up, to perhaps be included in this/another post here on RandomC so people don’t miss out on what could well be a hidden gem.


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