Winter is here again at last. From subzero days and snowy weather (or blazing summer heat for our southern brethren) to the realization that, oh yes, it’s also a leap year – don’t forget about that! – we also have that one seasonal constant: anime. New anime. And lots of anime at that. There’s quite a few hotly anticipated shows on the horizon, whether it be the fantasy/isekai manhwa adaptation for Ore dake Level Up na Ken, the thriller-esque high school shenanigans of Youkoso Jitsuryoku Shijou Shugi no Kyoushitsu e, or the new romance favourite in Boku no Kokoro no Yabai Yatsu. In the mood for sequels? Have at the return of Ao no Exorcist, the second go-around for Urusei Yatsura, school parody Mashle, or the venerable Kingdom now into its fifth season. Don’t think adaptations are lacking either, as between ingenious cooking adventure Dungeon Meshi, crazy villainess-OP machine fusion Akuyaku Reijou Level 99, shounen upstart Ishura, and the next great ecchi tempest in >Mato Seihei no Slave, you won’t be lacking for options. And hey, if all that still isn’t enough, there’s a few interesting anime originals courtesy of Bones’ Metallic Rouge, cute girl slice of life Pon to Michi, and Meiji era historical Meiji Gekken: 1874. Short days and cold weather may make winter suck something fierce, but anime is here to help keep our spirits high! This is Random Curiosity’s Winter 2024 preview!

 

Disclaimer: Considering how substantial a task the Random Curiosity season preview is, we’ve divided it up among our active staff (Choya, FJ Freeman, Gabie, Guardian Enzo, Pancakes, Princess Usagi, and Zephyr) in order to maintain the quality of this preview. We will point out what appeals to us in each series, in the hope it will help you determine if it coincides with your tastes. Our Excitement Levels likewise showcase our visceral gut reactions to what we expect each show to be, so remember to check out the Overall Impressions section at the bottom for a general idea of our seasonal thoughts and opinions.

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 shows being exclusively batch released through Netflix or similar streaming service (refer to the OVA section for mentions on these). Likewise, any shows which have been postponed or currently are not confirmed to premiere 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 sub/dub sources for each series. And if we happened to miss something major, don’t hesitate to poke us! 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.

Above all else, however, many thanks are deserving to you, 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, have the desire to donate to our Patreon and Kofi or simply just lurk the site on occasion, it’s your time, attention, and company which keep us going. Honestly without you we wouldn’t be here writing about anime, so here’s to another fun season of it for us to enjoy together!

Technical Note: The schedule below is ordered by the date and time that the shows premiere. The links 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 example, Friday morning at 1:30AM would become Thursday at 25:30 to indicate 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.

Saturday

Kekkon Yubiwa Monogatari
21:30 AT-X (01/06)

Yubisaki to Renren
22:30 TOKYO MX (01/06)

BUCCHIGIRI?!
23:00 TV Aichi (01/13)

MASHLE Kami Shinkakusha Kouho Senbatsu Shiken-hen
23:30 TOKYO MX (01/06)

Kingdom 5th Season
24:00 NHK (01/06)

Ore dake Level Up na Ken
24:00 CBC (01/06)

Ao no Exorcist Shimane Illuminati-hen
24:30 Tokai TV (01/06)

Boku no Kokoro no Yabai Yatsu 2nd Season
25:30 ABC (01/06)

Saikyou Tank no Meikyuu Kouryaku ~Tairyoku 9999 no Rare Skill-mochi Tank, Yuusha Party wo Tsuihou sareru~
26:00 ABC (01/06)

Isekai de Mofumofu Nadenade suru Tame ni Ganbattemasu. | 異世界でもふもふなでなでするためにがんばってます.
Fluffy Paradise: I’ll Try My Best So I Can Pet and Pat in Another World
Top
https://mohunadeanime.com/
Animation: EMT Squared Premiere: January 1st, 2024
Genre: Fantasy Airtime (GMT+9): Sundays at 22:00
Episodes: 12 Station: Abema
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @mohunade_anime

Preview by FJ Freeman

Editor’s Note: First episode premieres on Monday, January 1st. Following episodes air on Sundays.

Midori’s untimely demise at the age of 27 left her grappling with the cruel reality of an overworked existence. Just as despair began to creep in, a deity materialized, offering a peculiar proposition: a reincarnation into another realm in exchange for a verdict on humanity’s worthiness to persist there. The divine emissary sweetened the deal with a promised gift—a unique ability. Midori, exhausted from the harshness of her previous life, yearned for solace amidst the weariness. So, with an unexpected plea on her lips, she wished for a simple yet profound desire—to find solace in cuddling adorable, fluffy creatures.

And thus, rebirthed into a new existence as Nefertima, a young girl in this alternate world, Midori discovered a remarkable power. Her aura evoked adoration from every living being, excluding humans. Not just animals, but revered creatures like white tigers and majestic dragons, even monstrous entities such as goblins and frozen spiders—all found solace and fondness in her presence. Yet, amidst this enchanting ability lay a harsh destiny, a fate she couldn’t escape.

Determined to carve a harmonious existence amidst the diverse life forms of her new world, Nefertima pledged to embrace a life dedicated to the tender care and affectionate caresses of these endearing creatures.

Excitement Level: Average Watching This: No one yet
Isekai de Mofumofu Nadenade suru Tame ni Ganbattemasu. Promotional Videos ▼

Jaku-Chara Tomozaki-kun 2nd STAGE | 弱キャラ友崎くん 2nd STAGE
Bottom-tier Character Tomozaki 2nd STAGE
Top
http://tomozaki-koushiki.com/
Animation: Project No.9 Premiere: January 3rd, 2024
Genre: Romance, School-Life Airtime (GMT+9): Wednesdays at 21:00
Episodes: 12 Station: AT-X
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @tomozakikoshiki

Preview by Pancakes

High school isn’t everything the social outcast Tomozaki Fumiya (Satou Gen) thought it would be. Ostracized and sidelined, Fumiya gets by thanks to his incredible skills in the online game Attack Family where via his handle nanashi he dominates the Japanese server as its top player. The winner’s high is enough for Fumiya to believe it’s the way real life should be – until Hinami Aoi (Kanemoto Hisako) enters the picture. Book smart and wickedly popular to boot, Aoi also moonlights as NO NAME, Attack Family’s second ranking Japanese player, and the only one who Fumiya also happens to respect. To make matters worse Aoi, upon discovering nanashi’s real world identity, is so thoroughly disgusted with what her in-game rival turned out to be that she decides to take Fumiya on and teach him how to win outside the computer. Fumiya might’ve thought maintaining his leaderboard status was rough, but Aoi is about to give him a whole new challenge.

Jaku-Chara in hindsight is a romance series I wouldn’t have pegged as sequel material. Although following in the vein of Oregairu, AoButa, or ReLIFE where the emphasis is on life lessons and overcoming social stigma, in practice it played quite generically, with many of its lessons somewhat held back thanks to cookie cutter characters and the usual adaptation funding/pacing issues. It was nothing egregious mind you – the sense of optimism, positive feedback loop vis a vis Aoi with Fumiya, and continual development of Fumiya was fairly well handled – but the whole package had at times a hard time really rising above the crowd. The good news however is that all major cast and crew are carrying over and the first season has laid the foundations for more substantive romance, ensuring this one will be more of the first in a good way. Again, don’t expect any crazy improvements on the part of Jaku-Chara, but it’s worth a watch for any unfamiliar genre fan and will certainly do the trick for any new romance material desires.

Excitement Level: Optimistic Watching This: Pancakes
Jaku-Chara Tomozaki-kun 2nd STAGE Promotional Videos ▼

Youkoso Jitsuryoku Shijou Shugi no Kyoushitsu e 3rd Season | ようこそ実力至上主義の教室へ 3rd Season
Classroom of the Elite III
Top
http://you-zitsu.com/
Animation: Lerche Premiere: January 3rd, 2024
Genre: Psychological, School-Life Airtime (GMT+9): Wednesdays at 22:30
Episodes: 12 Station: AT-X
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @youkosozitsu

Preview by Pancakes

Adapted from the light novel of the same name, Youjitsu focuses on one Ayanokouji Kiyotaka (Chiba Shouya) after he decides to enroll in the prestigious Kodo Ikusei high school. While ostensibly the best, Kodo Ikusei is split into rigid social cliques where the smart, strong, and popular, courtesy of a points-based merit system get the finest treatment – and everyone else fights over the scraps. Kiyotaka finds himself assigned to Class D, the bottom of the pile, but rather than accept a school life of torment and suffering, he instead decides to fight back. Seeing potential in his fellow classmates, Kiyotaka alongside new ‘friends’ Horikita Suzune (Kitou Akari) and Kushida Kikyou (Kubo Yurika) set out to change Class D’s fortunes for the better. After all, if everything is decided on merit, what’s to stop them rising to the top?

Whatever one thinks of Japan’s love for crazy high school settings, there’s no denying Youjitsu ranks up there. Over its previous two seasons this one did quite well with its competitive, strategically minded plot, providing a good amount of pulpy suspense and interpersonal drama that helped raise it up among the competition. I wouldn’t say it’s particularly deep (the material is shallower than it would like you to think), but Youjitsu did more than enough to make up for any defects by ratcheting up both the risks and rewards for Class D. All major cast, crew, and studio in Lerche are carrying over for this third kick at the anime can – plus the story now arguably reaching the apex of its strength – so if you liked what came before or are wanting something a little more exhilarating in your winter watch list I firmly recommend keeping Youjitsu close at hand. One way or another this one won’t disappoint.

Excitement Level: Established Watching This: Pancakes
Youkoso Jitsuryoku Shijou Shugi no Kyoushitsu e 3rd Season Promotional Videos ▼

Ishura | 異修羅
Top
https://ishura-anime.com/
Animation: Passione Premiere: January 3rd, 2024
Genre: Action, Fantasy Airtime (GMT+9): Wednesdays at 23:00
Episodes: 12 Station: TOKYO MX
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @ishura_anime

Preview by Pancakes

Once the world was threatened by the great Demon King, a being of immense power and even wickeder designs. Yet overcome and defeated was the Demon King, brought down by a collection of demigods who now in the heady aftermath have laid claim to the world. Or that’s what the average person believes. In reality one hero was responsible for felling the Demon King, and everyone of power wants to know who. Thus the world’s strongest gather in the world’s largest city of Yellow Capital to determine who among their rank is the true saviour. A sound barrier breaking lancer; a rouge capable of wielding three legendary weapons; an instant death dealing assassin; a wizard capable of turning thoughts into reality: all seek the title of hero, and as all shall see, claiming it will be the greatest challenge of them all.

If there’s one thing to say about Ishura it’s that it will be entertaining one way or another. This one is effectively a battle shounen which decided to ramp up the suspense and chaos, throwing several dozen characters into a larger than life battle royale and seeing where the chips fall. Want action? There’s plenty of that. Need backstabbing and drama-infused machinations? You’re covered nicely. Need more Kaji Yuuki doing his duty as the shounen male lead? I thought you’d never ask. Main caveat is that this heralds from an ongoing light novel series with no guarantee of more than a single cour run – i.e. rushing, chopping, and anime original ending are serious risks – but given studio Passione’s current staff roster having decent experience with this type of story and the overall series focus on high octane action, I wouldn’t bet on too much going off track. Even for those not particularly inclined towards battle shounen I’d recommend keeping an eye on Ishura; not unlikely this one winds up surprising.

Excitement Level: Optimistic Watching This: Pancakes
Ishura Promotional Videos ▼

Mahou Shoujo ni Akogarete | 魔法少女にあこがれて
Gushing over Magical Girls
Top
https://mahoako-anime.com/
Animation: Asahi Production Premiere: January 3rd, 2024
Genre: Comedy, Fantasy Airtime (GMT+9): Wednesdays at 23:30
Episodes: 12 Station: AT-X
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @mahoako_anime

Preview by Pancakes

Everyone loves magical girls for their goodness, purity, and outright charm, yet not every magical girl is destined to fight evil. There’s always one who must serve as the baddie, the one whom must be defeated for that happy ending to materialize. A role Hiiragi Utena (Izumi Fuuka) winds up assuming. Fantasizing for years about becoming a magical girl, Utena gets her wish one day when the ubiquitous mascot turns up and tells her about her hidden powers, but not in the way she envisioned. Her power is of the evil sort and the local magical girl squad soon takes notice of their new enemy. Unfortunately for Utena too she quickly learns after testing her newfound abilities that she’s not as good-natured as she once thought. This girl you see likes being evil, and now she has the perfect role to act it.

Buckle up boys and girls, we got a fun one on our hands. Although debatable that magical girls are now a well-trodden concept as isekai is, Mahou Shoujo ni Akogarete does just enough to separate itself from the crowd. For starters it flips the script by focusing on the evil side of transformation sequences (it’s not a Madoka-esque deconstruction), and for follow up it leans hard into the ecchi side of affairs. Pretty much take Bouryaku no Zvezda or Koiseka, ratchet up the titillation and magical fluff, add in a hefty chunk of cute girls doing cute things comedy, and you’ve got yourself a show. Given the material the main concern will be censoring (which the PV naturally doesn’t indicate which direction), however provided this one leans more towards ecchi than hentai and at least keeps the pacing decent, I don’t foresee too many issues. Certainly won’t be a show for everyone, but Mahou Shoujo ni Akogarete will meet the needs for anyone desiring a bit of raucous winter ecchi fun.

Excitement Level: Average Watching This: Pancakes
Mahou Shoujo ni Akogarete Promotional Videos ▼

Mato Seihei no Slave | 魔都精兵のスレイブ
Chained Soldier
Top
https://mabotai.jp/
Animation: Seven Arcs Premiere: January 4th, 2024
Genre: Action, Supernatural 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 @mabotai_kohobu

Preview by Pancakes

In an alternate timeline Japan isn’t having an easy go of it. Beset by a mysterious dimension termed Mato containing a demonic realm, the country is continually ravaged by attacks from its so-called Shuuki denizens. Yet not all hope is lost. Thanks to the power of a Mato fruit, women are capable of wielding supernatural abilities which can defeat the Shuuki, enough so that Japanese society is radically altered with a matriarchal government and all-female Anti-Demon Corps taking control. It’s in this world that Wakura Yuuki (Hirose Yuuya) finds himself, a high schooler who one day inadvertently stumbles into a Mato rift only to get immediately rescued by local Anti-Demon Corps chief Uzen Kyouka (Kitou Akari). Normally that would be all there was to it, but Kyouka’s abilities are haphazard and Yuuki just so happened to unlock their full potential during his rescue. Thus Yuuki gets a proposition: join the Anti-Demon Corps as Kyouka’s slave to better fight the Shuuki. It’s a request he won’t be able to refuse.

To pre-empt the inevitable questions yes, Mato Seihei no Slave is an ecchi harem series, and oh yes, it makes no attempts at hiding it. This one is effectively a reverse clone of say High School DvD or Black Bullet, where the claim to fame is the sadistic female lead, the requirement for lascivious acts to unlock power ups, and the fact it comes from the mind of Akame ga Kill’s creator Takahiro – i.e. over the top chaos and shenanigans will be the modus operandi. The foundation already ensures some serious audience filtering (seriously: this one is very ecchi), but considering the respectable Seven Arcs is animating alongside the venerable – and very experienced – Nishimura Junji on director duty, any fan of traditional harem hijinks would do well to keep Mato Seihei no Slave on their winter watch list. Given just how few of this type of show we get these days, there’s no better reason to give it a shot.

Excitement Level: Average Watching This: Pancakes
Mato Seihei no Slave Promotional Videos ▼

Dungeon Meshi | ダンジョン飯
Delicious in Dungeon
Top
https://delicious-in-dungeon.com/
Animation: Trigger Premiere: January 4th, 2024
Genre: Fantasy Airtime (GMT+9): Thursdays at 23:30
Episodes: Two cours Station: BS11
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @dun_meshi_anime

Preview by Enzo

The most inexplicable thing about the Dungeon Meshi adaptation is how long it took to arrive. The manga is a big seller and a critical smash (it was nominated for the Manga Taishou four straight years starting in 2016). Folks including me have been predicting this for literally several years, but for whatever reason the stars never aligned until now.

Given that Trigger animated a promo for the manga a couple years ago (which just stoked the rumor mill that much more), it can come as a surprise to no on that they’re the studio behind the anime. I’ve warmed to Trigger some as they’re diversified beyond Imaishi Hiroyuki’s predictable style, though absent the CM they wouldn’t have been the first to come to my mind for Dungeon Meshi. That said, the previews look solid and director Miyajima Yoshihiro comes out of Amemiya Akira’s Gridman-Dynazenon wing of the studio (easily my favorite face of Trigger).

Dungeon Meshi is a clever twist on the RPG fantasy trope, following a party of adventurers as they traverse a massive dungeon full of monsters of all shapes and sizes, elves, orcs, and other races which will be very familiar to fans of D&D or Lord of the Rings. All of the heroes’ party are wonderfully quirky, most prominent to the story being protagonist Laios’ obsession with tasting monster meat in as many forms as possible. I love all these goofs but the halfling Chilchcuk is my favorite (he’s one of manga’s all-time great snark masters).

It’s been a growing trend in anime these last couple of years for manga to get adaptations after they finish, and that’s the case here (it just ended) – maybe that’s what the production committee was waiting for. It seems likely we’re going to get a full adaptation – I mean, anything else would be pretty pointless – but with no episode count yet, the possibility of rushed pacing can’t be ruled out. The manga is 12 volumes and two cours would be a serious crunch – hopefully the franchise is a big enough seller to get it the three it needs (like Sengoku Youko).

Excitement Level: High Watching This: Choya, Guardian Enzo, Pancakes, Princess Usagi
Dungeon Meshi Promotional Videos ▼

Sokushi Cheat ga Saikyou Sugite, Isekai no Yatsura ga Marude Aite ni Naranaindesu ga. | 即死チートが最強すぎて, 異世界のやつらがまるで相手にならないんですが.
My Instant Death Ability Is So Overpowered, No One in This Other World Stands a Chance Against Me!
Top
https://sokushicheat-pr.com/
Animation: Okuruto Noboru Premiere: January 4th, 2024
Genre: Fantasy Airtime (GMT+9): Thursdays at 24:30
Episodes: 12 Station: TOKYO MX
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @sokushicheat_pr

Preview by Pancakes

School trips are supposed to be trivial affairs, but Takatou Yogiri (Uchiyama Kouki) gets the worst of all worlds during his latest. Waking up to sheer panic and terror, Yogiri finds out his entire class was transported to another world, and worst off for him, was granted special powers while he snoozed the time away. Not helping either are how several friends wound up abandoning his group all for the sake of distracting a nearby dragon who happens to be quite ravenous. Yet Yogiri still isn’t plussed by all that chaos. You see Yogiri has the secret ability to instant kill anything and anyone with a single thought – he just has to stay awake long enough to consciously use it.

As far as derivative isekai goes Sokushi Cheat ga Saikyou Sugite isn’t that bad an affair. This one is basically a less overtly edgy Arifureta with even more ridiculous power, where Yogiri simply kills whenever his life and peace of mind are threatened. Villains? Heroes? The average village citizen? All mowed down if they so much as get on the MC’s bad side, just in a black comedy fashion more than a serious take on overpowered teenage angst. And I’m not kidding on the comedy – Yogiri winds up killing thousands over the course of the story for fairly innocuous (and arguably dumb) reasons. In short definitely expect this one to be hit or miss depending on personal taste, but considering both cast and crew are fairly solid with over six years worth of source material to work with, Sokushi Cheat ga Saikyou Sugite will certainly do the trick for some winter isekai popcorn entertainment shenanigans.

Excitement Level: Average Watching This: Pancakes
Sokushi Cheat ga Saikyou Sugite, Isekai no Yatsura ga Marude Aite ni Naranaindesu ga. Promotional Videos ▼

Sasaki to Pii-chan | 佐々木とピーちゃん
Sasaki and Peeps
Top
https://sasapi-anime.com/
Animation: Silver Link Premiere: January 5th, 2024
Genre: Comedy, Slice-of-Life Airtime (GMT+9): Fridays at 21:00
Episodes: 12 Station: AT-X
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @sasaki_pichan

Preview by Choya

Sasaki (Sugita Tomokazu) can’t help but feel like a cog in the machine by the end of an exhausting workday. As he searches for companionship to cope with the empty, droll corporate life, he makes a stop at the pet shop to purchase a new life partner. He may have settled on an adorable tiny bird he calls Pii-chan (Yuuki Aoi), but when he brings his new roommate home, Pii-chan has quite the surprise for him. As it turns out, his new bird is a sage from another world who is quick to imbue Sasaki with supernatural powers and a gateway between worlds. Of course, these gifts don’t come for free as his seemingly cool new life is fraught with oddballs and adversaries who will prove to be more than a headache for Sasaki and Peeps.

Sasaki to Pii-chan rips a page from many wonderful isekai comedies by bringing a salaryman into another world. But whereas others have mostly banished these poor workers into a world of chaotic, bloodthirsty foes, Sasaki has the good fortune of Pii-chan’s sage wisdom and the ability to travel from place to place at will. This means that rather than being chained to another world and making sense of it, Sasaki has to look inward and make sense of his powers and abilities as Pii-chan’s presence attracts some scary enemies and eccentric allies. At the same time, Pii-chan must adjust to the many foibles of life in contemporary Japan as they learn about the struggles that Sasaki endures regularly. Either way, Sasaki and Pii-chan are both in for quite a roundabout adventure when it is summoned this January.

Excitement Level: Average Watching This: Choya
Sasaki to Pii-chan Promotional Videos ▼

Momochi-san Chi no Ayakashi Ouji | 百千さん家のあやかし王子
The Demon Prince of Momochi House
Top
https://www.momochisan-anime.com
Animation: Drive Premiere: January 5th, 2024
Genre: Romance, Supernatural 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 @momochi_anime

Preview by Pancakes

Sweet sixteen birthdays usually mean a new car or expensive jewelry, but in Momochi Himari’s (Kawaida Natsumi) case it’s inheriting the deed to the Momochi House mansion. It’s the only thing left of value left for the Momochi family so Himari naturally accepts, even in the face of rumours that the place is haunted. And haunted it is. Himari’s first visit to the place reveals the presence of Nanamori Aoi (Ootsuka Takeo), a squatter who Himari quickly learns is actually the guardian of Momochi House, a position originally meant for Himari. Even more concerning, Himari discovers that the mansion sits in the space between the worlds of men and spirits and that Aoi, as part of his duties protecting against youkai invaders, is no longer considered “living” and is permanently bound to reside within Momochi House. Not one to resist helping, Himari thus decides: she will help free Aoi from his curse, no matter what she has to do.

Supernatural premise and cutesy, romance-tinged atmosphere: I think we all know where this one is going. To Momochi-san’s credit however that’s not a negative; this one is basically Kamisama Hajimemashita in reverse, where Himari is trying to rescue Aoi versus the latter’s Nanami trying to assist Tomoe. Oh and the focus is very much on Aoi coming to help and care for Himari. A lot. In short this one leans quite hard into the shoujo romance side of things so anyone expecting a more conventional supernatural show will likely want to stay clear, but provided you like the fluffier side of youkai shenanigans you certainly won’t do wrong giving Momochi-san a shot. After all, it’s not that often we get romance adaptations such as this.

Excitement Level: Average Watching This: No one yet
Momochi-san Chi no Ayakashi Ouji Promotional Videos ▼

Chiyu Mahou no Machigatta Tsukaikata: Senjou wo Kakeru Kaifuku Youin | 治癒魔法の間違った使い方
The Wrong Way to Use Healing Magic
Top
https://chiyumahou-anime.com/
Animation: Shin-Ei AnimationStudio Add Premiere: January 5th, 2024
Genre: Fantasy Airtime (GMT+9): Fridays at 24:30
Episodes: 12 Station: TOKYO MX
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @chiyumahou_PR

Preview by Pancakes

The isekai phenomenon never discriminates. Old, young, famous, recluse: whatever the origins once fantasyland wants you it most definitely gets you as Usato Ken (Sakata Shougo) discovers. Embracing all the stereotypical normal high schooler traits, Ken’s claim to fame is befriending the incredibly popular student council president and vice-president – and summarily getting summoned to another world alongside them. Such a summoning sucks for the kid, and while Ken is resigned to living out his days with swords and magic, he soon discovers he has an affinity for healing magic, a very rare and very powerful magic variety. It’s enough to restore some of Ken’s self-confidence…and to also attract a lot of attention. As Ken is about to find out, being popular isn’t always as great as it seems.

Before anyone gets the bright idea no, Chiyu Mahou is definitely not another Kaiyari. Outside of meek MC getting equipped with healing magic there’s not a lot of similarities, with this one taking the more conventional harem adventure route than pure edgy revenge porn. Or if you will, thoroughly vanilla with not much of the real bean. To Chiyu Mahou’s credit however it’s nothing particularly bad: Ken isn’t a total pushover like a lot of the usual isekai MCs, the harem isn’t particularly large or overbearing, and the power levels of all involved are just enough to keep things interesting without veering into boredom. Plus one can never go wrong with the increasingly reliable Shin Ei Animation pulling animation duty. In short don’t expect this one to change any minds regarding isekai, but it will easily do the trick for anyone needing another alternate world helping to ring in the new year.

Excitement Level: Average Watching This: No one yet
Chiyu Mahou no Machigatta Tsukaikata: Senjou wo Kakeru Kaifuku Youin Promotional Videos ▼

Pon no Michi | ぽんのみち
The Way of Pon
Top
https://ponnomichi-pr.com/
Animation: OLM Premiere: January 5th, 2024
Genre: Slice-of-Life Airtime (GMT+9): Fridays at 25:53
Episodes: 13 Station: MBS/TBS
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @ponnomichi_pr

Preview by Choya

Times are tough for high-schooler Nashiko Jippensha (Maeda Kaori) when she’s kicked out of her house. With nowhere else to hang out in Onomichi City, Hiroshima, she discovers a vacant mahjong parlor that her father used to run. With a renewed sense of focus, Nashiko renovated the parlor as a fun hangout pad where she could invite her friends for some food, tea, and games. But since this was a mahjong parlor, mahjong’s the name of the game as Nashiko and her friends get invested in the game and play each other for fun and glory. Kick up your feet and relax as Nashiko’s crew gets invested in the game of mahjong in Pon no Michi.

Hobbyist anime are always a delight to see, and having a slice-of-life designed around mahjong sounds like it’d be a fun way to learn more about the game. On top of this, it might also be a nice opportunity to learn more about Onomichi City considering that it’s been the backdrop and inspiration for stories such as Kamichu!, Tokyo Story, Blue Drop, and Yakuza 6: The Song of Life. It may be a slice-of-life that aims to be a fun diversion from the day, but I’d be interested in seeing if Pon no Michi winds up being a good time when it moves some tiles this winter.

Excitement Level: Average Watching This: Choya
Pon no Michi Promotional Videos ▼

Kekkon Yubiwa Monogatari | 結婚指輪物語
Tales of Wedding Rings
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https://talesofweddingrings-anime.jp/
Animation: Staple Entertainment Premiere: January 6th, 2024
Genre: Fantasy, Romance Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays at 21:30
Episodes: 12 Station: AT-X
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @weddingringsPR

Preview by Pancakes

In another time definitely not our own, Satou Haruto (Satou Gen) has won the teenage jackpot. Completely head over heels for his childhood friend (and neighbour) Hime (Kitou Akari), the kid has agonized for years about how best to confess to her, especially when Hime herself hasn’t made the process easy. And now, to Haruto’s lament, Hime is moving back to her ancestral home. Unlike other dweeby protagonists however, Haruto decides to do something about it. Following Hime after she leaves, Haruto gets the double whammy of both learning the girl is from an alternate world, and – most importantly – inadvertently crashing her wedding. All is good though; Hime was happy enough to instead take Haruto as her husband then and there and seal it with a kiss. Sure, the whole affair might come with a requirement to save the world from the Abyssal King, but right now all Haruto cares about is building up the relationship he’s always dreamed of.

Whatever one can say of isekai there’s no denying its wellspring of twists has yet to run dry. At a glance Kekkon Yubiwa Monogatari broadly follows the strategy of say Tsukimichi, where reverse isekai gets paired with an overarching theme (in this case romance) to yield a story just different enough to set it apart from the crowd. I wouldn’t go as far as saying it’s enough to be a true genre trendsetter – this one plays out exactly like boilerplate anime romance where Haruto takes his sweet time moving between bases – but anyone needing some isekai spice and fantasy flavoured plot to the usual (melo)drama shenanigans will be right at home here. Kekkon Yubiwa Monogatari certainly won’t be a show for everyone, but romance fans will likely want to give it a bit of attention once it crosses worlds this winter season.

Excitement Level: Average Watching This: No one yet
Kekkon Yubiwa Monogatari Promotional Videos ▼

Yubisaki to Renren | ゆびさきと恋々
A Sign of Affection
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https://yubisaki-pr.com/
Animation: Ajia-dou Premiere: January 6th, 2024
Genre: Romance Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays at 22:30
Episodes: 13 Station: TOKYO MX
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @yubisaki_pr

Preview by Pancakes

Life has been unfair for Itose Yuki (Morohoshi Sumire). Severely hearing impaired, the university student hasn’t moved once from her birth home and, in part from her impairment, rarely interacts with anyone except her best friend Fujishiro Rin (Hondo Kaede). All that changes one day however when commuting as Yuki comes into contact with Nagi Itsuomi (Miyazaki Yuu). A mutual friend of Rin’s and multilingual to boot, Itsuomi isn’t put back by Yuki’s troubles, instead finding them fascinating and touching. While both wind up inevitably parting ways, it doesn’t take long before, thanks to Rin, they have the chance to meet again and start learning more about each other. For Rin especially, it’ll be the start of a whole new life.

To pre-empt the inevitable comparisons, yes, Yubisaki to Renren is effectively an “adult” version of Koe no Katachi, and yes, it’s very much romance focused and critically acclaimed – but outside of that the similarities largely end. This one is a more lighthearted take, where deafness, while the defining facet of Yuki’s life, isn’t tackled to the same blunt degree as in Koe no Katachi. Make no mistake, there will be drama – and plenty of it – but more of the traditional romance variety, especially as it comes to both Yuki and Itsuomi stumbling across misunderstandings and working through them both together and with friends. As far as production goes Aija-do isn’t a bad choice given their previous work, and with a good cast to flesh out the ranks means there’s every potential of getting a solid adaptation. First few episodes will tell the tale, but without a doubt Yubisaki to Renren should be front and centre this season for any self-styled romance fan.

Excitement Level: High Watching This: Guardian Enzo, Pancakes, Princess Usagi
Yubisaki to Renren Promotional Videos ▼

MASHLE Kami Shinkakusha Kouho Senbatsu Shiken-hen | マッシュル (2024)
MASHLE: MAGIC AND MUSCLES – The Divine Visionary Candidate Exam Arc
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https://mashle.pw/
Animation: A-1 Pictures Premiere: January 6th, 2024
Genre: Action, Fantasy Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays at 23:30
Episodes: 12 Station: TOKYO MX
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @mashle_official

Preview by Choya

In the magical world of MASHLE, a mark indicates if you have the powers to be a magician, and if you don’t, a swift execution awaits. Mash Burnedead (Kobayashi Chiaki) is one of the few ordinary people to survive through a combination of his father’s protection and an elaborate civilian disguise. But his cozy life of solitude comes to an end when a trip to grab creampuffs exposes him to brutal government mages sent to murder him. Little do they know that Mash has dedicated his life to bulking up, working out, getting stronger, and harnessing his superhuman strength. With no magical abilities whatsoever, Mash’s strength strikes fear into the hearts of his foes as they are unprepared for the beating of a lifetime from someone with no magic. However, he attracts the attention of authorities who force him to become a Divine Visionary, someone who has exceeded magic to such an extent that no one would possibly discriminate against him or execute him. With this new goal in mind, Mash aims to protect his family, enroll in a wizard school, and take on their most elite wizards to surpass them and gain acceptance in society through sheer will and brawn.

MASHLE is a show you’ll either love or hate depending on how much comedy you want with your action. It’s a shonen that isn’t afraid to give you a few goofs and gaffs to go with your magical fights, but this can be some wonderful comfort food for many. As the second cour, MASHLE looks like it will be building on the momentum that it’s created so far as Mash becomes better acquainted with his friend circle, and learns more about who his rivals may be. If the first season gave you some good chuckles and kept you on the edge of your seat, then you’re in for quite the treat as sweet as a creampuff when it arrives this winter.

Excitement Level: Optimistic Watching This: No one yet
MASHLE Kami Shinkakusha Kouho Senbatsu Shiken-hen Promotional Videos ▼

Kingdom 5th Season | キングダム (2024)
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https://kingdom-anime.com/
Animation: Studio Pierrot, Studio Signpost Premiere: January 6th, 2024
Genre: Historical Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays at 24:00
Episodes: 13 Station: NHK
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @kingdom_animePR

Preview by Enzo

Surely there’s not all that much that need be said about Kingdom at this point. The Tezuka Grand Prize-winning manga is a colossus, its 70 volumes having surpassed 100 million copies sold (and that was a while ago) – which puts it in the all-time sales top 20. This is the fifth season for the anime, so if you’re watching at this point it seems very likely you’ve been on-board for a while.

Yasuhira Hara’s sprawling epic of the Chinese Warring States Period always delivers in terms of plot, usually in terms of character, and sometimes in terms of visuals. It’s a classic Pierrot adaptation in that it faithfully captures the tenor of the source material but rarely impresses with its production values. Still, it’s easy to forget just how grisly things were in the first cour of the first season, and we’ve come a long way from there. For a long time now the animation and art has been the epitome of “good enough” – and with a source material this strong, that’s all it needs to be.

Excitement Level: Established Watching This: Guardian Enzo
Kingdom 5th Season Promotional Videos ▼

Ore dake Level Up na Ken | 俺だけレベルアップな件
Solo Leveling
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https://sololeveling-anime.net/
Animation: A-1 Pictures Premiere: January 6th, 2024
Genre: Action, Fantasy Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays at 24:00
Episodes: 12 Station: CBC
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @sololeveling_pr

Preview by FJ Freeman

Can you tell I’m very excited?! Because I’m very excited! To tell you the truth I have read the source manhwa from start to finish (but not the light novel). The manhwa captured me with its art and unique take on the isekai genre if you could even call it that – Ore dake Level Up na Ken is I think more easily describable as isekai urban fantasy. This new take on the genre has been filling up web novels and webcomics with new authors trying out their hand in this exciting new venture. My favorite probably being Reincarnated as an Energy with a System. Although not quite similar, RES provides an interesting take on a reincarnated protagonist in a noncorporeal way! Makes for an interesting read.

Nevertheless, Ore dake Level Up na Ken is more on the line of an urban fantasy because characters live in the real world, and the fantasy comes to them instead of them going to the fantasy. With gates opening up around the city, guilds have formed around exploring said gates. And a bureaucratic system has been established around power and scaling systems. Our main character goes against all of that with his own level-up system. That comes with unique and interesting caveats.

During the manwha he goes from nothing to being so OP it’s mesmerizing, so hopefully A-1 Pictures can capitalize on this and bring a new and interesting anime to a genre that is frankly stale and starting to warm out its welcome. Might we see a new renaissance of anime that follows a similar premise? Only time will tell. For now, the premise of Ore dake Level Up na Ken seems promising. And at least my expectations are high with this one. It’s without a doubt the one to watch this season in my opinion.

Excitement Level: High Watching This: FJ Freeman, Pancakes
Ore dake Level Up na Ken Promotional Videos ▼

Ao no Exorcist Shimane Illuminati-hen | 青の祓魔師 島根啓明結社篇
Blue Exorcist -Shimane Illuminati Saga-
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https://www.ao-ex.com/
Animation: Studio VOLN Premiere: January 6th, 2024
Genre: Action, Supernatural Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays at 24:30
Episodes: 12 Station: Tokai TV
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @aoex_anime

Preview by FJ Freeman

A mysterious organization a return of a beloved series and a brand new studio to take the helm. What consists of season three of Ao no Exorcist features a unique premise! This time around the gang will have to uncover a mysterious organization that wants to destroy them. In an effort not to have manga spoilers let’s take a step back and remember what the universe of Ao no Exorcist consists of.

The narrative orbits around Rin Okumura, raised alongside his younger twin Yukio Okumura by father Shiro Fujimoto, a revered Exorcist. Fate takes a seismic turn when Rin discovers their lineage — sons of Satan. Tragedy strikes as Rin witnesses Shiro’s sacrifice to protect him, prompting Rin to unsheathe Kurikara, a demonic blade that suppresses his infernal abilities. Instantly, Rin transforms, sprouting demonic traits and wielding the power to unleash azure flames, obliterating all in their wake.

Driven by a fervent desire to follow in his guardian’s footsteps and confront Satan, Rin aspires to become an Exorcist. He enrolls at True Cross Academy, a prestigious exorcist institution, the Japanese arm of the True Cross Order, an international organization safeguarding Assiah from Gehenna’s dark influence. Unexpectedly, Rin discovers that Yukio, his brother, is already an accomplished Exorcist and even serves as one of his instructors. Thus unfolds Rin’s odyssey into Exorcism, navigating alongside his brother and newfound comrades, bound by a shared journey toward mastering their craft. Let’s just say it’s bound to be an interesting sequel and I’m eagerly awaiting seeing what’s in store!

Excitement Level: Optimistic Watching This: FJ Freeman
Ao no Exorcist Shimane Illuminati-hen Promotional Videos ▼

Boku no Kokoro no Yabai Yatsu 2nd Season | 僕の心のヤバイやつ (2024)
The Dangers in My Heart Season 2
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https://bokuyaba-anime.com/
Animation: Shin-Ei Animation Premiere: January 6th, 2024
Genre: Comedy, Romance Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays at 25:30
Episodes: 12 Station: ABC
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @bokuyaba_anime

Preview by Princess Usagi

Ichikawa Kyoutarou (Horie Shun) has a not-so-secret dark side- a fascination with murder and blood. Socially awkward, the brutal world of middle school presents all sorts of minefields for his neurotic mind. Until one day, he meets the biggest minefield of all- his classmate Yamada Anna Youmiya Hina, the gorgeous, popular model who has a penchant for sweets. Their outlook on themselves and each other slowly changes as their worlds collide. Could it be that Kyou has a (not-so) secret soft side?

Many of us have been there (I certainly have)- the awkward kid trying to navigate the challenges of social life, all the while overthinking everything. One reason why I love this series is that Kyoutarou channels that, in such an authentic way- but not only that, you can see him grow beyond that. The mangaka, Sakurai Norio, is genius and speaks to the heart, something which the expert director, Akagi Hiroaki, really hit home in the first season. Not only that, but the soundtrack, seiyuu, and Shin-Ei Animation staff really poured their heart into the production, which sets me with high hopes going into this second inning. If you haven’t already seen Boku Yaba, I can’t recommend it highly enough (there’s still time before season two!).

Excitement Level: High Watching This: Guardian Enzo, Pancakes, Princess Usagi
Boku no Kokoro no Yabai Yatsu 2nd Season Promotional Videos ▼

Saikyou Tank no Meikyuu Kouryaku ~Tairyoku 9999 no Rare Skill-mochi Tank, Yuusha Party wo Tsuihou sareru~ | 最強タンクの迷宮攻略 ~体力9999のレアスキル持ちタンク, 勇者パーティーを追放される~
The Strongest Tank’s Labyrinth Raids -A Tank with a Rare 9999 Resistance Skill Got Kicked from the Hero’s Party-
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https://saikyo-tank.com/
Animation: Studio Polon Premiere: January 6th, 2024
Genre: Fantasy 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 @saikyo_tank

Preview by Pancakes

As a world renowned tank, Rud (Kasama Jun) is the star of the Hero’s party. No matter the adventure, no matter the raid, the guy can be counted on to aggro the critters, keep the party safe, and ensure there’s a hefty reward at the end of the struggle. At least until the hero kicks Rud from the party as the scapegoat for a raid gone bad. Dejected, Rud returns home to join back up with his sister, but along the way happens across a girl who thanks to her “Appraisal” skill tells him something quite shocking. It seems Rud’s talents aren’t just in defense alone – he comes equipped with some pretty significant and powerful abilities to boot. Is it enough to return Rud back to the adventurer life? One way or another he’s about to find out.

Ah hero party reject and defense-focused character, where have we seen these concepts before? Alright, tongue in cheek disparaging aside, it’s hard denying Saikyou Tank no Meikyuu Kouryaku is about as generic a fantasy as they come. This one is very much in the “episodic” adventure format, where Rud gets a few friends, goes dungeon spelunking, happens across a bad guy or three, and makes it home in time for supper. While there’s some differences around the edges (Rud is basically doing everything he does for the sake of his sister), in reality it’s pure window dressing in the end and if you’ve seen any similar series before you can quickly what will be on tap here. Don’t expect any surprise dark horses here, but should Saikyou Tank no Meikyuu Kouryaku make the most of its (still ongoing) source material, it’ll certainly be one for fantasy fans to at least keep an eye on this winter season.

Excitement Level: Average Watching This: No one yet
Saikyou Tank no Meikyuu Kouryaku ~Tairyoku 9999 no Rare Skill-mochi Tank, Yuusha Party wo Tsuihou sareru~ Promotional Videos ▼

Shin no Nakama ja Nai to Yuusha no Party wo Oidasareta node, Henkyou de Slow Life suru Koto ni Shimashita 2nd | 真の仲間じゃないと勇者のパーティーを追い出されたので, 辺境でスローライフすることにしました 2nd
Banished from the Hero’s Party, I Decided to Live a Quiet Life in the Countryside 2nd Season
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https://shinnonakama.com/
Animation: Studio Flad Premiere: January 7th, 2024
Genre: Fantasy, Slice-of-Life Airtime (GMT+9): Sundays at 22:30
Episodes: 12 Station: AT-X
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @shinnonakama_tv

Preview by Choya

As the title suggests, the story focuses on Gideon (Suzuki Ryouta), an adventurer who is shunned from his party after a devious, jealous, and perverse mage kicked him out of the party under everyone else’s jurisdiction. While his sister is furious and aims to seek him out, he moves to the peaceful town of Zoltan to fulfill his ultimate dream of a calm life as a pharmacist at his apothecary under the alias Red. His long-time friend Rit (Takao Kanon) gives up her princess title to join him as romance sparks between the two of them throughout the first season. But just as things seem to calm down, Red’s past catches up with him as his old party members arrive to throw a wrench in his peaceful retirement plans. This next season will show us the aftermath of this struggle as Red and Rit may finally be able to live out their lives without any more magical problems to deal with.

I don’t ordinarily play the “This got a S2, but not No Game No Life!?” game, but I’m popping my controller in for this one. Shin no Nakama ja Nai to Yuusha no Party wo Oidasareta node, Henkyou de Slow Life suru Koto ni Shimashita was a show that overstayed its welcome once it started trying to incorporate action into the show. The scenes where Red interacts with the town, helping them solve local issues, and offering herbal remedies to people in need were what made the show worthwhile. But the show also had a sense of anxiety over not throwing magic, swords, and fights in your face, so they made sure his old party was going to raise havoc and become the catalyst for many of the anime’s fights. The mage being the main villain was hard to appreciate, especially considering that a show like this doesn’t need to have superpowered villains and society-destroying threats. Hopefully, the second season will tap more into the slice-of-life elements of Red’s apothecary when it aims to heal this upcoming season.

Excitement Level: Average Watching This: Choya, Pancakes
Shin no Nakama ja Nai to Yuusha no Party wo Oidasareta node, Henkyou de Slow Life suru Koto ni Shimashita 2nd Promotional Videos ▼

Loop 7-kaime no Akuyaku Reijou wa, Moto Tekikoku de Jiyuu Kimama na Hanayome Seikatsu wo Mankitsu suru | ループ7回目の悪役令嬢は, 元敵国で自由気ままな花嫁生活を満喫する
7th Time Loop: The Villainess Enjoys a Carefree Life Married to Her Worst Enemy!
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https://7th-timeloop.com/
Animation: Hornets, Studio Kai Premiere: January 7th, 2024
Genre: Fantasy Airtime (GMT+9): Sundays at 23:00
Episodes: 12 Station: AT-X
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @7th_timeloop

Preview by Pancakes

Many associate reincarnation stories as one and done (or twice if being adventurous), but Rishie Imgard Wertsner (Hasegawa Ikumi) is now on round seven. Yes, seven. Previous lives were spent being a merchant and selling various goods to serving as a knight with a taste for swordplay, however what Rishie really wants now is to settle down and enjoy the good life for, well, once in her lives. There’s just one nagging detail stopping that dream in its tracks. For Rishie to sit back and relax, she must first marry the local prince Arnold Hein (Shimazaki Nobunaga), but said prince also happens to be her murderer from a previous life. Can Rishie overcome the impossible and make her latest life a breeze? One way or another she is about to find out.

I have to admit I got a great chuckle when digging into Loop 7-kaime, and not because it’s a less “evil” twist on the current reincarnated/isekai’d villainess premise that’s all the rage. This one really goes all in on its reincarnation trappings, giving Rishie a ridiculous amount of experience, placing her in the ubiquitous otome setup, and seeing just how well the girl sinks or swims once the pedal hits the metal. While there should be no delusions about this one being anything outside of derivative (it is technically an otome romance under the hood), with a strong cast and romance experienced crew headed by Koiseka’s Iwata Kazuya in the director’s chair, I dare say it stands a good chance at being a fun bit of derivation. After all, stranger series have wound up being major season surprises.

Excitement Level: Limited Watching This: No one yet
Loop 7-kaime no Akuyaku Reijou wa, Moto Tekikoku de Jiyuu Kimama na Hanayome Seikatsu wo Mankitsu suru Promotional Videos ▼

HIGH CARD Season 2 | ハイカード (2024)
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https://highcard-anime.jp/
Animation: TMS Entertainment Premiere: January 8th, 2024
Genre: Mystery, Thriller Airtime (GMT+9): Mondays at 20:00
Episodes: 12 Station: AT-X
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @highcard_pj

Preview by Princess Usagi

In the Kingdom of Fourland, playing your cards right really can be a matter of life or death, with playing cards that bestow special abilities on the players. Pinochle, a group of car salespeople by day and High Card agents by night, are tasked with gathering all the cards from the four corners of the kingdom- not as easy as it sounds when you’ve got the Klondike mafia on your tail. Finn (Satou Gen), an orphan looking to save his former orphanage, stumbles onto this mad, dangerous world by chance and is soon drawn into High Card’s mission.

With anime series that start out as anime originals, they can be hit or miss. I felt like the writing team as well as the director (Wada Junichi) did a fairly good job of keeping the story going through the first season. While it was not a masterpiece by any means, I enjoyed the whacky concept of playing card super powers and the nods to British themed espionage were fun. It looks like the second season will be digging deeper into the plot at large and scratching away at some of they mysteries surrounding Finn, which hopefully will prove as entertaining as the first.

Excitement Level: Average Watching This: No one yet
HIGH CARD Season 2 Promotional Videos ▼

Nozomanu Fushi no Boukensha | 望まぬ不死の冒険者
The Unwanted Undead Adventurer
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https://www.nozomanufushi-anime.jp/
Animation: Connect Premiere: January 8th, 2024
Genre: Fantasy Airtime (GMT+9): Mondays at 21:00
Episodes: 12 Station: AT-X
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @nozomanufushiPR

Preview by Pancakes

For over a decade Rentt Faina (Suzuki Ryouta) has been literally hacking away at monsters. His dream is to be a great adventurer, but skill holds him back to such a degree that he’s left cleaning up the dredges of local slimes and goblins. Until he stumbles across a heretofore undiscovered path in the Labyrinth of the Moon’s Reflection. There Rentt comes across a legendary dragon, a beast which wastes little time in consuming him whole. Rather than die however, Rentt comes to, albeit not entirely as human. Reduced to a living skeleton, Rentt retains a measure of life, and with it a newfound goal. If he can be transformed into a pile of bones there’s a way to reverse it, and one way or another the aspiring adventurer will figure out how.

Anime, fantasy, and skeletons: at this stage there’s no more well-known combination. While easy to pin Nozomanu Fushi no Boukensha as yet another Overlord or Gaikotsu Kishi-sama (because skeletons), in truth this one plays out more like Saihate no Paladin where the emphasis is on expository atmosphere and slow development. Or in other words Rentt investigates, heavily muses to himself, and shares on adventures with numerous individuals coming and going. Similar to Paladin the setup here invites strong risk of monologues and infodumps overshadowing any true positive aspects, but provided this adaptation can temper such excesses and play to its strengths there’s a very good shot at getting a solid fantasy piece. I wouldn’t anticipate Nozomanu Fushi no Boukensha setting any records, but this one will definitely be up the alley of anyone needing some new fantasy material to ring in the new year.

Excitement Level: Average Watching This: Pancakes
Nozomanu Fushi no Boukensha Promotional Videos ▼

Tsuki ga Michibiku Isekai Douchuu 2nd Season | 月が導く異世界道中 第二幕
TSUKIMICHI -Moonlit Fantasy- Season 2
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https://tsukimichi.com/
Animation: J.C.Staff Premiere: January 8th, 2024
Genre: Fantasy Airtime (GMT+9): Mondays at 23:00
Episodes: 12 Station: TOKYO MX
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @tsukimichi_PR

Preview by Pancakes

The saviour; the chosen one; the hero: whatever title is assigned to the person selected for the most sacred of duties, it’s a title born from necessary and time-honoured circumstance. When the hero is found they are provided with every assistance, all required material and personnel, and more cheers and prayers than the local monarchy could ever see. Unless you happen to be Misumi Makoto (Hanae Natsuki). Like every other ordinary high schooler, Makoto never envisioned being summoned to an alternate world, but he was, and circumstance identified him as this world’s hero – until his looks threw a wrench into matters. Deemed abhorrent by the world’s goddess, Makoto was stripped of title, banished to the wilderness, and left to die. Perish he would’ve too, if not for his immense powers he acquired in the process. Overpowered and alone, Makoto has no idea what he’ll do now, but keeping on living seems to be a pretty reasonable goal.

As far as isekai go you can certainly do worse than Tsukimichi. Although ostensibly paint by numbers and thoroughly generic (not to mention cutting a few corners source material wise), the series’ emphasis on slapstick comedy and playing to the same self-aware parody themes as Konosuba enthusiastically did helped keep it a pretty entertaining ride back in 2021 – and that’s no small accolade considering what most mid-tier isekai is like these days. Make no mistake, anyone already exhausted by the concept and the usual OP truck-kun induced meme machine antics is unlikely to flip opinions here, but with J.C Staff once again at the animation helm alongside all major staff and with a story ready to spread its figurative wings, anyone who enjoys some alternate world shenanigans will be right at home with this sequel. Considering just how broad the isekai genre is these days, it’s all the reason any fan needs to keep an eye on Tsukimichi’s second outing this winter season.

Excitement Level: Average Watching This: Pancakes
Tsuki ga Michibiku Isekai Douchuu 2nd Season Promotional Videos ▼

Hime-sama “Goumon” no Jikan desu | 姫様”拷問”の時間です
‘Tis Time for “Torture,” Princess
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https://himesama-goumon.com/
Animation: Pine Jam Premiere: January 8th, 2024
Genre: Comedy Airtime (GMT+9): Mondays at 24:00
Episodes: TBD Station: TOKYO MX
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @himesama_goumon

Preview by Choya

The Imperial Army is embroiled in warfare with the Hellhorde when the Imperial Princess (Shiraishi Haruka) is taken captive along with her talking holy sword, Ex. Since this is a fantasy world where people take treaties seriously, regular torture is prohibited between the two parties. However, this doesn’t exclude unusual forms of torture that don’t harm prisoners. As such, the grand inquisitor has come up with a laundry list of torture tactics to make the princess talk. These come in the form of antagonizing her over things she could potentially enjoy if she answered their questions. These include contemporary foods and snacks, video games, and bubble wrap! Will the princess be able to endure this cruel, unusual form of torture? Will the Demon Lord even pay attention when the princess gives more vital information than the small tidbits she prefers to dole out? Find out in this agonizingly hilarious comedy.

From Senyuu mangaka Robinson Haruhara is a new fantasy comedy focused on an imprisoned princess enduring goofier, more wholesome methods of torture. Maoujou de Oyasumi had a similar premise, but rather than focusing on the princess’ many exploits throughout the castle to gather extra furnishings for her cell, this anime deals with how the princess’ captivity is affected by the oddball methods of torture that are given to her. Sounds like it could be relatively light-hearted, though torture is kind of a weird subject to make light of. Of course, it’s cutesy, more generous stuff like withholding a bowl of tasty ramen until the princess speaks up, so maybe they’ll manage to make it not have such an uncomfortable aura around it. Nevertheless, it should be interesting to see if Hime-sama “Goumon” no Jikan desu brings out the laughs this winter.

Excitement Level: Average Watching This: No one yet
Hime-sama Goumon no Jikan desu Promotional Videos ▼

SYNDUALITY Noir Cour 2 | SYNDUALITY Noir 第2クール
Top
https://synduality-noir.com/
Animation: 8bit Premiere: January 8th, 2024
Genre: Sci-fi Airtime (GMT+9): Mondays at 24:00
Episodes: 12 Station: TV Aichi
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @SYN_noir

Preview by FJ Freeman

In the wake of the cataclysmic Tears of the New Moon, an unfathomable disaster that unleashed the deadly Blueshist rain upon humanity, over a century has elapsed. Slowly but resolutely, mankind has forged a path of recovery from the ruins left by this calamity. Amidst the scarred landscapes of the world, humanity seeks solace within scattered Nest”settlements. These resilient havens house both tenacious survivors and enigmatic humanoid entities known as Megas, each imbued with a dual-thinking AI. The year is now 2242 AD, and the dormant Megas, bereft of their memories, suddenly stir from their slumber…

Venturing forth from the depths where refuge was sought following the devastating Tears of the New Moon, humanity grapples with rebuilding their existence. The once-subterranean city-state of Amasia met its collapse, compelling survivors to reclaim the surface, harboring aspirations for a renewed life above ground. Across these scattered settlements, christened as Nests, intrepid adventurers known as Drifters engage in an unceasing battle against the lingering threats posed by the formidable Enders. Their pursuit extends to the excavation of vital AO Crystals, indispensable energy resources vital for sustaining the Nests’ operations. In the bustling Nest of “Rock Town,” where the paths of Drifters converge, a young aspirant named “Kanata” embarks on exploratory forays. Accompanied by the seasoned Drifter Tokio, an expedition into the remnants of an ancient museum unfolds a startling discovery—an ethereally slumbering being known as Magus.

As fate’s threads entwine upon the chance encounter with the enigmatic Noir, the tale of destinies intertwined and secrets yet untold begins to unravel, setting forth a narrative that bridges past and present, unveiling the mysteries that bind the world of humans and AI.

Excitement Level: Average Watching This: No one yet
SYNDUALITY Noir Cour 2 Promotional Videos ▼

Dosanko Gal wa Namara Menkoi | 道産子ギャルはなまらめんこい
Hokkaido Gals Are Super Adorable!
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https://dosankogal-pr.com/
Animation: Blade, Silver Link Premiere: January 8th, 2024
Genre: Romance, Slice-of-Life Airtime (GMT+9): Mondays at 24:30
Episodes: 12 Station: TV Tokyo
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @dosankogal_pr

Preview by Choya

Kitami City is the snowy commercial hub of Hokkaido, known for its abundance in white pea beans, onions, and fresh scallops. High school boy Tsubasa Shiki (Shimazaki Nobunaga) hadn’t expected his move from Tokyo to Kitami to be as eventful until he had a fateful encounter with his classmate Minami Fuyuki (Sakura Ayane). The first detail that Tsubasa notices about Minami immediately is that she is engrossed in gal fashion. Despite the cold weather and rural spaces, Minami makes her gal appearance work, which draws Tsubasa even closer to her. Minami endears to Tsubasa quickly and aims to take the new city boy under her wing as she integrates him into her friend group. With Tsubasa getting more involved in the hidden pocket of gal culture within the wintery countryside, things are starting to look far different than they did back in Tokyo.

A friend I have has been following this one for a while and was ecstatic to hear about the upcoming anime. They loved how the romance developed in the manga as it plays with the differences between Minami and Tsubasa’s personalities. The former is a charismatic girl who adopts the gal fashion of the city yet loves the cold Hokkaido air, and the latter is a city boy who might not handle the cold well but has a warm heart, an open mind, and a brutally honest disposition. Their differences not only attract each other to one another but also open up Tsubasa’s inner circle as all of Minami’s friends wish to hang out with him now that she’s helped build a bridge towards her friend group. With all of the spellbinding drama that happens amid their blossoming relationship, it’ll be exhilarating to see how Dosanko Gal wa Namara Menkoi fares when it revels in the winter snow.

Excitement Level: Average Watching This: Choya, Pancakes
Dosanko Gal wa Namara Menkoi Promotional Videos ▼

Oroka na Tenshi wa Akuma to Odoru | 愚かな天使は悪魔と踊る
The Foolish Angel Dances with the Devil
Top
https://kanaten-anime.com/
Animation: Children`s Playground Entertainment Premiere: January 8th, 2024
Genre: Comedy, Romance Airtime (GMT+9): Mondays at 25:30
Episodes: 12 Station: TV Osaka
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @kanaten_PR

Preview by Pancakes

It’s not easy being part of demonkind, particularly if you’re one Akutsu Masatora (Uchida Yuuma). Sent to Earth to track down candidates to aid Hell in its fight against Heaven and its angels, Masatora decided to infiltrate a high school and assess its local student population. It doesn’t take Masatora long to find a suitable candidate either. Assigned a seat next to Amane Lily (Sakura Ayane), a recent transfer student, Masatora is quickly taken in by her beauty and charm and decides to recruit her to his cause. There’s just one minor catch. Lily you see happens to be doing something similar to Masatora, except for the opposing side, and has also managed to make Masatora an unwitting accomplice in her schemes. Normally it would be enough for the demon to break contact and start again, but once you’ve developed feelings, well, the choices become difficult.

Oh boy do we have a fun one here. At a glance you can think of Oroka na Tenshi as Masamune-kun if it decided to emulate Gabriel Dropout: both Masatora and Lily have ulterior motives, both soon discover what the other is after, and both are left trying to stick to their goals while coming to terms with teenage feelings and more personal desires. The parts I read were an absolute riot, particularly when it comes to Lily who fully embraces her inner sadistic brat and lets it run wild. Oh and also Masatora in part simply because he’s not a complete pushover. Mostly. While Oroka na Tenshi will likely turn off some given it’s a more ecchi flavoured version of the usual romcom shenanigans, if you like your romance funny or simply wanted a few additional laughs this season, you definitely want to keep this one on your winter radar.

Excitement Level: Average Watching This: Pancakes
Oroka na Tenshi wa Akuma to Odoru Promotional Videos ▼

Kyuujitsu no Warumono-san | 休日のわるものさん
Mr. Villain’s Day Off
Top
https://www.vap.co.jp/warumonosan-anime/
Animation: Shin-Ei Animation, SynergySP Premiere: January 8th, 2024
Genre: Action, Comedy Airtime (GMT+9): Mondays at 26:00
Episodes: 12 Station: TV Osaka
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @warumono_anime

Preview by Choya

The General (Asanuma Shintarou) is the head of an evil organization tasked with wiping out humanity and taking over the world. His goals make him the prime target of Earth’s mightiest defense force, The Rangers. But there’s one thing about the General that makes him a little different than other villains; he keeps work at work! On his day off, not even the Rangers can get in the way of his beauty rest. When the General is off the clock, he’d rather try new ice cream flavors, visit his beloved pandas at the zoo, and enjoy a bevy of secret hobbies. Will someone catch him in the act? Will these hobbies soften his view on humanity? Find out what happens when a bad guy has a nice day in Kyuujitsu no Warumono-san.

This one has a very cute premise since there aren’t many anime where they soften a tokusatsu villain for slice-of-life situations. Rather than replicating the many shows about demon lords settling on earth, this one leans on Super Sentai tropes where a ragtag group of rangers seeks out a malicious overlord hellbent on world domination. But the twist has a fun, cozy feel to it as it leans on the wholesome nature of how the General’s cold disposition thaws the moment he has a chance to take time off from being Earth’s archnemesis. It’ll be neat to see if it scratches that itch for comfort anime when it takes some time off for the winter season.

Excitement Level: Average Watching This: Choya
Kyuujitsu no Warumono-san Promotional Videos ▼

Akuyaku Reijou Level 99: Watashi wa Ura-Boss desu ga Maou dewa Arimasen | 悪役令嬢レベル99 ~私は裏ボスですが魔王ではありません~
Villainess Level 99: I May Be the Hidden Boss but I’m Not the Demon Lord
Top
https://akuyakulv99-anime.com/
Animation: Jumondou Premiere: Janaury 9th, 2024
Genre: Fantasy Airtime (GMT+9): Tuesdays at 23:30
Episodes: 12 Station: AT-X
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @akuyakuLV99

Preview by Pancakes

As far as Yumiella Dolkness (Fairouz Ai) is concerned life sucks. A count’s daughter, Yumiella is loathed for her stunning black hair, a feature yielding far more antagonism than deserved, and a feature also covering up an interesting fact: Yumiella is actually a villainess from a well-to-do otome RPG, and just happens to be the reincarnation of an incredibly introverted Japanese college student. Recalling memories of per past life at the age of five, Yumiella sets out to avoid her destined fate and live a life of peace and quiet, but quickly runs into trouble upon entering the regional magic academy when her power level is revealed to be through the roof. Enough so in fact that some, including the supposed game heroine, believe her to be the Demon Lord. Can a quiet introvert truly get lasting peace? Yumiella is about to find out.

To get the obvious out the way yes, Akuyaku Reijou Level 99 is yet another reincarnated villainess series and yes, it’s not going to be breaking any new ground. The main driver in this one is the mashup of setting and premise: Yumiella isn’t just a reincarnated otome villainess in the Bakarina vein, she’s also embraced her inner harem lead by going full OP machine. It’s enough to keep things relatively fresh, particularly given how introverted Yumiella is (the comedic situations write themselves), however anyone expecting any serious depth or complexity best check those expectations at the door; cookie cutter is the name of the game here. Don’t expect this to be a show for everyone, but provided Akuyaku Reijou Level 99 can keep the usual adaptation hacking and slashing under control, any fantasy fan in need of some simple laidback fun would do well to keep this one close at hand come winter’s start.

Excitement Level: Average Watching This: Pancakes
Akuyaku Reijou Level 99: Watashi wa Ura-Boss desu ga Maou dewa Arimasen Promotional Videos ▼

SHAMAN KING FLOWERS
Top
https://shamanking-project.com/
Animation: Bridge Premiere: January 9th, 2024
Genre: Action Airtime (GMT+9): Tuesdays at 24:00
Episodes: TBD (multi-cour likely) Station: TV Aichi
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @SHAMANKING_PR

Preview by FJ Freeman

Step back into the mesmerizing world of SHAMAN KING with an electrifying new sequel that sets the stage for Hana Asakura’s gripping journey! As the son of the legendary Yoh and Anna Asakura, one might assume Hana’s life is a whirlwind of excitement and adventure. However, the reality proves starkly different. In the shadow of his illustrious lineage, Hana finds himself mired in the monotony of everyday life, yearning for a taste of something more. His days echo with an insatiable thirst for exhilaration, an itch he fervently seeks to scratch amidst the ennui.

But fate has its own plans for Hana. Just as he craves excitement, an unexpected turn of events thrusts him into the heart of an intense conflict—right within the confines of his own family circle. The serene facade shatters as the clash for Asakura supremacy emerges, a battle that brings unexpected challenges and unravels long-held truths. For Hana, this tumultuous confrontation marks not just a trial of strength but a test of his resolve and identity in a world steeped in spiritual prowess.

Amidst the clash of ideologies and aspirations, Hana Asakura is poised at the center, grappling with the weight of legacy and expectation. As he navigates the complexities of his lineage and the brewing turmoil within his family, he’s faced with choices that could redefine the very fabric of his existence. The journey that unfolds promises not only intense conflicts but also moments of self-discovery and revelation that may reshape the Asakura legacy forever. Get ready to embark on an epic odyssey alongside Hana Asakura as he navigates the trials of heritage, courage, and the untold secrets within the Asakura dynasty!

Excitement Level: Established Watching This: No one yet
SHAMAN KING FLOWERS Promotional Videos ▼

Gekai Elise | 外科医エリーゼ
Doctor Elise
Top
https://surgeon-elise.com/
Animation: Maho Film Premiere: January 10th, 2024
Genre: Fantasy Airtime (GMT+9): Wednesdays at 21:30
Episodes: 12 Station: AT-X
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @surgeon_elise

Preview by Pancakes

Dr. Song Jihyun (Ishikawa Yui), the youngest and most brilliant professor at Korea’s College of Medicine, has a secret: she’s actually the reincarnation of a bratty princess named Elise de Clorance who met a rather tragic end. That conclusion led Elise-cum-Jihyun to turn to saving lives, something which her remarkable career as a surgeon has helped enable. Yet such circumstances aren’t without shocks or surprises as Jihyun winds up discovering following a fatal oceanic plane crash. Coming to in the body – and world – of Elise, the girl finds out she’s back in her first life several years before her fated demise, only now with atoned personality and all the knowledge of modern medicine at her fingertips. Not even Elise can say if her recent “real-world” experiences will help overcome the future challenges awaiting her original self, but she’s going to stop at nothing to ensure she doesn’t fail.

If there’s one thing to say about Gekai Elise it’s that it will check off all the boxes for any shoujo – particularly female shoujo – fan. The reincarnation/isekai premise is basically a foundation for pure romance here, as Elise at heart is a young beauty with wicked smarts who must resort to love and romance fuelled shenanigans to find the path which doesn’t see her ignomiously offed. Although this one tends more towards Mary Sue territory than thematically similar works like Sugar Apple Fairy Tale (Elise in particular has a drama-mitigated solution for everything coming her way), it doesn’t lean all too hard into such aspects, leaving a story that while imperfect (from the bits I read) at least lives up to expectations. In short don’t anticipate Gekai Elise to make any serious waves this season, but one need look no further than this to scratch any otome romance itch.

Excitement Level: Limited Watching This: No one yet
Gekai Elise Promotional Videos ▼

30-sai made Doutei da to Mahou Tsukai ni Narerurashii | 30歳まで童貞だと魔法使いになれるらしい
Cherry Magic! Thirty Years of Virginity Can Make You a Wizard?!
Top
https://cherimaho-anime.com/
Animation: Satelight Premiere: January 10th, 2023
Genre: Comedy, Romance Airtime (GMT+9): Wednesdays at 24:00
Episodes: 12 Station: TV Tokyo
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @cherimahoanime

Preview by Choya

There’s an old saying that claims that you will become a wizard if you haven’t lost your virginity by 30. In this particular story, office worker Kiyoshi Adachi (Kobayashi Chiaki) finds out the hard way that this saying is very much true. Upon celebrating his 30th birthday, he inexplicably gained the magical power of reading minds through physical contact. Although his new abilities force him to be proactive about crowded spaces, he can’t help himself when he passes by his attractive coworker Yuuichi Kurosawa (Suzuki Ryouta). As it turns out, Kurosawa has romantic fantasies and raging desires for a mystery coworker. Sounds spicy, but what makes it even spicier is that this mystery colleague is none other than Adachi himself. When Adachi pieces it all together, he finds his thoughts even more scrambled whenever Kurosawa enters the room. With the Spark Notes on Kurosawa’s desires in hand, how will Adachi navigate around his workplace relationship with the man who hungers for him?

BL anime has been in a tricky spot in the 2020s. More often than not, you’ll have to choose between tragedies you could recommend to your straight friends, modest fluff that your straight friends will say is the gold standard for all BL, or smuttier shows that were cheaply slapped together. In the instance of 30-sai made Doutei da to Mahou Tsukai ni Narerurashii, there is much to be excited about. For instance, the tongue-in-cheek kind of humor you’d expect from straight ecchi anime shines through in this show as Adachi navigates around both his wizarding powers and Kurosawa’s thoughts. At the same time, there is a sense of sentimentality the show has about Adachi’s virginal status as he tries to learn about both love and himself for the first time. The anime is also in good hands because you could point to any name among the staff of AnoHana and find someone who has been involved in some of the wildest stories aired on TV or screened in theaters. Hopefully, 30-sai made Doutei da to Mahou Tsukai ni Narerurashii proves to be a worthy watch when it becomes a wizard this January.

Excitement Level: Niche Watching This: Choya
30-sai made Doutei da to Mahou Tsukai ni Narerurashii Promotional Videos ▼

Sengoku Youko | 戦国妖狐
Warring States Youko
Top
https://sengoku-youko.com/
Animation: White Fox Premiere: January 10th, 2024
Genre: Comedy, Fantasy Airtime (GMT+9): Wednesdays at 24:00
Episodes: 37 Station: TOKYO MX
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @sengoku_youko

Preview by Enzo

Anime has been very unkind to legendary mangaka Mizukami Satoshi. And to all his fans. For almost two decades it ignored him altogether, apart from a flirtation with a Gainax adaptation of Hoshi no Samidare (that would have had a Pillows soundtrack and likely been beyond epic, but collapsed when the Pillows’ label refused to allow their music to be licensed). He got a one-cour original series in Planet With, but his manga remained unadapted until last year’s Naz hatchet job on Samidare – without a doubt one of the worst manga adaptations ever made (never mind of a great series).

Now, as 2024 dawns, fans of the Water God dare hope that our long drought may finally be coming to an end. This adaptation of Sengoku Youko from White Fox has a staff that could be described as solid more than exceptional, and the previews don’t look exactly lavish. But they look just fine, and that – along with solid – would elevate Sengoku Youko galaxies above what Biscuit Hammer was. This is such a great source material that even a workmanlike adaptation should be enough to lock down a top ten spot for any year, and slake the parched throats of Mizukami’s fans.

Sengoku Youko, like most of Mizukami’s works, is a fantasy-driven adventure that swings between rousing action, heartbreak, and hilarious comedy. I don’t consider it the equal of Spirit Circle but that’s about as high a bar as you can get – it’s a great manga. It’s set (unsurprisingly) during Japan’ Warring States era, in a world where powerful youkai called katawara and fearsome warrior monks who exterminate them roam the land. The protagonists are a mix of the two (I’ll just leave that there), and a uniformly interesting and endearing bunch of goofs. Nobody writes characters like that quite like Mizukami does.

The casting looks good, the adaptation is getting a theoretically sufficient 37 episodes (veteran writer Hanada Jukki refused to adapt it unless it got three cours) and all signs point to this being the series that finally breaks the Mizukami-anime curse. But his fans have too much scar tissue to take anything for granted.

Excitement Level: High Watching This: Guardian Enzo, Pancakes, Princess Usagi
Sengoku Youko Promotional Videos ▼

Metallic Rouge | メタリックルージュ
Top
https://metallicrouge.jp/
Animation: Bones Premiere: January 10th, 2024
Genre: Sci-fi Airtime (GMT+9): Wednesdays at 24:55
Episodes: 12 Station: Fuji TV
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @MetallicRouge

Preview by Choya

Although humans and androids coexist in peace, there’s a team of androids known as the Immortal Nine that are deemed to be threats to the government. Rouge (Miyamoto Yume), an android agent, is tasked with assassinating these artificial humans alongside her partner Naomi (Kurosawa Tomoyo). They are sent to Mars for the mission, but things might be a lot more difficult than they seem. For instance, androids can blend in easily with the general populace, so when they aren’t in their mech forms, they can linger in the shadows easily. Another factor to complicates the mission is exactly why the government deems them as hostile. Could it muddy the waters of their mission if there is an ulterior motive for eliminating the Immortal Nine?

The hi-tech noir aspects of the anime should be exciting to dive into, though the meatiest part of Metallic Rouge is its background. The original anime was produced as part of Studio BONES’ 25th anniversary, and a number of their highly prolific staff members are taking part in the celebration. Hori Motonobu of Carole & Tuesday and Super Crooks fame will be helming the show and bringing his polished, stylish flair to the anime. The most exciting news is that RahXephon’s very own Izubuchi Yutaka will be handling chief directing and series composition, bringing some of BONES’ sci-fi pedigree to the project. Other notable staff members will be on board with one of the cooler additions being character designs from the studio’s co-founder and the face of 90s anime Kawamoto Toshihiro. Needless to say that Metallic Rouge should be hotly anticipated as a showcase to the studio’s top talent when it lands on the surface of the winter season.

Excitement Level: Optimistic Watching This: Choya, Pancakes
Metallic Rouge Promotional Videos ▼

Gekkan Mousou Kagaku | 月刊モー想科学
Delusional Monthly Magazine
Top
https://moh-scientific-anime.com/
Animation: OLM Premiere: January 11th, 2024
Genre: Comedy, Slice-of-Life Airtime (GMT+9): Thursdays at 23:30
Episodes: 12 Station: TOKYO MX
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @MOH_scientific

Preview by Choya

At Most City, there’s a small publishing house that produces Delusional Monthly Magazine, a monthly publication that features articles about bizarre phenomena in the scientific sphere. Although most scientists quake at some of the outlandish findings that not even they could make sense of, their staff, comprised of editor-in-chief Tarou (Ishii Takahide), his assistant Jirou (Yamamoto Kazutomi), and a dog named Saburou, are capable of keeping it going. But one day, scientist Gorou Satou (Toki Shunichi) meets with them at a cafe to discuss a brand new story of his own. What comes of that meeting will change their fates forever as they come across strange foes and even stranger powers that turn them into beastmen! Perhaps the most outlandish part of this story is the friend they made along the way.

Sometimes, you need something a little silly to make sense of the madness in this world. So when I took a glimpse at the trailer for this show, I was cackling throughout it based on how ridiculous it all looked. The main litmus test as to whether you’ll like this will largely hinge on whether you can tolerate the campy atmosphere to look at cute guys for 24+ minutes. There isn’t much about the anime that makes it look like a grander experience than it looks, but if the story leans into the outlandish nature of its premise, then it should at least provide a safe, comfortable space to shut off your thinking cap and go along with the ride. Look forward to Gekkan Mousou Kagaku when it arrives this winter.

Excitement Level: Average Watching This: No one yet
Gekkan Mousou Kagaku Promotional Videos ▼

Yuuki Bakuhatsu Bang Bravern | 勇気爆発バーンブレイバーン
Brave Bang Bravern!
Top
https://bangbravern.com/
Animation: Cygames Pictures Premiere: January 11th, 2024
Genre: Action, Sci-fi Airtime (GMT+9): Thursdays at 23:56
Episodes: 12 Station: MBS/TBS
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @bangbravern

Preview by Choya

In the distant future, troops across the world have converged on Oahu, Hawaii, including Japan’s Isami Ao (Suzuki Ryouta) and the USA’s Lewis Smith (Azakami Youhei). As the two cross paths during battle, their armies are attacked by an unknown enemy that causes them to diverge from their friends and allies. Using humanoid armored weapons known as Titatonostrider or TS, they must gather up the strength, courage, and pride to survive and find their missing friends.

Although plot details are a bit scarce, one reason to have faith in this project is director Oobari Masami’s involvement. With his work on Gravion, Battle Arena Toshinden, Fatal Fury: The Motion Picture, and several niche mecha and high-profile hentai from the 90s and early 2000s, he’s one of the most fascinating directors I’ve come across in my previews. It’s the kind of sleazy filmography that reminds me of the conventions I used to go to where vendors would sell old bootlegs of Z-movies, ecchi, tokusatsu, and mecha OVAs like the ones Oobari has worked on. He’s also done plenty of contemporary Gundam shows as well, so he hasn’t strayed far from his expertise in mecha. Hopefully, Yuuki Bakuhatsu Bang Bravern will share the same kind of impulsive, daredevil energy when it arrives this winter.

Excitement Level: Average Watching This: Pancakes
Yuuki Bakuhatsu Bang Bravern Promotional Videos ▼

URUSEI YATSURA (2022) 2nd Season | うる星やつら (2024)
Those Obnoxious Aliens 2nd Season
Top
https://uy-allstars.com/
Animation: David Production Premiere: January 11th, 2024
Genre: Comedy, Romance Airtime (GMT+9): Thursdays at 24:55
Episodes: 11 Station: Fuji TV
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @uy_allstars

Preview by Choya

Ataru (Kamiya Hiroshi) is a lecherous pervert who is as shameless in his skirt-chasing as he is desperate. But when he winds up in a marriage contract with an alien oni named Lum (Uesaka Sumire), his entire life is flipped upside down. His uncouth ways are regularly punished with Lum’s electrical powers, the relationship he was in before has pretty much deteriorated, and now all of the boys in school and space have a bone to pick with him. Luckily, Lum is a caring, dedicated fiance, so she is always quick to protect him from any threats, even if it costs him his free will. Can he reconcile with his old fiance, or will his new one just have to do? Check and see if this 2nd season offers up some new answers.

The David Productions reboot of Urusei Yatsura has been a good clip show of some of the classic anime’s finest moments. There are some extra twists and turns to bring the series over to the 21st century, but overall, the characters you saw back then are still the ones you see now. Funny enough, I watched through a few of the Urusei Yatsura films this summer, and it’s hard to look at Ataru without harboring a deep scorn for how he treats Lum. But to his credit, the show doesn’t shy away from his empathetic, altruistic side as he feels truly attached to Lum despite his horndog tendencies. Other new characters were introduced throughout the second cour of season one, so it should be cool to see what they bring to the table along with some other new additions when Urusei Yatsura returns.

Excitement Level: Average Watching This: Choya
URUSEI YATSURA (2022) 2nd Season Promotional Videos ▼

Majo to Yajuu | 魔女と野獣
The Witch and the Beast
Top
https://www.tbs.co.jp/anime/majo/
Animation: Yokohama Animation Lab Premiere: January 11th, 2024
Genre: Fantasy Airtime (GMT+9): Thursdays at 25:28
Episodes: 12 Station: TBS
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @majo_yajuu

Preview by Princess Usagi

In a world where powerful witches who can cast almost unbreakable curses, no end of mysteries and miseries abound. The sleuthing pair, Ashaf (Morikawa Toshiyuki) and Guideau (Taichi You) travel about the land on assignments with the Order of Magical Resonance, solving mysteries related to magic. Guideau has miseries of his own, having been cursed by a witch and is on a mission to find her. All of that is turned upside down when the duo discovers a village where the witch is considered the stolid defender of the people rather than a danger.

For starters, I find the premise compelling- there have been plenty of interesting ways in which the supernatural/curses and mysteries have been combined in anime form, take Kemono Jihen or Vanitas no Karte. For another, it does fall into the seinen demographic, which because of the tone and breadth of stories often featured, tends to be my go-to genre. Apparently, the series has been put into hiatus due to the mangaka’s health- not sure how or if that will affect the anime at all in terms of needing anime original material. But regardless, I would recommend checking this one out if the idea of magic and mysteries floats your boat.

Excitement Level: Optimistic Watching This: Guardian Enzo, Princess Usagi
Majo to Yajuu Promotional Videos ▼

Saijaku Tamer wa Gomi Hiroi no Tabi wo Hajimemashita. | 最弱テイマーはゴミ拾いの旅を始めました.
The Weakest Tamer Began a Journey to Pick Up Trash
Top
https://saijakutamer-anime.com/
Animation: Studio Massket Premiere: January 12th, 2024
Genre: Fantasy Airtime (GMT+9): Fridays at 23:00
Episodes: 12 Station: TOKYO MX
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @saijakutamer

Preview by Pancakes

For one little Ivy (Suzuki Aina), stars and their meaning are everything. To be born under the right star grants status and abilities; to not, well, implies otherwise – and Ivy happens to be the latter. Born starless and blessed only with the skill of monster taming, Ivy is ostracized by her village and forced to flee when her caregiver finally passes away. Yet not all is lost for the tiny tamer. Her running away lets her stumble across a weak little slime she names Sora, and though Ivy’s taming prowess is fledgling, it’s enough to help her tame and befriend it. And now with the whole world before her to explore, Ivy will show that there’s more to be starless than meets the eye.

Anyone who’s been around fantasy long enough can probably guess what Saijaku Tamer is all about. This one is very much in the cute and wholesome spirit, taking lackadaisical adventuring, pairing it with an eclectic mix of fantasy character archetypes, and letting Ivy’s cute girl antics flesh out the rest. It’s nothing particularly unique (slimes for one are a running seasonal theme these days), but Saijaku Tamer’s lighthearted, slice-of-life nature and the soft reincarnation trappings – because yes, that’s part of Ivy’s backstory – do help in part to keep things moving and the various arcs relatively entertaining. Don’t expect any masterpiece miracles on the part of Saijaku Tamer, but I would definitely give it some attention if in need of a good bit of cutesy and relaxing slice-of-life this winter season.

Excitement Level: Average Watching This: Pancakes
Saijaku Tamer wa Gomi Hiroi no Tabi wo Hajimemashita. Promotional Videos ▼

Snack Basue | スナックバス江
Top
https://snackbasue.com/
Animation: Studio Pu Yukai Premiere: January 12th, 2024
Genre: Comedy, Slice-of-Life Airtime (GMT+9): Fridays at 25:05
Episodes: 12 Station: TOKYO MX
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @snackbasue

Preview by Choya

Susukino is a vibrant district in Sapporo that thrives in all aspects of nightlife, from good eats and great times to bustling clubs and love hotels. Five stations away, however, is the North 24th neighborhood which captures what makes Susukino as lively as it is on a smaller scale. Within this particular neighborhood is the Snack Buss, a fun, bustling bar run by two mamas, Basue (Kimiko Saitou) and Akemi (Takahashi Rie). As they work their regular shift, they encounter customers who may just be some of the most interesting people in Sapporo. With an even balance of eccentric guests and good laughs, there’s never a dull day at Snack Bus.

I’m always looking forward to food anime, especially ones like Snack Basue that focus on the many guests who show up to a bar looking for quick yet tasty bites and brews. Midnight Diner had that kind of charm with its episodic explorations of the people who seek out certain comfort foods in times of struggle. With this particular show, however, it leans more into the comedy sphere as we see the eccentric clientele who love this one small bar in Sapporo. Doing a little research on the kind of grub you can get in Susukino has me so hungry, but I know that Snack Basue aims to be a hilarious take on what it’s like to find new friends as the night rolls in. And as the night rolls in, so do the good times when Snack Basue makes its reservation for the winter season.

Excitement Level: Average Watching This: Choya
Snack Basue Promotional Videos ▼

BUCCHIGIRI?! | ぶっちぎり?!
Top
https://bucchigiri.jp/
Animation: MAPPA Premiere: January 13th, 2024
Genre: Comedy, School-Life Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays at 23:00
Episodes: 12 Station: TV Aichi
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @bucchigiri_PR

Preview by Choya

Inspired by “One Thousand and One Nights”, the anime focuses on Tomoshibi Araji (Ookawa Genki), a new transfer student at Ichizu High School who reunites with an old friend named Asamine Matakara (Hoshino Yuusuke). The joy of this reunion is short-lived though as the school is home to many delinquents who prove to make Araji’s high school experience harrowing, intense, and fearful. The presence of a genie, however, may even the odds as Araji’s wish to lose his cherry is the catalyst that helps him grow strong enough to be on equal footing with some of the school’s scarier delinquents who don’t like the cut of Araji’s jib.

The combination of delinquent comedy and “Arabian Nights”-inspired action is fascinating. It is an original anime so there are bound to be some wonderful twists and turns to come from Hiroko Utsumi, the director of Free, Banana Fish, and SK8 the Infinity. On top of that, it has a great atmosphere to it as an action-packed anime taking place in a school for superpowered delinquents. However, this is also one of the first MAPPA productions to follow Jujutsu Kaisen S2, which has shed light on the mistreatment that their animators have had to contend with for some time now. Hopefully, the controversy will give their animators the proper time and care to work on BUCCHIGIRI?! without any reports of abuse, but it is a proper concern to have since they’ve been repeatedly stretching their animators thin. If I had two wishes from Majin Senya, one would be for MAPPA to treat its animators better, and one would be for BUCCHIGIRI?! to live up to its potential next year.

Excitement Level: Average Watching This: Choya, Guardian Enzo, Pancakes, Princess Usagi
BUCCHIGIRI?! Promotional Videos ▼

Hikari no Ou 2nd Season | 火狩りの王 (2024)
The Fire Hunter Season 2
Top
https://hikarinoou-anime.com/
Animation: Signal MD Premiere: January 14th, 2024
Genre: Fantasy, Sci-Fi Airtime (GMT+9): Sundays at 23:00
Episodes: 12 Station: WOWOW
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN), Wikipedia (JP)
Join the conversation @Hikarino_Ou

Preview by Princess Usagi

Fire, once one of the greatest inventions of humankind, becomes one of its greatest enemies following the repercussions of the Last War, wherein biological weapons render humans defenseless to flame. People spontaneously combust when near even small flames and Flame Spirits that live in a dangerous forest are the only usable fuel. Any hope of survival comes in the form of Firecatchers, who, as their name suggests, catch these flamelings. Stories circulate about “The King of Fire Hunters”, a chosen one who will capture a “Wandering Spark” comet. As the rumors spread, an orphaned city boy, Koushi (Ishige Shouya), meets country girl Toko (Kuno Misaki)-how will they alter the course of history?

Unfortunately, the first season did not quite live up to my expectations (cue some weird shots and frankly awful moments of animation) and the story dragged a bit in some areas. However, the anime did have some unique takes on the post-apocalyptic fantasy genre and had enough to it to keep me mildly interested in where it would take the story next, as indeed it did tease some intriguing directions towards the end. I plan to tune in to whet that curiosity and hope you will too!

Excitement Level: Average Watching This: Guardian Enzo, Pancakes, Princess Usagi
Hikari no Ou 2nd Season Promotional Videos ▼

Meiji Gekken: 1874 | 明治撃剣 -1874-
Top
https://www.shochiku-tokyu.co.jp/special/meijigekken1874/
Animation: Tsumugi Akita Animation Lab Premiere: January 14th, 2024
Genre: Action, Historical Airtime (GMT+9): Sundays at 23:00
Episodes: 12 Station: BS Shochiku Tokyo
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi, Wikipedia (EN)

Preview by Pancakes

In 1874, at the height of the Meiji Restoration, Orikasa Shimuza (Nakamura Yuuichi) embarks on a quest to find his missing fiancée. It’s not an easy task for Shimuza though; as a former samurai in the employe of the Aizu clan, he’s soon thrust into the ranks of an ad hoc police force pursuing a conspiracy out to topple the fledgling imperial government. It is this conspiracy where another proficient swordsmen in Kyoushirou Shurashin (Mikami Satoshi) finds himself. Linked by contract to the Moriya clan, the centre of efforts to overthrow the imperial government, Shurashin is out for personal gain, but his work will soon have him cross paths with Shimuza, and with it set the stage for the greatest showdown Meiji Japan has seen to date.

As a late premiere announcement, Meiji Gekken certainly wins the award for most surprising – and most unknown – of the bunch. This one is a true anime original, produced at the behest of Crunchyroll and in the works since at least 2015. That alone already raises some red flags given how well Crunchyroll’s productions have gone to date (Shield Hero anyone?), but the one positive is this being a proper historical work. Trailer and synopsis hint towards something along the lines of Golden Kamuy or Revenger, where displaced misfits and agitated individuals find themselves at the centre of societal upheaval and significant uncertainty. Add in some pulp action, spice with a dash of shounen-esque abilities, tack on a pretty well-rounded cast for the respective roles, and darling you’ve got yourself a decent bit of popcorn entertainment. I wouldn’t go as far to think Meiji Gekken will be automatically running away with the season, but anyone after a good dark horse candidate need look no further than this.

Excitement Level: Average Watching This: Pancakes, Princess Usagi
Meiji Gekken: 1874 Promotional Videos ▼



Short Series List

Technical Note: Short one-cour series that are being broadcast with irregular duration times (less than 24 minutes per episode) are separated from the main preview to account for the increasing number of short series and 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. Shorts may or may not have a haikyuu synopsis; Passerby be fickle like that.

Air Date Title
01/05 Chou Futsuu Ken Chiba Densetsu | 超普通県チバ伝説
https://kashiden.dekimachi.com/story/04c/
ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi
January 2024 Meitou “Isekai no Yu” Kaitaku-ki: Arafou Onsen Mania no Tensei Saki wa, Nonbiri Onsen Tengoku Deshita | 名湯『異世界の湯』開拓記 ~アラフォー温泉マニアの転生先は, のんびり温泉天国でした~
https://isekainoyu.com/
AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi
01/15 Yami Shibai 12 | 闇芝居 十二期
MyAnimeList

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
11/29 Rascal Does Not Dream of a Sister Venturing Out
Seishun Buta Yarou wa Odekake Sister no Yume wo Minai
青春ブタ野郎はおでかけシスターの夢を見ない
https://ao-buta.com/
BD/DVD Release.
12/06 The Quintessential Quintuplets~
5-toubun no Hanayome∽ | 五等分の花嫁∽
https://www.tbs.co.jp/anime/5hanayome/
BD/DVD Release.
12/20 Hibike! Euphonium: Ensemble Contest-hen
『響け!ユーフォニアム』アンサンブルコンテスト編
https://anime-eupho.com/
BD/DVD Release.
12/20 Psycho-Pass Movie: Providence
劇場版 PSYCHO-PASS サイコパス PROVIDENCE
https://psycho-pass.com/
BD/DVD Release.
12/22 IDOLiSH7 Movie: LIVE 4bit – BEYOND THE PERiOD
劇場版アイドリッシュセブン LIVE 4bit BEYOND THE PERiOD
https://idolish7.com/film-btp/
BD/DVD Release.
12/27 Jashin-chan Dropkick: Seikimatsu-hen
Dropkick on My Devil!!: End of Century Edition
邪神ちゃんドロップキック【世紀末編】
https://jashinchan.com/
12/28 BURN THE WITCH #0.8
https://burn-the-witch-anime.com/story-zeropointeight/
12/28 Pokemon Concierge | ポケモンコンシェルジュ
https://www.netflix.com/title/81186864
Netflix Release.
02/28 THE FIRST SLAM DUNK
https://slamdunk-movie.jp/
BD/DVD Release.
03/15 Watashi no Shiawase na Kekkon: Watashi no Shiawase na Katachi
わたしの幸せな結婚 わたしの 幸せのかたち
https://watakon-anime.com/
Bundled w/ LN Vol. 8.


Overall Impressions


 

Winters are one of those seasons where there’s usually not a lot of obvious standouts and indeed our initial impressions reflect that. Outside of the main contenders quite a few offerings are firmly in the “wait and see” category which may seem like a copout, but given how ridiculous Fall 2023 was for material I think our expectations are still recovering from that high. Never say this season won’t wind up surprising though; we are always ready and eager to be proven wrong, and the best way of doing so? Why with our Excitement Levels of course!

In the time-honored tradition, our Excitement Levels to help gauge what degree of anticipation that we and the anime community as a whole might steer towards. We base them on our preliminary examination of each show’s staff, seiyuu, and source material, and ultimately hope that it can prove to be a useful guide in keeping you aboard the most thrilling hype trains and introducing you to some sleeper hits.

As usual, these levels were arrived at by our totally not shady “Excitement Council” of Zephyr, Guardian Enzo, and Pancakes. 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 Hylian Rock 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.

23 Comments

  1. Sequels/Continuations
    Jaku-chara Tomozaki-kun
    Classroom of the Elite

    Interested
    Mahou Shoujo ni Akogarete
    Pon no Michi
    Saijaku Tamer

    Give it an episode
    Majo to Yajuu
    Isekai de Mofumofu
    Metallic Rouge

    Arche
  2. In the 1st season of Tsuki ga Michibiku Isekai Douchuu, the production emphasised and amped up the comedy aspects of the novel series but eventually did bring out the initial darker aspects in the last 2-3 episodes. The 2nd season looks to fill in some blanks that was excised from 1st season and follow the novel into revealing the developing darker and ruthless aspects of the series. It is very much not in the mold of Konosuba.

    leongsh
  3. I’m a bit disappointed with the winter slate but to me what stands out the most is that it seems that studios aren’t willing to take risks.

    I know that Isekai/Fantasy has been successful lately but looking at this season I can’t help but think that the market is over saturated with well over 20 series and that by now they’ve probably already done most of the good series and now they’re scraping the bottom of the barrel.

    At the other end it seems that most series that don’t fall into the above category are sequels that also seems to have reached saturation point with a quick glance counting at least 12 sequels.

    I think something will have to change soon as I suspect generic Isekais and sequels aren’t a long term solution

    Misc
    1. It’s basically the same situation as Hollywood at this point: production costs keep increasing, shareholders are expecting solid returns, and those directly involved are by extension terrified of taking risks. It leads to this treading water scenario where we get the same thing again and again because it’s at least guaranteed to break even, regardless of how shortsighted the strategy is.

      How or when it changes is anyone’s guess really, but I wouldn’t bank on it shifting anytime soon.

      1. Definitely agree with you there. I don’t think it’s got quite as bad as Hollywood with the poster child being DIsney and their excessive use of the Panderstone that has lead to their recent streak of box office bombs.. If Disney is any guide I imagine if their sales drop they’ll assume it’s cause there’s not enough Isekai or sequels.

        Quite a lot of series that did well in the past like Toradora, Samurai Champloo, Fullmetal Panic, Spy x Family, Monster, NHK ni Youkoso!, Bakuman, Clannad, Cross Game, Black Lagoon, Hyouka, K-On, Lucky Star, School Days etc would struggle to get greenlit nowadays that is a shame. It also means a shrinking audience as they’re only aiming for one demographic

        Misc
  4. Still in a flabbergasted “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” state of mind after viewing a watch-along of School Days with a certain “Yabai Nephilim” and “Warden of Time.” (Mainly for their reactions and RiffTrax-esque commentary.) And FuwaMoco are gonna do their own watch-along of that same anime, so I’m curious to see their reactions. (IRyS and Kronii’s watch-along clocked in at almost 7 hours no thanks to a technical issue at the start of their stream.)

    And I thought I wouldn’t rewatch School Days anymore after viewing it once… (Kotonoha wa…warukunai yo ne!)

    Anyway (also referencing LiveChart for this):

    Carryovers from Fall 2023:
    Shangri-La Frontier – Sunraku and his hardcore gamer allies (Oicazzo/OiKatzo and Arthur Pencilgon) now plan to take on one of the titular VR game’s legendary bosses–with only the three of them. Also can’t help but notice that Sunraku’s SLF character build is pretty much a “lightning glass cannon” version of Sally’s (Bofuri) character build.

    Maybe (three-episode guideline applies):
    Dosanko Gal wa Namara Menkoi – Welp, this high-school romcom might either go to the backburner like so any others from past seasons, or could be interesting in its own right. I’m intrigued enough with Ayaneru in the cast, though.
    Snack Basue – Ah, another series set in Hokkaido. While waiting on a new season of Isekai Shokudou, I’mma settle on a bar setting that’s more closer to real-life. What type of bar is it, though?
    Yuuki Bakuhatsu Bang Bravern – Mecha anime with Masami Obari?! Sign me up!

    Obligatory movie/OVA watch:
    Seishun Buta Yarou wa Odekake Sister no Yume wo Minai

    While waiting for the second season of Rurouni Kenshin (2023) and MF Ghost (“Spit-fiyah! [Eurobeat Intensifies] ♪“), my Winter 2024 seems to have few new offerings that really catch my attention. Which leaves me both glad (more time for TV show/anime backlog marathons, games and VTuber content) and sad (not catching up with the new anime) at the same time. Also waiting on the season finale episodes of Goblin Slayer Season 2, Shield Hero Season 3, and Zom 100.

    Incognito
  5. Fantastic preview as always RC gang, Pancakes and co. (except for the one point below).

    Really curious how the hyped adaptation of Solo Leveling will go in the hands of A1… and whether it will open the floodgates for Korean adaptations.

    P.S. Please remind your writers to add at least one line of an ‘editorial impression’ for each series beyond only summarising the plot. Noticed a few series’ entries appear to be be missing this. Plot info can be found anywhere, but not the editorial impressions.

    grayne
  6. Huh, I was expecting Gushing Over Magical Girls to be categorized “niche” over “average”. Eh, I’m content with that, and I’m still gonna watch it this season. Ditto for Hokkaido Gals.

    PokeNirvash
  7. Not much for me.

    I will definetely continue Kusuriya no Hitorigoto and Frieren. And I will watch Classroom of Elite S3 as I liked S2 way more than the first one and I like some spoilers I read about it’s final.

    May check out some action shows like Ishura just for entertaiment value but not sure if I am interested in anything else. I woul rather finish some older series I put on hold (though, I promise it to myself every season and rarely do).

    Nachtwandler
  8. Thanks as always for the hard work in creating the preview. I’m mostly looking forward to the anime in the optimistic expectation category as it seems to have a few solid series to scratch the action/battle itch.

    (Small nitpick: Dungeon Meshi isn’t listed in the Rundown section?)

    Darkwind
  9. The disappearance of P.A. Works is a sad loss, but we welcome new contenders! Studio Pu Yukai – seems to be a Chinese Collaboration.

    Notice that there are studios here that work hand-in-hand like Studio Massket and Project No.9.

    Not KoG
  10. Definitely the same old genre but this winter season is hyped. A couple of the ones that I have read the source materials are coming to the screen…like is Solo Leveling (wondering how they are gonna do this when it is a Korean mangwha done by a Japanese studio). Definitely following this. Though I have read Dr. Elise – it was interesting at the beginning, but I felt the author rush the ending and the plot became meh. So one will be if I am bored. Same with the 7th Time loop – same old same old.
    BUT then you got Classroom Elite – I have been waiting for this season! Then there are the ones that came across my social feed – Mashle’s S2 OP (got a Latin vibe) is blowing up and obviously a good old parody (on par of Gintama). Then there is the Witch and the Beast – the fighting scenes look dope. Then the slice of life romance – Signs of Affections – busting out that tissue boxes. Another gag comedy – Mr Villian’s Day Off seems interesting. Then we have other sequels like Blue Exorcist, Shaman King, (tho I didn’t like the remake) and Kingdom. And some interesting ones y’all are recommending like Dungeon Meshi and Sengoku Youko. Pretty Stoked.

    bakanekokun
  11. I’m just going to throw this out there: two episodes in and Yuuki Bakuhatsu Bang Bravern might just be the best thing to happen in Mecha/Giant Robot anime in a long time.

    It’s taking all the tropes and running them completely over the top and I’m loving it.

    Dave K

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