Winter 2016 – Season Preview

utawarerumono_itsuwari_no_kamen-01-winter-mountains-snow-sunset-dusk-shadows-light-cloudsIt was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness. It was the Spring Autumn of hope, it was the Winter of despair. Or rather, it was the Autumn 2015 anime season, it was the Winter 2016 anime season. Never have I seen such a stark, significant contrast in the types and content of anime between consecutive seasons, but we’re following up arguably the best anime season in recent memory with quite possibly the worst. If you haven’t checked, now might be a good time to see why I am so crestfallen with the anime airing this winter.

As always, the order of anime listed below is neither chronological nor alphabetic but are categorized into sequels and new shows, and then ranked in order of my personal anticipation and how likely I believe I will watch that anime this season. Every anime is evaluated and placed into one of five tiers ordered: Will watch, Likely watch, Maybe watch, Doubtful but it gets a shot, and No dice. Within each tier, the anime are listed alphabetically. Dates are not included because who knows when and where these shows will be subbed and available to watch… and really, that’s the most important date to know.

After a blockbuster Autumn season, which saw the return of 22 anime franchises, Winter 2016 welcomes back only 11 continuations and spinoffs. However, a number of these shows are respectable or popular, so I’m certain a number of fans are excited to see some of their favorites returning in such a light season. Returning this month are: Akagami no Shirayuki-hime 2, Assassination Classroom 2, Durarara!!x2 Ketsu, Fairy Tail Zero, Gate: Enryuu-Hen, Ketsuekigata-kun! 4, Koyomimonogatari, Mahou Tsukai Precure!, Nurse Witch Komugi-chan R, Schwarzesmarken, and Teekyuu S7.  Seeing as I haven’t watched some of the originals to these anime, I will obviously skip them and recommend you check out the originals if you’re interested in any of these franchises. Instead, this section is reserved for the anime that I will be continuing this winter, with PVs, thoughts, and assessments for each.

 

Durarara!!x2 Ketsu

Opinion: The third season of Durarara!!x2 airs this season, thus concluding the three cour sequel to the original Durarara!! of 2010. While I continue to cherish Durarara!! as a franchise, I can’t help but feel a bit disappointed with the quality that we’ve seen from Studio Shuka, the newly formed anime studio that was created just for Durarara!!. On one hand, I’m very thankful for the return of the franchise and am anticipating that this season will be the best of the three sequels, but that I wished Brains Base just continued with it when it had the time and resources. That and finishing Spice and Wolf, too. But, back to Durarara!!x2 Ketsu, I am expecting this to be the best of the three in the x2 series given that Shuka has had two dress rehearsals and is now about to reach the climax of this second (or fifth?) season.

Plans for this show: Will watch

 

Koyomimonogatari

Opinion: Koyomimonogatari will be a series of 12 ONAs (original net animations) that recount various stories about our protagonist, Koyomi Araragi. And while some might be disenchanted by the web format for an anime, fear not as quite a few reputable franchises have produced successful online anime. It’s difficult to say how successful this will be in comparison to the other anime of the Monogatari Series, but I am excited and eager for more from this franchise.

Plans for this show: Will watch

 

Teekyuu S7

teekyuu_s7-previewOpinion: I love Teekyuu, but can we get OP5 back?

Plans for this show: Will watch

 

Nurse Witch Komugi-chan R

Opinion: I watched Nurse Witch Komugi-chan Magikarte and Nurse Witch Komugi-chan Magikarte Z way back in 2006 and 2007. Back then, I really didn’t know what I was getting into but some friends liked it and I love comedies, so I figured it couldn’t hurt. And while the original series didn’t leave any physical pain, I’ve always remembered never really liking Komugi-chan as an anime. I don’t have really any fond memories of the series, especially since I didn’t get all the Soul Taker references, the 2ch jokes, throwing the Colonel Sanders statue in the river, and all the other otaku humor. Well, I’ve watched anime for 10 consecutive years and am interested in giving this old franchise a try again. I’m not expecting too much given my previous experience with this series, but I do like that Akio Watanabe’s character designs look more like Grisaia (sexy) than Popotan (moe) this time around.

Plans for this show: Maybe watch

 

Schwarzesmarken

Opinion: Schwarzesmarken is a spinoff in the Muv-Luv franchise, so I’ll be heading into this anime with a very limited knowledge of the setting and whether the characters are tributes or references or continuations from other Muv-Luvs. Nevertheless, I feel that it might be one of the better anime this season, especially considering the content in the PV and the fact that it’s a respected, established mecha franchise. However, I still don’t know too much about the anime or setting, so I’ll be keeping it here and remain cautious about it heading into the first episode.

Plans for this show: Doubtful but it gets a shot

 

 

The following two sections of the preview contains a list of all the new, original anime that will debut during the Winter 2016 anime season, with the first section on the anime I am planning on screening and the latter section the anime I have already rejected.

Oh right, wasn’t I complaining about Winter 2016 earlier? Yeah, that’s right, I lead off this Season Preview with such coldhearted remarks. Well, you’re about to see why. Winter 2016 is extremely light in terms of the anime that I’m interested in. I mean, after going through the entire season and watching every PV and reading every synopsis and researching each crew… I’m left with this. Now, that doesn’t mean there won’t be anything good from this list because a few could content with any anime season, but that the list is so small and so unpredictable that I just can’t help but feel disappointed with this season. Nevertheless, here’s what I’m excited for when the Winter 2016 anime season starts:

 

Boku Dake ga Inai Machi (ERASED)

Opinion: Boku Dake ga Inai Machi is pretty much the only new anime that I’m actually looking forward to this season. The synopsis is easily the most striking and memorable among the new anime this season, documenting the journey of a man who is able to travel back in time and prevent catastrophes or deaths from occurring. That type of original story caught my attention, and the art and animation are quite appropriate for a serious, psychological, mystery anime. The only major issue that I can forecast for this anime is the directing, storytelling, and pacing, which has been an issue in the past with serious anime, and even with a veteran staff.

Plans for this show: Likely watch

 

Active Raid

Opinion: I typically enjoy anime revolving around police units, and I typically enjoy anime with mecha in them, so Active Raid is doing well so far. Where it lacks, is particularly noticeable from its PV, where it doesn’t feature too much character animation and only on faces talking or with basic emotions. I don’t see this anime being particularly special or significant, but it should still be a meaningful watch, so long as it’s fun.

Plans for this show: Doubtful but it gets a shot

 

Ajin: Demi-Human

Opinion: The storytelling and writing will make or break Ajin given its premise and style based off the PV. I don’t think an anime there’s much error or deviation from this type of theme, where immortals are hunted down like monsters in a dark, mystery, horror-type setting thingy. And, for what it’s worth, this type of setting is far from my favorite. The content of this anime will dictate whether I keep it or not, so it might get a few episodes depending on how fast or slow the start is.

Plans for this show: Doubtful but it gets a shot

 

Ao no Kanata no Four Rhythm

Opinion: Uh, so it’s a school anime… but with flying shoes. Oh yes, and the girls have really short miniskirts, so prepare for pantyshots in every episode. So while Ao no Kanata doesn’t look particularly impressive or distinctive, it might be worthwhile if it has decent chemistry or above-average comedy. Unfortunately, I don’t think it’ll have either, but it deserved an episode after a satisfactory PV.

Plans for this show: Doubtful but it gets a shot

 

Bubuki Buranki

Opinion: Given the limited information on the anime, I find it hard to get a good read on whether this will be good or not. I want to err on the side of caution given some of the clips from the PV looking a bit… too overdramatic in the PV, but it really depends on the mood and timing in the anime. I’m not too excited over the characters, story, or setting, but it deserves an episode or two to convince me otherwise.

Plans for this show: Doubtful but it gets a shot

 

Dagashi Kashi

Opinion: Dagashi Kashi seems to be a solid comedy with a distinguishing art style and intriguing setting to match, so it seems like a promising choice… but like every comedy, it depends on a number of factors, with the most important being whether I laugh or smile or not. An episode or two would be enough to know whether the comedy is strong enough to keep me entertained or not for the season.

Plans for this show: Doubtful but it gets a shot

 

Dimension W

Opinion: It’s never a good sign when there’s an info dump in the PV, but the latter half of the PV – the part with the actual animation – is interesting enough. Perhaps the best attribute of this anime is its style and atmosphere, thanks primarily to its art and animation. The story and characters don’t excite me too much right now, but an episode or two will give them the opportunity to convince me on whether I should keep this anime or not.

Plans for this show: Doubtful but it gets a shot

 

Hai to Gensou no Grimgar (Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash)

Opinion: The PV doesn’t answer a questions, but gives enough material to warrant an episode. The new style of fantasy anime where it’s MMORPG based and whatnot has been fairly awful, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any good MMORPG-style anime out there, but I haven’t been satisfied with that genre. Hai to Gensou no Grimgar will have a chance, but it doesn’t look good.

Plans for this show: Doubtful but it gets a shot

 

Haruchika: Haruta to Chika wa Seishun Suru

Opinion: I watched Tari Tari and liked it, so I might like this since the two are on a similar wavelength (same studio, some of the same staff). I will admit, I am concerned about the cheap animation from the PV, and the cookie-cutter cast, making me think it’ll be inferior to Tari Tari, but it’ll get an episode or two to prove me wrong or at least prove it’s worth keeping this season.

Plans for this show: Doubtful but it gets a shot

 

Koukaku no Pandora: Ghost Urn (TV)

Opinion: Koukaku no Pandora appears to be an ecchi, action, comedy with robot girls befriending each other and fighting whatever. It sounds very much like my kind of anime, but I can’t help this sinking feeling that I’ll be pretty bad. Still, I want to give it a few episodes to see if I can handle watching it or if it’s not really my style after all.

Plans for this show: Doubtful but it gets a shot

 

Mahou Shoujo Nante Mou Ii Desu Kara

Opinion: Mahou Shoujo Nante Mou Ii Desu Kara is a short anime about a girl who becomes a magical girl wearing a bikini. I am not expecting anything more to its story or characters than that fact, so sure, why not?

Plans for this show: Doubtful but it gets a shot

 

Ooya-san wa Shishunki!

ooya_san_wa_shishunki-previewOpinion: This is another short anime and, as long as this is funny, I wouldn’t mind picking this up for a few minutes each week.

Plans for this show: Doubtful but it gets a shot

 

Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu

Opinion: Of all the new anime this season, I am the most curious about this one. The synopsis is rather quite unique with an ex-prisoner, Yotarou, pursuing a career as an entertainer (rakugo). The anime seems to be quite complex, too, as it grapples with Yotarou’s stigmata as a former prisoner back in society, his romance with the daughter of a famous performer, and Yotarou realizing his love for storytelling. That’s three very distinct narratives in one anime. I’ll be interested to see how this performs. However, it does seem rather slow and easy, so I’m not sure whether I’ll be interested in every episode moving forward or bored with each episode. An episode or two will give me an idea of the storytelling and pace, which should be enough to decide whether to keep or drop.

Plans for this show: Doubtful but it gets a shot

 

The first two sections confirm the lists of anime that I am planning on watching based on my knowledge and understanding of the shows. All that remains in this season preview are the anime that I have already decided against. The reason why these anime are slotted here is because they either appear to already be flawed, boring, or simply outside my demographic. While these anime may in fact be watchable to some, they do not appear watchable for me. I doubt I’ll examine these anime any more than the PV linked in their sections. However, there’s always a chance for me to pick one or two up every season, so not all hope is lost for these shows if you see one of your favorites down here. However, for most of them, there’s already zero chance I’ll even think about them after writing my opinions for each.

 

Divine Gate

Opinion: Something about school age kids that reach a gate that opens to the underworld. This doesn’t interest me at all.

Plans for this show: No dice

 

Kono Danshi, Mahou ga Oshigoto Desu.

Opinion: You don’t even need to click Play to know why I won’t watch this.

Plans for this show: No dice

 

Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Syukufuku o!

Opinion: I thought I dropped this anime a few already. Wait… this is different than the other ones? How is it different than the other ones?

Plans for this show: No dice

 

Luck and Logic

Opinion: Some of the girls have pretty crazy character designs, but otherwise, this really isn’t the type of anime that I’d enjoy.

Plans for this show: No dice

 

Myriad Colors Phantom World

Opinion: It’s weird seeing Kyoto Animation’s name on such an ecchi anime. What won’t be weird is me not watching this.

Plans for this show: No dice

 

Nijiiro Days

Opinion: Hurray, another anime where you can tell why I dropped it without clicking play. How nice of these PVs to make it so easy for us.

Plans for this show: No dice

 

Norn9: Norn+Nonette

Opinion: So wait… the anime said it has 9 guys and only 3 girls? That must be a typo.

Plans for this show: No dice

 

Oshiete! Galko-chan

Opinion: The only anime I’ve watched from Studio feel. are Fortune Arterial and Bikini Warriors. When I’ve skipped everything else, the chances don’t look good for Galko-chan.

Plans for this show: No dice

 

Phantasy Star Online 2 the Animation

Opinion: So, it’s an anime about people playing an MMORPG rather than about the MMORPG itself? This isn’t the direction I want this genre to go in.

Plans for this show: No dice

 

Prince of Stride Alternative

Opinion: An all-male track anime? No thanks, especially when I haven’t finished Battle Athletes Victory yet.

Plans for this show: No dice

 

Reikenzan

Opinion: Maybe when more information comes out about this, but passing for now.

Plans for this show: No dice

 

Saijaku Muhai no Bahamut

Opinion: Are you still clicking play on the videos? Sometimes, the thumbnail is more than enough.

Plans for this show: No dice

 

Sekko Boys

Opinion: A lot of people on Twitter will rave about how this show is hilarious but don’t listen to them.

Plans for this show: No dice

 

Shoujo-tachi wa Kouya wo Mezasu

Opinion: Something about people developing a gal game and yup, there’s where I said no, too.

Plans for this show: No dice

 

And with that said, there is nothing left to preview for the Winter 2016 anime season. The next step will be to watch and assess each of the new anime coming out, which should be happening shortly. I’ll be providing my reviews and opinions for most of these anime in my First Impressions posts once each these shows debut. Until that time, I hope everyone enjoys the start of a new anime season!

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  1. #1 by Joojoobees on January 7, 2016 - 4:52 AM

    You’re watching Battle Athlete’s Victory? You are in for a real shock in the final episodes!

    • #2 by avvesione on January 12, 2016 - 10:58 PM

      Well… I was watching Battle Athletes Victory… back in 2002. I haven’t really had an opportunity to finish the series given that the video rental store by me closed and that I began losing time for anime in the early 2000s. I plan to go back and finish it one of these days, though, just not sure when.

      As for the ending, I’ve kinda had it spoiled for me way back when, but I’m looking forward to getting there whenever I have the chance to finish the series.

  2. #3 by BraveBoar on January 16, 2016 - 8:55 PM

    I think you might want to revise you take on Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Syukufuku o! now with most of you “wont bother with” list I really cant argue with. personally, shows such as luck and logic and myeiad colours phantom world will basically just be mindless anime to watch just for the sake of doing so wirhout a terrible deal of thought required for them.
    Kono Subarashi tho, I dont know if you have seen it but to an extent in maybe just from the impression I get from the female lead it has a similiar feel to world only god knows. the female lead reminds me something of a cross between the main of twgok in terms of being a tad daft but also pissessing the attitude of haqua (their names are actually quite similiar also, this 1 is I believe Aqua)
    so we have a boy that gets killed and is offered the oppurtunity to go to another world and if he so chooses, may take any 1 thing with him to that world…so chooses the goddess aqua.
    after watching the 1st ep, there is a feel of having much potential for development of both characters. I dont know how the rest will turn out, but personally I found the 1st ep to be at times quite cute as well as serving for a decent chuckle.
    reviews in all honesty aren’t something I’ve ever really done in the past myself, but the 1 thing I can at the least assure you of with this anime is it is 1 of the most anticipated for this season.
    I do hope you decide to re think watching this 1 as I’m certain you will find it just as entertqining as I’ve the feeling that I will with later eps.

    • #4 by avvesione on January 17, 2016 - 1:47 PM

      Thank you for bringing this to my attention, but I’m already way ahead of you. I watched the first episode of Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! last Thursday and came away impressed. I was wrong to think about skipping it over, but I’m glad I gave the first episode a try anyway. I’ll have more on it in my third and final First Impressions post later this week.

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