Spring 2016 – Season Preview

akuma_no_riddle-12-spring-cherry_blossoms-bloom-pink-flowers-rebirthSpring is truly a time of renaissance, a season when the world awakens from its dormant slumber of winter to period of growth and maturity.  It’s a time when sunlight becomes plentiful, flowers bloom, and animals happily frolic in the fields and forests.  And what could be better than to celebrate the revival of the world than with an entirely new anime season!  Yes, Spring 2016 is already upon us with a brilliant line-up of new and returning anime.  Come, take a preview of Spring 2016 and see how I anticipate with what shows I’ll be spending the next 3 months of my life watching.

Before I dive into the Spring 2016 anime season, I have one important bit of news that is somewhat newsworthy.  I am planning on stepping away from the Weekly Anime posts and attempting to try a new approach for writing.  Given the difficulties and challenges I’ve had with weekly anime posts since Summer 2011, I feel as though I should try something that is more current and engaging, similar to the original style that I abandoned when I wrote about the finale of Magi S1 in 2013 or the final chapter of Needless later that year.  I’m not sure exactly what my plans will be, but Spring is a season of revival and rebirth.  I might as well try to do the very same for my blog that has struggled in recent years with something that matches my current lifestyle.

 

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.

 

Spring 2016 is quite busy with a healthy number of returning franchises, a step up in count from Winter 2016 and on par with spring seasons in previous years.  Furthermore, the list looks relatively manageable from my perspective given the small set of shows I’ve watched.  Fortunately, the shows have been high-quality or feature other redeeming values, so I am genuinely interested in the sequels this season.  And since the overall season is pretty light, I’m willing to gamble on a new franchise (new to me) given the recent success seen elsewhere with trying new franchises in the middle of their multi-year run.

 

The franchises returning as sequels, continuations, spinoffs, and other tangents in Spring 2016 are: Aikatsu Stars!, Battle Spirits: Double Drive, Beyblade Burst, Concrete Revolutio: Choujin Gensou ~ The Last Song, Future Card Buddyfight Triple D, Gakusen Toshi Asterisk Second Season, JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken: Diamond wa Kudakenai (JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond Is Unbreakable), Kagewani Shou, Kaitou Joker Third Season, Kidou Senshi Gundam Unicorn RE:0096, Kyoukai no Rinne Second SeasonMacross Delta, Magi: Sinbad no Bokuen (TV), PriPara Third SeasonSailor Moon Death Bursters-henTerra Formars Revenge, Usakame, Ushio to Tora Second Season.  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 spring, with PVs, thoughts, and assessments for each.

 

Concrete Revolutio: Choujin Gensou ~ The Last Song (S2)

concrete_revlutio_chooujin_gensou_the_last_song-previewOpinion: Concrete Revolutio proved to be one of my favorite anime of 2015 and its second half begins again in April.  The first season set the foundation for fantastic finish, by establishing a fascinating story in an even more mesmerizing setting, and completed with a gorgeous aesthetic style and charming characters.  My one concern with the original season was with its storytelling, which jumped around between time periods and often made episodes seem clouded and fuzzy.  I’m hoping the anime has a plan with how it will resolve everything, especially since it has been more than 3 months since the S1 finale, but nevertheless, this is one I will definitely be watching this spring.

Plans for this show: Will watch

 

JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken: Diamond wa Kudakenai (JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond Is Unbreakable)

Opinion: Part IV of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is debuting (or has already debuted) this spring with a new protagonist, Josuke, and a new style of story, this one concerning a string of mysterious homicides.  JJBA has quickly grown into one of my favorite franchises with the advent of the new TV anime, and I am enthusiastic and eager about the start of Diamond is Unbreakable.  Furthermore, I know virtually nothing about Part IV, so this is really the first ‘unknown’ JoJo’s for me.  There is no way I’m missing the next saga in JJBA and will definitely be watching this in Spring 2016.

Plans for this show: Will watch

 

Usakame

usakame-previewOpinion: A spinoff of Teekyuu?  As if I could resist.  Usakame will offer a fresh take at the hyper-energetic comedy series with a rival tennis club that was introduced in season 7.  The new set-up should allow for some new interactions and new jokes in the same engaging format that we’ve grown to be addicted to from previous seasons of Teekyuu.  Usakame should be more enjoyable and successful than Takamiya Nasuno Desu!, but I am unsure how it will compare to other seasons of Teekyuu given the limited information about it at this point.

Plans for this show: Will watch

 

Magi: Sinbad no Bokuen (TV)

Opinion: The Sinbad OVA series offered another approach to the magnificent setting of Magi, but this time through the life of young Sinbad.  What I enjoyed about the Sinbad spinoff is that it adhered closely to the original theme of Magi and the original idea of exploring dungeons and having adventures rather than the political showdown toward the end of the second season.  Sinbad speaks more to me with its romance for adventure, and that is why I am excited to see it adapted into a TV series.  However, I can’t say for sure whether I’ll keep it now given that this appears to be a loaded season, and I didn’t really enjoy the cast of characters compared to the original Magi series.  I’m also unsure of whether these first few episodes will be a recap of the OVA of sorts or whether they expect everyone to have finished the 5-episode OVA first.  That might play a role into when I decide to keep this anime or not.

Plans for this show: Likely watch

 

Macross Delta

Opinion: The Macross franchise is gigantic, and the size and stretch of the series has intimidated me from really wanting to dive into the series.  Given my recent string of success with starting anime franchises with their sequels (Yuru Yuri, Soukyuu no Fafner), I figure it might be worth a gamble and start the Macross franchise with this new expansion.  The PV catches my eye and the premise sounds promising, but it’s hard to know whether I’ll be welcomed and eased into the setting and series or whether I’ll be challenged with obstacles given the assumption that others have watched other Macross anime before.

Plans for this show: Maybe watch

 

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.

 

The new franchises of Spring 2016 show quite a bit of promise and potential, and what I decide to keep will likely come down to time constraints rather than how much I enjoy a show.  That’s often the case with spring seasons, especially with Spring 2016 containing over 50 new anime.  I’m not quite sure how many anime I’ll be able to watch, or even which shows I’ll write about (more on that later), but I’m excited nonetheless.  My plans for Spring 2016 are as follows:

 

Koutetsujou no Kabaneri (Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress)

Opinion: Koutetsujou no Kabaneri looks like the type of anime that I typically adore given its energy, its style, and its quality.  That, and it’s about zombies and giant trains and has kickass action sequences as demonstrated in the PV.  There are a number of reasons why this is the top new anime of the season for me, but the biggest reason might be that it has the most interesting setting of any anime.  Now, granted, the anime draws a number of comparisons to Shingeki no Kyoujin given that it’s the same studio and director, but Iron Fortress is an original anime and this should allow some more creative freedom in their vision and their storytelling.  The one worry I have with this, though, is that it’ll be a clone of Attack on Titan, though I don’t really expect that given that this is WIT’s opportunity to try something new and original with their best production team.

Plans for this show: Likely watch

 

Anne Happy (Unhappy Go Lucky!)

Opinion: I remember a time, not too long ago, when all I cared about was super serious, dramatic, emotional anime and I’d ignore all those happy, cutsey, moe all-girl anime.  Now, I feel as though I’m the opposite, and that these silly slice-of-life or simple comedy shows are the most appealing.  The reason might be that these types of shows are consistent and a product you can depend on whereas the dramatic and serious shows can either be hit-or-miss depending on the execution.  Anne Happy still might be awful, but it’s an easygoing, tranquil comedy series in which 5 girls all have bad luck.  Also, it’s directed by Shin Oonuma, which is always a huge plus for me.

Plans for this show: Maybe watch

 

Bungou Stray Dogs

Opinion: Bungou Stray Dogs features numerous elements that entice me, including its art style, its detective/mystery and superpower elements, and that it’s supposedly intended for a seinen audience.  It has that type of personality and style that I think I’ll enjoy, but what will determine whether I keep this or not are the characters and their setting.  Part of it reminds me of Concrete Revolutio above, and if it’s anything like that, I’ll keep this for sure.  Nevertheless, I don’t want to hype up an anime too much in case it lets me down, which is why I am being cautious with this until I see what Bungou Stray Dogs is really like and not just a PV.

Plans for this show: Maybe watch

 

Flying Witch

Opinion: Flying Witch appears to have quite a bit of potential given its characters, story, and setting, but the largest question will be how well it paces itself.  The PV above gives it a slower, relaxed feel which matches well with the rural locale, but there’ll need to be some excitement, adventure, and imagination if witches or witchcraft or magic is involved.  The backgrounds and scenery are certainly pleasant to look at, and it makes up for the somewhat bland, ordinary characters.  I can honestly see this anime going either way, but I tend to think it’ll be better than most this season and probably one that I’ll keep if the first few episodes satisfy my strict standards.

Plans for this show: Maybe watch

 

Joker Game

Opinion: An espionage anime?  I… I don’t think I’ve ever watched a spy anime like Joker Game before, which really bodes well for me considering that I often love Western spy movies and stories.  Joker Game seems to have all the elements of a successful spy drama, considering the intensity and style of the PV, and the aesthetics and animation are certainly striking.  I do wonder whether there’ll be over-the-top action or whether this will be more a suspenseful thriller, but either one would be wonderful to watch.  Whatever it is, Joker Game looks to be one of the better anime this spring.

Plans for this show: Maybe watch

 

Sakamoto desu ga?

Opinion: I always base my anticipation of comedies based on the style and humor present in the PV and… and let’s just say I have high hopes that Sakamoto desu ga? will deliver what it promises.  The real question will be what the other characters are like and how they play off this remarkable and flamboyant Sakamoto.  Really, the characters and chemistry will dictate whether this show floats or sinks, but it’s off to a fabulous start based on the humor of the PV alone.

Plans for this show: Maybe watch

 

Uchuu Patrol Luluco (Space Patrol Luluco)

Opinion: Uchuu Patrol Luluco is an anime with personality and energy, evident from the PV above and from its renowned production staff.  The main question with Luluco is whether it has any substance and, how the characters and story play out.  Still, at this point, I almost feel as though style wins out given how well it matches my tastes and that any story or characters at this point are good enough.  Still, I’ll get an idea of how it performs compared to everything else after an episode or two.

Plans for this show: Maybe watch

 

Bakuon!!

Opinion: Bakuon!! looks like a fun anime considering the amount of comedy and fanservice in the PV, but the anime’s success will depend on its motorbike aspect – its one unique element.  Fortunately, there is an OVA out that aired a couple of weeks ago, and… it seems decent, but not really the kind of show I think I’ll keep around this season.  However, I’ll give the TV version a try and see if it performs better given that it will start at the start and not in the middle (like the OVA does).  Still, I don’t have high hopes for this show.

Plans for this show: Doubtful but it gets a shot

 

Big Order

big_order-previewOpinion: Like Bakuon!! above, Big Order also has a single OVA out, and like Bakuon!!, it seems okay but nothing great.  Now, that’s not to say that there are no redeeming factors to Big Order as there are some promising elements to anime, but it doesn’t feel like something I need to watch given the size of the season and the constraints I’m facing.  Honestly, it feels like cheating to start with OVAs like this before the season starts because it doesn’t begin with the ‘beginning’ and that goes a long way in making a positive or negative first impression.  I’ll try the first episode and see if it changes my opinion on Big Order or not.

Plans for this show: Doubtful but it gets a shot

 

Boku no Hero Academia (My Hero Academia)

Opinion: I am genuinely interested in Boku no Hero Academia considering its hype, acclaim, and popularity… but the PV does little for me.  The PV feels a bit too shounen for me, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t dazzle me with its color, animation, and passion.  I typically don’t care much for shounen anime or hero anime, but there is something about Boku no Hero Academia that attracts me given that it looks much, much more interesting than most shounen, hero anime.  I don’t think I’ll ever love it or rave about it like many others online, but that’s fine by me as long as I enjoy it… and it certainly seems like an anime that could go either way at this point.

Plans for this show: Doubtful but it gets a shot

 

Gyakuten Saiban (Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney)

Opinion: I am a fan of the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney series and am thrilled to see it being adapted into an anime… but… it looks very low-quality based on the PV alone, and I’m really not sure what to think about it now.  It captures quite a few elements of the game and looks faithful as an adaptation… but it might be too faithful and too structured like the game, especially with the court scenes.  I don’t know whether I’ll keep it or not, but I am curious nonetheless, even with the surprise in quality as the PV suggests.

Plans for this show: Doubtful but it gets a shot

 

Hai-Furi

Opinion: So the anime is about a bunch of high school girls who work marine-type jobs because Japan was mostly sunk by shifting tectonic plates.  What should be a post-apocalyptic anime in which Japan struggles over the loss of millions of people and industries and farmland, appears to be a happy, moe slife anime with highschool girls doing odd jobs in their new seaside community.  What’s hilarious is that this sounds exactly like the setting to Agent Aika, but I don’t know how many people remember the setting to that anime (or even want to remember that anime).  Anyway, Hai-Furi seems rather bland and unexciting, but it’s hard to say given how generic it feels and how short the PVs are.  An episode or two will provide enough information about whether to keep this or not.

Plans for this show: Doubtful but it gets a shot

 

Kiznaiver

Opinion: Kiznaiver is here because I really can’t get a reliable feel for it.  The PV looks to be both serious and silly, and that can either be very good or very bad.  On one hand, the cast of exuberant and vibrant characters are a plus and I tend to like their designs and the animation style, but I’m not sure how I feel about the setting or what the story will entail, both of which appear to be serious.  I think it might be best to wait for an episode or two to see if it’ll be serious with a side of silly or silly with a dash of serious, but its how well these two themes work together that will decide whether I keep Kiznaiver or not.

Plans for this show: Doubtful but it gets a shot

 

Kuma Miko

Opinion: First, mute the PV.  Second, a comedy anime will be watched depending on how the comedy is and you can only really tell how a comedy anime will be after watching an episode or two.  Third, I can’t say I am enthusiastic about Kuma Miko given what we see in the PV and how it reminds me of a lesser version of Gugure! Kokkuri-san or Kamisama Kiss or Shirokuma Café.  It’s not off to a good start, but it’ll get an episode since it is a comedy anime.

Plans for this show: Doubtful but it gets a shot

 

Mayoiga (The Lost Village)

Opinion: Mayoiga is an anime where 30 people are on a bus going to a remote, abandoned village in the mountains.  It seems somewhat mysterious and ominous, especially with some of the promotional art, and it leads me to believe there’ll be something interesting going on if there are 30 characters to start… but it really doesn’t interest me at this point with not much known about it.  Notwithstanding, I am curious to see what it’s like given the unusual premise and original story.

Plans for this show: Doubtful but it gets a shot

 

Pan de Peace!

pan_de_peace-previewOpinion: A 4-koma anime about girls who enjoy delicious, glutinous bread.  It appears to be a lighthearted, slice-of-life comedy anime about girls who have no reason to be near each other than their unhealthy relationship with baked goods.  Like with any new type of bread, I’ll give it a sample and see whether I like it or not, so hopefully the comedy and characters with this anime are fresh and not stale.

Plans for this show: Doubtful but it gets a shot

 

Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu

Opinion: Something about a high school kid being sucked into a fantasy world and blah, blah, blah.  This theme and genre is oversaturating the market, which is a shame because the PV actually looks decent and I feel as though there is some promise to this anime.  Unfortunately, I have virtually no hope for the main characters and the story, but there is some hope that the anime will be enjoyable given the setting and supporting characters.  Hopefully the anime can differentiate itself quickly from the all other “fantasy world” anime there are, because otherwise, I don’t see this one being kept around this spring.

Plans for this show: Doubtful but it gets a shot

 

Sansha Sanyou

Opinion: Sansha Sanyou is a 4-koma slice-of-life comedy anime with a cast of quirky female characters.  Sansha Sanyou seems to show enough promise with its characters and personality to make me want to give it a try.  It certainly seems cute and funny, but like with every comedy, it depends on the content and execution.  I am always biased toward comedy anime given that it is my favorite genre, so I hope that Sansha Sanyou makes me laugh or smile in its first episode.

Plans for this show: Doubtful but it gets a shot

 

Shingeki no Bahamut: Manaria Friends

Opinion: Set in the same universe as Shingeki no Bahamut Genesis but obviously not the same style or characters or themes.  And while Shingeki no Bahamut Genesis was one of the better anime of 2014, Shingeki no Bahamut: Manaria Friends looks to be one of the middle anime of Spring 2016.  I can’t say I’m too thrilled with this version of the Shingeki no Bahamut franchise, but I’m still willing to give this a shot based on the fact that this is in the same universe and that the demon girl is really cute.  Still, those two elements might not be enough for me to keep this spinoff around, but that’s why I’ll give it an episode or two to start.

Plans for this show: Doubtful but it gets a shot

 

Shounen Maid

Opinion: Shounen Maid looks cute, but I worry that the humor and novelty of the male maid will only go so far.  The manga has been running since 2008, which means there is plenty of material to adapt, but I’m not sure if I can last 24 minutes at a time, especially if the only joke is a boy dressing up as a maid and complaining about how his uncle is a weirdo.  I’m mainly curious to see what other type of humor the anime has considering that it seems to define itself on just this one joke.  Additionally, I might be interested in keeping this if the episodes are 8 minutes or less, a dose that seems more tolerable for a show of this caliber than 24 minutes each sitting.

Plans for this show: Doubtful but it gets a shot

 

Tanaka-kun wa Itsumo Kedaruge

Opinion: Another comedy anime and another one I’m willing to try for an episode or two.  What differentiates Tanaka-kun from the other comedy anime this season is that it features the director of Non Non Biyori, which is an anime I adore given its pacing, style, and chemistry.  I don’t have much hope for Tanaka-kun otherwise, given that the humor of the PV is tame or slow versus the others.  I’ll have a better idea once this anime airs and once I have a chance to try out all the other comedies.

Plans for this show: Doubtful but it gets a shot

 

Tonkatsu DJ Agetarou

Opinion: Tonkatsu DJ Agetarou is certainly distinctive, what with its story and animation style.  I often find myself interested in these anime with very different visual styles and performances, and so I find myself curious with how Tonkatsu DJ Agetarou presents itself.  Additionally, it’s a comedy series, so I’m curious to see whether this anime will make me smile or laugh or, like the PV, leave me somewhat perplexed.  I’m not sure how I feel about mixing tonkatsu with disc jockeying but it’s a combination I’m willing to give a chance to.

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.

 

12-sai. ~Chicchana Mune no Tokimeki~

Opinion: Do I need to explain why this isn’t a good fit for me?

Plans for this show: No dice

 

Endride

Opinion: Another dime-a-dozen teenage boy goes to a fantasy world anime.  If you lined Endride up with 4 others from this genre, I wouldn’t be able to pick it out of the crowd.

Plans for this show: No dice

 

Hakuouki: Otogisoushi

Opinion: Even if it were 6 girls and 1 guy, I’d still say no.

Plans for this show: No dice

 

Hundred

Opinion: I wasn’t sure whether I should give this an episode or not.  Then I got to the end of the PV where the main character falls and fondles the main girl.  Thanks for saving me the time, Hundred PV.

Plans for this show: No dice

 

Kuromukuro

Opinion: Kuromukuro looks too bland and boring.  I don’t think there’s enough there to even warrant an episode at this point, especially with everything else above that looks much more interesting and exciting.

Plans for this show: No dice

 

Netoge no Yome wa Onnanoko ja Nai to Omotta?

Opinion: To date, I have never watched anything produced by Project No.9.  The streak will continue this season (and probably forever).

Plans for this show: No dice

 

Onigiri

Opinion: I originally found a short anime related to the MMORPG that this anime is based on, and now I’m curious how bad the anime will be.  Also, I wonder if they’ll adapt this in English as “Japanese Donuts”.

Plans for this show: No dice

 

Seisen Cerberus: Ryuukoku no Fatalite

Opinion: Again, another teenage boy in another fantasy world.  And again, no reason for me to watch.

Plans for this show: No dice

 

Sousei no Onmyouji

Opinion: Way too shounen for me.  And unlike the other shounen above that I’m willing to give a try, this one has no redeeming qualities for me.

Plans for this show: No dice

 

Wagamama High Spec

wagamama_high_spec-previewOpinion: Male protag draws ecchi romance manga.  School president finds out and wants a dude on the student council.  And that’s all I need to drop this anime.

Plans for this show: No dice

 

As always, I’ll be providing my reviews and opinions for most of these anime in my First Impressions posts once each these shows debut and once I actually get around to watching them.  Until that time, I hope everyone enjoys the start of the Spring 2016 anime season!

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