Summer 2016 Season Preview

The quest for greatness continues. Spring 2016 turned out to be a good season, especially in terms of quantity, but when we look back at schedules like Spring 2012, it’s a reminder of what a truly great anime season looks like. I’m not honestly sure if we’ll ever see its like again – the industry has simply undergone too many changes that will never be walked back. But it’s my nature as an anime fan to dream.

Historically speaking one doesn’t look to summer for greatness in an anime schedule – it’s generally been a lean season. But for whatever reason, in the last couple of years summer has proved quite respectable – good even. In 2013 it was the year’s best season, which had never happened in my time as a fan, featuring series such as Gin no Saji, Uchouten Kazoku and Watamote. And Summer 2016 looks pretty good on paper – I’m previewing 21 shows, about the same as spring, and it’s a good bet a decent number of them will prove worthy of coverage.

Looking at the schedule itself, I see a fairly standard mix. Sequels expected (Shokugeki no Souma, Arslan) and unexpected (D.Gray Man). Some interesting manga adaptations newer (Handa-kun) and older (Orange). Perhaps my favorite part of the schedule is that there are only three light-novel adaptations that I can see – I’m not ready to call the LN to anime boom over, but the trend is encouraging. Certainly I can’t remember the last time we had more originals than LN adaptations on the schedule, though the trade-off is that as the number of original series has been increasing, so has their level of the derivative. It’s a pretty big season for Key – we have both a Rewrite series (exciting for Tanaka Romeo fans) and a long-awaited Planetarian ONA and movie coming.

Without any question two series stand far, far above the pack for me in terms of expectations – Battery and Mob Psycho 100. We’ve got elite studios, one of the greatest anime directors ever, arguably the most exciting young talent of his generation, and highly-regarded source material. If this season is going to feature at least one truly great series, it seems likely to come from one of those two.

The sidebar poll is in the usual place – go get it! Without further ado, on to the previews:

Morose

Fukigen na Mononokean – Pierrot Plus
Director: Iwanaga Akira
Writer: Yoshioka Takao
Schedule: Premieres Tuesday 6/28, 23:30
Episodes: TBA

Preview:
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First Look: There’s a very faint whiff of Natsume Yuujinchou in the air around Fukigen no Mononokean, the tale of a high schooler who’s unwillingly stuck to a youkai and the café owner who reluctantly tries to help it pass on to the next world. I don’t know the source material here but I know it’s pretty well-regarded. On the flip-side one of the leads is Kaji Yuuki and the staff isn’t necessarily exceptional. It’s no secret that I have a weakness for Shinto-themed fantasy, so I’ll be going onto this one with a certain degree of optimism.

Berserk

Berserk – Millipensee/GEMBA
Director/Writer: Itagaki Shin

Writer: Fukami Makoto
Schedule: Premieres Friday, 7/01, 22:30
Episodes: TBA

Preview:
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First Look: When I realize how little exposure I have to the Berserk franchise it always surprises me, given how massively popular it is. The manga is, in fact, no less than the #1 ranked of all-time on MAL, and despite starting in 1989 is still ongoing (though mangaka Miura Kentarou is almost as legendary for hiatuses as Togashi). The general consensus seems to be that the 1997 anime adaptation was a modest disappointment, and there seems little optimism that a current attempt can do better.

What we know – this is a sequel to the first anime (and subsequent movies) and seems to be adapting the “Black Swordsman” arc. That the source material is incredibly dark and disturbing. That this version is going to all or mostly CGI, and that the staff isn’t all that distinguished. I’m certainly going to give this a shot (after familiarizing myself with the material that precedes it), and perhaps not having the weight of expectations bearing down on my will be a good thing.

Hatsukoi

Hatsukoi Monster – Studio DEEN A-1 Pictures
Director: Inagaki Takayuki
Writer: Akao Deko
Schedule: Premieres Saturday, 7/02, 23:00
Episodes: TBA

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First Look: A high-school girl is saved from being hit by a truck by a tall young man, who she promptly falls in love with. Turns out they’re staying at the same dormitory, and she asks me him out. Only problem? Turns out the guy is in firth-grade. OK, I won’t attempt to defend that premise – but if played right, there could be some comic potential in it. I’m pretty much taking an out-and-out flyer on this one and my expectations are minimal, but it’s 22 minutes out of my life (or who knows – maybe even less if it’s offensive enough).

Fudanshi

Fudanshi Koukou Seikatsu – DAX/Dream Creation
Director: Tokoro Toshikatsu
Writer: TBA
Schedule: Premieres Tuesday, 7/05 – 22:55
Episodes: TBA

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First Look: This one is also kind of a flyer based on the intriguingly oddball premise. The story is built around the daily life of a high school male yaoi fan, which means this series could easily prove either really novel and insightful or crass and demeaning. I’m hoping a mangaka who was bothered to write a series about a character like that would give us the former, but I have no basis to make a call – I haven’t read any of the manga and the studio and staff tell us next to nothing.

Kono Bijutsubu

Kono Bitsubu ni wa Mondai ga Aru! – feel
Director: Oikawa Kei
Writer: Arakawa Naruhisa
Schedule: Premieres Thursday, 7/08 – 02:28
Episodes: TBA

Preview:
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First Look: Some sleeper vibe is emanating from this adaptation of Imigi Muru’s manga about a high school art club full of oddball kids. The male lead is obsessed with drawing the perfect 2-D waifu, the female lead is ultra-sensible, the president is always asleep. The staff is rock-solid and experienced and the source publication is a seinen magazine (which is almost always a good sign). Good comedies are the bedrock of any really good anime season – the shows you just relax and enjoy week after week – and Kono Bitsubu ni wa Mondai Aru! seems to have the potential to help fill that role this summer.

Planetarian

Planetarian: Chiisana Hoshi no Yume – David Production
Director: Tsuda Naokatsu
Writer: Yasukawa Shogo
Schedule: Premieres Wednesday, 7/07
Episodes: 5

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First Look: Key fans have a lot to look forward to this season – in the wake of finally seeing Little Busters adapted (and well, too) they’re getting not one but two Visual Arts properties this season. Of course, as they did when LitBus came to the screen most of them are spending more time complaining that Kyoto Animation isn’t producing than being happy the VN they love is finally making it onto the screen in anime form.

Planetarian is actually getting a two-pronged treatment – this 5-episode net animation, to be followed by a theatrical film this summer. All of them come courtesy of David Production, not a huge studio but one that has done some nice work in the past. A post-apocalyptic hard sci-fi about a space salvager called a “junker” in a future where humanity on Earth is nearly extinct, Planetarian has a reputation as being the most restrained and darkest of key’s works. Fans have been waiting since 2004 for this one, and while I’m not a hardcore gamer by any means my expectation level is pretty high based on what I know of the story.

91

91 Days – Shuka
Director: Kaburaki Hiro
Writer: Kishimoto Taku
Schedule: Premieres Thursday, 7/08, 25:55
Episodes: TBA

Preview:
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First Look: 91 Days might just be the most interesting of this season’s original anime.  It has a definite Baccano! vibe to it and comes from the studio that spun off from Brain’s Base, which produced that classic.  Kishimoto has an excellent track record and Kaburaki is one of the most underrated directors working in anime today, having helmed the superb Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun and Hoozuki no Reitetsu in recent years.  The story is set in the U.S. during the early years of prohibition, and chronicles the cycle of violence surrounding a group of characters with ties to the mob.  It features a cast light on idols and heavy on talent, including Kondou Takashi (who was so great as Claude in Ikoku Meiro no Croisee) as male lead Avilo.  You never know with originals, but the pedigree is certainly in place for 91 Days to be a keeper.

Arslan 2

Arslan Senku: Fuujin Ranbu – Lidenfilms
Director: Abe Noriyuki
Writer: Uezu Makoto
Schedule: Premieres Saturday, 7/03, 17:00
Episodes: 8

Preview:
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First Look: All systems should be go for Arslan Senki‘s second season to pick up where the first left off – the staff is back in place and there’s plenty of story left to tell.  The only down note, really, is that the season is only 8 episodes long (it’s actually sharing a timeslot with the new season of Nanatsu no Taizai).

Arslan Senki has always been a bit of an odd duck as an adaptation, given that it’s theoretically baed on a manga that’s as often as not on hiatus these days, but is itself based on a novel series that dates all the way back to 1986.  The first season had already passed Arakawa Hiromu’s manga in the narrative timeline, so what we’re really seeing here is Tanaka Yoshiki’s story being adapted with Arakawa-sensei’s character designs.  What that means in terms of the future of the anime is hard to say, but the story itself is a pretty gripping one – one of the best historical fantasy series anywhere – and I’ll happily take eight episodes if that’s all I’m going to get.

Battery

Battery – Zero-G
Director/Writer: Mochizuki Tomomi
Schedule: Premieres Thursday, 7/15, 25:55
Episodes: 11

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First Look: This one checks off pretty much all the boxes for me. It’s written and directed by Mochizuki Tomomi, one of the half-dozen or so greatest creative talents in TV anime history.  The character designs are by Hourou Musuko‘s Shimura Takako.  It’s a sports series, and baseball one at that – and it’s one focused around the character story.  It’s based on a novel that’s won Japan’s greatest prizes for young adult literature, and has already inspired a manga, a live-action TV drama and a theatrical film.  All systems are fully go.

It’s fascinating that NoitaminA can whipsaw from a series so patently at odds with its original mission like Koutetsujou no Kabaneri (fun though it is) to a highly literate classic NoitaminA piece like Battery without batting an eye these days.  The core relationship here is between a young phenom of a pitcher who loses faith in his talent after moving to a new town and starting middle school, and the boy who becomes his battery-mate and best friend.  In a sense, the vibe I’m getting here is Adachi Mitsuru meets Sakamichi no Apollon.  The fact that novelist Asano Atsuko also wrote No. 6 (and that Shimura is involved, I suppose) will probably cause warning lights to flash for the narrow-minded, but I have no idea whether there’s a romantic subtext between the leads – nor do I care, to be honest.  There’s every reason to expect Battery to be a major contender for best series of the season.

Handa-kun

Handa-kun – Diomedea
Director: Koyama Yoshitaka
Writer: Yokote Michiko
Schedule: Premieres Thursday, 7/08, 25:58
Episodes: TBA

Preview:
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First Look: Barakamon mangaka Yoshino Satsuki did something quite interesting and unusual with the launch of Handa-kun, a spin-off/prequel, while the original manga was ongoing (which it still is).  Handa-kun is quite different from Barakamon in terms of tone and style despite sharing the same main character, and it’s actually proved to be even more popular than its parent in manga form.

Handa-kun has changed studio and cast from Brakamon, but I’m fine with that.  The Barakamon adaptation was pretty good, but made what for me were some poor choices along the way and in the process really lost the nuance and essence of the source material.  Maybe Handa-kun will be more faithful, we’ll see – I like what little of it I’ve read.  The dynamic is quite odd, with the socially awkward Handa-kun being something of a school idol while laboring under the mistaken impression that he’s a bottom-feeding bully victim.  It’s recognizably Yoshino’s work, but especially as regards the humor the feel of the series is very different indeed.

Souma3

Shoukigeki no Souma: Ni no Sara – J.C. Staff
Director: Yonetani Yoshitomo
Writer: Yasukawa Shogo
Schedule: Premieres Saturday, 7/02, 22:00
Episodes: TBA

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First Look: I really loved the job J.C. Staff did in bringing Shoukugeki no Souma, a very good manga but not a great one, to the screen.  They mined every ounce of appeal from the material and adapted it with a great sense of style, from the OP/ED to the eyecatches to the casting.  I could never quite figure out why this series didn’t sell more discs – it has plenty of fanservice for both genders (and food porn fans), it was qualitatively excellent and looked great, and the manga is very popular.  Fortunately in the world of Shounen Jump adaptations disc sales are only a small slice of the economic pie, thus this sequel – and I would imagine we’ll get a complete adaptation of the manga sooner or later.

The appeal of Shoukugeki no Souma is a bit hard to describe in writing – I think it’s one of those shows you just have to experience.  It attacks the culinary side of its story with zeal and decent accuracy, and provides an interesting reimagining of the classic shounen template in an unusual setting for it.  There’s a lot of abandon and joy in the crafting of this series, an embrace of silliness and cliche without losing the grounding of the characters and their relationships.  Souma will never at any time be the best manga in WSJ, nor will the anime be the best show of any season, but it always manages to deliver the goods in grand style.

ReLIFE

ReLIFE – TMS
Director: Kosaka Satoru
Writer: Yokote Michiko
Schedule: TBA
Episodes: TBA

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First Look: ReLIFE has slipped under my radar a bit, but the more I read about this Kodansha-nominated manga’s adaptation the more intrigued I get.  The story follow an unemployed 27 year-old salaryman loser who’s given a chance to be part of an experiment where his appearance is changed (via a drug) to a 17 year-old, and he lives the high-school experience for a year.  TMS is as close to a “neutral” studio as there is and director Kosaka has never helmed a series before (Yokote is obviously very experienced and very busy), but the source material seems extremely interesting.  This is likely to be one of those frustrating one-cour adaptations of ongoing manga, but it strikes me as a case where I might end up picking up the manga after the anime ends.

DGray

D.Gray-man Hallow – TMS
Director: Ashino Yoshiharu
Writer: Various
Schedule: Premieres Tuesday, 7/05, 23:35
Episodes: 13

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First Look: D.Gray-man was not a series I necessarily expected to see get a sequel (not a reboot) after all this time.  The manga is famous for Hunter X Hunter-level hiatuses (mangaka Hoshino Katsura has been more or less open about her health issues), but it soldiers on.  Everything is new here – studio, staff, cast – and the fact that this adaptation is one-cour indicates it’s going to be a pretty selective affair.  I enjoyed most of the first series and it most certainly provided one of the most frustrating stopping points ever, but knowing things are still ongoing and Hallow won’t finish them gives me pause – as does the fact that manga readers seem generally unimpressed with the direction Hoshino-sensei has taken the story.

Qualidea

Qualidea Code – A-1 Pictures
Director: Kawamura Kenichi
Writer: Various
Schedule: Premieres Sunday, 7/10, 24:00
Episodes: TBA

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First Look: Stop me if you’ve heard this before: in a dystopian future, a bunch of teens with mysterious esper powers are at the forefront of the battle with the supernatural enemy of all mankind.  This original series is pretty much a straight-up flyer for me, but the staff and promo materials at least emanate the sense of halfway decent pulp entertainment.

Amaama

Amaama to Inazuma – TMS
Director: Iwasaki Tarou
Writer: Hirota Mitsutaka
Schedule: Premieres Tuesday, 7/05, 25:05
Episodes: 12

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First Look: Damn, TMS Entertainment is busy this summer – have they ever had this many shows in a single season before?  There are some unusual elements with Amaama to Inazuma that make it an interesting prospect for me.  It features an adult main character for one – a single father with a young daughter.  It’s built around food, always an interesting topic.  And Iwasaki-sensei did a nice job directing Isshuukan Friends for Brain’s Base.  I don’t know the source material here but the buzz around it is generally pretty positive.  All in all it’s enough to put Sweetness and Lightning into the second tier of prospects for this season.

Mob

Mob Psycho 100 – Bones
Director: Tachikawa Yuzuru
Writer: Seko Hiroshi
Schedule: Premieres Tuesday, 7/12, 24:00
Episodes: TBA

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First Look: Here’s the other resident of the top expectations tier along with Battery, this time featuring an lite director from an entirely different generation.  Tachikawa-sensei’s Death Parade was the best anime of 2015, a remarkable work from a 33 year-old – especially considering that he created it, wrote the scripts and storyboarded it as well as directing.  He’s taken his services from Madhouse to TV anime’s other premier studio, Bones, for this one – and all the piece are there.  In addition to top-shelf director and studio bona fides Mob Psycho 100 also features music by anime’s greatest composer, Kawai Kenji, and a source material by ONE – whose One Punch Man proved the basis for one of 2015’s better series. We even get a lead role for Miyu Irino (as the protagonist’s younger brother).

I haven’t read much of ONE’s manga, but what I have delivers about what you’d expect – his bizarre art style and a great deal of wit and thoughtfulness semi-hidden under madcap surrealism and snark.  Mob Psycho 100 is the story of an 8th-grader named Shigeo with psychic powers who’s spent most of his life hiding them so as to avoid unwanted attention.  The problem is that’s impossible, and Shigeo is smart enough to understand the danger inherent in his powers.  In my view Mob Psycho 100 is a more grounded series than One Punch Man, somewhat more “serious” for lack of a better (and less overused) word.  This is one of those shows that almost can’t avoid being really good – the only question is whether it will be great, and whether it will be successful enough to see its story continue in anime form.

 

Cheer

Cheer Danshi!! – Brain’s Base
Director: Yoshimura Ai
Writer: Yoshida Reiko
Schedule: Premieres Tuesday, 7/05, 23:00
Episodes: TBA

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First Look: Here’a another series that’ a bit of a flyer.  But old loyalties to Brain’s Base die hard, and there some reasons for optimism about Cheer Danshi!!  The staff is relatively good – Yoshimura is fairly competent, and Yoshida one of the most experienced writers in anime.  I’m also inclined to give series directed by women more rope to hang themselves, because anime desperately needs more female directors.  And the source material here is an actual novel.  Whether there’s anything much to be mined from a premise about a quirky male cheer squad who knows, but at least they’re college students rather than high schoolers.  It’s worth an episode or two, anyway.

 

Rewrite

Rewrite – 8bit
Director/Writer: Tanaka Motoki
Writer: Tanaka Romeo
Schedule: Premieres Saturday, 7/02, Time TBA
Episodes: TBA

 

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First Look: Key’s other major adaptation this season is Rewrite, generally regarded as one of the better visual novels ever created.  I’m a big fan of Tanaka Romeo (as far as I know this was his only collaboration with Visual Arts) and the general consensus seems to be that Kotarou is the best of all Key male leads. Story-wise we seem to be looking at a fairly classic Key VN scenario – a guy with a buttmonkey best friend, a harem, and a strong supernatural undertone (though in the case of Rewrite, “undertone” probably doesn’t do it justice – it’s more just “tone”).

There’s a lot to be excited about here, though a lot of questions too.  There are rumors that this adaptation will be at least three cours, but nothing confirmed as of this writing.  There’s also the fact that veterans of the VN seem to feel that it’s virtually unadaptable in anything like its native form, and indeed Tanaka and Tanaka II (Motoki) have already said they’re writing a more or less original route for the anime.  We’ll see – Rewrite isn’t my top pick for the summer but it could definitely prove to be one of the season’s best series.

Binan 2

Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei-bu LOVE! LOVE! – Studio Comet
Director: Takamatsu Shinji
Writer: Yokote Michiko
Schedule: Premieres Friday, 7/08, 26:35
Episodes: One Cour

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First Look: Takamtsu Shinji is the go-to guy for school shows centered around boys, and the first season of this rare mahou shounen series was a total blast.  Shinji has a very deft hand at lovingly sending up the gender stereotypes that dominate anime these days, and Binan Koukou totally buys into the silliness of its own premise.  At its best the first season was outright hilarious, and it was almost never less than seriously fun.  If Binan Koukou had ever really tried to take itself seriously I think the spell would have been broken, but it never did – and there’s no reason to think the second season will be any different.

Days

Days – MAPPA
Director: Uda Kounosuke
Writer: TBA
Schedule: TBA
Episodes: TBA

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First Look: Summer is usually good for a sports anime or two, and this year is no exception.  I love this genre and its absence leaves a gaping hole in an otherwise decent spring.  As for Days, my expectations aren’t as stratospheric as they are for Battery, but they’re still high.  I love soccer anime for starters, and Days shares a director with the utterly splendid Ginga e Kickoff.  Its creator Yasuda Tsuyoshi also wrote Over Drive, which I consider to be one of the more underrated sports series of the past couple of decades.

With all of that going for it and MAPPA besides, Days seems like a solid bet to be a very good show.  From what I’ve read so far it’s a fairly straightforward sports manga, not as edgy as Over Drive but heartfelt and tightly-plotted.  We’ve got a familiar tale of two boys, one a soccer phenom named Jin and the other an average kid named Tsukushi who knows nothing about the game.  Jin makes it his mission to bring Tsukushi into the sport and the rest, as they say, is history.  I imagine this will be multi-cour but the manga is still ongoing.

Orange

Orange – TMS/Telecom Animation Film
Director: Hamsaki Hiroshi
Writer: Kakihara Yuuko
Schedule: Premieres Monday, 7/04, 24:00
Episodes: TBA

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First Look: Orange is a manga that inspires very strong emotions indeed, both positive and negative.  I know people who revere it as an absolute classic and those who decry it as manipulative and melodramatic, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone call it boring.  The manga was completed in five volumes so I imagine it’s a series that could be adapted relatively easily in one cour, though to the best of my knowledge there’s still no official episode count.  There’s a turbulent history here – a long hiatus, a change of publications, a switch to monthly format.

The story here is about a high school girl who receives a letter claiming to be from herself, ten years into the future, warning her of a series of regrets connected to a boy about to transfer into her class.  I imagine Orange to be one of those series where spoilers are going to be a huge problem.  The manga has already received a live-action film and is generally well-known, so there are going to be an awful lot of people on whose discretion the rest of us are going to have to uneasily rely.  There’s a pretty strong staff here and the previews look gorgeous, so the hype is already building – I can see glory and disaster doing battle on the horizon, but it’s likely what we arrive at will be something in-between.

Will Definitely Blog: Arslan Senki, Battery, Shoukugeki no Souma, Mob Psycho 100, Days. But there are at least 4-5 more that are heavy favorites to make the cut.

Sleeper Candidates: Kono Bitsubu ni wa Mondai Aru!, 91 Days, ReLIFE, Amaama to Inazuma.

 

OVA/Movie:

Tanaka-kun wa Itsumo Kedaruge Specials: (Special) – 6/24/ & 7/22/2016: Two Blu-ray extra episodes of Silver Link’s marvelous Tanaka-kun wa Itsumo Kedaruge.  Savor them, as they’ll likely be the last Tanaka-kun anime we get.

Shokugeki no Souma Special (Special) – 7/04/2016: Part 2 of the autumn vacation side story.

Joker Game: Kuroneko Your no Bouken (OVA) – 7/27/2016: First of a two-part special episode of Joker Game.  I’ve grown somewhat disillusioned about the TV series but it’s a quality work.

Akatsuki no Yona (OVA) – 8/2016: The first of two OVAs covering the Zeno Arc.  I’ll take any Yona I can get, though seeing this in OVA form seems to suggest that the chances of a second season are pretty remote.

Kamisama Hajimemashita: Kako-hen (OVA) – 8/19/2016: The fourth and final episode of  KamiHaji‘s “past arc” – and likely the series’ final salvo as an anime.  It will be sorely missed – it’s one of the more under-appreciated series of recent years.

Dimension W (Special) – 8/26/2016: Special episode bundled with Vol. 6 of the manga.

 

Theatrical: Finally some signs of life on the big screen.

Kaze no You ni – 7/09/2016: A fairy-tale about a boy beekeeper who disappears and the girl who awaits his return.  The odds that this is ever subtitled are astronomically small, but the art is very appealing

Mahoutsukai no Yome: Hoshi Matsu Hito – 8/13/2016: Yamazaki Kore’s extremely popular and critically acclaimed “The Ancient Magus’ Bride” manga gets an anime from Wit. Oddly, it’s a 3-part OVA prequel to the manga itself. The only reason I can fathom for this choice given the series’ proven commercial success is to buy a little more time to build up source material before launching a full-fledged TV anime.

Kimi no Na wa – 8/26/2016: There are very few anime directors for whom the release of a new film is an event, but Shinkai Makoto is definitely one of them.  He seems to again be taking his star-crossed lovers theme literally here, as the plot involves a city boy and country girl somehow being spiritually connected after a comet falls in Japan.  My completely unsubstantiated feeling is that this one leans more towards the polished, mainstream style we saw from Shinkai in Hoshi wo Ou Kodomo, but we’ll see – in any event you know it will leave you gobsmacked with the beauty of Shinkai’s art.

Planetarian: Hoshi no Hito – 9/3/2016: The Planetarian adaptation concludes with this film version.

Koe no Katachi – 9/17/16: I’m a big fan of Ooima Yoshitoki’s manga about a deaf girl and the boy who bullies her in elementary school, but even more about what happens after bullying.  I wasn’t thrilled when I found out that this adaptation was going to be a movie, because there’s far too  much material to cover.  I was even less thrilled when Kyoto Animation was announced as the studio, especially as they gave the project to one of their weaker directors in Yamada Naoko.  This is a minefield – can KyoAni resist the urge to run this dense, rough-edged material through the homogenizer?  Could any studio adapt it in a single film without butchering the story?  I love Koe no Katachi too much not to hope, but also too much to not be very worried.

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58 comments

  1. T

    This summer actually looks very good. I’m interested in Orange and ReLife but who knows others might surprise. In regards to the Zeno arc being adapted I’m wondering Enzo if you have begun to read the manga or have read it already? I ask because his animated arc will be a huge spoiler for you that is later revealed in the manga and the build up to it was great. Other than that I’m still sad his arc is getting adapted at all and there seems to be no 2nd season in the works ;_;

  2. I am reading the manga and have not read the Zeno arc yet, but I may get there before someone gets around to subbing the OVAs. If not, c’est la vie.

  3. When first heard you talked about Battery anime, I thought they’re bringing back Bat&Terry.
    I guess that would be too crazy, even after Parasyte and Ushio to Tora.

    Amaama to Inazuma is probably the Shounen Maid of this season, minus the hentai yaoi confusion. I’m really a sucker for slice of life, so I’ll definitely watch it.

  4. J

    Pretty decent season from the looks of it. Battery and Mob Psycho 100 are going to be must-watches, but the highest expectations for me go towards Amanchu – I AM a big fan of Aria, after all, so this is a no-brainer. Days seems like a safe bet, and as fan of the Berserk manga I’m going to watch the anime as well (though in general I had the impression that the 1997 really wasn’t that much of a disappointment, except for the ending maybe), though full CGI really hurts me. Arslan and Handa-kun are probably going to be watched since I’ve already seen the related titles, and the preview here got me a litte interested in Fukigen na Mononokean, I suppose. It’s not quite as full as Spring for me, but maybe that’s for the better.

  5. Looking forward to Battery, Berserk and Mob.

    The 90s Berserk series was a heck of lot better than any of the other attempts made after, but that’s because of the less CGI dominated, faded color palette and the time gone by art style still in play. While it may not have hit all the marks those manga readers may have wished for, as an anime-only viewer, I think it lived well on a consistently ominous atmosphere. The only detraction for me was that Guts used a sword to cut through plate armor, which makes little sense. If swords could do such things, the world never would have invented the pollaxe or any of the other 14/15th Cent. can openers.

    Mob, ONE. Nuff said.

  6. M

    You forgot to mention the excellent soundtrack by Susumu Hirasawa.

  7. J

    I think the probably biggest shortcoming that the old anime had was to not introduce a character who is actually rather vital throughout the story, and skipping him altogether (the Skull Knight, to be exact). That’s probably the reason why the anime ended at the spot it did as well, since that’s one of the points he became involved. As such the anime can sort of stand on its own, but is rather unsuitable if you want to connect it with a potential sequel.

  8. You not interested in Nejimaki Senki Tenkyou no Alderamin? this series got number 2 best light novel in 2014

  9. It was probably the last series cut from the preview, and I’ll watch the premiere. But I’ve been burned so many times by LNs that looked good on paper and turned out to be just another LN that I’m pretty much in “put up or shut up” mode now.

  10. Y

    I’m most looking forward to 91 days and Battery. Regarding D. Gray man Hallow, as someone who hasn’t read the manga ever since Hoshino sensei had her first hiatus, I remember this arc receiving rather divisive reactions from fans. I remember I found it imperfect but at least satisfactory (compared to the plot afterwards), so I’m definitely going to give it a try. I do have some misgivings about some of the cast choice (like Hanae Natsuki for Lavi) as well as the fact that it’s been 10 years, so I wonder if I’ll enjoy it as I did as a teenager.

    As a manga reader of Mononokean, I’m sad that Kaji Yuki is once again going to destroy any possibility of me following an anime adaptation (last time it was Magi). He’s tolerable when voicing side characters and softspoken characters (such as Kenma in Haikyuu), BUT the main character of Mononokean is the overtalkative, childish type (occasionally veering on irritating for comedic effect) and there’s no way Kaji’s voice can handle that delicate balance. He’s definitely going to sound downright annoying. Sigh.

    Thanks to your previews, I’m now also interested in Mob Psycho, Amaama, and ReLife.
    Also, it seems like there’s even more shows geared towards the female demographic this year (though as long as I get my dosage of shounen and sports each season, I don’t particularly mind).

  11. The female demographic as asserted itself in the commercial marketplace in the past couple of years, and predictably that’s being catered to more. Of course as with shows aimed at guys, there’s a fair amount of rote filler for every really good series, but overall it’s good for the diversity of the medium.

    I’ll give Mononokean a shot, but yeah, I’m skeptical of Kaji being able to carry a series as a lead. And yes, I have an issue with Hanae Natsuki as Lavi too – and I generally like him as a seiyuu. I just think he’s a bad fit.

  12. L

    Well, some people in Sakuga crowd consider Yamada Naoko as KyoAni’s most talented director.

    The only thing I worry about Battery is the original work has the same author as Telepathy Shoujo Ran, the very first anime I dropped halfway through.

  13. A

    I personally disagree with the DGM statement: there have been theories pointing in this direction, based in clues that go so far as the first volume of the manga, much before the last discoveries were made. I was kind of baffled at first too, but looking back you realize that Hoshino had been preparing for this development for a long, long while.

    (This section removed for possible manga spoilers – GE)

    I won’t say that Hoshino’s health problemas haven’t affected in the least the story, but if you say these things are an asspull or something you didn’t expect… you weren’t looking at the manga with enough attention.

  14. Its nice to see that you’re giving Berserk a try, would be interesting even though I don’t think the anime series is going to do it much justice. I might prefer a Polygon Pictures adaptation of it to what we’re getting; at least that studio is faithful to its source.

    Other than that this looks like a good season, hopefully not the last of what has been a pretty good year all around.

  15. J

    Couple things about Berserk – I’m really not sure how much you know but I do just want to make clear that what we’re getting is an adaptation of material that takes place after a massive ten-volume long flashback arc called Golden Age; I’d recommend reading the manga of that material or watching the three movies that came out in 2012 that cover it. I know that you’re busy as hell anyway so this might not really be feasible, but just throwing it out there.

    The other question is if this adaptation will even be any good – I’m hoping for the best but not that optimistic. What I wouldn’t give for a comprehensive, traditionally-animated adaptation…

  16. R

    The 1997 adaptation was perfectly comprehensible. It makes a few bold adaptive choices here and there, but is actually an effective self-contained telling of Guts’ past. Amazing that the same studio that worked on Pokémon put that beast together.

    The movies add the fairy dust in there, sure, but boy were they ugly a chunk of the time.

  17. J

    Yeah, didn’t mean to slight the 1997 show, I’m just not familiar with it. I read the manga a long time ago and then the movies a couple weeks ago but I should check ’97 out sometime.

  18. I think you’ll probably like Re:LIFE, I’m a fan of the manga and I think that it manages to make “27 year old is not 17 again” more bittersweet than creepy (since it’s only because he’s had these other life experiences that he can help his friends handle these high school problems) which is great since it could’ve been so easy to get so creepy.

  19. There seems to be an explosion in this sort of body-swapping, time-jumping theme in anime. Maybe that will mean the very worthwhile Shishunki Bitter Change will get an adaptation.

  20. A

    Glad you gave Battery such high marks. That’s the one I’m most looking forward to. And you sold me on Days with the Ginga e Kickoff credit too; I’ll try to give that one and Mob Psycho a shot, but I learned this past season I don’t have the free time to watch a lot of shows any more.

  21. First thanks for putting this up ! I read a lot of your blogs but dont have the time always to comment but thanks for your effort !

    The Summer Lineup looks good . I stay guarded though. After what happened with Spring which unlike you left me let down .Dont get me wrong there was enough good ones .

    I wiil remember Spring more for Assassination Classroom and the great job they are doing with that.That should be my Top 5 / 10 of all time.

    A disclaimer for Spring 20122 / there still were shows not picked up and at that time I was doing FARM- AG deliveries sometimes putting in 15 hours a day in spring so I was lucky to see these.Even with that I think there were other better Spring seasons but nobody ever likes all the same anime . / It’s subjective some times

    AKB0048 First Stage
    Eureka Seven AO
    Fate/Zero 2nd Season
    Haiyore! Nyaruko-san
    Jormungand
    Medaka Box
    Saki: Achiga-hen – Episode of Side-A

    SUMMER 2013 ( 23 Shows ) I do agree with you. / Just a couple personal highlights / but that was a great season / there has been a couple of close contenders / but really those shows impressed me then and now!

    The Eccentric Family
    WATAMOTE
    Gatchaman Crowds
    Silver Spoon
    Kin-iro Mosaic
    Love Lab
    Senki Zesshou: Symphogear G
    Servant × Service
    Teekyu S2
    The World God Only Knows: Goddesses Arc

    Now I do Greenlight theme elsewhere so I have seen all the annoucements already but you never really know until you start watching ,That being said with at least 5 / 6 carryovers from Spring and the return of FOOD WARS / Arslan / Nanatsu no Taizai: Seisen no Shirushi you have at least some foundation to start with.

    I never understand why the carryovers dont get mentioned as they are ANI-Chart but that is IMO.

    I have read / took a peak at Amanchu! (Same author as ARIA) / New Game! / Taboo Tattoo / and up to date FOOD WARS.MANGA

    There is a lot so I will refrain from early picks even though I have a lot on your personal list to check out. And many more .

  22. s

    Im looking forward to battery for the staff and mob psycho 100 because of……..the staff…..im so one-note. I guess the only two shows i have some sort of emotional investment in is d.grayman because i grew up with that in highschool and Berserk, because maaaaaaannnnnn is berserk good. And this is someone whose initial exposure was from the anime and not the manga, allowing me to avoid the trap of being an elitist with the material. In regard to its ending, yes i understand that it ended its run in the middle of a plot heavy scene but i would argue the series still had finality. The first ep begins in-media res and the whole series is pretty much the story of how our main character got to where he is now. By the end of the series, you understand the events that have led him on his path and who he has become. The story reaches where it needs to be and accomplishes what it set out to do, which is why i dont agree that the 1997 anime didnt complete its end. Either way, definitely give the 2016 series a go. Regardless of how truncated the movies felt, they were directed with such good quality that it makes me optimistic that the tv series, if paced well, will be quite good as well since the same staff is returning to work on this adaptation (minus the animation team); plus supposedly miura is supervising this adaptation which should bode well for the adaptation in general

  23. R

    “Anime’s greatest composer, Kawai Kenji”

    Ehh, I like some of his work on Eden of the East, Higurashi, Patlabor and the GiTs movie, but I find a lot of his stuff samey.
    Especially not a fan of his fully charged action pieces (think FSN/Gundam 00).

  24. K

    WAIT.

    Koe no Katachi is going to be a movie?!

    NOOOO! IT’S MUCH MORE SUITED TO BE AN ANIME SERIES!!! NOOOOOOOOO!!!! ;n;

  25. J

    I’m actually glad it’s only a movie, because I feel that the manga dragged after some time, and should have stayed an one-shot. Your mileage may vary on this one, of course.

  26. S

    Excellent preview as always. Thanks for your continued effort, Enzo!

  27. Thank you kindly, Spencer. They’re hard work, but it’s always nice when you finish one…

  28. H

    I am really excited for the new season to begin. Berserk is my most anticipated show despite the poor-looking animation quality. Back when it was announced that they were making the movies, we were told that there would be an anime continuing after the Golden Age arc. Then they didn’t make it. That, combined with all of the delays with the release of manga chapters, has been completely disheartening for a die hard fan like myself who has been following the story for years. I was beyond ecstatic when I found out this show was coming. Personally, I adore the 1997 anime as well as the new incarnations of the story. I can’t wait to see how they do this time around. I highly recommend both reading and watching this story if you have the chance.

    Fukigen na Mononokean is another show I am super excited for since the manga is fantastic. As long as they follow the source material I feel they can do no wrong 🙂 All in all, there are more than twelve shows I plan on checking out with Battery, Mob Psycho 100, 91 Days, Handa-kun, Amaama to Izuma, and Orange all near the top of my list. And I am dying to see Shinkai’s new film as well as A Silent Voice and The Ancient Magus’s Bride which all look gorgeous. D.Gray-man has me kind of nervous since it is only thirteen episodes and there is quite a bit of material that the original show did not cover. But it will be nice to watch it since the manga really sucks at the action scenes and the character designs changed so much during the progression of the story that I have trouble keeping characters straight whenever I buy a new volume.

  29. e

    – MobPsycho and 91 Days
    – (all) the sport series
    – D. Gray-man ( I remember that manga arc, hopefully on screen it will be at least on par if not better. I found that arc rather compelling plot-wise but panels layout were often confusing so finger crossed they keep the good bits and fix the visuals :D)
    – Binan II (with reservation. I loved the first season to bits but not feeling the ‘less evil animal mascots, insert albino twins winkwinkcest instead ‘ *yawn* )
    – basically all the movies (especially yes to the beekeeper!) . I’m among those who appreciated Koe No Katachi in its one-shot form and felt the expansion didn’t really live up to that so I’d rather watch a movie than a full adaptation of it ^_^”

    P.S.: @Enzo: good luck with Berserk. You might wish to read some parts on an empty stomach to better appreciate the visceral experience.

  30. I hear that about Koe no Katachi a lot, but I’ve never bought into it – for my tastes I thought the story held up pretty well. I think it’s kind of similar to the way a lot of readers reacted to what Sanbe did in the final arc of Boku Dake ga Inai Machi. I felt like I knew what he was trying to do and it worked for me – same with Koe.

  31. e

    @Enzo: you don’t have to buy into anything though. I am just mentioning that it left me overall less impressed as a long work than in its original form. In as non-spoilery terms as possible some aspects of the story (and one character) featured once they enter high school simply did not really work for me compared to the earlier parts, I was not convinced by a couple of emotional key moments later on too in terms both of execution and triggers – .
    Also I felt that for this kind of story some things were better left implied… and those same implications were there in the oneshot already anyway – ‘I felt like he knew what he was trying to do…’ yeah I can agree in the sense of there being a consistency of the characters’ arc with the pilot. My issues ( ‘… and it did not always work for me’ ) are with some steps he took to get the characters there in the longer version – . It went to a sharp insightful aphorism to a novel. It gained some facets in the process (I liked most of the expanded family dynamics aspect) but on the whole in this case it also lost some of its raw power and intensity in favour of… other stuff 🙂 . It’s still an above average manga, I just feel the oneshot is better because it rings true to me from beginning to end and everything ‘clicks’ among other things.
    P.S.: for the record I did like the final arc of (manga) Boku Dake.

  32. A

    I agree with Elianthos, to put my two cents: I was bullied back in the day and that’s something I will always live with, it leaves the kind of scars that are with you even 10 years after the fact and I love well-written bully narratives. That said, the one-shot rang pretty true to me and I enjoyed it a lot, but the follow-up manga… simply fell flat. As someone who is still battling the scars and defensive mechanisms from back then, the reactions of certain characters felt wrong and, over everything, I felt it lacked the bits of ugliness that are an essential part to the survivor experience.

    I’ve met lots of other bully victims after the fact through the internet, and I can’t say that the follow-up manga resembles anything I’ve listened about, my own experience aside. It’s… too clean, pretty and sanitized.

    I’m not saying that it’s objetively a bad manga or that it couldn’t be true for a certain type of person, but I just can’t connect with it. If the movie handles just the one-shot, however, I will be pleased to watch.

  33. F

    Well, I also agree with Elianthos and AS that the follow-up manga of Koe no Katachi is a bit too much optimistic thus the characters feel less realistic and the interactions between them seem forced at some places. That aside without spoiling anything I can say that I really liked the development of the main female character and her inner thoughts about herself and about the limitations that her disability sets for her so I won’t have any qualms even if the movie tries to adapt the whole manga.

    @Enzo: That reminds me that in the last post about Kokoro ga Sakebigatterunda you said that you were going to do a more detailed review about the movie when the Blu-ray comes out so I have been waiting these last few months as I’d like to hear your opinion on the movie since I’ve enjoyed it very much and in my opinion it is even more focused and at the same time more restrained so somehow more expressive than AnoHana was. (And Okada-san also deserves some praise after all the negative comments about the two shows in which she contributed this season. Nevertheless the negative comments were mostly rightful since Mayoiga and Kiznaiver were quite disastrously terrible in my honest opinion. )

  34. I’ve been thinking about how I can find time to do that post, believe me. I need to do a Miss Hokusai post too.

    Okada is at her best when doing this sort of material. It’s just too bad she hardly ever does it.

  35. O

    I used to be sad that Mob Psycho is a thing, since it equates to extremely infrequent OPM chapters. Then I read it. Mob Psycho is well worth the read. The adaptation looks like it’s gonna be great. All those things you wrote in your OPM reviews about ONE tapping into the angst of the Japanese youth seem a lot more applicable for this series, which makes sense since suppressed angst is built into the premise.

  36. E

    ever since draggle stopped blogging regularly ur my favourite stop for an anime blog! keep up the good work also help im rewatching baby steps for the 5th time i wish someone licensed it so i can buy it here T.T

  37. O

    I miss regular Draggle posts too 🙁

  38. D

    The original Berserk anime was actually really good. It just ended at a jarring part of the story. Like a few anime I remember from the time it was originally released, it also uses the first episode as a “looking back from the future” framing device… which is fine when it’s an old man telling his grandkids a story, doesn’t work so well when it teases/spoils events that won’t even be explored in the anime. I think their intention was just to sell the manga, but the arc the anime covers is almost like a prequel to the later story in the manga.

  39. R

    We’re getting Amama to Inazuma, Mob Psycho 100 AND Rewrite in one season. Someone pinch me I must be dreaming.

    I will check out Battery and then probably regret it as every time I’ve checked out a sports show Enzo likes I’ve lost hours of sleep binge reading (curse you Enzo and your good taste)

    The only series I disagree with you on is ReLife and that’s because I’m much more of an avid manga fan than anime fan so maybe I’ve just been overexposed. That said, after ReLife (and I believe ReMonster preceded it) there has been an absolute DELUGE of these sort of redo life wish fulfillment type stories. Enough so that I’m sick of most of them. ReLife is somewhere in the middle of the pack for me.

  40. R

    Whoops missed the ova/movie section.

    I supposed the only upside to getting an OVA for Mahoutsukai no Yome is that if it was a series for summer I would literally implode from so many of my favorites being adapted. That being said, whichever season the TV series comes out in will immediately become the top season for me. The series is THAT good.

  41. R

    What the hell is being gay adapted. Autocorrect please.

  42. Thank you – I wasn’t sure what sort of statement you were trying to make there…

  43. I’m one of those people that loved the original D.Grayman until it went off in a certain direction that most fans hated (including me). I was like WTF? and stopped reading the manga.

  44. J

    I’ll give Battery, Mob Psycho 100 & maybe Orange a chance.

    I honestly don’t expect Mob Psycho 100 to be that good, sorta like Kekkai Sensen, a director with 1 great show under their belt tries to adapt a well-known fan-favorite manga. Their style gets compromised or the content doesn’t quite suit their storytelling, but I guess I’ll see.

  45. S

    Thanks for the preview Enzo! Are you planning to check Taboo Tattoo? I watched PV and quite like J.C.Staff’s animation. It’s a seinen manga adaptation so it piqued my interest eventhough the main visual points out that it will be a harem anime which I’m not a big fan of its genre. At this point, I’ll just hope for the best.

  46. You’re most welcome. I’ll watch the premiere, though to be honest it looks pretty dumb to me. You never know.

  47. M

    Hullo, just wondering if you are going to give Doukyuusei a chance? its not in the preview, and it IS BL… but i know you give the genre a fighting chace(not that it has ever won, mind you). For me at least, this series was a revelation, the characters are treated – not with dignity, they are two adolescents in love- but not particularly different from any other two adolescents in love. the art is quirky and beautiful, nice eye catchers and the plot is a beautiful redo of an old story. I would really like to read a post about it if you give it a try :).

  48. There’s no Doukyuusei series, is there? Just the movie from last Winter?

  49. M

    nope, no series – my mistake about the season – but the subs have appeared until receantly (right?) the question is still valid though.

  50. I did watch the movie, actually. The art style and minimalist animation takes some getting used to, but it’s distinctive. I think the best thing about it is that it treats the subject matter in a rather matter-of-fact way, which in itself makes it stand out in anime terms. Strictly as a story, to be honest I didn’t find it especially compelling – it was good, but nothing that really wowed me. I have a problem with Kamiya Hiroshi in these sorts of roles, and my attention drifted pretty heavily by the second half. I like that there are anime with this kind of couple that don’t go strictly for titillation or mean-spirited comedy – I just didn’t find this one in specific to be particularly gripping.

  51. Yesterday I marathon watched ReLIFE and all I have to say was that it exceeded my (generally pessimistic about anime adaptation) expectations.

    I follow the webtoon, which is good, but I think the anime is executed better.

  52. I must confess, this distribution model seems very weird to me, but I guess it’s here to stay.

    There are no subs for it yet, are there?

  53. There aren’t subs yet, but the dialogue is fairly easy to understand. I paused to look things up maybe 10 times over the whole show.

  54. M

    Oh well, I did love it, thank you for answering :), just thought if you wanted a good example of a non offensive BL for a post, it had to be this.

  55. Watched Berserk and ReLIFE today and liked them both. Have never seen the original Berserk series so I guess I am gonna have to go and binge watch it on Netflix.

  56. BTW… Horrible subs has all 13 episodes of ReLIFE subbed.

  57. Enzo did ya get a chance to see Thunderbolt Fantasy? Its Gen Urobuchi’s new series and it is with puppets.

  58. I did. I admired what they did, but honestly this style of animation has never been a favorite of mine even when it was done this well. And the story was pretty much boilerplate.

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