Spring 2017 Season Preview

Will Spring 2017 be anime’s first step on the road to recovery? At this point, it’s too early to say.

The less we talk about the season in progress the better, probably – though it does seem to have escaped the doomsday scenario of being the worst anime season on record. On the strength of Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu being an all-time great and a couple of reasonably good non-sequels, Winter 2017 may just eclipse Winter 2013 on balance – though thanks to a number of good sequels that season, this is definitely the smallest number of series I’ve ever followed.

That, if nothing else, seems likely to change. This season’s I’m previewing no less than 24 shows, twice what I did for Winter. Part of that is simply a function of spring nearly always being the year’s largest schedule, but with that many shows to sample from, the odds are pretty good that a decent number will at least be good enough to blog. That number surprised me when I totted it up at the start of this post, because in looking at the schedule it didn’t strike me as an especially promising one. Without a doubt, the uncertainty factor (partly driven by so many seeming sleepers being LN adaptations) is unusually high this season – other than the sequels, it’s dominated by shows which seem to have a lot of potential but might just as easily be dogs.  We’ll just have to hope there’s safety in numbers.

The strength of Spring 2017 seems, on paper, seems to be sequels – it has a ton of pretty promising ones (there are three sequels to series that were on my year-end Top 10 lists).  Stuff like Natsume Yuujinchou Roku, Boku no Hero Academia 2 and Uchouten Kazoku 2 are above as safe as anime betting gets, and that’s not to mention the rock-steady if rarely flashy Kyoukai no Rinne. The are a couple of “Shingeki” sequels, too, and one of them may be the most widely-anticipated one in years. I’ll be watching (and blogging, at least to start) both, but I wouldn’t say either the original “Kyoujin” or “Bahamut” ranked as classics in my view.

What about original (and in this context, I mean “non-sequel”) series? Here’s where it gets a little troublesome, because while there are a whole lot of interesting lottery tickets there’s nothing out there that strikes me as a safe bet to be excellent. If I had to single out it would likely be Kabukibu, Clockwork Planet, Sakurada Reset and Tsuki ga Kirei, but in truth that amounts to more than a larger than usual sleeper list than a group of elites. That’s the thing with lottery tickets – even if you buy a bunch of them, you’re not likely to hit it big.

What about thematically? For one, there’s a definite resurgence of light novels as a source (including Clockwork Planet, Kabukibu! and Sakurada Reset) which doesn’t do much to make me more optimistic. Broadly speaking, fantasy (including historical), magic and magical realism themes seem to be having a moment, as straight sci-fi takes a back seat. The rest of it is the usual smattering – a bit of shoujo, a bit of romance, a bit of comedy, a token seinen or two. Perhaps most disappointingly for me, there doesn’t seem to be a single new sports series (even a sequel) starting this season.

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

 

Boku 2

Boku no Hero Academia Second Season – Bones
Director: Nagasaki Kenji
Writer: Kuroda Yousuke
Schedule: Premieres Saturday 04/01, 17:30
Episodes: Two Cour

Preview:
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First Look: For my money Horikoshi Kouhei’s Boku no Hero Academia may just be the consummate modern shounen.  It’s a classic in every sense of the word – not a deconstruction of the genre but a full-on deep dive into it.  It’s a marvelous work by a talented young mangaka with a bright future, and it’s no wonder it’s become arguably the most successful of Shounen Jump’s “next gen” properties.

As it usually does with its valuable franchises, Shueisha is treating BnHA with kid gloves.  The material was given to a studio in Bones that was pretty much guaranteed not to screw it up (especially with Nagasaki Kenji on-board) and the first season a single cour so as to avoid burning through material too quickly.  It’s been apparent since the first teasers that the sequel was likely to be two cours, and now it’s official.  The path with this series is pretty much unidirectional – it only gets better, and the first season was merely a tasting course of what this series has to offer.  This is as close to a slam dunk as it gets.

SnK 2

Shingeki no Kyoujin Season 2 – Wit
Director: Arali Tetsurou
Writer: Kobayashi Yasuko
Schedule: Premieres Saturday 04/01, 22:00
Episodes: TBA

 

Preview:
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First Look: Anime hits don’t get much bigger than Shingeki no Kyoujin.  From disc sales to manga volume records to Comiket to merchandising, this series pretty much owned the otaku community.  As only the true blockbusters do, it appealed to both male and female audiences in almost equal numbers.  And it arguably crossed over to the general public more broadly than any TV anime since Evangelion.

This sequel (maybe the most unsurprising ever) has been a long time coming, and the hype is huge.  Is all that success and hype justified?  Well, strictly in my opinion, no – Attack on Titan has some pretty glaring writing flaws as far as I’m concerned.  But I do get why it’s so popular, and I respect it – the show is loads of fun, frequently hilarious (sometimes even on purpose), and a virtual meme assembly line.  Even something as simple as seeing viewers go crazy trying to avoid spoilers was great entertainment (especially given how telegraphed the big “reveals” were).  Buckle up and enjoy the ride, because there are going to be times when it seems like it’s all the anime world is talking about.

Tsugumomo

Tsugumomo – Zero-G
Director/Writer: Kuraya Ryouichi
Schedule: Premieres Sunday, 04/02/17, 23:30
Episodes: TBA

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Preview:

 

 

First Look: I don’t know much about Tsugumomo, except that it’s supposedly pretty raunchy and the manga is surprisingly well-liked.  The story sounds pretty boilerplate – a kid surrounded by beautiful older girls and a magical/Shinto element – and there’s not much to go on in terms of staff, original creator or studio.  So basically a flyer, then – though for whatever reason this strikes me as a mild sleeper.

Warau

Warau Salesman 2017– Shin-Ei
Director: Ogura Hirofumii
Writer: TBA
Schedule: Premieres Monday, 04/03, 25:05
Episodes: TBA

MAL:
Preview:

 

First Look: There’s quite a bit of history with this story of a sinister salesman who seems to make people’s problems go away, only to extract a terrible price.  The manga was written by Doraemon co-creator Abiko Motoo, and it was already adapted way back in the late 80’s.  It’s a total flyer for me since I know nothing of the material in any form, but I’ll give it a look at least.

Kome 2

Love Kome: We Love Rice– Encourage Films
Director: Yamazaki Yuta
Writer: Takabayashi Yuuki
Schedule: Premieres Wednesday, 04/05 – 22:50
Episodes: TBA
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First Look: The trend of anthropomorphizing everything into young girls has crossed over into boys as female otaku flex their purchasing power, and Love Kome is a reflection of that.  I give the series credit for a clever pun in the title (I’m a sucker for puns), and a really absurd premise – five grains of rice as schoolboys trying to make rice more popular than bread.  There’s something in this that makes me feel it could be 2017’s Boeibu, at least in style.  But it lacks that series’ A-list staff – as far as I can tell this is a first-time writer and director.  It’s another flyer, but might be fun.

Sakurada

Sakurada Reset – David Production
Director: Kawatsura Shinya
Writer: Takayama Katsuhiko
Schedule: Premieres Wednesday, 04/05, 23:30
Episodes: 2 Cour

Preview:
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First Look: Yes, Sakurada Reset is a light novel adaptation, and that’s usually not a cause for optimism.  But there’s reason to hope this one might be an exception.  The source material is pretty well-regarded, and director Kawatsura is fresh off a stellar performance with Tanaka-kun wa Itsumo Kedaruge.  Plus it’s been given a straight two-cour timeslot – a rare vote of confidence in this day and age – which should allow a complete adaptation of the source material.

For me, it’s all enough to intrigue.  I like the look here, which very much puts me in mind of old-school P.A. Works, and David is capable of solid work.  The premise seems interesting too – a kind of “school-life superpowers” hybrid set in a seaside town where everyone has some sort of paranormal esper ability.  The main pair are a girl who has the ability to “reset” the world – and everyone’s memories – by three days, and a boy who remembers everything anyway.  Will romance ensue as they solve mysteries together?  Hard to believe it won’t.

Sakura

Sakura Quest –P.A. Works
Director: Masui Souichi
Writer: Yokotani Masahiro
Schedule: Premieres Wednesday, 04/05, Time TBD
Episodes: TBD
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Preview:

 

 

First Look: Speaking of P.A. Works, needless to say Sakura Quest is the new PAW show I have lesser expectations for.  This smacks of being their “KyoAni” series – mailing it in, trying to be exactly what their fans expect them to be.  I suppose cute girls being cute where the girls are actually women is progress of a sort, but this sure seems like low-hanging fruit for PAW.  Not a lot of confidence in the staff, though writer Yokotani has done some decent work (and the writer is the key player with an original series).  The plot revolves around five cute girls acting as ambassadors to try and revive tourism in a small Japanese town.

Clockwork

Clockwork Planet – Xebec
Director: Nagasawa Tsuyoshi
Writer: Sugihara Kenji
Schedule: Premieres Thursday, 04/06, 25:58
Episodes: TBA

Preview:
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First Look: I must be getting soft, with three LN adaptations showing up my sleeper list, but Clockwork Planet is another one (with a stop-off in manga in-between) that looks intriguing to me.  A hard sci-fi from Xebec (who know their way around sci-fi), it’s the story of a teen in a post-dystopian future who’s a mechanical whiz.  One day a female robot crashes into his yard, and his life will never be the same.  Stop me if you’ve heard this before…

Yeah, that’s about as generic a sci-fi plot as you’ll find in anime, but there’s something about the look and tone of the preview material here that I like.  Nagasawa (Haiyore! Naruko-san, Kyou no Go no Ni) is a rather stylish director as well.  It’s a flyer to an extent, but my expectations are reasonably high.

Kabuki

Kabukibu! – DEEN
Director: Yoneda Kazuhiro
Writer: Nakamura Yoshiko
Schedule: Premieres Thursday, 04/06, 26:28
Episodes: 12

Preview:
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First Look: My God, it’s another LN adaptation I’m actually looking forward to – what’s the world coming to?  Having tackled Karuta and Rakugo anime now turns its attention to Kabuki (can Noh and Bunryaku puppet theater be far behind?), and it’s DEEN who’s once again in charge, with designs by CLAMP.  There are no translations of the source material that I know of, and no hard reason to suspect this is going to be anywhere near as good as Shouwa Genroku (or Chihayafuru) but this is a strong staff – we have Akatsuki no Yona’s director in Yoneda-sensei, and Nakamura wrote the Shounen Maid and Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun adaptations.

Plot-wise, Kabukibu! focuses on a high school freshman who loves kabuki and struggles to get a kabuki club started at his school.  Could it be generic?  Yeah – but that’s not the vibe I’m getting.  Deen has been pretty good of late about choosing well-written material to adapt, and about executing those adaptations. Kabukibu! seems like a good bet to be this season’s “that really good show nobody watches”.

SekaisuruSeikaisuru Kado – Toei
Director: Murata Kazuya
Writer: Nozaki Mado
Schedule: Premieres Friday, 04/07, Time TBD
Episodes: TBA

Preview:
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First Look: Here’s a semi-interesting lottery ticket from Toei, whose ventures into original anime for grown-ups can prove interesting (see Kyousougiga).  The premise sees a plane full of passengers kidnapped by a mysterious man who says he’s going top “intervene in Japan’s internal affairs”.  This one could be anything from awful to great, but, but Murata is a solid, professional director and hopefully Toei deciding to make this one of their rare forays into mainstream TV anime indicates some sort of confidence in the material.

Rinne 3

Kyoukai no Rinne Season 3 – Brain’s Base
Director: AIshidori Hiroshi
Writer: Yokote Michiko
Schedule: Premieres Saturday, 04/08, 17:35
Episodes: Two cours (presumably)

MAL:

 

First Look: Anime comedies don’t get much more consistent – and underrated – than Brain’s Base’s take on Takahashi Rumiko’s Kyoukai no Rinne.  It’s pretty much ignored in the Western fandom and doesn’t generate disc sales, though the TV ratings are pretty good (as witness it getting a prime Saturday evening timeslot for the third straight series).  All Rinne does is deliver the laughs, week after week and season after season.  It’s a comedy that never has to try too hard to be funny, and reflects Takahashi’s supreme confidence and ease in her own writing.

We received the interesting news that there would be an “important announcement” concerning Takahashi-sensei next month, and with the third season already on the schedule it seems very possible this could be that Kyoukai no Rinne is going to end its manga run.  If so, that would man we’re likely to see some sort of definitive anime ending with this season (though there’s too much remaining material for a thorough adaptation in two cours).

ID

ID-0 – SANZIGEN
Director: Taniguchi Gorou
Writer: Kuroda Yousuke
Schedule: Premieres Sunday, 04/09, 23:00
Episodes: TBA

MAL:
Preview:

 

First Look: Now here’s an intriguing original series.  It springs from the pen of Kuroda Yousuke, who delivered the “Onegai/Ano Natsu” triptych, and director Taniguchi is one of the true old-school workhorses of the industry. Precious little is known about the premise – a girl at a military academy ends up working on an excavation company’s spaceship after some sort of pirate encounter.  But with names (especially Kuroda) like these involved, you certainly pay attention.

Uchouten 2

Uchouten Kazoku 2 – P.A. Works
Director: Yoshihara Masayuki
Writer: Higaki Ryou
Schedule: Premieres Sunday 04/09, Time TBA
Episodes: One Cour

Preview:
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First Look: In a season pretty heavily weights towards sequels, Uchouten Kazoku‘s may just be the one I’m most looking forward to (and among the most surprising).  The first season placed #6 for me in a very decent 2013, and would have been even higher after about 9-10 episodes – the ending was a bit indifferent, but there are individual eps here that rank among my all-time favorites.  Like most good anime “The Eccentric Family” tanked on disc, but it’s the popularity of Morimi Tomihiko’s novels that’s responsible for this sequel.

Given that there’s plenty of Morimi’s material left to adapt and that the staff is mostly unchanged (Higaki-sensei is new on series composition, but has an exemplary track record) there’s absolutely no reason to think this cour won’t be every bit the gem the first was.  Uchouten Kazoku is at heart a love story about families, and I have a special weakness for those – and it’s been a good year for heart-driven tanuki anime already.  This is also one of the best anime in recent memory when it comes to depicting the sublime magic that is Kyoto (a place native Morimi-sensei clearly loves deeply – as do I) This may just be my favorite P.A.Works series ever (it’s a dogfight with True Tears), yet it’s surely most unlike any other show they’ve done.  PAW, tanuki, Kyoto, Morimi – what’s not to love?

Atom

Atom: The Beginning – Production I.G.
Director: Satou Tatsuo
Writer: Fujisaku Junichi
Schedule: Premieres Saturday 04/15, 23:00
Episodes: TBA

Preview:
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First Look: This isn’t the Tezuka adaptation hardcore fans like me have been clamoring for (that would be Pluto), but any new Tezuka work on TV is a significant development. This one comes from the suddenly busy Production I.G. and features heavyweight director Satou Tatsuo (Nadesico, Ucchu no Stellvia).

It so happens that Atom: The Beginning is based on a manga (one of whose authors is Teuka Osamu’s son Makoto) that isn’t necessarily regarded as a modern classic. It’s an origin-story for the characters involved, more of an authorized spinoff than an actual canon Tezuka work. My expectations are relatively modest, but given the pedigree Atom is a series that requires careful consideration.

Souryo

Souryo to Majiwaru Shikiyoku no Yoru ni… – Seven
Director: Araki Hideaki
Writer: TBA
Schedule: Premieres Sunday 04/02, 25:00
Episodes: Two Cour

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First Look: Complete flyer here. From what I hear this story of a lusty monk and his childhood friend is pretty close to straight-up hentai material, but at least it’s not out of the cookie cutter so I’ll give it an episode or two. (Edit: Apparently, it’s a short)

Bahamut 2

Shingeki no Bahamut: Virgin Soul – MAPPA
Director: Satou Keiichi
Writer: Ooishi Shizuka
Schedule: Premieres Friday 04/07, 25:55
Episodes: 24

Preview:
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First Look: This season’s “other” Shingeki sequel sees MAPPA revisiting their first hit. And a surprise hit Shingeki no Bahamut was, a mobile game adaptation that kind of snuck under the radar with an anime storyline that was almost entirely new material. I didn’t love the first season but I did like it an awful lot for what it was.

MAPPA has been pretty cagey about the new season’s storyline, but the promo material seems to suggest the first season’s protagonists will be de-emphasized and the focus shifted to the Joan of Arc character. That would not be a positive development in my book, at least on paper.

Alice

Alice to Zouroku – J.C. Staff
Director: Sakurabi Katsushi
Writer: Takayama Fumihiko
Schedule: Premieres Sunday 04/02, 23:00
Episodes: TBA

Preview:
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First Look: Superficially, Alice to Zouroku has a whiff of moebomb to it. But it’s seinen, and we don’t get much seinen anime these days. Plus I rather like Sakurabi as a director (Flying Witch, Asatte no Houkou) and Ootsuka Akio as a grumpy old man is full of win.

The premise has a little girl escaping from a lab that apparently breeds girls who have the ability to materialize anything they imagine, and taking refuge with Ootsuka’s old man character. The manga doesn’t have any translations out there, so there isn’t a lot of English-language opinion on it to be found. But there’s enough in Alice to Zouroku to make it modestly intriguing.

Re-

Re:Creators – TROYCA
Director: Aoki Ei
Writer: Hiroe Rei
Schedule: Premieres Saturday 04/08, 23:00
Episodes: TBA

Preview:
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First Look: You know, as I write this monster preview I’m struck by how many crapshoots we have this season – the range of outcomes seems especially wide this time around. And Re:Creators, another original sci-fi series, certainly fits the bill. The premise is opaque and vague, but seems to have elements of mecha, philosophy (characters in stories expressing their own will) and fantasy.

As far as I can tell, TROYCA is a B-studio for A-1 Pictures (B-1 Pictures?) and the only show they’re credited as lead on was the middling Sakurako-san (which did at least look nice). But the real interest here is sparked by the staff – Aoki Ei is obviously an A-list director. The concept and designs are from Hiroe Rei of Black Lagoon fame, and Sawano Hiroyuki (who sadly seems destined to be known as the composer whose music was the best part of a lot of mediocre anime) is doing the soundtrack.

Renai

Renai Boukun – EMT2
Director: Nigorikawa Atsushi
Writer: Takahashi Natsuko
Schedule: Premieres Thursday, 04/06, 26:35
Episodes: TBA

Preview:
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First Look: To be honest, the main reason I’m including Renai Boukun in the preview is that I like the concept art (it reminds me a bit of Kamisama Kazoku). That, and the fact that as usual genuine comedy seems like a weak point on the schedule. The premise surrounds a “kiss note” (those whose names are written together will fall hopelessly in love if they kiss), and the cupid who accidentally writes down the name of a high schooler, convinces him to kiss his crush (he’ll die if he doesn’t, apparently) who turns out to be a yandere, and then falls for him herself. That’s just dumb enough to maybe work.

Natsume Roku

Natsume Yuujinchou Roku – Shuka
Director: Kotomi Deai (presumably)
Writer: Murai Sadayuki (presumably)
Schedule: Premieres April 2017, Time TBA
Episodes: One Cour

 

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First Look: In a season where the uncertainty principle reigns supreme for the bulk of the schedule, there’s reassuring predictability in the sequels.  And they don’t get much more reassuringly predictable than Natsume Yuujinchou.  The sequels always come (sometimes they take longer than others), they always produce, and they always sell pretty well.  I don’t necessarily watch this series because I want to be surprised, but I’m rarely so happy to get exactly what I expect.

There have been changes at the margins – Shuka has poached the series from Brain’s Base, and Omori Takahiro has ceded day to day control of the franchise to Kotomi Deai (though the “Roku” staff has not ben officially confirmed).  And there’s no denying that the art and animation has slipped a bit with the change.  But the content remains remarkably consistent, and even as the manga continues apace there’s a sense we could be somewhere in the final act of the story soon.  My fond hope for S6 is that we at last get another Kogitsune episode – he was in the OP for S5 and even got his own high-priced figurine, so the producers are cruelly stringing us along…

Fukumenkei

Fukumenkei Noise – Brain’s Base
Director: Takahashi Hideya
Writer: Mieno Hitomi
Schedule: Premieres Tuesday 04/11, 23:00
Episodes: TBA

Preview:
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First Look: Speaking of Brain’s Base, there’s life in the old war horse yet.  In addition to another season of Rinne, we get this adaptation of a modestly well-regarded shoujo manga.  It’s music-themed and built around a love triangle, so there’s certainly potential aplenty for shoujo cliche.  There’s not much in Takahashi’s resume to inspire confidence, but Mieno has a very solid track record with adaptations.  Put it on the flyer list, but towards the top of it.

Tsuki

Tsuki ga Kirei – feel.
Director: Kishi Seiji
Writer: Kakihara Yuuko
Schedule: Premieres Thursday 04/06, 24:00
Episodes: TBA
MAL:
Preview:

 

First Look: Of all the original series premiering this Spring, Tsuki ga Kirei interests me the most.  We don’t see that many character dramas centered around middle-schoolers, and frankly we should see more – they’re often more interesting than trope-driven stories about high school.  Based on the premise this looks like a fairly serious look at the maturation of four friends, without a heavy focus on romantic drama.  But it’s an original, so who knows.

A lot of folks are skeptical that Kishi-sensei is the right director for this project, but I think he’s unfairly maligned.  Kishi is an excellent director, but not one who can rise above the material he’s given. When given solid, serious raw materials like Aura or Kamisama Dolls, he does extremely well.  That pretty much lays Tsuki ga Kirei’s fate on the doorstep of writer Kakihara Yuuko, and her track record is long and generally very good – though it is heavily weighted towards adaptations.  This is definitely sleeper material for me.

Oushitsu

Oushitsu Kyoushi Haine – Bridge
Director: Kikuchi Katsuya
Writer: Ueno Kimiko
Schedule: Premieres Tuesday 04/04, 26:05
Episodes: TBA

Preview:
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First Look: We close with another lottery ticket, this time a manga adaptation about a royal tutor to four eccentric princes.  The hook is that the tutor is constantly mistaken for a little boy despite being a grown man.  Despite the premise and general look, Oushitsu Kyoushi Haine is actually published in a shounen magazine, which is kind of interesting.  Bridge has done well with comedies before (Mitsudomoe – though that had anime’s top comedy director on-board for that franchise).  My expectations aren’t high, but I always want to give comedies a chance to capture my interest.

Will Definitely Blog: Boku no Hero Academia Season 2, Kabukibu!, Kyoukai no Rinne Season 3, Uchouten Kazoku 2, Natsume Yuujinchou Roku, Tsuki ga Kirei. Well, that already equals what I’m blogging for winter – and it would be a shock if at least a couple more series make the cut (though I suppose Kabukibu! or Tsuki ga Kirei could also flame out).

Sleeper Candidates: How much time you got?  Tsugumomo, Clockwork Planet, Kabukibu! (yes, a show can be both a “WDB” and a sleeper if enough people are ignoring it), Re-creators, Tsuki ga Kirei.

 

OVA/Movie: Pretty crowded here, too.

Days (OVA) – 03/17/, 05/17/2017: A second season of the MAPPA soccer anime is due later this year (presumably), but in the meantime we have two OVAs to tide us over. Days is pretty close to the dictionary definition of a pretty good show, but the sports landscape is pretty barren this season so I’ll take what I can get.

Natsume Yuujinchou Go (Special) – 03/22, 04/26/17: Still more Natsume Yuujinchou, this time in the form of two TV specials. I haven’t seen any synopses, so as far as I’m concerned these are two more shots at a Kogitsune episode.

Hoozuki no Reitetsu (OVA) – 03/23/17: Happily, a second season of Hoozuki no Reitetsu was finally announced for this coming fall. It will be produced by Deen rather than Wit, as are the OVAs – and we have a new group of those starting this month. Being a largely episodic comedy, Hoozuki is ideally suited to the OVA format, and unsurprisingly there’s been no dropoff in quality with the OVA episodes.

Boku no Hero Academia: Jump Festa 2016 (Special) – 04/04/2017: This is the special episode of BnHA that originally showed at Jump Festa in December (if you’re ever in town, I highly recommend you go). As with most Jump Festa specials this is original material, but it was written by Horikoshi-sensei.

Ajin (OVA) – 04/07/2017: With no new films or seasons confirmed for Ajin, this third OVA could be the final animated take on the material. I rather hope not, as it’s a really strong story and I’m finally getting used to the CGI. This ep focuses on Samuel T. Owens’ (Satou’s) past, and that’s a rather appetizing prospect.

 

Theatrical: It’s a virtual one-man show here.

Yoru wa Mijikashi Arukeyo Otome – 04/07/2017: Yuasa Masaaki has not one but two films coming out this spring. I don’t know how that works exactly, but he’s a fascinating iconoclast of a director so it’s certainly good news for anime fans.  Yoru wa Mijikashi Arukeyo Otome will likely be the more highly-anticipated film among anime fans, being as it re-teams Yuasa with Morimi Tomihiko. Not only that, it seems to be a crossover with the Yojouhan Shinwa Taikei universe.  Trailer:

Yoake Tsugeru Lu no Uta – 05/19/2017: Yuasa-sensei’s other film looks just as interesting to me, and perhaps a bit more of a stylistic departure for him. It’s an original, co-written with Yokote Michiko.  Story-wise, Yoake Tsugeru Lu no Uta gives us a middle-schooler (played by actual middle-schooler Shimoda Shouta) who has an encounter with a mermaid. Looks can be deceiving, but this one looks to be a bit warmer and more earnest than Yuasa’s normal emotional tone.  Trailer:

Blame! – 05/20/2017: Sidonia no Kishi mangaka Nihei Tsutomu’s other series gets a film from Polygon, after a brief crossover in Sidonia and an ONA. Most of the Sidonia staff is present here, so I’d expect a look and feel pretty close to that series. I don’t know much about Blame! apart from the general premise of a dystopian future and a dark, surly anti-hero named Killy the Wanderer. But I do know that a good number of fans consider it Nihei’s better work, so I’ll be following this one with some curiosity.  Trailer:

 

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18 comments

  1. r

    Pluto. great taste dude. Don’t get your hopes up tho .

    Clockwork planet is too cringy on later parts. Too much hogwash battle technique.

    Tsugumomo has nice way of delivering its goods. Not too masterful but not too shabby.
    assuming the ecchiness will be downgraded so much, this can be enjoyable shounen. the modern shounen ecchi with mentor (like ushio tora)

  2. Tsugumomo seems to be on Animax, Tokyo MX and BS11. What are the ecchiness odds?

  3. H

    So far I’m looking forward to about eleven shows. I’m thrilled to have further seasons of Natsume (obviously), Uchouten Kazoku (looks just as fantastic as the first season), Attack on Titan (excited to see what I’ve read finally animated), Boku no Hero Academia, and even Berserk (animation is atrocious but the story is great- the manga is in my top three of all time). Tsuki ga Kirei sounds like it could be quite interesting and I’ve been looking forward to it since the first announcement. The animation reminds me of Wandering Son. I’m also excited for Kabukibu! but I’m usually not too much into light novel adaptations so I’m reserving my judgment until I watch the first episode. I’m chomping at the bit for Blame! to arrive on Netflix because I’m a fan of the manga and the preview kicks ass. The story for the movie is an all-new one with the author Nihei in charge of the script, character design, and acting as “creative consultant”. I hear that there will be a manga adaptation of it sometime soon as well. And Hoozuki no Reitetsu cannot come soon enough. I was ecstatic to hear the other day that they are finally doing a second season. Hopefully we won’t have to wait super long for the OVA to get subbed this time. The fall lineup is getting me excited because I also saw that there is going to be a 24-episode season of The Ancient Magus’s Bride and something called Children of the Whales which looks promising.

  4. d

    Children of Whales, Ancient Magus Bride and I hope KyoAni will release Violet Evergarden in Fall also. PV looks great.

  5. When I heard about “Renai Boukun” I thought “wait, who thought that making an actual anime rendition of a parody Death Note As A Romcom fanfiction would be a good idea?”. Then I saw the manga and saw that the Kiss Note literally is black and with the name written in the same exact font as the Death Note. So it’s a straight out parody. I have to check it out, if only to laugh at how hilariously stupid it can get.

  6. I’ve always liked Kyoukai no Rinne but they need to move off of the Rinne always broke theme. It was funny in the 1st season, not so much in the 3rd.

  7. s

    boku no hero has been confirmed for two cours???? If BONES plays their cards right, this is going to be a really memorable BONES adaptation along the vain of soul eater or even fullmetal (that one’s a bit of a stretch but still). I figured that they needed two cours to really make their second season have an impact but with the up-res in animation for the second season, i wasnt sure whether they would take that chance; All hail BONES!!!

  8. s

    you can tell they really were just testing the waters with season 1

  9. Honestly, I don’t believe that’s what happened here. I think S2 was greenlit before S1 ever aired, and likely two cours at that. It’s just that Shueisha is very gentle with its super-valuable properties – they don’t like to burn them out too soon. And they started the BnHA adaptation fairly early in the manga’s run.

  10. s

    Im pretty sure season 2 was greenlit once production of season 1 had started airing (since a lot of bones hard hitting shows are produced months in advance; mob psycho and space dandy fall into this category); however im more inclined to think that season 1 was testing the waters to see if they wanted to go two-cour with season 2; I would argue that while it might have initially planned it to be that way, it wasnt set in stone till after season 1. Once again, ill use mob psycho as an example, in which there were clear indications of a 24 ep format that seems to have been cut to 12 for x and y reasons. From a business standpoint it makes sense in this regard, but yes, I also agree that a significant factor regarding the decisions made with the first season of boku no hero was because they did not want to burn through all the material so quickly. If it was solely because they didnt want to burn through the content so quickly, they could have easily made a 1 cour second season and had a good stopping point, raising intrigue for the viewer and leave them at the end of their seat for a season 3. However, that first cour taught the production team how well they could pace a cour and whether the boku no hero brand had any staying power. Now they can use two cours to tell this grand tale in a much more bombastic and effective manner. Cutting the story with a 1-cour run would kill the momentum of the arcs coming being adapted because they sort of bleed into each other. So yea, i would still say the first cour was testing the waters.

  11. But you know, Mob Psycho did quite well on disc, so it doesn’t make any sense that it would have been the basis to cut the run down to 12 episodes. And in any event, the studios don’t get hard results on disc sales until the season is basically over in most cases.

  12. s

    I realized upon reading my comment over that it looked as if i was implying that mob psycho’s eps got cut to 12 due projected to disc sales; no that’s not what im saying (i screwed up the sentence order in my original comment). When I say “test the water”, im implying that when studios are producing anime, in this case, a popular manga, the producers aligned with that studio are conscientioous of the amount of eps for they fund because they want to test and see what’s the best way to produce the material: do you work in the confines of 1 cour? how much material can you cover in 12 to 13 eps? what does the budget look like for being able to produce this anime? how much of the work has to be done in-house and what needs to be outsourced? What is the goal of producing this anime? and lastly, is what is being adapted going to be successful?”

    What i was trying to say about mob psycho is that there might have been an initial intent to produce 24 eps but then part way into the production, it changed to 12 eps because the goal of the production had changed. Reading/hearing about some of the interviews with Kameda, this makes sense. Kameda said that mob psycho was essentially an excuse to experiment and try out new visual ideas that are not readily used in anime to supplement storytelling. With that in mind, the production of mob psycho became more focused on that experimentation to tell a tight knit story rather than covering most of the material of the manga. They would test the waters with their experimentation and if it responded well with audiences, they would continue to do so with another season, going even harder than they did the first season. Mob psycho was in some ways, an ambitious project for bones so it made sense that their original goal of 24 eps would turn into 12 to contain that ambition and allow themselves time to think up ways to outdo season 1 (the manga content itself does that but now comes the task of getting the visuals to do the same).

    With boku no hero, it feels more like they adapted 13 eps with a second season greenlight either around the time production wrapped up or during the first quarter of the show. The decision to make the first season 13 eps is what i would argue the staff testing to see whether that was the best way to adapt the introductionary phase of the story along with any subsequent seasons. Apparently they decided that this time around two cours were necessary because the first season gave them a feeling for what they could do with the adaptation. It isnt about being scared regarding whether they had a successful property, but rather what was the best way to adapt that property. I only brought up the idea that this was a good idea financially as well because having to produce 12/13 eps is obviously cheaper than producing 24 eps out the gate. It’s smarter to understand how to produce your series first before deciding to go further with the episode count. Yes its true that they dont want to burn through the material so quickly but if that was the most relevant issue, then like i said in my initial comment, they could just continuously adapt 1-cour seasons of boku no hero every year, which would widen the gap between the anime and the manga so much it would take years for them to catch up.

  13. S

    Love your season previews and posts in general, sometimes even more so than the episodes themselves. I’m here since 2012 and as a non English speaker following your blog contributed to my English immensely (especially those 12 paragraphs hunter x hunter reviews). Can’t wait for the new season to start and for all of those first impressions! Keep up the great work!

  14. Much obliged, very kind of you. I won’t take any credit for it but in the written form at least, your English is impeccable.

  15. F

    Yeah, thanks for your hard work, Enzo, these season previews are always really great and fun to read. Also as a person whose native language isn’t English, I find your eloquent writing style educative as well as entertaining. I’m especially fond of your acummulative sentence structures when you try to express your thoughts on a topic consisely by putting almost only adjectives and adverbs after each other. I even have my favourite sentences from your posts, like
    “Ethereally beautiful visually. Possessed of isolated moments of real emotional profundity, balanced with those of exasperating inanity. Ultimately unsatisfying.” or
    “Maddening, infuriating, fascinating, stunningly beautiful, elegiac and ultimately disappointing – I can only call […] a work of deeply flawed genius.”.

    I do wonder if you could still guess correctly that which reviews are those lines from without searching your own blog, though after writing hundreds of reviews it’s sure a hard task.

    As for the upcoming season itself, I’m pretty much in for the sequels but apart from that I’m not that excited. From the previews it seems like mixed bag so I’m not hopeful. This season seems to be brought to you by B-1 Pictures of the evergrowing anime industry, just to reuse your pun.

    BTW, the links for Seikaisuru Kado are wrong: they are pointing to the PV and MAL page of Hand Shakers and opening the links alone was enough to give me some PTSD from the trauma of Hand Shakers first five minutes; so for the future readers’ sake you could fix it. And the PV link for Re:Creators is also dead.

  16. R

    Heads up Enzo, the image you’re using for Love Kome is actually for Kenka Banchou Otome (which made me do a bit of a double take and make sure I read the title correctly XD)

  17. Thank you, all fixed.

  18. R

    With bated breath, the return of Uchouten Kazoku will soon be real…words can’t even begin to describe my joy! Of course, there are Kyoukai no Rinne Season 3 and Natsume Yuujinchou Roku to cheer me up every week.

    I liked the first season of Shingeki no Bahamut — it was one of my top 5 of the year back then — but I’m a little unsure about Virgin Soul… I guess it’s hard to tell by the preview, so I will give it a try. I will also join the bandwagon for Shingeki no Kyoujin Season 2 and keep Berserk as one of my weekly installments for its story, regardless of how jarring the animation will turn out.

    As for the new shows, I guess I will try out Warau Salesman 2017, Sakura Quest and Sakurada Reset. I was thrilled to read your blurb about Kabukibu! — love another story about traditional Japanese art — but the preview gives me a vibe of a story targeting the fujoshi. I’m not bothered by that, for as long as it’s rooted on a good story and characters.

    As for others, I will simply check out the first episode or so and determine.

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