Spring 2015 Season Preview

It’s that time once again! With three weeks of the winter season to go, it’s time for me to start feeling existential dread at the thought of one more preview guide, and time for you all to get some uselessly vague predictions about how this whole spring season’s gonna go down. As per the usual, I’ll just be covering stuff that actually looks interesting to me – if you want the full list, head on over to anichart to check it out. Normally, this is a time of celebration – it’s the end of winter doldrums, and spring is generally a pretty stacked lineup. But between Shirobako and a few intrepid newbies, this winter season has actually been perfectly respectable, so let’s try and approach the upcoming shows with a bit less desperate of a look in our eyes. It’s just another anime season, you guys. No need to get excited.

Oregairu Season Two



Yeah, I’m looking forward to this one. OreGairu’s one of my all-time favorite shows, easily my top show in the “high school kids doing vaguely club-related things” mega-genre, and just a really sharply written and characterized production all-around. I’m not particularly worried by the changes in studio or staff this time – not only was OreGairu never really defined by its visuals, but Brain’s Base’s moment in the sun has clearly passed, and studios are less important than individuals anyway. OreGairu’s strength was always in its writing, and since the source material is stable and the show has retained the fantastic Shotarou Suga on series composition (he of Eccentric Family fame, among many other solid shows), there’s no reason to expect this season to be any worse than the first. It’ll be good to see Hachiman, Yukino, and Yui again.

Blood Blockade Battlefront

Blood Blockade Battlefront

Normally this’d be the kind of generic fantasy-shounen stuff that I’d skip right over (see also: Seraph of the End), but instead, this is one of my most highly anticipated new shows. Why? Rie Matsumoto. Kyousogiga was a goddamn masterpiece, a huge amount of its power came from its incredible direction, and now Matsumoto’s escaped the Toei factory and is off at Bones. The plot looks like nonsense (based on a work by Trigun’s creator, but I have no opinion on Trigun, sooo), but I’m not really bothered by that – I think Matsumoto has the ability to make Good Things, and the PV’s already showing off a great sense of visual personality, with more of the wild colors, environmental focus, and creative shot framing that made Kyousogiga such a wonder. I’m extremely happy to see Matsumoto working again, and very excited to see wherever she takes us.

Here’s the PV.

Sound! Euphonium

Sound! Euphonium

Because clearly I never learn. Though KyoAni have certainly engaged in a lot of heart breaking lately, and though Euphonium is being directed by one of their chief heartbreakers, Tatsuya “I will Ren’d your heart” Ishihara, there’s definitely reason to hope here. First, there’s the obvious fact that KyoAni just always make impressive things – those things might not necessarily be good, but the studio’s overall understanding of stuff like animation fundamentals, shot framing, and visual comedy is excellent. Second, Ishihara has made many great things, even if he did break my heart that one time (and the extremely talented Naoko Yamada‘s directing the first episode, anyway). And third, Euphonium is based on a real book – not one of the semi-books submitted to their in-house light novel competition, a Real book. It’s also supposed to be more drama than slice of life, so we’ll see how it goes.

Here’s the PV.

Fate Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works 2nd Season

Unlimited Blade Works

Blade Works’ first season was a bunch of fun, and I see no reason that’ll stop in the second half. I expect lots of lovely action, lots of ridiculous dialogue, and hopefully some more endearing personal scenes. ufotable’s got a good thing going on, no reason to mess it up now!

Ninja Slayer From Animation

Ninja Slayer

My Trigger honeymoon is definitely over at this point – they’re a studio with clear strengths, but their style seems exemplified by Kill la Kill, and Kill la Kill was not my bag. They’ve certainly got style though, and that style is on display in the Ninja Slayer PV. Ninja Slayer seems like the ideal Trigger project – it’s essentially a Japanese parody of what western people used to think anime is like, meaning it’s trashy and hot-blooded and way too full of goddamn neon. It’s very likely going to be pretty fun, and I’m also probably going to get bored of its style-over-substance approach after only a couple episodes. But hey, it’s worth a look.

Here’s the deliberately 4:3 because that’s funny PV.

Plastic Memories

Plastic Memories

This one’s synopsis looks almost Key-like in its readymade melodrama potential, but this is the first anime by the writer of the semicolon games (Steins;Gate, Robotics;Notes, etc), so I’m certainly going to give it a shot. The director’s resume is a mix of stuff like SAO/Guilty Crown and stuff like Gj-bu, with an emphasis on animation (including plenty of credits from Engaged to the Unidentified), so hopefully it’ll at least look nice. Certainly a wild card, but “writer with a high ceiling” is a very good place to start.

Here’s the PV.

Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu

Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu

Alright, lot to recommend this one. First of all, just reading the synopsis, you can tell this seems a bit more thoughtful than anime’s usual fare. Josei manga normally extend to far more broad and compelling dramatic territory than most other manga, and this looks to be no exception. And beyond the unique premise and award-winning josei pedigree, this one’s also directed by Shinichi Omata, who cut his teeth working on a lot of Shaft shows before breaking away over the last couple years. Recently, his shows have included Sankarea, a zombie romcom that ended up being far better than it had any right to be, and most of that came down to its excellent direction. So yeah, definitely excited for this one – it’s a bit of a wildcard, but the potential is there.

(thanks to @br1anwuzhere for mentioning this one even existed. anicharts has betrayed me!)

(double edit: apparently this one’s airing season has yet to be announced. sorry for doubting you, anicharts)

The Heroic Legend of Arslan

Heroic Legend of Arslan

A series of fantasy novels originally written by the creator of Legend of the Galactic Heroes, adapted as a manga by the creator of Fullmetal Alchemist and Silver Spoon, now adapted into an anime. That’s a pretty solid pedigree, and every season deserves a decent fantasy pick, so I’m on board for this one.

The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan

Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan

Frankly, this spinoff adaptation seems like a bad idea in an “everything that’s wrong with anime” sort of way. “Hey, remember that show you liked? Well, how about we remove the premise that made it interesting and focus on one of the fan-favorite side characters, except we replace her personality with one that’s far more conventionally cutesy and popular?” It seems cynical as fuck, and it may well be cynical as fuck, but I’ve got a lot of built-up fondness for Haruhi, and more importantly, look at these goddamn faces. Yeah, maybe it’s not her original personality, but those are still some pretty great faces. I’m willing to give those faces an episode at least.

Here’s the short, unsurprisingly slice of lifey CM.



This one rides entirely on pedigree and presentation. Its panty-focused tagline is a serious cause for concern, but as the PV makes clear, there’s a whole bunch of ex-Gainax staff involved in this one, plus the studio MAPPA (a Madhouse breakaway that also worked on both of Watanabe’s recent shows) is just coming off the twin fan favorites of Rage of Bahamut and Garo. And the writer is Kotaro Uchikoshi, known for those Zero Escape games people seem to like so much. Basically, this one seems like it might impress based on sheer talent in spite of itself. I’m not holding out much hope, but the potential is there.

Here’s the panty-heavy PV.

Knights of Sidonia: Battle for Planet Nine

Knights of Sidonia

Knights of Sidonia was a very solid show, and I’m perfectly happy to see more of it. The show’s mixture of really purposeful, well-constructed worldbuilding and excellent fight direction made for a very unique production, and though the character CG and love triangle nonsense had their hiccups, the overall production was engaging, endearing, and highly recommendable. The first season’s resume-light assistant director seems to have moved up to the director’s chair for this season, which is maybe something of a cause for concern, but there’s no use worrying until we see it, and Sidonia has certainly earned itself a fair glance. Should be fun!

Ore Monogatari!!

Ore Monogatari!!

The premise of this one seems to be “it’s a shoujo romcom, except starring That Dude On The Cover instead of a pretty male protagonist.” That’s not really the most to go on, but this seems to be one with some buzz around the source material, and Madhouse remain a very real name in spite of some recent missteps here and there. This season also seems somewhat romance-light, and this looks to be the best of them. Obviously I’m checking it out either way, but it seems like a show to keep an eye on.

Here’s the PV.

Gunslinger Stratos: The Animation

Gunslinger Stratos

Honestly, I don’t actually have any interest in this one. I just find it to be a funny reflection of the diminishing Urobuchi investment returns we’ve been getting over the last couple years – from writing Madoka, to splitting writing of Psycho-Pass, to series comp of Gargantia, to writing the first couple episodes maybe of Aldnoah, to perhaps jotting down a couple ideas on a napkin for this. From the mind that brought you Madoka Magica! Just do what makes you happy, dude.

Here’s the PV, for what it’s worth.

30 thoughts on “Spring 2015 Season Preview

  1. You know what I find very troubling about Sound Euphonium? It feels like it’s lying to us.

    The cover, the preview. They’re working really hard to make it seem like a Sora no Woto or K-On! style show, but if you actually dig deeper, it comes off as more Grisaia and some other shows from the past two seasons, even stuff like Trinity Seven, where they work really hard to hide the presence of boys. I almost feel like it’s going to end up as a harem, an ecchi harem.

    Probably not, but that makes me think somewhat of Chuunibyou, and Ren, and who knows how much of the original source material will stick around. Then again, to a degree, Haruhi too was a harem. But it feels sort of dishonest, the way Euphonium is presented, based on what it appears they’re actively hiding.

    Ore Monogatari is 24 episodes, which is also promising. Then again, Kimi ni Todoke’s 2nd season did less than the first with double the episodes.

    • Eh, if Euphonium’s lying, I feel like it’s lying in a good way. KyoAni don’t generally hide the presence of boys in their material if it’s going to be a haremish or light novelish thing, but based on what I’ve heard about the source material, Euphonium’s just going to be more of a general drama than a slice of life, and I think general drama is a bit of a harder sell. So the marketing materials are playing up the K-On aesthetic, but the (hopeful) truth is that it’s going to be something more interesting than that.

      • Oh, I don’t really think it’d be a haremish, but I don’t appreciate the way they’re going at it. Or, if they do truly sideline the male characters entirely, I wonder if it’d be in a manner that fits many of their recent LN to anime adaptations.

        No, this isn’t an LN they own, but who knows these days with KyoAni. I have hopes, but I’m not enamored with how this has been handled. Without digging deeper, I might have gone, “Wait, where did all those boys come from?” had I watched the first episode after all those previews 😉

  2. I think a lot of my hope for Battlefront’s goodness just comes from the badassery of the character names. Names like Klaus Von Reinherz and Steven A. Starphase and Femt, King of Depravity leave little to be desired.

  3. My only concern for Euphonium is that the drama in question will be moe drama, if you get my drift. That weird, friendship-related drama that could only occur in these types of shows, and never really feels human. If it wants to be a cute girls show, I’ll be happy. If it wants to be something closer to Hyouka, I’ll be delighted. But pls no moe drama.

    If there’s one thing I’m really looking forward to about Plastic Memories, it’ll be the dialogue. That was always one of the areas I thought Steins;Gate and Robotics;Notes did really well in. Between this and more Oregairu, I’m expecting some actual banter in conversation. I love banter.

  4. Oregairu

    The first season choppy-chopped about one-third of the source material, along with at least two or three foreshadowing bits which are directly referenced later. The creators now have to incorporate them somehow.

    Otherwise, can’t wait.

    • Lupin I’ll check out for the guide, but I don’t really have any attachment to the series. Same with Digimon, if that ends up actually having a normal release schedule.

  5. I’m still pretty worried about OreGairu, honestly. Big staff substitutions rarely ever seem to make for positive changes in a show… Especially considering how collaborative anime creation tends to be. I guess we’ll just have to hope that Suga maintains a decent level of creative control. OreGairu was already skirting the line between Insightful Teen Drama and Generic School Comedy Anime, and I feel like that’s probably an easily upset balance. I’m keeping my fingers crossed, but I’m gonna approach this season with “cautiously optimistic” for now.

    On the other hand, Blood Blockade Battlefront definitely doesn’t seem like My Kinda Show, but I couldn’t help but get excited when I saw some of the shots in the PV.

    • On the Smart Teen Drama/generic comedy axis, it definitely seems from the PV that this season will tilt toward the former. With what Shotarou’s known for and what BB’s known for, it seems a bit more likely that the studio shift will be removing the first season’s inhibitions rather than imposing new ones.

    • No need to worry. It IS Smart Teen Drama in the later volumes. Honestly, all staff needs to make a good show is to follow the source properly. They have a whole cour to adapt just 3 volumes.

  6. As much of a Steins;Gate fan I am, I’m worried about Plastic Memories due to a tendency the writer has. By that I mean pandering, such as how in Steins;Gate there were a bunch of archetypes stuck in, the characters spouted out internet memes, etc. And with Bravely Default, it seems he was hired to write a Final Fantasy-like story, and that’s what he wrote, so it was fairly standard and kind of cliche stuff. I think this kind of stuff could prove troublesome for Plastic Memories, though I’m still hoping it’ll be good!

  7. As a high-school band geek, there’s not much that can destroy my hopes about Sound! Euphonium. I’ve only seen a couple of KyoAni shows (Free! and K-ON!) but I enjoyed both of those, so I hope even in a worst-case scenario this will be some pleasant fluff, and best-case scenario like “let’s actually take the music parts of K-ON! seriously this time.”

    I’m a mix of excited for more Fate/ and apprehensive due to knowing what’s coming in the VN route. I’ll probably check out Blood Blockade and Arslan due to their pedigree (even if both Trigun and FMA are shows where I preferred the unfaithful anime adaptations to their manga), and the new MAPPA show.

    Along with Euphonium, I’m most excited for new Lupin and Digimon, though Sailor Moon Crystal has me really, really worried about the latter. Please don’t dash all my childhood favorites upon the rocks, Toei.

    Anyway, I was wondering: which two shows were you referring to in crediting MAPPA as the studio that “also worked on both of Watanabe’s recent shows”? I know they did Terror in Resonance, but if you were referring to Space Dandy too, that was by Studio BONES. I know MAPPA did some in-between work on the first season, too, but I think the wording is a little confusing nonetheless.

  8. Looking forward the most to Ninja Slayer. The director was responsible for Inferno Cop,which was the best show of the last decade.

    • Same here. Happy to see Trigger come back from that “Boring Ass Superpowered Kids” show and go to what it knows how to do better – crazy-ass hyperviolent silly shows. I don’t care for almost anything else this upcoming season (well… I’ll probably check out Punchline! because pedigree and a couple others).

  9. So glad to read your comments about Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu – as that’s a show I’m looking forward to for the exact same reason you are: because the director’s “Sankarea” was just so much better than it should have been. The manga, and some of the series as a result, was filled with pandering hoohah, but the care with which the director made the show really turned it into something special anyway, against all odds. The OVA, Episode 0, which shows how the main characters originally met, is one of the single most hauntingly melancholy and beautiful episodes of anime I’ve ever seen – just a gorgeous meditation on the power of fate.

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