Summer 2016 Season Preview

And so another season slowly marches to its end. Spring 2016 has been a pretty fantastic season, all things considered. Personally, this has has been the best season for a solid year, but even outside of my own genre preferences, this season had pretty much something for everyone. I wasn’t even watching a fair number of this season’s biggest shows, but between Concrete Revolutio, Kiznaiver, JoJo, Flying Witch, The Lost Village, and My Hero Academia, I had plenty to enjoy every week.

But soon, all of that will be coming to an end.

I’ll lay it out right now – next season does not look as strong as this one. There are almost no guaranteed top tier shows, a vague scattering of potential ones, and a whole lot of dreck. Anime is probably not going to be as easy as it has recently been.

But that said, next season is not a bad-looking season, either. I’ve seen bad seasons – hell, last season was a bad season. This is just a season of anime, where some shows will be good and some shows will be bad and some shows will be inescapable even though they only demonstrate how all your friends have awful taste in cartoons and should probably be excommunicated entirely.

We’ll live.

As usual, this preview won’t be covering every single show – there’s no need for me to say “this looks like garbage” for everything I’m not intending to watch, and if you’re looking for summaries, they’re all available over on anichart. I’ll just be covering what I find interesting, accompanied by what specifically about it seems noteworthy, in roughly the order of my interest. I’ve been doing this crap for four years now, so hopefully a few of you have some idea of the kind of things that spark my interest – and if not, hey, you can always check my library of rich and illuminating articles right here. But as for now, let’s start at the top and RUN SOME PREVIEWS DOWN.



You could take it as reflective of this season’s questionably quality that my very first choice is a speculative pick, but orange has a lot of points going for it. Its first and possibly most significant advantage is being based on a very highly regarded shoujo drama. On top of that, the director has quite the resume to his name – in addition to handling fan favorite Steins;Gate, he’s also done work on Texhnolyze, Paranoia Agent, and Space Dandy, all of which could rightly be considered a big deal. Between those pillars, orange simply starts off with a much higher ceiling than most shows get to enjoy. Hopefully it follows through.

Here’s the basically-just-character-art PV.

Love Live! Sunshine!!

Love Live Sunshine

Next up, we have the one show I actually have been looking forward to, and it’s friggin’ Love Live. The original Love Live was a lightweight but eminently enjoyable sitcom/drama, elevated by a great eye for comedy and consistently energetic storytelling. We’ve shifted directors for the sequel, but Love Live is a massive juggernaut of an intellectual property, and so I have to imagine Sunrise is working hard to ensure this one carries on the idol legacy. There’s a reason Love Live is so successful – it’s just goddamn fun as hell, funny and endearing and rarely overstepping its comfortable story wheelhouse. Sunshine should be a very good time.

Here’s the character intro PV.



noitamina! have been having a hard time of it lately. Originally associated with stellar, adult-oriented productions like Mononoke, The Tatami Galaxy, and Wandering Son, they’ve recently run into financial woes and a long string of lackluster productions, along with some pretty dispiriting grasps at standard late-night success. But fortunately, BATTERY seems to be something of a return to form for the once-storied anime block. Much of this comes down to the director, Tomomi Mochizuki, whose career spans decades of beloved or at least respected productions (ranging from House of Five Leaves all the way back to Kimagure Orange Road). Given noitamina!’s usual eleven episode format, I’m excited to see what kind of drama he can spin out of a sports coming-of-age story.

Here’s the PV!

Amaama to Inazuma

Amaama to Inazuma

I could probably say a thing or two about how this director‘s experience makes him seem uniquely well-suited to material like this, what with handling the charming One Week Friends and pulling episodic duty on stuff like Dennou Coil, but really, most of my excitement here comes down to the preview. Look how damn adorable this show is. Look how perfectly it fits inside that wonderful genre space occupied by stuff like Yotsuba and Barakamon. How could you not watch this show?

Here’s that extremely charming PV.



Speaking of Barakamon, oh hey, here’s that manga’s spinoff in anime form. Honestly, my expectations are pretty low for this one – not only is any staff turnover questionable, but seriously, how can you make a Barakamon without Naru? But the original Barakamon was good, and this one’s still by that one’s mangaka, so it’s at least worth a look.



This one’s being billed as a spiritual successor to Aria, and not without reason – both the mangaka and director are shared by both series, and Amanchu is even being sent off with an Amanchu x Aria animated event. Aria is basically right up there with K-On! among the most prestigious slice of life shows, so if you’re nostalgic for that or have any interest in the genre, Amanchu seems like an easy pick.

Here’s the megasized PV!

91 Days

91 Days

This one is a pretty open question – the director has done some reasonable work and the series composer is pretty solid, but it’s an anime-original, so there’s not all that much to go on. I’m mainly basing my interest on the genre space and fact that it is an original – a prohibition-era revenge thriller sounds interesting, and anime-originals tend to have a pretty high ceiling, since they can be truly self-contained stories crafted without compromise. It’s definitely a show to look out for.

Here’s the fairly useless PV.



Berserk is another one I’m pretty darn iffy on. The manga has a strong reputation, but grim violent stuff really isn’t my bag, and beyond that, it’s looking like this new version will rely heavily on some extremely bad CG. I’ll give it a chance, but my hopes are not high for this one.

Here’s the first PV, showing off that bad CG in all its glory.

Mob Psycho 100

Mob Psycho 100

And finally, we’ve got Mob Psycho 100. This one’s by the creator of One Punch Man, which honestly makes me nervous – I felt like OPM was a sequence of flashy but kinda weightless animation setpieces strung between a completely empty story, meaning that basically everything I liked about that show came down to the fantastic group of animators its adaptation relied on. But I’ve heard Mob Psycho 100 has better writing than One Punch Man, and the trailer still looks pretty darn flashy, so it’s worth a look.

You can check out the PV here.

And that’s it! Little here seems guaranteed except for Love Live being at least pretty good, but between the whole list, there should be at least a couple shows that stay strong. Anime may go for quantity over quality, but over enough quantity, some quality is sure to emerge!

23 thoughts on “Summer 2016 Season Preview

  1. The Orange manga is great, but Berserk gets progressively worse after the Golden Age arc so I’m not too hyped. Excited for 91 days and, of course, the certified anime of the year:
    Onara Gorou.

      • It’s a matter of tastes but I agree, I watched the old anime, then tried to get in the manga and couldn’t because after the Golden Age arc it shifts mood and setting so wildly. I had gotten attached to those characters and dynamics, and it almost became like reading a different manga altogether.

  2. I don’t think you’ll like Mob Psycho 100. It has the same irreverent humor feel as One Punch Man without the crazy action setpieces, only this time it addresses the anxieties of a middle-schooler (what is it that I want to do in life) instead of a young adult (this life feels unsatisfying).

    Orange, Handa-kun, Inazuma, and Amanchu are all solid manga in their respective genre spaces, but whether the anime will be great will depends on their direction. ReLife is a decent drama piece, though I personally think its premise has some bothersome implications, but it seems less promising than Orange because Orange has a potentially better direction.

    I think you’ll have a field day with Tenkyou no Alderamin. It’s not bad as far as Light Novel goes, it doesn’t follow the magic school template and has minimal fanservice & harem aspect, but it has the worst case of RATIONALISM and SCIENCE protagonist I’ve ever seen because it’s not subtle about it at all (he said words like “rational” and “scientific” every few sentences)

    • Hmm, yeah, that info about Mob Psycho 100 doesn’t sound all that appealing. I’m fine with a show centering on a topic like that, but I can’t say I trust this mangaka to handle it in a way I find satisfying.

  3. Based on what I’ve heard, One Punch Man was the mangaka’s side project, which he didn’t even plan to continue but he did because people wanted more, whereas Mob Psycho 100 was his main project. I’m fairly confident that the storytelling is going to be at least somewhat better than OPM.

  4. Can I suggest Rewrite?

    It’s not the usual melodramatic Key game like CLANNAD or Little Busters.

    The majority of the game is written by Romeo Tanaka (and a little bit by Ryukishi07-the guy who wrote Higurashi). And since you enjoy Humanity has Declined, I’ll suggest giving Rewrite a shot.

      • Yeah Ryukishi did Lucia’s route in the game (best route ftw! :P). There were like 4 or 5 different writers for different routes if I’m remembering correctly. No idea how that will translate into anime form though. Might not mean anything at all if the show chooses to focus on the true end path.

    • For me Key is a minus, but Tanaka is a plus. Then again, this season, Kiznaiver for me had Okada as a minus and Trigger as a plus and that turned out pretty well! So I think I’m in.

  5. This season seems to have a lot of stuff that could go either way.

    Orange seems interesting.Amanchu seems like a pleasant show from the PV. 91 Days has ton of potential due to the setting (Joker Game did too). Mob at least has a really solid staff to it.

    I guess the only one I have hope for is Berserk,but my expectations are in check due the animation and staff. If you could get past the massive amounts of violence,it has a ton stuff that you would enjoy.

  6. Eh summer season looks pretty light, that totally ok with me to be honest. Might give me the time to give a try to Love live from the beginning also.

    Gotta say that Berserk cover looks horrible to me since the first time I saw it. Guts face is all wrong. Will give it a try but adaptations needs to be pretty good to make me interested in stuff I’ve already read..

  7. Wait, it’s already almost a new season? Huh. I barely even watched anything this season. I felt like while this season has some good shows, it doesn’t have much in terms of “big, hyped, captivating, and/or memorable” shows. Outside of maybe JoJo. The rest are just kind of… Ehh, for me. A lot of them aren’t bad, but doesn’t really capture me for some reason.

  8. Yeah, I’d definitely be skeptical about Berserk. If this is indeed a faithful adaptation starting after the end of the Golden Age arc, there will be nothing here you like regardless of CGI, production values, direction… anything. I think you would actually enjoy the first arc of the Berserk manga, it’s pretty much an entire story in and of itself and while it has gore and sex and all that it’s also got a very distinct tone and demonstrates constantly that it’s aware of the tragic nature of its own world. It’s brutal, but rarely gratuitous. I wouldn’t say it’s exceptionally insightful, but there’s definitely some interesting thematic threads. It reminded me a lot of Game of Thrones, but with more of a focus on ideas and less on the nuances of the plot.

    After that arc ends though, idk what happened, something fundamentally shifted and it quickly became the equivalent of Araki possessed by Lucifer. Grimdark power fantasy, nonsense fantasy hogwash, no thematic coherency, evil evil evil life is suffering people are evil everyone you meet is secretly a giant twisted demon lord BUT get this there’s also a disgusting amount of completely unnecessary rape and dismemberment, graphically depicted, just to give you that extra kick. I had to drop it. A real tragedy, as I had seriously enjoyed the first arc, but I was getting physically nauseous reading it and steadily felt like I was becoming a worse person. And that’s exactly where this new show starts, right when it becomes that.

    I’m pretty sure you’ll watch the first episode anyways and then drop it, but just in case anyone tries to convince you to continue because you haven’t reached the good part blah blah blah, don’t. You might find Oreimo has met a worthy challenger for the tainted throne.

  9. Looking forward most to Amanchu. Competent staff plus JC Staff showed they can handle a subdued atmospheric show (Flying Witch) so I have hopes for it.

    Though putting Aria/Amanchu in the same category as K-ON seems a bit inaccurate. I got into animanga like 2007 and back then iyashikei was synonymous with Aria, Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou, Kino no Tabi, Mushishi arguably. K-ON is part (was the start?) of a genre I view as “moe iyashikei”, shows like Non Non Biyori where atmosphere is a big part but it’s populated by cute girls doing mundane things cutely. But Aria(/Amanchu) isn’t like that. It is more introspective, appreciative of everyday miracles, displays human warmth and contains insightful exchanges.

    You won’t see an exchange between Mio & Ritsu like this
    or heartfelt friendship moments
    or bittersweet statements

    Not bagging on K-ON but I don’t think they’re aiming for the same thing unless you simplify them to female-centric mood-based shows.

  10. Blegh. Not much of a season; my only sure things are Danganronpa 3 and Kono Bijutsubu ni wa Mondai ga Aru, the latter of which is a largely inoffensive romcom and the former of which is going to focus on its ludicrous overarching story. I’m surprised Qualidea didn’t come up, though; considering the Oregairu writer is one of the original creators, there should at least be some potential there.

  11. You know you might like Re:LIFE (27 year old man sent back to high school as a 17 year old) since it’s more than surface deep about, just growing up, how hard it is to handle a lot of conflicts without the experience of having already gone through situations etc. If there’s such a thing as “general high school slice of life” then I think it fits into that pretty well.

    Although I’m still grouchy at how they’re changing up the manga designs since I really liked those designs!

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