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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!