With just over three weeks left to go in the summer season, it’s time to once again look forward to next season’s potential bounty. In spite of my initial pessimism, the summer season turned out to be very solid all around – not only did expected favorites like Love Live Sunshine and Sweetness & Lightning perform, but Mob Psycho 100 turned out to be far, far more compelling than I’d anticipated, and Thunderbolt Fantasy essentially doubled the season’s JoJo-style theatrics. We’ve had two strong seasons in a row now, full of compelling shows in a variety of genres. The only thing the year’s really been missing so far is a full complement of truly Great anime – anime I feel no hesitation about putting on my end of the year list, and at least some temptation to add to my all-timers. We’ve had Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju and Concrete Revolutio, and Mob Psycho will certainly make the top shows of 2016 cut, but I could use a couple more clear standouts. Fortunately, fall looks pretty stacked as well, so I’m eager to get to it.
As usual, my list won’t be covering every single new show. If you want the full list with synopses, you can easily check out anichart or a similar site – I’m just going to be covering what I think is interesting (in rough order of interest), along with the specific reasons I’m looking forward to it. Good staff, good source material, good studios – those are the things I can rely on, beyond the unreliable allure of any kind of cool premise. So let’s start right at the top and run this upcoming season down!
Yep, huge surprise, the sequel to one of my favorite shows by my favorite director at my favorite studio sits at the top of my list. Sound! Euphonium was a nearly perfect drama, full of textured leads and elevated by sharp character animation and Naoko Yamada’s usual eye for understated personal moments. I’ve heard fine things about the source material, and though Yamada’s involvement will necessarily be lessened this season due to directing A Silent Voice, I still have very high expectations for this one. If you have any appreciation for understated character dramas, Sound! Euphonium is about as good as it gets.
Here’s the absolutely ridiculous and completely tonally incoherent PV.
I’m really, really hoping this one turns out well. Based on a highly regarded drama/slice of life by the original creator of Honey and Clover, expectations have been high for this eventual adaptation for a while. On top of that, this seems to be the first show that’s actually going to be directed by Akiyuki Shinbo in a very long time. Though Shinbo’s name ends up attached to basically every Shaft show, he’s generally just a high-level producer – but this time, it’s looking like he’s taking on directorial duties himself. What that will mean for the show, I’m not sure; I don’t really see how Shinbo’s bold and kinda violent style will gel with material that likely warrants a soft and unobtrusive touch. But if it does work, this could be a real gem.
Frankly, this one does have a compelling premise – anime about actual adults pretty much always earn a second glance, and the low-key working life conceit here also seems strong. But this one is also directed by Toshimasa Kuroyanagi, the director of the low-key excellent Shounen Hollywood, so there’s at least one substantive reason to expect results here. But yes, I am mainly compelled by the fact that anime about adults living ordinary lives sounds like candy to me.
Here’s the PV!
Flip Flappers is looking to be the Great Sakuga Hope of the fall season, with both its director and animation director serving as ADs on previous animation superstars (Space Dandy, Dennou Coil, Your Lie in April, etc). Outside of that, it’s a pretty serious wildcard – the PV is excellent, but the studio is entirely new, so it could really go anywhere. But we wouldn’t be watching anime if we weren’t eternal optimists, so here’s hoping for something closer to the Kyousogiga end of “energetic, anime-original passion project” instead of the Rolling Girls end. I’m rooting for you, Flip Flappers.
Here’s the PV!
I don’t really have any inherent interest in figure skating, and the PV for this one leans extremely heavily towards the kind of shipping stuff I also don’t really care about, but Sayo Yamamoto (Michiko and Hatchin, The Woman Called Fujiko Mine, Samurai Champloo) is a total badass. Easily one of the most talented new directors out there, in possession of a clear aesthetic voice, and on duty as original creator, director, and series composer here. Original passion projects by genius directors have a tendency to be kinda pretty good, so I’m on board to see what she puts together this time.
Here’s that PV.
Alright, fine, here’s another largely “I’ve got a good feeling about this one” show. The premise and PV do a lot of work here – a World War II-era story about a princess protected by some kind of superpowered lady sounds like a lot of fun. Between the preview and vague inklings about “The Last Witch,” the overall production gives me something of a Maria the Virgin Witch vibe. There is essentially zero information available about this one outside of its name, basic premise, and PV, but look on the bright side – that also means it isn’t necessarily directed by a bad director at a studio with poor resources. See? Positive thinking!
Here’s the PV.
I’m expecting this one to be trashy as hell, but you know what, sometimes trashy things are pretty great. The premise here pretty much says it all – “what if we put a bunch of magical girls in a Battle Royale scenario.” That’s it. The most notable thing about the staff is the series composer’s long history of trash (Elfen Lied, Sekirei, AND Testament of Sister New Devil). It’ll probably suck. I’m still watching an episode.
Here’s the utterly useless PV.
If “shows about solo parental figures semi-raising children” is the newest genre trend in anime, I am all for it. Shows like Barakamon and Sweetness & Lightning are consistently charming, and this one seems to be following in the same trend. I frankly have pretty low expectations for this one – its director is untested, and LIDENFILMS are somewhat impressive for their consistency in garbage productions (Heroic Legend of Arslan, Terraformars, Berserk 2016). But the premise really does seem compelling enough that I’d give it an episode regardless.
Here’s the frankly unimpressive PV.
This one apparently isn’t a formal member of the Science Adventure series (the 5pb games all marked by that semicolon, including Steins;Gate and Robotics;Notes), but it is based on a light novel series written by one of the central Steins;Gate concepters/producers. It’s being adapted by the director of Your Lie in April, which is a reasonably positive sign, but outside of that, we really don’t have much to go on. One more speculative pick.
And that covers it for me! There are a lot of sequels to highly regarded shows coming out (Haikyuu, Natsume’s Book of Friends, etc), but I’m unfortunately not current on any of the big ones. But even without sequels, it still looks like I’ve got a whole bunch to check out. I’m expecting at least half of this list will turn out pretty well, which should make for an interesting season. But feel free to let me know what you all are looking forward to, or what I should definitely give a second shot. More anime for all!