The winter season is drawing to a close, which means it’s once more time to look forward and see what the future might bring. This current season was a bit of a wash, and I’m not gonna sugarcoat it – next season isn’t looking great either. Frankly, if you’re not anticipating at least one or two of this spring’s big sequels, it might be worth calling a mulligan on this one. Outside of Masaaki Yuasa’s new films, there are basically no noteworthy projects by any of the creators I generally keep tabs on – no Matsumoto, no Mizushima, no Nakamura, and nothing by Kyoto Animation period. Couple that with a slate of dire-looking premises and previews, and you’ve got the recipe for a fresh season of playing videogames and catching up on backlog. Personally, I recommend the first one – I normally only get excited about a couple games a year, but this year’s already brought us Resident Evil VII, Nier Automata, Nioh, and Breath of the Wild, with Persona 5 still on its way. Those are some pretty great videogames!
But of course, you’re here for anime. The good news is, if you are in the market for sequels, this season has some extremely promising ones. The Eccentric Family counts among my favorite shows of all time, and both My Hero Academia and Rage of Bahamut have strong predecessors to live up to. As usual, my list won’t cover every show – you can check basically any resource to find that, along with handy synopses. I’ll just be running down the shows I’m actually excited about, along with what specifically sticks out to me. So let’s start with my most anticipated shows and run this coming season down!
The original Eccentric Family was one of my all-time favorite shows, and I could not be more excited for the sequel. Originally written by Tomihiko Morimi, the same novelist responsible for The Tatami Galaxy, it offered a whimsical and poignant slice of magical realism. Set in a Kyoto where both tengu and tanuki roam the land of man, its moments of breathless wonder were elevated by a story that offered consistently thoughtful reflections on the nature of family. Series composer Shoutarou Suga will be replaced by Ryou Higaki this time, but given Higaki’s contributed a good dozen scripts to Suga-composed works in the past (including five from Eccentric Family’s first season), I’m not too worried. Eccentric Family is my easy top pick of the season.
Here’s the first PV.
Continuing the sequel roundup, My Hero Academia’s second season promises even more highlights than the blockbuster original. I was frankly a little underwhelmed by My Hero Academia’s first season – adapting the original manga at a glacial pace, I felt its very conservative speed sucked some of the energy out of the fundamentally strong material. That said, the material the second season will be covering is actually far superior to the first season’s, and the first season was still a pretty great time. The school festival arc expands beyond the show’s original focus to offer some wonderful character stories, all while framing its emotional drama in the context of consistent thrilling battles. If My Hero Academia 2 can nail the execution, it’ll be a stunning production.
Here’s the PV.
And further continuing with the sequels (look, I told you), Virgin Soul looks to be a high-energy followup to one of 2014’s most unexpected gems. An early highlight of the “wait, why are these phone game adaptations so good” genre, it offered a swashbuckling adventure that felt deeply and effectively indebted to films like Indiana Jones and Pirates of the Caribbean. Rage of Bahamut’s world mixes angels, devils, zombies, and occasional giant crabs, making the most of its source material’s fantasy smorgasbord while somehow telling a reasonably cohesive story. I expect the sequel to be a rollicking good time.
Here’s the PV.
And finally escaping from the sequel slideshow, P.A. Works’ latest looks to be a charming low-key drama. Premises aren’t usually enough to sell me, but “a show about adults that fits precisely in P.A. Works’ dramatic wheelhouse” is certainly a good start, and both the director and series composer for this one are accomplished and accustomed to working together. The two collaborated on the very solid Coffin Princess Chaika, and composer Masahiro Yokotani’s work on shows like Hataraku Maou-sama! and Free! Eternal Summer gives me hope he’s adept at managing an understated comedy-drama blend. Plus I just love the look and feel of rural Japan, and a show celebrating a small town in the sticks seems like a pretty great time. I’ve got pretty solid hopes for this one.
Here’s the PV.
And arriving long after its moment in the popular imagination has passed, we’ve finally got the second season of Attack on Titan. I wasn’t really the biggest fan of Titan’s first season – I thought it was a reasonable but poorly structured and kinda character-free action spectacle. Shows like My Hero Academia demonstrate you can couple exciting action with strong characters and poignant themes, but Titan was basically just the action all by itself, and even that was held down by lousy pacing and serious production issues. Still, the show was certainly watchable, and I expect season two to be more of the same.
Here’s the PV.
At this point we’ve moved past shows I actually have expectations for, and into shows I can only hope might be good. Alice & Zorouku fits in one of my favorite genre spaces – “found families involving cute kids” – but unfortunately seems to append a fair amount of silly anime nonsense to that, like secret testing facilities and frilly goth loli outfits. That said, this is the director of Flying Witch, so I have some hope the show will fall into a pleasant slice of life space. We’ll have to see.
Here’s the PV.
And that covers it for me! There are other shows that fall into “maybe this won’t be bad” (Anonymous Noise falls in a solid genre space, and Tsuki ga Kirei looks to have some nice art design), but not to the level that I’m actually looking forward to them. This season looks to be another lean one, but fortunately, the top tier is basically guaranteed to be terrific. Anime will carry on!