Well, all good things must come to an end. This fall has offered us bountiful great anime in a wide variety of genres, presenting the strongest single-season crop that I’ve seen in years. From great romantic comedies like Recovery of an MMO Junkie to sturdy character dramas like Just Because!, from action highlights like Blood Blockade Battlefront and Juni Taisen to the all-in-one spectacle of Land of the Lustrous, this season has spoiled us utterly. And now, with only a few weeks left in this magical season, it’s time to look forward and acknowledge that joy is fleeting and disappointment boundless, and that next season probably isn’t going to be very good.
The pickings are definitely slimmer for winter, though there are still highlights worth mentioning. And on top of that, the fact that fall all-stars like MMO Junkie and Just Because! didn’t really recommend themselves on first viewing should also serve as a reminder that every season will have its own surprises. As usual, I won’t be going down the names and synopses of every single upcoming show – you can easily find that info on anichart, and I don’t generally find premises that useful anyway. Instead, I’ll be focusing on the shows I have some semi-meaningful reason to look forward to, and explaining why I think these contenders have a chance. Starting with my top prospects and wandering on down, let’s explore the winter season!
Holy crap everyone, it’s time for the season preview. Season previews are exciting to me even in the most mundane of times, and this is far from that. Personally, this summer season has been the least interesting batch of anime since I started watching seasonally (which was… three… five?… nevermind years ago). In contrast, the upcoming season is packed with returning favorites, unexpected revivals, intriguing adaptations, and promising anime originals. It would be very nearly impossible for this coming season to undercut my current 3.5 show roster, and it’s actually looking quite likely that I might have to sacrifice even some promising shows just for the sake of time. Summer may be ending, but a new anime dawn is approaching!
As usual, I won’t be running down every single upcoming show in this list. You can check a site like anichart if that’s what you’re looking for, and can also easily find all upcoming synopses there as well. What I will be focusing on are the shows I think are promising, along with laying out whatever reasons I might have for believing in them, be that solid source material or talented staff or just a great first season. Let’s start with my most anticipated prospects and run this season down!
At this point, I’ve kinda accepted that season previews are more or less useless. Alright, that’s a bit harsh. As a way of pointing out promising staff, or a breakdown of the merits of source material, they definitely have their uses. But gauging shows based on their premises is basically pointless, and a first episode is a far more useful predictor of quality than pretty much anything a preview can tell you. I’m gonna be frank with you – I’m writing this preview mostly because I have a slavish dedication to routine, and also because readers just kinda seem to like them. I hope those reasons sound reasonable enough!
All that said, we’re sticking with my usual format here. I won’t be breaking down every single show that’s coming up – I’m just gonna be highlighting the shows I actually have some reason to be excited about. I also won’t be offering synopses, which are easily available elsewhere – instead, I’ll be focusing on the specific reasons I think some show has a shot at being good. With all that qualifying and justifying behind us, starting with my top choices, let’s preview some shows!
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!
I’ll be honest – this upcoming anime season is looking pretty sparse. Perhaps this is our punishment for having such a strong current season, or perhaps the good and just anime gods are displeased with Flip Flappers’ low sales numbers, but either way, we’re going to be scavenging for scraps come January. That said, there are still some bright spots here and there – sequels to strong first seasons, shows with promising creators, originals that might have have some kind of special spark. And we’ve certainly had weak winter seasons before – in fact, this winter may just end up being a repeat of last year’s, where Rakugo stood head and shoulders above the rest of the pack. We’ll get by, as we always do. And we’ll probably have some nice cartoons to help us.
As usual, I won’t be previewing every single show of the coming season, and I also won’t be providing traditional synopses. You can check a site like anichart for all that stuff – instead, I’ll be highlighting the specific shows that seem to have potential, along with the generally staff-related reasons I feel that way. Plot is cheap, but strong artists are irreplaceable. So let’s start at the vague peak of my interest level and run this next season down!
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!
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.
Spring is upon us! Well, technically spring is still almost a month away, at least if we’re talking in anime terms, and when are we ever not talking in anime terms. But still! We’ve only got a few short weeks before the spring season arrives to assail me specifically with way too many shows to watch, and so that means it’s time once more for me to run down the stuff I’m actually excited about. As usual, I’m only going to bring up the shows that actually look interesting to me, and the reasons I specifically find them interesting – there are plenty of resources to give you synopses of the whole list, and besides, the preview guide means that I’ll have exhaustive commentary on even the dregs of the season when they actually arrive. But even limiting the list to shows I’m actively anticipating, we’ve still got a broad and respectable selection of hopefuls this time. There are manga favorites and returning champions and new challengers, a diverse menagerie to suit all anime palettes. So let’s start at the shows I’m most anticipating and run ‘em down!
We’re approaching the last act of the fall season, which means it’s time once again to shift an eye towards winter and see what the future might bring. This winter season is not looking good, frankly – there are basically no shows I have strong confidence in, and even the potential hits are pretty sparse. But every season has its surprises, and it’d be hard for a season to be as barren as this past summer anyway, so I’m sure it’ll all work out in the end. Winter seasons are historically pretty lousy, anyway; last winter was a fantastic outlier, but with nothing like Shirobako carrying over and nothing as promising as Death Parade or Yurikuma awaiting us, we’re going to have to forage our way through the lean months. Check out your backlog, finish shows you fell behind on, and maybe spare a minute or two to check in on a few of these potential titles
As usual, I won’t be running down every upcoming title here – you can read synopses as well as I can, and there’s only so much I can say about Crappy Light Novel Adaptation #375. You can check out the full list over at anichart, but I’m just going to be hitting the stuff that actually looks interesting to me, and explaining why. Let’s get right to it!
It’s time! Time at last to start thinking about putting this lousy season behind us, time pick our heads up from the anime-parched earth and take a glimpse towards the horizon. Is that a mirage in the distance, taunting us with the thought of media sustenance? Are we doomed to wander this barren waste forever, continually lowering our standards until eventually we forget anime was anything more than a vehicle for monstergirls and pee jokes?
Nah, there’s some new shows coming out. Some of them look pretty good, too! We’ve got long-awaited manga adaptations, sequels to steady favorites, new entries in venerable franchises, and even some tasty-looking originals and wildcards. My overall bench isn’t terribly deep, but I’m confident I’ll be happy with at least a couple of them, and even outside of my picks, every season holds surprises.
As always, I won’t be running down every new show here – there’s vast selections of shows I know I’ll never be interested in, and even among those shows, if there are any standouts, I’ll hit them during preview week anyway. If you want the full list, you can check it out over on anichart – here, I’m just gonna break down what I’m excited about, along with maybe a reason or two to feel optimistic. So let’s get to it!