Spring 2016 Anime Preview – A Memento of Spring

28 Mar , 2016,
Panther
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Kitsunemimi by Yuzuka

Spring has come unto us once more with such speed that it is difficult to believe we are here once more. And yet here we are, clinging on to possible mementos of spring, whether they be physical objects, or intangible memories. Traditionally, spring has always been the best season of the year, but lately it has been difficult to uphold that particular ideal for me. Still, that is not to say that I give spring anime series more chances than other seasons’, and so here we go with this year’s offerings of possible spring mementos.

The image above was kindly taken from Yuzuka’s pixiv, and the girl above is an original fox girl character. The title is a reference to the song, “Haru no Katami” (A Memento of Spring) by Hajime Chitose. It was the ED theme song to the anime Ayakashi.

Once again, I must say that all of the views presented in this post are of my own and are mere opinions. You are free to take them as you wish, but know that there are many other opinions out there regarding these same, and other, anime series. This is also in addition to the point that you may not even like the same anime series that I do, or feel even remotely interested in the same aspect. Thus, please proceed with an open mind.

I take my anime series’ previews largely from Random Curiosity’s spring preview post, the writers of which I thank for their effort in the post, and only write on the ones I feel interested enough to watch. Sequels will come first, before the start of new shows. And let me tell you, I have a lot more new shows than sequels this time round that I am interested in.

*****

Sequels

Ushio to Tora

Ushio to Tora San Kuurume
Ushio & Tora 3rd Cour
Starts: 1st Apr JST

Ushio & Tora returns for its final season after a season’s break. We had already known ahead of time that it would be split into a three-cour thing, with two cours airing back to back, and the third splitting off, so this was no surprise. Ushitora, as it is abbreviated to in Japan, was quite a throwback to an older art style for me, and the story is nothing to laugh at, though the show did take a while before it started getting to the heavier and more significant parts. It has little in terms of surprise for the plot and follows largely what you would expect, but this is also just what makes it so appealing to a generation which grew up more with superheroes or the common trope of goody-two-shoes heroes. If you liked what you saw in the first two cours, then here is where it finishes. If you have not started and are debating if you want to, I highly suggest giving the first two cours a try.

Concrete Revolutio

Concrete Revolutio: Choujin Gensou – THE LAST SONG
Starts: 3rd Apr JST

Conrevo returns for its final season, bringing the series to a head since ending in the fall 2015 season. It is very difficult to describe the series, because it is so much of a mix of everything, from weird story-telling methods, to the absolutely huge mix of fantasy and science fiction and what have you in its world. Aliens, superhumans, politics, superpowers, things from Hell…you name it, Conrevo seems to have it. And now we must face the truth behind the Superhuman Department as well as Hitoyoshi Jirou’s stand on the protection of superhumans as the series comes to a close.

I will not say much about Conrevo, because unlike a lot of anime series, it is something that must be watched and experienced for you to know if you like it or not. So give the first season at least a 3-episode try and see if the formula appeals to you. If it does, as it has for many of us who have found it deeply intriguing, then hop on for the ride to its final destination, as we listen to The Last Song (whatever that may be).

*****

New Shows

Mayoiga

Mayoiga
The Lost Village
Starts: 1st Apr JST

Thirty young men and women get on a bus to a supposedly lost village, each carrying their own burdens and wounds, only to arrive and find that the village itself was not what it seems. People may have once lived there, but where are they now, and what happened to them? Will each person’s past come to play a part as we get to know more about the story, and the people themselves?

Mayoiga has an interesting premise, not the least of which is the possibility of not just mystery, but a closer look at the human heart and mind. There is a solid team behind this show, though asking for crowdfunding is a little worrying after a recent spate of negative events surrounding crowdfunding for games and animation. It will be on the WOWOW block, which aired shows such as Ghost Hound and Kaiba (two of which are highly recommended by the way), so I hope this one will turn out to be really good, or at least above average.

Boku no Hero Academia

Boku no Hero Academia
My Hero Academia
Starts: 3rd Apr JST

If there was an anime series with a ton of hype this season since its announcement for an anime season, it would be this one. My Hero Academia follows the plot of a kid who has no “Quirks”, superpowers that 80% of the population of the world has. Despite being the minority, Midoriya Izuku dreams of one day becoming a superhero like the ones he sees on TV. When he is saved by the No. 1 hero All Might, he vows to make his dream a reality, and thus sets his sights on joining a Hero Academy in order to achieve his goal.

If it sounds similar, that is because it is what it is – a throwback to the superhero trope reminiscent of many Western comics. This is part of the reason why it was such a big hit both in Japan and abroad. There is really little else to say – the artwork and the premise speak for themselves. There is also a stellar cast, with many famous names in the voice department.

Like One Punch Man before it, the superhero setting will surely endeavor to engrave itself into the hearts of young and old alike, with one young man’s struggles to reach what may be deemed impossible for him the engine this time round for what will likely be quite the smashing hit of the season.

Kuma Miko

Kuma Miko
Girl Meets Bear
Starts: 3rd Apr JST

A rural part of Japan is the setting for this particular series, where a shrine maiden, Amayadori Machi, for a shrine for bears, suddenly announces she wants to head to the city. Her guardian is, oh wow, a talking bear! Natsu worries instantly for her future as she would not be adapted well to the city, and sets her to some tasks bringing her up to speed with the contemporary modern world she has never been a part of.

This looks like absolutely cliche material, but it has the huge potential of being hilarious. I always liked comedy that dealt with references to contemporary issues in a deadpan kind of way (think Hoozuki no Reitetsu, which was absolutely marvelous at it), so this one was a snap to put on the to-watch list. Machi is being voiced by someone new to the industry, but Natsu will be done by a veteran who often plays serious male characters, Yasumoto Hiroki (who was also Hoozuki), so this will be really fun to listen to as well. There might be no lack of comedy series this season, but done well or not, that is the question. And Kuma Miko looks like it will actually be done quite well indeed.

Bakuon!!

Bakuon!!
Starts: 5th Apr JST

Hane Sakura rides a bicycle up a steep hill every day to get to school, and so instantly falls in love with a motorcycle when she sees fellow student Onsa Amano ride one effortlessly up the same hill. She joins the school’s motorcycle club and her journey to get a license and as part of the motorcycle club now commences!

Pretty generic looking premise, ain’t it? Except it has got my attention because I love riding motorcycles. This one caught my attention the moment it came out several months ago when the anime was announced. I stopped riding for a few years now since I sold my bike some time back, which just happens to be the same one Hane will ride, a Honda Super 4 (at least, from what I can remember, she is riding that). This anime definitely has my eye for sure, since it has slice-of-life with one of the things I always wanted to do the most, and still do – ride a motorcycle.

Ueda Reina will voice Hane, and she has done great work in Dimension W this past season. She will be backed by Uchiyama Yumi, who is really good too; Touyama Nao, who has been making the rounds in these few years, and Yamaguchi Rikako, who is pretty new or at least has not done as many works as the other. There are some strong veterans in the backup cast too, and Tadokoro Azusa is also back in a series I am watching since some time ago. I have no doubt the cast will be fine, so all that is left is the plot development, but honestly, how wrong can you get with slice-of-life anime, since we all usually know how it goes? It will just be the execution, really, that boils down to it, and the motorcycle representation has been superb and on point so far. This will definitely be one for either the slice-of-life lovers, bike lovers, or both.

Joker Game

Joker Game
Starts: 5th Apr JST

“Don’t kill, don’t get killed, don’t get captured.” With these tenets in mind, Colonel Yuuki establishes the D Agency in 1937, a group of secret agents before the outbreak of World War II, to deal with foreign and domestic powers. The premise itself is pretty interesting but not the kind of thing I usually follow, so it was a surprise to find myself actually hesitating on whether or not to even pick it up.

There will likely be a lot of darkness and grim stuff in this show, considering it is stuff about secret agents, which does put it into a positive for me. I just am not sold as much into the premise as one would be, largely because it just is not my interest. Do not get me wrong, the male cast is stellar, to say the least, but the possible potential for a story that interests me…meh. Still, I will give this a 3-episode test. If you are looking for something in that time period or a secret agent show though, this would be up your alley.

Sousei no Onmyouji

Sousei no Onmyouji
Twin Star Exorcists
Starts: 6th Apr JST

Continuing in the list of exorcist anime, the same magazine that publishes Ao no Exorcist and Owari no Seraph also has this one greenlit for production, and here we have Twin Star Exorcists. Enmadou Rokuro is a talented exorcist, but due to an incident in which he is the sole survivor, he denounces his love for the profession and goes on trying to be anything but an exorcist. However, Adashino Benio, another talented exorcist, comes into his life and turns it upside down, bringing him back to the realm of exorcists, and things take a turn for the worse when they both find out that they are the destined pair to marry and bear the child that will end all Kegare, the source of evil, in the world.

When this was announced I already decided I would watch it. While Ao no Exorcist and Owari no Seraph did not live up to the hype that their manga series created (I dropped the latter like 8 episodes into the first season, but I did finish all of the former and its movie), this one might just have something in it that will keep me interested. There is, at the very least, the action that will definitely come with such series, and honestly, it has been overshadowed by other series’ announcements this season so I really want to give this one a try.

Hanae Natsuki voices Rokuro, while Megumi Han voices Benio. I am no fan of the former, though I feel he did good work in Heavy Object these past two seasons. I am more enamored with Megumi, who has some good roles under her belt with different voice sets. The supporting cast has some veterans, so I am not too worried about issues with the voice cast. Whether or not it turns out to be something better than the previous two exorcist series though is something it will have to prove, and it has a higher bar to live up to especially after Owari no Seraph’s mediocre animated runs.

Onigiri

Onigiri
Demon Slayer
Starts: 7th Apr JST

No, no, no, we are not talking about the one you eat. Onigiri (鬼斬) translates to Demon Slayer, and is actually based on CyberStep’s MMORPG of the same name, released back in December 2013 for the Japanese audience, and later in English for a global audience. Now I did play the hack-and-slash game, and I found the story to be really hilarious within the game despite its rather mediocre gameplay concept. It also had great music, but the story was what really captivated. While the general plot movement was something generic, there were so many references to Japanese folklore and contemporary culture, such as the story of Momotarou and even a reference to Doraemon, that it was never really dull.

There were actually animated scenes for a scene in the hot baths for its trailers, so when I first heard about an animated version, I thought they were going to follow something like that or animate the story in part, since references hardly carry over well. It turns out though, that Onigiri will be in 5-minute shorts, and I honestly have no idea what kind of content they plan to put in just 5 minutes. It may just work for this though, considering Onigiri’s plot and references would hardly carry over well to full-length animated series.

I actually have no real idea if the cast in the anime is the same as in the game, but it hardly matters since I am all about the catgirl only anyway. Hopefully they also have some of that wonderful BGM composition in the series. This is not something anyone would really want to watch unless they had time on their hands or they were into the game quite a bit, but if you feel remotely interested, I suppose a 3-episode test will not hurt. 5 minutes each week, after all.

Kuromukuro

Kuromukuro
Starts: 7th Apr JST

This one is inspired by the construction of the Kurobe Dam, still the tallest standing dam in Japan today. The enormity of the cost in blood and more has inspired more than a few dramatizations, apparently, and here is one in anime form. In an alternate universe, the construction of the dam unearthed something ancient, and the United Nations established an institute to study the treasure. It is present-day Japan in 2016, and a lone samurai from a past age has awoken. What is his connection to futuristic robots?

Honestly, after certain recent experiences such as Comet Lucifer, I am loath to say that this will be a hit. It might still be, but the doubts are high. Original mystery mecha series need something really powerful to set them going, and the premise is already failing at that. I am not too sure if this will land on the right side of the fence, but at least, it deserves a 3-episode test for its attempt. Ueda Reina will be in this too, alongside M.A.O, and there are several other names in the voice cast that will doubtlessly deliver. Aside from that though, it remains to be seen if it would survive a 3-episode test, so if you want to start watching this, make sure you go in with no expectations whatsoever.

Netoge no Yome

Netoge no Yome wa Onna no Ko ja nai to Omotta?
And you thought there is never a girl online?
Starts: 7th Apr JST

Yet another light novel adaptation, Netoge centers upon Nishimura Hideki who once confessed to a female character in an online game, only to find out she is a guy in real life. He swears never to trust another “girl” online again, but out of the blue a female character confesses to him, and it turns out she is actually a real beauty that goes to the same school as he does! Unfortunately, said girl, Tamaki Ako, has problems differentiating between reality and fiction, and so a guild forms around the two in order to try and “correct” her perceptions.

LN adaptations have been pretty much hit-or-miss with most crowds, and this one looks like no exception to the rule. In fact, aside from the oft-cited but hardly used premise of seeing a female character as an actual girl and not another male (Many Men Online Role-Playing Girls), this looks like thoroughfare. The difference is that according to the source material, like KonoSuba before it, the characters are absolutely hilarious and off their knockers. KonoSuba did a good job of presenting that, and is even getting a second season, so I am going into this one with little expectations for the plot, and more for the humor factor.

Hidaka Rina, well known for her loli voice contributions, will be Ako, while M.A.O, Nanjou Yoshino (Ayase Eli of Love Live!) and Minase Inori (Kafuu Chino of Gochiusa) add their voices to the line-up in the female cast.

Koutetsujou no Kabaneri

Koutetsujou no Kabaneri
Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress
Starts: 8th Apr JST

A complete and utter Attack on Titan ripoff, Kabaneri focuses on an island nation that has built walls to protect themselves from the mysterious undead Kabane. Yes, I did say it was a complete ripoff. It comes from the same makers of Attack on Titan though, so that is no surprise.

While the former may have been quite a smash hit worldwide, I still do not understand its appeal. Sure, I do continue to keep up with the manga, but aside from the gore and action, there really is little to back it up in terms of plot. Spoiler: They still have not gotten to the damned basement. Well, in any case, I will be giving this one a go just because of all the fanatical hype about a clone of Attack on Titan, but whether or not it keeps up past 3 episodes for me is up in the air where the Titans can reach.

Sakamoto desu ga

Sakamoto desu ga?
Haven’t you heard? I’m Sakamoto
Starts: 8th Apr JST

This is apparently a huge comedy that, for someone who hardly reads manga like me, has never heard of, sadly. It did get a ton of hype surrounding its announcement for an animation, so it got onto the watchlist. Sakamoto is apparently the ultimate cool guy, because no matter how many tricks or pranks are played on him, he somehow always manages to find a way out of all of them, and actually look cool doing it. I can see where that would lead to some really hilarious situations, but I would have to really watch it to know for myself. I always liked comedy series that deal with humor well, and this looks to be one of them this season.

The manga itself has finished and won several awards, so that is good enough reason for anyone who is looking for some humor this season to try and pick this up. I seriously doubt you will be disappointed.

Kiznaiver

Kiznaiver
Starts: 9th Apr JST

Kiznaiver follows the tales of, well, Kiznaivers! They share wounds through the Kizuna System, so if one of them gets injured, the wound and pain is shared amongst all those within the Kizuna System. It sounds interesting enough to want to pick this up, but there is also a catch – being an original series, it always has the potential to go both ways. Okada Mari is a famous scriptwriter working on this, so we will see if it amounts to anything. Studio Trigger (Kill la Kill) is doing this, so the animation itself looks catchy enough.

Yamamura Hibiku (Haruna of Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio) will voice the main female, while Kaji Yuuki will deal with the main male. Not very interested in either, really. They are backed by Satou Rina, Kuno Misaki, and others. I hope this will end up being good, but to determine that will likely require more than 3 episodes.

Hai-Furi

Hai-Furi
Starts: 10th Apr JST

Many countries have sunk below the waves due to tectonic plate subduction worldwide, and coastal cities were set up and then launched into the seas, expanding the naval routes, in order to save humanity. In trying to meet the need for safer routes, a new industry grew up around naval security, proving to be popular with women, giving rise to the occupation known as the Blue Mermaids. In Japan, two good friends decide to enroll into a maritime high school in order to achieve their dream of becoming Blue Mermaids.

Sounds like a nice slice-of-life series, with cute girls though, except that Suzuki Takaaki, creator of Girls und Panzer and Strike Witches, is also the creator of this series. So while the cute girls will likely be quite the distraction, there is the real potential for some nice action in here if they do it right. To that end though, it still is an original series, so we will have to adopt a wait-and-see attitude in order to find out if it will be good.

Flying Witch

Flying Witch
Starts: 10th Apr JST

In a season where there are already lots of slice-of-life anime series, what could Flying Witch offer, one might ask? Well, for starters, despite the obvious magic and fantasy elements within, it does seem like the main bulk of the story is focused on the witch herself and her coming-of-age experiences. That makes for good story-telling, if nothing else, and it is nice to see the fantasy part take a back seat to the slice-of-life part.

There will apparently be lots of references, so avid anime fans might be able to catch those. The main cast appears to be rather new, but Kayano Ai is always a fine addition. Hopefully, Flying Witch will be a sleeper of the season as far as slice-of-life stuff goes.

Big Order

Big Order
Starts: 16th Apr JST

In a world where people’s wishes become superpowers, Hoshimiya Eiji wants nothing more to do with the superpower he gained as a result of his wish. It took the lives of millions and millions of people, and now all he wants to do is to live in peace. But one day, a transfer student comes in, and aims a katana at his chest.

A very intriguing premise, to say the least. What could Hoshimiya have wished for that would cause the deaths of millions instead, and what other superpowers might be out there? An action series to be sure, but one that might actually provide something a little different from the norm, or at least, execute it differently. Hoshimiya will be voiced by Morita Masakazu (largely of Kurosaki Ichigo fame, from Bleach), whom I have actually not heard in a while. There are also veterans like Tachiki Fumihiko (Zaraki Kenpachi of Bleach), and then there are ones like Kuno Misaki and Tadokoro Azusa. I am actually looking forward to this as a possible sleeper of the season in terms of action series, so I hope it carries through.

*****

That was a whole lot of shows. Honestly, this was a lot more than I thought I would be bothering to follow, but there are also ones that look like I will drop 3 episodes in, or worse. Then again, last season was a surprise, with two shows, Boku Dake ga Inai Machi (ERASED) and Hai to Gensou no Grimgar (Grimgar of Ash and Fantasy), scoring 9 out of 10 for the first time in years that I can remember in my anime list. Maybe the same thing might occur again.