With Winter drawing to a close, it’s time to look forward to all the exciting new shows, and… not-so-exciting new shows of the new season. If a show you’re hyped for is missing, just tell me why and I’ll consider adding it in.
Worth Checking Out
Genre: Likely Mindtrip, BL?
Utena in 97. Penguindrum in 2011. Yuri Kuma Arashi in 2015. Now, for April 2019, psychedelic mastermind and revolutionary director Kunihiko Ikuhara returns with his next stream of trippy consciousness and visual symbolism, funnelled into a poignant message. Sarazanmai is going to be a ride, and we’re going to need to take some notes to figure out what the hell’s going on!
This time teaming up with the on-a-role Studio MAPPA (Yuri on Ice, Kakegurui, Banana Fish), Sarazanmai is going to be yet another thinky anime rife with symbolism, visual metaphors and campy ideas. Judging by the PVs, the artstyle could be veering into quite experimental territory, but that could merely be an advertising ploy (Penguindrum has something similar). There’s something to do with BL, and we’ve already met some slick, campy men in uniforms. Who knows what Sarazanmai will be about – I certainly couldn’t tell you – but it’s definitely one to watch.
Title: Carole & Tuesday
Length: likely 24-26 episodes
Genre: Music, drama?
Another original from an acclaimed director? Spring sure is looking rife with reason to be excited! This time, Carole & Tuesday is an unconventional music anime from Shinichiro Watanabe (Cowboy Bepop, Sakamichi no Apollon, Samurai Champloo) – but perhaps more interesting than that is that the project is pulling an award-winning scriptwriter from live action TV dramas in Aya Watanabe. That’s not inherently surprising giving the vibes of the series; Carole & Tuesday is unconventional in how realistic, and adult, it seems to be aiming, and how particularly un-Japanese the whole affair seems. Between the multiracial cast and non-Japanese musical influences inherent to its mains, the series is going to be something a bit different, for sure.
We already know quite a bit about the series. We even know it’s going to be a 2-cour (likely, 24-26 episode) anime where the first half deals with the journey to a professional debut, and the second half will deal with the thereafter. Carole & Tuesday seems like an interesting project, and seems worth checking-out for the proposed novelty alone, but the likely quality that Studio Bones will inevitably bestow means it could be one of the best of the year, even.
Title: Fruits Basket
Genre: Shoujo, romance, drama, slice-of-life, supernatural
There sure are a lot of remakes/reboots going on lately, huh? Perhaps I should elaborate on why in another post, but for now, the upcoming season is treating us to a reboot of Fruits Basket. The manga, of which, the reputation precedes it, originally got a 26 episode anime adaption from Deen in 2001. Unfortunately, the manga’s novel artstyle (very, very big eyes) didn’t translate to anime very well, and the series was not renowned for its animation.
TMS Entertainment have gotten the series this time, and they are… hit and miss. Furthermore, the director, Yoshihide Ibata, is virtually unproven as a chief. Handling the writing of the adaption, Taku Kishimoto, has some good experience under his belt (Usagi Drop, Haikyuu!! and even Hanebado). I’m pleased to report that the mangaka is credited as a Producer on this, so at the very least, the anime will be relatively “approved”.
There’s some question marks to the production, but as a revered piece of history being given a revival, it’s worth giving at least a shot to.
Title: Kimetsu no Yaiba
Genre: Action, fantasy, supernatural, demons, horror
The manga’s been getting a lot of buzz recently, and that’s hardly surprising. Darker than one would expect from a Weekly Shounen Jump manga, it’s full of tragedy as Tanjirou attempts to save his sister from demonhood and avenge his family’s slaughter at the hands of other demons.
It sounds great, honestly, and ufotable handling the adaption means that slick supernatural action is almost certainly a given. Yuki Kajiura (Madoka Magica, Fate/Zero, Noir) handling the OST means that it’s going to be a musical tour de force, too. Other than being an ongoing manga and there being some doubt over where it would stop if only 1-cour long, I have no real reason to doubt this anime. With a supposed strength in darkness, it’s worth checking out for sure.
Worth Keeping An Eye On
Title: Fairy Gone
As an anime original, you’ve gotta bestow a certain amount of trust in the audience with your synopsis. To say that Fairy Gone is clearly going to be bloated with ideas is an understatement; there’s a lot that’s going to be going on in this show, with a post-war environment, a revenge story an some fantasy mechanics – involving fairies used as weapons. It’s almost certainly going to be grimdark, gory and perhaps over-serious.
P.A. Works recently messed about with similar ideas in Sirius The Jaeger, but outside of the setting, the show failed to inspire – will Fairy Gone go a similar route? One can presume the show will be gorgeous – particularly in its backgrounds. P.A. Works have been on fire giving grand productions in the past year, and Fairy Gone will likely showcase its novel setting with fantastic backdrops and great use of colour. Will it be simply be polished, will it even be polished, or will it be something great?
Length: ? – may be short episodes
Genre: Comedy, slice-of-life
After Sarazanmai, I didn’t expect a cute-girl type show to take the cake for the most ambitious show of the season – but, on back of the promise of no dialogue, Joshikausei is almost certainly going to be… ambitious. That novelty could wear out if the care isn’t precise (and if given full-length episodes), but if handled like a certain skit from Yuru Yuri, it could be genuinely impressive and one of the most memorable shows of the year.
The problem is that the studio behind it don’t have a particularly inspiring history. Even looking at the PV, the character animation looks fairly stiff and rigid… and perhaps unable to convey the meaning that dialogue won’t be able to. Will the show manage to overcome the lack of a script to be fun?
Title: Shoumetsu Toshi
Genre: Adventure, drama, mystery
Even if you were just looking at the promo art, it’d be hard to get a good read on this one. The earliest poster makes it look lighthearted, fun and perhaps even introspective; the more recent one looks like a rather generic dystopian conspiracy set in a vaguely magical, grim world. Judging by the synopsis, it could go down a more “dark roadtrip” route following an oddball duo; judging by the PV, it’s probably going down the latter route, looking not very promising or original, but the explosions looked nice.
Madhouse generally deliver the goods with aplomb; the cast is strong, and either route (or… both routes) of the potential plot could be exciting. It’s worth keeping an eye on this one as it could quickly rise to prominence. On the other hand, it could simply be yet another action show that steps on its feet with delusions of grandeur.
Title: Hachigatsu no Cinderella Nine
Genre: Cute-girls, sports, slice-of-life
You’ve got girls. You’ve got baseball. There seems to be something to do with a character returning to the sport after an injury and a desire to hit the nationals – but you already knew that. The draw of this series can’t be seen until we see the chemistry of the characters, because that’s what cute-girls shows live and die off of.
As a cute-girls show fan, I’ll put my hands up and admit this is one of my most anticipated of the season, but even then, I don’t have high hopes. The genre’s gotten some great entries lately, and while this looks like one of the best for a few seasons, I have some concerns. TMS will be handling Fruits Basket simultaneously, and the PV, while somewhat impressive looking with effective lighting, popping colour, evocative framing and some great detail in the small animations… well, it’s just that – small animations and mostly stills. How will the show survive beyond the PVs? If you’re a seasonal cute-girls fan, this is probably a Must Watch, as there’s just not much competition.
Title: Gunjou no Magmel
Genre: Adventure, mystery, fantasy
I love the potential of an anime discovering uncharted territory – literally, that is, because this one seems a little derivative of a recent success story. In Gunjou no Magmel, there’s a new continent, and it needs exploring. Excellent concept, but instead of unabashed excitement and wonder, it’s being bogged down by some sort of magic and the vague resemblance of a plot.
Trailing Made in Abyss, the show’s production just doesn’t seem to hold the same appeal. The backdrops are fairly bland in comparison, and the monsters are plain and uninteresting. In any case, the concept has good potential to get meaty, and I can’t justify writing this one off just yet.
Length: 13 x 24 minute episodes (Netflix’s All At Once release)
Genre: Super hero, action
Following the great success of Gridman, Production I.G. is giving us Ultraman! Superheroes in latex, what’s not to love? This one’s a reboot, making sure to give enough content to placate current fans while filling in the blanks for new ones, and apparently the manga is quite effective at that.
Ah yes, the elephant in the room: despite a top-notch animation studio handling this, it’s full CGI. I’m going to be honest, it looks pretty impressive in the PV, but it’s still CGI, so you already know if you’re not watching this.
If you want a good ol’ fashioned super hero story, you probably can’t do better than this come April. It’ll all release at once, so you can quickly decide whether you want to watch it all or not too (bless Netflix).
Title: Kono Oto Tomare!
Length: Split 2 cour; 2nd cour in Fall
Genre: Music, drama… romance?
Despite the shounen tag, this honestly sounds more like a shoujo drama – and it’s no surprise the mangaka has a history working with that demographic. Following his senior’s graduation, our main character will have to keep his traditional string club alive somehow. Extremely simple premise, but that is probably going to work in the show’s favour and keep it grounded as it gravitates around a widening cast.
The studio are relative newcomers, and the director… I can’t find anything under their name. Ouch. The PV looks passable, though, with a nice eye for catchy frames using background blurs and some very clear manga-inspired cinematography. I feel this one could well fall apart, but I’m also kind of interested to see this take. Music fans are already well represented in the season with the likely juggernaut in Carole & Tuesday, but those after something more traditional and less mould-breaking will likely find a home in this one.
Title: Hitoribocchi no Marumaru Seikatsu
Genre: Cute-girls, comedy, slice-of-life
A more vanilla offering, the draw of this cute-girls show is the protagonist’s social anxiety as she enters a new school. I’m getting Slow Start flashbacks, but the girls are cute so I’ll be happy to report on this one.
Compared to Hachigatsu no Cinderella Nine, this one seems even harder to get a pre-airing reading on. With simply the cuteness of the girls to go on, there’s no real ongoing plot-threads other than socialising, so this will entirely live and die on the chemistry. There’s no reason to doubt that, with, Jukki Hanada, one of the most talented anime writers of the past year onboard for the adaption’s writing. The animation looks… passable, coming from studio C2C who gave us the surprisingly charming Harukana Receive last year. Cute-girls fans should definitely be considering this alongside Hachigatsu no Cinderella Nine, but personally, I think the former looks a little bit better, but that might simply be because this one’s shown more of its hand.
I’m Struggling To Stay Positive About These
Title: Kabukichou Sherlock
It’s Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic Sherlock Holmes stories with an anime twist! That is, the most generic, regurgitated anime twist you could imagine. Seriously. Just check out those character designs. Or, actually, don’t. Hideously comically exaggerated, crossdressers, gender-bends – Moriarty is now a school-kid! Blurgh.
But still – Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories are tried and tested; Production I.G. is likely to give a solid showing in the artistry, and Ai Yoshimura is an experienced director, and the priorly mentioned Taku Kishimoto, (Fruits Basket , Usagi Drop, Haikyuu!!) is onboard writing (or adapting, depending on your perspective). As a Mystery fan, I feel I’ve gotta check it out, but believe you me… my expectations are tempered. Very, very, very tempered.
Title: Mayonaka no Occult Koumuin
Genre: Mystery, fantasy, shoujo
This one caught my eye, but I’m not entirely sure. Supernatural problem solving guys (and, judging by the shoujo tag, it’s very important they are guys) utilising more wholesome methods than say, Kimetsu no Yaiba, but still will have an edge of darkness.
LIDENFILMS did excellent work on Hanebado’s animation, sure, but otherwise they rarely give exceptional work. Judging by the staff, and the benign cinematography of the PV, it’s not going to be a visually exciting adaption. But there’s some potential in the premise, and that shoujo tag means it’ll probably be, at the very least, unique, so I’ll check it out.
Title: Kono Yo no Hate de Koi wo Utau Shoujo YU-NO
Length: 26 x 24 minute episodes
Genre: Sci-fi, drama, mystery
You don’t see too many visual novel adaptions these days. While this is an eroge, I want to say I’m expecting the sex-scenes to be subtracted, but Studio feel. decided otherwise with Island. Kinda. You can easily see the route nature in the synopsis though, with the protagonist travelling to alternate dimensions to find his father (I recently reviewed Yami to Boushi which, as a fellow visual novel adaption, even has a similar premise!), and based upon earlier promotional art, the show is probably adhering to a primary route. Though, as far as visual novel adaptions go, it will probably try and make half-assed commitments of other routes and feel tired.
Visual novels are a hard thing to adapt, so excuse me for having low expectations. Compound my pessimism by a relatively unproven director and an inconsistent studio’s efforts handling 26 straight episodes? I will probably give it a go for the fact I’ve heard decent things on the VN, but I’m full of doubt.
Title: Kyochuu Rettou
Length: 1 x 30 minute OVA (more apparently planned)
Genre: Horror, ecchi
Shipwrecked on a desert island, a surprisingly proficient protagonist seems to be battling hentai subplots as she tries to keep her class together and survive.
I feel I’ve said everything I need to. After all, is there anything more terrifying than seeing Horror and Ecchi in the same sentence? Expect some passable quality because it’s just an OVA, I guess, but don’t get your hopes up; expect some tonal whiplash and forced perversion; expect the unexpected… and don’t listen to source readers if you actually want to watch this. I’m gonna check it out because I’m a masochist.
Final Pre-Season Thoughts
I’m going to be very honest for a second: not a lot of these excite me. Digging around at the bottom of the most popular of the seasonal anime usually brings me many of my favourites of the year, but there’s not a lot of great digging to be done. I fear that, for the first season that I cover shows episodically/quarterly, I might end up with a high drop rate. O dear.
Still, it’s not all doom-and-gloom; the few shows at the top of this list do genuinely sound impressive. Sarazanmai and Carole & Tuesday, in particular, are exciting projects, and there’s even a few things I have tempered expectations for that I still think I’ll quite like.
Were there any shows that I missed? What shows are you looking forward to?
4 thoughts on “Spring 2019 Anime Preview”
Review some Winter 2018?
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Oooph that’s a long way back. I’ll see if I can dig up some feelings on some of those.
7Seeds is a highly rated manga and a very interesting mix of genres, so there’s some promise there, even if no one seems to care about it.
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Indeed! I did check out 7Seeds, but I read the morning I began working on this post that it was being postponed.
Looking at it now, it’ll probably still be in Summer.
You probably know what I’m gonna say about the quality though, right? It’s Gonzo, who are quite notorious for mediocrity. Their ongoing Saint Seiya and Aru Zombie are probably good comparisons of the quality one can expect of this sort-of release schedule I reckon… and… ah. I’m going to check it out, definitely, but I think I’d put this close to the category where I struggle to stay positive.