Winter 2016 Preview Guide

2016 was a rough one, but the sun has risen on 2017! Let's take a look at what new adventures await us in the first cour of the year. Hint: It's Little Witch Academia. Hit the read more button for the guide!

ACCA: 13-ku Kansatsu-ka (manga)

acca.jpg

From famous mangaka Natsume Ono comes a new story of intrigue and betrayal. The kingdom of Dowa is celebrating the 99th birthday of their king and with it 99 years of peace. Gene is second in command of the ACCA inspection division and must travel through the 13 districts of  Dowa to make sure the agents of ACCA are all properly reporting.

Patrick's Take: Natsume Ono is one of many perfect examples of a manga author who is super popular in Japan but whose popularity hasn't translated out west. The only work of hers I'm familiar with is House of Five Leaves, but its maturity and strong themes have me excited to see more of her work... And that's before considering that the Madhouse staff is the same exact team that put together One Punch Man. Combine that with a completed manga like ACCA and I'd give it a shot no matter what it was about!

Marc's Take: Strangely enough I have heard a lot about Natsume Ono's work through House of Five Leaves but that is where my familiarity begins and ends. Everything about this show looks very much up my alley however, so this will probably be one of my most anticipated of the season.

PV: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zBNQGUHpNBo

AKIBA'S TRIP -THE ANIMATION- (video game)

akibastrip.jpg

Electric City Akihabara is under attack! Supernatural beings (dubbed bugs) have taken over the underside of Akihabara and have been wreaking havoc. Luckily they're very sensitive to air so our main cast must fight them off by stripping off their clothes, thereby exposing them to the atmosphere causing them to lose their powers.

Patrick's Take: I'm calling haters gonna hate on this one. I'm a fan of the second game (haven't played the first), and the director has had some very fun silly things in Sore ga Seiyuu and Robot Girls. I'm super worried about Gonzo animating it (holy shit how do they still exist?) but the trailer came out fairly early and looks like a lot of fun! If it's anything like the game they'll have gone to great lengths to use real sounds from Akiba too, so it'll get me in the nostalgias. I'm not expecting anything amazing but hopefully it's a good weekly romp.

Available on: Crunchyroll (sub), Funimation (dub)

PV: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oov26OFUjFE

Blue Exorcist: -Kyoto Saga-!! Ao no Exorcist: Kyoto Fujouou-hen (manga)

ao-no-exorcist.jpg

A long awaited sequel to 2011's Blue Exorcist, this season will cover the Impure King arc of the manga

Patrick's Take: Well, the last one was pretty good! I haven't read any of the manga but it's my understanding that the first show had an anime-original ending. Hopefully they'll be able to smoothly transition from that to this.

Available on: Crunchyroll

PV: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4hyLlZC5QhE

BanG Dream! (original)

BanG-Dream.png

BanG Dream! is the anime entry in a newish mixed media project by Bushiroad. The anime will follow rock-pop group Poppin'Party through their adventure to find the "Star Beat" and their performances together.

Patrick's Take: It's no secret how much I love idol stuff, so naturally this one is high on my list. Bushiroad is a company that's pretty familiar with how to market idols (they kinda did Love Live...), and the real life girls involved with BanG Dream! are pretty skilled musicians, performing on drums and guitars themselves while singing. The show has some guest power too - some of the Love Live voice actresses voice side characters while the main four of Milky Holmes is in the show as a rival group. In a pretty idolful season of anime this is definitely the one I'm keeping my eye on to be actually good.

PV: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yNMj1ZwB9QY

ChäoS;Child (visual novel)

chaos.jpg

Set after the events of ChäoS;HEAd, ChäoS;Child  is about a string of mysterious murders and abductions following a massive earthquake in Shibuya. Oddly enough, these match up almost perfectly with a string of mysteries from five years prior, earning them the name "Return of the New Generation Madness".

Patrick's Take: Chaos;Head was by far the worst of the 'semicolon' series so I'm not putting a lot of stock into a sequel of it. To be fair, this one has entirely different production staff... maybe it'll be something super special that's why you are here with me tokubetsu na kimi miracle baby*ahem*

Demi-chan wa Kataritai  Interviews with Monster Girls (manga)

demi-chan.jpg

Takahashi Tetsuo had to give up on his dream thesis on researching Ajin, or Demi-humans, because laws protecting them deemed his research unethical even though he just wanted to meet and talk with them. Now a high school biology teacher, Takahashi-sensei suddenly finds himself surrounded by Ajin teachers and students including a succubus, a dullahan, a yuki-onna, and of course, a vampire.

Patrick's Take: This sure sounds like an anime! The story is nothing new but the manga is cute as hell and the PV makes it look pretty heart warming. Demi-chan might be one of those shows that executes well despite its boring premise. A-1 has reassembled a lot of the GATE team to tackle it, so I'd consider that a definite plus. Call me moderately excited for this one.

Available on: Crunchyroll

PV: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x56092k

Fuuka (manga)

fuuka.jpg

Haruna Yuu has just moved to Tokyo when he gets pulled into a girl named Fuuka's pace. He finds himself joining a band she's decided to create and kinda in love with her.

Patrick's Take: Seo Kouji's works are entertaining page turners, there's no question about that. I just wish he'd go a bit easier on using uh... "external solutions" to conflicts like love triangles. Anyway, this anime will probably live or die based on the band performances in it, I'll be watching for those at the very least.

Available on: Crunchyroll

PV: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQJnsdVxTDE

Gabriel DropOut(manga)

gabriel.jpg

Tenma Gabriel White is fresh out of Angel high school and has been sent to one of Earth's high schools with a divine mission! Which would be great if she didn't get addicted to an online game and drop out. Join her and other celestial beings in a high school comedy by Dogakobo.

Patrick's Take: Dogakobo has yet to do me wrong! Definitely the slice of life show I'm looking forward to the most this season. It'll be a tall order to top New Game! though.

Marc's Take: I will never not like watching a good Dogakobo show, they're always wonderfully charming and exquisitely animated. I feel like they've settled into this groove recently telling really nice small-scale, human stories and despite its lofty premise I think Gabriel DropOut should slot into that nicely.

Available on: Crunchyroll

PV: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eADGP3b9j0

Gintama (manga)

gintama.jpg

Long live the king, the king has returned.

Patrick's Take: This might actually be the last one, that has me kind of sad. Gintama is a solid rock foundation of anime and when it's running all anime is better for it.

Marc's Take: Gintama is one of the best shounen and comedy anime series of all time, and the idea that this might actually be the last one is pretty damn sad. That being said, if there is any long-running series on Earth that will know how to end itself well, it'll be this one. Bring it on! AAHAHHAAA!

Hand Shakers (original)

handshakers.jpg

It's Osaka, AD 20XX. There are mysterious pairs of Hand Shakers - people who can summon weapons from their partners psyche by holding hands. The Hand Shakers fight each other for the right to duel God, who will then grant them their wish.

Patrick's Take: Noooooooooooope. Normally I try to give "interesting" animation a shot, but this GoHands show looks like a bad acid trip wrapped up in a headache. I'm not sure if I've ever seen more displeasing composites. Combined with a weird-ass chuuni plot and some terrible fanservice (going off PV3) this is an easy skip for me.

Available on: Funimation

PV: https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x4xeawe_hand-shakers-pv2_tv

Idol JihenIdol Incidents (original)

idol-jihen.jpg

With political issues becoming more and more divided while corruption grows and grows, Japan really only has one group to turn to for salvation: idols! Hailing from seven idol political parties these new National Diet members must sing and dance their way through Japan's sense of stagnation!

Patrick's Take: This is either the best or worst idea ever, no inbetween. I think it's going to come down to how seriously it takes itself and how hard it's pushing sales for the other parts of the media mix. All I know is the opening theme is named "Sing! Campaign Promises of Love!" and that that is fucking hilarious.

Marc's Take: Every time I think Japan has finally run out of ideas, something like this comes along. At the very least I'm hoping this can teach us a little bit about how the real-life Japanese Diet system works, because me and Patrick will both admit we know woefully little about Japanese government and politics.

Available on: Crunchyroll

PV: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56qJdGgYZdo

Kemono Friends (game)

kemono-friends.jpg

An adaptation of the now-defunct phone game by NexonKemono Friends takes place takes place in an integrated zoo where the mysterious "sand star" substance has started turning the animals into human shaped creatures called animal girls. The story follows a lost child's journey to exit the zoo joined by many of the animal girls.

Patrick's Take: This sure sounds like a kid's anime but it airs at 1AM. The last time I gambled on a weird CG anime I got Etotama which turned out to be a delightful little surprise, so licenses willing I'll be giving this a shot. Besides, it's got cute animal choices like servals and and fennec foxes! And lots of penguins.

Available on: Crunchyroll

PV: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PnsIslM8HoI

Kobayashi-san chi no Maidragon Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid (manga)

kobayashi.jpg

Kobayashi-san, a standard Japanese office worker, accidentally stumbled upon an injured dragon while walking home drunk. The next morning Kobayashi is greeted by the dragon she saved the night before, in human form, saying she wants to repay her by becoming her maid.

Patrick's Take: It's KyoAni adapting a hilarious (and sometimes touching) yuri-filled manga. Count me in!

Marc's Take: Despite the insane premise, the PV for this looked wonderful and charming and honestly, since I started watching anime I have not seen a bad KyoAni project animated. Count me in as well.

Available on: Crunchyroll (sub), Funimation (dub)

PV: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vx-cdrHiGd0

Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! 2 KonoSuba 2 (light novel)

konosuba.jpg

The second season of the ever-popular parallel world light novel KonoSuba.

Patrick's take: KonoSuba kind of came out of nowhere early last year, I know I sure had no idea what to expect. I'm interested to see how/what the show will do now that it has some proper expectations piled onto it.

PV: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jVxMt845AY

Kuzu no Honkai Scum's Wish (manga)

kuzu.jpg

From the outside looking in, Hanabi and Mugi are in the perfect relationship. But what if it's all a show they've put on in order to protect themselves from their real loves that they know could never come true?

Patrick's Take: I hate this manga... but I also really love reading it. It's about four of the worst people imaginable constantly making the wrong choices and hurting each other. It'll be a tough watch but I enjoy watching emotional train wrecks from time to time.

PV: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UzOyZ9foghE

Little Witch Academia (original)

lwa.jpg

A retelling of TRIGGER's popular two OVAs and more, Little Witch Academia follows Akko, a young Japanese girl, as she attends a school for witches and learns that her idol Shiny Chariot isn't exactly as well-regarded as she though.

Patrick's Take: LWA hitting TV is very very easily the thing I'm most excited for this upcoming season. The OVAs encapsulate everything I love about animation as an art form (not just anime). This will be Yoshinari Yoh's first time as a series director, something anyone who has followed his career knows is something to be excited for.

Marc's Take: I am the BIGGEST Studio Trigger fanboy, and while LWA isn't my favorite thing they've ever done, it's damn near the top for me. The idea of a long TV series based in a universe that is essentially Trigger's take on Harry Potter is so exhilarating to me, only made more exciting by the idea that we'll get to see more of the world they've created not to mention the absolutely fantastic new girls squad introduced in LWA 2 (Amanda O'Neill is best girl???). I really really wish Netflix didn't have this for streaming in the states, but even that said nothing will stop me watching this week to week.

Available on: Netflix

PV: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pgz2bMz-Zz8

Marginal#4: Kiss kara Tsukuru Big Bang (original)

Marginal-4-Visual.jpg

Male idols go to school and are male idols. Based on the music project of the same name.

PV:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NxEoigqkOYc

Masamune-kun no Revenge Masamune-kun's Revenge (manga)

masamune.jpg

As a child, Masamune Makabe was relentlessly bullied by Aki Adagaki for his chubby appearance.  Now in high school (and fit as a fiddle) he's vowed to take revenge on her by making her fall for him then rejecting her. Things do not go as planned.

Patrick's Take: This is not a manga that I'm proud to say I'm caught up on but... I am. The story is shit, the characters are even worse, but damn are the girls is the art pretty. I'll likely drop it pretty quick if the anime isn't up to the manga's standard.

Available on:  Crunchyroll (sub), Funimation (dub)

PV: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XmfXcVLA1d8

Minami Kamakura Koukou Joshi Jitensha-Bu Minami Kamakura High School Girls Cycling Club (manga)

minami-kamakura.jpg

Hiromi has recently moved from Nagasaki to seaside Kamakura and decided to commute to her new school via bicycle. Relearning how to ride a bike introduces her to a new friend and from there a new club in school.

Patrick's Take: I absolutely love the manga and have visited Kamakura many times because of how beautiful the scenery in the manga looks (and was horrendously upset when Godzilla trampled the place in the new movie), I really hope we get some good background porn here. I also hope the production stays on track a biiiit better than last season's Longriders. I'll be watching this one for sure.

Marc's Take: Probably the show I know most about already coming into this season. The staff and studio look about as solid as they need to for a low-key sports anime, but the good thing is the source material is much more interesting than last season's attempt at an all-girls cycling anime, Long Riders. The mood struck by the PV is a bit more exciting too and I think we can see a bit more of a focus on cycling as a sport in this one, which should be exciting. Just the fact that we're getting more shows about women cyclists is a big step in the right direction.

Available on: Crunchyroll

PV: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLTo7InIp7o

Onihei(novel)

onihei.png

Chief officer Heizou Hasegawa is in charge of protecting Tenmei-era Edo from arsonists and other heinous villains. However, his infamous skills with the sword have given him the nickname "Demon".

Patrick's Take: I have a feeling this anime is going to be pretty old school cool - the studio was made for the purpose of creating it and the staff has been around for a very long time. Period dramas like this are very hit or miss for me but it's definitely worth being curious about.

Marc's Take: I think the last Edo-era anime I watched and really liked was Samurai Champloo, so this should be really interesting to me if it's good. I've become a bit of a Japanese history buff since DRIFTERS started airing last season and I definitely can't remember the last time I watched a good samurai/sword-fighting anime, so I'm cautiously optimistic. The designs look really cool and about as historically accurate as you can get.

PV: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnQTjc3hlII

Rewrite 2nd Season (visual novel)

Rewrite-Season-2-Moon-Terra-Visual.jpg

A continuation of 8bit's 2-bit adaptation of Key's supernatural mystery visual novel Rewrite.

Available on: Crunchyroll

PV: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x56lk93

SCHOOLGIRL STRIKERS Animation Channel (mobile game)

schoolgirl.png

An adaptation of Square Enix's popular mobage of the same name. Goryoukan Girl's Academy has a secret purpose: to train the special Fifth Force unit to protect the world from supernatural enemies. A new team leader has been appointed to pick five students from the school to be the new Fifth Force.

Patrick's Take: This is one of the few mobage from Squeenix I've played that actually had unique gameplay, so I'm biased towards liking it for that reason already. Unfortunately the story is not so unique. Luckily J.C. Staff has assembled a surprisingly talented veteran staff for what I'd previously thrown away as a 'titty fighting anime'. The jury's out for this one!

Available on: Crunchyroll

PV: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-VTLojBujhE

Seiren (original)

seiren.jpg

A spiritual successor to omnibus romance anime Amagami SS, Seiren follows high schooler Shouichi Kamita as he's prepares for university entrance exams and worries about love.

Patrick's Take: Personally, I love omnibus romance shows, it's the only way to fairly do a large number of visual novel adaptations... but this isn't a visual novel adaptation! It's a pretty odd choice to reset for each girl instead of doing a holistic story in an original but I'm down. I can't wait to pick best girl in episode 1 then get upset when her route doesn't come until the sequel a year after....

Marc's Take: The only anime things I've ever seen that take a reset approach to adapting something like this have been anime adaptations of porn games, so I'm going to check this one out with nothing more than morbid curiosity.

Available on: Crunchyroll

PV: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dp26B7zEKZg

Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu: Sukeroku Futatabi-hen (manga)

rakugo.jpg

A sequel to last January's sleeper critic favorite.

Patrick's Take: Well, the first season was easily one of the best of last year, no question. Now that the flashback chapter is over I'm excited to see how the contemporary story holds up compared to the amazing dramatic tale in the first season.

Marc's Take: This was my show of the year in 2016, hands-down. The idea of finally taking a look into the "present-day" arc and hearing more of Yuu Kobayashi's sweet, sweet voice on a weekly basis excites me beyond belief. I cannot wait, and I know with utmost certainty that a lot of tears will be shed by me between now and the last episode.

PV: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wxFCi-ybQ5k

SUPER LOVERS 2 (manga)

super-lovers.jpg

Continuation of SUPER LOVERS.

PV: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ty-aFNs4iI

Tales of Zestiria the X 2 (video game)

A continuation of last year's crossover between Tales of Zestiria and Tales of Berseria.

zestiria.jpg

Patrick's Take: First season was pretty great and the second season will probably get me hype for Berseria in a couple of weeks!

Marc's Take: Despite never having played a Tales game before, I actually was really impressed and entertained by this one. It's definitely leagues better than most video game adaptations, while still looking and feeling like a JRPG in so many ways. At the very least we're all quite lucky to get to see Ufotable show off their impressive 2D and 3D animation skills once again.

Available on: Funimation, Daisuki

PV: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reBBW2zZVc8

Urara Meirochou (4koma manga)

urara.png

In a valley town named Meiro-machi (Labyrinth Town) there's a fortunate telling shop named Urara where young fortune tellers are known to gather to practice.

Patrick's Take: 4koma adaptations live and die by the ability of the staff to expand on the jokes and feelings already written into the manga, cause god knows there's not enough material in there for 20 minutes of content! Luckily the series compositor Hitomi Mieno has a lot of pretty great feel-good shows under her belt (Amanchu, Flying Witch, Pretty Rhythm, among others) so I'm going to be cautiously optimistic about this one. The PV (and main character Chiya) also looks cute as hell so that helps!

Marc's Take: I have a feeling this show will be intensely Japanese in its subject matter, so it'll probably have a hard time catching on in the west. That said, the staff looks solid and I really like the look of the designs so I'll be checking this out.

PV: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Siat1PIVqhQ

Youjo SenkiSaga of Tanya the Evil (light novel)

youjo-senki.png

A ruthless and pragmatic salaryman gets shoved in front of a train by someone he fired earlier in the day - in the after life he is immediately accosted by a being describing themself as God, whom the salaryman continues to deny the existence of, even in front of him. For this, God punishes the salaryman to be reincarnated as a young girl thrown into the middle of a magical war. The salaryman welcomes this challenge and thrives in his new merciless environment.

Patrick's Take: I couldn't wait any longer and read some of the manga, I've been excited about this since I first saw the art... this girl looks like evil fucking incarnate and batshit insane and is voiced by Yuuki Aoi, I cannot contain how pumped I am for this. Put that on top of an alternate universe WWI with magic brigades and hoo boy strap yourselves in this is gonna be a ride.

Marc's Take: Oh god this show looks so weird and interesting. Easily one of the strangest and morbidly interesting concepts by far this season. The PV has given me, oddly enough, a weird vibe similar to 1970s and 80s child-based horror movies so we'll see if that's where the show goes (hint: it won't).

Available on: Crunchyroll (sub), Funimation (dub)

PV: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JwaruTPKq9I

Yowamushi Pedal: NEW GENERATION (manga)

yowapeda.jpg

The third season of cycling anime YowaPeda. It's time for some new freshmen for all the schools.

Marc's Take: Having read ahead in the manga by a somewhat significant amount, I can say that Yowapeda has a way of introducing new characters better than any other sports anime I have ever seen. I cannot wait to see all the new insane designs and wonderfully deep characters animated.

PV: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_dHttsRudo

ēlDLIVE (manga)

el_DLIVE.jpg

Orphan Chuuta Kokonose gets unexpectedly teleported to a Space Police station where he's told a computer has chosen him to become part of the police force there. As it turns out, a girl from his school already is a space policewoman and is very against him becoming one. Chuuta is ready to go back home but decides to take the test after being urged to by a voice in his head.

Patrick's Take: It's crazy that it took taking this far down the list to get to a plain old shounen show! I was ready to skip this one but Kugyuu is playing the mascot character and Hayami Saori the tsundere classmate... I'll give it a shot.

Marc's Take: Fuck me, Space Police? Even though the designs and voice acting and just general concepts seem basic as hell, I'll give this one a shot just for SPACE POLICE alone.

PV: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yv8IO7efUvY