Note: be sure to click on each show’s poster/visual to watch the PV! Also, clicking on the streaming platform name for each show will take you to its streaming page. I’ll try to keep streaming links updated as quickly as possible as the details trickle in over the start of the season.
Mob Psycho 100 II
Premise: The second season of Bones’ adaptation of ONE’s manga about the exploits of Shigeo Kageyama, aka “Mob”, a nondescript middle school boy who is an incredibly powerful psychic.
Why you should watch: The first season of Mob Psycho 100 is probably one of the greatest anime of the 21st century, with a production so artistically meritorious and visually diverse that I can still hardly believe it’s a TV anime. Much of the staff remains the same from the first season, including director Yuzuru Tachikawa and music composer Kenji Kawai, with Yoshimichi Kameda (who directed animation for some of the best of season one) being listed as chief animation director for the second season. This is my most anticipated anime of winter 2019 by far and you should not miss it. Catch up now if you need to.
Premise: The second season of MAPPA’s high school gambling thriller anime following Yumeko Jabami, a recent transfer to a private academy filled with children of Japan’s wealthy and run by an intricate gambling system.
Why you should watch: The first season of Kakegurui was one of my favorite anime of 2017, and the second season looks to be an acceleration and expansion of just about everything that was good about the first. A massive, star-studded ensemble voice cast is joining the already fantastic cast from the first season and with much of the same staff returning it looks to be more of that extremely queer-coded sexy goodness. Now, this is a Netflix exclusive and as such won’t be streamed for some time after this season is over, but I’m not your dad- I’m not going to tell you not to seek alternate means to watch it. I will be. It’s just that good.
The Promised Neverland
Premise: Life is peaceful and happy for the children at the Grace Field House orphanage, and there is but one rule: never leave the orphanage. When two orphans, Emma and Norman, venture outside the safety of their home they discover the horrifying secret behind their existence and the countdown to survival begins.
Why you should watch: This manga was part of Shonen Jump’s JUMP START program back in 2016 and since then has not only succeeded in becoming a full series but also garnered a level of critical acclaim internationally not usually seen for such a young manga series. Add that to the fact that this anime is one of the first for the now-rebranded former studio within A-1 Pictures known as “CloverWorks”, and you have a recipe for a potentially explosive hit in winter 2019. The Promised Neverland is also getting a huge push from license-holders on both sides of the pond, meaning it has some real steam, talent, and of course money behind it as well.
Boogiepop and Others
Adaptation (light novel)
Premise: There is an urban legend concerning a shinigami that can release people from their pain, named “Boogiepop”. When a series of disappearances breaks out at Shinyo academy, the authorities think they simply have a group of runaways on their hands. But one girl knows the truth: Boogiepop is no legend. Boogiepop is real.
Why you should watch: This is the second adaptation of the first Boogiepop novel after Boogiepop Phantom in 2000, also by Madhouse. It was met with critical acclaim and is nowadays considered a seminal anime horror work, which means 2018’s adaptation has big shoes to fill. Thankfully, there’s a lot of talent working on this thing that I have supreme confidence in: director Shingo Natsume (One Punch Man, ACCA 13), screenwriter Tomohiro Suzuki (One Punch Man, Double Decker) and music composer Kensuke Ushio (Devilman Crybaby, A Silent Voice). Add all that to the fact that Aoi Yuuki is voicing the titular Boogiepop and you have some real potential to get seriously creeped out.
Premise: In 15th century Japan, wayward samurai Hyakkimaru has obtained a fake body in order to track down and destroy 48 monsters made from the missing parts of his real body.
Why you should watch: If you’ve been following me for any amount of time you’ll know that any anime having to do with samurai or feudal Japan is something that’s going to pique my interest, and Dororo is such an untouchable classic in both the samurai and yokai/monster genres that any new adaptation of it is something that should hold your attention. With MAPPA onboard there’s always the possibility of some highly artistic and well-made stuff and, from the looks of the PV that might be the case. With Rurouni Kenshin director Kazuhiro Furuhashi and Attack on Titan and Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure screenwriter Yasuko Kobayashi onboard, we can all know that this classic is at the very least in capable hands.
Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka
Premise: Three years ago, the Earth was ravaged by alien invaders until they were defeated by a group of girls given power from am unknown source. After, the girls went back to their normal lives, but that peace is about to end again. The aliens have resurfaced, and the Magical Girl Special Ops force must head back to the front and defend humanity once again.
Why you should watch: If it isn’t patently obvious from just about all sides with this thing, this is a show about magical girls with guns, though thankfully it seems it’ll be much less grimdark than most of the other entries into that category as of late. The voice cast is relatively stacked for a show of this type, which means there just might be something to this thing besides dumb action- but don’t get me wrong. Strike the Blood director Hideyo Yamamoto is at the helm, so you can probably expect him to steer this production towards a lot of fights and a lot of explosions.
Kaguya-sama: Love is War
Premise: Miyuki Shirogane leads the prestigious Shuchiin Academy’s student council as its president, with the beautiful and wealthy Kaguya Shinomiya as the vice president. The two are often regarded as the perfect couple by the student body despite not being in a romantic relationship, however after working together for so long the two have developed romantic feelings for one another. With a confession being seen as a sign of weakness, the battle begins to see who can get a confession out of the other.
Why you should watch: I’m liking the designs and the general production look on this a lot so far (A-1 rarely puts out a bad looking anime, at least), and the premise seems like it could lead to some interesting scenarios. Most of the reason I’m putting this on here however is the fact that Shouwa Genroku Rakuga Shinjuu director Mamoru Hatakeyama is helming this, which is something anyone who’s a fan of good anime should keep their eye on.
BanG Dream! Second Season
Adaptation (mobile game)
Premise: The second season of the anime adapted from Bushiroad’s mobile game of the same name, following five different girl bands as they seek idol stardom.
Why you should watch: The first season of BanG Dream wasn’t much to write home about, but since that came out I’ve been playing the mobile game and can say that the second season has much more potential since it’ll introduce all the other bands from the game (the first season only focused on Poppin’ Party, the “main” band). This new season is being animated by Sanzigen, which curiously enough is a 3DCGI studio, meaning the look of the second season could differ significantly from the first. However, the music is good, the characters are all well-written and endearing, and there’s really something for every kind of idol fan here. If you don’t feel like watching all of the first season, give the game a try. It’ll familiarize you with all the characters and is really well-made and stylish to boot.
The Magnificent Kotobuki
Premise: The Kotobuki Squadron are air mercenaries, taking to the air in their Hayabusa fighters for daring dogfights and to protect the citizens of the barren frontier they call home.
Why you should watch: I still have a big soft spot in my heart for moe military shows, and I’ve been waiting a long time for ones that concern military aviation. I’m worried by the studio that’s animating this (Gemba) mostly because they were responsible for the mess that was the 2016 Berserk adaptation, but Girls und Panzer director Tsutomu Mizushima is in the director’s chair and I have supreme confidence in his ability to make a good moe military anime given that Girls und Panzer to this day remains the best ever made in that particular genre.
Girly Air Force
Adaptation (light novel)
Premise: Mankind has created fighter aircraft called “Daughters” in order to fight mysterious flying creatures called “Zai”, as well as the automatic fighting mechanism “Anime” who appear as human girls. The story follows pilot Kei Narutani and an Anima considered to be humanity’s trump card, Gripen.
Why you should watch: I don’t know why we’ve been blessed with multiple shows this season about cute girls flying planes, but here we are. This is the one that I feel has less potential out of the two, and I think at most it could deliver some extremely dumb light novel fun but if you’re at all a fan of military aviation this might be something you’d be interested in. The promotional lead-up has included some collaborations with the JASDF (basically the Japanese air force) so there’s at least some authenticity to it.
The Price of Smiles
Premise: An original anime project in celebration of TatsuPro’s 55th anniversary, Egao no Daika follows Yuuki, an innocent and cheerful 12 year old princess who spends carefree days at the palace with her friends and advisors, and Stella, a seventeen year old soldier.
Why you should watch: This is an extremely interesting production, to say the least. Tatsunoko Productions has been around basically as long as anime itself has, and is responsible for some of anime’s longest-running series. Nowadays they’re responsible for a lot of kids shows us westerners basically never get to see legally, so anything big and original like this coming from them is something to write home about. Mecha shows also seem to be a dying breed nowadays as well, so I’m hoping TatsuPro can pull off something worth watching with this one. Either way, you should give it a shot.