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.
Carole & Tuesday
Premise: In a future where most culture is produced for humanity by AI, two girls dream of becoming musicians, and a chance meeting will bring them together.
Why you should watch: It’s been 6 years since the world last saw a TV anime from the legendary Shinichiro Watanabe, and if his return alone isn’t enough to convince you then consider this: Carole & Tuesday is an extremely promising anime from perhaps the greatest and most creative studio operating right now. Watanabe is chief director with first-timer Motonobu Hori receiving the Director’s credit; you might know him from his significant work on another influential music anime, Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad. Critically-acclaimed drama screenwriter Aya Watanabe is penning the series, and Canadian jazz musician Mocky is writing the score. Devilman Crybaby and Mob Psycho 100 veteran Ryo Kono rounds out the staff on art direction. This is easily my most anticipated anime this season for these reasons and more. Don’t miss it.
Premise: Middle school students Kazuki, Toi, and Enta encounter a kappa who steals their shirokodama, transforming them into kappas. To change them back, the kappa tells the boys they must retrieve shirikodama from zombies, and connect with each other in "that way."
Why you should watch: Not to be outdone, MAPPA has their own legendary director joining them in a triumphant return to TV anime: Kunihiko Ikuhara, of Revolutionary Girl Utena and Penguindrum fame. The plot synopsis for this show is predictably a damn fever dream (that’s Ikuhara for ya), but everything about this show visually from the PV to the visuals and everything in between looks stunning (again, as expected from Ikuhara). The voice cast is a veritable who’s-who of big names nowadays, and with several directorial, animation and music talents from Ikuhara’s previous shows rounding out the production staff Sarazanmai is easily one of my most anticipated shows for Spring this year. Expect it to be impenetrably weird, and impeccably charming.
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba
Premise: Despite a hard life, young Tanjiro and his family have found happiness. This warmth is shattered one day when Tanjiro finds his family slaughtered and his sister turned into a demon. Finding that she still possesses human qualities, Tanjiro sets out on a demon-slaying quest to turn his sister into a human again.
Why you should watch: The manga this was adapted from is quite acclaimed, merging the popular feudal Japanese setting with extreme horror to positive effect. Being animated by ufotable already gives me great confidence in the production, and I’ve seen several clips floating around online of early showings that lead me to believe this is going to be a seriously terrifying experience. Haruo Sotozaki is directing; he was responsible for the competent and fun ufotable adaptation of Tales of Zestiria, along with the character designer from that show Akira Matsushima. The dream team of Go Shiina (Kyousougiga) and Yuki Kajiura are pairing for the music, making this a near-guaranteed thrilling experience.
Premise: Fairy soldiers are humans implanted with the organs of possessed animals in order to use the powers of fairies. 9 years after the last war, Maria is a fresh recruit in an organization responsible for rooting out fairy-related crimes, fighting the many criminals with lingering wounds hellbent on seeking revenge.
Why you should watch: An original anime from PA Works has become something to cherish nowadays, and their foray into dark fantasy has gone pretty well so far. The premise and aesthetics for Fairy Gone seem appropriately dark and strange for what they’re clearly going for, i.e. a vaguely WWI-esque world made in the image of magical realism. Drifters and Jojo Stardust Crusaders director Kenichi Suzuki is helming the project, and with his presence comes a lot of experience directing some really well-received, bombastic action anime. The original creator of Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash, one of the best isekai shows of the past five or so years, is writing the story. With PA Works’ production might behind this series I have no doubt that it’ll be something to keep your eye on, and might just be an exciting outlier for them stylistically as well.
One Punch Man 2
Premise: The second season of an anime originally produced by Madhouse, about a superhero who beats all his enemies with one punch.
Why you should watch: I’m going to be honest with y’all on this one, I don’t actually know if you should watch the second season of what is easily one of the most popular anime of the past decade! Gone is original director Shingo Natsume, and gone with him is just about all the industry connections he had that made the first season such an animation powerhouse. As a result even the PV looks significantly rougher than anything from the first season, and it has me and just about everyone else worried. I’d say give it a shot, but keep your expectations low as season two will undoubtedly be nowhere near as explosive as the first.
Premise: A new adaptation of the original manga series that was first adapted by Madhouse in 2001, this one covering the entire story of the manga. After a family tragedy, 16-year-old Tohru Honda moves into the home of the mysterious Souma clan, and in doing so will discover an ancient secret about their family.
Why you should watch: I know next to nothing about Fruits Basket other than that just about all my friends who were watching anime in the early 2000s love it and that it’s probably one of the most popular shoujo anime of all time. What I do know is that TMS Entertainment has had a stellar record of masterfully-produced anime since the beginning of last year, and the new voice cast is looking full of big names to whet anyone’s seiyuu appetite. I’ll be experiencing this one for the first time, and if you’re reading this and will be too then I raise my glass to you.
Production IG / Sola Digital Arts
Premise: Shinjiro Hayata, son of the original Ultraman Shin Hayata, must don the Ultraman suit and take over his father’s secret role as the legendary hero when he and his family are attacked by unknown enemies.
Why you should watch: This is another original net animation from Netflix, and as such it’ll premiere in its entirety on April 1st, making it technically a Spring 2019 show. It’s adapted from a well-received manga of the same name and is essentially both a sequel to the original Ultraman tokusatsu series and a re-imagining of the original Ultraman concept, taking it out of the giant hero realm and making it a more traditional modern tokusatsu affair. The big hook here are the directors: Kenji Kamiyama and Shinji Aramaki, directors of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex and the Appleseed 3DCGI movies, respectively. They’re also perhaps two of the biggest proponents of CGI anime in the industry today, and are working with incredibly talented animators at both the Ghost in the Shell studio Production IG and Sola Digital Arts. Kamiyama’s previous CGI anime outings have received mixed reviews in the past, specifically for their writing, but I’ve always enjoyed them. 2019’s Ultraman will probably be no different.
Adaptation (mobile game)
Premise: An anime adaptation of the mobage of the same name, in which the player takes control of a former major league baseball player who lost their career due to injury and returns to small town life as a high school girls’ baseball coach.
Why you should watch: So far this seems like a pretty standard mobage adaptation, which can always swing wildly in either direction in terms of quality, but I’m excited because it contains so unique a concept that it can’t possible be ignored: girls’ baseball. Not softball! Baseball. The mobage is relatively highly acclaimed on both sides of the Pacific, and lemme tell you it also seems incredibly gay. This tail on the recent girls’ sports anime trend continues to be shockingly long, so I’m praying that this show is better than it has any business being, and so should you.
Bungou Stray Dogs 3
Premise: The third season of Bones’ literature-themed shonen battle anime.
Why you should watch: The Bungou Stray Dogs movie Dead Apple was released here on Crunchyroll just last year and while I think it mostly fell flat for me I’m still excited for more of this show and these characters. Bones is easily the best and most consistent studio in anime right now and if you’ve enjoyed the previous seasons of this show I’d say it’s a no-brainer to keep going. If you’ve never seen it I can’t say it’d be worth it to catch up at this point, but if you somehow decide to do so take my advice: read a plot and character synopsis for the first season and then start at the second. You’ll thank me later.