After an inexplicably good summer, 2015 seems like it’s so far an okay year for anime. It’s not terribly horrible like, say, 2010, and it’s certainly better than 2014, for what that’s worth. And this season does look pretty good, but I said the same thing somewhere on the webs back in Spring and we all know how that turned out. But that is in the past! Surely my optimism will not jinx this season!
One Punch Man
The inevitable blockbuster anime of this year, the one where no matter what I say or do in this season preview it will inevitably become the most popular anime of the season and the year and everyone will be talking about it. Equally inevitable is the hipsters on IRC and /a/ that will arise a couple months after its end and will declare it a piece of shit with no redeeming qualities and literally worse than the black plague and WORSE THAN COSPRAYERS. Such is life when you’re a popular anime.
Is it good? I think so, in my opinion. It has surprisingly strong characters and it’s quite interesting to see how they react to having to be in the same world as a character as massively overpowered as the titular One Punch Man. It has a lot of staying power if you ask me, but people are fickle and unpredictable.
Everthing Becomes F: The Perfect Insider
Okay, I can barely contain my hype regarding Everything Becomes F because this thing is seriously amazing. It’s based on a classic (as much as something made in 1996 can be considered a classic, anyway) novel that is the first part of the unfortunately named S&M Series that seems to be very well-regarded.
I’m not particularly unbiased about this series, given how I’ve seen the J-Drama adaptation of this show before and let me tell you this thing has a really good plot. It’s about this eccentric professor that is pretty damn hot and this rich chick that is his student (and wants to bone said professor, because he is pretty damn hot) who must solve a thrilling mystery regarding a mysterious serial killer and have excellent character interactions which each other.
That said, this one doesn’t have very strong staff behind it. It has the director of Elfen Lied, which is legendarily crap, and the strongest staff involved is the writer of Gatchaman Crowds, who as much as I appreciate his character writing, his theme and plot writing is a mess.
By the way, this thing has had more adaptations than a shark has teeth (a manga, a VN, a J-Drama, another manga) and now it seems that this animation is part of Hiroshi Mori’s crusade to adapt this to every medium there is. I can’t wait for Everthing Becomes F: The Noh Play and Everything Becomes F: The Finger Puppet Show.
The first thing I thought when I saw this was “wow this is so Blood Blockade Battlefront it hurts”. The second thing I thought after the trailer was “what the fuck is this”. This would be more accurately described as the bizarre product of what would happen if Rie Matsumoto took a hit of ectasy while reading any of the books in The Dresden Files. Well, at least one more hit than usual.
And my ectasy theory may hold some water here, considering it’s set in the 1960s, but not the boring 1960s. No, it’s the wild 1960s, the era of psychedelia and Pink Floyd and Jimi Hendrix. The thing may be another example of style-over-substance, but that particularly magic way of doing style-over-substance, like JoJo or, well, Blood Blockade Battlefront.
The staff is incredibly promising. We have here Seiji Mizushima, the director of the original Fullmetal Alchemist, also known as the best Fullmetal Alchemist, and Sho Aikawa who is… alright, I have a much more rocky relationship with Aikawa (on one hand, the original FMA, Boukenger and Kamen Rider Blade; on the other hand, the dreadful Wizard, Angel Cop and Urotsukidoji) but the Mizushima can keep him on a reasonable leash. I expect for this to be amazing, knowing full well how things I expect to be amazing end up.
GARO: Crimson Moon
YES. This is one of two shows this season that I can’t really contain my hype for, given that a. I’m already a fan of the tokus and b. GARO: The Animation being one of my favorite anime this year.
For those new to the GARO franchise and/or haven’t heard of it, the GARO franchise is a series of tokusatsu in which incredibly badass dudes have to fight horrific creatures from a parallel world which consume human suffering and/or souls in ludicrous battles involving so much wirework you’d think their studio doubles as an electricity distribution station. It’s amazing and mature and dark despite being the epitome of tokusatsu cheese and if you haven’t seen them watch them right now.
Back on topic, this shares basically none of the same staff as The Animation and may as well not even carry the GARO branding if it weren’t for Tohokushinsha Film Corp and MAPPA’s involvement. Instead of the Middle Ages Spain setting of The Animation, Crimson Moon takes place in Heian Japan, a rather underutilized period for anime settings. Regarding the plot it’s probably going to be the same overly serious fantasy-esque plots that every GARO toku has but I’d be lying if I said that anyone watches the GARO tokus for the plot and not the excellent characterization and the stylized fights (and season 4, Makai no Hana, has no real plot; just a bunch of character arcs) and the director, Atsushi “Guin Saga” Wakabayashi is fit for this.
Oh yeah, the staff. If this were 2004, I’d be positively euphoric about Toshiki Inoue and Shou Aikawa being the writers of this show while being happy that the woman who ruined Kamen Rider no longer being on staff, but this is 2015. Inoue hasn’t written any good original works since at least 2009, I’ve said enough about Aikawa and I’m sad that Yasuko “wrote the best Kamen Rider season” Kobayashi is not returning for S2.
monaca is back for the soundtrack and let me tell you their overly serious heavy metal meets orchestral meets various genres of electronic music fits well with GARO in Ancient Japan. Oddly, it will star the guy who played Raiga “Free Hairy Knuckles Included with Every Zaruba Shot!” Saejima in Makai no Hana, which is probably a bad decision because he sounds dull as fuck. Should’ve put Ray Fujita instead.
So, what do I expect? Well, it’s GARO. And even when it’s bad, GARO is still pretty good.
Masked Rider Ghost
Not an anime by any means (although it has crappy CG in common with anime, so there’s that), but I’m guessing that some of you may also be interested in tokusatsu. And since I already went on a tangent about the GARO tokus, I may as well discuss the other tokusatsu I’m obsessed with, Masked Rider. If you at any point feel lost in this entry, feel free to skip it.
Now, Ghost. The main promos all showcase the titular Rider’s design and I love it because it’s silly as fuck while still hitting the general atmosphere they were aiming for. It looks like Cloud Strife, The Undertaker, a talented Tron cosplayer and a gimp had a fatal bike crash at a Hot Topic with no survivors and doctors had to stitch a new living being from all the remaining tissue from the corpse and when that failed they resorted to using leftover leather and plastic. It’s one of the nicest-looking suits in the show’s history and I love everything about it.
The plot itself deals with the main character being murdered in the first episode, which makes me hope that this will be like Gaim and be a throwback to the grimdark early Kuuga–Blade seasons, which were unquestionably the best seasons because Kamen Rider works best when grimdark and I will fight anyone who disagrees. But given the trailer, chances are it’s going to have an incredibly uneven tone like Fourze did. Or, if I were to be optimistic, it’s going to be absolutely hilarious like Den-O while at the same time having a surprisingly complex and thrilling plot.
The writer himself is a newbie who has only been a subwriter for a couple episodes of Ultraman Max and Ultraseven X, neither of which I have watched. The director is the same director for pretty much all post-Decade Kamen Rider, and I like his style. I’m feeling quite optimistic about this largely because I love the premise of having to catch all 15
Pokémon Mini-Cons Eyecons to save his own life since it can at the create a very tense plot if pulled off right and also that suit is cool as fuck.
And hey, if it sucks, it’ll be better than Drive.
The trailer of this is actually just a pretty-looking music video so I doubt any of that will actually make it into the show. The actual description of the show is incredibly vague and for all I know it’s about some dude falling in love with the alien chick from whatever mining planet they’re in. There’s also robots, for whatever reason, since they seem to be mentioned in passing in all promo material.
This thing is giving me serious Plastic Memories vibes, which is not a compliment. Plastic Memories one of the most terrible sins in scifi: poorly done world building. An underutilized setting in science fiction is not a minor flaw; it’s a capital sin. Because, for better or worse, how rich and immersive the setting is has been and is considered the golden standard for measuring scifi writing; characters and plots are only as compelling as the world they’re in. Maybe if it handles well the scifi and setting, it can be pretty good. And knowing myself, if it doesn’t I’ll still like it because I’m a sucker for romance which is why I liked Plastic Memories despite it being quite frankly crap.
Young Black Jack
The first thing I notice is that damn, they really made a conscious effort who turn the hideously deformed and visually grotesque mad doctor into some sort of really sexy bishounen. The first anime had already done that to an extent by heavily downplaying Jack’s scarring by making his rotten flesh sections into slightly darker sections of flesh so he goes from “Dr. Zombie Asshole” to “Dr. Sexy Asshole”. In fact, if you showed me this design 2 years ago I’d think it’s a parody of the anime character design. Like seriously, people. Black Jack is not meant to be a sex lord of medicine, it’s not that hard to grasp that.
This tangent aside, I quite like the Black Jack manga and anime. It’s an interesting and gritty medical thriller with some reasonably complex patient drama, like House before House existed. Young Black Jack is more of the same, presumably with some insight as to how the titular doctor ended up a loner living at a seaside mansion.
But the real selling point? No goddamn Pinoko! Truly the best thing in the franchise.
Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans
I’m decently into Gundam. I did enjoy 00 (second season aside), SEED (Destiny aside), Wing (Relena aside) and especially G Gundam (absolutely nothing aside). Okay, it’s one of these “I like it but…” things, especially since the recent entries were quite frankly crap (and I’m pretty sure Reconquista was made entirely to humor Tomino). I’m always open for some Gundam, though, even if by the end it’s another case of the buts.
Until they proudly announced that it’s by the staff that made AnoHana, a series I despised because of its incredibly dull and cringe-worthy drama; hell, even Kamen Rider (especially Ryuki and Faiz) does better character drama. Maybe the type of drama AnoHana aimed for works better in larger than life settings like Gundam or the aforementioned Kamen Rider.
The director is inexperienced with mecha series and Mari Okada is… well, Mari Okada. To say she’s hit or miss would be putting it lightly. It’s more along the lines of rolling a ten-sided die and if it’s 1-4 it will be absolutely painful, 5-8 it will be okay and 9-10 it will be amazing(ly bad). It’s like a stat check in D&D, and the outcome determined is whether the studio will waste their money or not.
Dance With Devils
I can’t even begin to describe how amused I am by this show and how it completely and utterly hits every single bad boy paranormal romance cliché there is and some that have yet to be invented. In fact, I don’t even have to see one episode of this show to give you a complete rundown of the series’ theoretical plot threads and character arcs and let me tell you, they’re not very interesting. That talking dog from the trailer has a much interesting backstory and personality than any of the boys, I can tell you that much.
High School Star Musical
You know, I’d really, really love to be a lot less cynical about this series, given how trashy bishounen anime aimed at fujoshi have connected with me, like the spectacular Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE! the slightly less spectacular Free! and the massively less spectacular Shonen Hollywood, a series I’m so ashamed of liking that this is literally the first time I even mention it. To a certain extent, I would consider myself a connoisseur of shitty bishonen anime aimed at lonely women, a trait that makes me question my life choices.
But this. Brought to you by C-Sectio… err… C-Station, the massively talented animators behind esteemed classics like Dragonar Academy and Akame ga Kill! Theatre, helmed by the dude who did a bunch of bishie-filled sports anime and written by some chick, comes this masterpiece so awesome the staff was blinded by its awesomeness and completely fucked up the facial perspective on the redhead in the poster.
Anti-Magic Academy: The 35th Test Academy
I tried reading this and all the clichés just brought back memories of every shitty LN adaptation that existed. So, in lieu of any actual previewing and because there are three identical LN adaptations this season and they keep popping up, I now bring to thee the Hamon Clackers Battle High School Light Novel Cliché Chart for Sparing Myself the Misery of Actually Previewing These Turds©®™.
|Harem||Battle School||OP MC||MC’s Powers have weird twist||Female-dominated environment||Tournament||Female roommate|
The Asterisk War
Presumably, the Asterik War was about whether using an asterisk or an x to represent multiplication.
|Harem||Battle School||OP MC||MC’s Powers have weird twist||Female-dominated environment||Tournament||Female roommate|
Anatomy of a Failed Knight
I actually know a fair bit of the plot of this one, and, without many spoilers as to the contents of the actual plot, it’s like a power fantasy for people who despise their family for no reason at all. Stay classy, light novels.
|Harem||Battle School||OP MC||MC’s Powers have weird twist||Female-dominated environment||Tournament||Female roommate|
Lance ‘N’ Masques
Oh look LN adaptation that doesn’t involve magical highschools and that I don’t have to break out the chart for! Admittedly, I lumped the charted LNs together so the pain goes quicker because I’m unfair like that. This is not a fair and balanced blog, folks; this is where facts die and my crappy taste reigns. Welcome to blog hell, abandon your hopes at the door. But I digress.
This light novel has received zero buzz since it was published in 2013 and didn’t even receive neither a manga adaptation nor a fan translation nor any acknowledgement of its existance and the only reason it seems to have been adapted is because the creator has ties with Studio Gokumi, ’cause cronyism makes the world go ’round out ‘n’ out.
The first thing I notice is that the character designs are way fucked up. It looks like someone made a parody of Madoka Magica‘s wideface style, or like if they accidentally stretched the character designs in Paint and accidentally rolled with it. It’s quite unnerving.
I don’t have anything to go by regarding its actual substance because, again zero buzz before the author cronyismed his way into an anime adaptation. The premise (who for some reason reminds me of Gugure! Kokkuri-san) seems pretty bland and seems like it’ll lead to a bland series with fluffy gags and some action. Oh well. At least I didn’t have to break out the chart.
A Corpse Is Buried Under Sakurako’s Feet
Ah, this. Like Kamen Rider Ghost above (assuming you even read that because who reading an anime preview cares about tokus) I have an inordinate amount of faith in this project. Maybe because it’s a mystery show and I get undeservedly hype for those despite most of them being quite frankly horrible. But, despite my pessimism about my optimism (however that works), my hype about this series may be a bit more justified.
This story is printed under Kadokawa’s more josei-ish label, and josei anime have an excellent track record, and is therefore free of harems and/or imouto-bangin’. The story concerns a high school dude who meets this beautiful lady and okay I must admit that’s not exactly much higher than imoutos in the scale of wish-fulfillment. Anyway, they team up to solve cases involving bones and presumably Sakurako’s feet. The staff is pretty new and unexperienced but at one point Yasuko Kobayashi was merely the subwriter of Janperson, so I’m going to be arbitrarily positive here and say there’s talented folks.
Alright, alright, so it’s like Bones but with potentially illicit sexual relationships. My optimism about this may be a bit unjustified after all.
This is easily one of the creepiest light novels that I’ve read. It’s about this school where the students are isolated from the evils of the modern world and are therefore these perfect little flowers and the extent to which this naiveté and innocence is fetishized is creepy beyond belief. And then there’s the whole “the MC is kidnapped as a sample pleb and has to pretend he’s gay otherwise they’re gonna chop off his chonson” thing which is taken to the 11th degree with rather uncomfortable jokes about homosexuality and you have a terrible product on your hands.
Basically, this is Prison School lite. And this is not a compliment.
I’m not a fan of the Raildex verse by any means. The reasons why I dislike it are inmense and quite frankly boring and inserting them here would detract from the focus of this article (not that it stopped me from rambling about toku, anyway). But I must admit that it is pretty popular, so it’s natural that J.C.Staff would turn to the other series by the same author, Heavy Object.
It’s… average. It’s about these mech things called Objects and that soldiers are only trained to pilot one and only one Object in a shocking violation of everything known about military intelligence and training and taking them out with only wits and whatever’s at hand like MacGyver meets JoJo meets Gundam, only vastly less interesting. It’s quite repetitive from what I can tell, and I can’t fathom even the most diehard Kamachi fans to get truly excited for this. Maybe it’ll be one of those things everyone watches but nobody actually enjoys.
It’s another dancing anime by the same staff of Tribe Cool Crew. Why they just couldn’t make a second season of Tribe Cool Crew escapes me; maybe it just had a conclusion so incredibly satisfying, where every plot thread was neatly wrapped and all character arcs fully realized that making a second season of it would be nothing but the most treacherous heresy to the satisfied fanbase. Or maybe it flopped but they still want to take a second shot at this whole dancing anime thing. Either/or.
Attack on Titan: Junior High
The joke is that they are now in high school and that they reference things that happened in the series. $100 per BD volume, please.
Valkyrie Drive: Mermaid
MAQL wants to make the Senran Kagura lighting strike twice but this time WITH YURI! Next.
SHAFT is a bunch of goddamn liars this isn’t even the final Monogatari. There’s still Zoku Owari and they still have to make Kizu and the books aren’t over yet. Like seriously, don’t give people false hopes, Shinbo. I know you’re crazy but I didn’t know you’re also a liar.
Of all the sports anime supposedly for young boys but seem more popular with lonely women in their 20s and 30s, Haikyuu!! is definitely one of the better ones, thanks to a number of factors such as entertaining characters and excellent volleyball sequences that perfectly replicate the tension of actually seeing push-ball-over-net sports, unlike the completely tensionless matches of, say, Prince of Tennis. Sure, YowaPeda is also definitely a good one, probably, but who the hell cares about cyclists?
Seraph of the End: Battle in Nagoya
Contrary to popular belief, there is no Seraph sequel. Pranksters have gone so far as to forge official art and Wit Studio “press releases” declaring that it was split-cour. But the real ending was that they all died and there was much hyperrealistic blood and it was very spooky.
A series that was really popular back when it aired, I never got too much into it, as I felt that it was basically okay and highly forgettable. I do the remember, however, the hilariously bad arc regarding some blonde dude and attempted skateboard theft. Maybe this time the blonde dude will instead rip off a helicopter blade and ride it like a skateboard to escape from the city. You know you want to, Bones.
Aria the Scarlett Ammo AA
In a period countless with craptastic Shana clones, Aria the Scarlett Ammo soared the mighty heights of almost okay. Now take out whatever made the series
great good decent passable and more or less make it about a fanclub of the first series and add some yuri subtext. Profit? Probably.
K: Return of Kings
I actually liked K for the same reasons I liked Noragami. Except that while Noragami was hilariously stupid at times, K was so unbelievably full of itself to the point of absurdity I couldn’t help but laugh. It can only be summed up as if Maude Lebowski made an anime, and I’m sort of looking forward to more absurd blue filters and Aronofsky-wannabe shot composition.
Aria of Unlimited for the Testament of Fafnir 2: The Mission
One of the Winter 2015 LN adaptations got a sequel. I myself can’t tell them apart, much like if one of the this season’s crappy LNs that I used the chart on gets a sequel. I wonder if people will actually remember this in a year or so. Hell, I wonder if people still remember the first one.
Yuru Yuri SanHai
This is literally the worst promo art that could be made for this show because it highlights how much they have the same noseless face. Village of the Damned ain’t got shit on this. In fact, I’m pretty sure all cute girls doing cute things anime take place in some sort of horrifying universe where they are half-eldritch horror of yore subjecting the world to the whims of their almighty idiocy, like a hyperactive cat prancing around an unattended house.
Hey, I just described a much more interesting show than Yuru Yuri SanHai. Where do I apply?
Diabolik Lovers More;Blood
Komori-san Is Refuse!
Remember when Artland did groundbreaking stuff like Mushishi and Legend of the Galactic Heroes? Well, cast those memories aside and watch them adapt this horrid 4koma whose only notable thing is that it has the same author of the quite good I Can’t Understand What My Husband Is Saying.
Rainy Cocoa 2: Rainy Color
Rainy Cocoa is like celery: reading an entry at a season preview about Rainy Cocoa takes more time than actually seeing one episode of Rainy Cocoa. Pretty sure the Funimation vanity plate accounted for 40% of its runtime.
Fist of the North Star: The Taste of Strawberry
It’s a 4-koma about the Emperor Dude trying to befriend Head-Exploding Bruce Lee. That is the joke.
Hakone-chan: Spirit of the Hot Springs
Do you like hot springs episodes? Well, how about an entire series of hot springs episodes? Is that like a formula for instant mad bank or what?
A horror short of sorts. But who is the real monster here? The indescriptible horrors the characters face, or the incredibly ugly rotascoped things masquerading as humans?
Ani Tore EX
From Earth Star Entertainment, the producer of masterpieces like Pillow Boys and Wanna Be The Strongest in the World!!, comes this anime that thinks it can make otaku exercise hahahahahahahahahahhahahahahhhha oh wait you are serious let me laugh harder HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA