Amazing Stories

I just realized I’ve been doing this for five years now. This makes this the 21st season preview I’ve put together. No wonder the seasons seem to go faster and faster. Anyway, here’s what’s coming our way very soon— click through on the titles to get the official sites, with promo videos and more art. (Except for the one show that doesn’t seem to have one…)


Butlers ~Chitose Momotose Monogatari~ (Butlers ~A Tale of Millenia~)

The premise: Two debonair young men travel through time to fight an enemy and have a life full of comedy hijinks back home.

Derivative factor: Part of mixed-media project

The buzz: The promo videos say seriousness and adventure, but the synopsis says comedy. Hard to know what to make of it, but since it looks to be full of pretty boys it’s probably aimed squarely at a female audience.

Premiere: April 11

Caligula

The premise: People try to escape a virtual world which traps them in high school forever.

Derivative factor: Video game adaptation

The buzz: Video game adaptations aren’t usually a recipe for success, and this is based on a video game that didn’t even do well itself. But maybe the story will work better in this format, then?

Premiere: April 8

Cute High Earth Defense Club HAPPY KISS

The premise: Five boys in a high school club which is just a cover for hanging out suddenly find themselves whisked away to a magic land to help choose its next ruler.

Derivative factor: Sequel

The buzz: Cute High has built up an enthusiastic fanbase skewering magical-girl shows, so even though it may be changing its focus to portal fantasies, look for a solid performance.

Premiere: April 8

Devils’ Line

The premise: A college student is saved from a supernatural attack by a half-vampire who serves on an anti-vampire secret police force.

Derivative factor: Manga adaptation

The buzz: People who like the manga say to read it for the romance… so… Twilight as a police procedural, perhaps, but better.

Premiere: April 7

Dorei-ku The Animation (Slave District: The Animation)

The premise: 24 people enter a survival game where each is equipped with a device that can turn another person into their slave.

Derivative factor: Manga adaptation

The buzz: This is going to go to some very, very dark places. Not something to watch unless you’re in for some intense psychological horror.

Premiere: April 12


Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory

The premise: Mecha armies face off in an alternate timeline where the Cold War has yet to end.

Derivative factor: Continuing adaptation of light novel series

The buzz: Huge excitement all around. The last chunk of this adaptation may have been in 2005, but it is fondly remembered.

Premiere: April 13

Gegege no Kitarō (Cackling Kitarō)

The premise: A monster boy tries help both monsters and humans.

Derivative factor: Umpteenth adaptation of classic manga

The buzz: Previous adaptations haven’t been very available to English-speaking anime fandom, so most of the reaction comes in the form of Dragon Ball fans being very very angry that this is taking Dragon Ball Super‘s place for a few months. But this is much-loved material in Japan, so you’d think it’ll get a decent show to go with it.

Premiere: April 1

Hinamatsuri (Hina’s Party or Girls’ Festival)

The premise: A girl with superpowers stumbles into the life of a junior gangster and winds up living as his adopted daughter.

Derivative factor: Manga adaptation

The buzz: Looks like a fun comedy, although don’t look at how many people the E.T. reference is going right over the heads of or it might make you feel old.

Premiere: April 6

Hisone to Maso-tan (Hisone and Maso)

The premise: A new JSDF pilot discovers that some of the aircraft are actually dragons, and winds up flying with one.

Derivative factor: Original

The buzz: With unusual art, an odd idea, and a scriptwriter known for throwing in surprise twists, it might be weird enough to be good.

Premiere: April 12

Isekai Izakaya: Koto Aitheria no Izakaya Nobu (Otherworldly Bar: Nobu in Aitheria, the Ancient City)

The premise: A door in a fantasy world opens into a bar in Kyoto.

Derivative factor: Light novel adaptation

The buzz: Didn’t we just see this show a couple seasons ago, only it was called Restaurant to Another World? Expect that all over again, basically.

Premiere: April 13

Jūshinki Pandora

The premise: Several years after an accident with a new energy source almost destroyed the world, a team is formed to fight the mutants resulting from the accident.

Derivative factor: Original

The buzz: There’s not much to indicate this will be much more than a by-the-numbers action show.

Premiere: March 29

Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi (The Fare at Kakuriyo)

The premise: A college student pays off an old family debt by cooking at an inn in the spirit world.

Derivative factor: Light novel adaptation

The buzz: Weren’t we just talking about a supernatural food show? This at least has more to distinguish it than Isekai Izakaya, and at least the art looks nice.

Premiere: April 2

Ladyspo

The premise: Sometime in the future, teams of “bounty hunters” travel from place to place competing in all sorts of sports.

Derivative factor: Original

The buzz: If you like sports (which are a major genre in anime, though they rarely intrude on sf), here is a bunch of sports for you!

Premiere: April 9

Last Period: Owarinaki Rasen no Monogatari (Last Period: Tale of the Endless Helix)

The premise: Three monster hunters try to rebuild their local division after economic problems.

Derivative factor: Video game adaptation

The buzz: Looks like a fun little upbeat fantasy aimed at the younger set.

Premiere: April 11

Layton Mystery Tanteisha: Katori no Nazotoki File (Layton Mystery Detective: Kat’s Puzzle Files)

The premise: The daughter of a now-vanished mystery-solving archaeologist goes into business as a detective with a talking dog as a sidekick.

Derivative factor: Video game series spinoff

The buzz: Excitement from fans of the Layton franchise, with a little disappointment that they had to wait so long that the chance to feature the original protagonist of the games was missed. Probably not for anyone else.

Premiere: April 8

Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Die Neue These

The premise: Military geniuses fight an interstellar war.

Derivative factor: Re-adaptation of light novel series

The buzz: The first adaptation is widely regarded as a classic, so the first test of this series will be whether or not it screws up a good thing.

Premiere: April 3

Lost Song

The premise: In a fantasy land, a peasant and a royal singer must join forces to save a kingdom with the power of song.

Derivative factor: Original

The buzz: This was probably conceived as a way to sell a bunch of CDs, but it looks like some real effort has gone into it.

Premiere: April 7

Magical Girl Ore

The premise: A girl agrees to become a magical girl to save the pop idol she has a crush on, only her magical girl form turns out to be a man, the pop idol is attracted to him, and her best friend who already has a crush on her wants to be a magical girl alongside her.

Derivative factor: Manga adaptation

The buzz: This could be a wonderfully nuanced non-heteronormative romantic comedy… but probably will stick to crude outdated jokes instead.

Premiere: April 2

Magical Girl Site

The premise: A bullied high school girl stumbles across a Web site which drags her into a magical girl battle royale.

Derivative factor: Manga adaptation

The buzz: “Dark magical girl show” has been a growing subgenre for a while, but it’s getting worse and worse with each successive show trying to amp up the nihilism and gore. Does not look promising.

Premiere: April 6

Megalo Box

The premise: A boxer fights in an underground ring where combatants are enhanced with exoskeletons.

Derivative factor: Related in some way to classic non-sf manga

The buzz: Another show adapting material that’s beloved in Japan but never really had a chance to catch on outside of it. If you want sports, here is some more sports?

Premiere: April 5

Nil Admirari no Tembin (The Scales of Nil Admirari)

The premise: In an alternate timeline where the Taishō emperor lived much longer, a young woman with psychic powers helps investigate a string of suicides linked to mysterious books and also urgently looks for a husband.

Derivative factor: Video game adaptation

The buzz: The alternate-history premise sounds interesting, but this is an adaptation of an otome game, which requires the heroine to spend a lot of time sorting through a bunch of pretty-boy love interests, so that may take away from the mystery and drama.

Premiere: April 8

PERSONA5 The Animation

The premise: A juvenile delinquent forms a team of high school students who battle manifestations of people’s psyches to bring justice to the wicked.

Derivative factor: Continuing adaptation of video game series

The buzz: Another series with a built-in fanbase, albeit one that doesn’t think the previous adaptation was done well.

Premiere: April 7

Saredo Tsumibito wa Ryū to Odoru (Though a Criminal, He Dances With Dragons)

The premise: Bounty hunters fight dragons in a world where magic is performed with a system of equations.

Derivative factor: Light novel adaptation

The buzz: This sounds so very much like nearly every other light novel series set in a fantasy world. Expect lots of screen time to be taken up with lectures about the magic system.

Premiere: April 5

Steins;Gate 0

The premise: A former eccentric scientist who gave it up after he was unable to find a way to save his friend finds the tragedy is all brought back when someone is able to create a computer simulation of his friend.

Derivative factor: Adaptation of spinoff of previously adaptated video game

The buzz: The original Steins;Gate got what many consider to be the best anime adaptation of a video game ever, giving this some mighty big shoes to fill. Despite the very real possibility of regression to the mean, no revival of an older property is generating more excitement than this one.

Premiere: April 11

Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online

The premise: A tall young woman enters a futuristic virtual-reality MMO where she can be shorter and take part in a battle royale.

Derivative factor: Adaptation of spinoff of previously adapted light novel series

The buzz: For all that Sword Art Online was incredibly popular a few years ago, the haters now seem to outnumber the people who want to see more of it. This might be removed enough from the original story to get a fair hearing, but nothing about it suggests it will be especially good anyway.

Premiere: April 7

Uma Musume Pretty Derby (Pretty Derby of Horse Girls)

The premise: Girls with horse ears and tails go to an academy where they compete to be racing and pop idols.

Derivative factor: Vaporware adaptation

The buzz: Just when you think Japan has run out of things to mix pop idols into, along comes another bizarre idol show. Don’t get too enthusiastic about this one.

Premiere: April 1


And in the continuation section, we have…


Phew! This may be a new record for number of shows in the preview, but with Netflix in the mix and still not fully embracing simulcasts, it might not be the most I wind up having to watch at the start of a season.

There’s a lot to potentially like here, but of the returning properties, I think I’m most excited about Cute High. I’m very interested to see what happens with the classics with GeGeGe no Kitarō and (if it actually has anything to do with its alleged predecessor) Megalo Box. Of the shows appearing for the first time as anime, I have to confess some irrational part of me thinks it’s worth hoping that Magical Girl Ore will not be as horrible as it almost certainly will be. What are you looking forward to?

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