Spring 2016 – Top 6 Shows I’m Looking Forward To

This is my first post here, so for those who don’t know me, I blog over at Geekorner-Geekulture, and the upcoming post is an excerpt from my Spring 2016 season preview, of the 5 shows I’m most looking forward to in the upcoming season, that begins on April 1st, just two and a half weeks away! Hopefully, this post will help you find shows you might’ve overlooked, but which are worth your time. As such, the focus will not be on sequels, as fans of Teekyu don’t need me to tell them the 10th spin-off is coming up. Also, unlike many other preview lists, there’s less focus on premise and plot, and more focus on the people working on the show. As Asterisk War and Tale of the Worst One had shown us recently season, premises are similar, but it’s the people working on the show that make the difference.

5-tied) Big Order:

Big Order anime Key Visual

I liked Mirai Nikki (Future Diary) quite a bit. It was a lot of fun. It was crazy and over the top, but it was fun. This is an adaptation of a manga by the same mangaka who’s given us Mirai Nikki, Esuno Sakae. He’s rejoined by Series Composer and anime script author Takayama Katsuhiko, who was one in charge of Mirai Nikki’s adaptation; He’s also been in charge of Aldnoah.Zero, ef (both A Tale of Memories and A Tale of Melodies), Ga-Rei Zero, Baka to Test, and [email protected], so he’s clearly better with adaptation than penning his own work, and is right at home with, well, over the top craziness.

This is the full-series directorial debut for director Kamanaka Nobuharu, so hopefully he’ll be able to bring to fruition this latest show about a bunch of people who can shape reality through the power of their destructive wishes.

Briefly: I should probably rewatch Mirai Nikki, and it’s quite possible this show will be dumb in bad ways, but what I’m hoping for is a fun schlocky run, though it might be better marathoned. It’s a thin dividing line between “Dumb and bad” and “dumb and good”. A new director? Well, here’s hoping.

Airing Date: April 15th.

5-tied) Boku no Hero Academia / My Hero Academia:

Boku no Hero Academia anime / My Hero Academia anime

The season’s big shounen manga adaptation. Directed by Nagasaki Kenji, who directed Gundam Build Fighters, Classroom Crisis, and No. 6. Series Composition and script by Kuroda Yousuke, who did composition for Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom, Infinite Ryvius, Saint Seiya, Big Swing, Madlax, Gundam Build Fighters, Hayate no Gotokue, Honey and Clover, Hellsing Ultimate, Gungrave, and scripts for many more.

While the director hasn’t done a lot, Gundam Build Fighters was good in exactly the same way that I hope this show will be good – it was fun and light. And that Series Composer? That’s a lot of good stuff. Combined with all the good things I hear about the manga, it sounds as if we’ve got one of my favourite and incresingly more rare products on our hands – a fun, no-nonsense shounonsense battler, minus all the LN crap.

Briefly: Shounen battler! I love those! They’re rarely anything special, but I love ’em anyway.

Airing Date: April 3rd. Preview.

4) Koutetsujou no Kabaneri / Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress:

Koutetsujou no Kabaneri anime / Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress anime

I’ve seen this show jokingly referred to as “Attack on the Iron Fortress,” and considering it’s made by Wit Studio, directed by Araki Tetsurou with Tanaka Hiroyuki as assistant director, and Sawano Hiroyuki is in charge of music composition, it’s not hard to see why. In case some of these names don’t mean much to you, Araki is also the director behind Death Note, Guilty Crown, and Highschool of the Dead, while Tanaka assisted him on Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan) and Guilty Crown, and directed Claymore, and Hellsing Ultimate episodes 5-7 on his own. Sawano Hiroyuki also did the music for Aldnoah.Zero, Guilty Crown, and Kill la Kill, all of which had some great music.

Series Composition is handled by Okuchi Ichiro, who worked on Code Geass, Guilty Crown, and Valvrave, which all paint a very specific style. He’s also worked on Azumanga Daioh and PlanetES, though, as well as scripts on Kuroshitsuji, Shigofumi, and Turn A Gundam. Script is handled by Seko Hiroshi, who worked on Ajin, Owari no Seraph, and a bunch of Attack on Titan and Zankyou no Terror (Terror in Resonance) episodes.

So, the million dollar question, what do I think of it? I actually thought Attack on Titan was a darn good 16 episode series, which unfortunately was stretched to fit 25 episodes. Araki’s style is very loud, there’s no other word for it, but much of it seems to come down to trying and mask padded pacing. As an anime original, it will hopefully not suffer through the same issue. Also, as an anime original, it might not be as popular as a manga-based series, but it also means we’ll be spared the people who aggressively and maliciously spoiled Attack on Titan as it aired.

Briefly: There’s a bunch of talented people working on this show. They’re mostly talented at creating shlocky shows, which miss the mark as often as they hit it for me, but some of my favourite shows fall into this genre.

Airing Date: April 7th. Preview.

3) Concrete Revolutio: Choujin Gensou – The Last Song / Concrete Revolutio: A Superhuman Fantasy 2nd Season

Concrete Revolutio anime 2nd season Key Visual

Concrete Revolutio’s first cour was good enough to end as my 6th best show of 2015. With a nuanced approach to “multiple justices,” of trying to do the right thing while accepting that the other side believes they’re doing the same thing, the show also takes a close look at how shaping the way people perceive justice might be more important than being “just” to begin with. The first cour intertwined a continuing and developing character drama with episodic vignettes.

I was wondering for a moment, “Where will they go from now?” as we “found out” what led Jirou to leave, but since the show has never been a mystery and we’ve known all along, the answer is clear – they will tell us more of the struggle, while exploring moral and social questions. They’ll also have Urobuchi Gen writing an episode or two, for those to whom it makes a big difference. But since it’ll exist within the larger narrative, I don’t find it particularly important.

I do recommend picking this show up if you hadn’t before. If you’re having trouble with the time-skips, check my episodic write-ups, which aside from a thematic discussion of each episode also provide an up to date timeline.

Briefly: A second cour of a show I liked? I’m on board. This show rarely “excites” me, but I expect to enjoy it and find a lot that is worthwhile there, with a few touching moments and moments of highlight animation tossed in.

Airing Date: April 3rd.

2) Mayoiga:

Mayoiga anime

This is one of the most interesting productions of the seasons, with the highest possible highs, but also the possibility of imploding into mediocrity or even worse. Director Mizushima Tsutomu has been in charge of a lot of high profile shows, such as last year’s top show, Shirobako, as well as Prison School, Genshiken Nidaime, Girls und Panzer, Another, Blood-C, xxxHolic and a few more. He sometimes makes shows I don’t care for, but it’s usually not for reasons involving his directing, and even if it is, it’s because he accomplished going in a direction I don’t care for.

But here’s where it starts getting thorny, Series Composition is done by Mari Okada (AnoHana, Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans, M3, Nagi no Asukara, Fractale, Gosick, ToraDora, WIXOSS, and many more). Okada has a tendency of getting lost when she tries to fill 24 episode series with 16 episodes’ worth of content, or when her plots have more than 5-6 characters in them. Well, Mayoiga has 30 characters, each with their own reasons to want to erase their pasts. The show has actually sent out designs for 11 of these shows, meaning they’re likely to not be entirely minor. This is exactly the sort of show that Okada goes “Full Okada” in, and not in the good way.

Furthermore, the show has reached out to crowd funding to fund its last legs of production. They asked for $30k, while common numbers for the production of an anime episode run around $100-300k, so perhaps it was a publicity stunt, but one must remember Mizushima’s show, Girls und Panzer, had to delay its last two episodes by 4 months. And while it might work for a slice of life sports show, it’d be a death blow to a mystery and/or heavy drama show. So, gotta hope for the best, but prepare for the worst, with this one.

Briefly: Interest Rating: 2.5/3. That’s my interest rating, my “tempered hope rating” would be closer to 1.25/3. Please give us the good Okada. Please don’t have the production implode!

Airing Date: April 1st. Preview.

1) Joker Game:

Joker Game anime

Last season’s Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju (well, this season, since Winter didn’t end yet) is an example of something very rare in anime – a drama revolving around adult characters, and if that’s not quite rare enough, it’s a period drama. Joker Game might not be a period drama, but rather a period mystery-thriller, but that’s rare enough, and more than that, it’s based on a series of novels (not light novels). While some such shows are light novels in anything but name and not always good (Perfect Insider, HaruChika), it’s still something that makes me sit up and take notice. I mean, the first novel (out of three) even won the Mystery Writers of Japan award in 2009, and has received a live action adaptation last year.

The story about pre-World War 2 era Japan will revolve about spies, betrayal, and all that good jazz. Nomura Kazuya had worked on Robotics;Notes, the Sengoku Basara movies and 2nd season, and Ghost in the Shell 2015. He’s mostly dealt with movies, so it’d be interesting to see how he handles this. Series Composer Kishimoto Taku has been in charge of this season’s Boku dake ga Inai Machi (ERASED), Usagi Drop, Haikyuu, and Gin no Saji (Silver Spoon). I tend to like his work.

Briefly: Period thriller-mystery based on novels? Aside from Japanese mystery novel adaptations not doing so hot for me lately, the only thing I’m wary of is that these type of stories lend themselves better to a marathon-watching than to being watched weekly, especially with a director who’s mostly dealt with movies up to now.

Airing Date: April 5th. Preview.

These are only my 6 most-looked forward to shows in the upcoming season, if you’d like to see what other shows I’m interested in, or what shows I’m wary of, don’t forget to check the post from which this is excerpted, which covers the vast majority of the shows this upcoming season, omitting a few shorts and sequels.

So, what are the shows you guys and gals are the most looking forward to, and what’s your impression of the season as a whole? I for one am pleasantly surprised.

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