Before we start let me throw out a brief disclaimer: this will not be a hype list. It will be a list of shows you might want to look into but not one that gets you all excited for the season to come. I generally try to be excited at the start of a new season and coax people into checking out the shows I’m really excited for. But this season I honestly can’t be bothered. Hell, I’m typing this on the eve of the season’s premiere because I preferred spending a week and a half writing an in-depth analysis on Banana Fish (which thankfully is continuing this season so at least there’s that to look forward to) than talking about any of the upcoming shows.
Granted, these major issues I have with the upcoming season, mostly pertain to me and my tastes in anime as this season seems very heavy on the big, popular franchise entries with new seasons of shows like Sword Art Online, A Certain Magical Index and JoJo and personally, with the exception of Attack on Titan I’m not into big, popular franchises leaving this season for me, as kind of a barren wasteland with only a few somewhat promising buds here and there that might, given the right conditions, bloom into a beautiful flower.
But this is also good. My ultimate goal with lists like these is that I bring to your attention a show that you wouldn’t otherwise have checked out but now that you know of its existence you will and maybe really enjoy it. And with this season the likelihood of that is far larger because all the stuff hogging the spotlight is, as mentioned, not on this list.
That being said because this season is such a dry wasteland of promising shows for me there will only be five entries on this list as the rest I honestly can’t be bothered to check out, let alone recommend others to do so. Also, there’s an honorable mention which…let’s get to that:
Honorable mention: Radiant
At first glance this show really doesn’t look any different from the usual big popular shonen series that this season is already oversaturated with. However, when I did some research on this show I learned that it is actually based on a French comic book series. Plus, the show’s setting does actually sound somewhat intriguing and I am a sucker for solid worldbuilding in fantasy anime. Also, if the PV is anything to go by the action sequences should be a thing to behold. So there’s that. That being said I am still not including this in the list proper because even with everything it has going for it, to me, it still strikes me as a fairly generic fantasy action show and while there’s nothing wrong with that in my book, I’d like for a show to provide something a little more unique and intriguing before I give it a full on recommendation.
5: Zombieland Saga
Director Munehise Sakai has worked on not one but two popular family friendly franchises. First of all, he was the director of the controversial Sailor Moon Crystal and second…he directed over a hundred episodes of One Piece. So, what does this guy decide to do next? A hyper-violent horror-comedy.
Beyond that there really isn’t much I can say to promote this show in a way that the PV itself cannot do better. So go check that out and if afterwards you don’t feel like your brains are melting away in your skull…you should probably check this one out.
This next entry on the list is based on a mobile phone game, directed by a first-time director and animated by a studio with no prior experience in that field…so why is this even on the list. Because despite all that…this one sounds absolutely fucking amazing! The premise alone already gets me all kinds of excited. It starts of saying there is a secret war going on between two opposing factions right outside the public’s periphery. The latest combatant in this war is Makoto, a secret agent who has the ability to read the memory of any object he touches. He becomes involved with this war when he turns up to investigate an explosion at an off the books laboratory which sets in motion a chain of events that will suck him into a whirlwind of danger and deceit.
This! This, fucking, premise! Name me one anime that has a similar premise. This is exactly the kind of thing I look for in anime. Something that sounds unique and stands out. This show, I honestly believe, has the potential to be an edge of your seat sci fi flavoured espionage thriller and I am crossing my fingers, toes and any other extremities that it is going to turn out…just that.
3: The Girl in Twilight
Now I know what you’re thinking. No this is not an anime bio-pic about the life and times of Bella. It is however a new sci fi mystery series from the master of sci fi mystery: Koutarou Uchikoshi, best known for the Infinity series of visual novels and the Zero Escape video game series. Granted this series at first seems far more like a “cute girls doing cute things” show. But it wouldn’t be the first time cute character designs and a seemingly cheerful world masque something far darker. Nor will it be the last. (shameless promotion for The Promised Neverland next season)
The series follows several high school girls who are all part of the same “Crystal Radio Club” in a rural Japanese town. However, after the girls performed a certain ritual things stop being just fun and games. Especially that last line makes me convinced this show will turn out far darker than its promotional material makes us think it’s going to.
2: ReRided - Derida Who Leaps Through Time
When I say Yoshitoshi ABe…what shows come to mind? If your answer is none…well…you have some watching to do. Yoshitoshi ABe is quite possibly one of the most amazing people working in the industry and pretty much every project he’s touched has turned to solid gold. That being said he’s not been active for over a decade and admittedly some of his work is becoming harder and harder to recommend due to their increasingly dated look. Personally, I really like 90s animation and often prefer it over more modern styles. But at the same time, I understand that this isn’t the case for everyone. So, my hope for this series is that it will put Abe back in the public’s eye. I am however concerned as the PVs showed a considerable lack of production quality and a premise that seems awfully vague.
On the other hand, Yoshitoshi ABe shows have always been this huge gamble where the audience is asked to invest in this story that seemingly makes no sense in the hope that by the end that investment will prove to be worthwhile. Historically that has always proven to be the case with Abe shows and even with the decade long hiatus the man is still the same so it’s logical to assume that the same will apply here. That being said ten years is a hell of a long time and when it comes to this new Yoshitoshi ABe all we can do is make the leap and hope that he will once again prove to be a master of his craft and not bungle things up and turn the whole thing into an incomprehensible mess. I’d really like to believe that, that is not going to be the case and that it will all have been worth it by the end. Because the one thing I would like more than to recommend someone a really good old Yoshitoshi ABe anime…is to recommend someone a really good new one.
1: Golden Kamuy - Season 2
Six months ago, we got a historical action show that I was already pretty excited for prior to it’s first airdate. But that excitement was basically nothing compared to the excitement I felt watching and keeping up with it every week. And now that it’s back for a second season…my excitement cannot be contained in words. I know that traditionally I never put a second season at the top of this list. But the only other way I would be able to cap off this list with a show I am genuinely hype for would be if I placed the upcoming anime adaptation of The Promised Neverland at this spot and since that is technically not airing until winter 2019…that wouldn’t be fair either. So Golden Kamuy it is.
For those of you who have not seen the first season of this show: it takes place in Hokkaido in the early 20th century and revolves around a war veteran who teams up with an Ainu girl and together they go on an incredible treasure hunt where they met a variety of colorful characters including an officer who has parts of his brain leak out of his skull, a serial killer who orgasms at the thought of his own violent death and a whole bunch of really badly animated and thoroughly pissed off bears. Oh, and there’s cooking…a lot of it. For 12 episodes season 1 of Golden Kamuy had me immersed in its oddball setting and larger than life characters. And then all of a sudden, out of the blue…it ended…leaving this huge hole in my life that no amount of looking at Asirpa memes could ever fill.
Golden Kamuy is the kind of show that, had I not watched it weekly as it was airing and only discovered it later I would have doubtlessly watched the whole show in a single sitting. It’s this non-stop action and adventure adrenaline ride that’s every bit as crazy and violent as it is rewarding. That is to say up to episode 12 which did not leave me feeling rewarded at all because now I had to wait for SIX FREAKING MONTHS to find out what was gonna happen next.
Thankfully though we are finally on the eve of finding out exactly what is going to happen next and there is not a single bone in my body that is not ready for it. I want more Asirpa faces! I want more immortal Sugimoto moments! I want more CG bears! … Okay maybe not that.
Normally I don’t put second seasons on this list because I feel people who have seen the first season will check out the second regardless and those who have not seen season 1 will not even bother. But in this case, I’m making an exception because I want to thoroughly recommend Golden Kamuy as a whole. If you have not seen this show yet and my rant on it has made you in any way curious to find out what it’s like, then I urge you…head over to Crunchyroll and catch up before the new season starts. I doubt you’ll find it disappointing.
So that’s it for my list this season. A much shorter list than usual but I’d like to think at least some of these shows will turn out to be quite entertaining at the very least.
Speacial thanks to @Kuze
See you space cowboys…