KERBEROS' ANTICIPATED ANIME OF SPRING 2018
We’ve just come off a surprisingly solid winter season that had several real gems and are now on the doorstep to an all-new season full of potential. Time to go through the seasonal line-up and discuss all the shows I’m excited about. As per usual no second seasons or continuations of shows already airing.
Honorable mention 1: Fist of the Blue Sky – Regenesis
Knuckles are red, the sky is blue, omae wa mou shindeiru
Honorable mention 2: Dances With The Dragons
Back when this show was first announced I was excited as hell for it and I actually planned to place it rather high on my most anticipated anime of fall 2017 list. But then the show got delayed by half a year and that gave me time to become more and more skeptical of the series.
I still feel it has a lot of potential though. A dark fantasy series set in a city that’s literally divided by two opposing factions and revolving around two mages fighting demons, not because they’re honor bound to do so, but rather because they get paid for it. The story feels like a more mature take on the usual fantasy tropes infused with a good helping of realism and more complex and flawed characters then we usually see in shows of this type. Adding even more to my excitement the original light novels on which the show is based are described as “the ultimate work that founded the dark light novel genre” and you can quite possibly see why I was so freaking excited for this originally.
However, all of that excitement was based purely off of a sales pitch and some suppositions on my part and the actual PVs of the show have revealed precious little. In my experience delays are rarely a good sign. There are instances where a studio simply decided that the quality of the work needed improvement leading to a delay but usually it’s more due to bad managing and an unclear vision as to what the end product should be. And even if the show turns out to actually be good there’s another issue: the original light novel series has 18 volumes and the anime has been confirmed to only have 12 episodes. So even if I end up enjoying the hell out of it then by the end I’ll most likely be simply left with a story that ended just as it was about to get really good and with the light novel series being unlicensed in the west and no plans for licensing having been announced that is a very unpleasant situation to be in. (I am still waiting for those Alderamin novels to be translated)
9: Sword Art Online Alternative – Gun Gale Online
Sword Art Online is a series that, while popular with a very vocal audience, is mostly reviled by the anime community at large. Personally, though I never felt that strongly about the series one way or the other. I watched the first seven episodes and rather enjoyed those, though not to the extend that it made me want to watch more. Of course, this does mean that I have not made it all the way to the Alfheim Arc which is where most anime fans will tell the series died and based on what I’ve been told about this arc that might well be the case. However, I didn’t get to experience any of that firsthand so my take on the franchise is still quite optimistic.
However, the main reason I am excited about this series is that it is based on a light novel series by the author of Kino’s Journey. This light novel series does also have a good number of volumes out already and Gun Gale Online too is only going to be a 12 episode show. However, because this is Sword Art Online the Gun Gale Online novels are actually licensed so if I do end up loving the shit out of this show I can always pick up the light novels after it’s finished…and then suffer the scorn of SAO haters for the rest of my life…Ah well…
Comedy is not my favorite genre. Mostly because I am very picky when it comes to the kinds of comedy I enjoy. I like my comedy to either be the kind of heartfelt character-based comedy that makes you laugh with the characters rather than at them like with for instance Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid, a show from last year I massively enjoyed. Or alternatively, I’d like my comedy to be this completely off the wall absurdist nonsense like one of my favorite anime of all time: Excel Saga.
I’m hoping that this series will end up in either one of those two categories as it certainly does have the potential to do so, being about a girl with incredible powers that could potentially destroy the world if ending up in the wrong hands, meeting a Yakuza member after which the two end up living together. As far as premises go this one definitely gets point for originality. Here’s hoping the execution will be just as compelling.
7: The Piano Forest
It’s been a while since I had a good drama series in my anime line-up. Sure there was the second season of March Comes in Like a Lion that I’ve been massively enjoying for the past half a year but as much as I love that show going into a drama knowing exactly what to expect isn’t quite the same as being excited for a series hoping that it will be the kind of drama series that touches your heart and enriches your life.
This series definitely does have the potential to be that as the original Piano Forest manga has received near universal acclaim and won the grand prize at the Japan Media Arts Festival back in 2008.
What has me worried though is that we barely have any information on who is actually involved in this project and what information we do have isn’t especially promising. Series composition and script writing for the series is handled by Aki Itami who’s prior credits include The Flowers of Evil, a series I’ve heard mixed things about and The Manga Artist and His Assistants, a series that was critically panned and from what I’ve read about it, for good reason too. So despite the strength of the source material, I am a little on the fence about this one.
6: Steins;Gate 0
El! Psy! Congroo!
Is not what you’ll be hearing much in this show. The original Steins;Gate was an over the top, hugely imaginative time travel story with a thriller subplot where a scientist relives the same horrible events over and over again in order to save the person he loves. It was a crazy, anything goes, funride that actually managed to get its time travel element right and ended up delivering a far more intelligent and compelling narrative than what you’d expect at first glance. Steins;Gate 0 however is a much more subdues affair and mainly deals with psychological trauma and survivor’s guilt.
Personally, I think this is a good thing. Rather than just rehashing the same formula 5pb crafted an entirely new story with its own tone and themes and they proved to be just as adept at telling a more serious story. If you’re expecting another well-plotted fiendishly clever time travel story, Steins;Gate 0 delivers that in spades. However, if you came to this for the quirky characters and zany antics I’m afraid you’re going to be sorely disappointed once this show finally hits the airwaves.
5: Heavy Divine Unit Pandora
This entry was originally much higher on the list being another mech title. A genre that is very near and dear to me and I would like to not see sink into obscurity. But Darling in the Franxx has made me realize that being a mech title simply isn’t enough to get me excited anymore and beyond being a mech title Heavy Divine Unit Pandora doesn’t have a lot that makes it stand out. The premise is about as generic as they come for mech anime and the PV really didn’t grab me in any meaningful way.
That being said the reason I am still placing a decent amount of faith in this series being worth watching is because of who’s involved. The series is directed by Shoji Kawamori, the creator of Escaflowne as well as the creator and creative director for the entire Macross franchise. Series composition and script writing is handled by Teshizou Nemoto who also did the same thing for Log Horizon. And the OP is performed by Bump of Chicken which is always a good thing.
Could this show be a horrible train wreck? Absolutely but I’d like to believe it’s not going to be. If I end up dropping both Darling in the Franxx and this show I’d have no choice but to take it as a sign from the mech god (Deus Ex Mecha?) that it’s time to let the genre go. Something I’m definitely not willing to do.
4: Legend of the Galactic Heroes – Die Neue These
Legend of the Galactic Heroes really needs no introduction as any person who’s been hanging around the anime community for more than two days has probably at least heard of it in passing. With this remake though I am a little bit skeptical. Mostly because the people in charge all seem to come from the same show: Kuroko’s Basketball. Personally, I have not seen Kuroko’s Basketball but I wonder if a shonen sports anime is proper preparation to take on a series like Legend of the Galactic Heroes.
That being said, Production I.G. could’ve gone for basically anyone for this high profile production and they still chose to go for these people, leading me to believe there is something about this team that makes Production I.G. think they’ll be able to pull off a project like this. Because this is Legend of the Galactic Heroes we’re talking about and if this new team did manage to pull it off then we are in for something truly remarkable.
3: Love is Hard for an Otaku
Romance is a genre I’m starting to appreciate more and more lately, especially since romance anime aren’t restricted to high school settings anymore. More and more anime are coming out nowadays that revolve around relationships between two co-workers at their workplace. This is one of those shows except this one also throws anime-fandom into the mix. So yeah…pretty hype for this.
2: Dragon Pilot: Hisone and Masotan
Any person who talks to me on a semi-regular basis knows that I am a huge fan of Mari Okada. Couple her incredible writing talents with the usual high-quality animation of Studio Bones and you have a definite recipe for excitement as far as I’m concerned. As if that wasn’t enough though the premise also sounds really cool being about young women in the air force. Except in this case the air force also involves…dragons. Hell yes, I am hype about this one.
1: Golden Kamui
Now you may wonder…what gets me more excited then Mari Okada + Studio Bones + Dragons? The answer: a historical adventure series by Studio Geno. Studio Geno, for those who don’t know, is a fairly new studio that’s risen from the ashes of Studio Manglobe. So far the studio has produced two anime: the fantastic spy thriller Genocidal Organ and the flawed yet solidly entertaining Kokkoku. The studio has already set themselves a reputation as a studio mainly interested in creating non-traditional anime for an older audience and I for one cannot wait to see what other projects they’ll be taking on in the future.
But back to this show. From what I’ve been able to glean from the synopsis and PV this series has less in common with the quirky characters and comedic banter seen in Kokkoku and more the gritty aesthetic and hardboiled tone of Genocidal Organ. My hope for this series is that it will not compromise on its harsh realism and pull no punches in its depiction of this violent time period.
The premise also had me hooked right out of the gate. Several parties hunting down a treasure of immense wealth hidden in the uncharted territory during the Hokkaido gold rush. The great thing about a premise like this is that it sets a specific endpoint for the story right out of the gate and so even if the story goes off into unrelated subplots you know the story will eventually get back on track and not get lost in minutea because there is a specific even that the writers are working towards. Not that I expects we’ll be seeing that event in this anime because the Golden Kamui manga is already 13 volumes in and still going. Thankfully the manga is licensed so when this anime ends on it’s inevitable tantalizing cliffhanger conclusion I can simply pick up the source material to find out what’ll happen next.
That is, of course, assuming that this show will be good enough that I even want to know what’s going to happen next. But honestly, I have a really good feeling about this one. If this show ends up being only half as good as I think it could be, it will still be quite an amazing series.
Thus ends my list of anime I am looking forward to watching this upcoming season. That being said more often than not there’s always one or to shows I completely ignored at first only to be blown away by them later and it’d be really great if the same happened this season. There’s plenty of shows that are showing immense promise this season so with luck we’ll have a season full of absolutely amazing anime to keep up with on a weekly basis. That or everything is just going to be a major disappointment and we’ll get another rush of people saying “anime is dying”. Though I hope that will not be the case and we’ll get an absolutely amazing season that far surpasses my expectations.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some older anime to catch up on while I still have the time to do so.