I used to write what I called season previews, where I would write a little bit about every single upcoming anime (yes, even the ones for children) after digging up some info on them. The aim was to help inform my readers’ decisions on what shows to watch. But the amount of anime that airs every season has increased substantially, so from now on I’m only going to write about the shows that I’ll be watching. I’ll cover three kinds of show: the ones that I’m continuing to watch from previous seasons, sequels, and standalones. I’ll also write a short summary on my overall impression of the upcoming season. I hope that this will not just help you decide what to watch, but also give you an idea of what especially stood out to me and what I may end up writing about in the not-too-distant future.
Disclaimer: I know that some people really commit to their research into new shows, even going so far as to check out the source material, but I prefer not to do that. Partly because I think this can reduce the impact of the first episode and partly because I can’t afford to invest in manga, games, etc. that I don’t know for sure that I’ll like. My “research” usually involves watching trailers and doing a bit of digging on the forums. If that doesn’t sound in-depth enough for you, you’re not going to get much out of reading further.
Continuing from Fall 2017 & Spring 2018
If not for the fact that I do not drop shows, I would have dropped Black Clover long ago. Everything about it screams “we’re not really trying with this”. Its done-to-death premise and storylines continue to bore me, many of its characters are aggressively unlikeable, including its main character, Asta, and its production values have taken a noticeable nosedive. If you haven’t already begun Black Clover, don’t. You are not missing out.
My Hero Academia Season 3
MHA continues to be consistently excellent. I genuinely look forward to watching it every week. However, nine episodes in, this season has yet to really distinguish itself from or improve upon previous seasons, with the training camp arc not quite standing up to the sports festival arc in terms of thrills. But, with the introduction of a much talked-about villain, that may soon change.
Steins;Gate 0 also continues to be great. The proverbial poop hit the fan much sooner than in its previous season, so, as you might expect, a lot less screen-time is devoted to the characters just goofing off. This isn’t really a bad thing, but I, personally, feel that the show loses something as a result. Nevertheless, it’s interesting to watch Okable struggle with what appears to be PTSD following the events of the previous season. It’s a pretty realistic and sensitive depiction, so kudos to Steins;Gate 0 for that.
Attack on Titan Season 3
Admittedly, AOT’s second season wasn’t as good as its first, with its bizarrely handled big reveal regarding the armoured and colossal titans and much of it being spent in flashbacks. Nevertheless, as a moderate fan of the franchise, I will be watching the third season and eagerly anticipate more cool fight scenes and maneuver gear porn. Hopefully its plot twists will be handled much better this time around and won’t leave me feeling as bemused and confused as its characters.
I’m sure that a lot of you have already seen FLCL Progressive’s first episode. If so, you won’t need me to convince you to keep watching the show, as what a first episode it was! It was a perfect blend of what made the first season so lovable – a randomness that keeps viewers on their toes, energetic characters, and a banging soundtrack by The Pillows – and a fresh, new setting, updated visuals, and a new set of characters. I can’t wait to watch more.
Free! Dive to the Future
I’m kind of embarrassed to admit that I like Free! given that its target audience is teenage girls eager to watch a gaggle of bishies get all shirtless and moist, but that doesn’t apply to me – honest! I just really love sports anime. I love seeing a group of characters strive to excel in their chosen sport, encouraging one another to be the best that they can be through the ups and downs of tournaments, training, and daily life. So, yeah, that’s why I like Free! There hasn’t been much info on Dive to the Future, but given that the characters went their separate ways at Eternal Summer’s end, I’m interested to see the direction that this season takes.
What first drew me to Banana Fish was its strange title. What exactly is a banana fish? After some considerable digging, I’m no closer to finding out, but what I have discovered is that the anime is being adapted from some pretty strong source material. Banana Fish (the manga) was ranked 1st in a 1998 poll of the 50 best manga of all time and the majority of its readers on MAL (26.4%) rated it 10/10. Something else that interested me was that, despite being labelled a shoujo manga, it supposedly features some pretty heavy themes, including: abuse, drug use, and gang violence. This dichotomy between Banana Fish’s genre, what’s considered normal for that genre and its themes is intriguing to say the least. Finally, it’s part of noitamina’s lineup this season. I usually give noitamina shows a try, because of their tendency to air shows that buck the latest trends in anime.
Chio-chan no Tsuugakuro
I originally passed up on Chio-chan, given how simple its premise is. But after reminding myself that a simple premise does not a bad anime make and that many of my favourite shows are simplistic in nature, I watched the trailer. Even not understanding anything that was said, it was pretty darn funny! The show has the same random anything goes vibe that Daily Lives of Highschool Boys and Nichijou had, and, like the latter show, used various animation styles as a weapon in its arsenal of comedy. So I definitely want to give Chio-chan a try.
There were a couple of things about Grand Blue that appealed to me. According to its synopsis, it will feature a college-age cast of characters. Being around that age myself, this age group now appeals more to me than do high school age characters (who still represent the vast majority of anime characters). Not to mention that an anime set in a scuba-diving shop on the ocean’s edge captures the very essence of summer! Grand Blue seems like it’ll be the perfect summertime treat!
As I’ve said above, I really like sports anime. And, as a rule of thumb, the more obscure the sport, the better the show. Ballroom dancing? Sure, why not? Karuta? No clue what that is, but sign me up! To my knowledge, there hasn’t been an anime about badminton yet, which makes Hanebado! immensely appealing to me. Not to mention that badminton is one of the few sports that I, with my feeble upper body strength, can actually play. Furthermore, the cast is predominantly female, which, in a genre still dominated by male characters, is a definite plus point! This is probably the show that I’m most excited about next season.
Despite the, now stale and formulaic, Isekai and MMPORG genres still persisting in popularity, with How Not to Summon a Demon Lord, Overlord III, and Shichisei no Subaru all scheduled to air next season, there are still a plethora of promising shows to be had, including a number of sequels to big, much-loved franchises and an array of interesting standalone shows. I actually had to whittle down the list of shows that I’ll be watching after deciding that 10 shows was probably more than enough. Back Street Girls, Happy Sugar Life, and Cells at Work almost, but ultimately failed, to make the cut. The shows that I picked represent a good mix of studios, budgets, and genres, from comedy, to seinen, to sports. So, overall, I’m pretty stoked about this upcoming season!