The Fall 2016 anime season is almost over, and I am horribly behind on it, in part because Pokemon Sun has pretty much monopolized my time for a good part of the season. As such, a closeout of that season (and of the year of 2016 as a whole) will not happen for a while. However, anime time keeps on moving, and with the Winter 2017 anime season starting soon, I will go ahead and note all the shows I plan to watch, excluding a handful of sequels that I might pick up if I get around to finishing their preceding seasons before the season is over.
Note that, unlike for my Fall 2016 anime preview, I will not be ranking these shows. This is because, for better or for worse, there is no one show coming up this season that I am particularly looking forward to. Maybe one of these shows will turn out to be especially amazing, but for the most part, I am just expecting these shows to be decently entertaining. As usual, expect this list to be largely lacking in the sort of big-name or high-profile shows others will be raving about, as my tastes are in general quite different and I tend to be cautious about other shows; I may be willing to revisit shows that I hear good things about later on, though.
In lieu of a ranked order, shows will be listed in order of their Japanese TV debut.
Masamune-kun no Revenge
Childhood friend stories are always among my favorites, in part because there is a good number of variations on the story that can explore different themes. One variation that sometimes comes up, that does kind of break the whole “friend” part of the archetype but is interesting nonetheless, is the story of the kid that got bullied by someone while younger, but then grows up (and usually becomes very attractive) and now decides to get revenge by trying to get that other person to fall in love with them before breaking their heart. Normally it’s the girl trying to get revenge on a guy, but in Masamune-kun’s Revenge, it’s the guy who gets to try to get revenge on the girl that tormented him.
This looks like an interesting enough romantic comedy, and one that can potentially both have some fun and also offer some good moments of character growth. Of course, it could also end up taking a stupid turn or waffle about in a non-ending like so many other anime rom-coms, but hopefully this show will be fun enough until then.
Cute girls doing fortune-telling things. Honestly, that is all I need to be interested in this show. Granted, fortune-telling isn’t the most interesting thing in the world for me (and I’m sure some fellow Christians will have issues with that element) but the cute girls, sourced from the monolith of cute-girls-doing-cute-things known as Manga Time Kirara, are all I need for a fun, relaxing half hour of every week.
I liked Amagami SS. It had its issues, but I liked the idea of taking a dating sim, which usually gets adapted with either a bias towards one girl that leaves the others shafted, or an inconclusive harem mess that just shafts everyone, and just giving each girl a dedicated story arc. Amagami SS didn’t always execute the idea the best, but it was overall still pretty enjoyable. Some other shows have tried the idea and failed–Photo Kano notably was one of the worst shows I’ve watched lately because it tried to squeeze a bunch of girls’ stories into too little time, giving each girl only one episode and the stories feeling really rushed and empty.
Thankfully, Seiren looks to give three girls a full four episode arc each (and hopefully the other three girls get their time in another season), so execution is all that we need to worry about. As a plus, this is an original anime, not one based on a dating sim, so the story can hopefully take a more focused approach rather than having to adapt existing material. All I can really ask for: please decisively conclude the childhood friend’s story arc. Don’t put me through another Rihoko again.
Minami Kamakura Koukou Joshi Jitensha-bu (Minami Kamakura High School Girls Cycling Club)
We’ve been getting a lot of anime about girls riding on two wheels lately. Bakuon! gave us motorcycles and a gag anime, while Long Riders took a more relaxed approach with cycling that revolves more around finishing than racing, so the question comes up where Minami Kamakura High School Girls Cycling Club fits into this trend. Maybe they will go a more competitive route and be the Saki of girls’ cycling. It does mean that the show will come in much more direct competition with the reigning king of cycling anime, Yowamushi Pedal (which has a sequel airing this season too, that I might watch if I can finish up that end of that second season), but the scriptwriter of Yowapeda is working on this show too, so that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Give the people who like their cyclers of the fairer sex something to watch.
Demi-chan wa Kataritai (Interview with Monster Girls)
I tried watching Monster Musume. I wanted to watch a fun show about monster girls, but the sheer raunchiness of the show was just too much for me. Thankfully, it looks like Interview with Monster Girls will satisfy my monster girl needs with something more wholesome. It might not be anything to lose my head over like the Dullahan girl, but it should be a good watch nonetheless.
Idol Jihen (Idol Incidents)
The idea behind this anime is awesome. I love idols (well, 2D ones at least). I hate politics. So why not combine the two? Surely the sheer love and positivity of idols can do something to fix all of politics’ problems. Who cares about stuff like experience and competence with handling running a country? Just sing your heart out and keep everyone happy! Surely she’s a better choice than some politicians currently or about to enter into power, right?
Needless to say, Idol Incidents isn’t really a show to take too seriously. Maybe the show will actually turn out to be something amazing, a look at how the heart of a 2D idol is exactly what modern politics needs, or it can just be a silly diversion about cute girls trying to balance idol activities with running a country. There’s also a mobile rhythm game a la School Idol Festival and Starlight Stage attached to this franchise, but from what I’ve played of it, it’s not much to talk about (even the hardest charts are rather easy). I did pick up a random music CD of one of the units and that sounded good, so there’s a good sign, at least. At any rate, if you are frustrated with the current political climate, maybe this show is worth a look, if for nothing else than to associate politics with something cheerier for a while.
Little Witch Academia
So I watched the original OVA of this series, though I have yet to get around to the sequel, but it’s definitely a nice little thing. It’s basically an anime take on Harry Potter, with more charm and (from what I can tell) less death and teenage angst, which I am all for. At any rate, it’s now being turned into a full TV series and I’m hoping all of the magic and charm gets expanded on.
So an angel descends to earth and gets too caught up in the earthly pleasures of living a shut-in gamer life, while other less-than-angelic angels and less-than-demonic demons also do stuff. I can hear the blasphemy sirens blaring already. Nevertheless, this is a comedy done by Doga Kobo, a studio whose track record with comedy anime has been ridiculously good. Granted, the staff this time around is most reminiscent of that of Himouto! Umaru-chan, which falls on the lower end of Doga Kobo comedies, but I attribute that to that show’s source material, and it was still lots of fun and overall well-adapted. I don’t know how strong the source material here is, but if Doga Kobo can work their adaptational magic, the end result should be anywhere from great to amazing.
Piace ~Watashi no Italian~
Anime has lately been obsessed with food. From the cute girls romp of Gourmet Girl Graffiti to the shounen fever of Food Wars to the heartwarming parental tale of Sweetness & Lightning, it seems that anime can’t get enough of making stories about food. I can totally understand why, though: food is just plain amazing. This time around we’ll be taking a more slice-of-life look at the inner workings of a high-class Italian restaurant, and hopefully that is a recipe for more anime food deliciousness.
Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon
So an office lady gets visited by a lesbian dragon that ends up being her maid. A bit weird of a comedy premise but it can work. Wait, it’s by the author of the surprisingly good I Can’t Understand What My Husband Is Saying? Now I’m a little more interested…
…wait, it’s being animated by Kyoto Animation? Now this show really has my attention.
Kyoto Animation is a studio where there’s both a lot of people who think they are the most amazing studio ever, and people who think they are a bunch of overrated flakes. I, however, fall firmly and unapologetically into the former camp. Granted, they haven’t always produced pure gold, so I know better than to get too overhyped over their shows. However, their track record on comedies, from Lucky Star to Amagi Brilliant Park to the absolute masterpiece that is Nichijou, as well as all the comedic elements of their other shows, gives plenty to be excited about.
Want to see cute girls performing music with none of that idol stuff? Try girls playing in rock bands! Here we have stuff like K-ON! and Show by Rock leading the charge, but BanG Dream looks to follow up with some fun stuff of their own. This show is also part of a greater franchise that has, among other things, a mobile rhythm game in the works. Whether the anime branch of this multimedia project will be of any good remains to be seen, but cute girls playing music is always worth at least a weekly relaxation time for me.
As usual, I am open to watching other shows this season, although I will likely wait until the end of the season to see which shows have held up in quality until the end. There are also three sequels I would like to watch–Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu, KonoSuba, and Yowamushi Pedal–but I still need to finish their preceding seasons. In the meantime, the above shows should make for a fun winter season.
What shows are you looking forward to next season? Let me know in the comments!