Winter Anime TV Guide, Part One

by Sage Ashford

Well, it’s that time of the year again! The Fall series are winding down or reaching the second half of their series, and the Winter is fast approaching. Years ago, the winter would be the sign of anime shrinking down for a few months before the spring brought us an onslaught of new series. These days, with Crunchyroll infusing lots of cash into the industry and Netflix outright asking for new series of their own, there’s never any downtime for the weary anime geeks.
In other words, get ready for another massive load of new television series coming to Crunchy, Funimation, Netflix, and more. As with last time, I’ll be sticking with just the full length series, and breaking each entry up into ten series a piece for brevity (and my sanity’s) sake. Ready?  Let’s go!

Ikki Tousen: Western Wolves: A OVA series continuing the story of Ikki Tousen, a universe where all the souls of the Three Kingdoms warriors have been reincarnated in the Kanto part of modern Japan, where they all begin battling for supremacy between their respective high schools.  Western Wolves will air monthly alongside the release of each BD/DVD.
Thoughts: The first Ikki Tousen series premiered fifteen years ago. It wasn’t really much special–just fight scenes and excessive fanservice. This is my inner fanboy speaking, but I’m honestly surprised this series continues to maintain such popularity when there are other better series out there. Even better ones that do fanservice, like Sekirei.
Premiering: January 3rd.

BanG Dream! Season 2: When she was a child, Kasumi Toyama felt a heart-pounding thrill every time she gazed at the stars, and she’s been looking without success for something that could inspire the same feeling ever since. One day, she comes across a star-shaped guitar in a rundown pawnshop and, for the first time, discovers the thrill she’s been searching for. Kasumi becomes determined to form an all-girl band, and her search leads her to four like-minded souls: Saya, Arisa, Rimi, and Tae. Does this band have what it takes to make their dreams of stardom come true? (Crunchyroll)
Thoughts: Another mixed-media deal. I’ll admit to not having watched the first season of this, but…I’m gonna be honest: how many more of these can anime really take? I don’t mind Cute Girls Doing Cute Things as a genre at all, but how many more times are Cute Girls going to form a band or an idol group?  This is why I like Between the Sea and Sky–it’s a bunch of weird crap thrown together, but it’s a bunch of unique weird crap thrown together.
Premiering: January 3rd.

Boogiepop Doesn’t Laugh: There is an urban legend that tells of a shinigami that can release people from the pain they are suffering. This “Angel of Death” has a name–Boogiepop. And the legends are true. Boogiepop is real.
When a rash of disappearances involving female students breaks out at Shinyo Academy, the police and faculty assume they just have a bunch of runaways on their hands. Yet some students know better. Something mysterious and foul is afoot. Is it Boogiepop or something even more sinister…? (Seven Seas)
Thoughts: By now you get that horror and I don’t get along. However, what I find fascinating with Boogiepop is that it’s the return of a series which hasn’t gotten so much as a film or an OVA in the last twenty years. From the looks of things it even seems to be an adaptation of the light novels starting from the very beginning.  This bodes well for other anime series which got adaptations which weren’t exactly the best because there wasn’t enough material at the time.
Premiering: January 4th.

The Cost of Smiles: Celebrating Tatsunoko’s 55th anniversary, The Cost of Smiles tells the story of two women on an alien planet. One’s a twelve year old princess living in her country’s palace, the other a seventeen year old soldier fighting for their country.
Thoughts: From the description alone, this show could be something special.  Seeing royalty learn the price her subjects have to pay for her to continue her lifestyle?  But the potential depends on how they choose to delve into things–they could easily softball it. For now, I’m hesitant but interested.
Premiering: Jan. 4th.

The Morose Mononokean: Tsuzuki: “Exorcism” is the art of sending yokai who have somehow wandered into the living world back into the underworld, where they belong. One day Hanae Ashiya, a high school student who’s been haunted by a yokai, happens to find the contact information of an exorcist called the “Mononokean” and pays him a visit. The exorcist he meets is a morose-looking young man, Haruitsuki Abeno, and for various reasons Ashiya ends up working for the Mononokean… And so the story of the exorcist duo Ashiya and Abeno, and the yokai they meet in their adventures, begins. (Crunchyroll)

Thoughts: This Winter is a season of continuations and reboots.  The Morose Mononokean first popped up in summer 2016, so it’s a shock to see it make a come back at all on one hand. But then on the other, as anime becomes more in demand globally Japan is forced to dig deeper to have enough content to satisfy everyone. I never saw season one of this, but I’m happy Japan’s doing more continuations than they used to in the past.  We shouldn’t be so eager to leave behind what works.
Premiering: Jan. 5th.

W’z: Yukiya is a fourteen year old kid with designs on being a DJ.  But when his desire to be seen and recognized leads him to see something that can’t be unseen, where will things take him next?
Thoughts: GoHands makes the prettiest shows with the most vapid plots. Seriously, I love what they do with their animation and color palettes, but about an episode or so in I wind up asking myself “WTF am I watching?”  Will that happen here?  …Probably, but I still want to check it for twenty two minutes of quality eye candy.
Premiering: January 6th.

Dororo: Daigo Kagemitsu, who works for a Samurai general in Japan’s Warring States period, promises to offer body parts of his unborn baby to 48 demons in exchange for complete domination of the country. When the baby boy is born, Daigo has him thrown into a river, expecting the boy to die. A kind sage, however, finds him and adopts him. The sage fits out his poor son with prosthetics.
Time goes by and the baby grows into a boy who calls himself Hyakkimaru. Every time Hyakkimaru eliminates a demon, he retrieves one of his body parts. Hyakkimaru rescues a boy thief named Dororo from a band of men whom the young boy tried to rob. Together they travel the countryside in search of the demons who possess Hyakkimaru’s parts. Throughout their travels, they face a host of monsters and ghosts. (Vertical, Inc.)
Thoughts: I’m impressed that we still haven’t run through all the creations of Osamu Tezuka. I was this close to saying this sounds similar to Sekiro, what with the prosthetic limbs and fighting monsters as a samurai, but then I did research on who actually created this.  In any case, MAPPA is one of the most talented animation studios we have alongside Madhouse, BONES, White Fox, and Production IG.  I’m confident they’ll do this series justice, and I’m going to at the least give this series a few episodes to see how it turns out.
Premiering: January 7th.

Mob Psycho 100 II: Kageyama Shigeo, a.k.a. “Mob,” is a boy who has trouble expressing himself, but who happens to be a powerful esper. Mob is determined to live a normal life and keeps his ESP suppressed, but when his emotions surge to a level of 100%, something terrible happens to him! As he’s surrounded by false espers, evil spirits, and mysterious organizations, what will Mob think? What choices will he make?
Thoughts: I’ll stick it out for One Punch Man Season 2 in April.
Premiering: January 7th.

Pastel Memories: Based on a mobile game by FuRyu, Pastel Memories is the story of a group of otaku girls trying to reinvigorate the lost spirit of otaku in the heart of Akihabara.
Thoughts: Just looking at the trailer you can see all the stereotypes of most of the girls.  This is going to be super tropey, and the quality of the series is going to come down to the writing and how much they’re willing to deviate from expectations.
Premiering: January 8th.

Kemono Friends 2: The story takes place in Japari Park, an enormous integrated zoo built somewhere in this world. A mysterious substance found there, called “Sand Star,” causes the animals to turn into humanoid beings called “Animal Girls”! These new creatures spend every day peacefully with the zoo’s visitors… but after some time, a lost child turns up in the park. The child’s attempt to find the way home turns into a great adventure with the Animal Girls! (Crunchyroll)

Thoughts: I…didn’t realize this was a thing.  Cute Girls Do Animal Things, I guess. Admittedly, this series has a fairly high rating on most sites, and there’s an odd cuteness to the concept that makes me want to check it out. Ugh, this is where I get sucked into something adorable, isn’t it?
Premiering: January 8th.
We’re a fourth of the way through the series the new season is going to bring. Next time, we’ll try to get through another ten series–featuring more returns and hopefully just as many new shows as well.

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