The Dread Season of the Light Novel Is Upon Us

June 27th, 2017

May God have mercy on us all.

As per the new usual, if something has an annual edition (eg the Monogatari series), and/or stretching into the billions of episodes, I'm just assuming you're up to date on it and will not be counting it as new. Anything particularly short, by either episode count or run time, will also be snubbed. Anything I missed is because I hate it, and you, but more likely, because you're wrong and it falls into one of the categories already mentioned. On with this parade.

Saturday

Compulsive Gamblers
http://kakegurui-anime.com/
Studio: Mappa
Genre: Drama
Staff/Cast Information
Premiers July 1st

Show Premise: 
Spoiled rich kids go to a high school for gamblers. They gamble on everything while making idiotic-looking faces. A new kid joins the school to be the gamblingest gambler.

Random Thoughts:
The promos are basically a montage of close-ups of poorly drawn faces grinning sadistically while they do things like play rock, paper, scissors. So not the fun kind of gambling like Maverick, or even Rio (space laser sharks!), but the overdramatized nonsense of a billion other Japanese shows. This is Mappa's GARO team too, who have been less than impressive lately, although it's not like Virgin Soul has been sucking up any money from their coffers. I glanced at the first chapter of the source. It was pages upon pages of rock, paper, scissors, and worse, explaining and over explaining and over explaining the over explanation about how X was cheating and she had only a 1% chance to win, ending with "so I believed in the heart of the cards.". How about you guys just play craps for once instead of ruining childhood games?

Preseason Swing Rating: 
  
Space! Laser! Robot! Sharks!

Hina Logi
http://luckandlogic-animation.com/
Studio: Dogakobo
Genre: Taking Baths
Staff/Cast Information
Premiers July 1st

Show Premise: 
Spinoff of Luck and Logic. Off in magic land, a girl joins a magic high school for magic girls.

Random Thoughts:
The first episode already aired, so I get to cheat and phone this in. Luck and Logic was a few steps below good, but everything about this appears to be a step towards the safe, bland, and utterly soulless. It's a completely different staff as well, entirely for the worse, and I say that confidently without even looking up the staff from the first; just from looking at the wasteland of boring nothingness on the staff's resume for this one. There's not even a hint of any greater plot in the first episode, just girls being friends and learning all about friendship. And taking baths. 

Preseason Swing Rating: 

The spectre of true mediocrity.

Fate/Apocrypha
http://fate-apocrypha.com/
Studio: A-1 Pictures
Genre: Action
Staff/Cast Information
Premiers July 1st

Show Premise: 
Spinoff of Fate Stay/Night. The Holy Grail was stolen during WW2. Decades later, the thieves and the mage association both summon seven heroes from the past in order to claim dominion over the Grail.

Random Thoughts:
The promos do show some action, so that's a positive sign. Not a lot of it though. With around 30 characters running around, they seem more concerned with going down the laundry list of the ginormous cast. I'm not sure I understand the appeal of replacing seven teams of two (plus some) with two teams of fourteen (plus some), but it's far from the first overstuffed battle royale show out there, let alone one coming from a light novel. It's mostly new (to anime/being in charge of direction) staff though, so it may very well be just as soulless a blatherfest as the UFOTable adaptations have been in recent years, only with a little less CGI, neon colors, and overly detailed backgrounds. Still, fingers crossed.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Isn't red vs black a Spiderman thing?.

Sword Dance
http://katsugeki-touken.com/
Studio: Ufotable
Genre: Action
Staff/Cast Information
Premiers July 1st

Show Premise: 
Anti-spinoff of… er, Sword Dance. As the era of samurai is winding down, time travelers from the future begin attacking Japan. Swords reincarnated as pretty boys fight them.

Random Thoughts:
Bear with me here. Sword Dance is a phone CCG swords reincarnated as pretty boys etc…. The first 'adaptation' was about them lounging around an estate like a boy band, rubbing lotion on each other and eating pie, containing no time travelers, or even swords. This version contains time travelers. I'm not certain about the pie. So it's not a spinoff so much as a spin-on? But if the game's audience is in it for the pretty boys, then why are we doing what appears to be a more serious action show? I highly doubt this'll be the Futakoi Alternative to Futakoi, mostly because UFOTable's around a decade removed from when they used to excel at that kind of craziness. I'm not sure I'm prepared to say much more than that since the promos are rather cagey. The boy band's been reduced to two, everything's dark besides the glowing characters, and they hit… something… with swords. 

Preseason Swing Rating: 
 
Why not a sword dog?

Symphogear AXZ
http://www.symphogear-axz.com/
Studio: Satelight
Genre: Action
Staff/Cast Information
Premiers July 1st

Show Premise: 
Sequel series. Music-based magical girls fight things.

Random Thoughts:
After the second half of the second season being utter nonsense and the entire third season was little more than a holding pattern with some amazingly terrible melodrama, even for Japanese media, I'm not tremendously enthused for this to keep limping onward with an ever-growing cast of protagonists that it has shown it has no idea what to do with. At least the third season was still well above average on the animation front, but narratively DOA and just a series of yelling about self-esteem and friendship. Everything about the writing for the last 19 or so episodes of this franchise spanning many years has been inexplicably nonsensical and made me long for the time when the antagonist was mad at the moon because Esperanto wasn't the universal language. Maybe this is the season they focus in, rediscover the spirit and badassness of the first season, and turn it all around. I'm not betting on it though.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Praise the not-moon.

My Hero All to Myself
http://hitorijime-myhero.com/
Studio: Encourage Films
Genre: Drama
Staff/Cast Information
Premiers July 8th

Show Premise: 
Love blooms between pointy-chinned high school boys and their teachers.

Random Thoughts:
This is also technically a spinoff, but it's of something that never had an adaptation. It's another one of Japan's regular parade of shows about an older male in a position of authority romancing a younger, subservient male, all of them with chins you could use to open aluminum cans. I couldn't point to a single distinguishing thing about the promos, or the premise. I'm not sure what, if any, there's supposed to be. Not even some semi-unique-but-not-actually-at-all aspect about the characters or their particular club. There's a corgi? Is that unique? I guess it'll have to do.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

One jawbone.

Welcome to the Ballroom
http://ballroom-official.jp/
Studio: Production IG
Genre: Drama
Staff/Cast Information
Premiers July 8th

Show Premise:
Boring teenage dullard is saved from bullies by a professional ballroom dancer, which inspires him to become a ballroom dancer. 

Random Thoughts:
…What? Also, the art is goddamned horrifying. Everyone has necks like giraffes and smile when dancing like they've got a four foot spiked dildo shoved up their asses. Also, if there's one thing that comes to mind with the elegance of ballroom dancing, it's all the participants being completely drenched in sweat. The producers of So You Think You Can Dress must edit all that out. Maybe this isn't meant to be taking place on Earth, but on some kind of alien planet where the people were descended from aquatic llamas. That would explain, well… everything.  

Preseason Swing Rating: 

An overdressed corgi.

The Reflection
http://thereflection-anime.net/
Studio: Studio DEEN
Genre: Action?
Staff/Cast Information
Premiers July 22nd

Show Premise: 
After THE REFLECTION, people all over the world suddenly start developing super powers.

Random Thoughts:
Boy, Stan Lee's really phoning it in these days, isn't he? Then again, if I were him, I'd be happy to cash a check for doing no work whatsoever. Hell, I'm pretty sure that's Spiderman in the promo pic on the left there. And I don't know what you're looking for from me here. There's no promotional material at all, just Stan Lee clearly phoning it in just under the deadline, set to differently closeups of the individual parts of that promo image. And the writing's by a longtime Naruto/Yu-Gi-Oh guy. Okay. Great. Fantastic. Good luck with this, Deen.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

What Faustian bargain has Stan Lee struck to keep getting paid for nothing?

Sunday

Knight's (sic) and Magic
http://knights-magic.com/
Studio: 8-bit
Genre: Action
Staff/Cast Information
Premiers July 2nd

Show Premise: 
Mecha fanboy (yes, boy) dies and is reborn into a fantasy world with mecha. He goes to fantasy magic high school for mecha-ing.

Random Thoughts:
Well, the promos mostly put the action and mechs front and center, as well as a protagonist enthusiastic about… well… anything… so at least someone on staff seems to understand how to market the show. Not impressively so, but what can you do when saddled with ugly clunky CGI mecha fighting giant turtles? There's still the standard magic high school harem hurling of females at the unwilling protagonist, and it took maybe 40 seconds of Googling to find out that he's a super genius who's so amazing at everything that the adult society smacks him down because they don't want to be embarrassed by how much better he is than them at everything, so it's definitely still a light novel, through and through. Seems harmless enough.

Preseason Swing Rating: 
 
Wark.

Cleanliness Boy! Aoyama
http://kda-anime.com/
Studio: Studio Hibari
Genre: Comedy
Staff/Cast Information
Premiers July 2nd

Show Premise: 
Aoyama is a soccer superstar, but he's also a neat freak to a humorously overexaggerated level.

Random Thoughts:
The promo's actually fairly decent for Japan, relying mainly on the visuals for humor and having next to nobody screaming any flavor of "THAT IS UNUSUAL." That just makes it all the more confusing that this comes to us from Jump. Not to say that there isn't screaming, because there is, but it does seem to indulge much more in a barrage of weirdness rather than a barrage of yelling about an incident or two of weirdness. The soccer stuff is seemingly pretty background, which I'm sure is for the best. Perhaps a broken clock will be right once every five years.

Preseason Swing Rating: 
 
Nesting disease carriers.

Battle Girl High School
http://colopl.co.jp/battlegirl-hs/index.php
Studio: Silver Link
Genre: Action
Staff/Cast Information
Premiers July 2nd

Show Premise: 
High school girls battle.

Random Thoughts:
Aw, so close to a palindromic sentence from the title to premise. This season's promos are starting to weird me out. Yet another that doesn't exactly put the action front and center, but certainly does have at least some semblance of focus on it instead of just going "Eh, girls, highschool, call it a day." What kind of strange new world are we in? If you're going to be generic, at least do it with gusto and some life. It does come from a cellphone game where you literally train and seduce a harem to fight for you, but the adaptation appears to have killed the male presence leaving just the harem behind. I wouldn't put a lot of hope in it, but the promos at least don't inspire pure despair.

Preseason Swing Rating: 
 
Santoad giveth and Santoad taketh.

A Centaur's Worries
http://centaur-anime.com/
Studio: Emon Animation
Genre: Drama
Staff/Cast Information
Premiers July 9th

Show Premise: 
A centaur goes to school with other demihumans. 

Random Thoughts:
Now this is more like what I expect from anime promos, just a montage of girls smiling, blushing, and groping each other. Just your generic high school nothingness where each girl has some random gimmicky thing about them. The super weird part is the music though. I think someone accidentally selected "RPG boss" instead of "high school girls." And supposedly, it loves getting sidetracks into explaining how everything about the world totally makes sense. Apparently it's also somewhat infamous because it decides to distinguish itself early by having them do a horse vagina inspection before settling into things like going on picnics, visiting the museum, and taking baths. Pure excitement.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Probably belongs in a kill shelter.

Princess Principal
http://www.pripri-anime.jp/
Studio: Studio 3Hz
Genre: Action?
Staff/Cast Information
Premiers July 9th

Show Premise:
Victorian spy girls do spy things.

Random Thoughts:
This appears to essentially be Charlie's Underage Victorian Angels, and since this is original, there's not a ton to go on. The first promo is eminently lame, but the second has, among other things, a girl getting grabbed from behind with a needle jammed into her neck and some guy getting bloodily shot the hell up. The official premise talks about them attending some fancy high school, but there's no sign of that in the promos, just a bunch of not-Nazis. Then again, there's no sign of their Charlie in them either. It's also being written by the dude behind things like Geass, Guilty Crown, and Kabaneri, so it's extremely likely to go off the rails fairly quickly. Which isn't to say that girls smiling at the camera still isn't the main focus, but there's enough to give at least the hope that this'll be an actual, if campy, spy thing.

Preseason Swing Rating: 
   
We are SO overdue for a campy girls-with-guns Gunsmith Cats/Burn Up.

Monday

Daily Life in a Supernatural Apartment
http://youapa-anime.jp/
Studio: Shin-Ei Animation
Genre: Comedy
Staff/Cast Information
Premiers July 3rd

Show Premise: 
High school kid moves into apartment building filled with supernatural creatures.

Random Thoughts:
Back to resoundingly awful promos that are just like… here's some stuff, do what you want with it. I had to chuckle a little bit at the super mediocre reviews of the LN which seemed to center around the theme of "the writing is super simplistic." Having read… and translated… some of what passes for enthralling (pseudo) literature in the Japanese media sphere, I can only imagine the horror that is something that much worse to lead many to complain about it. Of course, that's not necessarily an indictment of an adaptation… except that this is Japan, and this is a light novel. Soulless adaptations of non-comedies in complete disregard for the change of medium are the what's to be expected, and going by the promos, this is going to be especially half-assed. 

Preseason Swing Rating: 

The squatting demon of rent control.

Love and Lies
http://koiuso-anime.com/
Studio: Lidenfilms
Genre: Drama
Staff/Cast Information
Premiers July 3rd

Show Premise: 
The government assigns who people get married to with severe punishment for being unfaithful. Yukari and Misaki date in secret despite Yukari being assigned to be married to some other girl. 

Random Thoughts:
The premise also makes sure to point out how shiftless and useless Yukari is, perhaps thinking that it's a super big deal for him to have a crush. Good thing it was that instead of discovering the music of Emerson, Lake, and Palmer, or we might've ended up in a rock opera instead of an even more hamhanded… whatever the hell you want to call this thing. It's a wonder Japanese youth haven't rebelled against adults at this point considering that every other thing seems to have them arbitrarily oppressing teenagers for giggles because they just don't get us, man. *ahem* The main thing that stood out about the promos was, like that centaur thing, someone seemed to have gotten the music mixed up. Otherwise, it was the completely expected set of pastels and characters staring wide eyed at the camera like perpetually frightened deer. 

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Adults are awful. Am I right, my fellow teenagers?

Restaurant to Another World
http://isekai-shokudo.com/
Studio: Silver Link
Genre: Drama
Staff/Cast Information
Premiers July 3rd

Show Premise: 
Once a week, a regular restaurant opens to guests from a fantasy world.

Random Thoughts:
Another one of this season's numerous light novel adaptations, although hell if I could tell you what this even really is. From everything I can figure out, it's food porn; a bunch of short stories where random wizard/demon/adventurer/etc shows up, gushes over some form of real-world food (eg beef stew or pound cake) because of fantasy reasons, leaves. The promo bears that out, consisting of little more than shots of restaurant walls and close-ups of people eating. That's not even real food porn. There's not any brains involved. So… something in the vein of Death Billiards, except people expressing their love of food. I'm already snoozing. 

Preseason Swing Rating: 

I'd steer clear of the pug a l'orange.

Here Comes The Three Angels
http://www.tenshi-no-3p.com/
Studio: Project No.9
Genre: Idol Crap
Staff/Cast Information
Premiers July 10th

Show Premise: 
Three grade schoolers want to be pop stars, so they make an angsty teenager addicted to not-Vocaloid to write their music. 

Random Thoughts:
This calls itself a comedy, but the promos don't bear that out. They're just "Here's some girls. Okay, good enough. Time to go do some blow." This is also from the same studio, staff, and creator as that loli basketball thing, so… hey. Look at them branching out from sport to idol. Way to scrape the very bottom of the barrel. I guess at least they've found their niche of angsty teenager babysits overly sexualized prepubescent girls in a club. I'm already tired of talking about it.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Here comes cleansing fire.

Tuesday

7-O 3-X
http://7o3x.com/
Studio: TMS Entertainment
Genre: Drama
Staff/Cast Information
Premiers July 4th

Show Premise:
Awkward nerd joinsl quiz bowl team.

Random Thoughts:
Quiz bowl? Seriously? Somehow, I doubt this will be Japan's Slumdog Millionaire, or the seminal quiz movie of all time featuring Jeopardy, White Men Can't Jump, and I didn't even need to watch the promo involving someone screaming obnoxiously to figure that out. The promo also indicates that the animation will be mostly theoretical. Everything about the premise screams that it needs to run away from it as fast as possible, but judging by the little I browsed of the manga source, its backup is "OH MY GOD! A GIRL IS TALKING TO ME!" I think it might be better to just give up even a shred of hope and move on.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Like a weiner to a bone.

In Another World With My Smartphone
http://isesuma-anime.jp/
Studio: Production Reed
Genre: Comedy
Staff/Cast Information
Premiers July 11th

Show Premise: 
God accidentally kills a moron, so reincarnates him into a fantasy world with magic powers and his cellphone.

Random Thoughts:
Speaking of inspiring despair, yet another light (well, web) novel adaption, and this one appears to be extra haremish and extra created without anything approaching a budget. The promos are about 90% girls looking at things off-camera, and 10% speedlines. Not present is anything that could be mistaken for the jokes that it purports to have. Hell, see that almost-upskirt shot in the image at the left? That's about all the fanservice that it appears to have too. I couldn't tell you what the draw here is supposed to be. 

Preseason Swing Rating: 

This show would've been better if it was made in 1992.

New Game!!
http://newgame-anime.com/
Studio: Dogakobo
Genre: 'Comedy'
Staff/Cast Information
Premiers July 11th (Pre-air special on June 29th)

Show Premise: 
Sequel. The continuing non-adventures of a bunch of girls (not) working at a game company.

Random Thoughts:
I barely survived the first episode of the first season of this show. It was twenty-two minutes of dead space. Characters would occasionally make a face, but that was the height of the humor it aspired to. I picked a random episode of the first season to quickly flip through. The first half was about how they all bought donuts for the office and that's too many donuts. The second was two of them having a spat because one doesn't get enough sleep. I guess that answers how they stretched that out for three more months. I can only imagine the compelling plots of the next season. Probably "the break room smells like popcorn," and "someone borrowed a pen but forgot to say thank you."

Preseason Swing Rating: 
 
Deeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaath…

Magical Circle
http://guruguru-anime.jp/
Studio: Production IG
Genre: Comedy
Staff/Cast Information
Premiers July 11th

Show Premise: 
Nike is a hero. Kukuri is a witch. They adventure. 

Random Thoughts:
Technically, the title's more like Spinning In or Dizzying Magic Circle, but whatever, Japan. This is a reboot/revival of an old parody of (mostly) Dragon Quest. Unfortunately, the parody's more of the "This thing you do in RPGs is unrealistic!" Like… Nike goes into a random house and takes things from drawers while everyone looks on incredulously, and then someone yells "THAT IS NOT NORMAL!" Or an old man does the hula dance that is supposed to be done by little girls. That's not the joke. The joke is people yelling "THAT IS UNUSUAL AND OFFPUTTING!" That's a recurring gag. One the show's known for even. I'm not sure why or how they think that this will translate to modern audiences, but I guess Dragon Quest has never stopped being a thing in Japan, nor has that brand of non-humor. 

Preseason Swing Rating: 
   
But thou must!

Wednesday

Saiyuki Reload Blast
http://saiyuki-rb.jp/
Studio: Platinum Vision
Genre: Adventure
Staff/Cast Information
Premiers July 5th

Show Premise: 
Continuation from a half dozen previous Saiyukis. The merry band of adventurers based on Journey To the West, continue their westward quest to quell EVIL, and arrive in India.

Random Thoughts:
The manga that the Saiyuki series is based on went for five years. The anime adaptations of it began in 1999 and are apparently still going. The last one was an OVA about six years ago, which I'm calling enough of a gap for this history lesson and to entertain the possibility that they might pick this up in media res and just continue on forward. Probably won't, and will be impenetrable to all but the people who started with this 18 years ago, but who knows. Then again, with the staff and studio of Servamp working on it, expecting any kind of decency is likely a fool's errand. That said, the promos for it are decent enough, but it does worry me that the direction is covering for a lack of animation. That does show not everyone's asleep at the wheel, but I already get the feeling it's going to be a lot less actiony than it's trying to sell itself as.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Only 46 more episodes across 15 years before they reach the Buddha.

My First Time is with a Gal
http://hajimete-no-gal.jp/
Studio: NAZ
Genre: Comedy
Staff/Cast Information
Premiers July 12th

Show Premise: 
Insecure virgin asks out bimbo. In a fit of pique, she says yes.

Random Thoughts:
Oh, here's where all the yelling ended up. Hell, the promo has someone holding up a chart with speedlines and yelling. That, closeups of cleavage, and the titular character glaring in scorn or horniness comprise about 98% of the promo. There's certainly a rich untapped vein of potential comedy in relationships that outside of like, Softhouse Chara, Japan only seems to realize exists once a decade, but I have my doubts that this will be it. By all appearances (and brief perusal of the manga this is based on), it's going to be "proposes regular relationship thing, male overreacts and begins hyperventilating, panty or cleaveage shot, girl leaves and fidgets insecurely." Repeat over and over and over again. 

Preseason Swing Rating: 

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

Welcome to the Classroom of Elites
http://you-zitsu.com/
Studio: Lerche
Genre: Drama
Staff/Cast Information
Premiers July 12th

Show Premise: 
At a prestigious school students compete to earn points, needing a certain number to continue attending, pay for luxuries, and even to graduate. The worst students are all shunted into the same class where they can be losers together. Shockingly, our protagonist is in the loser class.

Random Thoughts:
Boy, I had a hard time digging up much positive about the light novel this is based on, and the recurring comments were how nothing happened for the entirety of the first volume, and how much everybody hated the protagonist. I didn't dig deep, but it sounded like he saved the day or showed his awesomeness by… having asked a previous graduate he knew what the answers would be on a test. Seeing the promos that consist of nothing but characters staring at something off screen, I can absolutely believe that. Weirdly, Kishi's involved in the direction (numerous RPG adaptations), and he tends to bring at least a spark to the visuals. I guess maybe Lerche is just making him do this to pay some bills. The hackneyed premise is already massively played out, and it looks awful. 

Preseason Swing Rating: 

At least the Hunger Games has killing and overthrowing adult society, not embracing it.

Thursday

Dive!!
http://www.dive-anime.com/
Studio: Zero-G
Genre: Drama
Staff/Cast Information
Premiers July 6th

Show Premise: 
Diving club will shut down unless it can send someone to the Olympics.

Random Thoughts:
The Olympics? Really? High schoolers? What about winning Regionals? Wait, these supposedly aren't even all high schoolers? We're trying to send 15 year olds to the Olympics? Uh… huh. You may have lost me before we've even started. Not that I ever had any real interest in Yet Another Light Novel Sports Show About Naked Guys With Water Dripping Off Them, of which I think this is around the seventh or eighth of the last few years. I guess there's a market though! I just ain't in it. And yes, that and closeups of crotches during dives are what make up the promos. What a pitch.

Preseason Swing Rating: 
     

There's a reason there was a hockey Kunio game and not a diving one.

Convenience Store Boyfriends
http://www.tbs.co.jp/anime/konbini/
Studio: Studio Pierrot
Genre: Drama
Staff/Cast Information
Premiers July 6th

Show Premise: 
Six guys hang out at a convenience store after school.

Random Thoughts:
This is a tie-in to a set of drama CDs and short stories. I don't know if you can call that a full franchise, but that's what they're theoretically going for. This one goes for the omnibus-type thing, and creates a girl to pair up with each one of them to act as the audience stand-ins for each one. The promo is literally nothing but people staring, so expectations are super duper high! I mostly feel like a bullet was dodged by not having them be the embodiments of convenience stores.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Oh, 711-kun, what a big gulp you have~

Action Heroine Cheer Fruits
http://www.tbs.co.jp/anime/cfru/
Studio: Diomedea
Genre: Drama
Staff/Cast Information
Premiers July 6th

Show Premise: 
Girls put on live sentai shows to try to save the town's exhibition center.

Random Thoughts:
I guess at least it's not idols, although like all the times when it's dance, or band, or acting, it's the same basic thing. Girls do their best and believe in each other in a club where they have some kind of public performance which will invariably move everybody with the depth of their adolescent friendship. Jaded? Me? Nah. I remember when Manabi Straight did it, and it was literally the only show that entire year to do so. The next closest was… Xenoglossia? Nodame? Ah, 2007, you were truly a different age. And yes, I'm rambling because this is original, and the promo is almost nothing but girls smiling at each other. The writer is awful, and the director is terrible at everything but action… sometimes. Moving on.

Preseason Swing Rating:

Stationary monster angry ice cream.

Gamers!
http://www.gamers-anime.com/
Studio: PINE JAM
Genre: Drama
Staff/Cast Information
Premiers July 13th

Show Premise: 
Socially awkward gamer joins gaming club.

Random Thoughts:
Yet another light novel adaptation, and I think the title doesn't quite get the full picture across, so here's the full titles of the first three volumes: "Gamers! Amano Keita's Youth CONTINUES", "Gamers! Tendo Karen and the Surprise HAPPY END," and "Gamers! Hoshinomori Chiaki and Her First Love NEW GAME." Coming into better focus? Yeah, I thought it might. It hasn't deigned to grace us with any promos, but I would expect very, very little. It does come from the same author as Seizon, a show I really enjoyed very, very long ago, but as the miserably awful sequel would show, that was all Deen, not the source material, and certainly not Pine Jam, who has thus far stuck to terrible fanservice shorts. This one apparently has a godawful protagonist and every cover is the girls splaying themselves in states of undress, so the sky's the limit! 

Preseason Swing Rating: 

214A 66B 3[C] 623C 44 236C

Friday

Made in Abyss
http://miabyss.com/
Studio: Kinema Citrus
Genre: Adventure
Staff/Cast Information
Premiers July 7th

Show Premise: 
Girl and amnesiatic robot boy try to reach the bottom of a giant dungeon. 

Random Thoughts:
This seems to be the kind of adventure where they run away from one monster, get poked by a venomous stinger in the process, and spend the next three months learning about the venom, how to treat it, the history of all involved, and some tangentially related flashbacks while waiting to recover. The art style is certainly… something. The promos do show a little Indiana Jonesing, but they're far more focused on "Hey, here's a wall of a fantasy setting, and here's a picture of a dungeon!" I have little patience for scene after scene of expository 'world-building,' so I'm expecting mostly to simply be weirded out by the art style. Well, even more than I already am.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Is this where all the dwarves that don't exist in Japanese fantasy wound up?

18if
http://18if.jp/
Studio: Gonzo
Genre: Drama
Staff/Cast Information
Premiers July 7th

Show Premise:
Kid wakes up in another world where he discovers that magic, witches, and… uh… another world exists.

Random Thoughts:
This is a spinoff/marketing for some random Puzzles and Dragons clone, so not exactly something brimming with story content to get any idea what the hell this is going to be. The promos are cagey as well. A bunch of staring at a surreal world, some people staring horrified at… something, some giant teddy bears looming, and lots and lots and lots of bright lights. If I had to guess, I'd say some flavor of mystery thriller, but one of the things they're making sure to advertise is how the cast is 98% female with a chirpy, cloying magical girlfriend to lead them all. The head writer does almost entirely children's stuff like Pokemon, and the director will be changing each week. Your guess is as good as mine at this point.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

       O

The Vatican Miracle Inspectors
http://kisekichosakan.jp/
Studio: JC Staff
Genre: Drama
Staff/Cast Information
Premiers July 7th

Show Premise:
The Vatican sends out secret investigators to verify or disprove supposed miracles.

Random Thoughts:
The closest thing to animation that the minute and a half promo has is the two lead characters standing in front of a glowing void as speedlines rush past them. The rest is people staring at things offscreen, or shots of church walls and windows. I'm not sure how many light novel adaptations we're up to here, but I'll round it to thirty. Their first case is going to a high school with serial killing going on, so I guess it's supposed to be a mystery series? This was also another light novel series that I had a difficult time finding any particularly positive reviews. I wouldn't mention it, but it's so damn rare. Is Japan running out of even passable LNs to adapt? Apparently it's waaaaay too long, the mystery is both overcomplicated and the denouement is super handwavey/unsatisfying, and gets a bunch of basic things about Christianity wrong. The excitement is palpable.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Jesus Christ, who rose after the 12 days of Christmas after being buried in a chimney.

Hell Girl
http://www.jigokushoujo.com/
Studio: Studio DEEN
Genre: Drama
Staff/Cast Information
Premiers July 7th

Show Premise: 
Sequel series. A girl comes to those consumed with a need for vengeance. She will torment the object of their hatred and take them to hell, but in return, they will also go to hell when they die. 

Random Thoughts:
Since the last animated edition of this franchise came out over eight years ago, I guess I'll mention it. Previously at least, this was a bunch of episodic short stories about people being dicks to each other, capped off with some torture porn. It certainly does appear to be more of the same, and brings back much of the same staff as well. I was never much of a fan though. Maybe if it was telling actual tragic stories or something, but my admittedly dim memories are of it always being sadistic psychopaths torturing some random person for kicks, even well and beyond the absurd bullying stuff Japan loves. As in things like murdering classmates and framing the victim's friend.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

That which is dead will apparently keep rising forever.

Chronos Ruler
http://chronosruler.jp/
Studio: Project No.9
Genre: Action
Staff/Cast Information
Premiers July 7th

Show Premise: 
Those wielding elemental powers protect the timeline from the people and monsters who try to change it.

Random Thoughts:
This would be a Jump show, with all the baggage and formulaic nonsense that comes with it. The weirdest part though is that the main cast are all Putins. Benjamin-Button-Amnesia-Daddy Putin, No-Fun-Allowed-Son Putin, immortal little girl Mommy-But-Not-Mommy Putin. That's a lot more Putins than I'm comfortable with. The promos live up to the Jump roots. It always looks like action's about to happen, people taking poses, summoning their power, awkwardly jumping around CGI buildings, etc, but somehow, it never actually comes. Probably because this is Project No 9 doing the animation, and I kind of doubt that this'll be their first decently animated show ever. 

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Perhaps start in Britain.

Altair – A Record of Battles
http://project-altair.com/
Studio: Mappa
Genre: Drama
Staff/Cast Information
Premiers July 7th

Show Premise: 
An assassination plunges two countries into war. Mahmut is determined to find the truth behind it and restore peace.

Random Thoughts:
The promos aren't terribly exciting, and seem to indicate it'll be much more of a political hand-wringer than a show about war, assassins, and magic. Hell if I know why any story would be all "Hey, look! A falcon! Now let's see what Prime Minister Grumblepants has to say about supply lines vis a vis annual flooding." There are some people whacking each other with swords, but there's a lot more looking at each other pensively while stroking their beards, because this is loosely based on the Ottoman Empire historical stuff instead of the far more usual Sengoku/Three Kingdoms. Maybe if you start killing half the cast, I'll perk up. Until then, yawn.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Two and a half episodes on stump removal.

Obligatory Outro:

There are certainly better promos than usual this time around, and a relative dearth of idol and club shows, both of which are welcome, but may just mean a deluge of them in three months. The sheer press of the ten billion light novel adaptation is more than a bit concerning though, particularly in the vein of survivial-of-the-fittest high school where survival is based first and foremost on a completely arbitrary point system and secondarily on minigames everyone cheats at. Still better than giving the pen to Okada or Yet Another PA Works Melodrama though! See you on July 1st. Unless I post something on Thursday, which I may or may not. That's what we call suspense!

Posted in Season Preview | 16 Comments »

16 Shouts From the Peanut Gallery

  • Opulent Rag says:

    Huh, so going by your impressions, I think I might give sword dance good ole’ college try, it seems like it could be kinda interesting. “Gyaru High” and “Horse Vagina” seem like a good pity watch. Other than that, the fate series seems like the safest bet one can have this season.

    [Reply]

  • anise_punter says:

    counting on your screencaps to give me multiple shows I regret picking up (just kidding that’s all of them)

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  • Neclord X says:

    Not very excited about this season, and I’m a man who usually gets excited over almost nothing. I’m always eager to see at least 10 shows, this time I think I’m interested in two or three at most. In other seasons I welcome LN adaptations, this time is another story.

    May be because everything sounds boring and mundane as fuck, JESUS, even the stories about traveling to fantasy worlds look like are about doing nothing in those fantasy worlds instead of actually adventuring. Go to another world…and use your phone, go to another world…and eat in a restaurant? At least the people from other LN kill goblins, slowly, yes, but they at least do it.

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    Aroduc says:

    I find myself really wondering why nothing-shows have gotten so popular in Japan. My best (wholly unresearched) guess is that it’s a similar response to the rise of all the “screw adults/the government!” light novels, except with pleasant, mind-numbing escapism to a world of no stress rather than overthrowing the system. Even Anne of Green Gables had a plot, and went across multiple years to show her growing up. I want to make some kind of high-minded Peter Pan reference in the creepiness of escapism of a world where everything is perfect and nothing ever changes in the slightest, but I also need a sandwich.

    [Reply]

    Chrono says:

    Speculation based on a few observations: there seems to be extreme “template” based writing on places like ncode.syosetsu.com . Skim a few attempts, and you’ll quickly figure out the templates. Authors seem to be taking these templates and doing the bare minimum work to be able to call it a “story”. E.g.: ordinary, “oppressed”, or otherwise unlucky dull teenage boy magically warps to fantasy world for some contrived and obviously nonsense reason. Responds as you have come to expect to king/princess/goddess, then runs off acquiring magical girlfriends along the way. With 0 world building, logical foundations, character depth, or anything you would expect even in a third grade fictional writing example. I’m not talking MacGuffins and other plot devices. Just the laziest writing that’s an excuse for trashy wish fulfillment or similar.

    I’ve recognized a handful of these anime based off LN based off web novel based off another prototype based off template garbage from a few years back. Let me tell you, these plots are the wheat from the chaff. Maybe they are popular because everything else is, truly, much *much* worse.

    [Reply]

  • LUNI_TUNZ says:

    Stan Lee’s 94, at that age it’s a miracle to even be able to leave the house under your own power, let alone produce a show in a totally different country.

    Of course, at this point people probably ask him to put his name on something and just he goes “yeah, sure, whatever.”

    [Reply]

  • Anonymous says:

    So many LNs about killing yourself and reincarnating in another world being an elite. I miss when shonen was about training montages and the power of friendship

    [Reply]

  • jgoi says:

    Only interesting thing for me saiyuki reload blast, might check out Cleanliness Boy! Aoyama.

    Not bothering with this season’s fate until assassin of black is on screen and not wearing pants.

    The rest of the moe girl shit is for the usual TMI stuff,
    also fuck anime strike.

    [Reply]

  • ark noir says:

    magic and light novels have ruined anime. This upcoming season seems like boys doing stuff and girls doing stuff……and magic.

    Seems like total and utter bunk next season though I want to watch magic circle as i’m a Dragon quest mark.

    [Reply]

  • Longhaul says:

    Centaur is infamous for its Orwellian setting and increasingly random plot developments. Honestly I think the author is/was more interested in world building than telling a story.

    [Reply]

  • The Phantom says:

    Well, Monogatori and maybe fate, maybe hell girl, the rest looks outright awful.

    I’m also wondering which shitty show are you going to pick up, and then complain about it at the end of the season that only the first episode was good heh.

    [Reply]

  • Eponymous says:

    There wasn’t a diving Kunio game, but there was that one with competitive swimming. So there!

    [Reply]

  • Sanjuro says:

    Why didn’t they call the sequel New Game+. Bam! Millions of copies sold.

    [Reply]

    The Phantom says:

    Ahh,Chrono Trigger legacy still lives on. God bless the best game ever made and the only reason I am a gamer.

    [Reply]

  • algorithm says:

    I’ve finally reached the point where I have no clue about what’s coming up the next season. Looking at the list makes it pretty easy to tell why. Will still watch you doing masochistic stuff for the schadenfreude.

    [Reply]

  • Zafool says:

    “In Another World With My Smartphone”, really? I have been on an isekai manga binge and I must say that one is among the weakest ones being published

    [Reply]

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