Fresh Squeezed Squid Ink Spumoni Potluck and Spring Season Rundown

March 29th, 2020

I hope this season's protagonists aren't as horrible.

Welcome to another season of sequels. There are around fourteen, and that's not counting the annual refresh of a bunch of kid's shows, nor Re:Zero's next season which was already pushed back to summer. I really don't want to list them all. It depresses me. I'm also not including BNA here since half of it's already out on Netflix, and I'm just assuming that the other half will appear at some random time in the next month. I will say that this is a season largely free of idol shows, and even the drama seem a bit geared towards wackier stuff. Or at least, kung-fu bear fighting.

Brought to You By A Very Large Amount of Drugs

Tower of God
https://tog-anime.com/
Studio: Telecom Animation
Genre: Action
Premieres April 1st

Show Premise: 
Teenagers battle to ascend a magic tower where each floor is a new world.

Random Thoughts:
This would be another foreign Jump wannabe show like Radiant, but Korean in origin instead of French. And like any 'good' Jump action show, it's a mish-mash of character designs, tossed together into a a very generic "We need to fight to advance・with, for, and by the power of friendship," and the absolute minimum of animation required to pretend to have action without actually having action. No, the promos were not impressive. Heck, the start of them are so pathetic that I wondered if this was actually a real animated show and not one of those fancy 'motion comic books' or whatever they're called.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

……………WOHNK………

Listeners
https://listeners.rocks/
Studio: MAPPA
Genre: Action
Premieres April 3rd

Show Premise: 
In a world without music, there exist giant robots based on rock music.

Random Thoughts:
…Yeah, I'm not sure either. This is completely original, with all the subtlety of Ar Tonelico, which is to say that there's a whooooole bunch of people violently 'jacking in' to the gaping holes in all the girls. There's also a trio of antagonists who appear to basically be them going "You know what was cool? Nier Automata. Let's have them too." You have to almost admire that kind of shamelessness. It is the brainchild of the same guy as Eureka Seven, so I would gamble that it's going to be largely like that, except with more musically themed robots. Who ever knows with Mappa though.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

So you're saying it's a world without the saxophone?

Wave, Listen to Me!
https://namiyo-anime.com/
Studio: Sunrise
Genre: Chaos
Premieres April 3rd

Show Premise: 
Minare becomes a late night talk radio host.

Random Thoughts:
The more I read about the source manga, the weirder it got. This is by the same dude as Blade of the Immortal, and it's quite likely that he had very little interest in a drama about twenty somethings doing a radio show, as one of the early arcs has them stumble upon a murder cult using magical mind control technology who kidnap the cast and try to force them to turn the show into their bid for world domination. Then they have to babysit a shut-in, but are interrupted by an earthquake that turns it into a disaster tragedy. Will the adaptation go to crazy town too? Well, the promo does have someone kung-fu fighting a bear, and the promo pictures have a woman riding one, so… yes, probably. The question is just how long it takes to get to what is far more entertaining than people screaming into a microphone.

Preseason Swing Rating: 
 
Two pixelated shaved bears.

The Gal & The Dinosaur
http://galkyo.com/
Studio: Space Neko Company
Genre: Comedy
Premieres April 4th

Show Premise: 
A trendy girl is roomates with a dinosaur.

Random Thoughts:
On one hand, the odd couple thing where one side never speaks and only makes stupid faces is probably a step up given the screamy alternative, but on the other hand, this is also a pretty saturated subgenre that has had everything from miniature tiny mummies to tiny cat creatures. The source is nowhere near as weird and surreal as, say, Potemayo, but the promo does indicate that it's going to be a bit more… experimental, I guess is the best descriptor, with its visual styles. I don't think that'll be enough to make up for the lack of jokes or budget, but they're certainly trying some kind of thing to make it stand out. Or maybe they just couldn't find enough animators so wanted someone to do some claymation too.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Super cool trendy yay.

Gleipnir
http://gleipnir-anime.com/
Studio: Pine Jam
Genre: Action
Premieres April 5th

Show Premise: 
Boy who can transform into a monster costume teams up with girl hunting her family's killer to fight other similar duos.

Random Thoughts:
I think that the hook here is supposed to be that the girl is abusive and the boy is a put-upon doormat. Which is not exactly much of a twist on the usual magical girlfriend schtick. So maybe the hook is the boy transforms into weapon? But since they're just fusing into essentially a mech anyway, I'm still not seeing a huge difference. The promos are leaning in fairly hard into how pathetic the male protagonist is, and how much they're going to objectify the female, neither of which are promising, but do contain a little bit of fighting. It's trying to be all dark and edgy, but according to the source's blurb, it's a romantic comedy, and a recurring comment about it is something along the lines of "What's with all the weird ass shots?" And man, if a piece of Japanese media is so full of butt shots that it's noteworthy, you have to wonder just how much butt there is.

Preseason Swing Rating: 
 
How much longer must we suffer the Eva archetypes?

Appare-Ranman!
http://appareranman.com/
Studio: PA Works
Genre: Adventure
Premieres April 10th* (Eps 1-2 pre-air on March 30th)

Show Premise: 
Sorano is an inventory. Isshiki is a samurai. They're taking part in the Wacky Races across America during the wild west.

Random Thoughts:
The title's a pun using one of the protagonist's names that I really don't want to try to translate. It's one of PA Works's wholly original things, and seems like they got into the psychotropics during the conception period for this one. It's definitely better than one of their billion teenager coming of age dramas or another show about fighting werewolves. I'm also not joking about the Wacky Races thing, as the premise is that they're in a race across the US in what appears to be a steam powered boat-on-wheels. It's… certainly a hook, got to give them that.

Preseason Swing Rating: 
   
Yip yip yip yip yip yip.

The Ennui of Being a Teenager in a Highschool

Tamayomi
https://tamayomi.com/
Studio: Studio A-Cat
Genre: Drama
Premieres April 1st* (ep 1 pre-air on March 8th)

Show Premise: 
Tama and Yomi play baseball.

Random Thoughts:
Uh, it's certainly a sports show, and while baseball may not be as naturally predisposed to T&A like HaruKana was with beach volleyball, boy are they trying. I'm not sure any girl in this is smaller than a C cup, and am definitely certain that all of them are wearing shirts at least three sizes too small with no *ahem* sports support. The homepage image is perhaps the funniest, because it has all of them bending over to accentuate the boobs, except for the apparent boobiest one who is instead holding hers up. Now, the actual manga source isn't really that fanservicey, but it's also not much of anything else either. Girls play baseball. And… that's it. There's an entire chapter for an inning that's just like… "I'll get a hit!" "Do your best!" "She got a hit!" "It's time for the next batter." "Do your best!" "She did a sacrifice fly!" I guess combining all the thrilling excitement of baseball with… having girls do their best. I thought we were past this and into weird stuff like competitive jet sky shooting and motorbiking. Don't tell me we're backsliding.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Unnaturally bouncy.

Sing "Yesterday" For Me
https://singyesterday.com/
Studio: Dogakobo
Genre: Drama
Premieres April 4th

Show Premise: 
Rikuo is an aimless dude working at a convenience store with an eccentric girl.

Random Thoughts:
Ew. One of those Jump dramas. An older one too, which somehow apparently lasted nearly two decades and was trying to give Ah! My Goddess a run for its money on which would be progressing the slowest. Dude is a blank slate. Girl is manic pixie girl. Other dude is… also the same as the first. Other girl is… well, we've already seen the whole rainbow of personality types, assuming a rainbow is just shades of grey, so I guess she'll be the same as the guys. And here we are, for a drama with no drama, characters having a relationship with no relationships, and a story with no plot. Behold the ennui of life.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

One convenience store slice of pie.

Holy Girls Square Academy
https://garugaku.com/
Studio: Oriental Lights and Magic / Wit Studio
Genre: Drama
Premieres April 6th

Show Premise: 
Girls go to a school for idols.

Random Thoughts:
This exists entirely as a prime time advertising mechanism for one of those idol mega-groups of like two dozen people who can all be easily removed and replaced should they step out of line or their popularity dips too far. Aaaand I'm not even sure there's anything more to say than that. They haven't even released a single actual promo. This could be the pop stars playing with finger puppets for all we know. Hell, that would be a marked improvement over what this crap usually is.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

All the substance of one slice of watermelon.

Afterschool Embankment Journal
https://teibotv.com/
Studio: Dogakobo
Genre: Comedy
Premieres April 7th

Show Premise: 
Girls are in a shore-based 'embankment club.'

Random Thoughts:
It's not likely a good sign that the first thing the promos advertise is that the protagonist will be molested by an octopus while screaming. Then again, the rest of the promo is just girls either making faces, or standing in the THE SPRINGTIME BREEZE OF YOUTH. Also, there are some fish, because that's the random club theme here. Since we've already had a fish-themed silly-faces club show where they instead piloted fish mech to fight giant fish, I'm not sure how this is supposed to compete against that. Maybe with more octopus molestations.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

I hope they're eaten by a crocodile.

Authors and Artists Are All Pretty Boys

Secret Job
https://kakushigoto-anime.com/
Studio: Ajia-Do
Genre: Comedy
Premieres April 2nd

Show Premise: 
Kakushi is the artist for a raunchy manga, who has to hide that from his innocent daughter.

Random Thoughts:
The source here is by the same guy as Zetsubou Sensei and Joshiraku, but with all the weirdness and surreality thrown to the curb. Aside from the art style, the only real similarity I could tease out between this and his previous works is that everybody's names are puns. Heck, even the daughter is more of a prop that they reference on occasion than an actual character… and even when she does show up, she's the usual boring model of perfection and devotion. It's mostly just freeform nonsense set in a manga studio. Someone says something, and if you're lucky, the punchline it's gradually working its way to WON'T be the main character shouting a non-sequitur… but it probably will be. Lord knows the promos are more concerned with shots of scenery than comedy though. They also seem to have been suckered in by the supposed premise.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Possibly old enough to reference leekspin unironically.

Writers and Alchemists
https://anime-bungo-alchemist.com/
Studio: Oriental Lights and Magic
Genre: Drama
Premieres April 3rd

Show Premise: 
Japanese writers as pretty boys fight monsters that have infected books inside the books.

Random Thoughts:
An eyebrow went up in possible expectation when the promo started off with a blood-covered dude and a guy swinging around a scythe. The next minute of the promo dashed any such hopes. Like its fellow boy-harem gacha game spawns, it was just a bunch of pretty boys sitting around a random room, goofing around, with only a token gesture towards the supposed monster-fighting premise. I don't know how many Japanese-authors-as-pretty-boys shows we really need in one season, but I'm certain that two is two too many.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Disturbingly foxy.

Arte
http://arte-anime.com/
Studio: Seven Arcs
Genre: Drama
Premieres April 4th

Show Premise: 
Arte abandons her nobility to become a painter.

Random Thoughts:
A romantic drama with neither romance nor drama. If this was a Western show, it would be about a 30-something woman, possibly starring Tina Fey or Mindy Kailing, in a position of some kind of authority, wanting to Have It All. Since this is Japanese media, it's instead about a teenage girl constantly depriving herself of either of those, while everybody she interacts with, 98% females naturally, are helplessly charmed by her innocent beautific earnestness. There's also a scruffy dude to be in charge who's a genius, but also helpless without her as his devoted slave wife to fuss over him, even while she protests that she's not just going to be a slave wife fussing over some man.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

We all expect the inquisition.

Millionaire Detective
https://www.fugoukeiji-bul.com/
Studio: Cloverworks
Genre: Drama
Premieres April 10th

Show Premise: 
Keiji uses his vast fortune to solve crime. He's partnered with someone who thinks rich people shouldn't abuse their money.

Random Thoughts:
This comes from some pretty old short stories, and the really crazy part is that it had a live action version, except they changed the lead to be a rich woman who didn't solve crimes by throwing money at them, but by her insights from being a spoiled rich girl. Basically Legally Blonde, as a genuine procedural. That is not what this is. This is based on the original short stories, where the guy just throws money at every obstacle that gets in his way, kind of like if you wanted to make a Batman adaptation but hated the concept of Batman, so you just have a rich brat with every advantage using them all to do what we peasants could only dream of. "Oh no, we can't search his apartment." "Whatever, I'll just buy the building." Yes, peasants. Cheer the 0.01% as they do what you could only ever dream of.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

I prefer my millionaires come in poultry form.

Woodpecker Detective Office
http://kimikoe.com/kitsutsuki/
Studio: LIDENFILMS
Genre: Drama
Premieres April 13th

Show Premise: 
Early 20th century artistic people are pretty boy detectives.

Random Thoughts:
The novel this is based on is a collection of five short stories, which is already kind of a red flag to me in a medium where stories move at a snail's pace as the norm. It also seems thin gruel to try to use obscure authors and artists as your draw. Not that the standard of either Shinsengumi members or actual detectives is any better though. This is a pretty saturated subgenre, and the promos ain't promising that this is going to be the series that subverts it or rocks the boat in any way.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Chicken warlord barracks.

Fantasy Magical Harems Like It's 2010 Again

The Eighth Son!? There's No Way!
http://hachinan-anime.com/
Studio: Shin-Ei Animation
Genre: Adventure
Premieres April 2nd

Show Premise: 
A dude wakes up reincarnated as the eighth son of a noble with magic powers.

Random Thoughts:
Boy, reviews on Amazon of this light novel are DIRE. The protagonist is an invulnerable godling from page 1, and by the end of the first volume has a slave harem and is world famous for being the greatest thing since sliced bread. Apparently it also has some hilariously overt sexist thoughts about the role of women and their place in the world as well, not to mention some curious ideas about the actual act of sex, and how bizarre and overt do those things have to be for people to start calling them out in trashy power-fantasy schlock like this? The promos don't even put this in the upper echelon of its ilk, so best hope is that it's sexist enough to be horrifyingly hilarious.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Like a tomato in a tutu.

I Reincarnated as the Villain in a Girly Game and Every Flag Leads to Doom!
https://hamehura-anime.com/
Studio: Silver Link
Genre: Comedy
Premieres April 4th

Show Premise: 
Girl is reincarnated as the evil witch in a romance game and has to stop all the good ends from happening.

Random Thoughts:
Naturally, the premise lasts approximately four tenths of a picosecond before she becomes the de facto heroine with all the pretty boys madly in love with her instead. But since every 'bad end' in the source is "the character she's playing was a huge dick, so they killed her," they're all thwarted by… not being a huge dick. Not exactly fighting against fate here, so much as telling us that something crazy will happen unless she acts like a normal person, so she acts like a normal person, but with QUIIIIRRRKKKKY internal monologues. This is not a subversion on tropes! This is just declaring what the cliches are, that you're aware that they're tired and played out cliches, and then doing them anyway! Well, maybe it'll twist things, but the source sure doesn't.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Deceptively long and expectedly underwhelming.

President, It's Time for Battle!
https://shachibato-anime.com/
Studio: C2C
Genre: Adventure
Premieres April 5th

Show Premise: 
A boy and his harem run a company that sends adventurers into dungeons.

Random Thoughts:
In its defense, the promos are definitely weighted far more towards people actually going on adventures than the premise would suggest. On the other hand, it's very much in the shouty and deafening overeaction field of Japanese comedies. It also appears quite unremarkable as far as production goes. I kind of expect that it'll be the best of the shameless fantasy harems based on a gacha game, but how depressing is it that that has become its own little subgenre?

Preseason Swing Rating: 

President, it's time to dance.

White Cat Project: Zero Chronicle
https://colopl.co.jp/shironekoproject/animation/zero_chronicle/
Studio: Project No.9
Genre: Adventure
Premieres April 6th

Show Premise: 
The Prince of Darkness and Queen of Light have some manner of dispute.

Random Thoughts:
Also known as Rune Story when it briefly existed in the west. This is, however, apparently some kind of original prequel story to the trashy cell phone game, not directly based on it, which is probably a better idea than one of its other spinoffs, a tennis game. You're not Mario Tennis, people. I'm also not joking about the names of the two lead characters. It is not subtle. The promos are great if you're looking for sparkly fantasy landscapes and over-designed-yet-under-differentiated characters posing in the wind. Not impressing so much on the action or adventure front. I also legitimately was not sure if the two spikey-haired dudes who were mostly black with red highlights were supposed to be twins, clones, brothers, or what. The only reason I could tell they were two different people is because it seemed like they were fighting.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

The gods are definitely crazy.

Princess Connect: ReDive
https://anime.priconne-redive.jp/
Studio: CygamesPictures
Genre: Adventure
Premieres April 6th

Show Premise: 
Dude gets transported to a fantasy world and ends up with a restaurant and harem.

Random Thoughts:
Re:Dive is the sequel to the now defunct Princess Connect cellphone game, which pulled a Star Ocean 3 and revealed that the whole fantasy world is actually an MMO that everybody magically forgot they were playing. It is a bit higher budget than most of these gacha things though, and the promos do reflect some of that. The director here is also pretty experienced with fantasy comedies (Konosuba, Macademy), as well as the more action/adventure type shows. I feel like this will probably turn out mostly okay, in kind of a Campanella or Polyphonica kind of way… which are not high bars. I thought that about Million Arthur too, which is the exact same bloody thing without the dumb MMO angle.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Too much time grinding on slimes.

Outro:

I want to try a few new things this season, but I'm not really sure what yet. Not having to spend most of an hour every weekday commuting has opened up some time that is probably better spent doing something other than fantasizing about creating a new Ogre Battle. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturdays in particular are already looking like awful days, but all the magical girlfriend and/or harems are pretty well spread out across the other four days. The original stuff looks sufficiently… weird, as well. Hopefully it really will be and Mappa/PA Works won't drop the ball on them… like they always do. Hopefully be at least some interesting premieres at the very least.

Posted in Season Preview | 2 Comments »

2 Shouts From the Peanut Gallery

  • NeclordX says:

    Not really excited for this season. Appare-Ranman! is the only thing that remotely picked my interest.
    During years I wished to have more fantasy anime, and that turned into a monkey paw wish. Figures.
    I don’t have problem with the reincarnating premises, its just that all these fantasy shows seems to lead nowhere. Nothing really happens on them. Not to mention all look so similar aesthetically that they could all take place in the same world and would make no difference. At least give them a space, ancient or steampunk skin, just for a change instead of the school uniforms with plate armor.

  • jgoi says:

    None of this looks interesting, guess I’m just watching monthly hentai.

  • Leave a Reply to jgoi

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