Life Size Hamster Maze Run and Winter New Show Rundown

December 29th, 2020

I'm past ready for Girls With Guns to make a comeback.

This is one of those seasons that is absolutely goddamned plagued by sequels and spinoffs. I'm not dismissing all of them out of hand, but I'm comfortable assumi. To make the point though, the list of sequels/spinoffs beginning in the next month is:

Horse Girls
Seven Deadly Sins
Re:0
Little Battlers: Now With Girls
Beastars
Show By Rock: Extra Rocky
Dr. Stone: Extra Stoney
Boring Girls Go Camping
Boring Girls Live in the Sticks
Promised Shocked Faces
Quintuplet Fetish
WIXOSS: Yet More Idols
Cells at Work
Cells at Work But Slightly Different Cells
World Trigger
Orphen
Cooking Boy
Slime Reincarnation Power Fantasy
Log Horizon

Good lord, why. I'll probably glance at least at a few of those, but almost half the damn 'new' shows this season are spinoffs or sequels. Not even the Tatsunoko revamps they were doing for a while for old franchises. Those are least were a new twist on old things. It doesn't help that so many of the rest are also pretty devoid of creativity or ambition. Hell, two of the seemingly most creative shows this season are idol things. That's where we are. So I guess let's get on to it.

I Am The Weakest Class But I Have 999,999 In All Stats!

What If a Kid From Near the Last Dungeon Moved to a the First Town?
https://lasdan.com/
Studio: LIDENFILMS
Genre: Comedy
Premieres January 4th

Show Premise: 
See title.

Random Thoughts:
You see, in RPGs, monsters late in the game are stronger than ones at the start of the game. Not only is this apparently a hi-goddamned-larious observation, it's also something that needs to be fully explained in the title. It is, of course, just another wafer thin excuse to have a godling protagonist. This is trying to be the comedic version, where everybody mawks and makes silly faces as he effortlessly throws a giant bug over the horizon. I guess at least it isn't an MMO like has had this exact stupid premise every season going back at least three or four. Small victories.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

And yet, we're also not done with the "I'm the demon lord, but I'm a regular guy" subgenre either.

The Hidden Dungeon Only I Can Enter
https://kakushidungeon-anime.jp/
Studio: Okuruto Noboru
Genre: Boobs
Premieres January 8th

Show Premise: 
Dude finds a hidden dungeon with a chained-up goddess who gives him unlimited stat points.

Random Thoughts:
Another thing you'll never guess, but he can also freely edit the world's stats, and every girl in existence desperately wants to jump on his dick. This is not as subtle as some of the others (and good god, is that a sentence). The promo is 50% shots of bouncing boobs, 25% shots of women screaming in orgasm, and 20% upskirt shots of underwear. Christ, do I miss the nuance of shows like Queen's Blade, Ikkitousen, or Freezing. Rest in peace, ARMS. 

Preseason Swing Rating: 

MEGATRON DISAPPROVES OF YOUR DEGENERACY.

I'm a Spider, So What?
https://kumo-anime.com/
Studio: Millepensee
Genre: Comedy
Premieres January 8th

Show Premise: 
Kid is reincarnated in the body of a spider monster.

Random Thoughts:
And you'll never guess that it's a fantasy world where everything is codified in raw stats, spider-person quickly turns the supposed weakness into being a super-monster, and eventually becomes a literal god. You would never guess that because it hasn't happened in at least forty seven thousand five hundred and twenty nine other of these weird-ass power fantasy web novels. I guess at least this one doesn't contain any treatises on the benefits of polygamy. It's probably also a bad sign for it when it's being aired against the thing that the author has literally said it was based on too, that stupid slime thing. But sure, if you're tired of slime and want to swap out spider, go nuts.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Coming Soon: What if I Was a Level 99 Ham? 

Jobless Reincarnation – If I Go To Another World, I'll Actually Try
https://mushokutensei.jp/
Studio: Sudio Bind
Genre: Drama
Premieres January 10th

Show Premise: 
An unemployed homeless dude is reincarnated in a world of magic and resolves to be the best in his new life.

Random Thoughts:
What is with all these bizarre misogynist power fantasy web novels? This is virtually identical to at least four other things from the last year, right down to being a weirdly full throated pleading for polygamy. Not just a wink-nod harem, but dudes giving long speeches about how you should just look past extramarital affairs and take them on as your second, third, or fourth slave wife, and everybody nods sagely. Yes, I am going to harp on this point because what the hell else is there to talk about, or reason to watch this? From the promos, it sure as hell isn't for the animation or story. The original source does fancy itself an epic tale, but as usual, the dude has god powers, amazes all with how much of an ubermensch he is, bends the very fabric of reality to slay gods, and of course he deserves to have a harem of wives. It's only proper.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Stop this crap, god damn it.

The Healer's Do-Over – Transcendent Healing Through Instant Kill Magic and Copying Skills
http://kaiyari.com/
Studio: TNK
Genre: Adventure
Premieres January 13th

Show Premise: 
See title.

Random Thoughts:
This is the flavor of godawful power fantasies that tries to shock the audience by going "Look! Drugs! Rape!" All the while the 'dark' protagonist is amassing a slave harem through brainwashing and drugging all the women who wronged him in any way. See, as soon as he got power, he… drugged and enslaved them, but he treats them better, so it's fine. They were dicks anyway. And of course there are stat sheets, and long explanations of the exact codified rules of the realm. And it's absolutely going to be going for the shock value, as AT-X is advertising both a 'TV version' and five hours later, an uncensored 'complete version' of every episode. How pleasant.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Slender Luigi can't hurt you.

Fantasy Scooby Doo Mystery Adventures

Otherside Picnic
https://othersidepicnic.com/
Studio: LIDENFILMS
Genre: Drama
Premieres January 4th

Show Premise: 
Girls discover a portal to another world.

Random Thoughts:
Don't let the one girl holding a pistol fool you. Yeah, there's a gun, but they don't really fight monsters. It's more like xxxHolic or Natsume's Friends where the other world is the source of various magical happenings and origin of random stuff. And brushing up against one of the magical beasties gives one a magic hand and the other a magic eye. We're not exactly treading bold new ground here.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

A lazy gremlin did it.

Mystery Doctor Ramune
https://ramune-anime.com/
Studio: Platinum Vision
Genre: Comedy
Premieres January 9th

Show Premise: 
Dude helps patients suffering from outrageous maladies.

Random Thoughts:
This is certainly trying to be something like xxxHolic or its ilk, but is・how to put it・not as good as those low bars. For example, the first story is a girl who cries soy sauce because she's a child star who wants to quit but her abusive mother won't let her. So he gives her a drug that messes up her eyes even more, thereby causing her mother to snap and beat her in public, whereupon he jumps in with a magic potion that unleashes all of the mother's abuse back on her (what was causing soy eye, apparently), disintegrating all the riches she got off her daughter and teaching her that her daughter is her true treasure, so they live happily ever after. Now, the adaptation may certainly take a different route, but the promos sure are indicating that it's full steam ahead on that story.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

It's worms.

Monster Incidents
https://kemonojihen-anime.com/
Studio: Ajiado
Genre: Action
Premieres January 10th

Show Premise: 
Monster detectives investigate monster cases.

Random Thoughts:
I say detectives, but it's really one detective and his harem of 12 year old monster boys. And not so much "investigate cases" as "punch monsters in the face" and "cry a lot." I really cannot understate how much crying there is in the promos for this show. It's a bit weird. It does come from Jump though, so that maybe shouldn't be too surprising. The main character is even a ghoul with a magic rock thing inside him that keeps his darkness contained. So, you know, it'll be a Jump show.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Contains multiple animal girls.

Wonder Egg Priority
https://wonder-egg-priority.com/
Studio: CloverWorks
Genre: Megadrama
Premieres January 12th

Show Premise: 
A girl is given an egg and told to break it to change the future.

Random Thoughts:
This is a wholly original show, and judging by the promos, is going to be a fairly maudlin melodrama about sick, sad girls running around. Also, shots of scenery, because of course there's going to be shots of scenery. Most of the staff and cast here have nothing to their names too, so I kind of suspect this is a marketing push for the girl group that makes up the core voice cast. And… uh… I guess someone has to fill in the void while PA Works takes a season off.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

The egg is ticking for some reason.

Let's Make Sure the Idol Casting Couch Stays Occupied!

Alice in Deadly School
http://gekidol.com/alicein/
Studio: Hoods Entertainment
Genre: Drama
Premieres January 4th

Show Premise: 
Girls vs a zombie apocalypse.

Random Thoughts:
It's a little hard to describe the whole Actidol thing, but you'd be safe to just think of it as one of the idol-churning-out-machines, except more based around pushing pop stars via a theater/acting background rather than music or voice acting. Alice in Deadly School was the first stage play it did way back in 2010, which has spawned close to two dozen "Alice in Deady School: -Insert Adjective or Place-" spinoff plays, including one titled Alice in Alice in Deadly School, along with a number of manga, light novel, and at least one live action short film adaptations. In any case, remember School-Live? This is literally that, but maybe a little less goofy. They do bash a couple zombie girls' faces in with bats in the promo, so it has at least a few bona fides to being an actual zombie survival show, but on the other hand, it's tied in to a somewhat more typical idol show (sort of, I'll get to that), although it's a little hard to tell how exactly. Some things seem to indicate that it's the show within the show of the other, some that it's meant to be found footage prequel. Both supposedly take place in/in the aftermath of a global apocalypse, so that's already a higher mark than the other glut of idol crap this season.

Preseason Swing Rating: 
 
Why is there not just like a demogorgon or something?

Actidol
http://www.gekidol.com/
Studio: Hoods Entertainment
Genre: Drama
Premieres January 5th

Show Premise: 
Girls go to idol school after a global apocalypse.

Random Thoughts:
This is the sister show to Alice in Deadly School above, also part of the same franchise, taking place five years after an unspecified apocalypse, but somehow involving one of the girls being a cyborg, I guess? Aside from one shot of a city with a hole in it though, the whole apocalypse thing seems to not be present at all anywhere though. It just seems to be the usual montage of girls doing calisthenics, dancing, and pumping their arms to show that they're doing their bestest. Of the two, I have to assume that the one taking place DURING the apocalypse is going to be a lot more interesting than the one about girls doing their best to seemingly ignore and forget it by appeasing the monster that is the idol industry.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Maybe it's a trap?

I-Chu: Halfway Through the Idol
https://etoile-anime.jp/
Studio: Lay-duce
Genre: Drama
Premieres January 6th

Show Premise: 
Boys want to be idols.

Random Thoughts:
Because we don't have enough of these godawful wannabe Idolmaster franchises. Here's another goddamned one. I couldn't even glean what its specific gimmick was supposed to be. I'm not sure it has one. Maybe it's a test to see if they even need to bother with things like hypnotic mics or zombie idols at all. Your guess is as good as mine

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Suspiciously parasite free.

IDOLY PRIDE
https://anime.idolypride.jp/
Studio: Lerche
Genre: Drama
Premieres January 10th

Show Premise: 
Girls want to be idols.

Random Thoughts:
This is the exact same as the above, but for girls. If pressed, they dress a little more conservatively in this one. It must be that peacocking thing I've heard the kids talk about. Nobody plays an instrument here either. Well, clearly we know which of this schlock has more musical talent then. Gag me. There is no pride in being an idol. Stop. Go livestream and help Japan's attempts to make our dystopic Max Headroom future a thing.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Take hallucinogenics liberally.

Fantasy Worlds That DO NOT Have Stat Sheets

Hortensia Saga
https://animehorsaga.jp/
Studio: LIDENFILMS
Genre: Adventure
Premieres January 6th

Show Premise: 
A dethroned princess leads a rebellion to retake the throne.

Random Thoughts:
This is one of those things made to advertise a gacha game. While certainly not the things with the worst track record, it definitely has neither the production values of something like Princess Connect or Rage of Bahamut, nor the bombastic nature of either. Liden is a mediocre studio at its best, and the promos promise seemingly a very generic fantasy story. Liden is, again, kind of bad, and this is entirely the staff from Seven Deadly Sins, which is also not something I'd probably put on my resume, particularly for a fantasy adventure.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Even contains a mascot animal.

Heaven's Design Team
https://tendebu.jp/
Studio: Asahi Production
Genre: Comedy
Premieres January 7th

Show Premise: 
After creating Earth, God left the creation of animals to a bunch of quirky angels.

Random Thoughts:
This is essentially another edition of Animal Fun Facts, complete with a bit about koala babies eating their mother's poop. Seriously. Why does every anime about animal facts immediately jump to that? Every chapter of the source is listing out a bunch of random factoids about an animal as someone shouts "THAT IS UNREASONABLE" and then they reveal that the animal is something 'unexpected.' Granted, they usually do 3-4 animals per chapter, but the formula is… repetitive for what is essentially reading Wikipedia articles with shouting.

Preseason Swing Rating: 
 
Evolution's mistake.

Project Scard: Scar on the Praeter
https://project-scard.com/
Studio: GoHands
Genre: Action
Premieres January 8th

Show Premise: 
Dudes have magic tatoos that give them magic.

Random Thoughts:
I say dudes and not teenagers because GoHands apparently isn't even allowing a token female to this sausage fest. I also can't help but wonder if this, like W'z, is going to be a stealth sequel to either Hand Shakers or K. Since there are zero females, probably not, but it's certainly sporting the exact same aesthetic and staff. The action in the promo is pretty lacking though, and is profoundly silly. As in two dudes armed with guns doing nothing but punch each other. In the guns. That's as much sense as I can make of it.

Preseason Swing Rating: 
 
Is this what sentai has become?

Back Arrow
https://back-arrow.com/
Studio: Studio VOLN
Genre: Action
Premieres January 8th

Show Premise: 
The world is surrounded by and protected by an impenetrable wall, until a man appears from beyond it.

Random Thoughts:
Aside from Voln handling the animation, this has pretty damn impressive credentials. One of Sunrise's primo action directors and Gainax's main writer, both of whom I can and will certainly criticize, but you can't fault either for lack of ambition. It is wholly original, without a ton of promotion material, but promos make it look like a Wild Arms setting with a very Wild West aesthetic, and man, it feels like it's been a lifetime since Trigun or even Grenadier. But… it's Voln. They are BAD. Their last action show tried to pass off stills with speedlines as a fight scene. The promo already looks ten times better than that, but they're still Voln. If they got their ducks in a row, this could definitely be a pretty awesome fantasy action show. That's a very major if though.

Preseason Swing Rating: 
 
What was that black cat's deal in Trigun again?

Afterschool Activities Are the Best Thing Ever!

2.43: Seiin High School Boys Volleyball Club
https://243anime.com/
Studio: David Production
Genre: Drama
Premieres January 7th

Show Premise: 
Dudes play volleyball.

Random Thoughts:
Ew, noitanimA's finally back, and is apparently super thirsty for a taste of Haikyuu's popularity. By all appearances, it is a completely generic sports show, drama version, with volleyball filling in the blank. I can barely stand the more comedic versions of sports shows, and usually only then if they're particularly weird or the sports are more incidental. You were a good show, Softenni. You taught me absolutely nothing about soft tennis. I think I learned more about Evangelion from you than I did tennis. I feel that's a perfectly good metric to judge any sports show by.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

For next Christmas, can we give volleyball a goddamned break?

Low-Tier Character Tomozaki
http://tomozaki-koushiki.com/
Studio: project No.9
Genre: Drama
Premieres January 8th

Show Premise: 
Misanthropic gamer is taken under the wing of a popular girl.

Random Thoughts:
The other kind of obnoxious wish fulfillment for all the 'nice guy' loners out there. A quirky manic pixie girl is going to glomp onto you, selflessly lavish attention on you, and after combing your hair, you'll have your own harem thanks to your gaming skills! We change with the times though, so now it's gamers instead of "dudes who scowl" from ten years ago. Couldn't we at least aim for the zaniness of School Rumble? The early seasons. Not the later going where it became… well, this.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Throw a dog a bone, already.

SK
https://sk8-project.com/
Studio: Bones
Genre: Confusion
Premieres January 9th

Show Premise: 
Costumed men have skateboard races.

Random Thoughts:
The promo is weird. There's the nerdy guy who does the whole "Skateboarding is dumb," and then it cuts to a skateboarding ninja, Tony Stark cyber-skater, an oiled up body builder gay porn actor, and an actual twink gay porn actor. I'm not kidding. The last two's 'special things' are plastered on screen as "doesn't wear a shirt" and "is young and pretty." There's also a literal Spanish matador. What there isn't much of is skateboarding. Not that I think they're missing their target audience here, as the skateboarding is probably about as important here as fighting crime was to Tiger and Bunny or Double Decker. Can't say that the director of things like Banana Fish or Free doesn't insinuate that the pitch is to a certain audience either!

Preseason Swing Rating: 
  
I'm not entirely sure what this is either.

Horimiya
https://horimiya-anime.com/
Studio: CloverWorks
Genre: Drama
Premieres January 9th

Show Premise: 
Hori appears stylish but is secretly studious. Miyamura appears studious but is secretly stylish. They date.

Random Thoughts:
The problem I always have with these things is that they veer towards unrelenting superficiality, which feels a little ironic in this case, but on thumbing through the source manga, is fully deserved. Every single character is perfect, never makes mistakes, there is never any real conflict, and their worst sins are not believing in themselves enough. It's not that every romantic drama needs to go full corny soap opera to be entertaining, but when the most substantial exchange you can expect is: "You should be more confident," "*blush*", and that's going to be the resolution of 80% of the story beats, there's only so high you can reach. That also more or less summarizes the comedy side of it too, but promos are definitely playing up them looking at each other as sparklies glisten all around them.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Goo Luigi was a better love story.

Skate-Leading Stars
https://skateleadingstars.com/
Studio: JC Staff
Genre: Drama
Premieres January 10th

Show Premise: 
Dudes are figure skaters.

Random Thoughts:
I'm baffled by these things that are ostensibly set in the real world, but refuse to just use the real world sport. It can't just be figure skating, that's not gimmicky enough. It has to be GROUP SYNCHRONIZED figure skating. That's the cool sport that everybody goes bonkers for! You could make an argument for it if you were doing a comedy like Blades of Glory or Balls of Fury, but we're all pretty boys sports drama here. Take our ridiculous non-sport seriously! Or at least, buy the boyband single! It's also an original, so if you're looking for hard hitting insight past that, it ain't happening.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

All hail the single winter themed show in the entire winter season!

Wave!! Let's Go Surfing!!
https://wave-anime.com/
Studio: Asahi Production
Genre: Drama
Premieres January 11th

Show Premise: 
Dudes surf.

Random Thoughts:
Not to be confused with "Wave! Listen to Me!" Possibly by the differing number of exclamation points. This was a 3-part movie series, all released in October, now being cut up and broadcast as a TV series. By all reviews, it's just another club show, dude version instead of chick version. It has a corgi though, so maybe that's enough. Certainly more of a gimmick than many of these shows have.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Woof woof woof woof woof woof woof woof.

Wrapup:

Unless multiple things surprise, it's looking like another pretty dismal season. Maybe that Voln thing will turn out good, but with how bad Voln has been so far, I have a hard time seeing that happen. Maybe that's the impetus to finally get off my ass and rewatch/rant about some of the shows that I'm always bringing up like Futakoi Alt or Burn Up. Or maybe I'll just continue to be lazy. I did see that Giga put out a trial for its Baldr Savior thing, which looked really awful, on top of apparently remaking Parfait for some reason, and Eushully's next game is a direct sequel to its terrible most recent one. Starting to wonder if Softhouse Chara's death was merciful. Fun times ahead, but can't be worse than 2020 was. See you in about a week once we've bid this awful year goodbye and let's see if the next one is even worse.

Posted in Season Preview | 11 Comments »

11 Shouts From the Peanut Gallery

  • Gamen says:

    “Yes, I am going to harp on this point because what the hell else is there to talk about, or reason to watch this? From the promos, it sure as hell isn’t for the animation or story.”

    Which I guess leaves it with nothing since the guy goes eleven books with between zero and one romantic interests… and fat chance it gets adapted that far.

    “Stop this crap, god damn it.”

    In total agreement, and I’m reading at least half the LNs that have adaptations this season… it feels like the lazy adaptations are… I don’t know, somehow responsible for the rest of the schlock. Like the writers don’t know how to do anything but to plagiarize the original material, and they flounder when it’s not there to support them.

  • Dave Baranyi says:

    Before reading your list I was only planning to try out two new series (the Egg one and the Monster Cases one). Now I’ll try four additional shows.

    Of course, once I try them and find out that they are total crap I’ll blame you… LOL

    Happy New Year!

  • Custom says:

    What makes you think that next year will be worse?

  • OverMaster says:

    Are you going to cover the Carnival Phantasm special, for old times’ sake?

  • Dave Baranyi says:

    Well – I just watched “Vlad Love” and my mind has changed about this season altogether. Mamoru Oshii is back and I’m loving every minute off it!!!!

    Unless you hate Mamoru Oshii’s style you really need to check this out. It’s a breath of fresh 1980s air that is sorely needed in the world of 21st Century anime.

    Dave Baranyi

  • The Phantom says:

    Jobless reincarnation has to be most retarded title I have seen in recent years.

  • The Phantom says:

    Must Watch for the LOL: Healer do over/redux. Likely to be controversial.
    Definitely: Tomozaki, Back Arrow, Orphen, Dr Stone, Re Zero.
    First episode: Horimiya, Mushoju tensei, Spider, kakushi dungeon, Lasdan.

  • Ark noir says:

    World trigger will make me forget about Hellyear 2020.

  • NeclordX says:

    During years I asked for more medieval fantasy shows and we got Isekai. I regret it, the monkey paw didn’t bite my ass so hard before.

  • Leave a Reply to The Phantom

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