Souffle Collapsing Ceremony and Overdue Winter Season Rundown

January 4th, 2022

…I thought I posted this last week.

I did mean to post this last Thursday, which was already delayed, but my holiday vacation was completely obliterated by this stupid log4j garbage. The stuff I work on isn't affected, but I work in install tech, so a bunch of people we supply things for were, which meant that goddamned everything was on complete fire for about a week straight before Christmas with all manner of nonsense while only piecemeal teams were even around. That plus regular holiday family stuff (the joys of libertarian-curious crazy extended family members, and two year olds who literally never stop screaming coming to town cannot be understated) made me pretty much disconnect from internet things for a while.

Welcome to a very dramatic winter season, and I am not a drama fan. As usual, the below are only new shows, and this is a season where all the usual decent studios are doing sequels. Attack on Titan, Demon Slayer, Takagi, uh… Vanitas? Bones, why? Ranking of Kings yet continues after taking last week off, for all its nonsense, and Princess Connect is resuming on the 11th, which I did finish the first season of, though was pretty tired of by the end of it since it spent most of the time doing intros and never actually moving forward with goddamned thing with anything, a trend I'm especially sick of after last season was almost nothing but that. We shall see though. Hopefully something surprises me, but I'm not holding my breath.

16-20 Year Old World Leaders Incorporated

Tokyo 24th Ward
https://tokyo24project.com/
Studio: Cloverworks
Genre: Drama
Premieres January 5th

Show Premise: 
Three dudes are called by a dead girl to, uh… do something?

Random Thoughts:
Despite having a nearly identical title to an upcoming BL game, this is original and apparently totally unrelated, though given the trio of pointy-chinned pretty boy protagonists, may also be BL. It's hard to tell. One of them has magic science eyes and is a part time vigilante while another is part of a gang of street artists? There's little to go on, though the animation director apparently hates the show and has been gaining infamy by ranting about how much a disaster its production has been, so it's already provided me more amusement than a lot of these shows will.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Totally radical home slice.

Packed Up: A Police Box Woman's Counterattack
https://hakozume-anime.com/
Studio: Madhouse
Genre: Drama
Premieres January 5th

Show Premise: 
A woman who works in a police box is about to quit when she's assigned a new partner.

Random Thoughts:
Also known as “Police in a Pod.” Counterattack, in this case, if it follows the source manga, is learning to do her job and that it's actually rewarding to be a police officer. I would say read the room and now ain't the time for cop propaganda, but even that would be giving this too much credit. All of its stories are things like they have to direct traffic, and somebody yells at them, but then they help a kid across the street. At its height, they're chasing shoplifters, or finding out that the local runaway is being abused by her stepfather, and when even manga reviewers are complaining that the stories might be a little too mundane, you know you're… not in for any time at all.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

The stately majesty of one capybara.

Requiem of the Rose King
https://baraou-anime.com/
Studio: JC Staff
Genre: Drama
Premieres January 9th

Show Premise: 
A retelling of the War of the Roses, centered on an intersex Richard III.

Random Thoughts:
Loosely, VERY loosely based on Henry VI Pt3. Yes, the Shakespeare play. I honestly don't know how to take that. The promos are full of rock-still pointy chinned pretty boys staring dramatically against brooding backgrounds. I'm not exactly drawn in, not even by the shot of one of them grabbing Dick III's crotch. I feel like it's also worth mentioning that this has a spinoff called King of Idol where they go to high school, which says a lot, and none of it good.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Why not juggle all the plates at once?

The Genius Prince's Guide to Raising a Nation Out of Debt – I Know, We'll Sell the Country
https://tensaiouji-anime.com/
Studio: Yokohama Animation Lab
Genre: Drama
Premieres January 11th

Show Premise: 
See title.

Random Thoughts:
Christ, dude. Even for atrocious light novel titles, this one is a goddamned mess. If you remember that “Realist Hero” thing (which is also getting a sequel this season), this is that again, but without the reincarnation angle. I can't help but wonder if Japanese politicians should start being worried about the popularity of these light novels/shows about how any old teenager could run the world perfectly if only they were made king. But given the rise of authoritarianism in the west, it's not like we should be pointing fingers either. 

Preseason Swing Rating: 

The slave wife harem is always the fun surprise inside.

Love of Kill
https://love-of-kill.com/
Studio: Platinum Vision
Genre: Drama
Premieres January 12th

Show Premise: 
She's a bounty hunter. He's an assassin. They date.

Random Thoughts:
Originally known as “I Wanted to Read a Manga About an Assassin Couple in Love so I Started Drawing One” in its web incarnation, which I think reflects everything one might want to know about it. I guess at least the promos have some guns and knives, but all the 'action' is close ups of hands or guns shooting, and since Platinum Vision has yet to make anything that didn't look like it was animated with a budget from the couch cushions, that doesn't shock me. The story is also apparently ridiculous soap opera stuff; everybody has amnesia and a secret second life but is going by a third name of their mentor's alternate identity and such. What fun.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

I KNOW HOW TO TITLE THINGS. TITLE. TITLE.

Reincarnation in RPG Land, Part Seventy Nine

The World of Leadale
https://leadale.net/
Studio: Maho Film
Genre: Speedlines
Premieres January 5th

Show Premise: 
Dying girl plays MMO. Dies and is reincarnated as her character.

Random Thoughts:
You'd never guess it, but she was a super master of the game with the special skill of having unlimited power and a bunch of adult 'kids' who unconditionally love her as automatically parts of her platonic non-harem harem. What a twist on the formula that hasn't been seen since Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear, Make Me Average, I Killed Slimes For A Hundred Years, I Put All My Points in Defense, and god only knows how many other of these goddamned things there have been. Promos sucked, unless you love speedlines. Throw it in the pile with the rest of its ilk.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

W-W-Wait, so she's a g-g-g-ghost!?

The World's Strongest Sage Reincarnated Himself to Become Even Stronger
https://shikkakumon.com/
Studio: JC Staff
Genre: Action
Premieres January 8th

Show Premise: 
See title.

Random Thoughts:
The title actually only begins to cover the horribleness, so let's dig deeper. Everyone has a magical bit on their body that determines their magical power level and type of power level. His is all in on smarts in a world that only cares about raw power. So he reincarnates to a few centuries later to get one that's all power, except now the world thinks power sucks and has forgotten smarts is a thing at all, so he goes from being the weakest-but-actually-strongest to being the weakest-but-strongest-but-double-strongest. And I am already tired of this goddamned show. Yes, there is also a slave harem.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Why is nobody ever reincarnated as a pirate?

She Professed Herself Pupil of the Wise Man
https://kendeshi-anime.com/
Studio: Studio A-CAT
Genre: Action
Premieres January 11th

Show Premise: 
A top wizard of an MMO changes his character to be a girl and then gets reincarnated as her.

Random Thoughts:
You know those spider and slime reincarnation things? This is that, again, but an MMO instead of a monster, and with extra points put into trashy T&A. It still quickly spirals out of control as it reveals everybody is some reincarnatee and the whole thing is some over-complicated magical entropy machine set up by dragon alien vampires or something. I don't know. My eyes glazed over as I tried to comprehend, and yet, I feel like I learned more than enough. The promos are especially poorly produced with almost comically low-poly CGI too. But people keep eating this garbage up, so they're going to keep making more of it.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

I professed myself the third strongest mole.

With an Old Man Reincarnated as a Fantasy Pretty Girl
https://fabiniku.com/
Studio: Oriental Lights and Magic
Genre: Comedy
Premieres January 11th

Show Premise: 
See title.

Random Thoughts:
Old man here meaning both dudes are in their early thirties, which really nails down the age of the intended audience. The gag is that he-she has infinite charisma so attracts everybody, and he has infinite power but only when he gets a boner from him-her, but actual romance? That would be crazy! They're both guys! What a hilarious romantic comedy, the promo confidently declares repeatedly to my skepticism. I think we can consider this a win if it at least manages to steer clear of making too many jokes about a dude being a girl.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

This cannot possibly end well.

Fantasy, Because Anime Should Have That Sometimes

ORIENT
https://orient-anime.jp/
Studio: ACGT
Genre: Action
Premieres January 5th

Show Premise: 
Samurai are hated and demons idealized. Two dudes are samurai.

Random Thoughts:
By the same dude as Magi, but instead of Arabia with slave girl fanservice, it's two dudes in the Sengoku era. It's also ACGT animating it, which gives me pleasure not because they're a poor to mediocre studio, but it always reminds me that Seven of Seven was a show that existed. A monumentally baffling show about creating a harem out of a single girl, but also like Milky Holmes or Galaxy Angel where they decided that the source material sucked, they would give all the characters super powers, and eventually led to “What if the rainbow had, like, an eighth color that was NEGATIVE COLOR.” See? Just talking about it is fun. Anyway, animation in the promos sucked, screaming dudes, speedlines, yawn. We've been here too many times before.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Which character will have the power of "holds lots of weapons?"

Dolls' Frontline
https://gf-anime.com/
Studio: Asahi Production
Genre: Action
Premieres January 7th

Show Premise: 
After WW3's global apocalypse, robot girls continue to fight.

Random Thoughts:
Also known as “Girls Frontline,” but there's some copyright spat over the title, so it needed to be slightly rebranded, but not so much that they needed to register a different URL or change the Twitter feed's name, which makes you wonder what the point was. It appears to taking itself a lot more seriously than its other mobile game adaptation ilk like Azur Lane, KanColle, etc, but the promos are still pretty woeful from an action and animation perspective. Asahi is also pretty terrible, so I wouldn't expect much regardless.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Robot girls are last year. 2022 is sickly slime girls.

Miss Kuroitsu from the Monster Development Department
https://kuroitsusan-anime.com/
Studio: Quad
Genre: Comedy
Premieres January 8th

Show Premise: 
See title.

Random Thoughts:
Remember Heaven's Design Team a season or two back? Instead of being fun facts about animals, this is the same thing but in Power Rangers, endlessly talking about bureaucracy and how silly the monster designs are. Also, fanservice, because you have to work in a gender dysmophic wolf girl with exploding clothes somewhere, and why not the second chapter? Also, I'd be remiss if I didn't note that Softhouse Chara made this exact game 18 years ago. The premise is fine enough, but it doesn't do much more than the plainly obvious jokes in the source, and the promos are not high effort. Who even is Quad?

Preseason Swing Rating: 
 

Aren't we at least five years too late for monster girls?

Rust-Eater Bisco
https://sabikuibisco.jp/
Studio: OZ
Genre: Action
Premieres January 10th

Show Premise: 
A rust plague that people blame on mushrooms caused the apocalypse. Bisco is a pro-mushroom adventurer for anti-rust mushrooms.

Random Thoughts:
Despite all appearances of being one of those weird gimmicky Jump things, especially all the random giant CGI crab cavalry in the promos, this is actually a weird light novel thing, with an emphasis on weird, as if the two dudes kissing and then one pulling back a giant mealworm from the other's throat in the promos didn't make that obvious. It's supposed to be Mad Max meets Nausicaa according to its author, and that's another thing I'm not entirely sure how to take. Also, again, the crab cavalry. Are crabs really the most trainable animal you can find after the apocalypse?

Preseason Swing Rating: 
 

A randomly generated potpourri of mainly confusion.

Fantasia Sango
https://gensou-sangokushi.com/
Studio: Geek Toys
Genre: Action
Premieres January 10th

Show Premise: 
Chinese warriors fight the evil empire.

Random Thoughts:
This is a long-running Chinese RPG series that I don't know enough about and can't read enough Chinese to tell if it's based on any of them, and not sure what I'd have to say even if it was. It was also supposed to air a season ago but got pandemic'ed. The games do seem to basically be Suikoden in that they have a bazillion characters you go around recruiting, and look like they're two console generations behind in graphics and animations. It by all appearances seems to just be another generic unremarkable fantasy adventure thing though.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

A random walrus draws near!

The Club Corner For Boring People

Slow Loop
https://slowlooptv.com/
Studio: Conect
Genre: Drama
Premieres January 7th

Show Premise: 
Girls fish and are surprise stepsisters.

Random Thoughts:
I always find these “surprise stepsiblings” premises so bizarre. Your parents somehow found the time to date and get married without you not just not meeting this other person, but not even knowing their name or anything else at all until literally the day you move in together. Who lives like this? And yes, I know it's not restrained to anime. Thank you, Brady Bunch, Step by Step, or any number of awful Disney things. I can't remember the last one of this ilk that engaged me, and I don't see fishing being the secret spice that changes that.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Have you considered voodoo?

CUE!
https://cue-animation.jp/
Studio: Graphnica
Genre: Gacha
Premieres January 7th

Show Premise: 
Girls are voice actors.

Random Thoughts:
This is for all means and purposes just another idol thing to advertise an idol raising mobile game. If you're going to be advertising how there are thirty characters, all out there Doing Their Best™, the thing that they better be Doing Their Best™ at is putting a shiv into each others' necks, not carrying water for predatory idol agencies. Maybe it will be totally bonkers. Maybe there will be actually compelling character dramas. Maybe monkeys will fly right out of my butt.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

At least be stylish and have some rocking music for christ's sake.

Akebi's Sailor Uniform
https://akebi-chan.jp/
Studio: Cloverworks
Genre: Drama
Premieres January 8th

Show Premise: 
Akebi wants to wear a sailor uniform and make friends. She does.

Random Thoughts:
What the kids call a “healing story,” but what I inevitably call boring as sin because actual character development, story progression, humor, these are all very difficult things to do when you are dedicated to never having any serious conflicts, tribulations, or change. But you do have very detailed art and images of girls that are faintly glowing with the effervescence of teenage wonder or whatever. Except that it's Cloverworks, so you're going to get three or four episodes of that before the production woes take over. Maybe sooner because they're doing an assload of shows this season.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

If you think it's hard to make friends at 15 in school, wait until you're 30.

The Bisque Doll Fell In Love
https://bisquedoll-anime.com/
Studio: CloverWorks
Genre: Drama
Premieres January 8th

Show Premise: 
Boy wants to be a dollmaker. Girl wants to cosplay.

Random Thoughts:
Also known as “My Dress Up Darling” in English. A tired premise if ever there was one that has had iterations in everything from gag harem to weepy melodrama. This is of the uplifting drama flavor where every single person is supportive and positive, there are never any real conflicts, and the only drama is overcoming random hangups from singular encounters at indeterminate points in the past and learning to believe in yourself. Crap. I just spoiled the first eight arcs. Oh well. Guess I don't need to subject myself to it then.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Fashion is dead, baby.

Sasaki and Miyano
https://sasamiya.com/
Studio: Studio DEEN
Genre: Drama
Premieres January 9th

Show Premise: 
Sasaki is gay. Miyano is also gay, but not as much. They read gay manga.

Random Thoughts:
If it sounds like I'm being flippant, it's because I absolutely am. I guess you could say that a positive thing is that this takes more of the bend of any generic hobby THING instead of the more traditional fetishization of gay people along with all the creepy predatory cliches that go along with it, but that still leaves you with a generic banal drama with the occasional gag and teasing will they won't they for the next six volumes with nothing more dramatic than a sneeze ever coming up, but instead of random infodumps about knitting, or interpretive dance, or post cards, or whatever, it's comments on gay manga. 

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Bottled up tighter than the deku princess.

The Same Thing As the Above, But Sports

Futsal Boys!!!!!
https://futsalboys.com/
Studio: Diomedea
Genre: Drama
Premieres January 9th

Show Premise: 
Boys play futsal.

Random Thoughts:
Yes, that is the correct number of exclamation points. Futsal is an actual sport, but it's basically just indoor soccer with a slightly smaller ball and a smaller field, so I'm not sure what the actual point is. Both of it and the anime. Well, the anime I'm sure so it can spend approximately 50% of the time reviewing the minutia of the sport and all the slight differences in its rules. For all means and purposes, it's Yet Another Soccer show, and unless we're going full Shaolin Soccer, or at the very least, Touhou Soccer, I can't imagine being interested.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Maybe if the balls were alive and thirsting for revenge…

Tribe Nine
https://tribenine.tokyo/anime/
Studio: Lidenfilms
Genre: Drama?
Premieres January 10th

Show Premise: 
Gangs fight in techno-baseball for control over Neo-Tokyo.

Random Thoughts:
…Uh, okay. This is some whole franchise thing made mostly to promote a mobile game that isn't out yet, and there's not a whole lot to see or know except that it involves EXTREME BASEBALL. I don't know what makes it extreme. Maybe just that the Danganronpa dude is involved and using the same character designs as he always does. Which doesn't seem all that EXTREME to me. Seems pretty standard. The baseballs are also electrified I guess? Maybe they explode? It's no blernsball at any rate.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Maybe they're filled with delicious sentient chocolate animals.

Ryman's Club
https://rymansclub.com/
Studio: Lidenfilms
Genre: Drama
Premieres January 22nd

Show Premise: 
Dudes play badminton.

Random Thoughts:
The big twist here is that they're 22 years old instead of being in high school. It's also original, and, uh… dudes who play badminton isn't much of a pitch. The thing I find the most amusing about the promos is that they still do the big impact effects and whatnot for hitting the birdie. The whole point of badminton is that it's zippy and you're hitting something tiny with no weight or impact. But those aren't the cliches of sports anime, and we're not going to be changing our format or style for badminton

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Now make them play with hookshots.

Closing:

Yeeeeah, it's not looking like a great season. Maybe something will surprise me, but this season seems to be all in on the sequels. I guess that one End of the World Harem thing that got delayed after its first episode is actually starting for real as well, but having already watched the first episode, I think I've seen enough of that. Maybe I'll just hibernate and consign the blog to a slow death as streamers watching anime on Twitch and Twitter continue to take over. All hail new media. See you in a week tomorrow for some goddamned dramas.

Posted in Season Preview | 8 Comments »

8 Shouts From the Peanut Gallery

  • NeclordX says:

    Like always I wouldn’t be as mad as all those isekai if at least the characters gone out there and had some adventures instead of sitting in a town and everything gawing at how amazing they are at solving mundane problems.

    And like always, at least there seem to be some actual fantasy mixed here and there. I never thought I would say this, but now I miss battle school harems. At least they always came with some sort of crazy setting or indulged us with some technomagic instead of all these copy-paste generic fantasy worlds.

    • Aroduc says:

      I’ve missed them for a while. Enough that I’ve been tempted on occasion to go back and revisit things like… I don’t know… Asterisk? That I passed over for being too trashy at the time.

      The staying power of these isekai RPG things is disheartening.

  • residentgrigo says:

    Pirate Isekai IS a market gap. Did I just summon a One Piece Isekai? City Hunter and Lupin got one…

    • Aroduc says:

      There’s no ninja isekai either, though there were a buttload of sengoku era isekai in its nascent phase during the time of “all historical figures reimagined as teenage girls,” which is pretty adjacent.

      • Brandon Cliss says:

        Reminds me of the time I used to joke of new titles with a friend.

        “No Matter How I See It, It’s You Guys Fault I Can’t Japan!”

  • Brandon Cliss says:

    Funny you mention Galaxy Angel, obviously you must be referring to it’s VN source. I recall reading some time ago that when Broccoli had a contract with Madhouse to work on the series and between animations to it’s game franchise, that it was intended to coincide with each other. Inevitable the software they were working on the games and some delays so they adopted for an adoption decay of the highest calibre.
    For myself prefer it such a way, there be little for me to bother with reading when you’ve covered third of the source or whatever. Who knows, maybe by 7 years time when it’s not deemed safe enough to venture outside because the degrees of temperature aren’t right I might get round to it.

    Though this has digressed for anything airing this season. “Bisque Doll” was one my guesses for whatever gyaru manga might have got an adaption. Was this or “Yancha Gal”. Though I certainly wouldn’t mind “Koisuru Yankee Girl” to have a 10 minute viewing

  • The Phantom says:

    Most things here look godawful. Why not move to stream media, you dont have to look pretty for the camera just giving your opinion with the show as background is ok, is quite lucrative as well, and your opinion and knowledge is valuable.

    • Aroduc says:

      First, I am pretty.

      I tried video stuff a little bit with Material Brave/Princess Witches, but it takes a lot of time and I don’t know that there’s much of a space for that for short form anime stuff anyway. I won’t lie that I do feel pretty uninspired lately, both by recent shows and even game stuff. I would love to have a new translation project I’m genuinely excited about, but the trends in traditional games have been away from my tastes, while the mechanics and aesthics I prefer are being devoured by the mobile gaming space, which comes with its own massive bugbears.

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