Spring Anime Rundown and Decorative Brownie Intervention

March 28th, 2022

I miss the magical girlfriend era.

Another season, another plurality of shows about being reincarnated with cheat powers. Now with extra idols and extra sports. Not exactly my favorite things, though as I glance over the list again, it is curiously devoid of any drama, even in the sequels. As usual, the list below doesn't include any sequels, and rest assured, there are certainly things like Shield Hero, Love Live, Komi, and Kaguya. Also, Date a Live is still getting new seasons somehow? Not as mystifying as Strike the Blood, but I wouldn't have picked that for getting the never-ending LN adaptation treatment. Onward to the suffering.

Remember That Season With Only One Idol Show?

Party Boy Koumei
https://paripikoumei-anime.com/
Studio: PA Works
Genre: Idols
Premieres March 31st

Show Premise: 
Zhuge Liang is transported to the present day to be the roommate/manager of a struggling idol.

Random Thoughts:
The manga this is based on wastes little time in getting the girl naked in the shower, and then a few pages later, changing again. I think that it's supposed to be a comedy, but the jokes are things like "my boss is scary… HE'S A ROMANCE OF THE THREE KINGDOMS FANBOY!?" It is certainly in no way, shape, or form any kind of critique or parody of idol crap. You probably could do something like that, turning the cutthroat and exploitative idol business into warfare, but this ain't that. Nary a chapter can go by without marveling at the wondrousness of how the girl is trying her best and is an inspiration to us all. Just like every goddamned other idol show, but with one dude who is dressed in a silly hat.

Preseason Swing Rating: 
   
How about some east-west gang wars?

Healer Girl
https://healer-girl.jp/
Studio: Studio 3Hz
Genre: Drama maybe?
Premieres April 4th

Show Premise: 
Girls are healers. And sing too, probably.

Random Thoughts:
An original show, and not one that's making understanding it an easy task. The promo is largely just smiling girls dressed in weird ritual clothes, about probably half the time singing with various magical effects poofing around them, but there are a few shots here and there of what appear to be one falling into a volcano or summoning a small army of clones that menacingly go flying off. I'm willing to assume that's just a weird moment and it will be the banal "girls try their best, and are also sort of magical and that heals people" thing that it is screaming out that it is. Not boldly breaking any new ground here. 'Original,' my ass.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

You heal more with fanservice than big ribbons.

Becoming a Heroine! The Unpopular Heroine and Her Secret Job
https://honeyworks-tvanime.com/
Studio: Lay-duce
Genre: Drama
Premieres April 7th

Show Premise: 
Girl manages a boy band.

Random Thoughts:
Astonishingly, despite the ginormous title, this is based on some dumb vocaloid thing. And I mean DUMB. Even for harem J-pop. It's literally just a song about a girl doing her best, dreaming about getting married, doing her best, dreaming about being Cinderella, doing her best, your friends are actually backstabbing haters, do your best. You think I'm joking? I promise you, I'm not. Girl power! Good lord. 

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Still no DJ shows?

Cheat Power Reincarnation is the New Incest

The Executioner Girl's Virgin Road
http://virgin-road.com/
Studio: JC Staff
Genre: Adventure
Premieres April 1st

Show Premise: 
People from other worlds are executed because the powers they gain are too dangerous. An executioner has to kill an unkillable summoned girl. They become besties.

Random Thoughts:
The first of the far-too-many light novel reincarnation with cheat powers for this season. I guess the promo's not awful, but it's not brimming with action either. Or much of anything at all, except that there are fantasy girls and zero dudes to be seen anywhere. It's a newbie director, about 90% of what the writer in charge has done is Food Wars, and JC Staff's time in the sun has long passed. The promos are mostly just close ups of people's faces, so… well, here's another fantasy show with cheat powers.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

An inedible bouquet of mostly potpourri.

The World of Girl Games is a Cruel World For an NPC
https://mobseka.com/
Studio: ENGI
Genre: Not Really Action
Premieres April 3rd

Show Premise: 
Dude is reincarnated into a world ruled by women based on a game he played as a minor NPC.

Random Thoughts:
Here's our first of an entire goddamned parade of "cheat powers dude standing in the middle of harem" promo images. Marvel in the sheer variety. Anyway, as is obviously obvious from the premise, this is about a dude going to magical mecha school where they fight to overthrow the tyrannical matriarchy, while we're meant to root for a sadist who immediately amasses his own personal harem through largely misogyny and having the cheat power of knowing all the plot twists in advance. Yeah, that whole "based on a girl game" thing? We aren't married to that concept at all. Leaving us with another light novel reincarnation story about having cheat powers and using them to crush uppity women and handsome men who don't know their rightful place at your feet and/or as part of the harem. Oh boy.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

One feral llama.

I'm Quitting Being a Hero – My New Workplace is the Overlord's Castle
https://yuuyame.com/
Studio: EMT Squared
Genre: Adventure
Premieres April 5th

Show Premise: 
See title.

Random Thoughts:
Yes, the hero is kicked out of humanville because he is Just Too Strong. Yes, the overlord is a fanservice girl. Yes, he amasses a harem. I guess at least it isn't a slave harem and he didn't reincarnate into his powers. Good lord, how far we have fallen. The promos are as half-assed as you'd expect from EMT Squared, Kumax3 Bear/Assassin's Pride being their 'highlight reel.' Maybe it's a throwback to a couple years ago where there were 2-3 of these "the demon lord… is shipped with the hero!?" a season. Now? It just makes me feel tired.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Please do not make have sex with the animals.

The Greatest Overlord in History is Reincarnated as Villager A
https://murabito-a-anime.com/
Studio: Silver Link
Genre: Exhausting Me
Premieres April 6th

Show Premise: 
See title.

Random Thoughts:
This is another one of those "I want to be average. Oh no! What I thought was average is super overpowered!" Oh well, time to just be a generic cheat magic reincarnation show again and have this now effectively 50+ year old pretend to be a teenager, go to high school, and start a harem. That's totally not creepy in any way. The promos are completely indistinguishable from the three or four other shows in the last couple years with this exact premise and all they have in the way of action is some generic magical explosions. Please stop making this exact show, Japan. Please.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Stop. Making. This. Tripe. Japan.

Skeleton Knight, Now Off into Another World
https://skeleton-knight.com/
Studio: Studio KAI
Genre: Paining Me
Premieres April 7th

Show Premise: 
Dude is transported into an MMO as his character, but he was wearing a skeleton skin at the time.

Random Thoughts:
Do you even need to ask if he was the ultimate strongest character with max stats in everything and whatnot? And he's a big ol' CGI armor golem. But wait, it gets even worse. About the only thing animated in the promo for it is a girl getting pinned down and having the clothes ripped off her by attempted rapists while she cries and struggles, and then them getting cut in half. You get one guess as to which section of that sentence gets the lion's share of the screen time. The standard harem of supposedly persecuted demihuman girls quickly follows. Come watch our show. It's just like thirteen other shows in the last six months, but more easily mistaken for rape porn than some.

Preseason Swing Rating: 
  
About the same animation quality.

Boy Meets Girl, Starts Fake Relationship

Aharen is Indecipherable
https://aharen-pr.com/
Studio: Felix Film
Genre: Comedy
Premieres April 1st

Show Premise: 
See title.

Random Thoughts:
Basically the exact same as Komi, except with the drama cranked down to almost zero along with the noise level. Is that a good trade? I don't know. It also considers itself some form of comedy, but all the jokes are just stating that she's standing too close, or that she is not walking the dog, the dog is walking her. We're not breaking the comedy bank here. Maybe it's executed well enough. I think about shows like Place to Place that were saccharine enough, but maybe there was just something in the water back then.

Preseason Swing Rating: 
  
Mostly harmless, though will slobber.

Love Comes After World Conquest
https://koiseka-anime.com/
Studio: Project No.9
Genre: Comedy
Premieres April 8th

Show Premise: 
A hero and villain are secretly dating.

Random Thoughts:
Not exactly blowing the world away with the creativity of this premise, and again, I feel like it's a throwback to when this setup was all the rage half a decade ago, but I guess it's an attempt to do an actual relationship. Hopefully it will remember to actually be a parody a little more (ie, any) than Kenshin Blader last season did. The promos definitely were not flexing any animation muscles though, and the if it follows the source, the relationship will be struggling to get even to holding hands. Kissing or the like? Pfft. Gotta save something for the ending of the series.

Preseason Swing Rating: 
 
Time for this dance again.

SPY X FAMILY
https://spy-family.net/
Studio: Cloverworks
Genre: Action
Premieres April 9th

Show Premise: 
A spy, an assassin, and a telepath pretend to be a family as cover, with only the telepath knowing their secrets.

Random Thoughts:
Not the best animated promo I've seen, but the competition this season is not fierce. This does come from Jump, but largely goes for understated jokes rather than constant screaming overreactions, which is far more palatable, though the kid does nothing but mugging for the camera. Still, I would have liked to see more focus on the spy and assassin sides, both in the promos and the manga. The director (Dororo/Rurouni Kenshin OVAs) is certainly capable of it, assuming CloverWorks doesn't crap the bed again on the production side like they did with Wonder Egg and 24th Ward at least. Considering the rest of the season, this definitely starts with a big leg up.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Nobody can penetrate my cover.

Shikimori's Not Just Cute
https://shikimori-anime.com/
Studio: Dogakobo
Genre: Drama
Premieres April 9th

Show Premise: 
See title.

Random Thoughts:
The manga is exceedingly formulaic. The formless blob that is the protagonist announces that his titular girlfriend is cute. Something happens. It puts up an overly detailed 'serious' close-up of her face. Then it announces that she's cool too. The promo is actually a perfect depiction of the typical chapter… except edited massively down. It's pretty much a four panel type deal, except stretched out to four pages each time instead. And like the other 'dating' things, the relationship is not to go beyond holding hands and/or blushing, let alone actually do any genuine relationship things. If you're just sticking to the barest superficialities, there's only so much you can do.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Shagolath is not just full of teeth.

Cuckoo's Fiancee
https://cuckoos-anime.com/
Studio: Shin-Ei Animation
Genre: Comedy
Premieres April 23rd

Show Premise: 
Teenagers switched at birth are forced to live together by their parents to get married.

Random Thoughts:
And of course this is quickly followed up by the step sister who wants to bang him also moving in, then the local shrine maiden, then an idol. Yeah, it is not a relationship thing in any sense, just a run of the mill half-assed harem without the zany slapstick of the 90s/00s that used to be the thing done to death. Now, it would feel kind of quaint to have some over the top violence instead of a sad sack having a panic attack over being touched while a bevy of supermodels gravitate to him because of how much of a Nice Guy he is.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Oh no. Attractive girls.

Dramatic Teenagers Play Games Dramatically

Love All Play
https://love-all-play.com/
Studio: OLM
Genre: Drama
Premieres April 2nd

Show Premise: 
Boys play badminton.

Random Thoughts:
What's with the multiple badminton shows lately? There's hardly even any badminton in the promos, because the sport doesn't matter. There's a dude standing in the wind talking about how this is the spring of his youth and he's gonna try his best. My god, that cliche turns to dust in my mouth at this point. Play badminton to spite your abusive father or save the orphanage at least. Or switch out the birdie for a knife. Now that'd be a sport.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Or whatever this is supposed to be an animation of.

Fanfare of Adolescence
https://fanfare-anime.com/
Studio: Lay-duce
Genre: Drama
Premieres April 2nd

Show Premise: 
Boys are jockeys.

Random Thoughts:
The main thing that you should take from the promos of this show is that animating horses is hard. So hard that they're not even going to try. Here's some footage of actual horses. The anime? Well, here's a boy standing in the wind, declaring that he's going to do his best. …Are you trying to irritate me, anime industry? It's working. It's an original, and if all they're going to give me is footage of actual horses, it's not screaming runaway hit.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

At least make it dinosaur polo.

Friend Game
https://tomodachi-anime.com/
Studio: Okuroto Noboru
Genre: Drama
Premieres April 5th

Show Premise: 
A group of people in debt are forced to play games.

Random Thoughts:
Wow. What a unique premise and name. Certainly nothing like Darwin's Game, King's Game, or Squid Game, to say nothing of shows without "game" in their title like Kaiji or Danganronpa. This one doesn't even have a special gimmick like super powers or all the participants being the Ultimate Adjective Noun. Sure, maybe it actually executes well, but the source is apparently not a bloody slaughterfest, and copying its predecessors right down to the dumb mascot thing is not a promising way to advertise itself.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

As untrustworthy as a square pizza.

BIRDIE WING: Golf Girls' Story
https://birdie-wing.net/
Studio: Bandai Namco Pictures
Genre: Drama
Premieres April 5th

Show Premise: 
Girls play golf.

Random Thoughts:
Can't we at least Happy Gilmore this? Some kind of crazy lunatic making poop jokes and actually kind of hating golf? No? Just a regular golf show with CGI balls and girls pointing at each other, declaring this is a very serious match, which is good, because they are very serious rivals for a very serious sport. Like golf. Golf.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

But seriously, why?

Dance Dance Danseur
https://danseur-anime.com/
Studio: MAPPA
Genre: Drama
Premieres April 8th

Show Premise: 
Teenagers do ballet.

Random Thoughts:
I haven't seen character designs this lanky since Clamp made shows where people were 75% leg. The protagonist was bullied into quitting ballet because ballet is for girls, so he learned karate instead, but then meets a ballerina and rediscovers his true dream. Mappa is definitely flexing some animation muscles in the promos, but it's still a sports drama about a dude overcoming the trauma of being teased literally one time with all the same visual cliches and ticks that are also present in the golf, badminton, and jockey shows this season. Definitely looking like the best animated one of the bunch though, and one of the better animated shows of the season overall, depressingly.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

More frames than it needs or probably deserves.

Blue Foot
https://aoashi-pr.com/
Studio: Production IG
Genre: Drama
Premieres April 9th

Show Premise: 
Dudes play soccer.

Random Thoughts:
Yes, the title should probably be left as "Aoashi," which is an abbreviation of the protagonist's name, but I find an overly literal translation much more amusing. This positions itself as a 'realistic' sports story, meaning that everybody's super melodramatic and there's only a little bit of super powers rather than lots. You can't do a sports anime without magical super powers after all. So realistic.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Beware the all-seeing eye of futbol.

Being Weird and Creepy About Prepubescent Girls

Deaimon
https://deaimon.jp/
Studio: Encourage Films
Genre: Comedy
Premieres April 6th

Show Premise: 
Dude returns home to take over the family restaurant only to learn his parents want to give it to a ten year old abandoned orphan they took in.

Random Thoughts:
The title is a pun that I don't want to try to translate. Mix up "first encounter" and "seasonal food" in some witty way. This certainly thinks of itself as a drama-comedy, but Japanese media doesn't have the best track record with stories focusing on 20 somethings winning over prepubescent girls, especially by badgering and harassing them. The comedy is also not great, even when it's not waffling between telling a crossdressing character "You do you" and "Look at me! A dude in a dress! Hilarious!"

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Just throw kids in a basket and let Satan sort 'em out, I say.

A Wage Slave Wants to be Healed By a Little Ghost Girl
https://shachikusan.com/
Studio: Project No.9
Genre: Comedy
Premieres April 7th

Show Premise: 
See title.

Random Thoughts:
I guess at least everybody is female in this show, so it's not as creepy as any of those where a girl moves in with a random dude and becomes his de facto servant-wife. But is it really? It's still a show about a bunch of supernatural children desperate to please their masters where every punchline is declaring that one of this spirits/cats/whatevers is cute. Explicitly, masters. Sure, guys. Very emotional and comedic. Whatever you say.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Do this with a severed eye and maybe we'll talk.

In the Heart of Kunoichi Tsubaki
https://kunoichi-tsubaki.com/
Studio: Cloverworks
Genre: Comedy
Premieres April 9th

Show Premise: 
Ninja girls have never seen a boy and are horny.

Random Thoughts:
The manga is by the same dude as Teasing Whatsit Takagi, and has about the same pacing. Most chapters have one of them saying something like "Boys are weak to cuteness," and then the rest will be all of them blushing and squirming about how to be cute. Boys peep on baths. Boys can be seduced. Etc. Not so much engaging in any kind of jokes about weird misunderstandings as things like Vandread did, more just thin excuses for the characters to blush over the thought of boys. Over and over and over again.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Boys like bouncing boobies.

Onipan!
https://onipan.com/
Studio: Studio Wit
Genre: Comedy
Premieres April 11th

Show Premise: 
Oni girls use their underwear to rehabilitate the reputation of onis.

Random Thoughts:
…What. No, seriously. What. This is an original show too, so there's no further explanation or understanding to be had. The first promos was 15 seconds of them brandishing their underwear declaring that this is a story of friendship and underwear. Uh, right. The second was longer, and featured some weirdly overanimated CGI-enhanced parkour, but that just raises more questions than it answers. I have no idea. 

Preseason Swing Rating: 

A very dangerous game of What's In the Box.

…And Obligatory Fantasy Catch-all

RPG Real Estate
https://rpg-rs.jp/
Studio: Dogakobo
Genre: Comedy-ish
Premieres April 6th

Show Premise: 
Girls are real estate agents. In fantasy land.

Random Thoughts:
A four panel affair, which means, of course, that it's about 90% girls making silly faces. And the source is especially fanservice heavy, with one girl who wants to be naked and to strip others, another whose costume is basically just four belts, and not even a dozen pages before they're all in the bath for no particular reason. But at least nobody is reincarnated and/or has cheat powers. It's the little victories.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Do they fight The Murderlator? No? Pass.

The Dawn of the Witch
https://www.tbs.co.jp/anime/reimeiki/
Studio: Tezuka Productions
Genre: Action
Premieres April 7th

Show Premise: 
Dude with amnesia goes to magic high school.

Random Thoughts:
This is technically a spinoff of Grimoire of Zero, but it shares none of the staff or studio, and is a new cast as the main characters (though the old ones are hanging around), so I'm being generous and not spiting it from the "no sequels/spinoffs" rule. Not to spoil anything, but the main character has unlimited power. Because we can't make a fantasy show any more without that. The promo is terribly animated, but somehow compares favorably to the previous outing of this dude's light novels. Maybe after five more, they'll reach the level of "barely adequate." Hopefully this one has slightly less sitting in a circle and chatting, because I was so bored by the first go round that I used a post to talk about a random porn game I didn't like instead. Don't tempt me to do it again.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

80% too furry.

This Healer is a Pain in the Ass
https://kono-healer-anime.com/
Studio: Jumondou
Genre: Comedy
Premieres April 10th

Show Premise: 
See title.

Random Thoughts:
The manga for this actually isn't that bad. There is the standard overreaction shouting, but a fair bit of deadpan snark as well, not to mention genre savviness without paragraphs explaining that it's an RPG, just assuming the audience understands the tropes it's making fun of. Well, referencing them at least. The promos do unfortunately signal that they'll be playing up the screaming, which is what I'd expect of the director of Koihime/Mangirl, and aren't the best animated out there. It is only one of two fantasy show in this entire season where nobody has cheat powers. They're all completely hapless and helpless. What a subversion. …Somehow.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Slimy, yet somehow classy.

Summertime Render
https://summertime-anime.com/
Studio: OLM
Genre: Thriller
Premieres April 14th

Show Premise: 
Dude returns home for a friend's funeral only to discover an invasion of murderous shadow clones.

Random Thoughts:
The promos are playing it pretty close to the vest, but the source is quite the gory affair with giant shadow monsters messily jam-ifying people with regularity. There's also a time loop every time he dies, and he dies frequently and gruesomely, but the manga always makes sure to fit in a naked girl and some terrible fanservice somewhere, and there's not the same kind of wallowing that put me off Re:Zero so much, at least at the start. It is a Jump thing, but does seem to clip right along with an established ending and plenty of knives, shotguns, hatchets, etc to the face to keep things spicy. The time loop does diminish the weight of things it a little, but given how the rest of this season looks? I expect I'll take it and gladly.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

W̵̾ͅË̷̦ ̷̜̂H̵͔͆U̸͉̓Ǹ̸͕G̴͚͐E̶̩͐R̷͉͑

Closing:

At least there are a few things that look a bit intriguing, though I hate that they're Jump things, which brings a plethora of their own issues. It's crazy to think back to all the VN harem adaptations we used to get and how it's all RPG cheat power shows now. At least for those, they usually tried to have some kind of gimmick and stand apart, and each character was meant to have some kind of arc instead of it being all about how overpowered the one awful protagonist is. Kids today, I tell you. Anyway, there's still Tokyo 24's ending to suffer through and then the new season kicks off on Thursday with idols. Can't wait.

Posted in Season Preview | 6 Comments »

6 Shouts From the Peanut Gallery

  • LUNI_TUNZ says:

    Shikkimori and Spy x Family are two i keep hearing about, so those are the ones I’m ateast in for an episode or two of.

    Also, there was a DJ show a couple years back. It started in the middle of the season, and it’s a promotion for a gacha game.

  • Fede says:

    The romcoms about an introverted potato boy who reacts to an outgoing annoying girl is the “new isekai”.

    • Aroduc says:

      I think isekais need to start going away in any shape or form before something can be declared the new anything.

      • Fede says:

        I say this because not only do they release one or two new ones per season but they are the center of attention, in the previous season all people did not stop talking about “my dress-up darling”, while the new isekai never listened to no one comment on these

  • Kitsu says:

    Boy meets girl is Now: “Bait for lonely dudes who get no bitches and stack no paper”

    it’s that damn takagi-san’s fault for reviving that gross relationship between an idiot and a cool girl.

    I have to see to it that he dies once and for all >:(

  • Anonymous says:

    The Greatest Overlord in History is Reincarnated as Villager A

    Its like anus voildgold has been reborn yet again but this time he is autistic in a different way

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