Popcorn Clam Chowder and Next Season Rundown

December 28th, 2022

So much fantasy. So little originality.

After last season's oppressive fifteen sequels, this one has a much more restrained… fourteen, not even including the various toy shilling shows like Cardfight and Pretty Cure that get rebooted each winter, nor the CGI Trigun… remake? Alternate universe? Whatever you're calling it. Japan's approach to CGI shows hasn't gotten any less janky. Let's see the list:

Vinland Saga
Misfit of Demon King Academy
Tokyo Revengers
Stray Dogs
Nagatoro
All Points in Defense
In/Spectre
Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon
Grace of the Gods
Fruit of Evolution
Vampire Dies Fast
Tsurune
D4DJ
Orphen

Feel free to assume that I despise all of the above. In some cases, it's extremely true. Maybe I'll glance at the first episodes of some of those. Maybe not. This season is excessively loaded with fantasy, and even without the half dozen cheat power shows above, there are more than enough to still be a plague upon all things holy and decent. Let's get to what's new then, at least for some definition of 'new.'

Girls Fawning Over an Awkward Dude For No Reason

The Icy Guy and a Cool Lady Coworker
https://icpc-anime.com/
Studio: Zero-G
Genre: Comedy
Premieres January 3rd

Show Premise: 
See title.

Random Thoughts:
The first part of the title has a double meaning. He's part ice spirit, so he not only freezes up figuratively when a female pays any attention to him, but literally too! What a lark that is. The formula here is that the manga explains that he's an ice spirit, he tries to interact with her, she responds positively, he freaks out and freezes. This repeats every two to three pages like clockwork, each time jumping to some other situation, whether the setting is at work, looking at flowers, looking at cats, eating dinner, or what. It's not a romance for the ages, nor swinging for the fences with the humor.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Lower chance of mating than a panda.

Tomo's a Girl!
https://tomo-chan.jp/
Studio: Lay-duce
Genre: Comedy
Premieres January 4th

Show Premise: 
See title.

Random Thoughts:
Unlike the above the source here is a 4-panel deal, which means the jokes come approximately twice as fast, but all the jokes are "people treat her like she's a guy, but she is a girl!" Even that though is more "dude just treats her like he does everybody else." Suck it, gender equality and open communication. It's not even that she acts like a dude now. That's just something that has to be explained every other comic in case you forgot the premise. Or the title. Or just wanted to get ahead of the punchline.

Preseason Swing Rating: 
   
Sex appeal is a naked imp.

The Angel Next Door Spoils Me Rotten
https://otonarino-tenshisama.jp/
Studio: project No.9
Genre: Drama
Premieres January 7th

Show Premise: 
See title.

Random Thoughts:
Or to use its literally translated title, "Before I Realized it, The Angel Next Door Had Turned Me Into a Completely Useless Person," which I feel captures its schtick much better. Not even a manga, but a light novel series about… a girl who takes care of some dude for no real reason except to fulfill self-insert fantasies. Not a fox spirit or immortal idiot. No crazy shenanigans, twists, or things that might involve character development. Just yet another spontaneous… *ahem* waifu bit, because this is the new cloying fanservice since panty shots and walking in on girls in the bath has gone out of style. Is this better? Eh.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

bE n0t AfRaId

Kubo Won't Let Me Be a Nobody!
https://kubosan-anime.jp/
Studio: Pine Jam
Genre: Comedy
Premieres January 10th

Show Premise: 
See title.

Random Thoughts:
This is more like Takagi, or I suppose Nagatoro with less fetishism, in that the whole thing is just a girl flirting with a dude everybody else ignores. It's about 75% stupid faces and 25% excessively over-detailed blushing. Often, the dude barely even talks or responds. He just sits there making a stupid face, which really sells how important of a character he is in this entire charade. These things continue to just be sad to me. I miss the days of visual novel adaptations as the default pandering show. Those at least gave the girls some half-assed character arcs and frequently some kind of gimmick that was more than just trying to fail the Bechdel Test as fast and as hard as possible.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Banana for scale.

Kicked From the Party So I Got a Boner

Disillusioned Adventurers Will Somehow Save the World
https://www.ningenfushin-anime.jp/
Studio: Geek Toys
Genre: Comedy
Premieres January 3rd* (Abema, regular broadcasts start on the 10th)

Show Premise: 
See title.

Random Thoughts:
Yep. One of those "is strongest, but kicked from the party" things. Now with that being the backstory of the entire cast, all too awesome for their parties, now in a party together, where they can pursue their own dreams like… *checks PV* betting on lizard races, eating market food, and going to whore houses. This is quite the trashy thing. The girls are constantly being covered with 'slime' and/or having illustrations of from the perspective of their crotches, while the dudes' backstories are all being falsely accused of rape or merely being taken advantage of by evil gold digging women. Also, there's a modern day idol hanging around just to make sure that box is checked off. Don't expect adventuring or world saving either. The first novel apparently takes the entire thing to get through introducing them to the basics of dungeons. Oh boy. 

Preseason Swing Rating: 

I Was Forced To Join the Party Because I Have a Gun, coming soon.

Spy Room
https://spyroom-anime.com/
Studio: feel
Genre: Action
Premieres January 5th

Show Premise: 
Girls failing out of spy school are all put in the same class and assigned to suicide missions.

Random Thoughts:
This had a pre-air on the 24th, and is the biggest victim of a rewrite here, because the promos promise quite a bit of spy stuff, and the first episode had none whatsoever. Amazing, it apparently avoids all romance stuff with the teacher at all, although I also see that by the third novel, they've left industrial Germany and are on a tropical island, so minimal points for that. Each one has some singular specialty, like "good with poisons" or "distracts with boobs," so you certainly could do an Ocean's Eleven Seven out of the premise, but Feel is as mediocre as studios come, and again, the first episode was awful. I don't think Princess Principal, but with far worse animation and no story whatsoever is a big selling point. 

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Still beats going to baseball school.

Ippon Again!
https://ipponagain.com/
Studio: Bakken Record
Genre: Drama
Premieres January 8th

Show Premise: 
Girls do judo.

Random Thoughts:
I don't want to break down the multifaceted meanings behind the pun title, so let's just leave it the official. And sure, putting this in this category might be a stretch, but there ain't much in the drama, sports, or even "contains no magic" this season, and the protagonist wanted to quit judo after going viral for losing horribly, and now wants a boyfriend instead, so it fits well enough. Never mind that there are no named males in this world, so finding a boyfriend might be difficult. It is a sports thing, and not the kind that's too overly focused on actually participating in the sport. There are girls. They want to try their best. The actual subject matter is largely irrelevant.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

The only entertaining depiction of judo.

The New Relaxing Life of a Fired Dark Knight in His 30s
http://ankokuheishi-anime.com/
Studio: Encourage Films
Genre: Stupidity
Premieres January 7th

Show Premise: 
See title.

Random Thoughts:
This is one of the astonishingly stupider cheat power premises of the season. The dude grew up with demons, but was kicked out because he can't use magic, so he ends up in a human village where they do the whole sorting hat routine to discover what his innate stat distribution is, and it says that his power level is actually maximum in all human categories. Such zaniness! The promos for this are quite embarrassingly poorly made, but do feature a lot of cleavage. And the dedicated fanservice bait is constantly slamming his face into her chest for any and all reasons. I'm fairly certain that I can say with confidence that it's gonna be painful.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

An extremely poorly camoflagued mimic of garbage.

In Narnia With Only My Wits (and Cheat Powers)

The Magical Revolution of the Reincarnated Princess and the Genius Lady
https://tenten-kakumei.com/
Studio: diomedea
Genre: Action
Premieres January 4th

Show Premise: 
See title.

Random Thoughts:
The first episode aired about a month back. It had its moments, mostly when one of the two titular characters was thumbing her nose at people and stabbing wolves, but the other half of the title was tedious at best. It also downplayed both the reincarnation and that she was using magic which is different from magic… in some inexplicable way, but as far as cheat powers go, moving fast and flying badly are pretty minimal. Given that it's diomedea, the best of the animation may already be behind us. Still seems like a more palatable not-Atelier than many of the others that the anime industry has crapped out recently. From glancing at writeups of the source, the first two novels concern invasions of dragons and an infestation of vampires, so who knows? If she wears their heads as hats too, that's probably good enough.

Preseason Swing Rating: 
 
There isn't enough casual beheading lately.

Saving up 80,000 Gold In Another World For Retirement
https://roukin8-anime.com/
Studio: Felix Film
Genre: Comedy
Premieres January 7th

Show Premise: 
Magical cat gives girl power to travel between worlds. Wants to be rich.

Random Thoughts:
Also, immortality, because why not? She somehow hooks up with a mercenary outfit on Earth to teach her how to use guns so she can bring them to Narnia. Also, the entire mercenary outfit when one is needed to kill a dragon. I'm fairly certainly being able to leave whenever you want and come back with an entire PMC at the beck and call of a teenage girl counts as a cheat power. And if you can hire an entire PMC, retirement is probably covered. The promo is pretty bad, and also about a sixty second explanation of the entire premise, which the first episode will also no doubt review, so I'm already irritated with it.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Likely to learn a lesson about invasive species.

Handyman Saito in Another World
https://saitou-anime.com/
Studio: C2C
Genre: Comedy
Premieres January 8th

Show Premise: 
See title.

Random Thoughts:
Also had a pre-air that I was largely unimpressed by. It was extremely disjointed and half the jokes were just that the girl knight was too embarrassed to say she wants to do him for his mastery of being able to use a hammer. From glancing through the manga, it apparently eventually gets a bit more serious and story driven, but who knows if it'll get there, and it definitely doesn't have the animation chops to execute well even if it does. Also, there are quite a few more penis jokes. "This mushroom is great to suck on!" "Oh, lucky! You got one that discharged all over your face!" Which I'll admit, is probably a better joke than anything in the first episode, but I think it probably needs a bit more than once every 50 pages randomly becoming Oglaf-lite, which the anime isn't even doing apparently.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

No substitute for proper hydration.

In Narnia With God Mode On

Tsundere Villainess Lieselotte and Endo's Live Commentary and Kobayashi's Explanations
https://tsunlise-pr.com/
Studio: Tezuka Productions
Genre: Comedy
Premieres January 6th

Show Premise: 
Two people talk about the villain of a game, and when they realize that the main character can hear them, try to change the story.

Random Thoughts:
Yeeep. The twist that this thing absolutely needed was to have multiple characters acting as the omniscient voices, explaining everything that's going on. That's extremely different from the other villainess shows of its ilk where it's just the protagonist's inner voices explaining everything that's going on. And at the volume of a scream too. Somebody is going to have to explain to me how this is any different from usual. The number of these things seem to be increasing too. This time next year, we may have an entire category of misunderstood villainesses in a video game shows. Oi.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Would be better with agents of chaos instead of teenager.

Lazy Farming in Another World
https://nonbiri-nouka.com/
Studio: Zero-G
Genre: Boobs
Premieres January 6th

Show Premise: 
See title.

Random Thoughts:
Actually, don't see title. Because the main character is given multiple wishes upon reincarnation. One is "be good at farming" which gives him a super god tool that can transform into anything and holds UNLIMITED POWER, which somehow works out to also mean invicible sword, but it eats lifeforce. Oh, but another wish is "not be sick" which makes him immortal. Welp, that problem's solved them. The promo is basically a bunch of stills of him farming while all the elf girls stare in amazement, bathing with the elf girls, and the elf girls tied up and covered in slime. Setting the highest of expectations here.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Try farming in a radioactive wasteland.

The Strongest Onmyouji is Reincarnated Into Another World
https://saikyo-onmyouji.asmik-ace.co.jp/
Studio: Studio Blanc
Genre: Action
Premieres January 7th

Show Premise: 
See title.

Random Thoughts:
The twist here is that he sucks at the new world's magic, but he still has the old world's magic which is stronger than anything else. Which is a twist how exactly? This is one of those wacky Narnias where slavery exists, and of course, the protagonist owns multiple members of his harem, but it's okay because he's one of the good slave/magical creature owners. And what could be objectionable about a 40+ year old man, pretending to be a teenager, owning girls that want to bang him. Boy, am I tired of this fad. God, I hope it's just a fad. Isn't it time we moved past it and on to… I don't know, succubus sister wives trapped in a post apocalyptic vault? I'd take five of those if it meant one fewer of these goddamned things.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Ask me about my ringworm.

Wandering and Cooking in Another World with an Unbelievable Skill
https://tondemoskill-anime.com/
Studio: MAPPA
Genre: Comedy
Premieres January 10th

Show Premise: 
Dude is reincarnated and has the power to summon anything from grocery stores.

Random Thoughts:
And it just so turns out that wolf gods and love goddesses go bat-crap for instant ramen and pop tarts. What a crazy coincidence that somehow immediately wins him contracted bonds with various gods and goddesses, skyrocketing him to the top of the foodchain. Which is totally different from owning them. A different word and everything. This is not Mappa's A team either, but the staff they throw onto things like Re-Main, that weird water polo show about amnesia. Don't expect any adventure, story, development, or anything like that either. That's for loser shows. 

Preseason Swing Rating: 

And yet, cannot summon a single avocado.

Horny Magic Teenagers Learn About Critical Race Theory 

The Iceblade Sorceror Rules the World – The Boy Who is the Strongest Sorceror in the World Enrolls in Magic School
http://www.tbs.co.jp/anime/hyouken/
Studio: Cloudhearts
Genre: Action
Premieres January 5th

Show Premise: 
See title.

Random Thoughts:
Christ, guys. Is that the title or the entire book? And yes, the dude is a commoner and therefore innately inferior to everybody else despite having THE ULTIMATE ICE POWER.? Cloudhearts is apparently the studio that adapted those Tawawa fanservice short things, and hasn't tried to make a full fledged show before this. The staff is uninteresting, and the animation in the PVs is pretty awful, though at least they're highlighting terribly animated fighting instead of fanservice. Magical fighting teenagers is fine, even with the protagonist secretly being some undercover badass, but by all appearances, this will be extra generic, and double extra poorly made, so it's hard to muster up anything but a tiny bit of nostalgia for the time when this thing was the bottom of the barrel that we got ten of every season instead of reincarnation cheat powers.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

And when every villain was Sephiroth.

Sugar Apple Fairy Tale
https://sugarapple-anime.com/
Studio: JC Staff
Genre: Drama
Premieres January 6th

Show Premise: 
A sugarmancer buys a fairy slave, but is super duper conflicted about it.

Random Thoughts:
Yes, a sugarmancer. Candy is magic here, but it's magicalest when it's made to look like other things, like a demented fantasy version of "cake or fake." Faires are the exploited underclass, and sure, she doesn't like buying a slave and owning a person, but on the other hand, she really, really could use a slave. What a moral quandry this is. After all, why pay somebody when you can buy somebody? Oh, and everybody makes fun of her because she's so thin and petite.And then there's her fiance, an evil rival sugarmancer who tries to take advantage of her. The bad soap opera drama runneth deep. And no, despite the dude holding a sword and some running around with it in the PVs, there is no fighting whatsoever in the source. It's just there for his angsty bad boy cred.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Do this with natto and at least you'd have a comedy.

The Legend of Heroes – Trails of Cold Steel – Northern War
https://sen-anime.jp/
Studio: Tatsunoko Productions
Genre: Action
Premieres January 8th

Show Premise: 
Fantasy teenagers go to military school.

Random Thoughts:
This may come as a surprise, but I am not a fan at all of the Trails series, though maybe that's not a surprise for a series that prides itself on taking 50+ hours and multiple games before it finishes its setup. This isn't technically based on any one in particular, but takes place between Cold Steel 1 and 2, though hell if I know what that means exactly. They're all about magic teenagers going to soldier school with mechs where they mix nobles and commoners despite rampant classism. Unless you count CGI tanks and trains, there's also not much fighting on display in the promos, and even less that isn't dominated by speedlines, which is always a bad sign. Staff are unremarkable too, unless you consider the illustrious director of Nobunaga the Fool noteworthy. 

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Beware the rise of the mechs.

The Tale of Outcasts
https://nokemono-anime.com/
Studio: Ashi Production
Genre: Drama
Premieres January 8th

Show Premise: 
Poor girl forms contract with furry demon. Learns that there are furry demons everywhere.

Random Thoughts:
Not sure how "night" got translated as "tale," but sure. That sounds better, if more generic. Ashi (not to be confused with Asahi) doesn't make many shows, but they're always quite bad. Cutie Honey Universe, Another World With a Smart Phone, uh… Ultra Maniac? It's not a resume to brag about. Nor do the PVs look all that great. It's also pretending to be an action show about demons being hunted, but that is not the focus, nor does it appear to have the animation chops for that. It doesn't seem like a recipe for success. 

Preseason Swing Rating: 

He demands a sacrifice.

Malevolent Spirits
https://mononogatari-pr.com/
Studio: Bandai Namco Pictures
Genre: Action
Premieres January 9th

Show Premise: 
Racist dude is sent to live with a girl and her pet spirits to teach him not all spirits are evil.

Random Thoughts:
I don't have it in me to explain all the cultural specific things going on it either the premise nor the pun of the title (which is more accurately translated to something like "Story of Things") because it's about one specific flavor of Japanese spirit that possesses objects. In this case, they're all dowry objects so in between fighting, all want to play matchmaker. Hilarity. It's the obligatory Jump adaptation of the season. Sunrise Bandai Namco doesn't seem to be putting a whole lot of effort into it though, if the promos are anything to go by. Maybe it'll be okay, and lord knows I wouldn't mind a few more "beat them up and make them friends" shows, but this isn't looking like one of their high effort flagship series. Also, still Jump.

Preseason Swing Rating: 
 
Protagonist possesses the spirit of a brick.

The Republicans REALLY Aren't Gonna Like These

Brother No More!
https://onimai.jp/
Studio: Studio Bind
Genre: Comedy
Premieres January 5th

Show Premise: 
Dude is turned into a girl by his sister.

Random Thoughts:
First episode had an early airing. I was honestly very impressed by the ED's animation, but the rest of the episode… eh. It was nowhere near as well animated, and the episode's pacing was pretty poor, even with the very lazy 'jokes.' In case you thought this might be treated with any kind of dignity, one of the first jokes is "A boy brain masturbating with a girl's body would make their brain explode." Then he has to learn about bras because his nipples are chafing, before starting to get all ostensibly meta by him using a female avatar in a game and nobody believes he's really a girl, but that's for a future episode, because I've already covered the entire first episode, including all the jokes in it. Also, if you're wondering who Bind is, they're a new studio created by White Fox, so… they're White Fox. 

Preseason Swing Rating: 
  
Now bring a rabbit back from the dead.

Buddy Daddies
https://buddy-animeproject.com/
Studio: PA Works
Genre: Action
Premieres January 6th

Show Premise: 
Two criminals adopt a little girl.

Random Thoughts:
It's nice to see PA Works doing original things that aren't Girl Gets Job, Learns To Live With Mediocrity, but it's also being quite tight-lipped about the premise. It's two mobbed up dudes living together in a sexless marriage who take in some crime boss's illegitimate daughter and… that's all we've really got to go on. The promos at least promise car chases and gun fights, so that's at least the bare minimum you'd hope for. On the other hand, the story here comes from the same dude who most recently came up with the disaster that was Tokyo's 24th Ward. Certainly on brand for pretty boys saving some too-perfect-for-the-world girl, but not sensical writing in any way. On the other hand, they're much less likely to mercy kill this one at the end of it. Less likely, but not certain.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Winner of the likeliest banner LGBTQ show of the season.

The Hero King is Reincarnated to Master the Blade – And to Become the Strongest Squire In the World
https://auo-anime.com/
Studio: Studio Comet
Genre: Action
Premieres January 9th

Show Premise: 
See title.

Random Thoughts:
Reincarnated as a girl so it can extra focus on the cleavage. This world has forgotten all the magic that made him so strong, and now uses some crazy-ass different system that's so innately weaker that it can't even measure his/her awesomeness with their sorting box, so they all think she's powerless and unqualified to be a knight when she is actually holding back all her cheat powers for her own amusement, which she explains at exhaustive length at every single opportunity. Gee, where have we heard this before. Oh right. All of these stupid things. The promos do focus on action, but they're only barely on the upper side of mediocre, and the whole *waves hands* everything here, are not reasons to be optimistic. Comet is also traditionally quite awful, but it's been a decade since they indulged in fanservice schlock rather than sparkly pretty boy harems, which I suppose is largely the same thing. 

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Actual footage of LN writers coming up with a new premise.

Ayakashi Triangle
https://ayakashitriangle-anime.com/
Studio: Connect
Genre: Comedy
Premieres January 9th

Show Premise: 
Girl has crush on dude. Dude hunts spirits. Spirit turns him into a girl. Hijinks ensue.

Random Thoughts:
Another Jump thing, but full fledged Shounen Jump this time instead of one of the supposedly more mature offshoots. There've been a hojillion fanservice series of boy protects girl from spirits in Jump over the decades, but it's closest kin is definitely Ranma 1/2. Like Ranma, the manga is extremely focused on the slovenly fanservice and casual nudity of the transformed dude rather than the dude gawking at his new lady parts (or even caring at all, to be honest), but the modern update replaces Happosai with groper teenage girl friends. Fanservice drek is Connect's wheelhouse, though the promos are fairly restrained compared to the source. May very well just be hiding it. They're not promising much in the way of monster hunting either, I'm pretty sure that I could stomach fanservicey half-assed slapstick better than I could any of the dozen cheat power reincarnations this season.

Preseason Swing Rating: 
 
One fewer dimensions than the stately pyramid.

Extremely Pretty Boys, Hanging Out Platonically

Technoroid: Overmind
https://techno-roid.com/anime
Studio: Dogakobo
Genre: Drama
Premieres January 4th

Show Premise: 
Android boy band wants to be the very best.

Random Thoughts:
Another attempt at franchise, and I love that the 'game' portion is some half-assed match 3 dumbassery. Most of the promo is just the obligatory awkward as hell CGI dance routine anyway. I'm sure you could probably substitute an entirely different show's ugly CGI dancing and nobody would be able to tell the difference. It doesn't seem big on the android angle, is I suppose would be the gist. So just another damn boy band thing.  

Preseason Swing Rating: 

The overmind demands more sequins.

Revenger
https://anime.shochiku.co.jp/revenger/
Studio: Ajia-do
Genre: Action
Premieres January 5th

Show Premise: 
Samurai team up to investigate a series of assassinations.

Random Thoughts:
An original thing with its claim to fame being Urobutchi Gen (Madoka, Fate/Zero) handling the writing, but the rest of the staff is pretty awful, including Ajia-do. There's not a ton to go on, but the promos aren't great. While seemingly not having any out and out magic, it's all shiny pretty dudes, including one particularly androgynous one whose schtick is that he fights using kites, and another dude throws cards. So not a particularly serious samurai drama. Which is fine, mind you, but also not selling me on the story either.  

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Anybody else wonder why the 70s don't exist in anime at all?

UniteUp!
https://uniteup.info/
Studio: CloverWorks
Genre: Drama
Premieres January 7th

Show Premise: 
Boy bands exist.

Random Thoughts:
Another one of those things that started as half-assed music videos on Youtube and they decided, hey, why not make a generic boys band show out of it for a little more advertisement? There's no cohesion or rhyme/reason to any of the four groups as near as I can tell. One wants to pursue their dreams, another are singers who want to chase their dreams, the third wants to be real and achieve their dreams, the last are legends looking for their dreams. This is all the information I have to go on. They're not even grouped like has a sports theme vs space theme. They're all just… whatever that awful JPop boy band fashion is that looks like they couldn't decide between leading a marching band and piloting a gundam so they dressed for both.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Or maybe they're just shyguys without the masks.

HIGH CARD
https://highcard-anime.jp/
Studio: Studio Hibari
Genre: Action
Premieres January 9th

Show Premise: 
Dude gets drawn into a fight over playing cards that give super powers.

Random Thoughts:
Wow. Hibari's still around? This is only their second show in the last 13 years. This is an original (though is already mass-franchised to multiple media thingies), but just reading through the list of character names makes it too corny to take seriously. Half the characters are named after card games, so things like Pinochle or Klondike, and then they seem to have just run out of that, so started naming them things at random. There's one named "Sugar Peas." No, no, Mr. Teddy Pinochle. Don't call me Miss Peas. It's Sugar. Oh, and did I mention that it takes place in Fourland? Please find an English speaker to double check these things. The director actually isn't awful (Sakugan, Caligula), but the writer is a total newbie. The promos have some explosions, but more people just standing in the wind, and the protagonist's power appears to be "can summon a pistol in only five times as long as it would take to draw one from a holster," so I'd temper expectations. 

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Hey kid, you wanna learn bridge?

Magical Girlfriends in the Post-Apocalypse

Giant Beasts of Ars
https://ars-giant.com/
Studio: Asahi Production
Genre: Adventure
Premieres January 6th

Show Premise: 
See title.

Random Thoughts:
It's original, and almost the official blurb on it is just a long explanation about how humans are the real evil giant beasts, and giving "original" a real stretch. Judging by the promos, it's Attack on Titan, but with more princesses on fire, airships, and glowing hair. Everybody powers up and transforms into a glowing hair form for some reason. The director's a nobody, but the writer has a vast resume of super edgy things, from Danganronpa3 to Spec Ops Asuka to School Live, so it'll probably involve at least somebody being eaten by or being killed as a giant beast, which is more optimism than I have for most of the other fantasy this season. 

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Or it might be a weird spinoff of Pokemon Sword/Shield.

NieR: Automata v1.1a
https://nierautomata-anime.com/
Studio: A-1 Pictures
Genre: Action
Premieres January 7th

Show Premise: 
Moon robot maids fight other robots in a lunatic's fever dream.

Random Thoughts:
Nier/Drakengard is one of those series that I feel like I should like, or at least appreciate, but I cannot stand jank, and they are at least 35% jank. I tried to play Automata twice. One time ended in 15 minutes when I somehow clipped into the floor and became softlocked. The next time, the camera clipped through a wall, trapping me in an elevator shaft until a random deer put me out of my misery. Anyway, I don't really know how you adapt a convoluted nonsense story that relies on replaying it a half-dozen times to get the entire picture. 2000-2015 is filled with VN adaptations which tried that and instead pissed off everybody. This is on top of RPG adaptations tending to be mediocre at best. At least it'll continue fueling the porn industry. 

Preseason Swing Rating: 

No, not you, Toby Fox. The other video game lunatic.

The Fire Hunting King
https://hikarinoou-anime.com/
Studio: Signal.MD
Genre: Adventure
Premieres January 14th

Show Premise: 
A plague makes humans super combustible, so only magic fire is safe anymore. People hunt it.

Random Thoughts:
This comes from a big boy novel, not one of those trashy light ones, so it's a supposedly more somber and serious affair. The promos are definitely trying for more of a Princess Mononoke kind of aesthetic. Signal.MD hasn't traditionally been all that good on the animation front (Mars Red, Platinum End), so I'm not sure how well they'll be able to follow through on that. These kind of stories also tend to be far too slowly paced on focused on mundanities for my tastes. It's nice that it exists, especially given the rest of the season, but I can't say much I've read about it or seen in the PVs is gripping me either.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

So you're saying ice cream is the ultimate aegis?

Closing:

Yeeeah. That lineup's not looking great. Maybe they're holding all the good promos for Comiket, but I doubt it. The promos especially for this season's shows were just plain poor, with even the usual studios that have animation muscles to flex like Bandai Namco and PA Works phoning it in. Even the sequels are not of particularly high profile things. Hopefully something will surprise, but I say that every season, and one thing I had minor hopes for has already seemingly been a total bust. My innate boundless optimism is not at its peak. 

Posted in Season Preview | 6 Comments »

6 Shouts From the Peanut Gallery

  • Regulus says:

    The Trails of Cold Steel anime is between Trails of Cold Steel II and III rather than I and II though I’m pretty sure you don’t care. :)

  • NeclordX says:

    The one promo that really stuck to me months ago was the one for “The Strongest Onmyouji” mostly because I thought “wow, the setting the mc comes from looks lot more interesting the world he is reincarnated into”

  • ark noir says:

    apart from few sequels , nothing jumps out to me. tomo-chan was a good read though so there may be hope yet.

  • DP says:

    Enjoyed the usual snark; this remains the place I go to as a humorous counter to the normal hype, like having the slave behind the general in the Roman triumph, who whispers “you too are mortal.” Would be amusing if someone actually took their viewing recommendations from Tenka Seiha, though…

    Ignoring the snark, there’s lots of good stuff this season that should appeal to my more low-brow tastes. Over 14 series I am actually interested in, up from the fall where I followed only six.

  • DP says:

    Enjoyed the usual snark. More seriously, about 14 shows I think are worth a look, up a bit from the fall. Should be a good season for people with less refined tastes than our host…

  • DP says:

    (Apology for the double post – I thought the 1st had been eaten).

  • Leave a Comment

    Basic guidelines:
    Be civil. Don't ask for games, raws, music, etc. Feel free to correct any mistakes I make, I'm far from perfect. Excessively rude or stupid comments will be mocked, edited, deleted, or all three.