Winter 2016 SF Anime Preview

A winter blast of new anime series is coming your way in January!

It’s that time again already! While many people are relaxing and enjoying the end of the year, the anime industry is gearing up for yet another varied season of animated entertainment.

Here’s what they’re getting ready for sf fans. As always, click through on the titles to get to the official sites for more artwork and promo videos.


Active-Raid Active Raid: Kidō Kyōshūshitsu Dai-Hakkei (Active Raid: The Eighth Mobile Suit Squad)

The premise: A ragtag bunch of misfits police a difficult section of future Tokyo using powersuits.

Derivative factor: Original

The buzz: The premise is a bit generic, but with director Goro Taniguchi, responsible for hits like Planetes and Code Geass, in charge, hopes are pretty high for a solid performance from this one.

Premiere: January 7

Bubuki BurankiBubuki-Buranki

The premise: Kids with intelligent weapons welded to their bodies go searching for a legendary giant said to be sleeping under Japan.

Derivative factor: Original

The buzz: Huh? Well, the animation in the promos looks terrific at least.

Premiere: January 9

Dimension WDimension-W

The premise: He’s a “repo man”. She’s a unique android. Together, they fight crime! …Also, it’s the year 2071 and society has been transformed by an invention that seems to allow limitless free energy.

Derivative factor: Manga adaptation

The buzz: The story itself, meh. Could be okay. But it should be interesting to see what happens with FUNimation, one of the US streaming services, on the production committee.

Premiere: January 10

Divine GateDivine-Gate

The premise: After a magical gate to heaven and the underworld opens, a group of kids are given the opportunity to go through it and try to remake the world.

Derivative factor: Video game adaptation

The buzz: Video game adaptations are still doomed.

Premiere: January 8

ERASEDBoku-Dake-ga-Inai-Machi

The premise: A manga author has an ability that lets him jump back in time to avert disasters. When his mother is murdered, he jumps backward to find himself back in grade school, just before a classmate disappeared.

Derivative factor: Manga adaptation

The buzz: Extremely positive. Reportedly a very good manga, which has been placed in very good hands for the adaptation.

Premiere: January 7

 Grimgar of Fantasy and AshGrimgar

The premise: A group of misfit weaklings is dropped into a game-like fantasy world where they must form a party to survive.

Derivative factor: Light novel adaptation

The buzz: There are contexts in which this could sound like a fun story, but the promo videos are already going heavy on the light novel tropes, so this looks like a big NOPE.

Premiere: January 10

 Kono Subarashī Sekai ni Shukufuku o!Shukufuku (Bless This Wonderful World!)

The premise: One solitary misfit weakling is dropped into a game-like fantasy world where he must form a party to survive.

Derivative factor: Light novel adaptation

The buzz: Look, yet another otaku fantasy about being surrounded by a harem of beautiful girls! Yay! Not.

Premiere: January 13

Luck and LogicLuck-Logic

The premise: Spirits displaced from their own plane invade the human world, and our seemingly ordinary protagonist suddenly gains the power to fight them.

Derivative factor: Promotion for new trading card game

The buzz: Doesn’t look too bad, but not generating a lot of excitement either.

Premiere: January 9

Mahou-Shoujo-Nante-Mouiidesukara. Mahō Shōjo Nante Mō Ī Desu Kara. (I’ve Had It With Being a Magical Girl.)

The premise: One day, a girl comes a across a strange creature digging through the trash, and it transforms her into a magical girl in a bathing suit.

Derivative factor: Manga adaptation

The buzz: This sounds like it could be the start of something really creepy and awful.

Premiere: January 11

Myriad Colors Phantom WorldMusaigen-no-Phantom-World

The premise: High school student experience the hijinks of everyday life and also battle a spirit invasion.

Derivative factor: Novel adaptation

The buzz: Looks and sounds like about a million other shows that have already been made. Skip it.

Premiere: January 6

Norn9 – Norn + NonetteNorn9

The premise: A boy from the near future finds himself in a floating ship above a world that looks like early 20th-century Japan.

Derivative factor: Visual novel adaptation

The buzz: Visual novels, which fall somewhere between adventure games and Choose Your Own Adventure books, have a pretty good record in anime adaptations. Unfortunately, this one has three different playable heroines and a wider than usual choice of story paths, so it may be difficult to do justice to.

Premiere: January 7

KOmugi Nurse Witch Komugi R

The premise: A middle-schooler tries to juggle academics, magical girl duty, and a fledgling pop idol career.

Derivative factor: Remake of 2002 miniseries vaguely related to popular manga

The buzz: The miniseries is remembered fondly for being entertainingly odd and silly. There’s a lot of hope for this if they don’t mess it up.

Premiere: January 10

Phantasy Star Online 2: The AnimationPhantasy-Star

The premise: There will be a story set in the near future. It will probably involve fantastical battles, since that’s what the game is about, but the publicity so far has been coy about any details.

Derivative factor: MMORPG adaptation

The buzz: Video game adaptation. ‘Nuff said.

Premiere: January 7

Reikenzan: Hoshikuzu-tachi no UtageReikenzan (Mt. Reiken: Stardust Banquet)

The premise: Comedy about a boy with the soul of a hero who is reborn every thousand years begining his education.

Derivative factor: Novel adaptation

The buzz: This would sound really neat if it were a serious story. Anime fandom is not so sure about this as a comedy.

Premiere: January 8

Schwarzesmarken Schwarzesmarken (Black Sigils)

The premise: In an alternate 1983, East German special forces fight aliens which have taken over most of the world.

Derivative factor: Adaptation of prequel to previously adapted manga

The buzz: Feelings are mixed about the earlier adaptation, and similarly so about revisiting that universe.

Premiere: January 10


Meanwhile, among previously examined returning series:


At only 15 shows this is lighter on sf than the last few seasons. Still, there’s plenty to be optimistic about. Personally, I’m most excited about ERASED— how about you?

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