Fall 2016 SF Anime Preview

It seems like just yesterday that summer season was starting, and here it is almost October. As usual, click through on the titles to see the official sites with their character art and previews.


Ao Oni: The Animation (Blue Ogre: The Animation)

The premise: Four friends are trapped by a monster in a haunted house and must solve puzzles to escape.

Derivative factor: Horror video game reimagined as comedy

The buzz: There isn’t much of a following for the game outside Japan, but on its own merits this might be a fun show.

Premiere: October 2



The premise: In a world where vampires were created accidentally by a treatment for epidemic insomnia, a dhampir bank robber tries to break out of a high-security prison which turns out to be built on an old vampire hideout.

Derivative factor: Webcomic adaptation

The buzz: It’s not like past Chinese webcomic adaptations like Hitori no Shita have set a high bar for scintillating storytelling or quality animation, but even by that standard, this looks like it will be terrible.

Premiere: October 1


Cheating Craft

The premise: In a society hyper-focused on academic achievement, students try to qualify for college by either studying hard to take the rigorous exams or devising elaborate ways to cheat their way in.

Derivative factor: Webcomic adaptation

The buzz: Of the Chinese webcomic adaptations airing this season, this is the one that looks like it has some potential to be interesting.

Premiere: October 5



The premise: Two wacky composers claiming to be modern-day incarnations of Beethoven and Mozart fight giant robots with modern remixes of classical music.

Derivative factor: Original (except presumably the music)

The buzz: Opinion is split according to feelings about classical music. If you like it, this looks like a fun comedy playing with the stereotypes of a number of classical composers. If you don’t, avoid.

Premiere: October 8


Digimon Universe: Appli Monsters

The premise: A boy and an anthropomorphized search program team up to stop a malevolent AI.

Derivative factor: Ad for massive toy franchise

The buzz: It is what it is, but there are a few nostalgic Digimon fans interested in seeing the latest update to the franchise.

Premiere: October 1



The premise: A samurai from the year 1600 is pulled into another world to fight alongside warriors from throughout history.

Derivative factor: Manga adaptation

The buzz: The art, at least, looks really good. Feelings are mixed about the story, but at least it’s not Oda freakin’ Nobunaga for once.

Premiere: October 7


Flip Flappers

The premise: Two girls are able to jump to an alternate dimension together, where they fight evil as magical girls.

Derivative factor: Original

The buzz: This is absolutely everyone’s favorite title this season. Plus, with a solid directing team and a studio that likes to experiment behind it, expectations are fairly high for a good show.

Premiere: October 6


Idol Memories

The premise: A group of girls attends a school for idols who perform concerts in virtual-reality spaces.

Derivative factor: Original

The buzz: Oh no, not another idol show! Although the sf space has been largely insulated from it, there is a huge glut of shows about teenaged idol singers, and this one has very little to set it apart other than the VR aspect (and even then, a lot of people are seeing a Macross ripoff).

Premiere: October 2


Kītarō Shōnen no Yōkai Enikki (Kītarō‘s Monster Diary)

The premise: A psychically sensitive boy keeps encountering supernatural creatures.

Derivative factor: Manga adaptation

The buzz: Meh. It looks cute and all, but it also looks like a pale imitation of Natsume’s Book of Friends, which just happens to be getting a new season just now.

Premiere: October 5


Magical Girl Raising Project

The premise: In a world where magical girls are widely known to be real, a town decides it has too many of them and forces them into a deadly competition for survival.

Derivative factor: Light novel adaptation

The buzz: This could be a lot of fun if it gets serious about being dark.

Premiere: October 1


Magic-kyun! Renaissance

The premise: A girl attending a school for artists who use magic has to plan the school’s summer festival and decide which of six hot guys she wants to appear with as the festival princess and prince.

Derivative factor: Co-release with video game

The buzz: Looks set to be the anime equivalent of a trashy romance, but by golly it’s going to be a gorgeous, expertly crafted trashy romance.

Premiere: October 2


Matoi the Sacred Slayer

The premise: A part-time shrine maiden accidentally gains divine powers and has to use them to fight demons.

Derivative factor: Original

The buzz: This is a magical girl show in a spiritual disguise. Nothing necessarily wrong with that, but it’s hard to see a spark of greatness right now.

Premiere: October 4


Natsume’s Book of Friends 5

The premise: A psychic teenager tries to release and make peace with spirits that his grandmother trapped.

Derivative factor: Continuation of manga adaptation

The buzz: Hugely anticipated. This is a beloved series and fans have been waiting four years since the last installment.

Premiere: October 4



The premise: An office worker encounters a strange creature that pops out of a wastebasket, and then somehow winds up solving puzzles.

Derivative factor: Original

The buzz: Looks cute, but puzzle-solving is not something that generally works well on TV.

Premiere: October 5


Shūmatsu no Izetta (Izetta the Last Witch)

The premise: A witch helps a princess as alternate fantasy Europe descends into World War II.

Derivative factor: Original

The buzz: Positive among fans of military shows, and might be mostly free of the awkward overtones that happen when Japanese shows tackle WWII.

Premiere: October 1


Soul Buster

The premise: Characters from the Chinese literary classic The Romance of the Three Kingdoms can be summoned using cards, which somehow leads to a boy who hates history being paired up with a female warlord.

Derivative factor: Webcomic adaptation

The buzz: Maybe some decent action, but not a lot of excitement about it.

Premiere: October 4


Time Bokan 24

The premise: A present-day junior high school student is enlisted in the time police, where he learns that official history is almost entirely wrong, but villains are scheming to make it correct.

Derivative factor: Reimagining of 1970s series

The buzz: Time Bokan has long since been overshadowed by its much more successful spinoff Yatterman, so anime fandom doesn’t really know what to make of this one.

Premiere: October 1


To Be Hero

The premise: A lazy single father is sucked into a toilet and granted superhero powers.

Derivative factor: Original

The buzz: Hardly any.

Premiere: October 5


Tōken Rambu: Hanamaru (Blade Dance: Perfect Flowers)

The premise: Young men who are personifications of swords help to protect history from time-travelling meddlers and also hang out a bunch.

Derivative factor: Video game adaptation

The buzz: It’s got a built-in fanbase from the very popular game and isn’t trying too hard for anyone else.

Premiere: October 2


Trickster: Edogawa Rampo ‘Shōnen Tantei-dan’ Yori (Trickster: From Rampo Edogawa’s “Boy Detectives’ Club”)

The premise: Boy detectives in the near future solve cases and try to help an immortal who wants to die.

Derivative factor: Sort of based on classic mystery stories

The buzz: The last series adapting Edogawa’s work, Rampo Kitan, didn’t turn out so well, but Kogorō Akechi and the Boy Detectives’ Club are as enduringly popular in Japan as Sherlock Holmes is in the English-speaking world, so we can expect shows like this to keep happening from time to time, and just hope this one is better.

Premiere: October 3


ViVid Strike!

The premise: A magical girl wants to protect abused and bullied children.

Derivative factor: Spinoff of existing series

The buzz: There’s not a huge amount of love for the parent franchise, but a brawler magical girl is something a little new and different.

Premiere: October 1

As usual, there are some previously featured shows returning from hiatus.

Fandom is not feeling a high excitement level for this season overall, but that’s when we get the surprise breakout shows. Personally, I’m interested most in Flip Flappers, ClassicaLoid, and the excellent credentials of Natsume’s Book of Friends; as a huge fan of the Professor Layton game series, I’m also pretty much required to be looking forward to Nazotokine. How about you?

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