Winter 2017 SF Anime Preview

Here we are once again, ready to face the new year with a batch of fresh shows (and some not-so-fresh ones). As always, click through on the titles to check out the official sites with artwork and promo videos.

ACCA 13-ku Kansatsuka (ACCA 13-Ward Observation Department)

The premise: An organization called ACCA supervises a kingdom divided into 13 sections. The story follows a member of the organization who travels around and smokes.

Derivative factor: Manga adaptation

The buzz: Excitement out of all proportion to the amount of information available about the story. The art looks cool and there are some big names involved, so probably it’ll all work out.

Premiere: January 10

Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Impure King Arc

The premise: Satan’s bastard teenage son is an exorcist-in-training who tries to stop someone resurrecting an especially powerful demon.

Derivative factor: Continuing manga adaptation

The buzz: As popular as the source manga is, the only questions are: Why did it take 6 years since the first adaptation to get a sequel? And how will it explain away the anime-original ending from that adaptation, or will it just ignore that completely and pick up the story like nothing happened?

Premiere: January 6

Chain Chronicle: The Light of Haecceitas

The premise: A hero leads an army to fight the Dark Lord for control of a magical book.

Derivative factor: Video game adaptation

The buzz: At this point, anime fandom is well-trained to not expect much from video game adaptations.

Premiere: January 7


The premise: Bizarre events occur in Shibuya six years after an earthquake and peculiar fire.

Derivative factor: Video game adaptation

The buzz: Despite what I just said about video game adaptations, and despite the fact that this comes from a series of games that have produced one brilliant adaptation (Steins;Gate) to three generally rated as failures (Chaos;Head, Robotics;Notes, and the just-finished Occultic;Nine), the one success means that hope will ever spring eternal.

Premiere: January 11

Chō Shōnen Tantei-dan NEO (Super Boy Detectives’ Club NEO)

The premise: Seventh-generation descendants of Rampo Edogawa’s famous junior detectives have comedic adventures in the year 2117.

Derivative factor: See above

The buzz: As the third attempt at a fantastical Rampo Edogawa adaptation in a year and a half, the novelty has worn off.

Premiere: January 2


The premise: A boy who hears voices learns that he has an alien symbiote and gets recruited into the space patrol.

Derivative factor: Manga adaptation

The buzz: Looks like very standard shōnen action fare.

Premiere: January 8

Gabriel Dropout

The premise: A teenaged angel is the top student in her class, but then transfers to a mortal high school, discovers video games, and becomes a slacker.

Derivative factor: Manga adaptation

The buzz: Decent source material and a studio that’s done similar shows well mean it’ll probably be worth checking out.

Premiere: January 9

Hand Shakers

The premise: Teenaged boy-girl pairs fight other pairs with technomagical weapons in order to allegedly be granted their hearts’ desire.

Derivative factor: Original

The buzz: On the one hand, nice-looking art and animation. On the other hand, when one of the promos headlines the female lead getting her back washed, that’s not generally a sign that any effort is going into plot and characterization.

Premiere: January 10

Idol Incidents

The premise: In an alternate or future Japan, pop idols form a shadow government (in the parliamentary sense) and fight corruption.

Derivative factor: Original

The buzz: This is probably another disposable attempt at crossing the idol genre with something it hasn’t been crossed with before, but it comes at just the moment to speak to the political zeitgeist.

Premiere: January 8

Interviews With Monster Girls

The premise: A high school teacher has some students who are part-monsters, and a co-worker who is a succubus.

Derivative factor: Manga adaptation

The buzz: Everyone’s favorite word for the source material is “cute”. Looks harmless.

Premiere: January 7

Kemono Friends (Animal Friends)

The premise: A child gets lost in a safari park and is helped out by anthropomorphic animal girls.

Derivative factor: Video game adaptation

The buzz: The mobile game this is based on was nothing special and has shut down already, so it seems odd that they’re going ahead with the show.

Premiere: January 10

Little Witch Academia

The premise: A little girl is inspired by a celebrity witch, but then things get real when her fellow witches-in-training accidentally release a dragon.

Derivative factor: Sequel to or retelling of short film and miniseries

The buzz: The original Little Witch Academia short was the very first project by Studio Trigger, which then went on to make the astounding and brilliant Kill la Kill. Expectations could not possibly be higher.

Premiere: January 8

Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid

The premise: An office worker saves the life of a dragon, so the dragon takes on a human form to pay her back.

Derivative factor: Manga adaptation

The buzz: Depends on what you think of the source material, which is hit-or-miss comedy.

Premiere: January 11

Schoolgirl Strikers Animation Channel

The premise: A girls’ high school is secretly also a training ground for teams to fight invisible supernatural invaders.

Derivative factor: Video game adaptation

The buzz: Another terribly generic-sounding action series. Don’t expect much from it.

Premiere: January 6

Yōjo Senki: Saga of Tanya the Evil (The Little Girl’s War Story: Saga of Tanya the Evil)

The premise: An elite salaryman is reborn as the whitest little girl ever, and commands the army of alternate fantasy Imperial Russia with an iron fist.

Derivative factor: Light novel adaptation

The buzz: It’s an interesting setup, to say the least, definitely a change from the standard light novel alternate-world setup. Depending upon how fully the protagonist and the narrative embrace the evil, it might be anything from darkly comic to painfully unwatchable.

Premiere: January 6

And some previously noted shows that will be returning:

I am all aboard the Little Witch Academia hype train. I don’t see how Trigger can mess this up. (Words I may regret soon, yes.)

But I’m also interested in Idol Incidents, because of the tiny sliver of a chance that it could go all in with pop music meeting arcane parliamentary procedure and produce something insanely geeky yet wonderful. Rationally, I know this can’t happen. It’ll just be a bunch of generic moe girls fumbling their way through the motions of campaigning and having tiresomely cute arguments about food and falling down a lot. But this is the season of hopes and dreams, and that is my little dream.

Anyway, what are you looking forward to?

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