Spring 2019 SF Anime Preview

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Welcome once again to the oncoming wave that is a new season of anime barrelling in our direction. It’s smaller than usual, owing to a drop in the overall number of new shows and an unusually low percentage of them being sf. (If you’re wondering what hot trends you’re missing out on, they’re baseball shows and comedies about high school students who are bad at studying.) As always, click on the titles to go to the official sites to see promo videos and more!


Bakumatsu Crisis

The premise: Further adventures of pretty-boy historical figures in 1800s Japan start with a black ship arriving from the sky.

Derivative factor: Sequel to video game adaptation

The buzz: None. In fact, the first season fell off of everyone’s radar so thoroughly that I can’t even tell for sure if this is a completely new season, or just the planned second half of the story, in which case this should be filed with the continuations at the bottom of this list.

Premiere: April 4

Carole & Tuesday

The premise: A girl from the Martian slums pairs with a rich girl from the provinces to make music in an era when most of it is produced by AI.

Derivative factor: Original

The buzz: This is created and directed by Shinichiro Watanabe of Cowboy Bebop, which means the hype level is off the charts. It may be difficult for the show to live up to it.

Premiere: April 10

Demon Slayer

The premise: A boy seeks to hunt demons and cure his sister after the rest of their family is killed in a demon attack and the sister is partially transformed into a demon.

Derivative factor: Manga adaptation

The buzz: The manga is reportedly by-the-numbers sword-and-sorcery, but well-executed, and the first samples of the animation are very nice to look at, so should be decent.

Premiere: April 6

Fairy Gone

The premise: People can gain magical powers through the transplantation of organs of possessed animals. Nine years after a magical war in which many soldiers were created in this way, the world is still unstable and there are lots of terrorists and criminals to deal with.

Derivative factor: Original

The buzz: This looks really cool but also excessively dark and edgy. One to check out if you’re primarily into the visuals.

Premiere: April 7

Fruits Basket

The premise: A homeless teen is taken in by a family which is under a curse that causes them, when touched by a member of the opposite sex, to transform into animals. No, I mean literal animals.

Derivative factor: Manga re-adaptation

The buzz: The first Fruits Basket adaptation is a classic which helped introduce many of today’s hardcore anime fans to the medium, so there is a great deal of excitement about this one. More than you’d think given the rumors that the manga author didn’t like the first adaptation so much and was able to insist that this one be made more to her liking.

Premiere: April 5

Gunjō no Magmel (Ultramarine Magmel)

The premise: After a new continent suddenly appears in the northern Pacific, people of all sorts pile in to explore the new flora an fauna, meaning there also needs to be a rescue force to extract them when they get in trouble.

Derivative factor: Manga adaptation

The buzz: There’s a flicker of interest around the fact that the author of the source material is Chinese, but apparently no one’s been following it much.

Premiere: April 7

Kenja no Mago (The Sage’s Grandson)

The premise: A man form our world is reincarnated in a fantasy land as a baby who is raised by Merlin, but is taught no common sense before being packed off to magic school.

Derivative factor: Light novel adaptation

The buzz: The source novels are so generic that even hardcore light novel fans aren’t rushing to defend this one.

Premiere: April 10

Mayonaka no Occult Kōmuin (The Nighttime Occult Bureaucrat)

The premise: A civil servant is assigned to a supernatural investigation department. Soon after that, a monster addresses him as the legendary figure Abe no Seimei.

Derivative factor: Manga adaptation

The buzz: Something of a dark horse here, as only the director is well-known and it’s not clear how the urban fantasy/cop thriller fusion will work out.

Premiere: April 7

Namu Amida Bu! -Rendai Utena- (Hail Amitābha! –Lotus Pedestal-)

The premise: The Thirteenth Buddha and his buds fight demons.

Derivative factor: Video game adaptation

The buzz: It’s a video game adaptation, which means it stands an excellent chance of being terrible.

Premiere: April 8

Over Drive Girl 1/6

The premise: A hardcore geek’s collection of plastic anime figures starts coming to life.

Derivative factor: Manga adaptation

The buzz: Could be cute and funny. Then again, the author is also known for violent porn so who knows.

Premiere: April 8

RobiHachi

The premise: A down-on-his-luck reporter and an erstwhile debt collector go hunting for a legendary paradise planet while being chased by the debt collector’s old boss.

Derivative factor: Original

The buzz: This comes a from a director and head writer both known for colorful and irreverent shows. Likely to be good if you don’t require your science fiction to be super-serious.

Premiere: April 8

Sarazanmai

The premise: Three boys in high school are tranformed into kappas, and told that they ever want to become human again, they will need to “connect” and also fight zombies.

Derivative factor: Original

The buzz: Like Carole & Tuesday, this show comes from a widely admired director (Kunihiko Ikuhara, most famously of Revolutionary Girl Utena) and has already reached a hype level it can’t live up to.

Premiere: April 11

Sewayaki Kitsune no Senko-san (Senko the Meddling Fox)

The premise: An overworked salaryman suddenly finds his life taken over by an 800-year-old fox who wants to take care of him.

Derivative factor: Manga adaptation

The buzz: This could be a cute little slice-of-life comedy. On the other hand, if there turns out to be a romance between an adult man and the spirit who presents as a child, this could venture into all kinds of nope territory.

Premiere: April 10

Shōmetsu Toshi (The Lost City)

The premise: The only survivor of a destroyed city and a drifter travel toward the remains of the city, uncovering a web of conspiracy.

Derivative factor: Video game adaptation

The buzz: Okay, it’s a video game adaptation, but it’s an adaptation of an unusually good video game by an unusually promising production staff.
Premiere: April 7


Meanwhile, in continuing adaptation land:

  • One-Punch Man – More adventures of the world’s most powerful superhero. The premiere of season 1 didn’t do it for me, but people tend to like either Mob Psycho 100 (by the same manga author) or this and not both, so if Mob Psycho 100 leaves you cold then this might be your thing. (April 9)
  • Bungo Stray Dogs – Supernaturally powered characters patterned on famous authors are up to their third season of fighting fantastical threats. I got to episode 2 before the incest and suicide jokes became too much. (April 12)
  • Attack on Titan – The second half of season 3, after a delay of six months (so maybe season 4 at this point), sees the people behind the Walls starting to reclaim their territory and maybe, finally, the revalation of what is in that basement. Though, in the established tradition of this show, we have to wait until well after the other premieres for it to arrive. I’ve been doing ongoing coverage of this show and expect to continue it. (April 28)

I’m all pumped up for the return of Attack on Titan, but there are a whole lot of maybes for me in the list of new shows. RobiHachi feels like the best bet, but Demon Slayer, Shōmetsu Toshi, Sarazanmai, Mayonaka Occult no Kōmuin, and Gunjō no Magmel all feel like they have possibilities. What are you looking forward to?

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