Spring 2020 SF Anime Preview

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It’s that time again! Pandemic or no pandemic, the anime world moves on and a new batch of shows is about to be delivered to our virtual doorstep. As always, click through on the titles to see the official sites, with more art and promo videos. (Except for the one where I couldn’t find an official site.)


The 8th son? Are you kidding me?

The premise: A perfectly ordinary salaryman wakes up one day as a 5-year-old boy in a fantasy world.

Derivative factor: Light novel adaptation

The buzz: Despite the new-ish twist of having the hero directly reincarnated as a little kid rather than someone his own age, reports are that he grows up quickly and the story settles into a standard portal fantasy about a dude with super-special powers adventuring with a bunch of young women.

Premiere: April 2

Appare-Ranman!

The premise: Late in the 19th century, a brilliant inventor and a cowardly samurai are shipwrecked on coast of the US and wind up entering a wacky cross-country race in a steam-powered car.

Derivative factor: Original

The buzz: This one looks like nothing more than sheer unadulterated fun. It could be the exact show that we need in this dismal time.

Premiere: April 10

Bungō to Alchemist: Shinpan no Haguruma (Great Authors and Alchemists: Machinery of Judgement)

The premise: Librarians team up with magical versions of great literary figures to fight a taint that corrupts books.

Derivative factor: Video game adaptation

The buzz: It’s a video game adaptation, so expect nothing and it may find a way to deliver even less.

Premiere: April 3

The Genie Family 2020

The premise: A young man meets a genie who used to know his grandfather.

Derivative factor: Sequel to classic show

The buzz: Absolutely none.

Premiere: April 11

Listeners

The premise: In a world where musical talent only exists for piloting mecha, a young man and a cyborg girl go on a quest to discover the girl’s origins and engage in rock battles.

Derivative factor: Original

The buzz: This is such a weird one that no one has any idea what to expect.

Premiere: April 3

Mewkledreamy

The premise: A middle-school student finds a magic kitten and the two of them enter the dream world to collect magic stones.

Derivative factor: Original story for existing Sanrio character

The buzz: On the one hand, it’s a toy commercial. On the other hand, Sanrio’s last toy commercial anime was Aggretsuko, which turned into a cult hit, so who knows.

Premiere: April 5

My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!

The premise: After a head injury, a young woman in a fantasy world remembers her previous life in modern Japan, and realizes she’s been reborn as the villain of an otome video game (a game with a strong romance element, aimed at young women).

Derivative factor: Light novel adaptation

The buzz: Here’s the portal fantasy that might be refreshingly different. Otome game tropes are one thing that hasn’t been crossed with RPG-style fantasies yet.

Premiere: April 4

My Roomie Is a Dino

The premise: A fashionable young woman finds a dinosaur, brings it home, and enjoys hanging out with it.

Derivative factor: Manga adaptation

The buzz: A cute, absurdist manga is being brought to life by the director who made the anime of another absurdist show into a hit last year. So this could be good.

Premiere: April 4

Olympia Kyklos

The premise: An ancient Greek king is transported forward in time to the Tokyo Olympics. No, the 1964 ones.

Derivative factor: Manga adaptation

The buzz: It’s an obscure manga and the show may have been eaten by Netflix, so hardly anyone feels it’s worth coming up with an opinion.

Premiere: April 20

Princess Connect! Re: Dive

The premise: Fantasy adventures except the adventurers are all young women except the main character, who has lost his memories about his previous adventures with them.

Derivative factor: Video game adaptation

The buzz: Not only is this a video game adaptation, which rarely results in a good show, with an incredibly generic setup, the video game behind it was a flop.

Premiere: April 6

Sakura Wars the Animation

The premise: In an alternate timeline where the Taisho period lasts to 1940, an all-female combat squad fights demons and participates in competitions.

Derivative factor: Video game adaptation

The buzz: Aimed squarely at fans of the franchise, this is unlikely to appeal to anyone else.

Premiere: April 3

Shachibato! President, It’s Time For Battle!

The premise: Adventurers face the daily grind of dungeon-crawling as though they are corporate employees.

Derivative factor: Video game adaptation

The buzz: Again, hopes are never high for video game adaptations, but if this embraces the opportunity for comedy inherent in the premise, it’s got a chance.

Premiere: April 5

Shadowverse

The premise: A boy finds a new game on his smartphone and enjoys playing it.

Derivative factor: Video game adaptation

The buzz: This show has already managed to disappoint fans by deciding to be about people playing the game, instead of being set in the game world.

Premiere: April 7

Shironeko Project: Zero Chronicle

The premise: Adventurers and a talking cat set off on a flying island to travel to the end of the world.

Derivative factor: Video game adaptation

The buzz: On the one hand, sounds pretty cool and looks pretty good. On the other hand, video game adaptation.

Premiere: April 6

Tower of God

The premise: Two friends live beneath a huge tower full of fantastical beings until one of them enters the tower in search of a way to the outside world, and the other follows after to find her.

Derivative factor: Korean webcomic adaptation

The buzz: The source material is said to be very strong, and excitement levels are high.

Premiere: April 1


Meanwhile, in continuing adaptations:


Looming over this season is a show not mentioned at all above. We were supposed to get the second season of Re: Zero, which would have been easily the most anticipated show of the spring, but it has been pushed back to July due to pandemic-related disruptions.

Of the shows we are getting, the one I most hope will be good is Appare-Ranman!. I’m also looking forward to seeing what the hype is about with Tower of God, and, as someone who hates otome game adaptations, I’d like to see All Routes Lead to Doom! subvert the tropes of the genre. What are you looking forward to?

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