Winter 2018 SF Anime Preview

As the year turns, so does the anime season. See what’s coming up soon!

Once again, a new season bears down on us all! As usual, click on the titles to go to their official sites and check out more promo art and videos.


The premise: In a future where robots do pretty much everything, a teenage boy finds a mysterious girl who is actually a super-advanced AI.

Derivative factor: Novel adaptation

The buzz: On the one hand, could this sound any more generic? On the other hand, the novel was a finalist for Japan’s equivalent of a Hugo Award, and another work by the same author has won Japan’s equivalent of the Nebula, so just maybe…

Premiere: January 12

Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card

The premise: A girl who has collected magic cards wakes up one day to find them all erased, and has to start collecting anew.

Derivative factor: Adaptation of sequel manga

The buzz: The first Cardcaptor Sakura anime is remembered as one of the better magical girl shows, so hopes are high for this one.

Premiere: January 7

Dame×Prince Anime Caravan

The premise: Sent to sign a treaty, the princess of a fantasy land encounters a whole bunch of quirky princes and probably has to date all of them.

Derivative factor: Video game adaptation

The buzz: Not only are video game adaptations almost always terrible, adaptations of this particular sort of game about romancing a bunch of hot dudes are absolutely always terrible.

Premiere: January 10


The premise: A bunch of teenagers exist only to pilot mecha against mysterious enemies, and then one day their former prodigy is partnered with a girl who has horns.

Derivative factor: Original

The buzz: That’s “original” as in “not a direct adaptation of anything”, but boy does this sound like another incredibly generic anime plot.

Premiere: January 13

Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody

The premise: A programmer is transported to a fantasy RPG world where he has magic superpowers and accumulates a bunch of girlfriends.

Derivative factor: Light novel adaptation

The buzz: And speaking of generic! The light novels are said to have a better-constructed world than average, but get ready for a whole lot of tired fantasy and misogynistic tropes anyway.

Premiere: January 11

Hakumei to Mikochi (Hakumei and Mikochi)

The premise: Two tiny girls live in the forest.

Derivative factor: Manga adaptation

The buzz: Sounds like a nice peaceful slice-of-life kind of show.

Premiere: January 12

How to keep a mummy

The premise: A high school student opens a package from his adventurer father to discover a tiny mummy. Now he must protect it while dealing with his zany family.

Derivative factor: Manga adaptation

The buzz: Do you like tiny adorable characters, but Hakumei to Mikochi sounds too laid-back for you? This might be more your speed.

Premiere: January 11

Junji Ito “Collection”

The premise: Presenting an anthology of stories from a legendary horror writer.

Derivative factor: Manga adaptation

The buzz: Ito is well known for gruesome and unsettling horror. It’s not so much a question of how good this will be as how watchable it will be for anyone who isn’t a hardcore horror fan.

Premiere: January 5

Kokkoku (Moment By Moment)

The premise: A woman and her grandfather use a family heirloom that stops time to try to rescue her sister and nephew from a cult, only to discover they aren’t the only ones with this power.

Derivative factor: Manga adaptation

The buzz: A bit of an unknown quantity as the lead studio is new and the manga isn’t well-known, but has the potential to be something original and interesting.

Premiere: January 7

Märchen Mädchen (Fairy Tale Girls)

The premise: A hidden school trains magical girls who are the living avatars of fairy tales from around the world, with our heroine being Cinderella.

Derivative factor: Manga adaptation

The buzz: Looks decent initially, but with the death of the manga’s author last year, it’s unclear whether a finished story is possible.

Premiere: January 11

Record of Grancrest War

The premise: The lords of a fantasy world control the magic that repels demons, but instead they use their power to fight each other, leaving it up to a couple of wandering adventurers to try to put an end to the chaos for good.

Derivative factor: Light novel adaptation

The buzz: The fact that this is by the author of the classic Record of Lodoss War overshadows any chance to evaluate this on its own merits. Probably it’ll be okay.

Premiere: January 5

Shinkansen Henkei Robo Shinkalion the Animation (Shinkalion the Transforming Bullet Train Robot: The Animation)

The premise: Kids with special cards transform bullet trains into fighting robots to take on an evil train.

Derivative factor: Toy tie-in

The buzz: Yeah, it’s a toy commerical, pretty much. If this airs in the rest of the world, it’ll probably be saved for linear kids’ TV rather than being available for streaming anyway.

Premiere: January 6

Soul Hunter

The premise: A young wizard sets forth to battle demons and evil wizards in a land where the emperor has become a mindless puppet. No, that is not a Moomin in the promo image.

Derivative factor: Manga re-adaptation

The buzz: This was a mediocre series the first time around, so why bother adapting it again?

Premiere: January 12

Tōji no Miko (Sword-Wielding Priestesses)

The premise: Shrine maidens training to fight demons get ready for a big competition between five schools.

Derivative factor: Original

The buzz: The trailer looks less action-y than you’d expect, so it’s not clear how much this is going to be about actual demon-fighting and how much it’s going to be a school drama.

Premiere: January 5

Violet Evergarden

The premise: A robot transcriptionist wonders about the nature of love as she helps write letters about it.

Derivative factor: Original

The buzz: This is easily going to be the most gorgeous-looking show of the year. The story looks like it’s going to be a whole lot of forced melodrama, though.

Premiere: January 10

And if you’re looking for continuing series, plenty of those too:

Well, I can’t say I’m excited for a whole lot this season, but that just means there’s a long list of series with the potential to surprise me, right? Cardcaptor Sakura is the surest bet in the field, and Kokkoku is the one I’m hoping the hardest will turn out well. I’m trying to give Beatless the benefit of the doubt for having gotten close to an sf award, but urgh that premise and that art. What are you looking forward to?

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    1. Many of them don’t have streaming deals announced yet (which is normal, even this close to the start of the season). I’ll be linking to the streams when I do my premiere reviews, which will be posted the 11th and 18th.

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