Spring Anime 2018 TV Guide: Part One

by Sage Ashford

As we draw closer to the next season of anime, it occurs to me that many Comicon readers might not be aware of how seasons work in Japan.  In America, all of our new series tend to appear during the Fall, and remain on the air for as long as they can remain profitable in terms of ratings.   In Japan, an anime’s length can vary, but series are often scheduled to only last between 13 to 26 episodes, with only a select few going on for longer.

This means that every three months a new season starts, typically beginning in January, April, July, and October.   And since I cover a lot of the anime geekiness for Comicon, I thought now was as good a time as any to inform you all of the new series coming for the Spring season.  However, since this season is absurdly long, I’ll be breaking it up into parts that feature fifteen series each.   By the end, you’ll have some idea of nearly everything that will be on in April…and a hint of what series I’ll be recapping for the future!

Gegege no Kitaro: This is the anime they’re replacing Dragon Ball Super with, and I gotta say I’m proud of the internet for not making any stupid, concentrated efforts to make the thing fail. Known as Kitaro of the Graveyard, this anime is based on a beloved series from the 60’s, and has actually been adapted at least once in every decade like clockwork. Always hugely popular, if you were hoping this would last a single season then bring Super back…good luck. The story follows Kitaro, the last member of the Ghost Tribe, while he goes on adventures with various yokai, monsters from Japanese folklore.

Thoughts: This series looks entertaining if you’re looking for a comedy, and the animation is shockingly solid for the same company that did the first half of Dragon Ball Super, but by my current count I’ve got no less than a dozen series to try and keep up with, so this can’t be one of them.

Premiering: March 31st

Hype: 6/10, not watching. However, you’re into horror comedies, love Japanese folklore, you should give this series a try.

Sweet Punishment: Hina Saotome’s a young woman who’s been imprisoned despite her innocence. Aki Myojin is a pretty boy prison guard who likes playfully torturing Hina with “heartless, but sweet domination” ranging from impromptu physical exams to conjugal visits.

Thoughts: Anime was a fucking mistake. As the resident anime person for Comicon, I’m pretty lenient towards the medium because I genuinely love it. I love giant robots because their designs look cool and I love the psuedo-political nature of real robot series. (Even if giant robots make no proper, practical sense.) I love shonen for its simplistic, optimistic outlook on life, with the belief that friendship can and will get you through a lot of tough times in life. And so I let the fanservice, the silly harem junk and whatnot go a lot of the time. But…jeez. An anime about a creepy prison guard who subjects a prisoner to a BDSM lifestyle? Bruh, cancel it all.

Premiering: April 1st.

Hype: …0/10. FYM.

You Don’t Know Gunma Yet: Kamitsuki Nori moved from Chiba to Gunma prefecture just as he was about to start high school. Before going, he starts to hear many negative rumors about Gunma, as even his classmate tells him “No one comes back alive from Gunma”.   Unaware of how to deal with the major culture shock, Nori winds up getting involved with Gunma’s rivals in the Tochigi and Ibaraki prefectures.

Thoughts: I’d be lying if I said I knew what to make of this series.  It’s marked as a “school comedy” but that means essentially nothing these days.  It almost looks like an action series but that’s only because of the crazy hair.  I wish there was a trailer, but without one I have to go off the author of the web manga’s prior works.  He tends to do action series with the occasional school setting, who knows how this turns out.

Premiering: April 2nd.

Hype: 5/10.  I’ll check the first episode out.

Tokyo Ghoul:re: The original Tokyo Ghoul series was a massively popular horror-action series following the story of Ken Kaneki, a reserved college student who finds himself dragged into the vicious world of bloodthirsty ghouls.

Thoughts: I’m not a horror guy, so there isn’t a lot I can do aside from make you aware of this series. But fortunately, there’s been two seasons and two OVAs for this series already, so there’s already a good idea of what people are getting involved with. You either want it or you don’t.

Premiering: April 3rd.

Hype Points: 0/10. No intention to watch this at all.

Aikatsu Friends: The fifth season in the long-running Aikatsu franchise, Aikatsu Friends follows a new protagonist–Aine Yuki, one of the latest enrolled in Star Harmony Academy under general education. But while there, she makes friends with the school’s top idol Mio Minato, and starts on the path to becoming an idol as well.

Thoughts: Idol anime have pretty steadily grown in popularity for awhile now, as a subsection of CGDCT (Cute Girls Doing Cute Things). With the right gimmick, they can definitely grab me because I’m a sucker for well-choreographed dance routines backed by beautiful animation. But Aikatsu’s too busy trying to sell the popular card game the series is based off, and so I’ll probably pass.

Premiering: April 4th.

Hype: 6/10, I’ll give the first episode a shot but I likely won’t stick with it. I like series like series in this vein, just not big on this franchise. Maybe I’ll hear something during the runtime that changes my mind.

Unit Pandora:  When a quantum reactor explodes, the resulting energy drastically alters both animals/plants and machines alike, placing mankind in a war that’s caused them to be at the very brink of extinction.  Using giant robots known as MOEVs (Multi-purpose Organic Evolution vehicles), humanity fights against the monsters that have pushed them this far: the B.R.A.I., or Biological Revolutionary of Accelerated Intelligence.

Thoughts: This is the series Kawamori’s making between this and the next Macross, also due out this year.  There’s always one or two of these in between installments of the franchise. Hopefully it’s more Nobunaga the Fool (makes zero sense but its gorgeous and creative) than the first Aquarion, but either way I’m in.  I’ve been a Macross fan for nearly a decade now, so I’m obliged to try out anything he creates.  My only problem is the next Macross is due out this year too.  Are all the creative juices going to Macross 2018, or this?   Can he knock both out the park?  I certainly hope so, but I’m also a big enough Macross geek to be fine if this falls through so long as it means we get a superior Macross show.

Premiering: April 4th.

Hype Level: 8/10, I’ll be watching this series come the Spring time.  And, I’ll admit I’ve tossed an extra point in because I’m a Kawamori and Satelight geek.

Dances with the Dragons: Originally a light novel series written by Labo Asai, Dances with the Dragons is the story of Gaius and Gigina (their names are longer than that but….nah), two magic users called “special equationists”, people who can alter the equations of the world to create deadly spells and abilities. They work together as mercenaries taking dangerous jobs in the city of Eridana.

Thoughts: I’ve no idea how talented Labo Asai is, but this series sounds like exactly the kind of stupid that I’m into. A world with one foot firmly planted in advanced technology, the other in magic, everything I’ve read tells me Dances with the Dragons’ world is very fleshed out. There appears to be a fair amount of intrigue and machinations going on behind the scenes, while in front of the scenes we get a bunch of dragon fights. It’s also giving me vague Get Backer vibes, but I’m unsure about just how high the quality will be on this. The chief director is Hiroshi Nishikori, known for A Certain Magical Index and Azumanga Daioh. So y’know…flip a coin. The animation’s done by Seven Arcs though, so at least it’ll be pretty to look at.

Premiere: April 5th.

Hype: 7/10, definitely watching. I’m cautiously optimistic depending on a few other factors.

Lost Song: Lost Song is one of those Netflix series that was announced roughly a year ago, as part of the streaming company’s plan to try and corner the anime market.  The story centers around two young girls with the power to heal people through song, as a war breaks out in their land.

Thoughts: This is literally Macross without the sci-fi trappings.  I want to give it a shot because I enjoy stories where the world can be changed through the power of song, but this season is the busiest anime has been in a decade.  As we’ll get into later, you could have a busy three months just following known properties.  So short of it getting rave reviews I probably won’t get too deep into this.  But for you voice actress geeks, the younger character Rin is voiced by musician Konomi Suzuki, while the older woman Finis is voiced by Nanoha herself, Yukari Tamura.

Premiering: April 6th.

Hype: 7/10, not watching.  In a weaker season I’d check this show out, and may come back to it when it wraps up and gets thrown on Netflix in the summer.

Hype: 3/10, not watching.  This animation style from Polygon Pictures simply isn’t for me.  3D CGI should be kept to a minimum in anime unless it’s of extremely high quality.  And since that would make more work for animators and cost more, it’d defeat the purpose of doing this.  I’m sure it works for some, hence the popularity of Knights of Sidonia, but I’ll sit this one out for now.

Inazuma Eleven: Scales of Ares: Set in a parallel world from the other Inazuma Eleven anime, Scales of Ares is about a trio of boys who live on an island and love to play soccer.  Out of nowhere, their club is abolished, and they’re told the only way to get it back is winning the Football Frontier. Main character Asuto Inamori and his friends are left with no choice but to enter Raimon Junior High and win, but they’re forced to face off against the Number One team in their very first match.

Thoughts: Inazuma Eleven’s one of those mega popular transmedia properties, as its based off Level-5’s incredibly popular series of DS & 3DS J-RPGs.  It’s had several seasons of anime already, so a lot of people know what they’re getting into.  If you don’t, it’s apparently like a lot of popular kids shows: Cardfight, Yu-Gi-Oh, etc.   It’s a world where people take football really seriously–one series has someone traveling to the past in order to wipe out the sport once and for all.

April 6th.

Hype: 6/10, not watching.  It looks cool, but I’ve got zero interest in soccer and these kid anime are becoming harder and harder to keep interest in without some basic interest in the real life thing being pushed.  I can barely even watch Yu-Gi-Oh.

My Hero Academia S3: The real King of Shonen Anime returns.  Izuku Midoriya is a boy born without powers in a world where eighty percent of the world’s population has powers.  That’s bad enough, but he wants to become a superhero like his idol, All Might!  Reaching his goal felt out of view, until a meeting with All Might grants Midoriya his own superpowers!  From there, he gets into the prestigious U.A. Academy…but his problems are only beginning.  After making a big splash at the school’s major sports tournament, what challenges will come with the next year?

Thoughts: I picked this manga up a year or so before it came to anime and never stopped reading it.  I’m proud that BONES has been killing it with the adaptation of this series, lending it the frenetic action a show like this requires and even fleshing out dark horse favorites like Tsuyu.  This season will see the villains strike back harder than ever, demanding our heroes to step it up another level.

Premiering: April 7th.

Hype: 9/10, definitely watching.  Welcome back to the men and women of U.A.  Plus Ultra!

MAJOR 2nd: Major 2nd is a sequel to the original series MAJOR, an incredibly popular manga about a young boy who started playing baseball while a kindergarten student, and followed him as he grew up and made his way from Junior High and on, eventually reaching the Major Leagues.  The anime carried on for six seasons, chronicling the entire journey until finally stopping in 2010.   Our new season follows the story of the main character’s son, Daigo Shigeno.

Thoughts: As a total geek for long-running stories, Major is such a cool idea.  Creator Takuya Mitsuda shows a character’s entire growth from childhood to adult, following his journey and the twists and turns every one has to deal with in life.  Then to follow it up, we see the sequel featuring his kid, because the story never truly ends.   That said…

Premiering: April 7th.

Hype: 2/10.   I was never big on sports anime series to begin with.  Strike One.  Baseball is my least favorite popular sport.  Strike Two.   It’s a sequel to a series that I never watched which ran for several years.  Strike three.  This is one of the most crowded anime seasons ever, but even if it weren’t I can’t see this being a priority.  Still, I don’t see a world in which this series isn’t big in Japan at least, if not everywhere.

Layton Mystery Detective Agency: Kat’s Mystery Solving Files: The popular Professor Layton game series makes it way to anime, but there’s a twist!  Instead of following the usual protagonist Professor Hershel, this series follows his daughter Katrielle!  Loosely based on her game, the series will focus on Kat trying to discover her father’s whereabouts while also running her detective agency alongside her friends Emiliana and Ernest and her talking dog, Sherl.

Thoughts: Detective shows aren’t always fun, but I’ve got a soft spot for them nonetheless.  Set in…whatever weird, timeless version of London Level 5 created, my interest was peaked when I saw the art for the lead.  Katrielle looks like the kind of optimistic lead of a show I could use to take a break from the relentless darkness of certain other series.  Plus, I mean.  She’s got a talking bassett hound for a pet.

Premiering: April 7th.

Hype: 8/10.  I was in once they said she had a talking dog.  Talking pets always get me.

Amanchu Advance: Sequel series to the 2016 Amanchu!, the series is about a young girl named Hikari Kohinata, who spends most of her time scuba diving since she lives by the ocean.  She meets a newcomer to the city of Shizuoka in Futaba Ooki, and the two of them join their school’s diving club together.

Thoughts: A slice of life series that doesn’t focus on romance?   Not as rare as you’d think, but they still always kind of catch me off-guard.  This is where I expose myself as something of a barbarian, but honestly…shows like this don’t do it for me.  It looks cute, and J.C. Staff’s animation is positively gorgeous, accurately portraying the flowing freedom of a group of girls enjoying the ocean.  But I’m knowing I’d get a maximum of three episodes in before I was falling asleep in the middle, and I’d have to drop it.

Premiering: April 7th.

Hype: 4/10.   Despite the great animation, this wouldn’t make it for me even in a less crowded season.

Cutey Honey Universe: Cutey Honey is a new series based on the popular Go Nagai manga series, where an android named Cutey Honey decides to avenge her creator’s murder by striking back at the organization that killed him.  This series adds a fun little wrinkle to the lore, as there are now five completely different versions of the character: the flight attendant Idol Honey, the singer Misty Honey, the fashion designer Fancy Honey, camera wielding Flash Honey, and the motorcycle buff Hurricane Honey.  Each voiced by a different actress, but who’s playing who is being kept secret until the show series this April.

Thoughts: This is Go Nagai’s world, and we’re all just living in it.  Just in time for Go Nagai’s fiftieth anniversary as a manga artist, they’ve brought back one of his best creations.   Though the “cutesy erotic action” can feel a little over the top from time to time, if they know how to handle it tastefully this series could make some great pop art.  She’s the First Lady of Shonen, and I’m glad to have her back.

Premiering: April 8th.

Hype: 9/10, watching.  No way I could pass a series like this comic back for the first time in forever.

That’s it for this week!  Next week I’ll be doing the second part of this series, featuring even more anime.  It’s a month full of previews, so be ready!

Fist of the North Star: Regenesis: The 62nd master of the legendary Hokuto Shinken style, Kasumi Kenshiro was happy moving away from his violent life fighting thugs and drug dealers, having become a teacher at a tiny women’s university in Tokyo. But when his lover and brothers are murdered, he returns to Shanghai in order to avenge their deaths.

Thoughts: Though the hyper-violent Fist of the North Star world never appealed to me, I always thought it was cool how there had always been legendary Kenshiro warriors throughout time all boasting the same abilities. Setting one during the 1930’s and in Shanghai and crossing an oft-used time period with a seldom-used geographic location helps this series to stand out enough that it’ll probably pull in a ton of the FOTN fanbase.

Premiering: April 9th.

….Also.  So far I’m at six series and counting and I’m barely a fourth of the way through.  Will the Spring anime season strangle out all the rest of my free time?  Let’s find out.