Spring Anime 2018 TV Guide, Part Three

by Sage Ashford

Thirty series in. Are you tired yet? Or are you excited about the overflow of Japanese animation goodness that’s about to come our way in just a few more weeks? I’m a little bit of both, frankly.   We’ve actually got a bit further to go than you would’ve thought too, as this list adds another seventeen(!) series. Hope you’re ready! If you missed the other lists, they can be found here and here.

Horse Girls: Pretty Derby: Based off a mobile game from Cygames (Shadowverse, Granblue), Horse Girls is a series that crosses the typical idol culture with a group of anthropomorphic horse girls racing one another.

Thoughts: So there’s a list circulating on Reddit’s manga forum of all the things anime and manga have transformed into women. It’s pretty extensive, and this isn’t even near the weirdest thing.  Nonetheless, I’m still both shocked and slightly irked that this not only exists, but has made it onto television. Moreover, it’s got support from TOHO animation, which explains why it looks so freaking good.

Premiering: April 1st.

Hype: 4/10, for the animation.  And it is admittedly kinda cute.

Duel Masters: The popular card game series continues with a sequel to last year’s anime. When the balance of the Creature World is upset, a talking deck case called “Decky” travels to the human world to find a Duel Master to equilibrium back.

Thoughts: Counting Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS, there will be four card based anime series (I know of) on air in April.  I’ve only got room for two of them, and this won’t be one of them.

Premiere: April 2nd.

Hype: 3/10.

Beyblade Burst Chouzetsu: The third season of the Beyblade Burst series, join Valt Aoi and his friends on another adventure on the road to becoming the ultimate Beyblader.

Thoughts: As an unabashed Kamen Rider and Super Sentai fan, I love a lot of stuff that’s ostensibly meant to be for children. But Beyblade was never one of them.  When it first launched I was the perfect age for it–13 or so. But…I dunno, no one ever sold me on the gimmick. It’s literally spinning tops, and while I try not to be “that guy”, it just never clicked for me. The harder they tried to sell how serious their battles were the less I bought it. Probably because in real life it wasn’t fun.  Card game shows work because card games are fun to play in real life, and you don’t have the added pressure of worrying if you’ll be sent to the Shadow Realm should you lose. But when you “Let It Rip”, against your opponent…your top smacks his once, maybe twice, then they both stop.  Yawn.  Just like this series.

Premiering: April 2nd.

Hype: 3/10.

Puzzle & Dragon: Set in modern-day Japan, this new Puzzle & Dragon series follows Taiga Akashi, a young boy on his journey to become the #1 professional gamer.

Thoughts: Puzzle & Dragons is a mega-popular “match 3” puzzle phone game in Japan.  Downloaded over 50 million times and generating over six billion dollars in revenue worldwide, it’s no surprise GungHo Entertainment created an anime series to capitalize off its popularity. The first series, Puzzle & Dragons X, launched about two years ago and was a fantasy series that managed to represent the game’s rules a bit while also creating it’s own lore and world. This…seems relatively uninspired by comparison, relying a lot more heavily on the real world and apparently just being an anime about the game instead of the world that the game series is supposed to be about. We’ve got way too many of those already, trying to get the kids to play the game instead of showing more of the awesome world that the monsters in the game inhabit. I’d kill for spin offs of YGO and Cardfight! Vanguard that detailed those worlds like X seemed to, and this series wants to go backwards?  I can’t reward that behavior.

Premiering: April 2nd.

Hype: 4/10.

Space Battleship Tiramisu: Based on a web manga series from Satoshi Miyakawa and Kei Ito, Tiramisu is a science fiction comedy series. The series follows Subaru Ichinose, ace pilot of the space battleship “Tiramisu.” The youngest crew member on the ship, he has trouble adapting to life with older members of the ship, so he frequently winds up shutting himself in the cockpit of his own robot Durandal.

Thoughts: I feel like we get proper space opera series so rarely that when they do come along I don’t really want a comedy so much as I do a straight take on the genre that brings something new to the table. Still, there’s a lot of potential in this series: it’s taking Neon Genesis Evangelion’s approach of “human interaction is hard” for its story, so maybe there’s more to it than meets the eye. And it can do it without having an insufferable lead.

Premiering: April 3rd.

Hype: 7/10. I don’t like short anime usually, but I’ll give this a few episodes and see what happens.

Devil’s Line: College student Tsukasa is rescued from an attack by a devil, vampires capable of blending in among the human population. Her savior, Anzai, is a half-devil using his supernatural gifts as a member of a shadowy police task force that specializes in devil-related crime in Tokyo. As Anzai keeps guard over Tsukasa, the two start to get close, causing Anzai to fear he may break his iron-clad rule of never drinking human blood.

Thoughts: I never do well with action/romances along this line. I like the mix of the two, but if it isn’t done just right it’s off-putting and I wind up not being terribly interested in either part.  Ultimately, without a compelling enough main cast series like this usually lose me, and nothing about this cast stands out from the dozens of other series like this. I’m sure it’ll find its fanbase and do well, but this isn’t something I’d try even in a lighter season.

Premiering: April 7th.

Hype: 2/10.

Love to Lie Angle: After moving back to her hometown, Natsuno Hanabi is ready to start high school and excited to be living in Tachibana Mansion, a dormitory that resembles a mansion.  However, due to some issues she instead ends up at the run-down but lively Tachibana House… and finds herself stuck in a love triangle between her childhood friend and a mysterious beauty.

Thoughts: Yuri series always annoy me because they tend to stay at the “misunderstandings” level of things and avoid the fireworks factory of a full-on relationship. I understand this series is a bit different though, with the love triangle resembling a low level harem show but with a lady lead instead of a guy. Still, my tolerance for harem series is really low, and it’s even lower for tsundere-type characters so hopefully they can rein that in. I do think anime always tends to do better writing female characters when a guy’s not present though, so there’s that.

Premiering: April 3rd.

Hype: ….Tentative 7/10.  I’ll give the first episode a shot for sure.

Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online: Being six feet tall, Karen Kohiruimaki has always let her height make her insecure, which has led to her being bad at dealing with people in her life.  So when she starts playing virtual shooter MMO Gun Gale Online, she creates a character that’s not even five feet tall, and enters the world as the pink-clad Llen. She eventually meets a beautiful, brown-skinned player named Pitohui, who pressures her into joining the Battle Royale-style tournament known as Squad Jam.

Thoughts: I’m still kinda ticked at the anime community for letting Sword Art Online become this ridiculously popular–boasting several films and not one but two series coming to television this year–but no sense in crying about it. We’re at where we’re at. Plus this series actually has a lot going for it. For one, it’s not written by Reki Kawahara but instead the writer of Kino’s Journey, Keiichi Sigsawa. Next, it’s set in the best of the three games in SAO, Gun Gale Online–the world where it’s all about cool gunplay action and tense shoot outs. Finally, the story’s set around tournaments and I’m a sucker for tournaments. If 3Hz brings the animation hopefully this can a strong action series contender.

Premiering: April 7th.

Hype: 8/10. With a better writer, set in the best world, and possibility of yuri combined with a ton of action? Yeah, I’m in.

Persona 5 The Animation: The popular J-RPG series makes its way into animation. Made by A-1 Pictures, Persona 5 The Animation will follow the Phantom Thieves of Hearts as they reform corrupt adults in the city of Tokyo.

Thoughts: I’ve never been a Persona fan–noticed the series well after the bandwagon started, and even though P5 got rave reviews I don’t exactly have the time to invest into a game that nearly everyone quotes as having an 80-100 hour playtime for completion. No thank you. But a series with slick animation and a compressed storyline that I only have to watch 12-24 episodes of to learn the full plot? Sure, sign me up.

Premiering: April 7th.

Hype: 7/10.

Houzuki no Reitetsu Second Season Part II: Houzuki is the chief deputy to Lord Enma, the King of Hell. Using his intense micromanagement and negotiation skills, Houzuki troubleshoots all the problems in the bureaucracy of Hell.

Thoughts: Watching a show about bureaucracy sounds like hell to me. Hard pass.

Premiering: April 7th.

Hype: 0/10.

The Young Inn Keeper is a Grade Schooler: Oriko Seki’s a twelve year old girl who lost her parents in a car accident and ended up living in her grandmother’s hot spring inn, the “Spring House”. With the help of a ghost named “Uri-bou”, she begins training to learn to run the inn.

Thoughts: This looks like a cute series to just watch and not have to think that hard about. People call it visual comfort food, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with watching series like this. But they aren’t for me  Bright side? This is based on a novel series that ran for twenty volumes, so there’s plenty of material available.

Premiering: April 7th.

Hype: 2/10.  Madhouse does great animation when they want to.

Kiratto Pri-Chan: Mirai Momoyama and Emo Moegi are a pair of middle-schoolers who want to become professional idols. They start using the “Pri☆Chan System” (YouTube basically, but for idols) to upload their songs and broadcast content to the world. They make the decision to be their own producers, and start a channel to begin their journey.

Thoughts: This is a show I want to give a try just to see how elaborate they get with the costuming and music videos. Pri-Chan is a franchise that’s been around for about four years now, so it should be popular enough to spare no expense with the animation. I’m giving the first episode a try, but if it’s all lazy 3D CGI stuff I’m nope-ing right out.

Premiering: April 7th.

Hype: 5/10.

The Caligula Effect: Based on a PS Vita RPG by Atlus, the Caligula Effect is set in a world where a virtual idol named μ gains self-awareness through repeated exposure to her viewers’ negative feelings and dissatisfaction with the world. Out of a desire to save humanity, μ pulls people into a VR world called Mobius, leaving them no way to escape because she believes they’ll be free of reality’s suffering.  Nine people in that world form the “Going Home Club”, working together to escape Mobius and finally go back home.

Thoughts: As much as I like Satelight as a studio, I’m going to pass. This seems like the kind of series that would feature high death counts and pondering philosophically, but not properly connecting the characters with the audience.

Premiering: April 8th.

Hype: 3/10 out of respect for Satelight.

Piano’s Forest: Piano’s Forest is the story of two boys: Kai Ichinose, a young boy who lives in the red light district that sneaks away into a forest at night to play the piano, and Shuhei Amamiya, the son of a professional pianist. Despite their two very different upbringings, their shared love of the piano gradually creates a friendship between the two of them.

Thoughts: This seems like Yuri on Ice, Welcome to the Ballroom, or Kids on the Slope. A beautiful series about the love of performative art. I do think it’ll be held back if the animation isn’t better than the snippet we see in the trailer. But I’m also certain this will make several people’s Anime of the Series’ lists, with people praising this as a sweet coming of age series.

Premiering: April 8th.

Hype: 5/10.

Food Wars: The Third Plate – Toutsuki Ressha Chapter: The popular comedy adventure series continues, following the adventures of Soma Yukihira, a young boy whose incredible culinary skills lead to him being placed in an elite cooking school where only one percent of the students manage to graduate. There, Soma seeks to not just become one of the school’s graduates, but a member of the school’s Elite Ten–the most promising students in the school.

Thoughts: Anime, more than any other storytelling medium, can make everything look epic. Even cooking battles. But I’m way too late to the party on this one. This is a story that’s been going for like three years and almost 50 episodes. I couldn’t catch up in time even if I wanted to.

Premiering: April 8th.

Hype: 4/10.  I’m sitting this one out.

Cute High Earth Defense Club Happy Kiss: The third season of the popular magical boy series, Cute High Earth Defense Club follows a group of five ordinary boys that have been granted nature-based powers given to them by a being from outer space. They work together to use their powers to stop the “Earth Conquest Club”, using a set of “loveracelets” that transform them into Battle Lovers.

Thoughts: I didn’t know this series exists, but I’m kinda glad it does. Still, I don’t come to the magical “insert group here” genre to watch fanservice or a parody of the genre. My bar is set with the awesome ladies in Nanoha and the absurdity of Symphogear. Anything less than that issa no from me, fam.

Premiering: April 9th.

Hype: 3/10.

That’s all for now!  So far, I’ve got sixteen.