Spring 2020 Anime Season
March 13, 2020 6:43 PM - Subscribe

Anichart. MyAnimeList. They fight crime!

48 half-hour shows this season, including sequels and continuations. In fact, looks like it's mostly sequels and continuations. But beyond that, it... doesn't look bad? We'll see...
posted by ardgedee (15 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
So far I'm counting on (predictably) a couple isekai. The second season of Honzuki no Gekokujou (aka "Bookworm"), which, judging from the trailer gets better production this time. And Otome Game no Hametsu Flag, for which the manga version is a hoot and a half (the trailer emphasizes the characters' breasts for no damn good reason, so despite my current enthusiasm this is already treading dangerous ground). There's also Hachinan tte, Sore wa Nai Deshou, a trash isekai in which the protagonist is, again, powerful enough to kill God but has an unremarkable personality and would rather stay chill and solve crimes have adventures with his pals. The manga's been a guilty pleasure but if the anime sucks, I will neither be surprised nor feel bad about it.

Beyond that there are a couple other series that I know nothing about beyond the Anichart summaries but seem interesting: Yesterday wo Utatte, a coming of age story; Arte and Kitsutsuki Tantei Dokoro, both (relatively) realistic historical fiction.
posted by ardgedee at 7:01 PM on March 13, 2020

Pretty interested in BNA
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 7:03 PM on March 13, 2020

With the appearance of Otome Game no Hametsu Flag shika Nai Akuyaku Reijou ni Tensei shiteshimatta... it looks like Bakarina will be leading the charge for the swath of "reincarnated into an Otome game world as the villainess" stories that are out there. Considering that some of them are really good, that isn't a bad thing.
posted by charred husk at 11:26 AM on March 14, 2020

The shows drawing my interest are:

Fugou Keiji

Nami yo Kiitekure

Kitsutsuki Tantei Dokoro

And I'm looking forward to the Psycho-Pass 3: First Inspector movie, mainly to see if they manage to resolve all the open plot threads from the anime series.
posted by needled at 5:52 PM on March 14, 2020

> it looks like Bakarina will be leading the charge for the swath of "reincarnated into an Otome game world as the villainess" stories that are out there. Considering that some of them are really good, that isn't a bad thing.

I hope Observation Record of a Self-proclaimed Villainess’ Fiance is quick to follow. It follows a similar pattern: The "villainess" is far too amiable to be villainous, and her classmates like her because she's charmingly eccentric. Beyond that the stories are sufficiently different to make them both worth reading.

In general the shojo isekai are not the power fantasies typical of shonen isekai, which probably implies something about gender roles in Japan, but this also means they can make for stories a little bit richer than the usual "reincarnated with more power than everything else on earth, so, uh... now how do we keep this interesting?" Unfortunately a lot of them instead wallow in a perpetual maudlin stasis of unfulfilled love (usually needlessly self-imposed) because of some perceived complication due to past incarnations, though there are a lot of ways to break out of that rut and a few of them manage.
posted by ardgedee at 6:04 PM on March 19, 2020

I'm watching a bit less this season, and maybe hitting up my backlog or Netflix instead for some shows. (Currently binging Castlevania... Dayum!)

Anyway, happy about sequels: Fruits Basket and Oregairu. (I didn't think there would be a third season? S2 had a fairly definitive ending...)

I'm a sucker for a Trigger project, even when they suck. So, count me in for BNA. (Which hopefully won't suck. They're due for a good one!) I'm also giving Arte and Yesterday a try, but I expect I'll be dropping at least one of them. I still want to see more stories that involve different environments and age groups than the usual, so I'm always reaching out and trying shows like these. Also add in Appare-Ranman. I'm really hoping that it's as fun as it can be, given the description. And, throw in Gleipnir and Hachinan tte, for my junk food quotient.
posted by Citrus at 9:07 PM on March 26, 2020

First episodes are going up and first impressions are coming in.

Arte: Ugh, I'm on the fence about this and I hate feeling that way. The heroine is way too genki/perky Japanese teen, and the production generally reminds me a lot of how disneyesque the world of Bookworm looks. Will give it a couple more episodes to see if things settle down.

Kakushigoto: I assume the original manga is a 4koma because the pacing of the anime is kind of rigid and stiff. But it's surprisingly fluffy and inoffensive, considering the premise, so it might be this season's "turn off brane, stare at glowing screen, grunt and eat popcorn" series.
posted by ardgedee at 5:03 PM on April 4, 2020

More first impressions:

Bakarina: Hard to get a grasp on what the rest of the series will be like, since the first episode is nearly entirely rapid-fire exposition and plot setup. The production looks good though, and they're having a lot of fun wallowing in otome game tropes.

Bookworm: Picks up where the previous season left off; if you've been following this you might be a little lost if you didn't catch the bonus episodes (Crunchyroll has 'em). I was hoping the production quality would improve a little but instead there are a few shots where character faces are badly aligned on their heads, which was a little disturbing.

Nami yo Kiitekure / Wave Listen to Me: The main character is a twentysomething woman in Sapporo who discovers her drunken ranting about men being broadcast on radio, leading to a regular radio appearance (I think?) as an advice columnist. It's kind of two-thirds character drama and one-third slapstick and the timeline skips back and forth making it kind of hard to tell which event leads to what. But the main character is an interesting portrayal, not really conforming to any anime trope, so even if the show collapses on itself it might end up being a good watch just for the variety.

Listeners: The mix of sci-fi trappings and gratuitous insertions of rock and roll tropes kept reminding me of Heavy Metal magazine. Currently it feels like it's trying harder than the material can support, but I guess I'll see what happens. It's by MAPPA so if nothing else we're likely to see something we've never seen before.
posted by ardgedee at 5:37 PM on April 5, 2020

Dropped Arte from viewing. The heroine doesn't really have any redeeming qualities beyond a bottomless reserve of perkiness and brute force.

The lead of Bakarina is also stupid-ish and perky-ish, but somehow is a lot more sympathetic and likable. The series is an absolute blast. And the lead of Wave is even stupider and more energetic, but her story is an idealized 20-something slacker's adventure and she, herself, is a kind of walking talking id monster speaking truth to the problems and worries of her peers, so it's all weirdly compelling.

Hachinan tte/8th Son: Could only stand about seven minutes of the first episode, which moved so sludgily it was hard to focus on anything except how bad the animation, voice acting, and script were. It's not even worth hatewatching.

Kitsutsuki Tanteidokoro/Woodpecker Detective's Office: Only caught the first episode so far. Intriguing, and the art style is a subtle mix of anime and woodblock printing qualities. The story is at times oblique and suggestive, so I'm not sure what to make of it yet, so it's still on the watch list.
posted by ardgedee at 6:54 PM on April 18, 2020

Appare-Ranman I guess is this decade's Samurai Champloo: Historical adventure filled with anachronistic details -- this time, instead of being Morricone x Kurosawa x trip-hop, it's Wild Wild West x Musashi x [whatever the kids are listening to these days]. It's kind of frustrating to watch because Appare is affectless, indifferent to the interests people around him (including problems he instigated). At the same time he's obviously never acting out of malice or self-interest worse than curiosity, so after a couple episodes it's still impossible to entirely like or hate or even feel like you've got any better handle on him than you did in his first scene in the first episode. His compatriot Isshiki is led around by the nose by Appare's unpredictable whims, reducing what should be a strong character to the role of feckless sidekick.

After all that complaining, the show is still pretty compelling. There's a lot going on, production quality is good, acting is good, the storyline makes it clear there's a lot of good clean wacky fun imminent. Hopefully the right pieces will fall into place sooner rather than never.
posted by ardgedee at 7:08 PM on April 18, 2020

Not exactly related to currently-airing anime, but close enough: Possibly the only remotely good thing to come out of the global quarantine is that Aya Hirano got so bored she posted a ten-minute IGTV video of herself goofing around with her cats and doing the Hare Hare Yukai dance.

Since she posted it, Sugita (Kyon) and Minoru Shiraishi (Taniguchi) have both posted their own versions, which Aya's compiled into one video. Sugita is, as you might expect, taking liberties with the choreography. I don't speak Japanese, but as far as I can tell, Aya deputizes all viewers as SOS Brigade members and tells everybody to stay home. As well as snatching up her cats whenever one of them has the misfortune to wander into the frame... do those cats look unusually long to anybody else? Anyway, a shortened version of her original video got a quarter of a million likes on Twitter in about a day and a half, so what I want to know is... S3 when?
posted by Sing Or Swim at 7:16 PM on April 28, 2020

And now for a comment that IS about a currently airing show: there's this thing called Olympia Kyklos. It's a four-minute show about a guy from ancient Greece who improbably finds himself in modern-day Japan. It sounded like the dumbest thing ever and I almost didn't even look at it. The opening animation features animated Greek vase-paintings, claymation, live-action-video mouths superimposed on clay heads, and a dolphin with whom the main character may or may not be having some sort of inappropriate relationship. There's a bit where two animated Greek figures are wrestling on a real, photographed piece of pottery, and one of the figures picks the other up and slams him to the ground, and the pot breaks--and the breaking of the pot is animated in stop-motion.

It's just a very neat mash of different animation methods, which all might well have been chosen because of limited means, but the results are nevertheless really stylish, witty, and surprising. The show is well worth four minutes of your time, unless your time is a lot more valuable than mine. Just a heads-up in case this isn't on your radar.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 7:28 PM on April 28, 2020

Midseason checkin!

An impressively good season! I'm watching more shows now than I usually follow over two or three seasons.

Recently added and catching up on:
Gal and Dino (If you liked Pop Team Epic, this is an easy-going iteration of the formula),
House Spirit Tatami-chan (4-minute shorts where the running gag is that the ghost visiting from the countryside discovers that the real monsters are the residents of Tokyo),
Princess Connect! Re:Dive (This deserves more commentary but basically it's a lighthearted harem isekai where the transported hero is useless and effectively (sometimes literally) propped up in a corner while women have their adventures without him; yet another game tie-in by Cygames and seems to be following on their Zombieland Saga series in the sense of being more gender-aware than you'd expect),
Shironeko Project: Zero Chronicle (Another game adaptation which unlike Princess Connect seems to be po-facedly trying to exploit and abuse all the cliches and tropes of their high fantasy game tie-in through an overpowered chuuni emo teenage boy inexplicably rising to power and confronting a rival kingdom run by overpowered inexplicably sad teenage girls. It's actually, genuinely terrible, but watchably so by committing so hard to it.)

Still watching:
Wave Listen to Me,
Appare Ranman (The main characters continue to irritate me and it's increasingly evident that's the point, but there's enough going on for that to be overlook-able).

On the fence about:
Olympia Kyklos (Very silly and visually fun but it feels like it's missing something),
Listeners (Not actually bad but I can't seem to find the energy to keep up).

Hachinan Tte, could only stand a few minutes of the first episode, it moved so slowly and stupidly, and the artwork had the amateurish inconsistency that you usually only see in low-budget productions around the 10th episode;
Arte because it's basically a Japanese suburban family drama except set in Renaissance Italy and less interesting than that makes it sound;
Woodpecker Detective's Office because the characters are not enjoyable. Kind of a shame because the it's a beautiful production.
Fugou Keiji/The Millionaire Detective because the point of the hilarity is how the billionaire dude can buy his way into and out of everything and that's kind of simultaneously an unfulfillable chuuni fantasy and kind of a metaphor for how people are getting into positions of power and fucking up the country here as we speak and I just can't shake that metaphor, sorry.
posted by ardgedee at 6:17 PM on May 6, 2020

I haven't been able to get into Woodpecker Detective's Agency. Seemed like in the second episode they killed a prostitute so the main characters could banter about it. And they did the thing where everybody tells the same story, but the story is different every time because EVERYBODY PERCEIVED IT DIFFERENTLY! Like a high school creative writing class POV exercise or something. Then in the third episode they introduced five more characters so they'd have more people to retell the same story. I was hoping to like it because the title is quirky and intriguing, but unfortunately the show itself seems not to be.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 12:38 PM on May 7, 2020

The pandemic's done a hit on productions this season. And, presumably the coming couple seasons as well. The shows I'm following that have gone on hiatus include Appare Ranman and Gal & Dino, but there are bunches more. Bakarina and Bookworm are unaffected because their productions were already complete before the seasons started.

Apparently manga is affected as well. Venerable series Golgo 13 and Detective Conan have gone on hiatus, presumably because they can't safely have all staff sitting at a big table working together.
posted by ardgedee at 12:42 PM on May 31, 2020

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