It’s often hard to decide what anime to watch each season. One wrong move and you’ve wasted a half-hour of your life on another directionless mess of bouncing boobs and quasi-incest. How can you tell what might be worth looking at among the stream of shows? Well, I’ve decided to help out with that. I’ve found nine shows for this season that might have something to offer and I’m going to tell you all that is known so far about them! I can’t promise how any of them will turn out, but hopefully this list will help those who want to be prepared when trying out shows for the Spring 2016 anime season.
The Ace Attorney Anime
The Ace Attorney anime has been a long time coming. This video game franchise has gotten multiple manga, a live action movie and even musicals, but for the longest time there was no hint of an animated adaptation on the horizon. I’ll admit I was a little bit disappointed to learn Studio Bones wouldn’t be animate it- they’ve been animating the cut scenes in recent games and those always looked gorgeous.
But the recent animated footage we’ve seen certainly doesn’t look bad, so I hold some hope this anime might do the games justice. I’m especially amused to see the main character, Ryuichi/Phoenix, riding a bike to work. He looks like he’s late for lawyer school and all he needs is some toast in his mouth to complete the image.
If you’re not familiar with the story of the Ace Attorney games, the anime could (note I said COULD) turn out to be a good jumping on point. The series follows a newbie attorney, known as Phoenix Wright in the American localization, as a tragedy at his workplace forces him to take on a very personal case. He befriends a psychic named Maya and she becomes his assistant. He soon even runs into a childhood friend of his, who has turned into a cold and ruthless prosecutor. And then his former friend is framed for murder…
Ace Attorney is a very comedic series- our main attorney interrogates a parrot on the witness stand at some point- but it’s also got some tragedy and emotional resonance. Mostly, it’s full of really fun, dynamic characters and ridiculous situations. The anime is supposed to cover the first two games of the series (Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney and Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice for All) and is set to premiere on April 2.
Sailor Moon Crystal Season 3
I’ll be the first to tell you that the first two seasons of Sailor Moon Crystal were a huge disappointment. They were animated extremely poorly and the storytelling was incredibly weak too. The show followed the original manga’s story, except it also added in huge plot holes and rushed romantic relationship that made an already cramped story absolutely fall apart.
But…I can't help but hold out a spark of hope for the newest season, as foolish as I know this is. This season will cover the arc that introduces Haruka and Michiru, aka my lesbian superhero heartthrobs. It also introduces Sailor Saturn, and is my favorite arc of the series in many ways.
What we’ve seen of the new season so far looks at least more promising that the previous season. The staff seems to have listened to complaints about the horrible animation and changed the character design.
The girls no longer look dead-eyed and unexpressive!
We haven’t seen enough of the animation to see if the motion’s any good, but better character design is certainly a step in the right direction. And the transformation sequences are reportedly no longer in awkward CGI.
This season is supposedly also breaking out of the “one manga chapter = one episode” format of the previous seasons. The first episode is going to be a two-parter, for instance. This should give the story a little more room to breathe, though it’s always possible the stuff that gets added will be bad. The director of the series has been replaced, which means things might be a little different- though the script-writer is still the same.
Also, the ending credits song is going to be sung by Haruka and Michiru, which gives me a little hope they’ll be treated well.
Basically, I’m keeping my expectations ocean-level, but I plan to keep an eye on this upcoming season. If this series makes a turnaround, that would certainly be good news for Sailor Moon fans.
The series is set to premiere on April 4. Considering the series previously aired on Crunchyroll and Hulu, it’s very likely to be accessible through them this time too.
Kiznaiver is the latest original anime by Studio Trigger, who gained fame for Little Witch Academia and Kill la Kill. Studio Trigger is known for its creative animation and the director of this series was also the assistant director on the stunningly animated Rage of Bahamut, so things are looking good for the visuals on this series.
The plot sounds like it has some potential- it could be either completely cliché or very interesting. It takes place in a futuristic, somewhat dystopian Japan. The presumed protagonist, Katsuhira, does not feel pain like other people. He is approached by a mysterious girl who tells him he is a “kiznaiver” which means he can share his pain with other “kiznaivers” who happen to be his classmates. Basically, when one of them gets hurt, their pain is evenly distributed among the whole group. This forms a weird bond between them.
Kill la Kill was full of over-the-top sexy pandering to the point of being a turnoff to some (including me) but I didn’t see any particularly sexy moments in the trailer for this. It could end up being a pretty solid anime.
Interestingly, Crunchyroll managed to get exclusive streaming rights to this anime, which doesn’t happen incredibly often. The anime will premiere on April 9.
My Hero Academia
My Hero Academia, also known as Boku no Hero Academia, seems like a solid choice of anime for anyone who likes superheoes, especially stuff like the X-Men.
The story follows a young boy named Izuku, who is born into a world where 80% of the population has superpowers and heroes and villians abound. Unfortunately for Izuku, he is part of the 20% born without powers. Despite this, he desperately wants to be a hero. An encounter with the world’s greatest hero, All Might, changes Izuku’s life and he soon becomes a student at U.A. High School, an academy geared toward training young heroes.
The manga this anime is based on is fairly popular and it looks like some good old shonen fun. Studio Bones is animating this, so naturally it looks like it will be nice and dynamic animation. The lead also looks adorable.
The series is set to premiere April 3, and it will be streaming on Funimation’s website. Here’s a trailer!
Bungo Stray Dogs
The plot of Bungo Stray Dogs is certainly an intriguing one. This anime involves real life authors gaining supernatural powers and then forming a detective agency. The manga has featured appearances from authors like Agatha Christie, Dan Brown and Dostoyevsky.
But even the main characters are notable names in the literary world. For instance, the female member of the main squad is Akiko Yosano, who was a feminist poet, author and activist. Her first book of poetry was published in 1901 and she was active throughout Japan’s Meiji, Taisho and early Showa era.
A young boy named Atsushi gets involved with this group of superpowered author investigstors when he is kicked out of his orphanage and comes across a man attempting suicide. He rescues him only to find out he’s a part of this group.
The series is being animated by Studio Bones, so it’s likely to look nice. As a writer myself, I have to admit I’m a sucker for anything involving superpowered authors, so I’ll likely give it a look. The anime is set to premiere April 7.
Mayoiga is an anime I’m cautious about, mostly because of the character design. The 16 and 24-year-olds in this series look more like 8-year-olds and that kind of stuff is unsettling and also tends to send up red flags for potential badness. However, I have to admit the plot summary intrigued me, it talks of 30 people going on a bus tour to a village that only exists in urban legend. But they find the village, and disappear into it.
It’s possible this anime might turn out to be an interesting mystery with weird character design, but it’s equally possible it could be a mess. The studio producing it, Diomeda, isn’t a big name. The series is set to premier on April 1st.
Flying Witch looks to be a comical slice-of-life series following a fifteen-year-old witch named Makoto as she moves in with her second cousin, accompanied by her black cat. Slice-of-life anime can be chock full of weird fanservice, but I didn’t see much indication of that as a selling point in the preview. I’m a fan of witches, so I hope this turns out to be a fun, relaxing little series full of witchy hijinks and not something gross.
The anime is being produced by J.C. Staff, whose series tend to look pretty nice from what I’ve seen. Just from the trailer, the scenery in the show looks gorgeous. It’s set to premiere April 15.
Kuma Miko: Girl Meets Bear
Kuma Miko tells the tale of a young shrine maiden named Machi who befriends a talking bear named Natsu. She decides she wants to go to school in the city, but the bear says she must endure his trials to prove she’s ready.
The combination of shrine maiden and bear is bizarre enough to get my attention. This looks like another slice-of-life comedy and it had the potential to be very cute. Of course, as mentioned before, it also has the potential to be full of uncomfortable sexual stuff and there’s a shot of the tiny girl taking a bath with the bear, though it looks like it’s a potentially innocent scene since it’s a far away shot. Other than that, the previews didn’t bring up any indications of this being fetish stuff.
The anime is set to premiere on April 3.
Rinne, or Kyoukai no Rinne, is set to have its second season. The series is mostly notable for being adapted from a manga by Rumiko Takahashi, who is famous for creating Inuyasha and Ranma 1/2. The series follows a constantly broke Shinigami named Rinne as he solves various supernatural problems. The series tends to be episodic and Takahashi’s trademark humor is all over it. If you have fond memories of Ranma and Inuyasha, this series might tickle your nostalgia.
The season is set to premiere April 9, and considering it last ran on Crunchyroll, there’s a good chance it will be streaming there again.