Winter 2019 Season Preview

Disclaimer: This post will be updated accordingly as more official English titles, release dates, and/or simulcast information gets announced.

Another anime season, a new year even, and with that, another preemptive look at what’s coming out. What exactly premieres in January? Well, there’s uh…there’s uh…………..uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…

Okay, obviously Winter 2019 will be loaded with new anime. But barring a few specific sequels, not much about this lineup really stands out to me. Granted, it is very much possible for this season to be proven good once everything becomes available. If memory serves, I had this exact kind of skepticism over Winter 2018 with Violet Evergarden being the only show I was super hype for. In the end, that turned out to be the best season of 2018 with a lot of great shows backing it up. Who knows, maybe lightning will strike again for Winter. One can hope.

For now, let’s take a peak at what Winter 2019 has to offer.

Hype Level Breakdown: 

  • High – Anime that I really want to watch right now but alas, I must wait for it to air on TV. The one show that stands out the most, even in this group also gets “Most Anticipated” added to its hype level.
  • Mild – The show just looks pretty good or fairly average to me for one reason or another though I’m nevertheless still interested in it.
  • Surprise Me – The show frankly looks bad to me or I’m just very skeptical about it. It’s still attracting a modicum of attention or the premise still got my attention so I gave it a spot on the preview.

Egao no Daika
(The Price of Smiles)

Premieres: January 4 at 21:30 JST Genre: Action, Mecha, Military, Sci-Fi
Studio: Tatsunoko Source: Original
Streaming: Crunchyroll Hype Level: Mild
External Links: Official Website | Twitter | Anime News Network | MyAnimeList | Wikipedia

Maybe it’s just me but I keep seeing Japanese companies creating original properties to celebrate their anniversaries. Silver Link celebrated its 10th anniversary with Two Car. Animax celebrated its 20th anniversary with The Girl in Twilight. And here we are again with Tatsunoko celebrating its 55th anniversary with The Price of Smiles. Maybe the pattern is pure coincidence but I can’t help but notice it.

As for the show itself, The Price of Smiles has a decent hook to it. The show centers around two girls — a princess and a soldier — each from a different planet whose fates are seemingly intertwined. It does sound pretty vague but so long as the chemistry between said leads is solid, this could make for a fun ride. Also, there’s mechas to go along with the cute girls so this better be good.

Dororo

Premieres: January 7 at 22:00 JST Genre: Action, Adventure, Demons, Period Piece, Shounen, Supernatural
Studio: MAPPA & Tezuka Productions Source: Manga
Streaming: Amazon Hype Level: Mild
External Links: Official Website | Twitter | Anime News Network | MyAnimeList | Wikipedia

Any new adaptation on Osamu Tezuka’s work is cause for attention and I find it even more curious that it’s for one of Tezuka’s more obscure works and not, say, Astro Boy or Black Jack or Phoenix. The premise, however, is even stranger as it centers around a young boy in search for his missing organs. Said organs were bartered to demons by his father and said boy is still alive thanks to a doctor providing him various prosthetics and medicine. Along the way, he meets an orphan who claims to be the best thief in Japan. Again, it’s strange but I am intrigued, especially since this was originally created by Tezuka.

Mob Psycho 100 II

Premieres: January 7 at 23:00 JST Genre: Action, Comedy, Slice of Life
Studio: Studio Source: Manga
Streaming: Crunchyroll, Funimation Hype Level: High – Most Anticipated
External Links: Official Website | Twitter | Anime News Network | MyAnimeList | Wikipedia

Okay, now we’re talking. I’ll get a review for the first season of Mob Psycho 100 posted ASAP but let me make it known that I love it. I’d even go as far as call it my #1 favorite anime of 2016. By itself, ONE’s original story of a young psychic boy who just wants to live a modest life. It’s quirky, it’s funny, and it’s brimming with sharp commentary over what it truly means to feel special. But what really made the anime work even better is its presentation. Director Yuzuru Tachikawa and studio Bones made the bold decision of keeping ONE’s, uh, “charming” art style and stuffing it with as much sakuga as humanly possible. The result is one of the most distinct and stylistic anime in recent memory. If you seriously haven’t seen Mob, really do consider giving the first season a chance.

Season 2 has all the signs point towards success. Every key member, including Tachikawa, is back to work on Season 2 and manga readers have commented that the story gets even better from where Season 1 left off. My real concern is how far into said story Season 2 will go as the manga has actually reached its conclusion a year ago. The last thing I want is for the adaptation to get so far, only to then leave everyone hanging on a cliffhanger. I’m admittedly thinking very long-term however. For now, I should just be glad that Mob is coming back on the air. If there had to only be one ray of light in Winter 2019, let it be this one.

Watashi ni Tenshi ga Maiorita!
(WATATEN: an Angel Flew Down to Me)

Premieres: January 8 at 22:00 JST Genre: CGDCT, Comedy, Girls’ Love
Studio: Doga Kobo Source: 4-koma Manga
Streaming: Crunchyroll Hype Level: Surprise Me
External Links: Official Website | Twitter | Anime News Network | MyAnimeList | Wikipedia

I’ve fulfilled my CGDCT quota for about two and a half years now. I ain’t stopping with this silly rule just yet! That said, of all the CGDCT anime to put my bets on…this is the most questionable pick. Basically, Watashi ni Tenshi ga Maiorita! is about a high school girl falling in love…with a fifth grader…yikes. To be fair, it doesn’t seem nearly as creepy as, say, Uzamaid! and I always have a soft spot for a main character who’s super shy. Still, I’m 50-50 over how swimmingly this kind of premise will go.

Kakegurui xx

Premieres: January 9 at 2:30 JST Genre: Drama, Psychological, School, Shounen
Studio: MAPPA Source: Manga
Streaming: Netflix Hype Level: Mild
External Links: Official Website | Twitter | Anime News Network | MyAnimeList | Wikipedia

This is a super last-minute addition to the Preview as, at the time I’m writing this, I just finished the first season of Kakegurui hours ago. I don’t normally do such close calls but whatever, I managed to pull it off just this once.

Way back in my Summer 2017 Season Preview, I expressed a lot of skepticism towards Kakegurui. I mean, the whole premise of a school where students gamble to gain social and even political status just sounds incredibly stupid. And wouldn’t you know? The show itself is indeed that stupid, complete with a lot of exaggerated animation and characters ranging from foolish to psychotic. It’s all utterly absurd…but not going to lie, I ended up liking the whole package. I surprisingly found the games pretty thrilling and lead protagonist, Yumeko Jabami (played splendidly by Saori Hayami), is a true joy onscreen.

I imagine xx will just be more of the same but given my enjoyment of the first season, that’s fine by me. Let’s get our gambling freak on again!

Tate no Yuusha no Naraigari
(The Rising of the Shield Hero) 

Premieres: January 9 at 22:00 JST Genre: Action, Adventure Comedy, Drama,  Isekai, Fantasy, Romance
Studio: Kinema Citrus Source: Light Novel
Streaming: Crunchyroll, Funimation Hype Level: Surprise Me
External Links: Official Website | Twitter | Anime News Network | MyAnimeList | Wikipedia

At this point, I’m kind of forcing myself to include an isekai anime in these Previews but people keep anticipating them so here I am again.

I have heard positive buzz about Shield Hero though admittedly, that’s largely buzz from isekai enthusiasts and after looking it up, I can’t say I’m very hopeful. The concept of having the protagonist be the “lamest” of four heroes is kind of interesting though what are the odds that he’ll become overpowered in his own right and therefore, negate the hook. I’ve also heard that Shield Hero is one of the snarkier isekai stories and with the exception of Konosuba, I haven’t been terribly enamored with that subspecies of the genre.

Kemurikusa

Premieres: January 9 at 22:15 JST Genre: Action, Sci-Fi
Studio: Yaoyorozu Source: Original
Streaming: Amazon Hype Level: Mild
External Links: Official Website | Twitter | Anime News Network | MyAnimeList | Wikipedia

As if to add insult to injury over the whole Kemono Friends controversy, Tatsuki has moved on to create Kemurikusa after he got fired. That it’s even premiering on the same season as Kemono Friends Season 2 makes it even better.

From my understanding, this new show is based on an OVA Tatsuki made years ago. The premise sounds a little similar to Kemono Friends too with how it stars a bunch of cute anime girls living in a subtly post-apocalyptic world. Not sure if Tatsuki can really make lightning strike twice but we’ll see. I can safely say that he is still the big appeal for this show. I’m sure he has his reasons for staying with Yaoyorozu but goodness, they need to really workshop their CGI.

Doukyonin wa Hiza, Tokidoki, Atama no Ue.

Premieres: January 9 at 23:30 Genre: Comedy, Slice of Life
Studio: Zero-G Source: Manga
Streaming: Crunchyroll Hype Level: Mild

External Links: Official Website | Twitter | Anime News Network | MyAnimeList | Wikipedia

Honestly, I simply gave Doukyonin wa Hiza, Tokidoki, Atama no Ue. a spot because I think the premise is that darn cute. A mystery writer recovering from his writer’s block and social anxiety by adopting a stray cat? Sold.

Revisions

Premieres: January 10 at 0:55 JST Genre: Action, Mecha, Sci-Fi
Studio: Shirogumi Source: Original
Streaming: Netflix Hype Level: Mild
External Links: Official Website | Twitter | Anime News Network | MyAnimeList | Wikipedia

I personally didn’t like Code Geass from what I saw of it (though I admit it’s been years since I last tried watching it) but even I know that it’s a big deal that its creator, Gorou Taniguchi, is going to make a new mecha anime in the form of Revisions. It has a pretty good hook to it as it centers around five high schoolers who suddenly get teleported 300 years into the future and must now pilot mechs to combat giant mechanical monsters attacking the now ruined Tokyo. What does have me worried though is the CG-animation. It, uh, doesn’t look great in motion if the trailer is any indication.

Yakusoku no Neverland
(The Promised Neverland)

Premieres: January 11 at 0:55 JST Genre: Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi, Shounen
Studio: CloverWorks Source: Manga
Streaming: Crunchyroll, HIDIVE, Hulu, Funimation Hype Level: High
External Links: Official Website | Twitter | Anime News Network| MyAnimeList | Wikipedia

Noitamina is looking start 2019 on a high note with The Promised Neverland. For those who don’t know, the manga this anime is based on is a super hot title on Weekly Shounen Jump right now. Like, if you have My Hero Academia at the top of the magazine’s freshest and most popular titles, then you have The Promised Neverland at second place. It’s been selling very well and it has garnered a growing fanbase so an anime adaptation was bound to happen.

I was hoping to read some of the manga beforehand but alas, time hasn’t been on my side in that regard. In spite of that hurdle, the premise of The Promised Neverland sounds very intriguing. Basically, it’s about three kids enjoying a happy life at an orphanage under the care of a woman simply referred to as “Mom”. One day though, the kids learn something disturbing about their home and the world outside and their lives soon take an unexpected turn. It’s a plot that’s ripe for a thrill ride and given the positive buzz, I have a feeling we’ll all be in for treat with this show.

Gotoubun no Hanayome
(The Quintessential Quintuplets)

Premieres: January 11 at 1:28 JST Genre: Comedy, Harem, Romance, School, Shounen
Studio: Tezuka Productions Source: Manga
Streaming: Crunchyroll, Funimation Hype Level: Surprise Me
External Links: Official Website | Twitter | Anime News Network | MyAnimeList | Wikipedia

Call me weird but The Quintessential Quintuplets (which I’ll admit is a solid title) really comes across to me as The Royal Tutor but with a harem with girls. I don’t know, maybe it’s only because that’s the only other anime that I can think of that involves tutoring. I’m generally not a harem fan but all the girls do look cute and if this anime spends sufficient time exploring their strength and weaknesses in education like Royal Tutor did, I’d be down for that.

Domestic na Kanojo
(Domestic Girlfriend)

Premieres: January 12 at 1:55 JST Genre: Drama, Romance, School, Shounen
Studio: Diomedea Source: Manga
Streaming: HIDIVE Hype Level: Surprise Me
External Links: Official Website | Twitter | Anime News Network | MyAnimeList | Wikipedia

I’ve come to the conclusion that these naughty, sketchy, and very melodramatic romance anime just aren’t my thing. Didn’t care for Scum’s Wish. Didn’t care for Citrus. What could possibly make Domestic Girlfriend any different? The synopsis already has the show off to a “great” start. A boy finds himself in love with his teacher (always a great sign), then sleeps with another girl. The following day, his father remarries and wouldn’t you know it, both of the girls I just mentioned are now the boy’s stepsisters! What could possibly go wrong?!

That said, I have heard positive things about the manga, particularly with how it depicts its main protagonist. I’m massively skeptical but hey, if it proves me wrong then great.

Mahou Shoujo Tokushuen Asuka
(Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka)

Premieres: January 12 at 2:25 JST Genre: Drama, Magical Girl, Seinen
Studio: LIDEN FILMS Source: Manga
Streaming: Crunchyroll, Funimation Hype Level: Surprise Me
External Links: Official Website | Twitter | Anime News Network | MyAnimeList | Wikipedia

So before, Puella Magi Madoka Magica makes a return this year with a new anime (ugh, why?), here’s another anime trying to chase that “edgy”, dark magical girl money. I guess military special ops is a new gimmick though whether or not this anime will do anything meaningful with it is something only time will tell. I hope the animation will at least be good. Liden Films is proving to be a very remarkable studio from time to time.

Kaguya-sam wo Kokurasetai: Tensei Tachi no Renai Zunousen
(Kaguya-sama: Love is War)

Premieres: January 12 at 23:30 JST Genre: Comedy, Psychological, Romance, School, Seinen
Studio: A-1 Pictures Source: Manga
Streaming: Crunchyroll, Funimation, Hulu Hype Level: Mild
External Links: Official Website | Twitter | Anime News Network | MyAnimeList | Wikipedia

Much like The Promised Neverland, I keep hearing great things about Kaguya-sama and to be fair, the plot does sound great on paper. This show centers around a boy, Miyuki, and a girl, Kaguya who both geniuses leading the student council of a prestigious school. Each character has fallen in love with the other…but because of their pride, neither wants to admit it or be the one to receive the confession. Thus, Miyuki and Kaguya find themselves in a sort of war trying to out-confess the other. That alone sounds funny enough so if the execution can match that, this has potential to become a riot.

Kemono Friends 2

Premieres: January 15 at 2:05 JST Genre: Adventure, CGDCT, Comedy,
Studio: Tomason Source: Mobile Game
Streaming: Crunchyroll Hype Level: Mild
External Links: Official Website | Twitter | Anime News Network | MyAnimeList | Wikipedia

I, like everyone else, initially dismissed Kemono Friends only to then come back to it after hearing very positive buzz from the Japanese fandom. I frankly found the show massively overrated but the fact that it even turned out to be good is in of itself, impressive. The visuals may be butt ugly but it goes to show that competent writing can really go a long way for anything. All in all, Kemono Friends proved to be a pleasant surprise.

Also surprising is that Kemono Friends became one of the most controversial anime in the last couple of years. For those who don’t know, Kadokawa fired director (and apparently shadow writer) Tatsuki from the production of Season 2 and opted for a new director and studio, sparking outrage from fans. And look, some of the reactions were getting ridiculous but I do agree that to fire the one guy who turned a then-sinking ship into a successful franchise is, uh, scummy, to say the least. It is possible that new director Ryuichi Kimura and new studio Tomason could crank out a solid season and I am willing to check it out. But man oh man do they have an uphill battle here.

Movies

  • Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? Arrow of the Orion (2/15) – I quite like DanMachi for its adventurous tone and characters. A movie set in this world ought to be enjoyable and if it comes out in the US in timely fashion, it might make for a nice in-betweener while us fans continue to wait for Season 2 to come out.
  • Princess Principal (Film Series) Part 1 (TBD) – I personally want a second season of Princess Principal comprised of the missing “cases” but a direct continuation is just as promising, even if in the form of movies. As for when I’ll be able to watch and blog about this, it honestly depends on how timely the subs and/or US release is. In the meantime, I got my re-reviews to finish.

OVAs

  • Asobi Asobase -workshop of fun- OVA (12/26) – I wasn’t the biggest fan of Asobi Asobase but it more often than not offered some of the best jokes in 2018 anime. Hopefully, this OVA will err on the side of hilarity as opposed to cringe.
  • Cells at Work! Special (12/26) – Technically, this will air on TV but it’s a one-off situation anyway so it makes more sense to mention it here. A second season is possible but I’m always just in the mood for more Cells at Work!. That said, I’m never going to get my Platelets centric episode, am I?
  • My Hero Academia: All Might Rising (2/13) – A bonus feature for the Blu-ray release of the Two Heroes film (which I haven’t seen yet!). I’m a near season behind on My Hero Academia but I will make sure to catch up on everything I’ve missed, including this special when it gets subbed one way or another.
  • Revue Starlight Specials (12/26, 2/27) – The first special is already out and the last two come out this coming Winter. As one of the ten Revue Starlight fans in the US, I’m of course going to check these specials out in the near future. I’m hopeful there’ll be a sequel series (the show is actually selling pretty well on disc) but I’ll take what I can get.

That’s all, folks! What about you? What upcoming anime are you most interested in? What shows did I not include that you think I should consider? Let me know in the comments!


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2 thoughts on “Winter 2019 Season Preview

    • Including Netflix releases in these previews is always tricky since the gap in release time is so big. Knowing that it’ll take longer for an official US release, I almost didn’t include Revisions here. I ended up doing so because I don’t know what other time I’d be able to speculate on its success and sometimes, I might watch a fansub in advance because I’m too curious (Violet Evergarden is a big example I can think of in this case).

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