Winter 2020 Season Preview

Sorry I haven’t been blogging in a while. Aside from work keeping me busy and tired, I just haven’t felt motivated. Fall 2019 didn’t go as I had hoped and rather than let the stress get to me, I knew to take a break from the blog instead. There might be an influx of posts when I start my holiday break this weekend (and I see Rise of Skywalker with friends…) but I make no promises. At the very least, I hope to fully start anew next season. Speaking of which…

Hype Level Breakdown:

Excited 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.
Optimistic Reserved for anime that probably aren’t going to blow my mind but will still make for solid entertainment.
Mild The show just looks so-so 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.

Koisuru Asteroid
(Asteroid in Love)

Premieres: January 3 Genre: CGDCT, Comedy, School, Slice of Life
Studio: Doga Kobo Source: 4-koma
Streaming: Crunchyroll Hype Level: Mild
Official Website Anime News Network MyAnimeList Wikipedia

My seasonal CGDCT quota aside, I am a little interested in Koisuru Asteroid because it centers around astronomy, one of my favorite subjects growing up. Provided that the trivia is informative and fun to learn and the characters are charming, I can see myself having a good time with this anime. My biggest question is how many scenarios can you conceive with the premise. There’s stargazing and going to a museum but beyond that, I suspect moe will quickly take over the story. I also highly doubt the girls in this show will go to space. This isn’t Antarctica after all.

Darwin’s Game

Premieres: January 4 at 0:00 JST Genre: Action, Mystery, Shounen, Survival
Studio: Nexus Source: Manga
Streaming: Crunchyroll, Funimation, HIDIVE Hype Level: Surprise Me
Official Website Anime News Network MyAnimeList Wikipedia

A shot in the dark as I’m far from a fan of survival anime. I generally find them stupid and laughable rather than genuinely suspenseful. Still, the Darwin’s Game manga seems to have a respectable reputation so surprise me.

Magia Record: Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica Gaiden
(Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story)

Premieres: January 5 at 0:00 JST Genre: Drama, Magic, Psychological, Thriller
Studio: Shaft Source: Video Game
Streaming: Crunchyroll, Funimation, HIDIVE Hype Level: Mild
Official Website Anime News Network MyAnimeList Wikipedia

I knew this anime would show up someday but ugh, why? Believe me, I love the original anime. A justifiably dark and subversive magical girl show rich in thematic commentary, evocative imagery, and emotion, it was one of the first shows that hooked me on anime and it remains as one of my all-time favorites. However, I’ve always felt content with the original twelve episodes and wouldn’t have minded if that was all the IP had to offer. Hell, I’ve yet to see Rebellion; that’s how much I don’t want to see this story continue and that’s even knowing that Gen Urobuchi came back to write for it. So something like Magia Record comes across to me as nothing but a cash grab. Hell, it’s based on a mobile game. You can’t get cash grabbier than that.

That all said, there’s a couple of things that makes me a little bit willing to try this. For one, it’s more of a spin-off and a less a direct continuation to the original show which makes me a little more accepting of its existence. I’ve always at least thought branching off was the most appealing path for Madoka if it had to continue. Gen Urobuchi sadly isn’t writing for this though a number of the original staff members are coming back. I’m not sure how I feel about Gekidan Inu Curry directing (this is their first time in the role) but given their work on the witch scenes in the original show, they do have an eye for strong visuals.

It’s entirely possible that my skepticism will be proven wrong, I welcome that outcome in fact. But I don’t know, I just can’t help but wish Madoka was a one and done deal.

ID:INVADED

Premieres: January 6 at 0:00 JST Genre: Action, Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi, Supernatural
Studio: NAZ Source: Original
Streaming: Funimation Hype Level: Mild
Official Website Anime News Network MyAnimeList Wikipedia

An original anime about a detective solving a mysterious murder in a virtual world. Like with almost every recent procedural/mystery show, the main character is voiced by Kenjiro Tsuda (seriously, is this a trend?). Ei Aoki is directing and say what you will about his recent efforts (I still think Fate/zero is his best work), his name alone still warrants putting the show on the radar.

Pet

Premieres: January 6 at 22:00 JST Genre: Mystery, Psychological, Seinen, Supernatural
Studio: Geno Studio Source: Manga
Streaming: Amazon Hype Level: Optimistic
Official Website Anime News Network MyAnimeList Wikipedia

Pet centers around psychics who can possess people and manipulate their memories at the risk of their own sanity. Because of this ability, they are sought out and exploited by people with nefarious and selfish agendas. I couldn’t really find a lot of reviews for the manga in English but I’m intrigued by the premise and having Takahiro Omori as the director is a good sign at least.

Itai no wa Iya nano de Bougyoryoku ni Kyokufuri Shitai to Omoimasu.
(BOFURI: I Don’t Want to Get Hurt, so I’ll Max Out My Defense.)

Premieres: January 8 at 22:00 JST Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Slice of Life
Studio: Silver Link Source: Light Novel
Streaming: Funimation Hype Level: Surprise Me
Official Website Anime News Network MyAnimeList Wikipedia

I’m frankly tired of anime’s obsession with video games, especially RPGs, but I do find this one particular show’s premise kind of cute. A girl who doesn’t like feeling pain of any kind decides to build her VRMMO character around defense, becoming a powerful tank as a result. Oh and the girl is voiced by Kaede Hondo. Fine, I’ll keep an eye on this one.

Plunderer

Premieres: January 9 at 1:05 JST Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Ecchi, Fantasy
Studio: Geek Toys Source: Manga
Streaming: Funimation Hype Level: Mild
Official Website Anime News Network MyAnimeList Wikipedia

Plunderer takes place in a world where people are born with a mysterious counter. What exactly the counter measures varies but one thing that is universal is that once the number hits 0, the person is sent to the “abyss”. When such a fate befalls her mother, a young girl named Hina embarks on a journey in search of a mysterious warrior. While I’m intrigued by this premise, I’m a little wary of this show since it’s apparently also part-ecchi. I don’t know, it just strikes to me as an odd combination.

Nekopara

Premieres: January 9 at 21:00 JST Genre: Comedy, Romance
Studio: Felix Film Source: Visual Novel
Streaming: Funimation Hype Level: Mild
Official Website Anime News Network MyAnimeList Wikipedia

I first heard of Nekopara when I was surfing the web one day and randomly stumbled upon art done by Sayori, a very talented (and very naughty) artist. The visual novels are on my Steam wishlist but since we’re getting the anime in half a month, I might as well give it a try. I imagine this won’t be too heavy on plot apart from “cat girls are real” but so long as it can still be charming, I’ll be content. As for whether or not it’ll be as raunchy as its source materials, who knows. Maybe not all the way (again, very naughty that Sayori) but it wouldn’t surprise me if there is some amount of cheesecake.

Infinite Dendrogram

Premieres: January 9 at 23:00 JST Genre: Fantasy, Game
Studio: NAZ Source: Light Novel
Streaming: Funimation Hype Level: Surprise Me
Official Website Anime News Network MyAnimeList Wikipedia

As I said with “Shield Heroine”, I’m tired of anime’s video game obsession. But go figure, I saw this one crack the popularity threshold (Top 15-20 for me) so I’ll put it on the radar. One thing about the synopsis that does kind of interest me is that the protagonist is starting a RPG he’s been meaning to play for years, a feeling I can 100% relate with.

Somali to Mori no Kamisama
(Somali and the Forest Spirit)

Premieres: January 10 at 0:00 JST Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Slice of Life
Studio: Satelight Source: Manga
Streaming: Crunchyroll Hype Level: Optimistic
Official Website Anime News Network MyAnimeList Wikipedia

At this point, I’m waiting for Made in Abyss Season 2 to give the fantasy genre a much needed jolt but if there’s anything that might give that jolt earlier, it might be Somali and the Forest Spirit. Set in a world dominated by fantastical creatures, the show centers around one of the last remaining humans, the titular Somali, who travels with and is guarded by a dying golem. A plot such as that is ripe for an adventurous and maybe even emotional experience. The PVs also tease a pretty impressive and distinct art direction.

Jibaku Shounen Hanako-kun
(Toilet-Bound Hanako-kun)

Premieres: January 10 at 1:58 JST Genre: Comedy, School, Supernatural
Studio: Lerche Source: Manga
Streaming: Funimation Hype Level: Optimistic
Official Website Anime News Network MyAnimeList Wikipedia

The title, Toilet-Bound Hanako-kun, doesn’t sound terribly appealing to me though I believe the manga is simply called that because the titular character is a spirit who lurks in a school bathroom. The actual plot is him befriending a student with a passionate interest in the occult and the two confronting supernatural happenings together. I’ve noticed highly positive ratings for the Toilet-Bound Hanako-kun and from my understanding, it’s an emerging hit in Japan so it may be worth keeping an eye on this anime adaptation.

Rikei ga Koi ni Ochita no de Shoumei Shite Mita.
(Science Fell in Love, So I Tried to Prove It)

Premieres: January 11 at 0:15  JST Genre: Comedy, Romance
Studio: Zero-G Source: Manga
Streaming: Crunchyroll Hype Level: Mild
Official Website Anime News Network MyAnimeList Wikipedia

This looks cutesy enough. A romcom about two scientists who are in love with each other but want to first figure out their feelings with science. The hook is there but like with almost every romcom anime, I have to wonder if it can last a whole cour.

Oda Shinamon Nobunaga
(Oda Cinnamon Nobunaga)

Premieres: January 11 at 1:23 JST Genre: Comedy, Historical(?), Martial Arts(?), Seinen, Slice of Life
Studio: Studio Pierrot Source: Manga
Streaming: Crunchyroll Hype Level: Surprise Me
Official Website Anime News Network MyAnimeList Wikipedia

Oda Nobunaga has been depicted so many times in anime that I’m surprised I’ve never heard of one where he is reincarnated as a modern-day dog. Well, I’ve heard of it now and…well, I like dogs at least.

Runway de Waratte
(Smile Down the Runway)

Premieres: January 11 at 2:25 JST Genre: Drama, School, Shoujo, Slice of Life
Studio: Ezo’la Source: Manga
Streaming: Funimation Hype Level: Optimistic
Official Website Anime News Network MyAnimeList Wikipedia

Smile at the Runway is a fashion-themed show about a young girl who still dreams of being a model despite her height not meeting up to standards. Upon meeting a boy with a knack for designing clothes, she teams up to challenge the norm. The manga source material seems well-liked and while there’s no recognizable names attached in the crew, I’m willing to give studio Ezo’la some benefit of the doubt after enjoying Happy Sugar Life and (surprisingly) Are You Lost?.

Kyokou Suiri
(In/Spectre)

Premieres: January 12 at 1:30 JST Genre: Comedy, Mystery, Romance, Supernatural
Studio: Brain’s Base Source: Manga
Streaming: Crunchyroll Hype Level: Optimistic
Official Website Anime News Network MyAnimeList Wikipedia

In/Spectre is such a cheeky title, I kind of love it. The synopsis sounds promising too, revolving around a girl who’s been able to communicate with yokai after losing an eye and a leg to them. When she finds out that her crush is also familiar with the yokai, she finds herself trying to both tackle supernatural happenings and getting her feelings reciprocated. The art direction for this looks pretty good, even if it might be held by Brain’s Base’s current animation quality (sorry but their glory days are long gone).

Dorohedoro

Premieres: January 13 at 0:00 JST Genre: Action, Comedy, Fantasy, Seinen
Studio: MAPPA Source: Manga
Streaming: Netflix Hype Level: Optimistic
Official Website Anime News Network MyAnimeList Wikipedia

If you really want something outside the norm of fantasy anime, Dorohedoro might fit the bit. Set in a dystopia dictated by corrupt sorcerers, the show centers around an amnesiac lizard man on a quest to recover his memories and survive against the violence happening around him. I’ve heard really great things about the manga and the staff attached looks experienced enough. Just don’t expect this show to be pretty, not just given the setting but also because there’s some pretty bad CGI hinted in the PVs.

Short Series:

  • Heya Camp | 1/6 | Excited – I make it no secret that I’m enamored with Laid-Back Camp. The first season is easily one of my Top 3 favorite anime of 2018 (maybe #1 even). I couldn’t be happier when all the new projects were announced. Admittedly, I don’t think Heya Camp will be enough to tide me over until Season 2 premieres (I’m betting on Fall 2020) but it’s still better than nothing. If I have any huge concern though, it’d probably be the potential lack of Rin since these segments have largely been about the Outdoor Activities Club in all their budgetary glory. Don’t get me wrong, that stuff is funny but Rin is a huge reason why I love Laid-Back Camp.

Movies:

  • Made in Abyss: Dawn of the Deep Soul | 1/17 | Excited – It’s Made in Abyss. Enough said. That movie actually continues from where Season 1 left off and that does make me worry that this will be required viewing for Season 2. Fingers crossed that this will get a US theatrical release (the recap movies got one) and while I hate going to the theater by myself, I might bite that bullet for this.
  • Goblin Slayer: Goblin’s Crown | 2/1 | Optimistic – Goblin Slayer was a really clumsy fantasy anime but it was my clumsy fantasy anime. I ended up enjoying it way more than I thought. I’m surprised this project ended up being a movie and not a second season but for all I know, the latter might still happen. I’ll still check out the movie though when it’s available in the US.

OVAs/Specials:

  • Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? II | 1/29 | Optimistic – Much to my embarrassment, I still haven’t seen DanMachi Season 2. When it comes to seasonal anime, I generally save sequels for last and given how busy 2019 has been, I’ve definitely been saving them for last. Also, no promises but with this OVA and Season 3 on the horizon, I still want to cover the show in Episode Reviews.
  • The Ones Within | 2/27 | Mild – Easily one of my biggest guilty pleasures of 2019, so much so that I’m actually disappointed an OVA is all that’s left. Oh well, take what you can get.

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One thought on “Winter 2020 Season Preview

  1. “Fingers crossed that this will get a US theatrical release”

    We’ve been getting luckier and luckier in that respect… There’s been more and more anime movies, even franchise movies, coming to the US in the last couple of years.

    Like

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