Winter 2015 ended quite spectacular for me. I’m just going to say it right now: Shirobako is probably going to be my favorite anime for this year, so there isn’t much of a contest for anything else. But if I were to commit myself to that way of thinking, I would be a terrible reviewer!
Crunchyroll is my personal hub for streaming official anime online, and they’re rolling out with a bunch of new anime as always. I’m very impressed with the Spring lineup, despite most of the sequel series that I won’t be watching. Here are 10 new shows and 1 sequel I will be picking up this season (although there are plenty of others that I am not picking up at all). And since I have committed myself to presenting these in the order by which they air on a 7-day week, I’ll start with the sequel series first.
Baby Steps 2 (Sundays at 3:00 PDT)
As promised by the end of its first season, Baby Steps is returning to the Spring lineup! I mentioned it last year around this same time, and it is still phenomenal as ever for me. Eichiro Maruo has been taking it slow to become a pro player after 2 years of tennis. But now that he’s at a special conference for players like him in America, his “baby steps” will be making giant strides (yes, I took that from the opening theme). There are lots of sequels out there and I will be watching some others, but this is one I’m definitely not going to miss!
Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches (Sundays at 9:30 PDT)
You don’t have to look too far to know this is going to be one of those things for the male audience. On the other hand, when a guy like Ryuu Yamada can switch bodies with anyone just by kissing them, you know there’s going to be a lot of trouble! And since I talk about gender issues extensively already, I can’t ignore this one! But really, it’s hilarious!
Rin-ne (Wednesdays at 0:00 PDT)
Better known as Kyoukai no Rinne, this one feels like a blast from the past for fans of anime from the last decade or two. Manga artist Rumiko Takahashi (Ranma 1/2 and Inuyasha, to name a few) is still going at this one, and you know there’s going to be trouble when a broke shinigami like Rinne needs to suck every last yen out of poor Sakura!
Okay, I admit, this is probably the one series I feel like I’m plugging just for the sake of name-dropping; and I really don’t like doing that! But you don’t have to be an old school anime fan to love this series (I certainly don’t consider myself to be one). Way to bridge the gap between generations!
My Love Story!! (Wednesdays at 12:00 PDT)
Better known as Ore Monogatari, this anime features Takeo Gouda, a big guy with a big heart, and his best friend “Suna” provides all the comic relief! I like how the story is told in the guy’s perspective rather than from a girl’s perspective (and no, it’s not BL). And just when you thought that all shoujo stories feature nothing but thin, pretty boys known commonly as “bishounen,” you might be in for a big surprise. Takeo is one very beautiful man (no homo)!
Wish Upon the Pleiades (Wednesdays at 12:15 PDT)
It’s been four years since the OVA for this series had aired in conjunction with Subaru (the automobile company), but this one plans to pick up exactly where it left off! From what I understand, the first episode is a compilation of the OVA, but the rest of this series will be a full season of where Subaru (the character) and her friends will go to get President Pleiadian back home! Unfortunately, most fans have already cast this one aside; but I want to see how this one’s going to end. And besides, it’s really cute.
Etotama (Thursdays at 8:30 PDT)
This anime features the twelve animals of the (Eastern) Zodiac as a hodgepodge of male fantasies, in all their brightly colored outfits and CG fight scenes. But as the title suggests, this story is actually about the unofficial thirteenth Zodiac: the Cat (in reference to Tama the Cat Goddess). No, seriously. Look it up! Cuteness is definitely not in short supply.
I personally like Dora-tan, because she’s a Dragon like me; but that’s irrelevant. With the help of resident otaku Takeru Amato, can Nyaa-tan make herself properly known as one of the Zodiac?
Urawa no Usagi-chan (Thursdays at 11:00 PDT)Tags: Slice of Life, Animated Short
This short series is made specifically to advertise the city of Urawa, Saitama, Japan. While it may take some anime fans to get used to the lack of story for a short series like this one, I am most impressed by the visuals for it. I’m sure that’s partly due to the fact that it’s an advertisement, but the watercolor techniques are quite impressive. And having the cartoon look of the characters on top of it is going to make it look even more funny than it probably should be.
But what I’m most excited about is the cast. There are a lot of girls, in case you haven’t figured that out from the poster above, but there’s a wide range of talent from A-List voice actresses to those who are debuting for the first time here! And Usagi-chan herself is voiced by Asami Seto (Chihaya Ayase from Chihayafuru, among others)! Well I’m sold. And I should probably visit Urawa when I decide to go to Japan, too.
Punch Line (Thursdays at 11:30 PDT)
While I won’t be watching some of this season’s most anticipated titles (which is pretty arbitrary a rank), I am curious about how this anime original will pan out. It’s got panties, it’s got nosebleeds, and I’m pretty sure I had a few while watching it (the panties, of course). But every time ghost Yuta Iridatsu gets overly aroused by panties, the world explodes! Yeah… I don’t get it. But it’s funny! Can he get his body back in a future where the world doesn’t go boom because of him?
Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma (Fridays at 12:25 PDT)
You want Food Porn!? Well this show’s got a lot of it in all senses of the term! And while there are plenty of shenanigans going on in this series, it doesn’t fail to dish out a plot, and not just PLOT! I personally find the ecchi stuff to be annoying, but at least the visuals are nice. The food looks amazing, but so are the facial expressions of the characters. But you can’t judge a dish without tasting it, and I can’t ignore this one just because it’s (almost) hentai.
Re-Kan! (Fridays at 22:30 PDT)
Japanese ghost stories are some of the scariest stories out there, as many of them have become popularized in other media. But for this series, it’s time to laugh in the face of the occult, because legends like the ghost who haunts the toilet or the faceless woman who wants to steal your face are given a new perspective when Hibiki Amami shows up! That’s because Amami can not only see ghosts, she makes friends with them! And besides, nothing can possibly be more scary than a cute little pervy cat!
But seriously, this one is too adorable! Amami may be a klutz, but she’s got a heart of gold… err… a lot of spirit! And when you understand her perspective on some of the scariest ghosts out there, you’ll want to be her friend, too!
Plastic Memories (Saturdays at 11:00 PDT)
Just when you thought all I added were a bunch of comedies for the Spring 2015 season, this anime original has hit a lot of fans in the Feels from the very first episode! In an alternate universe where androids called Giftia can be sold as family members, the SAI are there to make sure you will be satisfied while also protecting your privacy. And why is that important? Because each Giftia has a contract of only nine years before they malfunction (presumably die). And for SAI employees like Tsukasa and his Giftia Isla, their duty is to bring these androids back before that happens, taking them away from their families, and the memories with it!
I love the expressions in this original series, and I like the idea of what kind of ethics can possibly come about in a universe where we think of androids like the rest of our family members. But of course, the one thing I’m sure everyone who has watched this so far has picked up on most is how tragic it must be to tear these families apart. Real or not, plastic memories are still memories we choose to cherish!
Thanks for getting through my thoughts on a few of the new titles this season. At this time, I would also like to announce that I might be delaying a highlights review at the end of the season (you know, my super spoiler “Great Moments” and “Funny Moments” reviews?) And why is that? Because come July when the Spring season is over, I will be busy staffing at Anime Expo!! If you’re going, I’ll see you there!