The 2018 spring anime season is almost here and with it, a new slate of shows (about 53) as well as 11 carrying over from the winter season. Many of these shows are available for viewing outside Japan within a day thanks to streaming services like Crunchyroll, Netflix, and Amazon. With so many new shows to sort through, we tried to highlight some that might be interesting for anime fans and non-fans alike.
If you like superhero action and high school drama/comedy
My Hero Academia
In a world where 80 percent of people are born with superpowers called quirks, Midoriya wasn’t. Despite that, he dreams of enrolling at UA High School where new heroes begin their training. A chance encounter with his idol and the world’s greatest hero, All Might, leads him down a path that could not only have him attending UA, but inheriting All Might’s power.
This is the start of MHA’s third season, which is maybe not a great place for a newcomer as a number of important story threads are going to start coming together over the course of the season. However, the previous two seasons are in total only 38 episodes, so it wouldn’t be too difficult to catch up while the current season is airing. The animation production is still being headed by Bones, who’ve managed to do some very impressive work over the previous two seasons especially when it comes to the action scenes.
If you like Hello Kitty and death metal
Retsuko is a 25-year-old anthropomorphized red panda, who works in an accounting department as an administrative assistant. After she gets stressed out from the impossible tasks that her bosses and co-workers dump on her, she goes out drinking and singing death metal at karaoke.
Retsuko was created in 2016 at Sanrio, (which you might better know as the company that created Hello Kitty.) While she is designed to look cute like a lot all of Sanrio’s characters, she was also created to be relatable and represent the frustrations people feel about their troubles at work that they can’t necessarily talk about.
Aggressive Retsuko is 10 episodes, and will start streaming on Netflix on April 20th.
If you like the works of the Coen Brothers
Set not long after the Russo-Japanese War, former soldier Saichi Sugimoto has become a miner in Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost prefecture. It’s there he learns about $6 million in gold stolen from the Ainu, the indigenous people of Hokkaido, and discovers a map tattooed across the skin of 24 prisoners who’ve recently escaped. He ends up teaming up with Asirpa, an Ainu hunter, as she’s looking for the gold to find the man responsible for betraying the Ainu by stealing it, and also killing her father.
I’ve been keeping up with the manga for Golden Kamuy, which recently saw it’s forth volume released in English, and the tone of it is a bit like that of a Coen Brothers movie with a dash of Tarantino. It has a rather large ensemble cast of people who, like a lot of great Coen Brothers characters, are very weird and distinct while still feeling like a real person. The writing also manages to find humor and silliness in normally very dramatic moments, but then sometimes a bear opens up a man’s face like it was a book.
If you wanted to play Persona 5, but didn’t have 120 hours free.
Persona 5 the Animation
Ren Amamiya is forced to move to Tokyo to attend the only high school that will accept him while he is on probation for an assault he didn’t commit. He awakens to a supernatural power allowing him to access the Metaverse, a place where a person’s subconscious desires can manifest. He forms a group of vigilantes called the Phantom Thieves, which steal the treasures of corrupted adults in the Metaverse in order to rehabilitate the adults through a change of heart.
The show is being animated by A-1 Pictures, which did the animation for the animated cutscenes in the Persona 5 game, as well as the animation for the Persona 5 the Animation: The Day Breakers special episode. With adaptations like this it can be hard to tell what the final product is going to be because depending on the budget, the quality of the animation can vary wildly. But for people who haven’t played or finished the game, it’ll still likely be a good sort of abridged version of the game’s story.
Persona 5 the Animation has been licensed for the US, but which streaming service it’ll be on hasn’t been announced yet. It starts airing April 7th in Japan.
If you’re in your 30s and work in an office
Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku
Narumi has trouble with relationships. Whenever guys learn about her geeky hobbies, like games, she gets dumped. This leads her to keep her hobbies secret, especially from co-workers. But at her new job she is reunited with a childhood friend, Hirotaka, who almost reveals her secret. Hirotaka agrees to keep her secret from their co-workers in exchange for her not revealing him as a gaming nerd.
Wotakoi is a romantic comedy based on a comic that started on the Japanese online artist community Pixiv, and is being animated by A-1 Pictures. And while Narumi’s voice actor Arisa Date and Hirotaka’s voice actor Kent Ito haven’t had a lot of leading roles, the supporting cast seems to be the real selling point for the show. As it includes: Tomokazu Sugita (Gintoki in Gintama and Yusuke in Persona 5), Miyuki Sawashiro (Kurapika in Hunter x Hunter and Cammy in Street Fighter 5), Yuki Kaji (Eren in Attack on Titan and Todoroki from My Hero Academia), and Yuki Aoi (Madoka in Puella Magi Madoka Magica and Futaba in Persona 5). Also as someone in their 30s who works in an office, this show appeals to me.
Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku will be streaming on Amazon Prime Video starting April 12th.
If you watched a lot of Toonami in the early ‘00s
Fourteen-year-old Hitomi and her classmate Ide get tangled up with two supernatural beings who seem bent on trying to unlock Hitomi and Ide’s full potential.
FLCL Progressive is being animated by Production I.G, which, along with Gainax, animated the original series. This is the first of two planned sequels to the original FLCL. Although it’s not clear if these will be spiritual sequels or direct sequels to the first series, from the trailers it seems these are at least going to be very tonally similar to the original, which was a fairly ridiculous and absurd coming of age story involving a strange alien woman armed with a guitar battling robots that mysteriously emerged from a boy’s head.
FLCL Progressive is going to be six episodes, and the English dubbed version will start airing on Adult Swim starting June 2nd. The Japanese version with English subtitles will be available to stream on Adult Swim’s website.
If you like political intrigue and giant space battles
Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Die Neue These
Set in Earth’s far future, humanity has spread out across the Milky Way galaxy. For the last 150 years or so the two major powers, the Galactic Empire and the Free Planets Alliance, have intermittently been fighting wars with each other, with neither making any headway — until two military geniuses rise to prominence and alter the course of history.
Die Neue These is the newest adaptation of the Legend of the Galactic Heroes novel series, which started in 1982, and is being animated by Production I.G (Ghost in the Shell). The series is known for mixing the political intrigues of the nobilities of the autocratic Galactic Empire and the politicians of the democratic Free Planet Alliance with tales of the common citizens and soldiers.
If you like martial arts action that is over the top to the point of absurdity
Fist of the Blue Sky Regenesis
Before the apocalypse that would turn the Earth into the wasteland setting of the iconic Fist of the North Star series, there is Regenesis. This prequel, which is set in the 1930s, follows the 62nd successor of the God Fist of the North Star Kenshiro Kasumi. A professor at a woman’s university in Tokyo, he travels to Shanghai in order to help out a friend. Instead, he ends up in the middle of a battle between three martial arts families, who are each based on different factions from the legend of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms.
This series is being animated by Polygon Pictures, which has become one of the premiere computer generated 3D animation studios for TV series. Previously, they’ve done Knights of Sidonia and Ajin (both of which are on Netflix), as well as the 2011 Cartoon Network Star Wars: The Clone Wars series. Since most of the Fist of the North Star series takes place after the world has become a post apocalyptic wasteland, it’s interesting to see the series reinterpreted in a way where the setting matters a lot.
Fist of the Blue Sky Regenesis will be streaming on Amazon Prime Video starting April 2nd.