Spring 2016 Anime First Impressions

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I haven’t seen every new show–I don’t have time for that and anyway some shows haven’t even started yet. This is just a brief look at some new shows that look interesting.

Bungou Stray DogsBungo Stray Dogs (Crunchyroll) is a stylish fantasy-adventure-comedy. A luckless orphan falls in with a group of quirky detectives, each with a quirky super-power. He finds that he fits right in.

Flying witchThe first episode of Flying Witch (Crunchyroll) looks like it could be the beginning of a serious fantasy, but apparently it’s supposed to be a cheerful, whimsical slice-of-life series. A girl named Makoto moves to a small town on the northeast coast of Honshu to live with her second cousins and attend high school. (This is the Tohoku region that was devastated by the 2011 earthquake/tsunami.)

She’s a lovable airhead with a bad sense of direction. Also she’s a witch. She isn’t supposed to tell people about that but she has a tendency to innocently blurt things out.

Joker GameJoker Game (Crunchyroll) is a clever spy thriller set in 1930s Japan. An idealistic young military officer is assigned to an elite school for training spys. He is obsessed with the traditions of samurai honor, and thus doesn’t fit in well in a school that’s all about deception and betrayal. Normally one would sympathize with the noble young warrior, but since his ideas had pretty disastrous consequences in 1930s Japan it’s more fun to sit back and laugh at him.

SakamotoHaven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto (Sakamoto desu ga?) (Crunchyroll) looks like a one-joke comedy, but so far it’s pretty funny. Sakamoto is a high school student who looks nerdy but is impossibly cool. The show seems all about putting him into nasty situations and then showing the ridiculously cool ways that he gets out of them.

The Lost Village posterThe Lost Village (Mayoiga) (Crunchyroll) introduces us to a bus full of alienated young people who have accepted an offer to travel to a mysterious village, not found on any map, where they can start their lives afresh. What could go wrong? (A lot, I’m sure.)

This looks like something that is bound to be either great or a train wreck. Also it’s written by Mari Okada, whose works tend to be one or the other. Examples: Anohana (generally considered great), selector infected WIXOSS / selector spread WIXOSS (total train wreck), and Nagi no Asukara (controversial but I like it.)

Boku no Hero AcademiaMy Hero Academia (Boku no Hero Academia) (Funimation) is a raucous comedy-adventure set in a world in which most people have some sort of super-power. Hence there are far too many superheroes and supervillains. Izuku Midoriya is one of the unlucky few with no special ability. Nevertheless he is determined to become a hero.

Rin-neGood news! A second season of Rin-ne (Kyoukai no Rinne) (Crunchyroll), Rumiko Takahashi’s side-splitting fantasy-comedy. Of course second seasons sometimes disappoint, but the first episode suggests that this one won’t.

Twin Star ExorcistsTwin Star Exorcists (Sousei no Onmyouji) (Crunchyroll) is a straightforward shounen fantasy-adventure. Rokuro comes from a family of onmyouji (translated as “exorcists”) but he doesn’t want anything to do with the profession. Naturally he doesn’t get his wish. He is forced to team up with a driven, humorless girl named Benio to fight monsters. Apparently they are fated to marry, an idea that would horrify them both.