Spring is here in all its glory, and the spring anime season is here in—well, I don’t know if I’d say glory, but it’s definitely here.
This season the anime gods have bestowed upon us a stable of quite exciting sequels, which I’ll get into further down, as well as a heap of rather less exciting but still quite watchable new shows. If there’s anything I’ve learned in the last few seasons, it’s that beggars can’t be choosers. As usual, I’ve watched a dizzying number of premieres and come to you, dear reader, with only the best: three new shows that you can start streaming right this moment. Oh and hey, did you know Attack on Titan is back?
High school student Souta Mizushino (Daiki Yamashita) is stunned when he is transported into the world of his favorite anime, Elemental Symphony of Vogelchevalier. He’s quickly returned to modern Tokyo, but the protagonist of the show, a beautiful warrior named Selesia (Mikako Komatsu), comes with him. It turns out she’s not the only character to be yanked from her fictional universe: a mysterious woman wearing a military uniform and wielding far more swords than is strictly practical has used her power to bring all manner of anime and game characters into the real world, from cocky villains to magical girls. What will happen when these characters meet each other—and their creators—in our nonfictional world?
An anime-original project from director Ei Aoki (Fate/Zero, Aldnoah.Zero), this fantasy action show is just anime as hell. Obviously there’s the fact that it’s an anime about anime characters coming to life to meet an anime fan, but then there’s also the fact that the first episode features a girl who uses a sword to play an enormous gun like a violin. The show, produced at studio TROYCA (Aldnoah.Zero), looks pretty slick, and the characters are generally likeable, well-defined, and fun to pit against each other. Oh, and the whole thing is backed by a trademark bombastic Hiroyuki Sawano (Attack on Titan, Kill la Kill) soundtrack, which really adds gravitas to rogue magical girls destroying Tokyo skyscrapers with giant pink hearts. Re:Creators is no masterpiece, but it’s a well-executed not-masterpiece—the kind of show where if you don’t think too hard about the sort of dumb premise, you are almost guaranteed to enjoy yourself.
For fans of: Fate/Zero, The Devil is a Part-Timer!, GATE, Drifters
Watch it now on Anime Strike*
*I would like to take this moment to apologize for including two shows on this list that are exclusively available on Amazon’s Anime Strike. I’m not happy about it either, but here we are.
Yoshino Koharu (Ayaka Nanse) is a recent college grad looking for her first grown-up person job, with little success. After failing dozens of job interviews, her luck seems to turn when she gets a call from her old modeling agency. They inform her she’s been requested by the tourism board of a rural town, which is hoping to revitalize its faltering economy by hiring someone to drum up publicity as the honorary town “Queen.”
After the deserved success of Shirobako, animation studio PA Works (Shirobako, Hanasaku Iroha) comes out with another anime-original project about young adults trying to make it the workforce. This is a trend I can get behind, although so far Sakura Quest hasn’t totally sold me on this particular iteration. Our protagonist Yoshino is quite endearing—after flunking her interviews (hey, we’ve all been there), she’s making the best of her wacky accidental career, and watching her try to find her own little space as a semi-ridiculous town mascot is what makes the show worth tuning into every week. On the other hand, I’m not that attached to the supporting cast yet, and the overall objective of reviving this town is not one that Sakura Quest has managed to make me care about deeply in the first few episodes. A pleasant show featuring adults wearing hokey costumes.
For fans of: Shirobako, Hanasaku Iroha, Barakamon, Poco’s Udon World
Watch it now on Crunchyroll
Rage of Bahamut: Virgin Soul
Ten years have passed since the world narrowly avoided destruction at the hands (claws?) of the great dragon Bahamut. A powerful new ruler, King Charioce (Yuuichiro Umehara), has consolidated power, laying gods and angels low and enslaving demons to work in human cities. One masked vigilante, known only as the Rag Demon, causes chaos night after night by killing demon-oppressing humans and freeing their slaves. When the cheerful Nina Drango (Sumire Morohoshi) arrives in the capital, she hopes to make her living as a bounty hunter and odd-jobber but becomes accidentally embroiled in larger events whilst pursuing the infamous Rag Demon.
Okay yes, this is technically a sequel, but I think I can be excused for putting it on here because I’m fairly certain you can watch Virgin Soul without ever having seen Rage of Bahamut: Genesis. Virgin Soul dives right in with a fantasy racism/vigilante plot that, while less than nuanced, provides a compelling backdrop for both familiar and new characters. Nina is the most significant addition to the cast, and I’m really enjoying the chaotic energy she brings to the show (doubly welcome since we have yet to lay eyes on FAVAROOOO). While I do miss the more swashbuckling, lighthearted tone of the previous season, Virgin Soul is more than living up to what I thought another Bahamut anime would be. And it’s also managed to look pretty while doing it—polished art and animation from MAPPA (Yuri!!! On ICE) sets Bahamut apart visually from other moderately pleasant fantasy offerings tis season like Grimoire of Zero and SukaSuka.
For fans of: Rage of Bahamut: Genesis, Saga of Tanya the Evil, Coffin Princess Chaika, Maria the Virgin Witch, disembodied hands in overalls
Watch it now on Anime Strike (again I am so sorry)
Sequels Worth Waiting For
The highest quality goods this spring are all in the sequels department: besides Bahamut, which I have completely cheated by including above, we’ve got the long, long, long anticipated continuation of mega-hit Attack on Titan, though it’s apparently only with us for another twelve episodes. Superhero battle shonen My Hero Academia returns for a thrilling second season as well, and the consistently wonderful Natsume Yujin-cho graces us with its presence for a sixth season. Perhaps most exciting to me is the second season of The Eccentric Family, a lovely, richly complex show about a family of tanuki living in a modern Kyoto populated by flying tengu, trickster tanuki, and sorcerous young women.
So? What are you watching this season? Let us know what you’re loving (and hating) in the comments!