Spring is here, the cherry blossoms are blooming, and anime renews itself once again with a brand new lineup of shows for your enjoyment. Along with the return of some favorites like My Hero Academia, Food Wars: Shokugeki no Soma, a new Gundam Build Fighters anime, and Full Metal Panic (what year is it???), spring has got some fresh new cartoons, at least one of which involves punching bears in the face. Oh, and you can now watch Violet Evergarden on Netflix if you live in the U.S.
Ready for bear-punching? Check out these five new shows you can watch right along with audiences in Japan.
The year is 1904, and Saichi Sugimoto (Chikahiro Kobayashi), known to his fellow soldiers as the Immortal Sugimoto (possibly the badassest of monikers), has been discharged from service in Hokkaido at the end of the Russo-Japanese War. Sugimoto is hard up for cash, so when he hears a strange tale about a man who stole a dragon’s hoard of gold from the native Ainu people, he’s intrigued. Even more intriguing? The man tattooed the map to his stolen treasure on the backs of twenty-four escaped convicts.
This Meiji-era treasure hunt adapts a popular, award-winning seinen manga by Satoru Noda. The manga is seriously good, and really all this adaption needs to do to be a success is not screw up a great thing. So far, they have managed that—while the anime isn’t particularly slick (minus the CG brown bear in the room), it’s perfectly serviceable. I don’t expect Golden Kamuy to have a lot of visual bells and whistles, but the story is very, very worth sticking with: look forward to wilderness adventures, extinct animals, cooking, and more cuckoo characters than you can shake a bayonet at.
For fans of: Gintama, Rurouni Kenshin, Sword of the Stranger
Watch it now on Crunchyroll.
Wotakoi: Love is Hard for an Otaku
When Narumi Momose (Arisa Date), closet fujoshi, starts her new job, she doesn’t expect to reconnect with her childhood friend, hardcore gamer Hirotaka Nifuji (Itou Kento). Coming off a bad split with her ex-boyfriend, who broke up with her after her office found out she was an otaku (what a jerk), Momose is ready to swear off dating. That is, until Hirotaka proposes a brilliant idea—why not date a fellow otaku? Like, for instance…him? Thus begins this cute office romcom about nerds in love.
Adapting a manga by Fujita, Wotakoi has a fair few things to recommend it. For one thing, it’s nice to see a romance featuring working adults instead of teenagers blushing all over each other (don’t worry, I’ll recommend one of those down below). For another, as an adult geek between the ages of 25 and 35 myself, I find the characters in Wotakoi intensely relatable. Like Golden Kamuy, while the production is not especially strong, the material carries the show: this one is very much worth your time if you are an otaku, gamer, fujoshi, cosplayer, etc. coping with adult life and in the mood for a lighthearted, dorky slice of life.
For fans of: Recovery of an MMO Junkie, Servant x Service, Kiss Him Not Me
Watch it now on Amazon Video.
In a near-future world, the violent sport du jour is Megalo Boxing, which is like regular boxing except that the fighters wear exoskeletons that pack extra punch. Junk Dog (Yoshimasa Hosoya) is a boxer with immense talent, but is stuck participating in fixed underground matches in order to scrape by in the slums. When an enormous Megalo Boxing competition is announced with a fabulous grand prize, Junk Dog may finally get his chance to prove he has what it takes.
This original anime is actually a 50th anniversary project for classic boxing manga Ashita no Joe, but don’t let that scare you away—aside from a few nods (and the fact that it’s about, you know, boxing), MEGALOBOX is a standalone story. Although it’s an homage to a manga from the ’60s, the anime has the texture and aesthetics of ’90s cel-animated classics like Trigun or Cowboy Bebop. So far this show is balancing tone quite well: it’s gritty but not grim, and takes itself very seriously but feels authentic rather than pretentious. With a promising underdog story and touch of cyberpunk flair, MEGALOBOX is a compelling watch for boxing fans and non-fans alike.
For fans of: Ashita no Joe, Tiger Mask W, Hajime no Ippo, Cowboy Bebop
Watch it on Crunchyroll.
Tada Never Falls in Love / Tada-kun wa Koi wo Shinai
Mitsuyoshi Tada (Yuichi Nakamura) is a boy who has never been in love. A chance encounter with a mysterious girl visiting from Europe, however, looks to change all that. Rescuing the hapless Teresa Wagner (Manaka Iwami), who has been separated from her traveling companion and caught in the rain, Tada-kun takes her home to his grandfather’s cozy cafe, where she becomes involved with his quirky family and friends. Could this be the beginning of love?
This lively high school romcom is an original anime from staff that worked together on one of my favorite shows in recent years, Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun. Tada and his fellow cast members are a charming bunch, and the care put into their character animation and personal quirks definitely adds to their appeal. The plot doesn’t seem like it’s going to particularly full of surprises, but the show’s got an infectious, bouncy energy and refreshing lack of cynicism that should make it a fun watch for the romance-inclined this season.
For fans of: Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun, Ouran High School Host Club, The Kawai Complex Guide to Manors and Hostel Behavior
Watch it now on HIDIVE.
Nitta Yoshifumi (Yoshiki Nakajima) is a hard-boiled yakuza member going about his tough yakuza life when a package inexplicably falls into his living room. The package contains a weird deadpan girl with psychokinetic powers (Takako Tanaka), who calls herself Hina and quickly starts making demands. Nitta, under some duress (in particular, the threat of Hina using her mind-powers to destroy his entire apartment), takes the girl in, and their strange life together begins.
I must say this odd found-family comedy, based on a manga by Masao Otake, charmed me despite myself. Hinamatsuri’s well-timed comedy and quick gags are supported by considerable polish in the animation department—here is a case where the material is undoubtedly elevated by production. The show is funny with some genuinely touching moments, and so far neither of the main characters are quite what one would expect. I’m hoping this one continues to pleasantly surprise.
For fans of: Mob Psycho 100, Alice to Zouroku
Watch it now on Crunchyroll.
What are you watching this season?