After some fantastic shows in Spring and Summer 2015 (and a great many shows that were pretty standard), we welcome 2016 with open arms, and the hope that it can give us what we wish for. The Winter Season has a history of being overlooked before the normally fantastic Spring, but you may be pleasantly surprised by some of this Winter’s newcomers.
The beginning of this year marks the emergence of some obscure studios that haven’t had the limelight too much in the past. Polygon Pictures, a relatively unknown studio, has released the trailer for a show that appears on first glance to be one that might bring them to the forefront of people’s knowledge. Ajin brings us the first of the psychological horror shows. The protagonist discovers he is one of a very rare group of immortal beings, and instead of succumbing to human experimentation, he runs away. With rare immortals being used as live human experiments by insane scientists, the synopsis already tells us how intense this show could be. We could be talking torture, psychological duress, and some exciting action.
Polygon may be unheard of, but has anyone ever heard of Studio Feel? No, neither had I, before Dagashi Kashi was announced. It turns out that Feel were the studio responsible for the eye-watering tale of harem and inappropriate sibling love, Yosuga no Sora. Dagashi Kashi had better not lead us down the same road. To be fair, it seems to be a bright, uplifting comedy.
Another completely new show to read its head this season is Divine Gate, in which the heavens, the Earth, and the underworld have all become interconnected— and only chosen people may aim to reach the Divine Gate and what lies beyond. It looks stunningly colourful, action-packed, and it could be one of the most popular shows this year. After all, we’re always going to need the token fantasy/action/sci-fi anime of the season, and Divine Gate fulfils its calling. It’s hard to say whether it will live up to the probable hype, but it’ll most likely be a fan favourite.
We’re also excited to see a lot of season two and three releases for some popular series. Season two of Assassination Classroom is out, and given that season one was a good twenty-two episodes long, a season two will give this show a fantastic, solid length. With strong animation and an interesting concept, the series is only going to climb higher in success. The same goes for Durarara!, which is going to celebrate its third season. The tale of Ikebukuro nears its conclusion with the city again plunged into confusion as new groups rear their heads and cause all kinds of trouble for the crew. Considering how popular Durarara! has become, the creators have a hefty amount riding on their shoulders to give this gem a smashing finish.
Akagami no shirayuki-hime, AKA ‘Snow White with the red hair’, is also getting its second run, only two seasons away from its first showing. This hasty release could spell bad news for the show, but Studio Bones seem confident that they can succeed with it. A favourite last year, here’s hoping it lives up to come pretty raised expectations. It started with a red-headed girl running away from the man who tried to make her his concubine. Let’s see where this takes off.
Talking of raised expectations, news of Toei Animation’s latest release was received with anticipation, only for everybody to then find out that its newest project is… yet another season of Precure. Because we all needed some of that. Well done, Toei. You’ll climb back up one day. Madhouse has far outshone other popular studios in 2015 with successes like One Punch Man and Death Parade, and this year, they’re throwing us a curve ball with a new sports anime. Most of us are a little on the fence about sports anime after the glorious run of man-candy fan service frontrunner Free! Iwatobi Swim Club, but Prince of Stride could be a great show. Considering who’s creating it, we should be willing to trust Madhouse with a genre that is typically tough to pull off.
There isn’t anything that promises to be a knockout hit, but after the dregs of 2015 cool off and Spring comes around the corner, the Winter shows will pick up their stride. It looks like it’ll be a satisfying prelude to a good year of anime.