7 Best New Anime Shows for Winter 2016
Introduction: Returning Anime TV Shows
Every season, a new stack of anime are dropped at our feet, and, sometimes, it can be rather overwhelming to decide what to make of it all. There is over 25 new shows starting in the coming weeks. 25! Unless you read manga for a living, you are probably a lot like me and have no clue what to actually focus on.
I always tell myself that I will watch EVERYTHING. Yet, that never comes to pass. Instead, maybe 3-4 shows are watched for their entire duration, while roughly the same amount are dropped after a few episodes. This time, I have made it my mission to investigate every single show, to decide what would be worth paying attention too.
It should be noted, besides these new shows, a host of fan favourite will be returning for a second season: Including Durarara!! and Assassination Classroom. A lot to get excited about.
Also, I have decided to try and cover as many genres as I could, in this list. Hopefully, there is something for everyone.
1. Sports / Comedy
Prince of Stride: Alternative
Madhouse. This is made by Madhouse. Any fan of anime knows what that means: High quality animation, fun characters and an interesting storyline. Prince of Stride: Alternative appears to be no exception, as the first episode (and all the teasers/trailers) demonstrate that a lot of effort was put into the production of these episodes.
Prince of Stride is a sports anime about a fictional extreme sport called 'Stride'. Relay Races are held were competing teams of 6 members zigzag through a course set in towns or buildings. It is not necessarily the most unique of sports, but each time a race takes place, the whole area turns into a festival, of sorts, as hundreds of passer bys stop to watch it unfold. The three lead characters (two guys and a girl) do not really get along but their love of the sport brings them together.
There is nothing new in the storyline, with shows like Free!, Kuroko no Basket and Haikyu!! have done it well before, but this, hopefully, offers more of the same. The manga is quite highly rated, with its characters, in particular, being well respected and the fact that it is in Madhouse's hands makes it a sure fire bet.
The first episode also had a lot of comedy, so laughs should not be hard to came by.
For Fans Of: Free!, Kuroko no Basket, Haikyu!! and Major.
2. Action / Fantasy / Comedy / Ecchi
Musaigen no Phantom World
Produced by Kyoto Animation (Clannad and InuYasha), Musaigen no Phantom World promises to be a fun little diversion. The first episode was action packed and introduced loveable character that are quite standard for this type of anime (slightly useless male lead, abrasive female heroine) but it was done relatively well.
The anime is set in a world were everyone can see phantoms and spirits due to some disease that changed our brain chemistry. This has led to certain children being born with special powers to fight these phantoms. Our main characters, high-school students (obviously), are part of a 'hunting' club, were they get paid for every bad phantom they defeat.
This is one fast paced show. The first episode flew by and was just a blast to sit through. The design of the phantoms was quite impressive and the interaction between the three lead characters was enjoyable enough. This feels like the type of show that a lot of people will like, will its on, then quickly forget it immediately after. Hopefully, I am completely of the mark and it turns into something truly special.
One thing I did not like about the first episode was all the boob jokes. I realize it is an anime stable, but it was a bit overdone.
For Fans Of: Kyoukai no Kanata, Noragami and One Piece.
3. Action / Sci-Fi / Fantasy
Produced by Studio Pierrot, one of the juggernauts of the industry (Naruto, Bleach, Great Teacher Onizuka, Beezlebub), Divine Gate has been gartering some momentum due to some exciting teaser videos and a pretty cool look cast. This seems to have all the ingredients needs for an over-the-top world ending action extravaganza.
After the Divine Gate opens, the underworld, heaven and earth all merged into one, creating an era of chaos. In hope of dealing with that chaos, a World Council emerges that seeks out the strongest boys and girls to reach the gate and, possibly, change the world. They each have their own super duper powers and it all seems to be one large than life spectacle.
Studio Pierrot know how to handle this type of product, so this should be, at least, fun. I do worry that it might be rushed, especially if it does not get more than 13 episodes. Black Bullet suffered the same faith.
For Fans Of: Bleach, Naruto, Black Bullet and Dragon Ball Super.
4. Mystery / Psychological / Supernatural
Boku dake ga Inai Machi
Boku Dake Ga Inai Machi promises to be the STAND OUT anime of the season. Everything about it screams brilliance; from the unique plot, to the realistic and deep characters and the gorgeous animation. Produced by A-1 Pictures (Fairy Tail, Sword Art Online and Blue Exorcist), if there is one new anime I would recommend to go out of your way to watch, it would be this.
The plot revolves around Satoru Fujinuma, a struggling manga artist with the ability to go back in the time to save people or to stop catastrophes from happening. One day, he is framed for murder and, somehow, ends up going back in time to when he was a grade-schooler, just before a classmate of his vanished.
How can anyone not get excited after reading that plot? It reminds of Stein's Gate in certain ways (other than time travel), with the lead character desperate to figure out a mystery that will lead to the death of someone else. He is isolated and given a power well beyond his imagination.
The first episode was fantastic, so lets hope for more of the same.
For Fans Of: Stein's Gate and Shinsekai Yori.
5. Comedy / Slice of Life
Seems we are sticking with (aspiring) manga authors for lead characters! Dagashi Kashi is a light hearted comedy about a teen who is caught between two world: That of her father (security) and her dream to became a manga author (fantasy). Produced by Feel, who are known for doing these type of comedy/romance shows.
Shikada Kokonotsu's father owns a rural sweets shop, and his plan is for Kokonotsu to take it over one day. She does not want to follow in her father's footsteps and plans to draw manga for a living. One day, a representative of a famous sweets company asks Kokonotsu's father to join her company, but the only way he will agree is if she can convince his daughter to run the shop.
This is pretty much the typical slice of life comedy that anime does better than any other medium out there. It offers loveable characters, an unimportant plot and, hopefully, a lot of character development. This might be worth waiting to see if a dubbed version eventually comes out. Just feels like the perfect background show.
For Fans Of: Mayo Chiki!, Kiss x Sis and Sabagebu!
6. Horror / Adventure
To be perfectly honest, I was a bit hesitant to put this on the list. The manga the anime will be based on is great (fantastic actually). Really worth a read. But this is a Polygon Pictures property, meaning the anime is kind of crap. That might sound harsh, but the CG based animation they do lacks the emotion and warmth that the more standard style has. Sidonia no Kishi was decent in despite of the animation, so hopefully Ajin will do the same.
Ajin are immortal humans. They showed up on a battlefield in Africa nearly 20 years ago and have been showing up more and more ever since. Due to their rare nature, the government pays anyone who is capable of capturing one. One summer afternoon, a typical high-schoolers life is flip turned upside down.
This could be a brutal and gripping show, if done right.
For Fans Of: Tokyo Ghoul and Sidonai no Kishi.
7. Mecha / Police
Active Raid: Kidou Kyoushuushitsu Dai Hakkei
The first episode of Active Raid was a muddled mess filled with unlike-able characters (the lead character reminded me of Akane from Psycho-pass...but incredibly more annoying) and a very standard plot that does not seem to really offer anything new.
So, why is this here? Well, its made by the same minds behind Code Geass. The majority of the team is back, therefore, I am willing to give this one a bit of wiggle room. It needs to get better quickly, but with the talent involved, there is every chance this could turn into something really good.
Plot is quite standard stuff. A part of Tokyo has turned lawless. There are police squads with mecha suits. 'Our' team is filled with obnoxious rule breakers, which results in a young inspector being sent in to supervise them and report back to her superiors.
For Fans Of: Black Bullet and Psycho-pass.