Welcome to our first Anime round-up article, where we’ll be looking at the opening episodes for many of the new series airing this season – see this as a quick guide to what’s worth checking out in the Spring lineup!
Love after World Domination
Studio: Project No. 9
Genre: Romance, Comedy
This manga adaptation is an effective spoof of super sentai shows much like Power Rangers that you may have watched as a kid, with an added romance twist. We follow the leader of a group of ice cream themed super-heroes and the romance between him and one of the head generals in the super villain group they often fight against. Whilst it’s a fun concept and will definitely appeal to some people with it’s nostalgic take on exaggerated sentai shows, the comedy and animation is a little bit lacking and unfortunately does make the show come across as somewhat juvenile. The romance is quite wholesome in it’s own way but the remainder of the cast are little more then two-dimensional tropes as of the initial episode. Worth checking out if you’re more into the comedy side of rom-com shows and interested in something that plays with the superhero theme but sadly the execution is somewhat lacking.
My Rating: 5/10
Spy x Family
Studio: Wit Studios, Cloverworks
Genre: Action, Comedy
Probably the most anticipated show of the season and rightfully so – the first episode is stylish, gorgeously animated and somehow still heart-warming despite the dark story beats. Following master spy, Twilight, as he works on his latest mission which just so happens to involve having to keep up the pretence of being a father and husband, the first episode manages to do a shocking amount in it’s short time span. The characters are interesting and have a great amount of depth and the action sequences are really well done so far. This is already looking to be Anime of the Season from just the first episode and I for sure, can’t wait to see what’s going to happen next and how his new ‘family’ will change Twilight’s priorities. Also, Anya the telepathic child he adopts is absolutely adorable and the show choosing to see events from her point of view a lot of the time is a stroke of genius.
My Rating: 9/10
Trapped in a Dating Sim: The World of Otome Games Is Tough for Mobs
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Isekai has hit a point now in the world of anime where it’s gradually becoming a bit of a parody of itself and ‘Trapped in a Dating Sim’ is the latest that is self-aware in it’s intentions. Following an average guy who ends up dying and reincarnating into the world of a video game he recently completed, it pokes a lot of fun at both isekai tropes and that of otome as well that actually does manage to garner some laughs. Forced to live out his life in this game as a background character or ‘mob’, can Leon survive in a world where women reign supreme with his knowledge of the game’s world and events?
Expect similar themes as ‘My Next Life as a Villainess’ but with sci-fi tropes thrown in as the characters use both magic and mechas. It’s hard to tell from the first episode if this anime will actually start taking itself seriously the further it goes or if Leon will just end up tactically working his way to the top callously, gathering himself a harem along the way. l was expecting to not like this one all that much, especially given the protagonists rather sexist views, but the first episode was surprisingly entertaining. Leon is definitely not the most likable of protagonists however and I can see this alienating some of the viewers depending on his actions further on in the series.
My Rating: 7/10
Dance Dance Danseur
Another really promising first episode from this series, which follows a high schooler who gave up his childhood dream of performing ballet many years back but finds himself drawn back into the world of dance thanks to the new girl in his school. If you’re a fan of Welcome to the Ballroom, this one exudes a similar kind of style. The dance scenes are gorgeously animated so far and the characters themselves are really interesting, even our protagonist who struggles with his desires and what he feels he should do. It’s probably an anime that will fly under most people’s radar, given the ballet theme, but there’s a lot of heart in this series and it’s certainly one I’ll be continuing to keep an eye on.
My Rating: 9/10
Black★★Rock Shooter: Dawn Fall
Studio: Bibury Animation Studios
Genre: Action, Drama
Streaming: Disney Plus (Japan)
It’s been quite a few years since the last Black Rock Shooter anime aired so it was something of a surprise to see that another spin-off of the Vocaloid character was coming out this season. This new series has been made in collaboration with Disney+ and Good Smile Company and judging from the stunning animation seen throughout they’ve put a lot of money into it. It’s got a much darker tone then the 2012 series, and the eponymous Black Rock Shooter wakes up without her memories in a bleak apocalyptic world where humans are hunted mercilessly by an AI called Artemis.
The episode itself is confusing to follow however, and really relies on the audience to put the pieces together. It’s also very much aimed more at an adult audience given some of the content, an unexpected choice given the Disney backing. It all screams a little bit style over substance however and the whole episode felt more like a long, expensive music video then it did a longer series. I’m enough of a fan of the original series to want to carry this on to see where it’s going but so far this feels like a much flashier and unfortunately much more emotionless incarnation then we’ve previously seen. It’s likely to be some time before this series sees a full Western release as it (along with Summertime Render, also airing this season) is currently only available on Disney+ in Japan which doesn’t bode well for it’s future popularity.
My Rating: 6/10