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Spring 2024 Preview and Video Companion

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What a difference a year makes.  In March 2023 we were staring down the barrel of what looked like being the best anime season in years.  And that’s exactly what it ended up being (especially in the area of romcom).  Nothing since has come close to the awe-inspiring spectacle of Spring 2012 (which was the only season to approach the biblically great Spring 2007).  But last spring is right there with anything that came after that.  2023 was a good anime year – bucking the trend – and spring was its anchor.

I some ways Spring 2024 doesn’t look all that different.  I count 54 shows as I begin writing, compared to 52 last year.  I’m previewing 19 of them, just above my average (unerringly accurate) of one-third, and not too many miles off last year’s 22.  But while last spring’s schedule was peppered with series in the top two expectations categories, 2024 is mostly shots in the dark.  There are a couple of pretty safe bets on the docket, and some interesting unknowns, but I’m not sure anything that would even have cracked my top five in last spring’s preview.

That said, when I actually sat down to start putting this together I found the outlook was less bleak than I expected.  The run of anime announcements has been incredibly depressing the past few months, one of the driest stretches ever for series that interest me.  It’s just been a litany of isekai LNs and CGDCT and game adaptations, only very occasionally interrupted by something enticing.  But I suppose that’s the nature of the production cycle – this awful stretch of November-January announcements bodes most ill for summer and fall, I suspect.

Even so, there are 16 LN adaptations in this group of 54 series and that’s a depressingly high number. And while no less than 14 of those 22 shows I previewed last spring were either “Highest Expectations” or “Mid-table”, only half that number are this year (and two versus five in “Highest”).  Doing the math that’s almost two-thirds in the “Modestly Interested” tier and while I have a couple of sleepers, those statistics mean the odds of it being a good season are pretty low.

There are certainly some commercial monsters on the schedule, though most are not of huge interest to me.  As for genre and demographic, apart from that really big dump of mass-produced LN nothing stands out the way romcom did last spring – it’s a pretty standard 2020’s split as far as I can see.


Let’s move on to Spring 2024.  As usual, the poll is in the sidebar – please go vote!


Highest Expectations:

Boku no Hero Academia 7th Season – Bones: (PV) “Boku no” leads the way again, though this time we’re leaving Senzoku for Yuuei.  Six seasons, six top ten finishes for BnHA.  It’s been a bit lucky in the sense of its best seasons coming in strong anime years and lesser seasons in weak ones.  Still, you can’t help but admire the consistency, and there’s certainly nothing else in LiA history with that extended a track record.

Where Will Season 7 fit in the HeroAca hierarchy?  There are two main factors there, source material and adaptation.  They were a perfect storm with Season 6, but less so this time.  I think the coming material is strong (though S7 will go past the point in the manga to which I’ve read), but it’s controversial for a reason.  On the production side the best seasons have been the ones where the TV anime didn’t have to fight for studio resources with a theatrical film, and there’s another one of those currently in production.  We also have a new director in Nakayama Naomi, though Nagasaki Kenji will still be attached in the nebulous “chief director” role.  Nakayama is pretty experienced and seemingly capable, so that shouldn’t be too much a problem.

Interestingly, this season is premiering on May 4th – which is a full month late – with four “special” episodes to air in April.  I think we can infer from this that S7 will be two cours, most likely around 21-22 episodes, and it seems likely the four specials will be recap eps (possibly to combat the production capacity issues caused by the movie).

Kuroshitsuji: Kishuku Gakkou-hen – CloverWorks: (PV) Even setting aside the abysmal Okada Mari original second season, I haven’t always loved Kuroshitsuji.  There are times when Tobiso Yana’s writing gets pretty full of itself, and certain characters (like Grell) are best in very small doses.  But at its best (which for me is the “Book of Circus” arc) Black Butler is a genuinely deep and powerful tragic fantasy.

It would be tempting to dismiss Public School Edition as yet another misguided Hogwarts arc.  But if there were ever a series ideally suited to that change of venue, I think it would be Kuroshitsuji.  And the manga fandom seems to hold this arc in quite high regard.  The story finds Ciel enrolling at the exclusive Weston College to investigate students (one of whom is a relative of Queen Victoria) cutting off their families and refusing to return home.  And of course where Ciel goes Sebastian follows, so he goes undercover as the housemaster of Ciel’s Sapphire Owl House.

We do have a new director this time in Okada Kenjirou, and he’s one that’s done much of his work at Shaft no less.  I’d be lying if I said that didn’t concern me a little, but oftentimes we find that it was Shaft that was the problem with its expats direct elsewhere, and Okada does have some background outside that studio (including a fair amount of work at Bones).  Even bearing that change in mind Kishuku Gakkou-hen seems like a pretty safe bet.



Shinigami Bocchan to Kuro Maid 3rd Season – J.C. Staff: (PV) Three series, three sequels.  I’ll never stop wondering what Shinigami Bocchan could have been had it gotten a proper 2-D adaptation from a decent studio (it might be parked upstairs in this preview).  But the story is still good enough to carry it, and I suppose one has to accept that this series likely never would have been adapted – much less completely – unless it had been done on the cheap.  This season will wrap up the story, and if you enjoyed the first two there’s certainly no reason to think that will change now.

The Fable – Tezuka Productions: (PV) I confess that The Fable had flown completely under my radar before the anime announcement.  As in, I’d never heard of it that I can remember.  But the manga gets crazy good reviews and it’s a seinen, so one would hope this is an adaptation with a lot of potential.  The series is popular enough to have received a couple of live-action films and a sequel, but Tezuka is more often than not a very budget-conscious studio.  Director Takahashi Ryousuke is 80, and there’s just no way of predicting how that’s going to go.

Story-wise this is the tale of a hitman who’s so productive at his job that his boss tells him to lay low for a year and let the eyes of the law focus elsewhere (and maybe learn about real life in the process).  The hitman thus goes on sabbatical with his driver posing as his sister, under strict orders not to kill anybody while he’s undercover.  Obviously given the numbers this one bears close watching, though it’s still more or less a shot in the dark for me.

Karasu wa Aruji wo Erabanai – Pierrot: (PV) Another blind leap for me, this time a series based on a fantasy novel series by Abe Chisato.  The novels are apparently quite popular in Japan, and focus on a tengu clan called the Yatagarasu.  The anime is based on the first novel, and focuses on a young tengu boy named Yukiya sent to serve a prince at the Imperial court.

I’d call this one a sleeper for sure.  Novel adaptations often are, and Pierrot has a habit of getting adaptations right.  Miyu Irino appears in a rare (these days) lead role.  Director Kyougoku Yoshiaki is an up-and-coming talent who’s worked with some extremely gifted creators on some extremely good series.  The supporting cast (including Mutsumi Tamura  as Yukiya) looks excellent, and the adaptation has 20 episodes to work with.  There’s only so much certainty to be had when I don’t know the source material, but all signs point to yes with Karasu wa Aruji wo Erabanai.

Tonari no Youkai-san – Lidenfilma: (PV) Tonari no Youkai-san is a definite contender for “that” slot on the schedule this season.  It has a wistful countryside setting, a Shinto connection, cats, and a studio – Lidenfilms – that’s been on a really good roll lately.  This is the story of a village where youkai and humans peacefully and openly co-exist, and a 22 year-old cat my suddenly evolves into a nekomata.  The fit is almost too on the money, frankly, and Kaji Yuuki in a lead role (as the cat) is never a positive leading indicator.  But this one has definite cred in the horses for courses sense.

Jiisan Baasan Wakagaeru – Gekkou: (PV) An old married couple mysteriously find themselves teenagers again.  It’s a premise that sounds both trendy and kind of old-school anime at the same time.  Miki Shinichirou and Noto Mamiko – who are neither old nor teenagers – play the couple both as old people and teenagers.  Gekkou is a newer studio with a pretty suspect track record and there’s no obvious brilliance in the staff, but I am curious to see how these two excellent actors tackle these roles.


Modestly Interested:

Kaijuu 8-gou – Production I.G.: (PV): This series has the right name, because it’s one of the franchises in there with a shot to be the “next big thing”.  The manga is extremely popular, it has Production I.G. behind it, loads of buzz, and has been the beneficiary of a vigorous P.R. push.  It follows an elite military unit called “sweepers”, set up to combat the presence of kaijuu randomly appearing across Japan.

I don’t find the manga to be anything special if I’m honest, though I haven’t read much of it.  I do think it’s a perfectly competent shounen, however, and good enough so that if it gets a real banger of an adaptation – always a possibility with I.G. – it could wind up being a very good anime.  Even if it doesn’t I expect it to be a huge hit, maybe the biggest of the season and (though I’d bet against it) of the year.

Bartender: Kami no Glass – Liber: (PV)  I’ve always felt like I should like this seinen manga adaptation more than I do.  But the first series (which aired in 2006) didn’t really do much for me.  This appears to be a reboot, though given that the manga is 21 volumes it would be a big surprise if it turned out to be a complete adaptation.  Bartender is the story of, funnily enough, a bartender – a genius mixologist working in a mysterious Ginza hideaway who helps his customers solve their various problems.  Yep, that’s a bartender.

Hananoi-kun to Koi no Yamai – East Fish Studio: (PV) East Fish Studio?  That’s a new one on me, but that seems to be more common with studios these days.  They have apparently worked on a few series, none of which I’ve seen.  However director Maino Tomoe helmed the very good anime version of Kotarou wa Hitorigurashi.  A Condition Called Love is a pretty well-regarded shoujo romance about an asexual high school girl who winds up in a relationship with the school heartthrob.  Shoujo seems to be making a bit of a comeback in anime these days (heck, we’ve even see a couple of jousei announcements) and this one looks like it has a chance to be decent.

Yozakura-san Chi no Daisakusen – Silver Link: (PV) Any time a WSJ adaptation starts, it’s going to draw some attention.  Mission: Yozakura Family probably qualifies as a mid title for Shounen Jump – modestly (by their standards) popular, reviews decent if not glowing.  I haven’t read any of it myself but I’ll give it a look.  The budget looks decent, Silver Link is a solid studio, and director Minato Mirai is experienced and generally more than competent.  It’s the story of an orphaned high-school boy in love with the youngest daughter of a spy family, whose older brother wants to kill anybody romantically interested in her.

Kai to Otome to Kamikakushi – Zero-G: (PV) This web manga adaptation would normally be pretty far off my radar to be honest.  But noticing that it was being directed and written by Mochizuki Tomomi, one of the old lions of the anime industry, leveled my interest up substantially.  Mochizuki’s track record is hardly spotless but he rarely takes on lead roles in a production these days, so maybe there’s something in this series that captured his fancy.  It’s the story of a couple of bookstore clerks who get mixed up with the supernatural when investigating some strange disappearances in their town.

Boukyaku Battery – MAPPA: (PV)  As a seemingly straight-up baseball series without any superpowers or other flannel, you’d think Boukyaku Battery would be higher on my list.  But the commentary I’ve seen on the manga isn’t especially positive, and one almost assumes any non-headline MAPPA production (and even then) is going to be a production nightmare.  The story here follows a terrifying junior high battery after the pitcher loses his memory and they go to a no-name high school.

Ooi! Tonbo – OLM: (PV) You gotta love sports!  This time it’s a long-running golf manga that’s – as usual – been totally invisible in English.  It’s the story of a high school girl on a small island who takes up golf using her late father’s 3-iron, and the retired pro who takes her under his wing.  I know nothing about the material and the staff seems nondescript, but I’ll give it a punt.

It’s worth noting that I’ve been lamenting the almost total absence (and I mean, ever) of golf anime, despite a number of well-known manga, and predicting its day would come.  Well, it has – starting with the frankly awful Birdie Wing we’re seeing a number of  properties being produced, which makes sense given the game’s popularity worldwide and Matsuyama Hideki’s rising stardom (including winning The Masters, the first major win by a Japanese man).  IMHO the best of the current lot would be the current WSJ series Green Green Greens, but unfortunately I think it’s unlikely it will escape cancellation long enough to get an anime.

Tadaima, Okaeri – Deen: (PV) Of all manga and anime genres that seem to be slave to tropes. boys love and girls love (but perhaps boys love even more) are probably the most constrained.  I’m always hopeful that the next story built around same-sex romance will break the mold, but series that do are true unicorns.  But BL is huge business, so the incentive to be different isn’t especially strong.  The manga Tadaima Okaeri is based on gets good aggregator scores but that’s not much of a tell, given that fans of the genre are typically the ones doing the rating on such sites.  This is the story of a married couple with a two year-old son so you’d hope the dignity level might be ratcheted up, but with this genre I’m always skeptical.  Director Ishihara Shinji is a big name and no stranger in this neighborhood.

Kimetsu no Yaiba: Hashira Geiko-hen – ufotable: (PV) Another late-starting (May 12) kaiju – probably the kaiju in modern animanga.  My interest in Kimetsu no Yaiba waxes and wanes – the Swordsmith Village arc was kind of a snooze.  And once I figured out to my satisfaction why this franchise is so popular the incentive to stick around was less powerful.  But there’s an in for a penny, in for a pound side too, and at its best this series can certainly be very good.  As long as Zenitsu and Inosuke aren’t too prominent it doesn’t annoy me that much, so at least to start with I’ll be looking in (though Hashira Training will have to be more interesting than Swordsmith Village if I’m going to cover it).

Ookami to Koushinryou: Merchant Meets the Wise Wolf – Passione: (PV) I’ve never gotten Spice and Wolf – always found it pretty boring.  But lots of people whose opinions I respect like it, and it’s been so long since I last gave it a shot that I’m curious to try this reboot and see if my perspective has evolved to the point where it works for me now (I doubt it, but you never know).  I don’t hold its light novel origins against it – it hails from a time when being an LN meant something quite different than it does today – I just never found it interesting.  Lots of original staff and cast are back though the studio is a change.

Kenka Dokugaku – Okuruto Noboru: (PV) A BL series, an isekai LN, and now a manhwa – again, seems like almost every season these days I give one of them a shot.  My track record with manhwa is poor (I liked Tower of God about the best, but the manhwa jumps the shark pretty hard and the anime adaptation was kind of a shitshow).  And as with BL I don’t put much stock in aggregator scores, as those tend to be preaching to the choir. Okuruto Noboru is another studio I know nothing about, but the staff is decent and the original is (as expected) well-reviewed.  The premise is that a bullied kid’s fight with the streamer who bullies him goes viral, and they team up to cash in on this unexpected niche.  Just dumb enough to be clever, maybe?

Tensei shitara Dainana Ouji Datta node, Kimama ni Majutsu wo Kiwamemasu – Tsumugi Akita Animation Lab: (PV) Seems like just about every season I take a shot in the dark on a formula LN adaptation, and eventually one of them will surprise me (eventually, right?).  That’s about all I got.


Will definitely blog: Boku no Hero Academia 7th Season, Kuroshitsuji: Kishuku Gakkou-hen, Shinigami Bocchan to Kuro Maid 3rd Season.  That’s it – and all sequels.  With 19 series in the preview the odds are good I’ll pick up at least another couple, but nothing else is a certainty.

Sleepers: Karasu wa Aruji wo Erabanai, Kai to Otome to Kamikakushi (though strictly because of Mochizuki), maybe Hananoi-kun to Koi no Yamai at a stretch.



A complete shutout in the OVA department, and not the first in recent previews either.  It may be time to think about dropping the category altogether outside of exceptional cases.



Pretty slim pickings here too.

Kuramerukagari – 04/12/2024: (PV) A stretch to include it, but this original from Narita Ryohgo  (Baccano, Durarara) and Tsukahara Shigeyoshi looks modestly interesting.  The setting is a coal-mining town immersed in some sort of conspiracy that a mapmaking girl and a dreamer boy try to expose.

Look Back – 06/28/2024: (PV) I’m not on-board the Fujimoto Tatsuki hype train (though his network of assistants turned major mangaka is astonishing).  And I don’t consider Look Back to be anywhere near the masterpiece some do (his other one-shot, Sayonara Eri, is the better of the two in my opinion).  But he is undeniably a major star with a crapload of talent, even if I would argue it’s largely untapped, and this is a very good story.  And the adaptation has a very promising director in Oshiyama Kiyotaka.

Look Back is the story of two childhood rival mangaka, a chance meeting in their teen years, and the consequences of that meeting.  It’s also a bit of a reflection on the Kyoto Animation tragedy, among other things.  As with all of Fujimoto’s works it’s fill on interesting ideas not fully realized and striking imagery and scene composition.  In  Oshiyama I think he finally has a director who can capture the essence of his distinctive aesthetic.




The post Spring 2024 Preview and Video Companion appeared first on Lost in Anime.

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