New Anime

Spring 2024 Check-in

Three weeks in (as I begin writing) I have a couple of thoughts on Spring 2024 in anime.  First, this season is – on the whole – a bit better than I expected so far. My expectations were fairly low going in (despite a ton of series in the preview), so that doesn’t make it great or anything. But it probably has more watchable shows than I expected it to have.

The other main impression is that it’s a season that’s absolutely dominated by the middle of the pack (in sharp contrast to Winter 2024). It’s no exaggeration to say a majority of the series I’m watching are on the bubble, or at least they would be if those circumstances haven’t forced me to thin that rank as best I can. That ties in with the notion of it being a huge but not great season – almost everything is in the range from mediocre to pretty good. Great shows make great seasons, so that’s not the ideal scenario (though not the worst, either).

I had two main sleepers going into the season, and so far so good. Yatagarasu is leading the running for best new show of the season, and while Mysterious Disappearances isn’t really in my sweet spot, so far at least it’s kind of working for me. Hananoi-kun is on life support but that was barely a sleeper to begin with, so I can’t call that a huge disappointment.


Onward, then, to Spring 2024:


The Elite




Karasu wa Aruji wo Erabanai
Episodes Watched: 4
Grade: A-
Comments: Given my lack of knowledge of the source material it was legit to call Karasu wa Aruji wo Erabanai a sleeper. But my expectations of it were pretty high, just based on the premise, the reputation of the novels, and the pedigree of the adaptation. I wouldn’t say the first four episodes have been perfect – the main complaint being that there’s been too much exposition by explanation – but on balance they’ve been everything I hoped. This is very good anime indeed, the sort of Asian-themed high fantasy the medium (and Studio Pierrot) can do so well. I certainly won’t be surprised if this ends up as the best series to come out of spring.

Kuroshitsuji: Kishuku Gakkou-hen
Episodes Watched: 3
Grade: B+
Comments: A sasuga start of Black Butler’s new season. This school setting is so letter-perfect for this series that it’s hard to imagine this season not working superbly. Toboso-sensei is utterly shameless in delivering exactly what Kuroshitsuji is known for with excess and a wink, but that’s the charm of the whole affair. Kishiku Gakkou-hen will have to go some to catch Book of Circus as the best TV Kuroshitsuji ever, but I wouldn’t totally rule it out based on the first three episodes.


Very Good

Ooi! Tonbo 
Episodes Watched: 4
Grade: B+
Comments: A golf anime that isn’t Birdie Wing would be something to celebrate anyway. But there’s a lot more to like about Ooi! Tonbo than that. The golf stuff is very good and very realistic (it’s published in Golf Digest after all), and that’s kind of the hand-stamp for entry. But there’s a very good human story here too, and all standout sports series have that. Ooi! Tonbo is basically a riff on the much-played troubled big city guy goes to the inaka trope, but there’s a reason that premise is popular. When done well it’s very effective drama and comedy, and this show is doing it well. I also like the simmering focus on the responsibilities of a prodigy to their sport and themselves.

Shinigami Bocchan to Kuro Maid Season 3
Episodes Watched: 3
Grade: B
Comments: The third and almost assuredly final season of Shinigami Bocchan is off to a fine start. There are going to have to be concessions made to scheduling, as there were 2-3 episodes more material left to adapt than JC Staff can fit in one season. They solved this problem for Hi Score Girl with an OVA, but they did so before the final season aired – and HSG is certainly the more popular series. Gutting the sorcery school arc probably took care of 60-70% of the problem, and it gutted me right alongside it as I really liked that material. But what’s still to come is very good and it’s kind of a miracle this little manga got three seasons  – even dirt-cheap CGI ones – to begin with.

Kai to Otome to Kamikakushi
Episodes Watched: 3
Grade: B
Comments: Kai to Otome to Kamikakushi is certainly the weirdest show I’m following this season, which I consider more good than bad. It reminds me a bit of Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge, which was one of the weirdest shows of any season. Mysterious Disappearances is not at the same level of artistry, but it’s still a good showcase for one of anime’s true auteurs, Mochizuki Tomomi. It plays a lot of cards that normally don’t click for me so I’m withholding judgment on whether I’m in for the long haul, but I hope so because this show is genuinely interesting and still has potential to be the sleeper I pegged it as.



Tonari no Youkai-san 
Episodes Watched: 4
Grade: B
Comments: “That niche” – most of us know what it is by now. And Tonari no Youkai-san is the obvious candidate to fill it this season. It does so pretty well on the whole, combining (very) heartwarming elements with just enough darkness to keep a sense of balance. As with Kai to Otome it puts me in mind of one of my old favorites, in this case Petopeto-san. And again it’s not at the same level but still rather engaging on the whole.

The Fable  
Episodes Watched: 4
Grade: B-
Comments: There’s no denying that this adaptation is something less than lavish in terms of production values. But I’m enjoying it – the cast is excellent at least. And a lack of stylistic input from the anime is offset by a pretty sharp and witty tone from the source material. I look forward to seeing the story dig deeper into the peculiarities of Osaka, one of the most distinctive and interesting places (and groups of people) in Japan.

Bartender: Kami no Glass
Episodes Watched: 4
Grade: B-
Comments: Broadly speaking I enjoy series that get geeky about stuff in a realistic way. If I’m personally interested in the subject so much the better. I’m more into whisk(e)y, wine, and beer than mixology but anything spirits-related is still interesting to me. I remember finding the original Bartender anime way back in the noughties pretty boring, but I’m rather enjoying the reboot. It’s not as if the recurring plot or characters are all that riveting, but the weekly stories and how they reflect on the experience of being a bartender are mostly working for me.


Still Watching

The Grimm Variations
Episodes Watched: 3
Grade: B-
Comments: This Yokote Michiko-penned Neflix original has the weight of Wit studio behind it. And the first three episodes deliver as you’d expect in terms of production (and music). I’ve only watched those three, and I’d probably give the premiere (“Cinderella”) a “B-“, the second ep (“Little Red Riding Hood”) about a C-, and the third (“Hansel & Gretel”) a B+.

Astro Note
Episodes Watched: 4
Grade: C+
Comments: Astro Note is pretty fun, but so far comes off as a concerted attempt to channel 90’s anime comedy (especially Rumiko) that’s not quite as good as the better originals. I’m enjoying it without as yet finding any really compelling reason to keep covering it. We’ll see what happens.

Sentai Daishikkaku (Go! Go! Loser Ranger!)
Episodes Watched: 3
Grade: C+
Comments: I jumped in on this one late after getting a few recommendations to check it out. And I’m not sorry I did – it’s a pretty interesting twist on the super sentai genre (which isn’t one of my favorites). My gut feeling is the series is going to lose its nerve as far as carrying out the quite subversive premise it’s set up, but the manga is ongoing so that might not happen in the anime’s run anyway.

Hananoi-kun to Koi no Yamai
Episodes Watched: 4
Grade: C
Comments: This one held my interest for a couple of episodes where I wondered if it was going to get really dark. But it’s too shoujo for that, which in romcom cases usually means guys acting in disturbing fashion and girls not calling them out on it. I’m hanging on by a thread even as far as watching it at this point.

Jiisan Baasan Wakagaeru
Episodes Watched: 3
Grade: C
Comments: The two leads are terrific seiyuu in interesting roles to play. Everything else, however (including the production) is extremely mediocre.



Ookami to Koushinryou: Merchant Meets the Wise Wolf, Boukyaku Battery, Kaijuu 8-gou, Yozakura-san Chi no Daisakusen, Tensei shitara Dainana Ouji Datta node, Kimama ni Majutsu wo Kiwamemasu, Henjin no Salad Bowl, Tadaima Okaeri, Kenka Dokugaku


Here, then, is this season’s blogging prospectus:

Monday: None

Definitely Blogging: None

On the Bubble: Kai to Otome to Kamikakushi (Mysterious Disappearances), Bartender: Kami no Glass 

Definitely Blogging: Dungeon Meshi

Definitely Blogging: Ooi! Tonbo
On the respirator: Astro Note

Definitely Blogging: Karasu wa Aruji o Erabanai (YATAGARASU: The Raven Does Not Choose Its Master), Kuroshitsuji: Kishuku Gakkou-hen (Black Butler: Public School Arc)
Probably Blogging: Tonari no Youkai-san, The Fable
On the Bubble: Sentai Daishikkaku (Go! Go! Loser Ranger!)

Definitely Blogging: Shinigami Bocchan to Kuro Maid (The Duke of Death and His Maid) Season 3

Manga: Otoyomegatari, Hunter X Hunter (hiatus)

Watching For Now: The Grimm Variations, Jiisan Baasan Wakagaeru


One more thing before I wrap. A special thanks to everyone who supports LiA financially – you’re the reason the site is still going.  The “LiA Bespoke” commissions program is officially open and has proved to be a great addition to LiA, so please check it out.

Please check out the LiA YouTube channel for manga recommendations, from the vault anime, Japan journeys the My Taste is Better Than Yours podcast, and more!

The post Spring 2024 Check-in appeared first on Lost in Anime.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.