Violet Evergarden has wowed anime enthusiasts for a few months now with its gorgeous trailers that have depicted strikingly detailed characters, stunning backdrops and settings, and a soundtrack composed of a prominent assortment of string instruments and piano. Scheduled to premiere Jan. 10, the anime will follow the emotional story of the light novel of the same name.
The story follows Violet Evergarden, a girl who is an Auto Memory Doll. These dolls are mechanical beings that were initially created by a scientist who wished to give his blind wife a companion to assist her. However, the dolls are eventually rented out to others who require obedient servants, and the military begins using them as disposable soldiers. Violet, who has just returned from war after her Major was apparently killed, believes she is now useless with her master KIA, and should be disposed of. A man named Claudia Hodgins, who created a postal company, buys her. Claudia sees Violet as a human being, not a machine, and tries to help her understand her new place in the world after the war, and the emotions she discovered while serving under her Major.
This anime may seem to follow the same beats of shows we’ve seen before, like Chobits or Black Bullet, and it does to an extent. But the anime is shaping up to be an artistic masterpiece, both in its animation and its music. If the anime follows the same story as its source material, it will also delve into themes of how society mistreats soldiers after war. This story should pull on the heartstrings, so if you enjoy a good tearjerker, then you’ll want to watch Violet Evergarden. The series will stream on Netflix.
Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens
Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens will also be premiering in January, and it centers on the city of Fukuoka. Fans of Durarara!! will want to watch this show, as it, in the same way, centers on the strange happenings of a single city and how those events seemingly connect to one another. It also features a similar musical style. The smooth jazz of the show’s end credit segment is already quite popular.
Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens’s unique setting is appears quite ordinary on the surface. In truth, it hides a vast criminal underbelly of assassins, selfish detectives, revenge seekers, informants, torture specialists, and thieves. Fukuoka is the city to go to if you need someone dead. With multiple contracts out on different people, the city has become a battleground of a diverse assortment of killers. If the anime follows the structure of its light novel and manga, then it will shift its focus between different characters, allowing audiences to explore the vast criminal element that plagues a city of evil.
If you want to watch Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens, the show will be debuting on Crunchyroll. A simuldub will also be premiering on Funimation if you’d rather catch the show in English.
Both 2016 and 2017 proved that cutesy anime that feature all-girl casts, like New Game! or Hinako Note, are somehow perfect for exploring relatable problems that everyone faces, like professional rivals and stage fright. It looks like that trend will be continuing into 2018 with Slow Start.
The show follows Hana Ichinose, a student who’s just starting high school as a freshman. She makes plenty of friends, and seems normal enough to everyone around her. But she has a secret: she’s sixteen. Yes, Hana is one year older than all of her peers because she enrolled in high school late. Hana’s first year of school is spent trying to maintain the illusion that she’s the same age of her classmates.
Slow Start is primed to explore the unnecessary stresses placed upon students that either struggle with school, or face unseen circumstances that impede their school life. Hana isn’t dumb. She’s just starting a year later than most students. However, she fears, as most teenagers would, that the truth would cause everyone around her to think she’s stupid or incompetent.
Slow Start will stir up long forgotten memories of your own struggles to hide your insecurities when it came to school, and encourage audiences to rethink how much pressure we put on kids to succeed in education. It will only broach these subjects though. Most of the show will be a go-happy romp of cute anime girls doing cute anime things. It’ll make you feel warm and fuzzy on the inside. Despite its title, Slow Start will start before many other 2018 anime, beginning to stream on Crunchyroll on Jan. 6.
Wotaku ni Koi wa Muzukashii
Every year, more and more kids who were nerds or geeks their entire lives discover that they’re all grown up and in need of a job. Those nerdy and geeky passions don’t go away though, and it becomes a balancing act between being a “normal professional” in public and a closet geek in private. This lifestyle was explored brilliantly in 2017’s Recovery of an MMO Junkie, but it’s getting an even deeper look in 2018’s Wotaku ni Koi wa Muzakashii.
The anime will focus on two main characters: Hirotaka Nifuji and Narumi Momose. The former is a video game crazy otaku who shuts himself away from society when he’s not needed at work. The latter is a fujoshi, a woman who’s obsessed with intense sexual fantasies between two men. The two meet after choosing to work at the same company, and realize they were both friends back in middle school. They realize their hidden passions are a bond they share, and they get along well enough even after being apart for years. They decide to start dating.
In the original manga, the relationship is far from perfect, but it explores real issues that nerds and geeks face in the public eye. Society still doesn’t see much worth in some of the more fanatical extremes of gaming and anime culture, and Wotaku ni Koi wa Muzakashii perfectly captures the feelings of isolation and shame this stigma can produce. The two main characters may only encompass the video game and sexual fantasy aspects of geek culture, but they both soon meet other otakus, each embodying a different aspect of geek and nerd culture, who are also hiding in plain sight.
The show also does a phenomenal job highlighting the shared bonds that adult gamers and anime fans instinctively share, and broaches the subject of whether or not such a bond is all two people need to maintain a relationship. If the anime follows the manga, you’ll shed more than a few tears watching this show, but you’ll have your fair share of laughs too. This anime is perfect for any geek or nerd who’s learning to find their place in the professional world, or who’s seeking comfort from the isolation that such passions can occasionally create.
Alice in Deadly School – The Animation
Fans have waited years for a continuation to the High School of the Dead anime. Sadly, at this point, I think it’s safe to say that it’s never coming. However, Alice in Deadly School – The Animation may be able to fill the gaping hole that High School of the Dead left.
The show’s premise is pretty straightforward. A zombie outbreak occurs at an all girls’ school and infects most of the students, faculty, and staff. A few of the students are able to survive, and barricade themselves on the roof of their school building. It’s there that they must create their own small society, and work together to survive until they can be rescued.
The zombie outbreak survival story is one that’s been done into the ground, but shows like High School of the Dead were able to make a name for themselves for their unique spins on the formula. Alice in Deadly School continues this tradition with an entire girl cast, an arrangement that’s not prevalent in most zombie narratives. All of the characters are also very young, even younger than the high school students from High School of the Dead. If anything, Alice in Deadly School plays out like an all-girl variation of William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. Girls react to government and conflict very differently than boys though, so Alice in Deadly School handles that narrative a bit differently.
There’s currently no information tied to when the anime will release, or where audiences will be able to find it. It is slated for 2018 though, so keep your eyes open for it. Be prepared to be a little horrified by the show’s content too. These are little girls trying to survive against a horde of cannibalistic humans after all.
Sports anime have popularized sports like basketball and soccer for thousands of people, but it has also allowed sports that aren’t all that well known to gain an audience, like what 2017’s Two Car did for side car racing. Harukana Receive will do that for beach volleyball, the less popular cousin to the sport that starred in Haikyu!!.
Harukana Receive is based on the manga of the same name, a comic that details the story of Haruka and Kanata, a beach volleyball pair. Haruka approaches Kanata in desperation, needing a partner to compete in competitive beach volleyball. Although Kanata gave up on the sport, on account of the pressure she was subjected to on a daily basis for her short height, Haruka is able to win her over.
I’ll be frank; this is a story that focuses on a beach volleyball tournament with a very large character roster of young women competitors. Ecchi themes (sexual fan service) are a regular part of the manga, and I have no doubt that they will be prominent in every episode of the anime. That’s going to turn off a lot of people, but this anime will be so much more than a sexy variation of Haikyu!!.
As someone who has played a lot of competitive beach volleyball, I can confirm that the Harukana Receive manga does a good job breaking down the fundamentals of the sport. It also helps inform the differences between volleyball and beach volleyball. The story of Haruka and Kanata’s growing friendship is also pretty good (and very cute), and watching Kanata work past her short stature to succeed at a sport that demands height (even more so than regular volleyball) works through some pretty heavy character development.
No details on when the anime will air, but it is scheduled for 2018.
Fans have been waiting for Citrus, a yuri (story with heavy romantic or sexual love between women) manga, to become an anime for years. In 2018, those prayers will be answered.
The story focuses on Yuzu, a pretty carefree and fashionable girl, who transfers to a new school after her mother remarries. She gets all dolled up for her first day, hoping to find a cute boy that she’ll be able to make into her first boyfriend. She soon discovers that her mother has enrolled her into an all-girls’ school that is both strict and very conservative. She is repeatedly berated by the stern student council president Mei all day. Upon arriving home, Yuzu realizes, to her horror, that her new stepsister is Mei. The surprises don’t stop there though, because the day ends with Mei secretly kissing Yuzu without an explanation. What follows is, quite possibly, the cutest love-hate relationship to come out of Japan since Toradora.
Citrus is one of those love stories that claims that opposites attract. It flirts with the notion that love and hate are closely related, implying that one can naturally lead to the other. It’s also no secret that the manga’s audacity to toe that line between what’s acceptable when it comes to love is a large part of why it’s so popular (and why the anime will be too). Having relations with a step sibling that comes from a completely different marriage isn’t technically incest after all, but it’s just bizarre enough to attract a questioning eye. It also makes for quite a few comical situations and embarrassing misunderstandings.
If you’re interested in watching Citrus, then you can find it on Crunchyroll this January.
You’ll be hard pressed to find a story as unique as Hinamatsuri. The original manga encompasses many genres, from science fiction to slice of life, and throws an abundance of wacky humor at the reader with startling speed and wit. It’s currently scheduled to premiere in April.
The story follows Yoshifumi Nitta, a yakuza, who one day discovers a young girl named Hina. Hina has supernatural powers, like telekinesis and the ability to make things explode. Although Nitta initially thinks Hina is from another world, it’s eventually hinted that she could be from another time. However, neither theory is confirmed to be true. Regardless, Nitta relies on Hina’s incredible powers to rise in the ranks of the criminal underworld.
This insane premise leads to a plethora of storylines, from a confusing father-daughter relationship to romantic misunderstandings, and everyday school life to supernatural battles. It’s pretty bonkers but it’s a fun ride, and one worth taking.
Nil Admirari no Tenbin: Teito Genwaku Kitan
Based on a video game of the same name, Nil Admirari no Tenbin: Teito Genwaku Kitan is a little weird. You’ll have to go into this anime with an open mind, but after getting past the info dump of an intro, the storyline really picks up and presents some interesting arguments concerning themes of death, freedom of choice, and the darkness of human nature.
The story follows Tsugumi, a sheltered young woman who is tasked with marrying a wealthy man she doesn’t know to save her family from their own misfortune. However, on the eve of the wedding, she finds her brother dead. He burned himself alive while holding some mysterious book. A bureau of fabulously handsome men approaches Tsugumi to inform her that there are books in the world known as Maremonos, which can affect their readers in a multitude of ways. Tsugumi leaves with the bureau, the wedding is called off, and she begins her life as a supernatural detective that tracks down and secures these magical books. Along the way, she discovers that her brother’s suicide gave her the power to see Auras, the mystical energies that reveal how Maremonos has affected someone.
If you think that’s a lot, try watching the rest of the story. The video game takes a dizzying descent into a rabbit hole of lore that can quickly become confusing. The game is a visual novel that directs the player to pursue one of several different paths to reach one of many conclusions. The whole narrative doesn’t become clear until every path is pursued. I’m hoping the anime simplifies the story, and takes elements from all of the paths to deliver one, clear narrative. If it does, this could be one powerhouse of a show.
Nil Admirari no Tenbin: Teito Genwaku Kitan will debut in April.
Shiyan Pin Jiating
Riding on the trails of all the popular monster girl anime we got in 2016 and 2017, Shiyan Pin Jiating is a delightful manga that should make for a fine anime. It was initially scheduled for a Fall 2017 release, but it was postponed to 2018.
The story follows Dannis, the youngest child of two mad, but brilliant, scientists. After mommy and daddy are arrested, Dannis and his older sisters are all left to fend for themselves. Prior to their arrest, Dannis’ parents experimented on Dannis’ siblings, giving each one of them one unique ability. One is a dog human, one has been spliced with spider DNA, another is part plant, and the fourth has mind reading abilities. Dannis is the only one to be raised as a normal human outside of his parents’ lab, and thus he’s the only one who knows how to act like a normal part of society. He spends his time caring for his sisters, trying to keep them under control, and putting his own brilliant mind to work finding a cure to his family members’ conditions.
The manga is funny, and I expect the anime to be the same. Even if you’ve grown tired of the monster girl subgenre, give Shiyan Pin Jiating a chance. Most monster girl anime lose their identity and devolve into sexualized harem tropes, but Shiyan Pin Jiating doesn’t. This is a story about a baby brother who’s somehow the most mature member of his family. He’s been taught that his sisters are monsters, but he still loves them and thinks of them as girls with unusual quirks. His desire to make them human again is selfish (he wants to have a normal family), but it also comes from a good place. He doesn’t want them cooped up or locked away their entire lives.
Shiyan Pin Jiating is currently slotted for April, but little has come out about the show since it was announced that it was delayed. So keep that April date in mind as we go into 2018, but be prepared. The anime may get delayed again. You don’t want this show to slip under your radar. It’s a heart-wrenching, adorable mess of a comedy that’s sure to make you laugh and cry.