The staff exchange enough emails to fully and completely answer 3 questions about the Winter anime debuting this season.

Winter Anime 2016 TheOASG

In case you’re in need of people letting you know what exactly is worth watching this season, here’s where you can step in: 3 questions, which means only 3 answers. Here’s the staff giving their thoughts on the season as a whole:

1) What 3 anime are your most anticipated this season?

Justin: My Top 3 that I’m looking forward to watching is Dimension W, Erased, and Ajin.

I’ve read the first volume of Ajin and it’s solid. You have some kid who ends up getting hit by a truck and finds out he’s some sort of “demi-human?” My only hesitation is the CG that’s predominant in the media I’ve seen of it so far, but Sidonia got away it, and the same people who worked on that is animating this. I expect this to be handled well enough.

Erased, or Boku dake ga Inai Machi, is actually a title I didn’t anticipate worrying about this season until I looked at the staff credits. I think I’ve officially burnt out on mystery shows. I remember there was a stretch where there weren’t a lot of mystery anime, then came shows like Rampo Kitan, Beautiful Bones, and The Perfect Insider, which were ok, but way too much effort to keep track of everything. I’ll currently stick to Detective Conan, I guess. So I was planning on ignoring this one until further notice, and then I saw who was working on it. A-1 Pictures, which is an ok studio, Tomihiko Itou, who did work a bit on Silver Spoon S1, and then Taku Kishimoto. He’s done series composition for some of my favorite works (Silver Spoon, Bunny Drop), and Haikyuu is a show that a lot of people I know like. He’s got my full attention, and so will Erased.

Then there’s Dimension W, which has a nice synopsis and look to it, and has the backdrop of being produced a bit by FUNimation, but now I finally get to hope this is the anime — the anime that actually gets people to realize Kanta Kamei is really good as a director. Since he directed my favorite anime (Bunny Drop), he’s worked on OreShura, Nanana’s Buried Treasure, and How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend. They managed to be ok (well, OreShura less than the other two), and now I can only hope based on what I’ve seen that he’ll be able to turn this show into something great.

Neomo: Well it seems like every season, there’s precious little that actually captures my interest; not this time. A lot of shows have caught my eye, which seems like it’s perfect timing, considering while I keep telling myself to be a better watcher, each season shows me precious little to watch.

This SHAFT fanboy will be hoping to catch a glimpse of the first Kizumonogatari movie: Blood and Iron (even if that’s highly highly doubtful). As well as that, there’s Ajin: Demi-Human. There was already a movie of it in November, so with this show (which has also caught Netflix’s attention, by the way), and the second movie in May, I know for a fact that this could be big. I nearly chose to review this by the way, but I wanted a couple of shows to enjoy on my own terms, and this is most certainly one of them.

Finally, I haven’t actually heard that much about Shoujo-tachi wa Kouya wo Mezasu so far, however since the plot runs along very similar lines to last year’s Saekano (which got mixed reviews; I loved it, though), the show is something that has certainly got me scratching my head. Even if no one seems to be interested in it, I’ll be watching it.

Kuuki: Durarara!! and I have absolutely no idea if I’ll even follow anything else. I’m pretty interested in Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu though, because I love in real life rakugo and Sushi Police might be interesting as well.

Muse: I don’t have a lot on my watch-list for this season, since there aren’t many shows that are catching my eye. Most of my list has sequels–I’m really curious to see how Durarara! and Snow White and the Red Hair end, especially the former since the seasons have been spaced out so much. Other than that, my most anticipated title that’s not a sequel or a continuation on a split cour is Norn 9, which is based off an otome game that I keep meaning to play but haven’t gotten around to yet. I have pretty high hopes for it!

Helen: I suppose I’m excited for the return of Snow White (since I’m sure Bones will make another solid season of what’s IMO pretty vanilla shojo), I’m excited for Grimgar solely because of the watercolor-esque art style, and everyone I know who’s read Erased is really excited for it so I’m hoping it’s the kind of mystery/time-travel series that I like. So I’m not really, on-the-edge-of-my-seat excited for any show this sea-wait no I have really high hopes for Witch! Precure and will be crushed if it doesn’t turn out well.

2) What 3 anime will be your biggest surprise this season?

Neomo: Norn9: Norn + Nonet shows a lot of promise, and has the potential to surprise me, even if I have no plans or interest of watching it this season. I would say that Haruchika could surprise me too, even if it does sound like P.A Works are sort of riding on the tails of Hibike! Euphonium’s success, which blew us all away in Spring 2015. I mean, they both have extremely similar storylines, although Haruchika sounds more like it leans towards K-On! if anything; the club is due to shut down so the main characters need to recruit.

Finally, while the plot sounds too much for me, Boku Dake ga Inai Machi could be one of those ones hidden in the background that’ll sneak into the limelight. The plot sounds very original, and is something that certainly could keep those who favor mystery and suspense shows happy.

Kuuki: I’m rooting for Sekkô Boys because an anime about statues being idols has quite some potential to be awesome in many ways. Dagashi Kashi too, with a heroine with that face really might be awesome and Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu because rakugo is funnier with subtitles.

Helen: If Grimgar manages to distinguish itself from all of the other “ordinary people fall into a video game/another world”, if Phantom World doesn’t feel as generic and dull as Beyond the Boundary did, or if Rakugo finds a big, passionate audience then I will be hugely surprised (and I do want all of these things to happen!)

Muse: I don’t know much about Prince of Stride, but even just going off the blurb and the character designs, I think I might just be pleasantly surprised! I’m also expecting a few more twists out of Durarara before it ends to kick itself out of the slump it put itself in in its previous season. I also don’t know what to expect out of Sekkou Boys other than hilarity–I mean, it is about idols who are actually sculptures! Although that one may already be my favorite title this season just based off of the trailer alone…

Justin: Prince of Stride: Alternative is based off an Otome game, and games in general are rarely done well as anime, so this is a good title to stay away from, except it combines a veteran director with once again my favorite anime series composer. Why Kishimoto, why? What interested you about this one? Now I have to go tune in to check!

Otherwise, Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu looks kind of out there in a good way, but we’ll have to see if that’ll turn out well enough, and then as much as the name sounds weird and it seems to star a bunch of kids so it’s almost Power Rangers like, or like that kid Sentai team in Level E, but Bubuki Buranki looks interesting enough.

3) What 3 anime do you think will be the most popular this season?

Helen: Hmm, I think Prince of Stride is going to be rather popular with all of the sports anime fans, Dimension W looks like it has potential to be a more mainstream hit (not Attack on Titan mainstream but broader than most anime), and Norn9 might also do really well since the game for it is already released in English.

Muse: Ajin feels like it’s going to be big this season since it seems like it hits the “dark and edgy” demographic pretty well–which isn’t a comment on Ajin itself, but there is a pretty big subset of fans who will show up for any title that promises violence. That said, I imagine that there will also be a group of people complaining about the CG, but you can’t please everyone. I’ve also got a feeling that Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash will do well, since it’s in the “video games are real” subgenre that’s done nicely since Sword Art Online first aired. My last guess is Luck & Logic, since the blurb alone contains a lot of elements that have been popular with anime lately, such as the rewritten mythology with supernatural powers. But of course, this is all just a guess. It’s hard to guess what will be a hit until everything starts to air!

Kuuki: Durarara!!, Precure and Dimension W. Probably. Durarara!! has quite a solid fanbase, so has Precure and I have been hearing of the Dimension W manga for years so I think those are pretty safe bets.

Justin: Based on just random guessing, some light novel’s gonna tear a whole in the season and be extremely popular for no reason, so Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! will be the one, since it has the game aspect that a lot of people like and the standard harem. Luck & Logic might be an unusual choice, but as Bushiroad’s backing it, it will more than likely do well. Then FUNimation will do everything to turn Dimension W into the next Death Parade or Seraph of The End since they’re backing it, so I expect this to be looked upon favorably by a lot of people.

Neomo: One I know will be heavily popular will be Ajin. This is one I most certainly will be keeping my eyes on as I believe it has the makings of developing a huge fanbase in time to come. Either that or it’ll go horribly wrong…either way I’ll still watch it. I will say that Myriad Colors Phantom World will be popular as, even if it’s not good, it carries the Kyoto Animation name. Hearing the plot, it has the air of another Kyoukai no Kanata; here’s hoping it’ll be so much better than that. Finally, I’m hoping that the Last Exile movie: Over the Wishes, will draw in a good crowd. I adored the original show and liked the most recent one, so seeing flying airships all over again will be nothing but great anime nostalgia to me.