Nick's Picks for Spring 2018

Today let's explore some of the fresh highlights of the spring season!

Hello all, and welcome back to Why It Works! The spring season is in full spring swing at this point and there are altogether too many great shows waiting for a good home. Fortunately, I just so happened to watch basically everything, so I’m here today with a few fresh recommendations from a variety of genres. I’ll be avoiding sequels here, so all of these shows can be immediately jumped on if anything happens to catch your eye. This is looking to be a very rich season, so let’s get right to it and explore some new shows!


First off, MEGALOBOX absolutely earns my top recommendation this season, and should be an easy pickup for anyone with any fondness for gritty action. The show envisions a world where boxers with ramshackle mechanical frames fight for glory, while our hero Junk Dog currently wastes his days throwing fights in the slums. The show features gorgeous art design that evokes the dust-splattered cool of something like Redline or Cowboy Bebop, and its fight scenes are lifted through a terrific understanding of how to convey speed and impact. MEGALOBOX feels effortlessly excellent right now, and I can’t wait to see where its story leads.

If you like your battles on a broader scale than one-on-one brawls, you might be interested in the new Legend of the Galactic Heroes. This show is technically a remake, but its tale of tactical masters commanding millions of ships possesses energy and sharpness in any era. The remake is also quite beautiful, consistently finding majesty and solemnity in its massive, foreboding fleets. If you enjoy watching strategic geniuses set up dominoes and let them fall, Galactic Heroes offers that fun on a colossal scale, the classic battle of Reinhard and Yang Wen-li playing out across the stars.



But let’s put the serious stuff aside. If you’re looking for a comedy this season, I’d definitely check out Hinamatsuri, a strange show that pairs yakuza Nitta with a young psychoelectric alien girl named Hina. Watching Nitta attempt to reason with a girl who could destroy his apartment with an over-enthusiastic yawn is wonderful, and seeing the two of them actually become a weird sort of family is even better. Hinamatsuri’s mastery of absurdism and deadpan is mightily assisted by its terrific ear for comedic timing; lots of the jokes here work purely because the show understands just how long a dramatic pause should be, just how snappy a piece of slapstick needs to be, exactly how many comic repetitions is too many comic repetitions, etc. Hinamatsuri is a weird one, but I’d definitely give it a look.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a more dedicated slice of life, I have recommendations from each poles of the genre. If you’re in the mood for bubbly comedy and energetic time with friends, I’d check out Comic Girls, which focuses on a dorm of actively working manga artists. The show’s unique conceit makes it very fun to follow its cast, and the its fluid animation and slight dash of cynicism help make its comedy shine. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a show to create a peaceful atmosphere you can relax with, absolutely check out Yotsuiro Biyori, which is pretty much entirely dedicated to establishing a quiet and gorgeous cafe for whiling away the afternoon.



Finally, let's finish off with one more odd couple: an engaging romance and a pulse-pounding adventure. If a tale of being stolen away to the spirit world sounds intriguing, I’d check out Kakuriyo, about a girl who finds herself suddenly betrothed to an oni groom. Protesting mightily against this, she decides to instead make her own way in the spirit world, leading to a story that feels like partly a restaurant-owning slice of life, partly a fanciful romantic drama, and all a celebration of the beautiful spirit realm. On the other hand, if you're still hungry for action, I'd be negligent to not mention Golden Kamuy, which follows a search for gold into the frozen north of Japan. Based on a gripping and celebrated manga, Golden Kamuy offers a fine compliment to Megalo Box and My Hero Academia.

All in all, there’s so much to watch this season that I’m basically overstuffed with recommendations. I hope these picks have given you some direction, and would love to see all of your own top choices in the comments. It’s a great time to love anime!


Nick Creamer has been writing about cartoons for too many years now, and is always ready to cry about Madoka. You can find more of his work at his blog Wrong Every Time, or follow him on Twitter.

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