This upcoming winter anime season is filled with a number of promising new shows. Cardaptor Sakura: Clear Card is looking at a January 7 premiere, for one. But January 11 is shaping up to be a very busy day in the realm of anime. Speaking of realms, one of the anime set to that premiere date is Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody. Based on a light novel (because of course it is), Death March is an Isekai series (because why wouldn’t it be?) about… well… what most Isekai series, these days are about. An average guy somehow winds up in a parallel world. As can be expected, he’s surrounded by fantastical things, as well as beautiful women who’re most all interested in him to some extent.
Death March revealed a number of cast members. Most recently, the series added Airi Eino (Wake Up, Girls!) as Misanalia “Mia” Boruenan and Kiyono Yasuno (Wake Up, Girls!) as Nana. Shun Horie (Fastest Finger First). plays series protagonist Ichirō Suzuki. If you’ve noticed the Wake Up, Girls pattern, then that’s not where it ends. The series is joined by Kaya Okuno and Minami Tsuda. Also, the Wake Up, Girls! idol group performs the series’ ending theme song, “Suki no Skill.” It may be the most polarizing winter anime of the year.
Joining Death March in the January 11 release date is Märchen Mädchen (Fairy Tale Girls). Like the prior series on the list, this one also revealed new cast members, leading up to the show’s premiere. Maya Yoshioka (Girls und Panzer) will play Li Xuemei. Meanwhile, Yuna Kamakura has been cast as Mahakali. This follows the reveal of various other cast members, including newcomer Tomori Kusunoki as protagonist, Hazuki Kagimura, and Rie Suegara (Brave Witches) as Shizuka Tsuchimikado.
The series is (unsurprisingly) also based on a light novel. In it, a young girl named Hazuki finds herself magically transported to – get this – another world. And in case you noticed this trend too, good eye. For one reason or another, the Isekai genre (in all its flavors) is massive in the light novel scene. Anyway, Hazuki finds herself in a magical school. There, girls are chosen by old fairytales and stories to become “Mädchen,” learning their story’s magic and using it to compete in magic duels. The final prize is to have a single wish granted. Among the many winter anime due out next month, this is easily the most interesting.
Last, but certainly not least, is a double feature. Sharing a time slot with one 15-minute episode a piece, are Dagashi Kashi 2 and Takunomi. Premiering in January 2016, Dagashi Kashi follows a young man who dreams of becoming a famous mangaka. However, he has a problem. His father wants him to take over their dagashi shop. Things get more complicated when a beautiful, but almost inarguably insane woman enters the picture, determined to “convince” him to do as his father wishes.
The candy-based slice-of-life comedy was received well enough to warrant a sequel series. Perhaps its self-awareness earned it that point. It was fully aware that it was bad for people, and those watching it were just as aware. How fitting, then, that it’s a show about junk food. The series features a fully returning cast, as well as a few new characters. But the studio and staff have largely changed.
Takunomi will be airing immediately afterward with a 15-minute episode of its own. Unlike Dagashi Kashi, it isn’t a sequel. The manga, launched in August 2015, is about a woman named Michiru who moves to Tokyo for work. She winds up moving into a sharehouse with a number of other women of varying backgrounds. But they all get along with the help of a special friend named alcohol. The series stars Ayaka Imamura, Chika Anzai, Mikako Komatsu (Re:Creators), and Maaya Uchida.
As the current season comes to its close, more and more of next season’s lineup are sure to crop up. Some are known already, just waiting for their premiere dates. It’s shaping up to be an… interesting winter anime season. Heck, next year, in general, is looking pretty amazing. That’s for certain.