It's coming. I can almost hear it now, the clacking of keyboards as anime bloggers write up their previews, the cries of 'moe~!' echoing in the night as official websites are updated and character designs revealed. It's an almost electric buzz in the air, like the crackling of electricity before a thunderstorm, growing faster than Keroro's afro as the Earth relentlessly swings around the sun at an insane speed, bringing a close to winter for the northern half of the planet. Oh yes. The spring anime season is almost here.
If the number of winter anime series was like drinking through a narrow straw with a hole in the side so you can't get any decent suction going, spring looks like it's going to be like drinking straight out of a firehose. The series below are the ones that I'm looking forward to the most, but of course I can offer no warranty, express or implied, that they will be good. My record on preseason picks is mixed--before last spring, I was looking forward to Haruhi more than any other show on the docket, but I also thought Yoakena would be awesome, so like Koizumi, my psychic abilities have been proven to only manifest under certain conditions.
Seto no Hanayome - website
When I think about what's been missing in anime lately, the first thing that comes to my mind, as I'm sure it does for most of you, is so simple in retrospect it's breathtakingly obvious--yakuza mermaids. Yes, mermaids (and mer..um..dudes) in the Japanese mob. The basic premise of Seto no Hanayome ('bride from the Seto Inland Sea' I think) is that the protagonist goes to visit his grandmother in the countryside with his parents, goes to the beach, and promptly nearly drowns. He's saved by San, a yakuza mermaid--but her family finds out and hauls him and his parents down into the ocean, since outsiders finding out about the existence of mermaids means DEATH. San intervenes, offering to be engaged to him, which would mean he wasn't an outsider and he wouldn't have to be given a set of cement tennis shoes. So San moves in with him and his parents--but the yakuza haven't exactly given up on killing him, especially her best friend and her overprotective mob-boss father. The fact our hero's osanajimi wants to be a cop doesn't help things any either.
It reads better than it sounds--the first two volumes of the manga that have been scanlated were pretty funny at times, and this has run 10+ volumes in Japan so there's a lot of material to draw on for the anime. Halko (Haruko Momoi) is supposedly voicing San, which has me a little worried, since when I think of her I think of Nurse Witch Komugi-chan, which is just not how I picture San's voice. But I'm hoping she'll surprise me and do a more mature, mafia-fitting voice, we'll see. The character designs look good, although I don't think so far in the manga we've ever seen San hold a sword like the above picture, and it's by Gonzo which gives me hope it will be well animated.
Nagasarete Airantou - website
Airantou sounds like your generic high school guy's dream--the protagonist runs away from home, falls overboard off a ferry, drowns, but wakes up on the shore of a tropical island which...is all girls. Well, and one obaasan. This is not going to be required reading in literature classes in 2025, but somehow it's pretty funny at times. Suzu, the girl who the main character first meets when he washes onshore, is good-natured and hard not to root for, and the supporting cast is also entertaining, especially the girl who uses voodoo on her hapless sister all the time. Lots of insane comedy in this one, which means I'm definitely watching it. And for those afraid it'll be another Girls Bravo, the fact it's airing on TV Tokyo should keep the fanservice down to a reasonable level.
Nanoha StrikerS - website
I think the whole planet has heard about this by now, so I can't say much that hasn't been said already elsewhere, but StrikerS is basically the cast of Nanoha several years later, with Fate and Nanoha around high school/college age. I really wish they'd done something like this with Cardcaptor Sakura. I liked Nanoha, but I can't say I liked it as much as CCS so I'm not dying to see StrikerS, but I'll definitely check it out. The cast seems to just grow every season, with three new mahou tsukai/special agents of the Time something-something Bureau, so it'll be interesting to see how they allocate screentime among everyone. I liked Nanoha and Yuuno's relationship in the first series, so I'm hoping we see some progress there. Yes, I know everyone else is rooting for Nanoha x Fate, just call me crazy.
Lucky Star - website - wikipedia
Lucky Star is based on a 4-koma manga (4 panels, like most US comic strips) and it sounds like it could be a good plot-free slice of life series with some funny moments in it, sort of like Azumanga. Since I'm a sucker for comedy, I'll check it out--it doesn't hurt that it's being done by Kyoto Animation, and the majority of the anime they've done (Haruhi, Fumoffu, and Munto in particular) I've liked.
Kami-chama Karin - website
I'll admit I don't know much about this, but it's based on a manga by Koge Donbo of Pita-Ten fame, and no one does "so sugary cute your teeth will rot out of your head on the spot" like Koge Donbo. I just hope there isn't a character like Mitarai, because while he was funny at first by the end of Pita Ten I wanted to throttle him.
The demo of this had good character designs, but it was hard to draw any conclusions on what the overall plot might be from it. There's a generic osanajimi character, although her best friend is pretty funny at times. There's the reserved student council president, who seems cold but is probably just lonely. From the title, I'm guessing someone may cry for great truth. I'm not holding my breath that this will be as good as Da Capo or Lamune, but I'm sure I'll end up watching the first episode.