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A skilled warrior shows off his amassed strength in this image from Ufotable.
“Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba” returns with the Hashira Training Arc. (Image: Ufotable)

Last year was a monumental year for anime, and this year’s Crunchyroll Awards proved it. Before I had the chance to catch my breath and recover from the emotional turbulence of last year’s season finales, 2024 got off to an equally catalytic start. Strap in, ghost hunters, alien conspirators, cyberpunk chooms, and monster hunters alike. It's going to be a gritty year for anime in the best way.

Spring 2024

‘Boukyaku Battery’ — April 10

A baseball player contemplates his next pitch in this image from MAPPA.
Haruka is everything that makes up a strong leader, one that won’t leave his teammates behind. (Image: MAPPA)

Sports anime continues to cement itself as a frontrunner within the industry, unironically vying for front-page stardom with longtime kingpins shonen, fantasy, and slice of life. “Boukyaku Battery” is the latest tale of battery kinship on the diamond between pitcher Haruka Kiyomine and catcher Kei Kaname. After an incident leaves Kei battling with amnesia, resulting in the loss of lifelong-honed abilities, both he and Haruka are left with no choice but to turn down their coveted invitations to play for elite schools and start from scratch at an amateur-tier high school.

The genre’s distinct draw lies in its allegories. They take the rules and constraints of the sport and utilize them to highlight the indomitable strength of the human spirit. Their protagonists are as selfless as they are proud — the epitome of a true leader — and we pay to witness this unrivaled righteousness with optimistic tears. Haruka abandoning his well-deserved opportunity at a career in the major leagues to try to rehabilitate Kei so that he too can regain that chance, is already enough — as premise alone — to unleash the waterworks.

‘KonoSuba: An Explosion on This Wonderful World,’ Season 3 — April 10

A young hero hones his abilities in this image from Drive.
“KonoSuba” is so wild that it’s returning for Season 3, much to fans’ delight. (Image: Drive)

“KonoSuba” is back with Season 3, this time titled “KonoSuba: An Explosion on This Wonderful World.” Kazuma’s isekai adventures against the Demon King are far from over, and Magumin’s Burst Force Explosion spells might not be enough to solve the problem this time around. After losing his life yet again and having the option to return to his original world, Kazuma opts not to return to the RPG Kingdom of Belzerg in favor of remaining with his newfound friends. With their help, Kazuma is tasked time and time again with defeating the Demon King’s legions throughout the land. With the results constantly varying, at one point even condemning him to clear his name, Kazuma seems to have a ways to go before he gets a grip on the extent of his new reality.

With yet another demon general defeated and Aqua’s name cleared of blasphemy, we embark on an entirely new journey with our beloved cast of misfit and unevenly overpowered heroes. At this point in the series, I’m less curious about everything Kazuma and his friends will do right and more about how they will eventually recover from everything going wrong.

‘Kaiju No. 8’ — April 13

A kaiju levels this helpless city in this image from Production I.G.
Kaiju visits are a regular thing in Japan. (Image: Production I.G.)

The kaiju genre in anime is as strong as ever, a lasting intergenerational reverberation from the likes of “SSSS.Gridman,” a core of inspiration since its release. “Kaiju No. 8” gives us more of what we’ve all so dearly missed: massive monsters wreaking havoc in metropolitan Japan. An adaptation of a much-beloved manga of recent history by Naoya Matsumoto, “Kaiju No. 8” tells a passionate story with an art style that’s both tasteful and honorific of preceding monster designs.

After failing to gain acceptance into the coveted Defense Force, Kafka Hibino settles with a position in cleanup — the team responsible for removing neutralized kaiju from the city. He struggles between regretting that he gave up on a childhood dream and finding himself comfortable enough to do something about it. Then one day, after surviving a direct kaiju attack, he ingests one and gains the kaiju’s transformative abilities. Caught between a rock and a hard place, Kafka must utilize his monstrous ability to seek out and defeat kaiju while simultaneously surviving as one as well.

‘My Hero Academia,’ Season 7 — May 4

A young hero braces himself for the challenges to come in this image from Bones.
Deku’s journey to hone his quirk is nearing an explosive climax. (Image: Bones)

Like many other influential anime of our generation, “My Hero Academia” is entering its final chapter. With over 100 episodes, nine original video animations (OVAs), three animated films, and three video games, “My Hero Academia” has left a crater-like impact on the community that we’ll surely feel once it finally ends. We’ve gained and lost meaningful heroes throughout the show — shifting the ranks — and as some alliances have united, others have splintered entirely. Still, with a hero to introduce and even some acts of backstabbing and betrayal, there's much of the story yet to tell in Season 7.

We’ve witnessed numerous emotionally charged character arcs and critical pivots in the series so far. We can recall our favorite fight scene and all the moments leading up to it (Deku vs. Bakugo!). This season might feature the series’ best arc since the U.A. Sports Festival Arc. For fans who have some catching up to do, rest assured, there will be a unique set of recap episodes leading up to the premiere of Season 7. And for those worried about nearing the end, there is a fourth movie installment slated for summer 2024, offering us more of our beloved cast to enjoy.

‘Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – Hashira Training Arc’ — May 12

A brave warrior celebrates with a rescued village in this image from Ufotable.
Tanjiro is one of those protagonists who you can’t hate no matter what. (Image: Ufotable)

Tanjiro Kamado’s growth and dedication to becoming a powerful Demon Slayer has been an unwavering one. This new arc will see Tanjiro undertaking his Hashira training with the Stone Hashira, Gyomei Himejima. (I’ve been keeping my Sega Gyomei Himejima perching figure in pristine condition while I patiently wait to see him get some meaningful screen time!) With the additional help of the Water, Insect, Wind, and Snake Hashiras, Tanjiro will learn to further hone his breathing and sword art techniques, setting us up for an explosive finale: the Final Battle Arc.

“Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba” has been a prime example of what it means to prioritize quality over quantity. Despite its painfully short seasons (the series nearing its end), “Demon Slayer”’s detailed span of substance from episode to episode left little to be desired. I’d rather accept Tanjiro’s journey for what it has been and how short it will ultimately be than fill the series with unnecessary fluff. Each character’s overall arc has been an absolute pleasure to digest up to this point, though I believe this second-to-last arc will make the most meaningful impact yet.

Summer 2024

‘Tower of God’ — July

A depiction of the Tower of God is shown in this image from Telecom Animation Film.
The Tower of God promises fulfillment of desires to anyone who reaches the top. (Image: Telecom Animation Film)

Season 1 of “Tower of God” introduced us to Baam, a fearless boy obsessed and unwilling to part ways with his only friend, Rachel. After she decides to leave him in search of a rumored tower known to grant one’s deepest desires at its pinnacle, Baam, albeit selfishly, chases after her. Now at its gate, Baam must overcome the challenges imposed by the tower if he ever hopes to see her again. Despite this noble and honorable setup to the series, the finale reveals a shocking betrayal and poses a valid argument: that Baam’s motivations made him something of an antihero all along, a hindrance to Rachel's goal of reaching the top and seeing the stars.

“Tower of God” is a subversive and deeply thought-out anime that challenges our expectations of what anime is. The story is told from Baam's perspective yet wields a complex enough structure that it’s capable of honing in on other characters’ narratives simultaneously. It’s Rachel’s end goal driving the story forward. It’s Baam's fear of losing Rachel that’s the catalyst, but those he meets along the way drive him to push farther up the tower. Everyone participating in the tower has a goal unique to them, and this series takes the time to flesh out as many of those perspectives as it can. This story is far from over; any guess is as good as mine as to what awaits us in Season 2.

‘No Longer Allowed in Another World’ — July

A disheartened author contemplates suicide in this image from Atelier Pontdarc.
All Osamu wants is to end his life and reunite with his lover on the other side. (Image: Atelier Pontdarc)

Inspired by the 1948 postwar novel “No Longer Human” by Osamu Dazai, “No Longer Allowed in Another World” is a grim deviation from the otherwise lighthearted series of the genre. The story is about a disheartened and disillusioned author set on taking his own life alongside his lover. Before they have the chance to, they are — you guessed it — hit by “the other world selection truck” (a trope in the isekai genre). He soon finds himself awake, without Sat-chan, in the unfamiliar world of Zauberg, one with cat-eared companions and magic-wielding high elves.

In true meta fashion, akin to its macabre twist on the isekai genre, our protagonist is named after the original author of the novel, Osamu Dazai. As his only wish — to commit double suicide with his lover — was taken from him only moments from realization, Osamu is set on finding his final resting place regardless of the plane of existence he’s condemned to. Unfortunately, this world has other plans for him. This morbid new take will be one for the books.

Fall 2024

‘DanDaDan’ — October

Two friends share a moment of relief between alien and ghost battles in this image from Science SARU.
Ken and Momo will become fast friends and powerful allies when aliens invade and spirits attack in DanDaDan this fall. (Image: Science SARU)

It’s always either aliens or ghosts, two worlds incapable of colliding despite their unifying factor of terrorizing mankind with few to no repercussions. “DanDaDan” adds fuel to the fire when a ghoul-savvy girl and alien-privy boy manage to manifest both into their realities simultaneously. Together they summon a gonad-nabbing Turbo Granny and a crew of banana-organ-harvesting Serpoians. Only with each other’s respective expertise on the matter can they expect to escape their clutches alive.

News of this adaptation took me back to the initial chapters of the manga and got me rereading the entire series all over again in anticipation. After all, there are already over 100 chapters of “DanDaDan” published and ready to adapt. I highly recommend taking a sneak peek at some of the panels if you’re unfamiliar with the series; the scenes are dynamic and the spirit/creature designs are deeply fleshed out. The series will be a fresh blend between “Mob Psycho 100” and “Devilman Crybaby,” the latter being an earlier project by the same studio behind “DanDaDan’s” adaptation, Science SARU.

Sometime in 2024

‘Lazarus’ — TBD

A young man dives off of a building in this image from MAPPA.
Legendary Shinichiro Watanabe returns for his latest project, “Lazarus.” (Image: MAPPA)

The legend, Shinichirou Watanabe, is back, and he’s teamed up with MAPPA to bring us another potentially timeless piece. The artful mastermind behind some of anime’s earliest greatest hits, such as “Cowboy Bebop” and “Samurai Champloo,” Watanabe is gracing the world with what will surely be another cult classic. “Lazarus” is slated to be released sometime in 2024, as it’s still in development with a plethora of iconic characters and unforgettable tracks. The trailer is reminiscent of many “Cowboy Bebop” chase and fight scenes, paired with a snazzy lofi jazz-hop track that’s inspired by “Samurai Champloo.”

Set in the year 2052, a Nobel Prize-winning neuroscientist known as Dr. Skinner has developed a “one-shoe-fits-all” cure. Thanks to this monumental achievement, the world will finally know peace. Safe for the foreseeable future, mankind enters an era of opulence. That is until it’s revealed that this “miracle drug” is anything but. After having disappeared for three years, Dr. Skinner returns to announce that mankind faces an imminent death, one that’s incomprehensibly soon. Now an elite task force of five members must share the responsibility of tracking down Dr. Skinner and finding a cure before all of humankind is eradicated. 

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