As every anime season comes to a close and we get closer to the start of the next one, English anime distributors begin showing their hand and revealing the shows that will be exclusively available on their streaming services. Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and HiDive each lay claim to a few shows each season. The biggest hitters, though, are Crunchyroll and Funimation. These two anime industry giants consistently localize and simulcast the largest volume of anime each season, and this upcoming winter 2020 season is no exception. Funimation has been announcing a slew of titles coming to their platform over the last few days, and we’ve got a few highlights from their lineup here for you.
On Friday, Funimation announced that some of their winter 2020 season acquisitions include Sorcerous Stabber Orphen, A3! Season Spring & Summer, and Smile Down the Runway. Sorcerous Stabber Orphen begins streaming with English subtitles on January 7th, while A3! Season Spring & Summer will start streaming on January 13th. Smile Down the Runway, meanwhile, will start streaming on January 10th.
Later, over the weekend, the streaming giant announced some more titles coming to their platform this season. Toilet-Bound Hanako-kun, Isekai Quartet 2, and If My Favorite Pop Idol Made it to the Budokan, I Would Die will all begin streaming on Funimation this season alongside their Japanese broadcasts.
All of the announced anime coming to Funimation will have both an English dub and a subtitled Japanese audio option in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand. The only exception is Isekai Quartet 2, which will only be streaming with an English dub.
While it isn’t exactly a household name, Sorcerous Stabber Orphen is one of the biggest anime of this season for sure. It’s a special re-adaptation of an old-school light novel series that’s currently celebrating its 25th anniversary. The original light novel series was licensed by J-Novel Club back in 2018 for localization and overseas distribution. The company describes the story as follows:
Orphen is a Sorcerer drop-out from the prestigious Tower of Fangs. His journey to save Azalie, a girl he looked up to like a sister, has brought him to the bustling city of Totokanta. Here they are reunited for the first time in five years. But what is the truth behind her monstrous transformation, and just what secrets lurk behind the Sword of Baldanders…?
The opening theme song of Sorcerous Stabber Orphen is titled Calling U, and it’s performed by the group buzz★Vibes, which is a music unit led by the Orphen voice actor himself, Showtaro Morikubo. The ending song, Unpredictable Days, will be performed by Fuchigami. The anime itself is being handled by well-known anime production company Studio Deen, where it’ll be directed by experienced anime director Takayuki Hamana. He previously worked on Libary War, Mushibugyo, and the iconic series The Prince of Tennis. Script supervision and writing are being handled by Reiko Yoshida, an experienced writer who previously worked on Girls und Panzer, K-ON!, Violet Evergarden, and Yowamushi Pedal. Character designs are being handled by another Yowamushi Pedal veteran, Takahiko Yoshida, who also worked on Big Windup! and Cells at Work! Character designs will be based on the original novel illustrations by Yuuya Kusaka.
Toilet-Bound Hanako-kun, meanwhile, is an adaptation of the Iro Aida manga that’s been rising in popularity this last year. It’s going to be a 12-episode run that premieres in Japan on January 10th, meaning we can likely expect it to premiere on Funimation around the same time. Yen Press is releasing the manga digitally, and it describes the story:
“Hanako-san, Hanako-san…are you there?”At Kamome Academy, rumors abound about the school’s Seven Mysteries, one of which is Hanako-san. Said to occupy the third stall of the third floor girls’ bathroom in the old school building, Hanako-san grants any wish when summoned. Nene Yashiro, an occult-loving high school girl who dreams of romance, ventures into this haunted bathroom…but the Hanako-san she meets there is nothing like she imagined! Kamome Academy’s Hanako-san…is a boy!
The anime is being produced by studio Lerche, with Masaomi Ando on board to direct it. Masaomi previously worked on Astra Lost in Space, School-Live!, and Hakumei and Mikochi. Scriptwriting and series oversight is being handled by Yasuhiro Nakanishi, who was previously on staff for Carole & Tuesday, BanG Dream!, and Descending Stories: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju. Mayuka Itou is handling character design, and you might recognize their work from Hakumei and Mikochi as well. Finally, Yuji Higa is the animation producer. A new musical unit called “Chibaku Shonen Band” will be performing the opening theme song “No.7.”, while the ending song is being performed by Akari Kito and titled “Tiny Light.”
The only sequel anime being licensed by Funimation so far this season is Isekai Quartet 2. As the name indicates, this is a sequel to the chibi comedy anime Isekai Quartet that aired earlier this year. The anime is a crossover between some of the biggest current isekai properties; Re:Zero, Overlord, KONOSUBA, and The Saga of Tanya the Evil. This newest season adds a major new player to the mix, though, as characters from The Rising of Shield Hero will be involved in the antics of the new season.
All of the staff from the first season of the anime will be returning. Minoru Ashina is scripting and directing the anime. Minoru Takehara, meanwhile, is both the character designer and chief animation director for the anime. The animation is being handled by Studio Puyukai.