To Anime or Not to Anime
David Silbert: The summer officially drew to a close last Friday, ushering in the warm colors and cool air of autumn. In addition to the trees shedding and leaves falling, what else is there to look forward to in the fall but a new season of anime?
This past season was a bit of a disappointment for me. Aside from the stellar second season of My Hero Academia, many of the anime I’d started the summer with quickly lost my interest for various reasons. Welcome to the Ballroom suffered from animation woes, Made in Abyss had some sluggish pacing, and Kakegurui… well, let’s just say it got weird.
Thankfully, as the saying goes: out with the old and in with the new. With autumn comes a new batch of potentially great anime to consume, and as always, it’s helpful to have some guidance in deciding what’s worth your time and what’s not.
Here to talk with me about the upcoming season is fellow Punished Backlog writer Kei Isobe. We’ve pulled synopses of all the new anime airing in the fall (courtesy of the ever helpful AnimeNewsNetwork and MyAnimeList, among other sources) to help facilitate our discussion, after which we will each share our own personal top 5 picks. As you will see, we’re not ones to mince words.
March Comes In Like A Lion Season 2
“Having reached professional status in middle school, Rei Kiriyama is one of the few elite in the world of shogi. Due to this, he faces an enormous amount of pressure, both from the shogi community and his adoptive family. Seeking independence from his tense home life, he moves into an apartment in Tokyo. As a 17-year-old living on his own, Rei tends to take poor care of himself, and his reclusive personality ostracizes him from his peers in school and at the shogi hall.
However, not long after his arrival in Tokyo, Rei meets Akari, Hinata, and Momo Kawamoto, a trio of sisters living with their grandfather who owns a traditional wagashi shop. Akari, the oldest of the three girls, is determined to combat Rei’s loneliness and poorly sustained lifestyle with motherly hospitality. The Kawamoto sisters, coping with past tragedies, also share with Rei a unique familial bond that he has lacked for most of his life. As he struggles to maintain himself physically and mentally through his shogi career, Rei must learn how to interact with others and understand his own complex emotions.”
—MyAnimeList Rewrite (Season 1)
K: I didn’t frankly love March Comes In Like A Lion, and never ended up finishing it. I liked Chica Umino’s previous work, Honey and Clover much more. And while I generally lean more on the side of enjoying Akiyuki Shinbo’s shenanigans than some, I didn’t really feel like his touch elevated the source material in any way (though he didn’t go crazy in season 1 anyway). I haven’t read the manga, so I’m also fairly unqualified in general to be speaking about this season, but I can’t imagine that it’s going to be anything significantly better, or worse, than another season of March Comes In Like A Lion.
D: Agreed on Kei’s last point. Like him, I only watched a little bit of the first season. I wasn’t a huge fan of the slow pace, but admired the animation quality a great deal. It looks like the first season of the anime ended up being quite well received (8.34 on MyAnimeList across 42,886 users), so I feel quite confident when I say that fans of the original have much to be excited for with this new season. Heck, even if you’ve never heard of it before, it’s probably worth giving the first season a go—you might just find an exciting new show to watch.
“The anime centers on Minoa Asagaya, a new high school student in Sakaneko Private High School. Despite being a novice to anime, Minoa’s classmate Arisu Kamiigusa invites her to make an “anime research club” at school. Through conversations with her classmate Miko Kouenji, as well as various anime-loving upperclassmen, Minoa gradually gets hooked on anime. While they stand against the student council’s continuous efforts to disband their club, and they ignore the impending end of the world, they talk about anime, whether in Akiba, or in real-life “sacred place” anime settings, or the hot springs.”
K: As a rule, I generally think that anime that are about anime usually tend to be derivative, generic, and poor in quality (obviously, there are exceptions). On the other hand, Anime-Gataris is at least an original anime, not an adaptation of a light novel or manga, which I give it some points for. And the trailer seems to indicate that the backdrop could be a planetary apocalypse, so maybe it’ll have some unique flair. But in the end, an anime about anime that features three cute girls doing cute girl things is going to be a solid not watching for me.
D: Yeah, I’m torn on this, albeit only very slightly. The premise sounds cool, just because I think it’d make for an interesting and unique type of anime. At the same time, Gamers! tried something similar as an anime revolving around a gaming club, and I just couldn’t click with it.
Animation for this looks pretty good, although I’m unfamiliar with WAO World’s past works and pedigree as a studio. I’d say probably not watching for me, unless I hear very good things around the internet.
“Asta is a young boy who dreams of becoming the greatest mage in the kingdom. Only one problem – he can’t use any magic! Luckily for Asta, he receives the incredibly rare five-leaf clover grimoire that gives him the power of anti-magic. Can someone who can’t use magic really become the Wizard King? One thing’s for sure – Asta will never give up!”
D: I have to admit that I’m hesitant when it comes to Black Clover. One of the more popular series in Shonen Jump’s current lineup of publications, Black Clover also comes across as one of the least imaginative ones. The show’s premise looks like a carbon copy of My Hero Academia with its whole “main character isn’t x” plot device although, to be fair, Academia didn’t exactly pioneer the idea itself. In truth, Black Clover seems to pull much more heavily from a show that, for better or worse, set the stage for the whole “underdog becomes the hero” archetype of shonen manga and anime. Of course, I’m talking about Naruto.
Aside from its obvious inspiration and tired clichés, Black Clover faces another huge problem: it’s being animated by Studio Pierrot. Yet another similarity Black Clover shares with Naruto, this bodes particularly poorly for the success of the anime. Studio Pierrot is synonymous with doing inferior adaptations of source material, as well as just doing a bad job of animating anime in general.
Despite all this, I’m remaining cautiously optimistic about Black Clover. Initial PVs look surprisingly good from an animation standpoint, and even if the story seems derivative, more Naruto and My Hero Academia can’t possibly be a bad thing.
K: I actually don’t think Pierrot is incapable of bad work—I thought Yona of the Dawn managed to look pretty good throughout, and Kingdom was well received—it’s more that as a general strategy they seem to opt for animating several shows at once. Pierrot is doing the same this season, animating this show and Dynamic Chord. Dynamic Chord seems to be much more low budget than Black Clover, though, so that might bode well for it on the production value standpoint. I also want to say that in my opinion, Boku no Hero is leagues ahead of Naruto—and I firmly expect this show to land closer to Naruto than Boku no Hero.
I decided to dip into the manga and read the several volumes, and I can’t say that I came away impressed. It’s unbelievably generic and derivative, and Asta is even more hyperactive and stupid than Naruto was when the manga first began (or maybe I have some rose-tinted glasses on because I started reading Naruto when I was 12). While it’s hard for me to turn down a well-realized fantasy universe, Asta has the potential to be one of the most truly infuriating and annoying shonen protagonists I’ve ever seen. With Black Clover, what you see is what you’re gonna get. 100% of the time.
And while I did defend Pierrot’s honor earlier, it is true that their track record is pretty poor. The trailer wasn’t terrible, so I hope the show can maintain that quality, though I have my doubts. And on the staff front, director Tatsuya Yoshihiro’s directorial credits include Yoru no Yatterman, Long Riders! and Monster Musume No Iru Nichijou. That’s certainly a list that doesn’t inspire confidence, either.
So we have a generic, mediocre Shonen Jump property being animated by a mediocre-at-best studio from a director who has no track record of even directing a single good show. That doesn’t bode well for Black Clover. Still, the draw of high fantasy is too much for me to keep away. Like David, I’ll try to be as open-minded as possible. Count me down for cautious optimism as well.
“The story centers on a girl named Maika who gets a job at a cafe where all the waitresses are given certain attributes — such as “tsundere” or “little sister” — to embody while serving customers. The manager asks Maika to be the “Do S” (extreme sadist) waitress, so she will have to adopt a dominant and aggressive persona.”
K: So this is an anime about a cafe where the girls fulfill different anime stereotypes.
To reiterate something I’ve said before… anime about anime are usually bad. But shows can be bad and funny, and Blend-S at least seems to be more of a workplace comedy than a fanservice show. Plus, it’s based off of a 4-koma, so I expect the gags to come fast and sharp, so I’ll at least give this one an episode to prove itself. Put me down for a solid maybe.
D: Kei might have a bit more tolerance for these types of shows than I do. Thinking back on all the times I chastised writers and critiqued animes for falling into tired stereotypes, I can’t in good conscience watch or support a show that feeds on them as its primary focus. As I’ve said before, there’s always a chance that an anime like this will surprise me and actually be unique. That said, I’m not much of a fan for these types of hyper-pitched, overly dramatic comedies, so I’m going to have to pass on this one.
Boku no Kanojo ga Majime Sugiru Shojo Bitch na Ken
“With nothing left to lose, ordinary high school student Haruka Shinozaki confesses to beautiful, diligent class representative Akiho Kousaka and to his surprise she accepts. Kousaka takes dating as seriously as she does everything else, but does not quite get it. She pragmatically suggests activities that are too sexual.”
K: It took the trailer 4 shots to get us a zoom-in on a girl’s chest. I think I know what this show is about already.
Even without looking into the staff, source material, or promotional teasers, I feel like it’s safe to say: if harem/rom-com anime are your thing, you’ll probably like this show. If you don’t, you won’t.
D: I would absolutely agree with that assumption. Even after looking at the synopsis, it’s clear that this show aims to provide one thing above all else, and that thing is fan-service.
Could this show be charming, or funny, or even (emotionally) touching? (100% certainty there’s going to be plenty of the other kind going on here.) Possibly. The idea of Akiho taking everything to the absolute extreme could make for comedy gold, making me wonder if there’s more to this show than meets the eye.
On the other hand, the show’s PV uses bananas to introduce its characters, and ends with one hell of a lewd final shot… Yeah, this one’s a definite skip for me.
Cardfight!! Vanguard G: Z
“Cardfight!! Vanguard features a world where the game Cardfight!! Vanguard is becoming the latest craze among trading card games, becoming a part of everyday life for people all over the world. The game is not limited to Earth alone; battles between the creatures used by the players take place on another planet called Cray.
The story begins with Aichi Sendou, a timid middle schooler whose meek attitude often leaves him a target for bullies. Aichi was given a very rare card, “Blaster Blade”, when he was very young. It’s his one treasure that gives him hope. That is, until it gets taken from him. Although Aichi has never played Cardfight!! Vanguard before, he challenges the thief to a game in order to win the “Blaster Blade” back. This high-stakes game quickly draws Aichi into the world of Vanguard battles, which will test and change his worth as both a player and a person.”
—MyAnimeList (Season 1)
D: I’ve heard of Cardfight!!! before, but only in passing. Imagine my surprise when I watched a PV of the upcoming season to discover it’s basically a huge ripoff of Yu-Gi-Oh!, from the crazy-colored hair right down to the cards and monsters themselves.
Look, if you enjoy this show, you’re probably going to continue to enjoy this show. More power to you. For everyone else, go watch something more original, preferably with more realistic hair. Pass.
K: I don’t believe in card games. Well, except for the $100 I’ve spent on Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links (bows head in shame). Anyway, this show/game is literally called Cardfight. I’m outta here.
“In a rural town undergoing revival through music, high school students Kanae and Sousuke meet none other than Beethoven and Mozart! Calling themselves “ClassicaLoids,” this mysterious duo creates a strange power through the “music” they play.
One night, stars fall from the sky and gigantic robots appear, causing trouble every single day! Bach, Chopin, Schubert also appear as ClassicaLoids. What is the mystery behind the powers they possess? Are they humanity’s friend or foe?”
—MyAnimeList (Season 1)
D: No offense to whoever worked on this show, but it just looks terrible. Call me old-fashioned, but throwing Beethoven and Mozart into an anime and making them irritating beyond belief hardly seems like a smart idea for a story. Also, the music? I get it’s called ClassicaLoid, but the half classical half vocaloid shtick just doesn’t work. At all. Skipping it.
K: Well, there is that weird Jesus/Buddha roommates manga that’s actually funny. So I don’t think the famous-dead-people-in-the-modern-day anachronism is inherently unfunny. And this is season 2, so season 1 must have been at least somewhat popular.
That being said it’s pretty clear we’re not the target audience here. Pass.
“On May 1, 1945 in Berlin, as the Red Army raises the Soviet flag over the Reichskanzlei, a group of Nazi officers conduct a ritual. For them, the slaughter in the city is nothing but the perfect ritual sacrifice in order to bring back the Order of the 13 Lances, a group of supermen whose coming would bring the world’s destruction. Years later, no one knows if this group of officers succeeded, or whether they lived or died. Few know of their existence, and even those who knew began to pass away as the decades passed.
Now in December in the present day in Suwahara City, Ren Fujii spends his days at the hospital. It has been two months since the incident that brought him to the hospital: a fight with his friend Shirou Yusa where they almost tried to kill each other. He tries to value what he has left to him, but every night he sees the same dream: a guillotine, murderers who hunt people, and the black clothed knights who pursue the murderers. He is desperate to return to his normal, everyday life, but even now he hears Shirou’s words: ‘Everyone who remains in this city eventually loses their minds.’”
K: Everything about this show seems wild. The Soviet Army taking over Germany during WW2? Nazis conducting secret rituals? Jumping to the present day? Count me in. Director Susumu Kodou’s history isn’t bad, either—he directed K and Mardock Scramble, which implies that he’s at least competent. I don’t know much about the original manga either, but this seems crazy enough that it’ll at least hold my attention for a while.
D: This one wasn’t on my radar at all up until now. Reading up on it and watching the trailer, however, I have to agree with Kei here. Equally parts Castlevania and Fate/Zero, with some Code Geass vibes sprinkled in for good measure? I’m kinda down.
This is the kind of show where I give it one episode to impress me. If it goes off the rails, much like the similarly religion-influenced Shoukoku no Altair, then I’m out and I’m not looking back. That said, Dies Irae has me intrigued so far, which is a good sign.
“The project follows the musical careers and personal lives of several bands under the “Dynamic Chord” agency and music label.”
D: Please, for the love of everything that is good and just in this world… skip this show. Just take my word for it and skip it. Don’t read the terribly generic blurb. Don’t watch the horribly animated joke of a PV. Don’t bother wondering if Studio Pierrot can delve any deeper into the pits of hell. Just skip it.
K: I don’t inherently have anything against these types of shows—call them fujoshi bait if you want—but yeah, I’m passing on this.
GARO -VANISHING LINE-
“The anime’s story is set in a prosperous city named Russell City. Even as the city celebrates its success, a conspiracy that threatens to shake its world has been set in motion. A man named Sword is the first to hear the earliest stirrings of the plot, and throws himself into a shadow war in order to expose it. His only clue is the keyword “El Dorado.” He meets Sophie, a woman searching for her older brother who left her with only a message with the same word: “El Dorado.” With Sword having also lost his younger sister in the past, both are drawn together by the word, and work together to find out its meaning.”
D: We have arrived at what is unquestionably one of my most anticipated anime of the season. If the show’s premise and PV didn’t already grab your attention, guess what? It’s being done by Mappa, the same studio of ex-Madhouse animators behind Kids on the Slope, Ushio and Tora, and Yuri!!! on Ice. How’s that for some inspired confidence!
Now, could this show be a bust? Possibly. Does Mappa have a perfect track record? Absolutely not (see: Kakegurui)—but what studio does? Even the best of the bunch stumble at times, but based on what I’m seeing already from -Vanishing Line-, I think there’s plenty here to be excited about. And unlike Kakegurui, this one’s an anime original, so Mappa is going to have absolute free reign this time around. Must watch for me.
K: I’m not as high on this as David is, although, to be fair, that’s probably more of a temperament thing. Seemingly unrelated to the other GARO properties, I can’t say I have an actual read on this show other than the studio pedigree. Director Seong-hu Park has little else to his name, either, so I can’t even glean anything from the staff’s history.
The fight and chase scenes in the trailer are amazing, but you can’t forget that MAPPA has a history of going all in on certain scenes at the cost of, well, everything else (think of the music scenes in Kids on the Slope compared to, well… the rest of the animation in that show). That being said, a mostly anime original being done by one of the better studios in the business? Yeah, I’ll chalk that up to a must watch for me as well.
Gintama Season 6
“The Amanto, aliens from outer space, have invaded Earth and taken over feudal Japan. As a result, a prohibition on swords has been established, and the samurai of Japan are treated with disregard as a consequence.
However one man, Gintoki Sakata, still possesses the heart of the samurai, although from his love of sweets and work as a yorozuya, one might not expect it. Accompanying him in his jack-of-all-trades line of work are Shinpachi Shimura, a boy with glasses and a strong heart, Kagura with her umbrella and seemingly bottomless stomach, as well as Sadaharu, their oversized pet dog. Of course, these odd jobs are not always simple, as they frequently have run-ins with the police, ragtag rebels, and assassins, oftentimes leading to humorous but unfortunate consequences.
Who said life as an errand boy was easy?”
—MyAnimeList Rewrite (Season 1)
D: I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t watched much of Gintama. A quick lookup on Crunchyroll shows that I’ve seen a whopping 7 episodes out of its (as of October 3, 2017) 329 episode run. It’s also weird to be talking about an anime as long-running as Gintama, given how much praise the show has already seen over the past eleven years.
Personally? The show’s humor doesn’t really work for me, although I’ve heard it picks up around the 50 episode marker of the original series. Doesn’t mean I can’t recommend it, however, for those looking for some oddball humor in an otherworldly, alien setting. Worth watching for fans of the series and at least worth trying those on the fence about it.
K: Gintama’s humor is decidedly very Japanese (I’m allowed to say that as a Japanese person. I don’t really know how to explain it, though). I mean, it’s Gintama, like David said, there isn’t much more to say. I’ll pass… if only because I should probably start at episode 1, not season 7.
Himouto! Umaru-chan R
“People are not always who they appear to be, as is the case with Umaru Doma, the perfect high school girl—that is, until she gets home! Once the front door closes, the real fun begins. When she dons her hamster hoodie, she transforms from a refined, over-achieving student into a lazy, junk food-eating otaku, leaving all the housework to her responsible older brother Taihei. Whether she’s hanging out with her friends Nana Ebina and Kirie Motoba, or competing with her self-proclaimed “rival” Sylphinford Tachibana, Umaru knows how to kick back and have some fun!
Himouto! Umaru-chan is a cute story that follows the daily adventures of Umaru and Taihei, as they take care of—and put up with—each other the best they can, as well as the unbreakable bonds between friends and siblings.”
—MyAnimeList Rewrite (Season 1)
K: It’s another season of Umaru (or UMR, as I often see it abbreviated). It’s a dumb, funny show about a girl who’s a model student and paragon of excellence outside of the confines of her home, and a total degenerate once she’s inside. I can’t imagine it’ll take more than 10 minutes for you to decide if it’s for you or not. It’s a watch for me, although I think I’ll end up dropping it halfway through.
D: Yeah, I’ve heard pretty good things about this one, but never really got past the whole cutesy chibi look the show’s going for. Reading the synopsis for the first season, I have to say the concept of a perfect, popular high school girl by day, otaku at night seems pretty darn unique. That’s saying something, considering how much of anime falls into tired clichés and generalizations (i.e. half the anime in this preview). If you’re a fan of Umaru-chan already, keep on keeping on. If not, and you’re like me, who hasn’t seen the first season, maybe it’s finally time to take a look at this series.
Hoozuki no Reitetsu 2
“Hell is a bureaucracy, and business is running smoother than ever thanks to the demonic efficiency of Hoozuki, chief deputy to Lord Enma, the King of Hell. Whether offering counsel to the Momotarou of Japanese folklore or receiving diplomatic missions from the Judeo-Christian Hell, the demon who runs the show from behind the king’s imposing shadow is ready to beat down any challenges coming his way into a bloody pulp. Metaphorically, of course…
The poster boy for micromanagement and armed with negotiation skills worthy of Wall Street, Hoozuki no Reitetsu follows the sadistic and level-headed Hoozuki as he spends his days troubleshooting hell. With an abundance of familiar faces from popular Japanese legends and East Asian mythology working middle management positions, this referential and anachronistic dark comedy brings new meaning to the phrase “employer liability.” Just how hard could it be to manage employees from hell, anyway?”
—MyAnimeList Rewrite (Season 1)
K: Similar to UMR, a second season of another pretty unique comedy. This one is even more Japanese than UMR, so… this is really only for people who watched and liked season 1. Season 1 was a surprise hit, and I’m glad it’s back, but definitely not for everyone, I think.
D: Agreed that this definitely has its target audience here. Me personally, though? I don’t think I’m it. Those interested, give it a whirl. Those who aren’t, no one’s going to question you if you pass like I certainly will.
Houseki no Kuni
“In the distant future, a new immortal and genderless life form called Gems populate the Earth. The 28 Gems must fight against the Moon Dwellers, who attack them regularly to abduct them and to turn them into decorations. Each Gem is assigned a role, such as a fighter or a medic.
Being only 300 years old, Phosphophyllite is the youngest of the Gems and has no assignment yet. He wants to help to fight the Moon Dwellers, but is too weak and brittle for battle. One day the master of Gems, Kongou (Adamantine), assigns him the task of creating a natural history encyclopedia.”
K: This is some weird, weird stuff. It’s all CGI and vaguely off putting, but I found the trailer strangely appealing. For a show about “creating a natural history encyclopedia” there seems to be a lot of fighting. Weird, bizarre, and very un-anime-like, I’m putting this down as a must watch for me. I’ll be the first to admit that I have weird and terrible taste, though.
D: No, I don’t think you’re alone here, Kei. There was certainly a lot to unpack with that trailer, and even if I couldn’t understand any of the Japanese from it, Houseki no Kuni seems like it has some real potential. At the same time, however, I couldn’t help but be really put off by the CGI. It never really works for me with anime—just looks amateurish. That’s a shame, because this show might end up being pretty decent. Put me down for one episode as a litmus test.
Imouto sae Ireba ii
“The story follows the everyday life of Itsuki, a novelist and “modern day Pygmalion” who works day in and day out to create the ultimate younger sister. He’s surrounded by various other characters: a beautiful genius writer who loves him, his big-sisterly classmate from college, a fellow male writer, a sadistic tax accountant, and his editor. They’re all looked after by Itsuki’s perfect younger step-brother, Chihiro, who has a serious secret.”
D: This show doesn’t look bad, but doesn’t look especially great either. Its premise has enough quirkiness to rise above the typical slice of life fodder, but I’m concerned about the execution here. The PV’s animation looks solid enough, but the characters on display here seem to straddle the line between tolerable and terrible. Of course, the main variable we’re missing here is whether or not the story will be engaging, or even if the show itself will be funny. Unless I’m missing something important here (I imagine Kei will glean more than I did from the Japanese trailer) I’m leaning towards a pass for this one.
K: Here’s another one of my patented anime rules. If the show’s title has the word imouto in it, I’m out (most of the time. I can’t think of a time when this rule has failed me, though).
Maybe if this show didn’t have such a strong imouto theme, I could stomach it—maybe it could aim for a The Comic Artist and His Assistant’s slapstick vibe, or maybe more like Working!!’s workplace comedy style—but this all just screams generic anime shit to me. Pass.
“The original manga follows a young girl who summons a team of superheroes to save others. The anime adaptation will not adapt the story exactly. Promotional materials indicate heroes from the Tekkaman, Casshern, Gatchaman, and Hurricane Polymar franchises will appear.”
D: Seems like a throwaway Avengers-like assembly of random, fan-service-y anime characters if you ask me. Plus… CGI—ew. I’m not familiar with any of these franchises, and even if I were, this would still be a hard pass for me.
K: I’m not gonna lie. This seems so stupid, and at the same time takes itself so dreadfully seriously (the opening line of the trailer is “If I died tomorrow, what would you do?” and the succeeding tag is “As the world welcomes its end”), that I’m kind of intrigued.
But really, it’s probably gonna be bad.
I’m going to take this space to plug a show related to one of the characters that appeared here: Casshern. Specifically, Casshern Sins is one of my favorite anime of all time—top 5 for sure—and I implore everybody to watch it.
“Ichiro Inuyashiki is down on his luck. While only 58 years old, his geriatric looks often have him written off as a pathetic old man by the world around him and he’s constantly ignored and disrespected by his family despite all that he’s done to support them. On top of everything else, his doctor has revealed that he has cancer and it appears that he has little time left in this world. But just when it seems things couldn’t get any worse, a blinding light in the night sky strikes the earth where Ichiro stands. He later wakes up to find himself unscathed, but he soon starts to notice that there’s something…different about himself.”
D: Just when I thought Mappa’s animators had their hands full readying GARO -VANISHING LINE- for the fall, here comes Inuyashiki. The second studio anime to air this season, Inuyashiki instantly surprised me with its intriguing concept and superb animation quality.
While it’s not unusual for a studio like Mappa to have multiple teams working simultaneously on different anime, I guess I’m just taken aback by how good both of these anime look for the fall season. I honestly think I’m going to have a hard time deciding which of the two I’m more excited for.
That being said, there is cause to approach Inuyashiki with a bit of caution. Its manga source material, although relatively well received, hardly blew readers’ socks off if its 7.59 MAL score is anything to go by. Furthermore, unlike –VANISHING LINE-, which will be anime original, Inuyashiki will be adapting existing content, meaning less creative freedom for Mappa overall with this one. In spite of all this, Inuyashiki remains a must watch for me.
K: Yeah, this kind of came out of nowhere for me. It kind of seems like a crazy, Japanese, anime version of Breaking Bad. Except Ichiro doesn’t have any family, is aimless, and instead of cooking meth he has an uber-powerful mechanical robot body.
Well, at the very least there’s no way this show can be worse than my comparisons. I’m definitely going to give this one a shot—any show that can avoid dipping into the well of anime tropes for a full PV is something I can’t miss.
Itsudatte Bokura no Koi wa 10cm datta
“Adolescent romance takes another twist with the announcement of a TV anime adaptation based on the Kokuhaku Jikkou Iinkai (“Confess Your Love Committee”) series of Vocaloid songs by HoneyWorks.”
K: Short romance vignettes based off of… vocaloid songs? I’ll probably pass…
D: So I have this internal, implicit rule where I automatically skip anime that use anything other than manga, light novels, or visual novels for source material. A bunch of vocaloid songs fits squarely in that category for me. There’s also no semblance of a PV anywhere on the internet of this show to even go by, so yeah… I’ll be absolutely skipping this one.
K: You know, technically, GARO is based off of a Japanese sentai series, which isn’t a manga, light novel, or visual novel. Although I understand what you mean.
D: …You’re breaking my heart, Kei. Okay, I didn’t know that—I’ll make an exception for GARO, but just this once!
“The original anime Just Because! focuses on subtly portraying the feelings of a group of high school students nearing graduation. Near the end of second semester at third year, when students have very little time in high school left, and are just waiting for graduation, the appearance of a new transfer student begins to change what remains of their high school lives just as they were about to graduate.”
D: I don’t have much to go on here, given the extremely vague and generic synopsis, but something tells me Just Because! is going to be special.
Pine Jam is an extremely recent studio, known primarily for making Gamers!, and if you read what I wrote for Anime-Gataris up above, you’ll know I wasn’t a fan of that work. That said, Just Because! seems somehow… different. Sure, they both end their titles with dumb exclamation points, but look beyond that.
Just from the 30 second PV, the word ‘beauty’ stood out to me in more ways than one. Beautiful visuals. Beautiful music. Beautiful emotion. If nothing else, Just Because! looks to provide a serious and moving slice of life. Whether or not the anime succeeds depends wholly on its story, but I’ll be along for the ride. Cautious optimism from me for this one.
K: I always love to hear the words “original anime,” and while Pine Jam doesn’t have much of a track record, the synopsis sounds interesting. I’m hoping this show can actually capture those adolescent feelings of romance in a realistic way, not in that anime-high-school-way (although there’s nothing wrong with that—Tsurezure Children was just that and it was my show of the summer season). I’ll go down as a definite watch on this one, at least to start.
“12 warriors who are burdened with the names of the 12 Chinese Zodiac members fight with each other’s lives and pride at stake, all to grant just one wish.”
K: A vague premise, but the trailer looks good. Seems similar to Future Diary, except instead of a phone gimmick we’re just out here killing people. I’m down.
D: Agreed. I’m pleasantly surprised by this one. I like the Battle Royale setup, even if it’s been done before, simply because the animation looks really good here, and I’d like to see all that fighting in glorious motion. Also digging the Ghost in the Shell-like aesthetic to it all. Will be watching, for sure.
Kekkai Sensen & Beyond
“Supersonic monkeys, vampires, talking fishmen, and all sorts of different supernatural monsters living alongside humans—this has been part of daily life in Hellsalem’s Lot, formerly known as New York City, for some time now. When a gateway between Earth and the Beyond opened three years ago, New Yorkers and creatures from the other dimension alike were trapped in an impenetrable bubble and were forced to live together. Libra is a secret organization composed of eccentrics and superhumans, tasked with keeping order in the city and making sure that chaos doesn’t spread to the rest of the world.
Pursuing photography as a hobby, Leonardo Watch is living a normal life with his parents and sister. But when he obtains the “All-seeing Eyes of the Gods” at the expense of his sister’s eyesight, he goes to Hellsalem’s Lot in order to help her by finding answers about the mysterious powers he received. He soon runs into Libra, and when Leo unexpectedly joins their ranks, he gets more than what he bargained for. Kekkai Sensen follows Leo’s misadventures in the strangest place on Earth with his equally strange comrades—as the ordinary boy unwittingly sees his life take a turn for the extraordinary.”
—MyAnimeList Rewrite (Season 1)
D: Like Gintama, I haven’t watched nearly enough of the original Kekkai Sensen to make a totally fair judgement about the upcoming season (I only watched an episode or two before dropping it and never getting back to finishing it). That said, there are several key factors that have me extremely excited about Kekkai Sensen & Beyond.
The original Kekkai Sensen had an old-school, jazz-noir feel to it, not unlike Gangsta or Cowboy Bebop. Thankfully, in terms of quality, the anime leaned far closer to the latter than the former. Furthermore, as with the first season, Beyond is being handled by studio Bones, who brought you Fullmetal Alchemist, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, and Boku no Hero Academia (impressive list, I know.) Combine its unique setting with a skilled and classy studio, and it’s hard to write off Kekkai Sensen without at least giving it an initial watch. Count me in for season 2.
K: I love BONES, season 1 was good, pretty unique setting… I don’t see any reason to count this one out. Losing season 1’s director, Rie Matsumoto, is a shame, especially because I’ve read that the anime made some pretty good changes from the source material—but I’m still hopeful. We’re in for season 2.
Kino no Tabi: The Beautiful World
“The story follows the travels of Kino, a young adventurer who rides a talking motorcycle named Hermes. They explore the people and cultures of different places throughout their adventures, spending only three days at each location.”
D: If there was ever a safe bet to be made among this lineup of fall anime, it would be Kino no Tabi: The Beautiful World. Let’s rattle off the positives, shall we?
- 1) The anime is based off of a 17-year-old, light-novel series that garnered acclaim back in 2000.
- 2) It is a reimagining of an equally well-received 14-year-old anime series from 2003, much like Bone’s Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood or Madhouse’s 2011 version of Hunter x Hunter.
- 3) It is being helmed by a lesser known studio named Lerche, known primarily for the excellently paced and visually stunning adaptation of Assassination Classroom.
So in other words, the show has quality source material, an excellent studio behind it, and an already great, existing anime to use as a reference point. Sign me up for this one. Must watch.
K: I feel like I could use a list of similar positives on Berserk… but snark aside, yeah. This is probably a pretty safe bet. I do wonder if it’ll feel a bit dated, but even then, I just can’t really see this being… bad, you know?
The manga’s story is set in Kokohana-tei, a hot spring hotel located in an inn town between our world and the other world, where many people go to visit. The story portrays the lives of fox spirits, who take the form of girls and work at the hotel.
K: Cute girls do cute things with a vulpine, hotel service theme. I have nothing to say about this, for or against. Maybe watch it for a pick-me-up. Or don’t. Cute girls doing cute things basically ran its course for me… on a conceptual level back when it started, sorry.
D: Yeah, I’m not really digging this one. Looks and sounds beautiful, but I doubt it’s really my type of show. I’ll encourage interested parties to give it an episode or two, but I’ll probably be passing, personally.
Kujira no Kora wa Sajou ni Utau
“Chakuro is the 14-year-old archivist of the Mud Whale, a nigh-utopian island that floats across the surface of an endless sea of sand. Nine in ten of the inhabitants of the Mud Whale have been blessed and cursed with the ability to use saimia, special powers that doom them to an early death.
Chakuro and his friends have stumbled across other islands, but they have never met, seen, or even heard of a human who wasn’t from their own. One day, Chakuro visits an island as large as the Mud Whale and meets a girl who will change his destiny.”
K: Woah, talk about a surprise. This show almost screams “Shin Sekai Yori” potential to me, but that’s probably getting ahead of myself. Still, a unique setting and a nice PV is enough to get me on board with most any fantasy property, so I’m putting this down as a must watch.
D: Seconding your surprise about this one. I’m getting those Shin Sekai Yori vibes as well, along with (dare I say it) even some shivers of Studio Ghibli here or there, from the artsy title (in English, Children of the Whales) down to the fluid animation and powerful, emotive characters on display.
I’m usually pretty stingy when it comes to handing out these “must watch” characterisations, as I tend to drop anime that go sour (as opposed to seeing them 100% of the way through just to say I finished it). However, I get the feeling I won’t be dropping this one anytime soon, which makes it pretty easy for me to say: must watch.
Love Live! Sunshine!! 2
“Chika Takami, a self-proclaimed normal girl, has never been involved in any clubs and lacked any notable talents. However, after a visit to Tokyo, she discovers a stage where even an ordinary girl like her could shine—the world of school idols. Inspired by the former superstar school idol group μ’s, Chika is determined to start her own school idol club in her seaside hometown at Uranohoshi Girl’s High School. But even before gathering any students to join the group, the aspiring school idol finds her greatest obstacle to be student council president Dia Kurosawa who stands firmly against the creation of the club.
Just when it seems there is no hope, Chika meets Riko Sakurauchi, a transfer student from Otonokizaka High School, home of μ’s. Somewhat shy but a talented piano player, Chika believes her to be a promising recruit, though convincing her to join is easier said than done. In spite of that, Chika chooses to charge forward and overcome the obstacles keeping her from forming a school idol group that shines as bright as the nine that came before her.”
—MyAnimeList Rewrite (Season 1)
D: I have no doubt this show has an audience. I’m sure the first season was well liked, and that fans of the show are anxiously awaiting this new season. However, I just don’t see myself ever watching this sort of show. It’s cute, it’s fun… it just isn’t me. Those intrigued by a bizarre idol equivalent of Pitch Perfect, take note (no pun intended). Otherwise, this seems like a safe skip to me. What about you, Kei?
K: Love Live is garbage.
Mahoutsukai no Yome
“Chise Hatori has lived a life full of neglect and abuse, devoid of anything resembling love. Far from the warmth of family, she has had her share of troubles and pitfalls. Just when all hope seems lost, a fateful encounter awaits her. When a man with the head of a beast, wielding strange powers, obtains her through a slave auction, Chise’s life will never be the same again.”
—Seven Seas Entertainment
D: For the majority of the anime on this list, we’ve been assessing these animes based solely on synopses, PVs, and manga source material.
For Mahoutsukai no Yome, things are a little different. In addition to being based on the excellent manga of the same name, a prologue of three OVAs has aired via Crunchyroll weeks before the start of the actual series. While I have only seen one of the three, it’s safe to say that if the actual show keeps up the level of quality of this prologue, anime viewers have a lot to look forward to.
Beautiful both in its storytelling as well as its animation and music, Mahoutsukai no Yome looks to be firing on all cylinders. And with the talented team at Wit Studio working on this faithful adaptation, there’s not a whole lot that could go wrong from what I can see. A must watch for sure.
K: I hate Wit Studio, but I’ll agree—it looks gorgeous, the manga is critically acclaimed, and best of all, not directed by Tetsurou Araki. If they can keep this production value up, it’ll be amazing, and I think this is definitely my most anticipated show of the season. Must watch.
Net-juu no Susume
“Moriko Morioka is a 30-year-old single NEET woman. After dropping out from reality, she has taken off in search for a fulfilling life and ended up in a net game or “netoge.” In the netoge world, she began her new life as a refreshing and handsome character named Hayashi. While starting out as a beginner, a pretty character named Lily reached out to help her. Meanwhile, in the real world, awaits a shocking encounter with a good-looking elite company employee, a mysterious blue-eyed blonde.”
K: There seems to be a trend of “teleported into a different world” anime these days. I don’t know what started that boom, but Net-juu no Susume joins the somewhat generic pack of shows in that bucket. But honestly, it doesn’t look that bad. Maybe it’s oriented more towards a female audience, or maybe it’s just because I found the trailer mostly inoffensive (in a quality sense), but I didn’t find myself too put off by the trailer. I’m still probably gonna pass. Too much to watch these days.
D: I feel the same way. I think Sword Art Online is at least partially to blame for all these virtual fantasy world anime we get these days, which is sad considering the fact that, although popular, SAO wasn’t really that great of an anime. I get so triggered by SAO wannabes, which is why I couldn’t get through Re:Zero, despite all of the positive reception it got over the course of its run.
This looks, as you said, “inoffensive” though. I like the idea of viewing this type of story through a woman’s eyes (although this anime was almost surely written by a man or by men, a sad fact when it comes to the anime industry). In many ways, it looks like a slightly more serious Umaru-chan, and I’ll be interested to see what others think of it. For me, however, I’ll likely pass on it.
“The majority of the Matsuno household is comprised of six identical siblings: self-centered leader Osomatsu, manly Karamatsu, voice of reason Choromatsu, cynical Ichimatsu, hyperactive Juushimatsu, and lovable Todomatsu. Despite each one of them being over the age of 20, they are incredibly lazy and have absolutely no motivation to get a job, choosing to live as NEETs instead. In the rare occurrence that they try to look for employment and are somehow able to land an interview, their unique personalities generally lead to their swift rejection.
From trying to pick up girlfriends to finding the perfect job, the daily activities of the Matsuno brothers are never dull as they go on all sorts of crazy, and often downright bizarre, adventures. Though they desperately search for a way to improve their social standing, it won’t be possible if they can’t survive the various challenges that come with being sextuplets!”
—MyAnimeList Rewrite (Season 1)
D: I know absolutely nothing about this show. From the looks of it, Osomatsu-san seems to cater primarily to Japanese audiences, so I doubt I’d really understand much of the humor on display here, personally. That said, if you liked the previous season, you’ll likely be up for more of it come this fall.
K: Osomatsu-san is hilarious. A gaijin like you would never understand. Go go go.
Ousama Game The Animation
“The story begins when an entire high school class of 32 people receive a message on their cellphones from a person known only as the “King.” The messages contain orders that the students must obey, or they risk the punishment of death. With their lives on the line, the students soon find out that the orders are getting more and more extreme as time goes on.”
K: So, another “death game” anime. Well, at least this is a show that’s taking itself seriously, and getting 999 vibes from a show can’t possibly be outright bad. I’m hoping this show is actually able to pull off the suspenseful, thriller vibe it’s going for, and can avoid being derailed by plot contrivances and the like. Honestly, though, I can’t explain why, but it’s coming off as kind of drab and… uninspired. And I’m hoping we’re not in for a train ride of just despair and human ugliness without something to show for it. Count me in, but I’m kind of hesitant for reasons I can’t quite place.
D: I’m definitely getting 999 vibes from this too (for those who don’t know, 999 is an excellent visual novel available on PC, DS, Vita, and iPad/tablets). If I’m to make a slightly educated guess here, I’ll say that participant 4 ends up being either a complete psychopathic killer or the mastermind behind the game, and that participant 9 ends up getting killed during the first few seconds of the game.
This is something I’d honestly rather experience as a game (Danganronpa was much better when it transitioned from anime over to visual novel), so I’ll probably skip it for now. That said, if it ends up being any good, I’ll be back on board, ready to watch.
“Anime based on the DJI-hosted RoboMasters competition, which is the world’s biggest student robotics competition.”
D: I’ll admit, this doesn’t look nearly as bad as I’d initially pictured it. For a show around competitive robot fighting, Robomasters looks like it has an actual story with characters, some detailed and coloful animation, with a kickass opening song to boot.
Unfortunately, we’ve seen these kind of anime thousands of times before—just replace the robots here with Beyblades or the equivalent and you’ll see what I’m getting at. This is going to be a middle of the road anime, for sure. Even if the action ends up being decent, I doubt it would hold anyone’s attention for long. Pass for me.
K: A mostly promotional anime based off of real-life things? I’m guessing the floor here is Rail Wars, and the ceiling is… Gundam Build Fighters? When you put it that way, I’m actually kind of interested. I’ll give it one episode, for sure.
Sengoku Night Blood
“The game centers around different warlords from Japan’s Warring States (Sengoku) period, who are all involved with the player character. The game is described as a “Warring States romance fantasy.”
K: I’m rapidly starting to think that I should come up with a new rule: avoid anything with the word “Sengoku” in the title. I honestly don’t even care enough to put up a summary. This is being described as a “warring states romance fantasy.” It’s based off of a mobile game.
I’m not saying every warring states, mobile-game-based, dropping a modern day girl/guy into the past anime is bad… but this anime is probably going to be bad. Pass.
D: We already talked about how overdone the “modern-person-in-a-virtual-world” concept has become in the anime industry. The “historical-but-actually-fictional-warfare” concept is a close second. Heck, even the song from the later half of the trailer screams “derivative” at the top of its lungs.
I would have already been out, but hearing that it’s based off of a mobile game? No way, Jose.
Shokugeki no Souma: San no Sara
“Ever since he was a child, fifteen-year-old Souma Yukihira has helped his father by working as the sous chef in the restaurant his father runs and owns. Throughout the years, Souma developed a passion for entertaining his customers with his creative, skilled, and daring culinary creations. His dream is to someday own his family’s restaurant as its head chef.
Yet when his father suddenly decides to close the restaurant to test his cooking abilities in restaurants around the world, he sends Souma to Tootsuki Culinary Academy, an elite cooking school where only 10 percent of the students graduate. The institution is famous for its “Shokugeki” or “food wars,” where students face off in intense, high-stakes cooking showdowns.
As Souma and his new schoolmates struggle to survive the extreme lifestyle of Tootsuki, more and greater challenges await him, putting his years of learning under his father to the test.”
—MyAnimeList Rewrite (Season 1)
K: It’s another season of Food Wars. Again, like with a lot of other shows here—at this point you’ve already bought in, or you’re already out. Season 3 ramps up the action, introducing the Elite 10, and this is at the point where the manga has started to sub out purely erotic food porn scenes for more… illustrative, metaphorical ones (a change I wholeheartedly endorse) so I’m pretty excited for this season. Must watch.
D: I’m equally excited for the new season of Food Wars. I remember being introduced to the show via a Dorkly/Collegehumor video attempting to show how absurdly erotic the (at the time) upcoming show was looking to be. That ended up being totally true, but I never expected I would watch the first episode and actually find myself thinking “Wow, this show is actually more than just really sexual food references.”
Unlike Kei, I don’t read the manga, so I’m super excited to see what lays in wait for Souma this fall. Must watch as well.
Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou
“Civilization is dead, but Chito and Yuuri are still alive. So they hop aboard their beloved Kettenkrad motorbike and aimlessly wander the ruins of the world they once knew. Day after hopeless day, they look for their next meal and fuel for their ride. But as long as the two are together, even an existence as bleak as theirs has a ray or two of sunshine in it, whether they’re sucking down their fill of soup or hunting for machine parts to tinker with. For two girls in a world full of nothing, the experiences and feelings the two share give them something to live for…”
D: I know exactly what you’re thinking right now. Gee, David… the premise sounds cool, but that chibi art style… I just can’t take it seriously.
I get that, I really do. However, a cutesy art doesn’t necessarily spell doom for the quality of an anime, or even for the tone it can set. Made in Abyss from last season is the perfect example of a cutesy art-style that showed true depth over the course of its 13-odd episodes (even if I personally didn’t stick it through to the end).
Add to that the fact that White Fox is working on this, the small but important studio that brought us Akame ga Kill!!, and I think we owe this show at least a first episode viewing before jumping to any conclusions about its story or seriousness. Cautious optimism from me moving forward.
K: I’m honestly kind of into this. Two girls gal-pal-ing it across the post-apocalypse? I know the art style is off-putting, but put me down for cautious optimism as well.
Time Bokan: Gyakushuu no San-Akunin
“Dr. Kieta, the inventor of a time-travel machine, is lost on a test run of his machine to the prehistoric past. When the time-space craft returns to the present, his young assistants are surprised to find only a parrot in the cockpit. In their hurry to find the missing scientist before it is too late, the youngsters set out on a time-space hunt without any clear destination.”
—Official Time Bokan Site (Original Series)
D: A sequel to a rebooted show that garnered a measly 5.94 on MyAnimeList, Time Bokan: Gyakushuu no San-Akunin is also a sequel that nobody seems to want. With so many other great looking anime coming this season, I see no possible reason to dip into the well of mediocrity with this one. Hard pass.
K: I have no idea what this is about, and I also don’t care. See ya.
TSUKIPRO THE ANIMATION
“The music anime will follow the daily lives and associated drama of four of TsukiPro’s very unique groups — SolidS, Quell, SOARA, and Growth.”
K: Again, nothing against these types of shows, but—no.
D: Looking as how that trailer gave me absolutely no substance whatsoever, and since I still have no idea what the heck this show is about, I’d say I actually have everything against these types of shows. No.
“Two Car follows high schoolers Yuri Miyata and Megumi Meguro as they battle six other rival pairs in the sport of motorcycle sidecar racing.”
D: Another show where, unfortunately, there just isn’t much to go off of. We know it’s an anime about motorcycle racing, and that the anime is a 10th anniversary celebration for studio Silver Link., who brought us last season’s Restaurant to Another World, which I actually greatly enjoyed, as well as others like Chaos;Child and Strike the Blood.
While not a top of the line studio by any means, I’ll likely keep an eye on Silver Link.’s work on Two Car, if only to see if it’ll bring something calm and relaxing to the fall anime lineup.
K: SUTORAIKU ZA BURADDO. Silver Link’s output actually isn’t bad, you know.
Also, I didn’t know motorcycle sidecar racing was even a thing. If this leans more towards “sports anime” and not “cute girls doing cute things,” I’ll be happy (even if I don’t watch all of it). I’ll give this one an episode to prove itself.
UQ Holder! Mahou Sensei Negima! 2
“In the decade since the world became aware of the existence of magic, the world has undergone massive upheaval. However, a boy named Touta lives in seclusion in a rural town far removed from these changes. His ordinary life is highlighted by his magic-using female teacher and his supportive friends. When his tranquil daily life is disrupted, he embarks on a unique adventure.”
D: I haven’t the slightest idea what this show is about. At the beginning of the trailer, we’re introduced to what looks like a rom/com slice of life before jumping to a bloody battle scene where the main character presumably loses his arm, only to hop back to a typical anime hot spring scene filled with fanservice and additional “plot.” Seriously.
I’m not a huge fan of J.C. Staff outside of Shokugeki no Souma, so I’ll likely pass over this one unless it turns out to be so off the wall that it’s actually good.
K: So, UQ Holder is a manga by the guy who wrote Mahou Sensei Negima. Except they take place in the same universe (UQ Holder takes place much later). I’m not sure if it’s a good sign that they tacked on Mahou Sensei Negima (a much more popular manga) onto this, but if you read or watched that, that’s what you’re getting.
This style of shonen isn’t my cup of tea, so I’ll pass, but people who want to watch this probably know what they’re getting into.
“Three high school girls are putting together a limited-time shop called “PARK” in Japan’s Harajuku. One day, aliens come to Earth with the intent to steal the famed district’s culture. At the same time, a mysterious girl appears. The three girls band together to defeat the alien threat and protect their beloved Harajuku.”
K: That synopsis is actually bonkers. I like the pastel art style, though, and the surrealness of it all. I’m giving this show one episode to prove to me that it’s not just cute girls doing cute things. You have a one episode leash! Don’t disappoint me.
D: I really like the art style! Looks a little inspired by Trigger’s work, with those thicker outlines and colorful backdrops. That said, the show itself doesn’t really look like my cup of tea. Will pass, but I hope it’s good for those like Kei who are intrigued by it.
Wake Up, Girls! Shin Shou
“On Christmas 2013, the band Wake Up, Girls plays their debut song to a small audience without much fanfare. After the concert, the group’s manager takes off with the money, leaving Green Leaves Entertainment on the verge of closure and the band without a future.
Despite this tumultuous beginning, the girls get a second chance, thanks to a mysterious benefactor and a shady business proposal. From here it’s a rocky climb to the top, but it’s a climb the girls are ready to make. Wake Up, Girls! follows the internal and external struggles of being a small-time idol girl band, from finding and accepting gigs to competing in popularity against other pop bands.
Through the band, the girls come to accept their pasts and become more certain about their futures. Faced with increasing stakes and popularity, each of the band’s seven members must find the strength and courage inside herself to give her all to the band.”
—MyAnimeList Rewrite (Season 1)
D: Yeah… absolutely not. There have been far too many seasons and movies of Wake Up, Girls! for me to care about this new season. And even if it wasn’t a sequel to an existing series, I still wouldn’t watch it for the same reasons I’m not watching any other idol or vocaloid anime on this list. Do what you want, but I’m skipping the hell out of this one.
K: Back when it first aired I thought Wake Up, Girls! Might actually have some potential, like it might actually shed some light on how hard/stressful/terrible it is to be an idol, etc… like an actual hard hitting looking into the whole industry, perhaps not unlike Shirobako!. But instead we kind of got the generic idol anime everyone wanted, I guess. We probably shouldn’t have even devoted that much space to the synopsis. Passss.
Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru: Yuusha no Shou
“In her everyday life, Yuuna Yuuki is a hero. As proof, she is in her middle school’s Hero Club, where she does her best to help others and bring a smile to everyone’s face.
But Yuuna, always up to any task, is about to become an even bigger hero. Mysterious destructive forces called Vertexes begin threatening the world she loves, and the Hero Club is called upon by a strange phone app to save it. Along with her best friend Mimori Tougou, as well as sisters Fuu and Itsuki Inubouzaki, they must transform into magical girls in order to battle the Vertexes.
In between studying and putting on shows for kids, Yuuna and the Hero Club must fight for the very existence of their world and face the harsh truths behind their own powers, all the while discovering what it truly means to be a hero.”
—MyAnimeList Rewrite (Season 1)
K: Neither of us watched season 1. I feel like this show somehow passed both of us over and we didn’t realize. I don’t usually partake in magical girl shows, and particularly not magical girl shows that seem to be geared not towards little girls but otaku, which this seems like. So… pass? Maybe I’m being shortsighted or elitist here, but I just don’t see the appeal.
D: Nah, you’re not being elitist at all. I really don’t care much for magical girl shows, let alone ones that take place at a school. For those who like it: good for you, and I mean absolutely no disrespect to the genre. For me, however, it just isn’t my thing, and I don’t see anything from this initial premise/PV that would suggest otherwise. Pass.
D: Phew! As you can see, there are a lot of shows both good and bad to look forward to during the fall. To recap, why don’t we end this preview with lists of each of our top 5 picks for the season?
K: Sure. Although, I’ll say that the interesting parts of this season to me aren’t the established favorites, but the sleepers. I feel like the top shows of this season are almost set in stone—Kino no Tabi and Mahoutsukai no Yume seem like sure bets, GARO and Inuyashiki are the next tier down, and then we have returning faithfuls like Shokugeki, Osomatsu-san, Hoozuki, Kekkai Sensen, and UMR. It’s shows like Juuni Taisen, Dies Irae, Just Because!, Kujira, and Houseki no Kuni that are true wild cards to me, and I want to see how they pan out.
D: That’s a good point. Just going through all of these anime with you, I think we’ve both discovered some under-the-radar shows outside our top 5 that deserve mention. I’ll add Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou to the list you’ve already mentioned, and will second my enthusiasm for Kujira, Just Because!, and Juuni Taisen.
That said, if you’re looking for our absolute cream of the crop picks, look no further:
David’s Top 5
- Mahoutsukai no Yome
- Kino no Tabi: The Beautiful World
- GARO -VANISHING LINE-
- Shokugeki no Souma: San no Sara
Kei’s Top 5
- Mahoutsukai no Yome
- GARO -VANISHING LINE-
- Kekkai Sensen & Beyond
- Just Because!
D: That about wraps things up. We hope this has been both entertaining and informative. With any luck, maybe you even found a new show to watch in the coming weeks.
Agree with our opinions? Disagree? Chime in with your personal picks in the comments below, and let us know how you feel about the upcoming fall anime season. Happy watching!
Author: David Silbert
David is the creator and editor of The Punished Backlog. A recent Penn graduate, David enjoys gaming and writing. Now, he’s combining his passions and doing both at the same time, all from the comfort of his French apartment!
Follow him on Twitter at @David_Silbert to keep up to date with all things The Punished Backlog.