Another 3 months have passed by, and the trees outside have almost all completed their transition from green to various shades of red and yellow. The cherry blossoms still are in full bloom in anime though, and much like the Spring season did this year, Fall has once again delivered an eyewatering 30 new series. This meant a solid 12 hours of new first episodes to go through for the marathon, a task that me and some friends happily undertook yesterday evening. Like always, there’s both a lot of good and a lot of trash, but the balance between the two seem more leveled than it usually is. The greats shine on from up high in the sky almost as much as the lows shine from the ablaze garbage bins on the pavement that they sit in. Also, Mecha fans rejoice, because this season has a lot of robots.
So many robots.
If you haven’t read these before, I explain it in earlier posts, but essentially what follows are short summaries of what we felt about the different series, hoping to give you some indication of what series to give a shot this season, and what to stay the hell away from. They’re listed roughly in the order we watched them, but you’ll find our resulting list of recommendations at the end. Enjoy!
We start out with that I had passed off as complete trash, but while it for sure IS trash and one of the worst subtitled series of the marathon, it also turned out to be a potentially watchable series that, to a lot of us, looked and felt like a callback to the styles of early 2000’s kids shows like Beyblade. It does have more ambitious and modern animation than those, but they often seem to have trouble executing on it. The episode starts out with our middle-school protagonist being in jail as a result of a fight breaking out, and the show makes it very clear that this guy is a deliquent; but that’s only because he can’t remember who he was or what happened a few years back. I won’t spoil exactly why, but an apocalyptic event involving huge towering alien mecha-likes and witnessing his family dying in front of him are key points.
So yeah, an extremely lighthearted and palatable series to start off with… or not. Can’t say we’d recommend it to most, but there are definitely some itches that it can scratch.
Another mecha series! This is a very Sunrise-feeling mecha series which makes sense; Sunrise Beyond is making it. We’re thrown into a world a few decades into our future, where the Boundary Wars took place a few years prior. This has left places littered with old mecha lying around, which our protagonist and friends take advantage of, as they scavenge for parts to sell or repurpose. What the main-kun hasn’t told the other though is that he has found an almost funtional mecha in an abandoned hangar, and just need some more parts before it can run again.
As luck would have it, on his way home from their latest scavenging trip, main-kun stumbles upon a discarded but still functioning autonomous AI core that pleads for his help, as its almost running out of power. And wouldn’t you know, the core turns out to be exactly the part that main-kun needs!
Scavenging around for parts is however something which is very frowned upon and made illegal by the current ruling military, who use main-kuns friends to get to him (or something, it wasn’t very clear how they found him), and they send a small squad of armed soldiers and two big mechs to actively try to kill him for what he’s done (again, just scavenging for parts). All very excessive and clearly they’re the bad guys. Also they bring his friends under gunpoint and are just about to execute them when obviously main-kun manages to power up his mech and defeats the two mechas. Hooray!
…except they don’t really follow up on the whole situation with soliders holding his friends at gunpoint and instead the episode just ends celebrating that he defeated the mechas without the rest of it being dealt with??
It’s weird. Can’t say anyone of us will keep watching, but it could definitely be for someone if you’ve been wanting more mecha of the Sunrise kind.
Protag-kun just wants to earn some money at his part-time job at a host club. He needs to pay back money to the loan shark after all! Trouble is, Japan has been taken over by a militaristic faction that has banned ALL ANIME AND GAMES. AND ALSO ALL FUN. On this day, it just so happens that thanks to a bootleg visual novel being sold in back alleys, they find traces of a rebel faction in the area he works, so obviously they have to torch it to the ground by the hands of chibi mechas with dog faces. Civilian casualties is a risk they’re willing to take.
In to save the day comes a Shark-themed mecha.. which is handily defeated in like 2 seconds.
Protag-kun sees this, and notices that no one is actually in the Shark mecha. So he does whatever anyone would do; climbs into the cockpit and puts on the mysterious VR headset that lets him interact with the onboard OS, featuring a small otaku obsessed chibi control AI(?) that is apparently something called a Battery Girl. When she gets excited (obviously through cringe hype anime references. Obviously.), the mecha powers up and protag-kun helps to destroy a few of the Dog mechas.
Something something the rebel faction is obviously based in Akihabara, “Nerd Mecca” in modern day Tokyo, and it turns out that the Battery Girl “AI” is an actual girl, stuck to the robot through a tube pod.
All-in-all, it’s all very trash and cringe, but the production values are great and it did give us a few laughs here and there, so a minor recommend if you’re the kind of weeb that can enjoy the selfreferential humor it’s trying to deliver.
Enough with the mechas for now, it’s time for battle of the bands, but it’s all boy bands, and they’re all vampires sucking the life force out of their audiences!
…aaand that’s basically it. A lot of singing, some neat dynamic typography displaying the lyrics (in kanji) while they sing. Protag-kun “can’t sing” but is a fanboy of one of the bands. He stumbles upon an impromptu performance by another of the bands where his own vampiric powers suddenly awaken, and he is subsequently dragged into the vampiric battle of the bands for some reason.
None of us will continue with this, but if you enjoy edgy pretty bois then look no further!
We continue with the music theme, but go from some of the worst series of the season to one of the best!
Do you enjoy piano pieces? Do you like watching great animation and dynamic fight scenes? Does the concept of alien-fighting road trip across a postapocalyptic US sound interesting to you?
THEN DO WE HAVE A SERIES FOR YOU OR WHAT.
By FAR the best fight animation of the marathon right here, with equally great character interactions (and character designs by LAM) outside the fights. Especially the back-and-forth between our three mains are great; a Conductor that only wants to play the piano, a new-born Musicart who “can’t control her energy output” so has an insatiable hunger for snacks, and the older sister who is driving the two of them from LA to New York.
This show is just fun and an audiovisual feast. Can’t recommend it enough.
One good anime is enough for now, let’s bring in some more trash!
Bad animation, a very “80’s music and themes will save the day, reject modern trash” sort of general take across the board, and ends on a very oldtimey and cringe Sentai-styled dance fight with bad 3D.
All in an alternate San Fransisco where the Engrish is a-plenty and Not Steve Jobs is trying to help aliens take over the world by making people sleep through hype concert music so they melt into tar and the giant alien octopi can scoop them up into vases.
Wtf did I just write.
Yeah it’s weird. I could be a fun kind of weird, potentially? Watch at your own risk (of wasting your time).
By this point it was already dark outside, so we could start seeing the few “horror” anime of the season, starting with the Horror-Ecchi-Comedy series Mieruko-chan (roughly translated: “The Girl Can See It”).
In it we follow Miko-chan, who is just a normal highschool girl, except she sees dead… beings. No one else can seemingly see them walking around all over the place, so she tries to ignore them whenever they’re near, looking straight into her eyes, very up-close, asking repeatedly “…can you see me?”
Intermixed with the horror are PLENTY of ecchi shots (lovingly referenced simply as “Angles” by us whenever they appear) and some attempts at comedy, and I suspect many won’t give this series a chance because of this.
I will note that I’m caught up with the manga on Mieruko-chan, and while it is very front-loaded with ecchi, it does lessen as the series quickly transitioned from a web comic to a printed manga early on in its run. There are some Junji Ito-level monster designs later on, but based on the two episodes that have aired I’m doubtful the anime will be able to deliver on them. I’m suspecting the turn away from mostly ecchi to happen in episode 4 or 5, but we’ll have to see once it gets there. I’d personally recommend it if it does manage to steer away from it, but as-is I can’t really do so yet.
TW: suicide, murder, abuse
The latest series from the creators of Death Note.
I’ll straight up warn you that this is very gruesome and will be disturbing to some.
It starts with Protag-kun jumping off a building. On his way down, he is saved by a literal guardian angel, who turns out has been watching him ever since he was little. As a way to make him want to live again, she offers him the powers of either Freedom or Control. He asks for both, and gets them. Freedom comes at the form of angelic wings he can use to fly, and Control comes in the form of a “Red Arrow”, which can be used to make anyone ‘love’ you.
It turns out that angels have a slightly warped sense of good and bad when compared to our human standards, so just using the powers to kill whoever and make yourself happy is just fine. Oh, and she forgets to mention the battle royale he now has signed himself up to between him and twelve other Angel-supported people that each compete to become the next God.
It’s a popular manga, but how the anime adaptation turns out we’ll have to see. If you can stomach the blood and violence, then it might be worth keeping an eye on
TW: murder, mutilation
Back to ghosts! Also definitely not BL but everything sounds like BL.
Bookstore clerk Mikado is just working normally when a mysterious man suddenly approaches him and “forcibly touches his core” which feels so good that he passes out.
Mikado can see ghosts very clearly, even as he takes off his glasses and everything else becomes blurry, which exorcist Hiyakawa wants to use in his own field of work, and he for some reason manages to rent Mikado through the bookstore owner to come help him out. Mikado is very uncomfortable and has lived his life being scared of and trying to avoid the ghosts he sees, but tags along anyway, thinking that it might make him less scared.
We had fun watching this, laughing at the extremely obvious innuendos all the time. It’s not great but it’s also a far cry from bad. From what we’ve seen there’s no actual sex anywhere and it’s defintely the series most worthy of the horror genre this season, so if you’re looking for something to only watch in the dark these coming long fall and winter months, then look no further than this.
Moving on from horror to things that are horrific to watch for other reasons; bad 3D CGI!
Tesla Note currently has a 3.81 out of 10 on MyAnimeList which is really bad.
Bad 3D juxtaposed next to really bad 2D, stiff animations, and weird camera work is just the start of the train wreck that is this series (that right there was a very good pun that will make sense if you do end up watching the first episode).
There’s a 13-year-old ninja girl accompanying a Japanese squad of agents(?) to Oslo, Norway, where warp gates are sending big vehicles flying across town. Something something Nicola Tesla. This anime is almost as bad as Ex Arm, expect at least there was some semblence of charm to some of these characters. The only reason to keep watching this would be to see just how bad it gets.
More bad 3D! Although considerably less bad here than Tesla Note.
Something past event where only one person survived, aliens/demons now roam around on some sort of shadow plane, and a team of suited-up teens are helping getting rid of them (why and as part of what sort of organization is still unclear). Protag-kun is late to a field trip, somehow steps into this shadow plane and gets caught up in the fight, and in the middle of it stumbles upon a suit of his own, although one possessed by an Oni?
They didn’t really explain much in the first episode, so the What’s and Why’s are all still very unclear. It did have some passable fight scenes, and notably the best spoken English I’ve seen in an anime in a long time, although it’s very brief and seemingly by some random side character for no good reason??
I don’t know, we’re going to skip this one, but I will keep an eye out for if the score improves from its current 5.5 as the series progresses or not.
TW: blood, gore
This is a bit of a departure from the usual intention of “no series that require previous knowledge”, as this shouldn’t require knowledge of earlier entries in the IP its based on, but from what I hear it’s much more of an enjoyable watch and makes more sense if you have seen the main series this is supposedly rebooting, and the original visual novel.
Regardless, the first episode is very in-media-res as we’re thrusted into what seems like the final showdown between Japanese forces and the alien Betas that are in progress of taking over the world. The aliens in question are of course rendered in bad 3D, but there seems to be some interesting classifications between different “tiers” of them, Laser-class being a favourite of ours.
A lot of death and an unwinnable battle pretty much sums up the first episode. I’ve seen the second episode as well, and it is completely different from the first which plays more like a standalone ‘final fight’ sequence than a part of what follows after.
Not sure whether to recommend or not. There is apparently a large fan base around the IP, but this first episode didn’t do a good job of selling it to us.
We’ve been through a lot of trash so far during this marathon, but now it is time to just sit back and enjoy some of the damn finest animation that have ever been animated.
I am going to be overselling Komi Can’t Communicate HARD, so if you just want to form your own opinion on it first, just skip the rest of my writeup for this episode and immediately go watch the NovaWorks fansub version of this, specifically using the “mvp” video player. This is also on Netflix but the subtitles there is terrible, while the NovaWorks fansub is one of the best subtitles I HAVE EVER SEEN.
Ok, now skip to the next anime unless you want to read me gushing about and spoiling parts of this!
*cracks knuckles* You’ve been warned.
Komi Can’t Communicate is a popular comedy manga, with over 320 chapters published as of writing. I read maybe 50 of those chapters some time ago, so I had some idea as to why fans had been both very excited to see their favourite manga animated, but also dreading a potentially bad interpretation that doesn’t translate well into animation (which has been the case for so many other adaptations before it). The manga plays really well with the medium that it is in, so getting an animated version that equally plays into animation itself felt like asking too much. Because, really, why would they go through so much trouble?
I’m happy to report that, at least for the first episode, they fucking nailed it.
The artstyle? On point.
Animation? All of it.
Music and sound? A joy to listen to.
I would give examples of sound design and music, which is ALSO on point, but that doesn’t translate well into text so I’ll leave it for you to hear it for yourselves. I would’ve linked the incredible opening to give some example, but it’s so well incorporated into the first episode itself that I’d recommend seeing it there first!
All of this said, I hope it’s not super shocking that I’d already watched this first episode like 5 times before the marathon started. There are so many more examples I could go through but I‘m also not even halfway through the summaries yet so lets get on with it…
(Just watch Komi Can’t Communicate. Please.)
Another fantastic anime, for multiple reasons.
First of all, it being a fantasy anime that isn’t in any way an isekai already makes it stand out — it has a lot more in common with things like the Grimm fairy tales. It’s also a Wit Studio project, which often has great implications to visuals and overall production values (and so far this hasn’t been an exception!)
First episode is a equally heartwarming and heartwrenching introduction to Prince Bojji, the first prince and planned inheriter of the throne in the kingdom of Bosse. I kind of want to stop there explaining the story and the character right there, as the way they reveal things in the two episodes I’ve seen so far feels very intentional and worked well. I will however say that I’m glad to see this sort of character get center stage in an anime, and hopeful in where the story takes him.
Just prepare for a series whose style probably will remind you of things like Ghibli and Ni no Kuni more than anything else, and stick through to the end of the first episode at least. I’m for sure going to be watching this all the way through.
A father-daugther team live in one of humanity’s many underground communities, and live their days as fairly successful miners. 9-year-old college graduate Memanpu wants to go outside the colony into the dangerous Kaijuu-infested Labyrinth to find a place she’s seen in her dreams, but her dad Gagumber won’t let her. She’s just a kid after all!
Amazing animation, great characters, just go see it, it’s fun but be warned: it seems to have potential for some Made in Abyss-levels of dark.
I don’t really want to write more. The less you know the better! Go see it!
Oh boy, it’s Isekai time!
Starting us off is the second longest title name of the season, where, well, you can read the premise yourself — the worlds best assassin gets reincarnated! But first we have to see just how good of an assassin he was in his old life. A gruff but chiseled old man is on his final mission before retirement, when something suddenly goes very wrong…
Oh, but the episode opens up with um, an auction where young girls are sold off. They of course have no other way to show how disgusting and evil the nobels of the other world is, the usual stuff… sigh.
If you’ve seen other Isekai, you know pretty much what to expect in terms of quality. Seems like a decent twist o nthe usual tropes, some of us might give it a go.
Where to begin…
The most obviously ecchi series we watched this season, that’s for sure! Opens with plenty of sideboob, but calms down with that for most of the remainder of the episode. Later on it proceeds to rehash the tired trope of “oh this creature is big and bulky and strong-looking but also female eeeeewwwww”.
It’s also very non-stop in its pacing, yet not much happened beyond Protag-kun getting Isekai’d, getting powers, and learning a bit about the power system. It felt like we’ve seen this plenty of times in the past but this being a worse version, and the only thing we know we can “look forward to” are typical ecchi harem tropes and “oh no protag-kun is a loner but he’ll get strong on his own and can get revenge on his jerk classmates later(?)”.
All in all felt very uninspiring, and most of us will Pass on this.
If you don’t want a lot of real world in your Isekai, then The Faraway Paladin should have you covered as the Isekai part is frankly more of a footnote than anything else. You’ll mostly just get some “that’s a weird phrase you’re using” comments from the rest of the cast.
Will gets reincarnated as a baby into a fantasy world, where he is greeted by three undead: Mary the Mummy, Blood the Skeleton, and Gus the Ghost. They raise him like one of their own, but why are they in a runied city? Where are all the humans? There are lots of questions raised in the first episode, but not a lot of answers.
This is another series where I’m caught up on the manga, and I can definitely see this being a show that struggles to keep your attention in the beginning as there is a lot of slow world building the first few episodes.
Keep with it though, and I think you’ll be able to enjoy the ride.
Ice hockey anime!
…but what if they’re also Idols?
We were hoping for a good pure sports anime as it’s the only one of the season, but then they started dancing on the ice!
At least it’s not a “oh we have an ice hockey club in school” type of series, but instead they’re actively pursuing Ice Hockey outside of school themselves, and are being trained by a former pro who is seeking to revitalize the sport.
It’s decent, but frankly the series mostly just left people wanting an embroidery anime instead (watch the episode to see why).
The only short episode of the season, with a whopping 3 minutes of runtime.
It’s an anime exploring different aspects of ASMR. Really not sure what else to say.
Wear headphones for the full experience!
Idol(tm) the anime!
We’re thrown into the regional finals of a nationwide Idol contest, following Suzune Miyama in the North Kanto block as she prepares for her big moment.
Our group has already declared the Hokkaido representative Best Girl and that she needs to win the entire thing, and we will not answer any questions regarding this topic.
Over all it’s visually beautiful, and the one song they repeated sounded nice. Looking forward to see where they take the series after the ending of the first episode. A big Maybe.
Igarashi Futaba just wants to succeed as a salesperson, but her annoying senpai, the towering Takeda Harumi is so increadibly annoying!!!
…but also the sweetest and most supportive guy ever?
This was just fun and wholesome, and a welcome change with some adults instead of just highschool kids. The OP (played at the end of the first episode) is also INCREDIBLE and deserves a watch on its own even if you don’t pick up the series. Supporting cast all seem lovable, except for the one guy doing the equivalent of posting unsolicited pictures of coworkers in the general slack channel. :/
That aside, a definite Must Watch if you’re looking for a comedy or romcom.
In early 1920’s (Taisho era), Tamahiko Shima loses his mother and cripples his dominant arm following an accident, which leads to him being shunned by his wealthy family and sent out to live alone in the mountains.
Unbeknownst to him, his father also buys him a bride (“so someone will at least take care of him while he’s out there being useless to the family”). As the hardworking and innocent Yuzuki appears and starts to take care of Tamahiko, we follow the two of them as they get to know eachother and figure out what their life will be going forward.
It seems to be just cute, and they’re obviously both very young. There’s thankfully no lewdness yet, apart from the boy’s mind getting ahead of himself for a second, but I also wouldn’t be surprised of there was something appearing later in the series… Tread carefully.
Historical anime, retelling the tales of the Heike/Taira clan that once held immense power in Japan. We follow Biwa, a young girl who gets taken in by the eldest son of the clan leader after hearing that their clan struck down her father unjustly. Both he (Shigemori) and Biwa turns out to each have a special eye; Shigemori’s can see the lingering souls of the dead, while Biwa’s can see the future, and tells of having foreseen the downfall of the Heike clan.
I’ve seen a lot of people saying that this looks like “watercolour painting coming to life”, and its style will probably remind you of Princess Kaguya more than anything else. Regardless, it’s beautifully animated, and will probably be the anime of the season for a lot of people.
The stories this is based on is apparently very commonly retold in japanese schools, so there is a lot of context that we as a western audience maybe won’t really understand, but from what I’ve seen so far it’s still very much an enjoyable watch. A Must See.
Federal Republic of Zirnitra (aka Not Sovjet) and United Kingdom of Arnack (aka Not US) are in the middle of the space race, and are frantically trying to be the first nation to get humans to space. Zirnitra has already successfully sent a dog to space, and are desperate to keep their lead going forward. To that end, they’ve started an experiment where they will use a vampire — Irina Luminesk — to test the rocket before sending humans up there. After all, she’s not human, so it doesn’t Count. (I’m sorry)
A cosmonaut candidate reserve, Lev Leps, is tasked with the mission of training Irina to be ready for launch in two months time, and the series follow their interactions, and it quickly becomes apparent that they both are fascinated by and strive to get closer to the moon, no matter what.
The anime seems a bit slow, and a bit too fascinated with Irina’s mouth at times, but has a nice and clean visual style with likeable (and unlikeable) characters. I’ll for sure keep watching, and can’t wait to see where it ends up.
Yet another anime this season that is based on a very popular manga.
Cool-boy-kun spends his days watching sports and staying up late with his friends in Shibuya, but he is getting bored and worried about where this lifestyle will lead.
Inspired by an art assignment in class, he reluctantly decides that art is something he wants to pursue. But how will he afford going to art school? Is it even realistic to pursue a career in art at all?
We were a bit split on this one; some loved it, others thought it was just okay. Most will probably give it a few more episodes at least, and right now that’s what I would recommend as well. Has potential.
The art club senpai and sensei are my favourite characters so far.
Yeah, this is one mouthful of a title!
If you saw the other Slow Life anime last season, you know pretty much what to expect, except this actually has things happening and some danger in it!
Red was once a part of the Hero’s party, but was after a while deemed not fit to keep travelling with them. Instead he decided to move someplace quiet and live a relaxed life there, gathering herbs and materials for the local adventuring guild, getting by one day at a time. The local townsfolk are however starting to suspect that he isn’t just your average D-rank adventurer…
Oh yeah, and he’s the Hero’s big brother. That will definitely not have any bearing on the story what-so-ever, I’m sure.
A soft recommendation from me, if you’re looking for something a bit slower paced.
A surprisingly decent comedy about a Vampire Hunter, Ronaldo, and a Vampire, Draluc, that reluctantly start living together after an accident.
It’s definitely more towards the “Trash” side of the scale, but we did laugh a lot at the cheap jokes… …though it was also 2am at this point of the marathon, so that might’ve contributed.
Regardless, I’d definitely recommend giving it a go if you’re just looking for something very lighthearted, fun, and kid friendly.
A card game anime! Mixed media project, a CCG of the same name will/has apparently released in October as well. It’s essentially Magic the Gathering rules with some modification, and I wish they would’ve explained it like that instead of having 90 % of the first episode essentially be a tutorial on how to play, and after all that even I, a game designer, am still not sure how it plays.
Some edgy born-yesterday boy with a mysterious past as protagonist(?). It’s all very unclear. The card battle visuals were decent if not even good, but they lost us with the explaining-the-game part so much that I barely remember what happened story-wise.
Final anime of the marathon!
TW: Blood, gore.
The Randolph syndrome is spreading amongst people, leading to madness and unawakening sleep. But where did it originate?
Protag-kun (“Daniel”, which was funny because we still had two Daniel watching by this point) is inspired by an ad to join the quest to get to the bottom of this mystery. What he doesn’t know is that the organization already has an idea of where it comes from; a gaping hole in Antarctica that leads to the classified underground world of Asylum. Different organizations are based around the entrance, and send waves of people inside in an attempt to bring back some of the potential treasures that only can be found there.
A lot of “we’re all fucked up here”, teasing the new guy, the new guy has hidden powers and is actually powerful, etc etc. It’s not really doing anything new or special that you haven’t seen before.
I’m going to watch an episode or two more just for morbid curiosity, but as far as recommendations go it’s a Pass.
THERE WE GO. By FAR the longest summary of a Seasonal Anime Marathon I’ve done so far. (much of it thanks to Komi haha)
But I won’t force you to read much more; it’s time to list some of the recommendations of the season:
- Komi Can’t Communicate
- Ranking of Kings
- Takt Op. Destiny
- Heike Monogatari
- My Senpai is Annoying
- Blue Period
- Faraway Paladin
- Platinum End
- Selection Project
- Tsuki to Laika to Nosferatu
- The Vampire Dies in No Time
BASED ON GREAT MANGA BUT HASN’T PROVED ITSELF YET:
- The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window
- that assassin isekai
- Rumble Garanndoll
- Taisho Maiden Fairytale
And there we go! Some great and plenty of good or potential greats this season! Let me know if you found this helpful in finding which series to watch, and also write what you do end up watching!
Until next time!