Maybe it’s called “Fall” ’cause you watch anime until you collapse.
The Fall 2019 season is jam-packed with new series, which means I watched a small mountain of premieres. Some soared, some wobbled, and some fell flat on their faces. And I’m here to tell you all about it… in a paragraph or less.
But hey, don’t worry! If you’d like to hear more in-depth thoughts from my teammates and me, I’ve also linked to the full premiere reviews over at AniFem. Hit the jump for hot takes and hotlinks alike.
- Ascendance of a Bookworm: A grounded lady-led isekai with an upbeat tone, driven protagonist, and undercurrents of capitalist and social critique. I’m now three volumes into the light novel series and I like it a little more with each chapter. The anime has done a nice job of capturing the overall tone and feel of both the character and the world, so I’m looking forward to seeing how they adapt Myne’s adventures going forward.
- Babylon: A Serious Political Sci-Fi Drama For Grown-Ups. Which is to say it’s a little up its own ass with monologues about justice and morality, but is also a well-crafted thriller with ample twists and turns. I wouldn’t say I love it (and woof, does it have some potentially nasty misogynistic undercurrents), but I am intrigued to see where it’s going.
- Cautious Hero: The Hero is Overpowered but Overly Cautious: An isekai parody with a fantastic sense of comedic timing and a pair of “heroes” who both kinda suck in very entertaining and endearing ways. I’m getting powerful Slayers vibes from this one, so I dearly hope it can maintain that charm and energy in the coming weeks.
- NO GUNS LIFE: A noir cyberpunk action series about a man with a gun for a head who takes long drags from a cigarette and rasps lines about how he don’t trust nobody to touch his trigger WITH TOTAL SERIOUSNESS. Also he’s got a soft heart and is almost definitely going to be adopting some abused and exploited teenagers soon. This premiere was the perfect blend of campy and sincere and I love it to pieces. Can’t wait to watch more.
- Outburst Dreamer Boys: The new girl in town finds herself adopted by the school’s dorkiest boys because they think she might have superpowers. It’s the kind of bright, warm, relentlessly silly comedy that is 100% in my wheelhouse. I look forward to hanging out with these good good goofballs in the coming weeks.
- Stars Align: What looks like a light-hearted sports show about a tennis team in danger of being disbanded gradually turns into a character drama about economic struggles and abuse. The animation is exquisitely expressive and the characters well-defined, with plenty of hints for future development. If you can handle the content warnings, this is looking to be a must-watch.
On the Fence
- Case File nº221: Kabukicho: Half of the episode was buckwild over-the-top detective-show parody nonsense and the other half was absolutely heinous levels of queerphobia. Normally this would be an automatic drop for me, but the director and writer both have a history of challenging tropes and stereotypes in their other works. I’m going to give it, like, half another episode to show me something that isn’t relentlessly mean-spirited. If it can’t, it goes at the very bottom of the dumpster.
- Special 7: Special Crime Unit Investigation: I’m generally a fan of supernatural crime series and I really dig Special 7‘s art style and overall direction. The actual content of that story has thus far been pretty unoriginal (it’s heavily steeped in the Ideal Cop/Cynical Cop dynamic), but I enjoy the characters enough that I’ll stick around to see if it can hook me.
Not Bad, But Probably Not For Me
- Blade of the Immortal: This Edo-era Japanese historical fantasy looks real pretty, but it’s also relentlessly grimdark and bloody, featuring a whole lot of sensationalized violence towards women. If I find out the original (critically acclaimed) manga has a hopeful ending, I might stick it out, but I don’t have the energy for a show about suffering right now.
- Welcome to Demon School! Iruma-kun: A cute, light supernatural school comedy about a human boy who gets bought (well, adopted) by a demon. The humor didn’t really click for me personally, so it’s not one I’m biting at the bit to come back to. It’s still worth a try, though. You might find it funnier than I did.
- Ahiru no Sora: All I want is a bright, energetic, realistic basketball anime. But noooo, I’m stuck with this show about a bunch of unpleasant ratbags who like to peep on the girls’ locker room and try to steal their bras. Sports fan RAAAAGE!
- Didn’t I Say to Make My Abilities Average in the Next Life?: Could have been a cute fantasy about gals going on adventures if the characters and jokes weren’t copy/pasted wholesale from a million other series. If I’d been playing a drinking game where I took a shot every time something cliche and tropey happened, I’d have been dead by the end of the first episode. Think I’ll stick to the two isekai LN adaptations that have a spark of originality and depth to them, thanks.
- Z/X Code Reunion: I only watched this one because I’d signed on to write the premiere review. It’s another one with a potentially fun premise (and yuri undertones!), but it’s so damn calculated you can practically hear the marketing execs chortling in the background. Hard pass.
Fellow AniFem staffer Chiaki quite liked the first episode of Assassins Pride, but my watch list is already pretty long and the premise feels like it could break all kinds of bad. I’m gonna wait and see what she says after three episodes before dipping my toes into this one.
Odds are also semi-high I’ll check out the new Fate anime since it stars Magnificent Bastard Gilgamesh, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet.
Sequels and Carryovers
CHIHAYAFURUUUUUUU… hasn’t aired yet, but it will soon! So hype to cry over card games again.
I’m also planning to keep up with Radiant, My Hero Academia, and probably Kono Oto Tomare. Like I said, it’s a busy season.
If you thought some off-the-cuff initial thoughts were fun to read, you should see what my AniFem colleagues and our contributors can do. Help support them by becoming an AniFem patron today!