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12 First Episode Reviews for the Fall Anime Season

What are you adding to your queue?

 

Fall anime lineup

So.

The anime fall season has started.

And I’m still working through the series I was watching over the summer.

via GIPHY

The fall season has a stacked lineup of anime series and I spent the weekend watching the first episode for the shows I was interested in. I’ll give you a breakdown of what the shows are, where to watch, and my thoughts on each episode.

Full disclosure: not every anime series I wanna check out has aired yet, as Komi Can’t Communicate won’t be out until October 21st on Netflix (as an example).

  • takt op.Destiny

Where to watch: Crunchyroll

Synopsis: Music is the light that illuminates people’s hearts, and that “light” was suddenly taken from the world. The world changed the night the black “Kuroya Meteorite” fell. Grotesque monsters known as D2 emerged from the meteorite and began to overrun the land and people. As the D2 were drawn to melodies people played, eventually “music” itself became taboo.

However, those who opposed the monsters appeared. They are the “Musicart,” girls who draw power from music. They possess the great operas and musical scores of human history and use them to defeat the D2. With them are the “Conductors” who lead the girls.

The year is 2047. The United States has been devastated by the struggle against the D2. Takt the Conductor and Destiny the Musicart travel together to New York. In a world without music, Takt longs for it. Meanwhile, Musicart Destiny hopes to wipe out the D2. Will the melody they produce together be one of joy or despair?

Thoughts: There isn’t much I can think of to say about this series besides it being beautiful. The art, and the music that accompanies it, are a joy to watch, coupled with cool fight scenes and character interactions that remind me of an almost Cowboy Bebop ragtag group sort of feel as they all travel across America to get to New York. There’s obviously something more happening beneath the surface, hints of there being a, potentially, tragic reason for the connection between Takt and Destiny (via the opening and blips of a flashback), but for now, it’s a road trip with a disaster musician, his pancake eating Musicart, and the responsible driver trying to keep everything together.

Poor, poor Anna.

  • Sakugan

Where to watch: Crunchyroll

Synopsis: In the distant future, humankind lives shoulder-to-shoulder in a cramped “Colony” divided by bedrock. Outside the colony extends a dangerous undeveloped area known as “The Labyrinth.” Those who risk their lives to explore the Labyrinth and mark undeveloped areas are known as “Markers.” Memempu is a young girl who wants to become a Marker, and Gagumber is a man who quit being a Marker. This rag-tag father and daughter team is about to take on the Labyrinth! “If there is no path, then dig one!”

Thoughts: This is me cheating because I’ve already reviewed this. The series screams “single dad trying his best” and I’m kinda a sucker for parent/child heartfelt headbutting when you know they both are trying to make the best of the situation they’ve been thrown into. You kinda end up relating to both father (Gagumber) and daughter (Memempu), and I expect that they will, eventually, learn from each other – via mech battles, comedic hijinks, and tugging at your heartstrings, of course.

  • The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window

Where to watch: Crunchyroll

Synopsis: Mikado Kousuke, a young man working at a bookshop who seems normal at first glance is actually the owner of a peculiar ability to see eerie things. One day, Hiyakawa Rihito appears in the shop where Mikado works. Hiyakawa declares that it must be destiny as the job he has come to do is none other than an exorcism!

Thoughts: Lord I wanted to like this more than I did because I would adore a supernatural, gay, Paranormal Investigators-like series. This could’ve easily been a fun anime where “I can see ghosts but don’t wanna” meets “the best way to exorcise ghosts is through you” but, as it stands, the pacing is way too fast. There are interesting parts that I wanted the series to take its time with, but Mikado and Hiyakawa meet in mere minutes and just… set off to exorcise ghosts. I wanted more time to get to know the two, especially since Mikado is absolutely terrified of ghosts but is suddenly satiated, um, literally, since Hiyakawa’s exorcisms are extremely pleasurable to him. 

I found myself wanting the series to slow down and take its time with its premise. Maybe it does in later episodes, but nothing about it made me want to watch more.

  • Mieruko-chan

Where to watch: Funimation

Synopsis: She can see dead people… she just chooses to ignore them. That’s Miko’s plan, anyway, but it doesn’t seem to be working for her in this love letter to the horror genre that will send shivers down your spine—and occasionally tickle your funny bone.

Thoughts: You know how you hear something in your house and you ask, “Cat or ghost,” then decide “cat” so you don’t have to think about the alternative? That’s this series. Mieruko discovers that she can see ghosts, but instead of acknowledging them, she decides to NOT f*ck around and find out by ignoring them. The series has some pretty effective scares due to the ghost designs and the fact that they show up whenever they feel like it. The comedic bits come from Mieruko staring those apparitions down until they finally slink away from her so she can go about her day.

I’m assuming that can only last for so long, though, but for now, I’m enjoying the image of terrifying ghosts wandering off like dejected puppies when a schoolgirl leaves them on read.

  • Ranking of Kings

Where to watch: Funimation

Synopsis: Unable to hear, speak, or wield a sword, Prince Bojji doesn’t seem like a typical heir to the throne—and his kingdom agrees. But his fateful encounter with Kage, a shadow on the ground, gives him his first true friend. The two set off on a grand adventure and, together, form a bond that can overcome any obstacle… even being king.

CW: Ableism

Thoughts: Protect.

Prince Bojji.

At all cost.

This series, with its storybook art style and lovable protagonist, will make you cheer for Bojji’s triumphs and angrily hiss at everyone who keeps counting him out. It’s really upsetting to watch this adorable prince be mocked by the entire kingdom, especially since they all assume he isn’t aware of what they say about him because of his disabilities. This is one of those series where you’re just waiting for the prince to show what he’s capable of, and to my delight, it actually doesn’t take long to reach that point. Prince Bojji already knows that the odds are stacked against him, and he knows that everyone thinks very little of him, but you get the sense that he’s figured out how to use that to his advantage.

He’s gonna be the best king there is, and it doesn’t matter if the folks around him don’t believe it, because he believes it.

  • My Senpai is Annoying

Where to watch: Funimation

Synopsis: Being seen as a full-fledged businesswoman isn’t easy for Futaba Igarashi when her senpai, Harumi, treats her like a kid. Days for her are never typical, at work or outside of it, with all the antics going on in her life. As mishaps ensue, she’ll find herself growing closer with her loudmouth senpai. Maybe Futaba feels more than she lets on, but one thing’s for sure: she’s still annoyed!

Thoughts: Time for your fall anime romcom to snuggle under a blanket with hot cocoa! Cute and tiny girl tries to prove herself as a salesperson who is worthy of respect despite the fact that everyone treats her like a child because of her size. Her obvious love interest (neither realizes it, but they will) is a large, lovable bear of a senpai who annoys the heck out of her. It takes about five seconds to see the chemistry between them as they continue to help each other out around the office, but with him treating her like a kid to protect, she’s gonna have her work cut out for her – you know, once she realizes that she’s in love. 

This could very well be the fluffy anime of fall 2021 depending on where the series goes from here.

  • The Vampire Dies in No Time

Where to watch: Funimation

Synopsis: Legendary vampire hunter Ronaldo finds an unlikely (and unwilling) ally in Draluc, the world’s weakest vampire who turns to dust at the slightest attack. Together they’re in for more hilarious misadventures than you can shake a stake at, including enemy vampires, ax-wielding editors, and other pains in the neck.

Thoughts: Draluc is the most feared vampire to ever vampire… as long as you don’t step on his foot and instantly turn him into sand. Revered vampire hunter, Ronaldo, finds out rather quickly that Draluc, well, “Dies in No Time,” leading to all sorts of hijinks between the two. If you’re looking for a cute comedy this fall with hilarious gags and major plot beats like “vampire is so weak that blood is too rich for his stomach” then this is the series for you. 

Also? There’s an armadillo named John. Because who needs a black cat as a familiar when you can have an armadillo named John?

  • Muteking the Dancing Hero

Where to watch: Funimation

Synopsis: Anything can happen in Neo San Francisco: monster attacks, retro-future tech, town-thumping tunes! When these monsters threaten to harsh the vibe of this city, DJ pumps up the jams to transform Muteki into Muteking, the dancing hero. The invaders can’t keep up when this superhero hits the dance floor. The classic anime retakes the stage!

Thoughts: WTF IS THIS SHOW?!

Do I… like it?

I think I like it?!

Basically, after a classic transformation sequence, Muteki becomes a dancing hero who uses the power of music, dancing, and rollerskating to defeat the evils of too many Apple product launches to keep up with?

Or something? 

  • Visual Prison

Where to watch: Funimation

Synopsis: Beautiful immortals have gathered in Harajuku to compete for a grand prize: Immense power! For years now the artists behind worldly culture and music have secretly been vampires, including those who produce Visual Kei. Now, they perform their most beautiful songs in the hallowed grounds of the Prison under the Scarlet Moon.

Thoughts: My official pick for “god I love anime, because only in anime can you get THIS.” If you were a fan of whatever the hell Hypnosis Mic: Division Rap Battle: Rhyme Anima was where attractive crews battled it out via music since all weapons are outlawed, then you are gonna DIE while watching this series. Vampires are, apparently, forming Visual Kei groups (who are clearly inspired by real-life Japanese music groups/artists) and having a battle of the bands in Harajuku under the blood-red moon to be granted power. Our main character, Ange Yuki, is so in awe of their performance that he just… becomes a half-vampire? And finds out he can sing? Because that’s just what happens when you’re… around singing vampires?!

I dunno, I’m here for it, and the costume porn, and the ridiculously catchy music paired with “will they, won’t they” pretty boy vibes.

  • Blue Period

Where to watch: Netflix

Synopsis: Blue Period follows the story of Yatora Yaguchi, a popular student who, despite having everything, feels nothing but emptiness inside of him. However, looking at a painting made him realize his love for art. He puts every emotion in him to excel at painting and get selected in Tokyo University of the Arts.

Thoughts: A slice-of-life anime series that is bound to make you feel things, especially if you’re a creative. Yatora appears to be good at everything when, really, he’s just a hard worker who is going through the motions of what is expected of him. That changes when he creates a blue painting for art class, feeling a spark he hasn’t felt before. But is there a reason to create art if you can’t make a living out of it? Is there a reason to pursue making a living out of it when your chances are so low?

Ugh.

This is the series that’s gonna call me out in each and every episode and I hate it (read: not emotionally ready for it).

  • Platinum End

Where to watch: Funimation and Crunchyroll

Synopsis: When life becomes too much for Mirai to bear and he attempts taking his own life, he’s saved by Nasse, a guardian angel who offers him a chance at becoming the new god. To do so, he must face off against 12 other candidates within 999 days. Mirai, who was once at rock bottom, now finds himself with supernatural powers in a battle royale for the highest title.

CW: Suicide

Thoughts: If you’re looking for a series that’s going to touch on heavy issues, take dark turns, and make you side-eye the idea of heavenly angels, this is the anime for you. The main character, Mirai, is grappling with how to live his life, having lost his parents, leading to him live with his abusive relatives. To him, suicide is the only answer, but the angel on his shoulder (literally) gives him another option: straight-up murder. There’s definitely a catch to this newfound power Mirai has been given, especially since his angel (Nasse) is playing up this cute, innocent angle while encouraging him to kill his abusers, oh, and there’s something about fighting to become the next god? That she just… forgot to be upfront about? 

Yeah no, she gives me major Kyubey vibes, but it’s already too late for Mirai to turn back.

  • Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Mugen Train Arc

Where to watch: Funimation and Crunchyroll

Synopsis: A seven-episode arc that adapts the popular film with an original episode, 70 news scenes, new music tracks, episode previews, and a new theme song. It will all connect the Tanjiro Kamado, Unwavering Resolve Arc with the Entertainment District Arc, featuring a never-before-seen original episode of Kyojuro Rengoku taking on a new mission on the way to the Mugen Train.

Thoughts: As a fan of the movie, I’m excited about seeing it fleshed out more, as there were definitely plot beats that could’ve been explored in greater detail. That’s not to say the movie did a bad job, I think the movie hit all the key parts it needed to, but the thought of getting more time with Rengoku, with this arc’s villains, and Tanjiro grappling with that heartbreaking dream makes for an interesting revisit on the Mugen Train.

And that’s it! What anime are you watching this season? Any thoughts on the series laid out in this list? More importantly, since there are still fall anime that haven’t aired yet, what series are you looking forward to?

(Image: Funimation/Crunchyroll/Netflix)

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Briana (she/her - bisexual) is trying her best to cosplay as a responsible adult. Her writing tends to focus on the importance of representation, whether it’s through her multiple book series or the pieces she writes. After de-transforming from her magical girl state, she indulges in an ever-growing pile of manga, marathons too much anime, and dedicates an embarrassing amount of time to her Animal Crossing pumpkin patch (it's Halloween forever, deal with it Nook)