Welcome to the Fall 2019 Seasonal Round-Up for anime! As with the last season, I’ve added at least double the number of shows that I should have, and will almost certainly drop at least a third of them. But I wouldn’t be a proper anime fan if I didn’t overload myself with seasonal content because only true fans make sure their backlog never ever shrinks.
I’m going to follow the same format that I had for the Summer 2019 Round-Up. I’ll watch and write a quick synopsis of what I saw and how likely I am to continue watching it; newest additions go to the top since I’ll be updating this post as I go. Unsurprisingly, I was wrong about a lot of the shows from Summer 2019 as I talked about in the Retrospective. I expect to be just as wrong this time. Be sure to let me know what your top picks are for the fall, especially if I missed any because I definitely need more shows to watch.
Case File nº221: Kabukicho
Welcome to anime’s rather flamboyant take on the world of Holmes and Watson. Surprisingly, I mean that in a good way. While a lot of the core of who Sherlock and Watson are is preserved, they take a lot of liberty with the world and characters to make it feel fresh and new. It works.
Sherlock has always had an “out there” personality. What easier way to sell a person with seemingly inhuman abilities than to make him as abnormal as possible? Once again, Sherlock lives a life filled with quirky behavior, but is still a fantastic detective.
One element I particularly enjoy about this take is the competition aspect. Sherlock isn’t simply living in a home with Watson and cared for by Mrs. Hudson. He lives in a compound with many detectives, and contracts are brought in as larger bounties with several detectives competing for the prize money. It’s a fresh twist that brings a lot of fun interaction between detectives.
Likelihood to Finish: Strong. I’m really liking this one.
There are a lot of sequels airing this season, but aside from this one and We Never Learn, I have not seen the beginnings of any of the other sequels. This is one that I’ve been looking forward to all year (I was especially sad when it needed to be delayed).
Chihayafuru is a large pill to swallow. Seasons 1 and 2 contain an astounding fifty episodes, so choosing to try this one is a bit of a commitment. I don’t advocate for a ton of really long shows like this one (mostly because I haven’t seen a lot of them), but I do recommend at least trying this out. It’s a bit out there with a rather obscure sport (at least here in the U.S.), but the characters are really interesting to watch. Also, once you start understanding what is happening, Karuta is a pretty fun sport to watch.
The pilot is a lot of recap and not a lot of new stuff, but that’s unsurprising since there is so much material that has been covered so far. They do try to keep the feedback fresh and to the point so that it doesn’t feel like just some scenes you’ve already seen, so at least it has that going for it. I’m looking forward to the rest of the season.
Likelihood to Finish: Almost 100%
No Guns Life
This is definitely one of the more out there directions for an anime. A major war has ended and a lot of people have taken to the concept of augmenting their bodies with mechanical parts, some much more drastic than others. Our protagonist is on the drastic side, having a had that has been replaced with a revolver. You read that correctly.
This anime has sort of an underground noire feeling to it. With the ability to augment bodies, of course there is going to be a black market for parts and augmentations considered too extreme. At the head of it all seems to be a large corporation that made it’s original money from war profits.
Again, it’s all very strange to behold, but much to my surprise, I ended up enjoying what I saw. There’s real promise here.
Likelihood to Finish: 3.5/5
I’m not quite sure how to digest this particular pilot. Part of it felt like a contradiction and a lot of the emotional moments fell flat.
The premise is that an assassin has been assigned to assess the potential of a young woman. If she shows no potential, rather than watch her embarrass herself with vain attempts at becoming something she isn’t (plus a few other reasons), he will kill her; this is what he calls his “assassin’s pride.” It doesn’t take much to change his mind, though, despite the fact that nothing about her potential has changed.
Like I said, a lot of the emotional moments were a lot less impactful than the drama seemed to be aiming for. It did little to ease us in, instead fully inundating the audience with all of our protagonists problems, worries and emotions early and often. Having had very little time with the characters, it was hard to connect with any of it.
The premise was simple enough (if not a little quirky), so I’ll continue to watch, but I’m not confident I will finish it at this point.
Likelihood to Finish: Low
Blade of the Immortal
This anime is definitely the darkest series I’ve tried so far from Fall 2019. It even contains a proper violence, language and nudity warning before the episode starts, a first for me in any anime. Of course, none of that automatically makes it a good anime. The story still has to be good.
If I had to summon my feelings on the pilot into one word, it would be “intrigued.” The story is undeniably dark. The pilot contains an excess of everything in the warning aside from the nudity. It’s gritty, gory, and serious in it’s tone; based simply on the pilot, don’t expect a lot of humor out of this one. Like I said, I’m interested to see where this one goes. It left an impression that leans more good than bad, and definitely isn’t currently in the realm of shows I will likely drop.
Just about the only thing I’d like to see a little more of is clarity for the plot and progression. Some of the transitions were oddly paced in a way that made it hard to tell if we were seeing reality or a fantasy of one of the characters.
Likelihood to Finish: I’m optimistic if I can handle the tone it sets.
Kandagawa Jet Girls
Imagine that Fast & Furious was about jet ski racing instead of car racing. Also, instead of burly dudes, it’s beautiful (and buxom) anime girls. That’s this show in a nutshell, guns and everything (minus the underground racing element of Fast & Furious…so far).
Make no mistake, this is a PLOT show first, and a plot show second. And as far as ecchi shows go, this one isn’t half bad. They put enough effort into the story to make it fairly interesting so that you aren’t just sitting around waiting for more eye candy to show up.
My biggest complaint is with the weird jump between 2D and 3D models for the races. It’s not blatantly obvious, but it’s slightly jarring on occasion. We’ll have to see how heavily it’s relied upon as the season goes to see if it’s worth docking points over.
Likelihood to Finish: 50/50 chance
Didn’t I Say to Make My Abilities Average in the Next Life?!
I have a lot of mixed feelings on this one, but I’ll start out by saying they’re mostly negative. I feel like with the inundation of Isekai anime, it has to be extra special to really be worth my time because, well, there are likely 10 other Isekai airing in the same season.
Unfortunately, this one feels like it’s going to miss the mark.
There’s just a lot in this show that isn’t really clicking with me. The humor, the premise, the action, the character designs, and the voice acting all feel fairly generic. Generally, one or two of these would be OK so long as the others are above average. Heck, even if only two or three of those is honed to perfection, it might even be OK for the others to slack off. But this one has done very little to stand out.
It’s not so bad that I feel the need to drop it immediately. However, it has to grow quickly to make it past the next two or three episodes. Based on how the pilot ended, I’m not super optimistic that will happen, but I’ll reserve my judgement until I’ve seen more.
Likelihood to Finish: F class
This is my first mystery/conspiracy/thriller cop drama of the season. The first three episodes are available simultaneously, however, I will only be discussing the pilot here.
The best way I can describe it is “actually pretty good.” I went in without any expectations, and was pleasantly surprised by what I saw. They were able to establish the characters, twist in a new mystery, and layer on some motivation and intrigue. As cops, the characters were predictably the “righteous” type, but they weren’t overbearing.
At the very least, this one left me interested (if not a little excited) to see more. Only bummer is, since the first three were released simultaneously, it will be several weeks before episode 4 premiers.
Likelihood to Finish: I have a positive outlook for this one.
Special 7: Special Crime Investigation Unit
This is another cop drama like Babylon, but unfortunately, it ranks much lower on the pilot score. Everything Babylon did right, this one is noticeably worse at.
The protagonist carries with himself a heavy sense of righteous justice, and it is a little overbearing. Common sense and caution are secondary to standing up and declaring himself the white knight for the situation, even when others are trying to bring common sense to the situation.
The story is a par for the course heist story for the pilot that is started and resolved by the end of the episode. I get that it was only meant as an introduction and means to bring the protagonist into the fold of the Special 7 Unit, but it didn’t feel like it had a ton of meaning to it. They did sprinkle in a little mystery meant to tie the villain to the protagonist, but it did little to hold my interest.
Likelihood to Finish: Doubtful, especially if we have to hear the protagonist preach justice non-stop.
Val x Love
Oh boy. Where to even begin with this one. This anime is what you get when you combine the lonely, ostracized type with the harem and fantasy types.
Our protagonist has been charged by Odin himself to fall in love with the nine Valkyrie daughters. The more they are attracted to him, the stronger they become; these Valkyrie need their strength in order to repel the demons and avert the coming destruction of the world. This strength and love are boosted through acts such as holding hands and shopping and kissing and breast groping (which one of these is not like the other?).
It’s certainly one of the more out-there premises of the season. Luckily, at least in the pilot, they work on making sure the story is still an important part of the anime, rather than just a device to keep throwing ecchi in our faces. With that kind of balance, it was actually a fairly entertaining pilot. As with all shows that choose a premise like this, we’ll have to take the wait and see approach because it really could go either way.
Likelihood to Finish: Fair to good.
We Never Learn: BOKUBEN Season 2
Welcome back to the second season of the love pentagon, a show about a tutor who has five women after him and he’s clueless about all of them (as any good harem protagonist will be). No, I’m not talking about The Quintessential Quintuplets.
The first season for this show aired back in the spring 2019 season, and gained enough traction and popularity to bring it back for a second season just a few months later. Having come off the freshly ended Quintessential Quintuplets, I originally found the first one to be a less exciting knock-off, but it quickly established its own identity and turned into something rather entertaining.
This show leans much more heavily on the wholesome side of harem, though it definitely packs fanservice. But this fanservice revolves more around misunderstandings. It’s a long running trope, but it doesn’t harm the show, really. This pilot follows in these footsteps and brings back more of what we had for season 1. If you liked season 1, I don’t think it will disappoint.
Likelihood to Finish: I liked season 1, so I’d say pretty much guaranteed.
Welcome to Demon School! Iruma-kun
This one turned out to be a lot more entertaining than the first 5 minutes led me to believe. Honestly, the show has a heavy Cartoon Network vibe, if that makes any sense. I’m not sure exactly how to describe it, but the animation and art style give me that impression.
This is the story of a boy who has is soul sold to a demon. He becomes that demon’s grandson and must attend Netherworld Demon School. Since demons in this world typically eat humans, you can understand how that would be stressful. Now he has to navigate being a human without any magical powers in a school full of powerful demons.
Like I said in the beginning, the comedy and overall story ended up being a lot funnier and entertaining than I expected, even if it is on the more childish side of things. If it can keep the same level of entertainment that it had for the pilot, it will be a good choice for “just innocent fun” Saturday anime.
Likelihood to Finish: I’d say we’re sitting at a 70% chance right now.
Null & Peta
This is an anime that I’m not sure I “get.” If I had to wager a guess, I’d describe it as a simple slice of life short about the adventures of a girl and her robot sister. They’re quick 5 minute episodes, and not a lot happens. There appears to be very little direction for it to go, though that might be the point. I would probably be better off thinking of them as sketches.
The production value seems to be quite high with fluid animation and a unique art style that I haven’t seen in any other shows this season, but there isn’t much else that grabs my attention. With short episodes like this, there needs to be some sort of subject matter than can appeal to me almost subconsciously to keep me interested. There isn’t really anything in here I can relate to quickly enough to feel satisfied for watching. I’ll definitely give it another week or two before deciding; there isn’t anything making me want to stop watching, there just simply isn’t motivation to keep me watching.
Likelihood to Finish: Fairly low
This is the first anime I’ve seen that is based on a game. I’m impressed. The premise is simple: beautiful women are literal navy battle ships and wage war. When I say literal, I mean it. They wear the guns and perform all the functionalities of various ships, including destroyers, aircraft carriers, etc. It’s wacky in a way that only a mobile game could be. But it works.
I’m not just saying that because Ishikawa, Yui is a dominating force of the American faction, playing none other than THE FREAKING USS ENTERPRISE. We got just a taste of what battling looks like, but it was a lot of fun to watch. Hopefully it’s a precursor to longer, more complex battles.
The show definitely isn’t subtle with it’s nicknames. You have the Eagles (America) and Royal Navy (Britain) vs the Sakura (Japan) and Iron Blood (Russia). If those names aren’t enough to convince you, they drop a lot of other hints such as uniforms sporting the stars and stripes, old WW symbol designs on the fighters, and other in your face representations; they aren’t trying to hide it. Surprisingly, Japan is on the side of the apparent bad guys (who even call themselves “Red Axis”). But the lack of subtly doesn’t detract from what is obviously meant as simply fun eye candy.
Likelihood to Finish: Pretty much guaranteed
High School Prodigies Have It Easy Even In Another World
Maybe they should change the name of anime to isekai. Because I feel like I’m watching an unusually high number of isekai shows this season. Thankfully, so far, they seem to all be putting a fairly unique twist on it rather than following by-the-book versions.
In this show, we have seven world renown high school prodigies, each with a unique skill department (combat, economics, politics, technology, medicine, etc) at their command. The pilot keeps it a mystery exactly how they were summoned to another world, but it introduces us to the main cast as well as a few of the locals.
There isn’t a lot that happened, but this pilot did a good job to whet my appetite for what is to come. As long as it’s done correctly, a introduction episode is a great way to bring us into the world, and that’s basically what happened here. The characters are fun and their new world is interesting. I am looking forward to where this will go.
Likelihood to Finish: High
Kemono Michi: Rise Up
How should I describe this anime? A furry pro wrestler gets isekai’d into another world where he makes it his sole mission to
molest befriend all the animals….probably. Let me just tell you, it suplexed it’s way into my anime heart. This pilot was so fun.
Admittedly, I love animals. My dream vacation (aside from staying at home and watching anime blissfully uninterrupted) would be to go to Switzerland and be surrounded by a
flock herd gaggle of fluffy Bernese Mountain Dogs. I completely understand where this guy is coming from. He speaks to my soul. I only hope the rest of the show is as lively and delightful as this pilot was.
Likelihood to Finish: I will be extremely disappointed if this show goes downhill.
Cautious Hero: The Hero Is Overpowered but Overly Cautious
Looks like I found this season’s overly expressive faces anime. I always love seeing the art style get super detailed for no reason, especially for comedy. This pilot pretty much nailed it. The seiyuu for our main goddess, Toyosaki, Aki, nailed her performance. Sometimes being over dramatic doesn’t work for the show or the VA, but this show seems to fit that particular gag perfectly.
I have a lot of hope for this pilot. And I’m always glad to add another isekai coin to my treasure chest of isekai titles (seriously, I have a problem). This is a fun twist on the formula, giving us a character who’s completely unenthusiastic and super thorough in his planning for life in this new world of his. He trusts nobody, especially those who summoned him, and calling his method for slaying monsters “overkill” is an understatement. I dig it.
Likelihood to Finish: I can see this show and I becoming very good friends.
After School Dice Club
Every time I think I’ve seen the edges of what anime has to offer, it surprises me again. Honestly, I’m not sure I’d ever see an anime about a board game club, especially one as everyday as this one. Sure, Yu-Gi-Oh has cards and dice, but there’s a supernatural element to it. After School Dice Club is simply a club for getting together and playing “analog games” of mostly German origin.
The pilot was…OK. My biggest issue is the main protagonist Takekasa, Miki. Anime has a host of timid and shy characters, but her character seems over the top, even for anime. She’s quite literally ready to burst out into tears at any moment she doesn’t expect or get her way. It isn’t flattering or easy to listen to. I get it, there are some extreme shut-in cases out there, but I feel it’s taken just a little too far this time. Whether or not I finish this anime will hinge on how she is portrayed from here on out.
Likelihood to Finish: Only if we can cool the toddler tear moments
Ascendance of a Bookworm
This was one of my more interesting picks for the season. I love my isekai, but I’ve got to admit, this might be the first one I’ve watched that involves zero monsters and violence (so far). Just a girl who’s obsessed with books hoping to read in her next life.
I have to say, the pilot left a pretty good first impression. They revealed just enough of the story and mystery to keep me interested without revealing absolutely everything. The only thing that makes me hesitate is it doesn’t feel like there’s much left to uncover. Instead, the story will likely focus on the protagonists objective to create books so she can read again. I can’t exactly explain why, but I get the feeling it could turn into another Maoyu – Archenemy & Hero. I think this show has great potential, so I hope I’m wrong about that.
Likelihood to Finish: Unless it derails and becomes incredibly generic, I will probably finish it.
Ahiru no Sora
I’ve noticed an uptick in my sports anime interest. After great anime like Run with the Wind and MIX, it’s hard not to want to try more and more. This season, Basketball is in and, surprise, it looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun.
Whether it’s the team or an individual, everyone loves a good underdog story. Overcoming impossible odds and going all the way are things everyone dreams about. These thoughts give us hope and strength to fight our personal monsters. Ahiru no Sora looks like it might be a double-underdog story, showing us both the struggle of an individual who can’t seem to win and a team that refuses to try.
The characters have a lot of heart. I can already see even the roles typically reserved for stereotype supporting characters are going to be stretched and fleshed out for this anime. I’m excited to see where it leads.
Likelihood to Finish: I already bought all my basketball gear and joined three leagues.
ORESUKI: Are you the only one who loves me?
What even is this show? I mean that in a good way. When it first started, I was absolutely convinced this was a run-of-the-mill generic show that I would probably drop in the first few episodes. But then it all changed.
If I were handing out awards for pilots at the beginning of the season, I would give this one the “Just Keep Going” award. Talk about subverting expectations. After the first 8 or so minutes it was like I had turned on a different (and way better show). It retroactively made the beginning more clever than generic.
I won’t spoil the fun, but this formula is a first for me. Out of all the romance and harem anime that I’ve seen, this seemingly mocks everything I have come to know and expect. Will that make it good? Obviously, we’ll have to wait and see, but my hopes are high for this one.
Likelihood to finish: I mean, if it keeps this up, yes.