Every three months, Japan has a new anime season, with dozens of new shows coming to TV screens. This fall, 43 new shows will debut, with five series continuing from the summer season. Thanks to video streaming services like Crunchyroll, Amazon, and Netflix, most of these series are viewable outside Japan within a day of release, generally in subtitled versions.
That’s a lot of options, for fans and non-fans alike. So to help viewers navigate the options, here’s a guide to some of the more intriguing-looking shows from this fall’s anime season, with notes on where you can watch them.
The Ancient Magus’ Bride
Chise Hatori is a 15-year-old orphan who lived a life of abuse and neglect until the non-human sorcerer Elias purchased her as his apprentice and prospective wife. This is a creepy initial premise, but it seems the story is about Chise exploring her new freedom, as well as the magical side of the world, which is newly open to her.
Both this new series and a prequel miniseries are animated by Wit Studio, probably best known as the animation studio behind Attack on Titan. It’s one of the best animation studios in Japan right now, and you can see a lot of that talent in the trailer.
The Ancient Magus’ Bride starts October 7th, and will be streaming on Crunchyroll.
Asta is an orphan from the poorest outskirts of a kingdom in a magical fantasy world. His best friend Yuno is an incredibly powerful magical prodigy, and they both want to be Wizard King. Using his guts and a strange black grimoire, Asta works to reach his goal and be acknowledged by the country’s other mages, even though he has no magic himself.
I’ve been reading the comic this is based on since it started, and it seemed like only a matter of time until it got animated. Action-heavy stories like this work well in animation, but this one is a particularly interesting take on the magical-competition genre. Typically, fantasy anime stories revolve around a protagonist moving from underdog status to odds-on favorite. But in Black Clover, Asta’s growth and personality end up driving everyone else to grow, in a “rising tides lift all ships” way. At the same time, he’s still left as a relative underdog.
The show is also being animated by Studio Pierrot, which has a lot of experience in adapting action-focused comics for animation, given its experience on Naruto and Bleach.
Black Clover starts October 3rd, and will be streaming on Crunchyroll.
Every so often, the holy grail appears in the world, and when it does, seven mages are chosen to battle over it. Each mage can summon a historical hero to fight for them, with the winning mage getting a wish granted by the grail. In the early 2000s, the grail appears in Romania, and is stolen. Instead of the usual battle, the grail itself initiates a two-sided war between those that stole it and those looking to reclaim it, with each side fielding seven mages and heroes against the other.
The Fate/ franchise is based on a visual novel, Fate/stay night, which was adapted into three anime, a manga, a prequel light novel/anime (Fate/Zero), and a number of spin-off video games and light novels, including Fate/Grand Order, Fate/Extra, and Fate/Apocrypha. But this series is meant as a standalone work, set in an alternate universe and not affecting the main series.
The idea of magic users who are able to summon both real and fictional heroic spirits to fight for them is a solid concept, but the Fate/ works I’ve seen often get caught up in less-interesting, or even really creepy, aspects of their stories. They’re also too verbose. Hopefully with Apocrypha that won’t be the case.
Fate/Apocrypha actually started airing during this year’s summer season in Japan, and is continuing to air this season. But Netflix will only be releasing the first season, all at once, on November 7th.
As much as I love Gintama, I can’t really recommend it, because it’s so hard to explain. It takes place in a Japan where instead of the US forcing open the country’s borders, it was space aliens. It follows a samurai who fought in a war against the aliens, and who now works odd jobs for hire. But that’s not really the show.
Gintama is kind of whatever it wants to be at any given moment. Sometimes that’s a Dragon Quest gag involving an android’s head acting like a broken Famicom. Sometimes it’s a poignant, philosophical story about what it means to be human. Often, it’s both those things simultaneously.
And the first episode of the fall season is the 329th overall. No one’s going to start the show on episode 329, right? I’ve only watched around half of the episodes myself. But if this description interests you, try episode 188. It’s a standalone story that encapsulates what the show is like.
The new season of Gintama began October 1st, and will be streaming on Crunchyroll.
Girls’ Last Tour
After the end of civilization, Chito and Yuuri travel around the rusted-out remains of a city, looking for the food and supplies they need to continue surviving.
I don’t really know what to expect with this show. The hugely simplified character designs against the much more realistic-looking rusted-out environments are really striking, especially combined with the show’s concept. The animation studio working on it, White Fox, seems to mostly work in a supporting role for other animation studios. In that capacity, however, their list of credits includes some impressive works like My Hero Academia, Haikyu!!, Mob Psycho 100, and JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable. I don’t know if it’ll be good, but it has me at least interested enough to check it out.
Girls’ Last Tour starts October 6th, and will be available on Amazon’s Anime Strike.
This show follows Inuyashiki Ichiro, an elderly man with no friends, and teenager Shishigami Hiro, who are both caught in a mysterious explosion. They then wake up to discover their bodies have been replaced with powerful machines that look like their old bodies. Ichiro decides to use his new power to help people, while Hiro uses his to kill.
The concept here seems pretty compelling, and the show’s staff has a great track record. The animation is from MAPPA (Yuri!! On Ice,) and the directors worked on Attack on Titan, ACCA, and Tiger & Bunny. The head writer did the series composition for Mob Psycho 100 and Ajin. Basically, there are some really talented people here, working on a strong concept.
Inuyashiki starts October 12th, and will be streaming on Amazon’s Anime Strike.
Spending no more than three days in any place, Kino wanders around a fantastical world on her talking motorcycle, Hermes, learning about unique places, cultures, and peoples along the way. The actual full Japanese title for the show is Kino’s Journey — the Beautiful World — the Animated Series, because it’s something of a remake of a 2003 anime titled Kino’s Journey. Both are based on the light novel series Kino’s Journey — the Beautiful World.
While the description of the show seems fairly lighthearted, it’s clear from the trailer that it also has a bit of a darker tone as well. It’s being animated by Lerche, whose portfolio tends to straddle that “dark vs. lighthearted” line pretty frequently: the studio is behind Danganronpa: The Animation, Assassination Classroom, and Persona 4: The Animation.
Kino’s Journey starts October 6th, and will be streaming on Crunchyroll.
Magical Circle Guru-Guru
Young hero Nike and young summoner Kukuri travel through an 8-bit video game-inspired world to defeat the ruler of darkness, who’s threatening to take over the world.
Magical Circle Guru-Guru actually started airing during the summer, and it’s one of the few shows continuing into the fall season. It generally plays on a lot of tropes from early role-playing games like Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy, for comedic effect and sometimes outright absurdity. But even so, the show does have a good emotional throughline.
It’s also animated by Production I.G. (Ghost in the Shell), which uses its considerable animation talent to great effect on the show’s seemingly simple visual aesthetic.
The first 12 episodes of Magical Circle Guru-Guru are currently streaming on Crunchyroll, with another 12 coming over the rest of the season.
March Comes in Like a Lion, season 2
Rei Kiriyama lost his entire family when he was young, and was forced to move in with a friend of his father’s. In middle school, he became a pro shogi player, letting him move out on his own and not attend high school. (Shogi is a two-person strategy board game, somewhat akin to chess.) Battling loneliness and depression, as well as other shogi players, he begins to grow little by little, as he surrounds himself with a small group of friends and begins to connect with them.
This is the second season of March Comes in Like a Lion. The first season of 22 episodes started airing in fall 2016. While it’s a heavy, melancholic show, it’s also sweet and gentle. It’s animated by Shaft (Puella Magi Madoka Magica), which is sometimes uniquely avant-garde in its animation. In this case, the animators use some stylish visuals to great effect to convey Rei’s internal struggles.
The second season of March Comes in Like a Lion starts October 14th, and will be streaming on Crunchyroll.
Mr. Osomatsu, season 2
Mr. Osomatsu is about sextuplet brothers in their 20s, who live at home with their parents, and have no motivation to work or get educations. They each have distinct personalities, which the show plays with in a sketch comedy format. Most of the time the characters play each other’s brothers in a given scene, but at other times, they play different characters that embellish each other’s personalities or traits. Generally, though, the show is about them being awful people, and finding new and more ridiculous ways to be awful to each other.
This show doesn’t have much narrative progression, so unlike with a lot of these sequel shows, new viewers can jump in anywhere without too much confusion. Still, starting from the first season will probably give you a better understanding of the characters, especially as they became more and more absurd.
The second season of Mr. Osomatsu starts streaming on October 2nd on Crunchyroll.
Recovery of an MMO Junkie
Thirty-year-old Moriko Morioka quits her job and gives up on the real world in order to live her life online. She starts playing a massively multiplayer fantasy role-playing game with a young male avatar, and after clearly having a lot of trouble, gets help from a player with a female avatar. That player becomes her trusted gaming partner through the MMO.
Every season, there’s one show that ends up being a lot better than I expect it’s going to be. I suspect this one might be it for fall 2017. It seems like it’s going to focus closely on the ways Moriko’s real-world interactions cross over with her online ones, which is underexplored in anime. I’m hoping this one does it right.
Recovery of an MMO Junkie begins streaming October 9th on Crunchyroll.