This fall season, there are at least 44 new anime series starting, which is a significant challenge for even the most dedicated viewer. It’s time to prioritize. So here are eight of the most intriguing new series from this season, worth checking out for newcomers or longtime anime fans. Most of these shows will be available for viewing internationally within a day of their Japanese air date, thanks to streaming services like Amazon, Crunchyroll, Funimation, and Netflix. We’ll continue to update this post with new information about where and when these shows are streaming as it’s announced.
Along with these eight shows, three of the series (Dr. Stone, Fire Force, and Vinland Saga) from our summer season preview are continuing into the fall.
If you like superhero action and high school drama / comedy
My Hero Academia (Season 4)
After being away for a little more than a year, My Hero Academia is returning for its fourth season. It’s moved to what will probably be a fall and winter season, most likely because its production studio, Bones, is also working on Shinichiro Watanabe’s Carole & Tuesday, which aired during MHA’s usual spring / summer slot. But the additional six months of preproduction is potentially a huge benefit for this season’s planning and pacing as it moves into the next story arc, which is a bit darker and more nuanced than earlier storylines.
The series follows Midoriya, aka Deku, a kid born without superpowers in a world where 80 percent of people have them. Through various circumstances, he impresses his idol, the world’s greatest superhero, All Might, with his struggle to be a hero. All Might is slowly dying, and can’t maintain the charade that he’s fine, so he decides to make Deku the successor to his powers.
The new season sees Deku and his superhero high school classmates getting a taste of what the day-to-day of a normal superhero is like, as they intern at different superhero agencies. Deku ends up at the agency of All Might’s former sidekick, despite the former duo no longer being on good terms with each other. Meanwhile, the agencies are involved in investigating the last remaining yakuza clan, who become entangled with the League of Villains in a last-ditch attempt to survive. At the same time, Deku is forced to confront what it means to be the heir to All Might’s powers, now that All Might can no longer be a hero.
If you liked Brick and Zootopia
Beastars is naturally going to draw a lot of comparisons to Disney’s Zootopia, since both are CG animated stories about anthropomorphized animals living in a modern human-like society where there’s peace, but still a societal divide between carnivores and herbivores. From there, though, Beastars diverges into a high school noir story like Rian Johnson’s Brick, centering around the drama club of a private school where an herbivore student actor is brutally murdered. The story follows Legoshi, a giant gray wolf, as he tries to discover who killed his friend while also navigating his complex feelings for Haru, a dwarf rabbit student.
The series is being animated by Orange, which made a name for itself with the critically acclaimed 2017 adaptation of the Land of the Lustrous manga. That was both an amazing series that captured the unique style of the original comic, and a technical marvel of 3DCG animation that added new elements. It seems like Orange is taking a similar approach with Beastars, which because of the style of the manga, might never have become a traditionally animated series.
Beastars starts airing on October 9th. It will stream weekly on Netflix in Japan, but likely won’t be available to stream elsewhere until early 2020.
If you liked Sekiro or Ninja Scroll
Blade of the Immortal
This is the second anime adaptation of the Blade of the Immortal manga, which ran from 1993 to 2012. The series became well known for its realistic art style and gruesome violence, as it follows a swordsman who’s cursed with immortality by a centuries-old nun for having killed hundreds of samurai. As penance, he sets out to kill a thousand evil men, and ends up fighting the students of a new sword style, who are wreaking havoc across the country.
This adaptation is being done by Liden Films (Hanebado!, Poco’s Udon World), and it’s planned to draw out the entire story from the manga, unlike the 13-episode 2008 anime, or Takashi Miike’s 2017 live-action film adaptation. The series may be Amazon’s first exclusive anime series, as it’s set to stream on the service worldwide, with no apparent plans to air on Japanese TV.
Blade of the Immortal will steam on Amazon Prime Video starting October 10th.
If you liked classic Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest
GranBlue Fantasy: The Animation (Season 2)
GranBlue Fantasy: The Animation is a retelling of the main story from the incredibly popular Japanese RPG mobile game GranBlue Fantasy. The first season, which ran in 2017, is a great streamlined retelling of the game’s introductory chapters. It treats the story straight, like a serious fantasy tale, without any sorts of winks toward gameplay systems or other artifacts of adaptation. That makes it a perfect way to experience the game, which isn’t technically available outside Japan, even though there’s an English translation.
The story is set in a fantasy world where everyone lives on floating islands. It centers around Gran, a young man looking to one day travel to a legendary island at the end of the sky. He’s given that chance after encountering Lyria, a mysterious blue-haired girl being chased by the Erste Empire, which wants to use her as a weapon.
If you like That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime or pro wrestling
Kemono Michi: Rise Up
Given the recent overabundance of isekai shows (that is, series about a normal person being transported into another world, like Sword Art Online or That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime), fans might be reluctant to pick up yet another one. Especially since most modern iterations of them are power fantasies where a loser type enters a fantasy world where he gets to prove how awesome he actually is, and finally get everything he wants.
But Slime is a good reminder that not every isekai is like that. Sometimes, they center on interesting ideas like Kemono Michi: Rise Up, which is about a masked Japanese pro wrestler named Genzo Shibata, who is magically delivered to a fantasy world by a princess. She summoned him hoping he’d kill the demon beasts that threaten her kingdom, but instead, he sets up a pet shop for monsters, since he can’t bear the thought of hurting an animal. It’s such a ridiculous concept, it’s worth checking out and rooting for.
Kemono Michi: Rise Up will stream on Funimation starting October 2nd.
If you like That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime or books
Ascendance of a Bookworm
Speaking of isekai shows with interesting concepts, Ascendance of a Bookworm follows a book-loving college-aged woman who dies and is reincarnated as a five-year-old peasant girl in a medieval European-like fantasy world. Unfortunately for her, books are incredibly expensive, and literacy is very low. So she sets out to start making books herself, hoping to change the world and one day become a librarian.
While it seems from the trailer like she might possess some magical abilities that will help her quest, it’s charming how low-stakes this story appears to be. The show’s cute art style seems geared for kids, which wouldn’t be surprising given the history of the show’s director, Mitsuru Hongo, and the animation studio, Ajia-do. The studio has worked on a lot of kids’ shows, but also series like college otaku drama Genshiken and Victorian London romance Emma. Hongo has directed a number of Crayon Shin-chan kids movies, but also the adult science fiction / fantasy classic Outlaw Star. So it remains to be seen who the intended audience is here.
Ascendance of a Bookworm will stream on Crunchyroll starting October 2nd.
If you like fantastical alternate history time travel and the Epic of Gilgamesh
Fate/Grand Order - Absolute Demonic Front: Babylonia
Working through the title seems like the easiest way to explain this one. Fate/Grand Order is one of the most popular, profitable mobile games in the world. Players collect characters based on real and fictional heroes, which are sort of amalgamations of their legends and their supposed actual identities. In the game, all of human history, past and future, has been incinerated except for your character and a small staff at a magical observatory. In order to find out what happened and reverse it, you’re tasked with going into the past. This standalone series is skipping most of the game’s story to only adapt its seventh chapter, where you’re sent back to ancient Babylonia during the reign of King Gilgamesh, who’s fending off an invasion of strange demons. (Hence the show’s subtitle.)
Rather than produce a complete adaptation of the game’s story like the GranBlue Fantasy anime, production studio Cloverworks (Promised Neverland, Persona 5: The Animation) is starting with this chapter, which was chosen by a fan vote. (Along with another chapter, which is being adapted into two movies by Production I.G.) But it’s hard to tell how comprehensible this might be to new viewers. However, there should be enough compelling stuff in the Babylonia story for a newcomer, with Gilgamesh becoming a ruler after the death of his partner Enkidu, his interactions with Babylonian gods like Ishtar, and heroes out of their time like Merlin. At the very least, it promises to be an animation showpiece, thanks to its unique crew and production.
If you liked Blade Runner
No Guns Life
This manga adaptation is being animated by renowned animation studio Madhouse (ACCA, A Place Further than the Universe, Death Note, One Punch Man season 1). It’s a hard-boiled cyberpunk noir show about a private detective who has a revolver for a head.
That sentence alone is probably all you need to know if you’re interested in watching this show.
No Gun Life starts October 10th and will stream on Funimation.