We’ve entered Fall 2020 with an exciting lineup of anime awaiting us! If you’re wondering what to watch or don’t know where to start, check out our AniBitez to see what our staff think of the airing anime!
Note: AniBitez from this season onwards will be split into two parts to accommodate the different anime airing dates.
Adachi and Shimamura: Pleasant slice-of-yuri
Yuri or not, I don’t consider slice-of-life shows to be my cup of tea, generally speaking. As such, it’s highly possible that I won’t stick around with Adachi and Shimamura to the end, but that doesn’t mean that its characters and the tone of its premiere didn’t leave a good impression on me.
The story centers on two girls, the titular Sakura Adachi and Hougetsu Shimamura, who meet by chance due to a mutual penchant for skipping class. They become friends and frequently play table tennis with each other. Their friendship is not known to others at the start of the episode, so there are faint hints of conflict when Shimamura ignores Adachi during a walk with friends, and slight friction when Shimamura’s friends stumble upon the two playing table tennis. Some of Shimamura’s internal monologues also hint at a fear of getting too close to others, making it a potential catalyst for some drama and character development later on. Despite all that, the first episode is a predominantly calm affair, largely characterized by a nostalgic atmosphere and the pleasant interactions between the two leads. I’m not sure if that’s enough to sustain an entire cour, but it certainly made for a nice premiere.
Akudama Drive: Bad people in neon-lit Kansai
Akudama Drive’s first half is easily my favorite part of the premiere. As drums beat in the background, we’re treated to a reddish, foggy skyscape with airships. Large, glowing katakana with an 80s-vibe appear on the screen, declaring the setting to be Kansai. An airship flies by, signaling for the synth soundtrack to kick in. We’re then taken into Kyoto’s Minami Ward, where neon lights light up the nightscape and people seem to pray to a mysterious stream of light. Afterwards, we see our protagonist, only known as Ordinary Person, who stands out with her cute design and compositing that, for lack of a better description, makes her look both distinct and tactile in a pleasing manner. Five minutes in, I was already hooked by the visuals.
Ordinary Person isn’t the only main character. There are others — Courier, Brawler, Hacker, and Doctor. The latter are dangerous criminals called Akudama (meaning “bad person”). Ordinary Person, along with a lesser criminal called Hoodlum, finds herself unwittingly involved in their mission, bestowed upon them separately by an unknown party, to rescue a death row criminal called Cutthroat. When a scene transitions to introduce a new Akudama, the new scene’s setting slam piece-by-piece into place. There are some eye-catching comic book-like panels, and Courier is given a ridiculous but awesome gravity-defying motorcycle sequence. The strong presentation and visual elements of the premiere’s first half are such a delight that it’s a shame that the second half focuses on noisy action instead. Even so, I eagerly await the next episode.
Assault Lily: Bouquet: The lilies haven’t bloomed yet
Humanity is under threat from large creatures called the “Huge.” Battling them are the Lilies, teenage girls who use oversized weapons called CHARM and form pacts called Schutzengel with a chosen partner. The protagonist Riri Hitotsuyanagi is a new student at a Lily-training academy. On her inauguration day, she crosses paths once more with Yuyu Shirai, one of the two Lilies who saved Riri’s life in the past and thus inspired Riri to become a Lily herself.
After watching Assault Lily: Bouquet’s premiere, two things stuck in my mind the most: the competent action with spurts of flashiness and the generous number of thigh shots that appear in the episode’s first five-or-so minutes. Plot-wise, there’s no trace of a gripping narrative in sight, although I am admittedly interested in learning why Yuyu is now a dour person compared to her past self. Despite the show’s sizable cast, I only felt hooked by Yuyu’s unnamed partner, who doesn’t even show up among the anime website’s list of characters and might, I suspect, actually be dead in the present timeline. What noteworthy elements we have consist of some action, some thighs, and, based on some images from the ending sequence (one of them even seems to have been cut from Animax Malaysia’s broadcast), some strong yuri undertones to come in the future. Action, thighs, and yuri are not an insignificant combination, but it’s a shame that the episode doesn’t at least have the clean visuals or compelling direction of the ending video. I was never bored during the premiere, but if I return to this show next week, it certainly won’t be for the basic-looking plot.
I’m Standing on a Million Lives: Trying to be edgy
Yotsuya Yuusuke is a middle schooler loner. One day, he finds himself transported to a game-like fantasy world with two classmates, Shindou Iu and Hakozaki Kusue. There, they are given RPG-esque roles and quests by a mysterious Game Master. They are able to return to the real world between quests, and in the fantasy world, they feel no pain and can even revive after 30 seconds as long as at least one of them is alive. However, should all of them die in the fantasy world, they will perish in the real world as well.
I’m Standing on a Million Lives is not a good show. Its tone flits between being dark/edgy and relaxed/comedic without any care, the animation is consistent but average, the CG is questionable, and going through the first episode is akin to figuring out what’s going on in a game after skipping the tutorial. In addition, the premiere doesn’t quite sell the idea of Yotsuya as an edgy and dour loner, due to both a lack of explanation and an inconsistent tone. During the intentionally funny scenes where Yotsuya and his classmates take on goblins, I actually found myself comparing Yotsuya to KonoSuba’s Kazuya due to his similar exasperation at his allies. While this means that our protagonist doesn’t feel painfully one-dimensional, I still find it hard to reconcile with the fact that the Yotsuya in those goblin-slaying scenes is the same Yotsuya who declares, twice in the premiere, and with a sinister grin the second time, that the dangerous fantasy world is more exciting than the “dump” that is Tokyo. Still, the show is entertaining and brisk enough that I might stick with it for at least one more episode.
King’s Raid: Successors of the Will: Eren in knight form, is that you?
In the kingdom of Orvelia, the threat of demons has always loomed over the people. When a set of scouts venture out into the King’s Forest to investigate demon sightings, the kingdom’s fears are confirmed when only one scout returns with news that demons are indeed lurking in the forest. The chancellor and the king’s advisors begin to panic as flashbacks appear from 100 years ago when the humans of Orvelia and demons fought a gruesome war. Since then, the dark elf race has been frowned upon and unwelcomed in the kingdom, but Lord Moriham, an advisor, presents the elves as mercenaries willing to defeat the demons. However, the dark elves, under oppression since 100 years ago seek revenge upon Orvelia…
Based on a mobile game, King’s Raid: Successors of the Will displays the elements of a classic fantasy role-playing game. I think the series starts off slow, almost boring, as it introduces Kasel who is an apprentice knight. The plot is also predictable as Kasel is fueled by his mother’s death and he aims to defeat the demons and protect those who are close to him. There are politics between the nation, dark elves, and the demons, but this isn’t anything new to me as I’ve seen similar shows that have introduced the concept better, like GATE. So far, King’s Raid is kind of a plain, tried, and true story, so I’m not sure if I’m all that interested in keeping up with Kasel and his party.
The Gymnastics Samurai: Missed opportunity
Shoutarou Aragaki, a widowed gymnast nicknamed “Samurai” because of his hair-style, suddenly faces retirement due to a slipping performance and an injured shoulder. As he struggles to break the news to his daughter Rei, Shoutarou has an encounter with a quirky “ninja” at an Edo-themed theme park, who ends up following him home. After seeing the “ninja’s” acrobatic ability, Shoutarou decides to remain in the world of gymnastics, although in what capacity remains unknown in the premiere.
When I saw The Gymnastics Samurai’s key visual, I thought that it would be an eccentric and energetic show. Later, when I watched the PV, I thought that it would be an engrossing, grounded sports drama. The reality? The show doesn’t know either. Peppered a tad too regularly throughout the premiere are fun and comic bits involving the “ninja” Leonardo, who is trying to avoid deportation but is otherwise a mystery, and, to a lesser extent, the Aragakis’ large South American pet bird. I enjoyed those bits on their own, but their regularity and quirkiness hurt the more grounded moments, which, although not bad, needed more time to convince me of the show’s merits as a drama. Instead, they get overshadowed by the silly, light-hearted elements. I was frustrated when the “ninja” interrupted Shoutarou’s attempts to tell Rei about his retirement decision several times, as it made it difficult to empathize with Shoutarou’s circumstances. By the end of the premiere, I simply felt confused by what the show was trying to achieve by slapping two tonally disparate and incompatible parts together.
The King’s Avatar Season 2: Heavenly Domination
Ye Xiu is back with his team in Glory’s Tenth Server and they are more than happy to shake up some of the biggest guilds in the history of Glory. This season, the crew aims to enter the highest server in Glory: the Heavenly Domain. Playing as an Unspecialized class, Ye Xiu must enter the Heavenly Domain at level 50, which is unheard of and has never been done before. Completing quests and challenging players in the arena for the godlike textbook player is barely a challenge at all. He makes the 20-level gap between his Lord Grim and other players at level 70 look like a piece of cake.
Ever since the OVAs were released in 2018, I’ve been looking forward to the PvP battles in the Heavenly Domain. The show hasn’t disappointed me at all thus far as Ye Xiu is already demanding an ungodly number of rare materials from the bigger guilds. Therefore, I find it enjoyable to see how every player is dead set on taking Ye Xiu and his team down into oblivion, but will the king of Glory fall so easily? I also have to admit that this season is a little confusing due to the large cast of characters from all the different guilds like Tyranny, Tiny Herb, Blue Rain, Samsara, and more. Nonetheless, I appreciate the cute little chibi bits at the end of each episode to expand on important characters and key moments toward Ye Xiu’s eventual return to the professional esports scene.
TONIKAWA: Over The Moon For You: Tonikaku warui (anyway, it’s bad)
Star student Nasa Yuzaki, named after NASA, sees a pretty stranger and falls in love at first sight. He goes over to her, but ends up with broken legs and blood loss thanks to a truck. Nevertheless, this does not deter him from chasing after her — twice — in order to ask her out. Nasa even invokes the story of Princess Kaguya, which ends with her departing for the moon and leaves behind her mortal loved ones. “I don’t even know your name,” he says. “But that’s exactly why I have to ask: will you go out with me?” Her answer: “If you’ll marry me, I don’t mind going out with you.”
A merciful writer would have let Nasa perish from the truck collision and spare us from this absurd nonsense. Instead, we have at least an entire cour to suffer through. To be fair, the latter half of the episode, if you can ignore the preceding set-up, is less ludicrous and decently enjoyable. But by the end of the premiere, there is still little reason to ship the two protagonists, even though it ends with them getting married. The fact that Nasa lampshades all this in the beginning by admitting that there was no logic behind his attraction to the girl, Tsukasa, does not absolve the show of its illogical premise. If it wasn’t for the fact that the opening song, sung by Tsukasa’s seiyuu Akari Kitou and written by DJ Yunomi, is potentially the best of this season, I would wonder why this show even exists.
Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina: Truly the Ashen Witch’s journey through the world of magic
Our titular character, Elaina, was once a starry-eyed young girl whose determination led her to eventually become a witch. If you’re wondering if the story is supposed to be about her journey to becoming a fully-fledged witch, it isn’t. Her story is reminiscent of Violet Evergarden and Kino’s Journey, where the main characters embark on a journey to either meet people or explore places. Kino’s Journey in particular showcases a different place in every episode, with a different story and lesson shared. Elaina will likely be no different, as she is already in another country by the end of the second episode.
While I really like the anime, I am also wary of the show’s episodic structure. Each episode seems to be a story contained in itself, but such a format runs the risk of being too rushed. Violet Evergarden and Kino’s Journey successfully executed that format, however, to their benefit. It’s not immediately clear if Elaina has an overarching goal other than simply journeying across the seemingly peaceful world, which could make the anime boring in terms of development if not executed well.
I hope her exploration of different places helps the plot move forward though, rather than proceed with a monotone development. However, I would still encourage people to watch this anime, even if it were just for the art and smooth animation — which has me snapping screenshots for wallpapers because of how well-drawn and colored it is.
Warlords of Sigrdrifa: Cute girls doing cool dogfights
When humanity finds itself powerless in the face of a mysterious threat called the Pillars, the god Odin provides aid to the humans in the form of his Valkyries. Although the Valkyries’ so-called herocraft resembles an outdated aircraft, they are the only fighters capable of taking down the Pillars. Claudia Bruford is one of these Valkyries, a European ace with the nickname of Grim Reaper as she is often the only survivor of her missions. One day, she is reassigned to Tateyama Base in Japan, where she meets Valkyries Azuzu Komagome, Sonoka Watarai, Miyako Mugurumu.
I didn’t expect Warlords of Sigrdrifa to get an hour-long premiere, and I was also surprised by the fact that it wasn’t the crappy experience I thought it would be. Sure, there’s nothing surprising or special story-wise — it’s obvious that the serious and guilt-ridden Claudia will open up after meeting the lively and quirky Tateyama Valkyries and fully exercise her inner demons by the end of the show. Plus, the Odin/Valkyrie element isn’t that interesting, and the sight of valkyrie wings on a biplane in one scene is… weird. However, an expressive and likable main cast, coupled with engaging dogfights, meant that the episode was actually an entertaining experience, and not in a so-bad-it’s-good way. Given that Re: Zero author Tappei Nagatsuki is involved, I’m hoping that the narrative will eventually turn into another strength of the show, but just having cute girls being friends and doing cool dogfights is enough to make this a sufficiently enjoyable watch.
Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon: A likable new generation
Although Yashahime’s three main characters are the daughters of some of the original series’ cast members (a fact that’s only been revealed in the synopsis at the time of writing), the premiere of their show feels more like a new Inuyasha episode than the opening chapter of a new generation’s story. Indeed, the new trio only gets a scant introduction and hardly any screen time, while the original cast gets most of the spotlight via a lengthy flashback of a post-Inuyasha: The Final Act incident. Combined with its in media res opening, the premiere ends up feeling like a mid-season episode that was inexplicably placed at the front.
Instead, it’s the second episode that feels like an actual and more beginner-friendly premiere (although only fans will recognize some of the side characters). We’re properly introduced to the new main trio: tomboy Towa Higurashi, serious demon slayer Setsuna, and unruly bounty hunter Moroha. Towa and Setsuna are sisters who, as children, live alone in the forest (yes, it’s a bit head scratching). Events cause Towa to be cast into the future, where she is adopted by Souta, the brother of Inuyasha’s protagonist, Kagome. Ten years later, Setsuna, Moroha, and the demon they’re fighting get sent to the present, where they encounter Towa. There’s nothing novel about the premiere’s structure, and the episode even introduces new supernatural shiny objects called rainbow pearls that are reminiscent of the original’s Shikon Jewel. Nevertheless, the main cast seems like an enjoyable bunch, and I look forward to seeing their interactions and future adventures.
That is all for AniBitez: Fall 2020 Part 1! We will be featuring more Fall 2020 anime for AniBitez Fall 2020 Part 2, so stay tuned!