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 onward will be split into two parts to accommodate the different anime airing dates. Click here to read Anibitez Fall 2020 Part 1.
Golden Kamuy Season 3: In Russia, we have “plot”
It’s GOOOOLLDEENN KAAAAMMMUYYYYYYY time! This show’s third season returns to the aftermath of Abashiri Prison, where Ogata and Kiroranke betray the group and kidnap Asirpa, the supposed “key” to find the missing Ainu gold. Sugimoto and Tsurumi’s most loyal men relentlessly pursue the group into the fringes of Russian territory. Along the way, they encounter new beasts of the Russian frontier, the complicated relationship between the indigenous people and their conquerors, and Sugimoto’s lapses in memory that either make comedic gold or mark him as seriously deranged. It’s a lot of dumb fun with heavy social implications and questionable actions to come.
There’s not much to critique about this show with its already solid premise and its downright hilarious comedy. I’m already howling at Tanigaki being at the butt of all the jokes, Koito acting absurdly petty with the lingonberry juice, and Gansoku exclaiming like a pure maiden amidst a sweaty stenka brawl. I expect great things in the coming season. In addition, I’d like to commend the staff for slowly improving on the storyboarding and layouts, which has always been the show’s biggest issue since season one. The third season has things like still-shots of Tanigaki falling off the sled for a “fatality” effect and flowers twirling in the backgrounds of Gansoku’s more pure scenes. All these additions make the series feel a lot less flat and much more alive. So don’t feel too deterred just yet, new Golden Kamuy fans. There’s always something new to look forward to, even if it’s just “plot.”
Higurashi: When They Cry Gou: Wait it’s not a remake? (Nippah~)
Keiichi Maebara moves back to the village of Hinamizawa in the Summer of 1983. While Keiichi quickly befriends Rena Ryuuguu, Mion Sonozaki, Rika Furude, and Satoko Hojo, the girls in his school, something sinister seems to be lurking within Hinamizawa. The village holds many secrets from its past, and there are forces that would like to keep the truth buried. This feeling of dread echoes throughout the village down to the noise of the cicadas, and they warn Keiichi from uncovering the dark secrets of murder and disappearance.
I originally wondered how much of the VN this adaptation was going to cover since I’ve been a fan of Higurashi going into this adaptation, but I had to scrap most of my thoughts after the second episode. Strap yourself in because this is going to be a wild ride. The first episode is similar to the original anime adaptation, but there are hints and extras sprinkled in, indicating there’s more than meets the eye — a pleasant surprise since most viewers assumed this would be a remake.
Once the second episode starts rolling, everyone has clearly been bamboozled, which honestly shocked me. So far, the writing is both approachable for newcomers and will still give returning fans a new treat to look forward to every week. There are plenty of treats to look forward to, like the fantastic voice cast returning, as well as the crisp updated character designs. It’s tough to execute a show which balances foreboding dread and entertaining hijinks, and Higurashi’s greatest strength lies in that omnipresent tone. At the same time, Studio Passione is serving up material I didn’t even know I wanted, such as Rika’s festival dance animation. All in all, I’m thrilled about what I’ve seen so far, and I’m excited to see new fans and material for this iconic series.
Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club: Performances on Fire!
At the prestigious Nijigasaki High School, whose building looks like a giant conglomerate of offices, exists a School Idol Club… that immediately gets shut down. That was fast! However, protagonist Ayumu Uehara’s passion has already been lit by a stunning performance by the mysterious idol Setsuna Yuki — and then given a final push by her best friend (and manager of the up-and-coming idols) Yuuz, to chase her dreams. We also see a bit of the other girls, all promising.
We have come a long way from Love Live!’s first-ever video in 2010, which featured an absurdly clunky and jarring CG dance, despite the song’s good quality. This pseudo-third-generation of Love Live! (the actual third-generation was announced back in January) kicks off its performances by having the idol in question, Setsuna, sing in the middle of a firestorm while dancing on magma, with visuals and sound effects on par with music videos. And that is what Nijigasaki’s idol shows are: polished, high-effect, artistic music videos. Because these songs are performed solo, it gives more room for each girl to express herself, and as such, it allows for far more creativity and imagination to be put into those performances. The CG feels natural, doesn’t take away from the dances, and, if anything, adds fluidity, a large improvement from Sunshine’s already refined quality from SIP. It’s too early to say if this new installment of Love Live! will surpass its predecessors, but the vibes I’m getting are positive and spell a good future. I’m claiming Emma and Ayumu as best girls, so back off!
HAIKYU!! TO THE TOP: Season 2: Please help, I can’t get up. The Kansai accent is too stronk
We return with yet another compelling season of Haikyu!! Compared to previous seasons where Karasuno faces off against regional champions that reek of familiarity and fame, they are now up against sports giants who they’ve had no prior knowledge of outside of TV interviews and streams. It becomes difficult to anticipate their strategies, especially when they start implementing the timing of band and color guard to control the tempo of the game or start copying other people’s techniques on the fly. Karasuno must improvise, adapt, and overcome once more to win their battles. But more importantly, they must also utilize their personal growth from last season to lead their team to success.
It sounds poetic, but honestly? I’m just here for the blood-pumping volleyball smashes, the absolute control these players have on the court, and seeing the numbers rack up on the scoreboard. It’s extremely exciting to see Hinata and Kageyama team up for their usual quick move or Tsukishima moving in for that killer block! Aside from the cool action and great character development from Karasuno, I have become weak for the Miya twins’ Kansai accent. And it’s not only because they are hot by character design — the accent has always appealed to me, and I am impressed with how well the voice actors nailed the fast-paced nuances of the dialect. Everything is just perfect, with the exception of the janky animation in episode 2. It’s not as smooth in the transitions to the main shots as the other seasons were, and the lineart isn’t as crisp to show off the characters. I just hope it was an outsourcing animation fluke, and it’ll patch itself up by the next few episodes.
Ikebukuro West Gate Park: Really Slow First Episode… Expected More.
Ikebukuro West Gate Park follows 20-year-old Makoto Majima (no relation to Goro Majima), who often finds himself caught in the conflict between the local gangs. The G-Boys is the most well-known gang led by Takashi Andou, who is Makoto’s old classmate. On the surface, Takashi’s gang members act like urban Robin Hoods and they feel obligated to help those affected by the other gangs, to the point where even the police aid and depend on their endeavors. However, trouble begin to brew as rival gangs and even larger organized crimes threaten to spill over into the streets.
I feel like this adaptation will disappoint fans of the original series. The first episode doesn’t commit any anime cardinal sins, but as far as first impressions go, the hook episode was rather dull. The character designs are completely plain and mediocre. As for the plot, the choice to modernize the setting twenty years ahead detracts from its appeal. The initial hook was fine when the gang was chasing down a drug addict, but he’s revealed to have been on marijuana, the anime became ridiculous for me. I don’t like making comparisons to Durarara!! because this adaptation isn’t in the same weight class… but it’s not as good as Durarara!! I’ve been told that the main story starts in the second episode, but I’ll be hesitant to give IWGP another chance.Overall, if there are elements you enjoy from this show, I’m sure you can find something else that can execute it better. (Ironically, DRRR!!’s creator was inspired by IWGP, so I don’t think that this is an issue with the material, but rather the adaptation itself.)
Magatsu Wahrheit: Zuerst: Good, bad, and okay.
In the Imperium, unrest among the citizens leads to the ban of heavy weapon possession, despite the citizens being threatened by monster attacks. Thus, when transporter Innumael is found to be unintentionally carrying crates of weapons, he is jailed and forced to escape with the smugglers whom the weapons are meant for. Meanwhile, well-meaning Leocadio is a fresh face in the Imperial army. After a pleasant first meeting with Innumael, Leocadio soon meets with fate, as his squad is sent after the smugglers and now-on-the-run transporter.
Magatsu Wahrheit: Zuerst begins with a massive act of destruction with so little context that I had no idea what relation it had with the rest of the premiere. I had very low expectations as a result but ended up enjoying the first episode a fair bit. Much of that is due to Leocadio and smuggler-leader Schaake’s attractive character designs. However, I also found myself invested in Innumael’s arc. This isn’t the first show where the main leads are on opposing sides, but the fact that Innumael ends up a wanted criminal through no fault of his own makes him easy to empathize with. I have less praise for the animation though, with movements in the premiere being generally average and laughably bad at times. Even the premiere’s one fairly impressive action cut has its own questionable moment. The second episode, thankfully, has more consistent animation, but it also has me thinking that the dual-protagonist structure that kept me around after the premiere may not be interesting enough to sustain the entire show. I’ll still watch the third episode, but I’m not sure if I’ll continue beyond that.
Mr. Osomatsu Season 3: New Season, Same Faces
Mr. Osomatsu is a unique anime, that’s for sure. Its premiere episode in 2015 was infamously banned from TV and streaming platforms due to concerns over its method of parodying other anime IPs. Season 2’s 2017 premiere continued a bit of the anime parody trend but added a layer of making fun of its own success and its very fans. Another three years later, Season 3 had to get creative to avoid overdoing the same joke, so it became even more self-aware. In the premiere, the characters acknowledge their existence within an anime, even interacting with the production committee, the director, and their own voice actors. Needless to say, it’s as hilarious as ever.
There’s much more to Osomatsu than satire and meta-humor, though. Based on the popular 1960’s manga titled Osomatsu-kun, Osomatsu-san (or Mr. Osomatsu) is a modern-age revival of the identical sextuplet brothers’ misadventures. A lot of time has passed, though, so they have aged up from grade schoolers to “adults” in their 20s, as reflected by the change of honorific in the title (from “kun” to “san”). I quoted “adults” here because these brothers are, well… They’re virgin NEETs, which is the entire point of the dark, crude humor of the gag comedy. This hilarious anime did not make it to a third season for nothing, and I’ll be the first to vouch for its entertainment value. It’s hard to predict how much Season 3 will innovate the formula, but the first episode is a certified fun time for returning fans and new viewers alike.
Jujutsu Kaisen: Solid Supernatural Action Powered by MAPPA.
Jujutsu sorcerers are tasked with a duty to oppose the curses from the legendary demon Ryoumen Sukuna. These curses are the cause of numerous innocent deaths and because of this, Yuuji Itadori cannot stand by while this is happening. However, Itadori doesn’t have a choice in the matter because he accidentally ingested one of Sukuna’s twenty fingers, and Sukuna now partially rests inside him. The Jujutsu sorcerers have issued their ultimatum to Itadori: face a swift execution now or ingest the other nineteen fingers… and then be executed.
This show will be one of the most popular this season. It follows a familiar shonen format, but the setting also throws curveballs that makes the show interesting. You can tell that MAPPA put most of their animation resources into this show, as this seems to be their flagship 2020 show (alongside The God of High School, Dorohedoro, and the soon to be released final season of Attack on Titan). A lot of style shines even in the calmer comedy moments, and I appreciate when there is genuine effort when it’s tempting to not provide strong animation during those moments. I think that there’s going to be a lot of attention on the panda character because that two-second moment of the panda vaulting on the rooftop was hilarious. Also, the ED stands out in animation and choice of music, and it is enjoyable. Overall, I’m glad that MAPPA has put a lot of thought into the animation, but they’ve also made sure to elevate the other elements since we’ve had recent lessons that animation can’t fully carry a show.
With a Dog AND a Cat, Every Day is Fun: What it’s like to have pets, in one minute or less
I’ve loved short anime for as long as I’ve been watching anime. There’s a certain kind of peace to be found in their non-committal, short episode lengths that makes shorts a go-to comfort food for viewers who, like me, don’t always have the time or energy to dive into a full 24-minute narrative. While shows of this format are nearly always comedies with light subject matter, I’m no less impressed by the impact an anime can have on me in a mere minute.
With a Dog AND a Cat, Every Day is Fun capitalizes on the rapid-fire joke format with relatable antics for anyone who has owned a dog or a cat in their life. Kana Hanazawa voices an exuberant dog, while Tomokazu Sugita plays the sinister cat. Putting these two forces of nature under the same roof leads to delightful chaos, but there’s also a heartwarming quality to the pets’ relationships with their owner, who anchors the show into its surprisingly touching nature with her narration. At first I worried that the anime was a bit quick to portray cats as heartless loners in contrast to friendly, lovable dogs, but I was quickly reassured that writer Hidekichi Matsumoto understands pets well enough to portray very real quirks without exaggerating them into false stereotypes.
If you have a soft spot for dogs or cats, or if you’re just looking for a fun way to kill 5 minutes, I highly recommend checking out this one.
Rail Romanesque: The Railroading Content Nobody Asked For (Except Me)
Well, someone at Anime HQ finally got all the letters I wrote asking for another anime about trains but with less fanservice than Rail Wars.
Rail Romanesque is a show for anime fans who are also obsessed with trains and for people who have played the visual novel Maitetsu — two groups so closely linked together that their venn diagram may as well just be a circle. It takes place in an alternate version of Japan in 1989 and follows the efforts of nine humanoid train control models, known as “Railords,” to revitalize the railroad industry through marketing and manufacturing of local themed merchandise. Each episode has cute character interactions and a little bit of trivia about the railroads, locomotives, and local areas included in the show.
In all honesty, this series is basically some fluffy extra content for already enfranchised fans. I’ve fallen in love with it, but it’s so narrow in its scope that I don’t think any of my friends will.
Talentless Nana: Lite murder mystery with kawaii protagonist… sort of
The easiest way to describe Talentless Nana is that it’s a knock-off of My Hero Academia with a bit of an assassination plot from the likes of Assassination Classroom. High school students with a “supernatural talent” are sent to an isolated academy in order to train their abilities and fight the “enemies of humanity.” No one has ever seen an enemy, but they all consider themselves as budding superheros and call themselves “Talented.” However, in the midst of the student body lies an assassin who was ordered by the government to kill the Talented, for they will eventually become the enemy of humanity.
The premise is a bit too convoluted for my taste with the world government struggling with the Talented, confining the Talented to an island, and then sending an assassin to subdue them. Nonetheless, Talentless Nana does have its redeeming qualities. It has a consistent and vibrant color palette that doesn’t make you too bored, and has an interesting twist to focus on the “assassin’s” point of view by episode 2. Anytime one of the students attempts to uncover the mystery, the assassin proceeds to gather intel about them, exploit their abilities until the point of exhaustion, then plan their demise. It’s not exactly unique, but it definitely deviates from the usual mystery genre that starts off with unknown questions and a misguided protagonist. I sort of just skim the episodes at this point just to filter through the long monologues and shallow dialogue, but it’s enough to keep me tethered for a bit longer.
The Day I Became A God: This anime is so wack that I’ve no idea what’s going on.
Picture this. A girl appears, claiming to be a god of omniscience. She insists on being around you while repeatedly saying that the world is ending in 30 days. She screeches while rolling around on the floor when she finds out the protagonist’s name is Yota Narukami, which means “the god of the sun.” She also tries many weird ways to get Yota and his childhood friend/crush, Izanami (which is also a goddess’s name) together — all while trying to convince the protagonist that she has supernatural abilities and that they need to prevent the end of the world. This is the premise of The Day I Became A God.
The show so far feels like a weird mish-mash of comedy, supernaturalism, and romance that I couldn’t make heads or tails of until the end of the second episode. The anime suddenly turns gears from its wackiness in the first episode to become more romantic, when Yota tries to impress Izanami with piano-playing. It has all the fluffy shoujo lighting present, but barely convinces me that Izanami and Yota have any good chemistry other than them being good childhood friends. Yet it also becomes more mysterious in the later half of the second episode. When it’s revealed that Yota’s parents expected the girl, whose real name is Hina Sato, to turn up and know more than what is being let on, it makes you wonder what his parents are hiding.
Should you watch this anime? If you can sit through two episodes of wackiness before the real meat, then yes. If not, then it’s probably not your cup of tea. Otherwise, I really hope the anime has more substance, or the comedy might just fall flat.
That is all for AniBitez: Fall 2020 Part 2! Click here to read Anibitez Fall 2020 Part 1.