First Impressions | Fall 2017 Anime

If I had to rate summer’s lineup of anime, I’d give it a solid “meh.” Save for My Hero Academia (which carried over from the spring) and a couple of Amazon exclusives that deserved more attention than what they got (no thanks to a double paywall), there wasn’t much to get excited about. Thankfully, a new season means a fresh batch of series to dive into. With highly anticipated shows and the return of favorites, like Food Wars and March Comes in like a Lion, the fall lineup is gearing up to be a strong one to round out the year.

To see everything that’s currently airing in Japan this fall, check out MyAnimeList’s seasonal anime page. Now, I know what you’re thinking: “There’s no way I’m watching all of that.”

Same.

Every season, I narrow down my watch list to around five series based on the story, animation and a couple of other factors. This time around, choosing my five was a piece of cake. Are they any good, you ask? I sure hope so.

Since we’re only two episodes in at most, it’s still too early to decide whether or not a series is worth watching. Like with any season, there will be hits and misses with a fair share of hidden gems and disappointments. But if you’re undecided, I hope these summaries and first impressions serve as a good starting point!

Currently Watching

1 | Kino’s Journey: The Beautiful World

 
 
 

Synopsis

A remake of the popular 2003 anime with the same title, this episodic series follows a young but highly skilled markswoman named Kino who travels from country to country with her talking motorcycle, Hermes. Although they only spend three days in each country, they leave with a better understanding of themselves and the world around them through the people they meet, the cultures they experience, and the situations they find themselves in.

Info

  • Japanese Title: Kino no Tabi: The Beautiful World
  • Genre: Action, Adventure, Slice of Life
  • Air Date: 6 October 2017
  • Studio: Lerche
  • Episodes: 12
  • Rating: R (violence and profanity)
  • Source: Light Novel by Keiichi Sigsawa
  • Director: Tomohisa Taguchi
  • Opening: "Here and There" by Yanagi Nagi
  • Ending: "Satodama no Tsuki" by Yanagi Nagi

(Available on Crunchyroll)

 

First Impression

A gun-wielding child on a journey of self-discovery? A world where no one questions the sentience of a mildly sassy motorcycle? Sign me up! While I didn’t watch the 2003 adaptation, I’m really enjoying this series so far. The atmosphere is refreshing at times, yet unsettling and even sinister when it needs to be. That has a lot to do with countries the duo visits. It’s given that each country has its own culture and set of rules, but we see one country where murder is legal and another where newcomers have to literally fight each other in a coliseum for citizenship.

The titled protagonist is surprisingly calm and mature despite how young she looks. There’s definitely a shroud of mystery that I hope we uncover as the story progresses. The art isn’t anything new or noteworthy, but I do like the opening and ending themes, both performed by Yanagi Nagi. Overall, Kino’s Journey looks promising and I can’t wait to see where their adventure takes us next. I think Kino puts it best when she said, “I can stop anytime I want. So I want to keep going.”

2 | Just Because!

 
 
 

Info

  • Genre: Slice of Life, Drama, School, Romance
  • Air Date: 5 October 2017
  • Studio: Pine Jam
  • Episodes: 12
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Source: Original
  • Director: Kobayashi Atsushi
  • Opening: "Over and Over" by Yanagi Nagi
  • Ending: "Behind" by Karin Isobe, Yuna Yoshino, and Lynn

(Available on Amazon's Anime Strike) 

Synopsis

The story revolves around several high school students as they come to term with the fact that they’re graduating in just a couple of months. However, when an old classmate from middle school suddenly transfers into their school, their plans – or lack thereof – begin to change.

 

First Impression

The title basically sums up why I started watching this series – just because. I’ll be honest here: it took me a week to get through the first episode because I got bored and forgot about it halfway through. The pacing is relatively slow and the characters seem as bland as the synopsis above. But you know what else was lackluster at the beginning? Tsuki ga Kirei.

If there’s one thing anime excels at, it’s taking ordinary characters and everyday situations and turning them into beautiful, meaningful stories that tug at the heartstrings. By the end of the second episode, I was drawn in by the characters' wide range of emotions and its potential to be an endearing and realistic slice of life anime. Plus, it’s written by Kamoshida Hajime who also wrote Sakurasou, so I won’t drop it from my list just yet.

3 | Food Wars! The Third Plate

 
 
 

Synopsis

Yukihira Souma, a young but immensely talented sous chef, aims to take over his humble family restaurant one day. But before that, his dad sends him off to Totsuki Academy, a prestigious and cut-throat competitive culinary school known for its high expulsion rate and intense cooking battles, or “shokugeki”.

The third season picks up where the second left off, as Yukihira and his friends endure more challenges that’ll determine their futures at Totsuki.

Info

  • Japanese Title: Shokugeki no Souma: San no Sara
  • Genre: Shounen, School, Ecchi
  • Air Date: 4 October 2017
  • Studio: J.C. Staff
  • Episodes: TBD
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Source: Manga by Tsukuda Yuto
  • Director: Yoshitomo Yonetani
  • Opening: "Braver" by ZAQ
  • Ending: "Kyokyo Jitsujitsu" by nano.RIPE

(Available on Crunchyroll)

 

First Impression

If I’m still watching a third season of anything, it’s pretty clear that I thoroughly enjoy it. Fans of the series will be glad to know that its hilarity and over-the-top cooking and tasting scenes carried over from the previous seasons. In the new arc, we’re introduced to the rest of the Elite Ten (the top ten students at Totsuki), so I look forward to seeing the roles they play in Souma and friends’ struggle for survival in the culinary world.

If you love food and comedy, and you aren’t put off by mild nudity and shameless “foodgasms”, do yourself a favor and watch this show. I almost didn’t because I thought it was senseless fan-service, but it turned out to be ridiculously fun and entertaining. However, I don’t recommend watching this on an empty stomach or near anyone you’d be embarrassed to explain the series to.

4 | Inuyashiki Last Hero

 
 
 

Info

  • Genre: Sci-Fi, Action, Psychological, Drama, Seinen
  • Air Date: 13 October 2017
  • Studio: MAPPA
  • Episodes: 11
  • Rating: R (violence and profanity)
  • Source: Manga by Hiroya Oku
  • Director: Satou Keiichi
  • Opening: "My Hero" by Man with a Mission
  • Ending: "To You Who Taught Me Love" by Qajiff

(Available on Amazon's Anime Strike)

Synopsis

What does a timid, old man who’s diagnosed with terminal cancer and alienated from his family have in common with a high school student who’s really obsessed with the One Piece manga? Cyborg-slash-superhuman abilities as a result of an extraterrestrial hit-and-run, that’s what. As they begin to adapt to their new robotic bodies, they also explore what it means to be alive in drastically different ways.

 

First Impression

Inuyashiki is really testing my incredibly low tolerance for blatant CGI in anime… Still, it didn’t take long for the series to grab my attention – mainly because so much happened within just the first episode. Right off the bat, Inuyashiki is pretty dark and depressing as it shows how insensitive and cruel people can be. It doesn’t waste any time getting you to pity the titled character; seriously, everyone around him sucks. Still, the ending of the episode was satisfying, even hopeful, for our unlikely protagonist.

My favorite thing about the first episode is the aliens, to be honest. They couldn’t just resuscitate the two main characters. Nope. Let’s give them robotic bodies with a fully loaded arsenal and basically god-like powers. Perfect. Well done. With that being said, I’m ready for an action-packed show!

[UPDATE] I just watched the second episode, and it’s messed up on so many levels. At this point, it can either get insanely good or utterly disappointing.   
 

5 | The Ancient Magus’ Bride

 
 
 

Synopsis

Hatori Chise has been able to see dark and grotesque figures all her life, bringing her nothing but sadness and tragedies. With no place to go and no will to live, she resorted to selling herself at an auction. There, she is bought by a mysterious and powerful skull-faced mage named Elias Ainsworth, who intends to make her not only his apprentice but also his wife.

Info

  • Japanese Title: Mahoutsukai no Yome
  • Genre: Fantasy, Magic, Shounen
  • Air Date: 8 October 2017
  • Studio: Wit Studio
  • Episodes: 24
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Source: Manga by Kore Yamazaki
  • Director: Norihiro Naganuma
  • Opening: "Here" by JUNNA
  • Ending: "Wa-Cycle" by Hana Itoki

(Available on Crunchyroll)

 

First Impression

First things first: I love this series already! The three-episode OVA that came out prior to this and provided a glimpse into Chise’s childhood was a chillingly good preview of what’s to come. And the main series, so far, does not disappoint. The animation is gorgeous and takes full advantage of story’s enchanting elements. The atmosphere can only be described as a mix of Studio Ghibli and the Harry Potter franchise, which I fully support. And while the show is serious and saddening at times, it has its funny and lighthearted moments that make it very enjoyable to watch overall.

Since we’re only a couple of episodes in, there isn’t much to say about the characters and main story other than I can’t wait to see how everything develops and I just want Chise to be happy.


Davis’s Shout Out: Blend-S

When my brother found out that I wasn’t including Blend-S in my fall lineup, he was almost offended. The show follows Sakuranomiya Maika who, after a string of bad interviews (same girl, same), winds up working part-time at a café where each waitress takes on a different character-type to appeal to customers. I have yet to watch it, but according to Davis, it’s a stupid but funny guilty pleasure show that hilariously depicts Japan’s maid cafes and the otaku lifestyle.

Will Watch

1 | March Comes in Like a Lion Season 2

Of all the shows on my “Will Watch” list, March Comes in Like a Lion is the one I’m looking forward to the most. I’m currently working my way through the first season, and it’s been a rollercoaster of emotions paired with a beautifully unique art style that Studio Shaft is famous for.

2 | Blood Blockade Battlefront & Beyond

My only exposure to this series is the annoyingly addicting and toe-tapping ending theme from the first season. That, combined with the fact that it’s from Bones Studio (Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, My Hero Academia, Noragami, etc.), is more than enough to pique my interest.

3 | Children of the Whales

While this series is currently airing weekly in Japan, anime fans in the United States have to wait until next year to legally watch it. Why? Because Netflix has exclusive rights to it but won’t simulcast it. What a bummer… The art looks amazing, too, and the reception has been optimistic for the most part. Hopefully, I’ll remember to watch it by the time it’s finally available.

After a summer of binging older series, it’s refreshing to watch anime as it airs. Definitely not all 50+ of them, though. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

I hope this list helped you build your own watch list for the fall season! And if I’m missing anything, please let me know!