Fall 2020 Anime First Impressions

The fall 2020 anime season is here! After a spring season cut short by the pandemic, and a strange catch-up summer season, the autumn is full of promise with a few returning series and a number of big name shows and well-known creators with new projects. Check out our thoughts on the new series and links to longer first impressions below (we’ll throw them up here as we write ’em). We’d love to hear your feedback, too, so let us know what you’re thinking in the comment section.

Adachi and ShimamuraAkudama DriveAssault Lily: BouquetBurn the WitchBy the Grace of the GodsDate a Bullet: Dead or BulletThe Day I Became a GodDragon Quest: The Adventure of DaiDropout Idol Fruit TartThe Gymnastics SamuraiHaikyuu!!Higurashi: When They CryHypnosis Mic -Division Rap Battle-I’m Standing on a Million LivesIkebukuro West Gate ParkIs the Order a Rabbit? (Season 3)Iwa Kakeru! Sports Climbing GirlsJUJUTSU TAISENKing’s RAID: Successors of the WillKuma Kuma Kuma BearLove Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol ClubMaesetsu!Magatsu Wahrheit: ZuerstMoriarty the PatriotNoblesseOur Last Crusade or the Rise of a New WorldRail RomanesqueSleepy Princess in the Demon CastleTalentless NanaTONIKAWA: Over The Moon For YouWandering Witch: The Journey of ElainaWarlords of SigrdrifaWith a Dog AND a Cat, Every Day is FunYashahime: Princess Half-Demon

Adachi and Shimamura

First Impression: stardf29

“…the awkwardness of seeing your only friend hanging out with other friends is something that transcends sexuality and is relatable for all, as is the fear of getting too close and risking conflict. Beyond that, this show is very much a slow-paced slice-of-life, featuring overall mundane interactions that slowly shape the character relationships.”

Read More

Streaming on Funimation.

Home


Akudama Drive

First Impression: Gaheret

“…And then, there came the murderous psychopaths who, perhaps because of some unexplained Kryptonian heritage, have no problem destroying a thousand robots with their bare hands, the gratuitous violence with innocent victims everywhere, decapitations and fountains of blood, the extreme fanservice with its similarly gratuitous nudity, the more and more contrived coincidences, the supposedly cool thieves and, on top of everything, the mastermind cat. The show had long lost me by that point. I don´t recommend this one.”

Read More

Streaming on Funimation.

Home


Assault Lily: Bouquet

First Impression: Jeskai Angel

“I wouldn’t exactly advise anyone to avoid this show, but I also can’t especially recommend it, unless the premise just really tickles your fancy.”

Read More

Streaming on Funimation.

Home


Burn the Witch

First Impression: Samuru

“I personally enjoyed it and am looking forward to more. The story gave me enough to understand what was going on, yet left plenty of mystery, making me eager to see what happens next. I love it when anime does that, so I am intrigued enough to keep watching.”

Read More

Twwk

Still in recovery from the entire last 2/3 of Bleach and the mess it devolved into, I wasn’t particularly anticipating Tite Kubo’s follow-up. The entire background of it felt strange: It’s a “seasonal” manga, meaning that Kubo is writing a few chapters a year, it seems, and this movie (divided into three episodes by Crunchyroll) covers the entirety of the manga so far. And that all causes me pause. Do I want to get invested in a series that may not receive more anime episodes for years or ever again, when the story is clearly just beginning? There’s some intrigue to the anime, for sure, as I want to see how this world unfolds (especially if in the hands of Studio Colorido, with this being the third consecutive film of theirs we’ve reviewed or analyzed). Another couple of episodes doesn’t seem like much of an investment, but if nothing more comes of this, I’ll feel like I got burned.

You can watch Burn The Witch on Crunchyroll.

Home


By the Grace of the Gods

First Impression: stardf29

By the Grace of the Gods is currently one of my favorite light novels, though that doesn’t mean I’m particularly excited for this anime, as anime adaptations of light novels don’t exactly have the best track record. Still, I find them to at least be a decent revisit of the story, and as far as this one goes, it’s not bad.”

Read More

Streaming on Funimation.

Home


Date a Bullet: Dead or Bullet

First Impression: Gaheret

“It looks like the story part of a videogame. I like battle royale just fine, but I need some more grasping of what we are fighting for here. But for now, I find it intriguing, and the multi-coloured sky is cool. Let’s see where this goes.”

Read More

Home


The Day I Became a God

First Impression: Twwk

“But despite the humor, the groundwork has been laid for a trademark tearful ending—how we’ll get there and just how tearful it will be remains to be seen, but I’m hopeful if not entirely optimistic, for 13 episodes has seemed to be too little for Maeda to craft another masterpiece. But here’s praying that with The Day I Became a God, he’ll return to his divine touch.

Read More

Streaming on Funimation.

Home


Dragon Quest: The Adventure of Dai

First Impression: Samuru

“I enjoyed this one, especially the animation which was originally done by Akira Toriyama (Dragonball, Chrono Trigger, etc) and it had that RPG feel to it. This is also a remake of an older anime from the late 1980s-early 1990s with added 3D scenes here and there. I look forward to watching more, as I’m not familiar with the original story.”

Read More

Streaming on Crunchyroll.

Home


Dropout Idol Fruit Tart

First Impression: stardf29

“It’s not all bad, as it’s pretty clear that whatever the actual results might be, the girls themselves felt most fulfilled when they focused more on smiles and friendliness, and that does give me some hope that this show will take the approach of ultimately allowing the girls to shine by who they are rather than what their bodies are like.”

Read More

Streaming on Funimation.

Home


The Gymnastics Samurai

First Impression: stardf29

“…this is shaping up to be a good story of defying the odds in sports, with a more adult take on everything, so I would say it’s worth checking out.”

Read More

Streaming on Funimation.

Home


Haikyuu!!

First Impression: MDMRN

“Finally seeing these parts of the series animated has been a treat for me, a manga reader. Watching these minus tempo quicks and the pace of the game has been fabulous. Honestly, my face was a stupid child-like grin the entire episode and I am just so happy that these volley bois are back.”

Read More

Streaming on Crunchyroll.

Home


Higurashi: When They Cry

First Impression: sleepminusminus

“… I’m looking forward to this new adaptation, in hopes that it will breathe new life into a dusty tale. And so far, my hopes haven’t been dashed. This Higurashi feels fresh, with new character designs, new backgrounds, and new directing. The characters are vibrant and unique.”

Read More

Twwk

I’m the opposite of sleepminusminus—instead of watching the previous anime recently, I read the manga long ago. I’ve forgotten more then I remember, but the unsettling tone of the series remains with me. And this first episode gets it right, though only in the final ten seconds, through the credits, and in the after credits scene. The previous 20+ minutes were off in all sorts of ways: It doesn’t quite feel like 1983; the setting don’t get a chance to breathe and town thus doesn’t feel as idyllic as it should; and the animation is often poor, including in the characters’ proportions. But the ending was so right that I can forgive the rest, if just for an episode or two, and see where this reboot will go.

NegativePrimes

And I’m in a different situation from either sleepminusminus or Twwk: I have no previous exposure to this franchise. I’m coming in blind. And I’m general I’m enjoying it so far: It gives me Shiki vibes, and I’ve been missing Shiki since Crunchyroll lost the rights to it. Higurashi has some similar camera angles and techniques to set the tone, e.g. the way it plays with the appearance of characters’ eyes.

I wouldn’t recommend it if you don’t like horror, or if you can’t stomach the opening bloody scene (I expect there shall be more). And I didn’t completely enjoy the “happy” scenes that make up the middle: it was too saccharine for my tastes. But the hints of dystopia kept me watching, and the end of the episode paid it off in a big way. So I’ll keep this one on my list.

Gaheret

For my part, I liked the art style of the last Higurashi, which I found enchanting and quite unique, and the horror parts were very intelligent and mostly effective, if sometimes so gory I almost dropped the entire thing. But when I did, it was because I found the slice-of-life part, vital to the plot and which was meant to be the counterpoint, what was at stake, and the human heart of the story, to be very wanting. With this one, like Twwk, I find the animation and the characters often off-putting, and the horror (for now) less effective. But in turn, I found the group dynamics to be much more believable and human this time. I think this could be the right adaptation. We´ll see.

Streaming on Funimation.

Home


Hypnosis Mic -Division Rap Battle-

First Impression: Samuru

“I wasn’t too impressed with this first episode, as I hoped it would focus more on the hip-hop genre, but it was as silly as I thought it might be. I wanted something more serious and gritty, but that’s OK. Hypnosis Mic appears to just be a fun watch for those that are interested.”

Read More

Streaming on Funimation.

Home


I’m Standing on a Million Lives

First Impression: Jeskai Angel

“The show left me with many questions…What’s the alleged “game master” who claims to be from the future trying to accomplish? Will additional students will join the party? What does the title have to do with the story? Who is Yotsuya really?

…Based on this episode, I feel like recommending I’m Standing on a Million Lives.”

Read More

Twwk

Like Jeskai, I found episode one intriguing. Besides all the questions I also have, what engaged me most was the shifts in tone between a more serious one that, while not violent and horrific like that in Goblin Slayer or Grimgar, still was unsettling to a more jovial one, such as the role selection of Yuusuke as a farmer. I’m also excited at seeing growth in the initial trio, especially in Yuusuke who avoids friendships. I’ll be continuing this series into at least the next few episodes.

Streaming on Crunchyroll.

Home


Ikebukuro West Gate Park

First Impression: Twwk

“…[the] tone [is] best described as ‘pleasant,’ which isn’t entirely a bad thing. It might even be what I’m looking for. But all the other people tuning in for an anime about gang warfare might not be happy with a pleasant show such as this.”

Read More

Streaming on Funimation.

Home


Is the Order a Rabbit? (Season 3)

First Impression: sleepminusminus

“From the very first stills to the newly animated OP, this episode is brimming with life and light and color. It’s almost like walking into your living room to be greeted by a fresh new coat of paint. Cocoa and co. are as adorably idiotic as ever, but the new direction introduces a depth to their characters that I haven’t seen in previous seasons.”

Read More

stardf29

Note: stardf29 had intended to write follow-up impressions for this show, but after watching the episode he had to be rushed to the hospital due to a “sugar overdose.” According to reports, the paramedics had heard him muttering “must protect Chino’s smile” moments before losing consciousness.

Streaming on HiDIVE and Crunchyroll.

Home


Iwa Kakeru! Sports Climbing Girls

First Impression: MDMRN

“Competitive rock climbing is more akin to running or track where it is a team exercise, but you are judged as individuals too. As someone who loved Run with the Wind and competed in cross country in high school, I can relate to this kind of a sport. The episode was good in that it jumped right into the competition in an interesting way.”

Read More

Streaming on Crunchyroll.

Home


JUJUTSU TAISEN

First Impression: Jeskai Angel

“It’s totally not like anything you’ve seen before. …Okey-day, fine, maybe it totally is something you’ve seen before, multiple times over the past couple decades. That doesn’t mean it’s bad, though”

Read More

Twwk

While I’m not sure if I’ll keep up with this series, I was rather impressed with the heart and humor of episode one, if less so by the generic shounen-ness of it all. I do I have to say, though….I may keep tuning in at least until that panda shows up. What the heck?

Streaming on Crunchyroll.

Home


King’s RAID: Successors of the Will

First Impression: Jeskai Angel

“On the whole, I’d say this episode introduced enough potentially interesting elements that I feel okay recommending it. I don’t know if it will be good, but it might be, so I plan to at least watch another episode or two.”

Read More

Streaming on Funimation.

Home


Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear

First Impression: stardf29

“…I mentioned that while the series reads a bit dry in novel form, it should be cute and fun in a more visual format like the anime… but I did not expect this first episode to mess with the novel content so much. The black viper storyline is actually from volume 2 of the light novel, and while it’s one thing if they showed it in the first episode as a flash-forward to get action-oriented viewers interested (already a questionable decision), the fact that it’s framed as just another VRMMO game quest is particularly baffling…”

Read More

Twwk

As one not familiar with the light novels or manga, I didn’t bring many expectations (or baggage) into the episode with me. And the result? I absolutely loved episode one. Origin stories at the beginning of isekai feel like they’re necessary, but being dropped in the middle of the story, as Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear does, can be a good choice as well. For one episode, at least, it was a smart choice, though time will tell if it was ultimately the wise one. Storywise, the opening episode was fun—well-crafted, good at establishing character, full of heart, and showing some originality (at least in character design). Most of all, I love Yuna—she absolutely feels like an OP Shimarin (Yuru Camp), and I can’t get enough. Voiced by a relative newcomer, I think her personality is enough to keep me engaged, though what could turn me off is indeed how OP she is—the last ten years have given me way too much of that type of character and storyline. So as much as I enjoyed the opening, time will tell if this is a keeper or not. Rawr.

Streaming on Funimation.

Home


Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club

First Impression: stardf29

“Even now, while I’m not following the series as closely, I definitely still like the franchise, and this episode reminded me why. At its core, this whole franchise is about learning about yourself and following your dreams, facing down obstacles along the way. This first episode already does a great job of setting up the story to follow those themes.”

Read More

Streaming on Funimation.

Home


Maesetsu!

First Impression: sleepminusminus

“Give it a try if you think the premise sounds interesting—perhaps your tastes differ from mine. For my part, I’m not too interested in attending any more of Tokonatsu‘s mediocre performances.”

Read More

Streaming on Funimation.

Home


Magatsu Wahrheit: Zuerst

First Impression: Gaharet

“So far, this is my favorite episode of the fall season. Magatsu Wahrheit strikes all the right chords for me, and I can´t wait to see what happens next.”

Streaming on Funimation.

Read More

Home


Moriarty the Patriot

First Impression: Twwk

“…the last few minutes, as they often do, reveal that there’s something interesting here, namely that Moriarty indeed appears to be an anti-hero, and possibly a great villain in the making. And that, combined with the beauty of the series, potentially makes for one of the more interesting shows this fall.”

Read More

Samuru

Having read a little bit of Sherlock Holmes, when I saw the name “Moriarty” I was intrigued. Would this be all about Sherlock, or just his nemesis? The episode starts off a little slow, with Moriarty taking on a serial murder case. As he continues to investigate, another character, Lord Albert, is also shown to be a sort of detective himself. I assume he’s Sherlock, as I’m not one to guess much and prefer to be led by the hand when I watch anime.

The animation is nice, but as already mentioned, it took it’s time to get going. I like how Moriarty ended the episode, as it didn’t make seem as kind as you would have imagined. He’s certainly an anti-hero and knows how to manipulate, which I liked because if he is the main antagonist, he will be difficult to beat.

I look forward to watching more, but I don’t rank this high at all compared to the other anime out this season.

Streaming on Funimation.

Home


Noblesse

First Impression: KhakiBlueSocks

“Long story short, if you’re willing to put in the extra work and watch the OVA and read the Webtoon to better understand what’s going on, then maybe…MAYBE you’ll get something out of Noblesse, and I hope you enjoy it, but for anyone like me who just wants to jump in and watch a show from Episode 01 without doing prep work, then don’t waste your time. There are plenty other better shows out there that don’t require doing homework to enjoy.”

Read More

NegativePrimes

The Bible says to correct your brother when he errs, so in the spirit of loving-kindness for a brother led astray let me explain that Socks is completely wrong and in over his head. I have read the manwa multiple times and seen the OVA thrice, and now watched the new anime episode twice. So step aside and make room for the adults.

No, you don’t have to read the webtoon to understand the Noblesse anime. The OVA is the first story arc, and episode one begins immediately where the OVA left off to begin the second arc. It’s that simple. Just as zero comes before one, or BC comes before AD. (I warned Mr Socks to watch the OVA first, but did he listen? No. This is what comes of ignoring the experts.)

What is more, Socks is going to miss out on one of the great epic stories of the decade, simply because he doesn’t want to spend 30 minutes on what is essentially season 1. (He calls watching the OVA “homework”; but I think we can all agree that if homework was always anime, we’d find a lot more pleasure in it! Anime qua homework is how life is meant to be, as God ordained things from the beginning.)

So if a modern fantasy saga is your thing, you should be watching Noblesse. Experience a new kind of vampire mythology. Explore the depths of technology and human lives. Witness the birth of a thousand memes. (Oh yes, there shall be memes!) Encounter Noblesse as you would the Bible: in its entirety, and for yourself.

Streaming on Crunchyroll.

Home


Our Last Crusade or the Rise of a New World

First Impression: Jeskai Angel

“There’s nothing particularly unique about the premise, the characters feel problematically familiar, and the writing is contrived. I am slightly curious whether the story is going to follow the tragic Romeo & Juliet path, or give the leads a happy ending, but not curious enough that I can be certain I’ll even come back for the next episode.”

Read More

Streaming on Funimation.

Home


Rail Romanesque

First Impression: MDMRN

“I feel like I would appreciate this show more if I had literally any understanding of the visual novel, Maitetsu: Pure Station, that is is based on. Oh well. It’s silly nonsense about living embodiments of trains. And it’s less than 5 minutes a week. I think I can manage a few more episodes to see if I get a better feel for the characters and decide if I want to keep going.”

Read More

stardf29

So I’m reading my way through Maitetsu: Pure Station, the visual novel that this anime is based on. While I haven’t gotten too far into it, I’m definitely enjoying it, with plenty of educational information about trains and an interesting story with some emotional punch featuring a great cast of characters. It’s too early to give a definitive recommendation but I’d say it’s worth trying out. As for this anime… well, out of all the characters I’ve seen so far in the visual novel, the only two that got mentioned in this episode are the two train girls that invited all the other train girls but couldn’t actually attend the meeting itself. So yeah, this looks to be a spin-off with a largely separate cast. It’s fine for a short-form anime, but honestly, I’d rather just go back to reading the visual novel.

Streaming on Crunchyroll.

Home


Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle

First Impression: Jeskai Angel

Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle looks to be a heavily comedic, fantasy slice-of-life anime. It’s well paced, cute, silly, and bright. I thoroughly enjoyed the way it played with various fantasy tropes and recommend you check it out.”

Read More

stardf29

Doga Kobo comes through once again with a cute and hilarious comedy. The twists on the usual fantasy tropes are fun, and it’s great to see how absolutely merciless the princess can be in pursuit of good sleep. (I completely sympathize with her, though; sleeping in discomfort is terrible.) The question is how the series will manage to keep the comedy fresh over the next dozen or so episodes; they’ll definitely need to mix things up in some ways. Still, I’m definitely looking forward to more of this!

Streaming on Funimation.

Home


Talentless Nana

First Impression: Gaharet

“The choice to take a different route saved which would have been a formulaic story, and turned it into something else. It was a first episode worth watching. Now, the question is if it can outlive the trick.“

Read More

Twwk

What an ending. I mean, judging by the ED, that action is permanent. Gaharet described it well in his reaction, so I won’t go into detail about how much that changes the show, except now to say that I’m less interested. I was ready for something relatively calm and recyclable, but Talentless Nana is far more ambitious—so much so that I’ll be surprised if it accomplishes what it sets out to.

Streaming on Funimation.

Home


TONIKAWA: Over The Moon For You

First Impression: KhakiBlueSocks

“If you’re looking for something sweet and comfortable to escape the drama of the day-to-day, you have got to follow this one. It has enough meat on the bone to keep you satisfied, while keeping things light and funny enough where you don’t have to engage in Rubik’s Cube mental gymnastics to understand what’s going on.”

Read More

Twwk

Having read and enjoyed volume one of the manga (released by Viz as Fly Me to the Moon, so you might see this series referred to as that, Tonikawa, Tonikawa: Over the Moon for You, and Tonikaku Kawaii), I was worried about he anime adaptation—protect this story at all costs! But after one episode, it seems to be on the right path: cute, pretty, wholesome. I am worried, though, that the humor might not hit so well as it does in the manga, and also about the animation: There seems to be a lack of effort put toward characters this season and instead invested in backgrounds, as in the village in Higurashi and the beautiful moon animation in this show.

sleepminusminus

Unlike Josh and TWWK, I haven’t read the manga behind Tonikaku Kawaii, so I’m going into this show blind (though I did prepare some insulin upon Josh’s recommendation). And honestly, I felt like I was watching an amateur fanfiction rather than an actual show. To quote Nasa’s teacher, “Grades and common sense aren’t synonymous.” Nasa’s intelligent, but his actions breach the boundaries of common sense, and it’s a little hard to get invested in what’s going on. The show looks good, though. The backgrounds and character designs are polished, and the animation has some character, so I can’t really complain. For now, I’m adding the show to my rainy day watchlist (and insulin to my shopping cart).

stardf29

After some thought, I realized that this show reminds me of The Helpful Fox Senko-san, which I liked a lot, and has a similar concept of a girl living with a guy and providing some fairly innocent wish fulfillment for its audience. But where Senko was more of a strange wife/mother/goddess hybrid, Tsukasa here is just straight up a wife. Anyway it was adorable as I expected from having read the manga, and of course I’ll be watching more. Just be warned: this anime has extremely explicit scenes of… hand-holding.

Streaming on Crunchyroll.

Home


Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina

First Impression: Jeskai Angel

“Will the focus be on now-adult Elaina’s continuing travels? Elaina’s mom also seems a bit suspicious mysterious, so that could be a plot thread, too. And there’s that weirdness about how all local witches shun Elaina, which might be setup for something. Whatever the case, the first episode suggests this will be a warm, cheery series.”

Read More

Twwk

What a lovely opening episode! I’m totally entranced at both the world that Elaina is living in and by the structure of the series. It’s bold to do a three-year time skip at the end of the initial episode, but I like the idea, and also that the first episode focused on Elaina’s growth through her apprenticeship. Speaking of, Kana Hanazawa was perfect as usual playing Fran, her sensei. It’s too bad that we may not see her again, but I’ll remember her character well, and especially her fights with Elaina, a very wondrous melding of CG and traditional in surprisingly exciting and beautiful magician battles. What a great start!

stardf29

Having read the first volume of the original light novel, I found it interesting that they actually adapted a story from the middle of the volume, though it makes complete sense why they would start there. (That should be a good hint that this series is very episodic in nature, by the way.) Anyway, the animation definitely helped bring the story to life quite well, so I overall really liked this episode. It’ll definitely be interesting to see how more of Kino’s–I mean, Elaina’s journey gets adapted.

Streaming on Funimation.

Home


Warlords of Sigrdrifa

First Impression: Jeskai Angel

“Warlords of Sigrdrifa feels like The Magnificent KOTOBUKI but with Norse mythology instead of a wild west vibe. So, basically, it’s awesome.”

Read More

Streaming on Funimation.

Home


With a Dog AND a Cat, Every Day is Fun

First Impression: MDMRN

“…it’s a silly cliche and was pretty funny, so it’s a great pallet cleanser anime that won’t force you to think very much if it continues along the same path as episode one.”

Read More

Josh

In these trying times, we all just need that simple little piece of sweet candy, and this fits the bill perfectly. You don’t have to think too hard about it, you can just watch the adorable ness for a minute or two, dance along with the OP, and then go about your day in the drudgery that is 2020.

Streaming Crunchyroll.

Home


Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon

First Impression: josephkim1998

“I don’t know many people who actually did finish Inuyasha to the end, but for those who did, this episode will be a treat. Little was revealed about Yashahime and the new characters in this episode, but instead it was pure fan service to Inuyasha fans, which I have no complaints about.”

Read More

Josh

Gotta admit, I was never really a HUGE fan of Inuyasha back in the day. Yes, it will always hold a spot in my heart for being one of the first Non-Mon anime I seen, but after a while the show got very repetitive (Insert obvious “INUYASHA!!!” “KAGOME!!!” jokes HERE) and the constant “We have to stop Naraku and his evil schemes!” plot really really started to wear on me. And don’t get me started with Kikyo—I swear, even Zombies would be like “Dang girl, you back AGAIN? Chill out with that.” But so far, it looks like Yashahime is shattering the mold. Admittedly, I was expecting a show that was going to be like Boruto; the son (or daughter in this case) of last series’ hero trying to one up the old man to help suppress underlying Daddy Issues. It blew my expectations out of the water (something I need after Hurricane Delta came through Louisiana) and I actually like that Inuyasha and Kagome’s daughter isn’t the center of attention. We’re only two episodes in, though, so anything can happen, but so far I’m impressed. Don’t mess this up, show.

Streaming on Crunchyroll, Funimation, and Hulu.

Home

2 thoughts on “Fall 2020 Anime First Impressions

  1. Love all these first impressions, you guys help inform and shape what I try watching for each season. I definitely was going to pass on a couple shows until I read the first impressions, and you also helped warn be away from a few (*cough* Noblesse *cough*). Thanks for all you do!

Leave a Reply