Fall 2021 Anime Preview

The leaves are falling, the heat is ceasing, and the smell of PSLs are in the air…well, maybe none of those are quite true for you yet, depending on where you are (although here’s betting pumkin spice lattes are in the hands of people all around you!). But here’s a sure sign of autumn: The fall anime season is about to begin! We (Claire and Twwk) are back with another seasonal anime preview, and while there have already been a few early peeks at some of the following series, and even one or two that have begun, most shows begin in earnest next weekend.

By our count, there are no less than 52 series that will be airing this fall. Despite increasing calls for the anime industry to slow down and treat its workers better (and thankfully, at least some work toward that end by a few of the offending studios), there’s more anime being developed than ever. While that has meant, over time, more lower quality shows, it also leaves room for a plethora of choices and near certainty that there’ll be a show or two or three that most any anime fan can enjoyeach season. And for the fall, we have many that we’re excited to try out!

As we did in the summer, we’ll be dividing our preview into four categories: Ohisashiburi! Nice to See You Again! (returning series), Ready the Popcorn! (series in which we have high interest); I’ll Give you Five Minutes…or Three Episodes (series in which we have mild interest), and I’m Intrigued, Tell Me More (“wildcards,” or shows that have us curious but could potentially be trainwrecks, which is part of the fun!). We won’t be covering shows that are continuing on from the summer, but just to mention them, there are only two this fall: The Aquatope on White Sand and The Great Jahy Will Not Be Defeated.

If you’d rather look through these in alphabetical order, feel free to peruse using the links below. We’ve included PVs as available, so enjoy watching in addition to reading our thoughts as you prepare for the new season.

And let us know your thoughts in the comments—what are you looking forward to this fall anime season?

180-byou de Kimi no Mimi wo Shiawase ni Dekiru ka?86 EIGHTY-SIX Part 2AMAIM: Warrior at the BorderlineBanished from the Hero’s Party, I Decided to Live a Quiet Life in the CountrysideBLADE RUNNER: BLACK LOTUSBlue PeriodDeep Insanity: The Lost Child“Deji” Meets GirlDemon Slayer Season 2The Faraway PaladinFit BoxingThe Fruit of Evolution: Before I Knew It, My Life Had It MadeThe Heike StoryKaginadoKomi Can’t CommunicateMieruko-chanThe Moon, Laika, and The Bloodsucking PrincessMushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Part 2MUTEKING THE Dancing HEROMy Senpai is AnnoyingPlatinum EndPuraore! Pride of OrangeRanking of KingsRUMBLE GARANNDOLLSAKUGANTaisho Otome Fairy Taletakt op.DestinyTsuki to Laika to NosferatuThe Vampire dies in no time.Visual PrisonThe Way of the HousehusbandThe World’s Finest Assassin Gets Reincarnated in Another World as an AristocratYuki Yuna is a Hero: The Great Mankai Chapter


Ohisashiburi! Nice to See You Again!

After a pretty desultory summer season (minus a few exceptions like Kageki Shojo!!, and Aquatope… and yes, I am shamelessly plugging my favorite summer series), boy am I ever glad to welcome back some of these ole familiars! In fact, before news broke recently of Naoka Yamada’s new series, Heike Monogatari, I would even have said that my most anticipated shows of the season were to be found in this here Faithful Returners category. I am, of course referring to the wildly anticipated second season of Demon Slayer, the sure to be hilarious Househusband S2, and the third season of a personal fave, Yuki Yuna is a Hero—all of which Twwk and I blurb below. There are other strong returning series too, ones that for whatever reason, neither of us has a personal stake in, but which deserve mention as sure-fire crowd pleasers: Cardfight!! Vanguard overDress S2, Let’s Make a Mug Too S2 (this one has stardf29’s name all over it), Restaurant to Another World 2, Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon Act 2, and another installment of Lupin the 3rd. Which of your old friends are you most looking forward to seeing again? ~ claire

86 EIGHTY-SIX Part 2

(October 2, Crunchyroll)

I’ll be perfectly honest. I actually dropped this back in the spring about 8 episodes in. Not for any particular reason; my dance card was just too full and I couldn’t keep up. But this one is worth picking up again, especially if you enjoy 20th century (military) history (which this series melts all together, stirs up real good, and seasons with mecha). I gather that the first cour ended on an ambiguous note, with male lead Shin and maybe even his entire crew potentially being killed. But this is a light novel series and he still features in the cover art so…the real question is, how does he survive? And how long will the show take to reveal that the hero is not, in fact, dead? What will Lena go through in the interim and more importantly, what realizations and decisions will she come to while believing her team to be lost? I feel some do-ra-ma brewing! Bring on part two of this romantic revolution/revolutionary romance series, amiright? ~ claire

Staff: Toshimasa Ishii (director), Toshiya Oono (series composition)

Cast: Ikumi Hasegawa (Vladilena Milizé), Shouya Chiba (Shinei Nouzen)


Demon Slayer, Season 2

(October 2021, Funimation)

My regard for Demon Slayer is extremely high. The quirky, violent, compact manga has been magic in Ufotable’s hands, including through the Mugen Train movie. Season two begins after the events of that film, moving into the Entertainment District arc. I’m sure it’ll be “flamboyant” and incredible, as the rest has been (I’m excited for the world to experience the Tengen we manga readers know!), though I wonder what the pacing will be like. If it’s similart to the first season of the anime, the arc could take the entirety of the two-cour season; if it’s like Mugen Train, though, it could be covered in one cour and the next arc could fill the second. My money is on that latter option, which would leave one short arc before heading toward the long finale. But if I’m thinking money first, we could be in 24 episodes of Tengen. And I don’t think I would complain too much about that. ~ Twwk

Edit: Apparently, there’s was a third option I didn’t consider. Mugen Train will be redeleloped into the first seven episodes of the new season, while the Entertainment District arc kicks off with a one-hour special on December 5th.

Staff: Haruo Sotozaki (director)

Cast: Natsuki Hanae (Tanjirou), Hiro Shimono (Zenitsu), Yoshitsugu Matsuoka (Inosuke), Katsuyuki Konishi (Tengen)


Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Part 2

(Oct 3, Funimation)

I didn’t finish season one of Mukoshu Tensei, one of the granddaddies of isekai, so I’m not sure if I’ll catch up and watch season two. But it’s not for lack of interest. Season one was unapologetically fanservice-y and featured a protagonist who was Tom Green levels of gross, but the latter is what made the series compelling. Rudeus’ inner thoughts were unfiltered and uncensored, and in that way, convey what many a guy really thinks when he sees women, as undermining and offensive as it may be. That authenticity is strangely refreshing. I also came to care for Rudeus and found the show to be quite funny and well laid-out. If I have a get that isekai itch this season, I could do worse—far, far worse—than scratching it by watching Mukoshu Tensei. ~ Twwk

I’m going to tag in here, too, for a second because for me, this is actually one of, if not the, most troubling anime I’ve ever come across. Boob humor is universal, and though it’s not my cup of tea, that’s not the issue for me here. What bothers me about the jokes in this series is that they prompt us viewers to reinterpret normal baby/child behavior as being sexually-motivated. That’s just a step too far for me, and feels like a pretty lazy (and creepy, tbh) way to explore the humorous potential of the “adult mind in baby body” isekai reincarnation trope. For a similar type of story that does a good job of being funny without sexualizing its baby MC, check out the webtoon, The Matchmaking Baby Princess. I’ll be reading that instead this season. ~ claire

Returning staff and cast have not been confirmed.


The Way of the Househusband Part 2

(Oct 7, Netflix)

All those angry fans who decided part one of Netflix’s adaptation of the manga for The Way of the Househusband was animated so poorly that it wasn’t worth watching missed out on the funniest anime of the year. While I tended to agree with the pitchfork-in-hand crowd, I also noticed that the “shifting panels”-style animation was something I got used to within minutes of episode one and barely noticed from then on out. The complete hilarity made me forget about the animation style. I have detected a little decline in recent issues of manga series (the volumes released in English), but this part should cover some of its strongest material. My back it fully tattooed with a dragon, I’m holdong onto knives better used for filleting people than fish, and armed with an increasing admiration for Tatsu’s VA, Kenjirou Tsuda! Well, maybe just one of those three is true—but regardless, and I’m absoutely jazzed about the new episodes. ~ Twwk

Staff: Chiaki Kon (director), Susumu Yamakawa (series composition)

Cast: Kenjirou Tsuda (Tatsu), Shizuka Itou (Miku)


Yuki Yuna is a Hero: The Great Mankai Chapter (Season 3)

(October 1, HiDIVE)

Back in the day when I was suffering from Madoka withdrawal, I came across Yuki Yuna, a 2014 series very much in keeping with the Dark Turn in magical girl anime instigated by Gen Urobuchi’s masterful 2011 series. Some might call Yuki Yuna derivative, but only if they didn’t complete the season. Yuki Yuna has always, in my opinion, managed to be its own kind of devastating elegy to the vulnerability and heroism of girlhood. In fact, I’d even say that Yuki Yuna‘s 2017 two-part follow-up series was a much better sequel than Magia Record has been to Madoka. Not only did it manage to develop the world-building without info-dumping or convoluting the original premise, but it also handled the backstory to the original season in an eye-opening yet satisfying way. So for these reasons—the dark mahou shoujo theme and the proven track record of the writer-director team at Studio Gokumi in expanding this series—I’m really looking forward to Season 3! ~ claire

Staff: Seiji Kishi (director), Makoto Uezu (series composition), MONACA (music score)

Cast: Haruka Terui (Yuuki Yuuna), Suzuko Mimori (Mimori Tougou), Kana Hanazawa (Sonoko Nogi)


Ready the Popcorn!

What kind of series grab our attention so well that we feel ready to watch through to the end without seeing even one episode? I think our selections this year in this category demonstrate the variety of variables that could lead us to that kind of readiness, including directors, studios, franchises, and familiarity with source material.

Between the two of us, we’ve got quite a diverse group of anime, featuring replicants, undead wizards, biwa players, chibi girls, tiny businesswomen, and child kings. Read on to see why these series (and characters) have us chomping at the bit.

Blade Runner: Black Lotus

(Unknown premiere date, Crunchyroll / Adult Swim)

I am a moderate Blade Runner fan, which is to say that I enjoyed the original Ridley Scott film and Denis Villeneuve’s 2017 sequel, as well as Shinichiro Watanabe’s short film, Blade Runner Black Out 2022, but I couldn’t tell you all the ins and outs of the franchise or explain the mythology well. And I can’t say I’m pumped about the look of this series—I dislike CGI in general and this looks particularly plastic. But all the previous Blade Runner releases were so very good, and with Watanabe in a producer role, I can’t help but be excited to see how Black Lotus, focusing on a female replicant named Elle and taking place about halfway between the movies, plays out. ~ Twwk

Staff: Yuu Nobuta (director)

Cast: Elle (Jessica Henwick), Joseph (Will Yun Lee), Alani (Samira Wiley), Niander Wallace, Sr. (Brian Cox), Niander Wallace, Jr. (Wes Bentley), Marlow (Josh Duhamel)


The Faraway Paladin

(Oct 9, Crunchyroll)

Another light novel adaptation, it’s actually the manga version of The Faraway Paladin that I’m familiar with; volume one of that series is a lovely, heartfelt, and mysterious preamble to the tale of Will, a human reared by an undead wizard, warrior, and priestess. I’m eager to see how Children’s Playground will adapt the story. Tonally, there’s an unusual feel for the material, one unlike most anime, at once humorous and wistful, adventurous and deliberate, macabre and hopeful. If captured properly, and there are hints in the director’s and studio’s background to suggest that they might, this adaptation could be something quite special. ~ Twwk

Staff: Yuu Nobuta (director)

Cast: Maki Kawase (Will), Nobuo Tobita (Augustus), Katsuyuki Konishi (Blood), Yui Horie (Mary)


The Heike Story

(September 15, Funimation)

The premiere has already aired and so you can read my First Impression post here. This is (was) my most anticipated series of the year—for all of two weeks because that’s all the notice we got that The Next Naoko Yamada Masterpiece was being released this season! (And we’re getting it an entire season before Japan!) In case Yamada’s name doesn’t ring a bell (go watch KyoAni’s A Silent Voice, Liz and the Blue Bird, Tamako Market Love Story, and K-On), let me give you a little more to go on. The Heike Story retells the epic tale of clan war in medieval Japan from the perspective of an orphan girl disguised as a boy and named (by herself) for the Japanese lute, or biwa. Biwa’s heterochromic blue eye can see the future, and this makes her a person of interest to a lord of the Heike clan, Shigemori, but not in a sinister way. At least we hope not. Instead, he adopts her into his family, treats her with honor, and sets about turning her into a proper lady. Maybe. We’ll see who wins that battle! Voiced by the ambidextrous Aoi Yuuki, Biwa is an utter delight, though she is not cute in the slightest. Instead, she is full of verve, forthrightness, and the kind of gumption that wins hearts. And also fleas and lice. Lots of them. She probably smells a bit too…Anyhow, watch this series. You won’t regret it. ~ claire

Staff: Naoko Yamada (director), Reiko Yoshida (series composition), Kensuke Ushio (music score), Kazuto Izumida (director of photography)

Cast: Aoi Yuuki (Biwa), Takahiro Sakurai (Shigemori), Saori Hayami (Tokuko)


Kaginado

(October 12, HiDIVE)

I generally avoid these chibi crossover shows—they’re cute but I don’t find them worth my while. Kaginado is different, however, since a number of these series and characters, all from Key (Air, Clannad, Rewrite), continue to have a place in my heart years after the original series aired. It’ll be lovely to see them return to the screen and interact with one another. I expect warm and fuzzies all around, and am particularly excited to revisit some of the series I haven’t seen for years, including Kanon, a show that was once my very favorite but has fallen off my radar. The only real question is, which catchphrase will win: gao or uguuuu? ~ Twwk


My Senpai is Annoying

(October 9, Funimation)

When I first read the premise—diminutive, shy office lady develops confusing feelings possibly of a romantic nature toward her overly large, overly cheerful senior at work—my reaction was “meh, maybe not for me, but let’s watch the trailer”. Thirty seconds later, I was a true believer: this series is going to be golden! It’s got charm, it’s got wit, it’s got great character designs, and character dynamics I’m looking forward to seeing play out. This is Doga Kobo doing what it does best: rom com with deep affection for its characters, and a goodly helping of playfulness too (anyone else out there a Love Lab fan?). Although this is only director Itou’s second ever anime and first time in the big chair, kViN over at Sakuga Blog sings his praises on Sing “Yesterday” for Me, so I daresay Itou’s a safe pair of hands to translate this popular manga onto the screen and maybe even bring an extra dash of life to the charming and hilarious cast! In short, I’m living in anticipation of October 9. ~ claire

Staff: Ryouta Itou (director), Yoshimi Narita (series composition)

Cast: Tomori Kusunoki (Futuba Igarashi), Shunsuke Takeuchi (Harumi Takeda), Saori Hayami (Touko Sakurai)


Ranking of Kings

(October 14, Funimation)

This is the story of a deaf prince, Bojji, who befriends a shadow and sets off on an adventure in hopes of living up to his birthright. Will he prove the realm’s naysayers wrong and become a worthy prince? Should you invest the time to find out? My answer to that would be two words: WIT STUDIO. This relatively young suburban Tokyo studio is boss level in my books. And I’m not just talking about the first 3 seasons of AoT, but also the gorgeous Ancient Magus Bride, as well as my favorite pick of the Spring season, the inexplicably underrated Vivy Fluorite Eyes’ Song, and the experimental Girl from the Other Side that is under production right now (Kickstarter Fam, where you at?). So when WIT rocks up with a series that at first glance looks a little childish and sounds a little too familiar, I’m willing to give ’em the benefit of the doubt and maybe even secretly harbor a dash of reckless expectation that something special is about to happen. Yes, the art style is simple and this is the first rodeo for the co-directors and Bojji’s VA, but that just makes it fresh, right? Besides, seasoned writer Taku Kishimoto (Haikyuu!!, Fruits Basket, Don’t Toy with Me, Miss Nagatoro, Jujutsu Kaisen, Usagi Drop…I can keep going if you like…) will doubtless provide excellent grounding for the series. And let’s get a round of jazz hands for a hearing-impaired protagonist! ~ claire

Staff: Makoto Fuchigami & Yousuke Hatta (directors), Kazuto Izumida (director of photography), Taku Kishimoto (script & series composition)

Cast: Minami Hinata (Bojji), Ayumu Murase (Kage, the shadow)


I’ll Give You Five Minutes…or Three Episodes

The vast majority of series this season fall into this “unsure” category for us. For each anime, there’s one or two or three things that catch our eyes—perhaps some notable staff member, a cool and unexpected preview, an engaging storyline, etc.—but typically come with warning signs as well, whether it’s something from past we can point toward (again, like staff) or simply an aspect that irks us personally, like a type of series which we’re tiring of. That last bit means that you might be looking far more toward some of these shows than we are, and if so, all the power to you! Enjoy!

AMAIM: Warrior at the Borderline (Kyouka Senki)

(October 5)

This series really is a flyer for me, and one that’s based entirely on nostalgia. AMAIM is another in a long line of “boy pilots mecha to save Japan” shows, and includes a meeting with an A.I. as part of the plot as well. It’s developed by what I assume are the leftovers of the Bandai / Sunrise brands—it certainly has that 90’s look to it. Further, the director, Nobuyoshi Habara, helmed two anime that are deeply embedded in my fan psyche—D.N.Angel and the Break Blade movies. He knows how to do mecha well and how to capture the tone of a bygone era in anime, also, so this could be a sneaky good series if you’re like me, and willing to spend 23 minutes a week basking in 1998 rather than here in 2021. ~ Twwk

Staff: Nobuyoshi Habara (director)


Banished from the Hero’s Party, I Decided to Live a Quiet Life in the Countryside

(Oct 6, Funimation)

Red is banished from the hero’s party, and decides to live a quiet life in the countryside, with the goal of setting up an apothecary. Bet you didn’t see that synopsis coming! All joking aside, I’ll be honest. I would normally avoid a series that is so poorly named, judging it to be a sign of things (ahem, weak writing) to come. But stardf29’s reviews of the first couple volumes of the light novel series make it sound quite appealing, kind of like if Catarina Claes were to go all in for agriculture, lose most of the harem save one (in this case, the lovely lady adventurer, Rit, who moves in with Red unannounced), and finally overcome the doom flags (or maybe not…?). Possibly a spiritual heir to I’ve been Killing Slimes for 300 Years…? The fact that the writer involved in this project just so happens to be responsible for my all-time favorite LN adaption, My Life as a Villainess: All Roads Lead to Doom!, does not hurt. In fact, it makes me rather hopeful that my Thursday lunch hours may be quite enjoyable this season… ~ claire

Staff: Makoto Hoshino (director), Megumi Shimizu (series composition)

Cast: Kanon Takao (Rit), Ryouta Suzuki (Red)


Blue Period

(September 25 // October 9 outside Japan, Netflix)

There’s a lot to get excited about in this story of an aimless teenager who finds his passion with art—it’s a dramatic seinen series that seems to balance considerable, realistic obstacles for protagonist Yatora with beautiful animation that pulls the audience into a world this show is intent on showing as breathtaking, demonstrated through an engaging trailer. The manga is extremely well-regarded also. However, I am worried that the series will be boring, though—I can already see myself sleeping through it. That Reiko Yoshida is doing the screenplay for it bends me toward that worry, as I often appreciate and even love her writing, but just as equally find it soporific. Maybe all that says more about me than her scripts, but here’s hoping that Blue Period can be beautifully made while keeping me, well, awake. ~ Twwk

Staff: Koji Masunari (director), Reiko Yoshida (screenplay)

Cast: Hiromu Mineta (Yatora), Yumiri Hanamori (Ryuuji), Mayu Aoyagi (Maru)


Deep Insanity: The Lost Child

(October 12)

What?! Silver Link producing a series that is not an isekai?! Though to be fair, the futuristic Antarctica that provides the setting for this original psychological sci-fi may just as well be an isekai for all its otherworldly technology and strange creatures roaming about. And a dark one at that, due not only to the literal lack of light in the wintery, underground world, but also the premise: humanity has gone mad and fallen asleep (in that order) thanks to Randolph syndrome, and a strange underground world known as Asylum has opened up at the Southern Pole. Daniel Kai Shigure is the only person still in his rightful mind (we hope) and braves the world of the abyss alone. Will he—and we viewers with him—survive unscathed? I’m willing to give him an hour or so to see how he does, mostly because this is probably the closest I’ll ever get to my chilliest bucket list destination. ~claire

Staff: Shin Oonuma (director), Kento Shimoyama (series composition)

Cast: Hiro Shimono (Daniel Kai Shigure), Kaede Hondo (Supporting)


“Deji” Meets Girl

(October 1, stream on the official YouTube here [no Eng subs yet…])

“Deji” is apparently an Okinawan word that means “totally” or “very”. Which gives the title of this short series by LIDENFILMS a kind of surfer dude feel: Totally Meets Girl! Like that other Okinawan series continuing on this season, The aquatope on white sand, there’s a pretty central mystical theme to this story of Ichirou who arrives from Tokyo. The city boy finds himself faced with a magical banyan tree, fish swimming through the air, and of course a charming high school girl who works at the hotel where he’s staying. The art style looks delightfully summery, and it’s only a 90-second commitment per episode, so I’ll be tuning in to see where it goes. At the very least, I’m looking forward to expanding my Okinawan vocabulary, which currently consists of one whole word thanks to Blood +, nankurunaisa. Let’s hope everything is going to work out fine for Ichirou too. ~ claire

Staff: Ushio Tazawa (director & character design), Akane Marubeni (series composition)

Cast: Tatsuyuki Kobayashi (Ichirou), Kiyono Yasuno (Higa)


Fit Boxing

(October 1)

Based on the Switch games, there’s not a whole lot else to go on here. No cast and no preview yet. But, with five-minute episodes, it’s also not a whole lot of commitment to jump in and see if this series might offer some motivation for us lazy otaku. On a personal note, I’ve taken up boxing exercises as part of my regular cardio, which has me a little more interested in such a series than I would be in a regular season. ~ Twwk

Staff: Junpei Morita (director)


The Fruit of Evolution: Before I Knew It, My Life Had It Made

(October 7, Crunchyroll)

If you haven’t heard about this series, I’m happy to be the first to relay the plot to you: Seiichi and his class are transferred to another world, where a ferocious gorilla proposes to him—which the boy is about to accept (!) when the “evolution fruit” takes the story into another gear. Yeah, boy meets gorilla, boy falls for gorilla…it sounds horrible and like something you’d only witness in anime, but I’m definitely going to see if this is a trainwreck or something creative and different. It’s likely to be the earlier, but hey, Hiro Shimono plays the lead and Kana Hanazawa the ape, so at least it’ll be an entertaining trainwreck, right? Maybe? ~ Twwk

Staff: Yoshiaki Okumura (director)

Cast: Hiro Shimono (Seiichi), Kana Hanazawa (Saria)


Komi Can’t Communicate

(October 7 // October 21 outside Japan, Netflix)

Fans have been anticipating Komi for years. I am not, however, a fan. I find the character designs cute, but—and this is based on just reading the first couple of volumes of the manga—I haven’t detected anything that sets Komi apart from this popular subset of romcom. There are plenty of cute, shy girls that are befriended by a boy who also serves as a romantic interest. Okay. But I’m also humble enough to acquiesce to the possibility that I’m missing something here. I’m also curious about how it will be directed—there are apparently two directors, with mostly child’s fare marking one’s resume and After the Rain showing up on the other. And I have to wonder if it’s a simple as “Komi looks and acts like Tachibana” that helped Ayumu Watanabe secure this job. The animation already looks pretty like After the Rain, so it has that going for it—but we’ll see if what’s not become “the same old” can engage me beyond that. ~ Twwk

Staff: Ayumu Watanabe (director), Kazuki Kawagoe (director)

Cast: Aoi Koga (Komi), Gakuto Kajiwara (Tadano)


Puraore! PRIDE OF ORANGE

(October 6, Funimation)

Everything about this sports series from C2C says “run-of-the-mill cute girls doing cute things anime” and although I appreciate my Yuru Camps, Girls und Panzers, and Non Non Biyoris pretty wholeheartedly, the genre alone is not enough of a convincer for me. So why will I be giving this particular one a shot? Hockey, my friends. Hockey. (Or for our British readers, ice hockey.) A real girl’s sport. As an ex-pat Canadian, I am duty-bound to express enthusiasm for our unofficial national sport (the official one being lacrosse—I don’t see it getting its own anime anytime soon though) whenever the opportunity arises. It’s in the fine print on the passport. But the team behind this series looks intriguing as well: although Pride of Orange is only the second series for director Takefumi Anzai, his first was the stellar Hitoribocchi, and he cut his teeth as an episode director on practically everything P.A. Works has ever made. Added to this, veteran writer Touko Machida, whose credits include Lucky Star, The IDOLM@STER, Uramichi Oniisan, and Wake Up, Girls, is handling series composition for this original. In an unusual plot twist though, most of the cast are first-timers. Might this eclectic mix behind the scenes translate into something promising on screen? I’ll give it a chance, anyhow. So bring on the dipsy-doodles and let’s get to chanting for some “Maple Syrup!” ~ claire

Staff: Takefumi Anzai (director), Touko Machida (series composition)

Cast: Riku Masuda (Manaka), Yurika Moriyama (Kaoruko), Asuka Shioiri (Naomi), Yoshino Aoyama (Mami)


SAKUGAN

(October 7, Crunchyroll)

Sakugan had an early premiere, and a lot of the early reviews were high on this story of a father-daughter team going from their cramped, colony-dwelling into a dangerous labyrinth. The story sounds good, and the visuals are interesting. The story is reminiscent of both Gurren Lagann and Made in Abyss, but seems to have a different tone than either, frenetic but not Studio Trigger levels over the top, with elements of danger but not the depths of pain and fear from Abyss. That’s all to say that I’m not quite sure what’s in store here, and though the creator of the show doesn’t instill confidence in me, I’m curious to tune in and see exactly what Sakugan will be. ~ Twwk

Staff: Junichi Wada (director, screenplay)

Cast: Kanon Amane (Memenpu), Hiroki Touchi (Gaganba)


Taisho Otome Fairy Tale

(October 8, Funimation)

Tamahiko is a young man with deep emotional scars resulting from his father’s rejection of him following an injury that leaves him an invalid. Although resigned to a life of isolation and despair, everything changes in a moment when a young woman, Yuzuki, arrives on his doorstep, bringing with her a second chance at life, acceptance and maybe even love. Historical setting—hai! Two cinnamon roll MCs—hai! Slightly annoying synchronized voiceover—erm, yeah that too. (Let’s hope it’s not a regular feature of the series…) Honestly though, this tale of arranged-engagement-becoming-genuine-love-in-a-romantic-soft-pastel-kind-of-way looks pretty sweet. That Tamahiko is voiced by the VA for Subaru (Re:Zero) doesn’t hurt either. And the costumes alone are worth giving this one a few episodes. Which is what I’ll be doing. ~ claire

Staff: Jun Hatori (director), Hiroko Fukuda (script)

Cast: Saya Aizawa (Yuzuki), Yuusuke Kobayashi (Tamahiko), Yume Miyamoto (Tamako), Chika Anzai (Reina Kousa–er, I mean, Ryou)


The World’s Finest Assassin Gets Reincarnated in Another World as an Aristocrat

(October 6, Crunchyroll)

Here’s another series with familiar elements—like Mushoku Tensei, the main character dies and is reincarnated into another life where he retains his memories, and begins picking up young women to join him on his journey as he ages. His duty? For the former assassin to become an assassin again and kill the hero of this world. The animation by Silver Link looks nice and…I’m largely going by that and Samuru’s thoughts on the first volume of manga adaptation. This one’s a flyer for me, but if the story can strike a strong balance and not take itself too seriously, with the faux darkness that sometimes shows up in isekai (and sort of feels, by looks of the trailer, that it’ll rear its ugly face here, too), it could be alright. At the very least, it seems like it may exist for more than simply to sell light novels, and in the isekai genre, that’s already a win. ~ Twwk

Staff: Masafumi Tamura (director), Katsuhiko Takayama (script)

Cast: Kenji Akabane (Lugh), Reina Ueda (Dia), Yuuki Takada (Tarte)


I’m Intrigued, Tell Me More…

Our wildcard category are for shows that we deem to have that “it” factor, that potential, we believe, to become something special. But these are often just hunches, based often on what little we’ve been exposed to about a show. We could be dropping these series pretty quickly. Then again, the anime of the season might be among these anime given below, which are full of cool storylines and some favorites among the staff and cast.

Let us know particularly your thoughts on these series—some have some popularity out there already and are just relatively unknown to us. Are we stumbling into something great? Or are better off sticking with some of the series we’ve already mentioned above?

Mieruko-chan

(Oct 3, Funimation)

Miko sees things. Not in the natural, but supernaturally. And everything she sees is terrifying. But maybe also occasionally funny. This horror-comedy follows the high-schooler as she navigates what for the rest of the world is the unseen realm, mostly by ignoring it. Will her strategy work over the long run, and her indifference be played for laughs? Or will Miko see some character development and find a more direct kind of agency in the face of fear? Studio Passione seems to be playing to its strengths here, combining the horror of Higurashi: When They Cry SOTSU and comedy gold of Wasteful Days of High School Girl, and in theory it could work. I’m also intrigued to see how the supernatural world is depicted and whether there is any resonance with the experiences of “involuntary seers” like Blake K. Healy (whose books are fantastic). ~ claire

Staff: Yuuki Ogawa (director), Kenta Ihara (series composition)

Cast: Sora Amamiya (Miko), Kaede Honda (Hana), Ayane Sakura (Yuria)


The Moon, Laika and the Bloodsucking Princess

updated title:

Irina: the Vampire Cosmonaut

(October 3, Funimation)

It’s all in the title. The Moon and Laika…so far I’m following. The race to the moon, Laika the Soviet dog who was the first animal in space (though tragically she did not last very long up there), but then… Nosferatu? Vampires?! In Space?!?! Hmmm…ok, wild card it is! Seriously though, this could be amazing. I like space. I like Soviets, even if they have passed through the standard light novel “alternate history with made-up country names” filter. (And yes, this is based on an LN series by Keisuke Makino, who has also written this adaptation.) And sometimes, vampires even make for decent stories, so why not this one that rewrites the 1960s to grant a vampire girl rather than Yuri Gagarin the honor of training to become the first person in space? This is only Arvo Animation’s second solo series and the director’s first, but the cast is appropriately stellar, featuring Megumi Hayashibara (Rei from Evangelion and Hello Kitty herself!) and Kouki Uchiyama (Miyamura from Horimiya and Kei from Haikyuu!!). This could be a dog’s breakfast; I mean, it jumps the shark in its title. But then again, some chihuahuas in Beverly Hills eat better than I do. Either way, I’m definitely looking forward to finding out! This is going to be fun. Поехали, товарищи! ~ claire

Staff: Akitoshi Yokoyama (director), Keisuke Makino (creator & series composition)

Cast: Kouki Uchiyama (Lev), Megumi Hayashibara (Irina), Kenichi Ogata (Fyodor)


MUTEKING THE Dancing HERO

(October 2, Funimation)

The setting: 1980s San Francisco-inspired futuristic city possibly infested with aliens. The hero: likes to sing and dance. The colors: very very bright. This reboot of an early 80s series that was never released in English is described as a “hero gag anime” and “sci-fi hero love comedy” and could be a real campy hoot or a so fiercely cringe-inducing that I’ll be forced to watch an entire season of Yuru Camp just to recover some equanimity. (Which would not be a bad result, come to think of it.) That there are no less than three directors and two studios behind it is slightly alarming, though the studios (Tatsunoko Production and Tezuka Productions) are at least both powerhouses that have been around since the 80s, so I’m expecting something a little nostalgic. Also, the cast is surprisingly rock solid (no pun intended) with some pretty big names in isekai and romcom… And so, as a child of the 80s who loves The Golden City, I gotta try this. I’ll let you know if it’s glorious. ~claire

Staff: Ryousuke Takahashi, Yuuzou Satou & Hiroshi Sasagawa (directors), Yuuji Kondou (series compostion)

Cast: Rie Takahashi (Aida), Satoshi Hino (Ceo), Takuya Eguchi (DJ)


Platinum End

(October 7, Crunchyroll)

This could be a hot mess. Case in point: did you see the angel butt in the trailer? And mecha too?! What genre is this??! The premise is a bit … (*crickets chirping*): an abused young man, Mirai Kakehashi, is rescued from a suicidal leap by an angel, only to be enrolled in a battle royale to become a new god. Mkay. But studio Signal.MD has been really great to me this summer with the delightful films The Wonderland and Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop (pardon the self-promotion links), so I will give this series a try solely on those grounds. For others viewers, the involvement of the production team behind Death Note and Bakuman will be the key deciding factor. I’m not expecting much, I’ll admit, but it might at least make for an interesting footnote to Newman’s Nook’s piece on angels… ~ claire

Staff: Hideya Takahashi & Kazuchika Kise (directors), Shinichi Inotsume (series composition)

Cast: Miyu Irino (Mirai), Yui Ogura (Nasse, the angel)


RUMBLE GARANNDOLL

(October 11, Funimation)

Japanese pop culture is forced to go underground when a rift in reality allows an alternate world’s authoritarian Showa-stuck Japan to conquer our beloved anime-idol-manga-producing Nippon with mecha. Can the faithful handful of youths ganbatte enough to preserve a safe space for global otakudom? There are so many elements I love about this premise, but the question is whether bringing all of them together like this (I think I may even have seen a glowing kitchen sink reflected in the one dude’s glasses…) will be overkill. Yet this series comes with some fantastic staff behind it, including a writer I’ve already praised here for Yuki Yuna, the character designer from pretty much every one of Shaft’s Monogatari series, and the director of that other quirky charmer, School-Live, that oh so successfully combines pop culture with, um, surviving zombies. But most of all, I’m super stoked for Ai Fairouz who is voicing one of the mains. She burst onto the VA scene like a breath of fresh air a couple years ago (Eripiyo-saaaaaaaannnn!) and is already lined up to play the female iteration of JoJo in Season 6 next year. I love how outside the box she can be and really hope that this series gives her a chance to shine. ~claire

Staff: Masaomi Andou (director), Makoto Uezu (series composition), Akio Watanabe (character designer)

Cast: Shiori Izawa (Misa), Aina Suzuki (Yuki), Ai Fairouz (Rin), Seiichirou Yamashita (Hosomichi)


Takt op.Destiny

(October 6, Crunchyroll)

Madhouse joins with MAPPA on this project about a group of musician women who form together under a composer to use the power of music to fight against aliens banning the art form in America some 25 years from now. The visuals are unsurprisingly beautiful (and feature character designs from popular artist, Lam), so developed by these two studios, it should be a slam dunk, right? I do have concerns about what the intention is for this anime—it is accompanied by a game, so is this meant to sell multimedia? The overlying concern of the workload on staff also remains. Stylistically, though, Takt Op. Destiny looks amazing (I’m always excited when independent artists like Lam do character designs for an anime), and that’s enough to make me excited for the show. ~ Twwk

Staff: Yuuki Itou (director), Mafumafu / ryo (theme song), Lam (character designs)

Cast: Shion Wakayama (Destiny), Miku Itou (Titan), Kouji Uchiyama (Takt), Kaede Honda (Anna)


The Vampire Dies in No Time

(October 4, Funimation)

This detective story teaming up an investigator with a weak vampire who always seems to die at the most inconvenient times wouldn’t normally catch my eye, but I wonder if there’s something more here. I like the slightly more classical look shown in the PV, with the vampire especially seeming like he’s a character from 20 years ago. And of course, it’s Madhouse, so I’m open to anything they produce, even if it might be just another in the current trend of detective stories that aren’t very clever at all. ~ Twwk

Staff: Iroshi Koujina (director)

Cast: Makoto Furukawa (Ronald), Jun Fukuyama (Draluc), Mutsumi Tamura (John)


Visual Prison

(October 9)

Sometimes, with very little support or reason, you get a feeling about a series. That’s the case here with this visual kei series about a lonely young man who becomes involved in what seems like a supernatural gang war. Basically, I just think the trailers for the series have looked pretty fun. I might find myself checking out extremely early, but this little inkling that the show could be visual engaging (especially) has me ready to dive in. At the very least, maybe I’ll get a little education about visual kei! ~ Twwk

Staff: Jouji Furuta (director)

Cast: Shouya Chiba (Ange), Hiroki Nanami (Eve), Makoto Furukawa (Guiltia)


And that’s it for our seasonal preview, folks! We hope you enjoyed this journey into what’s coming up just a week or two down the line. It’s a full season, but much like the summer, filled with shows that could end up in that vast middle—better than awful but worse than great. If you’re the type to watch a dozen (or two or three or four?!) series, that may be bad news. For the rest, those who are a bit pickier, you may find the gems you’re looking for, and they may differ from the series your friends or contacts on social media are watching in this vast array of anime titles.

With the season just around the corner, let us know which of these series you’re looking forward to! What are we missing out on? What diamonds in the rough are out there for the fall?

Continue to follow us here on the site as our blogger pump out the first impression posts on all these new series next month, and check us out also on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, and through our weekly newsletter.

Happy viewing!


7 thoughts on “Fall 2021 Anime Preview

  1. As a Komi fan, I’d encourage you to stick it out. Yes, it takes a few volumes for the series to find its footing ( ex: I don’t think Yamai is funny enough to justify the amount of panels she gets in the early going) but when it hits its stride it takes off and becomes quite charming. A key part of that appeal is actually – and perhaps unexpectedly for a shonen romcom- Tadano himself. As the story progresses he does the unthinkable for a generic everyman protagonist and develops a proactive streak. I think we’ve all seen at least one romcom protagonist who takes zero action, demonstrates zero unique positive qualities, but somehow gets the most beautiful girl at school because the universe is apparently conspiring to push her into his lap. When he and Komi start to develop a friendship and some romantic chemistry it genuinely feels earned.

    1. I’ll try as long as I can! I know a lot of folks really love this show, so I’m eager to give it a second chance. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I had heard about Mieruko-chan and really wanted to sit and watch that one. I’ve started getting really into psychological animes, so for a psychological horror comedy is sure to be interesting I hope! Sakkugan does in fact give off Gurren Lagan vibes, and since I’m still not over it, I guess I’ll have to watch it.

    As far as Way of the househusband goes, I’m still scared to watch the anime after reading the manga.

    Thank you for making this comprehensive list for the folks like me that missed the announcements!

    1. Yeesss, I’m a sucker for the psychological animes too. I hope that Mieruko-chan can hit the sweet spot between genres the way that Zombie Land Saga and School Live! do.

      Though Twwk blurbed Sakugan, it’s one I’m looking forward to as well — those epic journey/forging family stories get me every time. I haven’t read the manga for Househusband, but I’ll second Twwk’s observation that within a minute or two you don’t notice the animation style and in my head, it’s fully animated! But, to each manga-reader their own, when it comes to the perennial question of To Watch or Not To Watch. 😉

      It’s always a lot of fun for us to do these posts, so very glad to hear you found it helpful! Enjoy the season!

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