Autumn 2017 Preview

The air is cool, the leaves are changing, and the most wonderful time of the year (apple season) is upon us! And with all that comes a new harvest of anime to look forward to. Every season is a chance to have one’s expectations confirmed or subverted – it’s something that makes watching anime fun! Below are some of the series that I’ve been looking forward to (a special thanks to the twenty or thirty people who’ve asked me what new Autumn shows I’m looking forward to – I’ve been drawing a blank in person, but now I’ll have this handy-dandy list to link to).

Mahoutsukai no Yome/The Ancient Magus’ Bride

Begins: October 8th, 2017

Streaming: Crunchyroll and Funimation

Synopsis: Chise is a young girl shunned for her ability to perceive the magical world and her lack of family. At her lowest point, she encounters a Magus, a sorcerer with the head of a beast and a weilder of great magical power. He purchases Chise and frees her from the bonds of slavery; in exchange, he asks that she become his apprentice, and his bride.

Impressions: Having already seen the OVA episodes that preceded it, I can safely say that this is my most anticipated anime of the season. Aside from the fact that the show looks to be visually stunning as compared to many TV anime, it also combines some of my favorite things together in one package – dark magic, Eastern/Western fantasy, and complicated character relationships. It bugs me that labeling anime as “shoujo” conjures an image of something frothy and immature in many viewers’ minds – glob only knows that trying to get the anime I attend to vote to watch anything with that label is a challenge, especially as of late. This looks to be an example of something that successfully bucks the expectations of its demographic label, and I hope that many people will give it a look.

 

Kekkai Sensen & Beyond/Blood Blockade Battlefront and Beyond

Begins: October 8th, 2017

Streaming: Crunchyroll and Funimation

Synopsis: One day, New York City was consumed by a mysterious fog, and a break between dimensions occurred. Now the city maintains a tenuous balance between our world and the netherworld, its combined existence now known as “Hellsalem’s Lot.” A group of superhuman protectors known as “Libra” helps maintain the balance between worlds, and the hapless Leo is recruited into their organization by chance.

Impressions: I watched the first four episodes of the original season back when it was broadcasting and had a serious case of the “I-don’t-get-it-itis” for some reason. I felt as though I was consistently missing something that would serve to pull the plot together. Luckily I got a second chance when our local anime club chose to watch the series – I had purchased the discs to support the show, since it was directed by a woman, but my second impression was also much more positive than my first and I was glad to have watched it. So it stands to reason that I’d be excited about the sequel. I’m slightly apprehensive because season 2 has a different director, and has been advertising itself as being “closer to the manga.” My hope is that director Matsumoto didn’t somehow get blacklisted for following an anime-original plotline, and that the second season won’t be too slavishly-devoted to adapting its source material that it loses all of the charm the first season had. I’m hopeful but wary.

 

Inuyashiki

Begins: October 13th, 2017

Streaming: Amazon Anime Strike

Synopsis: Ichiro Inuyashiki is a man who looks old beyond his years. He’s a kind soul with an ungrateful family who steps all over him. One day as he’s standing in a park, a meteor crashes down from the sky and obliterates him. Or, at least that’s what it seems like until Inuyashiki awakens and finds that his body has gained several new abilities. He looks at this development as his life’s new purpose, and puts his powers to good use helping others. But there was another man in the park with him that night, and he has more sinister ideas about how best to utilize his violent new abilities.

Impressions: I read a good chunk of the Inuyashiki manga about a year-and-a-half ago, and despite it being a bit out of my comfort zone in terms of violence and the cynical motivations of its antagonist, I was impressed by the use of a non-standard (meaning, not a teenage boy) main character and the fact that it ultimately seemed to speak against cynicism and lack of hope. I’m hoping that the anime interpretation will carry that through and not focus too much on brutality and violence. noitaminA has been really hit-or-miss for a while, but I think the source material has enough potential to bring this adaptation to an interesting place.

 

Kino no Tabi/Kino’s Journey: The Beautiful World

Begins: October 6th, 2017

Streaming: Crunchyroll and Funimation

Synopsis: Kino is a traveler who crosses the world astride her talking motorcycle, Hermes. She spends no more than three days in each of the countries she visits; any longer, and she may feel compelled to settle down in one place. Throughout these travels, Kino encounters the best and worst that humanity has to offer and learns that the world is beautiful due to its imperfections.

Impressions: I’m a fan of the original Kino’s Journey anime series and its related OVA episodes, but I was caught completely by surprise when I first heard the announcement that a new anime adaptation was being created for the story. I’m not entirely certain whether this adaptation contains entirely new material or is re-adapting some of the older stories, but I suspect it may be a mixture of the two. Either way, I love how the setting, despite being kind of reductive in some situations, still does a lot to show how and why humans behave how they do. The story vignettes are always very fascinating, and Kino is a truly unique protagonist. I would not have expected this to get another adaptation, but I’m certainly not going to argue!

 

3-Gatsu no Lion 2nd/March Comes in Like a Lion 2nd Season

Begins: October 14th, 2017

Streaming: TBA

Synopsis: Rei is a teenage shogi prodigy, rising in the ranks as he wins out over players more than twice his age. But Rei also struggles with depression and a complicated family life, and spends much of his time alone. His one solace is the time he spends with the Kawamoto family, three sisters who provide Rei with a glimpse of the loving family life he never had. As Rei tries to make an attempt at finishing high school, eventually has to learn to reach out and seek help from others in his life.

Impressions: While the first season of the show ended on a note that wasn’t necessarily final, but presented a feeling of optimism, and I wouldn’t have been disappointed in a lack of continuation, I’m definitely happy that we’ll get another 22 episodes to see Rei progress in his professional and family life. While there were some complaints that the first season got a little overly-involved in the shogi plotline and strayed from the more emotional elements of the story, I found the overall balance to be pretty good. My one hope is maybe that the second season will look slightly more Shaft-y than the first, but season 1 played the visuals pretty straight, so that might be too high an expectation.

 

Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou/Girls’ Last Tour

Begins: October 6th, 2017

Streaming: Amazon Anime Strike

Synopsis: Chito and Yuri are two girls left living in a world that is nearly dead. Rather than despair, the two load up their motorbike and set off across the desolate world, devoid of civilization, and spend their days enjoying life to its fullest for as long as it’s possible.

Impressions: I’ve mentioned previously that I really enjoy post-apocalypse stories, especially those that aren’t necessarily focused on how the disaster happened, but which are more about living on in a changed world. Summer’s Made in Abyss did a great job of presenting a world that was clearly an after-image of something, but focused more around the humanity of the people desiring exploration of the mysterious world at their fingertips. Whenever some new information appears to fill in the gap, it’s like a treasure, but the real joy is just the journey and experience. I’m hoping that this series revels in the experience of living, rather than trying to outright answer too many questions. The first volume of the manga is currently available, so I might check that out, too.

 

Just Because!

Begins: October 5th, 2017

Streaming: TBA

Synopsis: As a group of students approach their high school graduation, a mutual friend of theirs, who left in middle school, transfers back into town. This group of friends is suddenly revitalized; while they were all just standing around, waiting to graduate, now their relationships seem to have a renewed sense of vigor.

Impressions: This show is definitely an unknown quantity for me; as an anime-original series with its claim to fame being that it’s written by the creator of The Pet Girl of Sakurasou (a show that people continue to tell me is good but which had a first episode that squicked me the hell out), all I really have to go on is a short synopsis and a trailer. Something about it, though, reminds me of Orange, a series that I enjoyed in both manga and anime form. Perhaps it’s the focus on character relationships, and the fact that people are crying a lot. In any case, I’m definitely curious about it. As someone who doesn’t believe that emotional melodrama is necessarily a bad thing, it might be worth a look.

 

Two Car

Begins: October 8th, 2017

Streaming: TBA

Synopsis: Yuri and Megumi are high school students who enter into the world of competitive motorcycle sidecar racing. Though they have opposing personalities, they learn to work together as a team. And they’re not alone; it seems as though most of the teams they race are similarly complimentary.

Impressions: This is a case of “this is dumb enough that it might be totally awesome.” I actually have fairly low expectations for a show about something as specific as motorcycle sidecar racing, but as a fan of anime based around obscure themes and activities, I had to give a shout-out to this one. My fear is one of forced comedy and the potential for fanservice, considering the gender makeup of the cast and what appears to be a propensity for silly character designs (judging by the trailer), but I’m game to give it a try. It wouldn’t be the first time I’d watched a show about girls doing goofy crap.

 

Kujira no Kora wa Sajou ni Utau/Children of the Whales

Begins: October 8th, 2017

Streaming: Netflix

Synopsis: Chakuro is the 14-year-old archivist of the Mud Whale, a ship/floating island that sails across the sand dunes. He and his companions have never seen anyone from the outside world, but they yearn to someday explore it. One day they find a ruined ship, and the girl they recover from the wreck will change their lives forever.

Impressions: Ignoring the fact that the plot hinges on a “mysterious girl” arrives to “change the life” of the male protagonist (I’m cynical, please forgive me, I have low expectations), there’s something kind of haunting and fascinating about the setting of this series. Again, I think it kind of falls into that “mysterious post-apocalypse” sort of situation; it’s the bleakness of the world and the mystery of the characters’ isolation that becomes so fascinating as the basis for an interesting story. The first PV is also really beautiful – while I have suspicions that some of the visuals were animated specifically for the PV and probably won’t appear in the same form in the show, it definitely made an impression on me.

So that’s a pretty good run-down of what’s got me interested this season. As usual, some of these will ultimately pan-out while others will falter, and I’m positive that there’ll be some interesting surprises buried in there too. What’s got you fired up this season?

 

 

This article has 2 comments

  1. I haven’t heard anything about Just Because, but the fact that it’s from the creator of Pet Girl is really encouraging. That show is much less about having a cute girl who is entirely dependent on you and much more about finding your place in the world. I can’t blame you for hating it, but it’s a great coming of age story, which is also what this sounds like.

    Reply
    • I appreciate your insight on “Pet Girl.” I doubt I’ll ever watch it, but I’m trying to look at it as being neutral in relation to “Just Because” and trying to take into account the good things I’ve heard about the former.

      Reply

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