Update: This post has also been shared with Creators.co (with some formatting variations). What you are viewing here is my original version.
With the summer season wrapping up, the time to scout out the upcoming series coming this fall is upon us. Unfortunately, I’m concerned that the future is looking pretty bleak. A time of year that once stood as one of the biggest seasons, jam-packed with some of the years most anticipated anime, has become a place where random sequel seasons, ecchi harems, and other generic series are given a spot in the limelight. Sure, there are plenty of anime this fall that will appeal to a wide array of people but I’m at the point that I don’t want to watch something for the sake of watching anime, I want to watch something that genuinely looks good and interesting (and no, an anime like Keijo!!!!!!!! / Hip Whip Girl isn’t what I have in mind when I say interesting). This season, there are really only a few standout series that remind you why you get excited to watch anime.
Fall 2015 was the beginning of the end. Many of my issues come from the fact that the fall seasons of 2012, 2013, and 2014 spoiled us. In Fall 2014 alone, we had anime like Parasyte, Shirobako, Your Lie in April, Fate/Stay Night UBW, Psycho-Pass 2, and multiple others airing, many of which stood to be among the year’s best. Fall felt like the end of the year spectacle it should be. 2015 was quite different in comparison. In exchange for an anime like One Punch Man, we were given four generic magic high school battle harems. That being said, the season still managed to have a handful of series that stood out above the filth, very different than how I feel about Fall 2016. Granted, the season hasn’t started so this is all assumptions based on trailers and descriptions, but if those can’t even grab my attention, then how can I expect the actual anime to? I apologize for the rant but I’m disappointed in what this fall has to offer. Anyways, without further ado, let’s look at some titles to consider this Fall 2016.
My Most Anticipated
Haikyuu!! Third Season
Haikyuu!! is my saving grace for Fall 2016. If there was any series that could stand atop a pile of questionable-looking anime and shine bright as a glimmer of hope, it would be this dramatic, high-budget volleyball anime. After caving-in and watching the first season back in early 2015, breaking my idea that sports anime seems like a silly concept, I instantly got hooked on the series. The story follows Hinata Shouyou and Kageyama Tobio, first year players of the Karasuno volleyball team. Despite his shorter-than-average height, Hinata uses his raw speed, fast reflexes, and insane jumping ability to push forward as a volleyball player, aiming to be as great as his hero, the Little Giant. One day during a practice match, Kageyama, a natural volleyball genius known as the “King of the Court” due to his tendency to rule over his teammates, brings out Hinata’s full potential, mixing Hinata’s unrealistic speed with his own ridiculous tosses. The two become a force that help revive the once great Karasuno, aiming to take the top spot in nationals.
This fall, Haikyuu!! will return with a 10-episode third season, rounding off the 50 pre-existing episodes with the finale of the Spring High Tournament. Talking to other anime-lovers throughout the years, I’ve found sports anime to be a sensitive subject. Most feel the sentiments I previously shared, why watch an anime about sports? It wasn’t until I finally watched Haikyuu!!, one of the leading series in the sports genre, that it clicked with me, making me realize how obvious the answer was. Sports anime isn’t so much about the playing of the sport at all. The sport itself is the catalyst for something greater. What drives the series to be one of my favorite is how we follow the group of characters through their journey. They struggle to be more, they grow beyond the person they were a moment ago, and they overcome what weighs they down as individuals by trusting in those around them, all while hyping us on dramatic, high-action sports sequences. And, when we really think about it, a lot of have already watched movie or two that’s doing the same thing. You don’t watch Remember the Titans for the football strategy, you watch it to see individuals overcome adversity and grow as a family. Haikyuu!! and other sports anime function in a similar light (maybe it doesn’t teach such powerful lessons about racism but you get the idea). Haikyuu!! is an anime about people, not just playing volleyball.
If you haven’t seen the series, I highly recommend giving it a try. Between the dramatic tension, feel-good moments, and outlandish comedy, I would be quite surprised if you were turned-off just because they happen to be playing sports. This October marks, what I assume to be, the last bit of Haikyuu!! anime we will see for some time. After releasing a season every year for the past three years, we’ve begun approaching the current manga material. Despite that, season three should give the us the closure we need (for the time being) and send us off, flying into the sky.
March Comes in Like a Lion
If I had to say which new anime has the most potential this season, in my eyes, it would March Comes in Like a Lion. It’s the story of a boy whose life is stagnating. As a professional Shogi player, Rei Kiriyama, has hit a slump. As a person, he’s unsocial, living alone with no “real” family to speak of. His only acquaintances are three sisters who, despite his reluctance, treat him as one of their own. March Comes in Like a Lion is Rei’s somber tale of finding his place in the world, the three sisters his shining light during these struggling times. I have high hopes for this series, expecting it to tug on my heartstrings, maybe even in ways I don’t expect. Whether it’s melancholy or heartwarming, I’m more than willing to follow this journey.
Drifters caught my eye while browsing the “key visuals” of the upcoming anime season due to its dark-looking art and Attack on Titan-like character appearance, both things I tend to shy away from. Out of pure curiosity, I gave the series a click and found that it was created by Hirano Kouta, the creator of Hellsing, a series that many hold in high regards, especially Hellsing Ultimate. Drifters focuses on the story of Shimazu Toyohisa, a talented samurai, who, after becoming mortally wounded in battle, finds himself in-front of a curious man at a desk. He sends Shimazu, along side other various great warriors (possibly from different time periods), to another world where he forms the group known as “Drifters”. The series looks to be an over-the-top action ride with more than enough bloodshed to keep people entertained. With little exciting me this season, Drifters isn’t a series I would normally spend time on but sometimes you just have to say, “why not”. Link for a subtitled trailer from Funimation.
Up for My Consideration
Sound! Euphonium Second Season
Having followed the first season of Sound! Euphonium as it aired last fall and finding it fairly enjoyable due to its stunning animation and in-depth take on marching band, it’s only fair that I mention the second season in this list. The series focuses on euphonist Kumiko Oumae, a high school student who reluctantly returns to the world of marching band after being pressured into it with her new friends. Hardship, drama, and romance blended with the slice-of-life and sports genres, topped off with the art direction of Kyoto Animation, made Sound! Euphonium interesting at the very least, especially if you share an interest in music and understand the finer details. The overall pacing leaves a bit to be desired but, by the end, I can say I enjoyed myself so I’m willing to give the second season a shot. Also, there’s a lot of yuri bait if you’re into that sort of thing.
Overall, there isn’t much to say about Gi(a)rlish Number. Both the manga and anime are releasing within the same year, making it a somewhat anime original, so there’s very little source material to go off of. Essentially, I’m curious about this series because its cute girls doing cute things brought to you by Watari Wataru. Watari is the author of My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU, a series I adore and highly recommend (almost to the point that adding this anime to my list could be considered a shameless plug to recommend SNAFU). What we do know is the series follows Chitose Karasuma through her journey to becoming a voice actress. It’s labeled primarily as a “slice of life” so I don’t expect to get Shirobako levels of details and education about the industry. Instead, we can expect to get just enough to give a reason to the cute girls doing cute things. I have zero expectations going into Gi(a)rlish Number because I fear Watari has his hands in too many pies for each of them to come out as full-fledged, well-crafted products but I’m willing to give this an episode or two before it crashes and burns. Oh and since I’m on the subject, thanks Watari for working on this series and Qualidea Code instead of finishing SNAFU ( ಠ ∩ ಠ ).
Other Quick Mentions
Natsume Yuujinchou Season 5: a highly regarded series that I have yet to see. Heavy on Slice of Life and Supernatural.
Poco’s Udon World: Looks to be another good-feeling Slice of Life/Comedy series. Reminds me of Sweetness & Lightning, Barakamon, etc.
Kiss Him, Not Me: This series looks extremely ridiculous and pretty funny. Revolves around a girl who wants the guys that are falling in love with her to fall in love with each other instead. Will probably give episode one a try.
Occultic;Nine: Could be very interesting but for now there’s little information to go off of.
Like I said before, there’s plenty to watch this fall but jumping off the stellar summer season we just had, very little jumps out as superb. I’m still excited for the few we do have and I look forward to hearing about any series that may have flown under my radar. Either way, this conclude my look at the Fall 2016 anime season. If there’s any series you’d like to mention leave it in the comments below. Thanks.