Another season is now upon us, and with this final one for 2020 comes a sizeable mix of new anime to peruse. This year has been a trying one on a global scale to put it lightly, and in the anime realm that has meant numerous delays, adjustments, canceled events, and other issues that have put a lot developments (as with many other human pursuits around the world) on hold. With that said, this season marks a bit of a turnaround, with a much broader collection of new shows than last season. As with Spring season, I’m getting this “preview” out extremely late as it’s now been already well underway, but I did actually write up much of it before it had started, so I’ve again chosen to leave it mostly intact to reflect what I been anticipating up to that point.
Maybe the thing that strikes me most about this season is just how few shows out of the bunch airing I feel look very poor or uninteresting enough for me to leave off this preview. Although not many of the the new and returning things look to be exactly bursting with creativity and originality, there’s a lot of reasonably solid looking productions in familiar genres and styles. Fortunately for me, a lot of those styles on display here are ones I’m personally very fond of, so I’m very much eager to find out how well they can fulfill whatever it is I’m searching for in them.
(As an aside, I’m aware that the final season of Attack on Titan is scheduled to air in December, which is kind of in-between seasons, but I’m choosing to count it as a Winter season show since it starts about 20 days from the start of that season as opposed to over two months after the start of this one.)
Adachi to Shimamura
Director: Satoshi Kuwahara
Writer: Keiichirou Oochi
Studio: Tezuka Productions
When it comes to my most anticipated series, future anime producers should take note: having an actual yuri manga adaptation definitely helps, especially in a season in which I’m not that familiar with much of the work from the directors/writers for a lot of the shows. In fact, this is probably the first overtly advertised-as-yuri romance anime since Bloom Into You, which also would’ve made it to the top of my list the season it aired if I had been making these then. From what I’ve heard of the source material, I’m not expecting much in the way of major dramatic revelations, but rather steady character growth and introspective insight. Considering the horrific stresses we’ve had this year, having that amidst a cute, laid-back, budding lesbian romance may possibly be all the I need to make into the new year.
Assault Lily: BOUQUET
Director: Shouji Saeki
Luckily though, that’s not all I have for this season that’s yuri relevant. Far from it, in fact, since this season seems to have heaps of shows with potential in that area. This one appears to be Shaft’s attempt at making a girls battling show in the vein of your Symphogear or Strike Witches or such, and it has all the trappings of this style — threatening blobulous alien invaders to slice n dice, ridiculously overpowered weaponry, convoluted reasons for why young high school girls are the only ones we can challenge to vanquish them, etc. Personally, even if it doesn’t seem especially original, I’m very fond of many shows I’ve seen that utilize these tropes, and if the PV is anything to go by, the animation seems up to the task. And as far as yuri goes, heavy subtext at least is another common occurrence among these series, and this one literally has the word built into the title, so I’d say the chances are pretty high.
Director: Seong-Hu Park
Writer: Hiroshi Seko
This season’s big shounen adaptation shares a lot in common with last season’s big shounen adaptation, namely, the same director and studio. Unlike that one however, which appeared to have a fairly barebones plotline amidst it’s fun DBZ style martial arts power moves, this one looks to possibly have a bit more to it’s storytelling. If there’s anything to glean from GoH though it’s that Jujutsu Kaisen should have some very spectacular fighting animation at least.
Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear
Director: Yuu Nobuta, Hisashi Ishii
Writer: Takashi Aoshima
Studio: EMT Squared
I’ve written before that I’m very into the concept of VRMMO anime, and watching Bofuri earlier this year has has made me eager to try something similar, which triple Kuma seems very much to oblige. Director Yuu Nobuta also looks to be doing some heavy lifting this season, as he’s in charge of two of my most anticipated shows, so I’ll have to hope he’s up to the challenge. While I may not have seen much work by these directors or this studio, the writer at least has handled several similar-ish shows I’ve liked, and considering how lively and fun the PV looks, the odds are probably in quadruple Kuma’s favor.
Director: Tomohisa Taguchi
Writer: Norimitsu Kaihou
Studio: Studio Pierrot
So this one looks like a fairly interesting action sci-fi cyperbunk type story that’s most notable for being crafted by the creator of the Danganronpa games (which I haven’t played, but have been tempted to as I’ve tended to hear only positive things about them). While I haven’t seen much of the work by this director, the PV animation and general feel does look quite capable upfront.
Majo no Tabitabi
Director: Toshiyuki Kubooka
Writer: Kazuyuki Fudeyasu
Speaking of shows with seemingly capable art direction, Majo no Tabitabi’s adventurous, nostalgic painterly fairytale storybook aesthetic does quite a bit for me at least from the trailer. Wanting to become a witch certainly seems like a story beat we’ve seen 100s of times in anime, but as it seems like a running theme so far, it’s very much the kind of thing I’ve nearly always been down for. And I’ve heard some hearsay about the source that it gives off some latent gay vibes, with no male love interests in sight thus far.
Director: Yasutaka Yamamoto, Shunsuke Tada
Writer: Sayaka Harada
Studio: Production I.G
This season definitely isn’t hurting for action shows it appears. Noblesse comes to us as the latest popular manwha adaptation, as we’ve now had a major one for the last three seasons. The animation does look pretty outstanding, which isn’t too surprising coming from a venerable studio like Production I.G. Although I haven’t seen anything directed by Shunsuke Tada, Yasutaka Yamamoto did direct my under the radar enjoyable fave Mondaiji-tachi.
Director: Yuu Nobuta
Writer: Touko Machida
Studio: Studio Gokumi, AXsiZ
The other cute show being directed this season by Yuu Nobuta comes from Studio Gokumi, whose work I’ve pretty consistently enjoyed over the years, even when I haven’t necessarily watched the whole series (like their show from last Winter). This one however I’m hoping might be on the level of some of their best cute comedies, like Kiniro Mosaic and Tonari no Kyuuketsuki-san, at least conceptually. Though it doesn’t seem to have the same staff as either of those two shows, I’ll have to hold out to see if it’s antics can be similarly amusing.
Maou-jou de Oyasumi
Director: Mitsue Yamazaki
Writer: Yoshiko Nakamura
Studio: Doga Kobo
In my original draft I didn’t have this one on my most anticipated list, mostly because the first PV just had the MC dozing off and little else, and I honestly wondered how this concept could sustain a full length show. But upon further reflection it does seem like it has plenty of potential as a cute comedy to slot in with my other choices. To start with, it does have the director of the hilarious Nozaki-kun and animation by stalwarts of adorably crafted material at Doga Kobo, and it’s surprising how much mileage anime was able to get out of a concept like listless Tanaka-kun to name another funny -kun based show, and lastly I’ve heard of some praise for the source material, so I wouldn’t put it past this to be drowsily entertaining somehow.
Ochikobore Fruit Tart
Director: Keiichirou Kawaguchi
Writer: Keiichirou Kawaguchi
Another humorous cuteness romp to potentially add to the pile this season comes as the latest Manga Time Kirara adaptation, so there’s a fair likelihood that it turns out to be girls gushing over each otheringly gay, at least underlyingly, which the PV seems to corroborate. So it’s another one to potentially add to that pile this season as well.
Senyoku no Sigrdrifa
Director: Hirotaka Tokuda
Writer: Tappei Nagatsuki
Studio: A-1 Pictures
This show is honestly my biggest wild card for the season, as it’s a first time director doing an original work that on premise-level makes almost no sense to me whatsoever (girls piloting WWI type airplanes fighting gods or something?). The biggest reasons I have it up here is the story is apparently being done by the creator of the Re:zero light novels and because the PV makes it look pretty exciting and interesting. A-1 can also do some pretty standout work sometimes. The potential for shipping material probably isn’t going to hurt either.
Hanyou no Yashahime
Director: Teruo Sato
Writer: Katsuyuki Sumisawa
If you told me 10 years ago there was going to be a sequel to Inuyasha in 2020 starring three badass girls that were all daughters of the other characters I’d be like ,”What?” Yet here we are. I personally can’t claim to be enormous fan of the original series since I haven’t seen all of it and was only able to watch episodes occasionally as it was airing on US TV, but I always felt like it was a fun time whenever an episode did come on.
Iwa Kakeru! Sport Climbing Girls
Director: Tetsuro Amino
Writer: Touko Machida
I’ve been a bit whelmed a few times recently by girls sports shows I was rooting for, so that may be partly why this one isn’t higher up. There’s also the issue that this series appears to be sourced from a somewhat ecchi manga. On the other hand, the PV at least doesn’t seem to show off much in the way of fanservice (and if I haven’t conveyed my opinion on fanservice before, it’s that I don’t personally mind it, occasionally I even enjoy it, but I do think it can be annoying sometimes and potentially an indicator of more underlying regressiveness or a shallow marketing move to hide a lack of more interesting entertainment or artistic value, but not always), but we’ll have to see how that’s reflected in the show itself, and as I’ve said before this is still very much up my alley and one I’ll be gladly willing to check out.
Most Anticipated Sequels
Haikyuu!! TO THE TOP 2
Director: Masako Satou
Writer: Taku Kishimoto
Studio: Production I.G
There’s not much for me to say about the latest season of Haikyuu that I hadn’t already said in my part 1 preview from Winter for this split cour outing, since I still haven’t gotten around to catching up with it, other than that it still looks to be holding up with its very high production level volleyball action.
Golden Kamuy 3
While there are quite a few sequels this season (before we hit the motherlode of sequels that is Winter 2021), unfortunately for me another running theme with the ones for Fall is they are all ones I’m significantly behind on. Golden Kamuy is no exception, but that isn’t for lack of wanting to see more. I’ve only gotten around to the first few episodes of season 1 in fact, but it did seem like an intriguing mystery treasure hunt type show sprawling out amidst the harsh wilderness while exhibiting a very oddball sense of humor.
Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu ka? BLOOM
Director: Hiroyuki Hashimoto
Writer: Kazuyuki Fudeyasu
Studio: Encourage Films
If you’ve been following my lists up til now, you may not be surprised to find I tend to enjoy cute girls doing stuff shows. And Gochuumon may be one of the fluffiest of fluff cute girls nonchalantly performing actions series there is. While probably not one of my favorites, I did find the episodes I watched of the first season to be pretty enjoyable and amusing, enough that I’d like to revisit it at some point and presumably this next season.
Strike Witches: Dai-501 Tougou Sentou Koukuudan ROAD to BERLIN
Director: Kazuhiro Takamura
Writer: Tatsuhiko Urahata
Studio: David Production
Lastly for sequels, the saga of girls fighting the good fight for pantless girls everywhere continues.
Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (2020)
Director: Keiichirou Kawaguchi
Writer: Naoki Hayashi
This remake of a popular older horror anime/visual novel looks to be an intriguing one to check out, especially as we near Halloween and I scavenge for new horror-related media to ring in the season.
Hypnosis Mic: Division Rap Battle – Rhyme Anima
Director: Katsumi Ono
Writer: Shin Yoshida
Studio: A-1 Pictures
While shows with relatively novel ideas are fairly few this season, there are a couple like Hypnosis Mic that do come across as more unique. The concept of waging war with rap battles certainly sounds like it could make for an interesting time. Another very good thing this show has going for it is direction by the person in charge of several seasons of Symphogear, so that might make for some intense craziness. On the other hand, I’m not entirely sure the premise and designs are that appealing to me, but it’s still one I’ll keep my eye on for sure.
D4DJ First Mix
Director: Seiji Mizushima
Writer: Gou Zappa
Another semi-unusual looking anime is seemingly probably one of the few DJ-ing shows out there. While not quite as prominently atypical as the preceding show (since it’s unclear how much different it will be from your standard idol fare) and the full 3DCG on display may turn off some, the series director has done some works I’ve liked in the past, and I do often like shows that are based around music, so that also works in it’s favor.
Love Live! Nijigasaki Gakuen School Idol Doukoukai
Director: Tomoyuki Kawamura
Writer: Jin Tanaka
Now in our music based anime innovation trajectory, we’ve basically slid down to “looks like almost every other billion girls idol show.” However, this one happens to be the latest sequel to the much loved Love Live! franchise, which I haven’t tried out yet for myself to see. One thing I’m aware of is that there may supposedly be some prominent subtext between some girls, which certainly makes me want to try it for the shipping at least, if I ever actually get around to it.
100-man no Inochi no Ue ni Ore wa Tatteiru
Director: Kumiko Habara
Writer: Takao Yoshioka
Studio: Maho Film
There don’t seem to be quite as many isekai’s this season as there have been recently, which I’m wondering if it’s a trend away from the genre or just a fluke. The only one to really catch my eye in any way (besides multiple Kuma near the top) this Fall is 100-man long light novel title, which wasn’t even on my first draft of this list, but made it’s way on here after I overheard a couple people sticking up for the source, and because I wanted to give first time director Kumiko Habara, who appears from the name at least to be one of the few women directing this season, a shot.
Kamisama ni Natta hi
Director: Yoshiyuki Asai
Writer: Jun Maeda
Studio: P.A. Works
Another show that hadn’t been on my first draft was this latest Yoshiyuki Asai x Jun Maeda x P.A. Works outing. The biggest reason I had originally left it off was that I watched an episode of this combo’s previous effort, Charlotte, and I found that to be astonishingly average. My rationale for putting this back on however was simply that I watched the PV(s) for it and thought it looked quite a bit more entertaining than I was expecting, so we’ll see.
Director: Hisatoshi Shimizu
Writer: Shigeru Murakoshi
If I had to point a show that I thought would have the highest chance of commendable artistic merit this season that doesn’t really personally interest me much, it would probably be this one. To be fair to this show, I personally probably wouldn’t go out of my way to watch something with this premise even if it were a multi-award winning film with universal acclaim. With that said, that doesn’t necessarily mean that I won’t watch it or even that I won’t like it, as there are many things I thought I wouldn’t be into that I later slapped myself upside the head over for being so ignorant. I do like the character designs, and it’s certainly not unoriginal for a sports anime.
Magatsu Wahrheit: ZUERST
Director: Naoto Hosoda
Writer: Yuuichirou Momose, Naoto Hosoda
Studio: Yokohama Animation Lab
Another show that surprised me primarily with how solid the PV looks and not really for much else is this new dramatic magic battles fantasy action show that seems to take itself pretty seriously and appears to have some competent animation behind it.
Ikebukuro West Gate Park
Director: Tomoaki Koshida
Writer: Fumihiko Shimo
Studio: Doga Kobo
Some shows make their way onto my lists just because I don’t know enough about them to find something to negate them for. This one I think is probably about gloomy random people at a subway station walking enigmatically towards the camera, and straight into your heart.
Munou na Nana
Director: Shinji Ishihira
Writer: Fumihiko Shimo
Though I don’t know much about this one either besides the source material being about characters with superpowers and having some intriguing plot progression, my curiosity is piqued by what I have heard. Although the premise, character designs, and general production quality don’t seem especially impressive or interesting at first glance, I like the idea of having some surprises in store, and from what I’ve heard this show could have that very much covered.
Dragon Quest: Dai no Daibouken
Director: Kazuya Karasawa
Writer: Katsuhiko Chiba
Studio: Toei Animation
The new Dragon Quest anime on the other hand seems to have the opposite situation: the show appears to have some pretty high level animation, but it seems unlikely the fantasy storyline will be especially in-depth or surprising. Of course there’s nothing wrong with enjoying the familiar, assuming that’s what this is like; the DQ games themselves are the basic progenitors of RPG familiarity and comfort food for a lot of people.
Yuukoku no Moriarty
Director: Kazuya Nomura
Writer: Taku Kishimoto
Studio: Production I.G
There have been countless Sherlock Holmes adaptations over the years, but not so many focusing on the primary antagonist of the franchise, like this one does. With Production I.G, who as said before often does respectable work, handling the animation, it seems likely to be one that will be fairly impressive from a production standpoint, and I’m personally often into mystery and detectiving type shows. On the other hand, because this focuses on a protagonist that isn’t a detective but rather a criminal mastermind, I’m concerned for my own interest that it might come down more on the crime drama side, which I’m not usually as into.
Seizei Ganbare! Mahou Shoujo Kurumi 3
Director: Keisuke Matsumoto
Studio: Pie in the Sky
In the realm of pint-sized anime, there are apparently two previous seasons to this mahou shoujo parody short that I didn’t know existed, and don’t seem to be available to watch anywhere (legally at least).
Inu to Neko Docchi mo Katteru to Mainichi Tanoshii
Director: Seiji Kishi
Writer: Seiji Kishi
Studio: Team Till Dawn
Another short this season appears to depict the classic rivalry of felines vs canines, which in this case seems from the promo media to be more of an ornery cat tearing into a blithely oblivious pupper.
Director: Kenshirou Morii
Studio: W-Toon Studio, DMM.futureworks
From what I’ve read and seen of the Granblue anime, it comes across as a pretty by-the-numbers fantasy RPG anime. This short based on it though appears to trend more towards fantasy parody, which may be a bit more suitable to my interests.
Director: Hisayoshi Hirasawa
Writer: Koichi Motomura
Lastly for shorts, this is another one I have hardly any idea what it’s about, except that it concerns trains, and the girls that train them.
Aggressive Retsuko 3
Placing this here as part of a “preview” seems a little bit cheating, as I’ve actually already watched all of this latest season about a red panda office worker belting out death metal amidst various life ordeals that I’ve been following since the original shorts. It’s a bit unsurprising since with Netflix they can pretty much toss out a new season of their shows at any time without warning, so I had no idea a season 3 was even happening until a couple weeks beforehand. Anyhow, the show continues to be very entertaining and relatable, and I liked this season quite a bit more than season 2 with its romance centric plot and transition to “dating a rich guy for a short time” thing at the end, as this time Retsuko instead deals with things like video game addiction, substantial debts, not-Youtube channel creation, Internet stalkers, band hardships, and working a second side-job, all while raging about it via microphone while trying to be mostly polite in real life.
And with that, another season is splayed out before us. This one in particular appears to have quite a bit of variety on offer, which can hopefully help weather the rest of the year and propel us into the new one.