Autumn is my favorite season! Not only does it mean cooler weather, chunky sweaters, pumpkin-flavored everything, witches, and Halloween, but it also means a new season of television shows and anime.
As I say every season, there are a lot of new shows to get excited about, including a new season of an old favorite, more sports anime to fill that void in your heart, and a new show by Chiyomaru Shikura, the creator of one of my favorite animes Steins;Gate.
Well, without further ado, here are my recommendations for Fall 2016.
Natsume Yujin-cho Go
Natsume Takashi has the ability to see spirits, which he has long kept secret. However, once he inherits a strange book that belonged to his deceased grandmother, Reiko, he discovers the reason why spirits surround him. Containing the names of these spirits, a binding contract was formed between the spirits and the owner of the book. Now, Natsume is determined to free the spirits and dissolve the contracts. With the help of a spirit cat, his days are filled trying to return the names to these spirits (Plot Summary from Anime News Network).
It’s been a long time since the first season of Natsume Yujin-cho or Natume’s Book of Friends aired back in 2009. If you haven’t seen the first four seasons of Natsume, you’ll have to head over to Crunchyroll before watching this one.
This is the fifth season of Natsume, and although you could probably start the show in the middle, you’d be missing out on a lot of great episodes involving supernatural happenings and Japanese folklore.
It’s a perfect show to watch in the autumn with a plethora of youkai, kami, and shikigami. And Natsume is one of my favorite anime characters. He’s kind and cute, and he grows and changes throughout the show.
Fune wo Amu
Araki is a veteran editor for the dictionary department at the Genbu Shobō publishing company. He is looking for a successor now that he’s approaching retirement age. After Majime Mitsuya — a salesman who’s a poor talker — meets Masashi Nishioka — Araki’s coworker who is sociable and frivolous — Araki overhears their conversation and decides to recruit Majime into the department. The “odd couple” work together to compile a medium-sized Japanese dictionary titled “The Great Passage” (Daitokai) (Plot Summary from Anime News Network).
If you follow me on Twitter, you may remember that I was trying to watch all of the shows from the noitaminA time slot back at the beginning of the year. Although I fell off the bandwagon and only finished a small portion of the entire list of noitaminA shows, I am excited for this next one.
Fune wo Amu or The Great Passage is based on a novel by Shion Miura. I am a huge fan of anime shows based on novels; they always seem to have a tight storyline that translates well to anime. I’m also excited about this show because it’s about grownups, something I’ve been craving in anime lately.
I’m not sure if Fune wo Amu will be simulcasted by anyone in the US or UK, but it is airing in Japan in the popular noitaminA time slot, so we’ll have to wait and see.
Izetta: The Last Witch
In 1939, the imperialist nation of Germania launched a sudden invasion of its neighboring countries. This conflagration engulfed all of Europe in one fell swoop, and the era was dragged into the maelstrom of war. Then in 1940, Germania set its sights on Elystadt, a tiny principality blessed with breathtaking greenery and water in the Alps. Izetta is a descendant of a clan of witches who had passed down mysterious powers for generations. Since she was little, she and her grandmother lived their lives on the road, traveling between European countries in order to hide these powers. Fiine is the sole daughter in line to succeed Rudolph III, the ruler of the Principality of Elystadt. Since her father has been stricken by illness, she has been busy preparing for Germania’s invasion in his stead (Plot Summary from Anime News Network).
This year, I’ve returned to the fantasy genre in almost everything I consume. Books, video games, anime—I can’t seem to get enough of fantasy.
Shuumatsu no Izetta or Izetta: The Last Witch has that sort of fantasy feeling I’ve been craving. It feels like our world, but slightly distorted, slightly out of sync with our reality, with witches and magic and lots of royalty.
And it looks like it’s going to have lots of strong female characters, which is exciting given that last season, Alderamin on the Sky appeared to have potential, but then let me down almost immediately.
It also had a fantasy-esque setting, but I couldn’t stomach how the main male protagonist treated the women in the story. Not only was he a disrespectful prig, but the character tropes being presented were so cliché and dull. So, I’m hoping this isn’t the case with The Last Witch.
Yuri!!! on Ice
Yūri Katsuki carried all of Japan’s hopes on his shoulders to win at the Gran Prix Finale ice skating competition, but suffered a crushing defeat. He returns home to Kyushu and half feels like he wants to retire, and half feels like he wants to continue ice skating. Suddenly the five-time consecutive world championship ice skater Victor Nikiforov appears before him with Yuri Plisetsky, a young Russian figure skater who is already defeating his seniors. Victor and both Yuris take up the challenge on an unprecedented Gran Prix series (Plot Summary from Anime News Network).
I’m really excited about Yuri!!! on Ice. I’ve been hoping for a figure skating anime for a long time. Yuri!!! reminds me a lot of Free! with young, handsome boys competing against one another in a sport that they love.
Unfortunately, it does not appear to contain any female characters, which seems to be a flaw of many of the sports anime shows coming out lately.
Now that MAPPA has given me a figure skating anime, hopefully, someday they or someone else will produce a ballet sports anime that will satisfy my dreams!
Sangatsu no Lion
The protagonist Rei is a 17-year old professional shōgi player, who lives by himself, not having a real family, and has scarcely any friends. Among his acquaintances is a family, which consists of a young woman, Akari, and two young girls, Hinata and Momo, and who also keep a numerous number of cats (Plot Summary from Anime News Network).
Sangatsu no Lion or March Comes in like a Lion is the second sports anime on my Autumn 2016 list. It’s about a young shōgi player and his relationship with the Kawamoto family.
There have been other shōgi anime before, including Shion no Ō, which features a main female protagonist, and like March Comes in like a Lion, it has a very serious tone. So, I suppose, I’m more looking forward to this show due to the fact that the story is based on the ongoing manga series by Chica Umino.
Umino is the author and artist of Honey and Clover, one of my favorite josei anime and manga series. I didn’t even have to look up March Comes in Like a Lion to know that it is based on Umino’s work. The way the characters are drawn—particularly their round, shiny eyes, flowing hair, and cute outfits—are based on Umino’s artistic style.
Nine idiosyncratic individuals are linked by the “Chōjō Kagaku Kirikiri Basara” occult summary blog run by 17-year-old second-year high school student Yūta Gamon. Little incongruities that occur around these nine eventually lead to a larger, unimaginable event that may alter what is considered common sense in this world (Plot Summary from Anime News Network).
I really want to be excited about Occultic;Nine. After all, it’s written by Chiyomaru Shikura, the creator of one of my favorite shows Steins;Gate. After seeing the extended trailer, however, I’m a little worried about this show.
Let’s just say that within the first 20 seconds of the minute and a half trailer, a young girl’s breasts bounce and sway in a way that screams male gaze. It also appears to be about middle school students.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’ll still watch a show even if it has some elements that I find problematic and don’t enjoy, but if a show contains too many of them, I often find myself quitting it early in the season.
I loved Steins;Gate for the primary reason that it was about adults trying to find their way in the world and that the characters were allowed to be themselves. So, let’s hope that Occultic;Nine is not all stereotypical characters and typical school hijinks.
What simulcasts will you be watching this autumn?
Rine Karr is an Anime Writer at Girls in Capes. She’s a writer and aspiring novelist by moonlight and a copyeditor by daylight. Rine loves good food, travel, and lots of fiction, especially novels, anime, manga, video games, and films. She’s also the Chief Copyeditor and an occasional contributor at Women Write About Comics.