The new anime season is here. But what should you be watching? Some people abide by the 3 episode rule where each anime is given 3 episodes to prove themselves before making a judgement whether they should continue watching. However considering there are over 25 new anime each season, that would mean you would be spending over 25 hours of your life just to decide what to watch, and you are undoubtedly a cool and attractive person who has lots of other important things you should be doing. So instead you should let other people watch everything for you and let them sort the gems from the trash. People like me! So here are the 5 most promising anime from the opening weeks of the fall 2015 anime season.
While the Monogatari franchise may be a known property by this stage, what’s so encouraging about the early episodes of Owarimonogatari is that the general upward trajectory of the franchise looks to be continuing. The imagery appears to be getting even more surreal with the time-stopped classroom floating in a windows media player screensaver. Ougi is a fantastically evil addition to the cast. The lewd angles and ogling camera shots that have hovered over this franchise unpleasantly since the start are only noticeable by their absence so far. Plus everything that made the series great is still here. The roundabout dialogue, obsession over exact terminology, and wonderful turns of phrase the characters come up with to express their emotions continue. There has never been a better time to get into the Monogatari franchise! Well, except you first have to watch Bakemonogatari. Then you have to watch Nisemonogatari, followed by Second Season, then Nekomonogatari. Actually no－you should watch Nekomonogatari before Bakemonogatari…and then there’s the prequel Kizumonogatari movies, which have been split into three and are coming out soon and－okay, maybe it is a bad time to get into the Monogatari franchise. But it’s still a goddamn good cartoon!
It’s been a while since one has been able to recommend a Gundam series to completely new fans. Unicorn and Origin are both set in the original UC timeline, Build Fighters recommendations required the double caveat of being a kids show and full of fan-service-y references to older series for the long time fan, and neither Age nor Reconguista were particularly good. Thankfully now we have Iron Blooded Orphans, the serious mecha anime about orphans living on Mars acting as bodyguards in a battle for planetary independence. It’s not perfect, as any anime with the line “boobs are soft and warm, not cold and hard like this cockpit” deserves to be mocked, but it has incredibly strong characterisation and an interesting political minefield of a storyline being set up. It also has a guy called Biscuit with two younger sisters called Cookie and Cracker, which is always a plus. If you’ve never watched a Gundam series before, here is as good a place to start as any.
Who on earth saw this coming? An adaptation of a manga older than your parents that first got an anime in 1966 gets a sequel in 2015 and it turns out to be genuinely one of the funniest of the season? Something was clearly off though when the first episode started in black and white, randomly turned into an idol anime, and then swiftly launched into one of the most on-point parodies of otome game reverse harems anime has ever made. There were a metric ton of parodies and references as the characters desperately try to find what it is that makes a modern anime popular and saw a Love Live and Haikyuu characters take out a titan by launching plungers at its face. The second episode hinted more at what the rest of the series plans to play out like. A more traditional gag-comedy style which is a bit more hit-or-miss with its jokes. However for the sheer shock of that first episode alone it deserves a lot of credit.
It’s strange to call series like Nodame Cantabile or Paradise Kiss “throwback”, but The Perfect Insider feels like a throwback to the earlier Noitamina anime. The timeslot became successful in its early incarnation for hosting more mature josei anime aimed at an audience outside the usual anime demographic of teenage boys, something the timeslot rather abandoned in more recent years with anime like Punchline and Saekano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend. The mystery series is an excellent example of well-written dialogue where what is not said is more important than what is actually said when it comes to figuring out these characters. It’s classic showing rather than telling, illustrating little character quirks by them acting them out rather than someone narrating over events and pointing out everything that’s happening. It’s perhaps a little too dry for some people, but don’t mistake that for humourless as there’s a genuine charm to people like Moe, our main character. It also has easily the best OP of the season, showing other anime just what you can achieve when you decide to do something a little more creative than Every Anime Opening Ever Made Ever.
Given the popularity of the original manga, it was clear that the One Punch Man anime adaptation had the greatest capacity for failure. The fact that even the most notoriously picky and unforgiving manga fans have been praising this adaptation is a testament to how good it has been. Admittedly with a plot as simple as One Punch Man has (it’s about a superhero who can beat everything with one punch and now he’s bored) it’s difficult to mess that up too much. But what Madhouse have done is added a layer of polish with some of the most jaw-dropping animation in any TV anime this year. When you can sense that the creators are having a fun time making the anime, that really shines through in the final product. It’s heaps of fun where every villain’s overly elaborate backstory will have you grinning like a maniac as you wait for the inevitable single and final blow given to them by a bored looking bald guy wearing a pair of red rubber gloves.