There’s a ton of anime hitting this fall, so read our previews of Fate Stay Night, Gundam, Parasyte, Psycho Pass, Seven Deadly Sins, Terra Formars, and World Trigger before things get crazy!
Below are the series I’ve decided to watch and discuss with you every week. But before we jump to all the fun stuff, I’ll tell you a little bit about myself. First things first: I am a “Toonami kid” and grew up watching Dragonball Z and Gundam every day after school, and have since grown an affinity for Japanese cartoons. I typically stick with most shonen (younger men’s) or seinen (older men’s) anime, but I’m getting more and more into other genres. These are by no means a definitive listing of the best anime airing this year–they’re simply the ones I’ve found the most intriguing, or are based on a manga I’ve really enjoyed reading.
If you’re newer to anime or maybe a little fixated on a certain genre, try to go outside your comfort zone and try a new series you ordinarily wouldn’t. And always follow the “three episode” rule: if you’re trying a new series, give it at least three episodes before you drop it. Usually, the first is always high budget and enticing, the second introduces more of the world and has a lot of exposition, and the third will cement everything previous if you should stick around. That’s my philosophy anyway, and it’s worked for me and others for the last few years.
Anyway, enough about me–let’s get to what you came here to see: hardcore nudity! Anime, I mean, anime.
Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works [Oct. 5, 2014]
Synopsis: Adaptation of the 2nd route of the popular visual novel Fate/Stay Night. In this route, Tohsaka Rin will be the major female character. Revelations about Shirou and his destiny will be made. Shirou Emiya is an average student that is dragged into a war over the Holy Grail, an item that can fulfill any wish or desire. The contestants all use spirit servants to fight each other; however, as Emiya is a newcomer and unskilled, he must join together with Rin Tohsaka to survive the battles. This is only a temporary solution, as Tohsaka’s spirit servant Archer greatly dislikes Emiya for an unknown reason.
I realize that sounds like a lot to throw at you, but basically all of these characters are here for one reason: to collect the Holy Grail and grant a wish. Naturally there is more to it than that concerning character growth and development, but essentially it’s about several Servants being summoned and their masters sic’ing them upon the other combatants to win. If you’re curious as to how this works, I urge you check out Fate/Zero on Netflix to get an understanding.
Animation studio Ufotable is not unfamiliar with the Fate/Stay series, having handled the 2011 prequel Fate/Zero by Type-Moon. The Fate/Stay night series isn’t a new anime adaptation either, as it was done nearly ten years ago from Studio Deen. This latest variation will follow a similar path the original did, but it will focus on the Unlimited Bladde Works path, as opposed to the former’s Fate path. Confused? Understandably, the Fate series is a lot to digest sometimes. Its stories are taken from a visual novel series of the same name written by Gen Urobichi. In the novels, there are various branching storylines or “paths: that will change the story and lead to different endings. It’s like a Choose Your Own Adventure story, but often violent, dramatic, and intended for adults.
Fate/Stay night is set for a 25-episode series, with the second half premiering in April 2015. Although I very much enjoyed Fate/Zero, I’m a little bummed to see its same writer, Gen Urobichi, isn’t returning to helm Fate/Stay night, but I’ll be there day one to journey with Shiro as the Holy Grail War rears its head and the combatants take the stage. Both Hulu and Crunchyroll will have streaming rights to Fate/Stay night, so be sure to get your subscriptions in before the premiere!
Gundam: G no Reconguista [Airing October 4, 2014]
Synopsis: Some time has passed since the end of the Universal Century, a history marked by space
colonization and space warfare. Humanity’s prosperity, which ushered in a new era known as Regild Century (R.C.), was believed to endure alongside the global peace. It is the year R.C.1014. The Capital Tower is an orbital elevator that rose above the Earth’s surface and linked Earth and space. As the conduit of the Photon Battery energy source to the surface, it is regarded as sacred. Beruri Zenamu is in the middle of training for the Capital Guard (established to protect the Capital Tower), when the tower is attacked by G-Serufu–a highly maneuverable mobile suit with technology that is not from any known country.
Oh boy, a brand new Gundam creation from the original creator himself: Yoshiyuki Tomino! He’s been quiet over the last decade (and hasn’t touched a Gundam series since 1999). He’s returning to TV with Gundam: G no Reconguista, but will his writing and reputation return along with it? In addition to being famous for creating the Mobile Suit Gundam series way back in the 70’s, Tomino is also known as “Kill-‘Em-all Tomino.” That’s a little unfair to the man, but when you have several series wherein a lot of your protagonists and antagonists die in the final episode(s), it’s easy to see why you earn the nickname.
Enough about Tomino, let’s talk G no Reconguista. Right from the assets and trailer I get a Eureka Seven vibe, but that’s not a coincidence–the character designs are from Kenichi Yoshida, same designer on Eureka Seven. While the plot and synopsis sounds about as cut and dry as every other Gundam series, I’ll trust that Tomnio and his team can create a memorable cast and setting given their pedigree. Gundam series can be rather hit-and-miss, but more than that, they can be forgettable series. Only a handful of them stand the test of time, and the ones that people hold onto the most (*cough* Gundam Wing *cough*) aren’t the best in the franchise.
Gundam: G no Reconguista has a lot to live up to, and a legacy to maintain thanks to the Gundam’s 35-year appeal, but Gundam: G no Reconguista should be a good introductory series for that world. The “Universal Century” setting is the main setting for the Gundam franchise, but rather than feel that you need to suddenly take in 35 years of Gundam knowledge, let’s just hope Yohiyuki Tomino and Sunrise can deliver on the grandeur that Gundam is all about. Gundam: G no Reconguista premieres October 4th with a 25-episode run, but knowing other Gundam series, if ratings and viewership drive it, it could expand to a longer life. No streaming rights have been announced yet, but it’s more than likely that Crunchyroll will get it, as they tend to get most big series nowadays. Keep your eyes there for its premiere October 4th.
Parasyte: Probability of Survival (Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu) [Airing October 31, 2014]
Synopsis: They arrive in silence and darkness. They descend from the skies. They have a hunger for human flesh. They are everywhere. They are parasites, alien creatures who must invade–and take control of–a human host to survive. And once they have infected their victims, they can assume any deadly form they choose: monsters with giant teeth, winged demons, creatures with blades for hands. But most have chosen to conceal their lethal purpose behind ordinary human faces. So no one knows their secret–except an ordinary high school student. Shin is battling for control of his own body against an alien parasite, but can he find a way to warn humanity of the horrors to come?
It’s interesting to see a manga that ended its run nearly 20 years ago get an anime adaption. Most manga that get adapted are currently running and are only a few volumes out before the anime premieres. That’s not the case with Parasyte, as its 10 volume manga ended in 1995, and is only now getting adapted–not only as an anime series, but two live-action films too. Hitoshi Iwaaki’s Parasyte centers on Shinichi Izumi, and his new parasitic right hand, Migi. Parasites have invaded Japan, and Shinichi and Migi soon form a bond that have them taking on all other Parasite infected neighbors and townsfolk.
As silly as that sounds, Parasyte is a brutal, violent series, so expect bloodshed and plenty of action with other parasite-wielders. Studio Madhouse (Death Note, Hunter x Hunter) is producing the project, and early teasers and trailer have me very excited for the finished product. There is no known episode count for Parasyte just yet, but I’d expect no more than 24-episodes for its run, perhaps only one cour (season) at 12 or 13 episodes. No streaming sites have claimed it yet either, but like most other series, look to Crunchyroll to likely grab it.
Seven Deadly Sins (Nanatsu no Taizai) [Airing Oct 5, 2014]
Synopsis: When they were accused of trying to overthrow the monarchy, the feared warriors the Seven Deadly Sins were sent into exile. Princess Elizabeth discovers the truth–the Sins were framed by the king’s guard, the Holy Knights–too late to prevent them from assassinating her father and seizing the throne! Now the princess is on the run, seeking the Sins to help her reclaim the kingdom. But the first Sin she meets, Meliodas, is a little innkeeper with a talking pig. He doesn’t even have a real sword! Have the legends of the Sins’ strength been exaggerated?
Probably the hottest new manga of the last couple of years, The Seven Deadly Sins is an all-out action manga that rarely takes a breather. I’ve personally been addicted to the manga and am nearly all caught up, highly awaiting the anime’s retelling of the story. The characters are incredibly likable, albeit Meliodas is a bit perverted, but watching world demolishing action and destruction happen during the fights should be an enjoyable romp.
Studio A-1 Pictures (Blue Exorcist, Sword Art Online) is producing, while Tensai Okamura (Darker Than Black, Ninja Scroll) is directing the action. The Seven Deadly Sins will be a good go-to series for fans of Shonen series that can provide that rather mindless approach to storytelling and action. That’s not to say that The Seven Deadly Sins isn’t well written or that it’s bad–it’s just made for a younger demographic, so it’s a little light on heavy drama and characters development. It will be interesting to see if The Seven Deadly Sins falls under the typical manga-to-anime trope of being a successful adaptation and thus being renewed for more episodes and creating a couple of issues. One: if it catches up to the source manga, does it go into filler territory to extend the life of the anime? Or two: create its own anime ending, leading you to read the mange to get the real or rest of the story? My money is on the latter, since the manga is only about 10 volumes at the moment and is super popular, so it shows no signs of stopping. Episode count and streaming rights are uncertain at the moment, but I anticipate a 25-episode, two cour (season) run, with Crunchyroll getting the streaming rights.
Psycho-Pass 2 [Airing Oct 2014]
Synopsis: Psycho-Pass is set in 2113. The Sibyl System is actively measuring the populace’s mental states, personalities, and the probability that individuals will commit crimes, using a “cymatic scan” of the brain. The resulting assessment is called a Psycho-Pass. When the probability of a person engaging in crimes measured by the Crime Coefficient index exceeds a certain level in an individual, he or she is pursued, apprehended, and killed if necessary. Sequel to 2012’s Psycho-Pass anime.
Psycho Pass was a series I got into late after its initial airing, but I highly enjoyed. It seems a bit divisive, and a there are a few that do not care for its storytelling or setting. If you like Neo-Tokyo, dystopian futures, and Nihilistic themes then Psycho Pass is the anime for you! (Just FYI, the first season is on Netflix–go play a quick game of catchup.)
I won’t spoil too much of the first season, but the above synopsis and title should clue you in enough to tell you this is a sequel. Gen Urobichi was the original creator but, sadly, he won’t be returning to write season two. Tow Ubukata (Mardock Scramble, Heroic Age) is penning Psycho Pass’ second running, and studio Prodcution I.G. (Ghost in the Shell, The End of Evangelion) is producing once again. Additionally, Yugo Kanno (Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders, Psycho Pass) returns too, to deliver a composition that should be on the same level as the first season. As excited as I am that Psycho Pass is returning, I’m hesitant as well. Not having the same writer as before and being a sequel worries me, but I’m not down on the series either. I’ll wait to see what the new staff can create, but I’m going into this season with lowered expectations. No streaming rights or episode count have been revealed just yet, but Funimation got the rights to the series for US distribution, so they’ll likely be streaming it via their website. Also expect another 20+ episodes for Psycho Pass 2.
Terra Formars [Airing Sept 27, 2014]
Synopsis: With the space program attempting to travel to Mars, 21st century scientists were tasked with warming up the planet so that humans could survive on its surface. They came up with an efficient and cost effective plan of sending cockroaches and mold to the surface so that the mold would absorb the sunlight and the insect corpses would serve as a food source for the mold.
It is now the year 2577, the first manned ship to Mars has landed on the planet, and the six crew members are ready for their mission. But what they find are giant mutated humanoid cockroaches with incredible physical strength. The crew members are easily wiped out, but not before sending a transmission back to Earth. Now, humanity will send elite warriors to exterminate the mutated bugs and claim back Mars.
To quote one of my favorite comedians, Patton Oswalt: “We’re science! We’re all about ‘coulda’, not ‘shoulda’.” Terra Formers seems to fit that bit quite well, as it seems in 500 years we’re all about doing things for science without really weighing the effects they may have later on. This series may be a bit familiar to some already, as Terra Formars has already gotten an OVA series earlier this year, with a second incoming with a new manga volume too. That particular OVA focuses on the Bugs 2 arc of the manga, while this anime series will focus on the Annex 1 arc.
From what the OVA has shown me, Terra Formars could easily be this year’s Attack on Titan in terms of casualties and brutality. Members of the expeditions sent to exterminate the radiated cockroaches are adept at combat, but will become fodder rather quickly. There are a lot of gruesome fights and action happening onscreen, and the OVA rarely slows from it. I only hope the anime version will keep the pace up, but know when to also hold back and explain everything for character growth and development. If you want me to care about these characters who could die like *snap* that, don’t be like Attack on Titan and give little to no characterization.
No episode count or streaming rights have been announced just yet, but like the 90% of everything else streaming nowadays, Crunchyroll will likely pick it up.
World Trigger [Airing Oct 5, 2014]
Synopsis: A gate to another dimension has burst open, and from it emerge gigantic invincible creatures that threaten all of humanity. Earth’s only defense is a mysterious group of warriors who have co-opted the alien technology in order to fight back! In Mikado City (280,000 inhabitants), a “gate” to a different world is opened suddenly one day. Monsters called “Neighbors” start appearing from it, everyone is afraid of them because Earth’s weapons don’t work against them, but a mysterious group starts fighting off the Neighbors. They, the “Border” defense agency, create a defense system against the Neighbors. Since then, regardless of the Neighbors still emerging from the gates, people of Mikado City were living normally today. Four and a half years after the gate is opened for the first time, Yūma Kuga, a humanoid Neighbor, comes to Mikado City, where he meets Osamu Mikumo, a Border agent.
Sci-fi action/comedy in anime is a mixed bag. Occasionally you get gems like Cowboy Bebop, but usually you get series like Guilty Crown–not a “bad” series per se, but a lot of times these series pack so much into themselves that by the end you’re left with a “WTF” reaction. That’s the vibe I’m getting from World Trigger at the moment. That’s not to say I still won’t be watching it come its premiere, but I’m being very hesitant about my expectations. I don’t want to be burned on a cool premise with a lackluster delivery.
We do have Mitsuru Hongo (Pilot Candidate, Outlaw Star) in the director’s chair and Hiroyuki Yoshino (Code Geass, Macross Frontier) handling the writing, so I have those two to trust with creating an enchanting, enjoyable ride. Toei Animation (Dragonball, Sailor Moon) will be handling the animation, which is very cool, so we’ll see if World Trigger escapes mediocrity or falls into the pile of forgotten sci-fi action. No streaming or episode count is known, but the coming weeks will hold all of that for us.
Curtis has been watching anime for many, many years. Shows like Dragonball Z and Ronin Warriors shaped his beginning years, while shows like Neon Genesis Evangleion and Cowboy Bebop showed him that there’s some true artistic ability and expression found within anime. Follow him on Twitter, and send your own article pitches to firstname.lastname@example.org!