Fall Anime Impressions: Part 1

The fall anime season is in full swing, and thus far, it seems that we are in for some high quality anime, particularly in the fantasy, sequel, and comedy genres. As with my summer impressions, I will review the episodes that have aired, provide my score, and now I have added a "Recommended For" section so that you will know if this is a series that you might want to watch. Of the series airing this season, I plan to review a whopping 35 anime, although that does include a few short series. I will be reviewing the series in alphabetical order by the series' romaji title, and please note that all scores are relative to a series' respective genre. However, if two episodes of a series have not yet aired, I will skip it until the next part of the impressions. Without further ado, let's proceed.
Note: Plot summaries are from Anichart.net.

Akatsuki no Yona
In my Top 15 series of the fall, Akatsuki no Yona (Yona of the Dawn) ranked fourth, and while my anticipation lowered after watching the preview trailer, its first episode set the pieces in place for what should be one of the more interesting series of the fall. It is a historical series set sometime during the samurai era (maybe). Surprisingly, Akatsuki no Yona started as a romantic comedy in the first half of the episode with the main heroine, Yona, acting all awkward and cute around the guy she liked. After the slow start with some backstory and exposition, a plot of betrayal unravels. However, it is episode two that has gotten be hyped about what is to come. All of the intrigue, action, and violence are ramped up to another level in episode two with it reminding me of the old historical films that I enjoy so much. Episode two is, easily, one of the best episodes of the entire fall season thus far. Even though I have the feeling that the series will go for a lighter tone later in the next episodes, if the series can balance the drama, action, and lightheartedness effectively, we are in for an amazing historical anime with a few fantasy elements.
Studio Pierrot's animation is crisp and clean, and everything looked quite good. Also, the music is fitting for the series.  Also, the opening theme is a brilliant instrumental tune, which is played to great effect during the series, and it is easily one of, if not, the best of the season. Watch it below.
Unknown to me until recently, the series is designated a Reverse-Harem, which means one girl with various guys possibly attracted to her. Hopefully, the series will focus more on the story, and not allow that aspect effect the plot.
My biggest complaint about the series thus far is the bishounen (translated as "pretty young boy/man") designs of the male characters. Why does every historical set series need to have a bunch of bishounens as the main characters? All of the recent samurai era series have bishounen characters, when more standard designs would lend themselves to a more serious series. However, unlike most of the historical bishounen anime, Akatsuki no Yona made it work for me. Also, Yona does have a crush on her cousin in the beginning of the episode, and while that may seem odd, it is not particularly strange in the Japanese culture, so be aware.
Overall, Akatsuki no Yona is off to a strong start, and even though I worried that we may never reach the same heights of the second episode, if it reminds as high quality as I am hoping, it is an easy top five of the season.
Recommended For: Historical fans, Romance fans, 

Plot Summary: "Since Yona is the only princess of a grand kingdom, she has been raised with great care by her doting father and protected by her childhood friend/guard Hak and others. However, her fate changes on her 16th birthday, when her beloved cousin Soo-won murders her father to claim the throne. She flees the castle to Hak's hometown and begins her new life."
Looks like Katniss has some competition!

Amagi Brilliant Park
Amagi Brilliant Park comes from Kyoto Animation, the studio behind classics like Clannad and the Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, and it turns out that Amagi Brilliant Park might be a sleeper hit. Amagi Brilliant Park introduces one of the more unique settings of the season. The series literally opens with the beautiful and mysterious transfer student, Isuzu Sento, pointing a large musket (Madoka Magica Style) at the main male character, Seiya Kanie, so that he accepts her invitation to go on a date with her to the amusement park called Amagi Brilliant Park. Once there, she reveals to Kanie that the park is actually run by beings from a magical fantasy realm called Maple Land, and that her people survive off of the happiness from the people that go to the park. However, the park is dilapidated and is at risk of closure if the park does not reach 250,000 visitors in three months. Princess Latifah Fullanza of Maple Land gives Kanie the power to read minds and convinces him to help them make help run the park and save everyone. Even though the premise does not sound the best, it works a lot better in practice, and you cannot deny that the series is unique.  
After two episodes, the series most definitely has me hooked. In fact, Amagi Brilliant Park reminds me of Outbreak Company, one of 2013’s the best series, which also had an interesting fantasy element. While not all of the comedy works, the second episode introduces some great story elements, and if you are familiar with Full Metal Panic, there are a few funny references to that. 
Kyoto Animation takes the beautifully flawless character designs of the female characters, from Free, which I praised in my review of said series, and combined it with their usual stunning animation to create the most polished series of the year (excluding Fate/stay night). Everything in the series is beautiful and incredibly fluid; Kyoto Animation is still at the top of their game. The only negative with the series thus far is that there is one scene of random fanservice towards the end of the first episode. Also, the series under the genre of ecchi, and while there have only been mild hints thus far, it could turn into one. Other than that, there is no reason not to give the series a watch for an interesting and unique fantasy series with beautiful animation!
Recommended For: Outbreak Company fans, Kyoto Animation fans, Ecchi fans, Comedy fans, Fantasy fans,

Plot Summary: "The "slapstick drama" begins with Seiya Kanie, a high school boy who is invited on a date in an amusement park by a mysterious beautiful transfer student named Isuzu Sento. He is introduced to Ratifa, a "real" princess and the park's manager, and is asked to be the acting manager of this "disappointing amusement park in the Tokyo suburbs.""

Danna ga Nani wo Itteiru ka Wakaranai Ken
 Another series that made my Top 15 of the fall, Danna ga Nani wo Itteiru ka Wakaranai Ken (I Can't Understand What My Husband Is Saying) actually turned out to be a short series with a three minute episode format, and while that is a bit disappointing, it made me laugh more in three minutes than a lot of comedies have in 20 minutes. With the simple premise of a normal hardworking woman somehow marrying a hardcore Otaku, it manages to throw more than enough Otaku jokes to make me laugh A LOT in its first episode. However, episode two did feature some unnecessary yaoi parody. Being that the episodes are so short, the level of commitment is low, so it is an easy series to keep up with throughout the season. If you want some adult Otaku humor, that mostly mid-to-hardcore level Otaku will understand, give it a watch; it made me laugh.
Recommended For *18+*: Seinen comedy fans, Otaku comedy fans,

Plot Summary: "The anime follows the daily life of an earnest, hardworking office lady named Kaoru and her otaku husband, who is totally immersed in a certain huge net bulletin board system."

Denki-Gai no Honya-san
Denki-Gai no Honya-san (The Electric Town's Bookstore) is a series that revolves around a Dōjin shop that sells anime, manga, and doujinshi, and as such, is run by a group of hardcore Otaku. Even if the jokes are not the most original, something about comedies that revolve around Otaku jokes and reference that just makes me laugh, and Denki-Gai no Honya-san is yet another comedy to fill said void. Of course, comedy is subjective, so a lot of people will not find the series nearly as funny as I did, especially if you are not a mid-to-hardcore level Otaku. However, a few of the jokes are a tad too crude for my taste, so be aware of that. In many ways, the series reminds me of a wacky moe version of Genshiken, which is one of my favorite series. One of my favorite aspects of the series thus far is the character Fu Girl, who is a cute little girl that happens to be a massive zombie enthusiast and is constantly honing her skills for the eventual apocalypse, which results some great humor. If you have to have some more Otaku laughs, Denki-Gai no Honya-san is a great pick. Otherwise, you might want to pass.
Recommended For *18+*: Otaku comedy fans, Genshiken fans, Seinen comedy fans,

Plot Summary: "The "youthful bookstore comedy" revolves around the folks who work in a manga shop deep in a certain "Electric Town" neighborhood. ("Denki-Gai" or "Electric Town" is a popular name for shopping areas that specialize or used to specialize in electric and electronic items, like Tokyo's Akihabara.) The protagonist Umio works part-time at "BOOKS Umanohone" along with his senior at work (but not in age) Hiotan. As many dedicated manga fans visit the store, there is always something going on."

Donten ni Warau
Yet another bishounen historical series.... *sigh* There is nothing wrong bishounen characters in general, but why does every historical samurai series have to feature them exclusively? Donten ni Warau (Cloudy Laugh; Laughing Under the Clouds) is about three brothers in 1878, who are hired by the government to capture criminals; however, they never use lethal weapons. Even though the premise is possibly interesting like Rurouni Kenshin, the execution is utterly bland. While episode two did show a little promise, with one fun action sequence, the first episode nearly bored me to death. The youngest brother, Chutaro, is incredibly annoying and the series in general is boring and dull. My plan is to watch the third episode and then decide whether or not to drop it. Apparently, there are going to be fantasy elements in the series later, so maybe it will start to become more intriguing later. Also, the series feature two notable voice actors, Yūki Kaji (Attack on Titan) and Tsubasa Yonaga (Free), and Dogakobo (Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun) is doing a fine job with the animation with the series having clean edges and a generally clean visual aesthetic. Since this series is obviously targeted at the shoujo audience, I suppose I cannot fault it too terribly much, but overall the series just left me completely aloof. 
Recommended For: Bishounen fans, 

Plot Summary: "In the eleventh year of the Meiji era carrying swords was forbidden by the government and those known as samurai were slowly fading away. However, there were plenty who didn't like those changes taking place in Japan and inevitably the crime rates increased. The country's only solution was an inescapable lake prison. Since the prison had no other way to access it except by water, the three boys of the Kumo family were assigned to transport the criminals to their new "home". Although, is that the only thing they were doing...?"

Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works
If you have been reading this blog for any length of time, you know that Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works was my most anticipated series of the year, and it has yet to disappoint. Ufotable's animation is simply mind blowing; nothing even comes close. Basically, watch Fate/Zero and then watch this Fate/stay night adaptation. For more of my thoughts on the series,  check out my review of the premiere episode by clicking here.
Recommended For: Anyone that watched Fate/Zero, Action fans, Fantasy fans, Ufotable fans,

Plot Summary: "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."

Garo: Honoo no Kokuin
Garo: Honoo no Kokuin (Garo: The Animation) is an adaptation/spinoff of Japan's popular live-action fantasy drama, Garo and its many live-action spinoffs. Thus far, Garo: The Animation is one of the more unique offerings of the fall season with a dark fantasy setting. The series takes place in the fictitious Valiante Kingdom during the Spanish Inquisition. Even though the first half of the first episode bored me with its dark fantasy exposition, the rest of the series has shown promise. Garo is one of the darkest series of the season thus far, yet it manages to not censor its violence like a lot of other series (namely Tokyo Ghoul and Terra Formars). While the series can be a bit too dark for its own good, certain elements continue to intrigue me. For one, the main cast consist of adults, and it is not afraid to introduce mature themes. The characters are not particularly defined except for basic character traits, and while the characters are largely anti-heroes with possibly dislikable traits, the series seems to just be getting started after the first two episodes. Another unique aspect is MAPPA's animation, which is vastly different than just about anything else out there this season, particularly the character designs. Unfortunately, a certain aspect of the series relies heavily on jarring 3D animation, although it is utilized better than some. Overall, Garo is keeping me interested enough to continue watching to see how everything unfolds, and while it has yet to do anything extraordinary, it is worth watching for fans of dark fantasy and action. However, due to the violence and other mature content, it is recommend for ages 18+.
Recommended For *18+*: Seinen action fans, Dark fantasy fans, 

Plot Summary: "Based on the Garo Project tokusatsu drama. The Garo drama franchise has a dark story that revolves around humans that have the job of "Makai Knights," people who fight against demonic beings called Horrors. The first television series in the franchise revolves around Makai Knight Kōga Saejima, who tries to save a girl named Kaoru from her fate of death after being tainted by demon blood."

What anime are you watching this fall? What do you think of the series that I have reviewed thus? Please comment below and let me know.

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