Fall 2020 Anime Season Impressions Finale

jujutsu-kaisen-sukuna-anime-1221458-1280x0.jpeg

(If you like what you see, you can go to camseyeview.biz to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at patreon.com/camseyeview. It would help support my work, and keeps the website up. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this review!)

Here we are! We are at the finale of the impressions! If you have yet to see Part 1 or Part 2, I will hyperlink them in this sentence. Now then, let’s get started!

Good: These are the anime that may have their flaws, but are still really fun watches.

Adachi and Shimamura (Funimation)

006yt1Omgy1gab7r058zxj30s80exaoy.jpg

Impressions: Based on the light novel and manga by Hitoma Iruma of Bloom Into You fame, directed by Satoshi Kuwabara, and animated by Tezuka Productions, this girl-on-girl romance anime starts on a bumpy first impression. It comes off like it wants to tell a super intimate teenage romance story, but is constantly fighting against a director who is too horny. The first episode is covered in so many thighs, butt, leg, and bust shots that it drags the intimate genuine parts down. However, once you get past the first episode, the character dynamic between the two leads is full of realistic angst and love. It’s a beautiful-looking anime as well, and I can see myself wanting to find out if it sticks the landing. We will just have to see.

Tonikawa: Over the Moon For You (Crunchyroll)

fd5151846121e5b9672996cccb212ab21594974723_main.jpg

Impressions: Out of all of the Crunchyroll exclusives I have seen so far this season, while flawed, Tonikawa: Over the Moon For You is the best one of the bunch. Based on a manga by Kenjiro Hata, directed by Hiroshi Ikehata, and produced by Seven Arcs, this romance anime begins on a rocky start, where the lead falls in love with a woman he barely knows and then gets married. Technically, when he asks her out, she says she won’t go out with him unless they get married, and then ironically, they don’t see each other for a few years. The entire base of their relationship is odd, and I don’t know if I still understand it. Even the fact that between the marriage offer and when they finally hook up, has a three or so-year gap doesn’t help covey to me why they should be together. Still, as the show has gone on, the relationship between our leads Nasa Yuzaki and Tsukasa Tsukuyomi is cute. They do love each other and they do bond as they work their way through being a young married couple. The side characters also have a lot of fun energy and add a bit of mystery to the situation. I’m honestly invested to see where this story goes and how it makes its landing. It might not be the most visually stunning anime of the Fall season, but it has a pretty great opening song. Still, if you had to check out a Crunchyroll exclusive, I’d recommend this one over Gibiate and Noblesse.

By the Grace of the Gods (Funimation)

By-the-Grace-of-the-Gods-Teaser-Screenshot-1.png

Impressions: Based on the manga and light novels by Roy, the anime is directed by Takeyuki Yanase, and the animation studio behind it is Maho Film, this is another isekai where someone from our world overworked himself, died, and is now reincarnated in a fantasy world. All things considered, it’s cute and pretty laid back so far, but it also doesn’t have too much else to make it stand out from others. I do like the laid back nature of the show’s tone, and I like that this lead character helps not through fighting, but using slimes and magic to solve problems. It doesn’t have the best animation, and it’s pretty basic-looking. Luckily, the show has started to show some depths, and there was a scene in episode 4 that was heartwarming. It’s slowly becoming one of my favorites of the season.

Ikebukuro West Gate Park (Funimation)

Ikebukuro-West-Gate-Park-anime-2nd-video-promo-PV-screenshot-jpn.jpg

Impressions: This show is based on the urban mystery novels by Ira Ishida, which was then adapted into a drama series by Tsutsumi Yukihiko, then a manga written by Ira Ishida, and now an anime series directed by Tomoaki Koshida and produced by Doga Kobo. So far, it kind of reminds me of Yakuza in terms of this more urban-set series, where we follow a young man named Makoto who helps out the G-Boys, a gang within Ikebukuro with different situations. He’s more of a middle man that tries to keep everything at peace within this city between the G-Boys and other gangs. It’s fun to watch the stories unfold as we watch Makoto and the G-Boys try and solve what the problems are, and why the clients came to them and whatnot. While maybe not supporting the best animation, it still looks pretty good, and the stories themselves are interesting enough to keep you, well, invested. I’m still waiting for the shoe to drop at some point, but I recommend this one if you are into some crime-solving with an urban flair.

Fantastic: These are the anime that may have a flaw here and there, but have stories and characters worth watching.

The Gymnastics Samurai (Funimation)

taiso-samurai-nuovo-anime-originale-mappa-trailer-data-d-uscita-v3-462895.jpg

Impressions: This is fun, an original anime by Studio MAPPA, directed by Hisatoshi Shimizu, and a lot of the teams behind Zombieland Saga and Yuri on Ice about a gymnastics athlete who doesn’t end up retiring and wants to keep going for his daughter. Oh, and a wayward ninja is living with them as well, after the athlete saves him from immigration. So, yeah, this is a weird anime, but it has a surprisingly grounded and wholesome vibe with the main character being a single dad, which is something we don’t see a lot of in anime. Much of the cast is great. With that said, it is a shame that the show stumbled in the second episode by introducing a gay doctor character who reinforces toxic homophobic stereotypes. Hopefully, they dial him back and make him more endearing, because your first introduction of a character like this shouldn’t be groping the lead without his consent. It’s a shame because the rest of the show has been pretty fantastic otherwise. I love the drama, the internal battle the lead has with himself, and the other gymnasts he interacts with.

Yashahime: Princess Half Demon (Funimation/Crunchyroll/VRV)

006BFMdqly1ghil90omg3j31hc0u0goh.jpg

Impressions: It is a sequel to the important and nostalgic fantasy action series Inuyasha, based on the franchise by Rumiko Takahashi, and directed by Teruo Sato. It follows the “next generation” storyline like Boruto, but instead of the maligned sequel to Naruto, Yashahime: Princess Half Demon is good. I honestly love the fact we have three tomboy protagonists who must save the day by traveling to the past and stop evil forces from taking over the world. It has pretty good action and animation from Sunrise, and the character chemistry and dynamics are interesting! It also has a pretty great opening song. If you have any nostalgia for Inuyasha, warts and all, I highly recommend watching this show. Just know it doesn’t make the best first impression with the first episode easing the old fans into this new batch of heroes.

Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina (Funimation)

imageedit_28_2647194439.png

Impressions: Based on the light novel by Jougi Shiraishi, the manga by Itsuki Nanao, directed by Toshiyuki Kubooka, and animated by C2C, this might be the most polarizing positive anime of the entire season. On one hand, the first two episodes have brought a different energy to the overall witch and magic world that is different enough from stuff like Harry Potter, and to a lot of degrees, better. I love the more laid back observant vibe the anime brings to the table, the lead is interesting, and I adore the less action-packed storytelling. On the other hand, after the first two episodes, the show and story go into, well, dark fairytale/Aesop stories with our lead more of a storyteller who journals her experiences in travel. I think this wouldn’t split people down the middle of it if it also didn’t make the lead look like a passive observer who could have saved some people or done something. Some of the stories are dark, and I don’t blame people getting miffed at the sudden tone change. I don’t agree with every part, of course, but I do get the divisiveness of the show. I think there is more to it than what the detractors are saying, but that’s just me. If you love and want a different take on magic and witches, then I recommend this show.

The Best: The best of the best of the season!

Dragon Quest: The Legend of Dai (Crunchyroll)

imageedit_15_7137924937.jpg

Impressions: Based on the hit video game franchise and the manga by Riku Sanjo, this new incarnation of the story is directed by Kazuya Karasawa and animated by Toei Animation. What’s so fantastic about this show is how earnest it all is. It’s not trying to do something new, be edgy, or go the mature route with the franchise. What it does do is be a very entertaining, compelling, and charming action fantasy series. It also has a great mix of 2D and CGI animation that matches well with one another and while it might not reinvent the wheel, it executes that wheel in style.

Akudama Drive (Funimation)

imageedit_17_6532801950.jpg

Impressions: An original anime directed by Tomohisa Taguchi, animated by Studio Pierrot, and written by Norimitsu Kaiho, this cyberpunk action/heist anime is oozing personality and originality out of every pore of its body. It also carries heavy Danganronpa vibes, which shouldn’t be a shock with how some of the team members that worked on this show, worked on Danganronpa 3. It might have characters that have one defining trait to them, but they take advantage of that one trait for each character and run with them. This ends up making the characters super likable and fun to watch, which is funny since they are all literal dangerous criminals. The character dynamics are fantastic, the action is intense, the world is fascinating, and it’s a show that knows what it wants to be and doesn’t sway from it. It’s easily one of the best anime of the Fall 2020 season, and if you have yet to watch it, please do.

Higurashi: When They Cry GOU (Funimation)

imageedit_19_5503211156.png

Impressions: So, it might be a pseudo-sequel to the critically acclaimed horror franchise by 07th Expansion and is directed by Keiichiro Kawaguchi, but you can easily drop into this show without seeing the previous one. Sure, you could probably get more out of it if you watched the previous series, but I never felt confused, which is more than I can say than when I watched Noblesse. Anyway, if you loved the horror/murder mystery franchise that is known for its memorable characters, unsettling scares, and an incredibly compelling story, then you should check out the newest show in the franchise.

Talentless Nana (Funimation)

imageedit_21_7653501528.png

Impressions: If I was organizing these anime on a list, then this anime, Talentless Nana, based on the manga by Looseboy, directed by Shinji Ishihara, and animated by Bridge, would probably be at the top of the list. This twisted take of My Hero Academia is so much fun to watch. Very much like Moriarty the Patriot, we might be following the villain around for this story, but it’s so compelling, that you are going to be okay with that. Not every show or film needs to have a heroic main character, they just need to be interesting and worth investing in. I can’t wait to see where the rest of this series goes.

Jujutsu Kaisen (Crunchyroll)

imageedit_23_4849001289.jpg

Impressions: Every season of anime has its shonen action show, and Jujutsu Kaisen is that show. Luckily, this anime based on the manga by Gege Akutami, directed by Sunghoo Park, and animated by Studio MAPPA is a cut above the rest. Think of it as a new generation Yu Yu Hakusho. I know some may be weary due to the fact that most anime fans were disappointed by God of Highschool, and how Kaisen has the same director, but I wouldn’t worry. Jujutsu Kaisen has more meat on its bones than God of Highschool. It’s more Yu Yu Hakusho and My Hero Academia, and less Black Clover. While both Kaisen and Highschool shows have amazing fight sequences, the characters so far seem to be way more weighted and interesting in Kaisen than most of the anime in this category of, well, anime. It has slick production values, endearing characters, great action, and if you need anything else to convince you to watch this show, it has a talking panda. I think that should make everyone watch it!

Moriarty the Patriot (Funimation)

imageedit_25_9370608948.jpg

Impressions: One of the funniest things my co-host of the Tooned Up (soon to be relabeled Renegade Animation) podcast brought up was the fact three of the best anime this season have antagonists as the main characters, and that’s no different here. Based on the manga by Ryosuke Takeuchi, directed by Kazuya Nomura and produced by Production I.G, this murder/mystery anime follows Sherlock Holmes’ most dangerous adversary with Professor Moriarty. Like Kilmonger in Black Panther, while not someone you should worship as a “hero”, you understand his motives. The world he lives in is run by rich corrupt individuals, and the people below them suffer. Who wouldn’t want to make the people that have made your life worse pay for it? Even if this anime didn’t come out at a very volatile moment in time, I would still consider this to be one of the season’s best anime. Also, the opening song is amazing.

Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle (Funimation)

imageedit_27_7101446748.jpg

Impressions: Finally, we have what is the funniest anime of the season, and probably of the year with Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle. This fantasy comedy is based on the manga by Kagiji Kumanomata, and the anime is produced by Doga Kobo with Mitsue Yamazaki directing, and Yoshiko Nakamura writing. Instead of being a traditional fantasy anime, we get a comedy, where the entire plot is the captured princess going on quests around the big demon castle to get a good night’s sleep. What works about this anime is the very universal and broad style of comedy. It has clever dialogue, but it uses more physical comedy to get the jokes across. It doesn’t hurt that the princess herself is adorable and delightful. Every joke lands, every joke is satisfying, and while it might not have the best animation, the animation is still fan-friggin-tastic. It fits with what the show needs, and the execution of the comedy is sublime. If it wasn’t obvious, watch this show.

Thanks for reading the review! I hope you all enjoyed reading it! If you would like to support my work, make sure to share it out, and if you want to become a Patreon supporter, then you can go to patreon.com/camseyeview. I will see you all next time! 

Fall 2020 Anime Season Impressions Part 1

imageedit_1_4252786153.jpg

(If you like what you see, you can go to camseyeview.biz to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at patreon.com/camseyeview. It would help support my work, and keeps the website up. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this review!)

For many anime fans, the Summer 2020 anime season was a bit of a letdown. Due to the ongoing pandemic, multiple shows were either delayed to the next season set of releases or pushed to next year. It left us with not much in terms of new anime, and the new anime we did get was not all impressive. There were some standouts like Deca_DenceGod of HighschoolThe Misfit of Demon King Academy, and so on, but outside of those, everything else was either okay, forgettable, and/or mediocre. Luckily, the Fall 2020 anime season has been super bountiful, and rather entertaining. Honestly, I gave up on watching seasonal anime for a good decade or so, because of time and losing interest in anime. While this year has had many lows, one of the high points was becoming interested in anime more often, and the Fall 2020 season has been my first time getting to watch new anime from the start of the season. While I will be going more in-depth with some of these titles in an upcoming podcast at Renegade Pop Culture, I wanted to give my thoughts first. My only rule is that I will be covering only new long-form anime. No short-form or returning anime. I will also be looking at the anime from a span of two to three episodes, because if you can’t grab your audience’s attention at that point, then you had better get good later on, or your viewers won’t stick around. By the way, the order in which they are lined up doesn’t matter. I threw them into each category that I felt fit their quality. Let’s get started!

The WorstThe anime I consider completely skippable and make the worst impressions out of the season. 

Assault Lily Bouquet (Funimation)

imageedit_3_3740407010.jpg

Impressions: Based on the light novel of the same name by Kasama Hiroyuki, directed by Hajime Otani and Shoji Saeki, and animated by Shaft, this action anime is stuck in a tough spot, because it wants to be like the studio’s previous smash hit Madoka Magika, but it can’t be bothered to stand out in any real way with the first three episodes. It takes up too much time introducing the viewers to the many, and do I mean many, characters in the first episode, and then hands us an extremely boring villain group. It doesn’t help that the characters all run on one character trait that is mistaken for a personality. It’s a show that’s also more invested with its girl-on-girl romance and fanservice. Because, why would these teenage girls carrying giant weapons wear anything other than gothic French maid-style outfits into battle? When your first impression of the first episode is that there is a shot of the girls’ thighs approximately every minute, then that’s a bad sign. It’s starting to show some story growth and has decent action, but it’s easily one of the shows that I am willing to drop without hesitation. Still, at least it’s not our next show…

King’s Raid: Successors of the Will (Funimation)

imageedit_7_9013891807.jpg

Impression: Based on the free-to-play South Korean mobile RPG, directed by Makoto Hoshino, and animated by Oriental Light & Magic and Sunrise Beyond, King’s Raid might very well be Fall 2020’s most generic anime, not even the most generic fantasy anime, even though it is, but overall. Out of the three episodes shown, this anime does nothing that you couldn’t find in better fantasy anime from previous years, and even in the Fall 2020 lineup. Seriously, do we need yet another discrimination allegory with dark elves as the victims of this discrimination? With dull animation, forgettable character designs, and a story that takes some very “out there” turns, King’s Raid fails to leave an impression worth remembering. Even as I was writing this all down, I’m forgetting what this anime offered me that was worth noting. 

Maesetsu! Opening Act (Funimation)

imageedit_9_3532962995.jpg

Impressions: Arguably, while I think King’s Raid: Successors of the Will is probably the most forgettable anime of the Fall 2020 lineup, Maesetsu!: Opening Act is by far, the worst of the Fall season. It’s an original anime that was supposed to come out during the summer but was delayed due to COVID. This anime, directed by Yuu Nobuta and animated by Studio Gokumi and AXsiZ, made probably the worst first impression of any anime this season outside of Noblesse, but we will get to that bad boy soon. A premise of up-and-coming comedy duos sounds like a very unique and promising project. The problem is that it’s not funny. Every joke falls flat, even when the punchline is that the joke falls flat, and that’s a huge deal. Going into the ins and out of making jokes should be fun, but it’s shockingly not. What may be as bad as the comedy and the story is the art direction. While the characters look like they are all 12 years old, they are actually college age, and the adults look just as bad. The designs are incredibly distracting, and the animation is just okay. Maybe there is some cultural difference of the comedy spectrum missing in translation, but there are already anime this season that have a wider array of comedy that lands consistently and makes Maesetsu look even worst in comparison. No doubt about it, it’s by far the worst show of the current season so far. 

Mediocre: The anime series I thought were not great, but not bad enough to be the worst ones. 

Dropout Idol Fruit Tart (Funimation)

imageedit_21_3322834740.jpg

Impressions: Based on the manga by So Hamayumiba, directed by Keiichiro Kawaguchi, who is also helming this season’s Higurashi: When They Cry – Gou, and produced by Feel, this is a slice-of-life comedy about a new idol group made of girls who were rejected in other fields of entertainment. It’s a decent idea, and unlike a lot of the anime on this list, the animation is expressive and pretty. However, it doesn’t have that much else going for it. The premise is cute, but it leaves a lot of story elements open to criticism. It has some decent comedy, but it also results in some comedy aimed at a character who is uncomfortable showing off her body. Of course, the first episode makes this a major deal. I do like the story beat of a wide-eyed hopeful realizing that Tokyo isn’t the glamorous city that she was led to believe, but I don’t think it has much else when an already popular idol franchise this season of anime is out. When viewers can get a better alternative, they will take that alternative. 

Noblesse (Crunchyroll/VRV)

imageedit_13_7909683765.png

Impressions: You know what’s fun? A show that punishes you for not watching an OVA of the same property before you watch the actual show in question. This series is based on a South Korean manhwa by Son Jeho, produced by Production I.G, and directed by Shunsuke Tada and Yasutaka Yamamoto. The show’s story starts after the OVA that was released back in 2016. If you do not watch the OVA, then be prepared to be confused as the show assumes you remember or watched the OVA in question. Also, be prepared to be underwhelmed by the animation downgrade. So little happens during the first three episodes, and while it’s now picking up, it’s a dull vampire anime as well. I liked some of the more low key moments between the characters, and some parts were funny, but it’s a little too late to get people invested in if it’s only becoming interesting by episode 3. You can tell Production I.G has their hands full with Moriarty the Patriot and the acclaimed Haikyu series, because Noblesse is yet another disappointing Crunchyroll Exclusive. 

Iwakakeru – Sports Climbing Girls (Crunchyroll)

imageedit_19_2503453947.jpg

Impressions:  I was honestly looking forward to this one due to the premise. We already have a gymnastics anime this season, why not wall climbing? Out of all of the anime this year, I think this one got the shortest straw in the budget department. It looks the cheapest, has the most limited animation, and relies heavily on strong posing and effects to make it look more exciting. It wants to be taken seriously and be this shonen female-driven anime, which isn’t a bad thing, but outside of the lead, the rest of the cast is generic. It also has moments of fanservice, which isn’t bad, but since the show doesn’t look great at points, it falls flat. It’s also basic fanservice, so don’t expect something on the level of some of the other shows in the season. I dig the lead character using her gaming experience to learn how to tackle different climbing puzzles, but I’m not entirely sure how much of a fanbase or viewership this one is going to pull. 

I’m Standing on a Million Lives (Crunchyroll) 

imageedit_11_4957852635.jpg

Impressions: With every anime season, there is going to be some “edgy” version of some genre of anime, and here we have the “edgy” isekai anime. It’s based on the manga by Naoki Yamakasa, directed by Kumiko Habara, and produced by Maho Film. Sadly, it’s a teenage boy’s definition of edgy, with a fairly insufferable lead character and female characters who feel more like accessories than actual characters. Even by the third episode, I found my patience drying up for how obnoxious the lead was. It has a cool idea with the whole respawning lives gimmick, and the random class wheel adds a somewhat humorous spin on what classes the lead boy ends up with. It’s a shame that the video game fantasy world they inhabit is so boring, and with okay animation to bring it to life, there isn’t much there to enjoy on a visual level. I’m hoping the story and characters get better, but I can see myself dropping off of this show fast if it doesn’t get going. 

Check out Part 2 in the near future!